10-21-2016-2-28-32-pmIt is October and time to prepare for fall festivities. Decorations, candy, costumes, and party supplies may be on your shopping list.

Before we all rush out to purchase these holiday supplies, let’s take a few minutes to think about doing some things a bit differently this year. There are so many things we have done for years not realizing the impact they have on our environment and sometimes even our health.

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Here are some tips to help you celebrate more environmentally-friendly fall festivities:

• Be sure your trick-or-treaters carry reusable shopping bags or even pillowcases instead of plastic bags or containers that are discarded after they are used. Reusable bags are stronger and will hold lots more treats!

• Make your own costume from natural materials you have around the house, or swap costumes with other families. You can also find great deals on used costumes at resale shops. Leave the new, throw-away costumes on the rack.

• Know what is in your Halloween face paint. Some of these paints can contain metals and other toxic materials. Look for organic, non-toxic face paints or search the web to find recipes for making your own.

• Make fall or Halloween decorations for your yard from recycled materials. There are so many easy and fun ideas on the web. Make it a family project. Buying decorations from the store is easy, but making them with your children makes memories.

• Give treats that are healthier than standard candy, or avoid candy completely. That sounds ghoulish, but “better” can still be fun. Consider giving colorful pencils, boxes of crayons, or the Halloween coupons available at local restaurants.

• Walk the trick-or-treat trail with your children rather than follow them in your car. It is healthier for you and for the environment. If you are visiting another neighborhood, park your car and walk.

• Bake pies or roast pumpkin seeds using pumpkins after the holidays have passed.

• Keep Halloween clean by teaching your children to keep candy wrappers in their bags for proper disposal once they return home. Take an extra bag along and pick up litter along the way. You might want to reward your children with an extra treat if they find and pick up litter.

• Use reusable plates and utensils for your holiday parties to reduce waste.

Continue to think green throughout the year by taking reusable bags to the grocery store, walking whenever you can, avoiding “throw-away” items, recycling as much as possible, and keeping litter in its place.

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Together, we can make our piece of the world a better place.
By: Lynne Hart

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Elvis Is Coming To Town

10-21-2016-2-14-01-pmOK, Ladies (and Gentlemen!) Get ready…Elvis is coming to town! Join us on Nov 12 at 6:00pm for Michael Dean and Memphis! This show, benefitting the Alabama Veterans Museum in honor of Veterans Day, will be held at the Limestone County Senior Center at 912 W. Pryor Street in Athens.

Michael Dean started out at a young age singing back-up harmony for his family’s gospel group. At a party in 1989, someone mentioned he sounded like Elvis; so he had a few cheap suits made, won a few contests, and as they say, the rest is history. Michael considers himself a tribute artist instead of an impersonator; he feels Elvis is truly one of a kind, and pays tribute to “The King” with every show. Unlike other tribute artists, Michael Dean does not lip sync the words to prerecorded sound tracks. Michael Dean and Memphis put on a live performance every time. One must pay attention to all aspects of the show, including the detailed elaborate costumes, the movements, and of course his voice to truly appreciate the show. Michael has played in Branson as well as performed with Percy Sledge, The Platters, The Stamps Quartet and many other great entertainers.

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What started out as Michael’s wife Gayle and one other singer providing backup for his “Tribute to Elvis” show in 1998, has now turned into a full back-up group. In addition to Gayle Dean Root, the group includes Michele Bradford, Van Stisher and Doug “J.D.” Moss, all on vocals. Dennis Thrasher is the Sound Technician and Ricky Bartlett does the lighting. A night with Memphis can include Gayle Dean performing hits from stars such as Patsy Cline, Connie Francis or Brenda Lee, while Michele’s taste leans towards Reba McEntire and Martina McBride. Van brings classic country with hits from Linda Ronstadt, Loretta Lynn and Tanya Tucker. The bass singer in the group, J.D., brings tunes from Jim Reeves and Brooks Benton, while Michael performs hits from The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, Jimmy Buffet, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley. With such a wide variety of talent, they can provide a concert style show or a more laid back atmosphere for dances and special events.

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Elvis Aaron Presley, who was born on January 8, 1935, went from a small-town boy in Tupelo, MS to a music legend whose impact has carried on long after his death. Elvis was also a veteran. He was drafted on January 8, 1957 and went to Ft. Hood for Basic Training; there he was assigned to the 2nd Armored Division’s “Hell on Wheels” unit. Later, Elvis was assigned to the 3rd Armored “Spearhead” Division and stationed in Germany. Elvis was promoted to E-5 in 1960 and after finishing his assignment in Germany in March of that year, he was honorably discharged from active duty on March 5, 1960. Elvis was afraid that his time in the military would have a negative effect on his music career, but as we all know, he need not have worried because he is still the “King of Rock & Roll!”

Contact the Veterans Museum at 256-771-7578 for tickets which are $15.00 in advance or $20.00 at the door! Tickets are limited, get yours today!
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veteran’s Museum

10-7-2016-12-06-22-pmAthens is such a wonderful city to call home. It is also a wonderful place to visit. I know this because I was a visitor first before becoming a resident. I also have family that come to visit, and always take a bit of Athens back home with them.

What makes Athens and Limestone County such an inviting place? It’s the people who live here, of course! Athens opens its arms wide to welcome visitors from near and far, and the warmth is tangible.

It takes good people, volunteers, and many hours of time to produce the quality of life that is available here. It is a quality that attracts visitors to come and see what it is that we love about the South.

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Every time you turn around, there is something going on in Athens and Limestone County! It surprises me to hear anyone say “there’s nothing to do in Athens.” WHAT? There is barely a weekend that goes by that isn’t offering something to do, see, or hear.

There is so much going on that it’s often hard to keep track of it all! KALB hopes that we have created a solution.

Last Spring, we had our first Paws For The Environment Pet Photo Contest. Twelve winners were selected by the top number of paid votes received by each dog. Those dogs earned a place in KALB’s first Paws For The Environment 2017 Calendar.

So what makes this calendar so special?

Our calendar is unique. It was designed to be a useful tool. Here are some of what our calendar includes:

• Pictures of some of the cutest dogs in the Athens-Limestone area! Included with each picture is a story of how these dogs met and won the hearts of their humans.
• Many local annual events are already included and highlighted on the calendar, so you won’t miss them.
• Two pages of valuable coupons to local restaurants and businesses are included.
• You will find useful information about your local, non-profit recycling center.
• Of course, we’ve included information about KALB and some service we provide that you may not have known about.
• On the inside back cover, you will find a list of important telephone number for city, county, and other services and organizations that you will have at your fingertips.

Proceeds from calendar sales support projects and programs of Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful. Fundraisers are a necessity to raise nearly $40,000 of our $70,000 budget for the fiscal year. Our budget is small, and we run a tight ship. That $70,000 includes salaries, utilities, office supplies, insurances, projects, programs, and more. We are proud of our fiscal responsibility with your support and donations.

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Where to Purchase Calendars

Calendars are $15 each and will be available at the Fiddlers Convention at the KALB tent. They are also available at the KALB office at 125 East St. across from the duck pond. You may also see them at other locations around Athens.

Anyone who lives, works, or plays in Athens will appreciate all that this unique calendar offers. Please consider them for Christmas gifts for your family, friends, co-workers, or employees.
For more information, call or email the KALB office. We are here to serve.
By: Lynne Hart

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10-7-2016-12-01-11-pmThe 50th Anniversary of the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention will be hosted by the Athens State University on October 7th and 8th. Athens, Alabama is famous for its music, and at the Fiddlers’ Convention, it is easy to see why. For the past 50 years, on the school’s campus, music, and buck dancing along with wonderful food and crafts have brought in previous years over 15,000 attendees.

The musical entertainment is held on the steps of Founders’ Hall, previously home to the women’s institution of higher learning and designated sacred by President Lincoln during the Civil War. The main stage is sponsored by the Alabama Farmers’ Cooperative where over $18,000 in prize money will be awarded throughout the semi-centennial competition.

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The Convention will hold competitions on Friday and Saturday, with more than 200 people performing.

There are more than 20 different categories of performances, including fiddle, guitar, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dobro, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing.

Special performances on Friday, October 7th both at 4:00PM and at 6:00PM will be presented by Riders In The Sky. Their performances will be held on the Alabama Farmers’ Cooperative Main Stage. Riders In The Sky is an American Western music group, which began performing in 1977. They have won two Grammy Awards, and have written and performed music for major motion pictures. In their 39 years, Riders In The Sky have performed in over 6,200 live performances, almost 300 national television appearances, over 200 public radio shows, 700 Grand Ole Opry appearances, and three television series. They call Nashville, TN home.

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Performing on Saturday, October 8th will be Norman Blake, Nancy Blake, and James Bryan at 5:00PM. Norman is an American instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter. In a career spanning more than 60 years, he has played in a number of folk and country groups. He is considered one of the leading figures in the bluegrass revival of the 1970s and is still active today, playing concert dates and making albums with Nancy Blake, and many other musicians.

You can’t have great entertainment without having great food and hand-made crafts. The Convention will have old-fashioned arts and crafts at approximately 150 booths. Food items will range from quick snacks to full meals, all delicious, and many from our local restaurants.

Gates open at 8:00AM. Cost is $15 for Friday, $15 for Saturday and $20 for both days. Children under 12 are admitted free with a parent. Advance tickets are available from the Athens State Business Office, located in Founders’ Hall at 300 North Beaty Street.

By:Teresa Todd President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association
Athens-Limestone County Tourism, President
Athens, AL
256-232-5411

9-16-2016-10-31-12-amSeptember is always a busy month at the Center for Lifelong Learning. We have just published our fall catalog with the course offerings for the rest of the year. If you did not get a catalog, you can stop by the Center, located at 121 South Marion Street, in Athens.

This fall we offer Blacksmith Classes taught by Travis Fleming and Al Stephens. Classes are offered on Saturdays – September 17, October 8, and November 5. Sign Language will start on September 20, and the Lunch and Learn Series: Caring for Older Adults will start on September 28. And this is just the beginning of the offerings.

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For those who can’t make it to class but want to continue their education, we offer over 300 professional development and leisure courses online, everything from accounting to languages is available. You can check out our website at www.athens.edu/cll – then, click on Online Learning. One of the newest courses to add to the online learning library is Microsoft Excel – Pivot Tables. Most organizations rely heavily on Microsoft Excel Pivot Tables to analyze and report financial information. Your company is probably no exception. With this course, you can impress your coworkers by learning how to create functional and eye-catching interactive dashboards using a combination of Pivot Tables, Pivot Charts, and Slicers.

9-16-2016-10-31-58-amThis fall we have also partnered with the Coleman Center for Religious Studies and Ethics to offer a Bible Studies Certificate Course. Using the book, Reading Responsibly: A Guide to Biblical Interpretation, this course will focus the methods and ethics of interpretation. Dr. Tony Moyers, author of the book, will lead the discussion. Classes are scheduled the first Tuesday of the month and will continue from October 4, 2016 through April 4, 2017. Class is held at the Center for Lifelong Learning from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, each session. The fee is $5 per session. The textbook is available at the Athens State Bookstore.

This course is a non-denominational academic study that will guide students in the understanding of methods commonly used by biblical scholars in the study of the Bible. The methods will focus on historical, literary, and reader-oriented aspects of biblical interpretation. Everyone is welcome to come to the discussions each month. Those students who attend six sessions will receive a certificate of completion.

For those of you who don’t know him, Dr. Tony L. Moyers is a professor of religion and philosophy at Athens State University. He is the department chair of the humanities and social sciences. He received his Ph.D. in Biblical studies from Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. Dr. Moyers did additional graduate work at Vanderbilt University and is also the author of The Moral Life: Obligation and Affirmation.

We hope to see you at one of our classes or on one of our trips. We are going to New Orleans in March 2017 and would love for you to travel with us. Information is available on the website or stop by to get a brochure.
By: Wanda Campbell
Center for Lifelong Learning – 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611 – 256-233-8262

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9-16-2016-9-34-02-amThis is the 16th year for KALB’s Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby fundraiser! The 2016 derby will be held on October 8th, 4:00 p.m., at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens.

Our first duck race in 2001 promised a cash grand prize. The event and our sponsor base have grown and this year we offer the Limestone Farmers Cooperative $1,000 Grand Prize plus 30 additional valuable prizes! All prizes have been donated, so all proceeds from duck adoptions go directly to support the KALB organization.

This race is lots of fun for those who come to watch it; however, you do not have to be present to win. For KALB, this fundraiser is necessary to obtain the funds which allow us to offer quality education, projects and programs.

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How the Race Works

For a $5 donation to KALB, a specially-designed rubber racing duck will be placed in our Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby in your name.

For a $25 donation, you will receive a Papa Murphy’s Quack Pack which includes 6 ducks and a coupon for 50% off your entire order at any Papa Murphy’s Pizza.

The ducks will be raced in up to 4 heats (depending on number of ducks adopted). The winners of each heat will be raced in the Championship Race to determine the winners of the Limestone Farmers Cooperative $1,000 Grand Prize and all other listed prizes. The order in which the ducks come through the duck trap determines the prize won. The total number of winning ducks will be determined by the number of prizes on race day.

KALB Touches Everyone in Limestone County

KALB programs touch every resident in Limestone County in one way or another. We provide environmental education programs in city, county, and private school classrooms; support other organizations with clean and green outdoor events; oversee the Adopt-A-Spot program; provide recycling opportunities; host the annual Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO and Elk River Cleanup; and so much more.
We encourage you to visit our website to learn more about the KALB organization, our programs, and the many volunteer opportunities we offer.

How to Adopt Ducks

Ducks can be adopted at the following locations:
• KALB office at 125 East Street in Athens
• Old Time Fiddlers Convention at Athens State University on Friday October 7th and until 1:00 p.m. Saturday October 8th (KALB tent is next to Information Tent)
• Use the QR Code on this page for information or to adopt ducks online

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By: Lynne Hart

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9-2-2016 2-18-57 PMIt doesn’t matter how you get to the finish line, we’ll be waiting for you!

This 5K is perfect for seasoned runners as well as beginners. The course is mildly challenging, and will take runners through the tree-lined streets and past antebellum homes in the Athens Historic Districts as well as around the Courthouse Square. Start and finish points will be at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens, otherwise known as the Duck Pond.

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Lots of refreshments and an awards presentation will take place in and around the historic Athens Visitors Center, which was built in 1906 and served as the Athens Utilities Building. Cash prizes and trophies in several age categories will be awarded. Two lucky ducks will go home with our cash drawing or a certificate for free Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream monthly for a year!

Thanks to our many generous sponsors, every dollar received from race registrations goes directly to support the work of Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful. Your participation will support programs that engage our community in litter abatement, recycling, beautification, and other activities with a goal of protecting our environment. Activities include the Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO, classroom presentations available to all city, county, and private schools, Adopt-A-Spot, our Annual Elk River Cleanup, Clean and Green Events such as the Fiddlers Convention coming up, and so much more.

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Registration Information

Pre-registration is $20. Late and race day registration will be $25. Fun run registration is $10. Online information and registration is available at www.RaceRoster.com. Registration forms can also be printed from our website and mailed in. Mailed registrations must be postmarked no later than one week prior to the race. Register early to guarantee your t-shirt size.

Packet Pickup and Registration will be available as follows:
• Thursday, 9/15/16 from 4-7 p.m. at Fleet Feet Sports in Huntsville.
• Friday, 9/16/16 from 4-7 p.m. at the KALB office located at 125 East Street in Athens.
• Race Day, 9/17/16 beginning at 6:45 a.m. at the KALB office.

9-2-2016 2-19-42 PMNot Running? Volunteer!
It takes a lot of people to make any fundraiser a successful event. If you’d like to help direct runners along the race route, take photos along the course or at the finish line, help serve food, or just cheer on the runners to encourage them along the way, we need you! Give us a call or send us an email and let us know you’re available.

We Have Amazing Community Support
KALB could not exist without the generosity of our sponsors. A huge thank you to our major sponsors which include Fleet Feet Sports, Limestone Farmer’s Cooperative, Eastside Pharmacy, American Leakless Company, Distinctive Landscaping, Eddy J. Burks, CPA, Morell Engineering, First National Bank, Alabama Farm Credit, Pepsi, Bojangles, EFI Automotive, Reseda Nursery, The News Courier, and Snap-On.

9-2-2016 2-20-05 PMWe also greatly appreciate Wilmer & Lee, Attorneys at Law, We Chunk Junk, Village Veterinary Clinic, Railroad Bazaar, Onyx Aerospace, Athens-Limestone Hospital, Maggie Moo’s, Brian C. T. Jones, District Attorney, and Athens Now.

Come on out and join us for a good time…whether you run, walk, waddle, or volunteer, you will be part something good!
By: Lynne Hart

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9-2-2016 2-13-30 PMALABAMA 200 is bringing something for citizens and visitors of all ages to share and explore as we celebrate our state’s bicentennial. From a history walk and folk-life festivals, to travelling exhibitions and reunions, ALABAMA 200 is creating a three-year celebration for every facet of our beginning to our current life.

Beginning March 3rd, 2017 the celebration will start in our oldest areas, Mobile and St. Stephens, and culminate in December of 2019 in Huntsville. It is the site of our humble beginnings where we drew up our first established constitution, and the location of the signing has been preserved. ALABAMA 200 includes all 67 counties, and stretches from the Ardmore Welcome Center to the white sand beaches of Orange Beach, as well as from the Capital city to Rocket City.

ALABAMA 200 is about more than commemorating 200 years of a government. The State of Alabama exists as a place of unparalleled natural beauty, and it is the home of a diverse and distinct people who share a history with unique perspectives and values. It is a sense of shared culture and stories. You know, you only turn 200 years old once, and honoring the history that changed the world will need some time.

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We begin in 2017 by “Discovering Our Place,” which coincides with Alabama’s Territorial Bicentennial. 2018 is the year for “Honoring Our People.” We will share the experiences and stories of the individuals who came here to live together. Sharing “Our Story” will be the theme of 2019, and the conclusion of ALABAMA 200, an invitation to continue celebrating what makes our state distinct, and honor the days to come with history as our guide.

Limestone County Vision
ALABAMA 200 is an unprecedented opportunity to experience and explore North Alabama. It is a chance to celebrate our place in each community in Limestone County. It is a moment to remember the people who made their home in “Alabama the Beautiful,” and to nurture the generations who will carry us forward. It is a chance to chart a vibrant, prosperous future for our county with our past to lead us forward.

Work and the workplace have gone through colossal changes between the mid-1800s and today. In the mid-1800’s, 60% of Americans made their living as farmers. During the mid-1900s, with its shift from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy, about 38% of workers declared farming as their main occupation. By 2000, only 2% of Americans worked on farms.
While we collect information for our 200th Anniversary, we will see the effects of industrialization, urbanization, immigration, labor unrest, wars, and changes in the economic positions of our country on ordinary working Americans. In the beginning we toiled in coal mines, on tractors, at typewriters and in the military. Then we labored on assembly lines making rockets, airplanes, the indispensable computer, and now robots.

Things you can participate in:

We will create displays & exhibits to show our history and growth. Photographs and historical documents will help to tell our stories. We have found artifacts from the American Indians to explain the importance of our location, to the endangered species of the mighty Elk who roamed our area, as did many other distinctive creatures.

We used storytelling for how we learned about our ancestors, our humor, and our day to day lives. We handed down dance, music, and re-enactments to keep our lineage alive. We planted, grew, and canned our gardens filled with great, nutritious foods. And we played! We made up most of our games, but we used our surroundings and our imaginations to foster these great activities.

We made our clothes, our bed clothes, and many other items from materials from food packaging. Others made furniture from the bounty of the forest and the hides of animals. We cared for our children, our seniors, the sick, and disabled, but still worked every day to enable our family to obtain a good education.

Our Limestone County community of Mooresville was incorporated November 16th, 1818 preceding Athens by 3 days, November 19th 1818. Mooresville has many unique qualities which haven’t seemed to have changed since their inception. Visit Mooresville’s website to learn more about their distinctive community.

We will have committee meetings beginning within the next couple of months. If you are interested in being a part of this historic event, send your contact information to info@VisitAthensAL.com. The Limestone Committee will be in touch with you soon.

By: Teresa Todd – Athens-Limestone County Tourism Director
100 N. Beaty Street
Athens, AL. 35611
256-232-5411
Teresa@VisitAthensAL.com

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8-19-2016 9-43-46 AMIt is the beginning of the school year, and it is another opportunity for teachers, students, parents, grandparents, friends and businesses to “build our blueberries.” What in the world does that mean? The title of this edition of Ronnie comes from a story known as “the blueberry story” told in a book entitled, Schools Cannot Do It Alone, by Jamie Vollmer. The subtitle is Building Public Support for America’s Public Schools. I sat for a few minutes in the Mayor’s office and read it.

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The “blueberry story” is a humbling tale told by Mr. Vollmer, wherein he endeavored to simplistically suggest to a group of teachers that adopting a standard business model for today’s schools is the answer to all their “production” problems. By way of context, Mr. Vollmer produces ice cream, and a teacher challenged him for using the analogy of the quality of blueberries shipped to the ice cream factory that ultimately will go into Mr. Vollmer’s product. The exchange went something like this:

“Mr. Vollmer, when….you see…those blueberries do not meet your triple A standards, what do you do?”

“I send them back.”

“That’s right! You send them back. We can never send back the blueberries our suppliers send us. We take them big, small, rich, poor, hungry, abused, confident, curious, homeless, frightened, rude, creative, violent, and brilliant. We take them of every race, religion, and ethnic background. We take them with head lice, ADHD, and advanced asthma. We take them with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, English as their second language, and who knows how much lead in their veins. We take them all, Mr. Vollmer! Every one! And that’s why it’s not a business. It’s school.”

To his credit, Jamie Vollmer has learned much since that exchange, and Ronnie has heard him speak. He has also spoken with Jamie briefly, and highly recommends the book for anyone in the private sector who wants to be a “triple A blueberry builder.”

After I read the “blueberry story,” Mayor Ronnie said, “Here’s what we have. On one hand, there is a kid named Ryan who got a 35 on his ACT and would have liked to have done better, and on the other, we have kids for whom school is the best part of the day. So the question is, ‘How do we build our blueberries?’”

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We discussed the fact that from some quarters, teachers are being asked to be the parents, provide apprenticeships, and essentially function as the cook, the counselor, and the coach. They are spread thin, and, as the book title reiterates, “Schools can’t do it alone.” We need to “build our blueberries” if we want to leave our town in good shape after we are long gone.

We talked some about the role of businesses as Partners in Education, and he said, “I am so glad they are involved.” However, what he wanted to convey the most is “how much we appreciate our teachers.” He has been in the classroom, and so have I, but it was a long time ago, and it was not with the kinds of challenges our teachers are facing today.

“I am especially thankful for the role the Dr. Sisk and Dr. Holladay and the School Boards have had with the new Career Technical Center,” he said. “They are creating an atmosphere for success.” He also talked about the fact that the year was fresh, and the students are excited. “I feel good about our schools,” he said.

We both know that there is always room to improve them, and to that end we prayed. Then it was time for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

8-19-2016 8-58-45 AMAs many of you are well aware, the misspelling of Vietnam on the Monument has been a source of contention for some time now, however thanks to our generous community this will soon be remedied. This time we want to make sure that it is correct, I have been doing some research and have put together a list of names that either are on the monument and should not be, are not on the monument but really should be, and a couple I am still trying to find information about. The following is what I have put together from several different sources, if you have any information about the following individuals it would be greatly appreciated, we just want to make sure we honor our heroes properly.

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Click to enlarge

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Once again, if you have information on any of the individuals above that could help, it would be appreciated. If you know of anyone who is not listed here but should be, please let me know that also. Contact me at the Veteran’s Museum, 256-771-7578.
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum

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