5-20-2016 11-43-59 AMI have never understood why anyone would say “Happy Memorial Day.” To me, there is nothing at all “happy” about our men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. Hard to believe the year has gone by, and it is time once again to honor our fallen at our annual Memorial Day “Laying Of The Wreath” ceremony.

This year’s special guest speaker will be Lieutenant General David L. Mann, Commanding General USASMDC/ARSTRAT. LTG David L. Mann assumed command of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense in August 2013.

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He is a Distinguished Military Graduate of Gettysburg College after graduating from Millersville University in 1981. He has served in a variety of command and staff assignments, both in the continental United States and overseas. Most recently, he served as the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, KY. Before that he served as the Commanding General, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, a theater-level air and missile defense (AMD) organization responsible for executing global operations in support of the Combatant Commands (COCOMs). Additional command assignments include: Battalion Commander, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, KY., where elements of the battalion deployed to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian; Brigade Commander, 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps where he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; and as the Commanding General, White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

Previous staff assignments include: Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, GA.; Battalion Operations Officer, 1st Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery (BSFV/Stinger), 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) where he deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as part of Joint Task Force 160; Operations Research and Systems Analysis Officer, Directorate of Program Analysis and Evaluation, Pentagon; Aide-de-Camp to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army; Senior Planner with duty on the Operation Enduring Freedom Current Operations Team, the Joint Staff following the events of 9-11; Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Defense Artillery Center, Fort Bliss, TX.; and as the Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, KY.
LTG Mann holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from George Washington University and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (oak leaf cluster), Legion of Merit (three oak leaf clusters), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (four oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal (oak leaf cluster), Army Achievement Medal (oak leaf cluster), Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Recruiter Badge, and the Joint and Army Staff Identification Badges.

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Our program will be held on Monday, May 30th at 11AM at the Limestone County Event Center. This year in addition to our ceremony, we will be providing lunch to our veterans and an opportunity for each of our service organizations to tell everyone what their organization is all about. We sincerely hope you will join us.
For further information call 256-771-7578.
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum

5-20-2016 11-35-22 AM

In 2015, in response to his own and others’ outrage over the execution of two New York cops while they were eating a quick bite in their patrol car, Jerry Barksdale started an organization called Together We Stand, Alabama. The purpose was, and is, to show our first responders that we are both grateful for and aware of the risks they take to protect us, and to show our support in any way we can.

People put blue light bulbs in the sockets of their porch lights to show solidarity with cops who were pulling the night watch. About 150 came out of the woodwork from all of North Alabama to raise money, design graphics, do advertising, organize entertainment, and the result was a beautiful meal held for our law enforcement personnel and their significant others in the Limestone County Event Center. The place was packed out, and I personally had the pleasure of “greeting and seating,” as well as seeing the gratitude on their faces as we showed our gratitude. The Mayor did several skits as his favorite alter-ego, Barney Fife, Chief Floyd Johnson had to handle being referred to as “Flossie” for awhile, City Councilman Chris Seibert was a biker, and even Adam and Eve were there. Jackie Greenhaw produced another fine show, the laughs were hearty, and the thanks were deep.

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What was particularly gratifying to me was that there was enough money collected and donated to do another event, and this time the honorees would be the First Responders who are connected with Fire, Rescue, Paramedics, EMTs, and Dispatch. While most of the time they do not have to be involved in stopping or preventing actual crime, they put their lives on the line, too, and fatalities are not unheard of in their line of work.

I had a chance to chat with Jerry Barksdale about the event, which is coming up on June 3rd. He had the following to say: “It is not just the police who rush to danger. Others, do too, and they deserve to be honored. I want the public to know that we are doing this for all the citizens of Athens Limestone County, representing them and saying thanks for them to all these brave men and women who deserve to hear it. If we had a place that could hold everyone who wants to come and say thanks, we would do that, but for now, we have to focus on our first responders and make sure they have an evening they will remember. We want them to know that we know what they do for us.”

Jerry also mentioned that he is gratified by the swell of support that started in 2015, and has continued on into this year. “We really didn’t know what would happen,” he said. “What started out as a way to support the men and women in blue grew to what it is today, and I am just glad that we can show the other First Responders how much we are behind them.”

These are the kinds of things that make me glad that I live in Athens, Alabama, and I want to thank all of you who are expressing your gratitude in such a grand and abundant manner. It is my joy to stand with you as you stand with all our First Responders, and we all stand together.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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5-6-2016 10-08-59 AMWhen it is May, it is time for the Limestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo. Come out to the Downtown Square and enjoy the Sheriff’s Rodeo Parade on May 14th. Line up at the Sheriff’s Rodeo Arena located at Highway 99 at 1pm. The Parade will take off around 2pm. The 34th Annual Rodeo Parade will feature our Queen Contestants along with our favorite Cowboys and Cowgirls. Along with the Limestone County Sheriff, Mike Blakely, will be our Grand Marshal, Allen Craig.

The Preston’s Rodeo Kickoff will be on May 15th at 5pm, with special fun for the young ones. The Rodeo Street Dance and Fashion Show will take place at 6pm on the Downtown Square on May 17th, with the Jeff Whitlow Country band performing. May 19th is the all team roping contest. Area elementary schools will reward their “Leader in Me” and “Reading Initiatives” participants with a field day to watch the “Slack” roping competition at 9am for free.

On May 20th at 10am, individuals with special needs will have the arena. A morning of roping, dancing, face-painting and a fun hay ride, followed by lunch for everyone who attends. Later in the evening will kick off our first night of the rodeo. Gates open at 6pm, and the Kids Gold Rush at 7pm and the events from Bronc Riding, Calf Roping to Steer Wrestling. On Saturday May 21st at noon, the Queen’s Luncheon will be held at the Limestone County Event Center. See part of the requirements our Queen contestants undergo to achieve the title of Miss Limestone Rodeo Queen. The Queen will be crowned Saturday night at the Rodeo in the arena before thousands of guests. The Queens range from 3 years of age to the 18-26 years of age division. Prizes in the senior division compete for a trophy saddle, custom belt buckle, a watch, scholarship money and so much more. Put this event on your calendar and come out to see “The Largest Outdoor Rodeo East of the Mississippi” with over $50,000 in prize money!

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Other events coming up in May include:

Saturday Supper with Belle Chevre on May 14th at the Belle Chevre Cheese Shop and Tasting Room located at 18849 Upper Fort Hampton Road in Elkmont, AL. Back by popular demand, Belle Chevre is again offering their Saturday Suppers cooked by our award-winning “Chief Cheese”, Tasia Malakasis, and Chef de Cuisine Rick Vonk. Saturday Suppers are inspired by fresh, local ingredients, including Belle Chevre’s fine artisanal goat cheeses made in Alabama. Southern-made 5 Course meals that reflect Southern heritage and our passion for spreading love around meals. Two Seating options: 5:30PM and 7:30pm, $75/person. To view their menu or make reservations: www.bellechevre.com/creamery-tours-events/saturday-suppers-2/

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Also in Elkmont, you will be able to attend the Singer-Songwriters Night at The Red Caboose on May 14th at 25483 Railroad Street, Elkmont, AL. Join with friends from around the TN Valley at The Red Caboose for an evening of live music. Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7pm. Admission is $25.00 and includes snacks. Children 12 and under are free. For more information, performers and directions: TheRedCaboose.net

Girl Scout Troop 1922 Pancake Fundraiser will be held at Applebee’s on May 21st at Highway 72E, Athens, AL. Join Girl Scout Troop 1922 from 8AM to 10AM for a tasty pancake breakfast. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5.00 each, and the event features a bonus coupon for $3.00 off your next Applebee’s visit.

On May 21st, get ready to run the 5K Tiger Dash at Cedar Hill Elementary, located at 27905 Cedar Hill Road, Ardmore, AL. Race time is 7am and proceeds will benefit the Ardmore High School Cross Country/Track Team and Cedar Hill Elementary Physical Education Department. Awards for overall male and female as well as top three in each age division. Registration before May 1st is $20.00. After May 1st registration is $25.00. For more information, contact Brenda Morrow at brenda.morrow@lcsk12.org or download registration form at: www.ardmorehigh.org/

On May 27th, look for the Senior Lunch Matinee Show at Yesterday’s Event Center located at 15631 Brownsferry Road Athens, AL. Join Yesterdays for a complete lunch including drink and dessert for $11.00, and entertainment featuring Elvis Remembered starring Michael Dean. Doors open 10:30am. Event begins 11am and show time is at 12pm with a show length 60-75 minutes. Groups of all size welcome. Bus parking is available. Cancellation fee may apply. Pre-reservation required, send reservation email to:
Info@YesterdaysEvents.com.
Athens- Limestone County Tourism – 100 N. Beaty Street – 256-232-5411 – www.VisitAthensAL.com
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

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The 34th annual Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo is just around the corner, and the “get ready” events have already begun.The program is being set for the publisher, T-shirt orders for all the Special Needs Rodeo participants are being processed, all the event and major sponsors have been secured, the Street Dance and Fashion Show are being planned, and committees of volunteers are receiving their instructions to complete a successful event. The Queen contestant applications are being processed, and in addition to all of the traditional goings on, the Sheriff’s Office staff and volunteers are making last minute plans for the biggest outdoor rodeo east of the Mississippi River.

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What began 33 years ago as a means to supplement the purchase of patrol cars for the sheriff’s office has now blossomed into a community event that is second to none. Teresa Todd, President of the Athens Limestone Tourism Association estimates the revenue impact from the rodeo at over a million dollars locally. “It is important to all of us as fans, visitors and competitors that come to Limestone County every year for the rodeo, shop in local stores, buy gasoline, stay in local motels, eat in local restaurants, and generally boost our entire economy. We strive to match that gift by producing a fun filled event packed with family entertainment and fierce competition in all of the rodeo events,” said Sheriff Blakely.

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Sheriff Blakely has always been a big fan of rodeo, even from his high school days when he would compete. “The rich tradition and values of rodeo are still alive in this community and are often relative to our parents’ teachings. Most of our parents taught us the same things that cowboys call the ‘Code Of The West’ to this day: ‘If it’s not yours, don’t take it; If it’s not true, don’t say it; If it’s not right, don’t do it.’ It is very humbling as an elected official to see this entire community support this event each and every year,” remarked Blakely.

This year the Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo is returning to an IPRA sanctioned event. The International Professional Rodeo Association sanction will mean the cream of the crop in professional competitors will make a stop in Athens to earn points toward the International Finals in Oklahoma City, OK next January. IPRA President Dale Yerigan remarked “We sanction 350 rodeos a year and the Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo will rank among the top 10 in prize money rodeos in the Nation. And Lone Star Rodeo Company will continue to produce a great rodeo with some of the most competitive stock on the circuit,” added Yerigan.

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If you have never attended the “Greatest Show on Dirt,” you should join us on May 20 or 21 and see what you have been missing. Your family will thoroughly enjoy themselves, and you will be positively impacting the success of local law enforcement.

And if you have never attended the Special Needs Rodeo, you owe it to yourself to see how your community rallies around a group of people to make sure they have their day too. Just show up at the arena on Friday morning, May 20 at 10 a.m., and witness the outpouring of volunteers as they paint faces, help with roping and disco dancing, pin the star on the sheriff, horseback rides, the petting zoo, hay rides and much, much, more.
By: Paul Cain, Limestone County Deputy Sheriff

4-15-2016 5-09-09 PMGuess what? It is only 25 days until the last day of school! My, how time flies. It seems like we just barely got finished with Christmas and New Year’s.

This year, the Center for Lifelong Learning will be offering several new camps. Be sure to watch backpacks for the announcement going home from schools or the News-Courier for a Sunday insert. Or you can check out our website – www.athens.edu/CLL – for more information. You can always call us at 256-233-8260 and we will mail on to you.

Here is what we are offering:

ARCHERY CAMP is for ages 8-12. It will be held June 6-10, from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at Carter Gym on the Athens State Campus. Boys and girls are welcome to spend a week with us learning everything you ever wanted to know about archery. Camp is limited to 20 students.

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FROM COWS TO COTTON is an introduction to agriculture for ages 8-12. It is scheduled June 13-16, from 9:00 am – 12 noon. We will start out at the Center for Lifelong Learning and visit local farms to learn about raising animals and crops. Camp is limited to 12 students.

SMART PHOTOGRAPHY will use your smart devices to take pictures around town. This camp is for ages 10 and up. It is scheduled June 20-24, 9:00 am – 12 noon. Camp is limited to 15 students.

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STOP MOTION ANIMATION is an opportunity to make your own movies. This camp is designed for ages 8-13. It will be held June 20-24, from 1:00pm – 4:00 pm. Don’t miss this change to be your own movie producer. Camp is limited to 12 students.

4-15-2016 5-09-28 PMCHESS CAMP is for ages 8-12. It is an opportunity to learn game strategies and how the pieces move. Camp will be held July 11-15, from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. This camp is limited to 30 students.

ART EXPLORERS is for ages 8-12. This camp is an exploration of art mediums. Camp is scheduled July 11 – 15, from 9:00 pm – 12:00 pm. This camp is limited to 15 students.

THE GREAT BRICK ADVENTURE is for ages 5-13. Camp is scheduled July 18-22, from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Like Stop Motion Animation, this camp is co-sponsored with Bricks 4 Kidz. It is a chance to build adventures with LEGO bricks and is sure to be lots of fun. Camp is limited to 20 students.

GROSS SCIENCE is a fun exploration of the slimy, smelly, and weird things that happen in the human body. Camp is for ages 8-12 and will be held July 25-27, 9:00 am – 12 noon.

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ANCIENT ART will be held at the Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur. There are three weeks available depending on your age. Camp is for 5-7 year olds, 8-11 year olds or ages 12 and up. Each camp is limited to 20 students.

We hope you will LIKE us on facebook – Center for Lifelong Learning at Athens State University. You can FOLLOW us or TWEET us at CLLatAthensState.
Center for Lifelong Learning – 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611 – 256-233-8262
By: Wanda Campbell

4-15-2016 4-06-09 PMI am amazed at the people I meet on a daily basis! Today I met a true “man on a mission.” His mission? To visit every county in the lower forty eight states, and to do it on a motorcycle. Of course, the first question is “Why?” Why would anyone want to take on such an endeavor? His goal is to document at least one veterans’ memorial in each of the 3,509 counties.

When he first got interested in veterans’ monuments in 2003, it was just a way to get out of the house, and since his family has had a man in uniform since the American Revolution, this was a way to honor them. However, as he traveled around he was shocked at the number of people who didn’t even know their town had a veterans’ memorial. Instead, he started asking “Where is the court house?” as this is very likely where the monument would be. “You can’t miss it, there’s a cannon in the yard” he says. “They have lived in this town or this county all of their life; they’ve been by the county courthouse hundreds of times, they have seen that cannon and it’s never clicked why that old cannon is sitting in the yard.” Especially today, when we have a volunteer force and we have only about one percent of our citizens are serving in the military, we really need to be aware of what they’re doing and what we’re asking of them.”

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To date, Wonnacott has visited 17 states, 800 counties and has documented over 1,000 memorials. Although Wonnacott has funded this mission on his VA pension, he says he can’t keep it up. How can you help? Motorcycle maintenance is a big item, one of the biggest costs being tires. Fortunately, he got a windfall from Dunlop Tires, who has committed to provide tires as long as his journey lasts. He said “I must rely upon the assistance of strangers. No, let’s say that I have to look to fellow citizens that want to help me honor our military veterans. Do you have a back yard where I may pitch my tent for the night? Or, maybe, do you have an empty couch to sleep upon? I’m having a four inch embroidered patch made as a thank you to those that pitch in $20 or more. Sew it onto your vest and, if you have the opportunity, ride along with me to a memorial or two. Take pride in the service and sacrifices of our veterans, help me tell the younger generation what was done by those named on so many monuments around the United States. Remember and honor those that served and those that did not return home.”

When he was asked why he didn’t buy a car to make his journey as it would be so much more comfortable than a motorcycle his response really hit home, “There is no discomfort that I endure that we do not ask of our veterans serving today. I have a choice, they don’t.” After his ride is completed he plans on donating his motorcycle to Honda, and perhaps document his travels in a book.

You can follow his journey or make a donation at www.ridearoundarmerica.com.
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum

4-1-2016 12-11-03 PMJust five short years ago, the Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) opened its doors on April 26, 2011. The opening was attended by city, county, and state officials. Many from the community came to ask the ever present question – What is it you do here?

Last year, we offered nearly 400 programs with more than 7,000 people coming to the Center. We collaborated with community organizations like Spirit of Athens, Greater Limestone Chamber of Commerce, and Storytelling Festival, to host events or provide speakers. We held classes for children of all ages – music lessons, summer camps, ACT Test Strategies, and Tutoring in Math and Reading. We offered classes for adults in everything from art (Blacksmithing and Photography) to personal interest (Ballroom Dance, Sewing, and Academic Travel programs). We also offered classes for business professionals, both online and in-class programs.

It is very easy to register for our classes or events. Just go online at www.athens.edu/CLL or call us at 256-233-8260.

This month, our leisure classes will include Intermediate Blacksmithing, on Saturday, April 16, 2016, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Classes will be held at 208 Commercial Dr, Athens, Alabama. The class is taught by Travis Fleming and Al Stephens, both well-known blacksmiths. It is recommended that you take Basic Blacksmith prior to taking this class. The fee is $99/person. Class size is limited to eight.

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Saving Money on Groceries & More will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2016, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. This class is taught by Kristan Stanton. Classes will be held at the Center for Lifelong Learning.

If you are looking for professional or career courses, look no further. For the accountants in our area, we are offering Implementing SSARS 21 for Accountants. Class will be held at the Center on Thursday, April 21, 2016, 8:00 a.m. – 12 Noon. The instructor for the course is Mike Brand, of Johnson, Feigley, Newton, and Brand. The course is approved for 3.5 CPEs in Accounting and Auditing. The fee is $75/person.

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May 16-19, 2016, we will offer ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Training. Classes will be held 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. This course satisfies both the competency based and qualification based Exemplar Global auditor certification training requirements. The fee is $1995/person. Classes will meet at the Center for Lifelong Learning.

The Power of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership will be offered on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 9:00 a.m – 12 Noon. Class held at the Dynetics Solutions Complex Main Conference Center, Huntsville, Alabama. This workshop is $65/person.

For the adventurous among you, we have a program called Academic Traveler. This month we are offering a trip to Montgomery, Alabama for The Comedy of Errors on April 30, 2016, at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival – Octagon Theater. The fee is $99/person. The deadline to register is April 8.

Check the website – www.athens.edu/CLL – for upcoming trips to Gettysburg and Israel. Or call me at 256-233-8260 for all your questions.

And don’t forget our birthday on Monday, April 25 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon; we will be serving birthday cake.
By: Wanda Campbell
Center for Lifelong Learning – 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611 – 256-233-8262

4-1-2016 11-41-16 AMSpring has sprung and, for some of us, thoughts turn to spring cleaning. Here are some tips that might help you during the process.

Easy Latex Paint Disposal
Many of us have partial cans of latex paint stuck in sheds and garages with no clue how to properly dispose of it. If we ever have another household hazardous waste collection here, chances are great that latex paint will not be included in items accepted. The reason is that in solid form, latex paint is not hazardous, and collecting it quickly uses up the funds needed for truly hazardous material collection.

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Here is what to do if you have partial cans of latex paint:
• If the paint is good and there is a usable amount, Habitat for Humanity ReStore may accept it for resale.
• For small amount of paint: Add kitty litter, shredded paper, or a consumer product for drying paint to the can. When the paint is completely dry, you can recycle the can at the Athens-Limestone Recycling Center.
• For large amount of paint: Line a cardboard box with a trash bag. Pour paint into the trash bag. Add drying materials such as those listed above. When the paint is completely dry, tie up the bag and put it in your regular trash. Recycle the paint can and the box.
• REMEMBER: Keep drying paint out of reach of pets and children.
Oil-based paint and paints such as Kilz must be disposed of at a household hazardous waste collection and should never be put into your household trash. Never put liquid paint of any kind in your household trash. It can be very damaging to trash collection equipment and roads.

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Shredded Paper
Is shredding old documents part of your spring cleaning? We often get calls asking if our recycling center accepts shredded paper. YES, and they welcome it!
• When recycling shredded paper, leave it in a plastic bag and place it in with mixed paper at the recycling center.
• Do not put loose shredded paper in the collection bins at the center. It can easily be blown about by the wind causing a serious litter problem.

Tire Recycling
Thanks to grants from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management received by Limestone County, tire recycling has been available to Limestone County residents for several years. The newest grant received is good through September 2018! Tires are NOT accepted at the recycling center. Here are county shed locations and drop-off times:
District 1 Shed: 22555 Elkton Rd, Athens, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
District 2 Shed: 24795 Pepper Rd., Athens, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
District 3 Shed: 14119 Ripley Rd., Athens, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
District 4 Shed: 22155 Section Line Rd., Elkmont, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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Electronics Recycling
There have been recent changes to the electronics recycling program at our center. The cost of processing and shipping these items has increased and the center had to make the difficult decision to pass on that expense or discontinue taking these items. Here is what you need to know:
• Electronics are considered anything with a cord or batteries (not including large appliances)
• A $0.30/lb fee will be charged for all electronics brought it.
• No batteries of ANY KIND will be accepted.

Paper, Books, and Junk Mail
Our recycling center can recycle most any type of paper products that have not been soiled by food. If it tears, it’s recyclable!
Here is a list of some of the paper items accepted:
• Cardboard boxes
• Paperboard, such as cereal boxes
• Books, including hard-back and phone books
• Newspapers
• Magazines
• Office paper, including shredded
If you have questions about something you want to discard, but are not sure it can be recycled, contact the Athens-Limestone Recycling Center at 256-233-8746. Ruby McCartney, Plant Manager, and Keri Chalmers, Asst. Plant Manager, would be happy to help you.
By: Lynne Hart

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3-18-2016 11-24-59 AMIt’s that time of year again: Spring! The trees are budding, the flowers blooming, and the warm sunshine beckons us out of our homes. Though we did have some bitterly cold days this winter, it was relatively mild, all things considered. Many people count that a blessing; however it does pose a potential problem. Usually, winter is a time when pests and bugs are killed off. With the warmer temperatures we enjoyed may come the unintended consequences of having to deal with more mosquitos, ticks and other such pests.

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According to Yale educated midwife-turned-doctor Aviva Romm, “Lyme disease is no longer a rare condition affecting people who live out in rural Conneticut (Lyme disease originated in Lyme, CT); it’s something we all need to think about if we spend any time outdoors, have pets, or even if you or your kids just play in your suburban front yard.”

The Center for Disease Control statistics indicate that reported and confirmed cases of Lyme’s are increasing rather than decreasing, to the tune of 320%, mostly in the Northeast. But, there are also increases in numbers in other geographic regions. In the last few years, at least two people that I care deeply about have been diagnosed with Lyme’s, one in Florida, and the other right here in Alabama.

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The best treatment for any disease is prevention, and Lyme’s is no different.

Tips For Prevention:
• Keep grass cut short around your home
• Treat pets for ticks
• Tuck pant legs into socks when hiking
• Wear long sleeves
• Do thorough tick checks on a daily basis if you are outside
• The use of essential oils like peppermint may help deter ticks

What To Do If You Find A Tick:
• If you find it crawling before it has bitten, flush it down the toilet or destroy it by some other means (as a child, my grandmother preferred burning them)
• If the tick has latched, remove it by grabbing with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight up with firm but gentle pressure. Twisting can leave fragments under the skin, setting you up for infection. Likewise, squeezing, puncturing, or crushing the tick can allow potentially infected fluids into the skin or bloodstream. Afterward, disinfect the skin with either rubbing alcohol and/or soapy water.
• If you have to remove a tick, observe the area around the bite for at least 30 days for the classic bulls eye rash that most often accompanies Lyme’s.
• Removing the tick before the first 48 hours after a bite may be key in preventing the transmission of Lyme’s.

As many as 50% of people never develop the rash, and some don’t even realize that they’ve been bitten. Other symptoms of Lyme’s include fever, headaches, body aches, and increased aching in the joints. Traditional Western medicine prefers to treat tick bites of potentially infected persons with a course of Doxycycline, an antibiotic. Some people respond well, while others do not. Talk with your healthcare professional to determine what will work best for you.

A percentage of the population may also struggle with what’s known as Chronic Lyme’s, which occurs when it is not promptly diagnosed and treated. It is difficult to diagnose at this point because it manifests in so many different ways, effectively sending the clinician on a “wild goose chase” to expose the true problem. The spirochetes can “go into hiding” in various parts of the body, lingering for weeks, months, or even years. These patients may experience a wide range of symptoms including numbness in the fingers or toes, problems with digestion, circulation, the reproductive system, the central nervous system (brain, nerves, and spinal cord) and the skin.

A few alternatives to antibiotic therapy for Lyme’s Disease include herbal therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, nutrition therapy, infrared sauna, and the “Rife machine” which uses frequencies matched to those of the microbe that vibrate it until it falls apart.

Enjoy your time outside, but remember to keep an eye out for ticks, preventing this potentially devastating disease.
By: Rachel Clark, RN, BSN

3-18-2016 10-22-17 AMMany of us are looking forward to spring and summer days when we can spend time fishing, hiking, boating, having picnics, and enjoying the great outdoors.

KALB works hard to make those days more enjoyable through education and volunteer opportunities focused on litter abatement and litter removal. On April 9th, KALB will offer an event in which we welcome you to participate.

Our annual Elk River Canoe & Kayak Trail Cleanup will take place on Saturday, April 9th. Volunteers will gather at 8:00 a.m. at the boat ramp on Hatchery Rd. off Hwy. 99 in West Limestone. Individuals and registered teams are welcome. Once everyone has signed in and received supplies and instructions, groups will be assigned to an area to clean up.

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Damien Simbeck from TVA will join us and bring lots of supplies. He and his crew will take one group out onto the water.

A complimentary lunch will be served to all volunteers at noon as a thank you for making a difference.

Information and registration forms can be found on the KALB website at www.KALB.com. You will find the link to the 2016 Elk River Canoe & Kayak Trail Cleanup under the EVENTS tab.

3-18-2016 10-23-00 AM

Team Challenge
Thanks to TVA, we are once again able to offer cash prizes of $250, $150, and $100 to the top three groups picking up the most pounds of trash. This year the rules have changed slightly. Each team’s total trash weight will be divided by the number of members on the team, arriving at a per capita number. That will be the number that is used to determine winners.

This will allow smaller teams to complete fairly with larger teams. Here are a few other guidelines:

• Teams must consist of at least 5 members.
• Extra credit points will be given to groups that separate recyclables.
• All debris must be weighed by the noon deadline.
• All debris must come from designated areas as specified by KALB.
• Concrete and bricks will not be accepted for weighing. These are often placed by the county or TVA to stabilize land.
• Deadline for team registration is March 30, 2016.

3-18-2016 10-23-20 AM

Registration Information
Teams must register by March 30, 2016 to participate in the Team Challenge. Contact KALB for additional information. We’d love to hear from you!
Individuals should contact KALB at 256-233-8000 or KALBCares@gmail.com to let us know you are coming so we can prepare enough food for lunch. Individuals may come even if not registered; however, registration is preferred.

3-18-2016 10-23-34 AM

Volunteers are welcome to bring boats, canoes, or kayaks to capture debris from the water. We have a huge problem with trash collecting in sloughs, which cannot be reached by land or a larger boat. Some kayaks may be available if requested IN ADVANCE.

Come out and join us for a day in the outdoors doing something good for our community.
By: Lynne Hart