June Van Pamel was born in London on June 7th, 1928, and for the first eleven years of her life lived what could be considered the normal life of a British child. Her father served in WWI, and was a taxi driver. Her mother worked in the employee’s cafeteria for 20th Century Fox, who had a studio there. Then, in 1939, everything changed. Germany attacked Britain, and June and her brother were part of what was known as the Evacuation, when British kids were sent to live in the country, ostensibly removed from harm’s way. “They were good to us,” she said, (referring to the family that took her in), “but still, it was a very hard time. We could hear the bombs, we knew what was going on.” She lost her brother, Ivor, 4 days before the war ended, and her brother-in-law died as well. She came home to London in 1943.

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June met her future husband, Louis, when she worked at a US Naval base in England. It was a true whirlwind romance. “Our first date was on February 17th, 1953, and we were married on May 2nd of that same year, just three months later.” She went on to add that she and Louis were married for “55 years, 5 months, and 2 weeks.” They had one son, also named Louis, who was born in 1963.

They lived in New Jersey for 30 years, then in Florida for 20. They ended up in Alabama so that Louis could get good care until he passed. Miss June had so many stories to tell me that it would take several articles to contain them, but here are some of the highlights:

“We used to stand in our yard in Florida and watch the space launches. We saw the Challenger take off and explode,” she said. “It was terrible,” she added with the voice of someone who has seen her fair share of difficulties. Another was that her husband Louis’ ship was the one that fished former President George H.W. Bush out of the water when his plane was shot down.

During the 30 years she lived in New Jersey, she worked with “a very nice Jewish man who had the death camp tattoo burned into his arm. He always wore long sleeves to cover it up. One day, after the war, he was walking down the road with his wife, and there was a 15 or 16 month year old baby girl, who was sitting on the side of the road crying. The man and his wife tried to find her parents, and no one had any idea whose she was. So, they picked her up, went to the Americans, came to America, and raised her as their own. They were never able to have any of their own children because the Nazis had sterilized them.”

We moved on to the topic of favorites:
Color? “Blue, then yellow,” she said.

Food? “Steak, as rare as can be, served with mushrooms, with a potato in its jacket, DRIPPING with butter,” was the reply.

Football team? “Auburn, for collegiate ball, and the Giants for pro ball,” she said. She then added, “I am not sure who to root for in the Super Bowl because I love Cam Newton and Peyton Manning,” she said with a chuckle. Apparently her room is always busy with football fans during the season.
President? Eisenhower, and Reagan.

Inspirational saying? “The one that is on Ivor’s grave.” It read as follows:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

She loves Christmas, and keeps her tree and decorations up all year. She was camera shy, but she let me take a picture of her tree, and if you look closely, you’ll see that it is decorated with “proper tea pots from Boston, made from cloisinee.” She says she is “98% satisfied with things at Athens Rehab”, and laughed out loud when she told me, “I am spoiled rotten, and I love it!”
Her advice to young people? “Enjoy life, be kind to people, respect your parents and the law.”
Sprightly wisdom from a woman who has lived the life to earn it.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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2-5-2016 4-32-39 PMBefore I get into the topic of this article, I would first like to share KALB’s belief that a healthy environment is of great importance to all. We believe that people inherently understand the value of and care about a healthy environment. Every educational program, every project, every volunteer opportunity, and every means of sharing information is in place because of these beliefs.

Now, on to the topic of litter. I hate that we still have to talk about it because littering is still a problem. Then I remind myself that there are people out there that may not have the facts necessary to make a good, educated decision about littering. There are others who agree that litter is a problem, but aren’t sure how they can help.

Sadly, there will always be a small portion of people that will never change their mindset. That will never stop us from reaching out to young and old with information and opportunities. My hope is increased when I speak with our youngest students who seem to already understand that littering is wrong — and you should hear them tattle on their parents!

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My dog, Annie, and I enjoyed the recent warm temperatures by going for long walks. It is amazing what can be seen when walking that would be missed when driving by. The photos on this page are just an example of what Annie and I passed by on a recent walk. I didn’t have a litter grabber and a trash bag with me; however, Annie and I went back the next day to pick it up. In case you are wondering, I always have a bag with me in case Annie leaves a “present” along the way. I will add a litter grabber and trash bag to my dog-walking gear as often as possible from here on out.

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The following facts about litter are for those who are still unaware and for those that would like to share this information with others:

The Cost of Litter is Substantial

More than $11.5 billion is spent each year nationwide, with businesses paying a huge portion of that amount, and state and local governments, schools, and other organizations picking up the rest of the cost. All of these costs are undoubtedly passed down to consumers and taxpayers.

There are also indirect costs that we don’t often think about. Keep America Beautiful conducted an in-depth study and determined the following: it is estimated that the presence of litter in a community decreases property values by 7% — $7,000 on a $100,000 property; 93% of homeowners said a littered neighborhood would influence their desire to purchase a property; 36% of business development officials said that litter impacts a decision to locate to a community, jeopardizing the possibility of new jobs in that area. Litter can also cause lost tourism revenues, vehicle repairs, fires, and injuries.

Litter Has Costly Environmental Consequences

All living things rely on a healthy environment to survive. When we litter, we can damage ecosystems which must be restored, cause injury to humans and wildlife, and eventually these things will pose a threat to human health. Litter is carried by wind, animals, and rain into storm drains and local waterways, including the Elk River which is our source for drinking water. It doesn’t matter how far you live from the river, litter can travel many, many miles!

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Get Involved!

If you would like to stand up and take some responsibility for your neighborhood, we can help by supplying you with some trash bags and a litter grabber. Invite neighbors to join you in the effort and we’ll provide supplies for them, too! Organize a group to join the Adopt-A-Spot program. There are rewards connected with this program that can benefit local non-profits and organizations. Take a stand against a littered community and be an example to others.

We have a no-pressure guarantee that you can contact us with your questions about this and other issues. You’ll receive answers without obligation. That’s our promise.
By: Lynne Hart

1-22-2016 11-08-58 AMMonday the 18th had been a whirlwind of celebrations centered around Martin Luther King’s birthday. Sweet Home Church once again had been the host for the ceremony (or more accurately, “service”), and the Round Island Men’s Choir “tore it up,” as they always do.

However, someone very special was missing, and that was the “Jimmie” of this article. Veteran Athens City Councilman Jimmie Gill is in a serious “street fight” with cancer, and Mayor Ronnie, wanting to be respectful of Jimmie’s privacy, asked him, “Jimmie, what do you want me to tell caring people who call this office?” Jimmie’s response was as follows: “Tell them I am battling stage 2 cancer, and am starting chemo on Jan 25th.” But, the unsinkable Mr. Gill was not through—he also said, “I plan to whip this and be a candidate in 2016!” Mayor Ronnie then added, “We really missed Jimmie. It just wasn’t the same without him.”

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Every year, our school system has an essay contest in connection with Martin Luther King’s birthday, and there were 48 entries. It is significant to note that 30 of the 48 were from Julian Newman Elementary School.

We talked about Arise And Build, the original play being produced by Frank Travis and Charlotte Fulton, based on Charlotte’s book on the history of Trinity School as commemorated in Holding The Fort. The play is going to be presented at Athens State University on Friday, February 5th, Saturday the 6th, and Sunday the 7th. For more information, see Holly Hollman’s Special Feature on page________ “This is a big deal,” said Mayor Ronnie, and he added, “we have so much cooperation and support in our community that comes from business, the schools, the County, and the citizens.” We celebrated the “unscripted healing” that has taken place in our community because good hearted folks have chosen to do the right thing. We agreed we could use a serious dose of “arising and building” all over our nation.

We were then off to something that was genuinely stunning, and that was the Sankofa African-American Museum on Wheels, exhibited in the Athens State University ballroom on January 19th and 20th. The “rolling museum” was part of the Livingston Concert Series. It is the lifetime labor of love collected by Angela Jennings, and we could have stayed all day. There were heavy shackles used on slave ships which she had procured at auctions held by Christie’s and Sothby’s. There were original receipts for the purchase of slaves, Tuskegee Airmen memorabilia, kente cloth made out of silk, displays of invaluable inventions (such as the cell phone), which were made by African Americans, and so much more. “Every dime that I have has gone into this, “she said, and she is gone from her home in Denmark, SC for more than 300 days of the year making sure people have a chance to see it.

It was my pleasure to hear Mayor Ronnie tell her about Judge Horton’s decision to put everything on the line right here in the Limestone County Courthouse to see to it that the Scottsboro Boys got justice, and to watch her soak in the benefit of that act of bravery. It was also my pleasure to tell her about getting the chance to personally attend the last of the 16th Street Church bombing trials when I first got here, and to again see her enjoy the fruit of justice being served. But the true twinkle in her wise, soft eyes came when I told her what kind of history was made when the Swampers were Aretha Franklin’s back-up band when she recorded her breakout hit “I Ain’t Never Loved A Man” at Fame Studio in Muscle Shoals. She promised me she would get the DVD of Muscle Shoals from PBS and devour it.

It was time for Ronnie “to roll” to the Youth Commission Meeting, and I stayed behind for awhile to experience the depth and beauty of Ms. Angela. We talked, hugged, prayed, sang, and had church. I finally tore myself away, so proud to be a citizen of Athens. Ms. Angela said she had been “treated like royalty,” and I was not surprised, because this is not just how Mayor Ronnie rolls, this is how WE roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

1-22-2016 11-04-35 AMI know it is cold outside and the weather is miserable this time of year. These frigid days are a good time to curl up with a good book. If you don’t mind getting out on these cold nights, I suggest the Athens State Book Club meetings.

The Athens State Library sponsors a book discussion group that meets once a month during the fall and spring semesters. Anyone is welcome! Reading selections are chosen by members. There are no fees, and there is no pressure to join or participate. Meetings are held at the Center for Lifelong Learning on the scheduled day at 7:00 pm.

The February selection, “K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America’s Most Unlikely Tourist,” written by Peter Carlsen, will be discussed on Tuesday, February 16. The book chronicles Khrushchev’s 1959 trip across America. If history is not your thing, you might prefer the March selection “Silas Marner” by George Eliot which will be discussed on March 15.

If reading doesn’t ring your chimes, the Center is offering other events you might consider.

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The first is the Hand Gun Safety Course. In the first session, Thursday, January 28, from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, you will learn liability and handgun laws in Alabama, the psychology of defense, handling and storage issues, how to maintain your handgun, how to hold your hand gun, and the fundamentals of handguns. This session of the class will be held at the Center for Lifelong Learning and refreshments will be provided.

The second session, Saturday, January 30, from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, will be taught at the firing range. You will receive directions from the instructor on Thursday. Remember to bring your handgun to class both days. DO NOT bring your handgun loaded; remove the ammunition prior to entering the building. You will need to bring your ammunition with you to the range.

The fee for the Hand Gun Safety Course is $65 per person. You can register in person at the Center, by calling 256-233-8260 or go online at www.athens.edu/CLL.

Another event is the Sweet Melodies Valentine Lunch, which is scheduled for Friday, February 12, from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm, at the Center. On a day when romance is in the air, nothing will warm your heart more than sweet melodies sung the way they were meant to be. Join us for a wonderful lunch event and music provided by Barry Kay. Kay was born in Huntsville and raised in Lacey’s Spring, Alabama. He graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Birmingham-Southern College and is a local favorite in Athens. Bring your best friend or beau and bask in the warmth of friendship and “sweet melodies.”

The fee for this event is $40/couple. You can register in person at the Center or call 256-233-8260 or go online at www.athens.edu/CLL.

One other class offered in February is the Business 101 course, cosponsored with the Decatur Morgan County Entrepreneurial Center. This is an all-inclusive 9-week class that includes real world expertise from small business owners. Participants will be involved in strategic planning and the establishment of a solid foundation It is designed for entrepreneurs with a new business start-up, for owners of a growing business, employees of small business that desire to add value and support in their job, and anyone desiring knowledge of entrepreneurship and how to start a business.

This class is offered on Mondays, February 22 – April 25, from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm, at the Center for Lifelong Learning. The fee is $350 per person. You can register in person at the Center or call 256-233-8260 or go online at www.athens.edu/CLL.

Keep watching the website for more classes in March, and never stop learning.
By: Wanda Campbell
Center for Lifelong Learning – 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611 – 256-233-8262

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1-8-2016 9-59-05 AMWhen you hear the words “nature” or “outdoors,” what does that mean to you?

When I was a child, I lived upstairs from my grandparents in a double house in Cleveland, Ohio. The section of yard with grass was about the size of a postage stamp, and the rest consisted of driveway. I spent many hours of play outside with friends climbing the tree that grew in an empty lot down the road, playing kickball in the street, or riding bikes. There were small playgrounds nearby, but we could drive for miles and miles, seeing nothing but concrete and patches of grass.

It was a great treat when my family went to the Metro Parks for a picnic. The Cleveland Metro Parks System consists of 18 park reservations spanning 23,000+ acres which form a “necklace” around the City of Cleveland. It is referred to as the “Emerald Necklace.” Thank goodness for the Metro Parks, where we could breathe in the beauty of nature.

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Moving to Athens gave my husband and me a chance to experience living outside of a big city. We built a home in West Limestone on 7 acres. I enjoyed watching the birds come to our feeders and logged each new species I saw. When my granddaughters visited, we would sit at the window and search the bird books together. It was exciting to see the deer play or watch the turkeys make their way across our property. I was truly a city girl in awe of having nature visit my back yard.

I am grateful for the forward thinking people who reserved land around Cleveland for those of us living in the “concrete jungle.” Here in Limestone County, I am grateful to those who have worked so hard and continue their efforts to create the “Rails to Trails” and the walking trail in Athens, as well as the Mayor’s appreciation of green space in future planning. As Athens, Madison, and Huntsville continue to grow toward each other, we run the risk of losing easy access to the wonders of nature.

The loss of land to “progress” also means wildlife find the space they share to be crowded and move into populated areas to find food and shelter.

So what can we as individuals do? First, let’s make sure our children turn off the electronics and go outside. Fresh air and sunshine are good for the body and soul. An appreciation for nature must be nurtured. Let’s take time to go on nature hikes or stroll on local trails to refresh ourselves and remember why we need to care about our environment. As you walk, stop to inspect the plant life, search for insects, talk to your children and grandchildren about the miracle of a tree, the importance of bees and bats to crop production, or how we rely on our Elk River for our drinking water.

The following quotes were from papers written by a class of 8-year-olds when they were asked “What is a Grandparent” and published anonymously. I found the following three to be so telling.

• “When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.”
• “They show us and talk to us about the colors of the flowers and also why we shouldn’t step on cracks.”
• “They don’t say, ‘Hurry up.'”

Don’t deny your children the precious gift of time spent outside together.

At home, you can create gardens that provide the native plants that welcome birds, bees, butterflies, and bunnies. Native plants are “built” for the area and require less care than non-native plants. There is a great deal of information on the internet regarding what is native to this area and the wildlife they will attract. One of the local nurseries would also be a great resource.
So much of nature is in the hands of the human race. As individuals, we can’t fix it all. We can, however, teach upcoming generations of children how it all ties together, how every creature on this planet (big, small, and microscopic) rely on one another. Maybe along the way we will awaken our own love of nature and concern for the environment.

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Here are a few websites that have great information on outdoor activities:
Parks and Recreation in Limestone County (includes the Elk River Canoe & Kayak Trail and Rails to Trails): http://www.limestoneparks.com/
Alabama State Parks: http://alapark.com/
Land Trust of North Alabama: http://www.landtrustnal.org/
By: Lynne Hart

1-8-2016 9-45-34 AMWhat turns a city into a place you want to call home? What gives it its edge over its rivals? When every city begins to look a bit alike, what lets some cities (either big or small) create a special allure, develop as a powerful brand, or just become known as the ideal place to do business?

What makes a city fail or work is if it can deliver quality of life! Quality of life is a reflection of both the hard and the softer elements of city and rural living. And it’s not just about wealth. This is about shared experiences – a community that’s inclusive, but works for all.

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It’s kayaking in the shadow of our beautiful Elk River. It’s about Mooresville’s quiet historic village, which is nestled between larger cities, yet continues to inspire others with its early 19th century architecture.

With the many challenges facing our communities, how do we maintain the city’s heart, create homes for all, and add to our city’s density without reducing services, all while maintaining life and vitality on our streets? Parts of the solutions are simple in that many of the things that create quality of life are inexpensive, such as places to assemble while enjoying a beautiful water fountain, or biking the many miles of charted trails.

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Additionally, we have begun expanding on our involvement with the Southern Makers Festival in Montgomery. The festival features independent craftsmen and vendors where you can still find food, furniture, and other merchandise which have been expertly produced in and around Alabama. Local participants in the festival include Belle Chevre Creamery and Robin Wade Furniture, where visitors can enjoy personal tours. According to the Southern Makers website, “proceeds from ticket sales at the Festival benefit E.A.T. South, which is a non-profit organization that encourages healthy lifestyles through educational and sustainable food production in urban areas throughout the southeast.”

However, our city also needs to hold on to what makes her unique. That’s why people seek out the distinctive festivals like our Fiddlers’ Convention and Storytelling Festival along with the unusual at our Grease Festival. Our local culture and history can be celebrated and enjoyed at the Alabama Veterans’ Museum, as well as Athens State University.

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We are blessed with talented musicians performing at our monthly concert series in the park, and artists teaching and delighting us at High Cotton Arts. We also provide oral history during our Cemetery Strolls and Historic Walks. This is why people fall in love with our communities, which in some ways, have lived past others’ sell-by dates.

1-8-2016 9-46-07 AMThe Athens-Limestone County Tourism is anxious to show you what we will enjoy bringing to our county in 2016. Each year, we are preparing for new and exciting activities for our communities and our guests. We also help to bring new life and business to Limestone County passionately and expose every resident and visitor to high quality experiences.

We would like to wish you all a fascinating 2016!
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association

12-18-2015 3-12-30 PMThe City of Athens greeted 2015 with winter weather events that demonstrated the kindness of our employees and community.

A three-day cold snap from Jan. 7-9 resulted in TVA seeing peak demands across the area as temperatures dropped to the single digits. Old Man Winter hit again on Feb. 19 when TVA reported the third highest all time energy day in TVA history with 694 GWh used. This also set a new February usage record as temps hovered around seven degrees.

On Feb. 20, a winter storm brought .2 inches of ice and ½ inches of snow to Athens, according to WAFF’s Brad Travis. Interstate 65 shut down with more than 150 motorists abandoning their vehicles. Athens Police, the Mayor’s Office and Central Church of Christ volunteers worked to get stranded motorists to the church for food and shelter after hotels and restaurants at the Interstate-65/U.S.72 exit became full. APD rescued a basketball team from Middle Georgia State University when the team bus became stranded. Players were walking along the interstate toward Athens in the middle of the night, which led to a story on Good Morning America. The team sent APD gifts of appreciation such as autographed basketballs and footballs.

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“We were caught a little off guard, not realizing how much ice we would get and that it was going to paralyze the city, but it ended up bringing out the best in our department and community,” Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said. “Through the duration of the event and subsequent events, we had people volunteering to help from our business community to our church community. We had officers who didn’t want to go home when their shift ended because they were enjoying helping others. This was a community-wide response that highlighted how special the city is, and how giving our citizens and employees are to others.”

After recovering from that weekend storm, seven inches of snow hit Athens on Feb. 25, according to WAFF. The snow level throughout Limestone County ranged from 4.5 to 10 inches. City Public Works crews plowed roads and used sand on bridges throughout the night to help clear paths for traffic. Central Church of Christ again opened its doors to stranded motorists.

Before spring could arrive, March brought another winter event on March 5-6 when freezing rain and sleet hit on a Thursday night and left slick spots for motorists Friday morning. There were five wrecks in the city, some with injuries.

Winter weather wasn’t the only item making headlines. January 2015 brought the announcement of new jobs in the area. Polaris announced it was building a new manufacturing facility in the Greenbrier area in Huntsville-annexed Limestone County. Athens Utilities is supplying electricity for the project, and the city committed $200,000 to help lure the company and its 2,000 jobs and potential for suppliers. A member of the management team has already purchased a home in Athens.

In October, two more industrial announcements made headlines. Michigan-based Shape Corp. announced it is building a $24 million plant in Athens and creating 170 jobs. The plant will locate on a 34-acres site at Breeding Industrial Park.GE Aviation also announced it will locate a $200 million complex in Greenbrier in Huntsville-annexed Limestone County and create 300 jobs. Athens Utilities will provide electricity.

“We talk to industrial prospects on a regular basis now, and that shows how hot this area is and how lucky we are to be in the North Alabama area,” Mayor Ronnie Marks said.

Those outside the City of Athens have noticed the attractiveness of our city. Here are some of the accolades from 2015:

  • NerdWallet ranked Athens the 18th best place in Alabama for homeownership
  • Movoto blog named Athens the 7th safest city in Alabama based on the FBI’s 2013 uniform crime report
  • NerdWallet ranked Athens No. 2 among 100 cities in the U.S. with a rising middle class.
  • Niche.com listed Athens as No. 11 for Best Towns to Live In in Alabama, scoring the city high in housing, education, safety and overall community.
  • NerdWallet named Athens 20th best city in Alabama for first-time homebuyers.
  • USA News and World Report gave Athens High School a Bronze national ranking
  • SACS said Athens City Schools surpassed every national average of their ratings. With 400 being the best possible score, Athens scored 317.07. The national average is 282.45.
  • Newsweek magazine released its rankings of U.S. high schools that provide the best chances for post-graduation success for students living below the poverty line. Athens High was one of two Alabama schools to make the list of 500. Athens ranked No. 361. Athens also received a Gold Star Equity rating, meaning students classified as disadvantaged performed at or above state averages in standardized reading and math tests.

By: Holly Hollman, City of Athens Communications Specialist

12-18-2015 2-06-06 PMOn behalf of the Board of Directors of the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives, I would like to say “Thank You” to our wonderful community for another outstanding year! It is amazing how time just seems to fly by. It’s like it was just yesterday I was writing this column in December, highlighting our upcoming events.

I would like to share a little with everyone about what makes us the #1 tourist attraction in Limestone County.

In 2015, the museum hosted over 10,300 visitors. These visitors included guests from all over the world as well as right here in our own back yard. I am still amazed at the number of people I talk with who say “I didn’t even know this museum existed!” Some say it is the best kept secret in Limestone County. Well I always say…”Don’t keep it a secret, tell everyone you know!” We also provided a meeting place for over 135 get-togethers, conducted 19 guided tours, and logged over 3,000 volunteer hours. As you know, we could not make it without our volunteers!

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In addition to being the biggest fundraising year ever, we continued to hold our annual events. I would like to share just a few.

In March we had our annual “Women’s History Program”, and this year we honored our women Veterans of Desert Storm-Desert Shield. We were happy to have Capt. Rebecca Burney as our guest of honor.
In April, we had the pleasure of having our very own Jason Sanders play at Coffee Call. SFC Sanders is a member of the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” We had a great turn out at our annual fish fry, also held in April.

In May, we hosted the annual Memorial Day Program with guest speaker LTG Larry Wyche, Deputy Commanding General of the US AMC and Senior Commander of Redstone Arsenal making a very moving presentation. AMCs Yellahammer Brass quintet provided the music.

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July brought us our 4th annual Sam Gibbons Walking Horse show. Ken Wilson always does an outstanding job getting this event together. We also had Ron Pettus and his wonderful flag display at the museum.

In September we hosted the first Travis Manion Heroes Run. This was not only a first for the museum, but the first one held in Alabama with over 248 runners registering. “Thank You” goes out to Whitney Hollingsworth for organizing this event. Also in September, we held our first “Militaria Show” with over 50 vendors coming out to show and sell their military memorabilia, and over 200 visitors attending.

In November, the “Governor’s Own, 151st Alabama National Guard Band” performed an outstanding concert at the museum, we celebrated Veterans Day, and a job fair workshop was put on by Job Core of Decatur. Also in September, we were provided a unique challenge. Wayne and Sharon Gey offered to match donations received up to $100,000, and we are still working on this!

December brought us the largest single fundraiser the museum has ever had with our unveiling of the “Threads of Honor” quilt. We cannot thank Marlene and Wes Isom enough for honoring the museum. We would also like to thank the ladies who were instrumental in putting the quilt together. The design for this quilt by Chuck and Dianne Craig was based on the original 1919 quilt per Marlene’s request. All of the names were hand written and hand embroidered by the following women: Snow Howard, Skipper Carter Breeding, Joy Bailey Brewer, Lou Ann Green Schrimsher, Sharon Swann Griffis, Yvonne Hebert Dempsey, Gertrude Young, Jean Moore, Heather Currah Miller, Patsy Abernathy, JoAnne Miller, Brenda Miller, Mary Alice Blizzard, Bailey Isom, and Marlene Isom. There are 656 names on the quilt and a total of $40,260 was raised for the museum. Also in December, we received an outstanding donation of vintage military toys for our gift shop, so if you are looking for a last minute gift for the military collector, stop by. We have everything from GI Joes to Abrams Tanks!

Once again, thank you for another outstanding year!!! We could not do it without you!
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum

12-3-2015 10-37-18 AMRecently, I had the privilege and pleasure of providing the program for all 5th and 6th grade 4H Club meetings during the month of November. Yes, nearly 50 presentations and over 1,000 students reached in about 3 weeks. Am I tired? Yes. Was it good? Absolutely!

Recycling was the topic since America Recycles Day is celebrated in November. The students learned so much as we played a rousing game of Environmental Jeopardy. One of the questions was “Name three things that should be recycled after Christmas.” Most of the students were able to get that one right. Can you?

The holidays create lots and lots of materials that need to be disposed of in some way. Here are a few things that you can and should recycle:
• Gift wrap
• Tissue paper
• Gift bags that can’t be reused
• Christmas cards
• Gift boxes that won’t be reused
• Shipping boxes
• Cooking oil (from all those turkeys and other good things)
• Aluminum cans and plastic bottles (from all the parties)
• Electronics that have been replaced by Santa
• Glass bottles and jars (what was in them is our secret)

Another question asked was, “Why is it helpful to flatten boxes before recycling?” The answer is that it saves space. It saves space where you store them before taking them to the recycling center. It saves space in the collection bins and trailers which means they don’t have to be emptied as often. This is especially important when using the cardboard collection trailers located at most county schools. When the boxes are not broken down, the trailers fill up very quickly which means multiple trips by center employees to empty them. Flattening the boxes would allow so much more to be put in the trailers before they needed to be emptied, saving time, gas, and money.

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The Athens-Limestone Recycling Center is part of Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful which is a non-profit organization. The center services the trailers in the city and county schools, and city and county businesses without charge. The simple step of breaking down cardboard and using the other collection bins correctly is one way of helping keep costs down for the center.
The students also discussed the fourth R of recycling – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, RESPECT. They were asked to explain how respect fits in with the action of recycling. They needed a bit of help with this one and so do many adults.

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When we do anything, we should always think about the next person who will be working with or handling what we’ve done. If a cardboard box is recycled without removing Styrofoam peanuts, chances are someone will find those peanuts in their crops, on the roadway, or in their yards. If block Styrofoam is left in the boxes, the recycling staff has to remove it before processing or it can contaminate a bale of cardboard. When recycling milk jugs, rinse them out if possible. Milk does not smell good after a few days. One business tossed all of their bathroom trash in with their recycling, which meant the center staff had to pick out all of that trash so the rest of the materials could be recycled. That is a clear example of disrespect in recycling!

The students had a lot to think about. It is my hope that these children take what they’ve learned and pass it on to their parents and others. It is also my hope that their parents will listen to their children and apply those lessons.

It only takes a few minutes to make sure your bountiful holiday trash is handled properly. Recycle all you can, and be sure to consider that fourth R – Respect.
Please call the Recycling Center at 256-233-8746 or the KALB office with any questions you have about what you can or cannot recycle.
Enjoy the holidays!
By: Lynne Hart

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12-3-2015 10-26-01 AMAthens’ Big Spring Memorial Park has been transformed into a venue for the beginning of a new tradition for the Christmas Holidays, starting December 5th and continuing through January 3rd. This beautiful park, which is home to several breeds of ducks, will also be home to seventeen decorated Christmas Trees, a Snowman family and a giant postcard painting by artist Ashley Bates that will serve as a selfie-photo location.

This project is the hard work of several organizations. First off, Athens Lowe’s Home Improvement Store donated the Fraser Fir trees to be sponsored and decorated. Ben Wiley, of Athens Parks and Recs provided the manpower to stand the trees and to ensure the location was optimal for our needs. Athens-Limestone County Tourism president Teresa Todd, Spirit of Athens executive director Trisha Black, Keep Athens Limestone Beautiful director Lynne Hart, Diane Lehr with Athens Art League, Holly Hollman with the City of Athens, Rebekah Davis Athens-Limestone County Archivist and Deborah Daws with Athens-Limestone County Tourism Board of Directors have all participated with ideas, hard work and scheduling the details for a kick-off on December 5th. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful part of North Alabama and to have these organizations working together on this project. How pleased I am to have an event held in this family park for our community to begin a new quality of life tradition.

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Keep Athens Limestone County Beautiful and the board of directors will be selling hot chocolate for those who come out Saturday night for the kick-off.

Dec 4th & 5th – Holiday Open House at Mooresville Mercantile.
5081 Mooresville Road, Mooresville, AL. Come shop among the all American-made wares and goods to fill your stockings or pile under the Christmas tree. For more information about this event, visit: www.mooresvillemercantile.com/special-events/

Dec 4th, 5th & 6th and again Dec 11th, 12th & 13th – Bethlehem Walk.
Mable Hill Baptist Church 3778 Ready Section Road, Ardmore, AL. Join Mable Hill Baptist Church as they re-enact the birth of Jesus in this annual walk through production from 5:30PM-9:00PM. Large groups welcome with reservations. For more information, visit: www.mablehillbaptist.org/bethlehem.html

Dec 4th, 5th, & 6th and again Dec 11th, 12th, &13th – The Christmas Story Drive-Thru Nativity. Emmanuel Baptist Church 1917 U.S. Highway 72W, Athens, AL. Pack the family car and enjoy a living nativity from 6:00PM-9:00PM on the 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th, and from 6:00PM to 8:00PM on the 6th and 13th. Free admission. For more information, visit: www.ebcathens.com

Dec 5th – Coffee Call. Alabama Veterans Museum,
100 West Pryor Street Athens, AL. Join fellow Veterans and their families for breakfast 8:00AM-9:30AM. Contact Director Sandy Thompson for more information at 256-771-7578.

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Dec 5th – AHS JROTC Jingle Bell Jog 5K Run/Walk.
Athens High School, 100 U.S. Highway 31N, Athens, AL. Race starts at 8:00AM. For more details, contact Chief James Chambers at (256) 233-6619 or james.chambers@acs-k12.org for more details.

Dec 5th – Ardmore Christmas Craft Fair. TN Annex Building, Main Street, Ardmore, TN. Top off your shopping list with handmade crafts to give to friends, family, party hostess or surprise gift giver.

Dec 5th – Elkmont Lions Club Christmas Parade. Elkmont, AL. Join the Elkmont Lions Club for Christmas cheer and to welcome Santa to Elkmont starting at 1:00PM. To register your float, marching band, group or individual participant, please call 256-732-4211.

Dec 6th – Committed Holiday Concert.
McCandless Hall, Athens State University, 300 North Beaty Street, Athens, AL. The 2nd Season Champions of “The Sing Off” take to the stage of McCandless Hall at 7:00PM for a holiday concert sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning and the Livingston Concert-Lecture Series. All seats reserved, advance purchase only, $15.00 each. Tickets available at Center for Lifelong Learning, 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL. You can also call 256-233-8260 for more information.

Dec 6th – Bells of Christmas 5th Annual Athens Ladies Civitan Holiday Home Tour. Athens, AL. Enjoy a tour of several prominent Athens homes dressed up for the holidays and open for touring from 1:00PM-5:00PM. Each home will have delicious sweet treats provided by local caterers for your enjoyment. This is a self-guided tour with hostesses at each home. Tickets are available for $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the event. Contact Carolyn Stair at 256-233-0258 or purchase tickets at Crawford’s Gifts, Nestle Toll House Café, Pablo’s on Market, Pam’s Home Furnishing, or Pimento’s.
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Dec 6th – 11th Hour, Live In Concert. Nebo Community Church,
17772 Nuclear Plant Road, Athens, AL. Join the congregation for a Christmas concert with the group 11th Hour. Concert starts at 5:00PM. RSVP at: http://11thhourgospelgroup.com/tour/

Dec 7th – Holiday Wreath-Making Class. 1818 Farms, 24889 Lauderdale Street, Mooresville AL. 1818 Farms will provide the freshly-cut balsam and white pine wreaths, fruit, and other natural materials for making Della Robbia style wreaths. Artists who join the class will be given hands on instruction on decorating their wreath with berries, pine cones, seed pods, and all kinds of fruit. The only requirement is that you bring a glue gun along with your creativity. Cost: $60.00. Event begins at 9:00AM. For more information, visit: http://store.1818farms.com/collections/classes/products/2602

Dec 8th – Ardmore Christmas Parade.
Ardmore AL/TN. Santa is coming to Ardmore with floats, marching bands, and more present the theme “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at 6:30PM. Rain date will be December 10th. To register your float, marching band, group, or individual participants, please call 256-423-3011 or 931-427-2421.

Dec 10th – Holiday Open House. Ardmore Welcome Center, 28232 Upper Elkton Road, Elkmont, AL. Enjoy music with the Athens Dulcimers, as well as fun and light refreshments with the Ardmore Welcome Center Staff from 10:00AM-3:00PM. RSVP required, please call: 256-423-389.

Dec 10th – Hope for the Holidays. Limestone County Event Center, 114 West Pryor Street Athens, AL. Join Team Victory 4 All for a childhood cancer benefit dinner featuring Huntsville Master Chorale, a catered dinner by Suzanne’s Eatery, and keynote speaker Dr. Carolyn Russo, medical director of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital affiliate program. Proceeds benefit Team Victory 4 All.

Dec 10th – Supper with Santa.
Creekside Elementary School, 16049 Sanderson Road, Harvest, AL. Creekside PTO would like to invite students and families for Supper with Santa on December 10th, from 5:00Pm – 6:00PM or 7:00PM – 8:00PM, in the cafeteria. Admission will include dinner (pizza, salad, cookie, and drink), craft, and a letter to Santa. Everything will be set up and brought to each family at their table. Santa will be available for pictures during and after dinner. The cost is $8 per person, school age and above. All children preschool age and below are free, but will still need a ticket.

Dec 12th – Sippin’ Cider. Downtown Athens, AL. From 5:00PM to 8:00PM, participating merchants will offer sample tastings of their favorite cider recipe. Guests will vote by ballot for their favorite, and the cider receiving the most votes wins bragging rights for the year. The ballots will also serve as an entry to one of many door prizes to be given away.

Dec 12th – 40th Annual Parade of Lights. Joe Wheeler State Park, 4403 McLean Drive, Rogersville, AL. Grab your space along the shore as the decorated boats cruise Wheeler Lake. Holiday Buffet will be served at Daniella’s in the Park starting at 4:00PM. Boat Parade starts at 6:00PM. To participate in the parade, call Denita at 256-247-6971 or email JoeWheeler.Marina@dcnr.alabama.gov. To book your meal or room, call 256-247-5461.

Dec 18th and 19th – Senior Lunch Matinée Special Christmas Show with Kevin Adams. Yesterday’s Event Center, 15631 Brownsferry Road, Athens, AL. Come enjoy a special Christmas Show featuring the talents of Kevin Adams, singer and impressionist. Cost is $11.00 and includes lunch, drink, and dessert. Groups welcome. Events begin 11:00AM with seating, opening, announcements, meal blessing, and lunch. The show will kick off at 12:00PM. Cancellation policy applies.RSVP required: info@yesterdaysevents.com

Dec 20th – Christmas is Jesus Orchestral Concert.
Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1917 U.S. Highway 72W, Athens, AL. Join the Orchestra of Emmanuel Baptist Church at 6:00PM for a concert. www.ebcathens.com

Dec 26th – Audioprism Live at Mac’s.
Mac’s Sports Bar & Steakhouse, 1733 Jefferson Street SE, Athens, AL. Audioprism (Jeremy Ezell, Chad Miller, Kirk Hannah and Joey Whitworth) debut in their hometown at Mac’s from 8:00PM-1:00AM. Enjoy music from across the decades, genres and even a few surprises.

Dec 31st – Yesterday’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Variety Show. Yesterday’s Event Center, 15631 Brownsferry Road, Athens, AL. Come enjoy a night of your favorite music. Show. RSVP required, please specify if you plan to eat. RSVP to info@yesterdaysevents.com.
By: Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association