By: Holly Hollman

Patti Malone To Grace Athens With Her Presence Once Again

An Athens arts organization is working to commemorate the story of Patti Malone, who was born a slave in Athens, pursued an education and joined an internationally acclaimed chorale group.

Athens Arts League received approval for a $4,500 grant from the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area to commission an oil painting of Malone, who died in the late 1800s while traveling with the Loudin Jubilee Singers. There are few photographs of Malone, and the painting will provide a commemorative piece to help share her story.

“I think of her as the First Lady of Music in Limestone County,” said Athens Arts League Board Vice President Diane Lehr, who wrote the grant. “She has an amazing story that can inspire new generations of musicians.”

Once complete, the oil painting of Malone will be on display at Scout Music House, which Athens Arts League is raising money to renovate into a music venue. The structure on Washington Street once served as a recreational facility for Boy and Girl Scouts and then the Athens City Schools Central Office, but has been vacant for about five years. The City of Athens owns the circa-1938 structure and leases it to Athens Arts League.

The Scout Music House venue will provide hands-on opportunities for students to explore various aspects of music from performance to recording to marketing as well as cultural events for the community and exhibits to honor Limestone County’s musical heritage. Malone’s portrait will be on permanent display.

Athens Arts League Promotions Chair Holly Hollman said the League is collaborating with the Athens-Limestone Community Association on the portrait. ALCA, which oversees the historic Trinity site, will appoint a committee to review artists’ renderings and select an artist to create the oil painting.

“Patti Malone is an integral part of Trinity’s history, and we want the association to be pleased with her portrait,” Hollman said.

Athens State University art professor and Athens Arts League Board member Gail Bergeron and her students will assist with final approval of the finished portrait and document its historical significance. Athens Arts League will schedule an unveiling once the portrait is complete.

Malone’s story starts on The Cedars Plantation in Athens where she was born into slavery, according to the 2000 Nashville Conference publication Leaders of Afro-American Nashville. Her mother arranged with their former master for Malone to go to school at Trinity, which educated former slaves after the Civil War. The principal Mary Wells befriended Malone and sent her to further her education at Fisk University in Nashville.

Malone made her debut with the Jubilee Singers in Hamburg, Germany, in 1878, the publication stated. When the singers disbanded, Frederic Loudin organized the Loudin Jubilee Singers, and Malone toured with them in Europe and Australia. She bought property in Athens in the Village View area and named her home The Oaks. According to the publication, while Malone was on tour with the Singers in the United States, she fell ill and died in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1897. She is buried in Athens.

“Athens Arts League appreciates the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area for supporting our project and having a commitment to the arts and culture of our community,” Hollman said.
By: Holly Hollman

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
When I would drive by the Craftsman-style-house-turned-business located on the corner of Clinton and Market just off the Square, I was intrigued by the name on the sign: 17th + Pear. I knew it was a photography studio, and now I have the chance to introduce the delightful proprietors to you, as well as tell you the secret behind the name.

Back in the day when the studio was a home in downtown Athens, Clinton was the 17th street running north and south starting from the west side of Athens moving toward East Limestone. That’s where the studio’s owners, Lindsay Looney and Alison Bivens, get the “17th” portion of the title of their thriving photographic partnership. “Pear” is a play on the word “Pair.” Alison and Lindsay collaborated on the name, and the result is a business name that reflects the friendship, community roots, and playful style that makes 17th + Pear unique.

Alison’s Bachelor’s degree in English is from Athens State, and Lindsay started off in nursing school at UNA, with a desire to be a part of a trauma team. Lindsay’s unexpected diagnosis of a chronic medical condition made that dream no longer possible, and as is often the case with women of faith, when God closes a door, He opens a window. He most certainly has done that for these two, and making a living at what they love, as well as becoming best friends are only the beginning of their blessings.

They both have been fascinated with photography since they were children. Alison’s grandmother took literally thousands of pictures, and she says, “Almost every moment of my life is recorded,” something that became even more precious with the unexpected passing of Alison’s sister, Taylor, in a tragic accident. Taylor was 21, and Alison is grateful for every picture she has. Taylor and the fragile nature of life is some of what inspires Alison today. Jeff, Alison’s husband, purchased a DSLR photo system as a gift for Alison, which is how she got her more serious start in 2011. She has filled up hard drives and the cloud with close to 10,000 photos, with no chance of slowing down anytime soon!
Lindsay started taking pictures when she was 5 or 6, and once she had to change career paths, worked for a local photographer. Lindsay did Alison’s maternity and newborn portraits, and Ali was thrilled with Lindsay’s work. Later, Alison helped Lindsay “second-shoot” a wedding, and the partnership and friendship we see today was born in August of 2014.

Both women are completely self-taught, yet with the help of today’s technology, they have been able to expand their knowledge and skills, learning all they can about the entire about the entire photographic process from manipulating camera settings to posing families. They have done so through all manner of online tutorials and workshops. They told me, “Photography is always evolving, and we are always learning. You never feel like you are done.” They have also done online courses with Twig & Olive, whose work they greatly admire, and whose live workshops costs thousands. These gals have dreams; one is to learn under Twig & Olive at live events, and the other is to shoot a destination wedding in Ireland.
They have clients all over North Alabama, including Hazel Green, Huntsville, and Jones Valley. Because they both have children, including three year olds, they are especially experienced in capturing the best shots of kids by helping everyone in the family relax. They are fun and creative, and it shows up in their work. They also have the ability to exhibit a high degree of professionalism when dealing with weddings, and their work is stunning. Brides are beautiful, grooms are grand, and the beauty of the Big Day is captured forever.

Amongst the best photographers, there is an unwritten law of reciprocity and support of each other’s endeavors, something I found most attractive about 17th+ Pear’s working philosophy. They help out other photographers, and vice versa. Lindsay said, “We emphasize community over competition.” Indeed, there is enough to go around in the busy world of photography, and “the Pear” is booked months in advance.

“We are the all-time team,” they said, and added, “We know each other so well that we can tag-team a shoot without really even having to think about it.” They describe their prices has being those that reflect quality as well as artistic ability. They finished our time together describing something else about their brand that I think is highly valuable. “We form long lasting relationships. We shoot baby after baby in the same family,” they said, and it is the same with weddings. Relatives book them for their special day after they see the albums produced from family weddings, and it’s the same with friends. “There is no higher recommendation than a referral from a satisfied customer, and we even get invited to birthday parties of clients who have become friends where we get to be the guests, and don’t have to shoot!”

If creative comfort blended with high artistic photographic ability is what you are looking for at a fair price, then book your appointment for a studio or location photo shoot with 17th + Pear today.
By: Ali ElizabethTurner

By: Holly Hollman
The City of Athens is enhancing citizens’ web experience by offering a mobile app that provides information about city functions and an avenue for citizens to report issues.

The app name is “Athens Alabama Municipal Gov” and is a mobile friendly version of the city’s website at

The app includes information about agendas, calendar items, job applications, staff members’ contact information and alerts regarding cityrelated emergencies. In addition, the app has a function called “Citizen Request Tracker” where a citizen can take a photo of an issue, such as a pothole or malfunctioning traffic light, note the location and submit it to the city for review.

CivicPlus hosts the app. CivicPlus is the company that designed the city’s website. The app is available for Android and Apple devices.
By: Holly Hollman
Athens City Communications Specialist

By: Holly Hollman
Athens, AL — The Travis Manion Foundation will host the Athens 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race at 7:00 a.m. on September 9 at Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives. The annual race will unite the community to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost on 9/11, as well as to honor our veterans, military, and first responders who serve our country and our communities. Proceeds from the 9/11 Heroes Run will benefit the Travis Manion Foundation, which empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.

Our special guest at this year’s Athens 9/11 Heroes Run is Amber Loggins Godwin, sister of Adam Loggins, KIA Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

The 9/11 Heroes Run 5K series was inspired by Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed by a sniper in Iraq in April 2007 as he selflessly protected his battalion. Before his final deployment, Travis visited Rescue One in NYC—famous for losing almost all of their men on 9/11—and returned home with deeper passion about why he was fighting in Iraq. At its heart, the 9/11 Heroes Run is a tribute to a personal commitment to never forget the heroes of that day. Now in its tenth year, the 9/11 Heroes Run national race series will be held in more than 50 locations across the country and around the world. As part of the marketing campaign for the race series, TMF has released a video to inspire runners and walkers of all ages to participate, which can be seen at

“As I reflect on the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 Heroes Run, I’m in awe at the number of communities across the country and around the world that have united to honor all those touched by the events of September 11, 2001.” said Ryan Manion, President of Travis Manion Foundation. “We challenge all Americans to join us this September to ensure our next generation never forgets the sacrifices of our veterans, active duty military, first responders, and civilians who were affected by the attacks on 9/11 and in the wars since.”

Last year, more than 50,000 people participated in race locations around the world or as virtual runners, to support military, veterans, first responders and their families through TMF. National sponsors of the events include Comcast NBC Universal and CBS Radio. To learn more and to register, visit

About Travis Manion Foundation:

The Travis Manion Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) that is dedicated to empowering our nation’s veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. In 2007, 1st Lt Travis Manion (USMC) was killed in Iraq while saving his wounded teammates. Today, Travis’ legacy lives on in the words he spoke before leaving for his final deployment, “If Not Me, Then Who…” Guided by this mantra, veterans continue their service, develop strong relationships with their communities, and thrive in their post-military lives. As a result, communities prosper and the character of our nation’s heroes live on in the next generation.

Local Point of Contact:

Whitney Hollingsworth – Local Race Director – (256) 651-7507 –

National Point of Contact:

Derrick Morgan – Travis Manion Foundation – (215) 622-2225 –

WHAT: 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race to benefit the Travis Manion Foundation. The annual race will unite the community to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost on 9/11, as well as to honor our veterans, military, and first responders who serve our country and our communities.

WHERE: Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives, 100 Pryor St. W, Athens, AL 35611

WHEN: Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. start
By: Holly Hollman

By: Ali ElizabethTurner
Doris Fielding was born at home on Cotton Belt Road on June 16, 1931. Her daddy farmed and it’s easy to tell that chopping cotton is not something that she misses at the ripe old age of 87! She went to West Limestone High School and graduated in 1949. One year later she married the love of her life, John Robert Fielding Jr. They were introduced to each other by a relative, and were married for 64 years. Together they built a thriving Harley-Davidson business, and raised two boys. She told me that when Johnny was on the road for business, he would call home every night. “We weren’t rich, but we had enough,” she said. They loved to travel as a family and would take a road trip every year. Doris especially loved Mexico. She also loved being on the back of a Harley, and showed me a model of a Harley proudly displayed in her room. Within three years, beginning in 2014, Doris tragically and suddenly lost her husband and two sons to heart attacks, and the shock has been tremendous. She has been very thankful for the support she has received, and her faith is what has pulled her through.

As a family, the Fieldings fellowshipped at Market Street Church of Christ, then Salem Church of Christ. They were very active in both churches. For awhile Doris attended Athens State University back when it was Athens College. Miss Doris is quite well known for her cooking, and has even won cooking awards; so it stands to reason that “favorite foods” were near the top of this Spotlight column’s usual list.

Favorite color? Green.

Favorite food to cook? Chicken. Her Chicken Crunch Casserole is one of her dishes that is award-winning, and will be featured at the end of this article.

Favorite food to eat? Potato salad.

Favorite scripture? Psalm 23.

Favorite hymn? “Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross.”

Favorite book? Gone With The Wind.

Favorite movie? Gone With The Wind.

Favorite actor? Clark Gable.

Favorite actress? Maureen O’Hara.

Favorite entertainer? Elvis Presley.

Favorite President? JFK. “Losing him was like losing a member of the family. He was such a family man; that’s why I admired him.”

Biggest change? “Losing my family.” She is also sad to see how the American family has fallen apart.

Doris says that her time at Limestone Health “could not have been better. It’s clean, the conditions are great, and they treat you like family.” She especially loves the free music concerts, and enjoyed making ice cream during one of the planned activities.
Best advice to young people? “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule.” Always excellent advice, from the lips and heart of a woman who knows she is highly blessed.

We have included Doris Fielding’s award-winning Chicken Crunch Casserole, courtesy of the Athens News Courier.

Chicken Crunch Casserole
¼ cup chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups diced cooked chicken
2 hard boiled eggs, diced
2 tbsp. chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ can chow mien noodles
½ can water chestnuts, chopped
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
Mix all ingredients except almonds. Spoon into a baking dish that has been lightly oiled. Bake 30 minutes at 325 F. Remove from oven and sprinkle with almonds.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Just this past June, Lisa Elkins began to realize a longstanding dream, that of opening a genuine Southern wedding venue in Athens, Alabama. Lisa is a Florida native with an “Athens attachment” – her daughter and grandchildren live here, and her sister Tammy Jones works with the property manager of the Gilbert family land holdings. Lisa’s niece lives right behind the elegant plantation that for several years has been known as Madelyn’s in the Grove. “Let me know the minute it becomes available, if it ever does,” Lisa would tell Tammy, and when it popped up for lease in May, Lisa was ready to move. She retired from 27 years at Oldcastle Lawn and Garden Supply in Florida, and relocated here. Her husband Richard owns an auto supply store in Florida, and backed her bold move with blessing as well as financial investment. “I absolutely could not take this risk if it weren’t for Richard, Tammy, my family and my friends. I am so grateful I can hardly express it,” she told me heartily. The whole crew has worked for months from sunup to nightfall to get the house and grounds at 1005 Elkton Street in Athens ready to open this fall.

Captain T.L. Wells owned the first home on the property, which unfortunately burned down. The property we see today with its long drive, gorgeous oaks, eight fireplaces, stained glass windows, beveled glass doors, old-style porch swing and sturdy wooden Amish rockers was purchased by the Gilbert family in 1908. They have owned it ever since. In Captain Wells honor, Lisa decided to name her business Welleswood Wedding Venue, but her dream is much greater than for weddings only. “I love people, and I love bringing people together. I want this place to be busy with weddings, family reunions, bridal showers, baby showers, high teas, seasonal and holiday events, and more,” she said.

For many years in Florida, Lisa had an event business on the side, and in preparation for “going big,” she began to collect all manner of event supplies from elegant serving pieces to Royal Albert china, to linens, to silver tea and coffee sets, to holiday decorations to theme props. She is ready for just about anything!

On Monday, August 21, which is the same day as the total solar eclipse, Lisa is going to have her Open House/ Soft Opening from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors will be able to come tour the grounds, get some information, see what’s possible, dream some, enjoy refreshments, and wish her well in her new endeavor. On Thursday, September 7, at 4 p.m. she will have both a ribbon cutting ceremony through the Chamber of Commerce, as well as a Grand Opening celebration immediately following. The Grand Opening will feature wedding and event planners, Jeannie Pirtle of Nip and Tuck Florist, Keith Zemnes of KBZ Photography, Metropolitan Disc Jockey and Special Event Lighting, wedding cake, and more!

The upstairs at Welleswood is ready for the bridal party, and is beautifully appointed. The bride has her own dressing room, the bridesmaids have theirs, there are several vanities in each room for applying makeup, and a salon chair for doing hair. “Most often the guys want to get dressed somewhere else,” Lisa said, “but if they want to do that here, we can pull the doors to the parlor closed, and they will have plenty of room to get ready and still not see the bride and bridesmaids.”

Many couples get married between the columns at the top of the steps, and the stairs function as perfect descending staging for the wedding party. Some prefer to tie the knot at the bottom of the steps; some enjoy saying their vows between the oaks or in the garden. Whatever the outdoor configuration, Lisa has 150 white wedding chairs as well as 15 round tables and linens for outside on the lawn. For an indoor wedding, a party of 75 can be comfortably accommodated, and Lisa is very flexible, ready to meet the needs of her guests.

As I sat out on the expansive wraparound porch in one of the Amish rockers interviewing Lisa and meeting Tammy, I was overwhelmed with the sense of timelessness and peace that pervades Welleswood. I felt as though I had stepped back in time to an era when people were not in so much of a hurry and took the time to fully enjoy what the French call ambience, the “character or atmosphere of a place.” The trees, the songs of the birds, the horses next door, the porch swing, all of it made me wish I could be the mother of the bride one more time. Add to that Lisa’s commitment to truly serve her guests and be present and prepared for anything, and I truly believe Welleswood Wedding Venue is going to soar.
By: Ali ElizabethTurner

Duck Decorating Contest

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful invites businesses and organizations to participate in their first Quacky Duck Decorating contest. Make it whimsical. Make it beautiful. Make it unique. Most of all, make it FUN!

KALB will provide a wooden duck to anybusiness or organization within Limestone County wishing to participate. Ducks will be available by August 1st. “Ducks can be decorated to reflect the business or organization or any theme that makes them happy,” said Lynne Hart, KALB ExecutiveCoordinator. “The ducks can be painted or have embellishments added as long as the footprint of the finished duck is no larger than 18” x 18”. There is no entry fee to participate.

Ducks will be displayed at businesses from September 1st (or earlier if theyare ready) through the first week of October. The community will be asked to vote for their favorite duck. $1 equals one vote and voting jars will be located by each duck. Ducks will then be displayed at the Old Time Fiddlers Convention where additional votes will be collected. The decorators of the winning duck will be rewarded with a beautiful ribbon to proudly display. All decorated ducks will also be entered into a silent auction. Adding trinkets, coupons, or gift certificates to ducks will benefit the silent auction; however, this is not a requirement for participation.

All proceeds from voting and the silent auction will benefit Keep Athens- Limestone Beautiful.
For more information, contact KALB at KALBCares@, 256- 233-8000, or visit their website at www.KALBCares. com and click the Events tab. Online registration is available.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Athens has lost a woman to cancer who can be described in a number of ways, not the least of which includes “a grand warrior and a great cook.” Her name was Sue Edgemon, and I first met her at a Juice Plus+ team meeting held at her home back in 2003, and I loved her from the get go. She battled cancer literally for decades, and her “independence” from it was recently declared just after the 4th of July. Sue was truly the sweetest of “cancer combatants,” and the whole way she lived her life, from what she ate to how she lived to what she said touched her family and all of us deeply. She fought hard and beautifully, and I have no doubt that the lifestyle choices she made extended her life for years. We will miss her greatly until we “get to where she’s gotten to.”

In her honor we are publishing what we call in our house “Sue’s Guac,” but perhaps it would be better described as “Sue’s Superb Guacamole.” It is the best I have ever had, and I lived in Mexico for almost two years! Enjoy with abandon, because it is tasty and terrifically healthy, and a tribute to a wonderful woman who finished well.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Pauline Garlen is one of those folks who didn’t start out in the South, but is forever glad she finally got here and lived the majority of her life here. She was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, January 28, 1936, right in the middle of the Great Depression, and her father worked in the coal mines. As was often the case in those days, everyone in the family did what they could to contribute to help the family, and Pauline worked at the local “5&10.” Yes, for those of you who might wonder why in the world they were called that, it really was true that there were many, many things you could purchase for a nickel or a dime. And, Pauline would like you to know that there was a time that she seriously considered becoming a nun!

However, when Pauline was around 20, she met and married Johnny Lee Garlen, on the 28th of May, 1956. Johnny was from here, and here is where they lived. They had two children, John Edward and Kathleen Romane, and they found a way to make it work. “I was Catholic,” she told me, “and Johnny wasn’t.” Johnny’s mom taught Pauline how to pick cotton, as well as a number of other things, and they were happy.

Much later in life she worked for several years for Dr. Nauman Quereshi here in Athens, and he encouraged her to go to nursing school. She went to Calhoun, got her degree, and credits Dr. Q for encouraging her to become all she could.

Pauline has several favorites, and one of them was to bake and decorate chocolate chip cakes. That began back when she lived up North, and her reputation grew as someone who could make la pièce de résistance when it came to some child’s birthday.

Her favorite food to eat? Fried chicken.
Her favorite color? Red
Her favorite actor? Clark Gable
Her favorite actress? Betty Grable. We talked about the fact that Miss Grable’s legs were insured for nearly a million dollars “back in the day,” or so the story goes.
Her favorite movie? Gone With The Wind
Her favorite book besides the Bible? Not surprisingly, Gone With The Wind
Her favorite President? JFK. We also talked about the day he died and what an impact it had on us both.

Biggest change in her lifetime? “Moms going to work. When I was young, no one worked outside the home if they were married or had kids.”

As far as Limestone Health is concerned, Pauline could not stop talking about how impressed she has been as a rehab patient. “”It’s a beautiful place,” she said, and she especially loves the arts and crafts projects. Ladies from Hospice come and teach crafts in their spare time, and she has completed several drawing and painting projects. She also said she’s getting real “good at cards.”

Pauline has a number of staff members of whom she is quite fond, and one of her favorites is Kanisha, who works in Activities.

We closed our time with a hug, and I asked her what she would want young people to glean from her life. She thought for awhile and said, “Follow your heart.” Lovely advice from a lovely woman.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Alabama means “home, sweet home.” A large part of that mentality is attributed to none other than Alabama football. Alabama football means tradition, and nothing says Alabama tradition like Coach Gene Stallings.

Though retired from coaching, Stallings has continually inspired us via radio programs and speeches given across America. Hailing from Paris, Texas, Stallings ensures availability to meet with fans and football followers alike.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 is no exception. The Rogersville Chamber of Commerce and Town of Rogersville, AL will co-host “A Night with Coach Gene Stallings” at the Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum is Florence, AL. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m., featuring a catered dinner and speech delivered by Coach Stallings.

Over the years, Stallings has built a large following, as his speeches and lifestyle inspire thousands. Attendees can expect an incredible night of storytelling, life motivation, and a good ole’ time with the Football Hall of Famer himself.

Coach Stallings recently suffered a stroke, and was hospitalized for a brief time. The Rogersville Chamber has been in constant contact with Stallings, and he assures us that his health is improving. Stallings has laughed, joked and continued about his business as if nothing can stop him—and it can’t. Stallings is taking a summer hiatus for recovery, with the Rogersville Chamber fundraiser being his first event following the break.

According to Director Kate Brown, “The Chamber is honored by his commitment to this event. We pray for a speedy recovery, and are grateful he is taking time to rest and recuperate. Mr. Stallings is an inspiration to everyone he meets, so we join his many admiring fans in wishing the best for him.”

For ticket sales and more information about the event, contact Director Kate Brown at the Rogersville Chamber of Commerce by phone (256-247-9449), email (, or website contact (
Ticket sales are also available online via TicketLeap at www.Rogersville.Ticketleap.Com.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner