As a former Eagle Scout, Brian Christopher Templeman Jones learned early in life to always give back and help others. As a young scout, Brian built custom furniture for disabled students. As an adult, he chose a career path that touches the lives of many in our community.

Brian was born here in North Alabama. As a child, Brian’s family moved several times all over the United States with IBM. After a few years his parents came home and settled down in Madison County. Brian graduated from Huntsville High School, Birmingham-Southern College, and the University of Alabama School of Law.

After law school, Brian clerked for Circuit Court Judge William R. Gordon and went on to be an Assistant District Attorney in Randolph County and Limestone County.

After leaving the Limestone County District Attorney’s Office in 2002 for private practice, Brian embarked on a legal career representing individuals, families, and businesses in a wide variety of cases. When I asked him if being in private practice helped him be a better District Attorney, Brian said “wearing hats from both sides has helped me see the big picture, and understand it better.”


Brian C.T. Jones was elected to serve as District Attorney of the 39th Judicial Circuit of Alabama in November 2010 and took office on January 18, 2011.

Brian and I had the chance to talk about the major issues facing Limestone County. “Like so many other communities across our nation, Limestone County faces a drug addiction epidemic,” Brian told me. He went on to explain that roughly 85% of all crime is drug related, 10% are people doing stupid things, and around 5% of the offenders are disturbingly dangerous. With our prison system operating at 200% capacity, it is a difficult issue to address. Brian went on to explain that most drug cases are not those of people who actually have a desire to be criminals, but they have gotten hooked and commit crimes in order to sustain their addiction.

To address this situation, Brian created the Pre-Trial Diversion Program and expanded Community Corrections and the Drug Court to increase treatment alternatives for drug offenders. “The fight against drugs is a fight against their demand. As long as there is a demand for drugs, someone will sell them. A true solution has to tackle both the dealers and the addiction” he said. Brian believes it is important for non-violent offenders to be reformed whenever possible so they can give back to the community, instead of being a drain on taxpayers for years to come.

I asked him what he is most proud of with respect to his time as District Attorney. Brian swiftly responded that it was Limestone County being ranked the safest county in Alabama! “This ranking is a testament to the hard work of law enforcement, social services, rehabilitative services, Community Corrections, Drug Court, Pre-Trial Diversion and my office as we work together to serve our community”, Brian told me.
When asked what his second choice would be, Brian said, “I am also proud of my Community Service Program.” Limestone County is the ONLY county in Alabama with a full time Community Service Program that requires non-violent offenders to give something back as part of their sentence. With over 29,000 hours of labor completed in a variety of projects and programs, this program has saved the non-profit agencies in Limestone County over $210,000.00 in labor costs. “I firmly believe that an offender’s path toward rehabilitation is not complete until he or she makes the personal sacrifice to give of their time to the benefit of others. This program has been a tremendous success not only for the agencies who benefit but for the offenders themselves,” he said.

With the success of Pre-Trial Diversion, Community Corrections, and Drug Court, Brian has been able to concentrate his resources on that very dangerous 5%. “From my very first day, I have worked to my fullest ability to bring murderers, rapists, and child sex-offenders to trial without delay or compromise.”

When asked about any final thoughts, Brian said it had been his privilege to serve the people of Limestone County as District Attorney, and that he wants to continue to serve you in the years to come. “On behalf of myself, my wife Kandye, my daughter Tori, and son, Christopher, I humbly ask for your vote again on Nov. 8th.” He believes his record speaks for itself, and he wants to build on the success his office has had over the last 6 years. Brian said, “Limestone County is the safest county in Alabama for a reason, and as District Attorney I will never stop working to keep our families and our homes safe.”

If you would like to see Brian Jones continue his efforts as Limestone County District Attorney for another term, then he and his family would appreciate your vote on November 8th.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


Miss Jean was born on May 20, 1941 on a little farm near Raytown, MO. It was about six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and ultimately the family moved into town. In 1965, she married Duane, and they are the parents of three children. Her daughter’s family has lived on the mission field in Ireland for 20 years, and her sons are both retired from the Air Force.
Duane’s job brought the Sheridans to Huntsville in the early ‘70s, and Jean, who loves kids, became a nanny for 20 years after her kids left the nest. She came to Athens Health and Rehab in August, and is now a permanent resident. “I couldn’t have picked a better place,” she said. Thankfully, her health does permit her to get out and spend time with her husband and family, and she has no end of appreciation for all who have helped her make the transition to permanent residency easier.

She likes Bingo, and when she first came here, she won three games in a row. Winners of the many games and contests planned by the Activities Department earn points to spend on items in the General Store. So far Miss Jean has “shopped” for a blow dryer, as well as a set of earrings and a necklace, and she asked me for help putting in her earrings for the picture you see above.
She has made a fall colored bracelet as well as a decorative owl out of felt, and she especially loves Misty, Keisha, and Michelle from Activities. “I am very satisfied,” she said, simply.
We talked about her favorites, and she didn’t have to think long for any of them.

Favorite Color? Pink, but she also really likes lavender. “Duane likes blue,” she said, happily.

Favorite Food? Pepperoni pizza. She gets to go out to get her hair done every other week, and that’s when she indulges.

Favorite Song? As a lifelong Baptist, she has two favorite classic hymns. “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less,” (sometimes known as The Solid Rock), and “Count Your Blessings.” She also let me know that when she passes, she wants the congregation to sing “In The Garden” at her funeral. She asked, “That’s a good one, don’t you think?” I agreed, and we took a minute to sing all three.
Favorite Scripture? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
Favorite books? The “Little House” series, and she loved the TV adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s tales.
Favorite TV shows? Again, Little House on the Prairie, the Waltons, and Bonanza.
Favorite actor? Michael Landon.
Favorite President? Ronald Reagan.

Biggest change in her lifetime? “Technology,” she said. “It can be used for great good or great evil. I worry about it sometimes,” she said.
What is the best advice she could give to young people? “Don’t get so drawn into computers that you forget to go outside and ride your bike,” she said. Then she added, “Parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing on the computer.” Sage advice from an experienced mom and a nanny.

Thank you, Miss Jean!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


On October 12th, once again the Athens Limestone Hospital Foundation will be sponsoring the Pink Elephant Luncheon, an event whose sole purpose is to raise funds as well as awareness in the fight against breast cancer. While the color pink has had a number of illustrative roles in our culture, such as being “the” color of baby girls, as well as expressing being in a state of health or well-being, i.e. being “in the pink,” it wasn’t until 2008, when the National Football League approved the use of players using pink garb and or equipment to express their solidarity in the fight against breast cancer, that it morphed into becoming the color of a warrior. Now it is common to see men and women wear pink ribbons in October, and it is even possible to buy pink garbage cans that signal a commitment all year long to seeing breast cancer defeated.

There was a time when breast cancer was considered to be the disease of elderly women, being largely confined to those aged 65 and above. Some oncologists say that with each passing decade, the age of women attacked by breast cancer has itself dropped a decade, with teenagers being stricken in the years 2000-2010. Sadly, last year a ten year old girl in California became the youngest person on record to have been diagnosed with it. In addition, it is now entirely possible for men to have breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2016, 2600 men will be stricken with the disease, and of those 2600, 400 will die. While it is true that 97% of the women who actually die from breast cancer are over the age of 40, still the death toll this year will be close to 40,000, and from every age group. Thankfully, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., and the Foundation is doing all it can to see that number increase.

Because early detection is one of the keys for survival, the Athens Limestone Hospital Foundation raises funds specifically designated to provide scholarships for mammograms, as well as technologies to find it sooner. ALH Foundation started the Pink Elephant Fund eight years ago because they wanted to make sure residents of Limestone County who either have no medical insurance, or whose insurance does not cover mammograms would have the opportunity to have this test at no charge. This has been especially helpful in recent years as insurance costs have sky-rocketed, or mammograms have been dropped from coverage altogether.

10-7-2016-11-30-36-amIn keeping with October being National Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Foundation will be holding the Pink Elephant Luncheon on the 12th at the Limestone County Event Center from 11:30 am until 1 pm. Individual tickets are $30, and in addition, there are a number of opportunities to be a sponsor. If you would like to be a mammogram scholarship sponsor, you can do so for $125. You will receive one ticket to the luncheon, and will be designated as a “Pink Table Top” sponsor.

The “Tickled Pink” designation is for a donation of $500, includes two luncheon tickets, event day recognition, and having name/organization posted on the Pink Elephant Sponsor Board for the fiscal year.

The $1500 “Pretty In Pink” designation includes a luncheon table for 8, the same event day and Sponsor board recognition, as well as inclusion in a full page color ad in the Sunday News Courier. For $2500, the “Passionate Pink” sponsors will have 2 tables of 8, the same event day recognition, Sponsor Board recognition, News Courier recognition, name/organization posted on hospital digital donor wall, as well as further recognition in Foundation marketing campaigns.

For more information on purchasing tickets or being a sponsor, please call the Foundation Office at 256-233-9557.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


“Tell me what brought you to seek a life coach.” Is how my first coaching session began. I had been thinking about hiring a life coach for certain places where I am “stuck,” and when Charlie Wallace approached me about some advertising, I decided to find out what she does. I have a garage that is a hot mess, and despite herculean efforts to deal with the stuff, I have made very little progress over the long haul. We set an appointment and Charlie and I sat down to develop a strategy to tame my garage clutter.

Before our session, I asked Charlie how she got involved with life coaching. “A friend whom I had been watching coach for a couple of years had asked ‘If you could do absolutely anything, what would it be?’ I knew instantly that I wanted to somehow be a life coach and help people like she does!” She helped me find a certification program, which I completed, and now I’m certified, am in business (more of a calling, really), and love what I do!”

I asked her what has been the biggest change that has occurred in her life since she received her certification, and she said, “Confidence. I walk in a level of healthy confidence that I have never experienced, and love being able to help someone else experience that, too. I enjoy watching people grow and transition through the seasons of life.”

Every season of life has its own challenges, whether it’s learning to rest in winter in preparation for spring growth, or figuring out how to distribute the fall harvest most effectively. Sometimes we all need help to get through a season – not because we are weak or ineffective – but because we haven’t been taught how. The rough seasons can seem overwhelming! Sometimes we all want someone who has been through similar struggles to come alongside and show us how to get through.


Charlie has been through her share of seasons and brings those experiences to the aid of her clients. She served in the US Air Force, has lived internationally, transitioned from a stay at home mom to being a struggling single mom, dealt with an addict spouse, worked through a recovery program to heal from her past, and believes that it all helped shape the coach that she is today. She has been taught how to use the decision making process to navigate her own life seasons and is able to assist others in navigating theirs as well.

I wanted to know: what is different between a coach and a counselor? According to Charlie, counseling is mainly focused on healing from the past or from an issue, while coaching takes a client who is healthy and is looking to move into a different season of life, or to move past a particular obstacle (my garage). Charlie went on to tell me that, “Sessions are client driven, and coach led. My job is to listen and guide the client to develop realistic and manageable steps to accomplish their goals. I also teach clients the decision making process. I honestly want my clients to outgrow their need for me!”

Although each client is unique, the process is the same for each…whether they are a parent overwhelmed with kid clutter and desiring a clean home, or a Fortune 500 CEO wanting to change the direction of their company. Identify the issue, develop a plan, break the plan into steps, and get busy. It is also important to have accountability, which a coach provides.

During our session, Charlie was the consummate professional, asked excellent questions, was kind but firm, and kept good boundaries. What especially impressed me was her creativity when it came to giving helpful suggestions for managing my goals with regard to crushing the clutter. I am on track, sticking to my daily goals, being accountable to Charlie, and it feels good. If you are interested in moving forward, no matter what the season in which you find yourself, than I highly recommend you contact Charlie. Let her help you walk in the freedom that has been given to you.
Charlie Wallace, Certified Life Coach
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner


Angie Thomas honorably served our country as part of the U.S. Army during the era of Desert Storm, and her adventures included time in Saudi Arabia, which was an eye opener, with particular regard to the treatment of Saudi women. She met and married Richard Thomas, who also served in the Army, and put in a full 20 years as an enlisted man. When 9/11 happened, their youngest child was only a few months old, and all of a sudden personal vulnerability and the ability to protect oneself took on a new meaning for both of them.

Angie’s dad was also retired military, and both her parents instilled in her a sense of situational awareness. She learned to change a tire in 5 minutes so she wouldn’t be stranded on the side of the road, and her mother taught her to never leave a beverage or a meal unfinished or unattended, even if she was out with friends. She learned to hold her keys between her fingers when she was approaching her car, and to walk with a purpose wherever she went. All of this served her well, but when she learned about a direct sales company called Damsel In Defense, she knew she had found her passion, and Richard knew it, too. She did her “due diligence,” looked into the company, and says with confidence that Damsel is “the 2nd best career choice,” being handily won out by being a wife, mom, and grandmother.


Damsel in Defense was started 5 years ago by two young professional women by the name of Mindy Lin and Bethany Hughes, and the company’s mission is “to equip, empower and educate women to protect themselves and their families.” Their products are powerful and non-lethal, developed by experts in the field of self defense, and helpful for any woman, irrespective of their background. In this short time, Damsel In Defense has received the Direct Selling Association Rising Star Award, and they have also achieved what is known as the Standard for Trust accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. Mindy and Bethany are joined by their spouses as part of Damsel’s corporate team, along with other seasoned professionals, and the company is headquartered in Boise, Idaho. They are busy moms and dads, and Damsel also is involved in faith-based efforts to rescue girls from sex trafficking both here and abroad, through what is known as the Damsel House Project.

Their products are high quality, reasonably priced and well-packaged, and include things such as pepper spray, an auto emergency kit, striking tools for runners, a stun guns, including one that looks like a camera, and more. Just the sound of the stun gun would be enough to make a would-be attacker think twice, and the jolt will most definitely cause enough pain that the attacker would be distracted long enough to provide the user time to get away. I asked Angie if she had any personal testimonies as to the efficacy of Damsel products, and she said, “I heard from one of my customers, a college student, that it had worked and protected her from an assault by her own roommate.” “You can travel just about anywhere with them,” Richard told me, and Damsel products are described as being “Security On The Go.” Angie added that she feels so much better having their teen aged daughter equipped to protect herself in a firm and non-lethal manner when she is away from home. The Thomas’ daughter is part of Angie’s Damsel team, something about which Angie is both proud and happy.

Other Damsel In Defense products include Digital Defense, which provides Social Media Monitoring to protect your teens. Safe Hearts, which teaches young children personal safety with strangers and how to resist negative peer pressure, and the Daphne Concealed Collection, handbags, clutches and more to keep your personal protection tools out of sight. “Fashion has never felt so safe,” is the tagline for the Daphne lines.

Damsel In Defense also offers a business opportunity, and Angie is in the process of expanding her team. During the month of September, which is the company’s anniversary, the fee to become a Damsel Pro is $99, and Angie said, “you will receive $315 worth of product,” generous by any measure.

I asked her, “Do guys ever become reps?” She answered, “Oh, yes, they have their own tag line called ‘Men Behind The Mission’.” Men are a critical part of Damsel’s founding as well as their success. The company’s promise is, “We’ve got your back. For life.” They provide a life time warranty on all products against manufacturer’s defect.

If you are interested in either purchasing a product, hosting a presentation, or joining Angie’s team, you can contact her at 256-652-0187, at amrthms@gmail.com, or at mydamselpro.net/Thomas. Whatever you choose, you’ll be glad you decided to become a part of what is becoming known as “the Damsel Movement.”
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

8-19-2016 8-42-42 AM

On March 22nd, 1924, a true hero of the Greatest Generation named Antonio Dilemmo was born in Brooklyn. He goes by Tony, is an artisan woodworker, and moved here just a couple of years ago to be near his family. His father was born in Italy, and came over as an indentured servant. His dad served for six years to pay off the price of his passage, became a mason, and Tony was never aware of this part of his father’s story until Tony was in his 50s, and heard his father share his story with his grandson.

Tony endured the things that make people tough, and that included going to bed hungry during the Depression, as well as having no heat in the house during the frigid NY winters. “We used to heat up some of my father’s bricks on the hearth and wrap them in cloth. Then we would put them down by our feet so we could fall asleep. Kids today don’t understand what that is like,” he said. I nodded in agreement.

At the age of 18, Tony enlisted in the Army, was part of the 82nd Airborne, and was part of the D-Day invasion. His time on Normandy is not something he cares to discuss, and simply says, “I lost a lot of friends.” I thanked him for his service, and for awhile we swapped literal war stories; for my part I told him stories about my dad serving in the Pacific during WWII, as well as a little about being in Iraq for 3 years. He served under General Ridgeway, and emerged from his time in the Army as a sergeant. He was actually present for the famous ticker tape parade held in New York City at the end of the war.

Tony married Marge, and they had 4 kids. “We were married 3 months short of 70 years,” he told me proudly. They had booked a cruise to celebrate, but Marge passed before they could go on the trip. They also lost two children, and Tony told me, “It was the worst thing in the world. No one should have to bury their children.”

He spent his working life as a machinist, and in every respect, he has experienced the American Dream. He lived frugally, invested well, and was able to retire in his mid 50s in order to spend more time with Marge. “Marge loved to fish,” he said.

I could have spent all day talking to Tony; it was like being with my dad. But, it was time to move to the topic of “favorites.”

Favorite color? Blue
Favorite food? Figs. He went on to tell me that his dad had a fig tree in their yard, the only one in Brooklyn. It survived NY winters because his dad made a special box to protect it. They played stick ball, and the fig tree was second base.
Favorite actors? Clint Eastwood and Gary Cooper. His favorite movie is Cooper’s “The Plainsman.”
Favorite actress? Kate Smith, and how she could sing “God Bless America.”
Favorite President? FDR. “We had bonfires in the street to celebrate the election,” he said.
He saw Frank Sinatra, Harry James and Benny Goodman perform in NY, and he used to go to the movies for a nickel.

He goes to Lamb of God Church on County Line Road, and his favorite scripture, as well as picture, is the account of the Garden of Gethsemane. “Not my will, but thine…” is a truth he carries in his heart.

Biggest change? “Transportation. The most important invention was windshield wipers on cars. Boy, what a difference they made. We used to have to carry a bucket and a rag, pull over, and wipe off the windshields. It was a mess,” he said.

He has loved the care he has received during his time at Athens Rehab, but he admits he has gained a few pounds. “There’s so much food!” When he goes home, he’ll go back to working in his woodshop, and will be able to spend more time on his feet, so the pounds should come off quickly. He produces dressers, bedroom furniture, grandfather clocks, mantle clocks, and more. He showed me pictures, and they are indeed beautiful.

I asked him what he wants young people to know. He said with a knowing smile, “Learn to manage your money.” Sage advice from Sgt Antonio Dilemmo, an American hero.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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8-5-2016 11-03-28 AM

Zeke Creasy of One Love Hearing Concepts came back to his Limestone County roots to start a new career, and Athens Now introduced him to our community back in the fall of 2015. He had been a highly successful chef in Arizona, and now that he had a family, he wanted to have time for them as well as serve our community in a different way.

He graduated from East Limestone High School, and was a tough point guard all throughout middle school, as well as while he was a member of the ELHS basketball team. He went on to graduate from Auburn in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and additionally in Business Management. He also graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, and built up a highly successful catering business. All of those skills were successfully parlayed into a business that now has grown to six locations, and the Athens clinic is about to go from 1200 square feet to 2400 square feet in order to better serve their clients. The remodeling process is slated to begin today.

How does a highly trained chef become a highly trained hearing specialist? Well, Zeke had a family friend who was like an uncle, and who had one hearing aid store. Zeke came to work for him, mostly to see if it was a good fit. He told his “Uncle” that he “would work for free for a week,” and he was hooked. Just like falling in love with his wife Angel and her kids, Zeke fell in love with helping people to hear, and on his first day helped five people with their hearing.

Early on, Zeke had the experience of watching a man who had not been able to hear for decades hear the sound of his wife’s voice, and tears were streaming down the guy’s cheeks as he got in touch with what he had missed out on. Zeke told me that “hearing is a really emotional issue for people,” and to get certified as a hearing specialist involves what he described as “brutal testing.” To Zeke, it has been completely worth it, and he knows he has found his calling.

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I asked him what was different about One Love, and why I should come to him if I were in need of help with improving my hearing. “We are one big family,” he said, and went on to add, “A lot of people say that, but here it is true. My clients are not just clients. When we lose one, it’s like a family member has passed on.” He also said that “The biggest issue is trust. I am not going to sell one of my clients something they don’t need or want. Not everybody needs hi-tech.” I found out that there are hearing apps for Smartphones, and those are going to be much more attractive to young people whose hearing is has been damaged by loud music, videos, and industry.

8-5-2016 11-03-55 AMOne of the things Zeke is very proud of is the company with which he is associated. He loves the Starkey Company, which is his equipment supplier, and is proud that they are American made. The Starkey Company is out of Eden Prairie, MN, and has the same passion to help people hear as does One Love, irrespective of their income level. Both Starkey and One Love offer premium technology, and they also refurbish hearing aids so that people can get them for as little as $40 a month. They are also able to offer 0% in-house financing. This is a real blessing for people on a fixed income. In addition, if you donate an old battery, they get recycled, and the jars of batteries in Zeke’s office are an interesting conversation piece. In a word, One Love will do all they can to help you hear because they love their patients. It’s as simple as that.

Over the months since our last article, One Love has been able to serve far more clients, and Zeke wanted me to be sure to express his obvious appreciation for their word of mouth advertising which has been a key part of One Love’s growth. “We would not be here if it weren’t for them,” and part of his love for his clients will be shown in the plans for the remodeled Athens facility. “We are going to have refreshments available in the waiting area,” and while he hasn’t “finalized the menu,” he knows it will include popcorn and spring water. There will be separate testing rooms, service rooms, and his office manager will have her own private office.

One Love now has 15 employees, and 5 apprentice technicians, who will take their final test in September. The 6 locations are in Athens, Hartselle, Madison, Hazel Green, Scottsboro, and Guntersville.
If you or a loved one are in need of tender loving care for your hearing, you need to call Zeke Creasy for a free consultation. He is board certified as a hearing specialist, the owner of his company, a native Athenian, a husband and a dad, and he has a big heart. He is waiting to show you that he means it when he says, “You deserve to hear,” and he wants to give you what he calls “a better hearing journey.”
One Love Hearing Concepts
Athens location: 809 Hwy 72 W, Ste G, Athens, AL 35611
Phone: 256-233-3844
Scottsboro phone: 256-912-0376
Hazel Green phone: 256-828-5551
Email: onelovehearing@yahoo.com
Facebook: One Love Hearing
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8-5
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

7-16-2016 9-17-55 AM

Julian Rojas Taylor describes himself as a first generation American, and was born and raised in New Jersey. His father was tragically killed while visiting his homeland of Peru when Julian was very small. Julian’s mom remarried, his stepfather adopted him, and Julian, who most often goes by James, took his stepdad’s last name. Both his mother and stepfather served in the US Army, and James laughs as he describes their shock when he decided to become a Marine. That friendly rivalry and banter continue to this day. James’ family had ties to Alabama, and moved here 26 years ago to work at Redstone Arsenal. He graduated from a private Christian school in the area.

After his stint with the Marines and an honorable discharge as a Sergeant, James found himself following an unusual path, and used the discipline he developed in the Corps to immerse himself in the educational and developmental rigors of the complicated world of the performance arts. He studied in New York as well as Los Angeles, and has performed in more than 50 films, in music videos, on stage, and has written plays, as well as a substantive 350 page autobiography. His work ethic is daunting, and he has a unique business here in Athens called Hole in the Wall Educational Studio, located in a loft above Grand Central on Jefferson Street. “Actually,” he said, “it is more accurate to call it an educational studio, rather than an acting studio, because much more is taught there than acting.” Hole in the Wall is a division of James’ umbrella organization, called TBC Enterprises, which has a division that supplies local theatres with set production, a film production company, a writing service, and more.

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His vision for Hole in the Wall is to take kids and young adults who have had no previous acting experience from what is called, “page to stage.” Rather than produce plays, which for most young actors function as the equivalent of recitals, he wants to operate as a conduit to supply other production companies with young, well-trained actors who can both soar with creativity as well as function in the required realms of discipline that are necessary to succeed in the art of performance.

James says, “I am a Marine, and that makes me a no-malarkey kind of person, but that doesn’t mean I am rigid and rule-oriented. What I am teaching is an art form, and art does not follow rules, but rather guidelines.” I can say from having talked with James at length that he does indeed possess a great sense of humor, and as a person myself who has always enjoyed from a distance the craft of film making in particular, I thoroughly enjoyed talking with him and hearing his story.

He wants to bring the quality of training and production found most notably in New York and Los Angeles to Athens, but without the pollution. By “pollution,” he means far more than the portrayal and/or practice of poor morals, he means the lack of personal foundation in general that results in the overthrow of one’s soul.

7-16-2016 9-18-20 AMI asked him to pretend that I was a single mom with a son who is starting to go down a wrong path and was considering having my son come to Hole in the Wall as a means of interacting with a healthy role model. For my $20 per session, which is more than reasonable, what could I expect? “To learn that acting is about psychological and emotional control,” he said. I replied with a chuckle, “You mean discipline, Marine?” He responded with, “Exactly! Most people think that acting is just about letting your emotions out and doing a convincing job with your lines, but it’s not. It is so much more than that.”

I then asked him to imagine the end of a perfect day at Hole in the Wall, and he described it as, “A timid, red-haired young woman just had a breakthrough, the ‘scene work took root,’ it was like jazz–there was ‘improv’ as well as structure.”

This summer James had a presentation at the Athens-Limestone Public Library as part of their Summer Reading program. Its purpose was to introduce acting, Hole in the Wall as well as TBC Enterprises, to the community. He used the topic of sports for his platform. His next session at the Library will be on September 6th at noon, and his topic will be “The Art of Acting, the Human Spirit, and You.” TBC Enterprises, LLC is currently in talks with the Athens City School System about a possible future partnership to help grow the Arts in Athens, and the students of the school system are likely to get to know James better as the new school year progresses. For more information on classes which are now forming, as well as other ways James can serve you, go to www.tbcenterprises.com, or contact James at 256-874-2795.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

7-1-2016 1-58-31 PM

Michael Lambert of Lambert Law, located just off the Square next to Dobb’s Shoes on Market Street, graduated from Athens High School in 1989. He enlisted in the Army in 1988, and stayed in until 1993, having served in Special Forces. He came away as a Staff Sergeant, and began the next season of his life. He attended Calhoun, and graduated from Alabama with degrees in history and political science. He then entered Cumberland School of Law in 1996. He graduated in 1999, and his thesis was on the 2nd Amendment.

I know from having talked to him on a number of occasions that Michael’s time in the Army as well as in college trained him to be a dedicated warrior, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that it was drawn out of him. That intrinsic “warrior spirit” shows up in the way he fights for his clients, and upon asking him why I should choose him should I need legal representation, he responded quickly. “I will walk you through the good, the bad, and the ugly of your case.” He also genuinely loves his clients, especially with respect to Family Law. He is one of a few lawyers who will do anything to save a marriage if he can, and is pleased to report that in the course of his practice six couples in the last 18 months were able to reconcile and avoid divorce. He is open about the fact that his own marriage was transformed at a weekend Marriage Encounter held in Cullman, and wants to pass that blessing on. If divorce is unavoidable, he works very hard to insure an equitable outcome for all.

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With respect to other aspects of Family Law, Michael also does adoption cases, custody cases, as well as seeing to it that reasonable child support is secured. He loves to help when a child has either been left in a home wrongfully, or has been removed from a parent when that clearly was not in the family’s best interest. He firmly believes that the practice of law “is supposed to be about justice,” and he has tried some unpopular cases because it appeared to him that otherwise injustice would prevail.

“What are your favorite kinds of cases?” He smiled and replied, “Civil rights cases. I am talking about a concept of civil rights being much greater than whether someone is white or black.” He told me that “children, the disabled and the elderly are the only ones in our society that are truly entitled.”

7-1-2016 1-59-06 PMHe has a special fondness for adoptions, because the parents “want to stand for that kid, they are truly choosing to parent. It is the ‘happy side of law.’ I have actually seen a biological parent come in to a courtroom and say, ‘I love my child, but I know that I cannot raise her.’ That mother wished the new adoptive parent well, (who also happened to be the stepmother), and thanked her for being willing to step up and raise that child.”

Another aspect of Family Law that is particularly challenging is dealing with sexual abuse, and it is one about which he is especially passionate. “Dealing with abuse that never gets reported is difficult, and I have also dealt with cases where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the abuse never happened. In the State of Alabama, if you are found guilty of sexual abuse of a child, it can mean you are in for life, without parole. Attention to detail in either type of case is everything.”

Michael is married to Glenna, who was a molecular biologist, and has been a biology teacher at Sparkman in Madison County for 14 years. She was also present for our interview, and her input was invaluable. They have two daughters, and Michael says that “The best part of my day is when I come home, we sit down as a family to watch a movie, and someone is fussing with someone else over whose turn it is to sit with me.” If that is the type of family law attorney for whom you are looking, then Michael Lambert is ready to serve you.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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In December of 2015, Athens Now carried a story about Southerland Boutique, one of the new businesses that had just opened in the renovated buildings located just north of the Courthouse Annex. The boutique is the one with the diagonally positioned door, and the shop is charming, sports the original exposed brick, utilizes repurposed furniture, and old-style metal pipes are used as the clothing racks. Southerland Boutique is owned by Amy Hobbs Boone, who grew up being in business, and the Hobbs family is well known in our area as entrepreneurs and business owners.

Amy spent 14 years of her career working as a multi-million dollar producing real estate agent. Her husband, Daniel, owns a contracting company. She has always enjoyed fashion, but it was the challenge of finding age appropriate clothing at a reasonable price for her daughter Taylor that moved her toward her latest venture. For a few years, she had her own clothing “shop” that was mostly online. In 2012, she converted a spare room in her home into a boutique, largely purchased her inventory online, advertised it on Facebook, and she told me, “I would even deliver the orders to people in my car.” She did so well that in 2014 she opened the first Southerland Boutique in Ardmore, and named it after her mother’s maiden name. It is located at 29976 1st Ave East, across from the Methodist Church.

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It is now July of 2016, and yet another opportunity for Amy became available in the form of a shop right next door, connected to the Athens store by way of an arched doorway. She decided that this was the time to give little girls their own special boutique, and began to search for clothing lines that reflected the same desire she had when Taylor was younger: to find attractive, age appropriate fashion that is fairly priced. One of the things Amy has found that she loves about having two shops that are adjoined is that now there is one building, with one central counter where clients can receive the best possible service.

7-1-2016 1-47-56 PMShe told me more about what led her to add little girls’ clothing to the selection at Southerland. “Our clients were looking for things that were cute, innocent, soft, sweet and modest, and at a good price,” said Amy. She also added that, in her experience, “Little girls still want to look just like their mothers.” Amy went to market, found exactly what her clients had told her they wanted, and both stores now carry clothing in sizes 5- 14. Recently she added shoes by Pierre Dumas, and, as illustrated, little girls can now get shoes that look “just like Mommy’s” for a good price.“Nothing on the girls’ side is over $40”, said Amy, and she works very hard to keep prices as low as she can. The girls’ shop carries tank tops, sun dresses, regular dresses, shorts, and leggings. Most are casual, there are a few that would work for a wedding or church, and there are also such items such as hair bows and other accessories.

Some of the features that set Southerland Boutiques apart include: a huge selection from which to choose, new items arriving each week, the sales people are friendly, down to earth and personable, and they are all fashion smart. “We work hard to make sure our staff is well trained, and able to serve our customers,” she said, and I can say from experience that they are and they do.
Back to school clothing is going to arrive later this month, just in time for school heading back in session. Although weather has been unusually hot lately, it actually works in the favor of moms and their girls, because the latest trends can be purchased now and worn when it’s cooler, and summer clothing can be bought on sale and worn while it’s still hot.

If you are looking for a full service boutique that will help you or your little girl look sharp without straining your pocket book, then make your way to Southerland Boutique in Ardmore or Athens, and let Amy and her staff help you find just what you are looking for.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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