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

8-19-2016 8-42-56 AM
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

7-1-2016 1-59-15 PM
7-1-2016 1-47-20 PM

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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6-18-2016 11-13-53 AM

Betty Buckley is a happy woman born in the South, raised in the North, and finally made it back home. She is one of the most positive, joyful people I have ever met. If I were given just one word to describe her, it would be either “unsinkable,” or “irrepressible.” Born in Hammond, VA in 1948, Betty grew up in a solid Midwestern home, and her father was the first to come down to Athens for work. Her mom soon followed, as did the rest of the family, and Athens is most definitely home. She did spend close to 30 years in Florida with her husband and raising her kids, but eventually everybody ended up here. “They came in waves,” she says of her tribe.

Betty married at the age of 15, and said with a twinkle in her eye, “I didn’t have to, either. It was just that back in 1963, that was pretty common, and really, all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mom. And, I stayed married to the same man!” I have a feeling that she was great in those most important roles, and when her kids were school age, she worked in the Yumatilla, FL school system as a teacher’s assistant, and got so good at it, that when a woman with whom she had worked was ill, the school specifically contacted her to take the class for a full month. The teacher said that she wouldn’t trust anyone else with her kids.

She lived in England for 5 years, has had a fascinating life, and then the time came when her full time occupation was caring for her mother until she passed. I asked her if she was with her mom at that moment, and her face shone as she said, “Oh, yes, we all were, and I know where she is.” Such are the many gifts when a family that loves each other is present for a “home going.” She told me that one of the blessings of having to become such an excellent caregiver for her mom was that it prepared her to face her own health challenges, which has been a pretty substantial undertaking. She has had rare, complex and extensive problems with her aorta, and really shouldn’t still be here, according to the statistics. “But, I have a job to do,” she said again with that infectious smile, and while she is currently still in a wheelchair, she is determined to walk again.

She raves about the care that she has gotten at Athens Rehab, and she has been here since March 31st. She was in a different facility, and on the last possible day of her care contract, a place opened up at Athens Rehab. “This is where I wanted to be. Everyone has been ‘super-duper.’ When I saw Washington Street from my window, I knew I was going to be ok.” The day we met, she had just gotten the news that an apartment had opened up which is exactly where she wanted to live, and her son and the rest of the family will be helping. I asked her if there was anyone she especially wanted to acknowledge at the Center, and she said, like the good mom she is, “Oh, yes. I already told them when I found out we were going to be doing this article. I didn’t want anyone to be left out, so what I am going to say here, is, ‘You know who you are.’”

We moved on to favorites.
Favorite Color? “Blue-green, or peacock. I like blue, I like green, so ‘peacock’ works best.”
Favorite food? “Spaghetti, my recipe I learned when I was a kid. It’s simple, and so good.”
Favorite movie? “Gone With The Wind.”
Favorite book? Not surprisingly, “Gone With The Wind.”
Favorite actor and actress? “Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore.”
Favorite scripture? John 3:16. “I grew up in Camp Meetings and Vacation Bible School, and loved them.”
Favorite song? “Onward Christian Soldiers, and the Old Rugged Cross.” We took a couple of moments to sing, “And the Cross made the difference for me” before we moved on.
Favorite President? “JFK.”
Biggest change in her lifetime? “For good or bad, I would have to say the Internet.”
Advice to young people? “Appreciate everything you have, and everyone you know.”

Words of wisdom from a joyful warrior. And Miss Betty, we wish you the very best in your new place.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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The global premiere of Hating Israel: In Search of The Truth Behind BDS was screened on Wednesday evening at the Jerusalem Cinematheque in the presence of a select group of parliamentarians, clergy, business leaders, and VIPs. The full-length documentary takes viewers on a personal journey through Israel in search of the truth behind the global movement to defame and destroy Israel. The film is the latest initiative of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN) as part of their ongoing global educational and mobilization campaign against the BDS movement. The film will be distributed through PJTN’s media partners on several television networks, reaching a combined audience of over 950,000,000 viewers in 200 nations worldwide.

The documentary offers a news-driven, satirical approach to focus on the global impact of the “BDS Movement”- a movement to boycott, divest, and sanction against the State of Israel. Through the lens of Emmy Award winning director, Stan Moore, host Brad Stine leads viewers through a twisted landscape of
false perceptions to fully explain the anti- Semitic roots of BDS.Through commentary, interviews, and visuals from headline news from around the world, the documentary exposes the frightening rise of a new anti-Semitism being promoted through the BDS Movement.

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Viewers joined American Comedian Brad Stine on a journey in search of truth that takes him across Israel and the United States of America. He met with Ethiopian Jews in Jerusalem, and Muslim Israelis in Haifa. Brad encountered Israeli colleges and high-tech companies to hear about the latest breakthroughs in Israeli innovation. Mr. Stine traveled into the West Bank to hear personal stories from local Palestinians to learn firsthand how, if successful, the BDS movement would actively destroy the livelihoods of thousands of Palestinian families.

6-18-2016 9-12-14 AMIn America, Stine met with an array of experts including former CIA director James R. Woolsey, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, Jewish comedian Jackie Mason, exiled Palestinian Christians and Jewish students under attack on university campuses He learned about the increasingly violent protests and intimidation tactics used against pro- Israel students. Laurie Cardoza-Moore, president and founder of PJTN noted: “Not only have we been relentless in exposing the BDS movement and its leaders as anti-Semitic, but it is inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the cause of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for the people of Israel. The movement also threatens Palestinian jobs”. She continued: “This docu-tainment film is PJTN’s next step to expose the lies of the boycott Israel movement”.

Hating Israel: In Search of The Truth Behind BDS will have= its global release in the fall. The film will have a limited theatrical release in the U.S. and Europe and will air in over 200 nations, reaching over 950 million viewers globally. The film will also be screened on college and university campuses, before civic groups,as well as churches and synagogues around the globe.

Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), a 501c3 non-profit organization, was established to educate Christians about their Biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish brethren and Israel, utilizing powerful film and video presentations, a variety of grassroots rallies, events and speaking engagements to facilitate dialogue between the Christian and Jewish communities in support of the State of Israel and against global genocidal anti-Semitism. In recent months the organization has led the struggle against BDS in America with a wave of state resolutions and the upcoming release of a new documentary film that will expose the truth behind the BDS movement.
By: Jackie Monaghan

This Spring, all of Athens celebrated as the new City Hall building was completed, moved into, and ready for business. One of the challenges that accompanied the project was the extended closing of North Marion Street, which made access to Drucilla’s Restaurant much more challenging. Now that traffic is flowing freely again, Drucilla’s is celebrating by announcing a special “Grand Reopening” event to be held on June 10th and 11th. It is a reservations-only Victorian Supper by Candlelight, and Chef Angela McClure will be preparing a lovely 4 course meal for the occasion.

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We’ll talk a bit more about all that Drucilla’s has to offer, as well as Chef Angela’s fascinating background, but for now, a bit of history for those of you who are not familiar with Drucilla’s. It is beautifully situated in a wonderful house located at 300 North Marion, in the historical section of Athens. It is named after Olna Drucilla Bullington, who taught both at Piney Chapel and Ardmore, and she was the grandmother of the owner, Carol Holland. Drucilla was a great cook, and taught Carol both to love cooking and do it well. Carol is a native of Athens, got her engineering degree from UAH, and for 35 years she worked for the Department of Defense as an Industrial Systems Engineer. She retired, and when the house on Marion became available in 2014, she knew this was the place where she would be able to realize her lifelong dream of being a restaurateur. She was already familiar with the house, (known as the Manse,) as her brother went to school with the boys who used to live there, and she knew it would be the perfect place to launch Drucilla’s.

6-6-2016 10-37-23 AMThe house was built in 1901 as the Manse (or parsonage) of the Presbyterian Church, and since then has sheltered both families and businesses. It has been beautifully maintained, and has leaded windows that cast rainbows on the walls when the sun shines through. It boasts the high ceilings of the day, has two fireplaces, and is furnished cheerfully with brightly colored tablecloths as well as an eclectic assortment of antique tables and chairs, which Carol loves to arrange so that each place offers a different chair in which to sit. The daily menu could be described as being “Southern Eclectic,” and the “you choose” theme is reflected there as well. All the Southern standards from chicken salad, banana pudding, home-made pies and yeast rolls, to quiche and Poulet Normandie, (a French chicken dish) are available, and Carol has been able to hold to her hope of keeping lunch for two under $20.

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Drucilla’s has another special feature which I have thoroughly enjoyed, and that is their high teas. They are custom designed; you get to pick your tea cup, tea pot, and flavors of tea for your event.” They include all the elements of a “proper English tea,” including scones, tarts, dill sandwiches, and more. They start at $9.95 and go up to $19.95, and the kitchen needs a 24-hour notice so they can custom design and display your wishes. Drucilla’s is a perfect place for bridal or baby showers, family reunion dinners, small weddings, and catering is a big part of their array of services. If you work in the downtown Athens area, they will also deliver lunch to you.

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Now, for Montgomery native Chef Angela McClure and the collaborative effort that will pull off the Victorian Candlelight Suppers with aplomb. Angela could be described as a true “Southern renaissance woman,” holds a law degree, has worked at 5 star restaurants in North Alabama, is nearly finished with her culinary arts certification from Drake State, and will be spending next summer in France learning haute cuisine from a French Master Chef. Oh, and did I mention that she owns and breeds champion racehorses, breeds and shows rottweilers, and is a licensed dog groomer? She grooms Carol’s Shih Tzus, and that’s how they met. She especially loves to create fabulous meat dishes, and for the special supper, one of the entrees will be a layered filet mignon with fresh accompaniments which has been aptly named “Steak Drucilla.” As a matter of course, Carol loves to feature local produce as much as possible, everything will be homemade, and all of it is going to come together for a memorable meal to celebrate their Grand Reopening.

There simply is no restaurant in Athens that can offer the combination of a superbly crafted meal set in a beautiful historic home, and Drucilla’s would love to invite you to make your reservations today for an evening you’ll never forget. Serving will start at 5:30 pm, and the kitchen will close at 8:30 pm both nights.
300 North Marion Street
Athens, AL, 35611
Hours: M-F 10:30-2
Facebook: Drucilla’s
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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