3-18-2016 10-06-15 AMHave you ever given a thought to the people that came here, cleared large old-growth forests and started building what later became the beautiful town of Athens? The Native Americans (A.K.A. Indians) had lived here for hundreds of years before us, and were better organized than most of us realized. They may not have been “civilized” in our way of thinking, but they had developed much more sophistication than we gave them credit for until archeologists began to learn more of their culture.

Just what were the trail marker trees? You have all seen trees that grew vertical for three or four feet, but then grew horizontal for several feet but then grew vertical again. Some of these were large old trees. Now, we are finding out that they were trained that way by the Indians as trail markers to show where trails were, direction to water or a natural shelter from a trail, and other valuable information. Unfortunately, the code to these directions was never written down, but everyone depended upon the elders in the tribe of an area to remember these details. As the white man took over the land, either the elders were shipped elsewhere or died without transmitting this knowledge, along with much more valuable information.

Acknowledging that “all generalizations are false – including this one,” we can approximately divide the settlers of Limestone County and Athens into three groups. Probably the most obvious group was comprised of the developers Beaty and Mason, who came in shortly after the land became available for sale. They bought significantly large tracts of land, perhaps several, and started developing them for resale. In town, they laid out lots and streets for homes and businesses. They had enough foresight and capital, but were taking a rather big risk. Today, we look at Athens and assume it was so obvious that it was going to be the county seat and would have to have a courthouse on the square in the middle of things.

Did you know that Cambridge was a close contender for the County seat? What is there now?

Robert Beaty and John Carrol planned ahead and donated some the land they had just bought for things like a courthouse, a jail, a college, and several of the churches. If Athens were not selected as county seat, this land would only have value as farm land at much less than what they had paid for it. Robert Beaty was one of the town’s founders, but is not buried here. After his wife died, he took their son and moved to Kentucky. Come see where some of the rest of his family is buried, and listen to Billy Ward tell their stories.

Limestone County could not be bought until 1818, because prior to that it was still Indian Territory. Fort Hampton was established here and garrisoned with Federal Troops to keep the white settlers out of the Indians’ land. If a settler (aka “squatter”), often floating down the Elk River on a flat boat, found a rather remote spot, landed, cleared off it enough to build a house and plant a small crop, the Indians would “rat him out” and tell the soldiers. The soldiers would arrest the man, burn the house and his crops and probably take him to jail in Huntsville or Pulaski. He would usually “winter over” in jail and try again the next spring. When the Indians “sold” the land to the U.S. Government, (which is another story entirely) the settler would buy a little and start all over again. Glenn Hall will be portraying his ancestor that followed that pattern.

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If a successful planter in Virginia or one of the Carolinas had been one of the early settlers in the 1600’s, they were now beginning to have several kinds of growing pains. The most common and profitable crop was tobacco, which is somewhat labor intensive. They were land locked and could not expand their acreage. If they had been treating their slaves well, they had a surplus of them also. Large successful plantations were rather self-sufficient. By the second or third generation, they had skilled slaves in most of the trades.

In 1793 the invention of the cotton gin dramatically changed the economics of cotton from a very expensive cloth to an economical one. Now the above planter could give his second son (assuming the older son would inherit the existing plantation) some of the excess slaves, and go “out west” across the mountains and buy land to start over again. Haven’t you wondered how the virgin, old growth forests that used to cover most of Limestone County were cut and cleared? How some of these magnificent homes were built in a relative short time? The land could not be purchased until 1818 and – by definition – the antebellum mansions were done by 1860. Try to imagine the amount of work it would take to clear cut some of the large fields, usually south of Highway 72. Then came the really had work: digging out and pulling the stumps with nothing but man power and mule power. Next, move onto the sawing all those trees into usable lumber. Steam power came a little later because the equipment was so expensive.

Visit with Katy and Johnny Garrett at the Cemetery Walk. The Garretts are one of Limestone County’s oldest families, and probably fit this pattern rather closely except we do not know whether they were still growing tobacco when the young generation departed for the west.

Some time ago, we were doing some plumbing in one of the Antebellum homes when one of my men said he could tell that a wing had been added instead of being built with the rest of the home. The plaster lathing on one section was over split red oak whereas the “add on” section had sawn white oak under the plaster.

One family that does not perfectly fit any of the above categories, but had many similarities was the Barksdale Family. I highly recommend Jerry Barksdale’s book, “Revolutionaries to Rebels.” It is a novel, and is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in many years. The section that amazed me is when his Revolutionary War ancestor decides to go “out west.” He loads up his entire family, including an infant, and has to put his oldest son on a horse, scouting ahead for the trail. There were no roads, so he had to also find them a place to camp each night that would have good grazing for the horses and mules, and good water for all.

This last summer I had an opportunity to ride through some of that area with someone else driving. It is remarkable to me that anyone had the courage to attempt that, and the determination to actually do it. Talk to Jerry Barksdale at the cemetery walk. While you are at it, buy a copy of his book, and get him to autograph it for you. You can’t beat that deal with a stick!
By: Buzz Estes

3-5-2016 10-12-40 AM

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful is excited to announce its inaugural Paws for the Environment Photo Contest. The contest kicks off on March 1, 2016 and will continue through April 30, 2016.

Elkmont’s superstar 1/2 marathon-running bloodhound, Ludivine, has endorsed this contest. KALB is working with Ludivine’s human and we are very proud of her support.

To enter, simply submit a photo of your dog along with an entry form and a $5.00 donation to KALB. If the photo is submitted with a $10 donation (instead of $5), it will include entry into the contest plus 10 votes for the entered pooch. Entries will be accepted now through April 22nd; however, the sooner an entry is received, the sooner it will be eligible for votes.

This contest is open to everyone and is a fundraiser for KALB, which is a non-profit affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. All donations are tax deductible.

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On March 15th, the public will be invited to vote for their favorite entries. A $1 to KALB will equal one vote. Online voting and donation will be available; however, voting may be done by mail or at the KALB office located at 125 East Street in Athens.

Winning entries will be those with the votes at the close of voting. Final voting will take place at KALB’s Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO on April 30, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Friendship Church on Lucas Ferry Rd. in Athens.

Winning dogs will be featured in the 2017 Paws for the Environment Calendar, a copy of which will be given to each winning owner. Some winners will be offered a photo shoot in preparation for the calendar.

•Multiple photos may be entered; however, each must accompany an entry form and $5 donation to KALB.
•Entries will be accepted from March 1, 2016 through April 22, 2016.
•Photos may be no larger than 8.5″x11″ and should be of the highest resolution possible.
•Photos should have emphasis on the pet and not people; however, photos that include people will be accepted.
•Photos will be viewable online. Providing a high resolution JPG of your photo will be helpful, but is not required.
•Public voting will begin on March 15, 2016. Owners of entered pets may collect and enter $1 “votes” for their dog.

A complete set of contest rules are available at www.KALBCares.com under the EVENTS tab.
For information and entry forms, contact
KALB at 256-233-8000 or KALBCares@gmail.

3-5-2016 9-21-21 AM

On the heels of President Obama’s criticism of the recently passed bipartisan anti-BDS Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act last week, Alabama became the fifth state in the nation to pass a landmark resolution to condemn the anti-Semitic BDS movement.

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN), who spearheaded the passage of the Resolution in Tennessee stated, “President Obama once again, is in complete opposition to the majority of citizens throughout the U.S. The passage of another anti-BDS Resolution in the Alabama State Legislature is a testimony to that fact. This President never seems to miss an opportunity to single out Israel with his appalling action of boycotting America’s only legitimate ally in the Middle East, further threatening to isolate and demonize Israel.”

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Building on the nationwide momentum created by the Tennessee State Legislature in 2015, legislators in Alabama decided to join their colleagues in Tennessee to confront this growing threat head-on. The Senate Joint Resolution 6 (SJR6) was introduced by Alabama State Senator Arthur Orr and Alabama House Speaker Pro Tem Victor Gaston and was signed by Governor Robert Bentley on February 16, 2016. The passage of the strongly worded Joint Resolution also reaffirms Alabama’s support of the State of Israel as a Jewish State and recognizes that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel.

The catalyst for this effort was a result of PJTN’s grassroots/media campaign in conjunction with Jewish and Christian leaders mobilizing together across the state, including the Birmingham Jewish Federation, The Alabama-Israel Task Force and Church4Israel.

According to Robin Rowan, Founder of Church4Israel, one of the organizations spearheading this effort in Alabama, “The purpose is to recognize the resurgence of global anti-Semitism currently being at its highest point since World War II and condemns the anti-Israel activities on college campuses. It recognizes that the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has resulted in ‘intimidation and violence on University campuses, is harmful to the State’s Jewish citizens and has a deleterious impact on the educational environment.'”

PJTN’s Board Chairman, Mr. Stanley G. Tate stated, “Alabama and Israel have enjoyed a long history of friendship and are great allies of our shared Democratic values. Alabama has a unique history with regards to the State of Israel. In 1942, Alabama passed a resolution calling for the establishment of the Jewish State and homeland five years before the Nation State was established. That’s a miracle! No other state shares that unique history.”

BDS is an international anti-Israel, anti-Zionist propaganda campaign and by extension, an anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish campaign. The BDS movement calls for:
• Boycotting Israeli products, academics, and cultural leaders.
• Pressuring companies to stop doing business with Israel and divesting from companies that do business with Israel.
• Sanctioning Israel for its legitimate self-defense measures to protect Israelis of all ethnicities from terrorism, and Hamas rocket/missile attacks.

The BDS movement promotes the delegitimization of Israel with the stated goal… to eliminate the State of Israel, utterly and completely.

The time has come for elected state leaders to step forward and condemn the hate speech and targeting of pro-Israel and Jewish students on college campuses that has been fueled by the BDS campaign. The incidents of anti-Semitic attacks in general, and against Jewish students on college campuses specifically, have seen a dramatic increase over the last several years.

In closing, Ms. Cardoza-Moore stated, “The recent passage of the Alabama resolution can serve as a positive example and concrete model of a firm step that other state legislators can take as we begin to expose the malicious intent of the BDS campaign and confront it head-on! With 70% of Americans supporting Israel, I am calling on Christians, Jews and people of conscience to add their voices to this groundbreaking initiative by contacting PJTN.org and launching this initiative in their states. It’s time to confront this anti-Semitic threat head-on!”
By: Jackie Monaghan

3-5-2016 9-21-44 AM
3-5-2016 9-15-36 AM

Over 125 years ago, the Lovvorn family came to our area, and continued to settle the state whose motto is “Alabama the Beautiful.” For the past two years, Garth Lovvorn has made it his full time occupation to make that motto a reality in North Alabama by providing lawn and garden care, along with home inspection and property maintenance services.

Garth is a graduate of Athens State University, and has worked in a number of corporate contexts which include banking, construction and property development, and insurance. He also has worked for Habitat for Humanity. However, he has always loved to beautify the outdoors, and for years did so on the side. He decided to go full time as a sole proprietor in 2014, hanging out his shingle as Valley Mowing Company.

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Starting one’s own business is not for the faint of heart, but going with what he loves has paid off, and Garth has been able to increase his clientele, amount of equipment, and the size of his crews. I know few people who are as excited to see Spring arrive as Garth is, and he can hardly wait for March 11th and 12th, when the Limestone County Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden Show officially kicks off Spring in the Tennessee Valley.

I asked him what was new this season, and if he has any specific goals for this year. He told me he has been able to expand to Madison and elsewhere in North Alabama, has a number of new commercial accounts, and the purchase of extra equipment has made it possible to work “smarter and faster.” It also helps to keep prices low. Caring for commercial properties involves a lot more bagging up of grass, and picking up trash. He gets nearly as unhappy as Mayor Ronnie when people litter, and that takes some doing. This is supposed to be Alabama the Beautiful, and we need to keep it that way! Garth will tell you he has an eye for detail, almost to a fault, but in this business, that’s what separates the men from the boys.

His plan is to divide his crew into two parts. One will pretty much handle grass cutting, and the other will focus on landscaping, pruning, and planting shrubs. He expects to implement his plan by June, and this will allow him to focus on landscaping, which is his favorite. With a wife, a preschooler, and a brand new baby due in June, he’ll be able to get home at a decent time and spend time with his young family. “I won’t be trying to squeeze too much into one day,” he said.

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Spring is certainly the time when the local owners of lawn and garden services come out in full force, and we have a number from which to choose. I asked him, “Why should I choose you?” Perhaps, more pointedly, what I meant, was, “Why should I let you in my yard?”

“I pay greater attention to detail,” he said. He also emphasized that it is important to him to introduce his crew to the clients so that everyone feels comfortable and knows what to expect. This is especially a good thing for seniors, who make up a sizeable portion of his business. “I also value the people who are working for me, and I want the crew to be comfortable with each other.”
He then made mention of how important it is to be “a huge community advocate.” He said, “The success of my business ultimately results in the success of the community

3-5-2016 9-16-31 AMGarth has also always had quite a love for property maintenance, and when he was an insurance agent, he became fully acquainted with the requirements of insurance companies toward residential properties, especially rentals. He became aware of how important it is to have someone who genuinely cares about other peoples’ properties after the legendary tornadoes of April 2011. “I’ll take care of limbs, damage, shrubbery that has gotten out of control, haul away messes, and treat each house as though it is my own,” he added. “I take an active interest in the condition of peoples’ property,” he said. We discussed prices, and his are both reasonable as well as competitive. “I do my best to work with people,” he said.

As mentioned previously, the Home and Garden Show and Habitat for Humanity are important to Garth, as is being a member of Round Island Baptist Church. He finished our time together by saying, “I get a lot of satisfaction in seeing a noticeable improvement in someone’s property.” If that is what you are looking for in a yard and property maintenance business owner with “deep roots” in Athens, then give Garth Lovvorn of Valley Mowing Company a call today.
Valley Mowing
Facebook: Garth Lovvorn
Email: glovvorn1@hotmail.com
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

3-5-2016 9-16-20 AM

Poke Sallet Follies

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Friday, Saturday, Sunday, March 11, 12 and 13, Athens Senior Center; Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with dinner; Sunday, a lunch matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets are on sale weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Athens Senior Center, as well as on Monday evenings from 5-8 p.m. Cost is $35 and includes a meal from 306 BBQ. This is a variety show where local leaders and some-what talented folks known as the Prime Time Players perform crazy skits and spoof shows, songs, local issues and more. This year’s theme is Athens Choice Awards, and the skits include a playful “poke” at the Hospice of Limestone County Chili Challenge, city and county officials attempting to rap live to the song “Rapper’s Delight,” and a local version of Athens Family Feud. The show is a fundraiser for the Limestone County Foundation for Aging. It is directed by Stacey Givens.

To stay up to date, follow on Facebook at Poke Sallet Follies.

2-19-2016 10-12-06 AM

Matthew Huggins will firmly tell you that he “appreciates having grown up in this community.” As we chatted, he told me what it was like growing up here He went to both public and private school, having graduated from Athens Bible School before attending Auburn University. He majored in history, and graduated with honors. He particularly loves Civil War history, and we talked at length about the Scottsboro Boys case, which is also the topic of Holly Hollman’s article.

Matthew said that he has always felt a calling to law in general, and specifically as a prosecutor. “I saw it as a position where I would be able to influence people’s lives,” he told me. Several things served to “seal the deal” as far as pursuing a law career is concerned, not the least of which was having the opportunity to spend a summer clerking for soon-to-retire Limestone County Circuit Judge Jimmy Woodroof. Other mentors included former Alabama State Supreme Court Justice Patti Smith, former Alabama State Senator Tom Butler, and Judge Jerry Batts. Matthew received his law degree from Faulkner University, and then came back home to officially begin his career by working in the District Attorney’s office

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When Judge Batts announced his retirement, Matthew went to his family as well as to prayer regarding making the decision to run for the District judicial position. His parents, Mike and Jackie Huggins, and his parents-in-law, Grant and Mitzi Gilbert, along with his wife, Holly, have all encouraged him to run. Holly, an art teacher, gave birth to their first child, Ford, in October of 2015.

I asked him, “What do you say to people who think you are too young for this position?” He answered by telling me about his grandfather, Jack Riley. He showed me a picture of Jack in a courtroom trying a murder trial in the late 1950s. “Big Jim Folsom appointed my grandfather at age 29 as the circuit solicitor, a position later renamed district attorney, and then he became Circuit Judge in Cullman County,” he said, and added, “He was one of my heroes. Another of my heroes is my other grandfather, Horace Huggins, who was a gospel preacher.” He then added, “I don’t think it is necessarily the quantity of cases that I have tried, as much as the quality.”

He went on to say that he has been “pleased to be in the DA’s office, and getting continual experience, and the best experience.”
During his career, Matthew has handled thousands of misdemeanor cases, as well as hundreds of felony cases. However, his “baby” is Drug Court, which, incidentally, has been strongly supported by all of the judges, as well as those who are running for the various judicial positions. He is the Supervisor of District Court prosecutions, and estimates that “80-85% of all my cases are drug related.”

“It is so rewarding to see people turn their lives around,” he said. (And, I might add, it is gratifying as a resident of Limestone County to know that our judiciary is not in any way opposed to faith based recovery and rehab programs, unlike districts in other states.) He also said, “What makes me happy and truly satisfied is to know that when I go to sleep at night, I have made a difference.”

By way of professional associations, Matthew is a member of the Limestone County Cattlemen’s Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and is a board member of the Little Light of Mine Foundation, a local non-profit organization. He also is a member in good standing with the Alabama Bar Association and the Limestone County Bar Association. He and Holly worship with the Oakland Church of Christ.

“I strive for justice, to be fair and impartial,” he told me. Then he added, “I want to be just in every case.” If you believe his values, experience and conservatism would best serve us as District Judge in Place 2, then cast your vote for Matthew Huggins on March 1st
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

2-19-2016 10-12-54 AM

2-19-2016 9-41-37 AMAthens to host exhibit on Judge Horton and Scottsboro Boys
Exhibit includes family treasures stored in lard bucket

When the family of Judge James Horton handed Limestone County Archivist Rebekah Davis family treasures for an upcoming exhibit, Davis was not expecting one of those items to be a lard bucket full of letters.

Kathy Horton Garett, Horton’s granddaughter, and Katherine Horton, the judge’s daughter-in-law, are loaning items for an exhibit call “Outside the Protective Circle of Humanity” that will open with a kickoff event on Feb. 18 at Athens-Limestone Public Library.

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Davis said the letters in the lard bucket were sent to Horton during the 1930s re-trial of one of the Scottsboro Boys defendants. The Scottsboro Boys case involved nine black men accused of raping two white women in 1931 on a train traveling from Tennessee into Alabama. Eight of the nine men were sentenced in Scottsboro to death despite a lack of evidence. The U.S. Supreme Court granted an appeal for new trials in Decatur, where Horton, of Athens, presided over defendant Haywood Patterson’s trial.

“What a great story in itself that these priceless documents, these letters, have been carefully preserved in a lard bucket all this time,” Davis said. “There’s even a letter he received from Denmark.”

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The exhibit is a partnership with the Limestone County and Morgan County archives. The exhibit, including the lard bucket and letters, will be available to the public from Feb. 18 to March 1 in the library on Jefferson Street. It will open Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. with guest speakers, including Limestone County Bar Association President Mark Maclin, who will discuss Horton and his pivotal role in the case. Maclin will also provide information about a local effort to raise funds to erect a bronze statue honoring Horton at the Limestone County Courthouse.

The exhibit will feature the fountain pen Horton used to sign the judgement to set aside the jury’s guilty verdict in the re-trial. Despite medical testimony indicating there were no rapes and one woman recanting her story, the jury found Patterson guilty.

“After the re-trial ended in Decatur, it was in his hometown of Athens on June 22, 1933, that Judge Horton set aside the jury verdict,” said Judge Horton Monument Committee member Limestone County Circuit Court Judge Jimmy Woodroof.

In 1933, Horton lost his race for re-election, which is attributed to his decision to set aside the verdict.

Other family items include doorknobs from the old Morgan County Courthouse where the trials took place. Morgan County Archives is loaning images from the estate of Fred Hiroshige, one of six photographers allowed in the courtroom for Patterson’s trial. In 1998, the Morgan County Commission acquired the 127 negatives Hiroshige had saved. They are now a part of the permanent collection of the Morgan County Archives. The exhibit includes 32 of those photos, along with narrative panels that help share the story.

The exhibit will close on Tuesday, March 1, as Laura Anderson, Archivist of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, will present “Mother’s Day 1961: The Freedom Rides of Alabama” for the “Booked for Lunch” event at noon.

How to support the Judge Horton Monument Project

The monument project is being overseen by the Judge Horton Monument Committee comprised of local attorneys and community members. The Limestone County Bar Association started efforts and received support from the Limestone County Commission and Limestone Area Community Foundation.

To support the project, mail a tax-deductible donation to LACF-Horton Fund, P.O. Box 578, Athens, AL 35612. To learn more, go online at www.hortonmonument.com or on Facebook at James Judge Horton Monument Project.
By: Holly Hollman

2-19-2016 9-34-38 AM

In 2012, when I interviewed Ben Harrison during his successful campaign for the Limestone County District 4 Commissioner, I was intrigued by his blend of career experience in corporate America, as well as that of a small businessman.

Ben grew up on his family’s farm in rural West Limestone County. He is married to Beth McGuire Harrison, and together they have 4 children, Erin, Caleb, Olivia and Emily. Erin is married to Greg Burton, and they have one son, Fionn. Caleb and Angela are expecting their first daughter this summer. Family and traditional values have always been important to Ben, and that is one reason why he’s so concerned about the direction our country is headed. “It really makes me sad when I think about the Government debt and burdens we are leaving for future generations,” he said. Fighting for our community and children’s future is one of the main reasons he got involved in politics, and was a deciding factor in his decision to run for political office. “I’m not a politician and sometimes that gets me in trouble, but I am going to stand for what I believe in and not back down just because it’s politically correct,” he stated with conviction.

Ben’s conservative world view and his experience in the business world make him an excellent watchman over county spending. He knows how to spot and eliminate wasteful expenditures without curtailing services. A recent example was a bridge project in West Limestone County. Grigsby Ferry Road had a one lane bridge which was old and unable to accommodate the weight of much more than a passenger car. School buses and construction equipment could not legally cross the bridge, and were forced to detour around to another road. The whole situation was a hardship on local citizens, and was costing them time and money. Ben looked into getting the Grigsby Ferry Bridge upgraded, but was told the only option was a new bridge at a cost of $250K. That seemed exorbitant and unnecessary, so Ben started to look for alternatives that would be safe, and also save money. He found a solution by changing designs and utilizing round culverts instead of a traditional box bridge design. The upgrade cost only $32K, and saved us (the taxpayers) a whopping 218 thousand dollars

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Ben says his desire is to always be a wise steward of taxpayers’ money, and be attentive to the needs of the community. He feels it’s been an honor to serve as County Commissioner, and enjoys working with the people of District 4. Ben believes we live in a blessed area, and he says he wants to “keep it that way.”

As County Commissioner, Ben’s biggest concerns are centered around road maintenance and improvement, i.e. improving the quality and safety of our roads while reducing costs. His priority is to do the job right, taking care of the base and drainage before he resurfaces current roads. He is investigating a different way to chip seal roads that will result in a smoother and longer lasting surface. During his first term, Ben has been a strong supporter of eliminating unnecessary government projects and diverting that revenue to our road system. With District 4 getting less money per road mile compared to the other districts, these issues are especially important to him. If re-elected, he will continue to be an advocate for better roads, not only in District 4, but throughout Limestone County.

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Transparency is also something that is important to citizens of our county as well as those of our nation as a whole. Ben has been talking about government transparency since he took office 3 years ago, and if it were up to him, he would post the county books online for easy review by citizens. By that, Ben means, “every transaction, who wrote what check, and from what account.” Baldwin County already does it and Ben believes it would be a good move for us. He would also like to have Limestone County Commission’s work sessions recorded. “We currently record our regular meetings, but adding the work sessions would give people an added level of background as to what we are voting on during those meetings.”

While many think of County Commissioners as being only “the road guys,” Ben says with a passion, “Our job is also to protect the liberties and freedoms of citizens,” and that means public safety as well as their pocket books. He has been a consistent supporter of private property rights, and opposing tax increases on the hard working people of Limestone County. He has fought hard for fiscal responsibility, and is proud to have helped get District 4 out of debt during his first term.

If this is what you are looking for in a Limestone County Commissioner, then Ben Harrison would appreciate your voting to return him to his “watch” over District 4.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

2-19-2016 9-34-02 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battling BDS

2-5-2016 3-36-49 PMAmerican actor Michael Douglas and Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky recently visited three college campuses in the US in order to speak to students about Israel and modern ant-isemitism.

Douglas and Sharansky visited Brown University on Jan. 28, Stanford University on Feb. 2, and the University of California, Santa Barbara on Feb. 3. The program, titled “Jewish Journeys: A Conversation with Michael Douglas and Natan Sharansky,” was co-hosted by the Genesis Prize Foundation, Hillel International, and the Jewish Agency, in addition to the local Hillel chapters on each campus.

“This is the first time, in this current period of heightened anti-Israel activity on campus, that a Hollywood celebrity has offered to join with a world Jewish leader to visit US college campuses and speak with students about Israel and the Jewish people,” said Stan Polovets, the Genesis Prize Foundation’s co-founder and chairman. “At a time when certain individuals and groups in the academic community as well as other forces are making sustained efforts to delegitimize Israel, these visits are particularly important and timely.”

Douglas said, “I was honored to receive the Genesis Prize last year, and it has encouraged me to deepen my commitment and belief that we must all be more inclusive in order that the Jewish faith and culture thrive. These visits provide an opportunity for Natan and me to speak directly with young people about the challenges they encounter, and share insight about how we have dealt with these situations throughout our life.”

Anti-semitism is growing on our college campuses, and most recently a battle against the Boycott, Divest and Sanction of Israel heightened in Florida. Mr. Stanley G. Tate, Chairman of Proclaiming Justice To The Nation’s Board of Directors called on the University of South Florida’s Board of Trustees to veto the student government’s recent passage of a BDS Resolution, calling the effort a “blatant act of anti-Semitism and a disgrace to the prestigious reputation of the Florida university system.” The resolution was instituted by the Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP), an anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian college student activism organization with ties to Muslim Brotherhood terrorist groups.

Mr. Tate went on to say, “No one cares more deeply than I do about our college program. My goal has always been to make the college experience possible for students from all ethnic and religious orientations. This BDS effort seeks to do one thing, intimidate Jewish and Christian Zionist students across the state. That is morally reprehensible and completely unacceptable.” Mr. Tate, a resident of Miami, Florida was instrumental in the early development of the Florida Prepaid College Program where he served as Chairman of the Foundation from 1987 to 2005.

BDS is an international anti-Israel, anti-Zionist propaganda campaign and by extension, an anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish campaign. The BDS movement calls for:
• Boycotting Israeli products, academics, and cultural leaders.
• Pressuring companies to stop doing business with Israel and divesting from companies that do business with Israel.
• Sanctioning Israel for its legitimate self-defense measures to protect Israelis of all ethnicities from terrorism, and Hamas rocket/missile attacks.
Numerous nationwide BDS efforts have increased to boycott Israeli political leaders and businesses. One of the companies targeted in the USF BDS Resolution was Lockheed Martin, a leading defense company employing thousands of individuals across the state. The effect of the USF Resolution could have a devastating impact on Florida’s economy.

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PJTN’s President, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, stated, “It’s time to remove anti-Semitic groups like SJP from college campuses! How can SJP, a group with known ties to terrorist organizations, be allowed to operate on our college campuses? These terrorist supporting groups are not only trying to undermine and delegitimize Israel and ultimately dehumanize the Jewish people, they violate the rights of other students through anti-Semitic threats and intimidation.”

Former USF professor Sami Al-Arian was a great example of the spread of extreme anti-Semitism on campuses. He was indicted in 2003 on multiple counts related to supporting a Palestinian group on the State Department’s terrorist list. Upon firing Al-Arian, USF President Genshaft stated, “We have determined that USF must sever all ties to Sami Al-Arian once and for all. His use of this educational institution for improper, non-educational purposes will not be tolerated.” SJP, like Al-Arian, has a long track record of ties to terrorist groups like the Muslim American Society and the Muslim Student Association.

As the number of anti-Semitic attacks and violent demonstrations against Jewish and pro-Israel students on university campuses continues to grow in Florida, and elsewhere, parents, students and taxpaying citizens are demanding that groups such as SJP be banned. Floridians will not allow their students to be terrorized on their campuses.

Utilizing legislative action, several states across the nation have fought back by introducing a landmark PJTN resolution to confront the BDS movement. In Florida, State Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R – Miami) and State House Representative Lori Berman (D-Lantana) introduced SR1184/HR1001, a bi-partisan resolution to condemn the BDS movement and halt the increasing incidents of anti-Semitism on Florida campuses.

Through multiple media outlets, PJTN is launching a statewide campaign to expose these anti-Semitic groups that hide behind the terrorist supporting “social justice” banner. Ms. Cardoza-Moore is also calling on the State University System of the Florida Board of Governors to adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism and to establish guidelines to monitor anti-Semitic activity on campuses across the state. She stated that “our state governments must be proactive in providing a secure learning environment for all students.”

As a supporter of Israel and the Jewish people, Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, “when people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”

PJTN will be unveiling a new documentary in regard to BDS at the upcoming National Religious Broadcasters’ Convention to be held in Nashville in February on Thursday, February 25th. For more information, go to www.pjtn.org.
By: Laurie Cordoza-Moore

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