Mayors from Alabama’s five largest cities met in Montgomery on April 20, where they urged state lawmakers to support issues critical to residents of Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, a constituency comprising nearly one third of the state's population.

This gorgeous girl is Goldie, and she’s this week’s Humane Society of West Alabama Pet of the Week. Goldie is a 7-month-old (as of March) female yellow Labrador retriever mix. She has a smooth yellow coat and weighs around 35 pounds – but she still has some growing to do. She’ll probably get to around 50 pounds when full grown. Goldie was pulled from our local animal shelter, where she had been surrendered by her owner because they felt she was "too much responsibility." Goldie had been down there several weeks and was so shy and timid that folks overlooked her, so the Humane Society needed to get her out.

 There are countless variables in the success of a non-profit in the world in which we live. Two of the most vital are funding and volunteers. One requires the gift of money. The other requires the gift of time. Both are crucial, and for some non-profits, the volunteer is even more important.   

One of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities I have every year is to volunteer for Junior Achievement. And if you don't know what they do, you should.  

For Josh and Samantha Giambalvo, the idea of bringing Frutta Bowls to Tuscaloosa sparked from a conversation with close friends. 

“Frutta Bowls was the brainchild of a family friend, Brooke Gagliano. She is very into health and wellness and she was out on the West Coast where this type of business has been booming for a couple of years,” Samantha Giambalvo said. “She brought the idea back to New Jersey and it wasn't long before my husband and her family were talking about building something here. Honestly, it was all Josh, he has been such a driving force behind this because he feels so strongly that this business will have such a positive effect on the community.”

With a tentative opening this coming June, Tuscaloosa will be the first Frutta Bowls location outside of New Jersey. And despite Frutta Bowls being new to the area, the Giambalvos are no strangers to owning a local business and giving back to the community. 

“Business is not at all a new thing to us. We have owned and operated Innovate Fitness since 2009, and we founded a non-profit called the Brayden House. Through these businesses, we have been able to build an amazing community around us that really allows us to do all kinds of things,” Josh Giambalvo said. “We currently foster, work with at-risk children, do motivational speaking and much more in the community ... none of which would be possible if God didn't put this community around us. He did so through our passions and businesses, “says Josh Giambalvo.  

When it comes to the Frutta Bowls products themselves, there is plenty for T-town diners to look forward to. Acai, pitaya, and kale bowls are favorites, along with fresh fruit smoothies and other specialty items. The biggest bragging point for the Tuscaloosa Frutta Bowls location is the quality of the ingredients and the staff, according to Samantha Giambalvo.

“The quality of the product that we are going to serve is unparalleled. We are working with local vendors, but the açai is being directly imported from Brazil. And we are very proud of that,” she said.

As for the staff, Giambalvo said they’re starting to hire and train now, and they look forward to fostering a welcoming environment for everyone.

“When you walk in the door, you're not just another customer, you are important and welcome. I can't wait until we start knowing our regulars by name.” 

Frutta Bowls Alabama is located at 2531 University Boulevard in downtown Tuscaloosa. For more information, visit facebook.com/FruttaBowlsAlabama.

Sheena Gregg is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino Foodie.” Follow her adventures at afilipinofoodie.com. 

It’s finally April, and for Bama football fans, this means one thing: A-Day is almost here. The University of Alabama’s Athletics Department has announced specifics for the myriad of activities that will take place on Saturday, April 22 at Bryant-Denny Stadium – including the opportunity for fans to take the field after the game, which kicks off at 2 p.m.

The A-Day game is the 15th and final practice of the spring. Gates open at 11 a.m. and admission will once again be free to the public.

It will be the program's 11th A-Day Game under the direction of five-time national championship coach Nick Saban. A myriad of activities punctuate the 2017 Golden Flake A-Day Game that will be televised on ESPN by Kirk Herbstreit, Joe Tessitore, Joey Galloway, and Laura Rutledge calling the game from field level.

Game day will get started with the Mercedes-Benz Fan Fest, which will open at 8 a.m. adjacent to Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Fan Fest will feature free giveaways, musical entertainment, sampling events, the Coca-Cola Kids Zone, live radio remotes, vehicle displays, the annual UA athletic apparel/game program sale and other fun fan activities open to the public. Numerous food vendors will be open on the Walk of Champions Plaza starting at 10 a.m.

The City of Tuscaloosa will host the USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Club and High School National Championships on Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 around the city. Top collegiate triathletes from across the country will be traveling to Tuscaloosa to compete in the race.

Due to this event, certain roads and areas will be closed.

Earth Day celebrates its 47th year in 2017. Beginning in 1970, Earth Day has the credit for kickstarting the modern environmental movement.

“Earth Day is important because it is a certain day set aside to remind us of how important our environment is and why it needs to be taken care of,” said Neal Hargle, Tuscaloosa County Extension Agent. “If we are not reminded how important it is, we may misuse or abuse our environment and lose some of our precious resources that we cannot get back for others to enjoy.” 

In the past two years, The Friends of the Library has contributed more than $88,000 to the Tuscaloosa Public Library. Operated by a volunteer staff that only accepts cash or checks, The Friends of the Library store remains a bookworm’s dream.

“The dedicated volunteers who run the bookstore help to promote the library in the community and within local organizations,” said Vince Bellofatto, the library’s director of public relations and marketing. “The FOL bookstore is a draw for the Main library. Customers who visit the bookstore also take a trip to the library to check out materials. This is just a wonderful partnership.”

Walter Turner, a Tuscaloosa resident, was recently awarded the “Patriotism Award” by Kris McBride, Third Region President, Association of the United States Army (AUSA), for his continuous support of the veterans in Tuscaloosa. Turner has held numerous positions in the Veterans of Foreign War.

Say how much you enjoy reading together

Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Talk about "story time" as the favorite part of your day. Snuggle up close as you read so your child will associate reading with a warm, loving feeling.

Greetings, all. Here’s to yet another outstanding week of exciting events here in Tuscaloosa and Northport. This week, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy yourself.

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

The Holy Spirit Catholic School Drama Department presented School House Rock, Jr. the weekend of March 31 at the Holy Spirit stage.

From an early age, each of us has an expectation of fairness. This conviction reaches a pinnacle when we believe that someone has treated us unfairly. However, we can easily rationalize when we have treated others less than they deserve. When we are the grieved party, we can hold onto that injustice for years, and even a lifetime. Our culture’s pursuit of fairness has made forgiveness truly a rare commodity. In my work with youth, I hear students say, “He doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.” As if forgiveness is somehow earned. But forgiveness is the exact of opposite of fairness. It is literally treating ourselves unfairly. 

A raging torrent of muddy water swept past Tuscaloosa, completely submerging three closely spaced locks and dams. In the previous 32 hours, eight inches of rain had fallen and added to the already swollen river. University of Alabama President W. S. Wyman wrote that, “On April 16 there occurred the highest and most violent flood on the Black Warrior River ever known.” Fortunately, most of the city at that time sat safely above the water, and no lives were lost. There were other great floods, such as those of 1874, 1892, and 1979, but the spring flood of 1900 topped them all. 

 

The Black Warrior is a major river in Central and West Alabama. It flows into the Tombigbee at Demopolis and extends through Tuscaloosa and into Jefferson County, where it branches into the Sipsey, Mulberry, and Locust Forks. It is 169 river miles in length, with a drainage basin that includes parts of 15 counties. In the Tuscaloosa area, North River and Hurricane Creek are major tributaries. 

 

In the past, some considered it to be two separate rivers—the Black Warrior upstream from Tuscaloosa and the Warrior downstream. It has been said this was an attempt to increase spending for improvements, since Congress once appropriated funds on a per river basis. However, from the point of view of “fluvial geomorphology,” the science of how streams shape and are shaped by their surroundings, it could indeed be considered two rivers. 

 

Above Tuscaloosa, the Black Warrior flows through the Appalachian Plateau. For countless millennia, the river has slowly cut through layers of bedrock to create a stable channel with a relatively narrow floodplain. In many areas, it is lined with cliffs and bluffs. Before navigation locks were built, there were numerous shoals and waterfalls. 

 

Below Tuscaloosa lies the Coastal Plain, an area of little if any erosion resistant bedrock. There the river has created a broad flat floodplain. Like a slow-moving snake, the channel constantly changes position or meanders, eroding the outside of bends, while on the inside depositing sandbars that eventually become riverbanks. When bends expand too far, the river reroutes on a shorter path leaving channel remnants that become oxbow lakes and, eventually, swamps. Locally some of these include Snag, Moon, and Big Lakes near Fosters and Touson, Keaton, and Hull Lakes near Moundville. As oxbows slowly silt up they support cypress, tupelo gum, and other rooted vegetation, creating features such as Moody and Englewood Swamps. 

 

For most of the 19th century, Tuscaloosa was the head of navigation. Beginning in the 1890s, 11 locks were eventually built, making the entire Black Warrior navigable. All but one were built with locally quarried Pottsville sandstone. These structures were known as Locks 7 through 17. By the second half of the 20th century, the original locks were replaced with four high-lift locks, three located in Tuscaloosa County. 

 

Despite extensive modification, the Black Warrior and its tributaries are still home to a great variety of aquatic life. Recently, at least 130 species of fish have been documented, as well as 36 species of freshwater mussels (three times that found in all of Europe). It has been conjectured that these large numbers are due to a variety of habitats, long term geological stability, and a lack of glaciers during the Ice Ages. 

 

Central and West Alabama receive about 50 inches of rainfall annually, resulting in an average runoff of about a million gallons per day per square mile of watershed.  As a result, the average flow in the Black Warrior at Tuscaloosa is almost 8000 cubic feet per second, or about five billion gallons per day, more than enough for operating the locks and dams, generating power at three hydroelectric plants, and a number of other uses. 

 

For thousands of years, people from ancient Native Americans to today’s population have utilized the Black Warrior River. The river and its tributaries continue to serve as wildlife habitat while providing water, transportation, food, recreation, and power for more than a million people—almost a quarter of all Alabamians.  

 

While it’s true you can’t please everyone all the time, you can when you cook Italian. And that’s exactly what I recommend: try this baked spaghetti dish for a new twist on an old favorite that’s sure to please. Nothing makes everyone slow down and sit down like a great, hearty meal.  

And, speaking of new twists, if you’re looking for a desert option for Easter, these mini pineapple upside-down cakes are so much fun. They’re perfect for the holiday.  

Here’s to another great month of gathering around the dinner table. Bon appétit!  

The City of Tuscaloosa will host the 11th Annual Tuscaloosa Mayor’s Cup on Saturday  April 29. The Mayor’s Cup is a 5K and 10K race in support of the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative. 

The race will start and end at Government Plaza behind City Hall. The route will go through downtown and cross through the Walk of Champions on the University of Alabama campus. 

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Truck & Wheel Group in Vance on April 11, with members of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority (TCIDA) and Graham & Company real estate company on hand. Construction on the new 127,000-square-foot, $35-million wheel assembly factory is underway. It is expected to open in 2018, creating approximately 70-75 new jobs.

Truck & Wheel Group will be the supplier for wheel assemblies – industrial tires and sequencing for automotive manufacturers in the region. This is Spanish company’s first U.S. operation.

This is Ryder, a darling 8-9-month-old male boxer/retriever mix.  Ryder is this week’s Humane Society of West Alabama Pet of the Week.

Spring is upon us, so how are your closets looking? If you answered, ‘Umm,’ or ‘You don’t want to know,’ or if you’re just not into spring cleaning at all, you’re not alone. 

“In my experience, most people are in someway overwhelmed with too much ‘stuff.’  Americans in general over the past 20 to 30 years have accumulated lots of things,” said Lanora Bayer, owner and organizer behind Beautifully Organized. “I've found that once a lot of those things are eliminated, people seem to be happier. I tell folks once it's gone, you'll never miss it.”

Greetings, all. Here’s to yet another outstanding week of exciting events here in Tuscaloosa and Northport. This week, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy yourself.

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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