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Although it has been happening since the beginning of time, it seems these days that more life-threatening events have been happening around us.
We are no longer able to calmly sit in a diner ("Face the door," a policeman told me recently). At concerts, we now anticipate what "might happen" as we try to embrace the music.
Luke Bryan's "People are Good" is a recent song that resonates in my mind as I write this. We can find good people all around.
A recent policeman client told me every day he wakes up anticipating “what next.” He told me how often people harass him, tell him they hate him. Here he is, a young kid who at one time in life dreamed of being a policeman. He gets up every day, or stays out every night, so that we can have rest and peace. What has happened to our world?
Even events that are unplanned, such as the recent tragedy of the lost life on an airplane due to a blown engine, can remind us that we are not in control.
I don't bring these situations to light to point out the bad in life. I do so to remind you to embrace the good.
Just this morning, I will be picking up a stranger to introduce him to Lake Tuscaloosa, so that he might find the perfect spot for family memories while his grown kids attend the University. I must trust that he is who he says he is (a background check isn't a bad thing either).
Just yesterday, while riding through a neighborhood on the lake to scope out property, I saw a kid, no older than 10, walking alone from the bus stop. He stopped when I slowly went by, giving me a cautious glance, then went back to being a kid. I watched in the rearview mirror as he slapped the roadside and watched pods of flowers and grass filter up into the afternoon sunlight. His risk? Being alone on a back road. My reward? Watching his focus on the mundane and remembering the miles I put on tires at his age, climbing gravel hills to put a penny down before the train in the distance, and wading with friends beneath highways in culverts to see what was on the other side.
Those were adventures taken without cell phones… and probably without our parents having any idea where we were or when we might come home.
There is risk every time we leave our homes. There is risk within our homes. We have to embrace the potential rewards and not be afraid of life.
We are not guaranteed anything, not even tomorrow. But for now, the night of peaceful sleep I got after writing this, and getting it out of my brain, is a great thing to savor.
I think about a lady sleeping tonight under a bridge. Read about her on my most recent blog post, "Something About Mary," at allisonpadams.com.
Sometimes, the reward is just being able to be right where you are.
Have a blessed and adventurous summer.
And the burger bash continues! Last month, I shared a few of my favorite burgers with you, but now I’ve got more. Don’t think for a minute that this next batch isn’t worthy of being celebrated. To be honest, this pregnant foodie has had a selfish agenda of meticulously tasting all the best burgers that Tuscaloosa has to offer… you can thank me later.
I’d like to think of the burger at FIVE as the “date night” burger. Despite the obvious ambience that makes FIVE a desirable place to take your sweetie, the food is pretty awesome as well. Is it the fancy bacon relish that makes the burger great? Perhaps. What about the double patty? That’s a definite possibility. Though I can’t give you a definite answer, I can tell you that my taste buds scream “YES” once I get that first bite of a FIVE burger. No matter what your reasons are for choosing the burger at FIVE, we can all agree that it’s delicious. Complemented by fries and FIVE’s signature house salad of mixed greens, fruit, almonds, goat cheese, and house vinaigrette, FIVE’s burger aims to give you that all-American experience worthy of “date night.”
Hooligan’s Mediterranean Restaurant
Who says you can’t get a great burger at a Mediterranean joint? Cruise down University Boulevard, or visit any other Hooligan’s location for lunch or dinner, and I guarantee that at least half the patrons have opted for Hooligan’s cheeseburger. Dressed in a sesame seed bun and nestled in an iconic red basket, Hooligan’s burger should be in your regular lunch rotation… it is for me! The portions are generous, and the quality of the meat is obvious in each bite. To add to the diner authenticity, crinkle cut fries with Hooligan’s dash of seasoning makes your meal complete. If you want to go extra special with your burger experience, consider choosing cheese fries, fried okra, cheese sticks, or a stuffed baked potato as a side to satisfy your hearty appetite.
Hooligan’s Mediterranean restaurant has locations on Hargrove Road, University Boulevard, and McFarland Boulevard.
Oasis Bar and Grill
Consider yourself incredibly lucky if a Tuscaloosa native whispers in your ear to try a cheeseburger from Oasis Bar and Grill in Cottondale. Ultra-foodies love the appeal of Oasis being a hole in the wall experience, but no matter what, the food speaks for itself. Sure, you may not find Oasis listed if you do a quick burger search on Google, but I promise that if you talk to the foodie elites of T-town, they’ll steer you to Cottondale to get the burger of your life. While my hubby loves the cheeseburger, I’ll let you in on a secret: My go-to choice is the Oasis patty melt on Texas toast with cheese, sautéed mushrooms, onions, and homemade brown gravy on the side.
The City of Tuscaloosa will hold an open house this Thursday, June 21, 3-6 p.m. at City Hall in the Daugherty Conference Room to discuss proposed updates to the City’s business license structure.
In this come-and-go event, business owners can review and provide feedback on the proposed amendments that were recommended after a thorough analysis comparing Tuscaloosa’s rates to other major municipalities in Alabama.
The types of businesses that could be affected are:
-Telecommunications: Local phone service and long-distance phone service
-Recreation: Carnivals, circuses and rodeos
-Financial: Check cashing and title loan businesses
-Storage: Warehousing, mini storage and self-storage
-Waste collection: Collection, landfill and recycling
Business licenses are second only to the sales and use tax as a general fund revenue source in Tuscaloosa; the sales tax makes up roughly half of the general fund and licenses make up 15 percent. In the 2017 license year, 11,219 licenses were issued, and they generated approximately $23 million in revenue. The proposed changes could yield an estimated additional annual revenue of $46,900 and could affect approximately 100 businesses.
By updating Tuscaloosa’s business license structure, the City will continue to evolve with today’s economic environment. The proposed effective date of any changes is the 2019 license year.
The Bama Belle Riverboat will be rocking during an upcoming fundraiser to help support the efforts to protect the Black Warrior River watershed. This Thursday, June 21 from 6-9 p.m., Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Hurricane Creekkeeper will share a joint fundraiser on the Black Warrior River.
The sunset cruise on board the Bama Belle is a public event to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Creekkeeper – the Friends of Hurricane Creek’s environmental enforcement program led by John Wathen.
“John Wathen is a world-famous defender of water,” said Charles Scribner, Executive Director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper. “Alabama is blessed to have John as its Hurricane Creekkeeper, and Black Warrior Riverkeeper is grateful to have the Friends of Hurricane Creek as a partner.”
“It has been our honor and pleasure to be associated with such a powerful family of water advocates as Waterkeeper Alliance,” Wathen added.
Proceeds from the event will support both Waterkeeper Alliance organizations’ work to promote swimmable, fishable, and drinkable water. Hurricane Creek is a major tributary of the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County.
Admission includes dinner catered by The Levee, and a complimentary sampling of local beers by Druid City Brewing. The local band the NoJoes will provide music during the cruise. Boarding begins at 6 p.m., and the boat leaves at 6:30 p.m. This event is for ages 21 and up. Guests under 21 can attend with a parent or guardian, but will need a ticket – as space is limited. Tickets are on sale for $40 per person at bamabelle2018.eventbrite.com.
It’s part concert, part storytelling, and for Tuscaloosa, it’s an event that is the first of its kind.
The inaugural Druid City Songwriters Festival will be held June 21-24 in downtown Tuscaloosa and will feature more than 40 songwriters.
“It’s a new type of event that we are bringing to the area,” said Megan McMillan, a local songwriter who is organizing the festival.
McMillan said she has participated in songwriter festivals in other areas and has enjoyed them more than anything else she’s ever done. That’s why she wanted to bring one to Tuscaloosa.
“The whole idea of the songwriter rounds that make up the festival started in Nashville,” she said.
A songwriter round is made up of three or four writers who are on stage together. During a round, each songwriter will play a song they wrote and then share the story behind the song. After each writer performs three or four songs, the group moves to another venue, and other writers take their place for the next round.
“Somebody in the audience can see nine to 12 songwriters in one venue, or they can follow the songwriter that they want to see to different venues,” McMillan said.
“It’s very personal, because it’s a side of the song and the performance that you don’t see otherwise. The whole round itself is very intimate. It’s like a storytelling performance. The stories are just as good as the songs, sometimes even better.”
While the performance rounds will be held in bars and restaurants, McMillan said audience members shouldn’t expect a party atmosphere.
“We’re going to promote listening-room environments. People will come in, get a drink, and listen to the songs. It’s not a party environment. It’s an environment where you pay your respect to the songwriter, who is telling their story.”
Audience members with a particular music preference will be able to hear their favorite genre as songwriters in country, folk, rock, blues, and even psychedelia are scheduled to appear. There is no charge to attend the performance rounds.
The festival begins with a welcoming party at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 21 at Black Warrior Brewing Company. Tommy Barnes, who wrote the song “Indian Outlaw” recorded by Tim McGraw, will perform.
On Friday, June 22 the performance rounds begin at 4 p.m. at Black Warrior Brewing Company, and Band of Brothers Brewing Company.
Barnes, along with hit songwriters Troy Martin and Steve Leslie, will perform at Government Plaza at 6 p.m. Other songwriters will perform at Rhythm and Brews, Green Bar, Copper Top, and Billy’s Sports Grill in Northport beginning at 6 p.m.
Leslie, a Grammy Award-winner, who has written songs recorded by Kenny Rogers, Mark Chesnutt, George Strait, Ricky Skaggs, and others, will hold a workshop for anyone interested in learning about songwriting on Saturday, June 23 at 10 a.m. at Hotel Indigo. The cost for the workshop is $25.
“Anyone interested in the Nashville songwriting process should come to the workshop,” Leslie said. “I’m going to talk about how we do it here, what we do once the song is written, and how much money can be earned.”
Saturday’s performance rounds begin at 2 p.m. at the breweries and 4 p.m. at the other locations.
The festival will conclude for the public on Saturday night, with the final round being held at the rooftop terrace at Hotel Indigo at 7 p.m. A farewell brunch for the songwriters will be held on Sunday, June 24.
During the weekend, an app for smartphones will be available to help audience members find where specific songwriters are performing. Schedules can also be picked up in the Hotel Indigo lobby or found on the Druid City Songwriters Festival website.
McMillan said songwriters and their followers have a passion for these types of music festivals, and she expects many visitors from outside Tuscaloosa. She had to turn away some artists who applied because this year’s festival just couldn’t accommodate them.
“I was really blown away by the amount of talent, and people from different states that applied, especially with this being our first year,” she said.
“We didn’t have anything to tell these people, but that we were doing a festival, and they’re coming in from all over just for the opportunity to do a festival like this.”
Leslie said he is glad Tuscaloosa is starting a songwriters’ festival.
“I love the idea,” he said. “The more opportunities available for people to hear and understand what it is we do the better! Also, inspiring younger songwriters is the best part of this job for me.”
“I want people to come out and give it a shot,” McMillan said, “because I really believe people are going to love it.”
For more information about the Druid City Songwriters Festival, visit druidcitysongwritersfest.com or @DCSF18 on Facebook.
Here are eight things you can do every day to help your child learn your family’s language and become successful in school:
Community Service Programs of West Alabama (CSP), Inc.’s Head Start/Early Head Start, Child Care Partnership, and Early Intervention programs engage families and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Safe and healthy children are ready to learn and explore their world.
Here’s wishing all our Druid City Living readers a great week, filled with all kinds of outstanding local events. Get out, get involved, and above all else: Have fun. And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at email@example.com. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.
Enjoy your week, T-Town!
Theatre Tuscaloosa’s Summer Theatre Camp: June 18-29, Sandra Hall Ray Fine Arts Center, Shelton State’s Martin Campus, Tuscaloosa. To register, or for more information, visit theatretusc.com.
Alabama Museum of Natural History Expedition: June 18-23. Participants will have the unique opportunity to work with scientists in the field of archaeology as part of an actual scientific research project to explore the history of Alabama. Students, teachers, and adults will spend a week at the Expedition field camp working with scientists to learn excavation techniques, laboratory procedures, and artifact identification. For more information, visit museums.ua.edu.
Kids Clay Camps at Kentuck: Beginning June 19, The Clay Place, Kentuck’s Courtyard of Wonders. Red Dog Potter Shirley Hayes Dobbins instructs children on hand-building with clay, glazing, and self-expression. For more information, including age groups, pricing, and registration, call (205) 758-1257 or visit kentuck.org.
Bama Art House Films Summer Series: Tuesdays through July 17 (No screening on July 3), 7:30 p.m. Box office opens at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call (205) 758-5195 or visit bamatheatre.org/bamaarthouse.
Morning Pointe Rock-A-Thon: June 21, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Morning Pointe Tuscaloosa (1801 Rice Mine Road North). Meet on the porch, grab a rocking chair, enjoy live music, and help raise money for Alzheimer’s research. For more information, call 205-345-1112.
Druid City Songwriters Festival: June 21-23, Tuscaloosa. Venues throughout Tuscaloosa will welcome over 40 songwriters for a special “in the round” experience. For a complete schedule of performances and events, including host venues, visit @DCSF18 on Facebook.
Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Hurricane Creekkeeper River Cruise: June 21, 6-9 p.m. Bama Belle Riverboat, Tuscaloosa. This sunset cruise features live music, dinner, and local beer celebrates the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Creekkeeper. Proceeds support the Riverkeeper’s efforts to protect the Black Warrior River watershed. Ages 21 and up. Tickets: $40. To purchase, visit bamabelle2018.eventbrite.com.
Green Scenes Summer Movie Series Presents “Finding Dory”: June 22, 1-3 p.m. Richard A. Curry complex (3440 Kauloosa Avenue). Arrive early to get your seats, as seating is limited to the first 100. Enjoy free popcorn and refreshments! For more information or to reserve a large group, call Tuscaloosa 311.
Live at the Plaza: June 22, 6 to 9 p.m. Government Plaza, downtown Tuscaloosa. This week’s music is part of the Druid City Songwriter’s Festival – The Mulligan Brothers will also perform. This event is free.
3rd Annual Dirt, Sweat & Gears Trail Duathlon: June 23, 7:30 a.m. Lake Lurleen State Park. This DCH Foundation and DCH Sports Medicine’s event features a 10-mile trail bike ride followed by a 5K run. This duathlon also allows team competition. Tickets: $45 individual/$80 team. For more information, call (205) 759-7349.
National Rat Catcher’s Day at CHOM: June 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Children’s Hands-On Museum, downtown Tuscaloosa. Catch the rats in CHOM for a special prize. All activities are included in admission. For more information, visit chomonline.org.
T-Town BBQ Cook Off and Fun Day: June 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Benjamin Barnes YMCA, Tuscaloosa. Face-painting, bouncy houses, games & other children's activities; vendors, Greek paraphernalia, information booths, freebies, health fair, and chances to win prizes. Raffle tickets $5.00; you do not have to be present to win. Proceeds to provide scholarship money for deserving West AL students.
2018 Summer Northport Community Engagement Dinner: June 26, 5:30-7 p.m. The Levee, Northport. Join the Chamber, the Levee, and officials from Northport for dinner. This semi-annual event is designed to keep Northport business leaders and citizens informed on issues related to the Northport Community. Fees/admission: $20 (Chamber members); $30 (non-members). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secret Agent Saturday at CHOM: June 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Children’s Hands-On Museum, downtown Tuscaloosa. Secret messages and mysteries, agent badges and disguises…and more. All activities are included in admission. For more information, visit chomonline.org.
Tedeschi Trucks Band with Drive-By Truckers, Marcus King Band: June 30, 6:30 p.m. Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. Tickets available via Ticketmaster.com. For more information, call the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater Box Office at (205) 248-5280.
Month of June
Summer Camps 2018 at CHOM: STEM Fun plus CHOM Play. “ZOOM!” June 11 - 15 • 9:30am - 12:30pm • $175 Explore Chemistry, Engineering, Circuitry, Robotics! Campers will Mix it! Design it! Build it! and Move it! Campers end the week with a Survival Raft competition. “C.S.I. CHOM” June 18 – 22 • 9:30am - 12:30pm • $175 It’s Child Science Investigator week! Crime soars in the summer heat. Campers solve CHOM’s Crime of the Summer as they Dust it! Bag it! Detect it! and Prove it! On Friday they’ll Solve it! For more information, visit chomonline.org.
Tuscaloosa Career and Technology Academy Summer Camps: TCTA is offering free, four-day camps June 11-28, for students in grades 6 through 8. Camp topics include Engineering, Culinary Arts, Animation, Fire College, Police Academy, Cosmetology, Military/JROTC, TV Production, Drones, and Mercedes-Benz. Visit www.tuscaloosacityschools.com/Page/1947 for more information and to sign up.
Tuscaloosa Farmer’s Market: Saturdays, 7 a.m.-noon.; Tuesdays 3-6 p.m. Tuscaloosa River Market, 1900 Jack Warner Blvd, Tuscaloosa. Shop for fresh produce, grass fed beef, baked goods, cheeses and more. Buy fresh, buy local. For more information, visit tuscaloosarivermarket.com or call (205) 248-5295.
We have all heard the phrase, “If you don’t like the current weather, just wait awhile, it will change.” True, true! And it’s those changes that we need to pay attention to.
Not many years ago, weather forecasting was inaccurate, slow, and not very localized. No longer! With some exceptions, weather forecasting is very accurate, especially violent, bad weather conditions. Radio, TV, the internet, and our newspapers all have weather information vital to our enjoyment of boating. All we need to do is pay attention. If you have a marine radio, it has special channels for local weather that is very accurate, up-to-date, and localized for our area.
Let’s look at a possible weather scenario where we live.
It’s Monday, and you and some friends think it a great idea to go on a cruise next Saturday. Since the trip is recreational, there is no compelling reason to do it if the weather is bad. Here is a technique you might want to use.
Set up a series of times to make go-no-go decisions. On Monday, you look at the long-range weather forecast for the next weekend. You note that there is a warm front approaching from the west. Warm fronts mean cloudy, humid days with the possibility of rain. This one should hit our lake by Thursday. Then, we know that front will be followed by a cold front – just as sure as God makes little green apples. A cold front is often preceded by a very windy leading edge (called a roll cloud). You decide that the trip is still a go. On Wednesday, the warm front is still on its way and predicted to arrive on Thursday and depart by Saturday – it’s a fast one! So, the trip is still a go. On Thursday, the warm front arrives, and the forecast is still for it to depart on Saturday. You can still give this a go signal, but tomorrow will tell the tale. Friday evening, the warm front is about through, and the forecast is for the cold front to arrive on Saturday. Go or no-go? It’s iffy, but it looks like a go. It’s the usual cold front’s wind that is the question. You awake Saturday morning to a beautiful clear day – with winds approaching 30 MPH. Being prudent and not self-destructive, you declare a no-go; but Sunday looks perfect, so you simply delay your cruise one day.
Making go-no-go decisions also helps us once we are on the water. Often, we have a perfect day but with the threat of wide spread thunderstorms. You do NOT want to be on the water in one of those things. If you see one coming – you can hear the thunder and see dark clouds approaching, usually out of the south or west – make a beeline for shore. Any shore. If you can’t get back to your dock, just pull ashore anyplace and wait out the storm. Thunderstorms are usually quick. If you are caught in your boat, put on your life jacket, and stay low in the boat. Put out the anchor or, using power, head into the wind and waves at a 45-degree angle.
Learn more about weather and other boating topics by attending Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety classes. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 8 5 in Tuscaloosa is conducting a boating safety Class, About Boating Safely, on June 23 at the Tuscaloosa County Annex Auditorium (2501 7th Street) in Tuscaloosa. The class starts at 8:30 a.m. Successful completion of this course fulfills all requirements to obtain an Alabama Boaters License and may entitle you to discounts on your boat’s insurance premium.
For more information, or to register for the class, please call Lyn Spencer at (205)-394-7808 or e-mail email@example.com.