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By Tori Linville

Walter Energy, also known as Jim Walter Resources, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July. With it came the possibility of more than 500 position layoffs. The latest round of layoffs totaled with 265 positions eliminated from the company’s No. 7 mine in Brookwood on Nov. 3.

This isn’t the first time the No. 7 mine has suffered. In the same month the company declared bankruptcy, 180 positions were cut in the Brookwood mine. Heather Bosch, a 27-year-old mother of two, said she decided to help because she knew what the miners and families were about to face.

“I’ve been in their shoes,” she said. “I’ve had no job with two kids, and one of the hardest questions to have a child ask is ‘Mommy, why can’t we have this?’ and it’s so hard to have to say ‘We don’t have the money.’”

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If you are anything like me, you like to plan out your week so you can be best efficient with your time and money.  However, this does not always happen, especially when one needs to make a large meal for many guests.  So, this list of ingredients was put together to help you manage your time well over the Thanksgiving week. 

Christmas Afloat, the lighted holiday boat parade along the Black Warrior River, is returning to Tuscaloosa and Northport on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. The event, put on by the “Pirates of the Warrior” boat club, had been held annually since 1990, but the April 2011 tornado destroyed so many boats, a three-year hiatus was taken.

“We are proud as a Boat Club to bring Christmas Afloat back to Tuscaloosa,” said Ken DeWitt, chairman of the event. “This has long been a local holiday tradition, but our club was battered hard by the storm in 2011, and we are slowly but surely returning to our former numbers.”

President Stuart Bell announced on Wednesday that UA will hire a central diversity officer and develop a new diversity plan.

In a press release, Bell said he’s directed UA’s Strategic Planning Council to include the addition of the diversity officer as part of its work. He’s also charged two senior administrators with assessing the University’s current diversity initiatives.

By Stan J. Griffin: November 18, 2015

After a long regular season, and then two rounds of the state high school football playoff following that weekly grind, the season is still alive for six schools in the Tuscaloosa/West Alabama area.
Also alive are dreams of possibly advancing to the Super Seven state title games at Tuscaloosa's Bryant-Denny Stadium, with those contest set to begin on Dec. 2.
First things first, however, and those title aspirations must be put on hold for now as most of the remaining area teams must be focused on taking care of business in quarterfinal play Friday night.
One team, however, that will actually be playing for a state title this Friday is Webb Tutt's Marengo Academy Longhorns.
The Longhorns, led by quarterback/running back Hayden Huckabee and defensive end/tight end Cason Cook among others, have rolled to a 10-1 record, and are now set to play for the AISA Class AA championship at Troy University in Tutt's first season as Longhorn coach.
No. 4 Marengo Academy, which ousted Pickens Academy last week 48-7 will go up against 12-0 Edgewood in a rematch of last season's title game, which Edgewood captured 55-25.

By Liz Stephens

It’s that time: Time to start planning your music festivals for 2016. And really, you need to – it is an expensive habit. Luckily for those of us who aren’t rolling in the dough, many of these festivals have payment plans…OR they announce early enough to allow us to save some cash ahead. And now we know the lineup for next year’s big Hangout Music and Arts Festival in Gulf Shores May 20-22. It’s a doozie. You’re going to want to go.

Why? The lineup. That's why.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is making another campaign stop in Alabama. Trump will hold a rally at the BJCC this Saturday, Nov. 21, at 11 a.m.

Secretary of State John Merrill confirmed Trump’s upcoming visit.

“I am confident that Mr. Trump’s appearance will be welcomed with enthusiasm, just as it was in Mobile,” said Merrill.

Tuscaloosa’s Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) is hosting its first annual “Play for Prevention” fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 20 at Band of Brothers Brewing Company. The event is a fundraiser for CAPS, and a fun one, so if you love to get out and play games, here’s your chance to do it for a great cause.

Students from Holy Spirit Catholic School participated in the BEST Robotics competition sponsored by Shelton State Community College and Mercedes Benz on October 31. Team members included Holy Spirit Students Alex Kincaid, Danika Louw, Olivia Wyatt, David Fonseca, Kameron Woolverton, Zach Davis, Daniel Fonseca, Hallie Oswalt, Natalie Merchan, Abraham Moreno, Marty Maggi.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin: November 16, 2015

As the No. 2 Alabama football team steps away from conference play this week for a Saturday battle against Big South Conference opponent Charleston Southern, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban acknowledged Monday that much of the emphasis of this week, as per usual, is improvement in his own team from its last game, a 31-6 win over Mississippi State on Saturday.

"We got off to a little bit of a slow start (against the Bulldogs) in the game and just didn't seem to have the energy, especially offensively, to pay attention to detail and get the kind of execution we needed against a very good defensive team," he said. "We played a lot better in the second half and made some big, explosive plays that made a big difference in the game. Defensively, we did a good job of affecting the quarterback (sacking MSU quarterback Dak Prescott nine times) and played well in the red zone. That was probably the difference in the game. We probably didn't tackle as well in space as we'd like to, and we gave up a few big plays that we probably shouldn't have. Those are things that we definitely need to work on and try to fix."

Saban noted that senior tailback Kenyan Drake, who sustained a fractured arm during Saturday's game, had successful surgery Monday and will likely be out at least a couple of week.

"Then (after that period where he cannot play), it will be, how functional can he be at this position with what he has," he said, also noting that freshman defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is day-to-day in terms of practice this week, and he will be questionable for Saturday's game.

Fitzpatrick suffered a sprained knee against MSU, and he and Drake both suffered their injuries during second quarter play against the Bulldogs.

This week's contest marks the last game in Bryant-Denny Stadium for Alabama's seniors, and Saban spoke about that fact, and praised the senior players for their representation of UA both on and off the field.
"It's the last game for a lot of our seniors who have had a great career here and contributed and had a lot of success, and I certainly hope that our fans will show the kind of appreciation that we all should have for what their hard work, and their blood, sweat and tears have contributed to the program over the last four or five years," he said. "A lot of good people and a lot of successful guys, and guys that are going to be successful in life. They've been great ambassadors for the University of Alabama and this program. We're just very thankful for them for what they've contributed."

In terms of Saturday's 3 p.m. game (SEC Network) against Charleston Southern, Saban said third-year coach Jamey Chadwell will bring in a very talented Buccaneer team.
"Charleston Southern is 9 and 1, and probably one of the best teams in their FCS division, and they're ranked in the Top 10 in almost every current category, and one of the top defenses in that league, as well as very productive offensively," he said. "A different style of offense than we've played against, a lot of option and split back and a lot of options that we have not played against and their quarterback Austin Brown does a really good job. He's a very athletic guy who can run as well as he is a good passer. So this is going to be a challenging game for us from a preparation standpoint. Their defense has created a lot of negative plays and very quick. They play a 3-4 and they do a good job in their pressure package in creating negative plays, so this is a good team that we're playing, and hopefully our players will have the kind of respect they need to go out and play good, positive and winning football against them."

He said there are similarities between Charleston Southern and the Georgia Southern team that Alabama played in 2011, in terms of the Buccaneer option offense. But he added that Georgia Southern ran more of a Georgia Tech-style true option offense, and that Charleston Southern presents more multiple formations which create adjustment issues for an opposing defense relative to remaining sound on the option.

When asked about the play of junior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, who was a key  part of Alabama's effective pass rush against MSU Saturday, Saban began his response with a lighthearted reference to the inadvertent hit that he took from the 6-foot-3, 283-pound lineman before that game started, leading to a noticeable abrasion on the coach's cheek.

"The first thing is knocking the hell out of the coach," he said, drawing a big chorus of laughter from the assembled media. "Jonathan was a really good high school on-the-edge pass rush guy, very, very good. I think he has gotten bigger and developed a lot of strength to where now he can rush off the edge, but he's a really effective inside rusher because he's gotten bigger and stronger. Certainly he plays the run a lot better and he's athletic and he can still move. I think that's the biggest difference, he just gotten, each year he's been here, a little bigger and stronger. He's always been very athletic and great first-step quickness. He does a great job of using his hands and moving his feet, which is critical in being a good pass rusher."

Asked about the process that goes into the scheduling of non-conference tilts against opponents such as Charleston Southern, the Tide coach said Alabama is sometimes limited in terms of its option when trying to assemble a schedule.

"We don't have a lot of choices," said Saban. "It's not like when you go into a restaurant and you get the menu and say, 'OK, we can play these 24 different teams, which one do we want to play?' Most of the time we're bargaining and begging to get anybody to play us, and so we don't always have a lot of choice, and especially lately where since we went to 14 teams in the league, it put the SEC schedule back a little bit in terms of when we got it so (the Tide was forced to fill in their schedule as well as it could), so those things have been challenges for us in scheduling, and we're going to continue to do the best we can in trying to get the best opponents, but we always don't have a lot of choice."

Alabama junior running back Derrick Henry and Allen earned SEC Player of the Week recognition following the win at Starkville Saturday, the league office announced on Monday.
Henry was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the fourth time this season after rushing for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries against the Bulldogs. He has rushed for more than 200 yards in consecutive games and three of the past four overall, with each coming against teams ranked in the top-20 nationally. Henry broke free for touchdown runs of 74 and 65 yards to extend his school record of consecutive games with a rushing touchdown to 15, the longest such streak by an SEC player in the last 20 seasons.

In his first season as the team’s starting running back, Henry has amassed 1,474 yards and 19 touchdowns on 240 carries for a 6.1 yard average. He is currently the national leader in rushing touchdowns and ranks second overall in yards rushing. The junior tailback has performed his best in the Tide’s six games against ranked opponents, averaging 178.7 yards per game (1,072 yards) and scoring 12 touchdowns.    

Allen was recognized as the Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week after a dominant performance in Starkville. The junior defensive end finished the day with seven tackles, including three tackles for loss (-17 yards), to go along with three sacks, one forced fumble, and a quarterback hurry. Allen is the first Alabama player to record three sacks in a game since Courtney Upshaw did it against Auburn in 2010. The Alabama defense collectively totaled nine sacks, representing the most by any unit in a single game under head coach Nick Saban.  

In addition to those honors, Saban and his coaching staff recognized ten Crimson Tide standouts as players of the week following the win against MSU.

Henry, Cam Robinson and ArDarius Stewart were the honorees on offense, while  Allen, Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster represented the defense. Kenyan Drake, Adam Griffith, Cyrus Jones and Bradley Sylve made the special teams list.

It was announced by the SEC Monday that the Nov. 28 Iron Bowl contest between Alabama and Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium will begin at 2:30 p.m., with CBS televising the game.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

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It’s not what you think

By Amelia Pilsch

In an early Master Gardener class, when the topic was preparing soil for planting, a member asked the speaker about “lasagna gardening.” Now, I had never heard this term before, and it felt a little sketchy when the speaker appeared to brush over the question.  I asked my seat mate about it, and later, "Googled" it to learn more.

Preparing a new garden bed using the lasagna method refers to building a garden by adding layers of organic materials that will “cook down” over time, resulting in rich soil that will help your plants thrive. Also called sheet composting, you don't have to dig at all - you simply layer your materials directly on top of the ground where you’ve planned your new garden, even on top of the grass

Being a single, teacher person, and getting a little long in the tooth, I thought my days of creating a new garden space were over. Honestly, cutting the grass has even become a chore, but I still prefer that chore over the alternate, indoor kind. The idea of creating a new bed without the hours of back breaking labor seemed very appealing to me. Plus, I already had a space in mind and, I’d been saving an inspiration picture...don't judge me. I decided to give it a try.

I started my garden in the fall after a friend built the trellises along the wall. I used my garden hose to outline the new space, then covered the entire area in cardboard and newspaper. Here's a tip: I filled my garden cart with water and soaked the newspaper to keep it from blowing around before I added another layer.

The paper and cardboard are an invitation to earthworms, they love paper and are vital for good soil. Earthworms aerate the soil as they move by burrowing small holes. They process organic matter in their bodies and return vital compounds to the soil, increasing the nutrients available to plants.

The second layer that I added was peat moss. I have learned that using peat moss is environmentally unfriendly and non-sustainable. I'd recommend mulch instead. Sometimes, peat moss can turn into a wet, mushy bog, but not to worry, my bed is fine. I topped the peat with wheat hay, covered the entire concoction with a tarp and left it for several weeks. From time to time, I’d uncover the space, add another layer and wet it with the hose. I used manure, mushroom compost, more hay, grass clippings, and hardwood leaves.

When spring came, I started adding items to my new bed. I decided to experiment with espalier, training a shrub to grow flat against a wall using my trellises. I selected Camellia Sasanqua "October Magic" because I needed something evergreen and loved the idea of having blooms in the fall. I also added three dwarf lorepetulums. Existing plants included a hydrangea, a gardenia, irises and day lilies. Instead of a fountain, I installed a bird bath.

I needed a way in and out so I put in pavers, but hope to replace those with personalized, stepping stones, mementos of my family. It's still a work in progress but that is the beauty of gardening isn't it?

Follow Tuscaloosa County Master Gardeners on Twitter @TuscCoGardeners

Photos: Amelia Pilsch


Article sponsored by First South Farm Credit.

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The annual Wagner’s Turkey Trot is set for Saturday, November 21. This two-mile race is a great way to get new runners involved, and it’s also a way to increase membership in the Tuscaloosa Track Club.

It all began in 2004: A veteran teacher and a parent of a child with autism decided that an after school and summer camp program was needed for children in the area with autism. With that, Arts 'n Autism was born. Since then, the organization has provided services for kids and adults ages 2 to 24 with autism spectrum disorders in West Alabama, including after school care, summer camps and arts-based therapy.

On Thursday, Nov. 19, the annual Evening of Arts and Autism event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Harrison Galleries in downtown Tuscaloosa. The evening features a showcase of student art benefiting Arts ‘n Autism, a silent auction and raffle, live music by the Rising Road Celtic Ensemble, refreshments (including wine) and more.

By Stan J. Griffin: November 16, 2015

The second round of the state high school football playoffs proved fruitful for six teams in the Tuscaloosa/West Alabama area as lived to play for at least another week, with their dreams of capturing a state championship still very much alive.

However, for seven other local schools, their title hopes were squelched as successful seasons ended in defeat.
One of those teams that continues its hunt for that state title trophy, while also chasing perfection is Ryan Lolley's Gordo Greenwave.

The No. 2 Greenwave moved to 12-0 on the season last Friday, while advancing in the Class 3A playoffs with an impressive 33-14 road win against Opp.
After a scoreless first quarter, Gordo exploded in the second period, outscoring the host Opp team 21-0.

At the end of three, Gordo still had a comfortable 27-6 advantage and was able to hold onto a comfortable lead in the final quarter.
Opp's season ended at 8-4.

Koy Chapman threw three touchdown passes, to Tyler Davis, Ben Davis and Collin Herring, for the Greenwave, which now hosts Bayside Academy.

In other playoff action involving Tuscaloosa/West Alabama teams last Friday, it was:

Fayette County 40, Cleburne County 23:  Lance Tucker's Tigers improved to 8-4 and advanced in the Class 4A playoffs by defeating Cleburne County in Heflin.

The Exchange Club of Tuscaloosa recently presented donations totaling $45,000 to several local agencies. Money for the donations came from the Exchange Club’s annual Chili Cookoff, held each year in February.

The Exchange Club donated $20,000 to Easter Seals of West Alabama and Hospice of West Alabama. In addition, $5000 was donated to the Miracle League.

The City of Tuscaloosa is doing quite well, according to an analysis by the New York personal finance company SmartAsset, which just released its list of the Top 10 Places Where Poverty is falling the fastest.

Tuscaloosa comes in at number nine on the list – with poverty rates that have “plummeted” since 2005, even as poverty rates nationwide (and particularly in major metropolitan areas) has increased.

Each year theater students from across the state come together for The Walter Trumbauer Secondary Theatre Festival, where they perform their best acts to be judged by qualified theater practitioners and teachers. This year students from Paul W. Bryant High School took away six superior ratings at their district 2 festival, which was held at Corner High School on Nov. 7.  Keri Cook, Desiree Applewhite, Kimberlyn Beale, Courtney Holye, Erin Murphy and Olivia Melton were each awarded with superior ratings, in categories ranging from costume design to comedic monologue, but the students also won the prestigious Best in Show award for the piece they presented for Studio Theatre. Their successes have qualified them for the state competition, which will be held Dec. 4 at Troy University.

Congratulations to these students, and a special thank you to their teacher Melissa Bailey.


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By Courtney Corbridge

In her twenty-six years of teaching, Kathy Thompson has covered five of the district’s twelve elementary schools—from Northington to Skyland to Woodland Forrest to Oakhill and finally Southview, where she currently teaches. But her teaching career didn’t start until her thirties. “I was just going to be a mom,” she said. “I stayed home until my kids were in school or daycare. . . My husband worked in the mines.”

In order to provide more financial stability for her home, however, she eventually decided to go back to school. “I knew that I wanted to go into teaching, but the idea of a whole class just didn’t appeal to me,” she said. “I wanted to work more with smaller groups, and so by the time I got to my second or third year in college, I decided I wanted to go into special education.”

Courtesy of DCM Fan Zone

By Erik Stinnett

It was a big weekend for Alabama. 

Not only did the Crimson Tide notch a pivotal and convincing victory over visiting LSU on Saturday, it also hosted a number of recruits who, no doubt, came away impressed with what they saw at Bryant-Denny Stadium. And then a few days later Alabama reeled in a key commitment for its 2017 class -- a hometown kid.

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By Tori Linville


If your deck or patio has seen more dried up leaves, stray grass and weeds this summer than actual activity, you might be in need of an outdoor living space overhaul. Or maybe you just don’t feel like you’re getting enough out of your outdoor space. Well, we’ve gathered three of outdoor entertainment’s go-to and top trends to help you fix your outdoor woes in order to reach your seasonal escape.


First things first – start with an ideal outdoor room.


The classic outdoor room not only establishes an outdoor area, but also makes for a welcoming environment that guests will enjoy. The experts at have some great tips and tricks that make this seemingly overwhelming task a pretty easy fix.


·      Start with a roof that frames your outdoor area – a pergola with some vine potential or even an awning are some options to check out. After dealing with the roof, go to the ground: lay out an outdoor rug that compliments your color scheme and/or outdoor furniture.


·      Speaking of color schemes and what not, go for bulky(ish) furniture and earth tones that will obviously compliment the surroundings. Furniture pieces that allow for a guest to kick back and relax are almost always preferred over a dainty lawn chair (if those even exist). Easy care fabrics are an obvious choice for weather-wear.


·      Lastly, add some lighting. String lights here are a popular craze, but anything you prefer will do. Just as long as you have some to illuminate the area when it’s dark out.


Check out more info. here on how to get the perfect backyard escape.


Next up: an unforgettable grill


If there’s one trend that will never go out of style, it’s the outdoor stovetop otherwise known as a grill.


High-tech grills with tons of features can be found virtually everywhere. For example, the Saber Smart Edge Grill was Consumer Reports’ favored grill with infrared top and optional ceramic glass lid. If watching the food slowly cook wasn’t enough, the grill hooks up to WiFi so a phone can keep track of when to cook, when to clean and when to fuel up.


If you’re looking for a more straightforward number, other Consumer Reports grills included the Weber Spirit E-220, the Weber Spirit SP-320 and a Kenmore grill. See them (and other cooking gadgets) here.


Lastly, throw in a fire pit for a multipurpose focal point


Don’t actually throw one, but you get the point. Fire pits have been all the rage for a while and for good reason. As a center point for décor arrangements, the fire pit isn’t just for show. It’s also warmth, light and even serves as a Smores maker.


Also, it’s probably one of the biggest draws for winter outdoor entertainment (if you’re brave enough). That being said, a fire pit practically pays for itself.


Consumer Reports likes the Alfresco Fire N Table, Forshaw and Waterstone for a variety of reliable and quality fire pits.


Honorable Mention: outdoor movies, anyone?


A new, refreshing entertainment piece is the re-emergence of the outdoor screen for at-home enjoyment (in place of drive-thru movies, of course).


While a projector would be necessary, a screen could just as easily be made with some bed sheets and nails. If you’re feeling the outdoor movie vibe like we were, all you need is a blank wall (or screen) to get started!


Full outdoor entertainment systems are available on sites like Amazon but first, check out this article to see what it takes to blow away your guests with your outdoor film.

Photo Credit:


Article sponsored by Bama Exterminating and the Geoffrey Shook Agency of State Farm.

Find Bama Exterminating on the web at:



Find the Shook Agency of State Farm on the web at:

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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