By Shane Dorrill

 

When Hilen Powell walked into the office of the Alabama Choir School earlier this month to begin her new job, she wasn’t entering unknown territory. She had been there before.

 

Like thousands of other students from West Alabama, Powell sang with the choir school from 1996 to 2007, beginning as a second-grader in the Children’s Chorus. During that time, she performed across the United States, Germany, Austria, and Canada. She even sang at the White House and was an inaugural member of the Chamber Choir, which was started in 2006 for high school students.

Hilen Powell will serve as Assistant Conductor and Administrator for the Alabama Choir School.

 

“I’m really excited to be back with the Alabama Choir School,” Powell said. “Being a member of ACS is the reason I chose to become a music educator. It ignited a passion that has become a career I love."

 

Powell holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education. She taught choral arts in the Tuscaloosa City Schools for the past two years. She is an active member of the Alabama Vocal Association, where she has served as the district chairperson for two years. She also serves on the Alabama American Choral Directors Association board.

 

Powell will serve as Assistant Conductor and Administrator for the Alabama Choir School. She replaces Freida Jacobs, who retired in June after 30 years of serving in many different roles at the school, her last being Executive Director.

 

“I've always admired Mrs. Jacobs and her passion for teaching. I hope to live up to the amazing legacy she has set.” Powell said.

 

“We’re excited to welcome Hilen back to the Alabama Choir School,” said Doff Procter, Alabama Choir School’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. “Not only are we excited about the amazing musical skill sets that Hilen brings to us from her training at the University, but she also has this wonderful 10 year history with our program, its philosophy and heritage. She is going to be a perfect fit for us.”

 

The Alabama Choir School, founded in 1985 by Karen Nicolosi as the Tuscaloosa Boychoir, has grown to five choirs, giving around 200 children each semester from the first through the 12th grades the chance to learn about and participate in the choral arts. The more advanced choirs are given the opportunity to travel and sing all around the world as witnessed by 53 singers from the Ambassador and Chamber Choirs performing in Japan earlier this summer.

 

The choir school is currently holding auditions for the fall semester. If you know a young musician who loves to sing, call the Alabama Choir School at (205) 758-0927, email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit them at www.alachoirschool.org for more information.

 

PhotoS: Alabama Choir School

By Amy Poore

 

If you’re looking for a cool treat to bring to a weekend gathering this summer, you can’t go wrong with anything chocolate and creamy. This chocolate mousse pie is absolutely delectable and will please everyone at the next backyard party.

 

By Tori Linville

 

So the new of summer has just about worn off and the local fro-yo store has been visited so many times, they know your name. Sound familiar? Don’t panic! We have some game changers for you. All of these easy-to-make summer treats can be made in the comfort of your judgment-free home. Sure enough, these will become your summertime staples in no time.

 

Eagles’ Wings’ newest fundraiser is one that’s sure to please all area seafood lovers. The First Annual Shrimpfest & Bar-B-Q is set for this Saturday, August 1, in historic downtown Northport. It promises to be a fantastic day for everyone in the community to enjoy.

The fun begins at 11 a.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. Expect a ton of great, fresh boiled shrimp, gumbo and of course Bar-B-Q. Live music will get everyone in a festival mood, too. For families, there are plenty of activities. A special kids’ area is set, including inflatables and a rock climbing wall. As if this weren’t enough, Cruisin’ with Classic Cars will be on hand so you can check out some of the area’s coolest, most lovingly restored stunning cars from yesteryear.

The meal tickets are $20 for adults, $50 for adults to also want a chance to win $10,000, and $10 for children.

Here’s the thing: Meal tickets for Shrimpfest and Bar-B-Q need to be purchased in advance, so be sure to get your tickets this week. You can purchase tickets at downtown Northport merchants’ stores, at local banks and at the Eagles’ Wings office in Coker. In Tuscaloosa, Talbots in Merchants Walk has tickets for sale.

And if you still need more details, you can also contact the Eagles’ Wings office at (205) 345-5484.

By Tori Linville         

 

You’re in the market to find some perfect home furnishings that reflect you and your household. But the newly built stuff just doesn’t cut it these days. Anyone who’s ever paid the tiniest attention to HGTV knows that the secret lies in the furniture with history. Antiques! We’ve got some places for you to shop in the area that will hopefully have you meeting the perfect piece soon.

 

TUSCALOOSA

 

Adam’s Antiques/The Potager

 

Owned by the same people, these antique staple stores have a wide variety of furniture from tapestries to paintings to armoires. From England to France, the owners travel all different places in for one of a kind items. To get a pretty good idea of what the store offers, visit their website.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Sundays.

 

Capitol Park Antiques, Interiors and Gardens

 

Capitol Park allows for all kinds of items whether it’s antiques, home décor and even garden items. They have a large selection of furniture from wardrobes, rugs and even bedding. For more information on the store’s selection, check out their website.

 

·      Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Skyland Antique Mall

 

While it’s more like a flea market, there’s a reason the antique mall made the list. Here you’ll find Alabama football memorabilia to knock your socks off, along with tons of antique furniture and a coin collection to boot. The mall has helpful staff and even conducts moving and estate sales. See what else the mall provides here.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

BIRMINGHAM

 

Hanna Antiques Mall

 

Voted as the best antique mall in Birmingham, Hanna Antiques Mall seems to have everything and anything you could think of. From antique furniture to a large selection of rugs to a huge selection of miscellaneous items, there’s always something great to buy (or at least think about buying). On top of that, an anniversary sale is going on now and ends July 31. See what’s going on at Hanna’s here.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

What’s On 2nd

 

Friendly staff and eclectic finds are what’s on 2nd, according to customer reviews. Neat finds include tons of childhood toys from decades past, magazines, furniture and more. Deals and discounts are all over the place. Known to carry everything weird and cool, What’s On 2nd is a pop culture capitol right in Birmingham.

 

·      Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Homewood Antiques

 

Homewood is another great find in Birmingham that has tons of merchandise to browse through. Antiques, jewelry, boutique clothing, custom nursery bedding, hand-made items and more can all be found behind Homewood’s doors. For more info, check out their website.

 

·      Open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.

           

 

DESTIN

 

De’France Antiques

 

All kinds of items and pieces are found at De’Frances such as salvaged and repurposed pieces, jewelry, collectibles and more. Check out what’s going on and even go on a tour of De’France here.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Flutterby Antiques

 

Pottery, glassware, handmade jewelry and candles and more are all for sale at Flutterby. Friendly staff and gift wrap services make this antique shop one more place to visit in Destin. See more here.

 

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Antiques on Holiday

 

Antiques on Holiday features reasonable prices with a wide array of items to choose from. The establishment posts regularly on their Facebook page to let customers know about sales and new items.

 

·      Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Article sponsored by Bama Exterminating.

Find them on the web at http://bamaexterminating.com

 

This month, organizers opted to bring back the Live at the Plaza Friday night concert series, and the response has been tremendous. This Friday, July 31, marks the final event in the series – at least for now.

Tuscaloosa’s Government Plaza has been the site for free concerts each Friday night in June and in July. Friday’s final event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the downtown park, located just behind City Hall. It’s the perfect location for this kind of community happening, according to Tuscaloosa City Councilman Matt Calderone.

“The whole goal was to have a really fun, organic effort to bring a cultural element to downtown Tuscaloosa,” Calderone said.

Calderone indicated that if the June Live at the Plaza events succeeded, more events would be planned – and that’s precisely what happened. Crowds have grown with each Friday concert.

"We had a lot of positive feedback and overwhelming community support," he said. "There was no question that this would continue - it was just a matter of when."

Concert-goers are allowed to bring alcohol to the events.

“Anyone attending can bring a beverage of their choice, so long as it stays within Government Plaza and it’s only consumed during the time of the festival,” Calderone said.

Calderone said the idea for the concert series came from meeting with everyone from downtown business owners to constituents and friends.

“People wanted something to do downtown that was a little different. They wanted to enjoy our Plaza, which is a really nice green space, and we wanted to find a consistent way to bring some more life to downtown.”

Live at the Plaza is being financed entirely through private donations. No city funds are being used for the initiative, according to Calderone.

Photo: Jeff Perrigin

Are you planning on taking a trip to the beach this weekend? Well, do not forget to pack the following items so you can worry about having fun, not what you forgot to pack!

 

Waterproof Sunblock.

If you want to save your family from unnecessary stress, bring the sunblock and lather it on liberally. No one likes to be burned. Aim for a sunblock that is at least SPF 30.

 

Rash Guard.

Rash guards can prevent sunburn as much as prevent jellyfish burns. Plus, they simply look cool!

 

Sunhat and Sunglasses.

It is not a new idea that it’s important to protect your eyes, as well as you skin from the harmful rays of the sun.   A good sunhat and pair of sunglasses can help protect you.

 

Beach Towels.

You can never have enough beach towels! Bring extra and place them in your car.

 

Baby Powder.

Baby powder is a great way to remove sand from one’s body. Sprinkle on baby powder and the sand simply wipes off!

 

Snacks & Cold Drinks.

You can never have enough snacks after the kids work up an appetite playing on the beach and swimming in the ocean.

 

All-in-One Chair.

There is so much to carry onto the beach, between your snacks, sunblock, camera, sunglasses, and beach toys. How does a family streamline this to make it easy? A all-in-one beach chair is the perfect solution. (Brylane Home makes a good one: Outdoor Furniture Oversized 5-Pc. Set)

It may be hot this season, but the long summer days have got us ready to enjoy dinner on the patio at Tuscaloosa’s most popular restaurants. Check out our recommendations to enjoy an al fresco breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Tuscaloosa style.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As many of you have experienced, social media has shifted how a lot of us communicate. As your mayor, I can get real-time information directly from you at any time.

From the information I’ve gathered recently, Tuscaloosa residents have many questions and concerns about the large amount of road construction projects going on in the City.

To address these concerns, the City has developed an online dashboard at Tuscaloosa.com to keep everyone informed of these road projects immediately before, during and after their construction.

Currently, projects are underway in areas such as the University Boulevard bridge over Kicker Road, the second phase of the Alberta Parkway and the intersections of 13th and 15th Streets with McFarland Boulevard. The bridge project should be complete by the end of this calendar year, while these other two projects will be completed in 2016.

Along with other localized projects, like realigning Hargrove Road at Skyland Boulevard, a more widespread street resurfacing project is coming up in mid-July. This project is designed to resurface 30 city streets.

A complete list of the streets that will be improved can be found at Tuscaloosa.com. There, you’ll find a timeline of the projects mentioned here, as well as other projects the City has scheduled. There is also an interactive map that shows exactly where the construction will take place.

All the information found on this site is updated on a weekly basis, so everyone in the City of Tuscaloosa can stay knowledgeable about current, upcoming and completed road projects in real time.

I am confident that these road projects will make a positive impact on the City of Tuscaloosa. Together, with communication and cooperation, that positive outcome is guaranteed.

Again, for more information on current road projects, go to Tuscaloosa.com. And, to share more with me, tweet me: @waltermaddox.

Sincerely,

Walter Maddox

By Mike Green

 

Business management guru Stephen Covey identified “seeking first to understand” as one of his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The principle is that when you are facing conflict with someone, the best approach is not to make a case for your perspective, but to try hard to understand why the other person has a different perspective. Now, I can surely see the incredible benefits of this approach in a work environment, but if I could give only one piece of advice to the parent of a teenager this would be it…

  

How different would your relationship with your child be if you had the power to read their mind? If you not only knew what your teenage son or daughter thought, but why they thought it. Unfortunately, we have not been given such mystical abilities, but we have been given the amazing ability to ask questions and listen. Now this, as you know, is not as easy to do as those without teenage children might assume that it is. Listening to ideas and opinions that we don’t agree with, where we can easily see the illogical conclusions that are being drawn, takes superb patience. But the goal here is not to listen to your child’s ideas so you can correct them. No, the goal is to listen so you can understand your teenager. 

 

So, let give me you an example of how this might work, and I will use an analogy from my work environment. A colleague and I had a significant disagreement over an issue. Neither of us was willing to budge. But then, my work associate began to work hard at understanding why I was so adamant about my perspective. The harder he worked to understand the more willing I became to give a little. Eventually, we chose a compromise that looked very much like his original idea. Why? I felt like he valued my opinion. He valued me as a person, so I worked harder to find a solution with which we could both live. 

 

Does this always work? Of course not. Not every strategy for growing healthy and happy teenagers works every time. But I hope this new twist on Mr. Covey’s habit gives you another tool in your tool belt. I think you would agree that we need every tool we can find as our youth navigate their teen years. 

 

Mike Green is Executive Director of Tuscaloosa Youth For Christ. He and his wife, Laura, have two grown children.

 

By Tori Linville

 

Road trips require a sense of adventure, time and most of all, patience. Traffic is a guaranteed obstacle and keeping the family entertained during jams or open stretches of road can be forgotten in the bustle of activity. So bringing entertainment to pass the time is always a good idea. Thanks to Pinterest and common sense, there are some easy, innovative ways to keep your passengers satisfied.

 

Portable DVD Player

Some cars have WiFi hotspots built in and if you have one, just substitute the DVD player for an iPad with downloaded entertainment for hours. If not, slipping in a favorite movie can easily kill a couple of hours of the journey. Pick favorites while packing, then sit back and relax.

 

Snack Smorgasbord

Use an old tackle box as a way to store a variety of mini-snacks for the ride. By using each little compartment as a place for some Chex Mix, crackers and other snacks, this smart idea knocks out a lot of birds with one stone. Not only are different snacks accommodated for different tastes, storage is saved by compiling the goodies into one box.

 

Backseat Activity Center

Throw an old cloth shoe rack over the back of a car seat to maximize space. Load the shoe rack up with books, snacks, drinks and other must haves. This way, whatever a passenger needs is right in front of them. While this is great for children, others can benefit too.

 

Book on CD

Rent a book on CD from your local library and bring it with you to listen to during the trip. By sliding the book on CD into the CD player, it allows a group experience in which even the driver can participate. Conversation starter, for sure.

 

Baking Sheet Activity Tray

Slide a regular baking sheet under the seat for a passenger to use as multi-functional surface. The tray can be used as a writing surface for crossword puzzles, craft surface for little ones or even a table for lunch on the go.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has awarded a $25,000 grant to Caring Days, an adult day care center in Tuscaloosa for adults with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders.

 

Caring Days received the grant for its “Enhancing Life Through the Senses Program,” which is designed to help improve the quality of life for individuals in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses. The sensory-based program employs technology such as fiber optics, bubble tubes, aroma diffusers, vibrating music recliners and low-tech tools like baby dolls and massage therapy, to create a rich, multi-sensory environment. The grant will allow Caring Days to purchase a number of new items to add to the program's overall experience.

 

“Too often, because people in the later stages of the disease may be unable to walk or communicate, there is a tendency simply to dim the lights and turn on elevator music,” said Vicki Kerr, Caring Days’ executive director. “But we believe people need fun. We want each day to be its own, not a soothing repeat of the day before. This sensory program ‘cranks it up’ and gives us an opportunity to help improve the lives of our clients and their family caregivers.”

 

Kerr notes that some caregivers have observed that their loved ones seem more alert after attending the program. She hopes the program will set a new standard among care facilities in Alabama. Caring Days is currently working with the University of Alabama to develop a workshop that would help other communities develop quality programs of their own, using the multi-sensory room as a model.

AFA awards the $25,000 Brodsky Innovation Grant annually to one of its nonprofit member organizations for a groundbreaking program or service that improves the lives of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. The program must fulfill a great need within the community and demonstrate potential for replication.

 

“There is a tremendous need for programs that tap into the spirit of people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease and help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness,” said Bert E. Brodsky, AFA’s board chairman, for whom the grant is named. “Caring Days’ unique ‘Enhancing the Senses’ program has the potential to do just that.”

 

Caring Days is a program of Caring Congregations, a group of 22 congregations of various denominations, who came together to address unmet needs in the West Alabama area. The Caring Days Adult Day Care center opened in March 1997. In addition to its adult day programs, Caring Days offers support groups, training classes and other services.

 

To learn more about Caring Days, visit the official website at caringdays.org. For more information about the Brodsky Innovation Grant and AFA’s other grants and services, visit www.alzfdn.org, or call (866) 232-8484.

 

Photo: Caring Days

 

The Community Foundation of West Alabama is a strong supporter of Northport’s Kentuck Museum. The CFWA has made a three-year commitment to support Kentuck’s ongoing capital campaign. Recently, the CFWA’s Glenn Taylor presented Kentuck with the first $50,000 check from the Foundation. Kentuck Executive Director Amy Echols received the donation.

“A significant portion of our grants each year goes to Arts and Culture organizations,” Taylor said. “Additionally, the CFWA is also very interested in projects of a historical nature in West Alabama. The Kentuck Museum and the renovation of the historic building certainly meet both of these desires. Kentuck is a great resource in our community and we are excited to be part of the restoration process.”

Earlier this year, Kentuck’s Board of Directors announced the $1.1 million capital campaign to help raise funds to restore the nearly 100-year-old Kentuck Museum Building in historic downtown Northport.

If you’d like to contribute to the renovation effort, visit www.kentuck.org/restore. Make the checks out to Kentuck and mail them to:

Kentuck Art Center

503 Main Avenue

Northport, AL 35476

 

The Mission of The Community Foundation of West Alabama is to promote charitable giving for present and future generations. For more information about the CFWA, visit the group’s official website.

Photo: Glenn Taylor

By Stan J. Griffin

 

Anyone who has lived in the Tuscaloosa/West Alabama area for any significant amount of time, or who is at least fairly knowledgeable about the area, is likely also keenly aware that there is a very large and active cycling community to be found here.

And one that seems to be growing by the week.

And there is little doubt that many of those avid riders are getting revved up for one of the biggest cycling events not only in the Tuscaloosa area, but also the entire Southeast.

The Hot Hundred ride, set for July 25, is in its 13th year, and is coming off a record turnout last year, when over 650 riders participated in the event, which is designed for fun but also benefits a very worthy cause.

All proceeds from the ride go to the Tuscaloosa Mental Health Alliance (TMHA), as well as its advocacy efforts in the area. The TMHA utilizes those funds to provide grants to individuals and organizations in the community who need support.

According to Luke Hodnett of the Hot Hundred planning committee, the event raised over $20,000 last year, with the committee hoping to top that figure this year.

“We are one of the premier cycling events in the Southeast due to our SAG driver support, five fully-stocked rest stops, athletic trainers provided by DCH SportMedicine, and a beautiful route that starts on the UA campus and goes out into rural Greene county and back,” he said.

The ride is actually headquartered at the University of Alabama Outdoor Aquatics Center, a very convenient and critical fact considering the scorching temperatures that have blazed the West Alabama area during the summertime thus far. Once the participating riders have finished with the event, they are allowed to take a refreshing dive into the pool (after showering off).

“Though our main route is 103 miles in the Alabama summer heat - we are not called ‘The Hottest Ride in the South’ for nothing - we also have 71, 52, 36, and 29-mile routes so anyone can push their limits and have some fun doing a great ride,” said Hodnett.

Hodnett added that all of the information relative to the ride can be found on the event website, which is www.bikehothundred.com or through social media at facebook.com/hothundred.

He said he became involved with the ride this year through nonprofit work he does in Greensboro, titled HERO Housing.

“We are helping to direct the ride this year and it has been fantastic getting to know all the great people who are working to improve the sport of cycling in Alabama,” said Hodnett. “It is such a growing community in Tuscaloosa and I am thrilled to be helping to put on a fun event for serious cycling enthusiasts and casual riders both.”

The Hot Hundred has sponsorship from several local businesses in the area including DCH SportsMedicine, Buffalo Rock, Bradford Health, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission, UA Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship, 2700 Capitol Park, Druid City Bicycle Club, Northport Medical Center, Woodmen of the World as well as many more.

Photos: Michael Hayes

The Actor’s Charitable Theatre (The ACT) is presenting a lively theater musical in Aladdin Jr. this weekend. Aladdin Jr. is adapted from Disney’s smash hit movie Aladdin, and the story closely follows events in the film.

Aladdin Jr. is a part of The ACT’s summer children’s theater camp, which offers a unique learning opportunity for kids throughout the area.

Aladdin Jr. performances are set for Friday, July 24 (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday, July 25 (2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa. Tickets can be purchased by calling (205) 393-2800 or online at TheACTonline.com.

The ACT was formed with the goal of increasing the quality of local theater while also giving to charitable organizations, through proceeds from productions. Productions have included Hairspray, The Color Purple, Steel Magnolias, Shrek the Musical, Les Miserables, Nunsense, Into the Woods, The Music Man, and, most recently, Dreamgirls.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to catch an ACT show in the past, now’s your chance. Break a leg to The ACT Summer Theater Camp cast and crew!

Sponsored by:   

By Tori Linville

 

Barbeque season is in full swing and you haven’t had one yet? Whether it’s repurposing some old tools for decoration or some recipes that will be unforgettable, there’s an endless amount of ideas at your disposable. We’ve listed some perfect backyard barbeque ideas that will have your guests begging to know your secret to the perfect bash. Stay cool (misting stations are always a great idea in the Alabama summer heat), have fun and get creative!

 

Wheelbarrow Cooler

 

Repurpose a rusted out wheelbarrow as a festive cooler for you barbeque needs. Throw in some ice and beer and you’re set! Add some twine around the handles if you want an extra cute-sy effect.

 

Bandana Napkins

 

Use old (or new) bandanas as napkins for your guest’s needs. Stores like Walmart sell single bandanas for pennies and packs for only a little more. Using bandanas as napkins add instant charm and only require a quick wash to restore them to their former glory.

 

Buckets and Buckets of Snacks

 

While waiting for the juicy steaks (or hotdogs and hamburgers), serve up some treats in a customized way. Grab some small dollar store buckets and have enough for all your guests to munch on some chips or veggies while the main course comes along.

 

Muffin Tin Condiments

 

Separate your condiments for perfect portions inside a muffin tin. This allows for perfect accessibility while serving as the perfect barbeque hack. Instead of searching for bottles of the right topping, simply pass the tin, allowing for guests to pick and chose their desired combos.

 

Bun Orders

 

Be sure to write the desired meat option in ketchup (or whatever else) on a hamburger bun to make remembering orders a breeze!

 

Barbeque Recipes

           

            Bacon Wrapped Cheese Hot Dogs

           

            Grab some hotdogs and carve a small split in each dog, but not splitting the

            meat in half entirely. Slide some mozzarella cheese into the splits. Then, wrap

            the hot dog in a bacon strip. Hold together with toothpicks on the grill.

 

            Fiesta Stuffed Mini Peppers

 

            What you’ll need:

            12-18 sweet mini peppers, halved and seeded

            8 oz. of cream cheese, softened

            8 oz. of shredded cheese (whichever type you prefer)

            1 tbsp. of lime juice

            1 tbsp. of cilantro

            1/2 tsp. of garlic salt

 

            What you’ll make:

            Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then wash and slice peppers. Scoop out seeds

            with a spoon. In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, shredded cheese, lime,

            cilantro and garlic salt. Spoon filling into the pepper halves and bake for 20

            minutes. Serves 24 to 36 halves.

 

Article sponsored by Alabama Power Company.

Find Alabama Power on the web at: http://www.alabamapower.com

It was a hot, humid evening, but that most certainly didn't deter anyone from attending this year's Mr. Pig Goes to the Market event, held on Friday, July 17, at the Tuscaloosa River Market. Crowds enjoyed great food, upbeat music, a live auction and multiple giveaways, all for an excellent cause.

When Jimmy Welborn, co-founder of the Tuscaloosa and Northport Piggly Wiggly stores, died in 2010, his son, Jay Welborn, hoped to find an appropriate way to honor his late father’s memory. With that, the Mr. Pig Goes to the Market event was born.

Jay Welborn says the annual event serves a dual purpose. “Most importantly, it gives us an opportunity to give back to an organization that supports the research my Dad and our family benefited from for 30+ years,” he said. Live and silent auctions were held for interested bidders.

Mr. Pig Goes to the Market was certainly one of the biggest charity events of the summer in Tuscaloosa. Music was provided by local band Michael & the Memories, and guests also enjoyed friendly games of cornhole along Tuscaloosa’s scenic Riverwalk.

This year marked a new endeavor. Piggy Wiggly and the American Cancer Society teamed up with the DCH Foundation Help and Hope Patient Assistance Fund. Through this partnership, cancer patients who qualify for the DCH fund are eligible to receive a food voucher. The voucher, in turn, can be redeemed at Piggly Wiggly. 

“We worked with DCH to find a way to have a local impact,” Welborn said. “We worked and worked with the two groups and came up with the food vouchers. We went ahead and earmarked 49 percent of funds to the DCH foundation. It’s there for cancer patients who have a need and it’s our way to play a part.”  

The vouchers ensure patients receive food that lines up with the ACS official cookbook. Items such as chicken, duck, milk and other nutritional foods will help patients maintain a healthy weight, Welborn said. 

Photos: Jeff Perrigin

 

 

By Tori Linville

 

Summer has settled in, and so has prime landscaping season. It’s time to take stock: Is the lawn becoming more lush and green, or more brittle and brown? What can a homeowner do if it’s the latter? With the tips and tricks we’ve collected from some of Tuscaloosa’s lawn and garden experts, a greener lawn can be in your horizon.

 

Tom Ball, owner of West Alabama Yardworks, said he recommends staying on track with watering in order to maintain a healthy lawn. Ball said by staying on top of watering the yard, weeds will be less of a problem.

 

“If you get behind [with watering] it’s an uphill battle,” he said. “Fertilize when you’re supposed to depending on what grass you have.”

 

In addition to lawn maintenance, those looking to add new plants during the summer have a variety of choices to pick from. Ball said hawthorns, junipers and purple orchids are all among plants that are suited to handle the summer heat.

 

“They’re all low maintenance plants. Everyone wants low maintenance plants that don’t grow quite as fast so they can keep up with them,” he said.

 

Plants like vegetables, roses and camellias all take the heat well too, Neal Hargle said. Hargle, a Tuscaloosa County Extension agent, said the best thing for a yard is a soil test. The test collects samples from several different parts of a lawn and reports on how many nutrients are in the ground and about the soil’s pH levels.

 

“The report can tell how stressed a yard can be, and more stress tells you about the kinds of weeds and pests that could be present,” Hargle said. “People waste a lot of money on fertilizer and they can prevent that by doing a soil test.”

 

Soil testing kits can be found at retail lawn and garden stores such as Home Depot or Lowes, but they are also available at Walmart or online.

 

Hargle said it’s extremely important to know what time of day to water. It matters.

 

“Water the lawn in the morning, not the evening, for an hour one day a week,” he said. “If you water in the morning, the ground soaks up just as much water, and the sun evaporates water. But in the evening, excess moisture just sits on the grass during the night, and fungi can grow.”

 

When it comes to buying plants for gardening or just for landscaping, Hargle said knowing what different phrases mean helps with the selection process. He said research is key and can help people learn the importance of phrases such as “full sun” and “partial sun” when buying plants. “Full sun” indicates a plant should get eight hours of sunlight, while “partial sun” indicates only six hours.

 

Fertilizers such as weed n feeds aren’t a good product for the South, Hargle said, because there is not enough temperature gradient change to accommodate for the weed n feeds.

 

If weed n feeds are a good product for your lawn, due to the type of grass or other factors, Ball said the best time to use weed n feeds is actually before weeds are spotted.

 

“Pre-emergent herbicide can be used to keep the weeds in control,” he said. “Weed ‘n feed works well, but put it out before you see weeds. A lot of people do it after they see weeds it won’t get all of them, but it’ll get 99 percent of them if you stay on top of things.”

Tips and Tricks:

 

  • Get a soil sample before doing any major landscaping or lawn maintenance

 

  • Stay ahead of your watering, and water lawns and plants in the morning for one hour/week

 

  • Pick low maintenance plants that can take the summer heat when landscaping

 

  • Research is your best friend when looking for the perfect plant and/or lawn maintenance method

 

  • Most importantly, understand that every lawn is different and has different needs

 

The Tuscaloosa Association of Realtors held its July luncheon on Wednesday, July 15, and awarded Tricia Gray Realtor of the Year. Gray, described by her peers as thorough, dependable and trustworthy, was also lauded as someone who strives to give her best on a daily basis.

Tricia Gray has been a realtor in Tuscaloosa for many years. She is a Tuscaloosa native, and she received her degree in Real Estate Finance from the University of Alabama in 2001. Gray, who works for Advantage Realty, is highly involved in the community and in her church.

Tricia Gray is the 2015 Realtor of the Year.

In accepting the award for Realtor of the Year, Gray made sure to recognize and thank her mentor, Richard Ellis Sr., saying she was sure “he was looking down and smiling on her.”

The guest speaker at Wednesday’s luncheon was Senator Gerald Allen, who provided the group with an Alabama Legislative update.

Congratulations, Tricia Gray!

Photos: Britney McComb

The Druid City Garden Project seeks to educate area kids about growing gardens, making better food choices and more. This week, DCGP was on hand at the Tuscaloosa Public Library’s Weaver-Bolden branch, as part of the TPL “Every Hero” summer program.

Students were even given their very own bean plants to take home!

Well done!

About DCGP

The Druid City Garden Project builds community through food. It uses school gardens, farm stands, and educational programs to help diverse communities of Alabama create vibrant food systems. In the fall of 2013, they expanded into three schools and the Juvenile Detention Center and they plan to continue to make a difference in people’s lives and health throughout Alabama.

Photo: Druid City Garden Project Facebook

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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