By Stan J. Griffin: March 24, 2016

Photo by Stan J. Griffin
Another standout member of the University of Alabama athletic family has been recognized by the Southeastern Conference for academic prowess, and numerous achievements not only on the field, mat or the court, but also in the classroom.
Crimson Tide senior leader Lauren Beers was voted the SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the league's coaches it was announced by the conference office Thursday.
Recently former University of Alabama basketball player Retin Obasohan gained that same prestigious award from the conference for that sport.
With Beers’ honor, Alabama gymnasts have now won six SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors in the 13-year history of the award. She joins Kim Jacob (2012, 2013 and 2014), Kayla Hoffman (2011) and Michelle Reeser (2005) since the award’s inception in 2004.

Fortune magazine is out with its annual list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, and while some might be surprised, those who follow college football know: Nick Saban is among them.

Young explorers in West Alabama will have an opportunity to delve into the natural world a bit more, thanks to a new program offered by the Alabama Museum of Natural History on The University of Alabama’s campus.

“The Junior Naturalist program is a weekend program that promotes awareness and understanding of the unique and varied natural elements found in our very own backyard,” said Allie Sorlie, museum education outreach coordinator.

Originally from the Huntsville area, Kristin Jacks began her teaching journey in 1997. She began by teaching preschoolers and after returning to her alma mater, the University of Alabama, she received a Masters degree in general education and special education.  

 

Jacks is now in her second year of teaching special education at Hillcrest Middle School. She said her biggest accomplishment as a teacher is staying in the teaching “game.” 

 

“There have been many times when I could easily have given up,” she said. “If I had given up, I wouldn’t be able to learn from and teach my amazing students now…and that’s too horrible to contemplate.” 

Tuscaloosa residents who want to discuss plans and concerns with Mayor Walt Maddox will be able to do just that on Wednesday, March 23 at the Mayor’s Morning Out – which will be held from 7 to 9 a.m. at Chick-Fil-A South located off of Skyland Boulevard.

Screenings for the Bama Art House’s Mini-Series 2016 will begin tonight, April 22, and the series will feature a number of notable films, including the drama “45 Years” – which garnered an Academy Award nomination for one of its stars, Charlotte Rampling.

A program of The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, the movies represent the organization’s goals to bring new and unique film to the West Alabama area. Screenings will take place on Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m. with the box office opening at 6:30 p.m. and doors (and the bar) opening at 6:45 p.m. 

By Cokie Thompson 

In March, the highs get a little higher and the sky a little bluer, and people all over Tuscaloosa break out their lawn chairs and coolers for America’s favorite pastime: watching baseball. The Crimson Tide is breaking in the new Joe and college students are enjoying the right field, and a different group is up to bat at Sokol Park on Saturday mornings. 

The Miracle League of Tuscaloosa provides players with special needs the opportunity to play baseball. The “field” is rubber, and it’s completely flat, allowing players with assistive devices to round the bases with ease. 

John Miller, one of the founders of Miracle League of Tuscaloosa, brought the group to town after his son played for the team in Moody, Alabama.  

Hospice of West Alabama (HOWA) is gearing up for another great year. The first big event of the year, HOWA’s Annual 5K, will be held this Saturday, March 26. All are invited to share in this special day for a morning of exercise, fun, and remembrance. There will be local vendors, face painting, and live music.

Registration for the 7th Annual HOWA Family 5K starts at 7 a.m. – but it’s ongoing right now. The registration fee is $20, and the first 150 people to register will receive a free t-shirt. All proceeds benefit Hospice of West Alabama.

This past weekend, C-SPAN was in Montgomery, filming segments for its C-Span Cities Tour, which features the literary life and history of a specific city. Now, C-SPAN is visiting Tuscaloosa.

Mayor Maddox was set to host C-SPAN at Tuscaloosa’s historic The Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion on Monday morning. More will be revealed about the specific segments and stories covered. And mark your calendars, because Tuscaloosa’s C-SPAN Cities Tour segment is set to air April 16 and 17.

This week offers plenty of great opportunities to get out and enjoy all that our great city has to offer. These are just a few of them – 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! Enjoy the week, Tuscaloosa!

Play Fore All Golf Tournament: March 24, 11:30 a.m. (registration), 1 p.m. (play begins). Ol’ Colony Golf Complex, Northport. Help build Tuscaloosa’s Inclusive Playground for all ages and abilities by participating in this tournament, which benefits the PARA Foundation. Entry fee: $500 (four-person team). Includes scramble format, greens fee, lunch, cart and special events (including a putting challenge). For more information, visit tcpara.org/golf/playforeall. 

Junior League of Tuscaloosa’s “Dinner at Your Door:” March 24, 3 to 6 p.m. Enjoy a night in with a dinner for four delivered to your door by the Junior League of Tuscaloosa. Each $60 dinner will be delivered in an insulated Junior League of Tuscaloosa bag with a Tuscaloosa Sketchbook, complete with chicken spaghetti, salad, and biscuits from fresh new local favorite, Southern Ale House. Beverage and dessert also included. For more information, visit jltuscaloosa.org

C.H.O.M.’s Easter Eggstravaganza: March 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Children’s Hands-On Museum, downtown Tuscaloosa. Over 800 eggs will be available in this indoor hunt. Bunny bags are provided (bring no baskets). For more information, visit chomonline.org. 

Hooray, it’s finally spring! Now, let’s celebrate with this nifty, tasty orange dream smoothie – the perfect pastel treat to fit into this season, shall we? This smoothie is healthy and delicious (and let’s face it, these terms are not always synonymous).

Bon appétit!

Ben Midkiff of Holy Spirit Catholic Middle School in Tuscaloosa has been named as a state finalist in the National Geographic Society State Bee which will be held on April 1 at Samford University. Ben is the son of Usha and Clark Midkiff and is in the eighth grade.

Mary Harmon Young of Prudential Pritchett-Moore Realty in Tuscaloosa has been selected as one of 50 finalists for Realtor Magazine’s 2016 class of “30 Under 30.” Judges have made these initial selections based on business success, innovation, leadership, and community involvement.  

“I am honored to be named finalist out of the thousands of young Realtors under 30 across the country," Young said. "This is one of the biggest achievements in my five years in real estate and I’m proud to be included in such a talented and hard-working group of Realtors.” 

Here’s where everyone here in town can help: This Friday, March 18, Realtor Magazine will open online voting – which will allow website visitors to vote for their favorite finalists. Voting online will be up for ONE week, ending at 12 p.m. on Friday, March 25.

Want to vote? Click HERE starting at 12 p.m. on Friday!

By Stan J. Griffin: March 16, 2016

Photo by Stan J. Griffin

University of Alabama gymnastics coach Dana Duckworth would probably be the first to tell you that her fourth-ranked Crimson Tide has experienced its share of highs and lows this season.
The final two regular season meets of the 2016 season are a perfect example as the Crimson Tide compiled its highest team score of the season in defeating Georgia in Tuscaloosa on Feb. 26 only to follow that with perhaps its most disappointing effort of the season on March 4 at it fell to LSU in Baton Rouge.
But a new season has arrived for Duckworth's squad, with that being the postseason, and an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and compete for huge season-ending prizes.
That second season begins on Saturday as the Crimson Tide travels to Little Rock, Ark. to compete in the 2016 Southeastern Conference Championships. Alabama enters the meet as the two-time defending conference champs and is looking for its 10th conference crown overall.
"We're so excited to be competing for the SEC championship and we are trying to work hard to focus, and keep our attention on the details," said Duckworth during a teleconference Wednesday. "We are trying not to get caught up in the loud music and the distractions we will face (at this weekend's event) and we're just trying to focus on success."

Congratulations to Jim Ezell, Druid City Living’s incredibly talented “Tales of Tuscaloosa” columnist. Ezell was recently named Writer of the Year for 2015 by the Tuscaloosa Writers and Illustrators Guild (TWIG).

Mr. Ezell, as many of our readers already know, is busily writing a collection of historical stories about the Druid City and surrounding areas, in hopes of publishing a book ahead of Tuscaloosa’s bicentennial celebration in 2019. Here are a few things you might NOT know about Jim Ezell and his wonderful family:

Junior Belles Easter Egg Hunt

The Junior Tuscaloosa Belles are proud to announce the return of the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 20 from 3-5 p.m. at the Battle-Friedman House and Gardens. This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to spend time with old and new friends and neighbors at one of Tuscaloosa's premiere historic houses.

A couple of weeks ago, residents around Lake Tuscaloosa noticed that a well-known goose who lives on the lake was injured. Specifically, “Loosie Goosie,” as she’s known to many, had been shot with a bow and arrow – and she was still swimming, arrow intact.

But there’s great news: Loosie Goosie was rescued on Monday, thanks to the efforts of the Tuscaloosa Police Department’s Lake Patrol Officers and area resident Tammy Tierce. She was taken to May Veterinary Clinic, where she was treated for the injury. Tierce will care for Loosie – and says she’s expected to fully recover from her injury.

Happy Spring Break, everyone! Not surprisingly, it’s kind of a slow-ish week here in T-Town, what with half the population very likely at, or headed to, the beach, Disney World, the mountains, etc. For those of us who remain behind, it’s actually a great week…nice and quiet. Take advantage of it – maybe check out that new restaurant that’s always so crowded when everyone is in town? Or see a movie! For St. Patty’s Day, head to Innisfree or another area watering hole to toast to the Irish.

Whatever you do, have a blast 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.

Junior League of Tuscaloosa’s “Dinner at Your Door:” March 24, 3 to 6 p.m. Sign up by Thursday, March 17. Enjoy a night in with a dinner for four delivered to your door by the Junior League of Tuscaloosa. Each $60 dinner will be delivered in an insulated Junior League of Tuscaloosa bag with a Tuscaloosa Sketchbook, complete with chicken spaghetti, salad, and biscuits from fresh new local favorite, Southern Ale House. Beverage and dessert also included. For more information, visit jltuscaloosa.org

Dairy Queen Free Cone Day: March 15, all day at participating DQ locations. Donations to Children’s of Alabama are urged – in exchange for a free vanilla soft serve treat! For more information, click here.

One can never have too many pizza options, right? In a college town like Tuscaloosa, the answer is a sure fire, “No way!” Making a late December debut, Post Office Pies, located in downtown Tuscaloosa right behind Innisfree Irish Pub, is just shy of being two months old. Despite being here only a short time, word has traveled fast through T-Town that this is the next pizza hot spot. 

I had a chance to interview Post Office Pies’ Social Media Manager Rachel Wallace, who was kind enough to share the eatery’s history with me. “John Hall, our chef and one of our three owners, made his culinary mark in Manhattan,” Wallace said. “There, he developed a passion and love for New York-style pizza. He even ran a bike pizza delivery service out of his Brooklyn apartment.” 

By Candice Morris

After a chilly winter, spring break is a welcomed week filled with sunshine, warmer temps, and out-of-town trips. If your spring break plans keep you local, don’t fret: Tuscaloosa offers a wide variety of activities to entertain both you and your kids.

For parents who aren’t able to take the whole week off work while their kids are off for spring break, you’re in luck. The Tuscaloosa Park and Recreation Authority (PARA) is offering a Spring Break Day Camp during the week of March 14-18. The camp, for kids K-8, will be held at two locations, the Belk Center and the Phelps Center. Both locations will host a variety of activities, including exercise programs, arts and crafts, and sports. There will also be swimming trips to the Faucett Center, lunch at Cici’s Pizza, and bowling. Day camp will be held from 6:30 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. and is $27 per child, per day. Be sure to ask about sibling discounts. For more information, visit tcpara.org.

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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