Safety will be the topic of discussion during a special “Safety Summit” set for this Thursday, June 4, at the Tuscaloosa River Market. The public is invited to come out and hear various panelists discussing the most pressing safety-related issues in our area at the all-day event.
City of Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox is hosting the event, entitled “Mayor’s Safety Summit: Creating a Safer Community.” The idea behind the Summit is to try and bring together leaders from local law enforcement, judicial, faith-based, business and educational communities to talk about ways to make Tuscaloosa more safe and secure for residents. The goal is to ultimately create a framework for a strategic plan to that end.
The Summit will address several topics aimed at creating a safer Tuscaloosa, including an in-depth look at crime statistics, habitual offenders, issues with the prison system and juvenile crime. A time for questions from panelists will be available after each session to allow panelists the opportunity to become actively engaged in the community safety discussion.
The Summit will begin at 8:45 a.m. with a meet and greet for attendees and will continue with welcoming remarks from Maddox at 9 a.m. It will conclude by 3:30 p.m.
Over 600 high schools juniors attended the opening ceremonies for Alabama Boys States on Sunday, May 31, at the University of Alabama. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley welcomed the students, kicking off a week of activities that includes mock elections and community service projects.
Alabama Boys State is one of the highest honors granted to Alabama students. Students from across the state are chosen based on their demonstration of leadership, hard work, strong morals, and motivation in both school and community activities. Boys State week is a full and active week held on the campus of The University of Alabama.
Boys State was founded and its courses of instruction were designed to supplement the information taught in high school Civics classes. Boys State teaches that our form of government is good but that its preservation depends on intelligent, informed, and loyal citizens in combination with an honest and impartial administration of government activities.
Photo: Nicholas Britto
By Monte Rhodes
Now that summer is upon us, many will be heading outside for some quality picnicking time. Here is a great way to prevent wasps, ants, and other insects from becoming guests at your picnic.
1.) Take an empty two-liter soda bottle.
2.) Using a sharp knife, cut off the top of the soda bottle just below where the start of the bottle sides are at even width.
3.) Fill the bottom of the bottle with bait about 2″ deep (ideas below).
4.) Insert the top of the bottle upside down into the bottom of the bottle (remove the bottle cap first).
5.) Set the trap out wherever you’ve seen these pesky buggers. Some good places might be: flower beds, close to a hedge, near the bird bath, etc.
6.) The wasps will fly into the trap to get at the bait, but have trouble finding their way out. They’ll eventually drown in the liquid bait.
Bait ideas by insect category:
Wasps and Ants are looking for either protein or sugar depending on the colony needs at the time. Set out two different traps with the two categories of bait or mix the two together (e.g. sugary Juice with a piece of meat). Other ideas: Jam dissolved in water, fruit juice, beer, sweet soda, wine, maple syrup diluted with water, molasses diluted with water, or raw meat such as hamburger meat or tuna.
Bees are generally not attracted to sour mixtures, but are very attracted to sweet mixtures. For example, honey diluted in water is a great attractant. Other ideas include: Jam dissolved in water, fruit juice, beer, sweet soda, wine, maple syrup diluted with water, and molasses diluted with water.
By Shane Dorrill
Fifty-three young singers with the Alabama Choir School in Tuscaloosa are wrapping up a nine day experience they will never forget.
As part of the organization’s 30th anniversary, the students, in sixth through twelfth grades, are visiting and performing in Japan. The students are in the choir school’s Ambassador and Chamber choirs.
The students have spent time in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Narashino, which is a sister-city to Tuscaloosa.
While in Narashino, the choirs performed at the Narashino Bunka Hall, a famous Japanese concert hall, with musical groups from Narashino.
The students also spent time at a Japanese university, and junior and senior high school.
The Alabama Choir School is a non-profit organization in Tuscaloosa that has been teaching children the choral arts since 1985. The school currently has more than 200 members in five choirs. Choristers range from first through twelfth grades.
Portions of the choirs’ trip to Japan was made possible by the Tuscaloosa Sister Cities International organization.
Photos: Alabama Choir School
Caitlyn Sanders, 13, a 7th grade student at Duncanville Middle School, won the Top Overall Female First place at the 1st Annual Tuscaloosa Marines Memorial Run in May. Sanders trains with the Hillcrest Army Junior ROTC Physical Fitness program after school. The American Legion Post 34 sponsors the Junior Army ROTC program at Hillcrest High School.
Photo: Nicolas Britto
NorthRiver Yacht Club and The Westervelt Company are celebrating this week. A groundbreaking ceremony for the golf course renovation will be held on Wednesday, June 3, along with the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce.
Members of the community are invited to join in on the celebration with NorthRiver Yacht Club staff at the ceremony, which will be held at 8:30 a.m. at the NorthRiver Golf Shop.
The course renovation will include new Tifeagle Burmuda greens, the removal of 40 bunkers and the resurfacing of cart paths. The Club’s driving range, the “Wee Links” practice course, the new teaching center and the NorthRiver Golf Shop will all remain open during the renovation.
Holy Spirit Catholic School in Tuscaloosa had 35 students graduate on May 16. The Most Reverend Bishop Robert J. Baker, S.T.D celebrated Mass at Holy Spirit Church followed by graduation exercises with Fran Lawlor (Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Birmingham), Scott Perry (Principal), Rev. Jerry Deasy (Pastor of Holy Spirit Church), and Rev. Rick Chenault (Associate Pastor of Holy Spirit Church) in attendance.
This year’s graduates included Phinese Genell Ash, Kevin Chase Barker, Alexandra Elizabeth Bushery, Madison Paige Carabin, Frederick Cullpepper Clark, Leah Mariah Clark, Jackson Manley Colburn, John William Collins, Katherine Michelle Connell, Marian Denisse Cook, Mary Grace Gerkin, Julia Elizabeth Giggie, Franklin Jordan Giles, Joseph Blaise Guarisco, Rainer Katherine Jones, Olivia Catherine Kapera, Marshall Douglas Killian, Theresa Brooke Kosloff, Chace Mills Lake, Nicole Louw, Blake Allen Meyer, Michael Scott Miller, Blanca Carolina Muniz, Lauren Brianna Neary, Howell Victor Poole, Patricia Kiersten Schellhammer, Caitlin Marie Shortall, Caroline Alana Sisson, Jake Austin Smith, Haley Diane Thompson, Haley Nicole Walls, Chiara Washawn Washington, Reagan Gabrielle Washington, and Aeriel Chantel Winn. Members of the Class of 2015 were awarded a combined total of over $4,600,000.00 in college scholarships and included National Merit Commended students Haley Thompson and Leah Clark.
Students have been accepted to many colleges and universities, including The University of Alabama, Auburn University, the College of Charleston, The University of South Alabama, The University of Montevallo, Berry College, Spring Hill, Judson University, Samford University, Louisiana State University, The University of West Alabama, The University of Mississippi, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Cumberland University, Vassar, Kings College, Rhodes, Shelton State Community College, Wallace State, and Belhaven University.
Jackson Manley Colburn was named Valedictorian of the graduating class. He is son of Dr. Bill Colburn and Lori Colburn of Tuscaloosa. Jackson has been involved in many areas during his high school years. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2014, served as Student Council President, representative for Alabama Boys’ State, University of Alabama Capstone Leadership Academy Graduate, Boy Scout Crew Leader, and a member of Forerunners. He has also served as Treasurer and Vice President for Key Club, Treasurer of Students Against Destructive Decisions, a member of the cross country team, track, God Squad, Scholar Bowl, Environmental Club, and tech crew for the drama department. Jackson has volunteered at Meals on Wheels, Vacation Bible School and as a church usher at Holy Spirit Catholic Church since 2011. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, has been recognized Summa Cum Laude and Magna Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam, has received the Silver Award on the National Etymology Exam, Corona Olivae status on the National Mythology Exam and qualified for the State Science Olympiad Competition in 2014. He was the recipient of the 2015 Bishop’s Trophy for his academic excellence and service and plans to attend The University of Mississippi.
Salutatorian for the Class of 2015 was Olivia Catherine Kapera. She is the daughter of Ted and Carla Kapera of Cottondale, Alabama. Olivia has served as a Delegate of Alabama Girls State, is a member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and was recognized Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam. She was a member of student council and served as Student Council Vice-President her senior year, was an active member of Students Against Destructive Decisions, Latin Club, Drama Club, Homecoming Committee, Key Club, God Squad and prom committee during her high school years and was a member of the softball and volleyball teams. Olivia has been dedicated to serving her community as a volunteer at DCH Regional Medical Center, The University of Alabama RISE program, the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter, Habitat for Humanities, Meals on Wheels, and Children’s Liturgy Leader at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. She was an Ambassador and staff member for HOBY International which inspires and develops a global community of youth volunteers to leadership, innovation and service and a member of the Tuscaloosa Civinettes. Holy Spirit Catholic School congratulates these students and the Class of 2015 on their accomplishments.
Photos: Laurie Mitchell
Mayor Walter Maddox has named Arthur Patton Teele as the new Municipal Court administrator for the City of Tuscaloosa.
In this new position, Teele will be responsible for overseeing the daily operation and administration of the Municipal Court including supervising Court staff and directing organizational programs.
"I am excited about Mr. Teele and what he brings to our City," Maddox said. "In the interview process, he demonstrated deep knowledge of the Court and an authentic commitment to the public servants who work within it. I look forward to working with him in the years ahead to further elevate our service to the people of Tuscaloosa."
Prior to his appointment with the Tuscaloosa Municipal Court, Teele worked as a magistrate for the city of Birmingham for over four years and has served as a magistrate supervisor for the past two years, conducting research, directing non-judicial operations and functions of the Court and continuing to perform his duties as a magistrate.
Teele has also served as an adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice Program at Miles College and has worked in the legal department for the city of Birmingham.
Teele holds a Juris Doctor degree from Miles Law School and a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from Florida A&M University. He is a graduate of Homewood High School.
Teele was expected begin his duties on Monday, June 1.
By Sheena Gregg
The news that James Beard Award winner and Iron Chef competitor Chris Hastings has a restaurant in Tuscaloosa is a dream come true for this enthusiastic foodie. Located in the new Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Tuscaloosa, The Side by Side Restaurant achieves its primary goal of bringing out the gourmand in every visitor, enticing customers to not only enjoy eating, but to savor the entire food and restaurant experience.
Jordan Giles, Class of 2015 at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Tuscaloosa, has signed on with Cumberland University’s basketball team in Lebanon, Tennessee. Jordan had a sign-on day at Holy Spirit school in May, with his family members and representatives from Cumberland University present.
By Tori Linville
When scouting for a good place to run, there’s always that checklist that comes to mind. Everyone wants something that appeals to them while their nose is to the grindstone. Check out why these spots are the ideal running trails for some exercise.
While the University and downtown Tuscaloosa offer scenic routes all their own, a change of venue can be found in Sokol Park. Designed with runners in mind, Sokol Park has many well kept trails that are perfect for setting your own pace. The park’s main trail is around 4 miles, with trail loops that can provide an extension to a run. Tuscaloosa business Wagner’s Run Walk hosts a group run Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. with free water and merchandise.
UA Arboretum and Veteran’s Affairs Hospital Areas
This rarely mentioned area offers three scenic and different options for runners. The VA itself has paved a trail around its grounds for an estimated 2 miles of track. Arrows serve as guides and hills are short and sweet. Neighboring the VA is the UA Arboretum, home to the UA Cross Country Course and a dirt road that can also serve as a running track. The cross country course has a marked loop as well as a grass fairway with yellow arrows as guides. The dirt road serves as rocky mile-long stretch that runs from one end of the arboretum to the other.
Information taken from wagnersrunwalk.com.
With an organized running community, Birmingham boasts many different routes and trails to explore. Here just two of many to choose from. Visit birminghamtrackclub.com to get involved with other runners in the community.
Red Mountain Park
Red Mountain Park provides great trail run material for any runner. Stretching for 12 miles, the trails at Red Mountain Park offer a special variety singular to the park. It has more than 10 interconnecting trails that provide hills, rocky terrain and more. The park is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and has many stops along the trails for rest or short breaks. To get a more detailed look, visit redmountainpark.org.
Oak Mountain State Park
Providing yet another range of scenery for runners, Oak Mountain State Park has a collective of more than 50 miles of trails to explore. Though some trails are specific to horseback riding and biking, there’s still room enough for everyone. Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., the park’s five hiking trails are labeled by color and marked accordingly. To find out more information about the trails and running opportunities within the park, visit alaprk.com/oak-mountain-state-park-hiking-trails.
The appeal here is obvious – who wouldn’t want the beach by their side for a run? The sand is another bonus, lowering the impact the run has on a runner’s joints. Opposite from the ocean are architectural feats connected by pedestrian boardwalks, such as shops and residences. With the ocean wind as motivation, Rosemary Beach offers a breathtaking 107 acre view.
Deer Lake State Park
Offering a quieter backdrop for a runner’s escape, South Walton’s “best kept secret” provides all of the scenery with less than half of the noise. The beach in Deer Lake State Park is undisturbed and gives an alternate to the sandy paths throughout the area. The half-mile Blue Trail borders Deer Lake and is perfect for a short run with plenty of wildlife to see. To see what else Deer Lake State Park has to offer, visit floridastateparks.org/park/Deer-Lake.
The Tuscaloosa YMCA’s “Youth First” 8K is set for this Saturday, May 30, at the Tuscaloosa Central YMCA. The vent helps to raise much needed money for the YMCA’s Youth First Campaign, which funds programs to help Tuscaloosa’s children stay healthy in both mind and body. The YMCA is a great organization, and the day promises to be a fun one for participants.
The Youth First 8K is open to kids and adults of all ages. Awards will be presented in each age group. If you haven’t signed up yet, no worries: You can sign up from now through the morning of the race (which starts with registration at 7 a.m. and the race is at 8 a.m. on Saturday).
The first 75 participants who sign up get a free race cap and will have their names entered into a drawing for door prizes.
It’s a cool race, and certainly a highlight of Tuscaloosa’s spring racing season.
Packet pickup is on Friday, May 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Wagners RunWalk at Midtown.
And remember: This race helps raise funds to benefit the YMCA’s many youth programs. Through the Youth First campaign, the Y is able to ensure that no one is turned away, providing financial assistance for families in the community so they can help their kids play sports of partake in literacy programs in summer camp.
By Romel Gibson
Self-evaluation is very important. If we don’t evaluate where we currently are in life, we can’t make the necessary adjustments to ensure growth. Knowing that, I decided to ask my wife a serious question a few days ago. “Where do you think we are in our marriage right now? Do you think we’re in a good place?” She replied, “We’re pretty good. We have a couple of opportunities though.” I thought, “Opportunities?” With that response, I had to ask her to expound. She began telling me that as a general manager, she has been trained to view the places that need improvement as opportunities. She said, “We can complain about where we are and view it as negative, or we can see the place where we are as an opportunity to get better. It’s all about proper perspective.”
In his book, Life Coach Your Teens: Five Principles to Help Your Kids Thrive, Roger Cross, the former president of Youth for Christ/USA, highlights the idea of failing forward. He suggests that failure is a bad word in our culture. However, in actuality, it’s not always a bad thing. Teaching teens how to fail forward is essential to their proper development. Cross says that failing forward is about progress, perspective, and persistence. There’s that word again…perspective. When viewed the right way, failures are merely opportunities to make the right changes in order to succeed. This mindset gives the hope needed to try again. The hope for a brighter future is the quickest way to bounce back from failing.
Former National Hockey League player Wayne Gretzky is the leading point-scorer in NHL history. He has more assists than any other player has points, and he is the only NHL player to surpass 200 points in one season. He has done that four different times. Gretzky is credited with making the very powerful statement, “I miss 100 percent of the shots I don’t take.” Now, imagine how many shots he had to attempt in order to score over 200 points in one season several times over. He didn’t make every shot he attempted. This just means that his failed attempts didn’t stop him from trying again.
You see, as a parent, you have lived long enough to know that you can’t succeed if you don’t try. You have experienced many failed attempts. Take the time to tell your teenager about some of those failures. You won’t be looked at as a superhero anymore, but your demotion to merely being human in their eyes will prepare your teenager to navigate through life’s challenges.
A breakup with a girlfriend/boyfriend is not the end of the world. Tell your teenager about your first heartbreak.
A failed audition is not the end of the world. Tell your teenager about the team you didn’t make or the job you didn’t get.
Giving your teenager a front row seat to a few of the main events of your life will position him/her to see everything from the proper perspective.
Romel Gibson serves on the staff of Tuscaloosa Youth For Christ as Campus Life director. Romel and his wife, Q, have three daughters, Allayna, Moriah and Rylee.
With warmer days approaching, the greater outdoors serve many purposes. Fishing, swimming and hiking are just a few, but the best places are those with prime picnicking real estate.
The 5th Annual "Hush Puppy" Silent Auction to benefit the Humane Society of West Alabama will be
held on Saturday, May 30 from 5 to 8pm at Green Bar, located in downtown Tuscaloosa next to Wilhagan's Sports Grille in Temerson Square. Tickets are $15.00 per person and will be available at the door.
If you’ve ever wanted to help the local Humane Society, this event is the perfect way to do just that. Plus? It’s really fun. Last year’s Hush Puppy crowd had an absolute blast.
This exciting event will feature a "Yappy Hour" cash bar, hors d'oeuvres, entertainment by Brandon Woolley (with a guest appearance by Dr. Tim Hammond), and a fabulous selection of items available in the silent auction, which will end at 7:30 pm. The fundraiser also features a "buy it now" table with a variety of items one can purchase without bidding and immediately take when leave. Cash or checks only, credit cards not accepted.
The Humane Society of West Alabama, founded in 1971, is a no-kill, all-volunteer, non-profit organization, and receives no funding from local, state, or federal agencies. They depend on donations and fundraisers to continue their mission of caring for and finding homes for unwanted animals. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or foster family, adopting a pet, or getting more information, please contact the Humane Society of West Alabama at 554-0011 or go to their website at HumaneSocietyofWA.org.
It's that time of year again, the one where we send senior classes off into the wild blue yonder. But before they go, many of them will participate in some regular traditions and we want to know what you think are our best local senior traditions?
A little rain did not dampen the spirits of everyone who attended Tuscaloosa’s Memorial Day services on Monday. The showers meant that the free program, originally set for Veterans Park, had to be moved to Snow Hinton Park under the Magnolia Shelter.
It was an emotional, hour-long program honoring military veterans. The service included the the unveiling of a monument to Sgt. Ross Franklin Gray, a World War II Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from Bibb County who distinguished himself by showing extraordinary heroism in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
The crowd also heard from guest speaker John O’Malley. The author, consultant and trainer (who served in the United States Marine Corps) gave an inspirational speech that paid tribute to veterans.
The Memorial Day program also included the Presentation of Colors by the Paul W. Bryant High School USMC JROTC Color Guard and the playing of “Taps” by the Tuscaloosa County American Legion Honor Guard.
In addition, over 200 veterans and their families participated in the Memorial Day Picnic sponsored by American Legion Post 34, McAbee Construction Company, Buffalo Rock, PARA, and Pepsi. The event was free to all veterans and their families.
Photos, and Special Thanks: Nicolas Britto
Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority will host a grand reopening ceremony for an addition to the Bobby Miller Activity Center on May 28 at 10 a.m. The Center is located in Newt Hinton Park at 300 Bobby Miller Parkway. The event is free and open to the public.
Funded by the Tuscaloosa County Commission, the $1.2 million renovation is a 10,000 square foot addition (connected to the original building), featuring a 35’indoor play unit and party room, two racquetball courts, a 25’climbing wall, new fitness equipment and office and storage space.
Tuscaloosa County Commissioner Bobby Miller said he was, “excited to get it (the Miller Center expansion) built and well equipped. This is good for everyone in the County and the whole community.”
The Miller Center first opened in the fall of 2006 and has consistently received high use. An additional gym was included in the original plans but was not funded at that time, according to PARA officials.
“We are thankful to the County Commission for providing funding for this much needed addition and proud to be able to offer the new amenities to the community,” said Gary Minor, executive director.
“We invite everyone to visit and see the new amenities and try us out for free during the month of June,” said Minor. “Current Miller Center members will have one month added to their memberships to account for the free month,” he said.
In addition to the amenities the new fitness equipment includes: Leg Press, Leg Curl, Leg Extension, Chest Press, Shoulder Press, Lat Pull Down, Seated Row, Triceps Press, Bicep Curl, Abdominal Crunch, Dumbbells, Smith Machine, Preacher Curl Bench, Functional Trainer, Multi-Adjustment Bench and Roman’s Chair.
With the new amenities, membership pricing will increase mirroring “Deluxe Membership” fees the same as that of the Faucett Brothers Activity Center. Current PARA members can continue to use the facilities as usual until time for their annual renewal. Please visit http://www.tcpara.org/recreation/parafit for complete membership information and pricing.
Photo: Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority
By Amy Poore
Is it just me, or does it seem like so many of us are rushing around this time of year, keeping up with the kids and all of their activities, busily spring cleaning or (hopefully) planning our summer vacations? If you find yourself short on time, these recipes are sure to satisfy everyone in the family. The ingredients in the Korean Beef Bowl and the Cherry Dump Cake are simple enough, the preparation is a snap, and I’m betting you’ll have a dinner table full of happy faces.
Korean Beef Bowls
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
- 4 green onions, chopped, divided
- Hot, cooked rice
First, start your rice so that it will be ready about the time you finish up with the beef.
In a large skillet, brown the hamburger meat with 2 of the green onions and garlic. When cooked through, drain the excess grease.
In a separate bowl, mix together soy sauce, broth, brown sugar, one green onion, sesame oil, ginger and red pepper flakes.
Stir sauce into beef mixture, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve over warm rice; Garnish with the remaining green onion.
Amy Poore is a new mom, a wife and a foodie. To see more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog, Poore Amy, at www.pooreamy.com
Photo: Amy Poore
Third graders at Tuscaloosa Academy recently presented “A Walk to the Wall of Fame.” Each student chose a famous person who impacted the America in a large way to study. The students then dressed up and presented monologues to parents, teachers and friends. Some examples of historic figures that students chose included Ben Franklin, Bill Gates, and Albert Einstein.
Front row (L to R): Emma Kronauer, Jonathan Gebrehiwet, Paul Schaefer, Harley McNeal, Tyler McNeal and Boots Plott
Middle row (L to R): Silas Stohler, Sol DeBoise, Spence Burchfield, Jonathan Koontz, Aiden Kelley and Edgar Huffaker
Back row (L to R): Geoffrey Love, Preston Lancaster, Jalyn Copeland, Lilli Eckert, Ashley Humann, Collin Holt and Noah Doenges
Photo: Chelsea McKenna