Tuscaloosa native Jessica Procter has represented the Tuscaloosa area as Miss West Central Alabama Outstanding Teen, Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen, Miss Tuscaloosa and now the 21-year-old University of Alabama student is Miss Alabama.

Competing as Miss Leeds Area 2017, Procter took home the crown on Saturday, June 10, at Samford University’s Wright Center in Birmingham. For her talent, Procter sang “Over the Rainbow.” Classically trained, Procter comes from an entire family of singers. Her parents both performed as professional opera singers in Europe for many years, before ultimately settling in Tuscaloosa. Doff Procter is the director of The Alabama Choir School; mom Laurel Procter is an administrator and artist in residence there. 

Jessica Procter, named Miss Alabama on June 10, with her parents, Doff and Laurel Procter.

 

Procter is a junior at UA, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Psychology. Her platform, “Step Up to the Plate,” aims to fight hunger, and Procter has been an avid supporter of the West Alabama Food Bank.

As Miss Alabama, Procter will go on to represent the state in the upcoming 97th Miss America pageant, set for September at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Preliminary competitions will be held Sept. 6-8, and the final night of competition on Sept. 10 will be broadcast live on ABC.

By Nicole Hall

When you think about tobacco marketing, I am sure you might think about the handsome cowboy, Camel Joe, or maybe even the Flintstones, who were once hired in the old days to promote a certain brand of cigarettes. The youth of today are not faced with television ads, billboards, or commercials, but rather a new marketing tactic called “point of sale.” Point of sale marketing takes place where the items are sold. Think about the last convenience store you went into. What did you see? If you take a moment to look at your surroundings, it’s hard to miss. I assure you, young, intrigued eyes take notice, as they are quite observant. The bright packaging. The discounts. The fruity flavors. They take it all in, just like the tobacco companies want them to.

It's hard to believe, but it's been 10 years now since the City of Tuscaloosa set up and launched its 311 call center.

“From day one I wanted our government to be as transparent, accessible and efficient as possible,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, who spearheaded the creation of 311 after he was first elected mayor in 2005. “311 was the first of many open government initiatives we have done in the past 10 years, and I am truly proud with how this team has stepped up to meet the needs of our citizens.”

Tuscaloosa’s YMCA Family Center is kickstarting its own eight-week summer camp program from Monday, June 5 through Friday, August 4. The camp will offer plenty of activities for local kids of all ages to enjoy. 

“Every week is themed, and through the week we do a variety of field trips with local community partners,” said Stephanie Reinhart, the YMCA Family Center’s Associate Executive Director. “Longtime YMCA member Dr. Doug Phillips of 'Discovering Alabama' is going to be working with our camp as part of our nature and science week.”

Summer vacation has arrived, and while kids will be hitting the pool or the lake to keep cool in the Tuscaloosa heat, there are other options as well – including free movies. Settling into a dark, cool, comfortable movie theater and being swept away for a few hours can be equally as relaxing (and fun).

Cobb Theatres in Tuscaloosa is offering free, family-friendly summer movies through August. Shows at the Hollywood 16 start at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (doors open at 9:30 a.m.). New movies will be shown each week, and they’re appropriate for all ages.

Brad Bohannon was formally introduced as head baseball coach at The University of Alabama by Director of Athletics Greg Byrne at a press conference in the Mal M. Moore Athletics Facility on Monday.

Dance enthusiasts can tippy-toe into the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers’ Ballet & Brunch event on Sunday, June 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Even though some churches will still be in session, people are encouraged to come when they’re available.

The Tuscaloosa Public Library’s summer reading program, “Build a Better World,” kicked off on May 30. The program, which runs through July 29 at all TPL locations, includes a variety of activities to keep area kids entertained for hours each week.  

Summer is in full swing now here in T-Town, and also in full swing? Things to do. All the things! From Friday evenings with Live at the Plaza in Government Square to the Highway 2 Hale Century Bicycle Ride through Hale County to the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers’ Ballet & Brunch, there are a ton of fun opportunities on tap this week for everyone.

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.

Congratulations to this year’s NorthRiver Yacht Club 2017 Match Play Champion Mike Donnelly. He outlasted the very tough field, beating the runner up Mark Hearing in the final match on Saturday, May 27, winning 2 up.

Now that the weather is warmer, many people are looking for quick, refreshing ways to get in the nutrients they need. Smoothies are a natural choice, but there are specific ways to make them to ensure you’ll get the most benefits.

“The benefits of smoothies are endless,” said Leslie Spruill, University of Alabama nutrition intern. “Most can be made in less than five minutes. They’re great for on-the-go, and, when prepared with good nutrition in mind, they can be full of vitamins, minerals and fiber.”

The City of Tuscaloosa will host the annual Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day on Saturday, June 3 from 8 a.m. until noon at the City of Tuscaloosa Public Safety Logistics building located at 3311 Kauloosa Avenue.

Household hazardous waste is the discarded, unused or leftover portion of household products containing toxic chemicals. Many hazardous wastes bear by warning labels such as poisonous or flammable. Improper disposal of these wastes can pose a threat to human health and the environment. Items dropped off will either be neutralized and recycled into new product or safely and properly disposed.

Alabama football’s first two home games of the 2017 season will air on either ESPN or ESPN2, the network announced on Wednesday, May 31.

This handsome dog is Nick, a 2-1/2 to 3-year-old male Labrador retriever mix. He is the Humane Society of West Alabama's Pet of the Week!

For the third year in a row, the Alabama Astrobotics team won the NASA Robotic Mining Competition. Alabama is the only team to win consecutive years, and has now won four times in the competition’s eight year history.

By Annie Ellis

Everyone’s favorite little red-haired orphan and her adorable dog, Sandy, are heading to the Bama Theatre stage June 2-4, when The Actor’s Charitable Theatre (ACT) presents the musical “Annie.”

“Annie” is based on Harold Gray’s popular comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” which premiered in the 1920s in the New York Daily News, becoming one of the most widely-read strips in the ‘30s and ‘40s. The original 1977 Broadway production of “Annie” ran at the Alvin Theatre (now renamed the Neil Simon Theatre) for 2,377 performances for nearly six years and won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Choreography.

Although it’s set in 1933 New York City during the Great Depression, “Annie” is full of joy and laughter. Ever-optimistic Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage that is run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. When Annie’s luck turns around with an invitation to spend the holidays with cranky billionaire Oliver Warbucks, she warms his heart. Warbucks offers a reward to anyone who can prove they are Annie’s parents, and Miss Hannigan, partnering with her con artist brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily, attempt to strike it rich with this unique situation. But in the end, Annie finds the family she always dreamed of with Daddy Warbucks, his secretary Grace Farrell, and her lovable pooch, Sandy.

The rags-to riches story of “Annie” is well-known – it has been translated into 28 languages, played in 34 different countries, and has been made into three movies (in 1982, 1999, and 2014). At least a dozen members of The ACT’s “Annie” cast and crew have been involved with past shows of “Annie.”

So, how does The ACT plan to make this “Annie” fresh and new?

“Although cheesy at times, it is a beautiful story,” said Joey Lay, The ACT’s artistic director, who has already been a part of four versions of “Annie” in his theater career. “I am going simplistic with the set to allow the beauty of the story to come through. And our show will feature innovative, new choreography that is unique to this production.”

According to choreographer Benji Stockton, who spent ten years performing in Atlanta with The Aurora Theatre and with Six Flags Over Georgia, it’s important to make things updated and tell the same story but in a fresh, new way.

“People either know the 1982 movie version, one of the many Broadway revivals (each a bit different in their own unique, creative way), the 1999 movie, or the 2014 movie (again, each one different),” Stockton said. “I wanted to give people something that they have not seen before, as far as choreography is concerned. I do give respectable nods to the original 1977 Broadway show, 1982 movie, 2012 revival, and even the 2014 movie version.”

Playing the title role of Annie is Caroline Gibson, a sixth grader at Echols Middle School, who has appeared in 12 other local theater productions since the age of eight. In addition to acting on stage, Caroline plays the piano, guitar, and ukulele, and is an accomplished vocalist who has competed in singing competitions across the Southeast.

Sandy, the stray mutt who becomes Annie’s faithful friend, will be played by Pharaoh, a four-year-old terrier mix, who, like Sandy, has her own successful adoption story: two years ago, she was adopted from the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter.

 

If You Go:

“Annie”

Bama Theatre

Friday, June 2, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 3, 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 4, 2:00 p.m.

Ticket prices:  Adult $20, Senior $18, Student $16, Kids $12

To order tickets:  TheACT.info or (205)393-2800; Enter this special discount code when you order online to receive $2 off each ticket:  Dcity

The City of Tuscaloosa has increased its population by 10.2 percent since the 2010 census, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates, more than any of the top five cities in Alabama.

A Memorial Day service to honor military veterans is planned for Monday, May 29 at the Tuscaloosa Veterans Memorial Park. The hour-long program, which begins at 9 a.m., is free and open to the public.

This week’s Druid City Living calendar is again packed with events and happenings in our area, so be sure and get out and enjoy when you can. Be sure to check  out The ACT’s production of “Annie” this week, and remember that Live at the Plaza is every Friday evening at Government Plaza. And, if you have any hazardous waste around the house or garage (including old paint, batteries, propane tanks, etc.) take it to the city’s annual disposal day on Saturday (details below).

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.

Tis the season for little league games and summer sporting events, which brings us to the inevitable topic of competition. Most people would agree that teaching children how to compete is a valuable skill in life, and that childhood sports are one of the avenues by which to learn this. This is also an excellent opportunity to define the difference between healthy and unhealthy competition. 

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.