Earlier this month, Red River Kennels held a special clean-up day in the Fosters area. This marked the fourth year for this particular event, and Red River owner Daniel Bailey said it was a huge success.

“We worked together towards a clean community. We certainly want to preserve our great outdoors for generations to come.”

On the morning of April 18, volunteers got to work early, cleaning up trash and other items along the highway in Fosters. The group managed to clear a large swath, picking up huge items like old tires, and smaller things, like pieces of paper and wrappers.


By Allison Adams

 

Ah, the sounds: buzzing bees, boats in high gear across the glassy water working hard to warm itself in the sun. And as I write this, a different buzz of the Blue Angels as they prepare for their weekend show. ​

Spring brings with it thoughts of hope, revival, and change. 

The bulbs I planted in the dead of winter are now peeping their way through the still-cold soil. They didn't wait to see what the weather was going to do. They knew, as designed, that it was time for them to burst forth and push their flowers to the surface.

Perhaps God knew how these cold winters might drive us nearly to the breaking point, offering little hints of life throughout the trees so that we might "hang on" for warmer weather. 

Rooted trees planted deeply into the soil are now displaying tiny caterpillar-like buds of color on the once smooth, ice-like limbs. 

Spring is upon us, and after the winter we have had, I too am relieved that I can get outside more and spend less time in front of the fireplace (although that has its perks too). I pull out my Pinterest boards, which I notice, even when perused during winter, share ideas for open, cool, spring-like spaces. Hours of daydreaming in front of my iPad of colorful changes I might add to our decor are evident - and inspiring. 

It is spring when we put away the heavy, furry blankets. It is also the time "spring fever" occurs, making us ready to go, to do, to make a move, and to splurge! I, as a Realtor, have been eagerly working to help change-seekers find their match.

Spring is when I get most inspired to write and paint. The same scenes of winter begin to change; They take on a new life, color, and movement. 

Spring is when we start making plans to hit the lake, a beach, a park. It’s also the time we possibly panic about the quickly approaching bathing suit weather, spurring us to hit the outdoor running trails in addition to the gym.

Spring is when festivals beacon us to enrich our minds, our walls, our stomachs with new things. 

On April 11, there are a number of great excuses to get out and proclaim your stake in spring. Runners: Join the Will May 5K Run, which this year will be at Sokol Park in conjunction with The Tuscaloosa Association of REALTORS Bark in The Park at the Will May Dog Park. 

On that same day, The Druid City Arts Festival is going to be in full swing, with art, music, food and plenty to get you inspired for spring.

Get your shorts out of the bottom of the drawer, pull out your flip flops, grab your dog (they’re washing dogs for a world record at Bark in the Park, and couldn’t “Fido” use a good bath?) and get ready to have some spring fun.

Be sure to open your windows all the way down and celebrate life, spring and creativity before the April rains begin to fall.

And I hope you will come see me at the DCAF and see what spring has inspired me to create! 

Blessings from Lake Tuscaloosa,

Allison Adams

 

Photo: Allison Adams

On Being Mr. Mom

27 Mar 2015

A monthly editorial piece of masterful opinionated writing (insert joke here) regarding life and times in the big town of Tuscaloosa coupled with the musings of a guy nicknamed “Oz.”

When it comes to the everyday tasking of raising girls, I like to believe that the Missus and I evenly distribute the wealth even when it comes to determining outfits and the styling of hair.

Admittedly, she is far superior when it comes to matching tops and bottoms andfar more intelligible when it comes to girlie fashion trends (Confession: I thought “chevron” was just a gas station).

But the better half of our Dynamic Duo of Love is an accountant, and when tax season hits, the resident authority on little girl fashion and etiquette is spending long hours at the client office. As a result, Mr. Mom is resurrected.

Although there is always room for improvement, I believe my ponytail skills to be quite advanced. And I see nothing wrong with some sparkly jeans and a bedazzled shirt everyday of the week.

What I did not grasp early on was the importance of the underpants. And as the girls get older, panty style apparently becomes an integral part of an outfit - even though nobody sees it.

Attempting to understand this logic is an act of futility, like trying to explain why my underwear is categorized as “gross,” even when clean, and their underwear is considered “cute,” even when dirty.

Regardless, problems demand resolve.

The older daughter’s issue was quelled with relative ease. Through a secret, back-room deal with a nice lady at Target I was able to secure the “day-of-the-week” panty pack, which included an unwritten manual on which panties to wear on any particular day.

This solution is only complicated when the “Wednesday” panties get lost in between the washer and dryer, or when the “Friday” panties get put in the wrong drawer. Subsequently, an APB is issued, and a search party is dispersed to find the fugitive panties.

The little girl selection is a bit more involved and is most likely enhanced due to the buffet of characters available. This includes, but is not limited to: Dora, Sophia, Doc McStuffins, Peppa Pig, and of course Anna and Elsa.

Trying to figure out women is one thing. But attempting to discern the mood of a four-year-old girl through panty character selection on a daily basis is impossible. The circumstances surrounding the factors that lead to the decision of “Today is a Dora kind of day!” is a case study in itself.

The resolution is obvious: We must eventually scale back the menu. But for this tax season, the battle of the underpants is on. My money is on Elsa, at least for tomorrow.

I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.    

      

Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and daughters Savannah and Anica.

Photo: Sony Pictures

The West Alabama Leadership Prayer Breakfast is scheduled for Tuesday, April 14. This marks the 17th year for the event, which will be held at the Bryant Conference Center on the University of Alabama Campus.

The Prayer Breakfast was established in 1999 as follow up to the Franklin Graham crusade and seeks to stimulate, enhance, sustain and nurture Christian leadership in the public and private sectors of Tuscaloosa and West Alabama. The Prayer Breakfast committee is comprised of local marketplace and spiritual leaders.

This year’s keynote speaker is Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, author of God Less America and Dispatches from Bitter America.

 

Doors will open at 6:30 a.m. at the Conference Center; the program begins at 7:15 a.m. and will last until 8:30 a.m. A full breakfast buffet will be available for all guests. Individual tickets are $25.

For more information about the Prayer Breakfast, call coordinator Nicole Bohannon at (256) 335-0323 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The annual “Stand Up for Autism” fundraiser for Arts ‘N Autism is set for this Thursday, April 16, at the Bama Theatre. Arts ‘N Autism is a Tuscaloosa after-school program and summer camp for children with autism spectrum disorder, and “Stand Up” is one of the group’s largest yearly fundraisers.

As a local organization, Arts 'n Autism provides a support system for children, adolescents and young adults in the Tuscaloosa community with autism spectrum disorder, and their families. Program director Voni Wyatt says fundraisers like this one allow the organization to provide financial support as well.

“We have never turned away a child, who qualifies for our program, due to inability to pay. Thursday's event will be filled with fun and laughter but most importantly will provide an opportunity for Arts 'n Autism to share about what we do, why it is so important and how you can help.”

Comedians Tim Statum and Deno Posey will perform at “Stand Up for Autism,” along with local comedian Brad Fisher and Max Karrh, who will emcee. Statum has a southern style humor and incorporates real life stories of growing up in the country with classic stand-up comedy. Posey brings his own unique brand of humor that is hilariously relevant and reverent. He points out the funny side of everyday life that we all experience, but seldom talk about. Fisher and Karrh are members of the Tuscaloosa Comedy Group and have been entertaining Tuscaloosa audiences for years.

The doors open at 6:00 p.m. with food and a cash bar. There will be a silent auction and raffle along with entertainment by the band Sweet Kick. The Comedy Show will start at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are available online at www.artsnautism.org and at Tuscaloosa Flower Shoppe, Hudson Poole Fine Jewelers, Downtown Gallery and Confetti Interiors. For more information call (205) 247-4990.


This is National Library Week, and as part of the ongoing celebration, the Tuscaloosa Public Library is sponsoring a unique, free event on Wednesday at Southern Ale House. The “Watermelon Wine and the Poetry of Southern Music” program, which starts at 6 p.m. on April 15, features a mix of music, poetry and stories – three things that all Southerners no doubt appreciate.

Vince Bellofatto with the Tuscaloosa Public Library says this particular event is a great way to highlight libraries in the community.

“One of the goals of National Library Week is for exposure to get people to understand that libraries aren’t just books. That’s one of the reasons why we put this program together.”

What can attendees expect? Watermelon Wine and the Poetry of Southern Music is a concert reading featuring Alabama poet/author Jennifer Horne, Award-winning Nashville songwriter Anne E. DeChant and Award-winning Alabama author Frye Gaillard. The performance will explore the history of southern music and its influence on literature. Gaillard and Horne will present readings of their works, while Anne E. will perform her original songs reflecting the insight of the writings.

This free event is also sponsored by the Friends of the Library as part of the Kate Webb Ragsdale Author Series.

Summer camp: the memories! Every child should experience summer camp. We all remember the uncertainty that initially hit us as our parents drove away, leaving us for what they assumed would be a rite of passage, a part of growing up. Those moments of anxiety melted away quickly, as we immersed ourselves fully into the summer camps environment. At pickup, we didn’t want to leave what would perhaps become one of the most incredible experiences of our lives! These days, summer camps are as varied as the children who attend them. There really is something for everyone.

Listed are a number of great options, from local Tuscaloosa camps to regional camps and even some summer camps out of state that Tuscaloosa-area kids regularly attend.

 

Local Specialty Day Camps:

Dance

Academy of Ballet and Jazz: Open all summer. Instructor Susu Hale Prout. Ages 18 month to adult, Mommy and Me, Preschool, and intensives. For more information, call (205) 752-5124 or visitwww.danceabj.com.

The Dance Centre: One-week workshops beginning June 2. Little Princess Camp, ages 3 to 5. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., June 15-19; Camp Radio Disney, ages 6-9. Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., June 22-26; Frozen, ages 3-5. Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., July 13-17; Summer Intensive Workshop, ages 6 and up. Saturday - Wednesday, June 6-10. For more information, call (205) 752-5354 or visit www.thedancecentre.net.

MJ’s Academy of Dance: Mary Jo Thompson, Summer Session: June 2-July 25. All styles and levels of dancing at affordable prices. Weekly classes (all ages) $60 for six-week session for one weekly class, $50 for each additional weekly class per session. There are sibling discounts. Summer regular session dates are: June 9-July 17 (six weeks). Tights and Tiaras Camp (3 years-K): June 2-6, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.; Popldol (1-6 grade) Camp: June 2-6, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; Tights and Tiaras Camp (3 years-K) July 21-25, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; Popldol (1-6 grade) Camp: July 21-25, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.. For more information or to pre-register, call (205) 343-7757, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visitwww.mjsacademy.com.

Theater

The ACT Summer Production Camp: July 20-25 at Covenant Presbyterian Church and the Bama Theatre. This camp, for ages 8-18, runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The week is spent putting together a musical (Disney’s Aladdin Jr.) and culminates in three performances complete with lights, sets, costumes and special effects. For more information, call (205) 393-2800, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visitwww.theactonline.com.

Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre and Theatre Tuscaloosa’s Theatre Camp 2015: June 15-26 in the fine arts center on Shelton State’s Martin Campus. In this day camp, classes are offered from 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for children who have completed kindergarten through 11th grade. Session topics will include acting, dance, singing, improvisation, audition, stage makeup, and technical theatre. Registration is limited to 18 students per age group and is conducted on a first-come-first-serve basis. Visit www.theatretusc.com to download the registration form. Class descriptions, instructor bios, and class schedules are also available. Or call the ticket office at (205) 391-2277 for more information.

Fitness

Northridge Fitness Kid’s Strength Camp: Three days per week. Ages 11-15. Principles of proper body mechanics, developing core strength, and weight lifting safety. For more information, call (205) 752-1201 or visit www.northridgefitness.net.

Martial Arts

Tiger Rock Martial Arts: Six days per week for Martial Arts classes and four locations. Limited number of spots for a “Train All Summer” program. For more information, call (205) 759-4711 (Tuscaloosa), (205) 339-7071 (Northport) or (205) 343-6449 (Hillcrest).

Sports

Bama Bounders Gymnastic Camps and Classes: Gold Star Camp, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., ages 5 and up; Silver Star Camp, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., ages 5 and up; Bronze Star Camp, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., ages potty trained to 4 years. Early Bird Special - sign up and pay deposit by May 15th for June Camps and June 19th for July Camps. For more information, including specific camp dates and activities, call (205) 722-2436 or visit www.thebamabounders.com.

Druid City Soccer Camp: June 22-25, ages 4-12 (all levels of experience). This camp will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon each day at Sokol Park North. This camp strives to help children learn and develop their skills on the soccer field. Coach: Carter Hill. Cost: $85 (includes a t-shirt and a soccer ball). For more information, call (205) 799-6342 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NorthRiver Tennis Summer Camps: May 26-29, June 22-26, July 6-10, July 20-24 and July 27-31. 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. This camp is open to children ages 5-14. For more information, call (205) 343-4558.

Tuscaloosa Tennis Center Summer Camps: June 1-5, June 8-12, July 6-10. 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m (M-F). These camps will teach all students the basic strokes and footwork for tennis success in a fun filled learning environment. The student/teacher ratio will be 5/1 to ensure that each student gets individual instruction. Ten and under balls (red, orange and green dot) will be used for younger campers in order to have early success. Snacks will be served to all students. Cost: $150/week for members, $165 for non-members. To register or for more information, please call (205) 331-0211.

University of Alabama Sports Camps: UA offers a number of different camps and clinics for sports enthusiasts. Baseball camps Crimson Tide Experience Elite 40: June 28-30 Cost $850. For more information visit www.collegebaseballcamps.com/bama. Other sports camps include Cheer/Dance Camp, Nick Saban Football Camp, Gymnastics Camp, Soccer Camp, Softball Camp, Swimming and Diving camps, Volleyball Camp and more. For more information on UA’s many summer sports camps for kids, visit www.rolltide.com/camps/alab-camps.html.

Art

All Fired Up Summer Camp: Sessions are May 26-29, June 9-12, June 23-26, July 7-10, July 21-24 and August 4-7. For kids who love crafts, this camp offers a week of fun morning sessions (Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m. to noon) that allow them to create many different and interesting projects. Cost: $150 for the week; $40 per day. For more information, call (205) 343-0015.

Brushstrokes Summer Art Camp: Monday-Thursday for two weeks (2 hrs daily). For more information, call (205) 657-0199 or visit annsbrushstrokes.com/summer-camps.

All-Around Camp Fun

Arts ‘N Autism Summer Camp: Offers four week-long sessions (June and July) for pre-K to young adults with autism. Daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Activities include field trips, art, music, swimming and more. Cost: $400 per session. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.artsnautism.org.

Summer Explorations 2015: Six two-week sessions beginning on May 26 through August 15. Ages 2.5 to 18 years. Morning classes: 8 a.m. to noon and afternoon sessions 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Tuition: $200 for 40 hours. For more information, including specific activities and session dates and schedules, call (205) 758-2828 or enroll online at www.thecapitolschool.com.

Crazy Daze of Summer: Children’s Hands-On Museum (C.H.O.M.), downtown Tuscaloosa, Nine weeks of fun, including: kids karaoke, dueling basketballs, skee ball, air hockey and more. For more information on activities and schedules, call (205) 349-4235 or visit www.chomonline.org.

Forest Lake United Methodist Church Weekday Kids Program Summer Camp: May 26-August 4. Grades 1-7. Camp features arts and crafts, daily devotions, bowling and movie field trips, swimming, water days at Shelby Park, sports, skating, and more. Open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during summer school vacation. Cost: $50 registration, $25 daily attendance fee and $95 weekly attendance fee. Includes two snacks per day, supplies. Wee Camp for pre-K-4 also available. For more information, call (205) 758-6623, visit www.forestlakeumc.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

PARA Kids Summer Day Camp: a healthy and safe environment, physical development, discovering new activities, encouraging social skills, long lasting friendships and self-esteem development. Activities include: exercise programs, swimming, archery, skating, bowling, softball, kickball, inflatables, and arts and crafts. For more information on day camp, please email: Melinda Wiggins atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call (205) 562-3230 or visit the site at:www.tcpara.org/page/35/day_camp_youth_events.html.

Tuscaloosa Academy Summer Knights Program: Programs (offered over eight weeks) are available for children ages 3 to rising 6th graders, and ages 3 to Kindergarten. Taught by certified staff, with special activities to help a child’s development. Half days and full days are available. For more information, call (205) 758-4462 ext. 513, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visitwww.tuscaloosaacademy.org.

Tuscaloosa Barnyard Summer Day Camp: All ages. Learn about life on the farm away from TV and video games. Activities include: taking care of animals, boat rides, fishing, games, farm movies, hayrides, pony rides, horse training, arts and crafts, games, and learning about nature. Slow paced environment. For more information, call (205) 248-0773 or visit www.tuscloosabarnyard.com.

YMCA Summer Day Camp: Ages 4-14. Daily from June 1-Aug. 5, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Field trips, swimming, sports camps, arts and crafts, and more. Cost: $65 per week per child; part time is $35 per week (any three days). For more information, call (205) 759-4284 and ask for Children’s Director Lachanda Wallace or Curtis Pickard.

Music

The Community Music School (CMS): The University of Alabama School of Music. All ages and all levels of musical ability. Classes taught by faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as community professionals. Private and group instruction available for a wide variety of instruments. Kindermusic program for children ages birth - 7 years. For more information, including rates and dates, call (205) 348-6741.

Crimson Music Camps: Jazz Improvisation and Marching Percussion Camp: June 11-14.

For more information, call (205) 348-6068, visit bands.ua.edu/programs/crimson-camp.

Alabama Blues Project 2015 Summer Blues Camp: The weeklong camp, from July 20-24, will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Children will participate in art activities and learn about blues history from 9 a.m. to noon, break for lunch, and then receive blues music instruction from 1 to 5 p.m. Lunch is not provided, and campers can choose between morning, afternoon or all-day sessions. For more information or to register, please contact Paula Demonbreun at (205) 752-6263 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Learning

Moundville Archaeological Park-Indian Day Camp: Indian Summer Day Camp is a week long program teaching kids, ages 9 through 13, Native American arts and ways of life. Located at Moundville Archaeological Park, activities include museum and park tours, videos, storytelling, nature hikes, sampling Native American foods, and playing Native American games. Children create several crafts including pottery and baskets or gourd masks. Session 1 – June 1-5; Session 2 – July 20-24. For more information, call (205) 371-8732, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit moundville.ua.edu.

Sylvan Learning Center: Writing, mathematics, study skills, and specialty classes for state exams available. For more information, call (205) 345-7676.

Tuscaloosa Library Summer Reading Programs: All ages. All activities are free. Activities include: juggling, summer safety programs, magic, storytelling, animal programs, movies, and more. For specific dates and times, visit www.tuscaloosa-library.org or call (205) 345-5820.

Alabama Museum of Natural History, History Expedition 37: Middle School Week (grades 6-8), June 8-13; High School Week (grades 9-12), June 15-20; Public Camp Week (all ages), June 22-27. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Alabama Summer Computer Camps: UA Department of Computer Science. Middle School Week 1: Game Programming with Scratch; Robotics; High School Week 1: Introduction to Programming with Java; High School Week 2: Smartphone Programming (Android App Inventor) and Robotics. For more information and for dates, visit outreach.cs.ua.edu/camps, email Dr. Jeff Gray at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (205) 348-2847.

Camp Cash: June 8-12. UA College of Environmental Sciences, ages 11-14. Management skills, experiencing college life, enhancing confidence and self-esteem, investing, insurance, wealth accumulation, and credit. For more information, visit ches.ua.edu, email Lauren Creel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (205) 348-6178.

Scouting

Camp Horne, Boy Scouts of America (Black Warrior Council): Cottondale. Three one-week sessions of Boy Scout resident camps are offered in June, followed by two Cub Scout resident camp sessions. For more information, visit www.bwc-bsa.org or call (205) 861-4496. 

Camp Cottaquilla (near Anniston) and the Kanawahala Program Center (Chelsea), Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama:Resident camp and day camp programs available. Resident camps begin in late May. Prices vary, depending on the type of camp. For more information, call (800) 734-4541 or visit www.girlscoutsnca.org/camps.

State and Regional Camps

Lake Forest Ranch Interdenominational Christian Co-Ed Camp: Shadow Lake, East Central Mississippi (less than two hours from Tuscaloosa). All ages. Activities include horseback riding, wild ride water rube, low and high ropes course, basketball, gym games, tennis, beach volleyball, swimming, fishing, canoeing, boating, archery, frisbee golf, game room/arcade, paint ball course for teens, and Bible studies. For more information call Rick Malone at (662) 726-5052 or visitwww.lakeforestranch.com.

McWane Center Summer Camps: McWane Science Center, Birmingham. All ages. Weekly camps run from June 1st through August 7th. Full-day and half-day camp sessions are available. For more information, call (205) 714-8414 or visit www.mcwane.org/learn/kids-family/camps/2015-summer-camps/. Registration begins in May.

Camp McDowell: Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Nauvoo. Camps for primary, elementary, junior high and high school-aged students. Sessions run from May 22-August 2. In addition to nurturing spiritual, social, and creative growth, Camp McDowell offers hiking, canoeing, arts & crafts, swimming, a ropes and group action course, soccer, softball, soccer, capture the flag, and many other group games and creative activities. For more information, visit www.campmcdowell.dioala.org, contact Stratt Byars, Summer Camp Coordinator, at (205) 281-1903 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Riverview Camp for Girls: Mentone (located on the former Saddle Rock Camp for Girls campus). Ages 6-16. Sessions run from June 7-July 31. This Christian camp features cabins with bathrooms and showers. Photos are downloaded each day of campers. Mother-daughter weekend in August. For more information, including session dates, call (800) 882-0722, visit www.riverviewcamp.com.

Camp Laney: Mentone. Boys, ages 7-14. Sessions run from June 7-July 31. One- and two-week sessions available. Cost $1,600 (one week); $3,000 (two weeks). Tuition includes: Chartered bus trips, cabin photos, arts and crafts, canteen snack store, golf trips, rock climbing trips and more. For more information, including session dates, call (256) 634-4066, visit www.camplaney.com.

Camp Skyline Ranch for Girls: Mentone. Ages 6-16. Sessions run from June 7-July 31. Costs range from $1,828-$3,398. Camp includes: arts and crafts, horseback riding, swimming, archery, dance, and other activities. For more information, including session dates, call (800) 448-9279 or visit www.campskyline.com.

Photos: Boy Scouts of America Black Warrior Council, UA Museums - Moundville Archaeological Park, Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority and Porfirio Solorzano.

 

By Laurie Mundy Perrigin

Who doesn’t love a great food festival? Fortunately for those of us who live in Alabama, we’ve got a ton of great ones to enjoy. These are some of my favorites – though it can be tough to choose. From barbecue in Huntsville and Birmingham to excellent food and wine in T-Town (and beyond), mark your calendars and prepare to be amazed.


Logan Love stands on the bridge that he, along with other members of Troop 90, completed as his community service project.

Logan Michael Love, a 16-year-old member of the Black Warrior Council Boy Scouts of America Troop 90, was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout earlier this year. Love’s community service project involved working in conjunction with PARA to help complete a bridge, to extend the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk. The bridge is located adjacent to the Tuscaloosa Public Library on Jack Warner Parkway.


Teams of 20 paddlers will compete for top spots as they paddle along the Black Warrior River.

Tuscaloosa’s Black Warrior River will again be the scene for this year’s 2015 Dragon Boat Races to benefit the Junior League of Tuscaloosa. The fourth-annual event, which features hundreds of participants on dragon boat teams paddling along the river (and hundreds more cheering them on from the banks), is set for Saturday, April 25, at The Cypress Inn.

Top prizes will be awarded, but the real winners are the beneficiaries – the community programs supported by Junior League of Tuscaloosa.

The annual Dragon Boat races are exciting, and the friendly competition and community spirit surrounding the event is hard to miss. If you're looking for an excuse to get outside and enjoy all of this great spring West Alabama weather, watching the Dragon Boat races is the perfect thing to do.


The Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, in partnership with the Birmingham Vet Center, will hold outreach events for veterans in and around Hamilton and Fayette on April 29 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The April 29 event in Hamilton will be held at the Marion Regional Medical Center, and the April 30 event in Fayette will be held at the Fayette Civic Center. Additional events are planned in May in Vernon and Carrollton (see below for specific dates, times and locations).

The purpose of the outreach events is to provide information to veterans about services available to them from the Tuscaloosa VA, Birmingham Vet Center, and the other agencies. Information about the Tuscaloosa VA will include how to enroll for VA services, primary care services, mental health services, job training, job opportunities, telemedicine, homeless programs, women’s programs, My HealtheVet, rural veteran programs, and student veteran programs.


Sokol Park will be filled with fun on Saturday, April 25, for the annual Child Abuse Prevention Services’ (CAPS) All About Kids Festival. The event is free and designed for families to spend time and have fun together, while celebrating children and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“The day will be filled with games and activities,” CAPS executive director Lisa Maddox said. “We’ll have bouncers, cartoon characters Dora and Spiderman, Miss Alabama, Miss Stillman and Miss University of Alabama. The Humane Society will be there, and we’ll have horseback riding, music, food and many more activities that everyone can enjoy.”


The City of Tuscaloosa is hosting the 9th annual Mayor’s Cup 5K this Saturday, April 25. The race, which is aimed at increasing awareness and raising funds for the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative, is presented by Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.

The race will start and end at Government Plaza behind City Hall. The route will go through downtown and will cross through the Walk of Champions on the University of Alabama campus.


The 100th area Habitat for Humanity home will be build this week in just 100 hours.

  By DCL Staff

Several events are planned this week to mark the fourth anniversary of the devastating April 27, 2011, tornado. It’s a somber time for area residents, but the rebuilding post-storm efforts continue to give hope. Included among the events is the dedication of a new Tuscaloosa fire station, the building of a Habitat for Humanity house in one of the hardest hit areas, and more.

Habitat for Humanity Builds 100th in 100

On Tuesday, April 21, volunteers will begin building the 100th Habitat for Humanity House since the local Habitat chapter was founded here in 1987. And what’s even more impressive? Volunteers will build the house at 25 Juanita Drive (in the heart of the tornado zone) in 100 hours! Several city leaders, including Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, will be on hand to help with the effort.

Ellen Potts, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa, explains that the work will be done by volunteers and staff working two shifts each day, 6:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and 3:00 - 10:00 p.m.  

“While Habitat Tuscaloosa has done other ‘blitz builds’ which completed a house in five days, this will be the first 100 hour house.”


UA’s Greek community partnered with Habitat for Humanity for the annual all-Greek service project.

The University of Alabama Greek Week, held last month, fostered friendly competition among campus fraternity and sorority organizations, but more importantly it will have a lasting impact on the Tuscaloosa area. All total, $101,000 was donated to over 30 different area non-profits. All total, UA Greeks contributed 1200 hours of service to the community.

 

Greek Week consisted of competitions between fraternities and sororities, including bowling, basketball, dodge ball and a dance competition. The highlight of the week was a service component, in which UA’s Greek community partnered with Habitat for Humanity for the annual all-Greek service project.

Editor's Note: With the passing of one of the greatest authors of all time, Harper Lee, Druid City Living wanted to revisit one of our favorite pieces. We hope you enjoy this story.

Mark Mayfield was working as the executive editor of Southern Accents magazine when he made a bold inquiry to one of America’s most beloved authors ever – Nelle Harper Lee.

“I wrote to her, asking if she would consider writing an essay on southern photography to coincide with an exhibit we were featuring,” Mayfield said. “This letter is her wonderful response. She declined, but it’s the nicest turndown I’ve ever had.”

This letter exemplifies Lee’s charm and eloquence.


Brock and Jackson Siskey didn’t hesitate to donate money from their video game fund to help students halfway around the world.

By Cokie Thompson

Jackson and Brock Siskey ran to their piggy banks, each to get one dollar while they were getting ready to leave. Their elementary school was having a hat day, and they needed a dollar to participate. When they pulled up in the car line, mom Erin Siskey realized Jackson had grabbed more than a dollar.

He had grabbed a hundred. Specifically, the hundred dollars he and Brock were saving to buy a Wii U.

“I was like ‘You can’t give them a hundred dollars,’” Siskey said. “And then I thought, ‘Wait, yes you can!’”

Rock Quarry Elementary and Middle Schools have spent this school year raising money to build a school in Lagos, Nigeria. Andrew Maxey, the principal of Rock Quarry Middle, grew up there, and his parents are still there working as missionaries.


Pictured, Top row (L to R): Sophie Livaudais, Ben Midkiff and Layne Goodbread. Bottom row (L to R): Josiah Gleason, Alex Williams (captain) and Alex Krallman.

The Holy Spirit Catholic Middle School Scholar Bowl team recently won the regional ASCA competition and earned a place in the state meet. The team set a school record for the most points ever achieved in a single round. Holy Spirit is proud of the team’s outstanding performance.

Photo: Laurie Mitchell


A drawing on the sidewalk of Lloyd Wood Middle School reminds students to “Dream.”

By Cokie Thompson

Every spring brings fresh life, but the spring of 2016 will bring something extra special to Tuscaloosa County Schools and the families they serve.

The Tuscaloosa County School System is preparing to renovate what was once Lloyd Wood Middle School for its new Sprayberry Learning Center. Sprayberry serves students in the county who have multiple disabilities, in addition to housing several of the county’s alternative classes.

The center has grown considerably since its inception in the 1970s after the first Americans with Disabilities Act regulations went into effect. Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Swinford said at the time, no one could have foreseen the number of students they would now be serving, specifically those in wheelchairs.

 

“As soon as I told some of the parents, it was just amazing to hear them say, ‘Dr. Swinford, you know we’ve been asking for this,’” Swinford said.

(Front row L to R): Sam Allen, Emery Geyer, Shannon Kim, and Mary Katelyn Price. (Back row, L to R): Elizabeth Vann, Sidney Becher, Joy Becher, Sarah Corbett Woods, and Will Henson. Not pictured- Austin Rice.

Several students from Tuscaloosa Academy participated in the AISA Secondary Festival and Honor Choir, held in March at Hooper Academy. Mary Katelyn Price was chosen as Most Outstanding Choral Student. Price was a featured soloist, performing Pietro Yon’s Gesù bambino.”

Photo: Chelsea McKenn

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