My recent campaign for governor allowed me the amazing opportunity to experience the deep faith and boundless optimism of the people of Alabama. Words cannot express my sincere appreciation to all of you who made this journey possible. I am honored to be an Alabamian and blessed to have met so many of you over the past 18 months. Although we did not win the race, it is important that we continue to keep faith – it is important that we continue to believe in the promise of a better Alabama.

Did you know that using hands-on activities is one of the best ways for children to learn? Research shows that children who are taught using hands-on teaching methods do better in school than those who are not.

Here’s wishing all our Druid City Living readers a great week, filled with all kinds of outstanding local events. Get out, get involved, and above all: Have fun.

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.

Enjoy your week, T-Town!

For Tuscaloosa, 2019 is a year of celebration. On December 13, 1819, Tuscaloosa became a city, the day before Congress admitted Alabama as the 22nd state of the Union. On December 13 of this year, Tuscaloosa will have its 200th birthday. This makes 2019 the Bicentennial year for both the city and the state. Tuscaloosa will celebrate with gusto for this milestone birthday, remembering how much the city has seen over the last two centuries, and building momentum for what lies ahead.

Since before its incorporation by the territory of Alabama, this region attracted settlers for the same reasons the Native American tribes inhabited the area, predominantly because of access to what we know as the Black Warrior River. The river provided accessibility that fueled industry, allowing the city to thrive, and to become what it is today.

“These companies know they would not be what they are if they had not been planted in the soil of Tuscaloosa,” said Cathy Randall about the corporate sponsors of Tuscaloosa 200, the collective name of the events scheduled for the bicentennial year. Because of these sponsors, members of the public can attend these events for free. 

Randall is one of three co-chairs of the Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Commission, the group formed to organize the year’s events. Tim Parker, Jr., and Harrison Taylor make up the trio of leadership. Within the commission, nine community volunteers chair different segments of the planning and facilitation, along with hundreds of other volunteers who have (and will continue) to lend their time, effort, and talents to the preparation and execution of the vision set forth.

Kicking Off the Celebration

To kick off the 12 months of celebration, the commission held a dedication ceremony declaring the gazebo in Government Plaza downtown as Bicentennial Square, complete with the unveiling of a plaque stating that the square is “Dedicated in honor of the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the City of Tuscaloosa on December 13, 1819,” and naming this as “A Year to Remember.” At this dedication ceremony, the Commission chairs, along with other key players involved, presented the line up of what’s to come – and what the community can expect in the coming months. 

The Tuscaloosa 200 website calls out its mission “to celebrate Tuscaloosa’s past and reflect on a better future for all citizens of Tuscaloosa.” Organizers know that by focusing on what our city has seen in years past, and what it’s accomplished since, will establish a foundation for continuing all its achievements in the future. 

“It is awe-inspiring to walk down the same streets as the people who helped make Tuscaloosa what it is today,” said City Council President Cynthia Almond. “Part of the goal for 2019 is to celebrate all that our predecessors brought to fruition.”

Celebrating the Past: The Bicentennial Quilt 

One way the Commission plans to celebrate Tuscaloosa’s past is through a Bicentennial Quilt. Local folk artist Yvonne Wells was brought in to lead this endeavor. Wells’ story quilts have been displayed prominently, and to much acclaim, all over the U.S.  

“We jumped at the chance to work with Yvonne,” said Amy Echols, the executive director of Kentuck and one of the artists who lent her creative talents to the Bicentennial Quilt.  

Echols, along with Becky Booker, Sharron Rudowski, and Tonyia Tidlin, worked with Wells to create the quilt. Each woman took a quadrant of the city [North, South, East, and West] and created four squares depicting historical and memorable people, places, and/or events represented in that area. Wells had a few guidelines she gave to her team: each section had to contain a sun, three birds for the Holy Trinity, lots of greenery for the Druid City (City of Oaks), and a personal element from the artist in each square. 

 After receiving the 16 finished pieces, Wells spent several weeks deciding the final layout. She then added a river to run through the entire quilt, connecting all sections together just as the Black Warrior River connects all sections of our city. Wells added her own personal element to the quilt, her love of vintage flags, by backing the Bicentennial Quilt with a vintage Alabama flag. 

More than quilting, Wells put her team together for their artistic talents. Some of the ladies had never quilted before this project.  

“It was not so much about the quilting,” said Wells, “but about being able to immerse one’s self in the story.”  

The details of the stitching don’t matter as much as the message shared through the designs.  

“We’re not quilters; we’re storytellers,” said Echols. 

Bicentennial Launch Ceremony 

The quilt will be revealed at the Bicentennial Launch Ceremony on January 31 at Tuscaloosa River Market, one of several events lined up in celebration.  

In addition to the Fireworks at the Amp that rang in the new year, there will be a Bicentennial Bash at the Amp in March, an all-day music festival featuring big headliners to entertain our community.  

The Tuscaloosa public schools are adding an educational component to Tuscaloosa 200, with each school taking a different era and creating projects that associate with that time in the city’s history. These will make up the “Tuscaloosa Through Time History Expo” at Coleman Coliseum April 24-27.  

To wrap up the celebration, on December 13, the community will celebrate Tuscaloosa’s 200th birthday with a City Birthday Party, including a Bicentennial parade, a sculpture unveiling, and a time capsule burial.

Several local nonprofits recently received funding as part of the Fall Grant Cycle of the Community Foundation of West Alabama. 

This is sweet Danny, a 1-year-old male terrier/lab/hound mix. He's this week's Humane Society of West Alabama's Pet of the Week.

Saturday, March 30 promises to be a banner day for Tuscaloosa. The City of Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Bash is a free event at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater that features an impressive lineup of all-star Alabama musicians.

Druid City Living always wants to recognize our great local businesses. To the new businesses - welcome to town! Remember: Shop local. 

On a Sunday in December of 1871, a most singular event occurred. Writing in Tuscaloosa’s The Independent Monitor, Editor Ryland Randolph described it thus...

Sleep is a critical part of our lives. It allows our bodies and our minds to recuperate from the events of the day and re-energizes us for the next. However, in a Consumer Reports survey, 27 percent of U.S. adults said they had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most nights, and 68 percent—or an estimated 164 million Americans—struggled with sleep at least once a week. 

The city of Tuscaloosa’s current City Clerk, Mark Fields, has been named the new chief human resources officer. Mayor Maddox named Field to the position, effective on Feb. 1.

For many of the students taught by Mary Ann Cooper over the past three years, her English class would be one of the last they ever had in high school. That pressure doesn’t stop Cooper from inspiring and engaging the 11th and 12th grade students that walk through her door every day. 

In the spirit of giving, three Tuscaloosa county organizations are coming together this holiday season to further implement each of their missions in the community. Kentuck Art Center, who orchestrated this collaboration, paid more than $2,000 to the University of Alabama's Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and Black Warrior Model Railroad Club.

Here’s wishing all our Druid City Living readers a great week, filled with all kinds of outstanding local events. Get out, get involved, and above all: Have fun. And if it seems like our calendar is a little thinner than usual, the holidays are in full swing. Don’t forget that if you’ve got family in town, Holidays on the River and the Tinsel Trail are wonderful ways to spend time.

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.

Enjoy your week, T-Town!

“Among the most sacred gifts you can give your child is the gift of health…”

--- Dr. Rand Olson

Every parent wants a healthy child. Below are some tips to take to insure the health of your child is grand. 

Several local teachers recently received funding as part of the Education Grant Cycle of the Community Foundation of West Alabama.

The mission of the local Community Foundation is to promote charitable giving for present and future generations.  The CFWA along with the Reese Phifer Memorial Foundation is a strong supporter of education.

Meet Samantha! This sweet kitty will jump right into your heart, and your lap - and she's the Humane Society of West Alabama Pet of the Week!

We’ve all been there—27 Christmas parties we are supposed to attend, a kid begging for all the latest gadgets, three dozen cookies that we signed up to bring to the office party. Christmas time can be exhausting, stressful, and draining. It’s easy to get lost in the business of the season. Sometimes, you can’t see the forest for the (Christmas) trees. We spend so much time trying to make it a magical season, we can find ourselves feeling anything but magical.  

Ah the holidays … one of my most favorite times of year. Yes, I love family, and sure I love gifts, but good gracious do I love the food. There’s something about the Christmas and holiday season in general that provides a platform for specific types of dishes. It seems un-American to prepare a large roasted turkey in the middle of summer, so of course we’ve got to take advantage of the bounty of food brought to the table in December. However, if we’re watching our weight or health in general, the holidays may make us feel uneasy about overdoing it.  

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time for family and presents and decorations and, hey . . . movies!  Movies have become just as much a part of the holidays as your adorned tree and so this year, I’m offering up some suggestions for action pictures that are a bit off the beaten path. These are not necessarily holiday classics, but add these into your holiday viewing to mix things up.  AND, they make for a great background noise at your party. 

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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