Two of my Favorite Things!
Everyone knows Valentine’s Day is in February. For some, it slips up on them, but for the most part, they can still run out and pick up a beautiful heart shaped box of delectable chocolates, find a romantic card, if they are really running late you might even get an exquisite piece of jewelry. It seems the closer to the day (or hour) the more guilt there is and the better the gift!
Here is a way you can escape the ‘honey I’ve been so busy’ or ‘it just comes to close after to Christmas for me to remember everything’ excuses. Athens Main Street will be having their Chocolate Walk on February 11th Downtown Athens where you can go as a couple for a wonderful night. You do purchase a $5 ticket to participate, however the enjoyment of going to each merchant to receive a scrumptious chocolate delight until you fill your box, will… well, be a new experience then and possibly later!
Make sure you go to our new Lucius or LuVici’s for a romantic dinner or to Village Pizza to see what they have on the menu to temp your palate and show off your collection of tasty bonbons while you are out!
But did you know February is also our Black History Month?
Black History Month is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February and in the United Kingdom in October.
The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be "Negro History Week.” This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates Black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.
In Limestone County we have relevance of our Black History. In 2015 Trinity School was revitalized and opened as the Pincham-Lincoln Community Center. The center is part of Trinity School; Limestone County's only all-black high school until the Limestone County School System was ordered by a federal judge to integrate in 1970 or face $3,000 a day fine for each day the system remained segregated.
The site served as a Union Civil War fort called Fort Henderson (built in 1863) and was situated on Coleman Hill. It was a five-sided earthen fort with some frame buildings and underground bomb-proofs. Abatis lined the 15-foot deep perimeter ditch, a small portion of which is still visible today. It was here that runaway slaves fought and were captured by Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.
After the war, missionary Mary Fletcher Wells established Trinity to educate former slaves. The school educated black students from 1930 through the 1970s and was the first school in the northern half of the state to provide kindergarten instruction for blacks. Among its most prominent students was world renowned singer Patti Malone. The school served the community until integration and then fell into disrepair.
The Athens-Limestone Community Association started an effort to save the remaining part of the fort and some of the school. The City of Athens obtained a $290,000 Community Development Block Grant from ADECA to build the Pincham-Lincoln Community Center to serve the community with educational, cultural and other programs.
ALCA raised the match money and secured $25,000 from Athens-Limestone County Tourism to save the old band room from being destroyed. It will eventually become a museum and archives facility for the site.
The project received support from other various facets of the community from Trinity staff and students, City of Athens, Limestone County Commission, the Limestone County Legislative Delegation, Athens Rotary, NAACP, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Resource Conservation and Development Council, and many others.
Hallmark of Spring "Poke Sallet Follies" Returns for 25th Year
A hallmark of Spring in the Athens-Limestone community takes music, quirky skits and a variety of local elected officials and community stewards and puts them on stage in "Poke Sallet Follies". This annual benefit fundraiser for The Athens Foundation on Aging enables many programs and services offered to community seniors including Meals On Wheels and the insurance information assistance program.
As "Poke Sallet Follies" marks its 25th Anniversary this year, audiences continue to enjoy the "poking" that many of the local officials and community members endure or deliver. Whether it be gents dressed in hula skirts performing - or attempting to perform - a perilous dance of the Pacific; an "utterly" ridiculous superhero or satirical take on a Top 40 hit -- dinner guest have walked away happy and often with sore sides.
This year's "Poke Sallet Follies" will occur March 2nd, 3rd and 4th but don't hesitate to get tickets to this annually sold out event. Ticket sales begin February 4th at 10:00AM at the Athens Senior Center at 912 West Pryor Street in Athens. Tickets are $35.00 each and include dinner with the show that will run from 6:00PM-8:00PM. Out-of-town guest wishing to attend and are unable to pickup tickets in person may call 256-232-0323. Any remaining tickets from the February 4th ticket sale day will be available from 8:30AM-4:30PM Monday-Friday at the Athens Senior Center beginning February 6th.
On February 18th, 2017, Hospice of Limestone County will be hosting their 29th annual Chili Challenge and Silent Auction at Athens High School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is solely a fundraising event for Hospice of Limestone County but brings the community together for a time of fun and great food! Hospice of Limestone County is a non-profit organization which is located in Athens, Alabama. This community based organization is dedicated to provide for the families of the terminally ill through both care and support.
The Chili Challenge will consist of over 30 individual groups and their most famous recipes. And guess what? You get to try them all! So be sure to come hungry. This event will also consist of a Silent Auction that will be accepting donations of goods or services. Hospice is looking for sponsors that will only have to make a simple monetary donation to this event before the Silent Auction takes place. Tickets are $10 per person and children under the age of 10 are FREE.
The variety and bold tastes in each pot of chili is sure to make your taste buds go crazy! There will be musical entertainment along with children’s activities throughout the event for you to enjoy while sampling chili and bidding at the silent auction. Hospice has strived to help the families in the Athens community and hopes to have your support in this event. Even if you are only able to make it to the event but not donate or compete in the chili challenge, everyone is invited for a time of fun, food, and support for Hospice of Limestone County!
All donations from this event will go towards meeting financial needs that will help serve families of Limestone County who require care by Hospice and assistance. Monies will also go towards the services needed to help children in their time of grieving. Be sure to bring the entire family to enjoy this event and give back to an organization that strives to help those in need.
Athens High School
Saturday, February 18th
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
(Children 10 and under are FREE)
Press release written by:
Kristina L. Hendrix, APR - ALCA Public Relations
256-777-9414 - firstname.lastname@example.org
The compelling story of Trinity School, founded in 1865 by white northern missionaries for the education of freed slaves, takes the stage on Feb. 3rd in a dramatic musical production that is informative, uplifting, entertaining and inspiring. Arise and build returns by popular demand after last February’s four performances were sold out, leaving many unable to obtain tickets.
Directed by newly elected Athens City Councilman Frank Travis and produced by Carolyn Williams, Arise and Build is framed by the fictional Fletcher family (played by Denver Betts, Cynthia Hines, Rebecca Brooks, and Jaylon Hammonds) planning a trip back to Athens to attend a function at patriarch James Fletcher’s alma mater. Mr. Fletcher’s reminiscences take his children (and the audience) on a voyage from 1865 and the founding of Trinity by Mary Fletcher Wells (played by Judy Harvey and Terri DaCruz); to 1879 and the foundation of the Trinity School Society for the purpose of making brick for a new school; to the meeting of three early Trinity graduates (Fisk Jubilee Singer Patti Malone, played by Angela Hughes; Lavinia Harris Williams, Trinity’s first African-American teacher, played by Tanya Townsend; and career educator Alice Vasser LaCour, played by Keona Shoulders) to eulogize their principal’s death in 1892.
As the Fletchers continue their time-travel, we meet legendary principal Louise Allyn (played by Jackie Jackson) and teacher Mary Perkins (played by Kay Burlingame), Trinity’s two longest-tenured educators, and hear their accounts of school burnings, trips into the countryside to visit students’ homes, and the effects of World War I upon life at Trinity.
One scene, warmly received by last year’s audiences, depicts 1940 graduate Robert Penn, who walked 60 miles a week to and from school, staying after-hours to earn his tuition. Penn (played by James Lane) describes movingly how principal Allyn “commissioned” her students to go out and improve the lot of their own people. Under her influence, Penn became a probate judge.
The highlight of the production comes as the cast gathers on a Depression-era Sunday at Trinity Congregational Church (founded by Miss Wells in 1871) where the visiting Sister Lucy Dimwitty (played by Mary Freeman) blows them away first with her humor, and then with her singing voice. A special feature of that scene is the song, Somethin’ ‘Bout Sunday Morning, written by Jerome Malone, brother of Bryant Malone who is Arise and Build’s musical director, leading the approximately 30-member chorus in stirring spirituals like Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep and Motherless Child that hearken back to Trinity’s early days.
This year’s two new cast members, Tiffany Malone and her daughter Janaya, are also a part of the Malone musical legacy known nationwide for gospel a cappella singing.
Performances are set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, at Friendship Church, 16479 Lucas Ferry Road. Tickets are $25 each, available in Athens at The Sweetest Things Tea Room, 216 W Market St., and Square Clock Coffee, 121 S Marion St.; in Tanner from Head 2 Toe Salon, 19785 Huntsville-Browns Ferry Rd.; and in Huntsville from Verge Beauty Salon, 6140 University Drive, Suite F.
Proceeds benefit the Trinity/Fort Hampton Complex. For additional information, contact Carolyn Williams, Production Manager: 256-777-9727
A Message from Ben Wiley, Director
The city parks systems are alive and well. In 2016, it appeared that we had record participation in our parks. Parks are an obvious quality of life issue and a vital part of the community. In 2016, we took a step in a positive direction in renovating the parks. We added shade structures to Jimmy Gill Park, new picnic tables to Wellness Park, and upgraded All Kids Park, formerly Kids Dugout. We added a sidewalk on the North side of Big Spring Park along with park benches.
All of these improvements were done in an effort to maintain and increase quality of life and encourage free recreational interaction within our community. Fortunately, we have received very positive feedback for our efforts in our park system.
Along with the help of our city planner we will create a comprehensive master plan for our park system that includes landscape upgrades and discussion for opportunity of additional parks. Also,opportunities to add additional amenities to the parks such as: splash pads, a featured dog park, and a pickle ball court just to name a few.
Recreation is at an all-time high for the City of Athens. Our local league recreational program numbers are at a record high. Our weekend travel recreational programs are also at a record high. My thoughts are to continue that trend adding 4 new multi-use ball fields long with batting cages, concessions, press box, and shade structures.
With the help of the mayor and city council, I plan to move forward in building a new recreational center. These new features will increase participation in our local leagues during the week and also give us an opportunity to host more weekend travel recreation. The goal is to increase quality of life and have a positive economic
impact on our community.
Athens Parks & Recreation is excited to announce the addition of four new multi-use ball fields at the Sportsplex. The new ball fields will have dirt infields, allowing them to be used for baseball or softball.
The new facility will also include a concession / press box along with a hospitality room, restrooms, batting cages, and shade structures. They will primarily be used by our local league teams throughout the week. A variety of travel tournaments will be hosted on the weekends. The fields will be located just east of the South Pod fields and are expected to be ready for play by Spring 2018.
This $2.6 million project not only means growth for recreation but also growth for Athens. The extra facilities will allow Athens to host larger tournaments with more teams coming from outside Alabama.
In 2018, we are looking to host tournaments with as many as 50 teams; currently, our tournaments are averaging 20 teams with as many as half local. More visitors mean more revenue for Athens, and not just in recreation. Lodging and restaurants will get the biggest boost, but shopping centers and gas stations are sure to feel the impact as well.
Director—Cemetery, Parks & Recreation
Jan 16th - MLK Jr. Essay Contest Challenges Students to Find Ways to Promote Freedom and Justice
Students can share their ideas for promoting freedom and justice as part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Essay Contest.
The contest is held in conjunction with the Limestone County NAACP, City of Athens and Limestone County Commission and is for students in Athens and Limestone County. There are cash prizes for first, second and third place in three age categories. Winners will read their essays at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Program on Jan. 16 at 9:30 a.m. at the Limestone County Event Center.
The age groups and their themes are as follows:
● Ages 6 - 12
Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a historic speech titled "I have a Dream." What was his dream for freedom and justice? What progress has been made toward the dream? What can you do to promote freedom and justice in your home, school and community?
● Ages 13 - 15
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Why is it important for each individual to promote justice in order to advance the dream?
● Ages 16 - 18
Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote a letter titled "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." In this letter he said, "It is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. It is just as wrong...to use moral means to preserve immoral ends." How does this quote relate to advancing the dream of freedom and justice in America?
Here are the requirements for essay submissions:
● Must be a student attending a school in Athens or Limestone County.
● No more than one page in length and typed or written legibly.
● The student must write the essay. Counselors and parents may assist but the essay should be the words and thoughts of the student.
● Include the student’s name, age and a phone number on the upper right corner of the essay.
● The essay will be judged on clarity, content, grammar and how well the theme is developed based on age
of the writer.
● The winners in each category will read their essays during the MLK program on Jan. 16, 2017, 9:30 a.m.
at the Limestone County Event Center.
● The first, second and third place winners in each age group will receive a cash award.
If you have any questions contact Benard Simelton at 256-426-6406 or 256-444-1300.
Deadline for submissions is Jan. 9. Please email essays to MLK Essay Contest, P.O. Box 1071, Athens, AL 35612 or hand deliver to Vicky Dowd at City Hall in the Mayor’s Office.
Calhoun Community College will pay tribute to slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the college's annual celebration program scheduled for Thursday, January 19, 2017. This year’s program, hosted by the college's Black Student Alliance (BSA), will begin at 11 a.m. on Calhoun's Decatur campus in the Aerospace Training Center (ATC). The program is free and open to the public.
Featured speaker for this year's program is civil rights activist, educator, and minister Dr. Frederick Douglas Reese. A native of Selma, Alabama, Reese is known as a member of Selma’s “Courageous Eight,” and was president of the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) when that organization invited the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Dr. King to Selma to amplify the city’s local voting rights campaign. Reese was portrayed by E. Roger Mitchell in Ava DuVernay’s 2014 film, Selma.
This campaign eventually gave birth to the Selma to Montgomery marches, which later led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Reese was also president of the Selma Teachers Association, and in January 1965, he mobilized Selma’s teachers to march as a group for their right to vote. Reese retired from teaching in 2001, and in December 2015, he has retired from the pastorate of Selma’s Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, where he served faithfully for 50 years.
Reese graduated from Alabama State University, where he majored in math and science. He received a Master’s degree in education from Livingston University and two degrees from Selma University: a Doctorate of Divinity and an educational specialist’s degree.
In 1960, Reese moved back home to Selma, started teaching science and math at R. B. Russell High School, and joined the Dallas County Voters League, the major civil rights organization in Selma since the state of Alabama started actively suppressing the NAACP in 1956. Two years after joining the DCVL, he was elected as its president.
Reese has been married to the former Alline Prossing, for 63 years. They are the proud parents of 5 children and now reside in their beloved city of Selma, Alabama.
For more information on Calhoun’s MLK program, contact the college’s Dean of Student Affairs office at 256/306-2614 or the Public Affairs, Community Relations and Institutional Advancement office at 256/306-2560.