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ADAPT ATION

a profile

Andy Thigpen


CO NT EN TS


Introduction Creative Writing Layout and Design Journalism Internships Multimedia


IN TRO


T

he writer’s world is changing. Technology has drastically changed the ways people go about writing for a living. Today’s writer is more than a person who creates something by placing letters and words on paper. The ability to understand, utilize and manipulate multiple modes of communication is essential. Long gone is the tragic, romantic image of “The Writer” with a No. 2 pencil scrawling on a yellow pad of paper, or sitting hunched at a typewriter with a glass of whiskey or mug of coffee on hand next to a half-pack of cigarettes. Of course, this lifestyle is common and preferred in many instances, even though we know that sleep is better than coffee, and cigarettes have turned out to actually be bad for us. What has really changed, however, are the ways in which we present our creations to the modern world. I’ve chosen the title Adaptation, because writers must be masters of adapting. And every writer knows it. Journalists have to juggle multiple, often unrelated, stories while meeting deadline just so their editors can throw more at them. Each new day brings new events and stories to report on. Novelists have always needed to be informed on what is going on in the publishing world, as well as understand that not every manuscript will be accepted by publishers. In fact, most won’t be. Technical writing—a branch of writing directly tied to the ever-increasing technologically dependent and globally interactive world—forces writers to move from project to project, each one bringing a new challenge to the table. Often, this doesn’t involve “writing” at all, but rather web design, document layout and research. Writers, in short, must be able to move and morph themselves in order to mold their words and works

into something coherent. Indeed, the work of writing is inherently one of adaptation. Each word and phrase presents a new idea and must be chosen carefully in order to form a coherent whole. This involves being savvy in a variety of fields: layout and design, social media, audio and video production, online information, and language in general, to name a few. Writers cannot be content to sit and write and hope to be found one day. They must be more active than ever, embrace the opportunities to utilize their voices and learn how to adapt to every new and inspiring situation. During my time at the University of North Alabama, I have exemplified the life of adaptation. I began in the music world, jumped to the writing one, dove head-first into journalism and dipped my toe into media production. My right hand has written poetry and prose, and my left has edited stories, done page design and sold advertising for the campus newspaper, The Flor-Ala. I have co-organized a successful local poetry and storytelling group called Boxcar Voices. I have studied in London and taught English in China. And now, I’ve made this portfolio to show it. The world is changing, and writers have the unique position of changing with it. We are special in that we can adapt to whatever is required of us and yet never lose our individuality. And it is that ability that writing gives—the ability to mold my skills, to learn new words, expressions and languages; to increase my horizons and broaden my understanding of the world, while staying quintessentially Me—that makes me love it.


CREA

TIVE WRIT

ING


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’ve always enjoyed creative writing. I loved weaving stories to entertain my parents when I was a child. In this section, however, I’ve included only poems. I’ve written several short stories over the years, but it is mostly the poetry I’m proud of. There’s a saying in the music world: “Mess up once, it’s a mistake. Mess up twice, it’s jazz.” That’s why I love poetry: it’s like jazz. A poem can be as straight-laced as Emily Dickinson’s panties, or it can be as wild and bizarre as E.E. Cummings getting whiskey-drunk. It can be as composed as Dave Brubeck; it can be as freaky as Coltrane. Each artist is considered a master in their own right. Each made up their own rules and broke the conventions that defined the times they lived in. I don’t think that I break any norms or conventions in my poetry.

My poetry often deals with nostalgia and the loss that the future inevitably brings. Memory and curiosity are recurring themes. Traveling and blues music are also big inspirations for any kind of writing I do. My poems have traveled with me everywhere I go, and in many ways they represent those places more so than pictures can. The opening piece, “This is for nostalgia,” is my biggest tribute to the feeling it names. “Peace, for me” hints at the past with mention of the blues and my grandfather. “Horoscope” is inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem “A Dream Deferred,” and “Eight Million Stories” was inspired by watching a guy dance all over the Staten Island Ferry and down a street in New York City. I’ve included these poems, not necessarily because they are the best, but because they represent who I am and what I have experienced.


This is for nostalgia This is for nostalgia. This is for those tossing dreaming nights turning on springy beds that aren’t your own in some place that thankfully isn’t home. This is for the feeling in your heart like a butterfly or a flash of fluttering wings made of pins and needles poking prodding dragging digging twisting around until that one tear gathers itself up and tries to drown but don’t cry. There’s nothing to cry about. Your tears are as useless as regret. This is for that light-headed Swoony “I-think-I’m-about-to-pass-out” feeling. When you find 35mm film slides of your grandfather swimming in Hawaii. and you know that you’ve never seen him swim or even get wet for that matter unless he had just showered or was soaked with sweat mixed with dirt. Slides showing him standing in front of a bright red ’57 Ford him flashing a white American dreamy smile him navy blue in Army regalia


and you realize all at once he looks just like You. This is for that churning right under your lungs where if it hits right you’re left without air Suspended for a moment without time or memory of any moment other than now Now, like that sunny day feeling with windows down eyes squinting hair whipping and flashing road dancing with the heat and the piano starts and the drum beat kicks in and the guitar starts strumming and your hand pounds time on the steering wheel and you know in that one moment you are as untouchable as the stars and brighter too because “I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me� and the song ends as the tires crunch over the driveway that sounds like home This is for that d r e a m


you have when you know you’ve lived in another time in another place speaking a language you can’t understand but you know what you said and so did those listening This is for having listeners in another time in another place in another life who don’t listen listlessly This is for all those who don’t understand what it’s like to look into the mirror every morningnoonnight and fall into two sagging blue watery wells drowning in past lives and nostalgia.


8 million stories Man, It must be easy to be Yourself in a city with so many Selves. You can count your beats out loud cause your beats blend in with the sound of 8 million otherfeet Stompin their beats out Loud And man, it must be easy to be your own in a city where you’re never alone where everyone has a home even if it is the street feeling all the vibrations from eight million beats. Man, you can even dance if you want to. It sure must be easy to be in tune with so many people swaying to their own croon. Everyone moving to their own jazz n’ hip hop n’ rock n’ roll subway brakes screaming altissimo shuckin along shakin up tempo causin a crescendo of all the other voices in the orchestra.

It sure must be easy to be you in a place where God isn’t always watching the Conductor not performing His vision obscured by steel skyscraper guitars and harmonicas blown from sunlight reflected glass windows and taxi cabs thumping exhaust double bass to the beat Down here in the exhaust you’re the Conductor. The Maestro won’t cast his eyes or ears on your sinful sounds. And your beats are yours to pound. Man, just dance if you want to.


Untitled do you ever just want to scream and let the words go in a ceaseless flow like a thin trickle tickling your nose like smoke from the glow of a cigarette and before you let your inhibitions get control you want to hit the ground tuck and roll at the speed of sound of words dancing around eardrums pounding pounding pounding with a heartbeat as fast as mine because when you doubt yourself you only have yourself to lose you’re the only one who can really abuse your own freedom


Horoscope Could it be true, then that stars trace our futures on three different axes through time and space Streams and streaks of light and lightning through a cosmos of plans and arrangements ever and forever changing on a whim like a flash All our dreams wrapped inside burning sulfur taking years to catch up with our ever changing selves And if our future could be summed in a star what then is a supernova? Do we collapse knees buckled into ourselves crunching up so small that we pull everything we know with us into ourselves? Even light. Even dark. Or do we explode flashing bright with overzealous ooo’s and aaahh’s consuming all we love in the silent whimpering vacuum?


Peace, for me Peace, for me isn’t silent. Peace is crowded streets with no one to meet just nameless faces walkin by taxis honkin people yellin stompin out beats (goin to meet faces they’re prepared to meet in suits with tennis shoes without ever asking always wonderin why Peace, for me isn’t quiet. Peace is metal chimes slow on the wind blowin in the wind stories told by my grandfather rocking on metal chairs deaf in the wind leaves in the west wind windin through tomato vines and six-shooter squash yellow as the screamin sunrise Peace, for me isn’t still. Peace is syncopated unadulterated rhythm poundin a funk

that’s smelt and felt two thousand years away straight out the Milky Way moving fast and furious like hips and lips to bassbeats and drumlicks ever poundin always pleasin never droppin never stoppin to apologize or wonder why Peace, for me isn’t alone. Peace is a crowded bar with your favorite people favorite songs playin and groovin along, eyes closed body movin soul feelin all whiskey and wine laughin glancin from one pretty face to another Peace, for me isn’t happy. Peace is the blues kickin in E or A about womens and moneys When you’re thinking evil you’re thinkin bout the blues


the Wolf once growled before the coal train howled off with him to the moon My Peace thinks about guitars of blind men singin delta soul and Singin River moans and Chicago emptiness because peace occurs when I can’t be satisfied with no backdoor woman and can only find comfort in myself and the Devil at the bottom of the bottle Peace is my choice I never can choose but accept as what it is What I know is loud as howlin in the night as feet poundin beats on city streets lookin up for freedom lonely

as the blues and chimes ringin cold in warm wind waitin for a storm as blind as delta guitars and Peace, for me is a woman who will open my eyes, give me sight hold me tight and whisper through with voice dripping blue Peace is only found in you.


Christ-mas I wonder Do we need Christ for Christmas? Can’t we just have a holy-day holiday? Why do we need a virgin birth by starlight starbright on a silent pagan night to be the reason for our season? Do we need Christ for Christmas? I wonder if pure, white Christ would be standing in line in front of florescent temples at black midnight stocking up on TVs, iPods, couches, and refrigerators standing in the frigid air or warming his feet by hobo fire with fingerless gloves sharing his love to the heavenly homeless host. I wonder if Christ wasn’t in Christmas Would it still smell like oranges and cloves? Would the poor still need winter clothes? Would the fir trees turn brown and die? Would parents still, to their children, lie about the Scandinavian elf that breaks into your house at night steals your damn cookies and leaves you everything that Christ couldn’t quite afford this year—with a blood red bow on top. I wonder does Christmas need Christ? would fir trees stand dying forlorn in living rooms wondering what incandescent star lights their crowns and what wandering folded angels are tucked in their boughs? Could it be possible to understand strings of Christ-lights tactically strung between tinsel stuffed branches reflected in glass balls that send warm colored light dancing with the ember’s shadow


like sugarplum dreams silhouetted on the floor. Would Christ know how to decorate his tree? And I wonder if Christ, in his swaddled splendor could see snowy carolers on doorsteps, shiny wrapping paper, policeman’s tazers miles of multicolored light, tears shed over checkbooks at night, honey-baked ham, mac n’ cheese, collard greens, cold pork and beans soggy feet, snow-covered streets, glitter traces, smiling faces, and I wonder just what he would say and I wonder just what he would do caught under the mistletoe after too much egg nog.


Now and Then The fog was so thick, that when I tried to cut it, I lost my knife and pulled back a memory of you: We lay out in a sea I thought was snow, at first. Light came grey and did not warm us shivering where the sweat had dried. And there were no tears yet. Only each with smiles and the sound of the other’s lips against them. The fog curled tight around, lifted, and I was left holding the knife that couldn’t cut through memory. And your voice doesn’t sound the same through the telephone now.


Lady Baldwin The old piano in my room might’ve been anywhere. I bought it for seventy-five bucks and I don’t regret it. It might’ve been anywhere! Chicago, St. Louis, New York, Muscle Shoals. Why would I regret a green piano that has played the blues? New York, Savannah, Memphis, San Fran. How many fingers have touched this beauty? She wears a faded green dress and her voice is old and blue but she has held up through the years. How many fingers have played this beauty? Who has danced with her ‘till dawn down Lennox Ave? She’s held up through the years and her voice sings honky tonk and blues. How much music has she made? Countless hands have scaled her octaves to make her sing. She has a sultry sound and now she’s all mine. I don’t know how many lovers have scaled her octaves, crying on the keys of that old piano in my room, but now her voice sings with mine and she was only seventy-five bucks.


LAY OUT DES IGN


M

y work in layout and design comes primarily from The Flor-Ala, the University of North Alabama newspaper. As the life editor, I did all of the layout and design for my section of the paper every week for the entire academic year. In this section I’ve included the pages that I am most proud of—along with others which I am not. I include the “subpar” designs to reflect my growth as a page designer over the course of the year. To illustrate my growth, I have arranged the selected pages chronologically from the first issue forward. During my time as editor, I tried to be extremely meticulous in laying out my pages. Since I was still learning the basics of the principles of design, I wanted to ensure that I caught all of the little issues that can go wrong on a page. Design principles are increasingly important to writers today. Being able to manipulate the words on the page is the primary skill of the writer, but there is a power in being able to manipulate how those words are read. The power comes from having a working understanding of design principles and how they frame information we take in. Any business executive preparing a speech, marketing adviser

developing a strategy, web designer laying out a homepage, or even a chef plating an entrée will say that presentation is key to keeping an audience’s attention. A powerful writer is able to control the information and present it in a way that is appetizing to the readers. With The Flor-Ala, I had a fairly rigid template to work with. I was afforded more creativity in terms of design as the life editor, but I was constantly reminded that The Flor-Ala was a newspaper, not a magazine. It took me a long time to figure out what that meant and how I could stretch my creative limits within those constraints. At the beginning, I was careful and hesitant. Toward the end of the year, however, I tried new styles and attempted to push the lines of convention for our publication. I’ve also included an advertisement I designed for an on-campus company, as well as several posters and promotional items for a local poetry and spoken word group I run called Boxcar Voices. These works, while admittedly not my best, showcase my layout skills in different formats, and I feel they are important to include in the work I’ve completed while at UNA.


Life

GRΣΣΚ PARTΨ

Thursday, September 1, 2011 • The Flor-Ala

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photos by Malisa McClure

The Late Blumers play for a crowd of students at the Amphitheater during the Greek block party.

A crowd of students enjoy free food an music at the party last week. Members of TKE fraternity socialize at the Greek block party.

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Last Wednesday, the Greek block party offered free food and live music to UNA students. Once a year, the time comes for the Greek community to represent their letters and recruit new members. The sorority girls prepared for weeks to perfect their cheers, chapter rooms and smiles while the fraternity boys wore shirts with their favorite sorority’s letters on it. The party was a chance for all students to meet the Greeks and new students. The Greek party replaced last year’s Meet the Greeks

event. It was held every year during Welcome Week. NPHC, IFC and NPC organizations attended and represented UNA’s Greek community. The band played a variety of music and several students showed their enjoyment. Many of the students commented that the party was a major hit and they enjoyed the environment, not to mention the free pizza. “I really enjoy this time of year where students become interested in Greek life,” said Will Riley of Alpha Tau Omega. “I think that we are really getting the word out about how benecial sororities and fraternities can be.” Rachael Tuell, of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, said the party was an exciting time for her and her sorority sisters. “I am so excited to get a group of new girls,” she said.

“I love getting to meet new people and making new friends.” There were a number of prospective Greek members at the event. Jordan Brock, a freshman honors student, was excited to accept a bid from Phi Gamma Delta. Other students that do not participate in Greek life also came out to hear the band and support the Greeks. Several non-Greek students said that it was a great event that was fun whether one participates in Greek life or not. Abril Agnew of Phi Mu and Christian Wright of Zeta Tau Alpha, two of the 2011 SOAR Counselors, were excited to get to talk to the new students they counseled and to also share which sisterhood they belonged to.

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A new school year has begun and many students are searching to nd their niche. Finding a place to gather with people who share similar interests can sometimes be difcult. However, if you consider yourself the outdoors type, a person who enjoys hiking, camping, canoeing or even spending time outside, the Outdoor Adventure Center is well worth looking into. The OAC is an organization that offers an outlet for students who enjoy outdoor activities. It is a dwelling where students can meet and discuss excursions with people who Sleeping bags and life jackets are fans of the outdoors. are just some of the equip“It is a great orment offered at the OAC. ganization led by diverse, easygoing people,” said sophomore Barry Minor. “We go on awesome outdoor adventures all around Alabama.”

The center is available not only for groups who regularly take part in activities that the center offers, but also for individuals who have planned an outing of their own. If ever planning an individual trip, the OAC offers equipment such as sleeping bags and pads, two and four-person tents, backpacks and hiking poles, headlamps and ashlights, rst aid kits and cookware suitable for the outdoors. Students can check out all equipment for free with their Mane card. “The Outdoor Adventure Center is a place where students can venture off campus and get to know a lot of really great people,” said Mack Cornwell, president of the OAC. “The organization takes students’ ideas into consideration when deciding what activities to do for the fall, photos by Darrick Dawkins and what trips to take in the future.” The Outdoor Adventure Center offers an array of outdoor supplies from This fall’s schedule consists of ca- backpacks and hiking rods, to coolers and rst aid kits. They also hold noeing, camping, a canoe run at Shoals events throughout the year that anyone can join. Creek and paintball. The members of the OAC also offer rappelling every week, weather nitely planning on attending some of the outings this year.” The organization welcomes all students interestpermitting, and strongly encourage students to come. The OAC gives students many opportuni- ed in outdoor activities to participate in all upcomties that most people rarely get to experience. ing events. It is located on Willingham Road, right be“I’ve only heard good things about the Outdoor Adven- hind the dormitories. Interested students meet at the ture Center,” said UNA junior Erin Skipper. “I am de- center Thursday Sept. 22, for the rst OAC club meeting.


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Travel

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Thursday, September 8, 2011 • The Flor-Ala

Student Perspective: Discovering Africa Tanzania becomes a place of beauty for student

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Last May, the Department of Geography offered a two week course in Tanzania, led by Drs. Francis Koti and Greg Gaston. I’ve been interested in African development for several semesters, so I had to take this journey. We had a group of 15 students—mostly geography majors—with a few graduate students and social work majors. When we arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport, we met our driver for the trip, Mandeo, and our faithful guide and soon to be friend, Simon. We pulled into the gates of Kundayo Apartments, our “home away from home” at night, so we didn’t know what to expect. However, after 30 hours of photo by Allison Brackin travel, we were relieved to have a A lion lounges in the sun at the clean room and hot food. Ngorongoro Crater. When our bus pulled up to the photo by Jess Morgan money exchange, several men with Young shepherd boys run to greet students at Lake Natron, close to where the students stayed. souvenirs rushed us, and the haggling began! This was the first of Riding through the Ngorongoro Crater many encounters with overzealous merchants. and seeing a hyena, elephant, lion, zeThe next day, we hiked up a muddy mountain side to bra, warthog and wildebeest than we visit Ngiresi Secondary School. After the school, we ascould count is an experience that will cended further to a waterfall. On the way, I made a friend. last us all a lifetime. She was probably six, had a bald head, tattered school uniOn the way to Lake Natron, we ate form, too small shoes and a snotty nose. She was beautiful! boxed lunches on the edge of a massive She ran up to me smiling and grabbed my hand. I greeted crater in the middle of the Engaruka her in Swahili and then we walked hand-in-hand for about Plains. The next day we saw flamin15 minutes, stealing glances and smiling at each other. gos nesting at Lake Natron and hiked While I ache for her struggles, I’m ecstatic that she’s through a canyon to a large waterfall. attending school. We met many kids that couldn’t go to Even though we were far removed from school. In Tanzaany cities, our land cruisers were a tarnia, school isn’t get for locals. Seeing them aggressively free and uniforms trying to sell souvenirs made me realize are required. Tanzanians needs business training. That’s one of the As more tourists venture to remote problems in their areas for safari, the locals need to learn development. the most productive ways of capitalizWithout equal acing on this market. After a short stay cess, it’s imposphoto courtesy of Allison Brackin at Kundayo Apartments, we switched sible to break the gears and headed south to Dar es Sa- UNA geography students stand in front of Oldoinyo Lengai, an active volpoverty cycle. laam, which has 4.5 million residents, cano at Lake Natron. We then left no official sanitation department and Arusha and headrolling blackouts. me that I’m stronger than I thought. At times, I was nered north into the We attended lectures at University of Dar es Salaam vous or overwhelmed, but I never thought I couldn’t make plains. First we to study economic development. Seventy-five percent of it. went to the Oldutheir economic activity is untaxed, which affects the govWhile I don’t have a solution to the problems of develpai Gorge, and it ernment’s ability to provide basic infrastructure and social opment in Africa, I feel like education is the key—not only was incredible to services. general education, but technical and specialized training. hike in the “cradle Next, we took a ferry to the island of Zanzibar, where They have the ability to do anything, just not the means. of humankind.” we had a day at the beach. Later, we made the long trip The lessons I learned, and experiences I gained, in TanLater that day, back to Arusha, and spent another day at Ngiresi School. zania are invaluable and will last a lifetime. The children, we went on a saphoto by Jess Morgan On our last night at Kundayo Apartments, they prepared a the sunrise over the Indian Ocean and the feeling of comfari, and it was like feast and a group performed traditional dances. fort I had every time we pulled into Kundayo Apartments Allison Brackin walks with a young watching a NationWhile it was sad to say goodbye, I think I can safely say will stay with me forever. girl shortly after her arrival in Tanza- al Geographic film! we were all a little ready to come home. This trip showed nia.


Thursday, September 29, 2011 • The Flor-Ala

Life

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15 minutes with Matis )VLa<PQOXMV

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This Saturday, Oct. 1, Matisyahu is scheduled to perform at Norton Auditorium. The week before his show, Matis gave a few minutes of his time to talk about his musical and spiritual philosophy.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations? What do you listen to in the car? I’ve been going through a lot of old CDs lately. I moved to California, so I’ve been in the car a lot, so I’m deciding what to keep and throw away. This morning, I was listening to Phish and some Michael Jackson. I found an old one that I really like, too—the Temper Trap. I don’t really have just one band or artist I’ve been listening to. If I like it, it influences me in some way. That’s the process: trying to find your unique voice and blend the elements of the different types of music you like.

From your first studio album to your most recent, there has been a big change in the sound. What has influenced that change? The main idea there is that the music isn’t staying stagnant. It’s constantly growing and changing. It’s very organic. It’s not like there’s one major realization that causes the change. The music is always a continuous process that’s moving with me. I’m also sometimes creating different things at the same time. With “Light,” I

was interested in focusing on the vocals and really carving and crafting out the songs. I was also working with a veteran producer who was good at that. The next record I’m making, I’m with a younger, more hip-hop oriented producer, so it’s going to sound different. I’m not really limiting myself to one thing.

And your fans have been appreciative? You can’t really make music based on what you made in the past or what people are going to like. You have to do what’s right for you.

What kind of messages do you try to convey in your songs and with your music? I try not to speak too much about it. For different individuals, music resonates and means different things. Even with lyrics and songs that have specific ideas, at the end of the day they resonate differently with someone, and I don’t want to limit them to my interpretation of what they mean--even though I wrote them.

Your spirituality obviously affects your music, so how has this inspired you along the way? The two things are very much linked. When I was a kid searching for myself, it was about music and God and history. It’s always been about those different things coming together. It was never an option to make them separate; they all kind of blend for me.

photo by Jared Polin

“Light” is Matisyahu’s third studio album. It was released in 2009 and represented an evolution in his approach to his sound.

So, would you say it’s a con- or my culture or my philosophical spirifirmation of identity in some tual beliefs, and the music kind of grows out of that. ways? It wasn’t so much an identity thing. Music was always powerful and dynamic for me. It was spiritual in the way it makes you feel and another way in how it makes you perceive things. Music and identity were always linked because I always felt a very strong connection to what I was listening to. As I started to discover and develop a sense of who I am, I started to blend my history

What message do you have to students who are still trying to understand themselves? It’s good to stay open to things. You shouldn’t be too concerned with wondering who I am or what I am, but just to be in that stage of exploration. It’s important not to get stuck too early in who you believe you are, but to be open-minded.

Volunteers needed to help keep campus, Shoals beautiful

photo by Darrick Dawkins

A statue of W.C. Handy stands at an entrance to Wilson Park in downtown Florence. Wilson Park is one of the areas that KTSB tries to maintain to keep it beautiful.

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As October approaches, people are being asked to volunteer for the upcoming events that Keep the Shoals Beautiful (KTSB) is taking part in. According to the official

Keep the Shoals Beautiful website, the nonprofit organization is committed to promoting a cleaner, healthier and safer community. Through education, implementation and action, the organization strives to preserve natural resources. It also tries to alter bad

environmental behavior, such as littering, and turn it into a behavior that will help beautify the environment. The Shoals Chamber of Commerce established KTSB in 2007. It is the first association of its kind in Alabama to have organized efforts throughout several cities. KTSB is driven toward making meaningful and positive changes to the community. “Our main focus is anti-littering, beautification and basic good environmental practices,” said Judy Keenum, coordinator of KTSB. “The community always needs volunteers. Helping out with KTSB is rewarding, and it offers opportunities, such as scholarships.” Members of the organization are often found doing cleanups, putting additional trashcans and recycling bins out for public events, and making announcements reminding the community to keep the environment a clean and healthy place for all. Keenum said students from UNA have been very involved with the organization in the past, and she hopes the contribution from the students continues. The organization believes that improving the environment begins with personal responsibility.

Volunteers who support the organization are much appreciated. “I think that through volunteering, students build their character,” said Jennifer Brown, assistant director for Student Engagement for Leadership and Volunteerism. “When you have worked toward something

”I think that through volunteering, students build their character.”

-Jennifer Brown bigger than yourself to help a community or a single person, it changes you and makes you see life differently. It gives you a greater appreciation for what you have, or for what you do not have.” Brown, who works closely with KTSB, said that anyone is welcome to volunteer. KTSB is involved in several events in October, including Oktoberfest, PALS litter pick-up, Adopt-A-Mile, Sam Phillips Music Celebration and the Renaissance Faire.


Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The Flor-Ala

Life

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Flor-Ala editorial staff, writers, photographers stay in allegedly haunted buildings on campus last weekend Last Friday, Oct. 21, several members of The Flor-Ala editorial staff, three photographers and two staff writers spent the night in allegedly haunted places on UNA’s campus: Rogers Hall, Norton Auditorium, Wesleyan Hall and Coby Hall. These are their stories.

Dawkins, who were staying in Norton Auditorium.

Talkin’ With George Jordan Bradley - Online Editor

Norton is supposedly one of the most haunted buildings in Florence, and the story of George, an unfortunate construction The Beginning worker who fell from a high beam and died Andy Thigpen - Life Editor during Norton’s construction, has appeared The night began unremarkably. The in several books about Southern hauntings. We got to Norton around 11 p.m. and sky was brown and cloudy. The music from Valhalla could be distantly heard. The drop tried out several cameras and recording devices in the auditorium. We got nothing but in temperature made gusts of wind and our breath visible creaking from the as Malisa McClure, catwalks. Ann Harkey and Legend goes I walked to Rogthat if you stand ers Hall to check on Norton’s stage on Josh Skaggs and by yourself with Shelby Boman who all the lights out were posted up for and yell “Hello!” the night. We were George will reon our way to Coby spond to you in Hall and had just left Alex Lindley, Kayla photo by Kayla Sloan some way, so I Sloan and Tommy Desks lined up in Room 312 of Wesleyan Hall had to try that Bolton in Wesleyan where the door shut on Alex Lindley while he out. With a night vision camera on, to see what they was trying to leave. I screamed “Helcould see. When we arrived at Rogers, it became lo,” “George,” and a few other words, and obvious that Josh and Shelby were bored. then asked for any kind of sign that someThe only noises they had heard they deter- one was there. Darrick came back in and mined to be the ice machine downstairs. reviewed the camera footage. A minute into Luckily, we had a Ouija board to try to liven the footage, Darrick got a call. His original things up and have some healthy paranor- model PS3 had died. Around 2 a.m., Andy, Malisa, Ann, mal conversation. Devin Kennamer joined Josh and Devin came over to see our setup us; we lit a candle and began to speak. and try out the Ouija board. Nothing happened. We took the board off-stage to NorAfter a lot of questions and laughter, we decided that Rogers might not be the ton’s creepier and darker rooms. Everyone most haunted place on campus. We took but Darrick circled around the board and

photo by Darrick Dawkins

Jordan Bradley sits on the Norton Auditorium stage while having a heart to heart with the resident spirit, George.

Josh with us and proceeded to Coby Hall to drop off my supplies and look around. While there, Ann and I played a few pranks on Josh and Devin, who let out a good squeal. Before getting settled, we all went to check on Jordan Bradley and Darrick

put their hands on the pointer. As soon as everyone was touching it, and without asking it a question, it started to move, first to G, then E, then O, R, G and finally to E again. We immediately started to ask it questions, but after a few mixed responses and

garbled answers, Andy asked if George wanted to talk to us, and the board answered “No,” and then “Goodbye.” With that burst of activity, we moved the board back to Norton’s stage, and tried again. This time, when the board started spelling random words, Josh asked if George was messing with us. The pointer immediately flew to “Yes.” We asked a couple more questions about George’s identity. After a moment of inactivity, we asked if George was really there. The answer “No” came back. We asked where photo by Malisa McClure he was, and the board spelled “W-E-S-L.” The Ouija board became a key feature of the night as we When we asked if he was communicated with the spirits in campus buildings. in Wesleyan Hall, George colorful expletives from the group, I desaid “Yes.” Andy asked why George was in cided to check the door, which I had pushed Wesleyan and the pointer moved to “Good- back open when it hit me, again. Again, it bye.” We took that as a sign, packed up and whooshed and shut towards me. moved to Wesleyan. No one was behind the door.

Opening Doors

Alex Lindley - Copy/Opinions Editor I didn’t expect to see anything during my night in Wesleyan Hall, but I did. I can’t explain any of it, and I think it’s better that way. We arrived at Wesleyan around 9 p.m. Everything for the first three hours was uneventful, except for running into a guy who was there late using the WiFi and finding out that we couldn’t lock the front doors. We camped out on the third floor with all the lights off. Around 12:30 a.m., we heard a noise in the stairwell. After a fruitless investigation, we decided to make a trip to the bathroom on the second floor. As we descended the first flight of stairs, we heard the stairwell door (which had a doorstop under it) close abruptly. The bathroom would have to wait. Tommy and I began checking the classrooms to see if anyone was upstairs. We found no one. I called Andy to tell him what happened. He said that the group was at Norton about to set up the Ouija board. We said we’d keep each other posted and hung up. While Tommy and I were checking the classrooms, Kayla went into a classroom by herself. Moments later, she ran out terrified after we heard the classic Windows startup sound. The computer had turned on by itself. Things had just gotten real. After a short break downstairs to gather our wits, we decided to check the classroom again. As I walked towards the opened classroom door to check if anyone was behind it, the door closed towards me suddenly with a loud “whoosh.” After a brief heart attack and some

Andy called back a few minutes later and asked if anything had just happened. I told him about our occurrence, and he told me about theirs. At the same time that the door shut on me, George was telling them that he was in Wesleyan with us. Once the group joined us and got the Ouija board set up in the haunted classroom, we began a conversation with George. He was fairly talkative. He said the reason he was in Wesleyan Hall was because he had been woken up. Who woke him up? “A-NN … No, A-L-E-X,” he said. Just great, I thought. I was relieved when he said he liked me, though. During the conversation, in which we asked George if he had turned on the computer and he said yes, the computer turned on and off twice in a matter of 30 seconds. Through the Ouija board, George identified himself as a Christian and a dead human. He also said he would follow us when we left, but only to Coby Hall. He also specifically said that he would follow Kayla, but, when asked if he was joking, said “Yes.” As everyone was packing up to head to Coby, Devin walked past the open classroom door. It shut towards him in front of everyone.

Dusk TILL Dawn Andy Thigpen - Life Editor

We left Wesleyan in a hurry. It was 3:45 a.m., and we hadn’t even spent any time in Coby Hall. We all decided that we would take the Ouija up to the attic, see what happened and then go home. Some of the employees there had told me that they always hear sleigh bells from

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Thursday, February 9, 2011 • The Flor-Ala

Life

Page

5

Digital Film or

?

photos by KAYLA SLOAN I Staff Photographer

Jennifer Newton inspects negatives on a light table before starting the printing process. Methods of photo development are constantly debated in the photography field. Newton prefers the labor of film photography to the digital solution.

Different formats of negatives hang in the film drying room before the photographer decides whether or not they will be printed.

Photo developing methods remain hot topic in photography field )VV0IZSMa

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The never-ending debate of film VS. digital photography has reappeared on the docket since Kodak, one of the largest film camera producers in the U.S., recently announced it will stop production on reloadable 35 mm film cameras in an attempt to bail out of bankruptcy. The company will shift toward digital cameras and production of film cameras in emerging countries, such as China, India and those in Eastern Europe. UNA’s photography curriculum has firm roots in film, ensuring all photography majors have a sure-footed knowledge of

shooting with film cameras and being able to develop film from negatives. “I am most comfortable with film,” said Jennifer Newton, a current photography major at UNA. “I like the flexibility I have with film compared with digital. It’s enjoyable to me and more hands on. I feel it is a labor of love with film.” Some people find digital photography more user-friendly. “I think digital has killed photography, in a sense, as an industry,” said John Phillips, a recent photography graduate of UNA. “Film photography is really a wonderful art form, but at this point it is almost obsolete for my current line of work.” Philips currently works doing sports

photography and finds using digital cameras easier. Professor Wayne Sides does not prefer one to the other. “With art, you choose your weapon,” he said. “To compare digital to film is like comparing acrylic paint to oil paint. You can get a similar result with both, but it depends on the intended outcome.” He said he has noticed a trend of students raised on digital photography more interested in film. “I like (film) because it slows people down,” Sides said. “It makes them think about their work as something precious and sacred. I want my students to know how they got that picture instead of just snap-

Review: New downtown restaurant City Hardware needs more work *Ta\PM;\MMTUIV

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I will admit that I am no connoisseur of fine dining, but I know a good restaurant when I see one. My first reaction to City Hardware, located next door to Ricatoni’s Italian Grill, was that the dining experience was going to be pleasant and much like any other nice restaurant in Florence. There was a decent-sized crowd when I entered the establishment, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. However, after being seated (and at a dirty table, nonetheless), it became clear that my experience with City Hardware was going to be anything but pleasant. City Hardware hosts an impressive selection of food, beer, wine, cocktails and other beverages. The menu, though, is almost overwhelming with its expansive list of options. Starters include choices such as spinach and artichoke dip or crab cakes, while the entrée list boasts meals such as

bacon-wrapped meatloaf and pecan-crusted grouper. For those looking for simpler options, City Hardware also offers a unique range of burgers, salads and flatbreads. While I looked at the menu, I asked for a glass of water. After asking my server twice, my drink finally arrived (about four and a half minutes before my food did). I chose to try the California burger, which comes with avocado, Applewoodsmoked bacon, caramelized onions, Dijon horseradish, aged cheddar and greens on a brioche bun, as well as a side of fries. When my food arrived, I took one look at the burger on the plate in front of me (if you could call it a burger) and was instantly disgusted by the poor appearance and obvious lack of time that the restaurant took to put my order together. I believe my fouryear-old cousin could have made a burger look less sloppy and more appealing. As far as taste goes, the California burger was not terrible, but it definitely

ping and clicking with digital.” He said film still has the upper hand when it comes to being able to produce larger-sized pictures. He also said it is much cheaper to use because digital cameras are constantly becoming obsolete as technology advances. He said digital cameras produce fast results, making them ideal for commercial photography such as events, newspapers and anything where deadlines are fast. While Kodak has stopped production in the U.S., the future of film is still unclear. “Hollywood is using film to this day,” Sides said. “Is this how it is going to be in five years? We have no idea.”

was not worth the nine dollars I paid for it. The fries were lukewarm and tasted like they had been sitting in the kitchen all afternoon long. The dessert was the only photo by BARRY MINOR I Staff Photographer saving grace for Rhiannon Clark bartends at City Hardware in downtown Florence. this terrible din- The restaurant has only been open for three weeks and has been ing experience. subject to mixed reviews. I went with the Overall, the service was mediocre and spiced apple bread pudding, expecting it the food was entirely too expensive for to be as horrendous as the rest of my meal, what it was. After including a tip, my meal and was pleasantly surprised when it turned came out to be $18 and some change. At out to be quite the opposite. I have been trythe end of the day, because the atmosphere ing to make the perfect spiced apple bread was enjoyable and the dessert left me wantpudding for years, but nothing I have ever ing their recipe for spiced apple bread pudmade even comes close to what I had at ding, I give City Hardware two out five City Hardware. stars.


Thursday, March 8, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ The Flor-Ala

Life

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7

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The MUSIC never stopsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

â&#x20AC;˘ Summer music festivals remain high on some studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; agendas photo courtesy of Ashley Garmon

Fans crowd the Budweiser Stage at Lollapalooza 2011 in Chicago. Lollapalooza is one of the many summer music festivals offered and has featured headlining acts such as The Killers, Coldplay, Kings of Leon and Lady Gaga.

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As summer slowly approaches, some music fans anticipate taking a road trip or two to their favorite music festivals. Two events getting plenty of attention are the Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores and Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn. Both festivals feature a long list of alternative rock and indie bands. Some headliners at the Hangout include Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, the String Cheese Incident and Wilco. Bonnarooâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lineup lists Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish, the Beach Boys and Bon Iver. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bonnarooâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s line up this year is definitely something Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m interested in,â&#x20AC;? said Luke Hunter, a junior at UNA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not entirely sure yet. The Hangout just

seems a little lackluster in comparison.â&#x20AC;? The two festivals have their pros and cons for the audiophile with a choice to make. Bonnaroo is a four-day festival with remaining tickets going for $259, while the Hangout is currently sold out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are some amazing bands at both, and the Hangout is definitely the better value, but Bonnaroo just has so much more to offer,â&#x20AC;? Hunter said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Plus, Bonnaroo is more of an experience that is kind of like something to mark off my checklist in life.â&#x20AC;? For some fans, the experience, not the music, makes all the difference. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Atmosphere,â&#x20AC;? said Robert Champion, a freshman at UNA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Atmosphere makes everything.â&#x20AC;? Champion said if he attends any music festivals this summer, he might work as a volunteer just to be a part of the event. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well, I love people, and at places

like that there are always awesome people to meet,â&#x20AC;? Champion said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great place to hang out with friends or take a girl.â&#x20AC;? On the other hand, the large-scale production and carnival air can be a negative factor for some concert-goers. On top of that, the frustration of trying to prioritize which bands to see can be a hassle. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would like to go to festivals, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d feel overwhelmed by the amount of artists, honestly,â&#x20AC;? said DeForrest Brown, a senior at UNA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I prefer to experience one artist solely. I suppose the romance of making a trip to see a single band is attractive to me.â&#x20AC;? Cash is the top factor that impacts whether senior Chelsea Carroll will attend a summer music festival. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know if I could ever bring myself to shell out that kind of money,â&#x20AC;? she said.

Summer Line-Up

Bonnaroo Manchester, Tenn. June 7 - 10 $259

Sasquatch George, Wash. May 25 - 28 $315

Newport Folk Newport, R.I. July 28 - 29 $135

Lollapalooza Chicago Aug. 3 - 5 $TBA

Hangout Music Fest.

Gulf Shores, Ala. May 18 - 20 SOLD OUT

Wakarusa

Ozark, Ark. May 31 - June 3 $164

All Good

Thornville, Ohio July 19 - 22 $179 (early bird)

Professor Profile: Bob Hendren *Ta\PM;\MMTUIV

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Communication major or not, every student at UNA is required to complete Communications 201, or Fundamentals of Speech, before graduation. For many students, speaking in a public forum is their top fear. But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy for students to overcome the fear of public speaking with a professor that has been known to Photoshop his face onto a Jedi for a class PowerPoint, or wow students with his ability to know the approximate number of index cards used for their speechesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;without counting them beforehand. Working on what he calls his encore career, Bob Hendren has been a full-time speech instructor at UNA for six years, after first working as an adjunct for the

department. Hendren has found the keys to success in teaching, and the rapid filling of his course sections pays tribute to that. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Students line up to take Hendrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s speech course every semester, and if the course is full, they beg to be let in,â&#x20AC;? said Sue Jeffreys, administrative assistant for the communications department. Hendren said he believes in making the classroom a place where each of the students feels comfortable speaking around others. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My classes are free of judgment,â&#x20AC;? Hendren said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want everyone to feel comfortable, and usually, by the end of the semester, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re one little family.â&#x20AC;? Because he teaches a required course, Hendren realizes the importance of capturing studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; attention from the begin-

ning. His PowerPoint presentations are punchy, vibrant and no two slides will ever be the same. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I change the PowerPoints each semester,â&#x20AC;? Hendren said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;None of them are the same. I want to keep students engaged, so one semester Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have my face on a Jedi, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be something different the next.â&#x20AC;? Hendrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s teaching style is one students can easily relate to. He said he understands he is teaching a highly visual generation, and he stays updated on technology and trends. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Technology is something thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not going away, so you should learn to adapt,â&#x20AC;? Hendren said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t working, you have to try something else. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about me staying one step ahead of the students so I can be a better

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photo by MICHAEL REDDING I Student Photographer

photo courtesy of Matt Ellis

Bob Hendren is a communications instructor who specializes in speech and creating engaging PowerPoint presentations.


Thursday, March 15, 2012 • The Flor-Ala

Life

Pretty lights

Page

13

• Planetarium and Observatory entertain with music of Pink Floyd and U2 photos by KAYLA SLOAN I Staff Photographer

From left to right, The laser light show features brightly lit patterns and shapes accompanied by music. Bottom left: This show featured music from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and selections from U2.

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Students, professors and guests gathered last week at the UNA Planetarium and Observatory to watch the spring laser show, featuring music from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and the band U2. The laser shows have been hosted by the planetarium for two years and have since become one of its most popular at-

tractions. “The people who come really like them,” said Dr. Mel Blake, director of the Planetarium and Observatory. “The response we get is almost universally positive.” The 75-minute laser show, full of psychedelic patterns, distorted guitars, ominous sounds and images perfect for fueling nightmares, did receive an overwhelmingly positive response from those attending. The lobby of the planetarium was full of excited

conversation, glazed over gazes and people eager to experience the show again. “I thought it was really good,” said Taylor Holman, a freshman. “I thought the lasers went really well with the music.” Others said the environment wasn’t perfect. “It was good,” said Dale Cronkhite, a freshman. “Just neck-breaking.” The chairs in the planetarium have been a big complaint among people attending the laser shows. “People are not fond of our chairs because they’re not really designed for looking straight up for an entire hour,” Blake said. “But we’re working on that aspect of things.” People who have attended the laser shows before prefer lying on blankets more than sitting in chairs. Even those without blankets were lying on the floor within a few minutes. Since the laser projector is a rental and all the shows are stock, it limits the choice on what music can be shown. However, Blake makes several considerations when deciding on a show. “I try to pick stuff that will have a general appeal,” he said. “Somebody asked me how do I pick the music, and I said ‘well, I have to hear it every night for a week, so it’s going to be something I like.’” Students suggested a variety of bands for future laser shows. Among the bands suggested were Black Sabbath, Daft Punk,

Aerosmith, Muse and Snow Patrol. While most students enjoyed both of the bands at the laser show, many said they preferred one band to the other. “I liked ‘The Wall’ a little better because I’m a little more familiar with Pink Floyd,” said Chase Alexander, a planetarium visitor. Others preferred U2.

”The people who come really like them. The response we get

is almost universally positive.”

-Mel Blake

“I guess because I’m a little bit younger than (Alexander), I liked U2 better,” said Vivian Lesende, a junior at UNA. Blake said he hopes in the future that UNA will invest in a laser projector. He said he sees how investing in one could have many positive benefits to the planetarium, as well as the community. “I am very interested in getting a laser system on campus that we could make our own shows, but it’s a very expensive piece of equipment,” Blake said. “But, potentially, it could be a big program from us because we could do partnerships with a lot of different people.”


LIFE

Page

1B

Thursday, April 12, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ The Flor-Ala

Contact Life Editor Andy Thigpen at 256.765.5233

The first

First Friday photos by KAYLA SLOAN I Staff Photographer

Dillon Hodges performs at Armosa Studio during the First Fridays festivities April 6. First Fridays features many local artists and musicians who occupy stores, street corners, and apartments, purveying their art and music for anyone to buy or just enjoy.

Local vendors, musicians line downtown streets for First Fridays

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First Fridays for this season started last week as the residents of Florence flooded the craft-table-lined streets of downtown. One can expect unique and handmade crafts, music from a variety of bands, paintings and photography, free samples from restaurants and businesses offering deals at the event. Boutiques and shops, such as Boutique Create, propped open their doors to let people stroll in and out of their venues easily. Boutique Create is run by sisters Heather and Mara Sherrill. The shop features Heatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Photography Studio. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My photography shop was in the boonies until we moved here,â&#x20AC;? Heather Sherrill said. She said business has been â&#x20AC;&#x153;awesomeâ&#x20AC;? since they moved their shop in town. The main attention for the shop is the unique clothing and accessories. Leather bracelets from Lenny and Eva can be ordered there that feature a variety of interchangeable charms. Billy Reid was packed with music lovers such as Daniel Crisler, a local musician and frontman for the band Cicada Screamers. He played guitar and harmonica while singing original songs.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Daniel Crisler brought love, hate, life and death to First Friday,â&#x20AC;? said Brian Conner, a fan of the Florence music scene. Jamie and Katie Barrier, married musicians from local band The Pine Hill Haints, came to Billy Reid to enjoy the music. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is so much weird, good creativity here in Florence compared to places like Nashville,â&#x20AC;? Katie Barrier said about local musicians. Crafts and artwork at First Fridays can range from oil canvas paintings and handmade jewelry to hand-woven or crocheted hats, scarves and decorations. Rachel Wakefield called her booth â&#x20AC;&#x153;Byoutere,â&#x20AC;? which hosted an array of handmade jewelry. Her pieces are all made from old antique items. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I kind of manipulate old trinkets I find while travelling,â&#x20AC;? Wakefield said. Wakefield said she enjoyed First Fridays because she gets to meet interesting people and have fun. Near Wakefieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s booth was Original Oils on Canvas by RGH, or Robert Gray Howard. Howard has only been painting for a couple of months, but said the skill â&#x20AC;&#x153;runs in the family.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wanted to start painting, so I took some oil and canvas and just took at it,â&#x20AC;? Howard said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is a lot of fun to do.â&#x20AC;?

Vendors at the first First Friday of the year set up their booths along Court Street in downtown Florence. Potential customers stroll the sidewalks as they browse for unique artwork while listening to various bands and musicians.

First Friday is also an opportunity for families of sick, injured, or disabled loved ones to raise money for medical bills. All Stitched Up was a booth filled with hand-knitted animal hats. The items were made by Christy Hendrix to help raise

money for her sister, Taylor Hendrix. The family has raised several hundred dollars to help Taylor with her bone cancer treatments. Taylor is currently in good health. First Fridays will continue until December 7, when the weather gets too cold for outdoor events.

Singing River Presents: new program, music awareness )VLa<PQOXMV

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The Department of Entertainment Industry is expected to launch its newest program, Singing River Presents April 10 with performances by Doc Daily and The Magnolia Devil with Dylan Leblanc. The concert will be a launch point for the program as well as an effort to raise awareness and membership for the Muscle Shoals Music Association (MSMA). Singing River Presents is a student-run program designed to work with the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Artist Management and Touringâ&#x20AC;? class offered in the Department of Entertainment Industry,

said Department Chair Dr. Bob Garfrerick. It will also be unique to UNA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be one of few (public institutions) that has a concert promotion company,â&#x20AC;? Garfrerick said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The students in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Artist Management and Touringâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; class will put on a show just like a concert promoter would do it.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s this real-world application that will benefit students the most, said project manager Mack Cornwell. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Any practical use of your knowledge, in my opinion, is the best learning experience,â&#x20AC;? Cornwell said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Textbooks and lectures really only go so far. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about experiencing things you really canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t teach but that

just have to be done.â&#x20AC;? So far, organizing the concert has been quite the learning experience, Garfrerick said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had dreams of doing something with the Shoals Theatre with a bigger act,â&#x20AC;? he said. Insteadâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;because of pricing, scheduling and time constraintsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the program decided to book a smaller venue with more locally-known acts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to end up being very, very good,â&#x20AC;? Garfrerick said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We took the next best thing to not making moneyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;which is not to lose money.â&#x20AC;? However, this decision raised a ques-

tion with Singing River Presents organizers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to break even, what are we going to break even for?â&#x20AC;? Garfrerick asked. It was decided that the concert would serve as both a launch for Singing River Presents as well as a promotional tool for MSMA, a nonprofit started in 1975 with the intent to cultivate and showcase Muscle Shoals music and musicians. Jimmy Nutt, president of MSMA and owner of the NuttHouse Recording Studio Inc., is excited about the concert and said it

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LIFE

Page

4B

Thursday, April 19, 2012 • The Flor-Ala

Contact Life Editor Andy Thigpen at 256.765.5233

Staff Profile: Emily Kelley

• International students often struggle with adjusting to American diets photo by KAYLA SLOAN I Staff Photographer

Ash Karki stirs a sauce into his dinner at home. To international students, cooking at home is becoming a better alternative to going out or eating in GUC or Towers.

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For Nigerian student Kehinde Ogebule, America was a land of promise, new experiences and fast food. “The first thing I rushed for was hamburgers, pizza and things like that,” she said. “But that’s not healthy.” She said one of the hardest parts of coming to America was adjusting to the change in diet. “The challenge we face as international students when we come to America (is that) there’s a variety of foods we have to choose in order to stay healthy,” she said. Many times, international students feel overwhelmed by the variety of foods offered here, and that can cause them to opt for the easy option of relying on fast food and Towers Cafeteria, Ogebule said. Her situation is not an uncommon one. Cem Demir, resident dining manager, faced similar troubles when he first came to UNA from Turkey in 1997. He said the students are ill informed about diet changes prior to their arrival in America.

“I used to be in the same boat,” Demir said. “Nobody told me, and I don’t think anybody tells them. When I first came to the U.S. in ’97, I used to be 160 pounds. I went up to 245 (pounds). “The first two weeks are, I think, the most challenging time.” Tren Chao, a graduate student from China, agrees. “In the first days, it was good to try those foods (fast food and pizza),” Chao said. “It would be expensive to eat that (in China). After one week or two, we were kind of tired of the food.” After gaining 20 pounds, Chao decided to shape up. “I can’t do this,” he said. “I need to control (my diet).” Peggy Bergeron, senior nurse for University Health Services, gets visits from international students and believes the problem is both social and physical. “I think students start out eating at Taco Bell,” Bergeron said. “It’s that freedom thing. It usually takes a semester to realize. That’s across the board—international or not.”

Whereas Demir and Chao said it’s about a two-week adjustment period, Bergeron suggests a wider window. “Among the international students, they have problems in the first two to three months,” she said. Coordinator of International Studies Joy Mallard has noticed the trends shortly after students’ arrivals. “Diet concerns in the first few weeks are a big issue,” she said. “It’s a huge adjustment. It’s a big form of culture shock.” Overcoming that culture shock, however, is one of the processes necessary for truly embracing a culture, she said. The biggest gateway to cultural experience: food. “One of the best ways to experience a culture is through their food,” Mallard said. “There’s a great opportunity for a lot of cuisine and cultures to emerge.” Chao uses food as an opportunity to communicate with other students. “For international students, we should seize the chance for more opportunities for food and experience,” he said. “(Eating) is a very good way to get to know people—to talk to people. It is a great topic to start conversation.”

photo courtesy of Tren Chao

Tren Chao (left) and Zhizheng Zhehg eat sandwiches outside. International students often view hamburgers and pizza as stereotypical American foods.

Demir also agrees a culture is manifested in its food and said students need to be ready for the differences. “It’s not going to be like mama’s cooking,” he said. “You’re going to learn the language and culture. You need to learn the food too.”

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photo by MALISA MCCLURE I Chief photographer

Emily Kelley, coordinator of the UNA women’s center, has experience in everything from political science to culinary arts and administration.

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For those who come in contact with her, Emily Kelley is more than just the coordinator of the UNA women’s center. She is a mentor and friend to the women of all kinds who walk through her door. “She is, like, numero uno,” said Jean Ann Willis, a volunteer and frequenter of the women’s center. “She’s great.” Not only is Kelley a friend and mentor, she also has an impressive resume. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Vassar College, a culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America and a year at the University of London under her belt. Kelley has also owned her own French restaurants and a catering business. Willis, who got out of an abusive relationship in 2007, said Kelley has been a stable source of support in her life throughout her time at UNA. “For me, she has been almost like a mom to me,” Willis said. “This has been a really trying semester for me, and I’ve struggled, and she never hesitates to say ‘it’s OK, it’s OK.’”

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Accounting department offers free tax return service

photo by BARRY MINOR I Staff Photographer

T’Keyah Alford prepares her taxes at H&R Block with the help of employee Carylon Ivy.

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Every year, the working citizens of the United States must collect W-2s, receipts and paperwork in order to file their taxes by

the deadline in April. In order to ease the stress for first-time filers, or taxpayers who are looking for an easier, cheaper alternative to file taxes, UNA offers a free program provided by trained UNA accounting students. “Through the accounting department, we work with a group called Impact Alabama,” said Dr. Gregory Carnes, an accounting professor at UNA. “Our students do tax returns for free. The focus is to determine the earned income credit for families that qualify.” Impact Alabama is a program based in Birmingham that sets up sessions all over Alabama that are open to everyone, Carnes said. The programs are open to everyone for six weeks prior to April. Carnes helped train people for AARP’s tax-aide program. There are five locations in the Shoals area alone, including the Flor-

ence Lauderdale Public Library. These sessions also offer free tax preparations for students. “My advice would be to go to one of these free programs because the preparers are trained and have to pass a test from the IRS,” Carnes said. If a student has a simple tax return, such as a single filer with income only from wages and few deductions, free online tax services such as Turbo Tax and TaxACT are sufficient, Carnes said. The online alternatives offer free federal filing with step-bystep instructions. Carnes said one of the biggest problems that appears while filing student taxes is the dependency issue. Because many students work and receive money from their parents, figuring out who can claim what can be confusing. Carnes said it is valuable to find educa-

tion credits for students who are filing and determine if they are applicable. “International students’ returns can get complicated,” Carnes said. Carnes said international students should go to a free center to get their taxes prepared instead of attempting filing themselves. Some UNA students use local accountants for their taxes. “I just go to Robert Witt in downtown,” said Vance Parrish, a film and digital media major at UNA. “I give them my W-2 and they do the rest.” Parrish said Witt’s preparers asked for his school expenses, such as book costs, supplies and technology costs, such as his new laptop. They charged him $20, but because of an error with how his employers withheld taxes, he won’t be getting money back this year.


LIFE

Page

1B

Thursday, April 26, 2012 • The Flor-Ala

Contact Life Editor Andy Thigpen at 256.765.5233

The Politics of Pollution photos by KAYLA SLOAN I Staff Photographer

(Above, above right) A waterfall causes a stalagtite of iron and manganese deposits to drip down tree roots at the Wallace Spring location. The deposits are caused by leachate escaping from the landfill. (Right middle) Cypress knees emerge from similar deposits at Lewis Spring less than a mile away. (Right bottom) Leachate from the old Florence landfill flows into Cypress Creek. Leachate from this source has been escaping since its closing in 1987, sources said.

Officials discuss landfill status, push for UNA student, community activism )VLa<PQOXMV

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Cars blaze down Savannah Highway. In the woods, the air is quiet, and Wallace Spring bubbles content and clear down a hill on a warm day in April. Charles Rose follows a familiar path alongside the brook as it separates private property from the Florence landfill. After a short walk, the water takes on a different look: a fluorescent orange hue begins to emerge in paint-like patches on the bed of the spring. “It’s kind of unpredictable,” Rose said. “More rainfall can cause it to look better or cause it to look worse.” The farther Rose walks downstream, the brighter and thicker the orange paint gets. It culminates in a small waterfall—the water running through an old tire and down a dark orange stalagmite. After a few miles, Wallace Spring joins with Cypress Creek. Rose, president of the Shoals Environmental Alliance (SEA), has been heavily involved with local environmental concerns for several decades. He teamed up with David Cope in 2009, and their data played a role in drawing attention from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), which issued the landfill a contamination violation, Cope and Rose said. Ultimately, their involvement impacted the City Council’s vote to close the landfill in March, said Dick Jordan, City Councilman of District 2. “(Cope) and I have been working together,” Jordan, councilman for the district

containing the landfill, said. “He goes out to the site on a regular basis. He’s been a good teacher, and it’s been a good learning experience.” Cope is an assistant math professor who has been watching areas around the old and new Florence landfills. The old one, located in West Florence past Handy Homes, closed in 1987, which is when the new one opened, Cope said. The old Florence landfill has been leaking leachate since its closing in 1987 and will continue to do so for another 50 to 75 years, by Cope’s calculations. “I’m just referencing it to what I know first hand,” Cope said. “That old landfill in Florence that closed in 1987, it closed 25 years ago. It’s still discharging high concentrations of leachate. And it’s not just my visual observations; I’ve got the measurements to prove it. “Leachate will flow from a landfill anywhere from 50 to 100 years,” Cope said. “What that demonstrates, and something everybody ought to know, is that landfills are forever.” Leachate is any liquid that originates from or passes through buried garbage, Cope said. Now, in the wake of the landfill’s closure, Manager of the Florence Solid Waste, Street and Recycle Department David Koonce said all garbage except for construction and demolition waste will be transferred to a regional landfill in Walnut, Miss. “This is the way most communities dispose with waste,” he said. “This is a national trend. Most cities and counties have gotten out of their own garbage business.” In an attempt to fix the leachate con-

tamination of local springs, workers are planning on drilling a hole into the landfill to pump out some of the ground water thought to be buried there, Koonce said. The procedure is expected to happen in the next two to four weeks, Koonce said. Until then, Cope believes active participation and education are key to improving the landfill situation overall. “Apathy is the worst enemy to the political process in this country,” Cope said. “I think we all agree that helping educate the public on this is something that would be a worthwhile goal—letting people know: don’t be afraid to stand up.” Koonce agrees, but asserts that the problem is bigger than the landfill. “This belongs to us all,” he said. “We all play a role. You can’t just look at one thing. You’ve got to look at the whole picture. The landfill is an issue, but there are so many other issues we all play a part in. “It’s very far-reaching, and it has a lot of impacts way about Florence.” Though Herman Graham, city councilman for District 3, was the only councilman to vote against the closing of the landfill, he believes in the far-reaching effects that social involvement can facilitate—especially

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JOURNAL

ISM


E

ven though many of my favorite authors got their starts in journalism — Hemingway, Wolfe, Steinbeck — I didn’t take an active interest in journalistic writing until I enrolled in a basic reporting class at UNA. I can’t say that I learned much from the class, but it did give me a chance to get involved with The Flor-Ala, the student newspaper at UNA. The paper provided an active outlet for my writing as well as an opportunity to meet people all over campus and in the community. It taught me more about meeting deadlines and all of the collaborative work that goes into producing a publication. It taught me effective ways to reach people with my writing, and it taught me how to conduct an interview in an efficient and professional manner. Most importantly though, it taught me the value of good, sound journalism. Alan Barth, journalist and writer for The Washington Post, is attributed with writing that, “News is the first rough draft of history.” It’s a journalist’s responsibility to accurately

represent that first draft and to be a mouthpiece, an advocate, for the people. Whether writing a breaking news story or a feature article on a local business, the motive should be the same: represent anyone or anything in the clearest light possible. The readers can fill in the rest. In this section I’ve included a variety of pieces that I’ve published in The Flor-Ala. The first piece is a freelance article I wrote for The Anniston Star, which was a great opportunity. The rest of them are in no particular order, and some of them are earlier works that I am less proud of. I only include them to illustrate my progress as a journalist and a writer. I am particularly proud of “A Night with Matisyahu,” “The Politics of Pollution,” and “An Acquired Taste.” I worked hard on those stories, and each one addresses an issue or event that directly affected students in some way. I wanted to weave the students’ stories in a way that was interesting, available and engaging. I hope that I have done that.


An Apple Pioneer:

Alabama’s first organic orchard opens near Moulton Date: October 19, 2011 Published in: The Anniston Star

On the south side of Moulton, Ala., there’s an orchard where Mike Adair, 34, is making things happen naturally. “This is our first year going organic,” Adair says of his apple orchard. The Adair Organic Orchard started with his father, Hoyt Adair in 1985. According to his son, Hoyt Adair began as a hog and row crop farmer after graduating from Auburn University and serving as a captain in the Air Force during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. In the early 80s, when the hog industry began to decline for private farmers, Hoyt decided to switch from hogs to fruit. He was awarded the Alabama Agriculture Award in 2005. “My dad really loved the orchard business,” Mike Adair said. “He enjoyed taking people out, talking to them and showing them the orchard. A lot of people called him Johnny Appleseed.” When Mike Adair was eight years old, he and his father began planting the trees that are there today. “I remember all of [the trees],” he said. “I’ve got a lot of memories here.” After Hoyt Adair’s death in 2001, Mike Adair, a student at UAB at the time, took it upon himself to carry on the orchard business. “There was just no question in my mind,” Adair said. “I came home and took care of the farm for my mom and my sister.” In 2008, after caring for the orchard for several years, Mike wanted to go organic. In order To be organic, the soil has to sit for a minimum of three years. After that time, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) does tests to determine if the soil is clean. “Three years ago, when I decide to go organic, I just wanted to get back to the basics,” Mike Adair said. “We

didn’t have those chemicals in our grandparent’s generation. They didn’t eat man-made preservatives and things like that. Now our parents are starting to see the side effects of what they’ve been eating, and my generation is starting to care about where our food comes from.” Apples aren’t the only organic food Mike Adair has available. The orchard has a couple of acres of pecan and chestnut trees, and it also sports a greenhouse where Adair is planning to grow arugula, spinach, baby lettuce, cilantro and other greens. Now he is planting strawberries for next season, and also offers blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. He soon hopes to incorporate some organic animals such as cows and goats. However, apples still remain the biggest crop at the orchard. “We specialize in apples,” Adair said. “We can’t compete with Washington state and Oregon because they have thousands of acres. We have 100 here, so the way we compete is with variety. We’ve got over 300 varieties of apples.” While apple season is over, Adair is open to the public during the year. He hosts tours for homeschool groups, classes from Decatur schools, and anyone who happens to stop by. Once the apples are ripe, people can pay five dollars per person for a tour and as many apples as they want. Mike Adair, like his father, is pioneering in the field of agriculture “Being the first organic orchard in Alabama was a big step for me,” Mike Adair said.” So now, the next step is to be the best and to try to tell people—to tell people that you can be organic.” Dustin Terry, high school friend and business partner with Mike Adair, relates the difficulty of being organic in


FOOD The Anniston Star

Editor: Lisa Davis, ldavis@annistonstar.com • Wednesday, October 19, 2011 • Page 8A

the South. “I think the difficulty is with the economics and state funding.” Terry said. “The research and development is not there.” Despite the trouble with state funding, Terry is hopeful. “I watched his dad grow this place up and change it completely from hog farming to an orchard,” Terry said. “[His dad] adapted to farming and now we’re in the process of adapting to organics. It’s a stepping-stone.” Adair is very thankful for the stepping-stones that have been laid for him. “I truly could not have done all this without Don Smith and the soil conservation office in town,” Adair said. In celebration, next year with be the first organic apple festival in the history of the orchard. “We haven’t had one in about two years,” Adair said. “It’s the third weekend in September and it’s all weekend long. We have apple cider and pies, antique vendors, craft vendors and other things” Adair may have his hands full, but he still reflects on the dream of his father. “I really don’t think he expected me to [take over the orchard],” Adair said. “I was kind of the country boy that wanted to get out of town. He would be surprised, I think. And I hope he would be proud.”

10 0 ITEMS or LESS

Dr Pepper Ten: ‘No women allowed’ Dudes don’t drink diet. Or at least that’s the idea behind Dr Pepper Ten, a 10-calorie soft drink that rolled out this month with a macho ad campaign that proclaims, “It’s not for women.” To appeal to men, Dr Pepper made its Ten drink 180 degrees different from Diet Dr Pepper. It has calories and sugar, unlike its diet counterpart. Instead of the dainty tan bubbles on the diet can, Ten will be wrapped in gunmetal grey packaging with silver bullets. There’s a Dr Pepper/ Dr Pepper Ten Associated Press Facebook page for men only. And TV commercials are heavy on the machismo, including one spot that shows muscular men in the jungle battling snakes and bad guys and appear to shoot lasers at each other. “Hey ladies. Enjoying the film? Of course not. Because this is our movie and this is our soda,” a man says as he attempts to pour the soda into a glass during a bumpy ATV ride. “You can keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks. We’re good.”

Monday is ‘Food Day’ If Earth Day looks at the environment, what would Food Day involve? Well, of course, food, in all its breadth and depth. That’s the hope of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, or CSPI, which has spearheaded an effort to use Oct. 24 as a national day to consider not only what we eat, but also the policies behind those decisions and the people who grow and harvest. On the agenda — which keeps growing — are both big and small events. You can find out what’s planned around the nation on an interactive map on its website (foodday.org). Around the country, schools are offering special Food Day menus, and governors in several states are issuing proclamations about Food Day.

Pumpkins: Not just for carving Those bright orange pumpkins aren’t just for decoration. Just like winter squash, pumpkins can be roasted, used in soups, savory dishes, salads or desserts. Pumpkins used for jack-o’-lanterns, though edible, aren’t the best for cooking. Other varieties better suited for food, such as sugar and pie pumpkins, are also in peak season this month. And if you’d rather skip the hassle of cutting and cooking pumpkin, unsweetened, canned pumpkin is just as nutritious. Some tips: • Add pureed pumpkin to plain yogurt with cinnamon or to oatmeal with cinnamon and walnuts. • Toss roasted pumpkin pieces into any salad. • Mash pumpkin with cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes. • Serve roasted pumpkin as a simple side dish instead of sweet potato.

Q&A: Doubling recipes Q: Is there a rule of thumb when it comes to doubling recipes? A: For most recipes, you can simply double the ingredients, though many sources recommend using 1 1/2 times the amount of spices when doubling. That includes salt, pepper, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika and garlic powder. With savory recipes, you can adjust the spices or seasonings to your own taste. Baking recipes are trickier. On a small scale, it should be OK to just double all the ingredients. In 125 Best Quick Bread Recipes, the authors write: “As a general rule, when doubling a recipe, only add one-and-a-half times the baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.” — Compiled from staff and wire reports. Got news? Email Lisa Davis, ldavis@annistonstarcom.

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Kayla Sloan/Special to The Star

Adair’s Organic Orchard in Moulton has more than 300 varieties of apples.

AN APPLE PIONEER Alabama’s first organic orchard opens near Moulton BY ANDY THIGPEN Special to The Star

On the south side of Moulton, there’s an orchard where Martin Adair, 34, is making things happen naturally. This is the first year of going organic for Adair’s Organic Orchard. The orchard was started by Martin’s father, Hoyt Adair, in 1985. Hoyt Adair began as a hog and row crop farmer, after graduating from Auburn University and serving as a captain ADAIR in the Air Force during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. In the early 1980s, when the hog industry began to decline for private farmers, Hoyt decided to switch from hogs to fruit. He was awarded the Alabama Agriculture Award in 2005. “My dad really loved the orchard business,” Martin Adair said. “He enjoyed taking people out, talking to them and showing them the orchard. A lot of people called him Johnny Appleseed.” And now Martin Adair, like his father before him, is a pioneer in the field of agriculture. His is the first certified organic apple orchard in Alabama. The next closest certified-organic apple orchard, Adair said, is in North Carolina. When Martin Adair was 8 years old, he and his father began planting the trees that are there today. He remembers all of them. “I’ve got a lot of memories here,” he said. After Hoyt Adair’s death in 2001, Martin, a student at UAB at the time, took it upon himself to carry on the orchard business. “There was just no question in my mind,” Adair said. “I came home and took care of the farm for my mom and my sister.” In 2008, after caring for the orchard for several years, he decided to go organic. In order to be organic, the soil has to sit for a minimum of three years. After that time, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) does tests to determine if the soil is clean. “Three years ago, when I decide to go organic, I just wanted to get back to the basics,” Adair said. “We didn’t have those chemicals in our grandparents’ generation. They didn’t eat man-made preservatives and things like that. “Now our parents are starting to see the side effects of what they’ve been eating, and my generation is starting to care about where our food comes from.” Apples aren’t the only organic food Adair has available. The orchard has a couple of acres of pecan and chestnut trees, and it also sports a greenhouse where Adair is planning to grow arugula, spinach, baby lettuce, cilantro and other greens. He is planting strawberries for next season, and will also offer blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. He soon hopes to incorporate some organic ani-

Kayla Sloan/Special to The Star

Adair’s is the only certified-organic apple orchard in Alabama.

ADAIR’S ORGANIC ORCHARD WHAT: The only certified-organic apple orchard in Alabama. WHEN: Near Moulton in North Alabama (about as far from Anniston as Ellijay, the apple capitol of Georgia). AVAILABLE: Owner Martin Adair expects to have apples available through the end of the month. He’s got about two dozen varieties still ripening on the trees, including Macintosh, Mutsu, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Granny Smith., TO ORDER: Apples are $40 a bushel. You’ll need to call and order in advance, and Adair will pick your apples off the tree for you. CONTACT: Martin Adair, 256-565-1527 or adairmartin1@aol.com. mals, such as cows and goats. However, apples remain the biggest crop at the orchard. “We specialize in apples,” Adair said. “We can’t compete with Washington State and Oregon because they have thousands of acres. We have 100 here, so the way we compete is with variety. We’ve got over 300 varieties of apples.” Apple season at Adair’s typically starts

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER COVERED APPLES 3 ounces heavy cream 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate bits 4 apples (any variety) 4 wooden pop sticks Chopped salted peanuts (optional) Chopped milk chocolate (optional) In a small saucepan over medium-low, heat the cream and peanut butter until bubbling. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate bits. Stir until completely smooth. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

in July – with a super-tart early apple called Lodi – and runs through November, depending on the weather. Next year, he plans to bring back the orchard’s annual apple festival – only this time it’ll be organic. “We haven’t had one in about two years,” Adair said. “It’s the third weekend in September, and it’s all weekend long. We have apple cider and pies, antique vendors, craft vendors and other things.” Dustin Terry, a high school friend and now business partner with Martin Adair, relates the difficulty of being organic in the South. “I think the difficulty is with the economics and state funding.” Terry said. “The research and development is not there.” Despite the trouble with state funding, Terry is hopeful. “I watched his dad grow this place up and change it completely from hog farming to an orchard,” Terry said. “He adapted to farming, and now we’re in the process of adapting to organic.” Adair said his father never really expected him to take over the orchard. “I was kind of the country boy that wanted to get out of town. He would be surprised, I think. And I hope he would be proud.”

Meanwhile, from the bottom push a pop stick up into the core of each apple. The stick should go deep enough to be sturdy, but leave enough exposed to serve as a handle. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Place the peanuts and/or milk chocolate in bowls, if using. One at a time, using the sticks handles, dip the apples in the chocolate mixture. Use a spoon to scoop up extra chocolate and pour over the apples to help coat the sides. Allow the extra chocolate to drip back into the pan. Dip the coated apples into the nuts and milk chocolate, if desired. Stand the apples, stick in the air, on the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm. Associated Press

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The Politics of Pollution:

Officials discuss landfill status, push for UNA student, community activism Date: April 26, 2012 Published in: The Flor-Ala

Cars blaze down Savannah Highway. In the woods, the air is quiet, and Wallace Spring bubbles content and clear down a hill on a warm day in April. Charles Rose follows a familiar path alongside the brook as it separates private property from the Florence landfill. After a short walk, the water takes on a different look: a fluorescent orange hue begins to emerge in paint-like patches on the bed of the spring. “It’s kind of unpredictable,” Rose said. “More rainfall can cause it to look better or cause it to look worse.” The farther Rose walks downstream, the brighter and thicker the orange paint gets. It culminates in a small waterfall—the water running through an old tire and down a dark orange stalagmite. After a few miles, Wallace Spring joins with Cypress Creek. Rose, president of the Shoals Environmental Alliance (SEA), has been heavily involved with local environmental concerns for several decades. He teamed up with David Cope in 2009, and their data played a role in drawing attention from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), which issued the landfill a contamination violation, Cope and Rose said. Ultimately, their involvement impacted the City Council’s vote to close the landfill in March, said Dick Jordan, City Councilman of District 2. “(Cope) and I have been working together,” Jordan, councilman for the district containing the landfill, said. “He goes out to the site on a regular basis. He’s been a good teacher, and it’s been a good learning experience.” Cope is an assistant math professor who has been watching areas around the old and new Florence land-

fills. The old one, located in West Florence past Handy Homes, closed in 1987, which is when the new one opened, Cope said. The old Florence landfill has been leaking leachate since its closing in 1987 and will continue to do so for another 50 to 75 years, by Cope’s calculations. “I’m just referencing it to what I know first hand,” Cope said. “That old landfill in Florence that closed in 1987, it closed 25 years ago. It’s still discharging high concentrations of leachate. And it’s not just my visual observations; I’ve got the measurements to prove it. “Leachate will flow from a landfill anywhere from 50 to 100 years,” Cope said. “What that demonstrates, and something everybody ought to know, is that landfills are forever.” Leachate is any liquid that originates from or passes through buried garbage, Cope said. Now, in the wake of the landfill’s closure, Manager of the Florence Solid Waste, Street and Recycle Department David Koonce said all garbage except for construction and demolition waste will be transferred to a regional landfill in Walnut, Miss. “This is the way most communities dispose with waste,” he said. “This is a national trend. Most cities and counties have gotten out of their own garbage business.” In an attempt to fix the leachate contamination of local springs, workers are planning on drilling a hole into the landfill to pump out some of the ground water thought to be buried there, Koonce said. The procedure is expected to happen in the next two to four weeks, Koonce said. Until then, Cope believes active participation and education are key to improving the landfill situation


overall. “Apathy is the worst enemy to the political process in this country,” Cope said. “I think we all agree that helping educate the public on this is something that would be a worthwhile goal—letting people know: don’t be afraid to stand up.” Koonce agrees, but asserts that the problem is bigger than the landfill. “This belongs to us all,” he said. “We all play a role. You can’t just look at one thing. You’ve got to look at the whole picture. The landfill is an issue, but there are so many other issues we all play a part in. “It’s very far-reaching, and it has a lot of impacts way about Florence.” Though Herman Graham, city councilman for District 3, was the only councilman to vote against the closing of the landfill, he believes in the far-reaching effects that social involvement can facilitate—especially involvement from students. “I welcome their input,” he said. “The way they look at things differently is what we need. Sometimes their ideas go the furthest. They are our future. One day when I’m gone, this will be their town.” Rose echoes Graham in his concern about the divide between the young and older generations. “There are many local groups that are involved with the environment, and they do not get much participation from students and young adults,” he said. “All of those groups tend to attract older adults. They’re all looking for new members.” One student staying active is sophomore professional chemistry and mathematics double major Alex Edwards. Edwards has been working on a research project attempting to determine heavy metals in land and water around various springs that surround the landfill. He said the sources of pollution are not always right

in the open. “To be honest with you, if you’re just a kayaker down Cypress Creek, you can’t really—you hear news about how environmentalists are saying that the landfill is polluting the creek—but you can’t really see any evidence of it if you’re just kayaking down Cypress Creek,” Edwards said. Some of the evidence is too small to see with the naked eye. In one project, Edwards isolated water samples from one of the springs which, when evaporated, caused metals to emerge from the water. This was caused by an oversaturation of the “unknown metals,” Edwards said. “It’s like pouring sugar in a glass of water and it not dissolving because there is so much sugar,” he said. Cope said the student perspective with projects like this is vital to facilitating mass education. “Students like Alex who have taken an active interest in this have been instrumental in creating public awareness,” Cope said. “And to the extent that the public becomes aware, then the politicians become aware.” Cope cites the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam protests of the ‘60s as epitomes of activism. “Do college students have a common theme they’re standing up for these days?” Cope asked. “There are issues which are a lot bigger than any of us and which, in time, we realize, ‘Gosh, I wish I would’ve stood up for that.’ And this environmental thing, I think, is going to be really important.”


LIFE

Page

1B

Thursday, April 26, 2012 • The Flor-Ala

Contact Life Editor Andy Thigpen at 256.765.5233

The Politics of Pollution photos by KAYLA SLOAN I Staff Photographer

(Above, above right) A waterfall causes a stalagtite of iron and manganese deposits to drip down tree roots at the Wallace Spring location. The deposits are caused by leachate escaping from the landfill. (Right middle) Cypress knees emerge from similar deposits at Lewis Spring less than a mile away. (Right bottom) Leachate from the old Florence landfill flows into Cypress Creek. Leachate from this source has been escaping since its closing in 1987, sources said.

Officials discuss landfill status, push for UNA student, community activism )VLa<PQOXMV

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Cars blaze down Savannah Highway. In the woods, the air is quiet, and Wallace Spring bubbles content and clear down a hill on a warm day in April. Charles Rose follows a familiar path alongside the brook as it separates private property from the Florence landfill. After a short walk, the water takes on a different look: a fluorescent orange hue begins to emerge in paint-like patches on the bed of the spring. “It’s kind of unpredictable,” Rose said. “More rainfall can cause it to look better or cause it to look worse.” The farther Rose walks downstream, the brighter and thicker the orange paint gets. It culminates in a small waterfall—the water running through an old tire and down a dark orange stalagmite. After a few miles, Wallace Spring joins with Cypress Creek. Rose, president of the Shoals Environmental Alliance (SEA), has been heavily involved with local environmental concerns for several decades. He teamed up with David Cope in 2009, and their data played a role in drawing attention from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), which issued the landfill a contamination violation, Cope and Rose said. Ultimately, their involvement impacted the City Council’s vote to close the landfill in March, said Dick Jordan, City Councilman of District 2. “(Cope) and I have been working together,” Jordan, councilman for the district

containing the landfill, said. “He goes out to the site on a regular basis. He’s been a good teacher, and it’s been a good learning experience.” Cope is an assistant math professor who has been watching areas around the old and new Florence landfills. The old one, located in West Florence past Handy Homes, closed in 1987, which is when the new one opened, Cope said. The old Florence landfill has been leaking leachate since its closing in 1987 and will continue to do so for another 50 to 75 years, by Cope’s calculations. “I’m just referencing it to what I know first hand,” Cope said. “That old landfill in Florence that closed in 1987, it closed 25 years ago. It’s still discharging high concentrations of leachate. And it’s not just my visual observations; I’ve got the measurements to prove it. “Leachate will flow from a landfill anywhere from 50 to 100 years,” Cope said. “What that demonstrates, and something everybody ought to know, is that landfills are forever.” Leachate is any liquid that originates from or passes through buried garbage, Cope said. Now, in the wake of the landfill’s closure, Manager of the Florence Solid Waste, Street and Recycle Department David Koonce said all garbage except for construction and demolition waste will be transferred to a regional landfill in Walnut, Miss. “This is the way most communities dispose with waste,” he said. “This is a national trend. Most cities and counties have gotten out of their own garbage business.” In an attempt to fix the leachate con-

tamination of local springs, workers are planning on drilling a hole into the landfill to pump out some of the ground water thought to be buried there, Koonce said. The procedure is expected to happen in the next two to four weeks, Koonce said. Until then, Cope believes active participation and education are key to improving the landfill situation overall. “Apathy is the worst enemy to the political process in this country,” Cope said. “I think we all agree that helping educate the public on this is something that would be a worthwhile goal—letting people know: don’t be afraid to stand up.” Koonce agrees, but asserts that the problem is bigger than the landfill. “This belongs to us all,” he said. “We all play a role. You can’t just look at one thing. You’ve got to look at the whole picture. The landfill is an issue, but there are so many other issues we all play a part in. “It’s very far-reaching, and it has a lot of impacts way about Florence.” Though Herman Graham, city councilman for District 3, was the only councilman to vote against the closing of the landfill, he believes in the far-reaching effects that social involvement can facilitate—especially

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UNA Spotlight: Rivertown Coffee Co.

Coffee, atmosphere, ambiance attract students to local shop Date: February 24, 2011 Published in: The Flor-Ala

On Seminary Street in downtown Florence, right next to the Shoals Theatre, there is a place called Rivertown where the atmosphere is right and the coffee reigns supreme. Rivertown Coffee Company, which opened in October 2004, is a familiar place to local residents and college students at UNA. For many, Rivertown seems like a home away from home, with its vintage furniture, stacks of records from local musicians, books lining the old bookshelf and steady stream of music playing overhead. John Cartwright, owner and founder of Rivertown Coffee Company, believes that one of the biggest reasons for this connection is the coffee. Cartwright thinks the love of coffee is something that is shared by anyone who frequents a coffee shop, and that Rivertown does it well. “If you don’t provide a good product, obviously you’re not going to be successful in what you do,” he said. “That said, it’s not all about the drink in your hand, but about the experience you create.” Ever since he moved from Corinth, Miss. in 2004 with the intention of opening a coffee shop, Cartwright has been working hard to create those experiences. The Rivertown experiences are shared by a diverse group of people, including lawyers, small business owners, local politicians, high school students, musicians, artists and UNA

students. One of Rivertown’s familiar lunch-goers is former Miss UNA Erica Gholson. Though she doesn’t drink coffee, she enjoys many elements of the Rivertown experience. “The coziness makes for a great hangout, day or night, and the frappuccinos would put Starbucks to shame,” she said. “I can’t imagine what the real coffee tastes like. It’s understood that we’re all there for good coffee and good company.” Another long-time familiar face at Rivertown belongs to UNA student Zack Cox. “I’ve been going to Rivertown for years,” he said. “I’ve pretty much grown up there. It’s a positive place to eat, drink a coffee, to do homework at or just hang out. It has it’s own mysterious aura that keeps me coming back. No matter who’s there, or if anyone’s there at all, I always find myself hanging out there.” By acting as a venue for local musicians to sell and play their music, and for local artists to showcase their work, Rivertown has developed into a hub for Florence culture. “Aside from the fact Rivertown has the best coffee in town, I am connected with the shop itself,” Cox said. “I have countless memories that are from college and pre-date college from hanging out at Rivertown. I’ve never had as many positive experiences at other coffee shops as I have had at Rivertown.”


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UNA SPOTLIGHT: RIVERTOWN COFFEE CO.

Thursday, February 24, 2011 • The Flor-Ala

Culinary arts program works to provide brown bag lunches that veer from the ordinar Matthew Gibson Staff Writer

photo by Ashton Lance

FUN TIMES — Rivertown Coffee in downtown Florence brings in a wide variety of customers, including UNA students, lawyers, politicians, business owners, musicians and artists for the coffee, food and entertainment.

Coffee, atmosphere, ambiance attract students to local shop Andy Thigpen

Student Writer

On Seminary Street in downtown Florence, right next to the Shoals Theatre, there is a place called Rivertown where the atmosphere is right and the coffee reigns supreme. Rivertown Coffee Company, which opened in October 2004, is a familiar place to local residents and college students at UNA. For many, Rivertown seems like a home away from home, with its vintage furniture, stacks of records from local musicians, books lining the old bookshelf and steady stream of music playing overhead. John Cartwright, owner and founder of Rivertown Coffee Company, believes that one of the biggest reasons for this connection is the coffee. Cartwright thinks the love of coffee is something that is shared by anyone who frequents a coffee shop, and that Rivertown does it well. “If you don’t provide a good

product, obviously you’re not going to be successful in what you do,” he said. “That said, it’s not all about the drink in your hand, but about the experience you create.” Ever since he moved from Corinth, Miss. in 2004 with the intention of opening a coffee shop, Cartwright has been working hard to create those experiences. The Rivertown experiences are shared by a diverse group of people, including lawyers, small business owners, local politicians, high school students, musicians, artists and UNA students. One of Rivertown’s familiar lunch-goers is former Miss UNA Erica Gholson. Though she doesn’t drink coffee, she enjoys many elements of the Rivertown experience. “The coziness makes for a great hangout, day or night, and the frappuccinos would put Starbucks to shame,” she said. “I can’t imagine what the real coffee tastes like. It’s understood that we’re all there for good coffee and good company.”

Another long-time familiar face at Rivertown belongs to UNA student Zack Cox. “I’ve been going to Rivertown for years,” he said. “I’ve pretty much grown up there. It’s a positive place to eat, drink a coffee, to do homework at or just hang out. It has it’s own mysterious aura that keeps me coming back. No matter who’s there, or if anyone’s there at all, I always find myself hanging out there.” By acting as a venue for local musicians to sell and play their music, and for local artists to showcase their work, Rivertown has developed into a hub for Florence culture. “Aside from the fact Rivertown has the best coffee in town, I am connected with the shop itself,” Cox said. “I have countless memories that are from college and predate college from hanging out at Rivertown. I’ve never had as many positive experiences at other coffee shops as I have had at Rivertown.”

MEDIA, continued from page 2 and camera phones to organize demonstrations, convey constant updates on the political uprisings and broadcast live footage on the Internet. Ray thinks the use of social media has also given a voice to those who were previously kept silent. “As the political turmoil has come up recently, this is the first time that Facebook was used in the Arab world to initiate a social media revolution,” Ray said. “Just because you’re not an established journalist or part of an organization doesn’t mean you

can’t have a voice. People came together, formed that solidarity and captured the spirit of social networks.” As economic and political developments in the Middle East have occurred, many view social media and its capabilities as superior to traditional media, such as print newspapers, magazines, radio and TV networks. Dr. Janet McMullen, associate professor of communications, believes the use of social media can have a positive or negative impact on an area depending on the moti-

If the idea of “brown-bagging” it sounds a little old school, then UNA faculty and staff should know that the Culinary Department’s Brown Bag lunches are anything but a traditional oldschool lunch, according to Johnson Ogun, head of the department. “Anybody can grill a steak, but we want to do it with a flair,” he said. The culinary arts photo by Malisa McClure program is relatively BROWN BAG — Culinary stunew to UNA, so there dents at UNA prepare food at has been no precedent the East Campus. for what Ogun and the East Campus culinary students are doing. The goal for organizers is to get faculty and staff interested and informed about what’s going on within the department. The Brown Bag lunch program enables students to gain experience and to practice their culinary skills before they graduate and are sent out into the workplace. Being able to cook well is important, but it’s not the only value that Ogun instills in his students. “Chef tells us that he’s not expecting us to be working in a restaurant, but to be running a restaurant,” said Eric McInnish, a culinary arts major. The Brown Bag lunches allow students from each class to be broken up into groups, and each individual group sets out to create their assigned dishes as they see fit. Ogun emphasizes the importance of hands-on learning. He tries to incorporate in-kitchen tasks whenever he can, and believes that being in the kitchen is the most important component of learning when it comes to culinary arts. The Brown Bag specials allow him to teach the students cooking and management skills, while also raising awareness of UNA’s culinary program. Culinary arts major Ashley Whitehead enjoys the hands-on training that she receives in the kitchens of the East Campus. While students can’t purchase directly from the East Campus, UNA faculty and staff are welcome to stop by Floyd Hall’s HES Department or the East Campus to place an order. Ogun hopes by next semester that they will be able to sell lunches directly to the students. “For us, it’s health-conscious related,” said Ogun. “Everything we do, we focus on eating the right way. They can get the health for their money at cost. We want to be more beneficial to the students.” For more information, Ogun can be reached at 256-7656920.

UTILITIES, continued from page 3 vations of the person using it. “I think it is potentially an enormous tool for democracy, but that democracy depends on the citizenry that wants to participate, is capable of thinking, is willing to think and cares about the truth,” she said. “Social media in the hands of such people can bring a lot of positive results. In the hands of people who are only advocating a personal agenda and don’t care about truth, it can result in something negative.”

them, is a good way to conserve energy. He said that every home should use compact fluorescent light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs, compared to fluorescent bulbs, use 50 times the electricity to do the same job. He said that switching to LED bulbs, however, is not cost efficient yet.

“They haven’t really gotten the cost of LED bulbs down enough to make sense economically,” Morrissey said. He said that the bulbs use so much less energy, but their cost is still too high to ever make a difference in the long run.

Do you have announcements or news you would like to see featured in The Flor-Ala? Contact us at florala@una.edu or call 256-765-4364.

Thursday, February 24, 2011 • The Flo

Men’s baske Orrey Bolton

Student Writer

The UNA Lions used a second-half plosion to battle back from 14 down to w in overtime at Lambuth Thursday, Feb. keeping their season alive. In a game that started off almost exa ly as the West Georgia game with a lot fouls and also getting out rebounded in first half, the Lions came out in the seco half with a new mindset that this was going to happen again. “We gave them the facts and just g it to them in black and white,” said h coach Bobby Champagne. “We got out bounded by 18 and we need to get to line more.” The Lions took that with a sense anger in the second half as junior cen Marcus Landry scored all of his 21 poi in the final 20 minutes, and five differ players reached double digits in scor for the game. The bench for the Lions a came up big, led by junior forward Warr Mastin, scoring 13 points and grabbing f rebounds. The game started off very even w both teams trading baskets for the first minutes of the first half. The Eagles to the lead 24-20 with 8:37 remaining a went on a 14-2 run late in the first half. The Lions went scoreless for nea four minutes until finally junior forw Sam Buxton ended the drought. The Eag took control of the Lions, getting up 14, the Lions got within eight at the half tr ing 42-34. The Lions were outrebound by 18 in the first half and only went to free throw line two times. “Coach was telling us that we were playing hard enough and we weren’t pl ing like a team that is fighting to get a s in the conference tournament,” said Mas “So in the second half, we came out w better energy and we played harder.” The Lions came into the second h with urgency as they clawed back fr eight down at the half to tie at 66 by a p

Profession JR Tidwell

Sports Editor

(editorial)

My favorite team in the NFL is the dianapolis Colts. When I say they are favorite team, keep in mind that I do really watch the NFL that much, as I pre college football. So when the NFL AF NFC Pro-Bowl rolls around, I tend to p for the AFC since the Colts are in that c ference. When my roommate turned on game, the AFC was losing 35-0. My mediate response was to mock the AFC how poorly they were playing, but the thought about it and came to the conclus that the entire game is subpar to begin w I watched Kansas City Chiefs quar back Matt Cassel throw a wounded du to Minnesota Vikings cornerback Anto

When I step onto the cou

play, my mind is clearer


15 Minutes with Matis Date: September 29, 2011 Published in: The Flor-Ala

This Saturday, Oct. 1, Matisyahu is scheduled to perform at Norton Auditorium. The week before his show, Matis gave a few minutes of his time to talk about his musical and spiritual philosophy.

And your fans have been appreciative? You can’t really make music based on what you made in the past or what people are going to like. You have to do what’s right for you.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations? What do you listen to in the car? I’ve been going through a lot of old CDs lately. I moved to California, so I’ve been in the car a lot, so I’m deciding what to keep and throw away. This morning, I was listening to Phish and some Michael Jackson. I found an old one that I really like, too—the Temper Trap. I don’t really have just one band or artist I’ve been listening to. If I like it, it influences me in some way. That’s the process: trying to find your unique voice and blend the elements of the different types of music you like.

What kind of messages do you try to convey in your songs and with your music? I try not to speak too much about it. For different individuals, music resonates and means different things. Even with lyrics and songs that have specific ideas, at the end of the day they resonate differently with someone, and I don’t want to limit them to my interpretation of what they mean--even though I wrote them.

Your spirituality obviously affects your music, so how has this inspired you along the way? The two things are very much linked. When I was a kid searching for myself, it was about music and God From your first studio album to your most recent, and history. It’s always been about those different things there has been a big change in the sound. What has coming together. It was never an option to make them influenced that change? separate; they all kind of blend for me. The main idea there is that the music isn’t staying stagnant. It’s constantly growing and changing. It’s very So, would you say it’s a confirmation of identity organic. It’s not like there’s one major realization that in some ways? causes the change. The music is always a continuous It wasn’t so much an identity thing. Music was always process that’s moving with me. powerful and dynamic for me. It was spiritual in the way I’m also sometimes creating different things at the it makes you feel and another way in how it makes you same time. With “Light,” I was interested in focusing on perceive things. the vocals and really carving and crafting out the songs. Music and identity were always linked because I alI was also working with a veteran producer who was ways felt a very strong connection to what I was listengood at that. ing to. As I started to discover and develop a sense of The next record I’m making, I’m with a younger, who I am, I started to blend my history or my culture or more hip-hop oriented producer, so it’s going to sound my philosophical spiritual beliefs, and the music kind of different. I’m not really limiting myself to one thing. grows out of that.


What message do you have to students who are still trying to understand themselves? It’s good to stay open to things. You shouldn’t be too concerned with wondering who I am or what I am, but just to be in that stage of exploration. It’s important not to get stuck too early in who you believe you are, but to be open-minded.

Thursday, September 29, 2011 • The Flor-Ala

Life

Page

5

15 minutes with Matis )VLa<PQOXMV

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This Saturday, Oct. 1, Matisyahu is scheduled to perform at Norton Auditorium. The week before his show, Matis gave a few minutes of his time to talk about his musical and spiritual philosophy.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations? What do you listen to in the car? I’ve been going through a lot of old CDs lately. I moved to California, so I’ve been in the car a lot, so I’m deciding what to keep and throw away. This morning, I was listening to Phish and some Michael Jackson. I found an old one that I really like, too—the Temper Trap. I don’t really have just one band or artist I’ve been listening to. If I like it, it influences me in some way. That’s the process: trying to find your unique voice and blend the elements of the different types of music you like.

was interested in focusing on the vocals and really carving and crafting out the songs. I was also working with a veteran producer who was good at that. The next record I’m making, I’m with a younger, more hip-hop oriented producer, so it’s going to sound different. I’m not really limiting myself to one thing.

And your fans have been appreciative? You can’t really make music based on what you made in the past or what people are going to like. You have to do what’s right for you.

What kind of messages do you try to convey in your songs and with your music? I try not to speak too much about it. For different individuals, music resonates and means different things. Even with lyrics and songs that have specific ideas, at the end of the day they resonate differently with someone, and I don’t want to limit them to my interpretation of what they mean--even though I wrote them.

From your first studio album to your most recent, there has been a big change in the Your spirituality obviously afsound. What has influenced fects your music, so how has that change? this inspired you along the way? The main idea there is that the music isn’t staying stagnant. It’s constantly growing and changing. It’s very organic. It’s not like there’s one major realization that causes the change. The music is always a continuous process that’s moving with me. I’m also sometimes creating different things at the same time. With “Light,” I

The two things are very much linked. When I was a kid searching for myself, it was about music and God and history. It’s always been about those different things coming together. It was never an option to make them separate; they all kind of blend for me.

photo by Jared Polin

“Light” is Matisyahu’s third studio album. It was released in 2009 and represented an evolution in his approach to his sound.

So, would you say it’s a con- or my culture or my philosophical spirifirmation of identity in some tual beliefs, and the music kind of grows out of that. ways? It wasn’t so much an identity thing. Music was always powerful and dynamic for me. It was spiritual in the way it makes you feel and another way in how it makes you perceive things. Music and identity were always linked because I always felt a very strong connection to what I was listening to. As I started to discover and develop a sense of who I am, I started to blend my history

What message do you have to students who are still trying to understand themselves? It’s good to stay open to things. You shouldn’t be too concerned with wondering who I am or what I am, but just to be in that stage of exploration. It’s important not to get stuck too early in who you believe you are, but to be open-minded.

Volunteers needed to help keep campus, Shoals beautiful

photo by Darrick Dawkins

A statue of W.C. Handy stands at an entrance to Wilson Park in downtown Florence. Wilson Park is one of the areas that KTSB tries to maintain to keep it beautiful.

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As October approaches, people are being asked to volunteer for the upcoming events that Keep the Shoals Beautiful (KTSB) is taking part in. According to the official

Keep the Shoals Beautiful website, the nonprofit organization is committed to promoting a cleaner, healthier and safer community. Through education, implementation and action, the organization strives to preserve natural resources. It also tries to alter bad

environmental behavior, such as littering, and turn it into a behavior that will help beautify the environment. The Shoals Chamber of Commerce established KTSB in 2007. It is the first association of its kind in Alabama to have organized efforts throughout several cities. KTSB is driven toward making meaningful and positive changes to the community. “Our main focus is anti-littering, beautification and basic good environmental practices,” said Judy Keenum, coordinator of KTSB. “The community always needs volunteers. Helping out with KTSB is rewarding, and it offers opportunities, such as scholarships.” Members of the organization are often found doing cleanups, putting additional trashcans and recycling bins out for public events, and making announcements reminding the community to keep the environment a clean and healthy place for all. Keenum said students from UNA have been very involved with the organization in the past, and she hopes the contribution from the students continues. The organization believes that improving the environment begins with personal responsibility.

Volunteers who support the organization are much appreciated. “I think that through volunteering, students build their character,” said Jennifer Brown, assistant director for Student Engagement for Leadership and Volunteerism. “When you have worked toward something

”I think that through volunteering, students build their character.”

-Jennifer Brown bigger than yourself to help a community or a single person, it changes you and makes you see life differently. It gives you a greater appreciation for what you have, or for what you do not have.” Brown, who works closely with KTSB, said that anyone is welcome to volunteer. KTSB is involved in several events in October, including Oktoberfest, PALS litter pick-up, Adopt-A-Mile, Sam Phillips Music Celebration and the Renaissance Faire.


A Night with Matisyahu Date: October 6, 2011 Published in: The Flor-Ala

When Matisyahu stepped on stage last Saturday, Oct. 1, Norton Auditorium turned into a dancehall. As soon as the music started, several hundred students fell into a groove that could be felt from outside and lasted the next two hours. Matisyahu performed many of his hit songs for the UNA crowd such as “One Day,” “King Without a Crown,” “Youth” and “Jerusalem.” During the show, he shuffled around the stage, absorbed the bass from the monitors and even performed a solo beat box song. In the middle of the show, a rabbi came on stage and blew a shofar to ring in the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, which was welcomed with cheers from the audience. At the end of the show, Matis dove into the hungry crowd and surfed for several minutes before pulling the audience on stage with him for the last song of the night. The concert was the first ever sponsored by Residence Life, according to ResLife director, Kevin Jacques. He thought the show went great. “I thought it was awesome,” he said. “The band was tight. Matis was in the groove. The audience was totally into it.” The students felt the same way. “Mind-blowing. Best I’ve ever seen. Stupendous. Insane. Incredible. So sick,” were some of the words used by students Ryan Crane, Cullen Akin, Justin Argo, Jake Tanner, Kyle Crown and Josh Hall to describe Matisyahu’s performance. Jacques was trying to appeal to a large audience when ResLife chose Matisyahu. “(Matisyahu’s music) is a kind of music that can

resonate with all walks of life,” Jacques said. “It’s not country, rap or metal. How many times do students get to see something like (Matis’ performance)?” Several students were surprised at ResLife’s choice of performer. “I didn’t believe it the first time I heard he was coming here,” Crane said. Argo agreed that choosing Matisyahu was a surprise. “Definitely surprising,” Argo said. “Matisyahu in Florence, Alabama. That’s definitely surprising.” “It’s amazing,” said senior Cara Depew, in her Matisyahu T-shirt. “It’s the best thing (ResLife) has ever done. I’ve seen him four times. He’s like my favorite artist.” While there were several students who were long-time fans, Matisyahu said it was good to see that not a lot of students knew all the words to his songs. “(The students) were great,” he said. “They were really warm. It was cool to see people who were not really familiar with my music be so enthusiastic about it.” Matis also reflected on the blend of spirituality and music during his performances. “The two things go hand in hand,” he said. “Music to me is a sort of door opener into the spiritual world. That’s how it’s always been for me as a listener or a performer. I can’t really escape it. The more I can let myself get saturated in the music, the more I can try to create something of that dimension.”


October 6, 2011

Volume 80 No. 7

www.FlorAla.net

Student newspaper of the University of North Alabama

A night with Matisyahu @UNAFlorAla

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@FlorAlaSports

Check florala.net to see a backstage interview with Matisyahu by Juan Estrada and Trey Alexander.

A LOOK INSIDE

See page 2 SGA discusses possible options for excess student fee money.

photo by Kaylo Sloan

Matisyahu, a Hasidic Jewish rapper, performs at Norton with Ry Cuming Oct. 1. See page 11 Faculty and administrators work to strengthen the academic dishonesty policy.

See page 5 Students with children often find it difficult to juggle their home and academic lives.

See page 9 Marcus Dowtin continues to make big plays for the Lionsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; defense. Check out his profile.

Official: Early Scholars program not in jeopardy of being cut

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When Matisyahu stepped on stage last Saturday, Oct. 1, Norton Auditorium turned into a dancehall. As soon as the music started, several hundred students fell into a groove that could be felt from outside and lasted the next two hours. Matisyahu performed many of his hit songs for the UNA crowd such as â&#x20AC;&#x153;One Day,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;King Without a Crown,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youthâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jerusalem.â&#x20AC;?

During the show, he shuffled around the stage, absorbed the bass from the monitors and even performed a solo beat box song. In the middle of the show, a rabbi came on stage and blew a shofar to ring in the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, which was welcomed with cheers from the audience. At the end of the show, Matis dove into the hungry crowd and surfed for several

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Freshmen this fall may be surprised to find themselves in the same classroom as high school students because of UNAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Early Scholars program. Early Scholars is a university-funded program that pays for high school students to take up to five class hours each semester while still in high school, with the student required to only pay a technology and transportation fee of $58 for a standard three-hour class. Early Scholars currently has approximately 300 students attending UNA while still in high school, according to Kim Mauldin, director of the Office of Admissions, with only some of the students enrolling at UNA after graduation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our yield is around a quarter to a third of students who enroll here,â&#x20AC;? said Mauldin, whose office is currently in the process of recording the matriculation rate from the last three to five years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The hardest students to get are the ones that are closest to the university.â&#x20AC;? According to Mauldin, every student that goes through the program has to meet the same requirements as a degree-seeking student, but they cannot take online classes and must come on campus to take the courses. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I believe part of the experience is getting on campus and meeting professors and other students,â&#x20AC;? Mauldin said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In my mind, if the students have a good experience, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth it.â&#x20AC;? Currently, the high schools decide which students are sent through the program and which students are kept out, according to Mauldin, but the administrative side of the university is looking at making a change to that. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want the early scholars to be early scholars,â&#x20AC;? said Thomas Calhoun, associate vice president of academic affairs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be a supplementary course of U.S. History. We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be just another high school course for them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The point is not to be just a credit-granting opportunity. That is not an early scholars program. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s housing a high school at UNA.â&#x20AC;? Calhoun said that the university is looking

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Students turn to legal weed alternative 2W[P;SIOO[

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Many states and cities have banned or are working on banning synthetic marijuana, a substance made from natural plant material that is sprayed with chemicals to mimic the active ingredient in marijuana, THC. The use of synthetic marijuana is a rapidly growing trend among young people, and students at UNA are using it as well, according to officials. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are a lot of serious side effects from it,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Carol Grace, director of emergency

physicians at Shoals Hospital. Grace said many people who utilize Spice and K2, popular synthetic marijuana substances, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what they can actually do to them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It has a variety of symptoms,â&#x20AC;? she said. The chemicals could cause people to have side effects such as heart palpitations, suicidal thoughts and a multitude of other side effects. The symptoms and side effects can be abrupt, Grace said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It stays in the system; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bound up in the system like THC,â&#x20AC;? Grace said. Many people do not know how harmful the photo by Barry Minor chemicals can be to their body, Grace said. Synthetic marijuana can be found at many

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stores where tobacco is sold.


Stress free lifestyle found in yoga Date: November 10, 2011 Published in: The Flor-Ala

The walls reflected in the full-length wall mirror are a tranquil ocean blue. In the peaceful Shoals Yoga studio at Seven Points, Danielle Snoddy sits bright-eyed and barefoot, explaining the benefits of yoga. “It’s a really heart-opening practice,” Snoddy said. “The vibration it creates vibrates all of the cells in the body. It’s very powerful.” She is talking specifically about the practice known as “kirtan,” which is a form of devotional yoga in which participants chant mantras accompanied by instruments. Tim Jordan, a leader in bhakti, or devotional, yoga led attendees in what was, according to Snoddy, the Shoals area’s first ever kirtan last Wednesday. Although kirtan is a special event at the studio, the practice of yoga is a daily act for Snoddy. Since the opening of the Shoals Yoga Studio in July of 2010, Snoddy has gotten a good amount of support from the community, but she hasn’t seen as many college students. “Most of my students are older,” Snoddy said. “I have a lot of professors who come. A lot of the publicity has been word of mouth. I wanted it to grow organically, and it has.” Snoddy began her yoga practice while attending Auburn University. She believes that the key to yoga is what could help college students in their day-to-day routine: balance. “It will help (college students) balance their social life and their school life,” Snoddy said. “It helps you focus on tests. You can burn excess fat and become leaner. You move more freely and won’t have as many sore muscles or headaches.” In other words, and according to Snoddy,

there’s no reason not to. For those worried about price, don’t. “I would never turn away anyone if they can’t afford it,” Snoddy said. “I don’t want to be taken advantage of, but it’s not all about money.” The Shoals Yoga studio focuses on a sect of yoga called “hatha” yoga, which is centered on exercise. The exercise comes from using “asanas,” which translates as “steady posture.” Asanas, combined with breathing exercises and meditation, yield lower blood pressure, which, according to Jonathan Dunlap, is a must for relieving stress. “As a way to deal with stress and anxiety, (practicing yoga) is a tremendous help,” said Dunlap, a UNA alumnus with a B.S. in nursing. “When you increase physical exercise, it will decrease the amount of stress in your body.” Dunlap also explains that yoga helps remove toxins from the body, lowers the heart rate, improves circulation and strengthens the heart overall. The biggest benefit from yoga comes from the connection it creates between mind, body and spirit. For college students, this connection is often overlooked and students need to take a step back and breathe, Snoddy said. “(Yoga) is just a way to calm down at the end of the day,” she said. “Life is so hectic, especially in college, and it’s a way to calm yourself. You become more aware of the way you treat and talk to yourself. And you learn to accept who you are and live in the moment-the now.” For Dunlap, yoga has become a nearly daily routine.


“It teaches you how to relax,” he said. “It’s called ‘practice’ because it’s practice for life. It’s about cultivating love, compassion and kindness toward yourself and the world around you.” To get started, beginner classes are scheduled for Sundays at 3 p.m. and Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:45 p.m. For more information on schedules and pricing, check out the Shoals Yoga website at www. shoalsyoga.com. For more information, and inspiration, concerning the yoga style Snoddy practices, visit www.sivananda.org.

Thursday, November 10, 2011 • The Flor-Ala

Life

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Taking cancer awareness to new heights

photo courtesy of Heidi King

Robert Livingston stands on Mobile Street in downtown Florence. On Nov. 14, Livingston will be dangling above the street in a straight jacket, performing a stunt that will help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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A local magician will dangle 50 feet in the air and attempt to break free from a straight jacket on Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m. over Mobile Street in downtown Florence for the first time in area history. Rob Livingston will be performing this stunt to help raise money for the Leukemia

and Lymphoma Society. The stunt is free to attend, but donations will be accepted. Outback Steakhouse has partnered with Livingston and will provide certificates for free Bloomin’ Onions for those who attend. UNA’s combo band will also be at the event to play live music. People are encouraged to attend early to try on the regulation straight jacket Livingston will be escaping from.

Stress free lifestyle found in yoga

photo by Brittany Johnson

Danielle Snoddy, founder and owner of Shoals Yoga, sits in the Virasana, or the Hero, pose.

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The walls reflected in the full-length wall mirror are a tranquil ocean blue. In the peaceful Shoals Yoga studio at Seven Points, Danielle Snoddy sits bright-eyed and barefoot, explaining the benefits of

yoga. “It’s a really heart-opening practice,” Snoddy said. “The vibration it creates vibrates all of the cells in the body. It’s very powerful.” She is talking specifically about the practice known as “kirtan,” which is a form of devotional yoga in which participants chant mantras accompanied by instruments. Tim Jordan, a leader in bhakti, or devotional, yoga led attendees in what was, according to Snoddy, the Shoals area’s first ever kirtan last Wednesday. Although kirtan is a special event at the studio, the practice of yoga is a daily act for Snoddy. Since the opening of the Shoals Yoga Studio in July of 2010, Snoddy has gotten a good amount of support from the community, but she hasn’t seen as many college students. “Most of my students are older,” Snoddy said. “I have a lot of professors who come. A lot of the publicity has been word of mouth. I wanted it to grow organically, and it has.” Snoddy began her yoga practice while attending Auburn University. She believes that the key to yoga is what could help college students in their day-to-day routine: balance. “It will help (college students) balance

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“I’ve tried other straight jackets before that were easier,” said Livingston, the magician who also is earning his degrees in music education and film production at UNA. “This one is up to date. No magician has really used this type before.” Livingston has been performing magic for three years and has made appearances at several high schools and venues around Florence. He has also met with profession-

als to better learn his craft. “I have actually met ‘The Amazing Michael,’ who has set the record for escaping this type of straight jacket, and he gave me hints on how to work it out myself,” he said. Livingston bought this type of straight jacket, called a Posey, from a medical supply warehouse seven months ago. He has only escaped six times while hanging upside down. “I’m basically risking my life to help save people,” he said. The biggest difference in this type of jacket from the ones Houdini used are the addition of friction belts that lock in place at any position. They are also harder to break. Livingston has faced hardships that have encouraged him to help those in need. Both his father and stepmother passed away from lung cancer. His aunt has been diagnosed with breast cancer, but she is currently in remission. Livingston first approached the American Cancer Society with his fundraising idea, but was rejected because they found the stunt to be too dangerous. With the help of family friend Mary Cox, who is an associate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Livingston was able to arrange the event. UNA students are thankful for Livingston’s involvement with raising money for cancer. “Having had many family members suffer and die from cancer, I always appreciate those who use their skills to raise money to help fight cancer,” said Josh Oglesby, a physics major at UNA. The event will last approximately one hour and will be moved to Nov. 21 if inclement weather occurs.

Tom Waits recreates old style on new album

photo courtesy of Jesse Dylan

Tom Waits’ musical history has spanned several decades. In his new album, he reflects back on all those that might be as “bad as him.”

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Tom Waits, the king of underground singer-songwriters, returns with “Bad as Me,” his 20th album in a career spanning almost 40 years. Drawing on such a length of time, the album’s sound smartly sums up Waits’ stylistic changes over the past few decades.

“Bad as Me” is a rare musical jewel—a carefully crafted piece of work that makes the listener wonder, “How does he keep coming up with new ideas after all this time?” The simplest answer is that he finds new combinations of his influences. Traces of music legends, such as Elvis, Buddy Holly, Louis Armstrong and Screamin’ Jay

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Singing River Records Presents: new program, music awareness Date: April 12, 2012 Published in: The Flor-Ala

The Department of Entertainment Industry is expected to launch its newest program, Singing River Presents April 12 with performances by Doc Daily and The Magnolia Devil with Dylan Leblanc. The concert will be a launch point for the program as well as an effort to raise awareness and membership for the Muscle Shoals Music Association (MSMA). Singing River Presents is a student-run program designed to work with the “Artist Management and Touring” class offered in the Department of Entertainment Industry, said Department Chair Dr. Bob Garfrerick. It will also be unique to UNA. “We’ll be one of few (public institutions) that has a concert promotion company,” Garfrerick said. “The students in the ‘Artist Management and Touring’ class will put on a show just like a concert promoter would do it.” It’s this real-world application that will benefit students the most, said project manager Mack Cornwell. “Any practical use of your knowledge, in my opinion, is the best learning experience,” Cornwell said. “Textbooks and lectures really only go so far. It’s about experiencing things you really can’t teach but that just have to be done.” So far, organizing the concert has been quite the learning experience, Garfrerick said. “We had dreams of doing something with the Shoals Theatre with a bigger act,” he said. Instead—because of pricing, scheduling and

time constraints—the program decided to book a smaller venue with more locally-known acts. “It’s going to end up being very, very good,” Garfrerick said. “We took the next best thing to not making money—which is not to lose money.” However, this decision raised a question with Singing River Presents organizers. “If we’re going to break even, what are we going to break even for?” Garfrerick asked. It was decided that the concert would serve as both a launch for Singing River Presents as well as a promotional tool for MSMA, a nonprofit started in 1975 with the intent to cultivate and showcase Muscle Shoals music and musicians. Jimmy Nutt, president of MSMA and owner of the NuttHouse Recording Studio Inc., is excited about the concert and said it will hopefully help MSMA expand its demographic. “We really want to tap into the younger musicians and folks around here who are music supporters,” Nutt said. “We don’t want to be just about the past. We want to be about the now and future.” Garfrerick said he believed the partnership was well-planned. “We feel like (MSMA) will be a good fit,” Garfrerick said. “Everyone associates Muscle Shoals music with the historic music. The Muscle Shoals music is contingent now on embracing the new music.” Cornwell was also supportive of Nutt’s motives.


â&#x20AC;&#x153;(MSMA is) trying to be more inclusive to the young people in town,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a young generation who will truly be taking over, and (Nutt) respects that.â&#x20AC;? The launch of Singing River Presents is expected to draw a crowd of old and young, Garfrerick said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to market it as, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;This is the place you want to be if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in town on Thursday night,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? he said. Cornwell said he has put his efforts toward the duration of the new program, as well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I really wanted to make it as cool and as interesting as we could so we could start a precedent,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That way, every year this would be an event worth going to.â&#x20AC;? The concert is expected to begin at 9 p.m. at the Smokehouse in downtown Florence. Cost of admission is $5, and attendees will have the opportunity to become a member of MSMA for an additional $5.

LIFE

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Thursday, April 12, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ The Flor-Ala

Contact Life Editor Andy Thigpen at 256.765.5233

The first

First Friday photos by KAYLA SLOAN I Staff Photographer

Dillon Hodges performs at Armosa Studio during the First Fridays festivities April 6. First Fridays features many local artists and musicians who occupy stores, street corners, and apartments, purveying their art and music for anyone to buy or just enjoy.

Local vendors, musicians line downtown streets for First Fridays

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First Fridays for this season started last week as the residents of Florence flooded the craft-table-lined streets of downtown. One can expect unique and handmade crafts, music from a variety of bands, paintings and photography, free samples from restaurants and businesses offering deals at the event. Boutiques and shops, such as Boutique Create, propped open their doors to let people stroll in and out of their venues easily. Boutique Create is run by sisters Heather and Mara Sherrill. The shop features Heatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Photography Studio. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My photography shop was in the boonies until we moved here,â&#x20AC;? Heather Sherrill said. She said business has been â&#x20AC;&#x153;awesomeâ&#x20AC;? since they moved their shop in town. The main attention for the shop is the unique clothing and accessories. Leather bracelets from Lenny and Eva can be ordered there that feature a variety of interchangeable charms. Billy Reid was packed with music lovers such as Daniel Crisler, a local musician and frontman for the band Cicada Screamers. He played guitar and harmonica while singing original songs.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Daniel Crisler brought love, hate, life and death to First Friday,â&#x20AC;? said Brian Conner, a fan of the Florence music scene. Jamie and Katie Barrier, married musicians from local band The Pine Hill Haints, came to Billy Reid to enjoy the music. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is so much weird, good creativity here in Florence compared to places like Nashville,â&#x20AC;? Katie Barrier said about local musicians. Crafts and artwork at First Fridays can range from oil canvas paintings and handmade jewelry to hand-woven or crocheted hats, scarves and decorations. Rachel Wakefield called her booth â&#x20AC;&#x153;Byoutere,â&#x20AC;? which hosted an array of handmade jewelry. Her pieces are all made from old antique items. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I kind of manipulate old trinkets I find while travelling,â&#x20AC;? Wakefield said. Wakefield said she enjoyed First Fridays because she gets to meet interesting people and have fun. Near Wakefieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s booth was Original Oils on Canvas by RGH, or Robert Gray Howard. Howard has only been painting for a couple of months, but said the skill â&#x20AC;&#x153;runs in the family.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wanted to start painting, so I took some oil and canvas and just took at it,â&#x20AC;? Howard said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is a lot of fun to do.â&#x20AC;?

Vendors at the first First Friday of the year set up their booths along Court Street in downtown Florence. Potential customers stroll the sidewalks as they browse for unique artwork while listening to various bands and musicians.

First Friday is also an opportunity for families of sick, injured, or disabled loved ones to raise money for medical bills. All Stitched Up was a booth filled with hand-knitted animal hats. The items were made by Christy Hendrix to help raise

money for her sister, Taylor Hendrix. The family has raised several hundred dollars to help Taylor with her bone cancer treatments. Taylor is currently in good health. First Fridays will continue until December 7, when the weather gets too cold for outdoor events.

Singing River Presents: new program, music awareness )VLa<PQOXMV

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The Department of Entertainment Industry is expected to launch its newest program, Singing River Presents April 10 with performances by Doc Daily and The Magnolia Devil with Dylan Leblanc. The concert will be a launch point for the program as well as an effort to raise awareness and membership for the Muscle Shoals Music Association (MSMA). Singing River Presents is a student-run program designed to work with the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Artist Management and Touringâ&#x20AC;? class offered in the Department of Entertainment Industry,

said Department Chair Dr. Bob Garfrerick. It will also be unique to UNA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be one of few (public institutions) that has a concert promotion company,â&#x20AC;? Garfrerick said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The students in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Artist Management and Touringâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; class will put on a show just like a concert promoter would do it.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s this real-world application that will benefit students the most, said project manager Mack Cornwell. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Any practical use of your knowledge, in my opinion, is the best learning experience,â&#x20AC;? Cornwell said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Textbooks and lectures really only go so far. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about experiencing things you really canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t teach but that

just have to be done.â&#x20AC;? So far, organizing the concert has been quite the learning experience, Garfrerick said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had dreams of doing something with the Shoals Theatre with a bigger act,â&#x20AC;? he said. Insteadâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;because of pricing, scheduling and time constraintsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the program decided to book a smaller venue with more locally-known acts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to end up being very, very good,â&#x20AC;? Garfrerick said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We took the next best thing to not making moneyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;which is not to lose money.â&#x20AC;? However, this decision raised a ques-

tion with Singing River Presents organizers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to break even, what are we going to break even for?â&#x20AC;? Garfrerick asked. It was decided that the concert would serve as both a launch for Singing River Presents as well as a promotional tool for MSMA, a nonprofit started in 1975 with the intent to cultivate and showcase Muscle Shoals music and musicians. Jimmy Nutt, president of MSMA and owner of the NuttHouse Recording Studio Inc., is excited about the concert and said it

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Haunting at UNA:

Flor-Ala editorial staff, writers, photographers stay in allegedly haunted buildings on campus last weekend Date: October 27, 2011 Published in: The Flor-Ala

Last Friday, Oct. 21, several members of The Jordan Bradley and Darrick Dawkins, who were Flor-Ala editorial staff, three photographers and two staying in Norton Auditorium. staff writers spent the night in allegedly haunted places on UNA’s campus: Rogers Hall, Norton AuTalkin’ With George ditorium, Wesleyan Hall and Coby Hall. These are Jordan Bradley - Online Editor their stories. Norton is supposedly one of the most haunted buildings in Florence, and the story of George, an The Beginning unfortunate construction worker who fell from Andy Thigpen - Life Editor a high beam and died during Norton’s construcThe night began unremarkably. The sky was tion, has appeared in several books about Southern brown and cloudy. The music from Valhalla could hauntings. be distantly heard. The drop in temperature made We got to Norton around 11 p.m. and tried out our breath visible as Malisa McClure, Ann Harseveral cameras and recording devices in the auditokey and I walked to Rogers Hall to check on Josh rium. We got nothing but gusts of wind and creakSkaggs and Shelby Boman who were posted up for ing from the catwalks. the night. We were on our way to Coby Hall and Legend goes that if you stand on Norton’s stage had just left Alex Lindley, Kayla Sloan and Tommy by yourself with all the lights out and yell “Hello!” Bolton in Wesleyan to see what they could see. George will respond to you in some way, so I had When we arrived at Rogers, it became obvious to try that out. With a night vision camera on, I that Josh and Shelby were bored. The only noises screamed “Hello,” “George,” and a few other words, they had heard they determined to be the ice maand then asked for any kind of sign that someone chine downstairs. Luckily, we had a Ouija board to was there. Darrick came back in and reviewed the try to liven things up and have some healthy paracamera footage. A minute into the footage, Darrick normal conversation. Devin Kennamer joined us; got a call. His original model PS3 had died. we lit a candle and began to speak. Around 2 a.m., Andy, Malisa, Ann, Josh and Nothing happened. Devin came over to see our setup and try out the After a lot of questions and laughter, we decided Ouija board. that Rogers might not be the most haunted place We took the board off-stage to Norton’s creepier on campus. We took Josh with us and proceeded to and darker rooms. Everyone but Darrick circled Coby Hall to drop off my supplies and look around. around the board and put their hands on the pointWhile there, Ann and I played a few pranks on Josh er. As soon as everyone was touching it, and without and Devin, who let out a good squeal. asking it a question, it started to move, first to G, Before getting settled, we all went to check on then E, then O, R, G and finally to E again.


We immediately started to ask it questions, but after a few mixed responses and garbled answers, Andy asked if George wanted to talk to us, and the board answered “No,” and then “Goodbye.” With that burst of activity, we moved the board back to Norton’s stage, and tried again. This time, when the board started spelling random words, Josh asked if George was messing with us. The pointer immediately flew to “Yes.” We asked a couple more questions about George’s identity. After a moment of inactivity, we asked if George was really there. The answer “No” came back. We asked where he was, and the board spelled “W-ES-L.” When we asked if he was in Wesleyan Hall, George said “Yes.” Andy asked why George was in Wesleyan and the pointer moved to “Goodbye.” We took that as a sign, packed up and moved to Wesleyan.

floor. As we descended the first flight of stairs, we heard the stairwell door (which had a doorstop under it) close abruptly. The bathroom would have to wait. Tommy and I began checking the classrooms to see if anyone was upstairs. We found no one. I called Andy to tell him what happened. He said that the group was at Norton about to set up the Ouija board. We said we’d keep each other posted and hung up. While Tommy and I were checking the classrooms, Kayla went into a classroom by herself. Moments later, she ran out terrified after we heard the classic Windows startup sound. The computer had turned on by itself. Things had just gotten real. After a short break downstairs to gather our wits, we decided to check the classroom again. As I walked towards the opened classroom door to check if anyone was behind it, the door closed towards me suddenly with a Opening Doors loud “whoosh.” Alex Lindley - Copy/Opinions Editor After a brief heart attack and some colorful I didn’t expect to see anything during my night expletives from the group, I decided to check the in Wesleyan Hall, but I did. I can’t explain any of it, door, which I had pushed back open when it hit me, and I think it’s better that way. again. Again, it whooshed and shut towards me. We arrived at Wesleyan around 9 p.m. Everything No one was behind the door. for the first three hours was uneventful, except for Andy called back a few minutes later and asked running into a guy who was there late using the if anything had just happened. I told him about WiFi and finding out that we couldn’t lock the front our occurrence, and he told me about theirs. At the doors. same time that the door shut on me, George was We camped out on the third floor with all the telling them that he was in Wesleyan with us. lights off. Around 12:30 a.m., we heard a noise in Once the group joined us and got the Ouija the stairwell. After a fruitless investigation, we deboard set up in the haunted classroom, we began a cided to make a trip to the bathroom on the second conversation with George. He was fairly talkative.


He said the reason he was in Wesleyan Hall was because he had been woken up. Who woke him up? “A-N-N ... No, A-L-E-X,” he said. Just great, I thought. I was relieved when he said he liked me, though. During the conversation, in which we asked George if he had turned on the computer and he said yes, the computer turned on and off twice in a matter of 30 seconds. Through the Ouija board, George identified himself as a Christian and a dead human. He also said he would follow us when we left, but only to Coby Hall. He also specifically said that he would follow Kayla, but, when asked if he was joking, said “Yes.” As everyone was packing up to head to Coby, Devin walked past the open classroom door. It shut towards him in front of everyone.

through the roof from the shingles outside. In the center of the room there was a big ventilation fan that, according to Ann Harkey, looked like the type of thing that one of us would be thrown into if the night had been a horror movie. We set up shop and asked, “Who is here tonight?” Slowly, with our hands on the piece, the letters “M-A-R-G” were spelled. I asked if her name was “Margaret” and she said, “Yes.” Margaret was a previous owner of the house who died in 1851. Nothing else she said made sense. We asked if she was the woman in the black dress, she said “No,” even though Margaret is the woman in the black dress pictured in the foyer of Colby. She did say she was from Florence, but that she didn’t live in Coby Hall. She said she died when she was 81, even though the “other Margaret” died when she was 57. Dusk ‘Till Dawn Then the air began to get tense. Andy Thigpen - Life Editor We asked if she was friendly, to which she We left Wesleyan in a hurry. It was 3:45 a.m., and promptly said, “No.” When asked if she wanted we hadn’t even spent any time in Coby Hall. We all to talk, she said “Yes.” She also said that she didn’t decided that we would take the Ouija up to the attic, want us to leave. see what happened and then go home. Darrick, who didn’t want to touch the pointer, Some of the employees there had told me that turned to me and said, “Ask her if she wants to hurt they always hear sleigh bells fromup there around us.” Christmas time, and that a student had once run out The spirit, hearing his statement, moved the screaming after seeing a Civil War soldier standing pointer over “Yes.” close by, watching him. We asked “Would you hurt us if you could?” and Surely someone would be home to talk. the pointer never moved away from “Yes.” The attic was cold and slightly terrifying. ChristThe air was cold but thick. One more question. mas decorations were in the corner, pipes ran I asked if she was involved in the Civil War, and around the floor, and hundreds of red nails poked the pointer immediately moved to “Goodbye.”


That was enough for us, so we scrambled out and decided to go to the place where all stories go to rest: Waffle House. At some point during my gluttonous treatment of my All-Star Breakfast, the waitress told us we didn’t have to worry about our tickets and pointed to a man in the booth next to us. At 5 a.m. on Saturday morning, a man bought all of us breakfast after we spent all night ghost hunting and participating in paranormal activities. The night could not have ended better.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The Flor-Ala

Life

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Flor-Ala editorial staff, writers, photographers stay in allegedly haunted buildings on campus last weekend Last Friday, Oct. 21, several members of The Flor-Ala editorial staff, three photographers and two staff writers spent the night in allegedly haunted places on UNA’s campus: Rogers Hall, Norton Auditorium, Wesleyan Hall and Coby Hall. These are their stories.

Dawkins, who were staying in Norton Auditorium.

Talkin’ With George Jordan Bradley - Online Editor

Norton is supposedly one of the most haunted buildings in Florence, and the story of George, an unfortunate construction worker who fell from a high beam and died Andy Thigpen - Life Editor during Norton’s construction, has appeared The night began unremarkably. The in several books about Southern hauntings. We got to Norton around 11 p.m. and sky was brown and cloudy. The music from Valhalla could be distantly heard. The drop tried out several cameras and recording devices in the auditorium. We got nothing but in temperature made gusts of wind and our breath visible creaking from the as Malisa McClure, catwalks. Ann Harkey and Legend goes I walked to Rogthat if you stand ers Hall to check on Norton’s stage on Josh Skaggs and by yourself with Shelby Boman who all the lights out were posted up for and yell “Hello!” the night. We were George will reon our way to Coby spond to you in Hall and had just left Alex Lindley, Kayla photo by Kayla Sloan some way, so I Sloan and Tommy Desks lined up in Room 312 of Wesleyan Hall had to try that Bolton in Wesleyan where the door shut on Alex Lindley while he out. With a night vision camera on, to see what they was trying to leave. I screamed “Helcould see. When we arrived at Rogers, it became lo,” “George,” and a few other words, and then asked for any kind of sign that someobvious that Josh and Shelby were bored. The only noises they had heard they deter- one was there. Darrick came back in and mined to be the ice machine downstairs. reviewed the camera footage. A minute into Luckily, we had a Ouija board to try to liven the footage, Darrick got a call. His original things up and have some healthy paranor- model PS3 had died. Around 2 a.m., Andy, Malisa, Ann, mal conversation. Devin Kennamer joined Josh and Devin came over to see our setup us; we lit a candle and began to speak. and try out the Ouija board. Nothing happened. We took the board off-stage to NorAfter a lot of questions and laughter, we decided that Rogers might not be the ton’s creepier and darker rooms. Everyone most haunted place on campus. We took but Darrick circled around the board and

The Beginning

photo by Darrick Dawkins

Jordan Bradley sits on the Norton Auditorium stage while having a heart to heart with the resident spirit, George.

Josh with us and proceeded to Coby Hall to drop off my supplies and look around. While there, Ann and I played a few pranks on Josh and Devin, who let out a good squeal. Before getting settled, we all went to check on Jordan Bradley and Darrick

put their hands on the pointer. As soon as everyone was touching it, and without asking it a question, it started to move, first to G, then E, then O, R, G and finally to E again. We immediately started to ask it questions, but after a few mixed responses and

garbled answers, Andy asked if George wanted to talk to us, and the board answered “No,” and then “Goodbye.” With that burst of activity, we moved the board back to Norton’s stage, and tried again. This time, when the board started spelling random words, Josh asked if George was messing with us. The pointer immediately flew to “Yes.” We asked a couple more questions about George’s identity. After a moment of inactivity, we asked if George was really there. The answer “No” came back. We asked where photo by Malisa McClure he was, and the board spelled “W-E-S-L.” The Ouija board became a key feature of the night as we communicated with the spirits in campus buildings. When we asked if he was in Wesleyan Hall, George colorful expletives from the group, I desaid “Yes.” Andy asked why George was in cided to check the door, which I had pushed Wesleyan and the pointer moved to “Good- back open when it hit me, again. Again, it bye.” We took that as a sign, packed up and whooshed and shut towards me. moved to Wesleyan. No one was behind the door.

Opening Doors

Alex Lindley - Copy/Opinions Editor I didn’t expect to see anything during my night in Wesleyan Hall, but I did. I can’t explain any of it, and I think it’s better that way. We arrived at Wesleyan around 9 p.m. Everything for the first three hours was uneventful, except for running into a guy who was there late using the WiFi and finding out that we couldn’t lock the front doors. We camped out on the third floor with all the lights off. Around 12:30 a.m., we heard a noise in the stairwell. After a fruitless investigation, we decided to make a trip to the bathroom on the second floor. As we descended the first flight of stairs, we heard the stairwell door (which had a doorstop under it) close abruptly. The bathroom would have to wait. Tommy and I began checking the classrooms to see if anyone was upstairs. We found no one. I called Andy to tell him what happened. He said that the group was at Norton about to set up the Ouija board. We said we’d keep each other posted and hung up. While Tommy and I were checking the classrooms, Kayla went into a classroom by herself. Moments later, she ran out terrified after we heard the classic Windows startup sound. The computer had turned on by itself. Things had just gotten real. After a short break downstairs to gather our wits, we decided to check the classroom again. As I walked towards the opened classroom door to check if anyone was behind it, the door closed towards me suddenly with a loud “whoosh.” After a brief heart attack and some

Andy called back a few minutes later and asked if anything had just happened. I told him about our occurrence, and he told me about theirs. At the same time that the door shut on me, George was telling them that he was in Wesleyan with us. Once the group joined us and got the Ouija board set up in the haunted classroom, we began a conversation with George. He was fairly talkative. He said the reason he was in Wesleyan Hall was because he had been woken up. Who woke him up? “A-NN … No, A-L-E-X,” he said. Just great, I thought. I was relieved when he said he liked me, though. During the conversation, in which we asked George if he had turned on the computer and he said yes, the computer turned on and off twice in a matter of 30 seconds. Through the Ouija board, George identified himself as a Christian and a dead human. He also said he would follow us when we left, but only to Coby Hall. He also specifically said that he would follow Kayla, but, when asked if he was joking, said “Yes.” As everyone was packing up to head to Coby, Devin walked past the open classroom door. It shut towards him in front of everyone.

Dusk TILL Dawn Andy Thigpen - Life Editor

We left Wesleyan in a hurry. It was 3:45 a.m., and we hadn’t even spent any time in Coby Hall. We all decided that we would take the Ouija up to the attic, see what happened and then go home. Some of the employees there had told me that they always hear sleigh bells from

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Immigration bill causes turmoil in Alabama Date: October 13, 2011 Published in: The Flor-Ala

The new immigration bill in Alabama, HB 56, has caused much turmoil and confusion across the state since it was signed two weeks ago. This bill, which has undergone various modifications and appeals since its original signing in early June, is now requiring educators to check the documentation of their students to determine citizenship. According to Rex Mayfield, superintendent of Russelville City Schools, this is nothing new. “We’ve been collecting most of this info already,” Mayfield said. “(In STI), there is a category for your citizenship. We’ve been marking it since (STI) been around. It’s all in there but it’s something you only occasionally needed.” STI, or Software Technology Incoporated, is a provider of data management systems which records everything from gender, race and citizenship to whether or not a student gets reduced lunches or rides the bus. Mayfield said citizenship will not play a role in the education of a child born to an illegal immigrant. “They will not be denied access,” Mayfield said. “We will go ahead and enroll them, but they will need some sort of letter from where they are born.” Dr. Joy Brown, assistant professor of education, echoes the same statement, but with concern. “Federal law mandates that all students must be allowed to attend school, regardless of immigration status,” Brown said. “My biggest fear is that parents will choose not to send their children to school and we will have uneducated populations in our communities.” Some concerns of Amanda Hernandez, president of the Hispanic Culture Organization, are a rise of racial profiling and what the bill might tell the children. “The issue is not supposed to be about racial profiling,” Hernandez said. She said her husband, a Puerto Rican, has already been

questioned at his work about how the new bill affects him, despite the fact that his is already a citizen. “What kind of message does this send to the children?” Hernandez asks. “Racial profiling is what’s going on in this state and the nation in a time when we should be united. This bill may be written in black and white, but real life is not black and white.” Hernandez doesn’t deny the need for reform, however. “We know there needs to be reform,” Hernandez said. “The problem is in this country, and state specifically, we don’t need to point fingers at one group for the problems.” According to Chief of Florence City Police, Rick Singleton, racial profiling won’t be an issue while officers are on the job. “When we have a new law, the supervisors go the extra mile to make sure their guys are well trained,” Singleton said. “They’re not allowed to use race, color, or ethnic origin in investigating citizenship. There has to be a legal reason.” “Officers are human,” Singleton continued,” and they bring their attributes to the job. There’s a learning curve where you’re feeling your way out.” Singleton and captain Rolando Bogran both express concern about the federal, and state, government’s ability to deal with the immigration issue. According to them, when an officer stops a driver that they assume is an illegal immigrant, they still have to take the issue through the federal government. Many times, the issue of individual illegal immigrants gets dropped. “We have trailer parks here that are 95% Hispanic. Some are legal. Most are illegal,” Bogran said. “There are only six places for housing illegal aliens in the country.” “This is a political issue, not a law enforcement issue,” Singleton said.


October 13, 2011

Volume 80 No. 8

www.FlorAla.net

Student newspaper of the University of North Alabama

Still in recovery

@UNAFlorAla

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@FlorAlaSports

A LOOK INSIDE

See page 2 Officials announce progress of the Division I move.

photo by Darrick Dawkins

See page 11 According to officials, it has become a new normal for college students to finish school in more than four years.

See page 5 First Fridays in Florence offers a showcase of art, music and culture for the downtown area.

Immigration bill causes turmoil in Alabama

(From front to back) UNA students Payton Edmiston, Bert Pena and Katelyn Jarrell of Alternative Break Board help chop wood from damaged trees from the April tornadoes during fall break in Harvest Oct. 8.

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Nearly six months after deadly tornadoes ripped through north Alabama, residents in local communities continue to piece their lives—and homes—together one day at a time, according to volunteers with Alternative Break Board. UNA junior and volunteer Amanda Dillingham said area tornado victims continue to reach out for help from volunteers months later due to the devastation of the April 27 storms. Dillingham, along with 19 other UNA students, took part in a disaster recovery trip during fall break with Alternative Break Board Oct. 6-8 in

the Harvest and Limestone County areas. Although the service students provided during the trip was much needed, Dillingham said there is more work that needs to be done in those tornado-damaged areas before victims can fully recover from the disaster. “(Friday night), during our reflection, we were talking about how the stuff we’re doing here only puts a tiny dent in what needs to be done,” she said. “Everyone still needs to know that people still need help out here.” Students wired houses, shingled roofs, moved lumber, removed debris and garbage, painted houses and took part in numerous other tasks to help residents living in the Harvest area.

Jennifer Brown, assistant director of student leadership and volunteerism, said the students who participated in the trip came away with a new awareness about the needs of other human beings. “On a trip like this, you have to be flexible to the needs of the community and the different projects taking place,” she said. “The students (took) away a good bit and didn’t realize how much work still needed to be done. Even though they are making a small dent, they are still making a big difference.” Casey Dugger, a UNA sophomore, has family who live approximately 20 miles from Harvest. Her family’s home was slightly damaged

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The new immigration bill in Alabama, HB 56, has caused much turmoil and confusion across the state since it was signed two weeks ago. This bill, which has undergone various modifications and appeals since its original signing in early June, is now requiring educators to check the documentation of their students to determine citizenship. According to Rex Mayfield, superintendent of Russelville City Schools, this is nothing new. “We’ve been collecting most of this info already,” Mayfield said. “(In STI), there is a category for your citizenship. We’ve been marking it since (STI) been around. It’s all in there but it’s something you only occasionally needed.” STI, or Software Technology Incoporated, is a provider of data management systems which records everything from gender, race and citizenship to whether or not a student gets reduced lunches or rides the bus. Mayfield said citizenship will not play a role in the education of a child born to an illegal immigrant. “They will not be denied access,” Mayfield said. “We will go ahead and enroll them, but they will need some sort of letter from where they are born.” Dr. Joy Brown, assistant professor of education, echoes the same statement, but with

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Campus mourns after sudden death of UNA student See page 8 The Deadwood Hollow corn mazes are offering plenty of chills and thrills for the Shoals.

See page 9 A battle between the two top teams in Division II will square off Thursday night. Check out the preview.

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Moonlight and candlelight lit the grounds of Colbert Memorial Chapel Monday night as students, family and friends of Lauren “Haley” Mauldin remembered her life and what she meant to them. The graveside vigil Mauldin followed her funeral, which was earlier that day. Mauldin passed away Oct. 7 of natural causes, according to Colbert County Coroner Carlton Utley

According to UNA spokesman Josh Woods, Mauldin, of Muscle Shoals, was a sophomore seeking an undergraduate degree in psychology at UNA. “I don’t have a bad story to tell about her,” said Emily McCann, a close friend of Mauldin. “(There was) never a hateful word, never a distasteful comment (from her).” McCann and Mauldin met in kindergarten, and had attended school together since that time. “She was always helpful, and that was kindergarten, and it stayed that way throughout her life,” she

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photo by Darrick Dawkins

Loved ones of Mauldin at the candlelight vigil Oct. 10 in Tuscumbia.


Student looks to future music career after ‘American Idol’ Date: February 16, 2012 Published in: The Flor-Ala

Nicki Scruggs is taking her recent loss in stride. Last week, she performed in Hollywood in front of Stephen Tyler, Randy Jackson and J-Lo before being sent home from the first round of “American Idol.” After an exciting victory in St. Louis, Scruggs-a freshman entertainment business major-had high-hopes for making the cut and progressing into the next round. Her arrival back home, however, has left her undaunted. “I would do it a hundred times again.,” she said. “Well-maybe not a hundred. That would be pathetic.” Part of her good nature may stem from a conversation she had with the executive producer of “American Idol” after her performance. “He told me, ‘Well, you’re young, so come back next year.’ When he told me that, that really meant a lot to me, because he never talks with any of the contestants,” she said. According to Scruggs, her time will be spent doing what she’s been doing: writing songs, school and learning new music. “I want to learn piano. That’s my next step,” Scruggs said. “I feel like it could make more of a variety with my songwriting.” Even before she picked up the guitar when she was 12 years old, Scruggs has loved writing songs. “I have about six notebooks full (of songs),” she said. She estimates her song-count well over 200. “I wouldn’t really do my homework (after school). I would come home from school and write songs. And if I was really in the mood, I could write three in one afternoon.” For Scruggs, the songwriting process flows like her voice. “I just start playing chord progressions, and I’ll just

start singing random lines that come out of my head,” she said. “I feel like if (the song) is planned, it’s going to be - I don’t know how to explain it. I just don’t like my songs like that, “ Scruggs explained. While there are many songs between first and last, her first one and her most recent one are both about boys. “My very first song I wrote was when I was eleven. I think it was about breaking up with a boy,” Scruggs said. She explained that her newest song - written Sunday night - is about a love triangle between the girl, Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong. The only thing Scruggs said she loves more than writing is performing. “I love (performing),” she said. “I love playing for people and making people happy. I was the kid in class who wasn’t afraid to get up in front of class. I’ve always had that confidence.” The love of music is something that she has carried since childhood. “I wrote a paper in second grade that said, ‘If I had a million dollars, I would help mom pay bills and build a recording studio. I’ve always wanted to pursue music,” she said. A negative nod from J-Lo will not stop her from competing in next year’s American Idol tryouts, even though she believes the contest’s motives to be misguided. “It’s really about TV,” Scruggs said. “It’s not really about music. Going through that experience, you learn a lot. I’ll be a lot more comfortable in front of the judges, and I know what they’re looking for.”


February 16, 2012

Volume 80 No. 20

www.FlorAla.net

Student newspaper of the University of North Alabama

Where in the world?

Report: More US students choose to study abroad 2WZLIV*ZILTMa

7VTQVM-LQ\WZ RZJZILTMa(]VIML]

@UNAFlorAla

More students worldwide and from the U.S. are traveling to other countries to study, according to a report from the Institute of International Education. The report said that U.S. students attending study abroad programs increased 4 percent from 260,327 to 270,604 in 2009-2010, while foreign students attending school in the United States increased 5 percent in 2010-2011, a new record of 723,277 for international students in U.S. colleges.

@FlorAlaSports

A LOOK INSIDE

See page 2 Economy Inn on Tennessee Street is getting a facelift and will be converted into student apartments.

â&#x20AC;?UNA students want

what we have to give them in experience and knowledge.â&#x20AC;? -Lesley Peterson

photos by KAYLA SLOAN I Staff Photographer

Dr. Bill Strong, chair of the Department of Geography, said students donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t learn enough geography as part of their general education requirement in order to graduate from college. See page 3 The College of Nursing and Allied Health opens new nursing simulation lab.

See page 5 UNA community members discuss the effect sitting in the front of the classroom can have.

See page 9 Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s basketball looks to beat Christian Brothers Feb. 16.

Community discusses global competency in young people 2W[P;SIOO[*Ta\PM;\MMTUIV 6M_[-LQ\WZ;\INN?ZQ\MZ NTWZITI(]VIML]

In an unscientific poll conducted on the UNA campus, 33 students out of 100 could point out where a specific country was located on a world map. Additionally, 67 students could not locate a given country on the map. The 67 students could not locate Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, the Czech Republic, Brazil and Turkey. According to many experts in the world of academia, students are missing one key bit of knowledgeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;basic understanding of the world and where countries

are located. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We certainly are going through an awkward period where the quality of life has been so good where people have thought they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to pay attention to what is going on,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Greg Pitts, chair of the Department of Communications. Many professors believe the education students receive is the reason to blame for lacking global competency in young people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The simple answer to it is we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t teach it,â&#x20AC;? said Department of Geography Chair Dr. Bill Strong. Strong said the only times geography is discussed in depth is in the third and seventh grades.

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Student looks to future music career after ĘťAmerican IdolĘź )VLa<PQOXMV

4QNM-LQ\WZ XI\PQOXMV(]VIML] See page 8 Officials explain the student athletic fee and break the numbers down for students.

Often, geography is simply infused into the history courses, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Until education leaders and politicians realize that a knowledge of geography is important (the numbers will continue to be bad),â&#x20AC;? Strong said. Many believe studying abroad will help global knowledge issues that some Americans have. Universities like UNA have invested in study abroad programs to help their students gain knowledge of the world around them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our parents have not necessarily traveled abroad,â&#x20AC;? Pitts said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As a global citizen, we, the

UNA has done its part in pushing study abroad programs by offering several trips to students in most major fields of study, professors said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a combination of reasons UNA has done a lot in the last few years in accepting foreign cultures,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Lesley Peterson, associate professor of English at UNA, on why UNA has been successful in supporting study abroad. â&#x20AC;&#x153;UNA as an institution is dedicated to studying abroad. UNA students want what we have to give them in experience and knowledge.â&#x20AC;? Peterson, along with Dr. Jeffrey Bibbee, assistant professor of history, is preparing to lead a study abroad trip to London in July for students in English and History in the vein of other study abroad trips they have taken to research London.

Nicki Scruggs is taking her recent loss in stride. Last week, she performed in Hollywood in front of Stephen Tyler, Randy Jackson and J-Lo before being sent home from the first round of â&#x20AC;&#x153;American Idol.â&#x20AC;? After an exciting victory in St. Louis, Scruggsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a freshman entertainment business majorâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;had high-hopes for making the cut and progressing into the next round.

Her arrival back home, however, has left her undaunted. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would do it a hundred times again.,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Wellâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;maybe not a hundred. That would be pathetic.â&#x20AC;? Part of her good nature may stem from a conversation she had with the executive producer of â&#x20AC;&#x153;American Idolâ&#x20AC;? after her perphoto by DARRICK DAWKINS I Staff Photographer formance. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He told me, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Well, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re young, so Nicki Scruggs, an entertainment business major, had the opportunity to audition in Hollywood last week to come back next year.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; When he told me

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become the next winner of â&#x20AC;&#x153;American Idol.â&#x20AC;?


A diehard fan Date: March 22, 2012 Published in: The Flor-Ala

The show in Birmingham last weekend was my fifth time seeing the Avett Brothers live. Pretty cool, right? I must be a huge fan. Not according to a mother and daughter I met there. The daughter was attending show number 17. Her favorite songs? “Talk on Indolence” and “When I Drink.” She is 10. That’s exactly why I love the Avett Brothers. They embody raw, unadulterated honesty to self. And their honesty is easily accessible for everyone. They write with a scary conviction, saying things I could never say to myself—not to mention crowds of thousands.

From rolling around on barroom floors, to dancing on stage in packed auditoriums, the Avetts play with a captivating intensity that brings audiences to new highs and lows. This show was no exception. Whether pounding out the chords to “I Killed Sally’s Lover,” or quietly singing a rendition of “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” the crowd followed every step of the way. They breathe with the crowd. They smile when you yell their names. And you can tell that every strum and pluck and scream means as much to them as it does to you.


Page

8A

Images

Thursday, March 22, 2012 • The Flor-Ala

A diehard fan

By Andy Thigpen - Life Editor - pathigpen@una.edu

The show in Birmingham last weekend was my fifth time seeing the Avett Brothers live. Pretty cool, right? I must be a huge fan. Not according to a mother and daughter I met there. The daughter was attending show number 17. Her favorite songs? “Talk on Indolence” and “When I Drink.” She is 10. That’s exactly why I love the Avett Brothers. They embody raw, unadulterated honesty to self. And their honesty is easily accessible for everyone. They write with a scary conviction, saying things I could never say to myself—not to mention crowds of thousands.

From rolling around on barroom floors, to dancing on stage in packed auditoriums, the Avetts play with a captivating intensity that brings audiences to new highs and lows. This show was no exception. Whether pounding out the chords to “I Killed Sally’s Lover,” or quietly singing a rendition of “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” the crowd followed every step of the way. They breathe with the crowd. They smile when you yell their names. And you can tell that every strum and pluck and scream means as much to them as it does to you.

To see more work from Andyʼs series, visit our site at florala.net.


First listen: ‘Port of Morrow’ expands old horizons Date: March 22, 2012 Published in: The Flor-Ala

After a five-year hiatus, the Shins are finally making some incredible noise again. And I have to say that I released not a small amount of girly giggles when I found out. “Port of Morrow” is the fourth studio album by the Shins, but it is the first to be released on frontman James Mercer’s new record label, ‘Aural Apothecary.’ I was a little nervous to find out that the entire band had been replaced—except Mercer, of course— but take it from me, there’s nothing to worry about. Don’t be surprised if you think you recognize some of the tracks. The Shins have definitely embraced their old, familiar style that gained them fame in the early ‘00s, but they’re exploring new techniques and sounds that are setting them apart from what they once were. The Shins have always been an evolving band. “Oh, Inverted World” started them off with a highly electronic and ethereal indie sound broken up by more organic songs like “New Slang.” Their second album, “Chutes Too Narrow,” brought to the foreground a raw, acoustic style while using subtle electronic layering. “Wincing the Night Away” was always a blend of the two, but it was much more surreal than either of the others had been. I think “Port of Morrow” is an “in-between” album. It’s obvious that Mercer wants

to hold on to some of the Shins’ old sound while trying to embrace where he is now. “September” sounds like straight homage to his former musical life; it could have easily been on any previous album. Influences from Mercer’s other projects, such as Broken Bells, are apparent in chord progressions in songs like “Port of Morrow,” while others like “40 Mark Strasse” have the skeleton of an alternative ‘90s song. Some of the songs go back further than the ‘90s. “Simple Song,” the first single released from the album, has a bass line straight out of the early ‘80s: think Van Halen’s “Jump.” The guitar in “Fall of 82” sounds like a 1969 Beatle’s song, and the main riff has an eerie echo of “Lady Madonna.” And let’s not forget the trumpet solo, which is the first time, to my knowledge, The Shins have featured any type of horn. I feel like “Port of Morrow” is an incredible start to The Shins’ new career. They are exploring new musical styles while using old sounds and techniques. As a devoted Shins fan, I was a little worried that the new album might be a ridiculous offshoot of Mercer’s creative ego that would distance its fans. I was wrong. This album is admirable in the way it will keep old fans happy and dedicated while enthralling a new audience. The name “Port of Morrow” is aptly chosen for a band that is redefining its horizons.


Page

Life

2B

Thursday, March 22, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ The Flor-Ala

Instructor chronicles PhilsĘź reconstruction of Phil Campbell

photo courtesy of Andrew Reed

Left: Andrew Reedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m with Philâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; documents the destruction caused by tornados in Phil Campbell last April, and how a local festival helped rebuild the town. Above: workers take part in clean-up and reconstruction of Phil Campbell.

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In February 2011, UNA film and digital media instructor Andrew Reed was contacted by a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y. named Phil Campbell. Campbell informed Reed of his plans to invite people across the world named Phil Campbell to a convention in Phil Campbell in June of that year. This set the stage for Reed to begin work on a documentary titled â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m with Philâ&#x20AC;? that would chronicle the convention and go on to win three awards at this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s George Lindsey UNA Film Festival. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This was going to be the 100-year an-

niversary of Phil Campbell being an incorporated township, so Brooklyn Phil thought this was a great time to have another convention,â&#x20AC;? Reed said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A friend told me about the convention on Facebook in February of 2011, and that was when I started doing my documentary on the convention. â&#x20AC;&#x153;After the tornado hit, we heard that the Phils still wanted to come in June, but instead of coming for fun, they wanted to come and help us rebuild and raise money for the town. Brooklyn Phil Campbell convinced me to continue doing the documentary and to use it as a fundraising tool to help the town.â&#x20AC;?

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First listen: ĘťPort of MorrowĘź Students weigh options when expands old horizons choosing cable, Internet providers

photo courtesy of Nasty Little Man

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Port of Morrow,â&#x20AC;? The Shinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fourth studio album, breaks the bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s five-year silence.

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After a five-year hiatus, the Shins are finally making some incredible noise again. And I have to say that I released not a small amount of girly giggles when I found out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Port of Morrowâ&#x20AC;? is the fourth studio album by the Shins, but it is the first to be released on frontman James Mercerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new record label, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Aural Apothecary.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; I was a little nervous to find out that the entire band had been replacedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;except Mercer, of courseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;but take it from me, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing to worry about. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be surprised if you think you recognize some of the tracks. The Shins have definitely embraced their old, famil-

iar style that gained them fame in the early â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;00s, but theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re exploring new techniques and sounds that are setting them apart from what they once were. The Shins have always been an evolving band. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oh, Inverted Worldâ&#x20AC;? started them off with a highly electronic and ethereal indie sound broken up by more organic songs like â&#x20AC;&#x153;New Slang.â&#x20AC;? Their second album, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Chutes Too Narrow,â&#x20AC;? brought to the foreground a raw, acoustic style while using subtle electronic layering. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Wincing the Night Awayâ&#x20AC;? was always a blend of the two, but it was much more surreal than either of the others had been. I think â&#x20AC;&#x153;Port of Morrowâ&#x20AC;? is an â&#x20AC;&#x153;inbetweenâ&#x20AC;? album. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obvious that Mercer wants to hold on to some of the Shinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; old sound while trying to embrace where he is now. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Septemberâ&#x20AC;? sounds like straight homage to his former musical life; it could have easily been on any previous album. Influences from Mercerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s other projects, such as Broken Bells, are apparent in chord progressions in songs like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Port of Morrow,â&#x20AC;? while others like â&#x20AC;&#x153;40 Mark Strasseâ&#x20AC;? have the skeleton of an alternative â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s song. Some of the songs go back further than the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Simple Song,â&#x20AC;? the first single released from the album, has a bass line straight out of the early â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;80s: think Van Halenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jump.â&#x20AC;? The guitar in â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fall of 82â&#x20AC;? sounds like a 1969 Beatleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s song, and the main riff has an eerie echo of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lady Madonna.â&#x20AC;? And letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not forget the trumpet solo, which is the first time, to my

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On-campus students receive free Internet and certain cable programming. When it comes to off-campus students, several cable, satellite and Internet options are available in the Florence area, depending on the price each student is willing to pay. Comcast provides cable, Internet and phone bundles in a variety of packages, ranging from a digital starter pack of just basic cable at $30 a month to up to $84 a month. These prices, however, go up after 12 months to almost double their initial introductory prices. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never had a problem with Comcast,â&#x20AC;? said Megan Thompson, sociology major at UNA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The service is cool and the Internet is fast. I have basic cable and Internet for around $40 a month.â&#x20AC;? AT&T also provides Internet and cable packages. Their prices for Internet and cable start at $30 a month for six months, with the option to build your own package. After six months, the prices also nearly double. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have Comcast T.V. and AT&T Internet,â&#x20AC;? said Sam Easley, an elementary education major at UNA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I choose to do them separately instead of bundling because the intro rates were way cheaper that way. My Internet speed option with AT&T is faster for the price compared with Comcast.â&#x20AC;? Netflix is another option for off-campus students. It provides streaming video for the computer or uses a gaming device,

such as the Wii, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, with online capabilities connected to the T.V. for $8 a month. An Internet connection is needed for Netflix. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love my Netflix,â&#x20AC;? said Andrew Baker, a film and digital media major at UNA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With my schedule, I can still get my â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Don

â&#x20AC;?My marriage with Netflix has been over a year, and I still love it.â&#x20AC;?

-Andrew Baker

Draper,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; (a character for American Movie Classicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Mad Menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;) on.â&#x20AC;? Baker uses a Blu-ray player with WI-FI to connect to Netflix. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My marriage with Netflix has been over a year, and I still love it,â&#x20AC;? he said. DISH satellite is also an option for students who live in houses or places where apartments allow a satellite dish installation. They offer packages from $20 to $75 a month. They have also paired up with Blockbuster via the mail that is included in every package for three months. Streaming programming sites, such as Hulu, offer UNA students a computer-only option for popular TV programming. They charge approximately $8 a month for their

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Student musicians to release original EP in early February Date: January 19, 2012 Published in: The Flor-Ala

The sound of a guitar jangles to a slow, pulsing beat as two voices join in a harmony that fills the space of a little practice room with warmth that makes it easy to forget it’s January outside. There are at least a couple of birds that didn’t fly south for the winter. The bluebirds, comprised of Noah Myers and Madeleine Frankford, are this year’s Singing River Records artists, and they played their song titled “The Creek,” which will be featured on their yet-to-be-released EP. Myers and Frankford reflected on their time spent recording the EP last fall. “We’ve had really good times in Noiseblock,” Myers said. “We had a really good night, one time, putting a song together that we kind of had a feel for-our song ‘Everybody’-We got a drummer and a dobro player in there and-” “-we just felt it out,” Frankford finished. “Yeah, we just felt it out,” Myers said. “Everything came together and it ended up sounding real neat. That was a fun experience.” For the bluebirds, a lot of the creative experience that lets them cultivate their sound comes from the heart, not the head-from feeling, not thinking. “When I write, I try to kind of just try to feel it out more than thinking, ‘This is where the melody should go,’ or writing out the melody beforehand,” Myers said. “I just write some chords and some words and just feel where it should go. It’s like I put all the tools together, and it just kind of happens on its own.” Sometimes the feeling is used to understand each other’s different approaches to music. Whereas Myers cites Jeff Buckley’s free voice as an inspiration, Frankford draws inspiration from artists

such as Ingrid Michaelson and Meiko. Their differences in style only deepen the harmony. “Our styles are very different, I think,” Frankford said. “Ingrid Michaelson and Meiko are two writers who, well, for one, their voices are raw and real. I really like that. Growing up, I sang in choirs, but I never felt that that was my voice. It was more of a weird sounding voice, so I can relate to them on that. Two, their lyrics are very simple and to the point. I feel like when I write, that’s what I go for.” “Noah is the opposite,” she explained. “So, that’s good. We can kind of meet in the middle.” Getting accustomed to each other’s styles was important in the hustle and bustle of last semester. Immediately after being signed last October, they were rushed to get songs together and begin recording. The recording was finished in December. “I don’t think people realize in how short of a time span everything happened,” Frankford said. “When we started playing together, everything happened at once. So I don’t think people realize just how rushed it was.” “And Madeleine and I weren’t-” Myers added. “We weren’t tight. We weren’t buddies,” Frankford said. “No, we weren’t. We weren’t,” Myers said. “I mean we didn’t not like each other, but I just didn’t know who she was. We started becoming friends the same time we were starting to play together, so we were figuring out our own styles.” “Which is difficult when it comes to music,” Frankford said. “It’s like ‘Here, semi-stranger. Here are all my feelings,’ “ Myers said with a laugh. With the production of their four-song EP complete, Myers and Frankford will be focusing on their


live shows this semester. Both prefer the stage over the studio. “When we’re playing live-at least for me-I kind of have that rush when we play the first song,” Myers said. “In my head I’m thinking that I lose myself in the music-I don’t know if that’s too cheesy-” “That’s so cheesy,” Frankford said, nearly pokerfaced, but laughing. “-but, no. I just kind of get into it more,” Myers said. “When we’re live, we’re just excited to be playing,” Frankford agreed. “We’re energized and nervous. And I like how, each time we play a song, it can be different.” “I’m just really excited about this semester,” Myers said. The bluebirds’ EP is scheduled to be released the second week of February. Until then, watch for live shows happening in downtown Florence and the Shoals Area.

January 19, 2012

Volume 80 No. 16

www.FlorAla.net

Student newspaper of the University of North Alabama

International students robbed at gunpoint near Appleby building

“We can all be a king—be like (Martin Luther King)—and can all make differences with the people we come in contact with.” - Rod Sheppard

@UNAFlorAla @FlorAlaSports

A LOOK INSIDE

AIM

to

change

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See page 2 The student community deals with climate changes across campus.

See page 3 Professor Jason Flynn wins film award from Reelshow International. photos by MALISA MCCLURE I Chief Photographer

Students march from the GUC atrium to Baptist Campus Ministries Jan. 13 singing “We Shall Overcome” after the Martin Luther King, Jr. program. Top: UNA student D’Aria Booker sings in remembrance of King during the campus march.

Students participate in program, march for Martin Luther King

See page 5 Professors discuss how using proper e-mail etiquette affects a person’s image.

See page 5 Review: A UNA student rides to The Black Keys’ new album “El Camino.”

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Students united Jan. 13 for a program and march in remembrance of Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King, Jr. who advocated for change and sparked a nonviolent revolution that made a difference across the world, said Allison Ray, student adviser of the Student Multicultural Advisory Committee.

has ever been as far as standing up for our rights and standing up for what we believe in and doing so in a peaceful and nonviolent way,” she said. “We had a great response, and I’m excited to see how students take Dr. King’s ideas and beliefs and apply them in their own lives.” The keynote speaker of the program was Rod Sheppard, UNA

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Student musicians to release original EP in early February )VLa<PQOXMV

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See page 9 Head Coach Bobby Wallace hopes to bring back Lion Pride to the UNA and Shoals communities.

King, who would have turned 83 Jan. 15, inspired SMAC’s overall goal for the 2011-2012 year, which is “Aim to Change” and to motivate students into racial awareness through multicultural education. The program and march, sponsored by SMAC and Baptist Campus Ministries, were a step in that direction, said Ray. “I feel like Martin Luther King’s relevancy today is greater than it

UNA Police, in conjunction with Florence Police, are looking for three suspects wanted in an alleged armed robbery that occurred near campus early Monday morning. The three victims, all international students, are OK, according to UNA police Chief Bob Pastula. The suspects allegedly took money from the students. The alleged robbery occurred near the intersection of Poplar Street and Hermitage Drive, police said. According to reports, the suspects fled south on Poplar Street. The three suspects, all black males, are still at large. The first suspect, at 5’10” and weighing 220 lbs., was wearing a long, black jacket and skullcap. The second suspect, at 5’6” and weighing 170 lbs., was wearing a gray sweater. The third suspect was skinny and wearing a National Guard necklace. UNA Police sent out a Lion Alert at 3:27 a.m., alerting the campus community of the incident. “(Students) don’t need to be out that time of the day,” Pastula said. Pastula said students can keep themselves safe by being diligent and staying in groups. “Always be aware of who’s around and what’s going on around you,” Pastula said. “Stay in heavily traveled areas and in groups of people.” Pastula suggests that students keep their cell phones in their hand and have 911 or

The sound of a guitar jangles to a slow, pulsing beat as two voices join in a harmony that fills the space of a little practice room with warmth that makes it easy to forget it’s January outside. There are at least a couple of birds that didn’t fly south for the winter.

The bluebirds, comprised of Noah Myers and Madeleine Frankford, are this year’s Singing River Records artists, and they played their song titled “The Creek,” which will be featured on their yet-to-be-released EP. Myers and Frankford reflected on their time spent recording the EP last fall.

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photo by CARRIE COOK I Student Photographer

Noah Myers and Madeleine Frankford, also known as the bluebirds, were signed to Singing River Records last fall.


An Aquired Taste:

International students often struggle with adjusting to American diets Date: April 19, 2012 Published in: The Flor-Ala

For Nigerian student Kehinde Ogebule, America was a land of promise, new experiences and fast food. “The first thing I rushed for was hamburgers, pizza and things like that,” she said. “But that’s not healthy.” She said one of the hardest parts of coming to America was adjusting to the change in diet. “The challenge we face as international students when we come to America (is that) there’s a variety of foods we have to choose in order to stay healthy,” she said. Many times, international students feel overwhelmed by the variety of foods offered here, and that can cause them to opt for the easy option of relying on fast food and Towers Cafeteria, Ogebule said. Her situation is not an uncommon one. Cem Demir, resident dining manager, faced similar troubles when he first came to UNA from Turkey in 1997. He said the students are ill informed about diet changes prior to their arrival in America. “I used to be in the same boat,” Demir said. “Nobody told me, and I don’t think anybody tells them. When I first came to the U.S. in ’97, I used to be 160 pounds. I went up to 245 (pounds). “The first two weeks are, I think, the most challenging time.” Tren Chao, a graduate student from China, agrees. “In the first days, it was good to try those foods (fast food and pizza),” Chao said. “It would be expensive to eat that (in China). After one week or two, we were kind of tired of the food.” After gaining 20 pounds, Chao decided to shape up. “I can’t do this,” he said. “I need to control (my diet).” Peggy Bergeron, senior nurse for University Health Services, gets visits from international students and be-

lieves the problem is both social and physical. “I think students start out eating at Taco Bell,” Bergeron said. “It’s that freedom thing. It usually takes a semester to realize. That’s across the board—international or not.” Whereas Demir and Chao said it’s about a two-week adjustment period, Bergeron suggests a wider window. “Among the international students, they have problems in the first two to three months,” she said. Coordinator of International Studies Joy Mallard has noticed the trends shortly after students’ arrivals. “Diet concerns in the first few weeks are a big issue,” she said. “It’s a huge adjustment. It’s a big form of culture shock.” Overcoming that culture shock, however, is one of the processes necessary for truly embracing a culture, she said. The biggest gateway to cultural experience: food. “One of the best ways to experience a culture is through their food,” Mallard said. “There’s a great opportunity for a lot of cuisine and cultures to emerge.” Chao uses food as an opportunity to communicate with other students. “For international students, we should seize the chance for more opportunities for food and experience,” he said. “(Eating) is a very good way to get to know people—to talk to people. It is a great topic to start conversation.” Demir also agrees a culture is manifested in its food and said students need to be ready for the differences. “It’s not going to be like mama’s cooking,” he said. “You’re going to learn the language and culture. You need to learn the food too.” To help introduce international students to new foods, Sodexo takes advantage of its Innovation Station,


as well as collaborating with international services to host monthly international nights, which feature food from various countries. “Sodexo’s been really good about adjusting their menus to reach students on campus,” Mallard said. Replicating “mama’s cooking,” however, might hit the spot for homesick international students. “Most (international students) prefer to cook at home,” Ogebule said. “Some international students tend to isolate themselves. You find that they are homesick and they just want food from home.” The problem then becomes finding familiar, African foods such as cassava, yam and melon seeds, Ogebule said. “If we’re missing food, we have to go to Huntsville to get it and cook at home,” she said. Chao agrees that cooking at home is the best alternative. “We decided to buy cookers and cook our own food,” he said. “I believe that’s the best (way) for international students to eat.” Bergeron said that might be the healthiest option— physically and mentally. “Find other international students with kitchens that can cook. That helps them meet people and stay connected to home,” she said. Ogebule said location, as well as food choice, can contribute to dietary—as well as mood—changes. “Sometimes it’s an environment thing,” she said. “They do not feel comfortable eating in crowded rooms when they are used to eating at home.”

LIFE

Page

4B

Thursday, April 19, 2012 • The Flor-Ala

Contact Life Editor Andy Thigpen at 256.765.5233

Staff Profile: Emily Kelley

• International students often struggle with adjusting to American diets photo by KAYLA SLOAN I Staff Photographer

Ash Karki stirs a sauce into his dinner at home. To international students, cooking at home is becoming a better alternative to going out or eating in GUC or Towers.

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For Nigerian student Kehinde Ogebule, America was a land of promise, new experiences and fast food. “The first thing I rushed for was hamburgers, pizza and things like that,” she said. “But that’s not healthy.” She said one of the hardest parts of coming to America was adjusting to the change in diet. “The challenge we face as international students when we come to America (is that) there’s a variety of foods we have to choose in order to stay healthy,” she said. Many times, international students feel overwhelmed by the variety of foods offered here, and that can cause them to opt for the easy option of relying on fast food and Towers Cafeteria, Ogebule said. Her situation is not an uncommon one. Cem Demir, resident dining manager, faced similar troubles when he first came to UNA from Turkey in 1997. He said the students are ill informed about diet changes prior to their arrival in America.

“I used to be in the same boat,” Demir said. “Nobody told me, and I don’t think anybody tells them. When I first came to the U.S. in ’97, I used to be 160 pounds. I went up to 245 (pounds). “The first two weeks are, I think, the most challenging time.” Tren Chao, a graduate student from China, agrees. “In the first days, it was good to try those foods (fast food and pizza),” Chao said. “It would be expensive to eat that (in China). After one week or two, we were kind of tired of the food.” After gaining 20 pounds, Chao decided to shape up. “I can’t do this,” he said. “I need to control (my diet).” Peggy Bergeron, senior nurse for University Health Services, gets visits from international students and believes the problem is both social and physical. “I think students start out eating at Taco Bell,” Bergeron said. “It’s that freedom thing. It usually takes a semester to realize. That’s across the board—international or not.”

Whereas Demir and Chao said it’s about a two-week adjustment period, Bergeron suggests a wider window. “Among the international students, they have problems in the first two to three months,” she said. Coordinator of International Studies Joy Mallard has noticed the trends shortly after students’ arrivals. “Diet concerns in the first few weeks are a big issue,” she said. “It’s a huge adjustment. It’s a big form of culture shock.” Overcoming that culture shock, however, is one of the processes necessary for truly embracing a culture, she said. The biggest gateway to cultural experience: food. “One of the best ways to experience a culture is through their food,” Mallard said. “There’s a great opportunity for a lot of cuisine and cultures to emerge.” Chao uses food as an opportunity to communicate with other students. “For international students, we should seize the chance for more opportunities for food and experience,” he said. “(Eating) is a very good way to get to know people—to talk to people. It is a great topic to start conversation.”

photo courtesy of Tren Chao

Tren Chao (left) and Zhizheng Zhehg eat sandwiches outside. International students often view hamburgers and pizza as stereotypical American foods.

Demir also agrees a culture is manifested in its food and said students need to be ready for the differences. “It’s not going to be like mama’s cooking,” he said. “You’re going to learn the language and culture. You need to learn the food too.”

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photo by MALISA MCCLURE I Chief photographer

Emily Kelley, coordinator of the UNA women’s center, has experience in everything from political science to culinary arts and administration.

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For those who come in contact with her, Emily Kelley is more than just the coordinator of the UNA women’s center. She is a mentor and friend to the women of all kinds who walk through her door. “She is, like, numero uno,” said Jean Ann Willis, a volunteer and frequenter of the women’s center. “She’s great.” Not only is Kelley a friend and mentor, she also has an impressive resume. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Vassar College, a culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America and a year at the University of London under her belt. Kelley has also owned her own French restaurants and a catering business. Willis, who got out of an abusive relationship in 2007, said Kelley has been a stable source of support in her life throughout her time at UNA. “For me, she has been almost like a mom to me,” Willis said. “This has been a really trying semester for me, and I’ve struggled, and she never hesitates to say ‘it’s OK, it’s OK.’”

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Accounting department offers free tax return service

photo by BARRY MINOR I Staff Photographer

T’Keyah Alford prepares her taxes at H&R Block with the help of employee Carylon Ivy.

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Every year, the working citizens of the United States must collect W-2s, receipts and paperwork in order to file their taxes by

the deadline in April. In order to ease the stress for first-time filers, or taxpayers who are looking for an easier, cheaper alternative to file taxes, UNA offers a free program provided by trained UNA accounting students. “Through the accounting department, we work with a group called Impact Alabama,” said Dr. Gregory Carnes, an accounting professor at UNA. “Our students do tax returns for free. The focus is to determine the earned income credit for families that qualify.” Impact Alabama is a program based in Birmingham that sets up sessions all over Alabama that are open to everyone, Carnes said. The programs are open to everyone for six weeks prior to April. Carnes helped train people for AARP’s tax-aide program. There are five locations in the Shoals area alone, including the Flor-

ence Lauderdale Public Library. These sessions also offer free tax preparations for students. “My advice would be to go to one of these free programs because the preparers are trained and have to pass a test from the IRS,” Carnes said. If a student has a simple tax return, such as a single filer with income only from wages and few deductions, free online tax services such as Turbo Tax and TaxACT are sufficient, Carnes said. The online alternatives offer free federal filing with step-bystep instructions. Carnes said one of the biggest problems that appears while filing student taxes is the dependency issue. Because many students work and receive money from their parents, figuring out who can claim what can be confusing. Carnes said it is valuable to find educa-

tion credits for students who are filing and determine if they are applicable. “International students’ returns can get complicated,” Carnes said. Carnes said international students should go to a free center to get their taxes prepared instead of attempting filing themselves. Some UNA students use local accountants for their taxes. “I just go to Robert Witt in downtown,” said Vance Parrish, a film and digital media major at UNA. “I give them my W-2 and they do the rest.” Parrish said Witt’s preparers asked for his school expenses, such as book costs, supplies and technology costs, such as his new laptop. They charged him $20, but because of an error with how his employers withheld taxes, he won’t be getting money back this year.


INTERN

SHIPS


D

uring my four years at the University of North Alabama, I participated in two internships. Both internships were focused on writing, but each one taught me different aspects of what writing is. The lessons I learned have made me much more adaptable as a writer overall. Internships are important for any student. They provide students with a glimpse into the real world and give the students the hands-on experience they need. More than that, for writers specifically, it gives them an opportunity to branch out and try something new. Or it may give them a chance to hone their crafts and develop the skills they’ll be using for years to come. What internships do, in short, is give a chance for students to test and try their adaptability in “real life” environs. The first internship was through the W. C. Handy Music Festival Office. I worked closely with the public relations coordinator to write a press release announcing the festival’s resolution to be more environmentally friendly. I also worked with the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library to contribute to an issue of Renew: Friends of the Library Newsletter, while helping catalog their online archive database. The first two

entries in this section are only a portion of the work I did for the library and the music festival office. However, they are the only works suited for inclusion in this portfolio. My second internship was with the NO’ALA magazine. My work consisted of writing feature articles about local businesses and musicians. In total, I contributed to three issues of the bi-monthly publication, which included writing the majority of the annual entertainment issue. The work I did for the entertainment issue was, by far, the most rewarding. I interviewed several musicians from all over the North Alabama area as well as the owner of the oldest vinyl record store in the Shoals Area. The other articles included a feature on the oldest, family-owned business in our area, as well as a feature on a Certified Naturally Grown farm. I have placed the work in this section in the order it was published or completed, beginning with the newsletter article. As available, I’ve included the published version of each work. I believe the works showcase my abilities as both a technical and feature writer, and I hope my experiences will help me in these fields down the road.


Digitized History: The Story of the Digital Archives Date: Spring 2011 Published in: Renew: Friends of the Library Newsletter

Florence is full of “best-kept secrets” and hidden histories. One of the secrets that is actually aimed at capturing all of those hidden histories that lie in the Shoals Area, is the Florence Public Library’s Digital Archives. Over the past five years, the Archives have developed a history of their own. In January of 2006, the Library made the decision to create a Digital Archive. The Archives were designed to be a database that contained audio, photographs, text, and any other medium that contains history from the Shoals Area. In October 2006, the Library began training staff in the preservation and digitization of old photos and documents, under a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act. In November, the Friends of the Library purchased the ST Microfilm Scanner & ST Companion Flatbed Scanner. The first outreach by the Archives into the community was a letter sent out in September 2007 to local families who owned business at one time. The letter requested any old photos or documents that could be scanned and added to the Archives. The staff spent most of their time over the next year conducting oral interviews and scanning items such as letters, postcards, photos, and diaries into the Archive. In September of 2008, there was a big push to get local businesses involved by advertising the Archive along with getting actively involved. The next month, the staff attended a grant-writing seminar conducted by the Alabama Department of Archives

and History. October 2008 was also the month that the Digital Archives website went “live.” Since then, the staff has been busy trying to maintain and expand the Archives. From October to December of 2009 they inventoried 1700 artifacts from the Handy Home, scanned forty-five years worth of David Hood’s personal calendars (that’s 2,677 individual scans), scanned a “lost record book from 1917 from the Lauderdale County Court which belonged to Mrs. Alice Tipper, and digitized images from the collection of WWII P.O.W. Grady Ward. In 2010, two W.T. Nixon journals have been transcribed. Various other documents have been scanned such as store ledgers from unknown businesses, the Lauderdale County Circuit Court Record Book from 1843 to 1850, and images from contributors such as the Florence Fire Department, First Baptist Church, Congressman Ronnie Flippo, and others. Also, in February 2010, the Archives joined the social networking circle by joining Facebook. The staff has been working diligently to maintain the archives by updating software and constantly searching for new material to scan and upload. Thanks to local cooperation, the Archives now contains over 2700 images and 17 oral history interviews. It is hoped that this number will continue to grow with the help from local business and individuals in the coming future. In this way, the history of the Shoals Area, and our portion of the Tennessee Valley, can be preserved from generations to come.


HANDY  NEWS  FOR  IMMEDIATE  RELEASE   April  29,  2011,      

W.C.  HANDY  MUSIC  FESTIVAL   Melanie  Orseske,  PR  Coordinator   (256)443-­‐9201   Phillip  Thigpen  –  PR  Intern   For  General  Handy  Festival   information,  (256)766-­‐7642                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

       

IN  HARMONY  WITH  NATURE  

FLORENCE,  Al…This  year’s  W.C.  Handy  Music  Festival  will  be  held  July  22-­‐31,  and  marks  the  30th   consecutive  year  of  the  Festival.  In  keeping  with,  what  the  Handy  Festival  hopes  will  be  an  on  going   tradition,  the  organizers  are  proud  to  announce  the  second  year  of  “In  Harmony  With  Nature.”  The   addition  of  multiple  partnerships  this  year  will  allow  for  the  expansion  of  this  litter-­‐free  program  beyond   the  14  events  covered  in  2010.         The  concept  includes  making  the  Handy  Festival  litter-­‐free  with  assistance  from  various  partnerships  and   the  community.    It  also  involves  creating  a  model  and  raising  awareness  of  how  to  be  litter-­‐free,  and  what   it  means,  by  encouraging  other  events  in  the  Shoals  Area  to  be  “In  Harmony  With  Nature.”     The  Music  Preservation  Society,  which  oversees  the  W.C.  Handy  Music  Festival,  has  several  unique   partnerships,  allowing  it  to  move  towards  the  litter-­‐free  goal.  However,  a  large  part  of  this  is  made   possible  with  the  support  from  the  International  Paper  Company.    Additional  key  partnerships  include;   Keep  the  Shoals  Beautiful,  the  Florence  Recycling  Center,  Shoals  Solid  Waste  Authority,  several  cities   hosting  festival  events,  Norfolk  Southern  Foundation,  the  Shoals  Symphony  at  UNA,  Shoals  Earth  Month,   and  the  Renaissance  Roundtable.     Educational  programs  for  children  about  recyclable  materials  include  “Making  Music  With  Trash;”  events   to  be  held  at  the  Florence  Public  Library,  the  Children’s  Museum,  in  addition  to  two  new  venues  in  Colbert   county.  These  fun  and  popular  events  teach  children  about  recycling  and  involve  them  in  making  musical   instruments  from  recyclable  materials.  The  children  (ages  3  and  up),  will  also  learn  musical  basics  such  as   vibration,  tone,  differences  in  instruments,  and  how  instruments  work  together  to  make  music.     Color  photos  are  available  from  the  2010  “Making  Music  With  Trash”  event  are  available  upon  request.     ###  


Insuring the Past: Alabama Land Services Feature Date: May 2012 Published in: The NO’ALA

Countless pairs of heels, leather oxfords, boots and tennis shoes have crossed over the map etched in the sidewalk at the corner of Court and Tennessee Street in downtown Florence. Many pass it by unnoticed. A few may have stopped to look down and figure out exactly where on the map they were standing. Even fewer know that the map is a replica of what is possibly the oldest map of Florence in existence. And only a handful of people know that the original map – the Sannoner map – is hanging two blocks over in the hallway of one of the oldest business in the area. After 125 years of business, Alabama Land Services Inc. (ALS) prides itself in being the “oldest, family owned land title company” in the North Alabama area. “We’ve been here for so long, we’re probably the oldest title company in the state,” said president Chris Bobo. Judging by the records held in the basement of ALS, he’s right. Big, red books containing property information dating back to 1887 are kept in a heavy safe in the middle of a room piled high with cabinets of old abstracts and paper work. They also have one of the oldest maps of Waterloo that they still use on a regular basis. The age of their company is something that Chris loves. “That makes us special. I think we’re kind of an archive of records for the community,” Chris said. But for Chris, his father, Scotty Bobo, and the company presidents before them, the business is all in the family. That family has a history with the company. After seven years in the Army – which included a tour in Vietnam and moving

around Asia and Europe – Scotty partnered with the then-president, Marshall Smith, who had inherited the company from his father. So why would Scotty leave the Army life for a title insurance job in Alabama? Family. “Our kids were in grammar school, and they were being moved around every 18 months to two years,” Scotty said. “We got out of the Army, post-haste,” said Cathy Bobo, Scotty’s wife, with a laugh. The rest isn’t quite history. Scotty partnered with Smith in 1971, and began pushing for changes that would redefine the company. The first one was the handling of title insurance. “Title insurance gives the customer so much more than an opinion,” Scotty said. “Title insurance is there forever. I started pushing for that early on.” According to Cathy, local lawyers didn’t like their idea as much as they did. Lawyers, in those days, got a percentage of the settlement after giving their opinions on a piece of real estate. “There was a lot of resistance,” she said. “The attorney’s office didn’t like that at all.” After several court cases, which went through in favor of ALS, their right to handle title insurance was upheld. Now, in addition to doing title insurance, they do closings as well. “We’ve always been innovators in this area,” Chris said. “That was where we really broke new ground. I think we were one of the first companies to do title insurance, and we were the first company to do closings in this area. They were already

doing it in other parts of the state, but that was a really big thing.” Okay, but back up. What is title insurance? “When you say ‘title insurance,’ most of the public doesn’t know what you’re talking about,” Chris said. “Title insurance insures the past. We search the past to make sure that the house is okay.” So, for example, say you go to buy a house. You’re all set to go, and you’re excited to live in this new house. Now say that house has a $10,000 tax lean on it from a previous owner. If you get title insurance, they work out all those kinks and bumps in the house’s past – you know, like a $10,000 dollar tax lean. “The way we do it now, it’s a lot more consumer friendly,” said Randy Nash. Randy was first employed part-time in 1972, and has been with the company ever since. He is now ALS’s Senior Title Examiner. “It’s a lot more affordable. It’s about the most streamlined, efficient way to buy and sell a house that you can do.” Chris believes that streamlined efficiency is what buying a house is about. “The whole system of capitalism is build, in part, on the ability to buy land from the bank with confidence,” Chris said. “The American system of property conveyance is one of the things that make this country great. One of the things that makes this possible is title insurance.” Chris’ patriotism has a history. After coming from a family that has a history of veterans, he served for seven years in the Army and the National Guard as a helicopter pilot. While on a training mission in Hattiesburg, MS., Chris and a co-pilot crashed. His fellow pilot died on impact,


but Chris still managed to pull him out of the wreck before it burned up. For his bravery he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal. After leaving the military and taking over the company in 2000, Chris got involved in politics. In 2007, he served as the president of the Dixie Land Title Association (DLTA). DLTA is comprised of land title companies from all across Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. He also served on the legislation committee that got the first title insurance legislation passed in Alabama. A nice climb for someone who started as a janitor in his father’s business. But he’s not the only Bobo to have worked at ALS. “They all worked there,” Scotty said, talking about his three children and granddaughters. “Everybody’s worked there except the youngest – Chris’ daughter. She hasn’t started yet.” “Yet,” Cathy adds with a laugh. So, how does a father feel, looking on as his son runs his old company? “Excellent,” Scotty said. “It’s really neat for me that from the time he cam on board, I have never heard a derogatory remark about him or the way he conducts business. And to me, that’s an accomplishment.”

TEXT BY

ANDY THIGPEN » PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

18 | NOALAMAG . COM | M AY /J UNE 2012

Countless pairs of heels, leather oxfords, boots and tennis shoes have crossed over the map etched in the sidewalk at the corner of Court and Tennessee Street in downtown Florence. Many pass it by unnoticed. A few may have stopped to look down and figure out exactly where on the map they were standing. Even fewer know that the map is a replica of what is possibly the oldest map of Florence in existence. And only a handful of people know that the original map—the Sannoner map—is hanging two blocks over in the hallway of one of the oldest businesses in the area. After 125 years of business, Alabama Land Services Inc. (ALS) prides itself in being the “oldest, family owned land title company” in the North Alabama area. “We’ve been here for so long, we’re probably the oldest title company in the state,” said president Chris Bobo.

Facing page: Scotty Bobo (left) and Chris Bobo of Alabama Land Services (ALS). Above: Marshall Smith, one of the original owners of ALS. Right: The original map of the City of Florence, surveyed in 1818 by Ferdinand Sannoner for the Cypress Land Company.

Judging by the records held in the basement of ALS, he’s right. Big, red books containing property information dating back to 1887 are kept in a heavy safe in the middle of a room piled high with cabinets of old abstracts and paper work. They also have one of the oldest maps of Waterloo that they still use on a regular basis. The age of their company is something that Chris loves. “That makes us special. I think we’re kind of an archive of records for the community,” Chris said. But for Chris, his father, Scotty Bobo, and the company presidents before them, the business is all in the family. That family has a history with the company.

M AY /J UNE 2012 | NOAL AMAG . COM | 19


Spin Cycle: Pegasus Records Feature Date: July 2012 Published in: The NO’ALA

Entering Pegasus Records is like entering your ears in a game of Russian Roulette—except the gun is made of vinyl, and the bullet is a song. That song could be anything from almost any era or genre. On some days, Ryan Adams fills the space between the vinyl with melancholic ecstasy. On others, John Lee Hooker’s foot taps a steady groove under a crunchy guitar and posters of different rock n’ rollers. Beyonce or Gaga can even be heard on radio waves—albeit not often. And Tim McGraw is somewhere in there, filling up another red solo cup. “I try my best to listen to pretty much everything—even the artists I don’t like,” said Eli Flippen, second-generation storeowner. “I drive most people crazy because I play all the crap they don’t always want to hear down here. We (the staff) argue about music all the time.” A perfect philosophy for the owner of the biggest and oldest record store in town. In the sea of vinyl one can find anything from Alan Jackson to Frank Zappa, Boy George to Yo-Yo Ma. Joey Flippen, Eli’s father, started the store as an undergraduate at UNA in 1980. He was a music marketing major who used his classes to put a proposal together and get a loan for the shop. Since then, he has seen shifts from vinyl to 8track to cassette to CD. He credits the store’s longevity to he and his son’s ability to stick closely with new trends and stay ahead of the game. “I think that’s one of the niches and our keys to success—we’ve been able to follow the trends and what’s on the horizon and get things that other dealers couldn’t get,” he said. The store has also seen some loca-

tion changes. It first started on Court Street where On the Rocks is now. Then it moved to Tennessee Street where the Shoals Bicycle Shop is, and then a little further down the road to an old carpet store—Jefferson Carpet Factory. Even now, in huge retro, late-seventies pastels, the initials “JCF” still adorn the back wall. But they’ve taken on a different meaning: Joseph Coleman Flippen. “We never painted over it because he got a kick how his initials were already on the wall,” Eli said. And you can thank the original carpet factory for the thick powder pink plush that absorbs your feet into the floor. “It’s interesting because when we do shows in here, we always get comments on the carpet and how squishy the carpet is,” Eli said. “They used the most expensive carpet and the most expensive padding, and here 20 years later people make comments on it. We’d probably be on cement floors if it wasn’t for that.” While the carpet and walls set the mood, it’s the vinyl that gives the store its soul. “We’ve always sold vinyl,” Eli said. “It’s something we’ve always had a market and demand for. There have always been collectors in the area.” It’s not always collectors, though. The younger generation loves vinyl too. “At some point they have that epiphany where they realize, ‘Whoa, this actually does sound better than those MP3s I’ve been downloading.’ Then it gets back to ‘We’re going to sit down and listen to an album from start to finish.’ It’s not just one song. It’s not a single. It’s listening to the artist’s entire concept from beginning to

end. “I think people start to respect that a little bit more when you start to think of an entire album as an art piece and not just a collection of songs.” For people who believe in the vinyl as a single, cohesive work of art, Pegasus hosts the Vinyl Junkies Meeting. Vinyl Junkies is a group ranging from 18 to over 60 years old that meets monthly to swap music, socialize, and just listen to whatever vinyl people bring to the evening. “The idea behind it is that it wasn’t supposed to be something popular: no Abbey Road, no Zeppelin II, no Floyd The Wall, or anything like that. It was more like ‘I got this record out of the .25 cent bin, and I liked the cover of it and I got home and it blew me away’ kinda thing.” Eli says it’s funny to watch because a lot of the older people got to see a lot of the younger people’s favorites back in the day. “There’s a several generation gap between them, but everyone still finds something like Blue Oyster Cult, Ryan Adams, or Death Cab for Cutie that they like.” On top of the Vinyl Junkies Meeting, Pegasus is also known for renting out practice rooms to aspiring bands. Originally they planned to turn the upstairs into apartments, but because of city ordinances and too much red tape, they went with the practice rooms. “There aren’t just practice rooms in the area,” Eli said. “Pretty much anybody that has been in a band in this area over the past 20 years has been in those practicerooms in some form or fashion.” Not only is Pegasus Records providing practice rooms to local bands to help cultivate new, young music, they’re provid-


18 »

ing a venue as well. Pegasus just opened its new venue this past spring, and it’s been a long time coming. “We always joked around about the fact that somebody just needed a big building that had an established business in the front of it that was making money and paying the bills and just had a big room in the back where we could do something,” Eli said. “And we were like, ‘well, hell, we’ve got a room in the back of our store—and we’re a music store.’” So far, the likes of Doc Daily and the Magnolia Devil, Redmouth, The Bear, Black River Bluesman, Belle Adair, and the Alabama Shakes have all graced the stage with their sounds. “I’ve always been happy to do anything to give a locale that gives a scene to garage and indie bands,” Eli said. “There are good bars in the area, but the whole downtown scene is really catered toward college stuff. We want to have venue set up that gives people an opportunity to touring bands to play here that couldn’t fit inside a restaurant.” Now that Eli has the venue set up, his next plan is to start his very own Pegasus Record Label. “I say ‘record label,’ it’s going to be a very loose sense to begin with,” he said. (Cont.) “There’s a lot of great musicians in the area who spent a lot of time and effort putting together projects.” The vision of the label is to support the musicians financially by helping with their albums. Pegasus Records has been, and is becoming even more so, a hub for music in the Shoals Area. It provides a venue and a resource for artists young and old to tap into the vein of what’s going on today, and relive the glory of yesterday. Indeed, if Muscle Shoals music still has soul, its heart is coated in vinyl.

everybody’s business

TEXT BY ANDY THIGPEN » PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD

The song could be anything from almost any era or genre. On some days, Ryan Adams fills the air with melancholic ecstasy. On others, John Lee Hooker’s foot taps a steady groove under a crunchy guitar and posters of different rock n’ rollers. Beyonce or Gaga can even be heard—albeit not often. And Tim McGraw is somewhere in there, filling up another red solo cup. “I try my best to listen to pretty much everything—even the artists I don’t like,” said Eli Flippen, second-generation storeowner. “I drive most people crazy because I play all the crap they don’t always want to hear down here. We (the staff ) argue about music all the time.” A perfect philosophy for the owner of the biggest and oldest record store in town. In the sea of vinyl one can find anything from Alan Jackson to Frank Zappa, Boy George to Yo-Yo Ma. Joey Flippen, Eli’s father, started the store as an undergraduate at UNA in 1980. He was a music marketing major who used his classes to put a proposal together and get a loan for the shop. Since then, he has seen shifts from vinyl to 8-track to cassette to CD. He credits the store’s longevity to his and his son’s ability to stick closely with new trends and stay ahead of the game. “I think that’s one of the niches and our keys to success—we’ve been able to follow the trends and what’s on the horizon and get things that other dealers couldn’t get,” he said. The store has also seen some location changes. It first started on Court Street where On the Rocks is now. Then it moved to Tennessee Street where the Shoals Bicycle Shop is, and then a little further down the road to an old carpet store—Jefferson Carpet Factory. Even now, in huge, retro, late-seventies pastels, the initials “JCF” still adorn the back wall. But they’ve taken on a different meaning: Joseph Coleman Flippen. “We never painted over it because he got a kick how his initials were already on the wall,” Eli said.

J ULY /AUGUST 2012 | NOALAPRESS . COM | 19


Up Close: The Barnstormers Date: July 2012 Published in: The NO’ALA

If Mayberry was real, The Barnstormers would be the worst thing to ever roll into town. Ronnie Moore, the founding member and lead vocalist/guitarist of The Barnstormers, doesn’t have an interest in the pristine Southern tradition of apple pies, fishin’ holes, or skippin’ stones in Alabama sunshine. His music likes to come out at night. “We wanted to explore Southern folk music as a whole, but it got a little dark and bleak,” Moore explains. “In the South, we have this gloomy, big, scary heritage. And (the music) explores that—the undercurrent of darkness that pervades Southern culture.” The Barnstormers started in 2001 in Decatur, Ala. Don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re another singer-songwriter band, though. Moore is a Venezuelan-born fan of William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, and Flannery O’Connor. The band’s music is a blend of styles from all over the world with an appetite for the Southern Gothic. “I really draw from a lot of different music from all over the world,” Moore said. “Whereas a lot of people follow that Southern tradition, we kind of make our own gumbo of sounds.” One listen to The Barnstormers and you’ll understand. Many of the songs on their two albums, Graveyard Town and Switchblade Serenade, feature varied instrumentation with sitars, organs, cellos, accordions, and upright honky-tonk pianos. The vocals range from lo-fi and scratchy to full yet bleak. If all of this darkness is too much to take, don’t be alarmed. Their most recent album Graveyard Town was a good purge for Moore. “Graveyard Town is a release of negative feelings

of the South,” he said. “We’re all looking at how to say goodbye to those things and say hello to a new life.” The album set to be released this summer entitled Strange Tales promises to be more uplifting. This one explores the sensation of changing lifestyles and outlooks on life, Moore said. This is not without some bitter sweetness, of course. “I’m positive on the South,” Moore clarifies. “It comes with bittersweet aftertaste because of all the things we’ve done to each other. There’s a darker sense for storytelling because you have to add what we’ve done to each other. “It’s two things that are in the same place that have to coexist. We kind of have this push-pull that goes from very light to very dark very quickly.” Telling stories is ultimately what Moore wants to do, and what he believes is the purpose of his music. “Everyday is a story,” he said. “Storytelling is about finding what’s valuable in the daily and mundane and extracting it into a way that it can be preserved. It’s our own desire for immortality.” And the immortality of the South, with all of its gothic charm and dark nights, is exactly what Moore wants his music to achieve. “We borrow to create a more complete vision of what the last 200 years have been in this area, and try to put that in a contemporary scope,” Moore said. “I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can see how it’s alive in my life and create a bigger context for that.” The Barnstormers consist of Ronnie Moore, Chris Wilson, Daniel Moore (Ronnie’s brother), and Nate Emery.


TEXT BY ANDY THIGPEN

Nate Emery

Daniel Moore

Chris Wilson

Ronnie Moore

30 | NOALAPRESS . COM | J ULY /AUGUST 2012

Ronnie Moore, the founding member and lead vocalist/guitarist of The Barnstormers, doesn’t have an interest in the pristine Southern tradition of apple pies, fishin’ holes, or skippin’ stones in the Alabama sunshine. His music likes to come out at night. “We wanted to explore Southern folk music as a whole, but it got a little dark and bleak,” Moore explains. “In the South, we have this gloomy, big, scary heritage. And [the music] explores that—the undercurrent of darkness that pervades Southern culture.” The Barnstormers started in 2001 in Decatur, Alabama. Don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re another singersongwriter band, though. Moore is a Venezuelan-born fan of William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, and Flannery O’Connor. The band’s music is a blend of styles from all over the world, with an appetite for the Southern Gothic. “I really draw from a lot of different music from all over the world,” Moore said. “A lot of people follow that Southern tradition, but we kind of make our own gumbo of sounds.” Listen to The Barnstormers and you’ll understand. Many of the songs on their two albums, Graveyard Town and Switchblade Serenade, feature varied instrumentation with sitars, organs, cellos, accordions, and upright honky-tonk pianos. The vocals range from lo-fi and scratchy to full yet bleak. If all of this darkness is too much to take, don’t be alarmed. Their most recent album Graveyard Town was a good purge for Moore. “Graveyard Town is a release of negative feelings of the South,” he said. “We’re all looking at how to say goodbye to those negative things and say hello to a new life.” The album, set to be released this summer and entitled Strange Tales, promises to be more uplifting. This one explores the sensation of changing lifestyles and outlooks on life, according to Moore. This is not without some bitter sweetness, of course. “I’m positive on the South,” Moore clarifies. “Life here comes with a bittersweet aftertaste because of some of the things we’ve done to each other. It’s like two things that are in the same place and have to coexist. We kind of have this push-pull that goes from very light to very dark very quickly.” Telling stories is ultimately what Moore wants to do, and what he believes is the purpose of his music. “Every day is a story,” he said. “Storytelling is about finding what’s valuable in the daily and mundane and extracting it in a way that it can be preserved. It’s our own desire for immortality.” And the immortality of the South, with all of its gothic charm and dark nights, is exactly what Moore wants his music to achieve. “We borrow to create a more complete vision of what the last 200 years have been in this area, and try to put that in a contemporary scope,” Moore said. “I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can see how it’s alive in my life and creates a bigger context for that.” The Barnstormers consist of Ronnie Moore, Chris Wilson, Daniel Moore (Ronnie’s brother), and Nate Emery.

The Barnstormers might not describe themselves as “fun”— they are very serious about their music, and it can have a dark and brooding side—but there’s no better way to describe the act of listening to them. It’s just fun, as they blend their strings and their voices into a deep and powerful blend of Southern folk and rock, and you may want to tap your toes or even dance. These guys are great musicians, and they know what they are doing. They’re serious about it, but we’re serious, too: this is just fun.

“Storytelling is about finding what’s valuable in the daily and mundane and extracting it in a way that it can be preserved. It’s our own desire for immortality.”

J ULY /AUGUST 2012 | NOALAPRESS . COM | 31


Up Close: Ally Burnett Date: July 2012 Published in: The NO’ALA

Ally Burnett is, in a word, unstoppable. That’s an understatement, to say the least. “I’ve known since I was four-years-old I wanted to be a singer,” Burnett said. “I just knew the first time I stepped on stage that I wanted to do it. I can’t pinpoint it. There was just this nagging thing that followed me my whole life. I didn’t chose music. Music chose me.” Since then, she has been across the country and to the middle of the ocean: the California girl lived in Hawaii for 10 years before she came to reside in Huntsville to take care of her father who is dealing with health issues. Now she’s feverishly making music and is determined to break out into the music scene. So far, she’s doing a good job. Burnett has had her music featured on several MTV shows such as Paris Hilton’s My New BFF season two, The Seven, Jersey Shore, The Hills, and Friend Zone. “For me, I didn’t start out knowing many people,” she said. “I just saw what I wanted and went after it. Nothing’s going to stop me.” She started her musical career as a pop-punk singer, which evolved into power pop, and is now somewhere in between. Musically, she said she is constantly compared to Paramore’s Hayley Williams or Katy Perry. She does like Paramore, but she doesn’t want to deal with the connotations surrounding being a pop singer like Katy Perry. While listeners can possibly hear Paramore in her style, some of her favorites are Paula Abdul and Andrew McMahon from the band Something Corporate. “Andrew McMahon is a god among music,” she said. “The first time I saw them live, it just blew me away.” “Pop music is just ‘Let’s get drunk, party, party; blah, blah, blah,” Burnett said. “I’m singing what I love and singing what I feel. I try to grow with every record I do.”

Her new summer five-song EP is expected to be a change for her in that she is embracing a more country sound—perhaps after living in the South for so long. “It’s a lot easier to be real in country music,” she said. “(Pop music) is not real. I hate to be pessimistic about it, but it’s not. When I write, I like to be real, and country kind of gives you that leeway to do so.” Ingenuity is by far the most important thing to Burnett. “For me, I think what sets me apart is I’m free and true to myself when I make music,” she said. “Everything that comes out of my mouth has meaning to me.” At this point in her life, break-ups are a hot topic because she’s allowed to be vulnerable. “Not all of my songs are about relationships and heartbreak, but that’s definitely my niche,” she said. “When it comes to heartache, the average person can relate to it. I feel like that’s when my songs are most honest: when I’m most vulnerable.” Fans will be hard-pressed to find her performing live. She said she will be doing several acoustic tours to promote her new EP, but she prefers the studio to the stage. “If it were up to me, I would try to be in the studio every hour, every day,” she Burnett said. “Your songs are like your babies, and the studio for me is where they’re all created.” Even for being unabashedly confident, she will readily admit her shoot-from-the-hip style. “I don’t really know,” she said. “I just do what I know. It’s just naturally to me—what I’m doing—and whatever comes out comes out. “I have no idea what I’m doing,” she said and laughed. “I try to stick to what I think I’m good at, and, for me, that’s writing and singing.”


TEXT BY ANDY THIGPEN

“I’ve known since I was four years old that I wanted to be a singer. There was just this nagging thing that followed me my whole life. I didn’t choose music. Music chose me.” 36 | NOALAPRESS . COM | J ULY /AUGUST 2012

One word to describe Ally Burnett might be “unstoppable.” But that might be an understatement. “I’ve known since I was four years old that I wanted to be a singer,” Burnett said. “I just knew the first time I stepped on stage that I wanted to do it. I can’t pinpoint it. There was just this nagging thing that followed me my whole life. I didn’t choose music. Music chose me.” Since then, she has been across the country and to the middle of the ocean: the California girl lived in Hawaii for 10 years before she came to reside in Huntsville to take care of her father who is dealing with health issues. Now she’s feverishly making music and is determined to break into the music scene. So far, she’s doing a good job. Burnett has had her music featured on several MTV shows such as Paris Hilton’s My New BFF season two, The Seven, Jersey Shore, The Hills, and Friend Zone. “I didn’t start out knowing many people,” she said. “I just saw what I wanted and went after it. Nothing’s going to stop me.” She started her musical career as a pop-punk singer, which evolved into power pop, and is now somewhere in between. Musically, she said she is constantly compared to Paramore’s Hayley Williams or Katy Perry. She does like Paramore, but she doesn’t want to deal with the connotations that go with being a pop singer like Katy Perry. While listeners can possibly hear Paramore in her style, some of her personal favorites are Paula Abdul and Andrew McMahon from the band Something Corporate. “Andrew McMahon is a god among music,” she said. “The first time I saw them live, it just blew me away.” “Pop music is just ‘Let’s get drunk, party, party; blah, blah, blah,” Burnett said. “I’m singing what I love and singing what I feel. I try to grow with every record I do.” Her new summer five-song EP is expected to be a change for her in that she is embracing a more country sound—perhaps after living in the South for so long. “It’s a lot easier to be real in country music,” she said. “[Pop music] is not real. I hate to be pessimistic about it, but it’s not. When I write, I like to be real, and country kind of gives you that leeway to do so.” Ingenuity is by far the most important thing to Burnett. “For me, I think what sets me apart is I’m free and true to myself when I make music,” she said. “Everything that comes out of my mouth has meaning to me.” At this point in her life, break-ups are a hot topic because she’s allowed to be vulnerable. “Not all of my songs are about relationships and heartbreak, but that’s definitely my niche,” she said. “When it comes to heartache, the average person can relate to it. I feel like that’s when my songs are most honest— when I’m most vulnerable.” Fans will be hard pressed to find her performing live. She said she will be doing several acoustic tours to promote her new EP, but she prefers the studio to the stage. “If it were up to me, I would try to be in the studio every hour, every day,” she said. “Your songs are like your babies, and the studio for me is where they’re all created.” She is unabashedly confident, and readily admits to a shoot-from-the-hip style. “I just do what I know,” she said. “It’s just naturally to me—what I’m doing—and whatever comes out comes out. I have no idea what I’m doing,” she said and laughed. “I try to stick to what I think I’m good at, and, for me, that’s writing and singing.”

Ally is a pop-rock storyteller who knows how to pair catchy melodies with powerful lyrics that leave her songs in your head long after the pause button has been pushed. There’s a maturity to Ally’s voice, which doesn’t surprise you; the maturity in her lyrics hint at experiences beyond her years. Or maybe she just feels them more deeply; we’re just lucky that she is so masterful at putting them into words. There’s variety in the album, from slower ballad-like pieces to rock songs with a to-the-gut beat. Pay attention to this artist—she has all of the elements to make her the next talked-about star.

J ULY /AUGUST 2012 | NOALAPRESS . COM | 37


Up Close: Matt Prater Date: July 2012 Published in: The NO’ALA

Music, for Athen’s native Matt Prater, is embodied in his family. “When I started writing, I just started writing about things I knew about,” Prater said. “Family was definitely a big influence when I got into music. His oldest daughter, Madelyn, is actually one of the biggest reasons he is where he is now. “My oldest child being born was an inspiration. Up until then, I just played cover songs, and I hadn’t even thought about being a musician. For some reason I decided that I could write—or was going to. “That whole time period in my life was inspiration,” Prater said. All of the tracks on his album “Small Town Son” reflect aspects from his daily life: family, God, nostalgia, and Southern life. The song “Ten Years Two Kids” is a true story about meeting his wife and the journey they’ve been on. He said they were two kids then, and they have two kids now—Madelyn and Emmalee. His song “Dirt” reflects his admiration of blue-collar working life. And he is no stranger to it; he has been in construction since he was 15. “What they are doing is still noble to me, even though it’s not glamorous,” Prater said. “Being in the daily grind. Seeing things that could be.” And things that once were. Nostalgia is a strong element in Prater’s songs. Songs like “Small Town Son” and “Ghost Town” reminisce on simpler times when “it seems like everything was just slower back then,” he said. Other songs like “Mountain Violets” are pure poetry.

The words were taken from a poem written by his grandfather from South Dakota. It’s taken from a family story, and the child in the story is actually his grandfather. What Prater loves most about playing music the connection it creates between him and his listeners. “I love connecting with people,” he said. “I love it when people understand my songs. I love music, and I love a good song.” Some of his favorite artists include John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash. “All those guys that were kind of on the fray of rock n’ roll—folk rock, outlaw, country types,” Prater explained. Other artists like Jack Johnson, Bryan Bingham, Chris Knight, and the late, great Levon Helm have helped him round out his style. “I don’t want to limit anything by saying it’s one kind of music,” he said. “And at this point, I don’t really have to.” “I believe you need a little bit of everything in your arsenal,” he explained. “I don’t know how many good songs I can write, but I want to write a lot more.” “This point” for Prater will hopefully be changing soon. He is currently working on a project that is expecting release by the end of the year. He hopes this will put him on the “inside” of the music business. “I’m kind of an outsider in some ways. I’m not party of the music industry full time. I’m breaking in when I can, and I’d like to break in a little more. At this point, I’m pretty much a loner,” he said with a laugh.


TEXT BY ANDY THIGPEN

“When I started writing, I just started writing about things I knew about,” Matt Prater said. “Family was definitely a big influence when I got into music.” And music, for this Athens native, is embodied in his family: his oldest daughter, Madelyn, is actually one of the biggest reasons he is where he is now. “The birth of my oldest child was an inspiration,” he said. “Up until then, I just played cover songs, and I hadn’t even thought about being a musician. For some reason I decided that I could write—or was going to. That whole time period in my life was inspirational.” All of the tracks on his album Small Town Son reflect aspects from his daily life: family, God, nostalgia, and southern life. The song “Ten Years Two Kids” is a true story about meeting his wife and the journey they’ve been on. He said they were two kids then, and they have two kids now—Madelyn and Emmalee. His song “Dirt” reflects his admiration of blue-collar working life. And he is no stranger to it; he has been working in construction since he was 15. “What they are doing is still noble to me, even though it’s not glamorous,” Prater said. “Being in the daily grind—seeing things that could be.” And things that once were. Nostalgia is also a strong element in Prater’s songs. Songs like “Small Town Son” and “Ghost Town” reminisce about simpler times when “it seems like everything was just slower back then,” he said. Other songs like “Mountain Violets” are pure poetry. The words were taken from a poem written by his grandfather from South Dakota. It’s taken from a family story, and the child in the story is actually his grandfather. What Prater loves most about playing music is the connection it creates between him and his listeners. “I love connecting with people,” he said. “I love it when people understand my songs. I love music, and I love a good song.” Some of his favorite artists include John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash. “All those guys that were kind of on the fray of rock n’ roll—folk rock, outlaw, country types,” Prater explained. Other artists like Jack Johnson, Bryan Bingham, Chris Knight, and the late, great Levon Helm have helped him round out his style. “I don’t want to limit anything by saying it’s one kind of music,” he said. “And at this point, I don’t really have to. I believe you need a little bit of everything in your arsenal. I don’t know how many good songs I can write, but I want to write a lot more.” For Prater, things will hopefully be changing soon. He is currently working on a project that he expects to release by the end of the year. He hopes this will put him on the “inside” of the music business. “I’m kind of an outsider in some ways,” he said. “I’m not part of the music industry full time. I’m breaking in when I can, and I’d like to break in a little more. At this point, I’m pretty much a loner,” he said with a laugh. But maybe not for long.

Matt Prater is from a small town and proud of it. If you’re from a small town, too, there is plenty to love in his music, which centers around his stories and his rich, melodic voice. The stories are delightful Southern slices of life, each one complete in its telling; his voice draws you in and makes you want to listen to every word. It’s kind of country, and kind of sweet, really; it’s music that never gets old. This entire album is a delight.

“I love connecting with people. I love it when people understand my songs. I love music, and I love a good song.”

J ULY /AUGUST 2012 | NOALAPRESS . COM | 39


Up Close: Byron Green Date: July 2012 Published in: The NO’ALA

When Byron Green sits down at his piano to write a song, his inspiration doesn’t come from other bands or songs he’s heard: it comes from advice. “You would think, being a musician, I would get inspired from music” Green said. But instead, 24 year-old Green uses songs to voice advice for his friends and family when they are going through hard times. “Instead of sitting down and talking about it and being awkward, I just sit down and write it out,” he said. “A lot of times they’ll hear it and like it and relate to it, and then I say, ‘Do you know that was about you?’” He prefers his style of song writing because it makes the song accessible to a wide audience. “It makes it easy to write songs because there’s bound to be someone who can relate to it,” Green said. It seems pretty straightforward on paper, but Green’s style is fueled by a wide berth of genres and his ever-changing moods. This creates and interesting mix for his album, Who You Are. “There’s a bunch of different moods on one disc,” he said. “People change. Everybody changes

and evolves. The songs I write change with me. Some of them are really deep, and some of them are shallow. “If you listen to my record, I sound like a schizo, but I’m really not,” he laughed. Green’s musical experience lends itself to a variety of influences. He cites 90s bands as what he grew up with—bands like Tonic, 3 Doors Down and Matchbox 20 specifically. However, what he plays covers artists from Ray Charles to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bruno Mars to Ludacris. “I don’t have a set genre because I appreciate all kinds,” he said. “I mean, I haven’t put out a rap song yet, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t. It really throws folks off. They expect one style from a band, and I come in and do all these different things.” Any conflict? Not really. “It works out,” Green said. “You please the majority at least once each night.” And the performance is what Green lives by. “When you’re on stage, you are who you are, and no one can take that away,” he said. “An artist in my opinion should take the stage because no one can take the stage away from you.”


TEXT BY ANDY THIGPEN

40 | NOALAPRESS . COM | J ULY /AUGUST 2012

When Byron Green sits down at his piano to write a song, his inspiration doesn’t come from other bands or songs he’s heard: it comes from advice. “You would think, being a musician, I would get inspired from music” Green said. But instead, 24-year-old Green uses songs to vocalize advice for his friends and family when they are going through hard times. “Instead of sitting down and talking about it and being awkward, I just sit down and write it out,” he said. “A lot of times they’ll hear it and like it and relate to it, and then I say, ‘Do you know that was about you?’” He prefers his style of songwriting because it makes the song accessible to a wide audience. “It makes it easy to write songs because there’s bound to be someone who can relate to it,” Green said. It seems pretty straightforward on paper, but Green’s style is fueled by a wide variety of genres and his ever-changing moods. This creates an interesting mix for his album, Who You Are. “There are a bunch of different moods on one disc,” he said. “People change. Everybody changes and evolves. The songs I write change with me. Some of them are really deep, and some of them are shallow. If you listen to my record, I sound like a schizo, but I’m really not,” he laughed. Green’s musical experience lends itself to a variety of influences. He cites 90s bands that he grew up with as being influential—bands like Tonic, 3 Doors Down and Matchbox 20 specifically. However, what he plays spans artists from Ray Charles to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bruno Mars to Ludacris. “I don’t have a set genre because I appreciate all kinds of music,” he said. “I mean, I haven’t put out a rap song yet, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t. It really throws folks off. They expect one style from a band, and I come in and do all these different things.” Any conflict? Not really. “It works out,” Green said. “You please the majority at least once each night.” And the performance is what Green lives by. “When you’re on stage, you are who you are, and no one can take that away,” he said. “An artist, in my opinion, should take the stage because no one can take the stage away from you.”

When we say Byron Green has an “unusual” voice, it’s not a bad thing—in fact, it’s very, very good. There’s something about the tenor of his voice, paired with his soulful lyrics, that demands attention. He’s not the kind of entertainer who blends into the background; instead, you find yourself hungry to hear what’s next. It’s this distinction that will serve him well, and sets him apart from the rest.

“When you’re on stage, you are who you are, and no one can take that away. An artist should take the stage because no one can take the stage away from you.”

J ULY /AUGUST 2012 | NOALAPRESS . COM | 41


Up Close: Rob Aldridge Date: July 2012 Published in: The NO’ALA

He knows what you’re thinking, and no: he isn’t related to Hannah or Walt Aldridge. “I’ve never actually met Walt,” he admits, laughing. “I’ve seen him, but I’ve never met him.” Rob Aldridge might share a name with the two local familial songwriters, but he’s doing something all his own. “It’s pretty across the board,” Aldridge said. He cites stylistic influences covering everyone from Steely Dan to Led Zeppelin to Marvin Gaye. Some of his favorites are Wilco, Ryan Adams, Zeppelin, and Tom Petty. In the Shoals Area he mostly plays covers at the local bars, so his acoustic sets have a Jack Johnson with a little Sublime vibe too. “A lot of people ask what kind of music I play,” he said. “After playing so many covers, I tend to hit every genre.” Aldridge, 24, just recently signed a songwriting contract with Jimmy Nutt at Nutthouse Studios. He began working on an album in spring that is expected to be released by the end of the year. He knows his sound, but he’s having trouble piecing it all together. “I’ve had to play so much different stuff on my own,” he explained. “It doesn’t really go well with trying to put a whole album together. The album will probably stick a little closer to an alt-rock-country feel with some bluesy elements.” Aldridge, a Huntsville native, got his start playing guitar when he was 13, and guesses that he started writing around then too. His dad was a musician who played around the Huntsville bar scene. When Aldridge was a kid, his dad would sneak him in to watch and socialize. “When I did get out, I already knew all of the bar

owners, so I guess I got started a little early,” he said. Since then, he’s hit the ups and downs of songwriting. “There’s a lot of songs I’ve written that I pray no one ever sees,” he said. “I really like what I’m writing now. It’s something I’m proud of—which is more than I can say for some of the other stuff.” Prepping for his new album has let him explore his own style of writing as well. One he comes up with a riff and records it, he usually plays it backwards to find out if he can hear any new melodies. Then comes the words. “I try to pick a really simple subject and approach it from a different angel,” Aldridge said. “I like to use words that people subconsciously think of. “I want to take my own personal experiences and generalize them in a song. I heard Tom Petty say that it makes it a personal song, but it’s vague—anyone can put themselves into it.” His favorite nights are when he’s stuck in a bar doing covers and someone requests one of his originals. ‘There’s the show where it doesn’t matter what you’re doing and no one gives a shit, but then you’re playing for yourself and it’s great either way,” Aldridge said. “You can change a person’s mood if you’re playing it right. I’ll play some really obscure songs and if I play it right they will really get into it. Sometimes people come in and request (originals). When it’s a night like that, it’s usually more fun.” Either way, Aldridge wants some change, and the new album is expected to deliver. “I’m getting tired of it. I need a change, and that’s what we’re gunning for right now.”


TEXT BY ANDY THIGPEN

“There’s the show where it doesn’t matter what you’re doing and no one really cares, but in that case you’re playing for yourself and it’s great either way.” 44 | NOALAPRESS . COM | J ULY /AUGUST 2012

He knows what you’re thinking, and the answer is no: he is NOT related to Hannah or Walt Aldridge. “I’ve never actually met Walt,” he admits, laughing. “I’ve seen him, but I’ve never met him.” Rob Aldridge might share a name with the two local family songwriters, but he’s doing something all his own. “It’s pretty much across the board,” Aldridge said. He cites stylistic influences covering everyone from Steely Dan to Led Zeppelin to Marvin Gaye. Some of his favorites are Wilco, Ryan Adams, Zeppelin, and Tom Petty. In the Shoals area he mostly plays covers at the local bars, so his acoustic sets have a Jack Johnson feel, with a little Sublime vibe too. “A lot of people ask what kind of music I play,” he said. “After playing so many covers, I tend to hit every genre.” Aldridge, 24, just recently signed a songwriting contract with Jimmy Nutt at Nutthouse Studios. He began working on an album in the spring that is expected to be released by the end of the year. He knows his sound, but he’s having trouble piecing it all together. “I’ve had to play so much different stuff on my own,” he explained. “It doesn’t really go well with trying to put a whole album together. The album will probably stick a little closer to an alt-rock-country feel with some bluesy elements.” Aldridge, a Huntsville native, got his start playing guitar when he was 13, and guesses that he started writing around then too. His dad was a musician who played around the Huntsville bar scene. When Aldridge was a kid, his dad would sneak him in to watch and socialize. “When I did get out, I already knew all of the bar owners, so I guess I got started a little early,” he said. Since then, he’s hit the ups and downs of songwriting. “There’s a lot of songs I’ve written that I pray no one ever sees,” he said with a laugh. “I really like what I’m writing now. It’s something I’m proud of—which is more than I can say for some of the other stuff.” Prepping for his new album has let him explore his own unique style of writing as well. One he comes up with a riff and records it, he usually plays it backwards to find out if he can hear any new melodies. Then come the words. “I try to pick a really simple subject and approach it from a different angle,” Aldridge said. “I like to use words that people subconsciously think of. I want to take my own personal experiences and generalize them in a song. I heard Tom Petty say that it makes it a song personal, but it’s vague—anyone can put themselves into it.” His favorite nights are when he’s stuck in a bar doing covers and someone requests one of his originals. “There’s the show where it doesn’t matter what you’re doing and no one really cares, but in that case you’re playing for yourself and it’s great either way,” Aldridge said. “You can change a person’s mood if you’re playing it right. I’ll play some really obscure song and if I play it right they will really get into it. Sometimes people come in and request [originals]. When it’s a night like that, it’s usually more fun.” Either way, Aldridge wants some change, and the new album is expected to deliver. “I need a change, and that’s what I’m gunning for right now.”

It’s unfair, really, that someone so young can express such depth of emotion in his songs, and can deliver those feelings with such expression and such a wide vocal range. Rob’s voice is beautiful, a blend of rock and soul, leaning more to the soul. Pay attention to this one: if he can write and sing like this at this age, there’s no telling where he’ll go.

J ULY /AUGUST 2012 | NOALAPRESS . COM | 45


Good Food, Naturally: Jack O Lantern Farms Feature Date: September 2012 Published in: The NO’ALA

A swarm of bees swirls reeling above their hives on the outskirts of Jack-O-Lantern Farms. A man stands in a full beekeeper uniform in the summer heat, attempting to wrangle the bees with a basket attached to a pole. As Steve Carpenter pulls the uniform off, drenched in sweat, he explains that bees swarm when their hives are too small. If the queen manages to leave before a new hive is built, he’ll lose his bees. Without the bees, Steve can’t sell his all-natural honey—a favorite, Steve says, of local celebrity Gary Baker. Steve and his wife Connie are local celebrities themselves, but not many know it. Hundreds have even eaten food from Jack-O-Lantern Farms without even knowing it; they supply most of the produce for local restaurants such as the 360 Grille and City Hardware in Florence, and the Claunch Café in Tuscumbia. If that wasn’t reason enough, Jack-O-Lantern Farms is one of the only Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) farms, as well one of the only using a hydroponic system, in the area. For those curious, hydroponic means the produce isn’t grown in the ground. Instead, the roots are submerged directly in water. That water is constantly being filtered and is packed with nutrients.

“Anything grown properly hydroponically will have a higher nutrient content than anything in the ground,” Steve said. “Hydroponically grown lettuce has about three times the nutrients than field-grown lettuce.” No worries, though, the nutrients are all natural. “(The nutrients) are food grade or pharmaceutical grade, watersoluble products, so there’s nothing in there you don’t already eat,” Steve said. “We’ve found through the years that micronutrients are what really make a difference in a crop.” That makes for some really good lettuce. Right now, they have around five different kinds of lettuce, including lollarosa and red oak leaf. But lettuce is only the beginning of Jack-O-Lantern’s cornucopia. They also grow varieties of tomatoes, squash, melons, okra, collard greens, spinach, kale, and cauliflower, just to name a few. They also grown different heirloom vegetables and often experiment with new varieties. This season they will be trying out a flower sprout, which is a cross between a Brussels sprout and kale, along with an indigo rose tomato. Indigo roses turn purple in the sunlight and are reportedly to be very high in antioxidants.

“It’s something new all the time,” Steve said. “We’ll grow your normal stuff, but we go through the seed catalog and find new interesting things.” The new and interesting things don’t stop there. They also offer a substantial selection of imported cheeses, Fair Trade coffee beans roasted in Alabama, honey sticks, stone-ground grits and flour, and even homemade pumpkin rolls and zucchini breads by Connie. The little pumpkin farm that started in 1996 has definitely grown. While they still do plenty of pumpkins around Halloween, Jack-OLantern has expanded to an off-site farm in Barton, in addition to the main house in Muscle Shoals. Part of Jack-O-Lantern’s goal in its growth is to be educational. Steve has been working extensively with Auburn and Alabama A&M University in his research and methodology, and he wants to schedule an Organic Production Field Day with help from officials at the universities. He also hopes to plan spring and fall arts and crafts festivals, and wants to start incorporating cooking demonstrations. “It’s a great place for hands-on events,” said Chris Becker, the regional extension agent for Home Grounds, Gardens and Home Pests.


“Steve does a great job with what he grows, and he is taking advantage of education and research-based material.” “It’s our way to give back to customers,” Steve said. And customers seem responsive. Steve said he’s seen an increase in a lot of people and organizations wanting to support a more local, sustainable agriculture. It bothers him that people are willing to pay money for produce shipped across the country that is covered with pesticides and other unnatural chemicals. “To me, it’s just not right,” Steve said. “It’s best if you know the people you’re getting things from. And a lot of the customers, we know.” On top of that, it’s good for our local economy. “It’s a great way to help support local economy,” Becker said. “Buy local fresh product. The more money you keep in your area, I think it will benefit you ultimately.” Most people have a stigma about naturally grown foods being more expensive. Steve says that’s not the case, but the rumor is hurting business. “We’re not really that high to be Certified Naturally Grown (CNG),” he said. “We could be a lot higher.” In the end, the community is what it’s all about—the community and staying afloat. Money is not the main issue here, either way. “We’re not in this to make a killing,” he said. “We’re not wanting to make hundreds of thousands of dollars. We’re in this to make a living.”

20 »

everybody’s business

Good Food, Naturally TEXT BY ANDY THIGPEN » PHOTOS BY PATRICK HOOD 20 | NOALAPRESS . COM | S EPTEMBER /O CTOBER 2012

A swarm of bees swirls, reeling above their hives on the outskirts of Jack-O-Lantern Farms. A man stands in a full beekeeper uniform in the summer heat, attempting to wrangle the bees with a basket attached to a pole. As Steve Carpenter pulls the uniform off, drenched in sweat, he explains that bees swarm when their hives are too small. If the queen manages to leave before a new hive is built, he’ll lose his bees. Without the bees, Steve can’t sell his all-natural honey—a favorite, Steve says, of local celebrity Gary Baker. Steve and his wife Connie are local celebrities themselves, but not many know it. Hundreds have even eaten food from Jack-O-Lantern Farms without even knowing it; they supply most of the produce for local restaurants such as the 360 Grille and City Hardware in Florence, and the Claunch Café in Tuscumbia. If that wasn’t reason enough, Jack-O-Lantern Farms is one of the only Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) farms, as well as one of the only farms using a hydroponic system, in the area. For those curious, hydroponic means the produce isn’t grown in the ground. Instead, the roots are submerged directly in water. That water is constantly being filtered and is packed with nutrients. “Anything grown properly hydroponically will have a higher nutrient content than anything in the ground,” Steve said. “Hydroponically grown lettuce has about three times the nutrients than field-grown lettuce.” No worries, though, the nutrients are all natural. “(The nutrients) are food grade or pharmaceutical grade, water-soluble products, so there’s nothing in there you don’t already eat,” Steve said. “We’ve found through the years that micronutrients are what really make a difference in a crop.” That makes for some really good lettuce. Right now, they have around five different kinds of lettuce, including lollarosa and red oak leaf. But lettuce is only the beginning of Jack-O-Lantern’s cornucopia. They also grow varieties of tomatoes, squash, melons, okra, collard greens, spinach, kale, and cauliflower, just to name a few. They also grow different heirloom vegetables and often experiment with new varieties. This season they will be trying out a flower sprout, which is a cross between a Brussels sprout and kale, along with an indigo rose tomato. Indigo roses turn purple in the sunlight and are reportedly to be very high in antioxidants. “It’s something new all the time,” Steve said. “We’ll grow your normal stuff, but we go through the seed catalog and find new interesting things.”

Above: As part of the honey harvesting process, Steve Carpenter uncaps a frame of honey. Facing page: Jack-OLantern Farms is one of the only CNG farms using a hydroponic system to grow vegetables.

S EPTEMBER /O CTOBER 2012 | NOALAPRESS . COM | 21


MULTI

ME DIA


M

ultimedia writing and production is a field that is very akin to writing, and yet requires a writer to be the most adaptable. Now the term “writing” does not just mean pen and paper, or finger and keyboard and screen. Film makers who establish a definitive style are called auteurs because they are essentially writing a film. Movies and television shows are often “read” as textual in order to place them in a more literary and academic context. For the writer, this is an interesting change in how to think about the craft. No longer are the thoughts of the writer inside the brain and produced onto black and white paper. Now the audience can see or hear the thoughts or experiences of the writer, as well as read them on the page or screen. While my experience in multimedia productions is limited, I have tried to

incorporate the skills I have gained into my academic life. I’ve included several, but not all, of my productions in this section. With The Flor-Ala, I made or participated in the production of several videos covering events across campus. My “Lady Baldwin” video is a visual and audible representation of a poem I wrote. Included in this section is an excerpt from one of my blogs as well. My blog, Limb of the Nation, is an account of a road trip I took in August of 2012 following John Steinbeck’s footsteps through the American South in Travels with Charley. This particular excerpt was one of my favorites because it allows for an artistic representation of a low-point in my trip during which I was thinking about the act of traveling and struggling with cultural identity and what it means to be Southern.


Matisyahu Interview In October of 2011, I had the privilege and joy of interviewing the Jewish reggae artist, Matisyahu. His show captivated the student audience and has left a lasting impression in the collective campus memory. Onstage and backstage, his energy could be felt stronger than the bumping bass from the amps. He was performing during Rosh Hashanah, so the night had been a very spiritual experience for him. We discussed his beliefs, his music, his performances and how they are all entwined. Since he began as a beatboxing artist, I asked him if he would oblige us with a song. He did, and it had never been performed live before. I conducted all of the interviewing and scheduling with Matisyahu. Juan Estrada and Trey Alexander of the UNA Film and Digital Media Department filmed and produced the video.


Students respond to open-air preacher Micah Armstrong On April 4, 2012, open-air preacher Micah Armstrong visited UNAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campus to deliver a sermon. The campus is no stranger to open-air preaching, and students always respond with protest. Armstrong spent the majority of the afternoon spewing hate-filled, Biblically-based rhetoric targeted toward everything from Greek organizations and LGBT communities to collegiate professors and listeners of rap music. Armstrongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arrival was well-timed: UNA designated April as First Amendment Awareness Month. I spent a couple of hours interviewing students on site to get their opinions on the event. The general consensus among students I interviewed was that they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like what Armstrong was saying, but he had every right to say it.


UNA students go “One Day Without Shoes” On April 10, the TOMS corporation held the nation-wide event “One Day Without Shoes.” The event is an effort to raise awareness of underprivileged children who are unable to have food or an education simply because they do not have shoes. The UNA Fashion Forum hosted the event on campus by giving out free TOMS merchandise to anyone who went without shoes. Student journalist, Elise Cofield, and I teamed up to cover the event and find out what it was all about and why students were or weren’t participating. Elise did most of the filming and interviewing, while I handled the processing and editing.


Lady Baldwin Poem In Spring of 2012, I took a New Media Writing class. One of the projects in the class involved turning a flat text work into something that incorporated features of new media studies, which involved audio, video, still photos, text and the use of mass communication (i.e. Youtube). I chose to work with a poem of mine called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lady Baldwin.â&#x20AC;? I wrote the poem about a piano I bought at a Habitat for Humanity store, and I thought the imagery in the poem would work well for doing a project so based in visual art. This was one of my first attempts at video production, and I spent about 40 hours compiling still shots, filming clips and recording my voice. While it is far from perfect, it remains a piece I am proud of if only for the amount of time and work I put into it.


Limb of the Nation Following Steinbeck through the American South The Road to Houma

who goes on stuffing in food after he is filled, I felt helpless to assimilate what was fed in through my I left Lafayette in a hurry. The museum with the eyes...the stuffed and helpless inability to see more. canned piano music and lurking mannequins gave me (167) I can’t say I had reached that point, but the weight the feeling that I had been still too long. I wanted to of my world came down upon me during the long get to Houma this afternoon and then head to New Orleans. drive to Houma. My summer began in May with a trip I knew nothing about Houma outside of Steinto China to teach ESL students with my university. beck’s vague description. In the book, he talks about a After three weeks, I returned home and went immedoctor-friend who lives there and makes a mean mar- diately back to work serving in a restaurant. I worked tini to accompany roasted duck. Oh, the high life of a all of June, and in July I joined another University of celebrity writer with doctor-friends. North Alabama group going to London. This time I was going to document the trip and the research of When I left Lafayette, clouds covered the sky, casting the land in a tasteless pallor. The clouds cov- other students. I came back from London to New York on July 28 where I had the pleasure of observered me, as well. I’m not sure why, but I felt down. “Mean,” was the old word for it. Steinbeck talks about ing the original Travels With Charley manuscript being “stuffed” of experience: (something to be discussed later). On August 1, I was in Florence, Alabama; on August 4, I left for Austin, I had passed my limit of taking in or, like a man Friday, August 10 2012


Texas. I’m not offering this as a complaint. I have had one of the most amazing summers of my entire life, and I have genuinely loved every minute of it. But as a very close friend pointed out to me: “You’ve been away more than you’ve been home. You’ve been on three continents in three months.” It’s always when someone goes away from home that they begin to feel closer to it. My identity is not in crooked London streets or crowded Chinese buses. Now, on this country highway--with the Spanish moss swaying and haunting the breeze from ancient oaks, the clouds thick with malaise: too tired to care about rain; the white, roadside mausoleums holding the dead above ground lest they wash away, the white antebellum columns bolstering white antebellum roofs covering black antebellum histories too ashamed to show their faces--it all came crashing down. For the time, I was full. Stuffed. Helpless. This is not to say that I could not appreciate beauty. The land was still full of beauty, but its beauty had become dark in my vision. It has been years since I have seen the Spanish moss. Here is a phenomenon which I believe Steinbeck took for granted. I have not encountered much in my life that fills me with the same sense of mystery, nostalgia, history, and pride than a southern live oak covered in Spanish moss. The Southern gothic style is entangled in its grey vines. Under the moss loom white mausoleums turning grey and black with weather and growth. Here lies the gothic, as well. The dead, in the South, are not content to rest underground, and the ground is not content to have them. From behind the curtain of moss peak the plantation homes. Here the clouds grew darkest. The inner struggle of my Southern pride battling against my desire to rise above my heritage is manifested on the front porches and parlors of these


Southerners occasionally fall on their faces, that does not mean I will be brought down by it. These were my thoughts--so jagged and jumpy on the road. I couldn’t gain control of my mood or demeanor. The entire drive to Houma I felt and thought this way. I passed by many small, beautiful towns. Some towns I wanted to stop in like New Iberia and Morgan City, but I couldn’t make myself. The task of talking to anyone “Where’s the accent from?” they ask, genuinely curiseemed daunting, foreign, and out of reach. I was a loneous because my dialect isn’t overly strong. some bullet blasting through the countryside. It only started to rain about 20 miles outside Houma “Alabama,” I say, waiting. right before I saw my first bayou. It was just as sleepy and as swampy as I wanted it to be. Little collapsed “A-la-baye-ma,” they repeat, exaggeratedly southern docks ran out into the water at intervals, and I kept my and with a smile. eyes peeled for signs of alligator. When I finally got to Houma, I drove around the city looking for a convincIt’s happened many times this summer and through ing place to eat. I passed a place on the way in called The my life. I can see in their eyes some kind of judgement Jolly Inn, but I wanted to delve deeper. I found a few based off of everything they had ever been told--but places, but given my indecisive nature at the time--mixed never, or rarely, actually experienced--about the South. Much thought has led me to consider the idea that heri- with all of the single-laned, one way streets--I ended up back where I started. tages are singular. My heritage is not the stereotype of I pulled up to the The Jolly Inn with not a small Southern oppression. My forefathers worked in the fields tremor of trepidation, but I went inside anyway. Here, trying to make a living like anyone else. What they did the blues I brought had no place. They were replaced, in their lives, and what other’s forefathers did in theirs, instead, with zydeco. doesn’t make any difference to me. My life, however, must be different, for my sake. While the South and grandiose homes. Thinking, progressive Southerners, I believe, are often embattled with these issues. How can I accept years of oppression, torture, and ignorance and still have pride in my heritage? How can I, a man of the South, rise above the look of pity and condescension I receive from people when I tell them I’m from Alabama?


Adaptation: A Profile  

"Adaptation: A Profile" is a portfolio of my work completed as a professional writing major at the University of North Alabama

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