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September 20 - October 3, 2013 E-MAIL: ADVERTISING: 256-468-9425

See Our Listings Inside this edition... Pages 25 - 32

Publisher’s Point

The Heart of The Harts... Ted Hart, husband of Keep Athens Limestone Beautiful Executive Director, Lynne Hart, passed away suddenly a little over two weeks ago... Page 3

Special Feature

The Village Vet, Where Dog Grooming Is An Art By Ali Elizabeth Turner When Jordan Riner was around 12 or 13, he was at a friend’s house and was bitten by their chow. This was not just a nip, mind you, the guy still sports scars on two sides of his wrist and on his chest. However, the bright side of the Continued on pages 15

Shoe Gallery II Sponsors A Men’s Dance Off At The Pink Elephant Luncheon... Terri Dunn at the Shoe Gallery II in Athens has always been a big supporter of anything pink... Page 5

Jordan Riner, Village Vet dog groomer

PT Technologies: Affordable IT Support For Your Business By Phillip Templeton and Ali Elizabeth Turner

Spotlight Athens Rehabilitation And Senior Care Center Spotlight On Christine Biggs... Christine Biggs was born at home in Athens in 1918, and is the oldest of 11 children.... Page 19

September 20 - October 3, 2013

Publisher’s Note: On September 6th, Athens Now inadvertently published the wrong cover story for PT Technologies. The following is a compilation of services offered by the company, and is written by PhilContinued on page 17

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September 20 - October 3, 2013

Publisher’s Point

The Heart Of The Harts

Publisher / Editor Ali Turner

Sales / Editing Deborah Huff

Graphic Design

Jonathan Hamilton

Contributing Writers Shelley Underhill Lynne Hart Wanda Campbell Teresa Todd Janet Hunt Jim Doyle Deb Kitchenmaster Jerry Barksdale Shelli Waggoner Phillip Templeton

Ted Hart, husband of Keep Athens Limestone Beautiful Executive Director , Lynne Hart, passed away suddenly a little over two weeks ago. The community of Athens has surrounded Lynne and her family, as I would only expect of Athenians, and surrounded them with wondrous love and support. This is the third time this has happened to a personal friend of mine within the last six months, and it has drawn me up short. It makes me want to be the best wife I can be, because tomorrow with our mates

tiple Sclerosis. As Lynne has said publically, “Ted first got diagnosed, and then got angry.” He stayed angry for a long time and was not always easy to live with, and then “Alabama” happened, the vehicle for the miracle that occurred within him before Jesus came for him. The Harts, like so many of us _ _ _ _ Yankee transplants, never expected to end up in Alabama, let alone fall in love with it as

ens Rehab and Senior Care, he became the joy of the staff. As Lynne says, “The MS ate the anger, and the man I fell in love with when I was 15 was back.” It just so happened that their 40th wedding anniversary fell on the Sunday just after Ted passed. It could have been a tough day, but Teddy Wolcott, who takes care of the Athens Now website woke up

years ago. “I now know why God brought us here to Alabama,” Lynn said to the group. “It was for this.” Perhaps C.S. Lewis says it best: “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird. It would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being an ordinary decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” Ted “hatched,” and it w a s

Publisher’s Point . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 All Things Soldier . . . . . . . . 4 Special Feature . . . . . . . . . . 5 Calendar of Events . . . . . . . . 6 Tourism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 What Makes Ronnie Roll . . . 10 Clean and Green . . . . . . . . 12 Cooking with Shelley . . . . . . 13 Learning As A Lifestyle . . . . . . 14 Cover Stories . . . . . . . . . 15 & 17 Health and Fitness . . . . . . 18 Athens Rehab Spotlight . . . 19 Horse Whisperer . . . . . . . . . 20 Medical Update . . . . . . . . 22

clearly promised.



But, to get to “the heart of the Harts,” one must know a bit of the good, the bad and the ugly. They were high school sweethearts, and Lynne fell in love at the tender age of 15. She was 19 when they married, and he was 20. The world was their oyster, or so they thought, and then Ted was diagnosed in his early twenties with Mul-

Security Savvy . . . . . . . . 23 Jerry’s Journal . . . . . . . . 24

September 20 - October 3, 2013

we have. And, as is the case with us, we really didn’t know at first why we were here. But Friendship Church brought wondrous friendships for them both, and as the MS ate away at his body and brain, God surrounded Ted with folks who helped him work his stuff, surrender utterly to His Savior, and when he finally had to spend his last several months at Ath-

that Sunday before church with an idea that to me was providential. She invited people over to celebrate their anniversary as well as have a casual, intimate impromptu memorial service. It was there that I heard the “Ted stories,” and marveled at the extraordinary grace that had been poured out upon Ted and Lynne after they arrived in Athens nearly 10

good. And we will be fed by the “heart of the Harts” from here on out, and I am grateful.

Ali Elizabeth Turner Athens Now Information & Inspiration 256-468-9425 Website:

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All Things Soldier

A Tale Of Two Mothers by Ali Elizabeth Turner Come this June, it will be ten years since I arrived in Iraq. Obviously adjusting to life in a combat zone was no small task, and one of the things that made it daunting was that the unthinkable had happened not long before I got in country, and that was what is known as “on base fire.” On base fire is essentially what happened this past week at the Navy Yard, and I am convinced there is no worse assault on our troops than when someone who is supposed to be “watching their six,” (or back,) lethally turns on them, whether the perpetrator is military or a contractor. One of the first things I did as I settled into work-

ing in Saddam’s hunting lodge was listen to a soldier who had been one of the targets of the

Baghdad incident, and thankfully was spared. I will never forget our conversation as he softly

told me what happened. He was shook, as was I. Later during my time in Baghdad an insurgent

infiltrated the nascent Iraqi Special Forces and the result was that 12 men, (including the

mole,) were kidnapped, 11 beheaded, and the mole who had effectively

committed fratricide was allowed to escape. There are no words to describe the pall that settled over our camp. I am sure that there will be much investigation by “the experts” as to what motivated Aaron Alexis to silently raise his weapon and start shooting, and no doubt we’ll discuss the tragedy again in future issues of Athens Now. But what has struck me in this latest go around is the humble, straightforward grief that was expressed in a statement written by Aaron’s mother, Cathleen: “Our son Aaron Alexis has murdered 12 people and wounded several others,” she said. “His actions have had a profound and everlasting effect on the families of the victims. I don’t know why he did what he did and I’ll never be able to ask him why.”

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“Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone and for that I am glad. To the families of the victims I am so, so very sorry that this happened,” she said. “My heart is broken.”

While there are swirling speculations as to the state of Aaron’s mental health, compare Cathleen’s brokenness with the statements issued by Um Nidal, who is proud that she raised three sons to give their lives for Allah. The following are excerpts from the Hamas website in 2002 before and after an attack perpetrated by one of her sons in which five Israelis died.

“By Allah, today is the best day of my life. I feel that our Lord is pleased with me, because I am offering something [my son] for Him. I wish to sacrifice more [sons] for Allah’s forgiveness, and for the flag [of Islam], ‘There is no god but Allah,’ to fly over Palestine…. It’s true that there’s nothing more precious than children, but for the sake of Allah – what is precious becomes cheap.”

Not in my universe, lady. Give me Cathleen Alexis any day, and as we pass Old Glory flying at half mast to mourn the loss of innocent life yet again, find a soldier to thank for protecting you from Um Nidal.

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Special Feature

Shoe Gallery II Sponsors A Men’s Dance Off At The Pink Elephant Luncheon by Shelli Waggoner with Ali Turner

Terri Dunn at the Shoe Gallery II in Athens has always been a big supporter of anything pink. Several years ago she hosted an event called “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes.” Guys walked in high heels around the courthouse square to raise money for a breast cancer cause. Last October, Terri began a new event. She decided to gather a group of charismatic gentlemen to dance in high heels at the 5th Annual Pink Elephant Luncheon. It was such a big hit, that she decided to do it again; only this year she has recruited help. Ten ladies each have a pair of high heeled shoes, and they are scouring the county to find guys to wear the shoes this year at the luncheon. These ladies are Lisa Norris, Lauren Laye, Tiffany Pack, Sonya Inman, Carolyn Stair, Lacy Williams, Lacy Beth Newton, Amelia Smith, Julie Coblenz, and Holly Hollman. Proceeds from the Pink Elephant Luncheon will benefit the Pink Elephant Mammogram Scholarship Fund at Athens-Limestone Hospital. The Mammogram Scholarship Fund makes it possible for women who either do not have health care insurance,

or their insurance doesn’t cover a mammogram. In order to qualify for the Scholarship, your physician must have the mammogram scheduled to be conducted at Athens Limestone Hospital. If you are interested in being considered for a scholarship, or are wanting to donate to the scholarship fund, you can register at the Foundation website at The Foundation is a 501 C-3 organization, and all donations are tax deductible. Terri’s own passion for seeing women beat the “Big C” stems from walking her mom through a battle with breast cancer. Thankfully, Terri’s mom is one of the success stories, and has been cancer free for several years. It is because of her mom that she has gotten into the fight. “This year is bigger and better,” said Terri. “We have more guys, and more shoes.” The shoes are sponsored, and there are prizes both for the guys, and the gals who have tracked them down and convinced them that dancing about in high heels for the sake of women’s health is a good idea. “The guy who generates the most applause while he dances

September 20 - October 3, 2013

be at the event.

gets a weekend at the beach at the condo of Doctor Bignault,” she told me, and the gal who raises the most money wins their own weekend at the condo as well,” she added. WHNT News Channel 19’s cameraman Dion Hose is one of the “celebs” who will be “kickin’ it,” and Lisa Norris, the station’s anchor will also

The Foundation’s Pink Elephant Luncheon is sponsored in part by the Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Foundation. The Vera Bradley Company began their Foundation in 1998, and has raised millions for breast cancer research. The two founders, Barbara Bradley Backgaard and Patricia Miller, have travelled all over the world raising money to beat this dreaded disease, and

the hospital is pleased to be in partnership with them. Limestone County, you don’t want to miss the Dance Off or the luncheon! Please join us at the Pink Elephant Luncheon on October 16, 2013 at the Limestone County Event Center at noon. Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased by visiting the website, mailing a check to 100 Sanders St. Athens, AL. 35611, or calling 256-233-9236.

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Calendar of Events KALB Duck & Run 5k Sep 21 at 8:00 AM

Start and ending point will be Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens. There will be one water station mid-way through the course and splits will be called at each mile. Course is certified AL10016JD. Beautiful, shady, rolling but fast course through Athens’ Beaty, Houston, and Courthouse historic districts. Best 5k road course around! Do not miss this race! Great hospitality and prizes! T-shirts guaranteed for the first 200 participants. The first 25 to register will also receive an entry into the Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby for a chance to win $1000 or other great prizes. Prizes: Mid-Pack Award, Best of Limestone County, and a cash drawing (must be at awards ceremony to win). Cash amounts for Mid-Pack and cash drawing will be determined by the number of registered runners. Overall, masters, and top 3 in 5 year age groups for male and female. Early registration $15, race day registration $20, fun run registration $10. T-Shirts guaranteed to the first 200 registered runners. Awards and prizes awarded. Register for this mildly challenging race at, or at or call 256-233-8728 for more information.

Athens State Offers a Group Trip to Chickamauga for the 150th Anniversary Celebration Sep 21 at 8:00 AM The Center for Lifelong Learning is planning a group bus trip to the Chickamauga Battlefield Park. The day-long excursion will leave Athens at 8:00 am and return at approximately 8:00 pm. The cost will be $49 per person. If you are interested in joining the group trip to Chickamauga, please call 256-233-8260.

City Cemetery Walk Sep 22 at 2 – 5 PM

Come to the Athens City Cemetery on Hobbs Street and enjoy the characters telling of their ancestors and of others buried there. Step back in time and learn about some of the famous and some of the odd citizens buried at the Athens City Cemetery. Actors will be in period dress as they tell about their ancestors. The cemetery is on Hobbs Street, across from Athens State University. Free admission. All donations are appreciation. Contact 256-434-0441.

Canebrake Club to Host 2013 Alabama Mid-Amateur Golf Championship September 25 - 29

Wednesday, September 25: Practice Round (only for qualifiers, if qualifier is required). Thursday, September 26: Registration | Qualifier (if necessary) | Practice Round for Competitors. Friday, September 27: Registration | First Day of Competition - 18 Holes. Saturday, September 28: Second Day of Competition - 18 Holes. Sunday, September 29: Third Day of Competition - 18 Holes. Awards Ceremony Immediately Following Play. For more information, please contact Micky Wolfe: (256) 232-2412, ext. 5 or | To learn more, visit Directions to Canebrake Club of Athens, AL: 23015 Founders Circle, Athens, AL 35613

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The Lester Haunted Hospital Sep 27 & 28

For a night of scary fun, visit Lester, AL. The Haunted Lester Hospital

Athens Grease Festival Sep 28

Downtown Athens, AL will be alive and hoping as the Spirit of Athens first annual “Grease Festival - A Celebration of all things Fried”. It’s Toga time! Mark your calendars for a fried food festival and celebration of the Greek origin of our city’s name. Share your ideas, the quirkier the better! Stay tuned for more details. Contact 256-2329040 or

Haunts Walks Oct 1 at 6:00 & 7:00 PM

For a fun night with family and friends, join us for our annual “Haunts Walks”. Tour guides will tell you some of the ghosts’ stories of homes and buildings in Athens. It’s about a mile walk and takes between 1½ - 2 hours. Tickets are $5.00 each go on sale in August. Contact: 256232-5411/256-867-1438

Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention Oct 4 & 5

The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention is known as the “Granddaddy of Midsouth Fiddlers Conventions” for its role in reviving the tradition of competition in old time music. Approximately, 15,000 people are expected to attend the convention this year from more than 30 states. The convention brings some 200 contestants to compete for top prize money. There are 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing. The Convention culminates in a “fiddle-off,” between the top two fiddlers. The winning fiddler is declared “Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddle Champion,” and takes home a trophy and $1000. A total of $11,850 will be awarded to contestants. In addition to the musical competition, hundreds of musicians will participate in the numerous jam sessions conducted across the Athens State campus during the weekend. Many people camp in travel trailers and even tents during the event on the University property. The convention also includes 150 traditional arts and crafts booths. These feature many handmade and traditional items. Convention proceeds support student scholarships and University projects. To date more than $500,000 has been contributed to the University. Contact: 256-233-8261, Admission is charged.

The Bojangles Apple Annie Charity Golf Tournament Oct 11 at 12:00 PM

Canebrake Golf Club, Athens, AL. Registration at noon, Shotgun start at 1pm. 4 man scramble. $125 /player, $500 /team. Apple Annie Harvest Dinner. For more info, 256-431-1503 or 256-777-9250. Email

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September 20 - October 3, 2013

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Great Food And Great Music Is The Definition For Fall In The South by Teresa Todd, President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association city’s name and ‘fried’ food would bring out the curious and the foodies. You will find an assortment of unusual fried foods, from fried pickle spears to fried rib sandwiches to fried Oreos. I also hear the Sheriff has a special ‘oyster’ dish he is preparing.

The Spirit of Athens is preparing for another amazing and unique ‘Athens Grease Festival’on September 28th in our Historic Downtown from 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Wear your favorite toga and receive $1.00 off the $5.00 admission fee, children 3-12 years of age will also receive $1.00 off their $3.00 admission fee when they wear their toga. There will be no charge for the children’s area of activities at this year’s festival. The children’s area will also have a special guest, Farmer Jason, to entertain them sponsored by Alabama Farm Credit. Adults will have the spe-

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cial privilege to hear Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg. Bragg currently teaches at the University of Alabama and also writes a column for Southern Living. Bragg will speak at 5:00 PM in the Center for Lifelong Learning. There will be no extra charge for his presentation but you are asked to reserve a ticket; seats are limited.

It will be a day long event which starts with a fun run, Lady Athena will rein over the entire day of events. Music performers, “The Coolbone Brass Band” and Nashville guitarist, Williams Tyler will entertain throughout the event. Festival goers are encouraged to wear their togas to what may very well be the largest toga party in the south.

pus in Athens, Alabama. The musical competitions will be held on the steps of historic Founders Hall and other locations throughout the campus. A total of $11,870 in prize money will be awarded. The convention is sponsored annually by the Athens State University Foundation and the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the convention fund student scholarships and other university projects. The convention has historically attracted more than 15,000 people for the twoday event, with more than

Beginning this year, The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be home to Alabama State Champions for certain contests. The Alabama State Champion categories include Harmonica, Bluegrass Banjo, Dulcimer, Old

On Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 & 5, Athens State University will host the 47th annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention. Musical entertainment will be

You can also preregister this year for Toga Fun Run, Turkey Toss, Toga Contest, and Dub’s Burger Eating Contest at the Athens Grease Festival Facebook page. Last year there were approximately 4,500 people to attend the inaugural festival. The festival was created after a branding firm assisted the City with way finding signage. They suggested a festival to celebrate the Greek revival architecture along with the

egories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing. The festival culminates on Saturday night with the naming of the “Fiddle Champion.” Being named Fiddle Champion is highly competitive and is a coveted prize.

Mike Snider & Gary Nichols and the SteelDrivers will be headlining this year’s festival at the school’s cam-

Time Banjo, Classic Old-time Fiddler, Buck Dancing, Mandolin, Dobro, Old-time Singing, Guitar - Finger Picking, Guitar Flat Picking, Bluegrass Band, and Bluegrass Old-time Band. The winners in those categories shall for that year be known as the Alabama State Champions respectively. 200 musicians participating in the musical competition. There are 18 different cat-

To see more of what is taking place during September and October go to www.

September 20 - October 3, 2013

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September 20 - October 3, 2013


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What Makes Ronnie Roll

The Value Of Volunteers by Ali Elizabeth Turner The sermon had to do with all the hard work that is involved in building the Body of Christ, the Mayor told me. “But Ali, while I was listening, I was struck by just how important volunteers are to the life of a city,” he said. Then he chuckled and said, “I am almost afraid to mention a list in the paper, because I am afraid I might forget someone.” As we discussed various ideas for this column, it became apparent that, while we have often mentioned specific volunteers on a number of occasions, we had never earmarked Mayor Ronnie’s whole column for thanking the volunteers who literally run our city and make our community.

off a list so quickly that I had to ask him to slow down, and I hope I didn’t miss anyone. The Limestone County Planning Commission, the Zoning Commission, the Library Commission, the Ath-

So, if we have overlooked any group or individual, please accept our apologies in advance. He began to roll

ens Limestone Hospital Board, and the Spirit of Athens and the Beautification Board are all run by volunteers. “Then you have RSVP,” (the Retired Senior Volunteer Program,) he

said. These are folks who refuse to just stay home and take it easy, but are out making our community stronger. What about when we have a disaster? “How

But what about things that are perhaps less flashy? “Sunday school teachers are a gift from God to our community,” said Mayor Ronnie. “And so are parent coaches,” he added. “Think of the people who help out at nursing homes, or work with special needs kids or adults, like at the rodeo, or at Birdie Thornton? That takes a calling, to be sure. “Have we bragged on our volunteers enough?” he asked me. “No,” I answered, “but this is a start.”

A volunteer works in the kids area at the Athens Grease Festival quickly people step up to help,” he said. Churches, the Red Cross, and others get involved, and even disaster based businesses have teams up in Colorado right now helping with the floods. “We literally can’t exist in Athens without volunteers,” said Mayor Ronnie. Volunteers are a crucial financial commodity, as no community has or will ever have the economic base to be able to pay everyone for everything they do. The fall has become Festival Season in Athens. Grease Festival, Storytellers’ and Fiddlers’ oc-

A volunteer from Athens-Limestone Hospital provides a free meningitis shot during a fun run

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cur nearly back to back, and are not small events. Not a one of them could come off without volunteers.

We talked about the fact that two seemingly conflicting states exist in our city, i.e. we have both an abundance of volunteers and volunteerism, and we also have a huge need for more volunteers.

Why volunteer? There are a number of reasons, but one of them is that it is good for you, and it feels good. When you volunteer, your brain’s “feel good” chemicals kick into high gear, and your sense of worth is strengthened. “Athens, thank you!” he said again. “And oh, if you see something you don’t like, like trash on the ground, go ahead and pick it up,” he said, with the characteristic twinkle in his eye. And then we prayed.

September 20 - October 3, 2013

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September 20 - October 3, 2013

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Clean and Green

Ducks Will Be Racing… Big Prizes To Be Won!

by Lynne Hart

Our racing ducks know they’ll be swimming for a good cause on October 5th -- to support the work of KALB -- so they are all flexing their feathers and preparing for the important race! How Does it Work? For a $5 donation to Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, a speciallydesigned rubber racing duck will be placed in our Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby in your name! For a $25 donation, you will receive a CHICK-FIL-A Quack Pack which includes SIX ducks and a coupon for MOR CHIKIN from the Athens Chick-fil-A restaurant! On October 5th at 4:00 p.m., these numbered

rubber ducks will swim down the spillway at Big Spring Memorial Park (right across the street from the Fiddler’s Convention at Athens State). Heats will determine which ducks will enter the Championship Race. Every duck in the Championship Race will take home a prize for the human that adopted him! The number of ducks in the Championship Race will be determined by the number of prizes at the time of the race. What Can You Win? We are receiving more prizes all the time! Here is a list of some of the prizes you could take home: $1,000 McClary Ford Grand Prize 4 Disney World Park Hopper Passes

Canebrake Golf Package for 4

$100 Hobb’s Jewelers Gift Card

$250 Osborne’s Jewelers Gift Card

Birmingham Zoo Family Package

Monaco Pictures (Eats & Movie Seats)/Westin Package

$75 Publix Gift Card

Sam’s Town Tunica – 2 Night Stay + Dinner for 2 Marriott Shoals – 1 Night Stay Joe Wheeler State Park Lodge - 1 Night Stay Wellness Center - 3 Month Membership & Assessment $100 and $50 Cash American Leakless Co. $100 and $50 Gift Cards - Eastside Pharmacy $100 Cash - AthensLimestone Hospital $100 Cash - Limestone Drug

Dollywood Passes Theatre Huntsville Flex Tickets Village Pizza Gift Cards (3) Point Mallard Ice Skating Passes Starbucks Gift Basket How to Adopt Ducks Visit our website and follow the links to adopt any number of ducks online or print an adoption form. You can also pick up a Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby brochure at the KALB office. We’ll also be at the Athens Grease Festival on Sept 28th and at the Fiddlers Convention on Oct.

4th and 5th where we will have duck adoption forms available. What Does This Support? KALB’s programs touch every resident in Limestone County in one way or another. We provide environmental education programs in city and county classrooms, support other organizations having clean and green outdoor events, organize and provide supplies for the AdoptA-Spot program, provide an outstanding recycling program for the entire county, host the annual Earth Day Celebration which is free to the public, and much more! Visit our website or give us a call. We’d love to tell you more!

Become a Fan

(256) 233-8728

Complete Property Maintenance, LLC

256-497-6447 Facebook: PM LLC Twitter: /@ CPM_LLC Page 12

September 20 - October 3, 2013

Cooking with Shelley

We Call Her The “Cupcake Queen” by Shelley Underhill

Doesn’t matter if it’s dusk or dawn, you’ll find my daughter baking cupcakes, either for someone or something. Anything from Duncan Hines to Betty Crocker, she’s made friends with them all. You may think I’m joking, but several times I thought to myself, “She’s got a cupcake factory going on in my kitchen!” The best part about all the excitement is, she cleans up her mess, and always lets me taste the final product. Ahhh...

I also discovered, that like myself she adds to or takes away from recipes. She really out did herself with this latest batch, which I hope you enjoy! You can send your recipes and questions to Grab someone and make a memory in the kitchen, you won’t regret it.

What you will need: One Duncan Hines Strawberry Supreme cake mix. Prepare as directed on box, add one heaping tablespoon of Blue Plate mayonnaise to the batter. Pour into cupcake papers / pans and bake as directed ~ let cool. Icing: 1 stick of unsalted real butter at room temp. 2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar (sifted) pinch of salt 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract 1/2 of a container of Betty Crocker cream cheese icing Cream together butter and cream cheese icing, add salt and vanilla, slowly fold in powdered sugar until you get the consistency you desire. Frost the cupcakes only after they are completely cool so the icing doesn’t melt.

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September 20 - October 3, 2013

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Learning As A Lifestyle

New George Washington Exhibition to Open at Center for Lifelong Learning by Wanda Campbell

“The Many Faces of George Washington” is a traveling exhibit produced by George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, in conjunction with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. For the next six weeks, this exhibit which includes color graphics of paintings, photographs, and objects from the Mount Vernon collection will be at the Center for Lifelong Learning.

“The Many Faces of George Washington” looks at Washington’s leadership in the exhibition’s seven sections: Virginia Childhood, Risk Taker, Realistic Visionary, Wise Decision Maker, Impassioned Learner, Visionary Entrepreneur, and At Home at Mount Vernon. The exhibition has been made possible by a generous grant from the F.M. Kirby Foundation.

remembered about him. With this exhibit I learned so much more. For example, Washington was the oldest of six children. His father died when he was 11. At 14, he tried to enter the Navy but could not get his mother’s permission, so he became a surveyor instead. At 17, he was appointed county surveyor for Culpepper County in Virginia. At the age of 21, he inherited Mount Vernon from his half-brother. That is a pretty significant lifetime packed into just seven years, but it was only the beginning.

His next influence was in the militia. He started as a colonial officer in the militia fighting with the British in the French and Indian wars. Sixteen years later, he was named Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. For eight years the Continental Army fought the British until their victory at Yorktown. We all know that he was the first President of the United States, but not everyone knows that he was a lifelong learner. His study had over 900 volumes. He had books on architecture, agriculture,

In school I heard the “rumor” that Washington chopped down the cherry tree, had wooden false teeth, and couldn’t tell a lie. I learned that he crossed the Delaware in a surprise attack that was successful against the British during the Revolutionary War. But…. that is pretty much all I

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history, politics, mathematics, philosophy, and astronomy. He was a firm believer in education, and helped to endow Liberty Hall Academy, which is now Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

expand the profit of his farms, he built a gristmill and a distillery, which enabled him to manufacture flour, cornmeal, and whiskey to sell locally and overseas. He also ran a profitable fishing industry on the Potomac River.

Washington was a farmer and entrepreneur. To

These are just a few facts from the exhibit. You will need to stop by to learn more. There is even a scavenger hunt for kids who visit the exhibit. While you visit you can enjoy a Pop Culture Gourmet Popsicle. There are six flavors – pear riesling, raspberry cream, roasted plum, banana pudding, key lime, and peach basil. They are yummy!

September 20 - October 3, 2013

Cover Story

The Village Vet, Where Dog Grooming Is An Art

by Ali Elizabeth Turner

continued from page 1

story is that he did not let the attack shut him down with fear. After the incident, he went back over to the friend’s house, was reintroduced to the chow, and fed him a piece of cheese. He made himself be around dogs, including chows, and told me with confidence, “Mental scars can heal.” He went on to develop such a love for dogs, that by an interestingly circuitous route he became a dog groomer. The “route” began with a full scholarship to Jacksonville State University. Jordan plays the French horn well enough to have gotten him through college, but he encountered the same thing I did when I was studying music in college, and that is, that the music world is full of people who have made it their living, but have utterly lost their love for it. Jordan did not want that to happen to him, and so after three semesters he gave up his scholarship. I am sure his decision was not an easy one, and his new path did not emerge as quickly as he would have liked. Music had always been “it,” and now he had to develop other talents, as well as find gainful employment in a sideways economy that was sufficient to “keep the wolf out the door.” He has a brother who is a dog lover and worked at a big box pet store. He told Jordan about a position for a bather that had become available in their grooming salon, and Jordan took the risk, applied, and got the job. It was there that he had to face down every type of dog, including chows, and his new pas-

sion and resulting career was drawn forth. Jordan is a sharp guy who likes to do research, and came to understand that there is a serious need for groomers, even in a recession. The chain store sent

him to grooming school in Alabaster, and in order to even get in the door, one has to have bathed at least 125 dogs. “We learned all about breed cuts and characteristics, as well as blades to use,” he said, and added, “There is careful mentoring from an experienced groomer.” To pass his tests and become certified, he had to successfully groom 100 dogs in 3 months. “I have fallen in love with it,”

September 20 - October 3, 2013

he told me. “Are you a dog whisperer?” I asked. He smiled ruefully and said, “Some people think so.” He went on to tell me that “grooming is an art, a way to be creative.” In Jordan’s case, grooming also made

it possible to fall in love, as he met his fiancée, a fellow groomer, at the salon, and they are going to tie the knot on June 7th of next

year. “I love dogs, and I love working with them. I don’t get stressed out, and I think the dogs sense that,” he said. “I take my time with them, pet them, talk to them, become friends with them, and give them positive reinforcement,” he said. “They sense that,” and added, “Most dogs are glad to see me.” “Okay, but what about the dog who might want to eat you for lunch?” I asked. “That’s where the beauty of working at a veterinarian clinic comes in,” he said. “If we have a nervous dog, Dr. Lori or Dr. Dana can sedate them for just as long as the groom takes, and the dogs “come to” most often right at the end. The big box

stores can’t offer that service.” Village Vet has all the equipment to administer the sedation and monitor how the dog is doing, as well as a staff who love dogs so much that they are more than glad to pitch in and help. “I cannot say enough good things about working with Dr. Lori, Dr. Dana, and the staff,” he said, and I could tell he meant it. Jordan works at Village Vet from 7 am –noon on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and at Countryside Vet in Toney from 7am – noon on Tuesday and Thursday. His prices are competitive, and my time with him convinced me that there is no price for the love that he and the Village Vet staff pours into our pets. To make an appointment to have your dog groomed, please call Village Vet at 256-262-9111, or Countryside Vet at 256-859-2221.

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September 20 - October 3, 2013

Cover Story

PT Technologies: Affordable IT Support For Your Business by Phillip Templeton and Ali Elizabeth Turner

continued from page 1

lip Templeton, the founder of the company. We apologize for any confusion. Technology plays a huge role in running a business today. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) rely on their IT infrastructure and the support needed to keep it strong. But most SMBs struggle to justify the high expenses involved in employing full-time IT support professionals to handle all the services they need. Now, PT Technologies offers you a better option: a full team of locally-based on-demand business IT support professionals, with the combined skills and tech support experience necessary to understand and help with the IT challenges you face – and all at a price that fits your budget. At PT Technologies/IT DataWise, Inc., our business IT experts can provide you with: ● Assistance with hardware installation ● Design and configuration of computer networks ● Software training and support ● Tech support for a variety of systems ● An all-inclusive rate for IT services ● Help with compliance issues Technology is constantly changing – and so are your business requirements. It’s nearly impossible for just one person to handle all the IT management and tech support needs of a small business, but hiring a full team of on staff technology professionals is cost prohibitive. In addition, PT Technologies’ business IT support services deliver the tech support and

experience you need to keep your business operating. In some cases, our skilled professionals can work with you over the phone and Internet to answer questions, assess problems, and remotely access your system to tackle any technical difficulties. If not, we’re local, so we’ll send our technicians to your location right away to get your business running smoothly again. If your business unexpectedly lost all access to its data and IT systems, would you be prepared and able to operate? At PT Technologies, we offer a solution to this scary (but very real) possibility - complete disaster recovery and business continuity services for small and mid-size businesses in the Valley.

data at your location - if your office was ruined or destroyed, your backup would almost certainly be gone as well. With a backup copy located safely offsite, your business could still access data even if your physical location was totally lost. While this predicament might not seem likely, there are a lot of other threats to your data, such as hackers and network crashes, which might bring production to a halt. Without data access, you wouldn’t be able to fill orders, make contact with your clients, or work with vendors - and getand your staff will be more productive and able to focus on activities that grow your business and keep you ahead of the competition.

We provide a secure way to safeguard your important business data from loss due to hackers, natural disasters, system errors, and more with our specially-designed data backup and recovery solutions. Comprehensive backup and data recovery solutions from PT Technologies/IT DataWise, Inc, include: ● Protection against viruses and unauthorized access using the latest technology ● Secure access to your information using our dedicated servers ● Automated backup of your company data throughout the day, every day ● An off-site copy of your IT infrastructure that can be used quickly as a spare in the event of a system failure at your company ● Monthly invoicing for your data protection services - with no added expenses for hardware or software It’s not enough to have backup

September 20 - October 3, 2013

ting new leads and sales would be virtually impossible. How long would you be able to put activities on hold? PT Technologies can design a service package that is exactly what is needed to make your company able to get back online quickly. Finally, in order to compete in today’s business world, it’s vital for small companies in the Valley to have access to the latest technology and support - but it’s increasingly challenging to monitor and manage. If you’re attempting to maintain your IT infrastructure in-house, we offer a solution: a complete managed IT services program which will supply you and your staff with the technology

and assistance you need for one low monthly fee. PT Technologies’ Managed Services packages provide you with: ● Full-service technical support from locally-based IT experts ● Simplified monthly invoicing and the flexibility to increase or reduce services as needed ● Ongoing observation of your network and systems ● Improved staff productivity Using the latest in managed services technology, we’ll provide you with the hardware, service, and help you need at a price you can afford. If you don’t have to keep up with and manage IT needs in-house, you

We’ll closely observe your computer systems, anticipating and solving problems before they occur and giving you answers to questions when you need them. With us as your Athens-based managed services provider, you’ll receive on demand access to professionals and big business managed IT services at small business prices. With our flexible managed services programs, your IT and your budget planning become easier, allowing you to focus efforts on locating new sources of profit. Contact PT Technologies now for more information on our managed IT services and to schedule a free IT assessment for all your business system needs.

PT Technologies 885 Hwy 72 W, Ste A, Athens, AL 35611 Phone: 256-216-8009

Office hours: Mon-Fri, 9-5 Page 17

Health and Fitness

What is BMI and Why is BMI Important? by Janet Hunt

Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment. •BMI stands for Body Mass Index. This is a calculation using your height and weight. You can easily determine your BMI on various fitness websites.

•Weight loss will reduce your BMI and improve your overall health.

•Even a 10% reduction from your current weight will make a difference to your health. For instance, a 5’2” female who weighs 150 pounds (BMI=27), can improve her health by losing as little as twelve pounds, reducing her BMI to 25.

•BMI is a standard tool used in the fitness and health industry to determine if you are at a greater risk for health problems. •For adults (male and female) the BMI normal range is 18-25.

Remember These Tips: Set Realistic Goals

•People with a higher percentage of body fat, tend to have a higher BMI, except for body builders. Exceptions to BMI? •BMI is a better predictor of disease risk than body weight. However, there are certain people who should not use BMI as the basis

for determining relative disease risk: competitive athletes and body builders, whose BMI is high due to a relatively larger amount of muscle, and women who are pregnant or lactating.

Why is BMI important?

What should my BMI be?

•If your BMI is high, you may have an increased risk of developing certain diseases including but not limited to:

For Adults

-high blood pressure -heart disease -high cholesterol and blood lipids (LDL) -Type 2 Diabetes -sleep apnea

•Normal BMI 18.5 – 24.9 •Underweight BMI < 18.5 •Overweight BMI 25 – 29.9 •Obesity BMI 30 – 39.9 •Extreme Obesity BMI > 40 How can I improve my BMI?

•The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to balance the foods you eat with daily physical activity. •Losing more than 1 to 2 pounds per week is unhealthy and greatly decreases the likelihood of keeping it off. Magic Pills and Potions: •There are none. For more information, please contact your doctor, a dietician or personal fitness trainer.

-osteoarthritis -female infertility -acid reflux or GERD -urinary stress incontinence

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September 20 - October 3, 2013

Athens Rehabilitation And Senior Care Center Spotlight On Christine Biggs by Ali Elizabeth Turner Christine Biggs was born at home in Athens in 1918, and is the oldest of 11 children. She had a 7th grade education, and didn’t finish high school because she had to stay home and help with the kids. Her dad farmed, grew cotton and corn, “and he used mules,” she told me. “I never left Athens,” she said. At the age of 15, she married Douglas Stewart, had a son, and then was divorced by the age of 18. “I don’t think you

ever get over your first love,” she said. But Miss Christine is not the type to let anything get the best of her, and she did marry again, a good man by the name of J.B. Griggs. They had three children, and raised a grandson. Mr. Griggs died of pancreatic cancer, and Christine was a single mom for 17 years. She worked several café jobs in order to support her family. She then married a third

time, another good man, and Mr. Biggs died of cancer also only 13 months later. “I’ve been single a long time,” she said, “and I am going to stay that way.” She brags on her kids and talks about how well they treat her, and she is one of the bright spots at Athens Rehab. One staff member laughed as she referred to Miss Christine as a “hot tamale.” Miss Christine loves to dance to “Soul Train,” and you can see her

do so on the Athens Rehab facebook page! As we moved from her room to the pleasant activity room where we did the interview, she greeted residents along the way, and gave the “number 1” sign to a wheelchair bound Alabama fan. I found out that she worked for several years at the Council on Aging, as well as delivered papers, and she paid for her house “working like that.” Her favorite colors? Pink and blue, which are the colors she wore for the interview. Her favorite President? “Ronald Reagan,” (although she did make it clear that she thought of him more as a “lesser evil,” and was too busy working to ever pay much attention to who was in the Oval Office.) Her favorite movie? “Cinderella, that’s a good story,” she added. She also rattled off the names of several soap operas that she used to watch, but said, “I don’t have time for that anymore.” So what has been keeping her so busy? For the first time in her life

September 20 - October 3, 2013

she has time to play games, and is learning how from the activities staff. She loves the staff, especially Sara Wallace, and said “They are so sweet, and there has never been a cross word said to me.” She then divulged the fact that she had even tried to escape when she first came to the facility, “but now I love it here and have met some of the best people.”

Her favorite food? “Catfish and hush puppies, and not everybody can make good hush puppies, including me,” she said. Her favorite scripture is “Trust in the Lord with all you heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” She was a member of Bethel Church of Christ for 30 years, and wishes she could still go.

Her advice to young people? “Go to church!” Good advice, from the “hot tamale” herself, Ms. Christine Biggs.

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Horse Whispering

Shift Happens Have you ever been under the impression that you had the best interest of someone or something in mind only to discover that it wasn’t? Really, who hasn’t? That’s part of our journey of discovery and awakening. While in Colorado Springs, CO I noticed a clever bumper sticker; “SHIFT HAPPENS.” I liked it! I thought of Edward Lorenz, who presented a hypothesis to the New York Academy of Science in 1963. He simply stated his theory that a butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air that eventually was capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet. Of course, he was considered crazy, he was mocked, and the conference thought his proposal was ridiculous.

However, more than thirty years later, physics professors working from colleges and universities worldwide concluded that the butterfly effect was authentic, accurate, and viable. How interesting! Now known as The Law of Sensitive Dependence Upon Initial Conditions, this principal has proven to be a force enveloping more than butterfly wings. Shift Happens. I would like to share two shifts I have had in my thinking with our horses here at Corral Connections. The first one has to do with minerals and salt; the second with worming. I came across a quote from a man known as Dr. Dan the Natural Vet. He says, “Did you know that most commercial salt and minerals are either ‘man made’ or some other industry’s waste product? Did you know

by Deb Kitchenmaster that blocks for horses, and others for that matter, are almost useless and potentially dangerous! They just can’t get what they need, when they need it, fast enough, by trying to lick or chew from a block! When

it consists of minerals that enhance the production of enzymes in all living organisms. Perhaps this “shift” (a decision to feed loose salt/minerals) could be the “single-most healthy thing you can do for your horse.” Let’s talk about worming. All horses don’t have worms no matter what type of fear tactics you might be presented

the weather changes sudden imbalances in the grass can occur. Horses must be able to get what they need when they need it! Period!” The “shift” I made was to remove all salt and mineral blocks from our ranch. I am using Red Cal, a brand that has a prized ingredient, montmorillonite clay – a rich source of trace and other minerals. It is referred to as “living clay” because

with. Now, bear with me, please. Is it possible we are over worming our horses? How do I know when to worm

and what wormer to use? What if I, as a steward over horses, considered each individual horse and wormed as needed, rather than worm as programmed or scheduled? Would this “shift” benefit my horse? Is it possible to save some money and have a ‘safe’ worming awareness? Yes! It is. The “shift” is to simply check a fecal sample before you deworm. Your vet can do this. I work with a vet that is ‘natural solutions’ minded. For twelve dollars, I send fecal matter to be checked for worm count. Depending on these results/facts I decide whether to deworm or not. If there is a need to deworm, I will re-check that horse two to three weeks after deworming for effectiveness. For more information on either Red Cal or naturally timed deworming, contact me at I realize that mindsets and traditions die hard. I simply hope that I have made you thirsty enough to drink from the fountain of meaning and purpose, knowing your actions have value far greater than “we’ve always done it that way.” Pass the salt, please. Your NEIGHbor, Deb Kitchenmaster Corral Connections: Connecting with LIFE through a horse Animal B.E.S.T practitioner

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September 20 - October 3, 2013

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Medical Update

Five Ways To Fight Fall Allergies

courtesy Brandpoint Content (BPT) - Autumn is a season filled with crisp air, falling leaves, pumpkin carving and, of course, hay fever symptoms. Hay fever affects 23.6 million American adults and children, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Symptoms commonly appear during the spring and fall months. “Ragweed blooms from August until November, and is unfortunately lasting longer every year,” says Dr. Michael Foggs, an allergist and ACAAI president-elect. “Research suggests the season lasts up to three weeks longer than it used to, and the further north you live, the longer you have to wait for relief.”

To help sufferers fight fall allergy symptoms, ACAAI offers these tips: Know the culprits The most common sneeze and wheeze trigger during the fall hay fever season is ragweed pollen. Ragweed can begin blooming as early as August in some regions. A single ragweed plant may release 1 million pollen grains in just one day, and one grain can travel up to 100 miles. Mold can also be particularly bothersome this time of year. Unlike pollen, mold doesn’t die with

the first frost. Rather, spores stop growing during this time. Avoid triggers - Ragweed pollen and mold spores can float in the air and linger on fallen leaves. After spending time outdoors, shower and change and wash your clothes. Clean your nasal passages, too, by using a salt water rinse. While working outdoors, wear a pollen mask, such as a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask. Be sure to also keep your car and home windows closed. Find relief - If you wait until the first sneeze to take your medication, you may be too late. Allergists recommend taking your medication two weeks before symptoms begin, and continuing for two weeks after the first frost. Because of the nasal and eye symptoms associated with ragweed allergies, symptoms can linger after the pollen is no longer detected in the air. Get tested - While hay fever may not seem serious, self-diagnosis and self-treatment can be. Many popular over-thecounter medications can cause sleep disturbances and mental

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impairment. If you have symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist for proper testing. Allergy testing can be done as skin tests or as blood tests, with positive results usually appearing in about 20 minutes. Arm yourself - Allergy symptoms can be bothersome enough without flu symptoms getting in the way. Because the flu season overlaps with fall allergy season, be sure to get a flu shot. Recent studies have found even those with an egg allergy can safely get a flu shot. An allergist may also prescribe immunotherapy (allergy shots) to provide you with allergy relief during the fall months. While there is no cure for hay fever, this form of therapy can prevent and modify disease progression. Seasonal allergies and asthma are serious diseases that should be properly treated by a boardcertified allergist. More information and free allergy tools, including the My Nasal Allergy Journal, can be found at www.

September 20 - October 3, 2013

Security Savvy

Preventing Suicide Amongst Private Security Personnel by Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group As I have written before regarding the importance of Security Officers, I thought that this article would shed light on how stressful the job can be, and how unfortunate situations can arise. As a member of Private Officers International, what we try to do is promote awareness regarding the importance of Security Guards, and the need for more advanced training. Five security officers have committed suicide during the past three weeks. While shocking, it is not uncommon among law enforcement, the military, emergency workers or those who work in high stressed and dangerous jobs, or in positions where life and death is the norm. In fact, more law enforcement officers die at their own hand than are killed in the line of duty, according to the Badge of Life Mental Health Foundation. While many may not think of private security officers as emergency responders or working in high risk environments, the fact is, today’s private protectors are involved in hundreds of armed confrontations, thousands of assaults where they become the victim, and respond to every type of incident, emergency or chaotic situation that you can imagine. Often they are thrust into do or die moments where they must make split second decisions that they are often not trained or prepared for.

Security officers today have become the new first responders here in America and around the world, and with this comes pressures and stresses that this industry and its workers have never before experienced. Coupled with the daily stressors of life, poor wages, long hours and work shifts that often include overnight, week-end and holidays, security officers now find themselves with their back against the wall with no one to talk to and nowhere to turn. Such was the case of one security officer who took his own

life three weeks ago while on duty. Facing divorce, the loss of his home and financial hardships, he reported for work and within seventeen minutes was dead of a gunshot to the head. And just thirty miles north, in the capitol city of our country, another onduty security officer ended his life the same way on top of a federal building he was hired to protect. Facing relationship issues and possible criminal charges, the man chose his duty weapon for his source of resolution. And during the next few weeks that fol-

September 20 - October 3, 2013

lowed, security officers in Florida, Michigan and another one in Washington DC also ended their lives.

yet, generally, there is no recognition, no outcry and an overall feeling that no one cares.

Law enforcement officers often turn to alcohol and illegal substances, sex or gambling to forget what they’ve seen and the pain that they feel, at least for a little while, and many become addicted, depressed and feel alone. The divorce rate among police officers and emergency responders is high as are the feelings that nobody cares and no one understands. They do what they do, putting life and limb on the line every

As security officers continue to be used to patrol large communities and public spaces, responding to medical emergencies and crimes in progress, and as they continue to engage armed and wanted criminals while becoming the new front line of Homeland Security, and the whole observe and report model of the security industry continues shifting to a more proactive rather than reactive method of

day for the public and yet, they suffer alone. As a law enforcement veteran, emergency responder and certified emergency service Chaplain, I have personally been on both sides of the road. I have felt what they felt, and been where they have been. I have talked to many officers, and know the issues that they face and the feeling that no one cares, no one is listening and no one understands. More than 100 security officers die on duty each year, many suffer horrific deaths and

doing business, remember the person performing those duties. Recognize signs of stress, show empathy and true concerns for the employee and give your workers an

avenue to talk to someone beyond your office. Whether that someone be a workplace chaplain, a counselor, an emergency helpline or an employee assistance program, it makes no difference as long as it’s conveyed that they are not alone. An employee who feels valued and who is recognized for their efforts, loyalty or for going above and beyond, not only becomes a loyal and dedicated employee, they become one who feels like they are not alone when a crises comes their way. After all, without employees, there is no business.

Suicides can be prevented if we’re willing to look beyond the facade of the person, see their inner being, and are receptive to changes in the person’s daily routines, attitude, moods or changes. Security officers and emergency responders have more in common than you might realize, and it’s important to understand and to work with the many different problems and life issues that our employees encounter. We can avert the use of drastic measures on the part of someone who feels alone, depressed, unappreciated and trapped.

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Jerry’s Journal

“Spare The Rod And Spoil The Child” - Mama’s Favorite Scripture by Jerry Barksdale Recently, I was having a leisurely Sunday lunch with family and friends at a fine restaurant in Guntersville, when an ear-splitting scream at the adjoining table caused my stomach to do a somersault. Diners were startled. The little imp, seeing the attention he was getting began screaming even louder. His mother and grandmother appeared to be proud of their enfant terrible. My stomach was in knots. My parents couldn’t afford to eat in a restaurant, but if they had done so and I pulled a stunt like that I would have been taken outside and corrected. Children were more respectful and mannerly when I was growing up. My parents didn’t ask me silly question like: “My little sweet pea would you like to eat a biscuit and gravy or would you prefer that I drive to the store and buy you a honey bun?” I ate what was put before me. There was a hierarchy of offenses. Never wear a hat at the

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dinner table; don’t speak unless spoken to; never interrupt your elders; never be disrespectful, don’t act smart alecky and never, never sass your parents. Wearing a cap at the table was a minor offense, acting smart alecky could earn you a lecture, but sassing your parents would result in well… a near death experience. Mama, like a zealous District Attorney would often over charge me with an offense. “What did you mumble, Jerry?”


“Mama, I didn’t mumble anything.” “Don’t get smart alecky with me,” she replied. “I’m not getting smart alecky.” “Now, you are sassing me young’un.” The threat of being charged with sassing was enough to shut me up. Daddy whipped me only once. We were visiting the Turner family and, following a chicken stew dinner, the adults

played Rook. Sylvia Turner, about my age four or five - with long, blonde pig-tails began picking at me. When adults weren’t looking at me, I pushed her off the end of the couch with my feet. After all, a man can take only so much hounding from a woman. She feigned pain and began screaming bloody murder, interrupting the Rook game. “What in the world happened?” Mama asked Sylvia. “Jerry kicked me off the couch. Boo, hoo, hoo.” “Did you do that?” Mama asked me. “Yessum, but I didn’t kick her hard.” Daddy dragged me outside by one arm. I was kicking, screaming and begging. He broke off an oak branch and thrashed me. I was running around his legs trying to escape. “Stand still young’un,” he barked. How could I stand still and flee at the same time? The thrashing didn’t hurt me, but it scared me half to death. That was the only time Daddy ever whipped me and it was enough. A hard look from him would correct my misbehavior. On the other hand, Mama was always threatening to whip me and quoting scripture

– “Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child.” But, I wasn’t afraid of her. Sometimes she would threaten to tell Daddy when he came home and that would spoil the rest of my day. When I grew older, other rules were imposed: Don’t urinate or put rocks in your cotton sack to make it weigh more and don’t urinate in Daddy’s whiskey bottle. Making a blended whiskey out of Daddy’s wildcat would really rile him up. My maternal grandmother, Edna Holt had three boys by her second marriage and they were what Mama called a “hand full”. Grandmother Holt didn’t use a belt; she used a thick yardstick given away by a local bank. She didn’t tell the boys to get up for breakfast but once. Her second trip to the bedroom was to whack them with the yardstick. They grabbed their butts and began begging. Billy and Harold were in the 82nd Airborne and Bobby was in the Air Force. That didn’t impress Grandmother. “I don’t care if you are in the Army, when you’re here, you gonna mind me,” she said. Psychologists say that committing violence against our children teaches them to be violent and fearful. I don’t doubt that. I don’t know

its long term effect, but I do know that it gets immediate results. I attribute much of my success in life to Mr. B. L Rich, Principal of East Limestone School in the 1950’s. Mr. Rich had long, brushy eyebrows and was a strict disciplinarian. I wore a black motorcycle jacket with skull and crossbones on the back and walked around with my collar turned up, mumbling. I thought of myself as James Dean in Rebel without a Cause. To further my self-image, I threw a cherry bomb down the hallway. The explosion rocked the school, and wouldn’t you know it, a stool pigeon turned me in. Mr. Rich called me to his office and asked if I did it – which I admitted – and then took a large paddle from his desk. “Bend over and hold your ankles,” he commanded. He burned a hole in my smoking jeans and after three licks I forgot I was James Dean and began begging for mercy. I learned that begging teaches humility. It was several days before I could sit or sleep on my back, but it gave me time to reconsider my image. Being James Dean was just too painful. I never got a chance to thank Mr. Rich for helping me out, but I’ll always be grateful to him.

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