THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE CITY OF ALABASTER
ALABASTER CONNECTION MARCH 2014
ALABASTER MAIN STREET MEDICAL MILE INSIDE THIS ISSUE... Warrior Wrestlers Win Again Thompson High Student Starts Non-Profit
â€œWe toured several other daycares before deciding on Shepherd's promise. We love the staff and overall atmosphere of the center. Our son has been going there for a little over a year now and he loves it. The teachers are very focused on learning. My son will come home and sing songs and count to numbers that I would think he would be too young to know yet. The bonds that he has created with several teachers is priceless. He is an only child (for a few more days :) and I love the interaction that he gets with the other kids. This daycare is the best center that I have seen and the location is ideal. I highly recommend it as it was recommended to me by others.â€? -Janet Cooley
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From the Mayor’s Desk...
Marty Handlon Mayor, City of Alabaster
As I write this, we have had several days of wonderful weather— way above freezing temps! I don’t know if I have ever looked more forward to spring than I am this year. I want to publicly thank all our city departments for their efforts during the Snow Apocalypse and severe weather days following the one that crippled our region, as well as all citizens for being good Samaritans in every way. We all learned valuable lessons to carry forward. In other news, someone recently said FOUR consecutive state championships classifies as a dynasty! I know you join me in congratulating the Thompson Warrior Wrestling program on the fourth consecutive State Championship and the beginning of a dynasty for Alabaster’s Thompson High School. I’ve already heard fans say “fear the thumb”! We are proud of their accomplishments and their repre-
sentation of our community. I want to thank Mr. Bolaji Kukoyi and Mrs. Marsha Bates for accepting my appointment to the Alabaster Housing and Abatement Board. Bolaji is a Civil Engineer, and Marsha is a real estate professional for Keller Williams Realty. I believe they both possess a skill set which brings value to this board. I also sincerely thank Mr. Jason Howanitz and Mr. Henry Raymond for their dedication and service, and their willingness to serve past their expired term until an appointment could be made. You may have read in the news, the Alabaster Commercial Development Authority has purchased a portion of the property originally part of the proposed Exchange development. Since the contracts for that property expired, and no retail commitments were received, Aronov has stepped away from the Exchange development, and this land was available to anyone interested. The city believed it would be beneficial to our infrastructure needs to secure the land necessary to build a road, before it was acquired and used in a manner which would not allow for this needed improvement in public safety and traffic flow. The new road will allow Fulton Springs/CR 26 to continue with direct access to Hwy 31, without having to turn onto Old Hwy 31. The current signal, at the intersection of Old Hwy 31 & Hwy 31, was installed solely as a temporary measure until such time this road extension could be completed. The area along CR26 has become a major arterial of inbound and outbound traffic, accessing both the Promenade and the interstate. We hope to collaborate with other stakeholders to make this project happen as soon as possible. As always, if you hear of someone interested in locating in the City, definitely pass along their contact information. I will be hosting this quarter’s meeting of small business leaders on Friday, March 21st, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the Municipal Court Facility. We will not have an agenda for this meeting because it will be an open forum to hear from our business community. I invite all local businesses to mark your calendars and come share your issues or concerns, so we can continue to make progress on the promotion of our small business community. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at City Hall. As we welcome the warmer days and beautiful blooms of spring, let us reflect on the blessings experienced by helping our neighbors during the Snow Apocalypse, and make a point to continue positive interactions within our neighborhoods SMALL BUSINESS FORUM • MARCH 21ST and community. May we all experience the life changing joy of receiving Mayor Handlon will be hosting the quarterly Small and showing His grace and mercy Business Forum on March 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 during this holy season of Lent. a.m. at 1953 Municipal Way. This is an opportunity for small business owners to voice their concerns, ask Blessings, questions, and connect with city officials and others like themselves. For more information visit www.cityofalabaster.com
Official Publication of the City of Alabaster Alabaster Connection is published monthly and it is delivered to citizens of the City of Alabaster Editorial Board The Public Relations Committee of the Alabaster City Council Committee Chair Councilwoman Sophie Martin Councilman Rick Walters Councilwoman Stacy Rakestraw Editor Luke Camara, me2graphics, LLC Contributors Shana Camara Heather Leavell Asha Ashley
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Non-Emergency City Numbers Police 24-Hours 663-7401 Alabaster Water Board 663-6155 Fire Department 664-6818 Cover photo: Stacy Rakestraw, Dr. Patterson with Lemak, Dr. Argo with Alabama Allergy and Asthma
Scott Brakefield, Ward 6 City Council President
Annexation, Annexation, Annexation. Since the formation of Alabaster City Schools, we have fielded numerous requests regarding annexation. In many cases, areas that the City has tried to annex for years, but were repeatedly told no, are now open to the idea and are requesting information. Obviously, the main driver is our newly created City School System. One only has to do a little research to uncover the potential impact on property value with a top rate City School System. I found an interesting article by an Auburn University Montgomery Economist that Pike Road used to assess the potential impact: www.pikeroad.us/documents/deravireportwithgraph.pdf. If you visit the City of Alabaster web page and view the Ward Maps you will see some pockets of property within the City Limits that have never annexed into the City. These are easy requests to handle since they are contiguous to the City limits and do not cause much impact on City Services. Where the annexation process is challenging is when requests come from outside the City limits and are not contiguous. In these situations the challenge is to make sure what is being annexed in will not put strain on City Services such as Police, Fire, Garbage, Sewer, etc. I am excited to see the numerous requests for annexation. I am happy that people see the bright future of Alabaster City Schools and our City. We just have to make sure we grow appropriately and at the right speed so that we do not see any decrease in the quality of services provided by the City.
Sophie Martin, Ward 1
A sincere thank you to all the city employees and department heads for their extreme hard work and commitment to making sure Alabaster residents remained safe during the recent storms. I have received only positive feedback and comments on what an exemplary job was done by the City during this unprecedented event. Also, deep appreciation goes to the many daycare workers, teachers and faculty who remained with and cared for the many children who had to spend the night at school away from their parents. We should all be proud and have peace of mind that we 4 cityofalabaster.com
have such caring teachers who are willing to go the extra mile for our children. You are very much appreciated! Recently, a new water pump was installed in the Hickory Hills community off County Road 68. This new pump will improve efficiency and provide for long-term preventive maintenance. Thank you to the Alabaster Water Board and Laura Koon, Water Board Manager, for proposing and implementing this project. Recently, more than 125 children from Alabaster and surrounding cities attended Discovery Weekend at First United Methodist Church of Alabaster. Discovery Weekend is an opportunity to bring kids closer to God through an experience that will hopefully last a lifetime. This 3-day event could not have happened without the leadership of Trisa Moutardier and Jack Mosely, along with help and planning of dozens of volunteers. Thank you to everyone involved for making a wonderful difference in the lives of so many children. If you have any questions or ideas regarding Ward 1 or our city, please contact me. Blessings, Sophie
Bob Hicks, Ward 2
Attention all senior citizens. If you have any concerns or questions about your income taxes this year, contact the Alabaster Public Library for help. AARP will have four tax specialists taking appointments, at no cost to you, Monday through Friday each week up to the deadline. They will make sure all your needs are met and all your taxes are filed on time. Call soon, for the time slots available are filling up fast. This is just another of the many ways your library is here to serve Alabaster’s citizens. Thanks to AARP and the staff of the Albert L. Scott library for going the extra step. You really do need to go by and see what the library offers. You’ll be amazed. March 17th will be here before you know it, and St. Patrick’s Day will festively appear. To all those with Irish heritage, please forgive what I am about to say, since you are already aware. For the rest of us, however, here is something you may not have known: The “wearing of the green” on the 17th is a tradition, but a tradition only for Irish Catholics. For Irish Protestants, the color to wear is orange, for the big day. Green has always been the color associated with St. Paddy’s, but in truth, a part of the Irish world would not wear it due to religious differences, of which there a quite a few back in the mother land. Just a little trip to the classroom.... Finally, with spring appearing in the distance, I would join with council president Brakefield’s plea, from his last article, in encouraging you to take the family out to one of our parks for some quality time. Between the parks with gardens, ball fields and splash pads for dogs, there is a park in town that has appeal to everybody. Fresh air is great medicine. Tim Hamm and his team have put a lot of time, effort, and money into offering someplace special, regardless of your needs or expectations. Thanks.... Grace and peace, Bob
Stacy Rakestraw, Ward 3
The new “Alabaster Medical Mile” is a way for the City of Alabaster to show our support & confidence as a proven, quality location for medical care. We also want to strengthen the look and appeal of downtown Alabaster for future employers and new businesses considering this area, as well as for our residents. Building awareness and encouraging patients from surrounding areas to consider Alabaster for all of their medical needs will help with economic development and growth. We are excited to showcase Alabaster as a great place to live, work, locate your business, raise a family, educate your children, retire and receive the best medical choices and care close to home. I want to end with a big “THANK YOU” to all of the Alabaster City School employees, Alabaster PD, FD and Public Works for rising above and beyond to take care of the children and watching over us all during the recent “Winter Weather” craziness. Also, a special thank you to the many unknown heroes who helped others that were stranded or walking in the cold…what an experience those 24 hours were. I thank the Lord we did not lose power or communications - many blessings in the midst of icy chaos.
Rick Walters, Ward 4
As I sit down to write this article, we are under yet another winter storm warning. Will warmer weather ever arrive? Thank goodness we live in a community where when the elements turn against us, we can rely on our Public Safety Departments. The same can be said for our City School Administration. No one wants to be separated from their children, but these public servants made sure everyone stayed safe and sound. These services are provided for us by the taxes we pay, and like everything else it seems to cost more every year. The Alabaster Water Board recently received notice that based on a recent rate study, the Shelby County Commission is raising the wholesale water rate 7% every year for the next 5 years. We appreciate the fact that when we turn on the faucet we have good clean water, just like we know that in case of an emergency that help is close by. Even though the cost of living continues to rise there are things you can do to offset the increases. Cutting coupons is fine but a more entertaining way is to register and report your recycling at www. recyclebank.com. Once registered you can click on the various links to earn points good for gift cards and learn how recycling can keep our garbage rates as low as possible. Last year I earned $20 in gift cards which almost paid for the entire years recycling charges. I hope you will give it a try and Keep in Touch!
Russell Bedsole, Ward 5
Roads covered in sheets of ice, cars literally left abandoned in the road, students and teachers sleeping inside schools, employees trapped at their offices, chains on tires; have I just described a fierce winter storm that crippled the northeast or was that a 24-hour period in your life right here in the south? Home never felt so good after a commute that took over 10 hours for some. Let’s all hope by the time you are reading this, that winter weather like this is a distant memory. On a warmer note, our spring and summer sports will be in full swing very soon, and I can’t wait to see our parks filled once again as the weather improves. I want to give a huge thanks to Thompson High School baseball Coach Pat Hamrick and his staff. Every February, as his team is gearing up to begin high school play, he, his staff, and his players give instruction to the youth baseball players in our city. Coach Hamrick can be found down on one knee throwing pitches to 6 year olds while his staff and players teach fundamentals to our youth. To see the faces of the youth looking up at our high school players is a sight to behold. Thank you Coach Hamrick, assistant coaches, and players for your investment in our city. I was not raised in Alabaster, but with actions like these of Coach Hamrick, I am more of a Warrior every day. Get out and support our High School Baseball program and all our athletic teams this spring. Don’t forget to email me your needs and concerns; and Go Warriors!
Tommy Ryals, Ward 7
Ever figure out where your property taxes go? I did. In 2013, I paid Mr. Don Armstrong, Property Tax Commissioner in Columbiana, a total of about $1315. According to Mr. Armstrong’s office, the distribution of that money is as follows: Shelby County gets about $184, the State of Alabama gets about $158, the Alabaster Schools get about $723, and the City of Alabaster gets about $250. There’s a lot to talk about here but I thought I’d point out the money that goes to Alabaster. For that $250, I get 24/7 Police protection, 24/7 Fire protection, 24/7 Emergency Medical response, streets maintained, Library services, etc. That’s a bargain. There are County fire districts which charge $250 annually just for Volunteer Fire Dept. dues. Property taxes alone, however, are not nearly enough to pay to operate a city of 32,000 people. If you look at the City’s budget you’ll see it’s about $24 million for the General Fund. Property tax revenues account for only about 1/8 of the city’s budget. The rest is comprised primarily of sales tax revenues. That’s why we “Shop Alabaster First”… and more importantly, tell your friends from outside the city to Shop Alabaster First. cityofalabaster.com 5
ALABASTER MAIN STREET MEDICAL MILE
Councilwoman Stacy Rakestraw, Dr. Patterson with Lemak, Dr. Argo with Alabama Allergy and Asthma
own Main Street Medical Mile will bring awareness to our healthcare sector and draw even more business to the city from a much larger radius than just the city limits,” she shared. She continued, “When I heard the idea from Stacy, I was thrilled to be promoting a sector of the city’s economics.” The medical community has embraced the concept as well. “As Shelby County’s only hospital, we are very pleased to see the Industrial R oad
Shelby Baptist Medical Center
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Alabaster Main Street Medical Mile represents the thriving healthcare industry within Alabaster. With hundreds of doctors, offices and other health care professionals ready to provide high-quality convenient care, the Alabaster Main Street Medical Mile district is the perfect answer for your health care needs.
Councilor Stacy Rakestraw was visiting her home town of Jonesboro, Arkansas, when she noticed an advertisement for Matthews Medical Mile. “I was in Arkansas and saw a billboard for the Matthews Medical Mile. I researched what it was, and I discovered that it was a promotion of the medical community centered around St. Bernard Hospital,” shared Rakestraw. She reached out to a good friend, the controller of St. Bernard Hospital, who, in turn, got her in touch with the marketing director who managed Matthews Medical Mile. “I knew immediately the idea would work in Alabaster. There are not many cities that have what we have,” exclaimed Rakestraw. And from this encounter, the idea of Alabaster Main Street Medical Mile came into existence. Stretching for approximately a mile on Main Street in Alabaster is the heart of the medical community in Alabaster. The Main Street Medical Mile starts just north of the Main Street Downtown section. It ends just north of the 1022 Tower. Along this corridor, lies over a thousand doctors, specialist, clinics and healthcare industries. Rakestraw knows that the medical community is a large economic engine in Alabaster. “The amount of people who will come to the city to utilize the great medical services we offer makes a huge economic impact,” she enthusiastically said. The goal for the Alabaster Main Street Medical Mile is to bring awareness to what is already offered in this concentrated area. “There are not many cities that have what we have,” she shared. Mayor Handlon believes that this new marketing effort will bring even more people into Alabaster. “Our
www.mainstreetmedicalmile.com Exit 238
creation of the Main Street Medical Mile,” shared David Wilson, Shelby Baptist Medical Center President. He sees this initiative as a great way to bring awareness to what the medical community in Alabaster has been doing for many years now. “As the anchor of this medical district, we are pleased to partner with the City of Alabaster to help promote the medical services and healthcare professionals that are available to area residents,” he stated. He went on to say that he sees this as bringing awareness to the quality of care that Alabaster has to offer. “Last year,” he enthusiastically shared, “Shelby Baptist received the Blue Cross designation of Blue Distinction for Cardiac Care, Chest Pain Accreditation, the grade of “A” from the Leapfrog organization for patient safety, and a Joint Commission Top Performer Award.” He went on to add, “I think the promotion of health care services, through the Main Street Medical Mile, truly shows we are growing with our community.” For Dr. Sunena Argo, with Alabama Allergy and Asthma Center, the Main Street Medical Mile is a wonderful asset to the community. “You can get everything done right here in Alabaster,” she said. For Dr. Argo it makes sense for her to have an office on the mile. “The concentration of specialists we have here is great for me and my patients. The specialists I almost always refer to are here, so I can send them to a local doctor or clinic. Often times, they do not even have to leave the building,” she happily said. She added, “Here, I meet them and the physicians, personally. It really helps to build relationships between the doctors and clinics.” It is not just about convenience either, it is about better care. “I have all the support I need right here, such as getting an extra consultation or having the hospital right here. It is all here,” she said. It is this idea of better care with less hassle that is a driving force for Rakestraw. “It is our hope that the Main Street Medical Mile sparks an interest in residents to consider finding a local provider for their health care needs,” she stated. There woul be the convenience of not traveling far. “Having a concentrated amount of all these specialty services allows you to not go downtown. It is just off of I-65, it is not like you are getting stuck in all that traffic downtown. You just exit off the interstate and there you are,” she exclaimed. Better care, less hassle. For more information visit www.MainSteetMedicalMile.com
Warrior Wrestlers Win Again
Thompson High School Warrior Wrestlers have done it again. They won the state tournament for the fourth time in a row. For Coach Shawn Weltzin, it is amazing. “It feels great! It does not get old. The guys are excited, they are on cloud nine,” he said. And to celebrate, the community of Alabaster threw them a party. “It was awesome. We got a police escort on the way back. We went to Bucks Pizza, and had a big party. The guys loved it because they got to eat all the pizza they wanted,” he exclaimed. The team walked in to a standing room only crowd cheering them on. “Winning four in a row, it is huge for the program,” shared Coach Weltzin. Especially since this was the year everyone thought they might not make it. “It was kind of supposed to be
THS Warrior Wrestlers behind their four trophies.
the year everyone expected us to fall down by the wayside. It was Vestavia Hills’ time to be back on top,” he said. But it was not something that Coach Weltzin or his wrestlers thought. When Coach Weltzin was wrestling in high school, for Pelham, he never had the excitement of winning a title. “I qualified for state twice, but never won,” he shared. What drove him to become a coach was that nagging feeling of knowing he could accomplish more. “I was not satisfied with my wrestling career. I learned what not to do, I passed it on, and I turned it around,” he said. His father asked him his senior year of high school if he wanted to move to another community to win a state title. “I told
him I would win one at Pelham. Which never happened,” Coach said with a laugh. Family is an important part of Coach Weltzin. “My parents have both been there for me through all the mistakes and college years,” he shared. “They supported me going to UTC after I flunked out at one college and messed around at a couple more. They always said they did not go to college, so I had to at least go. It was a huge thing, the day I graduated college,” he emphatically said. So when he won his first state title as a coach, he honored his family for the commitment they made to him. “I gave my first ring to my dad. He loved it,” he said with a smile. His father is still showing his support for his son. “My dad still comes to all the home matches and most of the away matches. He has been at every state tournament,” Coach Weltzin proudly shared. The community has been very supportive of the program and the kids as well. “It has been awesome. Mayor Marty, Adam Moseley (School Board President), Coach Crosslin (THS Athletic Director), Dr. Steele (THS Principal), and Dr. Vickers were at the state tournament to watch us,” he said. “To have people like that come watch a wrestling tournament in Huntsville is huge. Back when we were Shelby County Schools, you never saw anyone from the board- ever,” he said emphatically. “It really gives the wrestlers a boost,” he shared, “to see these leaders and know that they have the support of the school and the administration and the community behind them. It is huge.” Next year is looking good with eleven out of fourteen starters coming back. “This year we have three starters graduating,” he shared. When asked if a fifth title was possible Coach Weltzin had the perfect answer. “Oh yeah definitely number five and six, and seven.” In what has become a tradition, the coach staff all had their heads shaved, including Coach Weltzin’s eight year old son. Up next for the wrestlers is nationals, in Virginia Beach. To find out more about Thompson Wrestling visit www.thompsonwrestlingfamily.com
Katelin Molan donates tablets to Thompson High School for special education students.
or see the abuse and harassment, Molan and other students did. “That really got under my skin!” Molan expressed. “I think all kids - all people - are a special gift from God!” She shared how she is inspired daily by how people with special needs fight beyond their personal circumstances just for a sense of “normalcy” that many people take for granted. Last year, the organization was able to donate Nabi2 Tablets to the special needs department at Thompson High. In order to raise the funding for the purchase, His Special Hands sold hair ties, guitar picks, bracelets, held a carwash, and sold candy. Soon they will be selling His Special Hands wristbands. “The coolest thing that His Special Hands has accomplished was
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Thompson High Student Starts Non-Profit Thompson High School’s eleventh grade student, Katelin Molan, started a non-profit organization, called His Special Hands, to benefit special needs students. “His Special Hands is based on donating tools to special needs classrooms,” said the young leader. “When I was a freshman, it was my first time in a public school,” Molan said as she recalled her first encounters with students with special needs. “There was a group of students that was picking on them.” She shared how the mean-spirited students made fun of the way the special needs students walked and talked. Although the victims did not hear
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“I think all kids - all people - are a special gift from God!” -Katelin Molan when we donated the tablets! So rewarding,” she exclaimed. “Sometimes it’s hard to get support from adults because we’re teenagers, but when we delivered the tablets, our organization gained respect,” she said appreciatively. She went on to explain the gratitude she has for her parents. “My parents have always been very supportive of me. One thing my dad always says is that he’s not going to do it for me,” she said. Often families are our strength and source of inspiration. For Molan, her family is that. She has two younger siblings, one of which has special needs. She started this organization, however, before her special needs sibling was born. Before she graduates next year, she hopes to get two tablets in each of the city schools to assist in the special needs programs. She wants to leave her legacy at Thompson High. Then after receiving her diploma, the goal is to go to Jacksonville State for higher education and assist any way that she can with special needs kids in different communities.
Run for Mike
The 2nd Annual Run 4 Mike 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Run will commence Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 6:00 a.m. here at Veteran’s Park. So, why are we running for Mike again? Mike Jezdimir suffers from a rare inflammatory spinal cord disease called Transverse Myelitis. Confined to a scooter, he suffers from paralysis and permanent nerve ending damage. The Mike L. Jezdimir TM Foundation was started to help fund research for a cure, but his fight is not for himself. Mike understands that the cure for TM will not be found during his lifetime, but that does not deter him and his wife, Lou Ann. They fight for the kids who were diagnosed at birth, for the girl who plays basketball in a wheelchair, for the recently diagnosed adults, for the people that do not realize they have contracted the disease. They fight for someone else. “I’m hoping that the research will be able to help Little Rachel – age 2, Wyatt – age 18 months, and Lila – age 2 who never left the hospital.” Mike shared the stories and testimonies of the families of the patients that suffer from the incurable disease. “We older people know how to deal with the excruciating pain, but babies don’t.” “We complain that we are too old [to continue raising funds for research], and then we look at Baby Rachel,” Lou Ann said softly as tears began to flow down her cheeks. “We can barely make it
Mike Jezdimir with supporters of TM research.
out of Baby Rachel’s room without losing it emotionally. These kids have such great spirits! How on EARTH do babies get this?! That’s the scary part!” Lou Ann describes how Baby Rachel blows kisses by pursing her lips together. TM has completely paralyzed her from the chest down. According to Lou Ann and Mike, adults with TM do not die from TM, but from its byproducts. Children are not so fortunate. “Most deaths with TM are suicide because they can’t deal with it,” said Lou Ann compassionately. “They go to bed feeling fine, but when they wake up, they have lost everything – limb usage, careers, etc.” Mike describes the disease as an “autoimmune disease that strips away the myelin around the spinal cord.” The communication from brain to spine is broken, and he illustrated this concept by dropping an imaginary BB into an empty beaker and then into a beaker filled with water. “Your body never receives the message,” he explained. So why run for Mike? Because Mike “runs” for someone else’s life. 100% of proceeds go into the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UAB - toward TM research. To donate or for more information, visit: mikestransversemyelitis.com. To preregister for the race, visit: active.com
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Tough Kids Day March 2nd
Jay and Christine Carr know what it looks like to be a Tough Kid. Their son Bryan died last year from Purine Nucleotide Phosphorylase (PNP) Deficiency - an autosomal recessive genetic defect on his 14th chromosome. He was unable to make one little enzyme (PNP), and this made it difficult for his body to recycle purines and make enough DNA for cell growth. He was a Tough Kid. Through many months of hospitalization and medical treatment he never lost that Tough Kid spirit. In honor of their son they decided to honor other kids like Bryan. “Tough Kids Day, March 2nd, is a day we encourage everyone to wear blue in honor of Tough Kids and send thanks and encouragement to any Tough Kid they know,” shared Christine Carr. It is the Carr’s hope that this simple gesture will raise awareness and bring a blessing. “First,” shared Christine, “it prompts people to ask, ‘What is a Tough Kid?’ Our website, www.OneToughKid.org will help more people understand the concepts of ‘toughness’ that are so well demonstrated by children and teens that struggle with a smile.” She went on to add that this gesture will also bring encouragement to the children and their families. “Finally, other children and their families will be inspired by celebrating a Tough Kid. When their busy lives connect with a Tough Kid’s story, a magical thing happens! The concept of hero is elevated. The urge to complain grows less. And the capacity to love grows more. This is the power of those who fight with faith and hope, One Tough Kid at a time,” she profoundly explained. To complement Tough Kids Day, there will be a Tough Kids Tournament on March 8th. “In this fun, athletic event, kids of all ages (elementary through high school) are invited to compete in a variety of games. Each competitor can represent a Tough Kid they know, or simply come in honor of all Tough Kids. While there, they can interact with Tough Kids (those healthy enough to come) and experience the Wall of Fame. The Tough Kid is the celebrity and the athlete is the inspired,” shared Christine. Everyone should expect to have fun and look to be inspired. “Jay and I simply want to see families come out, honor Tough Kids, and have lots of fun playing the games,” she shared. There will be races, basketball shootouts, relays, and various activities that challenge athletic skills. It is their desire to see the tournament grow every year. For Jay and Christine, hosting this event in their hometown, Alabaster, makes perfect sense. “There is something very special about this place and the type of people who live here,” Christine gladly shared. Adding, “We have received lots of love and encouragement and are grateful for our friends, school, and church.” This year the tournament will be hosted by the Alabaster YMCA. “They have been wonderful to open their doors and host the Tough Kids Tournament, design the activities, and promote within the YMCA
Bryan when he was at Duke Medical Center receiving treatment.
community,” she exclaimed. “We just want to encourage everyone through this effort,” shared Christine. And she means everyone: From the Tough Kids and their families, to the doctors and the participants of Tough Kids Day. “I encourage everyone to come out and take part. Meet a Tough Kid and let their story sink into your heart. Do not be afraid of feeling pain or even heartbreak. If it results in changing you for the better, then it’s worth it all. We can all develop a ‘Tough Kid Attitude’: T-Tenacity, O-Optimism, U-Unselfishness. G-Gratitude, H-Happiness (despite circumstances),” Christine emphatically said. To them this event is one way they are showing others how they are being healed by Jesus. “It is a testament to God’s promised faithfulness that we have not only survived this year but that our family has grown in love, the kids have gone to school, Jay has continued to run his
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business, and that we have been able to step out in faith and start One Tough Kid. It would certainly help our hearts if One Tough Kid is received well and the tournament is a success,” she shared. After a pause she added with conviction, “Yet, that is not the kind of thing upon which we base our healing.” She points to God as her healer. “I can say that it blesses me more to know we can be an agent of encouraging to other Tough Kids, families, and medical professionals.” For more information visit OneToughKid.org
To Buzz, Or Not to Buzz --Wait . . . What Was the Question? by ECCS Junior Maddie Trainor and Freshman Zach Helton “I joined Scholar’s Bowl because I know a lot of useless information I can finally put to use,” says ECCS eighth grader, Josh Ragsdale. On many Saturday mornings across the country, scores of intelligent and dedicated scholars like Josh and his ECCS teammates flock back to schools to participate in round after round of competitive, academic questions about all that “useless” information. The students compete for a chance to demonstrate their broad knowledge, going toe to toe with other teams to answer questions in a series of rounds. The competition is intense, the stakes, high… this is Scholar’s Bowl. Students Gabe Raber, Josh Ragsdale, and Ben Trainor, are among the more than two-dozen students on the Logic School team at Evangel Classical Christian School. Scholar’s Bowl, according to Josh Ragsdale, is, “a lot of crazy people trying to buzz in quickly to answer a question.” Ben Trainor remarks that the competition consists of students “frantically trying to rack their brains to buzz in and answer the question.” Similar to contestants on the popular show “Jeopardy,” teams buzz in for a chance to answer a given question and score points. At the end of a round, the team with the most points wins that round. In any tournament, multiple rounds are played to determine semi-finalist and then finalist teams. While ECCS has had a high school team for three years, this is its first year to have a Logic School Scholar’s Bowl team. In the very first match of the first year, the middle school team performed well enough to qualify for nationals, which will be held in Atlanta on May 9-11. Josh Ragsdale speaks to his enthusiasm
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about participating: “I feel very excited about it. I am very happy to represent my state and my school.” “I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” says eighth grader, Ben Trainor. “I have mixed feelings. I’m excited about the experience but nervous about losing.” Two middle school teams will represent Evangel Classical Christian School at nationals in Atlanta, during May. Each team consists of about four students who are eligible to answer questions. Joining Ben, Josh, and Gabe are Liz Turner, Luke Sanders, Grant Cotton, Russell Weas, Trevor Russell, Colten Wren, Caleb McGraw, Matthew Sides, and Grant Petersen. While the Rhetoric School team hasn’t ever qualified for nationals, Sponsor Mrs. Kyra Woodman gives the teammates much credit for helping support and inspire the younger students. Seniors Dru Bell and Abby Holcombe have been on the Scholar’s Bowl team since its inception three years ago, and both, along with several other Rhetoric School team members, serve as coaches for the Logic School team members. In fact, Dru and Abby will accompany the Logic School team to Atlanta in May, where our two teams will compete against 112 other teams. According to Dru, the Logic School teams are a lot of fun to work with. “They have a lot of potential,” says Abby, “and I think they’ll have a strong showing at Nationals.” “I’m looking forward to hearing what this group does as our future Rhetoric School team,” adds Dru. “They are an incredibly sharp bunch.” Indeed, the future of Scholars Bowl at ECCS looks bright!
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MARCH 3 Council, 7 p.m. 4 Water Board, 7 p.m. 5 Court Trials, 9 a.m. 8 One Tough Kid Tournament 10 Alabaster School Board, 6 p.m. 11 Housing & Abatement, 5 p.m. 12 Court Plea Dockets, 9 a.m. & 2 p.m. 17 Council, 7 p.m. 24 Board of Zoning Adjustments, 6:30 p.m. 25 Planning & Zoning, 7 p.m. APRIL CLEAN SWEEP DATES April 5, 12, 26 ALL MEETINGS ARE HELD AT 1953 MUNICIPAL WAY IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER View full calendar, agendas and resolutions at www.cityofalabaster.com
RECYCLING COLLECTION SCHEDULE Red -March 1st, 9th-15th, 23rd-29th Blue - March 2nd-8th, 16th-22nd, 30th, 31st
The Alabaster Senior Center is located at 1097 7th Street S.W., Alabaster. If you would like more information concerning senior programs, please contact Alabaster Senior Center at 663-1307 or awalters@ cityofalabaster.com. DRUMMING PROGRAM March 4, 10:00 a.m. No experience necessary but the benefits are endless. The benefits of drumming: improve your mood, increase circulation, and improve focus, and creativity. No charge for this program. PAUL BRYANT MUSEUM & DREAMLAND BBQ IN TUSCALOOSA Thursday, March 6 We will take a self-guided tour of the Paul Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa. We will eat lunch at Dreamland BBQ. We will be traveling on the 25 passenger bus. Cost is $1 to hold your spot. Bring $1.00 for the tour and $12-$15 for lunch. Space is limited.
PAPER CRAFT CLASS Monday, March 10, 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Join us for an ongoing class to learn the basics of paper crafting. Whether you want to make your own handmade cards, or create beautiful scrapbooks to preserve family memories, this class is for you. In each class, you will make examples of 1-2 new techniques -which can be used to make your own personalized creations during the class. Join us for fun and creativity as well as to discover your hidden talents. This class is usually taught the second Monday of the month from 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. GARDENING Thursday, March 18 Join us on the 3rd Tuesday of each month for gardening class. This year we will be learning about composting; aquaponics; hydroponics; how to design planted pots, herbs, and how to incorporate them into your garden; canning, freezing, and how to properly store food; and much more. Cost is $5/person/class. Stop by the Senior Center for more information. THRIFT SHOPPING Thursday, March 20 Do you like to shop? We will visit a few thrift and consignment shops in Hoover. This will be a fun, laid back day. We will enjoy lunch at a Japanese restaurant on Hwy 150. Cost is $1 to hold your spot. Bring money for lunch. Space is limited. BOOK CLUB Friday, March 28, 10:00 a.m. We will meet every 4th Friday to discuss the book and introduce a new book. Sign up at the Senior Center. CAPTURING MEMORABLE IMAGES WITH YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA Tuesday, April 22 and 29, 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Two 3 hour sessions) So you’ve gotten that new digital camera…NOW WHAT? This class is designed to introduce the student to basic concepts in photography and digital camera operations including: image capture, image transfer, image processing, and image sharing. Whether you’ve got a simple “point and shoot” digital camera or a more complex digital SLR, you can gain skill and confidence in your ability to capture memorable images. Bring your camera and your user’s manual. Cost is $8/person. Space is limited. Sign up begins March 3. NEW HEAD TO TOE FITNESS CLASS Mondays, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Build muscular strength, increase your cardiovascular endurance, and improve your balance, flexibility and range of motion as you have fun and move to the music! Do all this seated or standing, it’s your choice! This class will incorporate the use of hand weights, resistance tubing, balls, etc. into an enjoyable exercise class that will help you manage your activities of everyday living with ease. So join us as we strengthen our body, mind and spirit, and support each other in the pursuit to make everyday a healthier day! $2/class.
NEW WATERCOLOR CLASS Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m. All painting levels are welcome. Come learn how to paint with watercolor. $25 for 4 classes each month and includes your paper. Must sign up. LINE DANCING Thursdays 9:30 a.m. Intermediate class Thursdays 10:30 a.m. Beginner class. No experience necessary. Cost is $2 per class. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS ALL THE OTHER ACTIVITIES AT THE SENIOR CENTER... Timeless Treasures (singing),–Mondays, 10 a.m. Head to Toe Fitness, Mondays, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Wii Bowling, Tuesdays, 12:00 p.m. Rook, Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. Arthritis Foundation Exercise, Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. Zumba Gold I (exercise) Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. Zumba Gold II (exercise)Wednesdays, 2:15 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Beginner/Inter Line dancing, Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. Beginner Line Dancing, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. Bridge, Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m. Tempo exercise, Fridays, 10:00 a.m. Zumba Gold Toning, Fridays 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
ADULT COMPUTER CLASSES Due to popular demand, we are now offering three computer classes a month, through May. Call or come by the Albert L. Scott Library to sign up. 664-6822. Wednesday, March 5, 10:00 a.m. – Basic Internet & Email Wednesday, March 12, 10:00 a.m. – Microsoft Word 2007 Pt. 1 Wednesday, March 19, 10:00 a.m. – Microsoft Word 2007 Pt. 2 LIBRARY BOOK GROUP Thursday, March 20, 7:00 p.m. Join us in our discussion of The Noticer by Andy Andrews. This book explains looking at hardships and situations from different, positive viewpoints by using the fictional characters of an Alabama town and a mysterious drifter. Program takes place in the Meeting Room. JOB SEARCH WORKSHOPS Will resume in mid April FREE AARP TAX HELP FOR SENIORS February through early April Available by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Meeting Room. Call or come by the Albert L. Scott Library to sign up. 664-6822.
The Albert L. Scott Library is located at 100 9th Street N.W., Alabaster. Hours of operation are: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday - 9 a.m.-7:50 p.m. Wednesday - 10 a.m.-5:50 p.m. Friday - 9 a.m.-5:50 p.m. Saturday - 10 a.m.-4:50 p.m. Sunday - 1-4:50 p.m. If you would like more information concerning programs, please contact the Library at 664-6822. LIBRARY BOARD MEETING Tuesday, March 25, 6:00 p.m. BE A FRIEND! You can contribute through paying membership dues, serving as an officer or actively supporting activities. You can volunteer for projects that require only a small portion of your time, and you can choose your own schedule. Our mission is to assist the library in serving our city; and our success depends on Friends. Applications available at the Library or on our page at www.cityofalabaster.com BOOKS-A-MILLION Saturday, April 5, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Books-A-Million in Alabaster will host a fundraiser for the Friends of the Albert L. Scott Library. The store will donate a percentage of its sales during the event to the Friends.
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LIBRARY EVENTS CONTINUED... DOWNTON ABBEY TEA & TRIVIA March 10, 6:00 p.m. Think you know all there is to know about Downton Abbey? Come test your knowledge and maybe win a prize! Enjoy delicious snacks and teas. See if you have what it takes to win! Registration is required. Call or come by the Albert L. Scott Library to sign up. 664-6822. CAKE & CULTURE Sunday, March 16, 2:00 p.m. Have you tried traditional composting before, and it didn’t work? How would you like to be able to compost all of your kitchen scraps and not have to add browns and greens or turn anything and still have soil in four weeks? Well it is possible! Join Betty Elder to learn this new way of composting.
MARCH FUN PLANNED AT THE LIBRARY Miss Jennie’s March story time themes are: Music, Music, Music; A Little Green; Windy Days; and Animal Stories. STORY TIMES Wednesdays, 10:15 a.m. Outreach Story Time at area day care centers. TUNES & TALES Wednesdays, 3:30 p.m. Tunes & Tales Musical stories is fun for all ages. Children six years old and younger must be with an adult. Meeting Room TODDLER TALES Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Toddler Tales for toddlers and caregivers. Children must be with an adult. Meeting Room LEGO® LEAGUE March 4, 6:00 p.m.-6:45 p.m. Kids of all ages who love creating colorful constructions will love making new buildings and buddies during this program. Children six years old and younger must be with an adult. Meeting Room. HOMESCHOOL HAPPENING: ABSOLUTELY ALABASTER HISTORY March 10, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. We’ll have a visit from Mr. Bobby Joe Seales of the Shelby County Historical Society. He’ll give a multi-media presentation on Alabaster’s history! Programs are for students in 1st grade & higher. Children under 7 years old must be with an adult. Please sign up. Meeting Room. 14 cityofalabaster.com
AMERICAN GIRLS CLUB TALENT SHOW March 14, 4:00 p.m. Girls who are 7 years old and older can sign up to learn about Isabelle - the new American Girl of the Year 2014. She’s a dancer who celebrates creativity and talents. During this gathering we invite girls to show off what they can do at a talent show. Girls who will be performing need to prepare to perform no longer than 2 minutes. Come show your talent: singing, dancing, playing an instrument; show a few photos or art works; tell a few jokes. Girls can also just be in the audience. Come with or without a doll. Parents can be in the audience; any siblings in the audience must be with an adult. Meeting Room.
PARKS AND REC
The Parks and Recreation Office is located inside the Depot at 100 Depot Street, Alabaster. Office hours are Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. If you would like more information, call 205-664-6840 or visit www.alabasterparks.org. ADULT SOFTBALL REGISTRATION March 3-31 Registration for teams (not individuals) will begin on March 3rd and end on March 31st at the Depot. Fee $280.00. No registration form accepted without payment in full. Five leagues will be offered: Open Coed, Coed Church, Open Rec., Open Competitive, and Men’s Church. Teams may begin practicing once their entry fee has been paid and leagues will begin in May. For more information, please contact Morgan Lawley at 664-6840 or email@example.com START SMART BASEBALL REGISTRATION March 3, 8:00 a.m., The Depot Registration will close at 20 children, or at 5:00 p.m. on March 14, whichever occurs first. The fee is $85 ($95 for non-residents). The program is designed for children ages 3 and 4 as of April 1, 2014. It is a six week program with emphasis on fundamentals. A parent meeting will be held on March 25 at 6:00 p.m. Sessions will be held on Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. beginning April 1 and ending May 6. There will be a game and pizza/cupcake party on May 10 at 10:00 am. Registration must be done in person at the Parks and Recreation office. Birth Certificate copies are required for new participants. YOUTH SOCCER Games begin March 15 at Municipal Park. Picture Day is scheduled for March 16. YOUTH BASEBALL/GIRL’S SOFTBALL Games begin March 31. Opening Day/Picture Day is scheduled for April 5 at Veterans Park. PAVILIONS FOR RENT Several of our City Parks offer pavilions for rental use. Contact Parks & Recreation for pavilion reservations to ensure your event happens at the location of your choice. Pavilions are reserved for use by permit only. There is a $40 rental fee and a $40 deposit due with your reservation.
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Alabaster School Update Snowmagedden 2014 was quite the event, according to Dr. Wayne Vickers, superintendent of the Alabaster City Schools. “Really we have always been very fortunate to have plenty of warning about weather events,” shared Dr. Vickers. After a momentary pause he added, “This was probably the most unusual enigma of a storm. When every weather man gets it wrong, you know you are in for a treat,” he said with a smile. The morning of January 28th started off like any other school day. Students, parents, teachers, faculty, and staff all got ready for another school day. That morning as Dr. Vickers was checking weather reports he recalled a report he saw. “I remember one local weather person, at 7 a.m., saying there would be no issues - but there sure were,” he exclaimed. By 10 a.m. that morning, the snow started to fall more than anyone anticipated. “When we finally knew what was going on, the first thing we did was notify our parents,” recalled Dr. Vickers. Using the Blackboard Connect and Notify Me system, they sent out an alert. “We sent out the call right away. Our parents’ response was wonderful,” he exclaimed. As things got even worst, the schools made several more critical decisions. “We moved up our dismissal time to 11:30 instead of the initial 12. We also released car riders and student drivers early,” he shared. This decision allowed countless students to head home before the road situation grew worse. Unfortunately, by the time the buses lined up and were heading out, it was clear they would not be safe on the roads. Dr. Jeff Atkins, coordinator of operations, recalled the buses. At this point they sent out another notice informing parents that the buses would not run. Dr. Vickers recalled the response he got from the parents when this decision was made. “I want to tell you how wonderful our parents’ response was. It was full of grace and understanding.” At this point the focused moved from getting the remaining students home to providing a comfortable environment for them to spend the night. “Everyone rallied. The faculty and principals and the central office staff,” shared Dr. Vickers. To keep everyone informed, they set up phone conferences with all the parties involved. “Once we saw the condition of roads here in Alabaster, we knew that we might have to keep kids overnight,” confessed Dr. Vickers. This was a situation that no one expected.
A sign celebrating the first sleepover of the ACS during “Snowmagedden 2014”
“We circled the wagon here in the central office. We started to make the plans to feed and make the student comfortable,” stressed Dr. Vickers. The pride in his voice was clearly for the faculty and staff that stayed behind to help the students. As the day wore on, lunch was prepared and afternoon activities were planned for the remaining students. As the afternoon turned into evening, the remaining students were treated to a meal, and preparations were made for the remaining students and staff to spend the night. “I personally visited each campus,” Dr Vickers said, “to see what their needs were and to let them know we, as a central office, were going to be here for the long haul.” One of the immediate needs identified was blankets and pillows. “I sent our CFO to purchase blankets and pillows and we even had
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parents near the school drop off blankets and pillows,” he shared. He continued, “Every kid likes a little blank and a little pillow.” Another need was identified with transporting a nurse from one facility to another. “The Alabaster Police and Fire were tremendous in helping us out. When we need help, they helped us. They provided transportation that night and into the next day,” he exclaimed. As night time fell, there were 140 students who spent the night with another 104 faculty and staff members and another eleven staff members in the central office. What should have come as no surprise, but still was a pleasant reminder, was the support of the community. “I was very, very proud of the community as well. They rallied around our children,” he shared. “I have been in a lot of places,” shared Dr. Vickers, “but I have never had the comradery and seen the selfless approach that this community responded with.” He also had words of praise for the city government. “The mayor and Fire and Police chief really helped us out,” he boasted. Through the entire snow storm, the children were fed, watched over, and cared for. “They had fun. Creekview had a national artist Skype in. One of the other schools had a dance and another had a pizza party,” he boastingly shared. They all went to sleep and they all woke up the next morning with a big breakfast waiting. “The next morning we had 110 students still at the school. So what we did, through working with the fire, police and other city agency, was set up transportation for the remaining students,” shared Dr. Vickers. By 5 p.m. that evening every student was home. And what started with a forecast of clear skies ended with the first system wide sleepover in Alabaster City School history. And hopefully the last.
City Council Meeting Minutes (Abridged)
(Unabridged version of minutes and resolutions/ordinances can be found on city webpage at www.cityofalabaster.com)
Monday, January 6th, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. Council President Brakefield presiding. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. MAYOR COMMENTS Mayor Handlon thanked members of Council and public for attending the open house of new administration facility hosted on December 30 & 31, 2013. AGENDA ITEMS 1. Ordinance 14-001 Alabaster Water Board surplus items Council President Brakefield opened the public hearing on this matter allowing those present to speak for or against said ordinance after a brief introduction by Council Member Ryals. There were no comments for or against and public hearing closed. Council Member Ryals made a motion to approve Ordinance 14-001. Council Member Rakestraw seconded. Motion Passed Unanimously 2. Ordinance 14-002 Amending Court Fines & Offenses Council President Brakefield opened the public hearing on this matter allowing those present to speak for or against said
ordinance after a brief introduction by Council Member Walters. There were no comments for or against and public hearing closed. Council Member Walters made a motion to approve Ordinance 14-002. Council Member Ryals seconded. Motion Passed Unanimously 3. Ordinance 14-003 Firearms 74-4 Repeal Council President Brakefield opened the public hearing on this matter allowing those present to speak for or against said ordinance after a brief introduction by Council Member Bedsole. There were no comments for or against and public hearing closed. Member Bedsole made a motion to approve Ordinance 14-003. Council Member Rakestraw seconded. Motion Passed Unanimously
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Said meeting adjourned at 7:11 pm. Tuesday, January 21st, 2014, at 6:30pm. Council President Brakefield presiding. MAYOR COMMENTS Mayor Handlon presented a proclamation to Habitat for Humanity and Barfield, Murphy, Shank and Smith LLC for work completed in the community. AGENDA ITEMS N/A Said meeting adjourned at 6:49 pm.
Do You CommuteSmart?
Parked in the far lot at the Alabaster Lowe’s, sits a large white van with CommuteSmart written on the side. But what is it doing there? And what exactly is CommuteSmart? According to Brian Atkinson, business outreach manager for CommuteSmart, CommuteSmart is a solution to the problem of wasting away while stuck in traffic. “The average commuter from Alabaster to downtown Birmingham drives about forty-five miles round-trip, every day,” shared Atkinson. From figures provided by Atkinson, the average savings, for a commuter who finds a way to share a ride, is about $340 per month - or more than $4,000 per year. But it is not just about money. “Different people use the program for different reasons,” explained Atkinson. “Many of our users join for the cash and gift cards program. Others simply realize the substantial amount of money they save by carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, and teleworking. Still others join just to have someone to pass the time with while they travel back and forth to work. It helps reduce stress,” he shared. Many people share a ride without joining the CommuteSmart program, but if they were to join, there would be some excellent incentives to be gained. “For each day a commuter chooses an alternative commute option, and logs that commute on our website, they receive $1 per day, up to $70, during the first ninety days. After the initial period, they can continue to log their alternative commutes to receive $25 gift cards for gas, groceries, and other items,” shared Atkinson. The benefits do not end with just financial gain. “Logging also makes the commuter eligible for up to five emergency rides home per year, in which CommuteSmart will take the commuter back to their starting point at no cost to them for things such as illness, a sick child, or unscheduled overtime,” he stated. CommuteSmart was officially established at the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, in 1999, with the mission to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion. “To meet these goals,” shared Atkinson, “the program has evolved to include management of vanpools, rideshare
Commuters boarding one of the CommuteSmart vans that transports Alabaster residents every work day.
matching for carpools, administering an emergency ride home program, supporting public transit, bicycle and walking commuters, assist businesses in developing transportation demand management plans, and recently studying the feasibility of a bikeshare program (stay tuned for results on bikeshare).” The need for this program is in the air, according to Atkinson. “Our area consistently ranks among the worst in terms of air pollution,” he explained. This pollution is a leading source of respiratory harm, increased cardiovascular issues, and premature death. And the biggest cause of all the pollution? Cars. And while health is a big driving force, economics play a big part as well. “According to an annual study from Texas A&M,” shared Atkinson, “traffic congestion has cost our area over $2.2 billion in the past five years in lost time and excess fuel costs alone. By encouraging better commuter choices, CommuteSmart helps to reduce vehicle miles travelled, which in turn improves air quality, reduces traffic congestion, and promotes economic efficiency.” So how is Alabaster doing sharing rides? According to Atkinson’s numbers, fairly well. “Of the roughly 15,600 Alabaster commuters, slightly more than one in ten get to work by car or vanpool,” he gladly shared. And while many citizens of Alabaster rideshare, many more do not. “The bad news is that the percentage of commuters who drive alone in their vehicle to workplaces from Alabaster is near the bottom third of the forty-eight municipalities tracked in the CommuteSmart program area,” shared Atkinson. Roughly 85.6% of all Alabaster commuters drive alone, which is higher than Shelby County’s 84.5% and Alabama’s 84.3% averages. To register for the service visit www.CommuteSmart.org or call 205-264-8455.
Citizen Spotlight Robert Webb
What started as simply a place designed for Robert Webb to garden, has become a place for healing, a place for being united, a place for the whole community. “It started as something for me to do, and it just snowballed,” Webb said with a smile. “Just trying to get everybody together – a community thing.”
Getting the Alabaster Community Garden in motion had its share of hardships. Drafting plans and drawing up paperwork took a dedicated and supportive team. “Three people helped me with all the planning – Nanci Scarpulla, Jamie Olliff, and Tracy Coyne,” he said. “We have garden meetings once a month at the Senior Center – they’re my sounding board.” The garden is separated into two sections: one dedicated for the community and the other dedicated to assist Manna Ministries in Alabaster. Of the 32 community plots, 22 were rented out last year. Webb hopes to see more activity and participation in the garden this year. “I do all the tractor work – plow it, till it, pull it up. Then I turn it over to the renters,” said Webb. “The biggest thing is getting everybody in the community involved.” At the Alabaster Christmas Parade, Webb threw out mini necklaces with fliers attached that promoted the garden. Any money that is raised through renting the plots is put into the garden. Last year, the garden raised $2100, all of which was used for the maintenance of the garden. Aside from the difficulties of the garden startup, and its daily maintenance, Webb experienced a new hardship in his life. “I lost my wife in December,” shared the single parent of four - ages eleven, thirteen, twenty-five, and twenty-seven. Webb shared his heart-wrenching story of losing his wife to breast cancer a few months ago after beating it once. “Kim was blessed to have never felt the pain, never hurt,” he expressed. “She had just gone wedding dress shopping with her 25-year-old daughter, and that was the last time she left home.” He said that the one thing she was looking forward too was the wedding and that they had
Robert Webb and his children, Callie and CJ his two biggest helpers ,with some of the harvest from the Alabaster Community Garden.
moved the date from September 2014 to January 2014 so that she could make it. “The doctor said she had about 4-6 months, she didn’t last 3 weeks,” he said as he was overcome with grief. But he and his family are now on the journey of picking up the pieces, making new memories, and cherishing moments passed. They are celebrating the life Kim lived and remembering what is really important in life. Thus, the garden has become more than just a place to plant crops. For Webb, it has become a symbol of refuge. Whenever he starts to feel overwhelmed with things, he visits the garden. For Webb, the garden is therapeutic. What does the community garden represent for you? What is your “garden story?”
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Business Spotlight 5 Brown Circle, Alabaster, AL 35007
Denise D. Graham and Associates
Located next to the Jessup Building on Hwy 31, Denise D. Graham C.P.A and Associates has been in Alabaster for 11 years. With more than 25 years of experience, Graham and Associates consult on individual and corporate financial situations. “As Accountants, we do taxes and prepare financial statements,” said Denise Graham. Her business is based on the “relationship” between the associates and the clients. “I like all of the different people I get to meet – everybody’s got a story!” Averaging six Denise Graham is ready to serve to seven appointments you and all of her clients. daily, the associates take advantage of the ability to work remotely as well as in office. “A lot of people just drop of their returns because of the relationships we have,” she said. “Here, it is nice to have the continuum where you see the same [C.P.A] each year,” she said as she compared other large firms. Although they are an “appointment only” company, Graham and Associates welcome “first-timers” for consultations. They are more than willing to provide answers to inquiries and even share tax-saving tips. And like every line of work, accounting comes with its fair share of obstacles. “One thing I’ve learned is that things get much more complicated as the years go on,” Graham added. “Each year, the government requires more information to verify the accuracy of returns.” She continued, “The toughest thing is staying on top all the recent policy changes and laws that are passed,” she stated. “Sometimes a client will read something in the paper or see something and call you before you’ve had a chance to read up on it.” Even with the tight deadlines for tax return preparations for individuals and corporations, Graham still finds time to stay active in social organizations. She is a board member of YMCA Pelham, treasurer of the Board of CASA, and secretary of the Board of Safe House Shelby County. “It’s a big juggling act,” chuckled the busy C.P.A. “A very stressful profession, yet rewarding – good living and people that truly appreciate you.”
JACKSON COFER, MEL HARWELL AND ZACK SEAGLE Jackson Cofer - Outfield/Pitcher Pitching: Innings Pitched 41.1, Wins 5, Losses 1, Saves 2, Hits Allowed 34, Runs 18, Earned Runs 13, BB 11, SO 41, ERA 2.20 Hitting: At Bats 32, Hits 9, 2B 2, 3B 0, HR 0, RBI’s 4, Runs 8, BB 1, SO 4, AVG. .281 Mel Harwell – Third Base Hitting: At Bats 123, Hits 41, 2B 4, 3B 1, HR 0, RBI’s 28, Runs 21, BB 20, SO 13, AVG. .333 Zack Seagle - Catcher Hitting: At Bats 35, Hits 8, 2B 0, 3B 0, HR 0, RBI’s 2, Runs 5, BB 4, SO 4, AVG. .229
Gonzalez Law Firm, L.L.C. Gonzalez Law Firm is a full-service law firm committed to helping their clients resolve legal matters in an efficient and cost-effective manner. •Immigration •Family Mediator •Accidents •Wills •DUI
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In Alabaster on Main Street at 128 1st Street South (HWY 31) No representation is made that the quality of the legal services performed is greater than the legal services performed by other lawyers.
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Erika Kulp & Family
Eric Reeves & Family
FIVE THOMPSON WARRIORS TOOK PART IN 2014 NATIONAL SIGNING DAY Five Thompson High School seniors signed letters of intent on National Signing Day, February 5.
Michael Johnson – University of Montevallo Commit Track; All-State Cross Country, two-time Shelby County Cross Country Champion School Record Holder in both the 1600m at 4:31.02 and the 3200m at 9:54.02; Member of three straight Shelby County Mens’ Track and Field Championship Teams
Jaleen Jones & Family
Jake Allen & Family
Jaalen Jones – University of Miami Commit Track; Member of 2012 400m relay team that won bronze in State Finals Member of 2013; 400m relay team that won Silver in the State Finals; 2013 Silver medal winner in the 100m dash and bronze medalist in the 200m dash; Member of three straight Shelby County Mens’ track and field championships; Beyond Thompson, competed in New Balance Nationals both indoor and outdoor each of his 3 years; Competed in the AAU Junior Olympics in New Orleans each of his 3 years in High School; Member of National Scholastic Athletic Foundation Team which competed at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in the summer of 2013; Member of US Team at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine in the summer of 2013. Erika Kulp – Troy University Commit Track; Chosen as a Scholar Athlete of the Week; School Record Holder in the 800m and 5000m runs; Member of school record holding 3200m relay team; Co-captain for both track and Cross Country teams; Earned Varsity Letters each of her 3 years in both Cross Country and Track as a varsity Athlete. Eric Reeves – Faulkner University Commit Football; 1st 1,000 yard receiver in school history; Had 2026 total yards his high school career; Member of track teams 400m relay that won Bronze in the 2013 State Finals; Member of three consecutive Shelby County Mens’ Track and Field championship teams as a sprinter and jumper.
Michael Johnson & Family
Jake Allen- Miles College Commit Football; According to Coach Montgomery Jake was an excellent utility man for the Warrior Football team. As the long snapper it was up to him to ensure that the punter and place kicker received snaps that they could get their respective kicks off in a timely manner. Jake started in all 10 games in the 2013 season and was a part-time starter on the offensive line.
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Colonial Promenade in Alabaster 100 South Colonial Drive Suite 1600 â€˘ Alabaster, AL 35007