Oxford Access Fall 2016

Page 1





A Tribute to Mayor Leon Smith- Pg. 64

vol1issue2 cover - independent pages.indd 1

8/8/16 12:25 PM


On behalf of the City Council and myself, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the City of Oxford. We are excited to bring you the next edition of Oxford Access and hope you enjoy looking through the magazine and reading the articles. To the citizens of Oxford, I want you to know that we appreciate each and every one of you. We are so thankful that you have chosen Oxford to live and raise your families, and we will strive every day to keep improving our City for you. Oxford continues to prosper, and it is wonderful to offer so many opportunities for our citizens and visitors. We offer a wide variety of hotels, many excellent restaurants, and beautiful parks for family outings. Our Performing Arts Center has brought us outstanding entertainment and art exhibits. If you have not taken the opportunity to attend one of the performances I hope you can do so soon. We are all anticipating the opening of Choccolocco Park in October, and we invite you to come out and see this beautiful new complex when it opens. I encourage you to take advantage of all that Oxford has to offer. I encourage you to call on our staff if you have any questions, or if there is any way in which we can help you. Thank you all for helping to make Oxford great! Sincerely, Mayor Leon Smith

vol1issue2 cover - independent pages.indd 2

8/5/16 6:04 PM


VOLUME 1, ISSUE 3 Oxford Access

EDITORS Joshua Craft Amy Henderson Emil Loeken John Longshore





GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Emil Loeken John Longshore ON THE COVER Mayor Leon Smith Painted by Leon Loard


The Oxford Access magazine is published by the City of Oxford Marketing & Public Communications Department: P.O. Box 3383, Oxford, AL, 36203.


phone: (256) 241-6668 email: emil@oxfordal.us web: oxfordaccess.com


14 www.oxfordaccess.com : 1

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 1

8/8/16 12:13 PM



Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 2

8/5/16 6:46 PM

After governing A League of Our Own in the City of Oxford since 2011, Ginger Munroe has decided to pass the torch to Jay Borchard and Jordan Pilkington who will serve as the new president and vice president for the league. After being inspired by her niece, who has autism, to start the league, Munroe has worked tirelessly to not only make the dreams of children with physical and/or mental disabilities come to fruition, but she has also made sure the organization did what it intended to do. It has enriched the community by providing leadership, facilities, and administration for a baseball program in a manner consistent with cooperation and community values--every player hits, every player gets on base, every player scores, and every player wins. Since starting the league, Munroe’s passion for children with special needs has grown significantly. “Oh, I love them. You just want them to do well,” Munroe said. “There’s no other way of explaining it. They win your heart, every last one of them and their families.” Over the years, the league has grown in more than one way. First, the number of participants went from 18 children to 156. Second and more importantly, the self-confidence of each child seems to have skyrocketed from the very first game. Year after year, the friendships formed have continued to flourish, whether between teammates, buddies (volunteers assigned to the participants), family members, or spectators. A League of Our Own gives so much to not only the participating children, but to the volunteers and buddies, the parents and caregivers, the people who help run it, and to city. When Munroe first started the initiative, one of her goals was to see the children succeed--maybe even succeed in something their families never thought would be possible. With the confidence gained from the league and the love and support around each child, the kids have pushed their limits and reached milestones they only dreamed of. “From participating in the league and playing baseball at a top notch facility, the children have learned what it feels like to reach a goal or a milestone. They have learned that with hard work, determination, and support, anything is achievable,” Munroe said. “It melts my heart seeing how proud and happy the children get when seeing their friends succeed. I will never forget the excitement and smiles on the kids’ faces and how both teams cheered together

when a little boy managed, for the first time, to run to first base without the crutches he is usually bound to.” A League of Our Own has helped foster a new kind of awareness around those with special needs. With the generosity and support of the Oxford citizens, the children have been put in the spotlight and made a priority. In return, the kids have united every part of our city. They have pulled our community together and given us a sense of civic pride and collective ambition. They have taught us many valuable lessons, letting us realize that these children want nothing more than the chance to be just like everyone else. Munroe’s perception of children with special needs has changed during her time as league president. “In the beginning, I just wanted my niece and other children like her get a chance at being active and playing ball like able-bodied children,” Munroe said. “Now, I realize that no matter the disability a child might have--as long as there are no boundaries and ‘rules’ on what they can or cannot do--they can succeed at whatever they try. They are incredibly talented with so many abilities. While serving as president, I have seen it time after time. Give the kids a shot and believe in them, then sit back and watch them do it right in front of you!” When asked about some of her favorite memories from the league, Munroe tells a story about a little girl who was told she would never be able to walk or talk. She can now walk, and she knows sign language. “Once it was her turn to hit, she had to choose what bat she wanted to use. That is when the tears started flowing,” Munroe said. “The girl picked a pink bat, and it meant the world to her mother. It showed that her child is just like any other girls her age. She wanted a pink bat and a pink helmet like the rest of them. It is an amazing experience witnessing how ‘small’ things like that can fill parents’ hearts with joy.” Munroe hopes to see the league continuing to grow when she steps down from its helm. She has loved the league for many years, and it will always have a special place in her heart. With a big smile on her face and eyes filled with tears, she says, “Thank you, Oxford. Thank you, volunteers. Thank you, buddies. Thank you, families, for sharing your kids with me. But most of all, thank you, children, for making me see life differently.”

www.oxfordaccess.com : 3

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 3

8/5/16 6:46 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 4

8/5/16 6:46 PM


WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU With the recent purchase of the park on the corner of Highway 78 and Bynum Cutoff Rd, the City of Oxford would like to know how the park can be improved to best serve the community. Please email your thoughts and ideas to marketing@oxfordal.us

www.oxfordaccess.com : 5

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 5

8/5/16 6:46 PM

PUBLIC WORKS UPDATE FROM RUSTY V. GANN, P.E. I hope this letter finds you well. It is an honor to come to you again with a quarterly update on Public Works projects in our great city! The road work in Pinewood Subdivision is progressing nicely and on schedule. We are currently working on the west side of Pinecliff Drive and moving eastward. This project will also include the same type of work along West 9th Street. Upon completion of the trench work, we will allow the improved areas a period of time for natural settlement to occur. We will continually monitor and address areas that need attention due to settlement or washing from surface water. After a period of time, the subdivision will have the existing asphalt milled where needed and the subdivision will be repaved. This project could have been simply just a resurfacing project that would have appeared to be the solution until the settling showed through the new asphalt over time. That is why we took extra steps in hopefully correcting the issues permanently. This is a lengthier process with a little more inconvenience at times, so we certainly appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to achieve a great finished product. The next subdivision will be the Forest Hills Subdivision which lies basically across Highway 78 to the south of Pinewood. This will be the same type of project that is being done now in Pinewood. We anticipate this to start in late 2016 or early 2017. From there, we will tentatively move to the Sherwood Forest subdivision and address areas as needed there. Preliminary measures are wrapping up on Snow Street. That project will be starting in late 2016 or early 2017 also. It will improve existing and add additional storm drain structures to alleviate flooding issues as well as resurface Snow Street.

Preliminary design work is also underway at the intersection of Barry Street and Highway 78. This project will improve traffic flow at this intersection by adding left turn lanes on Barry Street in both directions as well as extending the current right turn lanes along Barry Street. Hopefully, we can have this project under construction in the next year. Construction work has been completed on the roadway relocation project along Boiling Springs Road across from Choccolocco Park. I am excited for everyone to see all that park has to offer. It is truly an amazing project, and I’m honored to have been the project engineer for the city on that project. We have another project in the area of Choccolocco Park and Boiling Springs Road. The city and the Alabama Department of Transportation have partnered together to contribute more than $7 million dollars in a project to widen both bridges along Leon Smith Parkway in between the southern entrance to the Oxford Exchange and the new intersection at Choccolocco Park. This project will allow for a 4-lane section with proper turning lanes to progress through the current intersections and terminate at the Choccolocco Park intersection. This is a massive project and will take a lot of effort to pull off under current traffic volumes, but we are excited about it and believe it will be a huge help to traffic congestion. I hope you all find this update to be informative and look forward to speaking to you all again next quarter. - Rusty Gann


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 6

8/5/16 6:46 PM

NEW INDUSTRIAL HEIGHTS WRITTEN BY THE MARKETING DEPARTMENT The City of Oxford is excited to be in the middle of the largest industrial growth the City has ever seen. There are three major factors that have contributed to the large burst of industrial growth in Oxford: Kronospan, NGC Industries, and Kobay Enstel. After competing with the City of Shippenville, PA, Kronospan, a leading manufacturer of wood-based panel products, is expanding its operations in Oxford. The expansion will consist of four projects and includes a $362 million capital investment as well as the creation of almost 200 new high paying jobs in the City. “The City of Oxford is delighted about the expansion of Kronospan and the significant economic impact this will have in our community,” said Steven Waits, Oxford City Council President. “Kronospan has continued to be a generous corporate citizen for our city, and we are looking forward to their continued presence in Oxford for generations to come.” Once the expansion is completed, Kronospan will have invested $650 million and will employ more than 270 workers at its Oxford operations. That will make the

company the largest private capital investor in the City of Oxford NGC Industries, a corporate citizen of 60 years, is investing $26 million to expand their Oxford operations. The plant – that uses discarded cardboard, magazines and trimmings from print shops to produce gypsum board face and back paper – is not only saving 75 area jobs due to the increased efficiency of their output, but also creating 14 additional jobs.” It is a great compliment when a company makes the decision to grow in your community, but a company that has been here for 60 years makes it extra special” said Don Hopper, Executive Director of the Calhoun County Economic Development Council.

ing, along with the new jobs that will be available within Oxford, our school system will be getting over $900,000 a year in educational taxes as well as $7 million new payroll for these employees that will be spent in Oxford. “The Calhoun County Economic Development Council is pleased to have played a part in assisting these companies in expanding their operations in the City of Oxford,” said EDC Chairman Larry Deason. “These announcements were the result of the EDC, the City of Oxford, and Calhoun County partnering together to ensure the needs are these companies were met and to provide job opportunities for area residents.”

Lastly, Kobay Enstel, an automotive manufacturer of stampings and welded sub-assembles focused on seating assemblies, is expected to bring at least 75 jobs within three years to Oxford. It is currently leasing the Calhoun County Economic Development Council’s 60,000-square-foot speculative building on McIntosh through an agreement with the EDC and the city. With the investments Kronospan is makwww.oxfordaccess.com : 7

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 7

8/5/16 6:46 PM




Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 8

8/5/16 6:46 PM

OPL SUMMER READING PROGRAM WRITTEN BY AMY HENDERSON The Oxford Public Library urged the community to play this summer. The Summer Reading Program, while always fun, took an interesting approach this year; OPL celebrated toys, games, and reading all together in one place! This summer, children, and adults participated in the Summer Reading Program to have fun, earn prizes, and, of course, read. Every day of the program featured some type of program, whether it was movie day, game day, craft day, or a surprise day. There was something available to interest every age group (including adults), and many took part in the fun. With programs

scheduled for every day, participants could choose which days interested them the most to enjoy their library. OPL began a partnership with Game Stop during the Summer Reading Program to tie in the with the toys/games theme. Game Stop provided consoles and games to the library for kids to play. OPL’s Community Room saw a lot of gaming action this summer; imagine playing a racing game or a dancing game on the large drop-down screen. It was lots of fun! There were several stations set up every Wednesday with multiple consoles playing at once. OPL is excited to announce that the partnership

with Game Stop will not stop at the conclusion of summer; come play with us on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Let the fun continue! OPL’s staff works very hard every year to provide a fun and active program each year to the community. It is not restricted to any age group. Come read with the library; it can reduce the summer slide for children going back to school, inspire an adult to read more or read to the children in his life, and allow the citizens in our community to enjoy each other as well as the beautiful facility we are so lucky to have here in this great city.

www.oxfordaccess.com : 9

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 9

8/5/16 6:46 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 10

8/5/16 6:46 PM

ON THE RANGE WITH DOUG Proper Alignment to Your Target How many times have you hit what feels like an excellent shot only to see it land 20 yards to the right or left of your target? I see many of my students focus so much on the swing that they tend to forget the pre-swing fundamentals that are so important. I help my students with the pre-swing by asking them to remember the “PGA� approach (posture, grip, and alignment). The three are important in the pre-swing as they provide success in the in-swing. One of the more important aspects of the pre-swing is alignment. If you want your shots to consistently land close to your target, it is paramount that your clubface is square to the target while your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders are parallel to the target line. In the picture, you can see that we have created a practice station for my student to help her work on the muscle memory of setting up square to the target. The club on the right is lined up to the target while the club on the left is parallel to the target line. This is a great way to help my student getting her body properly aligned to the target. It is also a good way to rehearse the alignment so you can repeat it on the golf course. You are now probably asking how to transfer this to the golf course and your round of golf. First, you have to make sure you have created your pre-shot routine. I recommend that you look at the target, visualize your shot, and then draw an imaginary line back to the golf ball. At this point, pick something about three feet in front of the ball (discolored blade of grass, an old tee, a divot, and so forth) to aim your clubface towards. Once your clubface is aligned, you take advantage of the muscle memory learned at the range to align your body correctly for the shot. Once you are comfortable in the stance, you can execute your shot. I hope this helps you understand the importance of alignment. If you have any questions or would like further help, please feel free to contact me at Cider Ridge Golf Club. See you on the course!

www.oxfordaccess.com : 11

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 11

8/5/16 6:46 PM


On any normal day, if you walk into the Oxford Performing Arts Center, you’re likely to be greeted by the smiling face of Hunter Gentry. But Hunter isn’t just a regular employee for the performing arts center; he also serves as the City of Oxford “unofficial” historian. He has devoted countless hours to his research of the city, its founding families, and the industries and history that shaped Oxford into what it is today. Hunter’s love for history began early in his childhood when he would spend time with his grandmothers. His paternal grandmother was born in the 1920s and would regale him with stories of her growing up in a two-room home with no electricity and having to sleep in the same room as her parents and siblings. She would share stories from her teenage years, her life as a young adult, and how she went on to have 11 children. Hunter’s maternal grandmother grew up in a large farmhouse and would often visit her grandmother in Goodwater, Alabama around the late 1940s and early 1950s. He remembers her telling him about how they had no grass, only sand, so anytime they saw grass out in the yard they would go out and sweep it up. He was fascinated at how they didn’t have indoor plumbing and how they would relieve themselves in chamber pots at night and some unlucky person would have to empty them in the morning. Growing up hearing the stories and learning how different life was for his grandmothers and how much has changed over the years, there is no surprise Hunter became enthralled with history. His love and passion for the past led him to pick history as his major at Jacksonville State University, where he also studies Political Science. Hunter said, “I know that God gifts each and every one of us with love and passion for certain things. I’m so fortunate to have discovered what mine is at an early age.” Hunter got the first opportunity to pursue his love for history professionally when John Longshore, the Oxford Performing Arts Center director, approached him in the fall of 2014 wondering if he would plan a City of Oxford history exhibit. Hunter teamed up with Marilyn Clark, a member of the Arts Council, and began doing the research needed for the display. After researching for six months and countless hours spent planning the exhibit, it debuted in February of 2015.

The exhibit presented several historical pieces on the City of Oxford, including Dudley Snow, his family, and home; Sylvanna Simmons and his family; the train depot; the Oxford Hotel; Oxford Lake and how it changed names from Marble Springs to McCulley Springs and then Minnie Lula Lake Park; a comprehensive timeline through the city’s history; how the streets got their names; the old mill; the Oxford College, Oxford Grade School, Calhoun County high school, and how it became Oxford High School; the three main churches (Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian); and, of course, the history of the Oxford Performing Arts Center. When the exhibit opened, the citizens of Oxford were astounded. “I could tell by the expression on their faces upon entering the exhibit that they were blown away with the complexity, uniqueness, artifacts, and the details presented,” Hunter said. “The exhibit was displayed free of charge at the Oxford Performing Arts Center for several months before we packed it up.” Since the exhibit, Hunter has taken on the role of Oxford’s unofficial historian. Digging more into the history of the city, of different families, buildings, and homes, Hunter has continued to discover lost tidbits of Oxford history. He recently finished a five-month project on the history of the different buildings in downtown. In addition to that project, he also authors the historical articles and illustrations in the Oxford Access magazine. Hunter has given something back to the city that many thought was lost--pieces and evidence of our history. “People have told me that they didn’t know certain things had happened and they didn’t know who certain people were,” Hunter said. “They’re wanting to find out more.” Hunter has helped spark a new interest in and fascination with the city’s history and he loves everything about it. “After doing all the research on Oxford, I’ve realized how rich and colorful our city’s history is. I feel an obligation to find it, write about it, and preserve it. It is just so important!”


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 12

8/5/16 6:46 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 13

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 13

8/5/16 6:46 PM




n our nation, and around the world for that matter, fire departments are held liable for their response time performance and their response effectiveness. In the fire business, every second counts and the difference between a few minutes often means the difference between life and death. Fire Station No. 3, named in memory of Dennis M. Cox, was built to better protect the lives of Oxford residents living in the communities of Bynum and Coldwater. The response time from the Dewey D. Webb Station No. 1 (located adjacent to the Oxford Public Library) to the furthest edge of the Oxford city limits–a 12-mile stretch–was sometimes as much as ten minutes. According to City of Oxford Fire Chief, Gary Sparks, it was a severe problem. “We compared the calls made in Bynum to the calls from the Friendship areas. Bynum’s call volume was just as large,” Chief Sparks said. “The difference between the two locations was the time it took us getting to Bynum. To firefighters and first responders, response time is everything. The quicker we can get to a call; the better chance we have saving someone’s life. Our goal is to protect life and property of Oxford residents and visitors.”

Station No. 3 opened in April 2015. It is manned with three full-time firefighters. Chief Sparks is proud of how the new station has made the difference in people’s lives. “In one case, we had an elderly lady that was unable to get out of bed without assistance. One day, her daughter-in-law left the house to run an errand while something was still on the stove,” Chief Sparks said. “The smoke detector went off. The lady was alarmed and called 911. Within four minutes, a firetruck from the Bynum station was on scene. As a direct result of having a staffed location nearby, all we had to do was remove the smoke in the house. If the station had not been built, it would have taken us another four to five minutes to get a truck from Station No.1 and we probably would have seen a fatality. Of course, the smoke detector played a significant role in saving her life that day, but having a fire station ready to respond made all the difference.” With the construction and staffing of the Dennis D. Cox Fire Station, the city’s Insurance Service Organization (ISO) fire rating reached new heights as our fire department moved into the top 10 percent of all fire departments throughout the United States. We are thankful for our professional fire department and the firefighters who, without any hesitation, are willing to put their lives on the line to save ours.


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 14

8/5/16 6:46 PM

















(800) 600-2195

WWW.WEBBCONCRETE.COM www.oxfordaccess.com : 15

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 15

8/5/16 6:46 PM



Question: What made you want to become a firefighter? Answer: I was just a chance to help people. I know it’s cliche, but basically, that was it. Question: Did you grow up wanting to be a firefighter? Answer: My father was a volunteer firefighter in Alexandria for a few years. While in high school, I volunteered there some but didn’t pursue the career until later when an opportunity presented itself in Anniston. That’s where I started my career. Question: How long have you been a firefighter? Answer: About 17 years. Question: What is the hardest thing about your job? Answer: The most difficult thing for me now is being responsible for other guys as I am in a leadership role. Question: What is the most rewarding about your job? Answer: When we go somewhere, it’s usually that person’s worst day. They’re having a difficult time, so if we can be of any help, I think that’s where the reward is. Question: What surprised you most about this job when you started? Answer: I think just the amount of emergencies that happen in this area. A lot goes on, and you think it’s a small town, but there’s still a lot of stuff happening that goes unknown unless you’re in this service. In the past year, we have gone to Salt Creek Falls twice for rescue missions. People have tried rock climbing and I guess their mind outweighed their climbing abilities so they would fall 40 feet. Many of our rescue missions and the type of emergen-

cies that we run include things you don’t think would be going on around here. I’m the lieutenant over at “Snake Ranch,” the Bynum station. There’s a small road down there called Ponderosa, and it’s just a little country road, and the first two weeks we were there we ran two roll-over wrecks. You wouldn’t expect a roll-over wreck to happen right there. But it’s just odd how stuff like that happens. Question: If you could go back to when you were younger, what would you tell yourself? Answer: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Time will heal all wounds. Question: What are some things you were not prepared for when first starting the job? Answer: I think seeing kids hurt or seeing kids pass. I don’t know if anyone is ever fully prepared to see that and most definitely not something you can ever get used to. Question: What makes someone an ideal firefighter? Answer: You must be selfless. You must be willing to get dirty. You have to be ready just to jump in and help. Those are the main thing. Question: What is a typical day in the life of a firefighter? Answer: We work 24-hour shifts and then we are off for 48 hours. When our shifts start at 7:00 a.m., the first thing we do is check the trucks, then we inspect the equipment and make sure everything is in order and that all chores are completed. Each day of the week is a different station chore. Once the trucks and equipment get checked, whatever is on that day’s agenda gets done. Examples of duties include washing all small vehicles and ladder trucks on Tuesdays, cutting grass on Fridays, cleaning the fire station on Saturdays and

so forth. Of course, we have everyday chore like sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming too. Question: How are you able to tell where a fire started and what caused it? Answer: Several guys in the department are educated in fire investigation. Usually, there are some signs whether it be a “V” pattern that you can tell where it started. A lot of times, however, the homeowner is the one who tells us what happened. As far as the actual fire cause, a lot of that gets turned over to the fire investigators at the Oxford Police Department. Often, we tell them the general area where we think the fire started and then they conduct interviews with the homeowner and so forth. Question: What happens when you arrive at a fire scene? Answer: When we arrive on scene, we do what’s called a scene size-up. We determine where the fire is. I always check for where the power lines are. We do what is called a 360 size-up, where the lieutenant or officer in charge walks the perimeter. Simultaneously, we try finding the homeowner, a neighbor, or anyone else who can help determine whether everyone is out of the building. A lot of times, the 911 dispatcher will let us know that we have a structure fire at a certain location and that all occupants are out. When we get to the fire scene, we verify that nobody is in the building and then proceed to putting out the fire. If we get there, and there’s a car in the driveway but no one sees the owner, we go in and do a quick search. Question: What is the most common injury that firefighters sustain? Answer: With us here, it’s usually smoke inhalation or twisted ankles. During a fire, it’s pitch black, you can’t see anything, and you feel a ton of heat. We have cameras now that can help you see in the dark, but


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 16

8/5/16 6:46 PM

you’re really just stumbling around in the dark. As a result, we have some sprains, bruises, and stuff like that. I know we’ve had a few guys that have gotten in and their mask would come off. That can cause some heat exhaustion or smoke inhalation, but we’ve been fortunate to have no serious injuries. Just bumps and bruises. Question: When you have slower days, what are some fun things happening at the station? Answer: There are pranks. We have a policy allowing us to prank, but no equipment is to be messed with. When working 24-hour shifts, you sleep some at the station. There’s a guy here who has had his bed decorated a good bit. Sometimes, seasoned firefighters will put glitter in newly hires’ beds and when they get up during the middle of night, they are covered in glitter. Just harmless, fun pranks. Question: What are some things people can do that would make your jobs easier? Answer: Stay calm. That’s one thing. Just stay calm. If you’re in your car, move over to the right and let us pass. That’s an eye-opener... Just how many people just stop and don’t move. If it’s a situation where we need you to help us, we’re going to ask, but for the most part, it would make our jobs easier if people would just step back and let us do our job. Question: If you could say anything to the citizens of Oxford, what would it be and why? Answer: Thank you for all your support for the Fire Department. We have several events to help raise money, like for MDA with “Fill the Boot.” We sit out in front of Walmart three or four times during the year doing that. Usually in October we sell the pink breast cancer t-shirts, but in the past couple of years, we’ve included pediatric cancer. Whatever we do or whatever cause we support, the citizens of Oxford back us. We can really feel the people’s support and we are thankful for that. We work for a great chief and a great city and a lot of it is just the community being behind us. Question: Do you want to share anything else? Answer: If you’re in the City of Oxford and you need a smoke detector, call us. We will give you one and we will even help you install it. We will even replace our residents’ smoke detector batteries. We have a few guys that are certified in child seat installation. If you want us to check your car seat or would like us to install one for you, please call us or visit Station No 1 or our Bynum location. We will be glad to help you! www.oxfordaccess.com : 17

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 17

8/5/16 6:46 PM




ur children are the most important part of our community and school system. They represent the future of our city, state, and nation. Our primary job in the Oxford City School District is to provide the very best education possible for ALL students every day. Even though we gauge our success in many different ways including clubs, extra-curricular activities, facilities and availability of technology (all of which our district excels at), academics is still the chief measure by which we assess our service to students. We have much to be proud of when we examine our most recent assessment results. Oxford’s assessment results which measure reading, math, and science in grades 3-8, and 10 are tied for the 19th highest in Alabama out of 137 school districts. This places Oxford in the top 15% academically when compared to all school systems, county and city across our state. Additionally, our ACT scores put Oxford in a tie for 15th and only three high schools in Alabama had more students than Oxford score at the highest level (platinum) on the WorkKeys assessment to determine workforce readiness for all jobs.

Pictured above: Dr. Jeff Goodwin, Superintendent of Education

These rankings are a result of the hard work of our students and teachers and collaboration between our city, Board of Education, and community members.


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 18

8/5/16 6:46 PM

They represent a concerted effort to provide the best curricular resources, instructional practices, facilities, and programs for every child every day in our system. Coupled with the commitment by district and local school staff to provide students with an educational experience second to none, I anticipate an even brighter future for the Oxford City School District.

OXFORD CITY’S ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE INDICATORS ON ALABAMA’S CURRENT ASSESSMENT SYSTEM » Tied for #19 out of 137 in overall academic performance in Math, Reading, and Science » Tied for #15 out of 137 school districts in the state on average ACT scores » #20 out of 137 school districts in the state in students considered workforce ready for all jobs currently available in the US


Learning Never Stops for Oxford City Schools’ Teachers “Facilitating the summer Credit Advancement course for 9th grade World History was a great learning experience, not only for the students, but for myself as well. Completing a course that normally encompasses an entire year in 6 weeks is a challenge for anyone. However, the students were able to overcome the challenges and complete the course successfully. This will allow the students to take upper-level courses early on in high school, which will open many doors for them. As an instructor, it was a great opportunity to watch students grow in their own environment and see them put their knowledge and skills into practice.” - Adam Clark OHS History Teacher

“This is my first year building an entirely online course through CONNECTIONS at Oxford. I am so excited to see how students can reach beyond the classroom to achieve their learning. I know that my efforts will open doors for students with different learning needs. I have learned that digital learning is the ultimate way to differentiate instruction. I have been working throughout the summer to compose my lesson modules, assessments, video tutorials, and discussions. I have matched standards with evaluations and projects. I am determined to describe, design, and direct every process within the course. Communication is the key to understanding in a virtual setting. The opportunities are endless at Oxford!” - Audrey Cassity OMS English Teacher www.oxfordaccess.com : 19

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 19

8/5/16 6:46 PM

“This summer I attended ASIM training, Alabama Science in Motion. During this training, I learned a completely new way to conduct old laboratory activities. This will enable me to meet the new Alabama Science Course of Study, which now have a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning.”

“You are either falling back or moving forward, but never stand still. During Blackboard training this summer, I’ve learned to build an Algebra with Finance course from scratch to give students a great opportunity to experience online learning with mathematics.”

“Summer work allows us a time to reflect, revise, and gear up for the new school year. We’ve spent time preparing our Blackboard courses and getting ready for a fantastic year of Reading. As Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘Learning never exhausts the mind.’”

- Natalie Davis OHS Science Teacher

- Brandon Newberry OMS Math Teacher

- Bethany Campbell CEH Reading Teacher

The robotics program had a significant impact on my life. It allowed me to think differently and in entirely new ways to solve problems. I really saw the work in a new light. By being engaged in the complete process, I was able to see the component pieces add up to the big picture product including research and design, marketing and hands-on milling and construction. Everyone had a part, and every job was crucial to success, just like the real world. I made great friends, and I highly recommend it to anyone. The skills in different areas you take with you apply to all areas of your life. For me, it was learning without learning. The break from the traditional way of things to have a chance to discover ideas, processes, and new skills on my own has substantially benefitted me not only in the classroom but in the real world as well.


COMMENTS BY ASHLEIGH GOODWIN Class of 2016 Oxford High School 3 time State Champion Robotics, and Web Design Attending the University of Alabama Engineering and Physics

I took it on a whim and was skeptical of how much I would enjoy it; I quickly fell in love with everything about it. The feeling of accomplishment at even the tiniest thing, such as making a robot move or finding the perfect design, was like nothing I had experienced in a regular classroom. The satisfaction when my team and I would work day after day, finally finalize a product, run around the lab high-fiving each other, and search for our teacher only to have her smile at us and give us a new challenge to take on was a satisfaction like no other. I recommend it to anyone and everyone, even if you think you aren’t interested. It gives you little skills you don’t realize you need until you have them. I can guarantee that being involved with any robotics or engineering program, even if you don’t think it’s up your alley, will give you so many more valuable abilities in your thinking process. Even though it can be frustrating at times, it is such a rewarding thing to be a part of. You’ll be exposed to new worlds. You might not see it at that very moment, but one day, just like I did, you’ll find yourself looking at another everyday object or problem in a way you’ve never seen it. Not only will you discover new things in the program, but you’ll also learn new things every day, everywhere. Robotics had something for everyone; it was the place I felt like I belonged even in a room full of strangers. My life wouldn’t be the same without this program; I can’t express with words the gratitude I have for this program, the people that made it possible, and for my amazing robotics teacher, Krista Mintz who encouraged me never to give up. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the skills it taught me, and the relationships it allowed me to make.

COMMENTS BY KRISTA MINTZ OHS Robotics and Math Teacher Watching students run from opposite ends of gymnasiums to share strategies with their alliances is the most exciting part of robotics. Kids who I would never expect to show this level of professionalism tend to be the main ones who run to teams, greet them with a handshake, and devise a game plan. Oxford high’s robotics teams have been successful in both regional and state levels. Through continued support from parents, teachers, administrators, and the Oxford Education Foundation, students can continue to create innovative robots and develop essential skills.


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 20

8/5/16 6:46 PM

at oxford K-12 ONLINE LEARNING

CONTAC T Oxford C ity Scho ols 256-241 -3140


CONNECTIONS at OXFORD offers a unique opportunity to students that is flexible, personalized, and focused on high academic excellence. CONNECTIONS provides blended and total virtual learning options catered to ALL students. FLE XIB LE



CONNECTIONS students learn anytime, anywhere, and at a flexible pace while enrolled in the program. The flexibility afforded by CONNECTIONS provides students an opportunity to work during the day, take college courses offcampus, and manage other responsibilities outside of a traditional school schedule.

CONNECTIONS students choose from a variety of faceto-face, hybrid, and fully online classes while being able to participate in school clubs, events, and extracurricular activities given all criteria is met. Students and parents select the most appropriate options to meet their needs and goals.

CONNECTIONS courses meet state requirements and are taught by highly qualified Oxford teachers. Teachers work directly with students virtually or face-to-face to p ro m o t e h i g h a c a d e m i c achievement. Each student is assigned an eLearning Counselor to help make the virtual transition a success.

CALL OXFORD CITY SCHOOLS AT 256-241-3140 Students must live in Oxford school zone to enroll.

www.oxfordaccess.com : 21

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 21

8/5/16 6:46 PM

GREENHOUSE PROJECT The Oxford City Schools Education Foundation is proud to have completed the Greenhouse Project for DeArmanville Elementary School. This greenhouse was completed thanks to monies donated by Oxford City Schools, Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council, and Oxford City Schools Education Foundation. Students, Administrators, Foundation Directors, and staff of Coosa Valley RC&D gathered recently for a photo in front of the 12 feet by 12 feet Palram Americana Hobby Greenhouse. The greenhouse will provide a learning environment offering endless opportunities for

students to nurture, observe, discover, and experiment. It will allow students to grow and cultivate plants throughout the school year. Students will be able to start seeds in the winter and harvest them before the end of school term. The greenhouse will correlate greatly with the existing outdoor classroom which includes an educational pond, raised beds, and a newly installed rain barrel. It will be a great opportunity for “hands-on,” real life problem solving and learning across curriculum areas. A Greenhouse Project will begin at Oxford Elementary School and Coldwater Elementary School this coming school year.


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 22

8/5/16 6:46 PM

ADVANCED PLACEMENT TESTING Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered to Oxford High School students to allow students the experience of college material in high school with the opportunity to earn college credit at many universities. To earn college credit students must pass Advanced Placement Testing for the courses they have taken. The Oxford City Schools Education

Foundation is honored to be able to present a check for $12,000 to help with this testing expense. Pictured above are left to right: Superintendent Dr. Jeff Goodwin, board member Michael Magouyrk, Oxford High School Principal Heath Harmon, board president Ken Howell, executive director Cindy Williams, and Jenny Howell.

www.oxfordaccess.com : 23

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 23

8/5/16 6:46 PM



CLASS OF 1958 The Oxford High School Class of 1958 gathered for its annual reunion on July 23, 2016, and celebrated at the OHS black marble monument marker at the columned entrance to Oxford High School. At the front of the monument, designating the “Walk of Champions,” is a large memory plaque for the 1958 class surrounded by brick pavers engraved with the 111 names of the entire class. The project was started by the Class Reunion Committee Chairman, Gordon Kelley, and Jane H. Batey. Initially, pavers engraved with the names of the 38 deceased members were planned, but as the project progressed, all class members’ names were engraved. It is now the only full OHS class represented at the “Walk of Champions.” OHS tradition is of utmost importance to the Class of 1958 as it maintains a display of memorabilia of deceased members at every reunion and now recognizes all class members at the “Walk of

Champions.” The engraved brick pavers are a source of pride for this class and all other OHS graduates. The Class of 1958 encourages other graduating classes, families, students, and Yellow Jacket fans everywhere to be a part of the “Walk of Champions” project sponsored by the Oxford City Schools Education Foundation. To purchase the engraved brick pavers, visit the website: www. oxfordedufoundation.org or call Executive Director of the Foundation, Cindy Williams, at 256-591-0932


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 24

8/5/16 6:46 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 25

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 25

8/5/16 6:46 PM

THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS A LOOK INTO OXFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT’S EXEMPLARY TRAINING PROGRAMS WRITTEN BY KRISTIN ROBERTS The City of Oxford is dedicated to its citizens and their safety in many ways. The Oxford Police Department is an excellent example of that. Not only do their badges shine, but so does their training. OPD has worked tirelessly to bring law enforcement training to the area, and the man in charge of arranging these classes and even teaching some of them is Officer Frank Mayo.


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 26

8/5/16 6:46 PM

Law enforcement training classes are a vital part of law enforcement. To become a police officer, one must go through 520 hours of training. Continual training is critical to maintaining one’s ability to be an adequate police officer. An officer’s uniform typically includes a gun, spare magazines, radio, taser, handcuffs, a body camera, gloves, and a bulletproof vest. Patrol cars have radars, GPS, and computers used to dispatch calls. Knowing how to safely and correctly use all of that equipment takes a lot of practice and training. According to Officer Mayo, the state of Alabama only requires that officers complete 12 hours of continuing education annually. “I do not think 12 hours of annual training is enough,” Officer Mayo said. “That would barely cover how to operate the equipment on our belts and the equipment in our patrol car.” Officer Mayo shares that larger agencies throughout the state offer training programs and courses to their officers and to others who wish to attend. However, the travel distances and costs are a burden on smaller agencies from local communities. As a result of the importance of training, the cost associated with traveling long distances, and to stay up to par with the continuing education officers from larger agencies get, Officer Mayo and the Oxford Police Department host their own training courses. The courses are for our officers, but also for servicemen and women from near and far. By utilizing the knowledge Officer Mayo has accumulated over his 15 years as a patrolman, OPD can set up, teach, and run a lot of highly sought after classes right here in Oxford. Not only does this make our city a safer place to live, work, and shop, but our surrounding cities, as officers from our neighboring communities can attend the high-quality training too. “Bringing training courses to Oxford is beneficial in several ways: it provides another area in Alabama for officers to come and get additional training while also supporting our local neighboring agencies who may not always get the training opportunities they want. By hosting our own classes, we see a significant influx of officers from around the state and also from out-of-state. Oxford gets a lot of positive exposure in the law enforcement community. Additionally, it allows OPD and our officers to receive excellent training right at our fingertips,” Officer Mayo said. Officer Mayo also shared that going through training close to home enables OPD officers to tailor-make their training, because they can make a detailed plan on what they want to learn more about and practice what they consider the most important. “Officers can request specific training courses be brought in based on what that particular officer is interested in or what concerns him or her,” Officer Mayo said. “It is of great importance to us that we offer a broad range of classes and make the necessary classes available to our officers. One of the most valuable and sought after courses

in our agency involves peer support training. Because of our line of work, many officers can be exposed to things that can leave lasting impressions; things that family members or the general public may not understand. Peer support classes train our officers on how they can help fellow officers who are dealing with an issue that has left an impression.” Officer Mayo explains that it takes a lot of physical and mental training to combat one’s instincts. Most people would naturally turn around and run away if they face an active shooter. Law enforcement officers practice controlling their fears so they can continue protecting innocent lives, even if their own is in danger. “Training for these types of scenarios is difficult. We often utilize roleplays where the ‘bad guy’ is armed with nonlethal wax bullets. The shooter would aim his weapon, trying to hit the responding officers as it was a real life scenario. Even though the officers know that nonlethal bullets are fired towards them, their adrenaline and natural instincts act as lethal bullets come flying. High-stress situations trigger the ‘fight or flight’ response in a person’s brain. Police officers, however, must learn how to move past that. Even with lots of training, one cannot get immune to the effect. Once the adrenaline starts pumping through your veins, you begin to lose your ears (auditory exclusion). Then, you get what we call ‘tunnel vision,’ another word for losing your peripheral sight-- you can only see what is directly in front of you. Finally, your dexterity and fine motor skills disappear. You feel like you can only do gross motor skills. We train our officers to work through these challenges. It is vital that our officers learn how their bodies react psychologically and physiologically in high-stress situations. We do everything in our power to ensure that our men and women will not hesitate when it comes to saving your life,” Officer Mayo said. Besides training OPD officers and law enforcement from across the state, Officer Mayo organizes training classes for the public such as a women’s self-defense class and a firearm safety class. “We explain what guns are, how to use them, appropriate and safe storage, proper grip, sight, and stance, how you can legally carry your weapon, and where you can take your gun,” Officer Mayo said. “In our women’s self-defense class, we teach the importance of knowing your surroundings, being aware, and being ready. We teach how you can get away from an attacker as well as things to think about when you’re at home, in public, and when you have your children with you.” The more OPD officers train, the safer we can feel in our homes. We are lucky to live in a city that puts our safety and well-being above anything else. Thank you Chief Partridge, Officer Mayo, and all other men and women at the Oxford Police Department for providing a safe community for us to live in. Your efforts and sacrifices are not taken for granted.

www.oxfordaccess.com : 27

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 27

8/5/16 6:46 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 28

8/5/16 6:46 PM


The brave men and women at the Oxford Police Department play a significant role in making the City of Oxford THE ideal community for those wanting to raise a family, work, retire, operate a business, play, or shop. Thanks to OPD, with Chief Bill Partridge at the helm, residents can go to bed at night knowing that our men and women in blue are keeping city streets safe. OPD is a forerunner when it comes to utilizing equipment and technology to saving innocent lives, whether that be officers or residents. For more than three years, the department has been using a law enforcement grade robot, capable of viewing and communicating with suspects, turning doorknobs, tearing down doors, gripping objects, remotely firing a beanbag shotgun and water canon, and gaining a 360-degree view of the environment in which it operates. All of this happens while being controlled by trained OPD officers in a remote command center. The robot has been used on numerous barricaded suspects. According to Chief Partridge, it is an incredible asset and a valuable lifesaving technology that allows his officers to operate without having to be put in harm’s way. “We can put the robot inside a house or a building, and a negotiator can see the

suspect through one of its five cameras, talk to the suspect, and the suspect can talk back to us,” Chief Partridge said. “The cameras can tilt, pan, and zoom. It also has a single long arm with a claw that could even grab a hold of somebody.” The robot is a very specialized piece of equipment, and no other agency around Oxford is in possession of similar technology. Because of its sophisticated visual system and its ability to maneuver in challenging environments, officers can use it in several settings, including barricaded suspects, hostage situations, and if nothing else, they can get up close and look at a situation without having to send somebody in person. In July, a sniper tragically killed five officers and injured nine others in Dallas before being surrounded in a parking garage. Instead of sending armed officers to the garage to confront the barricaded murderer, the police drove a robot armed with explosives up to the suspect, detonated the bomb, and eliminated the sniper. We are thankful for the Oxford Police Department and their continuous effort in utilizing modern technology in their pledge to keeping us safe.

www.oxfordaccess.com : 29

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 29

8/5/16 6:46 PM


TICKETS: $35, 45, 55 OXFORDPAC.ORG | 256-241-3322

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016 - 7:00 P.M. 30 : OXFORD ACCESS

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 30

8/8/16 11:07 AM



e can hardly contain our excitement at the Oxford Performing ArtsCenter. Our team is busy preparing for the biggest year yet for the arts in Oxford. Thanks to your support, we’ve announced three distinct series of performances for your enjoyment. Our Black & Gold Series has a new name thanks to a major community player. Regional Medical Center, F&M Bank, and C.A.R.E.S, have teamed up to present what we are proud to call the Regional Medical Center Concert Series. Thanks to the support from these new partners as well as NobleBank & Trust and Webb Concrete & Building Materials we are able to present even more top-notch artists and ensure that

ticket prices remain affordable. For information on season and single show tickets, visit our online box office at oxfordpac.org. Next month, we will open an exciting new exhibition in our Martin - Lett Gallery of Art. “A Cast of Blues” features handmade life-masks of some of the most important Blues musicians in history. Learn more about this special exhibit on page 32. Your support is the key ingredient in the long-term success of OPAC. If you haven’t yet attended a performance with us, I personally invite you to stop in for a complimentary tour of our beautiful venue. We hope to see you soon!


James creates an evening of non-stop laughter with a wry sense of the absurd, a Southern accent and universal story-telling. The ridiculous, the common and sometimes even the simplest events all become hilarious in the hands of this master storyteller and world-class comedian.

Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 7:00 p.m.

TICKETS: $19, 25, 29 OXFORDPAC.ORG | 256-241-3322 www.oxfordaccess.com : 31

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 31

8/8/16 11:08 AM

a CAST OF BLUES UNIQUE 3D ART EXHIBITION COMING TO OXFORD Written by John Longshore The Oxford Performing Arts Center’s Martin - Lett Gallery of Art is pleased to announce its next exhibition, “A Cast of Blues,” created by artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson. The exhibit is composed of the life-cast masks of 40 blues musicians, including Big George Brock, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, and Ruth Brown. The exhibit also includes a bronze sculpture of the hands of blues artist Johnny Winter. Life-casting is a sculpting process where a cast is created by placing molding materials on a live model. Blues music was born in Mississippi, came of age in Chicago, and went on to inspire generations of rock and rollers, ranging from the British invasion of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to contemporary groups, such as The Black Keys. As one of America’s contributions to the world of music, the blues took root in the fertile soil of the Mississippi Delta, a flood plain covering 7,000 square miles between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. Early blues greats in the Delta pioneered the strong rhythmic style of music, accenting the raw emotions of the lyrics by squeezing chords out of a guitar with a bottleneck or metal slide. A celebration of Mississippi’s rich musical heritage, The exhibition A Cast of Blues features 15 resin-cast masks of blues legends created by artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson, as well as 15 color photographs of performers and of juke

joints by acclaimed photographer Ken Murphy. Now visitors to the Oxford Performing Arts Center can experience the exhibition, A Cast of Blues, opening September 1, 2016. A Cast of Blues artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson has said, “a life cast is like a 3-D photograph to someone who is blind.” McConnell-Dickerson, who is visually impaired, continues, “It captures the flesh, muscle, bone, hair, and subtle expressions of emotion. I wanted to discover the faces behind the music I love, so I went to Mississippi to map out the visages of the real Delta blues men and women.” Ken Murphy’s photographs are selected from the groundbreaking book Mississippi: State of Blues (published 2010 by Proteus/ Ken Murphy Publishing). A longtime Mississippi resident, Murphy captures the essence of the blues through highly detailed, panoramic color pictures. The exhibition’s compilation of casts and photos create a compelling portrait of the men and women who defined—and continue to shape—the tradition of Mississippi blues. During the 1920s and 1930s, Charlie Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, and scores of other bluesmen and women barnstormed across the Delta, playing plantations, juke joints, and levee camps scattered throughout the area. It was the next generation of Mississippi music artists led by Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf, who brought the Delta blues north to Chicago. The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and other rock and rollers picked up on the Delta sound and introduced it to the world. The musicians who stayed be-

hind in Mississippi kept the tradition alive, passing it from one generation to another. Since the 1990s, Delta blues music has undergone a revival, with the rediscovery of overlooked artists—R.L. Burnside, T Model Ford, and Bobby Rush—and the rise of contemporary blues acts like the North Mississippi Allstars and the Homemade Jamz Blues Band. The exhibition is fully accessible to all visitors, featuring braille labels and educational materials, as well as a music playlist for gallery use and a closed-captioned film about the Cast of Blues project. In addition, visitors are encouraged to touch the resin-cast masks. Says McConnell-Dickerson, “As a sculptural and visual art experience, feeling the life-made casts of these individuals and their facial expressions transfers their experiences directly to our fingertips.” The exhibition is also accompanied by the 2008 documentary film, M for Mississippi: A Roadtrip through the Birthplace of the Blues. Organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national part of Mid-America Arts Alliance, the exhibition was curated by Chuck Haddix, music historian, author, radio personality, and director of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at www.maaa.org and www.eusa.org.

Gallery Location: Oxford Performing Arts Center at 100 Choccolocco Street, Oxford Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and during OPAC events

september 1 - october 20, 2016 32 : OXFORD ACCESS

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 32

8/8/16 11:37 AM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 33

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 33

8/5/16 6:47 PM

Live at the Oxford P 34 : OXFORD ACCESS

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 34

8/5/16 6:47 PM

Tap any member of multi Grammy nominated The Time Jumpers on the shoulder and the face that turns to greet you will be that of one who’s made major contributions to the richness and vigor of country music. The current edition of The Time Jumpers includes 10 members, each a master of his instrument. They are[from left to right in about photo] “Ranger Doug” Green (vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Brad Albin (upright bass), Billy Thomas (drums, vocals), Kenny Sears (vocals, fiddle), Larry Franklin (fiddle), Andy Reiss (electric guitar), Jeff Taylor (accordion, piano), Joe Spivey (fiddle, vocals) and Vince Gill (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars). Tragically The Time Jumpers lost their 11th member, vocalist Dawn Sears, who passed away Dec. 11, 2014. Diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2012, Sears fought the disease ferociously and championed efforts for lung cancer research. The Time Jumpers was established in Nashville in 1998 by an assemblage of high-dollar studio musicians who wanted to spend some spare time jamming with their sonically gifted buddies. The

notion of building a rabidly devoted following was the last thing on their minds. But that’s what happened. Learning that Monday evenings were the slowest in the week for the Station Inn bluegrass club, the superpickers settled into that fabled venue at the start of each week and set up shop. Pretty soon Monday nights were sounding a lot like Saturday nights— and drawing commensurately lively crowds. As word spread along Music Row that something special was happening at Station Inn, big stars began dropping by, some to sit in with the band, others just to enjoy the vast array of country, swing, jazz and pop standards The Time Jumpers rejoiced in playing. Among those drop-bys were Bonnie Raitt, Reba McEntire, Norah Jones, Robert Plant, The White Stripes, Kings Of Leon, Jimmy Buffet and Kelly Clarkson. After more than 10 years together, the band re-located their Monday night shows to 3rd & Lindsley, a larger capacity club in Nashville. In 2013, the band’s self-titled release on Rounder Records was nominated for 2 Grammys – Best Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group–Country, and Best Country Album. The band is currently recording their next record for Rounder Records.

TICKETS: $29, 39, 49 OXFORDPAC.ORG | 256-241-3322

d Performing Arts Center www.oxfordaccess.com : 35

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 35

8/5/16 6:47 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 36

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 37

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 37

8/5/16 6:47 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 38

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 39

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 39

8/5/16 6:47 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 40

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 41

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 41

8/5/16 6:47 PM



Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 42

8/5/16 6:47 PM



Jason M. Jack, MD | Plastic Surgery Specialists, PC Dr. Jack sees patients every other Wednesday at Spa Bleu, LLC for complimentary cosmetic consultations. His services include, but are not limited to: Breast Augmentation Liposuction Tummy Tuck Breast Lift/Reduction Face/Neck Lift Body Contouring after Bariatric Surgery Botox and Juvederm Injections- on location

Shay McCartney | Licensed Aesthetician/Makeup Artist Shay is the owner of Spa Bleu, LLC. Her services include, but are not limited to: Peel Treatments Smoothing Body Peel

Therapeutic Mask Treatments Microdermabrasion Dermaplane Power Peel Micropen Aromatherapy Facial Deep Pore Detox Facial Clear Skin Mini Facial Rosacea and Organic Facial Advanced Anti-aging Facials Bridal Makeup Application Airbrush Tanning Waxing

Massage Therapy | Swedish Massage Deep Tissue Massage Neuromuscular Theraphy Myofascial Release Chair Massage



Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 43

8/5/16 6:47 PM




Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 44

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 45

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 45

8/5/16 6:47 PM

Upon entering the majestic Choccolocco Park, the crackle of intensity was apparent as you made your way to the GRAND stands to watch top level softball. There was music playing, and you could almost touch the exciting vibes as the Ohio Valley Conference student-athletes were smiling, high-fiving, and showcasing their dance moves to popular tunes during their warmups. The creative bows, masks, and other fun and quirky cheer props, as well as the laidback atmosphere among the contestants, had many of us fooled. Then, however, you heard the grunt from the pitcher as she threw what resembled bullets into the glove of the catcher. These girls were here for more than just fun and games. They were here for business. This, ladies and gentlemen, was going to be a tournament like no other. If you were one of the thousands of people to attend the OVC Softball Championship between May 11-14, then you know exactly what we are talking about. The top eight schools in the OVC traveled to Oxford for the ultimate face off to determine which team would take it all: the pride, glory, trophy, and ticket to the NCAA tournament. The positive and welcoming environment at the park had a significant effect on the teams. Eastern Kentucky University, one of the first teams to play during the tournament, shared that the atmosphere allowed them to play their best. “The environment at Choccolocco Park was awesome,” EKU Head Coach Jane Worthington said. “It went right along with what we like to do: have fun while playing.” The tournament was an excellent way for the city to showcase the new complex and how it serves as a state-of-the-art, professional sports venue. Oxford Parks and Recreation, Honours Golf (grounds crew), and all the volunteers that contributed to the successful event received gracious compliments on how the tournament was executed. Allen Ward, Murray State’s Athletic Director, was impressed by how welcoming the city, its employees, and residents were and how much the parks and recreation department went above and beyond to provide impeccable hospitality. “The grounds crew was fantastic. All the staff were professional and knew exactly what they were doing,” Mr. Ward said. “They continued to impress the entire week, and it was very visible they wanted the week to be a success for everyone.” The atmosphere of the tournament was palpable with intensity and excitement from fans, players, and workers alike. Throughout the championship, people from near and far came to watch the games. No matter what team was on the signature field, there were fans in the stands cheering for them to do well. One could easily tell that the excitement among the spectators helped the teams play to the best of their ability. After several days of hard work, nerves, and lots of emotions, it was time to crown the champions. It was time to find out who would take home the pride, bragging rights, and conference title. With the signature field bleachers and stands filled with Jacksonville State University and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville fans, both teams fought an epic battle. Throughout the tournament, no other team worked harder, played with more passion, or left their hearts on the field like the JSU Gamecocks and Coach Jana McGinnis. JSU impressed us all with their talent and entertainment and they truly deserved the “W” and the ticket to the NCAA tournament. After the tournament, Coach Jana McGinnis said, “We thoroughly enjoyed Choccolocco Park. It was obvious there were much pride and effort put into making it a great experience for all student-athletes. It was the best fan atmosphere that I have ever been a part of for an OVC tournament championship.” 46 : OXFORD ACCESS

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 46

8/5/16 6:47 PM

The City of Oxford and Oxford Parks and Recreation are proud to be hosting the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference: Baseball Championship So!ball Championship Track & Field Championship

www.oxfordaccess.com : 47

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 47

8/5/16 6:47 PM

IMAGINEOXFORD Crossroads of the Future

Oxford residents and officials have started on a strategic, comprehensive plan for the future development and growth of our great city. The project, dubbed Imagine Oxford, is the road map that will help guide community investment that is essential for Oxford’s facilities and services for the next two-three decades. It is a plan by the people and for the people. Components of the plan will include growth issues such as land use, transportation, and infrastructure and it will provide recommendations to nurture economic development opportunities, an attractive, safe community environment, and an overall high quality of life for the people of Oxford. The city has assembled an advisory committee to oversee development of the comprehensive plan with assistance from KPS Group. The advisory committee includes representatives of the city council and planning commission, city staff, and other stakeholders. While studying the city’s sign ordinances and regulations for subdivisions with the city’s planning board, the project coordinator,

council member Charlotte Hubbard and fellow board members discovered that Oxford’s comprehensive plan had not been updated since 1973. One thing led to another, and the Imagine Oxford project was introduced to residents on April 28th with the guiding hand of KPS Principal Planner, Jason Fondron. During the first meeting, key issues such as the flood plain south of Interstate 20, traffic at the Exchange and intersection of US Highways 78 and 21, aesthetics, youth retention, aging utilities, revitalization of downtown, economic development, and welcome signs were brought up by engaging residents. Several opportunities are incorporated into the planning process to engage residents as well as property and business owners to shape the development of the plan. The next community meeting will be hosted at the Oxford Civic Center on Monday, August 29 at 6:00 p.m. We hope to see you there!


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 48

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 61

www.oxfordaccess.com : 49

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 49

8/5/16 6:47 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 50

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 51

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 51

8/8/16 11:20 AM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 52

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 53

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 53

8/5/16 6:47 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 54

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 55

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 55

8/5/16 6:47 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 56

8/8/16 11:53 AM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 57

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 57

8/8/16 11:53 AM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 58

8/8/16 12:02 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 59

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 59

8/8/16 12:02 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 60

8/8/16 12:04 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 61

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 61

8/8/16 12:04 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 62

8/8/16 12:09 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 63

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 63

8/8/16 12:10 PM


LEGENDARY LEADERSHIP A Tribute to Mayor Leon Smith BY JOSHUA CRAFT 32 years. 384 months. 1,670 weeks. 11,688 days. 280,512 hours… Count to three. Count to three again. You’d have to repeat that sequence over 50 million times to make it to 32 years. That’s a lot of time. That’s a lot of time for anybody. That’s a lifetime in some parts of the world. 32 years. That’s how long Mayor Leon Smith has served the city and citizens of Oxford. I’ve known Mayor Smith all my life. I’m sure I was campaigning for him when I was a toddler and that continued on every time he ran for re-election. He ran with fire. He caused us to run with fire. The excitement that he created in Oxford will never be duplicated, by any city in any state. Mayor Leon Smith: forged with fire, blood, and hard work. The man that would run 1,000 miles for Oxford, but he didn’t do just that. He ran 10,000 miles for our city, and he never let up. Some of the stories that are told in this special to Access Magazine are too unbelievable to be false. The things he has done for our great city, even before we were a great city, is a beacon for how a municipality should strive to be. Everyone has something to say about Smith, and whether it’s a good story or a bad story, there’s a common theme with all of these. He loves Oxford, and he loves to win, and will do everything he can for us to grow and prosper. I’ve had the privilege to talk to a few people about Mayor Smith, and they had some interesting (to say the least) stories. Whether they are his colleague or his friend, they all light up when they talk about him and tell their memories, and he always gets the credit for the things he did in those stories,

because he deserves the credit. The way he dealt with people – as mayor, coach, father, friend, or enemy – is it’s in own class. He was a special kind of person. His politics were unconventional at the time, but he’s now one of the most respected politicians in the state, if not the southeast. Like I said earlier, the stories are true, so sit back, relax, and read the stories, his stories… I went to Gadsden to talk to Leon Albright, who worked at Barber’s Dairy in Oxford and coached little league baseball and little league football with Smith for 12 years. Albright said, “Leon was raw as a coach, and he didn’t know nothing about it [sic]. But he learned defense, and he became great at it.” Albright said that Smith would call him about every other night about football because he was so worried about the games and practices and wanted to make sure they were doing everything they could to beat their opponent. Albright started telling a story about pre-game activities. “I’d be up in the press box, looking at the other team and seeing what we would need to do to win,” Albright remembered, “and Leon would be down there in the stands circulating with the crowd. He’d always walk up to me in the press box and say ‘We got ‘em Cat, we’re going to beat these boys [sic].” Mr. Albright


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 64

8/5/16 6:47 PM

said that their teams would go up to Gatlinburg and other cities in neighboring states and play teams that were older and more athletic, “but they’d never beat us,” he said with a grin, “because we weren’t that good, but we were always the meanest team they’d play.” On top of that, Albright recounted how they started the Quarterback Club in Oxford, which is something Mayor Smith has continued to support. He even talked about days before he was mayor. “I don’t know how he did it, but every time [former Governor George] Wallace would fly into the airport in Oxford, Leon would go and pick him up. He’d miss practice to go pick him up. I never knew what they did, but I’m sure Leon was always trying to get Wallace to take care of Oxford the way that he would as mayor.” That means something to us, because even before he was mayor, he was fighting for our city. When the state highway department decided to move the Interstate 20 Exit 188 Interchange to a city to the north of Oxford, Smith and Stanley Merrill (retired Oxford Police Chief ) went to Montgomery and made their case to Governor Wallace to keep the interchange in Oxford, and look at how that has paid dividends for the city. We have the busiest interchange from Atlanta to Birmingham because of Smith’s efforts even before he was mayor! As I was getting ready to leave Mr. Albright’s house, he left me with one thing that Mayor Smith always believed; “Leon did not believe in getting beat, and he’d find ways for our teams to win. He saw things none of us would see, and he used his grit and determination on our players to get them fired up, and he was always first-class. No kid ever went without that was playing for him. If he had to pay for their clothes or meals or whatever, he’d pay for it, and he’d do it first class.” Another person I talked to was Marshall Shaddix, who served on the council during Smith’s first five terms as mayor. When I asked Shaddix to tell me some stories and anecdotes about the mayor, he said with a laugh, “Well, where do you want me to start?” He goes back to the 1960s, when Smith moved to town and was selling trailers behind Buck’s Coffee Shop, which is where the Oxford Fire Department is located today. He said they would always talk shop and share stories about growing up. Shaddix talked about their times coaching little league baseball, and said that Smith raised more money for their league than anyone and eventually became commis-

sioner of the league. He recalls a memory that he has and said, “We were riding up the street one night and Leon asked me ‘Shaddix, were you raised a poor boy?’” Shaddix said, “Yeah, but I didn’t know it. We ate cornbread for breakfast because the peddler didn’t make it down to our end of the street all the time.” Smith replied, “That wasn’t poor! We were so poor that Mama used to sit us on the potty and tell us ghost stories as a laxative!” Shaddix said that’s just the way he grew up. He appreciated hard work and worked hard to fill the city’s coffers. He even said “I was in office two years before he was, and when he took office as mayor, he told me that when he and I leave the city we’d leave them with a million dollars. When I retired from council, we had about 50 million dollars, so I told Leon ‘Mayor, I’ve done my part, now you do yours!’” The former councilman remembers how the mayor always had a drive to provide for the senior citizens and children, which is true even today. Shaddix remembers that his first two years (before Smith was in office) that Oxford had to borrow money to make payroll, and he even had to borrow money for payroll the first

www.oxfordaccess.com : 65

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 65

8/5/16 6:47 PM


month, but he quickly paid that back and has added to the City’s funds ever since. He said that Smith told him that was as the last time that would ever happen while he was the mayor, and that holds true to this day. I also talked to Ricky Howell, Oxford Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) Director, about how the mayor has always been there for EMS even though his department is not owned or managed by the city. While we were reminiscing on all the things Mayor Smith has achieved in Oxford, he remembered a particular time when they went to the state capital to fight for OEMS. He was talking to me and he said, “I remember when he dragged your dad [Alton Craft] and me down to Montgomery to speak to the League of Municipalities to help get the EMS on the state retirement program, and with the help of State Representative Steve Hurst, [former Oxford Police Chief ] Stanley Merrill, and a few others, he succeeded. They got that for us, and I’m grateful to all of them, especially Mayor Smith, for getting that done.” And Howell repaid that kindness by doing something for the mayor that many of us would not volunteer to do. When the mayor’s eldest son John “Big John” Smith was having some health issues while on vacation on the Gulf Coast, Ricky volunteered to go get his son on a plane owned by one of Smith’s friends. The original plan was to fly to the gulf and transport Big John to UAB Hospital, but a tropical storm was slamming against the coast and no flights were allowed in or out of the airports on the Panhandle. After discussing the situation with the mayor for a few minutes, Howell volunteered to take the ambulance down and go pick him up. He said, “I told the mayor I could have him back up here in seven hours, and he said there was no way I could do that. I remember pulling up on UAB’s ramp seven hours later and telling him that I told him I’d have him here in time, and the mayor replied, ‘I swear to God you do.’” Howell says that the mayor never forgot that, and even though he always supported OEMS before, that he had a renewed commitment in making sure they were funded and given what they needed to perform their work. There are so many stories I could tell about Mayor Smith. I’ve known him all my life, and I have seen with my own eyes the respect that other public officials have for him. I’ve been with him on a few trips to Montgomery or other cities in the state, and to see him work the whole room is a sight to see. And he’s even helped me out in more ways than I can count. I’ve had a lot of things happen in my 29 years, from a traumatic brain injury to cancer, but Mayor Smith has always been the one to place a hand on my shoulder and say, “It’s alright son. You’re alright. We’ll take of you.” No truer words have been spoken. He’s always been there for me; he’s been there for everyone, and everyone listens when he talks, because they know what he’s done for Oxford, they know what he’s done for the entire state. I have talked to many leaders in Oxford, and they all had similar things to say. While talking with Police Chief Bill Partridge, he reinforced what we all know, “Mayor Smith is one of the only people that I’ve ever worked for where you knew exactly where he stood on every issue and there was never any question.” He also bragged on the mayor’s foresight and ability to provide the police department with the equipment and gear that they needed to effectively do their jobs. Fire Chief Gary Sparks had similar views. “Mayor Smith always provided what we needed,” Sparks said, “If I ever went to him and told him that we need something, then he’d get it for us. He always made sure that we had the best equipment that we needed to do our jobs.” Parks and Recreation Director Don Hudson – who’s been the longest serving department director under Smith, echoed what’s been said. “There will never be another one like Leon Smith. He was a great businessman, a quick thinker, and could handle any situation

thrown at him. His business mind was excellent, and his leadership – especially as a manager – was bar-none the best.” Hudson even reminded me of what the mayor did for the children with special needs just a few short years ago. He and the city council worked with Eastman (formerly Solutia), McCartney Construction, Taylor Construction, and Cal Munroe of Munroe+Jenkins Architecture, to build a field for those children to play baseball on, no matter their physical limitations. That organization, A League of Our Own, now has over 150 participants each season, and much of that credit goes to Mayor Smith and the league’s founder, Ginger Munroe. Now let’s get down to brass tacks. Mayor Smith’s first major battle was to work to relieve the City of Oxford’s debt that existed when he took office in 1984. It’s never been a secret that he has always been very business friendly and has encouraged retail in Oxford. He knew retail was crucial to the City’s success in other areas. Education has always been a top priority for Smith, and he knew the tax base from retail businesses would ensure the success of Oxford City Schools. A story that has not been told as much as it probably should have been, maybe


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 66

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 67

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 67

8/5/16 6:47 PM


because of time, is the story about his fight with the phone company. When Smith took office, the area phone directory was listed as the “Anniston Area.” Due to his diligent correspondence with the phone company, it is now published as the “Greater Calhoun County” directory. The same rings true (pun intended) for the Polk City Directory, which he refused to purchase because it was titled “Anniston and Calhoun County”. He stood his ground, and the very next year the title of the directory was changed to “Anniston-Oxford-Calhoun County”. He also corresponded with our officials in Washington, D.C. about the Oxford Post Office, which was considered a branch of the Anniston Post Office. He argued that a city the size of Oxford should have its own branch, and even though he didn’t exactly win that smaller battle, he still got us a new, larger post office… Mayor Smith saw the retail potential of the Eastern Parkway and made many trips to Montgomery to establish funding for construction and expansion of the roadway. As most of us know, Smith has had a – to say it best – contentious relationship with one of our local newspapers. While Mayor Smith had the foresight to see the potential of developing Exit 188, that particular newspaper made light of what is now the appropriately named Leon Smith Parkway. Today, thousands of vehicles travel that road each day, and it’s still going strong, with new retailers and even industrial developments, along with a state-of-the-art sports complex that is the envy of the state. Mayor Smith has secured infrastructure for generations to come by establishing the City of Oxford’s own water supply. In 1986, he was told by a neighboring city that he would have to ask for their permission to use their water. When they told him that, he got on the phone with the current city council and Clifford Lanier, co-founder of the Frazier Lanier Bond Agency, and started working on a

bond for the city. He flew to New York City with Lanier to obtain a bond rating and borrowed $9,000,000 to build Oxford’s own water system. 20 years later, Smith saw an opportunity to purchase land behind the Oxford Exchange and how the City could benefit from the water source located on that property. Today, the City reaps the benefits of that location, not only as the location of the Oxford Water Treatment Plant, but as the location of retailers in the Oxford Exchange and Oxford Commons, which have over 30 retailers and are continuing to expand. Mayor Smith has always realized the importance of industry. He worked diligently with local and state officials to bring Kronospan to Oxford, which is now expanding and adding over 200 employees. Along with Kronospan, companies such as Tapecraft, National Gypsum, FabArc, and Bridgewater, and many others are very successful and have begun operations or gone through major expansions during Mayor Smith’s tenure. Even after the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1995 closed Fort McClellan, the mayor worked with state and national legislators and officials to bring the Chemical Weapons Incinerator to Anniston Army Depot so those workers that were being transferred or terminated through attrition would have employment opportunities still in the area. Mayor Smith had a vision for the City of Oxford and always knew what our city could become. When Mayor Smith first came into office in 1984, we were considered a “sleepy little town” with a population of around 8,600 people. We are now known as one of the most successful and fastest growing cities in the state with a population of over 21,000. One thing that has always impressed the citizens of Oxford is the fact that Mayor Leon Smith has always put Oxford first. One of his goals when first elected was to put Oxford on the map, and it is evident by the respect and recognition Oxford has

throughout the state, the region, and the nation today that we have achieved that under Smith’s leadership. Incoming mayor Alton Craft speaks very highly of Smith. “Leon Smith is my friend,” he says, “and that is the highest compliment that I can give to anyone. He has always had my back and gave me a chance when others would not have. It’s an honor to follow in his footsteps, and I’m proud to continue his work as the mayor of Oxford.” In closing, I’ll ask a question: what has Leon Smith done for our city? Love him or hate him, he has brought Oxford from a quaint little town to a bustling enterprise, and that’s a fact. Our police and fire protection are at the top of class. Our EMS is one of the best in the state because the mayor has always made it a priority to keep them funded. His record as mayor is one of the best records you can have, and he was driving force behind Oxford’s success. He has gone through highs and lows, personal tragedies and political triumphs, but he’s always been facing due north to make us a shining light on a hill, and he’s done just that. Whether we live here or are just passing through, we’re all grateful to you Mayor Smith. Your vision for our city was grand, but you saw to it that your vision, which became our vision, was realized. We are that city on a hill, and we will continue to be just that because you have shown us that we can do great things with hard work and good old fashioned determination. As a citizen of Oxford and on behalf of all citizens of Oxford, we look forward to seeing all of your plans and dreams for our city come full circle. From the bottom of our heart, thank you for 32 years. 32 years. 384 months. 1,670 weeks. 11,688 days. 280,512 hours…


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 68

8/5/16 6:47 PM


As we prepare for the 2016 City elections, I felt that I should let all of you know that I will not seek re-election as your Mayor. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support as I have served as your Mayor for eight terms. The citizens of Oxford have been so good to my family and me over the years, and I want all of you to know just how much I have appreciated your love and support. I am now looking forward to spending ti with my son and grandsons, but I also want what is best for Oxford. Alton Craft has served as the City Finance Director for many years, and it has always been my wish that he would one day choose to serve as Mayor. Alton has lived in Oxford all of his life, and he loves this city and its people. Alton has my full support and best wishes as he seeks to become your Mayor. As of November 1st, I will be retiring from public life, but I want all of you to know that it has been such an honor to serve each of you as your Mayor. I Have always loved this great City, and I will always be grateful to the people of Oxford. Sincerely,

Leon Smith Leon Smith Mayor, City of Oxford

www.oxfordaccess.com : 69

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 69

8/5/16 6:47 PM

While we have enjoyed the summer, many of our patrons are starting back to school. This is an exciting time of new beginnings, but it can also be frustrating at times, particularly when homework starts. Let the library help you! The library has many resources to help you, whether you are in school, teach school, or help someone in school. Homework Alabama is an online resource provided by the Alabama Public Library Service that allows students to access live online tutoring to help with homework questions. The website is www.homeworkalabama.org, and it offers help in many subjects on the individual student’s grade level. Get live help from 3 p.m. - 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. The SkillsCenter, which

offers additional, static help, is available 24/7. There is also help for adults who need career assistance. Online tutors are available to help navigate job sites, complete applications, write/review résumé, and even practice for an interview. This is an exceptional resource; take advantage of it! Knowledge City is a different service provided for you by OPL. This resource offers over 8,000 online courses on topics from computers to business to job safety. After completing a course, you will receive a certificate of completion; this is handy to add skills to a résumé or to become more familiar with a topic used in the workplace or the classroom. To access this resource, simply go to the library’s website (www.oxfordalabama.org) and click on Public


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 70

8/5/16 6:47 PM



Library on the left panel, and then click on the orange and white button that says Knowledge City. Your username is your last name, and your password is the last six digits of your Oxford Library card number. It will ask you to sign up for a free account to see recommendations and keep track of what you have learned. A third resource that you should be using is the Alabama Virtual Library. The AVL provides online access to essential library and information resources. It is primarily a group of online databases that have magazine, journal, and newspaper articles for research. Through the AVL, an equitable core of information sources is available to you. Simply visit www.avl.lib.al.us to take advantage of this wonderful resource. OPL has a class that teaches you about the

features of the AVL. The next scheduled classes are September 28, October 26, and November 23 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. I’d love for you to join us! These are a few of the many resources OPL offers to help you. Remember, any of our staff will be happy to help you navigate these resources and the many others we offer. Our job at OPL is to serve our community with materials and services that help our community. If you have any questions about these or any other services we provide, please don’t hesitate to call, email, or drop by to find out more!

www.oxfordaccess.com : 71

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 71

8/5/16 6:47 PM

Law enforcement has greatly evolved over the years, and as a result, the City of Oxford’s Police Department has had to adapt. We have placed an emphasis on properly equipping our officers with the newest technologies and training needed to stay ahead of the criminal element which threatens our city. Over the past ten years, we have slowly integrated many pieces of equipment in the department. To add, we are the only department in the State, and in some cases the Nation, which has implemented certain technologies. For example: We are the only municipal agency in the country who has applied the use of the VAMPIRE Latent Fingerprint Scanner, to name one. This device allows our crime scene investigators to analyze fingerprints at the crime scene. In effect, this allows our department to accurately identify suspects and rule our potential offenders in a matter of minutes. Recently, law enforcement agencies and their officers have been 72 : OXFORD ACCESS

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 72

8/5/16 6:47 PM


shed in a negative light. The members of the Oxford Police Department, however, have maintained strong community support as we diligently strive to provide the best law enforcement services possible for our visitors and citizens. It is important for our citizens to understand that we are working effectively for them. It is best placed in context by explaining that the first duty of government is to protect its citizens. Without your public safety agencies and police department, the city of Oxford may very well waive its ability to provide a comfortable place to live, work, and play. Please understand that though respectful and professional, we are diligent in maintaining the safety of our city. We are your first line of defense and intend fully to provide you with exceptional law enforcement services and keep you safe. Chief Bill Partridge www.oxfordaccess.com : 73

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 73

8/5/16 6:47 PM


Two sisters from Birmingham, Alabama, different from one another as night and day, happen upon murders-Repeatedly. While none of them are planned and none of them are the sisters’ fault, the sisters help solve the mysteries. Patricia Ann is a retired school teacher who has been married to the same wonderful man her whole life, has two grown children and a dog, and a comfortable house in the suburbs of Birmingham. Mary Alice is nothing like her normal, respectable sister; she is flamboyant and loud, she has outlived three husbands (each one richer than the last), and she lives in a huge, expensive house fit for entertaining that overlooks Birmingham. The sisters, though very different, are always there for each other, and when something goes wrong (like finding a dead body), they are up for the challenge of solving the mystery. Well, Mary Alice is up for almost anything; Patricia Ann goes on adventures with her sister whether she wants to or not. The settings are local to Alabama; the sisters are hilarious and fun; the situations are unusual, yet relatable, and the dead bodies keep appearing. If you are looking for a fun, cozy read that will have you itching to recommend to your neighbor, check out this series. The Oxford Public Library has all eight books in the series available in book, audiobook, and e-book formats. You will not regret taking the time to read the entire series. The titles are as follows: Murder on a Girls’ Night Out, Murder on a Bad Hair Day, Murder Runs in the Family, Murder Makes Waves, Murder Gets a Life, Murder Shoots the Bull, Murder Carries a Torch, and Murder Boogies with Elvis.

FOR BIDDLE'S SAKE BY ABAIGAIL AMAYA, 5TH GRADER For Biddle’s Sake, written by Gail Carson Levine, is similar to the fairytale “The Princess and the Frog.” It is a book I recently read and quite enjoyed. I recommend it to readers who are ready to read longer chapter books (2-5 pages per chapter; 11-14 chapters), are okay with few illustrations, and enjoy fairytale fiction. In this book there is a prince (the youngest of three) whose name is Tansy. He is constantly being blamed by his two older brothers for causing all sorts of trouble in the castle, but the brothers are the ones who actually did what Tansy is blamed and punished

for. Near the end of the book, Tansy is chosen to be heir to the throne instead of his brothers, humbling them. Additionally, a girl living with a fairy named Bombina is accidentally turned into a toad by the fairy. She regains her human self with the help of Tansy, and then Tansy wins the competition to become heir, and later has a wonderful wedding with her groom, the future king. The adventure, the hardships, and finally, the happy ending are all why I am recommending this book. I hope you read it sometime.


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 74

8/5/16 6:47 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 75

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 75

8/7/16 9:37 PM



Please contact Emil Loeken at the Marketing & Public Communications Department for more information. Emil can be reached at 256-241-6668 or emil@oxfordal.us


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 76

8/5/16 6:47 PM


A MESSAGE FROM THE OXFORD FIRE CHIEF Exciting times are here at Oxford Fire Department. The Oxford City Council recently approved the contract with Hurst Construction Company to build the new Robert Hendrick Fire Station #2 at the corner of Friendship Road and Lane Road. This station will replace the current volunteer station located on Friendship Road. The station will be real similar in looks to the current Fire Station #3 located in Bynum. This station will have 3 truck bays, living quarters for full-time firefighters, a room to be used as a back-up Emergency Operations Center and a Police Sub-Station. There will be 3 full-time firefighters stationed at this station at all times. The completion of this station will fulfill the plan we had in place to improve the fire department facilities and staffing. Station 1, Station 2 and Station 3 will all be manned stations and Station 4, Station 5 and Station 6 will continue to be served by volunteer firefighters. We are thankful for the support of the Mayor and City Council and of the citizens of Oxford. Don’t forget, this is the dog days of summer and here are a few tips to avoid heat related illnesses: • •

Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps. Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.

• • •

Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle. Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on: • Infants and young children • People aged 65 or older • People who have a mental illness • Those with heart disease or high blood pressure • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day

www.oxfordaccess.com : 77

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 77

8/5/16 6:47 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 78

8/8/16 12:57 PM

www.oxfordaccess.com : 79

Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 79

8/8/16 12:57 PM


Oxford Access_vol1_issue3_pg1-64.indd 80

8/5/16 6:47 PM

vol1issue2 cover - independent pages.indd 3

8/5/16 6:04 PM

National High School Baseball Coaches Association Southeast Field of the Year

CHOCCOLOCCO PARK GRAND OPENING CEREMONIES OCTOBER 16 AT 2:00 PM vol1issue2 cover - independent pages.indd 4

8/5/16 6:04 PM

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.