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SPORTS, PAGE 10 Wildcats earn last-minute win


Lighting the way for Alexander City & Lake Martin since 1892

March 8, 2018 Vol. 126, No. 48 75¢

Four Alex City men arrested in bust Task force seizes drugs, vehicles, guns, cash in drug bust By MITCH SNEED Editor

An ongoing operation by the Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force resulted in search warrants at two locations in Alexander City Tuesday, which led to arrests of four local men

and the seizure of drugs, seven vehicles, multiple guns and cash. According to Sgt. Fred White of the Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force, task force personnel along with operatives with the Alexander City Police Department Special See BUST • Page 9

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New charges send Jacksons Gap man back to prison



A Jacksons Gap man with a lengthy arrest record was ordered back to prison after picking up new charges that violated the terms of his probation. Circuit Court See REEDER • Page 3 Reeder

Department of Education closes Edward Bell case By DONALD CAMPBELL Staff Writer

Lizi Arbogast / The Outlook

Robinson Iron to deliver cupola to Nashville this weekend


ednesday morning, Robinson Iron Corporation workers, from left, Shane Wall, Chris Kirk, Walt Whatley and Jaymes Davis, top, work on disas-

sembling the Tennessee State Capitol cupola that Robinson Iron has been restoring. The cupola is set for delivery this weekend and the lifting process will begin in Nashville on Monday.

Alexander City Tree Board plants 13 trees on Arbor Day Alexander City’s urban forest now has 13 more trees thanks to a grant and the hard work of several volunteers. Alexander City Mayor Jim Nabors proclaimed Saturday, March 3 as Arbor Day and the Alexander City Tree Board recognized


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Alexander City Kiwanians David Willis and Louise Tapley pose for a photograph with Conecuh sausage. The Kiwanis Club is holding a pancake breakfast Saturday at the Benjamin Russell High School cafeteria where allyou-can-eat pancakes, Conecuh sausage, coffee, milk and orange juice will be served. Tickets are $6 and carry-out plates are available. Cliff Williams / The Outlook

See TREES • Page 3



Kiwanians prep for pancake breakfast

the day by planting 10 Autumn Blaze Red Maples at the Soccer Complex and replacing three White Oaks at Patriots Point. The Red Maples will provide shade along the sidewalk that leads from the Soccer Complex parking area to the lower fields. The


8 5295 Highway 280, Alex City, AL

The Tallapoosa County Board of Education announced at Monday night’s meeting that an investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) into alleged discrimination against African-American students by shuttering Edward Bell High School in Camp Hill has been closed, with no further action needing to be taken by the school system. In 2011, the group Citizens for Better Schools and Sustainable Communities sent a letter to Washington asking for an investigation into the Tallapoosa County School system for potential violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This See INVESTIGATION • Page 3


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Newlywed wife rejects idea of welcoming a second wife

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Frost, then sunny


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High Chance of showers


Directory Telephone: (256) 234-4281 Fax: (256) 234-6550 Website: Management Steve Baker Publisher, Ext. 218 Mitch Sneed Editor, Ext. 213 David Kendrick Circulation Manager, Ext. 204 Lee Champion Production Manager, Ext. 220 Audra Spears Art Director, Ext. 219 Betsy Iler Magazine Managing Editor, Ext. 221 Tippy Hunter Advertising Director, Ext. 206 Angela Mullins Business Manager, Ext. 202 Newsroom Amy Passaretti Assistant Magazine Editor, Ext. 227 Lizi Arbogast Sports Editor, Ext. 228


Information (USPS: 013-080, ISSN: 0738-5110) The Outlook is published five times a week, Tuesday through Saturday mornings, by Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., 548 Cherokee Road, P.O. Box 999, Alexander City, AL, 35011. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Post Office Box 999, Alexander City, AL 35011.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Outlook

Cliff Williams Staff Writer, Ext. 212 Donald Campbell Staff Writer, Ext. 208 Santana Wood Staff Writer/Pagination, Ext. 210 Advertising Sales Doug Patterson Newspaper Advertising, Ext. 205 Katie Wesson Retail Sales Manager, Ext. 232 Scott Hardy Digital Marketing Coordinator, Ext. 231 Rebecca Carlisle Advertising Sales, Ext. 217 Erin Burton Advertising Sales, Ext. 225

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for seven months, and my husband wants a second wife, something I do not agree with. He says he likes helping people and has decided he wants a former lover to be a part of our marriage. Unfortunately, she is more than willing to sleep with him. Now he’s talking about helping her move even though he knows I’m against him having anything to do with her. She says she’s going to tell her daughter he is her boyfriend and not let her know he is married. She wants to be my friend, but I want nothing to do with her. I sold my house, so I have nowhere to go. He refuses to go to marriage counseling because he says I am the problem. I am just about ready to cut my losses and move on. What do you think? -- READY TO MOVE ON DEAR READY: You and your husband are already living on separate planets as far as your values are


concerned. Unless you are willing to have an open marriage and another woman sharing your husband, I “think� it’s time to talk to a lawyer! DEAR ABBY: While flying across country with my toddler son, he started screaming hysterically as the plane began its descent. Nothing I could do would calm him. I tried giving him a bottle, a knuckle, a pacifier, even the corner of my shirt, but he continued to howl. All of a sudden, a hand holding a lollipop appeared in the space between our seats and with it came a soft voice that said, “It’s the change in air pressure. Try this.� I took what turned

out to be a sugar-free lollipop, and sure enough, the moment I unwrapped the generally frowned-upon treat, my son began sucking enthusiastically, calmed down and sat quietly until the plane came to a stop. Ever since then I travel with sugar-free lollipops in my purse in the event a child near me is undone by the change in cabin pressure during landing. Some parents are skeptical at first, but when I use the tone and the words once spoken to me, they usually accept the treat, calm their child and sigh in relief. I encourage parents of children old enough to handle a lollipop to do the same just in case there is no lollipop angel on their flight. -- TIP FROM UP HIGH DEAR TIP: Hmmm. Perhaps airlines should stock an emergency supply of lollipops on their planes for parents in that situation. It would be easier than handing out earplugs and tranquilizers to all the other

passengers on the flight. DEAR ABBY: My niece died last week from a fentanyl overdose. She was 43. My brother lives out of town, so I offered to retrieve my niece’s belongings. While going through them, I found a crack pipe and syringes. Should I tell my brother or keep it to myself? -- KEEP IT TO MYSELF DEAR KEEP IT: Please accept my sympathy for the loss your family has suffered. I think you should tell your brother. He is already aware that his daughter had a serious drug problem. If you’re afraid the news will add to his pain, don’t be. Disclosing it could help him realize the scope of her addiction. Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www. or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Composing Darlene Johnson Composing Department, Ext. 203 Hallie Holloway Composing Department, Ext. 203 Circulation Linda Ewing Office Clerk, Ext. 201

Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc. manages The Alexander City Outlook, The Dadeville Record, Lake magazine, Lake Martin Living, Kenneth Boone Photography and a commercial web printing press. Š 2011 Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc. Reproduction of any part of any issue requires written publisher permission.

How to submit obituaries Obituaries can be submitted to The Outlook from funeral homes by email at For more information, call (256) 234-4281. SOCIAL SECURITY FAYE EDMONDSON Attorney at Law 135 N. Tallassee Street • Dadeville, AL

825-9559 No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

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Special / The Outlook

This weather image was of a sunny day was created by Stephens Elementary School fourth grader Radney Lovett in the art class of Debra Griffith. The National Weather Service predicts sunny skies today with a high temperature in the mid-50s and frost in the morning. The weekend is looking to be bit wet with the chance of rain over 40 percent Saturday and 50 percent Sunday.

Public Meetings • Alexander City Board of Education meets on the third Tuesday of each month. Meetings are held in the board office at 375 Lee St. or local school at 5 p.m. • Alexander City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of each month. Meetings are held in the courtroom at the old city hall at 5:30 p.m. • Camp Hill Town Council meets the first and third Mondays of each month. Meetings are held in town hall at 6 p.m. • Community Action Agency of Chambers, Tallapoosa, Coosa will holds its regular board of directors meetings every other month at the Central Office in Dadeville. • Coosa County Board of Education holds called meetings at least once a month. • Coosa County Commission meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Meetings are

held in the Coosa County Courthouse in Rockford at 9:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday and at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday. • Coosa County Industrial Development Board will hold its regularly scheduled meeting the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Board Room in the courthouse in Rockford. All meetings are open to the public. • Dadeville City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. with a premeeting at 5:30 p.m. in city hall. • Daviston City Council meets the third Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Daviston Fire Department. • Goldville Town Council meets the second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the town hall. • Goodwater City Council

meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Meetings are held at the Caldwell Center at 6:30 p.m. • Jackson’s Gap Town Council meets the second Tuesday of each month. Meetings are held in town hall at 6:30 p.m., all Jackson’s Gap citizens are encouraged to attend. • Kellyton Town Council meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the community center in Kellyton. • New Site City Council meets the first and third Monday of the month at 5 p.m. in the Conference Room in the Town Hall. • Ray Water Authority meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Ray Water Authority Office. All customers are invited to attend. • Rockford Town Council meets the second Tuesday of each month. Meetings are

held in town hall at 7 p.m. • Tallapoosa County Board of Education meets on the second Monday of each month. Meetings are held in the new central office at 679 East Columbus Street, Dadeville, AL 36853. • Tallapoosa County Commission meets the second Monday of the month at 9 a.m. in the courthouse in Dadeville, with a pre-meeting also open to the public 30 minutes before each regular session. • Tallapoosa County 911 Board will meet on the second Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m. in the 911 Administrative office at 240 West Columbus Street, Dadeville. Call 825-8490 for more information. • Walnut Hill Water Authority meets the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited. Call 8259841 to inquire about the agenda.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Outlook

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continued from page 1

White Oaks are part of the gateway planting at Patriots Point and replace three trees that died. The Parks and Recreation Department assisted by pre-digging the holes at the Soccer Complex and Tim Blankenship with the Department of Public Works assisted by picking up the trees and pre-digging the holes at Patriots Point. The Tree Board has now planted more than 345 trees in Alexander City. Also assisting with the Arbor Day project was BRHS’s new chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA). The chapter was represented by Jordan Bunch – President, Shane Fuller – Vice President, Connor Adair – Treasurer, Jackson Knight – Reporter, Reed Scott, and Colby Ford, along with Faculty Co-Advisor Rick Jones. The Faculty Advisor is Josh Williams. Tree Board members present were Larry Bates, Richard Wagoner, Barbara Barnes and Ray Peacock. The trees were mostly paid for by a $1,000 grant from the Good Roots program of the Alabama Power Foundation. The Good Roots program supports programs that: • Maintain an excellent quality of life in our communities • Enhance and improve the quality of the environment in communities across the state. • Encourage active community involvement The Foundation believes that trees are key to creating healthy environments and improving the quality of life in Alabama. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and filter dust, pollen and other pollutants from the air, as well as release oxygen. Tree-shaded neighborhoods can be three to six degrees cooler and properly placed trees can decrease air conditioning bills up to 75 percent. Good Roots recipients are public entities and must plant the trees in public areas. Arbor Day began in Nebraska in 1872 when newspaper publisher J. Sterling Morton proposed a day set aside to plant trees in the treeless plains. Over a million trees were planted in Nebraska on that first Arbor Day. In 1939, the National Arbor Day Committee was formed and Arbor Day is now celebrated throughout the nation and the world.

Above, after the tree planting was complete, participants Ray Peacock, Shane Fuller, Connor Adair, Reed Scott, Larry Bates, Jackson Knight, Rick Jones (holding Arbor Day Proclamation), Jordan Bunch, Colby Ford and Richard Wagoner pose for a team photo. Left, volunteers including Hane Fuller, Rick Jones, Richard Wagoner, with Jordan Bunch and Barbara Barnes (in the background) work to get the trees planted. Submitted / The Outlook


continued from page 1

Judge Tom Young heard arguments in a motion to revoke the probation of 23-year-old William Chase Reeder last week. Reeder, who was out on probation after entering a plea deal for possession of a controlled substance, was involved in a high-speed chase with Alexander City Police Department officers on Dec. 16, 2017. Reeder was taken into custody and a subsequent search led to charges of attempting to elude, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. On Jan. 18, a motion to revoke his probation was filed, meaning the 23-month sentence would be

reinstated. But Reeder tried to make a case to be allowed to stay on probation until the new charges went to court, saying his issues with drugs was related to some mental issues and tough circumstances he had been dealing with. “I know I’ve had some issues, but I need mental help,� Reeder said. “I’m not a bad guy. I’m trying I really am. But since my Dad died I’m struggling. If I could get some help I know I can get past this.� Young heard his pleas, but also heard details of the night he was arrested. Testimony indicated when officers tried to initiate a traffic stop, the truck

Reeder was driving ran at speeds in excess of 100 mph. After covering several miles on Barrett Road and Andrew Jackson, the truck bumped a police Tahoe before coming to a stop in a ditch. That’s when the drugs and paraphernalia were found in the vehicle, according to testimony. “I believe you need help and we can get you that,� Young told Reeder. “They have a program at Atmore where you can get mental help, help for substance abuse and even vocational guidance. So that’s what we’ll do. The probation is revoked and I will put down there to get you in that program. I wish you the best, but you can get that help there if you need it.� Young gave Reeder credit for 154


days that he had already served and reminded him that he will still have to stand trial on the new charges and face court costs. Reeder was led from the court, but a few minutes later was brought back by a deputy. “Your honor if the probation is revoked and I’m going to prison, I don’t think I need that program,� Reeder told Young. Young disagreed. “Oh no, I believed you when you said you needed some assistance,� Young said. “So we already got you signed up and they will get you down there, probably to Atmore as soon as possible so you can get started. With that, Reeder was led out of court again.

continued from page 1

letter claimed that the school closure was passed in order to try and re-segregate the county school system, keeping African-American students from Edward Bell from having the same opportunities as other students elsewhere in the system and refusing to hire African-Americans into teaching and administration positions. There were also claims of discrimination with regards to special needs and alternative education, with African-American students being referred to special needs classes, being written up for rule infractions and being recommended to the county alternative school at a higher rate than students of other ethnicities. Nancy Hatcher, the director of personnel for the Tallapoosa County School System, said that the letters from OCR regarding the investigations came within a few months of each other, and the county schools went to work submitting all the necessary

Life has a

documentation to the Department of Education. “They requested a huge amount of information from us, and we had to submit things to them every year,� Hatcher said. “We voluntarily complied with this. There was nothing we fought.� Among the plethora of documents the Tallapoosa County Schools sent to OCR to show the system was not being discriminatory in the classroom, there were descriptions of 504 (providing personalized lesson plans to students with disabilities) training offered to teachers, student enrollment for each school broken down by race, explanation of factors taken into consideration when taking disciplinary action against students, listings of each school’s disciplinary referrals, a list of all students enrolled at the county alternative school and the length of time each was enrolled broken down by race, the reach of self-contained classrooms

for students with special needs and the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes broken down by race. “It was long and tedious, but it was not a problem coming up with all this evidence,� Hatcher said. With regards to closing Edward Bell being a way the Tallapoosa County Schools could re-segregate the system, Hatcher said OCR reviewed all documentation submitted by the central office and interviewed those registering the complaint. “OCR found insufficient evidence that the county school system closed Edward Bell for discriminatory reasons,� Hatcher said. “OCR also found insufficient evidence that the schools overlooked other less discriminatory options.� She added that, at the time Edward Bell was closed, it served a student body of only 180 students from kindergarten through 12th grade, and

a consultant the board brought in showed the student population would drop to approximately 115 students by the 2019-2020 school year. As such, the board felt closing the school was a logical step to save funds for the system. The Tallapoosa County Schools offered to help resolve the issue, which OCR accepted. The system worked to provide various methods to resolve the issue, including providing compensatory education to Edward Bell students to address school course offerings, developing strategies to grow student participation in things like AP classes, encouraging them to attend college, and even offer these students assistance for enrolling in AP and dual enrollment classes. “This proved that we were doing what we said we were doing,� Hatcher said. “It reaffirms to us that we were doing what we needed to do for our students. It is a weight lifted off of us.�




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Page 4

Outlook The

Loving people who are different Lake area offers M plenty to do Y Our


ou often hear folks around town saying there isn’t much to do in our area. That kind of talk is baffling to say the least. Do they live in the same Lake Martin community we cover here at the paper? Take a look on the calendar page of our paper or check out the preview stories that appear in the headlines on a regular basis. Want some examples? United Way is having its annual meeting and celebration of its fundraising efforts tonight. The Alexander City Kiwanis Club will have its big, annual pancake breakfast Saturday at Benjamin Russell with all-you-can-eat pancakes and Conecuh sausage. If you are into sports, there’s a high school fishing tournament at Wind Creek Saturday and all kinds of softball, baseball and soccer on the prep schedule. We have Easter events popping up on the schedules and area churches have all sorts of celebrations and special programs planned this weekend and in the coming weeks and months. That doesn’t even touch on the big events that are mainstays in our area. We had news of the return of Strand Sessions on the first Thursday of the month from April through August as well as the big Blues in the Park event on May 12 at Strand Park. If these events are anything like they were last year, you won’t want to miss them. We had the Bassmaster Elite Series here and the Alabama Bass Trail will be here with 450 anglers on March 24. All that’s before we even start to talk about Sun Festival/Jazz Fest and all the shows that ACT II and the Alexander City Arts group puts on each year. Farmers Markets, Downtown After Dark, Art Around the Lake, Music on the Green, festivals at Horseshoe Bend Military Park, Trade Days in New Site, car shows, Hackneyville Fireworks Bash, Alex City Celebrates Freedom, the Russell Marine Boat Parade and the Hometown Christmas Parade are all big deals here. Do we need to continue? We are blessed to have individuals, volunteers and organizations that step up to plan and stage some incredible events. So get out and be part of the fun in our community. We guarantee you will meet some of the best people in the world.

Know Your

Officials Jim Nabors is mayor of Alexander City. His phone number at city hall is 256-329-6730 and his home number is 256329-1320 His address at city hall is 4 Court Square; Alexander City, AL, 35010. His home address is 1695 Magnolia Street Alexander City, AL, 35010.

Jim Nabors

Bobby Tapley represents District 1. His phone number is 256-3920344. His address is 1821 LaVista Road, Alexander City, AL 35010. Chairman of the Public Safety committee.

Bobby Tapley

Buffy Colvin represents District 2. Her phone number is 256-750-0663. Her address is 786 I Street, Alexander City, AL 35010. Chairman of the Buildings and Property committee.

Buffy Colvin

Scott Hardy represents District 3. His phone number is 256-4962450. His address is 549 Sleepy Hollow Drive, Alexander City, AL 35010. Chairman of the Parks and Recreation committee.

Scott Hardy

Eric Brown represents District 4. His phone number is 256-3972011. His address is 1421 Parrish Drive, Alexander City, AL 35010. Chairman of the Public Works committee.

Eric Brown

Tommy Spraggins represents District 5. His phone number is 256-234-3609. His address is 1539 College Street, Alexander City, AL 35010. Chairman of Finance committee.

Tommy Spraggins

Tim Funderburk represents District 6. His phone number is 256-825-2993. His address is 1431 River Oaks, Alexander City, AL 35010. Chairman of Utilities committee.

Tim Funderburk

y wife and I saw the movie The Greatest Showman recently. We loved it. The story is loosely based on the life of Phineas Taylor Barnum, the founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus the circus many of us grew up going to every year. When I say loosely based, I mean loosely based. There are a few elements of Barnum’s life that the movie presents. He did have a wife named Charity. He did have a Museum of Oddities that eventually morphed into the circus. And, he did introduce America to the Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind. But other than those things, the movie fictionalizes everything else. But that didn’t bother me. The compelling story they came up with was entertaining and taught a profound truth. The plot involves the ambitious Phineas looking for his purpose. He has big dreams, and he wants to live a big life. As a teenager, destitute and starving, he is helped by a disfigured anonymous woman. That act of kindness later inspires him to reach out to those who are physically ‘different’ to be in his circus. He recruits a little person he renames Tom Thumb to be a centerpiece of his show. He invites into the fold a seriously tall man, a hugely obese man,

RAY WATERS Columnist

a bearded woman, Siamese twins, the hairy boy, and the tattooed man. His show is introducing people to humans that are different. And the people come in droves. It is exciting to see Barnum pick these people who are distinctly different. They are isolated and lonely before they join the circus. That soon changes. They find their purpose and their sense of belonging in their new family. Barnum wants so badly to be embraced and loved by the rich of society. He struggles for social acceptance. When he thought he had a chance to be accepted by the wealthy, he tramples on the feelings of his odd new circus friends. It takes him a while to learn that the affluent society will never really embrace him. He also slowly realizes how precious this new family of odd people are to him. I loved the movie. I love people who are different. I realized a long time ago what author Christopher Barzak said first, “Normal is a setting on a washing machine.”

Normal is arbitrary and subjective. It is me thinking everyone has to be just like me or they are not good. How silly. My friends are all diverse, and some would be classified as ‘outside of the box’ or even weird. I love them and would never want them to trade their weirdness to try to be normal. I have found all of us, if we are honest, are a little weird. My wife would tell you I indeed am and I would say she is, too. The great truth teller Dr. Seuss gave us the truth when he wrote, “We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” It’s OK to be weird and not exactly like everyone else. PT Barnum nailed it when he said, “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” See The Greatest Showman and open your heart up to those who are different. Remember different doesn’t mean bad. Embracing those who are not ‘normal’ will open you up like it did Barnum to a more flourishing life than you could ever imagine. Ray Waters is a minister, a motivational speaker and a regular columnist for The Outlook.

Thursday, March 8, 2018



“Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.” —Babe Ruth



“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” —Psalm 139:23-24

Daily Poll Wednesday Question: Are you happy with Kevin Smith being selected as the new football coach at Benjamin Russell?

Yes — 64%, 30 votes No — 36%, 17 votes

Thursday Question: Do you have seasonal allergies? To participate in this daily poll, log on each day to and vote. Find out the vote totals in the next edition of The Outlook and see if your vote swayed the results.



The Outlook strives to report the news honestly, fairly and with integrity, to take a leadership role and act as a positive influence in our community, to promote business, to provide for the welfare of our employees, to strive for excellence in everything we do and above all, to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves.

BRHS does good job of preparing students for life


ince moving to Alexander City and taking a job with the Outlook, I’ve spent a fairly good amount of time covering events taking place in the Alexander City Schools. This year marks 10 years since I graduated from high school, and with all my former classmates talking about the reunion and everything, it made me stop and reflect for a moment about all I remember doing when I was in school, comparing it to everything I’ve seen here. According to statistics released by the Alabama Department of Education earlier this year, Benjamin Russell High School is only a step or two above being a “failing” school, due to students’ performance on the ACT ASPIRE test. Frankly, I have my issues with measuring a school’s performance based on one test. Don’t get me wrong, we do need methods of measurement to hold our schools accountable, and test results can give us some insight into student performance, but from what I’ve seen from my time observing events, the faculty and staff at Benjamin Russell not only teach students the required information from the textbook, but also things that will help them be more successful in life after school. Point 1: Open Door Wednesday. On the first Wednesday of the month, the school opens its doors to the public for an hour, letting guests walk around and observe classrooms in action, so long as the class isn’t taking a test. This gives members of the community the chance to see for themselves what goes on at Benjamin Russell, but also


a visual presentation set up in the gym. Looking around this past spring, I saw literature students dress as Jay Gatsby and his entourage talk about their lives, learned how arsenic can be used to combat zombies and even watched students dance the Argentine tango. Like some of the aforementioned events, this helps with speaking to others outside of a social setting, but it also has the students demonstrating they gained a better understanding of the subjects they have spent the school year learning. These are just a few of the things Benjamin Russell does every school year to get its students learning more and not just teaching to the test. Frankly, I’ve found myself saying over and over to people like Superintendent Dr. Darrell Cooper and BRHS Principal Dr. Anthony Wilkinson how I wished my high school had offered things like this. I really mean it, too. Being introverted, a little bit shy and not very financially responsible back then, being able to practice things like speaking in front of others and living within a budget would have been an excellent addition to my schooling. I think a lot of other schools could learn from this example and institute similar programs for their students, making them better prepared for the future. Knowing the contents of a textbook that legislators say you need to know is one thing, but knowing how to be a fully functioning adult able to live on your own and take care of your own affairs is just as, if not more, important in the long run.

has the students practicing communication skills, since each classroom has a “greeter” that welcomes the guest in and explains what the class is doing. Point 2: Reality Check. Designed for the ninth-graders, Reality Check is an exercise in personal finance, learning to live within a budget and be fiscally responsible. Each student receives a financial scenario, including job and salary along with certain financial obligations that have to be met. Living within a budget is something everyone has to do, so going ahead and giving these freshmen an experience in taking on this task will give them a taste and prepare them for being an adult. Point 3: Senior Blitz. Over the course of an hour, 12th graders have four separate interviews with members of the community, having their resumes reviewed and questions asked as if they were on a job interview. Again, this helps with more public speaking situations, but also gives the seniors the chance to practice a scenario they will find more and more common after graduation. Going ahead and finding anything that needs correcting now can only benefit these students more later on. Point 4: Wildcat Showcase. Every spring, the high school students demonstrate certain things they’ve learned throughout the year. Several give oral presentations to a panel of judges, but many team Donald Campbell is a staff up in small groups and have writer with The Outlook.

How to


The subscription rate is $136.00 per year in Tallapoosa and Coosa counties and $177.99 outside the area. Periodicals paid at Alexander City, AL. Newspapers are available at 100 news racks in our area at 75 cents for The Outlook and 50 cents for The Record. We would love to deliver a paper to your door. Call David Kendrick at 256-234-4281, Ext. 204 or e-mail david.kendrick@

What’s your


We’d like to share your thoughts and opinions with the greater Lake Martin community. It’s free and it only takes a few moments of your time. We have two ways to get your opinion in print: letters to the editor and guest columns. The main difference is length. Letters to the editor are up to 250 words, while guest columns can be up to 500 words. Letters and columns may be sent to P.O. Box 999, Alexander City, AL 35011, faxed to (256) 2346550 or e-mailed to Please include your name, address and phone number. Send us your thoughts today!

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Thursday, March 8, 2018 Your community, your news ...

Local news Outlook The

This is a view of the Jacksonville State University campus from the 12th floor observation deck of the Houston Cole Library. An extensive list shows a great number of students from the Lake Martin Area have been accepted into JSU.

ACT II announces auditions for Dadeville show STAFF REPORT TPI Staff

Alexander City Theatre II will hold auditions this weekend for a spring production of murder mystery comedies that will be performed at the Dadeville High School Auditorium April 27 through 29. Auditions and rehearsals for the show will be held at the Alexander City Theatre II Fine Arts Center at 264 Tallapoosa St., Alexander City. Featured will be two one-act plays: “A Murdered Mystery” by Karl Garner and “Dinner at 8, Dead by 9” by Michael Druce. “A Murdered Mystery” includes six speaking parts (three men and three women) and will be team directed by Patti Smith and Susan McCrispin. “Dinner at 8, Dead by 9” offers six roles for men and five roles for women and will be team directed by Skye Walker and Mac Tyson. “These are both lighthearted and funny scripts that will leave smiles on the faces of audiences,” said ACT II President Betsy Iler, who will co-produce the production with Beverly Howard. Auditions will be held Saturday, March 10, and Sunday, March 11, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday, March 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. In addition to acting roles, the production will offer opportunities for anyone interested in production and backstage positions, Iler said. “The smaller scale of the one-act format provides a good opportunity to learn production skills, like costuming, set construction and decorating, props, publicity and more. We’re trying to take a team approach to these positions, so more people have opportunities to learn these skills without the pressure of doing a full length show,” she explained. For more information about the auditions, email Both plays are licensed through Pioneer Drama Service.

Annual spring wagon train to stop in Camp Hill By CLIFF WILLIAMS Staff Writer

It has been generations since horses and wagons were the main mode of transportation. Images of horses and wagons of the past are often only seen in the movies. Sunday, the Broken L Wagon Train will give everyone a chance to see transportation from yesteryear as they come down Main Street in Camp Hill on the way to Montgomery. “We are going to come right down Main Street,” said Jimmy Fetner, who has taken part in the annual event for a decade. “We are going to camp at the airport.” And they are not going to take freeways. “We take all dirt roads if we can,” Fetner said. The wagon train is planned to make it to Main Street in Camp Hill about 3 p.m. Fetner explained the wagon train will leave Rock Mills Friday morning stopping along the way in Mill Street, Buttson, Camp Hill, Tallassee and making it to Montgomery Thursday morning to join another wagon train. “We will be joining up with a wagon train from north Alabama,” Fetner said. “We will parade around the capital and head up to Garrett Coliseum to set up camp for the rodeo.” Fetner said the Broken L will have four to eight wagons and 30 to 50 horse riders. Not even weather will stop them. “It may cut us back to about four wagons and 20 horses,” Fetner said. “We put on the rainsuits and go on. We will stop for severe weather. Last year in Tallassee it was 29 degrees and the wind was blowing. It was the coldest I have ever been.” That cold can make the wagon train special. “Saturday we are camping in Buttston at Gerald McGill’s,” Fetner said. “They always have chicken and rabbit stew. A good hot soup is good after a cool day riding.” The retired Fetner said the reason for the wagon ride is to pass the tradition along to younger generations. “We take as many young people as we can to keep the tradition going,” Fetner said. “My grandson is about to turn 15 and he has been going since he was 10. It must be a good thing when a 15 year-old is looking forward to something.”

Special / Jacksonville State University

Local students accepted into JSU STAFF REPORT TPI Staff

JACKSONVILLE— Jacksonville State University will be welcoming more than 2,600 students into its 2018 freshman class. Several students who made the list are from the Lake Martin area, including Alexander City, Jacksons Gap, Daviston, Dadeville, Kellyton, Camp Hill, Goodwater and Rockford. The students admitted include: • Tay’la Stowes of Alexander City • Za’Nyia Whitaker of Alexander City • Jared Glenn of Alexander City • Timothy Haggerty of Jacksons Gap • Alexia Clifton of Alexander City • Hannah Adcock of Daviston • Hayley Marbury of Alexander City

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Lauren Henderson of Jacksons Gap Justin Bice of Dadeville Zakia Thomas of Alexander City Daniel Montgomery of Dadeville Alexandria Queen of Kellyton Andrea Morgan of Kellyton Monea’ Brooks of Alexander City Amaya Hatcher of Camp Hill Cade Worthy of Alexander City Tia Birmingham of Alexander City Jaden Tuck of Alexander City Lili Gonzales of Alexander City Jerry Pulliam III of Dadeville Jalen Sullivan of Camp Hill Madison Harvel of Goodwater Bianca Pugh of Alexander City Cierra McDonald of Rockford Jasmine Carr of Alexander City Elijah Stargill of Alexander City Dejavious Hunter of Alexander City

Alabama Center for Real Estate’s monthly forecast. ACRE forecasts a total of It appears when it comes 346 waterfront sales on to sales of Lake Martin Lake Martin in 2018, a waterfront properties that slight decrease from the 349 2018 has started off on the lake homes that were sold same positive note that was during all of 2017. the theme in 2017. Demand: January While the number of sales waterfront sales decreased was down slightly, the median 43.5 percent from the sales price was up from a previous month. This trend year ago and well-above the is consistent with historical December 2017 levels. data indicating that January In numbers from a sales on average (’13-’17) report from University of decrease from December Alabama’s Alabama Center by 38.3 percent. Waterfront for Real Estate and the Lake homes selling in January Martin Area Association of averaged 223 days on the Realtors, the Lake Martin market, representing a 22.3 waterfront median sales percent decrease from one price during January was year ago. Homes on Lake $415,000, an increase of Martin’s waterfront are 12.8 percent from one year currently selling 5.1 percent ago and an increase of 26.9 faster than the five-year percent from the prior month. average of 235 days on the “Pricing will fluctuate market. from month to month Seeking balance: The because of changing inventory for sale divided composition of actual sales by the current monthly sales and the sample size of volume equals the number data (closed transactions) of months of supply. being subject to seasonal The market equilibrium buying patterns. ACRE (balance between supply recommends contacting a and demand on a nonlocal real estate professional seasonally adjusted basis) is for additional market approximately six months. pricing information,” the During January there were report states. 13.5 months of waterfront Other points made in the housing supply, up from 6.5 report include: months last month and up Sales: There were 13 from 11.7 months one year waterfront properties sold ago. In other words, at the on Lake Martin during January sales pace it would January, a 27.8 percent take 13.5 months to absorb decrease from one year ago, the current inventory for when 18 lake homes were sale. sold. Current sales totals are Industry perspective: 14 percent above the fiveThe recent headlines in year average of 11 January the real estate world have sales. The 10-year peak for revolved around rising January waterfront sales interest rates. As of Jan. was in 2017, when 18 lake 31, the interest rate on a homes were sold, while the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage January trough hit in 2008, was 4.38 percent. This with one unit sold. is up from 4.18 percent Forecast: January’s 13 on Jan. 10 and up from waterfront sales were one 4.08 percent on Dec. 6, unit or 7 percent below the 2017. The stock market STAFF REPORT Alabama Center For Real Estate



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Emma Yarbrough of Dadeville Franchester Presley of Camp Hill For those wishing to join the JSU family, there’s still time. Apply online at Jacksonville State University was founded in 1883 as a state teachers college. It has grown from humble beginnings into the Alabama regional university with the highest percentage of accredited programs. Located in the Appalachian foothills midway between Birmingham and Atlanta, JSU offers more than 150 courses of study, including over 40 online programs, at the undergraduate and graduate level. To learn more, visit, call 1-800-231-JAX1 or email jaxfacts@

Lake property sales prices up in January



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has rebounded somewhat from its large selloff on Friday, Feb. 2, and Monday, Feb. 5, as investors adjust from an accommodating monetary policy to one with some inflation and higher interest rates. The recent market decline is a signal of a return to normalcy and higher debt costs. Rising interest rates, however, do not cause housing activity to come to a halt, in the same way that rising rates do not cause businesses to go into hibernation. In the spring of 2006, the Federal Reserve stopped raising interest rates after raising rates 16 times over a threeyear period. The economy was performing well during this time (2004-2005) of rising interest rates. The Great Recession happened, interestingly enough, at a time when interest rate increases were halted. Home ownership rates increased to 64.2 percent during 2017 after falling to a post-1965 low of 62.9 percent in 2016. Not surprisingly, home ownership rates peaked during 2005 at approximately 69 percent. Millennial home ownership rates are also on the rise as their employment situations continue to improve. Millennials, in fact, have been recently credited with an improvement in suburban housing markets

as not all are city dwellers. This rise in home ownership was highlighted recently at the annual TrendLines 2018 program in Washington, D.C., with an analysis of Census Bureau housing data presented by Sage Policy Group, Delta Associates and Transwestern. The following excerpt is from the closing paragraph from the home ownership report, and is encouraging news for residential real estate markets across the nation: “This year, the most common age in America will be 26 years old. There is also an abundance of 25- and 27-year-olds. All of these people are millennials, America’s largest and most educated generation. As more of this demographic block marches into their 30s, demand for ownership opportunities will rise. While there may be downturns that occasionally suspend these demographics, the next decade stands to emerge as a period of rapidly expanding home ownership and single-family homebuilding in America.” The Lake Martin Waterfront Residential Monthly Report is developed in conjunction with the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors to better serve area consumers.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Outlook

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United Campaign Celebration March 8 at Valley National Bank, formerly USAmeriBank. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served starting at 5:30 p.m. with an awards presentation at 6 p.m.

Today is March 8, 2018 Today’s Events

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Today’s Birthdays

ANNUAL MEETING: The Lake Martin Area United Way is holding its annual meeting and 2018 Team

Maso Grubbs Jr., Barbara Jean Harris, Willie Livingston, Brandon Keel, Anthony Moten and Kathy Williams are celebrating their birthdays today.

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Submitted / The Outlook

Tallapoosa County resident Jeff Smitherman visited with Rep. Mike Rogers in his Washington D.C. office this week. Smitherman is in D.C. this week with the Alabama Association of Emergency Managers.

Saturday, March 10

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PANCAKE BREAKFAST: The Alexander City Kiwanis Club is hosting a pancake and Conecuh sausage breakfast March 10 from 6 to 10 a.m. at the Benjamin Russell High School cafeteria. Tickets are $6 and include all you can eat. Carry out is also available. FLEA MARKET: The Town of Camp Hill Flea Market will start back up March 10 and continue on the second Saturday of each month through Nov. 10. The hours of operation are 30 minutes after day break until 2 p.m. Spaces are for rent for $10 and are 20 feet by 20 feet. For more information contact James Woody at 256-749-8270. SINGING: Family Worship Center at 1676 Sewell Street will be hosting “Singing with the Walkers” Saturday, March 10 at 6 p.m. The pastor of Family Worship Center is Tony Harris.

Tuesday, March 13

Brown Nursing and Rehabilitation Rehabilitation Services •Physical Therapy •Occupational Therapy •Speech Therapy 2334 Washington Street Alexander City • 256-329-9061

Come Visit Us! Cecily Lee, Administrator Angela Pitts, Director of Nursing

GREATER TUNA: Alexander City Arts is hosting “Greater Tuna,” Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. at the BRHS Auditorium. It is a hilarious comedy about Texas’ third smallest town where the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.

Wednesday, March 14

THE CASE FOR MIRACLES: River of Life Church will be a host site for the global simulcast of “The Case for Miracles,” Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. The church will be serving a meal from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 1715 Tallapoosa Street (Highway 22) in Alexander City about a half mile past Buck’s restaurant.

Thursday, March 15

DEMOCRATIC PARTY MEETING: The Tallapoosa County Democratic Party will be hosting 3rd Congressional District Candidates Mallory Hagan and Dr. Asia McClellan Winfrey Thursday, March 15 at 6 p.m. at the Bud Porch Center in Alexander City. The Tallapoosa County Democratic Party meets every third Thursday. For more information please call Interim County Party Chair Carol Gowan at 256-794-7432.

March 14-16

CHURCH REVIVAL: GAP Fellowship Church at 721 Robinson Road is hosting spring revival services March 14-16 at 7 p.m. nightly. Pastor Betty Hoyett will speak Wednesday, Evangelist Shamika Thomas Thursday evening and Evangelist Joanne Shealey on Friday. Lou and Marilyn Benson are pastor of GAP Fellowship Church.


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March 14-18

ANNUAL MINISTER’S COUNCIL: The New Covenant Ministries of the World is hosting its annual ministers council March 14-18 at the Liberty Life Christian Center at 243 S Street in Alexander City. There will be a daily prayer at 9 a.m., worship and praise at 11:45 a.m. daily and at 7 p.m. will be keynote speaker Pastor Dwight Hunt of Beth-El Church of God in Christ in Poughkeepsie, New York. The speaker on Sunday, March 18 is Chief Apostle W.T. Traylor, founder and CEO of New Covenant Ministries of the World.

March 16-17

SPORTING CLAY SHOOT: The 12th annual Ronald Koon Sporting

Clay Classic benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of the Lake Martin Area will be held March 16 and 17. Friday night there will be a Calcutta and steak dinner at the Alexander City Elks Lodge and the shoot will be Saturday at the Lower Wetumpka Shotgun Sports Club. If you would like to participate or sponsor a sign please contact Stacey Jeffcoat by calling 256-234-4757 or emailing at

Saturday, March 17

PANCAKE BREAKFAST: Comer Methodist Men’s Club is hosting a pancake breakfast Saturday, March 17 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. It is eat in or carry-out and is $6 a plate. FISHING TOURNAMENT: The Benjamin Russell High School Cheerleaders fishing tournament will be March 17 at Wind Creek. EASTER EGG HUNT: Mt. Zion Church on Highway 63 South will be hosting an Easter egg hunt Saturday, March 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will begin with a lunch and an Easter presentation. There will be a prize egg for toddlers, grade school and middle school. TRADE DAY: Bibb Graves High School Alumni and Friends Monthly Trade Day in Millerville on Highway 9 between Ashland and Goodwater will be held on March 17 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Refreshments are also available.

Thursday, March 22

KIWANIS STEAK DINNER: The Alexander City Kiwanis Club is hosting its annual Auction and Steak Dinner March 22 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Russell Medical Event Venue. Tickets are $50 and include drinks, dinner, live music, a silent and live auction. SENIORX: Deborah Jones SeniorRx Coordinator will be available March 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce to help seniors see if they are eligible for assistance with diabetic supplies, liquid supplements and medications. For more information Jones can be contacted at 1-800-361-1636 or 256-761-3575. This is sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging.

Now-March 23

PRE-K REGISTRATION: Alabama’s Voluntary Pre-K Program is taking pre-registration. Forms can be found at Acceptance is through a random drawing to be held April 15 at 10 a.m. at the V. Robinson Head Start Center.

Saturday, March 24

EASTER EGG HUNT: Wind Creek State Park is hosting an Easter egg hunt Saturday, March 24 at 10 a.m. Most eggs will have small prizes and prize eggs will be hidden for each age division. The age divisions are 0-2 years old, 2-4 years old, 5-8 years old and 9-12 years old. The event will take place in the north picnic area across from the beach. There is a park entry fee for noncampers. ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF HORSESHOE BEND: Horseshoe Bend National Military Park is hosting the 204th anniversary of the Battle of the Horseshoe Saturday, March 24. There will be demonstrations of Indian and frontier life in the year 1814. The program is free to the public.

March 26-30

HOLY WEEK SERVICES: First Baptist Church Dadeville is hosting Holy Week Services March 26-30 at 11 a.m. daily in the fellowship hall.

Wednesday, March 29

VIETNAM VETERANS WELCOME HOME: The Auburn Veterans Project is celebrating and reflecting on the service and sacrifice of Vietnam veterans March 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Auburn High School auditorium. Speakers will be Joe Galloway and Medal of Honor recipients Bennie Adkins and James Livingston. Family is welcome to accompany their veteran and there will be a light reception afterwards. Visit auburnveteransproect. html. Attendees are asked to RSVP in advance by either emailing Blake Busbin at wbbusbin@auburnschools. org or by calling Auburn High School at 334-887-2120. LORDS SUPPER: Red Ridge United Methodist church will present a re-creation of the Living Lord’s Supper inspired by Leonardo daVinci’s world famous painting of the Last Supper with 13 living characters. Rev. Ernest K. Emurian, a Methodist minister from Virginia, wrote the soliloquies for the Twelve Apostles as they might have expressed themselves immediately after hearing the Lord Jesus say “One of you will betray me” where each man cried out “Lord is it I?” This was the moment daVinci said he wished to capture in the painting. Mr. Harlan Burton of Union will be the guest pianist and sololist. Holy communion will be offered at the conclusion. Red Ridge is located at 8091 County Road 34, Dadeville, 256-8259820,

Saturday, March 31

FULL MOON HIKE: Wind Creek State Park is hosting a full moon hike Saturday, March 31 at 7 p.m. The hike will begin at dark in the north picnic pavilion. There is a fee for noncampers. NIGHT OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP: Centerview Baptist Church on County Road 89 in Camp Hill is hosting a Night of Praise and Worship featuring all male choirs and groups. For more information call 256-896-2974.

April 6-8

GREASE: The Dadeville High School Theater program is producing “Grease” April 6 at 7 p.m., April 7 at 7 p.m. and April 8 at 3 p.m. at the Dadeville High School auditorium.


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April 7

BIANNUAL MEETING: Holly Springs Baptist Church Cemetery Association of Coosa County will have their bi-annual meeting at 10 a.m. at the church. All members please attend. QUAIL FRY: The Lake Martin Area United Way is hosting its 3rd Annual Quail Fry April 7 at the The Stables at Russell Crossroads. The event includes fried quail, sides, a shrimp boil and shrimp gumbo. There will be a bake goods sale, auction and music. Tickets are $30 a person or $35 at the door. Doors open 5 p.m. and food will be served at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the United Way office or in Dadeville at Valley National Bank, formerly USAmeriBank. Call 256-329-3600 for more information.

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The Learning Tree, Inc. is Accepting Applications for 2nd, 3rd, and Weekend Shifts for Direct Care. Applications can be picked up at: 101 S. Dubois Street Tallassee, AL 36078 Or contact Shatia Carr (334) 252-0025, Ext. 101 Email:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Outlook

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The Outlook

Thursday, March 8, 2018

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Response Group, Lee County K-9 and US Marshals Fugitive Task Force executed simultaneous search warrants at two residences in the Alexander City area Tuesday. During the searches, investigators arrested four Alexander City men and located and seized 380 grams, which is more than 13 ounces, of marijuana, 7 grams of crack cocaine and one gram of crystal meth. Writs of seizures were also served at one residence, where investigators impounded a 2008 GMC Sierra, 1971 Chevy Impala, 2004 Cadillac Escalade, 1998 Mercury Marquis, 1998 Honda Accord, 1983 Chevy Caprice and 1988 Chevy Z71. The Task Force recovered several firearms and $3,338 in cash. Over 50 arrests warrants were executed for the unlawful distribution of illegal narcotics, according to White. Those arrested were: • Ronnie “Flip” Russell Jr., 33, of Alexander City on 20 counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, trafficking hydrocodone, three counts of possession of controlled substance, possession of marijuana 1st degree, certain persons forbidden to possess a firearm and possession of drug paraphernalia. • Derrick “Meaty” Lewis, 36, of Alexander City on 19 counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substance, possession of marijuana 1st degree, certain persons forbidden to possess a firearm and possession of drug paraphernalia. • Anthony “Rambo” Russell, 30, of Alexander City was charged with three counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. • Marcus ‘Champ” Russell, 32, of Alexander City was charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. White said Tuesday’s operation had been part of a lengthy investigation. “These arrests were the culmination of over a year-long operation to identify and develop solid cases against the offenders,” White said. White also added that the investigation is ongoing and didn’t rule out additional arrests as a result of the operation.

The Outlook

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Chihuahua undergoes successful heart procedure as Auburn’s smallest patient By MITCH EMMONS For AU College of Veterinary Medicine

AUBURN – Small patients are nothing new for Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, but a recent case is believed to be its smallest one to date to undergo Patent Ductus Arteriosus, or PDA, surgery. The owner and tiny dog flew a long way, more than 2,600 miles, to have the procedure performed. Weighing less than two pounds, Luna, a three-month-old, double-coated long-hair Chihuahua, came to Auburn as a referral patient from her Seattle-based primary care veterinarian. Luna’s owner, Jennifer Glover, says that as anxious as the process was, she is forever grateful to Auburn and to her Seattle veterinarian for saving her pet. Patent Ductus Arteriosus is a fairly common congenital heart defect that occurs in about 3,000 newborns each year in the U.S., and it is also common among dogs. Clinicians and staff at Auburn’s Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital treat a number of PDA patients annually. Luna, however, was a special case because of her size. At just 0.8 kg—or about 1.76 pounds—Luna was treated slightly differently to compensate for her size, said Dr. Harry Boothe, a veterinary surgeon and professor of soft tissue surgery in the Department of Clinical Sciences who led the surgery team. “Surgery in small, young patients is a challenge from both an anesthetic and a surgical perspective,” Dr. Boothe said. “An additional dimension of Luna’s surgery was the fact that her thoracotomy necessitated placing her on a ventilator [breathing for her] during the surgical procedure. Specific challenges included minimizing hypothermia, avoiding hypoglycemia and gaining access to the heart and abnormal vasculature [i.e., Patent Ductus Arteriosus].” Despite Luna’s small size, however, Dr. Boothe said the procedure required very few special procedures or techniques. “The exception [was] that a retractor that is typically used to separate the eyelids in horses was used to separate Luna’s ribs during the procedure,” he added. “A standard rib retractor would have been much too large to use in this situation. “The overall procedure for performing the surgery was essentially the same as any other Patent Ductus Arteriosus ligation surgery, the scale was just smaller.” Luna was diagnosed in January. “I initially noticed that she had a persistent, hacking cough,” Glover said. “This was at nine-and-a-half weeks old, so I took her to our vet and he detected a heart murmur.” When the puppy continued to exhibit signs of the illness, her veterinarian

Submitted / The Outlook

The surgery team included, from left, anesthesia technician Madeline Murphy; fourth-year veterinary student Halle Thomasch; surgical resident Dr. Christopher Lee; soft tissue surgeon Dr. Harry Boothe; Soft Tissue Service surgery technician Haley Pritchard; and fourth-year veterinary student Andrea Hoover. Dr. Jacob Johnson, not pictured, served as anesthesiologist.

conducted an Echo test and, from that, determined that the tiny dog suffered from PDA. PDA occurs when a temporary blood vessel—the ductus arteriosus—fails to close after birth. In a normally functioning heart, the pulmonary artery carries blood to the lungs to collect oxygen. The oxygenated blood then travels through the aorta to the rest of the body. In the womb, the ductus arteriosus serves this function by providing oxygenated blood directly from the mother. The arteriosus should close after birth. PDA occurs when it fails to do so. Symptoms vary in severity from mild to potentially fatal congestive heart failure. Sometimes it might even go undetected until maturity. Most often, however, surgery is required to correct it. In Luna’s case, Glover said the prognosis for a normal life span if left untreated was not good. “I met with a veterinary cardiologist in Seattle, but because Luna is so small, he was reluctant to do the procedure,” Glover said. “We began researching for veterinary hospitals where this procedure had been performed successfully and often, and we found Auburn.” Several telephone consultations were involved leading up to Luna being admitted for PDA surgery at Auburn. Glover brought Luna from Seattle and the pup was admitted to the Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital on Feb. 8. During the procedure, Dr. Boothe was assisted by the Soft Tissue Surgery Service team: surgery resident Dr. Christopher Lee

and surgery technician Hayley Pritchard, surgery; anesthesia was conducted by Dr. Jacob Johnson, an associate professor of anesthesia and pain management, and technician Madeline Murphy; and fourthyear veterinary students Halle Thomasch and Andrea Hoover also participated in the surgery. Luna was extremely small even compared to case studies nationally, according to Dr. Boothe. Information cited in a large retrospective study of dogs with PDAs (more than 500 cases) published in 2014 listed their smallest patient being 1.8 kg and their youngest patient being 3.3 months. Luna weighed 0.8 kg and she was 2.8 months of age at the time of her surgery. Glover stayed with her pet in Auburn for two weeks prior to the procedure and for Luna to receive a post-surgery examination and evaluation. Luna received a clean bill of health and was discharged Feb. 12. “I am so pleased with the level of care that we received at Auburn,” Glover said. “Hayley and Dr. Boothe talked with me for a long time to ease my anxiety about Luna and the surgery. I was very nervous, but they calmed me. They even gave me their contact phone numbers and sent photos of Luna. That helped keep my stress level down.” Luna’s medical team recommended that Luna be evaluated by her primary veterinarian in six months, but added that the tiny Chihuahua should recover completely from the condition and live a normal, healthy life.


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Sports Outlook The

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Benjamin Russell’s Luke Harvey, left, and Brooks Parker come off the field after combining for the gamewinning goal against Trinity on Tuesday. Below: Benjamin Russell’s Jesus Velasquez (8) is chased down by Trinity’s Sam Farrs.


Auburn wins first SEC title since 1999

Lizi Arbogast /


uburn defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks, 79-70, in Auburn Arena and with the victory laid claim to its first SEC championship since 1999. It’s only the third league title in program history and bears repeating. The Auburn Tigers are the 2018 SEC basketball champions. I’ve used far too much space over the years lamenting the Tigers dubious history on the hardcourt, so this season has been particularly enjoyable to me. It’s taken Bruce Pearl four years to put together a tournament-worthy team, but this season was well worth the wait. Like so many championships on the Plains, the unexpected nature of this particular title adds to its allure. The fact that it’s come at a time when the SEC is considered to be an elite conference also increases the value of the soon-to-be hoisted banner. Auburn had one of, if not the worst football seasons in program history in 2012. The Tigers gloriously and inexplicably rose from the ashes in 2013 and won the SEC championship. No one in the media or even the fan base was expecting such a drastic turnaround. In his first three years, Bruce Pearl went 16-38 in conference play and the Tigers were predicted to finish in the bottom half of the conference yet again this season. That prediction was based on a full complement of players and coaching staff. When news broke the FBI had arrested assistant coach Chuck Person and two of Auburn’s most talented players would-be suspended — Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy — the season seemed destined to go up in flames. Most thought those fears were confirmed when Auburn lost an exhibition game to Barry University to start the season. It’s a testament to the talent and chemistry of the team to pull together and overcome so many challenges in a single year. Throw in the loss of Anfernee McLemore in mid-February and it was almost too much. Different players have stepped up to be the hero in different games, but everyone has contributed at one time or another. Auburn has achieved this incredible feat in a remarkable year as well. The SEC is regarded as one of the better conferences in the country and could possibly get as many as eight teams into the NCAA Tournament. Bruce Pearl is a phenomenal motivator and a wonderful coach. He is without a doubt a runaway for Coach of the Year honors in the conference as well as the country. He has done what so many said was impossible. He has made Auburn University relevant in college basketball. Auburn Arena has become nationally recognized as an incredibly hostile environment and a hot ticket. The challenge now becomes maintaining the fire that has been lit. It’s difficult to tell if the roster will look the same next year, but Pearl has no senior starters this year. Austin Wiley has already been cleared to play next year as well if he sticks around. There’s still so much ambiguity regarding the FBI investigation into college basketball and Auburn’s own internal investigation into its program. I’m not sure we’ll get the answers we’re seeking for a while. Of course, this year is far from over. Perhaps, the Tigers can make a nice run in the big tournament. No matter what happens, this season has been one for the record books. Andy Graham is a regular columnist for The Outlook.

SPORTS CALENDAR Thursday, March 8 High school baseball Benjamin Russell at Russell County, 4:30 p.m. Dadeville at B.B. Comer, 6 p.m. High school softball Benjamin Russell at Wetumpka, 6 p.m. Horseshoe Bend at Verbena, 4:30 p.m. Tallassee at Dadeville, 2 p.m. Beulah at Central Coosa, 4:30 p.m. High school boys soccer Benjamin Russell at Opelika, 7 p.m. High school girls soccer Benjamin Russell at Opelika, 5 p.m. High school boys golf Benjamin Russell at Smiths Station Invitational, TBA College baseball Shelton State at Central Alabama (2), 3 p.m.

The Outlook

LAST-MINUTE VICTORY Harvey scores goal in final seconds to lift Wildcats By LIZI ARBOGAST Sports Editor

With under a minute left on the clock Tuesday night, Benjamin Russell’s boys soccer team was pinned deep in its defensive end. But it came streaking up the midfield and got the ball out to Brooks Parker on the right wing. Parker juked around a defender and sent a cross in the middle to Luke Harvey, who sailed a ball toward Trinity goalkeeper Reed Henderson, who had frustrated the Wildcats all night long. But instead of Henderson getting his hands on it, Harvey nailed it to Henderson’s left and watched it roll into the back of the net. With 36 seconds left, Benjamin Russell scored the only goal it needed in a 1-0 victory. “They were pressing high, so everybody was forward and there was obviously tons of space down here,” Harvey said. “We were able to swing the ball wide to Brooks. There was nobody left in the middle, so he slid a ball back in. I was wide open in the middle, and it was an easy finish one on one with the keeper.” It wasn’t easy all night, though, as Henderson racked up 12 saves, and the Wildcats (5-5) had countless other scoring chances throughout the game. Much of the first half was played in the midfield, but BRHS started to make a push late in the half and even got a clean shot on goal from Anderson Radney. But the Wildcats just couldn’t seem to score. Benjamin Russell then began to pepper the Trinity defense mercifully in the second half. Brandon Welcher opened the half with a shot that went wide right, and three minutes later, Lucan Yates had a header sail over the net. Landon Daniel got a shot on goal with 32 minutes left, but it was Welcher who looked like he’d play hero with three back-to-back opportunities in under two minutes midway through the half. “We just couldn’t find the back of the

net,” BRHS coach Austin Teel said. “We got a late one tonight, but we took a lot more shots than we have been. I’ve told them that during practice that if you don’t shoot, we’re never going to score so we gotta make sure we’re taking shots. Most of the time, your shots are not going to be perfect, but you gotta get in the groove of the game and if you don’t take them throughout, you’re not going to get in that groove.” Benjamin Russell took that advice to heart, as it kept the pressure up with Harvey producing two shots on goal in a matter of 49 seconds with under 10 minutes to go. Then it was Campbell Woods at the opposite end of the field who came up big. Woods had a few key saves to keep the scoreboard blank, but none was bigger than when Trinity got a direct kick with

2:32 left. But Woods jutted his hands out, scooping the ball away. “I thought Campbell Woods played an excellent game, and he had some really big saves,” Teel said. “At the other end, Brooks Parker has been playing his butt off all year after coming off of wrestling, and he made that awesome assist to start that goal.” Parker and Harvey were in sheer euphoria when Harvey’s shot finally broke though. “It was definitely frustrating to create all those chances and get nothing in return until the last 30 seconds of the game,” Harvey said. “But it’s good to see us keep wearing them down and finally break through. We got our reward, and it was indescribable. It was great to be the man to finish it, and I was happy I could provide for my teammates.”

BRHS kicks off track season with 3 wins hurdles (17.07). In addition to Shealey, taking third were Jerusalem Banks in the 100 (13.85), D.J. Hunter in Picking up three victories was a fine way to start the track the 400 (54.43), Stowes in the long jump (19-2) and Curtis and field season for Benjamin Norris in the shot put (40-3.5). Russell, which began Tuesday at Lincoln. Dadeville’s success Jai Young placed fourth in the was even greater with a total of 110 hurdles (18.39). For Dadeville, Qua Tucker six wins. was absolutely dominate, For the Wildcats, the girls winning three events. He won team won the 4x100 with a the 300 hurdles in 42.60 and time of 53.04. The quartet consisted of Brionna Slaughter, was more than three seconds faster than anyone else. In the Aaliyah Thomas, Tamara 110, Tucker was 1.5 seconds Lawson and Jada Shealey. faster than the runner-up and Shealey was also third in the clocked in at 15.39, and he also 100 hurdles (19.69). won the 100 in 11.10. On the boys side, Lance Jalen Sullivan picked up a Cunigan won the 800, crossing victory in the long jump with a the finish line in 2:10.50. He mark of 19-10. Josh Taylor was was nearly seven seconds faster than the rest of the field. third in the 300 hurdles (46.70) Zorrian Roberson also took first and fifth in the 110 hurdles (19.19). in the triple jump with a mark Skye Foster also won an of 36-85. Benjamin Russell had event for the Tigers, taking a slew of top-five finishes. the top spot in the long jump, The boys 4x100 team of marking in at 15-9, which was Dwyght Abercrombie, Gavin six inches farther than her seed. Edwards, Za Stowes and A.J. She was also fourth in the 100 Thompson were second in hurdles (19.69) and fifth in the 46.00 and Jay Harrison also 100 (14.01). placed second in the 110 STAFF REPORT TPI Staff

eight hits and drew seven walks. Bullard went 2-for-2, while Slade McCullers and Childers each had two RBIs. After losing seven games Brennon Wright and McCullers in a row, Dadeville’s baseball team finally got back itself back each smacked a double. On the mound, Rice picked in the win column with a 13-3 up the complete-game victory. victory over B.B. Comer in five He allowed only three hits and innings Tuesday. one earned run. Although he The Tigers (2-7) scored walked a batter, he also fanned at least two runs in all four seven. innings they went to the plate. Dadeville immediately got GIRLS SOCCER things started after retiring the BRHS loses late side in order in the top of the Despite being down just first. With one out, Tal Bullard 1-0 for the majority of the got the offense going for the game, Benjamin Russell’s girls Tigers with a line drive to left soccer team fell apart in the field, and Dadeville made a final 20 minutes, falling 7-1 to two-out rally with an RBI Trinity. single from Jeff Rice. Rice “I told the girls we have then scored on a single by Ab Abernathy. to play the full 80 minutes Picking up right where it no matter the score,” BRHS left off, Dadeville drew two coach Lee Wagoner said. consecutive walks to start the “Whether it’s youth or second inning, and with one whatever the reason, if you out, Bullard hit a single to wear maroon and white, you drive in Cooper Childers. Sims play whistle to whistle.” then stole home to make it 4-0 Kylee Stark scored the before the end of the second lone goal of the game for the frame. Wildcats, finishing on a corner In total, the Tigers earned kick.

BASEBALL Dadeville breaks losing skid


Look What You Did! Stories of success, promise and what’s on the horizon for the Lake Martin Region

2018 Progress Edition 2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID!


Life is Better at The


Russell Lands On Lake Martin is a breathtaking lake community with 25,000 acres of forest set among Lake Martin’s 40,000 plus acres of pristine water and nearly 900 miles of shoreline. The largest premier neighborhood at Russell Lands On Lake Martin is The Ridge—where ownership comes with an array of extras – The Ridge Club, a 10-acre recreation complex, miles of hiking and walking trails as well as nature and waterfront parks, and a state-of-the-art Ridge Marina -- all designed to connect you with family, friends, nature, and always, the lake.


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FROM THE PUBLISHER This is the 43rd year now we at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., are bringing you an up-close-and-personal look at our community. I use the word personal because it is all about the people who make this community – and by that I mean everyone who relates to the Lake Martin and Tallapoosa County areas as home – the place that it is. And no matter where they have come from originally, all of these people have deep roots in Alabama – hometown roots, even if they grew up somewhere else. Who wouldn’t want to sink roots Steve Baker here? It’s the kind of place where local kids get an education from some of the best teachers in the country; where families with long ties to the area continue the traditions learned for past generations. We have healthcare options and access to state-of-the-art technology right here. We have access to a pristine lake just minutes away. This is also the kind of place where people celebrate their love of the place by restoring old homes and buildings, where history lives on. It is the kind of place that makes people with no previous ties to the area decide to settle down for what it has to offer – outdoor recreation that includes shopping, beautiful Lake Martin and more. It is the kind of town where friendships between statesmen and artists become a tangible, physical celebration of life in the South. It’s a place where shop owners know their customers by name; where friends are made for life; and everybody has a chance to get involved at the local level and make a positive change for the community. That’s what the parade of stories in this annual progress issue is about; it honors the work we’ve accomplished together and celebrates the many ways in which this community has moved forward in recent years. Our hometowns produce a lot of ordinary people who produce extraordinary stories, and at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., we’re grateful for the privilege of bringing these stories of triumph to you. Some of you know some of these stories already. Some will be new to you. Some of you know other stories that are not told in this issue but are every bit as important and worthy of recognition as these. We invite you to share those stories on our Facebook pages and other social media as we celebrate the progress this community has made with the theme, Look What You Did! I hope you enjoy this edition of Parade.

- STAFF Chairman Kenneth Boone Publisher Steve Baker Managing Editor Betsy Iler Assistant Magazine Editor Amy Passaretti Art Director Audra Spears contributors

Mitch Sneed, Managing Editor Cliff Williams Lizi Arbogast Santana Wood Donald Campbell Advertising Tippy Hunter, Advertising Director Katie Wesson, Advertising Manager Rebecca Carlisle Erin Burton Marilyn Hawkins Kat Raiford Scott Hardy Composing Darlene Johnson Hallie Holloway

Steve Baker, Publisher







“The people here have been incredible ... everyone has really gone out of their way to make us feel welcomed.” ~ BES professional angler Brett Hite






Letter from Publisher................................................................4

Graydon for the Gold .............................................................. 44


Sabal Trail Pipeline Generates Value........................................ 48

John Thompson .....................................................................10

Lake Martin Hosts Bassmasters Elite Series ............................. 52

Russell Medical Opens Hybrid Healthcare Model .....................12

Lyman Ward Soars to New Heights .......................................... 61

Catherine Bates .....................................................................16

A Step Toward Blue Zones ....................................................... 65

New Businesses Open in Town ................................................18

Sidewalks and Signage Enhance Sportplex .............................. 66

Richard Wagoner ...................................................................23

A Candid Approach to Street Construction ................................ 68

Trip of a Lifetime ....................................................................24

Greener Pastures ....................................................................72

Community Day of Action........................................................28

Clean Water Awareness ...........................................................74

LMCH Delivers Donations........................................................30

Wellborn Industries Score Big ..................................................76

Old-Fashioned Fun..................................................................32

John Kendrick ........................................................................80

MainStreet Revives Vintage Signage .......................................38

County Activates New Warning System .................................... 82



Leap Toward Success ................................................85


Keebler Park Beautification .....................................86 Sharing Christmas Spirit .........................................88 Wind Creek Builds Adventure ..................................90 Local Company Impacts Treasured Landmarks...........92 Business Card Directory...........................................94 Our Advertisers .......................................................97

ON THE COVER: Lake Martin hosted this year’s Bassmaster Elite Series season opener at Wind Creek State Park with 110 professional anglers from around the country in attendance. Photo by Mitch Sneed

“I am excited about people coming into Alexander City, and I think we’re headed in a good direction. We want to keep people from moving away by providing convenience, and we want them to shop local.”


~ Beth McKenzie Haynie


TPI Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc. 548 Cherokee Road, Alexander City, AL 35010 256-234-4281


61 2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID! 7

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John Thompson Standard Bearer for a Clean Lake Martin Community STORY BY BETSY ILER


t was 13 tons last year; 20 the year before; more than 74 tons and other programs that teach children to care for the environover the last 10. And standing behind this formidable pile of ment, and the winning drawing is featured on a T-shirt that trash, year after year, with a picker and a Renew Our Rivers Thompson hands out to each cleanup volunteer. trash bag in his hands is Lake Martin’s John Thompson. Convinced that the once-a-year Renew Our Rivers effort was Thompson recruited 2,024 volunteers to help with this effort. not enough, Thompson put together Rapid Response teams – It’s been his specialty. volunteers who clean up reported trash and dump sites between As Lake Martin Resource Association president for the last six the annual events. years, Thompson has channeled a passion for the environment “It’s a thankless job,” he said. “These guys and gals take their into community-wide action. His boats out to places where people spirited love for the environment ran have camped or had parties, or deep long before he took office, but places where people have discovered LMRA provided a platform from a dump site, and they clean it all up which to spearhead an ever-onward and haul away the trash. And they effort. get no recognition for it. They just do “For many years now, I have it because they love the lake, and they concentrated a great deal of time on hate to see it trashed up.” organizing and participating in litter When he learned that Prosperity cleanup events around Lake MarAgain Thru Health was sponsoring tin,” Thompson told Lake magazine occasional walks to promote healthy four years ago. “I am committed exercise, Thompson suggested to finding a better way to keep the combining the PATH outings with shoreline of Lake Martin, along trash cleanups on area roadsides. with the adjacent highways, cleared PATH Trash Walks are now held of unsightly litter. The community ~ John Thompson several times throughout the year and deserves better.” often are sponsored by businesses or In 2008, Thompson started coorindividuals that reward volunteers dinating Alabama Power Company’s annual Renew Our Rivers with breakfast or lunch on trash-walk days. cleanups at Lake Martin. He sent out public service announceIn 2015, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ments with his own email address as the contact, assembled sup- issued APC’s new Martin Dam project license, which included a plies and defined lake areas in which volunteers were assigned to requirement for an Adopt-a-Treasured-Mile program, the power work. He arranged for dumpsters to be available at drop-off sites company turned to Thompson for help with a plan. and obtained sponsorships to cover costs. Thompson worked with LMRA volunteers and APC repreThompson enlists the help of local art teachers who encoursentatives to identify islands and shoreline areas that were most age elementary school children to enter a T-shirt design contest in need of regular cleanups. The team divided the miles into every year. The artwork coincides with classroom curriculum manageable sections and posted a map on the LMRA website.

“I am committed to finding a better way to keep the shoreline of Lake Martin cleared of unsightly litter ... The community deserves better.”

Through an intensive public relations campaign, LMRA invited lake lovers to commit to keeping adopted sections clean year round. A year and a half later, all 27 of the designated islands and 40 percent of the 78 shoreline areas have been adopted. “That’s just great. Now, these areas will be kept up to make sure they stay clear of trash all the time,” Thompson said. “It’s time now that the big tonnage we have been collecting every year will start to go down,” he explained. “When we started this, we were finding areas that had never been cleaned up – I mean, never, since the dam was built almost a hundred years ago. We have gone into designated areas and done some very necessary deep cleaning, and we’ve almost covered the whole lake now. Cleanup now is just about routine. There are programs in place now that support that.” But that doesn’t mean Thompson will retire his passion. On the contrary, it means he has time to turn his attention to the lake’s outer areas – the roadsides that approach Lake Martin and the streets in communities that surround the lake. “Trash from the area around the lake washes into streams and the river, and it ends up in the lake. It would be better if we could keep it out of the run-off system altogether,” he said. So he’s gathered local leaders to identify areas that need regular attention. This team includes city officials, business leaders, non-profit organizations, media representatives and others who are hatching a plan for year-round cleanups. “This is going to take the whole community to get involved – scouts, church groups, civic clubs, neighborhoods. We’re going to use rewards to encourage participation, and we’re going to educate people – through posters and banners and social media – to just be mindful about how household trash becomes litter Thompson (left) and a Renew our Rivers volunteer show off a cleanup trophy, a pile of tires retrieved from Lake Martin

and how to stop it,” Thompson said. “We’ll be rolling that program out soon.” With such a passionate focus on litter, it would be easy to assume Thompson has no time or energy for other civic pursuits, but that is not the case. As nighttime lake traffic has increased, Thompson heard concerns about the safety of boating after dark from LMRA members and worked with LMRA’s buoy team to raise funds for lighted buoys. To date, the campaign that launched last fall has raised $20,000 and increased the number of lighted buoys from 24 to 66. “That is substantially more than we thought we would have by this time. We’ll begin putting those out this spring,” he said. “Our goal is 200 lighted buoys. These new buoys are not in addition to the existing ones, but they are replacing the regular buoys in some locations with lighted buoys. Those are deployed and maintained by our buoy team, which has been well structured and has done a great job for a long time.” But Thompson is not content with the mere success for today. His next big project is to extend the longevity of LMRA’s cleanup and water safety programs. “I looked around the table one day and saw aging directors who have worked hard and done well, but it’s time to bring in the younger generation,” he said. “We need young folks that love the lake to get involved to keep the organization viable and growing and doing. “If we don’t bring up the next generation, everything that we have done will fade away when we’re gone.” To join Thompson’s efforts, email him at

The new facility opened its doors last year with plenty of rooms (inset) for healthcare needs



lmost a decade after the seed was planted, Russell Medical last year opened a hybrid model facility that combines primary and urgent healthcare in one building. Part of the 12,000-square-foot facility houses office space for primary care physicians while the remaining space provides non-emergency urgent care treatment. The concept for the Total Healthcare/Urgent Care facility, which sits on a knoll at the back of the Russell Medical campus, began when local hospital officials met a Scottsboro doctor in 2008. “Dr. Bill Coleman had a passion for rural healthcare,” said Russell Medical CEO Jim Peace. “He wanted to bring primary care to this community.” The facility will be staffed with four physicians, doctors Robert Edwards, John Adams, Justin Vines and Tate Hinkle, with Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner Tammy Coker heading up the Urgent Care office. The facility is expected to help the community avoid a nationally projected shortage of primary care, Peace explained. Services tie into Russell Medical, and fall within the federal


and state guidelines for the hospital’s medical staff. Office space at the hospital’s adjacent professional building is fully occupied, so the Totalcare/Urgent Care project allows healthcare officials to address both present and future needs in one clinic setting. “We are very excited, but I want you all to know that this isn’t our building. This is your building,” Dr. Robert Edwards said at the facility’s grand opening. “It’s all about being open to you all, so you can have access to the care you need when you need it.” Urgent Care office hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.


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Catherine Bates BRHS grad takes the Alabama Symphony stage STORY BY BETSY ILER


lexander City native Catherine Bates counts herself lucky to be on the Alabama Symphony Orchestra stage, but hard work and a long road also played parts in the success of this BRHS graduate. Bates, who started playing French horn at Alexander City Middle School, joined ASO for six concerts last year and has two more on her calendar this winter. She performed as assistant principal for the Explorer Series, Decatur Run-Off, Symphony 30, Sensory Friendly, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Brahms Symphony No. 1 concerts. She also played with the Black Jacket Symphony during the Led Zeppelin and Beatles concerts. Next month, she will play a Broadway show music concert and a Super Hero, Super Villain concert with ASO. “It actually started with a music scholarship to UAB,” Bates said. “My scholarship required that I take private lessons, and it turned out that my instructor is the principal with ASO. So last year, he needed an assistant for these concerts, and he asked me if I would like to do them.” It was an opportunity Bates had waited a long time to have. She started piano lessons when she was 7 years old. She kept up with her lessons and joined the band in middle school. “I really didn’t mean to pick the French horn,” she said. “I just got frustrated when we were trying out instru-


ments, and that’s what I ended up with. I did honor bands in school, and that was always just fun. It wasn’t until I got to college that it became more serious.” College, she said, prepared her for the strict regimen of playing with the symphony. “When you are playing with the symphony, you have to expect that you will make no mistakes, so you have to practice with that mentality,” she said. “I practiced probably close to four hours a day – at least. And I felt like I should have practiced more, but I was too exhausted. It’s a lot of physical and mental work. Your muscles get tired, and it’s mentally draining.” Bates took on the ASO performances during the last semester of her bachelor’s degree. In addition to finishing school, she was working in the UAB recruitment office and teaching French horn to beginner students in Birmingham schools two afternoons a week. “The Brahms concert was the biggest challenge. The other concerts were geared toward more casual audiences, but Brahms is pure classical music, and it’s for the mature listener. You can’t mess it up. Your job is to make it an experience for someone who probably is familiar with the music. That was a whole ‘nother set of pressure. It was quite stressful,” she said. “The most fun concert was Harry Potter. I grew up around Harry Potter. That was part of my childhood, and 2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID!

getting to play that concert – I nerded out in every aspect. I loved it. I also got to watch the movie while studying the music. That was fun.” Bates had one month to learn the Harry Potter music, but only two weeks for some of the other events. “The Symphony has a music librarian who puts everything together for the musicians, so you start practicing when you get the materials from the librarian,” she explained. Now 22 years old, the daughter of Alexander City’s Denise and Larry Bates, will also play with the Columbus Symphony and hopes to audition for a contracted position in Columbus later this year. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in December and now works full time with UAB’s Department of New Student Programs. Bates plans to attend graduate school at UAB and earn a master’s while she continues to take the ASO stage whenever assistant principal opportunities are presented. “Music is how I express myself,” she said. “It’s my artistic ability. I can’t sing or dance or paint pictures or write beautiful words, but I can get lost in music. It’s relaxing, but it also pushes me to be better. Music I love.” Thanks to a long road, hard work, a little bit of luck and a passion for what she does, Bates looks forward to every one of those future performances and holds dear what she’s done.



Expanding Our Footprint...

The physicians at Total Healthcare provide timely, efficient and total care for their patients in a comfortable and friendly environment. The brand new, state-ofthe-art facility is conveniently located on the Russell Medical campus. The medical team at Total Healthcare can take care of all your primary care needs. Call today at 256-329-7887 to schedule an appointment.

Pictured L-R: John Adams, M.D., Robert “Bob” Edwards, M.D., Tate Hinkle, M.D., Justin Vines, M.D

Russell Medical’s newest service, Russell Medical Urgent Care is now open. The Urgent Care is an expansion of treatment options available on the Russell Medical campus. The walk-in clinic treats injuries and illnesses requiring immediate care but not serious enough to require emergency room visits. Russell Medical Urgent Care is open seven days a week to accommodate non-emergency room emergencies.  For additional information, call 256-397-7727. Life’s a journey, we’re here for all of it.

Tammy Coker, CRNP

named to Becker’s 100 Great Community Hospitals, 2017 2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID!


Owners Justin and Kira Woodall (facing page) opened Lake Martin Pizza Company in Alexander City

“Having a vibrant downtown where people can go shop, eat, entertain visitors and find services is critical to the future of our community.� ~ Ed Collari 18




lexander City has transformed since its founding more than a century ago and has developed into a destination where people want to live, work and play. The entrepreneurs in the area are highly credited for this success with their enthusiasm for the town and its potential. With a half dozen new businesses that opened this past year, the available entertainment and services drive residents to spend more time and money locally. From bars and restaurants to boutiques, personal care and financial services, popular amenities are popping up everywhere. Local native John Howell began crafting homemade, custom-built furniture and functional art long before he opened Madwind Craftsman & Co. early last year. As a fine craftsman, Howell moved back to Lake Martin some six years ago with an engineering degree from University of Alabama, and he and his wife Lacey bought a home on Madwind Creek – the inspiration for his company name. With a passion for the lake lifestyle, Howell honed his ironwork skills through Robinson Iron but wanted to branch out to create a client-engaged work atmosphere. This concept allows a customer to be part of the creative process for the one-of-a-kind furnishings and appointments he produces full time. Beth McKenzie Haynie shares her creative passion and flair for style at Alexander City’s Downtown Girl boutique on Main Street. Her downtown boutique is styled with feminine and chic décor with products that match the theme ranging from clothing and shoes to jewelry, accessories and more.

Haynie opened the store last March and already has an enthusiastic following of repeat customers who trust her opinion on items to purchase. Her stock is constantly rotating to keep the inventory fresh and unique. And though her product line may be difficult to find elsewhere, she keeps prices competitively affordable. “I am excited about people coming into Alexander City, and I think we’re headed in a good direction. We want to keep people from moving away by providing convenience, and we want them to shop local,” said Haynie. Down the road from Main Street, three local sisters decided to combine their shared love for all things confection and open a bakery in honor of their mother. Sweet Gaga’s was inspired by the treats Heather Johnson, Brittni McdonaldMoran and Hallie Mcdonald remember from special occasions



Beth McKenzie Haynie owns Downtown Girl on Main Street

Shay Dean Aesthetics offers a variety of skincare services

when growing up. Cakes at Sweet Gaga’s can be custom ordered for special occasions, while cakes, cupcakes, pies, cookies, brownies and much more are offered in the shop near Strand Park daily. French Quarter Bistro opened its door on Broad Street with a menu rooted in Cajun and creole-style food items, bringing a little taste of New Orleans to Alexander City. And just last month, Lake Martin Pizza Company opened its second location on Broad Street after months of local anticipation. Kira and Justin Woodall always intended to grow their Dadeville-based business, and Alexander City happened to be the perfect location. Serving handmade pizza and other Italian-based menu items for lunch and dinner in a modern craftsmanstyled atmosphere, the Broad Street location in Alexander City complements the original location at the intersection of highways 34 and 49 on the east side of Lake Martin. Another social addition to the downtown scene in-


cludes the opening of two lounges. Fermenter’s Market on the Green opened last April on Alabama Street with a selection of 35 craft beers on tap, more than 100 options in bottles, wine and liquor. With a handmade bar and plenty of gathering space for friends, the bar complements activities in Alexander City’s recently established designated arts and entertainment district. Native Mark Gilliland opened his cocktail bar, Ocie & Belle’s, on Main Street last summer. The name is a tribute to his grandparents, and Gilliland offers custom cocktails, a wide selection of bourbons and wine and beer. The rustic, yet cozy space is a great place to gather with friends. Ocie & Belle’s also serves three different types of grilled cheese and other simple food items. While customers used to have to drive to Auburn or Birmingham for aesthetic personal services, they can stay local now that Shay Dean opened her medical spa downton. Dean is a master cosmetologist and medical aesthetician who offers a plethora of skin care services in a calming, welcoming atmosphere. Dean’s training allows her to practice procedures with needles, including microneedling and hair restoration, and she is board certified in micropigmentation (cosmetic tattooing). She also showcases spa-type services – such as facials, chemical peels, body wraps, massage therapy – along with waxing, hair extensions, spray tanning, make up and lash application and more. Dean brings years of experience and a wide range of amenities to downtown Alexander City. “I wanted to be a part of downtown Alexander City because I see a lot of new businesses coming in, and I see the potential for this town to flourish. I wanted to be a part of that growth,” said the full-time resident of Lake Martin. In addition to incoming businesses, some local establishments have changed ownership in recent months, including Mistletoe Bough B&B and the renamed Makers Market on Main.


Sandra Mae Mellot said she felt an instant connection to the Mistletoe house on Hillabee Street when she saw an online post that it was for sale. Not being from the area, Mellot never imagined she’d own a bed-and-breakfast in a small Southern town; however, along with her husband Todd, she now lives in the home that was built on a lovely knoll in 1895. After a few renovations to personalize the space, Mellot enjoys renting her rooms for gatherings and events, as well as hosting weekend visitors. The charm and history behind the business draws enthusiastic customers from all over the area. Makers Market on Main, previously known as Alabama Makers Market, is now under the care and ownership of Barbara Thompson, who has worked in local retail for about half of the 12-plus years she’s lived in Alexander City. The boutique features quality handmade toys, clothes, art, food, furniture, pottery and more. Thompson’s Main Street location showcases local artists and craftsmen and features the works of more than 20 vendors. Gilbert Woodcrafts and Home Décor opened on Airport Drive – just off U.S. Highway 280 – in November. Lance and Melinda Gilbert feature handmade heirloom quality furniture and a variety of farmhouse and lake home decoration items in their storefront. Lance creates the furniture pieces, and Melinda

keeps stock of the other crafted items for sale. With so much entrepreneur activity in town, it’s no surprise that financial services also are growing. The business community welcomed a bank, a credit union and an investment house to the area in recent months. River Bank and Trust, a Montgomery area based bank, opened a full-service banking branch in a new building at the intersection of U.S. Highway 280 and Elkahatchee Road last spring. And on the opposite corner, Heritage South Credit Union opened in time for Christmas. And new this year in downtown, Alexander City native Lee Williams opened a branch office for Nowlin & Associates, a wealth management and financial advisory firm. President of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce Ed Collari said, “Downtown for us is considered the heartbeat of our city, so recruiting new businesses there, especially ones with high-frequency traffic and that are destinational, is very important. “Our over-arching philosophy is to recruit young talent and young families, so having a vibrant downtown where people can go shop, eat, entertain visitors and find necessary services is critical to the future of our community.”

Ocie & Belle’s on Main Street features craft cocktails

More than 20 vendors are on display at Makers Market on Main



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Richard Wagoner A Main Stay of Downtown’s Heart STORY BY AMY PASSARETTI


steady, guiding hand for many years in Alexander City, Richard Wagoner’s love for and attention to the historic details of the downtown area have launched Main Street into the next business generation. Wagoner retired from public life at the end of last year, following a legacy of significant impact on the growth and beautification of the downtown area. Wagoner said his passion for civic engagement stems from his parents’ examples of community involvement. When his family moved to Alexander City in the 1940s, Wagoner’s parents were very involved in the community. “I learned by example that that is what you’re supposed to do. I also joined the Lions Club because you’re expected to get involved in a civic organization and represent the face of your company,” said Wagoner, a school principal for years. But it is his contributions to MainStreet and the revitalization of downtown for which Wagoner is most recognized. He was the executive director of MainStreet Alexander City for 12 years, initially became involved as a volunteer. He started the local farmers market and built relationships with local vendors who provide fresh produce to the community. “You see all walks of life at the farmers markets – communicating with no barriers. That’s small-town living,” Wagoner explained. Another tradition Wagoner coordinated is the downtown Christmas decorations.

Every year, he and volunteers test each string of lights before they are installed in the downtown area. Having been part of the school system for so long, Wagoner has a strong belief for involving children in community activities. “Being taught to be a part of the community is important, especially being in a small town. This helps children in life to greet people and make good first impressions. We’ve got to have a town that gives everyone a sense of purpose,” said Wagoner. “We greatly appreciate what the city does, and I’ve enjoyed working with them. I will continue to help where I can,” said Wagoner. It’s that relationship with the people in town that has fostered growth for his project ideas. From his beginning conversations with local townspeople about the role MainStreet should play in downtown to coordinating with the city to make improvements, Wagoner said he has simply been a catalyst for change. “It was a very board-driven organization. MainStreet has made a lot of progress, and it will continue to do so. Property value is increasing, and it’s the best it’s ever been in terms of low building vacancy. It takes people to envision the things we can get done,” said Wagoner. A significant impact from local contributions, including the Adelia McConnell Russell Charitable Foundation, has facilitated the attainment of many projects. The funds provided grants to designate downtown as a 2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID!

historic district and as a result, more than 29 buildings have been renovated, had facade facelifts and fit the code for a uniform look. Having grown up near downtown, worked in a drug store there and delivered newspapers to the area as a child, Wagoner has a strong appreciation for the town’s center. “Downtown shops cater specifically to its people. MainStreet’s greatest focus was to beautify the area and take care of its infrastructure,” said Wagoner. Part of the ongoing project included renovations at Broad Street Plaza, along with the ongoing Revamp the Hamp undertaking. Hamp Lyon Stadium is an important part of Alexander City’s history. In multiple phases and dictated by private contributions, Wagoner and a group of town officials are working to make significant upgrades and renovations to provide a field for middle school teams, recreation teams and a centralized location for outdoor concerts and other town events. “This could be yet another aspect that draws people to the downtown area. That flow of people can be a catalyst for businesses and initiatives we’ve been implementing,” said Wagoner. While Wagoner has a vested interest in MainStreet’s success, he also plans to spend time with his family and four grandchildren, who will look at the town’s vintage charm, repainted store signs and vibrant business life and be able to say, “Our grandfather did that.”


Trip of a Lifetime Dadeville High School students visit New York City



n education, progress often focuses not only on what students did but also on how what they did will inspire and influence what they will do in the future. That’s why Dadeville High School Chorale Director Ashley Gresko arranged for 20-plus chorale, drama and band students to visit Broadway three months ago. The performing arts students got DHS music students, an up-close look directed by Ashley Gresko, at the big time visit New York City through backstage tours, watching Broadway shows and even attending a dance number workshop with a cast member from the Broadway hit, Aladdin. It was the trip of a lifetime, Gresko said. “It will encourage them to aspire for more,” she explained. “It raises the expectation of performance. “When we started the program just a few years ago, students said, ‘we are doing just like Broadway.’ Now, they know a lot more about what goes into producing a show. Hopefully, this trip opened their minds to what they can do.” The eight-day itinerary in the Big Apple included tickets to two Broadway productions, shopping at Saks 5th Av-


enue, tours of historic sites and meals at trendy restaurants – all at an affordable price. In addition to Aladdin, the students saw the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and toured backstage at the famous venue. “Some of the students have never really travelled,” Gresko said. “Many had not been north of Tennessee. We rolled into New York on a Saturday afternoon to fresh snow. The students enjoyed walking through Central Park throwing snowballs at each other.” Students also had the chance to see the National September 11 Memorial and Times Square, and they saw the skyline from the Hudson River. “I think this will be a reoccurring trip,” Gresko said. “We have some younger students that did not go that might want to when they get a little older. I think we will try to do it once every two to three years.” Designed primarily to enlighten and motivate members of the school’s chorale program, the trip to New York City did – and will do – so much more.



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Community Day of Action LMAUW volunteers clean, paint and improve school buildings throughout the counties STORY BY AMY PASSARETTI & PHOTOS COURTESY OF LAKE MARTIN AREA UNITED WAY


monsoon of torrential, nonstop rain did not prevent 200-plus volunteers in Tallapoosa and Coosa counties from taking action to better the community and beautify their schools. The Lake Martin Area United Way joined its fellow worldwide organizations last June in the annual community Day of Action, and despite the weather, the enthusiasm and energy remained high. “We had to make some serious adjustments on the fly based on the tasks we had planned to do because of the rain; however, everyone was so flexible and just went with it. We had a really good time, even covered in mud and soaking wet,” said Courtney Layfield, LMAUW’s director of marketing. On or around June 21 – the first day of summer and longest day of the year – volunteers across the world offer their

time to fill needs within their communities. Last year was LMAUW’s seventh year assisting the counties’ school systems with tasks that help offset finances for necessities, repairs and renovations around school grounds and buildings. “Since schools have such tight budgets and limited funds, this is a great way for us to give back and help the schools, so they can use their money for other things. It helps make the schools more pleasant for the children,” said Layfield, who took part in her first Day of Action last year. United Way board members, general community members, students, teachers and public figures all gathered to paint, clean, landscape and organize four schools throughout the area. Last year’s lucky recipients included Alexander City Middle School, Stephens Elementary, Horseshoe Bend School and Central Middle in Coosa County. “We rotate the schools each year to give each of them an

Volunteers at Horseshoe Bend completed more tasks than required



opportunity to receive our assistance, and principals and superintendents are so appreciative of the work we can do,” Layfield added. Many businesses even allowed their employees to take the day off to pitch in, and most of United Way’s agencies offered aid as well, said Layfield. While some of the initial tasks were postponed due to inclement weather, other volunteers ensured these assignments did not get ignored. A group of community members offered their time at a later date to complete the needed landscaping, power washing and outdoor painting. What inspired Layfield the most though, were the students that showed up to give back to their own schools. Aside from a number of general students, the Coosa Middle School softball team joined the effort, along with Horseshoe Bend’s majorettes. “It’s awesome to see that sense of pride and community. It’s so nice to instill this idea of giving back in our youth early on,” said Layfield. Sharon Fuller, executive director of LMAUW, said teachers are realizing that the annual Day of Action is also their opportunity to get work done in their individual classrooms. If a teacher is present on the Day of Action, and there are volunteers looking for something to do, that teacher can request cleaning, organization or painting. “I was amazed at how much we got done and how quickly people worked. It’s a good problem to have when people ask, ‘OK, what can we do now?’” said Layfield. While LMAUW has attempted other forms of outreach for previous Day of Action events, Layfield said, the community responds best to fulfilling the needs at the schools. “It’s all about what the community needs, and we don’t want to duplicate what others already do. We want to work on something that actually makes a difference and benefits the town,” said Layfield. A lot of companies donate supplies to the cause or offer financial support. Many tools can be reused each year, while other items, such as cleaning supplies, must be purchased each time and are typically left with the school as an added bonus. Schools purchase their own paint, as colors are specified, but United Way volunteers supply the brushes and labor. “We are incredibly fortunate to have sponsors and donations to help achieve these tasks,” Layfield said. Planning for the Day of Action typically begins a few months out. Around March, Layfield begins contacting the chosen schools for their wish lists of things they’d like done. United Way members then figure out what’s doable and ask the schools to prioritize items to best suit their most immediate needs, said Layfield. “We begin recruiting volunteers a few months out but are always surprised at the number that still show up on the day of. I am really pleased with last year’s outcome and am looking forward to this year,” Layfield said. The 2018 Day of Action is scheduled for Thursday, June 21. For information about this year’s benefitting schools or how to volunteer, contact Lake Martin Area United Way at 256-329-3600.

Volunteers assisted with painting walls of Stephens Elementary

Students participated in Day of Action throughout the four school locations



Matt Parker, Ashley Benton, Linda Goss, Brenda Robinson, Danny Robinson, Pat Bunn, Len Carter and Stacy DeLoach



school bus filled with more than 1,000 school supplies and volunteers with Lake Martin Community Hospital unloaded at the Dadeville Elementary School Open House the first week of August. LMCH conducted its inaugural School Supply Drive and, with the help of community donations, provided local children from pre-K to sixth grades the supplies they needed for the school year. In addition, LMCH Director of Marketing Ashley Benton presented DES Principal Chris Dark with a supplemental check for $500 in donations that were collected. “We hoped it would help cover anything else children need or for more families that speak up after the fact and require additional help. The school said they always have multiple students that come to school on the first day with nothing,” explained Benton. Everything from paper to folders, dry erase markers, writing utensils and more was collected within a mere three weeks and delivered to the school. “It was amazing that it came together so fast. Employees and community members really worked together for us to pull this off,” Benton said. Teachers were particularly appreciative of the donations, as they often have to purchase their own supplies throughout the year, said Benton, so this could be a huge help. The hospital’s cleaning supply vendors even agreed to donate boxes of cleaning supplies to the school. Benton said she was grateful for this added contribution and the fact that it could be supplied


in-house. This year, the School Supply Drive benefited DES, but Benton said LMCH plans to make this an annual event and will expand coverage Dadeville-wide or even Tallapoosa County-wide. “I will begin planning a lot earlier this year, and it will be an even more amazing fundraiser. Look at what we raised in just three weeks time; that’s insane,” said Benton. The LMCH employees coordinated with the local school bus company and arranged for Len Carter, transportation supervisor for Tallapoosa County schools, to pick up the supplies from the hospital and drop them off at the school. “We were able to see the families and kids receiving these items, and they actually got to see what we were doing,” said Benton. The supplies were organized by grade in large bins, which the teachers also kept for extra storage. The hallways of the school were lined with all the gear for everyone to see. LMCH also supports local Department of Human Resources children and provides donations of Christmas gifts, as well as annual holiday contributions to local food banks. “This past year was a record-breaking year for us. Lake Martin Community Hospital was able to provide an overwhelming amount of food to those in need. We were thrilled at the response from our employees and others who helped us to collect the items for both local DHR kids and the food bank,” said Benton. In January 2017, LMCH received the Business of the Year award by the Dadeville Area Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the hospital’s efforts to improve quality of life for local children.




Kids raced two at a time down Columbus Street by Dadeville High School

Old-Fashioned Fun 32


Children race in handmade vehicles at Dadeville’s inaugural soapbox derby STORY BY AMY PASSARETTI & DONALD CAMPBELL PHOTOS BY CLIFF WILLIAMS




peeding down the hill at nearly 25 miles per things. I pulled the ideas from my head, my memory, hour in homemade wooden cars, children in from seeing things from years ago,” said Ward. Tallapoosa County experienced a new take on Nearly 30 cars were built from any number of median old-fashioned version of fun – and it didn’t ums imaginable, all different shapes and sizes, and the involve technology. results were impressive. Ward said the concept is fairly Dadeville’s Marrell Ward created the inaugural Ducky simple, and cars are made mostly from wood, fiberglass, Ward Soap Box Derby late last summer to inspire wheels and metal parts. The only requirements were that children to feel accomplished and to bring families and all vehicles included brakes and hand-steering mechafriends together. nisms, usually using steel braided cable; in addition, each “Parents really enjoyed spending time with their chilrider was required to wear a DOT-approved helmet. dren. Everyone was really enthusiastic about it, and it’s Participants aged 6 to 15 years old raced two at a time a good family-oriented activity to do,” said Ward, who down Columbus Street next to the Dadeville football grew up participating in soapbox derbies in his homestadium. The average car sped down the hill at around town of Ocala, Florida. The event was named in memory of Ward’s Vehicles required brakes late son and welcomed all families. Those who and hand-steering, and wanted to participate but couldn’t afford the time riders must wear helmets or money to build their own cars had help. Ward built nine soapbox derby vehicles on his own, which were available for children to use. With his background in construction work and maintenance, Ward said, he was able to build one in about two or three days if he worked steadily. Russell Do it Center donated most of the materials for the construction of Ward’s vehicles, and he said some children have already signed up to use the same cars next time. “I enjoy piddling with stuff and working on

Organizer Marrel Ward ensured each participant received a ribbon



Cars raced in a variety of shapes and sizes

Chariot Ward won first place in her soapbox built to look like a kayak

19 to 24 miles per hour, with the speed recorded by radar for kids to observe as they crossed the finish line. “A lot of people don’t realize when you’re sitting that close to the ground you’re moving pretty fast. It might not seem that fast, but a small object that low – it’s moving,” said Ward. Ward is hoping the soapbox derby trend will spread. “Hopefully, surrounding cities will pick it up and get involved, and that way you’ll have something going that kids can do pretty regular,” Ward said. This event took place in conjunction with a nonprofit festival that included family-friendly activities, a variety of food, inflatables, music and other vendors, with a turnout of close to 2,000 people. Local businesses pitched in with sponsorships and donations for the event, which helped to keep pricing free or low, so everyone could be involved. “I want to try to keep it as cheap as possible for families. I want to not have a bunch of expenses tied to these things for parents who can’t afford to spend a lot

of money on weekends and on these events. This way all children can still participate,” Ward added. Now that children have their cars built and their enthusiasm high, Ward said, he wants to coordinate more races throughout the year and maybe charge an entry fee to help fund the bigger annual festival. “I was just extremely impressed with the people that got involved and still impressed with the way it’s going. The next one sure could be a large event. I really appreciate everyone’s participation and support,” Ward said.




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oday, visitors to Alexander City and residents alike stroll the downtown area and marvel at the restoration of five vintage ads on the brick facades of Main Street shops. The original artwork is more than 100 years old and once advertised the names and wares of leading businesses during Alexander City’s early years. Established as Youngsville in the 1800s, Alexander City and its downtown grew into a flourishing market hub when the railroad came to town. After a devastating fire burned all of downtown in 1902, the town was rebuilt, and thriving local businesses beckoned customers with billboard-sized signs on their exterior brick walls. Years later, when customers began to shun the old-fashioned city center shops in favor of strip-mall convenience on the outlying highway, many merchants installed new storefront facades to compete with the sleek new look of the competition. Vintage charm came back into style in recent years, and the aluminum false fronts – many of which were in disrepair – came down with the assistance of individual donations and a matching fund grant program from the Adelia McConnell Russell Foundation. Beneath those facades, barely visible and almost lost to time, weather damage and natural deterioration, was the original artwork. As one of its 2017 goals in the plan to revitalize downtown, MainStreet Alexander City commissioned the restoration of these ghost murals – including the Chero-Cola, Coca-Cola, Radney Brothers Furniture and Barton’s Wholesale and Retail signage. The vintage signage adds character and the charm of authentic history to the town. In addition to these ads displayed in the downtown historic district, other mural work was started in 2015





when the owner of the City Pawn Shop commissioned a mural to celebrate Alexander City’s JazzFest. Local artist Charles Forbus of Sign Source in Dadeville, along with some of his employees, was contracted to do the mural painting and the refurbishing of the painted signs. Forbus said he used old photographs and online resources as guides and was careful to use the exact original paint colors for historical accuracy. “Somebody asked me do I mind doing it,” Forbus said. “Mind? I love it. I’d rather be doing this any day than being stuck inside an office. It’s been fun bringing this thing back to life.”


The first completed mural was the Chero-Cola image on the alleyway behind City Hall, followed by Ross Barton’s Wholesale and Retail on the back of the Carlisle Drugs building. The Radney Brothers Furniture sign on the United Way building was then completed, and work wrapped up with the Coca-Cola murals on Wheeler Street and the United Way building. As MainStreet today guides the downtown area in an expansion of shops and services, the organization also highlights the town’s historic roots and vintage charm through this architectural design project.


The Chero-Cola Bottling Company began in 1924 with a single employee and a Model-T delivery truck. Originally located between the Alexander City Bank and the Russell Hotel on Jefferson Street, the business later moved to Alabama Street and changed its name to Nehi Bottling Company. This sign faces Alexander City Hall in an alley off Main Street on the building that was once Ross Barton’s Wholesale and Retail. In the mid 1920s, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company established a plant on Calhoun Street in Alexander City. As the operation flourished, it moved to its present location at the corner of Ridge Street and Cherokee Road. The first sign was recovered from the top side of what is now the United Way office building on Main Street. The other sign can be found on Wheeler Street. The old painted ad for Ross Barton’s Wholesale and Retail was given new life by Tim Rape and Ernie Luster of Sign Source. The wholesale store was a business that once occupied a space in downtown Alexander City. The sign can be spotted on the century-old Carlisle’s drugstore. Radney Brothers Furniture store was one of the tallest buildings in old Alexander City. Shelves were stocked with spinning wheels, crank telephones, pump organs, photograph templates and porcelain pitchers. The Radney Furniture sign can be seen on the United Way building.




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ake Martin’s own Alex Graydon received an X Games Gold Medal last year for his daring, innovative wakeboard tricks, resourcefulness of naturally occurring obstacles and handmade hurdles. His inspiring new wakeboard moves were featured in ESPN’s X Games Real Wake all-video contest. Competing against a selection of six professionals from around the world, Graydon won first place as Fan Favorite with 42 percent of the public vote. His 90-second video won over the audience, confirming his talent and style, and highlighting the beauty and recreational opportunities on Lake Martin. “I first picked up a wakeboard when I was 11, and immediately, I was hooked. My father, Rick Graydon, was more than happy to keep me on the water, and after a decade of riding on this lake, I became a professional wakeboarder,” said Graydon, who is originally from Montgomery but spent every summer on Lake Martin as a child. About 90 percent of the submitted video was shot on Lake Martin, with some scenes near Senoia, Georgia, and one at Gulf

Graydon grew up wakeboarding on Lake Martin and knows its intricacies well



GRAYDON FOR THE GOLD Lake Martin native conquers ESPN’s X Game all-video wakeboard contest STORY BY AMY PASSARETTI & PHOTOS BY KENNETH BOONE



Shores near Fort Morgan. “It was important to me that we film everything at or near my home. Being that this is where it all started for me, I wanted to shed some light on the beauty of this place and show how perfect it is for riding,” said Graydon. After spending so much time on the lake, Graydon said, he knows it like the back of his hand, and the lake is full of natural areas that were perfect for his unique moves. “When I got the call to be a part of the X Games, I already had mapped out spots on the lake and assessed the risks and logistics of making them possible. Some of the spots I was able to get the shot right away, but others took days on end,” Graydon said. The majority of the video was filmed near Kowaliga or within five minutes of that area. Graydon built kickers into trees and even used Kowaliga Bridge in his closing clip. The move included a flip under the bridge and a slide along one of the caps that connects the concrete piers, which he said had never been done before. “That definitely got the most attention from viewers,” said Graydon. There were no Graydon filmed almost his specific guidelines for entire video within a fivethe 90-second video, minute boat ride of Kowaliga but Graydon knew he wanted to integrate a variety of moves for diversity. His film contained scenes of wakeboarding behind a boat, behind a winch and cable riding through a cable system that he built on local enthusiast Ted Watt’s property last year. Graydon also skateboards, snowboards, surfs and wakeskates, and he said the inspiration for many of his tricks came from what’s been done in other sports. “We really wanted to think outside the box of what’s been done on a wakeboard. Wakeboarding has really been a later board sport, so I wanted to take ideas from other sports that have been around a little longer,” Graydon said.


He called in a lot of favors from a lot of friends to participate as well, from driving the wakeboarding boat or the chase boat to help with building obstacles and courses. Graydon added that Singleton Marine contributed the boats they used to film the whole video and have always been supportive of his projects. With only two months to shoot the video, Graydon and his videographer, Joey Arcisz, worked quickly and collaborated to finish the editing with just two days to spare before deadline. “It was a battle. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Graydon. Arcisz lives in Texas, which is where the two met on a project a couple years back, and he basically moved into Graydon’s Lake Martin home during this two-month period for the project. The pair filmed for a week at a time, taking breaks only when Graydon was too banged up to go on, or Arcisz required a much-needed break to go home to see his family. “We knew we could work together and not kill each other. He’s a great cinematographer, and I wanted to work with someone that had all the right gear and knew how to get the shot we wanted. We used a lot of different cameras,” said Graydon. Graydon typically spends six months of the year working and riding in Alabama, along with teaching lessons. He then takes six months to travel, surf, skate and shoot photos in other countries. The Fan Favorite contest was a winner-take-all battle in which fans watched each of the videos from the six contestants and their videographers and voted on their personal choices. “To even have been chosen for the X Games contest is unreal, but to get a gold medal? That’s something everyone whose ever done an action sport dreams of – to be in the X Games. I’ve won some local contests but nothing that compared to this,” said Graydon.


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Alexander City is home to the Sabal pipeline’s compressor station


n July 2017, natural gas started flowing through the 515-mile Sabal Trail Pipeline from Alexander City to Orlando, Florida. The pipeline delivers 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily and during its construction added some $33 million to the state’s economy, much of it spent right here where the local construction was based. During its construction phase, the pipeline brought jobs to Alexander City and supported retail as contractors shopped and dined here while living in the area from Labor Day 2016 until June 2017. “Sabal Trail’s team was committed to using local vendors and supplies where possible. Some companies benefiting from the work included large and small equipment sales and rentals, fuel, concrete, grading, steel welding, safety, office supplies, restaurants, hotels and other lodgings,” said Andrea Grover, spokesperson for the Sabal Trail Transmission. Other local contributions came in the form of community giving and grant programs, which were established to support the growth and vigor of the communities in which Sabal Trail operates. Scholarship programs were established at $50,000 each for Central Alabama Community College, Chattahoochee Valley Community College and Southern Union State Community College to promote jobs in energy, construction, engineering or other fields supporting energy infrastructure. “Pipelines create immediate jobs, but more importantly, they are the basic infrastructure communities need to recruit large manufacturers and the jobs they bring,” said Grover. The company also donated to many other community establishments in need, including startup funds for the Lake Martin Innovation Center and renovations at the Horseshoe Bend Library, as well as projects at Huguley Elementary, Storybook Farms and others. Food drives, holiday toy drives and sweat equity projects were annual efforts in conjunction with first responder collections, said Grover. Results from an economic impact study performed by Sabal Trail based on construction and operations concluded that 94 jobs were created in Alabama to maintain the work done by Sabal Trail after the pipeline construction was completed. “These are not necessarily 94 full-time Sabal Trails jobs, but they were jobs that were created in any industry needed to support Sabal Trail’s operations,” Grover explained. Five permanent full-time positions were created in Alexander City to maintain the compressor station and



the pipeline operations throughout Alabama’s other three impacted counties. This fundamental infrastructure will absorb $1.1 million in property taxes for Tallapoosa County annually, based on a 12-month period, aiding Alexander City’s 8 percent growth in tax collections last year, Grover said.


Sabal Trail Pipeline Generates Value

The city also received $52,000 from Sabal Trail for the reconstruction and paving of roads that were damaged by large equipment needed for pipeline construction. Planning for the large-scale pipeline venture began more than three years ago. From the clearing and grading phase to the pipe place-

ment and clean up, Sabal Trail’s extended visit brought exposure, awareness and financial benefits not only to Tallapoosa County, but also Alabama and the Southeast as a whole.



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Lake Martin hosts Bassmaster Elite Series 2018 opener Community wins high marks for hospitality



Bass boats line up for the Elite Series launch





rofessional angler Takahiro Omori may think he got the big win at the Bassmaster Elite Series kickoff event at Wind Creek State Park on Lake Martin this winter, but it was the area’s welcoming efforts that truly won the day. Omori caught 59 pounds 8 ounces of bass to win $100,000 at the BES season opener here in February. With bright smiles and helpful hands, lake area residents welcomed several thousand visitors for the four-day tournament to contribute to a local payoff that is estimated at more than $1 million, said Ed Collari, president of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the event. In addition to the 110 anglers who registered to fish in the tournament, the area hosted 100 staffers from B.A.S.S., the tournament organizer, and a host of crews from ESPN, as well as families and fans of the professionals. “Just Bassmaster and ESPN had 180 room nights at Hampton Inn,” Collari said. “These guys spend about $40 a day eating out or getting food. Then there is the fuel. Their boats hold 60-68 gallons of gas, and they are filling up every day. They use a lot of gas. They are here for five to seven days around the tournament. Then most of these guys were here for about a week in December for practice.” Studies have indicated that the hosting areas for the BES tournaments usually realize more than $1 million in local revenues. “We loved seeing them here,” Good Ole Boys BBQ’s Alesha Hughley said. “We loved seeing the boats.” Hughley said the fishermen were friendly and talkative, sharing information about where they were from and things they did. “One guy said he had his own T.V. show,” Hughley said. But chatting was not the only thing the fishermen and those in

town were doing in town. “We were busy the whole week,” Hughley said. “It was a high volume week. We sold a lot of food.” Another local business that benefited was North Lake Crafted where sisters Stephan Tomlin and Robin Simms created handpressed water-inspired T-shirts, hats and other screen-printed items. The sisters set up at the expo held in conjunction with the tournament weigh-ins on Saturday and Sunday. “It was really good for us,” Tomlin said. “For a small vendor like us, it was great. We need more things like this.” Tomlin said they almost missed out on the expo. “We didn’t realize how big a deal it was,” Tomlin said. “Ed at the chamber helped us out, and we got started a little late with designs. We normally do lake designs, but we came up with some bass designs on shirts and hats and did well.” Shelia Browning manages the MAPCO Store on Highway 280, and she said the tournament traffic produced a spike in sales at the store. “They have been in here all week,” Browning said during the tournament. “They start early, some as early as 3 a.m. They fuel up and pick up things so they can hit the water at daybreak. They are great folks, and we’ve enjoyed having them shop with us.” Collari said some 10,000 spectators in total visited the park over the four-day tournament that featured 110 of the world’s best anglers. The competitors said that kind of turnout only added to the positive vibes they got from being at Lake Martin, Wind Creek and Alexander City. Professional angler Brett Hite of Phoenix, Arizona, arrived in town several days before the tournament and camped at Wind

Alexander City native John Howell (right) marshalled the tournament



Spectators cheer on their favorite anglers

Creek State Park. “The people here have just been incredible,” Hite said. “We are staying here at Wind Creek in the campground, and the staff and everyone has really gone out of their way to make us feel welcomed. You all are blessed to have a facility like this on such an incredible lake. “I mean, it’s so large, that you can do a lot of different things on the lake and fish a lot of different styles without everyone being on top of each other. It is just beautiful, and we have enjoyed being here. What an incredible place.” Grant, Alabama, competitor JorBig fish weigh-ins dan Lee talked up his Lake Martin were experience as well. recorded “It’s always great coming here,” by ESPN2 Lee said. “It’s just a beautiful place, and the people have been very good to us. I hope to be back here soon.” In addition to working the expo booths and keeping anglers, television crews and B.A.S.S. staff supplied with gasoline, places to sleep and food to eat, locals helped to monitor the tournament rules by acting as marshals for the anglers. Chosen by lottery, marshals were paired with tournament entrants and rode along as witnesses to ensure that the rules were observed.

“There’s a very good reason to do so because you’re out in the middle of a 44,000-acre lake,” said John Howell, of Jacksons Gap, who was a marshal both Thursday and Friday. “There’s a lot you can do to give yourself a competitive advantage, so we were there to make sure the fishermen are abiding by the rules essentially.” Another duty of the marshal is to keep the Basstrakk up to date. The Basstrakk is an app on Bassmaster. com where an unofficial leaderboard is kept. Every time the angler catches a fish, he either estimates or weighs the fish, and the marshal logs it into an app. “That’s really transformed the sport that you just don’t know what’s going on until they come in to a sport from you can actually watch on the computer or on the TV,” Howell said. “(The marshals) are multi-purpose. We make sure the sport is accurately played and make the interaction between the viewers and the anglers more personable.” And for most of the marshals, who are typically novice fishermen, it’s a great way to learn not only about how the pros are doing it, but also about Lake Martin.



Takahiro Omori caught the winning limit in Lake Martin’s upriver section

The pros mingled while waiting in line backstage for weigh-in

Some 8,000-10,000 visitors joined the fun at the BES Expo



Alexander City Chamber’s Ed Collari (right) dressed warmly to marshal angler Caleb Sumrall

“I learned a lot about patience,” said K.D. Sizemore, an angler for Auburn University who marshaled the first two days. Howell added, “To me, the biggest benefit was learning techniques and a geographical understanding of what the fish are doing, particularly this time of year, on my lake, somewhere that I can go and I’m readily on all the time.” Collari also got the chance to be a marshal. “It was an experience,” Collari said. “It was my first time going across the lake at about 73 miles per hour with no seatbelt on in 35-degree weather. It was a great way to start the day. I was with Caleb Sumrall (Thursday), and it was his first time on the Elite Series too. He was just as nice as could be.” Wind Creek State Park put on its best for the event, as park personnel spent two months painting buildings, cleaning up brush and manicuring the grounds to get ready for the tournament. New signage was installed, and the park rolled out decorations at its entrance. Some 30 of the competitors stayed at Wind Creek’s campground, and park personnel estimated that 10,000 people passed through the park over the weekend. “Things went well,” Wind Creek’s Alex Mason said. “We had double the number of campers we normally have.” “We were worried about the weather, but it was a good turnout,” Tomlin said. “We thanked everyone we saw for coming here.” Collari said the positive comments were great news. Lake Martin and Alexander City were mentioned in stories and other media 3,261 times, according to a Google search, and more exposure is expected to follow. While actual dollars spent can’t be figured for the week of the tournament, it would be even harder to determine what effect the tournament could have down the road, but Collari said it can only be good. “We are lucky that it is the first stop for the tour this year,” Collari said. “We will be the first on ESPN, and with all the push B.A.S.S. had on social media, I see more people coming to visit the area. It all speaks well of our community. “The Central Alabama Community College fishing team, under 2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID!


Some anglers brought their families, who watched the weigh-in with rapt attention

the direction of Brett Pritchard, turned out to help every day. You know, they are really familiar with what the anglers might need and could anticipate ways to help. And of course, the Bassmasters group does a really good job. They are phenomenal to work with.” Collari offered special praise to WCSP superintendent Bruce Adams and the staff at the state park. “Bruce Adams and his staff were probably the most instrumental in the local success of the tournament. Every time we have worked with them – and we do frequently – they are so accommodating, so helpful and so quick to respond to every question. The most common remark we heard from anglers was how wonderful the staff at Wind Creek was, how clean the park was and how accommodating they were. They go out of their way to help, and I’m not sure the community knows how much they do or really appreciates them. They get 242,000 visitors through their gates every year, and they are the face of our community to those visitors. I am very appreciative to have them in our backyard,” he said. “I have to give the mayor and city council a lot of credit. The fee to host the tournament was $85,000. That’s a substantial amount, and I am grateful they had the foresight to recognize what the tournament could bring to Alexander City,” he added. Collari said it was about a year ago that he received a request for proposal to host the tournament, and he was ecstatic for the opportunity. “I think the Elite Series folks had seen what was happening in other tournaments here, how they were increasing over the years. They caught wind of that and gave us the opportunity. Numerous communities bid on hosting this event, and for us to get it was big. It was a big win for the community as a whole.”

Lots of big fish were seen when anglers returned to the park each afternoon







Senior Hunter Chappell pulls the low-winged Piper Warrior out of the hangar

Lyman Ward Soars to New Heights



onprofit Lyman Ward Military Academy has taken a new approach to education through the creation of an aviation studies program. This 100-student military prep school in Camp Hill prides itself on teaching young men not just education, but also life skills, leadership and how to create a path for the future. With help from Commandant of Cadets Lt. Col. Joel Burdette; Sgt. Jake Norotsky (aka Sgt. Sky); and LWMA President Lt. Col. Jared Norrell, the creation of a unique career path opens new doors for students at the academy. “What we’re starting here and doing today is setting the tone for these students to live at a higher level of maturity. In a plane, you’re required to become a problem solver, and it gets your mind out of where you were and where you came from and pushes students to look toward the future,” said Norotsky, director of aviation studies. The 2017 fall semester was the pilot program for this curriculum, and enthusiasm for participation is growing throughout campus. The program is broken into two categories of study: manned and unmanned flight. The unmanned classes focus on drone flight, and a student’s ultimate goal is to obtain a Part 107 license from the Federal Aviation Administration to legally operate the technology commercially. Currently, 10 students have enrolled in the program and are learning to fly drones at an amateur level. “It’s more than just flying drones. Students will learn aerodynamics, economics and the uses of this technology, including photography, bridge building, observation and more,” said Norotsky.

The manned aviation course educates students on technique, terminology, method and theory of physically flying an aircraft. Each student on this path will graduate with a private pilot license after passing the required exams. Due to the expense associated with aviation – nearly $10,000 per student – and the trial setting of the program, there are only three students enrolled in the manned portion for now, but they will be the pacesetters for future scholars. “It’s amazing for a 17-year-old to be on that path and have the ability to fly solo with a potential career of this in their future. This program can really open students up to different aviation possibilities. We attract people looking to attain that next level in life,” said Norotsky, who is currently enrolled at Auburn University as a full-time aviation student. While there is technically no age limit to enroll in the course, requirements for acceptance are based on grade level, discipline and a student’s background from the school. Also, Norotsky said he encourages students to wait until they are 16 to apply, so there is not a wide gap of time between learning ground course studies and taking a test flight to achieve the license. A student must be 17 years old to obtain a private pilot’s license. “This additional experience teaches these boys to balance the beginning of a career field with their normal academics and other daily tasks. It’s the ultimate teaching aid,” Norotsky explained. Lyman Ward works closely with the Alexander City airport for in-flight lessons with Commander Regina Brown at Brown Aero Technologies or Instructor Eddie Daly two days a week for two hours at a time. The students practice flying with low-winged Piper Warriors, which tend to be slightly less stable and contain different characteristics than high-winged aircraft. Cadets Hunter Chappell, Jack Graham and Sam Roberto –



Jack Graham and Hunter Chappell were the first cadets to fly in the program

also known as Ranger 01, Ranger 02 and Ranger 03 – have embraced the opportunity of hands-on airtime and are beyond excited at this new opportunity. “I like the mental and physical challenge that this program brings. The first time you fly, you start out thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ and when you start the engine it all just kind of comes to you. I was a little nervous, but mostly enthusiastic,” said Graham, who is enrolled in both manned and unmanned courses. Future pilots first embark on a discovery flight with an instructor to gauge interest in the program. “They get to listen with the headsets on and participate in the flight. It’s all sensory-oriented. The eyes, ears, hands and feet are involved, and it really whets their appetite to see if this is something they want to do. And as you can see – these guys are hooked,” said Burdette. Roberto is the newest member to be accepted to the program and said his interest for aviation has been lifelong, as his father is a pilot and travels often, which appeals to Roberto. Chappell is a senior cadet who will graduate in May and plans to use the Certified instructor Eddie Daly (right) walks through the inspection process with Roberto before flying

Sam Roberto prepares to take his very first flight as the newest student in the aviation program



program as a second career opportunity upon his retirement from Ground instructors are experienced aviation professionals that the military. spread their knowledge and provide an example of where students “This school really helps you find yourself if you don’t know could be down the road. what you want. I know I have teachers that care for me and where With the shortage of pilots across the nation, the likelihood of I go, and my GPA students to follow has gone way up. this training into We are truly leada career path and ing by example move into comand putting in mercial flying is inthe hard work,” creased. Norotsky said Chappell, said six students who only joined are currently LWMA for his enrolled for next senior year of high year’s curriculum school. at LWMA. The The aviahope is to keep ention classroom rollment to about is equipped with 10-15 for cussuitable décor; tomization of the Jake Norotsky, Sam Roberto, Hunter Chappell, Jack Graham and Joel Burdette with the snacks to keep learning experimemorial flag in the aviation classroom students’ energy ence through small up based on the classroom sizes, late-in-the-day said Norotsky. start time; and a memorial flag from a late helicopter mechanic “Programs like this help shatter the misconception of military that served in the military with Norotsky. academies. These are young men of character, and we’re building “This very flag has been to Iraq, Korea, Germany – anywhere spheres of influence. We hope to catapult these cadets into sucBlack Hawks have flown – so it’s fitting to bring it here. It helps cessful careers. They already know who they are, but we’re helping to understand the gravity of what we’re doing and encourages us them figure out what they want to be,” said Burdette. to move ahead by looking back,” Norotsky said. After an hour-long ground preparation, Roberto takes flight at the Alexander City Airport



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A Step Toward Blue Zones Nationwide organization assesses Alexander City as potential project community STORY BY BETSY ILER


hen PATH President Ella MacFiggen learned that Blue Zones Project was making a substantial difference in health and longevity for communities across the country, she took a dream to the Prosperity Again Thru Health board. Last year, that dream moved closer to reality when Blue Zones Project visited Alexander City to assess area practices and priorities. Nationally headlined as the science of living longer, Blue Zones Project prescribes strategic planning for healthful living initiatives that have helped townspeople in Project communities quit smoking, lose weight, develop regular exercise plans, reduce healthcare costs and increase worker productivity. Such communities attract residents who want to live longer, healthier lives; they also attract the businesses that support those healthful initiatives, MacFiggen said. “This can be a really great thing for Alexander City,” she said. “We would be the first Blue Zones Project community in

Alabama.” Last year, PATH raised $25,000 to bring Blue Zones Project to the area for a site visit. From Nov. 13 to 15, Project researchers met with government officials, business and civic leaders and area residents to evaluate the community’s commitment, motivation and readiness to implement a Blue Zones Project plan in Alexander City and the Lake Martin area. During its visit, the Project team established goals for the pending partnership, including a 5 percent decrease in Medicaid claims; a 10 percent increase in exercise programs; a 5 percent increase in fresh food consumption; and a 20 percent increase in volunteerism. The site visit report pointed out the area’s strengths, including a growing interest in healthy living options among the local population, and identified challenges and opportunities, such as a shortage of walkability options and involvement of faith-based communities. The published report also outlined steps that would need to be taken to demonstrate community readiness for designation as a Blue Zones Project community. To view the full report, visit



Sidewalks and signage enhance Sportplex


New sidewalks at the Sportplex provide safety for its many visitors




early a mile of brand new sidewalks, upgrades to the ball fields and the designation of a birding trail site now welcome visitors to the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex, which wears multiple hats in the local community and welcomes thousands of guests, from walkers and joggers to sports spectators, picnickers, music lovers and more. Alexander City Parks and Rec Director Sonny Wilson said the most common complaint he used to hear from area residents was that there were no sidewalks. As a safety concern, the walkways had been on Wilson’s wish list for years, but funding wasn’t available for the project. Through collaboration with Alexander City Mayor Jim Nabors, his wish finally came true in the form of 5,700 feet of concrete sidewalks that meander along Sportplex Boulevard and up to playing fields that now sport new grass, as well as upgraded fencing and restrooms. “We are so blessed to have a facility like the Sportplex, but it really was a safety issue,” said Wilson. “We not only have all the walkers, but with the games and festivals, we had no choice but to have people walking in the streets. In talking with Mayor Nabors, he said he had heard it too. People are now coming up and thanking me, and that really means a lot.” The city council agreed Bird trail signage provides to finance the project and park visitors details about Alexander City’s Henderson species found in the area and Coker was contracted for the job. The sidewalks are 5 feet wide with ample room for two walkers to pass one another, or for a wheelchair to come through. It’s also wide enough for maintenance vehicles, such as golf carts and ATVs. The paths don’t just follow the roadside; they take a path through the wooded areas where walkers can enjoy a mix of sun and shade, said Wilson. The lanes are almost a mile long from the entrance of the park at

Highway 22 to the entrance on Elkahatchee Road. “Sidewalks make a good park better, are an asset to residents and help make it more attractive to bring tournaments to the area,” said Nabors. Nearly two months before the sidewalks were completed, new bird trail signage was installed next to the parking lot between the gymnasium and the Imagination Station playground. “This signage gives visitors more information about the birds they might see while they’re walking. Having this sign includes Alexander City and the Sportplex in the birding trail system,” said Joanne Ninesling, project manager for the Alabama Birding Trails’ Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail division. Twenty different kinds of birds are listed on the new sign, showcasing the species that occupy this area, whether year-round or seasonally. The sign was funded by the Tallapoosa County Commissioners and adds Alexander City to the list of 34 locations in the Piedmont Plateau region. In addition to sporting events, the Sportplex hosts city-wide festivals and music events, including last year’s inaugural Blues in the Park concert, which was attended by more than 1,000 people who set up tents with food and coolers at the free concert in the park. This new event joins a long list of community events at the Sportplex – Oktoberfest, Christmas in the Park and the Kiwanis Club Fair. All of these events now will be safer for attendants with the addition of the sidewalks, Wilson said. And on the horizon, he added, there is an effort to construct a miracle field that would provide handicap athletic opportunities for those with special needs. “Many drive to Oxford or Sylacauga for these opportunities, but this would add Alexander City as a challenger league for area residents.”



A Candid Approach Jeffery Harte informs residents of changes during construction on Lee and Washington streets

All four lanes of Lee Street were repaired and repaved last year


uring the reconstruction of Alexander City’s Lee and Washington streets last year, Jeffery Harte took a novel approach to lighten the mood of local travelers. Gary Ingram Paving and Grading was contracted to rebuild Lee Street from U.S. Highway 280 to 5th Way and resurface Washington Street from 5th Way through town. As safety director, Harte was responsible for keeping drivers aware of the upcoming changes, and he did so with candid messages on electronic billboards. “Hello Alex City. Roadwork Begins Soon; on Lee St


& Wash St,” was the first attention-grabbing message in place before the work began. “We wanted to let people know we were getting ready to start the construction and give them the opportunity to think about alternate routes and being prepared for some changes in the area,” Harte said. “The idea was to get their attention, and I just thought, before the job got started, we could have a little fun.” Every few days, Harte changed up the message and added a little ~Jeffery Harte humor to drivers’ commutes with rhymes and light-hearted cautions. “I just wanted people to look, and they don’t look if it’s the same old thing. People ignore signs all the time,”

“The idea was to get their attention ... and I just thought, we could have a little fun.”


Jeffrey Harte posted encouraging messages before construction began

Safety Director Jeffery Harte used electronic billboards to capture drivers’ attentions


Harte said. “Any time you make that big of a change to the traffic patterns, you have to do it in stages to help people get used to it.” Construction began by removing striping and rerouting traffic on Lee Street. Ingram Paving demolished and reconstructed four lanes of the street, closing two at a time, so traffic continued to flow. Some pavement was not in bad shape and only had to be filled with a shallow base, while other places needed close to an 18-inch dig to properly repair the road. Washington Street was paved from city limits to the rail crossing near the Russell Corporation headquarters building. It also was painted in a new configuration with a dedicated turn lane, and both streets were finished with high-density thermoplastic road markings once paving was complete. The work was funded through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program. 2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID!


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Greener Pastures Cleanup at Fruit of the Loom complex clears the way for progress

A grassy field awaits future development after (insets) demolition, debris removal and clearing of a 17-acre industrial site at Lee Street and Central Boulevard





green meadow at the corner of Lee Street and Central Boulevard could be the most prominent example of recent progress made in Alexander City. Due to landfill, permitting and Alabama Department of Environmental Management hiccups – as well as price and demand fluctuations for salvageable materials – the demolition and cleanup on the 17-acre plot that once housed a large portion of the former Russell Brands industrial complex stalled out. This time last year, the lot on one of the city’s most travelled thoroughfares was often likened to a war zone with characteristic bombed-out buildings and weedy overgrowth. Half demolished buildings stood with interiors exposed to the elements, and nearby residents complained of coyotes, rats and other vermin. Workers had all but abandoned the site, as a bureaucratic gridlock seemed to hold the area hostage. The eyesore left visitors with a sad impression of this fine city, and it proved a formidable obstacle to attracting new business and industry to the area. City Councilman Scott Hardy said the stalled-out cleanup had lingered for so long that some had almost given up hope. “We all agree that if we

want to put our best foot forward and attract people and recruit business, the state of that property has to be addressed,” Hardy said when he took office in the precinct last year. “But it’s almost like it has been like that for so long, that people who live here are used to it. But for a newcomer, imagine what they think. That’s why it is so important.” When Alexander City’s Mayor Jim Nabors and the new city council were installed last winter, cleanup at the site was priority one. They took action to overcome the slow-down and put in place incentives that moved the project along. The measures included ordinal amendments that gave the city power to levy consequences; and then, the city made a purchase offer for the property – one that tied time and condition limits to the exchange. The city agreed to purchase 17 acres for $250,000, including in the offer the stipulation that the property must be completely cleared and all debris removed prior to closing. “We gave them 250,000 reasons to get it done quickly,” Nabors said. Mayor Nabors said the plan offered a way to clear the lot quickly in spite of the intermediate issues. “I can’t tell you how many meetings and calls we’ve had on that property, from cleanup to the possible purchase. There is no immediate plan, but we would feel better if the city controlled that property so we could have a say about what happens there,” Mayor Nabors explained last August. Suddenly, equipment showed up on the site, and workmen daily made noticeable progress. The debris was moved into a basin inside the complex, where it will not hinder sightlines and visitors’ impressions while its complete disposable continues. By October, the lot that had stood as a barricade to progress had been cleared. With the demolition and cleanup finished on time, the sale was completed, and the property passed into the hands of the city. Most recently, utility lines at the site have been cleared, and the property has been declared ready for development. The former war zone is an open field that whispers – no, shouts in celebration – of good things to come.





iddle Tallapoosa Clean Water Partnership teamed up with local officials and organizations this year to launch two new programs aimed at keeping local water sources safer. The medication disposal and storm drain decoration programs offer visual cues as reminders to help protect water supplies. In 2013, the first drug take-back event was coordinated between the MTCWP, the Tallapoosa CounCACC students paint wildlife ty’s Sheriff’s office, on storm drains to educate Tallapoosa County those who see them Narcotics Force and the Alexander City Police Department. A great success that received positive feedback from residents, Drug Take-Back Days became a regular occurrence. “We’ve been doing this for a number of years, and the response is always good,” said Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett. “It’s been a great tool to get these drugs disposed of properly.” Last year, permanent receptacles were installed at three locations in Alexander City for readily available proper disposal of expired, unwanted prescription medications. The program not only helps to prevent theft, said Abbett, but also it helps protect the water supply from contamination. The disposable boxes are located at Hometown Pharmacy in Alexander City, the Tallapoosa County Courthouse Annex and the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office location is open 24 hours, seven days a week. “We’ve had great success with this program. To continue seeing how many pounds of medication are dropped off at events proves the need is there,” said Sabrina Wood, MTCWP coordinator. When the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a study in 1999, they found that wastewater treatment plants were not always able to filter out flushed medications, as many of these are not water soluble and do not breakdown in the water treatment


process. So drugs ended up in natural water supplies and caused adverse effects in wildlife. “There’s no way to measure exact impact those medicines would have had and exactly how much this helps, but I hope this means awareness will continue to grow. Every pound we collect matters; really, every pill matters,” said Wood. Raising awareness about contamination of local water supplies was brought to the community’s attention in another form, as well. The MTCWP partnered with MainStreet Alexander City to install storm drain decal markers throughout downtown Alexander City as a reminder that only storm water should go through them. Other products, such as grease, oil and trash, could create environmental problems. “Only rain should be in the drain,” said Wood. “This project is designed to bring awareness to our storm drains and the fact that this water going through those drains flows untreated to creeks that eventually flow into Lake Martin.” Wood also implemented a drain-marking project at Central Alabama Community College with the hopes of reaching young adults with the message. CACC ambassadors decorated drains throughout campus, which Wood hoped would educate the students on how to help storm drains work more effectively. The first phase had students painting three drains with ducks, turtles and bass – all wildlife near the pond on the CACC campus. “Our hope is that as students and visitors walk around campus, they will notice the beautiful paintings and the important messages, such as ‘only rain in the drain,’ ‘keep it clean’ and ‘a clean pond starts here.’ Many people don’t realize that rainwater washes everything into these storm drains, including unwanted litter from parking lots,” said Wood. “We plan on painting other storm drains throughout the year. The more we complete, the more likely people are to realize its importance.”


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Wellborn Industries Scores Big Custom letters crafted for new Atlanta Falcons stadium STORY BY MITCH SNEED & BETSY ILER PHOTOS BY MITCH SNEED & COURTESY OF DAVID BELL


he television crew panned across it several times during the recent College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons. And each time they showed it, they made Tallapoosa County proud because that ‘FALCONS’ sign – constructed of 6-foot tall letters – was made right here. Wellborn Industries in Jackson’s Gap fashioned the precision-cut flight style letters in its local workshop after Staging and Sroduction Executive David Bell approached Curtis Wellborn with the project. “It was really fun to see it all come together,” Wellborn said. “We always feel like we do some pretty interesting stuff, but on this, you could just see the excitement in everyone when it came time to work on them. They really

took a lot of pride in them, and I think it shows in how they turned out.” “We’ve done a lot of work with the Falcons and Atlanta United in the past, and with the opening of the new stadium, the team really wanted to go all out,” said Bell, who works with Atlanta-based Orchestrate Build. “Orchestrate is in Atlanta, but I have a place on Lake Martin. So I was aware of Wellborn already, and through a friend, I was able to get with them and tell them a little about what we were wanting to do. “They were excited about the opportunity, and being familiar with their work, I had no doubt that we would get incredible, quality work. They really turned out great and look good at the stadium.” When Curtis, Stacy and Jarod Wellborn were approached about the project, it didn’t take them long to

The Falcons letters at MercedesBenz Stadium in Atlanta were fashioned in Jacksons Gap



jump at the opportunity. were going to be seen by so many people in a new stadium, “I was like, ‘heck yeah,’” Jarod said. “You can look that is really something they got excited about,” she said. around here and see that we like doing the unusual and the Jarod said while the straight-line edge design of the Falcustom stuff. But to get a chance to cons lettering was fairly simple, the combine football, which is another massive GT logo for Georgia Tech, one of our loves, and our love of another part of the project, was a creating interesting things with challenge. The interlocking letwood, that was just a perfect opporters featured a ‘G’ that is oval with tunity for us.” sharp curves. It took quite some The work started with a statetime to figure out how to make that of-the art computer design that happen without leaving seams. was projected to make a pattern “That one was a real booger,” for each one of the super-sized Jarod said. “But we worked and letters. Then, the materials were worked with it using several differcarefully selected to make sure the ent layers and pieces and basically letters would be of the best qualbeat the wood into submission. It ity and would be durable, yet not really turned out well. I’m pretty too heavy, as they would need to proud of that one.” be moved for various occasions While there is no plan to abanaround the stadium. don traditional products for wooden The wood for the frames was logos, Jarod said he would love to precision cut, sanded and assemdo more creating of designs for colbled. Special high-density waferleges and professional teams. thin plywood was used to create “I’d love to do some stuff for the outside of the letters. A team of Auburn or Alabama or any of the Several coats of Falcons finishers then applied sealers and SEC or ACC teams,” Jarod said. “It red paint were applied to multiple coats of Falcons red paint was really a lot of fun. We’re even the custom letters and mounted the letters on bases to looking at different ways to do it make sure they would hold up in a and other materials we could use variety of conditions. to make them pop even more. I’m kind of looking forward Nearly everyone in the plant played a part in building to seeing them on display myself. It will be kind of nice to and finishing the letters, Stacy said. look at them and say, ‘we did that.’” “When it came time for them to go to a different department, you could almost see a gleam in their eyes. It’s something different and fun for sure, but knowing that they



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John Kendrick Local cotton farmer returns to his roots one last time STORY BY MITCH SNEED & AMY PASSARETTI PHOTOS BY MITCH SNEED


armer John Kendrick is traditional in nature, and get to it. So I told my wife Judy, and she said ‘well, lifestyle and work methods. Handpicking cotton go right ahead.’” on his 1.4-acre farm between Alexander City and Current cotton farming methods include automated Hackneyville, Kendrick enjoys the art of cotton farming tractors that break up the ground and plant the seeds, and the resulting product more than the moneymaking while mechanical cotton pickers do the harvesting. aspect of the industry. Kendrick decided to employ his old-school methods, While it had been more than three decades since which include a mule named Joe pulling a plow and his Kendrick last planted cotton, his pride and nostalgia own weathered hands hoeing the land and picking the motivated him last year to produce one last batch. After thick, white bolls from the plants. weeks of harvesting by hand, Kendrick brought his final “I know there ain’t many people who do it that way, crop collection to the gin at the end of the season. but I have been a doing it all my life,” Kendrick said. “To me, cotton is the most beautiful plant there is “I love to plow a mule. To lay the rows off and cultivate growing, and I never did get it out of my system. So it – that was all just me and Joe. I know there are faster I went on and done it, and I went to the gin one last ways, but I don’t think any other way would make cottime,” said Kendrick. ton any prettier than what you see right here.” For more than 50 years, Kendrick has been farming on hilly land off Highway 63 where his hand-built farmhouse sits as a reproduction of the one in which he grew up. Kendrick was raised in Chambers County, and his current house includes a wood cook stove, rock fireplace, cardboard insulation and a cane-backed rocker on the front porch – all replicated from his childhood memories. “I was raised up on a cotton farm, and I just turned 76 years old. So I said I want to plant cotton one more time,” KendKendrick hand-picked rick said. “My health probably nearly 1,200 pounds of won’t let me do it again, so I cotton from his farm figured why not just go ahead



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With a few occasional helping hands, Kendrick picked the majority of the cotton by himself and ended up with nearly 1,200 pounds. The resulting product is a better grade and less torn up than machine work, said Kendrick, but it takes a whole lot more time. “It’s a slow-go process,” he added. When he first transported some handpicked cotton to the gin in 1985, the workers were impressed by his ambition. Kendrick said they hadn’t seen handpicked cotton in almost 10 years. “That was 32 years ago, so I don’t know what they’ll say when I bring this one in. I just remember at that time, him taking cotton in to the office there at the gin and telling the folks in there, ‘Now, this is what cotton is supposed to look like.’” A bale of cotton is worth a little more than 70 cents a pound, and Kendrick’s 1,200 pounds could potentially produce any number of items, including 450 pairs of jeans; 510 bed sheets; 628,000 $100 bills; 1,400 bath towels; or 2,510 T-shirts, according to information from the Alabama Cotton Producers. “Oh no, I didn’t do this for the money,” Kendrick said. “I just wanted to see it grow one last time. Nobody who does this is going to get rich, especially this little dab I do. It’s just something that’s inside you that you can never get out.”

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Residents are signaled if there are any incoming devastating storms

County activates new warning system



he new alert system pushed out six tornado warnings and 17 severe thunderstorm warnings since it went online last April, said Tallapoosa County Emergency Management Agency Director Jason Moran. “People who were directly in the path of whatever was coming got these warnings on their cell phones if they had registered on our website or called us to sign up,” Moran said, “and it didn’t cost them anything.” The county EMA office introduced the mass notification system to help keep residents safe and informed with reliable notifications during emergencies and other events. By signing up online at www.tallaco. com, residents can receive the alerts via text message or call to a mobile phone, a landline telephone or an email address. “The warnings go out without human hands, and that saves time,” Moran explained. “We have no equipment in our office. The National Weather Service sends out the warning through the phone system, so as long as the phone system is working, the alert system will work every time.


There is no equipment to get hit by lightning; nobody has to come to the office and push a button. It is one of the most dependable ways for us to notify people.” Some 1,375 people have already signed up on the internet, and others have called the EMA office to register mobile devices to receive the notifications, he said. The county’s 12,000 landline telephone numbers were programmed into the system when it was implemented. “We had some adjustments to make when it first came in, but the feedback has been positive,” Moran said. Implementation of the warning system took a little over a year, but now that it is up and running, it’s working well and is a reliable option for receiving weather warnings. Users can set up their own accounts online and manage the alerts they get and how they get them. To sign up, go to, click the ‘Departments’ tab and select ‘EMA.’ Then, click on ‘Tallapoosa Alert.’ EMA Director Jason Moran


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A Leap Toward Success Kelly Adams pitches her business proposal to four industry judges

Innovation Center entrepreneurs present at local start-up competition STORY BY AMY PASSARETTI & PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEXANDER CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


he Lake Martin Innovation Center opened its doors last year founded on persistent dedication and a strong belief in our community. The chamber’s new home doubles as a business incubator and houses new companies and start-ups, as well as provides space for startup businesses. Two of those entrepreneurial establishments that call this new building home competed in the Alabama Launchpad Auburn Regional Startup Competition. Beyond Home Care and JC Golf Info were among nearly a dozen companies that pitched for the opportunity to win $100,000 in funds for their businesses. Beyond Home Care, an in-home care service founded by Kelly Adams, was one of six teams to advance to the semifinal round. The next step will cut the field to four businesses before the final winner is named on April 4. Teams consisted of companies based in Chambers, Lee, Macon, Russell and Tallapoosa counties, and each had 10 minutes to pitch a proposal to four industry-professional judges. “It’s very validating,” Adams said. “It’s one thing for you to believe in your business and see the vision, but it’s entirely different for someone else to see it, especially with the caliber of judges at this event. The competitors were all so well prepared, and their concepts were so innovative and unique. Just to be among the finalists for the next round is an honor.” The first round included submission of an application, a three-minute video, financial projections, a résume and cus-

tomer testimonials. The second phase required a live 10-minute pitch followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer period from the judges. JC Golf Info is a joint venture between Innovation Centerbased WisePoint LLC and Dave Jennings, the men’s head golf coach at Central Alabama Community College. This soon-tobe-released social networking tool is designed to connect and educate those involved in junior college golf. Though JC Golf Info did not advance in the competition, WisePoint’s Jeff Kirk and his partners plan to learn from the opportunity and continue forward. “The LaunchPad competition was a great experience. We had just started the concept phase of JC Golf Info, so when we learned about the competition, this kicked up our planning. It forced us to solidify concepts quickly and verify all of our research. After hearing the judges’ feedback, we felt even more confident,” said Kirk, who added that the team intends to go live with the product at the end of the year. The Lake Martin Innovation Center is a partnership between the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce and USAmeriBank. The 17,000-square-foot facility, located at 175 Aliant Pkwy. just off U.S. Highway 280, is home to the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce and features office suites for new and/or growing small businesses, in addition to co-working memberships. To learn more, visit or call 256-234-3461 to schedule a visit.



Dadeville resident initiates beautification of Keebler Park STORY & PHOTO BY BETSY ILER

A bed of daffodils was placed near the hillside to hold back soil and filter rainwater run-off




he subtle changes are adding up, and with spring just around the corner, visitors to Dadeville’s Keebler Park will find it lovelier than it has been in several years. The effort to create a hands-on outdoor classroom on the acreage below the Creation Plantation playground includes city government, local schools, Lake Martin Resource Association volunteers, Master Gardeners and local businesses. The property was designated as a park 20 years ago but in recent years has been neglected. The redesign project was inspired by Dadeville resident Dianna Porter. A Master Gardener with a passion for the environment, Porter garnered support from local school officials and the Dadeville City Council before launching a revamp project that will take five to 10 years to complete. When it is finished, the upgrades will include a thriving rain garden, a fern glen, interpretive signage along the existing paved 1/2-mile walking loop, a designated classroom area, upgrades to the parking area and maybe even a fairy garden, just for fun, Porter said. While work began on the upgrades last fall, the park is drawing interest as warm temperatures, blue skies and early spring blooms attract visitors. New plantings at the rain garden are among the most noticeable changes. “We wanted to stop the drainage on the hillside at the park entrance,” Porter said. “A rain garden there was a great solution.” Some 30 local students attended a rain garden workshop in Auburn and returned with ideas about how to structure the garden and what to plant. A berm was built about halfway down the hillside to slow the flow of run-off, and plants were added. “We put in some rose companion, which looks a lot like lamb’s ear, but this is an heirloom variety. It came from a plant that an 82-yearold woman was given by her grandmother, so this plant has been growing in this area for almost a hundred years. We also put in two lantanas from this same woman’s garden. Those are about 50 years old,” she said. “We will be adding more plants to the rain garden, so if anyone has any ideas of native plants that they would like to see there, they can call me.” The garden area also includes black-eyed Susans, which were left to seed after blooming last summer and fall. “It’s always nice to leave the seed heads over the winter. The birds eat them, and the wind scatters the seeds around the garden, so you never know where they are going to come up again the next year. They float around the garden that way,” Porter explained. In addition, a bed of daffodils was put in near the bottom of the hillside to hold back the soil and filter rainwater run-off before it reaches the forest floor where plans are to install a fern glen. “We’ll add more daffodils next year in the same area, and the fern glen will be going in soon,” Porter said. “We’re also planning to overseed the rain garden area with wildflowers.” Students at Edward Bell Technology Center built posts for the new signage, and Porter said identification signs for the interpretive trail would be installed by the end of April. And along the 1/2-mile walking trail, trees have been limbed to open the canopy and allow better visibility. To call attention to the park’s on-going facelift and new purpose as an outdoor classroom, the city will host a celebration this spring. To speak with Porter about the garden, call her at 256-750-0075.





olidays are a time for giving back and spreading joy. One local family in particular embraced this philosophy whole-heartedly and ensured that all children who entered Koons III Convenience store were given a gift during the Christmas season. Harsh Shah’s extended family has a long tradition of charity work in India, and Shah wanted to incorporate those ideals into his own hometown here. “My family manages senior housing and handicap schools, so they are always doing something to give back. We wanted to start doing it here,” said Shah, who began this ritual when his family opened the store on Jefferson Street three years ago. Shah’s wife, Alicia, is equally as personally affected by this heartfelt gesture, as she recalls living off Salvation Army items when she was younger. “People were always giving us toys when we were younger, so this is my way of giving back,” said Alicia.

3-year-old Landon-Nihal (right) gave a Christmas present to every child that came in Koons III

Even their 3-year-old son is learning the importance of community work at a young age. Every child under the age of 15 that entered Koons was given a wrapped present by Landon-Nihal. “He already knows how to share. When he gets something, he starts to let others use it. When he gets candy, he eats some and shares the rest,” said Shah, explaining the ideals he has instilled in his son. The process of planning a list, purchasing gifts and wrapping each one individually takes weeks for the family, but the time is well spent. Last year, the family gifted 150 toys to children at a local church that did not have enough. “I can’t have a kid not get a present. We made sure to pick up more this year,” said Alicia. The Shahs also participate in a back-to-school project, distributing 50 to 60 backpacks filled with school supplies and donating bicycles for a community bike giveaway. “Anything we can do for the community is great,” said Shah.

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Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventure Park features 10 ziplines and five skywalks

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ind Creek State Park rolled out two new adventures last year to draw recreational visitors and offer a more exciting experience to the lake area. The largest stateowned campground in Alabama, WCSP already hosts thousands of visitors and hosts fishing tournaments all year long, but with the installation of a youth-focused archery range and a set of canopy zip line tours, park officials hope to increase day use at the park as well. The 50-target archery park was built with donations, funding from the Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and a collaborative effort between the Tallapoosa County Extension office and WCSP. It makes Wind Creek the 13th facility in the Alabama State Parks system to offer the amenity. “What a pleasure it is to be a part of something like this. It really shows what we are all about. Whenever we can partner to bring a new recreational feature to a park it’s really an exciting thing, and this is one of the most impressive of all we have here in the state,” said Greg Lein, Alabama State Parks director. Shane Harris, TCE coordinator, saw the opportunity to expand services offered at the 4-H level, which educates children ages 9-18 about subjects ranging from traditional agriculture to robotics, natural resources and the arts. “We decided the need was there to put in an archery park and offer some of these programs. Wind Creek Superintendent Bruce Adams and others at the state level were open to the idea, so we got the ball rolling. We saw the opportunity to expand attractions at Wind Creek, and we didn’t have anything like this in our vicinity,” said Harris. Harris and other volunteers were trained in an archery program to offer instruction to children; although, the range is also open to adults. The course is set up with targets at 5-yard increments. “We’ve gotten some great feedback. A lot of people are really excited to see this happen. It’s something for the whole community to utilize, especially for those either working on their current skills or for future bow hunters to start practicing,” said Harris. The goal for the extension office is to offer archery clubs, programs and

maybe a team in the coming year. For those under 16 years old or over age 65, the archery facility is free to use. Any visitor between the ages of 16 and 64 must obtain a hunting license, Wildlife Management license or Wildlife Heritage license to use the range. Wind Creek has found another way to take advantage of its beautiful scenery and expansive lake views by offering canopy zip line tours. The one- to twohour Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventure Park features 10 zip lines and five skywalks, with heights ranging from 20 to 70 feet off the ground and spanning a distance of 250 to 600 feet. There was a soft opening in the fall to increase enthusiasm about this new attraction, and it will be open full-time starting this month. The cost for one person is $59, and reservations may be made online. One or two trained staff members will accompany each of the scheduled tours. As a subsidiary of Historic Banning Mills (a 501(c) (3) conservation center), the zip line feature is a combined effort with Alabama State Parks and American Adventure Park Systems. For a full list of rules, requirements and for more information, visit With these new features, WCSP has enhanced the recreational and entertainment value at the lake, making the area more attractive as a vacation spot, as well as a fun place to live, work and play.


Opportunities for 4-H ers expand now that the new archery park opened


Local company impacts treasured landmarks Robinson Iron restores the nation’s history STORY BY MITCH SNEED & AMY PASSARETTI PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBINSON IRON


The new Themis statue replicated by Roninson Iron is lowered into its rightful place in Texas


obinson Iron in Alexander City has been beautifying buildings and gardens since 1946 with its artistry in cast metal. The company does custom work all across the country and recently completed projects on three historic landmarks. Responsible for handling the metal work atop the Tennessee State Capitol cupola in Nashville, Robinson Iron employees revived metal accents on-site a hundred feet in the air. The Greek building was built in 1859 and is one of the oldest working capitol buildings in the country. The renovation cost $2.2 million dollars. Fountain Square Park is the focal point of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and its centerpiece is a large fountain called Hebe, the goddess of youth. The massive fountain was originally installed at the park in May 1881. Robinson Iron disassembled the fountain into four pieces that were loaded on a trailer and transported back to its home office in Alexander City to repair leakage problems and provide a general facelift to the piece. Most currently, a 117-year old Waco, Texas, landmark was reinstalled on its 168-foot perch. Robinson Iron recreated the 3-ton zinc statue of Themis, the Greek goddess of divine law, after it was badly damaged by high winds a few years ago. The statue was taken down last July and made the 13-hour trip to Alexander City, where an exact replica of the 20-foot statue was built – hail dents and all. In January, the completed project was transported back to the McLennan County Courthouse where a large crowd and a police escort met it, and the statue was raised to its rightful place at the top of the building. The original statue was only about 1/16th of an inch thick and was made up of aluminum pieces hammered to shape and soldered together. Robinson Iron crafted a stronger version built of cast aluminum and reinforced with stainless steel. This Alexander City business transforms bronze, iron, aluminum, copper and stainless steel into virtually any design and restores, replicates and does custom casting for any number of structures, many of which can be seen in homes and parks throughout the city it calls home.





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615 Alex City Shopping Center AlexAnder City, Al 35010

Barbara A. Yates Owner/Artistic Director

Audrey “Buffy" Colvin City Council District 2 Alexander City, AL

“Life is short, pray harder.” 256.750.0663

SEE ME FOR INSURANCE Harold Cochran 256.234.2700

Hyde’s Kitchens

“For Those Who Demand The Finest”

Roger Hyde



Lake Martin Banquet Hall

It feels good to be


* All your Event Needs * Secluded Parking


2094 Cherokee Road • Alexander City, AL

For Rates or to Reserve, Call 256-825-6139 Located Next to Lake Martin Garage

NOEL J. BOONE, lmt #588

239 Church Street • Alexander City, AL 256.749.0318 •



Boat Sales & Service 24 Hr. Fuel Dock Marina & Ship Store






256-329-8406 Philips Bldg. 284 Tallapoosa • Alex City



BUSINESS CARD DIRECTORY Newly Remodeled 4335 Hwy. 280 • Alexander City, AL ( 256 ) 234-7099

•Free home-style breakfast •Free Wi-Fi Internet Access •Fitness Center

•Outdoor Pool •Spacious rooms w/ work area

Subscribe Today!

1096 Airport Drive, Alexander City 548 Cherokee Road, Alexander City AL 35010 256.234.4281 |

256.392.4866 2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID!


Creating America’s Landmarks

We’re ready in Advance®

Keep the wheels turning

4350 Hwy. 280 W Alexander City, AL 35010 Tel: 256-234-2299


2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID! 1856 Robinson Road | Alexander City, Alabama 35010

AD INDEX A1 Lock & Key.............................................94

Cherokee Qwik Stop..................................25

Koon’s Korner/Koon’s Catering..................75

Russell Lands on Lake Martin...................2-3

A&M Plumbing..........................................14

Children’s Harbor.......................................98

Kowaliga Whole Health.............................36

Russell Marine...........................................79

AAA General Contractors............................88

Chuck’s Marina..........................................22

Lake Martin Banquet Hall..........................94

Russell Medical..........................................17

Advanced Auto Parts..................................96

Dadeville Animal Clinic.............................70

Lake Martin EDA.........................................43

Sakura Bistro..............................................84

Advanced Heat & Air..................................84

Dadeville Area Chamber of Commerce..............8

Lake Martin Mini Mall...............................42

Satterfield, Inc...........................................27

Ahluring Angler.........................................75

Dadeville Insurance......................................... 94

Lake Martin Realty...................................100

Scotty Gordon, Farmers Insurance................88

Alabama Power............................................ 9

Fairytale Journeys......................................36

Lake Martin Resource Association.............14

Service Printing.............................................65

Alexander City Board of Education............79

Farmer’s & Merchants Bank......................... 8

Lakewinds Golf Course..............................96

Sherry Willis, RE/MAX Around the Lake..................94

Alexander City Chamber of Commerce.............. 71

Fifty Plus.....................................................64

Langley Funeral Home..............................37

Singleton Marine..........................................94

Alexander City Methodist Church.............22

First Baptist Church, Dadeville..................75

Luck of the Draw........................................14

SL Alabama.................................................89

Alexander City Fire Department................13

George Hardy, DMD...................................47

Lynch’s Lawn Care......................................65

Southern Star Farm....................................70

Alexander City Police Department............13

Gilbert Woodworks....................................95

Lynn’s Qwik Stop........................................25

StillWaters R.A............................................27

Alex City Guide Service..............................94

Gold Ole Boys BBQ...................................... 9


Super 8.......................................................95

Alex City Internal Medicine.......................84

Grace’s Flowers..........................................47

Mark King’s Furniture................................60

Tallapoosa County Board of Education............... 81

Alex City Marine.........................................43

Grave’s Fabricator.......................................95

Marsha Mason...........................................70

Tallapoosa River Electric Cooperative............... 78

Alex City Vet...............................................47

Harold Cochran, State Farm.......................94

Moore’s Hardware......................................22

Tapley Appliance............................................... 95

American Inn.............................................94

Heritage South Credit Union.....................99

Movie Rack.................................................25

Temple Medical Center................................ 8

Artic Air.......................................................59

Hillabee Towers..........................................94

Noel Boone................................................94

The Blue Hydrangea..................................95

Audrey Colvin.............................................94

Hill Petroleum............................................84

Ocie & Belle’s.............................................27

Thomas Auto Parts....................................... 8

Barbara’s Studio of Dance..........................94

Hillview Memorial.....................................75


Town of New Site.......................................43

Beyond Home Care....................................36

Holley’s Home Furnishings.......................78

Papa John’s Pizza.......................................25


Bice Motors................................................22

Holman Floor Company............................47

Patterson Truck Parts..................................43

Virgina Pettus, Aronov...............................27

Bill’s Electric...............................................13

Howlin Moon Pet Resort............................94

Playhouse Cinemas...................................25

Whisker’s Catfish........................................75

Bill Nichols State Veterans Home..............70

Huddle House............................................25

Radney Funeral Home...............................37

Who’s Diner...............................................25

Brown Nursing & Rehabilitation...............22

Hyde’s Kitchen...........................................94

Red Ridge United Methodist Chruch.............. 68

Wind Creek State Park...............................78

Buck’s Dairy Quik.......................................25

J&M Tank Lines..........................................31

Renaissance Electronics............................... 9

Wind Creek Zipline....................................93

C&T Electric.................................................47

Karen Channell, State Farm.......................36

Rhodes Brothers/Key Builders...................64

Central Alabama Community College..................5

Kelly Heating & Air.....................................13

River Bank & Trust......................................26

CertaPro Painters............................................... 27

Kent Norris D.M.D......................................64

Robinson Iron............................................96

City of Alexander City.................................15

Kona Ice......................................................25

Russell Do it Center...................................95



serving seriously ill children & their families



CHILDREN’S HARBOR FAMILY CENTER at the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham, AL, offers patients and families fun activities, respite, counseling, and educational services at no cost. CHILDREN’S HARBOR LAKE MARTIN CAMPUS in Alexander City, AL offers fully handicapped accessible camping services to partnering organizations which host illness related camps for patients and their families. This environment provides a place of rest, shared experiences, and restoration. 98


R 205.638.6123 Birmingham, AL 334.857.2133 Alexander City, AL



Stop wasting time with a financial institution that doesn’t take time to listen to you! Get personalized attention from a non-profit community credit union that is here in your community to offer support and financial advice. It’s your money and your time so start trusting it with someone who cares! 256.245.4776

Visit us at any location: Sylacauga, Childersburg, Moody, Alexander City 2018 LOOK WHAT YOU DID!


ty in the ore prop er m ll se e W e? It’s all we Botto m lin nyone else. a n a th a you. n a re to do it for it a Lake Ma rti w ’t n a c we do — and



Rhonda Jaye 256.749.8681

John McInnish 334.415.2149

Haley McKelvey 256.749.8353

Damon Story 205.789.9526

Willow Point





Randall Rogers 334.707.5804

Jeff Cochran 256.786.0099

Mike Davis 256.226.1238

Michelle Brooks 256.749.1031

Jim Cleveland 256.596.2220

Allison Jaye 256.750.0711

India Davis 256.749.7592

Judy Voss 205.794.0779

Becky Haynie 334.312.0928

Jerry Purcell 205.382.3417

Charlotte Hammac 256.496.4434

Mimi Rush 334.399.7874

Cindy Scroggins 256.794.3372

Adam Yager 205.914.0830

Lindsey Kane 256.675.6792

Amy Duncan 256.212.2222

Chad McKelvey 256.749.4018

Jan Hall 256.329.6313

Hugh Neighbors 256.750.5071

Sawyer Davis 205.965.7940

Ashley Chancellor 334.202.9017

David Mitchell 256.212.3511

Howard Haynie 334.312.0693

Leroy Sellers 256.496.2141


w w w.LakeMa r tinRealt m

March 8, 2018 Alex City Outlook  
March 8, 2018 Alex City Outlook