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2012 | LIVABILITY.COM/JASPER/AL 速

WALKER COUNTY, ALABAMA

Looking Up

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A Clear Winner !"#$%&'($)*&!+,"&$%&+&)-./$%(&*"/-

SPONSORED BY THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF WALKER COUNTY


With more branches than any other bank in Walker County, we are F when it comes to convenience. In continuous operation since 1905, we are F when it comes to stability. Involved in civic organizations, churches and schools throughout Walker County, we are F when it comes to community service. With more than 1,437 years in banking among our team members, we are F when it comes to experience and customer service.

With locations in Curry, Cordova, Carbon Hill, Dora and three offices in Jasper.

We are F … for a reason. www.firstbankofjasper.com 201-221-3121


Town of

Sumiton “Remembering the Past, While Embracing the Future”

P.O. Box 10 • Sumiton, AL 35148 • (205) 648-3261 • www.thecityofsumiton.com

“The Friendly City”

Petey Ellis MAYOR

Judy Glover CITY CLERK

COUNCIL MEMBERS Bill Fowler Kenneth Russell Brian Sides Ricky Thomas Valorie Tucker


Southern Orthopedic & Sports MISSION STATEMENT At Southern Orthopedics, our goal is to provide excellent orthopedic care, while establishing the environment and relationship that will nurture and support the patient during the delivery of care and throughout the healing process. PRACTICE SPECIALTY/FOCUS Our practice specializes in all aspects of orthopedic care, from preventative medicine to corrective surgery. Our focus is to keep abreast of the many advancements in orthopedics today and offer them locally to our community. One should not have to travel to receive superior orthopedic care. We feel that it is our responsibility as physicians to educate ourselves and bring these new and exciting technologies back to our practice, hospital and the community that we serve.

Kendall C. Vague, MD

Gary N. Russell, MD

Mark A. Prevost, MD

Jeffrey S. Cuomo, MD


Medicine Associates P.C. Joint Replacement Spinal & Cervical Surgery Therapeutic Massage

www.southernortho.org

The Southern Orthopedic Spine and Rehabilitation Center now offers a wide variety of therapeutic massages.

Visit our website to schedule an appointment, download forms and watch videos about the different services we offer.

(205) 221-5374 2950 Hwy. 78 E. • Jasper, AL 35502


HENRY OIL CO. INC. 2621 Whitehouse Rd. Jasper, AL 35501 (205) 221-9427 BP DEALERS JASPER BP Hwy. 78 – Jasper DOWNTOWN BP 19th St. – Jasper SMITH LAKE BP Curry Hwy. KATHY’S MANCHESTER GROCERY Manchester HWY. 5 BP Hwy. 5 HOLCOMB GROCERY Cordova Cut Off

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CORDOVA BP Downtown Cordova

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PARRISH BP 4-Way-Stop – Parrish

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THE TOAD BP Airport Rd. – Jasper

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D’S FOOD MART Walston Bridge Rd. – Jasper

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WA L K E R C O U N T Y


2012 EDITION | VOLUME 1 速

WALKER COUNTY, ALABAMA CO NTE NT S F E ATU R E S 14

14

SPECIAL SPOTLIGHT History enhances Walker County

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A CLEAR WINNER Lewis Smith Lake is a tourism hero

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LOOKING UP Programs help youth gain leadership skills

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RETAIL ON THE RISE Big names put down roots

D E PA R TM E NT S 8 Almanac 32 Biz Briefs 35 Chamber Report 36 Economic Profile 44 Local Flavor 46 Arts & Culture 48 Sports & Recreation 51 Health & Wellness 54 Education 59 Image Gallery 63 Community Profile 64 Through the Lens ON THE COVER David Kilgore fishes on Lewis Smith Lake in Jasper. Photo by Brian McCord

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All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste.

PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

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What’s Online !"#$%"!"&'()*+,-$./01,$!

10 Wright St. Jasper, AL 35501 (205) 221-4281 (205) 221-4899 fax

PARTNERS: Joe R. Blackston, LPA Fran Blackston Johnson, CPA Jon Blackston, Staff Accountant EMPLOYEES: Cathy Hadaway, Office Manager and Bookkeeper Michelle Vintson, Secretary We are a hometown public accounting firm that has been in business for 41 years. We are a full-service public accounting practice. We offer compilation, review and auditing services, as well as small business accounting and new business formation services. Our tax services include preparation of federal and state business entity returns, estate, gift, trust tax return preparation, and individual tax return preparation. We provide not-for-profit and governmental accounting services, as well as IRS and state correspondence and representation. Our practice also offers a full payroll processing and timekeeping service.

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2012 | LIVABILITY.COM/JASPER/AL ®

WALKER COUNTY, ALABAMA

Looking Up

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A Clear Winner !"#$%&'($)*&!+,"&$%&+&)-./$%(&*"/-

SPONSORED BY THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF WALKER COUNTY

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WALKER COUNT Y, AL ABAMA EDITORIAL PROJECT MANAGER MITCH KLINE CONTENT DIRECTOR LISA BATTLES PROOFREADING MANAGER RAVEN PETTY CONTENT COORDINATOR JESSICA WALKER STAFF WRITER KEVIN LITWIN COPY EDITOR JILL WYATT CONTRIBUTING WRITERS RENEE ELDER, MELONEE HURT, JESSICA MOZO, BETSY WILLIAMS SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS LAURA GALLAGHER, JANINE MARYLAND, KRIS SEXTON, VIKKI WILLIAMS GRAPHIC DESIGNERS RACHAEL GERRINGER, TAYLOR NUNLEY SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHERS JEFF ADKINS, BRIAN McCORD

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STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS TODD BENNETT, ANTONY BOSHIER COLOR IMAGING TECHNICIAN ALISON HUNTER INTEGRATED MEDIA MANAGER GINNY ELLSWORTH AD PRODUCTION MANAGER KATIE MIDDENDORF AD TRAFFIC ASSISTANTS KRYSTIN LEMMON, PATRICIA MOISAN CHAIRMAN GREG THURMAN PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER BOB SCHWARTZMAN

Shaping

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RAY LANGEN SENIOR V.P./SALES TODD POTTER SENIOR V.P./OPERATIONS CASEY HESTER

Tomorrow’s

SENIOR V.P./CLIENT DEVELOPMENT JEFF HEEFNER SENIOR V.P./BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SCOTT TEMPLETON

LEADERS

SENIOR V.P./AGRIBUSINESS PUBLISHING KIM HOLMBERG V.P./BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CHARLES FITZGIBBON, CLAY PERRY

WALKER COUNTY PROGRAMS HELP YOUTH GAIN LEADERSHIP SKILLS

V.P./EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS TEREE CARUTHERS V.P./VISUAL CONTENT MARK FORESTER V.P./CONTENT OPERATIONS NATASHA LORENS

STORY BY JESSICA MOZO | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN McCORD

V.P./TRAVEL PUBLISHING SUSAN CHAPPELL

J

asper City Schools have really been turning heads lately. In 2010, the school district launched a new program through the collaborative efforts with the Chamber of Commerce called The Leader in Me at T.R. Simmons Elementary, designed to empower students and unleash each child’s full potential.

V.P./SALES RHONDA GRAHAM, HERB HARPER, JAREK SWEKOSKY CONTROLLER CHRIS DUDLEY

The Leader in Me The innovative, nationwide program is based on principles found in Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Since its implementation, T.R. Simmons Elementary has been visited by Reps. Robert Aderholt and Bill Roberts and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Drayton Nabers. “The concept is every child has leadership ability, worth and value,” says Dr. Robert Sparkman, superintendent of Jasper City Schools. “Our educators are helping them find it by helping them understand

SENIOR ACCOUNTANT LISA OWENS ACCOUNTS PAYABLE COORDINATOR MARIA McFARLAND ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE COORDINATOR DIANA GUZMAN SALES SUPPORT COORDINATOR ALEX MARKS SALES SUPPORT PROJECT MANAGER SARA QUINT SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR DANIEL CANTRELL

Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Those seven habits include (1) Be proactive, (2) Begin with the end in mind, (3) Put first things first, (4) Think win-win, (5) Seek first to understand, then to be understood, (6) Synergize and (7) Sharpen the saw. Jasper City Schools plans to launch the program in its other two elementary schools, Memorial Park Elementary and West Jasper Elementary, in the next couple of years. More than 600 schools throughout the nation are using The Leader in Me program, and have seen declines in their dropout rates, fewer tardy students and more parental involvement. “Business people often struggle to find adults who come to work on time, have a good work ethic, and look you in the eye and shake your hand,” Sparkman says. “Ultimately we want students to graduate with intellect, but also character. I tell students all the time if you are blessed with academic ability but only use it for yourself, it is selfish. But if you use it to help

A teacher leads a class at T.R. Simmons Elementary.

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DATABASE MANAGER/IT SUPPORT CHANDRA BRADSHAW WEB CREATIVE DIRECTOR ALLISON DAVIS WEB CONTENT MANAGER JOHN HOOD WEB PROJECT MANAGER NOY FONGNALY WEB DESIGNER II RICHARD STEVENS WEB DEVELOPMENT LEAD YAMEL HALL WEB DEVELOPER I NELS NOSEWORTHY PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR JEFFREY S. OTTO CREATIVE SERVICES DIRECTOR CHRISTINA CARDEN CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY ANALYST BECCA ARY AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR DEANNA NELSON DISTRIBUTION DIRECTOR GARY SMITH EXECUTIVE SECRETARY KRISTY DUNCAN HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER PEGGY BLAKE RECEPTIONIST LINDA BISHOP

Images Walker County is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at info@jnlcom.com. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County 201 19th Street East, Suite 101, Jasper, Alabama 35501 Phone: 205-384-4571 • Fax: 205-384-4901 walkerchamber.us VISIT IMAGES WALKER COUNTY ONLINE AT LIVABILITY.COM/JASPER/AL ©Copyright 2012 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member

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The Association of Magazine Media Member

Custom Content Council

Member The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County

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Almanac

Welcome to Walker County AN INTRODUCTION TO THE AREA’S PEOPLE, PLACES AND EVENTS

Loving the Lake Small-Town History Although Nauvoo is a small town, it’s a hotspot for history buffs. Among Nauvoo’s historical attractions are the Nauvoo Depot Museum and the Harbin Hotel. The Nauvoo Depot Museum is a replica of the original structure built in 1897. With the help of the Nauvoo Historical Society, this museum tells the stories of the train station and local industry, featuring an array of artifacts. The Harbin Hotel, built in 1928, is a private residence today, but occasionally allows overnight guests. It features 16 rooms, its original pine walls, numerous period antiques, photographs and more.

Walker County Lake has been a prized part of the Walker community since it first opened in 1958. This lake covers 163 acres, and is popular for a wide variety of recreational activities, including fishing, boating, picnicking and nature-watching. Among the lake’s fish are bluegill, bass weighing up to 13 pounds, and catfish weighing up to 30 pounds, to name a few. To encourage picnicking, the lake features a covered picnic pavilion and woodland picnic areas as well as a nearby country store. For those who prefer to hit the water, the lake offers the Riverside Fly Shop for fishing supplies, a concession stand for midday snacks and a dock with a boat launch.

Parading Around Town Walker residents come together several times a year to enjoy various festivities, among them the Chamber Christmas Parade, Pets on Parade and the Veterans Day Parade. The Chamber Christmas Parade is held each December to celebrate Christmas, and features hundreds of spectators, the Walker High School marching band, and an appearance by Santa Claus. Pets on Parade is an annual event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County. It’s a family-oriented event to which members of the community participate by showing off their beloved pets, with all proceeds going to support the Walker County Humane Society. The annual Veterans Day Parade is a long-standing tradition in Jasper. This event honors the sacrifices and service of the men and women of America’s armed forces who dedicate their lives to protecting our freedom.

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Fast Facts Historic Home of a Statesman

! Walker County is the 20th largest county in the state of Alabama.

The Bankhead House & Heritage Center was once the home of William Brockman Bankhead, who represented Alabama in Congress from 1917 through 1940 and was the 47th speaker of the House of Representatives. The Walker Area Community Foundation (WACF) purchased the three-story brick Bankhead House in 2008 and began restoring it. After three years of painstaking effort, the WACF has successfully restored the Bankhead House according to its original plans, in the style of the Colonial Revival architecture with which the home was built in 1925. Inside the home are numerous artifacts that belonged to the Bankheads, including a desk from the Alabama legislature that belonged to Bankhead’s father.

! The county has 11 municipalities: Jasper, Cordova, Dora, Eldridge, Carbon Hill, Kansas, Nauvoo, Oakman, Parrish, Sipsey and Sumiton ! The city of Jasper was the childhood home of actor George Lindsey, who is best known for his role as Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show.

Walker County At A Glance POPULATION (2010 ESTIMATE) Walker County: 67,023

BEGINNINGS Walker County was formed in 1824 from portions of Marion and Tuscaloosa counties and was named after John W. Walker, one of Alabama’s first U.S. Senators. The city of Jasper, home to approximately 14,000 residents, is the county seat.

LOCATION Walker County is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains near Birmingham.

65 13

Lewis Smith Lake

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Carbon Hill

Manchester

! Located in Dora, the Alabama Mining Museum honors Walker County’s mining heritage and features historical artifacts from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. ! In addition to being the county seat, Jasper is the largest city in Walker County. ! Major waterways in the county include Black Warrior River and Sipsey River, while the major highway is U.S. 78.

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78

Jasper

WA L KER COU N TY Walker County

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Oakman

Dora Goodsprings

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Birmingham

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Selling for Generations In 1924, George Washington Posey and his son, Andrew, established Andrew Posey and Son’s General Store. The business originally sold groceries, feed, seed and other general merchandise. The store continues to operate in its original location on 20th Street in downtown Jasper. The store has remained in the Posey family as it was handed down to third and fourth generations. Today it is run by Randy Posey and his wife Janice. The store still sells seeds, plants, and a variety of home items. The Pilot Club of Jasper recognized the store’s significance as a landmark in the community when it made the façade of Posey’s General Store the design for its 2011 Christmas ornament.

Making Waves The Jasper Natatorium is located within Memorial Park, the largest and oldest park in Jasper. The Natatorium is a $3 million facility that offers numerous comfortable meeting spaces as well as indoor and outdoor pools. Its meeting rooms make it a great place to hold family or business-related gatherings, while its pools accommodate swim lessons, swim competitions, water aerobics and more. For special events, the pools are available for private rental, and have even hosted the Special Olympics in the past.

Thriving in the Wild When Boy Scouts in Walker County want to put their nature skills into practice, they go to Camp O’Rear near Jasper, a 90-acre camp owned and operated by the Black Warrior Council. Located in the Alabama wilderness, Camp O’Rear’s primitive environment gives Boy Scouts the perfect arena to hone their survival skills and earn merit badges. Camp O’Rear’s conditions also make it a great location for the exciting game of geocaching, an outdoor treasure-huntingstyle event in which participants use GPS devices to find specific coordinates and then locate hidden objectives. This practice is perfectly suited for scouts, allowing them to exercise important skills such as backpacking, teamwork and land navigation.

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City of Dora

The city of Dora is located in the eastern section of Walker County, Alabama. The city has an approximate population of 2,500 and was once known as Horse Creek. Dora offers public services including police, neighborhood watch, and fire protection. Also, within the city limits of Dora we have a medical clinic, civic center, park and recreation options, gas and water utilities. Electric and sewer services are also accessible. Dora High and T.S Boyd Elementary represent Doraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s educational base, as well as daycare and pre-school operations offered by Dora First Baptist and Aldersgate Methodist Church. Dora is a faithful community with various churches as well as the attractions mentioned hereafter. With Birmingham just a short commute to the southeast, the trade-area residents have a multitude of employment opportunities including those within Walker County. The result is a reasonably diversified employer base that has provided a measure of economic stability over the past 20 years. Horse Creek Commerce Park offers many opportunities for new and expanding business interests. Ideally situated on the well-traveled Horse Creek Boulevard, the park is easily accessible from US Highway 78 and the new Corridor X interstate highway. The park encompasses 140 acres of property available for lease or purchase. Utility services are available.

Golf Course

Horse Creek Municipal Golf Course is open to the public. It is a splendid 7,100-yard piece of gold course architecture, which is easy to play yet offers occasional challenges for golfers of all ages. The 18-hole course is publicly owned and is well maintained and affordable. The beautiful treelined course includes a facility with a cafĂŠ, pro shop and golf cart rentals.

City of Dora | 1485 Sharon Blvd. | Dora, AL 35062 | (205) 648-3211 | (205) 648-3399 fax


Multimodal Trail

Horse Creek Trail is constructed on an abandoned railroad bed. The paved trail intersects with the park walking track, is 12 feet wide and 13,650 feet in length. The trail consists of numerous ornamental plants and trees, five rest stops and five parking areas. Trail users include walking, jogging, running, biking, skateboarding, roller skating, nature discovery and bird watching.

Alabama Mining Museum

The primary focus of the Alabama Mining Museum is the total history of coal mining from 1890 to 1940. During this period mining became an important force in the state and a way of life for all the people involved. The Alabama Mining Museum depicts the mines and their development throughout the period of 1890-1940. The museum shows not only the methods and technical aspects of mining, but just as importantly, it gives the visitor a look into the life of the miner as he was molded into a special person by years of experience above as well as below the ground. In 1984 the Alabama Mining Museum was designated by the Alabama State Senate as â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Official State Coal Mining Museum of Alabamaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.


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Special

Spotlight WALKER COUNTY APPRECIATES ITS HISTORY AND HERITAGE

STORY BY RENEE ELDER

BRIAN M C CORD

W

alker County’s legacy involves the humble but hardworking mule, whose usefulness in farming, mining and transportation helped shape the region. Yet its history also encompasses the vaunted Bankhead family, a prominent political clan whose members included the well-known stage and screen star Tallulah Bankhead. Despite seeming worlds apart, each of these subjects contributes an intriguing layer to Walker County’s history and is reflected in the vibrant artistic spirit that reigns in the region. Rooted in Culture For evidence, look no further than the Bankhead House & Heritage Center in Jasper. The Colonial Revival home was built in 1925 by William Brockman Bankhead, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and, later, speaker of the House. In 1937, it set the scene for the marriage of Bankhead’s daughter, Tallulah, to actor John Emery. Today, the elegant structure, operated by the Walker Area Community Foundation, is open to the public for gatherings revolving around history, culture and the arts. Above: The Bankhead House & Heritage Center in Jasper Below: Images from Journey Stories, the national exhibit that took place at the Bankhead House

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Mining Their Business MUSEUM CELEBRATES COAL MINING HERITAGE The Alabama Mining Museum in Dora is “The Official State Coal Mining Museum of Alabama.” The museum was given that special designation in 1984 when the Alabama State Legislature deemed it so, in an effort to preserve the story of coal mining in the state. Between 1890 and 1940, the coal mining industry was a key driving force in the growth of cities such as the Birmingham Metro Area. Visitors to the Alabama Mining Museum can learn what it was like to live in a mining camp, plus get an idea of how big companies controlled everything in the area. The museum also explores changes in mining technology. Even the museum’s building is interesting – it is a former gymnasium built in 1935 under the federal Works Project Act (WPA).

Then, there’s the 50-Mule Team Project sponsored by the Walker County Arts Alliance. Honoring the animal that helped shape life in the county, the project was first conceived as the 20-Mule Team Project, before participation in the fundraiser more than doubled in size, says Melanie Poole, president of the Arts Alliance. Fifty almost-life-size fiberglass mules were sponsored by companies, organizations and individuals, each of which picked an artist to help create a unique design statement. Exhibits throughout the county include a Girl Scout-sponsored mule that sports merit badges and goes by the name of “Daisy,” the youngest scout-troop division. 16

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Admission is free. To learn more, call (205) 648-2442.

Another, sponsored by Reed Energy, is displayed in the company’s lobby beside a coal-filled wagon. The Walker Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1995 to help support community causes. The organization assists in a variety of endeavors, from education and health care to recreation and the arts. The foundation often partners with the Arts Alliance, whose mission is to “fill the gap” in arts education in public schools as well as sponsor community exhibits, Poole says. “We try very hard to bring the arts to all parts of Walker County,” she adds.

Events and Festivals A spring festival known as Art in the Park offers the public a chance to view and purchase artwork and fine crafts, and enjoy music, dance and more. In the fall, the alliance plays host to its Mystery Dinner Theater. The highly popular fundraiser honors the county’s thespian tradition, which spawned not only the great Tallulah Bankhead, but actors George Lindsey and Polly Holliday, as well. Poole, a graphic designer and illustrator, says art-centric events drive up creativity and give the region a large dose of cultural energy and excitement. In fact, the arts are in evidence almost


Parade Route ANNUAL HOMECOMING CELEBRATION IS A MAJOR EVENT

PHOTO COURTESY OF BETH SARGENT

T

Left: This mule, named “Uncle B,” is part of the 50-Mule Team Project. Right: Art in the Park is held in Gamble Park on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend each year.

anywhere you go in Walker County. “Our Focus on Arts exhibit can be seen in various facilities throughout the county, most recently in the lobby of Walker Baptist Medical Center,” Poole says of the traveling arts exhibit that features local talent. “It’s our mission to support and develop the arts in the total life of the community.” Challenging preconceptions at times, the arts community strives to give area residents a broad perspective on the culture of northwest Alabama – and beyond. From June to August 2011, a national exhibit known as Journey Stories made its home at the Bankhead House through a

partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and the Alabama Humanities Foundation. Journey Stories traces the migration of Americans from the eastern seaboard to the west coast through personal accounts illustrated by visual art, manuscripts and audio pieces. The exhibit was based on the America on the Move project at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Smithsonian curator Tiffany Ruhl told the Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle that it was designed to illustrates Americans’ tendency toward mobility, be that by train, auto, aircraft, or yes, even the humble mule.

he annual Walker High School Homecoming Parade is always one of the most anticipated events of the school year. The parade honors the school, which was established in 1917 as Walker County High School, and the Vikings football team, which won its first football state championship in 1921. Prior to the homecoming football game on a Friday night each October, a pep rally and homecoming parade take place. The parade starts from the school parking lot and commences through downtown Jasper, with the WHS marching band leading the way. Floats are built by students in a theme that usually depicts the upcoming game between the Walker Vikings and their opponent. Immediately after the football game, a homecoming dance is held at the Community Health Systems Activity Center. Walker County is also home to two other large parades in the autumn months. An annual Veterans Day Parade occurs on the Saturday before Veterans Day, with many of the activities taking place at the site of the War Memorial on Jasper’s Town Square. Also, the largest local celebration of the year is the annual evening Chamber Christmas Parade, which features more than 100 entries. Spectators line both sides of the street for many blocks in the Jasper downtown business district in order to get a glimpse of the floats, bands and parade participants – Kevin Litwin

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A CLEAR

WINNER

BRIAN M CCORD

LEWIS SMITH LAKE IS A TOURISM HERO

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STORY BY MELONEE HURT

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ewis Smith Lake, which spans three counties near Jasper defies all the criteria that make a good fishing lake. Typically, bass hang out in murky, shallow waters with lots of algae to feed on. Smith Lake, as it is known by the locals, is deep, clear, and stocked full of big, hungry fish. Rumor has it there is a 50-pounder swimming around taunting anglers of all ages. Home to Open-Series Angler Tournaments Combine the excellent fishing conditions with more than 500 miles of shoreline as scenic as it is

accessible, and it becomes clear why Smith is one of the lakes in Alabama slated to be a repeat host for the Bassmaster Open Series Tournament. Numerous tournaments, sponsored by B.A.S.S. (the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), have landed at Smith Lake, and Michael Mulone, director of event partnerships for B.A.S.S., says his organization looks forward to coming back. “The community does a great job of taking care of that fishery,” Mulone says. “We won’t continue to get anglers to our tournaments if we put them on waters that can’t

produce catches. The water is crystal clear, it’s gorgeous and people can catch all kinds of fish, and that’s a big deal. “ State, regional and national tournaments draw anywhere from 175 to 200 boats – that’s 350-400 anglers in town for three days. The economic impact from a single tournament can reach upwards of $2 million. Few anglers know Smith Lake as well as local pro fisherman David Kilgore. Born and raised in Walker County, Kilgore has been fishing the lake his whole life. “The lake is more diverse than people think,” Kilgore says. “It is a

PHOTO COURTESY OF B.A.S.S. COMMUNICATIONS

2010 Jasper, Alabama Open on Smith Lake in Walker County

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David Kilgore fishes on Lewis Smith Lake in Jasper.

Lewis Smith Lake Records

32 lbs, 8 ounces

8 lbs,

15 ounces

11 lbs

STRIPED BASS

SPOTTED BASS

LARGEMOUTH BASS

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Lake Guntersville

Pickwick Lake

Wheeler Lake Lewis Smith Lake

Neely Henry Lake

Logan Martin Lake Lay Lake

Lake Jordan

Alabama River

Lake Eufaula

Mobile-Tensaw River Delta

Alabama Bass Trail Lewis Smith Lake is one of 11 premier bass fishing lakes located on the newly-created Alabama Bass Trail, which stretches from the mountains of North Alabama south to the Mobile Delta. The trail was unveiled in March as a statewide tourism, conservation and education initiative. “Anglers from around the nation will be encouraged to come and fish where the pros fish,” said Governor Robert Bentley. “I firmly believe the Bass Trail will grow into a successful model that neighboring states will want to emulate.” Visit alabamabasstrail.org for more information.

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beautiful lake. There are plenty of boat ramps, plenty of hotels ... During the springtime it’s the best lake in the state.” Fish Generate Tourism Dollars But the lake isn’t just a natural beauty. It’s a powerful economic driver and revenue generator because of its tourism draw. The fishing tournaments alone, which the chamber has sponsored annually since 2003, generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in hotel stays and restaurant purchases and also produce media exposure in outlets such as ESPN, Bassmaster Magazine and numerous daily newspapers. In addition to fishing tournament revenue, 2010 census data show that the seasonal and recreational housing market over the last 10 years has had a $270 million to $400 million impact on the three-county area around the lake. The Lewis Smith Dam, which rises 300 feet out of the Black Warrior River, draws upwards of 40,000 visitors per year. Neighboring 163-acre Walker County Lake, although too small to host a major tournament, is also known for its fish. Smith Lake Lures Bassmasters Mulone says Smith Lake’s prominence as a good fishery gets it considered as a tournament site, but when the rich waters are combined with an enthusiastic and welcoming community, it’s a home run. “We were blown away by the support from the local area at past tournaments,” Mulone says. “We had a lot of local businesses who put out signs saying ‘Welcome Anglers’. That means a lot to the anglers and us as well. When the community gets behind us it makes it easier for us to come back for future tournaments.”


Shaping

Tomorrow’s

LEADERS WALKER COUNTY PROGRAMS HELP YOUTH GAIN LEADERSHIP SKILLS

STORY BY JESSICA MOZO | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN McCORD

J

asper City Schools have really been turning heads lately. In 2010, the school district launched a new program through the collaborative efforts with the Chamber of Commerce called The Leader in Me at T.R. Simmons Elementary, designed to empower students and unleash each child’s full potential. The Leader in Me The innovative, nationwide program is based on principles found in Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Since its implementation, T.R. Simmons Elementary has been visited by Reps. Robert Aderholt and Bill Roberts and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Drayton Nabers. “The concept is every child has leadership ability, worth and value,” says Dr. Robert Sparkman, superintendent of Jasper City Schools. “Our educators are helping them find it by helping them understand A teacher leads a class at T.R. Simmons Elementary.

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Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Those seven habits include (1) Be proactive, (2) Begin with the end in mind, (3) Put first things first, (4) Think win-win, (5) Seek first to understand, then to be understood, (6) Synergize and (7) Sharpen the saw. Jasper City Schools plans to launch the program in its other two elementary schools, Memorial Park Elementary and West Jasper Elementary, in the next couple of years. More than 600 schools throughout the nation are using The Leader in Me program, and have seen declines in their dropout rates, fewer tardy students and more parental involvement. “Business people often struggle to find adults who come to work on time, have a good work ethic, and look you in the eye and shake your hand,” Sparkman says. “Ultimately we want students to graduate with intellect, but also character. I tell students all the time if you are blessed with academic ability but only use it for yourself, it is selfish. But if you use it to help


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Jasper City Schools TECHNOLOGY IS WELCOME HERE Comprising six schools including Memorial Park Elementary, T.R. Simmons Elementary, West Jasper Elementary, Maddox Middle School, North Highland School and Walker High School, Jasper City Schools stays up-to-date with the latest technology to ensure students never fall behind.

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The district provides approximately 1,100 computers for students to access complete with appropriate educational software; printers, digital cameras, scanners, projectors and other devices are also available. Walker High School offers the most technology with six complete computer labs, a Career Center with seven

computers, two laptop carts that teachers can use in the classroom, an interactive video conferencing lab and more than 50 computers in the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s library. For more information, visit Jasper City Schools at jasper.k12.al.us or call (205) 384-6880.


another person, everybody wins. We want our students to serve others and keep the end in mind.” Jasper City Schools partners with civic clubs in the community to help students learn what it means to serve and be a leader. “When students graduate from Walker High School, they’ve put in many hours of service,” Sparkman says. “The greatest enjoyment I get is watching our students excel. I love seeing them working out in the community, whether they are ringing a bell for the Salvation Army, performing in a choral group or band, competing on the math team, or playing on our baseball team. It’s wonderful to see students enjoy the benefits of their education.” Youth Leadership Walker County Another Walker County program helping to shape future leaders is Youth Leadership Walker County, developed by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County and Bevill State Community College. Each year, 40 high school juniors are selected from city, county and private high schools in Walker County to participate in the eight-month program. Participants

meet once a month to hear from community leaders on various topics, including economics, health care and criminal justice. They also travel to local hospitals, courtrooms and the state legislature in Montgomery to experience firsthand how their community operates. “The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County and Bevill State Community College are dedicated to education and will continue to develop programs that support our community’s students, educators and schools,” says Linda Lewis, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County. “Each of us seeks to meet the demands of our future through an education process designed to improve knowledge, communications, interaction and awareness. Youth Leadership Walker County is one more way in which the chamber, educational institutions and alumni are working together.” Youth Leadership Walker County is free to participants and funded by the chamber. Students interested in applying must have a C average or above and can obtain an application from their high school counselor or the chamber.

Left: A teacher assists a student at T.R. Simmons Elementary. Below left: T.R. Simmons Elementary Below right: Walker High School students participate in Youth Leadership Walker County.

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RETAIL on the

RISE

BIG NAMES CHOOSE WALKER COUNTY

Goody’s opened in Jasper in late 2011.

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STORY BY BETSY WILLIAMS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN MCCORD

W

hen one of the most popular national retail chains opened a new store in Jasper at the end of 2011, the message was clear: Walker County’s future

looks bright. “Goody’s is a billion-dollar company,” says A.G. Helton, CEO of Action Properties, the project developer. “Companies like Goody’s don’t invest in communities unless they expect to prosper.” Action Properties specializes in redeveloping properties throughout the Southeast. In Jasper, the company purchased the former Food World location, redeveloped the property and attracted Goody’s and another major tenant, Hibbett Sports. Helton expects

to lease the other available retail spaces in the coming months. “We’ve taken what was essentially an eyesore and turned it into a thriving business that is creating jobs and economic impact,” Helton says. The project has already generated about 40 new jobs and is expected to create more than $4 million in sales tax revenues, as well as $4 million in property taxes for the county. Helton praises the pro-business attitude of the city and county governments for helping the project succeed, and notes the assistance provided by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County. As for the region, he’s confident that growth is on the horizon. “I see this region growing, otherwise our company

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Hibbett Sports recently opened in Jasper.

A customer shops in Goodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s.

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would not have plunked down the sizeable investment,” he says. “This region has a lot of great things going on. With about 15,000 in Jasper and a larger population in the economic trade area, Walker County is in a good position to become the retail center of the region.” Interstate Access is Asset That opportunity is enhanced by the county’s proximity to future Interstate 22, which will link Memphis, Tenn. to Interstate 65 in Birmingham, Ala. Most of the route is complete, with Jasper connected as early as 2005 and already reaping the benefits of its enviable location. In mid-2011, Love’s Travel Stop and Country Stores announced plans to locate on property at Exit 65 in Jasper.

Opening in early 2012, the project will employ up to 80 people. Exit 65 is Industrial Boulevard, home to Bevill Industrial Park, which is undergoing road construction improvements in preparation for the location of new industry. Retail Strong Across Walker County In terms of retail, Goody’s and Hibbett Sports join other big names in Walker County, including two Wal-Mart Supercenters, Home Depot, Bath & Body Works, Rue 21 and Belk. While much of the retail strength of Walker County can be found in outlying shopping centers and the Jasper Mall, Helton says one aspect of the region that attracted him was downtown Jasper.

We’re the Bank of Choice in Walker County! Our performance has become the preferred style of banking. Becoming the bank of choice in Walker County wasn’t an overnight process. But month after month, year after year, families and business owners have come to embrace our brand of banking. It’s a style that blends local leadership and decision-making with value-driven, tailored solutions. From deposit accounts to loans and other financial services, Bank of Walker County is setting new standards. We invite you to discover the difference.

607 Hwy. 78 E. Jasper, AL 35502 (205) 295-0033

The Bank of Choice in Walker County!

www.bankofwalkercounty.com

FOR THE TIMES OF YOUR LIFE. L I VA B I L I T Y. C O M /J A S P E R /A L

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Business

Biz Briefs BUSINESSES – BOTH LARGE AND SMALL – THAT HELP DEFINE WALKER COUNTY’S ECONOMIC CLIMATE

Scorecard BUSINESS AT A GLANCE

$900 million Annual Retail Sales

$13 million Retail Sales Per Capita

$73 million Annual Hotel and Food Sales

5,365 Total Number of Firms: Source: U.S. Census QuickFacts

SCOTT CRUMP TOYOTA Biz: Automobile dealership Buzz: Scott Crump Toyota offers new Toyota cars, trucks, SUVs and vans, and a variety of certified pre-owned vehicles at its superstore, which serves Jasper and the greater Birmingham area. In 2011 the dealership tied for second place for retailer of the year by the Alabama Retail Association, indicating retailers with more than $20 million in sales annually. www.scottcrumptoyota.com 32

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SOUTHERN ORTHOPEDIC SPORTS MEDICINE ASSOCIATION Biz: Orthopedic facility Buzz: Since 1984 this four-physician facility has been providing patients with health-care services including orthopedic surgery, spine surgery, sports medicine, on-site diagnostic imaging, and recently a variety of therapeutic massages ranging from Swedish and deep tissue to hot stone and prenatal. www.southernortho.org

Leave your cares at home … welcome to the

BERNARD’S STORE FOR MEN Biz: Fine men’s clothing Buzz: Bernard’s has specialized in men’s clothing for more than 60 years. The store is located in the square in historic downtown Jasper and features designers such as Polo, Hart, Cutter & Buck and Alex Cannon, to name a few. Not only can you shop online, if you live in Jasper Bernard’s will hand-deliver your items to you. www.shopbernards.com FONTAINE TRAILER COMPANY Biz: Trailer manufacturing Buzz: This manufacturing company, headquartered in Jasper, is the largest flatbed trailer manufacturer in the world. Fontaine builds a number of trailer types, including flatbed, dropdeck, expandable and lowbed, and military equipment such as equipment enclosures and trailers, and offers rebuild/reset programs for military products. Fontaine is a Marmon Highway Technologies/ Berkshire Hathaway company. www.fontainetrailer.com THE TERRACE SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY Biz: Assisted living facility Buzz: Residents of The Terrace Senior Living Community enjoy fully carpeted apartments with personal climate control and emergency call systems. The community strives to promote an independent lifestyle in addition to offering basic services such as meals and activities, and will customize personal services to accommodate a resident’s needs. www.theterraceslc.com

100 Industrial Pkwy. Jasper, AL 35501

For a reservation, call: (205) 221-3334 www.jasperal.hamptoninn.com


Heritage You Can Trust

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For more than 40 years, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve built our heritage serving the families of Walker County. We understand your traditions and beliefs because we share them, too. caring for people, making a differenceÂŽ

Kilgore-Green FUNERAL HOME INC.

1200 Birmingham Ave. â&#x20AC;˘ Jasper â&#x20AC;˘ (205) 384-9503

www.KilgoreGreenFuneralHome.com

We take pride in the vehicles we sell and strive to succeed with a great customer experience.

OF JASPER (866) 395-0100 4102 Hwy. 78 E. Jasper, AL 35501 www.hondaofjasper.com 34

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Business

Chamber Report PROGRAMS BUILD A BETTER COMMUNITY, BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

A

mong several successful leadership programs offered by the Walker County Chamber of Commerce, the most unique is the Groundhog Job Shadow Day. Since 2000, the Chamber has shaped and organized this community event, based on the national program, and in most recent years placed more than 1,000 Walker County ninth grade students into the workforce for a half-day learning experience. The Chamber looks forward each year to a successful event in which these students have the opportunity to explore the “world of work” through job shadow experience with local businesses and career fair activities. Students have the opportunity to ask questions of those who are skilled and knowledgeable in many professions. While the Chamber funds this event it recognizes and thanks the business community, Bevill State Community College, superintendents, principals, counselors and all those who partner to make the program such a success. “It is a huge undertaking,” Chamber President Linda Lewis says. “These partners see the benefits of job shadowing and giving student’s employment choices for the future. Many area teenagers have found their career paths because of this project.” Walker County is one of only a few counties in the state that have such an extensive job shadowing program.

program gives chamber members an opportunity to network with community leaders and work on a community service project. A recent project was the A.P.E.X (Accessible Playground Extreme Experience) Playground for children with and without

physical disabilities.

Businesses Giving Back “The business community has become some of our best advocates and sponsors,” Lewis says. “We appreciate their interest and continued support.” – Melonee Hurt

COAL Alabama’s Greatest Natural Resource Alabama coal provides jobs and affordable electricity. • Alabama coal mines employed 4,783 workers in 2011. • Alabama coal mines produced 19,703,797 tons of coal in 2011. • Over half of Alabama’s electricity is generated from coal. • Alabama ranks among the nation’s lowest in energy costs due in large part to coal.

Leaders and More Leaders The Chamber, in partnership with Bevill State, also focuses its outreach initiatives through Leadership Walker County. This

#2 Office Park Cir., Ste. 200 • Birmingham, AL 35223 (205) 871-3734 • www.alcoal.com

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ECONOMIC PROFILE BUSINESS CLIMATE Walker County is located on the Interstate 22 corridor and is approximately 22 miles away from Birmingham, the largest city in the state, making the area an appealing place for new and existing businesses to set up shop. (205) 221-3342

Hold Graduate Degrees

www.airnav.com/airport/JFX

WORKFORCE TAX STRUCTURE

Public Transportation for City and County

77.48%

2%

Class Tran

White Collar

County Sales Tax

(205) 325-8787

22.52% Blue Collar

4% State Sales Tax

BNSF Railway

2%

ECONOMIC RESOURCES

www.bnsf.com

Jasper City Sales Tax

$18,707.33 Per Capita Income

Norfolk Southern Railway

$46,626.33

www.nscorp.com

Average Total Household Expenditure

Interstate 22 Corridor http://www.wceida.com/I22

TRANSPORTATION Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport

EDUCATION

5900 Messer Airport Highway

75.5%

Birmingham, AL 35212

High School Graduates

(205) 595-0533

32.94%

Walker County Airport-Bevill Field

Hold Associate’s Degrees

20 Ellis Haynes Drive

Hold Bachelor’s Degrees

Jasper, AL 35503

5.48%

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www.walkerchamber.us

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6.11%

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The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County 204 19th St. East, Suite 101 Jasper, AL 35501 (205) 384-4571 www.walkerchamber.us Walker County Economic and Industrial Development Authority P.O. Box 1448 Jasper, AL 35502 (205) 302-0068 www.wceida.com Community Health System 204 19th Street East, Suite 100 Jasper, AL 35501 (205) 387-6000

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

!//0$94:512;$-278 9/23<$)15$(=8$-278 (>9$*1212;$(=8$-278 !"##$%&'()*+,-.$/0123$ 4-)56+7$89$!::;<

We love what we do. We are familyoriented, full-time realtors. We are servants – not here to be served – and we want to work for you! 909 Airport Rd. South Jasper, AL 35501 (205) 295-0287 (205) 295-LAKE (5253) (205) 295-0288 fax www.whitepepperrealestate.com


City of Jasper 400 West 19th Street Jasper, AL 35501 (205) 221-2100

Walker County Commission 1801 3rd Ave. South Jasper, AL 35502 (205) 384-7230

Daily Mountain Eagle 1301 Viking Drive Jasper, AL 35501 (205) 221-2840 www.mountaineagle.com

MAJOR EMPLOYERS 500+ EMPLOYEES Walker County Schools

A Look Forward …

Town of Parrish 3.8 miles from the I-22 exchange Available land and property for development Award-winning elementary and high schools within the town limits

Walker Baptist Medical Center

Largest splash pad in the state

Bevill State Community

Family picnic areas

College Marshall Durbin Walmart (Jasper)

Ball fields Batting cages Hiking trails

101-499 EMPLOYEES Walmart (Sumiton) Alabama Power

Additionally, the police department offers these community programs:

Drummond Company

Summer Youth Community Action Basketball

Jasper Lumber

Walk, Knock, Talk

Jasper City School District

Good Morning Program

Reed Energy

Eddie the Eagle Neighborhood Watch

100 AND FEWER EMPLOYEES B & D Industrial Service Alabama Moulding and

Citizen Police Academy Home Security Program Monthly Newsletter

Cabinet Fontaine Trailer

6484 Hwy. 269 • Parrish, AL 35580 (205) 686-9991 • (205) 686-9673 Fax

www.townofparrish.org


Business Overview

Downtown Jasper

Business is Our Business WALKER COUNTY’S LOCATION AND LIFESTYLE ATTRACT BUSINESSES

O

nce ranked among the world’s leading producers of coal, Jasper’s economy was built on coal mining and cotton production. Today, Walker County’s prominent location on the Interstate 22 corridor northwest of Birmingham, Ala., makes it attractive to businesses looking to start up, expand or relocate. Companies are also drawn to Walker County’s Southern hospitality and relaxed lifestyle. The Chamber of Commerce of Walker County is one of the first places new businesses turn to get information about doing business in the area.

WALKER COUNTY’S MAJOR EMPLOYERS Major employers in Walker County include Walker Baptist Medical Center, Bevill State Community College, Marshall Durbin (a chicken processing plant), Walmart stores in Jasper and Sumiton, Alabama Power, Drummond Company, Reed Energy, Jasper Lumber, B&D Industrial Service, Alabama Moulding & Cabinet and Fontaine Trailer. Marshall Durbin is based in Birmingham and distributes chicken products. The company has processing plants in Jasper, which employs approximately 500 people, and Hattiesburg, Miss.

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HISTORIC DOWNTOWN JASPER Visit Historic Downtown Jasper and you’ll find an expansive array of shops and restaurants, many of which are members of the Downtown Merchants Association. Browse quality men’s clothing at Bernard’s Store for Men, one of Jasper’s oldest downtown businesses (established in 1949), or shop for fun and unusual gifts at The Secret Place, Girlie Things Boutique, Young Jewelers or G. May and Sons. Andrew Posey & Son is another historical landmark downtown. Established in 1924, Andrew Posey & Son started as a grocery and feed store, but today it carries a wide variety of products, from hardware and kitchen supplies to general merchandise. Downtown Jasper also features a jewelry store, furniture store, flower shop, photo studio, tea room, nail salon, bank, fitness studio and eateries.

TOM BEVILL AND JASPER INDUSTRIAL PARKS Other hotspots for industrial and manufacturing growth in Walker County are the Tom Bevill and Jasper industrial parks consisting of more than 900 acres which are overseen by the Jasper Industrial Development Board and the Walker County Economic and Industrial Development Authority. – Jessica Mozo


Fun Things to Do in Walker County, AL JASPER AND WALKER COUNTY, AL HAVE PLENTY OF ACTIVITIES TO KEEP YOU BUSY. HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS:

1

Get a history lesson at the Alabama Mining Museum in Dora, and see 1900s-style mining cars, a train, historic schools, post office and depot.

2 3

Grab your poles and swimsuits, and head out on Lewis Smith Lake for freshwater fishing and swimming. Tee off at the affordable public Horse Creek Gold Course with a par 72, or step on the Bermuda fairways at the private Musgrove County Club for a round of golf.

4

Play outdoors or get in shape at Memorial Park, which features a pond, walking trail, gym, playground and more.

5

Tour the Carl Elliot House Museum which honors the longtime U.S. Congressman from Jasper.

Walker County Lake

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Local Flavor

PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM ‘N NICK’S

Hickory-Smoked Goodness WALKER COUNTY RESTAURANTS MAKE TASTY BARBECUE FAVORITES

I

f you’re looking for Southern barbecue, the Walker County area offers a number of restaurants that put their own tasty spin on this traditional smoked favorite.

LEO & SUZIE’S FAMOUS GREEN TOP BAR-B-Q The legendary Green Top in Dora was built in 1951 on new Highway 78 just over the Walker County line. As travelers headed toward Memphis, the Green Top’s Jefferson County location was the

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last place you could legally buy beer before driving farther west into Mississippi. The Green Top, a simple 20-by-30-foot concrete establishment, not only attracted thirsty travelers, but became a haven for those who loved great barbecue. In 1973, Leo and Suzie Hendrick, with their sons Richard and Preston, purchased the Green Top and expanded the business even further, turning the iconic Green Top into a family-oriented restaurant. Pork barbecue sandwiches, plates, potatoes

and even salads are on the menu. The Green Top is listed on Sweet Home Alabama’s website as one of the best “100 dishes to eat before you die.” A second location opened in Jasper in June 2011.

JIM ‘N NICK’S BAR-B-Q Low and slow is the way Jim ‘N Nick’s in Jasper cooks up its barbecue favorites. Far from the typical restaurant franchise, Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q bathes its pork shoulder in hickory smoke


PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM ‘N NICK’S

Top right: Jim ‘N Nick’s serves barbeque sandwiches. Bottom right: A cheeseburger at Danny’s Downtown BBQ

for at least 14 hours before turning it into delicious menu items, like the pulled-pork plate, kitchen sink barbecue nachos or pig in the garden salad. Everything here is made from scratch. Jim ‘N Nick’s also serves baby back ribs, beef brisket, smoked chicken and non-smoked items including the fried catfish plate and classic pimento cheese sandwich. Be sure to stop at Jim ‘N Nick’s on “Taco Tuesday” for their unique barbecue pork, chicken or beef brisket tacos.

DANNY’S DOWNTOWN BARBECUE In business for more than eight years, Danny’s Downtown Barbecue in Jasper specializes in fresh homemade items for takeout. Spare ribs, baby back ribs, pulled-pork sandwiches and plates with Alabama hogwash sauce, smoked half chickens, and pulled-chicken sandwiches with Alabama whitewash sauce are just a few of the flavorful barbecue favorites you’ll find here.

BRIAN M C CORD

Don’t want barbecue? Have one of Danny’s rib-eye sandwiches or hamburgers fresh off the grill. Danny’s also features a delicious soup made from scratch every day. – Barbara Biehler

What’s Online To learn more about Walker County’s restaurants and food offerings, check out livability.com/jasper/al.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF OF JOE GRAHAM

Arts & Culture

Colorful Culture WALKER COUNTY FEATURES ART, FESTIVALS, HISTORIC PLACES AND MORE

F

rom colorful artwork and fun festivals to fascinating historic places and beautiful outdoor venues, Walker County features a wide variety of cultural attractions the whole family can enjoy.

ART, CRAFTS AND OUTDOOR FUN The Walker County Arts Alliance is a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage and enhance artistic expression in Walker County through a series of community events, cultural programs and school projects. One of the most successful community arts projects sponsored by the Arts Alliance is the 50-Mule Team Public Art Project, a tribute to the county’s rich mining history. Stop by the Arts Alliance’s downtown Jasper location and

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pick up a “Mule Map,” which features the locations of colorfully painted fiberglass mule statues located throughout Walker County. The Arts Alliance also sponsors Art in the Park, a one-day event held in Jasper’s Gamble Park every spring that celebrates arts and crafts, music, dance and culture. Spend the day viewing unique artwork, tasting local food and enjoying live music or theatrical productions.

FALL FESTIVALS Sponsored by the Historic Downtown Jasper Merchants Association, the Heritage Festival, held in October each year, pays tribute to the town’s past through historic photographs, images and displays. Live music performances, art and crafts exhibits and kid’s activities are also part of the event.

Take a short ride to Sumiton and enjoy the day at the Frog Festival. Held on Main Street the first Saturday in October, this lively annual festival features arts and crafts, great food, rides for the kids and even an antique car show.

MUSEUMS, HISTORIC SITES AND OUTDOOR VENUES Discover the state’s coal mining past at the Alabama Mining Museum in Dora. Located in a gymnasium built in 1935 under the federal Works Project Act (WPA), the museum vividly portrays the stories of the people and communities involved in the mining industry from 1890 to 1940. See an expansive selection of artifacts and exhibits including a 1900s-era train, mining cars, post office and single-room school.


BRIAN M C CORD

The Carl Elliot House Museum in Jasper chronicles the life of Carl A. Elliot Sr., a U.S. congressman from 1949 to 1964 who fought for racial equality, better education and quality of life for Alabama residents. View personal photographs, handwritten correspondence, campaign brochures and much more as you make your way through Congressman’s Elliot’s personal residence. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, the First United Methodist Church of Jasper is one of the state’s most dazzling examples of Beaux Arts neoclassical architecture. Distinctive features, like white Georgian marble, a mahogany interior and an art glass interior dome make this

church a real standout. If you’re searching for a scenic place for a wedding or private party, look no farther than Huckleberry Farm in Jasper. Hold your event outdoors or in

the farm’s opulent barn, and enjoy a host of luxury services available on site including carriage and limousine rides, lavish floral designs and delicious five-star cuisine. – Barbara Biehler

Left: Art in the Park is held in Gamble Park on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend each year. Above: Carl Elliot House Museum in Jasper Alabama.


Sports & Recreation

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WA L K E R C O U N T Y


A Sports Fans’s Paradise WALKER COUNTY’S PARKS ARE NATURAL PLAYGROUNDS

F

rom playgrounds and baseball to camping and boating, Walker County offers plenty of recreational outlets. Golf is a favorite pastime in the South, and Walker County, home to two distinguished courses, is no exception. The Musgrove Country Club in Jasper features a challenging 18-hole course with bent grass greens, Bermuda fairways and two wooden swinging bridges. The club also includes a pro shop, tennis courts and an Olympic-size swimming pool. The Horse Creek Golf Course in Dora offers a beautiful par 72, 18-hole course covering 6,883 yards. This course features Tift Dwarf greens grass, a driving range and a well-equipped pro shop.

nature. Clear Creek covers 425 acres next to Smith Lake, which gives it majestic waterfalls, high bluffs and white sandy beaches. Clear Creek’s lakefront location is wonderful for boating, fishing and camping. Sipsey Wilderness, with dozens of waterfalls and numerous trails, sets within the Bankhead National Forest and is a perfect place for hiking. – Braxton Shoop

PARKS The county is home to several parks for all kinds of activities. Blackwater Park, near Jasper, features one mile of waterfront complete with RV hookups. Memorial Park offers a playground, athletic fields, pavilions, an outdoor walking track, swimming pools and a gymnasium. Gamble Park includes a walking track, beautiful scenery and birdhouses, a playground, and a creek. The A.P.E.X. Playground stands next to Jasper’s prized Natatorium and offers modern playground equipment, a wooded walking trail and a pavilion, as well as a splash pad with more than 25 water sprayers and sun shades. Jasper City’s Parks and Recreation Board operates several parks including Fowler Park, with an outdoor basketball court and two baseball fields; Frisco Park, notable for its well-equipped, publicly accessible gymnasium; and Coke Oven Park, which has an adult baseball field.

When it’s time to get away from the stresses of life, Clear Creek Recreation Area and the Sipsey Wilderness area offer wonderful places to enjoy

Left: Musgrove Country Club’s swimming pool in Jasper Right: A group plays a round of golf at the Musgrove Country Club.

PHOTOS BY BRIAN M C CORD

RELAXATION

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Health & Wellness

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WHATLEY HEALTH SERVICES INC. Dedicated to Meeting Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Health Care Challenges Providing a caring commitment to quality preventive health care for more than 30 years.

We specialize in care for pediatric to geriatric patients. Most insurances accepted and discounts available to those who qualify.

WHATLEY HEALTH SERVICES AT OAKMAN Kathleen Thomas Williams, CRNP 10290 Main St. Oakman, AL 35579 For appointments, call (205) 622-2830

WHATLEY HEALTH SERVICES AT SIPSEY Martha Keeton, CRNP 3805 Sipsey Rd. Sipsey, AL 35584 For appointments, call (205) 648-5337

www.whatleyhealth.org 50

WA L K E R C O U N T Y


Images Walker County  

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