Thursday, December 10, 2009

Generation gap?

Amy Pollick, You Don't Say, The Decatur Daily

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.
That’s what some NAIA women’s soccer players at the end of the food line could have thought as they reached for a beverage during Thursday’s banquet for semifinal teams competing for the national championship.
The banquet started with five cases of bottled water, but the iced-down tub was empty by the time the last few athletes approached the beverage line.
Though regular and diet soft drinks remained plentiful, several of the athletes opted to do without something to drink. Looking across the room, reporter Paul Huggins observed nearly every athlete had bottled water next to her plate, while most of the coaches and tournament officials picked up soft drinks.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Comfort & Joy

Comfort & Joy
Neighbors welcome you into historic homes decorated with holiday charm for annual tour
By Patrice Stewart, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

The antique mantel mirror at the Garnett-Smith home on Oak Street Northeast reflects light from the crystals in the chandelier. Twin trees stand in front of the windows of the home, which is on the Historic Decatur Christmas Tour on Saturday.
Betsy Smith always wanted to own an old house with character like her childhood home in Cincinnati.
In 2006 Smith was living in Hampton Cove outside Huntsville, and visited Decatur to watch her son play baseball. As she drove through Old Decatur, she spotted a house that had a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the yard and quickly fell in love.
“When I walked in, I just knew I had to have this house,” said Smith.
Now she is busy decorating her three antique mantels and fireplaces on Oak Street in Old Decatur, one of the city’s two historic neighborhoods. She is positioning Old World Santas and hanging fresh garland to prepare for guests Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. during the Historic Decatur Christmas Tour.
The 1887 Garnett-Smith House, which had already spent 75 years under the ownership of a family of Smiths, got its old name back in the deal. Most houses in Decatur’s historic areas have hyphenated names of the original and current owners.
The original owner at 618 Oak St. N.E. was W.W. Garnett, who owned and operated a grocery store on Bank Street. The store is gone now, while the house thrived through many changes but only four owners in 112 years.
“It is very unusual for a house to have only four owners in that time span, and I was excited when I found that out,” Smith said.
The earlier Smith family purchased the house in the 1920s and enclosed two side porches to create two new bedrooms and bathrooms. Sisters who inherited the house rented out the rooms and also moved the front door around the corner to Vine Street.
In 1993, Julian and Ann Price bought the house from the last of those Smiths and oversaw major renovations, replacing the roof, plumbing and electrical, enclosing a porch off the kitchen and making other changes.
Their extensive work left little for Betsy and Dennis Smith to do after they moved in with their teens, Meghan and Max, in July 2006.
Their main additions recently are new wallpaper, chandelier and shutters in the downstairs guest bedroom, where a Christmas tree features their collection of White House ornaments from the time they lived in Washington. Dennis Smith worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget in 1994-95; now he commutes to Research Park as project manager for Millennium Engineering.
They are looking forward to sharing the house with Christmas tour visitors.
“Everybody kept saying, ‘Please open it for the tour, because everybody wants to see it and the house has never been on the tour,’ ” Smith said.
This year she relegated Meghan’s Wizard of Oz decorations and Max’s baseball ornaments to their rooms upstairs, which will not be open for the tour, and created more elegant trees downstairs. The tree in the front study is done entirely in silver, while twin trees flank the mirrored mantel in the dining room.
“The kitchen look will be more whimsical, casual and comfortable, and we’re hoping to get a Santa mannequin into our clawfoot bathtub,” said Smith.
Some decorations, such as hand-blown glass and Russian ornaments, are borrowed from friend Pam Marthaler, who used to own a shop in Decatur and had plenty of extras in her attic. Also mingling with the Smiths’ decorations on trees, mantels and sideboards are some items loaned by Gloria Arthur of Bank Street Antiques.
The Smiths have put up fresh cedar garland, bows and a lighted wreath on the upstairs balcony over the front door, which was returned to Oak Street some years back. But she called on Ross Railey to create professional floral designs for the front door and dining room table as tour time nears.
Smith is familiar with the holiday home tour in Hampton Cove, but she likes the Decatur tour better and has served as a hostess in a tour home a couple of times.
“I think the Decatur tour is a lot more comfortable and inviting, and not so intimidating,” she said. “Everybody is so warm and welcoming when you go into the tour houses in Decatur.”
The Smith house is one of three that will be open Saturday in the Old Decatur district, while two houses in the Albany Historic District can be toured. Two public buildings and three churches also will participate (see list on E1).
Sandlin home
In the Albany neighborhood, the Malone-Sandlin House at 417 Jackson St. S.E. was on the tour once in the 1980s. Steve and Carol Sandlin, who have owned the house since 1976, remodeled the kitchen over the summer and agreed to open the house for the holiday tour again.
Originally constructed in 1888 by the Malone family as a two-story, four-square house with a boxy design, the house has seen many renovations over its 121 years. The Sandlins display photographs showing their house through the years.
Two other owners had the house before it was bought in the 1930s by Welsh Dinsmore, who owned Dinsmore Furniture in Decatur. The Sandlins bought it from the Dinsmores’ grandson and began a restoration project that has spanned more than 30 years so far.
“It was interesting, because each time we pulled the carpet up, we could see where the house had been added onto because the floor was different,” said Carol Sandlin.
They have enclosed porches and added to the width of the house, and they finished the attic to add a bedroom, bathroom, playroom and storage. Then they gutted the kitchen and added new lighting, tile and cherry cabinets.
“I like to cook, and this makes it easier,” she said, pointing out additions like an overhead cookbook shelf.
The kitchen has stained-glass panels that originally opened onto a porch that has been closed in, and the Sandlins added more stained-glass windows on the stairway and in the living room.
The house is furnished with antiques that have been in the family of Steve Sandlin, a pharmacist, since the early 1800s, along with items such as the dining table from England that can easily seat a dozen.
Tour-goers will see their collections of decorative Old World Nutcrackers, Byers’ Choice handcrafted carolers, music boxes and nesting Santas. Angels march the length of the burgundy and gold runner on the dining room table amid the Lenox Holiday china.
Their family Christmas tree is filled with ornaments collected from their travels, University of Alabama ornaments, and owls and other items belonging to daughters Allison and Mary Katherine.
Watch for the front porch with a child’s sled and gift-wrapped boxes displayed on the porch swing.
If you go
Ten houses, public buildings and churches will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday during the Historic Decatur Christmas Tour in the Old Decatur and Albany districts.
Talks, music, refreshments and carriage rides will be part of the event, too. This annual event showcases the outdoor lighting and decorations at many other homes in what is considered one of the largest collections of Victorian and early 20th century craftsman and bungalow houses in Alabama.
Malone-Sandlin House, 417 Jackson St. S.E.
Murray-Cole House, 507 Eighth Ave. S.E.
Garnett-Smith House, 618 Oak St. N.E.
Gray-Higgins House, 211 Vine St. N.E.
Mitchell-Godbey House, 204 Canal St. N.E.
Old State Bank, 925 Bank St. N.E.
Carnegie Visual Arts Center, 207 Church St. N.E.
First Presbyterian Church, 701 Oak St. N.E.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, 202 Gordon Dr. S.E.
Emmanuel Church International, 400 Grant St. S.E.
Refreshments: 3-7 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church
Carriage rides: 4-8 p.m., $10 per person, leaving from Carnegie Visual Arts Center and Delano Park tennis courts
Speakers: Both at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church
Lee Sentell, state director of tourism, will talk about the 2010 emphasis, “The Year of Small Towns and Downtowns”
Ross Railey, floral designer, will give holiday decorating tips with a demonstration
5 p.m., Three Sopranos with carols of the season, First Presbyterian Church,
6-7:30 p.m., Choir music and open house, Emmanuel Church International
3-8 p.m., Carillon Christmas music, First Presbyterian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church
$15 per person, or $10 each for groups of 10 and up, available in advance at many local businesses plus Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 350-2028 or 800-524-6181. On tour day, tickets will be available from noon to 7 p.m. at the Old State Bank, Carnegie Visual Arts Center and St. John’s Episcopal Church.
On the Net

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cinderella Point Loma dances into NAIA finals

Cinderella Point Loma dances into NAIA finals
Lee advances with shutout victory
By Cody Whitlock, Sports Writer, The Decatur Daily

Point Loma Nazarene’s Cinderella run in the NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships continued the same way it began.
Two days after knocking off No. 1 Lindsey Wilson College, the unseeded Sea Lions defeated Azusa Pacific (Calif.) in a shootout in Friday’s semifinals at the Jack Allen Soccer Complex.
The score is officially recorded as a 0-0 tie, but Point Loma of San Diego, Calif., — the only unseeded team in the 16-team field in Decatur — made its first two penalty kicks to advance to Saturday’s championship match against Lee (Tenn.) at 7 p.m.
“We play in a very tough conference, but for us to come into the national tournament as the only unseeded team is totally Cinderella,” Point Loma head coach Tim Hall said with a big grin. “We endorse that, and we’re totally OK with that.”
Tommie Graham and Lauren Hernandez scored on penalty kicks for Point Loma, while goalkeeper Tiffany Kracy stopped two Azusa Pacific shots and watched another attempt sail wide left.
The Lady Sea Lions (15-4-4) defeated Azusa Pacific in a shootout in the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament Nov. 6 to advance to the national tournament.
Kracy finished with five saves, including a diving stop with 44 seconds remaining in regulation.
“She’s been doing it all year. She was our all-conference goalkeeper as a freshman,” Hall said. “In the women’s game, the keeper is big, and I think she’s the best in the country.”
Azusa Pacific’s Natalie Sun hit the post with 4:29 remaining in regulation, as the Lady Cougars were more aggressive in the second period.
Azusa Pacific (17-3-2) had four shots on goal after managing only one in the first 45 minutes.
“They hit the post a couple of times. It didn’t go in, but I think they had more opportunities than we did,” Hall said. “The soccer gods are smiling on us a little bit.”
Hall, whose team has played three matches in the past four days, said fatigue could be a concern for the championship match after playing a two-overtime contest Friday.
“The adrenaline and the emotion will carry us through, though,” he said. “The thing about these girls is that they just find a way to fight. They never ever quit.
“There are times when we’ve had teams coming at us, but then we find a way to go at them and find a way to stay in the game. They just don’t quit. It’s unbelievable.”
Lee (Tenn.) 1, Concordia (Ore.) 0: Defending champion Lee (20-2-1) advanced to the title match for the third time in the last five years with a victory over Concordia (21-3).
Jamie Achten kicked in the first period’s lone goal in the 33rd minute off a rebound after Christian Christensen’s shot hit the post. Christensen got off seven shots, but only one was a shot on goal. Lee goalkeeper Leah Wilson finished with seven saves to record the shutout.
Concordia’s Georgia Christensen had five saves. Concordia’s closest chance at a goal came in the 28th minute when Jessica Ramback missed off the post.
NAIA Women’s Soccer
All games are at Jack Allen?Soccer Complex in Decatur.
Friday’s semifinals
Point Loma 0, Azusa Pacific 0, Loma wins 2-0 in shootout.
Lee 1, Concordia 0
Saturday’s finals
Point Loma (15-4, 4) vs. Lee (20-2-1), 7 p.m.

Friday, December 4, 2009

NAIA teams donate cleats to Big Brothers

By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

Twenty-four children from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morgan County will get a kick from the generosity of teams competing at the NAIA women’s soccer championship this week.
The four semifinalist teams, Lee University, Concordia, Azusa Pacific and Point Loma Nazarene, donated 24 pairs of cleats to the organization as part of its Champions
of Character program — and as part of the foresightedness of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The bureau used the youth-sized cleats as table decorations for the tournament’s opening banquet with the intent that the teams could then give them to a local youth club, said Tami Reist, bureau president.
The Champions of Character program is a mainstay for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, she said, and teams look for ways to contribute to the community where they play.
Second gift this week
The cleats were the second gift to Big Brothers Big Sisters this week.
The Auburn University at Montgomery team met with the younger brothers and sisters Tuesday night to help them make Christmas ornaments for their big brothers and sisters.
“Even though they were defeated Sunday and could have gone home, they chose to stay and be part of the community,” said Leah Brown, Big Brothers Big Sisters director. “The kids loved them and the young women are great role models. Next year, we want to sponsor a team.”
In addition to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the NAIA teams met with students at Banks-Caddell Elementary School, played bingo with residents at Priceville Terrace, went bowling with Special Olympic participants and gave a soccer clinic to students at Decatur High Developmental.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Defending champs win again in NAIA

Defending champs win again in NAIA
Playing on muddy Jack Allen turf, Lee records another shutout
By R. Sirvell Carter, Sports Writer, The Decatur Daily
In a rematch from last year’s quarterfinals of the NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships, Lee (Tenn.) eliminated rival Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 3-0.
Second-seeded Lee (19-2-1) recorded its ninth straight shutout on a heavily muddied Jack Allen Soccer Complex field. Lee coach Matt Yelton said the team had to work with the conditions it was given.
“You’ve got to embrace it,” Yelton said.
All Wednesday matches were moved from main pitch at Jack Allen to an alternate field to allow for the main playing surface to recover from the consistent rain since Sunday night.
Kim Conrad, Christiane Christensen and Lauren Good each scored a goal. Twin sisters Jenna and Jamie Achten and Christensen each provided an assist. Goalkeeper Leah Wilson posted three saves.
Lee, which is based in Cleveland, and Martin Methodist, based in Pulaski, are separated by about 150 miles.
“Martin Methodist is a huge rival for us,” Yelton said.
Lee scored less than two minutes into the game. Conrad scored on Jenna Achten’s assist with 43:17 left in the first half.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start,” Yelton said.
The Lady Flames secured the win in the second half when Christensen scored with 37:03 left in the game and assisted on Good’s goal with 16:19 remaining.
Lee has not allowed a goal since winning 9-1 at Columbia (S.C.) College on Oct. 23. The Lady Flames held Martin Methodist (16-3-2) to five shots.
Wilson’s last allowed a goal Oct. 13 in a 4-1 victory at Carson-Newman in Jefferson City, Tenn. Yelton said the freshman has made huge strides in her first season.
“She has performed above expectations, for sure,” said Yelton. “She’s really matured over the course of the year.”
Yelton cautioned that Wilson still needs to step up her strong play in order for Lee to repeat as champions.
The defending NAIA champions will play Friday in another 2008 tourney rematch. Last year Lee defeated Concordia (Ore.) 3-0 in final.
“We have a huge amount of respect for (Concordia),” Yelton said. They are consistently one of the top teams.”
Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 2, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 0: The unseeded Sea Lions knocked off a seeded team for the third time in the tournament.
They beat No. 9 Simon Fraser (Canada) in the opening round played in British Columbia. In Decatur, the Sea Lions (15-4-3) beat No. 8 Vanguard (Calif.) and then No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (19-3-2).
In Wednesday’s match, Point Loma freshman goalkeeper Tiffany Kracy saved five shots to earn her 13th shutout of the season.
Senior reserve Ashley Adams scored the first goal on a pass from Lauren Hernandez. In the second half, senior midfielder Alex Fuller sealed the win with a goal on an assist by Kelsey Lundberg.
It is the first time the number-one seed has not reached the semifinals of the NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships since seeding began in 2000.
No. 6 Concordia (Ore.) 3, No. 3 California Baptist 1: Three different people scored goals to help Concordia (21-2) knock off California Baptist (17-5-1).
Concordia opened the scoring when Jessica Ramback netted a cross from Alex Thomas with three seconds left in the first half.
In the 57th minute, freshman Kaitlyn Tebbs scored off a rebound from Alex Thomas’ shot. Jackie Hendrickson corralled a loose ball in the 64th minute to give the Cavaliers a 3-0 lead.
California Baptist added a goal in the 87th when Jacquelyn Witz headed home a cross from Amanda Lammers.
No. 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 1, No. 12 Graceland (Iowa) 0: Azusa Pacific senior defender Katie Rorabaugh scored the only goal on a bit of a freak play.
She sent a free kick from 40 yards out skipping past the Graceland goalkeeper in the 40th minute for what would prove to be the game winner. Graceland (19-2-2) managed only two shots, while the Cougars (17-3-1) managed 13 shots. The victory put Azusa Pacific into the semifinals for the third time in four years.
NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships
All games are at Jack Allen?Soccer Complex.
Wednesday’s quarterfinals
No. 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 1, Graceland (Iowa) 0
No. 6 Concordia (Ore.) 3, No. 3 California Baptist 1
Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 2, No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 1
No. 2 Lee (Tenn.) 3, No. 7 Martin Methodist (Tenn.)?0
Friday’s semifinals
3 p.m.: Azusa Pacific, 17-3-1, vs. Point Loma Nazarene, 15-4-3
6 p.m.: Concordia, 21-2, vs. Lee, 19-2-1

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hovden helps Red Hawks fly to vistory

Hovden helps Red Hawks fly to victory
Martin Methodist to play defending champs Wednesday
By R. Sirvell Carter, The Decatur Daily

Colleen DeMartini, left, of Graceland University uses her head to block a goal shot from Shayna Turner of William Carey University at the NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships in?Decatur on Tuesday.
Camilla Hovden scored twice for seventh-seed Martin Methodist (Tenn.) College as the Red Hawks beat 10th-seeded Northwood University 3-0 Tuesday in the first round of the NAIA Women’s Soccer Championship at Jack Allen Soccer Complex.
Nicole O’Donnell added another goal and goalkeeper Hanit Schwartz had three saves for Martin Methodist (16-2-2).
Shannon Walter and Amelia Pereira each contributed an assist.
“We defended them pretty well late in the game,” Martin Methodist coach Gerry Cleary said. “They were a little bit quiet tonight.”
Hovden put Martin Methodist on the scoreboard 32:28 left in the first half when she spun around a Northwood defender for a goal. The Red Hawks cushioned the lead after intermission with Hovden’s second goal with 23:04 left in the game. Walter assisted.
“(Hovden) created good chances for herself,” Cleary said. “She has been one of our better players the last few weeks.”
O’Donnell’s goal came on a header with 1:56 remaining from Periera’s assist on a free kick.
The win sets up a showdown with defending national champion and No. 2-seed Lee (Tenn.).
The game will be a rematch from last year’s quarterfinals which Lee prevailed 4-2 in penalty kicks. Lee defeated No. 15 seed Trinity Christian (Ill.) 2-0 on Monday in its first round game.
“They are very fast, very well coached, move the ball quickly and they get at you,” Cleary said.
Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 6, Vanguard (Calif.) 1: Katie Pedlowe had two goals and an assist for unseeded Point Loma (14-4-2) over No. 8 Vanguard.
Karri Currier had the goal for Vanguard (13-2-5).
Concordia (Ore.) 2, McKendree (Ill.) 1, OT: Jessica Ramback scored the winning goal in overtime for Concordia (20-2).
In regulation, McKendree (17-3-2) got a goal from Sarah Ryan before Concordia’s Kaitlyn Tebbs tied the score at 1.
Concordia plays California Baptist (19-4-1) at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Graceland (Iowa) 4, William Carey (Miss.) 1: Chelsea Phillips scored twice and Shay Eskridge Karina Vega each scored once to give Graceland (19-1-2) the win. Natalie Nino had the lone goal for William Carey (20-2-1).
NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships
All games will be at Jack Allen Soccer Complex. The tournament includes 16 teams and is single elimination.
Monday’s first-round games
No. 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 2, No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan 1
No. 3 California Baptist 3, No. 14 Auburn-Montgomery 2
No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 4, Southern Nazarene (Okla.) 0
No. 2 Lee (Tenn.) 2, No. 15 Trinity Christian (Ill.) 0
Tuesday’s first-round games
No. 12 Graceland (Iowa) 4, No. 5 William Carey (Miss.) 1
No. 6 Concordia (Ore.) 2, No. 11 McKendree (Ill.) 1, OT
Point Loma Nazarene 6, No. 8 Vanguard (Calif.) 1
No. 7 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 3, No. 10 Northwood 0
Wednesday’s quarterfinals
10 a.m.: Azusa Pacific (Calif.), 16-3-1, vs. Graceland (Iowa), 19-1-2
1 p.m.: California Baptist, 17-4-1, vs. Concordia (Ore.), 20-2
4 p.m.: Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 19-2-2, vs. Point Loma Nazarene, 14-4-3
7 p.m.: Lee (Tenn.), 18-2-1, vs. Martin Methodist, 16-2-2
Friday’s games
3 p.m.: Semifinal
6 p.m.: Semifinal

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Top-seeded team records shutout in NAIA opener
By Cody Whitlock, Sports Writer, The Decatur Daily

Lindsey Wilson’s Yolanda Hamilton (5)?battles for possession with Southern Nazarene’s Whitney Seaton (16).
Lindsey Wilson, which won its second and most recent national title in 2006, lost in the semifinals a year ago.
“It’s a big motivation to do better and fight every second we’re out here,” said Heini Metsola, a sophomore defender who has scored five goals this year. “Every team here is a quality team, and we have to perform well because every team here is capable of beating us. In this format, it’s win and move on, or lose and go home. It’s a tough situation.”
Added Burwash: “I think there’s pressure there, but we don’t think we’re No. 1. We think every team is the same coming into this tournament. It’s 0-0 when the game starts, so everybody can beat everybody. We just have to fight through.”
No. 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 2, No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan 1: Indiana Wesleyan’s Megan Marshall scored the match’s first goal in the 21st minute, but Azusa Pacific (16-3-1) tied the score eight minutes later on Jacqueline Confronto’s goal, which was assisted by Thereas Broad.
Broad kicked what would eventually be the game-winning goal in the 69th minute on an assist from Kelsey Walker.
Indiana Wesleyan finished at 18-3-1.
No. 3 California Baptist 3, No. 14 Auburn-Montgomery 2: California Baptist (17-4-1) fought off a 1-0 deficit at the break with three goals in a five-minute stretch in the second period.
Fabiola Dasilva scored an unassisted goal in the 66th minute, and Kitra Walters scored on an assist from Dasilva three minutes later. Dasilva assisted Lizzy Bendrick on a score in the 71st minute.
Helga Franklinsdottir scored on a rebound off a free kick with five minutes remaining.
AUM (15-5-2) got a first-half goal from Heather Welch on an assist from Tschana Wade. Helga Franklinsdottir added a goal at 85:08 on a rebound of a free kick.
No. 2 Lee (Tenn.) 4, No. 15 Trinity Christian (Ill.) 0: Marina Lima scored two goals, and Lauren Good added two assists to pace the defending NAIA champions.
Jamie Achten and Christiane Christensen each added a goal for Lee (18-2-1). Trinity Christian finished its season at 14-5-4.
NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships scores, schedule
All games will be at Jack Allen Soccer Complex. The tournament includes 16 teams and is single elimination.
Monday’s first-round gamesNo. 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 2, No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan 1
No. 3 California Baptist 3, No. 14 Auburn-Montgomery 2
No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 4, Southern Nazarene (Okla.) 0
No. 2 Lee (Tenn.) 2, No. 15 Trinity Christian (Ill.) 0
Tuesday’s first-round games
10 a.m.: No. 5 William Carey (Miss.), 20-1-1, vs. No. 12 Graceland (Iowa), 18-1-2
1 p.m.: No. 6 Concordia (Ore.), 19-2, vs. No. 11 McKendree (Ill.), 17-2-2
4 p.m.: No. 8 Vanguard (Calif.), 13-1-6, vs. unseeded Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), 13-4-3
7 p.m.: No. 7 Martin Methodist (Tenn.), 15-2-2, vs. No. 10 Northwood (Fla.), 14-5
10 a.m.: Azusa Pacific (Calif.), 16-3-1, vs. William Carey or Graceland
1 p.m.: California Baptist, 17-4-1, vs. Concordia or McKendree
4 p.m.: Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 19-2-2, vs. Point Loma Nazarene or Vanguard
7 p.m.: Lee (Tenn.), 18-2-1, vs. Martin Methodist or Northwood
Friday’s games
3 p.m.: Semifinal
6 p.m.: Semifinal
Saturday’s game
7 p.m.: Finals

TLC to feature Riverfest

TLC to feature Riverfest
Documentary series follows barbecue teams around the country
By Catherine GodbeyStaff Writer

At the 2009 Riverfest, J-Mack Cookers took home the grand champion title, but Decatur may actually reign as the top winner.
Amid the tons of meat and buckets of grease at the annual barbecue festival, a TLC camera crew roamed.
The cable network, famous for the shows “Jon & Kate plus 8,” and “Trading Spaces,” will air the footage as part of an eight-week documentary series.
Dubbed “BBQ Pitmasters,” the series follows six teams battling on the barbecue circuit as they fire their grills in competitions across the country.
Riverfest organizers and city officials hope the publicity places a national spotlight on the annual event, an official State Barbecue Championship competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.
“These teams travel the country and make a living competing,” said Tiffany Brightwell of the Decatur Jaycees, which organizes the event.
“We know that these teams are nationally known, and the show will bring positive attention to our contest in the future.”
Tami Reist, president of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, agreed.
“Riverfest and the city of Decatur will benefit tremendously from the national exposure on the TLC network,” Reist said. “Anytime you get the city out there, it will drive more people to the area.”
After generating $48,000 in 2008, the revenue total for the 2009 Riverfest dropped to $20,000. Officials blamed the financial dip on rain.
The Decatur Jaycees hopes the exposure will boost revenue for the 16th annual Riverfest, scheduled for Sept. 17-18. Proceeds benefit local nonprofit organizations.
“BBQ Pitmasters” premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. Episodes will highlight competitions in Nevada, Missouri, Delaware, Illinois, Georgia and Alabama.
TLC scheduled the Riverfest episode to run Dec. 17, Brightwell said.
“It is a great honor for them to feature Decatur out of all the competitions in the Kansas City Barbecue Society circuit,” Reist said.
Annually, the barbecue society sanctions almost 300 events a year.
Big Bob Gibson
Reist and Brightwell credited Chris Lilly and the national reputation of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que for attracting TLC. Lilly credited Riverfest itself.
“Riverfest is actually one of the premiere competitions with a fantastic reputation that pulls some of the best barbecuers in from all over the country. Because of the reputation, that is one of the reasons why TLC chose Decatur as one of the stops,” said Lilly, resident pitmaster and owner of Big Bob Gibson.
According to Lilly, Riverfest attracts teams that compete in 30 to 40 competitions a year.
With local leaders pulling for Decatur as the ultimate winner, the question remains who will come in second — maybe Slap Yo’ Daddy.
Along with Harry Soo with Slap Yo’ Daddy, the series features Jamie Geer with Jambo Pits, Myron Mixon with Jack’s Old South, Paul Petersen with Pablo Diablo, Tuffy Stone with Cool Smoke, Johnny Trigg with Smokin’ Triggers and Lee Ann Whippen with Wood Chicks.
Riverfest on TLC
TLC will air the episode featuring Riverfest on Dec. 17 at 9 p.m.
On the Net
For more information about “BBQ Pitmasters,” visit

Monday, November 30, 2009

Southern schools are teams to beat in Decatur in NAIA women's soccer

By Mark Edwards, Sports Editor, The Decatur Daily

The NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships kicked off Sunday evening with a banquet at Burningtree Country Club. Vanguard (Calif.) players Heather Mauck, left, and Kerri Currier, middle, laugh with head coach Randy Dodge.
Soccer in the South?
Actually, the world’s most popular sport is a powerful game at NAIA colleges and universities based in the South, where football, spring football and football recruiting occupy a large chunk of the public interest.
It’s fitting that the NAIA is bringing its women’s soccer championships to Decatur, and not just because of the laser-graded fields at the Jack Allen Soccer Complex.
When the NAIA tournament begins Monday at Jack Allen, the 16-team bracket will include several Southern teams, and they’re not just filling out the bracket.
Lindsey Wilson of Kentucky is seeded first, while Lee of Tennessee is second. Other Southern teams in the bracket include fifth-seeded William Carey (Miss.), No. 7 Martin Methodist (Tenn.), No. 10 Northwood (Fla.) and No. 14 Auburn-Montgomery.
The last five NAIA champions have come from the South — Lindsey Wilson in 2004 and ’06, Martin Methodist in 2005 and ’07 and Lee last year.
Since the championships began in 1984, the list of winners also includes Mobile once and Berry (Ga.) and Lynn (Fla.) three times each.
Lee coach Matt Yelton said it’s necessary for his program and other Southern NAIA powers to get solid support from their administrations, including a willingness to build a winning team.
“With West Coast schools, there’s a lot of talent out there for them to pick from,” Yelton said. “For schools like Martin, Lindsey Wilson and us, we have to do our recruiting a little wider.
“You can’t do that without your administration supporting you. ... We get the support that is the same as some mid-level Division I programs.”
While the rosters listed on the Web sites of third-seeded California Baptist and fourth-seeded Azusa Pacific (Calif.) show they are dominated by California-based players, the rosters for Lee, Lindsey Wilson and Martin include players from outside the Southeast. In some cases, they’re from out of the country.
Lindsey Wilson has players on its roster Canada, Jamaica, Demark, England, Brazil, Scottland, Australia, Japan, Mexico and Iceland.
So why do players from so far away want to come to Southern schools?
Hope Handley Clark, the third-year coach at Auburn-Montgomery, said the one of the reasons is obvious — the weather.
She has six players from Iceland, although more than half of her roster is made up of students from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida.
“The warm climate and moderate temperatures make it easier to recruit to Southern states,” said Clark, a former standout goalkeeper at Virginia Tech. “That’s an advantage for the California schools, too.”
All games will be at Jack Allen?Soccer Complex. The tournament includes 16 teams and is single elimination.
Monday’s first round games10 a.m.: No. 4 Azusa Pacific (Calif.), 15-3-1, vs. No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan, 18-2-1
1 p.m.: No. 3 California Baptist, 16-4-1, vs. No. 14 Auburn-Montgomery, 15-4-2
4 p.m.: No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 18-2-2, vs. No. 16 Southern Nazarene (Okla.), 17-3-1
7 p.m.: No. 2 Lee (Tenn.), 17-2-1, vs. No. 15 Trinity Christian (Ill.), 14-4-4
Tuesday’s first-round games
10 a.m.: No. 5 William Carey (Miss.), 20-1-1, vs. No. 12 Graceland (Iowa), 18-1-2
1 p.m.: No. 6 Concordia (Ore.), 19-2, vs. No. 11 McKendree (Ill.), 17-2-2
4 p.m.: No. 8 Vanguard (Calif.), 13-1-6, vs. unseeded Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), 13-4-3
7 p.m.: No. 7 Martin Methodist (Tenn.), 15-2-2, vs. No. 10 Northwood (Fla.), 14-5
Wednesday’s games
10 a.m.: Quarterfinal matchup
1 p.m.: Quarterfinal matchup
4 p.m.: Quarterfinal matchup
7 p.m.: Quarterfinal matchup
Friday’s games
3 p.m.: Semifinal
6 p.m.: Semifinal
Saturday’s game
7 p.m.: Finals

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Celebrate downtown with holiday home tour

By Wendy Lang Beck,Columnist, Chatterbox, The Decatur Daily

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
It’s that time again to make your plans to enjoy the Christmas Tour of Homes. This annual event joins the Albany and Old Decatur historic districts for holiday touring complete with luminaries, greenery and thousands of lights.
Always held the second Saturday in December, mark your calendar for Dec. 12 from 3 to 8 p.m. to enjoy the many activities this festive occasion has to offer. Carriage rides will begin at 4 at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center on Church Street and at Delano Park near the tennis courts. Fall back in time as you wind your way around town by horse-drawn carriage for $10 per person.
You will find neighborhood church concerts a must event of the evening and presentations on the Alabama Tourism Department’s 2010 Year of Small Towns and Downtowns campaign by Director Lee Sentell and Christmas Tablescapes by award-winning floral designer Ross Railey. These presentations will begin at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Refreshments will also be available.
Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased in advance at the Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bank Street Antiques, Trish Land Designs, Glee Interiors, The Paper Chase, Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Jimmy Smith Jewelers and the Princess Theatre.
On the day of the tour, tickets can also be purchased at the Old State Bank, Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bank Street Antiques, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, and St. John’s Episcopal Church. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $10 each and must be purchased in advance at the Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Proceeds from the tour are used for neighborhood improvements, such as tree replenishment and public park restoration.

Morgan Price candy works as event bait

Amy Pollick, You Don't Say, The Decatur Daily

For Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell, the cost of a box of Morgan Price candy was giving a speech for the annual tourism awards breakfast hosted by the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Decatur-Morgan County Hospitality Association.
To show the city’s appreciation, CVB President Tami Reist presented Lee, a former Decatur tourism director, with a box of Morgan Price candy.
Amy PollickYou Don't Say
“That’s why I really came,” Lee said after receiving the candy, but before being recognized with the Julian Walker “Mr. Tourism” Award.
The “Mr. Tourism” award is presented annually to a person who contributes significantly beyond his professional duty to the development and promotion of tourism for Decatur and Morgan County.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Soccer Complex, Ingalls help limit lodging tax income loss

By Catherine Godbey, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

The city has the Jack Allen Soccer Complex and Ingalls Harbor to thank for only an 8 percent decrease in lodging taxes during fiscal 2009.
“This year has been a challenging year,” said Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Board Chairman Norman Roby.
“A few years ago our city leaders decided to bank on a new soccer field and boat harbor and results have paid off.”
In 2009, the payoff equaled 20 fishing tournaments and 28 soccer events.
CVB President Tami Reist said the economic impact generated by the sporting events helped ease the revenue lost from decreased industrial and business travel.
Compared to last year, the top five companies filling local hotel rooms booked 898 fewer room nights for the 12 months ending Sept. 30.
Although the Decatur-Morgan County tourism industry stumbled financially, officials remained focused on improving the area’s facilities.
Reist noted the purchase of a mobile performance stage and the press box at Jack Allen, which is instrumental in attracting larger and more notable tournaments.
Along with improving the city’s sports facilities, the CVB and Decatur-Morgan County Hospitality Association are working to develop the city’s art scene.
“We’re celebrating the past year, but I can’t help but look forward to 10 years from now, the time when the old railroad station is complete, when college students working in the fine arts inhabit downtown, when the renovation of Bank Street is complete with period design buildings,” Roby said.
During the annual meeting Thursday, the visitors bureau and hospitality association recognized individuals and corporations influential in Morgan County’s tourism.
Event of the Year went to Fishers of Men Tournament, which attracted more than 400 anglers, booked 641 room nights and generated an economic impact of approximately $295,000.
Top Five Corporate Companies producing the most room nights went to Tennessee Valley Authority, 3,816 nights; 3M, 2,683; Nucor Steel, 2,501; Daikin America, 1,967; and Toray, 1,665. Young Professional of the Year went to Tracy Bryan of Home-Towne Suites.
Kelly Varnell, recreational superintendent with Decatur Parks and Recreation, received a $1,000 scholarship to the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College.

Sentell, Smith get standing ovation for tourism work

By Catherine Godbey, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

Two titans of the tourism industry received standing ovations from grateful city and hospitality leaders during the annual tourism meeting Thursday.
As Jimmy Smith accepted the “Good Neighbor Award,” Lee Sentell led the applause. Later, Sentell, the Julian Walker “Mr. Tourism” Award winner, received his own ovation.
“Anytime you receive something from people you have known half your life it is a great honor,” said Sentell, Alabama Tourism Director. Gov. Bob Riley appointed him to the position in 2003.
For Sentell, the path to Montgomery began in 1980 when the Decatur Chamber of Commerce tapped him as the city’s first tourism director.
Armed with a budget of $55,000, Sentell formed the basis for the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau — an organization, which operated with a $723,000 budget during fiscal 2009.
Sentell credited community leaders with Decatur’s success.
“The great thing about this tourism organization is that there is a collection of creative individuals who donated a lot of time to putting on events like Spirit of America, Alabama Jubilee and Christmas tour of homes,” he said. “There is a strong foundation here.”
Officials, residents and businesses, including Jimmy Smith Jewelers, built the foundation. The CVB and Decatur-Morgan County Hospitality Association recognized Smith, owner of Jimmy Smith Jewelers, with the “Good Neighbor Award,” for his impact on tourism.
During the past three decades, T-shirts for local festivals and sporting events, which listed Jimmy Smith Jewelers as a sponsor, showcased Smith’s contributions to the industry.
“It’s not your city and county. It’s not my city and county. It’s our city and county,” Smith said. “We need to support Morgan County because the events bring more people in and that is growth.”
The man who helped attract the Racking Horse Breeders Association to Priceville is working on his next project — overseeing the Celebration Arena.
“This is something that can benefit everybody,” Smith said.
Sentell also looked to the future of the city’s tourism industry. “Decatur still has a lot of growth, particularly in outdoor recreation and sports marketing,” Sentell said. “Jack Allen is known throughout the nation for its size and quality. It was a brilliant decision to build that many fields and it has paid off.”
Prior to leading the city’s tourism association, Sentell worked at The Decatur Daily for 12 years as a reporter and editor. After leaving Decatur, Sentell was tourism director for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and the Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Under Sentell’s leadership, Alabama’s Tourism Department has grown by 45 percent to $9.3 billion expenditures a year and received the Southeast Tourism Society’s organization of the year award three of the past four years.
“My No. 1 job as tourism director is to remind people who live in Alabama of the great things we have in our state and make us proud,” Sentell said. “I still consider Decatur my hometown, and I’m so proud of my hometown.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Decatur Council approves service grants

The Decatur City Council approved more than $2.75 million in public-service contracts Monday.
The $522,000 for the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau was approved.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Soccer month brings $1.3M boost to city

By Catherine Godbey, Staff Writer

For many, November is the month to celebrate Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving.
For the Jack Allen Complex, it’s soccer month.
The Southwest Decatur soccer center will host three tournaments predicted to generate a $1.3 million economic impact.
“The State Cup, the Governor’s Cup and the NAIA women’s tournament will make November a very busy month,” said Decatur Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap.
Permanent fixtures
Since 2007, the Alabama Youth Soccer Association’s State Cup and Governor’s Cup have been held at the soccer complex.
This year, the city added the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics women’s championship.
Tami Reist, president of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, estimated the six-day tournament will bring in 16 teams, 400 players and 500 staff and fans from across the country.
The 2008 championship featured teams from California, Georgia, Michigan, Kentucky, Iowa, Illinois, Oregon, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Florida and British Columbia.
For Decatur, the influx of tourists means a $580,000 economic boost.
“November and December used to be dead — there just wasn’t anything going on,” Dunlap said. “Now November is one of our busiest months.”
Officials expect the financial impact of the State Cup and Governor’s Cup to mirror last year’s numbers, $342,015 and $405,384, respectively.
Reist said the tournaments provide relief for local hotels, which typically rely on corporate business for revenue. During the past year, corporate travel has declined, directly impacting the hotels.
The financial impact of the tournaments extends past hotels — restaurants, sporting good stores and schools will all benefit.
“The schools are able to tap into the retail dollars,” Reist said. “All of the tourism brought in affects the city, retail stores and schools. It has a triple affect.”
Future income
Whether the state soccer tournaments will bring revenue into the city after this year remains in question. This the final year of a three-year contract for the tournaments.
Reist hopes future plans for the facility, like a press box, will lure the tournaments back.
“We are up for re-bid on this one. We are stressing the new press box and that Jack Allen won a prestigious award for its greens,” Reist said, referring to the 2009 President’s Award of Excellence the complex received from the Alabama Turfgrass Association.
In July, the Decatur City Council approved $150,000 for a press box.
Dunlap said contractors should start construction this week.
“We are pushing real hard to get it done by the NAIA women’s championship,” he said.
Recreation Superintendent Kelly Varnell said all of the NAIA games will take place at Jack Allen, while the state and governor’s cups will fill the fields at both Jack Allen and Point Mallard.
November soccer tournaments
Nov. 6-8: Alabama Youth Soccer Association State Cup preliminary games for Division I.
Nov. 6-8: Alabama Youth Soccer Association State Cup finals for Division II.
Nov. 13-15: Alabama Youth Soccer Association State Cup Division I final four.
Nov. 13-15: Alabama Youth Soccer Association Governor’s Cup.
Nov. 30 to Dec. 5: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics women’s soccer championship.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Twinkling Lights and Lush Greenery Adorn Decatur

Twinkling Lights and Lush Greenery Adorn Decatur’s
Two Historic Districts During Annual Christmas Tour of Homes

Decatur, Ala. – The city of Decatur is unique in that it has two separate historic districts both of which are listed in the National Register of Historical Places. Homes in the historic districts are not normally open for public viewing except when a select number of homes open their doors during the annual Christmas Tour of Homes. Decorated with luminaries, greenery and thousands of lights, the homes in the two historical districts sparkle on December 12 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Refreshments are served and carriage rides are also available. Admission is charged.

Combined, the Old Decatur and New Albany Historic Districts represents one of the finest and largest collections of Victorian and earlier 20th century craftsman and bungalow homes in Alabama. The homes date back, in some instances, to the early 1800s, while most were constructed around the turn of the 20th century.

Because of its location on the Tennessee River and its critical railroad bridge, Old Decatur suffered a major loss with the Civil War. Only four buildings remained intact. In 1887, wealthy “Yankee” industrialists started a new Decatur, which later became known as Albany, bringing industry and prosperity back to Decatur. In 1927 the two towns, Decatur and Albany, were merged by an act of the state legislature.

Please visit for a list of all the homes that are on tour.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Decatur City Council

Decatur City Council
The Decatur City Council discussed the following business during its work session Monday: A resolution authorizing a $522,000 public-service contract with the Decatur-Morgan County Convention Visitors Bureau.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mobile stage now available for Morgan Events

By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

Festivals and community events throughout Morgan County will have access to a new mobile performance stage.
Sen. Arthur Orr secured $75,000 from the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel for the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau to buy the stage and manage its use.
Orr said he saw the need for the stage while attending the summer Concerts by the River in which performers stand on the ground. Decatur Parks and Recreation has had a portable stage on its wish list for years but was unable to afford one.
“This stage will help with Rhodes Ferry concerts, SoulStock, Depot Days, Frontier Days and similar functions around the county,” Orr said in a press release. “Events like these not only bring tourist dollars in but also provide a great way for local families to enjoy being together in a wholesome, outdoor atmosphere.”
24 by 20 feet
The stage measures 24 by 20 feet and includes a roof, backdrop, stairs, ramp, professional lighting and sound wings.
Tami Reist, visitors bureau president, said the stage is first class and identical to the one Bassmaster uses at weigh-in events. It will be another tool the bureau can use to attract events, she said.
Melinda Dunn, historic resources and events coordinator for parks and recreation, said the stage will be a big help for Concerts by the River because it provides protection for the sensitive equipment and musical instruments and also gives audiences a better view of performers.
Parks and recreation will store the stage between events and provide personnel to set it up. The visitors bureau will manage the stage’s use, and Reist said use will involve a small fee, to be determined, to cover the city’s set-up expense.
The stage is available to all festivals, community activities and special events in Morgan County on a first-come, first-serve basis. Persons scheduling events in 2009 may contact the visitors bureau immediately to reserve the stage. Reservations for events in 2010 will begin Jan. 2.

Meeting - Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau conducted the following business at its monthly board of directors meeting Thursday.
Reported the city collected $71,253 in lodging taxes in July, an 11 percent drop from July 2008. The bureau receives 75 percent of that money for operating and marketing expenses.
Reported the $2-per-night room occupancy tax generated $40,580 in July, a drop of $3,787 compared to July 2008. For the year, the tax raised $447,502, down $72,783 from 2008.
Reported Decatur hotels had an occupancy rate of 49 percent in July, down 5 percent from July 2008.
Reported the Fishers of Men tournament three weeks ago filled 691 hotel room nights for a $295,846 economic impact.
Announced Dana Murphree, general manager at HomeTowne Suites, is a new board member, replacing Anup Patel, whose term ended in September.
Approved an amendment to bylaws, allowing Decatur Parks and Recreation directors (currently Jeff Dunlap) to appoint someone from the department to serve in their place. Tom Chappel, assistant director of parks and recreation, will serve in Dunlap’s place.
by PAUL HUGGINS, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

Tourism revenue down 8 percent

By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

With a drop in hotel occupancy, the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau ended fiscal 2009 with a $28,450 deficit.
The bureau received $679,192 in revenue during the past 12 months, $38,681 above what it projected in its budget, said Wade Weaver, bureau board of directors treasurer.
The bureau staff cut a little more than $10,000 from expenses to reduce losses, he said, but none of the cutbacks related to direct marketing promotions.
Lodging taxes collected by the city were down 8 percent, more than $54,000, from the previous year, and a big reason for the drop was fewer corporate travelers visited the city.
Tami Reist, bureau president, and Lori Boger, bureau group sales director, visited the city’s top 10 corporate clients this week to thank them for their business and inquire about prospects for next year.
Some local industries expect to bring in more out-of-town clients and workers, Reist said, but overall, corporate lodging taxes likely will remain flat during the next year.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Proposal: Fishing as school sport

By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

Hunter Spivey dropped three sports at Decatur High School, allowing him more time to reel in large lunkers lurking beneath the surface of Wheeler Lake.
The 16-year-old junior, however, can remain in his fishing boat and still earn a sports letter if a local and state effort can make bass fishing an official high school sport in Alabama.
If approved, the state would become the second in America to reach out to students who otherwise might not be involved in organized school athletics.
“I definitely think there would be a big turnout,” said Spivey, who used to play football, basketball and baseball for the Red Raiders. “I know a lot of people who don’t play those sports who definitely love to fish.”
Max Beasley, 16, said he knows of about 15 students in his junior class at Decatur High that fish weekly.
“There’d be a lot of people trying out for it,” he said. “It’s good for the people who aren’t very athletic or don’t enjoy football, baseball and soccer as much as being an outdoorsman. And it keeps them busy in positive activities.”
Involving students in school activities is one of several reasons cited by proponents for high school fishing teams. More organized fishing tournaments would give Decatur more chances to attract out-of-towners and fill local hotels and restaurants. Getting youths more prepared for tournament fishing also ensures a stable future for professional fishing circuits, such as FLW and Bassmaster.
“It’s the next great movement forward in our sport. I’m glad Alabama is considering it,” said Charlie Evans, FLW president and chief financial officer.
FLW helped Illinois, the first state to sanction fishing as a high school sport, organize its state championship, providing both equipment and personnel.
FLW, supported by Wal-Mart, would want to involve its resources with Alabama, too, he said.
Tami Reist, president of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, sent a letter to Steve Savarese, president of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, urging support of high school fishing and asked Decatur schools Superintendent Sam Houston to do the same.
“We’ve the facility (Ingalls Harbor) in place, and with its reputation among the pro circuits, I’m sure the high schools would want to come here to fish and pre-fish,” she said.
Dave Gannoway, assistant executive director for the Illinois High School Athletic Association, said bass fishing far exceeded expectations in the first season last year, doubling the 100 schools out of 785 the association hoped to see involved the first season.
“About 2,500 students were involved, both girls and boys,” he said. “We are now anticipating a huge increase this year because a lot of schools were taking a wait-and-see attitude. I’m anticipating more than 300 schools participating in our bass fishing this year.”
Ninety percent of the schools had faculty staff coach the teams, and the remaining schools got help from local fishing clubs, Gannoway said. The clubs also helped provide their local teams with boats and boat captains.
Illinois students cannot operate the outboard motor on the boat, but can operate the trolling motor, he said.
FLW’s Evans said further evidence bass fishing would be popular in high schools comes from watching the explosive growth of the sport in colleges the past few years. Last year, FLW partnered with the U.S. National Guard to start a collegiate series.
“When we started last year, nationwide there was 70 to 80 teams,” he said. “A year later we’re close to 400 active college teams.”
In April, Ingalls Harbor will be the host site of the Southern Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship. It will feature about 100 anglers from 20 schools such as Auburn, Alabama and Ole Miss.
Tim Tidwell, president of Alabama Family Outdoors, began organizing a statewide, grassroots effort last spring to establish bass fishing as a sanctioned high school sport.
Among bass fishing’s benefits for high schools is it allows boys and girls to compete together; it also allows small rural schools to compete head-to-head with large city schools, he said.
“There’s going to be some little 1A schools that live near some of these little creeks that are going to kick some 4A or 6A schools’ tails in these tournaments,” Tidwell said. He noted the Illinois championship showcased some schools competing in state finals for the first time in any sport.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association has specific steps to help emerging sports become sanctioned, he said. The first is that 10 percent of the state’s 412 high schools agree to field a team. That would set bass fishing up as a “sport under jurisdiction.”
It’s a probationary period, Tidwell said, meaning the AHSAA would govern the sport, but there would be no official state championship the first year.
Tidwell’s plan this year is to get interested schools to form club teams and compete in three regional tournaments in the spring from which the top five will compete in an unofficial state championship.
How Illinois runs its fishing
The Illinois High School Association considers bass fishing an activity, not a sport, so fishing coaches do not need state approval, though they must have approval of the local school board.
Each school provides the boat and one adult driver or coach. Students cannot operate the outboard motor on the boat, but can operate the trolling motor.
Many bass clubs in Illinois offered their services to the schools, including adults to captain the boats.
Illinois high school rules stipulate a school may enter one or two boats per tournament. One boat can have as many as three students but only two can fish at any one time. Boats can exchange student anglers anytime during the tournament hours.
The season featured 18 sectional tournaments leading up to the state championship.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Injury brings a wild life to an end

After ski accident, British businessman slides into stable, successful art career
By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

John S. Gibb was sitting pretty after selling a commercial diver business in the Caribbean in his early 40s.
Actually he wasn’t sitting much at all, at least not during winter ski season. But while racing down a mogul run in Maine 26 years ago, one of his knees tore apart, causing him to wreck and break his shoulder in five places.
“You drink too much, and you go skiing in Vail and you spend your money faster than you think,” Gibb, 70, said, recalling how quickly he went from living the high life to lying flat on his back in a hospital wondering how he was going to support himself and pay mounting medical bills. “That was the end of that sort of life.”
That sort of life had involved lumberjacking in Norway during the summer and working on ships for the British merchant marine in the winter before starting his own business as a commercial diver.
Once he became physically hampered, Gibb re-invented himself by returning to one of the few school activities he enjoyed as a dyslexic student growing up in England: drawing.
Now, nearly three decades later, the Ulverston, England, resident finds himself thriving in the art world and attending shows like this weekend’s Southern Wildlife Festival at Calhoun Community College.
The show continues Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“As a kid I could draw,” he said, noting his dyslexia made him a poor student in everything else, lining him up to be a tradesman in a factory or a mill. It was a dismal future that he would later flee to Scandinavian forests and the wide open sea to avoid.
“When I looked at other people’s art, I thought, ‘I could do that.’ But when I started, I wasn’t that good, not by today’s standards,” Gibb said.
He sold a few paintings, gained confidence and kept painting and learning. Eventually, he realized he didn’t possess a joy for painting, but he did enjoy the work of sketching out his paintings in pencil prior to applying the brush.
“I got obsessed with the pencil,” he said. “And I’m very disciplined about it. I’m up at 5:30 every morning working on it.”
Tools of the trade
Gibb mostly uses three tools for his art work: a drafting pencil that allows him to switch out various shades of lead, a red rubber eraser and a pencil eraser, which he sharpens with a razor blade. The latter allows him to create crisp white lines through dark tones of graphite.
Even after 26 years as an artist and numerous awards, Gibb said he’s still learning and improving his art. He pointed out his wildlife drawings all feature animals sitting still, but he’s striving to improve to where he can draw birds in flight with the same fine details of his still life subjects.
Gibb said the art career came along at the right time, and that he wouldn’t have had the discipline to stick with it in his 20s and 30s.
Comes with age
Age also brings new interests and ambitions, he added, particularly with viewing and drawing wildlife.
Gibb’s favorite subjects now are wildlife and mariner scenes, but he also does artwork of railways and horses.
Drawing ships was a favorite subject because of his years in the merchant marine, but an admiration of wildlife has grown as he has aged, he said.
“It’s really a matter of having the time to be able to enjoy it,” he said, noting he and his wife, Rosa­lind, usually spend about six weeks in America each year, visiting national parks and refuges in between art shows. “I think it’s just a passion that comes later in life.”
On the Net
To see more of John Gibb’s pencil art, visit www
Southern Wildlife Festival
What: Art show and sale; working decoy competition; children’s arts and crafts activities.
When: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Calhoun Community College gymnasium.
Cost: $3 for adults; $2 for students and senior citizens; free for children 6 and younger.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Artist overcomes pain to create

Wild ride
Artist overcomes pain to create
By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

Last winter, Danny O’Driscoll thought his illustrious 37-year art career had ended.
Tendinitis in his right thumb made holding a paintbrush too painful. It was impossible to paint with the precision that had earned the Batesburg, S.C., man best of show awards twice at the Southern Wildlife Festival.
He couldn’t even hold a brush from January until April, but the four-month layoff didn’t affect his talent. O’Driscoll claimed his third best of show award at the festival during a special preview show Friday night. The 28th annual art show and sale is open to the public Saturday and Sunday at Calhoun Community College.
This year’s event has attracted 30 artists, including painters, photographers and carvers. Saturday also will feature a working duck decoy competition as well as educational demonstrations with live birds of prey at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
O’Driscoll said he truly feared his painting career was over last winter and spring. Nothing doctors prescribed helped relieve his pain.
“We tried taping it, cortisone shots, heat, cold. Nothing worked,” he said. “Finally, a lady, an artist who had the same type of problem, told me to just rest it. So I did, and here I am.”
O’Driscoll, 56, returned to the canvas in the summer, but he didn’t push himself to work in fine detail that makes his paintings so realistic.
“I was so scared to do it,” he said, noting he usually paints eight hours a day. “I was scared I was going to hurt (my hand) and never be able to paint again.”
Two weeks ago, O’Driscoll decided to give his hand a test and began painting in fine detail again. Last week, he started a painting of a kestrel perched atop a fence post. He finished it Tuesday, and three days later the best of show ribbon hung by its side.
Though he couldn’t paint last winter, O’Driscoll kept himself busy photographing wildlife to use as guides for his paintings. It was the most photography he had ever done, he said, and he figures he has enough photos to keep him painting for 10 more years.
“So some good things did come out of it,” he said.
The photography also had a direct impact on his award-winning kestrel.
O’Driscoll said he has wanted to paint a kestrel perched in that position for many years, but until last winter, he lacked the photographs to help him get the truest perspective on the bird’s movement.
“I wanted to capture the inquisitive look that kestrels have. They’re always moving their heads, always looking around,” he said.
O’Driscoll added that he specifically placed the bird in front of a blue sky to help bring out some of the subtle blue hues in the kestrel’s feathers.
O’Driscoll’s work often is mistaken for photography because the subjects appear so realistic. Part of his technique is to airbrush the background, which makes it look out of focus while also making the subject stand out.
“It was just so lifelike,” said Jennifer Swoboda, one of the show judges. “All the works were so good, it was very hard to pick (a best of show). But that was the one that grabbed my attention first.”
What: Art show and sale; live birds of prey seminars, 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.; working decoy competition; children’s arts and crafts activities.
When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Calhoun Community College gymnasium.
Cost: $3 for adults (good both days); $2 for students and senior citizens; free for children 6 and younger.
Festival winners
Painting, feathers: First, Danny O’Driscoll, kestrel; second, John S. Gibb, tawny owl; third, Steve Burney, redhead ducks.
Painting, fur: first, Martiena Richter, red panda; second, Liz Scott, ram; third, Kevin Webster, elk.
Painting, general: first, Svetlana Bellamy, butterflies and fruit.
Carving and sculpture: First, Jerry Dupré, great blue heron.
Photography: First, Garth Frazier, cougar; second, Kay Benedict and Mike Segorski; songbird; third, Mike Serkowenek, cardinal.

Friday, October 16, 2009

NALL Returns to North Alabama for Special Exhibit

Carnegie Visual Arts Center
Decatur, AL – October 9, 2009 –The Carnegie Visual Arts Center is pleased to announce NALL - Out of the Box. The exhibit opens to the general public on Saturday, October 17 and runs through November 28, with special preview events scheduled for October 15 and 16 where the artist will be the guest of honor.

The exhibit features many new works by Nall. Over 60 pieces are includedin the show. Large original installation pieces, etchings and giclee prints of the the Bellingrath Gardens flower series and the Violata Pax icons make up the majority of the body of work displayed. A casting of the Violata Pax Dove and other three-dimensional works will also be presented. Furniture printed in Nall motif and examples of his dinnerware and fl atware designs round out the one man show. Numerous Nall items will be available for purchase in the gift shop including books, etchings, prints, posters, playing cards, postcards and other items. Many pieces from the exhibit are available for purchase.

Nall’s work is well known and widely collected in North Alabama. A Southern artist with an international following, Nall has a unique style that has captivated the attention of the world. A native of Troy, Alabama, Nall spent his formative years in Arab. He received a degree in Art, Political Science and Psychology from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and in 1971, Nall
traveled to Paris where he studied under the internationally acclaimed artist, Salvador Dali, and attended the prestigious L’Ecole des Beaux Arts. After many years in Paris, Nall moved to the south of France. He resides in Fairhope, Alabama, and maintains the N.A.L.L. Art Association in Vence, France. The institute trains and educates young artists, many of whom are recovering from alcohol, drugs and 21st century abuses.

Surrounded by painters, musicians, and writers, he excelled among his contemporaries while studying at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts. During this time Dali advised him to “Draw from life, draw, again and again...” Nall was also inspired by American psychedelic art, fauvism, impressionism and Japanese wash drawings. His current works represent a fusion of his Southern roots and the contemporary stylism of modern Europe. Yet, it is the symbolism and the themes of his work that expose the genius of the fl amboyant artist. Nall, a consummate southern gentleman with a dash of glitz, is a study in contradictions much as his massive works of art stretch the mind from the obvious to the veiled suggestion.

A prolifi c and exciting painter, Nall is also well known for his sculpture and porcelain. As well as exhibiting his art throughout the world, Nall recently created the costumes and sets for the famous Puccini Festival in Italy. His Havilland and Parlon Porcelain from Limoges, France are sold internationally. His monumental sculptures were shown at The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and Pietrasanta, Italy, and Monaco, where his ‘Peace Frame’ is permanently installed. His ‘Violata Pax Dove’ is currently being exhibited at the Pisa, Italy Airport, Miami Dade University, and Vence, France. There seems no limit to the talents displayed by this unpredictable artist. A complete detail of his extraordinary body of work may be found at

Nall’s dedication to his home state – and to the further development of the arts in Alabama –has been played out over and over. From time spent as artist in residence at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to the mentoring of dozens of emerging artists, Nall supports those beginning their exploration by providing the wisdom of experience and the most valuable tool for any artist – encouragement. In 2000 Nall was the curator for “Alabama Art,” an exhibit of 13 Alabama artists, with the aid of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Nall compiled the works and did the layout for the book titled Alabama Art published by Black Belt Press. This book won the Mary Ellen Lopresti ARLIS/Southeast Publishing Award for “Best Art Book” published that year in the Southeastern U.S.A. After serving two semesters as artist-in-residence at Troy University, Nall was awarded a Doctorate
Honoris Causa from Troy University, Alabama.

Nall is currently working on a new line of Limoges Dinnerware Porcelain of Alabama Camellias, produced by the Tunisian Porcelain Company, including six of Mobile’s Bellingrath Gardens Camellias. He has also started a new Book entitled The RSA Permanent Collection of Alabama Art, which includes more than 150 Alabama Artists to be published by American Image Publishing, LLC. His 2010 illustrated agenda book will be available this fall.

Nall and his work have been acclaimed by CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time Magazine, the Italian Republica, the French La Figaro, and The LA Times.

The Carnegie Visual Arts Center is located at 207 Church Street in historic downtown Decatur, Alabama. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday 11 AM – 6 PM and Saturdays 11 AM – 4 PM. There is no admission, however, donations are welcome. For more information visit or call (256) 341-0562.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Russian artist born to be wild

28th annual Southern Wildlife Festival
Russian artist born to be wild
Fondness of American fauna inspires immigrant to paint animals on gold
By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

Wildlife was as rare as gold for a young artist growing up in Saratow, Russia, where even spotting a nut-gathering rodent was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
So for Svetlana Bellamy, moving to America 11 years ago was like landing at the end of the rainbow.
And considering her appreciation for the animals and plant life absent in her homeland, it seems a perfect marriage that the 42-year-old Russian immigrant paints many of her wildlife subjects on gold leaf.
North Alabamians will get to share in Bellamy’s wealth this weekend as she brings her lineup of paintings to the 28th annual Southern Wildlife Festival in the gymnasium of Calhoun Community College.
“In Europe, I saw a squirrel only one time, in the park,” Bellamy said from her home near Ithaca, N.Y.
“One time in my lifetime. That’s it. All the people stopped to look.”
Appreciating nature
“You just cannot see all this stuff in Europe,” she said of America’s abundance and wide range of wildlife.
Her favorite places to view American wildlife are Yellowstone National Park and Montana.
“America is the most beautiful thing, the nature and the wildlife,” she said.
Bellamy won’t be the only European making a first-time appearance at the Southern Wildlife Festival this year.
The art show and sale will also feature the pencil drawings of John Gibb, who hails from England. In all, 30 artists, including painters, carvers and photographers, will participate in the two-day art show and sale.
The show also features demonstrations with live birds of prey on Saturday and a hand-carved, working duck decoy competition and exhibition.
Like many professional artists, Bellamy began painting and drawing at an early age.
She was able to attend the Saratow School for Artistically Talented Children and furthered her education at the Saratow Art College, graduating with a diploma to teach painting.
Bellamy then entered a six-year program at the Academy of Art in Kiev.
Honors received
During her first year there, her “Portrait of a Man” earned the honor of showing at the Academy Museum’s 90th anniversary exhibition.
Twice, her works have exhibited at the Russian Center of Science and Culture.
Syracuse University invited Bellamy to attend its master’s degree program for fine arts in the 1990s. She eventually met her husband there, and after marrying, they settled in Freeville, N.Y. Today, Bellamy works in oil, watercolor, pastel, charcoal and mosaics, as well as frescos and murals and wood panels. Her favorite medium, she said, is painting on gold leaf.
“It has to be exact,” she said. “You cannot erase it. You cannot cover it. The gold absorbs the oil, so it can easily stain. And you cannot put your hand on it, because it would absorb oil from skin.”
Painting on gold leaf, Bellamy said, requires the same painstaking skill as a jeweler who cuts diamonds and other precious stones.
There’s an historical appeal to painting on gold leaf, she said, noting artists in the middle ages painted religious icons on gold leaf, and the medium was used in ancient cultures ranging from China to France.
Gold’s greatest appeal, Bellamy said, is its light reflection, even through painted brush strokes.
Its popularity in ancient times was probably related to its ability to stand out in the low light of candle-lit rooms.
“It’s not too expensive to paint on,” she added. “If you’re covering a wall with it, yes, but not so for painting.”
Bellamy has gold leaf paintings as large as 4 by 5 feet but doesn’t have room in her vehicle to carry the large ones to this weekend’s art show. She will have seven or eight in a range of smaller sizes.
Beverly Basham, festival president, was a fan of Bellamy before she decided to attend this year’s show. Basham bought one of her paintings in August.
Luxury, familiarity
“I’ve always admired her work, and I couldn’t resist,” she said. “First, it was extremely well done and so different from what you typically see.
“The gold leaf just adds richness to the piece,” Basham said.
“You don’t think about painting on gold because gold is so precious. But this is such beautiful marriage of the luxury of gold and familiarity we have with painting.”

Monday, October 12, 2009

Brochure offers insight into Decatur history

Editorial, The Decatur Daily

Racial harmony requires mutual respect, and a brochure prepared by Peggy Towns and King’s Memorial United Methodist Church pastor the Rev. Wylheme Ragland is a great reminder of the contributions black Decatur residents have made in shaping this city.
The Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau was wise to print copies of the brochure, which gives tourists and residents alike unique insight into Decatur history.
As Ms. Towns pointed out, the brochure accomplishes more than just educating whites and tourists. It also educates black residents of the enormous contributions, many of them unheralded, that blacks have made to the Decatur area.
From Decatur native Mae Jemison, an astronaut, to Amos McKinney, a Civil War soldier, blacks have helped create every aspect of the city. Slaves cut the stone pillars of Old State Bank, and Decatur Negro High hosted George Washington Carver.
Decatur’s history and present includes numerous blacks who served the community as lawyers, physicians, businessmen and officials.
Ms. Towns deserves our thanks for memorializing an important part of our city.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brochure touts Decatur black pioneers

By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

Black pioneers who helped forge Decatur’s history come to life in a bro­chure that aims to educate local residents as well as help tourism.
“I see it as a tool for all of us. Not just whites, but blacks, too, because a lot of blacks don’t know it,” said Peggy Towns, who worked with King’s Memorial United Methodist Church’s pastor, the Rev. Wylheme Rag­land, to provide information and photos.
The cover features photos of Decatur native Mae Jemison, the first black female astronaut to visit outer space, and the military grave marker for Amos McKinney, a Union Civil War soldier buried at Magnolia Sykes Cemetery.
It also has a photo of the historic marker for the Schaudies-Banks Cottage.
The brochure discusses the slaves who cut the stone pillars of Old State Bank and George Washington Carver’s visit to Decatur Negro High.
It lists early black businessmen, physicians, attorneys and government officials, as well as schools and churches.
Towns, who is distributing the brochures to local black churches and the Morgan County Archives, said her main motivation was to educate and enlighten local residents about their black history, but she also thinks the bro­chure will increase tourism.
“When I go on vacation, I always try to find a museum or some interesting place to visit. Hopefully, when people see the bro­chure, they will say, ‘Hmm, I didn’t know that’ and visit Decatur. It will be a tool to enrich their lives.”
Tami Reist, president of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, agreed and was willing to spend $2,700 to print 10,000 copies. The bureau will also put the bro­chure on its Web site. Anyone with a computer can download and print it.
Towns will help lead an historic walking tour of some of the areas listed in the brochure Oct. 17 as part of The Big Read, a citywide tribute to the book “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
The tour will start at Cotaco Park at the Morgan County Courthouse at 10 a.m. Towns will explain what 1930s Decatur looked like for the black community and explore sites significant during the Scottsboro Boys trials.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Have a seat...with Rickie Higgins

From Memi Pottery's blog
ARTIST RICKIE HIGGINS joins us THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22nd for Canvas and Conversation at Memi's on Bank. He has been commissioned for his famous "chairs" by many, and has sold them in many galleries, including our own WILLIS GRAY (did you go to the art show last night..check it out!). You don't want to miss out on this one...I'm sure you're thinking it would be a great Christmas gift, but trust me, when you're through it will not leave your house!! $55.00 reserves your spot, all your supplies, SOOO much fun, and of course Rickie (well, as an instructor that is). or 350-0101. IT WILL FILL UP!!
So much going on on Bank Street coming week is Canvas and Conversation with LEE NABORS on Thursday the 15th, Friday at Five on the 16th , plus the NALL Exhibit at the Carnegie, Palettes and Punch with LEE NABORS on Monday the 19th, RICKIE on the 22nd along with Girls Night Out from 4-6:30 at Memi's and our new neighbors the Paper Chase (check their blog for all the details on theirs, different time and SPECIALS) Halloween Hoot on the 24th, and SCOTT WILLIS Canvas and Conversation on the 29th. Whew! AND there's more....Memi's is getting in TONS of new gifts the end of the month! Look for a sale next week as we make room for our fabulous new items we are getting in. I'm almost out of breath, BUT don't forget to schedule your HOLIDAY GIRLS NIGHT OUT TO PAINT POTTERY...We are filling up!! Great gift ideas: Baby hand print ornaments, "We are Thankful Platters" with hand prints, Christmas platters for the parents who have everything....painted teacher gifts for $5.00...WOW! Tuesday - Friday 10-5 or Saturday 10-2. 350-0101. THANKS FOR SUPPORTING MEMI'S ON BANK!

The Terrific Trio at Memi's on Bank

From Memi Pottery's blog

CANVAS AND CONVERSATION is back with a trio of artists that will make you want to quit your day job and paint, paint, paint! October 16th LEE NABORS kicks it off with this beautiful Angel painting. What an awesome piece to embellish your home or give as a gift! Lee's work is a wanted commodity by she can teach you how! $55.00 reserves your spot and everything is included! (of course you need to bring your favorite beverage and your favorite friend) 6-9 p.m. Thursday October 15th at Memi's on Bank. or 350-0101.

RICKIE HIGGINS is always in demand and he is back on October 22nd. Look for his painting to be posted in the next day or two. You can view it if you drop by Memi' is oh so fab! His classes are always full, always fun, and of course your leave with a great piece of art. We just got lucky to catch him between art shows to teach us stroke by stroke...$55.00 from 6:30-9:30!! Why the time change? Because we'll have a GIRLS NIGHT OUT with our new neighbor THE PAPER CHASE from 4-7 with lots of new gifts, Christmas ideas and fun!

Have you ever wanted to be a FLOWER GIRL??? Do you remember your flower girl?? GET READY....Scott Willis is bringing a touch of his famous butterfly that he beautifully painted for the Carnegie Arts Aflutter and painting FLOWER GIRLS...these delightful, faceless, flowery girls are not your typical "ummm" FLOWER GIRLS, but we'll pretend. Bring your favorite bubbly beverage, throw some flowers in your hair, and get ready for an evening of CANVAS AND CONVERSATION, Scott's way. $55.00 reserves your spot. Don't miss out. 6-9 OCTOBER 29th.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

BASS releasese 2010 schedule for Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Women's Tour

BASS releases 2010 schedule for Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Women's Tour
The 2010 Toyota Tundra WBT Angler of the Year will earn a Classic berth

by BASS Communications,

For the third consecutive year, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Women's Tour will award a coveted Bassmaster Classic berth to the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Women's Tour Angler of the Year. The 2010 WBT schedule will span five events, four regular-season tournaments and a championship, and will visit fisheries in Alabama, Texas and Louisiana.
The top 20 WBT anglers, based on their Toyota Tundra WBT Angler of the Year standings in the regular season, will qualify for the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Women's Tour Championship. The location for the Championship is set for Oct. 15-17 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir out of Lufkin, Texas, which will serve as the host of the event. From that event, the Toyota Tundra WBT Angler of the Year will be determined and the winner will receive a coveted qualifying berth into bass fishing's premier event, the Bassmaster Classic.
"The Bassmaster Women's Tour continues to receive some incredible exposure," said Jamie Wilkinson, senior director of event operations and business development, BASS. "Once again, we have scheduled some top-notch fisheries and engaged communities."
The 2010 season will kick off March 18-20 on Wheeler Lake out of Decatur, Ala. BASS previously has held 10 events on Wheeler but the season opener will mark the first WBT event on the spacious fishery. In 2009, BASS doubled up on Wheeler with a Bassmaster Central Open event in addition to a Bassmaster Elite Series event, the Evan Williams Bourbon Dixie Duel. The Decatur-Morgan Convention & Visitor's Bureau will serve as host.
The second event will be held April 22-24 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir out of Lufkin, which will also host the event. Rayburn, a perennial BASS favorite, has been the site of more than 30 BASS events with the last one, a Bassmaster Central Open, in September. Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, bested the field with a three-day total of 57 pounds, 5 ounces.
For the third regular-season event of 2010, the WBT will visit Belton Lake and Temple, Texas, on June 10-12. Belton, officially impounded in 1954 and just more than 12,000 acres, has never hosted a BASS tournament in the organization's 40-plus year history. The Temple Convention & Visitors Bureau is the local host.
The final regular-season event is set for the Ouachita River out of West Monroe, La., on Sept. 16-18. Ouachita hosted a WBT event earlier this April. Texas' Janet Parker scored victory on the river with a three-day total of 32 pounds, 2 ounces. As in 2008, the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau will host the event. After Ouachita, the regular-season AOY standings will be finalized and the qualifying berths for the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Women's Tour Championship will be determined.
The WBT Championship will mark the end of the 2010 season. Spacious Rayburn will provide a different set of conditions for the Championship event from the April WBT tournament. After points are awarded based on Championship finishes, the Toyota Tundra WBT Angler of the Year will be crowned.
Entry fees will be collected for all five events. Once again, anglers will be able to drop their lowest finish from the four regular-season events before the regular-season standings are finalized and the Championship berths are decided.
At each event, the champion pro will receive $1,000 in addition to a fully-rigged boat package valued at $55,000. The winning co-angler will receive $500 plus a boat package valued at $25,000.
Academy Sports + Outdoors, a Katy, Texas-based sporting goods retailer, continues to reap the benefits of sponsoring the WBT.
"Academy Sports + Outdoors is pleased to sponsor the Bassmaster Women's Tour again in 2010," said Anita Sehgal, vice president of marketing at Academy Sports + Outdoors. "The WBT is a great vehicle that grows the sport of fishing by giving women the opportunity to fish competitively and to be role models for young anglers throughout the United States."
Registration for the four 2010 regular-season events can be completed at Priority registration is open to the top 50 pros and co-anglers in the 2009 Toyota Tundra WBT Angler of the Year standings at 9 a.m. ET Monday, Nov. 2. Registration will open at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 9, for all BASS members who wish to sign up for all four regular-season events. Those who wish to sign up for single events can register beginning at noon Monday, Nov. 16.
Fans can visit Academy stores for additional information on the WBT and find out more about the organization at

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fishers of Men 2009 Chpionship Series

Fishers Of Men Jeff and John Carman Win the Midwest/Central Lake Wheeler Regional ChampionshipFishers of Men 2009 Championship Series
by Frank Evans, Senior Staff Writer,

(Oct. 05, 2009 - Decatur, AL)... Although bluebird skies and fierce southwesterly winds confronted the anglers on Day-2 of the Fishers of Men Lake Wheeler Midwest - Central Regional Championship, it still proved to be remarkably productive for Jeff and John Carman (Kentucky South-central), as they brought in another 15 plus pound bag of bass to secure the win by more than a four pound margin.
Jeff and John hauled in 15.10 lbs to join the 15.98 from Day-1 and capture the 2009 Midwest - Central Regional Championship with 31.08 lbs overall. The talented pair’s consistent performance throughout the two days of competition earned them championship plaques to commemorate their victory and a certificate for a fully rigged, $30,000.00, 2010 TR-18 Triton bass boat, powered by a 150hp Mercury Optimax, Motorguide trolling motor, and Lowrance electronics.

John and Jeff concentrated their efforts within view of the Lake Guntersville dam. By tossing black jigs tipped with green-pumpkin Paca Craws, the talented duo flipped and tossed this productive bait in and around current breaks in six to ten feet of water and caught so many fish that they were culling them by mere ounces. The pair affirmed that the place was literally loaded with three-pound bass.
Jared Carpenter and Brian Ross, KY SC, finished second for the tournament by adding 10.56 lbs to their Day 1 catch of 16.05lbs. The Berea, KY twosome’s bass came from a secondary channel located up near the Meow Mix factory. The 26.61 lbs of fish fell for Blk/Char jigs and green-pumpkin worms on shaky-head jigs.

Indiana South anglers, Ken and Darren Mitchell, held their 3rd place spot by supplanting their 13.75 lbs with today’s catch of 12.18 lbs, giving them 25.93 for the tournament. Darren and Ken fished several miles downstream near power lines that crossed the lake. Darren stated that their early fish came from cranking a Strike King Series Three, Sexy Shad around an underwater hump that was located near the power lines. When the morning bite slowed, the pair moved up into a creek on the Decatur Flats and worked three brush piles with rattle baits and Strike King Blu/Char tubes; that several big ones really liked.

Don and Steve Sentell, Tennessee Central, moved up from 11th and captured forth place with a two-day total of 24.25 lbs. Steve said that he and his father worked a creek that was located near the Wheeler Dam. Success came by throwing sexy-shad colored Zara Spooks early and pitching shad-colored, Zoom Finesse Worms later in the day.
Moving up from eight, Alabama Northwest teammates John Welborn and Steve Quinn finished fifth overall with 12.76 on Day One and 11.29 lbs today, for a two-day total of 24.05 lbs. John and Steven never wandered far from the launch area, preferring, instead, to work the flats in five to ten feet of water with green-pumpkin, Zoom Trick Worms on Day one. When the flats failed to produce fish on Day 2, John said that the Barge tie-ups produced well.

Jeff Moore and Johnny Bryan’s 6.40 lbs, Day Two, $600.00, 1st Big Fish helped rocket them to a 12th place finish from where they stood on Day One, 44th.

Keith Mc Deerman and Von Dilbeck, from Tennessee East, brought in the Day Two 2nd Big Fish, weighing 4.66 lbs.

The top Adult/Junior team is Tennessee Central’s Mike and Ryan Hollingshead. Mike and Ryan finished 15th overall, with 21.32 lbs and the top Male/Female team is Brian and Heidi Bartos, Minnesota-West Division, with 16.25 lbs.

We want to express our special thanks to Tami Reist and the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Host Hotel, Jameson Inn (256) 355-2229, and First Baptist Church of Decatur.

We also want to thank our national sponsors: Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Strike King Lure Company, Marshalls Marine, Power Pole, Grace Full Gospel Church, Solar Bat, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Kistler Custom Rods, Keelshield, Jacobs Glass, Markel Insurance, Shakespeare, Stanley Jigs, Spike-It Bait Company, Rejuvenade, Mizmo Bait Company, Motorguide, Lowrance, Logan Fire Apparatus, Keep Alive Oxygen Infusor, Dual Pro Chargers, Buckeye Lures, Allstar Rods, and Xtools.

To Kill A Mockingbird Comes Alive on the Big Screen!

The Most Beloved Pulizer Prize Winner
Comes Alive on the Big Screen!

Enjoy a nostalgic night at the movies for the classic film based on the novel by Harper Lee. Six-year-old Jean Louise "Scout" Finch (Mary Badham) is growing up in the Depression era of the early 1930s in a small Southern town in this highly acclaimed motion picture. Jean’s father (Gregory Peck), the town lawyer, is a wise, quiet man with a great sense of justice who defends a poor, black man accused of rape. The film nominated the 1962 Academy Award for Best Film and Best Actor for Gregory Peck.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

He's fast Tupelo money

Holman clocks 15:40.23 to win 11th Jesse Owens race
From The Decatur Daily

OAKVILLE — Max Holman wasn’t a Mad Max on Saturday, but you couldn’t tell he was happy about posting the fastest time among 4,000 runners, either.
The senior from Tupelo, Miss., ran the 5-kilometer distance in 15 minutes and 40.23 seconds to capture the boys gold elite title in the 11th annual Jesse Owens Cross Country Classic at the Oakville Indian Mounds and Educational Center.
“It was a little humid out there today and the course was a little muddy, but really overall I’m pleased,” said Holman. He said he had saved some energy for a “great kick” near the end of the race to win.
Holman, who said he is getting offers from Southeastern Conference and other Division I schools, might have been comparing his Saturday time with his 15:19 he ran two weeks ago at a Nike event in Louisville, Ky.
“Coming down the hill about the 2-mile mark I had to be a little careful with my footing,” Holman said about the track soaked in recent weeks by constant rain.
However, Holman looked around at the large number in the meet and said he’s impressed with the organization and staff.
“The Jesse Owens race is always very well organized,” he said. “Everything here runs on time. There’s not many meets I can say that about.”
The fastest time of an Alabama runner belonged to Cold Springs’ Nathan Lewis.
He clocked at 15:54.76, good for third place in the gold elite division.
Brewer sophomore Clay Oden finished 48th with a 17:24.68 as the area’s fastest runner in the division.
Winning the gold elite girls event was McGill-Toolen’s Carmen Carlos with an 18:04.27.
“I was just trying to run my best and get a PR (personal record time),” the freshman said after setting her PR Saturday.
Recording a 19:52.15, Brewer senior Emily Trotter finished 16th overall and No. 1 locally in the girls division.
Decatur’s Sally Adams, a senior, posted a 20:59.81 good for 54th overall and second fastest locally.
The Hatton boys turned in a stellar second-place showing in the bronze (Class 1A-4A) boys division.
Lifted by five finishers in the top 27, the defending 1A-2A state champion Hornets used strength in numbers Saturday.
“We came in hoping for a Top 4 finish today,” said Hatton coach Brandon Barringer. “I had a bunch of kids step up. We’ve got 10 new runners this year and winning second here is huge. It’s really hard to single out any one runner we had several with PRs out there.”
The fastest Hornet was senior Jade Brackin with a 17:57.20, good for 13th place. On his heels in 14th place was fellow senior Zachary O’Hare.
Sophomore Blake Brackin (18:17.23, 24th), freshman Reid Harrison (18:18.08, 26th) and junior Devin Jackson (18:19.05, 27th) contributed.
Randolph School of Huntsville won the team event. Lawrence County boys were sixth.
The top local bronze boy runner was Athens Bible senior Cliff Denton with a 17:37.43.
Lawrence County’s Freddie Shirah was 20th with a 18:08.56, a personal best for him.
Clements senior Roger Good finished 31st in the 349-runner field with a 18:36.54.
Rogers High sophomore Katie Stewart won the bronze girls (Class 1A-4A) with a 19:38.58 time. Finishing fifth in the 265-runner field was Lawrence County senior Ari Stephenson with a 21:03.37.
“My practices seem to go better than my races lately,” Stephenson said. “I’ll continue to work to improve. State is back here next month and we’ve got work to do as a team. Rogers is going to be tough to beat.”
Clements freshman Allison Jay was ninth in the division with a 21:14.10.
Rogers won the team event. Lawrence County was seventh, Athens Bible 10th.
Lawrence County cross country coach Stanley Johnson said he was proud of his teams but want to see better results.
“Several of our kids ran PRs today, so I can’t be really disappointed, but I know we’re capable to doing better,” said Johnson, who also served as the tournament director. “We’ve got a month to prepare for state.”
No meet record times were set Saturday.
“The course is a little soft in places because of the rain we’ve had,” Johnson said. “I feel blessed it is not worse than it is.”
The Oakville track is the venue of this year’s Alabama High School Athletic Association’s state championships. It is set for Nov. 14.
The Jesse Owens Runners Club hosted Saturday’s event.
Complete results can be found at