Why aren’t we paying our Alabama educators what they’re worth?

By Craig Ford Alabama State Superintendent Eric Mackey said last week that Alabama’s public school teachers are “overwhelmingly well-qualified.” His assessment came after the State Department of Education issued its latest report cards on the college and university programs that prepare our teachers. Our public school teachers do a great job; there’s no doubt about
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The Vagabond: Few know about three tribes in Etowah County

By Danny Crownover Many folks over the years have asked The Vagabond about what Indian tribes lived in å County. The most commonly known tribes are the Cherokees and Creeks. Yet few people realize that there was a third tribe, the Chickasaws. The Cherokee tribe was located in northern Etowah County. The Creeks were located
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Southern Cooking: Chocolate Cobbler and Banana Cobbler

By Andy Bedwell This week is Andy’s homemade cobbler week! My mother could make the best cobbler, and I think it was because her homemade pie crust was so thin and crispy. She would always say, “You can even make a good cobbler with a store-bought pie crust, plenty of liquid and good fruit, and
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Turning defeat into victory

By Toni Ford I believe it is safe to say that we have all experienced both defeat and victory at some point in our lives. If that is true, then how do we keep from staying in an attitude of defeat and how do we turn our mistakes into a victory? Henry Ford once defined
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Pious Bob - Worthy of Praise

By Robert Halsey Pine “Praise the LORD! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.” (Psalm 147 NRSV). We expect a lot from God. He watches over us, He heals our broken hearts and His power and understanding is awesome. This psalm
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Cornbread Skillet Casserole and White Shoe Peg Corn Salad This week, I am going to feature some of my family’s favorite dishes and some of these are not in my cookbook. My son, Mac, comes home from Birmingham every Saturday and I always cook something that I know he enjoys eating. He specifically asked me to make this
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Pious Bob - Finding Your Role

“Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’” (Acts 21:1-14 NRSV). As a Warrior for God, Paul makes General Patton look like a sissy. Paul has his critics both
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Inspiration from God’s Word - God’s faithfulness to His children

I love the book of Deuteronomy. If you ever need reassurance of who God is in your life, read this book! In the first chapter alone, we see so many characteristics of God’s faithfulness to care and protect His children. Deuteronomy 1: 29-33 (NIV) says, “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid
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Infamous outlaw came through Etowah County

By Danny Crownover – The Vagabond Reuben Houston Burrow was an infamous train robber and outlaw in the southern and southwestern regions of the United States. During the final years of the American frontier, he became one of the most hunted men in the Old West since Jesse James. From 1886 to 1890, Burrow and
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Pious Bob: A Laugh with the Lord at Paul’s Expense

By Robert Halsey Pine “Then all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut.” (Acts 21:27-36 NRSV). Paul was committed to preach the Gospel in the temples no matter how much he was rejected and no matter how
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Southern Cooking: Crusty Pound Cake, Wet Chocolate Cake and Quick and Easy Sour Cream Pound Cake

Let’s eat some more cake this week! Crusty Pound Cake 2 cups sugar 1 cup Crisco 6 eggs 2 cups cake flour 1/4 cup frozen orange juice 1 tablespoon vanilla Cream sugar and Crisco. Add eggs, beating well after each. Add flour, orange juic and vanilla. Put in a greased and floured tube pan. Place
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If Mississippi can pass a lottery, then so can we

By State Rep. Craig Ford Alabama can no longer say, “Thank God for Mississippi.” The Mississippi State Legislature recently passed a state lottery, and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has said he will sign it into law. This means that Alabama will now be one of only six states in the entire country – and the
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Southern Cooking: Queen Anne’s Lace Cake and Fresh Peach Pound Cake

By Andy Bedwell Let’s eat some cake! When we talk about the sleepovers that we used to have back in the early 1950s, a fond memory that my neighborhood friends still recall concerns my mother and her cooking. My mother made a great four-layer, freshly grated coconut cake with seven-minute frosting and freshly grated coconut
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Inspiration from God’s Word: The Prayer of Jabez

By Toni Ford The church I attend just completed a series on prayer, as well as our bi-annual 21 Days of Prayer. During this time, we are all encouraged to readjust our focus on the Lord and let prayer be our first response and not our last resort. Our church provides a simple prayer journal
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How the Phoenix Hotel became a house of disrepute - Part II

By Danny Crownover Last week The Vagabond wrote that back on Feb 16, 1909, Gadsden was to have another hotel at a neat new place on the southeast corner of Chestnut and 5th streets. The new place became known as the Phoenix Hotel and was run by Miss Theo Barry. She was related to the
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Pondering life with Pious Bob - Dealing with the Law and Our Sin

By Robert Halsey Pine “What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet”…So the law is
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Local Revolutionary War sergeant had Civil War connections

By Danny Crownover The Vagabond recently received an e-mail from Sonny Stowers, a former resident of this area. He wrote: “Hello! I thought I’d send you a picture that was created for me, dealing with some of my Civil War relatives. I think it’s kind of interesting.  I thought you might like a story about
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Pondering Life with Pious Bob... Working on the Right Part

By Robert Halsey Pine “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God–not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand
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Southern Cooking: Shrimp Dip, Hawaiian Aloha Dip and Sad Cake

By Andy Bedwell Let’s get ready for some football with some snacks and goodies! Roll Tide and War Eagle! Shrimp Dip 8 ounces cream cheese 1 cup mayonnaise 1 (11-ounce) cream of shrimp soup 1 (4-ounce) can shrimp, drained 1 cup chopped onion 1 tablespoon lemon juice Combine the cream cheese and mayonnaise in a
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The Vagabond: The Phoenix Hotel in Gadsden became a house of ill repute

By Danny Crownover Back on Feb 16, 1909, it was announced that Gadsden was to have another hotel at a neat new place on the southeast corner of Chestnut and 5th streets. It was to be known as the Phoenix Hotel and operated by Miss Theo Barry. Miss Barry was related to Police Captain W.L.
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Lemon Blueberry Pie, Strawberry Pie and Coconut-Caramel Pies Let’s cool off this August week with some cool pies! Lemon Blueberry Pie 1 9-inch graham cracker crust or baked pastry shell 3 egg yolks 1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk 1/2 cup real lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind drop of yellow food
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Every school should have an SRO officer

By State Rep. Craig Ford Now that school has started back, a lot of attention has been given to the issue of school safety and security. Concerns over school safety and, particularly, the possibility of a mass shooting are nothing new. Though the Columbine massacre that happened nearly 20 years ago was not the first
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Pious Bob - Giving Up and Giving In

By Robert Halsey Pine “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:5-12 NRSV). Most of us live too much
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New school year starting now but should be starting later

Rep. Craig Ford Remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day? In a matter of days, students all across Alabama will start a new school year, and we’ll only be one week into the month of August! Instead of spending the last few weeks of August working summer jobs or on family vacations, teachers
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Tomato Pie, Stir Fry Garden Vegetables and Rice Pudding Deluxe Tomatoes, tomatoes and tomatoes! They are everywhere! Tomato Pie 9-inch deep dish pie crust 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and sliced thinly 6 strips bacon, fried and crumbled 1 cup cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Swiss) grated 1 cup mayonnaise Bake frozen pie crust five to
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Inspiration from God’s Word: Onesimus - A Story of Forgiving Love

By Toni Ford Paul was a prisoner in Rome, and his friend Philemon, who had been one of Paul’s co-workers in ministry and a dear friend, lived in Colosse. Along with his wife Apphia, Philemon led a dynamic and growing house church in Colosse. Although Paul had never visited the church in Colosse, the one
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Pious Bob - The Urgency of the Light

By Robert Halsey Pine “Jesus said to them, ‘The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that
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Inspiration from God’s Word - Joshua: A Great Leader

By Toni Ford In the book of Joshua, we read about the story of God’s faithfulness to His people, and how by faith God’s people can overcome and experience life-changing deliverance. The book of Joshua is not only a fulfillment of God’s promise to His children but also an example of a man named Joshua
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Pious Bob - Having Truth In Our Love

By Robert Halsey Pine “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Vidalia Onion Appetizer, Best and Easiest Dip Yet, Bacon/Tomato Dip and Easy Stir and Drop Cookies Vidalia Onion Appetizer 5 Vidalia onions, thinly sliced 1 cup water 1 cup sugar ½ cup cider vinegar 1 cup mayonnaise 16 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 teaspoon celery seed Place the onion in a large bowl. Combine water,
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Could we finally get a lottery passed next year?

By State Rep. Craig Ford Alabamians have been asking for a lottery for years. It continues to be one of the most popular ideas polled year in and year out, yet we still don’t have a state lottery. But there’s a chance that could change next year. The Alabama Legislature won’t return to Montgomery until after
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Ice Cream Muffins 2 cups self-rising flour or baking mix 2 cups softened vanilla ice cream Combine the flour and ice cream in a bowl and beat until smooth, adding a little more ice cream if necessary to make a creamy mixture. Grease 12 muffin cups and fill thre-fourths of the way full. Bake at
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Pious Bob - Worldly Ignorance of the Holy

By Robert Halsey Pine “Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell - Taco Salad Casserole and Mother’s Peach Macaroon Pie

Taco Salad Casserole and Mother’s Peach Macaroon Pie On a hot summer day in the south, a salad is so light and refreshing. This taco salad is a little heavier than most salads, but it is oh, so good. I enjoy making this for my family. I like to use the fresh tomatoes from our
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Pious Bob - Love Lots, Fear Not

By Robert Halsey Pine “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who
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Inspiration from God’s Word - Four Creatures Small and Wise

By Toni Ford The Book of Proverbs is, “the book of wisdom,” and has often been referred to as a “collection of collections.” Full of Biblical wisdom, Proverbs also raises questions of values, moral behavior, the meaning of human life and righteous conduct. King Solomon, the wisest, wealthiest, and most powerful man in history, wrote
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell - Macaroni Goulash, Broccoli and Corn Casserole and Sinful Chocolate Cake

Thank goodness it’s summer! Macaroni Goulash 1 medium onion, chopped 1/2 green pepper, chopped 1 tablespoon margarine 1 pound ground chuck 1 can (1 lb. 4 ounces) tomatoes 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon mustard 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked 1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (4 ounces) In a
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Inspiration from God’s Word: The Journey to the Promised Land

By Toni Ford How many of you remember the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of bondage? Do you happen to remember who actually led the children of Israel into the Promised Land? It was Joshua, Moses successor. Moses led Israel out of bondage, but it was Joshua who took them into blessing. Moses
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Pious Bob - Out of our Mouths Come...

By Robert Halsey Pine “For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue–a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:1-12 NRSV). The tongue may be the greatest repository of sin in man. It is
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Blueberry Cream Muffins 4 eggs 2 cups sugar 1 cup Crisco oil 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 cups sour cream 2 cups blueberries Glaze milk powdered sugar vanilla flavoring Grease 24 muffins cups or line with paper liners. In a large bowl, beat eggs,
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams Someone once said, “What the mind can conceive and the heart can believe, man can achieve.” I believe that statement to be true. The mind can be a very powerful tool. It was due to this belief that I once took a group of high school students to visit various colleges throughout
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Pious Bob - Determining Our Proximity to the Lord

By Robert Halsey Pine “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Matthew 12:22-32 NRSV). They brought to Jesus a man possessed of the devil who
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Inspiration from God’s Word - The truth will set you free

By Toni Ford John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” As a believer, we know that Jesus, is the ultimate truth, the definition of truth itself.  Jesus’ primary mission on earth was to set people free by helping them see, know, and believe the truth! However,
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell - Chicken Vegetable Bake and More!

Chicken Vegetable Bake, Hawaiian Chicken and Butterscotch Yum Yum Chicken Vegetable Bake 5 chicken breasts 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 3 tablespoons oil 1 can cream of chicken soup 3/4 cup white wine 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms 4 tablespoons chopped green onions 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper 1 can water chestnuts,
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams Have you ever taken stock of yourself? Where have you been and where are you going? Do you allow yourself time to just reflect on the meaning of it all and how you fit in? I often do that. It seems that I am constantly trying to understand all of this while
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Inspiration from God’s Word: A Touch of Heaven

By Toni Ford People who know me know how much I love worship music. If you were asked the question of what helps you enter the Lord’s presence faster than anything, what would you say? Some would say praying, reading the Word, taking a walk or listening to a sermon, but for me it is
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Pious Bob - Understanding that the victory has been won

By Robert Halsey Pine “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-58 NRSV). St. Paul ends his long discussion about life after death with these words of guidance and encouragement to the Corinthians.
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Aunt Sue’s Butternut Pound Cake, Pecan Pie and Caramel Corn This week I am continuing my series of my dad’s sisters, who were fabulous cooks. My aunt Sue Lankford and her husband Earl Lankford lived in Attalla for many years, and she was known for her fabulous cakes. I have never seen anyone who could
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Pious Bob - Becoming Faithful and Accepting Children of God

By Robert Halsey Pine “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word…May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
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Inspiration from God’s Word - The Blessings of the Beatitudes

By Toni Ford In the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7, we read what is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. In chapter five, Jesus begins this sermon by introducing His followers to a superior way of living, which was a new way of the kingdom. Up until this time, the Jews primary standard
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Aunt Dot’s Pound Cake and Aunt Eva’s Cinnamon Crisp Cookies Last week, I talked about the little women of Eastside Presbyterian Church and what a wonderful influence they had been on my life and my cooking skills. This week, I want to introduce you to a few of my dad’s five sisters and their recipes
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Inspiration from God’s Word: Searching for Wisdom

By Toni Ford Due to various circumstances in my life, lately I have found myself searching for wisdom more than ever. My pastor has been doing a series recently on the Book of Proverbs, which reminded me that one of the topics often covered in this particular book is wisdom. Several chapters in Proverbs was
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Pious Bob - A Possible Mission in an Impossible World

By Robert Halsey Pine “He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’” (Matthew 17:14-21 NRSV). Jesus shouted out
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Southern Cooking - Oatmeal Lace Cookies and Egg Custard Pie

By Andy Bedwell Being a Presbyterian for 60 years means that I have been to more Wednesday night suppers, homecomings, Women’s Circle meetings and various other “eating affairs” than most food connoisseurs. At these gatherings, recipes are exchanged and cooking ideas are discussed. Most of my prize recipes originated from a little group of women who
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Pious Bob... Be Humble and Let Him

By Robert Halsey Pine “You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. Before I was humbled I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes…The law of your
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Alabama’s bridge to nowhere

By State Rep. Craig Ford You may have seen ads on television recently talking about a bridge project in South Alabama. If you hadn’t heard of this project before those ads, you’re not alone. Most people, including legislators, were not aware of the plans to build this $87 million-dollar taxpayer-funded bridge to nowhere that even
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Pious Bob - Faith, Grasping the Invisible

By Robert Halsey Pine “Now faith is the assurance of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-12 NRSV). Faith is our confidence in
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams One of President Trump’s potential judicial nominees recently appeared before a panel to answer questions. She was asked about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Brown vs. The Board of Education. Her reaction said it all. She paused way too long. She stuttered, stammered, faltered and hesitated. When she finally found her
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Alabama’s Pre-K program leads nation but thousands of kids remain without access

By State Rep. Craig Ford When I was growing up, kids didn’t start learning the alphabet until they began kindergarten. Today, kids are expected to be able to write their names and read at least some words before they even begin kindergarten. The expectations are higher, and starting off behind everyone else in their class can
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Brickle Pecan Cookies and Apple Pie Cake I have always loved spending time in the kitchen and there is something very true about it being the heart of the home. I know it is the place where I am most comfortable with myself and the conversation and laughter flows a little easier. After all, my
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams “Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.” – George Santayana. I am of that opinion that this is what has occurred in our education system. There was a time when students who couldn’t pass were retained. Our biggest fear was looking at the back of that report
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Inspiration from God’s Word - Never Give Up

By Toni Ford Have you ever felt like giving up? I am sure we all have at some point in our lives. Depending on their situation, some people have had to battle this thought on a daily basis. In the Gospel of Mark, we find a group of men that were faced with this same
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Pious Bob - Alive and Well in the World

By Robert Halsey Pine “Then one of the seven angels…came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’” (Revelation 21:9-21 NRSV). We all belong to The First United Wife of the Lamb Church. The angel showed John the radiant “holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Real Mashed Potatoes, Squash They’ll Eat! and Macaroni and Cheese I believe the best cooking we can find comes from our mothers and is simple, fast, and good tasting! This week, I want to list some sides, or vegetables, as we call them, even though only in the South is macaroni and cheese  considered a
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Pious Bob - Humble Accountability

By Robert Halsey Pine “…For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 NRSV). The tax collector in this parable prays, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” The Pharisee, of course, builds himself up, as he prays to God. Being humble before God is where we
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Baked Taco Casserole and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake Let’s do some quick, easy and good recipes! We Southerners love our comfort foods, and so many restaurants these days present “frilly” foods on fancy plates with swirling sauces for decoration that are almost too pretty to eat. My goal is to serve straightforward, good food in
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams We should seriously consider revamping the education system as we know it. It is common knowledge that many of our students are struggling. We are quick to inform our high school and college athletes regarding the low percentage of individuals who make it to professional ranks. Our desire is not to be
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Inspiration from God’s Word - The Blessings of the Righteous

By Toni Ford I am not sure if you have ever read many of the Psalms, but there are some incredible promises to the believer all throughout this book. Two of these beautiful psalms stood out to me this week, Psalm 111 and 112. Psalm 111 ends by admonishing us to fear the Lord and
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Pious Bob - The Greatest Plan Ever

By Robert Halsey Pine “So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I
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How We Can Make Our Schools Safer

By State Rep. Craig Ford Education is the most important service our government provides, and one of the top issues impacting education is school safety. Unfortunately, it seems like every conversation about school safety always turns into a debate about guns, and nothing ever gets done. But there are a lot of things we can –
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Italian Tomato Salad, Pretzel-Strawberry Salad and Taco Salad I can remember when salad was a wedge of lettuce and a cruet of dressing that set directly on the table. Now a salad can also include a cold congealed salad with marshmallows and cherries or a side of creamy potato salad. Salads have come a long
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams I’ve often been hypercritical about our region on certain issues. I don’t mean to be that way. When I’m researching and viewing things from a moral, historical or even political perspective, however, I sometimes can’t help myself. There are times when we lag behind in change or advancement. Call it tradition or
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Inspiration from God's Word - What does God hate?

By Toni Ford As I was thinking of a name for this article, I really didn’t want to use the word “hate,” mainly because it is such a strong word. This generation especially does not like to recognize that God has the capacity to hate. They would rather see Him as a soft-hearted God who
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Pious Bob - The Goodness of the Unseen

By Robert Halsey Pine “And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, The LORD…But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’ And the LORD continued, ‘See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Strawberry Cheesecake Tarts and Strawberry Bread I love cookbooks and I love strawberries. Yesterday, I discovered this recipe in one of my mother’s old cookbooks, and she had written the word “great” in her handwriting. I will let all of you wonderful cooks be the judge of this recipe. Norris Farm’s strawberries are supposed to
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams California recently declared itself a sanctuary state. Some are even considering leaving the Union rather than comply with the president’s views on immigration. As I reflected on this, I thought about the history between the United States and Mexico. The relationship between Mexico and the colonists from America was not always one
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Inspiration from God’s Word - Don’t be pulled by things of this world

By Toni Ford Paul gives us a great challenge in Philippians 4:6 when he says, “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing…” When I first read this verse, my first thought was “Yeah, right – how in the world do I keep from being pulled in different directions and worrying about
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Pious Bob - Godly Communications

By Robert Halsey Pine “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he
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Who will be our next state superintendent of education?

By State Rep. Craig Ford The state legislative session has come to an end, but legislators won’t be the ones making the most important decision our government will make this year. The State Board of Education will make that decision in April, when it selects our next State Superintendent of Education. For all of the high-profile
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Key Lime Layer Cake and Pink Lemonade Pie “I have come that they may have life…And have it to the full.” – John 10:10. As you witness the miracles of life all around you… May you be filled with the Joy of the Risen Saviour Have a blessed Easter! Treat your Easter guests to sensational
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The Vagabond - Mysterious & legendary caves at Lookout Mountain

By Danny Crownover Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the August 15, 2014 edition of The Messenger. During a recent presentation about Noccalula Falls, The Vagabond mentioned a cave that once was located there. The following is the story about that cave: Located throughout Lookout Mountain are many caves in which many legends
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Inspiration from God’s Word - The Meaning of Jesus’ Resurrection

By Toni Ford This week, often called Holy Week or Passion Week, is often considered the most important week for a believer. It was during this week that our Lord began His trip to Jerusalem, knowing that He would lay down His life for the sins of the world. There are so many significant truths
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams “Dad, its cold outside.” My son informs me of the current weather conditions as if it was news to me. “So?” I replied. “Charlie doesn’t care anything about it being cold outside.” My son has heard me refer to Charlie many times. Although Charlie is fictional, I toss his name around as
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Pious Bob - Receiving the Works

By Robert Halsey Pine “You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes, Shoe Peg Corn and Green Bean Casserole and Fudge Pie Growing up in a household with a mother who loved to cook, home cooking has always been with hearty, satisfying comfort foods, especially during the winter months. My mother always tried to create recipes that were lighter in calories and  healthier for
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams I was recently preparing to hit the ball was on the first tee of a local golf course when one of my golf buddies said, “David, you need call to Judge Moore and tell him…” I stopped in mid-swing. “That’s not the way it works,” I replied. “I don’t have the judge’s
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Inspiration from God’s Word - His Last Week

By Toni Ford This is the time of year in which people begin to refer to the Scriptures about Jesus’ death and resurrection. As I was reading in John this past week, I started reading the chapters leading up to His death and resurrection, and I realized for the first time the importance of Jesus’
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Pious Bob - Finding Our True Origin

By Robert Halsey Pine “But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:17 – 4:7 NRSV). Tell it like it is, Paul! Does anyone really believe that his or her citizenship is in heaven? If our citizenship is in heaven, why are
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Butter Meltaways and Southern Praline Cookies I just have to tell y’all what a blast that we had at Cottontail’s Village last weekend. The crowd was fantastic and it was so thrilling to talk to men and women who enjoy cooking as I do. A lady from Jasper bought seven cookbooks and insisted that I make
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams Report cards recently were given to Alabama public schools regarding each school’s performance. Many of the scores caused concern among the vested interest groups. Myself and other educators must sit back and listen to the armchair quarterbacks tell us who should be fired and why. I marvel that how someone, without thoroughly
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Pious Bob - Wall-to-Wall Community

By Robert Halsey Pine “And I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, ‘The work is great and widely spread out, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Rally to us wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet. Our God will fight for us.” (Nehemiah 4:1-23
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Inspiration from God’s Word - What voice do you recognize?

By Toni Ford Each year in December, I begin to pray about the upcoming year. I ask the Lord to show me a vision, focus or a word that He wants me to pursue for the coming year. This year, the Lord did not give me a vision or a subject area to focus on,
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Let’s make universal pre-K program a reality in Alabama

By State Rep. Craig Ford I believe that everyone between the ages of four and 64 should either be in a good school or a good job. That is why one of my long-time goals has been to see every four-year-old in Alabama have access to the state’s nationally-recognized pre-K program. The state has done
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Food for Thought...

By David Williams Our local school system is in the process of hiring a new superintendent. Surveys and suggestions are being taken as the search for new candidates gets underway. There have been numerous suggestions, and many of them have merit. Some are advocating that a greater emphasis be placed on reading during the earlier
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Strawberry Tossed Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, Another Macaroni and Cheese Recipe and Blueberry Pies Memories! I love to think back to my childhood to the warm memories that often fill my mind of my grandmother’s, my aunt’s and my mother’s kitchens. The memories of all of the wonderful cooks in my family (and also in yours) who
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Pious Bob - The Sacrifice of Thanks

By Robert Halsey Pine “Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50 NRSV). We have so much to be thankful for. You say, “I don’t have anything to be thankful for. Everywhere that I turn, I am a victim.”
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The Vagabond - Attalla played important role in region’s history

By Danny Crownover Editor’s note: this article was originally published in the August 17, 2012 edition of The Messenger Incorporated as a town on February 5, 1872, by the 44th General Assembly of the Alabama Legislature. However, the city’s history actually predates its incorporation as a town. The City of Attalla occupies the site of
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Four Can Chili and Banana Icebox Cake Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I could ever write my own cookbook and enjoy every minute that I spent doing it. I have been so overwhelmed at the response to”Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell.” Mary and I have enjoyed meeting so many of
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Pious Bob - Putting First Things First and Loving It

By Robert Halsey Pine “Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is always with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your decrees are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.
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Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Shrimp Chippewa, Twice Baked Potatoes and Cream Cheese Pound Cake Y’all have probably discovered that I enjoy all of the seasons, but this particular time of the year in Alabama is so beautiful. Spring is on the way and I love seeing the last bits of winter disappear and all of the blooming flowers coming
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