Southside Senior releases first book

 By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


Southside Senior Taylor Clough, 18, wrote and published her first book The Perfect Match last month.

“I wanted to tell my story,” said Taylor.

When Taylor Clough was only 12, she got some devastating news. Her little brother, Ben, was diagnosed with leukemia at only 9 years old. 

To help her brother and best friend fight

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Economic bill passes in Senate

  On Thursday, March 19, the Alabama Senate passed House Bill 59, the Alabama Reinvestment and Abatements Act, sponsored by Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) and Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan). HB59 now heads to the governor for his signature.

HB59 will encourage the growth of existing businesses by creating capital reinvestment incentives for Alabama companies that will result in more

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Habitat announces Dragon Boat Race

  With origins dating back 2,300 years, dragon boat racing is the most fun, unique cultural event featuring adrenaline-pumping action. Teams race in 46-foot long Hong Kong-style dragon boats adorned with decorative dragonheads and tails, with 20 paddlers, a drummer and steerer navigating a racecourse at speeds of 10-15 mph. Dragon boat racing is the 8th fastest growing sport in

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Crawfish with Culture to be held April 18

  On Saturday, April 18 there will be a traditional low country boil, Crawfish With Culture,  presented by the Hardin Center for Cultural Arts and Capeside Fish Company. Guests will enjoy fresh Louisiana crawfish, gulf shrimp, potatoes, corn, and sausage.

In addition to the meal there will be live music and entertainment provided by Chris Bellamy. Bellamy is from Wilmington,

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West Etowah wins Best Tasting Water

 By George Marodis

Source Water Specialist


Does your utility produce the Best Tasting Water in Alabama? Well, if you did not enter the Alabama Rural Water Associations Water Taste Test Competition held on Tuesday March 18, then we will never know how it would compare against the competition. However, for those 15 utilities that entered the competition one sample of water

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McCauley honored as Servant Leader of the Year by LHC

  Gadsden resident Natalie McCauley, regional operations director for Alabama and Florida, has been named the 2014 national Servant Leader of the Year by LHC Group, one of the nation’s leading providers of post-acute care services. McCauley was selected from a group of 10 finalists as the national winner.

The Servant Leader of the Year is the highest honor an

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The U.S. Chamber and Auburn raise glasses to Back Forty Beer Company

By Lindsay Seagraves

Messenger Correspondent


Just when Back Forty Beer Company founder Jason Wilson thought he’d reached the top of the mountain after winning a spot as one of the top 100 small businesses in the nation, the driven entrepreneur continues to reach new peaks – including a prestigious one from his alma mater.

Wilson said Back Forty was nominated for

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John S. Jones ranked in top 100 Alabama elementaries

 By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


On a recent ranking of nationwide schools, a local school placed in the top 100 elementary schools in Alabama. John S. Jones Elementary was rated 79th in the state.

The rankings were performed by a research website called Niche.com. Niche uses community reviews and opinions with hard data, like standardized test scores. The website has scores

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County safety efforts pay off

  A yearlong effort across Alabama to provide safer workplaces and reduce injuries has produced dividends for 42 county commissions, which have received cash awards from the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s insurance funds. 

ACCA’s Safety Incentive Discount Program, administered by its self-funded insurance programs, rewards counties for ongoing efforts to enhance training for employees in safety-sensitive positions, improve

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ECBOE receives accreditation

  According to an exit report from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Division of AdvancED, the Etowah County Board of Education recently earned accreditation for a five-year period. Etowah County exceeded AdvancED averages in all rated categories.

AdvancED is the largest community of education professional in the world. The group performs on-site reviews and is a partner with

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Local author publishes second anthology

Carla Wynn Hall, a Gadsden native, has found her passion in helping under supported women write their stories and be published in a book. Last year, she published an anthology of women’s stories. The women used social media to connect and collaborate. Now she has published a second anthology.

Both anthologies she was instrumental in publishing, made the #1

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Gadsden Middle students learn at Disney

  Gadsden Middle School students used the Walt Disney World Resort as a classroom on Feb. 2 and 3 when they participated in the Disney Youth Education Series “The Science of Disney Imagineering: Gravity” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and “Principles of Animal Behavior” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

The group of students traveled from Gadsden, Ala. to the Walt Disney World

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Oliver to be inducted into Hall of Honor

  The Induction into the Patriots Hall of Honor normally takes place during the Patriots Day Luncheon, which is on November 4 this year. However in recognition of the life work of Hazel Oliver and that she will be turning 100 years old in August, the Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association will have a special induction ceremony on March 31 at 11

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GSCC to host annual International Festival

  Gadsden State Community College International Programs will host its 37th annual International Festival, “The Places You’ll Go,” on April 10 at Convention Hall in Gadsden. 

The festival includes displays showcasing countries from around the world and highlights international food and entertainment. 

Tickets are on sale now until April 8 at the Wallace Hall online box office at www.international.wallacehall.org; the

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Hardin Center to host Wine, Women and Wardrobe

  The Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts will host the Wine, Women and Wardrobe event at the Gunn-Bellenger House on Thursday, April 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. as part of their year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the center. 

Several fashion vendors will be showcasing their products, including both apparel and accessories. There will be representatives

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Physicians Who Care to host charity 5K

  Physicians Who Care will sponsor our 24th Annual 5K/1Mile Walk on April 18. All money raised will go to the Etowah County Cancer Foundation.

Physicians Who Care was established in 1988 and continues to offer Community Education, Physician Referral Services, and Special Projects throughout the year. It was founded by Seth Spotnitz, MD who is Chairman of the 5K

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Plant Gadsden forced to stop coal useage

  Federal environmental mandates are forcing Alabama Power to stop using coal at Plant Gadsden.

The facility ceased burning coal on Wednesday, March 11 and will use only natural gas. By restricting the plant to natural gas, federal mandates are limiting the company’s ability to use more than one type of fuel at the facility.

Fuel diversity – the ability

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Rainbow City announces Chocolate Festival plans

 By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


On Friday, March 6, Rainbow City officials and Mayor Terry John Calhoun announced the plans for the 10th annual Alabama Chocolate Festival. The festival will take place at the Rainbow Plaza in Rainbow City on Saturday, April 11. Admission to the festival is free.

“This is our tenth year, and we are expecting a large crowd

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Downtown Gadsden celebrates St. Patty’s Day with a Pub Crawl

  On Tuesday, March 17 on St. Patrick’s Day, Chase Building Group, with the help of Downtown Gadsden, Inc., will host a Pub Crawl in downtown Gadsden.  

The fun begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Back Forty Beer Company, where you will pick up your pub crawl card.  If you can’t make it to Back Forty, don’t worry. All

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Republican Committee submits names for open positions

The Etowah County Republican Party Executive Committee (ECRPExComm) met Monday, March 9 and voted to send the name of Lewis Fuller to Governor Bentley as the ECRPExComm’s choice to fill the unexpired term of Commissioner Kenny Tidmore on the Etowah County Commission who recently passed away.

Fuller was by far the top vote getter among the committee members, as

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The Next Great Americans Bus Tour to visit Etowah County schools

Liberty Learning Foundation’s Next Great Americans Bus Tour continues its mission to help students “discover and define their important roles in America’s future” with a performance for the 4th and 5th graders at Hokes Bluff, Gaston, Ivalee, Duck Springs and Whitesboro elementary schools.

In a 45-minute theatrical performance held at 9 a.m., Friday March 13th, Libby Liberty will take

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House passes bill to protect students’ religious freedoms

  The House of Representatives on Wednesday (Mar. 11) awarded its approval to the “Student Religious Liberties Act,” a measure sponsored by State Rep. Mack Butler (R – Rainbow City) and designed to ensure that students retain their constitutional rights to prayer and religious expressions while in public schools. 

The bill is part of the House Republican Caucus’s “Alabama First”

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Local family adopts retired veteran Benny

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


On February 12, the Mink family found a new family member. The family adopted Benny, a veteran canine that worked in Afghanistan. 

Benny, a Belian Malinois, was trained through AMK9, which trains dogs for many purposes, including finding ammo and narcotics, which was Benny’s specialty. 

Benny, only 5 years old, worked in Afghanistan for three years.

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Bugles Across America offers live Taps performances

 By Sarrah Peters News Editor When Daniel Butterfield rewrote an earlier call to create Taps during the Civil War, he probably didn’t know how iconic the call would become.  The mournful 24 notes of Taps is now the traditional farewell to members of the armed forces at funerals, but lately the tradition hasn’t been honored
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Williams appointed as chairman of Alabama legislative senate committees

  State Senator Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) recently was appointed to serve as Chairman of the new Fiscal Responsibility & Economic Development Committee in the Alabama State Senate. He was also tapped for another leadership role as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The two committees combined handle nearly half of all the legislation in the Senate.

Senator Williams represents

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GMA presents “The Nature of Pale”

  “The Nature of Pale: Science Meets Art” opens at the Gadsden Museum of Art on April 1 and runs through May 8, 2015.  Oil painter, Anna Mullin, has developed an interest in science through her passion for painting.  Rather than simply painting things that are pale—such as blond hair, snow, sand, and dry bones—she wanted to find out the

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Prime Healthcare Services acquires Riverview Regional Medical Center

Prime Healthcare Services announced earlier this week that it has completed its acquisition of Riverview Regional Medical Center and its related outpatient services.

“Prime Healthcare looks forward to continuing the extraordinary care at Riverview Regional,” said Prem Reddy, MD, FACC, FCCP, Chairman, President and CEO of Prime Healthcare Services. “We plan to support the hard work and dedication of

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Bentley announces solution for General Fund Budget shortfall

  With a focus on tax fairness and debt repayment, Gov. Robert Bentley recently announced his solution to fill a $700 million funding shortfall in the General Fund Budget.

The General Fund supports most non-education related functions of state government. For decades, problems have existed in the way funding was appropriated to the General Fund because of no growth taxes

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Four Etowah cities make top 30 safest in Alabama

SafeWise.com released its 30 Safest Cities in Alabama Report last week, honoring 30 cities from 18 Alabama Counties. Four of the safest 30 cities in Alabama are located in Etowah County. Rainbow City was ranked 28, with an average of 2.9 violent crimes per 1,000 citizens and an average of 25.23 property crimes per 1,000
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Late County Commissioner Tidmore remembered

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


Etowah County District 2 Commissioner Kenny Tidmore passed away  Saturday, February 21 at a Birmingham hospital.

Tidmore will be remembered by his fellow commissioners for his hard work and compassion. 

The first time District 3 County Commissioner Larry Payne met Tidmore was while Tidmore was behind the counter of the Noccalula Village Chevron that he owned.

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GSCC to host talent show March 3

Gadsden State Community College Student Activities will host the show of “Top 10 Talents” on Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wallace Fine Arts Center Auditorium in Gadsden. 

Ten student acts will compete for prizes of $200 first place, $150 second place, and $100 for third place. 

Solo vocalists performing include: Rachel Berry of Hokes Bluff, Cianna

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UPS announces safe Alabama drivers

UPS recently announced 21 elite drivers from Alabama are among 1,445 newly inducted worldwide into the Circle of Honor, an honorary organization for UPS drivers who have achieved 25 or more years of accident-free driving. 

  UPS drivers, Larry Steele of Altoona, Timothy Kisor of Gadsden and Jeffrey Johnson of Rainbow City were recently inducted into UPS’s prestigious Circle of

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GSCC announces 4th annual Etowah career fair

The Gadsden State Community College Career Transitions program will host the 4th Annual Etowah County Career Fair March 6 at the Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center. More than 1,000 juniors, from participating high schools around the county, are expected to attend.  The program, which houses the college’s career coaches, has chosen as the fair’s theme: Explore.Overcome.Achieve.

The Gadsden State

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Quality of Life dedicates new School-Based Health Center facility

On Thursday afternoon, Quality of Life Health Services, Inc. and many special guests celebrated the opening of a brand new, comprehensive school-based health center located between the campuses of Oscar Adams Elementary School and Litchfield Middle School. Gadsden Family and Student Health Solutions opened its door on November 24th after completion of a capital project to build a new

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State leaders must spend more time standing up for Alabama

Most Alabama politicians spent this past campaign season talking about how they were going to “stand up to Obama” and fight back against the federal government. It was ironic, given that President Obama is only going to be president for two more years, while voters were looking to elect candidates who would serve for the next four years, and

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Etowah County’s second courthouse

This week, The Vagabond while at the Etowah Historical Society found another old document (note: If the readers have any old document of interesting history, please bring them to the historical society! I want to thank Forrest Lambert for bringing in a ton of Alabama books as well as the entire set of the War of the Rebellion, old

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Ford to push I-759 extension

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


State Representative Craig Ford addressed the members of the Gadsden City Council during their meeting on Tuesday, February 17.

Ford asked the council members for help in pushing state officials for funding to extend I-759. 

I-759 directly impacts the main roads of Gadsden including George Wallace Drive (AL Hwy 291) and Meighan Blvd. (U.S. 431).

Economically,

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Mayor Bell speaks at Gadsden State campus

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


Birmingham Mayor William Bell spoke at the Gadsden State Community College’s Valley Street campus on Tuesday, February 17. February is Black History Month. Mayor Bell is the 33rd mayor of Birmingham. Mayor Bell was invited to speak as part of GSCC’s black history program.

The program began with a short video on the march from Selma

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Riverview to host health fair on Feb. 21

In recognition of American Heart Month, which is celebrated each year in February, Riverview Regional Medical Center invites the public to the 2015 Cardiovascular Health Fair on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 7 - 11 a.m. 

The event, which takes place at Riverview’s Heart and Vascular Center, includes cholesterol and glucose screening, EKG, PAD (peripheral arterial disease), and blood pressure

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Etowah 4-H to take part in Chick Chain project

  The Etowah County 4-H program is proud to announce that it will be offering county youth the opportunity to take part in the 4-H Chick Chain project this year.  In the Chick Chain project, young people purchase 18 one-day old chicks from the Extension Office, grow them out for 22 weeks and then bring their top three chickens to

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Opinion Piece

By Josh Moon/Montgomery Advertiser

We need $700 million dollars.

That's how much it would require to patch up the nearly $300 million hole in the Alabama General Fund Budget and to prevent further borrowing from the Education Trust and to pay back old debts. That's what Gov. Robert Bentley told a group of lawmakers and business leaders and reporters

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Dollar General celebrates new Southside store

Dollar General will celebrate the opening of its new location at 1856 Lakemont Drive in Southside on Saturday, February 21 at 8 a.m. with free prizes and special deals.  Dollar General will offer Southside residents a convenient new place to shop for everyday essentials at low prices.

Additionally, the first 50 adult shoppers at the store will receive a

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The changing face of Alabama 4-H

Parents want children and teens involved in activities that build skills and knowledge. Young people want activities that are fun and offer variety. The answer - Alabama 4-H.

Extension professionals across the state are working closely with adult and youth advisory groups to ensure that 4-H in every county is an exciting and fun place for young people aged

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GSCC employees receive national recognition

Gadsden State Community College is proud to announce its recipients of the annual National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Awards. The 2015 honorees are Shirley Colvin, assistant dean of instruction/science division chair; Tim Hardy, air conditioning & refrigeration technology instructor; Dr. Sara Wheeler, mathematics instructor, and Jennifer Williams, transcript evaluator. Interim President Martha Lavender said, “Each

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The Factory introduces a fun new adventure

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


On April 1, 2014, The Factory opened its doors. The fun-filled facility is different from any other nearby attraction.

The Factory features a trampoline gym and trampoline dodgeball court. For teen nights, the regular lights are darkened and muticolored lights take its place, while music is played. 

There is also a small arcade and batting cages.

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Honey-Baked Ham comes to Gadsden

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


Honey-Baked Ham Company and Cafe has a new location, and this time it is permanent. Honey-Baked Ham has opened a holiday kiosk at Gadsden Mall for the past five years. They now have a storefront at 110 West Grand Avenue Suite 100 in Rainbow City. 

The store opened the week before Thanksgiving last year. The well-known

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Gadsden Regional welcomes new cardiothoracic surgeon

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


Gadsden Regional Medical Center has gained a new cardiothoracic surgeon. Dr. Daniel McCoy now works with GRMC staff to operate on a variety of heart and lung related diseases.

He has brought with him the know-how to perform a less invasive surgery to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms, which he refers to as “silent killers.”

The abdominal

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Walker brings leadership, experience to Gadsden parks and recreation

By Messenger Staff


The decorations aren’t all in place yet in Courtney Walker’s new office, but he has already hit the ground running as the city’s new Parks and Recreation Director. Walker took over the city’s recreational department effective Jan. 1 this year.

Walker, 46, started working for the department in 1994, managing various community and recreational facilities in Gadsden.

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Progressive leadership moves Attalla forward

By Jacqueline Chandler

News Correspondent


2014 proved to be another year of positive growth and development for the City of Attalla, as Mayor Larry Means and other city officials push for positive impacts on the municipality.

New events such as Treasures in the Street have already had a positive economic impact, with future projections showing a continual growth for the event.

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Little Canoe Creek classified as mega site

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


The Etowah County Commission has made many strides to improve the community it serves in the last few years. Recently, the commission has set its sight on developing the Little Canoe Creek Industrial Park.

The location for the site was chosen carefully, with nearby access from two major highways, I-59 and U.S. Hwy 11, and is

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Robert Turner-The only Confederate soldier killed in Gadsden

The Vagabond ran across some papers earlier this week that Hazel Oliver wrote years ago for the Etowah Historical Society. The papers were about Robert Turner, who was killed in action at the Black Creek incident. Tur-ner is buried along with Emma Sansom’s father and daughter and a black family member.

For many years up

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Being ‘UP’ for Jesus

A friend recently sent me a posting on the “Yahoo Answers” page. It was posted by a person named Sepia and is the best answer to date on the question: “What is the two letter word in the English language that has the most meanings?” In searching several dictionaries, I found, as well, that the suggested word has many

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Etowah begins issuing same-sex marriage licenses

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


After confusing and conflicting messages from federal and state officials, some Alabama counties, including Etowah County, began issuing same-sex marriage licenses on Monday, February 9. 

Alabama’s state ban on same-sex marriages was ruled unconstitutional on January 23. After the ruling, Judge Roy Moore appealed for a stay until the Supreme Court decides on the issue later

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Local student receives full scholarship

By Sarrah Peters 

News Editor

Nolan Boatner, like many high school seniors, has been considering colleges for some time. 

Luckily, Nolan has worked hard to keep his GPA high. Despite playing baseball and football, which would often keep him from getting home until 7:30 p.m., when he would still have to complete his homework, Nolan still managed to maintain a 3.8

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Kiwanis Club to host pancake day

The Kiwanis Club of Gadsden is proud to announce that on Saturday, Feb. 21, the single most successful one-day fundraiser in the good old USA is set to happen yet again. 

Beginning at 3:30 a.m., the troops will converge on Gadsden’s Convention Hall to begin the cooking process that will serve over 10,000 pancakes, garnished with fresh Dean’s Sausage,

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Bell, Deuce to speak at Gadsden State

Gadsden State Community College aims to bring a mix of laughter and reflections when noted Alabamian and political figure Mayor William Bell; and nationally known stand-up comedian/television host Joe Deuce come to town. 

Mayor Bell of Birmingham will be the keynote speaker for “A Journey Through Black History” on Tuesday, February 17 at 3 p.m. in the Valley Street

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Volunteers renew Alabama’s rivers

Volunteers will help launch the 16th year of Renew Our Rivers with a cleanup Feb. 21 on the Alabama River.

More than 72,000 volunteers have collected nearly 14 million pounds of trash and debris since the program’s inception in 2000.

Renew Our Rivers began with one Alabama Power employee who had a vision to improve the health and beauty

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Love Kitchen visits local soup kitchen

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


On Friday, January 30, the Love Kitchen rolled into Way of the Cross Fellowship, a place of worship and service. 

The Love Kitchen provided pizzas for the Fellowship’s soup kitchen. The Little Caesars Love Kitchen helped feed 192 people at lunch and another 125 at dinner, for a total of 317 people.

The Way of The

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Jimmie Harp speaks to local Democrats

By Brett Johnson

Messenger Correspondent


Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp was the keynote speaker at a recent meeting of the Etowah County Democratic Executive Committee. The group met at Top O’ The River where Harp announced his plans to run for re-election as a Democrat.

“I want to tell you tonight: I’m Jimmie Harp, I am your District Attorney and

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City smoke-free ordinance in effect

The City of Gadsden officially became smoke-free Feb. 1 as implementation begins on the comprehensive smoke-free ordinance passed by the Gadsden City Council last June.  Gadsden now joins 26 other communities throughout Alabama that are leading the way in protecting citizens from the dangers of secondhand smoke.  

City leaders took a critical step forward in protecting the health

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Local student wins educational trips

Westbrook Christian School student Chase Smidt was one of the top performers in the 24th Annual Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative Youth Tour Challenge held Jan. 28. 

Fifteen students from the various area high schools in the CVEC service area participated in this year’s competition. The students had already competed against their classmates by writing an essay about rural electrical

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Downtown Gadsden to host Party with a Purpose

On Sunday, February 15 at 4 p.m., Downtown Gadsden Inc. will host the 3rd Annual Party with a Purpose at the Pitman.  

The event will raise money to go towards continued renovations of one of downtown Gadsden’s historical landmarks, The Pitman Theater. Since the first year of this event renovations have been ongoing.  Last year, with the help

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Woman’s Club holds January meeting

The Woman’s Club of Gadsden met on Jan. 27 at the Club House.

President Martha Elrod welcomed the members and guests to the meeting and introduced new member Marie Heygood. 

Pat Saye gave the devotional. Martha also thanked January luncheon committee chairman Donna Wright and her committee for the beautiful decorations and the delicious lunch which was catered by

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GRMC to host annual Go Red event

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


For the 11th year, Gadsden Regional Medical Center will host its annual Go Red event. It will take place at Gadsden Convention Hall on February 10 at 6 p.m. The event raises awareness about heart health, as well as money for the American Heart Association.

Fox 6 news anchor, Janice Rogers will be hosting the event.

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Downtown Gadsden to host sweet and spicy weekend

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


On Friday, February 6, the merchants of Downtown Gadsden will be hosting a Chocolate Stroll.  Since it’s the week before Valentine’s Day, stores are going to stay open until 7 p.m. and will be offering special sales and serving chocolate delights. 

The merchants have also put together the “Ultimate Valentine’s Day Basket.”  To register, go to

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Dinosaurs coming to Gadsden

There’s something big  coming to historic downtown Gadsden this February or should we say pre-historic downtown Gadsden? The Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts is pleased to announce Dinosaurs Alive! opening February 8.

Everyone is invited to attend the grand opening reception on February 8 at 1 p.m.  There will be pre-historic punch and triceratops treats as well

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GRMC honors employees of the year

Gadsden Regional honored three of its own recently by naming a trio of employees as Employee of the Year and Clinical and Non-Clinical Managers of the Year.

The Imaging Department’s Tommy Batson was named Employee of the Year. Batson, who is the hospital’s PACS administrator, was named Employee of the Month in October 2013. 

His nomination for Employee of

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Tourism Board announces new Veteran’s Day parade

At their most recent board meeting, the Etowah County Tourism Board voted to work with the Gadsden/Etowah Patriot’s Association to restore the Veteran’s Day parade on November 4, 2015.

“The Patriot’s Association approached us about partnering with them to help with communication, publicity and promotion, and overall administration/production of the parade,” said Hugh Stump III, executive director for the

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Gadsden hosts MLK Day events

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


The City of Gadsden played host to two  events honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

On Friday, Broad Street was the location of a small “Unity in the Community” parade. The parade was organized by CJC Services Corporation. This is the first year the parade has been organized, but CJC Services plans to organize another Martin

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Gadsden sets date for smoking ban to begin

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


At the Gadsden City Council meeting on January 20, council members once again discussed the smoking ordinance that was passed by the previous council. When it was passed last year, the starting date was set to begin January 1, but the date was pushed back. 

At the meeting, a new start date was proposed and passed.

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Parker selected for leadership initiative

Etowah County Commissioner Carolyn Parker has joined a select group of second-term commissioners in a brand new statewide program designed to grow new county leaders in the State of Alabama.

Parker and colleagues from 15 other counties began an 18-month program directed by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama specifically focusing on practical and service-oriented skills that will

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GSCC hosts VUB Recruitment Day

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) staff will be available Tuesday, January 27 from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Gadsden State-Cherokee to meet with veterans who are interested in receiving services to increase their success in college enrollment and graduation. Veterans Upward Bound is a TRiO program funded completely by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. 

This pre-college

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RSVP to offer tax assistance

The IRS understands that many low income or senior citizen taxpayers cannot afford to pay a tax preparer, so it created the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. Under these programs, low to moderate income and/or senior citizen taxpayers may obtain free tax assistance and e-filing.

To offer these programs in our

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Love Kitchen set to come to Etowah County

 By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


On Friday, January 30, Little Caesars will help feed the hungry in Etowah County with its Love Kitchen. One of the two kitchen-equipped trucks will set its wheels at the Way of the Cross Soup Kitchen at 101 North 24th Street in Alabama City, where it will feed about 375 people in need.

“They travel all

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Etowah Youth Orchestra to perform at governor’s party

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


The Etowah Youth Orchestra has been invited to perform at Governor Robert Bentley’s Inauguration party on Monday, January 19. 

The orchestra, composed of about 250 students ranging from 4th graders to 12th graders, is set to perform a 45 minute set at noon in Montgomery at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex. The party will begin after the

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Local church to host concert and food drive

 By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


A community concert and food drive will be held on January 25 at 3 p.m at First United Methodist Church of Gadsden, located at 115 South 5th Street.

The concert is open to the community and free with the donation of non-perishable and canned food items. The “Champions Against Hunger” Food Drive will benefit the Etowah

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The Downtown Dance Conservatory prepares to debut new dance

  The Downtown Dance Artists are preparing to debut a brand new contemporary dance work in the coming weeks. Titled “For Frida Kahlo”, the piece is inspired by the iconic visual artist of the same namesake. Much of Kahlo’s work was inspired from a tragic trolley accident in her youth which caused her to be in physical and emotional pain

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Farm City poster contest winners announced

  Etowah County Farmer’s Federation and Eto-wah County Soil and Water Conservation District held their annual Farm City Poster contest recently.  

The contest is open to all kindergarten through sixth grade students in Etowah. The theme was “Agriculture:  365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed”.  

First place winner in the K-3 division was Ellie Clevenger, second grade

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Hardin Center celebrates 25 years

By Sarrah Peters

News Editor


The Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in downtown Gadsden celebrated its 25th anniversary on January 6 with an event celebrating its past and future.

The event reviewed its history with a review of the Hardin Center’s past with Judge Jamie Sledge who was board chairman of the center in 1990 when the center opened

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EMA opens warming stations

Extremely cold weather is forecast to affect Etowah County this week. Temperatures dropped below freezing Wednesday night, and were not predicted to rise above freezing again until Friday. Wind chills dropped to near the single digits both nights.

Local jurisdictions and agencies opened warming centers to provide relief to local citizens. The following locations opened: Salvation Army - 114

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Gadsden loses an influential woman

Gadsden has lost a pillar of the community. Juanita Moman, 90, passed away on December 22, 2014.

Moman’s Eyecare, at 40 years old, has the distinction of being the oldest retail business on Broad Street. Juanita Moman opened in 1975 on Broad Street, as Moman’s Optical Dispensary. Being owned and operated by a woman marked Moman’s as a unique

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Quality of Life receives USDA rural grant

Quality of Life Health Services, Inc. was selected for a $ 396,543 grant under the 2014 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service.

Telemedicine connects an individual patient to a health care provider via a video feed. The provider, with the assistance of a camera and electronic devices,

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GSCC to host holiday health fair

The 17th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Initiative Health Fair sponsored by Gadsden State Community College is scheduled for Monday, January 19. The event will be held in the auditorium of the East Broad Campus administration building from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m.  Approximately 20 vendors and health agencies will be participating. Members of the Lambda Eta Omega Chapter

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JSU students help Gadsden seniors

By Sarrah Peters/News Editor

Since 1997, Jacksonville State University social work students have been assisting McGuffey Healthcare and Rehab First with planning activities for the residents.

The upper level practice group case management class teaches students how to utilize available resources and plan activities with appropriate themes. With low budgets, the students must be creative. They frequently acquire services that are on

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Etowah attractions featured on Absolutely Alabama

By Sarrah Peters/News Editor

Two Etowah County attractions were featured in the Christmas specials of Absolutely Alabama with Fred Hunter on Fox 6. 

In the first Christmas special hosted out of Dothan’s Landmark Park, there was a story about Don Turner of Allis Chalmers Tractors in Hokes Bluff. Turner makes Allis Chalmers pedal tractors. Although it sounds like a fun toy, these

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Applications being accepted for Farm of Distinction contest

Outstanding Alabama farms have until Jan. 30 to apply for more than $12,000 in cash and prizes as part of the Alabama Farm of Distinction contest. The contest recognizes sustainable farm businesses that exhibit sound management, environmental stewardship and innovation according to Alabama Farm City Committee  Chairman Jeff Helms.  “Alabama’s Farm of Distinction is the
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City council creates new Gadsden Land Bank Authority

By Brett Johnson/Messenger Correspondant The Gadsden City Council on Tuesday authorized the incorporation of the Gadsden Land Bank Authority to make it easier for the city to acquire tax-delinquent and nuisance properties.  “Essentially what happens is now this Gadsden Land Bank Authority takes the place of the State of Alabama in terms of ownership,” said
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Red Cross to provide energy assistance with Project Share

The Etowah/Cherokee Chapter of the American Red Cross will begin accepting appointments on January 8th, 2015 for Project SHARE, the energy assistance program for low-income elderly or disable individuals.  Residents of Etowah County can call to request an appointment by calling the Red Cross office at 256-547-8667 on Thursdays between 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. As the
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Neely Henry Lake Association Announces Meeting

The Neely Henry Lake Association’s first meeting of 2015 will be held Thursday, Jan 8 at 7 p.m. at the Rainbow City Community Center located at 3702 Rainbow Drive, adjacent to Rainbow City Hall.  The Neely Henry Lake Association meets the first Thursday of every other month to discuss issues of interest and importance to
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Etowah Middle holds annual SOAR celebration

Etowah Middle School held its annual SOAR (Seeing Our Actions Rewarded) celebration on Friday, Dec. 19 with $2,500 in gifts and prizes given away to students. Students who maintained an 80 or higher SOAR (conduct) average were able to attend the event. 

Students played games and competed with teachers for a variety of prizes. Toward the end of the event, students’

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Nativity scene back on display at RBC Hall

By Chris McCarthy/Publisher/Editor


Hundreds of people gathered on the grounds of Rainbow City Hall on Dec. 19 in support of the municipality’s decision to restore a Christmas nativity scene on display. 

Earlier in the week, city officials took down the display in response to a letter from the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation that said in part that the display

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Representative Ford sworn in for Fifth Term

By Brett Johnson/Messenger Correspondent


State Representative Craig Ford was sworn in Monday for his fifth term representing District 28 in the Alabama House of Representatives. Etowah County Probate Judge Bobby Junkins administered the oath of office at Gadsden City Hall.

“One thing I want to tell you is we have to work together,” said Ford after thanking those in attendance.

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New dollar store opens

By Sarrah Peters/News Editor There is a new business in town. Dee’s Dollar Plus opened its doors on December 15.  William Mitchell, the owner, and his family have live in Ohatchee, but they like Attalla. “They’re real good people here in Attalla,” said Mitchell. Mitchell said that he always dreamed of opening a little store.
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Panda Express to open soon

A new restaurant is coming to town. Panda Express is set to open on December 27. 

Panda Express is a national food chain that serves popular Chinese food favorites fast.

Some of the chain’s popular dishes include honey walnut shrimp and orange chicken. The chain also offers basic Chinese staples like fried rice, egg rolls, spring rolls, potstickers and

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Animal Health Care collecting Humane Society donations

Just because Christmas is over, doesn’t mean that the Christmas spirit of giving should be over.  It is the perfect time to help those in need, like the animals of the Humane Society.

Until the end of the year, Animal Health Care will be accepting donations of items for the Humane Society Pet Rescue and Adoption Center. 

The wish

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GSCC ranked a top military school

Military Advanced Education (MAE) has awarded Gadsden State Community College the designation of a Top School in its  2015 MAE Guide to  Colleges & Universities, measuring best practices in military and veteran education. The Guide was released in the December issue of MAE, and is available online at www.mae-kmi.com.

The Guide presents results of a questionnaire of the military-supportive

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GSCC works to brighten holidays

Faculty, staff, and students at Gadsden State Community College have worked to brighten the holiday season for many in the community through various charitable efforts.  The Christmas Charity Showcase, which is held every November in conjunction with the Miss Gadsden State Community College Pageant, was the biggest fundraiser coordinated by the College.  More than $5,000 was raised during the

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Gadsden native lives homeless

By Sarrah Peters/News Editor

Last year, Patton Chambers was a pretty normal college student. He worked fast food and attended classes while living in a cheap, but not very nice apartment. 

After his roommate graduated and moved out, Chambers decided that he didn’t want to look for a new roommate or apartment. So with three semesters of school left before he received

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Attalla McDonald’s hosts Christmas cheer

Teresa Parker, Manager of the Attalla McDonald’s in the Birmingham Co-op, hosted some Christmas cheer Tuesday night, December 9, with a visit from Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus and gifts for the children in attendance.

Max Cooper and Jim Black, owner of the Attalla McDonald’s, along with Jim’s wife Cathy, decided they wanted to kick-off the Christmas season early at McDonald’s

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GSCC hosts annual Water Festival

The 14th annual Etowah County Water Festival was held Friday, December 12 on the Wallace Drive Campus of Gadsden State Community College from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. An estimated 1,400 fourth-graders from Etowah County schools were estimated to attend the fun and innovative event.

The festival, designed to educate students and their families about all aspects of groundwater, was co-sponsored

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