Home Blog Page 3

Alabama Grammy-Nominated Artist Alvin Garrett Embodies Inspirational Soul with Latest Single and Upcoming Album




(Marion, AL) – August 21, 2023 — Distinguished singer, songwriter, and producer Alvin Garrett is once again commanding attention with his electrifying soulful new single, “’Til I Get Back To You.” 

Serving as the lead track from his highly anticipated album “SFTY (Safety),” Garrett’s artistic evolution takes center stage. 

With a career spanning nearly 15 years as a solo recording artist, he consistently weaves together timeless musical treasures that are poised to captivate a new wave of admirers. 

Alvin says, “I poured my heart and soul into ‘Til I Get Back To You.’ This song is a sonic expression of longing, hope, and the power of reconnecting. Disappointments and rejection can often lead to a disconnect from one’s dreams and aspirations. This almost happened to me, but my love for music kept pushing me to “get back.” I believe that music has the incredible ability to bridge distances and emotions, and I hope that ‘Til I Get Back To You’ resonates with everyone who listens, bringing a sense of love and connection.” 


His journey into the limelight gained momentum in 2015 with the release of his radio hit “By Myself,” a track that recently found its place in the motion picture “Emily The Criminal.” 

Hailing from Alabama, the versatile artist boasts an impressive collection of awards, including a Grammy nomination, as well as accolades from the Soul Train, Dove, and Stellar Awards. 

Alvin Garrett’s songwriting mastery has left an indelible mark on the works of esteemed artists such as Joe, Kelly Rowland, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Jordan Knight, and Deitrick Haddon, among others. 

Yet, his influence extends beyond the realm of music. A dedicated mentor and philanthropist, he has partnered with the reentry program, The Dannon Project, in his hometown of Birmingham, AL.Through his innovative songwriting therapy program, “The Write Life,” he employs a collaborative and therapeutic approach to teach conflict resolution and team-building skills. 


This collaboration with The Dannon Project underscores his commitment to aiding at-risk youth and young adults in overcoming challenges through personal and career development. 

The release of “’Til I Get Back To You” sets the stage for Alvin Garrett’s forthcoming album “SFTY (Safety),” which promises to encapsulate his artistic journey and serve as a testament to his unwavering commitment to his craft.  

With a sound that resonates deeply and philanthropic efforts that inspire, Alvin Garrett continues to shine as a symbol of creativity and compassion.  

Furthermore, Alvin Garrett defies simple categorization. He embodies the role of a Pioneer of Inspirational Soul, drawing on over two decades of diverse experience in the entertainment industry. 

This Alabama-born preacher’s son has seamlessly woven threads of hope and inspiration into his music, whether it’s R&B, Gospel, Pop, or Jazz. 

Garrett’s gift for songwriting, his infectious smile, and his spine-tingling voice has evoked comparisons to soul music legends like Sam Cooke and Al Green. 

In 2020, amidst the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and societal unrest, Garrett recorded and released a thought-provoking EP, “The Awakening,” which he describes as “musical activism.” After the heaviness of that moment in history, Garrett responded by illuminating spirits and bringing levity with his enchanting project, “The Lightness of Love” in 2021. 

The lead single, “My Gift To You,” immediately transports listeners to a Cloud 9 experience, a sentiment that permeates the entire album. Reflecting on the inspiration behind this project, Garrett shared, “While ‘The Awakening’ sparked introspective conversations, ‘The Lightness of Love’ aimed to lift the heaviness.” 

Garrett began his artistic journey with his debut album in 2012, “Expose Yourself,” which was hailed as a remarkably sensual R&B offering. In 2019, he unveiled his second full-length album, “This HILL,” a testament to his life’s lessons and his personal mantra—”Because of HOPE, I have the INSPIRATION to pursue what I LOVE at the risk of LOSS.” This album also laid the foundation for his independent label, HILL Entertainment. 

When asked about a genre-specific label, Garrett responds with a simple yet profound declaration, “I am a pioneer of inspirational soul music.” Through the harmonious blend of his music and his impactful endeavors, Alvin Garrett’s legacy continues to resonate as a beacon of inspiration and creativity. 

For more information about Alvin Garrett and his remarkable musical journey, please visit alvingarrett.com. 

To stay connected with Alvin Garrett’s musical journey, be sure to follow him on social media @thealvingarrett 

(Source: BNM Publicity Group) 

Rightside Way: Ronald Reagan, Where are You?!


It was Friday night in the Fall of 1981 at Milton Frank Stadium in Huntsville. Grissom High School was playing and I was standing near Coach Stiles on the sidelines. The game was not going our way and all of sudden Coach waved his arms in the air and yelled, “Herschel Walker, where are you?!” It was one of those funny/not funny moments. Herschel was a sight to behold in college football back then and won the Heisman trophy the next year. Coach was invoking the name of the greatest running back of the day as a means of wishing he had a deeper bench to work with that evening under the lights.

Here’s one for you: “Ronald Reagan, where are you?!”

That’s how I feel when I look at the current state of politics. We’ve just had the first of the GOP primary debates. I see statesmanlike demeanor in some of the current slate of candidates. There are some Reaganesque glimmers of hope. But there is no consistency yet.

I say yet, because I can sense a turning. There is a growing dissatisfaction with status quo politics and establishment solutions. Regardless of who prevails in the end we need a new face to rise.

What was it about Reagan that still sparks a sense of hope? There were aspects of his presidency, and phrases he coined, that are still referred to today. It was the “Reagan era”,  a time of “peace through strength”. Reagan marked the end of the cold war, and a “trust but verify” foreign policy. Referring to the United States as a “great city on a hill” he espoused a “rendezvous with destiny” that resonated with Americans. His term was vividly defined by leadership moments, such as when he defied his advisors and famously went to the Brandenburg gate in West Berlin and boldly said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Ronald Reagan helmed a return to an age of prosperity, national pride, military strength, and international respect.

When Ronald Reagan passed away in 2004 mourners stood in line for the better part of a day on the national mall to pass in front of his casket as he lay in state in the rotunda of the Capitol, his coffin flanked on all sides by an honor guard from each of the military services. His connection to the public evoked passion and a sense of connection.  The Reagan era was defining.

My father, himself a career Army Officer, talked about the Carter years in what he referred to as the time of the hollow Army. Dad was able to serve through the first term of the Reagan years and the difference was night and day.

Reagan was more than just a great President. Something about him gave our country back its pride. He defeated communism without firing a shot. He revived the economy. He restored the sense that America was unapologetically free and that government was not always the answer. He was legitimately comfortable in front of a microphone, able to crack a joke or crack a whip, or both, without blinking or looking lost.

Reagan had a dynamic career in Hollywood and entered politics at a relatively late age. He was fifty-six when he was first elected to public office and nearly seventy when he became president.

What Reagan lacked in political experience he made up in leadership. With oratory skills honed over decades before entering public life he had the ability to deliver mere words in a way that grabbed hearts and minds. He came out early and strong in opposition to Communists in Hollywood labor battles and his work as spokesman for General Electric in the 1950s made him a television star.

But the real kicker came when Reagan gave a 1964 televised speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. Known as the “Rendezvous With Destiny” speech it is said to have jumpstarted his political career, and should be mandatory viewing in civics classes today.

Californians at that time were experiencing big government, high taxes, urban riots, campus unrest and antiwar protest, all of which sounds eerily familiar. Reagan was elected to two successful terms as Governor of the Golden State. In 1980, after suffering through the Carter years, Reagan won the nomination to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States. Four years later I was old enough to cast my first vote for his reelection.

I say all of this to point out that the years that lead up to Reagan’s election were tumultuous. The U.S. economy was in the pits, public spirit was in despair, and our national image was tarnished. Foreign governments struggled to respect the U.S. as a force on the international stage.

But keep this in mind my friends, it took a Carter to bring us a Reagan. Think about it, and let that sink in. It took a Carter to bring us a Reagan.

This past week I watched in amazement as the current President of the United States took a second vacation in one month. While whole communities in Hawaii burned, he vacationed on the beach, and when asked to come visit the devastation, he took a short break from his 9-day vacation at Lake Tahoe. We are watching one of the most tone-deaf presidencies in US history. 2024 can’t get here soon enough.

I am not at all enamored of our current President. I respect and salute the office but I want a new office holder. I am already looking at the horizon for 2024, and I believe we may find that it took a Biden to bring us the next Reagan.

Ronald Reagan, where are you?! Stay tuned folks. There’s one coming.

Phil Williams is a former State Senator, retired Army Colonel and combat veteran, and a practicing Attorney. He previously served with the leadership of the Alabama Policy Institute in Birmingham. Phil currently hosts the conservative news/talkshow Rightside Radio M-F 2-5 pm on multiple channels throughout north Alabama. (WVNN 92.5FM/770AM-Huntsville/Athens; WXJC 101.FM and WYDE 850AM – Birmingham/Cullman.) His column appears weekly throughout Alabama. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of this news source. To contact Phil or request him for a speaking engagement go to www.rightsideradio.org.

Is it Safe to Swim in the Alabama River?


Planning a visit to the Alabama River? Here’s your guide to its geography, climate, pollution threats, wildlife, and swim safety. Get to know the facts about this river before you take the plunge – learn what bodies of water that it flows into, the average temperature of its waters, possible contaminants, what kind of fish and creatures live in the Alabama River, and if swimming is safe for you and your family. With this information, you’ll be well-prepared to explore this natural wonder. 

The Alabama River rises from the joining of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers at a point approximately 7 miles northeast of Montgomery, located in the southern region of Alabama. Flowing southwest from its source, the river stretches over 305 miles in length until it reaches the Mobile River at the Gulf of Mexico. Its width ranges from 50 to 200 yards, while its depth ranges from 3 to 40 feet. 

The Alabama River region boasts a warm-temperate, humid climate all year round, making it an attractive destination for leisure activities such as swimming, tubing, and canoeing. Surrounding the river is relatively lowland or slightly rolling terrain dotted with pine, hardwood, and mixed forests. The gentle meander of the river and its steady warm temperature provide calming scenery and a pleasant experience to its visitors. The conservation group has identified the Coosa River, a tributary of the Alabama River, as the 5th most polluted river in the U.S. This is attributed to the impact of dams, industrial poultry waste, and sewage overflow. The Mobile River, which the Alabama River directly flows into, is also the 3rd most polluted in the U.S., in part due to toxic coal ash dumping. Subsequently, pollutants from the Coosa River can make their way downstream to the Alabama River, endangering its aquatic ecosystem and posing potential risks to human health.A report published by Environment America in 2022 reveals that South Carolina, Texas, and Alabama had more cancer-causing chemical releases in 2020 than any other states. Paper and pulp mills are primarily responsible for these emissions, with Alabama River Cellulose, situated along the lower Alabama River, being a notable discloser of cancer-causing toxins. 

Aquatic creatures found in the Alabama River include largemouth bass, blue catfish, and gar. Semi-aquatic animals that use the river’s resources include snapping turtles, beaver, and river otters. Among the terrestrial animals that inhabit the area are white-tailed deer, coyote, and black bear. The endangered species discovered in the Alabama River include the Alabama red-bellied turtle and the Alabama sturgeon. Both of these creatures need our help for survival. We should do everything possible to limit disturbances and pollution in the waterway so that their populations can thrive. In addition to these threatened species, the Alabama River also harbors animals that can pose a potential danger to us humans, such as alligators and venomous snakes. While not hostile by nature, these animals should be treated with respect and caution. Knowing how to recognize the warning signs of these animals can help keep you safe. 

The Alabama sturgeon needs urgent attention from the conservation community or its future is uncertain. In order to improve its prospects, more research must be conducted into natural threats such as habitat degradation and the impacts of pollution on their numbers. Additionally, the development of hatchery programs may provide a source of individuals for populations needing reintroduction. Ultimately, if the Alabama sturgeon is to recover from the brink of extinction, further investment of resources and public awareness campaigns will be essential in its survival. The Alabama sturgeon has a distinctive copper-red body, an elongated snout, and a small dorsal fin close to its caudal fin. This species of river sturgeon is the smallest of its kind, growing up to a maximum of just under three feet in length.  

The northern cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is a semi-aquatic and venomous species of snake endemic to the southeastern United States. It is also known as the water moccasin and can be found along the banks and in the waters of the Alabama River. These snakes mainly occur in swamps, wetlands, drainage, coastal plains, and river habitats. They are instantly recognizable by their thick, triangular-shaped head which is broader than their neck, and their dark tan, brown, or almost black body which features grey-black or dark brown crossbanding. From the snout, through the eye, and towards the neck, there is a wide dark brown band, bordered by a thin white stripe, giving the snake its common name of ‘cottonmouth.’ The northern cottonmouth typically grows between 30-48 inches in length. When hiking and recreating along the banks of the river, it’s best to avoid walking through tall grass or wood piles. Instead, be mindful of where you’re stepping. Most bites in the wild result from accidentally stepping on or far too close to a snake. 

The Alabama map turtle is a medium-sized aquatic reptile native to all parts of the Alabama River. This species of the Graptemys genus is easily recognizable due to the unique keel running down the middle of its shell. This keel is often covered with spines, thus earning this species the nickname “sawback turtle.” For younger map turtles, this ridge is even more clearly defined and pronounced. 

The common musk turtle is an aquatic reptile that can be found in the slow-moving streams, ponds, and wetlands of North America. Its size ranges from 3.5-11.5 inches long from tail to snout, with males typically measuring between 3.5-5 inches long and females usually reaching 5.5-11.5 inches. Its shell is a dull olive-brown with faint orange, yellow, and green markings. Juveniles are omnivorous, with a diet primarily composed of insects, aquatic snails, and aquatic plants such as duckweed. Adults are carnivorous, devouring mollusks, insects, and fish. 

With a population of around 70,000, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) can be found throughout southern Alabama. In recent years, however, they have started moving northwards, likely due to effects of industrial civilization-induced climate change. They reside in countless bodies of water, such as coastal marshes, lakes, ponds, swamps, and rivers – including the Alabama River. An adult alligator can reach lengths of 6-16 feet and takes 10-12 years to reach maturity. Only recently, a massive 15-foot and 9-inch long alligator was caught from the same river, weighing a staggering 1,011.5 pounds. If cared for properly, these majestic creatures can live up to 50 years! 

The American alligator’s diet is much more varied than that of juveniles, as adults can eat fish, mammals, birds, turtles, snakes, and amphibians. Juveniles, on the other hand, traditionally stick to consuming insects, small fish, and mollusks. 

If you decide to take a dip in the Alabama River, it’s important to note that it is affected by industrial pollution, and as such, may not be safe to drink or swallow. In addition, there is a danger of encountering venomous snakes or alligators, so it’s important to stay alert and only enter the water if you’re a competent swimmer. 

(Source: A-Z-Animals)

Governor Ivey Announces New Statewide Brand for High-Speed Internet Expansion, Details Upcoming Programs to Support Expansion Projects


Press Release

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday during an event in Dothan announced how more than $400 million in federal funding and over $1.4 billion from the U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program (BEAD) will be used to expand access to high-speed internet across Alabama. Governor Ivey also unveiled Be Linked Alabama as the name and hub representing the state’s continued efforts to expand access to high-speed internet.

“Providing broadband connectivity to every Alabamian, whether it be in our largest metros or most rural areas, has been a top priority of the Ivey Administration since day one,” said Governor Ivey. “As we launch Be Linked Alabama today, we are furthering our commitment to fully connecting our state. Offering the ability to connect to high-speed internet in all 67 counties is a journey, not a short trip, but Alabama is certainly well positioned to finish this race in the near future.”

The new brand comes alongside significant investments made possible by federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act that were allocated by the Alabama Legislature in 2022 and 2023 to support expansion of high-speed internet to unserved areas of the state.

Governor Ivey announced the upcoming opening of grant applications for the $182 million from the Capital Projects Fund to support “last-mile” projects that provide the actual connections to homes, businesses and community anchor institutions. The application period is expected to open on August 14 and close in October.

Additionally, the state’s new Anchor Institution/Middle Mile (AIMM) program will be funded with the second round of American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated during the 2023 Legislative Session. More than $200 million will support this effort, which will potentially serve 500 anchor facilities – including institutions such as colleges and universities, rural hospitals and government facilities that are inadequately served, along with “middle-mile” deployment that will provide the infrastructure to help facilitate last-mile deployment by internet service providers.  The application dates for AIMM program will be announced at a workshop to be held on August 11.

Be Linked Alabama represents the state’s united effort to expand access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet to all Alabamians. The statewide initiative is coordinated by ADECA and brings together partners from across the state, including but not limited to Governor Ivey, the Alabama Legislature, internet service providers, research institutions, utility companies, community leaders and the public as Alabama works toward achieving the goal of high-speed internet access for all.

Also debuting today is the Be Linked Alabama website, a hub of internet expansion information and news. The site is located at broadband.alabama.gov. It includes the Alabama Broadband Map, county profiles and dashboards and statewide broadband news.

“We have a great team in Alabama that includes public officials such as our governor and members of the Legislature, private sector companies, citizens, local leaders and communities all joining together with a common goal – to give every Alabamian the ability to be connected,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell. “Our state has already made tremendous progress on our journey to expand high-speed internet availability by providers, but we still have a long way to go. Be Linked Alabama represents the progress that we have made, and the continued progress still to come.”

“The funding announced today will have a lasting impact on Alabama’s future, and I am proud to have the opportunity to administer the deployment of these funds in a manner that will give our state the maximum benefit. Every dollar counts, and we are going to deploy these dollars efficiently to help make Governor Ivey’s goal of giving all Alabamians access to high-speed internet a reality.”

Since 2018, Alabama has invested $88.6 million in state dollars through grant awards supporting 109 projects through the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund. Once all the projects awarded to date have been completed, access to internet service will be available to more than 82,000 Alabama households, businesses and community institutions that do not have access to high-speed internet. In September 2022, Governor Ivey announced a grant to support broadband “middle-mile” network infrastructure to improve access for last-mile projects.

In addition to today’s announcement, Governor Ivey announced in June that Alabama will receive a $1.4 billion allocation from the federal BEAD Program to boost ongoing efforts to expand access to unserved areas. ADECA will complete and submit Alabama’s required plan for use of the funds to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Today’s announcement included a demonstration from students trained at the Wallace Community College campus on how to deploy the fiber optic cables needed for high-speed internet delivery. This training, developed through the Alabama Community College System’s Innovation Center, brings together the state’s community colleges, industries and community partners to deliver training offered at no cost to participants thanks to funding provided by Ivey and the Alabama Legislature.

Alabama State Leadership Development Seminar Held


Special to the Marion Times Standard

Twenty participants along with state officers, district directors and past presidents, representing 15 chapters of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International attended the June 15-16, 2023 at Marion Military Institute. This year marked the twenty-sixth anniversary of this biennium event. The seminar is designed to grant leadership and management training to key women educators across the state. Greeting were given by Colonel David J. Mollahan, President of Marion Military, who was introduced by David Ivey, Chief Academic Officer. President Mollahan spoke on his background, how he came to Marion Military Institute, and on leadership and character development in preparing young people to be successful. Participants attended sessions on leadership styles, developing communication skills, integrity, parliamentary procedure and self-care. Motivational sessions were also included.


Delta Kappa Gamma Society is a professional honorary organization for women educators. Membership into the Society is by invitation and based upon success in the field of education, leadership potential, professional and community service. The Society promotes professional, and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. Alabama began offering Leadership Training Seminars in 1985 to stimulate the personal and professional growth of Society members in Alabama. Members are selected from throughout the state to attend.

Alabama State would like to thank Marion Military Institute, President Mollahan, David Ivey and staff for the warm welcome and working with us to organize and carry out the 2023 Leadership Training Seminar.

Plain and Simple: Milky Way Pound Cake



8 (1 3/4-ounce) Milky Way candy bars, chopped

1cup butter softened and divided

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla


1/2 cup butter

5 (1 3/4-ounce) Milk Way bars chopped

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with baking spray.

In a heavy-bottom saucepan, melt 1/2 cup of butter and 8 chopped Milky Way candy bars over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat.

Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 7 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Stir together flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Beat just until mixed evenly.

Add melted candy/butter mixture and vanilla and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and then remove from pan.

To make frosting, melt butter and Milky Way bars in a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisking until smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and beat in remaining ingredients.

Spread frosting on cake.

Plain and Simple: BBQ Chicken Sheet Pan Meal



For the veggies:

8 frozen mini corn on the cobs

8 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 8 slices (one slice for each corn on the cob)

kosher salt and pepper, to taste

1 ½ pounds yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 ½ Tablespoons bbq seasoning

1 Tablespoon olive oil

For the chicken:

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 Tablespoons bbq seasoning

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup sweet bbq sauce

For glazing:

1/4 cup sweet bbq sauce


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a large sheet tray with cooking spray. Tear off 8 small pieces of foil. Add one of the 8 frozen mini corn on the cobs onto each individual piece of foil. Top each of the cobs with one of the 8 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 8 slices and kosher salt and pepper, to taste. Wrap the foil around the corn to form a packet and place them together at one end of the sheet tray.

Place 1 ½ pounds yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces onto the sheet tray. Toss with 1 ½ Tablespoons bbq seasoning and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Move the potatoes to the center of the tray.

In a large bowl, toss 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts with 2 Tablespoons bbq seasoning and 1 Tablespoon olive oil until coated.

Place the chicken breasts on to the sheet tray and brush with 1/4 cup sweet bbq sauce.

Bake for 20 minutes. Toss the potatoes around and brush 1/4 cup sweet bbq sauce on the chicken.

Bake an additional 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the chicken reaches at least 165°F.

Optional: Turn the broiler on high and broil until the chicken is caramelized, keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Serve immediately.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library coming to All of Alabama


Kids in Alabama have already been given books from the Imagination Library, but kids in Alabama are about to get a little more imagination—and a lot more free books—in their lives. That’s because the state has teamed up with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to spread the magic of books across the state.

Dolly’s Imagination Library is dedicated to promoting a love of books and reading by giving free books every month to kids from birth to age 5.

Bringing the Imagination Library literacy program to Alabama has been a goal of Alabama Governor Ivey’s, one she mentioned in her 2023 Inaugural Address. Now that goal is a reality and state dollars will work with Imagination Library to get kids reading. “No matter what a child grows up to be, reading proficiently is simply critical,” Governor Ivey said during her announcement of the program. “Our goal is to bring this program to all 67 counties, and we are well on our way to making that a reality.”

This expansion is just the latest good deed by Dolly’s charity. Founded in 1995 as a tribute to her father who couldn’t read, the group has been mailing free books to children ever since. They have now shipped over 200 million books to kids. “If I’m remembered 100 years from now,” Parton once famously said. “I hope it will be not for looks but for books.”

Building a Healthier Black Belt – H.O.P.E. Superstars


Special to the Marion Times Standard

Since its establishment in March 2023, the H.O.P.E. Ambassadors have grown exponentially in their effort to connect with their communities. Through their ongoing involvement with such organizations as the Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Workforce Development Councils, The University of Alabama School of Medicine, and many others, the H.O.P.E. Ambassadors have successfully increased their reach from 3,500 contacts to a shocking 20,000 contacts across the 12 counties they serve. These incredible results are a testament to the dedication and spirit of the H.O.P.E. Ambassadors themselves.

Every H.O.P.E. Ambassador has demonstrated diligence, care, and excellence in their commitment to their individual communities in the midst of the pandemic. To ensure the grant’s overall success, each Ambassador is expected to make contact with 25 individuals each week (5 contacts per day), and two Ambassadors have earned the esteemed title of “Superstars” due to their exemplary effort.

Lucette Fletcher and Janice Maxine Jones have exemplified outstanding service as Ambassadors for Greene and Pickens Counties, respectively. Their commitment to going “the extra mile” has impressed their supervisors, as they consistently exceed their weekly quotas since the implementation of the grant. Moreover, their ability to engage with and get the participation of their fellow community members in the survey process has been critical in achieving the outcomes of the grant.

Lucette Fletcher’s approach to making 10-15 contacts per day is based on the idea that being sociable and helping others is vital. She attends local events hosted by religious and community organizations, and even frequents everyday places like the post office and grocery stores. By acting as an Ambassador and collecting survey data, Fletcher has found confidence and happiness in her job. Janice Maxine Jones offers this piece of advice to everyone: “Any event where people are, I’m going to have my clipboard – baby I got it!” This motivational message succinctly signifies the necessity of being outgoing and engaging with the public in order to achieve success as an Ambassador. Ms. Jones is an avid believer in the Ambassador technique known as “posting up”. With only a clipboard in hand, she stations herself at frequented places such as Dollar Tree to survey shoppers as they depart. As an extroverted self-proclaimed “people-person,” Ms. Jones finds this practice enjoyable and easy to carry out.

Ms. Jones loves being an Ambassador for the Black Belt Community Foundation Health Outreach and Prevention Effort (BBCF H.O.P.E.). She is committed to carrying out the program’s work of assisting low-income families in Alabama’s Black Belt region in accessing quality healthcare services. She views interacting with the local community as an opportunity for promoting the BBCF H.O.P.E. program. To this end, she attends events and gatherings to make connections and collect surveys with her trusty clipboard in tow. Her ultimate goal is to collect 10 surveys per day, and she is motivated by a desire to help her local area become healthier. With BBCF H.O.P.E. directors Samantha Ledbetter and Wendell Paris Jr. praising her efforts, Jones is proud of the exposure she is able to give the Black Belt Community Foundation and the positive impact she is making.

(Source: Black Belt Community Foundation)

Alabama Department of Public Health Issues Fish Consumption Advisory



The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is advising Alabamians not to consume certain varieties of fish from some rivers and lakes in Alabama. ADPH has issued an advisory outlining which fish species should be avoided in order to protect people from possible health risks. The advisory provides specific information about which species pose potential dangers and how to identify them. ADPH reminds everyone to use caution when consuming any type of fish, ensuring that proper hygiene and preparation techniques are always used.

Before heading out fishing in North Alabama, it is important to be aware of certain species of fish that have been identified by local officials as ones that should be avoided. This would include not purchasing or keeping these fish as part of your catch. Knowing which fish should be avoided would help to ensure a good and safe fishing experience in the region.

The discovery of high levels of mercury in fish species from various lakes and rivers in Alabama has raised public health concerns. If ingested in large amounts, mercury can cause damage to the central nervous system and even cardiovascular problems. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management is continuing to evaluate the state’s aquatic ecosystems and looking for ways to reduce the mercury levels.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management recommends that fish consumption should be limited to one or two servings per week, according to the advice of the Department of Public Health.

At Lake Guntersville, advisories regarding the consumption of largemouth bass vary depending on the body of water. In Town Creek, the advisory recommends that people refrain from eating the fish, whereas Widows Creek allows people to eat it only once a month.


In areas where advisories are in effect, ADEM advises that swimming, boating, and catch and release fishing are considered safe activities, as long as individuals are mindful of the special attention focused on certain species that have the potential to be harmful.

ADEM is focused on communicating our message to the public, and we’ve installed signs with QR codes across the state. Scanning these codes will provide citizens with the latest fish consumption advisories relevant to their area. To view the map, go to the ADPH website.

(Source: ADPH)