Spirit of Alabama

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Spirit of Alabama: Newest school employee’s job? Provide cuddles

The newest staff member at Echols Middle School in Northport is finally on campus after a lengthy approval and hiring process — and at just 3 years old, Lolly is by far the youngest member of the team. She’s also the only canine on the payroll. Lolly has an important role at Echols Middle, though,

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Spirit of Alabama: After 33 Years, Paul W. Bryant Museum Director Retires

There are a lot of irreplaceable items inside the Paul W. Bryant Museum on the University of Alabama campus, and its longtime caretaker is no exception. But after 33 years, the museum and university are saying goodbye to Museum Director Ken Gaddy. Back in 1992, then-University President Roger Sayers, Athletic Director Hootie Ingram and head

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Spirit of Alabama: The House Tuscaloosa Offers Welcoming Learning Environment

At first glance, it’s a nice brick home where any family might enjoy living. But it’s so much more than that, as two University of Alabama students can tell you. Quin Kelly Jr. and Alexus Cumbie serve on the board of directors of The House Tuscaloosa. “What we hope to do with our literacy center

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Spirit of Alabama: Local Group Cares for Greenwood Cemetery Graves

Did you know there are at least five people who participated in the Revolutionary War buried in Tuscaloosa’s Greenwood Cemetery? WVUA 23’s Mike Royer met members of the local National Society Daughters of the American Revolution there, to see how they honor and respect those who lived and died in Tuscaloosa. Greenwood Cemetery is located

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Spirit of Alabama: Golden Eagle A Southern Staple Syrup

Did you know one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the state is in Fayette? If you’re from the South, you’re probably familiar with breakfast-table staple Golden Eagle Syrup. The partners who own the business today believe keeping it family-owned is important, but they’re also focused on using their success to help others. Temple Bowling

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Spirit of Alabama: Tuscaloosa County Student has Ties to Mars

On Thursday, the Mars rover Perseverance landed on the planet’s surface after a six-month journey through space. Attached to the underside of that rover is a helicopter named Ingenuity. Ingenuity’s name is close to Tuscaloosa’s heart because it was submitted to NASA by Tuscaloosa County High School Senior Veneeza Rupani. Rupani watched the precarious landing

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Spirit of Alabama: Tuscaloosa County Bus Driver Celebrates 50 Years of Service

Many packages are marked “fragile” or “handle with care,” but no such tags are needed for the thousands of buses that transport children to and from school every day. Tuscaloosa County School System bus driver Sylvia Tilley has been driving for half a century now. The buses may have changed a lot in that time,

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Spirit of Alabama: Photography Class Captures Black Belt Artists

The Black Belt is home of many artists and a University of Alabama photography class spent two weeks capturing some of the artists in this region. UA photography Professor Chris Jordan said he has a passion for this region and thought it would serve as a wonderful classroom for his students. “My students and I

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Spirit of Alabama: Retiring Police Officer Leaves an Olympic-Level Legacy

After 27 years as an officer with the Tuscaloosa Police Department, Lillie Leatherwood retired at the end of 2020. During her career, she took every opportunity to encourage young people no matter their circumstances. “I tell kids it doesn’t matter,” she said. “You can accomplish anything. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. You can do

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Spirit of Alabama: Church, Veterans Organization Teams Up for Holiday Food Drive

Doing good for others and setting an example for others sums up a Northport congregation that teamed up with the local Vietnam Veterans of America over the holidays. The back doors of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Northport were wide open, with a truck backed to the entrance. Food was getting

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Spirit of Alabama: Church Brings Christmas to Life

For 25 years, a Pickens County church has shared the story of Christ’s birth with thousands of people. But they’re not listening in the pews. Instead, they’re driving through and watching actors play out how the story unfolds. Hanna Church in Gordo has a small congregation, but every year they pull out all the stops

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Spirit of Alabama: Sorority Partners with Local Charity to Make Children’s Christmas Brighter

Organizations hosting donation drives for Christmas aren’t unusual around the holidays, but University of Alabama sorority Delta Zeta is getting a head start on their goal of helping families in need. Tuscaloosa One Place Executive Director Amanda Lightsey said the family resource center serves thousands every year. This year, the need is exponentially larger. “Each

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Spirit of Alabama: Crimsonettes Not Letting COVID Keep Them from Performing

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson Just the name “Million Dollar Band” calls up familiar images and sounds for Crimson Tide fans. One of the most recognizable sections of the band is the University of Alabama Crimsonettes. They’re known for flashy costumes, quick dance moves and high-flying batons. Although COVID-19 took away their regular

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Spirit of Alabama: New Tuscaloosa Doctor A Former Tennessee Athlete

There’s a new ear, nose and throat doctor in town, and her path to Tuscaloosa first brought her to town in college wearing burnt orange. Pamela Hanson, who was swimming for the University of Tennessee, won the 2002 SEC Championship in the 100-meter butterfly at the University of Alabama. Now she’s back in Tuscaloosa with

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Spirit of Alabama: Habitat for Humanity Rebuilding Houses, Rebuilding Lives

As tragic as April 27, 2011, was for Tuscaloosa, that day spawned so many stories of inspiration and survival. One local nonprofit looked at all the destruction and found a way they could meet the needs of residents in dire need of housing. Since 1987, Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa has focused on making homeownership

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Spirit of Alabama: Sharing Table Offers Helping Hand for Those in Need

What started as a small food sharing program has grown and grown thanks to the generosity of neighbors and friends. Now, anyone who may be struggling can visit the Sharing Table for support. Mary Liz Ingram said the Sharing table is a product of COVID-19. “It was probably in early March, and we found out

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Spirit of Alabama: Bevill State President Leaving Behind a Legacy

Many believe leadership is one of the most important qualities a person can have in business, education, or really anything you can set out and do. The president of Bevill State Community College is about to retire. Her story defines that trait, along with not being afraid of change. Kim Ennis hadn’t planned on college

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Spirit of Alabama: Walker County Sheriff Helping Residents Get Clean

Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith has been in law enforcement for all of his professional life. Now, he’s implementing some programs in Walker County with the goal of helping people help themselves. Smith runs his department with 41 deputies and 46 corrections officers. “It’s rewarding at times and it’s challenging at times,” Smith said. When

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Spirit of Alabama: Walker County Boxer Reminisces on His Career

In the 25 years or so that I’ve done Spirit of Alabama reports, I’ve interviewed many nice people. But none any nicer than Eric Esch. You may not recognize that name, but many may remember him by his nickname. Esch is a big man. Years ago when he worked at a manufactured home company his

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SPIRIT OF ALABAMA: ART GARAGE OFFERS CHILDREN PLACE FOR PLAY, CREATIVITY

A new business in Tuscaloosa offers a place where budding artists can get their hands dirty and play with fun projects without buying a whole bunch of supplies. Joanna Lemmon loves art and lives for introducing young people to all kinds of mediums. Her new venture is called Art Garage, and it offers all-inclusive yearly

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SPIRIT OF ALABAMA: MAN SHARES HIS LOVE OF TRACTORS WITH PASSERS-BY

They say that farming feeds the word. Well, an important part of farming for modern day was the invention of the tractor. So most people who were raised on farms have a healthy appreciation for the history of tractors. Well, Sorrell Fleming got hooked on tractor collecting, and shares his knowledge and machines with anyone

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SPIRIT OF ALABAMA: BARBER’S CALLING IS ENSURING YOUNG MEN CAN READ

If you’ve known how to read for as long as you can remember, then maybe being able to read might not be that big of a deal. But for local businessman Terry McMiller, reading paved his way to success and he’s sharing that with others. McMiller’s barbershop looks and sounds like any other, with clippers

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SPIRIT OF ALABAMA: LIFELONG WOODWORKING LOVE SPURS BIBLE SCHOOL’S TRAIN MODEL

Chris McRee knows his way around a wood shop. He said he started working with his dad when he was little, and that beginning spurred a lifelong love and a realization that he could build just about anything he set his mind to. McRee is a member of Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church’s

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SPIRIT OF ALABAMA: TUSCALOOSA COUNTY HIGH STUDENT NAMES NEW MARS HELICOPTER

In a few months the U.S. is sending its fifth rover to Mars, studying space and the possibility of someday sending travelers there. But this next mission will be watched closely by a local high-schooler who loves science and space, and is also an important part of this next mission. Vaneeza Rupani is a 17-year-old

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