Meeting a need

Last week, we wrote about Wesley Thompson, who while taking his son to school each morning noticed students standing alongside the road at Hermitage Drive near the intersection of Helton Drive waiting for the bus.

“I would pass by here and I’d see the kids out here,” we quoted him as saying in a story. “I want the kids to be safe. I want them to be well, and I don’t want them out in the rain.”

So he approached District 4 City Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks, whose district includes that area. Eubanks was able to fund a shelter through a Planning Department project from a city Community Development Block Grant.

We love when people see a need and try to find a way to fill it.

Hall of famer

Congratulations to Shoals native Gary Baker, who along with three other musicians will be inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in January.

Baker, a songwriter/producer/bassist from Sheffield, is known for co-writing the Grammy-winning smash hit “I Swear” with Frank J. Myers.

Baker is originally from Niagara Falls, New York. He moved to the Shoals to record with the LeBlanc and Carr Band. He later joined the group The Shooters and founded Noiseblock Recording Studio in downtown Florence.

He said in a story last week that he wasn’t sure if he would qualify for this honor because of his New York roots, despite the fact he’s lived in the Shoals 42 years.

“I’m really excited,” we quoted him as saying. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited. When I told my family, I told them it’s like winning a Grammy to me. I didn’t know if they’d let an ex-Yankee come in, but here I am.”

Also being inducted are Mervyn Warren, a five-time Grammy Award winner, Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, a Montgomery native, and Elton B. Stephens, a businessman born in Barbour County who was instrumental in the rebirth of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

The 2020 induction banquet will return to the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence on Jan. 25.

Top math teacher

Congratulations to Rogers High School math teacher Lorie White, who is now recognized as the state’s top math teacher. That places her on the short list for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math teaching, a program from the National Science Foundation.

The award included a check for $10,000 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., in mid October, where she attended professional development conferences as well as the awards banquet.

“It’s a huge honor that I’d be chosen over all these nominees and for me, it’s confirmation that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” White said in a story last week.

Well done.

Rolling down the river

The Muscle Shoals Fire Department is utilizing a $48,000 grant to purchase a fire boat that will be housed at Fire Station 3 near Wilson Lake.

“It’s like a dive boat, but it will have a 500 gallon per minute pump and nozzle,” Fire Chief Shawn Malone said in a story. “We’ve had calls on the river before.”

In addition to fighting fires, the boat could also be fitted with equipment that can be used for chemical detection on the water. While the Florence Fire Department has a fire boat, this will be the first one for Colbert County.


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