Dogged determination

At seven years old, Nevaeh Bevins is already making a difference in her community.

Neveah had a chance meeting with Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner and his dog, Whiske, when the pair were monitoring a stop sign near her home.

“The girl wanted to see the dog,” we quoted Risner as saying in a story last week. “Kids love to see the dog. She fell in love with Whiske.”

Neveah noticed that while Risner was wearing a bulletproof vest, but Whiske didn’t have any such protection. So she set out to raise the money to buy a vest for the dog.

“I take her to school in the morning and (she’s) constantly talking about the dog,” her aunt, Melissa Bevins, said in our story. “She wondered why the dog wasn’t protected. She came up with the idea to raise money for the vest.”

Bevens said Neveah used social media to contact relatives about her fundraiser, and it was shared enough to the point she reached her goal.

Police Chief Ricky Terry said the $700 Neveah raised should be sufficient to purchase a vest for Whiske, but the department could pay the difference, if necessary.

It just goes to show that youngsters can make a difference, too.

We are proud of you, Neveah.

State winner

Sheffield High School’s Intro to Engineering class was named a state winner in the Samsung National STEM Competition with Florence High School also making the short list this year.

It was the second year in a row that Sheffield has won this award.

Samsung’s national “Solve For Tomorrow” contest encourages teachers and students to solve real-world issues in their communities by using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering and math.

The Sheffield team is tackling the city’s frustrating train delays at railroad crossings, and Florence students are working to helping control the Asian Carp population in the Tennessee River.

Congratulations to both schools.

Freshening up

Last week, we reported that the Downtown Florence Alliance is looking at some tweaks for this year’s First Fridays events.

They are looking for ways to increase the family friendly atmosphere of First Fridays, including having a Kids Zone and a trackless train that travels throughout the festival area.

The first event connected to First Fridays will be March 6 at Shoals Theatre with the a Friends of First Fridays gathering.

“It’s like a vendor appreciation and information event,” we quoted alliance Director Stephanie Vess as saying last week. “Anyone interested in participating, whether you want to be a vendor, nonprofit, sponsor or downtown business that’s wanting more information, can come to the event.”

After that, First Fridays will return to the streets downtown.

Even when an event is as successful as First Fridays has been, it’s always good to take a look at what is working and how it can be improved. We congratulate the alliance for looking for ways First Fridays can evolve and improve.

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