Trail of Tears funds cut

The Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Board has decided to provide token funding for Waterloo’s 26th annual Trail of Tears event, according to President and CEO Rob Carnegie.

The decision came after the board’s regularly scheduled meeting Thursday morning, during which members spent a large portion of the time discussing funding for the Sept. 21 event.

Florence/Lauderdale Tourism has provided $5,000 the past three years out of its programming budget, according to board member Chris Lewis.

But this year, the tourism board opted to only give $1,000 to the event, which costs about $20,000 to put on each year. The board’s decision was based upon a lack of quantifiable economic benefits for hotels/restaurants in the Shoals area.

That leaves the organizers of this year’s Trail of Tears event in a tough spot as there is apparently no other funds being received from outside sources.

It’s unfortunate the board opted to provide only 20 percent of the funding level it has approved in recent years. Equally bothersome is the fact the decision to reduce the funding comes just two weeks before the event is scheduled.

Oka Kapassa is educational

The Oka Kapassa: Return to Coldwater Festival has been attracting national attention for years, but it’s the education it provides for attendees that makes it one of the most enjoyable events in the Shoals, tourism officials say.

The festival was named a National Park Service Centennial Event this year.

It is scheduled for Sept. 13-14 at Spring Park in Tuscumbia.

The festival, which is free to the public, includes several well-known Native American cooks, storytellers, powwow dancers and artisans. World-renowned shell carver Dan Townsend will attend this year’s festival.

Join the crowd and enjoy the events.

Adding to the family

Anyone considering adopting a dog or cat had an additional incentive to do so through this past weekend.

Florence-Lauderdale Animal Services waived adoption fees through Sunday in an effort to reduce the increasing number of dogs and cats in the facility, Director Cheryl Jones said.

The facility at 3240 Roberson Road opened in May and is larger than the previous shelter. That one had some 20 cat cages, while the new one has approximately 180, Jones said.

Animal Services officials try to keep the center as close to no-kill as possible.

Bringing the Wild West to life

Students in the 11th grade U.S. History II class excitedly gathered their desks around the “campfire” Wednesday morning as David Williams broke out his acoustic guitar for a singalong.

The singalong was just a part of “Wild West Day,” a tradition in Williams’s class that has become something of a legend at Mars Hill Bible School.

Williams, who is in his 46th year teaching at Mars Hill, said he started “Wild West Day” about 20 years ago to help bring the material to life during the Western Frontier unit — particularly what life was like on the long cattle drives heading west.

His unique approach to teaching this material has certainly been a hit with his students.

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