Category Archives: Articles

Burglary Suspect attempts Escape, APD Officers receive minor injuries

Suspect breaks down door at APD while trying to escape
Suspect breaks down door at APD while trying to escape

On June 14, 2015, Ashland Police Officer Cecil Chappell and Sergeant Tony Hubbard were investigating a burglary that had taken place on June 13, 2015 at the Gaither Laundromat in the City of Ashland. They identified the subject as Mr. James Leonard, of Lineville, AL, and found the subject at his place of work, at Integrity Cabinets in Ashland. Officer Chappell went to Integrity and found the subject in possession of the items that were taken from Gaither’s Laundromat, and he took him into custody, and transported him to the Ashland Police Department.

While at the Ashland Police Department, Officer Chappell was booking Mr. Leonard in, when Mr. Leonard made an attempt to escape. He fought both Sgt. Hubbard, and Officer Chappell, causing injuries to both officers before finally getting away and running through town. Officers from Ashland Police Department, Lineville Police Department and Clay County Sheriff’s Department pursued the subject and were able to apprehend him near the First Methodist Church on 2nd Ave. South.

Both Ashland Officers did receive injuries due to Mr. Leonard’s attempt at escaping, and both were treated for those injuries. The Ashland Police Chief Joseph Stanford would like to extend a debt of gratitude to the citizens of Ashland, and the other two departments for their assistance in apprehending Mr. Leonard.

Lineville, AL resident sets out on 2800 mile Bicycle Trek for Humanity

By: Tammy Andrews

How does one person make a difference in the world? Well, let’s see…

Wayne sets off on his 2800 mile journey
Wayne sets off on his 2800 mile journey

On June 1, 2015, Wayne Meador, a 32 year-old world sustainability advocate of Lineville, AL, will try his hand at being that difference in the world as he embarks upon a 90-day bicycle trek that will cover a total of 2800 miles through just about every type of terrain and weather you can imagine, with the ending point in San Francisco, CA.  He calls this mission A Trek 4 Change. His goal…to show the people of the world that nothing is impossible when it comes to preserving our natural resources of the world and hopefully improving them along the way for future generations.

mead 9 Meador will leave out early Monday morning, June 1, from The Kitchen, a local organic restaurant in Ashland, AL, with a big sendoff from the residents of Clay County. Meador has been training for several weeks now, pedaling his modified mountain bike, sponsored by Fun Wheels of Oxford, AL, some 20 miles or more every day.

Meador’s daily trek will consist of a conservative 20-30 miles a day, which will allow him to stop and talk to people along the way, as well as several scheduled waypoints. Making the task a little more difficult, Meador’s bike will pull a 175 lb. load on his bike trailer with his bare necessities, including camping equipment, and solar panels needed to help record his daily journey with natural resources.

The entirety of the Trek 4 Change will be broadcasted, and

produced using 100% renewable energy using Cell data, and solar power. Wayne will be documenting the trek via his YouTube channel with no less than 2 episodes/week documenting what he’s going through, as well as showcasing how people in the heartland of North America are striving to be more sustainable in their daily lives and businesses. You can follow his daily trek at http://www.aworld4change.com/atrek4change/

The biggest majority of Meador’s equipment and gear have been

A List of Sponsors
A List of Sponsors

sponsored/donated through various businesses, companies, and corporations in the United States, who were all carefully researched and chosen for their corporate values and humanitarian efforts. You can also find a list of those sponsors on his web page listed above.

Meador has put careful thought and consideration in his scheduled waypoints along his 90 day trek, such as one being Greensburg, Kansas, a city that was destroyed by tornados in 2007 and decided to rebuild as a “green” town, with the help of Greensburg GreenTown, a non-profit organization created to help the residents learn about and implement the green living initiative. The city’s power is supplied by ten 1.25 MW wind-turbines, that 50% of the city’s energy. Meador plans to interview the Mayor and even some of the residents to see how they feel and then re-sharing it on the internet. These waypoints are also listed on the web page.

Most people would look at Meador’s trek as just another publicity stunt, but he has true goals behind it. But, let’s start at the very beginning…

Wayne Meador was born and raised in Indiana, the oldest of four

Wayne is shown here with his long-time girlfriend, Rebecca Miles and the owners of The Kitchen. Wayne is holding up a green monster smoothie
Wayne is shown here with his long-time girlfriend, Rebecca Miles and the owners of The Kitchen. Wayne is holding up a green monster smoothie

brothers. His parents were German Baptist, but it was an Amish-typed environment. “My parents even looked like they were Amish” said Meador smiling, “They drove a car and had electricity, but they were farmers and grew most of our own food. It was all they knew how to do, and they worked hard at it. My brothers and I helped, but they never taught us how to do it and the reasoning behind it”

Even as a child, Meador admits he always had this major drive that somehow, and some way, he was going to make a massive change and/or difference in the world, but he was clueless as to how this was going to happen. And somewhere along the way, that idea was buried, but would resurface at a later date and bring him back to his roots.

Flash forward several years, and Meador began trying to find his way in the world. He worked in a wide variety of occupations and careers throughout the years, yet couldn’t seem to really make a connection with any of them. From construction, EMT, firefighter, outside sales, nursing, to finally settling in a consulting firm making an excellent living, he still could not seem to find the life purpose he was looking for. That was when he really began to put some deep thought into what he wanted to do with his life, which inevitably led him back to the simplicity and roots of his early life. Only this time, his main focus would be to get back to the basics, in an efficient and sustainable method. Hence, the birth of A World 4 Change,( http://www.aworld4change.com/) which focus was to educate and help drive people on how to be more sustainable in their day to day life.

So, now Wayne was a man with a purpose and he was passionate about it too, but it wasn’t until he lost his job with the consulting firm that he was really able to put the time and effort into A World 4 Change, Wayne feels now is the time to make people aware of a simpler life with long-lasting positive benefits that many think is just

Getting ready to go...
Getting ready to go…

too unattainable for their time-restricted lives. “I want to encourage people to do things that are sustainable and to think outside the box, where they’re not just fitting into society. We think it takes a lot of money to enjoy what we want out of life when in fact, it really doesn’t”, he states eagerly.

“I believe we need to be prepared for whatever our future holds, but not in the same way everyone else does. I think we need to learn to use our resources to the best of our ability in order the preserve the Earth’s resources for future generations.  I also believe from a religious standpoint that all things will eventually come to an end, but we’re still supposed to be good stewards until that happens and take care of God’s handiwork.”

“It’s time to do something radical to show people the depth of my passion and that road literally begins with this mission”, says Meador “The ultimate objective with this trek is to be able to take A World 4 Change and make it a better tool at the end of this 90 day mead 6trek than what I am now. Meador has already lined up meeting with CEO’s and executives of companies when he arrives in San Francisco that can hopefully help fund his business, and become a worldwide benefit corporation focused on humanity.

Meador sums his cross-country goals up from his trek of humanity with a simple statement: “I want to tell a story, with me being the vehicle of what is happening in North America. I want to share the

emotions and challenges of what’s happening with people in our nation and put that in the public eye. I want to have a positive impact as to the endless possibilities of how people can be sustainable in the modern world and show them that it’s not that hard to do. I really feel this is my true path in life and I hope one day, I will leavemy mark upon the Earth with a defined legacy of a true humanitarian.

Please join Wayne in his daily journey with the links listed above.

You can also find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AWorld4ChangeTV

Anyone interested in donating to Wayne’s humanitarian efforts can

do so here: http://www.gofundme.com/atrek4change

mead 8

 

 

 

 

 

Love knows no Boundaries

This warms my heart and makes me smile!

Proof positive that love knows no boundaries and that mothers don’t always have to come from blood. It seems Miss Kitty here has found herself a sweet little baby bunny that she has taken under her wing. She doesn’t really seem to know how to go about nursing her, but she is bathing and keeping her warm, just as she is her other babies. Her owner, Stacey Pitts, is feeding the little one with an eye dropper. Let’s hope she makes it. I’m curious to see how this one turns out. bunny 3bunny 3bunny 4bunny 1

A Battle for Equality

This sweet couple have been all over the news and I couldn’t be more proud for them! Vicky Miles and Melissa Angle have fought long and hard to share a legal union in their home state and I think it’s wonderful they are getting so much exposure. You can read more about their battle by clicking on these links, beginning with the story I did on them over a year ago:

http://www.claycountyweb.com/2013/12/27/dont-duck-the-alternate-lifestyle/

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/02/alabama_gay_marriage_denied_a.html

vicki melissa 2

 

 

http://www.annistonstar.com/news/article_4e39f914-b14b-11e4-9299-3b314bec475a.html

http://www.annistonstar.com/news/article_680f869a-a572-11e4-9205-07aa93a599a7.html

melissa vicki

A quote from Melissa: Well folks, here it is. It’s the morning that so many of us have waited for our entire lives. We will finally be equals today. The air this morning even feels different on my skin. Lighter. No longer feeling the weight of inequality. So many of us will stand in lines all over our great state, many of whom will see marriage by the end of today. This is a wonderful day in not just our personal history, but our nations history. We may see opposition, but it should be handled with grace and class. Show all those who came before us, what they fought for. There may be rain clouds over head, but my what a beautiful day!

http://www.annistonstar.com/star_home_lead/article_3c327362-b17e-11e4-b746-e3b2af17e9b7.html

Tomorrow morning, Vicky & Melissa will be featured on MSNBC interviewed by Jose Diaz-Balart, right AFTER they apply for their marriage license with a big ole traditional to follow in a couple of weeks!

I am simply thrilled for you two great ladies!

Special Needs helps Local Outdoor Sportsman

By: Tammy Andrews

1528468_10151774623160940_1592650520_n How do you spot the unsung heroes of the world? Well, in this case, you would find this one on a river bank somewhere showing a special needs child the art of fishing or perhaps in a locker room giving the boys that last pep talk before the big game. And this is just a fraction of how he makes a difference in the world.

His name is Jim Hardy, a man who wears many hats. Jim has been a star football player, a professional angler, Head Coach, outdoor enthusiast, motivational speaker, but the one that is closest to his heart is his own non-profit organization, Outdoor Friends Forever (O.F.F.). The O.F.F. mission is to pair people with special needs with people of special talents and form a bond in the outdoors that will last forever.  The program has been a huge success and the outreach grows with each passing day.

As with many unsung heroes, Jim doesn’t want any credit for the 10290121_10152486179225940_8650173743453128216_nsuccess of this organization, but his story is one of inspiration and hope for anyone who feels they are limited in life. His motto in life is “Never say Never” and the word “Can’t” is not in his vocabulary.

Jim’s upbringing was centered on religion, which paved the road for his future endeavors. Jim always held a love for the outdoors. “I’ve been fishing since I was old enough to walk”, he says. In high School, Jim played football for Benjamin Russell, playing several different positions very well. As a result, he was voted best all-time place kicker in the history of BRHS. Jim was offered three different scholarships to junior colleges, but in the end, he chose a student management internship with Auburn University, working with the Auburn Tigers because it fit more into his long-term goal. Coaching was Jim’s passion and he wanted to pass along his love and knowledge for the game to others.

From the beginning, it was always about the kids. Even as a teenager, Jim loved spending time with children teaching them the basics of outdoor sports, just as he was fortunate enough to be jim hardy pic 2taught. “I think it’s important to give these kids true quality time. Every day, we’re losing kids more and more to video games and internet. Watching these kids learning the sport gives me a satisfaction like no other.”

At 24 years of age, his path in life became even more apparent when his life was changed forever with a tragic hunting accident. Jim fell from 20 feet to the ground when his tree stand broke suffering a spinal cord injury, as well as several other complications. He would spend the next two months in the hospital, recovering from injuries and learning how to cope with his paralysis.

10885019_10152463470090940_1565862923223863509_n
Jim with Governor Bentley

In many instances, a life-altering accident of this nature would break a young man’s spirits, but not Jim, he refused to let a wheelchair define him. Self-pity was just not his style. Just two months after his accident, he was back at Auburn, finished his degree and went back to work with Auburn Tigers. It was also around this time Jim began motivational speaking to others who had suffered an injury much like his own to help them find their way.

After his accident, Jim began to think harder about what he wanted to accomplish in life and set out to make it happen. He re-evaluated his dedication to the sport of fishing and decided he really wanted to become a professional angler. Jim made a name for himself in the fishing industry in more ways than one, winning fishing tournaments and designing fishing lures.

jim hardy pic
Celebrating Back-to-back championships with his boys.

Jim also began working with kids more on an outdoor level, but he soon discovered he was limited in that field, so he began to dig deeper. Being in a wheelchair really put things into perspective for Jim and God’s path for him began to shine more every day as he realized he wanted to work with special needs kids, hence the birth of O.F.F. in 2009. Working with the kids at O.F.F. is and continues to be the most rewarding experiences for not only Jim, but many other volunteers who have been touched by this program, from professional anglers to your average Joe.

Another rewarding experience for Jim his being named the Head Coach of Victory Baptist of Millbrook in the CFA League, who under his leadership has won back-to-back state championship, earning them a 20-0 record. “I don’t take credit for their hard work because they have inspired me as much as I have them.”

hardy 3
O.F.F. Group hunt with special needs kids

At 37 years old, Jim Hardy is right where he wants to be, even for a paraplegic. I’m sure if he were given the option to be able to walk again, he would gladly take it, but in his heart he knows this was the life God chose for him.  “Everything happens for a reason, and I think God puts you in a place where you’re supposed to be” says Jim, “and if I wouldn’t have been on both sides of it, I wouldn’t be able to relate to what these kids go through.”

Jim’s goal with O.F.F. is to see it grow to nationwide lengths and build a facility to house these kids and their families with all expenses paid when they come to outdoor events. Through fund raisers and private donors, O.F.F. has been able to give 100% back into the program.

hardy 5
One of the things that make O.F.F. so successful is the many volunteers that donate their time.

In addition to motivational speaking, Jim also loves to share his testimony with others, in hopes it will change someone’s life. “I never want this to be about me, but if one person can read my story and see what I am trying to do with these kids and be inspired, then it was all worth it.”

His final words say it all: “Made sure he put God first and everything else just works out in his time.”

To read more about O.F.F., visit http://outdoorfriendsforever.org/

 

 

 

 

 

Special Needs Organization Provides Direction for Local Outdoor Sportsman

By: Tammy Andrews

1528468_10151774623160940_1592650520_n How do you spot the unsung heroes of the world? Well, in this case, you would find this one on a river bank somewhere showing a special needs child the art of fishing or perhaps in a locker room giving the boys that last pep talk before the big game. And this is just a fraction of how he makes a difference in the world.

His name is Jim Hardy, a man who wears many hats. Jim has been a star football player, a professional angler, Head Coach, outdoor enthusiast, motivational speaker, but the one that is closest to his heart is his own non-profit organization, Outdoor Friends Forever (O.F.F.). The O.F.F. mission is to pair people with special needs with people of special talents and form a bond in the outdoors that will last forever.  The program has been a huge success and the outreach grows with each passing day.

As with many unsung heroes, Jim doesn’t want any credit for the 10290121_10152486179225940_8650173743453128216_nsuccess of this organization, but his story is one of inspiration and hope for anyone who feels they are limited in life. His motto in life is “Never say Never” and the word “Can’t” is not in his vocabulary.

Jim’s upbringing was centered on religion, which paved the road for his future endeavors. Jim always held a love for the outdoors. “I’ve been fishing since I was old enough to walk”, he says. In high School, Jim played football for Benjamin Russell, playing several different positions very well. As a result, he was voted best all-time place kicker in the history of BRHS. Jim was offered three different scholarships to junior colleges, but in the end, he chose a student management internship with Auburn University, working with the Auburn Tigers because it fit more into his long-term goal. Coaching was Jim’s passion and he wanted to pass along his love and knowledge for the game to others.

From the beginning, it was always about the kids. Even as a teenager, Jim loved spending time with children teaching them the basics of outdoor sports, just as he was fortunate enough to be jim hardy pic 2taught. “I think it’s important to give these kids true quality time. Every day, we’re losing kids more and more to video games and internet. Watching these kids learning the sport gives me a satisfaction like no other.”

At 24 years of age, his path in life became even more apparent when his life was changed forever with a tragic hunting accident. Jim fell from 20 feet to the ground when his tree stand broke suffering a spinal cord injury, as well as several other complications. He would spend the next two months in the hospital, recovering from injuries and learning how to cope with his paralysis.

10885019_10152463470090940_1565862923223863509_n
Jim with Governor Bentley

In many instances, a life-altering accident of this nature would break a young man’s spirits, but not Jim, he refused to let a wheelchair define him. Self-pity was just not his style. Just two months after his accident, he was back at Auburn, finished his degree and went back to work with Auburn Tigers. It was also around this time Jim began motivational speaking to others who had suffered an injury much like his own to help them find their way.

After his accident, Jim began to think harder about what he wanted to accomplish in life and set out to make it happen. He re-evaluated his dedication to the sport of fishing and decided he really wanted to become a professional angler. Jim made a name for himself in the fishing industry in more ways than one, winning fishing tournaments and designing fishing lures.

jim hardy pic
Celebrating Back-to-back championships with his boys.

Jim also began working with kids more on an outdoor level, but he soon discovered he was limited in that field, so he began to dig deeper. Being in a wheelchair really put things into perspective for Jim and God’s path for him began to shine more every day as he realized he wanted to work with special needs kids, hence the birth of O.F.F. in 2009. Working with the kids at O.F.F. is and continues to be the most rewarding experiences for not only Jim, but many other volunteers who have been touched by this program, from professional anglers to your average Joe.

Another rewarding experience for Jim his being named the Head Coach of Victory Baptist of Millbrook in the CFA League, who under his leadership has won back-to-back state championship, earning them a 20-0 record. “I don’t take credit for their hard work because they have inspired me as much as I have them.”

hardy 3
O.F.F. Group hunt with special needs kids

At 37 years old, Jim Hardy is right where he wants to be, even for a paraplegic. I’m sure if he were given the option to be able to walk again, he would gladly take it, but in his heart he knows this was the life God chose for him.  “Everything happens for a reason, and I think God puts you in a place where you’re supposed to be” says Jim, “and if I wouldn’t have been on both sides of it, I wouldn’t be able to relate to what these kids go through.”

Jim’s goal with O.F.F. is to see it grow to nationwide lengths and build a facility to house these kids and their families with all expenses paid when they come to outdoor events. Through fund raisers and private donors, O.F.F. has been able to give 100% back into the program.

hardy 5
One of the things that make O.F.F. so successful is the many volunteers that donate their time.

In addition to motivational speaking, Jim also loves to share his testimony with others, in hopes it will change someone’s life. “I never want this to be about me, but if one person can read my story and see what I am trying to do with these kids and be inspired, then it was all worth it.”

His final words say it all: “Made sure he put God first and everything else just works out in his time.”

To read more about O.F.F., visit http://outdoorfriendsforever.org/