Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

Main Street Alabama members ended their three day stay in Oxford on Friday with a presentation at the Oxford Performing Arts Center followed by a block party in downtown Oxford.    Members of the team expressed optimism at what downtown Oxford has to offer from the historic buildings, established festivals and events, to the city’s original name of Lick Skillet.   They have compiled 22 pages of notes from meetings held during their visit and will turn those suggestions into a vision for the revitalization of downtown Oxford to be presented to the city leaders in early September.   Oxford was selected to be a Main Street Alabama city June 2nd.    Anniston and Gadsden are already involved in the Main Street Alabama revitalization program.
Local, State, and Federal authorities continue to investigate an explosion that happened Wednesday at Angel Station.  State officials say they have received numerous reports of damage caused to area structures.  Tripwire Operations used the explosion to detonate some material that had been used to train dogs how to detect the explosives.  That training exercise took place at McClellan.   Tripwire officials say there’s no way the explosion caused damage to area homes, but the investigation continues.

The Oxford City Council last week agreed to pay 195 thousand dollars for a pump station near Cheaha Acres subdivision off Friendship road to help alleviate flooding problems caused by heavy rain.    The city agreed to pay the money to the Oxford Water Works and Sewer Board and council man Steven Waits says they are going to need to do more work to stop overflow problems near downtown Oxford as the city seeks to make improvements to that historic area.  The council also appointed City Manager Alton Craft, City Council Woman Charlotte Hubbard, Oxford resident Robin Leonard, and the city’s Main Street Director once one is hired to the advisory board of Oxford’s main street program.

50 area teachers participated Friday in a robotics competition at Jacksonville State University in the second year of a three year grant program from the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation.   The teachers had a week of hands on training then Friday were competing against each other.   Middle School teachers used the robots to move plastic blocks from one place to another and stack them on top of each other while High School teachers built plastic poles with the robots and then stacked the blocks on those poles.   The idea behind the competition is to get teachers trained so they can take robotics back into the Alabama school classes.

About a dozen members of the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association along with Anniston Firefighters worked Saturday to help clear the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail of limbs and brush that grows up along the trail during the spring and summer months.  Firefighters used one of their ATV 4 wheel drive rescue vehicles to haul workers and equipment up the mountain, and use the event to familiarize themselves with the trail in case they are called upon later for a rescue.   Trail cleanups like this one happen about once every 2 months.

Anniston city officials say construction of the Wellness Park to be located between 13th and 17th street in west Anniston should begin in August or early September and is expected to be completed by late October.   The Wellness Park will have exercise equipment and a wide trail good for runners and cyclist.  It’s being paid for with a 437 thousand dollar Community Development block grant from the federal program designed to expand economic opportunities in low income areas.   City officials hope one day to be able to  join the park up to the final 7 miles of the Chief Ladiga Trail which would give cyclist and runners even more trail to enjoy.


Auburn picked up another commitment for their class of 2015 over the weekend when Charles Henderson High School linebacker Richard McBryde tweeted he was officially committing to Auburn.  McBryde is a 6 foot 2 inch 210 pound four star linebacker who was the class 4A lineman of the year as a junior.   Auburn’s 2015 class has been ranked 3rd in the country by Scout and 5th by Rivals. 
Racing enthusiast from as far away as Florida joined the American Red Cross and the Talladega Superspeedway Saturday to pay to drive and ride around the Nascar Track with the money raised going to support efforts of an area Red Cross Chapter.   Fans either paid 50 dollars to drive their own car around the track or 100 dollars to ride in an official pace car.
Jeff Gordon won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday on a day when the track was celebrating the 20th anniversary of Gordon’s first win at Indianapolis.   Sunday was Gordon’s Nascar record 5th Brickyard 400 win.   That leaves Jeff in the lead of the Sprint Cup Standings, too.