Thursday, August 18, 2011

Continuing Education at UNA

By: Laura Ivie
Staff Writer
August 18, 2011

In yesterday's blog I wrote about language classes offered through UNA's Office of Continuing Studies and Outreach and wanted to briefly expand on that today.
This office is a great resource for not only those in the professional word, but to retiree's, empty nesters, and just about anyone within the community who has a desire to learn something new. Those currently in the workforce will be interested to know that they offer numerous certificate programs, such as Alabama Planning Institute, GIS, Public Safety & Leadership and Paralegal. There are also courses in MBA prerequisites, law enforcement training, and professional development. UNA is now an official testing center for the Microsoft Office Specialist exams and they offer courses that help to prepare for these exams.
Personal enrichment classes are also offered through this office and include Beginning Guitar, East Coast Swing, Basics of Interior Design & Decorating I, and Yoga I, among many others.
If you are interested in any of these or would like more information, I encourage you to call their office at 256-765-4862.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Language classes at UNA: Continuing Ed

By: Laura Ivie
Staff Writer
August 17, 2011

Have you ever thought about learning a second, or even third, language? Well, now is the time and UNA is here to help, through their Continuing Studies and Outreach program. Beginning August 24 they will offer several language classes in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Languages, such as French, German, Spanish. They will also offer more critical languages, like Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese.
These courses will be held at various times on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or on Tuesday and Thursday, depending on the class. The cost is $249 per class and workbooks are required, which can be purchased from the UNA bookstore at an additional cost. The classes will conclude on December 16, 2011.
If you are interested, please call 256--765-4289 for more information or to register.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wild about art: Todd Reed

By: Laura Ivie
Staff Writer
August 16, 2011

The Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts has a new exhibit starting Thursday, August 18 featuring wildlife artist Todd Reed, and it's one you won't want to miss. Reed grew up in Shelbyville, Tennessee where drawing and painting the various wildlife he encountered was his passion. The medium he uses include gouache, acrylic, graphite and watercolor.

Reed attended the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, graduating with a BA in graphic design and currently is the Art Director for an ad agency in Chattanooga, though at heart he considers himself a wildlife artist. He has won numerous awards at such events as the Arts Alive Festival, the Southern Wildlife Festival, and the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association Wildlife Art Expo.

Being an avid outdoorsman, Reed's inspiration for his art work comes from his own observations in the field. He keeps a camera and sketchpad at the ready, just in case an opportunity presents itself.

The exhibit runs through September 27th and can be seen Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and there is no charge. The Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts is located in Downtown Florence at 217 East Tuscaloosa Street and they may be reached at 256-760-6379.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Get to Know...Unraveled!

By: Laura Ivie
Staff Writer
August 15, 2011

Calling all knitters!
There is a great new place for you to find your supplies in Downtown Florence and that place is Unraveled. The shop is owned and operated by Anna Carbine and is more than just a place to go and buy yarn and other supplies.
The moment I walked through the door I was taken in by the sense of warmth and liveliness that greeted me from this shop, a far different experience than walking into a chain craft store! I was able to talk briefly with Anna, who told me that her shop is not just a place to go and pick out supplies. It is one where you can go and seek not only guidance with a current project but also provides a place to sit and knit with fellow crafters. As a matter of fact, there was a group in there doing just that, and have a high time doing so! Unraveled provides classes, such as Beginning Knit and "Lunch & Learn Thursdays", where you can get help or ask questions about a current project.
I asked Anna what prompted her to open this type of business, which she said came from her love to knit and the need to fill a niche for fellow knitters. She would like customer's to know that hers is a friendly and warm environment and she enjoys hearing their stories about knitting and crocheting and who has taught them, such as their mother or grandmother.
So, if you're thinking of taking up knitting, or have done so for years and are looking for a place to connect to others in your craft, look no further! Unraveled is open Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Friday, August 12, 2011

What's in a weekend?

By: Laura Ivie
Staff Writer
August 12, 2011

Well, once again the start of a new weekend is upon us and looming right behind it is the start of another school year. Some of you are cheering, some of you are jeering and some are probably like me, a mixture of both. I want to encourage you to get downtown this weekend with your family and enjoy this last carefree time before the hustle and bustle of school and the activities that go with it set in.

On Friday night the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will be performing at the Shoals Theatre at 7:00 p.m. and tickets are $35/advance and $45/day of show.

On Saturday The Sticky Wickets will be playing games and providing improv at the Zodiac Theatre at 8:00 p.m., with tickets a mere $5/person. This is a great family event you won't want to miss! Before you head over to the Zodiac, grab some dinner at one of our downtown eating establishments, such as Rosie's, Ricatoni's, or perhaps Legends. Be sure to save room for frozen yogurt at Makadoo's!

Pope's Tavern is a great place for learning about the cultural history of the Shoals and is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., as well as the Indian Mound & Museum. There's also Wilson Park, which offers benches and a fountain for the kids to make a wish in; grab a picnic lunch and head on over! After lunch be sure to walk across the street and enjoy some quiet time at the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library, perhaps snuggling and reading with that little one you about to send off to kindergarten.

See you downtown...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Think local: Think downtown Florence!

By: Laura Ivie
Staff Writer
August 10, 2011

Have you visited downtown lately? If not, then you're missing out on all it has to offer.
Downtown Florence does indeed provide a place for great food and shopping, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. I was speaking with a friend recently and was reminded that there is more to downtown than meets the eye. My friend experienced a plumbing issue and instead of going to one of the big box stores to tackle the issue, she stayed within her downtown community and gave her business to a local store. By doing this she was able to make a positive impact within her community. How, you might ask? Well, locally owned businesses generally make use of other local services, such as a bank; they provide more in the way of income and jobs to their local community and tend to be more accountable to the local area. According to the 3/50 Project for every $100 spent in a local business, $68 is returned to the community by way of taxes, payroll and various other expenditures. If that same amount is spent in a big box store the amount returned to the community is reduced to $43; and when items are purchased online none of that is returned to the local economy. The positive impact to the environment is another consideration when thinking of buying locally and this is due to reduced fuel consumption, as this reduces how far shoppers have to travel.

Locally owned businesses also tend to know their product a little bit more than a big box store and can generally guide you to what you need in a timely manner, rather than wandering all over a store that can be up to 250,000 square feet.
So, next time you need something, be it copy service, a toilet, a photographer, a new door or window, a wedding dress, or something as simple as an ice cream cone, think local: think downtown Florence!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Get to Know...Makadoo's!

By: Laura Ivie
Staff Writer
August 8, 2011

Step 1: Grab bowl & fill with yogurt
Step 2: Add your favorite toppings
Step 3: Weigh & Pay
Step 4: Relax and enjoy

These are the steps to a successful experience at Makadoo's, a wonderful new yogurt shop that has made it's way into downtown Florence. As you step up to the yogurt machines to make your choice, you will see these words on the giant chalkboard above, guiding you through the process. And mind you, it's not an easy choice! Gone are the days of simple vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. No, Makadoo's tempts you with flavors such as Lemon Ice Box, Banana Pudding, Raspberry Tart, and Jolly Rancher Fruit Punch Sorbet. And then come the toppings, and the choices abound!
You might be asking yourself, "Where did they come up with the name Makadoo's?" When I sat down to talk with owner Michelle Winkle, she laughingly told me that is the nickname given to her daughter, Makadyn, by her brother-in-law. She said she and husband David had been trying desperately to come up with a name when he suddenly asked, " What does Steve call Makadyn?" So, Makadoo's it was!
The shop is something that David and Michelle have talked about for a couple of years, they just needed that perfect location. And boy did they get it! Located at 120 North Court Street, in what could be considered the "heart" of downtown, their shop definitely catches the eye. Painted with lively pastels that are at the same time easy on the eyes, the inside is quite roomy and engaging. There is a party room in the back with a giant chalkboard and a kids only table up front with a never ending supply of crayons!
Whether you're looking for a quick treat or a place to host your next birthday party, Makadoo's has got you covered! Hope to see you there soon...