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  • January 2017

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    In 2014, the first Raycom Media Camellia Bowl was played in Montgomery, putting the capital city on college football’s map with an exciting post-season game. Played in historic Cramton Bowl, which has been hosting gridiron action for almost a century (including University of Alabama home games in the 1920s), the bowl is named after Alabama’s showy state flower. Each December, the Camellia Bowl brings teams from the Sun Belt Conference and the Mid-American Conference for one last bout of intense competition before they hang up their helmets for the year. According to the bowl’s Executive Director Johnny Williams, the Camellia Bowl is something special. “The history in Montgomery is incredible. To be able to take a student-atlete, who may never have visited Montgomery or Alabama, to the Rosa Parks Museum, is a special opportunity. We’re able to share the civil rights history as well as the sports history of Cramton Bowl,” he said. This year’s game was televised on ESPN and drew more than 20,000 fans in person and far more viewers on tv. The third annual Camellia Bowl featured Appalachian State who beat Toledo, 31 to 28. 

    Last fall, Baptist Health and the Montgomery Cancer Center received a $30,000 grant from the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program: Identify-Amplify-Unify. In total, 22 non-profit organizations received grants totaling $1 million in funding to support and educate metastatic breast cancer patients, their caregivers and their communities. The Montgomery Cancer Center will use the new funds to better support metastatic breast cancer patients and address gaps in services for the metastatic breast cancer community, including medical, psychological, nutritional, complementary and integrative services, financial and legal support. The funds will also allow the Center to better distribute resources and services available to vulnerable populations, including through telemedicine, and share educational resources with the public focusing on metastatic disease, palliative care, treatment options, clinical trials, access to holistic medication and complementary medicine. “With this grant and the support of Avon, we’re excited to learn how we can better support metastatic breast cancer patients. We plan to customize our monies to host a three-day retreat to offer spiritual and psychosocial support to 20 of our metastatic breast cancer patients as well as their caregivers,” said Susan Reed, administrator of the Montgomery Cancer Center. “It will allow us to create an enduring network of community resources to support women with MBC.” 

    Dr. David S. Sorenson, chair of the Department of International Security and professor of international security studies at the Air War College, Air University, addressed the Alabama World Affairs Council at Troy University Montgomery in November. Attendees had the chance to learn more about how issues in Syria affect us in the United States as they listened to his presentation “A Requiem for Syria.” Dr. Sorenson re- ceived his Ph.D. from the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and previously served on the faculties of the University of Colorado at Denver, Denison University and the Mershon Center at Ohio State University. He has written and edited several books on Syria and the Middle East and published numerous articles, book chapters and conference papers on Middle East politics, defense budget politics and national security a airs. 

    The Barkery, a new locally owned boutique pet-services and retail shop for dogs and their owners opened in November at 1963 Mulberry Street in Montgomery. The store offers daycare, boarding, grooming and training services in addition to a dog bakery and retail shop. The bakery features handmade, healthy dog treats baked on site and made with all natural, locally sourced ingredients. The retail shop carries an array of dog-themed items created by local vendors as well as basic dog supplies. Owner Michelle Reeder turned her passion for pets into a full-time business and brought her family, including her dogs and grand-dogs along as well. Her husband Dan, daughter Emily and son David assist with everything from baking and decorating to greeting customers at the events they attend. The Barkery’s boutique approach includes suite-only boarding, cage-free daycare, an indoor playroom, grooming and training, and even massage services, giving guest-pups the ultimate in comfort and hospitality. Learn more at thebarkery.dog. 

    Aronov Realty management announced in mid-November that At Home, the home décor superstore, will open its first Montgomery location at Eastdale Mall. The more than 104,000-square-foot store is under development in the former Sears location. The Montgomery location of At Home, the big box specialty retailer with more than 100 stores across the country, is expected to open in early 2017. At Home is focused on providing customers with the broadest assortment of home décor products to suit any style, any budget, for any reason to redecorate. The retailer will offer more than 50,000 items throughout the store – including wall art and decorative accents, rugs, house- wares, home textiles, patio furniture, home furnishings, seasonal and holiday décor and more. “At Home is a very desired retailer for communities throughout the country,” said Owen Aronov, president of Aronov Realty Management Company. “We are delighted they have selected Montgomery and East- dale Mall for their new location.” 

    Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits opened its first location in Montgomery on Eastchase Parkway last October. “Our franchise group is thrilled to bring a Bojangles’ to Montgomery,” said Bojland Restaurant Group franchisee, Pat Landon. “The reception from the local community has been overwhelmingly positive.” We think our breakfast — served hot and fresh all day, every day — lunch and dinner will be a fan favorite in the city.” Bojland Restaurant Group significantly contributes to the local economic landscape through investment dollars, construction projects and job creation, employing approximately 50 team members from the community. The restaurant group plans to have a total of five restaurants under contract by the end of 2017. 

    Montgomery’s first Whole Foods Market opened in November in the Chase Corner shopping center at the intersection of Taylor Road and Interstate 85. The 40,000-square-foot market employed approximately 112 individuals at its opening, with potential growth in the future. “I know Montgomery and the surrounding communities are very excited about Whole Foods becoming a part of our community,” said Owen Aronov, President of Aronov Realty Management.” This is truly one of the country’s premier grocery stores, and I am sure it will become a dynamic addition to this region. Whole Foods will bring an unparalleled selection of quality foods and also excitement and fun to the grocery shopping experience.” 

    The March of Dimes announced last December that it is partnering with Gift of Life Foundation, Baptist Medical Center East and Alabama Department of Public Health to implement the Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® program. The program provides education for pregnant women, perinatal providers and the greater community on the problem of preterm birth, risk factors and strategies for reducing risk. “Preparing for a new baby is a time of great excitement,” said Lisa Carter, Chair of the Maternal and Child Health Committee for Alabama March of Dimes. “Families don’t expect anything to go wrong, but in about 1 in 7 births in Montgomery, the babies are born too soon. Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait aims to help prevent those preterm births that are preventable with a model that combines clinical, education and community e orts.” 

    The Korean Consulate General, Seong- Jin Kim, recognized and presented awards to six Alabama State legislators last November. Senators Gerald Dial, J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, Tom Whatley, Cam Ward, Tim Melson and Jim McClendon sponsored Alabama Act 2016-217, which passed in the 2016 regular legislative session. Hosted by the locally based Alabama-Korea Education and Economic Partnership (A-KEEP), Alabama Act 2016-217 recognizes the enormous economic impact of Korean industries in the River Region and throughout Alabama. “This bill encourages formal and informal programs to enhance and promote continued cooperation and cultural exchange between Korea, Koreans, Alabama and Alabamians,” explained Meesoon Han, Executive Director of A-KEEP. 

    Last October, the MAX4Kids Foundation hosted its 17th Annual MAX4Kids Charity Golf Tourna- ment at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville. With 206 golfers and 109 dedicated sponsors, the fundraising event was a huge success and netted close to $37,000. With this event, the MAX4Kids Foundation hit a historic milestone by donating over $1 million dollars to local children’s charities and the MAX4Kids scholarship fund. “Over my career, being able to work at a job that not only allows, but also encourages purposeful work, like the MAX4Kids Foundation Golf Tournament, has been a blessing,” said Chief Retail Officer and MAX4Kids Foundation President Wayne Blackwell. “Having the opportunity to do this with a group of people such as the MAX team members that truly have a heart for their communities and do it for the right reason is incredibly rewarding.” The MAX4Kids Foundation benefits children’s charities in the River Region and East Alabama, as well as the MAX4Kids Scholarship Program. 

    Colorado native Eric Rivera took over as the new executive chef at Cloverdale’s Vintage Year restaurant last fall. He previously worked in Birmingham at the Redmont Hotel, over- seeing both a café with fresh bread and locally roasted coffee and an Italian-inspired fine dining restaurant featuring local ingredients. The focus on local ingredients has been with him since he first became an executive chef – as a 23-year-old – leading the Lalas Wine Bar and Pizzeria in Denver. 

    Phase 4 at Montgomery’s Hampstead community began in November and features new residential lots to help meet the massive demand for residential construction over the past few years. This new area continues to grow alongside the beautiful Hampstead Lake, creating lake view and parkside lots, and new civic spaces and amenities. 

    The Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA) dedicated a new solar research project, its first endeavor into the solar arena, last fall. The project is located adjacent to the new AMEA headquarters at 80 TechnaCenter Drive in East Montgomery. The energy produced by the 50-KW solar project will be utilized by the new building. “We are proud of the new solar research project as a part of our efforts to enhance renewable energy in our portfolio,” said Fred Clark, AMEA President and CEO. AMEA is the whole- sale power provider for 11 public power utilities in Alabama. 

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