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  • July 2022

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    The Shoppes at EastChase Farmers Market Celebrates 18th Year
    The Shoppes at EastChase kicked off the 18th Annual Farmers Market with a Grand Opening Celebration on May 21 that included a Garden Cart Giveaway, live music by the Blackbird Pickers and activities for children. Since opening in 2004, The Shoppes at EastChase is a Certified Farmers Market that has grown to be one of the top five Farmers Markets in Alabama. The market continues to see record-breaking attendance each year, thanks ot its commitment to local: All farmers and makers are exclusive to the state of Alabama, so everything you’ll find at the market is locally grown or made.

    Several longtime favorite Alabama farmers have returned this year, including Aplin Farms, Penton Farms, M&M Farms, Dixon Family Farms and Four R Farms. In addition to locally grown fruits and vegetables, shoppers can also find locally grown plants from Leatherwood Nursery, delicious baked goods from Gigi’s Fabulous Foods and pasture-raised meats from Yarbrough Homestead. Several new vendors are making their debut, including Hickory Grove Farms, a local granary with delicious grits, cornmeal, pancakes and oats, along with Pixel & Polly, a small-batch bakery featuring cathead chocolate chip cookies, butterscotch brownies and buttery Danishes.
     
    Aerie to Open at The Shoppes at EastChase
    Aerie, one of the fastest growing brands in the apparel industry, is opening at The Shoppes at EastChase this summer next to Sephora and adjacent to Bath & Body Works along main street at The Shoppes. The 3,500 square-foot Aerie location is highlighted by a welcoming front and areas to relax, take selfies or engage in fun experiences while shopping. The store offers intimates, apparel, activewear and swimwear with every piece designed for comfort. The Aerie brand promotes body positivity, empowerment and confidence.
     
    King’s Canvas & Rotary Club Announce Washington Park Business District Growth
    Kevin King of King’s Canvas and Cheryl Johnson with the Rotary Club announced the Washington Park Business District development at a King’s Canvas event on May 9. Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed was invited to speak alongside King and Johnson. Anthony Brock, Head of School of Valiant Cross Academy, also spoke, and announced the opening of a bookstore in the King’s Canvas building.
     
    New Program Provides Money for Beginning Farmers
    Alabama Ag Credit is offering $10,000 grants to help beginning farmers in the lower four counties of Alabama get a jumpstart on their dreams. Alabama Ag Credit President and CEO Doug Thiessen says the new grant program was created to help with the challenges of farm startup. Full-or part-time farmers who started farming within the past two years or who plan to start a farm business in the next year can apply for one of five $10,000 jumpstart grants. In addition to farming in the Alabama Ag Credit territory, recipients must submit a business plan and complete the AgBiz Basics educational program by July 31.
     
    Ingram State Announces Apprenticeship Program with Four Star Freightliner
    Ingram State Technical College now offers students a unique training opportunity with the addition of its first apprenticeship program. The agreement, which will benefit students enrolled in Ingram’s diesel mechanics program, is the result of a two-year partnership between the College, Montgomery-based Four Star Freightliner, the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA). The apprenticeship is one part of a comprehensive program designed to prepare students for the transition from classroom to workforce. Participants will complete college courses and earn select lab credit hours as apprentices through Four Star Freightliner.
     
    Public Library System Partners with Autism Nonprofit
    In March, Disability as an Ability Toward Success: Moms on the Move, also known as D.A.T.S.M.O.M., an autism-focused nonprofit, partnered with the Montgomery City-County Public Library System to display the Faces of Autism Campaign in all 10 of its library branches. D.A.T.S.M.O.M. Founder Tametria Conner Dantzler created Faces of Autism to raise autism and inclusion awareness. By exposing the library system’s approximately 7,000 weekly patrons to the art in the exhibit, the organization hopes to eliminate stereotypes and preconceived notions about children and individuals on the Autism Spectrum.
     
    Faulkner University Adds Occupational Therapy to College of Health Sciences
    Faulkner University’s College of Health Sciences officially added the college’s fourth component, the Occupational Therapy Doctoral (OTD) program, after being awarded Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in April. The approval allows admittance of students beginning this fall. The program is approved for a maximum entering class size of up to 50 students. The first cohort will start classes on August 30, 2022, and all faculty and staff to serve the first cohort have been secured. In addition, the program offers a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree.
     
    Kiwanis Club of Montgomery Awards 2022 Grants
    Stephanie Peavy, the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery’s first female President, was inducted into her role in October 2021. An active member of the Club for more than 20 years, Peavy recently presided over its Grant Lunch, where the organization gave out 25 grants to Adullam House, Bridge Builders Alabama, EasterSeals Central Alabama and more. In addition to these grants, the Club also donated to The Alabama Kiwanis District Foundation and The Kiwanis International Children’s Fund. Since 1955, the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery has donated close to $9.5 million to charity and major projects like Boys and Girls Clubs of the River Region, Montgomery Christian School, Gift of Life Foundation, Common Ground Montgomery and Valiant Cross Academy.
     
    Palomar Insurance Corporation Expands to South Carolina
    Palomar Insurance Corporation, headquartered in Montgomery, recently opened its Greenville, South Carolina, office. The Greenville office will serve as an expansion of the Palomar Hart Group Transportation Division, along with Palomar’s Aesthetisure and AI2 Cosmetic Surgery Complication Insurance program. Rick Hawks joined the firm as Vice President of the Palomar Hart Group, bringing 17 years of specialized commercial risk management and transportation experience. Palomar Insurance Corporation also announced the addition of Jill Nicholson-Houston to its expanding team as an Account Executive specializing in the transportation industry. Paige Hawks, Account Executive for Palomar’s Aesthetisure Division, will continue to provide professional consultation to plastic surgeons from the Greenville office.
     
    Four Star Awards Scholarships in Memory of Employee
    Four Star Freightliner, Inc. continues to honor the legacy of Zachary Sizemore by awarding six college scholarships in his name. Sizemore worked in the accounting department at the Dothan location of Four Star Freightliner. He lost his battle with cancer in 2016 at the age of 32. The 2022 Zachary Sizemore Memorial Scholarship recipients include: Caden Johnson from Lowndes High School, Gracie Exum from Ashford High School, Bailey Spivey from Lee County High School, Simmons Byrd from Trinity Presbyterian School, Georgia Barham-Taylor from Cairo High School and Sarah Norris from Trinity Presbyterian School. Each student received a one-time $1,000 award.
     
    Montgomery Biscuits Announces New Community Platforms
    The Montgomery Biscuits has unveiled two new community-driven partnerships for the 2022 season, the Whataburger Biscuits for a Teacher and Guardian Community Corner. The Whataburger Biscuits for a Teacher program will allow Biscuits fans to nominate teachers who are making a significant impact in their local community. Nominated teachers will be eligible for a variety of recognitions in and away from the ballpark, including ceremonial first pitch opportunities as well as a special Big Mo delivery of Whataburger Biscuits to their classroom. The Biscuits have also teamed up with Guardian Credit Union to feature the Guardian Community Corner platform focused on local nonprofit organizations. Through the Guardian Community Corner, organizations can apply to receive a complimentary marketing display during a Biscuits home game as well four tickets in the Guardian Community Row located behind home plate.
     
    Zoo Weekend at the Montgomery Zoo, a Record-Breaking Success
    The Montgomery Zoo staff announced the huge success of its most recent Zoo Weekend, held March 26-27. Over the course of the two-day event, the Montgomery Zoo hosted more than 10,000 guests, taking in a record-breaking, total gross revenue of $177,445.18. Proceeds from the event were contributed to the Zoo’s new expansion project, a state of art Reptile Facility displaying endangered species including the Indian Gharial, Komodo Dragon, King Cobra and Galapagos Giant Tortoise.
     
    Montgomery Zoo Hosts River Clean-up & Celebration for World Otter Day
    As a precursor to World Otter Day, the Zoo hosted its first World Otter Day Waterway Clean-up at Lagoon Park in May. Coosa River Adventures in Wetumpka donated a $65 gift certificate that was given away to one of the volunteers and six bags of trash were collected. Montgomery Zoo continued the celebration of World Otter Day on May 29. North American River Otters are native to Alabama and can be seen at local rivers, lakes and estuaries, along with Montgomery Zoo’s own otters, Lisa and Dot.
     
    AUM Partners with Applied Technology Academy to Launch IT, Cybersecurity, Cloud & Project Management Careers
    Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM), Alabama’s premier provider of lifelong learning, workforce development and community engagement, announced a partnership with Applied Technology Academy, an award-winning provider of instructor-led and online live instructor-led training for the most in-demand information technology, cybersecurity and cloud careers. Courses are available for enrollment now and are designed for a broad range of professionals seeking to develop new skills in their current jobs or reinvent themselves for a new career. Courses can be completed online in real time and in person in a matter of days or weeks. All students will earn professional certification from AUM.
     
    Central Alabama Community College and Auburn University College of Agriculture Form Partnership
    Leaders from Central Alabama Community College (CACC) and Auburn University College of Agriculture (AUAg) signed an agreement to provide a streamlined pathway for CACC students to enter AUAg. The agreement effectively creates a Pre-Agriculture Program at CACC that will apply to 28 AUAg academic pathways. Students interested in agriculture can join the program and receive personalized agriculture-track advising that prepares them for transferring to AUAg. The agreement also creates more opportunities for recruitment/advising interactions between CACC and AUAg Academic Advisors.
     
    SmartBank Making Large Investment in Montgomery
    SmartBank continues to grow by investing in the Montgomery market, recently expanding its banking team by adding eight seasoned bank professionals. The team will be led by Donna Cooper, Market President, a veteran in the banking industry and lifelong resident of the region.

    From relationship managers to credit underwriters, Cooper will be supported by an extremely experienced team that has an invaluable history and understanding of the market. Members of the team include Libby Taunton, Vice President and Private Banker; Cindy Mattingley, Banking Officer and Commercial Assistant; Jason Gardner, Senior Vice President and Corporate Relationship Manager; Teresa Green, Banking Officer and Private Banking Assistant; Ruby Leflore, Senior Financial Services Representative; Bruce Crawford, Senior Vice President, Commercial and Private Banking Executive; and Jay Baker, Senior Vice President and Lead Corporate Relationship Manager. Together, this team has more than 250 years of experience in the banking industry.
     
    Four Star Freightliner Women Gather for Leadership Retreat

    Women are making significant contributions in the trucking industry, not only on the road as drivers, but at the dealership level. Currently, women make up 18 percent of Four Star Freightliner’s workforce. To encourage and develop a more dynamic and diverse workforce, Four Star organized a leadership retreat specifically for women in its company. During the two-day women’s leadership retreat at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, called G.R.I.T. (Gratitude, Respect, Initiative, Teamwork), the women tackled topics such as stereotypes, work-home balance, changes they’d like to see at their dealership and characteristics of a successful leader.
     
    Mayor Reed Presents Funding for Community Improvement Projects
    Mayor Steven L. Reed and the City of Montgomery’s Neighborhood Services Department awarded $52,000 to 15 Montgomery neighborhoods at a recent City Council Meeting as part of the Neighborhood Services’ 2022 Annual Neighborhood Grant program. Grants totaling up to $5,000 will fund sustainable projects that provide public value in Montgomery’s neighborhoods. Each project directly involves residents and complies with the City’s existing policies and codes. Qualifying projects include physical improvements; public safety and public works initiatives; cultural, education, community involvement and recreational programs; neighborhood plans or studies; and technical assistance or marketing publications.
    Projects funded this year include: Arrowhead Homeowners Association; Capitol Heights Civic Association; Dillard Estates Homeowners Association; Dove Field Farms Landowners Association; Eastwood Villa Homeowners Association; Garden District Preservation Association; Greater Bell Road Neighborhood Association; Greater McGehee Estates Homeowners Association; Halcyon Oaks Homeowners Association; Jones Road Neighborhood Association; Lake Ridge Neighborhood and Road Association; Mobile Heights Neighborhood Association; Old Cloverdale Association; Seth Johnson Neighborhood Association; and Westview Gardens Community Association.
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