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2021 Upcoming Holiday deadlines: We will be closed for Memorial Day. We will be closed for Labor Day. Deadline is Friday, Nov. 19 for Thanksgiving Edition and will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holidays. Deadline is Friday, Dec. 3 for Santa Letters. Deadline is Monday, Dec. 20 for the Christmas and New Years Editions. MvT Will be closed Dec. 23-Jan. 2 for the Christmas & New Years Holidays.

The 2021 Martin & Coretta King Unity Breakfast to be Drive In this Year
In spite of the pandemic, the 2021 Martin & Coretta Unity Breakfast will take place this year on Bloody Sunday. However, it will be a drive in breakfast in order to protect participants and attendees. A press conference was held at 11:00 a.m. today at 1 Union Street in Selma by members of The Selma-to-Montgomery March Foundation. Some speakers will be participating in person while others will be presenting virtually. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Unity Breakfast will take place live in the parking lot of Wallace Community College Selma (WCCS) at 7:30 a.m. on Sun., March 7. People will be attending in their cars in the parking lot of the College so they can safely see and hear the speakers live on stage and on multiple, giant LED screens on the campus. Social distancing and masking will be observed. The theme of the 2021 Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, which is a landmark event of the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee, is Unity, Now More Than Ever. WCCS President Dr. James Mitchell said: “In the year 2020, four legendary voting rights and civil rights legends passed. This breakfast will also acknowledge and honor them: Reverend Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Dr. C.T. Vivian and Attorney Bruce Boynton.” A number of national leaders have been invited. Among those are President Joe Biden, who has been to Selma for Bloody Sunday to speak on at least two occasions and as of today is not yet confirmed. A list of confirmed speakers will be shared in a week or so. In addition, there will be a slow drive for breakfast participants from WCCS to the Bridge in honor of the four legends, and information on that will be shared within a week. This year marks the 56th Annual Commemoration of Bloody Sunday and The Selma-to-Montgomery March and the 29th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee.
Red Cross
Make your appointment to give blood, platelets or plasma with the Red Cross by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Tuscaloosa: 3/8 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., University Mall, 1701 McFarland Blvd E.; 3/11 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cypress Inn, 501 Rice Mine Rd. N.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers for Seniors
The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is a federally funded program administered by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ Farmers Market Authority Section. The SFMNP provides eligible seniors with $30 in vouchers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from certified farmers at farmers markets and farm stands in the state of Alabama. This program has limited funding and food benefits are available on a first come, first serve basis until available funds are committed. Seniors are encouraged to complete an application as soon as possible. Must be 60 years of age or older on the day of application, and applicants’ gross household income must not exceed these limits: $1,756 monthly for a household of 1, $2,371 monthly for a household of 2. Visit http://fma.alabama.gov/SeniorNutrition/ if there are more than 2 people in the household. Applicants must apply online at http://fma.alabama.gov. Unfortunately, applications cannot be taken over the phone or by mail. If seniors need assistance or do not have access to a computer, they are encouraged to ask a relative, friend, church member, etc. to complete the application for them with information provided by the senior. If approved, vouchers will be mailed to the address provided on the application. The vouchers are usually mailed out in late May or early June. Applicants must reapply every year. After submitting the application: A confirmation page will appear on the screen stating that the application has been successfully submitted. “Successfully submitted” does not guarantee that the application has been received. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that seniors print or save the confirmation page for their records and verification they did submit an application. If the senior does not meet eligibility requirements, a message stating that the application has been rejected will appear. If the applicant believes an error has been made on the application, they should email: fma@agi.alabama.gov. Do not submit another application!The Alabama Symphony Orchestra Announces Free Spring Serenades!
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to bring a brand new concert series Spring Serenades to living rooms everywhere! This series of virtual programs are designed to engage with music lovers across Alabama, and beyond. The Orchestra is pleased to once again partner with EBSCO Industries INC. and Vulcan Value Partners to make these digital programs accessible to all. Throughout the past year the Orchestra has been working to create innovative projects to expand live music accessibility. Spring Serenades, which will run from February through June 2021, will feature ASO artists performing in socially distanced ensembles. Each concert will be available to view for a limited time through the Alabama Symphony Orchestra website, alabamasymphony.org, and previews will be available on their social media channels. To make these performances available to as wide an audience as possible, the Orchestra is making them accessible for free. When viewing the performance, patrons who feel so compelled will have the opportunity to donate online. Since March of 2020, the Orchestra cancelled or postponed over 100 concerts and programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has taken the opportunity to expand the presence of live music in communities across the state from collaborating with UAB hospital to craft specialized programs for critical care patients, their weekly #TunefulTuesday performances, visiting classrooms through Zoom, and more. A As the ASO moves forward with this expansion of digital programming, it is their genuine hope to welcome audiences back into the concert hall as soon as it is safe to do so. The Alabama Symphony Orchestra stands in solidarity with all of those affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. The Orchestra hopes that you and your loved ones continue to stay in good health. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to their office at 205.251.6929. As always, the Orchestra extends its sincere thanks for your continued support. For more information visit alsymphony.org. Dvorak Serenade for Strings
February 26, 2021 at 12 p.m. through March 7, 2021, Carlos Izcaray, conductor, Kevin Fitzgerald, conductor, Dvorak, Serenade in E Major for String Orchestra andMozart, Divertimento, K. 136 in D Major; Shamrocks & Strings March 12- 21, 12 p.m. Carlos Izcaray, conductor, Kevin Fitzgerald, conductor, Mozart, Adagio & Fugue K. 546 and Holst, St. Paul’s Suite; Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet March 26 – April 4 at 12 p.m. Carlos Izcaray, conductor, Mozart, Quintet for Clarinet & Strings K581 in A Major and Mendelssohn, Sinfonia No. 3 in E minor; Bohemian Serenade April 9-18 at 12 p.m. Carlos Izcaray, conductor, Suk, Serenade for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 6 and more; Cinematic Strings April 23- May 2 at 12 p.m. Chris Confessore, conductor, Herman, Psycho for Strings, Horner/Custer, Music from Titanic, Bernstein/Bulla, America from West Side Story and more!; Music for Winds and Strings May 7 – 16 at 12 p.m. Carlos Izcaray, conductor, Foote, A Night Piece for Flute and Strings, Mozart/Harmon, Andante & Variations for Clarinet and String Quartet, Barber, Serenade, op. 1 and more; Grieg’s Holberg Suite May 21 -30 at 12 p.m. Carlos Izcaray, conductor, Grieg, Holberg Suite and more; Mozart & Saint-Georges, June 4 -13 at 12 p.m. Carlos Izcaray, conductor Mozart, Symphony No. 29, Saint-Georges, Symphony No. 2 and more.

The 2021 Martin & Coretta King Unity Breakfast to be Drive In this Year
In spite of the pandemic, the 2021 Martin & Coretta Unity Breakfast will take place this year on Bloody Sunday. However, it will be a drive in breakfast in order to protect participants and attendees. A press conference was held at 11:00 a.m. today at 1 Union Street in Selma by members of The Selma-to-Montgomery March Foundation. Some speakers will be participating in person while others will be presenting virtually. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Unity Breakfast will take place live in the parking lot of Wallace Community College Selma (WCCS) at 7:30 a.m. on Sun., March 7. People will be attending in their cars in the parking lot of the College so they can safely see and hear the speakers live on stage and on multiple, giant LED screens on the campus. Social distancing and masking will be observed. The theme of the 2021 Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, which is a landmark event of the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee, is Unity, Now More Than Ever. WCCS President Dr. James Mitchell said: “In the year 2020, four legendary voting rights and civil rights legends passed. This breakfast will also acknowledge and honor them: Reverend Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Dr. C.T. Vivian and Attorney Bruce Boynton.” A number of national leaders have been invited. Among those are President Joe Biden, who has been to Selma for Bloody Sunday to speak on at least two occasions and as of today is not yet confirmed. A list of confirmed speakers will be shared in a week or so. In addition, there will be a slow drive for breakfast participants from WCCS to the Bridge in honor of the four legends, and information on that will be shared within a week. This year marks the 56th Annual Commemoration of Bloody Sunday and The Selma-to-Montgomery March and the 29th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

School Events

Greenetrack, Inc. Scholarship
The Greenetrack, Inc. Scholarship is established within the Alabama A&M university Foundation by Greenetrack, Incorporated. The company’s motto is: “Building Communities, Building Futures, Building Lives”. This scholarship’s purpose is to help college students from Western Alabama attain a degree so that they can return and help improve the quality of life in the region. This scholarship is being established with an initial contribution of $10,000.00. It will be generously funded by Greenetrack, Inc. Students must be from Greene, Sumter, Hale, Perry, Bibb, Pickens, Choctaw, Marengo, Dallas and Wilcox Counties. Coordination of the scholarship will be managed through the Alabama A&M University Foundation. To apply for the scholarship students must complete an application through the

UA DEVELOPED APP HELPS CONTROL HYPERTENSION — A mobile app developed by UA faculty and UA’s Center for Advanced Public Safety is helping individuals manage their blood pressure while also providing valuable resources that promote a healthy lifestyle. Through a grant from the Alabama Department of Public Health, faculty and the center collaborated to develop the HYPE app for iOS and Android formats. “We developed an app that could not only provide evidenced based lifestyle education, but also provide a mechanism for users to record their medications, activity levels, blood pressures and other key metrics,” said Dr. Louanne Friend, associate professor and director of residency research with UA’s College of Community Health Sciences. “In addition, the app provides tools to help users identify realistic goals they can achieve to help manage their blood pressure.” For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at bryant.welbourne@ua.edu

EVIDENCE OF PREDATION BY OCTOPUSES PUSHED BACK BY 25 MILLION YEARS — New research unveiled the earliest evidence of octopus predation in the fossil record. The evidence consists of tiny holes drilled in the clams they preyed upon during the Cretaceous period about 75 million years ago. The team’s findings document the oldest recognized drill holes made by octopodoids, found in nearly 75 million-year-old bivalve shells from the Cretaceous period in South Dakota. This shows the ability of these animals to drill their prey evolved early in the evolutionary history of Octopodoidea. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu.

UA NAMED A STUDENT FULBRIGHT TOP PRODUCER, SETS UNIVERSITY RECORD — For the fifth time in six years, UA was recognized as a Top Producing Institution for Fulbright U.S. Student Awards while setting a new University record with 17 students receiving Fulbright Award offers in the 2020-2021 cohort. Now in its 75th year, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the premier educational exchange program of the United States Department of State. The Fulbright Award offers grants for independent study and research and for English teaching assistantships overseas. The highly competitive program selects about 2,200 award recipients from more than 10,000 applicants each year. For more information, contact Diane Kennedy-Jackson, UA Community Affairs, at dkkennedy1@ua.edu.

STATE BUSINESS LEADERS OPTIMISTIC ON EARLY 2021 ECONOMY — Even with the continued stress from the pandemic, business leaders in the state remained mostly optimistic their businesses will have a positive start to 2021, according to a quarterly survey done by economists at The University of Alabama. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu.

UA STUDENTS RAISE MORE THAN $303,000 FOR CHILDREN’S OF ALABAMA — UA’s Dance Marathon raised $303,126 for Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham during its latest annual fundraising efforts. The amount was revealed during the virtual BAMAthon, the organization’s annual dance marathon event. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at bryant.welbourne@ua.edu.  

UA STUDENTS SAFELY VOLUNTEER DESPITE THE PANDEMIC — Tuscaloosa nonprofits are among the many who have felt the overwhelming impact of COVID-19. But The University of Alabama’s student-let organization Serving Bama found a way to safely continue vital, in-person volunteer services, despite the pandemic. “We knew that now more than ever, the Tuscaloosa community needed our support,” said Chloe Keck, the senior who leads the Serving Bama team. Through Keck’s leadership, and with the help of 23 assistant team leaders, Serving Bama partners with 11 nonprofits throughout Tuscaloosa, where 130 UA students volunteer weekly. Serving Bama has contributed nearly 1,100 hours of volunteer service to the community so far this academic year. For more information, contact Melissa Parker, UA Strategic Communications, at melissa.parker@ua.edu.

EVEN THE PARKING DECKS AT UA WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS — A panel of industry experts including engineers, architects and precast concrete producers have awarded the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute’s 2021 Design Award for Best Façade-Only Parking Deck to The University of Alabama for the Tutwiler Parking Deck. The PCI Design Awards showcase and recognize the creative and innovative use of precast concrete. All winning projects will be showcased and honored at the 2021 PCI Convention in New Orleans on May 21. For more information, contact Shane Dorrill, UA Strategic Communications, at shane.dorrill@ua.edu.


At-Home Parent Activities For Reading
The following activities will aid in increasing students’ reading skills and their ability to become successful readers. Phonological Awareness—students must be able to hear the differences in the way words sound—no print is involved in phonological awareness. Activity #1—Play the “Listening Game” with your child. Sit quietly together and listen for sounds around the house or at the park. Ask about the sounds heard and talk about them. Activity #2—Rhyming- Read books and say words that rhyme so your child becomes accustomed to hearing and repeating rhyme. Then have the child to recognize and identify two words that rhyme. Next, encourage your child to think of words that rhyme with each other.
• Read nursery rhymes or Dr. Seuss books. When you hear two words that rhyme, point them out, ask what other words might rhyme. Activity #3—Alliteration—students must be able to recognize similar word beginnings
• Say tongue twisters. Google the different tongue twisters. Ask what sound is heard at the beginning of most words. Activity #4—Phonemic Awareness-students must be able to hear and manipulate individual sounds in words. HINT: Think about the sound, not the spelling as you work with your child.
• Identify words with the same beginning sound
• Identify words with the same endings sound
Phonics—students must be able to match a unit of sound (phoneme) to the letter or letters that make the sound (grapheme). Activity #1—Talk about what sounds are made by which letters. Activity #2—Point out letters and print in books. Say what those letters are called and give the sounds the letters make. Activity #3—Make an alphabet book using old magazines, newspapers, or catalogs. Activity #4—Write letters on pieces of paper and put them in a paper bag. Let your child reach in and take out letters. Have your child say the sounds that match the letters. Fluency—students must be able to read aloud with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Activity #1—“Echo Read”-Read a sentence and have your child read the same sentence after you. This gives them practice hearing how a sentence should be read with the right emphasis on words, stopping at the right place, and using the right intonation (the way your voice rises and falls when you speak). Activity #2-“Repeated Readings”-Encourage your child to reread favorite books. Repeated reading improves children’s fluency and comprehension. Talk about the book and practice reading with expression. Activity #3—Recite nursery rhymes and poems to build familiar phrases in speech. Vocabulary—students with large vocabularies understand more of what they read and hear. Reading is the best way for your child to develop vocabulary. Activity #1—Read all sorts of books, signs on the walls, directions, recipes…a wide range of reading material will expose them to a wide variety of new words. Activity #2—Read aloud to your child even after he/she is able to read independently. Choose books above your child’s level to broaden vocabulary. Teach new words and how they are used in context. Activity #3—Preview words before reading to or with your child. Scan through the book and choose tow works that you think might be interesting or unfamiliar to your child. Activity #4—Use the language of books such as author, title, illustrator, title page, etc. Discuss ordinal words such as first, last, beginning, middle, etc. Comprehension—students must be able to make meaning from what is read. Activity #1—Read books together and discuss. Read to your child every evening. At the end of the book or chapter, discuss what happened. Allow your child to retell a story provides practice with comprehension skills. Activity #2—Illustrate a favorite book. Have your child to draw pictures based on the story and put them in correct order. Activity #3—Sequencing comics. Choose a comic strip from the Sunday paper. Cut out each square and mix up the squares. Have your child put them in order and describe what is happening. Encourage your child to use words like first, second, next, finally, etc. Activity #4—As you are reading, think out loud to your child, “I wonder why……”. This demonstrates that reading and comprehension is an active process, not passive. Reference: Alabama Literacy Act Implementation Guide. Submitted by Mrs. Malinda White

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Success By 6 of United Way of West Alabama is proud to provide Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library books FREE to children ages birth to 5 years old in Greene, Hale, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa counties. Once a month, your child will receive a new book by mail. You only need to do two things: register your child and pledge to read the books to him/her. Please, climb on board Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library! Since UWWA launched the Dolly Parton Imagination Library: 13,467 children have participated in the program in Greene, Hale, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa Counties. 10,427 children have “graduated” from the program. 443,856 books have been delivered to children in West Alabama. Sign up at https://imaginationlibrary.com/check-availability/