2024 Upcoming Holiday deadlines: MvT will be closed for Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. MvT will be closed for the 4th of July Thursday, July 4 & Friday, July 5th. Late deadline for the July 11th edition will be Monday, July 8th before 9 a.m. MvT will be closed for Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2. MvT will be closed for Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11. Deadline for Thanksgiving is Friday, Nov. 22. MvT will be closed for Thanksgiving week and will reopen Monday, Dec. 2. Santa Letters deadline is Friday, Dec. 6. Deadline for the Christmas Edition (12-25) & New Year’s Edition (1-1) is Thursday, Dec. 19. We have to submit both papers early due to the printing company being closed for the holidays.

Hale County Animal Shelter Pet of the week

(Top) Hope and Charity, (middle) Sir Licksalot and Blaze, and (bottom) Eustace is a 4 month old brindle and white mixed breed puppy. He is a chunky monkey! He is fairly mellow for a puppy. He is house trained. He should mature over 50 pounds. He is neutered and UTD on vaccines. Adoption fee $100. Ready for homes or rescue pull. Precious boys.
Laurie Nevin, Hale County Animal Shelter, 334-624-8120. Shelter needs Purina Puppy Chow!

Church & Community Events

May’s Grow More, Give More Harvest of the Month is Irish Potatoes
Find growing instructions as well as yummy recipes at www.aces.edu/blog/topics/lawn-garden/may-grow-more-give-more-harvest-of-the-month

West Alabama Senior Citizens Appreciation Day 2024
Since 1987, the Area Agency on Aging of West Alabama has recognized senior citizens for their contributions to society by hosting an annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Day. We are excited to bring this event back to Shelton State Community College again this year to celebrate older adults that are active participants who make positive impacts in their communities and the lives of others. This year’s theme is: “Powered by Connection.” The celebration will be held in the Martin Campus gymnasium on the Shelton State Community College, 9500 Old Greensboro Rd., Tuscaloosa, on Thursday, May 23, from 9:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. The day will be filled with games, prizes, exhibits, free lunch and entertainment. ALL senior adults residing in Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Pickens, and Tuscaloosa counties are encouraged to join us for a day of fun and fellowship. Anyone age 60 and older may attend at no charge. Groups are asked to register in advance. For additional information and group registration please call the Area Agency on Aging at 333-2990 or 1-800-AGELINE if outside of Tuscaloosa county.

Blackbelt Women Rising to Host Blackbelt Utility Conference at Wallace Community College
Blackbelt Women Rising is proud to announce the upcoming Blackbelt Utility Conference, scheduled to take place on May 24, at Wallace Community College Demopolis Campus. The conference will bring together water experts, funders, and representatives from homeland security to address critical issues facing utility services in the Blackbelt region. The conference will feature keynote presentations, panel discussions, and interactive workshops covering a range of topics, including water management, infrastructure development, funding opportunities, and emergency preparedness. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with industry leaders, share best practices, and develop strategies for enhancing utility services in the Blackbelt area. Participants can receive 4 CHEJ hours for this conference through ADEM. The Blackbelt Utility Conference will kick off at 8 a.m. and conclude at 4:15 p.m. Registration is required to attend, and more information about the conference agenda and registration details can be found at https://bbwaterconference.rsvpify.com. Blackbelt Women Rising is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women and communities in the Blackbelt region. Through advocacy, education, and community engagement, Blackbelt Women Rising works to address issues of gender justice, economic empowerment, and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit www.bbwr.org.

Alabama 4-H invites everyone ages 9 to 18 to test their fishing skills through 4-H BIGGEST Catch, a virtual fishing contest! To participate, all you have to do is go fishing in Alabama freshwater anytime between May 24 and June 3. Once you make your catch, measure the fish, take a photo with it, and submit an online contest entry form. Try to catch as many different species as you can to win the biggest variety award. Fish as many public water bodies as possible to win the award for the biggest variety of public water fished. New to this year’s contest, show off your artistic side to win the biggest fish art award. This year, there are four contest categories, with two age divisions in each category (Junior: 9 to 13; Senior: 14 to 18). First, second, and third place will be awarded in both age divisions. Biggest Catch—Catch a big fish in one or more fish categories: bass, sunfish (bream), catfish, and crappie. First, second, and third place will be awarded in each fish category. Biggest Variety of Fish Species—Catch as many different species of bass, sunfish (bream), catfish, and crappie as you can. Size does not matter. Biggest Variety of Public Water—Catch a fish in as many different public water bodies as you can. Size does not matter. Biggest Fish Art—Portray a bass, sunfish (bream), catfish, or crappie in a piece of art. Official Fishing Contest Rules and Information: Participants must submit their official contest entries between May 24 at 8 a.m. CST and June 3 at 8 p.m. CST using the online submission form at aub.ie/4HBiggestCatch24.All entries must include a photograph of the youth’s catch). The photograph must include the youth and their fish, the contest code AL4H24, and the total length (inches) of the fish. This can be written on a piece of paper and held up in the photograph or written on the participant’s hand. Total length of a fish is measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the caudal (tail) fin using a measuring tape or a measuring board. Only complete entries will be considered.Youth ages 9 to 13 will compete in the Junior division, and youth ages 14 to 18 will compete in the Senior division. Youth must catch and land their own fish without the help of others. Each participant’s catch must be submitted to the correct fish category.Fish must be caught in Alabama waters.Participants must follow all state requirements for fishing license and permits and creel and size limits. Visit www.OutdoorAlabama.com for more information on these requirements.Have fun and be safe!

School Events

U.S. Department of Education Launches Next Phase of FAFSA Support Strategy to Boost Completion Rate Among High School Students
The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today announced additional steps to support students and their families with the Better FAFSA. The Department is launching a multi-million-dollar program as part of the FAFSA Student Support Strategy to help school districts, state, nonprofits and other public and private organizations with efforts to boost FAFSA completion. Since the new 2024–25 FAFSA form became available on Dec. 30, more than 8.95 million forms have been successfully submitted. The FAFSA Student Support Strategy funds will help grow capacity for organizations to expand the availability of advisers, counselors, and coaches to support students and contributors through the FAFSA applications, including during extended hours through evenings, weekends, and the summer weeks. It will also facilitate FAFSA submission clinics, including through partnerships with schools and districts, and provide transportation support as needed. Additionally, these funds will provide communication supports to help organizations communicate with parents and students via text, phone calls, and videoconferences, in multiple languages as needed, to help them complete their forms. The FAFSA Student Support Strategy aims to continue increasing the number of high school students who complete a 2024-25 FAFSA and enroll in college, particularly first-time college students and students of color. This investment builds on the Department’s efforts to help students, families, and institutions through the 2024-25 FAFSA application cycle, in addition to the College Support Strategy, the FAFSA Fast Break campaign, and direct communication efforts with institutions and stakeholders via the FAFSA Fast News blog. Over the past few months, the Department has sent approximately 70 million emails to students encouraging them to complete the Better FAFSA form, as well as engaged with hundreds of superintendents and principals to help drive submission efforts, garnering over 200 commitments from companies, non-profits, and community organizations to help boost FAFSA submissions. Last week, the Department kicked-off a series of regional and local media engagement in media markets across the country to drive awareness and increase completion rates, targeting states with the largest high school senior FAFSA submission gaps. The program will provide up to $50 million for grantees and will be implemented by ECMC to support organizations with demonstrated experience expanding college access and enrollment. The funding will be prioritized for organizations currently working with schools and districts, and those that have deep ties with students and families which have the reach and capacity to help decrease barriers and increase FAFSA submissions. The Department continues to create and share resources for schools, students, families, and institutions of higher education to ensure they have the tools and information they need to receive and award financial aid. More information can be found at Ed.gov/better-FAFSA. This announcement comes as the Department has made significant progress to address known issues with the 2024-25 FAFSA form and transmitted the Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) from more than 8.95 million applications to schools, states, and designated scholarship organizations. Most four-year institutions are now sending student aid offers, including the vast majority of schools with upcoming admissions deadlines.

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/

UA Preview: This Week at The University of Alabama
First Udall Scholar in 23 Years 
Benjamin Trost, a junior from Tuscaloosa, was among 55 college students from around the nation to receive the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship which identifies future leaders in environmental, tribal public policy and health care fields. 
Why This Matters: The Udall Undergraduate Scholarship honors the legacies of Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on Native American self-governance, health care, and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources. The scholarship is highly competitive, with students participating in their schools’ internal competitions before receiving consideration from the Udall Foundation. 
Summer Road Closures, Changes
UA will have several road closures and lane adjustments on campus this summer. 
Why This Matters: Construction projects ramp up over the summer months with less volume on campus.