Druid City Living always wants to recognize our great local businesses. To the new businesses - welcome to town! Remember: Shop local.

Druid City Living always wants to recognize our great local businesses. To the new businesses - welcome to town! Remember: Shop local.

When I’m wearing flip-flops in December, I tend to forget that the upcoming months leading to spring tend to be the ones where my family deals with the most sickness. Growing up, I was always told that staying indoors and “just going to bed” are two remedies that help little people bounce back the quickest. Now a mom myself, I’ve decided to look into both of these remedies, to see what health professionals and parenting experts have to say.  

Can we all agree that we’re over the cold weather? Since there’s not much we can do about the temperatures, I decided to suggest two of my favorite dishes to warm everyone up this month. This loaded mashed potato casserole is hearty, savory, and the perfect way to jazz up regular mashed potatoes. And my pasta e fagioli soup is always a go-to when it’s cold outside and we want to feel warm and cozy.  

Enjoy your February, stay warm, and as always, bon appétit! 

Here’s wishing all our Druid City Living readers a great week, filled with all kinds of outstanding local events. Get out, get involved, and above all else: Have fun. And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

Enjoy your week, T-Town!

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – With Opening Weekend less than a month away, the UAB baseball team began practice in preparation for the 2018 season.

 

“I am proud of the guys effort today,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “I am looking forward to this season.”

 

UAB returns 21 letterwinners from a season ago including six starting position players and nine pitchers. 

 

Among the returners are infielders Carter Pharis and Price Visintainer. Pharis started 54 games in 2017 hitting .305 with 15 doubles, three homeruns and 30 RBI. Visintainer, a versatile infielder, hit .288 with 45 hits to just 24 strikeouts. 

 

On the mound the Blazers return senior pitchers Carson Jones, Ryan Ruggles and Isaiah Gonzales-Montoya. Jones made 20 appearances with five starts holding a 5.68 ERA over 52.1 inning pitched. Ruggles a consistent starter, appeared in 15 games with 10 starts striking out 49 batters. Gonzales-Montoya carried a 4.32 ERA primarily coming out of the bullpen.

 

UAB begins its 2018 slate on February 16 when it hosts Bowling Green in the first of a three-game series at Regions Field. First pitch between the Blazers and Falcons is set for 4 p.m.

 

For more information on the UAB baseball team follow the Blazers on Twitter (@UAB_Baseball) or on Instagram (UAB_Baseball).

 

“Shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo; pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp …”  

Sure, this might be straight out of the movie Forrest Gump, where “shrimp is the fruit of the sea,” but one local business is trying to make this a reality in landlocked West Alabama. Since the end of 2016, the families involved with Sumter County Shrimp have dedicated themselves to digging ponds, drilling wells, and investing in equipment needed to grow shrimp in this area.  

According to co-owner Lee Stegall, the project idea stemmed from the discovery of salt water on his family farm years ago.  

“In 1959, my grandfather drilled a well on our family farm in Sumter County to water cattle. The artesian well began flowing, but the water was salty,” Stegall said. 

Over 50 years later, Stegall – a mechanical engineer in Tuscaloosa – was working in the Demopolis area. After running across information about Greene Prairie Aquafarm in rural Greene County, he reached out to co-owner David Teichert-Coddington. They met at Stegall’s farm in 2014. 

“He found our water quality was excellent, and immediately said we should be in the shrimp farming business. Over the next three years, we researched, traveled, went to meetings, and gathered as much information as possible to weigh the feasibility and benefits,” said Stegall. 

Stegall’s family friend, Shawn Templeton, was also interested in the project. Templeton and his parents became partners. Since word has gotten out about the saltwater shrimp farm, community response has been overwhelming.  

“People wanting to know when and where they can get our shrimp contact us almost every day,” said Stegall.   

The next steps for Sumter County Shrimp include finding a wholesale buyer for the shrimp, and offering the product to local restaurants.  

“The strong farm-to-table market and sustainable farming practices demand is perfect for our product.  The lower salinity water we grow in provides a sweeter shrimp than an ocean grown shrimp.  The lack of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and preservatives provides a premium quality shrimp,” said Stegall. 

With a plan to harvest the shrimp and ice them down to bring to Tuscaloosa, folks interested in purchasing from Sumter County Shrimp can follow the company on their Facebook page (facebook.com/scshrimp) and join the mailing list to learn when shrimp is brought to town.  

“Many people assume a farmed shrimp is a lesser product to wild caught shrimp. This is not so, and the taste will prove it,” Stegall said. 

Having one or two quality running backs for the upcoming season is a huge asset for any college football team. Alabama currently has six on its roster (three five-stars, two four-stars, and one three-star) that could likely start for any team in the nation. Today we highlight and provide more insight on Alabama's loaded backfield.

AMICO Security announced today that its AMIGUARD system, considered one of the most secure and cost effective border solutions available on the market, is expected to play a large role in President-elect Donald Trump's plan to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

The Board of Trustees of the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust will hold its first quarterly meeting on February 9, 2017, at the Alabama State Capitol Auditorium in Montgomery, Ala. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m.

The 2016 fall season has been especially fruitful for the Alabama State Parks System. Starting with the overwhelming approval of Amendment 2 on the ballot in November to encouraging visitor numbers, enthusiasm abounds at State Parks.

And to keep that momentum going, State Parks is offering a substantial discount on overnight accommodations at 11 State Parks.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 31, 2016

Saturday's Chick Fil A Peach Bowl playoff semifinal contest between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Washington brought together two teams with fairly different offensive approaches as well as a pair of elite teams with smothering defensive units.
But on this day in Atlanta, it was all about the highly-touted Tide defense, Alabama's domination of the field position battle and the huge effort of sophomore tailback Bo Scarbrough as Nick Saban's Crimson Tide team snagged a 24-7 victory over Chris Petersen's stubborn Pac 12 champion Huskies before a capacity crowd at the Georgia Dome.
With its 26th straight win overall dating back to the 2015 season, Alabama improved to 14-0, the third time the Tide has reached that victory total under Saban, while the Huskies saw their stellar season end at 12-2.
Most importantly, the win advanced the Crimson Tide to the Jan. 9 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Tampa, Fla. against Dabo Swinney's No. 2 Clemson Tigers, where it will have the opportunity to collect its second consecutive national title and its fifth in the last eight seasons.
The Tide and Tigers will meet for the second straight year in the title game, and the Tide knocked off Swinney's team 45-40 in 2015 to claim its 16th national title. Clemson defeated No. 3 Ohio State 31-0 Saturday in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
The smothering Crimson Tide defense, paced by Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster and others, held the Huskies to 194 total yards, including only 44 on the ground, while forcing three turnovers.
Scarbrough, meanwhile, tallied 180 yards on 19 carries to set a new UA bowl game rushing mark while scoring a pair of touchdowns.  He averaged nearly 10 yards per carry on the way to his record-setting day.
"Washington had us a little off balance (in the first half) and we didn't do our responsibilities, but after we got in the flow of the game, I thought we played pretty well on defense," said Saban. "(Scarbrough) has really been playing well for us the past three or four games and we want to play him more and the guy is hard to tackle. He's big and powerful and playing with a lot of confidence right now. He did a great job for us today."

By Stan J. Griffin: December 29, 2016

There has been much discussion, or as University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban would tend to classify it, "outside noise," regarding the legacy of the 2016 Crimson Tide squad, a No. 1-ranked powerhouse that has already rolled to a 13-0 mark, a third consecutive Southeastern Conference title and a third straight trip to the College Football Playoffs.
Some observers are wondering aloud whether this may be the best Alabama team ever, or at least the mightiest one that Saban has coached in Tuscaloosa, as UA seeks to become the first major college team ever to finish with a perfect 15-0 mark.
At the very least, many media types are suggesting that Jeremy Pruitt's Alabama defense may be the Crimson Tide's finest ever stop unit.
All of that hype and hoopla makes for fine water cooler discussion and round table debate, but there is just one small problem with all of this clutter.
The story of this Alabama team is still yet to be completed, and an upcoming one or two-game run in the playoffs will determine if this team may go down as the greatest piece in Saban's Crimson Tide dynasty, or if it will be remembered as a very good team that simply could not finish the job.
In two days we will find out if the Tide can reach the 14-victory plateau for the third time under Saban, but it will not be an easy task as Alabama will face Chris Petersen's No. 4 Washington Huskies in the New Year's Eve Chick Fil A Peach Bowl in one of the playoff semifinals.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in the Georgia Dome, and the game will be televised by ESPN.
Before the Tide left Tuscaloosa for its Christmas break, Saban noted that Petersen's Pac 12 champions (12-1) are extremely well-coached, as well as being very solid in all facets of the game.
"Every time I stand up here, I try to convince everybody what a great team Washington has, and they are a very, very good football team on both sides of the ball and special teams," he said. "They're very well-coached and they've got good schemes, they've got good players, so this is going to be a real tough game for us. This is by far the best team we've played against all year long."

ATLANTA - The Alabama Crimson Tide football team arrived in Atlanta, Ga., Monday morning to begin game-site preparations at the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Head coach Nick Saban met with the media upon arrival at the team hotel. The Crimson Tide broke for meetings in the afternoon before traveling to the Georgia Dome for the first full practice of the week.

When the summer heat is a thing of the past, Alabama comes alive to celebrate together. Whether you want to enjoy great food, ride a train, or take your dog for a run, you can find a great event to attend in Alabama.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 23, 2016

Do you ever wonder if University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban has any legitimate Christmas wishes?
I mean, really, what do you get the man who seems to have it all?
Besides having a wonderful family, financial security for many lifetimes and seemingly tireless energy and great health, he runs one of the most powerful athletic juggernauts that sports fans and journalists have ever been witness to with his University of Alabama football "organization."
It certainly is the gift that seems to keep on giving for Crimson Tide supporters everywhere, and Saban and his Alabama football machine do not appear to be showing any signs of slowing down in the near future.
And obviously that fact does nothing but translate into holiday gloom and doom for those who do not bleed crimson and white.
Although the 65-year-old Saban is in the 10th year of his patented "process" in Tuscaloosa, with his 2016 Crimson Tide football team on the verge of collecting the UA program's 17th national title, its second in a row and fifth such championship in eight years, what he has accomplished in his decade with the Crimson Tide never fails to be less than astounding, or even dumbfounding at times.
The players and coaches may change, as well as offensive philosophies, media scrutiny and exposure and a host of other outside noise items that Saban routinely classifies as “clutter,” but Alabama continues to not only be the gold standard for the sport of college football, but Saban has already established one of the great dynasties in the history of sports in general.
The following are just some of the remarkable accomplishments that immediately come to mind that not only continue to seal Saban’s legacy as perhaps the greatest college coach ever, but also continues to stamp Alabama’s place as perhaps the greatest college football program ever.
As if the legacy left by coaches such as Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas and the iconic Paul W. “Bear” Bryant had not achieved that feat already.
* Alabama is currently on a 25-game winning streak dating back to the 2015 season, which is the longest such streak under Saban, and the third-longest streak in Alabama and SEC history. Of course those streaks belong to the Tide as well at 28 games on two different occasions and most recently under former Tide coach Gene Stallings.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 21, 2016

There are still 10 days until Nick Saban's No. 1 and 13-0 University of Alabama football team clashes with No. 4 and 12-1 Washington in the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl in a semifinal game of the College Football Playoffs.
And with the holiday break for his Crimson Tide team also upcoming, Saban said Wednesday that his team has been getting in as much quality work toward prepping for Chris Petersen's Huskies as possible before it departs for Christmas, and with results that have been somewhat mixed thus far.
"Practice has gone fairly well," he said. "Today the players had really good intensity and mental focus, and for the most part we have done a pretty good job in that regard. (Tuesday) was a little bit sloppy, but I think when you practice seven days in a row, and the reason we do that is we want to condense the time that the players are here so they have a little more time off to be at home to spend with their families before Christmas as well as maybe the time over break.
"They kind of get that, they kind of understand that and they understand why we do what we do and they've responded very well. We have a high standard of expectation here for how we want to do things to try to be the best that we can be and every player's got to understand that, and understand that your destiny and your future lies in what you're willing to put into it and the choices and decisions you're willing to make moving forward from this time on. Some people can do that and some people can't, and it will be interesting to see how our guys do it and how we can get them to do it. I think that will be a real key to how well we play in the game against a very good team. Every time I stand up here, I try to convince everybody what a great team Washington has, and they are a very, very good football team on both sides of the ball and special teams. They're very well-coached and they've got good schemes, they've got good players, so this is going to be a real tough game for us. This is by far the best team we've played against all year long."
He added that there were no injury issues to report from Wednesday as everyone participated in practice.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 15, 2016

SCORE: Alabama 78, USC Upstate 61, as the Crimson Tide, coming off consecutive tough road losses to Texas and Oregon, gets back in the win column Thursday night and moves over the .500 mark once again.  The Crimson Tide made 9 of its first 13 shots to burst out to an 18-8 lead, but the visiting Spartans used an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 20-19 at the 8:22 mark of the first half.

The Tide, though, answered that run with a 19-6 surge and led 39-26 at the half thanks to shooting nearly 59 percent from the field. At the 17:52 mark of the second half,  Spartan senior center Michael Buchanan, a tremendous force inside for Eddie Payne's squad, picked up his fourth foul and the Tide quickly began to capitalize on his absence. A 7-2 spurt made the Tide lead 51-33, and Alabama led by as many as 23 points in the half before settling for its 17-point margin.

SITE: Coleman Coliseum, Attendance: 9,773

RECORDS: Alabama 5-4, USC Upstate 7-6

KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Sophomore forward Donta Hall, making his second start for the Tide, led Avery Johnson's team with 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field, while adding eight boards, two assists and a block. Braxton Key and Corban Collins added 10 points each. Bola Olaniyan, who also got the start, led the Tide with 10 rebounds while Key and Dazon Ingram had five and four assists respectively. Riley Norris added nine points and four boards off the bench.

GOOD NUMBERS: Alabama shot 53.4 percent from the field (31 of 58) for the game after the torrid start. It also outrebounded the Spartans 44-33. Alabama outscored the visitors 48-20 in the paint, 17-6 off turnovers, 16-9 on second chance points, 12-0 in fast break points and 32-21 in points off the bench. The Crimson Tide had 10 players get in the scoring column against the Spartans. Alabama had 16 assists to nine for USC Upstate.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 15, 2016

SCORE: Alabama 78, USC Upstate 61, as the Crimson Tide, coming off consecutive tough road losses to Texas and Oregon, gets back in the win column Thursday night and moves over the .500 mark once again.  The Crimson Tide made 9 of its first 13 shots to burst out to an 18-8 lead, but the visiting Spartans used an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 20-19 at the 8:22 mark of the first half.

The Tide, though, answered that run with a 19-6 surge and led 39-26 at the half thanks to shooting nearly 59 percent from the field. At the 17:52 mark of the second half,  Spartan senior center Michael Buchanan, a tremendous force inside for Eddie Payne's squad, picked up his fourth foul and the Tide quickly began to capitalize on his absence. A 7-2 spurt made the Tide lead 51-33, and Alabama led by as many as 23 points in the half before settling for its 17-point margin.

SITE: Coleman Coliseum, Attendance: 9,773

RECORDS: Alabama 5-4, USC Upstate 7-6

KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Sophomore forward Donta Hall, making his second start for the Tide, led Avery Johnson's team with 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field, while adding eight boards, two assists and a block. Braxton Key and Corban Collins added 10 points each. Bola Olaniyan, who also got the start, led the Tide with 10 rebounds while Key and Dazon Ingram had five and four assists respectively. Riley Norris added nine points and four boards off the bench.

GOOD NUMBERS: Alabama shot 53.4 percent from the field (31 of 58) for the game after the torrid start. It also outrebounded the Spartans 44-33. Alabama outscored the visitors 48-20 in the paint, 17-6 off turnovers, 16-9 on second chance points, 12-0 in fast break points and 32-21 in points off the bench. The Crimson Tide had 10 players get in the scoring column against the Spartans. Alabama had 16 assists to nine for USC Upstate.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 12, 2016

Photo by Stan J. Griffin

Although it has been over a week since it was officially announced that Nick Saban's No. 1 and 13-0 University of Alabama football team would be appearing in the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl to battle No. 4 Washington in a College Football Playoff semifinal contest, officials from the Peach Bowl and UA made that playoff pairing a formal agreement deal Monday.
During a press conference held in UA's Naylor Stone Media Room, Peach Bowl and Chick Fil A representatives were on hand to officially extend an invitation to the Crimson Tide for the Dec. 31 contest against Chris Petersen's Huskies.  The game is set for a 2 p.m. CT kickoff and will be televised by ESPN. The winner of that game will meet the winner of the other semifinal game between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State on Jan. 9 in the national championship game in Tampa.
UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle and Saban were in attendance at Monday's press conference to represent the Crimson Tide.
Saban said he looks forward to bringing his team back to Atlanta for its playoff clash against the 12-1 Huskies, the champions of the Pac 12.
"It's certainly an honor and a privilege for our team here at the University of Alabama to have the opportunity to be in the College Football Playoff, especially in a first-class venue going back to Atlanta to be a part of the Peach Bowl," he said. "Atlanta's a great host city, and we've certainly enjoyed the opportunity to go four times to the Kickoff Classic. (Chick Fil A President and CEO) Gary (Stokan) and his staff and the Peach Bowl folks do a marvelous job in terms of hosting, and we've had a great experience there in the past, and we're looking forward to having a wonderful experience in the future. Even though this is our first time playing the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl, we certainly feel very confident with the folks that are our host because we've had the experience of being in four of their Kickoff Classics, and that's been very helpful in exposing this program and helping to build this program to what it's become.

 

Azalea City Living is Mobile, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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