Music in the Park

MusicInThePark_jpgNew Hope City Park • 6 – 8 p.m.
Free admission • Bring lawn chairs

Sept. 1 New Hope Senior Center Pickers & Singers
Sept. 8 Josh Fuell & The Grant Mountain Boys
Sept. 15 Master’s Touch
Sept. 22 Robert Galloway
Sept. 29 Glory Echoes
Oct. 6 Dennis Martin’s Songwriters’ Roundtable
Oct. 13 Tried by Fire
Oct. 20 The Alabama Still Waters Quartet
Oct. 27 Grand Finale

Kindness starts with kin

2015-09-15_15h36_44To celebrate the remarkable efforts of relative child care providers, the Family Guidance Center of Alabama created the Kids and Kin Program, which came to New Hope in August.

The new program began by hosting classes and a support group at the New Hope Library. From aunts and uncles, to older siblings or grandparents, the focus is to aid those dedicated individuals striving to make a difference in the lives of younger relatives. The free program is open to anyone and has no income requirement.

Participants learn about community resources and hear from professionals on numerous topics, including health care, special needs and literacy. Classes include door prizes and free children’s books. Participants who qualify and complete the Kids and Kin Voluntary Certification Program can earn $150 in free toys and educational materials; either a smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector or first-aid kit; and free CPR and first-aid training.

For more information about Kids and Kin, please contact Kim Broyles at 256-724-2554 or kbroyles@familyguidancecenter.org. Kids and Kin is funded by the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

Kids and Kin  – dates

All classes are from 10 a.m. until noon at the New Hope Library, 5496 Main Drive.

  • September 4
  • September 25
  • October 16
  • October 30
  • Future dates TBD

*dates subject to change. Please call to verify.

Protect your priorities

Did you know that working smoke alarms cut the risk of death in home fires in half? Join others during October’s National Fire Safety Month and secure your home. Protect what matters most with NHTC’s Home Security Solutions, and make sure your family is safe from possible fires. Feel secure knowing that in the case of a fire emergency, authorities will be notified through the security system. That’s just another way NHTC has your family’s safety and best interest at heart.

NHTC can customize home security solutions to best meet your family’s needs. Have peace of mind knowing that your home and what you value most is protected. Basic packages start as low as $18.99 a month and include a keypad, motion detector, three door/window contacts, key fob, siren, back-up battery, window decal and yard sign.

Some of what NHTC Security Solutions has to offer:

  • 24-Hour alarm monitoring
  • Alert when child is home from school
  • Remote unlocking
  • Homeowner’s insurance savings
  • Consolidation with your NHTC bill

A FREE consultation, security sign and window decal with a one-year product replacement guarantee

Security packages start at just $18.99 per month, but can be customized with any of these additional options:

  • Door/window contacts
  • External sirens
  • Pet-immune motion detectors
  • Glass break sensors
  • Additional key fobs
  • TotalConnect
  • Wireless and cellular backup
  • Lifetime protection plan
  • CareConnect
  • Home automation
  • Cameras

*A 36-month agreement is required. AL LIC # 1660.

Here are some facts about fire safety:
In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operate 93 percent of the time, while battery-powered alarms operate only 79 percent of the time.

Smoke alarm failures usually occur when batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.

An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to active fires. A photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, consider using both types of alarms. Or, choose a combination ionization and photoelectric alarm.
Most fatal fires kill only one or two people. In 2013, 12 home fires killed five or more people, resulting in a total of 67 deaths.

During 2007-2011, about one of every 320 households had a reported home fire per year.
Source: www.nfpa.org

CareConnect

LSpendantMake sure that your elderly loved ones and their independence is protected. The CareConnect PRS Unit does not require purchasing any additional equipment and includes 24/7 UL Certified Monitoring. For just a $9.99 monthly fee (added to a current NHTC Security Solutions plan), you can be comforted knowing your loved ones are safe. You will receive a waterproof pendant that may be worn in the shower. The pendant offers one-button activation and two-way voice communication.

Seniors can feel secure at home with a CareConnect Personal Response Unit.Signing up for a lifetime protection plan for only $4.99 a month will cover the cost of labor and equipment, as well as circumstances out of your control such as a lightning strike.

Call 256-723-4211 for more information and choose your plan today!

 

Cooperatives are exceptional

By Jim Cook General Manager

By Jim Cook
General Manager

Every month or two a news story will appear that looks at the so-called “digital divide” between big cities and rural areas like ours. This narrative paints a picture that rural Americans have a more difficult time getting reliable Internet access through broadband.

While statistics may back up that idea in some parts of the country, I’m proud to say our area is the exception thanks to this cooperative.

In some of the recent numbers I’ve seen from the FCC, there is a stark contrast between broadband access in rural America and in big cities, if taken as a whole.

As you’ve read in these pages before, the FCC has redefined broadband as Internet speeds of at least 25 Mbps. Based on that threshold, 94 percent of urban residents have broadband access, compared to only 55 percent of people in rural America.

Sitting in an office in New York or Los Angeles, it would be easy to see those numbers and think rural America has been left behind in today’s technology-driven, connected world.

But that’s not the case here in our part of North Alabama.

We’re happy to offer speeds well above those thresholds to some customers, and we’re working hard to bring those connections to everyone across the service area.

We are proud to be the exception to those numbers because it means we’re serving our customers. But we’re also proud to be exceptional because it means our founders were right about banding together to create NHTC.

Cooperatives like ours were founded by local residents who knew a reliable communications network was important and were willing to join together to bring such a network to our area.

The statistics clearly show that corporate America is not meeting the needs of rural communities like ours. Companies focused on pleasing stockholders don’t see enough profit in our region to invest in building a network.

That’s where cooperatives like NHTC come in. We answer to our customers, who are member-owners of the cooperative.

October is National Cooperative Month, which is a great time to think about our business model and how it benefits families and businesses in our area.

In a news release from the USDA published in July, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said “Broadband is fundamental to expanding economic opportunity and job creation in rural areas, and it is as vital to rural America’s future today as electricity was when USDA began bringing power to rural America 80 years ago.”

Sec. Vilsack is correct. Without access to broadband, our community would be at a disadvantage. And without NHTC our area wouldn’t have such access.

Please join us in October (and throughout the year) in celebrating what our founders created and all the advantages we enjoy today because of their vision and dedication to their communities.

Keep Dreamin’

Melissa Ramski belted out numerous classic country songs and a few of her own during the NHTC Annual Meeting held on May 19.

Melissa Ramski belted out numerous classic country songs and a few of her own during the NHTC Annual Meeting held on May 19.

By Matt Ledger

Career aspirations frequently lead to relocation, and for singers and songwriters determined to leave their mark, Music City has long been that destination. Originally from Ulysses, Kansas, Melissa Ramski, 24, has lived in Nashville six years, while chasing her dream of being a country singer.

“At the age of only 3 or 4, she could memorize songs and just started singing along,” says Dave Ramski, her father. In those days, she would sing from the back of the car as her father drove the family on vacations. “I was probably in the fourth grade when I realized that singing and performing is what I really wanted to do,” Melissa recalls. A fellow Kansan, Martina McBride, was a major early influence for Ramski, among several chart-topping female performers.

A family on the move

Earlier this year, Melissa Ramski won the Solo Female Artist award from Indie Ville TV. Her father, Dave, spends nearly as much time on the road as Melissa, traveling from New Hope to catch many performances.

Earlier this year, Melissa Ramski won the Solo Female Artist award from Indie Ville TV. Her father, Dave, spends nearly as much time on the road as Melissa, traveling from New Hope to catch many performances.

“All she ever talked about was wanting to be a country music star,” Dave says. “We tried to help her along the best we could from the middle of nowhere.”
Ramski’s parents drove her to many talent shows and performances throughout the Plains states, and even gave her an acoustic guitar. “It just sat there for a year. Then one day (during her senior year of high school), I decided I was going to learn how to play it,” Melissa says. “I started Googling videos and looking up techniques on writing and eventually got pretty good at it.”

At age 18, Melissa’s family bought another home near Music City, helping to jump-start her career. Melissa’s mother, Nancy, has helped manage Melissa’s career throughout the years. Dave’s career at a telephone cooperative kept him in Kansas for a few more years, traveling cross-country numerous times for performances. That continued until 2013 when he moved to New Hope upon taking a position as an engineering manager at NHTC.

Career ambitions
Ramski released a single, “Keep Dreamin’,” earlier this year. While it might sound like a tune about career ambitions, it’s actually a final sentiment to a prior boyfriend. “It’s one of those ‘See ya, I’m not coming back’ kind of songs,” she says, chuckling. “It’s my way of letting all my emotions out. Having people relate to your music is an amazing thing.”

Melissa’s sound is a blend of traditional influences and contemporary pop country from the radio, as evidenced by her most recent song “Lace and Diamonds.” She was nominated for several awards by country promoter Nashville Universe, which recognized Florida Georgia Line and Colt Ford the previous year. In June, Melissa performed at the CMA Fest, then at the Country FanJam festival. She will be touring later this year.

“She’s making a lot of progress and doing really well,” her father says. “I couldn’t be more proud of her.” He not only goes to most of his daughter’s performances, but he also tries to make most of the rehearsals. “We love going to her events, and it’s become our way of life.”

Libraries’ 21st-century evolution

By Matt Ledger

New Hope librarian Laura Washburn wrote a grant that enabled the Elizabeth Carpenter Library to receive four e-readers in 2014.

New Hope librarian Laura Washburn wrote a grant that enabled the Elizabeth Carpenter Library to receive four e-readers in 2014.

Libraries are no longer “as quiet as a mouse.”

Instead, patrons are sliding mice back and forth as they surf the Internet on public computers. Fingers are busily tapping the keyboard buttons to search for new recipes, download e-books or even apply for new jobs.

Technology has helped the modern library expand its role as a valuable asset in the community.

Children can use two of these colorful Kindles while at the New Hope library, either to read or play games.

Librarian Thames Robinson scans a few books that local historian William Earl Franks read in April.

Local tech support
Staff at the Elizabeth Carpenter Library in New Hope and the Grant Public Library are working hard to keep up with digital trends. “It really all started with the kids,” says Laura Washburn, branch manager at the New Hope library.

The facility has two computers loaded with programs for elementary-aged youngsters. However, librarians noticed a gap for the older kids who needed something more than the kids computers. That gap was remedied by the addition of e-books.

Washburn filed a grant application that allowed for the purchase of four handheld Kindle tablets in 2014. Two of the devices are designated for the kids, loaded with games like Minecraft and other age-appropriate games. “It helps to show that the library is about more than books,” Washburn says. “Many of the kids don’t have access to technology, and this gives them a chance to explore with an e-reader.” The other two tablets are loaded with the current best-selling e-books, and adults can check out the devices for a week at a time.

Officials at the Grant Public Library are working toward the purchase of e-books, ever since a conference earlier this year. Library board member Susie Keller and librarian Thames Robinson convinced city council members to approve funding for the new Atrium library suite of programs.

Librarian Thames Robinson scans a few books that local historian William Earl Franks read in April.

Children can use two of these colorful Kindles while at the New Hope library, either to read or play games.

The Grant library has also selected Overdrive as a platform for e-readers. Having already used grant money for other improvements, Robinson is seeking financial donations to join the Camellia Net collective, which shares e-book resources with numerous Alabama libraries. Officials also hope that the local contributions will allow for the purchase of e-reader devices.

Many local residents and students will benefit from the program by simply using a library card with their own Wi-Fi enabled devices, without even needing to go to the library. “It will be a big benefit for us since we will significantly expand the number of patrons using our services,” Robinson says.

The benefits of e-books

  • Significantly lighter than printed books
  • Thousands of titles available
  • Selections sync across many different devices while maintaining the same page
  • Increase or decrease font sizes
  • No late fees (An e-book simply disappears from the device when due date is reached.)

Aiming for a state title

By Matt Ledger

The undefeated New Hope High School archery team. (L to R) Tyler Brown, Jonathon League, Casey Selvage, Jared Solmon, Adam Reed, Josh Quick, Tyler Williams and Gavin King.

The undefeated New Hope High School archery team. (L to R) Tyler Brown, Jonathon League,
Casey Selvage, Jared Solmon, Adam Reed, Josh Quick, Tyler Williams and Gavin King.

Eight archers at New Hope High School set goals, took aim and hit the bullseye quicker than anyone expected, winning the state championship in their first year.

“This is a brand-new thing that started this year,” says Doug Solmon, the 3D archery team coach.

Archery1116

Jared Solmon sought to start an archery team during his senior year. The inaugural team of eight won all six tournaments on the season and even took home a state championship.

Competitive 3D archery involves aiming at point rings on a foam animal target from distances ranging from 5 to 30 yards. Competitors are awarded points based on the predetermined value of spots on the target — from five points for hitting the foam deer or other animal to 12 points for the smallest ring. Facing 20 targets, New Hope’s top three shooters in each tournament have scored in the 205-212 range, causing lopsided victories by an average of 43 points.

“I’ve got one kid, Adam Reed, who had never shot a bow before,” Solmon says. “During his first year in the sport, he made it into the top ten for shooter-of-the-year points in Alabama.” Four of his teammates also made the list during the inaugural season.

The New Hope High School archery team had their sights set high during its first year competing. The team has practiced twice weekly throughout the year and every night for a week leading up to the Alabama state championships. The team went six-for-six in the regional tournaments and won the state tournament on May 9. Jared Solmon finished second overall at state and had the most points during the season, garnering Alabama shooter-of-the-year honors. His teammates Tyler Brown and Gavin King finished third and fifth place, respectively.

The New Hope High School archery team had their sights set high during its first year competing.

The New Hope High School archery team had their sights set high during its first year competing.

“Their shooting improved all year long,” coach Solmon says. “However, going undefeated and winning the state championship is more than I ever expected.”

NHTC Scholarship Winners

The New Hope Telephone Cooperative awards two scholarships each year to students who exemplify academic achievement and community involvement and have submitted an essay. The two selected entries — one from DAR and the other from NHHS — will each receive a $500 scholarship.

Alex Rogers

Alex Rogers

Alex Rogers is the DAR High School winner, scoring a 29 on the ACT test. She has been accepted to the University of Alabama in Huntsville where she plans to study nursing.

Autumn Pruitt

Autumn Pruitt

Autumn Pruitt of Owens Cross Roads is the NHHS scholarship winner. She has been accepted to the University of Alabama in Huntsville where she plans to major in business management.