ENERGY ASSISTANCE FROM PROJECT SHARE The Blount County Service Center of the American Red Cross will begin accepting applications Jan. 5 for Project SHARE, the energy assistance program for low-income elderly or disabled individuals. Residents of Blount County can set up appointments by calling the Project SHARE office at 274-2115.

To qualify for assistance, the family income must be within certain guidelines depending on the size of the houshold. In addition, the head of the household must meet one of the following eligible criteria: 62 years of age or older and/or receiving a disability check.

ANNUAL PET CAT SHOW Birmingham Feline Fanciers sponsors its 37th allbreed and household pet cat show Jan. 24-25 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, South Exhibition Hall. Breeds from around the country compete for titles, regional and national points, and household pet cats compete for ribbons and trophies. There will be booths for sale items, kitties available for adoption from humane and rescue organizations, and a cat art show for students whose art will be judged by local artists and members of the Birmingham Museum of Art. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Admission is $7 adults, $5 seniors 60 and up, and $3 children under 12. For more information, call 205-616- 1651 or go to

GIRL SCOUT ALUMS RECONNECT through the Girl Scout Alumni Association. Call 800-734-4541 x 127 or e-mail to join the Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama Alumni Association for free!

BLOUNTSVILLE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH has neighbors watching out for one another’s property and serving as extra eyes and ears for police in combating crime in their area. Meetings are held every 4th Thursday at 6 p.m. at Blountsville Town Hall. Participants urge, “Join the unity; we have more power together!”

PAY ATTENTION TO COLLEGE DEADLINES says the Alabama College Loan Program. Narrow your list of colleges by visiting schools, talking with students and your parents, and compare schools at If you commit to a particular school early, now is the time most schools request the application be submitted. If you are going through the regular admissions process, talk with teachers about writing recommendations and work on your admissions essay, if your school requires one. Familiarize yourself with the FAFSA and make a list of information you’ll need. Attend college fairs and financial aid seminars offered by your high school or in your area. If a company charges a fee to help with admissions and financial aid applications, make sure it’s a reputable company by checking with the state attorney general’s office or Better Business Bureau. More information about financial aid and college planning can be obtained from KHEAA-Alabama, 100 North Union Street, Suite 390, Montgomery 36104-3762, 334-265-9720 or 800-721-9720.

In addition, cut college costs by taking more classes each semester since most schools charge a flat rate if you’re a full-time student whether you are taking 12 credit hours or 18 credit hours. If you are in high school, check into AP, International Baccalaureate, and dual-credit courses. Save on textbooks by buying used copies whenever possible, by renting them if your school has a rental program, or by checking them out of the library. Save money by keeping low-cost snacks in your room instead of going out for fast food all the time. Buy supplies like pens, pencils, and notebooks on sale or in bulk.

HELP FOR ADDICTIONS to alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, buying, etc. Addictions can seem baffling and overwhelming, and yet with insight and understanding, recovery can be a reality. Hope House holds two weekly SMART Recovery meetings on Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the old hospital, 1000 Lincoln Avenue, in Oneonta. SMART Recovery program helps individuals gain independence from addictive behavior. The program offers specific tools and techniques for each of the program points: #1: Enhancing and maintaining motivation to abstain; #2: Coping with urges; #3: Managing thoughts, feelings, and behavior (problem solving); and #4: Balancing momentary and enduring satisfactions (lifestyle balance). For more information, phone 625-4673, ext. 301.

THE TURN AROUND HOUSE meets at The Church of Oneonta across Ala 75 from Walmart. The Turn Around House describes itself as a Christ-centered source of hope, love, and refuge. It charges no fee. Its personnel say they listen, counsel, trust, and respect. They strive to turn lives in the right direction as they seek rehabilitation of alcohol and drug addicts. They invite those needing help to check with their referral officers to confirm The Turn Around House’s recognition by state, municipal, and civil courts. They say religion and denominations are not discussed. Tobacco products are not used on the premises. Clients are expected to have open minds and want to learn strategies to defeat their problems. Questions and input are requested but not required. Its personnel say The Turn Around House is not competing with any other organizations in the area. Phone 205-353-2006 for more information.

BLOUNT COUNTY MEMORIAL MUSEUM will offer Ernie Carroll’s book A Season in Baghdad: Confessions of a Combat Chaplain on sale at $15.95 each for purchase during the holidays. Carroll chronicles his wartime experiences while telling the story of his son Nathan’s experiences as a member of the Oneonta High School Redskins 2004 state championship football team. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is located on Courthouse Square. Visit the website and click on “tribute” for more details.

ALLGOOD CLEANUP every Wednesday, weather permitting, for roadside cleanup. Residents are urged to join the mayor in picking up trash along the roadsides in the Allgood town limits. All supplies (trash bags, gloves, pickup sticks, etc.) will be provided. Even if unable to pick up trash, all residents of Allgood and adjoining areas can participate by not throwing out any trash and by getting tag numbers of those throwing trash from vehicles. Mayor Gene Armstrong thanks those who have already been picking up trash and invites others to join in making Allgood a cleaner town in which to live.

BULL RIDING AT AGRIBUSINESS Friday and Saturday, Jan. 9 and 10, with performances beginning at 8 p.m. at the center’s indoor arena. Professional cowboys from across the country will compete in the event, sponsored by H-Bar-H Rodeo Company in cooperation with Blount County-Oneonta Agribusiness Center. Friday is Family Night when the first 200 kids 10 and under receive free trick ropes and have free pony rides and a calf scramble with prize money of $100. Admission is $10 per people two years and up on Friday and $15 for adults and $10 for children two to 10 on Saturday. For more information, call 274-8839 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

CHRISTMAS LIGHT WINNERS at Palisades Park for 2008 follow: Business – 1st, Art Iron Works; 2nd, Heritage Dental; 3rd, Covered Bridge Mini-Golf. Clubs – 1st, Blount County Council of Garden Clubs; 2nd, Blount County Master Gardeners; 3rd, Blount County Girl Scouts; honorable mention, Oneonta Boy Scout Troop 160. Churches – 1st, Mountain Pointe Ministries; 2nd, First Baptist Church of Oneonta; 3rd, Turning Point United Methodist Church; honorable mention, Oneonta Worship Center. Individuals – 1st, In Memory of Harold Lowry; 2nd, CAPNA Head Start; 3rd, In Memory of George Henderson; honorable mention, In Memory of David Brady.

VETERANS SHARING INFORMATION AND FACTS is the purpose of the free internet Yahoo group group/Pahrumpveterans. Members of the group help one another with knowledge of benefits and claims, events, and facts on helping other veterans. Using the site will help veterans navigate the VA system, which some veterans liken to being “another war.” The site is changed and updated every month and helps veterans keep informed on benefits they have earned.

WEST BLOUNT DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION and The Friends of Rickwood Caverns State Park will not meet in December. Members are urged to have a happy holiday and come back refreshed and ready to work in January.

AMERICAN LEGION ORATORICAL CONTEST High School students in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 are encouraged to participate in the 2009 oratorical contest being sponsored here by American Legion Post 72. Principals, counselors, and teachers of English, social studies, and speech in Blount County public schools, as well as those who home school or work in private and parochial schools within the county, are urged to begin recruiting students now for the contest. The local Legion Post 72 is offering county-wide scholarship prizes for first-, secondand third-place winners, who continue to the state level where prizes given for the top three are $5000, $3000, and $2000. National winners earn $18,000; $16,000; or $14,000.

The American Legion is paying travel and lodging costs for state winners and their chaperones to the national competiton in Indianapolis, April 17-19. Each state winner who is certified and participates in the first round at nationals receives a $1500 scholarship. Each first-round winner who advances to and participates in the second round but does not advance to the final round will receive an additional $1500 scholarship.

Local Post 72 says Alabama has produced only one national champion (Candice Neal in 2002) since 1938. Members feel Blount County can produce a national champion. Who will it be? They urge schools and interested participants to download copies of the Oratorical Rules Brochure by logging on