A promising public-private partnership

By Matt Ledger

Pictured from left, Brian Baine, Gov. Bentley and Jason Harper. (Governor's Office, Jamie Martin)

Pictured from left, Brian Baine, Gov. Bentley and Jason Harper. (Governor’s Office, Jamie Martin)

A few new faces with a fresh approach are revitalizing the Leadership DeKalb program.

Jason Harper attended the Marshall County Leadership program while working in U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt’s office and has worked for TVA in Huntsville for the past five years. “I looked at my home county and decided to take action and remedy the absence of a leadership program in DeKalb,” Harper says. “I started thinking of people willing to serve and truly engage themselves to help bolster a better DeKalb County.”

The first person that Harper contacted was Brian Baine,who he met several years ago while working with the Fort Payne Improvement Authority. Baine has worked his way through the ranks at Foodland during his 30-year career from intern to human resources manager.

Baine attended the same Marshall County Leadership program, as well as a prior Leadership DeKalb class in the 1980s. “I was young and saw it as a way to get out of work back then,” Baine says, with a chuckle. “Now, I am learning things and seeing amazing places, and this new program has even been very informative for me.” That experience may explain why he’s getting a lot more out of the new Leadership DeKalb program than he did the first time he participated early in his career.

State Senator Clay Scofield speaks to the leadership class during State Government Day.

State Senator Clay Scofield speaks to the leadership class during State Government Day.

Revitalizing under new leadership
For two years, Baine and Harper met to discuss the dynamics of their plan and to create the curriculum, which is focused on the areas of education, economic development, tourism and workforce expansion. “The county needed the synergy of all aspects of leadership, talking and working together,” Harper says.

The program aims to help the participants become well-rounded leaders, equipped to make the county better. “Going out and seeing these departments, instead of just hearing about them, makes more of an impact,” Baine says. “It will better inform these leaders and give them the tools they need to guide the future direction of DeKalb County.”

After an absence of nearly seven years, Leadership DeKalb restarted in 2014, with a renewed long-term focus on communication between the public agencies and private businesses in the county. Each month, the current class of 18 participants attend a program detailing aspects of county agencies and area businesses.

It took three years to revamp the new Leadership DeKalb program, made possible with a $25,000 TVA community relations grant that Harper secured. They formed a nonprofit with a board of directors that selected Baine as the president of the Leadership DeKalb program and Harper as the vice-president, then added Janet Hartline as the executive director.

To assemble the first class of students, which began meeting in August, Baine, Harper and the Board sought out current community leaders from various agencies, with an equal balance from throughout DeKalb County. The idea was that networking among these leaders would lay the groundwork to help move the region forward in the future.

The Leadership DeKalb group meets with Governor Robert Bentley during a trip to Montgomery. Front row, left to right: Jason Harper, board vice-president; Judy Davidson; Pam Clay; Dale Manning; John Dersham; Brandi Lyles, board member; and Janet Hartline, executive director. Second row Left to Right: Keri Hamrick; Joey Graham; Corey Ewing; Debbie Nickelson; Renee Simpson; Jenna Sue Payne; and Brian Baine, board president. Third row Left to Right: Buddy Goolsby; Michael Posey; David Clemons; Alabama Governor Robert Bentley; Kristen Emory; Nick Jones; and Bryon Miller.

The Leadership DeKalb group meets with Governor Robert Bentley during a trip to Montgomery. Front row, left to right: Jason Harper, board vice-president; Judy Davidson; Pam Clay; Dale Manning; John Dersham; Brandi Lyles, board member; and Janet Hartline, executive director. Second row Left to Right: Keri Hamrick; Joey Graham; Corey Ewing; Debbie Nickelson; Renee Simpson; Jenna Sue Payne; and Brian Baine, board president. Third row Left to Right: Buddy Goolsby; Michael Posey; David Clemons; Alabama Governor Robert Bentley; Kristen Emory; Nick Jones; and Bryon Miller.

Back to school … and other agencies
Nearly 20 professionals from around DeKalb County are learning about business, government and their community, with a new topic each month of the course. After the class members established relationships with one another, it was time to get down to business, like examining strengths and weaknesses within the community. “Let’s talk about the good and bad things,” Harper says. “Sometimes we are uncomfortable with that, so let’s take a comprehensive approach and look at all aspects of our county.”

The focus in the fall quickly became tourism, as fall colors began to blanket the mountain. The discussions were spearheaded by John Dersham, executive director at DeKalb Tourism and one of the program’s participants. “These public services are important to everyone and integral to a community,” Dersham says. “If all of the leaders in the community understand all of the processes within the community a little better, then I think it helps with our ability to communicate.”

The class also covered public services. “Public Service Day” included trips to the DeKalb Sheriff’s Department, Children’s Advocacy Center and Fort Payne Fire Department Training Center. Other classes in the program included health and social services, education, manufacturing, finance and media, while other activities had the class rapelling from the rim of Little River Canyon and blowing glass ornaments at a local artist’s studio.

In March, the group made its farthest trip during “State Government Day” to visit with officials in Montgomery, including Governor Robert Bentley. “Having citizens interface with leaders in their environment is really good for rural communities,” says Harper. Their final class will cover economic development, with graduation in May.

Class participants listen to Israel Partridge as he explains rock climbing and rappelling on the rim of Little River Canyon.

Class participants listen to Israel Partridge as he explains rock climbing and rappelling on the rim of Little River Canyon.

Planning for the future
Organizers hope the program is not a one-time class, but the start of something new. They’re working to establish a Leadership DeKalb alumni association to include anyone who attended the previous version of the program. The ability to network with peers is proving to be a major benefit of the class, and the participants believe that it will aid strategic planning for the county.

Those interested in enrolling in the next course can find more information on the Leadership DeKalb County Facebook page. Some of the presenters throughout the year have even asked about being in the next leadership class. “The word is getting out that this program has value and is a great networking system,” Hartline says.

This year’s graduates will take on that planning responsibility for the next group of applicants, with board members simply advising. The group will also complete a class project to benefit the community.

“Leadership is void without hands-on service that makes a difference,” Harper says. “There are many people around here who are ready to tackle any problems and revitalize our community beyond the status quo.”

For more details or for an application please visit the Fort Payne or Rainsville Chamber of Commerce websites. www.fortpaynechamber.com, or 
www.rainsville.info.

 

New FTCtv Everywhere allows you to watch shows anywhere

Families once huddled around televisions the size of a refrigerator to watch the latest episode of “The Brady Bunch,” “M.A.S.H.” or “Seinfeld.” Elvis Presley made headlines when his car was equipped with a television. Those days are long gone, and now, thanks to the Internet and an app called FTCtv Everywhere, FTC members can enjoy those classic shows or current prime-time hits from anywhere.

With FTCtv Everywhere, you could catch the ESPN pre-game show while tailgating in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Watching Captain Kirk match wits with Mr. Spock on a handheld device is no longer science fiction. It’s now a reality that you can enjoy the Syfy channel, and many others, once you sign up for the plan.

More than 35 channels are currently available for streaming shows on your computer, tablet or mobile device connected to the Internet.

How much does it cost?
Currently FTC provides this feature at no extra cost to FTCtv Expanded Basic subscribers. This may change over time depending on new requirements made by TV networks. Cellular data rates apply.

Where can I watch FTCtv Everywhere?
You can watch these channels from anywhere your device can receive an Internet connection. Wired connections and in-home Wi-Fi will provide the best quality, and picture quality is determined by bandwidth and signal strength.

What programs are available?
Each TV network makes their own decision about what to make available on FTCtv Everywhere, so it’s best to download the app and check for your favorite programs.

Why aren’t all programs available?
Broadcasting rights are complicated. A TV network may have the right to transmit a show or movie, but only to TV sets and not on FTCtv Everywhere. Once again, it depends on the TV network.

Will other networks become available?
Yes. FTC is working with many different program providers to expand the number of networks and programs available on farmerstel.com/ftctv-everywhere.

How do I sign up for FTCtv Everywhere?
If you’ve already signed up for
SmartHub, FTCtv Everywhere is simple. Register now to begin watching your FTCtv on the go. Simply login in to your SmartHub account. Click the “Edit TV Everywhere” link in the left sidebar menu and create a username and password. You will gain access within four to 24 hours. You will have to try logging in to a programmer’s site to see if your access has been accepted. To do this, click on one of the programmer icons at www.farmerstel.com/ftctv-everywhere. Select FTCtv as your provider and use your TV Everywhere username and password to watch live programming with any device connected to the Internet.

What networks are available?
A&E
ABC
ABC Family
Adult Swim
AMC
Bravo
Cartoon Network
CNBC
CNN
Disney
Disney Junior
Disney XD
E!
ESPN
Esquire
Fox Business
Fox News
FYI
Golf Channel
H2
History
IFC
Lifetime
MSNBC
Mun2
NBC
NBC Sports Live Extra
NFL
Oxygen
Sprout
Sundance
Syfy
TBS
TCM
Telemundo Now
TNT
truTV
USA
WE
To use FTCtv Everywhere…
1. Click the channel you want to watch. You will be taken to the channel provider website.
2. Select FTCtv as your television provider from the provider list on the site.
3. Sign in with the username and password you created when you signed up for FTCtv Everywhere.

Rainsville Freedom Fest 2015

2015 Rainsville Freedom Fest
Saturday June 27
Rainsville City Park

  • Free admission
  • Car, truck and motorcycle show
  • Vendor booths with a wide variety of food
  • Arts and crafts show
  • Live entertainment for the whole family

Festive fireworks finale after dark sponsored by FTC and the City of Rainsville

Rainsville Freedom Fest 5K and 10K Race
Saturday, June 20 at 8 a.m.
For more race details: http://rainsvillefreedomfest.racesonline.com/

Email changes

As you may have already noticed, FTC is partnering with the Zimbra Collaboration Suite to provide our members with a new integrated email suite. This upgrade brings an efficient email hub for personal or professional task management. Each customer now has a customizable Web interface that makes it a breeze to add reminders to your calendar or pay bills online. App-style buttons allow you to easily navigate between social media pages, or to check the local weather before the kids head to the bus stop. Numerous tutorial videos describe the step-by-step process of a wide variety of functions, available online at www.farmerstel.com/email-help.

The last hurdle before the Battle of Chickamauga

By Matt Ledger

Charles Bass stands near the historical marker that he sought to commemorate a local slice of U.S. Civil War history at for Chestnut Grove Baptist Church.

Charles Bass stands near the historical marker that he sought to commemorate a local slice of U.S. Civil War history at for Chestnut Grove Baptist Church.

Gettysburg, Fort Sumter and Chickamauga are some of the most recognizable places from the U.S. Civil War. Lesser-known tales have become even more obscure in the 150 years that have passed since those bloody days of cannons and cavalry.

Uncovering some of those local accounts sent one area man on a mission to recognize the brave souls that crossed Lookout Mountain on their way to battle. It started nearly 10 years ago, when Charles Bass visited the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. While looking in the park’s bookstore, he wondered about a DeKalb County story he had heard regarding troop movements on Sand Mountain. That story would give Bass a set of marching orders of his own that would take years to sort out and end with a special historic marker designation.

The Path to Battle
Bass lives in Henagar and is a member of Chestnut Grove Baptist Church, a congregation that was formed in 1861. Through research, he learned that Highway 117 in Chestnut Grove was once called Caperton’s Ferry Road and carried travelers — crossed by Union troops during their Southern offensive in 1863 — from Stevenson, Alabama, to Rome, Georgia. “I’ve read where some of the troops that came through here describe DeSoto Falls in such detail you could tell where they were at on Lookout Mountain,” Bass says. For nearly two weeks during the Chickamauga Campaign, the 20th Army Corps troops were encamped near the church in Chestnut Grove, while General Alexander McCook’s headquarters occupied the Allen Plantation, near where Vulcraft of Fort Payne is now located.

Bass had a few questions and returned to Chickamauga to meet with park historian Jim Ogden. He also recruited David Rains, a retired judge and local history buff, to research the account of the Union Army moving through the area. Rains found some interesting details in the Civil War journal of Chesley A. Mosman, who had served as a Union lieutenant in the 59th Illinois Infantry Regiment. “The Rough Side of War” details Mosman’s firsthand experiences on the way to Chickamauga, including great visual descriptions of the journey. “We went on till we met open timber, chestnut and pine. There had been a hurricane across the mountain, and many trees were tore up by the root,” Mosman wrote, in early September 1863. Rains and others believe that he is describing a path carved by a tornado in the Town Creek area of Lookout Mountain, which was used as a makeshift encampment by Union forces on their way to battle. “While there were no major battles on these two mountains, Civil War records and Mosman’s journal indicate that there were almost daily skirmishes in the area,” Rains says.

Local history buff David Rains spoke during the unveiling in 2011. He researched through archives to find first-hand descriptions and other accounts in determining the Union troop movements on Caperton’s Ferry Road.

Local history buff David Rains spoke during the unveiling in 2011. He researched through archives to find first-hand descriptions and other accounts in determining the Union troop movements on Caperton’s Ferry Road.

Rains verified that the campsite existed in the Town Creek area, but was skeptical that a historical marker would ever be approved. Bass’ persistence paid off, and a dedication of the historical marker was held in 2011, ahead of the 150th anniversary of when the troops moved through the region. “In 2011, it coincidentally happens that another tornado ripped through that very same stretch of ground,” Rains says. Chestnut Grove Baptist Church now has an Alabama Historical Association designation as part of “The Road to Chickamauga.”
“It’s for those men who lost their lives. They were fighting for what they felt was right in their hearts and for the freedoms we have today,” Bass says.