News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Wendy N. McDougal

Decatur men working to build first fraternity house at UAH

Hello Decatur! As June comes to a close, I trust you all are having a fun and safe summer. With our nation's birthday celebration right around the corner, may you enjoy all of the freedoms with which we are truly blessed. Whether you are with family, friends, traveling or at home, I hope you have a spectacular Fourth of July! God Bless America!

Now let's see what the "chatter" around town is for today ...

New 'frat' house

One of the highlights of Greek life on college campuses is the experience of the "house" itself — having a place all your own for members to bond and to share the fraternity or sorority experience.

Until recently, this was only a dream for fraternities at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Now thanks to the efforts of a corporate drive by the Sigma Nu Fraternity, more than $55,000 has been raised to help build the first-ever fraternity house on the UAH campus.

UAH alumni Jed Earls and Brandon Price, both Decatur High School graduates, worked tirelessly by donating their time and donations to this cause. Others who took part in the Sigma Nu housing corporate drive were Brad Lawrence, Decatur High graduate, and Chuck Watwood, Austin High graduate. Both are active members in Sigma Nu.

An outstanding effort for these young men who want to see a dream become reality.

Birthday celebration

Ray Coffey is turning 70. Join family and friends for this landmark birthday celebration July 4 at the Coffey Grounds beginning at 4 p.m. Come join the fun with a crystal clear lake for swimming and scuba diving. Paddle boats and kayaking will also be available for your recreation. Enjoy the beauty of majestic cliffs for climbing, rappelling, jumping or diving. You may want to bring a picnic, lawn chairs and swim suits. According to party organizers, "We love sing-alongs!" So everyone is encouraged to bring a guitar or other musical instrument.

Prior to the Independence Day festivities, a small pre-birthday celebration will take place July 3 from 4 until 8 p.m., also at Coffey Grounds. This is a surprise, as he thinks it will just be a family gathering. The attire is casual, and your presence is all that's requested. No presents!

If you can't attend but have a moment, please send a card or note of remembrance to Ray. You may mail your birthday wishes to Gerry Coffey, 28 Harbor View Court, Decatur, AL 35601. To RSVP for either or both days, or if you need directions, call Valerie Coffey, 350-2823.

Spirit of America Festival

My family has only been in Decatur a few short years, but a favorite July 4 tradition is the Spirit of America Festival at Point Mallard Park. A great day of fun for the entire family is available right here in Decatur. Patriotic and humanitarian awards are presented on the Spirit Stage, as well as the annual Spirit Idol competition. Of course, a highlight is always the Miss Point Mallard Pageant. This year, it's emceed by former Miss Point Mallard and Miss Alabama 2004 Shannon Camper on Sunday and Monday evenings. Meet Miss Alabama 2005 Alexa Jones on Monday. Join us all for a star-spangled weekend.

The firework display is one of the best I have ever seen. Check them out immediately following the crowning of the new Miss Point Mallard on the night of the 4th. Sponsored by Parkway Medical Center, this is a night you don't want to miss! Hope to see you there.

State chairwoman

Eloise Livingston, representing Mu chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, attended the Alabama Beta State officer training seminar earlier this month in Clanton. This seminar trained incoming state officers and committee chairmen.

Outgoing state officers and committee chairmen met with their counterparts to exchange materials, discuss duties and responsibilities, and formulate plans of action for the coming year. Incoming Beta State president, Elizabeth P. Watson, presented an overview of goals and projects for the next biennium and conducted a recommitment ceremony.

Eloise will serve as the new state chairman of scholarship and world fellowship. Some of her duties during the next two years will include selecting recipients of available state scholarships, recognizing scholarship recipients, reviewing and revising requirements, and encouraging continued and increased support of world fellowship.

Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is a professional honorary organization for women educators. Membership into the society is by invitation and is based upon success in the field of education, leadership potential, professionalism and community service. There are chapters in 14 countries. Alabama has approximately 4,000 members.

Family reunion

The recent Brown/Roberts Reunion drew more than 100. Delano Park was the official site, and Ilva Defenthaler said the park staff was excellent. She also wanted to extend a special thank-you to Pepsi for the reunion sign that was provided.

"We look forward to next year's 30th reunion," said Ilva. "Hopefully, we will have even more in attendance."

Charles Brown will be sending invitations and announcement letters before the next reunion, but mark your calendars for this annual family event.

That's all for now. Have a beautiful holiday weekend. It's been great "chattin" with ya!

Be sure and share your Independence Day celebration news with Chatterbox.

I would love to hear about your events, programs, family reunions or anything else you may want to share with the community.

Family reunions, graduation parties, summer stories . . . all are great Chatterbox items. Mail your "Chatterbox" news to Wendy McDougal at 2001 Katie Drive S.W., Decatur, AL 35603, or e-mail to

Wendy N. McDougal Wendy N. McDougal
DAILY Staff Writer

Leave feedback
on this or