January 27, 2015

On Saturday evening, January 24th, Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood’s Annual Art Auction was a fabulous success !

The Temple’s Social Hall was packed with an audience of 165 – members of our congregation as well as the general Dothan community.

After a reception that included champagne, wonderful hors d’oeurves, and desserts, the audience enjoyed two hours of auction entertainment.

A huge catalog of top quality pieces was sold by the prominent national art auction firm “State of the Art” at this truly magnificent Temple Sisterhood fundraising event.

A portion of the proceeds from our annual art auction will be used to provide philanthropic donations to vitally important Dothan community organizations and are also used to support the Temple.

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Happy Chanukah 2014

Happy Chanukah 2014

December 22, 2014

On Friday, December 19th, a fantastic turnout of 85+ members of Dothan’s Jewish Community celebrated Chanukah at Temple Emanu-El.

During the afternoon, volunteers cooked 250 latkes and prepared the social hall for the big event.

At sundown, Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith lead a short service, everyone brought their menorahs for the candle lighting blessings.

Then we enjoyed the fabulous potluck meal.

It was a wonderful afternoon and evening experience. Temple Emanu-El truly is both a house of worship and place of celebration.

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Dothan’s 7th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Dothan’s 7th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks With a Greatful Heart

On Tuesday evening November 25th, Dothan’s seventh annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service was celebrated at Evergreen Presbyterian Church.

The local faith community’s congregations participating in the service included: Buddhist, African Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Hindu, Janist, Muslim, Catholic, Spiritual Enrichment, and Jewish.

Mayor Mike Schmitz welcomed the large audience of several hundred attendees, then each congregation’s leader read from his/her faith tradition’s sacred texts. The service concluded with a community offering, collecting donations for the Wiregrass United Way Food Bank.

We then enjoyed a warm and wonderful “oneg” coffee/dessert hour.

This was an awesome event; the church’s sanctuary was filled with music, words of respect and inclusion, as well as a celebration of our community’s differences and commonalities.

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Interfaith Class: “Which Commandments Do We Obey”

Interfaith Class: “Which Commandments Do We Obey”

November 10, 2014

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith (Temple Emanu-El) and Reverend Lynn Nesbitt (United Methodist Church) are presenting a two-part seminar on our different faiths’ approach to The Commandments: how do we decide which to obey ?

The twenty attendees first enjoyed dinner together and then engaged in a wide-ranging interfaith conversation that was both informative and thought-provoking.

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400 Acres, Forever Wild, Inside the City!

400 Acres, Forever Wild, Inside the City!

October 8, 2014

Check out this article from today’s morning newspaper, The Dothan Eagle, announcing the city’s latest quality of life initiative.

Truly amazing – Dothan really is a progressive town; a great place to live and raise a family.

The Forever Wild Land Trust doesn’t have its name because it often appears to take that long for projects to come fruition, but the notion may not be far off.

Tuesday, however, the Forever Wild Land Trust gave its official OK for Dothan’s natural preserve inside the city limits. Plans to forge the preserve’s trails and construct trail heads can now begin.

Setting aside land for a “forever” reserve is a lengthy process. Land must be identified. Multiple landowners must come together in agreement. The Forever Wild Land Trust must be amicable to the project. There must be an appraisal, then a second appraisal, and a final look over.

Grants must be written. Plans must be drawn.

An additional element to Dothan’s effort caused a hiccup as well. Part of the Forever Wild land is owned by the City of Dothan and was previously the site of the Beaver Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Additional environmental testing was required to make sure that portion of the land is safe for walking and biking.

“Any impediments to the project are over and we’re moving forward,” said Assistant Leisure Services Director Kim Meeker, who has spearheaded the project. Meeker gave a brief update of the project during the Dothan City Commission meeting Tuesday.

The land is located between Fortner Street and Flowers Chapel Road outside Ross Clark Circle. The city donated 51 acres that was once the Beaver Creek Plant. Other landowners donated 132 acres, leaving the balance of the 392-acre project to be purchased from private landowners through the Forever Wild Trust, a state conservation program created to acquire land and preserve it for nature trails, public parks, wildlife preserves and other natural uses.

The city has about $100,000 in grant money from ADECA to help build the trails. Other money from the City of Dothan, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Forever Wild and Columbia Sportswear will be used for the trails.

Artist renderings of the proposed preserve indicate three connected trails for walking, hiking or biking. A 1-mile looped family trail is proposed off Flowers Chapel Road. A 3-mile winding looped trail is proposed for the middle of the property and a larger 5-mile winding looped trail is proposed for the east end of the property. A bridge and/or walking trail would connect each of the trails.

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Does Your Town Have Two 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools?

Does Your Town Have Two 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools?

October 1, 2014

We are so proud of our Dothan City Schools !

Check out this article from the October 1, 2014 Dothan Eagle.

Heard, Beverlye named National Blue Ribbon Schools

by Jim Cook

The Dothan City Schools system scored a major achievement Tuesday as two of its schools were among just five Alabama schools recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools.

“It’s big for Dothan and big for Dothan City Schools,” said Tim Wilder, Dothan City Schools superintendent.

Heard Magnet School and Beverlye Magnet School were recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools on Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Mountain Brook Junior High School, Tuscaloosa Magnet School and Winfield Elementary School were the other Alabama schools named as National Blue Ribbon winners.

“These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education − that all students, no matter their name or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments,” Duncan said via an online broadcast. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools that achieve at high levels or make great strides in closing achievement gaps between demographic groups. Just 287 public schools and 50 private schools nationwide earned National Blue Ribbon School status. Heard and Beverlye earned the award for high achievement.

Heard Magnet School Principal Peggy Maddox said the two schools were in the top 15 percent of schools with regard to standardized test scores.

Maria Johnson, Beverlye principal, said the application process for the award was extensive, requiring about five year’s worth of data. Both Johnson and Maddox thanked their staff for putting in the hours needed to successfully complete the applications.

“We worked a lot of weekends,” Johnson said.

Beverlye and Heard are not the first Blue Ribbon schools in Dothan. Montana Magnet School won the award in 2010.

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Proof Positive, Dothan’s Low Cost of Living

Proof Positive, Dothan’s Low Cost of Living

September 10, 2014

Dothan Eagle Newspaper

“Dothan Among Country’s Lowest on Cost of Living”
Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2014
by Jennifer Calhoun

Dothan residents tend to have a lower cost of living than many areas of the country, especially when it comes to doctor visit costs and total energy costs, according to a recent report that found the city’s cost of living to be among the lowest in the country.

The report, which was published by the Council for Community and Economic Research, ranked Dothan 42nd out of the 279 metropolitan areas that participated. Dothan also was only a few index points below those that ranked in the top 10.

Dothan’s overall index number in the report was 89.5, which was based on relative prices for consumer goods and services, including housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, healthcare and other miscellaneous items.

The report showed that Dothan ranked just below South Bend, Indiana; Athens-Henderson County, Texas; and Morristown, Tennessee.
Matt Parker, president of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, said the city’s relatively low cost of living is helpful in recruiting businesses to the region.

“The cost index is important for relocation for businesses and persons,” Parker said. “The index gives them an apple to apples look at (about 280) metro areas and what living costs are. The Dothan, and really the Wiregrass area, come out great with the index.”
Low apartment rents, low total energy costs and low doctor costs helped drop Dothan’s overall cost-of-living costs, according to the report.

The city ranked second in the nation for low doctor visit costs, averaging $68.33 per visit, just 33 cents behind Jacksonville, Florida, which took the lead.
Dothan’s total average energy costs also were among the lowest in the state at $141.54 per month. Average apartment rents of $599 put the city second in the state after Decatur.

But some categories showed Dothan residents paid some of the top prices in the country for staples such as a dozen eggs and half-a-gallon of milk.

The report showed Dothan prices for a dozen eggs were $2.15 and milk was $2.71, ranking the city near the top of the country. In fact, Dothan’s milk prices were much higher than the ones in much larger cities such as Fort Worth, Phoenix and Portland, Oregon.

The top three least expensive places to live were: Harlingen, Texas; Norman, Oklahoma; and Pueblo, Colorado.

The top three most expensive places to live were Manhattan in New York City; Honolulu; and Brooklyn in New York City.

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Synagogue Renovation Underway

Synagogue Renovation Underway

September 3, 2014

Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services is proud to have pledged $45,000 as a lead donor to help fund a major upgrade of the synagogue’s parking lot, porte-cochere, social hall entry, and handicap ramp/entrance.

Construction began on August 18th toward the objective of completing the work before High Holidays.

Here’s two really exciting work-in-process photos.

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