“The Country Co-ed” Heads to Washington, DC

Jacksonville State University’s Flying Blind Theatre Ensemble is taking its original comedic production of “The Country Co-ed” straight to the nation’s capital.

“It’s a real feather in the cap for us, the drama department and JSU at large,” said lead playwright, cast member and JSU Drama Professor Dr. Michael Boynton.

The troupe is set to perform a four-day stint in the Cap Fringe Festival. The two-hour performances of the production, which is suitable for adults only, are set for July 25-29 at the Blind Whino: Turquoise in Washington, DC.

JSU Drama students collaborated to create, produce and perform a reading of “The Country Co-ed,” which is loosely based on William Wycherley’s Restoration Comedy “The Country Wife” from the late-1600s, during the spring 2018 semester.

“This production is a unique product of my Special Topics in Performance course on Devised Theatre, where myself and the students created a new original work as a collaborative team,” Boynton said.

Boynton is especially proud of his student’s and fellow FBTE company member’s work.

“JSU was hit by a tornado during the production period of our show, which caused serious setbacks and challenges not only for the entire university of course, but also our fledgling company,” he said. “I was amazed and impressed by the students who soldiered on with the show, even when some of them had lost their electricity, vehicle, or even their homes. And yet we still continued the work, even if it meant doing read-throughs in my living room at crazy hours.”

The cast and crew include Anastasia Barker, Chloe Barnes, Boynton, Colton Cram, Sam Eddy, Ansley Gayton, Jessika Holmes, John Mackey, Larry Mason, Meghan Browning Phelps, Alexis Robinson, Catie Stahlkuppe, Shauna Steward, Eric Wilkerson, Aaron Williams, Dakota Yarbrough, Brooke Elam and Ebony Antoine.

Tickets are $17 and are available online up to two hours before each performance. Tickets can also be purchased at the venue up to 45 minutes before each show. You must also purchase a Capital Fringe Festival button to gain entrance into the show. To purchase tickets or read more about this production, visit the Capital Fringe website. To learn more about the Flying Blind Theatre Ensemble, visit their website. To make donations to and help support this newly formed theatre company, visit the FBTE donation page to make a tax-deductible donation through the JSU Foundation.

Pete Conroy Appointed to Alabama Educational Television Commission


JSU Environmental Policy and Information Center Director W. Peter Conroy has been appointed to the State of Alabama Educational Television Commission.

In this two-year position, Conroy will serve as a member of Congressional District 3. He will attend periodic meetings and serve as a decision maker in statewide policies regarding public television.

“I have made honesty and integrity a priority in my administration,” Gov. Kay Ivey wrote in her appointment letter to Conroy, “and I know that you will embody these two virtues while serving the people of Alabama.”

This is not the first time Conroy has been appointed to serve the state. His previous appointments include:

  • Forever Wild, Establishment Committee, 1990
  • Director, Governor’s Office for Environmental Affairs, 1993
  • Forever Wild, Board of Directors, 1999
  • Chair, Alabama Geographic Information Council, Chair, Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives, Chair, Ala. Millennial Trails Commission, 2000 -2004
  • Chair of the Region 4 Arts, Culture and Tourism Committee of the Alabama Rural Action Commission, 2009

Additionally, Conroy leads a number of projects related to conservation and economic development.  Examples include the establishment and operation of the Little River Canyon Center, the Talladega Mountain Center, Longleaf Studios and entertainment complex, the re-use of the former Fort McClellan, the Chief Ladiga Rail-Trail, and several Alabama-based initiatives promoting smart growth, environmental education, arts, conservation, tourism, water policy and sustainable hospitality.

Since 1997, Conroy has served as the director of Jacksonville State University’s Environmental Policy and Information Center (EPIC). Trained as a biologist, he moved to Alabama in 1985 to work as the curator of the Anniston Museum of Natural History.

Cheaha Challenge Deemed a Record-Breaking Success

Jacksonville State University

The 26th annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA in May had a record-breaking 879 participants from 30 states and 13 countries descending on the campus for this year’s event, with 70 percent of riders staying at least one night and 90 percent of riders living outside Calhoun County. Of those, female ridership more than doubled from the usual 10 percent to 23 percent. The Cruise also saw a significant boost with a 47 percent increase in participation. Riders touted the volunteers, giving special props to rest-stop volunteers and marshals on the roads. This year’s event was so successful that 98.54 percent of riders said they would recommend the event to others. Not including spending at Effina’s Cooter’s and Jacksonville Walmart, the event pumped about $548,553 into the local economy.

Cycling enthusiasts can look forward to coming back next year, as Ride Director Brooke Nicholls Nelson said the UCI Gran Fondo Worlds qualifier will return to JSU and the city of Jacksonville in 2019.

Dr. Staci Stone Named Dean of School of Arts and Humanities

Jacksonville State University


Dr. Staci Stone has been named the dean of JSU’s School of Arts and Humanities.

“I’ve received such a warm welcome on campus, and I look forward to working with the dedicated faculty and staff at JSU,” she said.

Stone comes to the position with 18 years of teaching and administrative experience under her belt at Murray State University, which includes serving as professor in the school’s Department of English and Philosophy. Within that time, Stone also served as instructor in Western Kentucky University’s Cooperative Center for Study Abroad programs when she taught a course on Harry Potter in London.  Her administrative posts include interim dean, department chair, Experiential Education Coordinator and associate dean at Murray State University.

Stone has received numerous recognitions, including the Japanese Outreach Initiative Grant Award of a Japanese Coordinator, Michael L. Basile Extraordinary Contribution to Internationalization Award, Kentucky Humanities Council’s Hometown Teams Exhibit Grant and Murray State University College of Humanities and Fine Arts Service Award.

Stone’s numerous published articles have appeared in such publications as “South Atlantic Review” and “Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition,” as well as “Encyclopedia of Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy,” “American Literary Characters” and “Dictionary of Literary Biography.” A Mary Shelley scholar, she is co-author of “A Mary Shelley Encyclopedia.”

She has also given presentations at such conferences as Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900, College English Association, National Society for Experiential Education and Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Conference.

Since coming to JSU in June, Stone has already begun serving on the University Executive Committee and the Tuition and Fees Committee.

“Joining the JSU family at this juncture, when the School of Arts and Humanities is progressing as a unit and the university’s rebuilding after the tornado continues to give the campus a new look, is exciting,” she said. “I welcome the challenges and rewards that such changes bring.”

Stone is also excited to be working in the Ernest Stone Center, a building named after her very own grandfather who served as president at JSU for a decade.

“It is truly an honor to work at a university that recognized my grandfather by naming the building that houses drama, English, history and foreign languages after him,” she said. “I hope that my work as dean lives up to the professional excellence and community service this campus and city received from my grandparents.”

Stone’s ties to JSU are forged in strong family bonds, with her grandparents, parents, brother, husband and mother-in-law all Gamecock alumni.

“I appreciate the opportunity to contribute my experience and expertise to lead the School of Arts and Humanities at JSU, an institution that means so much to generations of my family,” she said.

Stone’s own educational background includes earning a B.A. of English and Advertising from the University of Alabama, M.A. in English and Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies and Ph.D in English from the University of South Carolina.

Space Saving Ideas: Be Smart About Your Bathroom’s Small Space

White towel and basket in bathroom. Space saving ideas

Space Saving Ideas

When you’ve got a small bathroom, it’s easy to get frustrated from the limitations you face. But don’t worry, below are some ideas to help you make the most out of your small space.


Get Creative with Storage

Just because your space is limited, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice storage. On the contrary, you just need to get creative.

  • Add floating shelves to the wall. These give you extra space for your stuff. Plus, they add a great visual element to your bathroom’s décor.
  • Repurpose a ladder. How about transforming a gently used or new small ladder into a set of shelves? You don’t really have to do much except paint it if you want it to complement the look of the room. Just place it near a wall and you have instant storage space that adds a stylish visual element to your bathroom.
  • Incorporate baskets. Trying to organize your health and beauty supplies, as well as your towels, in a small space is no easy task. But by using baskets of various sizes, you can do so while adding a splash of chic to your bathroom. Smaller baskets can house your smaller items, of course. But rolling up your towels and arranging them in larger baskets gives you storage with style. The style choice varies, from wicker to wire. So it’s easy to find something to complement your bathroom décor.


Rethink the Sink

Space can be found at the sink. Depending on your needs, you’re bound to find the right one. Below are several space saving ideas for sinks that make the most of your bathroom.

  • Trough Sink: When you’ve got a small bathroom, grappling with family members for sink time can make for stressful mornings. Most of the time, having double sinks isn’t feasible in a small space. But if you have a rustic, country or farmhouse theme in your bathroom, try adding a trough sink. Its size allows for ample space for brushing and cleaning. Sometimes, you can even manipulate the piping to allow for two faucets.
  • Oval Sink: Oval sinks get the job done. But because the bowl is small, it allows for more counter space. That’s key for a small bathroom. But the oval sink is also on trend right now, with its soft features perfect for a spa-themed bathroom – even a small one.
  • Long Sink: If counter space is what matters most, try a long sink. The bowl is wide enough for two or more people to fit in front of comfortably. But it also has plenty of room to place your things on when getting ready for your day or for bed.



Portrait of multi-generation family having a picnic in the park. Father's Day concept

Father’s Day is right around the corner. Don’t let June 17th sneak up on you! If you’re looking for the perfect way to spend a day with Dad, check out these Father’s Day activities around Oswego. Best of all, these experiences are just a short trip from Farmington Lakes Apartments.



Spend some quality time with Dad while floating down Fox River. You can rent single or tandem watercraft from Naperville Kayak, wend your way along the gentle river and take in unforgettable views of Oswego’s natural beauty. You’ll spot wildlife such as snapping turtles, jumping fish, and blue heron while creating special memories that will last a lifetime.

No need for reservations. Just walk up at Hudson Crossing Park and pay by credit card. Single vessel rentals are $40, and tandem rentals are $80. You can choose from kayaks and paddleboards, all with floatation devices, paddles, and water-resistant dry bags included.



If bonding over a meal is your dad’s style, Lambs Farms Father’s Day Brunch provides the perfect spot. While supporting the working farm that cultivates opportunities for the developmentally challenged, you can treat Dad to delicious entrees or a bevy of breakfast items. Your main meal will be followed by delectable desserts fresh from the Magnolia Café & Bakery. You can even choose your seating time! Seatings are available at 10 AM, 12 PM, and 2 PM. This culinary Father’s Day delight is $26.95 each for adults and $10.95 each for ages 2-12. This is a tasty way to show Dad how much he means to you.


When you call Farmington Lakes Apartments home, you’re in proximity to some of the best activities around Oswego. There are plenty of places to celebrate Father’s Day, but these offer unique experiences in unforgettable settings. Contact us for more information or to set up a tour of our amenities.


Fairlane Woods Estate Apartment Homes

Dad and son having fun in the park celebrating Father's Day

If you’re looking for an unforgettable way to show dad how much you care, you’re in luck. Planning a unique experience for Father’s Day in Fairlane Woods and the surrounding areas is easy! Check out our top three picks for a Father’s Day that Dad will never forget.



What better way to spend Father’s Day than watching a baseball game? You can’t lose when you take Dad to see the West Michigan Whitecaps. The team will host Dayton on Father’s Day weekend. The teams square off on both Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17. Saturday’s game includes a fireworks display, and Sunday’s contest is Throwback Jersey Night in honor of the team’s 25th season. Tickets range from $8 for Cornerstone Lawn Seating all the way up to $16 for Premium Boxed Seats.



Why not tell Dad to take a hike on Father’s Day? Better yet, take him on one. Whisking him away to Paint Creek Trail is the ideal way to get some quality time with Dad while relaxing in the great outdoors. Nestled in northeast Oakland County, Paint Creek Trail is an 8.9-mile linear park that used to be the Penn Central Railroad. Owned and managed by the Paint Creek Trailways Commission, it was the state’s first non-motorized Rail-to-Trail. The 8-foot-wide, non-motorized trail journeys through Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township, and the Village of Lake Orion. It’s a great way to reconnect with nature and with Dad on his special day.



Another way to treat Dad like a king is by taking him to Motor City Brew Tours Presents: Father’s Day Beer Tasting Boat Cruise. Head to Detroit for a cruise along the Detroit River aboard the Detroit Princess. Indulge in any of more than 30 Spring/Summer Seasonal Beers and Hard Ciders from Michigan & Beyond. Tickets are $62.50 each and include a Commemorative MCBT cup, 15 drink sample tickets for 4 ounce pours per sample, a feast of appetizers, and a boat cruise. The two-hour cruise starts at noon on Sunday, June 17, at Detroit Princess Riverboat Dock between Cobo Hall and Hart Plaza. Boarding begins at 11:30 AM.


These are just three options you can utilize to create an unforgettable Father’s Day in Fairlane Woods and the surrounding areas. If you are looking for a place to call home, please contact us to arrange a tour. We would love to show you what we have to offer.

Laurie Heathcock Honored for Children’s Corner Efforts

Jacksonville State University

JSU Education Librarian Laurie Charnigo Heathcock has been honored with the Alabama Library Association’s Humanitarian Award for her efforts in developing the Children’s Corner at Houston Cole Library.

The Humanitarian Award is presented to a person or an organization making a substantial contribution toward the development or improvement of a library or libraries within Alabama. Heathcock was nominated for the honor by JSU Library Medium Program Chair Dr. Wendy Steadman Stephens.

“I believe that Ms. Heathcock’s creation of the new Children’s Reading Room at the Houston Cole Library is worthy of recognition both because of the innovative community-centered thinking the project embodies and the potential to improve early childhood literacy in Calhoun and Etowah counties and beyond,” Stephens wrote in her nomination.

Heathcock said the award came as a surprise to her.

“However, this award really belongs to all of the people that helped create the Children’s Corner,” she said. “One of the best things about this project was how supportive and enthusiastic faculty, staff and students were about the idea of creating a colorful and imaginative space for the children in our community.”

Children’s Corner opened on October 25. Heathcock’s efforts included a training workshop for student volunteers, coordinating a calendar of Tuesday night story times and sending home information to students in the Jacksonville City School system to bring students on campus. This past spring Heathcock also organized a series of events featuring children’s literature from around the world, tying in students living in the International House.

“When I first put out a call to form a committee of faculty, staff, and students interested in creating the room, I had people from all over campus who wanted to help out with the project, especially from Education, Drama, Art, Family & Consumer Sciences, and Library Media,” Heathcock said. “Allison Newton helped me apply for my first grant. Our biggest supporters, monetarily, were the Friends of the Houston Cole Library Foundation and the Alabama Council for the Arts.”

The ADA compliant Children’s Corner reaches out to various JSU departments to enhance story times and incorporate volunteers into the program.

“We hope the Children’s Corner will provide children in the community with a fun space to celebrate reading for years to come,” Heathcock said.

Drama Department and Chamber Collaborate On Shakespeare Project

Jacksonville State University

The JSU Drama Department and the Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center are joining forces to present a professional performance of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” at Anniston High School’s Performing Arts Center in August.

The intent of these performances is to complement the required reading curriculum of high school students reading the play and is meant to enhance their study of not only the work of Shakespeare, but theater and literature in general.

“I think it is a worthwhile project and will be a benefit to many of the local high schools,” JSU Drama Department Head Randy Blades said.

The idea for this project began when Emily Duncan, the Chamber’s Marketing & Tourism Director, worked alongside with JSU Assistant Drama Professor and Salt Lake native Carrie Colton.

“Utah is well known for the arts, particularly the Shakespeare Festival at Southern Utah University, which is where Carrie went to school,” Duncan said. “While personally collaborating on a project for CAST, Carrie shared the idea to conduct a performance of Shakespeare’s works within our community. The conversation grew to include others, who reminisced about the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s origins in Anniston, from 1972 until 1985.”

Colton pointed out that the project’s mission was to spotlight the accessibility of art.

“Emily and I went into it with the mission that art and access to professional art should not be saved for the elite or upper class,” she said. “Shakespeare himself was a playwright for the common man. ‘Julius Ceasar’ will be free of charge to both student and community in the hopes of bridging this artistic and economic gap.”

It was a natural fit since the Anniston Performing Arts Center at Anniston High School was built for the Shakespeare Festival.

“As the Tourism and Marketing director for the Chamber and Visitors Center, our work focuses on education, workforce development, marketing and community development, creating programs to enhance our schools and communities, and leverage businesses,” Duncan said. “’The Shakespeare Project’ was established to enhance the understanding of performing arts and literature by presenting free professional productions of classic works, including Shakespeare.”

Members of JSU’s faculty are participating as the director, performers and technical staff for the performance funded by grants and patron contributions. Plus, several JSU students will assist by serving as college interns for the production. The company will also rehearse in Stone Center and build scenery and costumes in the Drama Department shops before loading in to the Anniston Performing Arts Center.

“We knew from day one we needed to assemble a group that was already involved in the arts, so naturally, we reached out to JSU and Randy in the Drama Department, Knox Concert Series, CAST, members of the original Alabama Shakespeare Festival Boards, and many others,” Duncan said. “The Drama Department has been crucial to help us secure rehearsal and build space this summer in their facilities on campus, and whether referring to the English Department’s Dr. DiBiase and Mrs. Roe offering their educational and dramaturgical support or other departments volunteering to help any way they can. We’re grateful to have the university’s resources and assistance during this project.”

The production will also include professional actors coming from all over the country, including Los Angeles and New York.

“Shakespeare is incredibly difficult to perform and if the students of Anniston are going to benefit from the experience, we needed to bring in the professionals,” Colton said.

School performances will be August 15-17 and public performances are set for August 18-19. Performance times to be announced. Admission will be free, but donations will be accepted to fund future productions.

The endeavor also includes hosting an invitation-only two-day workshop for teachers that will be run by the American Shakespeare Center from Staunton, Virginia, in August. It will be open to area high school teachers to assist them in teaching the show and the life and history of Shakespeare in general.

Schools interested in registering for the performances should email emilyd@calhounchamber.com or call (256) 237-3536.