For the Love of Pets, Greater Huntsville Humane Society Mission is Clear

The Greater Huntsville Humane Society dedicates itself to furthering the humane care and treatment of animals, by providing adoption services for unwanted and homeless animals.

The Greater Huntsville Humane Society relies on a small staff and dozens of volunteers. (Photo/ Steve Babin)

What many people don’t realize is the size of the Humane Society’s footprint in the Huntsville-Madison County community.

Now in its 51st year, the Humane Society continues to grow under the leadership of new CEO Anne Caldwell.

What the public also may not know: the Greater Huntsville Humane Society is funded entirely by donations and grants; the organization does not receive any government funding. With a small staff and more than 200 volunteers, the Humane Society is run on a shoestring budget.

The organization’s best-known fundraiser is the annual Dog Ball, now in its 31st year.

This year’s event will be Feb. 8 at the Von Braun Center South Hall. Over the years, the Dog Ball has continued to grow and each years’ clever theme with accompanying artwork seems to outdo previous years. This year’s theme will be “Bark Avenue.”

This year’s Dog Ball theme is “Bark Avenue.” (Photo/Steve Babin)

The money raised goes toward providing medical care and finding homes for shelter animals.

“The Dog Ball helps provide critical funding that enables GHHS to offer such programs and services as healthcare and food to low-income households, humane education and outreach, and a safe place for homeless pets to find their forever homes,” said Caldwell. “This fun-filled, elegant evening is consistently our largest fundraiser – even after all these years!”

The Humane Society’s Thrift Store has been recently updated to better serve its customers.

“The thrift store is our bread and butter,” said Caldwell. “Last year, it brought in over $200,000.”

The store sells a wide assortment of items; its mission is to sell donated goods and provide funds in support of the shelter animals. In fact, 100 percent of every sale goes to support the Humane Society’s mission.

In addition to caring for the needs of the shelter animals, there are several programs designed to help the local community and their pets.

The Greater Huntsville Humane Society was named the Nonprofit of the Year for 2019. (Photo/Steve Babin)

The King’s Community Kitchen provides low-income pet owners with food for their dogs and cats. In 2018, over 35,000 pounds of pet food was distributed to area families in need.

In partnership with the Humane Society, Rocket City Mobile Vet offers Pet Wellness Clinics on the second Saturday of each month. These discounted services are provided to pet owners with a household income below $35,000. Clinics offer wellness exams, annual vaccinations, heartworm and flea/tick preventative and microchipping, if needed.

Its newest community program is Huntsville Hounds on Transport (HHOT Dogz). Last spring, the Humane Society began monthly treks to the Humane Society of Washington County, Md., and to the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C.

Due to shelter overpopulation here in the South, many independent agencies have been transporting shelter animals to the Northeast, where spaying and neutering of pets is more stringently enforced, resulting in fewer adoptable animals in the northern shelters. The HHOT Dogz program helps GHHS save the lives of more shelter animals by giving them a better opportunity for a loving home elsewhere.

The Paws for Reading program was designed to enrich the lives of shelter animals while also helping children develop sound reading skills.

Children ages 6- 15 years old can participate if accompanied by a parent; it’s also open to volunteers over 16. Paws for Reading is a win-win for the children and shelter animals alike. It helps the animals develop socialization skills, which will help them become more comfortable with people. Those people skills are critical for a shelter animal to be adoptable.

The Humane Society is also a partner of Pets for Patriots, a national service that pairs veterans and adoptable animals. The goal is to make the benefits of shelter pet adoption a reality for military personnel, ensuring many years of friendship, companionship and joy with their honorably adopted dog or cat.

For more information, visit https://ghhs.org/

 

 

 

Rocket City Trash Pandas are Hiring

MADISON – If you’ve wanted to work for a professional sports team, here is your chance.

The Rocket City Trash Pandas, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, are holding a job fair Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Bob Jones High School cafeteria. The school is at 650 Hughes Road in Madison.

“We are building a team of passionate, energetic, and driven individuals to deliver the best experience in Minor League Baseball,” the team said in a statement.

The Trash Pandas will be hiring for more than 100 positions in more than 30 game-day roles. Positions include ticket takers, ushers, servers, bartenders, vendors/hawkers, concessionaires, warehouse, cooks, housekeeping, production room, camera operator, concessions stocker, parking lot attendants, promo team member, game-day runner and more.

Candidates are urged to bring a completed application to the job fair. Applications can be found at www.trashpandasbaseball.com.

Anyone looking for an internship can also interview at the job fair and are encouraged to bring resumes.

Representatives of the Trash Pandas will be on hand to provide information and answer questions.

The Trash Pandas’ home Opening Day is April 15 against the Mississippi Braves at Toyota Field. Season tickets, mini plans and group outings are on sale now. Visit www.trashpandasbaseball.com or call 256-325-1403.

Nominations Open for Fifth Annual Entrepreneur Awards

The Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship is accepting nominations for the fifth annual Entrepreneur Awards – a culmination of the 2020 Innovate Huntsville Week events. The Entrepreneur Awards recognize and honor the skill and courage of entrepreneurs to develop a business from an idea.
“The Catalyst is excited to host the fifth annual Entrepreneur Awards as culmination of Innovate Huntsville Week,” said Tracy Junkins, Women’s Business Center Project Coordinator for The Catalyst. “This event honors and recognizes the talented entrepreneurs within the community. The Entrepreneur Awards is where entrepreneurs come together to celebrate one another’s successes in building up the unique community of North Alabama.”
Award categories include: Entrepreneur of the Year, Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, Creative Entrepreneur of the Year, Female Entrepreneur of the Year, Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year,  Youth Entrepreneur of the Year, People’s Choice, and Entrepreneur Champion of the Year.
Nominations close Jan. 21 and may be made at www.innovateHSV.com. The winners will be announced at the Entrepreneur Awards ceremony Feb. 28.
For information, visit www.innovateHSV.com or www.catalystcenter.org.

Qualis Acquires Bonham Technologies

Qualis, an integrator of technical and engineering services to the Department of Defense and NASA, has acquired Bonham Technologies, a diversified Service Disabled, Veteran-Owned, Small Business.

Bonham, which like Qualis is Huntsville-based, provides technical, programmatic and logistical support services for combat weapon systems and associated support equipment.

Founded in 2004 by retired Army Col. Louis Bonham, BTI has provided a wide-array of UH-60 fleet support and systems integration, test and evaluation, and training support for ground vehicles.

“The acquisition of such a reputable company as BTI will significantly enhance Qualis’ unmanned and rotary wing aviation capabilities in the competitive Huntsville market,” said Qualis President Roderick Duke.

“We wholeheartedly welcome Lou and team,” said Qualis Founder and CEO Elizabeth Morard. The acquisition “marks a meaningful growth milestone in Qualis’ history to add this capable group of people to the Qualis family.

“I appreciate the initiative and dedication of Rod and team to make this happen.”

BTI has become a proven aviation contractor throughout its history providing aviation and missile weapons systems support to organizations such as the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center, formerly known as the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal. Over the past decade, BTI has provided innovative solutions to the rotary wing industry with both integrity and a commitment to excellence.

“This acquisition will be advantageous for Qualis’ strategic direction as we continue to expand our aviation service offerings,” said Duke.

The Catalyst Receives Grant for Small Business Training Program

As Huntsville and Madison County continue to grow, there’s been an exponential surge in small business development over the past several years.

Here in North Alabama, small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures have been welcomed with open arms.

Economic development is essential for community growth and stability. To that end, the U.S. Small Business Administration recently awarded The Catalyst Center for Business and Entrepreneurship a $350,000 Management & Technical Assistance Program grant.

The program’s assistance encompasses a wide spectrum of services to include one-to-one customized coaching, business training, and networking/matchmaking opportunities. A key goal of the program is to help firms compete for federal, state and local contracts as a prime contractor or subcontractor.

To participate in the free training program, small businesses must be:

  • Owned and managed by economically and/or socially disadvantaged individuals
  • Located in areas of high unemployment or low-income
  • Certified 8(a) participant or HUBZone small business
  • Economically disadvantaged and woman-owned

For information, visit catalystcenter.org

Mario’s Five Points: A New Face in a Familiar Place with the Same Attitude

There’s a brand new eatery in an old familiar place with the same eclectic vibe for residents of Five Points in east Huntsville.

Mario’s brings a slice of Italian cuisine to Five Points.

Mario’s Five Points, which had delivered pizza while sharing space with Galen’s restaurant for a few years, now occupies the entire building at what many city residents knew as Mullins Drive-In for decades.

Mullins, famous for its chili dogs and broasted chicken, was long a fixture in the Dallas and Lincoln Mill villages that make up a large part of Five Points. Galen’s, a popular restaurant in New Hope, gave it a go in the city but left to pave the way for Mario’s.

Mario’s, which began with only pizza deliveries, started dine-in service Nov. 8 and is becoming a fast hit in the area. The restaurant still delivers in an area around the store, but Grub South also delivers and provides service throughout the city.

“We’ve had a lot of good feedback and the reviews have been positive,’’ said Dan Thompson, manager, military brat and once a Five Points resident. “We’re seeing significant growth week after week.

“We’re starting to see a lot of repeat customers.’’

Mario Colorado Sr. and his son Mario Colorado Jr. are the owners and chefs. The elder Mario developed the pizza crust recipe.

“He’s been in the business a long time,’’ Thompson said. “He developed a dough recipe. It’s a special proprietary recipe. I’m not allowed to know it. It’s a lot of secrets.’’

The counter in the original part of the building is still there. A large kitchen where most dishes are made from scratch, the Mario Room and the Colorado Room are in the addition Mullins made many years ago.

The motif is dedicated to Five Points and Huntsville. Photos of old landmarks such as Star Market, Tip Top Cafe, Dunavants Mall and the Lyric Theater are just some of the venues featured.

Classic spaghetti and meatballs is a favorite dish.

And there’s much more on the menu than Mario’s Signature pizza. Appetizers, calzones, pasta, salads and sandwiches are available and on Sunday there is a brunch menu.

Thompson, who said he eats at the restaurant daily, said the Signature pizza, Caprese Skewers, Baked Ziti, Power Green Salad, Meatball Hoagie and Pork Scallopini are among his favorites.

For brunch, Chilaquiles, Caprese Traitor Eggs and Italian Hot Brown, which is a twist on the Kentucky version, are popular.

There’s also a large selection of craft beers.

Mario’s has arcade and board games and a drawing wall for children and even a ping pong table. A soundstage is moved in for live music some nights, and there are trivia contests.

Thompson said most of the employees are from the neighborhood and bring “pride in Five Points and in just being a human being.’’

Mario’s is open 2-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The Sunday brunch menu is available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mario’s specializes in catering, sells local art off the walls without taking a commission and will open a patio in the spring.

And it’s all done with a Five Points attitude.

“That’s what we’re trying to capture,’’ Thompson said. “We have everything from people wearing three-piece suits to hippies wearing bathrobes come in here.’’

Sitdown With Success: Sheila Cummings Shatters Glass Ceiling One Solution at a Time

(Editor’s Note: “Sitdown With Success” is a monthly feature spotlighting local entrepreneurs and their keys to success and tips for future entrepreneurs)

Dr. Sheila Cummings is shattering the glass ceiling—one aerospace engineering solution at a time.

As a Native American aerospace engineer, small business owner, community leader, and family-focused female, Cummings is at the forefront of Huntsville’s path to the future.

And although she has encountered many challenges along the way, she maintains that those challenges have been the driving force for her determination.

Cummings Aerospace, her grassroots creation, is on the cusp of its 11th anniversary, and we caught up with Cummings to gain some inside into her entrepreneurial success.

Tell us about your background and how you chose aerospace engineering as a career.

I grew up in the Lumbee Tribe of Indians in Pembroke, N.C. I always loved math and science. I had a few mentors in the military who I looked up to, and at one point, I was honestly very focused on joining the Air Force after high school. The recruiter said “we’d love to have you, but we need nurses not pilots” and that ended my dreams of joining the military. But I chose the aerospace path instead because it would allow me the opportunity to pursue working on systems while allowing me to be near aircraft and leverage what I was good at academically.

What initial challenges did you face?

I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in aerospace engineering. All throughout college, there were maybe three other girls in my graduating class for aerospace, so I definitely chose a field that was male-dominated. I had to figure out how to operate successfully in that domain. I’m from a large family of many brothers and sisters, so building relationships was a natural capability for me. But there is a difference when you are competing academically.

I also didn’t have much outside exposure culturally, so going to a university that was amassed in culture and diversity was in itself a tremendous challenge. But I was driven, and I wanted to succeed and make my family proud. I was a minority but I didn’t allow it to deter me. I used it as fuel for the fire in my belly. I was still in a male dominated force and constantly having to prove myself. As women, we just have to work harder to get recognized.

Once you graduated, how did you begin your career?

I began my career with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., as a government civilian.

After nine years of working for the Navy, I transitioned to becoming a contractor for the Missile Defense Agency, and that’s where my connection to Huntsville began – this was the early stages of BRAC.

In 2005, I helped the Kinetic Energy Interceptor Program and I was responsible for helping the government transition the work force. What was supposed to be a six-month assignment turned into Huntsville into being my home.

Tell us about the origin of Cummings Aerospace and what makes you different as an engineering firm.

I decided in 2009 to break out on my own, largely because of the community’s support of small business start-ups. There were lots of advisors in the community who were encouraging me to start my own company.

Our goal at Cummings Aerospace is technical excellence. Being in the engineering domain is very competitive. We can’t do everything all the time, so what we do, we know we have to do very well. Our reputation resides on it. Quality is very, very important to us. But it’s also much more than that. One of the glorious things about being a small business is that we get the opportunity to be a family and to learn about each other and the family we have created.

What does a successful future look like for you?

I’m probably a little different in that I measure success on the capability we are carrying to the war fighters. How are we contributing to our nation’s defense and protecting the freedoms we enjoy? And how are we helping our engineers to be better and how are we advancing their careers? I want to expand to serve different regions and give back to the Huntsville community and the Native American community, but at the end of the day, I don’t have a specific number in mind. Owning a small business is the best engineering project someone can give you. There are too many variables and a constant pursuit of solutions.

Any advice for future entrepreneurs?

If you are a minority, don’t look at yourself as a minority. Focus on who you are and what you want to achieve and don’t be distracted by the labels that society puts on you.

I think in today’s society people are becoming very accepting of women as engineers. We are still a minority, but we’ve come a long way. The playing field is leveling and I finally feel like I have a seat at the table, but that didn’t come without blood, sweat, and tears.

Being a single mother, I’m not sure I knew what I was getting into initially, but my 3 kids have been my greatest champions. I probably missed one too many family dinners and took them to McDonald’s one too many times, but at the end of the day you just have to ask yourself, am I doing the best I can do?

I’ve definitely have had my share of successes and failures but I wear my scars proudly on my back.

 

Rocket City Trash Pandas Pass $2M Mark in Merchandise Sales

MADISON — The Rocket City Trash Pandas today announced the team surpassed the $2 million mark in merchandise sales Friday – in just more than 13 months of operating.

The team began selling official licensed merchandise in October 2018 following their logo reveal event at Dublin Park in Madison. Since then, the Trash Pandas have sold merchandise in the Trash Pandas Emporium at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville.

The team’s original store proved too small to handle the crowds, so the Trash Pandas moved into double the space in their current location, at the foot of the bridge June 29.

Through Dec. 22, the organization sold $2,031,660.25 in licensed Trash Pandas
merchandise, including $492,157.14 in online sales and $1,5439,503.11 at the Bridge Street location.

“This surpasses even our wildest expectations,” said Trash Pandas President and CEO Ralph
Nelson. “We are grateful to our fans throughout North Alabama and the entire Tennessee Valley,
as well as those around the world, for support that is simply unprecedented in Minor League Baseball. As I’ve said repeatedly, I do not believe any fan base has ever embraced a new team
like ours has.

“We are truly humbled by this … and it is only the beginning.”

The Emporium at Bridge Street is the only location in North Alabama to purchase official Trash
Pandas merchandise, season tickets and mini-plans. Merchandise is also available in the online
store: https://trashpandas.milbstore.com/.

The Trash Pandas make their Toyota Field debut April 15, 2020 against the Mississippi Braves.

Project XYZ to Purchase Jamie Cooper Television

ATHENS — A Huntsville-based technical solutions company is planning to purchase the area’s only locally owned television station.

Project XYZ is purchasing Athens-based Jamie Cooper Television, a Class A station broadcast on WTZT-TV.

Kim and Larry Lewis own Project XYZ, which provides expertise in the research, design, development, integration, and sustainment of innovative solutions in engineering, logistics, information technology, and alternative energy.

Gloria and Jamie Cooper have co-owned the station since 2003. Founded Nov. 2, 1988, the station is known under the branding ZTV-11 with the slogan “Local and lovin’ it!” and can be seen on numerous cable systems. The long-running morning show, “Cooper & Company,” will continue to air as well as the “Country Rover Classics.”

“We want to share what’s truly happening in the community, and we see a need for more local programming in this area,” said Kim Lewis. “We want to help meet that need.”

Gloria Cooper said she is looking forward to working with Project XYZ as they grow the station.

“We feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to work with Kim and Larry Lewis as they grow ZTV-11 to new heights,” said Gloria Cooper.  “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and we’re all staying ‘local and lovin’ it’.” 

 WTZT will continue to broadcast local programming, as well as programming from COZI TV, a division of NBCUniversal. The network airs classic television series from the 1950s to the 2000s.

The new ownership agreement is pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission.

South Huntsville Businesses Receive Facade Improvement Grants

There will soon be a new look to some South Huntsville businesses.

Nearly a dozen small businesses will be able to improve their storefronts, facades and even landscaping thanks to Façade Improvement Grants, the South Huntsville Main Business Association announced.

Business owners applied for the grants, sponsored by Redstone Federal Credit Union. The businesses demonstrated how the improvements to their storefronts would affect the overall appearance, quality, growth and vitality of the South Huntsville district.

The grants provide up to two-to-one in matching funds for 11 projects ranging from $800 to $4,000. The total economic impact is $184,000 in the South Huntsville community.

“The Façade Improvement Grants are contributing to a positive business environment in South Huntsville,” said Bekah Schmidt, executive director for the South Huntsville Main Business Association. “Through the grant, we are encouraging the revitalization of buildings and supporting business improvement. We look forward to seeing these projects completed over the next six months, and greatly appreciate our presenting sponsor, Redstone Federal Credit Union for making this all possible.”

The grant program is part of South Huntsville’s participation in the Main Street Alabama, a statewide effort to build stronger communities through effective downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization. South Huntsville was designated a Main Street Alabama community in June 2018.

The following businesses and or shopping centers will be utilizing the matching grant funds to complete façade renovations, building enhancements, or landscape improvements.

  • Angel’s Island Coffee Shop
  • Apollo Animal Hospital
  • Bubby’s Diner
  • Das Stahl Bierhaus
  • Earth Touch Garden Center
  • Eleanor Murphy Library
  • 8200 Memorial Parkway
  • Off the Rack Boutique
  • Main Street South
  • Sabghi’s Jewelers
  • Village Center

For information, call 256-701-2290, email bekah@shba.biz or visit southhuntsvillemain.org/façade.