Welcome to Hobson City, Alabama. The population is under 1000 people and the city was founded in 1899. The town was the first black city established in Alabama and it’s one of the oldest black cities in the country. The city was once a pretty busy town with many shops, restaurants, and other businesses. But in the last couple of years the town has been dying off slowly. Most of the business in Hobson City is now gone. Many of the homes and structures in the town are old and some have collapsed. And the town has no fire or police protection. The town is surrounded by Anniston and Oxford. So the town is suffocated and it makes it hard to attract any new businesses. It is trying to start up a bingo hall to make tax revenue for the town but state laws are making it hard to start up the business. But there are people dedicated in bringing back the town. The town has recently reopened the town’s library. And the town has started a community garden for the people to use. It also has plans to bring back fire and police protection which it really needs. But Hobson City has a long way to go to be back where it was when it was a bustling small town. I went around Hobson City and took some photos of some scenes of the small town. Enjoy the pictures below.
Within the last couple of weeks the Anniston community had a meeting to invite citizens and leaders to present ideas on how to fix the Anniston metro area. There was a great turnout and everyone agreed that we needed some changes. The city of Anniston has had a tough past with the civil rights movement and the pollution of PCB’S. Everyone who spoke was concerned about the corruption in city hall; the arrest of city councilmen; the parts of the community who are against the police; and the huge growth of Oxford and the dying of Anniston. I think this a great start in finding ways to grow Anniston and bring jobs; clean up pollution; end the police discrimination; put a crack down on crime; improve the services in Anniston; start new businesses; clean up the corruption in city hall; and to improve the life for the people in Anniston and Calhoun County. People are concerned that once the bypass around Anniston is completed; that people will avoid Anniston forever. Let’s make it an effort to make Anniston the city it once was for everybody!
Another thing that happened that day was a community meeting with Rep. Mike Rogers. The people at that meeting was concerned about the war in Iraq ending and the budget super committee in congress trying to trim over $1 trillion dollars in spending. We have a lot of military jobs in Anniston and this is riding on the backs of those jobs. So let’s hope we can jobs instead of losing them.
On Friday 11/11/11 we had the annual Veteran’s Day parade in Anniston. Many people turned out to watch this great parade. The patriotism in this parade was outstanding as well! So enjoy the photos of this great parade!
All the drummers have taped the number 79 to honor the passing of Aaron "Tootie" Harris whom wore number 79 on the Wellborn football team.
Shameless plug to listen to the Steve and Juile show on 97.9 WVOK
People that know me knows that I am a animal lover. I went to attend this event I did not even know about until a few days ago. Pet Fest 2011 was in Zinn Park in Anniston and was sponsored by Animal Medical Center. It featured a wide array of animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, owls, snakes, and even a pet possum. Businesses came out (mostly pet related) and there were a costume contest, a live K9 drug demonstration, and a few musical performers. Overall it was a good event on a good day.
So since I am still unemployed I went to cover a pretty big event. Over the last weekend we had a pretty big event come through Anniston called the Fireball Run sponsored by Chevrolet. This event is kind of like a Amazing Race style where teams race using their cars through towns doing tasks and then going to the next task. Well the a pit stop of the race was in Anniston on Friday and then resumed on Saturday to the finish in Gulfport, MS. There were some pretty cool cars in the race and you can see in the photos and video below. There were also some celebrities in the race including a astronaut, a NASCAR driver, and a actor. Also there were some current and former military veterans and police and firefighters in the race. The Anniston area was represented by Chris Wright; a DJ with rock 105.9/98.3. The mission of the race was to find missing children which is a very good thing. Each team has sponsored a missing child and were heading out flyers at each location. And they had a poster of the missing child on their cars and even the race officials cars were sponsoring a missing child too. So this event was great to see and it looks like it was a huge success. Enjoy the photos and the video of the event I made below!
The mission of the race is to find missing children!
I feel like I am in May Berry again.
Back to the Future!
Honoring the victims of the 9/11 attacks
Mayor Gene Robinson and the Calhoun County Chamber President posing for photo.
Astronaut Winston Scott posing for photo.
Chris Wright (left) with Kevyn Major Howard (right)
Me posing with NASCAR driver Geoffrey Bodine
About to leave town
The Guy in the red coat; Ron Seggi often called the “Johnny Carson” of radio
There are more pictures in the video I made above. Thanks to everyone who came out and to the particpaints and people who run the race. It was great!
Well the city council meeting last night in Anniston was all fireworks over I Pads. After the meeting was over the mayor Gene Robinson and John Spain duked it out in a hallway. The police had to break up the fight and Councilman John Spain was arrested for Assault. The mayor went to the hospital and had his arm in a sling today. John Spain bonded out last night and says he will press charges against the mayor. I would of thought that Ben Little would be the one arrested since he hates the police and calls them racist to its residents. This mess down at City Hall has got to end; just about everyone in Anniston has had enough. Maybe the Governor can step in to stop this. But honestly it will take the voters to vote in new leadership next year. But we all have something to look forward real soon. Let’s get ready to rumble!
The people in the Anniston area have had enough! Over the last few weeks we have had a police officer go down. Just about the entire community came together for the 200+ police car escort down Quintard; the delivery by state troopers of the U.S. Honor Flag; and the funeral of officer Justin Sollohub. Many comments on Facebook and Twitter supported and praised the officer for his bravery and work and his personally which many people learned on the days after his death. Just about everybody now has concern and have anger over how down Anniston has become over the last couple of years. People are now fed up over this issue and want change to bring Anniston back from the brink. Now I say just about everybody has concern over the city of Anniston but there are a few people who think the police are to blame for the demise of Anniston. One councilman named Ben Little thinks the police department is harassing the citizens of Anniston and he even thought the police during the last city council meeting was snickering at him. Ben Little even held a meeting on a corner of a local street and handed out a CD that had information of police harassment. The only problem is the audio on it was hard to hear and there was no information on the CD that alleged harassment. And during the meeting citizens were yelling in a shouting match against Mr. Little. I am starting to believe like many citizens in the area that Ben Little and mayor Gene Robinson and the rest of the city council are killing Anniston.
I read an article in the Anniston Star that said some people in West Anniston hate when the police come around and think they are being bothered. Okay you know it’s the police duty to protect the citizens of Anniston especially with the shooting and drug problem in West Anniston. Just about everyone knows there is a big problem of crime in West Anniston and it’s the job of the police to protect us. West Anniston is Ben Little’s ward and I guess he thinks police should not do their job. But I and many people around here support the police. Now the other issue facing Anniston; it’s losing population and jobs. With all the fighting and shenanigans going on during the city council meetings; hardly anything is done. It is actually a joy to watch the city council meetings to see what crazy thing comes up next. The schools are getting worse; jobs are leaving; and people are leaving. Anniston was labeled the most toxic city in America by 60 Minutes; and it seems like no one cares. We instead get to see the city council fight each other over nothing. As we watch Oxford, Saks, Weaver, White Plains, Alexandria, and Jacksonville get bigger; we watch Anniston go down the toilet. Anniston is a great and scenic town and it can come back if we get the right leaders in office; so what can be done.
I can see that the surrounding cities are getting small paying type jobs, but nothing in the good paying jobs. When an industry wants to move to an area its looks at the biggest city in the area. So when they pass on the area because of the negative attention in Anniston; you have nobody to blame but Anniston. So for places like Oxford, Jacksonville and every else in Calhoun County; you will have to blame Anniston. It is fine to get these small restaurants, stores and hotels that are low paying; but it will not work for long. If the Anniston Army Depot shuts down and its support like BAE Systems also shuts down; you have to blame Anniston. One big step for the surrounding communities and the chamber, you all need to band together and put pressure on Anniston to change. These low paying jobs will not support a community and we need to bring high paying jobs to the area. The next big thing is the voters of Anniston; you all need to vote out the entire city government next August. I do feel most will get the boot but Ben Little might not; I hope the voters will be smart enough to vote him out, but we know how stupid some voters are. But I do hope for the best outcome and a new mayor and city council. I would also like to see some tourism in Anniston. We put on some great events like the Noble Street Festival and the Woodstock 5k every year so why not promote that. We could extend to Chief Ladiga trail through Anniston and develop Coldwater Mountain. But Ben Little says the trail going through his ward isn’t going to happen. I do hope the future of Anniston is bright for years to come; but I know of some people who think Anniston is turning to Birmingham East, and I hope that is not the case.