Clay County Alabama

Two Roads In A Yellow Wood

094  Enhanced Resized 20“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth.”

~ First stanza from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”

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Strolling through the fallen leaves of sweet gums and silver maples, it is easy to imagine the “yellow wood” that inspired Robert Frost to pen The Road Not Taken…or Henry David Thoreau’s retreat to Walden Pond…or Ralph Waldo Emerson’s appeal that, “If we reunite spirit with nature, we will see the miraculous in common things.” There is something innately reflective about the season of Fall that brings out the poet in all of us, and invitingly connects us to a heightened sense of self-awareness. A bittersweet air of change accompanies the cool of the morning, and the passing theme of time is captured in the slow descent of every tumbling, umber leaf. Be it poem, prose, or just simply being prescient, impeccable storytellers like Frost, Thoreau, and Emerson knew the crux of how to connect with it: they had to get lost within themselves. And the best place to do that was off the beaten path…alone…out in the woods…“To live deep, to suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life, and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.”

For these literary giants, forsaking the familiar in the pursuit of pentameter was a risk worth taking. In our world today, we would call it a “no brainer”. The value of what was to be gained outweighed whatever might be lost by remaining in the clutch of the ordinary. In Quiet (GoodRead’s best non-fiction book of 2012) Susan Cain describes the inner plight of the poet in us all, In A World That Can’t Stop Talking:Solitude matters, and for some people it’s the air they breathe….they love music, nature, art, and physical beauty.”

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Unfortunately, the modern world in which we trudge our everyday lives can tend to make these noble ventures oddly inaccessible. Of all literature, poetry, as with the arts in general, is often cast by the wayside of the beaten path, and quickly dismissed as “non-strategic” in the black-trodden budgets of powers that be. How ironic it becomes then, that executive retreats delve not into further excursion of the practical, the measurable, and the manageable, but are instead aimed at immersion into the artful, the beautiful, and the inspirational to regain perspective; in essence, recharging the human battery with the humanities we fail to foster. The elusive value of such endeavors may escape the prudence of the down-to-earth, but not the passion of their inner child: Travel Effect surveys reveal that of all childhood memories, the ones that resonate the furthest into adulthood are those of family vacations. After all, no one plans a vacation to visit their neighbors’ industrial parks; it is the family frolics to state and national parks that become stepping stones toward significance. If you are looking to vacation in a spot that highlights the foliage of the Fall while emoting the serenity of seclusion, there can be no place better than East Alabama’s Cheaha State Park.

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As Emerson was writing Nature in 1836, and Thoreau was embarking on a two-year Walden pause in 1845, the communities of rural Eastern Alabama were in their infancy, meandering from settlements into villages and towns. And through all of history, the mountains, lakes, and colors of the Fall that bemused our greatest poets were silent witnesses not only to them, but to those that were yet to be, in centuries yet to come. As the highest point in the state of Alabama, Mt. Cheaha is aptly the crown jewel of modern-day Cleburne County, and perhaps no single stone in that crown is so precious as the pathway walk to its pinnacle…Bald Rock. Within its perimeter of 500 yards, the November environment becomes an autumnal utopia where the treasures of the Fall are gathered to behold. Via elevated bridge or surefooted trail, the surreal world beneath the treetops takes on a serene animation of its own. Amid the shelter of the shade, age-old boulders breach the surface and punctuate the path, as a canopy of color guides the way forward. From fallen oaks to rocky perches, there are countless nooks and lures in this place that pine for your attention, as each turn of the head offers a new wonder beckoning to be explored. (You might even say, “that as way has a way of leading on to way, it is easy to lose your sense of place…or keep in step with drummers’ pace.”)  The eventual end of this enchanted forest culminates with a breathtaking view from the mountain’s edge, with towers of granite rising on its sides. Truly, a destination such as this is what one would hope to find at the end of Frost’s yellow wood.

Clay County Alabama full color road map

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Additionally, Cheaha State Park boasts several other attractions for would-be memory-makers, with its Indian Relic museum, Pinhoti Trail, Camping Grounds, and rock-clad swimming pool atop the mountain. Park accommodations are also plentiful with a full service hotel, restaurant, cabins, chalets, and lodge for conferences. Derived from the Creek Indian word for “High Place”, Cheaha encompasses more than just the park, and is frequently cited as the unifying theme of surrounding locales. With Cheaha being nestled within the Talladega National Forest, Talladega County itself boasts one of the state’s most scenic drives along Highway 21, between the cities of Talladega and Oxford.

Talladega National Forest


And in the spirit of “Life is a Journey”, Clay County has embraced its role as a popular route to Mt. Cheaha, having branded its official road map as “The Road Less Traveled”.

According to the park’s website, the Clay County route via Hwy 49 offers the most resistance to change in color fluctuation, while the Talladega route via Hwy 21 offers the most color canopy. Bear in mind that no matter which road you choose to travel, the Fall Colors will not last forever, so the time to immerse yourself within them is now:

“I shall be telling this with a sigh

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Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

To hear an AUDIO CLIP of “The Road Not Taken” recited by Robert Frost, click:  Robert Frost reciting The Road Not Taken

(Views expressed are that of the author Vaughn Samuels, and not of any employer.)


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Scholarship Corner October 2013 Edition

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October 2013 Edition

Let me introduce myself. My name is Lisa Runyan and I’m on the Board of Directors for the Clay County Chamber of Commerce as well as Director of the Clay County Children’s Policy Council and a lifelong children’s advocate. I am writing this column to help parents and teachers who want to invest in their children’s education.

So often, parents think about scholarships only for their children in High School. The truth is that it’s never too early to be looking for award and scholarship opportunities. Students who are awarded scholarships in middle school are more likely to be awarded scholarships in High School.

Lisa Runyan

October 2013 Edition

Welcome to the October installment of Scholarship Links and Resources. Thanks to all of you who attended the Countdown to College Seminar last week.

When we talk about Scholarships we have to remember there are basically two types.

  • Internal Renewable & Non-renewable
  • External Non-renewable

You may apply for internal awards/scholarships once you have applied to your school of choice. What can you do until then, to help fund your schooling? The answer is that you can apply for the types of Scholarships listed below. These are external, because they are usually not affiliated with a school and they are non-renewable, meaning you are awarded the money for that given year only.

Each month, I will post a new listing of available awards. These are not listed per grade or date deadline, so you will have to pay attention to the criteria and due dates. Remember to check the archives, as each month 10- 30 opportunities are listed.

This month we focus on some non-merit based awards. So where can you go if your GPA is not 4.0, or you don’t fit the mold of the most academic student? There are many scholarships that don’t focus on academic merit. This month we focus on non GPA based Scholarships that use different somewhat unusual criteria such as:

physical characteristics, creativity, last name, sports, field of study, the final frontier, animal appreciation, food-related, activity-related etc.

Click here to review the full October Issue of Scholarship Corner with direct links to more information on each.

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Job Opening

Posted October 22, 2013

JOB OPENING NEW RESTAURANT “LYNNIE BO’S” located between Lineville and Wedowee on Hwy 48 at the Hwy 48 Flea Market


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Countdown 2 College Seminar

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Countdown 2 College Seminar


October 21, 2013 from 6-7 pm at the Ashland Theatre
Brought to you by the Clay County Children’s Policy Council and Chamber of Commerce.

FREE … But You MUST Register. Complete Form at Bottom of the Page. RSVP by 5 pm October 16th!

  • Did you know the deadlines are almost here for Senior Scholarships—The internal/renewable awards that can comprise the majority of most college-bound students’ overall funding package ?
  • Did you know that there are external/non-renewable awards available (12) months of the year for students as young as Pre-School thru Adult/Graduate-level?
  • Do you know what to do, where to go or who to ask to help your student maximize their award results—Especially if they think that they might transfer from one campus to another at some point?
  • Are you missing out on unique opportunities available to Grades K-7, 9-12, & Up or to fully capitalize on situations that are “unique” to your student and/or family?
  • Are you the parent /guardian/ or grandparent of a graduating high school senior, a junior, a sophomore or motivated younger student?

If so, you are invited to join us for an exciting “Countdown 2 College” Seminar !
When: Monday Oct 21st
Where: The Ashland Theatre 6-7pm.

N2 College Jill Head Shot

Jill Gudger Howell, M.A.Ed.

Presenting: Jill Gudger Howell, M.A.Ed., founder of N2College and developer of the PreK-12 “$cholar$hip Jump$tart” Program. The company creates comprehensive customized admissions, scholarship funding and career planning programs for clients across the US and internationally. In 2012, her clients averaged $96,500 in earned MERIT-BASED college scholarships PER family, with over $14,850,565 in TOTAL cumulative awards made to their Client Families overall !

A multi-time College Board presenter focusing specifically on college access, maximized funding, and retention, you may have heard Jill on Dave Ramsey’s “Kids and Money” Radio segment, read one of her nationally published articles, or seen her discussing how families can most effectively lower the cost of college on television, or in one of many speaking appearances across the state & around the country!

This seminar is presented free of charge to all parents and students. We do ask that you register by completing the form at the end of this page or leave a message at: 256.354.9021. A special event offer for a “30-Day Boot Camp” Service Program will be offered to all attendees.

With either form of RSVP, please also provide:

Parent Name:
Grade Level(s) Of Your Student(s):
(#) Attending In Your Group:

IMPORTANT: Please Note That ALL RSVPs MUST Be Received By 5:00 PM On Wednesday, October 16th To Secure Spaces For The Event.

There will be a Question/Answer segment at the end of the presentation. Come and ask the College Funding Expert who Dave Ramsey calls “The Scholarship Lady” what YOU can do to help your child reduce the out-of-pocket cost of attending college!

Register for Countdown 2 College Seminar

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Introducing Scholarship Corner

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Scholarship Corner

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Welcome to the Scholarship Corner!

Hello everyone, welcome to the first edition of Scholarship Corner.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Lisa Runyan and I’m on the Board of Directors for the Clay County Chamber of Commerce as well as Director of the Clay County Children’s Policy Council and a lifelong children’s advocate. I am writing this column to help parents and teachers who want to invest in their children’s education.

So often, parents think about scholarships only for their children in High School. The truth is that it’s never too early to be looking for award and scholarship opportunities. Students who are awarded scholarships in middle school are more likely to be awarded scholarships in High School.

This edition will focus on awards for children 13 years and younger. Scholarships for this age group are the hardest to find, so I’m happy to be able to bring this lengthy list to you. A few of these awards will allow students up to 15 years of age. Pay special attention to the due dates as these are non-negotiable. Some of these awards are team sponsored, so get involved and help mentor a team in your school or encourage participation with the help of a teacher.

Check back often, as I will highlight resources and scholarship opportunities as I find them. Click on each link to be directed to the individual award website.

Visit the Scholarship Corner page on this website. Good Luck and Happy Hunting. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Lisa Runyan

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Industry and Business Survey for Central High School

The career/technical education program at Central High School is seeking input concerning the future workforce of our community. It is our goal to provide the community with a skilled workforce that is equipped to handle the ever-changing demands of business and industry.

To reach our goal, we need your assistance. Please download, print, and complete the Industry and Business Survey that will help us to determine the curriculum and equipment needs for our career/technical education programs. Your input will be valuable as we update and revise our programs. If you can scan the completed survey, then email to Or bring by the Chamber office at 88855 Highway 9, Lineville, AL 36266 or mail to P.O. Box 85 Lineville, AL 36266. Please return it by July 24, 2013. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated.

The next time you have an employee opening in your organization, we hope you will allow us the opportunity to provide you with potential candidates for employment. Please do not hesitate to call us at 256-396-1400 if you would like additional information concerning our career/technical education programs.

Michael Anderson
Agriscience Instructor/FFA Advisor

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Job Opening at Koch Foods Ashland

JOB OPENING Ashland, Alabama

Koch Foods of Ashland
Occupational Health Nurse 3rd Shift

Koch Foods of Ashland, LLC is has a 3rd shift Occupational Health Nurse position available.
Hours are Sunday night – Thursday night 8:30PM – 4:30AM

License Requirements:
Licensed in State of Alabama as an LPN, LVN, RN, or Paramedic

Koch Foods LLC offers a competitive wage and benefits package. All interested candidates should send in a resume to Jennifer Mattox by fax, 256-354-5702 or by e-mail,
Resumes accepted through July 17th.
No phone calls please.


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County Data on Agriculture’s Economic Impact in Alabama Now Available

From Southeast AG NET

During the annual Alabama Agribusiness Council held this week in Orange Beach, county statistics detailing Alabama’s $70.4 billion economic impact of agriculture, forestry and related industries were released.

Gary Lemme, Director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, made the presentation and explains what this means for agriculture in the state.

County statistics detailing Alabama’s $70.4 billion economic impact of agriculture, forestry and related industries are now available at The study revealed Mobile, Jefferson and Marshall counties are top three in the state for economic impact and jobs related to agriculture and forestry.

The new website details county-level data from the 2013 Economic Impacts of Agriculture and Forestry Study, including dollar value of economic impact and job numbers related to agriculture and forestry industries. It breaks down the top three commodities for each county.

“This will be a useful tool in bringing much-deserved attention to agriculture and forestry and how critical those industries are to our local economies,” said Leigha Cauthen, executive director of the Alabama Agribusiness Council. “Statewide, the impact of these industries is tremendous, but this new information really hits home with county impacts. In many counties, agriculture and related industries account for more than half of all jobs.”

Other county information includes number of farms, acreage and population. Data can be accessed at by clicking on county in the statewide map. The statewide study also is available.

Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System conducted the survey with support from state agriculture groups and businesses.

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