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Archive for November, 2015

The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association has honored Tim Haney of Joe Wheeler State Park, Mike Jeffreys of Lake Guntersville State Park and Ken Thomas of DeSoto State Park with the 2015 President’s Award.

The award is among 12 PEAK Awards presented Sept. 16 during the AMLA Annual Meeting at Stone Bridge Farms in Cullman, Ala.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I congratulate all of the honorees,” said Tami Reist, President/CEO of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. “The PEAK Awards provide an outstanding platform to recognize top performers and industry leaders in tourism and this year’s recipients all have done an excellent job in the marketing and promotions of tourism and travel for the North Alabama region.”

Representing the highest achievement in North Alabama tourism, the PEAK Awards honor individuals and organizations that have had a major impact on tourism in North Alabama. The President’s Award is presented to a person or organization whose tourism-related project created awareness or presented a positive image for North Alabama in the past year.

Haney began his career with the state park system as a park ranger at Joe Wheeler State Park in 1981. He worked as a ranger until 1988 when he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent at DeSoto State Park. In 1994, he returned to Joe Wheeler as the assistant superintendent until 1998 when he moved to Oak Mountain State Park to serve as the park superintendent. After two years at Oak Mountain, he was promoted to district superintendent in Northwest Alabama in 2000 where he is today. He received a Life Saver award in November of 1991, an Award for Distinguished Service in 1994, and The Park Manager of the Year in 2013.

Jeffreys began work in the park system in 2001 as a ranger for Lake Guntersville State Park. Next, he moved to Joe Wheeler State Park to become a park manager and then was promoted to park superintendent at Oak Mountain State Park where he was named Park Manager of the Year in 2011. Following two years at Oak Mountain, he came to Lake Guntersville in February, 2013, and today is the superintendent for the Northeast region covering Lake Guntersville State Park, Buck’s Pocket State Park, Cathedral Caverns State Park and Desoto State Park. Much of his time at Lake Guntersville has been dedicated to rebuilding from the tornado outbreak of 2011, redesigning infrastructure of services and implementing new projects such as mountain bike trails and an activities building.

Thomas has 25 years of state service and has served in many roles throughout his career including Assistant Park Naturalist, Park Naturalist, Park Ranger, Assistant Park Superintendent and Park Superintendent. He has been the Park Superintendent at DeSoto State Park since 2008 and recently has written and been awarded several grants which benefit DeSoto State Park as well as many other Alabama State Parks.

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Elaine Fuller with the Cullman County Museum during her induction.

Elaine Fuller with the Cullman County Museum during her induction.

Judy Ryals of the Huntsville/Madison County CVB, Elaine Fuller of the Cullman County Museum and and Susann Hamlin Colbert County TCB were inducted into the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association’s North Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame during ceremonies in September.

The North Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame induction is among 12 awards that comprise the PEAK Awards presented during the AMLA Annual Meeting at Stone Bridge Farms in Cullman, Ala.

Representing the highest achievement in North Alabama tourism, the PEAK Awards honor individuals and organizations that have had a major impact on tourism in North Alabama. The concept of the North Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor those who have been long supporters of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association and who have made significant contributions to the tourism and travel industry over time.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I congratulate all of the honorees,” said Tami Reist, President/CEO of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. “The PEAK Awards provide an outstanding platform to recognize top performers and industry leaders in tourism and this year’s recipients all have done an excellent job in the marketing and promotions of tourism and travel for the North Alabama region.”

Judy Ryals

Judy Ryals

Ryals, President/CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, joined the Bureau in 1978 and is the longest serving director of a tourism agency in the State of Alabama. She has been appointed by six governors to serve on the Advisory Board of the Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel and currently serves as Chairman. Ryals was one of the first women to serve as a board member of the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus, which is now Destination Marketing Association International. She has served on the Board of Directors of many statewide boards including the Alabama Council of Association Executives, Alabama Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus and Alabama Travel Council. She received the state’s top award and was inducted into the Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame, the first CVB representative to receive this award. With more than three decades of experience in the tourism industry, Ryals continues to elevate Huntsville and Madison County as an outstanding destination for leisure and business travelers.

Fuller is the executive director of the Cullman County Museum. Her tourism career spans more than two decades where she has actively promoted the museum and the City of Cullman. It is the first location in Cullman County to incorporate sound- activated audio and visual displays and it was the first in the county to develop and feature a custom exhibit in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. She has been one of the leaders in developing Cullman’s signature event, Oktoberfest, the redevelopment of the L&N Depot and the Cullman Farmer’s Market. She has also served on the executive committee and has served on many different board positions with the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association.

Susann Hamlin

Susann Hamlin

As executive director of the Colbert County Tourism & Convention Bureau, Hamlin goes to great lengths in bringing three major cities and several smaller communities together in their mutual support and in promotion. She works diligently to develop relationships and to find ways to support the individual efforts of each city, where most tourism agencies are charged with only one major town. Through her involvement with various committees and city council meetings, Hamlin has been successful in making a difference in tourism in North Alabama. She has served on the executive committee and has held many different board positions with the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association.

The full list of awards and winners:

● Organization of the Year – Spirit of Athens

● Event of the Year – Athens Storytelling Festival

● Attraction of the Year – One World Adventure

● Good Neighbor Award – Rock The South

● Northern Star Award – Terri Hyatt (Bay Springs County Inn and Campground)

● Young Professional of the Year Award – Breanna Putman (Greater Gadsden Area Tourism)

● Tourism Professional of the Year – Alison Stanfield (Florence Lauderdale Tourism)

● Lasting Impression Award – Roxy Theatre

● Chairman’s Cup – Randy and Olivia Grider (Lookout Alabama magazine)

● President’s Award – Tim Haney (Joe Wheeler State Park), Mike Jeffreys (Lake Guntersville State Park) and Ken Thomas (DeSoto State Park)

● Tourism Hall of Fame – July Ryals (Huntsville-Madison County CVB), Elaine Fuller (Cullman County Museum) and Susann Hamlin (Colbert County TCB)

● Legend Award – Jimmy Denton, Natural Bridge

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TORQ electric vehicle

I saw the TORQ light electric vehicle for the first time at the 2015 Archery Trade Association show and was impressed. This is a neat vehicle with multiple possibilities for outdoors folks, hunters and recreational users.

Here’s a press release about the vehicle with more information:

A unique little electric vehicle combining innovation with the great outdoors is quickly becoming the talk of the industry and boasts its birthplace in Birmingham, Ala. The new eco-friendly TORQ Suppressor VLE (Very Light Electric) off-road ATV is designed for the adventure-seeking outdoorsman who wants more capability, maneuverability and overall performance in a hunting vehicle that can provide a stealthy and silent approach.

Available in single-seat and side-by-side versions, the TORQ Suppressor VLE is quicker, quieter, lighter and tighter by design. This innovative electric off-road vehicle satisfies one’s need for speed with a swift, stable and silent ride and is ideal for hunting, fishing, camping and outdoor recreation, as well as farming, ranching, land management, department of conservation and law enforcement use.

The TORQ Suppressor VLE has a midget-racing/hot-rod-inspired heritage and features a full-coverage roll cage, race-worthy four-point safety harness, quick-release steering wheel, fully independent front and rear suspension and all-wheel disc brakes, providing both youth and other adult riders with peace of mind, even when driving on the most challenging terrain. No detail has been overlooked in engineering this game-changing electric crossover vehicle.

Founder Steve Brown said he designed the TORQ Suppressor VLE to fill a void in the market with regard to off-road electric vehicles.
“Up until now, hunters have had few choices, using either modified golf carts or loud, gas-burning ATV’s to get them to their favorite tree stand,” Brown said. “We wanted to engineer a new breed of zero-emission, off-road electrics that combined silence, stability and performance in to a single vehicle.”
Brown has a successful background in ATV parts and manufacturing and only uses top-of-the-line components for his electric off-road vehicles.

Specifically designed for trail riding, this electric vehicle is perfect for getting to and from your tree stand, hunting grounds, setting game cams or for exploring trails and dirt roads yet discovered. The TORQ Suppressor VLE’s lightweight is also a key design feature, which makes it easier to transport and maneuver than most other electric vehicles of similar size.

“One unique feature that we are most proud of is that the Suppressor VLE is ideal for those with limited mobility who want more freedom in the great outdoors,” said Rick D’Andrea, director of sales and marketing.

The TORQ VLE’s standard automotive-style brake and throttle controls can be easily converted to utilize the well-designed and easy-to-use Sure Grip Push/Rock Hand-Control System for drivers with limited lower mobility.

Unlike other hand-control styles, the Push/Rock system puts the operating handle in a vertical position; the driver eases the handle back to accelerate and pushes forward to brake. This unique rocking motion allows full-range braking and acceleration with minimal hand travel while keeping the hand in a natural position. The mobility controls install fast and easy, since each TORQ Suppressor VLE has the systems’ anchor points already engineered into the frame.

The 2016 TORQ Suppressor VLE is equipped with a 48-volt AC Brushless motor from Advanced Motors and Drives, a Curtis 1236 450 Amp AC motor controller, a fully documented whole car logic wiring harness and a Curtis dash display with speed, mileage, time and battery percentage readout. The Suppressor VLE also features regenerative breaking and a selectable ECO/SPEED switch for greater versatility in the great outdoors. The firm has also joined forces with Crown Battery Company, a premium U.S. manufacturer of industrial grade AGM batteries, using eight, 6-volt sealed maintenance-free batteries along with an On-Board Charger designed specifically for recreational EV’s.

No gas engine means no messy oil changes or fuel to haul or handle. The TORQ Suppressor VLE‘s smart design means you’ll enjoy super low maintenance. Just plug in the onboard charger, and when the light turns green, you’re ready to go. It’s that easy.

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Ross Bridge is a fantastic resort southwest of Birmingham where you can get great food, relaxing accommodations and a stunning golf course that will test anyone's skills.

Ross Bridge is a fantastic resort southwest of Birmingham where you can get great food, relaxing accommodations and a stunning golf course that will test anyone’s skills.

If you’re looking for a great getaway, Alabama’s fantastic Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail has some super resorts and deals to take advantage of this autumn.

I’ve had the great pleasure to stay at Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa in Birmingham a few times and it’s fantastic. The rooms are great, the beds are like clouds to fall into and the restaurant has a super variety of food and drinks. Downstairs you’ll find a spa where you could get a massage, manicures, pedicures, facials and whatnot.

You even could create your own personalized Aveda bath salts, as we were able to do last year during a travel writer’s visit to Ross Bridge. I used rosemary oil, and my wife loved it. You also could create your own facial scrubs or skin lotions, too.

To say the resorts are top-notch is an understatement. They’re regularly awarded high honors by travel associations and through visitor rating services. Check out these three getaway deals you should consider for a relaxing weekend:

Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa provides guests a wonderful experience, from the golf course to spa to dining and relaxation. (Photo: Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa)

Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa provides guests a wonderful experience, from the golf course to spa to dining and relaxation. (Photo: Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa)

Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa
The Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa in Birmingham offers the best of both worlds for your hotel getaway – from tranquility at the award-winning spa to terrific dining and on-site championship golf. Play one round at Ross Bridge with lodging for one night for $157 plus tax (based on double occupancy).

Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center
Nestled alongside the renowned Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center at Capitol Hill features 54 holes of championship golf, signature dining and well-appointed guest rooms and suites. Play one round at Capitol Hill with lodging for one night for $144 plus tax (based on double occupancy).

Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa
Treat yourself to a memorable experience at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear. The resort offers opportunities for both relaxation and entertainment with their 20,000 square-foot Grand Spa and two renowned golf courses at Lakewood Golf Club. Play one round at Lakewood with lodging for one night for $145 plus tax (based on double occupancy).

 

For more information call 1-800-949-4444 or request a quote online.

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REBEL TracDown Ghost

It’s common to remember good lures gone by, but it’s even better when one returns to the lineup better than ever before. Rebel Lures is proud to announce that the Ghost Minnow – one of the most-productive little slender minnow twitch baits ever – has returned with new color patterns and hardware that is better for the fish, the fishery and the fisherman.

Well-known to anglers as a top-producer of trout, smallmouth bass and other gamefish, the new TracDown Minnow was redesigned and is now available with cutting-edge paint schemes and barbless treble hooks, which are safer for the fish, our fisheries and fishermen. If an angler gets one of these trebles in his or her skin, it simply comes right back out, yet studies have shown barbless hooks penetrate a fish’s mouth easier than the barbed variety. These hooks are perfect for all anglers but especially good for younger or less experienced fishermen.

The Tracdown Minnow measures 2-1/4-inches and is available in both trout-focused color patterns and traditional bass/panfish looks. Super-realistic, super-smart and super-effective, the new Tracdown Ghost Minnow is a stream superhero.

For more information visit www.lurenet.com

Source: PRADCO Public Relations

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The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association received the Chairman of the Board Award from the Southeast Tourism Society during the STS Fall Forum in Charleston, W.Va..

ALMAAccording to STS Chairperson Alisa Bailey, AMLA has been a long-time supporter of the STS Marketing College, the Top 20 Events program and STS advocacy work in Washington, D.C.

Led by President/CEO Tami Reist, AMLA is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Decatur, Ala., dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston.

“AMLA is honored to be recognized by such a prestigious organization,” Reist said. “This recognition is a reminder that not only do we focus on tourism and travel within North Alabama but we also are also committed to helping our state and the region be successful in reaching and attracting visitors.”

About STS
Founded in 1983, STS is dedicated to promoting and developing tourism in its member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention and visitor’s bureaus, airlines, bus companies, car rental agencies, newspapers, magazines, and other travel-related organizations.

The Southeast Tourism Society presents Shining Examples Awards annually to salute achievements in tourism, which ranks in the top three industries in each of  the 12 STS states. The 2015 Shining Example Awards program was part of the 32nd annual STS fall meeting held September 8-10 in Charleston, W.Va.

“Television has Emmy Awards, movies have Academy Awards and STS has Shining Example Awards,” said STS President Bill Hardman. “Organizations and individuals receiving STS Shining Examples are being pointed out as achievers of great merit. They are coveted awards.”

Other STS award winners from North Alabama included Tigers for Tourism located in Attalla for Travel Attraction of the Year and Florence/Lauderdale Tourism for Organization of the Year.

For more information, visit www.southeastourism.org.

SOURCE: Alabama Mountain Lakes Association

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bank-roll-hero-shot

Back in the day, I couldn’t understand how my father and other anglers could be so patient with a jig tied on their line. Gaaa! Boring! Slow! Nothing fast about a jig!

But with age and trial-by-fire comes education and today, I’d probably take a jig first and foremost if anyone said “Pick just one” for bass fishing. Heck, I’d take a jig for catching redfish and maybe pike, too. Aggressive fish will blast ’em.

Check out the new jig from BOOYAH Baits. If you like to fish craws, worms and beaver-critters, this stand-up version may be the ticket for you.

The new Bank Roll Jig from BOOYAH Bait Co. was created with the help of some of this country’s best jig fishermen.

The stand-up jig features a top-heavy flat top design that keeps it upright on bottom – effectively standing on its head. The skirts are special, too. These unique skirts feature multiple colors and produce reflection like no other. Plus, it’s equipped with one of the strongest hooks available in a bass jig.

If used with a crawfish-imitating trailer, the Bank Roll keeps the claws up in a defensive position – exactly what bass are expecting to see when approaching a real craw. When used with a more-baitfish or beaver-style trailer, the Bank Roll swims with a slightly down-turned attitude and mimics baitfish feeding action when crawled slowly across the bottom.

BOOYAH-Bank-Roll

The angle of the hook adds up-and-down “floppy” action when shaken or lifted, and the long, full silicone skirts never seem to stop moving. When flipping or pitching to cover, the Bank Roll presents a natural, nose-down attitude that keeps the hook super-strong hook positioned for perfect hooksets.

The unique skirts mimic crawfish and bluegills with equal accuracy. BOOYAH limited color selection to only the top eight as determined by our pro anglers (ever try to get a dozen pro anglers to agree on anything?) to catch bass anywhere in the country. The Bank Roll is available in two sizes, 3/8- and ½-ounce.

For more information, go to www.booyahbaits.com.

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