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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - November 29, 2009, Athens, Alabama                                 Preview the ’09-10 basketball season Inside today  e News Courier  Serving Athens ¿ind Limestone County: A Community oi'Tnidition and Future  ()iie dollar  Sunday, November 29, 2009  Visit us onime   www.enewscourier.com   Inside  Today  Food banks going high-tech  Food banks across the country are undergoing a high-tech revolution, adopting sophisticated databases, bar coding, GPS tracking and other technologies used in the food industry that increasingly supplies their goods.  PAGE 16A  Rat pack  Naked mole rats are growing more popular in research labs, where the seemingly invulnerable rodents surprise scientists  PAGE 20A  Subscribe  (i(>t lli{> news widi your morning foliec*  SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720  Index  Classifieds.......1C  Crossword ISA  Ledger.........ISA  Letters..........5A  Lifestyles........9A  Lottery..........3A  Obituaries.......2A  Thomas White  Opinion.........4A  Sports...........IB  Valley  6A  Weather.........2 A  7    69847    00002    3  County to say thanks for grants  By Kahkn Middi k ion  kurcii^ nthriisnrws-coiirirr.coin  Wednesday, the Limestone County Commission will show their appreciation to Congressman Parker Griffith and the legislative delegation for helping secure funding for key projects through Resource, Conservation & Development grants.  District 3 Commissioner Bill Latimer said the commission will hold a reception for Griffith or his representative and all the legislative delegation at 9 a.rn. Wednesday.  “We have been funded through the United States Department of Agriculture’s budget for small community projects at a minimum of $2,000 per project,” said Latimer. “We have to provide mostly in-kind services.”  The grants come through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, he said.  Latimer said some of the projects that have been funded are ballparks at both Tanner and Clements.  “Parks and Recreation Director Mike  Nave also got a grant for the Cowtord Campgrounds sewer,” said Latimer. “It also funds the annual Limestone Couijty Water Festival. [District 2 Commissioner] Gerald [Barksdale] also got a grant for an erosion project.  “Our delegation went to hat for us to get funded in the Agriculture budget. Now, we are a permanent part of the budget and we are showing appreciation for the projects we  See Grants, page 3A  ‘You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent’  NEWS COURIER/KAREN MIDDLETON  It was iron Bowl day and the seven-member Flannaqan familv had just polished off a late Thanksgivmq dinner and gathered in front of the television. Cheering their favorite team were, fro.n left, Travis Gentry, Megan Gentry, Chris Flannagan, Matthew, Kim, Amelia  and Zada.  Adoptive mom: ‘Wish I could take them aU’  By K,\ri:n Middi .kion  kitn -u» ill hi ‘iisiu 'ws-i (nihrr.iiuu It all began with a fistfight.  The ninth-grade girl rode the county school bus eveiyday. She didn’t know the Down syndrome child who also rode the bus, but when another youngster made fun of the child, she soon got acquainted.  “I actually got in a fistfight with the kid,” said Kim Flannagan. “I didn’t know the little Down syndrome child, but I couldn’t stand to see him picked on. And that was years before I had a special needs child of my own.”  And even longer before Kim and her husband Chris Flannagan adopted a special needs foster child.  Kim fits perfectly the mold of the National Adoption Month theme, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.”  She fits because it is the passion for parenting that makes her perfect. These days, Kim’s passion does not manifest itself in fistfights but in being the mother of two special needs  children and the foster mother of another.  Today, the Flannagan household is bursting at the seams with seven people and seven dogs. There are Kim and Chris. 2()-year-old daughter Megan and her husband, Travis Gentry, I7-year-old Matthew, 12-year-old Zada, and 6-year-old Amelia. Plus there are Roxy the Boxer, two adult Chihuahuas and lour baby Chihuahuas.  22 surgeries  Kim and Chris were married just five years with a 3-year-old daughter when Matthew was born.  “Matthew was born with fluid on his brain and they had to put in a shunt,” said Kim. “The shunt became infected and that led to 19 surgeries by the time he was a year-and-a-half. He has brain damage and a steel rod in his back and he is blind. In all, he has had 22 surgeries.”  See Adoption, page 3A  COURTESY PHOTO  It was the latest blessed event for Susie and Jim Clark on Aug. 10 when they officially adopted their 3-year-old daughter Makayla.  rhe children in their lives  By Kahkn Middi kion  kitiviidJittliriisiu'Ws-couru'r.coni Susie and Jim Clark first became foster parents in 1998 when their daughter was a sophomore in high school and their son was ready to graduate.  Since that time they have adopted three of the 15 children they have fostered.  But Susie eschews such terms as “foster child” and “adopted child.”  “Let’s just say, right now, we have seven children in our lives,” she said.  See Children, page 3A  What's happening during the holidays in Limestone County?  A wide variety of hoUday activities are planned in Athens and Limestone County. Following is a guide to what’s happening for the holidays:  Elkmont Chili Cook-off deadline Nov. 30  Today is the last day to register to participate in the Elkmont Band Boosters chili cook-off. Entry fee is $20. Call Mike at (256) 431-0542 or Christie  at (256) 998-1234 for forms and information.  Athens Christmas-tree lighting ceremony  Dec. 3 at 5 p.m.  Kick off your Christmas celebrating in downtown Athens. Bring the children and let them enjoy the snow as you enjoy the carols and beautiful lights. Call Betty at (256) 232-7207.  Reliance Bank Athens Christmas Parade Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.  Enjoy the beautiful floats, marching bands, walkers and other entries at the annual Christmas parade. Call (256) 232-1944.  Ardmore Christmas parade  Dec. 5 at 1 p.m.  Enjoy the beauty of the floats, the Ardmore High School marching band, antigue cars and tractors  See Holidays, page 2A  Jerry King Company  1613 LGroy Blvd. • ArtMM, AL 35611  230-0402  QNC Mwnbw  We. Cmi Ym Riiaitoeil d»  Ckuife oitt your    Bgnrtam witii»  NEW    EÉBciwxy HMitpon^ taéayl  IWcbQ 1 ■ Akh ll w.# AAmm UdUm • TVA CdilM-DMwU  e  OS   

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