Athens brand

All About Athens

Athens is a city of Classic. Southern. Character

Apr 18

Celebrity Waiters entertain patrons and raise over $5,000 for Relay for Life

Posted on April 18, 2018 at 11:31 AM by Holly Hollman

Celebrity Waiter group photo 2018

As children walked into Applebee’s in Athens on Tuesday night (April 17, 2018), the excited exclamations and finger pointing began. 

“It’s Captain America!” many said. 

Athens Officer Michael Stainbrook exchanged his police uniform for the Captain America costume to wait tables and earn tip money for the American Cancer Society for the City of Athens Relay for Life Celebrity Waiters Night. The Celebrity Waiters earned $5,130.25 in tips.

“That is the most we have raised at this event,” said City of Athens Relay for Life Team Captain Holly Hollman. “There was a steady crowd throughout the evening.”

 East Limestone Band Director Jennifer “Miss Sam” Janzen raised the most in tips with $1,640.23. Some of her students rolled quarters to give to her as tips.

 “My supporters helped me make an apron that said, ‘I fight for,’ and the apron included names of teachers, students and others in the community who have fought or are fighting cancer,” Janzen said.

Included on the apron was the name “Jimmy Gill,” the former city councilman who enjoyed competing to raise the most tips at Celebrity Waiters Night. Gill died from cancer before he could reach his goal of raising $1,000.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks placed second, raising $1,267.38. A post on the East Limestone Band page stated that although Marks was their “adopted mayor,” the East community would support Janzen. When the East community saw on Facebook that Janzen won for the fourth time, one supporter suggested that Marks help conduct band camp this year.

“I like getting Miss Sam’s supporters stirred up because they’ll donate so she can beat me,” Marks said.

Athens City Councilman Frank Travis placed third with $717.23. Travis joked his goal was to outraise the police officer and firefighter.

Captain America, aka Officer Stainbrook, raised $620.82. Athens High Football Coach Cody Gross raised $456.23, and Athens Firefighter Jordan Pugh raised $428.36. Pugh, like Captain America, was popular with children. He wore part of his turnout gear to wait tables, and children asked to meet the firefighter.

Gross and Janzen are collaborating on how they can improve the competition next year by possibly incorporating both Athens and East bands and football teams.

“Not only did we raise a lot of money for Relay, but we also impressed citizens and visitors to our community who saw volunteers working hard to support a worthy cause,” Marks said. “One woman who just moved here from West Virginia said she loved Athens, and she would never leave our city.”

Hollman commended the Applebee’s managers and wait staff for collaborating with the city team to accomplish a record setting event. Each Celebrity Waiter worked with a waiter or waitress throughout the night.

“Thanks for all who came out and supported this great cause,” Gross wrote on his Twitter feed. “By the way, waiters and waitresses have a tough job. Thankful for what they do


Mar 08

Teens investing money in projects that benefit Athens

Posted on March 8, 2018 at 9:21 AM by Holly Hollman

Teens serving in the Athens Mayor’s Youth Commission are investing their money into projects that benefit the Athens community.

Dekko Foundation awarded $2,000 to the City of Athens Mayor’s Office to utilize for a youth project. Mayor Ronnie Marks gave the funds to the Youth Commission and challenged the students to determine how to reap the most for the community by investing in projects that benefit Athens.

The Youth Commissioners voted to keep $500 as a scholarship for a graduating senior who has served in the Youth Commission. They set aside the remaining $1,500 plus $200 left from last year’s program to fund grant proposals from local non-profit organizations. The $1,700 will fund six projects ranging from a teen program that provides educational classes and goody bags at Christmas to a computer that will provide genealogy research opportunities for the community.

“The students scored the grant proposals based on how well the applicants followed directions, to the feasibility of the project budgets to what projects would have the greatest impact for the city,” said Youth Commission mentor Holly Hollman.

A grant proposal the Family Resource Center submitted for its Teen Christmas Program most impressed the Youth Commission. The students voted to give the program $500 to purchase goody bag items for about 50 teens. The Family Resource Center receives student referrals from the local schools and the Family Solutions Program it operates. The teens attend various classes, including at least one class with parents/guardians. Classes they attend include lessons on bullying, career planning and Internet safety.  After program completion, the teens receive gift bags filled with socks, blankets, gift cards, toiletry items, food and other gifts.

“The teen program sounded like it would reach more people and provide the most services for our investment,” said Youth Commissioner Slaton Black, an Athens High School student.

The Youth Commission also liked that the Family Resource Center has $2,500 committed for the project from other sources as well as volunteer labor valued at $300.

The Youth Commissioners divided the remainder of the money to the following projects:

  • Athens-Limestone Community Association: Community Closet Costumes – $225

Will purchase two costumes used to portray former slave turned singer Patti Malone. ALCA has rented the dresses but the company is going out of business. ALCA will store and maintain the costumes and make them available free to groups in the community who are doing living history events and other historic productions.

  • Hospice of Limestone County: Camp Hope – $240

Will purchase materials to create “feeling pillows” for campers who attend Camp Hope, a bereavement program for children. The campers can hug the pillow as a reminder of the loved one lost and the support received at the camp. This is for children ages 5 to 15. A quilting group works on the pillows year round.

  • Athens Arts League: Art As Our Narrative – $240

Will host the Art As Our Narrative bicentennial art exhibit with a community reception at High Cotton Arts. Funds will provide marketing for the exhibit and food, and music for the reception. The exhibit will include pieces created by High Cotton Arts artists, local students, and quilting guilds that highlight Athens, Limestone County, Mooresville and Alabama’s bicentennial. The reception and exhibit will engage the community in an appreciation of local history and the arts and provide a free cultural event for the community and visitors. In addition, it will allow students to share their creations in a downtown arts incubator.

  • Houston Memorial Library and Museum Foundation: Laptop Computer for Genealogical Research – $240

Will purchase a laptop to catalogue its comprehensive collection and provide genealogical research to the community, especially to teach children how to research family history. The goal is to provide people, particularly children, with a sense of belonging, as well as teach them how to perform research and develop an appreciation of history.

  • Athens-Limestone Public Library Foundation: Storybook Ball and Summer Reading Program – $240

Will provide entertainment for the annual Storybook Ball with the group called “Magical Memories AL.” The performer makes balloon animals, provides music, and serves as a disc jockey. The purpose of the ball and entertainment is to encourage students to complete their summer reading goals and increase their reading skills.

“Each year we do this grant project with the students, I enjoy seeing what draws their interest the most,” Mayor Marks said. “These students are learning their opinions do matter, and they can make a difference in our city. That’s a lesson I hope stays with them.”

Youth Commission logo



Feb 01

2018 State of the City. 200 Years of Classic. Southern. Character.

Posted on February 1, 2018 at 7:29 AM by Holly Hollman

Purpose and passion served Athens the first 200 years of its history, and purpose and passion are needed for the next 200 years to ensure our city remains a Classic. Southern. Character.

Continue Reading...