Tennessee Valley News Week in Review 12/29/2023
Catch up on the week's biggest stories about people, places, events and activities happening in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention classifies flu levels as “very high” in Alabama right now. A graph published by the Alabama Department of Public Health and available on al.com, shows a sharp increase in flu-like illnesses in mid-December. They represented 6.52 percent of visits to emergency departments for the week ending on Dec. 16. Two weeks earlier, flu-like illnesses only accounted for about 3 percent of emergency room visits. The state health department recommends the flu vaccine for all children and adults ages 6 months and older. The agency also says people should stay home if they are feeling sick, cover sneezes and coughs and wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
A partnership between the Tennessee Valley Authority and Huntsville Utilities will provide $100,000 in scholarship funding to train and educate utility lineworkers. Calhoun Community College will manage the scholarships and enroll students in the college’s Pre-Apprentice Lineworker Program. The Huntsville Business Journal reports the partnership was created to address the growth in the Huntsville-Madison County population, which led to a demand for services resulting in an increased need for utility lineworkers. As part of this partnership, a total of 10 applicants will be selected to receive a scholarship, which includes free tuition for the seven-week course, a daily gift card for lunch, and a bag equipped with basic lineworker tools upon graduation.
The City of Huntsville offers multiple ways to dispose or recycle your tree after the holidays. The City’s Sanitation crews will pick up live trees and other holiday-themed materials as part of its normal, curbside pickup program. The Sanitation Department also picks up boxes for large items like TVs, as long as they’re broken down. Green Team and other community partners will host “Operation Christmas Cleanup” Saturday, Jan. 6 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at John Hunt Park, Airport Road, and Madison City Schools Stadium on Celtic Drive. You can bring live trees, flattened cardboard, batteries and electronics. No artificial trees, lights, ornaments, Styrofoam, packing materials, plastic bags and wrapping paper will be accepted. The rain date for the event is Saturday, Jan. 13. For more information, contact Green Team at 256-532-5326 or email@example.com
Willie Ruff, one of the founders of the W.C. Handy Music Festival, has passed away. Ruff was born in Sheffield in 1931 and said he was inspired by meeting W.C. Handy himself while in second grade. He learned to play the French Horn while serving in the Army. After he got out of the service, he was accepted to Yale University’s School of Music. He was hired as an instructor at Yale and spent 46 years there teaching, while spending summers back home in Alabama. WAFF TV reports Ruff retired in 2017. He passed away Christmas Eve at the age of 92.