Tag: tornado

Then and now: Remembering the Jacksonville tornado, two years later

Scott Young, News Editor

March 19, 2018: a date that seems insignificant to many. However, it lives forever in the hearts and minds of students at Jacksonville State University and the Jacksonville community.

Continue reading “Then and now: Remembering the Jacksonville tornado, two years later”

OPINION: Nashville continues to show ‘pride and loyalty’ amid tornado destruction

Garrett Sanders, Correspondent

Nashville: the Music City. The capital of country music. Where opportunities are turned into reality. And most importantly, my home away from home.

Continue reading “OPINION: Nashville continues to show ‘pride and loyalty’ amid tornado destruction”

JSU officials target spring reopening for Mason Hall

Scott Young, News Editor

Officials at Jacksonville State University’s Capital Planning and Facilities office said they are targeting for Mason Hall construction to be completed by the end of the year and for the building to be ready by spring 2020.

David Thompson, director of capital planning and facilities, said they hope for the building to be completed by that date but that he couldn’t “guarantee that date.”

Mason Hall, home to the music department and the Marching Southerners, was heavily damaged on March 19, 2018 by an EF-3 tornado that affected the city of Jacksonville and the campus of Jacksonville State University.

Since then, classes at the JSU music program have been dispersed across nine different buildings on campus, including Meehan Hall, the School of Business and Industry, Ayers Hall, Houston Cole Library, the RMC JSU complex and others.

“Not having Mason Hall as a home base for the band program has been extremely challenging,” said Ken Bodiford, director of university bands and a JSU assistant professor of music. “We are completely at the mercy of other departments around campus.”

Membership in the Marching Southerners has grown to 551 for the 2019 school year, which is a 39 percent increase since the year 2008. Of those 551 members, 191 of them are freshmen. 

Bodiford illustrated the importance of having a music building with record band membership.

He added that the kinesiology department, athletic department, housing and events department, the Jacksonville Community Center and the Baptist Campus Ministries have all provided space for band rehearsals to take place.

“At a minimum, the band needs 12 large rooms for the individual sections to hold sectional rehearsals,” said Bodiford. “In addition, we have to have one large room (at least the size of a gym) to hold all of the wind players for full band music rehearsals.”

Bodiford said that the department has been promised a building with soundproof practice rooms and studios, a soundproof band room and a recital hall.

“For over four decades, the music faculty and music majors have been fed broken promises of a new building,” said Bodiford. “I remember being told back in 1983 as a freshman music major that the next building to be built on campus will be a music building and performance hall. Well, 36 years later I am still waiting to see this happen. Needless to say, I am very excited to see the broken promises of the past come to an end.”

The JSU David L. Walters Department of Music is selling seats in Mason Hall’s new recital hall which includes an engraved plaque that the donor may personalize.

A premium seat goes for $300 for a seat in the middle section of the recital hall or a standard seat for $250. The proceeds are used to pay directly for the seat.

Thompson says that furniture has not yet been ordered for Mason Hall, and that the university is working to reopen Mason Hall as soon as possible.

“They want to get back in the building sooner rather than later, but they want to make sure things are done right,” said Thompson.

Story photo provided by Ashley Stephens/Chanticleer.

Lee County tornado claims 23 lives

Washington Post photo by Kevin D. Liles
Danny Allen, foreground, and Dax Leandro search through the remnants of Chris Sward’s home in Beauregard, Ala., after a tornado destroyed it on Sunday, March 3, 2019. 

JP Wood, Staff Reporter

23 people are dead after an EF4 tornado barreled through Lee County on Sunday. The tornado was one of 34 that spawned during an outbreak across Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Its 23 victims make it the deadliest tornado in nearly 6 years. 

Governor Kay Ivey, who toured the devastation, described what she saw as “absolutely horrendous.” Ivey requested and will receive help from FEMA in recovery assistance for the area. She went on to praise the response of the wider state community in their immediate outpouring of support and assistance, and stated that there is a certain resiliency in the people of Alabama. “We’ve done it before; we’ll do it again.”

Attorney General Steve Marshall says that his office will make sure that all those assisting the victims monetarily will have their money go directly to those affected. He said the damage he saw left him speechless.

As of Wednesday, all missing persons are accounted for according to Lee County sheriff Jay Jones. He stated that “there has been a river of support, and for once I’m happy to see a river of nature that overflows its banks.”

To assist in the recovery of Lee County, Marshall says people should first register with FEMA at http://www.disasterassistance.gov. Lee County EMA director Kathy Carson echoed the need for assistance from those in the general populous. “We can’t replace their lost loved ones, but we can help them at least get their homes and lives back together in as many ways as we can,” she said.

Setting rivalries aside: Response to tragedy shows what makes college sports special


Members of the Troy and JSU baseball teams pose together after the Trojans donated over $100 toward Jacksonville tornado relief. (JSU Sportswire)

Daniel Mayes, Sports Editor


Jacksonville State and Troy have been bitter rivals on fields and courts since the two universities used to “Battle for the Ol’ School Bell” beginning back in 1924. There hasn’t been much love lost between the two schools in the near century of gutting games and semi-playful insults that have been exchanged.

Yet last week before the Gamecocks played the Trojans at Choccolocco Park, the athletics department at the school formerly known as Troy State donated $1,100 for tornado relief efforts.

Troy’s donations haven’t been all of the generosity shown to the Gamecocks in their time of need.

UAB collected water and supplies to send back to Jacksonville after the JSU softball team took on the Blazers on March 28.

Many of the softball team’s opponents since the storms have given the players goodie bags after their games.

Samford’s athletic department made a delivery of food and supply donations to Jacksonville on Tuesday.

Droves of students from several universities in the surrounding area have made the trek to Jacksonville to help with cleanup.

Students from the University of Alabama get a little “cocky,” showing off the Fear the Beak hand gesture with President Beehler while helping paint the old Kitty Stone Elementary School. Tuscaloosa was hit by an EF-4 tornado on April 27, 2011 (photo via Jacksonville State University/Facebook).

This. This is what makes college athletics special.

Rivalries set aside. “Sports hate” forgotten (for at least a little while). Any thought of animosity on the field is pushed out in times of need.

Jacksonville State and other universities like it play against and interact with other schools in their conference and vicinity so often that a strong bond forms between the fans and athletes and administrators of each school.

When things are going good, these bonds manifest bitter rivalries on the field.

When tragedy strikes, these rivalries are revealed to be friendly, healthy competition between members of a family.

College athletics is a family.

JSU is a wounded member of that family right now, and all of its brother and sister universities join together in helping nurse them back to their feet much more quickly than they can do on their own.

The NCAA might as well change to the NCAF. It’s the National Collegiate Athletic Family.

And when JSU does get back on their feet, you best believe they’ll still want to Whup Troy.