The month of July is Cell Phone Courtesy Month. These days, almost everyone has a smart phone. We use them constantly to text, check emails, make calls and surf the internet. Cell phones have become an absolute necessity for the modern person on the go. However, there are certain courtesies that we should all observe.

When you are among friends and family, you should keep your phone out of sight. Keeping your phone in plain sight is rude and sends the message that the people you are with are not your priority. During meals or meetings, your phone should be in silent mode. Answering a text while at work sends the wrong message to your employers. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule. First responders, medical personnel, caregivers and those who are expecting important calls should, of course, keep their phones handy. If you are receiving an emergency call, excuse yourself from the situation. Not doing so could be considered rude, no matter the emergency. If you absolutely need to take a call, remember the ten-foot rule. Always take your call at least ten feet away from the building and out of sight near doors and windows to make sure that your conversation remains confidential. Don't use your phone as a crutch in uncomfortable situations. Try connecting with the people you are with and, of course, don't use your phone while driving. It's dangerous and nothing is so important that it's worth your life or the life of someone else. If we can all just observe some simple phone etiquette, all of our lives will be safer, happier and we will have better relationships with others.

The Miss Leeds Area and Miss Jefferson County committees hosted a Send Off Party on Sunday for Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen, Zoe’ Champion. Zoe’ is our Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen 2019, Miss Jefferson County’s OT 2019 and Miss Leeds Area’s OT 2018. Zoe’ is also a Leeds Resident. The party was held at the Parish Life Center of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. Mayor David Miller presented Zoe’ with a declaration and a key to the city declaring Sunday as Zoe’ Champion Day. She will be competing in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant beginning July 23.

Our St. Clair County District Attorney Lyle Harmon spoke at the Moody Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week. Harmon was sworn in earlier this year to fill the unexpired term of St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor, who was recently elected to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. It was very interesting to learn that the DA’s office handles more than 13,000 cases each year with a staff of six, including Harmon. We sincerely appreciate the job that they do. Also, former American and Canadian Football Quarterback Walter Lewis attended the luncheon. Lewis was the first African-American quarterback for legendary coach, Paul Bear Bryant, when he played college football at Alabama.

Moody Area Chamber of Commerce high school Ambassadors took a canoe trip this month.

Each year, the newly chosen Ambassador students take a team building trip to get to know everyone and encourage these students to work together. This year, these students took a trip down the Cahaba River. Gordon Black with the Cahaba River Society was the tour guide with a fun and educational trip. For more information about this organization, please visit www.cahabariversociety.org.

Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce will host their monthly luncheon at 11:45 a.m. today, July 18 at Leeds First United Methodist Church Family Life Center. Guest speaker will be Keith Bechly who is the South Region HR Director for Lehigh Hanson. Bechly has 40 years of experience as an HR professional with specialized expertise in employee relations, labor relations and organizational development. Lunch is $12 with RSVP or $15 non-members and no reservation. Please RSVP to Sandra McGuire at 205-699-5001 or email to Sandra@LeedsAreaChamber.com.

The Moody Civic Center is hosting several fitness classes this summer. The Senior Fitness Class takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays with July 18 and 23 at 10:30 a.m. being the next dates for classes led by Trish Kelly. The Dance Fitness Class takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday and Thursday led by Sharon Harris. Wednesday classes are available at 6:30 p.m. Hatha Yoga Class takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday led by Maggie Tucker. Thursday class at 6:30 p.m. is instructed by Tom Olive. For more information, call 205-640-0321 and to keep up with all activities, visit www.moodyciviccenter.com.

Leeds Arts Council will present “Esther”, a fresh and exciting musical based on the story of an orphaned Jewish girl who becomes Queen of Persia. Music and lyrics are by Martin Landry and the book and lyrics are by Janice Landry. Performances begin tonight, July 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. For show dates and times, please visit their Facebook page. To reserve tickets, please call 205-699-1892 or email leedsartscouncilal@gmail.com.

Remember to take advantage of the 2019 Back to School Sales Tax Holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 19 and end at 12 midnight on Sunday, July 21. Please shop local whenever you can because our local businesses are the ones that support your schools, youth sports leagues, treat you like family and provide a huge convenience for begin here when you need them.

Leeds First United Methodist Church will host VBS July 21-25. Sunday night will be family night from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and dinner will be served. Monday through Wednesday will be hosted from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. (no dinner). This event is for four-year-old through rising 5th graders. Call 205-699-8575 for information.

Eden Westside Baptist Church will host Vacation Bible School July 22-26 from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at their Leeds River Campus for 4-year-old through 8th grade. The VBS theme is The Incredible Race where kids will explore God’s love for the nations as they travel around the world, uncover fun clues, attempt fascinating challenges and discover how the events that happened before, during and after the tower of Babel have impacted the human race today. Register your child online now at www.edenwestside.org.

Moody City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 22 at Moody City Hall.

On Tuesday, July 23, the Leeds Jane Culbreth Library will host a Preschool Craft event, a fun adventure for children ages 2 – 6 years old. This event begins at 10 a.m. The library will also host a Kid's Craft event for children ages 6 years old to 5th grade at 11 a.m.

Leeds Downtown First Thursday Street Fest returns Aug. 1 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. It’s going to be another afternoon of great entertainment on the Parkway. Cody Howell, Paul Sisson and Mandi Rae, local singers and songwriters, are the scheduled entertainers on the gazebo stage. The car cruise-in will include the Porsche Club sponsored by Eurasian Auto Services including a number of vintage cars. Plan to bring your family and enjoy street vendors, food trucks, entertainers, car cruise-in, downtown shopping on the Parkway and more. This is a free event so don’t miss it and bring you lawn chairs to stay a while! For info, visit www.LeedsAreaChamber.com.

The Leeds Redevelopment Authority is reviving the John Henry Celebration this year on Saturday, Sept. 21 and we have an exciting festival planned so save the date! During the celebration, two performances of “Listen to that Cold Steel Ring” which Is a play based on the folk tale of John Henry written by Marie Cromer. Auditions are scheduled for 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. July 29-30 at Leeds Arts Council. The cast will include 15 African-Americans and 10 Caucasians of all ages, male and female. The advertising and promotional campaign will launch soon. If you would like to be listed as a sponsor on the mail outs, posters and other media, please send your contribution now. Different sponsorship levels are available. For more information about festival details, play auditions, sponsorships, vendor space and more, please visit www.LeedsJohnHenryCelebration.org.

Job Opening: City of Moody is current accepting employment applications for three part-time Apost School Resource Police Officers. Applications may be found online at www.moodyalabama.gov. Application deadline is July 25.

Thought for the week: “Be someone’s sunshine when their skies are grey!”

I truly appreciate each of you who read my column and I really love sharing news so please send your Leeds and Moody news to me at leedsmoodynews@gmail.com.

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