8 months ago

GadRock brings indoor rock climbing to banks of Coosa River

Carrie Machen and Kate Wilson call their indoor rock climbing and fitness center in Gadsden a “microgym.” If you’re not familiar with the term, that’s probably because the two friends-turned-business-partners made it up.

“Microgym” pays homage to the time the two spent working at nearby microbrewery Back Forty Beer Company and describes the facility, named GadRock, the two have built on Neely Henry Lake to a tee.

“We thought up the idea over a few microbrews one night, and it has stuck ever since,” Machen said. “The term ‘microgym’ fits who we are and what our vision for GadRock is. Being the biggest does not necessarily make you the best. We want to be the best at what we do. And if that means being ‘micro’ … we are OK with that.”

GadRock, which opened around Labor Day, has a footprint of 6,000 square feet. The space is well-organized, offering more than 4,500 square feet of climbing. Plans include eventually having as much climbable area as walkable square footage.

The facility also has space for yoga as well as events like birthday parties and corporate retreats.

“The indoor climbing gym trend has been to open megagyms in large cities,” Machen said. “We wanted to break the mold a bit and focus on growing the industry and increasing access to the sport in less populated areas like Gadsden. We may be a microgym, but we have a lot going on. We love our footprint and think it is a repeatable plan that fits into a small, local community vibe.”

The Gadsden area has become a well-known destination in climbing circles. The Southeastern Climbers Coalition acquired nearby Hospital Boulders in 2012 and opened the boulder field to the public.

Machen and Wilson hope to build on the growing enthusiasm for climbing while also focusing on overall fitness.

“There are amazing, world-class natural rock formations in and around the greater Gadsden area, and our mission is to provide a place for climbers and newcomers to the sport to meet, train and build confidence to get out and explore our area and beyond,” Machen said. “Train here; explore there.”

GadRock’s climbing surface includes roped walls as high as 40 feet and a dedicated bouldering area.

Climbers can both lead climb (the first climber on a route) or belay (the second climber on a route who runs rope through a device attached to his or her harness and feeds line out as the lead climber rises). There are also self- or automatic belays.

“These are just easy-peasy. You get into your harness, and it automatically pulls you down when you let go. It makes it so almost anyone can climb,” Machen said.

Along the wall, different routes are marked by colors and graded. Courses get harder as you move from left to right.

“We have setters who will climb and set a route as they ascend. Then, they’ll have several other people climb it, and everyone gives feedback on what we think the grade of that route is,” Machen said. “It’s a collaborative effort.”

GadRock offers classes on lead climbing, belaying and boulders. Machen said almost anyone could climb, including young children.

“It just depends on the child. We had a 3-year-old that climbed for hours the other day,” Machen said.

“She was ready, though. She was a little beast.”

In addition to training for outdoor climbing and bouldering, some GadRock members climb for cardio and strength exercise.

“We have several people that come in the mornings, and they climb every auto belay and do it as fast as they can,” Machen said. “That’s their workout that day. Then we have people that spend hours in here training, so they can go climb outside.”

GadRock also emphasizes cross-training. To further this mission, GadRock hired Mike Moore as director of climbing and fitness. He brings more than 10 years of climbing experience to the gym and has climbed throughout the South.

“Climbing,” Moore said, “is about being just as strong on the ground as you are on the wall.”

From Memorial Day to Labor Day (and other times when the weather is nice), the gym offers four different paddleboard classes on Neely Henry. There is one for beginning paddlers, an ecotour that focuses on birding and collecting trash from the water, a fitness tour and a yoga tour. GadRock began offering paddling tours this summer before the rock climbing wall opened.

“Paddling is great cross-training for climbing. I think they complement each other well,” Machen said. “Also, the water is in an integral part of our community here and our gym is focused on community. What’s better than introducing a new sport like climbing to one we are all used to?”

GadRock is located at the Lakeview Professional Center at 1403 Rainbow Drive in Gadsden and is open seven days a week.

General contractors for the building were Chase Building Group, while CDP Design LLC served as architects. Both are local to Gadsden. Rockwerx Inc. of Massachusetts designed the walls.

“We used as many local people as possible,” Machen said.

The gym offers monthly membership and day passes. For more information, visit Climbgadrock.com or Facebook (GadRock) and Instagram (@GadRock).

This story originally appeared in Alabama Power’s Shorelines.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

11 hours ago

Alabama Forestry Association endorses Brad Mendheim for state Supreme Court

The Alabama Forestry Association (AFA) on Monday announced its endorsement of Alabama Supreme Court Justice Brad Mendheim in the Republican primary for place two on the court.

Mendheim was first appointed to the state’s highest court by Governor Kay Ivey in 2018. He lost election to a full term to that office in the 2018 election cycle but was appointed to a different vacancy, place two, on the Supreme Court by Ivey earlier this year.

In a statement, AFA executive vice president Chris Isaacson said, “We are proud to support Justice Mendheim in his race for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court.”

“His conservative judicial philosophy along with a proven track record earned over 20 years make him the right person for the job,” he concluded.

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Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court by Ivey, Mendheim was a circuit judge for Houston and Henry counties from 2009- 2018.

Before his election to that office, he served as district judge of Houston County from 2001-2008 and as an assistant district attorney, making him uniquely qualified as a former prosecutor and trial judge.

“I am honored to receive the support of Forest PAC, a group which has a long reputation of supporting conservative leaders in the state of Alabama,” Mendheim emphasized.

He advised, “My judicial philosophy is simple: to follow the Constitution and rule with impartiality, and I pledge to continue that as long as I am privileged to serve. It is not our role on the Alabama Supreme Court to bring a political agenda to work, and I strongly believe that groups such as the Forestry Association recognize that all who come before our court deserve two things: a fair review of the facts and ultimately, for the rule of law to be upheld.”

During his judicial career, Mendheim has presided over more than 300 jury trials.

He graduated with a BA from Auburn University and went on to receive his JD from Cumberland School of Law. Mendheim and his wife, Michelle, have been married for over 24 years. They are the proud parents of three sons: Connor, Ryan and Carson. They are long time members of First Baptist Church of Dothan, where Brad is a Sunday school teacher and deacon.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 hours ago

Alabama’s Tony Cochran launches new initiative to help grow small businesses

After 40 years of business advising, Alabama-based businessman Tony Cochran is excited to announce the creation of Team Delta3, LLC.

Team Delta3 will essentially offer a premier business boot camp, taking on the task of educating business owners on best practices for success with a focus on the three key ways to grow their businesses.

In a statement, Cochran explained, “For over four decades I have watched business owners who are very good at their respective craft, struggle to be successful.”

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He is the president of CK Business Solutions, PC, a consulting and accounting firm headquartered in Albertville.

Roughly 20 years ago, Cochran changed his focus from delivering traditional business, tax and accounting advice to one of helping business owners find solutions to everyday problems. His passion for helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses, develop repeatable processes and face the modern-day challenges in an increasingly competitive world has led him to be a part of an elite group of business advisors.

“Many universities, small business incubators and consultants have tried various ways to help businesses grow,” Cochran outlined. “Our approach at Team Delta3 is to take proven techniques and present them in a concentrated, focused ‘Boot Camp’ style environment so that each participant leaves with the tangible game plan needed to grow their business into a thriving enterprise.”

Beyond his own successful advisory businesses, Cochran has been recognized by a number of organizations for his leadership and civic contributions.

He is a board member of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) and previously served on its executive committee. Currently, Cochran is a member of the 30th (XXX) class of Leadership Alabama, chairman of the board of the Albertville Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the board of his church, founding chairman of the Albertville City Schools Foundation, board member of the North Central Alabama Girl Scouts and in 2002 received the Citizen of the Year Award the highest award given for community service in his hometown. He also holds the designations of CPA and CMGA.

However, the impressive involvement does not end at the Alabama state line for Cochran.

Later this month, he will be a VIP at the Living Legends event in New York City.

Living Legends brings together the top business consultants in the United States to exchange ideas and develop a nationwide network of renowned consultants in marketing, internet sales, branding, growth and general business. These include people such as Martha Stewart, Michael Gerber and Clint Arthur.

As a VIP, Cochran will be internationally recognized for his skills and contribution to business clients throughout the course of his career.

“For someone who calls Sand Mountain home, having the opportunity to be a part of an event as large in scope as Living Legends is an incredible honor. I look forward to integrating concepts and collaborators from Living Legends into the new venture of Team Delta3 and our BootCamp experience,” Cochran concluded.

“BootCamp” participants can expect intensive training during the course of the three-day event. Concepts related to market growth, key performance indicators and applied metrics will be developed for each business. These indicators will be the drivers that provide owners measurable results.

Find out more here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

13 hours ago

Bradley Byrne previews attacks that are sure to come against Tommy Tuberville

Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville is the frontrunner in the GOP primary race for the right to take on United States Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) but eventually, the attacks will come.

U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) may have been showing how Tuberville’s opponents are going to take him on in the near future at a meeting of the Tennessee Valley Republican Club on Saturday morning.

Byrne touched on the carpetbagger allegation without mention Tuberville, saying, “I’m from here, not from wherever else. I love Alabama and know what we need to get done.”

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Later he added, “I didn’t come back here to run because it’s convenient. I love this state and I love fighting for Alabama. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with me – a fighter.”

This is hardly a new tact for Tuberville’s detractors, and it may be effective because Alabama is a very proud state that loves its homegrown products.

Byrne further questioned Tuberville’s reason for running.

I’m not running for this seat because I got bored and needed something to do,” he said while touting his service to Alabama. “I’ve spent most of my life serving. I want to help the people of this great state.”

But it wasn’t all attacks for Byrne on Saturday morning. The congressman also touted his experience in Washington as the most important for Alabamians to support his candidacy.

“It’s more about being able to sit in a room and get things done for your state. I know how to do that, and I’ll be able to keep getting things done for Alabama,” he explained.

Byrne would mention the Space Force command and praise North Alabama as the perfect place for it while adding, “There is nowhere in the country better equipped for it, and as your senator, I’ll continue to fight every day to see that we get things like this done.”

How an argument about experience and effectiveness works in 2020, and in the era of Trump, remains to be seen.

What is clear, is that the issues Byrne is talking about on the campaign trail now will continue to be heard as long as Tommy Tuberville is an untraditional and inexperienced candidate with an apparent lead in the polls.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

13 hours ago

Tuberville: Alabamians ‘trust football coaches a heck of a lot more than they trust politicians’

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, a 2020 Republican U.S. Senate candidate in the Yellowhammer State, on Monday appeared on Fox Business’ “Varney & Co.” to discuss his support of President Donald Trump and the state of the race to unseat Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

Tuberville reiterated his belief that “President Trump has saved this country.”

He said he was unsure who the president will support in Alabama’s GOP senatorial primary, if anyone, but emphasized Trump’s support “goes a long way in the state.”

Tuberville also reaffirmed that he will not take his salary if elected to the U.S. Senate.

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“[W]e’ve got to get away from the career politicians,” Tuberville remarked. “I’m not an establishment [candidate], I don’t owe anybody anything. I’m not taking a salary. I want to do it for the right reasons.”

The guest host then asked the former college football coach if his ties to Auburn might dissuade some Crimson Tide fans from voting for him.

“You know, before I decided to run, I did my due diligence,” Tuberville responded. “I went across the state talking to people about this.”

“And you know, at the end of the day, the people of Alabama — they trust football coaches a heck of a lot more than they trust politicians,” he continued. “So, I’m going to get as many (University of) Alabama votes. I’m going to get Auburn votes.”

“We need something strong, you know. We need people who make decisions for the right reasons. And they trust football coaches in this state, I promise you that,” Tuberville concluded.

Watch:

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

14 hours ago

Mondays for Moms: Let them be little

Let them be little

I was rocking my littlest one to sleep this weekend when out-of-the-blue stressful thoughts began savagely invading my somewhat peaceful brain …

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What about those dishes, Erin? You forgot to clean the kitchen table after lunch.

When are you ever gonna get to all those baskets of laundry that are piling up like garbage piles on trash day? 

And how about those windows that have prehistoric fingerprints on them from when the babies were just that … babies … ahhh!

Then, my little girl’s hand gently stroked my arm. She had no clue that her simple gesture soothed her over-stressed momma instantly.

Today, I am rocking my little girl comfortably in our glider tucked away from the crazies of the real world. But, one day I’ll be rocking nervously back and forth in my bed waiting to see the lights from her car pour onto my comforter signaling she has made it home safely once again.

Today, I am cutting the edges off of my toddler’s toast to make sure she enjoys every bite. But, one day, I’ll be desperately avoiding cutting the “helicopter mommy” cord on her wedding day wishing more than anything to be “slaving away” on the heart-shaped PB&Js in the kitchen again.

Today, I am hoping she doesn’t scream “mommy” one more time while I hide under the dining room table searching for any amount of sanity that might be miraculously hidden under there. But, tomorrow, I will be giving any amount of money to hear her say my name each time a need arises in her precious adult life.

Today, I am folding her sheets and towels only to discover her playing hide and seek tucked deep in the laundry basket among all the dryer sheets and warmth. But, one day, I’ll be reluctantly walking the aisles at Target with her shopping for dorm linens, shower shoes and bath caddies.

Today, I am reading her bedtime stories and singing soft little tunes as I have the privilege of tucking her in. But, one day, I’ll be reading her name on a graduation pamphlet and fighting back tears as I sing hymns of congratulatory praise for her accomplishments.

So the laundry, the dishes and the tidying can take a seat. All those chores can be done when I get around to it … whenever that may be.

Because right now, I’m gonna let her be little. And soak up every last minute of it.

To receive encouragement and read more about thriving rather than simply surviving in motherhood, check out Erin’s book, Cheers the Diaper Years: 10 Truths for Thriving While Barely Surviving here.