Archived Story

Magazine highlights area’s best

Published 7:57pm Monday, March 14, 2011

Today is the day.

After months of interviewing, writing, editing, scheduling photographs, proofing, editing and re-editing, we are finally ready to send Lake Martin magazine to print.

Back in November, Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc. announced its partnership with the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance to create “Lake Martin: Your business. Your lifestyle. Your home.” The publication will be a slick magazine – similar in quality to Lake magazine – that will contain people-based feature stories combined with “just-the-facts” graphics that focus on the issue of attracting new industry and jobs to the area.

I’ve had the opportunity to interview some great people during my time with TPI, and working on this magazine was no exception. From a pediatrician to a law enforcement officer to a high school teacher to a Central Alabama Community College graduate to several members of the Alexander City Chamber Foundation – everyone I have profiled for this magazine has been fantastic. And more importantly, they all love Lake Martin and sincerely want to help in the effort to attract new industry to our community.

While interviewing Dr. Eric Tyler of Pediatric Associates of Alexander City and Russell Medical Center, the sincere love the pediatrician has for his patients was evident.

“I want every patient that I see to live to be 100,” Tyler said. “I want all of them to get a really good education. I want all of them to be successful. I want them all to find the path in life and place they’re supposed to be – that’s what I want for all of them…”

A similar statement could be said about the adoration Benjamin Russell High School biology, human anatomy and physiology teacher Emily Wheeles has for her students.

“I have one of the best jobs in the world because I don’t feel like I’m going to work each day – I get to hang out with these kids and play a tangible role in shaping their future. It’s just a bonus that I get paid to do that,” Wheeles told me during our interview.

I’ve spoken to Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett countless times for stories, but never knew interesting facts about his career and family’s history in law enforcement until I sat in his office to interview him for the magazine. It also became evident to me just why he’s been elected to five consecutive terms.

“It’s always a challenge, but we’re always striving to make our county a safer place for people to work here and also to visit,” he said of his role as sheriff. “I think it’s your duty if you’re holding this office to be able to provide the best service that you can…”

I learned all about how the Gateway to Education Scholarship Assistance Program originated through interviews with individuals such as the Alexander City Chamber Foundation’s first president, Joe Robinson, and current president, Susie Kelley.

I was also able to see first-hand what this program can do for an individual’s future through my interview with 25-year-old Matt Stroud, a 2004 graduate of Benjamin Russell High School and a 2006 graduate of CACC. Matt utilized the Gateway program to earn an Associate in Applied Science Degree and went on to obtain a good job at Hyundai.

These are just a sampling of the dozens of profiles you will find when Lake Martin magazine lands in your hands soon. It will take at least a week to get the magazine back from the printer, when we do, I hope you will take the time to read it.

Natalie Nettles is a staff writer for The Outlook.