The Citizen talks shop and salutations with local yoga instructors
story by stephanie johns • photos contributed by bill ronay
Local ham radio operators working Camp Twin Lakes’ Spin for Kids fund-raiser bike ride next weekend
This year marks the second year that local ham radio operators will assist with communications for the Spin for Kids ride to benefit Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, according to Bill Ronay, Emergency Coordinator for Morgan County Amateur Radio Emergency Services.
Story by Isabela Rzeznik
If you are in need of motivation, you should probably go talk to Johnnie Franklin, 37, of Rutledge.
The past six months have seen Franklin completely changing his lifestyle by working on losing weight and eating healthy.
Franklin, also known as “Uncle Boot," his nickname among the children who know him, spends most mornings at Madison Fitness Center, where he is a member. He walks on a treadmill for cardio, works out on various machines and bounces a 20-pound medicine ball. He has also worked with personal trainers. Franklin attends Zumba classes twice a week and his motivation for doing so is, “being the only man in a room full of ladies.” In fact, if Franklin does not come to class or the gym, members (especially the ladies) will ask where he is, according to Franklin’s good friend, Jackie Hilerio.
Franklin remains active throughout the day by walking and trying new activities. Shawanda Simmons, Franklin’s sister, said that one of Franklin’s goals is to beat his nephew, Justin Blake, in a race. His neighborhood walks have become so popular that Franklin and Simmons want to start a support group to encourage as many people as possible to be active.
At his heaviest, Franklin weighted 515 pounds, a number which prompted him to rethink his health and lifestyle. The beginning of his weight-loss journey started as a result of a church fast which required participants to eat only food from the earth, mostly fruits and vegetables. Franklin lost 20 pounds during the fast and he realized that he wanted to keep losing weight and decided to become healthier. He began going to the gym in January of this year and has not looked back.
By Dick Hodgetts
In 1993 the American Cancer Society had guidelines that recommended men should have a series of procedures to determine if they had prostate cancer. The PSA test was then and even today is not a perfect test but combined with a physical exam by a physician, one could usually determine if prostate cancer was present. Men were encouraged to take the PSA test at age 50. If the signs were positive, they take a biopsy of the prostate and advise the patient if prostate cancer was present. In 1993 several options existed: the first and most common was surgery. The surgeon would tell you with confidence that the disease should be physically cut out. Another option was the use of external beam radiation. The third option, which the Europeans seemed to endorse, was careful observation sometimes using sawmill palmetto-a supplement available in drug stores.
All this sounds fairly benign but you should know a few additional factors: First, the surgery option could make you incontinent, or impotent, or both; and the surgery was not an easy process-it’s an ordeal. Most American men choose surgery as it is most likely they asked a surgeon for advice. Another unpleasant aspect of all this is that African-American males had, and continue to have, a much higher incidence of this disease. In the black community this is compounded by less access and perhaps willingness to have check-ups. Ignoring this disease is a very risky option. Black men are advised to have the first PSA checks at age forty. Don’t take that advice lightly.
By Colby Dunn | Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
It is 8:30 on a Monday morning and I feel like someone is trying to get behind my sternum
with a knife.
Sharp pains are blazing out from my breastbone like a flame blown by a giant set of bellows. My calves, inexplicably, itch and a persistent, pulsing pain keeps sneaking in under my penultimate right rib when I lean too far that way.
I’m not having a medical emergency. I am just running, although only the most charitable person would call what I’m doing running. I am running for the first time in over four years and, currently, I think it is killing me.
I round the next corner and Lili Dowd, pushing a jogging stroller, comes up beside me, encouraging me to keep going. She is a lovely woman but I am inwardly jealous of her ability to run and talk at the same time. I had, moments before, felt it a triumph that I was running and breathing simultaneously.
Lili is one of a group of 10 moms who convene regularly to run up and down the hills of Madison’s backstreets, and today, I have joined them.
“Some days there will be about three of us,” says Erin Spinks, a founding member of the group, “some days we’ll have all of us.”
Spinks shows up for the four-mile run five days a week, although the others come when space opens in their schedules. Most are members of the Madison MOMS Club, many are relatively new to Madison, only a three or four year tenure under their belts, all differ in ages - as do their children - and some run with babies in tow, while others’ kids are past their stroller prime and off into school.
“We’ve got 21 kids between us,” says Dowd, “and two borrowed.”
Written and Photographed by Jamie Miles
Driving down Main Street early Thursday evenings you might see (and hear) Ralph’s Army. His recruits wearing shorts, sweat, and smiles of sheer determination as Clark cheers the group on towards base camp at Madison’s Uptown Athletic Club.
The boot camp fitness craze sweeping the country has taken Morgan County by storm. The hour-long classes are a mixture of cardio and strength elements wrapped with military motivation to push one’s fitness level up…way up.
Ralph Clark, born and raised in Madison, holds his workout every Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 5:45. Vicki Starr, Manager of Uptown Athletic, knew she had a star in Ralph, a retired Army drill sergeant. “The class regulars love him. He’s tough, but in a nice way. He gets them doing things they never thought they could do.”
Clark held many positions until his retirement in 2005 including that of instructor at a Noncommissioned Officer Academy. Clark’s love of the Army is evident in all facets of his workout. Classes sing marching chants. Whether performing sit-up or push-up drills, Clark shouts out the count and class members resoundingly respond.
Jody Bowen started attending Ralph’s Boot Camp in July at the suggestion of her daughter Natalie Horton. She has lost 14 pounds, four inches off her waist and quit smoking. “Before when working out, I would just give up. Now I want to push myself harder.” Natalie is proud of her mother and credits Ralph for changing her own attitude toward exercise. “I run for Ralph. I would not do sit-ups or push-ups, because I never have. Ralph’s positive energy helps push me.”