GENERAL INTEREST

Bring back Amtrak
For the first time in more than a decade, a passenger train will roll into Mobile! In hopes of generating enough interest to restore Amtrak service to the central Gulf Coast, the “Inspection Train” will arrive at the old CSX platform just south of the Convention Center at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18.

Gumbo cooking class
Ever wanted to learn how to make good seafood gumbo? Now is your chance at the Gumbo Academy. Bettie Champion will share her recipe for success with the best seafood the Gulf Coast has to offer. The lecture/demonstration class will be held Monday, Feb. 22, at 5:30 p.m. or Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 5:30 p.m. at Government Street United Methodist Church. The cost for the two-class course is $75, with all ingredients furnished and one gallon of gumbo to take home to your family. The pot is all you need to bring to the cooking portion of the class. For more information or to sign up call or email Bettie Champion at [email protected] or call 251-458-1570.

39th annual Mobile Area Orchid Show and Sale
Bellingrath Gardens and Home will host the Mobile Area Orchid Society’s 39th annual Orchid Show and Sale from Friday, Feb. 19, through Sunday, Feb. 21. Mobile Area Orchid Society members will display their best orchids and be available to answer questions and provide tips on growing and caring for orchids. Vendors will be selling orchids, supplies and accessories. Guests may also shop for new spring merchandise in the Bellingrath gift shop. Admission to the Orchid Show is free and entrance to the gardens and home is discounted through Feb. 29 during Bellingrath’s Snowbird Special. The Magnolia Café will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., making it easy for guests to visit the gardens and home either before or after viewing the orchids on display. Hours for the Orchid Show are noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. For details, visit bellingrath.org or call 251-973-2217.

Forum Alabama
The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to attend a Forum Alabama breakfast featuring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) on Thursday, Feb. 18, 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel (64 S. Water St.). Make plans to join us for this special opportunity to hear Sen. Shelby’s legislative priorities for the coming year and ask him questions. Breakfast tickets are $35 for members, $40 for prospective members. For more information, please contact Carolyn Hunt at [email protected] or 251-431-8621.

Daphne Arbor Day
The city of Daphne will hold its annual Arbor Day tree giveaway on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 8-11 a.m. at the Daphne Civic Center. As part of the city’s Arbor Day celebration, 4,000 trees will be given away to promote the Jubilee City’s plan to plant trees for a more beautiful and healthier environment. The Daphne Civic Center complex is located at 2603 U.S. Highway 98 in Daphne. For more information please contact Daphne Public Works Department at 251-621-3182.

Government Street Lunch Forum
The Government Street Lunch Forum at Government Street Presbyterian Church offers lunch and a speaker on Thursdays through March 17. The Feb. 18 speaker is Mark Johnson, author of the new book “Apprehensions and Convictions: Adventures of a 50-Year-Old Rookie Cop,” a memoir about his career in the Mobile Police Department. Johnson will sign copies of his book after his talk. Lunch costs $10 and is served at noon; the forum begins at 12:30 p.m. There is no charge to attend the forum. The church is at the corner of Government and Jackson streets in downtown Mobile. Call the church office for details at 251-432-1749.

Winter Wednesdays at Bellingrath: Artist Trailer McQuilken

Discover the world of Ocean Springs artist Trailer McQuilkin’s “Wildflowers” in the final Winter Wednesday session at Bellingrath Gardens and Home at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The artist uses copper, metal, oil paints and other natural materials to create exquisite sculptures that are a unique blend of artistry and technical skills. McQuilkin will share his recent works and new book, which guests may purchase in the gift shop. Admission is $13 for adults, $7.50 for ages 5-12 and free for Bellingrath members and ages 4 and younger. For information and to register go to www.bellingrath.org or call 251-973-2217.

Book signing at GulfQuest
John L. Marty, author of “Hostages to the Sea, Waterman Steamships at War 1941-1945,” will be signing copies of his recently published book on Saturday, Feb. 20, at GulfQuest National Maritime Museum from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The book draws its inspiration from the 1948 Waterman Steamship Co. memorial plaque currently hanging in the lobby of the former Waterman Building in downtown Mobile. Copies are available for purchase at Treasures, GulfQuest’s museum store, at 155 S. Water St. in Mobile.

Family Heritage Day
Raphael Semmes Camp 11, Sons of Confederate Veterans, will sponsor a Family Heritage Day at Ft. McDermott on Spanish Main in Spanish Fort on Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event will be a celebration of Confederate heritage. We will serve free red beans and rice (while it lasts) to a background of period music. Uniformed re-enactors will demonstrate period weapons at a Confederate military campsite.

‘Go Red For Women’ Luncheon
The American Heart Association annual Go Red for Women luncheon is Feb. 19 at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel beginning at 10 a.m. Tickets are $75. For more information visit algulfcoastgored.heart.org or call Erica Hall at 251-463-7519.

Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women
Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women will hold its winter quarterly meeting and luncheon on Feb. 24 at the St. Ignatius Marian Center on Springhill Avenue. Registration is from 9-9:45 a.m., meeting at 9:45 a.m., Mass celebrated at 11 a.m. with lunch immediately following. Price for lunch is $12. Make your reservations with Beth Cain at 251-232-8862 or [email protected], or Margie Bunch at 251-661-6827 or [email protected]. Andy Wynne from St. Mary’s Home will be the speaker.

Mobile Bay Green Drinks
Mobile Bay Green Drinks is an informal networking opportunity for people in our region. Green Drink gatherings are usually held at 5-7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in at Fairhope Brewing Co. (914 Nichols Ave., Fairhope) and on the third Wednesday of each month at Alchemy Tavern (7 S. Joachim St., Mobile). For more information visit facebook.com/MobileBayGreenDrinks.


FUNDRAISERS

Bright Beginnings Academy Chili Cook-Off
Bright Beginnings Academy (1901 Schillinger Road S., Mobile) will be raising dyslexia awareness in our community with our 2nd annual Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, Feb. 20 at noon. Team registration is $25 for a chili team or $10 to enter a cornbread. Admission is $5 to taste and judge the chili and cornbread and includes a drink. Prizes will be awarded in chili and cornbread categories and include many great gift certificates and cash prizes! There will also be activities for kids, including Brickz4Kidz Lego activities! For more information call 251-366-4752.


ARTS

“Moon Over Buffalo”
Chickasaw Civic Theatre presents “Moon Over Buffalo” for one more weekend at the Lola Phillips Playhouse, 801 Iroquois St. in Chickasaw. The comedy centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950s. At the moment, they’re portraying “Private Lives” and “Cyrano De Bergerac” in rep in Buffalo, New York, with five actors. Call 251-457-8887 or go to cctshows.com for reservations.

Lenten Music Series
Lenten noonday concerts are 30 minutes followed by a luncheon in the Chapter House. An $8 donation is suggested. The concert on Wednesday, Feb. 25, features a performance by Lynne A. Lauderdale and Christopher W. Powell. The series are held at Christ Church Cathedral, 115 S. Conception St. For more information call 251-438-1822.


MUSEUMS

Da Vinci: Machines and Robotics
Now through May, a new exhibit on the true Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, will feature more than 60 machines, robotics and artworks, many of them interactive. Some of his ideas that have come to life include the bicycle, spring-powered car, hang glider, helicopter and robotic drummer. Also on hand will be children’s activities, computer animations and cinema. Other features are working models and machines crafted from Leonardo’s original sketches, notes and designs, rare facsimile codices and a biographical documentary. Some of these will be interactive, with visitors able to touch and control them. Reproductions of Leonardo’s most famous artwork, including “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper,” are part of the exhibit. Exploreum hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon until 5 p.m. For more information, call 251-208-6893 or visit exploreum.com.

Tutankhamun: Wonderful Things from the Pharaoh’s Tomb
Through April 3, experience the life and death of one of history’s most legendary kings through an exhibition of more than 100 reproductions of the boy king’s treasures at the History Museum of Mobile. The replicas range from beautiful recreations of jewelry, enormous statues, Tut’s nearly 300-pound, solid-gold inner sarcophagus and replicas of the pharaoh’s sacred and personal possessions including his state chariot, golden shrines, beds, thrones, jewelry, spectacular funerary mask, mummy case and royal mummy. History Museum of Mobile, 11 S. Royal St. Call 251-208-7508 for more information.

Thursdays at MMoA  
Every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Mobile Museum of Art offers free admission to all visitors. Join MMoA each week to experience the museum in new and exciting ways throughout the year. No reservations are necessary. MMoA is at 4850 Museum Drive.


SPORTING EVENTS/ACTIVITIES

GLOW Run
Wear your glow-in-the dark gear and join Ransom Ministries to kick off race season at the GLOW Run for Ransom 5K walk/run. The race is Feb. 20 at the Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds at 6 p.m. The Ransom on the Road food truck will be onsite to serve post-race snacks. Proceeds from the race will fund several of Ransom Ministries’ projects, including Ransom Cafe, a donation-only restaurant with six locations in churches across Mobile and Baldwin counties; the Clean Machine, a portable laundry and shower trailer; a community garden in Hillsdale; summer youth service camps; and Ransom ReProgram, an eight-week job training program. For more information about Ransom Ministries, race sponsorships and registration visit RansomMinistries.com. This race is not a certified 5k.

Irish dance lessons
The Maccrossan School of Irish Dance is offering beginner Irish dance lessons every Saturday morning at the Azalea City Center for Performing Arts, 63 Midtown Park E. Classes are available for ages 4 through adult. Learn the beautiful art form of Irish dance with instruction in jig, reel, figure and ceili dancing! For more details please contact Julie Ann Black at [email protected] or call 228-239-2422.

Ballroom dance
The Moonlight Chasse Ballroom Dance Society hosts dance classes the first and third Monday of every month, with professional instructors at 7 p.m. followed by dancing from 7:30-10 p.m. Admission is $10. This event is BYOB and there is no need to bring a partner. Beginners are welcome. Fitzpen Place, 11247 State Highway 31, Spanish Fort. For more information email Cassie Fishbein at [email protected].

Bridge lessons
The Mobile Bridge Center offers free bridge lessons each Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. at the Mobile Bridge Center, 1510 University Blvd. Arrive a few minutes early to register. If you have questions, call the Bridge Center at 251-666-2147 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.



WORKSHOPS

Car Buying 101
Purchasing an auto can be stressful, and costly mistakes can affect you for years. Learn the tools of the trade when it comes to dealer offers and financing. Register for this 6-7 p.m. workshop on Monday, Feb. 22, at Lifelines/Consumer Credit Counseling, 705 Oak Circle Drive E., Mobile. Space is limited, please call 251-602-0011 to register in advance.

Homebuyers seminar
This seminar is full of tips and information for those wanting to become a homeowner. Learn what you need to know about the home-buying process to avoid making costly mistakes. This seminar starts at 8:45 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20. Register at Lifelines/Consumer Credit Counseling, 705 Oak Circle Drive E., Mobile. Due to limited space, please call 251-602-0011 to register in advance.


SELF-IMPROVEMENT

Community health outreach
Family Health, the primary care division of the Mobile County Health Department, will send its mobile medical unit to Gulf Village on Thursday, Feb. 18, from noon to 4 p.m. This community health outreach will take place at 2002 Ball Ave. in Prichard. A nurse will be present to conduct basic screenings, such as blood pressure readings, height/weight checks and body mass index measurements. The mobile medical unit is a modern health center on wheels with two exam rooms. Family Health staff can use the vehicle to provide intensive outreach focused on preventive health, chronic conditions and screenings to those who might not otherwise be able to travel to a traditional health clinic.

Addiction counseling
Narconon would like to remind families that the use of addicting drugs is on the rise. Take steps to protect your family from drug use. If you know anyone who is struggling with drug addiction, get them the help they need. Call for a free brochure on the signs of addiction for all drugs. Narconon also offers free screenings and referrals. Call 1-800-431-1754 or visit DrugAbuseSolution.com.

Top Cats Toastmasters
Top Cats Toastmasters meet every Monday from noon to 1 p.m. at the Red Lobster near the southeast corner of Airport Boulevard and Azalea Road in Mobile. You can practice your speaking and listening skills and learn to think on your feet in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Dues are $43 twice a year, and lunch must be purchased. Toastmasters International is a worldwide organization. For further information call 251-344-2938.

Downtown Toastmasters

The Downtown Mobile Toastmasters Club 2815 hosts a weekly educational lunch meeting at T.P. Crockmiers, 261 Dauphin St., from noon until 1 p.m. on Tuesdays. Practice your speaking, listening and leadership skills in a relaxed, friendly environment. Lunch must be purchased. Our dues are $42 twice yearly. Toastmasters International is a worldwide organization. For more information call 251-404-3924.

Jubilee Toastmasters
Jubilee Toastmasters meet each Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m at Homestead Village in Fairhope, in the Camellia Room. You can bring your lunch. We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills. The meetings are open to anyone over 18 years of age. For more information visit www.9032.toastmastersclubs.org

Eastern Shore Toastmasters
The Eastern Shore Toastmasters Club hosts a weekly meeting at Daphne United Methodist Church, 2401 Main St., in the Community Life Center on the second floor, 6-7 p.m. on Thursdays. Practice your speaking, listening and leadership skills in a friendly, relaxed and supportive environment. Guests are welcome! Visit us on Facebook (facebook.com/EasternShoreTM) or email [email protected]


PUBLIC MEETINGS

Mobile City Council
The Mobile City Council meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Pre Council Meeting in Government Plaza Conference Room, 205 Government St., on the first floor. The Council Meeting begins in Government Plaza Auditorium on the first floor at 10:30 a.m. For more information visit http://www.cityofmobile.org.

Mobile Planning Commission
The Mobile City Planning Commission meets the first and third Thursdays in the Government Plaza Auditorium, 205 Government St. at 2 p.m. For agendas, minutes, zoning information and more visit urban.cityofmobile.org.

Daphne City Council
The Daphne City Council meets on the first and third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Daphne City Hall, 1705 Main St. City Council work sessions are the second and fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. For more information visit daphneal.com.

Fairhope City Council
The Fairhope City Council meets on the second and fourth Monday each month at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Fairhope City Hall, 161 N. Section St. City Council work sessions are held before each City Council meeting at 4:30 p.m. in the Delchamps Room at City Hall. For more information visit cofairhope.com.

Fairhope Planning Commission
The Fairhope Planning Commission meets on the first Monday of each month at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at Fairhope City Hall, 161 N. Section St. For more information visit cofairhope.com.

Foley City Council
The Foley City Council meets on the first and third Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Foley City Hall, 407 E. Laurel Ave. Work sessions begin at 4 p.m. before each regularly scheduled meeting. For more information visit cityoffoley.org.

Spanish Fort City Council
The Spanish Fort City Council meets on the first and third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Spanish Fort Community Center, 7361 Spanish Fort Blvd. Work sessions begin at 5 p.m. before each regularly scheduled meeting. For more information visit cityofspanishfort.com.

Baldwin County Commission
The Baldwin County Commission meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. in the County Commission Chambers at the Baldwin County Administration Building, 322 Courthouse Square, Bay Minette. Work sessions are the second and fourth Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. with the location rotating between the Baldwin County Administration Building in Bay Minette, the Foley Satellite Courthouse, the Fairhope Satellite Courthouse and the Baldwin County Central Annex Building in Robertsdale. For more information visit baldwincountyal.gov.

Baldwin County Planning Commission
The Baldwin County Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the Baldwin County Central Annex, 22251 Palmer St., Robertsdale. For more information visit baldwincountyal.gov.

Saraland City Council: Second and fourth Thursday, 6 p.m., 716 Saraland Blvd. S., 251-675-5103.

Chickasaw City Council: Second and fourth Tuesday, 7 p.m., 224 N. Craft Highway, 251-452-6450.  

Citronelle City Council: Second and fourth Thursday, 6:30 p.m., 19135 Main St., 251-866-7973. 

Creola City Council: Second and fourth Thursday, 6 p.m., 190 Dead Lake Road, #A, 251-675-8142.

Satsuma City Council: First and third Tuesday, 6 p.m. (working), 7 p.m. (regular session), 5464 Old Highway 43, 251-675-1440.

Semmes City Council: First and third Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., 7875 Moffett Road, 251-649-8811.