Debbi Merrill owns Blackberry Hill Alpacas farm in Anniston with her husband, Hank. They started the farm, named for the abundance of blackberries on the land, 10 years ago. Debbi had horses and donkeys when she was growing up but wanted to try something different.

Johnny Goss and Joshua Palmer are two members of local bluegrass band Valley Road — one of several bluegrass groups performing at the Spokes and Strings Bluegrass Festival at Michael Tucker Park in Anniston on Sept. 10. The festival is sponsored by the City of Anniston.

Mary Sides is one of the longest continually serving poll workers in our area. A former employee of BellSouth, Sides retired in 1984 and became a poll worker. She will be tending to the Calhoun County Health Department polling station today.

Oxford resident, Joey Nelson, 28, struggled with losing weight until restarting his efforts again last year. Nelson has lost 222 pounds since June 2015. He chronicles his weight loss through social media. His Instagram account, @the_walking_joey, has nearly 70,000 followers. Nelson will part…

Cassie Helms is director of programs for the Anniston Community Education Foundation, which serves students in the Anniston, Oxford, Saks and Wellborn communities. On Friday, ACEF will host its sixth annual Youth-Family Summit promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

Sarah Burke moved from Peterborough, Ontario, to "sweet home Alabama" in 1999. She attended Oxford High School and graduated from Jacksonville State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, concentrating in marine biology. Her background in marine biology informed her coordination of …

Jamia Haynes is a senior at University of Alabama Birmingham studying pre-nursing, with the goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist. She discovered her love of working with children through Foothills Day Camp, a local summer day camp for area children who would not otherwise have a camp expe…

Brian Autry came to Alabama from Kentucky to play baseball at Birmingham-Southern College, with aspirations of becoming an attorney. After playing baseball professionally and teaching and coaching, Autry learned the fireworks business from his sister and started his business, BOGO Fireworks,…

Keith Wahl is a local artist specializing in spray paint art. Having enjoyed creating art as a child, Wahl embraced spray paint art during a difficult time in his life. His work can be seen at local events and festivals and on social media.

Jody Wayne Wood is a local singer and songwriter who performs across the Southeast. Wood turned down a financially secure career to pursue his passions: music and surfing. You can watch him pursue one of those passions at The Peerless this Saturday with the Rattlesnake Rattlers.

DeAndra Busby is the educational programs manager for Oxford Performing Arts Center. A graduate of the drama program at Jacksonville State University, she studied children’s theater and stage management. Busby is coordinating two children’s theater camps for Oxford Performing Arts Center thi…

John Pearce joined the U.S. Air Force in 1979, serving as a military working dog handler. The majority of Pearce’s 23 years of service were spent at the Department of Defense dog school, and before retiring, he ran the dog program at the Transportation Security Administration. Today, Pearce …

Ashley Bass serves on the board of Main Street Anniston, Anniston’s branch of a national organization dedicated to revitalizing downtowns. Bass opened downtown maternity and children’s consignment shop, Growing Trends, with her sister-in-law more than three years ago.

Robin Fuller Thacker is a stylist and consultant for beauty pageant contestants, bridal parties and more. She also makes creative keepsake items such as brooch bouquets. Thacker owns Exquisite You Hair and Makeup Studio in Anniston.

Jean Ann Oglesby has a background in public relations and marketing and has worked for a telephone company and local businesses. Today, she serves as market manager for Downtown Market, a farmers market in downtown Anniston, which opens for the 2016 season on Saturday.

Larry May owns CD Cellar record store on Noble Street in downtown Anniston. CD Cellar sells CDs, vinyl, clothing, jewelry and accessories and has hosted performances from several artists including Lydia Loveless, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and Yelawolf. He is a partner in the Model City …

Patsy McKinney was one of the first three women to serve in law enforcement in Anniston in the late 1970s. After leaving law enforcement to focus on raising her children, McKinney followed her passion and became an interior decorator. She helped with the interior design at the newly re-opene…