Ali Renckens

Freelance Writer

Ali Renckens

Ali Renckens is a student at Union University, double-majoring in journalism and English with an emphasis in creative writing. She also works as a freelance newswriter.



Firefighter reunites with Hoover burn victim Christian Cooper at Barons game

Theresa De Leon was tossing a baseball when she saw Christian Cooper for the second time in her life Wednesday night. Immediately, she walked to him, arms outstretched, and the two embraced. Probably few of the people at the Birmingham Barons game at Regions Field realized they were witnessing a miracle as the two stood on the field together.
Hoover Sun Link to Story

MentorU: Colleges Collaborate to Guide Sixth Graders

The heart monitor beeped steadily. Students took turns pressing a stethoscope to the patient’s chest, the intensity in their faces reflected in the one-way mirror on the other side of the room. They pulled the covers up at the bottom of the hospital bed and checked the patient’s foot for a pulse.

Five Mottos for Innovative Enterprises to Live By

On March 11, 2011 at 2:46 p.m., a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck northeast Japan. It released tsunami waves as high as 130 feet that swept across 217 square miles. This unexpected disaster carried tons of debris out to sea and cost the country billions of dollars in damages. More than 15,000 lives were lost.

Season Preview: Women’s basketball voted No. 1 in GSC

It should have been a shoo-in. But when the buzzer signaling the end of the fourth quarter rang out, the No. 1 seed in the South Region, Union University, was behind the University of Tampa by 10 points, eliminating them in the opening game of the 2016 NCAA DII National Championships. Union’s women’s basketball ended their season 28-4 overall while the 8-seed Tampa advanced to the region semifinals with a 20-12 record.

Ice House hot on barbecue scene

For Tom Sheffer, the term “ice house” does not represent anything cool or wintery; it means sizzling steaks and the bold flavor of south Texas. Sheffer, owner of Avo and Dram, is opening a new “casual neighborhood hangout” called Ice House on Cahaba Road. The restaurant will serve Texas-style barbecue and a selection of tacos in addition to sandwiches and limited bar options, including snacks.

Rickwood Field: A league of its own

On Aug. 18, Rickwood Field, which the National Park Service identifies as the oldest baseball park in America, turns 106 years old. Built by wealthy industrialist Rick Woodward, Rickwood Field served as the home field for the Birmingham Barons from 1910 to the end of the 1987 season. The Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Southern League also used the stadium from 1920 until the team became integrated into the Barons in 1964.

Freedom Award recipient Mark Davis looks for ways to serve veterans

When Mark Davis read the email telling him that he won the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Freedom Award, he was thousands of feet above the ground, on his way to a shipyard in Seattle to teach veterans how to inspect nuclear submarines and Navy ship carriers with ultrasound equipment. “Of course, I couldn’t jump up and down on the airplane,” he said.
Hoover Sun Link to Story

More than Just Horsing Around: Hippotherapy Gives Hope

Wearing a nametag that simply reads “Mrs. Patty,” she stands in the riding arena like the ringmaster of a circus. She always seems to be more in motion than anyone or anything else, even when she’s simply standing with her hands on her hips, critical but kind blue eyes roving over the scene she loves.

Church honors local first responders

Dressed in their Sunday best, kids at First United Methodist Church in Lexington skipped around fire trucks Sunday morning and sat inside a bulletproof S.W.A.T. vehicle. For the 15th anniversary of 9/11, First United Methodist Church wanted to honor local first responders. The church invited first responders in Henderson County, including members of the police and fire departments, EMS and Henderson County Rescue Squad, to a free breakfast and time for the community to thank them for their service.
The Jackson Sun Link to Story

Project paves way to welcome 1st-time homeowners home

The basket of toilet paper, oven mitts and aluminum foil meant so much to Lolita Stephens. For the single mother, not only was it the accumulation of months of taking classes to equip her for financial stability and home ownership, working full-time and saving up for a down payment, it represented a bright future for Stephens and her children as well as a supportive community of friends.

Science teachers aim to shift students’ mindset

Middle and high school science teachers from different districts met at Louis Pizitz Middle School to discuss changing science standards and how to more effectively engage students. Verbs are taking a central role in science class; textbooks are being thrown out, and teachers aren’t “teaching” as much as they are “facilitating” student learning.

Recovering from loss: ‘It’s OK to ask God why’

After her son Bubba, a Jackson-Central Merry student and football player, died in a 2014 house fire at age 17, well-meaning people encouraged her to move on with her life. But she would hold her arm against the stove to see how hot she could stand it. She felt guilty for being at work instead of home, wondering if her son would still be alive had she left earlier.
The Jackson Sun Link to Story


Ali Renckens

Ali Renckens is a student at Union University, double-majoring in journalism and English with an emphasis in creative writing. She has freelanced as a photographer and writer for newspapers, including the Jackson Sun and Osprey Observer, since high school. She also worked as a full-time, paid intern for Starnes Publishing in Birmingham, AL and was published in several of their newspapers, including the Hoover Sun, Vestavia Voice, and Iron City Ink.