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The Florala News
Florala , Alabama
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February 2, 2011     The Florala News
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February 2, 2011
 

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ESTABLISHED 1900 Location Of One Hundred Forty Consecutive Annual Masonic Celebrations ONE HUNDRED TENTH YEAR WEDNESDAY NUMBER 43- 8 PAGES PRINTED ON ! 00% RECYCLED PAPER FEBRUARY 2, 2011 50 PER ISSUE (SALES TAX INCLUDED} by Merle Woodham WHAT A JOY it was to attend the Fifth Sunday Service at Paxton Baptist Church Sunday night. The music was exceptional. Sandra Cobb Drake played the piano. There was also an organist and a guitar play- er. Sorry I didn't get their names and I was unable to reach the Rev. John Lovelady, church pastor, to get their names. The Rev. Lovelady's daughter, Hannah, sang a solo which we all enjoyed. I was glad to see a good representation from our church, First United Methodist - our pastor and his wife, the Rev. Edward C. Britton and Betty; Peggy and Melinda Woodham, Karen Long and myself, Richard and Jenny Whitehorn of Paxton and Tennessee. There may have been others whom I did not see, since we filled up the back rows. I think the Florala Ministerial Association did a job when they decided to alternate 5th Sunday services. It is so good to be able to visit the other churches in the Association and get to know the various congrega- tions. NOT MUCH BLOOMING going on as yet. I found a couple of blooms on camellias at the old home place on North 6th Street. I fooled around and didn't get any pansies out. They are usually really pretty about this time of year. Just outside of DeFuniak Springs, FL there is a pretty bed of pansies. LARRY AND I finally got our Spring garden started. We plarLted four rows of English peas and a number of varieties of tomato and pepper seeds planted in starter cups. Our favorites are Early Girl, Better Boys, and Big Beef. If it were left up to me, we would end it right there. But, Larry just has to try our new varieties. Too often, his new varieties are not worth the space they take up, but, you have to give him credit for trying. WE WERE SO SORRY to hear that Doxie Storrs of DeFuniak Springs, FL died Monday of this week. Her funeral was held Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 at First Baptist Church. We first became acquainted with the Storrs in the early 70s. We had to change methods of printing be- cause of economics, and we had limited knowledge of the "offset" method. We studied the system and changed over. Mr. Storrs heard of our transition and asked to come to Florala and see our "new" operation. Later, the Storrs followed our example and the Her- ald-Breeze became the second of only a limited few in this part of the woods using the photographic meth- od of printing. Other newspapers changed because of Florala and DeFuniak's new system - Evergreen, the Bozeman family included, followed suit. Mr. Storrs came to us later and because we were so helpful to him in their changeover, he wanted to retire early and wanted to sell the DeFuniak Springs Her- ald-Breeze to us. That newspaper was founded years earlier by Howard Storrs' father. This made the Wood- ham Family only the second owners of the newspaper. We will be eternally grateful that Howard chose us. Larry and I have retired from the Herald-Breeze and the newspaper is now owned by our children - our son, Gary, who is publisher, Sherry, Cynthia, and So- nya, our daughters. The Herald-Breeze continues and grows in circula- tion weekly. Gary's wife, Cindy, and sons, Benjamin, Quinton, and Austin, are involved in the operation of the newspaper, which now covers the entire Walton County area, even the Beaches of South Walton. That paper is the official publication of Walton County. The Herald-Breeze was established in 1888, The Florala News in 1900, making them well over 100-year publications. Larry and I have also retired from The Florala News, except for my contribution each week and it's an effort each week not to retire my column... We are fortunate, however, that it is very capably managed and edited by Lisa Windham, who has been a valuable employee for over twenty-five years. She is assisted by Michelle Willette, who also assists with the printing and assembly operations for both newspapers in De- Funiak Springs. Lisa also assists with the Herald-Breeze and trav- els there at least twice a week, as does Michelle every Tuesday night, even in the early hours of Wednesday. Paxton Council still at odds over employee pay raises, table issue until March by Reid Tucker The Paxton Town Coun- cil remained divided over whether to approve raises for the employees of the city's water department. Employee evaluations and the prospect of non cost- of-living pay raises have been a matter of contention since the new council mem- bers assumed office in No- vember. The council unani- mously voted to hold off on a final decision until after the first of the year when, pre- sumably, the new members would have had a chance to familiarize themselves with city employees and to observe them at work. In spite of cases being made for and against pay raises for employees pursuant to posi- tive evaluations, the council once again elected to table the issue, this time until March, when the new water and sewer rates will have taken effect. Billing Clerk Judy Wil- liams, who wrote the pro- posed 2011 water and sewer budgets, both of which had to be increased 5 percent over fiscal year 2010 in order to prevent the city from losing money, said the combined budgets include around $4,000 of cash on hand specifically for merit raises and one-time pay in- creases. Even though these funds will technically be- come available upon adop- tion of the new budgets, the problem is that the first reading of the ordinance had to be postponed until Febru- ary, which Williams said upset the city's finances. Though the council will return to the issue in March, some council members re- mained skeptical that two months' time would make any difference in terms Qf the city's ability to, in good faith, give pay raises to its water and sewer employees. Councilman Bobby Kemp said he opposed raises on the ground that he was leery of placing additional hardships on Paxton's low- income households and on those that depend on social security. Councilman Tom- my Mathis agreed, but lam- entably so, as he feels the city's workers should have a raise, especially since they haven't gotten one in three years. "I. think our employees are some of the best there are and I think they ought to have a raise," Mathis said. "I just don't think now is the time to do it. I think they deserve a raise...I just think that it would leave a bad taste in the mouths of the people that voted for us and put us on the council." City Attorney Lori Bytell, on the other hand, advised the council to consider the possibility Of giving raises to the city's employees, es- pecially considering that the most senior among them has more than 22 years of ser- vice in Paxton. According to a survey of pay rate scales for the water and sewer system workers of local mu- nicipalities, Paxton's senior water department employee makes almost $8 less per hour than his counterpart with the city of DeFuniak Springs, even though that worker has served nine years fewer. Bytell said the coun- cil members' dedication to stewardship of Paxtonians' money is admirable, but in light of these facts, all facets of any decision regarding evaluation-based salary in- creases should be carefully weighed. 'I am concerned that the real message may get lost," Bytell said. "That is, at the end of the day, we want to make sure that we do what' s right by not only the peo- ple who live here but also by. the people who support the city. I would be remiss if :I didn't mention that." The council voted to con vene a special meeting on Monday, Jan. 24 in order to have the first reading of the ordinance establishing the increased water and sewer rates. The other main item dis- cussed at the meeting was an update from Bytell as to progress made on a poten- tial natural gas franchise agreement between the cit- ies of Paxton and DeFuniak Springs. The agreement was first broached by DeFuniak Springs City Manager Kim Kirby at the council's regu- lar monthly meeting last August. The proposition involves a redefinition of DeFuniak's natural gas franchise area to include Paxton, which could supply customers in the city with an alternative to electricity for heating and cooking. However, Bytell informed the council of two areas of concern she had with the draft of the proposed fran- chise agreement that could put holds on the process or do away with it altogether. First of all, Bytell sugges- see PAXTON page 2 Cancer Freeze set for Saturday It is time once again for the community to rally to- gether and take a stand against cancer. The date for the 2011 Cancer Freeze has been set as February 5 and residents to sign can partici- pate in the new chili cook off event. This fundraiser is the result of Florala resident Caleb Davidson's desire to see the community help lo- cal families battling the dreaded disease. Davidson, with the help of his family and friends, has managed to make his dream of helping those with cancer through their struggle. The Cancer Freeze is held each year at Lake Jackson in Florala. Participants can either water ski, wakeboard, kneeboard or tube in the cold, freezing waters of Lake Jackson for a minimum $20 donation. Davidson said it matters not how cold it is nor the temperature of the water, if it will help raise money for those who need it then it's worth the frostbite. Sponsors are needed for t-shirts said Davidson. It will cost $50 to have a busi- ness or website on the shirt or place a personal message or in memory of a cancer vic- tim. However, the clock is ticking and Davidson said t-shirt sponsors must have their money and informa- tion turned in by January 8. This year the Cancer Freeze will add another wa- ter event, he said they were calling it "Skifetch". Accord- ing to Davidson, Skifetch is a relatively new sport that has been referred to as re- lay Frisbee on jet skis. 'Tou definitely have to see it to appreciate it," he said. If you want to see what ski fetch is all about check out www.skifetch.com. "If water sports ain't your thing that's okay because this year we have added a chili contest," said David- son. So for those who enjoy the sport of eating, it's the perfect opportunity to watch other people freeze while en- joying a bowl of hot chili. Those who wish to par- ticipate, donate or become a sponsor should contact Davidson at 850-978-3726, by email at calebdavidson@ yahoo.com or visit Cancer Freeze on face book. This year the recipient will be Joy Burgans of Lu- verne, AL, a mother of three who is battling breast can- cer. She is a RN who is cur- rently recovering from sur- gery and every dollar raised will go directly to Joy and her family. THIS YEAR'S EVENT will benefit Joy Burgans, a breast cancer patient. One of God's won- derful sun- sets over the shores of Beautiful Lake Jackson in Florala. (Photo by Merle Woodham)