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Florala , Alabama
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April 22, 2015     The Florala News
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April 22, 2015
 

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ESTABLISHED ! 900 Location Of One Hundred Forty-Four Consecutive Annual Masonic Celebrations ONE HUNDRED FOURTEENTH YEAR WEDNESDAY NUMBER 7" 8 PAGES PRINTED ON ! 00% RECYCLED PAPER APRIL 22, 20 ! 5 50 PER ISSUE (SALESTAX INCLUDED) Florala State Park on closure list by Jan Allred " A total of fifteen Alabama State Parks are slated for closure due to the state's budget crisis including Florala's Lake Jackson. Alabama State. Parks Director Greg Lein issued a statement last week saying state lawmakers intended to transfer $11.4 million from the 2016 budget appropriation for the Alabama Department of Natural Resources and most of that money, $10.4 million, would come from the state parks because most of conservation money is committed to match federal dollars. The 15 parks slated for closure have not consistently made a profit over the last three years but the seven parks that will remain open have. "This is a very dynamic financial situation," Lein said. Lein's official statement regarding the closing of the parks reads as follows: "Recently we were notified of the legislatures' intent to transfer $11.4 million of funds from the 2016 Alabama Depart- ment of Conservation and Natural Resources (AD- CNR) budget. The majority of these funds are to be transferred from ADCNR ($10.4 million) would come from the state park system. In anticipation of this loss in revenue, on May 1, 2015 we will implement an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) that closes several of our parks and park opera- tions across the state. On June 1, 2015 we will implement a second EOP that will reduce the staff- ing and operational hours of several other parks. These dramatic changes will no doubt have a direct impact to their local communities and ultimately hurt our state's economy. "The governor has been working to address this chronic funding crisis of state government through a proposal to raise necessary funds. We encour- age each of you to think about the two options be- ing considered; the cuts and transfers proposed by the legislature that would close more than half our parks, or the plan proposed by the Governor. Please discuss this among your peers, family and local elected officials." If additional funding doesn't come four of the fifteen parks are scheduled to close on May 1. On June 1, Florala's Lake Jackson and Opp's Frank Jackson, along with three other rural parks, will put into place an emergency plan to reassess op- erational costs and staffing in an effort to improve finances. Lein has encouraged lawmakers to sup- port a tax package proposed by Governor Robert Bentley to shore up the general fund budget. "The governor has been working to address this chronic funding crisis of state government through a pro- posal to raise necessary funds," Lein said. "We en- courage each of you to think about the two options being considered; the cuts and transfers proposed by the legislature that would close more than half of our parks, or the plan proposed by the gover- nor." Florala Mayor Robert Williamson has worked diligently to improve the facilities at Lake Jack- son and took to facebook to voice his frustration over the possible closure. He has contacted every official who might dectly, or indirectly, have an impact on keeping Florala State Park open. Williamson debated with himself whether or not it would be appropriate of him to speak pub- ficlyand share his private thoughts on the issue or would it be wiser for him to keep his mouth shut and personal opinion to himself in order to play the political games that are played on a daily ba- sis. He decided to share his thoughts with the pub- lic his thoughts on the matter. "I understand full well that such an expression could have a detrimental impact. After all, it no longer seems to be about researching a problem, devising multiple solutions, then reaching some semblance of a compromise with each side picking up wins, but also absorbing losses. The modern- day ploy is to win at all cost, even deploying the use of coercion, deception and manipulation to get that victory. The grass roots are no longer "we the people," instead, the power players dictate the "will of the people" and, for those of us too "uneducated" to understand what is best, there are always the astute available to enlighten the masses, through whatever technique necessary. The system is so flawed, or efficient, dependent upon from which angle you view this process, even comments on its flaws could influence your standing in the system." Williamson stated. "The $11 million it takes to fund the parks in question is less than .0005 percent of a $24 billion budget. Using Florala as a scale, with only a $1.4 million budget, it's the equivalent of shutting down see PARK page 2 r City cracking down on derelict properties by Lisa Windham the owner. The Florala City A commercial prop- Council has begun erty also located at 825 cracking down on der- 5th Street has been elict properties within declared unsafe to the the city. At their meet- extent that it is a pub- ing last week, they took lic nuisance. The last action against two prop- known owner will be erties, given 30 days to rem- Property at 925 5th edy the nuisance or the Street, owned by Danny city will. take action and and Patsy Hart, has assess charges to the been declared a public property owner. nuisance due to over- Mayor Williamson grown weeds. The own- proudly announced ers were given notice to that the John E. and clean up the property Grace McMillan Estep but have failed to do so. Foundation is donating A sign has been placed $72,000 towards the on the property advis- new city playground ing of such and a notice project (which is in the mailed to the owners planning stages). Wil- giving them 14 days to liamson said his goal remedy the nuisance is to raise $125,000 by or the weeds will be June 30 for the pro- abated by the city and posed project. Council all costs incurred will approved an appropria- be assessed against the property and charged to see CITYpage 2 5TH STREETproperty which has been targeted for clean-up. Florala National Day Of Prayer Thursday, May 7th Florala Rodney J. 9:00 a.m, Health and Rehabilitation 7:00 p.m. Evans Memorial Building Lake Jackson Dedication held for McRae Memorial Rose Garden A memorial plaque was dedicated to the memory of Margaret L. McRae at the rose gar- den in front of Florala Health and Rehabilita- tion last week. On hand for the event were Bill McRae (son) and wife, Alice, along with the staff of the facility. The rose garden was a dream of Mrs. McRae's which was made pos- sible by her crocheting The Florala News 1155 Fifth Street Florala, AL 36442 , IIILII!fl!IEIIII[I!I[I!UIIII several afghans and auctioning them off for seed money to build the garden. She was a resi- dent of Florala Health and Rehab for 10 years. Her dream project started by placing pots of roses in the area by the dining room; but the pet rabbits and gophers would eat them almost overnight so that did not work. After talking with Administrator Sara Goolsby, McRae's vi- sion of a rose garden by the flag pole began to take shape. Work be- gan on the project and soon the roses, in full bloom, were one of the first things visitors saw when approaching the facility. Bill and Alice McRae are shown with Administrator Sara Goolsby and staff of Florala Health and Rehabilitation at the dedication ceremony. Each morning she looked out her window and commented on the beauty of the garden and the grounds. The Margaret L. McRae Memorial Rose Garden is a tribute to a wonderful and loving lady. She came to the Florala Health and Re- hab from Louisville, AL in June 2005. When McRae lived in her house, she loved her flower garden. She was a loving, gentle and caring woman. Her hob- bies included reading (5 newspapers a week), crocheting, playing bin- go and visiting with all her FH&R friends. Mrs. McRae passed away the January 12, 2015 at the age of 100.