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Florala , Alabama
December 31, 2008     The Florala News
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December 31, 2008

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PAGE 4 THE FLORALA NEWS- WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2008 I r Comments Letter to the Editor The Florala News' editorial section is intended to provide our readers and citizens as complete an opportunity to express themselve with as few re- strictions as possible. Profanity, direct or implied, and attacks on one's per- son rather than on actions or deeds are not acceptable. Publication on this page in NO WAY REFLECTS AGREEMENT OR ENDORSEMENT BY THIS NEWSPAPER. "What Christmas Was Like At Our House"...2008 First: the weather was much need for a fire! The small children (mostly the boys) could be outside. Also, a long table was set up on the patio with its red cloth and chairs for those who wished to eat outside! Several chose to eat there although some sat around the large kitchen table as well as in the dining room. The carport was messy and wet from the humidity... AND... 78 degrees! Everyone had parked their vehicles just off the driveway onto the grass...after they were unloaded. "Pup" was shut up in his doggie yard (with a fence) with both gates keep little ones out! Donald and I gradually made the den into a 'party room' we always do at Christmastime! Small, but heavy things (to us) were carried down the hall to be searched for later! tops full...two small tables in the dining room were filled with desserts! Cookies...cakes...fudge, as usual. There were casseroles of all kinds: (we 'do' turkey and dressing at Thanksgiving!)...potato with cheese...sweet po- tato (my favorite) bean...spinach...etc. Spiral-cut ham and grilled pulled-pork were the meats as well as fresh frozen (from the garden) southern green peas and corn pots! One counter held all the dips and chips and salads... from green salad to congealed ones! Iced tea...lemonade...galore! Each one had their own red plastic glass with their name written on the side with magic marker...(helps-a-heap!).., filled from bags of 'store- bought crushed ice' fridge could make that much! AND... coffee...later! Everyone 'helped themselves'...found a spot to sit down to eat...and could return as many times as they wanted. AND...there was plenty of food for supper! END Joint Legislative Com- mittee. $1M was approved to fund what has become known in Florala as "the lake project." The project originally started Off as a $3 million dollar project that included an amphitheater. Franklin rallied residents to write let- ters in support of the project as city officials worked with engineers to develop a blue print for the project. Improvements included an amphitheater including a meeting room and conces- sion stand, a new parking lot and playground equip- Donald and I have two 'occasions'...hiding and finding!! ('Hide & Seek')! Our decorations are simple with touches of traditional reds and greens with greenery brought in from the holly bushes in the yard. An annual treat for me from Donald is a live red poinsettia! No more trees and trimming! Of course, all those stockings hanging from the mantle in the denl Since we have terrazzo floors (concrete with marble chips) in the den and kitchen...(how in the world did we raise 4 children on it?)...our greatest fear was 'little ones' falling and cracking their a friend's child did many years ago! Solution: put all floor mats and rugs from kitchen (and everywhere) on floor in den...after the couch and chairs had been pushed back as far as they would go! Small tables removed. I love little the collection was dispersed in the room as well as benches...even in front of the fireplace... which is unusual! Definitely no fire! It took Donald and me several hours just to do this... whereas a much younger, stronger person would have no problem. That's the 'challenge' of 'old age'...(D.C, almost 80...and I'm not far behind)...when your 'mind tells your body things it can't do anymore'! Oh! Well! By making a dozen or more trips down the hall...and sitting down to catch our breath...we managed to get it done before all arrived. We 'paid for it later'! The 'Arrivals' came from ll:00...on...bringing in the! Never do we see so much...and what good cooks!! They certainly know how to do it! Lots of hard work goes into it, too...which we acknowl- edge and appreciate! We furnish the place...they bring the food! The 'guys' certainly do their part also...bringing it all in! The 'girls' go right to work in the kitchen setting it all up! They have had many years of practice! MY part was to clear off all thecounter tops...(to search for later).., before they came... make room for all they were bringing. The guys gathered in the den to chat. When all was ready.., and all gathered around...Donald asked one of the grown G-sons to'Ask the Blessing"... And then someone 'announced'...(I think one of the girls)... "Ladies First'I! THEY had noticed the 'guys' all sitting around in the den...talking! Funny! The always...delicious! Only problem: where After awhile...when the food had digested (somewhat) all gathered around in the den... SMALL...children on the floor...(12 'Greats'... plus one lap-baby THIS year!)... ...And the games began!! First there was a mental game of guessing the terms a 'red neck' would use for medical terms. 'Only Southerners laugh at themselves' I I especially love to hear the quips...wisecracks...that are added from different ones!! So much fun! Then there was a time to 'go around the room' for each to tell what he/she had accomplished this past year. Some serious...some hilarious! This year it seemed the word "work" was used the most... until Donald said: "He DIDN'T work"! Our daughter led the 'little ones' in singing Christmas small as they are! Wow! THEY are singers...the future looks bright! THEN...'gift-opening-time...'for D.C. and me... THEN...'stocking gifts' time... THEN Donald gave each family our gifts to them and a copy of my articles to the Florala News entitled, "Remem- bering". They got the FIRST copy last year...and the second this year! Incidentally: they all 'draw names' for the Stocking Stuffers'...NOT going over $5:00 is the rule. They look forward to seeing what each can come up with for that amount! Lots of fun! Since the day was balmy-to-hot one of our older sons rigged up the tractor and trailer and drove a load around the fields and woods and came back for the second group! There was some inside guitar playing...and outside pic- ture taking...and everyone snacked until time to load up and go home! Donald and I sat and pondered what had taken place...I think, we were numb until noon the next day!! ment. Franklin said the state is funding $1M of the project and the rest of the project will be funded with in-kind services from the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command's Innovative Readiness Train- ing (IRT) program in the equivalent to $1M in labor and materials to build the community building. The Florala Street De- partment switched from a five day work week to a four day Work week in an effort to cut down on expenses. Employees work four ten hour days and will not lose anytime due to the change. The sidewalk project in downtown began. A grant from the Alabama Depart- ment of Transportation Emhancement to repair the sidewalks was origi- nally awarded to the city in 2004. However, numerous circumstances arose to de- lay the project including an underground gas tank that was found on Fifth Avenue in front of Cox's Hardware. Routine red tape also led to delays on the project. NOW I KNOW why 'old' people used to 'act' the way they: qh'g nrnegd oost of the did..:(when I was younger and full of pep and energy)... ..v ,.. v ..... when they seemed to just want to sit around and do 'noth- project was $289,000, and ing' go anyplace!, was an 80/20 grant. The city NOW I KNOW!! We have been blessed...but we are like the average large family! My saying: "Most all picnics have ants...thump them off...and go on with your picnic"! do you put it? Stomach can hold only so much! The island stove top was spread with food...all counter We had 37 people with us this year...with 3 absent!! . ..:: ] sleep every mght next to something that is far greater and better than I am. A mere fifteen steps away sleeps his equal. These two living, breathing opinions of myself will carry on life for me when I am no longer physically on this earth. As l watch : Dylan's chest rise and fall with each breath, a tear escapes my eye and I realize that God gave his brain the ability to sustaio life for him as he dreams of cars, video games and the Christmas that's just left us. In one week, as we usher in the 2,009th year after the death of the Man whose birthday we just celebrated, the young woman that I live with will be thirteen years old. She knows not of how much she resembles her mother as she becomes one with the music she loves so much during '"her time" with her iPod in the kitchen. It's hers alone and I let her have it. She is learning the power of musm and she will soon believe that it will help re- lease the powers within herself. Until I became a mother, I had no idea what love was. I thought l did. I thought [ knew everything. I didn't have a clue until the second my daughter was born. That unmistakable feeling of glad- ly cutting off my own appendage before allowing her to ever go through a moment of emotional.or physical pain. On the seventh day of the week, seventh day of the month, and seventh day of the year in 1996 in Mesa, AZ, my life changed forever. Coming in at 7 lbs. 5 oz.. Cydney Jean would grow to become the smartest, funni- est, most beautiful young woman I know. She was, and still is, my most important gift from God, and will always be my baby girl. Nine months after I gave birth to Cydney, I got pregnant again. It was certainly a surprise, but a blessing nonetheless. I had no idea how I was going to take care of two young children basically by myself as my marriage was pretty much in the toilet. Not flushed yet, but getting there fast. I knew everything would work out somehow though. God threw me another curve ball that December when I was here in Florala with Cydney about to cel- ebrate Christmas. Long story short, I lost that little one on De- cember 14, 1996. The doctor couldn't even tell me if it was a boy or a girl. I thought I would never have another child. Then my grandmother, Jean Welch, told me her story. How she had my mother, lost one, then had three boys. I'll never forget that. That she told me something so personal just to make me feel better. I never worried about it again, and I prayed that someday God would bless me with another child because I did not want Cydney growing up an only child. I am an onIy child and I always missed not having a brother or sister. Another healthy child would have been great with me, but I really wanted a boy. Five years later, on a Thursday mormng in May in Houston, God answered my most important prayer. Dylan Albert Lewis completed out little trio and I couldn't have been happier. He's temperamental, emotional, very loving - just like his mother - and I wish him all the luck in the world 'cause it ain't easy being like us. Even at the young age of seven, he has taken on the role of my protector. A role I'm sure he will continue as long as he possibly can. He instinctively knows his job is to aggravate his sister and he does so with great fervor. He is my little man and I hope through some miracle, he will grow up to be a fine man even though his mother had to play both roles in his upbringing. I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky. Why was I chosen to be the mother, guardian, and provider to the greatest kids in the world? I think about the people out there that would be great par- ents, but for some reason, through no fault of their own, they can- not have children. And at the same time, there are others that have no business whatsoever being parents. I just don't get it. But I do my job and I thank God for healthy kids. As the power struggles go on in our living room, I smile think- ing they have no idea how close they will one day be. They will rely on each other and hopefully make each other an aunt and an uncle. They will go through their adult lives leaning on each other in hard times and calling each other first when great times come their way. One day they may even want to read this column of mine. I ke6p each one with the hope that day will come ir my life- time and that I will make them proud with each word they read. covered 20% of the cost while the grant covered 80%. Five residents tossed their names into the Flo- rala mayor's race including: Sue Mathis, Charles Smith, Newton Peters, Robert Wil- liamson and Jimmy Lassit- er. Incumbent Mayor Danny Franklin announced that he would not seek a second term. The Florala Airport Au- thority contributed funds they received from the Fed- eral Aviation Administra- tion (FAA) and the state to South Alabama Regional Airport (SARA) in Andalu- sia. Florala Airport man- ager Jim Zessin presented a check in the amount of $333,722 to SARA. Agents with the 22nd Judicial Drug Task force shut down a Florala meth- amphetamine lab on Hughes Street. Agents arrested 23-year- old Adam Hattaway of Flo- rala and 32-year-old Ja- son Henderson of Paxton, FL. They were booked into Covington County Jail in Andalusia on charges of FROM PAGE 3 trafficking a controlled sub- stance, manufacturing a controlled substance in the first degree, possession of marijuana in the second de- gree, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $800,000 each. Covington County Dis- trict Attorney Greg Gambril addressed the Covington County Commission and asked for their support on a proposed bill to increase court fees. The commission voted unanimously to draft a reso- lution in support of the bill (HB 544). Florala Police Depart- ment Acting Chief Mark Anderson issued notice that police officers will be stop- ping and warning people about riding vehicles on city streets that are not in compliance with state law. The vehicles targeted will be lawn mowers, golf carts, scooters, wheelchairs and any type ATV. The 22 d Judicial Drug Task Force (DTF)and agents with the Alabama Beverage Control Board and deputies with the Covington County Sheriffs Department, were led to the lab on Smyrna Road in Florala and arrested Staci Alderman, age 45, of Florala and David Stamps, age 37, of Daleville. They were charged with manufacturing a controlled substance in the first degree, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. AUGUST Mike's Superette, locat- ed on 9th Street in Florala, was burglarized. The Covington County Commission, due to a short- fall in revenue and cash flow, agreed to immediately institute a buying freeze, except in times of necessity or emergency, for all depart- ments. Covington County Circuit Court Judge Ashley McKathan made headlines for telling over 100 people to join hands in a circle while he prayed and read passages from the Bible. McKathan's actions of leading a prayer during a status conference on February 22 between two lawsuit parties sparked an outcry from the Alabama Americans for Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Alison Neal, an attorney with the ACLU, said McKathan displayed "grossly inappropriate judicial behavior" and he had displayed unconstitutional and unethical conduct at the status meeting. Florala's Municipal election saw only 454 of 1,091 registered voters (41.5%) turn out to cast their ballots. The mayor's race between Robert Williamson and Newton Peters would be decided in a run-off election see YEAR END'page 5 J GOVERNOR RILEY dons a headset to participate in the ADL (Access Distance Learning) program at Florala High School. Riley brushed up on his Spanish during his visit to FHS with nine students who were part of a Spanish I class being taught at T.R. Miller in Brewton, AL.