Mike’s Musing’s

Do you need help?

We at The LaFayette Sun are hoping to start a new tradition in the area. The holidays are a time for giving, particularly to the less fortunate, and we want to help out as many area families as possible through our Christmas Wish Program.

In the next few weeks we are asking readers that find themselves or their family in a dire situation to write us and in detail, tell us what you or your family would like to make Christmas a happy occasion.

Despite what many experts say is an improving economy, I believe that improvement has been slow to come by for many folks in this area. Chambers County ranks among the lowest in Alabama as far as per capita or median household income.

These facts simply accentuate the fact that many of us are going to have difficulty providing for our families this Christmas. That’s where this newspaper, with the help of area businesses and more fortunate individuals come in to play.

If you need help we ask that you write a letter to us explaining exactly why. Please do not ask for a new car or cruise vacation. Please be realistic in what you ask for. We will be selective and help only those families that truly need help. You can mail the letter to The LaFayette Sun, P.O. Box 378, LaFayette, AL, 36862. Better yet you can send the letter by email to info@thelafayettesun.com. Deadline for us to receive letters is December 4.

We in turn take the best letters to area businesses, who will provide money and donations to see that your Christmas Wish is fulfilled. We have literally helped hundreds of families in other areas over the year’s Wilcox Newspapers has operated this program. Last year alone we gathered over $10,000 in cash and gifts to help nearly 70 families.

Interestingly enough we had a couple donors provide $1000 in cash to help disadvantaged families. In one instance I was vacuuming our office when I came upon an envelope lying on the floor. I opened the envelope and lo and behold, inside were 10 $100 bills. An anonymous person had simply opened the office door and tossed the money inside without anyone noticing.

Another person sent a check for $1000. Others sent $500. For a closet Scrooge, like myself, I couldn’t believe the generosity of some of the businesspeople and more well-to-do residents in the area. The old adage “we take care of our own,” certainly applies in this area. I have a premonition the same will happen here in Chambers County.

Letters we have received in previous years have motivated us to find an apartment for a homeless couple, purchase a gravestone for a distraught widow, provide a vehicle and gas money for a family to travel 200 miles to meet relatives for Christmas dinner; as well as provide countless articles of clothing, toys by the truckload, and groceries for dozens of families in the area.

It being our inaugural year at The Sun, we have set a modest goal of helping at least 50 families.

Thus if you legitimately need help, and I stress LEGITIMATELY, write us a letter. Who knows our selection committee might pick your letter, and we could be at your doorstep with a carful of gifts and a nice envelope of cash. All you have to do is write or email to the addresses above.

Council frustrated with potholes

Pothole 1By Alton Mitchell

The Monday night LaFayette Mayor-City Council meeting took an off agenda turn as members of the Council expressed frustration with a local nuisance that continues to reoccur on a regular basis. This nuisance relates to something that creates a hazard as well as an eyesore to the beauty of LaFayette, during a time when the city government is making such strong efforts to beautify the community and its image.

Mike Ellis Councilman

Mike Ellis

As Councilman Michael Ellis put it before the council and the audience, “The pothole is back.” The tone in the Councilman’s voice as he made the statement only partially demonstrated the frustration that was set to come forth in the room. Other members of council would also offer input into a reoccurring pothole that is an ongoing problem along 2nd Avenue S.W.

City officials discussed the pothole on the popular LaFayette street and its origins that are believed to be the result of a water main break that occurred during a construction project by Alagasco at the hill located above the pothole site. Following the water main break speculation is that water is seeping through an area near the pothole site causing the pothole to come back even after crews have went out and filled the problem spot.

Members of the Council were very familiar with problem and that it has been repaired in the past. It even came down as a recommendation at Monday’s meeting that it may be nearing the point of using a professional agency for the paving job to hopefully keep it from becoming a topic of discussion once again before council.

The Council also discussed the issue of seeking to see if Alagasco would pay for the repair costs for the pothole. It was noted that Alagasco has not been negligent in its responsibility and has covered the bill for some past repairs in the area mostly in relation to the initial damage that occurred at the water main break.

Representatives of the city of LaFayette assured the city council that the pothole would be taken care of once again and that Second Avenue Southwest will be a site of smooth drives very soon once more.

Commission names Blanks as chair

By Alton Mitchell

On Monday November 2nd big changes took place under the dome at Courthouse Square in LaFayette. The biggest of those changes would be changes in the chairman and the vice chairman over the Chambers County Commission. The commission’s new appointments came from in-house so business should remain functioning as usual.

The first of the new promotions came in the position of Chairman of the Commissioner. That position had previously been held by Mr. David Eastridge who was also over District 5 of Chambers County. Mr. Eastridge’s position as chairman was voted to be filled by Mr. Joe L. Blanks.

Mr. Joe L. Blanks is also a current member of the County Commission he had previously served as the Co-Chairman of the Chambers County Commission and also represented the area of District 3 in the county. Commissioner Blanks was not the only member of the Commission to move to a higher position.

The position left vacant by the promotion of Joe Blanks had to be filled also. Commissioners voted to place District 6 Commission representative Debbie Wood in the position of Co-Chairperson of the Chambers County Commission. Commissioner Debbie Wood has been a very active and diligent member of the Commission.

The new appointments of Joe L. Blanks and Debbie Wood promise to keep Chambers County moving forward as was demonstrated at the commission meeting in which their new positions were announced. One of the biggest things is the upcoming Rotary Club Christmas festival set for December 5th on the Courthouse Square in LaFayette. At that meeting the County Commission agreed to allow patrons at that event to use the restroom facilities inside the courthouse.

The Chambers County Commission is made up of six districts and those districts are as follows District 1 Charlie Williams, District 2 James (Jimbo) Brown, District 3 and Chairman Joe L. Blanks, District 4 Henry Osborne, District 5 David Eastridge, and District 6 Co-Chairperson Debbie Wood. These Commissioners meet on a bi-weekly basis at the Chambers County Courthouse in downtown LaFayette every other Monday at 4:00 p.m. Central Time. The Commissions next meeting date is set for November 16th.

LaFayette flags honor veterans

FlagBy Alton Mitchell

Despite what seems like a non-stop rain over the past several days there was something unique that has dotted the skies above the rain soaked streets of LaFayette and that is a symbol that sends a tribute to those in the local community whom have offered the ultimate act of valor and service to defend the way of life that is present today thanks to the self-sacrifices of what is estimated to represent less than 1% of the population of this nation. That one percent are those who run into harm’s way and join the nation’s armed forces.

On Wednesday LaFayette will join the rest of the nation in honoring those who honor us all with their service. While Wednesday will be observed as Veterans Day, there is a small but noticeable symbolic salute that has risen over much of LaFayette. This symbolic salute is visible on many streets including the entire course of U.S. Highway 431 through the city and the downtown area near the courthouse square. They are American flags which are enduring the elements and flying in their full glory above the streets of LaFayette to remind the community of those who reside in this city and have served in the nations armed forces.

The city of LaFayette has strong roots with the military this includes the countless number of local citizens whom have served in the armed forces who are now classified as veterans and those who call LaFayette home and honor their families locally as they put on the uniform each day at different duty stations throughout the world to protect the freedoms that are held dear in the United States. The flags that fly over LaFayette are meant to honor those men and women.

Uniquely as the local community flies the Flags over the courthouse square the community observes a statue of one of Chambers County’s and LaFayette’s most famous veterans and that is Joseph Louis Barrow more commonly known as Joe Louis. A giant statue sits outside of the Chambers County Courthouse that honors the world famous boxer in the shadows of many of the flags that embrace the skies over LaFayette. Louis was born on the outskirts of LaFayette, but in 1941 when the United States entered World War II, Louis enlisted and served in the United States Army. His efforts in the army included the famous boxers fighting more than 90 exhibition matches before 2 million fellow troops and massive donations to relief efforts by the Army and Navy. Before ending his military career Louis obtained the rank of Sergeant and upon his death in 1981 the famous LaFayette veteran was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors.

So as many will get a day off from work and school on Wednesday it is important to remember the sacrifices and service that so many not just nationally, but locally have put forth in the defending of the United States and the way of life which so many take for granted. LaFayette is full of veterans and those who serve actively to this day and the day is meant for their remembrance and honoring. The flags that local officials have put up are only a small way of saluting the nation’s real heroes.

Like Bon Jovi, I’m half way there

Jodie FullerBy Jody Fuller

A few weeks ago, I tallied up the number of states I’ve performed in for pay. That number wound up being 25, so I jokingly said, “Like Bon Jovi, I’m half way there.” In addition, the good Lord knows that I’ve been living on a prayer. Texas was good to me early on.

I’ve performed in several more states but many of them were free shows. When I first decided to run my stuttering pie hole for a living, I’d drive 500 miles to speak for free. The struggle is real but so is the reward.

Recently, I scored a paying gig in New Jersey, which put me over the hump. It wasn’t a full-paying gig, but it was important to me as it was a chance to bring stuttering awareness to the Department of Agriculture as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which takes place each October.

I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and drove to the airport in Atlanta for a flight to Philadelphia. Once I landed in Philly, I rented a car and drove an hour to Robbinsville, where the event was held. I flew back the same night. In the army, we call this a turn and burn. It was a long day, but I really wanted to sleep in my bed that night, so I made it happen.

The Robbinsville area is a lovely place to be this time of year. The foliage was out of this world gorgeous. They don’t call it the Garden State for nothing, although I didn’t see any corn. Corn would’ve been nice.

I’d been to New Jersey before, but it was way back in 2003. All that I took home with me from that trip was the memory of not being able to pump my own gas. I’d never seen that before. Sure, I remember the days of full-service filling stations, but full-service was an option. In New Jersey, there was no option. Patrons were unauthorized to pump their own gas.

I would see that a year later in Oregon, too. At the time, I thought it was ridiculous, but now, I like it. I get tired of pumping my own gas. There were no additional fees for the gas either. It gave people jobs. It gave them a purpose. That’s a good thing.

Two days after being confirmed for the Department of Agriculture event, I was booked for another gig in New Jersey. There were no ties between the organizations; it just happened like that. That event takes place on November 16 in Cedar Grove. Since then, I’ve been booked for yet another gig in New Jersey in late April. It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

I’m over that hump and am working my way to 50, so until then and beyond, like Bon Jovi, I’ll be living on a prayer. By the way, Jon Bon Jovi is from New Jersey.

I just received an email from the Maine Speech Hearing and Language Association. Maybe that’ll be 27.

Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.

Why did Mr. Rogers always wear a sweater

Paul RichardsonBy Paul Richardson

And what does that have to do with Veterans Day? Always remember, freedom is never free. It always comes at a great cost.

Memorial Day in May, is the time to remember those who died in service to their country, while Veteran’s Day, always observed on November 11th, is the time to pause and remember all the others who served but came home.

And each soldier has his or her own story. There are thousands of great personal revelations that the world has never heard

Here is one involving a man every remembers, Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, the kiddy show that aired on PBS for years.

He was gentle and quiet, almost “wimpy,” one of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he portrayed to the youth during his TV career.

His TV trademark was his sweaters, a different one each day. Many of them were handmade by his mother. He was never seen in public without his arms covered.

The reason for that was his tattoos, up and down each arm, front and back. To have seen those numerous tattoos would have revealed his secret. (Well, one of his secrets.)

Fred Rogers was a Navy Seal sniper, combat-proven on the battlefield in Vietnam with more than two dozen confirmed kills.

(That’s right, soft spoken, loveable, mild mannered Fred Rogers, the children’s hero for two decades, was a hit man.)

He was a master in small arms warfare and hand to hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat.
After Vietnam, Mr. Rogers became an ordained Presbyterian minister (his second secret) and therefore a pacifist, vowing to never harm another human and also dedicating the rest of his life to trying to help lead children on the right path in life.

He hid away the tattoos and his past life and won our hearts with his quiet wit, gentleness, and charm. This is a perfect example of America’s real heroes not flaunting their accomplishments just quietly going about their day-to-day lives, doing what they do best.

It’s people like Fred Rogers who earned the freedoms that we all enjoy.

This real life example goes to show, heroes can be found in the most unlikely places

Lanett selects McCoy as mayor

By Alton Mitchell

As one chapter in the history books of the city of Lanett closed a new one opened. Mayor Oscar Crawley passed away on October 6th, 2015 at his home in Lanett. He had served as the city’s mayor for 11 years since his election in 2004. He is best remembered as being the first elected African American mayor of the prosperous Chambers County City. Stepping out of the shadows Kyle McCoy has been brought to the light as the city’s new mayor.

Kyle McCoy is no stranger to the political atmosphere of the city of Lanett. McCoy has served as a city councilman in Lanett covering the city’s area of District 3. McCoy was elected by the members of the Lanett City Council and was sworn in late October.

The new appointment of Kyle McCoy has left his District 3 seat vacant on the City Council. The members of the City Council are now tasked with finding a replacement for the seat within the next 60 days. State law sets a requirement that the council is responsible for filling the void in its ranks.

The appointment of Mayor McCoy is effective immediately and he has already began assuming leadership roles in the city. The city operates on a Mayor-Council style of governing structure much as the city of LaFayette does. The replacement of the District 3 vacancy becomes extremely important to in order to maintain balance and even representation in the city of nearly 7,000 citizens.

Fire Chief asks council to redo supervisory roles

By Alton Mitchell

Monday night’s meeting of the LaFayette City Council was one in which much was accomplished. The events included a new proclamation the city announced as well as major changes that may be coming for the LaFayette Fire Department. In addition the little things that the community of LaFayette does as a whole was addressed and commended by the Mayor and the members of Council.

As always the council meeting was called to order by the call to order and the invocation. Shortly thereafter the roll call was held and all members of the council announced that they were present and accounted for. The perfect attendance would allow the members of council to vote on a proposed proclamation before them as the first matter of business at the meeting.

Ms. Adrian Holloway of Chattahoochee Hospice in Valley was on hand to accept the proclamation that council approved with a unanimous approval decision. That proclamation stated that November would be recognized in the city of LaFayette as National Hospice Month. Under this new proclamation the city will be used as a beacon to raise awareness about hospice care in the local area. “We are thankful for all the city of LaFayette does to raise awareness about our services and activities,” Ms. Holloway stated to the council while accepting the proclamation on behalf of Chattahoochee Hospice Care.

With hospice care taking the forefront in the meeting it only seemed appropriate for those who assist in the saving of local lives to address the council immediately after the proclamation was delivered. This was done by LaFayette Fire Chief Robert H. Cotney. Chief Cotney came before council with a proposal to improve the ranks of the local Fire Department and offer compensation to those who work hard to keep LaFayette and its neighboring communities safe and sound.

Chief Cotney offered the council an administrative proposal with the goal of improving the ranks of the fire department and still falling within the guidelines of the local budget. The proposal that was presented before the council would allow for the promotion of existing members of the fire department to permanent supervisory roles in the department. The ultimate goal is to create a new pay grade over time that would offer moderate raises to existing members of the fire department whom are awarded these promotions. Chief Cotney broke the numbers down and before council and offered input on how his proposal could ultimately save the city money overall.

Councilman David Ennis was curious to find out how the supervisory roles within the ranks of the department were presently handled. The chief explained that they are done through temporary positions that are swapped in and out by members of the department. He explained that this process has been working, but does create a cache 22 of sorts as during this period one member may be the supervisor and next week they may be the supervised, that has a ripple effect of not wanting to push the envelope to far in the way of correction and critiquing of other members of the department. Chief Cotney explained that giving the pay increase can create a level of accountability within the department.

Other questions would come before the Fire Department in which the power of the department and its responsibility was exposed. Despite LaFayette’s one station house located below the water tower in downtown the reach of the facility is enormous covering an area that extends as far as some stretches of U.S. Highway 280 and Waverly to encompass an area of nearly 400 square miles that rely on LaFayette’s Fire services for protection from one of nature’s most dangerous elements and humanities consistent ailments.

Members of council decided to table the discussion on the Chiefs proposal until a later meeting, but did seem very interested in the ideas that Chief Cotney offered. Council members expressed an interest in speaking on a one on one basis with the Chief to get further details before making a concrete decision.

Prior to the adjourning of the meeting Mayor Moody expressed the level of pride that he felt after witnessing firsthand the outpouring of support and hard work that was demonstrated by staff at LaFayette High School, and the community in the cleaning effort that took place there on October 28th during the USA Today Make a Difference Day 2015. Other members of council joined in the expression of gratitude to the students who put forth the effort to take pride in their school and the community and community leaders who also assisted. Special mention was given to the LaFayette Fire Department who made a surprise stop at LaFayette High School to offer a different kind of service to the community and help the youth.

As the meeting got set to close the council voted to satisfy their financial responsibility and pay the city’s owed bills. A quick mention was also made for the upcoming Christmas on the square event that is in the works and gaining a lot of momentum and promises to have big surprises in store this year. The meeting was adjourned and as those in attendance exited City Hall despite the earlier sunset associated with daylight savings time, the darkness over the downtown buildings seemed to shine just a bit brighter as decisions were made in the short period of time that would brighten the future of LaFayette for the long run.

SU celebrates homecoming

oin SU Cheerleader Zoe Arrington and show your Bison Spirit at Homecoming on November 14.

oin SU Cheerleader Zoe Arrington and show your
Bison Spirit at Homecoming on November 14.

Southern Union State Community College invites alumni and friends of the college to Celebrate the Tradition at its Homecoming festivities Saturday, November 14.

Alumni and friends of the college are invited to have lunch in the Southern Room beginning at 11:30 a.m. The day’s activities will begin with the Lady Bison basketball team tipping-off against Faulkner University JV at 12:00 noon. The men’s team will take on Jefferson Davis Community College at 2:00 p.m.

Special entertainment will be presented throughout the day by the Southern Union Cheerleaders and the SU Dance Team. A highlight of the afternoon will be the presentation of the Homecoming Court and crowning of the Homecoming Queen, which will take place during halftime of the men’s game. Members of the homecoming court are: Zoe Arrington (Woodland); Leah Stinespring (Flowery Branch, Ga.), Alexis Moore (Birmingham); Gemelia Welch (Opelika). The Queen will be chosen by popular vote among the students.

Homecoming is sponsored by the SU Student Government Association. Numerous activities and Sprit Days are planned for the week prior to the game.

The Southern Union Alumni Association and Student Government Association encourage all active alumni, former students, and friends of the college to join in this year’s homecoming festivities.

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