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Town, county, state updates
I apologize for being absent from my column the past couple of weeks, but life just got in the way. Hopefully, I am back in the saddle and can get back to the routine. I had even gotten behind reading the paper because I went to the online version and had some problems getting logged in – but all is well now! I read most of the editions I missed and got caught up.
There really has been a good bit going on in Coosa County the last few weeks! Congratulations to now-former Commissioner Todd Adams on his retirement from public office. I did not realize he had served for 23 years, and he certainly deserves a big thank you for hanging in all that time. I hope he will enjoy life in the private sector and embrace retirement as much as several of us have. We also have a new administrator for the County Commission, and a big welcome goes out to Amy Gilliland! Welcome aboard!
Rockford is cooking with gas with all the things going on! New paint, lights, signs, plants – thanks, Mr. Mayor! Great things are happening that will help bring in revenue, businesses and new residents. If Rockford could just become HALF of what it once was it would be grand. Folks, please give Mayor White a little time and space to put his plans in place. I have seen more movement in Rockford since November than I have in the 20 years I’ve lived in the area. Changes and improvements don’t happen overnight, just like the decline didn’t happen overnight. His priorities have to be improving the revenue base to help pay of the other things that need to be done.
Washington has crippled our job recovery by paying people more to stay home than to go back to work! Everywhere you look there are “HELP WANTED” signs! The service industry – restaurants, stores, etc. – are hit particularly hard, and we the customers are experiencing the backlash. Business owners who have suffered through being closed, being limited in scope, and having to cut back to the bones are now struggling to get back going, but can’t find people willing to work. I have even heard of a company that is offering $50 for people to just come INTERVIEW! Please be patient with the employees that are showing up to work – tip more, smile more, and thank more. Thank goodness Gov. Ivey has joined several other governors in shutting down the federal money for unemployment!
We are at the end of the 2020-21 session of the Alabama Legislature, and I’m not sure exactly what has been accomplished. I was glad to see the medical marijuana bill get to the governor’s desk, but she is considering a possible amendment before signing it. The gambling bill is dead because the winners were chosen by the legislature and their cronies. Even Donald Trump Jr. weighed in on it and explained the text of the bill would not accomplish what they were claiming. There is a right way and a wrong way to expand gambling if that is what the people really want. I would be OK with a straight lottery bill if the funds were earmarked for the General Fund budget instead of the Education Trust Fund. Education already wastes too much money in areas not related to the classroom and students. AND, the elimination of Common Core never made it to the floor for a vote AGAIN. Big money, Del Marsh and Riley Inc. win again. Parents and children lose again.
I am seeing some great articles in “The Coosa County News” about our students and the school system. With the continued loss of students each year, it becomes harder and harder for our schools to operate with the lack of a local tax base. Until more businesses and people come into Coosa County, the schools will always struggle. They are doing the best they can with what they have.
The news of the day as I sit here typing is the threat of a gas shortage because of the cyberattack on a major gas line. Even though the pipeline company says it should be back online by the end of the week, the public is creating a panic just like we went through with toilet paper. Calm down, people. Yes, the price of gas is going to go up, and yes, we will have gas shortages at some point because the Biden administration has shut down our oil industry. Eventually, our stockpiles will be gone, and we will have to depend on Russia and Iran to supply our oil – and most of us know how willing THEY will be to do business with us! Our infrastructure – oil, power, and gas – is highly strained and has been for a long time. Instead of trying to fix it, the trillions of dollars needed are going to bail out cities and programs that have spent themselves into the toilet for decades because of their own bad decisions. We the people don’t matter – except for the additional taxes they are going to put on those of us who DO work!
Well, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week will bring! The brightest news I have seen is churches opening back up. After spending more than a year without human contact and seeing people’s faces, it is so great to smile and say hello to friends and strangers alike! Please continue to pray for the sick among us and those who have lost family members.