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I have been writing this column for quite a while now. It’s called “In my Humble Opinion.”
I have shared my opinions on many different topics – local, state and national politics; local events; tourism; new businesses; my personal travels and life experiences; shout outs to other contributors and citizens; calling out other contributors and citizens; and many others.
Some of my writing I’m sure some of you might not understand what I’m talking about because I try not to mention names in negative ways but leave it to the readers to figure it out or ask questions. Some of you agree with my opinions, and others are totally against my opinions – but they are MY opinions.
Some topics I have tried to stay away from because they are downright embarrassing for some people. Also, while I am known for expressing my opinions, I have tried not to comment directly on some things because they show a negative side to Coosa County that so many of you are not even aware of in the hopes that they would eventually mend themselves. Unfortunately, that has not happened so it’s time to talk about it.
There has been a Hatfield and McCoy conflict going on in Rockford among the owners/operators/supporters of a local business and the Town of Rockford mayor/Town Council/supporters. The original disagreement was a personal matter that has turned into a power struggle for control of the town.
The new administration of the town has worked towards getting its finances in order from being very much in debt to now having the debt paid off and money in the bank. They have improved the appearance of the town with new signage and beautification projects, improved the Rockford Event Center with much needed repairs and updates, paved and repaired roads, and corrected many operating procedures that had not been followed in the past. Much of this has been done by applying for and being approved for grant money that is out there just for the asking.
While many of the buildings in Rockford are vacant and in disrepair, they are owned by only a few people, and very few have been available for new businesses to come in. When inquiries have been made by potential tenants they have been quoted monthly leases at costs that would be expected in larger towns that already have a thriving business area.
Instead of offering an introductory monthly cost for the first year so a business can get off the ground and bring in some rent and taxes, the owners have preferred to have their buildings sit empty.
Rockford is lucky to have the Triple R Café, the Dollar General, the Mapco gas station, the Stage Coach Ceramics and Gifts, and a couple of attorney’s offices, but the people have been asking for other restaurants and shops to attract the public that travels through our town on highways 231 and 22.
Triple R has standing room only on some Friday and Saturday nights, and another one or two eating establishments could share in the business and take the full load off Matthew Reams and his employees. Many of us enjoy going in there because it is a friendly family restaurant where we always see people we know and spend time visiting with each other before and after our meals.
When a new business that would provide pizza and beer opened many of us were hopeful we could split our time and money between the two establishments. They were not competing against each other, but were offering different menus and operating hours.
Unfortunately, that didn’t last long because the Hatfield and McCoy feud played out in the new eatery – constant bickering, rumors, gossip, and running off people who did want to enjoy their food. It became more of a hangout for disgruntled citizens from all over the county, and those of us who just wanted some good food in a nice atmosphere were run out.
Until they closed there was another place with good food that opened south of Rockford and, while it was out of the way for many people, it was supported by employees in town and members of one of Rockford’s churches who always invited their friends to join them. Unfortunately, this business also ended up closing.
But then, the operators of the business south of town joined forces with the owners of the vacant restaurant and opened a bar and grill. Even with it being a bar, many of us were excited because we heard they would be open on Sunday afternoons, and we would have someplace in Rockford to eat after church. That only lasted a couple of weeks, but it had not been well advertised. And the Hatfield and McCoy feud invaded again.
When some people are told they are not welcome somewhere, that word gets out, and others take the same hint. But instead of realizing they were not offering a warm and friendly environment for eating that kept people from coming in, the owners have pushed the narrative that the only reason was because of their sexual orientation. Remember the people who did go to their establishment on the south end of town? That was not an issue then, and it is not an issue now.
So, recently this feud has gotten even more out of control with a small group of people posting all kinds of things against the citizens – mainly Christians/Baptists – of Rockford when questions were raised about a drag queen show being planned for their establishment. That is not the type of atmosphere Rockford is accustomed to.
The operators did not have a liquor license that included entertainment – in other words, it was against the law, and the Town Council issued a cease-and-desist order. The town had received threats from groups like Antifa and KKK that they would be in town to protest.
There is still an ongoing feud among the people who want to see Rockford continue to be a town that does not judge people on their race, religion, education, where they come from, or their sexual preferences and the other side that wants to push their own agenda down our throats to justify their own insecurities. Most people fall into the first category while a small group falls into the second category.
The negative group has filed complaints against the town for every possible thing they don’t like just to keep the feud going. They have publicly called out citizens who do not support them and threatened people with legal actions. It is time for this to stop and for the law-abiding people of our town and county to speak up. This has gone on for too long, and all it is doing is keeping people divided.
By the time you read this, there will have been another Town Council meeting where this group will again be pushing to have “entertainment,” and I fully expect it to be voted down. Thank you to the majority of the Town Council for looking out for the good name of our county seat.
Other than Matthew Reams, I have not named names, but I think I have provided enough information that most of you can figure out who I’m talking about. Also, as I have done since starting to write for “The Coosa County News” as an opinion writer, I put my name on every column and do not hide behind “anonymous” or other tags like others that are published in the paper. I am not ashamed of our little town or our county because I can see the improvements being made. But right now, I’m also a hurting resident. How about you?