Leadership Marengo observes county government in action

LINDEN – The 20th Leadership Marengo class looked on Tuesday as the Marengo County Commission took care of routine business and heard an economic update.

Mary Jones-Fitts, with the Marengo County Historical and Archives Museum, received approval from the commission to serve as a partner in the museum’s grant request from the National Education Association. If received, the grant, would be used to pay for the interior design of the museum.

Travis Williams, Ricky Hall and Carolyn Rogers were approved as members of the E911 board for districts 1, 3 and 5 respectively.

Employees of the county Engineering Department, through county engineer Ken Atkins, requested approval to donate vacation and sick leave time for a fellow employee who suffered a stroke. The commission approve the request unanimously and commended the employees for their generosity.

Brenda Tuck, Economic Development Authority director, said renovations on the former Armory begins Nov. 25 and will take 90 days to complete. She also reported an additional $90,000 from two different sources for equipment and supplies for the new headquarters of the county EDA and the Marengo County Extension Agency. Paving has been completed.

Earlier in the meeting the commission approved the agreement between the commission and Assurance Services Group, Inc. of Thomasville for the work.

Tuck said three new projects – all concerning waste recycling – are moving forward in Demopolis, and in Linden the industrial park access road work is completed.

For the third summer, she continued, the county will host a Living Democracy student for 10 weeks who will live in the county and work on projects to enhance the community.

She commended Catherine Meador of Demopolis, who directs the YouthLEAD program, for being named an Outstanding Community Volunteer by the Alabama Community Leaders Network.

Tuck was named by Gov. Robert Bentley to the Delta Regional Institute and spent last week in meetings in Mississippi with counterparts from seven other states.

The EDA, she continued, was part of a five-county consortium in the Stronger Economies Together (SET). From that, the county is now eligible to be part of a Promise Zone, which can provide grants and incentives for economic development.

She now is head of the rural committee chair for Area 4 of the Economic Development Association of Alabama. The group continues to work on the areas it has identified as needed for workforce development – incentives, rural incentives, healthcare and education.

With the EDA, she was asked to chair the statewide education committee to bring resources and information dealing with economic development.

She is working with local high schools in an advisory capacity on programs related to workforce development, such as the new insurance component at Demopolis High School beginning next school year.

The EDA will hold a meeting for county officials and organization leaders to review processes and projects on Tuesday, December 3, from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Higher Education Center.

All of the EDA activity will be prepared in an annual report, Tuck said.

Jackie Holliday with the Marengo County Health Department said several hundred flu shots have been given, but the county now is out of vaccine. The department hopes to get in more, but so far this season flu cases are very low.

A prostate screening clinic will be held November 23 in conjunction with the Urology Health Foundation. The free exam will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All men, especially those over the age of 40 and African-Americans, are encouraged to take advantage of the screening. Last year the clinic saw more than 160 men.

Holliday said his department is working to receive accreditation so that it can be eligible for grants and to survey the citizens of the county on what they see as major health issues.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved a liquor license for Jefferson Country Store

• Approved hiring two employees in the road department

• Approved expenditures for the Coffee@ the Courthouse with elected officials.

• Tabled the verification of vacation time pay for deputies and jailors.

• Greeted members of Sherlock, Smith & Adams who introduced themselves and said they were hoping to be considered for future work in the county.