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The Tuskegee News
Tuskegee, Alabama
July 16, 2009     The Tuskegee News
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July 16, 2009

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The Tuskegee News, July 16, 2009 Co " " A-Z ITllnlssIon (From e,,ge ) Dennis Bradford look into the complaints as soon a possible, r Chairman Maxwell requested the engineer give a report to the commissioners after addressing con t cerns of the citizens. Because of the poor financial condition of the county, some items can't bq addressed soon. However, cutting back trees anc limbs and grading roads might be able to get don e sooner than other projects like paving. Other business during the regular meeting: The commission passed official resolutions for few .J some of the people who have died in the last Cutting the ribbon for the new bridge in Notasulga on July 8 were several several officials. From left are: Louise Ramsey, former Notasulga mayor; Macon County District 4 Commissioner Mike Berry of Notasulga; Jimmy Cunningham, for- mer District 4 commissioner; Macon County District 3 Commissioner Drew Thompson; Notasulga Mayor Frank Tew; Notasulga Councilwomen Terry o, Bridge (From Page A'I) Joe McInnes The old bridge, built by CSX Railroad about a century ago, was closed after failing a town- funded inspection in 2004 and was torn down in 2006. To Notasulga citizens, losing the bridge was like losing the life- line between the town's emer- gency services and Notasulga High School. Notasulga turned to the state for help in rebuilding the bridge and the state took on the job at the urging of U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers (R- Ala). However, neither the state nor the contractors hired spoke kindly of the project on record. Much like Tew, their understanding was in constant combat with their frustration. The bridge is not located on a state thoroughfare and thus outside ALDOT jurisdiction. The people of Notasulga have always understood but as the y, ears went by their thankful- ness - while ever evident - was heard in conversation along- Photo by Jeff Thompson Broach and Barbara Bowman; District 82 State Representative Pebblin Warren; Notasulga Councilman Robin Collins; Alabama Department of Transportation Director Joe Mclnnes; Macon County Commission Chairman Lewis Maxwell; and Alvin Lewis, field representative for Congressman Mike Rogers. The new bridge crosses a downtown railroad track. side the sound of them, chomp- ing at the bit. Members of state organizations working on the project, much in the same boat, wanted to com- plete the project with haste but numerous complications deterred plans. Funding wasn't - always apparent, as the project didn't come entirely from the state budget. 'The location of the bridge had its own complica- tions as well, forcing work crews to get clearance from the railroad - since the bridge is on a CSX property right-of-way - and work around low-hanging power lines Despite discouragement, no one ever said publicly that the bridge was anything but vital , to the ' t0,wnspeppl  of Notasulga. 'N one ever said replacing this lifeline was any- thing but a good cause. "I think the first thing that came to me when I was elected was that we have to get this bridge up to get children safely i to school;" Warren said. The bridge opened June 8 one month before the ceremony with no fanfare. Between then and the ceremony the Notasulga Town Council passed a resolution naming it the Cunningham-Rogers Bridge of Notasulga in honor of former Macon County Commissioner Jimmy Cunningham and Rep. Rogers. "Jimmy chased everybody he could across the state to get this project going," Tew said, adding that Rogers' zeal for the project was evident by how much money he was able to secure for the project. Tew said council members weren't sure if the state would allow them to select an official name for the bridge, but they wanted people to know how much effort both men applie d to the effort of rebuilding the bridge. Not to mention how grateful every citizen of the community is for finally being reconnected. Century (From Page A'I) graduating class with Valedictorian inscribed under her in the photo. "After I finished Perry County Training School my father and uncle drove me to Montgomery," .Lee recalled. "It was a grand time, riding on the dirt road to Lincoln Normal School, which then became State Teachers College and now is Alabama State University. It was a long ride. We were fed lunch, then my father told me behave myse. And that was it, they leftY That was in the late 1920s. She went on to receive her under- graduate degree and her mas- ter's, both in elementary educa- tion, from Alabama State University. "I knew the first day I went to school and left my brother at home that I wanted to be a teacher," she said. Lee is three years older than her brother, Walter, who lives in Atlanta, Ga. in a nursing home with his wife. "I first went back to Perry County and taught," Mrs. Lee said. 'q?hen I went to Chilton County and taught, and that is where I met my husband, Robert E. Lee. No, not the general," she said with a smile. Her husband was also a teacher and principal from Chilton County. They met at a school play in Millbrook, and then lived in the small town of Verbena. Their marriage pro- duced five children: James Wilbur, deceased; Gwendolyn Lee Brown of Vicksburg, Miss.; Catherine Lee Williams of Tuskegee; Bessie Lee Madison of Knoxville, Tenn.; and Sidney Lee of Atlanta. "Robert was a little bit older than I," she stated. "He died in the early 1960s." She ended her 41-year teaching career in the Elmore County System where she taught in Eclectic. Her daughter, Catherine, asked her mother to move to Tuskegee in 1990 so Mrs. Lee would have someone to help look after her. However, she takes care of herself. She does not have any major illness and uses a walker to help her get around. 'qhe doctor told me that I have arthritis in my bones," she said. "I have to be very careful getting around so I will not fall and break somethlng. '' She recalled some of the fond- est memories of her childhood. "I found religion when I was eight years old," she said smil- ing. 'I had been playing ball with the boys and I was told not to do that. So when my father was coming back, I ran to the porch so he wouldft see me. He asked if I had been playing ball and I lied and said no. He whipped me good. "From then on I was deter- mined to tell the truth no matter what, I was then baptized by Rev. David Carlisle at St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church." Her daughter. Gwendolyn, was present during the interview with Mrs. Lee. When Mrs. Lee couldn't remember some details clearly, she would ask her daugh" ter for some help. Sister, as Mrs. Lee called Gwen, could not recall informa" tion as well as her mother. Neither could remember the name of the church in rural Perry County Mrs. Lee's father pastored. "That was one of the reasons my father got a car," Mrs. Lee recalled. "He needed a car to go back and forth to church. In lat- ter years, I transferred my mem- bership to First Baptist Church in Uniontown." Mrs. Lee did not expect to live as long as she has. She gives all the credit to the Lord. "I put my trust in the Lord," she said, as she started to quote Proverbs 3: 5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own under- standing; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Mrs. Lee remains active attending Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church serv- ices on Sundays. On Mondays and Wednesdays, she can be found helping create quilts at the Macon County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). She has seen much history, including Barack Obama as president of the United States. "I did not except to live to see a black president, but it hap- pened," Mrs. Lee said. "It is sad, though, that they (the media) put such emphasis on him being black and don't say anything about him being white. It is important to remember he is just as white as he is black." Mrs. Lee pointed out that he (Obama) will be okay, if he con- tinues to trust in the Lerd. "I truly believe that he (President Obama) places his trust in the Lord." When she was finished with the interview, she stated, "okay I think that is it". And with that, the interview was finished. weeks. Included in the resolutions were: Eddie Mallard, long-time Macon County Circuit Clerk; Rev. H.L. Jackson; drowning victims Calvin Bell, Huey Bennett, Gregory Levett; and Jimmy Harris, presir dent of the Macon County Homebuildefs Association. The commission received the2008 Annual Report from Macon County Racing Commission Chairman Cliff Johnson. He brought bad news that proceeds at VictoryLand are down 11 percent from last year. The figures are from pari-mutuel funds, which include dog racing, horse racing and simulcasting. The Macon County Commission General Fund received about $90,000 last year and will only receive about $60,000 this year from those proceeds. "I feel that the machines are the reason why the proceeds are down," said Johnson, referring to 6,000 electronic bingo machines at VictoryLand. "But I do feel that the handle (proceeds) will go back up. It will never go back to the way it was when the track first opened, but I think it will be only like 7 to 8 percent decrease." The commission approved replacing the roof on the Chisholm Building and okayed having the job let for bids. Commissioners also authorized Chairman Maxwell to let bids for the replacement of the roof and renovations for the old Macon County Hospital. The county agreed to work with the State of Alabama and the Department of Human Resources to find some property to build the new DHR building. The county will make a recommendation for a site and assist in acquiring the property. Citizens are reminded that Saturday, July 18 is the Third Saturday Clean-up. All county shops will be open for large garbage items to be disposed of. If there are any questions about sites and location for the Clean-up, contact the Macon County Compliance Office. UB T salaries members can receive up to $200 a month for an annual compensation of $2,400. If an appointed member is selected board chair, the pay for serving as chairman can be up to $300 or $3,600 annually. Board members may receive an additional $20 a month if they oversee more than one system, as in the case of the UBT that has systems for power, water and wastewater. The opinion authorizes the board to set salaries for the two elected members. The opinion further stated them is no limit as to the' salaries for elected mem" bers. All Of the increases were to be effective immedi- ately upon approval by the UBT and would not have to wait to be put in place when a new board comes into office in 2012. Current board members were elected and appoint- ed in 2008 and:.have three years remaining in their terms. Appoint6d members dOnot have to come from the city council, but that has always been the case since the mid-1970s when the utilities systems were placed under local control. In a May 29 called meeting of the UBT attended by board chair William "Bill" Anderson, elected member Harold Washington and appointed member Georgette White-Moon to form a quorum, the board unanimously agreed to pay appointed board mem" bers $220 a month for annual compensation of $2,640. Approved for the board's two elected members was compensation of $800 a month with an additional $100 a month director's fee for the,board chairman. That means $10,800 a year for the board chair and $9,600 a year for any elected member not serving as chair. Absent from the May 29 meeting were appointed members Mae Doris Williams and Lutalo Aryee. White-Moon and Aryee are paid $10,000 annually as council members. Williams receives $10,700 a year because she is the at-large council member who is also mayor pro temp. The May 6 AG opinion also states anyone served by all or any of the three UBT systems is eligible to vote in board elections. That includes ny resident of a home served by the UBT. In the past before the November of 2008 Constitutional Amendment, only residents of Tuskege could vote in UBT elections. The UBT also provides service for residents of Shorter and to some areas of Macon County. Photo by Jacquelyn Carlisle Children of 100-year-old Clarissa Black Lee gathered Sunday at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center to celebrate her birthday which was Monday, July 13. Seated at the left is the hon- oree, Mrs. Lee. To her side is her eldest daughter, Gwendolyn Lee Brown. Standing: daughter Catherine Lee Williams; son Sidney Lee; and youngest daughter, Bessie Lee Madison.