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The Tuskegee News
Tuskegee, Alabama
September 12, 1996     The Tuskegee News
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September 12, 1996

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Page 4, The Tuskegee News, September 12, 1996 !. Commissioners bumble once again with method of selecting jail site \ / Once again, the Macon County Commission is finding itself the target of criticism from the citizens it is elected to serve. And once again, the commissioners deserve the criticism. This time the issue is selection of a site to build a court-man- dated jail for Macon County. It is only one in a series of com- plaints about action--or in many cases lack of action--on the part of the commission• In recent months, the commission chose to rescind a 2-cent sales tax levied to help fund a struggling Macon County educ- tion system. The commission bowed to pressure by citizens with an election upcoming after voting a few months earlier to put on the tax that was to run for three years and was rescinded in about half that time, leaving the Macon County School Board with a major deficit for the 1995-96 school year. Since that time, financial operation of the Macon County Schools has been taken over by the State Board of Education. The reason for the state takeover was not solely caused by the lost revenue from the 2-cent tax--there are numerous other prob- lems--but it didn't help. When the public transportation system in Macon County faced a funding crisis, the Macon County Commission gave only lip service for the most part as the city of Tuskegee helped provide \ needed funding to keep the system, which is critical to the needs of many Macon County citizens, in operation. When the Tuskegee-Macon County Library needed funding to match a grant to build a new library, the Macon County Com- mission didn't step forward. Eventually, financing for the library was worked out through a commitment by the city of Tuskegee which will be paid back through a fund-raiser by the Friends of the Library. Granted, the county faces many financial problems and can't get financing or float bonds for projects because of its status. However, that problem can be traced only to the commission itself which has ultimate control over operations of the county through its employees. Macon County's records can not be audit- ed in their present state--according to a firm hired by the county to do so--which means getting financing is virtually impossible unless through setting up private non-profit corporations or lease- purchase arrangements. That brings us to the jail site issue. Shopping out of town only hurts Tus Editor, The Tuskegee News: A while back, I found myself driving a large group of ladies out of town to do some shopping. The destination was the Peachtree Mall, a big shopping center, on the outskirts of Atlanta. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and as we traveled toward Atlanta, the voices of the ladies laughing and talking could be heard very clearly by the bus driver. The ladies talked and discussed many different issues and subjects. One lady stated that the town of product or a good deal in the local stores. You, as a consumer, are devastating your community as you flock to lower-priced out-of-town stores. Guy M. Crawford Retired high school principal P.O. Box 654 Tuskegee Institute i i ii llll i Who really has the power? time to "gab" on the radio• I say to Neal that he program schedule in giving equal dates. If a store advocates that items for the handicap, into the store is by you think that it has a handicapped? Would you really think tries to be accessible to pie? What about the chair? What the store After failing to meet a deadline set up three years earlier in a =~_ ~?_ ~= _ _ federal court order to build a new jail after suits were filed about the deplorable conditions in the curr~nt jail, com~,~ssiopers. _ '- _ -_ ' __ i faced an August 12 deadline to provide Federal Magistrat~~lohn Carroll a deed for the jail site. That date was set at an early- July hearing to show cause why defendants in the suit should not be held in contempt of court for missing a previous May 1 deadline to have the new jai] built. An agreement with the city of Tuskegee for a site in the city's industrial park for $1 fell through after several weeks of negoti- ations. Under a proposed arrangement, Tuskegee prisoners would have been housed for $20 per day for 20 years. The county said to lock in for 20 years with such an agreement wasn't feasible because of likely rising expenses and possible court mandates to increase the cost of housing prisoners. Because the negotiations with Tuskegee fell through near the deadline, a rush was on to find a location, such a rush that there were no public hearings about the proposed 10-acre jail site on the Hurtsboro road near the intersection of County Roads 10 and 26. Cost for the property is $45,000 with about $10,000 more for closing costs and realtor fees. Citizens in the area of the jail site are naturally upset, citing danger of being near a jail, decreased property values and traffic problems. The bottom line is that they had no input until after the fact about the jail site. They presented a petition withl20 signatures at Monday's 'meeting of the Macon County Commission and asked commis- sioners to choose another site. That apparently won't happen. From the start, the process of building a new jail at best has been a fiasco with missed deadlines, gridlock among commis- sioners and many thousands of dollars still to be spent for previ- ous designs, hookup fees for utilities and other site work. No public hearings were held about the jail site. The citizens were given no input. Commissioners used the excuse of facing a deadline to make a quick decision without informing the public. They have only themselves to blame for that, just as they have only themselves to blame for most of the county's problems. Already incumbent commissioners Ernest Magruder and Lloyd Stillwell, along with commission chairman Frank Lee, have been voted out of office. Only Mike Berry and Albert Daniels will be returning from the present commission. Had the jail site decision been handled like it was before the election, it may have been a clean sweep. The citizens are enti- tled to more than the bumbling efforts of the current commis- sioners who seem more interested in protecting themselves from a $1,500 a day fine for not meeting deadlines than in doing what's right. Tuskegee is going down. She cited several stores that once were open for business but ar now closed. Continuing to cite examples of the deterioration of the City of Tuskegee and the businesses that are located there, she concluded that she just could not understand why this is happen- ing in Tuskegee? One lady seated in the back of the bus blurted out very loudly, "The answer to your question is very simple; we do not take time to invest or to shop in Tuskegee. "We go out of town to shop, and if we should turn this bus around, and spend the money that we plan to spend at the Peachtree Mall, perhaps, this would help in keeping the stores open in Tuskegee." After making these statements, every- thing got real quiet. The question still remains: Why do we consumers subject ourselves to traveling long distance to shop where there may be more agreeable alternatives. We must learn that the attraction of big shopping centers is con- structed out of illusions. Why do so many of us as shoppers, forget that driving time counts, too? The wear, the tear, and the expenses of driving your car will have to be considered. In conclusion, let me respond to the com- plaints about the out-of-town shoppers who say that they can not find a good Editor, The Tuskegee News: Omar Neal is to be commended for host- ing the radio ~ralk Show' 'TOU GOT THE POWER," which is aired over WBIL radio. This talk show gives listeners an opportu- nity to call in and give their views or dis- cuss any topic of interest or concern. The problem with this show is that it is on the air only one day a week (Wednesday) 12 - 2 p.m. This is normal working hours for many people and may be an inconvenience, if not an impossibili- ty, for many working people to take advantage of the call-in program. Last week was one such example. Neal invited the political candidates to call in and discuss their platform and any other things they wanted to talk about. Only one candidate called. Some of the candidates work, maybe even out of town, and could not respond. Neal implied that it showed lack of inter- est that only one candidate would take the time to call in to talk on his show. I think Neal went too far in'using public airways to promote one person's cam- paign. He even insinuated that the other candidates were not concerned, simply because they did not take advantage of an invitation, via radio, to call. Perhaps he does not realize that not all of the candidates are self-employed or unemployed• Those people hold jobs and their work schedules may not allow them I ,, Serving Macon County Since 1865 The Tuskegee News (ISSN: 644480) is published weekly by Tuskegee Newspapers, Inc. 120 Eastside Street, Tuskegee, Alabama, 36083. Phone (334) 727-3020. Second Class Postage paid at Tuskegee, Alabama. POSTMASTER ~ send address changes to The Tuskegee News, P.O. Drawer, 830060 Tuskegee, Alabama, 36083. This newspaper is print- ed on 100 percent recycled paper to aid in the nation's con- servation efforts. Subscription rate in Macon County, $22.50 per year, outside of Macon County, $27.50 per year, outside state of Alabama, $29.50 per year. Paul R. Davis, Publisher Micheal SmeUey, Associate Publisher Gayle Davis, Vice President and Treasurer Guy Rhodes, Editor Lizzie Dixon, Office Manager in essence is that we really i here, we just say that we ment purposes• Could Neal is doing? Come on Tuske POWER. Or do you? A.R• Tuskegee Voters Editor, The Tuskegee I take this opportunity citizens of Tuskegee for on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 1996. We have been described placent, irresponsible, indifferent about what Tuskegee. Your response August 27 city election any such thoughts. Unfortunately, we must September (17th) for a is going to require a s many, but we can't stop now to make your plans to the polls in Se commitment to saving our it, if you try! "A good thing to thing to do--work with gang, not Wilhelmina R. Five years ago: State Fire Marshall has ruled that the Aug. 26 fire that Hall on the Tuskegee University campus made that ruling following inspection of structure that was the main academic buildi torial campus. Robison made that the fire was started in several locations... who was fired as police chief in Shorter filed suit against the council members and the case for $40,000 after saying he had to continue a year-long court battle. Scott ment is for about $6,000 more than it fees. Ten years ago: Tuskegee City Peterson died in a Lee County hospital hospitalized for about a week. The 56- suffered an apparent stroke• Tuskegee said he planned to recommend the council "Mickie" Wyckoff Peterson, Peterson's the term of the councilman who had served