2-19-2016 11-41-51 AMOften times, Mayor Ronnie has come in so full from the weekend that it’s hard to confine all that is inspiring him to around 500 words. Sometimes there are tough things going on, and they need to be talked about, prayed about, and printed. This particular day it was both. “We are coming up on storm season,” he said, “and people need to be prepared.” Of course, preparation is always a relative thing, and yet, it still is puzzling as to how so many people seem to just ignore storm season, and hope it will completely bypass them. I imagine we will address it again at length, but for the abbreviated imperative statement in this particular Ronnie, it’s time to buy your batteries, be able to reach your flashlight by Braille, purchase your water, and review your storm plan with your family. “Be alert,” were his two words on the subject. ‘Nuff said. 2-19-2016 11-42-13 AM Tough stuff: Public safety issues. We have talked many times over the years about mental health, something that we have both dealt with in our careers, and with which I have had to grapple personally with in regard to more than one family member. Outside of faith, sometimes the answers just don’t seem to be readily available, and for a public official, that is as humbling as it is frustrating. When ill mental health threatens the welfare of others, it is one of the worst situations imaginable, as we have recently seen in Florence and Athens. Anyone, whether a first responder, a parent, a teacher, or a public official, knows that mental ill health is “equal opportunity” when it comes to its devastating effects on everyone. “Mental illness knows no gender, race, or age,” he said as he sighed, and I nodded as we were quiet for awhile. When we prayed, we prayed for every person in our area who struggles with it, their families, and everyone who has to make any kind of a decision with regard to dealing with it from the standpoint of public safety. May God grant wisdom and relief to all, especially the sufferers and their families. Spring: “There is so much good stuff going on in our community that I almost don’t know where to start,” he said. Per usual, he always worries that he is leaving somebody out. The Boy Scouts are honored to have Coach Bruce Pearl confirmed as their keynote speaker on April 6th. Coach Pearl is a legend in the NCAA basketball world, and is currently a coach at Auburn. “He is one of the finest motivational speakers I have ever heard,” said Mayor Ronnie, and he has personally heard many. He was jazzed about the upcoming Intercultural Seminar to be hosted by ASU and the City of Athens. The Cultural Competency presentations are open to the public, and are designed for first responders, the public at large, and for those in education. It will be held on Monday and Tue, February 22nd and 23rd, and for more information, see the Community Calendar. The Home and Garden Show is coming on March 11th and 12th, and it seems like our whole city looks to it as being the proof that Spring will truly come again. 2-19-2016 11-42-37 AM And finally, how about those Shakes?? Three Grammys? The Alabama Shakes have always been dear to the Mayor’s heart, because his wife, Sandra, has known Brittney Howard’s grandmother since they were in high school. We both love the fact that in spite of fame, the Shakes still claim our wonderful town as their own. We prayed, and then it was time to roll, left both sobered, yet joyful. By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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