Ronnie MarksPer usual, we had way more to talk about than we had time, but, as always, we made time for prayer, my favorite part of our bi-weekly meetings. “So much is happening in our city and county, and so much of it is positive,” said the Mayor. We have corporations seriously courting us, we have an up and coming group of leaders in the form of the Mayor’s Youth Commission, a plan for getting the old clay tile sewer pipe system replaced, and much more. What Makes Ronnie Roll So let’s start with the teens. The Mayor’s Youth Commission has been a rousing success, inspiring both the kids as well as those who are mentoring them. In fact, more schools than just AHS and Athens Bible School are showing an interest in the program, and brainstorming is ongoing as to how that can be accommodated. Both Holly Hollman and Jackie Warner are being kept busy by these teens, and Congressman Mo Brooks came and spoke to the Youth Commission the first week of this month. The kids peppered him with some questions that showed wisdom beyond their years, not the least of which was, “What would have happened if we had gone over the fiscal cliff?” Personally, I’d like to ask Speaker Boehner the same question. What Makes Ronnie Roll The members of the Youth Commission are not just learning what makes things tick in government, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, they are also taught how to dress for an interview, are given projects and homework, and most recently Jerry Barksdale regaled them with tales of local Athens WWII vets who were in the same German POW camp. There is nothing to make history come alive like a local story, and the students loved it. The “trucks” spoken of in the title have to do with fleet management with specific regard to garbage trucks. The City of Athens is in need of three new garbage trucks, and they are not cheap. Because running a city is very much like running a household or a corporation, finding ways to fund a major and necessary investment which is as important as waste management is important, and the City Council is hard at work doing so. Did you know that there are literally 34 miles of old, decaying, clay tile pipes under our city? We have cameras that are able to get an accurate idea of what is going on down there, and it ain’t pretty. There are roots that have clogged them up or broken them down completely, and while they have had more than one go around with an aggressive auger to get them cleared out, the fact is, they need to be replaced. The city has a plan to replace them over the next five years, and given the kind of demand the recent successive rainy days have put on the sewer system and the water treatment plant, it is a good thing it is going to get underway soon. “We’ve got to find a way to streamline, and to meet the needs of a growing population,” said the Mayor. That is no small task, and I for one am glad that we have a Mayor who understands the need for wisdom to accomplish the task that can only come from above. By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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