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City receives grant for two resource officers

By By Sherry Digmon
Atmore Police Chief Danny McKinley brought welcome news to Monday's city council meeting.
Although McKinley had been expecting to hear news of the grant from the Department of Justice, that news was slow in coming because the incidents of school violence, particularly the Columbine case, caused a large number of requests at one time.
The amount of the grant covers salaries and benefits for two officers for three years, one at Escambia County High School and the other at Escambia County Middle School. At the end of the three years, the Atmore Police Department will pick up one of the officers and the Escambia County Board of Education will absorb the other officer.
Drug Task Force Coordinator Glenn Carlee was instrumental in securing the grant, McKinley said. Councilman David McKinley expressed his appreciation to Carlee for his help.
Steve Gregory is the resource officer at ECHS, while Doyle "Butch" Lee is the officer at ECMS.
In other business, the council:
* granted permission for the Martin Luther King parade to be held on Jan. 17 beginning at 10 a.m. at Houston Avery Park. The parade will end at Greater Mt. Triumph Baptist Church where a Martin Luther King service will be held at noon.
Councilman Jerry Gehman asked if there was some way to keep the parade participants from having such a great distance between them as was the case in last year's parade. Organizer Lillie Johnson said that was up to the grand marshal. Councilman John Watkins is this year's grand marshal.
* granted permission to the Ladies of Essence for a Mardi Gras parade March 4, at 11 a.m., beginning at city hall and ending at Houston Avery Park. In addition to the parade, the Ladies of Essence will host a Mardi Gras Ball Feb. 19, 9 p.m., at the Lions Community Center. The theme is Millennium Magic. Tickets are $10 per person and will be available beginning Friday by calling 368-8616. Attire is formal or semi-formal. Charles Grant will perform for the evening. Alcohol will not be served but guests are invited to bring their own. The ball is open to everyone.
* authorized Mayor Rodney Owens to relocate the threshold and lights at the Atmore Airport. The change is necessary to bring the airport into an acceptable condition for the FAA to authorize a Global Positioning System (GPS) approach to the airport. Owens said a local electrician will do it for less than $10,000.
* authorized the mayor to renegotiate agricultural leases around the airport and Industrial Park.
* made the following committee appointments and reappointments on the following expired or vacated terms:
The terms of Sandra Whitaker and Bud Robertson are up on the Personnel Board. The council voted to table these appointments pending further discussion.
* at Gehman's request, heard a report from Atmore Fire Chief Gerry McGhee on the condition of the fire department's equipment. One of the department's two tankers is out of commission right now. One of the four pumpers is also out. McGhee is getting figures together on the cost of repair or replacement.
* heard from an Atmore resident that he would like to see the city cut trees that are growing up on lots around town and bring in more fast food restaurants and industry. He said he shops out of town because he "can't find anything" in Atmore and he wishes the police department would catch speeders on North Main Street.
* heard an expression of appreciation from Chief McGhee to Sterling Fancher of the Beautification Committee for planting shrubbery at the Pensacola Avenue fire station.