No storm too big for Atmore

Published 9:21 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
There have been a lot of changes in Atmore the last couple of months.
From smoother railroad crossings to tastier fast food, Atmore sure is sprucing up.
It's been just over a year since this reporter arrived in town and to be honest Atmore was in dire need of fixing up. It wasn't because of poor maintenance by city employees or residents who didn't care about their town's appearance, but instead from everyone's favorite friend, Hurricane Ivan. After seeing the damaged performed by the ferocious storm, it was apparent that the city needed a lot of assistance or maybe a visit from the TLC makeover show Town Haul.
The city is still receiving funds to assist with damage caused by Ivan and repairs are always on going. Construction crews are wrapping up work on the city's ballparks, which now sport state-of-the-art lighting that will hopefully withstand any future storms. Contractors have worked hard the last couple of weeks as they continued to "ReLeaf" Atmore planting 500 trees on both private and public properties to replace those Ivan took as souvenirs.
Several other projects are underway or soon to be underway and several businesses and agencies are still recovering. Fortunately, even though Ivan tore through Atmore causing widespread damage, it didn't wound the hearts of the people that live and work here, so those still trying to recoup don't have to look far for assistance.
Just as the area thought efforts to rebuild Atmore were progressing, Hurricane Dennis ravaged the area. This time, less than a year later, Atmore took another mighty blow, but not nearly as bad as Ivan. Cleanup still continues from this storm as well. It's hard at times to decipher which storm caused what damage.
It's great to live in a small town following storms as severe as Ivan and Dennis. Residents don't have to worry about fending for themselves before or after because they have friendly neighbors all around them that are always there to help, even if you're dealing with maybe a storm in your own personal life.
It takes time to battle back from storms, but Atmore's leaders streaming down from Mayor Howard Shell and the city council to the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce director Emilie Mims and her staff have done a great job on this long road to recovery. But you can't forget the city employees, Atmore Utilities Board employees, police and fire departments and so many more organizations and individuals that have stepped up to the plate before and after these storms to insure services are operational or repaired in a timely manner.
With this said, there have been mixed reviews on whether the 2006 hurricane season will be comparable to the record-breaking 2005 season, which included 26 named (21) storms with 13 (12) hurricanes – seven of which became intense storms. Tickers across new channels stating that the 2006 season would be more intense than 2005 have been challenged by several hurricane experts predicting that the season will not be "as volatile".
All of us here in Atmore pray that the season is mild and that our small town isn't in Mother Nature's crosshairs as the bulls-eye for any hurricanes. Either way, the direction of our community leaders and the caring souls that live within the city limits will help lead us down the stormy path.
Together, we can weather any storm.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. His column appears weekly.

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