Atmore, not Baldwin, best suited for Airbus

Published 11:45 am Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Some area media outlets have been promoting south Baldwin County as an ideal location for Airbus supply houses and offshoot businesses.

In some of their newscasts I have seen area TV stations touting Foley, Gulf Shores and south Alabama for Airbus developments. There is nothing wrong with this area having offshoot businesses, but in my opinion this area is not ideal for two reasons.

First, the potential workforce down there consists primarily of retired and older people, not exactly what you need for manning a highly technical business of this nature. Second, there are those torrid highways 59 and 98. Can you imagine having to fight nerve-racking traffic on these extremely crowded highways on your way to and from work each day?

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So, why not consider Atmore? I have never heard TV stations report on our easy access off I-65. That’s right. Goods can be moved with ease to and from Brookley Field’s old home right to our industrial park and other ideal sites.

It bothers me that news reporters, who are not from our area and who move from one TV station to another, air these news stories without researching the overall geography of adjacent towns like us. I hope the French entourage will journey our way and consider, not only our geographical location, but our potential workforce extending into five counties. And, I hope they will not be swayed by sensationalized news reporting.

Regarding Airbus coming to Mobile, I have read that an abundance of business resulting from this move could create two to three new skyscraper buildings giving the port city a more defined skyline. This is just one example of how big this French move will be.
In some other news, I have received a few nice emails since the column was revived four weeks ago. Yesterday I heard from former Atmore resident Dan Headley, the son of Cliff Headley and Mildred Headley.

A 1967 ECHS graduate, Dan told me as a youngster he shined shoes for Mr. Lewis at Elite Barber Shop and later for Wesley Broomfield who bought the shop from Mr. Lewis. I remember Cliff working as salesman for Mac Mayes at Atmore Office and School Supply. Regretfully he passed away in 2006 Dan said.  But his mother, 88, now lives in Ft. Walton Beach. He also told me he played for the Green Hornets in our Little League ball organization. Sam Kahn was his coach.

Dan asked that I write a column about the gospel singings staged at old Byrne Field back in the fifties, sixties and seventies. I told him I would look for one of my earlier gospel singing columns and rehash it in a future column.

It is always good to hear from our former residents.

Speaking of those gospel singings, I am reminded of that ill-fated day in 1954 when I was gathering news off our WATM UPS news ticker. A bulletin flashed, “Two Blackwoods Perish in Clanton, Alabama Plane Crash.” This was very disturbing because just two weeks earlier the Blackwood Brothers came by the station to sing and promote their appearance at our big gospel sing at Byrne Field that night.

In some other news, local and area yard sale participants may find it interesting to buy and sell wares in the big 300-mile World’s Widest Yard Sale. The May 31 to June 2 sale will be staged along Highway 80 from Phenix City and the Georgia line to Cuba, Alabama and the Mississippi line.

The Alabama Rural Development Office expects a record turnout with folks coming from “up north and out west.”
In some news from 1955, Betty Smith, Atmore’s representative in the Miss Alabama Contest who finished as a finalist in that Birmingham event, received a one-year scholarship to college. And, in 1995, Livingston became The Miss University of West Alabama.

Atmore’s Pink Ladies are now a regular feature in my weekly column. This week Marlene Forester has given us  Evelyn Turberville as our featured Pink Lady. Thanks to Marlene for her help.

As director of the Hospital Auxiliary, Evelyn has been involved in the Pink ladies for 23 years. A retired teacher, she is active in First Baptist Church with many years devoted to her Sunday School department.

A son, Bruce, is now officer in charge of the local National Guard. Her daughter Alice, who is a retired Auburn High School teacher, now works with the Auburn Beatification Program.

These Pink Ladies devote much of their time to this very worthwhile community service.

I’ll have more news of Atmore’s people, places and events next week.

Lowell McGill