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Looking back: We were celebrating country’s bicentennial birthday

Forty years ago, in 1976, seems like a long time, but it seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating our country’s bicentennial. Every day somebody came up with new ways to remind people to celebrate, including new coins, and anything that could have the date on it was decorated.

The local schools took it upon themselves to put together a look back through the past 200 years in the history of the nation. They even dressed for the occasion with costumes to go along with the time period.

A lot of attention was paid in The Atmore Advance about a couple of programs that the Fountain Correctional Center was conducting.

They had two programs to be used to help the inmate adjust to being out of prison when his time was up. Some prisoners were put into a work release to ease the inmate back into society on his release from prison. The inmate was still incarcerated but they were given more freedom and able to work like a regular job. When the inmate was down to the last 30 days of his sentence, he could be put into a pre-release program. In this they were allowed to live in a mobile village, but they were still required to come back there after the work day was over.

I don’t know if they have anything like this today, but it sounds like a good idea. Prisoners who get accustomed to the jail environment often have a hard fitting back into the community. They are said to be institutionalized and don’t know how to adjust. What ever happened to the idea of making an inmate help to pay for his own incarceration. Someone with a job is certainly less likely to be involved in something illegal. At least that is my opinion.

Atmore was looking forward to the construction of a new grain elevator and Buck Powell was named the new football coach at Escambia County High School.

Middle school students were assigned to make a model miniature depicting a sports site. It was a great success with the students showing up with miniature football, baseball, basketball and others. One student even baked a cake and decorated it like a football field. You can imagine what happened to that one.

Some of the good bargains of the day were West Brothers with king size sheets for $3.98 and towels for 88 cents each. King Pontiac-Buick was selling new cars for less than $5,000, and Goodyear had General Electric washing machines for $264 and dryers for $199.

And talk about optimism. Escambia County High School organized a track team, even though they didn’t have a track to run on. They were looking toward the future.