New Commission takes office

Published 5:33 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shown are the Marengo County Commissioners Freddie Armstead, Dan England, John Crawford Jr., Calvin Martin and Michael Thompson.

A new face joined the Marengo County Commission on Wednesday and a familiar one returned to continue his service to the county.

Commissioners Dan England and Calvin Martin were sworn in by Probate Judge Cindy Neilson during Tuesday’s meeting.

England replaces former commissioner Ken Tucker, who did not seek reelection, in District 2. Martin ran unopposed for another term in District 4.

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Marengo County will soon see another new face in leadership when incoming Probate Judge Laurie S. Hall takes over for Neilson.

“Thank you for your service,” commission chairman John Crawford Jr. said to Neilson.

Neilson said she enjoyed serving the county.

“I have enjoyed my time here and there have been some good people here,” she said.

During the meeting, the commission heard from Jackie Holliday of the Marengo County Health Department.

Holliday reported on several accomplishments made possible by Strategic Alliance for Health, a five-year project funded by the Center for Disease Control. The alliance supports activities that combat diabetes, obesity and other health issues.

Funding helped make improvements to tennis courts at Demopolis High School, add playground equipment at Sweet Water, assisted with lighting a walking path in Thomaston and other needs.

The department also offered flu vaccination clinics.

“The recent flu vaccination clinics were well participated in by the public,” Holliday said.

Also, Holliday reported the Demopolis WIC office will close at the end of December because of rent expense.

“It is not cost-effective to continue to support,” he said. “We will bring the services back over to the Marengo County Health Department.”

The health department will also host a free prostate screening for the fifth year this Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the health department located at 303 Industrial Drive.

“I urge all men 40 and above to annual screening,” he said.

In addition to the reports by Holliday, the commission heard concerns from Joe Twardy of the Alabama Forestry Commission in regards to a logging ordinance recently passed by the commission.

The commission decided to suspend the current ordinance to grant time for loggers and the commission to work together to develop a plan.

The commission chambers were also more full than normal with participants from Leadership Marengo.

Leadership Marengo is comprised of a class of about 20-25 people from all different businesses around the county.

The class is in full swing. Wednesday’s class covered economics and government.

As a part of the second class, the students attended the commission meeting and toured the courthouse and the jail.

The five class topics include diversity and demographics, economics and government, healthcare and education, a trip to Montgomery to tour the capital and the final session will teach about the host of resources across the county.

There are five classes over the months of September to May, where at the end the students participate in a graduation.

“We try to have different speakers to expose them and teach them about Marengo County,” Kathryn Friday, extension office representative said.