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County awards grants, bids for vehicles

On Monday, the Chambers County Commission gave approved two grants being sought by the Chambers County 911 System and awarded three bids for pickup trucks needed by the county highway department.

E-911 Director Donnie Smith told the commissioners that both grants are fully funded by the federal government. One is for approximately $7,500. It will enable continued maintenance and upkeep of the department’s mobile communications vehicle. With local government approval, Chambers County 911 will be receiving this funding on an annual  basis.

The county’s mobile communications vehicle is in much demand not just in Chambers County but in other areas of the state.

The second 911 grant request is for around $3,000. These funds will help with the upkeep of the county’s swift water rescue team, which is housed at the East Alabama Fire Department in Valley.

Smith said the team has swung into action a number of times this past year and was on standby during the flooding incident in Houston.

“They were within 12 hours of going there,” he said. “We are part of a national network now.”

Commissioner Debbie Wood noted that the letter to the local EMA had been signed by Valley native Sherrell Roberts, who’s now a state official with Homeland Security.

“He’s a good guy, and I’m glad he’s doing well,” she said.

The commissioners backed County Engineer Josh Harvill’s recommendation to award a contract to Langley Motor Company, Lanett, for the purchase of three new trucks.

Two of them are half-ton double cab/extended cab 4×4 pick ups with the third one being a 2×4 pickup. Langley’s bid of $79,593 for the three vehicles was slightly below what was offered by two competing firms.

Commissioner Sam Bradford said he was pleased that the county highway department would have three vehicles in the Thursday, Dec. 7 Valleywide Christmas parade. They include a lead truck, a dump truck and a motor grade, all  with “Strength Woven In” logos prominently displayed.

A motor grader costs around $250,000, and the county has four of them.

Also making an appearance in the parade will be E-911’s mobile communications unit. It cost more than $250,000 but was entirely funded by grant money. Director Smith said that it serves a critical need not just in Chambers County but in other parts  of the state as well,

Harvill also reported on some work being done by the highway department in Lanett and Valley. In Lanett, county crews are tearing out old sidewalk in preparation for new concrete that’s being put in place by a contractor. It’s part of a downtown improvement plan Lanett has gotten some significant funding to have done.

“It’s an unreal project,” Harvill said. “It will transform that part of town. It’s a lengthy contract but should work out really well.”

In Valley, the highway department has been doing some work at the boat landings in Shawmut and Langdale. Harvill said the county’s portion of the work is around 95 percent complete. They will come back to do some dress up work after the contractor has put down some paving.

Work started this past Thursday on similar improvements at the Langdale boat landing. It’s also going to be paved.

In other action, the Chambers County Commission approved a holiday schedule for 2018 that was being recommended by County Manager Regina Chambers. The days off include Jan. 19 – Martin Luther King/Robert E. Lee Day, Feb. 19 – President’s Day, April 2 – Easter Monday, May 28 – Memorial Day, Wednesday, July 4 – Independence  Day, Sept. 3 – Labor Day, Oct. 8 – Columbus Day, Nov. 12 – Veterans’ Day, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22-23, Thanksgiving holiday, Monday-Wednesday, Dec. 24-26, Christmas holidays and Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 – New Year’s Day.

The county also unanimously approved a proclamation recognizing Mrs. Mamie Lou Vines Winston’s 100th birthday, which took place on Nov. 25.

Mrs. Winston was married to the late Morris Winston. They had nine children, 26 grandchildren, 51 great grandchildren and thus far, four great-great  grandchildren.

“She was everybody’s aunt,” said Commission Chairman Charlie Williams. “She had 15 brothers and sisters and literally has hundreds of nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.”

“She’s a long-time member of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Lanett,”  Williams added.

“She has never met a stranger and is a friend to all. She’s the best cook in the world. She could take something that was not your favorite thing and turn it into something delicious.”

Williams said one example of that is her prune cake.