City of Lanett accepts state grants

Published 10:10 am Thursday, November 10, 2022

LANETT — The Lanett City Council on Monday approved resolutions to accept state grants to help purchase two new buses for the senior nutrition program and to accept $2,600 from the Alabama Tourism Department for the annual Juneteenth celebration next June. Proclamations were unanimously approved to congratulate long-time Lanett resident Maudie Taylor on recently celebrating her 95th birthday and to recognize Tuesday, Nov. 15 as Retired Teachers Day in the city.

City Inspector Johnny Wood talked to the council about the bus grant. He told them that the ball started rolling on this back in April. 

“We agreed that there was an urgent need to replace two of our transit vans due to high operating and maintenance costs and one being unserviceable,” he said.

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Wood was the city’s police chief at the time. The council then gave the go ahead to try to have the vehicles replaced through the Alabama Department of Transportation’s Section 5310 Program.

“I am pleased to report to you tonight that ALDOT has completed its review of our grant request and has approved the purchase of two 2023 Ford E360 nine-passenger high roof transit vans.

The vans will have wheelchair stations and side loading and will cost $168,346. Eighty percent of that amount, or $134,676, will come from the federal government. The remaining $33,670 will come from the city.

The Section 5310 grant request made by the city provides capital assistance under the Federal Transit Administration Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals With Disabilities Transportation Program.

The resolution that was approved on Monday authorizes Mayor Jamie Heard to enter an agreement with the State of Alabama through ALDOT to provide partial funding for the purchase of the two new vans.

Taylor celebrated her 95th birthday on Oct. 9. She was born in 1927 and was one of six children of Shelly G. Reynolds and Willie Bessie Bowen Reynolds. She attended school in Five Points and in Randolph County before earning a degree from Selma University.

“Mrs. Maudie is a proud mother of seven smart and highly educated children and grandmother of nineteen,” the resolution reads. “In her relationship with God, she united with the Macedonia Baptist Church early on and later with the St. James Baptist Church, serving as a youth director, Sunday School teacher, president of the Missionary Society and as a corresponding secretary. She was also affiliated with the Les Dames Esquire Civic Club, was a worthy matron for the Shaver’s Pride Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and a board member for the East Alabama Mental Health Center and the Bowen East District, where she also served as second vice president.”

“Mrs. Maudie has earned a place of importance through her contributions to the religious, civic and educational programs not just here in Lanett but the entire nation,” the proclamation continues. “It is with great pleasure that Mayor Jamie Heard and members of the Lanett City Council express best wishes and congratulations to Mrs. Maudie Victoria Reynolds Howell Taylor on having celebrated her 95th birthday.”

Maudie was presented a large framed copy of the resolution by Council Member Tamalita Autry. She walked unaided to the front of the council and thanked everyone for thinking of her. 

“I am thankful to be able to cook and to get around as well as I do at my age,” she said. “I appreciate it so much that you are recognizing me tonight.”

She read one of her favorite poems to thank the mayor and council.

Heard said he was glad to see her doing well after a recent illness.

“I’m glad I could still cook while sitting in my favorite chair,” she said.

Several retired teachers were present at the meeting to receive the proclamation honoring retired teachers from the local areas. 

“It is such a joy to be there for this,” said Phyllis Zachery Stiggers. “We thank the mayor, members of the council and the entire city hall staff for thinking of us. I’m still young, but I can look out into the audience and see some of my former students.”

Other retired teachers present included Commissioner Sam Bradford, Wanda Huguley, Mary Banks and Gretchen Holloway.