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‘Poppy Month’ proclamation issued – Council OKs resolutions for airport grant, new IDA members

Mayor Jim Staff is flanked by Katelyn Carnley, left, and Breanna McGowan, right.

Atmore City Council members approved two resolutions during their October 23 meeting — one in acceptance of the latest in an ongoing series of airport grants, the other to appoint three representatives to a joint industrial authority. Mayor Jim Staff then issued a proclamation in recognition of local veterans.

Staff spoke briefly near the end of the meeting about the decision to temporarily close the city’s recycling center (see separate story, this issue). Prior to that, he and the council swept through the three-item agenda.

The council voted in favor of accepting the airport improvement grant, which Staff said was for “around $200,000 or so.” The grant funds are earmarked for use in construction of a “fuel farm” that will allow the local aviation facility to offer higher grades of fuel and pilots to “pay at the pump” when they fill their aircraft.

The city applied two years ago for inclusion in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program. The application was accepted, and the municipal airport has been receiving AIP funds since 2016.

Staff pointed out that such grants are “95-5,” meaning that the city has to provide only 5 percent of the funding through either cash or in-kind services.

The council next approved the resolution that officially makes the city a partner in Atmore-Monroe / Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, a non-profit corporation formed May 31, 2016 by Jim Johnson of Atmore, Mike Colquett and John A. Johnson, both of Monroeville.

Council members also gave the green light to the appointments of Ricky Martin, Tommy Moore and Joe Johnson as local members of the three-party regional economic development group.

The final agenda item, which was held over when the month’s first meeting was cancelled, was to officially proclaim the extended period from October 1 through November 11 (Veterans Day) as “Poppy Month.”

“Now, the best part,” said the mayor before asking Mary Stanley with the American Legion Auxiliary to introduce this year’s “Miss Poppy” and “Little Miss Poppy” designees. Junior Auxiliary members Breanna McGowan of Escambia County High School and Katelyn Carnley of J.U. Blacksher School, respectively, were chosen for the titles.

The poppy has for more than a century been a symbol of sacrifice for the loss of all lives in all wars. Members of Legion posts around the country hand out and display the artificial flowers as a memorial to the fallen military men and women, especially as Veterans Day approaches.

Staff noted that the city would hold its annual Veterans Day observance at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 13, at city hall.