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2A — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012

GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

Counties complete major projects in 2011 St. Clair opens new hospital, finishes remodel of courthouse By ELSIE HODNETT Home staff writer

St. Clair County completed three large projects in 2011 and dealt with the aftermath of April’s deadly tornadoes. “We finished the remodel of the traditional courthouse in Ashville,” Commission Chairman Stan Batemon said. He said construction on the $6 million courthouse project began two years ago. “It was completed and we moved into it in October 2011,” he said. Batemon said the courthouse project encompassed adding 35 percent more space and bringing the building into code for health and safety and into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. “We basically upgraded the structure to anticipate 50 years of more service as a courthouse,” he said. “The courthouse is very important to the entire county, especially the northern half. It is the oldest courthouse still operating as a courthouse in Alabama. It is very important to maintain the traditional aspect of that courthouse.” Batemon said as counties grow, many are pressed to add satellite courthouses. “St. Clair County has two constitutional county seats,” he said. “That has kept us from having to

add satellite courthouses in the county. We definitely need the court space in the county.” Batemon said another large project was the completion of the new St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital, which opened in December. “A hospital is very important in a growing county, both legally and morally, for delivering health care services to county residents,” he said. “From a moral standpoint, it is the county’s responsibility to provide for the health and safety of its citizens. From a legal standpoint, counties are required to provide indigent care for its citizens.” Batemon said the third large project in the county was the Coosa Valley Water Supply District, which came online in November 2011. “The $32 million surface water treatment plant was the newest to be built in Alabama,” he said. “And The $6 million St. Clair County Courthouse in Ashville renovation projit was built in one of the fastest growing counties ect, which began two years ago, was completed in 2011. in Alabama that needed “Another thing we dealt the health and safety needs summer.” a permanent source of with last year was address- of the citizens affected — drinking water for future ing the April tornado for both public and private Batemon said St. Clair growth.” problems,” he said. “The cleanup,” he said. County and the city of Batemon said the new county spent about 1 milBatemon said another Pell City combined to surface water treatment lion unbudgeted dollars project in the works is the design and build Veterans plant is currently pumping dealing with the aftermath Col. Robert L. Howard Parkway. around 3 million gallons of the April tornadoes.” State Veterans Home. “Veterans Parkway is of water per day, but can Batemon said the coun“They broke ground on now the main street for pump up to 6 mgd as ty will get reimbursed by the new Veterans Home in the new Veterans Home,” needed with no expansions. the federal government for 2011,” he said. “The $50 he said. The facility is designed to some of the cost. million project is about pump as much as 12 mgd “We spent the money two-thirds completed and Contact Elsie Hodnett at with future expansion. for cleanup and addressing should be finished this ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

St. Clair industries still investing in communities By ELSIE HODNETT Home staff writer

Despite a sluggish economy, St. Clair County industries are continuing to reinvest in their communities. “This is the most expansions in one year for our county since 2007, before the economy crashed,” Economic Development Council executive director Don Smith said. Smith said 2011 was the year of expansions in St. Clair County, with five manufacturing companies announcing expansions, matching the five expansions in 2007. “Much of the job creation related to these expansions will actually take place in 2012,” he said. “These expansions are a testament to the quality companies the EDC has recruited over the last 12 years.” Smith said the companies that announced expansions in 2011 include Andritz Inc. in Pell City, Eissmann Automotive North America in Pell City, Rain Bird Corporation in

Steele, WKW Erbsloeh North America Inc. in Pell City and another company that has asked not to be identified. Smith said a couple of the expansions are already completed. Andritz Inc. in Pell City began an expansion project at the beginning of this year and completed it a couple of months ago. The almost $1.7 million project included a 6,800square-foot expansion of its 35,000-square-foot facility. The company added space, machinery and four jobs. Eissmann Automotive North America in Pell City began construction of its $750,000 facility expansion that added 15,000 square feet in March and completed it in August. The company also added about $2 million in equipment and about 40 jobs. Rain Bird Corporation in Steele is investing $2.4 million in equipment for a new manufacturing line. The expansion began in January 2012 and should be completed mid-year 2012. The company also plans to

Talladega County Jail project finished By AZIZA JACKSON Home staff writer

Many of Talladega County’s decisions for a brighter future are made by the County Commission at the Courthouse in Talladega, which is one the oldest working courthouses in Alabama. The commission consists of Chairman Jimmy Roberson, who serves District 4, District 1 Commissioner Jackie Swinford, District 2 Commissioner John Luker, and District 3 Commissioner Kelvin Cunningham. A total of $38.7 million comprised of 77 different funds was reported from the 2011 fiscal year; about $10.8 million of that total was for the county’s general fund. “The biggest events of the past year are the completion of the jail project and the closing of the CSEPP program,” county administrator Wayne Hall said. The Talladega County Jail expansion project was in its final stages of development, and renovations were expected to be completed this month. “There were two parts: the expansion of the new building and the renovation of the old building,” Hall said. The bid for the jail was See County, Page 3A

hire 10 new employees. WKW Erbsloeh North America Inc. in Pell City was granted a tax abatement by the Pell City Industrial Development Board at the beginning of December. “The expansion has not yet been officially announced (as of midJanuary), but the tax abatement was granted in hopes that the company will move forward with expansion plans,” Smith said. “The tax abatement is for a total investment of $6.6 million in new equipment and a building expansion. The expansion would also create about 200 new jobs. It is a proposed 24-month project.” Smith said Eissmann Automotive also plans to expand again in 2012, the company’s second expansion within a year. The $3.75 million expansion is expected to create 35 jobs and includes a 15,000 square foot addition to the existing building. The building construction will cost about $750,000, and Eissmann Automotive will

Brian Schoenhals/The Daily Home

Eissmann Automotive North America in Pell City completed a $2.75 million expansion in 2011 and plans to expand again in 2012 with a $3.75 million investment.

invest another $3 million for equipment. “I believe we will have another expansion announcement of a local manufacturer within the next month,” Smith said in mid-January. “We are also excited about Indie Candy announcing plans to construct a new facility in Moody. We have plans to announce another manufacturing company by the end of March.” Smith said the 2011 industrial expansions are expected to add more than 250 new jobs.

“In general, St. Clair County was very fortunate that the quality companies that have located here in the past are in a position to reinvest in our community and increase their workforce,” he said. Smith said the four tax abatements approved this year for industrial expansions do not include abatements of educational taxes. “We do the tax abatements in hopes these companies will take advantage of the cost savings in order to invest in the community locally instead of other

locations in the U.S. or overseas,” he said. “The main benefits include additional funding for our local schools and new jobs created.” Smith said the number of jobs expected to be created from these expansions, combined with health care related jobs from the new St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital and the Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home, put St. Clair County ahead of most counties in recovering from the economic downturn.

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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012 — 3A

GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

County From Page 2A

finally awarded to Brice Building Co. and CMH Architects after years of searching. The entire renovation and expansion project cost $13.8 million. “There had been several attempts to build the new jail but the bids were always out of our reach,” Hall said. “But this time we changed our approach to a design/build approach.” According to Hall, the county was able to use some federal funds for the project that took away any possibility of increasing taxes for Talladega County residents. “Talladega County received an award of allocations that were not used in any other counties and we were able to do the project without imposing additional taxes on our citizens,” Hall said. Another big transition for the county will be the closing of its Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program. CSEPP brought with it millions of dollars in federal funding for local EMA sites to upgrade their emergency capabilities. The Talladega County Emergency Management Agency will undergo several changes as the funding from CSEPP ends in March, after the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility team destroyed the last of the 661,529 chemical munitions stored at the Anniston Army Depot in September. “The funding that we receive from them is scheduled to end in March and that will drastically change the way that we’re funded because we’re 90 to 95 percent funded by

Jim Smothers/Home file photo

The main dormitory areas at the expanded Talladega County Metro Jail have 125 beds. These areas feature stainless tables and toilets and a large, open space. The expansion has a total of 332 beds, most in the open dormitory settings, but with some in a higher security arrangement for inmates considered dangerous. County Commissioner Jimmy Roberson called the older facility a “ticking time bomb” and said the county was fortunate there had not been more problems at the jail.

CSEPP,” said Steve Dover, public information officer for Talladega County EMA. “Now we’re going on the County Commission’s budget and when you’re talking about several million dollars in funding you’re getting to hundreds of thousand of dollars it’s going to be different.” Dover said the Talladega County EMA is pursuing grants and other sources of funding to supplement the drop in federal funding.

This could lead to a reduction in staff, but Dover said they are relying now more than ever on volunteers in the community. “Don’t expect any programs or services to be cut,” Dover said. “We are planning on restructuring personnel but as far as the level of service we are providing we plan to keep that level.” Dover said the EMA currently has five full-time positions that will have to be “restructured and re-

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titled.” “From what I understand, we will be keeping three (positions) but that’s always subject to change based on the commission and how they want to proceed,” Dover said. “Just because the CSEPP money is going away doesn’t mean the disasters in Talladega County can go away. The chemicals are just a very small part of what can happen.” Dover said they are relying on two volunteer

programs specifically: Community Emergency Response Team, also known as CERT, and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, also known as VOAD. “In CERT we train average citizens to be able to respond to a disaster in their community,” Dover said. “They go through several levels of training to be able to provide that first initial response until responders get there.” Dover said with VOAD all the volunteer organiza-

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tions in the county get together to help, but any businesses or community members with disaster resources like food and clothing, equipment or storage are encouraged to help. Dover said CERT training will be available to the community soon. For more information about volunteering, call the Talladega County EMA at 256-761-2125. Contact Aziza Jackson at ajackson@dailyhome.com.

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4A -THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brian Schoenhals/The Daily Home

David Suttle pours an aluminum mold at Talladega Pattern and Aluminum.

GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

Brian Schoenhals/The Daily Home

John Phillips saws gates and risers off aluminum castings.

Talladega Pattern celebrates its 60th year By CHRIS NORWOOD Home staff writer

Talladega Pattern and Aluminum celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, and is still run by the same family. Manager Jason Peters said the company began as a part-time enterprise run by his grandfather, W.C. “Pete” Peters, in 1951, just as a pattern shop. He was working at Newberry full time then. “He did that for four or five years, then went to full time, going more toward the foundry end,”

Peters said. He was also doing pattern work for Talladega Foundry at the time. Brass casting was added to the list of services

in the 1970s. Today, the company’s 35 employees turn out “a broad spectrum of aluminum and brass castings.

We do castings for everything from substation connectors to playground equipment.” The biggest part of the

then sells it to another company that actually manufactures the components and assembles them, then sells them to Southern Company for Alabama Power poles. “But we can do just about anything,” said Joey Peters, W.C. Peter’s son and Jason Peter’s uncle. “We recently did some work for a guy who was restoring an airplane in Alaska. We did the castings for him, mostly because I like aviation. business, about 80 per- But we don’t do the really cent, involves molds for structural type jobs. We power pole line equipment couldn’t pour the wings, and substations. Talladega Pattern makes the mold, See 60 years, Page 5A

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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012 — 5A

GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

Garrison Steel makes changes to succeed Home staff writer

While some companies have struggled and even failed with the downturn in the economy, Garrison Steel has continued to succeed and grow in Pell City. “We adapted and adjusted to the economy,” said Scott Tyree, vice president of marketing and sales. And the adjustment has worked. The 30,000square-foot steel fabrication shop is thriving, bustling with workers cutting, punching holes, grinding and welding pieces of steel together for construction projects. The leftover steel is sold as scrap metal and nothing is wasted. Tyree, a former high school coach, said the company has not had any layoffs and employees are seeing a lot of overtime work. “We hope we can continue to grow,” Tyree said. “We may have to go into a different direction next year. You just don’t know. We do what you have to do to keep the lights on.” He points to the many businesses with chains on their doors because in some instances companies would not adapt and change. Tyree said Garrison Steel was willing to make changes to succeed, and those changes were possible because of its president, John Garrison, 60, who oversees his two companies, Garrison Steel Erection Inc. and Garrison Steel Fabricators Inc. in Pell City. He said Garrison believes in his workers. “He looks for people to come up with plans for success,” Tyree said. He said Garrison borrows a saying from the late Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, saying, “If you surround yourself with good people, you’re going to succeed.”

60 years From Page 4A

for instance. Well, I suppose we could, but that’s not a plane that I would want to fly in myself.” Talladega Pattern is a job shop, Joey Peters said, which makes it both more versatile and cheaper, but does impose some limits. “The patterns are cheap and the castings are reasonable, but we’re just not set up to do the same things over and over like the specialty shops. A company like Honda, for example, would need to spend $20,000 to $40,000 for a mold for an engine, but after turning out so many engines they would make that back. I’m guessing on those numbers, by the way, I don’t know exactly what it would cost. But most of the jobs we handle are in the $500 to $2,000 range.” They also handle gearbox covers for feed trucks for two different companies and do all manner of ornamental work. “Again, those things are for looks, they are not structural at all,” Joey Peters said. “We do things like decorate handles, lamp bases, light fixtures and even statue parts. We took apart an old lead statute in Montgomery, made the molds from that and gave it to Robinson Iron. They recast it and finished it. We did the same thing with the statue of the lady holding the bowl over her head in Memphis.” They have also done casts for a manufacturer of playground equipment. And recently, they have taken on another new client, Jason Peters said. “We are making the

“We have a good group of guys here,” said Brandon Layton of Ragland, who is shop superintendent at Garrison Steel Fabricators. “And they do what you ask of them,” Tyree added. Layton said everyone at Garrison Steel works well together and enjoys what they do. “I look forward to coming into work every day,” Tyree said. Tyree and Layton said Garrison puts a lot of faith in his employees but expects them to do their jobs. “He doesn’t want to micromanage anyone,” Tyree said. “He hired you to do a job, and he wants you to do it.” “He’s a very good man to work for,” Layton said. Garrison learned his trade from the ground floor up. He started his career in the steel business as a trainee draftsman shortly after graduating from high school. He also learned the trade of ironworker and welder and eventually became an assistant foreman, then foreman. Garrison started his own business in 1992 after working in construction for more than 20 years, including big steel erection projects. “No one knew who Garrison Steel was,” Garrison said. “I thought I’d starve at first because no one trusted this newly started company called Garrison Steel.”

But within six months, and after a few small jobs, the requests for bids came flowing in. Since 1992, Garrison Steel Erectors has become one of the largest and most respected steel companies in the South. Garrison Steel Erectors has done large jobs as far away as Vale, Colo., and Aruba. The company worked on the Birmingham Airport pattern for the new keys to the city of Talladega,” he said. “They’re working on the pattern right now, and we’ll be ready to cast them

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

An employee at Garrison Steel punches holes in steel angles.

expansion, the new Children’s Hospital and the Auburn Basketball Arena. In 2004, Garrison Steel moved to Pell City. “We had an opportunity to look for a facility and location where we could begin a new fabrication operation, and after reviewing several locations in Birmingham and Moody, we explored Pell City,” Garrison said. “The answer was clear. Pell City had a unique opportunity for us to be near a main artery, I-20, and between two major cities where we do business, Birmingham and Atlanta.” He said additionally, Pell City was expanding in 2004 and seemed to be poised for a robust economy. “Despite the nationwide downturn starting in 2007, Pell City has seen phenomenal growth and prosperity throughout that time,” Garrison said. “The workforce is abundant, and the city and St. Clair County have been a partner in our business, always willing to provide development of the workforce here and help our business prosper — we have never regretted our choice compretty soon.” Contact Chris Norwood at cnorwood@dailyhome. com.

ing to Pell City.” Some of the notable jobs Garrison Steel has worked on include the Bass Pro Shop in Leeds, the Moody City Hall and the Huntsville Airport expansion. Garrison is highly regarded by his peers. He was elected president of the American Subcontractors Association for Alabama. “That’s a big deal,” Tyree said. Garrison also served a number of years as president of the Steel Erectors Association of America. Garrison Steel Erection and Garrison Steel Fabrication combined do about $14 million in business each year and employ about 125 people.

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

John Garrison is owner of Garrison Steel Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome. Erectors Inc. and Garrison Steel Fabrication Inc. in Pell City. com.

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6A -THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012

GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

Metal recycling continues to thrive despite economic slump By WILL HEATH Home staff writer

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

Hawk Plastics manufactures 4 to 12 inch PVC plastic sewer pipe, and specializes in standard and custom PVC perforated pipe.

Hawk Plastics operates 5 days a week, 24 hours a day By MARK LEDBETTER

Home staff writer

Hawk Plastics is among the oldest Americanowned PVC pipe producers in the United States. Company operations began in 1985 when Larry Moody and Gene Davis leased the Beaunit rayon factory. The plant coowners borrowed money, received a small grant and put up their own money. “Banks are different today than they were then,” Moody said. “They probably wouldn’t give us a loan today.” When the plant opened, they operated used equipment and neither Moody nor Davis received salaries their first year. They decided it would be better to own a facility rather than lease, and they purchased and moved into their present facility in 2003. Hawk Plastics is locat-

ed on First Road in the Childersburg Industrial Park. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is the material used to produce plastic pipe. PVC is also used to produce pipes in houses, fences and windows. Approximately half of the pipe produced is for sanitary sewer pipe applications and water distribution and is used by municipalities and industries. PVC has several advantages over other pipe materials. It will not burst into flames, possesses high tensile strength, and is cheaper to produce than pipes manufactured from other materials. Moody, president of the company, said U.S. produced raw materials for manufacturing PVC is cheaper and of a better quality than that of oversees competitors. Hawk Plastics manufactures PVC plastic sewer

pipe with integral bell gasketed joints. They produce 4 to 12 inch pipe. The company also specializes in standard and custom PVC perforated pipe. Perforated pipe is primarily used for drainage purposes. The company doesn’t sell directly to municipalities but to vendors that supply municipalities and contractors. When the housing industry slumped, Hawk Plastics was less impacted than its competitors, Moody said. “In 27 years we have never missed a payroll,” he said. “We were hurt less because we are not as dependent” on industrial sales as their competitors. Diversity was the key. The company holds the patent to and manufactures PVC ragglestick, a packaging product developed during 25 years of working to eliminate packaging problems.

Ragglestick is used for creating compactness and stability to the packaging and storing of cylinder objects such as pipe, tubes rolls, drums and barrels. The product is customized to provide a tighter fit that conforms to the diameter of the product that is to be shipped. With the PVC ragglestick, the typical pyramid stacks can be replaced by square or rectangular stacks. Shipping costs are reduced by the increased payload created by the increased stacking and by permitting double stacking. The PVC ragglestick replaces the wooden version, which are less flexible and are limited by inability to load more compactly. The company also manufactures poultry pipe, which is used for a See Hawk, Page 7A

The most traded commodity in the world, believe it or not, is metal. That is the main reason, according to their proprietors, that the business of metal recycling continues to thrive, even as the economy worldwide continues to slump. “It’s just, the market’s been good,” said Stanley Mayo, part owner of Munford Recycling. Mayo currently owns parts of metal recycling businesses in five locations, as far east as Cherokee County and as far west as St. Clair. “We’ve just had a good business, and it’s grown from there,” he said. “We do probably about 1 million and a half, about 1,750,000, about 18, 19 million this year. We do about 7,000 tons per month. We also have four mobile crushers, too.” Mayo isn’t the only person who sees success in metal recycling. Patrick Daniel, president of Angler Recycling in Odenville, started his business just after the market took a nosedive in 2008. “People thought we were crazy starting then, but it wound up working out for us,” he said. “We were able to catch the upswing. “Since 2008, it’s gradually come back, but it’s been pretty consistent. There haven’t been any major upswings or downswings.” The customer base for the recycling businesses ranges from industrial accounts to walk-ins. “Mostly we see scrap in general,” Mayo said. “White goods, refrigerators, washers and dryers, are probably the most common. “We deal with PSC Metals in Chattanooga and Metal Management in Birmingham. We deal with CMC Metals in Birmingham. We deal with Huron Valley in

Ohatchee. And we deal with Union Foundry in Anniston. We’re a big supplier for Ameristeel.” Danny Taylor, who owns Taylor Recycling in Talladega, said many industrial customers are attempting to become more efficient with how they use their metal. “They’re getting folks to bid on service, for the purpose of preparing the metals right back for the industry,” Taylor said. “It’s not really bought and sold as much as it’s total recycling. It’s undergone some pretty big changes in that sense.” Taylor said one of his business’ biggest concerns, however, is criminal activity. “We got broken into (recently),” he said. “Between what they stole and the damage to the building, it’s $3,000. That’s not the first time this year. “You don’t see them being really incarcerated. Usually most of them, the only time they spend in jail is when they get their bail money. It creates a lot of problems.” Taylor said the impact is greater than one business. “It affects you every day, whether it affects your house,” he said. “It happens at your house when you go to buy something new, and that cost is factored into it. All costs get transferred.” Daniel said the increased criminal activity requires businesses like his to be more diligent. “That’s just the nature of the business,” he said. “We have a good relationship with all the local municipalities and the sheriff ’s department. The computer system we have, we can scan people’s IDs and work closely with the sheriff ’s department. We can track down the merchandise and turn them in, give them all the inforSee Recycling, Page 7

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GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012 — 7A

Alabama Specialty keeps finding new services, products Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

Patrick Daniel, president of Angler Recycling in Odenville, started his business just after the market took a nosedive in 2008. “ ... It wound up working out for us,” Daniel said.

Recycling From Page 6A

mation, so if something does happen, we can make them aware of it.” Mayo added that, with an economy still struggling, the margin for error is less than ever before. “When (the market) crashed in ‘08, there for a year and a half or so, there wasn’t any money in this business,” he said. “Our profit margin has somewhat come back. But busi-

ness, in general, is much different than it was in October of ‘08. “The margins are not as great; you’ve got to do a better job at separating and retrieving what you buy.” The business continues to be the same, they said. “Right now we don’t see it changing a whole lot,” Daniel said. “I think 2012, from reports and what I’ve been reading, it’s going to be pretty much like 2011. Nothing major — just

kind of consistent.” Taylor agreed. “Recycling doesn’t change a lot,” Taylor said. “There are more synthetics and more plastics, so you’ll see things like that change. With every innovation there’s going to be something new, so you’ll have those things change.”

Contact Will Heath at wheath@thestclairtimes. com.

By LAURA NATION-ATCHISON Home lifestyles editor

It’s an employer of 200, is planning another 10,000-square-foot addition, and is on the cutting edge as a high tech manufacturing facility. Alabama Specialty Products, located in Munford, has a lot going on these days. “One might not expect to find such a high tech manufacturing facility as Alabama Specialty Products Inc. in a small town like Munford,” said Joe Sonnberger, director of marketing for the company. “ASPI offers a wide variety of products and services to its customers, such as corrosion monitoring equipment, laser services, precision machining, medical products and system manufacturing,” he said.

And all the while, the company is continuing to delve into more new processes and develop new products to remain at the forefront of manufacturing technology, Sonnberger said. Expansion at the company this year includes adding four additional laser cladding work stations. ASPI was recently awarded a major contract from a large steel service center for laser cladding boiler tubes used in the power generation industry. This led to the need for the ongoing expansions. The company was founded in 1980 by Don Johnson, who at the time had two employees machining metal specimens for corrosion and mechanical testing. At that time, the company was known as Metal Samples, Sonnberger said.

Now, Metal Samples is one of ASPI’s company divisions and is a leading supplier of corrosion monitoring systems all over the world. “Our corrosion test coupons, probes and instruments are used by oil and gas companies, chemical processing companies, water treatment facilities and petroleum industries,” Sonnberger said. “These industries rely heavily on such equipment to check the amount of corrosion that is occurring in their pipelines.” Another expansion in the past several years is Metal Samples expanding its product line by developing new corrosion monitoring instruments such as a remote telemetry system that allows monitoring corrosion rates using the Internet. A second company

ity. Orders can be filled and shipped quicker. Hawk Plastics operates five days a week, 24 hours a day. It is not cost effective to shut down and restart operations daily. The plant produces 11 to 12 million pounds of products in one year. The company employs 22 full-time employees, 11 who have at least six

years of experience and five who have at least 19 years of experience. Robert Morris is plant superintendent and Keith Wesson is plant manager. Hawk Plastics ships to 400 customers in 10 states.

See ASPI, Page 8A

Hawk

From Page 6A

variety of breeder and broiler watering purposes. Hawk Plastic’s chief advantage over its competitors is “we have more expertise and knowledge available to our customBob Crisp/The Daily Home ers,” Moody said. He said another advanStanley Mayor, part owner of Munford Recycling, said the market’s tage the company has over its competitors is flexibilbeen good.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at mledbetter@dailyhome. com.

Formerly AbitibiBowater

Resolute Forest Products, Coosa Pines Mill, is a major producer of fluff pulp absorbent fiber which is sold worldwide. Coosa Pines Mill began operation in 1949 and is a major employer in Talladega County.

Vision and Values

Billing Office: 256-249-8501 Operations Center: 256-249-0372 Email comments and questions to: sub@sylacauga.net

Our Vision

At Resolute Forest Products, we are one team with one vision where: Profitability and sustainability drive our future.

Our Values Work safely

We always put the safety of our people first. Creating an injury-free workplace is everyone’s business. We maintain world-class standards and continuously measure and improve our safety efforts and results.

UTILITIES BOARD CITY OF

Be accountable

We are accountable for our performance. The future of our company is in our hands. By empowering people, acting with integrity, setting goals and measuring progress, we deliver first-class products and services to customers and create value for shareholders.

Ensure sustainability

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Succeed together

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SYLACAUGA

We make decisions with tomorrow in mind. We know that our long-term profitability depends on preserving the natural resources in our care and being a responsible partner in the communities where we live and work. We win together. Teamwork starts with a winning attitude and a true desire to support each other. We welcome ideas, communicate frequently and share best practices.

For over 50 years the Sylacauga Utilities Board has been providing electric, natural gas, water and sanitary sewer services to our community. In 1999, we added high speed and wireless internet access to that list. We are proud to be your locally owned and operated utility. If you have any questions about our services, please give us a call.


8A — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012

GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

Southern Alloy hopes for economic upturn By EMILY ADAMS

fully support.” Although the foundry’s main customers are outside of this area, Hughes said they occasionally work with the marble quarry and paper mill.

Home staff writer

ASPI

From Page 7A

division was created in the early 1990s, Alabama Laser Technologies. The division has more than 30 laser systems, including flat sheet cutters, tube cutters and five axis lasers. “Alabama Laser Technologies is now one of the largest and most complete laser job shops in the country,” Sonnberger said. The company offers a full range of laser services that include cutting, welding, etching, heat treating and cladding. In addition to the depth of laser service capabilities, another important aspect of the division is the company’s design and engineering staff, which allows them to provide research and feasibility studies to help companies find solutions to their specific manufacturing needs.

Southern Alloy provides metal castings and machine parts to industries across the United States.

need as many people.” Hughes said they hope to see continued improvements as the year progresses. “Ideally, we’ll be able to hire some more people this year and eventually get back to 105 employees,” he said. The foundry’s success is dependant on a strong

work force, Hughes said. “We have a lot of people who have been here a long time,” he said. “Having that kind of work force allows us to provide good, quality service, and we obviously want to continue that.” To ensure a steady force in the future, Hughes said it is important for young

Precision machining complements laser services and offers additional services of water jet and plasma cutting, forming, punching, tube bending, screw machining, grinding, electrical discharge machining, milling and turning, robotic and conventional welding, powder coating and more. “This state-of-the-art precision machining facility allows ASPI to perform all of their customers’ manufacturing needs at one location,” Sonnberger said. The various industries served by ASPI include aerospace, defense and government, automotive, furniture, agricultural, auto racing, construction equipment, transportation industries and many others. During the mid-1990s, ASPI began building laser cutting systems for its own use to process orders in

its job shop. Sonnberger said. “Soon, other companies approached ASPI about the need to have specialized systems built to meet their specific requirements and ASPI started a new company division, Alabama Laser Systems, to handle the research, process development and manufacturing of these custom laser systems,” Sonnberger said. Since then, Alabama Laser Systems has built a variety of types of laser systems for several Fortune 500 companies and has also developed non-laser systems for cold spray, graphite coating and other specialized applications. Yet another company division, Alabama Research and Development, manufactures and distributes the Krumdieck Tissue Slicer. “This medical device is used to rapidly prepare

people to learn the necessary trade skills. “There are opportunities to work at manual labor jobs and make a good living,” Hughes said. “Not everyone can go to college, and for those people, jobs like ours are a good, safe place to work and they allow you to provide for yourself and your family.”

thin slices of live tissues for biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, neurology and other in vitro studies,” Sonnberger said. Last year, company engineers completely redesigned the tissue slicer to offer several enhancements such a touch screen

MUNFORD

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The Town of Munford was incorporated in August of 2002 and has made tremendous progress in a short period to time. The citizens of Munford should be proud of the job the councils have done during this period. They have been dedicated to provide the very best services to its residents. Building a municipality from the ground up is not an easy task, but thanks to the members of this council and previous councils, it is being done and done right. Munford is growing toward the future with projects like: •Establishing one of the best Senior Citizens Centers under the directions of Judy Moon •Building a new fire station for the Volunteer Fire Department •Building a walking trail to be enjoyed by the community •Establishing a recreation board and opening up the old high school gym as a Community Center under the direction of Deonne Clark •Making the intersection of Hwy 21 and Cedars Road much safer by spearheading a drive to have a traffic light and turn lanes installed •Establishing a public library with the direction of Connie Beverly, who recently stepped down after 4 years of untiring service to the Town of Munford. Recently hiring Jenny Trickett to replace Mrs. Beverly and seeking an assistant to help Mrs. Trickett. •Starting a police department and naming Jeff Rutledge as the Police Chief. •Establishing our own municipal court, hiring Judge Larry Ward as the Municipal Judge and Attorney Luke Montgomery as the Prosecuting Attorney. Town Clerk Peggy Bussie will serve as magistrate and court clerk. •With this being an election year we are looking for more people to get involved either by running for public office or just volunteering to serve on one of our committees.

MUNFORD IS STAYING ON COURSE TOWARD A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR ALL ITS CITIZENS BY MAKING THE RIGHT MOVES TODAY.

Hughes said the foundry encourages high schools to offer machine shop courses. “We want to make sure people are continuing to learn these skills,” he said. “It’s amazing how little some young people know about it and about getting a job in general, and teaching that is something we

Laser cladding of large hydraulic shaft.

controls for easier operation for researchers who use the device. Other accessories in this medical product line include an incubation system, a tissue coring press and a tissue embedding unit.

Another unique feature of the company is that it also employs cooks who prepare a free hot lunch for the entire staff each day. Contact Laura NationAtchison at lnation@dailyhome.com.

Serving Our Communities and Industries across Alabama for 12 years.

P.O. Box 867 Sylacauga, AL 35150 256-245-8332 www.tceda.com L. Calvin Miller, C.I.D. Executive Director millercalv@tceda.com 300714

TOWN OF

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

“Our business is with people in all parts of the country, from up north to Wyoming and down in Florida,” Hughes said. “One thing we do provide for this community, though, is jobs. We give a lot of people jobs, and that’s always a plus.” Hughes said they offer a variety of jobs, from pattern makers, machinists and welders to administration and shipping. “They are all very important, skilled jobs,” Hughes said. “When our employees are working, they can’t walk away from what they’re doing. They have to monitor the job closely to ensure it comes out at the highest quality possible.” The foundry serves industries including cement and lime producers, chemical and petroleum manufacturers, heat treating operations, mining and paper and steel mills. Its plant facilities include a 20,000 square foot pattern shop and storage facilities, a 34,000 square foot foundry and a 13,000 foot machine shop.

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For more than 50 years, Southern Alloy foundry on U.S. 280 in Sylacauga has provided metal castings and machine parts to industries across the United States. Despite its tradition of good service, the foundry felt the effects of a bad economy in recent years, said Buster Hughes, human resources manager and safety director. “We had a major cutback in December 2008,” he said. “We’ve always had around 105 employees, and we currently have 78.” This year looks a bit brighter, however, as Southern Alloy is beginning to see a jump in business, Hughes said. “We’re starting to see improvements, and we’re slowly adding some jobs back,” he said. “We’re interviewing for a couple of positions now. Hughes, who has been with the company for 34 years, said the cutbacks were in response to decreased business. “Demand has been down all around,” he said. “We’ve had fewer orders to fill, which means less work to be done, so the cutback didn’t add to the employee workload. We just didn’t

P.O. Box 497 • Childersburg. AL 35044 1528 Coosa Pines Drive • Fax (256) 378-7728


GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012 — 9A

2011 year of strong commitments for Pell City By DAVID ATCHISON

of major projects which we need to take on if we are to get there. One is a new library, not your grandmother’s library, but a true media center that takes full advantage of the information age that we live in. We have had a couple of good opportunities, but due to the uncertain economy we’re unable to take advantage of them.” He said another future project city officials need to look at is a state-ofthe-art wellness center, which would consist of a 25-meter pool, smaller hot pool, large outdoor pool, coupled with exercise equipment, demonstration kitchen and a daycare for children while parents are working out at the new facility.

Home staff writer

Pell City continued to grow in 2011 and city officials look forward to a more prosperous upcoming year. “We, along with the St. Clair County Economic Development Council and the county, have actively and successfully pursued commercial development as evidenced by the arrival of Town & Country Ford, Publix Supermarket and others,” Mayor Bill Hereford said. In addition, more commercial development is on the horizon adjacent to the new Chick-fil-A restaurant, which opened last November. “I am also pleased that we realize the importance of our existing businesses and have been actively involved in the expansion of several existing industries, including Andritz, Eissmann, Benjamin Moore, WKW and Royal Foods,” Hereford said. “WKW has recently expanded its employment from 130 to more than 500. These are good jobs with a good company.” He said Pell City supported the Honda of Alabama project from the beginning and the company recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. “Seven hundred families in our area have a family member working for Honda,” Hereford said. He also pointed out the long-awaited opening of the new $31 million stateof-the-art St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital. “In addition to a strong financial commitment to the hospital, we have also made a strong com-

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

The Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home is expected to open this summer.

mitment to the Veterans Administration Home, which we anticipate opening in early summer,” Hereford said. He said the $51 million facility is unique in the Southeast, and the sprawling 230,000-square-foot facility will house 250 veterans. “For Pell City to have been entrusted with the care of our nation’s heroes is first of all a great honor,” Hereford said. “Secondly, it is an economic gamechanger in that it brings 300 new jobs and a variety of other development.” He said Jefferson State Community College received a $200,000 grant last year and will expand its health sciences programs to provide for the needs of both the new hospital and the VA home.

The construction boom north of Interstate 20 has sparked even more development, a 72 townhouse complex adjacent to the Jefferson State Community College. “Don Smith (executive director) of the EDC (St. Clair County Economic Development Council) tells me that he is receiving numerous inquiries about property available along the new Veterans Parkway,” Hereford said. This past year the city has brought on board a full-time city engineer and the council continues to look for a city manager to run the day-to-day operations of a city that continues to grow. “We believe that sound management of the dayto-day business of this city is essential to our continued growth and enhances

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Mailing Address: P.O. Box 824, Lincoln, AL 35096 Main Phone Number: (205) 355-8200

FY 2006 FY 2010 FY 2011

$10,868,794 $11,934,199 $12,382,953

Sales tax receipts for Pell City for Fiscal Year 2011 are ahead of the previous year and those from 2006, before the sharp economic downturn of 2008.

our attractiveness to those businesses and industries that are considering locating in Pell City,” Hereford said. He said the city continues to move forward with the rehabilitation of the city’s sewer system to meet requirements outlined in a 2008 Alabama Department of Environmental Management consent order. “This project is 90 percent complete, and we are on track to 100 percent

completion within the time allotted,” Hereford said. He said the city now has a reliable supply of water for future growth. “We live in a time in which water is critical to the maintenance of what we have and even more critical as we pursue responsible growth,” Hereford said. Pell City is one of four entities that have worked to construct the Coosa Valley Water Supply District Surface Water Treatment Facility, which will provide water for future growth. He said the city is also working to bring another well online in the eastern portion of Pell City. “Looking forward, I believe that we are still on the cusp of becomContact David Atchison ing a real city,” Hereford at datchison@dailyhome. said. “There are a couple com.

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City of Pell City Sales Tax Collections

“My most recent visit to such a facility was to the city of Cullman, which is about our size,” Hereford said. “They borrowed $15 million to make it happen. It is already paying for itself through individual and family memberships and has become a valuable industrial recruiting tool and incidentally has itself produced more than 100 jobs. “We can make these things happen in our community, and I believe that we will,” Hereford said. “Good things don’t happen overnight, but they do happen where there is an abiding will that they happen. I know that the will to move ahead is alive and well in our community, and I am confident that we will achieve these and other goals.”

Proud To Be A Part of the Sylacauga Community Since 1999 300660


10A — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012

GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

Progress on major projects planned for Sylacauga By EMILY ADAMS Home staff writer

After a year of stable revenue and growth in industry and retail, Sylacauga is poised to make major progress in 2012. Retail sales for the city were up about 2 percent last year, helping to stabilize income, Mayor Sam Wright said. “We’ve been in the same position the last few years where we’re just trying to keep our heads above water,” he said. “But we have managed to keep downtown viable and active, and we have not suffered big ups and downs in our sales tax revenue, so we’ve been very fortunate.” Another of last year’s accomplishments was reviving the city’s curbside recycling program, which officially began Jan. 2. “Starting that campaign again was something a lot of people in Sylacauga wanted, and I hope they continue to take advantage of it,” Wright said. After about five years of no curbside program, a $127,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management allowed the

city to start it again. “It’s too soon to determine how it’s doing, but it’s something people were very interested in,” Wright said. “At the six-month mark or so, we’ll probably do an evaluation to see exactly how it’s doing.” This year’s project agenda includes the U.S. 280 development project, increasing Sylacauga’s marble business and expansions of major industries. Wright said renewed activity on the city’s 280 property appears promising. “It’s something that has been talked about for a while, and we think we’re to the point of seeing that development start,” he said. The project’s complexity delayed its progress, Wright said. “We’re very conscious of dealing with the public’s money, and you want to make sure everything is a go before you commit yourself,” he said. “At the same time, we are in a proactive mode and hope we get something before something is done on either end of us, and that’s also important.” Also progressing is

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

Retail sales were up 2 percent in Sylacauga last year, helping stabilize income. Much of the work to keep the city growing is done at the Municipal Complex.

Sylacauga’s marble industry. The quarry has begun to furnish niche covers for national cemeteries, Wright said, shipping them as far away as San Bernardino, Calif., and into Kansas and Florida. “That’s been a big boost to the economy,” Wright said. “We want to keep that up and certainly build on that.” Building an observation deck at the marble quarry is also planned for this year. “Forty years ago, people could readily drive out Quarry Road and see the marble pit, and people still want to do that,” Wright said. “Where they’re going to have it is very convenient to 280 and will be a great

opportunity for people to see the quarry.” Contributing to the growth of Sylacauga’s marble industry is the annual Marble Festival in April. “It always brings a lot of people into Sylacauga, and several of the sculptors have gotten commissioned work from their time at the festival, which provides a livelihood to them, so that’s been great,” Wright said. Marble isn’t the only growing industry, though. Several of Sylacauga’s industries, including Heritage Plastics and Nemak, have already expanded or are planning expansions for this year, Wright said. “It’s really gratifying to realize our major industry

has all done expansions,” he said. “I think our industry is really positioning itself for a good year.” Wright also noted construction progress at the IKO shingle plant on Fayetteville Road. “We are very glad that IKO chose to come to Sylacauga,” he said. “While they haven’t gotten to the point of hiring yet, you have to be pleased with the amount of construction going on. That benefits the city in a lot of ways, whether it’s direct purchases or just having more people in the area buying gas and food.” Community interest is a large part of determining what the city takes on,

City of Sylacauga Sales Tax Collections

FY 2006 FY 2010 FY 2011

$6,554,408 $5,830,448 $5,929,184

Sales tax receipts for the City of Sylacauga for Fiscal Year 2011, the previous year and 2006, before the sharp economic downturn of 2008.

Wright said.

“Some things you do because it makes sense to add money in retail sales, but at the same time you do things that people want and ask you to do,” he said. “We hope and feel that these things are what people in Sylacauga want to see.”

Muenger expects Talladega to stay the course in 2012 Home staff writer

The city of Talladega elected a new mayor and three new councilmen in 2011, but city manager Brian Muenger said he expects the city to largely stay the course. “One of the good things about the manager system is that you don’t have a change of direction every four years. We passed a new budget for this year without significant changes. The next step will be the approval of a new, two year Capital Improvement Project budget. But this budget will be funded differently than the last one, which was paid for through a bond issue. There won’t be a bond issue this time. This one will come from some sales tax.” The old council approved a 1 cent sales tax increase last year, with 50 percent earmarking for capital improvement, 25 percent for general fund and 25 percent into an escrow account. Muenger said he plans to ask the council to set a cap on the escrow account and use any money over the cap for improvements as well. Funds from fuel and oil trust funds will also go toward the project. “The first step will be to make up for delayed vehicle replacement,” he said. “We saw a spike in maintenance costs that we shouldn’t have to worry about by taking advantage of the state bid list. We have some purchasing perks there. (Purchasing director) Terry Hanner and (personnel director) Cathy Fuller got new Escapes for about $5,000 less than what they would have cost otherwise, so that’s a pretty significant savings, plus it helps do away with some maintenance costs. We’ll be replacing some detective cars and police cruisers, some supervisor trucks in the Community Appearance Department that are eight to 10 years old and some work trucks.” The new plan will be split into two years, “to allow us to get a better handle on our tax revenue. There will be some paving

City of Talladega Sales Tax Collections

FY 2007 FY 2010 FY 2011

$6,974,881 $6,355,749 $6,987,196

Sales tax receipts for Talladega for Fiscal Year 2011 are ahead of the previous year and those from 2007, before the sharp economic downturn of 2008. *The city increased its sales tax rate in March 2011.

in year two, to allow the utilities to go ahead and replace what they’ve got underneath those roads. We did that last year, too. And we’re going to be doing some work on the animal control building as well. That was done in house, and it’s not very inviting. The ventilation is poor, some of the fans don’t work, the gates are rusted and there are no outside runs. It’s also up to capacity. Collections are up, especially from the county. These fixes will allow us to look at longer holding times, which will increase the chances of an animal being adopted out. Which is really what the shelter is for.” The city had previously applied for a grant to fund a massive drainage study, but was turned down. The study is still needed, Muenger said. “We don’t have easements for a lot of these, and we need to get them,” he said. Improvements will also need to be made on the drainage systems at Pope Hill Park, Avenue H and in Veterans Park. The second year will also include the fourth welcome sign into the city. The heating and air conditioning at the Ritz Theater will need to be replaced, and the council will have to make a decision on what to do about the unbraced second floor at the Ott’s Building, which is considered unsafe. An energy audit is also on tap for the coming year. The water crisis last year is a good example of why the mapping of the water system is essential for coming years. “We had a catastrophic event,” he said. “The response was good, but it could have been a lot better with proper planning.

Contact Chris Norwood Mapping the system is a everyone got the message monitoring the situafirst step. You also can’t beforehand. tion with the armory,” at cnorwood@dailyhome. com. discount the importance “We’re going to be Muenger said. of wells. When you compare the production cost of well water with surface water, it’s obvious. We need to bring wells back on line. That’s why we need to put an air stripper on the Harmon Park well and start using it again. We’ll have to go through a sampling period and (Alabama Department of Environmental Management) review, but we should be able to use it after that.” Much of the past year has been spent making the city’s water and sewer system compliant with a consent decree by the U.S. Imerys USA, Inc in Sylacauga, AL is a private Environmental Protection company categorized under Marble, Crushed Agency. That process is now almost complete. and Broken-Quarrying. It was established in

1301 Gene Stewart Blvd. Sylacauga, AL

256/249-4901

“We’re working on full redundancy at the main sewer plant. Several major pieces of equipment there were non-functional, and the employees were having to strip parts to maintain them. All of them were outdated. We also refurbished the storage tanks at the water plant, which was also on the list. Getting double-walled tanks will be the last item on the list.” Once the mapping is complete, there are plans to install a remote monitoring system for all of the city’s wells and pumps stations. The past year also saw the completion of major renovations at the Spring Street Recreation Center, the Jemison tennis courts and the LMo building on the square, which is now home to a thriving business. “We also put on a successful election,” Muenger said. “That involved a lot of planning, but it was successfully executed. There were some weaknesses, some controversy over signage, but I am confident that everyone was afforded the opportunity to vote.” Perhaps the one snag in the election process was the fact that the National Guard Armory, which is normally a designated polling place, was closed at the time. Voting went fairly smoothly at the Brecon Recreation Center, but not

and incorporated in Alabama.

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GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012 —11A

Brian Schoenhals/Home file photo

The Honda Manufacturing of Alabama plant in Lincoln is 3.5 million square feet with a site size of 1,350 acres. There are more than 4,000 associates, and the company has an annual payroll that exceeds $250 million.

$275 million to be invested in HMA’s future By GARY HANNER Home staff writer

The associates of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln produced in 2011 a total of 262,047 Odyssey minivans, Pilot sport utility vehicles, Ridgeline pickups and the V-6 engines that power all three models. Preliminary production results show HMA turned out 130,442 Odyssey minivans, 118,405 Pilot SUVs, and 13,200 Ridgeline pickups at the Lincoln facility. HMA is the exclusive global production source for the Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline. “Honda experienced unprecedented challenges in 2011, from natural disasters both in Japan and here in Alabama,” HMA President Tom Shoupe said. “But through all the difficulties, our associates embodied Honda’s challenging spirit in working as one team to build high quality products for our customers.” Production at all of Honda’s North American facilities was reduced in mid-year as a result of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck central Japan. The period of reduced production in Alabama opened an opportunity for Honda associates to support disaster relief and cleanup efforts in central Alabama following the devastating April 27 tornado outbreak. A total of 1,516 associates volunteered more than 12,000 hours to assist with tornado cleanup in the disaster areas and work at relief agencies. A second period of reduced production occurred in the fourth quarter of the year due to a parts shortage stemming from flooding at industrial parks in Thailand. During the year, HMA announced investments totaling $275 million to support the addition of the Acura MDX luxury sport utility vehicle to its production lineup in 2013. The investments also will support an increase in annual production capacity to 340,000 vehicles and engines by 2013 and support improvements in manufacturing flexibility. The company also announced plans to hire at least 140 production associates. HMA employs 4,000 associates at its Lincoln facility and is the sole production source of the Odyssey minivan, the Pilot sport utility vehicle, the Ridgeline pickup and the V-6 engines that power each vehicle. HMA became the first zero-waste-to-landfill auto plant in North America, at the outset of production in 2001, setting off an industry-leading trend within the company. Since the first Alabama built Honda rolled off the

2011 HMA quick facts

assembly line on Nov. 14, 2001, the Alabama plant has produced more than 2.3 million vehicles and engines. On an annual basis, HMA recycles right at: • 80 million pounds of Location: Lincoln, Alabama scrap metal (metal waste Plant size: 3.5 million square feet streams make up the Site size: 1,350 acres majority of HMA’s recyEmployment: More than 4,000 associates cled waste) Capital Investment: $2 billion by 2013 • Five million pounds of Annual Payroll: Exceeds $250 million cardboard Models in Production: Honda Odyssey, Pilot, • 500,000 pounds of Ridgeline, and V-6 engines. (Acura MDX in 2013) plastic Operations Performed: HMA was established as one of • 20,000 pounds of alu- Honda’s most vertically integrated manufacturing faciliminum cans ties. Steel and aluminum blanking, stamping, welding, painting, plastic injection molding, aluminum casting, Zero Landfill Facility aluminum machining, ferrous machining, vehicle subIn 2011, Honda assembly and assembly, engine assembly, vehicle testing Manufacturing of Alabama and quality assurance. became the first zero-wasteProduction Capacity: 300,000 vehicles & engines to-landfill auto plant in Started Production: Nov. 14, 2001 North America, setting off an industry-leading trend engines and natural gas- eteria kitchens to extract within the company. Since establishing powered engines, as well liquids and reduce waste zero-waste-to-landfill pro- as gasoline-electric hybrid, volumes from food service duction at its Alabama battery-electric and hydro- waste streams. Some of the ways HMA plant in 2001, Honda gen fuel cell-electric vehimaintains its Zero Landfill has undertaken at its 14 cles. In 2010, Honda was status include: North American plants to eliminate landfill waste. named America’s “Greenest Recycling Honda associates at these Automaker” for the fifth Each year, HMA recyplants have identified and consecutive time by the implemented hundreds of Union of Concerned cles 80 million pounds of scrap metal, 5 million waste-reduction and waste- Scientists. None of the wastes pounds of cardboard, recycling initiatives. These include the reduction of generated by production 500,000 pounds of plastic metal scrap, improved processes at HMA are and 20,000 pounds of aluparts packaging for ease sent to land-based dispos- minum cans. They recycle foundof recycling and minimiz- al. To achieve this “Zero ing paper and plastic waste Landfill” status, HMA has ry sand from aluminum established relationships die-casting operations in from cafeterias. As a result, in the past with several different waste cement kilns as a recipe 10 years Honda plants recyclers and processors, additive for Portland have eliminated an esti- as well as waste-to-energy cement. They recycle spent batmated 4.4 billion pounds facilities. HMA plans to of waste material that could further reduce waste gener- teries, fluorescent light have gone to landfills. ation while continuing to bulbs, scrap metal, cardThis equals the amount look for additional benefi- board packaging and office of annual household waste cial outlets for its byprod- paper. They send wood palproduced in a year by 2.8 ucts of production. HMA provides cafeteria lets to pallet manufacturmillion Americans or, roughly, the population of services to its more than ers for reuse and recycling; 5,500 on-site associates, Laundering gloves and rags Chicago. Honda is also a leader in contractors and service generated in production the development of lead- providers. Use of reusable departments for reuse. ing-edge technologies to plates, silverware and glassCovered Storage improve fuel efficiency and es serve to reduce overFacilities reduce CO2 emissions, all solid waste generation Automotive fluids, including vehicles pow- from cafeteria services, and ered by advanced gasoline repulpers are used in caf- including gasoline, engine

oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze and other similar materials are stored in aboveground tanks inside roofed, diked storage areas to prevent possible contamination of rainwater runoff and groundwater resources. All points are product transfer and maintained in areas sheltered from rainfall. In addition to sheltered bulk storage facilities, all product transfer piping at HMA has been installed above ground and is covered to prevent contact with rainfall. This design allows leaks to be easily detected and repaired, while preventing groundwater contamination often associated with underground piping. Also, all outdoor piping is equipped with drip trays to contain any potential leaks. Though not required by regulation, all wastewater treatment facilities at HMA are surrounded by secondary containment dikes to prevent possible contamination of stormwater runoff and groundwater resources.

wastewater from its manufacturing operations in an on-site pretreatment plant. The effluent from this plant is sent to the municipal wastewater treatment facility for the city of Lincoln. HMA installed a doublewalled underground pipeline to transfer pre-treated effluent from HMA’s treatment facility to the Lincoln wastewater plant.

Minimizing Community Impact During original construction of HMA’s facility, an earthen levee was built that surrounds the plant site. This levee serves to reduce the impact of noise and visibility on the local community. Significant efforts have been made to maintain the natural beauty of the HMA facility. Entrances to the plant are landscaped with many native plant species and several acres of the HMA campus have been left with original forest growth intact. HMA engages in forestry management practices, including clearing of undergrowth in key areas and removal of trees infested with pine beetles. HMA treats process

Improvements to save energy, reduce waste and promote environmental mindset Since commencing production in late 2001, HMA has implemented several projects designed to conserve resources and minimize environmental impacts throughout the plant.

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

Contact Gary Hanner at ghanner@thest.clairtimes. com.

Leftover scrap metal from the stamping process at Honda is all recycled.

Use of Waterborne Body and Bumper Paints Instead of traditional solvent-based coatings, the majority of vehicle coatings used by HMA are water-based, significantly reducing the emissions of harmful pollutants resulting from painting processes. HMA pioneered the use of waterborne primer technology to coat plastic bumpers, and this technology is currently being applied at other Honda facilities. As a result of HMA’s efforts, atmospheric emissions of harmful organic pollutants are among the lowest in the automotive industry.

New control strategies for area lighting have been implemented to turn off lights in operating departments during periods of production downtime. This “lights-off ” effort reduces electricity consumption for the plant and has the potential to save more than $125,000 annually. Control systems have been added to air compressor systems to improve compressor efficiency. A water retention tank system was installed to capture cooling tower overflows during the summer months in order to store and recover excess water for reuse. Plant HVAC system operation is reduced during non-production periods by changing temperature setpoints inside the plant. Also, fresh outside air makeup to the facility is limited on weekends and during other periods of low plant occupancy to minimize the amount of heating and air conditioning energy required to maintain plant humidity and temperature. Basins built to control sediment from storm water runoff from the entire site during original plant construction have been converted into emergency runoff control basins.


12A — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012

government & industry

CNC work picks up at Industrial Machine and Supply By KENNY FARMER Special projects editor

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

Tez Twymon cuts blanks for one of Velcon’s pleaters.

Major airports supplied by Sylacauga’s Velcon Filters By KENNY FARMER Special Projects editor

Velcon Filters, a producer of ground-based jet fuel filtration products, recently began its 32nd year in business at the same location on Hill Road in Sylacauga. The company, which employs more than 100 workers, supplies products to airlines, refineries and all the world’s major airports. Some of Velcon’s customers include New York’s LaGuardia airport, Chevron USA, Marathon Petroleum, Colonial Pipeline and Shell Aviation. The company was founded in 1953 under the name Enfab Inc. The company’s first products were fabricated fiberglass components for the United States’ 2.75 Rocket. This led to the creation of a proprietary fiberglass filter coalescer in 1957. It was initially introduced to both military and commercial aviation fuel markets, and subsequently to pipelines and refineries. The company, now known as Velcon Filters LLC, supplies more replacement cartridges to purify jet fuel than any other company

in the world. In 1979 the company broke ground in Sylacauga. The same year, the company introduced its patented Aquacon water-absorbing cartridges. The cartridges are designed to remove water and dirt from industrial oils and fuels, and restore the oil or fuel to a clean, usable condition. Velcon ships supplies to major airports across the world. Many of the products Velcon ships to airports are filters that are used to clean up groundbased jet fuel. The facilities at Velcon saw an expansion in 2011. A 50-foot by 100foot addition was added to the production area of the company’s facilities. The new space was created to expand production opportunities by providing ample space for a new 80-inch pleater and oven. In addition to the manufacturing plant in Sylacauga, Velcon also has plants in Henryetta, Okla., and Colorado Springs, Colo., which is also the location of the company’s headquarters. Velcon’s “quality policy” includes five basic principles: performance, relationships, improvement,

documented quality and employees. Performance is defined as “conforming to the requirements and expectations of customers at a cost that represents value.” The principle of “relationships” is described as fostering long-term working relationships with customers, employees, stockholders and vendors that are mutually beneficial. Another principal of the company is to practice continuous improvement through training and practice. Another focus of Velcon Filters is to meet the quality requirements of the International Standards Organization, or ISO. The company also ensures that quality work is being done by employees. Safety is of high importance at Velcon Filters. Velcon’s safety statistics are reported to state and federal agencies, including the Occupation, Safety and Health Administration. In 2011, Velcon had five recordable accidents. An accident is considered recordable only when it leads to loss time or restricted work. Their goal for 2012 is three recordable accidents or fewer. “Everyone in the company benefits from a safe environment, and everyone in the company can contribute to a safe environment,” said Denise Canfield, vice president of operations. “Safety is not just a metric, it is a mindset.” At Velcon, safety is said to begin with plant cleanliness, work cell organization, work instructions

and employee training. The focused attention of its employees also reduces the risk of injury. Velcon employees do their part in the community, as well. In December, employees donated more than 130 toys to Toys for Tots. Four large boxes were filled to capacity with toys and gifts at Velcon’s Christmas luncheon. Velcon has many longtime employees, and Canfield said that turnover rates for employees are very low. She describes the workplace environment at Velcon as “friendly, pleasant and professional,” Canfield also said the company provides competitive wages and benefits. “Velcon helps to enrich the lives of its employees through various employee benefits and by focusing on an individual’s strengths within their career to help develop a foundation for ongoing success,” said Elizabeth Blade, a buyer for Velcon. “Velcon is a good, solid company with on-the-job training, good benefits, employee appreciation, freedom and trust to do your job,” said Joan Scher, purchasing manager. “Sylacauga is a great location,” Canfield said. “We have diligent and hard working personnel. Many individuals are active in their local church or community. The people at our facility in Sylacauga take pride in doing a good job and building a good product.” Contact Kenny Farmer at kfarmer@dailyhome.com.

AARON D. THOMAS

Circuit Clerk Talladega County

Industrial Machine and Supply Inc. opened in Talladega in 1967 in the same place it stands today, 101 Costner St. The company began as one with an emphasis was on supplying replacement parts for carpet yarn spinning mills in the Southeast. As textile mills began to disappear around the South, Industrial Machine’s focus shifted away from textiles and toward precision computer numerical control machining services. Industrial Machine also offers a range of shaft making and custom gear and sprocket cutting services, maintains a lathe machine and provides welding, milling and turning services. “I grew up here,” said David Williams, president of Industrial Machine and Supply. “I learned this like I learned to walk and talk.” Williams was 8 when his father, Tom Williams, began the business. Williams began working at Industrial Machine while still in high school. He said there was a period following school that he questioned whether he would want to continue working there, but said he never pursued anything else. By 1996, Williams had taken over as president of the company for his father, who had retired. Williams said his dad still comes by the shop some mornings, and the visits are good for him and good for business. “He’s got a lot of wisdom,” Williams said. Concerning technology, Williams said his father “didn’t know anything about it and didn’t want to know anything about it.” “When Dad started, there was a lot of work for the textile mills,” Williams said. “He made parts for all the machines at the textile mill. We don’t do anything for textile mills anymore.” He said his dad was never interested in what he calls “modernizing.” “I made a lot of changes,” Williams said. One of those changes was the addition of Computer Numerical Control machines. “With CNC controlled

machines, I can do jobs that we never would have considered doing before,” Williams said. “There just wasn’t any way. It wasn’t feasible.” He said jobs they used to do manually are now done with the aid of the CNC controlled machines. He said the work is more efficient and accurate. Williams said the main focus of his business is the manufacturing of replacement parts for various machines and various companies. He said they make anything from replacement parts for farm equipment to machine gears used by Glad to produce garbage bags to parts for liquid and sludge pumps. Williams has recently seen an increase in business at Industrial Machine. “Around August, work picked up,” he said. “I was glad to see that. We had been slow for three years, if not four years, as most people have in manufacturing. I hope it keeps up.” Even though Williams has been successful in recent months, he takes a conservative approach to an uncertain economic future. “If our workload continues the way it is, I could use another CNC machine,” he said. “But I just can’t see going in debt for it with the economy the way it is. It’s too scary to do that. “I don’t mean to get political, but if the government steps up and starts raising taxes, you can bet the economy will take a turn for the worse,” Williams said. “In a capitalistic society, which we have, which is the best way to go — the more tax you put on a corporation, the more burden you put on a corporation. (A business owner) has no choice but to forward that on to the consumer. He cannot absorb it. Regardless of what anybody thinks, he cannot absorb it because he has to make a profit. If he can’t make a profit, he can’t stay in business.” Including Williams, Industrial Machine employs 10 people, including longtime employees Frankie Williams and Danny Horton, who have combined almost 50 years at the company.

Established in 1965

R. K. Allen Oil Company, Inc. began as a Texaco branded jobber in 1965 in Talladega, with Ken Allen Sr. as its owner and sole employee. Today, Ken Jr. and Keith, sons of Ken Sr., have taken on most of the responsibility as partners and co-owners. The company has grown to over twenty locations and continues to grow. R. K. Allen Oil Company, Inc is a family owned and operated business. We will continue to strive to be diversified and a complete petroleum supplier for our customers for generations to come.

R. K. Allen Oil Company

★ Experienced ★ Qualified ★ Accountable

Pd. Pol. Adv. by Aaron D. Thomas, P.O. Box 6399, Talladega, AL 35161

256.362.4261 877.385.6162

296030

Employee Andreka Curry rolling material at Velcon’s Urethane Capping Station.

Democratic Primary March 13, 2012

303153

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

36002 Alabama Hwy. 21 P. O. Box 456 Talladega, AL 35161


GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012 —13A

Prepared. Proven. Reliable.

We put ourselves on the line, Even when the line is down. We get it all, from hurricanes and tornadoes to thunderstorms and floods. We are prepared for every possibility. It’s our job to provide reliable power. Remember, we’re your local electric cooperative.

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE A Touchstone Energy® Cooperative

69220 Alabama Highway 77 • P.O. Box 837 • Talladega, Alabama 35161 (256) 362-4180 • 1-800-273-7210 www.coosavalleyec.com info@coosavalleyec.com 201577


14A — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012

GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

2011 saw lots of progress in small town Lincoln officials hope to be in the new City Hall and Fire Station this month. “I think we will be in the new City Hall in February,” Mayor Lew Watson said in mid-January. “A lot of the construction is weather dependent.” Plans for a City Hall and Fire Station were in the works for several years. The council awarded the $3.47 million project to Boatner Construction Company Inc. in December 2010. The original completion date was set for November 2011, however, it was pushed back due to numerous weather delays. The new City Hall and Fire Station is on Magnolia Street, the site of the old Lincoln Elementary School. The City Hall building is 13,500 square feet. It features a large courtroom and council chambers, meeting rooms, conference rooms and more. The building design allows for public use of the meeting rooms after hours without public access to the city office area. The new Fire Station is a badly needed expansion that is large enough to house all of the Fire

Department’s equipment. “I think we will probably occupy the building before the landscape is completed if there are continued weather delays,” Watson said. Donald Mitchell, superintendent for Boatner Construction Company, said in mid-January that City Hall was about 98 percent complete and lacked only the finishing touches. The Fire Station was about 90 percent complete and should be finished shortly after City Hall. The total project was about two months behind schedule in mid-January. Mitchell said the exteriors of both buildings are completed and the interiors should be completed by the end of January. There were about three weeks of landscaping work to complete in mid-January, with dry weather and sunshine needed to complete that portion of the project. Watson said the city will try to maintain services as much as possible during the move to the new building. City officials anticipate moving from the old City Hall to the new building during a period of a couple of days, possibly over a weekend. The move may

Riverside finishes year in the black By GARY HANNER Home staff writer

Mayor Rusty Jessup said 2011 is the year Riverside turned the corner. “We turned the corner because for the first time in four years, we finished the year in the black in our general fund budget.” Jessup said. “We brought in $637,000 and spent $635,000. It felt good to operate the city without a deficit. We didn’t lose money, and that’s a signal to me that we have turned the corner.” Jessup said it has been a four-year effort of cutbacks. “Unfortunately, we have had to lay some people off,” he said. “But we’ve also found all sorts of ways to cut back expenses at City Hall. In spite of our circumstances, we have managed the city in a way that has not broken us. I’m encouraged about the future.” Jessup said he’s thrilled that he has a good relationship with the council. “As chairman of the St. Clair Mayor’s Association and active in the Alabama League of Municipalities, I feel a great deal of sympathy for mayors and councils that can’t get along about anything,” he said. “If you don’t have a mayor and council that can work together, and pull together, it can be bad. You can have your differences, but what you have to do with your differences is sit down and

work them out, rather than just saying my way or the highway. Nothing happens that way and it stops the city from moving forward. “One of our biggest challenges right now is although our population is on the rise, our city sales tax is shrinking,” Jessup said. “As the public grows and the public demand gets bigger, our resources for providing those demands are getting smaller. That’s the biggest headache we’ve got right now. As an administration, we are trying to provide what the citizens of Riverside expect. Jessup said there are some exciting projects on the horizon for Riverside that will be revenue producers for the future. The projects are being made possible with the help of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council. “One particular project that we launched in 2011 is the industrial park that we are putting together out at the old gravel/asphalt pit,” Jessup said. “It’s at the corner of Vannick Road and U.S. 78. This will enable us to get some industrialaccess money, which means we will be able to build a nice big road that will tie into Vannick Road and go back into that park. There’s 36 acres back in there that we are going to make available.” Jessup said the industrial park will enable them to get federal sewer money, which a town normally can’t get

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

Lincoln’s new City Hall has 13,500 square feet. It features a courtroom and and council chambers, meeting rooms, conference rooms and more.

start on a Friday, when City Hall is closed. Watson said City Hall hours of operation would likely be the same in the new building. City officials plan to hold a ribbon cutting and open house ceremony at some point, but are still working on the details. Watson said the city also completed a $160,000 sidewalk project on Lock 4 Road during the summer of 2011. The project was a stimulus grant with a zero city match. “We also finished a water line on Wills Farm Road and a water line extension on Glade Road,” he said. “And renovations of

Town of Riverside Sales Tax Collections

FY 2006 FY 2010 FY 2011

$174,578 $122,088 $134,874

Sales tax receipts for the Town of Riverside for Fiscal Year 2011, the previous year and 2006, before the sharp economic downturn of 2008.

for commercial or residential development. Jessup said they would also get a grant for a railroad spur. “There are also 34 acres that are attached to this property that is owned by Metro Bank,” Jessup said. “They are very interested in developing that property, too. We could have a 70acre industrial park when it is all said and done. It is very, very valuable property that will have railroad access, interstate access and sewer. “We are very, very close to making an announcement,” he said. “We hope to have a base manufacturer there, say with 100 employees. That would then be surrounded by an office park, which would in turn bring in commercial development.” Jessup sees the town’s marina as a revenue driver. “Just the boat ramp alone generated about $1,000 per month in revenue,” he said.” Jessup said he and the council understood that to keep the fishermen coming, they would have to provide gas on the water, and that, too, is bringing in about $1,000 a month. “We applied for another ADECA grant that would provide for some more upgrades to the marina. We should know something in March or April.”

City of Lincoln Sales Tax Collections

FY 2006 FY 2010 FY 2011

$2,572,802 $2,374,476 $2,499,734

Sales tax receipts for the City of Lincoln for Fiscal Year 2011, the previous year and 2006, before the sharp economic downturn of 2008.

the Wastewater Treatment Plant are under way.” Plans for a handicapped accessible fishing trail to tie into the newly renovated downtown area are still in the works. Although construction of the Lincoln Fishing Trail did not begin in 2011 as city officials had hoped, the

Blue Eye Creek varies from a couple of feet deep up to 8 feet deep in some places. The creek is about 3 feet deep where the bridge will span. The plans feature four fishing stations in a boardwalk layout. The fishing stations will each be 20-60 feet long, depending on the depth of the creek in those areas and the landscape. Concrete trails, chosen over a more natural path to allow for handicapped accessibility, will connect the fishing stations and the bridge.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

Town of Childersburg ‘ready for the fast track’ By MARK LEDBETTER

City of Childersburg Sales Tax Collections

Home staff writer

Childersburg’s leadership has positioned the town for industrial and commercial development. Major accomplishments in 2011 include the industrial park being named an AdvantageSite, improvement of the Industrial Park entrance, securing a grant for downtown revitalization, and being on track to receive certification as a Community of Excellence. Town clerk Sandra Donahoo said the AdvantageSite designation means the 117 acres at the industrial park are “ready to go” With assistance from the Industrial Access Road and Bridge program, a new entrance to the park was created. Mayor B.J. Meeks said the road was prepared for heavy duty use. Continuing park improvements call for a sign for the new entrance and landscaping. Other substantial improvements include the installation of water and sewer lines. A water tank was installed for fire suppression. Also in 2011, a Community Development Block Grant was secured for the demolition of unsightly buildings in town. The removal of these buildings will “improve the appearance of the community,” Meeks said. Receiving two substan-

FY 2006 FY 2010 FY 2011

$1,347,811 $1,394,588 $1,372,426

Sales tax receipts for the City of Childersburg for Fiscal Year 2011, the previous year and 2006, before the sharp economic downturn of 2008.

tial grants, the town is poised to begin the downtown revitalization. The grants with matching city funds mean $550,000 for the project. Revitalization will include 1st Street just past Rainwater Museum and both intersections at 8th

and 9th avenues. Improvements must meet federal and state requirements. Safety is a major concern. Howard Smith, Childersburg’s coordinator for the Alabama Community of Excellence, recently received news that Childersburg is on track to receive a certificate of excellence at the Alabama League of Municipalities conference this spring. Becoming an “Alabama Community of Excellence” makes Childersburg eligible for future grants for development. “We’re ready for the fast track,” Meeks said.

Sylacauga

Housing Authority 415 W. 8th Street • Sylacauga

Providing Affordable Housing in Sylacauga Since 1941 1-2-3-4 & 5 Bedroom Apts.

(256) 249-0381

EQUAL HOUSING

OPPORTUNITY

RAGLAND TELEPHONE CO.

HAWK PLASTICS

14447 Plant Rd., Alpine AL, 35014 800-467-4295 Fax: 256-378-3079 Hawk Plastics was organized 28 years ago in January of 1984. Production started in the former Beaunit building on Plant Road in October of 1985, and by the grace of God, the Hawk is still flying 26 years later. Hawk is now one of the oldest PVC pipe producers in the USA that is American owned and has had the same name for its total existence. Hawk has employed as many as 40 employees to man the 3 shift operation and has maintained a steady workforce of 24 during the last 2 years of the economic slowdown and has not experienced a lost time accident in over 7 years; again by the grace of God. Manufacturers of PVC plastic sewer pipe with Integral Bell Gasketed joints and specializing in standard and custom PVC perforated pipe. Hawk produces other PVC extrusions, custom cylinders, core tubes and they are the exclusive U.S. Manufacturer of patented molded plastic Ragglesticks , marketed and sold by RAGGLESTICK Packaging. Ragglesticks are used for creating compactness and stability to the packaging and storing of cylinder objects such as pipe, tubes rolls, drums and barrels and was invention of the founders of Hawk Plastics. 300766

project is still ongoing. “We are still committed to the Lincoln Fishing Trail,” Watson said. “The project should be under way in the next few months, probably in April or May. Construction should take about 60 days.” The idea behind the fishing trail is to offer an easily accessible place where anyone can go and fish. The trail includes a bridge that will go from the old downtown Lincoln area across Blue Eye Creek. The steel-and-concrete bridge will be approximately 60 feet long and 10 feet wide and will feature steel railing in a line and V-shape pattern.

300546

Home staff writer

WE’VE COME A LONG WAY... But our goal is still the same as it was years ago...to make sure no one misses important calls. Whether it’s for business, personal or just pleasure.

630 Main St.,Ragland, AL

205-472-2141

300664

303377

By ELSIE HODNETT

Proudly Serving the Ragland Area


GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012 — 15A

Oak Grove a community with lots to be proud of By LAURA NATION-ATCHISON

Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

Little Lions Preschool is a new addition to the town of Munford. It’s run by Casey Stephens.

2011 was a year of improvements in Munford By AZIZA JACKSON Home staff writer

The town of Munford continues to make big strides in improving the lives of its residents. Since being incorporated in 2002, the town has seen an expansion in its Recreation Department and Volunteer Fire Department, and the establishment of a court system, preschool and grocery store. “Well this last year we started our court system,” Mayor Lynne Swinford said. “We had our first court date in November; the second is coming up Jan. 19.” Court dates are scheduled on the third Thursday of every other month. “Larry Ward is our judge, he does all of the small towns around, and

Luke Montgomery is our prosecutor,” Police Chief Jeff Rutledge said. Town clerk Peggy Bussie also serves as magistrate and court clerk. “At first we were going through the district court but after doing the research we found the town would benefit more financially if we had your own court system,” Rutledge said. He said so far only traffic misdemeanor cases have been handled in the court system and trying those cases in town has proven to be more convenient. Another addition to the town is the Little Lions Preschool run by Casey Stephens. Since August 2011, Little Lions ages 3-and-ahalf to 4 have met from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday to learn their letters, numbers and

shapes. “You have your circle time, your learning time, your arts and crafts time, and your P.E. time when they play in the gym; one day out the week we go to Munford Public Library and have a story time there,” Stephens said. “When I started this there was nothing there but Head Start; it’s been very well received by people.” Casey said about 10 students are enrolled in the program, and she can accept up to 18. Munford’s Recreation Department continues to grow, with several sports added to an already successful basketball lineup. “We have improved our recreation board; last year we started picking up baseball and bringing all our sports under our recreation board,” Swinford said.

tion, Clemmie Lewis, saved money and had Oak Grove in great financial shape prior to the recent economic turndown,” Home lifestyles editor Merkel said. There’s no property tax in Oak Grove, Ask Oak Grove Mayor Charles Merkel it’s been something the city hasn’t really about his town and he has plenty to say. There may be just 528 people there, needed to turn to yet, Merkel said. “Maybe that makes us not overly but it’s a busy community with lots to be aggressive in seeking proud of. new residential property, It’s kind of hard to tell where to start. Town of Oak Grove although we do welcome anyone interested in First, he’ll tell you he’s Sales Tax Collections annexing into town.” exactly where he wants to There are many busibe, right back in the town FY 2006 $395,335 nesses on the edge of he grew up in. FY 2010 $316,399 town, and Merkel said Then, he tells about FY 2011 $384,844 city leaders felt there was how the town was started and how one of its first Sales tax receipts for the Town no doubt that they benmayors, the late Bloise of Oak Grove for Fiscal Year efitted from their close Zeigler, helped lead the 2011, the previous year and proximity, so after speakcommunity through some 2006, before the sharp eco- ing with all of them, the city enforced its police nomic downturn of 2008. interesting times. jurisdiction, which The town incorpoenables them to collect rated in 1966 and in the half as much sales tax as late 1970s, there were disagreements between the City Council and an in-town business would for the town. “This has helped to stabilize the financresidents to the point that Zeigler felt the es in Oak Grove and we are truly grateful town should cease to exist. Zeigler led the way to hold a refer- for these businesses’ help,” he said. City officials are working with prospecendum, and by a slim margin, residents tive business entities that are considering voted to “keep” their town. As townspeople asked, Zeigler agreed locating in Oak Grove and a new apartto take the position as mayor, and over the ment complex in the works could provide next 20 years, there were a lot of accom- homes to increase the city’s population. The current administration has estabplishments. “With his vision of a brighter future lished an animal control program, holds a and his compassionate guidance, over the successful yearly music festival and a comnext 20 years, Oak Grove became what munity garden that helps feed thousands it is today,” Merkel said. “We are now a of families throughout the region, Merkel small town that operates a regional senior said. Not bad for a base of a little over 500 citizens services program serving dozens of residents and homebound seniors, we people. Merkel’s education and careers took have a rural transportation program that serves many disabled, elderly and low him away from his hometown for two difincome people just as is done in nearby ferent times for a total of about 15 years, but he says the other places just didn’t feel larger cities.” There’s a volunteer fire department that like home. Merkel said he built his business so he serves a larger district than any other in Talladega County, a new town hall built could have a job in his home town. Being mayor is personal to Merkel, he under Zeigler’s administration, along with the active senior center and its programs readily tells of his love for it. “I love Oak Grove,” he said. “When I and a walking track park. Subsequent Mayor Charles Rogers and was led to serve on the town council and his administration built a new fire sta- then called to being mayor, I did those tion, set up municipal security patrols and things because I believe it is what everyone wants — to find what’s home to you, put paved nearly all the roads in town. “And we were fortunate that our down roots there and then give back by mayor prior to the present administra- serving the community that you love.”

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16A -THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, February 12, 2012

GOVERNMENT & INDUSTRY

years go by quickly when you look forward to every day. There’s certainly a great deal of pride to be shared in the production of a single new Honda vehicle, to say nothing of the pride in building more than 2.3 million new Hondas in less than 10 years. Numbers and milestones represent results, but it is our people—the 4,000 associates of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama —who are the driving force in Honda’s many accomplishments over the past decade. Yes, there’s a lot of pride in each Alabama-built Honda—pride in our products, our associates and the partnerships and friendships that have developed between Honda and the citizens of Alabama. Thanks for the memories… and the future we’ll continue to share, together.


Government & Industry