Community Thursday, November 7, 2013
Lee County Commission, Humane Society fighting like cats and dogs Chandler Jones Community Editor
The contract connection between the Lee County Humane Society and Lee County ended Oct. 18 begging the question, who’s going to let the dogs out? The nearly two-decade long relationship between the county and the society is nothing more than the average contractual one similar to cable and internet services and roadwork. The humane society’s relationships with the cities of Opelika and Auburn have not changed. “We looked at our contracts and what we found was we were not getting paid what it cost to hold the animals for seven days,” said Bobbi Yeo, Lee County Humane Society executive director. The stray-hold is a statemandated seven days an animal is kept in holding until rescued or adopted, after that time the animal is disposed of in any lawful manner, Yeo said. “The Humane Society declined to accept a renewal of our existing contract at level funding,” said Bill English, Lee County Commission chairman. “On the last day of the year, they proposed a new contract with less favorable terms for the county and a 20 percent increase in cost to the county. When asked, they replied that the terms were non-negotiable.
They left us no choice but to meet our statutory obligation in another manner.” The county commission allocated $127,923 last year for the society. The society asked the commission for $154,091 this year. The overall contract increase was 14 percent. English said they asked for more money, even though the society reduced their available service hours to the county and removed the county’s indemnification. “The fees they provided were nowhere near the most basic cost of that service we provide,” Yeo said. Yeo said the Society’s figures were based on the quantity of animals brought in by the county versus that of the cities. “It’s just an allocation, a pro-rated allocation based on activity with us over the past several months,” Yeo said. Yeo said the biggest issue the society was having was subsidizing the funds with donor funds, which she said is unacceptable due to its status as a tax-payer obligation. English said the Animal Control Division will continue operations as before, but will deliver the animals to different facilities. “We are exploring alternate methods for housing
» See Humane A8
The keeper of the secret garden Chandler Jones Community Editor
It’s only an average morning for nature-lover Jennifer Lolley as she stands alone in the middle of nowhere. Surrounding her is 110-acres of quiet foliage. As she walks the trails weaving through and around bushes and trees, plant species and histories weave in and out of her conscious. Her calm pace is this place’s tenderlove-and-care. A passion begotten her before she even had a chance to reject it stems from a biology teacher mother and an innate love of critters. This fire fuels a woman who inspires Auburn to get back out to nature. “I was raised in it,” Lolley said, glancing down to silence the chirping grasshopper ringtone. “Always had it around me. I just told my mom about my black widow collection. She was always showing us things in nature.” After moving frequently as a Navy brat, her family settled in Enterprise and had four horses. “I always had some kind of critter,” Lolley said. Lolley graduated from Auburn University with a degree in biology. Now, she’s settled in Auburn and spends her days in a world of bird’s nests made for people and tree houses built for adults. She’s the first and only full-time em-
ployee of Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife’s Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve. Her office is in the wildlife sciences building and her home is among the other professors in this town. “I like being with my people,” Lolley said. “We’re in such an academic world. You don’t find that everywhere. I enjoy the people who live here. College towns are great.” To most children around town, she’s just “The Snake Lady.” Lolley said she can be grocery shopping when a child spots her, their eyes go wide and they begin tugging on their mother’s shirts whispering, “that’s the snake lady.” Lolley dedicates herself to the Preserve, taking each opportunity as a teaching one. She holds camps, hikes and leisure opportunities, which have become a favorite for children and families around town, according to Lolley. “It’s made me realize the impact you can have on somebody in such a short time,” Lolley said. For Lolley, the Preserve offers an solution to the problem she calls “nature-deficit disorder” affecting children who just don’t get outside much. Lolley said her favorite part about the job is showing the children things about nature and watching them get excited. “I can show them something scary or
exciting, like a snake or a tarantula, and you can watch them change,” Lolley said. The Preserve features an outdoor classroom, a bird observation area, a turtle pond and an outdoor classroom Lolley calls her pride and joy. Lolley said she’s blessed, because she gets a place in the Preserve’s history as the first of something. “I have a job that can make a difference,” Lolley said. “I like to go to work, plus my office is pretty cool.”
Quick picks with
Jennifer Lolley • Movie: “Contact” • Book: “Run with the Horsemen” by Ferrol Sams • Food: Steak • Interesting Detail: Once posed on top of an 850-pound alligator
Contributed by The Secret Sisters
The secrets behind these Secret Sisters The band performing Nov. 8 at Standard Deluxe sits down with The Plainsman to discuss what it’s like to reach fame Kelsey Davis Editor-in-Chief
How long have you been performing? Professionally, it was 2009 when we were “discovered,” if you want to call it that. We got a record deal in early 2010, and as far as performing goes we never did very much of that in front of people. The only time we were seen together was in private at home or just the two of us and our dad. We would do a lot of family stuff, but we never performed anywhere. In fact, we had never even performed a real show together until after we had got our record deal so it was kind of a backwards process. A little surreal and definitely different than most peoples’ experience in the music world. I’m curious about how you got your record label before you started touring. I always had terrible stage fright like could not even stand in front of my friends and sing a song because I was so insecure. I had just graduated from college and was living in Nashville and A friend of mine told me about this open audition that was being held here. This record label was doing a general talent search. I went to my audition and performed for this panel of judges. I thought I did a terrible job, but they called me back and told me they really liked me and wanted to hear me sing some more. So I played more for them and they started talking about, ‘Let’s get you in the studio, let’s do a record deal,’ and I got really panicky because I thought, ‘I can’t do this by myself.’ So I insisted that they hear Lydia sing. (The judges) were kind of blown away that they had discovered this pair of sisters who could sing together who actually were not pursuing a career in music at all. Within a month of that we were flown to Los Angeles and we recorded a couple of demos and then we went up to New York and auditioned
for our label and on a wild hare that label believed in us and they signed us ever having played a show without us having a fan base or web site or anything. Tell me how the sister dynamic plays into making music together. At first, when we started touring, it was tough because we were so used to not being around each other, and then all of a sudden it was like we were everywhere together – on airplanes, in cars, on trains, in dressing rooms, hotel rooms and on stages. It was like you could not get away from each other so there have been tense moments between us but it’s like you get on the stage, and all of a sudden you forget what you were upset about. We play around with it on stage. We make jokes about sibling rivalry and being typical sisters and I think at the end of the day there isn’t anybody we would rather be having this big crazy adventure with. Is there a rhythm that you naturally pick up on when playing with your sibling? I think so. We kind of feed off each other, and we know what the other one is going to be doing throughout the song. Our voices blend well together so it’s just a completely different dynamic than playing with other people. It’s funny because sometimes I’ll go and play with other people who aren’t my sibling and I’m like, ‘Oh, I miss Lydia. She would know exactly what I need to do.’ How has your music progressed while on tour? When we were entering the world of music and trying to make a name for ourselves we became primarily known as a throwback country duo, and that is true. We definitely love classic country music, that’s a big part of who we are as musicians, but I think a lot of times it was overlooked that we love early Rock ‘n’ Roll, some early pop and we’re big into gospel, blue grass and a cappella.