Heavy traveled road gets facelift


A much-anticipated road-paving project has recently been completed on Dale County Road 445 thanks to state funding.


The 2.8-mile stretch of road joining Freedom Drive and the old Highway 134 and Highway 84 has increased in usage during the past few years.


Dale County commissioner Steve McKinnon said the road averages about 3,300 vehicles daily and hasn’t been repaved since 2000.


McKinnon said the repaving was needed due to the increase of development in the area and increasing traffic. The road is also utilized by several school systems that have buses coming and going throughout the day.


The $250,000 project was paid for by the state through monies left over from other state projects.


McKinnon said the project would not have been possible without the help of Alabama Rep. Steve Clouse and Alabama Sen. Harri Anne Smith, who in turn said the project would not have happened without the “legwork” of McKinnon.


The county had a list of 25 roads that needed repaving and the commission narrowed the list down further until they agreed upon County Road 445.


McKinnon said the commission learned the county the project was approved last December.


“It took a while for it to get started, but we’re glad to have it done,” McKinnon said.


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Webb Elementary Library gets a Boost

The school’s library has suffered for several years due the lack of funds. Pro-rated education budgets left the library to rely on book sales and other difficult fundraising projects just to maintain the bare minimums. There was nothing left for new books or any extras.
Last week the school received funds through cooperation with Senator Harri Anne Smith and the Community Service Grant Program which will go a long way towards getting new books and a fresh start for the students.
Webb Elementary School Asst. Principal Marsha Shelley was joined by Webb Mayor Vicki Hunter to accept the letter of funding.
Mayor Hunter expressed great appreciation for the help, “Senator Harri Anne has been so great, she always looks out for our kids, throughout the Wiregrass”.

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Geneva County H.S. Band Get’s a Boost

Geneva High Band Boosters have had they’re work cut out for them for the past several years due to pro-ration and a shrinking education budgets. However; this week the band received welcomed news. Through the assistance of State Senator Harri Anne Smith, the band received funds through a Community Service grant.

Geneva County Band Booster President, Diane Goodnight, said the funds would go a long way towards replacing old worn out equipment. The grant will also be utilized for purchasing items previously unattainable due to limited monies. Goodnight also said, “ we know we can count on Senator Harri Anne, she is always looking out for the schools and the kids regardless of the political climate.”

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Slocomb High School Getting New Books

Slocomb High School Library receives funds via Community Service grants. Thanks to efforts by Librarian Kim Martin, Asst. Librarian Dale Mathis, and ” one of their best customers” Billy Norton, in cooperation with Senator Harri Anne Smith, the school will be able to replace many books damaged by a leaky roof and hopefully buy some new titles.
These funds are in addition to over $1200.00 raised by students through fundraisers.

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Rehobeth Elementary Gets Funds For Technology

Barbara Greathouse, Reading Coach at Rehobeth Elementary School, explains that a key factor in teaching is knowing precisely where a students skills are lacking. The use of specialized computer testing and evaluation software can quickly pinpoint students strengths as well as weaknesses.

Due to pro-rationing of the Alabama State Education budgets for the past several years such specialized tools have been inaccessible. However; Rehobeth Elem. School realized the critical need for these tools and began searching for additional funding sources. Through the assistance and cooperation of Senator Harri Anne Smith the school has been awarded funds through a Community Service grant. The school intends to use the funds to purchase resources which will support the students in optimal achievement.

School Board Representative Bobby Harrell, Principal Shirley Brewer, along with County Commision Chairman Mark Culver and Commissioner Jackie Battles were at the school for the announcement. Photo shows Ms. Greathouse accepting a commitment letter for funding from Senator Smith.

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Senator Harri Anne Smith understands the importance of technology in the school

Dothan Al: Carver Magnet School has worked with community leaders and parents to overcome funding shortfalls.  The school is not classified Title One and this has left Carver searching for alternative revenue sources to purchase equipment.   Carver understands the importance of up to date equipment and technology.  The students are the number one focus of the school.  This encouraged Carver to explore funding alternatives to fill in the gap.  

Promethean Boards are an instructional tool used to engage students with interactive whiteboards, vivid images, video and audio.  These boards are the newest in technology and in today’s tech savvy world, a classroom necessity.    The Promethean Boards have accessories that allow students to become further engaged in lessons.   These Student Response Devices, also known in the classroom as “clickers”,  are individual hand held devices which allow each student to actively participate in a lesson.  These devices allow 100% classroom participation.    They provide instant results for pop quizzes and are an effective communication tool for lesson comprehension.   Furthermore, they allow teachers to track progress through individual student spreadsheets.  Teachers and students love them!  Not all students are comfortable raising their hand and this device allows each student to respond.   As expected, they are very expensive.  Carver Magnet School is not a Title One school.  The use of Title One monies allow many of schools in Dothan to purchase these accessories.   Carver found itself wanting to include these devices in their classrooms.  Senator Harri Anne Smith understands the importance of technology in the school and is able to bestow funds for their purchase.  With the assistance of Senator Smith and the Carver Magnet School PTO, four sets of Student Response Devices will be purchased for the school.

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All Geneva Co. High School seniors can be on stage for graduation.

May 2, 2011 

Senator Harri Anne Smith and Representative Donnie Chesteen scrambled late last week to find much needed funds, after learning that the stage in the auditorium at Geneva County High School was in need of a ramp to allow some students to join the graduating class, on stage,  and make that portion of the facility more accessible to persons with disabilities, among other projects planned to renovate this building to make it more suitable for all students.

When local businessman Steve Ketchum approached Rep. Chesteen regarding the dilemma, Chesteen quickly called veteran Senator and local champion for students, teachers, and schools, Harri Anne Smith.  The Senator was able to secure a grant from the state which will fund the construction.

Joined by former State Rep. Riley Seibenhener, Senator Smith and Representative Chesteen presented a check for $5000.00 to Geneva County School Superintendent David Snell and Geneva Co. High School Principal Harold Birge.

“This is the kind of project that makes you smile”, Smith said, “this will help to make, all students, dreams come true”.

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Governor Bentley Proclaims Sunday a Day of Prayer

Governor Robert Bentley today signed a proclamation calling for a statewide “Day of Prayer” on Sunday, May 1, 2011 to remember those who lost their lives in Wednesday’s storms.
 “I am asking all people of faith in our state to set aside Sunday as a Day of Prayer in memory of our family, friends, and neighbors who were taken from us in this shared tragedy,” Governor Bentley said. “It is appropriate that we pray for those we lost, for those who loved them, and for those still suffering. We all need divine guidance and providence in the days ahead as we seek not only to rebuild, but to heal.”

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FEMA/EMA update May 1,2011

During a conference call this morning Art Faulkner, EMA Director, provided up to date information on the progress and processes to get much needed assistance to all affected.

 In an unprecedented move President Obama designated the State of Alabama a Class I disaster just 4 days after tornadoes and severe weather wreaked havoc over much of the state. This move, under the agreement signed by the Governor and the Presidents representative, will expedite the way in which resources are brought to those in need. Under this agreement aerial damage surveys are being conducted to identify areas affected by the storms. In addition, where there is a question from the air as to the boundaries in certain areas and or the severity of damage teams are being deployed on the ground to further investigate those areas. Life sustaining commodities are being delivered, to those in need, even in areas not presently designated as “Affected”.

State and local EMA, in tandem with FEMA, are working diligently to identify all persons and areas in need of assistance, in an effort to ensure everyone affected gets the help they need.

 Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance today by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Anyone sustaining loss from areas not yet designated may also apply, be sure and ask for a registration number so that when areas are added to the list you can quickly update your claim.

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Helping those affected by last night’s devasting storms

The Wiregrass Red Cross has deployed their emergency response team and ERV (emergency response vehicle) to assist those affected by last night’s devastation. Thousands of our neighbors and loved ones are without shelter, food and other essentials. The Red Cross is in the process of setting up sites in the affected areas to get much needed resources to those in need. Please help.

To make Donations call: 1-800-Red Cross

                              Online: RedCross.org

                                  Text: redcross90999 (to make a $10 billed to your cell phone)

Please do all you can,

Harri Anne

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