Opelika’s Municipal Candidate Forum–My thoughts

If you missed last night’s candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters and the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, you missed some very important things.  Even if you came and left after the mayoral candidates discussed the issues, you missed something.  Even if your ward didn’t have a contested race, two of the candidates running in Wards 1 and 2 will be representatives on the City Council and their decisions will affect you.  It was interesting to hear what they had to say (well, most of them, anyway).

Working for the City and for the City Attorney particularly, I may have an unusual perspective because I have some knowledge of what’s going on in each of the wards and what the City Council has to make decisions about.  Some of these decisions are not easy.  The City Council does not have a simple job and the members of the Council should be knowledgeable about what it involves. Some of the candidates last night did, while others just did not.

First, the mayoral candidates took the stage.  Mayor Gary Fuller’s position is very clear.  His track record speaks for itself.  During the 12 years that Gary Fuller has been Mayor, he has brought a substantial amount of businesses and industry to Opelika which, in turn, brought many needed jobs.  If you look around Opelika, you will see vast improvements in our roads, bridges, landscaping and especially the renovation of downtown.  While many of these things were brought about by others, the Mayor was instrumental in getting people on board who knew how to make things happen and helped get them approved.

Lee County Commissioner John Andrew Harris didn’t or couldn’t say how he would improve Opelika other than discussing burning garbage to create cheap electricity or helping people get solar panels to lower the cost of electricity.  Granted, he wants to look after the citizens, but most of the things he suggested would ultimately hurt the City.  I’m all for lowering my utility bill, but not to the detriment of Opelika Power Services and the City. Instead, why doesn’t he want to institute a plan to educate the citizens about how to lower their monthly budget by making wise choices about their use of electricity and water?

Ward 1 candidates Patricia (Patsy) Jones (Incumbent) and Greg Jones was the most frustrating discussion of the night.  Patsy did an excellent job stating what she has done for the past 21 years and what she will continue to do and wants to begin over the next four.  Greg Jones, on the other hand, ridiculed and mocked Ms. Jones during the course of his discussion.  He left me with the impression that the only reason he is running for City Council in Ward 1 is because the City has taken something away from him and this is his way of getting it back.  Does the City of Opelika really want a critical person serving on the City Council?  It seems Mr. Jones would do well to continue using his non-profit to help the citizens in Ward 1.

Ward 2 candidates came ready to impress.  Larry Gray (Incumbent), Tiffany Gibson-Pitts, Nelson Marsh and Oscar Penn answered question after question about what they believed they could do for the City of Opelika as Council person in Ward 2.  Let’s just say that the discussion among the four of them was the most informative of the night.  Some minds may have been changed last night.  I was surprisingly impressed by a couple of the candidates.  What they had to say might work.  They may not win the election, but I believe that whether they do or they don’t, they should work on their ideas together with the City Council, if possible.

Opelika has done well over the past 12 years.  It has great leadership made possible by the people the citizens of Opelika have elected.  Wards 1 and 2 have some issues and, unless you are living with your head in the sand, you are well aware of them.  Something needs to be done, but I’m not sure the City Council has the teeth to do it, meaning that the problems may not be able to be handled at the government level.  The candidates were right.  We need to train parents.  Children need to have supervision.  Something needs to be put in place to get kids off the street.  The City, as a whole, needs to be concerned about this issue, not just the citizens in Wards 1 and 2.

Opelika is a great place to live, work and play.  New jobs are created all the time.  Contrary to what some believe, the Opelika School System is the best in East Alabama, and your child can get an excellent education here.  It’s not perfect, but it’s an incredible place for our children to learn.  If you have a child in one of the Opelika City schools, tell others about it.  The Opelika Sportsplex and a number of City parks offer a place for children to play and have a good time.  Granted, there’s always a way to improve.

Also, if you don’t know what the City Council is doing, go to a City Council meeting.  They take place on the first and third Tuesday of each month beginning at 7:00 p.m. (best to arrive by 6:30).  Be a part of citizen communications.

Each citizen has the opportunity and the right to be heard by the leadership of the City.  You will be hard-pressed to find a better group of leaders who listen to the needs of the citizens and respond accordingly.  You may have heard complaints from people who didn’t get what they wanted; however, we must all keep in mind that there are some problems government can’t fix.

We live in a great community.  Vote your conscience and keep it that way.

See OA News for more details.


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Finding daycare in Opelika is a problem.

In December 2014, my trusted daycare closed because the operator didn’t have the resources to keep it open. In my opinion, it was the best daycare in the area (including Auburn) and was the most reasonably priced. Because my youngest is in school, I only require daycare when the schools are closed (teacher workdays, Spring Break, etc.) especially summer.

My research turned up only one daycare in Opelika with after-school care. Most cite liability and costs as the reasons why they do not offer care for school-aged kids. As you can imagine, any daycare in Opelika to offer summer care for school-aged kids reaches capacity quickly. (Fortunately, I have found another alternative, but I wonder about those who haven’t).

For those of us who live and work near Downtown Opelika, this poses a problem. I don’t particularly want to drive to Auburn and back twice a day. There really is no easy solution to this problem. No one is responsible for finding or providing daycare for our school-aged children. It is no one’s fault that daycares are attracted to Auburn and the exorbitant rates they can charge for daycare and after-school care.

I just want to know how many people are as frustrated as I am that Opelika is in this position. Our City is blessed with population growth, job growth and a beautiful place to live, but we are suffering in the area of childcare. Does anyone have any suggestions? If you are in the same situation, I would love to hear from you. Am I the only person having this dilemma?

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New and improved Kroger Bath & Body products

As a BzzAgent, I get the privilege of trying new and/or improved products.  Recently, I had the opportunity to try two products from the Kroger Co. Bath & Body Products, Moisturize Body Lotion and Nourish Body Wash.

The body wash has an incredible lather–just a quarter-size drop on a shower sponge does a great job cleaning and nourishing the skin and lasts a long time saving you money.

The moisturizing body lotion works just as well as name brand products for a fraction of the cost.  It goes on smooth, blends in well and doesn’t leave a greasy film behind.

I am a BzzAgent.  I received the above Kroger Co. Bath & Body Products as part of their BzzCampaign.  I was not required to give a positive review.  My review is my own honest opinion.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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My top 5 reasons to keep the house cold….

My kids and my husband want to know why I keep the house so cold.  Here are my top 5 reasons:

5)  We live in the h-o-t South where we average 10-15 days a year below 40 degrees.  I don’t like switching the thermostat back and forth from heat to air conditioning on a day to day basis.

4)  I am a woman in the midst of menopause when hot flashes come and go. To demonstrate, put on your warmest winter clothes and walk into a sauna.  Stay for 5 minutes, then exit.  Wait 10 minutes and repeat the process.  (Note:  While in the sauna, you can’t remove any of your clothing.)

3)  Having the heat on costs money–money I use to spend on Christmas presents.

2)  It is easier to layer clothing than remove them.

1)  Because I’m the mom and I learned when I was growing up that the mom is in charge of the thermostat.  When mom is happy, everybody’s happy. 🙂

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Vacation to Albany, Georgia? Why not?

This gallery contains 51 photos.

While most people traveled to the beach for the week of the Fourth, my family decided on a location a little closer to home and took a short three-hour trip to Albany, Georgia.  Although the weather was temperamental, the temperature … Continue reading

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A train wreck waiting to happen

I walk around Downtown Opelika every day. At about the same time every day with amazing predictability, the train comes through town horns blaring travelling at what I consider to be an unreasonably high rate of speed in this particular area. At least once a week I witness someone cross the railroad tracks with the train about 50 yards away. While there is no rail on this crossing, there are lights and an audible signal.

To my knowledge, Opelika has not had an accident involving a train downtown. However, judging from the reckless behavior of crossing the tracks while a train is in motion, I am afraid this will change. If you are on the tracks when the train is coming, there is a 50/50 chance you will get hit by the train.

In case you have any doubts, it is against the law to cross the tracks while a train is approaching.  Sec. 16-156 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Opelika, Alabama, states:

“(a) Whenever any person driving a vehicle approaches a railroad grade crossing under any of the circumstances stated in this section, the driver of such vehicle shall stop within fifty (50) feet but not less than fifteen (15) feet from the nearest rail of such railroad, and shall not proceed until he can do so safely. The foregoing requirements shall apply when:

(1) A clearly visible electric or mechanical signal device gives warning of the immediate approach of a railroad train;

(2) A crossing gate is lowered or when a human flagman gives or continues to give a signal of the approach or passage of a railroad train;

(3) A railroad train approaching within approximately one thousand five hundred (1,500) feet of the highway crossing emits a signal audible from such distance and such railroad train, by reason of its speed or nearness to such crossing, is an immediate hazard;

(4) An approaching railroad train is plainly visible and is in hazardous proximity to such crossing.

(b) No person shall drive any vehicle through, around or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad crossing while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.”

State law reference— Similar provisions, Code of Alabama, § 32-5A-150.

 I urge you to please behave in a safe, responsible manner and be aware of the train signals. There are two locations in downtown to cross over the tracks if you are in a hurry and don’t want to wait.  Don’t sacrifice your life (or those you travel with).  The train may be an inconvenience, but losing your life would be tragic.

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More gentle solution to mold and mildew stains–Soft Scrub® Mild and Mildew Stain Remover

www.softscrub.comSoft Scrub® is introducing a new  cleaner with no harsh fumes, a spray gel that clings to stains and cleans tile, grout, tubs and showers leaving them free from mold and mildew.  As a Purex® Insider, I received Soft Scrub’s® Mold & Mildew Stain Remover in order to test and review. I love Soft Scrub® products—they are affordable, effective and most importantly they work.

Soft Scrub® continues to make products that work efficiently and inexpensively.  This new product can clean anything in your bathroom and leave it spotless.  Soft Scrub® Mold & Mildew Stain Remover is effective at cleaning without the harsh fumes.  I love it, and I hope you will, too.

For great deals and product information, like the Soft Scrub® brand Facebook Page at facebook.com/softscrub.  When you comment on their page, please mention my blog url https://ponderinglifefromarailroadtown.wordpress.com.  You can also sign up for email updates at softscrub.com.

The Soft Scrub brand provided me with a sample of Soft Scrub® Mold & Mildew Stain Remover in exchange for an honest review.  However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

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Soft Scrub® 4-in1 Toilet Care cleans, freshens and all that

Soft Scrub-4-in-1-Toilet-Care-AlpineFresh_lgSoft Scrub® is introducing a new toilet bowl cleaner that promises long lasting cleaning and freshening (up to 4 weeks) that won’t dissolve too quickly and will stay in place.  As a Purex® Insider, I was able to receive this new product in order to test and review. 

This isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed a Soft Scrub® product and won’t be the last (my next review will be about Soft Scrub® Mold & Mildew Stain Remover).  I love Soft Scrub® products—they are affordable, effective and most importantly they work.

At first, the scent of the Alpine Fresh fragrance of the 4-in-1 Toilet Care seemed somewhat strong and overbearing, but once it was used several times, the odor was just enough to be effective and not too much to be offensive.  Not only did the bathroom smell fresher, the toilet stayed clean for four weeks.

Unlike most products containing bleach, the strong bleach smell is not present.  I loved this new product from Soft Scrub® and will definitely be buying it as often as I need to replace it.

For great deals and product information, like the Soft Scrub® brand Facebook Page at facebook.com/softscrub.  When you comment on their page, please mention my blog url https://ponderinglifefromarailroadtown.wordpress.com.  You can also sign up for email updates at softscrub.com.

The Soft Scrub brand provided me with a sample of Soft Scrub® 4-in-1Toilet Care in exchange for an honest review.  However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

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Dial lives up to its promise with two new products

As a PurexInsider, I had the opportunity to review two new Dial products.  Dial Coconut Water Body Wash contains coconut water for clean, healthy, hydrated skin.  I loved the scent and the freshness.    Coconut water is found in young, green coconuts and is known to be rich in antioxidants and electrolytes that provide replenishing hydration.  Learn more at  dialsoap.com.  coconut-water_bodywash-hero_0


dial-kids-slide Dial Kids Body+Hair Wash is one of the best products I have used for my daughter. I was impressed by the amount of bubbles it produced (and so was my daughter).  She loved the Watery Melon scent and they lasted long enough for her to enjoy her bath play time.  It’s nice to have one product for hair and body and it rinses quick and easy, too.

I loved both of these Dial products.  I’m sure you will, too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free from Dial Brand. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Purex with Crystals fragrance

purexPurex plus Fabric Softener with Crystals Fragrance with dirt lift action…As always, I love Purex products.  Cost efficient and does a great job on laundry–now with fragrance enhancers so you can bring line-dried freshness indoors.  Add Purex Crystals for even more long-lasting freshness.

The makers of Purex are always looking for ways to save you money.  Now, with fabric softener included, you get two products for the price of one (three if you count the Purex Crystals).  The only downside is that I often do not find these new products at our local Kroger or Wal-Mart stores.  Do me a favor and ask them to stock all of the Purex products.  🙂

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free from Purex as a Purex Insider. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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