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Officials share New Year's wishes
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
From Bulletin staff reports
A new year brings new hopes, new aspirations and new goals.
The following are some Henry County and Martinsville officials’ and staff members’ resolutions and wishes for 2014.
Martinsville Mayor Kim Adkins said her New Year’s resolution is for “the city of Martinsville’s unemployment rate to drop” in 2014 and for “everyone who wants employment ... to find viable employment opportunities.”
Joe Bryant, Collinsville District representative on the Henry County Board of Supervisors, said he resolves to keep a positive outlook in the coming year.
Bryant, president of Bryant Radio Supply in Collinsville, said that as a local businessman, he sees a lot to look forward to in 2014, including continued economic growth in Henry County.
“We’re working hard for the county,” Bryant said, “and I think in the near future, our hard work will pay off.”
Bryant said two of his goals for the coming year are to see the new shell building for the Patriot Centre industrial park constructed and occupied, and to see Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre receive its grading permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Debra Buchanan, Horsepasture District representative on the board of supervisors, said her hopes for the new year are for continued health and more jobs in Henry County.
Martinsville Interim Police Chief Eddie Cassady said he is “going to work more on trying to get into shape” in the coming year, as well as “to try and live as healthy as I can.”
County Administrator Tim Hall said his personal New Year’s resolution is “to just be better” — a better husband, father, boss and employee.
For the area, Hall said he has several goals. He is excited about the local growth the county has seen, including new hirings at Bassett Furniture, Commonwealth Laminating, Solid Stone Fabrics and Eastman Chemical, and he hopes to help those trends continue.
Like Bryant, Hall said he also hopes the coming year will bring a grading permit for Commonwealth Crossing.
Sharon Brooks Hodge
Martinsville City Councilwoman Sharon Brooks Hodge said she wishes “a spirit of cooperation, camaraderie and prosperity” for the community.
Hodge said she does not generally make resolutions.
Curtis Millner Sr.
Curtis Millner Sr., the Henry County School Board’s Iriswood District member, said he has not made a resolution, but he hopes the county and city will find ways to work together for the betterment of the community.
Merging the two school systems would be one way, he said.
“It would save money all around,” as well as reduce student travel times, said Millner. Also, the best educational programs of each system could be provided to all local students to help them learn more effectively, he said.
Millner said he thinks the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and Martinsville Police Department and sheriff’s office should be combined to save money. Also, a merged department would “provide better (law enforcement) coverage as a whole,” he said.
In addition, he said he thinks combining the county and city water/sewer systems would save money.
“There are so many things we can do as a whole” to improve services for residents of both localities and reduce the costs of providing the services, Millner said.
Tommy Slaughter, Reed Creek District representative and vice chairman of the board of supervisors, said two of his goals for the new year are to see Commonwealth Crossing receive its grading permit and to see the hiring of members of the new emergency medical services squad paid for by a recent grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“That’s going to be a real lifesaver for our community, to get the paid EMS members to go along with the volunteers,” Slaughter said.
Martinsville City Councilman Mark Stroud said he generally doesn’t make resolutions, but he said he will “try and live each day in service to my family and my fellow citizens.”
“I can keep that one,” he said, noting it is something he has practiced “for many, many years” in caring for family members and responding to concerns of city residents.
Martinsville Vice Mayor Gene Teague said his wish is for “the job situation to improve” locally and for the city to be able to “do things that will help us (residents) be in a better situation” as far as finding jobs.
Ongoing development of the New College Institute (NCI) and Commonwealth Crossing are important toward helping people find employment, he indicated.
Based on conversations he has had with other government officials, Teague said he is optimistic that Commonwealth Crossing’s permit dilemma will be resolved in the coming year.
Teague added that personally, he wants to lose some weight in 2014.
Martinsville City Manager Leon Towarnicki said his New Year’s wish is for the “continuation of good things” that will benefit the city economically.
“A lot of great things have started in the past 12 to 18 months,” he said, including construction of the New College Institute’s building uptown, which will house new educational programs in development, and learning that the city will receive a state grant to help redevelop the former Henry Hotel.
Those things ultimately will lead to jobs and more prosperity for the community, he said.
Long-term unemployment is “a real problem” in Martinsville, city Councilman Danny Turner said. Therefore, he said his wish is “to try to get more jobs for everybody in Martinsville.”
“It’s time we went ... full steam ahead” in efforts to “land a bunch of jobs” for city residents who need them, Turner said.
H.G. Vaughn, the board of supervisors’ Ridgeway District representative, said he generally doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions.
“They’re hard to keep,” he said.
Nonetheless, Vaughn said, his goals for the county in the coming year are to help oversee retail development, as well as support public safety and education “so we have a safe community and our kids get the best education possible to prepare them for the challenges of the future.”
“I feel very optimistic on the coming year,” Vaughn said. “I think we’ve turned a corner. Things are looking better, talking to my contacts in businesses in the community.”
Vaughn cited a number of recent advancements in the Ridgeway District, including a new Bojangles, the opening of Northwest True Value Hardware, the success of Dippers Ice Cream, the impending grand opening of Tractor Supply Co. in February, storefront “facelifts” at Jerry’s Pizza, Hardee’s and McDonald’s and a new sponsor garden on the U.S. 220 cloverleaf.
On a more personal level, Vaughn said he suffers from osteoarthritis. As a result, he resolves this year to exercise more and live a healthier lifestyle to help cope with the disease.
Karen Walker, an administrative assistant for Towarnicki and City Attorney Eric Monday, said her new year’s resolution is to “get organized,” especially for her craft room at home and her desk at work.
“I know what’s in my piles” on her desk, she said, chuckling, but “it looks bad.”
Walker said she says the same thing every year, but this time, “I mean it.”