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Nine candidates qualify for August municipal election

By Morgan Bryce/Assistant Communications Director

Following a two-week qualifying period, nine individuals have qualified to run and will appear on the ballot in the City of Smiths Station’s August 25th municipal election.

Below is a list of the candidates, position they are running for, short biography and contact information.

Mayor – F.L. “Bubba” Copeland (unopposed)

Bio – Copeland has called the Smiths Station area his home for most of his life. He attended Smiths Station High School and holds a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Auburn University. He served on the Lee County Board of Education for 11 years before becoming Mayor in 2016. In addition to serving as Mayor, Copeland owns and operates The Country Market in Salem and pastors at First Baptist Church of Phenix City.

 “The qualifying period for Smiths Station’s municipal election on August 25th just ended, and I will have no opposition in my bid for a second term as Mayor. I cannot tell you how humbled and grateful I am for this opportunity. I am making a promise to our Citizens to work even harder the next four years than I did during my first four in office to make our City the best little city to work, live and play in Alabama.”

Contact informationhttps://www.facebook.com/bubbacopelandmayor/

Place 1 – George Stringer

Bio – Stringer was born and raised in Smiths Station and is a graduate of Wacoochee High School. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in education from Alabama State University, Stringer taught in Russell County then returned to Smiths Station, becoming the high school’s first African American educator, spending 27 years at the school before his retirement in 1996. He is one of the original Smiths Station City Council members.

“Knowledge is the key, and I am committed to education and helping promote the best quality of life for every resident in the community. I want to continue helping the growth that we’ve started.”

Contact information – 706-573-3664

Place 2 – Morris Jackson (Unopposed)

Bio – Jackson has called Smiths Station home for most of his life. A graduate of Wacoochee High School, he went on to serve for four years in the U.S. Army, including a one-year deployment to Vietnam. He went on to work for 42 years with Georgia Power and retired from the company in 2008. Jackson was heavily involved in Smiths Station’s incorporation efforts and is one of the original Smiths Station City Council members.

“Recent accomplishments as a council member that I’m proud of include pushing for the addition of nighttime lighting around the City, Love’s coming and opening here, serving as the Vice Chair of our Road Name Change Committee and helping with developments on the Smiths Station Government Center Campus, including the storm shelter that will be constructed here later this year. I enjoy working with the Mayor and the City Council that we have and am proud of all the accomplishments we have made during the last four years.”

Contact information – 706-905-1247

Place 3 – Kamarcus Adkins, Steve Lansdon and William Spear

Adkins – Born in Opelika, Adkins graduated from Russell County High School and attended Southern Union State Community College. He has more than two decades of experience in food services at the managerial level and mentoring children and young adults, and has previously volunteered with several local, state, and national political campaigns.

“I want to join a continuously growing city and be able to help mold young people outside of sports. I want to give them ‘opportunities’ and hope to help bring in programs that will allow our city to continue to grow.”

Contact information: 334-740-1977, kamarcusadkins@gmail.com

Lansdon – A lifelong Smiths Station resident, Lansdon is a Troy University graduate. He worked for 37 years with Southeast Freight Lines Trucking Company, retiring from there as the Regional Fleet Service Manager. Lansdon now works on a part-time basis for Penske Truck Rental and enjoys spending time with his wife Susan of 47 years and family.

“My goals if elected are to bring additional businesses to the area and work with the citizens, Mayor and City Council to keep Smiths Station among the forefront of small cities in Alabama.”

Contact informationsglsr54@gmail.com

SpearA lifelong Smiths Station resident, Spear worked as a forester for the Georgia Pacific Corporation for 41 years. He now works as a school bus driver for the Lee County Board of Education and as a substitute teacher. Spear has previously served on the Lee County Juvenile Conference Committee, Smiths Station Zoning Board of Adjustment and is currently a member of the Smiths Station Planning Commission.

“I am running for office in the Smiths Station city government to help continue the progressive growth of our city.”

Contact informationwinston88cup@aol.com

Place 4 – Richard Cooley (Unopposed)

Bio – Cooley has called Smiths Station home for more than 60 years and is a 1965 graduate of Smiths Station High School. He later joined the U.S. Air Force and served a tour in Vietnam. With degrees from Auburn and Troy universities, Cooley spent 27 years in education, working as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. He was one of the leaders of Smiths Station’s incorporation efforts and has served on the Smiths Station City Council since 2004.

“Over the past four years, we have made tremendous strides in moving our City forward, including but not limited to the location of a Love’s Travel Stop within our City limits.  We are also in the early stages of establishing a Public Works Department to provide better maintenance for our roads and highways. Additionally, we are in the process of renaming our streets to names and moving away from the Lee Road designations for general population use and clarity.”

Contact information – 706-575-0642

Place 5 – Victoria Green and Diane Holman-Stein

GreenBorn and raised in Phenix City, Green graduated from Central High School and hold business-oriented degrees from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Troy University-Phenix City. She has worked at TSYS for the last 25 years. Green and her family are members of Smiths Station Baptist Church and are active volunteers in the church’s Upward Basketball ministry.

“I would like to use my years of leadership experience and working in corporate America to make decisions for our city that both support growth and the best interests of our community. A few areas of specific interest to me are the continued economic growth of our city, the development of an area dedicated for walking our pets and for several community tennis courts. 

I love my community and when elected I look forward to serving each citizen with honesty, openness, and integrity.”

Contact information – 706-593-3547

Holman-Stein – “I, Diane Holman-Stein, am blessed to have called Smiths Station my home since 1991 and Mount Zion UMC my family’s Church home for the past 23 years where I also serve on the Church Council. After graduating from Wetumpka High School, I went on to earn my ‘Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts’ from the University of Montevallo and in 2015, completed courses from the University of North Alabama to become a ‘Certified Alabama Planning & Zoning Official.'”

Employed with the City of Smiths Station:

2006-Present: Administrative Clerk to the Planning & Zoning Department (currently on leave as required by AL State Election  Laws)

2007-Present: Appointed to serve as the City’s first Archivist by then Mayor LaFaye Dellinger

2017-Present: Appointed to serve as Administrative Secretary to the Zoning Board of Adjustment

“I am running for City Council Place 5 because of my combined early personal involvement with the City’s startup by supporting the Incorporation effort and working the Census, 14 years of experience as a staff member in the day-to-day operations of the City and interactions with its citizens which has given me an insight and understanding that needs to be present on our City Council. We have seen wonderful growth in the past four years and my hope is that this will continue with wise choices as well as a respectful balance between residential and commercial development.”

Contact information – 706-332-6485

* Places are at-large positions unlike districts and wards, and do not indicate a specific area or portion of the City being represented. *

Smiths Station Disc Golf Course now open at the Smiths Station Sports Complex

By Morgan Bryce

Assistant Communications Director

  Smiths Station Parks and Recreation Director Jason Stewart and Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland are pleased to announce that the “Smiths Station Disc Golf Course” is now open at the City’s Sports Complex on Lee Road 242.

  The 18-hole, par-54 course encompasses the entire park, with the 1st hole located near the basketball courts and the 18th hole next to the Lee County Senior Center. Rated as an intermediate-level course, it will serve as a great introduction to the sport for beginners and a challenging practice location for experts, according to Stewart.

  “We wanted to give people something to enjoy and do free of charge,” Stewart said. “It’s a great source of exercise and it’s something that kids of any age can also take on.”

“We’ve been planning this for over a year now, and I’m glad to see it finished and opened to the public. This is a great addition to our Sports Complex,” Copeland added.

The course has been added to the course directory on the UDisc app, which lists more than 10,000 other disc golf courses found around the United States.

Stewart said plans are to create leagues for adults and youth based on age, class and skill level that will participate in monthly tournaments. For those who do not own a disc and want to give the sport a try, Stewart said there will be a small station built where individuals can borrow and return them while at the course.

 The course, along with the park, is open from dawn to dusk daily. Guests are encouraged to bring their own discs and source of hydration. A grand-opening event for the course is being planned for a later date.

Smiths Station City Council approves resolution authorizing formation of Road Name Change Committee

By Morgan Bryce

Assistant Communications Director

The Smiths Station City Council approved a resolution authorizing the formation of a Road Name Change Committee during Tuesday’s meeting.

Committee members include Chairman Richard Cooley, Vice Chairman Morris Jackson, Planning & Zoning Administrator Lisa Deason, Executive Assistant Brenda Dockery, Assistant Communications Director Morgan Bryce, and Citizen Volunteer Steve Henley.

The committee’s primary goal is to rename roads located within the city limits to their historical designations or names significant to Smiths Station. They will hold weekly meetings and work in tandem with local first responder agencies and the Post Office as the City moves forward with this initiative.

“This is an issue that our citizens and leadership have been interested in pursuing since incorporation, and we now have the resources in place to make this longtime dream a reality,” said Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland. “I believe it will help promote a stronger community spirit among our residents and give us an even greater sense of identity as a City.”

In coming weeks, a public forum will be scheduled for committee members and City officials to inform citizens on the status of this initiative and receive their input.   

For more information, contact Mr. Cooley at 706-575-0642 or Mr. Jackson at 706-905-1247.

July 2020 Business of the Month – JT Screen Printing & More

By Morgan Bryce/Assistant Communications Director

JT Screen Printing & More, located at 16541 U.S. Highway 280 Suite D in the Buckeye Acres Shopping Center, is the City of Smiths Station’s July 2020 Business of the Month.

The family-owned business was opened last April, but the father-son operators Tommy Rumph and Justin Riley have a combined 50-plus years of experience in the screen-printing industry based in the Auburn-Opelika area.

“When deciding to open, the thought was of bringing something that Smiths Station and surrounding area didn’t have,” Riley said.

Riley’s younger brother Scott works part-time at JT’s while his fiancé Sydney handles bookkeeping duties for the business.

Despite the relative newness of his family’s business, Riley said they have developed a consistent wholesale income and have cultivated meaningful relationships with area companies and organizations to handle their screen-printing needs. They are also capable of printing for smaller clients or for special events or functions.

Riley said JT’s competitive pricing and quality product helps separate the business from their competition.

“Instead of using an automatic method like heat transfer, we use a hand-stenciling technique. After that has been applied, they are run through a machine that dries that oil-based ink at 307 degrees (Fahrenheit),” Riley said. “It’s a better quality and the print or design lasts longer.”

In front of JT’s is a small retail section showcasing samples of their work.

Hours of operation for the business are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time. For more information, call 334-214-4577, follow their Facebook page “JT Screenprinting & More,” send email to jtprinting19@gmail.com or visit jtscreenprintingandmore.com.

Smiths Station City Council approves major purchase for City’s Public Works Department

By Morgan Bryce/Assistant Communications Director

The development of the City of Smiths Station’s Public Works Department took a major step forward with the addition of a Bobcat skid steer loader, a purchase that was approved by resolution during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

Council members made a motion to move their Tuesday, August 25th meeting to Thursday, August 27th due to a scheduling conflict with the municipal election.

The council approved the General Fund Budget for 2020-2021 proposed by Finance Officer Shelby Branton.

“Shelby is about two to three months ahead of schedule in getting this done,” said Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland. “I appreciate her dedication and efforts to keeping our city’s financial matters in order.”

The council also approved an ordinance re-establishing, enforcing, and maintaining the city’s motor fuels tax, which helps fund repaving projects throughout the city. The current tax is equal to two cents on each gallon of motor fuel sold or delivered within the city limits.

The Smiths Station City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month with the work session starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time followed by the regular meeting at 6 p.m. Their meetings are held within the council chambers of the Smiths Station Government Center, which is located at 2336 Lee Road 430. For more information, call 334-297-8771.

Lee County Revenue’s satellite office in Smiths Station to reopen on June 29th

The Lee County Revenue’s satellite office in Smiths Station will reopen next Monday, June 29th and resume their normal operating hours of 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. All COVID-19 protective measures will be followed. This includes waiting in a socially distanced line outside the facility, receiving a temperature screening and wearing masks for the duration of your visit.

A reminder that the Auburn satellite revenue office and Lee County Courthouse are open and providing the same services. All vehicle renewals can be processed online and vehicle registration and renewals due in the months of March, April, May, and June have been extended to July 17th, 2020.

If you need to visit the probate or City of Smiths Station offices, there is no need to wait in line. Come to the front and inform the stationed deputy of where you need to go. The same COVID-19 protective measures will apply. Hours for probate are the same as the revenue office and the City’s hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call the following numbers:

334-291-1326/334-737-3655 (Smiths Station Revenue Satellite Office and main Lee County Revenue office numbers)

334-448-3299/ 334-737-3670 (Smiths Station Probate Satellite Office and main Lee County Probate office numbers)

334-297-8771 (City of Smiths Station)

Other City/County News: All City and County offices will be closed on July 3rd in observance of the July 4th holiday. Regular hours of operation will resume on the following Monday, July 6th. Solid waste schedules will not be affected.

City of Smiths Station reopens Historic Jones Store Museum, Lending Libraries

By Morgan Bryce

Assistant Communications Director

The City of Smiths Station’s Historic Jones Store Museum and Lending Libraries are open to the public for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in mid-March.

The museum, which houses a wide array of artifacts and items unique to Smiths Station’s rich heritage, is now open for guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When guests arrive, they are asked to call 334-297-8771 to set-up a tour, which will be conducted by a city official.

Groups will be limited to 10 or fewer guests and the wearing of masks will be required during their tour of the facility. Saturday tours will return later in the summer.

Hours of operation for the lending libraries will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. To comply with social distancing guidelines, there will be a limit of one adult and two children per library room, and masks will be required during their visit.

“The museum and Lending Library are important ways for us to connect with our our citizens and people from surrounding communities. We hope that people are patient with us during this slow process of reopening,” said Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland.

For more information and updates, follow the City’s Facebook page or visit www.smithsstational.gov.

City, school leaders warn of sponsorship scam

Dear Smiths Station businesses and churches,

There’s a fraudulent company soliciting donations from businesses and churches in Smiths Station. They are asking for money for the business or church logo to be on the Smiths Station High School football jersey. Number one, we do not have logos on our jerseys, and number two, if we were to solicit donations, it would be from a school employee or student.

Sorry for any misunderstanding. Go Panthers!

Sincerely,
Dr. Brad Cook and Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland

Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland, Smiths Station City Council proclaim June 4 as ‘Smiths Station Unity Walk Day’

By Morgan Bryce
Assistant Communications Director

Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland and the Smiths Station City Council signed a proclamation during Tuesday night’s meeting naming June 4 each year as “Smiths Station Unity Walk Day” in the city.

Copeland and Smiths Station native Vincent Hunter organized the inaugural event, which was held last Thursday. An estimated 350 to 400 people participated in the walk, marching from Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church down Lee Road 298 to the front steps of the Smiths Station Government Center.

“I think the people in Smiths Station care a lot about each other,” said Place 2 Councilman and President Pro Tem Morris Jackson during Tuesday’s meeting. “We don’t look at a person’s skin color here. We thank you Mayor for letting this go on and look forward to it again next year and seeing it get bigger and bigger.”

The council also named City Clerk Scott Johnston as the city’s Election Manager for the Aug. 25 municipal election, a role that includes candidate qualification beginning next month.

The Smiths Station City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month with the work session beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern followed by the regular meeting at 6 p.m. All meetings are held within the council chambers of the Smiths Station Government Center, which is located at 2336 Lee Road 430.

Smiths Station City officials participate in wreath-laying ceremony honoring life of George Floyd

Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland and Smiths Station City Council members George Stringer and Morris Jackson participated in a wreath-laying ceremony held Monday afternoon at Courthouse Square in downtown Opelika honoring the life of George Floyd.

The event was organized by City of Opelika Councilwoman Patsy Jones. In addition to the Smiths Station contingent, attendees included Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and four members of the Opelika City Council, Auburn Mayor Ron Anders and three members of the Auburn City Council, Lee County State Delegation members, Lee County commissioners, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones and representatives from the Auburn and Opelika police departments.

Jones and Fuller led the procession and placed the wreath under a nearby pavilion. The rest of the group walked over and formed a semi-circle, spending the next 8 minutes and 46 seconds in silence, the same amount of time that Floyd’s neck was pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer and caused his untimely death.

“By being here today representing the City of Smiths Station, we want show that we are joining our neighboring cities and towns in Lee County in honoring the life of George Floyd as well as tell the world that we are a community that stands for equality and equal treatment of everyone, regardless of their gender, race or sexual orientation,” Copeland said.