Cleburne Commission

From left to right, Cleburne County commissioners Laura Cobb, Emmett Owen and Jake Durham are seated at the commission's meeting Monday, while Terry Hendrix stands.

HEFLIN — Heflin resident Jane Sanders asked members of the Cleburne County Commission during a work session Monday night if they could recognize a longtime Heflin resident, Lorraine Watson, who turns 103 next month.

Watson was a librarian at the public library in Heflin for many years while money was tight, Sanders said.

During that period, Sanders explained, funding for the library covered utilities and not much else. In fact, money was so tight, that had it not been for politicians handing out pens and pencils during election years, the library would have none.

“She basically kept the library going all those years,” Sanders said. 

Sanders was approached by Watson’s friends and caretakers to find out whether the commission would do something in her honor.

Cleburne County Commissioner Emmett Owen told Sanders that the commission would be able to issue a proclamation recognizing her years of service at the library. He said the proclamation will be in a nice frame and could be presented to Watson on her birthday next month. 

Watson was the grand marshal of the Heflin Christmas parade last year and was the first person in line to eat at Heflin’s Jack’s on its grand reopening in 2017 at the age of 100. 

In 1993, Watson was named Cleburne County Chamber of Commerce citizen of the year for her work at the library. 

According to published reports, Watson worked at the library for 26 years and four months; she retired in 2000.

The commission also discussed advertising for bids for the garbage contract for county residents. 

Commissioner Laura Cobb said that the bids need to go out in a timely fashion so if all the bids are too high the commission can rebid the contract. 

Lee Estes, Cleburne County engineer, said the new contract bid will not include any dumpsters that are used at county buildings, which could reduce the cost of the contract.

Estes reported to the commission that his road crews are in the north end of the county cutting grass along along the rights-of-way.

Estes and the commission then discussed the challenges involved in retaining road crew employees. Estes said his department employs 12 workers, down from 16 a year ago.

Five to six years ago the county employed 22 in the road department, according to Estes.

The commission discussed ways of alleviating the shortage by increasing wages, overtime and contract workers. 

“It’s a juggling act,” said Estes.

Before the meeting adjourned Commissioner Terry Hendrix told the commissioners to be mindful of state ethics laws as they carry out the responsibilities of public servants, due to several publicized and ongoing ethics cases in Calhoun and Cleburne counties.

The commission will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15, due to Columbus Day being observed on Oct. 14. 

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.