Etowah County Commissioners welcomed members of the robotics teams from Duck Springs Elementary School and Ivalee Elementary School during Tuesday’s meeting.
Both teams, alongside Etowah Middle School’s team, will be traveling to Dallas in May to compete in the VEX Robotics World Championship.
“These kids are the best of the best that we have here in Etowah County,” said Etowah County Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Cosby, “These schools have done a fabulous job over the last several years in developing our teams into a program that is cutting-edge, and preparing their kids for a career in technical studies later on.”
Duck Springs Principal Suzanne Nance said this will be the school’s fourth time to compete at the world level of competition.
“We’re proud of that and excited,” Nance said, “The kids have worked really hard and have put in a lot of hours after school every Wednesday or during the school day. We’ve had a tremendous amount of community support for these kids and that has meant a lot. “
Ivalee Elementary Principal Jenny Clough-Ryles said the school has raised a lot of money to get their kids to Dallas for the competition, much of it thanks to help from commissioners.
“They’re very excited to be able to compete,” she said. “This is our third time going to the world competition. I’m thrilled to have them here.”
Commissioners spoke highly about the accomplishments of all three robotics teams, citing these students as the future of the county.
“We’ve got some really good things coming to Gadsden State when it comes to the technology field, and these are the people who will be making that a success in the future,” said Commissioner Tim Ramsey.
“Investing your time into technology is a worthwhile investment for your time and can be a great career,” added Joey Statum.
Commissioners voted to designate both Maximizing Mental Health and Way of the Cross Ministries as organizations that serve a public purpose. This status will allow both organizations to receive public funds from the county.
“Maximizing Mental Health is a group that goes into our schools and counsels anyone who may need it,” Ramsey said. “Getting public funds will help fund that initiative. This will be well-used money within the county for any of our schools and any of our students who need help during a crisis. ”
“Way of the Cross Ministries had to be placed under a bit more scrutiny because of their religious ties but we have asked them to sign an agreement that says what these funds will be used for,” added Chief Administrative Officer Shane Ellison.
Commissioners also approved the hiring of Dorothea Kurdziel as the new Rural Transportation director.
Kurdziel will take on this role effective May 2. That allows her to take the time she had allotted at her current position off, and provides a solid end date for the current contract with Crown Consultants, which has been filling in for this role until a new hire was made.
“After a full day of interviews, we felt like she was the best candidate for the position,” Ellison said of Kurdziel. “She has a very impressive resume and application and currently works for the state in the juvenile probation office. As promised, former director Lora Weaver will be on hand to help with training. ”
Commissioners approved a personal policy update for the county’s “Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment.” Ellison said these changes were discussed earlier this month during an executive session.
They also approved an agreement between the commission and the Alabama Department of Transportation for Local Road Safety Initiative program funding for the guardrail project on Pleasant Hill Road.
A renewal of the tax revenue enhancement agreement was also approved. This agreement was placed specifically for business license discovery and recovery administration.
Ellison added that Advanced Disposal will have its open-top containers available from 7 am to noon on May 7.
The locations are Leeth Gap and Sardis Road, the intersection of US Highway 278 and Alabama Highway 132, Whorton Bend Volunteer Fire Department and Gaston School at US Highway 411 North. Household trash for residential cleanup will be accepted, but no tires, batteries, appliances or hazardous waste.