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Healthy dose of optimism

We have reason to be optimistic in our corner of Jefferson County. Both White Hall and Redfield gained population in the 2000 U.S. Census count. No other incorporated community could claim population gains.

Our schools fare well academically and it’s that time of the year when The Progress runs notices of our high school graduates receiving scholarships to institutions of higher learning. The White Hall School District is continuing an organized effort to upgrade classrooms and prepare for the future by expanding technology offerings.

By comparison, some neighboring school districts are facing financial problems. Watson Chapel School District patrons recently rejected a millage increase – the first proposed since 1974.

Their newest building — the high school — is 34 years old. The junior high is 66 years old. Compare those schools with those in the White Hall District.

Our crime rate is low. Many of our neighboring communities can’t say the same.

Both White Hall and Redfield have active volunteer fire departments that provide vital public safety and help keep insurance rates low.

We can look at our parks with pride, with civic organizations staffed by volunteers that help develop programs for youth and senior citizens.

Monday night the White Hall Volunteer Fire Department rolled out its newest acquisition, a “previously owned” aerial truck purchased from the Pine Bluff Fire Department for $7,000. Volunteer firemen have been working to make sure it shines.

The words “White Hall” in gold leaf were on the doors of the fire apparatus.

There was something else a little different on the fire truck — two black plaques, one on each side, with the engraved words, “In Honor of Alderman Ed May.”

May has served almost two decades on the White Hall City Council. He was a volunteer fireman when the department was established in the early 1960s.

He still voices optimism about the city’s future.