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New use of old jail earns state award for Grady County

Grady County has won first place in a Keep Georgia Beautiful contest for coming up with a new way to use the former county jail. The Grady County Fire and Rescue Training Ground is the new name of the old jail, which has been refurbished. The facility is now used to help keep volunteer firefighters safe as they put out flames by giving them multiple training opportunities.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Grady County Commission, Chief Richard Phillips of the Grady County Fire and Rescue, said he wanted to thank the nearly 50 volunteers who helped clean up the old jail and convert it into a training ground.
County officials, including Phillips, will go to Atlanta to receive the award, which was received in the category of waste reduction and recycling.  
“It’s a statewide award, so it was very competitive,” said LaFaye Copeland, chairwoman of the Grady County Commission.
In other county news:
 – Nancy Clark, a member of the Grady County Hospital Authority, and Crystal Ramm, administrator of Grady General Hospital, asked the commission for its support of a landscaping project at the hospital. Clark and Ramm asked the county to donate 72 cubic yards of granite chips to the authority’s efforts to install a newly designed landscape at the local hospital. “We are in the process of doing needed work in the yards,” said Mrs. Clark.
She said installing a perimeter of granite chips around the outside edge of the hospital building would help with the overall upkeep and with pest control inside the hospital.
Ramm said they had started the removal of 13 pecan trees at the hospital this week. “The limbs constantly fall off, and some are diseased and not in good shape,” she said. The pecan trees will be replaced with oak varieties.
Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar said the county could provide in-kind labor one day a week for four to five weeks, and could donate $3,600 in granite. “That’s about $2,000 in labor,” pointed out Commissioner T.D. David.
“It could be less if they help,” said Tobar of the hospital.
Commission Vice Chairman Charles Norton voiced his opinion that landscaping is something Archbold should pay for, and asked the status of the lease money.
“Any excess revenue over cost goes into a pot that cannot be touched by either party until the contract is dissolved,” said Ramm.
In his support of the matter, Commissioner David said, “If we can’t participate in making our hospital beautiful, attractive, we should be ashamed. There are hospitals in Georgia closing because they can’t get the attention of people like Nancy (Clark).”
In the end, the commissioners voted unanimously to donate the granite and the labor.
– Voted to appoint Frank Roebuck as the county’s representative to the Housing Task Force for Southwest Georgia. Roebuck will replace Emma Fortner who resigned from the position.
 – Voted to go into executive session to discuss personnel. Afterwards, the commission reconvened in public and voted to give County Road Superintendent Stanley Elkins a pay increase of $5,000. Vice Chairman Norton explained that the pay raise brought Elkins up to the level of what the previous superintendent had made.
“He has proved himself,” said Commissioner Elwyn Childs.
“He has saved this county, literally, millions with his work,” claimed Commissioner Ray Prince.

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