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Officials: Area residents blessed

As families gather around to give thanks for their many blessings, Covington County officials listed numerous reasons for celebrating the Thanksgiving season.

In Andalusia, Mayor Earl Johnson said he could fill pages “with the many reasons we in Andalusia have to be thankful.”

“The key point I think is that we live in a very special place with very special people who care about their community and their neighbors,” Johnson said. “We have a strong local economy supported by many solid businesses and industries that provide a wide range of opportunities for our citizens to earn a good living with secure futures.

“We enjoy a quality of life rarely found in communities the size of Andalusia, and the future is bright with a wider variety of entertainment and leisure activities becoming available every year,” he said. “I truly believe 2010 and 2011 will set historic marks for the development of our community, and I am thankful that the citizens of Andalusia have permitted me to play a small part in all of this.”

Coming on the heels of the announcement it would lose one of its biggest employers, Opp Mayor H.D. Edgar said he is thankful his city has “been able to survive.”

“I’m thankful that during these tough economic times, we have been able to survive,” Edgar said. “Our sales tax is holding up. I’m so thankful for the progress we’ve made this year in the construction area and beautifying downtown and the projects that are continuing to make Opp a nicer place to live.”

Edgar said 2011 will bring good things to the City of Opp, despite the closing of the Micolas Mill in January.

“We have some industry prospects coming, which is going to be a great thing for Opp,” he said.

Florala Mayor Robert Williamson said that he, like the people of Florala, is thankful to live in a great community.

“Rather than focus on the many and varied projects in Florala over the last 12 months that have improved our community, I choose to be thankful this holiday season to live in a city that genuinely cares for one another,” he said. “Florala is the epitome of loving one’s brethren. We don’t always agree, and a squabble may even occasionally surface, but when it comes to standing with a neighbor in that time of need, helping a friend when they’ve fallen on hard times or sacrificially giving to an impoverished child, no community stands taller.

“At Thanksgiving, I thank God for family, friends and Florala,” he said.

Red Level Mayor Mike Purnell said his town is “blessed.”

“We seem to be blessed during a time when others don’t,” Purnell said, speaking of the opening of the town’s first retail establishment in years, the Dollar General store.

“We got a few jobs for those in the community and a new source of tax revenue,” he said. “We are very grateful.”

Purnell said he hopes to see the city’s sales tax collections expand after the first year.

“It’s very unofficial, but we think the Dollar General will start selling beer sometime after the first of the year,” he said. “That is a great stream of revenue.”