Looking Back… 50 years

Published 10:22 pm Monday, March 28, 2005

By Staff
It would be almost impossible to have been in the interviews the staff of The Standard has conducted in the past few weeks and not be excited about Brewton's potential.
When we began planning our coverage, we defined what we believed were the three major things that had happened in our community in the past year. Of course, we had to include Ivan. But we also wanted to examine the move to form a regional industrial recruitment iniative and the new ad valorem tax approved by Escambia County voters and collected for the first time this year. County superintendent
Buck Powell summed it up well: "The voters of Escambia County really don't know what they've done for us." That voters believed in education enough to further tax themselves shows a tremendous support for our future.
Like many people, I was pretty proud of Brewton Elementary School students, who scored sixth in the statewide reading assessment. But it was D.W. McMillan hospital administrator Phillip Parker who really put their meaning in perspective for me.
Just as significant as ranking sixth, was ranking sixth behind three Mountain Brook elementary schools and two Montgomery magnet schools. In Mountain Brook, the richest system in the state, fewer than one percent of the students are on free or reduced lunches. In the Montgomery magnet schools, they choose the best and brightest of the entire school system for their student population.
Brewton's socioeconomic and racial demographics, on the other hand, are average. As Lynn Smith put it, "We're as average as average can be."
What does that have to do with health care? A whole lot, as it turns out. The quality of life of a community and the education system greatly affect the hospital's ability to recruit doctors. The availability of good doctors and the health care they subsequently provide, affects the community's ability to recruit new businesses. The administrator and staff of D.W. McMillan are dreaming big in th
Our downtown district has had a good year, and continues to attract people from the surrounding areas who come here to shop, eat and play.
When you read the stories and ads – yes, read the ads, they tell a story, too – I think you'll agree that we're on the verge of even more exciting things. We hope you'll enjoy our celebration of the community's progress as much as we have enjoyed writing about it. Look for this special edition on Wednesday.
Michele Gerlach may be reached at 25.867.4876 or michele.gerlach@brewtonstandard.com