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Looking back: June 25, 2014 issue

Fifteen years ago late in June and early July of 1999, everyone was ready to put the school year behind and experience some lazy days of summer. I remember that time because of the birth of my fourth and last grandchild. It was before I came to work at The Brewton Standard and a time when my world centered around my home and my work on helping to put together the Heritage of Escambia County book. I did a lot of the writing for the book, and it was a work of joy for me to see it come together. Although the book would not be published for another few years, it took up a lot of my time.
One of the stories on the front page of the newspaper was about the crash of an airplane near the Conecuh River. The plane, a T-34C Turbo Mentor, was piloted by an instructor from Whiting Field near Milton, Fla. The pilot parachuted from the plane and landed in a tree. He was rescued by a helicopter from Naval Air Station Pensacola, taken to a hospital and later released.
It has always amazed me that so many of those trainer planes fly in and out of the Brewton Airport, and there have been so few accidents happen. Those guys know what they are doing.
Two new employees were hired by the Brewton Board of Education to go to work in the fall of 1999. Tim Brannon was to be the new band director for T.R. Miller High School while Deborah Marriott was to be the new principal at Brewton Elementary School. I never knew the band director but I did get to know Marriott before her retirement several years later. In fact, I remember doing a Profile story on her after I came to work at the newspaper.
One of today’s discussions was also on the minds of those who had children in the county school system. It had been decided that students in the county schools would be wearing uniforms. It was not very popular at the time and many were worried what effect it would have. There are those who still believe that the effect is not good, but it has worked out pretty well.
My child attended school in Brewton, but my grandchildren were students at W.S. Neal. I have to say that it had to be easier to dress them in uniforms than it was to try to help them decide what they wanted to wear.
Some of those years, kids were wearing some really strange looking clothes. At least with the uniforms, there were no arguments.
It was in the early days of July that Goodwill and Easter Seals merged for better services. We were lucky enough to have a Goodwill store in Brewton for some years, and I, for one, miss it. My neighbor must really miss it. She really loved to go shopping there and could find the best things. I remember her buying a Beanie Baby for 29 cents and selling it on e-bay for considerably more.
John Angel had been recently hired as the City of Brewton’s newest city clerk. He took the place of Bernie Wall who retired from that position.
On the business scene, the death of Michael English on July 2 was a surprise to most. He had not been well for a while, and he died of cardiac complications of diabetes and hypertension.
A few days later, the whole nation was on the lookout for serial killer Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, who was noted for his killings near railroad tracks. He was last reported in Texas, but no one seemed to know where he went from there. I don’t even remember this so I must have been in my little cocoon. Thank goodness I never ran into the killer. He was later caught and sentenced to death. The “Railroad Killer” was put to death in 2006.
In other news of the time was the induction of Karen Reynolds into the Junior College Alabama College Athletic Hall of Fame. Reynolds was the athletic director at Jefferson Davis Community College at the time.
There was a fire at the Escambia County Detention Center in the women’s part of the jail. It was later determined to have been caused by a woman trying to light a cigarette.
The last thing I found in the newspaper was an article about the worries of what was going to happen with the turn of the century. Do you remember all the stories we heard about Y2K? Everything was going to come to a stand-still when the clock hit midnight. That was the one year that I made an appearance at the Blueberry Drop on New Years. Of course nothing happened, but who knew?