What Makes Ronnie Roll: Being In “Mint” Condition

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Hot weather, seemingly daily wild storms, trees down, smoke tests, dealing with cancer, the State of the State and Governor Ivey’s visit, city budgets and the honoring of Jack Hunter—it was yet another “pedal to the metal” Monday morning.

When I walked in, however, Mayor Ronnie had unpacked one of the table favors from the Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast that had been held on August 11. The cups had held various flavors of mints with the following saying as part of the celebration:

Thank you for your


So, here’s something for your ENJOY-mint!

The KALB breakfast had been beautiful in every regard, and the volunteers were honored in a fitting manner. The mayor looked at the saying and said, simply, “This is what our theme needs to be,” and I agreed.

Mayor Ronnie then handed me copies of two proclamations as they pertain to cancer. One was designating September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the other designating September as Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. “We have had losses to both in this city,” said the mayor, and the war goes on. September 9 is also going to be the Superhero Celebration to honor and fight alongside kids that are battling cancer, along with strengthening their families in that fight.

Governor Ivey had chosen Athens as a site to deliver her State of the State Address, and the well-attended delicious luncheon was held at the Alabama Veterans Museum on August 10. Students from the Mayor’s Youth Commission were amongst the attendees, along with several local officials. In addition to focusing on the positive things that are going on in Alabama, as well as challenges, the governor gave thanks that Senator Tim Melson is making a full recovery and will be back in the State Senate soon.

The mayor is one of the few people I know who gets jazzed by budgets, and actually looks forward to budget season for the city which is starting now and will be voted on in the fall. “A lot of what we will be dealing with is infrastructure,” he said, which is so necessary given our current rate of growth. “Have you ever seen the utility department’s ‘smart board’ that shows who is still out of power when we have storms? The technology is amazing,” he said, and commented that because of it, our utilities workers are able to restore power so much more quickly. This of course has been handy when you consider the combination of high heat and nearly daily storms that we have had this summer.

Another thing that the utilities department has been working on has been smoke tests. I honestly hadn’t known what they were. I mean, I would get notices on my phone that they were being conducted and thought that maybe they were somehow connected to air quality. Actually, smoke testing is the most cost-effective way to find out if water is entering a water system and overwhelming it, especially after a storm. “It shows up where we are ‘storming’ the system,” said the mayor with a smile.

He had to get to Jack Hunter’s “homegoing celebration,” and so we prayed, and then it was time for Ronnie to roll.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner