Colony removes long-absent member, nails down summer plans, recognizes Mayor Donnis Leeth’s achievements


Colony Mayor Donnis Leeth displays the certificate he received for completing the Satcher Health Leadership Institute’s Healthy Communities Initiative Program at the Morehouse School of Medicine. (W.C. Mann for The Tribune)

COLONY – On Tuesday evening, the Town Council of Colony made the difficult move of removing Councilman Julian Fields for absenteeism.  Fields had not attended council meetings for more than three months and, under state law, should have been removed after 90 days. Members were clearly unhappy about having to take the move but agreed that Fields’ extended absence and lack of communication with other members seemed to indicate a lack of interest on the councilman’s part in continuing in service to the town government.  The vote to remove was unanimous, with all members except Fields present.

Town Clerk Patricia Ponder told the council, “I want to congratulate y’all on doing something that I know that you really struggled with: making the decision about Councilman Fields, but you’re now in compliance with Alabama state law.  It kind of mandates it, and I appreciate y’all stepping up and doing what you think is best for the town.”

Colony will have 60 days from Tuesday, May 22 to name a replacement.  If not, Gov. Kay Ivey could name a new council member from among Colony’s residents, based on applications and recommendations sent to her office.  Mayor Donnis Leeth extended an invitation to any interested Colony resident to come to the next Council meeting in June.

Summer feeding and enrichment program

Colony is putting the final touches on the second edition of last year’s successful summer feeding and enrichment program.  The program, with food funded by a federal grant, will begin on June 4 and run through the last Friday in July. Classes will meet at the Educational Complex each weekday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., except during the week of July 4.  Free breakfasts and lunches will be served.

In order to qualify for the federal feeding program, participating organizations must also offer some sort of educational or enrichment activities.  Colony will begin the summer with a week of classes led by the staff of the North Alabama Agriplex, focusing on activities in the raised garden beds adjacent to the Educational Complex.  Councilwoman Ethel Alexander reported that each Friday will be a special event like a movie or ice cream social. She hopes to have two parent nights during the summer.

In addition to help from the Agriplex for the raised beds at the Educational Complex, Leeth has applied for a $10,000 grant from Morehouse School of Medicine for Colony’s community garden.

Mayor Leeth completes Healthy Communities Initiative Program at Morehouse School of Medicine

At the meeting, Leeth displayed his certificate earned from the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, for completing the institute’s Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI) Program.

According to the program’s website, “The HCI is designed to mobilize and engage mayors, county officials, other elected officials and their teams by enhancing their health leadership skills, providing community health resources, and motivating leaders to influence policies and implement health projects that will eliminate health disparities . . . This program provided an opportunity for in-depth engagement in exploring panoply of topics that will give participants concrete tools to enable effective engagement of multidisciplinary sectors, and resources required to improve health and community well-being.  This event was endorsed by the World Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and the National Association of Black County Elected Officials and made possible through the generous support of the Kresge Foundation.”

The Colony Town Council meets at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month in the town hall, with work session at 5:30.  The public is invited to attend.

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