By Rebekah Martin
Associate Editor

Mayor Gary Fuller recognized the Opelika High School football team at its last meeting of 2016 Dec. 20. The Dawgs finished the program’s best season, falling short of the state title against Ramsay Nov. 30.
“Brian, what a magnificent year, we’ve never had a team win 13 games,” Fuller said addressing head coach Brian Blackmon. Blackmon said the season’s success had less to do with him and more to do with the quality of the players.
“I didn’t do anything, these young men in the back and their teammates did it. Just hard work and sacrifice and a lot of great effort. Team unity and chemistry was really good … [they are] a bunch a good boys out there trying to do their best,” he said.
Fuller expressed appreciation for the coaches and the team, recognizing the senior players during the meeting. “The way you represented Opelika High School, the way you represented this community is just above and beyond, and it is very much appreciated,” he said.
When asked what he could say about his team, Blackmon said he and the coaching staff are proud of their efforts and history-making season.
“This is a great group of leaders …this is the future of our community and the future of whatever community they settle down in. They’ll take your job and my job … and they’ll do a great job doing that. We’re very proud of these guys right here who represent the very best of what we have in Opelika,” Blackmon said.
Fuller also recognized the Opelika High School cheerleaders and their coaches, the OHS band’s senior percussionists, band director Neil Sasser and Carly Parker, who is one of the team’s two mascots, for their support of the Dawgs.
Fuller also introduced the city’s new planning director who will replace Jerry Kelley after his retirement. Matt Mosely currently works as the city planner for Pike Road, Ala. and has degrees from Samford University and Auburn University in city planning and public administration. Mosely will begin Jan. 3, 2017.
In other business, the council also:
-amended chapter 29 of the city code “Vehicles for hire,” which will allow ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft to operate in Opelika.
-approved an ordinance conveying property on Comanche Drive to the Opelika Utilities Board.
-reappointed Kenneth Wilkes as municipal judge and Joanne Camp as the city’s public defender.