She’s My Hero …

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Pictured left to right are Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey, Sgt. David Priest, Oniece Starks, Thomasine Smith and Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller.

BY MICHELLE KEY

MICHELLE@
OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM

OPELIKA  —

The Opelika City Council and Mayor Gary Fuller recognized Oniece Starks, Thomasine Smith and Brandon Littles (not in attendance at the meeting) for their efforts in assisting an individual that was lying on the railroad tracks in what was perceived to be a suicide attempt on Dec. 9, 2022. While Smith was in communication with the 911 call center, Starks and Littles attempted to pull the person from the tracks. The person told them to stop, but Starks refused to leave the person. The train was in sight and quickly approaching, and the individual finally decided to move on his own.

The Opelika Police Department commended Starks, Smith and Littles for their bravery and selflessness in helping a fellow citizen during a crisis situation; without their assistance, the outcome could have been tragic.

Opelika Sgt. David Priest spoke about the event, praising the trio and how Starks stayed trying to move the individual.

“She became a voice of reason during this crisis,” Priest said. “I think that is really something because I have armor and training and it is not normal for a citizen to do that. She’s my hero for 2022.”

“This is what ‘Together Opelika’ is about,” said Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey. “This is what makes Opelika different from anywhere else — having folks like this step up, no matter whether it is their job or not, and help someone that needs help.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS

• The city of Opelika was recognized as being a Tree City USA for 35 years during the meeting.

• The council approved a request for a special retail alcohol license from 3AZ Sports LLC doing business as Tigertown Sports.

• The council approved a request for a restaurant retail liquor and retail beer on premise alcohol license from Alvarez Gallegos LLC doing business as Viva La Vida Mexican Cuisine.

• The council approved a request for a temporary street closure from Opelika Main Street for the Johnny Ray Century Bike Ride to be held on May 6, 2023.

• The council approved a request for the Pride on the Plains parade to be held on June 2, 2023.

• The council held a public hearing pertaining to the demolition of a structure located at Public 622 S. 4th St. The council later voted to approve a resolution to demolish the structure.

• The council approved a bid for a cybersecurity assessment, planning and audit RFP for the  IT department.

• The council approved expense reports.

• The council approved a resolution to designate city owned personal property as surplus and to authorize its disposal.

• The council approved a resolution for an agreement for  right of way (ROW) appraisal services for roadway improvement projects for the engineering department for a total cost not to exceed $38,700.

• The council approved a resolution to extend the solid waste disposal services contract with GFL Everglades Holdings LLC.

• The council approved an interlocal agreement with Lee County for planning Jurisdiction for the planning department.

• The council approved the transfer of funds in the amount of $1,388,889 to Indian Pines Recreation Authority per its previously approved agreement. These funds were the city of Opelika’s portion of the sale proceeds.

• The council approved a resolution to designate Opeika Mayor Gary Fuller as the city’s voting delegate at the  2023 ALM Annual Convention.

• The council approved a special appropriation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County for the amount of $7,500 as a sponsor of the Great Futures Gala 2023.

• The council approved a special appropriation to Opelika High School Theatre Society for the amount of $2,000.

• The council approved a special appropriation to Southern Union State Community College Foundation for the amount of $5,000.

• The council approved the purchase of 624 Toter 96-gallon EVR II Universal/Nestable Carts utilizing the Sourcewell Contract No. 041521-TOT for the environmental services department for nearly $34,500.

• The council approved an ordinance to amend Chapter 27 of the City Code of Ordinances: Tree or Plant Protection and Management.

• The council approved an ordinance to amend the Zoning Ordinance and Map to rezone 8.1 acres of land located in the 2900 block of Anderson Road, from R-3 to a planned unit development (PUD).

• The council approved an ordinance to reschedule the first regular meeting of the Opelika City Council for July 2023. The meeting was originally scheduled for July 4.

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