Update from the chamber of commerce

Troy University chancellor to speak at chamber breakfast

Dr. Jack Hawkins, chancellor of Troy University, will be the featured speaker at the monthly Blount County – Oneonta Chamber of Commerce breakfast that will be held at Twin Oaks on Wednesday, Oct. 22, beginning at 7:30 a.m. This month’s program will be sponsored by CDG Engineering and Associates.

Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., is an often-mentioned Republican Party candidate for the 2010 Alabama governor’s race. There is a 2008 Students to Draft Jack Hawkins website.

Dr. Hawkins, a native of Mobile, was named chancellor of Troy University on Sept. 1, 1989. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Montevallo and his doctorate from the University of Alabama.

Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in 1967, Hawkins was commissioned a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a platoon leader in the Vietnam War. For his combat duty, he received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and a citation from the Korean Marine Corps. Hawkins’s professional background includes his service as an assistant dean at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (1971-79) and as president of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega (1979-89).

In 1985, he was honored by the University of Montevallo as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and was the recipient of the 2003 All- American Football Foundation’s Top College President’s Award. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Murphy High School in Mobile, in 2005.

Hawkins serves on the boards of directors of the Business Council of Alabama, Better Business Bureau of Central Alabama, and Troy Bank and Trust Company. He is chairman of the Governor’s Committee on Employment of the Disabled and a member of the Air University Board of Visitors at Maxwell Air Force Base. He serves on the Board of Directors of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and he is also a member of the Troy Rotary Club.

Dr. Hawkins’s family includes his wife, Janice, and his two daughters, Katie and Kelly. He and his family are members of the First Baptist Church of Troy.

Breakfast Sponsor

CDG Engineers and Associates Inc. is a diversified consulting firm with expertise in civil, environmental, and geotechnical engineering, geology, hydrogeology, and associated fields. With offices in Andalusia, Albertville, Birmingham, Dothan, DeFuniak Springs, and Hoover, CDG has a significant presence in Alabama and the surrounding states.

CDG is a member of the Blount County— Oneonta Chamber of Commerce, and Jana Monday and Chris Ross take an active role in all of our activities.

Clients include municipal, county, and state government agencies, private companies, and individuals in Alabama and surrounding states. The firm enjoys an excellent reputation and continually accepts new clients. CDG takes pride in the fact that the majority of its work is repeat business from satisfied customers.

Unemployment Rate

The national unemployment rate for Aug. 2008 rose to 6.1 percent. This is the first time in five years that the U.S. rate was above 6 percent. And, there are predictions that it is likely to go even higher in the coming months.

The five states with the lowest unemployment rates nationally are 1) South Dakota, 3.3 percent; 2) Nebraska, 3.5 percent; 3) North Dakota, 3.6 percent; 4) Utah, 3.7 percent; and 5) Wyoming, 3.9 percent.

The five states with the highest unemployment rates nationally are 51) Michigan, 8.9 percent; 50) Rhode Island, 8.5 percent; 48) California and Mississippi, 7.7 percent; and 47) South Carolina, 7.6 percent. (Note: Washington, D.C., is factored into this ranking.)

There is better news for the jobless rate in Alabama as the state was one of only five to enjoy a decrease in its unemployment rate for the month of August. Alabama’s jobless rate fell to 4.9 percent from a four-year high of 5.1 percent recorded in July 2008. In the Southeast, only Louisiana’s 4.7 percent rate in August was lower than Alabama’s rate. Alabama tied with Delaware and Vermont for the nineteenth lowest rate in the U.S during the month of August. The highest unemployment rate recorded in modern Alabama history was 14.4 percent in December 1982. The lowest unemployment was recorded in February 2007 at 3.3 percent.

There is even better news for Blount County’s unemployment rate during August, as the jobless rate dropped from 4.4 percent to 4.1 percent. This gave Blount County the third lowest unemployment rate in the state among the 67 counties. Even more important, there were 101 fewer unemployed Blount Countians during the month.

The five Alabama counties with the lowest jobless rates for the month were as follows: 1) Shelby, 3.6 percent; 2) Madison, 3.8 percent; 3) Blount, 4.1 percent; 4) Baldwin, 4.2 percent; and 5) Limestone, 4.3 percent.

The five Alabama counties with the highest jobless rates for the month were as follows: 67) Chambers, 14.3 percent; 66) Wilcox, 13.4 percent; 65) Bullock, 11.9 percent; 64) Dallas, 11.5 percent; and 63) Perry, 11.3 percent.

Gasoline prices still hover close to the $4 per gallon mark and shortages have occurred at different times during September. Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us to work collaboratively in bringing jobs to our area. More than half of the 26,785 in Blount County’s labor force commute outside the county to work.

Covered Bridge Festival

The Covered Bridge Festival, now in its 25th year, will present several new venues and activities this year. A golf tournament at Heritage Golf will be held on Oct. 23. Hundreds of vendors will be in downtown Oneonta on Oct. 25, along with a great antique car and motorcycle show. Live entertainment will be presented from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring some of Blount County’s favorite musicians and will include new groups as well

A child identification and safety program will be presented in cooperation with sponsors and local law enforcement. A Doggy Parade will nominate a Covered Bridge Festival King and Queen. Pre-registration is required and the line-up begins at 11:30 a.m.

There will be three beauty pageants in conjunction with the festival. Contact Jayne Posey at 205-559-4127 for more information.

Make plans for the fourth weekend of October. to celebrate autumn splendor in Blount County at the Covered Bridge Festival. A section of the recently published edition of the newcomers’ book is devoted to the festival. Come join us.

Visit the chamber Web site at www.blountoneontachamber. org for more information.

By working together, we are making a very good community even better.