OUR VIEW: A new day for Eldridge

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One of the sadder events of late has been the loss of Walker County's longest serving mayor, as well as some of its council members. Bobbie Jean Dodd, the longtime mayor of Eldridge, passed away on Dec. 19. She did a wonderful job as mayor, loving and cheering on her community for many years. Many of us always enjoyed working with her. 

Worse yet, the town council has lost many long-time members. Margaret Janette Allred Smothers, 78, died in April 2019, after 19 years as a councilwoman. Then another council member, Martha Tittle, 76, died of cancer Oct. 7 last year, having joined the council in 1990. Another member of 19 years, James Denver Jones, 77, died of COVID-19 on Nov. 19 - his birthday - followed by Dodd on Dec. 19. 

Another council member who qualified to serve last year in Place 5 even had to move out of the district. That left two members with long-term memories on the council: Last year, Don Tucker qualified again for Place 4, while his sister-in-law, Margaret Tucker, qualified for re-election on Place 2. Tucker had to take over for Dodd just before her death. 

It has been a tough time for Eldridge, but now the council has new members and new vision. Tucker is an upbeat man with a sense of humor and an eye for adventure, from fishing across the nation to writing books of his experiences, and even keeping up a 1977 truck he bought right out of the factory in his younger days. 

Eldridge still has challenges in getting maintenance for its community center/city hall and obtaining a new fire station. The municipality must find a way to attract business and industry, especially off the U.S. Interstate 22, as it has a ready-made intersection. Without burdened with a police department - the Walker County Sheriff's Office patrols there - it can concentrate on some other needs once it finds the way to recruit industry and harness federal and state resources, as well as grants. It certainly can use its upcoming bicentennial next year to attract attention to the community. 

We wish Tucker, City Clerk Sue Piotrowski and the council - Margaret Tucker, Pro Tem Vickie Cosby of Place 3, Kathy Edmunds of Place 1, Cody Heathcock of Place 4 and Fred Smothers of Place 5 - great success, and want to stand by them to help them get the resources they need to move forward. We know Dodd would be proud of the new administration and their efforts. 

- Daily Mountain Eagle