I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday season. I want to wish everyone a great and prosperous 2020.

It is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to a colleague and friend, Alderman Art Andrews, who recently lost his battle to cancer.

He was a gentleman in every sense of the word and will be greatly missed by the council, myself and the community. His positive attitude and leadership is something we should all aspire to be like, I say this from the examples that he set forth. I hope you will keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

The Marion City Council passed a few proclamations at the regular January meeting. The first was declaring that the first Friday in December will continue to be the city of Marion’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, and we will continue to build upon the 33 year tradition.

The second proclaimed January 2020 as Marion ISD School Board Recognition month, honoring the trustees for their tireless work as strong advocates for public education. They are also responsible for communicating the needs of the district to the public and the public’s expectation to the district.

The third marks January as National Mentoring Month. On hand to facilitate and celebrate this with the council was personnel from the Communities In Schools organization. One of my volunteer jobs that I find most rewarding is mentoring children in the Marion district. It is something I have done for the past five years and will continue to do so.

CIS is a worthwhile program that can directly affect the wellbeing of the students and help the students stay focused in their studies to graduate. I challenge my fellow council and community members to get involved in this program. It only takes about 45 minutes a week to make a difference in a child’s life.

In the coming months we are will study some of our ordinances and see if any changes are needed. I feel that they are living documents that require to be updated periodically. Councils are forever changing and they are guided by the citizens that they represent.

On an encouraging note, the city council and the school board came together at a duly called special meeting to discuss the school district’s latest project. In my 19 years of public service, in both capacities, this was a first. It was great to see the willingness for all parties to work together for a common goal.

On a personal note, anyone over 50 should really consider get the vaccine for shingles, I can attest from personal experience they are very painful, uncomfortable and not very fun at all.

For the readers that follow my travels, we were able to go camping for a few days over the Christmas holidays. We ventured to Inks Lake in Burnet, one of the things we did find relaxing is there wasn’t any internet or Wi-Fi in other words no social media distractions.

Victor Contreras is the mayor of the city of Marion and writes a monthly column which appears every second Sunday.

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