Pelham council donates $5,000 to local non-profits

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham City Council awarded a pair of early Christmas gifts during its Dec. 20 meeting to two local non-profit organizations aimed at helping special-needs children and adults.

The council donated a total of $5,000 to the Homewood-based Exceptional Foundation and the Pelham-based Easter Seals Pediatric Therapy Services location, which the organizations will use to offer programs to those facing physical or mental disabilities.

“I can assure you that we very graciously accept this donation,” Tricia Kirk, executive director of the Exceptional Foundation, told the council. “We know times are hard.

“Just the fact that you continue to give means so much,” added Kirk, whose organization received $2,500 from the council. “I know it comes from your hearts.”

The Exceptional Foundation regularly sponsors sporting events, field trips, arts and crafts sessions and other activities aimed at giving special-needs individuals greater independence and social skills.

The council also donated $2,500 to the Easter Seals organization to use for its Opportunity League program, which is held in Pelham.

Through the league, which began earlier this year, Easter Seals and local volunteers team up to offer special-needs children ages 5-21 the chance to play baseball in the spring.

“Without the support of the city, this league wouldn’t happen,” said Kelli Keith, director of marketing and development for Easter Seals. “Last year, you gave 30 kids a chance to play baseball who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to.

“We really appreciate everything you’ve done for us,” Keith added.

Pelham Mayor Don Murphy praised the Opportunity League, and encouraged Pelham residents to become involved in the program this spring.

“If you really want to get charged up, come out to (Opportunity League) opening day at the ballpark,” Murphy said. “Seeing those kids laughing and having a good time, it will bring tears to your eyes.”

In other business, the council agreed to add $6,800 to the 2011 fiscal year sewer budget to cover an Alabama Department of Environmental Management National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit renewal.

Although the city paid ADEM $3,415 to renew the permit in 2007, the agency requested the additional $6,800 fee last month, said Pelham Public Works Director Eddy Jowers.

“It’s an additional $6,800 permit fee so they can develop a new waste load allocation model for our treatment facility,” Jowers said during the council’s Dec. 6 meeting. “There are so many scenarios we have to follow, and the state has no money for them. It’s an unfunded mandate.”