Sculptor Giovanni Balderi, of Pietrasanta, arrived to be a part of the Magic of Marble Festival. Wright welcomed Balderi and presented him with a city pin.
This was the second trip to Sylacauga for Balderi. He said he enjoyed the opportunity to work with the area’s marble.
“For me, it is a nice experience,” Balderi said. “It is very interesting to understand a new culture.”
The festival is scheduled to run through March 27. Some of the festivities include tours of an area marble quarry, programs at the Comer Library and displays of sculpting.
Ted Spears, president of the Sylacauga Arts Council, said other sculptors would be joining Balderi near Blue Bell Station to work alongside him.
“We are delighted that we had such a smooth kickoff,” Spears said. “We are looking forward to having two weeks with the sculpting and then the activities that start the next week. We hope we have a good turnout for our reception for Giovanni.”
The reception for Balderi has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Chamber of Commerce.
Also at the meeting, a council member read a letter from a man regarding a recent traffic stop.
Michael Jennings, a senior at Sylacauga High School, wrote in his letter that he was stopped around 9:45 p.m. on Feb. 27. He said the police officer told him he was pulled over for a tag light being out.
Jennings described the officer, who was not named, as “very nice” in the letter. He said the officer checked his information and let him go with a warning.
Jennings said he wrote the letter after being pulled over because he was concerned about “racial profiling.”
“I see road blocks are mostly always set up in black areas, Main Street, or on the back roads to Piggly Wiggly coming from the projects or on the back roads leading into the projects,” Horn read.
Members of the council recommended Jennings meet with police officials to discuss the situation.
Jennings did not say whether his tag light was out in the letter and the officer involved was not present. Horn said Jennings, who was on the agenda to speak, was unable to come to the meeting because of work.
Police Chief Louis Zook was present at the meeting. Zook said he was receptive to meeting with all citizens who had an issue with the department.
In other business:
• A public hearing was held concerning the annexation and rezoning of properties, including former Avondale properties. City planner Tom Rumsey spoke to clarify that both rezoning and annexation could be done at the same time according to state law.
• The annexation and rezoning of the properties was approved by the council, 4-0.
• An ABC special events retail application for the Marble City Grill block party on May 8 was approved, 4-0.
• Payments of $495,810 for accounts payable and $356,704 for payroll in February were approved 3-1, Horn dissented.
• Council member Manuell Smith was not present.