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June 30, 2014

City council welcomes new members, honors old ones

NORMAN — Most Tuesday city council nights, there’s not a big crowd at city hall. The south section of seating is filled mostly with Norman city staff, there to answer questions. A handful of attorneys, engineers, architects, consultants or property owners may also be on hand, depending on the items on the agenda, and how those items might affect them.

There are a few crowded nights when kids get citizenship awards or Boy Scouts lead the pledge or some major controversy — usually involving zoning — brings out residents and stakeholders to voice heated opinions.

But mostly, it’s a thin crowd.

And then there is the handful of council faithful who always attend and often voice opinions or ask questions. They’re a tough lot — these few souls who show up at dinnertime and sit through hours of council deliberations with meetings often running past the 10 o’clock news and sometimes past bedtime.

No one is paying them to be there. They could be home watching sitcoms like the rest of America.

Instead, they’re paying attention.

Seldom has anyone paid attention better and at more length to Norman City Council meetings than Sylvia Martin. The honor will come at the beginning of the 6 p.m. meeting.

Despite the decrepitude of increasing age and all the challenges that come with that, Sylvia never stopped attending council meetings as long as she was physically able. In her last years, she walked with slow dignity and the assistance of a cane and her friend Anne Gallagher to find a seat reserved for her at the back of the room. On a nearby table was often a microphone that Sylvia could pick up and use when she had questions — and she usually had questions.

Tuesday night, Norman city leaders will recognize Sylvia Martin as the 2014 Recipient of the Citizens Honor Roll of Service.

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