Janice Antonow first ran for the Oxford Board of Aldermen Ward 3 seat in 1997. In the last 24 years, she has seen many changes in Oxford. She has served under four mayors and alongside dozens of aldermen.
On Tuesday, she sat with her fellow aldermen for her last regular meeting.
Antonow announced early in the year that she would not be seeking reelection. Her term ends officially on June 30.
Incoming alderman Brian Hyneman will take Antonow’s seat at the table after winning the Ward 3 election last week.
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve this community, especially the citizens and the citizens of Ward 3,” Antonow said at the meeting.
Antonow thanked the former mayors and aldermen she served with and current Mayor Robyn Tannehill and the sitting aldermen for their service.
“But the real backbone of this city are the city employees and their department heads,” she said Tuesday. “Every day, they recognize their job is to serve the people of Oxford, and they do it in an exemplary way.”
Antonow also thanked those who serve on one of the city’s many commissions and committees.
“They are volunteers and unpaid, and they give of their time and talents,” she said. “Good luck to Oxford. It’s moving forward, and it’s not going to stop. And I wish all of you well.”
Tannehill said Antonow has been her mentor for many years.
“She is my first call when it hits the fan. The first call when we have a big achievement. The first call when I’m not sure where to start,” Tannehill said Tuesday. “I told her, ‘You can not run again, but don’t think I’m not calling you.’”
Alderman John Morgan wrote a Dr. Seuss-styled poem to wish his fellow alderman and friend well in her retirement.
“… It’s been an honor to be one of the members and friends,
and it’s still hard to swallow it’s coming to an end.
I can’t say enough about the service she’s given,
I’ve never seen anyone so knowledgeable and driven. …”
Antonow received two standing ovations, and Tannehill read a Resolution of Appreciation into the minutes in honor of Antonow’s service to Oxford for 24 years.
“Alderman Antonow served with willingness, humility wisdom and kindness while ensuring Oxford remains the model for all Mississippi communities. She has made an indelible mark on the city of Oxford. … Her legacy will be remembered and celebrated for many years to come.”
A celebration in Antonow’s honor will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on June 24 at City Hall.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the Board said goodbye to two other long-time city employees – Bo Ragon, superintendent of the city of Oxford Shop, and Oxford Police Department’s Lt. Alex Stratton.
Resolutions of Retirement were read by Tannehill for both men.
Ragon has worked for Oxford since 1997.
“There are some people who leave and leave big shoes to fill,” Tannehill said of Ragon. “Then there are those who leave and you wonder just how it’s going to work without them. Bo is one of those people.”
Stratton first served as patrol officer and worked to become a Housing Officer, a K-9 Officer and ultimately a Patrol Lieutenant.
“Alex Stratton spent several years as a K-9 handler ensuring the safety of not only the city of Oxford citizens, but to the students of the University of Mississippi, and the citizens of Lafayette County by working to reduce the damages of the use and sale of illegal substances in Oxford,” stated the resolution of retirement.