Timothy Vess Benton, 22, of Fayette accepted a plea deal last week in Fayette County Circuit Court, pleading guilty to two counts of second degree sodomy. According to 24th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Andy Hamlin, Benton received a sentence of 17 years in an Alabama Department of Corrections prison for each count, with the sentences to run concurrently. Benton was first arrested on May 4, 2017, and charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with forcible compulsion and two counts of first degree sexual abuse with forcible compulsion.
During its Nov. 26 meeting, the Fayette City Council approved the removal of a leaning tree from a resident’s property after the council determined that the city’s actions may have contributed to the damage. Councilman Jerry Nichols was absent from the meeting with all other council members present. Malcolm Mostiller appeared before the council to state his case that a pipe placed in a drainage ditch by the city caused a flooding problem on his property and also caused a tree to lean.
The Fayette County Commission held its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Nov. 25. All commissioners were present for the meeting. Prior to the start of the meeting, the commiccion held a brief work session to discuss the county’s adherence to the current FY2020 budget.
The commission noted during the work session that most departments were staying within their allotted budgets, but stressed the need to take a look at the budgets monthly to ensure that the budgets do not get out of control.
Audrey Clelland of Winfield shot this 17-point, double-main beam deer on Nov. 17 while hunting in Marion County. The 11-year old, sixth-grade student at Winfield Middle School has been hunting since she was eight years old, and has already become a seasoned hunter. In the three years that she has been hunting, she has killed five does and three bucks. Clelland killed the buck while firing only one shot from her 243 Mossburg Patriot Youth Rifle.
The Lady Tigers’ basketball team hosted Marion County on Nov. 25 and was defeated by the Lady Red Raiders by score of 46-34. This was Fayette’s first loss of the year. Fayette was led in scoring by Jada Savage and Holley Files with 10 points each. Meredith Collins had eight points, followed by Samantha Cox with four points and Iteria Walker with two points.
The Hubbertville Lady Lions traveled to Guin on Nov. 22 and lost to the Lady Red Raiders by a score of 54-23. Haylee Pollard was three-for-three on three-point shots and led Hubbertville with nine points. McKenna Fisher scored eight points, Laikyn Wright registered four points, and Haley Watkins made two points for Hubbertville.
The Berry girls’ basketball team won its first game before losing its next two during the Curry Thanksgiving Tournament. The boys’ team did not play last week.
Berry opened the tournament on Nov. 22 with a game against Sumiton Christian and won by a score of 49-36. Brooke Hill led the Lady Wildcats in scoring with 17 points and five steals. Iannah Fields also scored in double figures with 15 points.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of “Christmas at the Park” and according to organizers John and Doris Brasher, the light extravaganza is better than ever. Doris Brasher said many new lights and six new scenes were added to the numerous exhibits already on display at Guthrie Smith Park. The new scenes this year are: an animated dragonfly, an animated butterfly, a 14 by 16 foot American Eagle, a Grinch and “Whoville” display, a snowman with snow falling, and a boy getting present from underneath a tree.
Jackson Van Paris, grandson of Nicky and Lynn Whitehead of Fayette, has established himself as one of the best young golfers in the United States. Now, he has his sights set on excelling in world competition. Van Paris, a resident of Pinehurst, N.C., and a junior at Pinecrest High School, will be traveling to Melbourne, Australia in December as a member of a 12-player United States team that will compete against a 12-member international team for the 2019 Junior Presidents’ Cup. The events will be held at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
The Fayette City Council held its rescheduled regular council meeting on Monday, Nov. 18. The meeting was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 12, but was rescheduled when a quorum of the members of the mayor-council body were not present. All members and Mayor Ray Nelson were present for the rescheduled meeting. Fayette Police Officer Will Warren, who recently completed his training at the law enforcement academy, was present also at the meeting and led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag.
The Fayette County Farmers Federation held its annual Farm-City Dinner on Nov. 21 at the Boy Scout building in Fayette. The dinner was a lead-in to Farm-City week, which is celebrated Nov. 22-28 this year to coincide with the Thanksgiving season. Don Mulvaney, professor of animal science at Auburn University, was the featured speaker for the dinner, and told the crowd about some of the challenges facing farmers today. Farmers are being asked to grow more and better agricultural products as both the numbers of farmers and available farm land is increasingly shrinking.
The City of Fayette will hold its annual Christmas parade this year on Monday, Dec. 2, beginning at 6 p.m. Participants in the parade are asked to be at the vacant lot of the former Fayette Square Shopping Center at 5 p.m. to line-up for the parade. The parade will follow the usual parade route, traveling south on Temple Avenue and proceeding to Second Avenue heading north before disbanding back at the starting location.
Both the boys and girls basketball teams at Fayette County High School are off to a great start this season. The boys team lost its first game before winning its next two and the girls’ team is off to a 3-0 start. The girls’ basketball team began the season with a 48-29 victory over Oakman.
Jada Savage led the scoring for Fayette with 21 points, followed by Samantha Cox with 11 points. Iteria Walker had five points; Mackenzie Nelson, Meredith Collins and Holley Files had three points each; and Ariel Colburn rounded out the scoring with two points.
The Berry girls’ basketball team traveled on Monday, Nov. 18 to play Sumiton Christian for the opening game of the 2019-20 season and lost a hard-fought game by the score of 41-31. Makayla Maybaum led the Lady Wildcats in scoring with 11 points and nine steals. Brooke Hill scored eight points for Berry and Allie Taylor added eight rebounds for the team.
The Bevill State Community College Fayette Campus recently received an Alabama Power Good Roots grant to go toward the purchase of trees for beautification of the campus. Shown from left: Dr. Kim Ennis, President of Bevill State Community College; Andrea Ellis, Alabama Power Manager for Reform/Aliceville/Fayette; Sherry Terry, Director of Student Services for the BSCC Fayette Campus.
The students at Fayette Middle School are trying to help others have a brighter holiday season this year. The Fayette Middle School FBLA and FMS Student Council partnered to host a can food drive during the month of November. All can food items are being donated to the Fayette Christian Center of Concern. Additionally, The Fayette Middle School Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) has chosen to adopt Fayette Medical Center Long-Term Care Facility as their community service project.
Fayette Christian Academy held its first-ever sporting event on Nov. 5 as the Golden Eagles Junior High Girls basketball team faced off against the Amory Christian Academy Lions. Although the Golden Eagles suffered a 29 - 8 defeat, everyone couldn’t have been happier with the effort and they are also excited for the future.
The commission approved the addition of four handicapped parking spots on the south end of the courthouse during its Nov. 11 meeting. All commissioners were in attendance for the meeting. Newly hired county administrator, Brooke Slatton, who will be starting with the commission in early 2020, was also in attendance at the meeting.
The Fayette County Board of Education met at Fayette Elementary School on Nov. 12 for its annual organizational meeting. Board Member Sam Sullivan was absent, with all others board members present. The Board of Education toured Fayette Middle School and Fayette Elementary School prior to the meeting.
The 2019 version of the Fayette County High School varsity basketball team is off and running, both literally and figuratively. New Head Basketball Coach Craig Smith has installed a new fast-paced offense for this season, with an emphasis on playing a full-court, pressing defense when the other team has the ball. Smith said that his objective is getting the ball up-court and getting off a makeable shot within 10 seconds of getting a defensive rebound or turnover.
The Glen Allen town council met on Tuesday Nov. 5 at the town hall. Councilman Robert Aldridge was not in attendance for the scheduled meeting. Following standard opening procedures, Mayor Allen J. Dunavant gave an update from the exploratory committee which had been formed during the September council meeting to address avenues for hiring a certified water operator (Grade II) for the water department. The committee was tasked to explore and consider options for replacing Water Operator John Wakefield, who had submitted his intentions of resigning from the position.
Fayette County High School Principal Dr. Jeremy Madden recently represented the Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP) as District 7 South High School Principal of the Year at the 2019 AASSP/AAMSP Fall Conference, Nov. 10-13 in Orange Beach. Madden was named as a top three finalist and was interviewed by a selection committee. The winner of Alabama’s High School Principal of the Year award will be named in Jan. 2020. The Alabama High School Principal of the Year Award is sponsored by the Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals and American Fidelity.
Long-time broadcast journalist Mike Royer spoke about remembering and respecting the military during his address at the Community-Wide Veterans Day Program held at Bevill State Community College on Nov. 4 Royer is now the managing editor of WVUA 23 on the University of Alabama campus. He has just completed 43 years as a broadcast journalist, and has won numerous awards for his work as a journalist.
Qualifying has ended for next year’s March 3 primaries, and several candidates are set to seek local office. All of the contested local primary races next year will be within the Republican Party. Fayette Democratic Party Chairman John Underwood, who is also a Fayette County Commissioner, said that he is seeking re-election to his District 6 Commission seat, while Billy Joe Rodgers has qualified as a Democrat for the County Commission District 5 position that he currently holds.
Lisa Bright, CEO of the Will Bright Foundation, spoke at the Fayette Area Chamber of Commerce’s “First Tuesday” luncheon at the Fayette Civic Center on Nov. 5. She said that the Will Bright Foundation came about as a way to help others possibly avoid tragedy like her family faced when her son Will died of a heroin overdose at the age of 25.
The Berry Town Council voted to replace the Christmas lights in town and to apply for a “Rebuild Alabama” grant during its regular council meeting on Nov. 4. Councilman Russell Madison was absent from the meeting, with all other council members present. Also present for the meeting were Mayor Jimmy Madison and Town Clerk Marie McClusky.
On Wednesday, Nov. 6, approximately 100 Bevill State Community College, Fayette Campus, students participated in the Alabama Community College System’s “Clean Home Alabama” initiative. In addition to students, teachers and faculty members also participated in the event. With more than 60 projects across the state, Clean Home Alabama is ACCS’s contribution to help “Keep Alabama Beautiful” as part of the state’s bicentennial year. Alabama’s 24 community colleges are hosting projects in every corner of the state, showcasing their commitment to serve their communities.
Advancing into the first round of the playoffs for the 10th consecutive year, the Lions traveled to northeast Alabama on Friday night to meet up with the Panthers of Spring Garden. Spring Garden, the top seed in region five, entered the contest with a 9-1 record and the Lions, with a 6-4 record, was seeded as the number four team from region six.
The Grateful Dead once sang about what a long, strange journey this has been. The Berry faithful who made the long trek to Calhoun County to see the Wildcats take on the Donoho Falcons could identify with this. The Wildcats were returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and looking to avenge a week seven loss in the regular season to the Falcons. Berry controlled the clock during the game, but big plays by the Falcons were too much for the Wildcats to overcome as they fell 34-6.
Two separate instances in Fayette County resulted in the death of accident victims. According to Fayette County Coroner Tim Kimbrell, Garrett Miles, 33, reportedly went hunting on Thursday, Oct. 31 off of County Road 47 in Fayette. When he failed to return, family members began searching for him.