The second annual march and rally in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was held in downtown Fayette on Monday, Jan. 20. The event was organized by the Fayette County Ministerial Alliance. The celebration began at the Fayette County Courthouse and continued through the streets of Fayette to the First Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Drive. Despite the bitterly cold temperature, a crowd of approximately 100 people participated in some part of the walk and rally.
The City of Fayette received a grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation that will aid with the resurfacing of Martin Luther King Drive and 10th Street. The grant, in the amount of $250,000, was announced last week by Governor Kay Ivey. The grant is the second round of special grants that have been awarded to counties and municipalities throughout the state as part of the “Rebuild Alabama Act.”
The Fayette County Commission reviewed the budgets for all departments within the county during a work session prior to the start of its Jan. 13 meeting. All commissioners were present for the meeting, along with Commission Chairman Mike Freeman and County Administrator Brooke Slatton. County Administrator John Gordon was not present at the meeting.
During its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, the Glen Allen town council elected to hire two part-time employees for roles within the town’s water department. Justin Rainey was hired as the town’s water operator and Matt Madison was hired as maintenance man for the water system. Both men were in attendance for the council meeting and following a brief introduction by Mayor Allen J.
The Fayette girls’ basketball team won two big area games last week to maintain a mathematical chance for a tie for the area regular season title. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, Fayette traveled to Cordova and won by a score of 52-45. Samantha Cox led Fayette in scoring with 13 points, followed closely by Holley Files with 12 points. Meredith Collins added eight points, Jada Savage scored seven points, and Mackenzie Nelson notched six points, while Iteria Walker, Aerial Colburn and Callie Williams each scored two points for the Lady Tigers.
The Berry Wildcats boys’ basketball team suffered a loss to Pickens County before regrouping to defeat Marion County and Sumiton Christian later in the week. Pickens County dominated the homestanding Wildcats on Tuesday, Jan. 14 to take an easy 75-23 victory. Berry was led by Levi Cannon with 12 points. Tyler Lollar scored three points, while Josh Ward, Tanner Parr, Hunter Harrison and Johnathan Locke each scored two points.
The Fayette City Council held a work session on Tuesday, Jan. 7 to discuss several issues prior to its next meeting. All council members and Mayor Ray Nelson attended the work session. Councilman Cedric Wilson started the work session by addressing the salaries to be paid the 2020 incoming council members and mayor. “In my opinion, the mayor should be paid more than the highest-paid employee in the city.” Wilson said. “I also believe the mayor deserves benefits and an annual cost-of-living adjustment.”
Two warrants served on Fayette County residences last week resulted in the arrest of 12 people. Fayette County Sheriff Byron Yerby said that on Jan. 8, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the 24th Judicial Circuit’s District Attorneys Office, the Alabama Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Alabama Bureau of Investigations, a federal postal inspector, and the Berry Police Department’s Canine Unit executed a search warrant on a residence in the 2100 block of Pender Road.
Butch Thompson, head baseball coach at Auburn University, was the keynote speaker at the annual Fayette County High School Baseball Banquet, held Jan. 11 at Bevill State Community College. Thompson is entering his fifth season as coach of the Auburn Tigers, and is coming off a trip to the College World Series in 2019.
The Berry Town Council decided at its Jan. 6 meeting to leave the salaries for the incoming 2020 council members and mayor at the same level as the current administration. No vote was taken nor required on the item, but the consensus of the council and mayor was to leave the salaries at the present level. The Berry mayor currently makes $700 per month and the council makes $100 per month.
Bevill State Community College will begin a project to update the audio/visual equipment in the Earl McDonald Auditorium in the Tom Bevill Building on the Fayette Campus. This project is being funded through multiple sources, including Senator Greg Reed, Rep. Kyle South, the Fayette Community Foundation, the Bevill Foundation, and the Alabama Community College System (ACCS).
Fayette girls’ basketball team hosted Haleyville for an area game on Friday, Jan. 10 and captured a huge win by the score of 58-52. This was the first win by Fayette girls over Haleyville in several years, and it kept them in contention for the regular season area title with a 2-2 area record.
Leading the Lady Tigers in scoring were Jada Savage, Holley Files and Samantha Cox with 14 points each. Mackenzie Nelson also scored in double figures with 10 points, while Meredith Collins added six points.
The Berry Wildcats basketball teams hosted cross-county rival Hubbertville last week, with both the boys and girls teams capturing victories. The Lady Wildcats defeated Hubbertville 51-34. Zoe Mauldin scored 13 points and had 12 rebounds for Berry, while Brooke Hill scored 12 points with eight rebounds and five steals. Iannah Fields also scored 12 points, with Makayla Maybaum adding eight points and Katelyn Willcutt scoring five points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
The Hubbertville girls traveled to Brilliant and defeated the Lady Tigers 48-33. The Lady Lions were led in scoring by Madison Cribb with 15 points, followed by McKenna Fisher with 13 points. Haylee Pollard scored eight points, Kendal Dunavant scored seven points and Laikyn Wright had five points for Hubbertville. Chelsea Barton led Brilliant with 10 points.
Heavy rains last week caused extensive damage on county roads in the Fayette area. Fayette County Road Supervisor Randall Moore said that rain washed out culverts on four roads, forcing the temporary closure of those roads and the re-routing of traffic. He said that most all dirt roads in the county suffered washes, and the rain also caused several trees to fall across county roads.
Longtime businessman and banker, William C. “Bill” Robertson, died Dec. 31, 2019 at his residence at age 80. Robertson was born on Nov. 26, 1939 in Fayette and graduated from Fayette County High School. After graduating from the University of Alabama, he returned to Fayette to work at Citizens Bank, which was founded in 1913 by his grandfather.
On Dec. 18, 2019, plaques were presented to three Fayette County Revenue Office employees to honor their many years of service to Fayette County. Rosemary Terry Blakney has worked for Fayette County in the revenue office for over 40 years. She was hired by Aubrine A. Nichols in March 1979. Ruby Porter began working for Fayette County over 35 years ago. She was hired in Oct. 1984 by Tax Collector Marie Grey.
The Fayette County Board of Education approved personnel changes and awarded contracts during a brief meeting held on Dec. 10, 2019 at Hubbertville School. Prior to the meeting, the board members toured the Hubbertville School. The board approved extending Family Medical Leave for Jackie Stevens until Jan. 3. The board also accepted the resignations of James McAlpin as bus driver, effective Dec. 13, 2019; and Sandra Stovall, bus driver and shuttle bus driver, effective Dec. 31, 2019.
We continue our review of stories from 2019 with headlines from July - December. Events from the first six months of the year were reviewed in last week’s edition of The Times-Record. July:
The Town of Berry received a clear audit report from Kellum, Wilson and Associates during its July 1 meeting. A two-vehicle accident in Fayette on July 2 caused multiple injuries and totaled both vehicles.
Judy Godfrey and Susan Newman, members of the Sipsey Arts Alliance, have been volunteering at Fayette Middle School this school year to work with the fifth grade students. They have worked with the students to not only teach them about the skill involved in art, but to also develop an interest and love for art among the students.
Keith Mahaffey, the former Mayor of Vance, was recently named the 2019 recipient of the Roy Dobbs Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, created by the West Alabama Mayors Association in 2013, honors a former mayor from the West Alabama region selected for having made a lasting, meaningful and positive impact on his or her community.
Fayette’s boys team competed last week in the Tuscaloosa County News Basketball Tournament, held at Tuscaloosa County High School. The Tigers lost the first game to the homestanding Wildcats, before winning the consolation game of the tournament the next night against Cedar Bluff.
As we approach a new year, we pause to take a look back at some of the top stories from the first six months of 2019. January: The body of Ashley Tenniel Watkins, 31, was discovered in Tuscaloosa County on Jan. 2. The woman had been reported missing on Dec. 8, 2018 while visiting a friend in Fayette County. Retiring Fayette County Probate Judge William Oswalt and retiring Fayette County District Judge Jerry Clary were each honored with separate receptions. Each of the men served 30 years in their respective offices.
The Fayette County Commission held its only meeting of the month on Dec. 9. All commissioners were present for the meeting, along with Commission Chairman Mike Freeman.
In a work session held prior to the regular meeting, a discussion was held about buying a new communications system for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) recently announced the new classifications and realignments for the 2020-22 seasons. Fayette remained in Class 4A, Region 5 in football. The Tigers will continue to be in the northern-half of the 4A bracket for the next two seasons, and Fayette will also continue to play Curry, Northside, Oak Grove and Haleyville as regional opponents. Also playing in Class 4A, Region 5 will be Gordo, moving up from Class 3A; and Hamilton, moving down from Class 5A.
The Alabama Sportswriters Association selected Johnathan Locke of Berry as its second team All-State athlete in Class 1A football for the 2019 season. Locke, a junior on the Berry High School football team, was one of the leaders for the Wildcats. He played running back and wide receiver on offense, and also contributed heavily on defense as a defensive back.
The following people were sentenced in Fayette County Circuit Court during the month of November. The list was compiled from information received from the Fayette County Circuit Court. • Gregory Shane Fortner, third degree burglary, sentenced to 20 years in the custody of the Department of Corrections, sentenced suspended with five years supervised probation, and three years reversed split sentence with three years in the custody of the Department of Corrections, and 12 months postponement;
Bradley Byrne, U.S. Congressman from the First District, visited with residents of Fayette last week. Byrne, a Republican, is running next year for the U.S. Senate. He said that he has enjoyed his six years in the House of Representatives, but now he wants to take the next step as a member of the U.S. Senate. “A new senator has a lot more power than a member of the House of Representatives,” Byrne said. “There are 435 House members and only 100 Senators.”
The 2004 Toyota Sequoia, shown in the top photo and driven by Karenda King of Fayette, collided with the 1986 Ford truck, shown in the bottom photo and driven by Jackie Ashby of Fayette, at the intersection of 5th St. NE and 2nd Ave NE. According to the accident report, the two vehicles collided as the Sequoia was attempting to cross 2nd Avenue.
Former U.S. Senator and Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke to the Fayette City Council prior to the beginning of its business portion of the Dec. 10 meeting. Councilman Jason Cowart and Councilman Jerry Nichols were absent from the meeting, with Mayor Ray Nelson and the remaining council members present.
The Fayette B-Team, girls varsity and boys varsity basketball teams participated in the West Alabama Conference (WAC) Tournament in Vernon last week, with all of the Fayette teams making a quick exit after suffering first round defeats. Earlier in the week, the varsity boys and girls teams each defeated Cordova in games played at Fayette County High School.
Local broadband provider freedom FIBER, a subsidiary of Tombigee Electric Cooperative, has been awarded a $29.5 million loan/grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand rural high-speed internet in northwest Alabama. U.S. and state officials announced the 50 percent loan/grant during a ceremony held at Tombigbee’s warehouse in Hamilton on Thursday, Dec. 5.
Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Fayette last week, saying that he is seeking his former office of U.S. Senator to help President Donald Trump continue his agenda of “making America great again.” Sessions spoke at the Fayette County Republican meeting on Dec. 10, telling the crowd that he wants to regain the senate seat to return it to the people of Alabama.
“I don’t feel like the seat is my seat, it belongs to the people of Alabama,” he said. “I want to return the seat to the people where it belongs.”
Candice Cheyanne Beaty, 29, Winfield, has been convicted of first-degree robbery and felony murder in connection with the death of William Jerome Henry in April 2016. According to court documents released by Marion County Circuit Clerk Denise Mixon, Beaty pled guilty to the charges in 25th Judicial Circuit Court on Nov. 12 and was ordered by Circuit Judge Lee Carter to serve a 30-year sentence in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and to pay up to $750 in restitution.
On Monday, Dec. 16, the Fayette Middle School fifth grade class shared their love for Christmas with others throughout the Fayette community. The class visited the Fayette County Courthouse and the downtown Fayette area, where they sang Christmas carols and presented stuffed toys to workers and others who stopped to listen to their merry songs. They also visited the Fayette Medical Center Long-Term Care facility to sing to the residents and presented each one of them with a stuffed animal.
Joey Day representative Mark Brown received $3,275 from the Kirkland/Bluff/Wayside communities on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. Over 35 families, Wayside Church, the Wayside Community Club, The Kirkley Foundation, and The Animal Clinic made generous donations to the Joey Day Project with the hope that over 300 needy children referred by the Department of Human Resources will have a happy Christmas as they receive clothing, shoes and toys for Christmas.
The Berry boys’ basketball team won the North Alabama Conference (NAC) Basketball Tournament by defeating Marion County in the semifinals and Lynn in the championship game of the tournament. The Wildcats hosted the tournament on Friday and Saturday, with Berry winning its opening game over the Marion County Red Raiders by a score of 52-47.