The Fayette City Council unanimously approved a motion at its May 12 meeting to proceed with the design phase to ultimately resurface the airport apron at Richard Arthur Field. Councilman Jason Cowart was absent from the meeting, with all other council members in attendance. Natalie Hobbs, senior airport engineer with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, told the council that the Airport Improvement Grant available this year for the project would be 100 percent funded due to the provisions of the recently passed Cares Act.
Drive-up COVID-19 testing clinics will be offered at the Fayette County Health Department on Wednesdays, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. while testing supplies are available. Call (205) 932-5260 for an appointment and to preregister. The address of the Fayette County Health Department is 215 1st Ave. NW, Fayette.
The Fayette County Board of Education announced graduation dates for seniors at Fayette County schools during its May 12 meeting. Board Member Tim Fields was absent from the meeting, with all other board members in attendance. The tentative schedule for graduation is as follows: • Berry High School - Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. • Hubbertville School - Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m. • Fayette County High School - Thursday, June 11 at 8 p.m. All graduations are scheduled to be held in the schools’ football stadiums in an effort to abide by COVID-19 guidelines.
Since Governor Kay Ivey relaxed some of the restrictions on businesses under the “Safer-at-Home” order issued due to the COVID-19 virus, cases in Alabama have continued to steadily climb. However, state officials attribute some of the increase in numbers to more aggressive testing of people potentially affected. At press time, cases of the coronavirus within the state climbed from just over 10,000 cases last week to almost 12,500 this week. The number of deaths within the state has also risen from 400 to approximately 500 during the same time frame.
Bevill State Community College in Fayette announed its 2019-20 academic year “Student Honors Awards” recently. Dr. Kim Ennis, president of Bevill State Community College in Fayette announced the awards and had the following remarks to say on behalf of the administration, faculty, and staff of Bevill State. “Typically, this is a season of celebration at our institution, when we celebrate the accomplishments of our students through graduation programs, student honors programs, and in years past, nursing pinnings.” Ennis said.
The Berry Town Council approved Bart Norris at its May 4 meeting as the interim, part-time replacement police chief for the Town of Berry during the federal deployment of Police Chief Gerald DeDeaux. All council members were present. The meeting was held at the Berry Civic Center due to the distancing requirements in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. DeDeaux will serve an overseas deployment of approximately one year, and Norris will be the acting chief during his absence. Norris previously served as police chief in Berry until his retirement in August 2012.
The Fayette Civic Center will host an emergency blood drive for the American Red Cross on Tuesday, May 19 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. The first 20 blood donors during the drive will receive a $5 gift card to Alabama Sunshine. Fayette had an emergency blood drive in April, and will hold another drive at the Civic Center in August.
Despite the relaxing of additional restrictions by Governor Kay Ivey last week, the number of COVID-19 cases within the state continues to escalate. As of Monday, May 11, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state had topped the 10,000 mark, with the number of deaths from the coronavirus totaling more than 400. Fayette County has been fortunate during the COVID-19 outbreak, with the total number of reported cases within the county at seven and with no deaths attributed to the virus. These numbers are the best of any county in the state.
The Fayette County Commission approved purchases and made several changes to its personnel policies during a special called meeting held in the Fayette County Courtroom on Thursday, May 7. Commission Chairman Mike Freeman told the commissioners that the air conditioning/chiller system used at the courthouse annex is completely worn out and could not be repaired.
Governor Kay Ivey’s latest modification of her “Safer-at-Home” plan included a modified re-opening of Alabama’s Senior Citizens Activity Centers. West Alabama Regional Commission’s Area Agency on Aging administers 22 Senior Activity Centers throughout a seven-county region.
Each center is open to adults aged 60 and older. Participation isn’t based on income or retirement, but is based on being age 60 or older. Beginning the week of May 18, the senior activity centers will begin offering curbside pick-up for hot meals again, Monday-Friday of each week.
The Fayette City Council addressed the unusually high gasoline prices in the City of Fayette at its April 28 meeting. All council members were present for the meeting. Councilman Jason Cowart began the discussion concerning gasoline prices by stating that he is constantly questioned about the relatively high gas prices in Fayette when compared to the surrounding area. Cowart said that the differential in prices appears to have increased over the past few weeks, as gas prices have dropped and the COVID-19 crisis affects citizens in their everyday lives.
An accident that occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 1 near the two-mile marker on Highway 107 resulted in a detour around the accident for about three hours. A 2005 GMC C6500 overturned in the highway, completely blocking the road. According to a spokesperson for the Alabama State Trooper’s office, the accident occurred when the truck’s driver, Grover Latham, 63, of Hamilton, was traveling north on Highway 107 and lost control of his vehicle. The driver was uninjured in the accident.
The Fayette County Commission during its April 27 meeting voted to not pay nearly $50,000 in disputed fees that the Northwest Alabama Economic Development Authority (C3) says the commission owes. All commissioners were present for the meeting. Commissioner Barry Corkren said that he has seen very little actual benefit from the C3 organization during the past few years in the Fayette County area. He made a motion to not pay the amount asked for by C3, and the motion was seconded by Commissioner Billy Joe Rogers.
Governor Kay Ivey lifted the “Stay-at-Home” order that had been in place for Alabama until 5 p.m. on April 30, and replaced the order with a “Safer-at-Home” directive. The new order allowed the state’s beaches to open, and also allowed most retail businesses to open, although certain restrictions are still in place that will limit crowds and require social distancing. Restaurants are still allowed to serve carry-out orders only. Hospitals and long-term care facilities must still restrict visitors and continue policies designed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Fayette City Council upheld the termination of Jason Nalls as a police officer for the City of Fayette during a closed due process hearing held on April 14. Nalls had been terminated by Mayor Ray Nelson with the consent of the council at the council’s March 24 meeting. Nalls requested the hearing, during which all of the council members were present. The council members upheld the termination by a unanimous 5-0 vote.
Governor Kay Ivey held a joint press conference on Tuesday, April 28 with state health officials to announce that a "Safer-at-Home" order will replace the Stay-at-Home order that is set to expire on Thursday, April 30 at 5 p.m. Shown below are the details of the new order issued by the governor.
Fayette County High School was recently ranked as the 23rd top high school in the State of Alabama by U.S. News and World Reports. FCHS had the smallest enrollment (404 students) and the highest student poverty level (51 percent) among the top 25 schools listed in the report. Most of the data used in ranking the schools was obtained from the 2017-18 academic year.
The Fayette County Board of Education approved several personnel changes and contracts at its April 21 meeting. The meeting was held in the Fayette Elementary School lunchroom so that safe distancing and other recommendations that are in place dur to the COVID-19 pandemic could be followed. All board members were in attendance for the meeting, along with Superintendent Jim Burkhalter, Assistant Superintendent Mary Raines and Chief Financial Officer Julie Chaffin.
As Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey faces a decision to possibly lift the “Stay-at-Home” order that currently continues through April 30, the number of cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 continues to rise in both Alabama and the United States. Ivey was scheduled to hold a joint press conference in Montgomery at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28 with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and members of the executive committee of the state’s Coronavirus Task Force.