On Monday, Aug. 31, Dr. Kim Ennis announced to the faculty and staff of Bevill State Community College that she will be retiring as president effective Sept. 30 following a career at the college spanning over three decades. After a year-long appointment as Interim President, Dr. Ennis was officially named president of the college in April of 2018. During Dr. Ennis’ 35-year tenure with Bevill State, she has served in a number of roles, including two terms as Interim President, Executive Vice-President, and Dean of Students.
The Fayette County Board of Education approved a few personnel items and contracts during a brief special called meeting on Aug. 24. Board Member Tom Hubbert, Board Member Sam Sullivan, Board Member John Stowe and Board Member John Aaron were present for the meeting, with Board Member Tim Fields and Board Member Keith Madison absent during the special called meeting.
The Bibb County Choctaws, ranked second in the state in Class 4A, used a strong running game to overwhelm the young Fayette Tigers by the score of 39-0. Deshun Murrell, Bibb County’s senior running back who has committed to play college football for UCLA, demonstrated why he is considered one of the top offensive backs in the state.
Hubbertville welcomed the Waterloo Cougars to Wiley Hollingsworth Stadium on Thursday night to open its regular season. Winning the coin toss, the Lions elected to receive the opening kick. The opening kick ricocheted off a Cougars kicking team member, with the Lions recovering at the Waterloo 48-yard line. Following a four-yard gain by quarterback Gage Key on first down, the opening possession stalled, forcing Key to punt the ball away.
According to Superintendent Jim Burkhalter, school got off to as normal a start as possible in a year that has been dominated everywhere by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are off to a great start,” said Burkhalter. “Teachers, students, and staff are practicing the guidelines provided by the CDC and Governor Kay Ivey. Masks are being worn by everyone in grades two - 12. Social distancing is being practiced to the best extent possible. The schools are doing an excellent job in teaching our students in the safety protocols that are being implemented.
Alex Chaffin, 34, of the Hubbertville Community, passed away at UAB Hospital in Birmingham on Aug. 22. The young man, who was born with Down’s Syndrome, had overcome numerous obstacles throughout his life before reportedly losing his struggle with the COVID-19 virus. Alex Chaffin was born along with his twin brother Eric on Aug. 6, 1986 to David and Stachie Chaffin. He graduated from Hubbertville School in 2004, and although he did not play competitive sports in school, he was the undisputed champion “Number One Fan” for his beloved alma mater.
The Fayette County Board of Education approved several personnel changes and contracts for the 2020-21 school year during its Aug. 18 meeting. All board members were present for the meeting. Judy Baker was hired by the school board as a nurse for Berry High School, upon successful background clearance. The position will be for one-year only, and will be paid for with CARES Act funding.
Fayette County saw a slight decline in the number of new cases of the COVID-19 virus during the past week, registering 24 new cases for the seven-day period from Monday, Aug. 17 – Monday, Aug. 24. For each of the past two weeks, Fayette County had registered more than 30 new cases of the coronavirus each week. The total number of coronavirus cases in the county totaled 270 at press time, with the county also reporting one additional death within the past week to bring the total number of deaths to six.
Waldon Tucker returned to coaching Fayette football against Winfield last week, but the Pirates spoiled his return debut by defeating the Tigers 26-6. Fayette appeared to be hitting on all cylinders early, as they took the opening kickoff and marched down the field for the first touchdown of the 2020 season. However, Winfield shutout the Tigers for the remainder of the game to claim the victory.
Sometimes in football, the final score does not truly represent what happened in the game. The Wildcat faithful who saw Berry host the Northside Rams at Fred Webster Stadium would agree with this. The Rams and the Wildcats kicked off their 2020 campaigns by facing each other for the first time since 2015. The Wildcats led 7-6 at halftime, but three scores by the Rams in the second half proved to be the difference as Northside took the win 27-7.
Hubbertville traveled north to Franklin County to open its season with a fall jamboree against the Class 3A Phil Campbell Bobcats. Just as the coin toss ended, the rain began and umbrellas opened up throughout the stadium. Grayson Key advanced the opening kick to the Lions 40-yard line, setting up the Lions offense, led by senior quarterback Gage Key.
The only municipal election within the county this year will occur on Aug. 25 in the City of Fayette, with every position on the ballot being contested. Seeking the position of mayor, replacing retiring Mayor Ray Nelson, will be: Kevin Bass, Rod Northam, Max Weaver and current City Councilman Cedric Wilson. Vying for office in Ward One are Steve Herring, Kevin Rhudy and Virettia L. Whiteside. Ward One Councilwoman Linda McCraw is not seeking re-election. In Ward Two, incumbent Councilman Eddy D. Campbell will face challenger Floyd Rogers Jr. for the position.
The Fayette County Board of Education approved several personnel items and the much-discussed coaching supplements during its Aug. 13 meeting. After spending considerable time during the past two weeks discussing the supplements of coaches within the county, the board sought an opinion from the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts concerning the matter.
Despite the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, schools are opening for fall classes and with it comes the beginning of the high school football season. Berry and Fayette open their regular seasons this Thursday, while Hubbertville will play a jamboree game on Friday. In accordance with Governor Kay Ivey’s order, all fans are asked to wear facial coverings or masks to enter the games.
The Fayette County Commission voted unanimously at its Aug. 10 meeting to hire Preston Jones as the county’s new maintenance supervisor. All commissioners were present for the meeting, which was held at the Fayette Civic Center since the meeting was changed to morning from afternoon. Phillip Rushing had been temporarily hired to fill the vacancy as maintenance supervisor until a new employee was hired. Commissioner Barry Corkren made a motion that was seconded by Commissioner Billy Joe Rodgers to hire Jones as the new supervisor. The motion passed by unanimous consent.
The Fayette City Council approved the building of new airport hangers during its Aug. 11 meeting. Councilwoman Linda McCraw was absent from the meeting. A proposal from Northwest Bama Builders was submitted to the council to build the hangers at a cost of $20,650. This was the lowest estimate received for the project. Airport manager Kip Madison said that there is a waiting list for hangers at the airport, and said that this appears to be a good time to build the additional hangers.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to hold a firm grip on the state and nation as students return to classes for another school year. Fayette County had its largest one-day increase in new cases from Aug. 10 - 11, with 11 new cases of the coronavirus reported in one day. The county had a weekly increase of 34 new cases, down slightly from the 38 new cases reported the previous week.
Waldon Tucker retired from coaching following the 2010 season, having led the Fayette Tigers to an undefeated, state championship season in 1996, and to a 230 - 95 record in 27 seasons at the school. When he retired, Tucker had amassed a 309-126-3 overall record, which was a state record for an Alabama high school football coach at the time. His 1980 Gordo team also earned him another state championship title. His son Lance took over at Fayette after his retirement, and kept the winning tradition going before Bill Smith took the reins at Fayette for one year in 2019.
Coach Caleb Hynds enters his fourth season as head football coach at Berry, beginning this season with the momentum of making the first round of the playoffs in 2019. “I feel good about our team this year,” Hynds said. “We have 54 total players, with nine seniors and 16 returning starters on offense and defense. We have some potential, if we can stay healthy and get better each week.” Hynds said that Isaiah Kizzire returns at quarterback for the Wildcats, having finished the second half of the 2019 season at the position.