Bevill State Community College (BSCC) met with faculty, staff, and administrators from all five locations on Monday, June 29, to continue the development of a new strategic plan. The College began this process earlier this year. However, recent statewide developments make the timing of this planning process optimal. At the close of the regular legislative session, Alabama lawmakers approved a $1.25 billion bond issue for school construction in the largest capital improvement project in more than a decade.
The Fayette County Board of Education voted 4-1 at its June 25 meeting to hire former Fayette County High School football coach and former BOE member Waldon Tucker as the new FCHS varsity football coach. All current members of the board were present for the meeting. Board Member Keith Madison opposed the hiring of Tucker, while the other board members supported the motion. Tucker resigned his position on the Fayette County Board of Education during a special-called meeting on Monday, June 22.
The Fayette County Commission approved a plan to centralize its purchasing of office supplies and materials in an effort to save money during its June 22 meeting. All commissioners were present for the meeting. Commission Chairman Mike Freeman had previously addressed the commission concerning centralizing its office supply purchases, but the commission had taken no previous action.
The Fayette City Council approved the hiring of two new police officers during its June 23 meeting. All council members were present for the meeting. Fayette Police Chief Danny Jenkins recommended the employment of Landon Miller and Logan Wright to Mayor Ray Nelson and the Fayette City Council to fill two current vacancies in the police department. He reported that Miller has two years of law enforcement experience and is currently employed as a deputy with the Lee County Miss. Sheriff Department.
After a dramatic spike in local cases two weeks ago, Fayette County’s COVID-19 cases appear to have somewhat stabilized. From Monday, June 8 to Monday, June 15, the number of coronavirus cases within Fayette County increased by 26, climbing from 19 cases to 45 cases in one week. Last week, the number of new cases decreased over the same seven-day timeframe to 13 new cases. From Monday, June 22 to Monday, June 29, Fayette County again decreased in new cases, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, with only eight new cases.
Waldon Tucker, Fayette County Board of Education member from District 1, resigned from his position on the local school board at a special-called meeting on June 22. Tucker was not present at the meeting, but the remaining board members were in attendance. The only order of business on the agenda was Tucker’s resignation from the board. A letter presented to the board members from Tucker and dated June 18 stated the following: “Dear Mr. Burkhalter and Fayette County Board of Education Members, I am resigning my Fayette County Board of Education seat for District 1 effective June 22, 2020.
The 168 Engineering Unit of the Army National Guard, stationed in Fayette, held a departure ceremony on Sunday, June 21 at the Fayette National Guard Amory. The unit will be leaving for deployment in Kuwait and is scheduled to return in May 2021. The 168 Engineering Unit has previously been deployed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are currently 153 members in the engineering unit, with many of the members located in Fayette County and the surrounding area.
A local attorney and former state representative is being charged with theft for allegedly using $140,000 from an estate for personal use. According to 25th Judicial Circuit Court District Attorney Scott Slatton, Daniel Heath Boman, Winfield, was arrested on Thursday, June 18, on one count of first-degree theft of property. He was placed in the Winston County Jail on a $150,000 bond. Boman is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives, representing Fayette, Lamar and portion of Tuscaloosa in House District 16 from 2010 to 2014.
The long-awaited July 14 primary runoff election features no Democratic ballot and a short Republican ballot for eligible voters. Voters who voted in the Democratic primary on March 3 are barred by law from “crossing over” and voting in the Republican runoff primary on July 14.
Voters who did not vote in the March 3 primary, or who only voted on the Constitutional amendments, are eligible to vote in the runoff, along with the Republican primary voters.
A prayer and unity rally was held on the yard of the Fayette County Courthouse on Sunday, June 21. The rally was attended by numerous church leaders and ministers, community leaders and civic leaders. Prayers for unity and peace within the community were led by Evangelist Erin Nalls, Minister Clyde Stephens and Minister Chris Nalls.
After experiencing a dramatic rise in the number of COVID-19 cases during the previous week, Fayette County’s number of new cases decreased from 26 new cases to 13 new cases for the most recent seven-day period. The decrease in the number of Fayette County cases comes as cases remain alarmingly high within the state and the nation. The State of Alabama now has more than 30,000 COVID-19 cases with approximately 840 deaths. Nationwide, approximately 2.5 million cases of the coronavirus have been reported, with approximately 120,000 deaths.
Local author Chris Snider has written and published his sixth book, “The Book of Jacob.” Snider says that the book is a sequel to his first book entitled, “The Preacher.” “The Book of Jacob” continues the chronicles of preacher Jacob Cross, as he continues to struggle with his personal demons and good versus evil. Snider said that he has always enjoyed writing, and that love has now led to the publication of six books: The Preacher, Accents of Horror, The Bone Spirit, Artemis, Snowy Pines and The Book of Jacob.
The City of Fayette approved a sales and use tax abatement for Dal-Tile during its June 9 meeting. All council members were present for the meeting. The abatements were approved due to the company’s recently announced $2 million dollar addition and expansion of its Fayette facility. Last month, Dal-Tile announced that it is closing its Lewisport, Kent. facility, which makes a product similar to the tile produced at the Fayette plant.
The Fayette County Commission discussed the sheriff’s department budget during its June 8 meeting. Commissioner Barry Corkren was absent due to medical reasons, with all other commissioners present. Commissioner Joe Acker said that at approximately two-thirds of the way through the fiscal year, the sheriff department has used about 93 percent of its budgeted funds for the year. He said that while the sheriff’s department budget is over, the budget for the jail appears to be on-target.
After several weeks of leading the state with the fewest number of COVID-19 cases, Fayette County has seen a dramatic rise in the number of new cases during the past week, with the total number of cases totaling 45 on Monday, June 15. One week before on June 8, Fayette County had reported only 19 cases of the coronavirus, which was still tied for the lowest number of cases in the state with Cleburne County. By June 11, the number of cases within the county had climbed to 23, with another three cases added by June 12.
Ann Frances Oswalt Crone was headed to work on Oct. 31, 2019 as the rain poured down on a dreary Halloween morning. A native of Fayette, Oswalt was driving her 2015 Toyota SUV from her home in Fulton, Miss. to her job as a mammography technologist in Winfield when her vehicle suddenly hydroplaned. Soon she found herself down a 20-foot embankment. She then unbuckled her seatbelt, falling an additional 25 feet into a body of water. Badly hurt, she managed to keep her head above water until a truck driver, Mark Madison from Sulligent, reached her.