Renovating the past for a productive future

Shown is a portion of downtown Fayette showing the after effects of the storefront renovations, which was one of the many phases of the Downtown Revitalization Program.

“We don’t tear down old buildings, we renovate and restore them,” said Fayette Mayor Ray Nelson. “We are proud of our historical past and want to preserve that heritage while preparing for business in the future.” With only a couple of noticeable exceptions, those being the McNease-Robertson Hospital/Clinic and Richard’s Theater, the buildings occupying present-day downtown Fayette have a very familiar look to the landscape of 50-100 years ago. The names on the buildings may have changed, but the buildings have been renovated and reborn into new vibrant businesses.


Commission votes to post operator, clerk positions

Shown at the Sept. 10 commission meeting are, from left: Commissioner Joe Acker, Commissioner Barry Corkren and shop supervisor Tim Whitson.

The Fayette County Commission voted to post a new accounts payable position and two road crew operator positions during its Sept. 10 meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, Commissioner Barry Corkren asked that the agenda for the meeting be amended to include the addition of “open and re-alignment positions.” The commissioners unanimously approved the agenda with the requested change added. Corkren said that the road crew has been understaffed and needs two equipment operators hired to fill the needs of the department.

Fayette City Council renews hospital tax

Shown at the Sept. 11 Fayette City Council meeting, from left: councilmen Jerry Nichols, Cedric Wilson and Jason Cowart, Mayor Ray Nelson, Councilman Eddy Campbell, Councilwoman Linda McCraw and City Clerk Dawn Clapp.

The Fayette City Council approved the renewal of the one-half cent sales tax that is earmarked for Fayette Medical center during its Sept. 11 meeting. Prior to the beginning of the meeting, Lee Auman, candidate for then United States House of Representatives, Fourth Congressional District, was introduced by Bobby Avant. Auman was allowed five minutes to speak and used that time to thank the council for their foresight in protecting the health and well-being of the citizens of the Fayette.

Never forget

Shown is the flag that was displayed at the Fayette Fire Department on Sept. 11.

The Fayette Fire Department displayed a giant flag on Sept. 11, remembering the nearly 3,000 innocent victims and the heroic first responders who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.



Fayette BOE approves budget, contracts during meeting

Shown at the BOE meeting representing Berry Elementary from left: Amber Stephens, Heather Windle and Principal Darrell Thomas. Berry Elementary placed in the top 50 schools in the state for reading growth in 2018.

The Fayette County Board of Education approved its budget for fiscal year 2019 during its Sept. 11 meeting. All members of the board were present for the meeting. Prior to the meeting, a budget hearing was held to present proposed revenues and expenditures for the upcoming year. Revenues were listed at $22,516,659 and expenditures were listed at $23,376,396. These are projected numbers and are subject to change within the year.


Fayette Arts Festival winners announced

Shown are the winners from the 49th annual Fayette Arts Festival.

The 49th annual Fayette Arts Festival, held on Sept. 8 at Guthrie Smith Park, announced its prize winners from this years festival. The winners are as follows: Jimmy Pierce, Cottondale – First Place, Fine Art Division; Cindy S. Vance, Bankston – Display Award; Marinda Michael, Baldwin, Miss. – Third Place, Craft Division; Ashleigh McCool, Gordo – Second Place, Fine Art Division; and She-She, B’ham – First Place, Folk Art Division. Middle: Dianne Wurtele, Birmingham – Patron’s Choice Award; Laura S.

Fayette wins WAC Volleyball Championship

The Fayette volleyball team won the WAC Championship, held Sept. 15 in Fayette. Shown from left, kneeling: Aleah Byars and Mary Kate Ballew. Back: Head Coach Jamie Lawler, Jessica Duck, Karli Rushing, Assistant Coach Danielle Newsome, Samantha Cox, Mary Grace Wyatt, Kayley Strickland, Grace Sullivan, Karrigen Koster and Assistant Coach Sandra Holliman.

The Fayette County High School Lady Tigers volleyball team won the West Alabama Conference (WAC) championship, played in Fayette on Sept. 15.

Fayette scores big in second quarter to defeat Cordova 35-12

KyHeim Montford (3) runs for a good gain after taking a handoff from quarterback Blake Wallace (4).

Fayette traveled to the sweltering hot football pit of the Blue Devils on Friday night and used a 29-point second quarter to easily defeat Cordova 35-12. The second quarter was so dominating that Fayette scored on each of its three offensive possessions in the period, accumulating 156 yards in the process. The Tigers also returned a punt 69-yards for a touchdown and then recovered the ensuing kickoff. The Blue Devils ran 12 plays in the second quarter, failing to gain a first down and with a net loss of six yards in the period.


Hubbertville defeats Meek 47-28

Cannon Alexander (55) closes in on a Meek ball carrier.

Hubbertville traveled to Arley Friday night to face-off against the Meek Tigers in Region 6 play. Quick scoring drives by both teams brought fans to their feet early in the opening minutes of the game. Starting its opening possession at the 29-yard line, Hubbertville's offensive front led by quarterback Ethan Nichols wasted little time taking the ball to the endzone. Zach Hubbert ran for a four-yard gain on first down, then Nichols called his own number and raced 50 yards moving the ball inside the Tigers red zone.

South Lamar defeats Berry 56-20

Isaac Darty (34) is pictured running for a good gain against South Lamar.

The Berry Wildcats were looking to pick up its first win of the season as they hosted the South Lamar Stallions. The game was riddled with penalties for both teams, but a big second quarter by the Stallions led them to a 56–20 victory. The Wildcats received the opening kickoff and returned it to the Berry 23-yard line. The Wildcats put together a six-play drive and faced fourth and 11. Berry elected to punt, and the South Lamar offense took the field for the first time in the game.

Fayette Medical Center celebrates 60th anniversary

Shown is a current view of Fayette Medical Center.

The Fayette Medical Center will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 21 and is still a vibrant, continually growing healthcare facility in the county. The hospital is a testament to the pioneers of healthcare in Fayette County and its roots started many years before, when the McNease-Robertson hospital/clinic was built. The McNease-Robertson facility came into existence because of a vision and care that Dr. B.W. McNease and Dr. John Banks Robertson had for the county.

Fayette Arts Festival a success

The band "Three on a String" was the featured musical act at the 49th annual Fayette Arts Festival.

The 49th annual Fayette Arts Festival, held on Sept. 8 at Guthrie Smith Park, was a huge success. Many visitors to the festival enjoyed the arts, crafts, vendors and entertainment throughout the day. The event was endorsed by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, and featured the band “Three on a String” as the headlining musical entertainment.


Former Fayette police chief, Ralph Olive, passes away

Pictured is Ralph Olive when he was police chief of Fayette.

Former Fayette police chief Ralph Crawford Olive Sr. passed away on Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center at the age of 77. Olive was born in Berry on Sept. 24, 1940, and graduated from Berry High School in 1958. His career with the Fayette Police Department began in 1965, and Olive served as the Fayette police chief from Oct. 1972 until his retirement in Dec. 1994. Current Fayette police chief Danny Jenkins said that Olive was a big influence on his life. “He gave me my start in law enforcement,” Jenkins said.

Hub defeats Berry, 45-20

Aaron Cribb (64) blocks as Gage Key (36) carries the ball for Hubbertville against Berry.

The backyard brawl between the Berry Wildcats and the Hubbertville Lions took place Friday night at Wiley Hollingsworth Stadium as the Lions hosted their cross county Region 6 rivals. In a show of unity the Berry Red Regiment Band joined the Lion Pride Band on the field for the presentation of the national anthem followed by team captains meeting at the center of the field to get the much anticipated game underway.


Tigers dominate Northside for 27-12

Fayette quarterback Blake Wallace completed this perfectly timed pass over the outstretched hands of a Northside defender into the waiting grasp of Tre’Darion Walker (6) for a 45-yard touchdown play.

The Fayette Tigers used a balanced offensive attack and a strong defensive effort to dominate the first three quarters, defeating the Northside Rams by a score of 27-12. The Tigers allowed Northside only 123 yards of total offense in the first three quarters and led the Rams 27-0 entering the final quarter of the game. Fayette appeared to enter the game with a renewed vigor, after losing to its rival Winfield the previous week. The Tigers also unveiled a new style uniform for the first time, as they took the field in their”Eye of the Tiger/Warrior” uniforms.


Physically Disabled Hunt dates announced for field trial area

The M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area (FWFTA) in Hale County will host a series of deer hunts for hunters with physical disabilities from late November 2018 through January 2019. Registration for the hunts will open Sept. 17 and run through Oct. 19. “Access to outdoor activities such as hunting should be available to everyone who has an interest,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). “We are honored to provide hunting opportunities for all Alabamians including those with physical disabilities.”

Huff addresses council concerning benefits from tax

Shown at the Fayette City Council’s Aug. 28 meeting are from left: Councilman Jason Cowart, Mayor Ray Nelson, Councilman Eddy Campbell, Councilwoman Linda McCraw and City Clerk Dawn Clapp. Not present at the meeting were councilmen Jerry Nichols and Cedric Wilson.

Jeff Huff, of the Fayette Medical Center (FMC), gave the hospital’s annual report to the Fayette City Council at its Aug. 28 meeting. Councilmen Jerry Nichols and Cedric Wilson were absent from the meeting. Huff introduced several members of the FMC staff in attendance, then told the council that the one-half cent sales tax passed by the council three years ago to help the hospital has made a tremendous difference in the way the facility is able to do business.

49 annual Arts Festival this Saturday

Three on a String will be the featured musical entertainment at the 49th annual Fayette Arts Festival.

Guthrie Smith Park will host the 49th Fayette Arts Festival from 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Fayette Arts Festival is the longest consecutive-running arts festival in the state. This year’s festival is also an endorsed event of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission. To help celebrate Alabama’s 200th birthday, the Fayette Arts Festival will host Alabama’s own “Three on a String” as the morning entertainment on the Main Stage from 9:30 a.m. – noon.

Pirates sink Fayette on blustery night, 35-13

Zack Ingle (14) is shown running for a first quarter touchdown against Winfield as Isiah Dixon (52), Jaylen Hammonds (8) and Coulter Ary (57) block.

In a game that was delayed by lightning for approximately 30 minutes during the first quarter, the Winfield Pirates scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the homestanding Tigers 35-13. Fayette trailed 14-13 early in the fourth quarter before the Pirates scored the final 21 points to seal the victory.


Hubbertville rolls over Waterloo, 49-18

Quarterback Ethan Nichols (23) is shown handing off to Zach Hubbert (15) as Tanner Upton (25) blocks during the game against Waterloo.

Hubbertville made the long trek north to Lauderdale County to battle the Cougars of Waterloo. The two teams had never met on the gridiron so the atmosphere among players, coaches and fans were varied. Head coach Lamar Harris forewarned his Lions prior to boarding the bus that the long trip would be conducted as a "business venue" with the ultimate goal of remaining confident and bringing home the victory.


Cold Springs defeats Berry 27-20

Berry’s Isaac Darty (34) is pictured making a one-handed pass reception for a touchdown as Sam Franklin (2) watches.

Green Bay coaching legend Vince Lombardi once said, “We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.” The Berry fans who traveled to Cullman County to watch the Wildcats take on the Cold Springs Eagles can identify with this. The two teams traded the lead all night, but ultimately the clock caught up with Berry and Cold Springs escaped with a seven-point victory, 27-20.


Old truss bridges are a vanishing sight in county

Shown is an old Pony Truss Bridge, which is located in Fayette County and still used for daily traffic.

Approximately 15 miles from downtown Fayette, is an old Warren Pony Truss bridge, estimated to have been built around 1928. It spans the Luxapallila Creek on Dodson Road (off of County Road 21). This unique bridge is currently still open to traffic. Its total length is 101.1 feet, with a deck width of 12.1 feet.


High school football is back!

Fayette’s cheerleaders lead the Tigers onto the field at Gordo.

The 2018 high school football season kicked off last week and the county teams appeared to be ready for action. Fayette County High School scored with 4.7 seconds remaining in the game to take a hard-earned 19-13 victory over Gordo, and Berry played Sulligent extremely close before losing a heartbreaker by the score of 30-22. Hubbertville also had a very impressive jamboree win against Phil Campbell. See additional pictures and details of these games in this week’s paper.


Fayette businesses hold ribbon-cuttings

The band, “Broken Bridge” provided entertainment from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25 in the vacant lot next to Alabama Sunshine to celebrate the company’s move to its new spacious location.

Several Fayette businesses held ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Fayette last week. The Charming Cottage and Fannie’s Bistro and Events celebrated the opening of their new businesses, and Alabama Sunshine celebrated the opening of its new location.

BOE explores participating in Alabama Sentry Program

Scout Master Steven Nolen is shown addressing the Fayette County Board of Education at its Aug. 31 meeting.

Fayette County Superintendent of Education Jim Burkhalter told board members during the Aug. 21 meeting that the Fayette County school system is exploring the possibility of participating in the Alabama Sentry Program. The sentry program will allow an authorized and certified school administrator in a school without a resource officer to have a firearm on campus in a secure location to protect students and teachers in the event of a security threat to the school.

Berry Council discusses budget concerns

Shown at the Berry Town Council’s Aug. 20 budget work session are from left: Berry Mayor Jimmy Madison, and councilmen Wesley Jacobs, Chris Rice, Russell Madison, Troyce Townsel and Calvin Madison.

The Berry Town Council met in a work session on Aug. 20 to discuss budget issues for fiscal year 2019. All councilmen, Mayor Jimmy Madison and Town Clerk Marie McCluskey were in attendance. Berry Police Chief Gerald DeDeaux told the council that his department is needing new patrol cars and asked the council to consider options to buy or lease new cars during the next budget.


Tigers defeat Gordo in last second thriller

Fayette quarterback Blake Wallace (4) rolls out for yardage against Gordo as Zack Ingle (14) and Jackson Doran (51) block.

For the second straight year, the FayetteTigers completed a touchdown pass with little time remaining on the clock to defeat the Gordo Greenwave. Fayette senior Blake Wallace, who was starting his first game as quarterback for Fayette, completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Darion Walker with 4.7 seconds left on the clock to give Fayette a 19-13 victory.


Hubbertville easily wins jamboree

Blake Anthony (28) is shown breaking through the Phil Campbell defenders to score a touchdown.

The Lions kicked off its 2018 season by traveling to Phil Campbell to face the Bobcats in a fall jamboree. The varsity squads took the field for the first three quarters with the junior teams finishing out the last quarter of the game. Following the opening kick by Zach Hubbert, the Lion defense quickly stood ground holding the Bobcats offense in check, turning the ball over on downs at the Lions 42-yard line.


Fayette shuffles offense after spectacular 2017 season

Shown is the 2018 Fayette County High School football team.

The Fayette Tigers entered last season seeking to rebound from an uncharacteristic 4-6 season in 2016. Head Coach Lance Tucker was optimistic last year, especially with the senior leadership that he had returning, including quarterback Chance Stevenson and receiver Darius Nalls.
His optimism was rewarded with a spectacular season, one that saw the Tigers play for the Class 4A state Championship before falling 21-7 to UMS-Wright on a snowy and freezing Bryant-Denny Stadium field.


Harris optimistic about 42nd season at Hubbertville

Pictured is the 2018 Hubbertville football team and managers.

Lamar Harris is beginning his 42nd year as the head football coach at Hubbertville, breaking a tie with the late Woody Clements of Holt as the longest head coaching tenure in Alabama high school football history. Harris’s tenure at Hubbertville also exceed the tenure of  current Vestavia Hills coach, Buddy Anderson, by one year. Harris has seen a lot of changes since he started coaching at Hubbertville in 1977, and he has experienced both good and bad seasons. Yet Harris said that he loves what he does and has no immediate plans to retire.


Berry hopes to rebound from 3-7 season

Shown is the 2018 Berry High School football team.

Coach Caleb Hynds said before last season that he had always wanted to be a head football coach. He admits that last year was a learning process, but said his determination and the determination of his players is stronger than ever. “Last season was tough at times, but I learned a lot and it was a big adjustment for both me and the players,” he said. “I’m very hopeful that the results will be somewhat different this season.”


Awning falls st Bolling's during thunderstorm

This awning fell at Bolling's Pharmacy during a thunderstorm on Aug. 17.

A sudden flash thunderstorm at approximately 4:15 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17 sent this heavy metal awning crashing into the front of Bolling’s Pharmacy. The awning apparently fell due to a sudden strong wind burst generated by the thunderstorm. Fortunately, the awning did not break any windows and no one was hurt during the incident.


County Commission hires engineer, road supervisor

County Attorney Allen Grocholski, Commissioner Joe Acker and Commissioner Barry Corkren are shown at the Aug. 13 meeting of the Fayette County Commission.

The Fayette County Commission hired a new engineer and shop supervisor during its regularly scheduled Aug. 13 meeting. Current County Engineer Luke Porter resigned his position at the last commission meeting, with his resignation becoming effective on Aug. 31. At the time of his resignation, Porter told the commissioners that Mike Tomlin had also expressed an interest in returning to the shop and resigning his position as road supervisor. The commissioners accepted the resignations and posted each position during the same meeting. After a brief executive session during the most recent Aug.

BHS Alumni Association holds reunion

Shown are the current Miss Berry, Tyner Beth Bowling and the first Miss Berry, Ettie Grey Bozeman Clark.

The 2018 Berry High School Alumni Association reunion was highlighted by recognizing former Miss Berry winners. Special groups were a part of those present. The first Miss Berry, Ettie Grey Bozeman Clark, and the current Miss Berry, Tyner Beth Bowling, were present. A mother/daughter duo also attended, Charlotte Cannon Kilgore and Crystal Kilgore Elliers. Barbara Logan Clark and Rachel Moore Lawler, a grandmother - granddaughter were recognized. Tracy Clark Fields and Mandie Clark Mauldin are sisters who were crowned Miss Berry.

FMS will hold eighth grade graduation in May

As part of Fayette Middle School’s commitment to prepare students for the adventures and rigor that high school brings, the eighth grade teachers and Principal Rodney Hannah have decided to begin the tradition of holding an eighth grade graduation ceremony at Fayette Middle School each May. While the eighth grade graduation will be an exciting event for our students, we understandably find it necessary to implement eligibility requirements for all eighth graders who wish to participate in this end-of-the-year activity.


Fayette County Sports HOF inducts 11 new members

The inductees into the 2018 Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame Class are, from left: Steve Johnson and Pat Johnson (accepting on behalf of their father, the late James Bercy Johnson), Brooke Everette Hynds, Benny Everette, Joe Gladden, Niki Arendale, ReGina Bigham Rice, Timothy Morris, Michael “Mookie” Moore, Brandi Burris, Jenni Thomley and Billy Fred Webster (accepting on behalf of his father, the late Fred Webster).

The 2018 Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame was held on Saturday, August 11 and inducted 11 new members to its honorees. Tom Roberts, former Fayette County High School athlete and retired director of broadcasting for the University of Alabama, emceed the event and presented the awards to the recipients.

Dogwood Productions hold reunion

Shown is the former cast and crew of Dogwood Productions who attended the Aug. 5 reunion.

Many members of the former cast and crew of Dogwood Productions gathered on Aug. 5 at the Fayette Civic Center for a reunion. They performed many of the songs that they had sung in the plays, “Come Back to God America” and “The Gospel According to Scrooge,” while reminiscing about the glory days of the production company.


Berry holds monthly council meeting

Shown is the Berry Town Council at its Aug. 6 monthly meeting. From left: Mayor Jimmy Madison and councilmen: Wesley Jacobs, Chris Rice, Russell Madison, Troyce Townsel and Calvin Madison.

The Berry City Council held a brief regular monthly meeting on Aug. 6 at Berry Town Hall.
All town councilmen were present for the meeting, in addition to Mayor Jimmy Madison and Town Clerk Marie McCluskey. Berry Police Chief Gerald DeDeaux was not present at the meeting to present the monthly police department report to the council. The only item of business on the agenda for the meeting was an appointment to the Berry Park Board to replace Shane Westbrook. Westbrook is now an employee for the Town of Berry, and as an employee, is unable to remain on the board.


Reese speaks to Chamber about The Arc

Wade Reese is shown speaking at the Fayette Area Chamber of Commerce’s First Tuesday Luncheon.

Wade Reese, executive director of The Arc of Fayette, Lamar and Marengo Counties, spoke at the Fayette Area Chamber of Commerce’s First Tuesday Luncheon concerning the services that his agency provides to clients in the area. Reese said that The Arc is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities thrive in their communities.

Lawsuit dismissed against sheriffs

A lawsuit filed by The Southern Center for Human Rights and the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice against 49 Alabama sheriffs has been dismissed after a judge granted a judgement in favor of the defendants. The lawsuit was filed against the sheriffs, including Sheriff Rodney Ingle of Fayette, in an effort to gain access to inmate food records that the advocacy groups claim they had been denied. The lawsuit alleged that some sheriffs have been mishandling funds that were intended to adequately feed jail inmates.


Fayette's new fire chief brings experience to job

Shannon Taylor is the new Fayette Fire Chief.

Shannon Taylor brings a lot of experience with him to his job as Fayette’s new fire chief. He retired from Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue in 2015 after 20 years of service, then continued to serve as fire chief at Green Pond before taking the job at Fayette.
He said that he is excited about moving to Fayette, a place he hopes to call home throughout his true retirement years when he finally hangs up his fire helmet.


Fayette BOE hires new personnel prior to start of school year

Shown is the Fayette County Board of Education at its Aug. 2 meeting. From left: Superintendent Jim Burkhalter, Board President Tom Hubbert, board members Sam Sullivan, Keith Madison, Tim Fields, John Stowe and Waldon Tucker.

The Fayette County Board of Education approved additional school personnel changes in preparation for the start of the new school year on Aug. 9.The board accepted the resignations of Abby Sanders, teacher at Fayette Elementary and Morris Moore, social studies teacher at Fayette County High School who also had coaching duties at both Fayette Middle and Fayette High School. These resignations are effective immediately.


FCHS cheerleaders attend UCA Camp

FCHS Varsity Cheerleaders from left, front row: Captain Erin Harville and Co-Captain Leah Howton. Second row: Rachel Freeman, Anna Mills and Camryn Hayes. Third row: Janya Savage, Marlee Yerby, Layla Birmingham and Samantha Holliman. Fourth row: Iteria Walker, Ali Burnett, Jacie Junkin, Kayla Mansfield and Grace Tucker.

The Fayette County High School Varsity and Junior Varsity cheerleaders attended a Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) Camp July 31 - Aug. 1. While at camp, each group learned new cheers, sideline chants and a rally dance. They also worked on new stunts and pyramids to incorporate into their materials.


Memories from Dogwood Productions reunion

The former cast and crew of Dogwood Productions held a reunion on Sunday, Aug. 5 at the Fayette Civic Center that brought back many memories of the glory days of the group’s performances. For years, Dogwood Productions held annual performances of “Come Back to God America” and “The Gospel According to Scrooge” that packed the Civic Center. The performers were local and always amazed the audiences by their musical and vocal talents.