Three new county officials who have never before held public office were sworn-in during a ceremony at the Fayette County Courthouse on Jan. 11. Mike Freeman took the oath of office as the new probate judge from outgoing Probate Judge William Oswalt. After taking the oath, Freeman administered the oath of office to the new Fayette County Sheriff Byron Yerby.
A logger from the Northside area of Tuscaloosa County was seriously injured in an accident in the Berry area on Thursday, Jan. 10. Berry Police Chief Gerald DeDeaux said that Larry Williams was apparently cutting a tree when the tree fell on him, pinning him to the ground.
The Berry Wildcats’ varsity basketball teams defeated its cross-county rival Hubbertville in both boys and girls basketball last week. The boys’ game was close, but Berry prevailed by a score of 52-46. Leading the scoring for Berry was Tyler Lollar with 12 points, followed by Isaac Darty with 11. Sam Franklin added seven points for Berry, while Levi Cannon, Isaiah Kizzire and Colton Abernathy each scored six points. Johnathan Locke rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats with four points.
The Fayette County High School boys and girls basketball teams traveled to Curry on Jan. 11, each losing critical area games to the Yellow Jackets. The boys team trailed throughout the game, although the deficit was only six points at the end of the third quarter. Both teams increased their scoring tempo in the fourth period, and the Yellow Jackets pulled away for a 54-41 victory.
Fayette County Probate Judge William Oswalt said that the biggest pleasure and honor in his working career has been serving the people of Fayette County for the past 30 years. He said that from day one, he entered into the office and duties as Fayette County Probate Judge determined to “treat people with respect and dignity.”
District Judge Jerry Clary was not born and raised in Fayette County, but there is no doubt that he is now a true Fayette County citizen. Clary attended high school at Tuscaloosa High before attending the University of Alabama. He received both his undergraduate degree and law degree from Alabama, then decided to open a private law practice.
The City of Fayette received the second most rainfall ever recorded during the calendar year 2018. According to the rainfall data reported to the National Weather Service by Kristopher Gardner, the official weather observer for Fayette, the town received 78.95 inches of rain in 2018. This is second to the 81.38 inches of rainfall recorded by the city in 1973. The third highest total for Fayette was 15 years ago in 2003, when 77.69 inches of rain was recorded.
A ribbon-cutting and open house was held at White Oak Market, located at 113 Columbus St. East in Fayette, on Saturday, Jan. 5. White Oak Market sells custom built and refinished furniture from local builders, unique home accessories and gifts, jewelry, wall art and many more items. The store also offers furniture makeovers and decorating services, and offers layaways and gift certificates for their customers’ convenience.
Alabama Power Company recently awarded an “Efficiency Forward Grant” for approximately $7,000 to the Weldy Home to replace a heating/air conditioning unit at the facility. The Weldy Home, located in Fayette County, is a group home where girls who have been neglected or abandoned can receive nurturing and support in a safe family atmosphere.
Alabama Power Engineering Supervisor Russell Hill recently spoke to members of the Fayette Exchange Club concerning an extensive project that his company is undertaking in the Fayette area. Alabama Power is installing new power poles and a fiber-optic integrated system that will allow for quick restoration of power during a power outage.
Two escaped female inmates from the Fayette County jail were quickly returned to custody after escaping on Sunday, Dec. 23. Deputy Barry Corkren said that Carol Ann Eaton, 34, of 588 Northam Rd., Vernon, and Julie Burrage Miller, 39, of 1144 Co. Rd. 101, Fayette, escaped on Dec. 23 at approximately 5:30 - 6 p.m.
We continue our review of stories from 2018 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 annual Fayette Tractor and Truck Pull was held on July 7 at the Fayette Multipurpose Complex. Shannon Taylor was hired as the new fire chief for the Fayette Fire Department.
Jeff Newman was selected as President Pro Tem of the state Alabama Board of Education.
A worker injured in an industrial accident at Georgia Pacific in Belk on Friday, Dec. 21 has been discharged from the hospital and is continuing to recover from the incident, according to a spokesman for the company. Rick Kimble, director of communications for Georgia Pacific, said that at approximately 1 p.m. on Dec. 21, Melissa Watkins was pinned and caught under a moving platform at the facility. She was freed from the platform and was having extreme difficulty breathing, Kimble said.
Jonathan K. Smith, who has practiced general surgery in Fayette for a decade, will be leaving this summer to train as a surgical specialist. Dr. Smith will begin a fellowship in oncology breast surgery at Rutgers University in New Jersey in August. Dr. Smith said he will announce his plans in more detail soon. Until then, he said, he will continue to see patients.
Two long-time public servants of Fayette County will have receptions in January, honoring them for their service to the citizens of the county. Probate Judge William Oswalt and District Judge Jerry Clary were each elected to their respective offices in 1988. They have each served the county for the past 30 years in their official capacities, and each of the men will retire in January after choosing to not seek another term in office.
Sarah Stovall, a senior student and softball player at Carbon Hill High School, recently signed an athletic scholarship to play for Judson College. Although Stovall attends Carbon Hill High School in Walker County, she is a resident of Fayette County in the Huvbbertville community. Stovall posted a 9-9 record last season as a pitcher with a 4.91 ERA. In 94 innings pitched, she struck out 75 batters and walked 37 for Carbon Hill. Her team ended the season with a 34-24 record and advanced to the North Central Regional Tournament.
The Fayette City Council voted during its Dec. 21 meeting to hire Jesse Finch, a current policeman in Gordo, to fill a vacancy on the police staff. According to Fayette Police Chief Danny Jenkins, Finch is a recent graduate of the law enforcement academy. Jenkins said that Finch is a native of Fayette County and also stated that he still lives in Fayette County.
Tre’Darion Walker, a senior at Fayette County High School, was named first-team Class 4A all-state receiver by the Alabama Sports Writers Association for the 2018 season. Walker had 43 receptions for 1,051 yards and 14 touchdowns during the season. Cannon Alexander , senior offensive lineman at Hubbertville, was named Class 1A honorable mention.
Joey Day President Charles A. Langley received $3,005 from the Kirkland/Bluff/Wayside communities on Thursday, Dec. 13. Over 35 families, Wayside Church, The Animal Clinic, Nix Flying Service, The Kirkley Foundation, and Wayside Community Club 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 Merry Christmas as they receive clothing, shoes and toys.
The Berry boys basketball team defeated Waterloo 63-58 in a game played at Berry on Dec. 21. The games against Waterloo and Holy Spirit were added to the schedule to provide additional competition prior to the Christmas break. Isaac Darty had an outstanding game, scoring 29 points for the Wildcats. Levi Cannon and Tyler Lollar also scored in double figures for the Wildcats with 11 points each. Johnathan Locke scored five points, Sam Franklin had four points and Isaiah Kizzire notched three points for Berry.
Hubert Norris, a former long-time sheriff of Fayette County, passed away on December 12 at the age of 84. His funeral was held on Dec. 16 at Nelson Funeral Home with burial in the Bethabara Cemetery in Berry. Norris had a long and legendary career in law enforcement, beginning as police chief with the Berry Police Department in 1967, and continuing with the Fayette Police Department from before being elected sheriff in 1974.
The Fayette County Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 11 at the Hubbertville School Library. Board member Tim Fields was absent from the meeting, with all other board members and Superintendent Jim Burkhalter present. A motion to accept the low bid of $32,336 to build a privacy safety fence around the campus of Fayette Middle School was made by board member John Stowe and seconded by board member Keith Madison. The funds for the fence would be provided by the Fayette Community Foundation and from local school funds.
The Fayette County Commission continued its discussion concerning the aging program at its Dec. 10 meeting. Commission Chairman Joe Acker said that there appeared to be a general consensus after the commission’s last meeting to discontinue the Medicaid Waiver program that the aging program has been particpating in. He said that Pam McDaniel of the regional aging program stated that the county is already in violation of the guidelines because follow-up inspections were not being completed.
The Fayette Civic Center will host a Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. on Dec. 21 featuring Fayette native Mart Avant and “The Night Flight Big Band.” The concert will also feature Annie McClendon on vocals. Avant said that the band will combine traditional Christmas music with standard big band tunes for the concert.
Berry’s girls coach Caleb Hynds recorded the 100th win of his coaching career as Berry defeated Pickens County 69-44. The Lady Wildcats easily overcame the Lady Tornadoes, aided by a 75 percent team performance from the free throw line. Brooke Hill led Berry with 17 points and 10 rebounds, followed closely by Tyner Beth Bowling with 16 points and Allie Taylor with 10 points.Zoe Mauldin added nine points for the Lady Wildcats and Bailey Thomas had five assists for Berry.
Hubbertville boys and girls teams each won two games during the week and lost one.
The boys team defeated Vina on Dec. 10 by the score of 46-30. The Lions were led by Brady Tucker with 20 points, followed by Tanner Upton, Aaron Cribb and Lawson Harkness with six points each. Zack Hubbert scored four points for Hubbertville, followed by Ethan Nichols and Cannon Alexander with two points each.
The Fayette County High School varsity basketball teams played two games each last week with mixed results. The girls team won at South Lamar before falling to Brookwood at home, while the boys team lost a heartbreaker at South Lamar before beating Brookwood on its home floor.
The girls team traveled to South Lamar on Dec. 11 and defeated the Lady Stallions 67-41.
The Fayette County Board of Education held a brief meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4, followed by a work session. Prior to the start of the meeting, Fayette County Probate Judge William Oswalt issued the oath of office to Superintendent Jim Burkhalter, Board member John Stowe and Board Member Waldon Tucker. All three were incumbents who were re-elected to their offices during the November general election.
Russ Taylor, Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director for Fayette County, announced the start of a new Mass Notification System for Fayette County residents. Taylor said that the system was activated for Fayette County on Dec. 1. He said his department was able to fully fund the system’s cost with a grant through Homeland Security.
The Berry Town Council appointed a new town council member, municipal judge and city prosecutor to fill vacancies that occurred recently in those positions. Council members Russell Madison, Chris Rice and Calvin Madison were in attendance for the regularly scheduled monthly meeting, held Monday, Dec. 3 at Berry Town Hall. Absent from the meeting was Councilman Troyce Townsel. Berry Mayor Jimmy Madison, Town Clerk Marie McClusky and Berry Police Chief Gerald DeDeaux were also in attendance for the meeting.