The 2019 regular legislative session that adjourned earlier this month accomplished many tasks that I believe will improve the lives of the citizens throughout House District 16. In addition to providing record funding for public education and essential state services, we implemented some much needed and long overdue pieces of legislation.
The Alabama Legislature passed and Governor Ivey signed an Education Budget that includes $950,000 in funding to expand Bevill State’s mine training facility to include longwall mining training. Bevill State Community College is the only college in the state that offers Mine Technology curriculum.
As Kalos Sims was approaching retirement age, he began to think of a new career that he would enjoy working for a few years. He had always enjoyed cooking, so when he had a chance to buy an upstart barbeque place called Lisa’s, he jumped at the chance. “I was 57 years old when I bought Lisa’s in April 1995,” Kalos Sims said. “My thought was to keep the business until I turned 65, then sell it and retire. Those first eight years went by fast, so I finally sold the business after keeping it 24 years.”
The Fayette County Board of Education approved several personnel changes and contracts for the 2019-20 school year during its June 4 meeting. Board Member John Stowe was absent from the meeting, with all other board members present. Prior to the beginning of the meeting, Josh Taylor of the Alabama Department of Public Accounts, gave a brief overview of his department’s recent audit of the school board.
The Berry Town Council voted to unanimously reinstate Troyce Townsel to his position on the council during its June 3 meeting. Townsel had missed meetings for 90 consecutive days or longer and according to a town’s ordinance, he had to be reappointed to his position on the council by a vote of the council members. Council Member Russell Madison made a motion to reappoint Townsel, and the motion was seconded by Council Member Chris Rice. The council members unanimously voted to approve the motion.
Every day, skilled nursing centers assist our seniors and people with disabilities in living their happiest and best lives. Whether it’s planting, cooking, reading or listening to music, these centers pay it forward by helping individuals find their own happiness to improve their quality of life. This year, National Skilled Nursing Care Week focused on living soulfully and will celebrate skilled nursing centers, their residents and staff, by showcasing how they help residents achieve happy minds and healthy bodies.
Following the Fayette City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting on May 28, the Fayette City Council held a lengthy work session to primarily discuss the proposed “Rails-to-Trails” project.
Councilman Jerry Nichols, Councilwoman Linda McCraw and City Clerk Dawn Clapp were absent from the meeting. Assistant Clerk Sherry Fowler assumed the duties of Clapp at the council meeting.
After several appeals and a last-minute stay of execution in April, convicted killer Christopher Price was executed on May 30 for the murder of Bill Lynn. On the day his sentence was carried out, Price reportedly apologized to Lynn’s family through his attorney, saying, “I’m terribly sorry for the victim of my crime and his family. Neither he nor his family deserve what happened to him. No one deserves that.”
The Fayette Fire Department, along with the Belk Volunteer Fire Department, responded to a fully-involved fire on County Road 6 in Belk on Thursday, May 30 at approximately 12:50 p.m.
Fayette Fire Chief Shannon Taylor said that two vacant mobile homes were fully engulfed in flames at the time of his department’s arrival. He said that the fire departments contained the fire to the area of the mobile homes and prevented the fire from spreading to the nearby woods.
The Hamilton Post of the Alabama State Troopers reported that a two-vehicle accident occurring at approximately 8:45 a.m. on May 31 claimed the life of a Fayette County woman. Merlene Williamson, 77, was killed when the golf cart she was driving collided with a Hyundai Sante Fe. The driver of the other vehicle was not identified by the troopers’ office.
In a major step towards continued expansion of broadband internet service in rural Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 90 into law. Sponsored by Senator Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville), SB90 expands an existing grant program under the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund, which was established by the Legislature in 2018.
Randy, Donna and Wesley Parker received the Fayette Garden Club’s Yard-of-the-Month for May. Their house is one of the oldest houses in Fayette, and also was the first hotel in town. The house was built in 1850. The Parkers received this month’s award due to the tremendous job they do keeping their yard neatly groomed and blooming with flowers.
Last week, two Bevill State Community College Upward Bound students met to discuss their upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. for the 30th Annual National Student Leadership Congress (NSLC) which takes place June 8-13. Brennon Ballard, a junior from Hamilton High School and Araceli Ramirez, a junior from Carbon Hill High School, were two students chosen of just 180 from around the United States.
The Fayette Area Chamber of Commerce held its 2019 banquet on Tuesday, May 21 at Bevill State Community College. Guest speaker for the event was former University of Alabama All-American defensive back and current TV show host Tommy Wilcox. Wilcox played on Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s last football team at Alabama, and also served as one of the pallbearers at Bryant’s funeral.
Former Fayette Police Chief and former Fayette City Councilman Mike Hardin passed away at his residence on Wednesday, May 22 at the age of 70. Hardin began work at the Fayette Police Department in Feb. 1979 and was promoted to sergeant in March 1985. He became chief of the police department in Jan. 1995 and remained in that position until he retired in July 1999.
Dexter Roberts of Fayette finished a very respectable third on season 16 of “The Voice.”
The results were announced last Tuesday night, with Andrew Sevener finishing fourth, Gyth Rigdon capturing second, and Maelyn Jarmon taking home the top prize. During the results show, it was announced that each of the top four finalists would receive a new Toyota Rav 4 as a gift.
Barry Corkren, Fayette County Commissioner for District Three and a sergeant with the Fayette County Sheriff Department, was arrested on Monday, May 20 and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency reported that troopers responded to a one-vehicle accident occurring at the intersection of Highway 102 and County Road 142 in Fayette County.
Christopher Lee Price, who received a last-minute stay of execution on April 11, is scheduled to be executed at Holman Prison on May 30. Price, 46, was convicted in the 1991 robbery and murder of Bill Lynn.
The Berry Town Council approved a resolution to adopt the 2018 municipal water pollution prevention report during its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, held on May 13 at the town hall. All council members with the exception of Troyce Townsel were in attendance for the meeting. No police report for the previous month was presented to the council due to the absence of Berry Police Chief Gerald DeDeaux.
More than 500 people attended the 22nd annual “March for Jesus” walk and rally held in downtown Fayette on Saturday, May 18. The march began at the Depot Museum and concluded at the parking lot adjacent to the First Baptist Church on Temple Avenue. When the marchers reached the parking lot, balloons with Bible verses were released to carry a portion of the Word to parts unknown.
Editor’s note: Dexter Roberts competed this Monday on “The Voice” as one of the top four contestants. The results of the voting were not released until Tuesday night, after The Times-Record was printed for the week. Dexter Roberts continues to impress music fans across the nation as he was voted one of the top four contestants this season on “The Voice.”
Two parents voiced their concerns to the Fayette County Board of Education during its May 14 meeting. Jennifer Terry and Tammy Back delivered prepared statements at the meeting addressing the treatment of special needs children within the school system. Terry said that “students have lost the entire year of instruction due to allegations of abuse and mistreatment, and the system seemingly unwillingness to act in the student’s interest. I do not believe this would have been acceptable except for the student’s enrollment status in special education.”
The Fayette City Council heard an update on its paving project, and the monthly fire and police reports at its May 14 meeting. Councilman Cedric Wilson was absent from the meeting with all other council members in attendance. City Engineering Consultant Luke Porter said that the county commission is not being able to get an advance payment for paving that was to be used for its joint project with the city. He said that the new “Rebuild Alabama Act” changed the way that money is now distributed to the counties.
The Fayette County Commission hired a new maintenance supervisor during a special called meeting on May 16. At the regular meeting, held on May 13, County Commission Chairman Mike Freeman appointed a committee consisting of Commissioner Barry Corkren, Commissioner Shane Hughes and Commissioner James Knight to review the applications for the maintenance position and make a recommendation. At the May 16 meeting, the committee said that following interviews, they were recommending James Vaughn of Boley for the position.
The Glen Allen Town Council voted unanimously to accept a bid from R.G. Remodeling of Winfield to implement ceiling repairs at the Water Department storage building and the Glen Allen Volunteer Fire Department buildings during its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 7. The bid submitted by R. G. Remodeling totaled $2,000 and will include materials and labor which will consist of removing damaged sheet-rock from the ceilings and replacing the sheet-rock with oriented strand board (OSB) in all three buildings.
Dexter Roberts is still living a dream, riding high after becoming one of the top eight contestants on NBC’s “The Voice.” Last week, Roberts sang Tim McGraw’s number one hit song, “Something Like That,” and was voted through easily by the fans’ vote. Roberts appears to be one of the fan favorites this season, and also appears to be a favorite contestant of Blake Shelton, who has five of the remaining eight contestants on the show.
Fayette’s 22nd annual “March for Jesus” celebration and prayer rally will be held Saturday, May 18, beginning at the Fayette Depot Museum and concluding at the First Baptist Church on Temple Avenue. The march and rally has been held in Fayette each year since 1997, with the exception of 2003. March for Jesus is an annual interdenominational, global event that started in England in the 1980s before spreading to other countries. The first known march in the United States was held in Austin, Texas in 1989 and has been observed nationwide since 1992.
Although the weather caused a change of venue for this year’s Fiddle Fest and Southeast Fiddle Championship, the event’s organizers said the Fiddle Fest was still a huge favorite among the fans who attended. Glenn Taylor, one of the organizers of the event, said that despite the inclement weather, the event still ran smoothly and allowed the performers to showcase their talents.
Tommy Wilcox, former All-American football player at the University of Alabama and current host of the popular hunting and fishing show, “Tommy Wilcox Outdoors” will be the guest speaker at this year’s Fayette Area Chamber of Commerce banquet. The banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21 and will be held in the Earl McDonald Auditorium of Bevill State Community College, Fayette Campus. Tickets for the event are $15 each and will include a meal. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Chamber’s office.
Fayette County Memorial Library (FCML) is proud to present the 2019 Summer Reading Program: “A Universe of Stories,” from May 28 – June 28. The program is comprised of the Summer Reading Challenge and a variety of events and programs offered throughout the summer.
On Thursday, May 9, the Berry High School softball team traveled to Choccolocco Park in Oxford to compete in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s East Central Regional.
Game one paired Berry against the Area Seven winner, Victory Christian. Berry’s bats came alive early, scoring seven runs in the top of the first while coasting to a 23-0 victory.
Fayette Middle School held its first-ever Eighth Grade Graduation this year on May 9 in the Arthur Hughes Gymnasium at the school. The graduation was initiated because the school’s administration and teachers felt the students should be rewarded for their accomplishment of completing middle school. The diplomas that they receive were also intended to serve as encouragement for the students as they begin a new journey of academics in high school.
Dexter Roberts of Fayette continues to win fans with his classic country sound as he advanced last week to the top 13 contestants on “The Voice.” The Fayette Civic Center hosted a viewing of “The Voice” last week during the Tuesday night results show, allowing many of Roberts’ family and friends to watch the show together to cheer on their hometown favorite.
The West Alabama Fiddle Fest and Southeast Fiddle Championship will be returning to Fayette this weekend for its third consecutive year. Daniel White, director of the Fayette Area Chamber of Commerce, said that last year’s crowd was great and that he anticipates another huge crowd for this year’s event.
Christopher Lee Price, who received a last-minute stay of execution on April 11, has a new execution date scheduled for May 30. At approximately 4 p.m. on April 11, U.S. Southern District Court Judge Kristi Dubose ordered a stay of execution for Price. At 11:34 p.m. that evening, the state called off the execution, stating that the U.S. Supreme Court had not issued a ruling on the stay, and that there was not sufficient time left in the day to carry out Price’s death warrant.
The Fayette Tigers baseball team put up a valiant fight, but ultimately lost its third round playoff games to Hokes Bluff by the score of 5-1 and 2-1. The Eagles traveled to Fayette for the games and keep its magical season alive. Hokes Bluff started the season ranked number one in Class 4A and has remained on its perch all-season.
A major resurfacing project on U.S. Highway 43/171 will force motorists in Fayette to exercise patience and caution during the next several weeks. The resurfacing is occurring from the intersection of Highway 159 (Gordo Rd.) on the south end of town and will conclude at the intersection of Highway 102 on the north end of Fayette. The road construction is expected to conclude during the summer.
The national rise in cases of measles - a disease which was considered virtually eradicated in the United States in 2000 - is causing worry throughout the nation. A press release from the Alabama Department of Public Health on Thursday, May 2, noted that ADPH had received notification of a presumptively positive case of measles that morning in an infant in St. Clair County. The child had not been in a daycare setting nor had the child traveled out-of-state.
The Hubbertville Lady Lions traveled to Guin on April 29 to begin play in the area tournament. In the first game of the tournament, Lynn defeated the Lady Lions 8-0. Emma Nichols pitched a complete game in a losing effort for Hubbertville. Chelsea Porter and Madison Cribb collected the only hits in the game for Hubbertville.
The Fayette Lady Tigers concluded its 2019 softball season by traveling to Curry for the area tournament. Curry defeated Fayette 12-4 in the first game, with Haleyville winning the second game by a score of 11-5. No stats were available for either of the Fayette area tournament softball games at press time.