This article is reprinted with permission from the “Starkville Daily News.” Ryan Phillips was at the scene of the accident, and gave a first-hand account concerning the ensuing rescue attempt. It’s a situation many emergency officials train for, but one that those who have experienced firsthand hope to never encounter again.
A Haleyville man was arrested and charged with an ethics violation in relation to his work as a probation officer. Michael Steven Painter, 49, of 5898 Newburg Road, Haleyville, was taken into custody Friday, May 15, and charged with an ethics violation of using a public office for personal gain and custodial sexual misconduct, according to Andy Hamlin, District Attorney for the 24th Judical Circuit in Alabama, which encompasses Fayette, Lamar and Pickens counties. He was booked into the Fayette County jail.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Marketing Service, is announcing assistance to help 16 communities boost economic opportunities for their local farmers while promoting clean air, safe water, open space, and healthy food choices.
Despite a warning from state health officials that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, lives and businesses are continuing to resume a degree of normalcy. Governor Kay Ivey issued a new order on May 21, allowing more businesses to reopen with restrictions.
Sydney Farris, a 2020 high school graduate of Hubbertville School, signed a four-year athletic scholarship for powerlifting on Friday, May 15 with Missouri Valley College (MVC), located in Marshall, Mo. Farris competed as a junior elite in USPA powerlifting, and is a former national and world record holder for 52 kg. juniors. She was trained by Jessie Lindsey at West Alabama Barbell Club for four years, and currently self-trains at American Gym in Winfield.
Although their senior seasons did not finish as planned, the students at Berry, Fayette and Hubbertville survived the COVID-19 pandemic and have made it to graduation. Help celebrate this momentous accomplishment with them by purchasing a copy of our May 20 edition with our annual commemorative graduation section.
The residents and staff at Fayette Medical Center’s Long-Term Care facility enjoyed a drive-through parade in their honor on Friday, May 15. After most residents had been secluded from friends and family members for almost two months during the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the community turned out to thank the long-term care workers and greet the residents. Seventy-eight vehicles paraded through the parking lot, with most of the vehicles adorned with balloons and signs telling their family members how much they have missed seeing them during the pandemic.
The Fayette City Council unanimously approved a motion at its May 12 meeting to proceed with the design phase to ultimately resurface the airport apron at Richard Arthur Field. Councilman Jason Cowart was absent from the meeting, with all other council members in attendance. Natalie Hobbs, senior airport engineer with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, told the council that the Airport Improvement Grant available this year for the project would be 100 percent funded due to the provisions of the recently passed Cares Act.
Drive-up COVID-19 testing clinics will be offered at the Fayette County Health Department on Wednesdays, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. while testing supplies are available. Call (205) 932-5260 for an appointment and to preregister. The address of the Fayette County Health Department is 215 1st Ave. NW, Fayette.
The Fayette County Board of Education announced graduation dates for seniors at Fayette County schools during its May 12 meeting. Board Member Tim Fields was absent from the meeting, with all other board members in attendance. The tentative schedule for graduation is as follows: • Berry High School - Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. • Hubbertville School - Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m. • Fayette County High School - Thursday, June 11 at 8 p.m. All graduations are scheduled to be held in the schools’ football stadiums in an effort to abide by COVID-19 guidelines.
Since Governor Kay Ivey relaxed some of the restrictions on businesses under the “Safer-at-Home” order issued due to the COVID-19 virus, cases in Alabama have continued to steadily climb. However, state officials attribute some of the increase in numbers to more aggressive testing of people potentially affected. At press time, cases of the coronavirus within the state climbed from just over 10,000 cases last week to almost 12,500 this week. The number of deaths within the state has also risen from 400 to approximately 500 during the same time frame.
Bevill State Community College in Fayette announed its 2019-20 academic year “Student Honors Awards” recently. Dr. Kim Ennis, president of Bevill State Community College in Fayette announced the awards and had the following remarks to say on behalf of the administration, faculty, and staff of Bevill State. “Typically, this is a season of celebration at our institution, when we celebrate the accomplishments of our students through graduation programs, student honors programs, and in years past, nursing pinnings.” Ennis said.
The Berry Town Council approved Bart Norris at its May 4 meeting as the interim, part-time replacement police chief for the Town of Berry during the federal deployment of Police Chief Gerald DeDeaux. All council members were present. The meeting was held at the Berry Civic Center due to the distancing requirements in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. DeDeaux will serve an overseas deployment of approximately one year, and Norris will be the acting chief during his absence. Norris previously served as police chief in Berry until his retirement in August 2012.
The Fayette Civic Center will host an emergency blood drive for the American Red Cross on Tuesday, May 19 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. The first 20 blood donors during the drive will receive a $5 gift card to Alabama Sunshine. Fayette had an emergency blood drive in April, and will hold another drive at the Civic Center in August.
Despite the relaxing of additional restrictions by Governor Kay Ivey last week, the number of COVID-19 cases within the state continues to escalate. As of Monday, May 11, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state had topped the 10,000 mark, with the number of deaths from the coronavirus totaling more than 400. Fayette County has been fortunate during the COVID-19 outbreak, with the total number of reported cases within the county at seven and with no deaths attributed to the virus. These numbers are the best of any county in the state.
The Fayette County Commission approved purchases and made several changes to its personnel policies during a special called meeting held in the Fayette County Courtroom on Thursday, May 7. Commission Chairman Mike Freeman told the commissioners that the air conditioning/chiller system used at the courthouse annex is completely worn out and could not be repaired.
Governor Kay Ivey’s latest modification of her “Safer-at-Home” plan included a modified re-opening of Alabama’s Senior Citizens Activity Centers. West Alabama Regional Commission’s Area Agency on Aging administers 22 Senior Activity Centers throughout a seven-county region.
Each center is open to adults aged 60 and older. Participation isn’t based on income or retirement, but is based on being age 60 or older. Beginning the week of May 18, the senior activity centers will begin offering curbside pick-up for hot meals again, Monday-Friday of each week.
The Fayette City Council addressed the unusually high gasoline prices in the City of Fayette at its April 28 meeting. All council members were present for the meeting. Councilman Jason Cowart began the discussion concerning gasoline prices by stating that he is constantly questioned about the relatively high gas prices in Fayette when compared to the surrounding area. Cowart said that the differential in prices appears to have increased over the past few weeks, as gas prices have dropped and the COVID-19 crisis affects citizens in their everyday lives.