Year in Review

This week we conclude a review of the past year, beginning with local happenings in August 2013.

August 2013

The World’s Longest Yard Sale returned to the area in early August. The yard sale, consists of “everything you could think of. They have food, clothes, furniture, animals, antiques, vehicles, wood carvings and military surplus.”

It was reported that people from all over the United States make the sale along the Lookout Mountain Parkway eac year including David Wilson who reported seeing people from Alabama, Texas, Delaware, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Oklahoma and Alaska.

Cherokee County District Judge Sherie Carver received a 300-hour certificate from Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore at the Judges Annual Training in July.

In 1984, the Alabama Judicial College and representatives of the Circuit and District Judges Associations started the continuing education certificate program. As a judge, there is no requirement to acquire CLE credit; however the Alabama Judiciary has always recognized the importance of continuing legal education as a method of building a strong judicial system and being responsive to the citizens of the state.

Cherokee County residents continued discussions on the CLEAR PLAN 2030 Initiative during a recent meeting held at the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce office.

What is a liveable community? Some local citizens, working in partnership with East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission representatives and others, determined that it is a place where one wants to live, with amenities for children, grandchildren, jobs and economic opportunities for growth and other features.

Ralph A Meade, 85 of Centre, passed away in early August at his residence. Meade was a native of Jefferson County and a member of Cedar Bluff First Baptist Church.

Meade served three terms as a state representative and 14 years as Cherokee County Commission chairman.

He was president of Ralph Meade Realty, former owner of the Lighthouse Restaurant and also managed WAGC Radio Station.

The Cherokee County Board of Education, in August, approved the retirement of Linda Teague as a bus driver for Centre City Schools after 28 years of service.

The Cherokee County Commission, in August, adopted a resolution officially designated a portion of Cherokee County Road 29 as the Savage Memorial Highway to honor the late Paul Savage and family.

Commissioner Randy Jones made the statement “Resolution designations a portion of Cherokee County Road number 29, the Savage Family Memorial Highway, knows all men by these present that the Cherokee County Commission wishes to recognize and honor the dedication and contributions to Cherokee County from four generations of the Savage family.

The Cherokee County Board of Education, in August, agreed to continue its agreement with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to provide extra patrols in the schools.

Cherokee County Chief Deputy Tim Hays met with Superintendent Mitchell Guice and board members to update them on the school security situation.

The Cherokee County Herald, in August, was named as the recipient of the Alabama NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness) 2013 Newspaper of the Year Award. The award was presented during the Annual NAMI Conference held in Montgomery.

“The Cherokee County Herald has provided wonderful coverage for NAMI Centre,” noted Wanda Laird, executive director, who presented the award.

The Cherokee County Commission, in August, approved allowing the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to enter into an agreement with Southern Health Partners, the health care provider for Cherokee County Detention Center inmates, following discussion with Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver.

Putting the “you” back in “U” S A was the purpose of the Liberty Learning Foundation’s Super Citizen Program which kicked off at Centre Middle School this past fall.

Sponsored by Regions Bank, the program kicked off with singing, cheering, chanting and celebrating the great nation in which we live. The event was held in the Centre Middle School Gymnasium.

“Liberty Learning Foundation is on a mission to make sure you are excited and I think we all know that you are, to learn about our country’s history and the important role each of you will play in its future,” explained Marcia Sewell, principal, Centre Middle School.

“After all, you are the next generation of great Americans.”

The newly-formed Centre Spark Committee continued discussions on ways to improve access and enhance fishing opportunities on Weiss Lake among other projects to encourage and increase tourism in this area.

The Rome Sailing Club was proud to report another successful Weiss Lake Regatta the weekend of Aug. 24 with some 28 boats participating.

September 2013

“Out of the ashes on Sept. 11 came hope. Out of the rubble, we saw steel beams in the shape of a cross and then also out of the acts of terror, we also saw in response acts of courage, and acts of sacrifices, acts of love that you will find no other place in the world like the United States of America. So thank God there are those who are Christlike in the sense that they are willing to lay down their lives if necessary to protect and serve us.”

The Rev. Brett Clements, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church, delivered the message for this year’s 911 ceremony commemorating the 12th Anniversary of the terrorist bombings on American soil Sept. 11, 2001.

The ceremony, recognizing this nation’s military alogn with first responders and emergency service personnel, was held on the steps of the Cherokee County Courthouse.”

Nancy Steed and the CED Mental Health office recognized the Cherokee County Commission for all their help in the past years with the county’s SO-COOL (School’s Out-Camp of Organized Learning) program.

Centre City Attorney Al Shumaker reported that the Centre City Council may appoint a city council representative to the Centre Water Works and Sewer Board provided that both entities agree and that they agree to amend the initial charter.

Shumaker gave a report following a request to research the matter in a previous meeting when a council member suggested making an appointment to the water board.

After discussion the project for a few years, partners decided they had to “do it or just quit talking about it.”

And it was this attitude, drive and determination that made the Ag in Action Trailer a reality.

A huge crowd of representatives from throughout Northeastern Alabama and beyond gathered on the lawn of Cherokee County Career and Technology Center for a ribbon cutting ceremony welcoming the new trailer and what it will mean to students in the local school systemsin future years.

Ag in Action, according to Sarah Butterworth, a member of the planning committee, is an agriculture learning lab on wheels; a 24-foot enclosed trailer that houses a transformed cotton picker cab, an electronic learning station and much more.

More than 300 local high school students gathered on the steps of the Cherokee County Courthouse in late September for the First Annual Cherokee County Youth Prayer Ralley.

The event was held in conjunction with the Annual See You At The Pole event in which students are given the opportunity to pray about various issues around the flagpoles of their schools.

The Cherokee County Commission, in late September, approved an $18.2 million budget for Fiscal 2013-2014.

“Just for everyone’s knowledge, our total budget was $18,206,948,” said Cherokee County Administrator Tim Burgess.

“This was a 2.4 percent increase from the size of our budget in 2013.”

A good crowd of family members and loved ones, community representatives and many other friends and acquaintances gathered in the Cherokee County Commission chambers recently to honor long-time Sand Rock Residents Paul and Evelyn Johnson for dedicated service to their community.

The commission adopted a resolution endorsing the designation of a portion of Sand Rock Avenue/Cherokee County Road 11 as “Mr. Paul and Mrs. Evelyn Johnson Street.”

The Centre City Council approved a $3.04 million budget for fiscal 2013-2014.

Mayor Tony Willie presented a budget of $2,989,100 (in projected general fund revenues) for the council’s consideration and explained that he completed the budget (for the council’s consideration) himself after the budget committee failed to complete the budget in a previous meeting.

Henry Edmund (Ed) Arnold Jr., long-time superintendent, Cherokee County Schools, passed away in September in Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome.

Arnold served six terms (24 years) as Cherokee County Superintendent of Education and was a member of Centre First United Methodist Church.

Jamal Starr, a graduate of Cherokee County High School, was the guest speaker for the 30th Annual Cherokee County N.A.A.C.P. Freedom Fund Banquet held in the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce headquarters on the campus of Gadsden State Community College-Cherokee.

The theme for the event was “Investing In Our Future While Connecting To Our Past.”

October 2013

Thanks to Governor Robert Bentley’s ATRIP program, Cherokee County has been able to put some $8.5 million into local road projects covering some 51 miles over the past two years.

Cherokee County Commission Chairman/Probate Judge Kirk Day and Cherokee County Engineer Corey Chambers, in October, shared some of the latest figures during an ATRIP Status Report and Press Conference held in the Cherokee County Commission chambers.

The City of Centre recorded some $1.7 million in building projects for the third quarter of 2013. Mayor Tony Wilkie gave the quarterly report during an October council meeting in the absence of City Building Inspector Mark Welsh.

From Daisy and Donald Duck to antique cars, arts and crafts and plent of food for all, Centre’s Fall Festial topped itself once again in 2013, as a huge crowd gathered in downtown Centre for this year’s event.

The weather was bright and sunny as citizens visited the booths of more than 100 vendors and also enjoyed entertainment, the Cherokee County Resource Center 5K 10K and Health Walk and more.

With Veteran’s Day 2013 just a few weeks away, this year’s holiday saluting our nation’s brave fighting men and women took on a whole new meaning for a Cedar Bluff resident in October when she received a small piece of her father’s World War II legacy of service to his country and community.

Chris Abney Dendy and family received an unexpected letter from northern coastal France from Dr. Michel Desplat, a resident of Larmor-Baden, a small village on the French coast, who wanted to returnher father’s World War II Army helmet to the family. Dendy’s father was Master Sergeant William L. Abney.

The Courage, held Oct. 13, was a dream come true for Israel Partridge and his team of event organizers.

A year ago they started making plans to hold a 72-hour worship service in a farmer’s field at 13675 Alabama Highway 176, close to Sand Rock and Mount Vernon Communities on top of Lookout Mountain.

More than 30 bands performing during the event including Big Daddy Weave, Chris August, Bread of Stone, The Ember Days and Leland.

The Cherokee County Commision, in October, adopted a resolution requiring Pioneer Green Energy to submit and Environmental Impact Statement concerning the proposal of the project known as the “Shinbone Ridge Wind Energy Project”. This prject would place as many as eight wind turbines in the county.”

This year’s Farm City Theme for 2013 was “Alabama Agriculture: Growing for You and Me” and was held at Sand Rock School.

Students from all over Cherokee county in Pre-K through first grade were able to come and learn about farming and the many aspects related to working of the land.

A local veteran donor reached another milestone during a Red Cross Blood Drive sponsored by Cherokee County Young Republicans and Teenage Republicans.

Air Force Major Lynn Hillhouse, a flight nurse with Maxwell Air Force Base, presented Local Business Owners Kendra and Bobby Pruitt with a U.S. Flag which flew over Geramny and Afghanistan for their support from home while she was deployed to active duty this past summer.

The Pruitts, Hillhouse said, continuously sent care packages with food and other reminders of home during the deployment which she said means a great deal to soldiers serving overseas.

An Alexis farmer was this year’s honoree for having the first cotton bale in Cherokee County for the 2013 season.

Roy Reese, who has farmed some 200 acres of cotton for more than 30 years, picked his cotton on Oct. 9 and it was ginned Oct. 15 at Cherokee County Gin and Cotton Company owned by George Jordan and Lindsey Brothers.

The Piggly Wiggly Shopping Center in Centre, Ala. hosted a Halloween Trick-Or Treat event Thursday, Oct. 31.

Each store was decorated for Halloween and the workers were dressed up in their Halloween costumes.

They sat outside their businesses and handed out candy to the trick-or-treaters.

Veterans Day programs across the county were held to honor those who have served or who are still serving in the U.S. Military branches in early November.

The theme for Sand Rock School’s program this year was Honoring All Who Served.

Ben East, principal, Sand Rock School, welcomed those who attended and Army Command Sergeant Major Phillip Boyd followed with the invocation.

November 2013

Dr. Eddie Lancaster, who has worked extensively with the Alabama Department of Corrections, was the guest speaker for the Extended Family 10th Annual Celebration of Life held in the Cheroke County Chamber of Commerce meeting room on the campus of Gadsden State Community College.

Dr. Lancaster, as shared by Laure Clemons, executive director of Extended Family, in her introduction, has a passion for seeing inmates’ lives changes.

He is also a publish author and speaker on topics regarding mental health, inmate rehabilitation and successful reentry.

The Leesburg Town Council, in November, approved a resolution of support of Senate Bill 12, which has been pre-filed by State Senator Phil Williams that would give local authorities some say in regard to wind turbine projects.

The Cherokee County Board of Education officially began a new year in early November by re-electing Board Member Lisa McKissick as chairperson for the coming year and Board Member Mark Gossett as vice chairperson.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was the keynote speaker for the 10th Annual Cherokee County Republican Party celebration held in the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce meeting room on the campus of Gadsden State Community College-Cherokee in November.

The Cherokee County Commission met with Senator Phil Williams in a November planning session to discuss his plans and concerns with commissioners.

One could say it was a banner year for Yellow Creek’s Robert Brockman. In September of this year, he and his wife, Joyce Sue, celebrated their 50 the Wedding Anniversary.

On Monday, Nov. 4 of this year, he killed his 100th deer with a bow while hunting near the Alabama-Georgia State line.

The community was saddened in November by the death of Bertice Edwin “Bert” Latham who passed away at his residence.

Latham, a native of Cullman, was a retired Deputy District Attorney and Municipal Judge and was a member of Centre First United Methodist Church.

The Centre Lions Club, in November, celebrated its 75th Anniversary Year with a banquet that drew an audience of more than 85, including current and former Lions members district, state and International Lions leaders; area elected officials and many interested members of the community.

The crowds were fewer than expected, the weather may not have cooperated, but organizers are still calling the First Annual Cherokee County Agricultural Fair, held the weekend of Nov. 22-23, a success.

The event was staged in the Gadsden State Community College-Cherokee Arena and also property adjoining the campus which was owned by the City of Centre. On a brisk and somewhat damp weekend, numerous organizers and volunteers still delivered everything they promised and then some including food news, beauty contests, local choir singings and more on the inside and livestock shows, rodeos, fair rides and exhibits and refreshments and more on the outside.

The Cherokee County Commission, adopted resolutions for three local ATRIP projects in November including two on Cherokee County Road 29 and one on Cherokee County Road 147.

December 2013

The Leesburg Town Council, in December, voted to approved the appointment of the law firm of Buttram, Hawkins and Hopper LLC as the town attorneys effective as of January 2014.

A career in law enforcement isn’t for everyone. But it is quite possible a few more students came on board after taking the forensics class at Sand Rock School this past semester.

The class was a joint effort of the Sand Rock School Science Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and the Jacksonville State University Forensics Department.

The Alabama Farmers Federation honored The Cherokee County Herald with its Communications Award for Print Journalism during its annual meeting in Montgomery this past December.

The newspaper was chosen for its outstanding coverage of farm news and Federation activities.

“The Herald is a shining example of a newspaper dedicated to covering meaningful, local stories,” said Federation Communications Director Jeff Helms.

“To everyone at the Cherokee County Herald, thank you for recognizing the importance of agriculture and sharing the stories of local farmers with all your readers.”

Practically overnight, the weather changes from balmy and rainy to an artic air blast just in time to set the tone for the 2013 Cherokee County Christmas Parade.

The annual event is sponsored by the Spirit of Cherokee, Inc.

This year’s parade drew more than 100 units consisting of floats, antique cars, horses, school groups, the Cherokee County High School Marching Band and numerous others.

A good crowd of family members and friends, colleagues and students gathered in the activities building of Cedar Bluff First Methodist Church to pay tribute to Bobby Mintz who retired as principal of Cedar Bluff School after 25 years of service to the Cherokee County School System.

Mintz began his career as an assistant coach and teacher at Cedar Bluff School.

A few years later he was named head football coach and served for a period as assistant principal before being named as principal.

The Cherokee County Board of Education, in December, named Kevin Porter as the new principal at Cedar Bluff School.

Porter, who served as assistant principal at Cedar Bluff School for the past seven and a half years, fills a vacancy left by Bobby Mintz who retired.

Porter is a 1990 graduate of Jacksonville State University with a degree in education and earned master’s degree in administration from JSU.

Now in his 22nd year in education, Porter started out as a teachers aide at Spring Garden School where he worked for two years.

He then taught out of field in Centre for a year, taught a half-day between Cedar Bluff Shool and Gaylesville School for a year. Prior to his service as assistant principal at Cedar Bluff School, he taught at Gaylesville School for 11 years.

Tragedy struck two local families in December when three people were killed and another seriously injured in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 35 in the Blanche area.

Driver’s involved in the accident, according to the Alabama State Trooper report, were Centre Police Investigator Jeff Bryant who was driving a patrol car and Charity Sloane Brewster , 24, of Gaylesville who was driving a 2007 Honda Accord.

Both drivers were killed in the accident, along with Brewster’s son, Scout Brewster, 2. Another child passenger in the Accord was injured and air-lifted to Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga.