Ashland Police Report Another Break-in

On July 11, 2018 the Ashland Police Department was called by someone at the Clay County Extension office, stating that someone had broken into their building and offices.

Officers responded and found that one of the doors had been left unlocked sometime before and that is where the burglar had gained entry into the building.

Officers also found that one of the offices had been broken into as well. Some things were taken, and officers were looking into the matter, and it is still an ongoing investigation. Because it is still an ongoing investigation, no further comments will be made about the case. 

Back-to-back SAR Missions for CCRS

It’s been a busy Holiday week for Clay County Rescue Squad! Back-to-back search and rescue missions within a 48 hour period! Can I just take a minute and say how awesome these guys are?? Most members  are strictly volunteer too. Just another reason why Clay County is such a great place to live!

Here is a detailed account of the incident as released by Clay County Rescue Squad Missions Coordinator Brian Andrews:


CCRS was contacted for another SAR mission on July 5th, 2018. At appx. 6:30 PM, Clay County E-911 called Operations Officer Brian Andrews for 2 lost hikers that had been hiking most of the day. 2 females had gotten off trail at some point on the Cave Creek Trail. Several sets of coordinates were obtained and all were in the general area near McDill Point, but each about 1/4 mile from the other.

Brian sent a text immediately stating to not move and that CCRS members were en route and that they had their location pinpointed. Contact was maintained with them the entire time.
Several members reached staging area and headed in. Upon arriving at the latest set There was no sign of anyone and unable to make contact. The hikers were able to “share their location” with the crew in the woods via text and get updated coordinates on the spot. Again, another 1/4 mile away. This is a common issue when on the edge of a rock bluff and in heavy canopy of woods. Mainly due to satellite signals being partially blocked from one side, being on a high mountain and phones switching cell towers, and also refresh rate of the phone. Hiking further, the last set turned out to be good and the hikers were located.

Another great outcome. The hikers were uninjured, although low on water and food. They were led back out and taken to their vehicle. It was fortunate they decided to call before it got too late, being reached shortly after dark, and by dialing 911 so we could get the best information. As always, we thank everyone that helped tonight, especially 911 and our members.

Holiday Family Hike Results in Search & Rescue Mission

Press Release issued by Clay County Rescue Squad Missions Coordinator, Brian Andrews:

On Wednesday, July 4th at appx. 1:30PM, Clay County Rescue Squad Operations Officer Brian Andrews received a call from Clay County E-911 for 3 lost hikers. It was a mother and 2 children that got seperated from the rest of their party after lunch. The father had called 911 very soon after he was unable to locate. CCRS, along with Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama Fish and Game, US Forest Service, Cheaha State Park, Shinbone Valley VFD, and most importantly ALEA Aviation Unit all responded. And please don’t forget that 911 dispatchers are the true first responders by getting us the info we need and handling the situations properly to aid us from start to finish.

CCRS first went in towards McDill Point from the North which was the last known location for them. With no signs and no contact, even meeting other hikers, they came back out. At approximately 4:20PM, ALEA Aviation Unit in Montgomery was contacted for assistance. With flight time and bringing in specialized people, they were at least an hour out. They have the equipment and training to do this very well and are reserved for extreme situations. In this situation, no phone, supplies, food, or water warranted along with no known direction of travel at this point. Keep in mind their plan was to hike as a group and trail conditions altered this. CCRS sent hikers headed in from 2 different directions from the Nubbin Creek area from the South solely based on decades of experience with this area.

At around 6:30PM ALEA contacted ground units and advised they believed they had the lost hikers in sight. Clothing descriptions (primarily an orange shirt) were matched and it was certainly the hikers we were looking for. After verified, family was notified of positive ID and that we were moving in. ALEA pinpointed, gave GPS coords, and circled leading the SAR member on the ground directly in to them, which took nearly an hour more due to rugged terrain.

Once reaching the hikers, snacks and water were provided. They were led back out partially on the trail, then down the ridge back to the access road hiked in to get them. Once reaching the staging area, more food and water was waiting thanks to a couple more that showed up supporting CCRS. The family was led back to town where they could be on their way home.

Again, CCRS would like to thank all agencies and people that assisted today. This is what we do, but it’s an awesome outcome to find lost hikers, not injured hikers. That’s what we enjoy.

Ashland Family Practice Burglarized

June 27, 2018- On the above listed date the Ashland Police Department received a call from Ashland Family Practice at approximately 6:00 a.m. stating that someone had broken into the business.

Officers responded and found Dr. David Hensleigh at his office. It was determined that the suspect gained entry through an air conditioner hole in a window.

Dr. Hensleigh stated that only his office was disturbed and that several items were missing from his office including some money and drug samples.

Because the matter is still under investigation, no further comments will be made, until the case has been closed.

Sheriff’s Office Investigate Burglary/Auto Theft

On Wednesday June 13th around 3pm, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office was call to investigate a possible break-in and car theft on County Road 5, just south of Ashland. The Victims reported that their residence had been broken into and their 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer was missing.

Upon further inspection, the victims soon realized that a possible internet intrusion had occurred, along with several items taken from inside the home.

Investigators and Deputies began to piece together the facts surrounding the case and with the help of the victims, possible suspects were identified. A “Be on the Look Out” (BOLO) was issued for two individuals along with a description of the vehicle taken to surrounding agencies.

At approximately 9pm, Investigator Shanon House received a call stating two individuals fitting the suspect’s descriptions had been seen in the Sylacauga area just off U.S. 280.

When that information was relayed to Sylacauga Police, it was found Sylacauga Police were at the same time investigating a complaint of suspicious persons around the Hibbett’s Sport Store just off U.S. 280.

Upon further investigation, the suspects were identified as those reported by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office earlier in the late afternoon. Clay County Investigators arrived on the scene with Sylacauga Police and identified the persons wanted in connection with the County Road 5 burglary and car theft.

Sylacauga Police began a search of the area and found the missing 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer in an adjacent parking lot. Information gathered by Police and Sheriff’s Investigators lead them to a nearby hotel that the suspects had acquired.

Several items were recovered from the vehicle and hotel room indicating that the suspects were responsible for the County Road 5 burglary and theft. Charged was Jennifer Renee Ballard, age 40 of Minneola, Florida and Pasquale Joseph Rossetti, age 30 of Clermont, Florida. Each have been charged with Theft of Property 1st, Theft of Property 2nd, and Burglary 3rd.

Both individuals remain in the Clay County Detention Center on Bonds totaling $180,000.00. Additional charges are expected as Investigators continue to gather additional evidence on this case.

Sheriff Latham and Investigator Shanon House thanks the Sylacauga Police Department and a special thanks to Patrolman Christopher Gallops for his attention to the earlier issued BOLO and location of the suspects that evening. Without question, his attentive skills greatly aided Clay County Investigators in the arrests of suspects associated with the Theft and Burglary.

TruCabinetry looks to hire former MasterBrand workers during Auburn Job Fair

ASHLAND, ALABAMA (June 18, 2018) – Tru Cabinetry is looking to hire many of the
skilled workers displaced by the sudden closing last Tuesday of the MasterBrand
Cabinets plant in Auburn.

Butch Reimer, president of the Ashland-based semi-custom cabinet manufacturer, said
his growing company is looking forward to welcoming former MasterBrand workers to
the Tru Cabinetry family.

“Tru Cabinetry has seen tremendous market growth in recent years, and that means we
have a continued demand for additional talent to supply that growth. Adding industry
veterans to our team is another way we can expand on our promise to craft quality
cabinetry in the U.S.,” Reimer said.

To make the hiring process easier, Tru Cabinetry is partnering with the City of Auburn
and Auburn City Schools to take part in a job fair from 3-8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19 in
the Auburn Junior High School gym, 405 S. Dean Road.

Reimer said that those planning to attend the job fair should be prepared to fill out
applications and interview for available positions at Tru Cabinetry on the spot. He said
Tru is looking to fill positions across all departments, including engineers, supervisors,
accountants, and skilled cabinetry workers.
“We want these displaced workers to know that Tru Cabinetry has a new career for
them,” Reimer said. “Tru Cabinetry is focused on people, and we want to bring great
employees on board and build lasting career relationships with them.”

Tru Cabinetry, a brand of Tru-wood Cabinet Company, LLC is a rapidly-growing
manufacturer of high-quality, semi-custom cabinetry. Tru Cabinetry is headquartered in
Ashland, Ala. and currently has over 260 employees. It operates in over 370,000 square feet of top-of-the-line manufacturing and distribution space.

Single Vehicle Crash Claim Lives of Siblings

On May 27, 2018, the Ashland Police Department received a call about a wreck on Highway 9 South. An Ashland officer responded and found the vehicle near the intersection of Hwy 9 and 5th Ave. S. Some of the residents in the area was at the vehicle trying to extinguish the flames that had started.

the deadly crash occurred on this stretch of Hwy 9 in Ashland

Officer Hunter Griffin went over and gave one of the persons a fire extinguisher as he checked the driver, and passenger. Officer Griffin found that both of the people inside the car were deceased, and shortly after this the Ashland Fire Department arrived on the scene, as well as the Clay County Rescue Squad.

Rescue personnel confirmed that both occupants were deceased the clay County Coroner was notified, as well as the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’ State Troopers office, due to the fatalities.

James Thomas Clark and Jeffery Lynn Clark

After further investigation it was determined that both occupants were killed instantly, on impact. The driver was identified as James Thomas Clark,  of Ashland, age 52, and the passenger was identified as Jeffery Lynn Clark of Ashland, age 50. The family was notified of the two brothers deaths. This matter was being investigated by the ALEA Department of Public Safety, along with the Clay County Coroners Office.

Early Morning Break-Ins Reported at Ashland Strip Mall

Saturday, May 26,2018- A late night/early morning robbery took place at several businesses within a strip mall inside the Ashland city limits on Hwy 77 N .

As you can see, the door had to be boarded up, but A Cut Above is open for business today.

This is late breaking news, therefore I have not received an official statement from the Ashland Police Dept. yet.  However, I do know that three businesses inside the strip mall were broken into: A Cut Above, Kala Nails, and China Inn.

Kala Nails
Kala Nails

The burglar(s) gained entry into A Cut Above Barber Shop by breaking the glass on the front door. To my knowledge, nothing was taken from this business, but it was ransacked.

Kala Nails
Kala Nails

The other two businesses that were also robbed, presumably by the same suspect (s),  Kala Nails and China Inn, both had the back door broken. Bryan Vu, owner of Kala Nails, reported his store to be ransacked, and that a lot of change was taken.  Both Kala Nails and A Cut Above were open for business today.

The owners of China Inn were not there, so I could not gather any information on what was taken from their store. The only other store in this mall, Dollar General, was not robbed, to my knowledge.

It is unknown at this time whether the police have any suspects yet. I will bring you more information on this late breaking story as soon as I receive updates.









Clay County BOE End of School Year Meeting

The Clay County Board of Education met Tuesday, May 15, 2018 for their regular monthly meeting.  The following agenda items were approved:

  • Approval to accept the lowest bid from Dixie Store Fixtures of $77,750.00  for a cooler/freezer at Ashland Elementary.


  • Approval to solicit bids for the following items:
  1. Fresh produce products for the 2018-19 school year.
  2. Safety doors for Central Junior High School.
  3. Heating Cooling units ( replacement) AES and LES
  4. Bathroom renovations for both girls and boys at AES
  • Approval to extend bids for the following:
  1. Bread and bread products-Flowers Baking Co. for the 2018-19 school year.
  2. Milk Products- Dean Dairy Holdings/Barber Milk for the 2018-19 school year.

Approval of 32 Personnel Action Items which included some of the following:

  • Mark Darby from full time LES Asst. Principal to 1/2 time LES Asst. Principal and 1/2 time AES Asst. Principal.
  • Shannah Mathews from Special Ed teacher AES to Elementary teacher AES.
  • Patty Mann from Special Ed teacher CJHS to Special Ed teacher LES.
  • Anna Morrison from LES Teacher to LES Counselor
  • Shannon Taylor from LES Teacher to LES Reading Coach
  • Lisa Andrews from LES Teacher to LES Title Teacher
  • Vicki Mitchell from AES Special Ed Aide to CHS Special Ed Aide
  • Cassidy Elliff as English Teacher at Central High School effective May 25, 2018
  • Paula Reynolds as Counselor at Central High School effective June 1, 2018
  • Vicki Herron as Counselor at Central High School effective June 1, 2018
  • Kris Herron as PE Teacher at Central High School effective June 1, 2018
  • Jessica Hammonds as Teacher at AES effective May 25, 2018
  • Ada Hardy as IDEA Summer School Bus Driver and Teacher Aide
  • Marsha Hammonds as IDEA Summer School Teacher and Bus Aide
  • Becky Taylor as Facilitator for summer school
  • Courtney Johnson as Special Ed Teacher Ashland Elementary effective August 1, 2018
  • Courtney Campbell as Special Ed Teacher Ashland Elementary effective August 1, 2018
  • Devin Knepper as Teacher – Ashland Elementary effective August 1, 2018
  • Joseph Appleby as Bus Driver effective August 1, 2018
  • Tiffany Brown as Teacher – Lineville Elementary effective Aug. 1, 2018
  • Shannon Cantrell as Lineville Elementary Special Ed Teacher effective Aug. 1, 2018
  • Melanie Heath as Teacher at Lineville Elementary effective Aug. 1, 2018
  • Special Ed Teacher at Central Junior High
  • Counselor positions at Central High School
  • 1/2 time Counselor position at Central High School
  • Counselor position at Central Jr. High School
  • Certified Teacher 7-12 Central Jr. High
  • Special Ed Aide Ashland Elementary School
  • Special Ed Teacher Ashland Elementary School
Informational Items
Graduation is Thursday,  May 17, 2018
School will dismiss 2 hours early May 23-24, 2018
Last day of school for students is Thursday, May 24, 2018
Last day of school for teachers is Friday, May 25, 2018
Central High School Football Jamboree will be Saturday, May 19 at JSU @ 12:30.
The next scheduled Board meeting will be June 7, 2018, at 4:00 PM.

Sheriff’s Office Investigates Burglary & Illegal Drug Activity

On April 28, 2018, Deputies were called to Millerville Baptist Church on School House Road.

Upon arriving, Deputies spoke with the church clerk and was shown evidence of a forced entry into the church. Information provided to the Sheriff’s Deputies indicated several electronic items were taken, including televisions, VCR’S, children’s electronic game and accessories. It was further noted that the suspects spend some time in the church, trashing in closets and rooms while enjoying snacks and drinks that were for church use.

However, their enjoyment was short lived as Deputies received information from nearby contractors indicating seeing a suspicious vehicle earlier in the area.

Deputies began talking to citizens in the area alerting them of the vehicle description. It wasn’t long before a sighting was reported on Pleasant Hill Road.

Deputies proceeded to the area where they found a vehicle fitting the description just south of Hayes Road on Pleasant Hill. Items taken from the Church Burglary were seen in the vehicle as Deputies approached. Other items were located in the wooded area alongside where the vehicle was parked.

Arrested were James Lee Gaines, age 32 of Millerville and Deanthony Marquez Houston, age 28 of Ashland. Houston was charged with Receiving Stolen Property 3rd and Haines charged with Burglary 3rd, Theft of Property 2nd and Receiving stolen property 3rd. Houston was released on $5000.00 bond while Gaines remains in the Clay County Detention Center on bonds totaling $20,000.00.


On May 1, 2018, a complainant reported a person shooting a firearm in their direction. The complainant further stated that the person firing the weapon had done so in the past. In this latest incident, it appeared the shots were intentionally directed in close proximity to the victim. It was also noted the suspect was a convicted felon and should not be in possession of firearms.


On May 4th, 2018, Sheriff’s Investigators, Deputies, Lineville Police Investigator and Ashland Police Officers executed a search warrant at 3138 Hanging Rock Road in relation to the above stated report. There Investigators found a quantity of drugs and paraphernalia. A 38 cal. Revolver was located in the suspect’s bedroom along with numerous shells.

Based on the illegal drugs and firearm found, warrants were obtained on Derrick Ray Ferrell, age 45 of Lineville. Ferrell is wanted on charges of Felon in Possession of Firearm, Trafficking Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine, and 2 counts of drug paraphernalia.Sheriff’s Office Investigates Burglary & Illegal Drug Activity

Ferrell remains at large. Anyone with information of Ferrell’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Clay County Sheriff’s Office @ 256 354 2176. A cash reward is offered for information that leads to his arrest.

The Nitty Gritty – Clay County News and Events