Childhood Cancer Awareness Month; Remembering Eli

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As you may know, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. So, before the month draws to a close, I’d like to tell you  a story about one of the greatest little cancer warriors to ever walk the face of the Earth, Elijah Sims. I know I’ve written about Eli before, but to me, he should be spoken about often, so no one ever forgets what this sweet child accomplished in his brief Earthly existence.

Eli was only 21 months old when he was diagnosed with Stage 4  Hepatoblastoma, and the cancer has metastasized to his lungs.  The prognosis wasn’t a good one, but Eli was a fighter, and he fought the disease with every fiber of his being, for well over a year. Eli passed just a few weeks after his third birthday.

It was a fight that was just too big for such a small child, but the warrior instilled in his little body didn’t know the difference.  His courageous battle won the hearts of so many, and because of that, a hero was born. A golden-haired little hero with a smile that could just seem to light up the world. A smile that would show no indication of the battle scars he carried inside. Eli’s very presence seem to warm you inside, kinda like a Heavenly aura surrounding him at all times. People were drawn to his sweet spirit and once you had been around Eli, your life would never be the same. His story touched so many lives in ways that we may never really know.

I know it seems weird to call a toddler a hero, especially when the horrific disease seemed to beat him in the end , but sometimes in life, there’s a bigger picture. You take a small child, who should never even have known any pain, other than a few scrapes and bruises, and watch him take on such a deadly disease and fight it with the strength of ten grown men, well now…that’s not something many will ever see in a lifetime and it changes you.

A true David and Goliath story, although the ending wasn’t quite the same, the efforts were instilled in your heart and you never quite forget it. And sometimes in life, that’s just the way it is. It’s a battle you were never meant to win, but yet how you handle it that serves as a lesson for others. A lesson of hope to many that if a small wisp of a boy can fight a huge cancer monster with unbeatable odds, that maybe you can take on whatever demons you are facing in life.


And as a parent myself, I can’t even imagine the pain that Jason and Kelcey Sims experienced as they watched the cancer eventually overtake the body of their sweet baby son. As a parent, it is our job to make your child never hurts. To put that band-aid on, kiss the boo-boo and make it all better. But the Sims never had this option. They had to stand by and helplessly watch as Eli underwent strong chemo treatments meant only for adults wreaked havoc on his little body. The hospitals, the needles, the courses of treatments, the pain that they couldn’t make go away. It just seems so unfair.

I’m not even sure if I could have handled it, but yet Kelcey and Jason clung hard to their faith that God would heal their son. And in the end, although it wasn’t the healing they had hoped for, it was still a healing. The best kind for Eli, one they could take comfort in, but it still doesn’t ease the ache in their hearts or their empty arms.

Childhood Cancer is simply unfair and must be eliminated. So, Kelcey wants to pass on some information and statistics to make the public more aware, in hopes that no child will ever have to suffer the way her son did. Parents, please read these carefully and be aware of any potential warning signs.

Kelcey Sims: “My goal is to just make people aware of the information about childhood cancer. As a nurse and someone being in the medical field for 10 years now even I didn’t know about the things I learned after Eli was diagnosed. I just want parents to be aware of the warning signs and to know it can happen to your child too! My goal is to make more companies and people want to research childhood cancer and put just as much effort into it as they do adult cancer. Here are some points I want to make people aware of:

  • Pediatric cancer is the #1 disease killer of kids in the US.
  • More American children die of cancer than of aids, asthma,cystic fibrosis, congenital abnormalities and diabetes combined
  • 7 kids die each day of pediatric cancer.
  • “0” , yes that’s ZERO screening methods are available so there is no way of preventing the cancer.
  • Each day 36 kids are diagnosed. 
  • Pediatric cancer is the leading pediatric disease killer, annually killing more kids than kidnapping, drug overdose, gun-related deaths, and drowning.
  • Less than 4% of our governments cancer research budget is allocated to children’s cancer research. 
  • 80% of pediatric cancers are metastasized/spread at time of diagnosis. ( at 21 no the old Eli was stage 4 with mets to lungs)
  • Only 3 new pediatric drugs were developed in the last 20 years compared to 23 drugs for adults in 2012.
  • 3 out of 5 childhood cancer survivors develop late physical and emotional effects, such as ptsd, infertility and vision loss, secondary cancers.
  • Average cost of cancer treatment for 1 child is $500,000.00. Out-of-pocket costs average $35,000.00 per child for treatment.
  • When a crib hurts a few children there is a massive recall and you hear it on the news. But when cancer kills 7 kids everyday no one seems to notice .
  • Childhood cancer awareness signs and symptoms: Continued, unexplained weight loss. Headaches, often with early Morning vomit. Increased swelling or persistent pain in bones, joints back or legs. Lump or mass ,especially in abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or arm pits. Development of excessive nursing, bleeding, or rash. Consistent Infections,  A whitish color behind pupil.  Nausea which persists or vomiting without nausea Consistent tiredness or noticeable lameness. Eye or vision changes which occur suddenly and persist. Recurrent or persistent fevers of unknown origin.  Eli had 9 of these 11 symptoms!!!!

Childhood cancer, two words a parent never wants to hear. An illness no child should ever have to endure. Let’s fight the fight and put an end to this heartbreaker. Eli was my HERO: an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles!”

Team Eli remains active in his memory and continue their crusade to end Childhood Cancer.  The 2nd Annual Team Eli Halloween Hustle Costume Run is a 5k Run/Walk for Adults and kids older than 12. Also, for the kids 12 and under they will have a 1 mile fun run/walk. The event will be held Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 8 AM-11AM at the Lineville park.

Team Eli hope to continue this event annually, choosing different organization to benefit each year. This year they have chosen The Make A Wish Foundation. This organization sent Eli and his family to meet Mickey Mouse at Disney World a few short weeks before his passing. They gave him joy in his last days and we would like to help them give that to someone else.










Grand Jury List- September 26, 2017

 Here are a list of indictments handed down by the Clay County Grand Jury at this time:

Jessie Bishop-Burglary- 3rd Degree, Theft of Property 4, Use/ Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Harassing Communication, Theft of Property 3, Sodomy 1st Degree

Randell Ladario Brown– Reckless Endangerment, Resisting Arrest, Domestic Violence 2nd- Burglary

Daniel Paul Bumgarner– Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Possession Controlled Substance

Andrea Machelle Clarke– Possession/Receive Controlled Substance

Joshua Cody Cullars– Theft of property 3

Oronda Torria Dinkins– Receive Stolen Property, Firearms-Person for

Woodrow Dougherty– Burglary 3rd Degree, Theft of Property 2, Possession Forged Instrument, Theft of Property 3

Wayne Ashton Dunkley-Driving w Suspended License, Possession Controlled Substance, Possession Marijuana 1st, Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Resisting Arrest

Dillion Wayne Grizzard– Theft of Property 2

Richard Matthew Hall– Break/Entering Vehicle, Theft of Property 2

Audrey Andrette Heard– Criminal Trespass 3, Possession Controlled Substance

Darrin Marcel Leister– Theft of Property 1

Sherry Denise Mattox–  Possession Controlled Substance, Switched Tag, Failure to Display Insurance

Travis Hunter Maxwell– Possession Marijuana 2nd, Use/Possession drug Paraphernalia, Possession Controlled Substance

Alexander Bar Mcardle-Possession Controlled Substance, Possession/Receive Controlled Substance, Possession Marijuana 2nd, Paraphernalia Misdemeanor

Sonia Kay Morrow-Identity Theft (3 counts), Theft of property 3

Tre Reshun Newell– Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Possession Controlled Substance, Possession Marijuana 1st

Brandon Wayne Parsons– Burglary 3rd Degree, Theft of property 2

Robert Dewayne Price-Assault 2nd Degree, Domestic Violence 3rd-Assault, Criminal Use of Defense, Resisting Arrest

Douglas Lee Robertson– Kidnapping 2nd Degree, Domestic Violence 3rd-Assault

John Thomas Rockwell– Possession Controlled Substance

James David Screws– Theft of Property 2

Christy Ann Shaddix– Promote Prison Contraband, Unlawful Possession w/ Intent, Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Possession Controlled Substance, Possession Moonshine, Unlawful Distribution/Furnishing

Thomas Wayne Shaddix– Paraphernalia Misdemeanor, Possession Marijuana 1, Fail to Signal, Driving while Revoked

Christopher Ken Smith– Rape 2nd Degree  (2 counts)

Thomas Stanford– Possession Controlled Substance, Use/Possession Drug Paraphernalia

Torey LeSean Sterling–  Possession Controlled Substance, Possession Marijuana 2nd

William Jerome Trammell– Theft of Property 1, Burglary 3rd Degree (6 counts), Possession Burglar’s Tool, Theft of Property 4 ( 3 counts), Theft of Property 3 ( 2 counts),  Theft of property 2 ( 2 counts), Burglary ( 2 counts),  Breaking/Enter Vehicle

Joshua Darnell Williams-No Driver’s License, Speed less 25 mph, Paraphernalia Misdemeanor, Pistol in Vehicle, Possession Marijuana 1

Clay County Hazardous Weather Outlook for Irma

What may seem like a perfect rainy sleep-in morning for some should not be taken so lightly. Although Irma has weakened and will no doubt be downgraded to a Tropical Storm later this morning, the Eastern region of the state of Alabama remains under a Tropical Storm warning in anticipation of Irma’s arrival…and ultimately, her welcome departure.

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So, if you’re in Clay County, here’s what you can expect within the next 24 hours, give or take a few:

The highest impact time appears to begin at 12 noon today ( Monday) to as late as noon tomorrow.  This timing is dependent on many factors, such as the speed of Irma and course of track. You can expect wind gusts from 35-45 mph, ranging up to 55 mph and 3-5 inches of rain, with possibly locally higher amounts.

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Downed trees and power outages are likely, so be sure to have a plan of action in place. Make sure your cell phones are charged and you have plenty of bottled water onhand. You can also fill your bathtub with water for necessary household needs, such as toilet flushing.  You will need to have canned foods, or convenient grocery items, batteries, flashlights and candles is a must because you never know how long you will be without power, especially at this time with so many power crews out of state working the hardest hit area, there could possibly be a delay is having your service restored.

There is no tornado threat at this time, however, and this is just me speaking, you can never really rule out an isolated tornado.  Not trying to use scare tactics, just raise awareness.

I know there are many of you who want to help out when the damage starts rolling in, but please remember to WATCH OUT for downed power lines. So, if you see a tree down and want to grab your chain saw to cut, remember that it could be wrapped in live power lines and you could be electrocuted. DO NOT attempt to drive across downed power lines as well. Same scenario.

If you live in a mobile home, don’t wait until the storm is upon you to seek shelter! Remember that precautionary measures saves lives! There are several local shelters that will open after lunch today to anyone in need.

  • Shinbone Fire Dept
  • Delta Fire Dept
  • Hollis Fire Dept
  • Lineville Senior Center
  • Bluff Springs Fire Dept
  • Shiloh Fire Dept
  • Ashland Library
  • Millerville Fire Dept
  • Tri-Community
  • Ashland First Methodist Church
  • Cornerstone Ministries in Jackson’s Gap

If anyone has any shelters to add, please let me know.  Remember to take along any personal items you may need if you choose to use one of these shelters, because they don’t keep any of these items in stock.

The Clay County EMA, in conjunction with the Clay County Commission and Clay County Road Department, has issued a travel advisory for all Clay County Roads effective from noon Monday until 6pm Tuesday. All non-essential travel should be avoided.

PLEASE, PLEASE call your local EMA with any damage reports, so that they can pass the word along to you. 256-396-5886. PLEASE do NOT call 911 for a downed tree or structural damage because that is not an emergency, unless someone’s life is endangered. They will be very busy throughout the course of this storm handling calls.

Be safe, people, and please, be smart.

Here is a list of businesses and industry that will be closing early today:

  • TruCabinetry will close at 11:00 am today. No second shift.
  • Wellborn Cabinets will close at 12 noon today. No second shift.
  • Anniston Army Depot is closed for all Monday shifts.
  • Honda cancels 2nd shift for Monday.
  • Clay County Courthouse closing at Noon today.
  • The Circuit Clerk’s office of Clay County is officially closed Monday September 11th by order of the Governor. There will be no court on Monday.
  • Ashland Municipal Court has cancelled the court session scheduled for September 11, 2017 at 2 P.M. due to the Weather and all cases will be rescheduled for October 09, 2017 at 2 P.M.
  • Wedowee Municipal Court has been canceled for Monday night. All cases have been continued to October 24th at 5pm.
  • The Randolph County Courthouse will be closed Tuesday also due to the weather conditions.




Lineville Water Testing Reveals Slightly Elevated Levels

Lineville residents will receive this letter with their water bill this month. According to the details listed in the letter, standard water testing in the Carver St area revealed slightly elevated levels of  Haloacetic Acids ( HAA5) by .02%. Now, I’m sure receiving one of these letters can be a little scary, but I see no real cause for alarm here. But sending out letters is a standard procedure to keep the public updated even if it is only by .02% over the normal range. 

Water Officials are required to do testing in random areas on a regular basis. But keep in mind that the summer temperatures require a bit more effort keeping those levels where they need to be, and if you throw a good bit of rainfall into the mix in a stagnant area where the water usage is not so high, then it’s that much harder.

The water officials around here really do a good job maintaining these levels, if you ask me. These numbers were recorded for the month of July, and this problem could already be alleviated by now, for all we know. I feel quite confident Lineville Water Department will carefully monitor this situation and do everything in their power to remedy this situation as quickly as possible.

Again, there is no real cause for concern here, it’s actually quite minor honestly. You would have to consume tons of this water, more than one person could drink, to be at risk and there is NO BACTERIA in the water, so you are not required to boil water or anything. Just wanted to set your minds at ease over a situation that might look a little scary.



Drug Arrests Made Through Joint Effort of Clay County Law Enforcement Agencies

On August 25, 2017,  Officers from the Ashland Police Department, Lineville Police Department and Clay County Sheriff’s Department, along with Alabama Department of Probation and Parole conducted a search and subsequent arrest of three individuals involved with illicit drugs.

Ashland Police Officer Micheal Harris and Investigator David Martin, working with Lineville Investigator Chris Matthews developed information that subjects living on Country Club Rd in Ashland were manufacturing/using methamphetamine, and that one of the subjects was under the supervision of Clay County Probation Officer Brad McVey. The officers developed enough information for a Probation home visit and upon arrival two of the subjects ran from the scene.

It was later determined that the two that ran was Mitchell Wright of Ashland, and Dalton Wright of Ashland. A third subject was located at the home, and she was identified as Breana Langhorn. All three subjects were eventually taken into custody and charged with the following: three counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance; three counts of Chemical Endangerment of a Child; three counts of Possession Drug Paraphernalia; two counts of Attempting to Elude.

All three subjects were taken to the Clay County Jail for booking. Chief Stanford and the Ashland Police Department would like to thank the officers involved for their hard work and determination in working together to see this case to its end. Without their tireless effort, and ability to work together, nothing would have been accomplished.

Special Called BOE Meeting Summary, Aug. 17

The Clay County Board of Education met Thursday, August 17, 2017 for a special called session. All members were present with the exception of Blaine Lacy.

All agenda items for this session were approved, which included the following:

  • Approval of the 2017-18 salary schedule and supplements
  • Approval to accept the bid of $1.6608 per gallon received from Willingham Oil for diesel fuel. This was the only bid received.
  • Approval of 27 personnel action items which included some of the following:
      Kelly Craven as bus aide
      Julie Wester as bus aide
      Stacey Pitts as bus driver
      Heather Rooks as custodian at Ashland Elementary
  • Informational Items
    The  first home football game is August 25, 2017.
    The next regularly scheduled Board meeting and first budget hearing will be August 31, 2017.
    There will be a called Board meeting and budget hearing on September 7, 2017.



Clay County Sheriff Ray Latham was notified on July 31st, 2017 that an employee of the Clay County Detention Center had been nominated to the Outstanding Corrections Professionals Award Program, in Midway, Utah.

The selected officer from the Southeastern Region of the United States was to be announced on August 2nd, 2017 by the nominating committee. Persons for such a prestigious award would be considered based on previous achievements with the National Institute for Jail Operations, (NIJO)  also headquartered in Midway, Utah.

Sheriff Latham presents Argie Darnell with award

Early in 2012, Sheriff Latham joined the detention center with the National Institute for Jail Operations in an effort to have a more secure facility while providing guidelines and regular up to date training for employees. Requirements of detention certifications, training guidelines and other requirements associated with the NIJO were a challenge in the start. Cooperation by the County Commissioners, necessary upgrades & repairs to the Detention Center were and continue to be made. Work by Detention Administrators, correctional officers and supervisory personnel in the Sheriff’s Office, accomplishments were rewarded.

Sheriff Ray Latham, Investigator Shanon House, Jail Administrator Argie Darnell, Chief Deputy Henry Lambert

On August 2nd, 2017, Sheriff Latham was notified that Detention Administrator Argie Darnell had received the Southeastern Regional Detention Administrator of the Year award. Darnell’s accomplishments with the requirements set forth by NIJO as it pertains to the Clay County Detention Center was most impressive, stated, Tate McCotter, Executive Director for NIJO in Midway, Utah. Her name stood beside each on-line compliance and certification required by NIJO, and was completed though and timely.  With such a high compliance rating through NIJO, McCotter intends to use Darnell’s accomplishments as an incentive for other jails across the country when he teaches.

Darnell will receive her prestigious award at the NIJO Southeastern Regional Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 30th, 2017. “Accomplishments like this are earned by hard work and dedication” states Sheriff Latham.