All posts by Tammy Andrews

Mad Indian Quickie Mart robbed, arrests made.

0515robberyOn Thursday, August 14th, two subjects broke into Mad Indian Quickie Mart, sometime late during the night. The subjects forced entry into the facility and stole 2 bottles of liquor, grey goose vodka and kettle one, both 750 ml bottles. The building sustained minor damage.

 

The owners of the store were instantly alerted of the break-in from the alarm system, as was Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and 911. The subjects fled the scene, but were later called in for questioning after video surveillance was collected that revealed their identities. Both subjects were arrested at this time.

 

Freddy Carswell, age 50, of Lineville and Jessie James Zackery, age 51 of Lineville, were charged with 3rd degree Burglary and Theft and 1st degree Criminal Mischief. The Lineville Police Department was instrumental in the arrest of these two individuals.This is an ongoing investigation so no further details will be released at this time.  

 

Criminal Investigator Donnie Strain commends the store owner on having state of the art video surveillance and alarm system. “Without this system, it would have been hard to identify these perpetrators. I strongly recommend every business owner purchase surveillance equipment in order to protect their investments.”

91 yr old widow loses everything to house fire

fire 8
Bernice gives a somber look to the pile of ashes where her home once stood. Notice her caregiver, Brenda is going distributing out Bernice’s medication. Bernice lost all of her meds in the fire and Young’s Drugstore owner, Eric Smith, had opened on early Sunday morning to refill them.

fire 1Despite the best efforts of the Lineville Fire Department, this 100 year old home located on 5th Avenue in Lineville burned to the ground around 4:00 am this morning.

This historical home once belonged to the late L.D. Miller and was still occupied by his widow, 91 year old Bernice Miller and her caregiver, Brenda Rutherford.  Bernice and Brenda, along with several visiting family members were also in the home at the time the blaze occurred. “I just woke up and there was smoke swirling around everywhere” says Bernice. Everyone was able to get out of the house safely, except for a cherished family pet, a Chihuahua named Peaches.

The home was a complete loss and Bernice lost all of her belongings.  Bernice was a quilter, so she lost all of her beautiful handmade pieces, including a double wedding quilt she was currently working on at the time. Her visiting family members had also fire 10taken Bernice and Brenda shopping to take advantage of the tax free weekend, so they too lost their belongings, as well as the school clothes they had purchased the day before.

 

This home was filled with L.D.’s  hand carved furniture, including a cedar bedroom suit he had designed for Bernice. L.D. himself was not only well-known for making furniture; he was also a very talented quilter. His designs used to be displayed every year at the Lineville Heritage Day Quilt Show.

Anyone interested in making a donation, can call Veatrice Pitts (daughter) 256-354-7339, or mail to: Veatrice Pitts 2366 County Rd 31 Ashland, AL 36251. Bernice and Brenda wears a size 14-16 clothing, large shirt, and a size 7.5 shoe.

fire 9

Alabama Martial Arts Team seek funding for World Tournament; 8 members, 4 from Clay County.

2014 Team
2014 Martial Arts Team

Elite Yoshukai Karate Organization L.L.C in Ashland, AL is in desperate need of sponsors or donations of any amount to fund their travel  expenses to the 2014 World   Martial Arts Tournament . The U.S. Martial Arts Team will travel to Vancouver, Canada in September for this competition and as you know, travel expenses are not cheap.

 

To read more about this event, click here: https://www.facebook.com/worldmartialartsgames

The U.S. Martial Arts Team is made up of about 85 members total, and 8 of those make up the Alabama Team. Four (4)karate 2 of these 8 members are from  Clay County alone: Tommy & Martha Denson, Ellen Hammett, Scott Fullington. Other team members include:  Thomas Kiser, Mike Zheng,  Jordan Ogles, Billy Ray Hamlin, Jay Peraiti, Olivia Cochran .

Some other members from the Bama team include: Sherman Peek of  Montgomery, who is currently attending Auburn University, Allen Butler – Andalusia, Al,  Jason Vinson – Roanoke, Al. And Danielle Hagan who reigns from Cross City, Florida.

This competition may not sound like a big deal to some who are not familiar with Martial Arts, but is the elite of the competitions. This tournament  is the equivalent of The Olympics for Martial Arts and is only held every 2 years.  2012 U.S. Team

2012 Alabama Martial Arts Team

Two years ago, the Alabama team brought  home 29 medals, 10 world championships, 2 world championships from Clay County members and several runner ups!!!!    That is really something to be proud of from our home state and our great county!!!

 

Anyone interested in making a donation, or becoming a sponsor can call Martha Denson at (256) 252-2832 or Tommy Denson at (256) 276-0209 or you can just click on this link:

http://www.gofundme.com/9lhsqs

The team is a 501 c3 non profit organization, so if your business decides to sponsor. or make a donation it can be used as a tax write off.

There is no amount too small to donate because every little bit helps.

 

 

 

Moonshine Still Found in Clay County, Arrest Pending

 

 Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board Thursday afternoon discovered a well-hidden moonshine still near the city of Ashland in Clay County.  A suspect was observed near the still and an arrest is pending.

ABC Agents assigned to the Moonshine Task Force located the 20-barrel still concealed in a utility shed on property located down a dirt drive, a short distance from Jericho Road. Agents, investigating a tip from a local resident about a possible marijuana field in the area, smelled the unmistakable odor of mash. Agents observed a suspect arriving on the property and waited for him to leave his vehicle. The suspect was in possession of moonshine paraphernalia and, after questioning, agents determined he was on the property to operate the still.

Task Force members, assisted by Clay County Sheriff’s deputies, recovered and dismantled the still cooker and seized 16.5 gallons of moonshine – 11.5 gallons of clear spirits and five gallons of charred. The suspect will be allowed to turn himself in to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office next week.  He will be charged with one count of possession of a still and one count of possession of illegal moonshine.

The agents are part of the ABC Board’s Moonshine Task Force that investigates tips, develops leads, and are skilled in tracking and following trails that are often associated with this type of illegal operation. Anyone with any information about these or any other illegal activities is encouraged to call the ABC Board Hotline at 1-800-327-7341. Cash awards are available for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

http://abcboard.alabama.gov/(S(adgt4ny2uftip5lmc0dtycpf))/news_detail.aspx?ID=8881

Remembering a Great Patriot

By: Tammy Andrews

Easter Sunday was everything you could have asked for weather-wise. The kind of day that was so beautiful, you just had to be outside doing something. The kind of day you look up and thank God for…

The Easter holiday is meant to be observed with family…but some people don’t have that option, so to them, this Easter weekend was a struggle. I would like to extend my sympathy to the Yates family for the tragic loss of one of their own, Patsy Yates Seale, on Saturday of Easter weekend.                 jason 4

Another family who needs your prayers are the Hendrix family, who lost their beloved son, Jason, to an aggressive form of leukemia just two months ago. Garry and Carol Hendrix have a very strong-willed family, but even the strongest of people struggle with the loss of a loved one. I know this because Jason’s mother, Carol, is a very good friend of mine, and even though she tries to put on a brave face every day, I can still see the pain in her eyes . You see, not only did she lose her youngest son, she also lost her traveling companion, her buddy, and her “wing-man”.

jason 17
Jason with his ever-faithful pet “Sweetie Pup”

Jason Hendrix was just a special person to everyone who knew him. He touched the lives of so many and that connection was never lost, no matter how many years had passed without contact. He held an unconditional love for people that was nothing short of astounding.   If he liked you, then you were his friend for life and he was fiercely loyal.

Just knowing Jason would change your entire outlook on life and make you appreciate the smaller things that many take for granted. He was like a breath of fresh air on a dark, stormy day and his enthusiasm for life was contagious.  But let me start at the beginning…

Jason was the youngest of the Hendrix children and he was always very close to his siblings, Amanda and Matt. When he was very young, Carol began to notice that Jason wasn’t progressing at the same level as her other children, but tried to reassure herself that every child is different. She spent extra time trying to help him develop skills, but this was a slow process.

When Jason started school, teachers noticed that Jason seemed to be having a hard time with learning concepts. They tested Jason and deemed him to be educably mentally retarded with their results. This was a label Carol refused to accept because she knew different in her heart. So, from the

Carol with her the Hendrix clan: Amanda, Matt and Jason
Carol with her the Hendrix clan: Amanda, Matt and Jason

time he was a young boy, Carol encouraged Jason to do the best he could at whatever he was doing and that’s just what he did.

The defining years for Jason came when he entered Oxford High School and was embraced by his fellow classmates. And as a result of being accepted for who he was, Jason really came out of his shell and really began to blossom. His personality took on a whole new route; he was happy and smiling all the time. He felt such love for people that it was nothing unusual for him to grab you and just swoop you into his big bear hug. Hence, the name “Huggins” was given to him.

jason oxford ballEverything Jason did, he pursued with such passion, that it inspired everyone around him. He found a great love for sports, most especially Alabama and Oxford High School football. Jason was never able to play sports in high school, but this didn’t stop him from being a part of it. He served as a manager for OHS, and upon graduating, he stayed with the Coaching Staff and was named an Honorary Coach. This was a position Jason took very seriously and it didn’t matter if you were his friend or not, he wasn’t going to let you slide with anything. So, if you made an error on the field, he was the first one to tell you about it. He was also the first one to go into the locker room for a pep talk before the game. In addition to football, Jason also coached the Girl’s Softball League with Oxford PARD and Upward Basketball at Grace Baptist Church.

Jason’s Uncle Bill Sprayberry, a retired U.S Air Force Chief Master Sgt had a profound effect on Jason’s life in a patriotic fashion. Every Memorial Day, Bill would take his nephew with him as he visited  the final resting place of friends and family who had served in the military. Bill  jason 20and Jason would say a few words at the headstone, place a flag, and then give a final salute. Because of his Uncle Bill’s tradition, Jason took on the heart of a true patriot, quite possibly one of best ones that ever walked the face of the Earth. It was a tradition that stuck with Jason long after his Uncle had moved away to Oklahoma. Each year,  his list of Veterans to honor grew longer, and he paid for the flags out of his own pocket. Jason has distributed these flags to numerous cemeteries that cover four counties, but most of them in Clay County.

Jason was a faithful employee of Oxford Walmart for almost 20 years and he made lots of friends there. If he saw you while working, he would always smile and come give you one of his signature bear hugs he was famous for.

this display was placed at each entrance of Oxford Walmart in honor of Jason
this display was placed at each entrance of Oxford Walmart in honor of Jason

I could go on for days and days about what a beautiful person Jason was, but unfortunately I don’t have enough room. He was just one of the most genuine people you would ever meet and because of that, he was loved and respected by all.

Jason was diagnosed with Leukemia in October 2013 and despite his brave and most valiant efforts, his Earthly body was  just not strong enough. He passed away on February 26, 2014 with his loving family by his side.

jason 3 A Celebration of Jason’s life was held and the church was bursting at the seams with those who loved him the most. Because of his patriotic service of distributing flags to those who had served in the military, his coffin was draped with an American Flag. At the head of Jason’s casket, lay the shadow box with the folded flag enclosed of his maternal grandfather, John F. Sprayberry, who also served in the military. This flag was also laid to rest with him. The following letter was read by Jason’s Uncle Bill at the ceremony:

Dear Carol,

I would like to respectfully return the enclosed American Flag in hopes you might consider letting it go with Jason. We all know Jason never had an opportunity to serve and wear the military uniform; however, he is none the less a Patriot in every aspect. His countless  jason 15hours of honoring our country, and those who served, by placing flags was his way of serving and offering remembrance.

As you know, this flag belonged to your father, mine and Jason’s Grandfather, a soldier and veteran, whom Jason loved and respected. It has been cleaned and pressed, and properly folded with respect and honor by two more family soldiers and veterans, myself and Caleb. 

I hope this token is received in the way intended, with love and respect.

Love, Bill

His favorite hymns were sang by his favorite group, Redemption Song and his Uncle Paul Sprayberry. Several spoke in his honor,

OHS team members serve as Honorary pallbearers
OHS team members serve as Honorary pallbearers

including his sister, Amanda, who gave a very courageous and touching eulogy that didn’t leave a dry eye in the house. It was a remarkable service  that brought both laughter and tears as memories of Jason were lovingly shared.

Upon exiting, the Oxford Yellow jackets football team, who also served as Honorary Pallbearers, stood as an Honor Guard on both sides of the hallway as Jason’s casket was wheeled out and the crowd that followed. A Flag Folding ceremony was performed by his Uncle Bill and another US Air Force Chief Master Sgt Billy Evans at the burial site.

Jason’s life here on Earth was cut tragically short, but his time here with us was about as good as it gets. He was always surrounded by

Jason with Carolyn
Jason with Carolyn

family and friends, loved unconditionally, worked hard and played even harder. Jason may have had a learning disability, but it was not something that defined him, nor did it defeat him. He was respected, admired, loved, and even envied at times. The lives he touched are  too many to count, and in the end that’s all that really matter…

Jason’s story should remind us that cancer does not discriminate. Relay for Life was close to Jason’s heart and each year, he purchased numerous luminarias in memory of loved ones who had lost their battle with cancer. The last year of his life, he lovingly gave his entire donation in memory of his dear friend, Carolyn Alderson Jackson, who he referred to as his sister.  So get involved with Relay for Life because you never know how close to home it can hit, or whose life you might save…

jason birthday for page

Thursday, April 24, would have been Jason’s 42nd birthday. Please pray for the Hendrix family as they cope with this tremendous loss.

 

 

 

 

Ashland Head Start Needs Your Help

By: Tammy Andrews

Ashland Head Start
Ashland Head Start

As a parent, you want your child to have every opportunity that’s available for them to get a great education that will lay the foundation so that one day, they too, will be able to adequately provide for their children as well. It’s called living the American Dream. But sometimes what we want and what we can afford are two different things.

In 1965, lawmakers saw there were needs out there for pre-school children living below the poverty level and stepped up. The Head Start program was pushed through the Senate at a vote of 95-0. Since then, this program has helped more than 24 million children, including more than 900,000 currently enrolled at present day.

But in order for this program to exist in Clay County, a location first had to be found. So in 1965, our local VFW Chapter offered to lease their vacant building on County Rd 31 for a very low sum a year. And the Ashland Head Start program was born.

For 40 years now, this program has enriched the lives on MANY children and their families. And because they were only paying $100 a month rent for the building, they were able to make numerous improvements and renovations to this facility.

Unfortunately, time goes by and the original VFW members who made the deal on this property have since passed on. So now all of the sudden, the State VFW members have discovered they have this property and greed is in their eyes.

At first, the VFW said they only wanted to raise the monthly rent to a whopping $1000 for this federally funded program. However, the story changed completely after a VFW representative was sent out to view this property and what they thought was just a hollowed out building. After seeing all the improvements and renovations, the representative said they were no longer interested in renting anymore, they now wanted to sell and their tenants were given 60 days to evacuate the property. These 58 children were not even going to be allowed to finish out their school year and graduate in mid-May.

Keep in mind, this representative has been the only face the AHS Staff has seen since all of this has transpired….

To add insult to injury, the VFW’s sale price was $100,000 and the improvements/renovations made throughout the years to this property was valued to be approximately $90,000. Here are just a few of the improvements that have been made:

  • partitioning to build classrooms
  • additional office space construction
  • fencing in the area
  • a new roof
  • an outer building for storage
  • playground equipment (which they are allowed to take)

 

 

Eviction seemed imminent and without an adequate location, the Ashland Head Start (AHS) program was in danger of closing their doors forever. But sometimes what seems like a bad situation can actually be a blessing in disguise with a LOT of hard work and effort…

Just last week I received confirmation the AHS has been granted use of the former Ashland Primary Building permission by Superintendent Garey Reynolds and the CCBOE, for the 2014-15 calendar year for an undisclosed amount. The rent will most likely increase from the amount they were accustomed to paying and will stretch the allowance of their annual budget, but will still be achievable. I commend the BOE for making this decision.

Also, because they are moving to a much larger facility, there are endless possibilities for this program to grow and prosper in the future to benefit our children and their families. For example, the student enrollment could not exceed 60 students in their present location due to space restrictions. A larger facility could mean a big expansion in the program with student enrollment and even more job opportunities.

Despite what some may think, this program provides a vital service to our county with their extended care program that runs from 6:00am-4:00pm. Because of this part of the program, working parents who are TRYING to earn a living can have the reassurance their children are safe, healthy and happy in a positive environment, while building their educational skills as an added bonus.

The legalities of this move are now in the process with contracts and such. It is unknown at this time what kind of legal action the Head Start program will pursue.

Now, here is where the hard work comes in and you can help…

When it comes times for the move in mid-May, AHS staff will be in DESPERATE NEED of volunteers in many areas in order to have this facility ready in time for the 2014-15 school year.

They are asking businesses, high school students, organizations, and any citizens interested for donations of the following:

  • Paint
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Vehicles to help move equipment, etc:
  • Window replacement
  • People willing to help assist with heavy lifting
  • Window replacement (not up to code)

Not only are your services needed, you can also play an important role in building a greater program. Through donation of your time and/or needed items, but your public service will be documented as In-kind dollars- meaning the more volunteer services this center has, the more federal funds this center can get, which will benefit this local program tremendously. Volunteering your time and efforts could build a bigger budget for this program, therefore will result in an increase in student enrollment. Anyone interested in any type of donations can call AHS 256-354-2553.

Clay County citizens have ALWAYS stepped up in times of great need and I can’t think of a better need than this one. I urge all of our high school teachers who are in the position to organize a “field trip” with your students to perform this community service. And any other organization who would like to be a part of building this program, please don’t hesitate to extend a helping hand. After all, the children are our future, and you never know how this program could enhance their lives….

I would just like to state for the record that I am APPALLED with this turn of events and I don’t care if it sounds harsh or not just because an organization ran by Veterans are to blame. It’s still wrong to turn such a beneficial government program out on the streets and even more so when it involves children. I also can’t believe that none of your national media is not exposing this for the terrible injustice that it is.  Wrong is wrong and it shouldn’t matter whose toes you don’t want to step on.

I would also like to note the state VFW’s eviction decision has nothing to do with our local VFW Chapter. In fact, Lineville VFW Commander Lonnie Schlosser, was quite surprised to hear of this eviction since no one from the State Chapter had even bothered to contact him. Schlosser paid a visit to the Head Start Director Helen Simmons expressing his sincere apologies.

 

Move Over Superman and Make Room for “CodyMan”

By:Tammy Andrews

Some people see having a special needs child as a burden, but they don’t call these kids “special” for nothing. The thing that makes children so special is their honesty,  pureness, and unconditional love they have for others. A typical child will lose these qualities over time, but a special needs child won’t. But if they are born to the right person, it is amazing what obstacles they can overcome. And that’s where special parents come in…cody 1

When Felicia Hamlet gave birth to her second child, Cody, she was alerted that something was amiss when she was unable to see him for almost two hours. After some time, the doctor came in to speak with her and explained to her that Cody had all the signs of Downs Syndrome. She didn’t cry or get upset at this news, she just asked to see her baby.

When she was finally able to hold her precious newborn son in her arms, she swore right then that she would do whatever she had to do to make sure her son had everything in this world that he needed to lead a normal life. At the time he was actually diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, the doctor explained to her that Cody may never walk or even talk, depending on the severity of his condition. But Felicia clung to her faith in God that Cody would surpass these barriers in life.

cody 2Cody would turn out to have a moderate case of Down’s on a high-functioning level.

As the years went by, Felicia and her husband never treated Cody any different than they did his siblings, Justin and Amy. He had chores just like his brother and sister and was always encouraged to do things for himself. Cody is your typical boy who loves to deer hunt and has killed several deer.  He loves video games and Subway pizzas. But most of all, he loves his family, who adore him as well.

Cody has an enthusiasm for life that is contagious to all of those around him and he gets excited over the slightest things. “Cody can get a new pair of shoes and he will run around in the yard swearing no one can catch him.”

A few months ago, Cody came to Felicia one night and asked “Mama, what’s wrong with me?” Felicia replied “Nothing’s wrong with you, Cody, God just made you special.” Not quite satisfied with her answer, Cody began asking questions about why he wasn’t doing the same things (such as classwork)as everyone else. So, for the first time in his life as a teenager,

This was Cody's first score. Not a dry eye in the house...
This was Cody’s first score. Not a dry eye in the house…

Felicia explained to Cody what it meant to be a person with Down’s. Felicia gave him details about his limitations in life and Cody listened intently. Afterwards, he seemed happy with his mother’s answers and never became frustrated with himself after that.

All of his life, Cody has always been in a special needs classroom until last Fall, when Cody was enrolled at Clay County Christian Academy as a basic curriculum 10th grade  student.  Felicia was apprehensive about this making this move, but decided to support Cody’s decision because he wanted to go to the same school where his sister went. But never is her wildest dreams did she ever imagine this change would bring about what she can only refer to as “the work of the divine hand of God”. She has been in awe of the change it has made in her son and couldn’t be happier.

“This has been the biggest blessing for him. His entire personality has changed, he has gained confidence in himself and is no longer shy outside his family. He talks to everybody, even complete strangers. Cody has been embraced by the entire school for the person that he is and is not treated any differently”, she says “and this is all I have ever wanted for him”.

cody and doonebuggyWhen Cody’s older brother Justin turned 16, it was a big deal. So, that’s all Cody could think about from that moment on. He couldn’t wait to get a truck. Felicia didn’t want to let Cody down by telling him this would never be possible, because she always taught her kids that no was not an option. So, on his 16th birthday, she took him to the DMV and explained to the lady that she wanted an Identification Card.

The staff treated him the same as they would anyone by telling him the rules of safe driving. Cody said “Oh, I would never do that, I let my mama do the driving”. When Cody finished getting his “license”, he walked out and everyone in the place stood up and clapped, high-fived and congratulated him. Cody’s present was a beautiful new dune buggy all decked out, complete with a tag that read “Codyman”.

Cody’s biggest dream has always to play basketball, and now that dream has become a reality, with the help of CCCA Coach Ricky Morgan and his teammates. Cody is an excellent shooter and frequently makes shots from the 3-point line. His teammates even call this “Codytime”.

“He is one of the most sincere and loving people you will ever meet, and I’m not just saying this because he is my kid either. He amazes and inspires me every day to be a better person. I have found him many times on his knees in his room just talking to God and praying for someone” says Felicia.  cody 7

What effect has being the mother of a special needs child made on her life…nothing but pure joy and enrichment. “I feel very blessed. Out of every mother in this world, God chose me to be his mother and I take that job very seriously. I will fight for him and support him in every way possible. I love all of my children and I can honestly say that being a mother  has made me a much better person, but being Cody’s mother has given me courage. I couldn’t be the woman I am today if Cody had not been born and none of us can imagine life without him.”

cody 6Please join Cody and his family in observing World Down Syndrome Day on Friday, March 21.