Tag Archives: clay county

Good news for Ashland Head Start

By: Tammy Andrews

This Head Start program were to be evicted from a building they have occupied for over 40 years in less than three weeks and closed permanently, without even allowing the 58 student enrolled to finish out the 2013-14 school year. But don’t count them out just yet…. this cowardly eviction might just turn out to be a blessing in disguise after A LOT of time and effort and most of all, hard work.

Ashland Head Start
Ashland Head Start

I have confirmed the Ashland Head Start program has been given permission by Superintendent Garey Reynolds and the CCBOE use of the former Ashland Primary Building for the 2014-15 calendar year for the price of $300 a month. This amount will be a 33% increase over the amount they had been paying, and will stretch the allowance of their annual budget, but will still be achievable.

The State VFW has agreed to allow the 58 students now enrolled to remain in their building until the 2013-14 school draws to a close in mid-May.

To my knowledge, the state VFW’s eviction decision has nothing to do with our local VFW members.

The Ashland Head Start has been leasing the VFW building for almost 40 years now. In the beginning, this one building was nothing more than hollow walls. Throughout the years, the improvements to this building included:

  • 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)

These improvements total somewhere in the vicinity of $90,000. The VFW is asking a selling price of $100,000.

Keep in mind that these VFW members were not even aware these improvements had even been made and were asking $1000 monthly rent from AHS. However, the entire story changed when they sent a representative out to view the property. After seeing these improvements, the AHS Director was informed by the representative they were no longer interested in renting, and had decided to sell. The students and staff were given 60 days to evacuate. This representative has been the only face they have seen, none of the state VFW members will come out to speak to anyone with this program.

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)

And the list goes on and on…

All of these people and items needed will not be a paid service, 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. With the current space they have now, the Head Start program is only allowed 60 students, but moving into a larger facility could mean a big expansion in the program with student enrollment and more job opportunities.

Clay County citizens has 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. So, all of you politicians and county officials, it’s time for you to step up…  After all, the children are our future, and you never know how this program could enhance their lives….

Anyone interested in making a donation can contact Ashland Head Start 256-354-2553 and speak with Helen Simmons.

Watts brings the American Pickers to Clay County

By Tammy Andrews

pickers 1 I spent all day Monday at Commissioner Wayne Watts’ “office space” in Lineville, better known on Facebook as “Wayne’s World of Watt-Nots ”, where the American Pickers had chosen to visit and film an upcoming show. This was a very interesting day for me and I thank Wayne for allowing me to be a part of it. I enjoyed meeting Mike and Frank, along with several other people who were along for the ride too. This was such a unique opportunity for our county and could possibly open doors along the way.

I’ve always said we have something special here that outsiders aren’t aware of unless they have had the chance to taste it for themselves. My favorite quote from the movie Doc Hollywood is “You don’t see a lot in town of Grady, but what you see you never forget”. Well, that’s the way I feel about Clay County, and so does Wayne Watts. This man loves everything about this county and goes above and beyond on a daily basis to promote growth and breathe new life into it. Not the kind of growth that would attract a large shopping mall, but the kind of life that would help us find our “niche” to promote tourism while preserving our small town heritage all at the same time. pickers 3

It wasn’t Wayne’s idea to bring the American Pickers here, but he wasn’t going to turn it down because he knew this could be a great thing for this county. Wayne is always searching for ways to put Clay County in the limelight in a positive fashion so he, too saw this as a unique opportunity. Wayne was all smiles all day long because he knew the citizens were really enjoying the national exposure. He made sure to tell everyone “This is not about me, this is for Clay County”.

Wayne’s lists of priorities runs like this: God first, family second, and Clay County third. He has served in law enforcement for many years, owns a successful construction company and is a County Commissioner. As a Commissioner, you won’t find anyone who works any harder. Wayne’s nose is to the grindstone every day. And in times of crisis, you will either find him somewhere extending a helping hand or at the EMA Office helping direct calls.

DSC_0186 Many days and weekends you will find him at his office space adorned with priceless treasures he has sought out and restored over the years and he can tell you specific details about every single item. Most of these items hold deep sentimental value to him as he does his best to preserve as much of Clay County history as he can.

You won’t find anyone else who has attained as much history knowledge of this county than Wayne. This is mostly due to Wayne paying special attention to some of the old timer’s stories when he was younger who have since passed on. watts klayCollecting and preserving these artifacts has become his passion and as his collections grow in numbers, he hopes to expand his “museum” of sorts one day, where visitors are always welcome.

Wayne Watts is one of the biggest assets Clay County has and I hope everyone here can see and appreciate that. So, next time you see him, be sure to thank him for everything he does for the betterment of our county. He will most likely blow it off as no big deal, but I know deep down, it would mean a lot to him. God Bless you, Wayne!