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Culvert Replacements to take place on 3rd Avenue South in Ashland

A  Pre-construction meeting was  held Monday, October 26, 2015 for a Culvert Replacement project on 3rd Ave South within the Ashland city area.

Present at the meetings were Mayor Larry Fetner, Council members Beckie Boddie, Gail Thompson, and Bobbie Steed, Police Chief Joseph Stanford, City Maintenance Crews members, Ashland Water employees, and East Alabama Gas Representatives. Also present were Representatives from Webb Utilities, and  Nelson & Company Engineering Firm.

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This  meeting was to discuss a breakdown of what steps were entailed in this  project on 3rd Avenue South to begin soon. This contract was awarded to Webb Utilities for the sum of $75,550, overseen by Nelson & Company Engineering.  The purpose of the culvert replacements is due to the road sinking in these areas and is in danger of washing out.

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This project will require closure of the street during certain phases, allowing only local traffic during such times. This will affect water and natural gas customers at some point, but these details will be announced at a later date with future notice. Engineers also stated this would be a good time to replace/repair any water service connections.

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Asphalt will be replaced where is needed and will include the removal of one tree. Any school bus routes will have to re-routed during the ongoing on this construction as well.

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This project is said to take place within a few weeks and is anticipated to take a short time to complete, barring any unforeseen weather conditions.

 

Board of Education accepts resignation of AES Teacher; Hires Jr. High Math Teacher

The Clay County Board of Education met Thursday, October 22, along with Superintendent Billy Walker, for the monthly session. The following Board members were present: Shane Davidson, Arthur Oliver, Donald Harris, Greg Denney. Blaine Lacy was absent.

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This meeting was strictly business and all items were approved with no discussion.

  1. Approval of the agenda.
  2. Approval of the minutes from the September meeting.
  3. Approval to sign renegotiated contract provided by AASB for the Medical Administrative Claim Program. This renegotiation will result in a 50% reduction in the total fee paid for the Medicaid Administrative Claim Program.
  4. Approval to select a delegate and an alternate delegate for the 2015 AASB Delegate Assembly to be held December 3, 2015, in Birmingham. The Delegate chosen was Blaine Lacy with Greg Denney chosen as alternate.
  5. Approval of 33 Personnel Action Items, which included some of the following:
  6. The Board accepted resignations from the following:
        -Tammy Bowman as bus driver
        – John Luckie as bus driver
        – Brooke Spurlin as AES teacher
    -Open Position:  Elementary Teacher – Ashland Elementary   School. Contact Jared Wesley, Principal AES for more  information.
    – New Hire: Mr. Ben Endress as Jr. High Math Teacher at Central Jr. High.

 

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Reminders:

  • The next Board meeting will be pushed back to November 19, at 4:00 PM in the Board Room, due to the Thanksgiving Holiday falling on the regular meeting date.
  • School will dismiss 2 hours early for local schools on November 5, 2015 for Professional Development.
  • November 11, 2015 is Veteran’s Day and school will not be in session.
  • The December Board meeting has also been moved to December 17, 2015 at 4:00 PM in the Board Room, due to the Christmas holidays.

Ashland Council approve 2015-16 Budget

The Ashland Council, along with Mayor Larry Fetner, met Monday, Oct. 19 to discuss general city business. The following council members were present: Bobbie Steed, Gail Thompson and Becky Boddie.  Zeola Echols and Brad Wolfe were absent.

Chamber Director Tiffany Harrison Young was present to give her monthly briefing of the Chamber activities going on. Mrs. Young  reported the very first ” Learn for Life” workshop was held on Oct. 8, 2015. This class was a beginner Excel Class taught by Lisa Runyan, with 7 in attendance. The next workshop will be held on Nov. 14th from 9:30-11:30 am. This session is a self-defense class taught by Tony Tomlin and will take place at First Assembly of Ashland.  The “Learn for Life” is a series of workshops provided by the Chamber.

Chamber CEO Tiffany Young
Chamber CEO Tiffany Young

Young stated the Chamber would have a booth at Heritage Day, if anyone wanted to stop by. Young said she & some of the other Board members  would be at the Ashland’s Trunk or Treat acting as Judge on Oct 29th  and reminded everyone that Anderson’s Bistro ( former High Points Coffeehouse) would hold their grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony  the very same night at 5:00 PM. This concluded the Chamber briefing.

Thompson said she had met with a Representative of American Vault about putting a drive-thru window on the left side of the former PNC Bank. Thompson said the representative was unable to give a ballpark figure as to the cost, but it would be less than $15,000.

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Thompson also reported they had found an architect, who will work with the city for the interior  renovation plans of this building.  Thompson went on to explain some of the building changes that would have to take place in detail, such as making sure they were in handicap compliancy, etc.

Thompson neglected to give a cost estimate of this project, but she did say that she didn’t think it was going to cost as much as the ballpark figure the representative was giving because he hadn’t seen the building yet.

 

Police Chief Joseph Stanford mentioned the graphics were on the new Tahoe now and it was good to go. Stanford said he felt the fully operational and equipped, 2015 Chevy Tahoe, 2WD would be a good asset to the Department.

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Stanford also reported he had received a request from Central High Jr Ambassadors had requested to hold a hayride on the night of Trunk or Treat at Piggly Wiggly, with a route that would run around the cemetery. There was brief discussion about this in the form of liabilities.

City Administrator Chelsey Wynn informed everyone that  the Mayor and Council members had been invited to an Anti-Litter Presentation to be held at Ashland Elementary on Friday, Oct. 23rd, at 1:45 PM.

Maintenance Supervisor Jeremy Nash gave a detailed report on the many tasks the crew were working on, along with the completed ones, such as pressure washing sidewalks, cemetery and park repairs/maintenance. Nash expressed his appreciation to Mr. James Norred for donating the corn stalks used to decorate the Square. On this note, The Mayor thanked Robin and Chelsey for the festive Fall decorations in front of City Hall.

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After approval of the minutes and agenda, the meeting proceeded and all of the following items were approved.

2.  Approval of the 2015-16 Budget, which showed a $53,000 increase this year. These budget increases were due to the purchase of a $60,000 tractor, along with the new building payment of the former PNC Bank (soon to be City Hall) of $60,000 per year. Fetner commended Wynn and Catrett for their hard work they put into this budget.

3. Approval to pay Stan Nelson, of Nelson and Company the sum of $4980.00 for Engineering Services on 3rd Avenue culverts.

4. Approval to award Contract 297D1,  Replacement of Culverts on 3rd Ave S. to Webb Utilities for $75,550.

 

5. Approval to expand Court Clerk Robin Catrett’s job description and add the title of Assistant City Clerk.

6. Approval to allow City Clerk Administrator Chelsey Wynn and Court Clerk Robin Catrett to attend training on Procedures for holding Municipal Elections on November 18, 19, 20 and reimburse them for travel expenses.

7. Approval to allow Chief Joseph Stanford to attend Chief’s training on Nov. 5-6th at University of North Alabama and to reimburse him for travel expenses.

8. Approval to Accept low bid of $46,360.00 for roofing repairs for the post office, waterworks building, fire station, concession restrooms, and City Hall.There were three bids altogether but the Low bid came from Jones Roofing.

9.  Approval to Re-appoint Gerald Boddie to the position on the Water Board of Directors. Council member Becky Boddie abstained from this vote.

Old Business

The city agreed to enter into Contract with Clay County Animal Shelter to house any nuisance animals reported at a rate of $500 a month effective immediately upon signing the contract.

The following Resolutions were adopted:

  • Resolution No: 10-19-01-2015- approving the City of Ashland’s Participation in Severe weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday for 2016.
  • Resolution No: 10-19-02-2015- Adding authorized signer Vicky Shaddix to Ashland Senior Center’s bank account at First State Bank.
  • Resolution 10-19-03-2015- Approval of 3rd Avenue Project for $75,500.

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Reminder: The City of Ashland’s Trunk or Treat will take place on the Ashland Square from 5-8 PM on Oct. 29th. 

The City of Ashland will have a Veteran’s Day program at 10:00 on Nov. 9th at the Ashland City Park. There will be an unveiling of the Mike Beale Pavilion just prior to the Ceremony.

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Lineville Council discuss upcoming events

The Lineville City Council met Monday, Oct. 19, 2015 for their regular scheduled bi-monthly session with all members present. The agenda for this meeting was a short one.

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Chamber CEO Tiffany Young

Chamber Director Tiffany Harrison Young was present to give her monthly briefing of the Chamber activities going on. Mrs. Young  reported the very first ” Learn for Life” workshop was held on Oct. 8, 2015. This class was a beginner Excel Class taught by Lisa Runyan. There were 7 in attendance. The next workshop will be held on Nov. 14th from 9:30-11:30 am. This session is a self-defense class taught by Tony Tomlin and will take place at First Assembly of Ashland.  The “Learn for Life” is a series of workshops provided by the Chamber.

Young also discussed the possibility of holding another movie night in December, featuring a Christmas movie, but were waiting to see how the football season goes for the Volunteers. This concluded Young’s briefing.

Council members voted to approve the appointment of Joan Foster to the Library Board. This recommendation, made my Council Member Carolyn Smith, comes after the recent resignation of Mrs. Jordan. The vote was unanimous.

Lineville Council

Council members discussed the finalization of details of Heritage Day weekend. This year, Heritage Day falls on Saturday, October, 31st with the Clay County Car Show/Swap Meet the following Sunday, Nov. 1st in the Lineville Park. The Swap Meet is also on Saturday, the 31st as well. This is the biggest weekend of the year for the city,

Also discussed was the upcoming annual Christmas Parade for the city. This event will be held on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 6:00 PM. This year’s Grand Marshal will be Meg McGuffin,  Miss Alabama 2015.  McGuffin placed 4th Runner-Up in the 2016 Miss America pageant.

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Miss Alabama 2015 Meg McGuffin

Reminder: Halloween will be recognized in downtown Lineville on Thursday, Oct. 29 from 5:00-7:00 PM. Several businesses will welcome trick-or- treaters during this time.

This concluded the agenda. With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

 

 

 

 

Qualifying Candidates for March Primary Grows after Democratic Meeting

Oct. 14th Democratic Meeting
Oct. 14th Democratic Meeting

Incumbent District 1 Commissioner Wayne Watts was the first one to qualify at  the Clay County Democratic Party meeting last night for the March 1, 2016 Primary Election. Watts has 3 terms under his belt and said he was going to seek office one more time before hanging up his political shoes. “Three things I know, I was born a Watts, a Baptist, and a Democrat and those things will never change,” Watts says with a smile.

Watts poses as Notary Grace Wood
Watts poses as Notary Grace Wood

Watts was one of two who qualified last night. Incumbent  Roy Johnson also threw his hat in the ring for a second term in the Commissioner Race, District 2.  Several others took home paperwork for qualifying, but remain undecided at this time.

Commissioner Roy Johnson, District 2 addresses the crowd
Commissioner Roy Johnson, District 2 addresses the crowd

The primary election will include the following positions for Clay County:

  • District Attorney, 40th Judicial Circuit (Clay-Coosa)
  • All County Commissioners ( District 1-5)
  • Clay County Superintendent of Education
  • Clay County Board of Education, Districts 2 & 5

Qualified candidates for both parties are as follows at this time:

Clay County Superintendent of Education

  • Billy Walker-Republican (Incumbent)
  • Karen Carr-Republican

Clay County Commissioner, District 1

  • Wayne Watts-Democratic (Incumbent)
  • Bennie Morrison-Republican

Clay County Commissioner, District 2

  • Roy Johnson-Democratic ( Incumbent)
  • Donald Harris-Republican

District Attorney, 40th Judicial Circuit

  • John Keith Warren-Republican
  • Amy Newsome-Republican
  • Jeff Willis-Republican

The filing deadline for all qualifying candidates is Nov. 6, 2015.  The primary election will be held March 1, 2016.

Anyone interested in qualifying information can contact:

  • Clay County Republican Party Chairman-  Eddie Branch
  • Clay County Democratic Party Chairman- Sheriff Ray Latham

 

Millerville Accident Results in One Injury

A One-vehicle accident in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, Oct. 15  resulted in one injury. The accident occurred on Hwy. 148 in the Millerville area around 2:00 AM.

The sole occupant, Barry Wilson, age 42, of Talladega was injured when he lost control of the 95′ Nissan Altima he was driving, striking multiple trees.

Clay County Rescue Squad transported Wilson to Coosa Valley Medical Center. There is no word on his condition at this current time.

Ashland Fire Dept. Battle Early Morning Residential Home Blaze

An early morning fire did extensive damage to the home of an Ashland resident. Ashland Fire Department was paged out around 2:00 am this morning for a structure fully engulfed with smoke at the address of 772 3rd Street SW. There were no flames visible at the time of the call, but a blaze did erupt later. The damage to the home was extensive, if not a complete loss.

AFD responded with 3 trucks and 8 men, who fought the blaze for approximately 2.5 hours before fully extinguishing it. AFD Fire Chief Brett Thompson reported the cause of the fire has not been determined yet. There were no injuries reported.

 

Arrest made in Fatal Shooting of Sylacauga man

An arrest has been made in the shooting death of a Sylacauga man that occurred on Oct. 1st.

Austin Shane Bonner, age 18 from Goodwater has been charged with fatally shooting Josh Bearden, age 35, during a domestic altercation. Bearden was found in his vehicle shot to death on Settlement Rd, on the outskirts of Sylacauga.

Bonner turned himself in at the Talladega County jail on Tuesday night, but has already bonded out at current time. His bond was set at $100,000.

Clay County Commission approves new Farmer’s Market Rental Agreement

The Clay County Commission met for their regular planning and general bi-monthly session on Tuesday, October 13, 2015.

Planning Meeting

Commissioners Wayne Watts, Roy Johnson and Ray Milstead ( also Chairman) were present for this session.

Commissioner Roy Johnson presented Beverly Latham and Michelle Lacy, representing the newly established Clay County Animal Shelter, with a significant donation of dog food to the shelter, with promises of more to come on a monthly basis. The donor has preferred to remain anonymous. Mrs. Latham was excited with the donation and had nothing but kind words to speak of the people of Clay County who had donated generously to the shelter’s needs since the opening date.

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Mrs. Latham stated that 151 animals had been brought in to the shelter since opening in mid-September.Mrs.  Latham also reported that all workers came on a volunteer basis and there was no paid staff. She invited everyone to come view the facility.

County Administrator Mary Woods reported that the extension office has called to see if they could have the DMV office, currently being closed due to state cutbacks in this area. Milstead said it was fine with him since the driver’s license guy wouldn’t be coming anymore on Wednesdays. Watts said it couldn’t be voted on at the moment, because he was hoping it would be a temporary thing.

Commissioner Wayne Watts
Commissioner Wayne Watts

Watts said he was disappointed with this closure because a lot of children and adults have to travel to another county for road tests and permits due to overcrowding on the one day a week when a Trooper was there.  “Hopefully, the state would get their act together. I haven’t been very pleased with the way this process has went for some time now” stated Watts.

Johnson said they needed to find out if this was going to be temporary or permanent, because if it became available again, they would need it. This part of the building has been closed since the state announced numerous closures in DMV divisions all over the state of Alabama.

New Business

A new Farmer’s Market Rental was given to the commissioners to review for their consideration to be voted on at the regular meeting.

Clay County Engineer Jeremy Butler had presented the commissioners with a report on the ATRIP’s Impacts for Clay County. Milstead commended Jeremy for his hard work on this. Milstead also noted there had been questions as to why certain roads were paved and some not. Milstead pointed out that the State were the ones who came out and evaluated the roads to decide which ones needed resurfacing the most. Milstead and Johnson both remarked the paving jobs that were done thus far were excellent work. The ATRIP report provided the following information:

  • ATRIP investments has produced over 39 miles of road improvements in Clay County
  • $4.8 million in improvements delivered in over a 3-yr period is the equivalent to over 9 years of normal federal allocations received by the county
  • The road projects have directly impacted over 1450 residents living along the county routes with ATRIP improvements
  • Improvement of the mobility of over 23 school buses carrying approximately 669 students
  • Sustainment and job creation for 9 contractors

It is estimated that citizens of Clay County received an estimated benefit of $25 million due to the ATRIP investments on the 10 County projects.

Below is a breakdown of the improvements made on County Rd 5 in Clay County:

  • Resurfacing project investment of $886,356.34 of 100% federal funds to provided needed roadway maintenance and safety improvements
  • Over 80 homes, 5 churches and 2 businesses benefited from these improvements
  • Harkins, Liberty Hill, Bluff Springs, and Mt. Zion communities benefited
  • Improved access to 2,286 acres of timber land ( with property values exceeding $4.6 million)
  • Improves access to 479 acres of farm land ( property values exceeding $1 million)
  • Total of 6,441 miles of improvements made possible through ATRIP that could not have been funded with current revenue streams

General Meeting

Commissioner Wayne Watts, Ray Milstead, Roy Johnson and Ricky Burney were all present for this session. This was a very short meeting due to a small agenda.

 

Before the new Farmer’s Market agreement was put to a vote, Commissioner Watts made the suggestion to possibly have the EMA employees on duty to oversee and monitor any post-event inspection for convenience, so there was no need to have to call a County employee in to inspect. He  stated the county had spent a lot of money on remodeling this facility and felt by handling everything in-house, the whole process would run a lot smoother.

com 2Burney agreed with Watts and the vote was unanimous to accept the Rental Agreement. The motion was made to accept by Watts, with a second by Burney.

new rental agreement
new rental agreement

One of the new stipulations of the rental agreement was an rent increase for local events from $100 to $150 a day, and a $50 refundable deposit, with out-of town individuals paying $250 a day, and a refundable $50.00 deposit.

 

Local Citizen completes Chicago Marathon in honor of Kara Hay

45,000 runners set out to complete the notorious Chicago Marathon on October 11, 2015, but only 37,000 crossed the Finish Line. One of those 37,000 was Steve Smith, of Ashland, AL. Smith has been in training for this marathon for well over a year, participating in many local events along the way. Many afternoons you could see him out running at Central High School, as well as a couple more places, training for 26-mile trek.

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His mission was one of faith and endurance. So, he chose a special t-shirt he had gotten when he ran the “In It to Win It” race in memory of Kara Hay last year because to him , it said it all.  Written in bold letters of a brilliant blue across the front were the words “Finishing with Faith”. Across the back was a cross with Kara’s favorite scripture from 2 Timothy 4:7 ” I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

For those of you not familiar with Kara Hay’s story, she fought a very brave and courageous battle with Cystic Fibrosis, but sadly passed at the tender age of 20 in 2010. Her life may have been cut short in years, but the life in her years were ones filled with inspiration and laughter, for Kara never let her diagnosis define her. She was “In It to Win It”, she would say, and even in the very end, she still felt that she was a winner.

Kara Hay

Smith never knew Kara, but he was very aware of her life story. This was just part of the reason he chose to honor her memory in an event he had been training for over some time. Isn’t it strange how a life can be touched by one person who never even met? To me, it’s just one of life’s purposes, for you never know when you are being an inspiration to others.

On a footnote, I would like to say that I don’t know Smith personally, but I saw him a couple of times running at CHS. I had decided I needed to start back walking for my health and wanted to gradually transistion over to running. Something that never happened, I might add, lol. But the first time I saw Smith running, I noted that he had been out there for an hour and hadn’t stopped. I yelled out to him one time when we met up and said ” You’re my hero! I could never do that.”. He said ” Sure you can. All it takes is a little practice.” Words to live by…

Congratulations to Mr. Smith on this amazing accomplishment and thanks for representing Clay County in such a positive and inspirational light!

Read Kara’s story here: http://www.claycountyweb.com/articles/remembering-kara/