If anyone would’ve ever told me that we would have had an award-winning competition cheer and dance team in this county, let alone a state of the art dance studio, I would have probably laughed. But lo and behold if that hasn’t happened and they are taking it nationwide!
As we speak, Center Stage for the Arts Level 1 Competition Cheer Team Fusionis headed to Indianapolis where they will compete against 24 other teams from all over North America at the Jamfest Cheer SuperNationals. With the domination of just one event, Team Fusion was offered a full paid bid to this event, valued at over $3700 in registration fees paid for all members.
Under the direction of Instructors Kaci Cronin and Josie Bishop in their debut year, Fusion members have adopted a “Get Mad” policy, where they are not so much focused on the winning direction, but on teamwork and support of their fellow members. This has worked wonders for the students attitudes, as it has reflected in their synchronicity.
Center Stage owner Ivey Ezzell is confident that Fusion is more than ready for this competition and the results will show in the end ” We’re going in like a machine gun. These kids only had 2 weeks to learn this routine and they have it mastered. So much hard work and effort. The drive these kids have displayed is nothing short of inspirational”, she says.
So, join me in wishing these team members the best of luck as well as safe travels to the parents, coaches, and members. We just know you guys will kill it!
The Clay County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting to welcome Lineville’s newest business, Lineville Fitness.
Owner, Chad Robertson, also owner of Heflin Fitness, is very excited about being a part of Lineville and says he has already seen a tremendous response from the public. Lineville Fitness ( former Dollar General) is located on Hwy 9 N beside Dollar General and is looking for new members.
One-year contracts are just $30 a month, and just $15 extra to add a family member ( per member). You can also add a tanning package for $15 extra per month. The gym has 24 hour access to members only.
Lineville Fitness is now offering Zumba classes, with Anna Fables, on Tuesdays at 5:15 PM, at $4.00 per class for non-members and $2 per member: https://www.facebook.com/groups/197432773649211/. They are hoping to add a Spin class soon, as well as other classes they are looking into. Please call 256-201-1116.
There were two suspects involved in the December 29, 2015 robbery of Lineville Food Shop. DeQuarris Lollar was arrested on January 5, 2016 and is in Clay County Jail under a $100,000.00 bond. Warrants for the other suspect MarQuee Lollar were outstanding but officers were not able to immediately locate and arrest him.
Lineville Police notified the U. S. Marshal Service and requested their assistance in apprehending MarQuee Lollar as they believed him to be in the Birmingham area.
On January 6, 2016 around 5:30 pm the U. S. Marshal Service notified Lineville Police Department they had Mr. Lollar in custody and January 7, 2016, Lineville Police traveled to Jefferson County Jail and transported Mr. Lollar back to Lineville where he was processed and taken to the Clay County Jail where he is being held under $100,0000.00 bond.
Chief Giddens wanted to extend his appreciation to the U. S. Marshal Service for getting MarQuee Lollar into custody and praised his department for the effort and profession policing put into this case.
The Clay County Commission met Monday, January 11, 2016. The following Commissioners were present: Wayne Watts, Ray Milstead, Roy Johnson, and Ricky Burney. John Wheeles was absent.
A $30,000 grant, made possible through RC&D, was issued to help refurbish the Delta Community Center. These repairs included bathroom improvements and stabilization of the old gym area. Pictured here are Senator Gerald Dial, along with RC&D Executive Director Eddie May, Delta Community Center Club President Frank Sims, Jay Duke, who did the repairs, Commissioners and several others with the check presentation:
In addition to this presentation, another check for $10,500 grant, also made possible through RC&D was presented for the Community Garden project, headed up by. AHA Executive Director Stan Gaither. These funds were used for drilling a well for irrigation, etc. Gaither explained this project was for any low-income, elderly, or anyone interested in participating.
Watts reminded everyone to keep the family of 21-month old Eli Sims, who was battling Stage 4 Liver Cancer, in their prayers. Watts also recognized Clay County law enforcement for doing such a great job in apprehending the suspects in the armed robbery of Marathon Convenience Store recently.
Johnson gave his condolences to County Administrator Mary Wood, in the recent loss of two brothers. Johnson also mentioned County Engineer Jeremy Butler and his wife, who were returning from China to adopt a child.
Standing in for Butler was Assistant Engineer Keith Morrow, who gave an update on the roads that had sustained storm damage during the recent flooding.
Morrow explained the repair intent plan for Highland Rd and County Rd 31, to increase pipe size for better drainage. These repairs are estimated around $25,000. Some of the other roads that had attained damage were:
Oak Grove Rd
Center Hill Rd
State Lake Rd
Hidden Valley Rd
Woods Bottom Rd
All of these roads will be eligible for repair through FEMA if the damage is storm related. No roads are closed at this time. EMA Director Theresa Daughtery elaborated on this, saying that the county had exceeded the threshold of damage of $49,000 for the county, however the state threshold of $7 million, had not been met at this time, but they were hoping all the state figures would come in soon.
Burney mentioned the grant that had allowed them to get weather radios to the public a few years back and wanted to see about possibly trying to get a grant that would allow our resident to have a smoke detector in their home. Daugherty said she would check into seeing in there was funds through Homeland Security grants and would get back to him.
Sheriff Latham presented a 2015 year end budget which included the following:
Total Revenue for Housing of $260,000
Deputies responded to 8527 calls during the 2015 year
a total of 4 vehicles were purchased during the calendar year, at no cost to the county
Dianne Glenn from EARDPC was present to explain the requirements on the Mellow Valley Ball Field.
In 1977, grant funds were given to the Clay County Commission to purchase the 5 acres for the park, and make improvements, that included picnic shelter, sites, lighted softball lot, bleachers, tennis courts, septic tank, parking area, fencing, lighted tennis courts, landscaping, water, signs, concession stands, bbq grills, etc.
Glenn stated since this park was purchased with Land & Water Conservation funds to remain as outdoor recreation forever and it is the county’s responsibility to see that it is maintained and at this time it was not.
The state now expects the county to submit a corrrective plan of action to bring this park up to date, according the ADECA standards, along with a long-term plan to maintain in order to be able to receive any more funding for this park or any other recreational grant funds. As of now, no more grant funds will be issued for this park. Also, Ownership of this property cannot never be transferred either.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Last Saturday at this time, I was getting ready to attend the funeral services for the Myers/Burch family with a heavy heart. Pamala Burch Myers, beloved wife and mother, her son, 16 year old Michael Myers and Pamala’s brother, Todd Burch had all lost their lives in a tragic automobile accident on Dec. 26, 2015.
What did I know about this family? Absolutely nothing, although I did very vaguely remember the Burch family from my much childhood. But let’s face it, that was almost 40 years ago, and I have a terrible memory. But still I felt compelled to pay my respects.
I arrived to see the caskets being carried into the sanctuary by the Pallbearers. Three hearses at one funeral…the very thought was just heartbreaking.
As I entered the sanctuary at Ashland First Baptist, seeing those three caskets surrounded by beautiful flowers hit me like a ton of bricks. What a terrible, unexplainable loss this was to this circle of family and friends. How would they ever overcome this tragedy and fill the void of the presence of these fallen family members/friends once held in their lives? This was a worst nightmare…
My eyes were drawn to the soft glow of lights of the beautifully decorated Christmas trees that stood regally among the colorful flowers surrounding the caskets. And although these symbolic trees stood in essence of the Christmas season, it was also a sad reminder of how this family would never look at another holiday season the same.
As I sat among the crowded pews during this service, I learned more about Pamala, Michael, and Todd from those who knew them best and just hearing their stories made my heart ache for their loss. It was clear to see that the world had lost some amazing life warriors.
I learned that Robert and Pam had made the choice to bring Michael into their home at the age of six, and make him one of their own, making a profound impact on his life by showing him how good life could really be. Michael thrived in his new home and it showed. He was always smiling and preferred to be in his family’s presence, even when he reached his teenage years, a time when most kids find it “uncool” to be seen with family. Friends and family say that Michael was always inspiring and saw everything in a positive light.
Pamala was described as nothing short of an Earth Angel. Following in her mother, Shirley Burch’s footsteps, she chose to open her own salon, where she worked side-by-side with her mother every single day. Her presence was a vibrant and brilliant, as her she embraced each day with a new vigor. There was no such thing as a stranger to Pamala, just someone she hadn’t met, and she would waste no time in drawing you into her fold.
Her best friend, Lynn Young, shared a remarkable experience involving Pamala that captured the true essence of her life. In September 2015, Pamala witnessed a terrible car accident, involving a mother and her 15 yr old daughter, who was driving the vehicle. Due to her inexperience, The young driver had made a gross error in judgement resulting in a head-on collision. Her mother was seriously injured. Wasting no time, Pamala rushed upon the horrific scene and tore open the door where the mother lay unconscious and fading. With one hand, Pamala ripped the deployed airbag from her face and began literally screaming at the woman repeatedly, “Lady, I don’t know where you are right now, if you’re in that long tunnel or at those Pearly Gates, but you better get yourself back here, because your 15 yr old daughter can’t live for the rest of her life knowing that she killed her mother!” Details about the woman’s injuries weren’t given in this memory, but it was told that she was still alive today.
Todd’s Business partner spoke of how Todd, or James as he called him, had touched his life in the brief time that he knew him, referring to his as his brother. Todd was described as a “unrecognized genius” who had built an engine that ran solely off of hydrogen and was in the midst of sharing it with the world, instead of making money off of it.
As I left the service, I took one last look at the beautiful slate that sat on a table in the foyer with Pamala, Todd, and Michael’s smiling faces on it and said yet another silent prayer for this family’s journey from this point on. It would be a long, hard road ahead as they struggled to make sense and to cope with such a tremendous loss.
At the grave site, the three caskets lay side by side in preparation for eternal rest under the tent surrounded by family and friends was a heart-rending sight. The three doves that were released as a symbolic message seemed reluctant to leave as they leisurely strolled around the grave site. One sat atop the tent as those in attendance sang the “Amazing Grace” hymn. Shirley Burch said a tearful good-bye as she kissed each casket that held such precious cargo. She had lost everything, and although the thought that she would be re-united with them one day was reassuring, the painful reality of this moment was almost too much to bear.
So, what do we take from this senseless tragedy? We know that God’s plan is never something we should question, but at times like this, it was hard to do. But somehow, some way, there was a reason behind this tragic loss that is just a small piece of the Grand Design. Please remember this family in your prayers, as they take on a new existence. Their grief of this sudden loss will be a mountain to overcome. If anyone is interested in donating to the burial expenses, you can click on this link:
I would like to recognize Ellen Sewell, owner of the beautiful Brown Gables in Ashland, who so graciously took in the Burch/ Myers family during this time free of charge. Also, to Clay County Funeral Home for such a warm, lovely service.
Update: The second suspect, Marquee Devon Lollar,, wanted for the robbery of the Marathon Convenience Store is no longer at large. Lollar was taken into custody by the Lineville Police Department earlier today.
The following press release was issued by Lineville Police Chief Monty Giddens:
On December 29, 2015 at approximately 9:42 PM, two black males, both wearing face covering, entered Lineville Food Shop, located at 89395 Hwy 9, Lineville, Alabama. One of these men was armed with a handgun. One of the males jumped the counter and assaulted the cashier while the other male went around behind the counter. The two males stole money out of the cash register and other items behind the counter and exited the store.
Lineville Police Department responded to the scene, along with Clay County Rescue Squad, who transported the cashier to Clay County Hospital. Once the cashier was taken care of and clear of the scene, the police department began their investigation. Ashland Police Department and Clay County Sheriff’s Department both assisted Lineville Police Department at the scene.
Over the course of the next few days, Lineville Police Department continued their investigation and on January 4, 2016, secured a warrant for a residence at 60 McCrary Street Apt E7 and arrest warrants for Marquee Devon Lollar, a 20 year old male, for Robbery 1st Degree and Dequarrius Earl Lollar, a 21 year old male.
The morning of January 5, 2016, Lineville Police Department served the search warrant at 60 McCrary Street E7. Several items of evidence were seized at that time.
Dequarrius Earl Lollar was arrested the morning of January 5, 2016 by Hoover Police Department and arrangements were being made to transport him to Lineville Police Department, where bond was set at $100,000.00. Lineville Police Department have been unable to locate Marquee Devon Lollar at this time. The arrest warrants for him have been entered into the National Crime Investigation Center and all surrounding agencies have been notified.
Chief Giddens wanted to thank all agencies that assisted them in the investigation, but went on to explain this is a crime that should have never taken place because Marquee Devon Lollar was charged in Jefferson County in 2013 for Robbery 1st, Burglary 1st, and Theft of Property 1st. State Probation filed to have his probation revoked, but he was released and in June 2015, plead guilty to those charges and was released pending sentencing. October of 2015, he was arrested for Domestic Violence 2nd degree, which is a felony also, by Ashland Police Department and was released and ordered to re-appear in January 2016 and be drug tested again. Again, I emphasis, we should not be looking for this suspect, he should be in jail.
I understand this is not the only example of a person who should be in jail committing another crime and someone getting hurt. At some point, people have got to have enough and put pressure on our politicians and make them do something about the problem. It is the Police’s responsibility to protect the public, but it makes it really hard when there are no longer consequences to criminal behavior.
BOE accept resignations, open positions, and make new hires
The Board of Education met Thursday, December 17, 2015 for the monthly session. All members were present: Arthur Oliver, Greg Denney, Donald Harris, Blaine Lacy, and Shane Davidson ( Chairman), along with Superintendent Billy Walker.
A small group of concerned individuals were present to express their interest in attaining the former Vocational School Building on Oak Grove Rd. This was their second time to address the Board on this matter.
Rev. E Tramaine Solomon, Doris Allen, and Terry Heflin addressed the Board with their thoughts and outline of prospective plans for the building. Solomon served as Spokesperson on behalf of the Washington Heights community. Solomon stated the people of this community were hoping to see this historic building turned back over to the community because these citizens felt that it was at the heart of their community. Doris Allen also reiterated her reasons for wanting to see the building returned to this community. Davidson stated they would look at all avenues concerning this building and contact them in the future.
All financial statements for the month of November were approved. The end of month report showed Revenues were under expenditures by $94,000, leaving an unreserved balance of $547,000, which 46% of required one month operating expenses.
Discussion of these financial figures included being hopeful that Title II money coming from forestry that was never received last year would be in soon. The approximate amount was $50,000.
Meanwhile, Transportation Supervisor Michael Wayne Jordan reported the flex fuel allocation funds were helping cushion the financial losses in the general fund in other areas. Bishop asked the Board members to reach out to our Legislators about the lack of fleet renewal funds, which will eventually lead to being unable to purchase any new buses for a long time. ” Our fleet is old and we can’t afford to buy buses” said Bishop.
Last year, CCBOE bought only 8 new buses, which wasn’t even a quarter of how many were needed. At present time, the transportation dept. is receiving fleet renewal for 16 of the 36 buses in the fleet now. “None of old buses were sold last year declared surplus, which turned out to be a good thing”, Jordan explained, due to several major issues that had arose and they were having to put them all back in rotation, leaving no spare. Jordan also reported there were no spare handicapped buses with ramps, if a problem arises. ” Until the fleet renewal is fully funded, we’re kind of dead in the water as far as making any new bus purchases” said Jordan.
Fleet renewal funds only cover buses up to 10 years old, so as the buses age, funding for the older buses is no longer gotten. So, in turn, those buses older than 10 years lose $5000-$7000 dollars a year that could go towards buses that are supposed to be bought. There will be five buses rolling off the fleet renewal in the next five years, with no money to replace these buses.
“They’re not fully funding transportation. When your legislators say there’s money for education, they’re lying. Because if there is money there, then they wouldn’t be under-funding transportation.” said Walker, “We’re not the only county dealing with this issue either.”
Bishop did state that the state was making steps in the right direction in this area, but they’re not big enough steps.
On another note, Jordan said they had gotten a good report from State Inspections last month.
The following 19 personnel action items were approved with no discussion that included the following:
-Jeanette Lett – Teacher at Lineville Elementary School
– Jhon Vise – Technology Coordinator
-Elda Pumpelly -as Title I Long Term Substitute – January 5, 2015 through May 26, 2015
-Sonya Hurst – as teacher at Ashland Elementary
-Jennifer Ann Smith as Bus Driver beginning January 5, 2015
-Bruce Willis as Bus Driver beginning January 5, 2015.
Board members will be given the Policy concerning service animals for review and will be voted on at the next meeting. There are no students enrolled at present time who require a service animal at this time.
Christmas Holidays begin Monday, December 21, 2015. Teachers will return to school on Monday, January 4, 2016 and students on January 5, 2016.
The next Board meeting will be January 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm.
The next webinar for Board members will be February 11, 2016. No set time was given at the time.