911 Building Purchase turns into heated discussion at Commission meeting

The Clay County Commission met Monday, December 14, 2015 for their December session. All Commissioners were present: Wayne Watts, John Wheeles, Ray Milstead, Roy Johnson and Ricky Burney.

911 Board members Monty Giddens and Mark Carr were present at the Planning session to update the Commission on the status of their new building purchase of the former Benefield Monument Company on South Park Rd in Lineville.

911 Board Officer Monty Giddens
911 Board Officer Monty Giddens

Giddens stated he felt the move was necessary to better secure 911 Operators and equipment.  The building will be updated and renovated. The moving process will take some time, as contractors will begin working soon on the renovations.

Giddens explained there would be no lapse or down time in 911 Operations during this move, as one station will continue to operate as normal in the Farmer’s Market facility, where 911 is housed now.

911 Board Officer Mark Carr
911 Board Officer Mark Carr

The same towers will be used for the new location, as the move will only be approximately a quarter-mile from the Farmer’s Market and are still in the line-of-sight with the same quality without being moved.

New renovations that will take place at the new facility will include a safe room/bunker for the dispatchers and a fenced in area. Although this purchase process is still in the works, the 911 Board was hoping to get the Commission’s blessing on this move. This subject got a little heated at the general session, when a vote was taken to approve the move, although this was not a unanimous vote.

Future home of Clay County E-911
Future home of Clay County E-911

Johnson stated he was not necessarily all for the move, but since it was already in the works, he did make the motion to authorize the move to the former Benefield Monument Company location. Wheeles concurred that he felt the same way, but did move to second. Burney wanted it put on record to state that the County Commission and would not be funding this move, as the 911.

Johnson inquired of Administrator Woods if this move would have any bearing on the monthly utility bill at the Farmer’s Market. Woods stated the county would miss the $500 in rent paid monthly by 911, but would make up for it in utilities.

Burney explained 911 and EMA were normally together in a centralized location, and wondered if there would be any lapse in emergency situations. Burney said EMA Director Daughtery would still be able to attend these meetings, as stated in the bylaws,which should suffice.

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Commissioner Watts was against this move and voted “No”. When asked by Burney to explain his reasoning behind his vote, Watts stated he would not elaborate at this time, but he would address the subject in due time. Watts did however, explain that 911 and EMA agencies should be together in a Central Dispatch in order to ensure citizen safety with prompt reporting of any ongoing emergency situation.

” I have other reasons I will address soon, but I’ve been behind the scenes for a long time and I don’t think this will flow right. I do my best to keep everyone informed with what’s going on from reporting downed trees and answering phones. I do whatever is needed at the time. This won’t work”, said Watts, “My other reasons will soon be made public.”

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The following items on the agenda were approved with some discussion at the general meeting.The agenda had to be amended to include the 911 Building move, due to confusion that the topic had already been discussed at the Planning session and no vote was needed. 

  • Approval of the 911 Building move was made, but was not an unanimous vote. Watts voted ” No”. See above discussion for more details.
  • Adopted a Resolution approving the purchase of a new Dump Truck. The 2016 model will replace the 2007 model that was destroyed in an accident over the summer. The cost of the new truck will be $136,000, exceeding the insurance limit paid by $56,000, which will be financed by First State Bank. 
  • Approval to award the Courthouse Roof bid to  Hinkle Roofing out of Birmingham, AL. Hinkle was the lowest bidder out of three, at a sum of $73,000 and proved to have a solid reputation. Hinkle also added a guarantee to replace any electronics in the event there ever any construction related damages. Even though this was approved, there was discussion brought to the table by Commissioner Watts with concerns of making certain this project was performed correctly to prevent future problems. Watts felt a representative of the county should perform daily evaluations onsite to ensure quality work. Watts and Milstead both said they would be checking in regularly, and possibly more would be there on a daily basis.
  • Approval to change the name of the Ashland Water Works & Sewer Board. The Charter name was The Water Works & Sewer Board of the town of Ashland and over the years had gotten shortened throughout the years. General Manager Brent Wheeler  said the name change was necessary to keep all the documents in an orderly fashion. The name will be now be known as the Ashland Water & Sewer Board.
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Ashland Water General Manager Brent Wheeler

The meeting was then adjourned. A work session will take place Tuesday, December 21.


Millerville Family Loses Everything in House Fire

Saturday, Dec. 5th- This holiday season won’t be the same for a Millerville family, but they are learning a valuable life lesson in the process of what it means to live in the Volunteer County.

James and Arley Hoppe hadn’t been gone from their home very long on this fateful day when they received one of the worst calls you can get…and one that would change their lives forever. Their home was gone, along with all their worldly possessions, including their children’s Christmas presents. A blaze had erupted in the home after they left, and despite Millerville Fire Department’s best efforts, burned to the ground. All they had left was what was on their backs…and no home insurance. Like many of us,  The Hoppe family work hard and live from paycheck to paycheck.


The Hoppe family are staying with family members at the present time, while they save every penny they can get for some means of a new home. Meanwhile, they are overcome with appreciation for the numerous donations they have had from family, friends, and even strangers. “It’s just so overwhelming and I know I sound like a broken record, but I am just so thankful to everyone who has helped us” says Arley. And even though they lost all their material possessions, they are eternally grateful that their family is together.

The cause of the blaze is unknown, but the Hoppes believe it could have originated in a used window unit they had purchased a short time ago.  If anyone is interested in donating to this family in need, please see clothing sizes below, or call 256-354-2100 or 256-354-9914.

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Ashland Council Discuss Parade, recent mishaps; hire dispatcher

Ashland Council and Mayor Larry Fetner met Monday, December 7 for their regular bi-monthly meeting.

The first item of business was the swearing-in of Joe Smith, who was appointed to District 1 Council Seat at the special called session on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. Zeola Echols had resigned from this position after her recent change of residence fell out of this district.

District 1 Council member Joe Smith
District 1 Council member Joe Smith




Ashland Fire Chief Brett Thompson gave a detailed report on the success of the Christmas parade, stating that he was very pleased with the turnout. He also stated they were hoping to add to the festivities for next year’s event.

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Police Chief Joseph Stanford reported minor traffic problems during the parade and the procession was a little over a mile long. Prior to the parade, permission was requested for persons on horses to participate in the parade, and was not granted, due to problems in previous years. Stanford explained that  somehow these horse riders  got on the tail end of the parade and rode the route without permission.

Stanford also invited everyone to future APD Officer Michael Harris’s Graduation from the Police Academy and encouraged everyone to attend. Stanford said Harris had really done well and he was very proud of him.

City Clerk Chelsea Wynn was pleased to report the audit was finished last week and went well.

Maintenance Supervisor Jeremy Nash reported on tasks his crew was taking care of, such as gutter cleaning, cutting of the right-of-ways. Nash also reported there had been a couple of accidents that had taken place on city property in the past few weeks. One of these accidents involved a column at the Water Department that was knocked down when a person misjudged their distance at the drive-thru. The second was a light pole that was knocked down at the rear entrance of the Post Office. Nash also thanked the Police Dept. for the help of traffic control in a couple of trees that had recently fallen, due to all the rain we had received recently.

Nash also reported they had a couple of offers on the tractor for sale, but felt they were too low to accept at this time.

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Chamber Director Tiffany Young was present to give a report on November activities within the organization and new members. Young was also pleased to report the Chamber was closer to getting an Office Building. Young explained the EDC would meet on Dec. 17th to discuss the option of renting or buying a building and was hopeful to be in Office by February or March.

The following items on the Agenda were unanimously approved:

  • Approval to pay bills
  • Approval of previous planning meeting and general session minutes
  • Approval of a one-time uniform allowance for Ashland Fire Department in the amount of $1800
  • Approval to hire Holly Smith as part-time dispatcher at Ashland Police Department with a starting date of 12-08-15 at a pay scale of R9S1 $8.21 hourly. Stanford stated that with the hiring of Smith would offset the overtime hours being paid out now and save the city a lot of money in the long run. Smith had met with the Council at the Planning session and stated that she was eager to work, and could accommodate any hours needed.
Holly Smith
Holly Smith
  • Approval to allow Mayor Fetner at negotiate a price for the City Hall Annex at the appropriate time someone expresses interest in the future.
  • Approval allowing Robin Catrett, Court Clerk for the City of Ashland and Donna Mathews, Court Clerk for the City of Lineville to act as a backup Magistrate for each Municipal Court on as needed basis. Catrett explained this was due to having only one Magistrate per jurisdiction, and there were times when the other was unavailable, whether due to sickness, out-of-town, or vacation.
  • Authorize Mayor to sign letter to Wellborn Cabinets,  concerning grants for several different things.
  • Approval to Renew court software for Magistrate in the amount of $1800

The meeting was then adjourned.




Mike Beale Pavilion Unveiled

mike bealeFriends, family, and city officials gathered at Ashland City Park on Monday, December 7, 2015 to witness the dedication and unveiling of the Mike Beale Pavilion.

Ashland Mayor Larry Fatner spoke only kind words in honor of his fallen friend. Beale passed away suddenly in a tragic lawn mower accident on July 22, 2012.

Beale was a member of the Ashland Council and Ashland Water Board, as well as other organizations. He was also very instrumental in the construction of this pavilion.

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Lineville Council hear presentations, address rumors of former Twin Oaks Property

The Lineville City Council, along with Mayor Roy Adamson met Monday, December 7, 2015 to discuss general city business.

Planning Session

Clay County Animal Shelter Beverly Latham was present to address the Council with an update on how things were going at the Shelter. Latham reported they were making progress at the Shelter, with the help of volunteers, donations, and local businesses. Latham also reported that over 200 animals had been through the Shelter since the doors open in early September to be registered and tracked by the Shelter. Latham explained with Shelter in bordering counties closing, they tried very hard to maintain strict guidelines and good operating standards.

Beverly Latham Addresses the Council

Adamson told Latham the city wanted to help and were looking for ways to make a contribution to the Shelter, but since their funds were limited with already passing the yearly budget and thought about possibly sending people to the Shelter who needed to serve community service as a possible outlet.

City Administrator and City Court Magistrate Donna Mathews explained there had been some ongoing issues with the Circuit Clerk’s Office not wanting to be responsible for issuing city warrants on the rare occasions when Mathews was on vacation or out of town. Mathews went to explain that since this was an issue with Ashland as well, she and Ashland City Clerk Robin Catrett were requesting of the Ashland and Lineville Councils to appoint Catrett as Backup Magistrate for Lineville and Mathews as Backup Magistrate for Ashland so that in the event one of them were out of town, the other could fulfill the duties at hand, at no extra expense to the cities.

Former Twin Oaks Building

With rumors circulating about the possibility of an alcohol/drug rehab facility going in at the former Twin Oaks building, Mayor reported it was still unclear what was going on at this location at this time. Adamson stated they had discovered the property had been sold, but they had not been able to find out who the new owners were or what their intentions were for the facility. Adamson said they were having a hard time catching anyone at the facility to provide any information. “Eventually we will get answers” said Mayor.



Lonnie Schlosser, Commander of Lineville VFW Post 9581, was present with inquiries and pledges of help with any needed maintenance of the Veterans Memorial park just inside the Lineville City Park. Schlosser stated that even though their resources were limited, they will willing to help with any maintenance tasks at hand. Mayor thanked him for his offer and told him that the City Maintenance Crew did the majority of the upkeep. Schlosser commended the committee/persons responsible for the Memorial Park, stating that he had been to many small towns Veterans Parks and that Lineville should be proud of the one we have because it was very impressive.

Lonnie Schlosser

Mayor and Mathews told Schlosser they had several calls and people come to City Hall with money to have the names put on the Wall of Honor in the Veterans Park. Schlosser said he was told Jerrold Denson was the go to guy with the names, but he would be glad to be the contact person for this need.  Schlosser said that there was no more room for names on this wall and a new monument was needed. He said he had been in contact with Almond Memorial and they gave him a quote of $1600 for a new one.

Chamber Director Tiffany Young was also present with the November monthly briefing regarding new members, upcoming events, etc. Young thanked the city for helping with movie night and getting the park ready for it. Young reported this night was a success with over 65 in attendance, despite the cold.

Tiffany Young addresses the Council

Adamson asked Young if the Chamber was getting closer to having a new office. Young reported the EDC was meeting next Thursday night to discuss their options as whether to rent or build a facility to house the Chamber Office.  Young said she felt confident she would be in an office by February or March.

Council members approved the following items with no discussion:

  • Monthly Bills
  • Agenda
  • Previous meeting minutes
  • Approval to close City Hall on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Thursday and Friday
  • Approval of a one-time salary adjustment for all city employees at the sum of $200 for full-time employees and $50 for part-time. Total cost was $4134.
  • Approval giving Administrator Mathews permission to serve as part-time Magistrate for Ashland City Court whenever there is a need.
  • Approval to donate the former 1997 Chevrolet 2500 city vehicle to the town of Wadley, as recommended by Lineville Housing Authority Director, Charles Bass. This vehicle was previously donated to the city by the Housing Authority.

Adamson concluded the meeting extending thanks to everyone else who played a part in making the parade a success, with special appreciation to the Lineville Merchants Association, Just a Little Frosting, Lineville Police Department. Adamson said the turnout was extraordinary, considering the rain, but noted that you couldn’t reschedule a parade when you have already reserved a Grand Marshal.  Mayor stated Miss Alabama was a very gracious hostess and represented the state of Alabama very well.

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Mayor Adamson presents Miss Alabama with key to the city

Police Chief reminded everyone of the Toys for Tots program they had going on if anyone wanted to help.

This concluded the meeting.


Local Resident sustains serious neck injury in altercation

On December 2, 2015 about 9:00 pm an incident involving two local residents resulted in an attempted decapitation effort. The incident occurred at residence on Blakesferry Subdivision in Lineville .The victim was transported to Clay County Hospital where he was treated for his injuries and was later airlifted to UAB for further treatment. Below is a press release issued by the Lineville Police Chief Monty Giddens on this incident:

On December 2, 2015 about 9:00 pm an incident involving Gregory Dewayn Hardy and Markeigh Contrell Jackson occurred at a residence on Blakesferry Subdivision Road in Lineville.  Around 11:00 pm Gregory Dewayn Hardy was being treated at Clay County Hospital for a severe knife wound to his neck and was later air lifted to UAB.  Lineville Police Department investigated the incident and a warrant was obtained for Markeigh Contrell Jackson a 34 year old male from Lineville, charging him for Assault 1st Degree.  Mr. Jackson was served with the warrant and taken to the Clay County Jail where he was held.  His bond was set at $15,000.00.


Ashland Council fills District 1 Seat in Special Meeting

A special called meeting was held Friday, Dec 4th by the Ashland Council to fill the District 1 Seat left vacant since the recent resignation of Zeola Echols, who resigned due to moving out of her District.

There were three candidates who sought interest in the Seat, but in the end Ashland Mayor Larry Fetner, and Council Members Bobbie Steed, Gail Thompson and Brad Wolfe,  chose to appoint Joe Smith to the position. In the last municipal election, Smith had campaigned for the District 1 Seat, but lost to Echols. This was the deciding factor in the appointment. Council members and Fetner all felt that since  Smith had already sought out the position in the past, that he would work hard and be very fair with anything pertaining to city business.

This concluded the meeting.