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.

miss alabama
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.


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: