YEAR IN REVIEW: Tornadoes dominate beginning of 2012By Stephen Dawkins Published 7:18pm Friday, December 28, 2012
In May, shopping in Thorsby would help save a local landmark as the town’s council decided to donate part of sales tax collected in May to help restore the chapel.
The council voted to set aside a third of all retail sales tax collected in May for renovations.
In July, renovations on the chapel were nearly complete after about nine months of repairs.
As part of the $33,000 worth of improvements, the church had new hardwood floors, a new support system for the steeple and a newly painted interior.
The renovation efforts were paid for through the unexpected overage in the town’s tax income, a grant from CAWACO, a donation from the Swedish Fest Fund, and donations of labor and supplies from concerned citizens, town council members and local businesses.
In order to preserve the chapel in the future, plans were put forth to impose stricter rental rules and designate more budget funds toward future repairs, including annual maintenance plans with termites.
In August, the Thorsby Town Council approved a rental fee schedule for the re-opened chapel.
Chilton County gets rude awakening
Chilton County was greeted to a rude awakening Jan. 23 as severe weather rolled through before daybreak.
The hardest hit areas were in Maplesville as well as the Enterprise and Lomax communities.
Maplesville suffered the brunt of the storm, which damaged roofs and mobile homes and knocked down trees and power lines.
The damage happened around 5:30 a.m., while Chilton County was under a tornado warning. Some of the worst damage in Maplesville happened near the intersection of U.S. 82 and Chilton County 10. The presumed tornado tracked along Highway 10 and then up Alabama 139, where it blew out several downtown store front windows and damaged roofs.
The storms continued along Alabama 139 toward Maplesville High School, which did not suffer damage.
It was later reported that the official count from the Jan. 23 storms were: 17 homes destroyed, 36-40 more homes with major damage, and more than 40 additional homes with minor damage, according to Chilton County Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Collum.
Collum encouraged anyone whose home sustained damage that was uninsured or underinsured to visit EMA or call the organzation and leave contact information.
Collum and other local officials hoped for a damage declaration for Chilton County, which meant grant money would be available to help the recovery efforts.
The storms highlighted the importance of the county’s storm shelters, some of which were opened shortly before the storms.
Collum said more than 130 people were inside the Maplesville shelter when the storm hit. A tree was blown over onto the shelter, but the structure suffered only minor damage and no one inside was harmed.
On Feb. 1, members of Alabama’s congressional delegation supported Gov. Robert Bentley’s request for a federal disaster declaration.
The entire delegation sent a letter Jan. 31 to President Obama seeking the declaration, which would free up federal funding to help with recovery.
The assistance would benefit storm victims in Chilton, Jefferson and Perry counties. Bentley announced Jan. 27 that 1,500 homes suffered some degree of damage in the Jan. 23 outbreak.
Chilton gets disaster declaration
President Obama issued a disaster declaration for areas affected by tornadoes on Jan. 23, including Chilton County on Feb. 2.
The declaration meant that additional assistance would be available through federal programs, such as FEMA.