YEAR IN REVIEW: Bentley visits, talks about jobsBy Staff Reports Published 4:37pm Monday, December 31, 2012
As a damaging EF-2 tornado headed toward her home during the early morning hours of Jan. 23, Owens sprang into action by alerting her parents, James and Charlotte, and her two younger sisters, Gracie and Emma, of the pending danger, Laws said.
“Olivia remembered her severe weather safety rules from Ms. Pierce’s sixth-grade enrichment class, where the students were taught to take shelter in an interior portion of the house,” Laws said. “Thanks to Olivia’s prompt and decisive action, the family safely rode out the storm in an interior hallway as the tornado did significant damage to their home. Olivia’s bravery is recognized for remembering the right things in the face of danger and for being a good citizen of Chilton County.”
Airport receives grant
The Chilton County Airport received a grant for more than $100,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Chairman of the Chilton County Airport Authority Craig Cleckler said the grant was one of the first couple of steps toward growth.
“What we are looking at ultimately is to extend our runway from 4,008 feet to 5,008 feet,” Cleckler said.
The first item on the agenda was to replace a drainage pipe under the west end of the runway. The pipe was about 40 years old and improved drainage was imminent as it would be part of the runway that would be extended.
Cleckler said he was excited about the project and it was the beginning of some very good things.
“We know from a lot of studies how perfectly located Chilton County is,” Cleckler said. “The growth of the airport will directly lead to economic growth in Chilton County, and that is what we are focused on.”
Georgia-Pacific announces lay-offs
On June 4, Georgia-Pacific announced it would lay off 40 employees and cut back hours of operation at its Thorsby plant.
The company announced the changes for the engineered lumber facility that would go from four shifts to two and lose 40 employees.
Company spokesman Eric Abercrombie said the cuts were in no way reflective of the work employees were doing but were necessary given the sluggish economy and housing market.
The company still employed about 180 people, in hourly and salaried positions.
Georgia-Pacific bought the Thorsby mill from International Paper Co. in 2006.
Chilton County tag office receives facelift
The Chilton County tag office received a facelift in early June.
The tax collector’s department had windows tinted, new cabinetry installed and its landscaping improved.
The window tinting project was the first one completed. Tax Collector Tim Little told the Chilton County Commission that tinted windows would make the office more comfortable for its six employees and help control the temperature.
Remodeling was the second phase of the project and a state inmate program was used to install new cabinets and desks throughout the office.
Landscaping work around the exterior of the tag office building was completed as well as new printers that were purchased for about $3,000.
Former hospital operators sentenced
James R. Cheek and Herschel A. Breig, former operators of Chilton Medical Center, were sentenced to five years in federal prison on tax charges related to their work at a Texas hospital.
In addition to the prison time, U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings also ordered Cheek and Breig to pay more than $5 million in restitution. The majority of the money would go to the Internal Revenue Service. The two pled guilty in February to one count of failing to submit payroll taxes during their time at Highland Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas in 2006-08. The two ran Highland from March 2006 through May 2008.
The U.S. Marshal’s Service immediately took Cheek and Breig into custody following sentencing. Cheek and Breig were president and executive vice president of Missouri-based Carraway Medical Systems, LLC.