Archived Story

YEAR IN REVIEW: Thorsby mayor passes, hospital closes

Published 10:16am Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Jimmy Parnell elected Farmer’s president

Chilton County native Jimmy Parnell was elected president of the Alabama Farmers Federation at the organization’s 91st annual meeting in Montgomery on Dec. 3.

Parnell, 48, of Stanton, was chosen to lead the state’s largest farm organization for the next two years following the retirement of Limestone County farmer Jerry Newby, who served 14 years as president.

Parnell is a fifth-generation farmer who works alongside his father, James Parnell, and brothers, Jeff and Joseph, at their family’s timber and cattle business, Parnell Inc., in Maplesville.

Parnell served on the Federation’s state board of directors from 1999-2008 and was chairman of its State Young Farmers Committee in 1997.

He has served as president of the Chilton County Farmers Federation since 2006, the same year he was named Alabama Logger of the Year by the Alabama Forestry Association.

Jemison man identified as St. Vincent’s hospital shooter

Authorities are continuing an investigation of a Jemison man who fired shots at Birmingham police officers before being shot to death on Saturday at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham.

According to a release, officers from the South Precinct of the Birmingham Police Department responded to St. Vincent’s Hospital at 4 a.m. to investigate a report of a person with a gun. Upon arrival, officers located the suspect, Jason Letts, 38, of Jemison, on the fifth floor hallway.

As officers approached, Letts started firing a handgun at the officers, striking one officer and two members of the hospital staff. An assisting BPD officer returned gunfire fatally wounding the suspect. Due to the circumstances at the scene, the victims were transported to a neighboring hospital for treatment. The three victims’ injuries are not life threatening. Letts was pronounced dead on the scene.

Birmingham police chief A.C. Roper said in a release, “In light of the recent mass shooting in Connecticut, too many of these incidents end with unimaginable tragedy. I am amazed at the bravery of our officers as they confronted this armed gunman in the hallway.”

Jemison police chief Shane Fulmer said Letts was from the Union Grove community and the Jemison Police Department had not had dealings with Letts prior to Saturday’s shooting.

Board of eduction discusses school safety

All present at the Chilton County Board of Education meeting on Dec. 18 stood together in prayer as board member Joe Mims recognized the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting Dec. 14 in Connecticut.

Superintendent Dave Hayden told board members he met with Chilton County Sheriff Kevin Davis and Chief Brian Stilwell of the Clanton Police Department on Monday to review the safety policies for each school in the county.

Hayden said he is waiting for the state to give him an estimate of how much it would cost per year to place a resource officer in every school in Chilton County, but he estimates it would be more than $720,000 each year.

As they study the current school safety plans, Davis, Stilwell and their departments will provide suggestions to Hayden on how the plans can be improved.

“We’re trying to assure people we’re doing the best we possibly can to keep our students and faculty members safe,” Hayden said.

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