A look back to 2008

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The year 2008 was filled with stories that changed and/or shaped the lives of Chilton County residents. Like most years the months of 2008 were filled with stories of triumph as well as tragedy, of accomplishments and failures, and of events that make up our every day lives.

The following are a few of the noteworthy stories found on the pages of The Clanton Advertiser from January through December.


Providence Baptist Church, located at the intersection of County Road 46 and County Road 91, burned in the early morning hours of January 12. All nearby fire departments responded to the blaze that consumed the church’s old sanctuary that housed a fellowship hall and Sunday School rooms. The fire was officially ruled as arson by Alabama Fire Marshal Ed Paulk. Two Chilton County residents were later arrested in connection with the case.

Snow began falling across Chilton County on Saturday, January 19, causing some problems for motorists in the area. Approximately two-three inches of snow fell during the period that left the county covered in a blanket and sent kids of all ages into yards to build snowpeople.

Alan Akin resigned his position as commissioner on the Chilton County Commission January 28. Former Commissioner Charles Bryant was appointed to the position by Gov. Bob Riley.


Chilton County Schools were hit hard with flu in early February. The number of students missing class due to the flu soared into the 100s.

Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton and Republican Mike Huckabee were the winners in January’s Super Tuesday election January 5. County voters turned out in record numbers to vote in both the Republican and Democratic elections.

The Men’s Club of the First United Methodist Church held its 50th Pancake Day February 9. More than 1,200 people were served at the annual event.

Sunday, February 17, a tornado touched down in South Clanton, uprooting trees and damaging several houses. No injuries were reported.


The price of a gallon of gasoline soared to $3.17 in mid March. The $3-plus per gallon price tag set a new state record as the all-time high price for a gallon.

City Council member Elem Hill died March 15 following an extended illness. Hill served as the council member for Ward 4 for several years.


Bethsalem Baptist Church celebrated its 125 anniversary on April 6. The church began meeting in 1883.

On April 7 Chilton County Commissioner Allen Caton, reported to the Jemison Council receipts from Minooka Park were amounting to $800 per day. The park, located in Northern Chilton County, reopened in 2008.

Union Baptist Church of Clanton celebrated The Rev. Melvin Hunter’s 20th anniversary as the church’s pastor. His daughter, Dr. Barbara Hunter Thompson, of Cleveland, OH, was the featured speaker.

Relay for Life began its 15th year in Chilton County at City Park in Clanton April 25. The organization raised more than $196,000 for cancer research.


Obie Littleton retired as Clanton economic development director after 27 years of service.

Chilton County’s peach crop his roadside stands in May. Following late season freezes, farmers expected to harvest at least 60 percent of the crop.

High School seniors from throughout Chilton County graduated Thursday May 22.

Clanton United Methodist Church’s River Church began its 40th year of services at Higgins Ferry Park on Lake Mitchell May 25.

McKinnon Motors opened it new Toyota Dealership facility near the Lay Dam Exit on I-65 in Clanton May 30.


Chilton County voters returned to the polls Tuesday, June 3, to select Republican and Democratic nominees for various county, state and national offices.

Gas prices jumped to more than $4 per gallon as an average in June. Many residents elected to adopt methods to reduce their consumption including cancelling long driving vacations.

Clanton Lions Club and several other county organizations sponsor events during 2008 Peach Week the last week in June.


Gas prices continued to soar in July with the price of a gallon averaging $4.10 throughout the state.

Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church in Maplesville celebrated its 117 Homecoming on July 6. The church met as a congregation the first time in 1891.

Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency broke ground on a new addition to its headquarters in Clanton July 11.

Chilton County’s United Way set its 2008 goal at $200,000 in mid July.

Curtis Smith of Clanton was inducted into the Alabama Career Tech Education Hall of Fame in July. Smith serves on the county school board and served several terms in the Alabama House of Representatives.


Jefferson State Community College began registering students for fall classes at its Clanton Campus in August. The campus is located on Lay Dam Road in Clanton.

Chilton County’s Humane Society announced in mid August that it could not accept animals that were dropped off after hours at its shelter in Clanton.

Chilton County’s Board of Education approved a plan to build a new intermediate school in Jemison. The school will be one of the largest in the Chilton system.

Tropical Storm Fay dumped more than 4.5 inches of rain on Chilton County in late August.

Billy Joe Driver was elected mayor of Clanton in the municipal election held in August.

Eddie Reed won reelection as mayor of Jemison and Kurt Wallace won the mayor’s race in Maplesville. Dearl Hilyer and Tom Bentley earned run-off spots for the Thorsby mayor’s post.


After 32 years of service to the people of Chilton County, Fern Baker retired from the Chilton County Circuit Clerk’s office in September.

Chilton County’s School Board approved a $70 million budget for school year 2008-2009 in September.

Liberty Hill Baptist Church in Clanton celebrated its 150 anniversary in late September.

Clanton’s Kiwanis Club sponsored the Chilton County Fair at the Fairgrounds in Clanton September 22 through September 27.


Lovelady Construction of Selma was awarded a $5.6 million bid to build the new intermediate school in Jemison. The Chilton County Board of Education made the announcement at a September meeting.

In municipal run-off elections Oct. 7 Jeffery Price won the Ward 1 Seat and William Trimble won the Ward 4 Seat on the Clanton Council. Dearl Hilyer won the mayor’s post in Thorsby.

Greg DeJarnett, runner up in the Oct. 7 run-off election for Clanton’s Ward 4 seat on the city council, filed a contest in circuit court that challenged William’s Trimble’s election to the post based on his belief that Trimble did not live in Ward 4. Circuit Judge John Bush later ruled Trimble did not live in the ward and could not take the seat on the council. Judge Bush ordered the city council to appoint a person to fill the seat. The city council appointed DeJarnett to fill the seat in December.


Tim Mims of Maplesville became the first independent candidate to be elected to the Chilton County Commission in November 4’s general election. Others elected to the commission were Bobby Agee, Heedy Hayes, Red Turnipseed, Allen Caton, Joe Headley and Greg Mims.

Rex Cleckler defeated incumbent Tom Powers for the Chilton County Tax Assessor’s post.

Democrat Barack Obama became the first Black person elected President in the general election of Nov. 4.

Chilton County residents voted to combine the offices of tax assessor and tax collector in 2014.


The price of a gallon of gasoline fell in Chilton County to the 1.59 a gallon at some stations in December.

Chilton County’s Board of education was notified in December that Governor Bob Riley declared a 12.5% cut in education funding. The cut in school funding was the largest in 48 years.