Year in Review, Part 2

Published 1:01 am Thursday, December 23, 2010

Candlelight vigil: A candlelight vigil was held in May to remember Alex Moore and raise awareness to the issue of bullying in schools.

Below is Part 2 of a look at the top news stories from 2010.


Maplesville fights crime wave
The Maplesville Town Council passed a resolution to install security cameras downtown in response to a crime wave that included the arson of a local restaurant, Friends Diner, and break-ins at the Maplesville Police Department and Maplesville High School.
There was also an attempted break-in at the home of a Maplesville officer, who told the council he had been threatened by those suspected of the crimes.
The initial five-camera system reportedly cost about $2,000.

Jemison Masonic Lodge named for longtime member
Stanley Cost helped build the Jemison Masonic Lodge at its current location in 1960. In April, the lodge was named after the 93-year-old member, officially becoming the Stanley Cost Lodge No. 411.
Cost had been a Mason since 1956. He was present for the ceremony and received a certificate from Alabama Grand Master Larry Hancock.
“We appreciate him,” said Jemison City Council member George Brasher. “He’s always been a good friend, and he’s really helped the people of the city over the past five decades.”


Relay for Life surpasses goal
Months of fundraising for Chilton County’s Relay for Life culminated May 1 as volunteers raised more than $190,000 toward finding a cure for cancer. The amount raised far exceeded the organization’s goal of $175,000.
The Chilton County Relay for Life effort continued its reputation of being one of the biggest in the state. Attendance was estimated at about 3,000, including 150 cancer survivors and many others who were there to memorialize or honor their loved ones.
The event was held at the Clanton Youth League Football Field.

Jemison dedicates municipal complex
Not long ago, Jemison, Chilton County’s northernmost municipality, moved up in population and status from a town to a city. On Sunday, May 2, Jemison dedicated its brand new Municipal Complex located off Highway 31 just south of the former City Hall.
Mayor Eddie Reed said the 18,000-square-foot building reflects a “shared vision and sacrifice,” adding that the complex is dedicated first to God and then to Jemison’s citizens.
“This truly is the people’s building,” Reed said.

Jemison student dies from fall
Alex Moore, a 15-year-old Jemison High School student, tragically died after leaping from an interstate overpass on Chilton County Road 48 near her home the morning of May 12.
The death was ruled a suicide by the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, which reported that one lane of I-65 South was shut down for approximately two hours.

Family addresses bullying
The family and friends of Jemison High School student Alex Moore sponsored a rally at Clanton’s Ollie Park in an effort to address bullying in Chilton County Schools.
The family of Moore said bullying was likely a factor in Moore’s May 12 suicide. Other factors included the recent deaths of family members and a beloved family pet.
The rally was followed by a candlelight vigil in honor of Moore.
“Our school system needs to be safe and inviting,” said Page Perdue, a 2009 Jemison graduate who attended the ceremony.

22 charged in drug bust
Clanton Police arrested 16 and prepared to serve warrants to six more people May 14 following a six-month drug investigation at Clanton’s housing authority.
The 22 suspects were charged on a combined 53 counts of distributing a controlled substance.
In the months leading up to the bust, Clanton narcotics officers were targeting suspected drug dealers in or around housing authorities in West End and off Ollie Avenue.
“A lot of them don’t even live in the community,” said Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell.

Gator found, killed
An alligator was spotted just outside of west Jemison on May 28, Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer reported.
A Chilton County Sheriff’s Deputy shot and killed the animal as a safety measure after officers were unable to neutralize and relocate it.
The gator was found on a dirt road near a body of water off County Road 131 by residents on their way to fish. Fulmer said it was just outside of the JPD jurisdiction.


Thorsby says yes to alcohol
During the Primary Election on June 1, Thorsby residents voted 310 to 208 in favor of legalizing the sale of alcoholic beverages in the town.
Thorsby became the third municipality, behind Clanton and Jemison — the latter of which became wet in January 2010 — to legalize alcohol in Chilton County, which remains a dry county.
A new state law allowed towns with a population of 1,000 or more to hold a wet/dry referendum either by special election or during the Primaries.

Pitts runs as independent
Jemison Elementary School Principal Louise Pitts entered the race for Chilton County Superintendent of Education as an independent candidate.
On June 1, Pitts submitted a petition with 582 signatures to the Chilton County Probate Office. She had to have a minimum of 365 signatures from registered voters living in the county, which equaled 3 percent of the participation in the 2008 General Election.
Pitts faced opponents Republican Dave Hayden and Democrat Jason Griffin. Hayden would go on to become superintendent.
The incumbent at the time, Keith Moore, did not run for re-election.

Fire guts IHS classrooms
A weekend fire destroyed a classroom and damaged two other classrooms at Isabella High School on June 5.
A teacher went to the school Saturday evening and discovered the smoke alarms sounding off, and proceeded to contact a custodian, who reportedly did not smell any signs of a fire in the school.
An air-conditioning unit caught fire in the school’s K-3 building, creating smoke and soot damage throughout the structure. The thick, black soot was discovered by a custodian the following Monday.
A near 50-person crew cleaned the facility and any salvageable items found in the classrooms.

Tim James asks for recount
Chilton County was one of 40 Alabama counties in which Tim James, GOP gubernatorial candidate, requested a recount from the June 1 Primary.
After provisional ballots had been counted, James was 167 votes short of Robert Bentley for the right to a runoff with the party’s top vote getter, Bradley Byrne.
The recount cost an estimated $2,500 in Chilton County alone, according to local Probate Judge Bobby Martin.
James ended up gaining only three votes in Chilton County as a result of the recount.

Owens, Easterling, Ray and Swindle Peach royalty
Gracie Owens was crowed Little Miss Peach during the 2010 Chilton County Peach Pageant, and Leah Easterling took home the Young Miss Peach crown.
Also, Kaitlin Ray was named Junior Miss Peach and Jessica Swindle became the 2010 Miss Peach on the final night of the pageant.

M&M Farms three-time winners
Mark and Melissa Knight of M&M Farms had the first place basket in the Chilton County Peach Auction, for the third consecutive year.
The winning basket of peaches, of the PF13 variety, was bought by the Chilton Farmers Federation for $2,300. Jimmy Parnell made the winning bid on behalf of the federation.

Train, truck collide
A CSX train and a flatbed truck collided June 29 in Thorsby at the intersection of U.S. Highway 31 and Chilton County Road 623 near the Georgia Pacific plant.
No one was injured, according to Thorsby Police Chief Rodney Barnett, who reported the train’s conductor and engineer said the truck’s driver never stopped.
The truck, marked as belonging to Maverick Transportation, was knocked off the road.