Year in Review, Part 3

Published 1:38 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2013

October 2013: The Central Alabama Gospel Music Barn closed after 25 years of hosting singings. “It was a tough decision, but we just can’t operate it anymore,” owner Marlin Burnett said.

October 2013: The Central Alabama Gospel Music Barn closed after 25 years of hosting singings. “It was a tough decision, but we just can’t operate it anymore,” owner Marlin Burnett said.

Editor’s note: Below is the third part of a three-part series looking back at the top news stories of 2013. This installment covers October through December.


Passerby pulls motorist from burning vehicle

An observant passerby pulled a man from a burning vehicle Oct. 9.

Buddy Vines said he was driving south on Highway 145 at about 7 a.m. when he noticed a wrecked car off the side of the road.

Apparently, the driver of the vehicle lost control and left the roadway, stopping after running into an embankment.

Vines said the scene caught his attention because the owner of the property, part of which also contains Headley’s Big Peach produce market, allows Vines to maintain a garden in the area.

“I turned in there to see what was going on, and he was just sitting in the car,” Vines said.

Thorsby teacher’s employment terminated at hearing

The Chilton County Board of Education voted unanimously Oct. 10 to approve Superintendent Dave Hayden’s recommendations to terminate a Thorsby High School teacher’s employment and to cease her salary and benefits immediately.

The woman was charged Aug. 16 with statutory rape and sodomy of a juvenile and was placed on administrative leave Aug. 17 from her duties at Chilton County Schools until further notice.

Authorities respond to bomb threat at Jemison store

Authorities in Jemison responded to a report of a bomb threat Oct. 12 to the Jemison Dollar General on County Road 42.

A customer shopping in the store threatened to blow the store up, according to initial reports from the dispatch unit.

Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer said authorities were able to dispel the situation after a customer shopping in the store became frustrated trying to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that would not work in the store.

No arrests were made Oct. 12.

Sex offender bill pre-filed

A bill defining areas where multiple sex offenders live and regulating how many live in the same residence could become law if passed by the Alabama Legislature.

State Rep. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville, is co-sponsoring House Bill 21, which would designate places where sex offenders live as “residential sex offender clusters” and prohibit more than one unrelated adult sex offender from living in an unauthorized residential sex offender cluster.

Wallace has pre-filed the bill for the legislative session beginning in January 2014.

Wallace said he tried to get the first version of the bill passed about two years ago, but the bill didn’t make it past the committee meeting stage.

“The original bill was an anti-clustering bill that made everybody separate,” Wallace said.

The bill—which would have statewide application—met opposition from larger counties, including Jefferson and Montgomery, based on the notion that law enforcement agencies would have more difficulties in keeping track of sex offenders if none were in the same residence, Wallace said.

Gospel Music Barn in Jemison closes after 25 years

After 25 years of hosting Southern gospel singings to more than 2,600 people each year, the Central Alabama Gospel Music Barn closed its doors.

“It was a tough decision but we just can’t operate it anymore,” owner and operator Marlin Burnett said. “My health isn’t the greatest and it is just time.”

Burnett, 72, has hosted singings in the light-blue colored barn every third Saturday night on County Road 29 in Jemison since 2005.

Prior to the Jemison location opening, Burnett hosted singings in Pelham near Oak Mountain Baptist Church starting in 1988.

As the Barn celebrated its 25th anniversary in May, Burnett decided to make an announcement that the Barn would be closing during the Oct. 19 singing.

“It was really hard telling everyone,” Burnett said. “A lot of people left that night in tears because it upset them. I couldn’t even make the announcement so my wife, Glenda, had to tell everyone.”