Native American Pow Wow and Festival is this weekend

LaFayette will play host to a very special event this weekend. For the first time, a Native American Pow Wow and Festival will take place in the city, bringing two days of history, culture and education to Chambers County.

The Pow Wow and Festival is coming here thanks to a partnership between the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission. It will take place on Friday, Oct. 17 and Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Chambers County Agricultural Park.

The event will feature Native American living history, crafts and skills demonstrations, music, story telling, competition dancing, traditional foods and craftsmen and artisan vendors.

The Pow Wow and Festival will open on Friday as an educational event for local school children from 8 am CST until 2 pm. From 5 pm to 8 pm on Friday and from 10 am until 6 pm Saturday, the festivities will be open to the general public.

Some highlights of the Pow Wow and Festival include an “East meets West” display that offers a comparison of Eastern Woodland Indians and Western Tribes demonstrating primitive lifestyles of the 1800s. It will include displays of full encampments of both peoples as well as live staged performances. “East meets West” will take place on Friday at 6:45 pm and at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Saturday.

Native American dancing activities will be featured throughout the weekend. The “First Dance” will take place at 6:10 pm on Friday and at 10:30 am on Saturday, featuring native dancers only. At 6:20 pm on Friday and at 10:50 am on Saturday, the “Social Dance” will begin, in which everyone is invited to take part in a dance circle led by native dancers. The native dancers will assist those that desire to learn the proper steps.

Saturday afternoon starting at 1:10 pm, the first “Competition Dance” will take place. This involves registered dancers competing for recognition of their skill in specific dance categories in appropriate Native American regalia. The “Competition Dance” will take place at 3:00 pm and at 5:00 pm on Saturday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fourth annual Pacing for a Cure Breast Cancer Walk is Saturday

The month of October is recognized across the country as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and on Saturday, an event will take place in LaFayette to help promote support of the cause.

The Deztined Divaz’s Pacing for a Cure Breast Cancer Walk is back for the fourth consecutive year and because of the overwhelming support and participation the past three years, organizers are expecting this year’s event to be the best yet.

Deztined Divaz club president Janika Ford said last year’s goal of raising $1,500 was achieved and the goal for this year is $1,800. Proceeds from the event are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.

“Our goal for the breast cancer walk is to spread the importance of self-checks and to promote understanding of the disease,” Ford said. “People need to understand that if there is a family history, your chances of having this disease increases. Even if this disease has not touched you personally, it may have hit close to home with a family member, friend, coworker or church member. It does not discriminate.”

The walk will take place in downtown LaFayette starting at 9:15 am CST. The walk will begin at the LaFayette Barber Shop across from Farmers & Merchants Bank. The route will continue down 1st Street, then turn onto 1st Avenue past LaFayette High School, then turn on Alabama Avenue back to the starting point.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pat Garrett Rodeo, Chambers County Country Fair is this weekend

For the third consecutive year, two of the area’s biggest fall events will join forces for one of the most anticipated weekends of the fall here in LaFayette. Beginning this Friday, October 10th through Sunday the 12th the 32nd annual Pat Garrett Rodeo and the Chambers County Country Fair combine for three days of rodeo action, live entertainment, great food, games, arts and crafts and much more.

“It’s a great partnership,” rodeo organizer Eddie Adams says. “It’s a chance to bring together our entire community for one big event. There’s something for every age group here.”

Adams expects as many as 200 cowboys and cowgirls from throughout the Southeast will make their way to LaFayette over the weekend, and along with those coming to the fair, it will be a busy time for the area. “It has a big impact on the community,” Adams says.

The two events will take place at the Chambers County Agricultural Park, one of the premier open-air arenas in the southeast.

The weekend kicks off with the Pat Garrett Rodeo on Friday, October 10 at 7 pm CST. The next morning, Oct. 11, at 10 am the Chambers County Country Fair will officially begin. Rodeo gates will open later that day at 5 pm and action will begin at 7 pm. The fair will return to close the weekend on Sunday, operating from noon until 5 pm.

Admission to the Chambers County Country Fair is free, and cost for the rodeo is $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 4-12 and free for kids three and under. Wristbands will be given out for rodeo admission starting at 4 pm on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »

LHS Homecoming Queen

LHS Homecoming queen

LaFayette High School held their homecoming celebration during their game Friday night against Woodland. A large crowd, including alumni from several classes, was on hand to see Mia Kirk crowned Homecoming Queen. Mia is a senior at LHS; she is the daughter of Elizabeth Ray and Keith Kirk. Mia’s father, Keith, escorted her on Friday. In addition to being named Queen, Mia was also crowned Miss Lemarquis at the school’s annual pageant on Wednesday.

“White Water” filming in LaFayette this week

Scenes from the independent film “White Water” were shot in LaFayette for three days beginning Monday. Most of the courthouse square and surrounding streets were blocked off during filming. Several notable actors are taking part in the film and some LaFayette residents have landed roles as extras. Above, actors, from left, Daniel Thomas May, Lindsey Moser and Sharon Leal film a scene. The lead role of Daniel (far right) is being played by twins Amir and Amari O’Neil.

Scenes from the independent film “White Water” were shot in LaFayette for three days beginning Monday. Most of the courthouse square and surrounding streets were blocked off during filming. Several notable actors are taking part in the film and some LaFayette residents have landed roles as extras. Above, actors, from left, Daniel Thomas May, Lindsey Moser and Sharon Leal film a scene. The lead role of Daniel (far right) is being played by twins Amir and Amari O’Neil.

The downtown square here in LaFayette was buzzing as cameras, period cars and numerous actors lined the sidewalks and streets as filming began Monday here in LaFayette for the independent movie “White Water.” Shooting took place throughout the day and into the late evening Monday and Tuesday and is scheduled to wrap up today.

The film is based on a children’s book co-written by Michael Bandy, an author originally from Opelika, and Eric Stein. It is the story of a 9 year-old black child in segregated 1963 Opelika who becomes obsessed with the desire to taste the water from the “white’s only” drinking fountain and his pursuit of his dream.

The majority of the movie has been filmed in Opelika, but some very significant exterior scenes are taking place in LaFayette.

On Monday and Tuesday, scenes were shot in front of the courthouse, in front of the Hightower Building, which was transformed into the Opelika Bus Station, and at Allen’s Flowers, which was converted into the Opelika Police Department. Period cars, including a very special bus were placed on the streets for several scenes.

Scenes of the movie “White Water,” which is partially being filmed in LaFayette, include this historic bus. It is the actual bus civil rights activist Rosa Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery when she refused to sit in the black section of the bus. The bus is on loan to the filmmakers from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan where it is on display.

Scenes from the movie “White Water” include this historic bus. It is the actual bus civil rights activist Rosa Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery when she refused to sit in the black section of the bus. The bus is on loan to the filmmakers from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan where it is on display.

The bus being used is the actual one that civil rights activist Rosa Parks was arrested on in December 1, 1955 in Montgomery after she refused to sit in the black section. The bus was brought down from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan where it is on display.

In addition to the vehicles, some storefronts have been altered or changed to reflect aesthetics of the early 60’s. Several streets have also been closed or temporarily shut down, including 1st Avenue SW, Court Drive SE, Alabama Avenue E and LaFayette Street S (Hwy 431).

Twin brothers Amari and Amir O’Neil are playing the lead role of the young boy. Other feature actors include Sharon Leal (Why Did I Get Married?; Dreamgirls, Hellcats, Guiding Light), Larenz Tate (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, Ray), Barry Shabaka Henley (Ali, Collateral, Miami Vice, Life, Rush Hour, Robbery Homicide Division), Lori Beth Sikes (Resurrection, Identity Thief), Storm Reid (12 Years a Slave, A Cross to Bear) and Daniel Thomas May (The Walking Dead, Being Mary Jane).

Several area residents have also landed roles as extras in the film.

Rusty Cundieff (Movie 43, Chappelle’s Show, Tales from the Hood) is the films director and both he and Dwayne Johnson-Cochran are serving as the films’ executive producers. Bandy and Stein both have producing credits for the film.

The anticipated release date of the film is February 2015.

October 1, 2014 | Posted in: Local, News | Comments Closed

Outdoor and Wild Game Expo is Saturday

Expo Comm

The sixth annual Chambers County Outdoor and Wild Game Expo will take place this Saturday, Oct. 4 at LaFayette Heights Baptist Church. The Expo will take place from 9 am until 2 pm and will include vendors, exhibits, food and live entertainment. Admission is free and several prizes will be given away throughout the day. The grand prize this year is a Yeti Cooler. Above, the members of the Expo Planning Committee are shown with the prizes. Kneeling, from left, are Paul Howard and Jake Higgins. Standing, from left, are Kim Davidson, Jeremy McDaniel, Larry Reeves, Joe Higgins, chairman; Harold Harmon, Audra Wilkerson, Steve Fields and Deanna Fuller.

The sixth edition of the Chambers County Outdoor and Wild Game Expo will be held this Saturday, October 4, in the fields surrounding the LaFayette Heights Baptist Church Family Life Center. It will open at 9 am CST and will continue until 2 pm. There is no admission charge.

The Expo has grown significantly over the past six years with the number of guests increasing each year.

“This year, we have a record number of vendors and exhibitors,” Joe Higgins, this year’s Expo Chairman said. “Last year we had 24 booths and this year we have commitments for 38 exhibits. Many local merchants from Chambers and surrounding counties will have outdoor related displays, and this year we have vendors from as far away as Florida and Mississippi exhibiting.

“Our exhibitors and vendors will be available at their booths to answer questions, teach and give demonstrations of their products. In many cases, items being demonstrated will be available for sale at the Expo.”

New exhibitors this year will include Big Mike the Fly Tying Guy. He will be demonstrating fly tying techniques and displaying his work. Lindsay Adams of HawkFeathers Studios will exhibit her excellent outdoor artwork, which will also be available for sale. One of the prizes given away Saturday will be one of her paintings. Lowrance Depth Finders will have an exhibit of their products.

For the second straight year, the Expo will be open to gun exhibitors and dealers. State and federal firearm laws will govern the sale of any guns and ammunition, so change of gun ownership may not be able to take place on site. There will be no gun trading and only exhibitors at the Expo with Federal Firearms Licenses can bring guns onto the premises.

Of all the attractions at the Expo every year, the big subject of interest is the variety of wild game that the cook teams prepare. Although this year the Expo will have fewer cook teams working, they will still offer the same variety we have enjoyed at previous Expos. Again, this year, Jeff Hadaway and Woody Harmon will be up all night roasting a whole hog over an open pit. That was one of the highlights of last year’s Expo.

Each year a different variety of food is prepared. Previous years have highlighted wild pheasant, quail, alligator tail, rattlesnake, catfish, wild turkey, frog legs, stew, elk and lots of deer meat. This year the Expo will also have hot dogs and hamburgers available for those whose palates are not finely tuned to exotic food. Visitors to the Expo can check out all of the cooks and sample their recipes. Food prepared by the cook teams is offered in sample size servings, and all of it is free, so you can graze from tent to tent and enjoy something from all of the cook teams.

Read the rest of this entry »

Several events taking place in LaFayette this month

LaFayette is going to be a very busy place throughout the month of October, as many big events will be taking place over the next several weeks. From festivals to charity events, locals will have plenty to do and the city will welcome hundreds of out-of-towners.

The month is already off to an exciting start as filming wrapped up today on the movie “White Water.” Scenes for the independent film were shot throughout the courthouse square and several area residents landed roles as extras.

This weekend features two notable events, both of which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 4. The sixth annual Chambers County Outdoor and Wild Game Expo will take place at LaFayette Heights Baptist Church. It will take place from 9 am until 2 pm and is free to the public.

Also on Saturday, LaFayette High School will host their first annual Bulldog Alumni 5K Run/Walk. The event will raise funds for the school and will take place on the Hwy 50 bypass. Registration for the 5K is from 7 am to 8:30 Saturday.

The following weekend, LaFayette will play host to two of the area’s most popular events. For the third straight year, the Pat Garrett Rodeo and Chambers County Fair will join forces for three days of family fun and excitement from Oct. 10 to 12.

The 32 annual Pat Garrett Rodeo will kick the weekend off on Oct. 10 at 7 pm with an exciting night of action. The next morning, Oct. 11, the Chambers County Fair will kick off starting at 10 am. At 5 pm that day, the gates for the rodeo will open and second night action will begin at 7 pm.

The Fair will return to close the event on Oct. 12, operation from noon to 5 pm. Both events will be taking place at the Chambers County Agricultural Park, one of the premier open-air arenas in the southeast. Admission to the Fair is free and cost for the rodeo is $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 4-12. Kids three and under get in free.

Read the rest of this entry »

Unemployment down to 7.1 percent in Chambers County

The Alabama Department of Labor released preliminary unemployment figures for the month of August last week, and Chambers County’s rate was the lowest it’s been since May of this year. The rate fell more than a half percentage point to 7.1 percent compared to 7.9 percent in July.

Unemployment fell throughout the state and only two of Alabama’s 67 counties didn’t see a decrease. Chambers County’s rate was only slightly higher than the statewide rate of 6.9 percent.

The August rate in the county represents 1,052 unemployed individuals compared to 1,178 in July. The rate is also favorable to August 2013 when there were 1,121 unemployed and the rate was 7.5 percent.

The number of employed individuals in Chambers County in August actually decreased slightly compared to July, but that was due to a decline in the civilian labor force. The county’s civilian labor force in August was 14,720 compared to 14,866 in July. The number of employed last month was 13,668 compared to 13,688 in July. In August of 2013 Chambers County had a civilian labor force of 14,904 individuals and employment was at 13,783.

Chambers County’s rate was once again favorable compared to surrounding counties. The county ranked 43rd in unemployment out of Alabama’s 67 counties in August, above the 2013 average ranking of 32nd. Chambers was ranked 40th in July.

Lee County was the only neighboring county with a higher rate than Chambers, with a rate of 5.8 percent, ranking 64th in the state. Randolph County posted a 7.5 percent unemployment, ranking 37th in the state. Tallapoosa County ranked 25th with an 8.3 percent rate; Clay County was at 8.3 percent, ranking 27th; Macon County was at 9.4 percent, ranking 13th, and Russell County ranked 19th with an 8.9 percent rate.

The state rate of 6.9 percent is down from July’s rate of 7.0 percent. August’s rate represents 147,346 unemployed persons, compared to 148,652 in July.

Read the rest of this entry »

September 24, 2014 | Posted in: Local, News, State | Comments Closed

Chambers County Sheriff’s Dept. still searching for fugitive on the run since 1985

David Anthony Pike is shown here in an age progressed photo provided by the Alabama Department of Public Safety. He was last seen at age 24 and would be 53 years old now.

David Anthony Pike is shown here in an age progressed photo provided by the Alabama Department of Public Safety. He was last seen at age 24 and would be 53 years old now.

The search for a fugitive on the run for nearly 30 years has not been abandoned according to the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department.

Last week, as part of their “Most Wanted” video feature on Facebook, the Sheriff’s Department provided the most up-to-date information on David Anthony Pike, who was indicted in the 1985 beating and shooting death of Calvin Lee Irwin. The video featured a computer-generated image of Pike, who would now be 53 years old.

Pike was arrested and charged with Irwin’s murder in 1985, but was released on bond and fled Chambers County. He was last seen in Opelika, at which time he was 24 years old.

Sheriff Sid Lockhart said officials have never forgotten about the case and that several tips have been investigated but have proved fruitless.

According to the video, Pike may be living in the state of Michigan, though Lockhart said that he might be in Canada.

Authorities say Pike and another man robbed Irwin and then shot and beat him to death after the trio had spent several hours together on June 21, 1985. Irwin’s body was later found in a roadside ditch.

An article in the June 26, 1985 edition of The LaFayette Sun outlined the incident:

According to investigator Lewis Hammock of the Chambers County Sheriff’s department, Irvin’s body was spotted by a passing motorist around 9 am Saturday (June 22). He said the dirt road is known to lawmen as the dirt extension of the Phillips Road, and is located across the intersection of County Hwy 50 and Providence Road.
Hammock said it appeared that the victim had been struck with a blast from a shotgun.

He said the body was clad in blue jeans, a t-shirt and heavy white socks, but no shoes. He said there was no wallet on the body and that the only jewelry on the body was a ring.

Hammock estimated that the shooting took place on Friday night (June 21).

Chambers County Coroner Dave Collier said over the weekend a positive identification of the body was made by the victim’s brother Willie Irvin after lawmen from the area police departments were asked to view the body in hopes someone would know the man, and that this approach worked.

According to Chambers County Sheriff James Morgan, the body was sent to the state crime lab in Montgomery for investigation, fingerprinting and tests. Read the rest of this entry »

Absentee voting for Nov. 4 election now underway

Absentee voting for the November 4 general election began on September 20 and will end on October 30. Any qualified elector may vote an absentee ballot by mail or in person at the absentee election manager’s office (Circuit Clerk’s office) by making application in writing, not less than five days prior to the election.

The application must meet one of the following requirements:

  • The person will be out of the county or state on election day.
  • The person has any physical illness or infirmity that prevents his or her attendance at the polls, whether he or she is within or outside the county on the day of election.
  • The person works a shift that has at least 10 hours that coincide with the hours the polls are open at his or her regular polling place.
  • The person is enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county of his or her personal residence that prevents his or her attendance at the polls.
  • The person is a member of, or spouse or dependent of a member of, the armed forces of the United States or is similarly qualified to vote absentee pursuant to the Federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
  • The person has been appointed as an election officer or named as a poll watcher at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place.

Applications for absentee voting and voter information are available on the website of the Alabama Secretary of State at www.sos.state.al.us or at the following location:

Absentee Election Office, Circuit Clerk’s Office, Chambers County Courthouse, 2 LaFayette Street S, Suite B-114, LaFayette, AL 36862.

Completed absentee applications must include the Alabama residence where the voter is registered to vote, even if the ballot is to be mailed to another address where the applicant/voter regularly receives mail. If you have moved and have not updated your voter registration, you should contact the Chambers County Board of Registrars at 18 Alabama Avenue E, Room 101, LaFayette, AL 36862 and update your address prior to applying for an absentee ballot. You may contact the registrar’s office at 334-864-4313.

Separate applications for absentee ballots are required for elections that are more than 45 days apart, except as to individuals voting pursuant to the Federal Uninformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act.

The absentee election manager is required to post each day a list of absentee voters to include names, addresses and voting places of each applicant. This list will be posted either on the public bulletin board on the first floor of the courthouse or in a public place in the circuit clerk’s office.

For more information concerning absentee voting, please contact:

Lisa M. Burdette, Clerk of Circuit Court, Absentee Election Manager, at (334) 864-4348.