Five Points held reward ceremony

Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is career and technical education student organizations for students who are enrolled in a Family and Consumer Sciences class.

Five PointsPictured Shown left to right are Cedrick Heard, class clown; Tarik Staples, class clown; Ashley Smith, hardest worker; Hunter Horne, Mr. FCCLA; Zakkariya Cofield, best dressed; Chardae Swanson, best dressed; A’Neilya McFarlin, favorite; Daylan Wright, Miss FCCLA; Gabe Volheim, hardest worker; Brittany McDaniel, Jr. Miss FCCLA; Cynovia Joiner, and Chris Burke, Jr. Mr. FCCLA.

OfficersFCCLA elects officers

The 2015-2016 FCCLA officers installation took place during the FCCLA awards ceremony at Five Points School on Wednesday, May 13. (L-R) A’Neilya McFarlin, secretary; Brittany McDaniel, president; Gabe Volheim, treasurer; and Chardae Swanson, vice-president. Not pictured Monkeliyah Morgan, historian.

The officers will meet during the summer for an officers training day and prepare for meetings, community service projects and other activities for the 2015-2016 school year.

Retirees recognized


Teachers and staff personnel who are retiring at the end of the current school year were recognized with plaque presentations at the Wednesday meeting of the Chambers County Board of Education. In front, from left, are Sara Clark, a teacher at Fairfax Elementary School for 27 years; Dr. Melinda Johnson, 20 years at Bob Harding-Shawmut Elementary; Rennie Sheree Core, 29 years, Eastside Elementary; and Jack Wood, bus driver, 15 years.

In back, left to right, are Angie Milner, 28 years, Huguley Elementary;
Fletcher Carr, bus driver, 57 years; Charles Williams, Jr., 10 years, custodian, Eastside Elementary, and Dr. Hodge. Not shown is Priscela Holley, principal at W.F. Burns Middle School, who’s been with the system 36 years. (Photo by Wayne Clark)

CCDA to analyze workforce

LANETT, AL (May 22, 2015) – The ability to attract and retain employers in communities across the country is a fierce competition that requires innovative and proactive thinking. Understanding these issues, the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) in Alabama has taken action to put their communities a step ahead of the rest by commissioning a comprehensive workforce analysis.

Prepared by Garner Economics, LLC of Atlanta, GA, the analysis provides a holistic assessment of the critical underlying characteristics of Chambers County’s complete workforce, including developed or acquired skills, knowledge of specific principles, occupations, education levels, age, level of self-employment and workforce participation. For potential and current employers, this analysis provides a real-world view of the county’s workforce capacity and potential, reveals unique strengths and marketing opportunities, and outlines distinct information prospects require for expansion and location decisions.

The Chambers County Development Authority is the first and only economic development organization in the state of Alabama to posses such a comprehensive study and can now better market its workforce assets and strengths and mitigate gaps to address and leverage in order to improve the county’s competitive position.

“At the CCDA, we constantly strive to make Chambers County a better place,” says CCDA Executive Director Valerie Gray. “We have a Board of Directors and partners like Alabama Power Company that foster those efforts by encouraging the CCDA staff to think proactive and not reactive, and to set ourselves apart from the rest of the state and country. It was because of these standards that we chose to commission this comprehensive workforce analysis.”

“From our analysis, it’s evident that Chambers County offers a skilled and knowledgeable workforce that you would not necessarily appreciate by just reviewing the typical data that summarizes a county’s workforce,” Garner Economics Founder and President Jay Garner says. “Our analysis shows unequivocally that Chambers County would be an ideal location for manufacturers seeking workers with strong technical skills.”

“The data produced speaks for itself,” Gray added. “And we now stand alone in our ability to offer site selection consultants and companies around the world the vital workforce information needed to prove that Chambers County is the right place for their business.”

A key quantity realized from the study is a measure of the county’s entire workforce. Typical methods used to count workers fail to capture the actual size because workers are normally counted only at their place of employment. With a significant percentage of Chambers County workers commuting outside the county, most data projections vastly underestimate the total workforce. In this study, Garner Economics has, for the first time, produced an actual workforce size for Chambers County.

“Chambers County’s complete workforce totals 20,265, more than twice the size reported by standard Federal and state sources of 8,100. And the regional workforce totals more than 331,000,” Garner says.

“With this information, it is abundantly clear that we have the labor force to land our targeted projects,” Gray says.

In addition to size, the comprehensive analysis provides data that shows Chambers County’s workforce possess abundant qualities that are attractive to prospects and existing companies. The county’s workforce skills were particular strong in eight individual categories, all of which fall within the technical skills group.

“What’s apparent from this analysis is that Chambers County has a vastly underrated workforce,” says Gray. “The percentage of our workforce that meets the qualifications a wide variety of companies are looking for is exciting as we move this county into the future.”

Paramount to the continued success of the CCDA and growth of Chambers County is the unified support of many involved with this workforce analysis. This report will allow the community to incite regional efforts to increase its competitive position within the State of Alabama and country and to do so within one cohesive regional effort.

The points highlighted here offer just a snapshot of the findings revealed in the comprehensive study. The full copyrighted report will be available upon request to site selection consultants and potential companies, while an abbreviated report will be made available to existing industries in the county.

Police arrest mother for leaving toddler in car

Irma PerezOpelika Police arrest mother for allegedly leaving her toddler in a hot car, while she went inside to eat with a friend at Hibachi Sushi Grill & Buffet. The friend was also arrested.

Additional Information: Opelika Police just learned that the male companion lied about his name. His real name is: Cornelio Gomez Lopez and he is 22 years old. He has also been charged with Giving False Name/Address to Law Enforcement. Furthermore, it has been determined that the mother lied about the age of the child, and he was only 2 years old.

Carlos Gonzales

Carlos Gonzales

On 05/19/15 at approximately 5:15 P.M., officers of the Opelika Police Department responded to the parking lot of a local restaurant, located in the 3900 block of Pepperell Parkway. Upon officers arrival, they met with a citizen who had called about seeing a small child locked inside a car with no adult supervision around. The car windows were cracked, but the car was turned off and locked. The officers located a 3-year-old child in the car. The child was asleep in a car seat and appeared to be sweating profusely. The temperature outside was approximately 85 degrees at the time of the incident. The mother of the child and an adult male companion were contacted inside the restaurant where they were having dinner. It was determined the child had been left in the car for approximately 10 minutes by the time the police arrived. The child was removed from the car and transported to East Alabama Medical Center where he was evaluated and subsequently released to family members. The Lee County Department of Human Resources was contacted to assist in the investigation. The mother, Irma Yolanda Lucas Perez, 27 years old, and the male companion, Carlos Gonzalez, 24 years old, were both arrested and charged with Endangering Welfare of Child. Both subjects were booked into the Lee County Jail. Endangering Welfare of Child is a Class A misdemeanor.

The Opelika Police Department would like to stress to the public to NOT leave children inside a car unattended at any time, especially when the temperatures outside are hot. The temperature inside the car can rise extremely fast and will be much hotter than the outside temperature, even with the windows cracked. Several children die each year in heat-related emergencies where they have been left locked inside a car. Citizens are asked to contact the police and emergency medical personnel as soon as they see a child left unattended inside a car. Quick action by citizens makes for faster response times by emergency personnel and this may be the difference between life or death for the child.

Chambers County unemployment rate at 5.6% for April

By Paul Richardson

Governor Robert Bentley announced Friday that the state’s unemployment rate was 5.8%. By comparison, the Department of Labor reports Chambers County at 5.6%, with the national average for the month of April at 5.4%.

Over the last year, wage and salary employment increased by 27,800 jobs in Alabama, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector, the professional and business services sector, and the education and health services sector.

Counties with the lowest rates are, Shelby County at 3.6%, Lee County at 4.4%, and Elmore and Autauga Counties at 4.5%.

64-year old lab tech arrested for selling rape drug

Stephen KStephen K. Howard, a 64-year old Auburn resident who is employed as a lab technician at Auburn University, was arrested Friday, May 22, 2015 for selling large quantities of a “date rape” drug, announced George L. Beck Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.

According to court documents, Howard sold an undercover agent 20 ounces of a liquid substance used to incapacitate women. Shortly thereafter, another purchase was made from Howard for nearly a gallon of the same substance. During the second purchase, Howard showed the undercover agent that he had a handgun.

Following these purchases, lab tests confirmed that the liquid was in fact a controlled substance called 1,4-butanediol. When ingested, 1,4-butanediol is converted into Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB), commonly known as a “date rape drug.” On May, 22, 2015, law enforcement executed search warrants at Howard’s office on Auburn’s campus, and at his home. Howard was arrested the same day.

A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, Howard faces up to 20 years in prison for distribution of a controlled substance, and a possible 32 year sentence on charges for possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

The case is being investigated by the Auburn Police Department, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Verne Speirs. The U.S. Attorney’s Office would like to give special thanks to Auburn University for its support and cooperation in this matter.

Kick-off party at the library

Please join the library staff on Friday, May 29th at 5:30 pm for the Summer Reading Kick-off. There will be lots of fun games and activities!!! Check out books and start reading for cool prizes.

Remember, the theme this year is: Every Hero Has a Story. To celebrate this theme the library will host a Superhero Dress-Up Day on Monday, June 1 at 1:00 pm. Come dressed as your favorite superhero and enjoy related activities. Animal Avengers will visit the library on Thursday, June 4 at 1:00 pm. Get up close and personal with wild animals. This promises to be a fun program. The library looks forward to seeing you!

Free fishing day is set for June 6

On Saturday, June 6, Alabamians will have the opportunity to fish for free in most public waters. Free Fishing Day is part of National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs June 6-14. Approved by the Alabama Legislature, Free Fishing Day allows residents and non-residents to fish without a fishing license for a day in both salt and fresh waters.
The fishing license exemption on Free Fishing Day does not affect some lakes that may still require fees and permits. Fishing in a private pond requires the pond owner’s permission. Anglers can visit to find a great fishing spot for Free Fishing Day.

“Free Fishing Day is the perfect opportunity for non-anglers to test the fishing waters and to remind former anglers of all the fun they’ve been missing,” said Stan Cook, Fisheries Section Chief for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. “It’s also a great opportunity for kids to get out and learn how fun and exciting fishing is, plus the day gives families a chance to do something together outdoors.”

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit

Two Raccoons, Dog Test Positive For Rabies in Lee Co.

By Paul Richardson

Monday, May 27, Lee County rabies officer Dr. Buddy Bruce reported that a Lee County resident is currently receiving treatment for exposure to rabies after the family’s pet Chihuahua contacted the disease and bit its owner.

“Two raccoons and a dog in Auburn have tested positive for rabies,” Dr. Bruce said in a press release Monday. “One raccoon was on Talheim Drive, the other was found on Thistle Lane. The rabid dog, a family pet, was from the 600 block of Lee Road 191. The two raccoons exposed several family pets (dogs) in both cases.”

This comes on the heels of last week’s report of a confirmed rabid Raccoon inside the Opelika City limits at Rocky Brook.

More disturbing is the fact that a rabid coyote was confirmed in Covington County recently as reported by WSFA News.

According to Ricky Smith of the county health department, there have no confirmed cases in Chambers County as of this week. However, he cautions people to be alert, do not approach any animal acting abnormally, and do not handle any dead animal.

The best approach is to call 911. Each city has an animal control officer as well as the county.

Smith added that even though your pet may have been vaccinated last year, they may need it again. While some vaccines last longer, most are good for only one year.

Later this summer, vaccination clinics will be held in various places around the county. Be sure to bring all your pets when the Vet is in your area.

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