LaFayette hosts Native American Festival and Pow Wow

The first ever Native American Festival and Pow Wow took place this past weekend in LaFayette. The event featured cultural displays, dances and many Native American vendors. On Friday morning local fourth graders visited and learned about early Native American ways of life throught displays such as Jim Sawgrass’ Creek warrior presentation (above) and had the opportunity to join in dances. The festival openend to the public Friday night and Saturday and included the “East Meets West” demonstration, competition dances from native dancers in full regalia (below) and social dances. “For this to be the first festival here, it’s a great turnout,” Robert Russell, Executive Director of the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission said. “I hope we can continue this next year.” 

The first ever Native American Festival and Pow Wow took place this past weekend in LaFayette. The event featured cultural displays, dances and many Native American vendors. On Friday morning local fourth graders visited and learned about early Native American ways of life throught displays such as Jim Sawgrass’ Creek warrior presentation (above) and had the opportunity to join in dances. 

The festival openend to the public Friday night and Saturday and included the “East Meets West” demonstration, competition dances from native dancers in full regalia (below) and social dances. “For this to be the first festival here, it’s a great turnout,” Robert Russell, Executive Director of the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission said. “I hope we can continue this next year.”

The festival openend to the public Friday night and Saturday and included the “East Meets West” demonstration, competition dances from native dancers in full regalia (above) and social dances. “For this to be the first festival here, it’s a great turnout,” Robert Russell, Executive Director of the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission said. “I hope we can continue this next year.”

 

Chambers County unemployment rate drops to 6.3 percent

Chambers County’s unemployment rate dropped nearly a full percentage point from August to September. The county’s September rate of 6.3 is the lowest it’s been since May of this year.

According to figures released by the Alabama Department of Labor last week, Chambers County’s rate of 6.3 percent represents 916 unemployed individuals. The August rate of 7.1 percent represented 1,045 unemployed individuals. Last months rate was also slightly lower than at the same time last year, when the county had a 6.9 percent rate representing 1,034 individuals.

Unemployment fell throughout the state as each of Alabama’s 67 counties saw a decrease in unemployment. Chambers County was one of 31 counties to have a lower rate than the statewide figure of 6.6 percent.

Chambers County’s September rate represents 13,690 employed individuals, slightly higher that the August figure of 13,657. There were 13,845 employed in September 2013.

The county’s civilian labor force dropped from 14,702 in August to 14,606 in September. The civilian labor force in September of last year was 14,879.

Chambers County’s rate was once again favorable compared to surrounding counties. The county ranked 43rd in unemployment in the state for the second consecutive month, which is above the 2013 average ranking of 32nd.

Lee County was the only neighboring county with a lower rate than Chambers, with a rate of 4.7 percent, ranking 66th in the state. Randolph County posted a 6.6 percent unemployment, ranking 35th in the state. Tallapoosa County ranked 22nd with a 7.2 percent rate; Clay County was at 7.1 percent, ranking 25th; Macon County was at 7.9 percent, ranking 14th, and Russell County ranked 13th with an 8.2 percent rate.

The state rate of 6.6 percent is down from August’s rate of 6.9 percent. September’s rate represents 140,674 unemployed persons, compared to 147,248 in August.

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LaFayette sets Halloween schedule

The City of LaFayette announced that Halloween will be observed on Friday, October 31 from 5:00-8:00 pm for children up to 12 years of age. Residents who do not wish to have trick-or-treaters are asked to please keep your porch light off during these hours.

The LaFayette Police Department asked that all motorists be watchful for children during this time. They also offered the following guidelines for those trick-or-treating:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Use a flashlight, so you can see and be seen by others.
  • Stay in a group, walk slowly and communicate where you are going.
  • Only trick-or-treat in well-known neighborhoods at homes that have a porch light on.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat.
  • Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations.
  • Always walk. Never run across a street.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom).
  • Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street, driveway or alley.
  • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will.
  • Never consume unwrapped food items or open beverages that may be offered.
  • No treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an adult at home.
  • Law Enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

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.

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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.

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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 »

October 8, 2014 | Posted in: Local, News | Comments Closed

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.

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