Chambers’ unemployment rate rises to 7.9 percent

The Alabama Department of Labor released preliminary unemployment figures for the month of July in the state last week. The statewide rate rose to 7 percent in July as every county in Alabama saw an increase in their jobless rate. Chambers County’s rate increased half a percentage point to 7.9 percent in July from 7.4 percent in June.

The county saw an increase in the civilian labor force from 14,837 in June to 14,865 in July, while employment dropped to 13,685 in July compared to 13,738 in June. There were 1,180 unemployed individuals in Chambers County in July compared to 1,099 in June.

Last months numbers were better than in July of 2013, in which Chambers County’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent. At that time the civilian labor force was 15,080, there were 1,281 unemployed individuals and 13,799 employed.

Chambers County was ranked 40th out of Alabama’s 67 counties in unemployment in July, above the 2013 average ranking of 32nd. Chambers was ranked 38th in June. Read the rest of this entry »

LaFayette council discusses funding for new city park

The LaFayette City Council took steps to secure funding for the construction of new city park during a work session on Monday afternoon in City Hall. City grant writer Louise Cox was on hand during the session to provide recommendations on how to proceed, and at the conclusion of the meeting, she was instructed to proceed with applications for submitting a grant to secure funds.

Councilman Mike Ellis originally requested the session at last week’s regular council meeting, and he began by asking where the city stood with plans for a new park.

Auburn University had previously drawn up plans for a new city park located on land the city purchased behind the city cemetery. City Clerk Louis T. Davidson told the mayor and council that he was awaiting revised plans for the park from Auburn University, which would include cost estimates for the project.

Ellis noted that he had recently visited the West Point City Park and thought it would be a good structural model to follow for LaFayette. Councilman David Ennis agreed but noted that West Point had funded the park with private donations rather that state or federal funding.

Cox told the council that there were two federal grant programs that the city could attempt to utilize for recreation, but said that getting a cost analysis from Auburn would be a critical starting points. Read the rest of this entry »

Council approves electric systems distribution study

The LaFayette City Council approved a study of the city’s electrical grid at their meeting Monday night. The study will provide a comprehensive report on specifications of the grid that will not only benefit city employees in finding problems and making repairs, but also will be of use for others in the case of an emergency where outside assistance is needed. The study has long-term benefits to the city, but it is immediately necessary in order to get Substation No. 1 back online.

Electrical Superintendent Randy Norred told the council that Stewart Engineering submitted a proposal for the electrical distribution system and sectionalizing study in the amount of $72,500. He requested that the proposal be approved because contractors need the information the study will provide in order to get Substation No. 1 back online.

There were some questions from the council about putting the work out to bid, but City Attorney Mac Tucker said because it is a professional services contract that bids are not required.

Tucker noted that there were some issues with the proposal that he wished to have clarified. His main point of concern came on the ownership of the study files, which is not specified in the proposal.

Mayor Barry Moody noted that approximately 28 of the 36 municipalities in the AMEA had this study done, and that while there was some discussion about doing a partial study on the area affected by Substation No. 1, it would be better to go ahead and do a study on the entire system. Mayor Moody noted that in the event of an emergency, where the help of outside electrical departments was needed, the study would be like a roadmap to direct repairs.

Councilman Terry Mangram was an advocate of having the entire system studied and made a motion to allocate $72,500 in the upcoming fiscal year budget to have the study done. Upon request by Tucker, the motion was amended to specify that clarification of ownership of the study be obtained before entering into the agreement with Stewart Engineering. The motion was unanimously approved.

At the meeting the council approved a proclamation naming September as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in LaFayette. Nan Galik, a 10-year ovarian cancer survivor and founder of the ovarian cancer support group Teal Magnolias, was on hand to accept the proclamation. Galik thanked the council for their support of the cause and stressed that women need to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and get tested to detect the early stages of the disease. She said that teal ribbons would be placed around LaFayette from August 31 to September 7 to help promote awareness.

The mayor and council thanked Galik for her work and congratulated her on being a survivor. Read the rest of this entry »

U.N.I.T.E. mentoring sponsors SAT prep course

test prep 1

The U.N.I.T.E. Mentoring Program, in conjunction with the LaFayette High School PTO and Emory University, is sponsoring a free SAT prep course for ninth through twelfth grade students. The first part of the prep course took place on Monday through Friday last week at LaFayette High School. Twenty-five students took part in the course led by Emory University professor Dr. Devin Stewart. The object of the course is two-fold; the first part, which took place last week, is to help students prepare for the SAT and achieve higher scores. The students will take the test in October, and then after the results are returned, the second part of the course will focus on identifying and working on areas that need improvement. SAT prep courses typically cost hundreds of dollars per student, so this resource is a big advantage for local youth.

Class of 81′ makes donation to LHS

donation '81

The LaFayette High School class of 1981 made a donation to the school’s band and athletic programs this week. Class of ’81 member Emmanuel Jones said the alumni made the donation to give back to the school and help the students as well as to encourage other alumni to give back to the school. Several of the ’81 alumni were members of the band and football team, and some have students currently enrolled at LHS. Band Director Leon Banks said the funds will be used to purchase new instruments and for operating costs. Pictured in front, from left, are Christine Allison, LHS athletic director James Lucas, Banks, Jones and Cynthia Story. In back, from left, are LHS principal Don Turner, Christy Anglin, Angelia Davis and Lucille Melton.

Area teen drowns in Opelika

A LaFayette teen has died following a tragic drowning that occurred Sunday afternoon in Opelika.

Jalan Hambrick, 18, died after drowning in the swimming pool at a hotel where he was staying in Opelika. Hambrick was a 2013 graduate of LaFayette High School.

Opelika Police reported that the incident occurred at approximately 5:15 pm CST at the Travelodge at 1002 Columbus Parkway in Opelika.

“For an unknown reason, the male began having trouble and subsequently drowned,” Capt. Shane Healey of the Opelika Police Department stated in a press release.

“He was removed from the pool by emergency personnel and life-saving measures were immediately begun at the hotel. He was subsequently transported to East Alabama Medical Center where he received further treatment. All life-saving measures were unsuccessful and the male was pronounced dead at 5:58 pm by the presiding doctor.”

According to witnesses at the scene, no foul play appeared to have caused the drowning, Healey said.

The victim’s body has been turned over to the coroner to be transported to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy.

August 6, 2014 | Posted in: Local, News | Comments Closed

Wood donates historic pieces to Chambers County Museum

wood portrait

Denny Wood is shown here with a portrait of his father Dr. William G. Wood and his physician’s bag. Wood donated both to the Chambers County Museum.

The Chambers County Museum here in LaFayette has received a special donation that highlight’s part of LaFayette history.

Denny Wood donated a portrait of his father Dr. William G. Wood and his physician’s bag to the museum.

Wood said the portrait was commissioned and paid for by his father’s patients many years ago. He says that when the hospital was built, Dr. Wood’s patients commissioned the painting and hung it in the new facility.

“When he died, it was given to the family,” Wood said. “The family feels that it deserves to be in a public place.”

Dr. Wood was the last physician to make house calls in LaFayette, and that’s the reason the bag was donated as well. “It represents a time when doctors made house calls,” he said.

Dr. William Wood was born October 31, 1916 in Camp Hill, and attended Camp Hill High School. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama and his Medical Degree from Alabama Medical School.

Dr. Wood first practiced medicine at Camp Lee, Va. where he served in the military from 1944 to 1945.  After that he moved to LaFayette to continue practicing medicine.

Dr. Wood worked at Wheeler Clinic and Wheeler Hospital until they closed in 1967. He then went into practice for himself until his untimely death in 1969. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to School Bash draws big crowd

The second annual Back to School Bash in LaFayette was held on Saturday. Thanks to bigger crowds, more activities and greater community support, organizers declared the event a resounding success. The event, which was sponsored by Powell Chapel United Methodist Church’s youth organization, People Helping Youth Reach Excellence (P.H.Y.R.E.) and the Chambers County School District, gave out free school supplies to nearly 900 pre-k through twelfth grade children according to organizer Adrian Holloway, which was nearly triple the number from last year. Each registered child received an age specific backpack that included items such as paper, pens, markers, crayons and notebooks. In addition, the event included live entertainment, guest speakers, college recruiters, kids games and food. Holloway said that this year’s Bash far exceeded the success of last year, and her group plans to make the Bash an annual event in LaFayette. “I would like to say thanks to all the members of P.H.Y.R.E. and Chambers County School District for their hard work and dedication and thanks to everyone else that supported the event in whatever capacity that may have been,” Holloway added.

The second annual Back to School Bash in LaFayette was held on Saturday. Thanks to bigger crowds, more activities and greater community support, organizers declared the event a resounding success. The event, which was sponsored by Powell Chapel United Methodist Church’s youth organization, People Helping Youth Reach Excellence (P.H.Y.R.E.) and the Chambers County School District, gave out free school supplies to nearly 900 pre-k through twelfth grade children according to organizer Adrian Holloway, which was nearly triple the number from last year. Each registered child received an age specific backpack that included items such as paper, pens, markers, crayons and notebooks. In addition, the event included live entertainment, guest speakers, college recruiters, kids games and food. Holloway said that this year’s Bash far exceeded the success of last year, and her group plans to make the Bash an annual event in LaFayette. “I would like to say thanks to all the members of P.H.Y.R.E. and Chambers County School District for their hard work and dedication and thanks to everyone else that supported the event in whatever capacity that may have been,” Holloway added.

July 30, 2014 | Posted in: Local, News | Comments Closed

Council gives support to Rotary clean up project

The LaFayette City Council gave their unanimous support to a request from the LaFayette Rotary Club to undertake a clean-up project in downtown during Monday’s regular meeting.

Speaking to the council on behalf of the Rotary Club, Dr. Donald Busby told the council that the organization had several programs focusing on what the City of LaFayette can do to attract business and industry. “One thing that caught our attention was that the first impression that’s given to a perspective employer, a perspective business or perspective new resident to the city is what they see when they come down main street,” he said. “We can’t go out and buy a building, we just don’t have the resources to do that. But we do have the capacity to clean up. So we were looking at the parking lot that’s adjacent to the old wheeler clinic (across from the courthouse) that the city owns.”

Busby requested the city’s approval for the Rotary Club to clean up that parking lot, which would include landscaping, the trimming and possible removal of shrubs and trees and generally cleaning the grounds of and around the parking lot. He said that some assistance might be needed from the city, such as the use of a backhoe to remove trees.

The mayor and council commended and thanked the organization for their desire to improve the city. Councilman David Ennis recommended using crushed brick, possible from the Avondale Mill in LaFayette or Lanett Mill demolition sites, to provide a more permanent landscape cover and offered to look into the possibility.

The council also asked if the club would maintain the clean up, and Busby said that was part of the plan.

“The Rotary Club is going to be committed to maintaining the process as well as getting the process going,” Busby said. “We want to help improve the city of LaFayette and we want to work with the city to make that happen and we don’t want this to be the end. This is not going to be the finish line of what we can do.

“What we’re looking at is to put a seed growing so that we can incorporate other groups, such as schools, churches and other civic groups to step forward and take some pride in LaFayette. We’ve got a wonderful place to live and together we can make a difference.” Read the rest of this entry »

Day of Prayer set for Friday

For the fourteenth consecutive year, Chambers County will recognize a day of prayer for the community. This year’s day of prayer will take place on Friday, August 1 at 6 pm CST on the courthouse square in LaFayette.

“Everyone is invited to come out and help pray for our state, the Governor of Alabama, the mayors and councils of LaFayette, Lanett, Valley, Five Points, Waverly, Fredonia and Cusseta, the Chambers County Commissioners, the local officials, our military, our school systems, the economy of Chambers County, the Governor of Alabama, the President, our nation and our families,” said Diane Perry, LaFayette’s assistant City Clerk and one of the event organizers. “If we want things to continue to change for Chambers County, we must pray.”

On September 6, 2001, the first Day of Prayer for Chambers County was held at the courthouse here in LaFayette and the tradition has continued with strong participation since that time. As part of the event, the Chambers County Commission along with each municipality and town in the county has approved proclamations for the service. LaFayette’s City Council approved their proclamation on Monday night. Dorothy Vines was on hand at the meeting to accept the proclamation and thanked the mayor and council for their support as well as Perry for all her work organizing the event. Read the rest of this entry »