June jobless rate jumps to 7.4 percent in Chambers County

The Alabama Department of Labor announced the preliminary unemployment figures for the month of June last week and Chambers County’s rate jumped more than a full percentage point to 7.4 percent. May’s revised rate in the county in May was 6.2 percent.

The main reason attributed to the rise in unemployment was because Chambers’ civilian labor force grew from 14,689 in May to 14,834 in June, and employment numbers dropped from 13,778 in May to 13,734 in June.

The number of unemployed individuals in the county last month was 1,100 compared to 911 in May.

Even thought the rate increased, it was still better than at this time last year. In June of 2013 Chambers’ unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, with a civilian labor force of 14,887. There were 13,745 employed individuals and 1,142 unemployed. Read the rest of this entry »

ISO rating falls drastically for Five Points Fire District

Residents of the Five Points Community got some very good news last week when it was announced that the Five Points Fire District has improved it’s ISO (Insurance Service Office) rating from a Class 9 to a Class 5.

A community meeting was held at the Five Points Volunteer Fire Department to make the announcement. Five Points Fire Chief Jeff Williams said the improved designation would save residents of the Five Points Fire District, which includes White Plains, Five Points and Stroud, a significant amount on their household insurance premiums.

ISO rates a community’s fire-protection services through the Public Protection Classification (PPC) program. ISO’s PPC Service evaluates the capacity of the local fire department to respond to and fight structure fires. ISO analyzes the relevant data using a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). It then assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire-suppression program doesn’t meet ISO’s minimum criteria.

Just about every aspect of a fire department is evaluated in determining the ISO rating. Read the rest of this entry »

HEXPOL acquires Kardoes Rubber

A major LaFayette company has been sold.

It was announced last week that Swedish company HEXPOL has signed an agreement to acquire Kardoes Rubber Company for a reported $31.8 million.

Kardoes Rubber was started by Frank Kardoes in 1988 and is a well-known rubber company in the U.S. market. It is a first class rubber mixing facility that houses three mixing lines with a mixing capacity of over 200 million pounds per year

HEXPOL is a world-leading polymers group with strong global positions in advanced rubber compounds gaskets for plate heat exchangers, and plastic and rubber materials for truck and castor wheel applications. HEXPOL’s customers are primarily OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) manufacturers of plate heat exchangers and trucks, systems suppliers to the global automotive and engineering industries, the energy sector and medical equipment manufacturers. The group is organized in two business areas, HEXPOL Compounding and HEXPOL Engineered Products. The HEXPOL Group has approximately 3,400 employees in ten countries.

“The acquisition is a very good complement to HEXPOL Compounding in the U.S. and broadens and strengthens our presence with Rubber Compounds into end user markets like industrial materials handling, agriculture equipment and off the road tires,” says Tracy Garrison, president and CEO of HEXPOL Compounding NAFTA. “Kardoes Rubber expands our capabilities and capacities to serve our customers in a more efficient way.” Read the rest of this entry »

Back to School Bash is Saturday

back to school proclamation

The second annual Back To School Bash will take place this Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm CST at the LaFayette High School band field. The event, sponsored by Powell Chapel United Methodist Church and the Chambers County School District, will include live entertainment, games, speakers and free school supplies for students in grades kindergarten through twelfth. Last week, the LaFayette City Council approved a proclamation recognizing the event. Powell Chapel members Adrian Holloway and Barbara Leverett were on hand to accept the proclamation. Pictured, from left, are Councilwoman Tammie Williams, Holloway, Leverett and Mayor Barry Moody.

City Council gets economic update

Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) Executive Director Valerie Gray gave the LaFayette City Council a quarterly economic update as part of Monday’s regular meeting at City Hall. The council also made some changes to the LaFayette Fire and EMS billing system at the meeting.

Grey told the council that the CCDA is currently working 21 active projects. She said in regards to LaFayette, they are actively recruiting retail businesses, and are working with a development group to help come up with a strategic plan for attracting retail. And since October, the CCDA has spent 148.83 hours working directly on LaFayette projects.

Gray said she has met with Allen Tucker, of Harmon Engineering, to develop two master plans for the LaFayette Industrial Park. She announced that discussions have taken place about possibly naming part of the LaFayette Park an AdvantageSite. In explaining what an AdvantageSite is Gray said “it’s a site that is at least a minimum of 25 acres, all the infrastructure and utilities have to be to the property lines. We have to demonstrate that we either own the property, it is owned by a public entity or we have an ironclad option to purchase the property in an expeditious manner for any type of prospect or client.” She explained that it is basically a “shovel-ready site.” On an AdvantageSite all the environmental and impact studies have been done. It can take up to a year to achieve AdvantageSite certification, and can be costly because of the amount of testing required.

Gray added that the CCDA’s only other AdvantageSite had been purchased recently by Hantal Alabama.

Gray told the council that the CCDA had also been working on a retail plan for a dry cleaners in the city, and have reached out to several different franchises and other small business owners to come up with a plan to get a cleaners back open in the city.

She said that summer is typically a slow time of the year and the CCDA’s Kimberly Carter had been recently making existing industry visits in LaFayette. Gray said one of the major complains from businesses locally is a lack of cell phone service, and that they are looking into the issue.

After her report, Gray asked the council to enter into executive session to discuss information that could have a detrimental effect on the competitive position of the city with regards to a current negotiation if made public.

City Attorney Mac Tucker also asked to discuss the legal ramifications about a matter that may possibly be litigated depending on the council’s position as part of the executive session.

The council then agreed to enter into executive session.

When the council returned from the nearly hour-long executive session, Mayor Barry Moody announced that no action had been taken and the council moved forward with the agenda. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Splash at First Baptist Church

For a number of years now in July the ladies at LaFayette First Baptist Church have hosted the event known as Summer Splash. The women of the church decorate tables in many colors, with each table having its own theme. Tickets, which sometimes are hard to come by, are sold and the funds raised are used to purchase things for the church. Lunch and a guest speaker are part of the program.  The speaker last Saturday was artist and Christian speaker Becky Guinn. Guinn, a quadruple amputee and former art teacher, continues to paint and produce sought after art work.

For a number of years now in July the ladies at LaFayette First Baptist Church have hosted the event known as Summer Splash. The women of the church decorate tables in many colors, with each table having its own theme. Tickets, which sometimes are hard to come by, are sold and the funds raised are used to purchase things for the church. Lunch and a guest speaker are part of the program. The speaker last Saturday was artist and Christian speaker Becky Guinn. Guinn, a quadruple amputee and former art teacher, continues to paint and produce sought after art work.

Chambers County Sheriff’s Department suffers tragic loss

On Monday, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department tragically lost a member of their team. Sergeant Jon Scarborough, age 40, suffered what was believed to be a massive heart attack and passed away.

Scarborough had been employed by the Sheriff’s Department since 2008 and was assigned to the detention facility work detail. He was on duty traveling to a work site when he suffered the heart attack.

Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart extended the department’s deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers to Sgt. Scarborough’s family.

LaFayette installs LED lights

 

Downtown LaFayette’s streetlights just became more energy efficient. Last week, the city installed 30 new LED cobra head lights on fixtures around the city. The lights were purchased thanks to a program called the LED Street Lighting Project, which is administered by WRATT (Waste Reduction And Technology Transfer Foundation). LaFayette’s grant from WRATT was funded through the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission). The purpose of the grant is to allow the city to provide better, more efficient lighting, increasing visibility while saving money. Above, city employee Andrew Gregory installs one of the new LED lights.

Downtown LaFayette’s streetlights just became more energy efficient. Last week, the city installed 30 new LED cobra head lights on fixtures around the city. The lights were purchased thanks to a program called the LED Street Lighting Project, which is administered by WRATT (Waste Reduction And Technology Transfer Foundation). LaFayette’s grant from WRATT was funded through the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission). The purpose of the grant is to allow the city to provide better, more efficient lighting, increasing visibility while saving money. Above, city employee Andrew Gregory installs one of the new LED lights.

July 9, 2014 | Posted in: Local, News | Comments Closed

Commission hears opinion on firearms at voting sites

Despite an opinion from the state Attorney General’s office, a question about the legality of firearms in poling places in Chambers County remains unclear.

The Chambers County Commission had requested the AG’s opinion after confusion about the issue arose in the June 3 primary election.

County Attorney Skip McCoy told the commission Monday at their regular meeting that the opinion issued from the AG stipulated that the County Commission did not have authority to prohibit firearms at all polling places and that the designation of a location as a polling place does not transform that location into a courthouse annex. Whether firearms are prohibited in polling places depends on the nature of the location. Private property owners or their authorized representative may prohibit firearms on private property being used as a polling place.

McCoy said that the opinion doesn’t give a complete answer to the firearm question. He noted that if a polling place is located at a school, where firearms are prohibited, then they would not be allowed at that site. That is also the case with the courthouse. But many polling sites are in private buildings, such as churches or community centers, and it is up to the property owners to determine whether firearms can be carried.

McCoy recommended contacting property owners on private polling sites to determine their firearm preferences, and said that that the county could only enforce it if the owner posts a notice prohibiting firearms.

At the meeting, the commission approved six new vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department. The lease-purchase agreement includes five Chevy Tahoes and one Ford F-150 4×4 pickup truck. The vehicles will come from King Ford/Chevrolet and the monthly lease payments for three years on the six vehicles is $5,571.41. The county will be able to purchase the vehicles for $1 at the end of the lease. Read the rest of this entry »

LaFayette’s Dowdell takes part in Governor’s School

 

LaFayette High School’s Alexis Dowdell attended the Alabama Governor’s School (AGS) at Samford University from June 15 to 27. Dowdell was among 91 outstanding rising high school seniors from 24 counties who were selected for the two-week honors program. AGS participants are nominated by their schools on the basis of academic ability, leadership qualities, creativity, community service and a written essay. The AGS students enjoyed college level experience in academics, creativity and leadership. They undertook a community service project, visited American Village in Montevallo, attended a Birmingham Barons baseball game and heard special lectures on servant leadership and worldwide human rights issues. In the classroom, they chose from 16 course topics to study in morning and afternoon sessions. Dowdell chose to study video production and film. Alexis is the daughter of Nekeshia Reese and David Fell.

LaFayette High School’s Alexis Dowdell attended the Alabama Governor’s School (AGS) at Samford University from June 15 to 27. Dowdell was among 91 outstanding rising high school seniors from 24 counties who were selected for the two-week honors program. AGS participants are nominated by their schools on the basis of academic ability, leadership qualities, creativity, community service and a written essay. The AGS students enjoyed college level experience in academics, creativity and leadership. They undertook a community service project, visited American Village in Montevallo, attended a Birmingham Barons baseball game and heard special lectures on servant leadership and worldwide human rights issues. In the classroom, they chose from 16 course topics to study in morning and afternoon sessions. Dowdell chose to study video production and film. Alexis is the daughter of Nekeshia Reese and David Fell.