Dr. Charles featured at Lunch N Learn

Dr. Julia S. Charles

Dr. Julia S. Charles

In celebration of Black History Month, the LaFayette Pilot Public Library will host a Lunch N Learn featuring Dr. Julia S. Charles. The program is scheduled for Friday, February 26 at 1:00 CST with lunch served at 12:30 CST.

Charles will speak on the topic of 19th and 20th century African American literature and literary movements as well as African American women writers of the 19th and 20th century. She received her PhD from University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2015 and now serves as an Assistant Professor at Auburn University. She teaches African American literature, and lectures on the subject of racial crossing/passing literature, and depictions of mixed-race characters in American fiction.

Growing up Charles spent time in the Foster Care System. As a result, she wrote the book: Surviving the Storm: The Life of a Child in Foster Care. Her book provides insight into a foster youth’s world. Her life experiences have encouraged her to become a national public speaker and help others within the community.

The deadline to register and reserve your free lunch provided by the Friends of the Library is Wednesday, February 24. Please call the Lafayette Library by 3:00 p.m. (central) at (334) 864-0012. You may also email Rachel Johnson at racheljohnson@chamberscountylibrary.org.

Sheriff’s deputy nabs Auburn kidnap suspect

By Alton Mitchell

A vigilant Chambers County Sheriff’s saved a woman and her two children from a dangerous situation on Sunday. A kidnapping that began in Auburn on Sunday and crossed the County line into Chambers County led to the liberation of the 34-year-old woman and her two children.

The events began on Sunday Morning about 9:30 a.m. when Auburn police received a report of a disturbance occurring on Amy Court. Arriving officers discovered a door that had been forced open and did not find the occupants of the home in the residence. Police gathered enough information to determine that the resident and her two children were forced to leave the residence with someone.

Auburn officers broadcasted information about the incident to other area agencies, this included the description of the suspect’s vehicle. The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office became one the recipients of the broadcast to be on the lookout for the vehicle and the victims.

The suspect vehicle was spotted in Chambers County by a sheriff’s deputy. That deputy performed a traffic stop on the vehicle and was able to apprehend the suspected kidnaper. That kidnapper was identified as Jwaun J. Strum, a 23-year-old Auburn man. In addition to the Chambers County Sheriff’s office leading the arrest other agencies including Auburn police, Lanett Police, and Valley Police also assisted in the apprehension of Strum.

Strum faces a long list of serious charges that include three counts of kidnapping in the first degree, first degree rape, domestic violence, criminal mischief third degree, and violation of a protection from abuse order. Police do confirm that the victims knew Mr. Strum which led to him being quickly identified as a potential suspect. During an interview at the Auburn Police department Strum attempted to escape through a crawl space in the ceiling. Prior to making his exit he was detained again and transported to the Lee County detention facility where he is being held without bond

Population declining

By Alton Mitchell

A look around LaFayette is showing a brand new town developing. While the local city government is making tremendous efforts to improve the quality of life and infrastructure in the city there is still a downfall to the growth occurring in the city. That downfall is the growth of new residents in the city. Census estimates for the year 2015 show the LaFayette has again taken a loss in residents living in the city.

During the last official annual national census in 2010 the city of LaFayette had around 3,003 residents living in the incorporated limits of the city. Estimates since then have continued to show drops in the population of the city. Estimates for 2013 remained almost stagnant to the level seen in 2010 as numbers hovered around 2,999 residents living in the city of LaFayette.

However population estimates in 2014 showed that the city lost even more residents. In 2014 the estimated decline demonstrated to be on a continued downward level with the city population dropping to 2,993 residents. However the latest data shows that around mid-summer of 2015 the population of LaFayette had sped up in the decline process losing another 24 residents and having the city population drop to a 2969 residents.

LaFayette is not the only city in Alabama facing declining populations. The state’s second largest city Montgomery saw a decline in population of over 5,000 residents last year based off of provided estimates. While this may seem significant it appears that the urban core of Montgomery is not actually declining as a whole, but there is an urban flight as the suburb of Montgomery, Pike Road showed massive growth becoming one of Alabama’s fastest growing cities in population.

That trend holds true for many area’s around the state Mobile and Birmingham have also seen similar declines in population at their urban core and suburban growth is rising. Two local area cities also made the list of some of the state’s fastest growing areas they include Auburn and Phenix City. The data that is provided for 2015 is only based off of an estimate and is not official. The official census is conducted every 10 years and the next will occur in the year 2020 giving the city of LaFayette lots of time to take its population in the opposite direction of what estimates have been showing.

Teachers treated to forest demonstrations

Chambers Teacher 1Photos by Teresa Wilcox
The group of teachers that attended the event
Chambers County Teachers-In-Service Training took place on February 4 at the Chamber County Agricultural Center in LaFayette. The event was sponsored by the Chambers County Forestry Planning Committee.

Speakers included Dr. David Hall who spoke about “Wood as a Major Component of the Space Program;” and Andrew Baril, who gave a talk on “A Forestry Career Taught in the Classroom.”
The all-day event also included a tour of a computerized sawmill, a field trip to the forest with Hands on Cruise Foresters and a reforestation demonstration.

It’s your money

Paul Richardson

Every time I see something like this, I say “What’s next?” And if you are like me, this is like a slap in the face with a wet towel. But what can we do?

Obama has visited all 50 states, always at taxpayers expense.
-Obama’s October 2015 Columbus Day fundraising trip to San Diego, California, cost (taxpayers) $969,783.90

-Obama’s June 20, 2015, golf outing to Palm Springs cost taxpayers $2,187,172.20

-Obama’s July 18, 2015, trip to New York City with his daughters cost $309,505.50

-Obama’s August 7, 2015, family trip to Martha’s Vineyard cost $619,011

-Obama’s Dec 19, 2014-January 24, 2015 Christmas vacation to Honolulu cost $3,672,798

-Obama’s June 17-19, 2013, trip to Belfast, Ireland, including a Dublin sightseeing side trip by,
Michelle Obama, her daughters, and her entourage, cost $7,921,638.66

-Air Force One, the three-leveled “flying Oval Office” has 4,000 square feet of interior floor space that boasts a conference room, a dining room, private quarters for the president, offices for senior staff members, a medical operating room (a doctor flies on every flight), a press area, two food-preparation galleys that can provide 100 meals, and multi-frequency radios for air-to-air and air-to-ground communication, according to the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

-Air Force One also requires 26 crew members.

-There are two identical Air Force Ones. When one flys, so does the other, as a decoy. Each plane can also be refueled while in flight in case of an emergency.

-According to the White House, the retrofitted Boeing 747 can fly 6,205 miles from Washington, D.C., to Baghdad without stopping for fuel.
(From The Washington Post.).

Chambers CTE students enjoy job shadowing

Austin Walker and Billie Bantug job shadowed at GE Aviation in Auburn.  Billie is interested in the engineering field, and Austin is interested in a precision machining career. Both are enrolled in PreEngineering and Precision Machining at Chambers County Career Technical Center.

Austin Walker and Billie Bantug job shadowed at GE Aviation in Auburn. Billie is interested in the engineering field, and Austin is interested in a precision machining career. Both are enrolled in PreEngineering and Precision Machining at Chambers County Career Technical Center.

February is Career and Technical Education Month in Alabama. This month-long celebration emphasizes the role of career and technical education in the future career success of students and its importance to their academic achievement. On Groundhog Day, twenty-two students enrolled in Chambers County Career and Technical Education classes got a taste of professional life through job shadowing a career field of interest.
The purpose of job shadowing is to allow students to spend a day with a professional to learn about various career paths first-hand. Students were able to see all aspects of a job including characteristics, responsibilities and day-to-day tasks. Students were also able to understand how academic courses can be put into action and realize skills needed to succeed in today’s workplace. Through this hands-on experience, students recognized whether or not their chosen career path would be a good fit for their future.

Quantrecia Stephens at center is job shadowing Whitney Dunn and Valerie Whitehead of SmartStyle Hair Salon.  Quantrecia is currently enrolled in Mrs. Debbie Peters’ cosmetology program at Chambers County Career Technical Center, where both Whitney and Valerie started pursuing their careers in cosmetology.

Quantrecia Stephens at center is job shadowing Whitney Dunn and Valerie Whitehead of SmartStyle Hair Salon. Quantrecia is currently enrolled in Mrs. Debbie Peters’ cosmetology program at Chambers County Career Technical Center, where both Whitney and Valerie started pursuing their careers in cosmetology.

The opportunity was open to juniors, and students were chosen to participate via an application process. “It’s never too early for students to start planning for their career. The sooner they start this process, the more likely they are to make educated decisions concerning their future. We are so appreciative to the businesses in our community that opened their doors to students and offered such a successful learning experience.” said Laura Anglin, Career Coach for Chambers County Schools.
Participants were Billie Bantug and Austin Walker – GE Aviation; Sierra Bassett and De’Ja Newton – Etherton Family Dentistry; Aeriah Bullard and Kaley Walden – Riverside Veterinary Hospital, Catie Colley and Harli Shurden – Bob Harding Shawmut Elementary School; Monica Murphy – Lanier Medical Pavilion; Hunter Potts – Electrical Technicians, Inc.; Lauren Sanders and KeAnna Wright – Valley Police Department; Lindsey Siggers – Intercall; Quantrecia Stephens – SmartStyle Hair Salon; Kelsey Traffanstedt – Shear Dimensions; Lauren Valencia – Chambers County Board of Education; Bentley Barnes, Christen Bell, Bradley Morgan, Myah Piper, Gretil Sutton and Katy Watkins job shadowed in various departments at EAMC – Lanier Hospital.
For any businesses interested in hosting students for job shadowing, please contact Chambers County Career Tech Center at 334-864-8863.

3 Dead 1 Wounded in separate East Alabama Shooting

By Alton Mitchell

A rash of gun related violence exploded over east central Alabama over the past week. Two separate double shootings just hours apart would leave three men dead, one wounded, and police officers searching for suspects.

The first shooting occurred in the early morning hours of Thursday in Phenix City. Police officers responded to a report of shots fired on 14th Court in the south end of the city. When officers arrived they discovered the bodies of two young men both suffering from gunshot wounds. When Russell County Coroner Arthur Sumbry Jr. arrived he pronounced both men dead.

Sumbry would identify the victims as 18-year-old Alonzo Pipkin and 24-year-old London Long, both young men were natives of Phenix City. Reports indicate that both men suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. Police have yet to identify a suspect in that case.

Before the sun would set on Thursday two more east Alabama men would become the victims of gun violence. The second double shooting of that day would occur only about 25 miles away in Opelika when a broad day shooting located near Edmon Avenue would leave one man dead and another wounded.

Shortly before 3:00 p.m. Opelika police and emergency officials would respond to a call of multiple shots fired in the 600 block of Edmon Avenue. Lee County Coroner Bill Harris would arrive on the scene and pronounce a 19-year-old man dead from multiple gunshot wounds. Harris later identified that victim as Jalen Cavon Johnson a native of Opelika.

While Opelika Police worked the crime scene on Edmon Avenue a second victim arrived at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika suffering from gunshot wounds. This victim was taken to the hospital by a personal vehicle. The second victim was only identified as a 24-year-old male. He was placed in the intensive care unit of the hospital following surgery for the incident.

On Monday Opelika Police made a major break in the case as they were able to make an arrest in the homicide. Police arrested 22-year-old Ladarius Deion Payne shortly after the lunch hour on Monday. Police were able to arrest Payne on an outstanding murder warrant for the murder of Johnson last Thursday. Police may file additional charges against Payne in relation to the fatal shooting.

The rash of gun violence in the two east Alabama cities only hours apart is a true rarity for the area as demographically Opelika and Phenix City are very closely similar and crime statistics tend to run neck and neck in the cities over the span of an annual analysis. Police do indicate that they still do have active ongoing investigations into both shootings and ask anyone with details to come forward.

LaFayette Police Department monthly report

By Chief Ben Hill

The LaFayette Police Department investigated 6 traffic accidents resulting in 0 injuries during the month of January 2016. There were 534 complaints resulting in 92 arrest. Animal control picked up 9.
Disorderly conduct, 1
Drivers license suspended or revoked, 8
Possession of drug paraphernalia, 4
Expired tag, 3
No proof of insurance, 2
No drivers license, 2
Unlawful possession of contolled substance, 3
Speeding, 8
Manufacture 1st, 2
Failure to appear or pay, 27
Open container, 1
Theft of property 3rd, 5
Possession of marijuana 2nd, 6
No seat belt, 2
No tag, 1
One way street, 1
Reckless endangerment, 1
No child restraint, 1
Receiving stolen property 3rd, 1
Use false identity to obstruct justice, 1
Hindering prosecution 2nd, 1
D.U.I., 1
Attempt to elude, 1
Child support, 2
N.W.N.I., 2
Robbery 1st, 2
Give false name to law enforcement officer, 2
Probation violation, 1

January 2015
Arrest, 36
Complaints, 348
Wrecks, 7
Injuries, 0
Animal Control, 7

There were no schools attended this month.

1. Cordeski Floyd-Disorderly conduct
2. Michael Duke-Possession of drug paraphernalia
3. Candy Bozeman-Unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drug paraphernalia
4. Sean Layton-Manufacture 1st
5. Joseph Scott Simmons-Manufacture 1st
6. Emerson M. Williams, Jr.-Possession of contolled substance
7. Robert Chandler Jr.-Failure to appear or pay
8. Jucurry Beard-Failure to appear or pay
9. Brenda Finley-Failure to appear or pay
10. Michael C. Knight-Theft of property 3rd
11. Trey Williams-Possession of controlled substance, Possession of marijuana 2nd
12. Nathaniel Avery-Failure to appear or pay
13. Michael Morgan-Failure to appear or pay
14. Lemarkes Mitchell-Failure to appear or pay, Robbery 1st
15.Martina Mitchell-Failure to appear or pay
16. Ronald Lee Allen-Failure to appear or pay
17. Kantaivous Trammell-Failure to appear or pay
18. Jannis Hunter-Reckless Endangerment
19. Anthony Carter-Receiving stolen property 3rd
20. Delmarcos Hodnett-Theft of property 3rd (2 counts)
21. William Strong-Possession of marijuana 2nd
22. Joseph Grimes-Possession of marijuana 2nd, possession of drug paraphernalia
23. Devon Wallace-Possession of marijuana 2nd
24. Isiah C. Tumbs-Failure to appear or pay, using false identity to obstruct justice
25. Nealwanda Williams-Hindering prosecution 2nd
26. Henry Clay Hines-D.U.I.
27. William Jannenga-Failure to appear or pay
28. Michael David Sanders-Failure to appear or pay
29. Gregory C. Heard-Possession of marijuana 2nd, attempt to elude
30. Cedric Lamar Humphrey-Failure to appear or pay (2 counts)
31. Ronnie Lee Rice-Failure to appear or pay (2 counts)
32. Bernadous M. Bledsoe-N.W.N.I.
33. Kathryn M. Aguilar-N.N.N.I., failure to appear or pay
34. Christopher Mitchell- Robbery 1st, failure to appear or pay
35. Dequincy Williams-Theft of property 3rd
36. Martevan McKissic-Failure to appear or pay
37. Cameron J. Johnson-Give false name to law enforcement officer, failure to appear or pay
38. Ronnie Lee Davis-Possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana 2nd
39. Cordeia Williams-Failure to appear or pay (6 counts)
40. Dakota Williams-Give false name to law enforcment officer, failure to appear or pay
41. Gregory Williams-Theft of property 3rd
42. Corderra White-Probation violation
43. Herman Autry-Child support

**Persons arrested are considered innocent under law until convicted in court.

During the month of January 2016 Animal Control picked up the following animals:
1 – cat @ Hilltop Apartment
1 – dog @ 322 5th St. SW
3 – dogs @ 3rd St. NE
1 – dog @ Alabama Ave. West
1- dog @ 2nd St. NE
1 – cat @ Hwy 77
1 – dog @ Hwy 77

Artic Blast Plunging South LaFayette will feel the Chill

By Alton Mitchell

The LaFayette area is in for a cold blast over the coming week and that blast will yield some of the coldest air the area has seen this season. The drop in temperatures on Monday and Tuesday are only a precursor of things to come as daytime high temperatures will struggle to reach the 50 degree mark for the majority of the coming week.

A series of cold fronts over the first part of the week dipped below the Mason-Dixon Line bringing the threat of snow, ice, and below freezing temperatures to the deepest parts of the south. LaFayette will feel the real chill as the temperature on Wednesday is only expected to top out around 44 degrees for a daytime high the nightly low will be in the middle 20’s.

The eve of the weekend will show some moderate warming as Thursday and Friday temperatures are expected to make it into the middle to upper 50’s for high temperatures. The warm up will be short lived as the weekend will again introduce high temperatures that will not make it out of the middle 40’s and again have lows in the low to mid 20’s.

Precipitation is expected to return again for the start of the work week as temperatures will tap the lower 50’s for highs with lows still in the 30’s. The temperatures are expected to remain above freezing and most of the precipitation on Monday and Tuesday will fall in the form of rain although some non-accumulating ice and snow may mix in.

The colder air that is now settling in over the area is some of the coldest air that has been seen this season. In a winter that has been dominated by an above average holiday season in the range of temperatures only to be followed up by historic rainfall totals and flooding and now a surge of artic air plunging south. The wild roller coaster ride of this winter does not seem to be letting up anytime soon.

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