Year in Review: Greater Valley Area wraps up 2020 with lots of progress

Published 7:28 am Thursday, December 31, 2020

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth in a four-part series looking back at the year 2020.

Oct. 1

Pike extradited to Chambers Co. to face 1985 murder charges

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David Anthony Pike was extradited back to Chambers County to face murder charges from a shooting in 1985.

Oct. 2

Pickard promoted to EAFD Chief

Kerry Pickard was promoted to East Alabama Fire Chief, replacing Neal Marberry. Pickard has been with East Alabama since 2012.

Oct. 3

CCSD sees highest COVID numbers

After having only 10 cases for the first two months of school, the Chambers County School District had six cases. Most of the positive cases and direct exposures were from outside the school district.

Oct. 7

Vines defeat Moody in LaFayette mayor election

Kenneth Vines defeated incumbent mayor Barry Moody 487-334. Vines and Moody faced off in a runoff four years ago.

Family: Natalie Jones body, car recovered

Natalie Jones, who had been missing since July 4, was found dead near Franklin, Georgia in the woods off Roosterville Road.

Oct. 14

Hunter defeats Blasingame in runoff

Shannon Hunter officially defeated incumbent councilmember Charlotte Blasingame in a runoff, winning by four votes.

Valley awarded ARC grant by Ivey

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey awarded a $200,000 grant to the city of Valley to upgrade infrastructure and alleviate a health hazard. The grant will replace deteriorated sewer lines and manholes.

Oct. 16

A Vision to Feed Ministry receives recognition

A Vision to Feed Ministry received a plaque from Lodge No. 876 Fairfax in appreciation of 15 years of feeding local families.

Oct. 21

Lanett approves 2020-21 budget

The Lanett City Council approved the city’s $23.7 million budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Oct. 22

Southern Union launches physical therapy assistant program

Southern Union’s Valley campus had a ribbon cutting for its new PTA program. It is the only PTA program offered by a community college that is a two-hour drive from Valley.

Oct. 24

West Point, 10 other cities designated as Rural Zones

West Point was one of 11 cities in Georgia to be designated as a Rural Zone by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, which allows the city to earn tax credits.

Oct. 27

Burrow Warehouse celebrates grand opening

Burrow Warehouse opened its doors after two years of planning. It will be a venue capable of hosting weddings, receptions, dances, live bands and more.

Lanett Fire Department given 2 ISO rating

The Lanett Fire Department moved up from a 3 to a 2 Insurance Services Office rating. The rating put LFD in the top two percent of fire departments in the United States.

Oct. 30

Three issues found on CCSD audit

Three issues were found on the CCSD’s audit, most of which dealt with fundraising at local schools. All three problems had already been taken care of, according to Dr. Kelli Hodge.

Nov. 4

Chambley defeats Hodge in CCSD Superintendent election

Then Valley Assistant Principal Casey Chambely defeated incumbent Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge by more than 2,000 votes in the election.

Nov. 6

Ivey extends mask order, lifts occupancy limits

While extending the mask order, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey lifted occupancy limits. This was done to balance health and economic concerns.

Nov. 10

Ajin USA sentenced, ordered to pay $1.5 million in accidental death suit

Ajin USA pled guilty to the death of Regina Elsa, who died in 2016 because safety procedures were ignored.

Nov. 13

Fairfax Elementary transitions to virtual for two weeks

Due to the high number of staff members that needed to quarantine, Fairfax Elementary went virtual for two weeks. It was the first time a CCSD school was forced to go virtual-only learning.

Nov. 19

CCSD names Teachers of the Year

Fairfax Elementary’s Ericka Jenkins and Inspire Academy’s Eric Creel-Flores were named CCSD Teachers of the Year. Jenkins was the Elementary Division Teacher of the Year, while Creel-Flores was named Secondary Division Teacher of the Year.

Nov. 20

Chambers County School Board swears in new member

Jay Siggers was sworn into the Chambers County School Board, replacing Mary Terry. Candace Lyons was also sworn in, as she was elected to a new term.

Norbord bought by West Fraser

West Fraser Timber bought Norbord for $3.1 billion.

Lanett City Schools return to virtual until Dec. 4

LCS went back to virtual learning only until Dec. 4 due to a high number of quarantines.

Nov. 21

Sealy named ALACTE administrator of the year

The Alabama Career and Technical Education named Inspire Academy Director Ken Sealy as its Director of the Year for the entire state.

Dec. 2

Hyundai TRANSYS to invest more than $240 million in West Point

Hyundai TRANSYS announced it would expand its operations in West Point by creating a new manufacturing facility. The new facility will produce more than 600 jobs in the area.

Dec. 5

Local Johnny’s Pizza named Store of the Year

West Point’s Johnny’s Pizzas was named Store of the Year among all of its franchises. It received a plaque showing its high review rating.

Dec. 10

Lanett School Board honors retiring principal

Jamie Heard, who had been with Lanett City Schools for more than 20 years, submitted his retirement.

Dec. 15

JinTech invests $4.5 million, opens facility in West Point

JinTech announced it would open an advanced manufacturing facility in West Point.

Dec. 23

EAMC frontline workers get vaccinated

EAMC workers received their doses of the Pfizer vaccine.