2021 in Review Part 5: Closing out the year

Published 8:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last in a five-part series looking back at the year 2021.

Oct. 1

Alabama Supreme Court Justice visits Lanett

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Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sarah Stewart delivered a speech to the West Point Rotary Club on how the Alabama Supreme Court works.

Oct. 4

Jamie Heard sworn in as new mayor of Lanett

Jamie Heard is the new mayor of Lanett. He was elected in a unanimous vote of his fellow council members at Monday’s city council meeting and sworn into office by City Attorney Stanley Gray.

Heard succeeds Kyle McCoy, who was removed from office by the state attorney general’s office after pleading guilty to two felony ethic violations on Sept. 22.

Oct. 6

Mike Reynolds swears in as new Valley police chief

Probate Judge Paul Story swore in the Valley Police Department’s new police chief, Mike Reynolds.

Reynolds took the reigns from outgoing chief Tommy Weldon, who officially retired on Oct. 1.

Oct. 7

Lanett OKs incentive for employees to get vaccine

The Lanett City Council approved a resolution offering monetary incentives to city employees who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19. All current employees who have yet to be vaccinated will be compensated for doing so if they are fully vaccinated by Nov. 30, 2021.

Oct. 8

Point University embroiled in Title IX lawsuit

A former Point University athletic trainer has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the university mishandled her claims of sexual assault by a former football coach and also violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

This case was settled out of court and dismissed with prejudice in December.

Oct. 9

Fuller Center dedicates two houses in West Point

Chattahoochee Fuller Center Homes No. 65 and 66 were dedicated in 11:30 a.m. ceremonies outside the newly-built houses on Higgins Street. A large crowd was present to witness golden hammers, family Bibles and the keys to the home being presented to new homeowners Latrisha Finley and Rita Rowland.

Oct. 13

New Lanett mayor shares his plans, thoughts

Jamie Heard, shared his plans for his new position and thoughts on how things are going in the week since he’s taken over. Heard said his transition from District 2 council member to becoming the mayor has gone smoothly.

Oct. 15

Chambers County boy shines at Alabama National Fair goat show

Eight-year-old Walton Epperson from Chambers County won several awards at the Alabama National Fair Youth Goat Show. One of Epperson’s goats was chosen as both the Overall Grand Champion Fullblood Boer Doe and Grand Champion Fullblood Yearling Boer Doe.

Oct. 20

Lanett council selects new District 2 representative

Tamalita Dunn Autry is the newest member of the Lanett City Council. She will fill the remaining unexpired term of Jamie Heard, who was sworn in as the city’s new mayor on Monday, Oct. 4.

Oct. 22

VPD investigates possible animal neglect

12 apparently neglected pit bulls were discovered chained up in a wooded area in Valley. New Hope Rescue, Inc., an animal rescue organization, stepped in to find the dogs temporary housing while the resulting criminal case was active. Jenny Rogers, owner and director of the organization, announced that a warrant would be issued Thursday to the owner of the property and that the court date would be on Nov. 3 or Dec. 1.

Oct. 22

New mammogram screening available

EAMC-Lanier Hospital has a new 3-D mammogram machine. It has replaced a conventional machine that was 12 years old and offers local women access to some advanced technology. The new machine has been proven to detect between 20 and 65 percent more invasive breast cancers compared to the two-dimensional machines.

Oct 23

Beulah High School receives $20,000 grant for new track, baseball program

Beulah High School received a grant of $20,000 to use for its baseball team and future track. The donor was Rep. Debbie Wood, who serves Alabama’s 38th district in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Oct 26

Former Lanett Mayor Kyle McCoy sentenced

Former Lanett Mayor Kyle McCoy was sentenced to 24 months supervised probation Tuesday in Chambers County District Court. McCoy was also ordered to pay $14,193.45 in restitution. McCoy’s sentence is technically a five-year concurrent sentence, but he won’t serve any time in jail unless he violates the terms of his probation.

Nov. 3

Commissioner Debra Riley named commission chair

The Chambers County Commission voted unanimously to appoint District Commissioner Debra Riley as the new chair of the commission.

The commission chair is responsible for setting agendas and making sure the commissioners have all the knowledge they need in order to accomplish the goals the commission sets for the year.

Nov. 5

Woman indicted on murder charges in case of two bodies found in West Point Lake

A Pine Mountain woman has been indicted on murder charges related to the death of two men found dead in West Point Lake in August, according to a press release from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office.

On Nov. 1, a Troup County Grand Jury was presented evidence regarding the murders of Marcus Caswell and Travis Lodato and returned an indictment on Abbrianna Marie Williams, 25, charging her with two counts of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of making a false statement.

Williams was arrested on Nov. 4 and booked into the Troup County Jail without incident, according to TCSO.

Nov. 6

Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project pledges $5,500 for two helicopter pads

Since 2007, the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project (CFCP) has been changing lives by building new homes people of modest means can afford. The CFCP is now stepping forward to help save lives.

CFCP Executive Director Kim Roberts and Assistant Director Robin Pierre met with West Point Mayor Steve Tramell and West Point firefighters to pledge $5,500 for the construction of two new helicopter pads next to the city’s fire station on Kia Parkway.

Nov. 15

Chambers and Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigating murder-suicide.

According to a press release from the Lee County Coroners office, at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Chambers County authorities to conduct a welfare check on a 47-year-old female at a residence in the 6000 block of US Hwy 29 North in Cusseta.

Deputies discovered Quentinna James with no signs of life. It appeared that she had been shot.

The welfare check was requested due to her husband, 42-year-old David James, being found at an address on County Road 114 in LaFayette with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.

Nov. 19

$400,000 CDBG grant awarded for OnMed project

Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she has awarded a $400,000 grant to help Chambers County continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent further spread of the virus in the county.

The grant will help fund the OnMed telehealth project that is currently being developed by Chambers County, City of LaFayette and Auburn University Outreach.

Nov. 19

LaFayette native elected chair of BCBSA Board of Directors

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced that LaFayette native Tim Vines, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, has been elected chair of the BCBSA Board of Directors. As chair, Vines will assume leadership of the governing body that provides strategic guidance and oversight for BCBSA, a national federation of 35 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans.

Nov. 20

Chambers County School District announces teachers of the year

Superintendent Casey Chambley announced Courtney Peacock as the Chambers County School District’s elementary teacher of the year, and Jordan Harris as CCSD’s secondary teacher of the year.

Dec. 1

Couple marries at Valley merry-go-round

Leah Edwards and Joshua McDonald had dated for the past three years, and Joshua popped the question this past summer. Leah said yes and started making plans for the special day.

Somewhere along the line, a thought occurred to her about doing it during the Christmas season at the merry-go-round.

Dec 3

Point University raises $40,000 on Giving Tuesday

Point University raised about $40,000 for Giving Tuesday this week, according to Director Of Development Alan Hunn. He predicted that even more money is on the way. “We’ll have checks that come in that are marked Giving Tuesday or that were made on Giving Tuesday,” he said. “So, the campaign’s over, but we’ll still receive funds probably for about another week or so.”

Dec. 8

Car of LaGrange man missing since 1976 recovered in Chambers County, bones found

The car Kyle Clinkscales was driving when he disappeared in January 1976 was recovered Tuesday in a creek in Chambers County and bones were found inside.

Dec. 16

First phase of building underway in Camellia Construction

Construction has begun on the first house in the Camellia Crossing subdivision, and permits are being sought for a second one.

Dec. 27

Roanoke man arrested after firing at first responders in LaFayette

Cory McKenzie Leverett, 45, of Roanoke, surrendered and was taken into custody by Chambers County Sheriff’s deputies and charged with four counts of attempted murder.

Authorities say Leverett called 911 to say he shot himself, but when first responders arrived, Leverett fired shots in the direction of EMS and police.