Both southbound lanes, one northbound lane of U.S. 431 at Flint River open

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

HUNTSVILLE — The Alabama Department of Transportation restored traffic to both lanes of the southbound U.S. Highway 431 bridge at the Flint River during the weekend.

The inside southbound lane reopened about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, after Alabama Department of Environmental Management crews completed cleanup work at the site.

The inside lane of the northbound bridge will remain closed until repairs are completed.

Design work is underway and is anticipated to take about three weeks. Contract repair work could begin within six weeks.

ALDOT will upgrade traffic control features on the northbound bridge from cones or barrels to concrete barriers in preparation for the repairs.

Northbound motorists may continue to encounter some delays at peak traffic times. Drivers are asked to be mindful of crews working and trucks entering the roadway.

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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Things to do in Cherokee County Tuesday, May 6

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

Story Time sessions resume on Jan. 13—Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. at Cherokee County Public Library. The event will include crafts, songs, games, and of course, stories!

The Family Care Center in the Piggly Wiggly Shopping Center in Centre includes a Thrift Store open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Family Care Center helps others by giving clothing, food and possibly hope to families in their time of need. The Center asks for your help by supporting its thrift stores. There are currently three locations, the one in Centre, another at 5511 Main St. in Hokes Bluff and another in Cedar Bluff. The Center is currently helping more than 100 families per week and thanks the community for its continued support. Director is Cindy McGinnis.

Weight Watchers meets every Tuesday. For more information call 256-526-8003.

The next meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Education is Tuesday, May 5, 2015 and will be held at the Central Office. The Board Meeting will begin at 5 p.m. and items on the agenda include: 1. Adopt Agenda 2. Approve Minutes 3. Recognize: A. CMS and CCHS State Track Participants B. CMS Beta Club Winners C. CMS Birmingham Debate League Winners D. Lee Bailey, CMS Teacher – for being elected as a Alabama Community Education Association (ACEA) Board Member 4. Review Accounts Payable 5. Personnel 6. Review Job Postings 7. Other The Board regularly meets on the first and third Tuesdays of a month at 6 p.m. at the Central Office.

The Taste of Cherokee Event, sponsored by The Spirit of Cherokee, will be held at 6 p.m. at the ROC. Tickets are $10 each. Taste treats from more than 30 local restaurants and caterers on the buffet line and enjoy entertainment. This event supports the Avenue of Flags. Tickets are available at The ROC, Lanny’s, EMA Office, Pat’s Perfections and the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce.

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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Cherokee County Arrest Report Tuesday, May 5

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

Local law enforcement agents have made the following arrests in recent days:

-Rhonda Black McGee for theft of property in the third degree.

-Mark Lemul Royal for assault in the second degree.

-Amanda Langley Sims for willful abuse of child/torture.

-Donna Delana Rutledge for theft of property in the third degree.

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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Suspect involved juveniles to hide drugs

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

Local authorities arrested a Georgia woman on drug-related and child endangerment charges following a traffic stop Friday afternoon, May 1.

According to Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver, at approximately 1 p.m. Friday, Alesha Dawn Deyoung, 36, of Calhoun, Ga., was arrested after being stopped for a traffic violation in Centre. Deyoung gave Deputy Jeremy Stepps a false name and was charged with false identity to obstruct justice. She was also charged with possession of controlled substance, after juveniles in the vehicle gave officers drugs that Deyoung had given them to hide on their persons, Shaver said.

Deyoung was charged with chemical endangerment of a child for this act. Deyoung is currently incarcerated in the Cherokee County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing, Shaver said.

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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Centre First Baptist Church burns note on ROC debt

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

On a recent Sunday, Centre First Baptist Church and Community celebrated a major milestone. Thanks to a recent donation of $50,000 plus from Celebrate Recovery, CFBC was able to pay off its loan for the ROC (Recreation Outreach Center).

The initial cost of the ROC, located at 300 East Bypass in Centre, and the land upon which it was located, exceeded $3 million. Members have continued to be faithful through prayer, various fundraisers and tithes and offerings to pay off the debt.

Since that time, testimonies abound about how the building has changed lives through Celebrate Recovery, Upward Basketball and other ministries, not to mention the health benefits provided by the inside track and weight room.

In addition to church activities, the ROC, according to reports, has become a centralized location of the Annual Cherokee Electric Cooperative meeting, Lions Club Pancake Day, serves as a polling site during elections and much more.

The ROC is also home to the Shepherd’s Fold Day Care Center.

One might say the recent note burning was a dual celebration following major water damage caused by a blown gasket in January, which closed the ROC for approximately three months. While the day care center and church offices remained open, the gym, walking track and weight room were closed down and church activities were located to the Main Street Campus.

Members were delighted to report, however, that the ROC officially re-opened all activities Monday, April 20.

In a fitting sermon for the note-burning occasion, Dr. Eddie Nation, pastor, Centre First Baptist Church, shared a few words about Vision as he challenged members to keep stepping out on faith as they have with the ROC.

“Today I want us to think about vision,” said Dr. Nation. “In Alice in Wonderland, I believe the Cheshire cat said ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.’ And sometimes we think about that in our lives. Sometimes we find ourselves just kind of treading water.”

“Vision is a clear mental picture of a future given by God to His people,” said Dr. Nation. “Without Vision the people perish.”

Dr. Nation referred to the Book of Numbers in the Holy Bible where 12 spies were sent out to check out the land, which the Lord told the Israelites, was theirs.

Ten of these spies, he said, came back with a bad report, stating the land was full of giants and there was no way they could defeat these giants.

“And the whole congregation was upset, griped and complained because of the report of those 10 spies,” said Dr. Nation. “Those older than 20 were forced to spend the rest of their life in the wilderness. So the rest could go into the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb show us what it means to have vision.”

“Vision is the ability to see,” said Dr. Nation. “They had the ability to see where God was going. Caleb pleaded before Moses. They (spies) said ‘we are not able to go up against the people stronger.’”

Dr. Nation and his wife, Anita, have served the Centre First Baptist Congregation for more than two years now.

“We just rejoice and are so proud to be a part of this congregation,” said Dr. Nation.

“I have been asked to recognize the most important giver in this whole campaign,” he said. “Let me tell you about the most important giver. That person is here today. The most important giver is one who gave persistently. This person gave so much. This has gone on for years. This person has given in season and out of season. This person has given sacrificially. The scripture talks about giving even out of our poverty. And even when we don’t have it, this person gave anyway. This person gave maybe as a choice, whether to give or do this. And that person chose to give the money. This person is taking very seriously the plans He has made. When you make a pledge, you make that to the Lord. And this person has continually given in season and out of season. This person has given all beyond measure. This person has wondered if that ROC debt is ever going down and continued to give.”

“Now who is this person?” Dr. Nation asked.

“I want to call this person out,” said Dr. Nation. “Stand just a moment. Look around. This most important giver in this whole place is to your right, and to your left, in front of you and behind you.”

“You are the most important person in this whole campaign,” said Dr. Nation. “The Gospel is about you! Ministry is about you and me. The good news is for you and this facility is a place for you to share the Gospel!”

Larry Paul Maddox, chairman of the Deacons, Centre First Baptist Church, shared some of the history of the ROC project.

“We in the Deacons’ meeting trying to decide exactly how we were going to proceed,” said Maddox. “We ad gotten so far as to drill behind you folks. We own property behind the parking lot of the church. We drilled to find out if that ground would support a building similar to this. When we drilled we found out we had plenty of water running on rock and all we had to do was open that up and we could build us a big old lake.”

They decided to search for other property and the current property became available, Maddox said.

“At that point and time we felt like we had plenty of property to do anything we want to do as First Baptist Church,” said Maddox. “We wanted to build out here we would have plenty of property for building. We proceeded in that direction and this property we bought.”

Maddox asked all of those who have worked on the various committees for the ROC, including the building committee, decorating committee, finance committee and others to stand and be recognized.

“Thank you so much for all the time you put in while we were building this building,” said Maddox.

“Folks it was a great time for us and our church was behind this 100 percent and helped us through,” said Maddox. “It worked out really well. All of you know all the things that go on here now. We know Donnie George and his group do a great job here every Friday night with Celebrate Recovery and all the other things that go on out here. This building is used. That was one of the things we were worried about was would it be used like it should be and I assure you it is. We just appreciate all of you who have given.”

They also mentioned others that have had a huge hand in the ROC project including the Rev. Melvyn Salter and the Rev. Jim Wright, former pastors of Centre First Baptist Church.

Earlier in the service, Dr. Nation challenged members that this is only the beginning

“God is not finished with Centre First Baptist Church yet!” said Dr. Nation.

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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Local sailing enthusiasts share frightening experience at sea

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

LEESBURG—Eleven members and three boats of the Rome Sailing Club were involved in serious accidents that occurred during the 57th annual Dauphin Island Regatta held on Mobile Bay on April 25.

Two of the club’s three boats in the competition sank.  One boat was sunk by the high waves and winds of the storm that ripped across the bay. A second boat —a Catalina 22 —capsized and then was split in half by a 41-foot boat that simply ran over the smaller boat.  

The third boat had its mast break and fall into the boat.  The sails were still on the mast as it lay in the bottom of the boat. Tom Long, captain of the third boat—a Mirage 23.6—commented that his boat finally made it back to the dock. Without sails, the boat was somewhat less affected by the wind than those vessels with masts and sails still in place.

According to Long, the severe storm was a “freak storm. It came up quickly. Winds were constant at 60 miles an hour, with gusts up to 80 mph. The severe part of the storm lasted almost an hour and the wind was very stiff for another half hour. We wanted to be anywhere but on that water.”  Long’s crewmembers were John Garner, Bryon Corey, and Evan Smith. All were wearing their life jackets.  

Long continued “We couldn’t see anything around us. The rain was so hard and the waves were so high.” (Waves were reported to be at least ten feet in height).

“Some boats hit bridges; others hit docks. We were to go west, but the winds blew us all the way to the east side of the bay. We didn’t hit anything. We were very fortunate.” 

Evan Smith commented, “All of us in our boat were just certain we were going to be dumped into the stormy waters. It was at that time that I was glad that my mother had made me take swimming lessons all the way up to the life-saving course.”

Glenda Smith had decided not to ride in the boat during the regatta. “The weather just didn’t’ look good and I was not feeling up to par with allergies. Am I ever glad I stayed on shore”!!! Long and his crew were very pleased she was on shore—because she drove all around the bay and met them at Fairhope.

Long commented “We were four big guys and Glenda in Glenda’s little car. We were just so happy to be back on land, we didn’t care how crowded we were.”

Larry Goolsby and Tony Celamari were in the Catalina 22 that was cut in half by a larger boat. Both of the men are very experienced sailors—and their boat was in great shape for the race.

Randy Rutledge’s boat was sunk by the waves and wind of the super strong storm. He and his three crewmembers—Don and Tina Martin and Rhonda Morgan were in the water more than two hours before they were rescued. 

None of the Rome Sailing Club members was seriously injured. They did suffer bruises, cuts, and scrapes. The ones in the water also experienced a degree of hypothermia. Glenda Smith stated Friday that all of the club members had returned to northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia by late week. “Some members are expected to return to the bay to try to salvage gear that sank to the bay’s floor”—under an average of 20 feet of water. “They will either dive or hire someone to dive to determine what—if anything— is left of the boats and their belongings.”

(At press time it was learned that the Coast Guard is removing the sunken boats from the floor of the bay. Boat owners are being contacted and asked where they want their boats taken).

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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Board recognizes local winners in 2015 Skills USA Competition

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

The Cherokee County Board of Education recently paid tribute to local 2015 Skills USA Contest winners. Brett Keasler, principal, Cherokee County Career and Technology Center, during a recent board meeting, expanded on the competition.

The board meeting drew a packed crowd as parents, friends and supporters came to witness their students receiving this recognition.

“Last week the Cherokee County Career and Technology Center had three programs that had qualified at district going to compete in the State Skills USA Contest Automotive service technology and Instructor Larry Walker had two students to be able to compete last week,” said Keasler. “Dylan Carter finished first place in State Skills Automotive Service Technology. Dylan will go on to represent the State of Alabama and Cherokee county in the National Skills Contest in Louisville, Ky. during June of this year. Also competing for Mr. Walker was Matthew Spurlock who placed third in State Skills Motorcycle Service Technology.”

Representing the electronics department, Keasler said, under the instruction of Keith Tolbert, a team competed State Robotics and Automation.

Daniel Jacobs and Alex Mateo finished first place in State Robotics and Automation. Both Jacobs and Mateo will go on to represent the State of Alabama and Cherokee County in the National Skills Contest in Louisville, Ky. during June of this year, Keasler said.

“Next we had the cosmetology department competing and they had two teams competing in the quiz bowl,” said Keasler. “They finished first and third.”

The First Place State Skills Cosmetology Quiz Bowl Team, Keasler said, consisted of Courtney Fuller, Harley Curry, Cheyenne Hovis and Emily Talkington.

The Third Place Skills Cosmetology Quiz Bowl Team consisted of Eve Earp, Emily Twilley, Delila Wilburn, Samantha Harrell and Sierra Keel.

Local Cosmetology Students Magan Dupree and Erica Tyler earned second place in State Skills Cosmetology Class Project.

Cosmetology instructor at Cherokee County Career and Technology Center is Marie Williamson.

“We are very proud of everyone that was able to participate in the state skills contest and I think it is a great honor to have so many of our students finishing so well in the state contest,” said Keasler. “All school systems in the state compete in the state skills contest and have so many high finishers. I think we owe them another round of applause.”

“How many parents do we have here with us tonight?” asked Mitchell Guice, superintendent, Cherokee County Schools. “Let’s give them a round of applause.”

“We can’t do it without the encouragement from you and we appreciate that,” said Guice.

“It is great working at a place where you have parental support from the teachers, the students and everybody involved and this is a great year for you guys (students),” said Guice. “You’ve got a lot more in front of you and we look forward to you going on and winning nationals now.”

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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SHANNON FAGAN: Spring football is in the air

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

Now that the high school spring sports season is winding down, several area football teams are giving their fans a taste of fall.

Two area teams are in action on May 15. Cedar Bluff hosts Westbrook Christian at 6 p.m. Cherokee County hosts B.B. Comer at 7 p.m.

Gaylesville, Sand Rock and Spring Garden are playing in the Champions Challenge jamboree at Jacksonville State University’s Burgess-Snow Field on May 16 and May 18. The event features 24 teams playing two 15-minute quarters each.

On May 16, Gaylesville takes on Fort Payne’s junior varsity squad at 4 p.m. Sand Rock battles Glencoe at 6:30 p.m. On May 18, Spring Garden takes on Randolph County at 3 p.m.

According to Piedmont head coach Steve Smith, the Bulldogs aren’t having a spring jamboree, but will host Fyffe in the fall before the 2015 football season begins.


Former Cherokee County High School and Jacksonville State standout Coty Blanchard has gotten off to a hot start for the Bowling Green Hot Rods, a Class A baseball affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Through the weekend’s action, Blanchard was tied with teammate Jace Conrad for the team’s highest batting average (.333). In 18 games, Blanchard has 22 hits, including five doubles for the Midwest League Eastern Division leading Hot Rods (15-9). He also has a walk, three stolen bases, 12 runs and 12 RBIs.


Another former Cherokee County High School standout continues making her mark in softball.

University of South Alabama senior shortstop Kaitlyn Griffith set a new season home run record with her 12th on Saturday in a 2-0 victory over Troy.

Through the weekend, Griffith is batting .288 with five doubles, a triple, 13 walks, 27 runs and 40 RBIs for the 22nd ranked Lady Jaguars (35-10).


The recent silent auction on behalf of A.J. Starr and The Real AJ Foundation held at the Gadsden State-Cherokee Arena raised over $4,000. The foundation’s scholarship was awarded to Cody Holloway. Other projects remain in a planning phase and should be announced by Starr Foundation soon.


The Centre Softball Complex will host the Northeast Alabama Youth Softball Camp on June 25-27. The camp is divided into two categories: ages 5-12 (8 a.m. until 11 a.m.) and rising 7th-12th graders (1 p.m. until 4 p.m.). The cost for each category is $30. Money will be accepted on the first day of the camp.

The camp focuses on hitting, positional play, catching, throwing, pitching, base running, bunting and sliding. Concessions will be available.

For more information, contact or check out the Facebook page, Northeast Alabama Softball Camp and Play Dates. You can also visit to fill out a form online.

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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Sand Rock students put in a days work for Earth Day 2015

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

Seeing trash and debris along our roadsides is bad enough. But when you have a hand in picking up some of this garbage, it gives you a whole new perspective.

Students in Lindsey Oliver’s and John Blackwell’s science classes at Sand Rock School recently spent some time cleaning up their community as part of Earth Day 2015. With trash bags and other materials in hand, they set out from their school towards the town limits signs and beyond picking up what they could.

Oliver said she felt this project was a good experience for the kids as well as others who might follow their example and keep the trash picked up themselves.

“It has gone very well,” said Oliver. “We have gotten more bags of trash than I initially thought we would, which is a good thing, but at the same time, we hope the students are learning to be good stewards of the earth and to not litter because that is the main goal of this Earth Day project.”

Oliver said this is their second year to pick up in the Sand Rock area.

“And I can really tell a difference since we started cleaning up the roadways in Sand Rock,” said Oliver.

“We are finding cans, bottles, we hope nothing too bad,” said Oliver. “We are careful with what we pick up and we caution the students.”

“We have already gotten one truck load and it looks like we are going to have at least two more just this morning so we are really making a difference out here,” said Oliver.

“We hope people will see us out picking up trash and it will encourage people not to litter because we live in such a beautiful area and it is a shame that people do throw their trash out,” said Oliver.

Courtney Rowe, a senior forensics student, was one of the participants in the Earth Day campaign.

“We are cleaning up the Sand Rock community today,” said Rowe. “We are going all the way to the four-way stop and we will go all the way to 68 down that road. It is all within the limits of Sand Rock.”

“We are finding cans, a lot of different stuff,” said Rowe. “People love to throw trash out their windows.”

While she and fellow students didn’t actually witness anyone throwing anything out of their car windows, Rowe noted, “Once they get on down the road they probably throw stuff out. I think you shouldn’t throw trash out the window. There are trashcans for that. You should at least wait until you get home and clean out your truck instead of throwing it out the windows for other people to clean up.”

Rowe shared her views on ways to prevent people from disposing of their trash in this manner.

“Get everybody involved in picking up trash and then they can respect it so they won’t do it,” said Rowe.

“I hate people throwing trash out their windows,” said Rowe. “I can’t stand it. It makes me so angry because it makes our community look so ugly and trashy and people might not want to come visit here. It is sad.”

Senior Jennifer Ramsey said she enjoyed this project because she got to take advantage of beautiful weather and to enjoy that feeling of giving back to her community.

“I get to be out here with my friends,” she said. “I don’t care much for the trash, but it is helping, so it is fun.”

Some of the items they picked up, she said, included plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, broken cans and other items.

“We have found things like lip-gloss and stuff like that,” said Ramsey.

She also had a solution for those who insist on dumping their trash on our land.

“Let them get out here and do it themselves so they will know what is really happening to our environment and let them get out here and help so they will know,” she said.

Ramsey also said this experience has emboldened her to confront somebody if she sees them dumping on the roadsides.

“I am like ‘no don’t do that because I have to clean it up,”’ said Ramsey. “And it is always good to get the students around out and cleaning up so in the future they know this is our community and we don’t need to make it a trashier place. Sand Rock does a really good job of doing community work and getting everybody involved in community stuff.”

“We’ve gotten a lot of trash from all over the community on both sides of the road,” noted Chad, another student in Oliver’s class. “We have seen beer bottles, all kinds of stuff, I see where people have thrown out leftover food.”

Chad said he also found part of a helmet.

To prevent people from dumping their trash on the roadsides, Chad suggested putting up more signs advising of the fines for littering.

He also said he would have no problem confronting someone if he sees them littering.

“Yes because this is awful!” said Chad.

Madalyn Oliver, a junior at Sand Rock School, said she felt like the Earth Day project went well.

“We have picked up a ton!” said Oliver. “It just makes me sad that people throw stuff out the window. It kills the environment. I have had fun picking it up and being with friends and helping.”

Some of the items they found, she said, included beer bags, fast food bags and Vodka/alcohol bottles.

And any anti-littering campaign begins at home, she said.

“I keep a little fold up bag in my car so I can just put the trash in it,” said Oliver. “I love being able to help but it is just sad that people do this. But I think just keeping a little trash bag in your car can help a lot.”

Oliver also said she would have no problem stopping somebody that she sees littering or about to litter.

“Yes! Go put that up!” she said.

“People should go down their road one afternoon and pick stuff up! Just keep your trash picked up and help the environment!” said Oliver.

Ryan Gibson is a senior in Blackwell’s class who also participated in the 2015 Earth Day Campaign.

“I think it is good to help clean up the community, clean up the campus and working together, helping each other out because we are all family here and so we all have to help each other out,” said Gibson.

Gibson described some of the items they picked up.

“We have a lot of plastic, soda cans, we even got a sock!” said Gibson. “There’s a little bit of everything.”

Gibson shared how we can educate others not to litter our lands and roadsides.

“Just share some environmental science education,” said Gibson. “This really does hurt our eco system, it is really not good for our earth. We just really don’t need to destroy the earth God gave us.”

He also said he would have no trouble stopping someone if he sees them littering.

“Most definitely because we have all got to stick together,” said Gibson. “It is not just a one man job, we have all got to pitch in and do our part.”

Tyler King is another student in Coach Blackwell’s class who was involved in the cleanup.

“I think it is good we are all coming out here as a group and cleaning up,” said King.

“We are finding bottles, bags, all sorts of stuff,” said King. “Some we didn’t even know what it was. There are many things!”

One way to prevent littering, he said, is to wait until you get home to dispose of garbage or recycling, he said.

On behalf of her students and herself, Oliver shared one final Earth Day message.

“Just be proud of where you live,” said Oliver. “We live in this beautiful area and we need to keep it looking nice and have pride in Sand Rock and Cherokee County.”

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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Man arrested for shooting his neighbor

The Latest Local News from the Cherokee County Herald

Local authorities arrested a Georgia man for shooting his neighbor over the weekend.

According to Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver, on Sunday evening, May 3, Mark L. Royal, 50, of Norcross, Ga.,was arrested and charged with second degree assault for shooting his neighbor. The shooting took place at a campground on County Road 1008 in the Farill Community in northern Cherokee County.

The two men were in an apparent dispute on the property of another neighbor when the shooting occurred, Shaver said.

Cherokee EMS transported the victim to Floyd Medical Center where he was treated and released for a gun-shot wound to the foot, according to Shaver.

The case remains under investigation by the Cherokee County Major Crimes Unit.

Source: Cherokee County Herald

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