Gas prices soared to new heights and later fell to new lows as the national economy sputtered along.
On the local level, Alabama Power, after months of record drought, pledged to keep Weiss Lake water levels higher than normal during the winter months. A spokesman for Alabama power said he was cautiously optimistic with more rain in the forecast in light of the ongoing drought.
The Cherokee County Commission announced plans to present a revised animal control ordinance in January.
The city of Centre came under fire from several business owners after implementing a new business license fee structure using annual gross receipts as a guide.
Also in January, local law enforcement officers arrested two fugitives wanted on cocaine charges by the U.S. Marshal’s Service. The ordeal began at Centre Kmart, traveled to Centre Wal Mart and ended near the Cherokee Electric Cooperative building when agents arrested Thaddeus Patterson of Mississippi and Lora Ratliff of Cordova, Tenn. and transported them to the Cherokee County Detention Center.
Gadsden City Councilman Robert Avery was the keynote speaker for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast held at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. The Cherokee Alabama Democratic Committee and area churches sponsored the breakfast.
The Cherokee County Herald welcomed a new sports editor in January. Shannon Fagan, who formerly worked for The Anniston Star, began his new duties.
In February, Cherokee County citizens mourned the death of Dr. Jack Blackwell who passed away at the age of 79. Dr. Blackwell worked in family practice for more than 40 years.
J. Frank Moore III, 84th international president, addressed local students and counselors as part of the First Annual Centre Lions Club Leadership Forum in February at Centre First United Methodist Church. The event proved to be a huge success.
Local education leaders broke ground for the new Centre Middle School building on Highway 411 in February and also for the new gymnasium at Sand Rock School. Projected cost of the new school building was more than $10 million and the projected cost of the new gymnasium was $2.6 million.
In late February, the Centre City Council voted to amend its business license fee structure to reflect the new rates at a graduated increase instead of one big sudden increase.
The Cherokee County Commission recognized Coach Dale Welsh for his contribution as a coach in the local school system and his service to the community as a former county commissioner.
Cherokee Electric Cooperative announced that electric bills could rise as much as 7 percent before Spring. By April 1, TVA announced plans to increase the rates by 7 percent to fund new generation facilities and energy efficient initiatives.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King filed a motion to join the liquor lawsuit against the town of Cedar Bluff in March.
The Cherokee County Library Board announced a $127,000 expansion plan in March with funds secured by the Alabama Public School and College Incentive Fund Council and also funds secured through Rep. Richard Lindsey and Sen. Larry Means. The new addition plans included a genealogy/history room and a children’s reading room.
The 2008 political cycle officially began in Cherokee County when former NASCAR driver and local Business Owner Tina Gordan announced her candidacy for Cherokee County Commission District Three. Gordon said she wanted to become more involved in public service and help create jobs.
More names soon followed including Democratic Incumbent Revenue Commissioner Johnny Roberts who faced Challengers Bobby Borders and Harrell Whitener Incumbent Superintendent of Education Brian Johnson, a Democrat, who faced challenger Mitchell Guice who ran as a Republican.
Incumbent District Three Commissioner Elbert St. Clair faced Gordon, a Democrat, along with Fellow Democratic Challenger Lanny Starr and Republican Challenger Kevin Ford.
Democrat Tommy McDaniel challenged Democratic Incumbent Lisa McKissick for her seat on the Cherokee County Board of Education.
The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce elected new officers at its Annual Banquet and Meeting in April. Kurt Duryea was elected as chairman; John Boggs, chairman-elect; Donnie Free, secretary and Wallace Lyons, treasurer.
Local citizens and law enforcement agents were shocked when a body was discovered in Weiss Lake in April. The body was later identified as a Hispanic male in his 50s. The body was found near the bank of the state docks on Alabama Highway 9. The incident was later ruled a homicide.
The same evening, arson and shooting were reported at Hanley Animal Clinic near the Cherokee-Etowah County line. Investigator Michael Barton said the Sheriff’s Department was searching for at least two suspects and possibility more in the shooting of Dr. Jerry Handley, which happened the same day the body was discovered in the lake. The building was a total loss.
The Tol Shelby Shropshire murder trial began in Cherokee County Circuit Court in May. He was charged with the slaying of Alan Lane Scott of Big Nose Drive in Centre a few years earlier.
The Cherokee County Relay for Life Committee announced that the 2008 event raised more than $60,000 for cancer research.
Wade Sprouse announced his candidacy for Cherokee County Commission District I. Sprouse is employed by Cherokee Electric Cooperative as a meter technician.
A jury found Tol Shropshire guilty of murder in the death of Allen Lane Scott. He was sentenced to life in prison.
The newly-formed Cherokee County Water Coalition sought $15 million from legislators to address local water issues. The group expressed a desire to form a long range plan in case the ongoing drought continued or worsened.
The Cherokee County Commission, upon the recommendation of Cherokee County Jeff Shaver, hired Deputy Scott McGinnis as the county animal control officer in late May.
The Cherokee County Board of Education, in June, recalled all non-tenured teachers who were non-renewed because of the Alabama Legislature’s inaction on the fiscal education budget during its regular session.
Superintendent Brian Johnson said they would have given 21 pink slips to various personnel.
During the June primary election, Incumbent Johnny Roberts won the post for Cherokee County Revenue Commissioner, with 2,178 votes compared to 840 for Challenger Bobby Borders and 374 for Challenger Harrell Whitener.
Incumbent Cherokee County Commissioner Elbert St. Clair and Challenger Lanny Starr headed for a dead heat runoff with St. Clair receiving 1,185. Candidate Tina Gordon received 1,074 votes.
In the District I Commission race, Wade Sprouse won with 1,633 votes. Buddy Barkley received 1,178 and Grady Rhinehart received 521.
In June, law enforcement officers reported that Veterninarian Jerry Handley confessed to setting a fire that destroyed his clinic on Highway 411 and that he shot himself and made up the story about surprising burglars at the clinic. He was charged with arson and cruelty to animals in connection with the April fire.
Roger Griffeth gave his first report as manager of the Cherokee County Chapter of the American Red Cross during the annual Red Cross meeting. Griffeth replaced Betsy Hollis who resigned earlier in the spring.
COMING NEXT WEEK: The rest of 2008