This is a monumental task, and cannot be completed in one sitting. In the January 4, 2012 issue of The Herald the January 2011 events were summarized. In the January 11, 2012 issue news items of interest from February through June 2011 are listed.
In the January 18, 2012 issue of The Herald the months of July through December, 2011 will be remembered.
In early February, the Cherokee County School System had three new County Spelling Bee Champions following competition at Centre Elementary School. They were Corin Manning, second place winner from Spring Garden School; Haley Baker, first place winner from Centre Middle School and Elliott Benefield, thid place winner from Spring Garden School.
The Cherokee County School System also recognized teachers for their accomplishments. Jennifer Mackey, a teacher at Centre Elementary School, was named Cherokee County’s Alabama Teacher of the Year and Jacksonville State University Teacher Hall of Fame nominee in the elementary division and Tony Benefield, a teacher at Spring Garden School, was named Cherokee County’s Alabama Teacher of the Year and Jacksonvillee State University Teacher Hall of Fame nominee in the secondary division for 2011.
The Centre City Council appointed its first Alchohol Review Board in February to make the recommendations of whether businesses should be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages. The council appointed John Coggin to serve a one-year term, Tommy Loder to serve a two-year term and Tom “Tiny” Owens to serve a three-year term.
In February, a local mother, daughter and granddaughter shared with the Herald their efforts to raise awareness about Marfan Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, which can cause loosened joints, vision problems and also aortic and heart problems.
Cindy Gossett, along with daughter, Allison Shaw, shared how daughter, Lilly, then 3 years of age, was diagnosed, following treatment of strep throat at Gadsden Pediatric Clinic.
A large percentage of the patients who have Marfan’s inherit it from one of their parents, Gossett said.
In February, James Burkhart, a local blood donor set records once again by reaching the 25-gallon mark through a drive held at Cherokee County High School. Red Cross representatives from across the state, local representatives, friends and colleagues gathered at Cherokee County High School for this event. Burkhart began giving in his early 20s and has continued the tradition.
After more than 20 years of service, Centre Police Chief Val Courtney officially retired Feb. 28. Courtney’s many friends and co-workers gathered for a reception in his honor at Centre City Hall.
Beginning his career with the city in 1992, Courtney witnessed many changes in the police department, including their relocation from the Centre City Hall building to the Cherokee County Detention Center building to its current location on Main Street.
The city also approved its first alcohol licenses, including Wal-Mart, the Gridiron Restaurant, Birmingham Budweiser for distributorship and Supreme Beverage Company.
Local Attorney Dean Buttram was appointed to the Gadsden State Communtiy College Search Committee for a new president. Buttram was among 10 nominees approved by the Alabama Board of Education.
Leesburg Police Chief Lanny Ransum was honored in March for completing 160 hours of training through the Alabama Association of Chief of Police and the University Partnership of Alabama consisting of Jacksonville State University, Troy University and the University of North Alabama.
The Weiss Lake Improvement Association and local citizens welcomed the re-stocking of some 30,000 Black Crappie into Weiss Lake in March. The Alabama Department of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries did the restocking as part of their ongoing efforts to enhance spawn and fishing on the lake.
The Cherokee County Chapter of the Red Cross, in March, raised more than $15,000 through its annual Souper Supper and Silent Auction.
Also in March, the Gadsden State Community College Search Committee announced that Dr. Martha Lavender, assistant to the president, Gadsden State Community College, was one of five finalists for president of Gadsden State Community College. Dr. Lavender began her duties at Gadsden State Community College-Cherokee in the summer of 2008.
Once again, Weiss Lake Improvement Association and the Alabama Power Company Foundatiion recognized students and teachers who participated in Renew Our Rivers 2011. WLIA and Alabama Power each presented checks of $1,950 each (totaling $2,.900) which were given teachers to use for their classroom needs.
In the Spring, three local Eagle Scouts, each members of Jamestown Troop 245, were honored for their accomplishments. They included Brian Penland, Luke Murphy and J. Brewer. All were members of the 2011 graduating class of Gaylesville High School.
The Sand Rock Town Council, in April, welcomed a new council member, Glenn Farmer, who was sworn in to complete the term of Bud Brock who retired.
The Cedar Bluff Town Council received a good audit report in April. Todd Hindsman presented the review of the 2010 audit and noted that the equity in the town had increased over the previous year and that this proved, “the town is practicing sound financial principles.”
Two suspects were taken into custody in April when a Wellborn school teacher’s body was discovered in Cherokee County. Cherokee County deputies discovered the body of Kevin Thompson, 28, of Jacksonville, Ala., around midnight Friday, April 22. Tyrone Thompson of Weaver and Nicholas Smith of Jacksonville were held in Calhoun County facing $100,000 bonds each on kidnapping charges. The case was tried in another county.
The town of Leesburg officially opened its new 2,500 square feet emergency shelter in April. Mayor Ed Mackey noted that the build could hold more than 200 people and withstand winds of up to 250 miles per hour.
And it seemed as if the new shelter opened just in time as Cherokee County and the rest of the state faced one of its worst storm days in history. In the early evening hours of April 27, tornadoes passed through the area and destroyed and damaged numerous homes and businesses in the southern portion of Cherokee County. Earlier in the day, a tornado or straight-line winds damaged or destroyed several homes in the Northern 411, Forney area.
A large portion of Cherokee County, as a result of the April 27 storms, were without power for several days. In the days following the storm, Cherokee County officials along with Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) officials took an aerial tour of the storm damage following the storm’s destructive path from Cherokee County to Birmingham.
Cherokee was fortunate in that there were no deaths as a result of the storm, although several lost their homes.
The storm flattened the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the Goshen area, not too far away from where Goshen United Methodist Church was destroyed by a tornado in 1994.
“We have walked around in shock for days,” noted Pastor Rick Blythe. “But if the tornado had to hit, I thank God it hit some empty buildings even if it hit mine.”
In May, the Cherokee County Department of Human Resources teamed up with other agents from across the state to help thousands of people needing assistance following the April 27 storms.
A three-day program was set up at Fairhaven United Methodist Church on Highway 411.
Those who qualified for assistance were issued an EBT card to purchase food for a one-month period.
Many people lost food as a result of their power being off for several days, noted Teresa Sauls, director, Cherokee County Department of Human Resources.
After receiving and reviewing several good applicants, the Centre City Council, in May, appointed Cpl. Kirk Blankenship, who formerly worked for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, as the city’s new police chief. Cpl. Blankenship had 10 years of experience as a deputy with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and was a corporal the last four years with the sheriff’s office.
The Cherokee County Board of Education, as the end of another school year approached, cut 28 teachers and 10 support positions because of budget constraints.
In June, Cherokee County Herald Sports Editor Shannon Fagan brought home two awards from the Alabama Sportswriters 40th Annual Convention in Birmingham.
Fagan earned first place in the Best Story for Series Writing, Non Daily; Best Column and/or Feature for his story on Cherokee County High School Water Boy Elias Jennings and also runner-up in the same category for his story on Cherokee County High School star athlete Coty Blanchard who was drafted by the Balitmore Orioles.
Gadsden State Community College, which has a campus in Cherokee County, welcomed a new president in June. Dr. Staats joined Gadsden State Community College as its seventh president June 1, 2011.
Dr. Staats, according to biographical information, began his professional career as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Syracruse University, a Master’s degree in Space Operations from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
During the Monday, June 13 meeting of the Cherokee County Commission, the commission adopted a resolution recognizing WEIS Radio staff for their invaluable service to the community.
During the outbreak of tornadoes in the area, WEIS Radio, according to reports, was the only voice and source of information many local residents had.
WEIS Radio helped to keep citizens informed and updated for lives to be protected.
The Cherokee County Board of Education, in late June, called back 17 teachers and support personnel who initially lost their jobs at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.