Community Events 10-28-15

Halloween will be observed on Saturday, October 31 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. for children up to 12 yrs of age. Residents who do not wish to have trick or treaters please keep your porch light off during these hours. All motorists are urged to watch for children. Please have a safe and happy Halloween.

The annual fall festival and Trunk or Treat will be held at LaFayette First Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, October 28 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. CST. Grilled hotdogs will be served from 5-5:45. There will be games, a cake walk, inflatable bouncy house and slides. Come and join the fun.

Five Points Volunteer Fire Department will have a chicken barbecue on Saturday, October 31. Serving 10am until 2pm CST at the Five Points Community House. $7.00 plate. Call 334-444-7490 for tickets.


The Christian Service Center will take applications for Christmas assistance on Wednesdays, October 21 & 28. 9a.m.-1 p.m. Low income families will need to provide birth certificates, picture ID, current electric bill with name and address showing, and verification of income. Parents or legal guardians of children birth through 12 years are eligible to apply. Please bring a list of your child’s clothing sizes and gift ideas. The Center is located at 5342 Cusseta Road in Lanett (Huguley).

For anyone dealing with the pain or loss and feeling the need for support, a “Grief Support/Divorce Recovery/Loss” Group will meet every Tuesday at Oak Bowery United Methodist Church beginning at 1:30-5:30 p.m. CST. For more information contact Pastor Bill Parker at (334)459-0214 or (706)518-9122. If no answer please leave a message. Contacts will be held confidential. There are no charges involved.


The LaFayette Police Department is offering free participation in the `Are You OK`program for the elderly or anyone that lives alone. If you are interested please call 334-864- 2211. Participants must live in the city limits or police jurisdiction.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) of Community Action Committee, Inc. of Chambers- Tallapoosa – Coosa Counties are accepting calls for those needing assistance. Call 256-825- 4287, Ext. 201 to schedule an appointment.


The Head Start program of Chambers-Tallapoosa is now taking applications for the 2015-2016 program year. Children can be accepted anytime during the year (if an opening is available) once the child has turned three years of age. Children with disabilities are also accepted. Call the Head Start Central office in Dadeville at 256-825- 4204 or any Head Start Center in your area.

To purchase a Disable American Veterans Tag call or write the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, P.O. Box 1509, Montgomery, AL 36102-1509 — Automated phone line 1-800-827-1000. If you prefer to talk to someone you can call one of the phone numbers or write below: Veterans Service Officers, 215 South 9th Street, Opelika, AL 36803 Phone: 1-855-212-8028, 1-334-745-9781,1-334-737-3626.


Become a foster parent with Alabama Mentor by attending the free foster parent classes every Monday at 5:30 p.m. CST. Contact Gina at 334-705-8877 for more information.


Come join us in fellowship at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church with the new pastor Dr. Bobby N. Duck. Sunday School – 9:30 am CST. Morning Worship – 10:30 am CST. Wednesday Night Service – 4:30 pm CST.


On October 29th a muscadine workshop will be taught at Five Points Farms (2185 County Road 261, Five Points, Al) in Chambers County. Please call the Chambers County Extension office at 334-864-9373 by Monday, October 26th to pre-register. The program will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will conclude around 11:00 a.m. There is no cost for attendance. If you have any questions about this meeting, please call the Chambers County Extension office at 334-864-9373.


The Fergerson-Holloway Family “Treats for Kids” to be held Saturday, October 31 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. CST at the Alfa Insurance Building on Hwy 50 in LaFayette. We are asking family, friends, churches, business, social clubs, etc to donate Bags of Candy to help fill the treat bags. Candy drop off sites are Rampey’s Day Care Center and Alfa Insurance.

American Legion Post 141 and Auxilliary will meet Thursday, October 29 at 6:00 p.m. at the Legion home. A covered dish supper will be served. All members are urged to attend.

West Chambers Fire & Rescue will have their Chicken BBQ on Saturday, November 7 from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. CST. Pick up at West Chambers Fire Dept. or Courthouse Square in LaFayette. $7.00 per plate.

The Union Hill Community Club meeting will be held on Thursday, November 12 at 6:30 pm CST. This will be our annual Thanksgiving supper. Turkey and dressing will be provided. Please bring a covered dish to go with the meal. Hope to see you there.

It’s a fall festival at Centerview Baptist Church in Camp Hill, Hwy 89. Rev. Gary Hardy, Pastor on October
31 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. Fun, games and food. Hay ride is $2.00 per person. Come and enjoy the fun!!

On October 29th a muscadine workshop will be taught at Five Points Farms (2185 County Road 261, Five Points, Al) in Chambers County. Please call the Chambers County Extension office at 334-
864-9373 by Monday, October 26th to pre-register. The program will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will conclude around 11:00 a.m. There is no cost for attendance. If you have any questions about this meeting, please call the Chambers County Extension office at 334-864-9373.

Touched by Suicide Support Group will meet on Monday, November 2nd at 5:30 Central time at the East Alabama Medical Center Health Resource Center. The address is 2027 Pepperell Parkway, across the street from EAMC. This is an informal group made up of caring individuals whose lives have been touched by the suicide of a family member or friend. For more information contact Deborah Owen, former EAMC Director of Psychiatric Services at or Dayle Cook at 706-518- 5538,

The November Commission meetings of the Chambers County Commission are set for Monday, November 2 and Monday, November 16. Commission meetings begin at 4:00 p.m. CT and are held in the Commission Chamber located at 2 South LaFayette Street in LaFayette.

The Commission offices will be closed on Monday, November 11 for Veterans Day; Thursday, November 26 & Friday, November 27 for Thanksgiving.

Cusseta family honored as top cattle producer

Cusetta Colliuns 1Story and photos by Laura Conaway

Jimmy Collins pays no mind to the freight train. Faint in the distance, then all at once overpowering, it demands attention as it bursts through his family’s land several times a day.

Sometimes even the cows take notice.

Way back in the 1850s, long before his family turned a 680-acre cotton farm into a cattle ranch, the train was there. Every day since, it serves as a reminder of life beyond the cattle and comfort of home.

The roads weren’t paved, the land in row crops and highly eroded, but James Smart Collins II wanted cows. Beef cattle to be specific. From Montgomery, Ala., he and his family operated J.S. Collins Dairy through the Great Depression and came to know the land 75 miles northeast of him that had no flowing water but nearly 40 natural springs.

“My grandfather bought the farm in ’43,” James (Jimmy) Collins IV recalls and in the 72 years since, generations of Collinses have raised even more generations of Angus cattle on ground near Cusseta, Ala., that’s sustained them both.

On September 26, the Collinses were presented the 2015 Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand Commercial Commitment to Excellence Award for their dedication to developing the best merits of the breed.

On behalf of the family that includes matriarch Era Claire, Jimmy and wife, Mary, and his son Jim and wife, Jennifer, accepted the award with children Taylor Brown and Jay Collins in the audience.

Gaze across a Collins pasture and it may seem as if Angus cattle have been the only kind to graze it, but the Collinses tried a bit of everything before they settled on the breed that gained them recognition.

“It was about improving quality—building numbers to start with—and then improving the quality of the herd,” Jimmy says. “It’s been a continuous process since then.”

Having “showed many a Hereford steer through high school,” he switched to Angus his senior year and soon after, the herd followed suit.

“We were looking to grow from carcass information and wanted rid of the problems with udders and eyes,” Jimmy says. “Crunching numbers, Angus looked like a better alternative. It’s such a strong breed.”

Those early calculations proved true and it wasn’t long before they were running a purebred operation from 10 bred heifers purchased in 1959, eventually selling nearly 100 bulls a year.

With the farm not large enough to support all the families, Jimmy took a position with Farm Credit Services upon graduation from Auburn University. Decades later, when he transitioned to a real estate business, he advised the family to transition to a commercial herd.

Living on the farm and commuting to town each day, mornings and late afternoons were spent tending to cattle while workdays went to financing crops, cattle and equipment for neighboring ranchers and later real estate sales. For years, three generations of Collins men worked together with their families to improve their cattle and impress the consumer at the end of the line.

The 350 commercial cows are carefully managed and selected with the same detail as the family’s 50 head of registered stock.

Keeper heifers must catch within the first 21 days. Then there are parameters on birth weight, EPDs (expected progeny differences) and results from GeneMax® (GMX) tests to measure gain and grade in non-registered cattle.

The first group for the DNA-based test in the spring of 2013 set a benchmark for the herd, all while helping to identify outliers. GMX scores from 50 heifers showed the top 75% scored 74 or better, compared to the national average of 50. But the Collinses don’t stop with heifers. They run the Zoetis HD50K test on young bulls to increase EPD accuracy. Then they pair that information with GMX Advantage™ scores on all heifer calves to match sires with progeny.

“We try to run a balanced program, rather than chasing outliers,” Jimmy says. “Sure, it’s a slower process, but when you get there, you’re there. We look at growth and carcass quality and strive to be a tier above the industry average.”

Even more, he adds, “We have tried to be more aggressive and balance growth characteristics over time with maternal traits.”
Maternal traits are what keep longtime customers like Omer McCants, Talbotton, Ga., coming back each year.

“I started six years ago and purchased 17 bred heifers and I’ve purchased every year since,” the Army veteran says. “I was impressed with the quality and durability of them. The Collins cows could hit the ground and stay. They didn’t lose.”

Terry Harris, Boston, Ga., can tell of cows he purchased from the Collinses 11 years ago that maintain and reproduce today. Then there are cattlemen new to the business like Jones Woody, Culloden, Ga., who has followed his calves on feed in Iowa and received carcass data showing 81% CAB and USDA Prime.

In an industry that sometimes resists change, the Collins men have embraced it in the transition from complete phenotypic to a combination of genetic and phenotypic selection.

“It’s a matter of surviving really and truly,” Jimmy says. “You’ve got to be productive and you can do what you want, but it better be successful and work for the folks who are going to be consuming the end product.”
Right on down the tracks.

Note to Reader: For a video overview of Collins Farms, visit

LaFayette proud of new website

By Alton Mitchell

As the Mayor and City Council opened up their final meeting of the LaFayette City Council meeting for October on Monday evening, the words of the call to order were upheld to the fullest with the business that took place at the meeting. The words that were spread across the walls of City Hall held something that would prove to be fulfilling to those in attendance as the statement was expressed, “Something be done today to help the great city of LaFayette.” The meeting was one which was dominated with progress and moves forward towards the future of LaFayette.

In opening the meeting news that has been constantly updated in the past several meetings was again the highlight of the meeting, as news spread on the progress of the new LaFayette city website. Mr. Chris Busby proudly gave that update to the City Council as he informed council of updates that have now nearly produced a finished product. Mr. Busby’s update informed the council of exciting new things with the cities website that will include, broken down sections for navigation, rotating images, among many more features still in the works. His update informed Council that all content has been supplied to Red Sage, the company constructing the website and now with most of the hard stuff done it is all in the hands of the programmers to finish up the exciting new website, and they are running ahead of schedule.

Excitement continued to roll at the Council meeting as representatives from LaFayette High School to include Principal Don Turner and Assistant Principal Casey Chambley gave notice to the Council on two exciting upcoming projects at LaFayette High School. The first of which will take place this Wednesday October, 28th from 8:00 a.m.-5 p.m.

This Wednesday LaFayette High School will participate in the USA Today Make a Difference Day campaign through a special project they call Operation Dog Pound. The purpose of this exciting day is to bring back the sparkle and shine to LaFayette High School. Students and Faculty will take this day to focus on the cleaning and maintaining of classrooms, hallways, the gym, auditorium, and outside areas of campus. The operation will include pressure washing as well as cleaning and bringing back the natural shine to LaFayette High School.

Mr. Chambley also acknowledged that special shine will be given to the prestigious High School gymnasium, after all it is the home to the Alabama State 2A defending Basketball Champions. Aside from students and faculty participation community involvement is also being sought to include vendors and persons that can supply needed supplies to assist in the cleanup to include; all-purpose cleaners, Clorox, rags, small mop buckets, mops, rubber cleaning gloves, trash bags, paper towels, and firm bristled brush heads just to name a few items in addition to volunteer time. Operation Dog Pound will run from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Wednesday October 28th.

LaFayette High will also take out time on November 10th to honor the veterans of the LaFayette community. The event will be held at the high school auditorium and will have keynote speaker Senator Gerald Dial. The event will honor the veteran community in many ways that will include performances from the school band and student singers among many other planned events. Organizers invite the entire community out to enjoy the event and assist in honoring those who have served the United States.

Before adjourning the meeting the City Council was introduced to the city’s newest member of the fire department. Justin Loux has recently completed training at the Alabama Fire College in Alexander City and has joined the ranks of LaFayettes first responders. Prior to joining the LaFayette Fire Department Mr. Loux worked for sixteen years with the Manatee County Fire Department in central Florida. The Council welcomed Mr. Loux with open arms and are pleased to have him join the department.

The City Council finalized its affairs including paying a claim against the city for damage that was caused to a private vehicle by a city maintenice device and paying the accumulated bills over the past month for the city and adjourned shortly afterwards. The Mayor-City Council meet every two weeks at City Hall in LaFayette at 6:00 p.m.

Chambers unemployment drops to 5.7%

By Alton Mitchell

Good news continues to pour in for jobs news in Chambers County. Not only did the unemployment rate for the month of September drop once again in Chambers County, but it has proven to be an annual trend as the number shows significant improvement over last year at the same point. The news is not just good in Chambers County, but statewide as those unemployment numbers continue to decline.

Recently released data for the month of September showed only 870 people in Chambers County were without work and actively seeking it. Those 870 enduring individuals make up the months unemployment rate of 5.7% in Chambers County. That number is below the state average which came in at an even 6.0% for the month of September.

The percentage data for Chambers County shows improvement over the month of August which also saw a decline and measured at 6.5% for the County. The data for this September is also greatly lower than last September when data shows the number of unemployed in Chambers County was at 6.2% of the workforce out of work and actively looking. The State data is also promising the September unemployment rate for the state is down .2% from August. The downfalls in unemployment number signify strong improvements in the local and state economies.

The numbers for the month of September show that for wage and salary employment in Alabama comes in at 1,958,000. That number is a significant milestone for the state of Alabama as a whole. The last time that number was that high or higher was in 2008 shortly before the Great Recession and massive economic downturn of the economy. The numbers of Alabamians in the workforce are reaching the points they were at before the massive financial crisis of 2008. Employment numbers is one of many measures used to show the strength of the economy as a whole.

While Chambers County and Alabama continue to show signs of improvements in the job market the State and County numbers still remain slightly above the national average which has remained consistent at 5.1% nationally over the past two months. Strong improvements are expected over the next few months as holiday hiring will drive the numbers lower, but after season layoffs may have a reverse effect on the employment numbers in the first quarter of the New Year, but for now the numbers remain in an improving manner.

State budget cuts spare Chambers

By Alton Mitchell

It has only been a short time since budget constraints at the State House have caused a reduction of services at the department of driver services office in LaFayette and other smaller communities in Alabama. Those same financial downfalls have also resulted in the question of the future of State Parks and National Guard Armories throughout the state. Now once again the State government of Alabama has found another state sponsored venue that must be downsized to make up for the financial shortcomings of the State, and this time it involves accessibility to liquor in state sponsored stores.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage and Control Board will have to close or consolidate 15 stores in the state because of State budget cuts. This is because of a $5.5 million shortfall in the budget of the ABC Board. A timeline has been given of three to six months for the closure of the locations on the chopping block.

The fifteen stores set to be closed are from various parts of the state and luckily this time LaFayette and Chambers County were spared in the downsizing. ABC Store #131 located on US Highway 431 in LaFayette is the only ABC store in Chambers County and will remain open. The US 431 ABC store is also the only liquor store in the city of LaFayette. The two other ABC beverage stores in this area will also remain open in Auburn and Phenix City.

However fifteen stores are going to close they include stores in Dothan, Abbeville, York, Marion, Pike Road, Luverne, Spanish Fort, Hayneville, Linden, Orange Beach, Guntersville, Florence, and three locations in Montgomery. Officials with the ABC board are hoping the store closures themselves will be enough to make up for the budget shortfall. The employees of those locations will be attempted to transfer to other locations near their previous store locations.

LaFayette and Chambers County were spared this go around, but were not so lucky with cuts to the states driver services offices. However last week Governor Bentley announced he had come up with a plan that will allow the states drivers licenses office to reopen on a very limited part-time basis, including the LaFayette office. The State of Alabama continue to look for ways to cut spending due to the budget shortfall and more closures of various state related services may occur further down the line.

Trick-or-Treaters should practice safety tips

HaloweenBy Alton Mitchell

Halloween will once again roll around this Saturday and with it the little ghouls and goblins will grace neighborhood streets in search of goodies to fill their bags. As youth engage in the annual Halloween festivities general safety is still strongly encouraged, by both those who are on the hunt for candy and motorist on the streets as well as adults in the vicinity of where children may be enjoying themselves.

For trick or treaters the use of general pedestrian safety control devices is encourage and should be enforced and encouraged by adult chaperones. These devices include crossing streets at corners, using traffic signals, and to cross only at crosswalks. When crossing looking in both directions is a must, a secondary or follow up look cannot hurt anything.

While everyone wants to take their selfies and enjoy their photos on social media it is encouraged that electronic devices such as cell phones be put down. This allows the elimination of a very hazardous distraction to both pedestrians and motorist alike. When walking trick or treaters should walk with their heads up and refrain from running especially across streets and intersections. Motorist should attempt to make eye contact with trick or treaters before proceeding and parents should encourage their children to do the same with motorist.

Trick or Treaters should always use sidewalks and never walk in the streets and when crossing do not dash between vehicles. Common sense should be practiced by adult chaperones to include accompanying children out and having them trick or treat in groups. For those children who are old enough to venture out without adult supervision they should stick to areas which they are familiar with only. Costumes should also be visible to motorist, darker colored costumes should have reflective tape or lighter colored items to make them more visible.

Motorist should also be aware that children will be out especially in neighborhoods and that they should slow down. Being alert is key for motorist being that kids will be kids and will be more focused on finding their next treat rather than maintaining their safety initially. Motorist should also exercise the use of extra time at intersections and watch for approaching trick or treaters and other pedestrians. It is also encouraged that slow speed be maintained and headlights be used earlier in the day.

For those motorist in a rush to make it to their own exciting Halloween parties it should be remembered that late Saturday night time will fall back an hour for daylight savings time so there will be plenty of time to enjoy the Halloween night festivities. Awareness is key on everyone’s part to make this Halloween a safe and enjoyable one for everyone both young and young at heart.

Local church seeks help for cemetery

Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church and cemetery has been a part of Chambers County’s and Alabama’s history for 180 years. Picture shows Church after renovation and historic portion of cemetery

Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church and cemetery has been a part of Chambers
County’s and Alabama’s history for 180 years.
Picture shows Church after renovation and historic portion of cemetery

Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church in the Marcoot community was established in April 1835, along with the migration of the first settlers into Chambers County, Alabama. It was first called Mount Paran, getting a name change to Macedonia in 1836. In 1841, five acres of land was purchased from John Farley and a building was erected on the site of the present Macedonia Church. This was the second building (the first building on the current site).

The next building was erected in 1879, but it was destroyed by a tornado on Easter Sunday, 1932. The current building was built on the floor and foundation left after the tornado. The original rock pillars and 6 inch wide floor boards are still visible from underneath.

Many members of of Chambers County’s and East Alabama’s prominent families have been among Macedonia’s membership down through the years. A partial list includes Lloyd, Edge, Penton, Sims, Lowe, Tucker, Tillingham, Smith, Moore, Wilkerson, Germany, Jackson, Coggins, Nichols, Yarbrough, Norris, Jones, Jarrell, Ballard, Gresham, Wise, Lacey, Candler, Weaver, Pearson, Sutton, Lindsey, Howard, Abernathy, Howell, Osborn, Findley, Carter, Still, Harmon, and Farley.

In 1988 a cemetery trust was formed to maintain the cemetery and raise funds for that purpose. In 1999 it became evident that the church required a new roof and other work or it would not last much longer. The cemetery fund had acquired the title to the church building in 2006 as well as some insurance funds. Using money raised for the purpose as well as 10% of the trust money for two years the roof was repaired and improvements were made to the church.

The Cemetery Trust maintains separate accounts for the cemetery and the church building. At the present time all moneys earmarked for maintenance of the church have been exhausted.

Macedonia needs your help in maintaining this historic part of our heritage. The Cemetery Trust Fund sends out fundraising letters in October. These donation (tax deductible) forms allow you to stipulate whether you want your donation to go to the cemetery or the church. Please consider donating to the church fund as well as the cemetery. If you do not receive a form and would like to donate, or if you know someone who may be interested in donation , please contact: Bob Lowe 334-502-8693 or Crystal Rogers 334-826-3281

Red Ribbon Week raises awareness of drug use

Red RibbonSheriff Sid Lockhart invites the community to take a visible stand against drugs by celebrating Red Ribbon Week from October 23-31.

Red Ribbon Week raises awareness of drug use and the problems related to drugs facing our community, and encourages parents, educators, business owners, and other community organizations to promote drug-free lifestyles.

“Red Ribbon Week encourages our entire community to adopt healthy, drug-free lifestyles,” said Sheriff Lockhart. “The campaign brings together parents, schools, and businesses as we look for innovative ways to keep kids and communities drug free.”

The red ribbon symbolizes a continuing commitment to reducing the demand for illicit drugs in our communities. In 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Enrique S. “Kiki” Camarena was killed by drug traffickers. Shortly after Camarena’s death, citizens from his hometown of Calexico, California, began wearing red ribbons to remember him and commemorate his sacrifice. Congress established Red Ribbon Week in 1988.

“Red Ribbon Week gives us the opportunity to be vocal and visible in our efforts to achieve a drug-free community,” said Sheriff Lockhart. “Research shows that children are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs when parents and other role models are clear and consistent in their opposition to substance use and abuse.”

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