Archived Story

2012 in review

Published 12:35pm Thursday, January 3, 2013
Johnny Baker, of Buttston, was asleep in the bed pictured here when the March 2 tornado hit. The roof and the missing exterior wall, which was later pulled out of the way, fell onto his bed. Baker managed to climb up through the rafters, then under his refrigerator before emerging on the trailer’s porch. He survived with only “a few scratches,” but lost all his possessions. | File

A look back at Dadeville’s top news stories of 2012

From the local elections to the education system, a lot of things changed in Dadeville throughout 2012. Here is a look back at some of the memorable happenings from the past year.

Community

Just before the semester resumed in January, the Tallapoosa County Board of Education announced that same-gender classes throughout the system would be discontinued.

A Jan. 23 storm gave county residents a scare, but no injuries were reported from the straight-line wind event. The storm passed over Wind Creek State Park, and continued to hit areas near Jackson’s Gap and Horseshoe Bend National Military Park.

A few months later, Sandy Creek residents rejoiced as the Alabama Emergency Agency announced cleanup from the April 27, 2011 tornado was complete.

Weather again made headlines when an EF-2 tornado touched down, damaging 82 homes and claiming the life of Todd Hodge, 57, near Eagle Creek and Buttston communities.

April brought with it some encouraging business news, as Sejin America announced April 5 that it would add 100 jobs and an additional 100,000 square feet to its Dadeville operation.

The Dadeville City Council also had some positive April news, as the council announced an audit showed a $200,000 surplus in the town’s budget.

Local emergency responders got their first chance to see a new emergency operations center April 24, which will be used to coordinate future disaster response. The center will be housed inside Central Alabama Community College.

June had more good news in store for the area, as the city of Dadeville announced it received a $1 million grant to extend an access road at the William T. Thweatt Industrial Park. More grant funds were announced in July, when it was announced that $350,000 would be available to make infrastructure improvements to the industrial park.

The Rodeo Club hosted a new event in August – the inaugural Margarita Shake-off, which drew more than 500 attendees.

The Smith Mountain Fire Tower reopened to the public in June and was rededicated in November after a year of restoration. The tower stands 80 feet high and is accessible year round, but closes after dark each day.

The Annual Tour of Homes to support the Tallapoosee Historical Society was held Dec. 8 in StillWaters. The tour featured 12 StillWaters homes, ranging from a log cabin to a penthouse. Money raised will be put toward expanding the Tallapoosa County Historical Museum.

A new event in Dadeville this year was the Black and White Charity Ball, which was held at the Lake Martin Event Center at The Rodeo Club. Attendees enjoyed a steak dinner, a silent auction, live music and dancing. Proceeds from the event benefited the Lake Martin Area United Way and the Dadeville Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Tallapoosa County Board of Education announced that the former Edward Bell School would begin life anew in 2013 as the county’s new career technical center.

Crime

- A Dadeville woman turned herself in at the end of May and admitted to stealing more than $20,000 from the Dadeville High School Band Parents Association.

- Twenty-four dogs and a large amount of cash were confiscated in September. The incident also resulted in three arrests.

Politics

Both the Democratic and Republican parties held primaries in March to determine candidates for the positions of probate judge, circuit clerk, board of education seats and county board of education superintendent.

Joe Windle was named superintendent after winning the primary. Former superintendent Phillip Baker stepped down before his term ended in June, and Windle assumed the helm of the board.

In the Nov. 6 election, Leon Archer won the seat of probate judge.

Patrick Craddock was declared winner of the circuit clerk’s seat after a mandatory recount – Craddock won the seat by less than 50 votes.

Incumbent mayor Mike Ingram was replaced by Joe Smith during the Aug. 28 election. The election also was marked by an unusual event – Jackson’s Gap mayor candidate Janis Canham won the bid for mayor, despite dying before the election.

Controversy

Many parents had unanswered questions when Council Middle School Principal Glenda Mennifee went on leave in May. The reason was never released, and Menifee’s former post was filled in July by Melanie McKinney.

Redistricting caused a stir in the county, as the commission passed a map with a slim 3-2 vote.

City council meetings began to draw more attention in Dadeville when Mayor Joe Smith took office. A number of citizens began attending in support of Smith after eleventh-hour measures passed by the previous city council limited his responsibilities and powers. Changes included not allowing the mayor to appoint a number of official positions, like city attorney and city clerk. Citizens turned out in droves to argue the rehiring of some city employees and the initial decision not to rehire Fire Chief Kenneth Thompson. The council later rehired Thompson unanimously.

Also coming under fire was the city council’s decision to sell city hall and move to the McKelvey Chevrolet building. Many citizens’ concerns about the decision, including the lack of parking, cost of the building and lack of a drive-thru, were alleviated, and the council plans to make the move sometime in the coming year.

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