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THE SOUTHERN TORCH / FRIDAY, APRIL 2, 2021 / VOL. 7, NO. 14 / $1.00

Rainsville Arrests Man for Rape



Mayberry Returns to Valley Head


• Fyffe Breaks Record at Track Meet • Area Champs • Alabama All-State Honors


In March, the Rainsville Police Department arrested and charged James Barlow Calfee with first-degree Rape. (Submitted Photo)

• DeKalb Master Gardeners to Hold Annual Plant Sale • Upcoming Events in DeKalb County

By Southern Torch Staff admin@southerntorch.com RAINSVILLE, Ala. — According to Rainsville Police Chief Michael Edmondson: The Rainsville Police Department (RPD) has charged and arrested James Barlow Calfee of Landover, Tenn. with first-degree Rape. According to an arrest report provided by the RPD, in October 2018, a female victim reported she had been forcefully raped in the Rainsville City Park by an unknown suspect. Following the encounter, the victim was able to video the suspect with her phone. A DNA sample was obtained and sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science for analysis, where the assailant was identified as Calfee. The collected sample matched Calfee's sample from a first-degree Robbery charge in Washington state, where he had been serving in prison. The sample, along with the video of the suspect, led to a warrant being obtained for Calfee's arrest and entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). At the time, Calfee's whereabouts were unknown.


The Town of Valley Head will once again transform into Mayberry after being forced to cancel the special event last year. (Submitted Photo)

By Zach Hester Reporter zach@southerntorch.com VALLEY HEAD, Ala. — After being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Town of Valley Head is planning to revive their annual “Memories of Mayberry” festival next month. This year’s festival will be held on Saturday,

May 1, beginning at 9 a.m. with all proceeds benefitting the Valley Head Fire Department. “We are excited to welcome Memories of Mayberry back to Valley Head,” said the event’s coordinator, Adele Phillips. “Everything is coming together with quite a few vendors, plenty of attractions, a cruise-in, and so much more!”

“There is no admission fee and plenty of parking, we’re just praying for no rain,” Phillips concluded. Memories of Mayberry began in June 2017 with then-Mayor Lamar Bray and the Town Council transformed the Town of Valley Head into a replica of Mayberry, the fictional community depicted in The Andy Griffith Show

and Mayberry R.F.D. This year’s event will include live entertainment, arts and crafts, great food, raffles, vendors, and so much more! Pickers are also welcome. Memories of Mayberry also features two food-related contests. For Aunt Bee’s Pie Baking Contest, pies

> See VH, P2

• Alabama's Mask Order to Expire Next Friday • Column: Inside the Statehouse

BUSINESS • Law Library Opens at Courthouse • See Who's Featured in our Business Spotlight!

CRIME • DCSO Dismantles Two Meth Labs in Three Weeks • No Bomb Threat at Bailey Bridges

Crossville to Receive New Bleachers By Marla Jones Managing Editor marla@southerntorch.com

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — The DeKalb County Board of Education met on March 25 at 12 p.m. due to the possibility of severe storms moving through the area. Crossville School will soon see new visitor bleachers, installed by Boatner Construction in the amount of $774,000. Covington Flooring

> See CRIME, P5

Company has agreed to make necessary gym floor repairs in the amount of $30,000. Covington will provide a warranty on the gym floor. The DeKalb County School System will have a security update, complete with new cameras for all the schools. The contract will be awarded to Howard in the amount of $973,381.88

> See BOE, P5


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YOUR FRIEND, YOUR DRUGSTORE! Visit our website at www.southerntorch.com for daily news updates and pick up your weekly print edition at news stands every Friday.


FRIDAY — APRIL 2, 2021




FROM PAGE 1 should be brought to the Valley Head Town Hall by 10:30 a.m. with judging at 11 a.m. in the Council Chambers. Categories for the contest include fruit, nut, and others. The second contest will be Aunt Bee’s Homemade Dill Pickle Contest with all entries required to be filed by 9:30 a.m. at the Town Hall. The pickle contest is sponsored by Mt. Olive and Wickles. Contact Deb at (256) 635-6814 for more information. For more information about Memories of Mayberry or how to become a sponsor, please contact the Town of Valley Head at either (256) 899-3776 or (256) 635-6814 or by email at vhtownhall@ farmerstel.com.

Fishing Tournament Makes "Big Splash" at Goose Pond

By Marla Jones Reporter zach@southerntorch.com

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — The 2021 Big Bass Splash, sponsored by Sealy Outdoors, was held on Friday, March 26 through Sunday, March 28 at Lake Guntersville at Goose Pond Colony. This annual angling event, the world’s largest amateur fishing tournament, was started by Texas angler Bob Sealy of Sealy Outdoors in 1984. Since its inception, the tournament has benefited several national charities, including Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, March of

Dimes, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The tournament offered guaranteed hourly cash payouts and boasts the slogan of “where amateurs win like the pros.” The tournament doled out cash awards for the perfect weight of three, four, and five pounds. This year's winner, William Williams of Henderson, Ky., weighed in his fish before noon on Friday. After two excruciating days, Williams was announced as the 2021 Big Bass Splash winner with an 8.59 pound bass. As part of his grand


prize, Williams took home a brand-new 2021 Nitro Z20, powered by Mercury. 1,301 anglers registered for the three-day event and withstood high winds, possible tornadoes, lightning strikes, and torrential rain to finish the event. "This is the second time we watched a tornado form and come over the mountain from the tournament site in Scottsboro," said Bob Sealy, the owner at Sealy Outdoors. "I've been through high winds, sleet, and heavy rains, but the fish still bite." The next Big Bass Splash will be held on March 25-27, 2022.


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 Jackson Co. Organizations DeKalb Master Recognize Sexual Assault Gardeners to Hold Awareness Month By Dylan Smith JB Managing Editor dylan@southerntorch.com SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — The Jackson County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, along with Crisis Services of North Alabama, invites citizens to “Save the Date” for upcoming April events in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Flowers for Survivors will take place Thursday, April 9th at

11:15 at Scottsboro City Hall. This is an annual ceremony hosted to honor survivors of sexual assault. Following Flowers for Survivors, Lunch and Learn will be hosted Thursday, April 9th @ 12:00 at Western Sizzlin. The topic is titled, “Residual Pain: Overcoming the anger from domestic violence and sexual assault.” One clock hour of continuing education unit will be offered to social workers,

counselors and nurses – presented by David Holmes, LPC-S, NCC. April 2021 marks the official 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but its history is tracked much further back with roots of the movement in the 1940s and 50s in the United States, alongside the civil rights movement. For more, please visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

EVENTS Submit your upcoming events to zach@southerntorch.com to be featured in next week's print edition of The Southern Torch! Stampede April 2, DERA Agri-Business Center Meeting - The Steakhouse in Fort on Saturday, April 17 DeKalb Education Payne. The guest and Sunday, April 18. Retirees Association speaker will be Matt For more informawill meet on April Simpson, a member tion, please visit 2nd at 10:00 in the of the Alabama www.albra.rodeo/ Fellowship Hall of House of schedule. Broadway Baptist Representatives. Church in Rainsville. April 17, Ground April 10-11, Fort John Dersham with Zero Men's Payne Gun & Knife the Tourist Breakfast - The Show - The Fort Association will be Ground Zero Men's Payne Gun and Knife the speaker. Masks Show will be held on Breakfast is held on and distancing the third Saturday of Saturday, April 10 requested. every month at 9:30 and Sunday, April 11 April 9, at the DeKalb County a.m. at Huddle House in Fort Payne. Celebrate Local VFW Fairgrounds in April's event will be Authors - The Ider Fort Payne. The held on Saturday, Public Library will show is hosted by host three local A.G. Gun Shows and April 17. authors, Neal all federal, state, and April 23-24, Wooten, Jane local firearm Simpson, and Jerry ordinances and laws Vintage Pickin' Ellis, on Friday, April must be obeyed. For Spring Market 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 more information, Shop the best p.m. please contact antiques, home Anthony Giordano at decor, hand-mades April 10, DeKalb (423) 664-2715. and more from 50+ Co. Republican of the top curated Breakfast Club - The April 17-18, Little vendors from all over DeKalb County Britches Rodeo the U.S. right here in Republican Breakfast The Alabama Little Northeast Alabama! Club will meet on Britches Rodeo will Live music and food Saturday, April 10 at be held at the trucks will be 7:30 a.m. at Cattle Northeast Alabama featured! This year's market will be located at the VFW Fairgrounds on April 23 and April 24. For more information, and tickets, visit vintagepickin.com/ springevent.

SOUTHERN TORCH • 98-3 WILD COUNTRY • 101-7 THE TORCH Southern Torch (USPS Periodicals #19790) is published each Friday by Southern Marla Jones, Managing Editor/Sports Torch, Inc. 203 Main Street E, Rainsville, Brian Anderson, Radio Operations Manager Ala. 35986. POSTMASTER: Send address Zach Hester, Art Director/Reporter changes to Southern Torch, P.O. Box 614, Amy Thrash, Account Executive Rainsville, Ala. 35986-0614. Staff:

Eloise Smith, General Manager

Jenna Sue Payne, Account Executive Teresa Smith, Traffic Director

Dylan Smith, Jackson Blaze Managing Editor Lindsey Jones, Accounting Marshall Stiefel, Distribution Manager

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Annual Plant Sale

The DeKalb Master Gardeners will host their annual Spring Plant and Vegetable Sale on Saturday, April 17. (Adobe Photo)

By Zach Hester Reporter zach@southerntorch.com DeKALB COUNTY, Ala. — The DeKalb County Master Gardeners will host their annual Spring Plant and Vegetable sale on Saturday, April 17. The sale, which runs from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., is located at the VFW Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds are located at 151 18th Street NE in

Fort Payne. This year's sale will include hundreds of heirlooms and hybrid vegetables, including herbs, native and evergreen azaleas, rhododendrons, ferns, hydrangeas, hollies, buckeyes, magnolias, purple beauty berry, perennials, annuals, and so much more! All proceeds from the spring sale will benefit the organization's ongoing

community projects. The DeKalb County Master Gardeners are part of the Alabama Master Gardeners, a non-profit corporation benefiting and assisting local associations in horticulture programs for their individual communities. For more information, please contact Master Gardener Mary Franks at (256) 996-1159 or (256) 845-2012.


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Law Library Beautifully Bronzed Opens in Rainsville Reopens at DeKalb Co. Courthouse

PICTURED (L to R): Sandy Goff, Rene Haney, Rick Haney, Angie Bryan, Whitley Mitchell, Carrie Cory (owner), Robert Ellis, Sydney Corey, Linda Samples, Ruth Dukes, Robyn Germany, and Amie Reynolds. (Amy Thrash | Southern Torch)

By Zach Hester Reporter zach@southerntorch.com RAINSVILLE, Ala. — On Wednesday, a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony was held for Rainsville's newest business, Beautifully Bronzed LLC. The business, which is located at 213 Main

Street West in Rainsville, features multiple beds for tanners either just starting out or ones that have been tanning for years. Spray tanning will be offered very soon. To make an appointment or check hours of oepration, give them a call at (256) 561-6259 or visit their Facebook page.

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EXECUTOR'S NOTICE TO FILE CLAIMS Letters of Testamentary on the Estate of SMITTY L. WOOD, Deceased, having been granted to the undersigned on the 8th day of March, 2021, by the Judge of Probate of said County, notice is hereby given that all persons having claims against said estate, are hereby required to present the same within the time allowed by law, or the same will be barred.


By Southern Torch Staff • admin@southerntorch.com DeKALB COUNTY, Ala. — The Ninth Judicial Circuit is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Law Library in the DeKalb County Courthouse. The Law Library provides a legal resource access point for DeKalb County residents, Judges, attorneys, students, local government officials, and self-represented litigants who use the DeKalb County Courthouse. It is located on the second floor of the courthouse. As public servants at your courthouse, it is our goal to provide the public with access to a modern Law Library. The Law Library contains a complete set of the Code of Alabama and a computer with free access to LexisNexis, a web-based legal research program that can provide the user with applicable cases, statutes, and regulations. The computer will also allow users that have an Alacourt subscription the opportunity to access public files without having to leave the facility. Staff from the Judges’ Offices and the Clerk’s Office will be happy to assist those using the Law Library. It is our hope that this service will be a source of information and legal knowledge.

FRIDAY — APRIL 2, 2021



FROM PAGE 1 Dr. Jason Barnett and the Board congratulated the Class 3A State Basketball Champions, Fyffe Red Devils, and the Class 3A Girls State Runner-Up, Sylvania Lady Rams on a great season. The Board approved the following: On the Job Injury: • Cristie Brothers Elementary P.E. Teacher - Geraldine High School • Christopher Murdock - Bus Driver - Ruhama Jr. High School • Harold Guilford Maintenance Worker - Facilities • David Bailey Custodian - Moon Lake Elementary School Retirements/ Resignations/ Terminations: • Cindy Wilks - CNP Manager - Moon Lake Elementary School Retirement - 6/1/21 • Paul Benefield - P.E. Teacher - Fyffe High School - Retirement - 6/1/21

• Gina KingElementary Teacher Sylvania High School - Retirement - 6/1/21 • Regeania Dickerson - Special Education Teacher - Collinsville High School - Retirement - 6/1/21 • Mahala Neeley - Assistant Secretary Sylvania High School - Retirement - 5/1/21 • Michael Lacy - Bus Driver - Henagar Jr. High School- Retirement 6/1/21 • Tammy Richey Itinerant Special Education Paraprofessional - Geraldine High School Resignation - 3/1/21 • Cori Willoughby Assistant Custodian 7hr/9mo - Geraldine High School- Resignation 3/12/21 • Jake Peek - Head Boys Basketball Coaching Duties Only - Crossville High School - Resignation - 3/12/21 • Casey Isbell - Head Varsity and Junior Varsity Volleyball Coaching Duties Only - Collinsville High School- Resignation

- 3/15/21 • Ashley Williamson - Secondary English Language Arts Teacher Sylvania High School - Resignation - 5/27/21 • Jason Lindsey Itinerant Special Education Paraprofessional - Plainview High School Resignation - 2/18/21 • Alexa Williams Varsity Cheerleading Coaching Duties Only Crossville High School - Resignation - 2/23/21 • Brad Waldrop Head Football Coaching Duties Only - Geraldine High School- Termination - 3/25/2021 Transfers: • Jackie Sue Davis CNP Worker at Henagar Jr. High School to CNP Worker at Plainview High School • Jennifer Willoughby - Assistant Secretary at Geraldine High School to Assistant Custodian (9-month/7-hour) at Geraldine High School • Michael Peppers - Bus Driver at Crossville Elementary School to Bus Driver at Crossville

Middle/High School The following placements were made: (All placements are made pending a background review meeting suitability criteria and negative, pre-employment drug screen and appropriate certification) Certified Placements • Audre Gilbert English Language Arts Teacher (3/22/21-5/27/21) - Ider High School • William Joshua Taylor - Physical Education Teacher/ Head Football Coaching Duties - Crossville High School (Effective June 1, 2021) Support Placements • Robert L. Hale Mechanic - Bus Garage • Amanda Moses Itinerant Special Education Paraprofessional - Geraldine High School The following Volunteer Coaches were approved: • Geraldine: Jackson Bearden - Baseball, Jason Dollar - Baseball • Plainview: Eligah White - Baseball, Jason

Brown - Baseball, Jason Traylor - Baseball, Monty Price - Softball, Jason Traylor - Softball, Kennedy Traylor Softball, Bailey Smart - Softball • Sylvania: Chris Mattox - Baseball The following Contracts were approved: • Huntsville Behavior Associates - Behavior Analytic Services • Janie House Contracted Special Education Teacher Geraldine High School • Whittany Nicholas - Remediation Tutor Crossville High School • Before, During, and After-School Tutoring Services-GEER • Summer Reading Camps-GEER • Summer Reading Camps - ARI • Parenting Partners Facilitator - Title I • Casey Denton - 21st Century Crossville Teacher • Suzanne Hunt - 21st Century Crossville Site Coordinator • Lisa Middlebrooks - Reading Instructor at


Collinsville • Charles Warren Contracted Social Science Teacher - Ider • Scott McFall Contracted Middle School Mathematics Teacher - Henagar • Gary Talley - Interim High School Principal Sylvania High School • Alex Thomas Student Computer Technician - Local • Nathan Hall Bilingual Tutor Crossville Elementary School • Leslie Foster - 3 hr CNP Worker - Henagar. Jr. High School The Board approved a $3,000 raise to the DeKalb County Chief Financial Officer, Anthony Cooper. The Board praised the hard work of Cooper. The date of the next DeKalb County Board of Education meeting will be April 22, 2021, with the Regular Meeting at 5:00 P.M.; Work Session at 4:30 P.M. in the meeting room at the Facilities Building.


CRIME DCSO Dismantles No Bombs Discovered FROM PAGE 1

On March 5, 2021, the Rainsville Police Department was contacted by Kentucky State Police, where a trooper identified Calfee at a traffic stop in Letcher County, Ky. At the time, Calfee had been arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Receiving Stolen Property in the first-degree. Calfee waived extradition from Kentucky authorities and was transported to the DeKalb County Jail on March 25, 2021 with prosecution pending. Rainsville Police Chief Michael Edmondson thanked the Kentucky State Police, Letcher County Sheriff's Office, Letcher County Clerk's Office, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office for their help in bringing in Calfee during the pursuit of justice in this particular case. "I am proud of the work that has been done by our department, and by the agencies who have assisted us in bringing Calfee back to Alabama, so that we can bring closure to this case," said Edmondson. "It has been a team effort. This is also a great example of the importance DNA evidence. It was a vital part of identifying the suspect."

Two Meth Labs


By Southern Torch Staff admin@southerntorch.com FORT PAYNE, Ala. — From the Office of DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden: Local law enforcement across the county have been busy over the last three weeks with 23 being arrested on drug related charges. During just one arrest, law enforcement discovered two meth labs, confiscated two firearms, along with33 grams of methamphetamine, items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine and

drug paraphernalia. " I want to thank all the Law Enforcement agencies that assisted with these arrests," said DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden. "I also want to thank the public for all the tips you provide and for the support you give. To win the fight against drugs, we all must work as one, and our county has definitely proved we can do just that.” For a full list of those arrested during these recent incidents, please visit southerntorch.com.




Know your



M. Chris Kuykendall

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By Southern Torch Staff admin@southerntorch.com FORT PAYNE, Ala. — Last week, Bailey Bridges Incorporation received a threatening email. Fort Payne Police responded along with the Fort Payne Fire and Rescue.

Bailey Bridges personnel took immediate action for the safety of their employees. Emergency personnel and employees searched the buildings and nothing was found. It appears the email sent to the business was a scam. According to

baileybridge.com, Bailey Bridges is a local business producing prefabricated steel truss vehicular and pedestrian bridges since the 1950s. Fort Payne Police Chief David Davis would like to thank all responding agencies and employees for their corporation and help.

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FRIDAY — APRIL 2, 2021



House Stalls Vote on Medical Marijuana Bill


Choosing Shelby's Successor

By Zach Hester, Reporter • zach@southerntorch.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Judiciary Committee of the Alabama House of Representatives has stalled a bill that would allow medical marijuana in Alabama. Republican Rep. Jim Hill (R-Moody), the committee's chairman, announced on Wednesday afternoon that consideration of the bill would wait until next week, pending possible changes to the legislation. The bill has already been passed by the Alabama Senate. Passage of the bill would ensure access to medical marijuana through physicians and set up a governing body to regulate medical cannabis. If passed, the bill would Alabama the 37th state to approve medical marijuana, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Tuberville Introduces Bill to Prohibit Illegal Migrants from "Free Pass" into U.S.

By Southern Torch Staff admin@southerntorch.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has introduced legislation that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) in court prior to releasing any migrant who illegally entered into the United States. Senator Ted Crux (R-TX), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) are original cosponsors of the bill. “Our facilities at the border are bursting at the seams, and because we’ve simply run out of space, we’re releasing illegal migrants into our country with no real accountability, or date to

appear in court,” said Sen. Tuberville. “At best, it hurts those who come to this country actually looking to plead their asylum case. At worst, it’s giving free rein into our country for breaking the law.” “This bill would prohibit migrants who came into the country illegally from being released into communities without a notice to appear in immigration court. The Biden Administration says they want ‘humane’ and ‘compassionate’ improvements to our immigration system – releasing someone

without an NTA is neither. President Biden dismantled the successful policies President Trump put in place, but this bill will help restore integrity in our immigration system.” The bill further stipulates that the migrant’s parole, deferred action, or any other immigration status and associated employment authorization will be terminated if they fail to appear for the hearing. Senator Tuberville recently spoke about the importance of ensuring illegal migrants are not released without being issued a NTA. Additionally, Senator Tuberville joined a group of Republican Senators on a trip to the southern border. The delegation was in McAllen, Texas on Thursday, March 25th and Friday, March 26th to speak with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) law enforcement and see firsthand the processing facilities and ports of entry.



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By Steve Flowers Political Columnist


Last week we alerted you to the fact that next year will be a banner year in Alabama politics. The governor, lieutenant governor, and all other statewide constitutional offices are up for election. All 140 members of the legislature are up for election and will be running under new lines. Our entire congressional delegation is up for reelection and they too will be running under new lines drawn by the legislature. All 67 sheriffs in the state are also on the ballot. This slate in and of itself would make this a marquee year. However, what will render this upcoming 2022 election year momentous is that we will have a very important U.S. Senate Seat to fill. Richard Shelby will retire after 36 years in the United States Senate. It will be impossible to replace Senator Shelby. The amount of federal dollars he has secured for the Heart of Dixie is incomprehensible and irreplaceable. He will be remembered as the greatest senator in Alabama history. Seniority is paramount in Washington. It is everything. It took Senator Shelby awaiting 20 years before he became one of the major players in Washington. Therefore, Senator Shelby would be the first to tell you that it is imperative for Alabama’s future that we elect someone young to be his successor. If you send someone over 60 to the U.S. Senate, they will never have any real power. The political hierarchy of the senate

will recognize that and place our senator on obscure committees. The best thing for us to do is to send a younger person to the Senate, and also one that is not an ideologue demagogue who is more interested in being on Fox News than bringing home the bacon. First on most lists is Katie Boyd Britt. She served as Senator Shelby’s Chief of Staff and is now the CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. She is only 39 years old and she would have the potential to be a power in Washington. Shelby likes her. Someone who will probably be in the race and will be one of the early frontrunners is Secretary of State John Merrill. He has served his two four-year terms as Secretary of State and is precluded from running for another term in that office. Therefore, he has to go somewhere. He is the best retail politician in the state and is the only statewide official with a real grassroots organization. Merrill will be a player and has the acumen and diligence to be an effective senator. Congressman Robert Aderholt would be the logical favorite to take Senator Shelby’s seat. However, with 24 years seniority in the House, Congressman Aderholt is making the right decision for himself and our state by remaining in his House seat. PSC President, Twinkle Cavanaugh, would be an excellent person to succeed Shelby. She is popular and still young, but she will probably not be in the race. Former Trump Ambassador to Slovenia, Lynda Blanchard, has already announced that she will enter the race for

Shelby’s U.S. Senate seat in 2022. She is from Montgomery and has come to the table with $5 million. The person who might run but would not be an effective senator is Huntsville Congressman Mo Brooks. He would be an albatross for our state. During his 10 years in Congress, Brooks has been an obstacle for Senator Shelby and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle as they have worked to build Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal into the Science and Technology Capitol of Alabama and probably the nation. Brooks’ only mission J is to be thought of as a o right-wing extremist, whoo cares more about being a M demagogue than w representing and helping S his district. If Brooks w were to replace Shelby, it G could be devastating to Alabama’s efforts to attract federal dollars or R future economic C prospects. It will be hard T enough for Shelby’s S predecessor to simply o maintain everything w Shelby has brought to M Alabama. However, with C Brooks in Shelby’s seat, Alabama might actually lose ground – not only H the Redstone Arsenal in P Huntsville, but also UAB T in Birmingham, A Maxwell-Gunter in w Montgomery, and Fort M Rucker in the Wiregrass. W 2022 is going to be a C big year in Alabama politics. See you next week. G Steve Flowers is G Alabama’s leading S political columnist. His S weekly column appears in o over 60 Alabama 3 newspapers. He served 16 M years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www. steveflowers.us. d M w W 3 M

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FRIDAY — APRIL 2, 2021




Alabama Mask Order to End Next Week By Zach Hester Reporter zach@southerntorch.com ALABAMA — Despite calls from federal authorities – including President Biden himself – many state governors are set to end many coronavirus restrictions early next month, with Alabama among those states planning to end its statewide mask mandate. On March 4, Governor Kay Ivey (R-Ala.) announced the final extension of the State of Alabama’s “Safer-at-Home” order, which includes a mask mandate. The health order defines “mask” as any covering that covers both the nose and mouth. Exceptions for the order include

practical necessities defined by the Alabama Department of Public Health, some exercise, and voting or religious worship, though masks are encouraged in all of these scenarios as well. “Let me be abundantly clear, after April 9, I will not keep the mask order in effect,” said Ivey. “While I’m convinced a mask mandate has been the right thing to do, I also respect those who object and believe this was a step too far in government overreach.” Alabama is currently one of just 33 states with a mask mandate. Seven states that previously had mask orders, including Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota, have

The State of Alabama's mask mandate will end as planned on April 9, despite President Biden's calls for the extension of COVID-19 restrictions. (Hal Yeager | The Montgomery Advertiser)

already lifted their regulations. President Joe Biden appealed for mask orders to be maintained across the board in order to avoid a new surge in COVID-19 cases across the country. “The war against COVID-19 is far from

won,” said Biden. “As much as we’re doing, America, it’s time to do even more.” Gina Maiola, a spokesperson with the Governor’s Office, stated despite Biden’s urging, Alabama’s mask order will still end next week. “As Governor Ivey

has previously stated, Alabama’s mask mandate ends April 9,” said Maiola. “We have made progress, and we are moving towards personal responsibility and common sense, not endless government mandates.” Despite the end of

the statewide mandate, the City of Birmingham is set to vote on April 6 to keep its mask requirement inside the city limits. In an interview with The Birmingham Times, City Council President William Parker stated, “I think by listening to Dr. Fauci and other experts on the national, state, and county level that we are just not there yet... we will probably go in 30 or 45-day increments and I feel very confident that we will take aggressive action in passing the ordinance.” For more information and current COVID-19 case statistics in the State of Alabama, please visit alabamapublichealth.gov.

DEATH NOTICES COLLINSVILLE William Ralph Dobbs Jr. - 93, died on Friday, March 26. Services were held on Sunday, March 28.


Esperanza Juarez Sanchez - 84 of Collinsville, died oon Wednesday, March 24. Services were held on Saturday, March 27 with burial in Glenwood Cemetery. Delfino Reza-Cruz - 38 of Crossville, died on Thursday, March 25. Services will be held on Saturday, April 3 with burial in Memory Hill Cemetery. Vennis Emegene Haygood - 61 of Fort Payne, died on Thursday, March 25. A memorial visitation will be held on Monday, April 5 at W.T. Wilson Funeral Chapel. Howard Dewan Gant - 65 of Geraldine, died on Saturday, March 27. Services were held on Tuesday, March 30 with burial in Arab Memorial Gardens. Mae Ruth Brown - 87 of Albertville, died on Sunday, March 28. Services were held on Wednesday, March 31 with burial in Martling Cemetery. Vence Wooden Jr. - 86 of Fyffe, died

on Monday, March 29. Services were held on Wednesday, March 31 with burial in Mtn. View Memory Gardens.

Sidney Leon Walker - 66 of Geraldine, died on Sunday, March 28. No services will be held.

BURT Michael Eugene Brown - 67 of Ravendale, Calif., formerly of Mentone, Ala., died on Tuesday, March 23. Services and burial were held on Tuesday, March 30 at Bankhead Cemetery. Janet Dee Grisham Tucker - 72 of Fort Payne, died on Saturday, March 27. Services will be held at a later date.

CORNER STONE Charles Robert Haynes - 75 of Ider, died on Thursday, March 25. No formal services will be held.

CROSSVILLE Ruby Louise Falco - 84 of Crossville, died on Sunday, March 28. Services were held on Tuesday, March 30 with burial in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery at Carter.

RAINSVILLE Gary Adkins - 66 of Cedar Bluff, died on Thursday, March 25. Services will be held at a later date. Larry E. Blevins - 70 of Rainsville, died on Saturday, March 27. Services were held on Tuesday, March 30 with burial in Walnut Grove Cemetery.

Burt Funeral H omes    


Harold Dukes - 79 of Rainsville, died on Sunday, March 28 at DeKalb Regional Medical Center. Funeral services were held on Tuesday, March 30 at 4 p.m. at Rainsville Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Cates Noles officiating. Burial followed in Mountain View Memory Gardens. Visitation was held on Tuesday, March 30 at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Cinda Ruth Dukes of Rainsville; daughters Lisa McGee (Rickey) of Fyffe and Karen Dykes of Collinsville, Miss.; brothers Gerald Dukes, Odell Dukes, Roger Dukes, and Euvaughn Dukes; sister, Diane Shirey; grandchildren Dr. Luke McGee, Kenya Garmany, Haley Dukes, and Chance Denson; and great-granchild, Carson Hawthorne. He was preceded in death by his son Steve Dukes; parents, Walter and Virgie Dukes; and brothers, Milford Dukes and Burnell Dukes.

Cleta Jane Higgins - 79 of Rainsville, died on Monday, March 29. Services were held on Wednesday, March 31. Martha Ann Long - 75 of Grant, died on Tuesday, March 30. Private services will be held at a later date.

KERBY Kelsie Roberts Willbanks - 93 of Chattanooga, Tenn., formerly of Pisgah, died on Wednesday, March 24. Services and burial were held on Friday, March 26 at Friendship Cemetery.

Private services will be held at a later date.

SCOTTSBORO William “Bill” Wray - 85 of Scottsboro, died on Tuesday, March 23. Services and burial were held on Friday, March 26 at Cedar Hill Cemetery. Kelly Dunn - 56 of Scottsboro, died on Tuesday, March 23. Services were held on Saturday, March 27 with burial in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Steve O’Linger - 38 of Scottsboro, died on Wednesday, March 24. Services were held on Saturday, March 27 with burial in Harmony Cemetery. Ida Mae Jones - 68 of Hollytree,died on Friday, March 26. Services were held on Tuesday, March 30 with burial in Clay Cemetery. Anna Ruth Hitchcock - 95, died on Saturday, March 27. Services were held on Saturday, April 3 with burial in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

WILSON Sue Anderson Delucia - 70, died on Wednesday, March 24. Services and burial were held on Friday, March 26 at Glenwood Cemetery.

To receive your print edition of DeKalb County’s #1 News Source, please call our office at (256) 638-4040! Follow us on social media at @southerntorch on all platforms!

Rev. Forrest E. Ethridge - 97 of Fort Payne, died on Thursday, March 25. Services were held on Saturday, March 27 with burial in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta, Ga. Alan Quin Campbell - 54 of Fort Payne, died on Thursday, March 25. Services were held on Saturday, March 27 with burial in Adamsburg Cemetery. Evelyn Marie Bell - 81 of Fort Payne, died on Saturday, March 27.

Ider Discount Drugs 





FRIDAY — APRIL 2, 2021


DeKalb All-County Basketball Honors

By Marla Jones Sports Editor marla@southerntorch.com

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. — DeKalb County basketball coaches recently announced their selections for the All-DeKalb County Girls team. The Class 3A State Runner-up, Sylvania Rams had four selections for the team. Kenadie Lee was named DeKalb


County MVP. Teammates, Leianna Currie, Anna Farmer along with Ambriel Stopyak were selected. Jesi Farris of Plainview was selected as DeKalb County Defensive MVP. She was joined by teammates Payton Blevins and Halle Brown. Collinsville Tyla Tatum was named the

Offensive MVP. Teammates Hadley Hamilton, Emma Terrell and Caroline Brannon joined Tatum on the 15 person roster. Ider players, Makinley Traylor and Kaleigh Carson were named to the All-County roster. Emma Twilley of Fyffe and Gracey Johnson of Geraldine completed the All-County roster.

Fyffe Breaks Records in Track Meet

By Marla Jones Sports Editor marla@southerntorch.com

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. — DeKalb County basketball coaches recently announced their selections for the All-DeKalb County Boys team. The Class 3A State Champions, the Fyffe Red Devils had five selections for the team. Parker Godwin received the MVP honor and

FORT PAYNE, Ala. —The Fyffe Red Devil Track Team participated in the Fort Payne Invitational Track Meet on Saturday. Two members of the team broke their own school records. Dawson McCollum in the 800 relays and Ashton Childress in the discus. Several of the young team had their personal bests at the event. Sadie Smith had two personal records; one in the discus and the other in the shot put event. Adyson Bailey set a personal record in the 100 relays. Page Green tied her personal best in the 100. The Fyffe Red Devil Track Team will compete again in Scottsboro on Saturday with a limited team due to Spring Break.

Micah Johnson received the Defensive MVP honor. Teammates Brody Dalton, Tate Goolesby, and Xavier Works completed the selection from the championship team. Cole Millican of Plainview received the Offensive MVP honor. He was joined by teammates Luke Smith,


By Marla Jones Sports Editor marla@southerntorch.com

By Marla Jones, Sports Editor • marla@southerntorch.com


Jonah Williams, and Dylan Haymon in the 15-person All-County team selections. Geraldine was represented in the All-County Selection by Griffin Knight, Ridge Berry and Jaxon Colvin. Closing out the team selection was Sylvania’s Logan McCullough, Ider’s Jesse Massey and Collinsville’s Colton Willis.

FYFFE, Ala. — The Fyffe Red Devils Varsity Baseball Team, coached by Brad Thomas, remains undefeated and boasts a 15-0 record. The Red Devils are also 4-0 in the Class 3A Area 14 area. Recently, the Red Devils won the Area Championship. The team was recently invited to Rome Braves High School

Invitational, which was set to be held on Saturday, March 27, but was cancelled due to rain. Fyffe's baseball team remains active in their community and will host an 8U Baseball Tournament on Thursday, April 1 and Friday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day. "I am so proud of my team and their accomplishments," said Coach Thomas. "They put in the necessary work without

complaint." The Fyffe Red Devils will face the Asbury Rams at home on Saturday, April 10 at 10 a.m. They will follow up with a game against the Collinsville Panthers in non-region play on Monday, April 12 at 4:30 p.m. Finally, the Red Devils will face the Kate Duncan Smith (DAR) Patriots to finish out their regular season on Tuesday, April 20 at 5 p.m. at home.


By Marla Jones Sports Editor marla@southerntorch.com

SAND MOUNTAIN, Ala. — Recently, basketball players were

selected for the Sand Mountain Super 6 team. Players were chosen from the nine schools that participate in the Sand Mountain Basketball Tournament.

The boy’s team roster: • Parker Godwin (Fyffe) • Micah Johnson ( Fyffe) • Cole Millican

(Plainview) • Jonah Williams (Plainview) • Russ Marr (NSM) • Luke Maples (NSM) The girl’s team roster:

• Kenadie Lee (Sylvania) • Leianna Currie (Sylvania) • Payton Blevins (Plainview)

• Kennedy Barron (Pisgah) • Molly Heard (Pisgah) • Kallie Tinker (Pisgah)

By Marla Jones Sports Editor marla@southerntorch.com

• Tyla Tatum -Collinsville Class 3A Coach of the Year • Kyle FInch, Sylvania Class 3A Boys First Team All-State • Parker Godwin, Fyffe • Cole Millican, Plainview Second Team • Brody Dalton-Fyffe Third Team • Luke Smith, Plainview Honorable Mention • Micah Johnson, Fyffe Class 3A Boys Coach of the Year • Neal Thrash, Fyffe Class 2A Girls

First Team All-State • Molly Heard, Pisgah Second Team • Kallie Tinker, Pisgah CLASS 2A Girls Coach of the Year • Carey Elison, Pisgah CLASS 2A Boys All-State Second Team • Russ Marr, North Sand Mountain Class 1A Girls First State All-State • Gracie Stucky, Skyline Second Team • Gracie Crowell, Skyline

Alabama All-State Honors

PICTURED: Fyffe Head Basketball Coach Neal Thrash (left) and Sylvania Head Girls' Basketball Coach Kyle Finch (right). Both men received Coach of the Year for Class 3A by the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASW).

DEKALB & JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. — Area basketball players recently received all-state recognition by the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASW), including three coaches that received the All-State Coach of the Year nod. Class 6A Boys First Team All-State • BJ Harris -Scottsboro Class 3A Girls First Team All State • Kenadie Lee -Sylvania Third Team All State

FRIDAY — APRIL 2, 2021



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The Southern Torch – Vol. 7, No. 14  

The Southern Torch – Vol. 7, No. 14