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Bobby Ledbetter’s

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>> THIS WEEK IN SPORTS Area Tournament Matchups are Here!



>> THIS WEEK IN COMMUNITY Touring Planning begins now!

Jeff Williams to run for re-election

Marriage licensing to end?

Crossville High Rebounds A year ago, Crossville High School was designated a “failing school” by the Alabama Department of Education. This year, they’ve rebounded off the list. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch) there and I toured every Fourteen schools in that,” said Dr. Barnett. By Tyler Pruett classroom. What I saw was Birmingham were on the list; Board Vice Chairman Managing Editor some good stuff. I saw some not including those in the Randy Peppers, who people who took offense to suburbs, such as the two in represents Crossville, said, that title, and knew that they Midfield City, two in Fairfield “Looking back about a year CROSSVILLE, Ala. — At City, and the additional two in were not a failing school. ago, when Crossville High Thursday night’s meeting of While there was more they the Jefferson County system. School was put on that failing the DeKalb County Board of could do, and they aren’t a Eleven more on the list are in list, one of the first things Dr. Education, Superintendent perfect school, they certainly Montgomery County, two in Barnett told me was, ‘I’m Dr. Jason Barnett recognized weren’t a failing school,” said Tuscaloosa County, nine in going to do everything I can. Crossville High School on Barnett. Mobile County, and many You have my word. We’ll put being removed from the list “Over the last year, it’s more scattered across the together a plan,’ and I’m going of “failing schools” in been a real fun time to work state. to say I appreciate that. He Alabama. with them, and they’ve “Last year, about this came through with that plan. The Alabama worked together and time, (Crossville High School) I believe he put a lot of time in Department of Education encouraged each other. The was named a, ‘failing school’ to that.” releases the list each January. students took offense to it. when the Alabama State “I think he put together a Seventy-five schools were on Because they realized it was Department of Education great team and a great plan, the list in 2018, and it the school they went to released their list of failing and got this turned around contains the lowest schools,” said Superintendent everyday,” said Barnett. really quickly. Sometimes it peforming six percent of “As of yesterday, they Dr. Jason Barnett. “And I got takes much more than a year schools in the state. released the list of 2018 the word the day…. maybe to get one turned around. To No schools in DeKalb failing schools, and they are two days before the list was see the team he put together, County or the immediate not on that list. I sent Mr. released, letting me know and especially the teachers at Northeast Alabama area Peppers and his faculty a that one of the schools in our Crossville High School, the (Cherokee, Jackson, Marshall, letter last night, commending administration, and the district was classified as a and Etowah Counties) were them on the hard work and failing school. Of course, that students worked really hard on the list. Anniston High the commitment that they hits you like a lead weight.” to get that turned around. School and three schools in made to their school, their “Immediately, I let the And I appreciate that,” Huntsville were on the list students, and their board know, and I talked to concluded Peppers. (Jemison High, Lee High, and community. It takes a lot of Mr. Uptain, who was the Ronald McNair 7-8). people working together to do then-principal. I went down

Alabama Senator Greg Albritton (R – Range), released a statement explaining his bill, SB 13, which seeks to eliminate most of the state’s role in marriages. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

Contributed by Greg Albritton Alabama Senator

the vote of the senate and has currently cleared the House committee it was assigned. The bill must now pass the vote of the Alabama House of Representatives as House Bill 162, sponsored by Rep. Paul Beckman (R – Prattville). The issue could be voted on in the house this week. Once passed in the house, Governor Kay Ivey must approve the bill for it to be law. We’ll update as this issue progresses. Read the full statement from Albritton: “God established the institution of marriage for the benefit of mankind.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — EDITOR’S NOTE: Alabama Senator Greg Albritton (R – Range) wrote an explanation of his bill, SB13, which seeks to take the State of Alabama out of the marriage business. Albritton lists some of the intended things the bill will accomplish, and lists specific misconceptions that the bill will not do, including, “not eliminating marriage as an institution recognized by the State of Alabama or any other government entity.” Senate Bill 13 has passed >> See Marriage Licenses, P2

Spice seized during traffic stop

By Tyler Pruett Managing Editor


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RAINSVILLE, Ala. — Sergeant Nick Knopps of the Rainsville Police conducted a traffic stop Wednesday (January 24) night near the intersection of Horton and Kirk Roads. The vehicle was driven by Brad Giffin of Fyffe. During the stop, it was discovered that Giffin had warrants in Jackson County and he gave Knopps consent to search the vehicle. Knopps discovered 10 grams of “spice” or “K2;” which are the street names for synthetic marijuana, which was banned in

Alabama in 2011. Spice is made by spraying organic material with chemicals to create a high when smoked, and is known to be dangerous. Kathryn Friedlander of Illinois was with Giffin during the stop. Through the course of interrogating Giffin, he admitted to having more spice at his residence in Fyffe. The Rainsville Police Department, in coordination with the DeKalb County Drug Task Force, searched the residence and found a further 2 ounces of Spice. Giffin and Friedlander were charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful


The Rainsville Police Department seized 5 ounces of “spice,” or synthetic marijuana in separate incidents this week. The substance was banned in Alabama back in 2011 when it was discovered to be dangerous. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch) Visit our website at for daily news updates and pick up your weekly print edition at news stands every Friday.




Four arrested in Ider Marriage Licenses, page 1 after kidnapping

Bradley DaKota Bell (far left) and Jennifer Lawson (middle left) were charged on Thursday in connection to a kidnapping and assault in Ider. Deputies also found a stolen vehicle during the investigation. Billy Helton (middle right) and Hannah Kessler (far right) were also arrested at the residence on drug related charges. (DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office)

By Staff Reports FORT PAYNE, Ala. — According to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office: On January 24th the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office received a call to a residence on County Road 790 in the Ider community, where a white female had walked up to a residence claiming to have been kidnapped and beaten. The female was transported to the DeKalb Regional ER to be treated for her injuries. DeKalb County Investigators and Drug Task Force started an investigation on the assault and kidnapping. Upon the investigation search warrants were executed at County Road 146 (North of Cartersville, near the Alabama/Georgia Line) where (Left to Right in photo) Bradley DaKota Bell (25 of Fort Payne), Jennifer Lawson (32 of Trenton, Ga), Billy Helton(18 of Bryant) and Hannah Kessler (18 of Trenton) were arrested on charges of unlawful possession of controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug

paraphernalia. Also at the residence, officers recovered a stolen vehicle. During the continuation of the investigation on the

kidnapping and assault, charges have been added to Lawson and Bell for kidnapping 1st and assault 2nd.

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Rainsville PD, page 1 possession of drug paraphernalia. Giffin was also arrested for the existing felony warrant from Jackson County and Friedlander on a warrant in Illinois. The two are currently being held in the DeKalb

County Jail. Yesterday afternoon, in an unrelated investigation, approximately three additional ounces of spice was found at a residence in Rainsville on Kirk Road. The home belonged to

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Burma Ganell Robbins of Rainsville. Bobby Ray Goforth of Rainsville was currently staying at the home,and Christy Hudgins Taylor was also taken into custody (No mugshots yet. Prisoners are still awaiting transfer from Rainsville to the DeKalb County Jail at this time.) All were charged with trafficking a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Rainsville Police Chief Kevin Smith said, “I’m very proud of the work that our Criminal Investigations Division (CID) is doing. We are working well as a team to get dope off the streets.” “I’m also proud of the relationship we have with the DeKalb County Drug Task Force and to help solve the drug problem we have in this area,” added Smith.

Indeed, His purpose was to begin the human family within His bonds of marriage; as a Holy Union. I truly believe this. Then Government stole marriage….. for its own purposes. A classic example is Henry VIII, who established his own church in order to achieve the destruction of his marriage. Henry is not the only example that we have, however throughout history the government has used marriage as a tool to effect its ends, including protecting government power (such as kings reigns), to the control of property and estates, to keeping a “pure” race. And, then came the federal legalization of same-sex marriage. Here in Alabama, the present codification of the marriage process, which came into effect in the 1920’s, requires that every couple must receive a State authorized license to be married. Additionally, that license must be presented to a licensed “minister of the gospel” so a “solemnization” may be accomplished. Afterwards, this form is filed in the courthouse, which establishes the marriage as recognized by the state. Obviously, we have the state heavily engaged in a

religious sacrament of the Church. It is no surprise that judges are confused about the line between government activities and church ceremonies. “Ministers of the gospel” may be just as confused when they pronounce a couple husband and wife “by the authority granted by the State of Alabama.” My bill, SB13, clarifies and separates these very different roles by simplifying the procedure. The requirement of a State License is eliminated. No longer does a couple need permission, nor a license, from any government official to marry. However, the protections of competency, age, incest, polygamy, or bigamy remain intact, and under my bill must be openly and legally stated in the documents by affidavit. Further, the statutory requirement of a religious ceremony is eliminated. My bill allows ceremonies to take place, but the ceremony is not controlled or governed by the government. This allows people to enter into religious ceremonial marriages, according to the dictates of their faith, without intoning the State of Alabama over this sacrament.

The procedure of recording a marriage remains intact. My bill requires a government form that is recorded in the Probate Office which establishes the marriage as recognized by the state, just as the present system. There are specific things that this bill DOES NOT DO: •It does not eliminate marriage as an institution recognized by the State of Alabama or any other government entity. The prepared form states “Marriage Certificate” •It does not re-define marriage. •It does not open the gates to all kinds of malfeasance. •It continues to restrict marriage to two people who are of legal age, mentally competent, unrelated, and not already married, just like now. •It does not increase any costs or fees. The specific things this bill DOES accomplish are: •It opens EVERY county to marriage. No public official can deny a properly completed form. •It allows all religious beliefs to practice their religious ceremonies of marriage according to their faith and doctrine. •It simplifies the process and gives greater freedom by removing the government from religious activities. •Should the House see fit to pass this bill, Alabama will be the only state in the union that has appropriately and successfully resolved the dissensions brought on by the Obergefell decision.






Tourism Planning begins now!

Planning for spring and summer tourism starts now. (2017 Boom Days | John Dersham)


Every Tuesday, Parents of Addicted Love Ones - A new support group for Parents of Addicted Loved Ones is starting in Fort Payne at Word of Life Ministry located at 3610 Gault Ave North. The meeting will be held every Tuesday from 6pm to 7:30pm. Any adult family member over 18 is welcome to attend these PAL meeting, however, for insurance reasons, no one under the age of 18 may attend and child care will not be provided. For more information, go to Every Wednesday, Breakthrough Church Free Meal - Come and enjoy a free meal and hear the Word of God on Wednesday nights starting January 3 at 5:30pm. If you need a ride, please contact: Lynn Haas at 256-605-7854 or Connie Holkem at 256-605-1776. We would love to have you! February 1, Learn to Square Dance - You're invited to four free lessons in February 2018 (free weeks are Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22)! Lessons will be held at the Tom Bevill Enrichment Center on Thursdays from 6:30pm to 9pm.

February 2, DECA Meeting - The Dekalb Education Retirees Association (DECA) will meet on Friday, February 2 at 10am at Kelly's Kitchen in Rainsville. The program (Writing Your Own Story) will be presented by Neal Wooten, the bestselling author of several award-winning novels. All DECA members and retired educators are invited to attend. February 2-3, Sylvania Baptist Church Simulcast of Johnny Hunt - Sylvania Baptist Church will be hosting a simulcast of Johnny Hunt's Men's Conference Simulcast on February 2 and 3. The event is free. A meal will be provided on Friday night from 5-6:30pm. The Friday sessions begins at 6:30pm and the Saturday morning sessions will begin at 8am. Door prizes will be awarded. February 3, Sylvania Soccer Bingo Night - The Sylvania High School Soccer team will be hosting a Bingo Night on February 3. Tickets are $20, which includes a meal catered by Limon’s Restaurant and one bingo card. Extra cards are available for purchase.


For Bookings call: Glenn Smith (256) 572-6146

February 10, Book Signing with Anna Pociask Davis - The Henagar Library is so excited about our upcoming book signing with Anna Pociask Davis! Her book, The Pilgrimage of Divorce, is a must for anyone who has experienced divorce or faced a separation . Anna helps to bring positivity to the surface with this book and has helped lift so many through her journey and sharing her personal emotions. We are so honored to have this wonderful Christian author at our Library and to share her uplifting book. Book signing will be Saturday Feb 10th from 10am until 12 noon. Please mark your calendar and make a special effort to meet Anna and help support our library!

February 17, 2018 Meet the Hornets Dinner Auction - The Ider Hornets will be hosting a dinner auction with proceeds going to help pay for new equipment, field prep supplies, uniforms and day items needed to run a successful softball and baseball program. February 17, Rainsville Holiness Vendor Sale - The Rainsville Holiness Church will be hosting a vendor sale on Saturday, February 17 from 9am to 3pm. They are located on Trinity Lane between Rainsville Funeral Home and Cabletime. There are several local vendors setting up with a huge variety of items!

Eloise Smith, Business Manager

published each Friday by Southern Torch, Inc. 203 Main Street E, Rainsville AL, 35986. POSTMASTER:

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — This is the time of year DeKalb Tourism is busy planning for spring, summer and fall. January and February are our two slowest months for visitors. I wish that were not true, but it is due to the fact that most of our tourism is based on the outdoor environment and people tend to come from mid March through mid November. Cloudmont Ski Resort generates some winter business for us. It has been open for skiing with good crowds this year due to our longer than normal cold spell. They have had a much better season than most due to the number of days of cold weather allowing them more days open. It is one of our goals to create more winter business by finding ways to create more reasons to visit us in the winter. The Northeast Agri Business Center helps our volume since they have some

February 11, Church Singing at Salem - A singing will be held at Salem Methodist Church in Geraldine on Sunday, February 11 at 6pm. Point of Honor will be the special guest singers. All are welcome!

Staff: Southern Torch (USPS Periodicals #19790) is

Contributed by John Dersham Executive Director

Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor Marla Jones, Sports Editor

solid winter weekend activities that draw some out of town visitors. This time of year allows us to concentrate on internal planning and participation on the planning committees for festivals and other events that will ultimately give us time to work on promotional activity that will be ready to deliver to the marketplace to tickle our potential out of town guests with a reminder and a reason to make us one of their weekend getaways or a full vacation. Earlier this week our 2018 Marketing Committee met to begin our marketing and advertising plan for our upcoming tourism season which begins in March. Our plan will include mixed media, including; internet ads, social media strategies and ads, radio ads for special events like Boom Days and Colorfest. In addition, we will run traditional print ads. Our primary market consists of a high content of visitors age 45-70 with the primary decision maker being female. We target our advertising to fit the user profile of our

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visitor demographic, the audience we know will come. Despite the lower visitor numbers during the winter, our dollars spent on lodging are staying higher than in the depths of our great recession. The better economy and lower gas prices have contributed to more people on the road and more business travelers spending the night. In mid March as we begin to see the earth beginning to turn green and the days more sunny and warmer we start seeing more people at our parks and more people coming into our information center who are day tripping just to get out of winter hibernation and start moving around more for afternoons in the sun, hikes, sports and picnicking.

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Dean Patton - 67 of Collinsville, passed away on Thursday, January 25, 2018. The family will receive friends on Saturday, January 27 from 4pm to 8pm at Rainsville Community Church. Funeral services are set for 1pm on Sunday, January 28 at the church with Rev. Cates Noles and Rev. Gary Williams officiating. Burial will follow in Collinsville Cemetery. She is survived by her husband of 48 years, Johnny Patton; son, Craig and wife Terra; daughter, Michelle White and husband, Jeff; sisters, Jan Myers and Barbara Williams; grandchildren: Victoria, Bryant, and Presley; great-grandchild, Madelyn. She was a member of Rainsville Community Church and operated Dean’s Beauty Shop. Roger Allen Peterson, Jr. - 55 of Fort Payne, passed away on Thursday, January 25, 2018. The family will receive friends on Monday, January 29 from 4pm to 7pm at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for Tuesday, January 30 at 11am at Wilson Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Jacob Daniel officiating.



Edith Faulkner - 75 of Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., passed away on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. The family will receive friends on Thursday, January 25 from 5pm to 8pm at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for 2pm CT on Friday, January 26 at WT Wilson Funeral Chapel. Burial will follow in Glenwood Cemetery.

Wilma Jean Nance Payne - 82 of Henagar, passed away on Monday, January 29, 2018 at Huntsville Hospital. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, January 31 from 4pm to 8pm and on Thursday, February 1 from 9am to 11am. Funeral services are set for Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 11am at Rainsville Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Kerry Bryant officiating. Burial will follow in Green Haven Memorial Gardens.

Joseph Padgett - 58 of Fyffe, passed away on Thursday, January 25, 2018. A graveside service is set for 2pm on Sunday, January 28 at Green’s Chapel Cemetery with Rev. Reggie Byrum officiating. Michael Clements - 66 of Rainsville, passed away on Friday, January 26, 2018. The family will receive friends from 5pm to 8pm on Saturday, January 27 at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for 2pm on Sunday, January 28 at WT Wilson Funeral Chapel. Burial will follow in Nazareth Cemetery. Sarah Sams - 87 of Piedmont, passed away on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at her home. The family will receive friends from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday, January 30 at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for 2pm on Wednesday, January 31 at WT Wilson Funeral Chapel with Bros. John Maddox and Shane Swafford officiating. Burial will follow in Macedonia Cemetery at McVille.

Inez Bell - 92 of Lillian, formerly of Rainsville, passed away on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at her residence. A graveside service is set for Tuesday, January 30 at 2pm at Warren’s Graveyard with Bro. Roger Graham officiating. Maria Roden - 81 of Fort Oglethorpe, formerly of Rainsville, passed away on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at Rosewood Senior Living Facility. Funeral services are set for Sunday, January 28 at 2pm at Rainsville Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Irby Wooten and Rev. Donnie Johnston officiating. Burial will follow in Mountain View Memory Gardens. W.B. Mitchell - 87 of High Point, passed away on Sunday, January 28 at DeKalb Regional Medical Center. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, January 30 from 5pm to 8pm and on Wednesday, January 31 from 10am until 11am at the

funeral home. Funeral services are set for Wednesday, January 31 at 11am at Rainsville Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Donny Cobble, Rev. Clinton Graha, and Mr. Lotha Kilgore officiating. Burial will follow in Unity Cemetery. Octavia Vick - 89 of Rainsville, passed away on Friday, January 26, 2018 at Collinsville Health & Rehab. Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 28 from 1pm to 3:30pm at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for Sunday, January 28 at 3:30pm at Rainsville Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. Kevin McCreless officiating. Burial will follow in Broadway Baptist Church Cemetery. Kaitlin Perry - 19 of Rainsville, passed away on Wednesday, January 24 at her residence. The family will receive friends on Thursday, January 25 from noon until 8 and on Friday, January 26 from 8am until 2pm at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for Friday, January 26 at 2pm at Rainsville Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Chester Shankles officiating. Burial will follow in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

COLLINSVILLE Pamala Teal-Cone - 58 of Flintstone, Ga., passed away on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at her residence. The family will receive friends from noon to 2pm on Wednesday, January 31 at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for 2pm on Wednesday, January 31 at Collinsville Funeral Chapel-Sharpe Chapel with Rev. Melvin Salter officiating. Burial will follow in Mt. Zion Cemetery.

GERALDINE John Williamson - 77 of Guntersville, passed away on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at his residence. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

KERBY Donna Rains - 60 of Henagar, passed away on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at her residence. The family will receive friends on Thursday, January 25 from 4pm to 8pm and on Friday, January 26 from 11am until 1pm at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for Friday, January 26 at 1pm at

Kerby Funeral Home Chapel with Richard Pope officiating. Burial will follow in Henagar Cemetery. Ricky Ray - 64 of Henagar, passed away on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at his residence. The family will receive friends on Friday, January 26 from 5pm to 8pm and on Saturday, January 27 from noon to 2pm at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for Saturday, January 27 at 2pm at Kerby Funeral Home Chapel with Bros. David Hairston and Clinton Graham officiating. Burial will follow in Green Haven Memorial Gardens.


Milton “BeBo” Chapman - 74 of Henagar, passed away on Monday, January 29 at Erlanger Medical Center. The family will receive friends from 3pm to 8pm on Wednesday, January 31 and from 9am until service time on Thursday, February 1 at the funeral home. Funeral services are set for noon on Thursday, February 1 at Corner Stone Funeral Chapel with Bro. Shannon Justus and Bro. Rusty Higdon officiating. Burial will follow in Fuller Cemetery.




Head Start Registration Begins in DeKalb County!


Fort Payne-256-845-9176


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Alabama Human Trafficking Summit


(Submitted Photo)

By Staff Reports (HUNTSVILLE, AL)–January 25, 2018The Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force will host the 4thAnnual Alabama Human Trafficking Summit on Friday, February 9from 9 AM –4:45 PM at Embassy SuitesMontgomery (300 TallapoosaSt Montgomery, AL 36104). The following presenters and speakersare confirmed: Jack Williams –State Representative and Chair,


Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force Pamela Casey –District Attorney, Blount County Audrey Jordan – Assistant Attorney General, State of Alabama Darlene Hutchinson Biehl –Director, U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime Lisa Thompson –VP Research & Education, National Center on Sexual Exploitation Carol Smolenski– Executive Director,

ECPAT-USA Pat McCay –Chair, North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force Carolyn Potter – Executive Director, The WellHouse Lynn Caffery –Executive Director, Safe Harbor Youth Jan Bell –Executive Director, Children’s Policy Council of Jefferson County Sallye Longshore – Director, Alabama Department of Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Greg Oliver –Founder,

Awaken Ministries The daylong event is open to the public. The registration fee is $75per person and includes: continental breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon snack, and program materials. CLE, CEU, and APOST credits are available at no additional charge. Tuesday, February 6is the deadline to register for the Summit. Online payment and printable registration forms are available at www. Sponsorships are available for the Summit. Please direct

inquiries to Fundraising Chair David Pinkleton at 256-714-1142 or The Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force was established in April 2014 and meets once a quarter at the Alabama State House.For more information about the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force or the Alabama Human Trafficking Summit please visit www.

UNKNOWN FATHER, whose whereabouts are unknown, must answer the Petition for Custody and other relief filed by Mother/Plaintiff, Guadalupe Pascual Pascual, by the 26th day of March, 2018, or, thereafter, a judgment by default may be rendered against him in Case No.: CS-18-900002, in the District Court of DeKalb County, Alabama. /s/ Gabriela Watson, Esq WATSON & WATSON P.O. Box 1068 Albertville, Alabama 35950 Publish: February 2, February 9, February 16, and February 23, 2018

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POLITICS Williams announces he will seek re-election

Rep. Butler qualifies and announces endorsements

By Tyler Pruett Managing Editor

District 3 DeKalb County Board of Education Member Jeff Williams has announced he will be seeking re-election in 2018. District 3 includes Plainview, Ruhama, and the DeKalb County Technology Center. (Contributed Photo)

By Staff Reports RAINSVILLE, Ala — Yesterday, DeKalb County Board of Education Representative Jeff Williams announced he will seek re-election in 2018. Williams was elected to the Board of Education in 2012 and represents District 3 which includes Plainview, Ruhama and the DeKalb County Technology Center. “It has been a great honor to represent District 3 and serve in this position,” said Williams. “We have so many passionate educators in our system and it has been a pleasure working with them to meet their needs and provide them greater opportunities to educate our students.” Williams currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Education and has been an integral part in the transition to a new Superintendent following the 2016 Election. “We are currently undergoing a 2.4 million dollar upgrade of our network system which will allow us to be able to put a computer in front of every student when completed. This is a major step forward for DeKalb County.

Contributed by Steve Flowers AL Political Columnist MONTGOMERY, Ala. — This political year of 2018 may very well be the year of the woman in Alabama politics. In Alabama’s 200 year history, only one woman has been elected governor. Lurleen Wallace won in 1966. Only two women have served as governor, Governor Lurleen and our current governor, Kay Ivey. It may be a historic year. Sue Bell Cobb, the former Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice, and the first woman to hold that position, is hoping to be able to be the Democratic standard-bearer. She was elected Chief Justice in 2006, in a very expensive, high profiled battle with Republican Drayton Nabors. She had been a District Court Judge in her native Conecuh County for a long time before running statewide. She was elected to a six year term as Chief Justice in 2006, but quit

We are focused on improving the safety of all our campuses and training our personnel to handle all types of emergency situations. This must be our top priority. The process of developing a long-range plan for our system, including facilities, transportation, and personnel, as well as a strategic plan that focuses on educational outcomes, is already underway. This will greatly improve our efficiency and allow us to get the most return on what funds we have to spend.” Williams has owned and operated CPA Professionals since 2001. His children Jessica Williams Cobo (age 30) and Ryan Williams (age 28) are graduates of Plainview High School. Jeff has been married to his wife Janet for 33 years. For more information, please contact jbwilliams@ or visit Like him on Facebook at, “Re-Elect Jeff Williams for Board of Education.”

RAINBOW CITY, Ala. — Mack Butler, a small businessman and state legislator from Rainbow City, has qualified to run in the Republican Primary for District 10 of the Alabama State Senate. “Our community has been blessed for the past seven years to have conservative leadership in the Alabama Senate,” Rep. Butler said, “Because I’ve been encouraged by so many people and there’s so much work to do in Montgomery, I have decided to enter this race to give the people of Etowah, Cherokee and DeKalb counties the small government, pro-liberty representation in Montgomery that they want.” Rep. Butler’s campaign is off to a quick start with endorsements from Senator Phil Williams, Pro-Tem Del Marsh, Alabama Citizens for Life, Speaker Mac McCutcheon, Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industry John McMillan, Alabama Forestry Association, Home Builders Association of Alabama, and SubAla (Subcontractors Association of Alabama). Rep. Butler owns an electrical contracting business and is a resident of Rainbow City in Etowah County. He actively campaigned for President Donald Trump in 2016 and was an elected Delegate for Trump to the Republican National Convention in 2016.

Before serving in the Alabama House of Representatives, Rep. Butler served on the Etowah County Board of Education. He is widely recognized as one of the House of Representatives’ most conservative members. He sponsored the Memorial Preservation Act, which became law this past session and protects our historical structures from removal. He also sponsored the recently enacted assisted suicide ban and carried pro-Second Amendment legislation to reaffirm citizens’ right to bear arms. “I believe in the Constitution,” Rep. Butler said, “and I believe in the rights that we’ve been given by our Creator. I will continue to fight every day for the people to preserve those rights. We all want to hand over a better state and a better nation to our children than the one our parents’ handed over to us. For too long, government has been the problem. We need to return liberty to the people.“ A reserve deputy with the Etowah County Sheriff’s Department since 2006, and APOSTC Certified, Rep. Butler has a strong history of supporting law enforcement. “One of the main duties of government is to keep our streets safe,” he said. “I am committed to working hand in hand with those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.” Rep. Butler’s history as a school board member also fits into his goals as a state Senator. “We need to do what we can to make the most impact in our classrooms,” he said. “I’m interested in

hearing from those on the front lines – in the classroom. There are amazing things happening in classrooms all over this district. But I can say this. We spend too much time and money on buildings and people far away from the classroom. We need to get back to what works best: equipping our teachers, not bureaucrats.” Mack Butler has been a small business owner for over 33 years. He understands the difficulties of owning a small business and how unnecessary government regulation and high taxes hurt Alabama’s economy and small businesses. During his time in the Alabama House, Mack has consistently been on the front lines for lower taxes and less regulation on our small businesses and will continue to do so as State Senator. Rep. Butler is seeking to succeed state Sen. Phil Williams of Rainbow City. Sen. Williams has decided not to seek re-election. “Phil Williams is my friend, my ally, and a conservative beacon in this state,” Rep. Butler said. “I am honored that he was one of the first to encourage me to take this next step.” Sen. Phil Williams has

Rep. Mack Butler (R – Rainbow City) announces early endorsements in the race for Senate District 10, which covers Etowah County and parts of Cherokee and DeKalb Counties. Butler qualified to run for the seat earlier this month. (Mack Butler for Alabama Senate District 10) endorsed Rep. Butler for the job. “Mack Butler is a man of high character and a leader who puts people first. He will be a listener and one who gets things done in Montgomery,” said Williams. Rep. Butler is married to the former Connie Panell, also a native of Gadsden. They have four children and attend Whorton Bend Baptist Church. Find him on social media on both Facebook and Twitter!

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Inside the Statehouse after four years, inexplicably. Cobb, 61, is predicting that it will be an all female gubernatorial showdown. She believes that she will be the Democratic nominee and that Governor Kay Ivey will carry the Republican banner into battle. She says, “That’s never happened and my prediction is that is what it will exactly be.” However, first things first. Judge Cobb has to win the Democratic nomination. She is not the favorite in that primary. Tuscaloosa mayor, Walt Maddox, is the early favorite to win the Democratic nomination. Most political insiders suggest that Maddox is expected to get the overwhelming support of African American voters. The black vote makes up the bulk and majority of Democratic Primary voters in the state. This is no longer a monolithic vote. However, it tends to gravitate to one candidate in a primary. The few white voters who participate in the Democratic primary are young

and they can more readily identify with Maddox who is 45. In addition, there is some disillusionment among Democratic voters that Cobb quit her term midway as Chief Justice and allowed Republican Governor Robert Bentley to appoint a replacement. He, of course, appointed a Republican. She was the only Democrat on the Supreme Court. Roy Moore won the seat of Chief Justice in 2012. Other Democratic partisans were dismayed that Cobb said she supported Donald Trump’s selection of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. It may be perceived that her day has passed. Kay Ivey appeared to be headed for the house and her day may have passed when out of the blue Bentley resigns and she is plucked out of the obscurity of the Lt. Governor’s office and thrust into the governorship. She seems like a grandmother who sticks to her knitting and steadies the

Ship of State, which has gone through stormy waters the past four years. Kay Ivey may indeed make it to the dance as the Republican nominee in November. She is in the catbird’s seat and favored to win the GOP Primary. However, she created a couple of stumbling blocks during the 2017 Senate election year that may thwart her reelection. Some GOP establishment stalwarts say that her changing the Senate election from 2018 to 2017 threw Luther Strange, their

candidate, under the bus and gave the nomination to Roy Moore, which led to losing the seat to a Democrat. Her move also cost the state’s beleaguered General Fund $10 to $15 million. Some suburban women became disenchanted with her with she said she had no reason to not believe the women who accused Roy Moore of assaulting them as teenagers, yet she was still going to vote for him because he was a Republican. These two actions are only political stumbling blocks, not

roadblocks. Therefore, what I see as a possibility is not an all female race for governor, but a possible triumvirate of females being sworn into the top three constitutional offices next January. You could see Kay Ivey sworn into the Governor’s office, Twinkle Cavanaugh sworn in as Lt. Governor, and Alice Martin sworn in as Attorney General. All three are Republicans. The Republican nominee goes into the general election with a 60/40 probability of winning. Currently, Kay Ivey is the favorite in the governor’s race. Twinkle is the favorite in the Lt. Governor’s race. Alice Martin or Troy King is favored in the Attorney General’s race. If you made me bet right now, I would bet that Alabama would at least have a governor and Lt. Governor that are women. That may be the story of the year in Alabama politics in 2018. See you next week.





area 14

valley head 2/5/18 - 5pm


area 13


GIRLS @ geraldine area 14

2/8/18 6pm

GIRLS @ pisgah area 12





area 15

section 2/5/18 - 5:30pm

2/9/18 6pm


2/8/18 7pm


2/6/18 - 7pm

2/5/2018 - 5:30pm



girls @ collinsville

GIRLS @ brewer

girls @ fyffe


area 12

area 14

2/8/18 - 5:30pm


2/10/18 6pm


area 13

2/2/18 - 7pm WESTBROOK CHR.

BOYS @ collinsville

area 14



area 15

area 14

2/6/18 - 5:30pm



2/9/18 6pm

2/6/2018 - 5:30pm



boys @ fyffe

boys @ cedar bluff





By Marla Jones Sports Editor DEKALB Co.—DeKalb County Coaches recently released their choices for the 2017 DeKalb County All-County Team. Awards were given out at the DeKalb County Basketball Tournament last week. Player of the YearPayton Anderson, Junior from Fyffe High School. Anderson also received the All-Region Player of the Year honor for Class 2A. The Junior tailback, finished with 2,006 yards for the season. He scored thirty-two times for the

season. Offensive MVP-Blanton Jones, Senior from Crossville High School Defensive MVP-Ethan Dover, Senior from Sylvania High School Defensive MVP-Jacob Wooten, Senior from Plainview High School

Fyffe Brant Rowell-Senior, DB Silas Hicks-Senior, LB Dakota Dalton, Senior, TE Seth Benefield, Senior, QB Jon Brown, Senior, OL Cole Lyles, Senior, OL Luke Martin, Senior, DL Daniel Martin, Senior, LB Honorable Mention

Cage Cochran Parker Broyles Chase Adams

Plainview Bailey Dukes-Senior, QB Clay Cooper-Senior, RB Chance Broyles-Senior, DB Ashley Spigner-Junior, OL Cade Willingham-Senior,WR Zack Allen-Senior, LB David Mejia-Junior, OL Honorable Mention Elijah White Alex Gonzalez Jonathan Brown Riley Stephens Elijah Provins

Sylvania Blake Spears-Senior, Ath


Tyler Wilbanks-Senior, DE Kris Shavers-Senior, OL Christian Boman-Senior, OL Chandler Boman-Senior, OL Lucas Hall-Senior, DT Honorable Mention Eli Battles Bo Brown Paul Griffin Christian Andrade

Chase Byrum

Javier Soriano




Eduardo Garcia-Senior, LB Thomas Willoughby-Senior, LB Patrick Stewart-Senior, DL Marshall Sparkman-Senior, DL Honorable Mention Austin King David White

Isaiah Avilia-Junior, K Kaleb Jones-Sophomore, QB Mason McKinney-Junior, DB Honorable Mention Jarrod Barkley Michael Tucker Bryan Lopez TJ Osborn Calvin Willingham

Jacob Higdon-Junior, RB John Pennington-Senior, LB Ryan Adams-Senior, ATH Alex Brown-Senior, LB Honorable Mention Chase Townson Sam McKay Logan Townson Jared Swanson

Banks Jolley-Senior, WR Jay Luther-Junior, DB Dalton Peek-Senior, DL Honorable Mention Jedd Hicks Andrew Driskill Isaias Simpson Jose Cruz

Valley Head


Kyle Miller-Senior, LB Roger Kirby-Senior, FB Harley Gilreath-Senior, OL Honorable Mention Frank Hester Hunter Izell Owen Izell

Owens Signs with Snead!

Karli Owens recently signed with Snead State Community College to continue her volleyball career.

Pictured above (Bottom Row): Jesse Owens, Karen Owens, Karli Owens, Mark Owens, Jacob Owens. (Top Row): Principal Tony Richards and Plainview Volleyball B S Coach Allie Dukes-Moses. By Marla Jones Sports Editor DEKALB Co.— Cheerleaders from across the area were honored with being a part of the 2017 All-County Cheerleaders. Awards were given out at the DeKalb County Basketball Tournament.

Fyffe Nadia Powell Isabelle Blackwell Jaiden Hatch Olivia Smith

Kinnsley Travis Katie Carroll

Plainview Sarah Dupree Callie Strickland

Sylvania Audrey Schrader Isabella Corbin

Ider Tiffany Wright

Geraldine Reagan Richards Gracie Poole


Emily Thrower Rubi Velasquez Sarah Patton Katie Plunkett Lily Wills

Valley Head Breanna Blalock Caitlyn Collins Caroline Baty

Hunter of the Week

This week's Southern Torch Hunter of the Week is Griffin Turner! He is a fifth grader at Sylvania School. He bagged this buck on a recent hunt. Submit your photos to to be the next Southern Torch Hunter of the Week!







Pictured above: Zeb Ferguson, Tristan Willingham, Christian Trois, Grant Sanders, Jackson Hosch, Andrew McLaughlin, Matthew Wilkes, Noah Bell, Kyle Haymon, Tyler Lusk, Tyler Swanson, Jay Jenkins, Navy Laney

Pictured above: Riley Wisner, Kylie Moree, Katelyn Sammons, Bailey Thrash, Katie Mitchell, Hannah Johnson, Ambriel Stopyak, Leianna Currie, Emily McBride, Gabriella Garcia

Coach of the Year SCORES THIS WEEK

On Saturday, Plainview Head Football Coach Dustin Goodwin was honored at the ALFCA Banquet as the Class 3A Coach of the Year. Pictured above: Sara K. Goodwin (wife) holding their youngest son Jett, Coach Dustin Goodwin. (Bottom Row L to R): Sons Grant, Whit, and Colt Goodwin.

By Marla Jones Sports Editor

RAINSVILLE, Ala.— Dustin Goodwin, Head Coach of the Plainview Varsity Football Team was named the ALFCA Class 3A Coach of the Year. On Saturday, Coach Goodwin was recognized at the ALFCA Banquet in Montgomery for his excellent work as the Class 3A Coach of the Year. Goodwin graduated from Demopolis High School. He attended Etawamba Community College and then transferred to Auburn

University where he served as quarterback for the Auburn Tigers. He received his degree from University of North Alabama (UNA). Coach Goodwin has a strong history in football, following his father’s footsteps, Doug Goodwin. Doug Goodwin is in the Alabama High School Hall of Fame, coaching for twenty-seven years. Goodwin has served as Head Coach for Plainview for the past two years. Coach Goodwin is married to Sara K. Goodwin. They have four boys; Whit, Colt, Grant and Jett. The family attends Rainsville First Baptist. Before becoming a Plainview

Bear, Goodwin previously served as defensive coordinator at Hueytown, Homewood and Russellville. Goodwin tends to stay out of the limelight and gives his coaching staff and the players all the credit. “This is such a great honor” said Goodwin. “Without my coaching staff and my team, none of this would be possible. I would just like to thank everyone for their support.” Coach Dustin Goodwin is not only teaching his players how to be a better athlete, he is teaching them how to be better men. Congratulations Coach Goodwin from all of us at Southern Torch!

Fort Payne 81, Etowah 76 boys

Cedar Bluff 65, Collinsville 45 Boys

Fort Payne 49, Etowah 30 girls

Collinsville 46, Cedar Bluff 43 Girls

Geraldine 55, Section 48 Girls

Plainview 57, Westminster 55 Boys

Section 72, Geraldine 58 Boys

Plainview 48, Westminster 6 GIRLS

Section 89, Fyffe 78 Boys

Sylvania 58, Ider 45 Boys

Fyffe 64, Valley Head 38 Girls

Ider 62, Sylvania 59 Girls

Woodville 77, Valley Head 67 Boys

boys Crossville 70, Brindlee Mountain 52

Fyffe 64, Valley Head 38 Girls

girl Crossville 56, Brindlee Mountain 28

Lady Eagles Headed Back to Jemison By Marla Jones Sports Editor

RAINSVILLE, Ala.— It was February 4th, 2017 in Jemison, AL. The clock hit 0:00 and the buzzer sounded ending the Lady Eagles 2017 basketball season. The score was 26-20 and CCA had just lost the ACAA Div II State Championship Game to Conecuh Springs. That day saw the Lady Eagles play in CCA’s first ever state semifinals and championship game. It also set into motion the return trip to Jemison almost a year to the day later. To say that Cornerstone had that

game in the back of their minds would be an understatement. This loss set a fire that pushed the Lady Eagles though off season workouts and camps. CCA’s goal for the 2017-18 basketball season had been set, return to Jemison and bringing home the ACAA State Title. One caveat had been placed in the Lady Eagles way; CCA was moved to Div I from Div II due to student size. This meant that Cornerstone would face teams that have been playing in the ACAA for many years, teams with established basketball programs. CCA was coming

off their first year of ACAA participation. The move proved to be just a bump in the road as the Lady Eagles outscored their opponents 420-208 this season averaging 32.3 points a game. CCA finished their regular season with a 14-0 record and a Division I Region A - Area I Championship. The first step of returning to Jemison has been completed as the Lady Eagles will participate in the 2017-2018 ACAA Division I State Semifinals this Saturday the 3rd. However the journey will not be fulfilled till CCA brings the championship home.





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The Southern Torch, Vol. 4, Issue 5  
The Southern Torch, Vol. 4, Issue 5