Quotes: Freedom and opportunity are precious gifts and the purpose of our politics is to expand them, for all our people. - Ed Miliband
Chambers named acting CH mayor
The Carbon Hill City Council appointed Mark Chambers, who previously represented District 4, as the city’s acting mayor during a special called meeting Wednesday afternoon. “Mark has been our mayor pro tem for the last three months, and we think he’s doing a great job, so we want to leave him where he’s at now,” District 1 representative Sandra Garrison said. “I think he’s doing a great job, and I think we need to put him in that place.” Former Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson pleaded guilty to five counts of harassment and one count of second-degree sexual abuse last Friday, stemming from allegations that he inappropriately touched female inmates at the city jail in Carbon Hill. Richardson accepted a plea deal for two years of supervised probation, with the understanding he would register as a sex offender and no longer have any contact with his victims. He was also required to pay a $50 fee to the Crime Victims Trust Fund, and a $750 bail bonding fee. As part of the plea deal, Richardson resigned as mayor. “We have 60 days in order to come up with a mayor for our city, and I feel like we need to look at the situation, take in all the different aspects, giving us time to research and do what we need to do to do what’s best for our city,” District 5 representative Suzanne Atkins said.
Groundbreaking held for new Walker High School
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday at the site where construction will soon begin on the new Walker High School. Officials from the city of Jasper, the Jasper City Board of Education, Hoar Program Management and Lathan Associates Architects participated in the groundbreaking. “Today marks the beginning of a historic event for the city of Jasper,” said Mayor Sonny Posey. “To me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This will help determine the direction for the city of Jasper for the remainder of our lifetime, as well as the lifetime of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many generations to come. “This project is a really big deal,” he added. “One of the biggest deals to ever occur in our community. Construction on the school is scheduled to begin within the next two to three weeks, said Jay Kirkpatrick of Hoar Program Management, the company overseeing the project. The total cost of the project is expected to top $52 million. M.J. Harris Construction Services of Birmingham was the low bidder for the construction phase of the project with a bid of $41,790,000 — $1.59 million below the proposed budget of $43,380,000 for construction of the school.
Board approves west wing expansion for new high school
The Jasper City Board of Education approved additional expenses for construction of the new Walker High School during its meeting Monday night. Alternate 5 was approved at a bid $1,290,000 for the school’s west wing expansion, which will consist of nine additional classrooms and two seminar rooms. Alternate 1, which will provide cafeteria equipment for the school, was also approved at a bid of $644,645. Lastly, Alternate 3 was approved at a bid of $42,832 for concession stands. The board was set to approve an additional expense to construct the school’s softball field, but the vote has been delayed until the board makes a decision on whether to construct an athletics complex on the property. The board has until Jan. 6 to approve any additional alternates. Rick Lathan of Lathan Associates Architects said the board needs to consider electrical costs in any future bids, as those costs could be “significant.” Walker High Principal Gary Boling presented the school’s improvement goals, including the creation of student portfolios, which will track student learning and growth up until graduation. Boling also stated goals to improve educational structure, communication and access to technology.