2020 featured unprecedented twists and turns for St. Clair County. Here are the top local stories of the year in no particular order.
Moody police officer killed in shooting
Moody Police Sgt. Stephen Williams was killed in a shooting while responding to a call at a Super 8 motel in June. Sgt. Williams, 50, was a 23-year veteran in law enforcement and had been with the Moody Police Department for three years. He was beloved by family, friends and colleagues.
St. Clair stops using emergency tornado sirens
At the beginning of the year, St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency announced they would be phasing out all outdoor warning sirens that are no longer operational. According to the agency, the sirens were never meant to be a primary form of alerting citizens. Additionally, other weather services have become available that are more reliable, such as apps on your phone or state meteorologists.
St. Clair teacher named teacher of the year
Eden Elementary fourth-grade teacher Dr. Andrew Fletcher Jackson was honored at the highest level of the state by being named Alabama’s 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year. Jackson was among 16 finalists who were honored by Gov. Kay Ivey. In a statement, Jackson said he believes all learning starts with handling adversity, and that teachers’ jobs are to bring out the best in their students.
COVID-19 hits St. Clair County
On March 17, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in St. Clair County. It came on a day where there were 36 confirmed cases across the state. While it was not known at the time, this was the first day of a series of significant changes the county would have to endure due to the rise of the pandemic. As of Monday, St. Clair County had 5,332 confirmed cases, 1,019 probable cases and 71 deaths.
Springville Band seeking reimbursement for canceled trip, hires board attorney
The band of Springville High School and their parents are still seeking reimbursement for a canceled trip earlier in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The travel company that was paid has been impossible to reach, while other schools throughout Alabama remark that they have had a similar experience with the travel company that either that have received no or only partial reimbursement. Board Attorney for the St. Clair Board of Education John Rea has been appointed to represent the band and their parents.
Pell City honors James McGowan by renaming council chambers
At the swearing-in ceremony for the latest edition of the City Council for Pell City, former council president James McGowan was honored in a special way. Though McGowan would no longer be serving on the council, the city decided to honor his decades of public service by renaming the chamber halls of Pell City in his honor. Jud Alverson took over as council president, while Ivi McDaniel took over McGowan’s 2nd District.