July 06, 2009
Fugitive now in police custody
A Walker County man, who led police on a three-county chase during April and has been on the run since that date, was captured early Sunday morning at a West Jefferson home.
Walker County Sheriff John Mark Tirey says Christopher Lane Laye, 27, of Parrish was arrested around 3:30 a.m. Sunday at a residence on Palos Road by members the Sumiton Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Walker County Sheriff’s Office. Tirey said Laye is being held at the Walker County Jail.
Tirey says he has been asked about this case more than any others in recent years.
Charges filed against Laye in Walker County include attempted murder, first degree theft, theft of a motor vehicle and unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance. Tirey says that each of the charges carries a $10,000 cash bond. Tirey also says that he expects additional charges to be filed against Laye by the Blount County Sheriff’s Office as well as by the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office.
Sumiton Police officer David Waid said their department was notified by the United States Marshals Service of Laye’s whereabouts at 2 a.m. Sunday after a tip was called into that agency.
Waid went on to say that, when officers arrived at the home, Laye was lying on the couch. Waid said Laye resisted but was taken into custody without much incident.
Laye had been on the run since April 24 when he allegedly stole a Sumiton patrol car while escaping police custody. The patrol car was located by Sumiton police the next morning, but, according to Sheriff Tirey, Laye had ditched the car and impersonated a police officer in order to steal another vehicle before leading authorities on a chase down Empire Road through Blount County and finally into Cullman County.
More than 50 law enforcement officers from several departments surrounded a residence where Laye was last spotted in Cullman County for almost seven hours, before it was determined that Laye was no longer inside the mobile home. Tirey said Laye had stolen a 2009 blue Ford Fusion from a residence next door to the mobile home. That vehicle was recovered on April 27 along with several other vehicles that were believed to have also been stolen by Laye.
Tirey says that, since that time, his department had continued to search for Laye, with the help of several other law enforcement agencies.
Tirey said he was thankful for the work put into the case by other law enforcement groups.
Waid also thinks it was a good cooperative effort.
Democratic chairman steps down
Chris Pendley stepped down Tuesday from his position as the chairman of the Walker County Democratic Party.
Because of a lack of a quorum at Tuesday’s executive meeting where Pendley announced his resignation, the party was unable to take action toward getting a new leader for the area political organization.
A quorum is defined as the minimum number of members of a body defined as competent to transact business in the absence of the other members.
Homer Estes, a local Democrat, said he is enthused about the opportunity to get “new blood” pumped into the party.
“We’re revamping our Democrat Party,” Estes said during an interview Thursday. “Trying to get some young people.”
Another party member, Jim Lakey, said he expects the party to have another called meeting soon to discuss leadership of the local party office.
Pendley could not be reached for comment Friday.
"It's A Girl Thing"
Sometimes, girls just want to have fun. That’s why the Pregnancy Test and Resource Center is planning a party in August that will have food, fashion and fellowship.
The “It’s a Girl Thing Getaway” at Farmstead Baptist Church on August 8 is free to girls in grades six through 12. The event is hosted by the Pregnancy Test and Resource Center in Jasper.
PTRC executive director Jenny Gann says “The main focus is going to be talking to the girls about stuff they go through that they may feel like they can’t talk to their parents about.”
The all-day retreat will include praise and worship as well as workshops on self-esteem, abstinence and STDs, peer pressure and purity.
Gann says each breakout session will involve plenty of fun activities to help the girls remember what they learn.
Door prizes will be available, including an opportunity to win a makeover and professional photo shoot. There will also be a sample fashion show at lunch and another one in the evening.
Gann says, “The girls can come back and use their own clothes to model what they’ve learned about modesty at the conference. Their parents can come see them too.”
Parents must sigh a consent form for their child to attend the girls getaway, so registration is required.
All participants will receive a goody bag and T-shirt. The PTRC staff are also seeking donations so that each girl can have a Bible as well.
Gann said the girls’ day out is designed to reach out to teenagers before they need the services of the Center.
Gann also adds, “Younger kids have their vacation Bible schools. The older kids sometimes feel like they’re too mature to go to that. So this will be a fun thing for girls to go to, do things that are appropriate for their age, learn about God and get educated at the same time.”
If the event is successful, Gann hopes to plan a boys getaway later in the year.
To register, call 300-2795, 717-6386 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Holiday fundraiser helps out park, fire department
A host of residents in Argo celebrated Independence Day on
Saturday at a barbecue sale and family fun day in Argo Community Park.
The proceeds will benefit the park as well as the Argo Volunteer Fire Department.
The free event was organized by the park board and fire department "to bring the community together,” according to Marsha Prude, president of the board of directors for the fire department.
The Fourth of July celebration was once an annual event in Argo. However, it has been three years since the last one was held.
This year, members of the park board approached the fire department’s 15 volunteers about working together on a family fun day for local citizens.
The community park where the event was held has been an ongoing project since the land was donated several years ago.
The park features a walking trail and playground equipment, which was also donated.
WACF awarded five VISTA positions
The Walker Area Community Foundation was recently awarded five positions through AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).
VISTAs make a commitment to help fight poverty by serving for one year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency.
Paul Kennedy, Walker Area Community Foundation executive director, said the Foundation’s VISTAs will be working with the Health Providers Network, the Heritage Center and the Arts Alliance and Nonprofit Council.
VISTAs are not paid employees.
Kennedy says, “They are under contract to the federal government to alleviate poverty and increase the capacity of organizations operating in rural America.” VISTAs work no less than 32 hours per week. The Corporation for National Service provides $800 a month as a living allowance for the volunteers. Benefits such as health care and child care are also available.
At the end of their service, each VISTA can choose to receive an education award worth $4,725 to pay for college or $1,200 in cash.
Kennedy says, however, that VISTAs gain rewards much more than money. He says, “They get very valuable experience in the non-profit world and the work world and he thinks they also get an eye-opening experience for what their community is and how it functions.”
Kennedy also says that ideal VISTA candidates have a college degree and are interested in taking a year off before going on to graduate school.
Mothers who have raised their children and want to reenter the workforce gradually may also find the VISTA program helpful.
Kennedy says, “Maybe they’re a little hesitant about jumping into a 9 to 5 job. This is a great way to segue back in to the work world. We get the advantage of their maturity and social connections.”
The VISTA program, a vision of President John F. Kennedy, was founded in 1965.
In April, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which authorized spending $5.7 billion and will increase the size of AmeriCorps from 75,000 positions to 250,000.
According to Paul Kennedy, the national service program is particularly helpful now to non-profit organizations that need more people to fulfill their mission but can’t afford to pay more employees.
Kennedy says, “This is the best way that the Community Foundation can help develop capacity and sustainability in the organizations that we are trying to support in very lean times.”
Kennedy hopes to recruit locally for the positions, although he can recruit nationally if suitable candidates are not found within Walker County.
For more information or to apply for a VISTA position, visit www.americorps.gov/about/programs/vista.asp.
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