Candidates scheduled to appear through May

Update from the chamber

The speakers at the monthly Blount- Oneonta Chamber of Commerce breakfasts have been scheduled through May 2010. Bradley Byrne will speak on January 28; Bill Johnson, February 24; Artur Davis, March 31; and Roy Moore, April 20. The candidates for Blount County District Attorney will speak at the May 26, breakfast.

This schedule includes the remaining major candidates seeking the Democratic and Republican nominations for Governor of Alabama in 2010. This gubernatorial speakers’ initiative began in May 2009, and four of the eight candidates seeking party nominations for 2010 have already appeared at chamber breakfasts. They are Tim James, Kay Ivey, Ron Sparks, and Robert Bentley.

The May 2010 program will feature the four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for district attorney of Blount County: Ronnie Blackwood, Pamela Casey, Scott McPherson, and Tommy Rountree, who currently serves as district attorney for Blount County.

January breakfast

Bradley Byrne will be the featured speaker at the chamber breakfast to be held at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, at Twin Oaks. The program will be sponsored by Sherrer and Sherrer, P.C., a law firm located in Oneonta.

Bradley Byrne was born and raised in Mobile. After earning his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law, he practiced in Mobile for more than 25 years. In 1994 he was elected and in 1998 re-elected to the Alabama State Board of Education. In 2002 he was elected and in 2006 re-elected as a state senator representing District 32. Byrne was appointed to the Alabama State Board of Education in May 2007 as chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education to serve as the chief executive officer of Alabama’s two-year college system.

Byrne, who is 54 years old, has been married to the former Rebecca Dukes of Montgomery for 28 years. Rebecca is the executive director of United Way of Baldwin County, and they are the parents of four children. The Byrnes live in Fairhope where they are members of St. James Episcopal Church.

The breakfast sponsor, Sherrer and Sherrer, P.C., is a full-service law firm in existence since 1965. The firm can assist you in the practice areas of real estate, domestic relations, criminal defense, wills and estates, and governmental affairs. The firm is located in Oneonta at 231 Second Avenue East across the street from the Blount County Courthouse.

This is another opportunity to hear a 2010 gubernatorial candidate present his platform for operating state government and for dealing with the many economic problems that the state will be facing in the near future. The format will allow those in attendance to ask questions about issues of their choice at the meeting.

Please accept this as a personal invitation to come and enjoy a delicious breakfast, participate in a worthy public event, and meet good folks from all across Blount County.

Crime Stoppers

Blount County Crime Stoppers is operational and receiving calls at 274-2746 that may lead to the arrest of an individual or individuals who have committed an unsolved crime that has been advertised through the local media. Application with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been filed for tax-exempt status under Section 501 (c) (3). By-laws and articles of incorporation have been filed in the probate judge’s office. Donations continue to be received by the Crime Stoppers Board.

The purpose for which Blount County Crime Stoppers was founded include the following:

1) Provide a fund and oversee a system by which anonymous callers may telephone the Blount County Crime Stoppers tip-line;

2) Provide information to the appropriate respective law enforcement agency that may lead to the investigation, arrest, and conviction of certain criminals;

3) Utilize a coding system that will provide a method of payment of a cash reward for such information upon the arrest of such criminals; and

4) Guarantee anonymity to all such callers while in compliance with controlling state and federal laws.

The mission of Blount County Crime Stoppers is to assist local governments and their respective law enforcement agencies in the prosecution of criminal cases, thereby increasing the productivity and efficiency of the same. The public will be better served by such increases and will thereby benefit by the saving of public funds, the recovery and prevention of private losses, and the promotion of community welfare by the providing of safer communities.

A special thanks to attorney Jeff Sherrer and certified public accountant Lori Criswell for their assistance in the filing procedures. Board members include Sheriff Loyd Arrington, Blountsville police chief Ray Baxley, Edwina Bryan, Charles Carr, Oneonta police chief James Chapman, Lori Criswell, Joe Hughes, Cathy Irvin, Bud Jones, Doug McBee, Becky McMillan, Rob Rice, Chester Thomas, and Snead police chief Phillip Weaver.

Covered bridges

The Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce continues to promote the three Blount County covered bridges through promotional materials created by this organization. This includes our new Web site www.blountoneontacham
ber.org,
two new and updated videos, and a newcomers’ book and brochures recently published by the chamber. We have maps specifically designed to provide self-directed tours for visitors and packets that we mail to those inquiring about the bridges. Unfortunately, there has not been enough interest to conduct tours at the Covered Bridge Festival.

Probate Judge David Standridge and the Blount County Commission have been instrumental in supporting chamber efforts to promote the bridges. As the governing body of Blount County, the commission is having to make difficult decisions in a time of economic crisis in order to make wise use of limited resources.

Also, a special thanks to Sheriff Loyd Arrington and the Blount County Sheriff’s Department for supervising inmates in periodic clean-ups in and around the bridges. The covered bridges are more than tourist attractions, they are part of Blount County’s history.

Conclusion

The speakers program involving the 2010 gubernatorial candidates has been set making the Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce the only chamber in the state to give each candidate the opportunity to be a featured speaker. This is a great venue for Blount citizens to learn about each candidate’s stand on the issues. I hope you will mark each of the dates on your calendar.

By working together, we are making a very good community even better.