2014: Year in Review
Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2014
- Going snowhere — Butler County shut its doors when the snow-pacalypse blanketed the county in late January. The snow made many of the roads impassable, forcing schools and businesses to shut down. According to The Greenville Advocate archives, several inches of snow fell in the surrounding area.
- Largest meth dealer in county arrested — After a months-long investigation with the aid of the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, the Greenville Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the 2nd District Drug Task Force and the McKenzie Police Department, Roger Donell Armstrong, of McKenzie, was arrested at his McKenzie residence on Dec. 17, and charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, trafficking and possession of methamphetamine. Armstrong was the largest meth dealer in the county’s history.
- Butler County native named Superintendent — The Butler County Board of Education in March voted to appoint county native Amy Bryan as the school system’s next superintendent of schools. Bryan served as the interim superintendent February following the resignation of former superintendent Darren Douthitt. Prior to being named superintendent, she was the system’s federal programs director. In that role Bryan has been responsible for the oversight of grants and federal funds totaling more than $4 million a year. She recently played a major role in securing a $500,000 grant that will be used to create two career academies that will be housed at Greenville High School.
- Sells defeats Newton — Challenger Chris Sells defeated longtime lawmaker Charles Newton in the June primary. Sells received 1,766 votes (51 percent) to Newton’s 1,691 votes (49 percent) to win the GOP nomination for Alabama House of Representatives District 90, which covers all of Butler County and Crenshaw County, and portions of Conecuh County, Coffee County and Montgomery County. In November, Sells went on to beat Democrat Walton Hickman in the general election.
- More than four years after the announcement, Wintzell’s Oyster House finally opened in Greenville in mid-December. The contract to put the restaurant on Interstate Drive across from the Interstate Plaza was put in place in December 2011. In July 2012, Wintzell’s CEO, Bob Donlon, said that plans to open the restaurant are moving ahead when the property was purchased for the site. GA archives also indicate that in March 2013, the restaurant’s opening looked real promising. The best news relating to the newest eatery came in July of this year, when Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said that Rogers & Willard, the company contracted to construct Wintzell’s, was expected to move equipment to the site on July 18. The restaurant held its ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 22.
- Harris honored for lifetime of service — Former Greenville Parks and Recreation Director Jerome Harris was honored by the Alabama Parks and Recreation Association with a lifetime membership in the organization. Harris retired from the GPRD after 40 years of service in recreation. He began his career at Dunbar Community Center, where he rose to director of that facility and assistant director of the GPRD.
- Longtime DA John Andrews passes away — Former district attorney John Andrews passed away at his residence at the age of 72 on Nov. 19. Those who knew him, say that he loved the water, to cook for people and entertain. In the courtroom, Andrews’ personality carried over in the judicial setting. He served as district attorney for 11 years.
- Former coach remembered — Jimmy Gardner was a mentor for many high school kids while a coach at Greenville Academy and Fort Dale Academy for many years. Gardner won a state championship at FDA. While he may have been a coach, Gardner served as a State Farm Insurance agent for 35 years.
- Former University of Alabama defensive lineman Ozell Powell was shot and killed in late August at Creekstone Apartments. Powell was a standout football player at Greenville High School, earning All-State honors as a senior. He played at the University of Alabama from 1993-1996. While one suspect was arrested and charged with murder, another who was sought as a person of interest, turned himself in and was also charged with murder.
- Harrison’s Funeral Home — Douglas “Dusty” Harrison was arrested on June 9 and charged with six counts of theft of property. Harrison was charged with using money intended for customers’ future funeral needs at Harrison Funeral Home to run his business. As a result, the Alabama Board of Funeral Services revoked the establishment’s service license. Harrison was accused of selling pre-need contracts without a certificate of authority. Pre-need contracts are a means to prepay for funeral services.