Surprise snow

Footprints in the snow at the Chief Ladiga Trail in Piedmont. A couple of inches of snow fell on the Piedmont and Calhoun County area, making travel treacherous and closing schools. (Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

Government institutions in Calhoun County, from city halls to the county courthouse, were closed Friday morning because of the unexpected snowfall.

As of 10 a.m. Friday, the only government employees working were first responders, street and utility workers, area officials said. Closed institutions Friday included the city halls of Anniston, Oxford, Jacksonville and Piedmont. The Calhoun County Courthouse and the county administration building were closed too.

Mayor Bill Baker of Piedmont said Friday morning that he was still at City Hall, working with utility and street workers, but that all city administration employees had been sent home.

“We’re all handling emergencies as they come in,” Baker said. “We’ve got it covered, I hope.”

Calhoun County Circuit Clerk Kim McCarson, in a recorded message, said that the courthouse was closed due to inclement weather.

Jacksonville Mayor Johnny Smith said his city call was closed at 8:30 a.m. Friday as the snow worsened. Smith said only essential city personnel were working.

“It’s been pretty quiet in the city so far,” Smith said. “We did have a little fender bender, but that was it.”

Besides government institutions, the Anniston Army Depot was sending its first-shift workers home at 11 a.m. Friday, according to a press release. The depot’s night shift operations Friday were cancelled. Also, first shift work Saturday was delayed until 8 a.m.

Jacksonville State University decided to close around 10 a.m. Friday, said Buffy Lockette, spokeswoman for JSU.

The university had planned to remain open Friday so students could take their final exams for the semester. A Facebook post Friday from the university stated that information about rescheduled finals would be announced soon.

Also cancelled Friday was JSU’s Women in Philanthropy Brunch, which was set to honor Lilly Ledbetter with its Excellence Award. Ledbetter, of Jacksonville is best known for her hand in the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 — the culmination of years of work by her to end gender discrimination in the workplace.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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