On Sun., Oct. 7, Panama City resident Stacey VanDyke was in Hollywood, Calif., after placing in the top 10 of the Ms. Veteran America competition. Excited about her success and the money raised for female veterans in need, she – and her family and friends with her -- flew toward home but was stopped at the airport in Nashville, Tenn. It was there that she learned they could not fly home. The family decided to rent a car and drive to Birmingham where they have family members.

After finding a hotel, the family learned from her father-in-law in Panama City that their had house no water or power.

Gary McCurdy is the go-to preacher for Thompson Funeral Home of Piedmont. Owners Jim and Tammy Thompson refer those without a preacher to McCurdy, a minister at the Lebanon Church of Christ at Knighton’s Crossroads on County Road 6, just north of Piedmont.

This season, when the stadium lights at Alexandria High School stadium shine down on the football team, Ethan Turner will be on the field with a smile. He has spent the last three years on the sidelines of the sport he loves because he had leukemia, which is now in remission.

The city of Piedmont has come together in full force to support one of their beloved police officers. Kevin Blue, 51, of Alexandria, was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer.

Dozens of students and teachers of Eastwood High School gathered in Jacksonville to commemorate the school on the 50th year of its closing and desegregation in the city's schools. 

Jacksonville’s two-year-old elementary school has almost run out of room for students, but a former official says the plan was always to build more classrooms to meet enrollment growth.

Brian Ingram and Matthew McCurdy grew up only miles apart, Ingram in Jacksonville and McCurdy in Spring Garden. They saw each fairly often, Brian’s father, Russell, is the cousin of Matthew’s father, Gary, which made the boys second cousins. Family reunions and frequent gatherings allowed the cousins to often play together.

President Donald Trump on Thursday declared the March 19 storms that wrecked Jacksonville, Wellington, Angel, Nances Creek and other areas a major disaster. The declaration means federal money will be available to help local governments pay the cost of cleanup, and to help individuals with uninsured damage.

Houses can be rebuilt. Trees not so fast. Many Jacksonville residents are grieving the loss of the lovely trees that graced the Jacksonville State University campus and adjoining neighborhoods before the March 19 tornadoes.

Community pride is often measured by the outstanding quality of a school system. One of those most excited about the eminent opening of Alexandria Middle School is the architect, a parent with five children who attend Alexandria schools. His feelings are paralleled by a thrilled principal.

Jacksonville State University officials raised undergraduate tuition by 5 percent on Tuesday to avoid a $2.7 million deficit in the next fiscal year.

The Jacksonville Tree Commission is taking donations to help with re-treeing the tornado-damaged areas of the city. Members Richard Lindblom, Truman Norred, and Janice Cain are heading the program.

Mike Wingo left the comfort of his home in Greenville, S.C., and the responsibility of running a business there to be a mobile ministry center chaplain coordinator in Jacksonville as part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association response to a call for help after last month’s tornado ripped through Calhoun County and Jacksonville.

The tables were turned – at least the breakfast table – one day last week as the community served the staff and volunteers of Samaritan’s Purse who have been in Jacksonville since a tornado ravaged the city March 19.

The product you hold in your hands is really not something new. It’s a merging of two of the state’s best weekly newspapers into a more powerful newspaper.

By combining The Jacksonville News and The Piedmont Journal into The News Journal, we are making a better product for our readers.

PIEDMONT — Taking a dip in the city pool jumped in price on Tuesday.

The Piedmont City Council voted to raise costs for individuals, families and parties at the city aquatic center. Council members said the rate increases were needed to help cover pool maintenance costs and fill needs in the city’s tight budget.

The council approved the rate jumps during its regular Tuesday meeting.

The city pool opens to the public on Memorial Day.

The winds in the March 19 tornado slid down the mountain in front of Stan Barnwell’s home on Hollingsworth Road before leveling his house. Like a ball rolling faster and faster down a hill, meteorologists from the National Weather Service suspect the tornado in that spot may have measured ev…

It’s hard to believe I’ve been at Consolidated Publishing since May 10, 2006. In that time I’ve served as a reporter at the Jacksonville News and publisher of Jacksonville, The Piedmont Journal and The Cleburne News.

In those 11-plus years I’ve seen many changes. All have been good for the readers and the publications. Now we are about to embark on another change that I know will help the subscribers of The Jacksonville News and The Piedmont Journal.