When Tommy Roberts was a student at Piedmont High, all the students were offered a chance to attend trade school in Jacksonville. Roberts wanted to take advantage of that opportunity, he just had to decide what trade he wanted to learn. He thought being a machinist would be interesting and fun. Looking back, he’s happy with his decision, because it’s made him a living since he graduated in 1984.

Mayor Bill Baker announced on his Facebook page Monday that Boston, Ga.-based retail chain Ag-Pro Companies plans to invest $1 million to relocate its Piedmont business to a larger facility at the U.S. 278 bypass and hire more employees. Kenneth Williams, Ag-Pro’s division president for Alabama and northwestern Georgia, said the company needs more space to meet its expansion plans.

Nicole Tolbert, health science teacher at Piedmont High School (PHS), has learned many things from two exchange students who have lived with her this year. One is that they are both typical teen-agers who liked to go to ballgames, make new friends, and learn new things. She has also learned that her two charges like to cook, but not quite in the Southern way.

Two years ago Savannah Leighton sat in her Spring Garden home and taught herself to play the guitar. Last week, the 16-year-old sang to millions of viewers over NBC’s reality show The Voice.

The 20th anniversary of Piedmont’s Black History Celebration took place Friday evening at the Bethune Center. It featured children singing and Carolyn Spear Holman as speaker. Mayor Bill Baker presented her an honorary plaque for her contribution to the many years of service to Piedmont children in food services. She worked at Piedmont Middle and High schools.

The Piedmont City Council entered a telecommunications franchise agreement Tuesday to boost cell phone data service in the area and net the city about $6,000 annually.

Piedmont Elementary School has selected kindergarten teacher Cassie Holbrooks to receive the honor of Teacher of the Year. Cassie is from Piedmont, where she attended Piedmont High School before going to Jacksonville State University. At JSU she earned a bachelor’s and master’s in elementary education. She is also a National Board Certified teacher in Generalist/Early Childhood Education.

The Piedmont City Council reversed an earlier decision to renew an air ambulance service contract and declined to repair a street sweeper in the face of a possible $1.6 million budget deficit.

Dexter Vines enjoyed the FFA program Sand Rock High School offered when he was a student there. He was an active member of the organization and played sports as well. He knew he wanted to continue to be affiliated with both FFA and sports after he graduated.

Jacksonville State University’s Baptist campus minister grew up on the banks of the Coosa River in Hokes Bluff. He likes to say that he lived in the suburbs of Hokes Bluff. He was one of seven children.

Stephanie Young of Piedmont said her mother, Alma, liked to swim. In her honor, and to help build funds for Venecia’s Foundation, Stephanie went into the 56 degree water at the 4th Piedmont Polar Plunge Saturday holding her mother’s ashes.

If the weather cooperates, and this time it’s expected to, the 4th annual Piedmont Polar Plunge will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the aquatic center to benefit Venecia‘s Foundation. Those registering to take the plunge are asked to be there by 9 a.m.

The Piedmont City Council renewed its membership in a program Tuesday that offers air ambulance services to residents at no cost.

Nothing made Betty Jo Thacker Lawler happier than preparing meals for her family on Sunday. She did this as long as she could physically stand and prepare the food. Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren looked forward to it as much as she did.

Piedmont Mayor Bill Baker has issued another challenge to the mayor of Weaver, Wayne Willis. Baker has dared his friend to take part in the 4th Annual Piedmont Polar Plunge at the Piedmont Aquatic Center at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 7.