As we bring 2013 to a close, we take time to reflect back on the events that affected our lives throughout the year. The New Year began with big hopes for success. On the bright side, the year has brought many much needed new businesses and jobs into the county with the addition of the Clay Family Pharmacy, Bits and Pieces Flower Shop, Taylor Flowers and Jessie Sez. The tourism committee worked hard to bring people into the community with the incorporation of Easter activities, the ElkFest and a Christmas extravaganza.

The Wallback exchange is now fittingly named after Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman and the bulletproof vest bill was introduced and passed in their honor, requiring all law enforcement to be equipped with the lifesaving equipment.

Hardship has unfortunately also played a factor in our day to day lives. Financial struggles have impacted those within the county tremendously. The Library is in danger of being shut down due to a significant decrease in monies. The Board of Education cut activity buses, extra-curricular field trips and even a successful Clay Middle School wrestling program. Courthouse offices have been threatened with losing personnel due to lack of funding for salaries.

Crime has hit the community hard. Among several drug related arrests and violent crimes, 65 year old Clarence Stone was shot while gardening, Clay Go-Mart was robbed at gunpoint and Clay Family Pharmacy was broken into in the middle of the night – all three of those crimes have netted no arrests.

Long time deputy Miles Slack was elected as the Sheriff of Clay County by a landslide vote and confidence in his success was overwhelming. During separation from his wife, Miles installed a keystroke logger onto her work computer in the Magistrate’s office. This action brought federal wiretapping charges, which Miles plead guilty to and was sentenced to probation for. Garrett Samples was named the new Sheriff of Clay County.

Tragedy has also become a part of our lives and we’ve felt much heartache and grief. The county has lost a child in a motorcycle accident, three in a house fire and one in a car accident that injured ten others. In these times of need and sorrow, the community came together as one and grieved as a whole.

Let us hold our head up high, move on and do what is best for our community and those within it. “Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” — Helen Keller