January tornado named Top News Story of 2023

Published 5:38 am Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Jan. 12 tornado is the Selma Times-Journal’s top story of 2023

Selma was devastated by a strong tornado that roared through town damaging hundreds of homes and businesses and causing widespread power outages throughout the city.

For several days, the tornado made national headlines on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and the Weather Channel. Businesses across the nation donated to help Selma recover from the devastating tornado.

Email newsletter signup

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. and the Selma City Council received financial assistance to recover from President Joe Biden, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, Gov. Kay Ivey, Senators Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville. Rep. Prince Chestnut, Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn and State Senator Robert Stewart also were big contributors.

Here are the Selma Times-Journal other top stories of the year, selected by the Times-Journal, based on biggest impact of year:  

President Joe Biden visits Selma: President Joe Biden attended the Bridge Crossing Jubilee on March 5, delivering a powerful message. Before arriving in Selma, Biden signed a Disaster Declaration to help Selma recover from the tornado. Biden said the federal government will be in Selma as long as it takes to recover.

Gunnar Henderson named American League Rookie of the Year: Former Morgan Academy shortstop Gunnar Henderson was a unanimous choice for AL rookie of the year. Gunnar Henderson Day will be held on June 29, his birthday. Henderson, a 2019 graduate of Morgan Academy, hit 28 homers and scored 99 runs. 

-Selma’s involvement in Montgomery Riverfront Brawl: Four Selma residents, including Vasser’s owner Zachery “Chase” Shipman, were involved in an Aug. 5 Riverfront Park brawl.  Charges were filed against Shipman, Richard Roberts, 48, Allen Todd, 23, and Mary Todd, 21, immediately after the incident that made national news.

Roberts was sentenced to a four-month suspended sentence, serving 32 days on weekends and completing 100 hours of community service. Todd was ordered to complete anger management classes.  Shipman and Todd must each serve 100 community hours, pay a $100 fine and court costs, and attend an anger management class. Shipman will perform community service in Dallas County, while Todd will complete community service in Baldwin County. 

-Colclasher Enterprises coming to Dallas County: Colclasher Enterprises, a $9 million dollar plastic pipe manufacturing facility will open next fall at Craig Field Industrial Park. Colclasher Enterprises plans to create 21 jobs over three years with an average wage around $24 an hour. The starting wage will be between $21.63 and $22.50.

-Larry D. Striplin Center closes: City of Selma officials closed the Larry D. Striplin Performing Arts Center on July 14 because it was declared unsafe. City of Selma Building Inspector Zeb Lee, Jr. deemed the building as unsafe, especially with part of the ceiling falling in.

-Jeremy Lee gets drafted in Major League Baseball:  Former Morgan Academy pitcher Jeremy Lee was drafted in the 13th round by the Minnesota Twins on July 11. Lee,  the son of Joey Lee and Lisa Easterling, is the only player named The Selma Times-Journal football player of the year (2018) and baseball player of the year (2020) in a career. Lee played collegiately at the University of South Alabama.

-Pastor Winston Williams dies: Pastor Winston Williams, a former Morgan Academy girls’ soccer coach and who started a Concordia College Alabama soccer program, died on Sept. 12. Williams was also a Pastor at Gospel Tabernacle Church.

-Actor Danny Glover visits Selma: Actor Danny Glover, best known for his roles in the “Color Purple” and “Lethal Weapon” franchise, was the guest speaker for the 60th anniversary of 

R.B. Hudson High School’s Class of 196’s non-violent student march that ignited the Civil Rights Movement in Selma

-City of Orrville to get Public Library: The City of Orrville held a groundbreaking ceremony for its first-ever public library on Dec. 19 at the Town Hall.  At the ceremony, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell presented a $500,000 check in federal funding to build the new library.