HAMILTON – On New Years Eve a two
vehicle automobile accident claimed the lives of two Marion County
residents and injured a third.
The automobile accident occurred on
Sunday, December 31, 2006 at 11am on County Highway 49, just a couple of
miles north of Hamilton.
Officials with the Alabama State
Troopers office stated a 1992 Dodge driven by Casey Allen Tooley, age 21
of Hackleburg and a 1994 Ford driven by Roger Mitchell, age 52 of
Hackleburg were involved in the automobile accident. Joshua Purser, age
22 of Hamilton, who was a passenger in Mr. Tooley’s vehicle and Roger
Mitchell were both pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Tooley was
transported by RPS ambulance to North Mississippi Medical Center in
Hamilton where his condition was unknown at time of this story.
State trooper officials stated that
the automobile accident is still under investigation and no further
information was released.
GUIN - At 11:53 pm on Monday,
January 1st Guin Police Department received a call from 911
Dispatch that a neighbor saw someone lurking around the rear of McGuire
Drugs which is located at 141 12th Ave West in downtown Guin.
When Guin police officer Willie Mills arrived he found, Richard Vince
Estes, 39, prying on the rear door and stopped him from gaining entry
into the business. Mr. Estes, who is a Winfield resident, was charged
with burglary 3rd degree, possession of drug paraphernalia,
possession of burglary tools, and resisting arrest. Assisting officer
Mills in the arrest was Guin police officer Doug Webb and Marion County
Drug Task Force Agent Kenny Hallmark.
Estes was released from the Marion
County Jail on $16,500 bond.
(All persons charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty in a
court of law. The charges are merely an accusation unless otherwise
Alabama's 2008 presidential primary is expected to be
moved up to Saturday, February 2, 2008, to avoid the crowd of states
voting on February 5, 2008.
Democratic and Republican leaders are said to be working together on a
bill to move the primary away from the February 5, 2008 date, which
happens to fall on Fat Tuesday, a major Mardi Gras holiday on Alabama's
House Majority Leader Ken Guin of Carbon Hill said February 2nd will
distinguish Alabama from the growing number of states choosing February
5, and will test how Alabamians like voting on Saturday rather than the
state's traditional Tuesday voting day.
Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona and Utah are already
planning primaries for February 5. California, New Jersey, Illinois and
other states are looking at moving up to early February 2008.
The Twin Fire & Rescue Service
recently place a new brush truck into service, replacing a state loaned
vehicle which was donated to the them by the Winfield Fire Department.
Designated as Engine 112, the truck is a 1994 Chevy extended cab 4 wheel
drive which has a 250 gallon water tank, a 75 gallon per minute pump and
is fully equipped with wildland firefighting equipment such as pulaski
axes, fire rakes, fire flaps, backfire torch, 2 power saws, hose and
other tools. “The vehicle was donated to us well over a year ago by one
of our members but we were only recently able to equip it after
receiving the grant” says Twin Fire Chief Russell Bull. Funding for the
equipment was received from a $3600 grant awarded to the department in
2006 by the Alabama Forestry Commission through their Hurricane Ivan
Recovery Project, 2006 Statewide Wildland Fire Prevention and
Suppression Grant. The truck will be used not only on grass and woods
fires but can be used during storm clean-up and other activities as
In addition to equipment, the
department received funding through the grant to purchase wildland
personal protective gear for the firefighters. “The protective gear used
on wildland fires is much lighter than what we use in fighting
structural fires but offers all the protection a firefighter needs” says
Bull. “Wearing structural protection gear on a wildland fire is
extremely strenuous due to the fact that you’re in the woods climbing
through thick vegetation and working for extended periods of time and
the gear is heavy. Structural protective gear just isn’t designed for
this”, says Bull.
The protective gear consists of a
flame resistant coat and pants with reflective trim, hardhat and leather
gloves, all of which are specifically designed for wildland
firefighting. Members will supply their own leather work boots to wear
with the gear. “From what we’ve seen already it’ll be much easier on the
guys wearing this on grass and woods fires” according to Assistant Fire
Chief Phillip Markham. “The gear is much lighter and easier to get
around in”, says Markham.
The department received yet another grant in 2006 to
purchase wildland fire prevention material and
equipment from the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Alabama
Association of Volunteer Fire Departments. “We were able to purchase a
new computer to create our own fire prevention materials on, a new TV
and VCR/DVD player and wildland fire prevention tapes and DVD’s to use
in the community. We plan to start a Wildland Fire Prevention campaign
very soon and residents of the department’s response area can expect to
see firefighters going door-to-door passing out prevention materials and
talking with residents about what they can do to prevent wildfires on
their property”, says Board of Director’s President Doug Barnes.
According to both Bull and Barnes
the department has been extremely fortunate in receiving a number of
grants in order to purchase needed equipment in the past 3 years.
“Researching, locating and applying for all these grants is a pretty
much a full-time job and we’ve got someone that stays on top of it for
us. Every grant we receive is that much less money the department and
community have to spend on equipment and the better equipped we are to
serve our residents. It’s safe to say that we’re probably one of the
best equipped departments of our size anywhere around and we’re
extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished in such a short period of
The department would like to make
residents aware of the fact that their services are available to perform
prescribed burning on their property if requested, free of charge. “This
past winter the department conducted prescribed burning on about 60
acres in the department’s response area in cooperation with the Pea
Ridge Fire Department. “In the past landowners routinely burned wooded
areas to lessen the chance and severity of fires and to rid the woods of
thick undergrowth . If you’ve been watching the news you see that folks
in the Western US ,where they do little if any prescribed burning, have
been having more fires and they are much more severe than we have here
in the Southeast where burning has been a widely accepted practice for
years. And for hunters, prescribed burning also increases food and
wildlife habitat as well” says Bull.
Residents who are interested in
having the department perform this service for them are urged to contact
the department at 468-8554 or any department member. “There are a
number of things that must be done in order to do a burn. It’s not
something you go out and do without a lot of prior planning and work”
says Bull.- 01/24
The Winfield City School Board met on Monday at noon
at the board office with all current members present as well as the
recently resigned board member Bill Carothers. Carothers was there to
receive special thanks and recognition for years of service.
The board is awaiting the appointing of a member by
the Winfield City Council to fulfill Carothers term.
In Board Business:
Approved leaves of absences for Tammy Box,
Tabitha Mays, and Tara Cook.
Posted a 3 ½ hour per day part-time cafeteria
worker for the elementary school.
Approved a band trip for late April to Panama
Approved the 2007-2008 school calendar which
includes two weeks and two days for Christmas Break. This school
year’s Christmas break was only 8 school days. The last day of
school for 2008 is May 30th.
The board also heard an outstanding
superintendents evaluation from the evaluator Dr. Neil Hyche and
reviewed the latest report for the Winfield City Schools from the
State Board of Education.
Set the next meeting for Tuesday March 13 at 5 p.m.
Hamilton - The Marion County
Extension Office will be holding a free seminar entitled:
"Vegetable Garden Basics"
Nelson Wynn, Regional Extension Agent will be at the
Marion County Extension Office (Located in the Court House Annex) for a
Vegetable Garden Basics Seminar on March 15, 2007 from 10:00 a.m.
- 12:30 p.m..
Materials Exercise was held recently to test the response capabilities
of local fire and rescue units to these type incidents. The Pea Ridge
Volunteer Fire Department, Guin Fire Department and Twin Fire & Rescue
Service all participated in the exercise which was held Saturday
February 17, 2007. Department personnel responded to a mock vehicle
accident between a tanker truck carrying hazardous materials and car.
The exercise was held on Scufflegrit Road north of Corridor X.
“We had been
discussing this scenario for sometime and had already had a couple of
accidents involving tanker trucks on the Corridor but luckily they
weren’t carrying any hazardous materials”, said Pea Ridge Fire Chief
Jason Langley. “We decided it would be good if we tested our response to
one of these type incidents and worked out the problems ahead of time so
that our response would be more safe and effective”, said Langley.
According to Twin
Fire Chief Russell Bull the exercise was a success. “We had outside
observers from other departments to participate and be “judges” to make
note of any mistakes we made. Winfield Fire Chief Keith Waldrop,
Assistant Fire Chief Mark Loden and Brett Burleson of the Marion County
Hazardous Materials Team were the observers and gave us feedback after
the exercise was completed and their participation and suggestions were
appreciated”, said Bull. “We tried to make this as realistic as possible
so our firefighters could get a feel for what the real thing might be
like”, said Bull.
“I thought the whole
exercise was a success and was well conducted”, said Winfield Fire Chief
Keith Waldrop. “It is important that departments hold these type
exercises from time to time to test their capabilities to ready
themselves for the real thing.
in the event were Marion County EMA Director Matt McCracken, Marion
County District 5 Commissioner Bob Burleson and Trish Campbell, a
representative from Air-Evac. “We appreciate Tommy Howe Petroleum for
allowing the use of a tanker truck to create the mock incident. We would
also like to thank everyone that participated in the event”, said both
Langley and Bull. Without their participation the exercise would not
have gone as smoothly as it did.”2/17/07
MONTGOMERY – Governor Bob Riley announced Friday his administration is
releasing $17 million to help schools pay for a broad range of basic
needs, from utilities to toiletries.
The funding was included in this fiscal year’s education budget as a
conditional appropriation, meaning its release was contingent on
adequate revenues coming into the Education Trust Fund. That revenue
level has been reached and the $17 million is now being released to
public school systems across the state.
“Because our economy is strong, we’re experiencing record growth in the
Education Trust Fund and can help schools all across Alabama,” said
Governor Riley. “We must always remember that more funding for education
isn’t possible unless we have a growing economy. And the economic growth
plan we’ll consider in special session next week and the tax incentives
I’ll be proposing in the regular session will help sustain our economy
and result in additional funding for schools.”
State Finance Director Jim Main spoke to school superintendents from
across the state this morning and informed them of the Governor’s
The $17 million is included in the education budget under the category
of “Other Current Expenses,” which schools use to cover basic expenses
not otherwise earmarked in the budget.
The additional $17 million brings total funding for OCE to $751.8
million. Press Release from Gov. Bob Riley-2/23/07
HAMILTON – Northwest Alabama will be
well represented at the upcoming Jerry Brown Arts Festival. Melissa
Miles of Guin, Emogene Lenard and Ron Morris of Fayette, Catherine
Brown, James Brassfield, Kathy Ballard, and Jerry Brown of Hamilton will
be joined by artists from throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia
at this year’s festival.
Designated as one of 50 top arts events for the 2007 Year of Alabama
Arts and as a Top 10 event for the month of March in all categories by
the Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel, the anticipation for this year’s
festival has been tremendous. This year’s group of artists is believed
to be the best to date in the festival’s young history, with several
participants having displays in the Smithsonian Institute’s National
Museum of American History.
Sponsored by the Northwest Alabama Arts Council, the fifth annual Jerry
Brown Arts Festival has grown into one of the most prestigious juried
arts festivals in Alabama . This year's festival will be held at the E.T.
Sims Neighborhood Facilities Building in Hamilton . Saturday, March 3,
festival hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday, March 4, festival hours
are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. There is no charge for admission to the
Additional activities for this year's festival include the elementary
school arts competition "Molding Hearts, Hands & Minds," and the high
school arts competition "Sketching the Future.”
A new addition to the festival is the Jerry Brown Arts Festival Family
Concert which will be held on the first night of the festival, Saturday,
March 3, starting at 6 p.m. at the Bevill Business & Community Center in
Hamilton . Headlining the concert will be Joseph Baldwin of Vina. Also
performing will be Rock Creek of Belmont, Mississippi, Detroit resident
Bob Moody, and Just Friends, of Hamilton . The family-friendly concert
will be a continuation of the festival theme of “Reflections of the
South” and will be country, bluegrass, folk, and gospel music.
During the concert, awards for the artists participating in the juried
arts festival and the high school and elementary arts competition
winners will be announced. Immediately following the concert, there will
be a meet-and-greet session with the performers. There is no charge for
admission to the concert.
HAMILTON – In its fifth year, the Jerry Brown Arts Festival has added
something new to its lineup – a concert. On the first night of the
festival, Saturday, March 3, the Northwest Alabama Arts Council will
host a free concert starting at 6 p.m. at the Bevill Center in Hamilton.
the concert will be Joseph Baldwin of Vina. Joseph is the 2006
Panhandle Star winner and newest addition to Nashville's Tootsie's
will be Rock Creek of Belmont, Miss. who will be performing gospel,
folk, and bluegrass music. Detroit resident Bob Moody will be
performing gospel, bluegrass, and country music. Just Friends, a gospel
and country music group of Hamilton, will also be performing.
Concessions will also be available at the concert.
JBAF Public Relations Chairperson Marla Minter stated, “Since its
inception, the theme for the Jerry Brown Arts Festival has been
‘Reflections of the South.’ This concert provides a continuation of
our festival’s theme. What greater heritage do we have in the South
than music passed down from generation to generation? By adding the
concert to our festival weekend and by making it free to the public, the
arts council felt we could give back to our community and share another
art form during this festival weekend – the art of music.”
During the concert,
awards for the artists participating in the juried arts festival as well
as the high school and elementary arts competition winners will be
following the concert, there will be a meet-and-greet session with the
performers, and concert-goers will have the opportunity to obtain
autographs, photographs, and purchase CDs from the performers.
Minter added, “We
would encourage everyone to come out, have supper with us, sit back,
relax, and enjoy a wonderful evening of Southern heritage music.”
HAMILTON - On January 19, nine students along with
principal Dr. Sherry Armstrong from Hamilton
Elementary School traveled to Jerry Brown Pottery to participate in the
new "Molding Hearts, Hands & Minds" program, a new two-session arts
program created by the Northwest Alabama Arts Council.
A total of 25 students were selected from the fourth grade at Hamilton
Elementary School to participate in this special program. Selection was
based upon the
student’s interest in art and exhibited skill level. Students will
receive three hours of instruction from local potter Jerry Brown and his
The Browns will share with these students the craftsmanship and
old-fashioned knowledge of pottery-making that have been handed down
from generation to generation in the Brown family since the 1700s. The
students will be shown how Brown digs his
own clay and uses his mule, Blue, to grind and mix all of the clay used
in making his pottery, how Brown hand turns and hand decorates each
piece of pottery, to include firing most of his pottery in a brick kiln.
Ed Minter, Vice President of the Northwest Alabama Arts Council stated,
"This was one of our goals when this organization was created, to
provide art education and art programs to our local schools. We have a
treasure in our community in Jerry Brown. It is imperative that we as an
organization make sure his skills are passed on to a new generation of
artists. We are excited about this pilot program and look forward to
providing this opportunity to other area schools each year leading up to
The highlight of the program, in addition to the opportunity to work
one-on-one with a Smithsonian
artist, will be each student's opportunity to make their own piece of
pottery by actually working on Brown’s wheel and molding clay into their
Each student will have their piece of art exhibited at this year's Jerry
Brown Arts Festival, to be held on
March 3rd and 4th, in Hamilton. Similar to the professional artists
displaying at the festival, each
student's piece of pottery will be judged, and the top five participants
will receive scholarships to the Bevill State Community College Arts
Camp scheduled forth summer.
HAMILTON – On Sunday afternoon, January 28, the
Northwest Alabama Arts Council officially opened its doors for business
at its newly renovated office in Hamilton City Hall. Funding for the
renovations was secured through a grant obtained from the State of
Alabama “Support the Arts” License Tag Committee.
Arts council president Deb Cochran stated that
“The support of Mayor Ray Harper and the council, Annette Sherrill,
McDavid Franks, Scotty Sanderson, Richard Gann, and Shane Stidham has
been outstanding. We could not have done this without them. We thank
them for the privilege of having our office centrally located in city
hall. This will be a tremendous advantage to our organization as we
recruit artists, vendors, and entertainers from all over the United
States to participate in our festivals, our concerts, and in our art
The Northwest Alabama Arts Council’s primary event
is the Jerry Brown Arts Festival held annually the first weekend in
March. Additionally, the arts council is now supporting arts programs
on both the elementary and high school levels. Formed in 2004, the
NWAAC is a nonprofit, voluntary organization formed to promote art and
artists in our area.
In addition to Cochran, others serving in
leadership roles with the arts council are vice president Ed Minter,
secretary Tyna Vines, and art education program coordinator Belinda
McRae. Jerry and Sandra Brown serve as special advisors to the
The official website of the arts council is
www.nwaarts.org, and the official website of the Jerry Brown
Arts Festival is
www.jbaf.org. Additional information can be obtained through
these two websites or by calling (205) 921-9483.
Important news about the story above is that
each student who participated in this program will have
their piece of art exhibited at this year's Jerry Brown Arts Festival,
to be held on March 3rd and 4th, in Hamilton.
Similar to the professional artists displaying at the
festival, each student's piece of pottery will be judged, and the top
five participants will receive scholarships to the Bevill State
Community College Arts Camp scheduled for the summer.
The winners from the "Molding Hearts, Hands & Minds"
elementary school arts program.
First place: Meredith Knight
Second place: Katie Perry
Third place: Denise Carter
Fourth place: Lorra Carter
Fifth place: Paige Box
Twenty-five Hamilton Elementary fourth-graders spent two sessions
learning from Jerry Brown and then created their own pottery piece,
which was judged and displayed as part of last week's Jerry Brown Arts
In addition to ribbons and certificates, these top five artists were
awarded scholarships by the Northwest Alabama Arts Council to attend
Bevill State Community College's Summer Arts Camp to be held in June at
its Hamilton Campus.
Rebekah Jackson, daughter
of Steve and Cindy Jackson (Owners of TV 8 in Hamilton) enjoys her
Roasted Corn offered by one of the several Vendors on hand at the recent
Jerry Brown Arts Festival held in Hamilton, Alabama. Below Rebekah
is shown with her mom and dad.
Awards were made during the concert to area high school
students who participated in the Northwest Alabama Arts
Council's high school arts competition. Over 300 students
competed with 78 drawings being selected for final display
and judging at this year's
Jerry Brown Arts Festival.
Shown left to right: Belinda McRae, Bevill State Community
College-Hamilton Continuing Education Coordinator; Steffaney
Hedrick, Winfield High School, 3rd place overall program;
Hang Pham, Phillips High School, 2nd place, Sketching the
Future; BSCC Dean Susan Burrow; and Caleb Wade, Russellville
High School, 2nd place overall.
Not shown are 1st place overall winner Suzanne Pickett of
Russellville High School, overall program; Trace Barnett,
Brilliant High School, first place, Sketching the Future;
and Bridget Tucker, Hackleburg High School, third place,
Sketching the Future. In addition to receiving certificates
and ribbons, all awards winners received cash prize.
The Winfield City School
Board met on Tuesday March 13th at 5 p.m. in the
system offices. The board welcomed new board member Michael
Box to his first board meeting since replacing Bill Carothers.
Board member Chuck Spann was not present.
Kirkpatrick presented the board with some plans for a proposed
elementary school classroom addition. The financing would
come from an upcoming state bond issue. A decision was tabled
for further review.
The board went into
executive session for some twenty minutes at the beginning of
the meeting for what Kirkpatrick said concerned a legal
The board heard and
received a presentation of the Fiscal Year 2006 audit by CPA
Vangie Rasbury. She reported a “clean” audit with the net
assets for the school system increasing some $400,000 over the
Approved the resignation
of Vicki Humber as middle school custodian and posted the
Approved the employment
of Tiffany Porter as part-time elementary school lunch room
leave for Cindi Holt with an amendment attached.
Approved a resolution in
opposition to a uniform state school calendar or mandatory
- In response to a news release - issued by ChemNutra Inc. during the
evening of April 3, 2007 - Menu Foods today voluntarily expanded its pet
food recall for selected "cuts and gravy" pet food products,
manufactured back to November 8, 2006.
ChemNutra Inc., a former supplier of wheat gluten to Menu Foods,
announced a recall of all wheat gluten it imported from Xuzhou Anying
Biologic Technology Development Co. in Wangdien, China. As a result,
Menu Foods today announced an expansion of its recall to include all
products manufactured with wheat gluten purchased from ChemNutra Inc.
Foods' records show was first used on November 8, 2006 and last used on
March 6, 2007.
As a result of actions previously taken by Menu Foods, the vast majority
of the products affected by this expansion are already off retailers'
shelves. No new brands have been added. A total of 20 varieties have
been added to the recall list and the additional varieties are listed
below. All Menu Foods products not made with the recalled wheat gluten
are safe to consume.
NOT FOR RELEASE OVER US NEWSWIRE SERVICES
Attention Business/Financial Editors
Menu Foods Income Fund (the "Fund") (TSX:MEW.UN) today
expressed confidence that its “cuts and gravy” style pet
food outside the recalled period is safe and healthy for
consumption by North America’s cats and dogs.
The Fund’s announcement followed a news conference by the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, during which it
identified that melamine has been found in wheat gluten
imported from China. This is the wheat gluten in the
recalled pet food that caused illnesses and deaths.
Melamine has not been found in other Menu Foods pet food,
nor is it present in the wheat gluten from the other
suppliers used by Menu Foods.
“The pet food that we have manufactured after March 6 is
safe and healthy,” said Paul K. Henderson, President and
CEO, at a news conference on Friday.
“How do we know this? First, it contains no melamine.
Secondly, it contains none of the suspect wheat gluten.
Thirdly, all of the testing that has been conducted,
including the routine taste tests that were underway prior
to the discovery of this problem, have demonstrated that
those products not associated with the suspect wheat gluten
performed very well and in a manner consistent with historic
“Quite simply, one supplier’s product was adulterated with a
material that is not part of any known screening procedure
for wheat gluten,” Henderson said. “The important point
today is that the source of the adulteration has been
identified and removed from our system.
“As a result, I can say with complete confidence today – to
consumers, to our customers, to governments – that Menu
Foods continues to uphold the high standards for which we
have been known since 1971,” he said.
“Our products are safe. We continue to engage in the highest
levels of monitoring and testing in the pet food industry.
These tests will be expanded as a result of this
experience,” said Henderson.
Menu is the leading North American private-label/contract
manufacturer of wet pet food products sold by supermarket
retailers, mass merchandisers, pet specialty retailers and
other retail and wholesale outlets. In 2006, the Fund
produced more than one billion containers.
HAMILTON - March 21, 2007 - A two vehicle
accident involving a car and a tractor-trailer was cause for alarm for
Police, Paramedics and then Firefighters were called to the scene of the
accident where a fire was reported from one of the vehicles involved. No
injuries were reported in the accident at the intersection of County
Highway 29 and US Highway 43 North near the Ragsdale Creek Bridge.
click picture to enlarge
The accident occured at 1:05 p.m. A 1995 Chevy Lumina, driven by
Hamilton resident, Rhonda Burleson, was struck as she entered the
South-bound lane of US highway 43 from County Highway 29 by a 2000
Peterbilt belonging to Black Trucking out of Garden City, AL. The 2000
Peterbilt was driven by Dennis Maines of Hanceville, AL.
click picture to enlarge
The accident was not cleared and traffic was not flowing freely until
after midnight, Thursday morning. HAZMAT Teams had to be called in to
assist Firefighters and Marion County EMA in clearing any debris which
might have been released into Ragsdale Creek.
MONTGOMERY – Governor Bob
Riley on Friday announced that Alabama’s unemployment rate remained a
low 3.3 percent in February, unchanged from January.
“Alabama’s economy continues showing growth and strength,” said Governor
Riley. “With the middle class tax cuts and pro-growth tax incentives
I’ve proposed, we can sustain this growth, which makes our economy even
stronger and results in more funding for schools. Anyone who says tax
relief and tax incentives hurt education funding is absolutely wrong.
The only way to increase education funding is to stimulate more economic
Wage and salary employment increased by 11,000 in February, while the
number of unemployed Alabamians dropped from 73,848 in January to 73,584
in February. In the last 12 months, employment increased by 35,800 in
Alabama’s unemployment rate remained below the national unemployment
rate, which was 4.5 percent for February.
For a summary
of Governor Riley’s pro-growth tax incentives, go online to:
MONTGOMERY – Several Alabama teachers are expected to testify in support
of Governor Bob Riley’s “Teacher Protection Act” on Wednesday when a
Senate committee holds a public hearing on the bill.
The Teacher Protection Act would provide teachers with professional
liability insurance. This insurance would provide teachers with legal
representation and protect them from potential financial ruin if they
are sued over issues related to work. Liability insurance is a
protection the state already provides to state employees.
“The state provides a form of liability insurance protection to all
state employees, but not our teachers. Currently, our hardworking
teachers are forced to pay for this protection out of their own
pockets,” said Governor Riley. “I believe this protection should be
extended to our teachers so they are secure from the financial dangers
of work-related lawsuits.”
The state’s General Liability Trust Fund covers state employees from
personal liability in lawsuits arising out of their official duties and
helps them pay for legal expenses incurred in their defense. It
protects, for example, state troopers when they are sued for false
arrest, corrections officers when the are sued by inmates, and agency
officials when they are sued by disgruntled employees.
If the same protections are extended to the state’s teachers with the
Teacher Protection Act, it is estimated Alabama teachers would save
about $8 million annually.
The Senate Committee on Education will hold a public hearing on the
Teacher Protection Act (Senate Bill 148) on Wednesday. The committee
will begin its meeting at 8:30 a.m. in Room 727 of the Alabama State
The bipartisan Senate bill is sponsored by Senator Scott Beason and
co-sponsored by Senators Ben Brooks, Bradley Bryne, Tom Butler, Larry
Dixon, Hank Erwin, Steve French, Rusty Glover, Del Marsh, Larry Means
and Jabo Waggoner.
The Teacher Protection Act is part of Governor Riley’s Plan 2010.
MONTGOMERY – Representatives from a Boston-based insurance company
personally presented a $2 million check on Wednesday to Governor Bob
Riley and Enterprise officials as the first installment toward the
coverage of two Enterprise schools damaged by a tornado on March 1.
Officials from Lexington Insurance presented the check at the State
Capitol. The insurance company participates in the in the State
Insurance Fund (SIF), the state’s property insurance program.
The SIF, supported by Lexington and its other excess insurers, will
provide additional millions in assistance to the Enterprise school
system as it recovers from its devastating loss.
Jim Main, State Finance Director, said, “I am very encouraged by the
fact that the state’s re-insurers are responding to the Enterprise
disaster without hesitation. Lexington is to be commended for advancing
much-needed funds in this manner.”
TARRANT—Governor Bob Riley today visited
Tarrant High School in Tarrant to promote the state’s ACCESS Distance
Learning program. At Tarrant, Governor Riley sat in on a Spanish II
class being taught by a teacher at Douglas High School in Marshall
County. A total of 30 students were able to take the class, thanks to
the distance learning program.
"We need to continue to invest in ACCESS because it expands learning
opportunities our students," said Governor Riley. "For too long, many of
Alabama’s students in rural communities or inner cities have been denied
the range of courses available in other schools. With ACCESS, we use
21st century technology to change that, and if my budget is approved,
more students will benefit from it."
Currently, 44 Alabama high schools have received ACCESS grants, but a
total of 117 high schools are currently participating using existing
technology. By the end of the year, an additional 150 schools will be
using the technology. Governor Riley announced an additional 26 high
schools will be added in his 2007 State of the State address, bringing
the total number of ACCESS grants to 70 by August 2007. During the next
school year, an estimated 10,000 students will take courses through
ACCESS, with that number rising to 25,000 by the 2008-2009 school year.
Governor Riley’s budget also provides for an additional 150 schools to
receive ACCESS technology. The budget provides for an increase of $14.7
million dollars, for a total of $25 million dollars. If approved, that
will mean distance learning will have been implemented in more than half
of Alabama’s high schools in just three years.
MONTGOMERY—Governor Bob Riley today signed an
Establishment of State Speed Zone lowering the speed limit from its
current limit of 60 mph to 50 mph for all vehicles traveling near the
I-65 / I-20-59 interchange in Birmingham.
Temporary signs alerting motorists of the new speed limit will be in
place by next week.
"We are working to enhance safety enforcement by increasing the size of
our state trooper force”, said Governor Riley. “In the meantime, I am
taking this needed step to help reduce traffic crashes and, hopefully,
to save lives in an area that has become increasingly dangerous."
On I-59, the speed limit will be lowered from mile marker 123 through
mile marker 127. On I-65, it will be lowered from mile marker 259 to
mile marker 262, and on I-20 it will be lowered from mile marker 130 to
mile marker 129. The speed limit on I-20 will be lowered to 45 mph.
The busy Birmingham interchange has recently seen several accidents
caused by steel coils dropping off the back of trucks, damaging the
highway. The coils can weigh as much as 46,000 pounds, and on average,
cause around $200,000 to $300,000 worth of damage. The Alabama
Department of Transportation recommended the speed limit reduction,
because excessive speed has been in a factor in most of the accidents.
“I’m pleased to have the support of Governor Riley to enhance the safety
of the traveling public in the most heavily traveled interchange in the
state of Alabama,” said Joe McInnes, Director of the Alabama Department
of Transportation. “We encourage all motorists to adhere to these new
speed limits and join us in lowering the vehicle accident rate in
The Alabama Trucking Association also supports the change. ATA’s
President and CEO, Frank Filgo, says lowering the speed limit was one of
their original recommendations to help reduce the number of accidents in
the area. “We are very glad to see the speed limits reduced. Any coil
spill is dangerous if the coil leaves the truck bed, and we hope this
speed limit reduction will help reduce accidents.”
Several additional state troopers will also be assigned to the area to
help enforce the new speed limits.
Authorities need help locating relatives of a man fatally shot early
Tuesday in western Birmingham.
Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Jay Glass said that someone shot
into the pickup truck that Martin Speights, 46, of Lithonia, Ga., was
driving. He drove to a parking lot in the 1200 block of the Bankhead
Highway and was pronounced dead on the scene there at 1:09 a.m.
Anyone who is related to Speights is asked to contact the coroner's
office at 205-930-3603.
Further information from Birmingham police was not immediately
MONTGOMERY—Gov. Bob Riley has awarded $148,000 to a nonprofit agency in
Montgomery that helps victims of sexual assault. The grant will improve
services for victims across the state through continued training and
support of law enforcement, medical and legal personnel.
The Alabama Coalition Against Rape will use the funds to train
prosecutors and law enforcement officers on sexual assault issues
including dynamics of sexual assault, techniques of interviewing victims
and procedures to ensure the successful prosecution of sexual offenders.
The coalition will offer training and technical assistance to medical
personnel that will help ease victims’ anxieties and improve the
collection of evidence during forensic examinations.
“By educating law enforcement officers, doctors, prosecutors and others
on the needs and concerns of victims, the Alabama Coalition Against Rape
helps ensure that these crimes are dealt with swiftly and effectively,”
Riley said. “I commend the coalition for advocating the kind of
professional and compassionate response that victims deserve.”
The grant also will support development of the Sexual Assault Nurse
Examiner and Sexual Assault Response Team programs, awareness of sexual
assault through media campaigns and assistance to faith-based programs
that tackle sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.
Riley notified Kathleen Connolly, ACAR president, that the grant had
been approved. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
will administer the grant from funds provided to the state by the U.S.
Department of Justice.
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
OFFICE OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
DR. TIM ALFORD
MONTGOMERY— Governor Bob Riley announced on Monday that he has appointed
Don Lambert, of Vernon, to the Lamar County District Court. Lambert is
filling the vacancy left by Judge Ed Gosa, who recently retired.
“I am pleased to appoint Don Lambert to the bench in Lamar County,” said
Governor Riley. “He brings a wealth of legal knowledge and experience to
the bench, and I am confident he will serve the people of Lamar County
Lambert is an attorney and has been practicing law since 1991. His areas
of practice include juvenile court, real estate law, civil litigation,
criminal law, domestic relations, appeals and probate. He is a member of
both the Alabama Bar and the Federal District Court Bar in the Northern
District of Alabama, and is a former Bar Commissioner.
“I am honored that Governor Riley would have the confidence in me to
appoint me to the Lamar County District Court,” said Lambert. “I look
forward to serving the people of Lamar County to the best of my
Lambert is a graduate of Birmingham Southern College and holds a Juris
Doctorate and a Master’s of Laws in Taxation from the University of
MONTGOMERY—Workers at a
manufacturing plant in Winston County will upgrade their job skills and
help their company become more efficient thanks in part to a grant
awarded by Gov. Bob Riley.
Tiffin Motor Homes Inc. will use the $50,000 grant to cover a part of
the cost to train 120 workers at its Red Bay facility in techniques to
reduce waste and increase production efficiency. The company will
contribute $75,290 for the training.
“Alabama’s well-trained workforce is a key component to our recent
economic successes,” Riley said. “I am pleased to help these Alabama
workers gain new skills that will help them and their company continue
contributing to the state’s economy.”
Expansions during the past 25 years have resulted in a disorderly
arrangement of manufacturing buildings, inefficient production flow and
excessive waste, said officials with Tiffin, which manufactures high-end
custom motor homes under the Allegro, Phaeton and Zephyr names. Workers
will be trained to apply LEAN Manufacturing, a technique that
streamlines production and eliminates waste. The training will be
conducted over a 12-month period by Spectrum Consulting.
Riley awarded the grant from funds made available to the state by the
U.S. Department of Labor. The Alabama Office of Workforce Development
will administer the funds.
OWD Director Tim Alford informed Tim Tiffin, the company’s general
manager, that the grant had been approved.
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
OFFICE OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
DR. TIM ALFORD
Contact: Mike Presley, Larry Childers, (334) 242-5525
MONTGOMERY—Governor Bob Riley was joined by local officials from Auburn
on Tuesday to announce that two companies – Seohan Auto USA and Seohan
Driveshaft USA – will locate in Auburn. The two companies will create a
total of up to 170 new jobs and a combined investment of $33 million.
“These companies are yet another example of the quality businesses that
Alabama is able to recruit thanks to our excellent workforce, strong
partnerships with local communities and a booming economy,” said
Governor Riley. “I am proud to welcome Seohan to Alabama and am
confident they will find great success in our state.”
Seohan is a manufacturer of front and rear axle assembly for
Montgomery’s Hyundai plant. The companies will jointly occupy a 250,000
square foot building in Auburn’s Industrial Park.
Construction of the new facility is expected to begin immediately and
production is scheduled to begin by the end of the year.
Seohan Auto USA and Seohan Driveshaft USA are part of the Seohan Group,
which is based in Korea.
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
OFFICE OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
DR. TIM ALFORD
Contact: Mike Presley, Larry Childers, (334) 242-5525
MONTGOMERY—Gov. Bob Riley has
awarded $21,777 to the Marion County Commission to support continued
efforts in the county to reduce domestic violence.
The Marion County Family Violence Prevention Program, administered by
the district attorney’s office, will use the grant to help fund the
continued employment of a full-time family violence investigator and a
prosecutor specializing in family violence cases.
The program focuses on decreasing domestic violence and abuse by
increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement’s response to domestic
violence and ensuring that all cases are actively prosecuted.
“Domestic violence is a reprehensible crime that must be punished,”
Riley said. “I commend Marion County officials for implementing this
program and helping victims find the justice they deserve.”
The program’s investigator and prosecutor organize law enforcement
training sessions to help officers understand and properly respond to
the physical and mental aspects of domestic violence. The program also
reaches out to church groups and civic organizations to raise awareness
of the problem and convey the importance of community support for
Riley notified Bobby Boyett, commission chairman, that the grant had
been approved. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
will administer the grant from funds made available to the state by the
U.S. Department of Justice. Matching funds of $7,259 will supplement the
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC
AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS
Contact: Frank Miles, Larry Childers, (334) 242-5525
Campus remains closed; convocation Tuesday
3:45 p.m., April 16, 2007
Virginia Tech remains closed on Monday, April 16, 2007. Vehicular
entrances to campus are severely restricted to essential personnel only.
Additional security remains on campus as the investigation continues.
Counseling assistance for students is available at West Ambler Johnston
and McComas Hall until 9 p.m. Monday night. Students are encouraged to
utilize these services. Counseling for faculty and staff is available in
the Bowman Room on the fourth floor of Jamerson Athletic Center,
accessible from Jamerson or the Merryman Athletic Facility. Students may
also gather at the Old Dominion Ballroom in Squires Student Center.
The university will also be closed on Tuesday, April 17. Essential
personnel are to report for work. Classes are canceled.
A public gathering will be held on Tuesday, April 17 at Cassell Coliseum
at 2 p.m. (a time change from the originally scheduled gathering).
All students are urged to contact their parents as soon as possible to
let them know they are safe.
Students, faculty, and staff who may have any information related to the
incident at West Ambler Johnston Hall and Norris Hall are encouraged to
go to the Blacksburg Police Department to make statements, or call
540-231-TIPP (8477), or 231-6411
Parents with concerns are asked to call the Dean of Students Office at
Individuals injured in the two shootings have been taken to area
The university was struck today with a tragedy of
monumental proportions. There were two shootings on campus. In each
case, there were fatalities. The university is shocked and horrified
that this would befall our campus. I want to extend my deepest,
sincerest and most profound sympathies to the families of these victims
which include students There are 22 confirmed deaths.
We currently are in the process of notifying families of victims. The
Virginia Tech Police are being assisted by numerous other jurisdictions.
Crime scenes are being investigated by the FBI, University Police, and
State Police. We continue to work to identify the victims impacted by
this tragedy. I cannot begin to covey my own personal sense of loss over
this senselessness of such an incomprehensible and heinous act The
university will immediately set up counseling centers. So far centers
have been identified in Ambler Johnston and the Cook Counseling Center
to work with our campus community and families.
Here are some of the facts we know:
At about 7:15 a.m. this morning a 911 call came to the University Police
Department concerning an event in West Ambler Johnston Hall. There were
multiple shooting victims. While in the process of investigating, about
two hours later the university received reports of a shooting in Norris
Hall. The police immediately responded. Victims have been transported to
various hospitals in the immediate area in the region to receive
We will proceed to contact the families of victims as identities are
All classes are cancelled and the university is closed for the remainder
of today. The university will open Tuesday at 8 a.m. but classes are
cancelled. The police are currently staging the release of people from
Families wishing to reunite with the students are suggested to meet at
the Inn at Virginia Tech. We are making plans for a convocation tomorrow
(Tuesday) at noon at Cassell Coliseum for the university community to
come together to begin to deal with the tragedy.
7th annual City Celebration will be held Friday
night, April 27th 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and
Saturday, April 28th from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm in
Vernon , AL . There will be live entertainment of
all kinds, arts and crafts, food booths, antique
cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles and big trucks
information about Arts and Crafts booths, food
booths contact Tammy Bardon at 695-6863 after 5:00
p.m. by April 13. For auto show contact Glen Bardon
at 695-6863 after 5:00 p.m. The auto show will be
conducting a Cruise-In this year on Saturday morning
for more information contact Jerry Paschall at
695-8817. This event is sponsored by the Vernon
Chamber of Commerce.
Two people died Thursday
Morning, April 12, 2007, around 2:00 a.m. when a tractor trailer and a
car collided in Cullman County on Interstate 65 between Cullman and
A witness, who happened upon the crash just after it
occurred, told this reporter that the Alabama State Troopers were asking
the press not to take any pictures of the vehicle because it was so
badly damaged that they couldn't even tell how many people were
Workers from the State Department of Forensic Sciences
were called to the scene to help determine the number of fatalities.
State Troopers now say two people were inside the vehicle at the time of
the crash, they were 18 year old, Justin Hubbard of Lynette, AL and 64
year old, Evelyn Farow of Valley, AL. Police were not sure who was
The driver of the Tractor Trailer was transported to Cullman
Regional Medical Center. Although his exact condition is not known at
this time, it is believed that he did not have life threatening
On April 19,
2007 the Texaco Havoline Race Show Car made a stop at Mac's Minit-Mart
in downtown Hamilton. Shown above is Scott with Texaco Havoline
Racing. He has been traveling the State of Alabama with the Texaco Havoline
Show Car promoting the racing team. The trip will continue to Anniston
next and end at the
Talladega Super Speedway arriving in time for race weekend on April 28th and 29th.
They also had a pit time trials car set up to demonstrate the pit stop
times. The #42 Texaco Havoline Car is driven by
Michael Jackson, who has been the youth/associate minister for the
Winfield church of Christ since November, 2003 announced his resignation
recently. Jackson has accepted the multi-role of Distance Education
Librarian/ Director of Christian Service/Adjunct Professor position at
Heritage Christian University in Florence , Alabama .
Michael is a 1999 graduate of Winfield City High School , a 2004
graduate of Heritage Christian University and is scheduled to receive a
master’s degree from Freed-Hardeman University on May 12, 2007.
Michael currently serves on the City of Winfield ’s Library Board after
having replaced Randy Brown after Brown’s election to the City Council.
He is also a Greek instructor in the Gus Nichols School of Biblical
Studies in Jasper.
Michael Jackson achieved nationwide recognition through the mention of
his name and his youth minister’s position in the “Headlines” portion of
the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Jackson is married to the former Stacey Tidwell of Hubbertville who is
in her first year of teaching at Winfield Elementary School . He is the
son of Kenneth and Judy Jackson.
HAMILTON - On Friday, April 20, 2007, at about 8:55
am, an automobile accident occurred at North Fork on Hwy 43 North
about 5 miles north of Hamilton, claiming the life of Allen Verdell Kerr, age 40, of Hamilton, AL.
The accident involved a 1993 Chevrolet S-10 pickup driven by
Allen Verdell Kerr, age 40, of Hamilton, AL and a 1999 Freightliner
driven by Daniel Palmer, age 39, of Jacksonville, AR. Mr. Palmer was not injured in the accident.
Sources with the Alabama Department of Public Safety
stated that the cause of the accident is still under investigation.
HAMILTON - At approximately 2pm on April, 20, 2007 a
two vehicle accident occurred on County Hwy 11 involving two Hamilton
The accident involved a 1988 Chevrolet driven by
Vester Holloway, age 41, of Hamilton, AL and a 2002 Chevrolet driven by
Jennifer Cribbs, age 32, of Hamilton, AL. Both sustained injuries and
the extent of their injuries was unknown at the time of this story.
Sources with the Alabama Department of Public Safety
stated that the cause of the accident was still under investigation.
The Winfield City
Council met in regular session on Thursday April 5 and by a
unanimous six to zero vote reappointed Tracy Estes to the
Winfield City School Board. Estes will begin his third five
year term with the board in June, 2007. Estes currently
serves the board as its vice-chairman.
In other council business:
A.Set a city wide Clean- Up day for
Saturday April 14, 2007. Two dumpsters will be available for
use of inert items.
B.Authorized the purchase of a
Dodge Charger police car at the state bid prize. With
modifications the car will cost approximately $20,000.
C.Changed the next council meeting
to Tuesday April 17 at 6 p.m.
In 2002 Amber and Scott married and shared the happy
event on public television. Now, 5 years later, we can watch them as
they continue their life together.
Wednesday night, May 23, 2007 at 8:00
p.m. Central Time on the Hallmark Channel, watch the continuing story of Amber and Scott and 8
other couples who shared their life stories with us. This would not be
such a significant event except for the fact that Scott is one of our
own. He is from Hamilton, Alabama.
I had the opportunity to meet Scott last year when his dad was running
for political office. I found him to be a delightful young man with a
quick wit and wonderful sense of humor. Scott Howell is the son of Wyatt
and Cindy Howell from Hamilton, Alabama. Wyatt is a local attorney and
Cindy, a school teacher. Scott's grandmother is Lilly Mae Howell, a
retired school teacher also from Hamilton.
Watch "Married In America 2", Wednesday May 23, 2007, 9 p.m. Eastern Time,
8 p.m. Central Time, on the Hallmark Channel (Channel 54 on our West AL
TV Cable in Hamilton and Winfield).
More to come on this story later....jmays
To view a clip of Scott and Amber or to purchase a CD of
the show, click on the link below:
HAMILTON - A certificate of appreciation was awarded to
Kent Cochran for his special efforts in assisting the Marion County
Humane Society in the 2006 Hamilton Christmas Parade. This event was the
Marion County Humane Society's first public function since it's
inception in June 2006. Accepting the award on behalf of Mr. Cochran was
Betty Blaine and presenting for the Marion County Humane Society was
Proposed Shelter Plans Released By Marion County Humane Society
(L to R - Board Member Donna Pemberton, President Bill
Nowlin, Treasurer Kathy Ballard and Board Member Betty Blain )
HAMILTON - If you've been noticing those sad little
plastic puppy dogs sitting in local businesses, then that means you know
that the Marion County Humane Society has been trying to raise money to
construct a permanent shelter to care for Marion County's stray
animal problem. Members recently released drawings of a purposed shelter
to gain public support in their efforts to construct the facility and to
try to draw in help with the fund raiser they have been planning to
achieve their goals. Check out their website at:
May 23 - 8:30 a.m. - Fourth grade awards day at Hamilton Elementary
School. We are first on the program to present the 25 children who
participated in the Molding Hearts, Hands & Minds program their
participation ribbons and certificates.
Ongoing - Registration continues for a continuing education class
presented by Bevill State - Hamilton Campus. The class is scheduled for
Saturday, July 7, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. The location will be
Jerry Brown Pottery.
The cost is $50. To register or for more information, contact Belinda
McRae, Continuing Education Coordinator, at (205) 921-3177 Ext. 5306.
There are only a few slots of availability left!
June 5 - Vote!
Belinda McRae is currently working on a grant proposal with the state
arts council for a new, short-term art education program. More
information will be provided as the "I"s are dotted and the "T"s are
crossed. We thank Belinda for her hard work and dedication to this most
We realize that summertime is a very busy time of the year for everyone,
but we will be scheduling a meeting very soon. We have some very
important issues to discuss, to include suggested grant applications,
planning of upcoming events, and site suggestions for the 2008
Please be sure and contact Ed or Marla at 205-921-3632 if you would like
to obtain any of the 2008 JBAF brochures to disseminate at any festivals
that you are attending throughout the rest of the spring and during the
summer. If you do make contact with artists who you would like to be
sent an application for the 2008
JBAF, please e-mail us
their name and address and we will put them on our mailing list.
The arts council received this from the Bureau of Tourism & Travel: "For
every one dollar in travel-related spending by travelers, Alabama
workers earn 41-cents. – Source: Economic Impact Alabama Travel Industry
We realize that many our of
are actively involved in other important community events. Please
remember and support these events, i.e., Relay for Life, Mayday for
Maywood, etc., as well as all festivals in the area. Please let these
folks know that you there as members of the arts council supporting
their event, and hopefully, those actions will be reciprocated.
FYI, we are now over 60 days post-festival, and we continue to receive a
lot of positive feedback and compliments regarding the 2007 JBAF from
within the community and from community leaders. With this having been
our fifth festival, many people feel that we are now "here to stay" and
are an "established" and important event for our community. Thank you to
all of our staff and volunteers for your ideas, efforts, time,
dedication, and professionalism in making the JBAF such a tremendous
success not only for 2007 but for years to come!
The crash happened around 2:45 p.m. at Folsom Field, off Highway 31.
An employee at the field tells NewsChannel 19 that the pilot radioed to
Huntsville and said there was a fire on board. He also radioed Cullman
to ask permission to land there. When he did, it looked like they had
trouble with their landing gear and tried to take off again, but
The Cullman County Emergency Management Agency says a man and woman were
hurt. Both were flown by helicopter to Huntsville Hospital. The man is
in critical condition. The woman is in better shape.
The plane crashed at the north end of the runway at the Cullman airport.
Note: The plane is
registered to John Kerr II of Hamilton, AL.
Later reports said that both
passengers were awake and alert and were being transported by helicopter
to a Huntsville hospital where they were placed in the Intensive Care
Hamilton's annual Relay For Life Will Be This Week-End
The annual Marion County Relay for Life is scheduled for Friday, June 8,
2007. The theme for this year’s event will be "Castaway Cancer".
The event starts with the Survivors' dinner reception at 5:30 p.m. at
the Hamilton High School Lunchroom. The Survivors' dinner is sponsored,
this year, by the Northwest Regional Cancer Center. Parking passes are
available for survivors who drive from the lunchroom to the walking
The Relay will be held at the Hamilton Walking Track. The Track is
located at the junction of Highway 17 South and 6th Street S.W., behind
the Hamilton Fire Department. The Relay Walk will officially begin at
7:00 p.m. with the first lap being walked by cancer survivors. The
ceremonial lighting of the Luminaries, which honors all cancer patients
and survivors, will take place at 9:00 p.m.
Sponsors for the event includes NTN-Bower, Sitel, Northwest Medical
Center in Winfield, Continental Conveyor, Alabama Power Company,
Aseracare, Northwest Regional Cancer Center, First National Bank,
Winfield Rubber, State Bank and Trust, Buccaneer Homes, and Marion
County Treatment Center. jmays
This past week, the Alabama Senate 18 Democrats again broke through the
Republican led filibuster and were able to take care of the taxpayers
business. We passed the largest school bond construction bill in the
history of the state. This one billion dollar bond issue will provide
millions of dollars in capital construction and maintenance needs within
every school system in the State. I was proud to support this bond
issue, where 75% of the one billion will go toward the K-12 schools and
the remainder to the two-year and four-year colleges. This is a good
bill which is needed to help us continue to improve the quality of
schools we have in this area and throughout the state.
The breakdown of how it will be used in K-12 for our senate district is
$2,767,321 for the Fayette County School System
$2,790,601 for the Franklin County School System
$2,149,863 for the Lamar County School System
$4,800,194 for the Lawrence County School System
$3,224,345 for the Marion County School System
$2,377,826 for the Winston County School System
$1,639,901 for the Haleyville City School System
$2,242,709 for the Russellville City School System
$1,304,677 for the Winfield City School System
The breakdown for Higher Education in the senate district is as follows:
$2,585,012 for Bevill State Community College
$1,962,249 for Northwest Shoals Community College
We were also able to pass a 7% pay raise for our teachers, which will go
into effect on October 1 as well as 3.5% pay raise, which will also
begin October 1, which will be followed by a 3.5% pay raise next year,
for our hardworking, active state employees. I believe our teachers and
state employees are professionals, they are trained as such and ought to
be compensated for it.
In addition, we were able to pass the special education trust fund
budget, which was at a record amount of $6.7 billion. This is an
increase of $461 million or 7.4% over this past year’s budget. This will
provide an almost 12% increase for K-12 and two-year colleges and 15%
for universities. The senate passed budget would double the funding for
distance learning programs in public schools to $20 million. The
Education Trust Fund Budget will also increase the money for the State
of Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative by 2/3 from $22
million to $35.8 million.
I am also pleased to report to you that we passed a very good general
fund budget in the amount of $1.8 billion. One of my goals was to be
able to help the Alabama Department of Human Resources increase payments
to families caring for foster children and as such, I was able to place
a $1 million line item in the budget to accomplish that.
We also increased medicaid spending by $70 million so that our seniors
and children can be covered with their healthcare needs under medicaid.
We were able to place $300,000 in Commissioner Ron Sparks budget to
create two new centers of which one is for the State Agriculture
Department, which will promote alternative fuels and the other for rural
In addition, we were able to pass a bill that will provide retired,
education employees and state workers with a pension of a $1.00 per
month for each year of service. Historically, we do a cost of living
increase, but, Dr. Bronner has come out against that and as such, we
were not able to accomplish that this year.
We were able to pass many other significant bills as well to help
improve the overall quality of life here in Alabama.
The last day for the 2007 regular legislative session will be June 7. It
is my hope it will be a productive day and we can complete the
taxpayers’ business at this time.
This coming week, on June 5, there will be a special election regarding
some important amendments. These amendments will allow us to recruit
high paying jobs to our area and includes money that would be used to
help get the steel plant in Mobile as well as other areas. It is
important to note that approval of these amendments will not cause an
increase in taxes. It will allow us to borrow money from the oil and gas
money from the Gulf and float bonds for industrial development.
Congratulations goes out to Northwest Shoals Community College on being
awarded a $63,932.11 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and
Community Affairs for the implementation of the Alcohol Enforcement
Equipment Project. This project involves purchasing Alco Sensor Portable
Breath Testers which will be used by law enforcement to detect the
presence of alcohol among drivers.
I want to wish the best to two fine individuals who announced their
plans to retire in Marion County. The first is Principal LeAnne Burns of
Guin Elementary School who retired officially on June 30 of this year. I
appreciate her fine service to the students of Guin Elementary and to
the staff, faculty and parents as well. I know that you all join with me
in wishing her a good retirement.
The second individual is Bobby Wallace who retired June 1 as the Marion
County Cooperative Extension Coordinator. I appreciate Mr. Wallace’s
service in this area especially to area gardeners and farmers for the
past twenty-eight years. I know that he will be missed.
I also had the pleasure of attending the Coalfest in Brilliant this past
weekend. They do such a good job there. I had a great time and enjoyed
playing Larry Pollard. He is such a fine checker player. I am pleased to
report to you that of the seven players, I was the next to the last one
to be beat. We all know we cannot beat him but, the trick is to last as
long as you can and not get beaten before the other six players.
It was a pleasure for me to be able to see one of our own local bankers
and civic leaders, John Bostick, was approved in committee to be
confirmed to the State Board of Banking. This is a very prestigious
board and it is an honor to our senate district to have someone of
John’s statue serving in that important capacity.
Please continue to contact me at the following addresses and numbers.
Roger H. Bedford, Jr.
Alabama State House
11 S. Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
Roger Bedford & Associates, P.C.
P.O. Box 370
Russellville, AL 35653
The 29th annual Helen Keller Festival is being held this weekend in
Tuscumbia. JBAF participant George Jones will be one of the
demonstrating artists participating in the Festival of Arts.
Also, locals performing in the entertainment portion of the festival,
Brianna Lawler Dean will be performing tonight (Thursday) at 7:15 p.m.,
and Joseph Baldwin and the Rowdy Knights will be performing Saturday at
2 p.m. There is a $2 charge for admission for the music portion of the
program on Friday night and Saturday.
Additional artists include four of the famous Gee's Bend quilters. There
are over 60 artists who will be participating in the festival. There is
no charge for admission to the arts portion of the festival.
If anyone is planning on attending and would like some of our JBAF
brochures to take with them, please call Ed or Marla at 921-3632 to
obtain these brochures.
For more information:
What: Helen Keller-Festival of the Arts,-hosted by the Tennessee Valley
Art Association in conjunction with the annual Helen Keller-Festival
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Spring Park, Tuscumbia
Cost: Free admission
Details: tvaa.net or (256) 383-0533
In the 5 - 7 year old category, we have the 3 top
winners, they are Dalton Flippo in 1st Place with a catch of 2.9 pounds;
Kaleigh Smith in 2nd Place with a catch of 2.6 pounds and Olivia Robison
in 3rd Place with a catch of 1.9 pounds.
HAMILTON – Dustin Henry was showing some dedication
to his team by practicing hitting with his dad, Devin Henry, just a few
hours before they were set to face off against the Sulligent Blue
Devils. Dustin had his little brother, Drake Henry, there to help field
the balls. Dustin plays in the 7 & 8 year old baseball league in for the
On my way to the office today I started noticing that people just don’t
wave like they used to. I remember when I just starting driving all the
way back in 1989. It annoyed me to no end to feel obligated that I had
to wave at everybody that I met on the highway. But being 16 years old I
guess we were all like that at one point in our lives. Now I look back
and see how friendly this town was back then and I genuinely miss it.
Hamilton has always been a town where you felt like you were at home
even if you weren’t from here.
Back to my story, as I was traveling to work I began to notice that
maybe 1 out of 15 cars had a driver that was paying attention enough to
wave at me as I was meeting them on the highway. I noticed drivers
talking on cell phones, brushing their hair, and genuinely not paying
attention to their surroundings. I also noticed that a lot of the people
that were waving at me were quite a bit older than me and that most of
the ones that were not were of a younger generation than me. They were
the ones talking on the cell phones and etc. I’m not complaining about
anything. I just want some things to go back the way they used to be. So
parents, please teach your kids to wave as they drive down the highway.
It teaches them to be courteous to other drivers on the highway and
maybe will become a good habit one day.
My main concern is that people be safe while they drive because
accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and cause irreparable damage
to life and property. Life being the key word! Remember property can be
replaced. So as you travel today and in the future, remember the drivers
around you and give them a wave as you pass because you never know when
that wave might mean a good deed is sent your way. They might be having
a bad day and you might make it better by being nice!
HAMILTON - Hamilton's
newest red light is nearing full operation. It is hoped that this will
ease the traffic expected to enter and exit Hamilton's newest business,
which is also near completion............Our Wal-Mart Supercenter.
This picture was taken
by Ronnie Garner of Hamilton, AL.
HAMILTON - If you plan on golfing at Pikeville Country
Club in Hamilton anytime soon just beware of loosing your ball in the
water hazard on the 17th hole. It could cost you more than a good
Titlist. Although the members of the Pikeville Country Club seem to not
see any danger of this amphibian sharing they're space, they do
stop and feed him some bread every once and awhile. It was stated that
the alligator is about 5 ½ feet in length and the weight is unknown.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is
proposing a new rule dealing with antler buck and turkey harvest for the
State of Alabama. These rules are currently on file for public comment.
I wanted to share this rule with you so that should you have any
comments about them, you may present them to the Department of
Conservation. The contact person at the Agency is M.M. Corky Pugh,
Director of the Division Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, 5th Floor,
64 North Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130. All views should be turned
in by August 6.
Under the proposed rule any person hunting deer or turkey, whether
required to be licensed or not, shall maintain and have in his or her
possession an "antler buck and turkey harvest" record, which shall be in
a specific form provided by the State. Hunting license holders who have
a harvest turkey record form on their licenses shall be required to
utilize the harvest record form located on their license. All other
persons shall utilize a form similar to the one put out by the State.
Yes, I agree with you that this is going to cause a great deal of
confusion. Apparently, Alabama, under Governor Riley’s leadership, is
proposing to do away with the ability to hunt deer and turkeys without
permits and tags.
The new requirements state that anyone whom harvest antler buck or
turkey will have in their possession the harvest record of that antler
buck or turkey until it is processed and stored in a cooler or freezer
at ones residence or delivered to commercial processing plants. It shall
be a violation of this regulation to obtain, possess or utilize
duplicate harvest record forms or provide false information on harvest
record forms for the purpose of avoiding this new law. Of course, there
are stiff penalties.
Should you support or oppose this measure please send your written
comments in or you may appear in person at the Agency at the Folsom
Administrative Building on North Union Street, Montgomery, Alabama at
10:00a.m. on Monday, August 6. This is the time of the public hearing on
installing a tag system in Alabama.
The State of Alabama Department of Transportation will be holding a
public meeting on August 2, 2007, from 5:00-7:00p.m. to gather input for
the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The meeting
will take place at the Alabama Department of Transportation Fifth
Division Auditorium, 2715 Skyland Boulevard, East, Tuscaloosa, Alabama,
35405. The proposed STIP can be viewed at the DOT offices located in
Tuscaloosa, Fayette, Carrolton, Maplesville and Greensboro. I would
encourage all interested parties to attend this meeting where you will
be able to offer your comments regarding the plan. You may also send
your comments to Mr. Robert J. Jilla, Transportation Planning Engineer,
Alabama Department of Transportation, PO Box 3050, Montgomery, AL
I had the pleasure of attending the dedication ceremony for the
Russellville Historic Marker this past week. The marker is located at
the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Lawrence Street in downtown
Russellville. It was good to see so many of our community leaders at the
dedication including Councilman Tinker Malone as well as members of the
Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and Franklin County Archives.
It is always a pleasure to announce when the Department of
Transportation is doing more road work in our senate district. Two
highway projects will be let in our senate district on July 27 in
Franklin County. The first one is the resurfacing of County Road 524
from County Road 41 to County Road 36 and County Road 36 from County
Road 524 to State Road 24.
The other project will be the resurfacing of County Road 36 from State
Road 24 to State Road 13 also known as U.S. Highway 43. Both of these
resurfacing projects are greatly needed and I am pleased to get these
grants for our area. It will provide safer transportation for our
Lamar County received good news this past week with the announcement
that Emergystat is planning on building a $1,900,000 facility in Vernon
to be located on 12th Street, SW. To assist with the project the City of
Vernon will issue bonds in the amount of $100,00, the Lamar County
Commission will issue bonds in the amount of $200,000 and the Vernon
Industrial Board will issue bonds in the amount of $1,600,000. The
facility will be used by Emergystat as an administrative and office
center. There will be a public meeting regarding this matter on July 31
at the Lamar County Courthouse beginning at 9:00a.m. At the meeting,
individuals can express their concerns regarding the proposed bond
The Outdoor Alabama magazine is sponsoring a photo contest with the
winning entries to be featured in their February 2008 issue. There will
be seven categories including birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians,
other native wildlife, scenic/pictorial, nature-based activities and
wild native flora. All photos must be taken with the last two years and
must have been taken in Alabama with all species of animals being native
to the state. The photos may be done in 35mm slides or larger format
transparencies, 8X10 inch color prints or unaltered, high quality
(300dpi) digital images. No black and white photos will be accepted. All
entries must be received by Outdoor Alabama by 5:00p.m. on October 31,
2007. For more information and the rules of the contest please call them
at 1-800-262-3151, write them at Outdoor Alabama 2008 Photo Contest, 64
N. Union St., Suite 106, Montgomery, AL 36130 or e-mail them at .
Information about the contest can also be found on the Alabama
Department of Conservation’s website at I encourage all interested
parties to please look into this and participate as it is a great
opportunity to experience the great Alabama outdoors and share your
experience with others.
It is hard to believe that the start of our area schools is just around
the corner with many schools starting back as early as August 9. I know
that many of our students have had busy summers practicing cheerleader
and band routines as well as participating in football practice as well
as other activities such as Girls and Boys State. I appreciate the great
job which the parents, sponsors and teachers as well as administrators
do in preparing for the upcoming school year. It is my hope that all of
our area schools will have a great academic year as well as having a
good time with the many extracurricular and athletic programs offered
throughout the senate district.
Please continue to contact me at the following addresses and numbers:
Roger H. Bedford, Jr.
Alabama State House
Suite 730, Montgomery, AL 36130
Roger Bedford & Associates, P.C.
P.O. Box 370, Russellville, AL 35653
Phone: 256-332-2880 Fax:256-332-7821
About 11:00 A.M. Saturday morning, July 14, 2007 a local resident,
Curtis Zuber, had started to town on a routine trip to the grocery store
when he noticed smoke over the Jim's Country Mill Sausage Plant.
At first, he didn't think too much about it, but then he noticed the
Hamilton Fire Department there. As time went on the smoke became worse
and other local fire fighters from other fire departments, Winfield,
Hodges, Haleyville, Shottsville, Byrd and Shiloh, Fire Engines, Pumper
Trucks, Boom Trucks, Fire and Rescue, Police and Ambulances started to
As Curtis watched from the Marion County Health Department parking lot
across the street. He watched the flames spread and the smoke column get
wider and taller. At one time, he witnessed a fireball he described as
about 100 feet across and about 200 feet tall burst from the building
and go skyward. (Possibly gasses from inside the building escaping when
the fire burst through the roof.)
I found Curtis still watching the firefighters and emergency personnel
fight the fire when I arrived about 1:00 P.M.
Buddy's Sausage Plant was reported to have caught fire about 2 days ago
and restoration had been in progress by Mr. Kenneth Moore, Manager of
Jim's Country Mill Sausage.
here] to see a slide show of pictures of the fire and firefighters
and also video footage.
My cousin, Susie, and I had to go to take care of some business in Red
Bay, Alabama Monday,
July 16 so I decided we should visit our good friend, LaVale Mills at
the Red Bay News.
I guess that we were about the last people she expected to see walk in
the door! But when we
entered the office of the 'Red Bay News' and asked the nice gentleman
(the Editor Keith
Ledbetter, I found out later) behind the counter if LaVale was in, we
heard from over behind the
partition, "Come on in" in a very familiar voice.
No matter how long it has been since I've seen LaVale 'Kennedy' Mills,
she is always the same
sweet, gracious person. She made us feel as if we were the most
important people in the world! I
just love her for it.
LaVale is Publisher of the 'Red Bay News' for those of you who don't
know her. She is a writer
and published author in her own right. I know the name of the first one
of her books and I believe
she might just be about to write another! 'Peach Orchard Revival', was
her first book, and there
are at least two more. If you haven't read them, you should. They're
great and straight from her
Anyway, to make a long story short, LaVale told us all about Red Bay,
Alabama celebrating it's
100th Birthday! July 17, 2007, there will be a ceremony in the park
there to commemorate the
historical event. Everyone is welcome to attend.
The pictures I have are of the Park, the mural depicting the history of
Red Bay and a beautiful
monument erected to honor the Veterans. If you haven't visited Red Bay
lately, you should. You
will see that everybody is taking time and sprucing up the town. Even
the old Redmont Hotel is
being restored. I love history and I love it when people take an
interest in and restore their
historical buildings. Remember, once they're gone...they're gone!
Those of you who love trains will be interested to know that one of the
main reasons that Red Bay
was formed was because of the railroad that goes through the town. Now,
they also have Tiffin
Motor Homes, known all over the world for their beautiful Motor Homes.
Be sure and say hello if you get up to Red Bay, it's a friendly town.