Gann voices concern over lack of financial reports

GUIN - “Last month we didn’t get anything on our financial statement or anything like that. This month we haven’t gotten anything again, what are we going to do about it? Are we just going to forget about it?” Guin City Councilman Jerry Gann asked.
Gann voiced his displeasure with the financial statement not being readily available for review during the regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 6, at Guin City Hall.
Guin Mayor Max Maddox assured Gann that the financial report would be included on the agenda for the next Guin City Council meeting.

Horror in Hackleburg casts shadow over decade

With the close of a decade, the Journal Record has reviewed the last 10 years and has selected the most significant news stories that transpired between 2010 and 2019.
The top story, the Hackleburg tornado and subsequent rebuilding efforts, was listed in Top 10 story lists over several consecutive years, which has all been collected into one synopsis in the following decade review.
In contrast, some of the following stories were not selected as an annual top story over the last 10 years, but their cumulative development and importance were taken into consideration.

Lake talks Census with City of Winfield

WINFIELD - James Lake with the U.S. Census Bureau addressed the Winfield City Council concerning the 2020 Census during a regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the Winfield City Hall.
At the start of his address, Lake stated that he originally planned to visit Winfield to discuss the Census before the holiday period, but was unable to.
For the past several months, Lake has attended several municipal and commission meetings to discuss the importance of community awareness for the upcoming U.S. Census.

C3 invites public to attend annual meeting on Jan. 21

WINFIELD – The ninth annual meeting of C3 of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance, will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the Pastime Theater Civic Center in Winfield.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the program will begin at 9. Attendees may enjoy coffee, a continental breakfast and networking with friends and business as they wait for the program to begin.
There is no charge to attend the meeting.

Spears hired at senior center

HAMILTON – Hamilton Mayor Bob Page has announced the hiring of Sadie Spears as a worker at the Hamilton Senior Center.
Page made the announcement during a quick Hamilton City Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 6.
Page recommended that the council pay Spears $8 per hour in the position.
Councilman Gene Sanderson made the motion to pay her accordingly, Bobby Joe Irvin seconded the motion and members Tami Lewis Williams, Wade Sullins and Herb Winsett cast their votes to give the pay amount unanimous approval.


Gunner returns home with large escort

HAMILTON – The son of a Hamilton police officer was escorted home on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 9, led by a host of police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firemen.
Gunner Pendley, 20, son of Hamilton Police Department Lt. Jimmy Pendley and Kimberly Reese, suffered a brain stem injury in July 2019 following a tractor accident. He has spent the last four months undergoing treatment and therapy in Atlanta, Ga.

Mills recalls 2011 Hackleburg tornado: ‘... that’s when I really started learning how things worked’

HAMILTON - Marion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jimmy Mills has retired after 12 years at the helm.
Mills, the son of Odean and Letha Mills, was born on Dec. 24, 1965, in Amory, Miss., and was raised in Hamilton since the age of 4.
Mills and his wife of 33 years, Michelle, have two daughters, Samantha (Josh) Nunn, Hamilton, and Tabitha (Clayton) Dodd, who lives in Tuscaloosa, and three grandchildren: Indie, Oliver and Eli.

Valentine Sweetheart Pageant to be held on Feb. 9

WINFIELD - The Pastime Theatre in Winfield will present the 13th Annual Mr. and Miss Valentine Sweetheart Pageant at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Winfield Elementary School Auditorium.
Sunday dress, semi-formal or formal attire is acceptable and Queens and Kings in each group will receive a sash and a crown.
Side awards include most beautiful/handsome, best fashion, prettiest hair, smile, eyes and most photogenic. Winners in each of the events will receive a sash.

Outz new police chief

HACKLEBURG – Jonathan Outz has been promoted as the new Hackleburg Police Chief.
The Hackleburg Town Council voted unanimously to promote Outz with a 90-day probation period during a two-hour council meeting held on Thursday, Dec. 19.
Former chief Jeremy Marbutt served in the position for roughly 10  months. He announced his resignation on social media in December, explaining he had accepted another local position. His official last day on the job was Friday, Nov. 29.

Reed is Hamilton’s newest Eagle Scout

HAMILTON – Hamilton’s Ross Reed, 18, has earned Scouting’s highest honor—the rank of Eagle Scout.
Hamilton Boy Scout Troop 56 hosted Reed’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on Tuesday night, Dec. 17, at the troops scout hut in Hamilton, friends, family and fellow Scouts attending.
Reed is the son of Mike and Michelle Reed. He has an older brother, Cole, who earned Eagle in 2018. He also has a younger brother, Lake.
During the court of honor, Reed presented his mother, Michelle, with an Eagle Mentor Pin for supporting him through the process.

Primary absentee ballots now available

HAMILTON – Absentee ballots for the Tuesday, March 3, primary are now in at the Marion County Courthouse, Marion County Circuit Clerk Denise Mixon said.
Election-related deadlines were announced in advance of the primary, which will involve presidential primaries for the two parties, plus a number of state and local elections.
Mixon, who will also serve as the absentee election manager during the primary, said absentee balloting would start today (Wednesday, Jan. 8).

Hutcheson’s rent set at $500 flat rate

HACKLEBURG – Radio business owner Hutty Hutcheson will pay a flat rate of $500 a month beginning Jan. 1 to rent space from the Town of Hackleburg.
Hutcheson owed the town multiple months’ rent and utility bills for using the old town hall building, where Hutcheson operates his radio station, Big 95.5.
Hackleburg Town Clerk Carla Rector told the Hackleburg Town Council at its meeting on Thursday, Dec. 19, that Hutcheson is now up-to-date on his rent payments.
Hutcheson’s rent was set at $300  a month plus utilities in last year’s contract.


Family Care Clinic to close Jan. 31

WINFIELD – Northwest Medical Center has announced it will close the Northwest Family Care Clinic in Winfield effective Friday, Jan. 31.
The decision comes roughly a year-and-a-half after the City of Winfield took ownership of the local hospital through the Winfield Healthcare Authority, which purchased the hospital from Curae Health.
The after-hours clinic at 125 Henry Lane in Winfield opened in 2015 and  was built off of Interstate 22’s Exit 30. Med360 Health UrgentCare is located on the same exit, across Highway 129.

$79,713 grant will enable Thrive Alabama for Safeplace

MONTGOMERY - A $79,713 grant will enable Thrive Alabama to expand mental health services to victims of crime in Colbert, Cullman, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston counties.
Local matching funds of $19,928 will supplement the grant.

Safeplace, Inc. is using funds of $44,000 to continue providing domestic violence victims in Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Marion and Winston counties with legal assistance as they seek to escape abusive situations.


Marion-Winston CAA will receive $699,100 for low-income energy costs

MONTGOMERY - Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded grants totaling $46.2 million to assist low-income families in Alabama with energy bills.
The Marion-Winston Community Action Agency (MWCAA) will receive $699,100.
“This will allow federal funds to come into the community to help individuals in Marion and Winston counties for utilities,” said MWCAA Executive Director Jeff Fleming.
The grants will enable 21 community service agencies throughout the state to provide emergency funding to help low-income families heat their houses this winter.


Hackleburg, Marion County high schools recognized for ‘Best Hustle’

BIRMINGHAM - Alabama Possible, a statewide nonprofit that aims to break down barriers to prosperity, recently announced that two Marion County schools will receive the Best Hustle Award for successfully improving its early Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion by at least 10% from Oct. 1-Dec. 1.
This year, 120 Alabama high schools earned this recognition, including Hackleburg High School, which increased completion by 26%, and Marion County High School, which increased completion by 71%.

Charity within reach of goal

HAMILTON – For the week-period ending Wednesday, Dec. 26, a total of $35,454 has been raised for this year’s Christmas for Kids campaign—leaving the charity $4,556 short of its goal of $40,000.
With 2019’s holiday season winding down, Sandy Sandlin,  coordinator of the campaign, said the charity was able to purchase 402 Christmas gifts this year. The charity spending $90 on each child to purchase gifts and clothes.

Bryne: ‘I don’t see another fighter in this race’

HAMILTON - U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne addressed the Marion County Republican Party during a regular meeting on Saturday, Dec. 7, at J&V Ole Smokehouse in Hamilton.
Byrne, who is currently serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, was born in Mobile and has served as a member of the Alabama State Board of Education and former chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education.
He is currently running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in the 2020 election, a position which is currently held by Doug Jones.

Marion County cares about Census

HAMILTON – A recent report shows that Marion County residents are alert and ready for the upcoming 2020 Census count.
Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) spokesperson Mike Presley told the Journal Record in a phone interview that Marion County received one of the highest scores in Alabama on an “indifference” survey conducted by ADECA to canvass the state on how willing citizens are to participate in the upcoming Census.

Marion Co. dodges storm damage

HAMILTON - Marion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jimmy Mills told the Journal Record that the storm that took place on Monday, Dec. 16, did not do any damage in the Marion County area, which Mill stated was a blessing.

“We didn’t have any damage, 9-1-1 had a report of some lines down on Highway 43 North, but that ended up being a false report,” said Mills.
“I haven’t heard of any power outages or trees down, no limbs down—nothing. We were blessed because it (the storm) went north and south of us.”

Hamilton Kiwanis supports Christmas for Kids

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Kiwanis Club partnered with Christmas for Kids this year and sold 210 turkeys and hams as well as delivered approximately 35 food baskets, according to Kiwanis member Mark Dearen.
“I would just like to thank everybody for helping us be a part of donating to  Christmas for Kids,” said Dearen.
“We (Kiwanis Club) try to serve the community and make the community a better place to live each year.”
Dearen also expressed his delight in helping those in need and seeing smiling children in partnering with Christmas for Kids.


County water expansion in Bexar meeting dire needs

Bexar Community - The Marion County Public Water Authority recently secured state grant funds to expand water lines into unserved portions of Marion County.
For Carolyn and Johnny Taylor of the Bexar Community, expansion of the public water services cannot come soon enough.
“We’ve had a hard time,” Carolyn said, explaining they have relied on well water for decades. However, recent complications have left them with the task of jumping through hoops to get potable water.

Water, sewer continue to drain general fund

HAMILTON – Revenues on water and sewer services for Hamilton residents are not enough to cover operating expenses.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page reintroduced the topic during a Hamilton City Council work session on Wednesday, Dec. 11, explaining again that the city’s general fund has traditionally supplemented deficits in the water and sewer budget.
“We’re looking at getting it closer to a break-even if possible,” Page said.


Horace Moore appointed Winston County sheriff

Horace Moore (standing) will be sworn in as Winston County’s sheriff on Monday, Dec. 30. He is shown with outgoing sheriff Tommy Moore (seated).

WINSTON COUNTY  - Horace Moore, a veteran not only of the newspaper business but law enforcement as well, will respectfully replace Tommy Moore as Winston County’s sheriff next week.
Horace will step into the role of sheriff during a swearing-in ceremony on Monday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m. at the Winston County Courthouse in Double Springs. Performing the honors will be Winston County Probate Judge Sheila Moore. He will officially take over as sheriff at midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Terrell selected as new EMA director

HAMILTON - Marion County Commissioners Dale Holt, Kenneth Cochran and Keith Nichols voted for Eric Terrell to succeed Jimmy Mills as Marion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director during a regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 16, at the commission office in Hamilton.
Terrell, 44, is a resident of Hamilton and currently serving as a property book officer in the 877th Engineer Battalion until his official appointment as EMA director effective Jan. 1, 2020.

2020 concert series announced

WINFIELD - The historic Pastime Theatre in Winfield has announced its 2020 Concert Series which will begin Saturday, Feb. 15, with season headliner Pam Tillis and her trio.   
“This group performed at The Pastime Theatre several years ago and we are delighted to bring them back again for our Valentine concert,” said Mary Hyche, Pastime Theatre board chairman.
Prior to the concert, theater goers may have dinner next door at the Pastime Civic Center. Dinner tickets are $20.00 and reservations are required.

Sales tax up beginning FY 2020

HAMILTON – Education sales tax for the first two months of Fiscal Year 2020 have broken records.
According to the Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West, the county education system collected $10,107 more in sales tax this November compared to last year at this time, with a total of $162,357.70 collected—a new record.
Taxes generated in October also set records, with $142,435.02 being collected.
For the first two months of the Fiscal Year 2020, $304,792.72 has been collected in sales tax.


Virtual academy extended to grades 3-8

HAMILTON – Third- through eighth-grade students may now enroll with Marion County Schools’ virtual academy.
The Marion County Board of Education unanimously agreed to expand its virtual academy to include students grades three through 12 during its monthly meeting held on Tuesday, Dec. 17, opening up the opportunity to elementary and middle school-aged students to receive a public education online.
The service was already available for high school students.

Longtime editor honored

HAMILTON - Longtime Journal Record Editor Les Walters was honored with the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Communications Award for Print Journalism on Monday, Dec. 9, during the group’s 98th annual meeting in Montgomery.
Walters worked with the Journal Record for more than 40 years and retired as the newspaper’s editor in November.
Marion County Farmers Federation Reporter Lesa Enlow nominated Walters for the award, which is presented annually to a journalist or news outlet that excels in sharing the story of agriculture with their audience.