Water rates increased

HAMILTON - Concluding a two-year debate on how to balance the Hamilton Water Department budget, the Hamilton City Council has passed a significant rate increase.
During a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18, the council voted 4-1 to level out its volume billing scale on water and raise sewer rates to equal 100% of a customer’s water bill.
Customers billed at the minimum rate will continue to pay $20.38. Minimum billing is issued for accounts using less than 2,000 gallons of water.

Snapchat threat puts school on alert

HAMILTON - School officials and local police were on high alert on Thursday, Feb. 13, after a student allegedly posted threats against Hamilton High School on social media.
Preliminary information from an on-going investigation by the Hamilton Police Department suggests the threat was made on a female student’s account as a result of someone out-of-state gaining access to her Snapchat account.
Snapchat is a multimedia messaging smart phone app used to send video and picture messages.


Judge wants Cooper trial date set for June or August

Jimmy Dale Cooper (foreground) is escorted through the front doors of the Marion County Courthouse in Hamilton on Wednesday, Feb. 19, by Marion County Sheriff’s Department officials.

Hamilton - Twenty-fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Lee Carter is asking prosecutors and defense attorneys to be ready for Jimmy Cooper, 61, Hamilton, to be tried this summer.
The 25th Judicial Circuit Court held a trial status conference for Cooper on Wednesday morning, Feb. 19, to hear motions by defense attorneys Brian White of Decatur and Jack Stanton Glasscox of Tuscaloosa.

Texas Equusearch opens first Alabama chapter

Tim Miller, director and founder of Houston, Texas-based Texas Equusearch, is shown during the press conference announcing the opening of the search-and-rescue team’s first Alabama chapter on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Winfield Elementary School.

WINFIELD - Tim Miller, director and founder of Texas Equusearch, announced the foundation’s first Alabama chapter during a press conference on Saturday, Feb. 15, in the Winfield Elementary School auditorium.
Miller was joined by Texas Equusearch-Winfield Chapter President Hilda Smith, Winfield Police Chief Brett Burleson, Winfield Mayor Randy Price, Winfield Fire and Rescue Chief Alan Stovall, Beth Holloway, Angela Harris and District 17 State Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield.

Birdhouse Man is JBAF featured artist

Artist Ray Dutton is shown holding his favorite style of birdhouse to build, a Church Birdhouse. Dutton’s churches are also among his best-selling styles.

HAMILTON - For a dozen years, one of the most frequently spotted sights at the Jerry Brown Arts Festival (JBAF) has been smiling shoppers carrying around colorful and decorative birdhouses made by artist Ray Dutton of Moulton.
Dutton is being honored in 2020 as the featured artist for the 18th Annual JBAF, which is set for Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, at Tombigbee Electric Cooperative’s warehouse in Hamilton.

Burleson, Price in support of Texas Equusearch


HAMILTON - Winfield Mayor Randy Price and Police Chief Brett Burleson expressed their support of Tim Miller and the new Texas Equusearch Winfield chapter during the press conference held on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Winfield Elementary School.
“When a man can stand up and say that Christ has led him to do something and you see it’s for a good reason and you see the results of what he’s doing, I’m always wanting to be a part of it,” said Price.

Cochran: ‘I just don’t understand’

HAMILTON - Marion County District 2 Commissioner Kenneth Cochran and District 2 employee David Ballard spoke to the Journal Record on Friday, Feb. 14, following Exie Spears’ prepared address to the Marion County Commission on Monday, Feb. 10.
During the meeting, Cochran stated that Spears was never officially voted to be appointed foreman by the commission.
At the time of the meeting, county administrator Kalyn Moore stated that she could not find any evidence of Spears’ official appointment as District 2 foreman.

Mild winter hits sales

HAMILTON - An increased customer base and low gas prices have helped insolate the Northwest Alabama Gas District (NWAGD) from low sales numbers during a temperate winter.
NWAGD is owned by six member municipalities and is operated by a board of directors consisting of the respective mayors. This includes Guin, Hamilton, Hackleburg, Haleyville, Sulligent and Winfield.
“Are we declaring this a mild winter?” asked Hamilton Mayor Bob Page.
NWAGD General Manager Heath Reed said it has been “extremely mild,” if not warm.


Hearts and Hands Quilters Retreat held in Guin

GUIN - The first Hearts and Hands Quilters Retreat was held Friday, Jan. 17, through Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Holiday Inn in Guin.
 Attendees from Russellville, Hackleburg, Guin, Winfield, Prattville, Wetumpka, Killen, Graysville and Eclectic filled the 40 available spots for the retreat.
The hotel staff provided excellent service for the event, and the hotel restaurant provided fantastic food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Delegates explained

When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, March 3, they are going to be confronted with—depending on the party ballot they choose—a list of decisions to make regarding persons who are not running for a political office, but another important political function.

Ivey declares State of Emergency

MONTGOMERY – Gov. Kay Ivey issued a State of Emergency (SOE) that became effective at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 18, to aid in Alabama’s recovery efforts following the recent flooding. The SOE includes all 67 counties.

Marion County EMA Director Eric Terrell stated that Marion County received over 7.5 inches of rain during storms in the week ending Feb. 14.
The governor has also activated the Alabama Emergency Management Agency State Emergency Operations Center, as well as impacted or potentially impacted Alabama Emergency Management Divisions.


Hunters tagged approximately 2,000 deer in Marion County

MONTGOMERY - Hunters have bid farewell to another deer season.
Deer bow and firearm hunting ended statewide on Monday, Feb. 10, marking a record year as more than 94,500 deer were tagged through Alabama’s harvest recording system, Game Check.

Hunters in Marion County reported harvesting nearly 2,000 deer during the 2019-2020 deer hunting season.


Hamilton schools revive a classic!

HAMILTON - “Oklahoma” will once again be performed in Hamilton in a partnership between the local schools and Bevill State Community College-Hamilton Campus.
This event will be open to the public on Monday, March 2, and Tuesday, March 3. Both performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Bevill Business and Community Center in Hamilton. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. Non-school age children can attend for free.

Cold weather, coronavirus driving gas prices down

Various factors are resulting in lower costs at the pump in Marion County.
Birmingham-based American Automobile Association (AAA) spokesperson Clay Ingram says he’s expect fuel prices to continue to decline until the spring.
The AAA statewide average gas price average was $2.15 per gallon on Thursday, Feb. 13. The nationwide average that day was $2.43.

Byrd: ‘He was as good a hand as I ever had’

HAMILTON -  Former District 2 Marion County Commissioner Eddie Byrd spoke to the Journal Record concerning county employee Exie Spears following Spears’ address concerning his relationship with current District 2 commissioner Kenneth Cochran at the commission’s regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, at the commission office in Hamilton.
“I’ve never had a problem with him (Spears). Kenneth has never liked Exie, I don’t know why,” stated Byrd.

Cochran: ‘I never recognized you as my foreman’

Marion County District 2 Foreman Exie Spears reads from a prepared statement before the Marion County Commission concerning the work relationship between Spears and District 2 Commissioner Kenneth Cochran.

HAMILTON - Marion County District 2 Foreman Exie Spears addressed the Marion County Commission concerning the work relationship between Spears and District 2 Commissioner Kenneth Cochran during a regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, at the commission office in Hamilton.
“For the last several years I have been an employee here, Kenneth Cochran was one of my employees and now he’s my commissioner,” Spears said in a prepared statement.

Expert says church security is about keeping people safe, ministering

Mark Wakefield, Alabama Baptist State Missionary, addressed 139 members of the Marion County community concerning church safety and security on Monday, Feb. 10, at Hamilton First Baptist Church.

HAMILTON - Alabama Baptist State Missionary Mark Wakefield addressed 139 members of the Marion County community concerning church safety and security on Monday, Feb. 10, at Hamilton First Baptist Church.
 Wakefield stated that he travels throughout the state, speaking to various churches concerning safety and security measures.
At the start of his address, Wakefield stressed the importance that people must see a job in church security as both an opportunity to keep people safe and also minister to visitors.

Counting kernels...

Guin natives Ben Burleson (left) and Jason Spiller are shown in front of their corn vending machine, Maize Kraize.

Guin - Less than an ounce was all that stood in the way of a dream held by Guin natives and lifelong friends Jason Spiller and Ben Burleson.
The two are founders and owners of an emerging company, Maize Kraize, that sells corn vending stations.
Four business owners and individuals have purchased the machines  between Marion and Franklin counties, which currently can be found at the Shell gas stations in Guin and Hamilton, the Pure gas station in Winfield and at the intersection of County Highway 77 and State Highway 24 in Russellville.

Flood damage downs AT&T coverage

Hamilton - Flooding resulted in areawide outage for Marion County AT&T service users.
According to Alabama AT&T Lead Public Relations Manager Kelly Starling, flooding early Thursday morning, Feb. 13, resulted in a fiber cable being cut. Starling was unable to provide any other information.
Starling responded by email to the Journal Record on Thursday afternoon informing the newspaper that coverage had been restored.

‘Poor White Trash’ in Marion County

Angel Sewell, 52, has traveled the U.S. for the past six years painting window art and advertising. Her iconic “Poor White Trash” motorhome has been seen bouncing around Marion County since she arrived in the area on Sunday, Feb. 2.

She’s hard to miss. Angel Sewell, 52, who has roots in the Florida panhandle, is more popularly known by her business name, “Poor White Trash.”
Sewell arrived in Hamilton on Sunday, Feb. 2, in her painted 1983 Toyota Phoenix Motorhome and has been bouncing around day to day wherever her work takes her.
As of Wednesday, Feb. 12, Sewell was still stationed in Hamilton, which she considers a long stay. She said rainy conditions have contributed to this as she has had to postpone jobs while waiting for skies to clear.

Brilliant coal miner served during WWII

Winfield – Leonard Key, who will turn 94 on March 10, served two years in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Key was stationed in the South West Pacific theatre during World War II, being posted in countries such as the Philippines, New Guinea and Guadalcanal.
Key is the son of Chester and Texaner (Norris) Key, who raised their family on an 80-acre farm north of Brilliant, where they maintained peach and apple orchards. He was one of five children and he had two brothers—Lynu and Loyd—and two sisters—Modene Alexander and Dorothy Tucker (all deceased).

Aderholt attends annual EDA meeting

WINFIELD - Congressman Robert Aderholt attended the Ninth Annual Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance (Northwest Alabama EDA) meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the Winfield Pastime Theatre Civic Center.

Aderholt was the recipient of the Northwest Alabama EDA Champion award at the meeting in the previous year.
“I want to thank you all after receiving the (Champion) award this time a year ago. I appreciate the honor that you gave me that,” said Aderholt.


International corporations investing into diesel mechanics program

Brilliant - With a desperate need for a trained workforce, the trucking industry is making investments into Marion County students.
The Diesel Mechanics Program at Brilliant High School is the brainchild of Eddie Posey, who operated Winfield Truck Parts for 22 years. He is currently a Certified Director of Safety and Transportation Risk Specialist for Professional Safety Consulting based in Libertyville, Mo.
“I go into trucking companies that own 10 to 2,000 trucks and everybody is saying the same thing: ‘We need people in our shops,’” Posey said.

Agnew, council point to lone officers at night

GUIN - Councilman Roger Agnew voiced his concerns about the lack of officers on duty at night during the Guin City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 3, at the Guin City Hall.
Guin Police Chief Doug Webb stated that there is one individual that will begin training for the department in August, but Agnew questioned what would be done until that time.
“What are we going to do from now until August? There’s only one man on at night by himself,” Agnew stated.

Price voices concern for those in need

WINFIELD - Following the agenda of a regular Winfield City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4, a Winfield resident asked mayor Randy Price what could be done about supporting a specific individual in need in the city that had asked the resident for food.
Price stated that there was nothing that the city would be able to do financially and further took the time to voice his compassion for those in need and voice his frustration with the court system.

$60,000 bid accepted for new computers

HAMILTON - The Marion County Commission unanimously approved a bid for 15 new computers and docking stations for the Marion County Sheriff’s Department during a special-called meeting on Monday, Jan. 27, at the commission office in Hamilton.
The accepted bid was for $60,126.90 from Vernon Hills, Ill.-based CDW Government LLC, a company that provides computers and software to businesses, government offices, and education and healthcare organizations.


Governor appoints Estes to regional education board

MONTGOMERY - Gov. Kay Ivey has appointed state Rep. Tracy Estes (R-Winfield) to represent the state as a member of the Alabama Legislative Advisory Council to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).
The association is comprised of 16 states across the region ranging from Delaware to Texas. The association was created in 1948 by governors and state legislatures to enhance public education as a means to improve the overall quality of life in the region. The SREB was the first such regional board created in the U.S.

Colley, Boyd, Cooner inducted into Hall of Fame

HAMILTON - Sisters Calva Cooner and Gwinna Boyd of Jasper and Tommy Colley of Eclectic have been recognized as Alabama manufactured housing greats.
The Montgomery-based Alabama Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA) hosted its 19th Annual Hall of Fame Ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Bevill Business and Community Center in Hamilton.
Since 2001, AMHA has inducted key industry figures into its Hall of Fame. With the new additions, the number of honorees now totals 53.