Groundbreaking held for Love’s, Arby’s


Hamilton Mayor Bob “The Builder” Page wears a hard hat and holds a shovel during a ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate the incoming Love’s Truck Stop and Country Store on River Road Drive in Hamilton. The land is currently being used to grow soy beans. (Abigayle Dunkin/Intern)

• Construction to start the end of the year; $12M facility will create 50 jobs

HAMILTON - Love’s and Arby’s are locked in for Hamilton.

Hamilton Mayor Bob Page and the Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce held a ground-breaking ceremony for the Love’s Truck Stop and Country Store on Friday, June 21, at the company’s recently-purchased property located immediately off County Highway 35 on River Road Drive.

An Arby’s restaurant will be located within the store.

100 deadliest days

Hamilton - Fun and sun traditionally fill the 100 summer days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but new statistics prove that, for teenagers, they are also days of death.  
The number of teens killed in car crashes increases 26% compared with the other months of the year, according to data released by Safe Kids Worldwide, a global non-profit organization working to prevent childhood injury through research, community outreach, legislative advocacy and media awareness campaigns. 

Rainfall above normal for the year

HAMILTON - Before the rain that fell on June 5, weather recorder Eddy Pearce’s rain gauge in Hamilton went 22 days without seeing any measurable rain. But that was no reason to be alarmed, Pearce said. Rainfall is above normal this year.
“You better believe it,” Pearce said on June 4, “if it don’t rain anymore for the month of June and July, we’d still be above normal.”
Pearce said average rainfall totals are 26.91 inches for the first five months of a year.

Safeplace awarded nearly $2.7 million

HAMILTON -  Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded nearly $2.7 million to ensure that victims of domestic violence in six northwest Alabama counties are afforded adequate care and support to help them escape difficult situations and overcome their ordeals.

The grant to Safeplace Inc. of Florence will provide shelter and other services for victims in Marion, Winston, Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale and Lawrence counties.
“Domestic violence is a reprehensible crime that affects every segment of society, but the hurt for victims is the same,” said Ivey.

Marion County awarded $12,015 for emergency food, shelter programs

HAMILTON - Marion County has been awarded federal funds made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program.
Marion County has been chosen to receive $12,015 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.
The application period begins today (Wednesday, June 19) and closes on Wednesday, July 3.

Flag drop box to honor Loftis unveiled in Winfield

WINFIELD - A drop box for old and tattered flags was unveiled during a ceremony in front of the Winfield City Hall on Tuesday, June 4, to honor Danny Loftis. 
Loftis, who passed away on Jan. 2, was remembered by community members as a veteran who had great respect for the American Flag.
“Danny would keep an eye on all the flags around town and make sure they were in top-notch shape,” said Winfield Mayor Randy Price. “He would collect all the old and tattered flags from around town and give them proper disposal.”

 

Estes lone abstention on education budget

MONTGOMERY - Marion County Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, was the lone legislator to abstain from approving the Fiscal Year 2020 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget.
The Alabama House of Representatives took its final vote on the ETF on Friday, May 31. The budget passed 102-0.
The House District 17 representative told the Journal Record that his abstention was due to him not being provided information regarding Bevill State Community College (BSCC)-Hamilton Campus as requested.

Consumed by Fire to perform at Pastime Theatre

WINFIELD - The contemporary Christian group Consumed by Fire is set to engulf the Pastime Theatre stage on Saturday, June 15, at 7 p.m.
The group, composed of three brothers--Caleb, Josh and Jordan Ward--began in 2010 and hail from Oklahoma.
The group is a musically-inventive Southern pop/rock band that combines their church roots with an eclectic array of influences distilled into a sound that is uniquely their own. 

Pirate Night features silent auction on June 21

WINFIELD - The Winfield Pirates football booster club will sponsor its annual silent auction during Pirate Night on Friday, June 21.
The meal begins at 6 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. with the auction ending at 8 p.m. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
Proceeds from the event will be used by the club to pay for program expenses for the coming football season.

 

Unemployment in county drops

The number of people in Marion County without jobs continued a downward decline for the year as the number reached a low of 517 or 4.0% in April, according to data released by the Alabama Department of Labor.
In March, the number of unemployed people in Marion county was 554 or 4.3%. The number of unemployed people in the county in January 2019 was 630 from a total civilian labor force of 12,447 or 5.1%.

BSCC-Hamilton students awarded at SkillsUSA


Matt Jones (middle) of BSCC-Hamilton is shown holding the SkillsUSA State Champion banner after winning first-place in Diesel Equipment Technology at the 2019 SkillUSA State Championship held on April 15-17, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham.

HAMILTON -  Students from Bevill State Community College-Hamilton have successfully competed in the 2019 SkillsUSA State Championship held on Monday through Wednesday, April 15 - 17, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham.
Students that were awarded first-place in their category are eligible to compete at the 2019 National SkillUSA Leadership Conference and Skills Championships to be held in Louisville, Ky. on June 24 - 28.

 

April tax collection shows mixed results

HAMILTON - In April, Marion County’s sales tax for education generated a record high for the year. However, the amount was significantly lower compared to last April’s numbers. Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West told the Marion County Board of Education during its meeting on Thursday, May 16, that the county collected $148,082 in April. The collection was more than $15,000 higher than March, when $132,997 was collected. However, it was $12,166 less than April 2018’s record, which showed $160,248 generated.

148 students awarded splash pad passes, pizza for reading scores


Erica Byrd, daughter of Justin and Emy Byrd, earned her way into the HES Accelerated Reader 100 Point Club. Her favorite books are “Geronimo Stilton” books because she says they have adventures and are exciting.

HAMILTON - Students at Hamilton Elementary School (HES) exceeded expectations in reading skills for the 2018-2019 school year.
HES recognized 148 first- through fourth-graders with a pizza party on Tuesday, May 14, for topping the 100-point mark in the school’s Accelerated Reader program.
HES Library Media Specialist Brittany McRae said that the number of students who achieved this goal is “exceptional.”
“Our students ROCKED reading this year,” McRae said.

 

Woman charged with issuing terrorist threat to court office


Winfield Police Officer Dustin Webb locks the door to the 25th Judicial District Court services office after obtaining a list of persons scheduled for drug tests on Thursday, May 30.

 WINFIELD -  A woman scheduled for a court-mandated drug test was arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat after calling in a bomb threat to the 25th Judicial District Court Services office in Winfield on Thursday, May 30.
Nancy Kathleen Smith Busbee, 59, Winfield, was apprehended without incident at her residence, 201 Freedom Street, at 6:22 p.m. Her arrest was made only three hours after she allegedly made the bomb threat that drew response from multiple law enforcement agencies and brought a halt to all traffic in downtown Winfield.

 

Over 400 weapons confiscated at courthouse since April

HAMILTON -  Chris Hargrove, vice president at Muscle Shoals-based Dynamic Securities Inc., addressed the Marion County Commission with updates about security guards during a regular session meeting on Monday, May 20, in Hamilton.
During his address, Hargrove informed the commissioners that the two security guards assigned to the Marion County courthouse have confiscated over 452 weapons in the past two months.

Grant monies mark another step towards Love’s

MONTGOMERY - The City of Hamilton is another step closer to a new Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store.
On Thursday, May 30, Gov. Kay Ivey announced she was awarding Hamilton with a $150,000 Community Block Grant to assist with infrastructure upgrades for the incoming Love’s.
State Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, announced on Facebook on Friday, May 24, that the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is also awarding $150,000 to the city for the project.

Now well past the initial shock, Estes has gone to work


Hamilton High School’s Natalie Robertson led members of the Alabama House of Representatives in the Pledge of Allegiance to open the session on Thursday, May 7, in Montgomery. Robertson was joined in the chambers by her mother, Denise. The Robertsons were the guest of House District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield. While in the State Capitol, the Robertsons toured the Alabama State House and visited with various elected officials.

The state’s gasoline tax had just been raised, and Gov. Kay Ivey was being interviewed by a reporter from WSFA-TV when she said something that caught the attention of state Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield. 
“Well, all the freshmen who ran for the House and Senate were indeed briefed on the need for an infrastructure bill well before they were elected, and they were vetted by the House and Senate leadership, and if they were not for increasing the gas tax for infrastructure, they were not encouraged to run,” Ivey said. 

‘I’ve heard enough talk’


David Thornell (left) President and CEO of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Agency is shown addressing the Marion County Commission during a regular session meeting on Monday, May 13, in Hamilton.

HAMILTON -  David Thornell, Northwest Alabama Economic Development Agency (EDA) president and chief executive officer addressed Marion County commissioners about the current projects the EDA is working on during a regular session on Monday, May 14.
“Our unemployment rates have been less each year since we started in 2010 with (Northwest EDA) and we’ve seen growth,” said Thornell.

Principals review school monies

HAMILTON - Revenues from Hamilton’s alcohol tax are improving education in the city’s schools, especially in technology.
Hamilton principals Steven Deavours (high school), Norman Ballard (middle school) and Lynda Hall (elementary school) met with the Hamilton City Council during a work session on Wednesday, May 15, to discuss how tax monies were used during the 2018-2019 school year.
One year ago, education supporters appeared before the Hamilton City Council, pleading for the city’s leaders to help increase local funding for education.

Overpaid gas taxes refunded

HAMILTON - A local business owner will be reimbursed for overpaid taxes.
The Hamilton City Council voted unanimously at its meeting on Monday, May 20, to refund Hamilton Marathon (Harper’s Junction) Owner Vikash Rohella $4,403.83 due to him overpaying on gas taxes since his store opened in 2016.
Rohella recently led a push for Marion County’s legislative delegation to carry a bill to the Legislature for his store located at 26211 Highway 43, near the Shiloh Community, to be annexed within the Hamilton City Limits in order to sell alcohol.

 

Councilman wants to boot food trucks

Hamilton - Councilman Gene Sanderson doesn’t believe food vendors operating out of vehicles and trailers is fair trade in Hamilton.
The topic was introduced to the Hamilton City Council during its work session on Wednesday, May 29. Sanderson wants the council to consider drafting an ordinance that would seek to bar these type of vendors from setting up.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page began the discussion, explaining that the council needs to decide if there is a need to address mobile food vendors operating within the city.