USDA awards freedom FIBER $29.5M loan-grant


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy (center) answers questions following a ceremony held on Thursday, Dec. 5, at Tombigbee Electric Cooperative in Hamilton, where he announced Tombigbee’s freedom FIBER was receiving a $29.5 million 50/50 loan-grant from the USDA. Also shown are (from left) Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Kenneth Boswell, LaVoy, Tombigbee Electric Cooperative President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Foshee and Farmer’s Telecommunications Cooperative CEO Fred Johnson of Rainsville.

HAMILTON - Local broadband provider freedom FIBER, a subsidiary of Tombigee Electric Cooperative, has been awarded a $29.5 million loan-grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand rural high-speed internet in northwest Alabama.
U.S. and state officials announced the 50% loan-grant during a ceremony held at Tombigbee’s warehouse in Hamilton on Thursday, Dec. 5. Hundreds of officials, stakeholders and students from Marion and surrounding counties attended the event to hear the announcement.

Historical grant presented to Hamilton- Sullins

HAMILTON - The Alabama Historical Commission has awarded the City of Hamilton a $7,250 grant for repairs to its 19th-Century historical home of Capt. A.J. Hamilton, the Hamilton-Sullins House, located downtown.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page announced the news to the Journal Record during a phone interview on Monday, Nov. 25, saying he is excited that the city has been awarded the monies as historical grants are competitive.
The city applied for the same grant last year and was turned down.

Beaty sentenced to 30 years for murder of Fayette man

HAMILTON - Candice Cheyanne Beaty, 29, Winfield, has been convicted of first-degree robbery and felony murder in connection with the death of William Jerome Henry in April 2016.
According to court documents released by Marion County Circuit Clerk Denise Mixon, Beaty pled guilty to the charges in 25th Judicial Circuit Court on Nov. 12 and was ordered by Circuit Judge Lee Carter to serve a 30-year sentence in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and to pay up to $750 in restitution.

‘An Aggie Christmas Bazaar’ slated for this weekend at BSCC

HAMILTON - “An Aggie Christmas Bazaar” will be presented by Hamilton Middle and High Schools and Bevill State Community College on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15, in the BSCC-Hamilton Campus Conference Center.
The Saturday, Dec. 14, performance will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.
The Sunday, Dec. 15, performance will start at 2 p.m., with doors opening at 1 p.m.
“An Aggie Christmas Bazaar” is a Christmas celebration featuring art, singing, dancing, holiday treats and photos with Santa Claus.

Charity nearly halfway to its goal of $40,000

IMAGE TAG HERE

HAMILTON - For the two-week-period ending Thursday, Dec. 5, $6,305 MORE has been donated toward this year’s Christmas for Kids campaign.
This brings the total 2019 campaign to $18,985.
Sandy Sandlin, coordinator of the campaign, says this year’s goal is $40,000 to help purchase holiday gifts for more than 400 children.
All of the money will go toward buying clothing and shoes for children.
Among those who have made the most recent donations are:
• $200 - U Need Us (Hamilton United Methodist Church Sunday School class);

A Christmas Carol to be presented this week

FAYETTE - Winfield-based Self Express Productions will be presenting the Romulus Linney stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Dec. 13-14 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. at the Fayette Civic Center in Fayette.
The show is being presented by Self Express Productions, in partnership with the Fayette Arts Council.
Self Express is a nonprofit theater company committed to arts, education and opportunities in northwest Alabama.

Garbage routes rescheduled for Christmas, New Year’s

Garbage routes rescheduled for Christmas, New Year’s
The following garbage pickup schedules have been announced in connection with the Christmas and New Year’s holidays on Dec. 24 and 25 and Jan. 1, 2020:
• Marion County Solid Waste will collect garbage on Monday, Dec. 23, Thursday, Dec. 26, Monday, Dec. 30, and Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.
• The Town of Brilliant will be unaffected.

Sakura liquor license approved

HAMILTON - Sakura Asian Cuisine-Hamilton has been approved to serve liquor at its location at 121 Military Street South.
The Hamilton City Council voted unanimously during a public hearing held on Monday, Nov. 18, to approve the restaurant’s application.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page opened the public hearing during a regularly scheduled meeting that same night, opening the floor to anyone who has comments for or against the restaurant. No comments were made.

City will cover individual health insurance premiums

GUIN - City employees are receiving additional benefits just in time for the holiday season.
The Guin City Council voted unanimously at its Monday, Dec. 2, meeting to begin covering 100% of individual employee health insurance premiums.
As health insurance premiums for the city are increasing 5%, Guin Mayor Max Maddox and City Clerk Rebeca Markham presented the council with different health insurance options during a work session preceeding the official council meeting.

Cooper jury trial set for March 2020

HAMILTON -  A jury trial date has been scheduled for double-homicide suspect Jimmy Cooper, according to court documents.
A court order filed on Thursday, Nov. 21, by 25th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Lee Carter sets Cooper’s trial on Monday, March 9, 2020—more than four years following the Feb. 10, 2016, shootings that claimed the lives of two victims.
Arraignment was held for Cooper on Monday, Nov. 18, where he was formally read his indictment of two capital murder charges and first-degree kidnapping.

Aggie ornaments will hang in President’s Park

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Visitors viewing Alabama’s Christmas Tree at the 2019 National Christmas Tree display in the nation’s capital will enjoy ornaments made by Hamilton High School students.
Twenty-two visual arts students at Hamilton High School (HHS) have created 24 one-of-a-kind ornaments for Alabama’s tree display in President’s Park in Washington, D.C.

Help others this Christmas

HAMILTON - Among the many traditional sights and sounds of the Christmas season is a scene outside of stores of  an iconic red bucket with a cheerful person standing beside it ringing a bell.
Now,  Hamilton, Winfield and Haleyville have the opportunity to take part in this Christmas tradition.

Alabama Power warns of scams

Alabama Power has recently dealt with various scam complaints such as scammers calling and claiming to be representatives of Alabama Power or claiming that they are working with a public agency or government office looking to acquire credit card information from the individuals they call.
The company has responded by providing a list of tips to help individuals defend themselves against potential scams.
According to a release by Alabama Power:
• Alabama Power will never come to your door and demand an immediate payment.

 

Winfield, Phillips high school robotics teams claim awards at IQ challenge event

MUSCLE SHOALS - Winfield Middle School and Colbert Heights Elementary School led the group of winners at the 2019 Northwest Alabama SCORE VEX IQ Challenge on Saturday, Nov. 16,  in the Patriot Center gym on the Northwest-Shoals Community College-Shoals Campus (NW-SCC).
Winfield Middle School’s team, Bad Memory, and Colbert Heights Elementary’s team, Bionic Blue, won the competition’s Excellence Awards.

Burt unopposed in first election

HAMILTON - Circuit Court Judge Daryl Burt will run unopposed in his first election to become one of two circuit court judges for the 25th Judicial Circuit.
Burt was appointed by Gov. Kay Ivey in February 2018 to his current position as circuit judge of the Alabama’s 25th Judicial Circuit, which covers Marion and Winston counties. He was selected by the governor to finish out the last three years of former judge John Bentley’s term, who was elected in 2014 and retired after 15 years on the bench.

17th Annual Toy Run slated for Dec. 7

MARION COUNTY - The 17th Annual Eldridge Children’s Home Toy Run benefit ride will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Individuals and motorcycle groups from Hamilton who wish to participate in the Toy Run should meet at the River Road Texaco in Hamilton at 10 a.m.
The store is located off of  Exit 14 on Interstate 22 and County Road 35, also known as River Road.
From the Winfield and Guin area, motorcycle riders are scheduled to meet at Jack’s or Webster’s Piggly Wiggly on U.S. Highway 43.

 

Henger: ‘We are making progress in every way possible’

Northwest Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Robert Henger is shown addressing the Winfield City Council during a regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Winfield City Hall.

WINFIELD - Northwest Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Robert Henger addressed the Winfield City Council concerning the current state and progress of the Northwest Medical Center in Winfield during a regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Winfield City Hall.
“We haven’t turned a corner yet, we don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel yet, but we are making progress in every way possible, I believe,” said Henger in the beginning of his address.

Alexander sworn in


Kathy Alexander is shown taking her oath as a Guin city council member during a regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 18, at Guin City Hall. Shown in the background is councilman Jerry Gann.

GUIN - Guin city councilwoman Kathy Alexander has officially returned to the position after swearing in during the regular meeting held on Monday, Nov. 18, at Guin City Hall.
Alexander’s appointment to the city council follows the death of former councilman Troy Hightower who served on the council for 25 years.
“Troy wanted to adjourn every meeting, Kathy, that may be your job now,” said Guin Mayor Max Maddox jokingly after Alexander’s swearing in.

Love’s delayed until March 2020

HAMILTON - Construction on a new Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store has postponed, company officials announced on Monday, Nov. 25.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page told the Journal Record during a phone interview that Love’s real estate project manager, William Gleason, has said construction could be delayed to as late as March 21, depending on weather conditions.
According to Page, Love’s contractors are currently working on projects in the midwest and have run into delays that are resulting in the Hamilton location’s start date being pushed back.

 

Pyron estate donates $1.7M to MCHS

HAMILTON - A Marion County High School (MCHS) alumnus’ estate has made a donation of $1.7 million for scholarships to Guin students.
Birmingham attorney  Robert Cornelius appeared at the Marion County Board of Education’s monthly meeting on Thursday, Nov. 21, to announce the donation made by the estate of Wayne and Joyce Pyron.
Wayne Pyron attended MCHS where he played football and developed his love for the game and Alabama football.

Hundreds attend tree lighting


Hamilton Elementary School first- and second-graders sing during the City of Hamilton’s Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.

HAMILTON - The City of Hamilton kicked off the holiday season Tuesday night, Nov. 19, during its Christmas Tree Lighting.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page told the Journal Record he estimates that 600 to 800 people attended the city’s second official Christmas Tree Lighting event.
Page said the city hosted a lighting three years ago and only a handful of people attended. Last year, the city invited several youth performance groups to the event to participate, resulting in hundreds of people gathering at city hall.

Howell confronts council on enforcing the rules

HAMILTON - Real estate agent Kerry Howell wants city officials to do more to crackdown on land negligence and enforce ordinances that are in place.
Howell, who sells houses in Hamilton, addressed the Hamilton City Council on Monday, Nov. 18, saying property and business owners are not maintaining their land because there is no accountability.
Howell addressed the council at a November meeting last year, raising concerns that poorly-managed and neglected properties are damaging property values around the city.

Mills resigning from county EMA

Shown is Marion County Emergency Management Agency Director Jimmy Mills as he presented his letter of resignation to the Marion County Commission on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Mills’ resignation is effective Dec. 31. He served 12 years as the county’s EMA director.

HAMILTON - Marion County Emergency Management Agency Director Jimmy Mills handed in his letter of resignation during a Marion County Commission regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the commission office in Hamilton.
Mills is resigning after 12 years as Marion County EMA director effective Dec. 31, 2019.
“It has been an honor to serve the citizens, public safety agencies, businesses, as well as the municipalities and you (the commission) for the past 12 years,” said Mills.

Weatherly, Guin Elementary staff honored by council

Guin Elementary School principal Joshua Weatherly (left) and District 17 State Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, are shown holding a certificate honoring Guin Elementary School for receiving the National Blue Ribbon award for the school’s academic excellence. The certificate was presented by Estes during a regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 18, at Guin City Hall.

GUIN - Guin Elementary School Principal Joshua Weatherly and members of the school staff were honored for receiving the National Blue Ribbon Award during a regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 18, at Guin City Hall.
Guin Elementary School was one of only six schools to receive the award in the state this year.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the recognition is based on Guin Elementary School’s overall academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups

Christmas for Kids update

HAMILTON - For the week-period ending Thursday, Nov. 14, a total of $9,075 has been donated toward this year’s Christmas for Kids campaign.
Sandy Sandlin, coordinator of the campaign, says this year’s goal is $40,000 to help purchase holiday gifts for more than 400 children.
All of the money will go toward buying clothing and shoes for children.

 

Marion Co. unemployment falls to 2.8%

Marion County’s October unemployment rate tied the state’s rate and is likely a new record.
According to data published by the Alabama Department of Labor on Nov. 15, Marion County dropped two points from September’s rate of 3%, falling to 2.8%—the same rate as the statewide average. The county’s unemployment rate this time last year was 3.9%.

Pyron estate donates $1.7M to MCHS


Shown announcing a huge and most gracious $1.7 million donation to Marion County High School (MCHS) students are (front row, from left) Birmingham attorney Robert Cornelius, Gloria Pyron, Robert Pyron, Blaine Pyron, MCHS Principal Dustin Silas, Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West and (back row, same order) Marion County Board of Education members Beverly Burleson, Joyce Fowler, “Coach” Don Jones, Daryl Weatherly and Belinda McRae. [SCOTT JOHNSON/STAFF]

• Scholarship program established in honor of Wayne, Joyce Pyron

By Scott Johnson
Managing Editor

Gray sentenced to life for attempted murder

VERNON - A Lamar County has been sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder for his actions involving kidnapping a woman from a store in Hamilton.
Marshall Lee Gray, 33, Vernon, pled guilty to attempted murder on Oct. 28 in the 24th Judicial Circuit Court held at the Lamar County Courthouse in Vernon and was sentenced to life in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections, according to a press release issued by Andy Hamlin, District Attorney of the 24th Judicial Circuit Court.

Breakfast with Santa will Take Place Dec. 7

HAMILTON - On Saturday, Dec. 7, the Hamilton Civitan Club and Bevill State Community College-Hamilton Campus will hold their annual Breakfast with Santa event, which will take place from 8 - 11 a.m. in the Bevill Business and Community Center on the north end of the campus.
Children 12 years and under will be admitted for free, and attendees over 12 years old will be admitted for $5. Tickets will be sold at the door.