Four accused of burning charity-funded home for insurance payout

WINFIELD - Two homeowners and two other suspects are accused of intentionally burning a Habitat for Humanity-funded home for an insurance payout.
The Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office announced on social media on Tuesday, July 9, that homeowners Jonathan Casey Morgan, 32, and Sydni Roshele Morgan, 32, both of Winfield, were arrested following indictments handed down by the Marion County Grand Jury on June 11 for the burning of the Morgan’s home in February 2018.

Real Chapel CME celebrates 100 years in Guin


Michael McCollum gives a history of the Real Chapel CME Church during a special service on Sunday, June 30.

GUIN - One-hundred years ago, a group of people began holding church services in a barn along Purgatory Creek south of Guin.
What they started continues to this day as the Real Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, a church that is now located just up the hill from that same spot.
“This church is full of history and I am proud to be a member of Real Chapel,” said chairman of stewards Michael McCollum during the church’s 100th anniversary celebration on Sunday, June 30.

BSCC gets largest performance-based increase

MONTGOMERY - Bevill State Community College’s (BSCC) will receive the largest performance-based funding increase among the state’s 23 community colleges.
The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Board of Trustees approved a $320.6-million operation and maintenance budget at its board meeting on Wednesday, July 10, in Montgomery—a $19.3 million boost from the previous year.

322 enrolled in summer courses

HAMILTON - There were 322 students enrolled at Bevill State Community College (BSCC)-Hamilton Campus during the summer months.
According to a report published  by BSCC on Monday, July 1, on its website, there were 2,471 enrolled  in BSCC systemwide during the 2019 Summer Semester, producing 17,119 credit hours for the college.
This includes 467 dual enrollment  (high school) students who registered.
BSCC enrollment counts students online and on its campuses in Hamilton, Fayette, Jasper, Carrollton and Sumiton.

 

Mitchell’s charges dismissed

HAMILTON - Rape and sodomy charges have been dismissed for a Hamilton man.
On Thursday, June 3, 25th Judicial Circuit Judge Lee Carter dismissed charges  against 21-year-old Denzel Mitchell, who had been accused of rape and sodomy.
 Those charges were dismissed following a hand- written letter filed in court in March by the alleged victim, who wrote on a piece of notebook paper, “I do not want to pursue the case.”
The girl who pressed charges against Mitchell will remain unnamed as she was under the age of 18 when the incident occurred.

Fred’s to close Guin location, 11 other stores in Alabama

GUIN - The discount merchandise store Fred’s announced that it will be closing the Guin store along with 129 other stores across the nation, including 11 other stores across Alabama.
Liquidation sales have already begun at the stores to be closed.
"While it is never easy to make decisions that impact our valued employees and customers, this initiative represents another necessary step in our continued efforts to stabilize our business by simplifying our store portfolio and product assortment," Fred's Chief Executive Officer Joseph Anto said in a statement.

Sales tax holiday set for end of July

MARION COUNTY - Alabama’s annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday is coming up on Friday through Sunday, July 19 through the 21.
Shoppers will be able to purchase clothing, school supplies, books and computers without having to pay state and local sales tax on items under a certain cost.
Items exempt from sales tax include:
•    Clothing items that cost no more than $100 each (this excludes items like sports gear and jewelry)

 

$500 fine, potential jail time for illegal dumping

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HACKLEBURG -  The Hackleburg Town Council approved and signed a local ordinance that will allow the town to punish those who illegally dump into the Hackleburg sewage system during a regular meeting on Monday, July 8, in Hackleburg.
During a regular meeting in May, Tyler McKeller with the sewer treatment plant told the council that there was suspected illegal tapping and dumping into the sewage system in the town.

Funds a major concern for new county jail

HAMILTON -  Marion County Commissioners Kenneth Cochran, Tim Estes and Bobby Burleson, along with 25th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Daryl Burt met with Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams and PH&J Principal Architects Patrick T. Addison and Renis Jones to discuss the ongoing Marion County Jail project on Thursday, June 27, at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Jones began the meeting by expressing his belief that Marion County is in great need of a new jail building, as the current jail does not meet the needs of the county.

Council discusses new jail, Pledge and prayer

HAMILTON - The Hamilton City Council discussed the possibility of a new jail facility for the county during its Wednesday, July 10 work session.
The county commission is ready to move forward with plans for a new jail facility, which would likely include a court complex.
“What judicial system?” asked councilwoman Tammy Lewis Williams. “Are we talking about moving the court from the courthouse?”
“That’s what’s in discussion,” said city attorney Scott Hunt. “That’s not a firm decision, so it’s not ironclad.”

 

County to apply for DA, Drug Task Force grants

HAMILTON -  The Marion County Commission unanimously approved  two grant applications for the 25th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office and the Drug Task Force during the regular meeting on Monday, July 8, in Hamilton.
The grant for the District Attorney’s office will go toward the salary and operating expenses for the assistant D.A. who handles domestic violence cases.
The grant for the drug task force will be used for payroll and various equipment and administrative costs.

 

NWA, JR named ‘Most Improved’ newspapers


The Journal Record’s editorial staff received two second-place statewide awards in “Most Improved” and “Best Local News Coverage” categories in the 2019 Alabama Press Association Media Awards contest. Shown are (from left) staff writer and photographer Michael E. Palmer, news editor Scott Johnson, staff writer Louis Mellini and managing editor Matthew Puckett.

HAYLEYVILLE - Two newspapers owned by Haleyville-based Mid-South Newspapers— the Northwest Alabamian and the  Journal Record—were recognized as being the most improved publications statewide.­
(Mid-South Newspapers also owns the Fayette County newspaper, the Times-Record, and the Pickens County Herald in Carrollton.)
The Alabama Press Association (APA) held its summer convention on Saturday, June 29, at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, where the winners of the 2019 APA Media Awards (AMA) contest were announced.

Council discusses plans for old city hall

HAMILTON - The Hamilton City Council discussed options for the old city hall building during its work session on Wednesday, June 26.
The old city hall currently serves as the police station and will soon house a West Alabama TV Cable office on July 25.
The building, located at 422 2nd St. SW, across from Hamilton High School, has seen better days, according to the city council.

 

Guin votes to stay in C3

GUIN - The Guin City Council voted unanimously to remain in the C3 Economic Development Alliance (EDA) of Northwest Alabama during its Monday, July 1, meeting.
The C3 is a marketing alliance of three counties—Marion, Fayette and Lamar counties—and certain towns within those counties, that markets the region to businesses and industries looking to locate or relocate.
Guin Mayor Max Maddox opened the discussion by noting that the council voted to pay the $10,000 membership dues in 2017 and 2018.
Councilman Bobby Bellew made a motion to pay the dues.

Official closing date set July 31

HAMILTON - Officials with Alabama Power have announced that the Hamilton business office’s closing date has been set for Wednesday, July 31.
Initially, information released by the power company only said the Hamilton office would be closed by Aug. 30.
Tuscaloosa-based Alabama Power Western Division Public Relations officer Danielle Kimbrough confirmed with the Journal Record on Monday, July 1, that the July 31 closing date had been decided upon.

Airport receives $400,000 grant

HAMILTON - The Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport in Hamilton will receive $474,166 as a part of the state-wide $9.7 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants awarded by the Department of Transportation.
The grant will go towards construction of the taxiway at the airport which is located on Airport Rd off of Military St South in Hamilton.
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby made the announcement on Tuesday, July 2, stating that the grants will significantly aid development projects in local airports across the state.

 

Tour coming to Hamilton City Hall Aug. 1-Sept. 23


Alabama Plein Air Artist Director Sharon Gates paints during an open air session in Gulf Shores.

HAMILTON - The “Alabama Then & Now 1819-2019” art exhibit by the Alabama Plein Air Artist will be stationed in Hamilton beginning next month in celebration of Alabama’s Bicentennial year.
The artists will be displaying their “Alabama Then & Now” collection which is a commemorative and educational art exhibition of 30 original paintings.
The exhibit will be hosted in the Hamilton City Hall lobby area from Aug. 1 - Sept. 23.

New law requires notices for Medicaid estate recovery

HAMILTON -  Alabama Medicaid will likely increase recovery claims against estates.
A new law will require estate  claim notices be mailed directly to Medicaid in a measure which Alabama lawmakers hope will better enable the state agency to recover healthcare funds spent on individuals.
Marion County Probate Judge Paige Vick told the Journal Record that under the new law passed during the 2019 Legislative Session, estate claims opened after Sept. 1 of this year will be required to mail notices to the state Medicaid agency.

First Fridays returns Aug. 2


The Yellow Hammers performed during the Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce’s First Fridays event held on Friday, May 3, in downtown Hamilton. Shown performing are (from left) Conner Nix, Colby Nix and Cody Bass.

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its final “First Fridays” downtown shopping event on Friday, Aug. 2.
The chamber’s final First Friday’s event was originally scheduled for Friday, June 7. However, it was cancelled due to rainy weather.
The final summer event will take place from 7-9 p.m. with local and satellite vendors setting up booths lining the city square and downtown businesses extending their usual hours to host shoppers.

Frustrations arise amid new gas tax setup

HAMILTON -  The Marion County Commission voted 3-2 in favor of reallocating funds received from gas taxes after a heated debate during its regular session meeting on Monday, June 24, at the commission office in Hamilton.
Before the reallocation was approved, each of the five districts were receiving an even 20% each, a motion approved in 1971. The new reallocation changes that — Districts 1, 2 and 3 will receive 22% and Districts 4 and 5 will receive 17%.

Four injured in two-vehicle wreck


Emergency personnel tend to an injured victim after a two vehicle wreck on Highway 129 in Winfield on Monday, June 17.

WINFIELD - Two people remain in critical condition at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Miss., after a two-vehicle wreck at 2 p.m. on Highway 129 at Marion County Road 38 in Winfield on Monday, June 17. 
According to information released by the Winfield Police Department, Gregory Monroe Bourland, Brilliant, driving a green 2007 Chevrolet Uplander van, was pulling out of the Cedar Landing Restaurant parking lot when the vehicle was struck by a 1998 Mercury Mountaineer driven by Denita Monique McCollum, Fayette County.