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.

Record cold set for Nov.

Cold weather on Wednesday, Nov. 13, broke records, according to National Weather Service Observer Eddie Pearce.
Pearce said temperatures dropped to 13 degrees on Nov. 13, bringing trace amounts of snow and breaking the previous record for November, which was set in 1968 when 17 degrees was measured.
The record high for the month of November was set in 2016, when 91 degrees was measured on Nov. 1.
Pearce said this is the second-earliest signs of snow on record. The earliest occurred in 1966, when snow was measured on Nov. 2.

Boiler malfunction closes Winfield schools


Heating ductwork is shown branching out to Winfield Elementary School from two mobile boiler trailers rented from a company in Louisville, Ky. The units will temporarily provide heat for the school as its boiler has failed.

WINFIELD - A heating malfunction resulted in all of Winfield City Schools being postponed and delayed last Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 12 and 13.
Many schools across north Alabama announced closures early last week due to wintery conditions. However, the Winfield closures were due to more complex—and costly—circumstances.

McRae unopposed for state school board seat

HAMILTON - Belinda McRae, a Hamilton native and long-time educator, is unopposed in her bid for a seat on the Alabama State Board of Education.
There is, however, non-candidate opposition for McRae—a referendum on the primary election ballot in March to make state school board seats appointed offices instead of elected.
If the amendment passes, all  sitting school board members will be removed and Gov. Kay Ivey will begin an appointment process.

Kivette charged with rape

HAMILTON - A Hamilton man is being charged with two counts of first-degree rape for allegedly performing sex acts on his girlfriend while she was incapacitated on drugs. Adam Blake Kivette, 33, Hamilton, is being held at the Marion County Jail in Hamilton on a $400,000 bond for the rape of a 35-year-old Hamilton woman. Hamilton Police Department Investigator Scotty Chandler told the Journal Record Kivette was charged with both counts of rape on Nov. 6. Kivette was already in custody at the jail for unrelated misdemeanors.

System enrollment falls 25 students

HAMILTON - Marion County Schools have experienced a decrease in enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year.
Marion County Schools Chief School Financial Officer Clint Green provided the Journal Record with the average daily membership (ADM) data on Friday, Nov. 8.
Current numbers show the county system experienced a drop in enrollment from the previous year, going from 3,235 to now 3,210 students across 11 school locations, losing a total of 25 students.
ADM numbers for the current school year for Marion County Schools by municipality are as follows :

County schools collect record $1.77M in sales tax

HAMILTON - Marion County Schools collected a record $1,774,113 in education sales tax in Fiscal Year 2019. Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West announced the collection at the Marion County Board of Education’s monthly meeting held on Wednesday, Oct. 23. The new record of $1.77 million dwarves the previous record set last year of $1,714,333 by nearly $60,000. The school system collected a record $154,823 during the month of September—$6,900 more than the previous year. In September 2018, education sales taxes generated $147,930.

New law strengthens pharmacy-doctor relations

WINFIELD - Hamilton pharmacist Cole Sandlin says that patients in Marion County are now set to receive better care from not only physicians, but the pharmacists themselves after two bills were recently signed into law in Montgomery.
Sandlin was present when Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law HB35, known as the Collaborative Practice Act, and SB73, the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) Licensure and Regulation Act, during a bill-signing on Aug. 31.

Lolley embraces past, now Tuscaloosa City’s EMA director


Nick Lolley (right) is shown with the director of the Marion County Emergency Management Agency, Jimmy Mills (left). During Lolley’s upbringing in the City of Hamilton, Mills was a mentor to Lolley during their time together at the Hamilton Fire and Rescue Department.

HAMILTON - Nick Lolley, 34, is the director of the Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency. He was born on April 4, 1983, in Tupelo, Miss., to Hamilton residents Kenneth “Junior” and Patsy Lolley. Lolley spent his youth being raised in Hamilton, where he met several men and woman who, according to Lolley, shaped his life and his work ethic, making him the man who he is today.

Alabama counties to improve over 1,000 road miles

MONTGOMERY - Alabama’s county governments plan to improve 1,000 road miles next year with the proceeds of the new gasoline and diesel fuel taxes being paid by motorists.
In the 2019-2020 work plans adopted statewide, counties are scheduled to improve 1,013 miles of deteriorating county roads and to perform maintenance on 20 county bridges.
According to the 2020 County Transportation Plan, Marion County plans to resurface 3.32 road miles on County Road 14 for a project that is estimated to cost $900,000.

Christmas for Kids update

HAMILTON - For the week-period ending Thursday, Nov. 14, a total of $5,400 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.
Among those who have made the most recent donations are:

 

BSCC issued positive review by committee

Bevill State Community College (BSCC) has received a “no recommendations” evaluation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) review committee.
The committee visited BSCC campuses and several off-site locations from Oct. 28-31 and issued an evaluation of  “no recommendations” for the college following their visit.
BSCC President Dr. Kim Ennis said the evaluation results were rare and  a tremendous accomplishment for Bevill State.

PD approved for new officer, two cruisers

Hamilton - The Hamilton Police Department has been approved to move ahead with the hiring of a new police officer and the purchase of two new Chevrolet Tahoe police cruisers.
The Hamilton City Council voted unanimously on Monday, Nov. 4, to move forward on the addition to the police force.
At a work session on Wednesday, Oct. 30, Hamilton Police Chief Ronny Vickery said he currently has 13 officers—including himself and two investigators.

NACOLG looks to RSM, community leaders to help with 2020 Census


Samuel Bentley, Director of the Ramp School of Ministry in Hamilton, is shown during a meeting concerning the 2020 Census at Hamilton City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

HAMILTON - Keith Jones, executive director of the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG), met with local leaders to discuss planning for the upcoming 2020 Census at Hamilton City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 9.
In attendance were Hamilton Mayor Bob Page, Ramp School of Ministry (RSM) Director Samuel Bentley, NACOLG Regional Planner Robert Cooper, NACOLG Transportation Planner Ryan Hayse and Hamilton Attorney Scott Hunt.

Ivey funds community action agencies

MONTGOMERY - Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded $386,250 to support a network of 20 Community Action Agencies across the state that assist Alabamians by providing programs to reduce and eliminate poverty.     
The Community Action Association of Alabama is using the funding to support programs offered by the local agencies to help low-income families improve their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.
This funding will also assist in the functions of the Marion-Winston Community Action Agency (MWCAA).

Christmas for Kids accepting donations

HAMILTON - ‘Tis the season for Christmas for Kids to partner once again with the Marion County Department of Human Resources and Christ Community Fellowship to help distribute Christmas gifts to children in need.
Officially launching in 1985, the charity is celebrating 35 years of generosity this year.
Prior to 2014, Christmas for Kids was helping provide Christmas gifts to children throughout Marion County courtesy of donations received from county and area residents.

 

Worlds of Work expo Nov. 8 in Hamilton

HAMILTON - North AlabamaWorks, in partnership with Bevill State Community College-Hamilton, will host the Worlds of Work Career Expo for Marion and Winston County students on Friday, Nov. 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Bevill State Community College Hamilton Campus.
This event will help students learn about high-demand, high-wage career opportunities available to them in Northwest Alabama.
Companies and organizations will provide hands-on activities in which they can participate, allowing students to explore potential careers.

Hunter recounts Vietnam War experiences in new book

WINFIELD - “I’m lucky to be alive and that’s what I convey in this book,” Lt. Larry Hunter (Ret.) said holding his newly published book, Fire Mission, Fire Mission!, while sitting in the den of his Winfield home.
Two large boxes filled with copies of the book sit nearby.
The book is about Hunter’s experiences during his tour of duty in Vietnam, “Where I almost lost my life,” Hunter said.
This weekend and the following Tuesday, Hunter will be speaking and signing copies of his book at various Veterans Day events around Marion and Winston counties.

Pay raises approved in 3-0 vote

HAMILTON - Marion County commissioners Bobby Burleson, Dale Holt and Keith Nichols approved Marion County Engineer Mike Shaw’s request to change job classification and adjust the pay of six of his employees during a regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 21, at the commission office in Hamilton.
Commission chairman Tim “Ears” Estes did not vote and commissioner Kenneth Cochran abstained from voting as his brother, Kent Cochran, was among the names involved in the pay adjustments.

Last Marion County Democrat goes red


The last remaining elected Marion County Democrat, constable Joe Vasquez (left), has qualified as a Republican to run for reelection in the 2020 elections. Also shown is Marion County Republican Party Chairman David Hall.

As qualifying comes to an end, Marion County’s last remaining elected Democrat has switched parties.
According the Marion County Republican Party Chairman David Hall, Marion County Precinct 15 Constable Joe Vasquez, has qualified as a Republican for the 2020 elections.
“The Marion County Republican Executive Committee met Tuesday, Oct. 29, and voted unanimously to allow Joe Vasquez to switch parties,” Hall said.
Commenting on the switch, Marion County Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Cobb said, “I’m very disappointed this happened.

 

Moore appointed county administrator


Marion County administrative assistant Kalyn Moore (left) and Marion County administrator Brooke Nichols-Slatton (right) are shown during the Marion County Commission meeting on Monday, Oct. 21, at the commission office in Hamilton.

HAMILTON - Marion County administrative ­assistant Kalyn Moore has been appointed as the new county administrator as longtime administrator Brooke Nichols-Slatton handed in her resignation during a regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 21, at the commission office in Hamilton.
Slatton will officially resign on Jan. 21, 2020, after 15 years as the Marion County administrator. Slatton has accepted a job as the Fayette County administrator.

Hutty: ‘I’m trying to do right’

Hackleburg radio station owner Hutty Hutcheson (left) is shown speaking to the Hackleburg Town Council during a regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 28, at Hackleburg Town Hall. Also shown is town clerk Carla Rector.

HACKLEBURG - Hutty Hutcheson,  owner of Big 95.5 WFMH Hackleburg Radio, which is housed in the old town hall building, passionately addressed the Hackleburg Town Council concerning the payment of his rent and power bill during a regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 28, in the council chambers.
“I’ve been up there (at the station) for nine months, you (Kevin Barnwell) haven’t been up there, she (Tabby Lolley) hasn’t either, how are you going to tell me what’s going on if you can’t come up there and see what’s going on?” said Hutcheson.

Bass to lease land from town

BRILLIANT - The Brilliant Town Council unanimously approved to lease Kevin Bass 20 acres of the town-owned industrial property at Exit 30 on I-22 during a regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 23, in Brilliant.
According to town clerk Jessica Lee, Bass will use the property to hold auctions for heavy machinery and farming equipment.
Bass stated that the first auction date has not been set as he plans to search for an official auctioneer and the town has yet to determine when the lease will end.

 

Marion County man arrested for animal cruelty

HALEYVILLE  - A Haleyville man has been charged with cruelty to animals after he  allegedly shot his neighbor’s dog, then tied a strap around its neck and hung it out the window of a vehicle as he drove down the road in his neighborhood.
Donald Gene Nix, 57, was picked up by the Haleyville Police Department at his residence on County Highway 62 on Thursday, Oct. 31. He was and charged with cruelty to animals second degree, noted Lt. Tim Steien with the Haleyville Police Department.

Task force raises over 5K for shelter

HAMILTON - The Marion County Domestic Violence Task Force raised over $5,000 from its 12th annual fundraiser golf tournament held at the Pikeville Country Club on Friday, Oct. 4.
Kier Vickery, co-chair of the task force, said the $5,094.84 was raised through 11 corporate sponsors, 27 hole sponsors and 18 golf teams who  supported the cause.
“We have sponsors that have sponsored each year for the past 12 years,” Vickery said. “They feel this cause is important enough and we just appreciate folks supporting the cause every year.”

Auction

The Brilliant Alumni Association and Guin "Feed My Sheep" Community Food Bank will be hosting a joint auction on Tuesday, November 5th.  The Brilliant Basketball Teams will be selling dinner plates for $10 each.  The meal will be provided by Rowdy Hogs Smoking BBQ.  If you would like to order a plate, you can contact Ginger Tittle Eatman at 205-399-2023 by Friday, November 1st.  All activities will be held at the Guin National Guard Armory.  Pre-order plates can be picked up between 5-7pm.  The Silent Auction will be held from 6:00 PM-6:45 PM with the Live Auction beginning at 7:00 PM.  The

Fall Fest rescheduled for Saturday

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce has announced that the 14th Annual Buttahatchee River Fall Fest will be rescheduled for Saturday, Nov. 2, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. in downtown Hamilton.
The chamber made the decision to postpone the event due to concerns surrounding the weather on the original Saturday, Oct. 26, festival date.
NTN-Bower also announced it would be rescheduling its trunk-or-treat event for for Nov. 2, as well. It will begin at 7 p.m.

 

Longtime editor announces retirement


Journal Record Managing Editor Les Walters (center) has announced he will be retiring effective Nov. 1. Shown during Walter’s retirement reception on Friday, Oct. 25, are (from left) Mid-South Newspapers General Manager Mike Moore, Sheri Walters, Les Walters, Mid-South Newspapers Publisher Horace Moore and Patty Moore.

HAMILTON - In October 1978, Hamilton became the home to a young, rising journalist, eager to sink his pen and ink into the newspaper business.
James Lesley Walters, longtime editor for the Journal Record, moved to Marion County that year on a business venture with The Itawamba County Times of Fulton, Miss., where a new Hamilton newspaper would be launching, The Hamilton Progress.