Pam Tillis set to perform on Valentine’s Day weekend

WINFIELD - The historic Pastime Theatre in Winfield has announced its 2020 Concert Series which will begin on Saturday, Feb. 15, with season headliner Pam Tillis and her trio.   
“This group performed at The Pastime Theatre several years ago and we are delighted to bring them back again for our Valentine concert,” said Mary Hyche, Pastime Theatre board chairman.
Prior to the concert, theatre goers may have dinner next door at the Pastime Civic Center. Dinner tickets are $20 and reservations are required.


Molding Hearts, Hands & Minds

HAMILTON - Brown’s Pottery and Sons in Hamilton hosted the annual Molding Hearts, Hands and Minds for students of Phillips Elementary School on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 4 and 5.
 The Northwest Alabama Arts Council (NWAAC) is supporting the arts and art education program in Marion County.
In 2007,  in conjunction with Hamilton potter Jerry Brown, a program was created for fourth-grade Alabama History students entitled “Molding Hearts, Hands & Minds.”

Marion Co. unemployment rate at 3%

Marion County’s December 2019 unemployment rate experienced a slight increase.
According to data published by the Alabama Department of Labor on Friday, Jan. 24, Marion County’s rate rose to 3%—a 0.2% increase from the previous two months, which maintained rates of 2.8%.
The county’s unemployment rate this time last year was 4.2%.
Surrounding counties’ unemployment rates include: Fayette County at 2.7%, Franklin County at 2.4%, Lamar County with 2.7%, Walker County with 2.8% and Winston County with 3%


Bids sought for Brilliant, Phillips High bleachers

HAMILTON – A healthy education budget has freed Marion County School officials to seek new sets of bleachers for two schools.
The Marion County Board of Education voted unanimously during its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 22, to seek bids on new bleachers for both Brilliant High School and Phillips High School gyms.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West told the board that new bleachers were a line item included on a recent heating and air conditioning upgrade for Phillips, which cost $350,000.

Smith hired as Victim’s Services Officer

HAMILTON - Scott Slatton, district attorney for the 25th Judicial Circuit, has announced Leslie Smith as his office’s new Victim’s Services Officer (VSO), which will service both Marion and Winston counties.
Slatton announced Smith as the new VSO on social media on Saturday, Jan. 25, noting the position is funded by the $6.3 million grant awarded in December 2018 by Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). The monies are being used to fund a total of 88 VSOs statewide.

Remembering a friend

BEAR CREEK – Exactly one week after cancer claimed the 4-year-old life of Wyatt Spann in Winfield, the community of Bear Creek is mourning the loss  while celebrating the life of Madison Chase Hulsey, a Phillips High School senior whose life was also taken by cancer at the tender age of 19.
Hulsey, described by students and faculty of Phillips School as a strong fighter against the disease, lost his life on Thursday, Jan. 23, at Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, leaving behind a life of love and compassion his classmates plan to emulate.

Board hires Gann as new math teacher

WINFIELD - The Winfield City Board of Education has hired a new math teacher after the resignation of Carrie Jackson, who submitted her resignation after her arrest on Thursday, Jan. 16.
The board has chosen student teacher Lauren Gann, 21, to replace Jackson in the position for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year at Winfield City High School during a special-called meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at Winfield Middle School.

Clerk gets pay raise, will be paid for overtime

HACKLEBURG – After a lengthy, heated discussion, town officials have increased Hackleburg Town Clerk Carla Rector’s pay to $630 a week.
The Hackleburg Town Council addressed Rector’s pay during its Monday, Jan. 27, council meeting.
Rector, who has worked for the town for six years, has made $592 a week, or $14.80 an hour, without being compensated for overtime since 2014.

Wilds family farm recognized by state

HAMILTON – Wilds Horse and Cattle Company has been designated as an Alabama Century & Heritage Farm.
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Assistant Commissioner Bob Plaster presented farm owner Jason Wilds and his family with a certificate and signage honoring his family’s farm during a Marion County Cattlemen’s Association meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23, in Hamilton.

Bond revocation bill will bear Aniah Blanchard’s name

MONTGOMERY – A bond revocation bill is expected to be filed for consideration in the upcoming legislative session.
Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, announced on social media on Wednesday, Jan. 23, that bill sponsor Rep. Chip Brown, R-Mobile, plans to file the bill, which would be an amendment to the state constitution.
Estes said he had the honor of assisting with the bill and that it has been named “Aniah’s Law” in memory of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, who was murdered after allegedly being kidnapped by 29-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed.

Neighbor Day set for April 24 and 25

HACKLEBURG – The 19th Annual Neighbor Day festival has been set for Friday night and Saturday, April 24 and 25.
The Hackleburg Town Council voted 5-0 to set the town’s Neighbor Day festival for the fourth weekend in April during its Monday, Jan. 27, meeting. Councilwoman Tabby Lolley was absent.
The council had previously discussed the possibility of moving Neighbor Day and combining it with the July 4th Fireworks Celebration during its Dec. 19, 2019, meeting. Holding the festival the first weekend of May was also discussed.

Council will take owners of unkept property to court

GUIN – City officials are looking to crack down on dirty properties and untidy lawns.
Councilman Roger Agnew introduced the topic during the Guin City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, asking how the city can address unkept and trashed property.
Guin City Clerk Rebeca Markham told Agnew that this can be done through the court system.

Lamar County Gas District acquisition a success

HAMILTON - “It’s been a good move for us,” said Northwest Alabama Gas District (NWAGD) General Manager Heath Reed about the recent acquisition of the Vernon-based Lamar County Gas District.
NWAGD recently acquired Lamar County Gas District on Jan. 1, adding approximately 1,300 customers to NWAGD throughout Lamar and Pickens counties.
Reed stated that NWAGD will be gaining approximately 40 chicken houses and 45 residential houses as their customers by the spring.

ADPH joins coronavirus prevention effort

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is in close communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning reports of the coronavirus.
The CDC is closely monitoring an evolving outbreak caused by the new coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Chinese authorities first identified the new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, which has resulted in more than 830 confirmed human infections in China with several deaths reported.

Estes working on terrorist registry bill

MONTGOMERY – The 2020 Legislative Session will begin Tuesday, Feb. 4, and Marion County’s state representative is expecting the Legislature to tackle some big-issue items.
House District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, spoke with the Journal Record in a phone interview on Tuesday, Jan. 14, noting that the Legislature will have 105 calendar days to complete 30 legislative workdays. The Legislature will adjourn the session by May 19.

Officials say police dept. needs two more officers

GUIN – Councilors say the City of Guin needs additional help in its police department.
During a Guin City Council meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 21, councilman Roger Agnew asked Guin Police Chief Doug Webb why the police department couldn’t schedule two officers during night shifts.
Webb said the police force currently has an open position it needs to fill. According to Webb, various agencies and sheriff’s deputies are assisting the department during night-time calls.

Fees waived for Jerry Brown Arts Festival artists

HAMILTON – The Jerry Brown Arts Festival is gearing up for another year.
During the Hamilton City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, officials authorized the Northwest Alabama Arts Council     to host its 18th Jerry Brown Arts Festival event, which will take place March 7 and 8 at Tombigbee’s facility off of County Road 55.
At the request of arts council president Dr. Dan Dunkin, the council also waived business license requirements for participating artists and vendors. Durkin noted that each vendor is still required to record and collect sales taxes.

Mayor, council pay raises being considered

HAMILTON – City officials are weighing whether or not to consider bumping the pay for elected city officials.
With municipal elections quickly approaching in the summer, Hamilton Mayor Bob Page told the Hamilton City Council at a work session on Wednesday, Jan. 15, that if it wished to authorize a pay increase, now would be the time to do so.
An administration pay increase would bump compensation for city council members and the mayor’s office, and it would not go into effect until a newly elected council and mayor are seated.

Guin Elementary selected as 2019 ESEA Distinguished School

GUIN – One Marion County school has received its second national recognition in six months.
According to a press release on Thursday, Jan. 23, by the Alabama State Department of Education, Guin Elementary School (GES) has been named a recipient of the 2019 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) National Title I Distinguished School Award for Exceptional Student Performance.

Sales tax down in December

HAMILTON – Sales tax for education revenues collected in Marion County was down during December.
According to the Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West, the education system collected $147,819.93—$8,198.81 less in sales tax last month compared to the previous year.
December 2018’s sales tax collection totaled $155,018.74.
For the first three months of the Fiscal Year 2020, $451,621 has been collected in sales tax. For the same period in 2018, sales tax had generated $445,764.38, meaning Fiscal Year 2020 is still outperforming FY 2019.

Winfield teacher charged with sending nude photo to student

WINFIELD - Former Winfield City High School teacher Carrie Jackson, 44, was arrested for distribution of obscene material to a student and was released on Thursday, Jan. 16, on a $3,000 bond. A school employee distributing obscene material to a student is a Class A misdemeanor, according to the 2016 Code of Alabama.
According to a press release from 25th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Slatton, Jackson allegedly sent a nude photo to a current student at the high school.

Wyatt Spann passes

WINFIELD -  Winfield natives Christy and Greg Spann announced that their son, Michael Wyatt Spann, 4, passed away at 7:17 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, after a battle with Medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer.

Wyatt recently returned home from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and, according to a post from the Spann’s Facebook page, was given only a few weeks to live.
Wyatt returned home in an ambulance on Tuesday, Jan. 7, and was met by several members of the community who were lined up with signs in support of the Spann family.

Beaverton man killed in single-vehicle wreck

HAMILTON – A single vehicle crash has claimed the life of a Beaverton man.
According to State Trooper Cpl. Mark Stone, Mark Steven Downey, 63, was killed when his 1995 Dodge Ram pickup left the roadway and struck a tree.
The crash occurred early Friday morning, Jan. 17, at approximately 1:00 a.m. on County Road 35.
No further information was given as State Troopers continue to investigate.