West wins GOP superintendent’s race

HAMILTON - Ann West has secured the Marion County Superintendent of Education seat, according to voting results from the Tuesday, March 3, primary election.
The results were publicly posted by Marion County Probate Judge Paige Vick as they arrived at the Marion County Courthouse in Hamilton beginning around 7:30 p.m. Officials were on- site through 11 p.m. recording results.
Results remain unofficial until provisional ballots are accounted for, which usually takes a week. Vick said there have only been two provisional ballots filed this year.


Whooping cough outbreak confirmed

WINFIELD -  Parents of the Winfield City School system were informed through a letter from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) of an outbreak of pertussis, most commonly referred to as “whooping cough.”
According to the letter, pertussis begins with symptoms like the common cold such as runny nose, mild sore throat, minimal or no fever and a mild, dry cough. Additional symptoms may include vomiting and exhaustion.
The ADPH warns students and parents to avoid direct contact with a symptomatic individual.

Revenue, probate offices hit by cyber attack

HAMILTON - Hackers have compromised a server used by both the Marion County Revenue Commissioner’s Officer and the Marion County Probate Judge’s Office, suspending some services and access to electronic records.
Marion County Probate Judge Paige Vick told the Journal Record ransomware attacked the server on Monday, March 2, the day before the primary election (March 3).
Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

City will back DA’s abuse plan

Mayor Randy Price (center) and the Winfield City Council unanimously voted to pay $2,500 into 25th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Slatton’s plan to hire a female investigator to help victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and crimes against children. Also shown are councilman Rusty Barnes (left) and city clerk Angie Oliver.

WINFIELD -  The Winfield City Council unanimously voted to financially support 25th Judicial Circuit Court District Attorney Scott Slatton’s new plan to support victims of abuse in the county for $2,500.
Slatton stated that the council would be able to pay a yearly rate of this amount as long as it is willing, noting there will be no obligation to pay a reoccurring amount if the city doesn’t wish to after the first year.

Employees paid $189,000 in overtime last year

HAMILTON - Last year, the City of Hamilton paid out just shy of $190,000 in overtime pay to city employees.
Councilman Gene Sanderson brought up the matter during a Hamilton City Council work session on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
“Why do we have $65,000 in overtime in the police department?” Sanderson asked. “I don’t understand how it could be run up that much. We could hire two more police officers full-time.”

With Worley out, Cobb continues as party chair

MONTGOMERY - Susan Cobb will keep her position as Marion County Democratic Party chairwoman as a result of a judge’s order on a higher-arching issue.
Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Greg Griffin dismissed a lawsuit on Feb. 27 filed by ousted Alabama Democratic Party Chair Nancy Worley to prevent the newly-elected chair, Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, from taking control.
Griffin dismissed the lawsuit, saying it was not the court’s place to interfere with the party dispute, meaning Worley is no longer in power.

Joy Global fined $50,000 for emissions

Winfield - The Alabama Department of Economic Management is imposing a $50,000 fine on Joy Global Conveyors for “serious” hazardous emission violations that were reported last year.

Joy Global Conveyors currently owns and operates a facility located in Winfield, the former home of Continental Conveyor and Equipment Company. The company was acquired by Kamatsu Mining in 2016.
The company produces conveyor belts and other such equipment designed to transport coal and other natural elements across land or from underground up to the surface.


Officials considering new city manager position

Guin Mayor Max Maddox is shown during the regular meeting held on Monday, March 2, at Guin City Hall. The council discussed the possibility of creating a city manager position to handle the daily operations in the city.

GUIN - Much debate ensued concerning the proposed hiring of a city manager for Guin to handle the day-to-day operations in the city.
Guin Councilman Bobby Bellew proposed the idea during a regular meeting on Monday, March 2, at Guin City Hall.
“I think, for day-to-day operations, (having a city manager) would open the opportunity to take some of the work and allow the mayor to go and approve and go do some other things for the city,” said Bellew.

FINAL: Super Tuesday Election Results

The following are unconfirmed election results for Marion County.  (21/22 precincts reporting.)

Ballots cast: 6,504

Amendment 1 - Fire the elected state school board and replace them with a set of commissioners appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate.

Yes - 719

No - 6,208

Democratic Party

President of the United States

Michael Bennett - 5

Joseph Biden - 398

Michael Bloomberg - 104

Cory Booker - 0

Pete Buttigieg - 2

Minter, Pyburn driving force behind JBAF

Forever friends Tyna Pyburn (left) and Marla Minter have been the driving force behind the Jerry Brown Arts Festival, which will be held this coming weekend at the Tombigbee Electric Cooperative, located off Exit 14 of Interstate 22 in south Hamilton. The 18th edition of the JBAF starts Saturday, March 7, and will run through Sunday, March 8.

Friendship, the kind which begins when you were little kids in grade school to graduation and beyond, can make for great partnerships on projects.
Such as the Jerry Brown Arts Festival.
That’s the type of friendship Tyna Tucker Pyburn and Marla Avery Minter enjoyed and still have to this day.
These two Hamilton native women are considered the backbone of the Jerry Brown Arts Festival, the JBAF as it is known to many.

Gag order issued in Cooper case

HAMILTON - A gag order has been issued in Jimmy Cooper’s case by 25th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Lee Carter.
According to official court documents, Carter handed down the order on Tuesday, Feb. 25, prohibiting lawyers, law firms, government agencies, law enforcement officers, court personnel, witnesses and legal representatives from making any extrajudicial statements or releasing any information concerning the case.

Sanderson wants a good deal for county

Hamilton City Councilman Gene Sanderson urges fellow council members to take care in how much the Marion County Commission is charged for the 5.1-acre Bedford Industrial Park property, which the commission may use to build the new Marion County Jail. Also pictured is councilwoman Tammy Lewis-Williams.

HAMILTON - Hamilton City Councilman Gene Sanderson urged fellow Hamilton City Council members to take care in how much the Marion County Commission is charged for the 5.1-acre Bedford Industrial Park property, which the commission may use to build the new Marion County Jail.
This topic was raised during discussions concerning an appraisal for the property during a regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 20, at Hamilton City Hall.

City will purchase old Sitel facility

WINFIELD - The City of Winfield will purchase the old Sitel property for $375,000 after years of the company refusing to sell it.
The Winfield City Council voted 3-2 during its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25, to make the purchase.
The purchase was recommended by Winfield Mayor Randy Price. Councilman Anthony Hallmark presented Price’s recommendation as a motion, councilman Rusty Barnes seconded it and councilor Tim Garrison added his support in the subsequent vote.
Councilmen Jimmy Hayes and Chris Ballard both voted against the motion.


Guin schools’ lunchroom kitchen floor collapses

HAMILTON - Lunchroom operations have abruptly shutdown for Guin schools as their cafeteria’s kitchen floor has collapsed.
The Marion County Board of Education held a special meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26, to review the situation and declared the conditions at the elementary lunchroom to be an emergency.
The declaration empowers Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West to approve any emergency expenditures relating to the situation.

January sales tax is record $168.5k

HAMILTON - Marion County’s one-cent education sales tax generated a record-breaking collection for the month of January.
January’s tax report was presented to the Marion County Board of Education by Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West during its monthly meeting held on Thursday, Feb. 20.
West told the board that January’s sales taxes brought in a total of $168,566.54—an increase of $21,775.26 from January 2019. It is the highest collection for the month of January on record and the highest monthly total of Fiscal Year 2020.

Mr. and Miss Main Street Spring Pageant to be held April 5

WINFIELD -  The Winfield Main Street program will present the Mr. and Miss Main Street Spring Pageant at the Winfield Pastime Theatre on Sunday, April 5.
Registration will open at 1 p.m. on the day of the event and the pageant will begin at 2 p.m.
The entry fee for the pageant is $50 and boys and girls age 0-18 are encouraged to participate. Sunday dress, semi-formal and formal attire are acceptable.
Entry deadline is Monday, March 20, at 5 p.m. No entries will be accepted after that time.

Consignment sale not granted gym space

HACKLEBURG - The seasonal Re-Run Consignment sale will have to find a different venue this spring.
During its meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, the Hackleburg Town Council procedurally denied a request by local business owner Jessica Pruitt to occupy the Hackleburg Recreational Center Gymnasium for four weeks to conduct the sale.
The consignment sale was held in the gym in both the fall and spring of 2019.

Alabama’s economic boom should be heard, felt statewide

When I was growing up in Haleyville, I can remember people in July and August saying, “It’s hotter’n blue blazes outside.”
Well, you could certainly describe America and Alabama’s current economic boom as being “hotter’n blue blazes.” Alabama’s economy is scorching hot, with the lowest unemployment numbers in our state’s history. One county economic development director told me that “if you want a job, you can find one right now.”