Partnership results in 50 automotive scholarships

MONTGOMERY - Fifty automotive scholarships are up for grabs.
Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Chancellor Jimmy Baker announced on Thursday, Jan. 31, that  the ACCS and the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association (AAMA) have partnered together and are giving away 50 scholarships to students who want to pursue a career in the automotive industry. The deadline to apply is Thursday, Feb. 28.

TripAdvisor rates Hampton Inn Winfield best in state

Number one in the state
The Hampton Inn in Winfield has been rated the number one hotel in the state of Alabama by TripAdvisor in 2018.

WINFIELD -  The Hampton Inn in Winfield has been ranked as the number one hotel in the state of Alabama in 2018 by TripAdvisor.  The award is given based on guest scores received through  
The hotel opened in February, 2011 and, for six out of the last seven years, has received Hampton Inn’s Lighthouse award for being in the top 5 percent of all hotels in the company. Hampton Inn in Winfield has  also received a Certificate of Excellence award from TripAdvisor every year since the location opened in 2011.  

Count of homeless taken in Marion, Winston counties

HAMILTON - The Marion-Winston Community Action Agency (MWCAA) conducted a Point-in-Time (PIT) count  on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.
The PIT count determines the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January and helps the two counties receive funding towards resources and support for the homeless in the area.

Over $10,000 raised for charity

HAMILTON -  Paul Davis, an organizer for the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign in Marion County, has extended his heartfelt thanks to the city of Hamilton and Marion County for volunteering their time and efforts during the holiday season of 2018.  
“From Nov. 23 to Dec. 23 of 2018, several dozen of your friends and neighbors stood in front of the Walmart Supercenter in Hamilton next to a red kettle ringing a little red bell in support of the Salvation Army,” said Davis.

Volunteers desperately needed in Marion Co.

Foster Grandparent Project Director Jessica Latham and coordinator Rena Prince are desperately seeking more volunteers for the program for the upcoming school year.
“We are needing volunteers in all the schools,” Prince said. “We are wanting interested persons to call us now at (256) 332-6800 so they have time to get their applications in and get trained before school begins.”
Schools on the waiting list for volunteers include Brilliant, Guin, Hackleburg, Hamilton and Winfield.



Audrey Laverne Fikes

Audrey Laverne Fikes, 83, Hamilton, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. 
Funeral services were held on Saturday, Feb. 9. 
Hamilton Funeral Home • Hamilton, ala.

Mary Magalene Nix Green

AEA...dead or not?

Steve Flowers

The Alabama Education Association (AEA) was the most powerful and influential political organization in Alabama for close to three decades. The late Dr. Paul Hubbert was the builder and king of this powerful organization.

Long-time officials take oaths once again

Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams was sworn into office for a record sixth time on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Marion County Jail in Hamilton. With Williams’ wife, Renee, and their granddaughter, Cara, 4, the daughter of Carl and Lacy Williams, holding the Bible, the sheriff was sworn into office by the official who has performed the ceremony every time since his first swearing-in ceremony in 2003 on his behalf, retired Marion County Judge of Probate Annette Bozeman Haney.

HAMILTON- Two long-time county officials have taken their oaths once again to serve the people.
Marion County Commissioner District 5 (D-5) Bob Burleson and Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams are now the longest serving individuals for their respective capacities.
Marion County commissioners Keith Nichols (D-1) Kenneth Cochran (D-2), Dale Holt (D-3), Tim “Ears” Estes (D-4) and Burleson were all seated after taking oaths at a ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018.


Jones emphasizes Census 2020 participation

Scott johnson/staff
Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG) Planning and Transportation Director Jesse Turner told the Marion County Commission that the regional agency has found than $10 million in additional funding for Northwest Alabama while confirming addresses for the Census Bureau in preparations for the 2020 Census. Turner said that every counted individual equates to about $1,600 in grant money an area can claim.

HAMILTON - Marion County residents should be readying themselves to participate in the upcoming Census.
Local officials are already being briefed on the vital and rapidly approaching decennial Census in 2020, which will determine the amount of funding and congressional representation Alabama can lay claim to for the next 10 years.

Fifth month for record sales tax; West credits shopping local to swelling tax figures

January was School Board Recognition Month and area principals appeared at the Marion County Board of Education’s January board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23, with student-made cards and gifts to thank the local education officials. “I think we have an excellent board and I’m grateful for each one of you and what you do for our students,” said Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West. Marion County District 2 (D-2) Board Member Joyce Fowler (left) is shown receiving students’ gifts from Guin Elementary School Principal Josh Weatherly (front, right). Also shown is D-4 member “Coach” Don Jones (center) and D-3 member Daryl Weatherly.

HAMILTON - December 2018 saw the most sales tax for education on record collected for the month of December.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West told the Marion County Board of Education during its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23, that sales tax for December 2018 collected nearly $20,000 more than the previous year.
This marks the fifth-consecutive month of record-breaking collections for the county school system.
“Sales tax in December was fantastic,” West said. “I believe that this is because a lot of people did their shopping at home this year.”

‘Happy to have found Hamilton’ n Love’s official speaks to council

HAMILTON - Love’s loves Hamilton.
In the wake of the announcement of a new Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store to be built in Hamilton, Love’s real estate project manager, William Gleason of Oklahoma City, Okla., appeared at the Hamilton City  Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
According to Hamilton Mayor Bob Page, Love’s is planning to purchase 20 acres on River Road Drive, right off of Interstate 22’s Exit 14, for a large truck stop.
The City of Hamilton owns a three-acre plot of land at the site.

Housing funds awarded for NW AL

hamilton - Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded a $275,000 grant to help homeless citizens in Northwest Alabama find immediate housing and to assist others who are in danger of becoming homeless.
Ivey announced the grant funding on Wednesday, Dec. 26, which is a portion of a larger $2.5 million distribution to 14 government and community agencies. The funds are  from the Emergency Solutions Grant program, whose funds are available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Jobless rate up slightly in county, more jobs added across the state

HAMILTON -  Marion County’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 3.8 percent in November 2018 to 4.1 percent in December. Though slightly up, the number marks the end of a downward trend that began in January 2018 when the rate was at 7.6 percent.
In December, 510 people in the county were unemployed, up from the 482 in November. In December 2017, 448 people in the county were unemployed.

Vick hires same staff; Commission implements probate office changes

HAMILTON - Marion County has split ways with Monroe County in south Alabama and is no longer one of two counties in Alabama using a fee model to operate its probate judge’s office.
Special legislation passed in 2017 has now taken effect in January 2019, ordering the Marion County Commission to furnish the local probate judge and office staff with paychecks and benefit packages through the county’s General Fund.
Up until now, the probate office has been funded by fee revenues collected from services provided by the probate judge. This was known as the “fee system.”

BSCC-Hamilton partners with northwest Alabama homebuilders

An agreement was signed on Jan. 28 between homebuilders from northwest Alabama and Bevill State Community College-Hamilton Campus to partner in an effort to reduce employee turnover and implement the Ready-to-Work (RtW) program to enhance the pre-screening process to develop a strong workforce. Shown posing following the agreement signing are (from left) BSCC President Dr. Kim Ennis, BSCC Dean of Workforce Solutions and Economic Development Al Moore, Hamilton Mayor Bob Page, BSCC Adult Ed Instructor (Ready-to-Work) Randall Muck and BSCC Director of Adult Education Patrick Bolack.

HAMILTON - Bevill State Community College (BSCC) signed an agreement with homebuilders from northwest Alabama on Monday, Jan. 28, to partner in an effort to reduce employee turnover and implement the Ready-to-Work (RtW) program to enhance the pre-screening process to develop a strong workforce. The area homebuilders included in the partnership include Buccaneer Homes, Hamilton; Deer Valley Homebuilders, Inc., Guin; Platinum Homes, Lynn; Southern Homes-Russellville; Sunshine Homes, Inc., Red Bay; and Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc., Red Bay and Winfield.

Marbutt sworn in as police chief

New Hackleburg Police Chief Jeremy Marbutt (right) is lead in the oath of office by Hackleburg Town Attorney Tony Glenn (left). Marbutt’s mother, Jerry, held the Bible during the ceremony.

HAMILTON - The Town of Hackleburg has welcomed a new police chief.
Hackleburg Mayor Darryl Colburn announced the hiring of new Hackleburg Police Chief Jeremy Marbutt at a Hackleburg Town Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 14.
During the meeting, Marbutt was sworn-in by Hackleburg Town Attorney Tony Glenn. Marbutt’s mother, Jerry, held the Bible during the ceremony.


Officials discuss water, sewer rates

HAMILTON - On-table proposals to help offset large losses at Hamilton’s sewer and water operations could increase minimum bills by $2.04 for sewer customers and 22 cents for water customers.
During a work session on Wednesday, Jan. 16, Hamilton Water Superintendent Rodney Williams told the Hamilton City Council that increasing residential sewer rates by 10 percent and commercial rates by 30 percent could help soften the costly blow of providing sewer to residents.

Loden Honored

Son Mark Loden (left), daughter LuAnn Harden (center) and wife, Joyce Loden, are shown receiving a memorial plaque honoring their father and husband, the late Billy Loden.

HAMILTON - The late Billy Houston Loden dedicated 42 years of his life as a firefighter in Marion County.
The Marion County Firefighters Association presented a special memorial plaque to Loden’s family during its first meeting of 2019, held on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Bear Creek Community Center.
There to receive the large plaque were  Joyce, Loden’s wife of 61 years, and two of their children, Mark Loden and LuAnn (Donny) Harden. Daughter-in-law Sandy Loden and granddaughter Candace Ingram were also present.

APCO provides grant to BSCC, challenges community

Bevill State Community College President Dr. Kim Ennis and Alabama Power Company western Division Vice President Mark Crews speak on Jan. 22 after the two announced that APCO is awarding the BSCC-Hamilton Campus a $50,000 Challenge Grant that will go towards building a Student Success Center on the campus.

HAMILTON - Alabama Power Company and the Bevill State Community College-Hamilton Campus are partnering to expand opportunities for workforce development and provide resources to bridge the gap between students and employers. 
Officials from Alabama Power (APCO) and BSCC met in the campus’ library on Tuesday, Jan. 22, to announce a $50,000 Challenge Grant from the Alabama Power Foundation that will kick-start the endeavor.  


Christian "Chris" Bloch

Christian “Chris” Bloch

Mr. Christian Bloch, better known as Chris, 54, Winfield, formerly of Waycross, Ga., passed away on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in the Northwest Medical Center in Winfield.

Alabama Senate releases committee assignments

MONTGOMERY - The Alabama Senate Committee on Assignments announced the following Senate Standing Committee appointments for the 2019-2022 quadrennium recently for Marion County’s two senators, freshman District 4 Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, and second-term District 6 Sen. Dr. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia.
The 4th District covers Cullman, Lawrence, Marion and Winston counties. The 6th District includes Colbert, Franklin, and parts of Marion, Lawrence and Lauderdale counties.