Marion County surviving in drought conditions

Marion County is in a minor drought condition, facing abnormally dry to moderate drought this season.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
MARION COUNTY — The heat in Alabama, while not entirely abnormal for a July in the state, may have some farmers and gardeners slightly worried about droughts in the area.
While Marion County has certainly been no dust bowl this year, a recent report by the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that Marion County is facing abnormally dry to moderate drought this summer.

SWAT trains for shooter response

Justin Cottingham eases around the corner just out of a classroom in the hallway of Winfield City High School during a SWAT training exercise.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
WINFIELD — The Winfield City Police Department’s newly formed Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team swept the halls and cleared the classrooms of Winfield City High School on Thursday, July 7, during a training exercise.
Officers engaged in drills using unloaded weapons and trained using Simunition, blank cartridges that fire a paint marker and allow officers to safely train with real firearms without risk of severe injury.

Cunningham wins silver for Team USA

Trey Cunningham

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
EUGENE, ORE. — Winfield native Trey Cunningham won second place and a silver medal in the men’s 110-meter hurdle at the World Championships on Sunday night, July 17.
Cunningham crossed the finish line with a time of 13.08, a few hundredths of a second behind teammate and defending world champion Grant Holloway, who finished in 13.03.

Sales tax holiday this weekend

MARION COUNTY — Alabama’s 17th annual sales tax holiday for school-related items begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 15, and ends at midnight Sunday, July 17, giving individuals the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers, books and clothing free of the state’s four percent sales or use tax.

Brilliant vet participates in Old Glory Relay

Leif Dickinson carries the American flag through Brilliant.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
BRILLIANT — Brilliant Veteran Leif Dickinson had the honor of participating in carrying the American flag during a major relay called the Old Glory Relay on Tuesday, July 5, in downtown Brilliant.
Dickinson, along with the Salute for Veterans program, ran 2.6 miles straight through the heart of his hometown, with the last half-mile stretching up a steep incline.

Over a thousand attend Summer Ramp

Seth Durkin stands center stage as Ramp ministry team Chosen performs.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — The Ramp in Hamilton kicked off its annual Summer Ramp event on Thursday, June 23, inviting over 1,000 young people from around the world to Hamilton to join the event.
The ministry, led by Hamilton native Karen Wheaton, holds several conferences every year, bringing young people to Hamilton to participate in Christian worship gatherings.

Schools facing effects of “Don’t Say Gay” bill

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
MARION COUNTY — An Alabama law prohibiting transgender K-12 students from using the bathroom which aligns with their gender identity, while also prohibiting discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation, is now law and will be up for vote as a new rule for schools in the state this week.
While the law came into effect in April of this year, The Alabama Board of Education voted whether or not to implement the new law as a rule for schools in the state.

Hamilton man celebrates century of life

Shown is James G. Minor, who will turn 100 years old on July 4.

By Jamie Gianopulos
Courtesy of the
Veterans Care
HAMILTON — Hamilton-born James Minor was no stranger to hard work.
As the son of a sharecropper, he grew up in Alabama very poor but learned from his father the value of hard work. The family worked extremely hard year-round, which was necessary for survival. Minor was always very mechanically inclined. He could work on any motor, troubleshoot any issues and quickly fix them, keeping necessary equipment always running.

Winfield increases garbage rates, approves raises

Winfield City Council voted to raise monthly trash pick up rates from $14 to $16, starting Aug. 1, and to raise city employee pay.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
WINFIELD — The City of Winfield will be raising garbage pickup rates later this year from $14 to $16 per month.
The Winfield City Council voted to approve the rate increase during its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 21, citing the rising cost of fuel and the increase in rates charged by landfills.

Akers and Gunnin new commissioners

Larry Akers won against Rodney Lucas in the Marion County Commission District Five runoff.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
MARION COUNTY — Two new commissioners and the U.S. Senator  were some of the big names on the runoff ballots this week as Marion County residents cast their votes.
Marion County District Three Commissioner Dale Holt will end his time in his spot on the commission this November as Hackleburg’s Greg Gunnin won the race 453 votes to Holt’s 319.
Marion County Commission District Five’s runoff went between Larry Akers and Rodney Lucas.

Sudden thunderstorm thrashes county Friday

Storms in Marion County cause scattered tree damage, leaving many throughout the county temporarily without power.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
MARION COUNTY — Severe thunderstorms have been looming over Marion County this summer, and this past Friday featured one that caused some power outages and tree damage in the county.
Marion County Emergency Management Agency Director Eric Terrell stated that the county experienced power outages scattered through all the areas in Marion County.
Trees were falling onto roads during the storm, most notably on State Highway 19 in Hamilton.

The signs, they are a changin’

Old worn street signs (left photo) are being replaced by new maroon and white street signs in the City of Hamilton.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — Hamilton residents may have noticed some new additions to the streets in the past couple of weeks, with new street signs being put in place all around the city.
The old blue and white street signage is currently being replaced by new maroon signage with white lettering on every single street in the City of Hamilton.

New water filters installed

Crews work to install one of four new water filters at the Guin water treatment plant on Monday, June 6. The new filters will filter out harmful chemicals like PFAS.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
GUIN — New water filters were installed at the Guin water treatment plant on Monday, June 6. The new granulated articular carbon filters are designed to filter out harmful chemicals, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl.
Four new filters were installed at the plant, located on Highway 43 just beside the 3M plant.

No more dumping at Munsingwear

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — The Marion County Emergency Management Agency is urging residents to sign up for the newly implemented EMA alert system using smartphone technology.
Since the launch of the new alert system at the start of June, Marion County has had 510 residents registered to receive important updates and are now looking for more to register.

Residents routed by bypass

The proposed bypass project would widen Highway 171, which could force people out of their homes or off their property.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
FAYETTE AND MARION COUNTIES —  Alabama District 16 Representative Kyle South posted a series of images to Facebook on Feb. 25, 2022, showing details of a proposed interstate bypass project that would widen Highways 171 and 129. The bypass would swing from 171 in Fayette County and meet Highway 129 in Winfield at an intersection on Highway 118.
There has been no word from the governor or the Alabama Department of Transportation regarding a date and time for a public meeting to discuss the proposal.