Mills recalls 2011 Hackleburg tornado: ‘... that’s when I really started learning how things worked’

HAMILTON - Marion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jimmy Mills has retired after 12 years at the helm.
Mills, the son of Odean and Letha Mills, was born on Dec. 24, 1965, in Amory, Miss., and was raised in Hamilton since the age of 4.
Mills and his wife of 33 years, Michelle, have two daughters, Samantha (Josh) Nunn, Hamilton, and Tabitha (Clayton) Dodd, who lives in Tuscaloosa, and three grandchildren: Indie, Oliver and Eli.

Valentine Sweetheart Pageant to be held on Feb. 9

WINFIELD - The Pastime Theatre in Winfield will present the 13th Annual Mr. and Miss Valentine Sweetheart Pageant at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Winfield Elementary School Auditorium.
Sunday dress, semi-formal or formal attire is acceptable and Queens and Kings in each group will receive a sash and a crown.
Side awards include most beautiful/handsome, best fashion, prettiest hair, smile, eyes and most photogenic. Winners in each of the events will receive a sash.

Outz new police chief

HACKLEBURG – Jonathan Outz has been promoted as the new Hackleburg Police Chief.
The Hackleburg Town Council voted unanimously to promote Outz with a 90-day probation period during a two-hour council meeting held on Thursday, Dec. 19.
Former chief Jeremy Marbutt served in the position for roughly 10  months. He announced his resignation on social media in December, explaining he had accepted another local position. His official last day on the job was Friday, Nov. 29.

Reed is Hamilton’s newest Eagle Scout

HAMILTON – Hamilton’s Ross Reed, 18, has earned Scouting’s highest honor—the rank of Eagle Scout.
Hamilton Boy Scout Troop 56 hosted Reed’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on Tuesday night, Dec. 17, at the troops scout hut in Hamilton, friends, family and fellow Scouts attending.
Reed is the son of Mike and Michelle Reed. He has an older brother, Cole, who earned Eagle in 2018. He also has a younger brother, Lake.
During the court of honor, Reed presented his mother, Michelle, with an Eagle Mentor Pin for supporting him through the process.

Primary absentee ballots now available

HAMILTON – Absentee ballots for the Tuesday, March 3, primary are now in at the Marion County Courthouse, Marion County Circuit Clerk Denise Mixon said.
Election-related deadlines were announced in advance of the primary, which will involve presidential primaries for the two parties, plus a number of state and local elections.
Mixon, who will also serve as the absentee election manager during the primary, said absentee balloting would start today (Wednesday, Jan. 8).

Hutcheson’s rent set at $500 flat rate

HACKLEBURG – Radio business owner Hutty Hutcheson will pay a flat rate of $500 a month beginning Jan. 1 to rent space from the Town of Hackleburg.
Hutcheson owed the town multiple months’ rent and utility bills for using the old town hall building, where Hutcheson operates his radio station, Big 95.5.
Hackleburg Town Clerk Carla Rector told the Hackleburg Town Council at its meeting on Thursday, Dec. 19, that Hutcheson is now up-to-date on his rent payments.
Hutcheson’s rent was set at $300  a month plus utilities in last year’s contract.


Family Care Clinic to close Jan. 31

WINFIELD – Northwest Medical Center has announced it will close the Northwest Family Care Clinic in Winfield effective Friday, Jan. 31.
The decision comes roughly a year-and-a-half after the City of Winfield took ownership of the local hospital through the Winfield Healthcare Authority, which purchased the hospital from Curae Health.
The after-hours clinic at 125 Henry Lane in Winfield opened in 2015 and  was built off of Interstate 22’s Exit 30. Med360 Health UrgentCare is located on the same exit, across Highway 129.

$79,713 grant will enable Thrive Alabama for Safeplace

MONTGOMERY - A $79,713 grant will enable Thrive Alabama to expand mental health services to victims of crime in Colbert, Cullman, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston counties.
Local matching funds of $19,928 will supplement the grant.

Safeplace, Inc. is using funds of $44,000 to continue providing domestic violence victims in Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Marion and Winston counties with legal assistance as they seek to escape abusive situations.


Marion-Winston CAA will receive $699,100 for low-income energy costs

MONTGOMERY - Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded grants totaling $46.2 million to assist low-income families in Alabama with energy bills.
The Marion-Winston Community Action Agency (MWCAA) will receive $699,100.
“This will allow federal funds to come into the community to help individuals in Marion and Winston counties for utilities,” said MWCAA Executive Director Jeff Fleming.
The grants will enable 21 community service agencies throughout the state to provide emergency funding to help low-income families heat their houses this winter.


Hackleburg, Marion County high schools recognized for ‘Best Hustle’

BIRMINGHAM - Alabama Possible, a statewide nonprofit that aims to break down barriers to prosperity, recently announced that two Marion County schools will receive the Best Hustle Award for successfully improving its early Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion by at least 10% from Oct. 1-Dec. 1.
This year, 120 Alabama high schools earned this recognition, including Hackleburg High School, which increased completion by 26%, and Marion County High School, which increased completion by 71%.

Charity within reach of goal

HAMILTON – For the week-period ending Wednesday, Dec. 26, a total of $35,454 has been raised for this year’s Christmas for Kids campaign—leaving the charity $4,556 short of its goal of $40,000.
With 2019’s holiday season winding down, Sandy Sandlin,  coordinator of the campaign, said the charity was able to purchase 402 Christmas gifts this year. The charity spending $90 on each child to purchase gifts and clothes.