(Editor's note: One of the most often-heard expressions one hears at Christmas is the “meaning of the season.” Many of us have lost that meaning in our secular, commercial world. The true meaning of Christmas is centered on a man, not a season. The extraordinary effect of this man has never been expressed so eloquently as in the following piece, which was written by an anonymous author. JLW)
(Editor's note: On Sept. 27, 1897, a little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon wrote an unusual letter to the editor of the New York Sun, prompting the Sun to state, "We take great pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered as one of the friends of the Sun.
“I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Clause. Papa says, "If you see it in the Sun, it's so.” Please tell me the truth: Is there a Santa Claus?”
The Republican tidal wave that swept Alabama’s statewide office-holders to landslide victories filtered down to legislative races.
HAMILTON - C3 of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance Executive Director David Thornell stood before the Marion County Commission on Monday, Dec. 10, to address concerns the commission had regarding a future vote to pay the yearly alliance member fee.
It was Thornell’s first appearance before the newly-seated commission since their swearing-in on Nov. 14. The commission wanted to hear from Thornell to clear up any issues before the commission votes on whether to pay the $30,000 fee to the C3 alliance.
HAMILTON - Conservative estimates place turnout for the City of Hamilton’s 2018 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at more than 750 attendees.
The Hamilton City Council heard from Hamilton Mayor Bob Page at its meeting on Monday, Dec. 3, who publically thanked those who assisted in the city’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, which took place at Hamilton City Hall on Thursday, Nov. 29.
According to Page, he estimated that there were about 750 people who attended the ceremony. He called this a conservative estimate.
HAMILTON - Principals of four high schools in the Marion County School System presented material to the Marion County Board of Education citing areas of strengths and weaknesses based on recent testing data at the board’s Friday, Nov. 16, meeting.
Hackleburg High School
Hackleburg High School Principal John Hardin said that 2018-2019 goals call for Hackleburg students to show a 2-percent increase in math and reading on state assessments.
WINFIELD - The Winfield Board of Education approved the contract for new Winfield Superintendent of Education Chris Cook, who officially began his new job as superintendent on Monday, Nov. 19.
HAMILTON - Economic recruiters are calling Marion, Fayette and Lamar counties the “Crossroads of the Automatic South.”
C3 of Northwest Alabama released a newsletter at the beginning of November announcing a new branding for the region, “NAX - The Crossroads of the Autmotive South.”
Gu-Win-based C3 of Northwest Alabama, which is being re-branded Northwest Alabama EDA (Economic Development Alliance), is an agency comprised of three Alabama counties: Marion, Fayette and Lamar.
SULLIGENT - The Lamar County Genealogical and Historical Society is hosting a tour of historical houses in Lamar County on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 1 -3 p.m.
One of the houses featured in the tour is the Hamilton House located in Detroit.
Tax records in the Lamar County Courthouse indicate the house was built in 1844 by John Hamilton, the father of Captain A. J. Hamilton. A. J. Hamilton is the namesake for the City of Hamilton, who gave the land upon which the City of Hamilton was built.
HAMILTON - The Marion-Winston Counties Community Action Agency has been awarded more than $748,000 in grants.
HAMILTON - Two Hamilton High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter members sung their way into the Top 15 in the National FFA Talent competition in October.
Sophomore Josie Beth Jones, 15, daughter of Danny and Juli Jones, and junior Anna Kate Warner, 16, daughter of Chris and Deanna Warner, competed in the talent competition during the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Ind., which took place Oct. 24-27.
Marion County High School’s Braden Pyron was named the state winner for the Wendy’s High School Heisman.
Pyron has been named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s All-State teams for football (twice), baseball (once) and track and field (four times).
On the football field, Pyron was named a team captain, a three-time All-Northwest Alabama Conference selection, two-time All-Marion County team selection and four times as a member of the All-Journal Record football team.
HAMILTON - Local running group, the Northwest Alabama Runaways, recently had 17 members participate in the St. Jude Marathon.
The race took place on Saturday, Dec. 1, in Memphis, Tenn., with more than 25,000 participants in a number events, including 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full marathon.
According to Runaway member Bobby Bellew, 10 Runaways took on the 26.2-mile marathon event.
WINFIELD - Hamilton defeated rival Winfield 59-52 on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
The Aggies jumped out to a 19-10 advantage in the first period. Winfield trimmed Hamilton’s halftime lead to eight points by outscoring the Aggies 11-10 in the second.
Hamilton scored 19 points in the third while the Pirates had 13. The final period saw Winfield’s comeback attempt fall short despite outscoring Hamilton 18-11 to give the Aggies the seven-point victory.
Hamilton’s Justin Webb scored a game-high 17 points.
WINFIELD - Winfield earned a 60-42 victory over rival Hamilton on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
The Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A’s sixth-ranked Lady Pirates led 18-11 at the end of the first period before outscoring the Lady Aggies 17-9 in the second to hold a 37-20 halftime advantage.
Winfield scored 16 points in the third while Hamilton had seven points. The final period saw Hamilton trim Winfield’s lead by outscoring the Lady Pirates 15-9 to make the final score of 60-42.
HAMILTON - Grammy-nominated songwriter and music industry veteran Steven Dale Jones performed songs from his new solely written and composed Extended Play record (EP), “Music & Lyrics,” at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village, New York City on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018.
HAMILTON - Automotive Technician students at Bevill State Community College (BSCC)-Hamilton Campus and Sumiton Campus can now train and learn using new Mercedes-Benz SUV vehicles, which were donated to the school.
BSCC and Mercedes-Benz held a special event on Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Bevill State Business and Career Center in Hamilton, introducing the new Mercedes-Benz Technician and Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program available on the Hamilton and Sumiton campuses.
• Still needing $21,170, Sandlin says he’s worried for first time Christmas for Kids has yet to break the halfway mark in its goal of $40,000 to purchase gifts for 442 children.
For the week-period ending on Thursday, Dec. 13, a total of $5,500 has been donated toward this year’s Christmas for Kids campaign. To date, that charity has only collected $18,829.71.
WINFIELD - The Winfield City Council voted to pave and stripe 250 feet of Woodvale Street, located off of Highway 118, next to Abby Nicole’s retail store, in an effort to cut down on shoppers parking on the sides of the street. The action took place at the Tuesday, Dec. 4, meeting.
The suggestion received criticism from councilman Chris Ballard, mayor Randy Price and Winfield Police Chief Brett Burleson, along with Abby Nicole’s owner Brandon Webster, who believes the issue to be personal instead of a public concern.
HAMILTON - The Marion County Commission voted unanimously to pay out a total of $884,517.76 to eight Marion County towns and the Marion County Health Department after attorneys for the commission have decided there is nothing more to litigate involving the Hospital Tax case.
The commission convened a special-called meeting on Monday, Dec. 3, with Fred Clements of Webb & Eley, the Montgomery-based law firm representing the commission. The commission immediately voted to go into executive session with Clements after convening the meeting.
HAMILTON - According to National Weather Observer Eddie Pearce, the 3.02 inches of rain that Marion County received during October was exactly what could be expected from what’s generally the dryest month of the year.
According to Pearce, the 10th month is usually the dryest, as the normal amount of rainfall is 3 inches—and this year, Marion County nearly measured exactly that.
MONTGOMERY - The number of people counted as employed in the state rose to a new record-high for the sixth month in a row during October.
These figures are slightly late getting to print because the Alabama Department of Labor did not update its county statistics from September figures on its newsletter until the Journal Record notified the DOL that the figures were outdated on Thursday, Nov. 29.
Figures for October should have been available on Nov. 16. They were finally updated on Friday, Nov. 30.
WINFIELD - The Winfield First Baptist Church will be presenting a live nativity display on Sunday, Dec. 16, at Winfield’s Ivan K. Hill Recreational Park, complete with real camels, sheep, donkeys, goats, horses and more.
From 5:30 - 8:30 Sunday evening, onlookers can drive through 11 scenes that depict the miracle birth of Jesus.
In each scene, residents can watch from their cars as both children and adults reenact the very first Christmas miracle.
HAMILTON - Marion County Schools’ education sales tax collections for the month of October were the highest in the last 12 years.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West told the Marion County Board of Education during its Friday, Nov. 16, meeting that collections in October 2018 were about $138,500—about $7,490 higher than the previous October.
West said that the education sales tax is great source of local funding for Marion County Schools.
HAMILTON - “Coach” Don Jones was sworn in as the Marion County Board of Education District 4 member during the county school board’s November meeting, which took place on Friday, Dec. 16.
Jones, a Republican, was elected to the position during the Nov. 6 election, where he received 82 percent of the vote and defeated Democratic candidate Willie Joe Hollis.
The new board member was a longtime Marion County High School English teacher and coach.
The Winfield City Council voted to pay $12,750 and put a heck-of-a-rush on a paving project on Woodvale Street, located off Highway 118, at its Tuesday, Dec. 4, meeting. Councilman Chris Ballard is the only councilman that voted against the measure and mayor Randy Price did not vote.
Coincidentally, Woodvale is also the small road adjacent to Abby Nicole’s retail store--the one that has been the topic of a lot of conflict over the past year.