The number of people in Marion County without jobs continued a downward decline for the year as the number reached a low of 517 or 4.0% in April, according to data released by the Alabama Department of Labor.
In March, the number of unemployed people in Marion county was 554 or 4.3%. The number of unemployed people in the county in January 2019 was 630 from a total civilian labor force of 12,447 or 5.1%.
HAMILTON - Students from Bevill State Community College-Hamilton have successfully competed in the 2019 SkillsUSA State Championship held on Monday through Wednesday, April 15 - 17, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham.
Students that were awarded first-place in their category are eligible to compete at the 2019 National SkillUSA Leadership Conference and Skills Championships to be held in Louisville, Ky. on June 24 - 28.
HAMILTON - In April, Marion County’s sales tax for education generated a record high for the year. However, the amount was significantly lower compared to last April’s numbers. Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West told the Marion County Board of Education during its meeting on Thursday, May 16, that the county collected $148,082 in April. The collection was more than $15,000 higher than March, when $132,997 was collected. However, it was $12,166 less than April 2018’s record, which showed $160,248 generated.
HAMILTON - Students at Hamilton Elementary School (HES) exceeded expectations in reading skills for the 2018-2019 school year.
HES recognized 148 first- through fourth-graders with a pizza party on Tuesday, May 14, for topping the 100-point mark in the school’s Accelerated Reader program.
HES Library Media Specialist Brittany McRae said that the number of students who achieved this goal is “exceptional.”
“Our students ROCKED reading this year,” McRae said.
WINFIELD - A woman scheduled for a court-mandated drug test was arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat after calling in a bomb threat to the 25th Judicial District Court Services office in Winfield on Thursday, May 30.
Nancy Kathleen Smith Busbee, 59, Winfield, was apprehended without incident at her residence, 201 Freedom Street, at 6:22 p.m. Her arrest was made only three hours after she allegedly made the bomb threat that drew response from multiple law enforcement agencies and brought a halt to all traffic in downtown Winfield.
HAMILTON - Chris Hargrove, vice president at Muscle Shoals-based Dynamic Securities Inc., addressed the Marion County Commission with updates about security guards during a regular session meeting on Monday, May 20, in Hamilton.
During his address, Hargrove informed the commissioners that the two security guards assigned to the Marion County courthouse have confiscated over 452 weapons in the past two months.
MONTGOMERY - The City of Hamilton is another step closer to a new Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store.
On Thursday, May 30, Gov. Kay Ivey announced she was awarding Hamilton with a $150,000 Community Block Grant to assist with infrastructure upgrades for the incoming Love’s.
State Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, announced on Facebook on Friday, May 24, that the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is also awarding $150,000 to the city for the project.
The state’s gasoline tax had just been raised, and Gov. Kay Ivey was being interviewed by a reporter from WSFA-TV when she said something that caught the attention of state Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield.
“Well, all the freshmen who ran for the House and Senate were indeed briefed on the need for an infrastructure bill well before they were elected, and they were vetted by the House and Senate leadership, and if they were not for increasing the gas tax for infrastructure, they were not encouraged to run,” Ivey said.
HAMILTON - David Thornell, Northwest Alabama Economic Development Agency (EDA) president and chief executive officer addressed Marion County commissioners about the current projects the EDA is working on during a regular session on Monday, May 14.
“Our unemployment rates have been less each year since we started in 2010 with (Northwest EDA) and we’ve seen growth,” said Thornell.
HAMILTON - Revenues from Hamilton’s alcohol tax are improving education in the city’s schools, especially in technology.
Hamilton principals Steven Deavours (high school), Norman Ballard (middle school) and Lynda Hall (elementary school) met with the Hamilton City Council during a work session on Wednesday, May 15, to discuss how tax monies were used during the 2018-2019 school year.
One year ago, education supporters appeared before the Hamilton City Council, pleading for the city’s leaders to help increase local funding for education.
HAMILTON - A local business owner will be reimbursed for overpaid taxes.
The Hamilton City Council voted unanimously at its meeting on Monday, May 20, to refund Hamilton Marathon (Harper’s Junction) Owner Vikash Rohella $4,403.83 due to him overpaying on gas taxes since his store opened in 2016.
Rohella recently led a push for Marion County’s legislative delegation to carry a bill to the Legislature for his store located at 26211 Highway 43, near the Shiloh Community, to be annexed within the Hamilton City Limits in order to sell alcohol.
Hamilton - Councilman Gene Sanderson doesn’t believe food vendors operating out of vehicles and trailers is fair trade in Hamilton.
The topic was introduced to the Hamilton City Council during its work session on Wednesday, May 29. Sanderson wants the council to consider drafting an ordinance that would seek to bar these type of vendors from setting up.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page began the discussion, explaining that the council needs to decide if there is a need to address mobile food vendors operating within the city.
HAMILTON - A bridge building constructed during the World War II-era was torn down in April.
Despite rumors, there are no plans to bring an armory back to the Alabama National Guard base in Hamilton.
Lt. Col. Lee Desmond, who is based out of the Alabama Army National Guard Headquarters in Montgomery, told the Journal Record that a large building on the Hamilton base was subject to routine demolition.
Desmond said that the building was originally constructed in 1941 and was 79 years old.
HAMILTON - The Hamilton Area of Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its final “First Fridays” downtown shopping event on Friday, June 7.
The event will take place from 6-9 p.m. with local and satellite vendors setting up booths lining the city square and downtown businesses extending their usual hours to host shoppers.
Local musician Chris Williams will be providing entertainment, sponsored by the Alabama Power Foundation and Bevill State Community College.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began accepting applications on June 3 for certain practices under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) continuous signup and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts.
The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, one of the country’s largest conservation programs.
BATON ROUGE, La. - The following local residents were recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society:
Anna Kimbrough, Hamilton, was initiated at University of North Alabama (UNA) in Florence; and
Loreanna McKinney and Taylor Goodwin, both of Winfield, were initiated at UNA.
HAMILTON - The City of Hamilton’s municipal court magistrate’s office will be relocated inside Hamilton City Hall.
The Hamilton City Council voted unanimously to relocate the office during its meeting on Monday, May 20. It also voted to relocate the West Alabama Cable office to the Hamilton Police Department.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page said that office space used by the cable company inside city hall will now be used for the magistrate’s office.
Montgomery - Marion County’s local legislators say they have faced backlash for their decision to vote to ban nearly all abortion in the state
The Alabama State Senate voted 25-6 on Tuesday, May 15, in favor of a near-complete ban on abortions after the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved it in April, 74-3.
All three of Marion County’s legislators—Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman and Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia—voted in favor of the ban.
HAMILTON - Renowned Alabama photographer and Alabama promotor John Dersham, who helped start the Image Masters photo club in Marion County, has published a new book of Alabama photography. The book, “My Alabama -- John Dersham Photographs a State,” consists of 218 color photographs that capture the diversity of Alabama’s natural landscapes.
A few days ago marked the 1,000th time I’ve seen one of my favorite films, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.
While that number is an obvious hyperbole, it feels like I’ve seen it that many times and every time I sit and watch it, I love a new aspect of it.
HAMILTON - This year for Memorial Day, I sat down with U.S. Navy veteran Don Collins, 92, who was kind enough to share some of his memories of his time in the U.S. Navy. Collins served as a cook in the Navy during the final year of World War II.