HAMILTON - The City of Hamilton’s contract with Retail Strategies of Birmingham for retail recruitment services will undergo more discussion.
The Hamilton City Council discussed its agreement with the recruitment agency at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 20
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page desired to go ahead with another year on the contract, however, his feelings were not shared by others on the council.
HAMILTON - According to the City of Hamilton’s retail recruiting partner, nearly $50 million slips through the city limits due to unfilled retail opportunities.
The Hamilton City Council met with a four-man team from Retail Strategies of Birmingham on Wednesday, Aug. 15, during a work session to present the results of its first year working for the city.
Nearly all of Hamilton was left sideswiped on Thursday, Aug. 23, when news swept through town that Jack’s Family Restaurants had broken ground at its new location on Military Street.
The company had just appeared at a public hearing held during the Hamilton City Council meeting on Monday, Aug. 24, where it was seeking a 10-year tax incentive, worth roughly $330,000 to them. The company said that it was asking for help to recoup costs of having to remove and replace bad topsoil at the property.
Have you ever heard someone mimicking a strong Southern accent? I did it just the other day as my co-worker, news editor Scott Johnson, told me about his “fanger” instead of his finger.
MONTGOMERY - The Marion - Winston Community Action Agency received a $30,000 allocation to aid in providing food assistance to elderly low-income residents on Wednesday, July 25.
MWCAA Executive Director Jeff Fleming said that the allocation differs from a grant in that it is budgeted from the state’s general fund.
Fleming said that Marion and Winston counties are two of only four counties that still receive the allocation.
WINFIELD - The Winfield Board of Education voted to contract with the Alabama Association of School Boards to find a new superintendent of education for a price of $8,500 at a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
During the same meeting, the board voted not to pursue a renovation for the Winfield Elementary School Track at this time, citing concerns over funding.
During a work session that preceeded the regular board meeting, the board, along with interim superintendent of education Benji Parrish, discussed the option of partnering with the AASB for the search.
HAMILTON - Backing off of the closure of three Hamilton workforce development programs was not enough for a group of local community figures.
The group recently met in Montgomery with several agencies, asking for investigations to be launched into possible spending improprieties of state and federal funds on the part of Bevill State Community College (BSCC) and the Alabama Community College System (ACCS).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - William “Ross” Reed, an 11th-grader at Hamilton High School, was selected to participate in the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual National Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.).
Y.E.S. is a seven-day, expense-paid educational experience in Washington, D.C., for outstanding rising high school juniors and seniors.
While in the nation’s capital, Reed learned the significance of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights while developing an understanding of government and the importance of actively participating in it.
HAMILTON - The Marion County Commission is expected to begin repairs on County Road 42 before the end of August.
County commissioners went over final details on the repair project at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 13, agreeing to designate various equipment from the five districts to help remove old pavement.
The road is slated to be closed beginning Tuesday, Aug. 21, for about eight-10 weeks.
HAMILTON - The Marion County Commission has announced it will hold an e-cycling event on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 8 a.m. to noon at the county’s CDL testing site in Hamilton.
Everyone from the surrounding area is welcome to bring items, including residents from municipalities. Business and personal recycling is also welcomed.
Barney Shackelford, who is coordinating the effort on behalf of the county engineer’s office, noted past efforts have drawn people from surrounding counties, including Winston County.
So it continues.
When a Journal Record reporter called the Winfield Board of Education office to ask about a training meeting held between the board of education and the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) executive director, almost immediately the board secretary told the reporter that this was not required to be publicly posted--so it was a LEGAL meeting.
A task force of local community leaders travelled to Montgomery on Monday, Aug. 13, to present information to several state and federal agencies, asking that investigations be opened into possible improprieties of spending state and federal monies on behalf of Bevill State Community College (BSCC) and the Alabama Community College System.
Last week newspapers across the United States, at the request of the Boston Globe, began publishing editorials decrying President Trump’s assault on the free press. President Trump has called the media “the enemy of the people.”
The Globe called “for urgent action by those committed to free speech and the free press to stand against a White House and its allies who are bent on eroding a pillar of an informed democracy.”
“The first to speak in court sounds right—until the cross-examination begins.”
- Proverbs 18:17 (NLT)
This verse is very applicable for those who have recently taken to social media to try their case on the court of public opinion.
The convenient thing for Facebook vigilantes is that those they are accusing are rarely ever given a place to give a defense.
Recently, I wrote about Alfa’s influence in Alabama politics. In my Aug. 8 column, I said, the Alabama Farmers Federation still controls the Legislature. They used to play in the Governor’s Race.
HACKLEBURG- At the start of the Monday, Aug. 13, council meeting, Hackleburg Town Attorney Tony Glenn informed the council that the town would only have to go through the Alabama Secretary of State, and not the United States Department of Justice, to get a polling location moved.
The subject was discussed at the council’s July 23 meeting after Big 95.5 radio station owner Hutty Hutcheson told the council that he was interested in moving his radio station into the town’s old city hall building, which is Hackleburg’s current polling location.
HAMILTON - The Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Fifth Annual Hot Summer Nights Cruise-In Series concludes this summer on the Bevill State Community College-Hamilton Campus this coming Saturday, Aug. 25, from 6-8:30 p.m. Admission is free.
The chamber hosted its first two events of the series on Saturday, June 30 and Saturday, July 28.
Chamber member Marla Minter told the Journal Record, “Having Bevill State host us has been a great asset to our cruise-in series."
HAMILTON - An increased number of traffic stops and citations may be in store for local motorists who drive impaired or refuse to obey traffic laws, especially over Labor Day, Sept. 3, weekend.
In a statewide move to deter traffic injuries and fatalities, Marion County residents can expect a larger presence of law enforcement on traffic safety patrol.
The heat that local residents have felt during the months of June and July was uncomfortable, but not record-breaking, and the dry weather in July did nothing to reduce the surplus of rainfall the area has received so far this year.
The highest temperature recorded for both months was 95 degrees, which was observed five separate days in June and three days in July.
As hot and humid as the weather has been, National Weather Service Observer Eddie Pearce told the Journal Record that these temperatures do not compare with record temperatures for the area.
HAMILTON - Federal dollars have been awarded for improvement’s at Marion County’s airport.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby announced on Thursday, July 19, that $261,000 is being given to the Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport in Hamilton for construction of an additional taxiway to provide access to aircraft hangars.
WINFIELD - After 25 years in law enforcement, Winfield Assistant Police Chief Shane Hughes served his last shift on the force on Monday, July 16.
Fellow police officers, city officials and police chief Brett Burleson described Hughes’ quarter-century service as full of compassion and dedication.
Hughes said that he had only ever envisioned himself in one career path: law enforcement.
WINFIELD - The Winfield City Council discussed an apparent city employee shortage that has been affecting multiple municipal departments, concluding that qualified personnel were difficult to find for the city’s open jobs at its Tuesday, Aug. 7, meeting.
Winfield Mayor Randy Price began discussing the issue after police chief Brett Burleson told the council that filling vacancies in the police department had been difficult.
HAMILTON - The Bevill State Community College (BSCC) Legislative Advisory Task Force was recently featured on Alabama Public Television (APT).
In a minute-and-a-half-long segment, which aired on Friday night, Aug. 3, and Sunday afternoon, Aug. 5, APT’s Capital Journal aired interview footage with Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, D-Red Bay, and Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West.
Morrow and West met with Capital Journal Host Don Dailey in Montgomery on Wednesday, July 18, to tape interviews for the segment.
Bevill State Community College welcomed a new dean of finance in former BSCC student Linda Jones.
According to a press release sent out by BSCC, Jones brings 16 years of experience in accounting roles to the position.
BSCC President Dr. Kim Ennis said she expects that Jones will have a significant, positive impact as BSCC continues to try to cut costs and balance the budget.
WINFIELD - Gov. Kay Ivey awarded a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant to the City of Winfield on Monday, Aug. 6, to extend the sewer lines in the industrial park located off of Exit 30 on Interstate 22.
Along with a $70,265 match from the city, the funds and the extended sewer lines will allow Tiffin Motorhomes to build a service center, which will create 65 local jobs.
Ivey said she was thrilled to be creating new jobs, especially in rural Marion County.
“Bringing new jobs to Alabama is at the forefront of my administration,” Ivey said.
GUIN - The City of Guin’s Aug. 7 council meeting took on the air of a courtroom drama when councilman Jerry Gann questioned Frank Pugh, chairman of the Guin Water and Sewer Board, about rusty water flowing through the Guin water pipes.
Gann presented a petition along with photographs that Gann says showed rusty water flowing from the faucet of a Guin water customer.
HAMILTON - The City of Hamilton is looking to revamp its Christmas decor.
At a meeting held on Aug. 6, the Hamilton City Council agreed to purchase 25 new four-foot snowflake LED Christmas lights from Dixie Decorations in Montevallo at a cost of $8,940.
The council began discussions about new lights in March when Hamilton Street Superintendent Mike Johnson proposed that the city start the process of replacing the lights.
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WINFIELD - Questions remain as the Winfield Board of Education embarks on the process of finding a new superintendent of education after the sudden resignation of former Superintendent of Education Dr. Keith Davis on Tuesday, July 17.
The board hosted Sally Smith, executive director of the Montgomery-based Alabama Association of School Boards, who provided a board training on criteria to consider when searching for a new superintendent on Monday, July 23, six days after Davis’ controversial resignation.
WINFIELD - A single-vehicle crash in Marion County has claimed the life of a Mississippi man.
On Thursday, Aug. 9, at about 3:45 p.m., Lilbren Ray Higginbottom, 55, Fulton, Miss., was killed when his 2002 Ford E-350 van left the roadway, struck a guardrail and overturned, according to State Trooper Cpl. Mark Stone of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Hamilton Post.
The appointment of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice is one of the most profound legacies that a U. S. President can achieve.
The opportunity that President Donald Trump was given to appoint Neil Gorsuch to the High Tribunal last year will be a monumental achievement of the Trump administration.
The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” That’s a quote from the great Southern author William Faulkner. The line is one of the most quoted in literature. It’s a favorite quote to throw around by those who love history.
BRILLIANT - In a slightly-heated town council meeting on Wednesday, July 25, Brilliant resident Jason Wilds said he, his parents and his brother want their three properties de-annexed from the town limits after waiting more than six years to be hooked up to the town’s water system.
Town council members seemed reluctant to de-annex those properties from the town limits and Brilliant Mayor Perry Franks asked attorney Bill Atkinson to attend the meeting to discuss legal ramifications surrounding the issue.
WINFIELD - The Winfield Main Street Program and the Pastime Theatre partnered together to bring “Three on a String,” a traveling, four-member group of musicians and entertainers, to perform at the Pastime Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 18.
The concert will take place at 2 p.m., after the Marion County Bicentennial Picnic, which will be hosted at the Winfield City Hall from 11 - 1 p.m.
HAMILTON - Journal Record Managing Editor Les Walters recently announced that due to the Labor Day holiday, early deadlines will be in effect for the Wednesday, Sept. 5, edition of the newspaper.
Journal Record offices in Winfield and Hamilton will be closed on Monday, Sept. 3, in observance of Labor Day.
“We realize these deadlines may be an inconvenience for some of our contributors, but they are necessary to produce our newspaper in a timely manner,’’ said Walters.
HAMILTON - The Marion County Health Department released the following scores for eight restaurant inspections through the month of July:
• J&V Ole Smokehouse, Hamilton - 86;
• McDonald’s Winfield - 89;
• Marion Regional Medical Center, Hamilton - 90;
• Sonic Drive-In, Hamilton - 93;
• Hardee’s, Hamilton - 94;
• The Stop Market, Hamilton - 94;
• Hamilton Marathon Inc. - 94; and
• Midnight Bakery, Hamilton - 94.
HAMILTON - In a unanimous 4-0 vote, Ann West was named superintendent of the Marion County School System during a special-called Marion County Board of Education (MCBOE) meeting on July 31.
“I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to be the leader of our school system,” West said after the meeting. “We have a great school system and I want to continue working with our schools, our teachers, and our students to make it the best it can be,” she said.
HACKLEBURG - Big 95.5 radio station owner Tommy “Hutty” Hutcheson spoke to the Hackleburg town council on July 23 about allowing him to move his radio operations into the old Hackleburg town hall building.
The building, built in 1992, was damaged during the 2011 tornado but was repaired and currently houses a gymnasium and serves as a polling location. Hutcheson made a request to move his operations into the unused office space in the building.
HAMILTON - Bevill State Community College (BSCC) says it’s zeroing-in to strengthen the Hamilton Campus and expand its enrollment.
College officials also say they are taking focused and pointed actions to create partnerships with local industries.
WINFIELD - The Main Street program plans to purchase the old Citizens Bank building near the Pastime Theatre to house a museum.
Pastime Theatre Board Chairperson and Main Street Program Treasurer Mary Hyche asked the Winfield City Council if the city would assume ownership of the building when the program purchases it.
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HAMILTON - The manager of a dilapidated shopping center near downtown Hamilton has reportedly committed to repairing the property and renovating the facilities.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page told the Hamilton City Council during a work session on Wednesday, Aug. 1, that he has spoken with Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center manager Louise Jennings of Real Estate Southeast in Prattville, who has promised to make improvements on the site.