No indictment issued for shooting death of Billy Ray Sims

Submitted by Scott Johnson on Wed, 10/03/2018 - 13:15

HAMILTON - According to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), the Marion County Grand Jury voted for "no bill of indictment" concerning the Hamilton police officer-involved shooting in Hamilton in December 2017, which resulted in the death of Billy Ray Sims, 74.

SBI Senior Special Agent Adam Buchanan told the Journal Record that the grand jury convened in September and voted not to press charges in conjunction with the shooting death of Sims, which occurred on Dec. 13, 2017, at his residence on Reese Road.

Winfield sticks at No. 5

MONTGOMERY - Winfield held firm in the Class 3A rankings as the Pirates remained at No. 5 this week.
The Pirates held the slot after earning a victory over  Class 5A rival Hamilton. The Pirates trailed the Aggies 14-12 at halftime before dominating the second half 26-0 as head coach David McKinney’s squad improved to 6-0 this year.
While the Pirates remain the only team from the county in the Top 10, Marion County received one vote as a potential Top 10 school.

Bear Creek mayor resigns

Submitted by Scott Johnson on Wed, 10/03/2018 - 11:05
Breaking News Alert

Officials at Bear Creek Town Hall have confirmed that Bear Creek Mayor Connie Morrison has resigned from her position with the town.

The Town of Bear Creek has announced a special called meeting tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 3) at 6 p.m. at the Bobby Bishop Community Center to select a mayor pro-tem.

Williams recruits Vass in Hamby search

(From left) Forensic anthropologist Dr. Arpad Vass, State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) Captain Jonathan Winters, Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams, District Attorney Scott Slatton, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency pilot J.D. Jackson and SBI Lt. Robbie Barton confer at the Marion County Rankin Fite Airport on Sept. 20 after an arial reconnaisance search for missing person Jessica Hamby.
Jessica Leeann Hamby

HAMILTON - World-renowned scientist and body locator Dr. Arpad Vass and his grave detection machine have been recruited to aid in the search for Jessica Leeann Hamby.

Council denies Wilds, refuses land offer - full article

The Wilds family attended a third town council meeting to request that their properties be de-annexed from the Brilliant Town Limits. Resident Jason Wilds (far left) is seen arguing with councilman Charles Berryhill at the Wednesday, Sept. 26, meeting.

BRILLIANT - In what seems to be the end of a three-month argument,  or perhaps an entirely new beginning, Brilliant Town Council members told Jason Wilds and his family that they did not support removing the family’s three properties from the town limits of Brilliant.
The Wednesday, Sept. 26, meeting was the third council meeting that the Wilds family attended, arguing that they were promised Brilliant town water in return for them agreeing to annex their properties into the town limits.

Editorial: That IS our job

As the Marion County Domestic Violence Task Force kicks off its annual supply drive, we at the Journal Record have some things to say.
First of all, we agree with a comment made by supply drive coordinator Ellen Gregg, when she stated, “We have to keep the needs of the vulnerable at the forefront of our minds.” The Journal Record wants to shout that statement from the rooftops!
Too often in today’s society, people practice “looking after number one.” As long as our family is safe, we aren’t too worried about the needs of anyone else’s.

Michael Palmer: Tractor is a part of local history; part of the family

Jim Whisnant is seen here on the exact spot where he had his photo (inset) made on his father’s Farmall H tractor when he was three years old. Whisnant’s father, Pete, a World War II veteran, ordered the tractor through the G.I. Bill and had it delivered to Hamilton in 1947.
Micahel Palmer

Some of the best artifacts from history are not kept neat and clean in museums or tucked snug away in private collections. Quite a few artifacts from history are still being used. One local artifact that is sitting under a shed on a family farm north of Hamilton.

Task force requests subpoena

HAMILTON - The Bevill State Community College (BSCC)-Hamilton Campus Legislative Advisory Task Force for Education has filed a third-party subpoena request in Marion County Circuit Court. The task force is seeking to obtain any communications the Alabama Community College System’s (ACCS) Board of Trustees President, Gov. Kay Ivey, regarding the attempted closure of workforce development courses on the Bevill State Hamilton Campus.

Annual supply drive is in full swing!

HAMILTON - The annual supply drive for the Marion County Domestic Violence Task Force has officially kicked off and task force members are hoping to collect more supplies than ever for survivors of domestic violence.
The supply drive will conclude on Friday, Nov. 2, at Shopper’s Value on Military Street in Hamilton. The grocery store is the only drop-off location for supplies this year.
According to DVTF supply drive chairwoman Ellen Gregg, she expects more volunteers and churches to be involved with the drive than ever before.

AMLA website spotlights Marion County

The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association launched a new website on Monday, Aug. 27, detailing festivals, lodging accommodations and restaurants in the top 16 counties in the state and recognizing several Marion County entities.
The website,, is designed to be easy to use for anyone planning a trip to the area and highlights restaurants, nature sights, museums and much more.


Patriot’s Day Ceremony ‘huge’ success

Sonny James American Legion Post 165 of Hackleburg hosted National American Legion Commander Brett Reistad (left) and Alabama American Legion Commander Harry Christian (center) during its Patriot’s Day Ceremony held in Hackleburg. The national and state commander are shown accompanied by local Post 165 commander Tim Howard in front of the Hackleburg Memorial.

HAMILTON - More than 75 individuals participated in a recent Patriot’s Day Ceremony held in the Town of Hackleburg.
The ceremony, held on Saturday, Sept. 8, in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorists attacks, was sponsored by the Town of Hackleburg and by Sonny James American Legion Post 165.
The ceremony was also used to commemorate and honor local first responder.
American Legion Post 165 Commander Tim Howard told the Journal Record that the event was a “huge success” and the post is planning on making the ceremony an annual event.

2,500 enjoy ‘center of God’s universe’

HAMILTON - Maywood Christian Camp marked its 54th summer camping season this year.
Maywood Camp Director Jeff Goff said that this summer was a really good season and  saw 1,901 student and about 600 adult participants.
Goff said that the 83-acre camp operates its camp program for nine weeks over the summer, pulling campers from Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.

Enrollment grows to 194

HAMILTON - The Ramp School of Ministry (RSM) in Hamilton has just short of 200 students enrolled for its 2018-2019 school year, which officially began on Monday, Aug. 27.
The Ramp School of Ministry Director of Admissions and Recruiting Joe Edens told the Journal Record that has currently enrolled 194 students--101 first-year, 68 second-year and 25 third-year interns.
Edens said that the students have moved to Hamilton from 18 states, pulling in students from as far as California. Alabama students number 29.

Matthew Puckett: Four schools start back region play, Hackleburg out of action

Four of Marion County’s schools dive back into region play after last week’s non-region slate.
Three county squads picked up wins in non-region play. (Prediction is designated in bold text).

All games are scheduled to be played on Friday, Oct. 5, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

Brilliant @ Meek

Hayden @ Hamilton

Marion County @ Hubbertville

Oakman @ Winfield

Strong second half seals Pirate win over Aggies

Winfield running back Chris Broyles (7) stiff-arms Hamilton defensive lineman Christian Loving (55) in an effort to pick up extra yardage. Broyles collected 173 yards and two scores on 19 attempts against the Aggies. Also shown for Winfield is Josh Estes (20).

WINFIELD - Winfield continued its trend of second-half surges with a 38-14 home victory over Class 5A rival Hamilton on Friday, Sept. 28.
For the second week in a row, the Pirates headed into their locker room at halftime trailing with the Aggies leading 14-12 at the intermission.
And for the second straight week, Winfield responded by outscoring its opponent 26-0 in the second half to add to the Pirates’ string of 20-plus point victories to three-in-a-row.


Red Raiders hold on to beat Sulligent

Marion County senior Braden Pyron (2) pulls away from Sulligent defenders on a kick return. Also shown is Darese Smith (10).

GUIN - A tale of two halves led to Marion County claiming a 23-14 victory over Class 2A Sulligent on Friday, Sept. 28.
The Red Raiders (5-1, 2-1) held a 20-point advantage at the end of the opening half. The Blue Devils (2-4, 1-2) scored 14 points in the second half while Marion County converted on a 44-yard field goal attempt to cap off the 23-14 victory.
Following the Red Raiders’ fifth victory of the season, head coach Kyle Williams saw areas that needed improvement, despite defeating the larger school.


Brilliant surges in second half for second win

Brilliant’s Braden Burleson (32) breaks into the open field against Lynn on Friday, Sept. 21. The Tiger back scored three rushing touchdowns on Friday, Sept. 28, against Tharptown as Brilliant earned a 43-24 victory over the Class 2A Wildcats.

RUSSELLVILLE - Brilliant outscored Class 2A Tharptown 30-3 the final 21 minutes en route to a 43-24 Tiger victory on Friday, Sept. 28.
Brilliant improved to 2-3 overall and remained 0-3 in Class 1A, Region 6. Tharptown dropped to 1-4 overall and stayed 0-3 in Class 2A, Region 7.
Second-year head coach Brian Gunnels was pleased with the team’s effort in the victory.


Panthers suffer fifth loss on year

Hackleburg’s Camron Randolph (16) hauls in a pass from quarterback Kaleb Moore (5) in the end zone against Hubbertville.

HACKLEBURG - Hackleburg suffered its fifth loss of the season when Hubbertville earned a 55-24 victory over the Panthers on Friday, Sept. 28.
The Panthers (1-5, 1-2 in Class 1A, Region 8) were outscored 35-18 in the first half before the second half saw the Lions (4-1, 2-1) complete the win with a 20-6 advantage.
The last time Hackleburg suffered through a start of the season such as now was in 2007, during head coach John Hardin’s 19th season at the helm of the Panthers, when Hackleburg lost its first six games en route to a 3-7 season.


Showdown Sunday to feature collegiate teams

GUIN - Marion County High School is set to host the Sunday Showdown, a collegiate softball game, at the Lady Raider softball field.
The contest between Shelton State Community College and the University of Alabama in Huntsville is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 7, at 2 p.m.
The cost for tickets presale is $6 as per ticket with an $8 charge on the day of the game.


Winfield rises to No. 5 in 3A

Winfield continued its climb in the Class 3A rankings as the Pirates jumped to No. 5 this week.
The Pirates rose one spot after earning a victory over  Class 3A, Region 4 rival Lamar County 46-21. The Pirates trailed the Bulldogs 21-20 at halftime before dominating the second half 26-0 as head coach David McKinney’s squad improved to 5-0 this year.

PD gets new Tahoe after older model totalled

A Hamilton Police Department Chevrolet Tahoe was wrecked on Aug. 23 during a response call. According to Hamilton Mayor Bob Page, the officer lost control of the vehicle while rounding a curve on County Road 11

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Police Department will purchase a new 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe police cruiser.
The council unanimously voted at its meeting held on Monday, Sept. 17, to purchase the new cruiser at a cost of $32,016 from Donohoo Chevrolet in Fort Payne.
The new vehicle will replace one of the police department’s cruisers which was totalled  during a response call on Aug. 23.


Summer conferences gather 2,374

The more than 2,300 attendees of the three Summer Ramp conferences in Hamilton contributed around $427,000 into the local economy, as they purchased food, lodging and travel necessities during their stay. The conference-goers are pictured worshipping and praying during services at The Ramp. (Courtesy of Ramp Media)

HAMILTON – The Ramp finished its last of three summer conferences on Saturday, Aug. 18, bringing 2,374 visitors to the area and giving the local economy an estimated $427,320 boost.
The Summer Ramp conferences were held on June 28 - 30, July 26 - 28 and Aug. 17 -18. Once again, local businesses—including hotels and motels from Hamilton, Guin and Winfield and restaurants—noticed the influx of visitors and the large increase of revenue.