Station deal discussed over group text

HACKLEBURG - The Hackleburg Town Council used electronic communications --texting-- to avoid having a public meeting, which is a violation of the law known as the Alabama Open Meetings Act.
The revelation came to light on Monday, Aug. 27, at the Hackleburg Town Council meeting during a discussion regarding a proposed lease contract with a local radio station, Big 95.5.

Editorial: Lack of ALDOT service signs on I-22 allowing money to slip by

We’ve often heard it said, “People drive through Marion County and don’t even know it.” While several factors may play into this, one blatant issue is that the majority of the county’s municipalities are limited to their exposure on the ALDOT’s Specific Service Signing on Interstate 22.
Frequent travelers understand that options presented to them on the highway signs play a large factor in where they stop. With a simple variance of rules, the State of Alabama, Marion County and our cities and towns could see our economy boosted with little-to-no effort at all.


Hospital getting back on track

WINFIELD – The Winfield Healthcare Authority told the Winfield City Council that Northwest Medical Center was well on its way to getting on-track since it was purchased by the authority in May at the Tuesday, Aug. 21, council meeting.
Hospital chief executive officer Michael Arno said that the financial situation of the hospital is very positive after the nearly three months of operation under the new ownership.

Patriot’s Day ceremony this Saturday

HACKLEBURG - Sonny James American Legion Post 165, which serves the Hackleburg community, will host a Patriot’s Day Ceremony honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack and those who have lost their lives since the war on terror began.
The event will also be used to recognize local first responders and will take place in the pavilion in Hackleburg located by the recreation center on Saturday, Sept. 8.

County unemployment rates drop

Marion County unemployment figures dropped significantly in the month of July to 4.3 percent, a figure closer to the low percentages residents have gotten used to seeing for the past year.
The state experienced an increase in employment rates, making July the third-consecutive month the state has broken employment records.
The June unemployment rate for Marion County was uncharacteristically high, considering the extreme gains in employment in the state over the past year, at 5.0 percent.


Brilliant awarded $200K in grants

MONTGOMERY - Gov. Kay Ivey announced that eight communities in the state would be receiving grants to improve infrastructure on Thursday, July 19, mentioning that Brilliant would receive two grants totalling $200,000.
A $60,000 grant was awarded to the town to replace a section of sewer lines along Crook Street and make repairs at the wastewater treatment plant.
A second grant of $140,000 was awarded to drain, widen and resurface Webb Street from Brookside Road to Main Street.

24/7 dispatch restored in Sheffield

HAMILTON - Local State Troopers stationed will be better equipped in dispatch services as full-time, 24-hour, seven days a week dispatch communications have been restored at the Quad-Cities Troopers Post in Sheffield.
Assistant Troop E Commander Lt. Jimmy Ward told the Journal Record that as of the beginning of August, police communication officers (PCOs) have again begun dispatching from the Quad Cities Post for the nine counties in Troop E’s district, which includes Marion, Colbert, Fayette, Franklin, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Walker and Winston counties.

Red Raiders shutout Vina

Marion County senior Braden Pyron (2) looks back as he races to the end zone on the opening kickoff of the 2018 season. Pyron returned the kick 80 yards to score on the Red Raiders’ first play of the season.

VINA - Marion County scored on the first live play of the 2018 season with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and never looked back en route to a 42-0 win over Vina on Friday night, Aug. 24.
The opening win puts Marion County at 1-0 on the so-very-young season while dropping Vina to 0-1 to start the year.

Huge third quarter lifts Pirates over Lions

Winfield’s Luke McKinney (56) blocks for running back Chris Broyles (7) after the handoff from quarterback Jackson Elkins (2). Broyles scored three times as he racked up 200-plus yards in the Pirates’ 37-13 victory.

WINFIELD – The Winfield Pirates got off to slow start to begin the 2018 season against the Haleyville Lions, but the offense came out firing on all cylinders in the second half.
When the final was in the scoreboard lights  at Estes Hudson Stadium in Winfield, the Pirates had scored 31 unanswered points en route to a 37-13 win over their Winston County rivals on Friday, Aug. 24.

Tigers lose varsity portion 22-0

LYNN - Brilliant lost 22-0 to Lynn in the varsity portion of the Friday, Aug. 24, jamboree in the second quarter after the Tigers’ junior varsity fell short 14-0 in the opening quarter.
Following the contest, second-year head coach Briant Gunnels saw both positives and areas where the team can improve.
“We played hard,” Gunnels said. “We had some bright spots and saw what we need to work on.
“That’s the good thing about a jamboree  we have some kids getting used to new positions. We had three starters out, so some younger guys got some good reps in live situations.”

Panthers lose season opener

Hackleburg quarterback Kaleb Moore (5) attempts to evade the Winston County defenders in the Panthers’ 28-16 loss. Also shown for Hackleburg is Ethan Heggy (14).

DOUBLE SPRINGS - The Mark Mitchell coaching era at Winston County High School kicked off with infectious excitement Friday, Aug. 24, as the home team flew to a 28-16 victory over the Hackleburg Panthers.
After his team’s loss, Hackleburg head coach Rod Hudson noted his squad had key areas that need improvement.
“We’ve to do a better job up front on offense and defense,” the 10-year Panther head coach said. “Our receivers are going to have to do a better job getting open and blocking on the perimeter.

Community invited to input meetings

WINFIELD - The  Alabama Association of School Boards, which is assisting the Winfield Board of Education in its superintendent search, is soliciting input from parents, community members and school faculty as it pertains to what they would like to see in the Winfield City School System’s next superintendent.
Several community meetings will be held by the Alabama Association of School Boards at the Winfield Community Center in order to hear feedback from these stakeholders on Thursday, Sept. 6.

Grandview Drive Bridge

Tojo Powers of Solley Equipment and Rigging, Decatur, signals to a crane operator as a bridge girder is placed across Williams Creek on Grandview Drive north of Hamilton. Powers said the concrete and steel girders are 150-feet long and weigh 190,000 pounds each. Hamilton Mayor Bob Page said the new bridge will be 24-feet wide and feature 12-foot lanes.

Water, roads, fire hydrants top topics

Guin councilman Roger Agnew holds up a bottle of water that he says is a sample of water from the faucet of a Guin water customer.

GUIN - The Monday, Aug. 20, Guin City Council meeting got off to a contentious start after councilman Roger Agnew asked to add a few items to the agenda. Councilman Bobby Bellew, serving as mayor pro-tem, presided over the meeting in the absence of mayor Max Maddox who was unable to attend the meeting due to a family medical situation.

Agnew says he’s under scrutiny by ethics commission

GUIN - After the Monday, Aug. 20, Guin City Council meeting was adjourned, councilman Roger Agnew asked if the council could go into executive session. “Do you-all have time to talk for five minutes?” Agnew asked. “Can we go into an executive meeting?”

Agnew said he asked some workers at the city shop if they would take some cold mix to Sawmill Road and fill a few big potholes. Agnew lives on Sawmill Road. When no one was available to fill the holes, Agnew said he used his own tractor to take a bucket of cold mix to Sawmill Road to fill the holes.


Decision on Jack’s incentive locked up in tie

Jack’s Family Restaurant Director of Development Jim Avery shares plans for a Jack’s coming to the City of Hamilton to the Hamilton City Council at a Aug. 20 meeting

HAMILTON - The Hamilton City Council was split whether or not to give tax incentives to Jack’s Family Restaurants.
The council voted 3-3 at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 20, on whether the company could receive a 10-year, half-city sales tax abatement.
Those against giving Jack’s a tax abatement at all were councilors Gene Sanderson, Bobby Joe Irvin and Herb Winsett.

Jack’s breaks ground

Workers from Fayette’s 3-D Excavating break ground on Thursday, Aug. 23, on land purchased by Jack’s Family Restaurants for a new $2 million quick-service restaurant.

HAMILTON - Jack’s Family Restaurants has broken ground and has begun grading its new property on Military Street across from the Hamilton Walmart Supercenter.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page confirmed that Jack’s had gone ahead with its decision to locate in the city despite the fact that the Hamilton City Council failed to give the company a decision on a tax abatement at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 20.
Page said that the company purchased its business license with the city and the property from Hamilton resident Gerald Logan on Wednesday, Aug. 22.


Retail Strategies contract decision will wait

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.


$50M ‘leaking’ in unclaimed retail

Retail Strategies Chief Operating Officer Scott VonCannon is shown at the Hamilton City Council’s Wednesday, Aug. 15, work session. VonCannon told the council that the agency has reached out to as many as 55 national retailers in the first year on behalf of the City of Hamilton

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.

Editorial: Jack’s plays deal or no deal; Hamilton wins

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.

Agency receives $30,000 for food assistance

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.


Man injured in wreck

A man was injured after a single-vehicle crash at 3:14 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15. The wreck happened on Highway 43/278 near the Moore Superstore just south of Interstate 22. The vehicle was travelling south when it crossed the northbound lane and ran into the ditch.

Superintendent search begins

The Winfield Board of Education voted to contract with the Alabama Association of School Boards for hiring a new superintendent of education at its Tuesday, Aug. 14, meeting.

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.

Investigations into BSCC, ACCS requested

The Bevill State Community College (BSCC)-Hamilton Campus Legislative Advisory Task Force appeared on the front steps of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) in Montgomery on Monday, Aug. 13, to deliver information to a number of agencies and offices, asking for investigations to be opened on possible spending improprieties by BSCC and ACCS. Shown outside the Alabama State Capitol following the task force’s stop at Gov. Kay Ivey’s office are (front row, from left) attorney Tony Glenn of Hamilton, Tony Shackleford of Hackleburg, CIS Home Loans President Paula Reeves, Hackleburg High School Counselor Charlotte Howell, Winfield Mayor Randy Price, Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West, Hamilton Mayor Bob Page, (back row, same order) former Guin Mayor Phil Segraves, Journal Record General Manager Les Walters and Tombigbee Electric Cooperative CEO Steve Foshee.

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).

Reed attends NRA’s Y.E.S. in D.C.

Ross Reed (right) receives his $2,000 scholarship from National Rifle Association Secretary Skipp Galythly. Reed was one of 10 attendees at the National Youth Education Summit in Washington, D.C., who received a scholarship.

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.

E-cycling set for Sept. 15

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.

Pushing back on the ‘Enemy of the People’

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.”

Council discusses school tax money, new business, radio station

Chris Knott (left) and David Elrod are pictured here outside the auto repair business they are building in downtown Hackleburg.

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.

Cruise-in set for Aug. 25

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."

Patrols will beef up for Labor Day

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.

June, July weather hot but average

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.