Leaders pull the plug on state’s virtual school

HAMILTON - Marion County School officials will  “bite the bullet” and fork out additional funds to replace  problematic state-furnished virtual school software.
During a special-called meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 23, the Marion County Board of Education voted unanimously to contract with a Minnesota-based online school software company, Edmentum. The program will cost an estimated $234,000, which will be adjusted depending on enrollment changes.

Guin Water Works dropping 3M lawsuit

Guin City Attorney Jerry Hester is shown reading aloud a statement from the Guin Water Board that the decision was made to drop the lawsuit against 3M during a regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 21, at Guin City Hall.

GUIN -  Guin Mayor Max Maddox  announced that the Guin Water Works and Sewer Board has decided to drop its lawsuit against 3M during a regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 21.
Maddox stated that the Water Board and attorneys involved in the lawsuit made the decision to sue 3M against his advice.
“I sit on the (water) board, I have no vote, but I do give my opinion,” said Maddox.
“I gave my opinion when we were meeting with the lawyers that they would not do anything until they met with 3M. The next thing I heard, we had a lawsuit.”

Inmate tests positive for COVID-19 post mortem

HAMILTON - A 59-year-old Hamilton Community Work Center inmate has died due to COVID-19.
Christopher Nalls, who was serving a 15-year sentence for theft of property out of Fayette County passed away on Thursday, Sept. 10.
According to a press release distributed on Friday, Sept. 25 by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), Nalls, who suffered from multiple pre-existing health conditions, was transferred to a local hospital on Aug. 31 for care unrelated to COVID-19.

Runoff set for Tuesday

Voters are set to return to the polls on Tuesday, Oct. 6, to settle runoffs in multiple races.
Municipal elections will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in each municipality. A photo ID is required to vote.
A photo ID is the only requirement to vote. According to Alabama’s current COVID-19 health order, masks are not required to perform constitutional rights, such as voting. The health order strongly encourages residents to wear a mask, though.

Auditors say city in good financial health

HAMILTON - Financial records from 2019 show the City of Hamilton in good financial health.
The Hamilton City Council heard results from their Fiscal Year 2019 audit during a city council meeting on Monday, Sept. 21.
The audit report spans the previous fiscal year, which occurred during October 2018 and September 2019.
The city’s finances were audited by certified public accountants Leanna Jones and Aimee Gilliland of Riggs Accounting in Hamilton.


Apprenticeship program announced

JASPER - Bevill State Community College is excited to announce the launch of its new apprenticeship program!
Currently, Bevill State is offering a pre-apprenticeship Scholarship in the amount of $2,050.
Dr. Leslie Hartley, Dean of Instruction for Bevill State Community College said, "Bevill State Community College is excited to be offering this new opportunity to students.

Gas tax increasing 2¢ tomorrow

Alabama’s gasoline tax will hike another 2 cents beginning tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 1.
The increase is the second step in the state’s 10-cent Rebuild Alabama Act, which the state Legislature approved during the 2019 Legislative Session. It was the first increase to the gas tax since 1992.
The gas tax increased 6 cents in September 2019, from 18 cents per gallon to 24 cents per gallon. Tomorrow’s increase will bump it an additional 2 cents to 26 cents per gallon. Additionally, diesel tax will increase from 25 cents to 27 cents.

City pays for six interactive TVs

GUIN - The Guin City Council voted to pay Marion County Elementary School $11,462.05 each for various expenses including six new Viewsonic televisions during a regular meeting held on Monday, Sept. 21, at Guin City Hall.
Principal Josh Weatherly and school advisory board chairman Zayne Miles stated that the school was in need of four televisions, with the goal of eventually having a television in each classroom, much like Marion County High School.

Winfield business office reopening to public

WINFIELD - Alabama Power will safely and responsibly adjust operations at business offices and appliance centers throughout the state to provide walk-in service options for customers.
According to the power company, the Winfield business office and appliance center located at 340 Bankhead Highway is included in this measure and reopened on Wednesday, Sept. 23. The lobby has been closed over the last six months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cox named Bevill State interim president

MONTGOMERY - Dr. Chris Cox was announced as Interim President of Bevill State Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
Cox will serve in the role until a permanent president is named. His tenure at Bevill State Community College will begin on Thursday, Oct. 1.
Communications and Marketing Administrator Rachel Bunning stated that Cox has more than 24 years of higher education administration experience and currently serves as Interim President at Lurleen B. Wallace (LBW) Community College.

Online learning virtually impossible

“It’s a struggle,” said Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West, describing the experience many teachers, parents and, more importantly, students have had attempting to do school online.
The sentiment is similar in Winfield, according to Winfield City Schools Superintendent of Education Chris Cook.

Revis pleads guilty to murder

Double Springs - Christopher Dewayne Revis, 42, Hamilton, will serve life in prison for the murder of Jerry Stidham in 2004.
According to court documents, Revis pled guilty to murder in 25th Judicial Circuit Court on Wednesday, Sept. 16, in Double Springs.
Since 2006, Revis has been on Death Row after a jury found him guilty of Capital Murder in connection with the case.
Revis’ plea of the lesser charge of murder will incur a life sentence instead of the death penalty.


No known at-school transmission

Health measures taken by local public school systems are successful thus far, according to school administrators.
During a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15, Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West told members of the Marion County Board of Education that administrators have not seen any evidence of COVID-19 transmission at school.
“There is no knowledge of spread from students being in school,” West said. “I think our schools are doing very well.

Mercedes-Benz ‘learn-and-earn’ program growing

HAMILTON - “I’m determined to figure it out, no matter how long I have to work on it.”
Those are the words from Jonathan Harkness, a 2019 Winfield City High School graduate, who is currently one of Bevill State Community College-Hamilton Campus’ first two students to participate in the college’s Mercedes-Benz Tech Co-Op program.

Extension office offers update

HAMILTON -  Lisa Murphy, Marion County Extension Coordinator, addressed the Marion County Commission with updates on activities at the extension office during a regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 14, at the Marion County Commission Office in Hamilton.
In attendance with Murphy were extension employees Rebecca Danley, Ginger Avery, Ginger Eatman, Lucy Edwards and Tim Crow.
Murphy stated that the Extension Office has been effected by COVID-19, but has been able to adapt and return to normal office operations.

Reeves honored during meeting

WINFIELD -  Winfield City High School will rename their track at the Winfield City Schools track complex to the Coach Steve Reeves Track after the Winfield City Schools Board of  Education unanimously approved of Superintendent Chris Cook’s recommendation to do so.
This track is being named to honor long-standing Winfield City Schools sports coach Steve Reeves.

Churches, citizens invited to join for public prayer

WINFIELD - Local churches are coming together to promote a time of public prayer for the nation.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The one-hour public prayer time will be held at the gazebo located adjacent to Winfield City Hall. Ironically, this is the same Saturday which traditionally serves as Mule Day weekend in the city.

Roll call shows 3,210 students present

Marion County Schools’ enrollment numbers have decreased again this year.
During a budget hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 15, Marion County Schools Chief Financial Officer Clint Green told the Marion County Board of Education that overall enrollment at the system is down to 3,210 for the 2020-2021 school year.
This is down 227 total students from six years ago when 3,437 students were attending Marion County Schools in 2014-2015.

Primary absentee ballots now available

Voter’s may now apply for vote absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 Presidential Election.
Absentee ballot application processing began on Monday, Sept. 14,  on the second floor of the Marion County Courthouse, according to Marion County Circuit Clerk Denise Mixon, who serves as the county’s absentee election manager.
Absentee applications are also being processed online at alabamavotes.gov.
Per changes made this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, any qualified voter can vote absentee by mail or in person, according to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.