Hackleburg ready to celebrate Independence Day

HACKLEBURG -  The Hackleburg Town Council announced that it will be hosting the town’s annual  Fourth of July celebration on Thursday, July 4, during a regular session meeting on Monday, June 24, at the Hackleburg Town Hall.
The event will begin at noon and will feature live music, arts, crafts, free swimming, inflatables for children, vendors, karaoke, a parade and a fireworks display.
The Hackleburg pool will be open from noon- 8 p.m. and will be free to use for those attending the event.

 

Lunch accounts now fundable online

HAMILTON - Avoiding that emergency trip to bring a student lunch money is looking easier. 
The Marion County Board of Education voted during its monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 11, to enter into a contract with Pams Lunchroom of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., a company that supports credit and debit card payments for school-related expenses.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West said the service will enable parents and guardians to fund students’ lunchroom accounts remotely.

Grandview Drive bridge finally open


The new Grandview Drive bridge opened Tuesday, June 18, concluding a six-year process. Shown inspecting the bridge are (from left) Hamilton councilors Herb Winsett and Gene Sanderson, Hamilton Mayor Bob Page and councilors Wade Sullins and Tami Lewis Williams. (Not shown is councilman Bobby Joe Irvin.)

HAMILTON - Closing a six-year process, the bridge on Grandview Drive has finally been completed.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page received a letter from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) on Monday, June 17, approving the bridge for use. 
Page opened the letter during the Hamilton City Council meeting that night. The bridge was officially opened the next day, Tuesday, June 18.
“We can use this bridge!” Page rejoiced.

 

Career Center to hold training information seminar

HAMILTON -  The Hamilton Career Center will be hosting a Training Information Seminar on Tuesday, July 9, at the center on the Hamilton Campus of Bevill State Community College.
The seminar will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 10 a.m. Presentations will include information on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and Individual Training Accounts (WIOA/ITA) information, career exploration, the college admissions process, Labor Market information and Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)/Financial Aid information.

Firefighters association votes to move repeater


The Marion County Firefighters Association held its monthly meeting Thursday night, June 27, at Bama-Q Pit & Grill in Hamilton.

HAMILTON - The Marion County Firefighters Association voted to approve a measure to relocate its Hackleburg repeater during its regular meeting on Thursday, June 27 at Bama-Q Pit & Grill in Hamilton. 
A repeater is a radio tower that allows firefighters’ handheld radios and the radios in their trucks to communicate at a longer range. 

System purchasing 686 Chromebooks, new buses

Hamilton - The Marion County School System will reach its strategic goal of one-to-one technology during the 2019-2020 school year.
The Marion County Board of Education agreed to purchase 686 Chromebook laptops and 28 charging carts during its Tuesday, June 11, meeting.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West said that the new purchases will complete the system’s strategic plan of providing each county student with a Chromebook.
The county school system has been incrementally purchasing Chromebooks for the last three years

 

2018-2019 free or reduced lunches

Marion County Schools and Winfield City Schools have announced their policies for free and reduced-price meals for children served in schools under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. 
Local school officials have adopted household size and income criteria for determining eligibility. (The price information is found on the accompanying chart on this page.)
If your total current household income is within the limits listed above, your children may be eligible for either free or reduced-price meals.

Winkler is crowned Miss Hamilton 2020


Shown (from left) in their gowns are Ashlyn Winkler (Miss Hamilton), Samantha Hennings (Miss Outstanding Teen) and Blakeney Tibbs (Miss Hamilton Rising Star).

HAMILTON - Ashlyn Winkler has been crowned as the new Miss Hamilton 2020 during the annual pageant. 
Winkler is from Dora and attends the University of Montevallo. She majors in speech-language pathology, which correlates to her platform statement, “Shining a Light on Autism Acceptance.”
Samantha Hennings became the newly-crowned Miss Outstanding Teen 2020. Hennings is from Springville and is a junior at Victory Chrisitan School. Her platform is “Just Breathe,” which helps to bring a light to mental illness, but more specifically, anxiety and depression.

Hamilton senior attends leadership congress in nation’s Capitol


Brennon Ballard (right), 17, a senior at Hamilton High School traveled to the National Student Leadership Congress in Washington, D.C., from June 8-14. Upward Bound coordinator Donna Swinney is shown dropping Ballard off as he departs for the trip.

HAMILTON - A rising Hamilton High School senior was one of 180 students nationwide invited to the National Student Leadership Congress (NSLC) in June. 
Brennon Ballard, 17, son of Jessica Parker and Christopher Ballard, traveled to Washington, D.C., during June 8-14 to attend the conference on an all-expense paid trip.
Ballard was selected to attend the trip through the Bevill State Community College-Hamilton Campus Upward Bound program after submitting an application and a written essay.

100 deadliest days

Hamilton - Fun and sun traditionally fill the 100 summer days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but new statistics prove that, for teenagers, they are also days of death.  
The number of teens killed in car crashes increases 26% compared with the other months of the year, according to data released by Safe Kids Worldwide, a global non-profit organization working to prevent childhood injury through research, community outreach, legislative advocacy and media awareness campaigns. 

Rainfall above normal for the year

HAMILTON - Before the rain that fell on June 5, weather recorder Eddy Pearce’s rain gauge in Hamilton went 22 days without seeing any measurable rain. But that was no reason to be alarmed, Pearce said. Rainfall is above normal this year.
“You better believe it,” Pearce said on June 4, “if it don’t rain anymore for the month of June and July, we’d still be above normal.”
Pearce said average rainfall totals are 26.91 inches for the first five months of a year.

Safeplace awarded nearly $2.7 million

HAMILTON -  Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded nearly $2.7 million to ensure that victims of domestic violence in six northwest Alabama counties are afforded adequate care and support to help them escape difficult situations and overcome their ordeals.

The grant to Safeplace Inc. of Florence will provide shelter and other services for victims in Marion, Winston, Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale and Lawrence counties.
“Domestic violence is a reprehensible crime that affects every segment of society, but the hurt for victims is the same,” said Ivey.

Marion County awarded $12,015 for emergency food, shelter programs

HAMILTON - Marion County has been awarded federal funds made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program.
Marion County has been chosen to receive $12,015 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.
The application period begins today (Wednesday, June 19) and closes on Wednesday, July 3.

Flag drop box to honor Loftis unveiled in Winfield

WINFIELD - A drop box for old and tattered flags was unveiled during a ceremony in front of the Winfield City Hall on Tuesday, June 4, to honor Danny Loftis. 
Loftis, who passed away on Jan. 2, was remembered by community members as a veteran who had great respect for the American Flag.
“Danny would keep an eye on all the flags around town and make sure they were in top-notch shape,” said Winfield Mayor Randy Price. “He would collect all the old and tattered flags from around town and give them proper disposal.”

 

Estes lone abstention on education budget

MONTGOMERY - Marion County Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, was the lone legislator to abstain from approving the Fiscal Year 2020 Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget.
The Alabama House of Representatives took its final vote on the ETF on Friday, May 31. The budget passed 102-0.
The House District 17 representative told the Journal Record that his abstention was due to him not being provided information regarding Bevill State Community College (BSCC)-Hamilton Campus as requested.

Consumed by Fire to perform at Pastime Theatre

WINFIELD - The contemporary Christian group Consumed by Fire is set to engulf the Pastime Theatre stage on Saturday, June 15, at 7 p.m.
The group, composed of three brothers--Caleb, Josh and Jordan Ward--began in 2010 and hail from Oklahoma.
The group is a musically-inventive Southern pop/rock band that combines their church roots with an eclectic array of influences distilled into a sound that is uniquely their own. 

Pirate Night features silent auction on June 21

WINFIELD - The Winfield Pirates football booster club will sponsor its annual silent auction during Pirate Night on Friday, June 21.
The meal begins at 6 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. with the auction ending at 8 p.m. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
Proceeds from the event will be used by the club to pay for program expenses for the coming football season.

 

Unemployment in county drops

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%.

BSCC-Hamilton students awarded at SkillsUSA


Matt Jones (middle) of BSCC-Hamilton is shown holding the SkillsUSA State Champion banner after winning first-place in Diesel Equipment Technology at the 2019 SkillUSA State Championship held on April 15-17, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham.

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.

 

April tax collection shows mixed results

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.

148 students awarded splash pad passes, pizza for reading scores


Erica Byrd, daughter of Justin and Emy Byrd, earned her way into the HES Accelerated Reader 100 Point Club. Her favorite books are “Geronimo Stilton” books because she says they have adventures and are exciting.

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.

 

Woman charged with issuing terrorist threat to court office


Winfield Police Officer Dustin Webb locks the door to the 25th Judicial District Court services office after obtaining a list of persons scheduled for drug tests on Thursday, May 30.

 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.

 

Over 400 weapons confiscated at courthouse since April

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.

Grant monies mark another step towards Love’s

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.

Now well past the initial shock, Estes has gone to work


Hamilton High School’s Natalie Robertson led members of the Alabama House of Representatives in the Pledge of Allegiance to open the session on Thursday, May 7, in Montgomery. Robertson was joined in the chambers by her mother, Denise. The Robertsons were the guest of House District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield. While in the State Capitol, the Robertsons toured the Alabama State House and visited with various elected officials.

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. 

‘I’ve heard enough talk’


David Thornell (left) President and CEO of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Agency is shown addressing the Marion County Commission during a regular session meeting on Monday, May 13, in Hamilton.

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.

Principals review school monies

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.

Overpaid gas taxes refunded

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.

 

Councilman wants to boot food trucks

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.

Guard removes dated structure


A large backhoe sits on a cleared foundation on the Alabama National Guard base in Hamilton, where a large storage facility once stood. There are no plans to replace the structure.

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.

 

Last First Fridays event set for June 7


The Yellow Hammers performed during the Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce’s First Fridays event held on Friday, May 3, in downtown Hamilton. Shown performing are (from left) Conner Nix, Colby Nix and Cody Bass.

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.

USDA reopens continuous crp signup

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.

Local residents initiated into Phi Kappa Phi

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.

Magistrate’s office will move to city hall

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.

Legislators face backlash, threats after vote for abortion ban

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.

Dersham releases new Alabama photography book


John Dersham (left) is shown here with Blue (center) and Jerry Brown, during a photo shoot on Nov. 15, 2014, in Marion County.

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.

The sounds of other worlds

Mellini
Louis Mellini

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.

Hackleburg principal set to retire


Hackleburg High School Principal John Hardin is shown in front of Hackleburg High School. Hardin is set to retire after 38 years in education as a teacher, coach and high school principal.

HACKLEBURG-  Hackleburg High School Principal John Hardin will be retiring at the end of the school year after 38 years in education.
“I honestly had no intention of ever being a principal, but as time went on, I got my administration degree,” said Hardin.
“I did apply and was fortunate enough to get hired.”
In 2011, one year after he was appointed as principal of Hackleburg High, Hardin was faced with the challenge of keeping students and staff members organized and united after the 2011 Hackleburg tornado.

 

McCarley transferred as Hackleburg High principal

HAMILTON - There will be a number of principal changes in the Marion County School System as the summer months begin.
The Marion County Board of Education unanimously approved the transfer and resignation of two of its current principals during its meeting on Thursday, May 13. It also took appropriate action to begin searching for a new principal for one of its schools.

Lindh’s early release angers world, state, local leaders


This image made from television footage made in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, Saturday Dec.1, 2001, shows John Walker Lindh at right, claiming to be an American Taliban volunteer calling himself Abdul Hamid. Lindh was among survivors of the fortress prison revolt driven from tunnels there flooded by the northern alliance. Man at left is unidentified. (AP Photo/APTN)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  Much to the dismay of world, state and local leaders, John Walker Lindh, dubbed the American Taliban, was granted an early release from federal prison on Thursday, May 23, after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the release on Fox News Thursday, calling it "unexplainable and unconscionable.”

Love’s will be granted $2M tax incentive

HAMILTON - An anticipated Love’s Country Store and Truck Stop  will receive a tax incentive worth $2 million.
The Hamilton City Council unanimously passed a development agreement with Love’s during its meeting on Monday, May 20.
Through the agreement, the city commits to rebate Love’s for taxes collected on diesel sales, which is taxed at 2 cents per gallon.
Love’s will be reimbursed on diesel tax for up to $2 million or for no more than 20 years, which ever comes first.

 

Lewis remembers those who made the supreme sacrifice


Hytower Lewis is shown here with a wedding photo of himself and his late wife, Dorothy. He is shown at his Country Place Senior Living apartment on Friday, May 10.

 HAMILTON -  For this year’s Memorial Day edition of the Journal Record, I sat down with 20-year Army veteran Hytower Lewis. Lewis, 87, was kind enough to share some of his memories of his time in the United States Army. Lewis served in the Army from 1949 to 1970 and fought in the Korean War and the war in Vietnam.
 
“I have some good memories and some not so good memories,” Lewis said of his time in the service.

Lewis remembers those who made the supreme sacrifice


Hytower Lewis is shown here with a wedding photo of himself and his late wife, Dorothy. He is shown at his Country Place Senior Living apartment on Friday, May 10.

 HAMILTON -  For this year’s Memorial Day edition of the Journal Record, I sat down with 20-year Army veteran Hytower Lewis. Lewis, 87, was kind enough to share some of his memories of his time in the United States Army. Lewis served in the Army from 1949 to 1970 and fought in the Korean War and the war in Vietnam.
 
“I have some good memories and some not so good memories,” Lewis said of his time in the service.

Gudger, Stutts vote to ban abortion


Gov. Kay Ivey signs House Bill 314, the Human Life Protection Act, in her office on Wednesday, May 16.

MONTGOMERY - The Alabama State Senate voted 25-6 in favor of a near-complete ban on abortions.
The Senate approved the measurelate Tuesday night, May 15 and Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law the next day, Wednesday, May 16.
The ban bill only allows exceptions to avoid serious health risk to an unborn child’s mother, ectopic pregnancy and if the unborn child has a lethal anomaly.
Both of Marion County’s senators—-District 4 Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, and District 6 Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia—voted in favor of the legislation.