Senators split vote on medical marijuana

MONTGOMERY - A bill allowing medical marijuana has been passed by the Alabama Senate.
The bill passed quickly on Thursday morning, May 9, less than 24 hours after District 6 Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, successfully delayed a vote by debating bill sponsor Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, until time expired on Wednesday night, May 8.
Stutts said that he and Melson went back and forth for about two hours before the session was dismissed for the day.
When a vote was called immediately the next morning, Stutts said no one had time to do anything.

 

Chamber hosting 16th Annual Shrimp Boil

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 16th Annual Shrimp Boil on Tuesday, June 11, from 5-7 p.m. at the Hamilton Fire Department. 
Local musical group Crossing Dixie will be providing entertainment.
“We encourage everyone to come out for a fun-filled evening with friends listening to some entertainment,” said chamber president Lacy Williams.
Pre-sale tickets are $10.00 each and on the day of the event, tickets are $12 each. To-go plates will be available.

Illegal tap suspected in Hackleburg sewage issue


Tyler Mckeller is shown speaking to the Hackleburg Town Council concerning septic waste that has been found throughout the year at the Hackleburg Wastewater Treatment plant during a regular session council meeting at Hackleburg Town Hall on Monday, May 13.

HACKLEBURG -  Tyler McKeller with the sewer treatment plant addressed the Hackleburg Town Council about issues that he has seen at the wastewater treatment plant during a regular session meeting on Monday, May 13, at Hackleburg Town Hall.
“Over the past year, we’ve noticed what appears to be septic waste coming into (Hackleburg’s) system,” said McKeller.
According to McKeller, Hackleburg sewage operates on a closed system, leaving no opportunity for individuals to access and dump into sewers through manholes.

Hamilton High’s Wilson wins Rising Star Scholarship


Hamilton High School senior Mariah Wilson is shown with the WBRC FOX6 News Rising Star Scholarship. Wilson is the first-ever Hamilton High student chosen to receive the scholarship. Using the scholarship, she will be attending the University of Alabama to study social work.

HAMILTON -  Hamilton High School senior Mariah Wilson received the WBRC FOX6 News Rising Star Scholarship worth $5,000 on Thursday, May 2, at the University of Alabama Alumni house in Birmingham.
Wilson is the first-ever Hamilton High student to receive this scholarship from the organization.

Several schools in the state each get one nomination for a student to be chosen for the scholarship program and students are nominated by their guidance counselors.

Brilliant’s CoalFest to commence this weekend

BRILLIANT -  Brilliant will be holding it annual CoalFest on Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25.
The festival will feature arts and crafts, clogging, kids rides, a coal exhibit, horseshoe, games, food and music.
Artists such as Kozmic Mama, Dixie Mafia, Mitch Mann, Tim Cannon, Austin Lewis, Cypress Creek, Crow Bridge and Tosha Hill and Loose Foot and the Magic Makers will be performing at the event.
The festival will also feature the 10th Annual CoalFest Motorcycle Show and Ride on Saturday, May 25.

 

Barnett optimistic about growing hemp


Joey Barnett (right) is shown here with his son, Trace Barnett, a Food Network contributor. The Barnett’s are going to farm hemp in Marion County.

WHITEHOUSE COMMUNITY - Marion County farmer Joey Barnett knows he won’t make a million dollars, but he is optimistic about his hemp growing prospects.
“I am excited about it. I’m not really looking to make a lot of money the first two or three years because I know that’s not going to happen,” Barnett said.
Barnett was one of 152 applicants accepted into a pilot program to grow or produce industrial hemp in Alabama.

Measles a concern for Marion County

HAMILTON - The Tennessee Department of Health reported to the Alabama Department of Public Health that an individual with a confirmed case of the measles traveled through Alabama on April 11, making two stops during the infectious period.
Measles is a serious viral respiratory illness that lives in the nose and throat of those infected. 
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, a single case of the measles will infect up to 95% of unvaccinated people who are exposed.

Shiloh residents flood hearing to stay dry


House District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, said during a public hearing on Monday, May 6, that he could not support special legislation that would annex Harper’s Junction convenience store into the City of Hamilton. Business owner Vikash Rohella was seeking annexation in order to sell alcohol.

HAMILTON - A proposal is off the table for possible legislative action to annex the Harper’s Junction convenience store property into the Hamilton City Limits.
More than 40 residents of the Shiloh Community gathered to oppose the proposal during a public hearing held at Hamilton City Hall on Monday, May 6, by the Hamilton City Council and House District Rep. Tracy Estes.
Harper’s Junction is located near the intersection of State Highway 187 and U.S. Highway 43, a little more than a mile north of Hamilton’s incorporated limits.

 

Playground campaign needs help


Shown is a graphic rendering of the anticipated Hamilton Elementary School (HES) playground. School booster club officials are seeking $40,000 over the next couple of weeks to assure that the new playground is complete by the beginning of the next school year.

HAMILTON - Needed to meet its fundraising goal by the end of May Hamilton Elementary School (HES) has only a matter of weeks to reach its goal in order to obtain new playground equipment and finish its construction by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
“We need our community’s help!” stressed Paula Wood, president of the HES Booster Club. “We have raised almost $60,000 of our $100,000 goal.”
The funds raised for HES will fund the purchase of new playground equipment that will replace the broken, unusable equipment now on the playground.

 

District accreditation results to be posted in June

HAMILTON - The Marion County School System took its “first journey” through district accreditation  during the month of April.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann west said that several  outside examiners inspected Marion County Schools for an entire week.
The results of their review will be reported in June. It will mark the first time in system history for Marion County Schools to receive a review.

Estes ‘no’ on fantasy sport legislation

Montgomery - A fantasy sports bill has cleared the Alabama House of Representatives.
If passed by the Senate and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, the bill would make it legal for online fantasy sports leagues, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, to be available for Alabama residents.
 The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette, passed the House 74-22 and now heads to the state Senate. Marion County’s representative, Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, voted “no” on the issue in what he called a “final-hour” decision due to moral objections.

Lawmakers need our feedback, prayers

In the upcoming days, our elected officials will be tackling various issues—many of them significant, such as a lottery, abortion, ethics laws, prison reform and our state budgets.
Our elected officials need insight to how their constituents stand on the issues that are before them. We believe we should be involved in telling them what we believe, what we value and what is in the best interest for our state and the counties and municipalities we live in.

The End of Infinity

Mellini
Mellini

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame was released on Thursday, April 25, and I, like millions of others across the world, was very excited to see the conclusion and culmination of over 11 years (22 films) of Marvel Studios’ now titled “Infinity Saga.”

Mechanic struck, killed in hit-and-run


Traffic can be seen backed up on Tuesday morning, April 30, as Alabama State Troopers closed both eastbound lanes on Interstate 22 near Twin for several hours while providing support in a hit-and-run incident, which left a mechanic dead.

TWIN - A mechanic was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Tuesday, April 30, while repairing a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of Interstate 22 in Marion County.
According to Alabama State Trooper-Hamilton Post Cpl. Mark Stone, at approximately 5 a.m., repairman Morris H. Welch Jr., 56, Empire, was killed when a 2019 Freightliner struck him while he was working on a vehicle near I-22’s mile marker 25.
Welch was an employee of M&M Tire and Mechanical Services in Graysville.

 

Winfield pharmacist charged in $200 million health care fraud scheme

 BIRMINGHAM - A Winfield pharmacist was one of 10 people charged in a far-reaching, $200 million prescription drug fraud scheme, United States Attorney Jay E. Town announced on Monday, May 6, in Birmingham.
James A. Mays, III, 43, Winfield, was charged on 20 counts including identity theft, spending the proceeds of healthcare fraud and mail fraud.
A total of 103 indictments were handed down to the 10 employees of a Haleyville-based pharmacy, Northside Pharmacy doing business as Global Compounding Pharmacy.

 

Candlelight Vigil for fallen officers set for May 13

HAMILTON -  The annual candlelight vigil for fallen officers in Marion County will be held on Monday, May 13, at the Marion County Courthouse in Hamilton.
This will also include the monument dedication for fallen officers in Marion County dedicated by Randy Jackson.
It will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a prayer from Dr. Kenny Hatcher, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Guin, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance by Hamilton Cub Scout Pack 56.

Guin set for two days of food music and fun

 GUIN - Guin is set for two days of food, fun and music as the city’s annual MayFest takes place this weekend.
This year’s festival includes a dogshow, a carshow, a lawn tractor pull, live music, food and arts and crafts vendors.
The music begins on Friday, May 10, at 6 p.m. as the Belles of Franklin, a glamorous female vocal trio based in Franklin, Tenn., takes the stage. After that, an Alabama duo known as The Springs will bring their brand of contemporary pop country to the MayFest stage via Nashville.

Legg, Langford discuss jail plans with commission


Jim Langford (right) is shown speaking to the Marion County Commission during a regular session meeting on April 8 in Hamilton.

HAMILTON -  The Marion County Commission met with Andy Legg and Jim Langford of Collierville, Tenn.-based Southbuild Team during a regular session on Monday, April 8, in Hamilton.
The county commission has been in talks with multiple architects  concerning planning for the new county jail and  Southbuild Team presented the council with yet another option.

Stutts ‘no,’ Gudger ‘yes’ on Albritton’s lottery bill

MONTGOMERY -  Alabamians are one step closer to voting on a lottery.
Atmore Sen. Greg Albritton’s paper-only lottery bill passed the Alabama Senate 21-12 on Thursday, April 19, which was the minimum support needed.
Marion County’s two senators were split on the issue. District 4 Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, voted “yes,” while District 6 Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, voted “no.”
The current lottery bill is expected to generate about $167 million annually, according to the Legislative Services Agency.

 

Council votes to allow draft beer bill

WINFIELD - The Winfield City Council passed a resolution during a special-called meeting on Monday, April 29, to allow local legislators to introduce a draft beer bill into the 2019 regular session of the Alabama legislature. If passed, the bill will allow the council to decide whether or not to allow the sale of draft beer within the city limits of Winfield. The council held the meeting to vote on the measure after the Winfield Alcohol board recommended that the council look into draft beer sales.

House overwhelming passes abortion ban 74-3

Montgomery - A strict abortion bill expected to challenge the 1973 Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision has passed the Alabama House of Representatives.
The Alabama House voted 74-3 on Tuesday, April 30, in favor of the bill which would make it a felony for doctors to perform or attempt an abortion unless a mother’s health was at serious stake.
The bill provides no exceptions for pregnancies due to rape or incest.

 

Board accepts Hardin’s resignation

HAMILTON - Hackleburg High School Principal John Hardin’s request to retire has been formally accepted.
The Marion County Board of Education voted unanimously to accept Hardin’s resignation during in its monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 24. Board member Beverly Burleson was unable to attend the meeting.
The Hackleburg principal’s retirement will be effective July 1. The board also agreed during the same meeting to post the position for principal.

 

UNA, NMHS forge partnership for employee scholarships

Florence - North Mississippi Medical Health Services (NMHS) and the University of North Alabama (UNA) will be linking arms in an initiative aimed to maintaining a high-quality workforce.
The partnership between NMHS and UNA announced in March will expand opportunities for career advancement and development for over 7,000 employees, according to UNA Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Ross Alexander.
NMHS employees with associate degrees will be eligible for a 20% off tuition and fees at UNA.

 

Sales tax reaches record for the month of March

HAMILTON - Sales tax for education reached a new high for the month of March.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West told the Marion County Board of Education during its meeting on Tuesday, April 23, that the county collected $132,997 in March, the highest amount collected during that month on record.
The March 2019 collections exceeded last year’s numbers by $5,285.51. The lowest collection on record for the month occurred in 2014, when only $103,415 was generated.

 

WIC participants issued first eWIC cards

HAMILTON -  State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has announced the beginning of Alabama’s eWIC pilot project which is being launched in two phases.
WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infants and children funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services.
The goal of the WIC Program is to improve the health and nutritional status of women, infants and children during the critical times of growth and development.

Two life-flighted after vehicle rolled

HAMILTON - Two patients were life-flighted out of Hamilton after being ejected from a vehicle as it was crashing.
Hamilton Fire Chief Tim Rye told the Journal Record that on Wednesday night, May 1, around 7 p.m., two men and a minor were injured when the driver of a 1989 Ford F-150 lost control of his vehicle and rolled over  at the intersection of Military Trail and Archer Street.
According to Hamilton Police Lt. Jimmy Pendley, the driver, a 43-year-old male, was life-flighted to University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Hospital.

USDA announces buy-up coverage availability, new service fees for noninsured crop coverage policies

WASHINGTON - USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) last week announced that higher levels of coverage will be offered through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), a popular safety net program, beginning April 8. The 2018 Farm Bill also increased service fees and made other changes to the program, including service fee waivers for qualified military veterans interested in obtaining NAP coverage. “When other insurance coverage is not an option, NAP is a valuable risk mitigation tool for farmers and ranchers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce.

Two church arsons suspected near Guin


The New Hope Freewill Baptist Church in Beaverton is shown here on Thursday, April 25 after state and local authorties began an investigation into an attempted arson at the church.

GUIN - Two attempted arsons took place at churches near Guin last week, according to information released by Guin Police Chief Doug Webb.
Webb confirmed on Thursday, April 25, that attempted arsons had taken place at the two churches, but investigators have not determined exactly when they took place.
The Real Chapel CME Church south of Guin suffered what Webb called “minimal” fire damage. “There are scorch marks on the door. Nothing burned down,” Webb said.

 

Fire Truck No. 1 rolls again


The Hamilton Fire Department’s very first fire truck will return to city parades now that it has received replacement parts. Shown in front of Fire Truck No. 1 are (from left) Hamilton Councilman Wade Sullins, local machinist Brad Johnson and Hamilton Street Department mechanic David “Gus” Morrow. The three collaborated together to bring the truck back to working order.

HAMILTON - Thanks to local teamwork, the City of Hamilton’s beloved Fire Truck No. 1 is operational again.
The 1946 Ford half-ton fire truck was the very first ever owned by the Hamilton Fire Department, according to Hamilton Councilman Wade Sullins. He says the city purchased it brand-new in approximately 1947.
“This is the only truck that Hamilton had to put out fires up to 1964 or 1965, when they bought a new one,” Sullins said, adding that the truck was eventually phased out of use.

CDL program revived on Hamilton Campus

HAMILTON -  The Marion County Commission unanimously approved the use of the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training lot at the Marion County Rankin-Fite Airport by Bevill State Community College during a regular session on Monday, April 14, in Hamilton.
BSCC President Kim Ennis was present during the meeting and expressed her excitement in starting the program later this month.
“We are excited about this new program opportunity on the Hamilton Campus,” said Ennis.

 

First Fridays series returning May 3


RTR Pro Entertainment provided music and entertainment during the Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce’s previous First Fridays event, held on Friday, April 5. Pictured are (left) owner Daniel Barnett and DJ Isaac Walz.

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Area of Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second “First Friday” downtown shopping event on Friday, May 3.
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.
New to the event this month includes a movie showing. The Incredibles 2 will be played in downtown Hamilton beginning at 7:30 p.m.

 

Officials estimate 2020 count will add 1,200 more residents

Regional officials helping to prepare for the upcoming Census say that implications point to Marion County recording a higher population.
Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG) Transportation Director Ryan Hayse is a part of his organization’s team working in collaboration with Census officials to produce the highest possible count in the northwest Alabama area.
Hayse said that NACOLG has been helping the Census Bureau locate previously unrecorded addresses by cross-referencing local address data to the U.S. Postal Service’s records.

 

Hackleburg church changing Franklin Co. Jail


(From left) Kenny Hallmark, outreach leader Daniel Green, Chantry Hagood, Community Church Pastor Josh Lynn and Jonathan Bray are shown gathered after baptizing inmates at Franklin County Jail in Russeville on April 11. Community Church in Hackleburg has been performing baptisms through the Hands and Feet outreach ministry led by Daniel Green.

HACKLEBURG - Community Church in Hackleburg baptized over 35 inmates at the Franklin County Jail on April 11.
For a little over a year, the church’s Hands and Feet outreach ministry has been holding men’s ministry nights at the jail with outreach leader Daniel Green.
Retired Hackleburg Police Chief Kenny Hallmark, who has worked with the ministry during the baptisms, expressed that he has seen a genuine change in the inmates’ lives as a result of the Thursday night meetings and baptisms.

 

Trump signs disaster declaration for Marion Co.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Donald Trump has declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Alabama and has ordered federal assistance to northern Alabama counties, including Marion County.
Trump signed the declaration on Wednesday, April 17, which will result in state and local recovery efforts to receive federal supplements to aid areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding from Feb. 19-March 20.

Winfield business owner concerned about road’s safety


Abby Nicole’s owner Brandon Webster is shown on Friday, April 19, pointing to a stop sign that he estimates is 15 or 20 feet off Woodvale Road. Webster says the sign’s placement creates confusion for drivers trying to determine where exactly to stop.

WINFIELD - The second car wreck in 24 days at a disputed Winfield road has a business owner concerned that the worst may happen before Winfield officials close the road.
“It’s just a matter of time before somebody gets killed,” Brandon Webster, the owner of Abby Nicole’s retail store in Winfield, said. “It’s not if--it’s when. It’s so dangerous,” Webster said, referring to Woodvale Road that runs parallel to his store.

Gudger named to committee overseeing gas tax funds

Montgomery - Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, has been selected to serve on a key infrastructure committee that oversees select funds established through the recent Rebuild Alabama 10-cent gas tax increase legislation.
Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth announced on Wednesday, April 17, that Gudger had selected Gudger to sit on the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP-II) Committee, the team tasked with overseeing local road and bridge projects funded by the ATRIP-II fund.

Cook sees positive scores in testing so far


Winfield Superintendent of Education Chris Cook discusses education-related bills currently being legislated in Montgomery during the board’s Thursday, April 11, meeting.

WINFIELD - Winfield City Schools Superintendent of Education Chris Cook reported that the Alabama Scantron Performance Assessment tests have begun at Winfield Middle School.
“We’ve had very positive results so far. I’m very encouraged with the results that we’re seeing,” Cook said during the Winfield City Board of Education meeting on Thursday, April 11.

$1.9 million in grants received to weatherize homes

HAMILTON -  Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded grants totaling $1.9 million to assist low-income and elderly Alabama residents with weatherizing their homes to lower energy costs.
The grants have been awarded to 14 community agencies across the state that manage the program at the local level and receive applications from those individuals that wish to be considered for assistance.
This includes $142,562 to the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama Inc. (Marion, Cullman, Lawrence, Morgan, Walker and Winston counties).  

 

Jackson retires with 28 years in the Guin Housing Authority


David Jackson (standing at left) and his brother, Bravel Jackson (standing at right), are pictured with their parents, Estes and Ercelle Jackson, at David Jackson’s retirement party at the Guin Housing Authority on Friday, April 5, in Guin.

GUIN-  After 28 years as director of the Guin Housing Authority, David Jackson is retiring.
Jackson looked back on a long and successful career during a retirement party at the Guin Housing Authority (GHA) Community Center in Guin on April 5. There, long-time friends, family and community leaders from across Northwest Alabama gathered to celebrate Jackson’s service.
“It’s been a great experience. I have had a wonderful and long career here,” Jackson said.

 

Park Day will be held on May 18

WINFIELD - Winfield Park and Recreation Department Director Gina Bryant announced that the Fifth Annual Park Fest has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 18, at the Ivan K. Hill Recreational Park in Winfield.
Bryant said the event will feature live music, fleamarket vendors, arts and crafts, inflatables, community helpers, local businesses and churches, city departments, state and marine police and the National Guard. The Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter will land at 10 a.m. and children will be allowed to look at it, Bryant said.