Our Senior U.S. Senator, Richard Shelby, turns 85 this week. In March he reached another milestone--he surpassed Sen. John Sparkman as the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Alabama history. Shelby has been our senator for 32-plus years.
HAMILTON - A former Hamilton and Guin policeman is behind bars after an anonymous tip led to his arrest on various drug charges last week.
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.
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.
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The attacks on the Electoral College are rolling in from liberal 2020 presidential candidates.
Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke have indicated that they would like to see the method go.
Doesn’t it have to be terrible when one must resort to sounding like a horse in order to be listened to?
Folks, taking care of prisoners is not a popular political issue. However, every so often Alabama politicians pragmatically have to acquiesce to the mandates of federal judges and grant our transgressing citizens their rights as determined by the courts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 - 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.
HAMILTON - Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill claimed that voter registration has grown significantly in the years since he was appointed as secretary at the Hamilton Kiwanis Club meeting on Monday, April 15, at Leonelli’s First Avenue Grill in Hamilton.
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
GUIN - The Winfield Lady Pirates won the Marion County Softball Tournament after defeating Marion County 15-0 behind Andrea Harbin’s four-hit performance in the if-necessary game on Monday, April 15.
The tournament resumed play after being postponed due to an extended lightning delay on Saturday, April 6.
Winfield scored five runs in the first inning before adding three in the second frame.
The Lady Pirates captured the 15-run victory after scoring seven runs in the fourth to earn the county crown.
BIRMINGHAM - Marion County High School senior Braden Pyron was named the overall winner of the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Scholarship on Monday, April 8.
The scholarship has two categories with one being achievement and the other recognizing student-athletes.
Pyron was recognized as the winner of the student-athlete category for Class 1A and overall throughout all seven classifications.
“It’s an honor to be recognized, especially coming from a small school,” Pyron said of winning the award.
WINFIELD - Winfield downed Weaver 19-6 in the Pirates’ second game of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 3A state playoffs on Saturday, April 20.
The Pirates are ranked No. 2 in the final Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A poll.
Winfield’s Ben Parrish earned the win in 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits and five earned runs with four strikeouts.
Jackson Elkins pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed one hit with no earned runs. He struck out two.
WINFIELD - Winfield downed Lamar County 6-3 in Class 3A, Area 10 action on Tuesday, April 16.
The Lady Pirates are the fifth-ranked team in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A poll.
Alana Ballard pitched a complete game and allowed 11 hits, two walks and three earned runs while striking out one.
Andrea Harbin collected two doubles, one single, one RBI, one walk and three runs scored.
Tralee Couch added two singles, two stolen bases and two runs scored.
Late in the night of April 13, an EF-1 tornado touched down in western Marion County.
It is a foregone conclusion that a Republican will take out our anomaly, liberal Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, next year. The question is, which Republican will be the nominee and capture the seat?
Shottsville community - Officials have determined that a low-grade EF-1 tornado touched town in northwest Marion County, causing moderate damage.
Marion County Emergency Management Agency Director Jimmy Mills told the Journal Record that on Saturday night, April 13, a tornado traveled approximately eight miles on the ground through the Shottsville Community, with the majority of the damage concentrated around County Road 13, specifically between County Road 56 and Grant Road.
GUIN- The Guin City Council voted to change the start time of its meetings from 5 p.m to 5:30 p.m. to allow for a work session before the start of its first meeting of the month. The council meets each first and third Monday of the month in the Guin City Hall council chambers. The council will now hold a 30-minute work session starting at 5 p.m. before the first meeting of each month.
The change was voted on after councilman Jerry Gann voiced his concerns about city financial statements.
HAMILTON - Hackleburg’s Annual Neighbor Day will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, in Hackleburg.
The festival will begin on Friday, April 26, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will continue on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event will feature music, arts, and crafts and several vendors throughout the weekend.
Musical artists Joseph Baldwin, Crossing Dixie, Kreek, Handshake Promise, Josh Armstrong, 1st Born Sons and Austin Lewis are set to perform at the weekend event.
HAMILTON - Fayette-based West Alabama TV Cable has been bought out by Stamford, Conn.-based Charter Communications.
The Hamilton City Council unanimously approved a franchise agreement with Spectrum at its meeting on Monday, April 15.
Spectrum is the telecommunications brand for Charter Communications, which services more than 28 million customers across 41 states.
Fort Benning, Ga. - Private Second Class Corey Alexzander Mitchell, Guin, graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning, Ga., on March 29.
GUIN- The California-based consultancy firm HdL Companies has chosen Guin resident Phil Segraves to lead its newly established Birmingham office.
Segraves will work with municipalities across Alabama to development revenue streams and new business initiatives.
HACKLEBURG - The 75th Hackleburg Alumni Banquet will be held on Saturday, May 4, at 7 p.m. in the Hackleburg High School gymnasium.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the banquet will begin at 7. A meal will be served and awards presented.
Tickets for the banquet will be $12 and will be sold at the door.
Honored this year will be the classes of 1969 and 1994.
HAMILTON - The concensus among city officials is that littering tickets should be enforced if issued.
The Hamilton City Council met in a work session on Friday, April 12, where they discussed the issue, which Hamilton Mayor Bob Page said is getting worse, not better, despite the council urging residents to comply with the city’s no-littering ordinance.
Those attending the work session were council members Gene Sanderson, Wade Sullins and Bobby Joe Irvin.
HAMILTON - The Hamilton boys and girls golf teams won the Marion County Golf Tournament at Pikeville Country Club on Tuesday, April 9.
The boys squad saw Blayne Armstrong finish in the top spot with a low score of 75.
Other members of the boys squad are Samuel Sutton, Noah Boyette and Kaiden Williford.
The girls team is made up of Briley Ballard, Mia Hollingsworth and Kalei Mason. The squad saw Ballard finish as the over low medalist for girls with a 89.
We received several phone calls this past week concerning our coverage of the Guin City Council meeting in the Wednesday, April 10, edition (Meeting ends early amid shouting, finger-pointing).
Those who fielded the calls were told they didn’t like how this story was handled, the harsh manner in which it was presented. In fact, our staff was told we actually reported too much.
Well, we didn’t like it, either.
Covering meetings when tempers are flaring and conversations and discussions are frayed are not enjoyable for our reporters.
On Friday, April 5, I attended the first keynote address during the 27th Annual Breaking the Cycle of Abuse Conference at Bevill State Community College-Hamilton.
The keynote was all about behavior in children, especially those who had been abused.