Know how to save a life

Thanks to training and quick action in Winfield on March 30, a choking death was prevented. Devin Smith, a pharmacist, performed the Heimlich maneuver on Todd Fetter after food became lodged in Fetter’s windpipe.
According to the National Safety Council, an average of 5,000 people die each year from choking. Many of those deaths could have been prevented with the right knowledge and training, the kind of knowledge and training that both men possessed.  

Former Gu-Win mayor, wife die in plane crash

BLUE SPRINGS, MISS. -  Three are dead after a plane crashed in Union County, Miss., over the weekend.
Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards identified the deceased as co-pilot Tommy Hue Nix, his wife, Merline Roberts, and co-pilot Jarrod Holloway.
The Guin City Hall office confirmed that Tommy and Merline Nix resided in the Fayette County portion of Guin. Holloway was a resident of Booneville, Miss., according to Edwards.

 

Lightning strike on church baffles pastor


Pastor Paul Gray is shown outside the Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Monday, April 8, a day after lightning destroyed the church’s steeple.

WINFIELD- Zion Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Paul Gray is still trying to process the chain of events that occurred on Sunday, April 7.
Before lightning struck his church at around 1:45 a.m. that morning, Paul Gray was the interim pastor. Hours later, after a vote by church members, he became the pastor.
“We had already planned the vote for April 7 two or three months ago,” Gray said. “I don’t know whether that was a bad omen or not,” Gray said on Monday, one day after the vote and the lightning strike.

Small plane crashes 35 minutes after take off


A small airplane which departed from the Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport on Friday, March 29, crashed after attempting to land at Monroe County Airport in Aberdeen, Miss. The plane received substantial damage. Both the pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries.

MONROE COUNTY, MISS. - Both a pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries after their small plane crashed after departing from Hamilton.
According to a National Transportation Safety Board Aviation accident report, on Friday, March 29, a Piper PA28 airplane departed from the Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport in Hamilton on a personal flight at approximately 5:15 p.m.

‘We Love Hamilton’ city cleanup set

HAMILTON - The Eighth Annual “We Love Hamilton Clean Up Day” has been scheduled to take place on Saturday morning, April 27, with volunteers first being fed a free pancake breakfast.
Last year, more than 75 bags of litter—using 60-gallon bags—were picked up by more than 90 participants.
All cleanup volunteers will meet at the Hamilton United Methodist Church, where the Hamilton Lions Club will be serving food and registration will be held in the fellowship hall.

 

Guin to hold annual cleanup day

GUIN- The annual Guin spring cleanup day will be held on Saturday, April 27, and Guin councilman Bobby Bellew is hoping to have a larger turnout than he’s seen in recent years.
“The most we’ve ever had is 55 or 60 participants and so it’s my goal this year to really top that number so we can have a larger impact on the community,” Bellew said.
Bellew said he is excited about the number of citizens, schools groups, civic groups, church groups, community leaders and local business that have already committed to participate in the annual cleanup day.

City seeking grants to prep for Love’s

HAMILTON - Grant monies are being sought in the City of Hamilton’s effort to prepare for an incoming Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store, which was announced in January.
The Hamilton City Council unanimously agreed at its Monday, April 1, meeting to file applications  seeking $300,000 in grant monies through a Community Development Block Grant and Appalachian Regional Commission grant.
The council also pledged $256,593 to cover the remaining costs of the project, which is projected to be more than $555,000.

 

BTCOA opening keynote draws emotional response


Sonia Martin of Kids to Love is shown presenting the opening keynote address during the 27th Annual Breaking the Cycle of Abuse conference at Bevill State Community College-Hamilton on Friday, April 5

HAMILTON -  Sonia Martin, with Kids to Love, an organization dedicated to finding foster children permanent homes, opened the 27th Annual Breaking the Cycle of Abuse (BTCOA) conference with a keynote address on Friday, April 5, at Bevill State Community College-Hamilton.
Martin presented her keynote address discussing Behavior 101, in which she covered lying, cheating, stealing, manipulation, need for control, violence, aggression and hoarding.

Alabama ties for cheapest gas in nation

Despite forthcoming gas tax increases, one official is confident that Alabama gas prices will remain in the Top 10 for cheapest gas prices in the country.
In an interview with the Journal Record, American Automobile Association (AAA) spokesman Clay Ingram noted that Alabama is currently tied with Mississippi and Arkansas for the cheapest gas prices in the nation, with gas costing an average of $2.44 per gallon for the month of April.
The national average for gas jumped a nickle in the week of April 8 to $2.74 a gallon—eight cents more than this time last year.

 

Hamilton named No. 1 Alabama relocation destination

The City of Hamilton is living up to its official slogan: “Small Town Living at its Best.”
Relocation website and blog Move Buddha ranked Hamilton as the most popular Alabama town to relocate to in 2019.
“Large cities like Montgomery and Birmingham may have a lot of allure, but they also come with a fairly hefty cost of living,” wrote Move Buddha media specialist Tyler Wood. “People are beginning to see the benefits of living in smaller and mid-sized cities.”

Camp launches Lift U for college-age students

HAMILTON - Ahead of its 55th summer camping season, Maywood Christian Camp has announced a new program aimed at college-aged students.
In a March Facebook post, the camp announced that it was launching Lift University, a four-day camping experience for young adults designed to challenge, renew and empower them.
The inaugural Lift U will take place Sunday night through Thursday morning, Aug. 4-8, and be an additional 10th week of camp for Maywood.

Meeting ends early amid shouting, finger-pointing


Guin Mayor Max Maddox points to councilman Roger Agnew during a discussion at the Monday, April 1, Guin City Council meeting.

GUIN - What began as a discussion regarding fire hydrants ended in a shouting match, finger pointing and the abrupt end to the Guin City Council’s Monday, April 1, meeting.
The uproar arose after mayor Max Maddox took up the third item on the meeting’s agenda--the repair of fire hydrants.
The city has been compiling a list of hydrants around the town that need repairs.
Maddox said that he had made contact with a hydrant repairman in Tuscaloosa.

 

Quick action by pharmacist saves chiropractor’s life


 Pharmacist Devin Smith (left) is recognized by Winfield Mayor Randy Price for his life-saving actions at the Tuesday, April 2, Winfield City Council meeting.

WINFIELD- An otherwise routine lunch became a struggle for life when a piece of food got lodged in a chiropractor’s throat at the Pizza Bar in Winfield on Friday, March 30.
Chiropractor Todd Fetter was enjoying the ham and cheese sandwich, a well-known item on the restaurant’s menu, when he began choking.
“I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t breathe. There was no air exchange one way or the other. I was in trouble,” Fetter said.

 

Johnson suggests investing in new equipment


Hamilton Street Superintendent Mike Johnson spoke with the Hamilton City Council during a work session on Thursday, March 28, about improving the city’s street repair operations.

HAMILTON - New road repair equipment could improve Hamilton’s city-road management, according to Hamilton Street Superintendent Mike Johnson.
Johnson met with the Hamilton City Council at a work session on Thursday, March 28, and was asked to give an overview of the status of Hamilton’s city-owned streets.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page told the council that he and Johnson took time recently to drive city streets and tour the Hamilton Street Department shop.

 

Council votes to increase penalties on late garbage payments

WINFIELD -  In an effort to rein in the late payment of garbage bills, the Winfield City council passed a resolution that increases the monetary penalty on a late payment.
“Mayor, we’re having some issues with people not paying their garbage bills in a timely manner,” Winfield City Attorney Todd Atkinson said, introducing the resolution at the council’s Tuesday, April 2, meeting.

Costs too weighty for Fite Law Office


The Fite Law Office pictured at its current location on 10th Avenue Southwest in Hamilton.

HAMILTON - The Hamilton City Council has respectfully declined an offer for a piece of Marion County history.
The council, citing the large costs involved, voted 0-6 against accepting a donation of the small, Fite Law Office, which sits nearby on the opposite side of 10th Avenue Southwest from Hamilton City Hall.
The Fite Law Office was the workplace of Earnest Baxter Fite, father of the late Rankin Fite, who later became a legendary speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives.

No fishing at duck pond


Ducks are shown enjoying a spring morning at the Bedford Industrial Park duck pond in Hamilton.

HAMILTON - Fishermen have been encouraged to abide by restrictions at a public pond.
Hamilton Councilwoman Tami Lewis Williams made a public announcement at a Hamilton City Council meeting on Monday, April 1, reminding anglers that fishing at the Bedford Industrial Park duck pond is not allowed.
The councilwoman said that she has received complaints about people fishing there, which has apparently resulted in some of the ducks being injured.

 

Hall presents HES playground project

Hamilton Elementary School Principal Lynda Hall explained her school’s ongoing playground renovation project during the Marion County Board of Education’s meeting on Friday, March 22.

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Elementary School (HES) Playground Renovation Project received official approval at the most recent Marion County Board of Education meeting.
The county education board members met on Friday, March 22, at the Marion County Central Office for the board’s monthly meeting.
HES Principal Lynda Hall and HES Booster Club member Melissa Hughey were present at the meeting to formally brief the board on the project.

 

Marion County No. 28 in state for health

Smoking, obesity and inactivity red-flag health issues for Marion County residents.
In a recent report, Marion County ranked No. 28 out of Alabama’s 67 counties when considering health behaviors, local clinical care, socio-economical factors and environment.
The national county findings were released on Monday, March 18, and are a part of a nationwide report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute.
Neighboring counties’  rankings were as follows:

 

Personnel ‘do a lot with a little’

HAMILTON - County education officials and employees have received praise for the consistent success of the  Marion County Schools System despite the fact it ranks among the lowest in the state for discretionary funds.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West distributed the statewide analysis reports to members of the board of education at their meeting on Friday, March 22, at the Marion County Schools Central Office in Hamilton.
West told the board that the system moved up one place in FY 2018, placing it at 131st out of 138.

EPA publishes right-to-know toxic release report

HAMILTON - Marion County released 443,379 pounds of production-related waste into the air, land and water in 2017, according to an analysis published in March by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).
The release inventory tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. Certain industrial facilities in the U.S. must report annually how much of each chemical is released on- and off-site.

Marion Co. ranked 2nd for financial health

One financial firm has ranked Marion County as one of the 10 most financially healthy counties in the state for the second year in a row.
In a report released in March, SmartAsset, a New York-based financial technology company, named Marion County and four of its adjacent counties among Alabama’s top counties for financial health.
Marion County was listed as the second-most financially healthy county in Alabama.
Lamar County was named number one, Winston County number three, Franklin County number five and Fayette County number nine.

 

Anytime Fitness holding supply drive through April

HAMILTON -  Anytime Fitness in Winfield and Hamilton will be collecting donations of paper products for the safe houses in Marion County  overseen by Safeplace and the Marion County Domestic Violence Task Force until the end of the month of April.
Paper product donations include:
• Paper Towels
• Toilet Tissue
• Feminine Products
• Kleenex
Every donation given puts individuals into a drawing for a free month of gym membership at Anytime Fitness.

 

E-cycle event set for April 13

HAMILTON -  The Marion County Commission has announced that it will be holding an electronics recycling event on Saturday, April 13, from 8 a.m. to noon at the CDL testing site on Dr. Pyle Drive in Hamilton.
During the event, individuals are welcome to bring old electronic devices to be recycled.
Items that can be recycled include:
• Copiers;
• Fax machines;
• Printers (desktop or floor size);
• Computers;
• Telephone equipment;
• Power backups;
• Servers;
• Small appliances;
• Televisions; and

Relay for Life set for April 27

HAMILTON -  The Marion County Relay for Life will be held on Saturday, April 27, at Bevill State Community College-Hamilton.
After taking place for over a quarter of a century, citizens will again gather from across Marion County to celebrate and remember those who have battled cancer.
Relay for Life is a fundraising event in which individuals will take turns walking on a track or path in honor of those who have battled cancer as well as those who have acted as caregivers.

Winfield wins Bill Collins Classic

Winfield’s Anna Kate Crumpton (47) swings at a pitch against Marion County on Tuesday, March 5. Crumpton hit two home runs in the Bill Collins Classic in the Lady Pirates’ two contests against Northside.

CARBON HILL - Winfield toppled Cordova 7-3 in the finals of the Bill Collins Classic held at Carbon Hill High School on Saturday, March 23.
Cordova led 1-0 through the first three innings after scoring in the first frame. The Lady Devils added to their lead in the fourth with another run.
Winfield responded with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 4-2 lead into the fifth.
After holding Cordova scoreless in the fifth, Winfield added three runs to its lead to take a 7-2 advantage.

Pirates take down three 6A schools

Winfield’s Ben Parrish (15) throws across the diamond to first base to record an out during the Marion County Baseball Tournament on Thursday, March 7. Also shown is Marion County High School head coach William Box.

GULF SHORES - Class 3A Winfield downed Class 6A Minor 11-10 in the Gulf Coast Classic II in Gulf Shores.
Winfield is ranked No. 4 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A poll.
The Pirates’ Jack Williamson claimed the victory in a relief appearance. He pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed two hits and one earned run while striking out three.
Brock Hollingsworth collected two hits and two RBIs. Jackson Elkins added two hits and a RBI.

 

Bevill receives $4,900 grant from Alabama Power

(From left) Director of Students Jill Preuninger, BSCC President Kim Ennis and Alabama Power Business Office Manager Melinda Weaver are shown holding the Alabama Power Good Roots grant given to Bevill State Community College on Friday, March 1, at Bevill’s Hamilton Campus.

HAMILTON -  Bevill State Community College (BSCC) has received a $4,900 grant from Alabama Power through their Good Roots campaign at Bevill‘s Hamilton campus on Friday, March  1.
These funds will be used to plant trees and fund various landscaping projects on each of the five campuses.
Bevill’s Hamilton campus received $1,000 from the grant and used the money to purchase seven Crepe Myrtles.
Dr. Kim Ennis, president of BSCC, expressed her thanks to Alabama Power for supporting the campuses with the grant.

 

First Fridays series kicks off April 5

HAMILTON - This Friday, April 5, the Hamilton Area of Chamber of Commerce will be kicking off the first of three “First Friday” downtown shopping events.
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.
Food will be available for purchase during First Fridays at Leonelli’s First Avenue Grill, Coffee Buzz and potentially other food trucks.

 

Third annual mock wreck

 Students, faculty and members of the local police, fire, air evac and emergency paramedic departments are shown gathered together after the Third Annual HOSA Prom Promise Mock Wreck on Wednesday, March 20, at Hamilton High School.

HAMILTON -  Hamilton High School students conducted the Third Annual Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Prom Promise mock wreck on Wednesday, March 20, in which students performed a mock car wreck to provide a sobering reminder for students to make good decisions during the night of prom, Friday, March 22,  at Hamilton High.

Hackleburg makes $500 donation for youth baseball

HACKLEBURG -  The Hackleburg Town Council unanimously voted to donate $500 to the Hackleburg youth baseball team when the council met during a regular session on Monday,  March 25, at the Hackleburg Town Hall.
Hackleburg youth baseball treasurer David Ray appeared before the council to request financial assistance for the team’s equipment. He mentioned that while the team had been making some money through concessions, it was not enough to meet their needs.

County jobless rate drops to 4.6%

MONTGOMERY - Marion County’s unemployment rate was marked at 4.6 percent in February, according to Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington, six points lower than January’s rate of 5.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the State of Alabama’s unemployment rate continues to break records as it has now decreased to the lowest recorded rate on record, 3.7 percent—one point lower than January’s 3.8 percent, which also set the record.

Alabama Speaker of the House McCutcheon visits Winfield

Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (center) visited the City of Winfield on Monday, March 25. Shown with McCutcheon are (from left) Main Street Program President Don Studdard, mayor Randy Price, McCutcheon, District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes and theatre chairman Mary Hyche.

WINFIELD - Great first impressions are hard to make, but the City of Winfield succeeded grandly last week when the Alabama Speaker of the  House, Mac McCutcheon, came to town.
McCutcheon, along with District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes, met with local leaders at a Winfield Chamber of Commerce meeting to discuss issues affecting the town.
“I really enjoyed the event, McCutcheon said. “It was good to sit down and meet with local leaders as well as leaders in the business community.”

 

Northwest Alabama Conference champions

Marion County won the Northwest Alabama Conference Baseball Tournament with a 19-9 victory over Hackleburg in the finals on Saturday, March 16. Shown for the Red Raiders are (front row, from left) Seth Knight, Grant Beckon, Alex Warren, Cade Atkins, Brayden Smith, Jackson Trimm, Leonardo Imami-Fugihara, (back row, same order) statistician Blaine Pyron, head coach William Box, Hunter Smith, Braden Pyron, Josh Rhudy, Logan Maddox, Mason Ezekiel, Preston Walker, Ryan Jaggers and assistant coaches Zane Miles and Kyle Smith.

GUIN - Marion County defeated rival Hackleburg 19-9 in the Northwest Alabama Conference Baseball Tournament finals on Saturday, March 16.
The Red Raiders scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Hackleburg responded with a run in the top of the second before Marion County added seven runs in the bottom of the frame to hold a 10-1 advantage.
The Panthers scored two in the fourth and six in the fifth to trim Marion County’s lead to 10-9.

Winfield hosts powerlifting meet

Winfield head football coach David McKinney (standing, right) give directions to the lifters during the 2019 Winfield Invitational Powerlifting Meet on Wednesday, March 20. The meet saw 110 total competitors in the 18 different weight classes. More photos can be found on page 7B.

WINFIELD - Winfield hosted the 2019 Winfield Invitational Powerlifting Meet on Wednesday, March 20, at the Winfield City High School Indoor Athletic Facility.
Brilliant, Marion County and Lamar County participated in the meet, along with Winfield. No team winners were named, just individual winners by weight division.
The event started at 8 a.m. with each participant weighing in before the lifting began at 9:30 a.m.

 

Winfield earns second win in area play

Hamilton’s Ansley Kerr (20) lays down a bunt against Lawrence County on Tuesday, March 19.

VERNON - Winfield cruised to a 12-0 victory over Lamar County in Class 3A, Area 10 play on Tuesday, March 19.
The Lady Pirates’ Alana Ballard earned the win with four hits and one walk allowed in five innings. She struck out four.
Winfield’s offense had 13 hits, two walks and nine stolen bases with Sara Cotton getting hit by pitches twice.

 

Spann, Estes, Stutts condemn Lindh’s early release

Winfield resident and mother of Johnny Micheal Spann, Gail Spann (front right), speaks on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives in Montgomery on Thursday, March 21. District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes (left) sponsored a resolution condemning the early release of John Walker Lindh and honoring Johnny Micheal Spann.

 MONTGOMERY -  Winfield resident Gail Spann, the mother of Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann, appeared on the floor of the Alabama State House on Thursday, March 21, to express her opposition to the early release of Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh.
Lindh was a prisoner at the Qali-I-Jangi fortress where Micheal Spann was killed on Nov. 21, 2001, after a prison uprising.
Spann was the first American killed in combat after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

 

Council votes to do away with cumulative voting

Guin City Councilman Roger Agnew (left) looks on as councilman Bobby Bellew announces the spring cleanup day for Guin at the Monday, March 18 council meeting. Bellew said the cleanup day will be held on April 27.

GUIN - The Guin City Council voted to do away with cumulative voting as the method of electing council members at the council’s Monday, March 18, meeting.
Cumulative voting is a form of voting that allows each voter to cast multiple votes for one candidate. The method allows for a low population of racial minorities in a certain district the chance to gain representation on a governmental board or council.  

Common Core repeal headed to House

MONTGOMERY - The state Senate has voted 23-7 to repeal Common Core Standards from public school curriculums.
Common Core, also known in Alabama as Alabama College- and Career-Ready Standards, is a set of academic standards for English and math adopted by 41 states.
Both Marion County senators, District 4 Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, and District 6 Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, voted in favor of the repeal, also known as Senate Bill 119.

 

Gilmore set for retirement

(From left) Jimmy Gilmore, Rolna Gilmore Palmer and Rita Gilmore are shown standing in front of family-owned Jimmy’s Cut and Style. Jimmy Gilmore has been a barber for 51 years and Rita Gilmore has been a cosmetologist for 51 years.

HAMILTON -  Rita Robertson Gilmore, 70, will be retiring after 51 years as a cosmetologist in Northwest Alabama.
“I’m looking forward to (retirement), I haven’t had a Saturday off in a long time. I’ve really enjoyed serving the people here, now it’s time to hang it all up,” said Gilmore.
She expressed that her favorite thing about working in cosmetology was the opportunity to better the self-esteem of her clients, one of which was Willa Dean Spratlin of Detroit, who has been a loyal client of Gilmore’s for over 50 years.

 

Council looking to cap towing fees

Winfield City Council attorney Todd Atkinson advises the council to pass a more inclusive resolution that would cap the towing and storing fees for large and small vehicles at the council’s Tuesday, March 19, meeting.

WINFIELD - The Winfield City Council moved to table a vote on a resolution that would cap the towing and storage fees for towing companies on the city’s rotation wrecker service at its March 19 meeting.
At the March 5, meeting the council voted to allow city attorney Todd Atkinson to draft the resolution that would cap the fees. The resolution would cap the towing fee at $150 and the storage fee at $35 per day.