Ballard finalist for Presidential Award

Hamilton Middle School fifth-grade science teacher Esther Ballard works with her students to build a sundial in the school’s courtyard on Aug. 24. Ballard is one of three teachers in the state to be nominated for the 2018 Presidential Award for Math and Science.

HAMILTON - Hamilton Middle School fifth-grade science teacher Esther Ballard is one of three Alabama teachers to receive the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science.
With the award, Ballard is now automatically in the running to win the national award, which carries a cash-prize of $10,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet the president.
In an interview with the Journal Record outside her classroom on a recent school day, Ballard said she is happy to have been nominated, but the students, not awards, are her main focus.


Veterans clinic opens in Hamilton

Registered nurse Lisa Koontz speaks with veteran LO Boyett inside the new Veterans Administration clinic in Hamilton on Wednesday, Sept. 6.

HAMILTON - Marion County is now home to a permanent Veterans Administration (VA) store-front clinic and is currently seeing clients. The clinic opened on Aug. 15 and is located in front of the North Mississippi Medical Center in Hamilton.
Before the clinic opened, local veterans had to either drive to Tuscaloosa or use a mobile unit that travels to various towns in West Alabama. The mobile unit stills travels from Tuscaloosa to Fayette and Livingston.


Hamilton man arrested for mailing drugs in Tremont, Miss.

HAMILTON - A Hamilton man was arrested in Tremont, Miss., after allegedly receiving packages of controlled substances through the U.S. Mail in Tremont, Miss.
According to the Itawamba County Sheriff’s Office in Fulton, Miss., Andrew Drake McCarley, 20, Hamilton, was arrested on Aug. 21 by agents of the North Mississippi Narcotics Unit.
McCarley is being charged with possession of a cocaine enhanced by a firearm. His bond was set at $10,000.

Florence man arrested on drug trafficking charges

BEAR CREEK - A Florence man was arrested in Bear Creek and is now facing drug trafficking charges.
Carlton Whiteside, 27, Florence, was arrested on Sept. 5 by the Bear Creek Police Department
Bear Creek officer Austin Lewis told the Journal Record that he pulled Whiteside’s vehicle over at approximately 8:55 a.m. on a routine traffic stop for a switched tag. He made the stop on County Road 62 near Consolidated Forest Products.

Water shortage during Labor Day weekend

Hamilton Water Superintendent Rodney Williams gave a public address at a Hamilton City Council meeting held on Tuesday, Sept. 5, concerning a unforeseeable string of events which resulted in some of Hamilton’s being left with little-to-no water during Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 3.

HAMILTON - Hamilton residents experienced issues with their water service during Labor Day weekend.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page made a public address at the Hamilton City Council meeting held on Tuesday, Sept. 4, that due to a “perfect storm” of events with the Hamilton Water Department’s water purification system, many residents began to experience little-to-no water pressure at their homes and businesses.
Some businesses had to close for a day, while others were not unable to serve beverages.

Illegal immigrants and the Census

Conservative Republicans, like Jeff Sessions, have been obsessed with illegal immigrants for years. Sessions is and has always been a stickler for obeying the laws of our land. He is the most honest, upright, squeaky-clean politician I have ever seen in my lifetime of observing politics in Alabama.
Sessions is like Dudley Do Right, only shorter and straighter. He was an Eagle Scout and you can tell he was not making it up on his resume. He epitomizes a grownup Eagle Scout. He has never outgrown the straight and narrow path.

Water bills now payable online

HAMILTON - Hamilton residents will now have the option of paying their water bills electronically and perhaps save a trip to city hall once a month.
Hamilton Water Superintendent Rodney Williams told the Journal Record that online payments are now being accepted through the City of Hamilton’s website,
Credit and debit card payments are also now being accepted at the water department’s reception windows inside city hall as of Tuesday, Sept. 4.


Retail Strategies decision delayed again

Retail Strategies Chief Executive Officer Robert Jolly and chief operations officer Scott VonCannon were present at the Hamilton City Council’s Tuesday, Aug. 4, meeting to answer questions before the city voted on whether or not to renew its contract with the agency.

HAMILTON - The Hamilton City Council has once again delayed a decision to renew its contract with its economic development agency.
The council unanimously tabled a vote to renew its agreement with Retail Strategies of Birmingham at a cost of $40,000 at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, pushing the decision into its second month either overdue or to terminate the contract.
The City of Hamilton entered into a three-year partnership with the agency in July 2017.


August marriage license

August Marriage licenses

HAMILTON - The following couples obtained marriage licenses during the month of June at the Marion County Probate Judge’s office:
Aug. 1 - Davaughndric Leedrell Pennington, 28, Sulligent, and Miranda Lavone Guyton, 34, Winfield;
James Brent Robertson, 37, Winfield, and Jessica Megan Allen, 34, Winfield;

Aug. 2 - Christopher Matthew Conner, 20, Hamilton, and Abigail Michelle McAlister, 20, Hamilton;
Bo Tyler Williams, 21, Hamilton, and Mary Katelyn Allen, 21, Sulligent;

For the Record Sept. 12


In the Wednesday, Aug. 29, edition of the Journal Record, in the story named “Baker, Ennis sued for open records violation,” the list of individuals which composes the Bevill State Community College-Hamilton Legislative Advisory Task Force for Education should have included 35-year college instructor Tony Shackelford of Hackleburg.

Enrollment numbers down

HAMILTON - According to an internally generated student data report, the August 2018 enrollment for the Marion County School System is down 27.5 percent compared to data from the same time period as last year.
Looking at the report during the Aug. 21. Marion County Board of Education meeting, superintendent Ann West lamented the negative numbers.

In a thriller, Winfield holds on to washout Gordo - Winfield 18, Gordo 14

Winfield running back Chris Broyles (7) races down the sideline away from the Gordo defender in the Pirates’ 18-14 victory over the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A No. 6 Gordo. Contributed photo Jeana Estes

GORDO - Timely defense and turnovers proved to be the key to lead the Winfield Pirates to a hard-fought 18-14 victory over Class 3A, Region 4 opponent Gordo on Friday, Sep. 7, in Gordo.
The win improved the Pirates’ record to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in Class 3A, Region 4 play.
Winfield handed the Gordo Greenwave its first region loss since 2013, the year after current Pirate head coach David McKinney left the school.


Jackson, Anglin combine for 418 yards, 5 TDs to power Aggies past Warriors - Hamilton 48, West Point 42

Hamilton’s Jathan Jackson (1) runs in for a touchdown. The Aggie running back finished the contest with 304 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries. Also shown for Hamilton are Alex Reid (28) and Matthew Jones (71).

WEST POINT - The Hamilton Aggies showed up and showed out in West Point on Friday night, Sept. 7, and left Cullman County with a 48-42 win.
That victory came courtesy of junior running back Jathan Jackson’s 304 rushing yards and three touchdowns and fellow junior Gabe Anglin’s 115 yards on the ground and two touchdowns--and a defense that made stops when they counted the most.  


Red Raiders stay perfect - Marion County 24, Lynn 12

Marion County quarterback Deuce Belk (6) launches a pass against Lynn in the first Class 1A, Region 6 contest of the season. Contributed photo by Jesse Lamar

LYNN - Marion County capitalized on miscues from Lynn to pick up the Red Raiders’ first Class 1A, Region 6 victory of the year with a 24-12 win over the Bears.
The visiting Red Raiders, who are now 3-0 on the season, controlled the tempo of the matchup with their run game and a stout defensive effort to limit the Bears' offensive production.


Tigers suffer first loss to No. 9 Tornadoes - Pickins County 54, Brilliant 8

Brilliant quarterback Kade Bryant (11) throws a screen pass to running back Braxton Mayo (8) as Pickens County’s Jermaine Hill (3) attempts to knock the ball down.

BRILLIANT - Brilliant lost 54-8 to the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s ninth-ranked Class 1A team, Pickens County, on Friday, Sept. 7.
Following the loss, second-year head coach Brian Gunnels complimented the Tornadoes and added that his team had room to improve.
“We got out-played,” the Tiger coach said. “They were big and fast. They are a very good team.


Hackleburg loses third straight to start year - Mars Hill 52, Hackleburg 14

Hackleburg’s Sawyer Lynch (3) breaks across the goal line and in for a score against Mars Hill. Contributed photo by Amy Marquiss

FLORENCE - Hackleburg lost to Mars Hill 62-14 on Friday, Sept. 7, to mark the black-and-gold Panthers’ third-straight loss to begin the season.
The loss also came in Hackleburg’s first outing in Class 1A, Region 8  play this season.
Hackleburg head coach Rod Hudson did not sugar-coat one of the largest losses in recent school history.


Deadlocked on radio station

Hackleburg Town councilwoman Tabby Lolley (right) speaks to mayor Darryl Colburn (left) and councilman Don Barnwell during the Aug. 27 council meeting.

HACKLEBURG- An effort to move the Big 95.5 radio station into the old Hackleburg Town Hall building failed to get a majority vote during the Monday, Aug. 27, Hackleburg Town Council meeting.
The vote was split 3-3 with councilmen Kevin Barnwell and Eugene Marbutt and councilwoman Tabby Lolley voting no. Mayor Darryl Colburn, councilman Don Barnwell and councilman Darrin Wiginton voted yes.

Station deal discussed over group text

HACKLEBURG - The Hackleburg Town Council used electronic communications --texting-- to avoid having a public meeting, which is a violation of the law known as the Alabama Open Meetings Act.
The revelation came to light on Monday, Aug. 27, at the Hackleburg Town Council meeting during a discussion regarding a proposed lease contract with a local radio station, Big 95.5.

Editorial: Lack of ALDOT service signs on I-22 allowing money to slip by

We’ve often heard it said, “People drive through Marion County and don’t even know it.” While several factors may play into this, one blatant issue is that the majority of the county’s municipalities are limited to their exposure on the ALDOT’s Specific Service Signing on Interstate 22.
Frequent travelers understand that options presented to them on the highway signs play a large factor in where they stop. With a simple variance of rules, the State of Alabama, Marion County and our cities and towns could see our economy boosted with little-to-no effort at all.


Hospital getting back on track

WINFIELD – The Winfield Healthcare Authority told the Winfield City Council that Northwest Medical Center was well on its way to getting on-track since it was purchased by the authority in May at the Tuesday, Aug. 21, council meeting.
Hospital chief executive officer Michael Arno said that the financial situation of the hospital is very positive after the nearly three months of operation under the new ownership.

Patriot’s Day ceremony this Saturday

HACKLEBURG - Sonny James American Legion Post 165, which serves the Hackleburg community, will host a Patriot’s Day Ceremony honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack and those who have lost their lives since the war on terror began.
The event will also be used to recognize local first responders and will take place in the pavilion in Hackleburg located by the recreation center on Saturday, Sept. 8.

County unemployment rates drop

Marion County unemployment figures dropped significantly in the month of July to 4.3 percent, a figure closer to the low percentages residents have gotten used to seeing for the past year.
The state experienced an increase in employment rates, making July the third-consecutive month the state has broken employment records.
The June unemployment rate for Marion County was uncharacteristically high, considering the extreme gains in employment in the state over the past year, at 5.0 percent.


Brilliant awarded $200K in grants

MONTGOMERY - Gov. Kay Ivey announced that eight communities in the state would be receiving grants to improve infrastructure on Thursday, July 19, mentioning that Brilliant would receive two grants totalling $200,000.
A $60,000 grant was awarded to the town to replace a section of sewer lines along Crook Street and make repairs at the wastewater treatment plant.
A second grant of $140,000 was awarded to drain, widen and resurface Webb Street from Brookside Road to Main Street.

24/7 dispatch restored in Sheffield

HAMILTON - Local State Troopers stationed will be better equipped in dispatch services as full-time, 24-hour, seven days a week dispatch communications have been restored at the Quad-Cities Troopers Post in Sheffield.
Assistant Troop E Commander Lt. Jimmy Ward told the Journal Record that as of the beginning of August, police communication officers (PCOs) have again begun dispatching from the Quad Cities Post for the nine counties in Troop E’s district, which includes Marion, Colbert, Fayette, Franklin, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Walker and Winston counties.

Red Raiders shutout Vina

Marion County senior Braden Pyron (2) looks back as he races to the end zone on the opening kickoff of the 2018 season. Pyron returned the kick 80 yards to score on the Red Raiders’ first play of the season.

VINA - Marion County scored on the first live play of the 2018 season with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and never looked back en route to a 42-0 win over Vina on Friday night, Aug. 24.
The opening win puts Marion County at 1-0 on the so-very-young season while dropping Vina to 0-1 to start the year.

Huge third quarter lifts Pirates over Lions

Winfield’s Luke McKinney (56) blocks for running back Chris Broyles (7) after the handoff from quarterback Jackson Elkins (2). Broyles scored three times as he racked up 200-plus yards in the Pirates’ 37-13 victory.

WINFIELD – The Winfield Pirates got off to slow start to begin the 2018 season against the Haleyville Lions, but the offense came out firing on all cylinders in the second half.
When the final was in the scoreboard lights  at Estes Hudson Stadium in Winfield, the Pirates had scored 31 unanswered points en route to a 37-13 win over their Winston County rivals on Friday, Aug. 24.

Tigers lose varsity portion 22-0

LYNN - Brilliant lost 22-0 to Lynn in the varsity portion of the Friday, Aug. 24, jamboree in the second quarter after the Tigers’ junior varsity fell short 14-0 in the opening quarter.
Following the contest, second-year head coach Briant Gunnels saw both positives and areas where the team can improve.
“We played hard,” Gunnels said. “We had some bright spots and saw what we need to work on.
“That’s the good thing about a jamboree  we have some kids getting used to new positions. We had three starters out, so some younger guys got some good reps in live situations.”

Panthers lose season opener

Hackleburg quarterback Kaleb Moore (5) attempts to evade the Winston County defenders in the Panthers’ 28-16 loss. Also shown for Hackleburg is Ethan Heggy (14).

DOUBLE SPRINGS - The Mark Mitchell coaching era at Winston County High School kicked off with infectious excitement Friday, Aug. 24, as the home team flew to a 28-16 victory over the Hackleburg Panthers.
After his team’s loss, Hackleburg head coach Rod Hudson noted his squad had key areas that need improvement.
“We’ve to do a better job up front on offense and defense,” the 10-year Panther head coach said. “Our receivers are going to have to do a better job getting open and blocking on the perimeter.

Community invited to input meetings

WINFIELD - The  Alabama Association of School Boards, which is assisting the Winfield Board of Education in its superintendent search, is soliciting input from parents, community members and school faculty as it pertains to what they would like to see in the Winfield City School System’s next superintendent.
Several community meetings will be held by the Alabama Association of School Boards at the Winfield Community Center in order to hear feedback from these stakeholders on Thursday, Sept. 6.

Grandview Drive Bridge

Tojo Powers of Solley Equipment and Rigging, Decatur, signals to a crane operator as a bridge girder is placed across Williams Creek on Grandview Drive north of Hamilton. Powers said the concrete and steel girders are 150-feet long and weigh 190,000 pounds each. Hamilton Mayor Bob Page said the new bridge will be 24-feet wide and feature 12-foot lanes.

Water, roads, fire hydrants top topics

Guin councilman Roger Agnew holds up a bottle of water that he says is a sample of water from the faucet of a Guin water customer.

GUIN - The Monday, Aug. 20, Guin City Council meeting got off to a contentious start after councilman Roger Agnew asked to add a few items to the agenda. Councilman Bobby Bellew, serving as mayor pro-tem, presided over the meeting in the absence of mayor Max Maddox who was unable to attend the meeting due to a family medical situation.

Agnew says he’s under scrutiny by ethics commission

GUIN - After the Monday, Aug. 20, Guin City Council meeting was adjourned, councilman Roger Agnew asked if the council could go into executive session. “Do you-all have time to talk for five minutes?” Agnew asked. “Can we go into an executive meeting?”

Agnew said he asked some workers at the city shop if they would take some cold mix to Sawmill Road and fill a few big potholes. Agnew lives on Sawmill Road. When no one was available to fill the holes, Agnew said he used his own tractor to take a bucket of cold mix to Sawmill Road to fill the holes.


Decision on Jack’s incentive locked up in tie

Jack’s Family Restaurant Director of Development Jim Avery shares plans for a Jack’s coming to the City of Hamilton to the Hamilton City Council at a Aug. 20 meeting

HAMILTON - The Hamilton City Council was split whether or not to give tax incentives to Jack’s Family Restaurants.
The council voted 3-3 at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 20, on whether the company could receive a 10-year, half-city sales tax abatement.
Those against giving Jack’s a tax abatement at all were councilors Gene Sanderson, Bobby Joe Irvin and Herb Winsett.

Jack’s breaks ground

Workers from Fayette’s 3-D Excavating break ground on Thursday, Aug. 23, on land purchased by Jack’s Family Restaurants for a new $2 million quick-service restaurant.

HAMILTON - Jack’s Family Restaurants has broken ground and has begun grading its new property on Military Street across from the Hamilton Walmart Supercenter.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page confirmed that Jack’s had gone ahead with its decision to locate in the city despite the fact that the Hamilton City Council failed to give the company a decision on a tax abatement at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 20.
Page said that the company purchased its business license with the city and the property from Hamilton resident Gerald Logan on Wednesday, Aug. 22.