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.