County celebrates jail groundbreaking

From left, Bob Burleson, Keith Nichols, Dale Holt, Angela Berry, Kevin Williams and Tim “Ears” Estes break ground on the new Marion County Jail facility in Hamilton. Not pictured is Commissioner Kenneth Cochran.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams and the Marion County Commission joined with government officials and leaders in the county to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Marion County Jail in Hamilton.
The event took place at the future jail site located at the Bedford Industrial park in Hamilton located near Marion County DHR Friday, Nov. 4.

Mathieson steps up for foster families

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — With the growing need of foster families in Marion County rising every year, Marion County has had its need of foster families growing as well.
Luckily for the county, Hamilton resident Melissa Mathieson has been one of a few to step up to the plate.
Mathieson began her journey in foster care after a storm damaged her home in 2017.
“When we were in the process of rebuilding our house, I always felt like we were building our house for something bigger than us or for somebody other than us,” said Mathieson.

Guin Elementary surpasses set goal for test scores

Guin Elementary School surpasses a goal of 70 percent for English/language arts for the school test scores. They reached 72.6 percent.

By P.J. Gossett
General Manager
GUIN — Malcolm X said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Josh Weatherly, principal at Guin Elementary School, prepared a goal for last year’s school test scores. When the results were released, Weatherly found the school not only met the goal but surpassed it.
“Last year for our goal, we wanted to hit 70 percent (for English/language arts),” Weatherly said.

Aniah’s Law on ballot Tuesday

Aniah Blanchard

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
MARION COUNTY — Next Tuesday night, Nov. 8, an important law will be on the ballot.
Voters will decide if Amendment 1, which will change Section 16 of the state constitution to allow judges to deny bail to violent offenders, will go into effect.

Commissioners award jail bids

Groundbreaking for the new jail will be Friday, Nov. 4, at 10 a.m. at the Bedford Industrial Park. Shown is the old jail.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — In a decision that may have been too close for comfort, the Marion County Commission voted to award several bids that signals the official start of the Marion County Jail construction.
Commissioners had eight bid packages on the table for their meeting on Monday, Oct. 24, at the commission office in Hamilton.
Bids were opened just last month, giving commissioners the cost of contracts for general works, detention and security, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, concrete, masonry and sitework to be done for the new jail facility.

Marion’s XC teams advance to state meet

Hamilton’s teams are, back row from left, Coach Scotty Sanderson, Jonathan Flake, Jake Webb, Josh Webb, Kaden Whitaker, Ian Cole, Lane Taylor, Anderson Streetman and Braden Bannister. Front row are MaKayla Peoples, Anne Wiginton, Madelyn Hulsey, Maya Jones, Jadelyn Dawkins and Jane Wiginton.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
MARION COUNTY —  Last Thursday, Oct. 27, Marion County cross country teams competed in sectionals to determine who would advance to the state meet.
Marion County High School, Winfield City High School and Hamilton High School will each be sending at least one team to compete in the state meet at the Oakville Indian Mounds on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Buttahatchee River Fall Fest this weekend

A scene from last year’s festival is shown. Photo by Louis Mellini.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
HAMILTON — The Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce will be holding the 16th annual Buttahatchee River Fall Fest this weekend on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Hamilton.
Vendors will be selling arts and crafts and other goods, along with food. Other events include a tractor show, a car and motorcycle show, live music, childrens activities and more.

Christmas for Kids returns

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
MARION COUNTY — Christmas for Kids has returned for yet another year in Hamilton and will aim to help kids in the community this holiday season.
The charity, started in 1985 by Sandy Sandlin, will start its 37th year this November.
The charity organization aims to help children in Marion County by having individuals donate money to purchase clothes and other items for families.
Up through this year there have been $892,899 raised in donations. Gifts have been donated to 12,176 children since the program began.

Marion County and Hamilton back animal organizations to help stray issue

Commissioners Dale Holt (left) and Tim “Ears” Estes view photos of stray animals taken in by Hoof or Paw.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — With the stray animal issue in Marion County continuing to be a problem, organizations such as Hoof or Paw have been left struggling to keep up with the demand of caring for stray animals due to the financial restraints.
This past week, both the Marion County Commission and the City of Hamilton have approved appropriations for Hoof or Paw and other organizations in the county.

Jail looms, county budget blooms

Marion County projects $1.9 million surplus in this fiscal year’s budget.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON —Things are looking up at the perfect time financially for the Marion County Commission. With the new Marion County Jail looming over the county's head, things have seemingly been looking negative due to the high cost of the jail’s construction.
According to the county's approved budget for 2023, however, Marion County is in the best financial shape it has been in quite some time.

Multiple cities and hospitals receive grants

Left to right, Tracy Estes, case manager Crystal Barton, director of case management Amanda Taylor and CEO Michael Windham stand with floor plans for the proposed renovations made possible by the USDA grant.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
MARION COUNTY —  Multiple cities and hospitals in Marion County have received grants for different projects each city is undergoing.
The largest grant went to the City of Winfield for the hospital, Northwest Regional Care, which received a $1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture Emergency Rural Healthcare Grant.
According to Hospital CEO Michael Windham, the grant investment will be used to renovate rooms and purchase equipment and supplies for the care and treatment of long-term COVID-19 patients.

Rate increases for Northwest Gas customers

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
MARION COUNTY — The Northwest Alabama Gas District approved newly proposed gas rate increases on Oct. 1.
For residential rates, the monthly customer charge was $11.54, and the gas cost $11.429 per MCF (MCF is an abbreviation derived from the Roman numeral M for one thousand, put together with cubic feet (CF) to measure a quantity of natural gas.)
The new residential  rate for monthly customer charge is $12.54 and a gas cost of $12.429 per MCF.

Commission pledges more than $2K

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — The Marion County Commission has joined the City of Hamilton and Alabama Power in supporting the Veterans Day program in just one month. During a meeting held on Tuesday, Oct. 12, commissioners unanimously voted to pay the City of Hamilton $2,600 in order to financially support the Veterans Day program at the Bevill Community Center in Hamilton. Marlon Holloway, who serves as the veterans service officer in Marion County, addressed the Marion County Commission in August to ask for financial support.


Fentanyl rise affects Halloween

A trick-or-treater enjoys the Marion County first responders’ Trunk-or-Treat during last year’s Buttahatchee River Fall Festival.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON —Leaves turning and falling, the air turning cool and pumpkins being seen at almost every doorstep in the county can only mean one thing: fall is officially here.
With the new season, there usually comes the host of knocks at the door from costumed children asking for candy during Halloween. But, with times being as they are, has  a classical Halloween become too dangerous for kids in Marion County?

Homecoming for Trey Cunningham

Trey Cunningham, left, is pictured with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
WINFIELD — The City of Winfield came out big time to show their support of track and field athlete Trey Cunningham, who, at the age of just 23, has already been touted as the greatest athlete to have come from the city.
Cunningham was honored before Winfield’s football game against Carbon Hill on Friday night and was again honored during a ceremony at Winfield High School on Sunday, Oct. 7.

Miss Hamilton stands against domestic violence

Miss Hamilton Chandler Mordecai stands with Hamilton Mayor Bob Page after a resolution was passed recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Miss Hamilton, Chandler Mordecai, attended the Hamilton City Council meeting to voice her support of those who have been deeply affected by domestic abuse.
Mordecai, a Winfield native, started the initiative “Victory Over Domestic Violence” in 2014, which aims to help individuals who are in need due to situations of domestic violence.

Bear Creek to hold wet/dry election Nov. 15

By Chad Fell
Courtesy of the Northwest Alabamian
BEAR CREEK — Figures from the last census shows the Town of Bear Creek exceeded 1,000 in population, meaning the town now qualifies - and is preparing for - an election to allow voters to decide if alcoholic beverages can be sold or distributed in the town limits.
The town council voted Monday, Oct. 3,  to have the wet/dry referendum election on Tuesday, Nov. 15, which will be after the general election.

Three truck crash in Hamilton

By Louis Mellini
Staff writer
HAMILTON — A three pickup truck car wreck caused one individual to be air lifted to Tupelo, Miss. on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 23, in Hamilton.
According to Hamilton Police Officer Tyler Norton, near Bexar Avenue West and Chestnut Circle, a pickup truck came to a sudden stop, causing the truck behind him to come to a stop. Norton stated the third truck involved saw the two trucks too late and was unable to avoid the collision that ensued.