Roster hits all-time high

HAMILTON - Vaccinations and COVID-19 are complicating the logistical aspects of correctional facilities. Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams told the Journal Record that on Tuesday, April 6, the Marion County Jail marked an all-time record of 189 individuals in custody. The jail, which was built in 1979, is designed to house just 86. One reason for this super-capacity is the presence of nearly 50 state prisoners who have not been accepted into the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), according to Williams.

Firefighters recall the light they found in Hackleburg

When Hackleburg took a direct hit by an EF-5 tornado during the Wednesday, April 27, 2011, super tornado outbreak, people from around the nation found ways to help. According to Hackleburg Fire Chief Steve Hood, two fire departments in particular--one from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and another from a suburb of Pittsburg, Penn.-- provided exemplary aide. Yesterday (Tuesday, April 27), marked 10 years since the disaster, which left 25 dead across Marion County.

New CEO lands in Marion County

New Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance CEO Tom Wisemiller is shown addressing the Marion County Commission during a regular meeting on Monday, April 20.

HAMILTON - The new Northwest Alabama Economic Development Agency President Tom Wisemiller has been on a bit of a Marion County tour in the past week, visiting and introducing himself to the Marion County Commission, Hamilton City Council and Winfield City Council. Wisemiller addressed the Marion County Commission on Monday, April 19, during a regular meeting at the Marion County Commission office in Hamilton.

Sims to make MMA debut in Albertville

Kyle Sims, a police officer in Hamilton, is entering his first MMA title fight on Saturday, May 8, in Albertville.

HAMILTON - Police officer Kyle Sims will premier in his first mixed martial arts (MMA) fight next month. Sims is on the fight card for the Marshall County-based American Fighting League (AFL) for its next event taking place on Saturday, May 8, at the Sand Mountain Park in Albertville. The event begins at 5 p.m. and will be live-streamed online at AFL’s Facebook and Instagram pages. General admission tickets for in-person attendees are $25. As a law enforcement officer in Marion County for the past four years, Sims, 27, is 5-foot-9-inches and weighs 170 pounds.

Fayette Co. willing to partner with Winfield

WINFIELD - Fayette County Commissioner Shane Hughes and Fayette County Probate Judge Mike Freeman visited the Winfield City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 20, to discuss the possibility of helping the city pave roads.
In a regular council meeting held on Tuesday, April 6, at the Winfield City Hall, the City made the decision to pave and chip and seal a number of roads, some of which lie in Fayette County lines.

Photographer recalls April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011 was just one day of a multi-day outbreak.
I was helping a photographer friend from Tuscaloosa shoot a wedding in St. Louis. We drove up from Tuscaloosa in the days and before April 27 and ran into storms in Arkansas and we stopped to take some pictures there. We made it to St. Louis and were staying at a hotel near the airport when the airport got hit by a tornado. We took pics near that area the next day.

Cook says zero COVID cases since February

WINFIELD - Winfield City Schools Superintendent of Education Chris Cook announced that Winfield City Schools has not had a single case of COVID-19 since Feb. 4.
Cook stated this during the Winfield City Schools Board of Education meeting held on Tuesday, April 13, at Winfield Middle School.
“We haven't had a positive case since Feb. 4th, but we have one girl in the elementary school who is awaiting results now. She's shown some minor symptoms, but nothing serious,” Cook told the Journal Record.

Windham gives hospital update

WINFIELD - Northwest Medical Center-Winfield CEO Michael Windham offered a detailed look at goings-on at the hospital during a regular meeting held on Tuesday, April 6, at Winfield City Hall. Windham stated that when he arrived to the hospital last year, the biggest hurdle was the financial situation, which saw the hospital over one million dollars in the red. “I didn’t get to see the financials until I walked through the door. I looked at them and said, ‘This is not right, there’s something not correct here,’” said Windham.

Cooper trial starts May 17

Double Springs - More than five years after the alleged murder of two Hamilton residents in downtown Hamilton, Jimmy Dale Cooper, 61, will be tried and judged by jury.
Cooper was transported from Marion County Jail in Hamilton on Monday, April 12, to Winston County Jail in Double Springs, where he will spend the next month waiting to be tried for two charges of capital murder.

Booth named police chief

HACKLEBURG - City leaders in Hackleburg believe they are making strides toward rebuilding the town’s police force.
Wage competition has led to scarcity of manpower for the department over the last year and town officials have operated with just two full-time officers and recruited part-timers.
Hackleburg Mayor Darryl Colburn believes the town’s new police chief, Jeremy Booth, will help lead in the endeavour.
“I think we can build a really good department with his leadership,” Colburn said.


‘An outpouring of goodwill’

Mike Kastner never planned to serve in international relief, but 10 years after the storm, that’s exactly where he now finds himself.
Kastner was one of a handful of American Red Cross volunteers in Marion County after the April 27, 2011, EF-5 tornado tore through the area, killing 25. He says his experience as a small contributor in the disaster relief efforts in Hamilton and Hackleburg gave him a passion for aid work.

100 dead

One hundred deaths.
Marion County reached the milestone the first week of April, peeking over the hundred threshold to 101 deaths, but rescinded back to 100 by late last week.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), there are some instances where deaths are reported and then removed after further review, as there may be duplicate records, deaths are found not to be attributable to the virus, or in rare instances a death may be reported and the person is not deceased.

COVID surge during beginning of year reached near-crisis levels

North Mississippi Health Services Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeremy Blanchard speaks to the Hamilton City Council on April 5.

HAMILTON - Local health care administrators briefed city officials on how North Mississippi Health Services (NMHS) navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.
NMHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeremy Blanchard was present at the Hamilton City Council’s Monday, April 5, meeting along with North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC)-Hamilton Administrator Robert Trimm to discuss the state of the local hospital.
The NMHS system is based in Tupelo, Miss., and consists of seven hospitals across northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama, 43 clinics and about 7,000 employees.

Inmate vaccines begin in Hamilton

HAMILTON - Vaccine rollout has reached at-risk inmates housed in Marion County prison facilities.
The Alabama Department of Corrections began vaccinations for inmates at in the Hamilton Aged & Infirmed facility and the Hamilton Work Release Center on Monday, April 12.
Distribution is being prioritized for facilities which house the most vulnerable inmates. ADOC intends to inoculate entire facilities at one time rather than focus on particular age groups or demographics.

Hamilton forms anti-littering committee

The Hamilton City council made an impassioned vote during its city council meeting on Monday, April 5, taking an unconventional standing show of hands to express their support for a new anti-littering committee. Shown voting are (from left) councilman Wade Williams, Hamilton Mayor Bob Page and councilmen Matt Sims, Ross Reed and Scott Tyra. Not shown voting is councilman Scott Robertson

HAMILTON - Litterbugs beware.
In a united display, the Hamilton City Council voted to establish a “Take Pride in Hamilton” anti-littering campaign during its council meeting on Monday, April 5, marking the latest development in the city’s war on garbage.
Earlier this year, the city council began collecting lists of properties which are not being kept clean and have been used to dump.
The anti-littering committee is an initiative spearheaded by city councilman Scott Tyra, who introduced the idea during a work session last month.

Council makes decision on roads

Winfield Mayor Randy Price (right) is shown discussing roads with council member James Odom during a work-session meeting on Thursday, April 1, at Winfield City Hall.

WINFIELD - After missing out on the first round of Rebuild Alabama grant monies, the Winfield City Council was faced with the tough decision of which roads to pave during the Winfield City Council meeting held on Tuesday, April 6, at the Winfield City Hall.

Prior to the meeting, council members met during a work session meeting on Thursday, April 1, to determine which roads would be prioritized, but did not make an official vote on the matter until the regular meeting on Monday.

Courthouse keeping mask mandate

HAMILTON - The Marion County Courthouse officially ended its mask mandate at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 9, for all except the second and third of the building.
The courthouse, following the lead of the state mask mandate order made by Gov. Kay Ivey, was set to end the need for masks in the entire courthouse, but 25th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Daryl Burt has made the decision to extend the mask mandate until the end of Friday, May 14.

April is National Child Abuse prevention Month

Shown are (from left) Sarah Emerson, Deputy DA & Domestic Violence Resource Prosecutor; Gena Holloway, Certified Victims Service Officer; Jamie Gilmer, DA Administrator; Rachel Smith, Chief Deputy District Attorney.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the 25th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office is marking the event with displays outside of Marion and Winston counties’ courthouse buildings. The campaign has taken place every April since 1983 and is dedicated to raising awareness and preventing child abuse. District Attorney Scott Slatton and the 25th Judicial District Attorney’s office are participating in Child Abuse Prevention month by implementing Pinwheels for Prevention.