Jones touts bipartisan work during town hall

HAMILTON - Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) hosted a town hall meeting in Hamilton on Monday, Aug. 5.
The two-hour meeting took place at the old city hall building (Hamilton Police Department) and there were roughly 60 people in attendance.
Jones said the Senate is currently on recess until the week after Labor Day (Sept. 1). The U.S. House recessed one week prior.

Dixie Paving to pave three streets

GUIN -  The Guin City Council voted to contract with Dixie Paving in Haleyville to pave three streets at a cost of $50,000 during the Monday Aug. 5, council meeting.
The streets are 14th Avenue East, 10th Street and 15th Ave. E that connect Alabama State Highway 43/278 with County Road 44.
Guin Mayor Max Maddox said he had spoken with a few different street pavers and they all quoted him near the same amount for the job.

Commission considering mobile drug testing

HAMILTON -  Brent Oliver, owner and chief executive officer of the Tuscumbia-based mobile drug testing company Valley Source Drug Test, appeared before the Marion County Commissioners to present his company as a drug testing option for the county during a work session on Thursday, Aug. 8, in Hamilton.
Valley Source Drug Test operates as a strictly mobile drug testing facility that travels to the site in which the county would need drug testing to take place.
The company offers urine, hair, saliva, DNA testing and background checks.

 

City discusses outsourcing cemetery lawn care

HAMILTON - Extensive lawn care work at the Hamilton Cemetery each month is estimated to cost the city roughly $1,000 a month during the summer.
City officials are wondering if a different approach could result in savings.
The Hamilton City Council discussed the topic during a work session on Wednesday, July 31, when it was introduced by councilman Wade Sullins.
“Instead of our people having to take out from their jobs and go over there and mow and weedeat, maybe put it out for bid and let someone else take care of it,” Sullins said.

 

Ministry purchases Hamilton Holiday Motel

HAMILTON -  The Ramp in Hamilton has purchased the Hamilton Holiday Motel to house its incoming male students for the Ramp ministry school.
The Ramp purchased the building on Wednesday, Aug. 7, and the Ramp School of Ministry (RSM) students will begin moving into dorms on Thursday, Aug. 15, leaving them with very little time to renovate before the students’ arrival.
“We have to flip it in one week!” said RSM Director Samuel Bentley, laughing.

 

Push continuing for automotive

GUIN - Economic development officials are continuing to push to attract the automotive industry to Marion County.
“It’s hard to beat our area as a location for automotive,” said Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance (EDA) Executive Director David Thornell during the EDA’s annual membership appreciation luncheon on Thursday, July 25, at the Holiday Inn in Guin.

Crunch time for Hackleburg Market building

HAMILTON -  Grocery store owner Wally Kemp is shutting down his market after five years of running the Hackleburg Market in the over $2 million town-owned building.
The building that the store has been operating in is owned by the Town of Hackleburg and now leaves the town council with a major decision to make as the market’s closing will leave the town’s citizens without a major grocery store.
Mayor Daryl Colburn called a work session on Tuesday, July 30, to discuss what to do with the building once the current owner leaves.

Former commissioner Barnwell: ‘I’d never vote against the people again’

HAMILTON -  “I know they have to have a jail and if you make it a vote of the people, they still have to have a jail,” said Don Barnwell, former Marion County District 3 commissioner and current Hackleburg town councilman, when asked by the Journal Record about a potential one-cent sales tax vote.
On Wednesday, July 24, the Marion County Commission held a special meeting in which Scott Hunt presented funding options for the new Marion County Jail.

‘Super nest’ found in Winfield single-wide


According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, a large yellow jacket nest discovered near Winfield marks the northernmost case of the phenomenon on record.

WINFIELD - Marion County is the 10th Alabama county in the state to have a confirmed yellow jacket “super nest.”
“My husband (Herman) found the nest, but didn’t really know what it was,” said Kimberly Holcomb-Logan of Winfield,  who is a hair-dresser and owns the property where the nest was discovered.
The large nest, technically known as a perennial nest, was confirmed on Sunday, July 14, at Logan’s property in Winfield, according to Charles Ray, an entomologist and research fellow working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in Auburn.

System accredited


Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West announces that the Marion County School System has received its first-ever district accreditation.

HAMILTON - Marion County School System has earned accreditation from AdvancED following an extensive evaluation process.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West announced at the Marion County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, July 23, that the system received official confirmation of its award.
“This is the first time ever!” said board chairwoman Belinda McRae in celebration.

 

City gifted towering Christmas tree


City employees unloaded a 25-foot tree into the bay of the Hamilton Fire Department. Shown are (from left) Hamilton Parks and Recreation employee Brian Wiginton, Hamilton Mayor Bob Page, parks and recreation director Tim Kerr, parks and rec employees Heath Atkinson and Brian Gilstrap and firefighters Matthew Real and Bryant Rye.

HAMILTON - A large donation is making it Christmas time in July for the City of Hamilton.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page has announced that Brookwood Village shopping mall in Mountain Brook has gifted its iconic 25-foot Christmas tree to the city.
City employees, equipped with a truck provided by Kith Kitchens of Haleyville, delivered the massive  commercial tree to the Hamilton Fire Department on Friday, July 26.

Members will pray


Members of the Marion County Board of Education held prayer separate from their meeting on Tuesday, July 23. Shown praying are (from front, left) board members Daryl Weatherly and Belinda McRae, House District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West and board members Joyce Fowler and Beverly Burleson.

HAMILTON - To avoid potential criticism, members of the Marion County Board of Education will hold prayer prior to official meetings
Marion County Board of Education Chairwoman Belinda McRae announced the change prior to the board’s meeting on Tuesday, July 23, at the Marion County Schools Central Office.
The board has traditionally held prayer in the board’s meeting room to officially open monthly meetings.

Teachers ‘get their raise back’

HAMILTON - Marion County teachers are receiving refunds totalling $321,7360.64 due to wrongfully-changed insurance premiums.
Clint Green, chief school financial officer for the Marion County School System, told the Marion County Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday, July 23, that the board received the $321,000 check from Public Education Employees Health Insurance Plan (PEEHIP) on Thursday, July 18.
Green told the Journal Record in a phone interview that the refund amounts were $313,486.84, while an additional $11,249.80 was provided in interest.

Massive sales tax boost in June

HAMILTON - After a two-month decline in revenues generated from Marion County’s one-cent education  sales tax, education officials are thrilled to see a spike in collections.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West announced during a Marion County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, July 23, that sales tax gathered in June totalled $181,983.
West noted this was $22,224 more than the previous year when $159,759 was generated. The amount is up $79,000 from 11 years ago and the highest collection for June on record.

 

Board issues 22 pink slips

HAMILTON - Twenty-two Marion County School System faculty were issued pink slips.
Marion County Superintendent  of Education Ann West provided a list of those teachers to the Journal Record following the Marion County Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, July 23.
West noted that many of the names mentioned as pink slip recipients have already been recalled.

Vape regulations enacted statewide

MARION COUNTY -  Statewide changes went into effect for vape shops on Thursday, Aug. 1, as Alabama looks to tighten up on vape retailers.
This month, the state will begin oversight and regulations for retailers who sell vape and other nicotine products.
The new law:
• Requires vape shops to have a tobacco license;

 

University of Alabama helping in Opioid Crisis

HAMILTON -  The University of Alabama will soon begin addressing opioid morbidity and mortality in four Alabama counties by developing a community care network to strengthen prevention, treatment and recovery.
The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded a UA-led team of researchers and community stakeholders a $200,000 grant to implement an integrative tele-health network.
The network will be used by a multidisciplinary team from UA with health and education community partners in Marion, Winston, Franklin and Walker counties.

 

Work set to begin this week at Exit 30

WINFIELD - The Alabama Department of Transportation announced on Aug. 5 that work will begin this week to resurface and restripe a portion of Interstate 22 from near Exit 30 to near Exit 34.
The 4.5-mile project is expected to last from August to the end of December. All work is scheduled to be performed between 6 a.m and 6 p.m. At least one lane will be open at all times in each direction throughout the duration of the project.
Motorists should expect possible delays and are encouraged to observe work-zone speed limits.

County system earns clean audit report


Examiner of Public Accounts Denise Olive (right) reviewed the Marion County Board of Education’s clean audit report for Fiscal Year 2018 at its meeting on Tuesday, July 23. Also shown is Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West.

HAMILTON - The Marion County Board of Education received a good opinion from state auditors for Fiscal Year 2018.
Denise Olive with the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts presented the audit report to the board at a meeting on Tuesday, July 23.
Olive explained she was present at the meeting because in 2006, the Legislature passed an act requiring audits be presented during public meetings.

School systems seeking to assist children with disabilities

Public schools across Marion County are searching for children with disabilities or who are suspected of having disabilities in order to provide special services.
The program, simply referred to as Child Find, is a statewide program that is sponsored by the state Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation  Services, Early Intervention, and the Division of Special Education Services.
The program is an effort to locate, identify and evaluate individuals from birth to age 21 who have disabilities or who are suspected of having disabilities.

 

‘It’s a divine miracle’


Gunner Pendley (right) is shown with his sister, Kayla.

BIRMINGHAM - The father of Gunner Pendley is crediting God and prayers for the unexpected improvement of his son’s health.
“It’s a divine miracle from our Father in Heaven,” said Hamilton Police Department Lt. Jimmy Pendley, whose son was expected to either die or be brain dead after suffering a severe brain injury.
On Wednesday, July 24, Gunner Pendley, 20, Hamilton, son of Jimmy Pendley and Kimberly Reese, was involved in a tractor accident around 1:30 p.m. while working in the Wayside Community in Fayette County.

Brown’s Pottery an Alabama Maker with a national legacy


Jerry Brown is shown in a photograph which is featured above his pottery in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

(Writer’s note: Sandra Brown and the late-Jerry Brown were featured in the Alabama NewsCenter’s “Alabama Makers” section on Monday, July 15. The article featured a gallery of photos and a short video. The Journal Record is running the article by courtesy of Alabama Power. SJ)