Estes working on terrorist registry bill

MONTGOMERY – The 2020 Legislative Session will begin Tuesday, Feb. 4, and Marion County’s state representative is expecting the Legislature to tackle some big-issue items.
House District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, spoke with the Journal Record in a phone interview on Tuesday, Jan. 14, noting that the Legislature will have 105 calendar days to complete 30 legislative workdays. The Legislature will adjourn the session by May 19.

Officials say police dept. needs two more officers

GUIN – Councilors say the City of Guin needs additional help in its police department.
During a Guin City Council meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 21, councilman Roger Agnew asked Guin Police Chief Doug Webb why the police department couldn’t schedule two officers during night shifts.
Webb said the police force currently has an open position it needs to fill. According to Webb, various agencies and sheriff’s deputies are assisting the department during night-time calls.

Fees waived for Jerry Brown Arts Festival artists

HAMILTON – The Jerry Brown Arts Festival is gearing up for another year.
During the Hamilton City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, officials authorized the Northwest Alabama Arts Council     to host its 18th Jerry Brown Arts Festival event, which will take place March 7 and 8 at Tombigbee’s facility off of County Road 55.
At the request of arts council president Dr. Don Durkin, the council also waived business license requirements for participating artists and vendors. Durkin noted that each vendor is still required to record and collect sales taxes.

Mayor, council pay raises being considered

HAMILTON – City officials are weighing whether or not to consider bumping the pay for elected city officials.
With municipal elections quickly approaching in the summer, Hamilton Mayor Bob Page told the Hamilton City Council at a work session on Wednesday, Jan. 15, that if it wished to authorize a pay increase, now would be the time to do so.
An administration pay increase would bump compensation for city council members and the mayor’s office, and it would not go into effect until a newly elected council and mayor are seated.

Guin Elementary selected as 2019 ESEA Distinguished School

GUIN – One Marion County school has received its second national recognition in six months.
According to a press release on Thursday, Jan. 23, by the Alabama State Department of Education, Guin Elementary School (GES) has been named a recipient of the 2019 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) National Title I Distinguished School Award for Exceptional Student Performance.

Sales tax down in December

HAMILTON – Sales tax for education revenues collected in Marion County was down during December.
According to the Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West, the education system collected $147,819.93—$8,198.81 less in sales tax last month compared to the previous year.
December 2018’s sales tax collection totaled $155,018.74.
For the first three months of the Fiscal Year 2020, $451,621 has been collected in sales tax. For the same period in 2018, sales tax had generated $445,764.38, meaning Fiscal Year 2020 is still outperforming FY 2019.

Winfield teacher charged with sending nude photo to student

WINFIELD - Former Winfield City High School teacher Carrie Jackson, 44, was arrested for distribution of obscene material to a student and was released on Thursday, Jan. 16, on a $3,000 bond. A school employee distributing obscene material to a student is a Class A misdemeanor, according to the 2016 Code of Alabama.
According to a press release from 25th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Slatton, Jackson allegedly sent a nude photo to a current student at the high school.

Wyatt Spann passes

WINFIELD -  Winfield natives Christy and Greg Spann announced that their son, Michael Wyatt Spann, 4, passed away at 7:17 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, after a battle with Medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer.

Wyatt recently returned home from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and, according to a post from the Spann’s Facebook page, was given only a few weeks to live.
Wyatt returned home in an ambulance on Tuesday, Jan. 7, and was met by several members of the community who were lined up with signs in support of the Spann family.

Beaverton man killed in single-vehicle wreck

HAMILTON – A single vehicle crash has claimed the life of a Beaverton man.
According to State Trooper Cpl. Mark Stone, Mark Steven Downey, 63, was killed when his 1995 Dodge Ram pickup left the roadway and struck a tree.
The crash occurred early Friday morning, Jan. 17, at approximately 1:00 a.m. on County Road 35.
No further information was given as State Troopers continue to investigate.

Japanese carmaker looking at Hamilton

HAMILTON – Manufacturing companies are apparently considering building in Hamilton.
According to Hamilton Mayor Bob Page, an unnamed Japanese car manufacturer could be taking steps to potentially locate a plant on 20 acres of Hamilton’s I-22 Industrial Park in the Fulton Bridge Community.
Page announced the development during a Hamilton City Council work session on Wednesday, Jan. 15, saying he may have to call a special council meeting and put together an incentive package.

Overtime to be retroactively paid to county employees

HAMILTON  - The Marion County Commission unanimously voted to amend the employee handbook concerning overtime hours and retroactively pay employees who worked overtime during the Christmas holiday period on Dec. 23 and 26, 2019, during a regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 13, at the commission office in Hamilton.
According to commission chairman, Tim “Ears” Estes, the county’s employee handbook states that employees must work 40 hours before they receive overtime pay.  
This means that holidays would not contribute to hours worked for employees.

Gym use must be scheduled, supervised

HACKLEBURG – Officials have reiterated that public access to the Hackleburg recreation center’s gymnasium is limited to special requests for six months out of the year.
The Hackleburg Town Council discussed the issue during its meeting on Monday, Jan. 13, at the request of councilmember Darrin Wiginton.
“I just want to know what the schedule is on it,” Wiginton told the council, explaining he was wanting to see if there were times the gym could be accessed by the public.

Free county extension parenting classes begin Feb. 6

HAMILTON - The Marion County Extension Office will be hosting free parenting classes in Hamilton during the month of February.
“Principles of Parenting” classes will begin Thursday, Feb. 6, at 10 a.m. at the Marion County Extension Office located in the Courthouse Annex, at 372 7th Avenue Southwest in Hamilton, across from the E.T. Sims Neighbor Facilities Building.
The classes will be held on Tuesdays during the month of February from 9 - 11 a.m.

 

Council split over hiring street dept. help

HACKLEBURG – City officials will wait to hire more full-time help for the Hackleburg Street Department.
The Hackleburg Town Council voted 2-3 during its first meeting of the new year on Monday, Jan. 13, to post a full-time position with the local street department.
Council members Eugene Marbutt and Tabby Lolley voted in favor of posting the position, while mayor Darryl Colburn and councilors Don Barnwell and Darrin Wiginton voted no, blocking the measure. Councilmember Kevin Barnwell was absent during the meeting.

Orders being taken for 4-H plant sale

HAMILTON - Orders are now being taken for the annual Marion County 4-H Plant Sale event.
All orders are to be placed and paid for at the Marion County Extension office by visiting the office.
The deadline to place orders is Friday, Feb. 14, with delivery  scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, March 4-5 to the Extension Office.

Sessions reaffirms Trump support, agenda

HAMILTON – Jeff Sessions, who is seeking to regain his old Senate seat in Alabama, says he is supporting the president and his agenda despite President Donald Trump criticizing and pushing Sessions out of his cabinet last year.
The 73-year-old politician from Mobile announced he was running for his old Senate seat on Nov. 7, 2019—the day before qualifying ended. He had served in the position for 20 years before accepting an appointment from President Donald Trump as the U.S. Attorney General in 2017.

Unprecedented exchange

WINFIELD - In what is believed to be a first in the state, public school teachers and support personnel will have an opportunity to ask questions directly to Alabama Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey.
The state superintendent has agreed to participate in a statewide teacher listening tour with four stops across Alabama scheduled for inclusion. One of the four forums will be conducted in Winfield, with the remaining three confirmed for Saraland and Elmore and St. Clair counties.

Christmas play a success for HES

HAMILTON - Hamilton Elementary School and Bevill State Community College-Hamilton presented the play Twas the Night Before Christmas at the BSCC Business and Conference center in Hamilton on Dec. 17-19, 2019.
The play, featuring several students from Hamilton Elementary School as well as a few Marion County natives, was directed by Hamilton Elementary School music teacher Jennifer Zetrouer.
Zetrouer, or as her students call her, Ms. Z, is in her second year of teaching music and directing productions for the students of Hamilton Elementary School.

Gann voices concern over lack of financial reports

GUIN - “Last month we didn’t get anything on our financial statement or anything like that. This month we haven’t gotten anything again, what are we going to do about it? Are we just going to forget about it?” Guin City Councilman Jerry Gann asked.
Gann voiced his displeasure with the financial statement not being readily available for review during the regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 6, at Guin City Hall.
Guin Mayor Max Maddox assured Gann that the financial report would be included on the agenda for the next Guin City Council meeting.

Horror in Hackleburg casts shadow over decade

With the close of a decade, the Journal Record has reviewed the last 10 years and has selected the most significant news stories that transpired between 2010 and 2019.
The top story, the Hackleburg tornado and subsequent rebuilding efforts, was listed in Top 10 story lists over several consecutive years, which has all been collected into one synopsis in the following decade review.
In contrast, some of the following stories were not selected as an annual top story over the last 10 years, but their cumulative development and importance were taken into consideration.

Lake talks Census with City of Winfield

WINFIELD - James Lake with the U.S. Census Bureau addressed the Winfield City Council concerning the 2020 Census during a regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the Winfield City Hall.
At the start of his address, Lake stated that he originally planned to visit Winfield to discuss the Census before the holiday period, but was unable to.
For the past several months, Lake has attended several municipal and commission meetings to discuss the importance of community awareness for the upcoming U.S. Census.

C3 invites public to attend annual meeting on Jan. 21

WINFIELD – The ninth annual meeting of C3 of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance, will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the Pastime Theater Civic Center in Winfield.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the program will begin at 9. Attendees may enjoy coffee, a continental breakfast and networking with friends and business as they wait for the program to begin.
There is no charge to attend the meeting.

Spears hired at senior center

HAMILTON – Hamilton Mayor Bob Page has announced the hiring of Sadie Spears as a worker at the Hamilton Senior Center.
Page made the announcement during a quick Hamilton City Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 6.
Page recommended that the council pay Spears $8 per hour in the position.
Councilman Gene Sanderson made the motion to pay her accordingly, Bobby Joe Irvin seconded the motion and members Tami Lewis Williams, Wade Sullins and Herb Winsett cast their votes to give the pay amount unanimous approval.

 

Gunner returns home with large escort

HAMILTON – The son of a Hamilton police officer was escorted home on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 9, led by a host of police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firemen.
Gunner Pendley, 20, son of Hamilton Police Department Lt. Jimmy Pendley and Kimberly Reese, suffered a brain stem injury in July 2019 following a tractor accident. He has spent the last four months undergoing treatment and therapy in Atlanta, Ga.

Mills recalls 2011 Hackleburg tornado: ‘... that’s when I really started learning how things worked’

HAMILTON - Marion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jimmy Mills has retired after 12 years at the helm.
Mills, the son of Odean and Letha Mills, was born on Dec. 24, 1965, in Amory, Miss., and was raised in Hamilton since the age of 4.
Mills and his wife of 33 years, Michelle, have two daughters, Samantha (Josh) Nunn, Hamilton, and Tabitha (Clayton) Dodd, who lives in Tuscaloosa, and three grandchildren: Indie, Oliver and Eli.

Valentine Sweetheart Pageant to be held on Feb. 9

WINFIELD - The Pastime Theatre in Winfield will present the 13th Annual Mr. and Miss Valentine Sweetheart Pageant at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Winfield Elementary School Auditorium.
Sunday dress, semi-formal or formal attire is acceptable and Queens and Kings in each group will receive a sash and a crown.
Side awards include most beautiful/handsome, best fashion, prettiest hair, smile, eyes and most photogenic. Winners in each of the events will receive a sash.

Outz new police chief

HACKLEBURG – Jonathan Outz has been promoted as the new Hackleburg Police Chief.
The Hackleburg Town Council voted unanimously to promote Outz with a 90-day probation period during a two-hour council meeting held on Thursday, Dec. 19.
Former chief Jeremy Marbutt served in the position for roughly 10  months. He announced his resignation on social media in December, explaining he had accepted another local position. His official last day on the job was Friday, Nov. 29.

Reed is Hamilton’s newest Eagle Scout

HAMILTON – Hamilton’s Ross Reed, 18, has earned Scouting’s highest honor—the rank of Eagle Scout.
Hamilton Boy Scout Troop 56 hosted Reed’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on Tuesday night, Dec. 17, at the troops scout hut in Hamilton, friends, family and fellow Scouts attending.
Reed is the son of Mike and Michelle Reed. He has an older brother, Cole, who earned Eagle in 2018. He also has a younger brother, Lake.
During the court of honor, Reed presented his mother, Michelle, with an Eagle Mentor Pin for supporting him through the process.

Primary absentee ballots now available

HAMILTON – Absentee ballots for the Tuesday, March 3, primary are now in at the Marion County Courthouse, Marion County Circuit Clerk Denise Mixon said.
Election-related deadlines were announced in advance of the primary, which will involve presidential primaries for the two parties, plus a number of state and local elections.
Mixon, who will also serve as the absentee election manager during the primary, said absentee balloting would start today (Wednesday, Jan. 8).

Hutcheson’s rent set at $500 flat rate

HACKLEBURG – Radio business owner Hutty Hutcheson will pay a flat rate of $500 a month beginning Jan. 1 to rent space from the Town of Hackleburg.
Hutcheson owed the town multiple months’ rent and utility bills for using the old town hall building, where Hutcheson operates his radio station, Big 95.5.
Hackleburg Town Clerk Carla Rector told the Hackleburg Town Council at its meeting on Thursday, Dec. 19, that Hutcheson is now up-to-date on his rent payments.
Hutcheson’s rent was set at $300  a month plus utilities in last year’s contract.

 

Family Care Clinic to close Jan. 31

WINFIELD – Northwest Medical Center has announced it will close the Northwest Family Care Clinic in Winfield effective Friday, Jan. 31.
The decision comes roughly a year-and-a-half after the City of Winfield took ownership of the local hospital through the Winfield Healthcare Authority, which purchased the hospital from Curae Health.
The after-hours clinic at 125 Henry Lane in Winfield opened in 2015 and  was built off of Interstate 22’s Exit 30. Med360 Health UrgentCare is located on the same exit, across Highway 129.