Bryne: ‘I don’t see another fighter in this race’

HAMILTON - U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne addressed the Marion County Republican Party during a regular meeting on Saturday, Dec. 7, at J&V Ole Smokehouse in Hamilton.
Byrne, who is currently serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, was born in Mobile and has served as a member of the Alabama State Board of Education and former chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education.
He is currently running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in the 2020 election, a position which is currently held by Doug Jones.

Marion County cares about Census

HAMILTON – A recent report shows that Marion County residents are alert and ready for the upcoming 2020 Census count.
Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) spokesperson Mike Presley told the Journal Record in a phone interview that Marion County received one of the highest scores in Alabama on an “indifference” survey conducted by ADECA to canvass the state on how willing citizens are to participate in the upcoming Census.

Marion Co. dodges storm damage

HAMILTON - Marion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jimmy Mills told the Journal Record that the storm that took place on Monday, Dec. 16, did not do any damage in the Marion County area, which Mill stated was a blessing.

“We didn’t have any damage, 9-1-1 had a report of some lines down on Highway 43 North, but that ended up being a false report,” said Mills.
“I haven’t heard of any power outages or trees down, no limbs down—nothing. We were blessed because it (the storm) went north and south of us.”

Hamilton Kiwanis supports Christmas for Kids

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Kiwanis Club partnered with Christmas for Kids this year and sold 210 turkeys and hams as well as delivered approximately 35 food baskets, according to Kiwanis member Mark Dearen.
“I would just like to thank everybody for helping us be a part of donating to  Christmas for Kids,” said Dearen.
“We (Kiwanis Club) try to serve the community and make the community a better place to live each year.”
Dearen also expressed his delight in helping those in need and seeing smiling children in partnering with Christmas for Kids.


County water expansion in Bexar meeting dire needs

Bexar Community - The Marion County Public Water Authority recently secured state grant funds to expand water lines into unserved portions of Marion County.
For Carolyn and Johnny Taylor of the Bexar Community, expansion of the public water services cannot come soon enough.
“We’ve had a hard time,” Carolyn said, explaining they have relied on well water for decades. However, recent complications have left them with the task of jumping through hoops to get potable water.

Water, sewer continue to drain general fund

HAMILTON – Revenues on water and sewer services for Hamilton residents are not enough to cover operating expenses.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page reintroduced the topic during a Hamilton City Council work session on Wednesday, Dec. 11, explaining again that the city’s general fund has traditionally supplemented deficits in the water and sewer budget.
“We’re looking at getting it closer to a break-even if possible,” Page said.


Horace Moore appointed Winston County sheriff

Horace Moore (standing) will be sworn in as Winston County’s sheriff on Monday, Dec. 30. He is shown with outgoing sheriff Tommy Moore (seated).

WINSTON COUNTY  - Horace Moore, a veteran not only of the newspaper business but law enforcement as well, will respectfully replace Tommy Moore as Winston County’s sheriff next week.
Horace will step into the role of sheriff during a swearing-in ceremony on Monday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m. at the Winston County Courthouse in Double Springs. Performing the honors will be Winston County Probate Judge Sheila Moore. He will officially take over as sheriff at midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Terrell selected as new EMA director

HAMILTON - Marion County Commissioners Dale Holt, Kenneth Cochran and Keith Nichols voted for Eric Terrell to succeed Jimmy Mills as Marion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director during a regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 16, at the commission office in Hamilton.
Terrell, 44, is a resident of Hamilton and currently serving as a property book officer in the 877th Engineer Battalion until his official appointment as EMA director effective Jan. 1, 2020.

2020 concert series announced

WINFIELD - The historic Pastime Theatre in Winfield has announced its 2020 Concert Series which will begin Saturday, Feb. 15, with season headliner Pam Tillis and her trio.   
“This group performed at The Pastime Theatre several years ago and we are delighted to bring them back again for our Valentine concert,” said Mary Hyche, Pastime Theatre board chairman.
Prior to the concert, theater goers may have dinner next door at the Pastime Civic Center. Dinner tickets are $20.00 and reservations are required.

Sales tax up beginning FY 2020

HAMILTON – Education sales tax for the first two months of Fiscal Year 2020 have broken records.
According to the Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West, the county education system collected $10,107 more in sales tax this November compared to last year at this time, with a total of $162,357.70 collected—a new record.
Taxes generated in October also set records, with $142,435.02 being collected.
For the first two months of the Fiscal Year 2020, $304,792.72 has been collected in sales tax.


Virtual academy extended to grades 3-8

HAMILTON – Third- through eighth-grade students may now enroll with Marion County Schools’ virtual academy.
The Marion County Board of Education unanimously agreed to expand its virtual academy to include students grades three through 12 during its monthly meeting held on Tuesday, Dec. 17, opening up the opportunity to elementary and middle school-aged students to receive a public education online.
The service was already available for high school students.

Longtime editor honored

HAMILTON - Longtime Journal Record Editor Les Walters was honored with the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Communications Award for Print Journalism on Monday, Dec. 9, during the group’s 98th annual meeting in Montgomery.
Walters worked with the Journal Record for more than 40 years and retired as the newspaper’s editor in November.
Marion County Farmers Federation Reporter Lesa Enlow nominated Walters for the award, which is presented annually to a journalist or news outlet that excels in sharing the story of agriculture with their audience.

Trotter joins police force

HAMILTON – Travis Trotter of Red Bay has been hired with the Hamilton Police Department.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page announced the hiring during a Hamilton City Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 16, noting Trotter already possesses an Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training  (APOST) certificate.
Hamilton City Clerk Angela Owen told the council Trotter was currently employed with the Red Bay Police Department.
The council unanimously agreed to pay Trotter $16.38 per hour.

Cooper unopposed for 3rd term

HAMILTON - Incumbent Marion County Revenue Commissioner Barbara Cooper will run unopposed for the 2020 elections.
Qualifying for both Republican and Democratic candidates ended on Friday, Nov. 8, and Cooper remained the only candidate to register with a party. Independent candidates will not begin qualifying until after the March primary election on March 3, 2020.

Block grants funding two Marion Co. projects

MONTGOMERY - Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded $18.7 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for improvements in 58 Alabama communities.
From these grant funds, the Town of Hackleburg will receive $85,000 for street improvement projects, including widening and paving or sealing, and the Marion County Public Water Authority will receive $350,000 to provide public water service to the Bexar Church area.

Christmas for Kids desperate for donors as Christmas approaches

HAMILTON - For the week-period ending Friday, Dec. 13, a total of $26,635 has been donated toward this year’s Christmas for Kids campaign. Sandy Sandlin, coordinator of the campaign, says this year’s goal is $40,000 to help purchase holiday gifts for more than 400 children—with just a week left until Christmas, the charity lacks $13,365. All of the money will go toward buying clothing and shoes for children.

Space camp scholarships available

WINFIELD - Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, has announced middle school students in House District 17 may apply for one of two scholarships to attend space camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
Officially known as Space Academy for Leading Students in Alabama (SALSA), the annual event will be held from May 24-29, 2020, with a graduation ceremony scheduled for the final day of the week-long event. However, the application deadline to earn a scholarship to attend is scheduled for Jan. 31, 2020.

Low income energy assistance signup dates announced

HAMILTON - The Marion-Winston Counties Community Action Agency (MWCAA) will begin making appointments for financial assistance for utility bills for low-income residents.
The assistance will be provided through the federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
For residents 60 and older or disabled, MWCAA will begin taking calls on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the Hamilton office.
Individuals may call the office at (205) 921-4224 Monday-Friday.


Marion Co., Winfield school board leaders advance in AASB Academy

MONTGOMERY – Local school board members from Marion County and Winfield school boards were among the honorees recognized at the Alabama Association of School Boards’ (AASB) annual awards luncheon on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Hyatt-Regency in Birmingham at The Wynfrey Hotel. The luncheon was held as part of AASB’s Annual Convention, which drew more than 500 school board members from across the state to Birmingham from Dec. 5-7. In all, 318 school board members statewide were recognized for advancing in the AASB School Board Member Academy, a school for school board members.

Estes wins AASB’s highest honor

BIRMINGHAM – State House Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, was recently presented with the Legislative Award, as chosen annually by officials with the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB). The first-term lawmaker was honored by the association at its annual convention on Friday, Dec. 6. The award is designed to recognize a member of the Alabama Legislature for outstanding leadership and advocacy on behalf of public education.

Hamilton woman killed in wreck

SULLIGENT - A Hamilton woman  died on Wednesday night, Dec. 11, after  her vehicle collided with an 18-wheeler.
Lorie Clark Hallman, 48, Hamilton, was killed after the Nissan Altima she was driving collided with a tractor trailer truck, according to Alabama State Trooper Cpl. Richard Itter of the Highway Patrol Division-Hamilton Post.
The crash occurred around 8:30 p.m. on State Highway 17, one mile north of Sulligent.
Hallman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Slatton presents Grand Jury jail report

Marion County District Attorney Scott Slatton is shown presenting the Grand Jury report concerning the Marion County Jail inspection during a regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 9, at the commission office in Hamilton

HAMILTON - Marion County district attorney Scott Slatton addressed the Marion County Commission concerning the Grand Jury visit to the Marion County Jail during a regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 9, at the commission office in Hamilton.
According to Slatton, the Grand Jury meets four times per year, and Alabama statute requires that the jury inspects the Marion County Jail annually.
Slatton stated that 16 citizens, representing all five Marion County Commission districts, visited the jail in order to report on the conditions of the facility.  

NWAGD announces Lamar County Gas acquisition

HAMILTON - Hamilton-based Northwest Alabama Gas District (NWAGD) announced the acquisition of the Vernon-based Lamar County Gas District during the company’s annual Christmas Party which was held at the barn at Coleman Farms in Brilliant on Friday, Dec. 6.
The transaction, which was approved unanimously by the NWAGD board of directors, will become effective on Jan. 1, 2020.
The acquisition will allow NWAGD to expand its natural gas service territory further into Lamar County as well as north Pickens County.

Cochran denied immunity based on self-defense

HAMILTON – A Hamilton man has been denied immunity for his involvement in the Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2018, shooting that resulted in the death of Lorenzo Garcia.
Christopher Andrew Cochran, 30, Hamilton, allegedly shot and killed Garcia, 48, last Christmas during a child custody exchange at the Hamilton Police Department.
A court order filed Dec. 10 and released by Marion County Circuit Clerk Denise Mixon shows that 25th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Daryl Burt denied an immunity motion filed by Cochran based on self-defense.


USDA awards freedom FIBER $29.5M loan-grant

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy (center) answers questions following a ceremony held on Thursday, Dec. 5, at Tombigbee Electric Cooperative in Hamilton, where he announced Tombigbee’s freedom FIBER was receiving a $29.5 million 50/50 loan-grant from the USDA. Also shown are (from left) Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Kenneth Boswell, LaVoy, Tombigbee Electric Cooperative President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Foshee and Farmer’s Telecommunications Cooperative CEO Fred Johnson of Rainsville.

HAMILTON - Local broadband provider freedom FIBER, a subsidiary of Tombigee Electric Cooperative, has been awarded a $29.5 million loan-grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand rural high-speed internet in northwest Alabama.
U.S. and state officials announced the 50% loan-grant during a ceremony held at Tombigbee’s warehouse in Hamilton on Thursday, Dec. 5. Hundreds of officials, stakeholders and students from Marion and surrounding counties attended the event to hear the announcement.

Historical grant presented to Hamilton- Sullins

HAMILTON - The Alabama Historical Commission has awarded the City of Hamilton a $7,250 grant for repairs to its 19th-Century historical home of Capt. A.J. Hamilton, the Hamilton-Sullins House, located downtown.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page announced the news to the Journal Record during a phone interview on Monday, Nov. 25, saying he is excited that the city has been awarded the monies as historical grants are competitive.
The city applied for the same grant last year and was turned down.

Beaty sentenced to 30 years for murder of Fayette man

HAMILTON - Candice Cheyanne Beaty, 29, Winfield, has been convicted of first-degree robbery and felony murder in connection with the death of William Jerome Henry in April 2016.
According to court documents released by Marion County Circuit Clerk Denise Mixon, Beaty pled guilty to the charges in 25th Judicial Circuit Court on Nov. 12 and was ordered by Circuit Judge Lee Carter to serve a 30-year sentence in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and to pay up to $750 in restitution.

‘An Aggie Christmas Bazaar’ slated for this weekend at BSCC

HAMILTON - “An Aggie Christmas Bazaar” will be presented by Hamilton Middle and High Schools and Bevill State Community College on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15, in the BSCC-Hamilton Campus Conference Center.
The Saturday, Dec. 14, performance will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.
The Sunday, Dec. 15, performance will start at 2 p.m., with doors opening at 1 p.m.
“An Aggie Christmas Bazaar” is a Christmas celebration featuring art, singing, dancing, holiday treats and photos with Santa Claus.

Charity nearly halfway to its goal of $40,000


HAMILTON - For the two-week-period ending Thursday, Dec. 5, $6,305 MORE has been donated toward this year’s Christmas for Kids campaign.
This brings the total 2019 campaign to $18,985.
Sandy Sandlin, coordinator of the campaign, says this year’s goal is $40,000 to help purchase holiday gifts for more than 400 children.
All of the money will go toward buying clothing and shoes for children.
Among those who have made the most recent donations are:
• $200 - U Need Us (Hamilton United Methodist Church Sunday School class);