Festival schedule being shaken up by shutdown

HACKLEBURG - Spring is normally one of the most exhausting and demanding times for Hackleburg Town Clerk Carla Rector. But not this year.
Planning for the annual Neighbor Day Festival normally consumes the first two to three months of Rector’s year, as she books musicians and vendors and coordinates with town officials and community leaders to host the most successful Neighbor Day festival possible.

Halcomb spreading hope after coronavirus recovery

Jeff Halcomb (front, left) is pictured with his family (front, from left) granddaughter - Harper Taylor, wife Lisa Halcomb, (back row, from left) Chad, Erica and Elijah Herring; Jessie, Kody and Dawson Ortiz; Shelby and Jordan Humphres; and Trent and Amanda Taylor

Hamilton - A Marion County man has recovered after being hospitalized for COVID-19.
Jeff Halcomb, 55, is now at home after spending six days in the hospital being treated for coronavirus.
Halcomb lives in Hamilton with his wife, Lisa, a nursing instructor at Bevill State Community College’s Hamilton Campus.
The couple has four daughters--two who live in Hamilton, one in Phil Campbell and another in Russellville. They welcomed their fourth grandchild on Wednesday, April 15, the same day Halcomb was able to return home.


Nursing home cases of COVID-19 rising

Coronavirus cases and deaths are surfacing inside of some Marion County long-term care facilities.
As of presstime on Monday, April 20, there are 61 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Marion County with five reported deaths.
The county currently has one of the highest mortality rates in the state, with a rate of 16.8 deaths per 100,000 people. It also has one of the highest cases per capita, with 205 cases per 100,000 people.

Storm shelters still operational

HAMILTON -  Marion County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Eric Terrell stated that all community storm shelters are still fully operational during the COVID-19 curfew set by Marion County Probate Judge Paige Vick on March 30.
After the storms that took place on the weekend of April 10, Terrell informed the Journal Record that storm shelters were fully operational and contained hand sanitizer and masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


County unemployment claims spike

MONTGOMERY - There were 271 Marion County residents who filed unemployment claims during the week ending April 11.
According to the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL), in just four weeks, at least 1,099 residents have lost their jobs as the coronavirus continues to affect the economy.
There were 77,515 claims filed statewide during the latest reporting period, bringing the total number of claims made since the state was placed under a state of emergency to 276,130. Nationwide, over 22 million workers have filed for unemployment during the four-week window.

Bevill offering online tutoring

HAMILTON - In an effort to provide students with continued education tutoring services this semester, online tutoring resources have become available to students attending all Bevill State Community College (BSCC) campuses.
According to BSCC President Dr. Kim Ennis, these tutors can communicate with students, review coursework, and provide assistance through the available resources on the online tutoring platform Canvas.

February Sales tax up $9,800

Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West presents education sales tax numbers during a meeting on Wednesday, March 18

Hamilton - Marion County’s one-cent education sales tax generated a record $144,815.89 for the month of February.
The collections were reported during the Marion County Board of Education’s meeting on Wednesday, March 18. The sales tax outpaced last February’s collections ($135,026.63) by $9,789.26.
The one-cent sales tax report reflects the total amount of sales countywide, meaning that $14,481,589 was generated in gross sales in Marion County last month. However, the education sales tax does not account for online sales made locally.


Chase ends in two-car wreck

HAMILTON -  A high-speed police chase led to a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 22 on Monday, April 13, that sent three individuals to the hospital.  
The crash occurred when a 2010 Dodge Challenger, driven by Aaron Hayes of Sebastian, Ark., was attempting to elude an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) State Trooper.  
The Challenger collided with a 2009 Chevrolet pickup, driven by Frank Owens of Pine Bluff, Ark.

Gun, ammo sales increasing amidst coronavirus scare

Jim Willingham, owner of Bluegrass and Bullets in Hamilton, is shown displaying a SIG SAUER P365 pistol, which is one of his most popular products.

HAMILTON - Gun and ammo sales have increased over the past month--so has picking and plucking, says Jim Willingham, owner of Bluegrass and Bullets in Hamilton.
Gun stores across the state are remaining open during the COVID-19 lockdown as they are among the few businesses classified as “essential.”
Willingham says the firearm business has picked up as more and more residents are concerned about the impacts of COVID-19.

Nursing home employee dies of COVID-19

HAMILTON - Marion County has lost its first healthcare worker after she tested positive for coronavirus.
According to family-issued statements, Rose Harrison, 60, Guin, died peacefully Monday night, April 6, at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Miss. She was an employee at the Marion Regional Nursing Home and had worked in healthcare for around 30 years.
It appears that Harrison is the first nursing home worker in the state to die due to the virus.
Harrison is survived by her husband, Jimmy Harrison, three daughters and 10 grandchildren.

‘It’s been a struggle’

HAMILTON -  “Right now, we’re not taking hardly anyone in the jail,” said Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams when speaking about the effects of COVID-19 on the Marion County Jail and Sheriff’s Department.
“There’s been arrests that have been made, but if we can, we bond them out. I hate to do it, but we have to do what’s best to protect the people in the jail.”
Williams stated that, although they were trying to keep jail numbers low, they will still arrest and put violent offenders and those with more severe charges in jail.

Marion County has third-highest death rate in state

Marion County currently has the third-highest coronavirus mortality rate in the State of Alabama while neighboring counties have yet to report a single death.
According to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), out of 67 Alabama counties, Marion County currently has three reported deaths, resulting in a death rate of 10.1 per 100,000 people. According to 2019 Census data, the county has a population of 29,709.
According to the ADPH, the county is currently reporting 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been 159 local tests administered.

Marion County graded F for social distancing

One data company has given Marion County residents an F for social distancing.
Unacast, a New York-based data company, has published a dashboard using mobile data to gauge local, statewide and national foot traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company also provides grades for each based upon how traffic has changed since the coronavirus was introduced to the United States in February.

Healthcare Worker Appreciation special will publish April 22

HAMILTON - The Journal Record will be publishing a special Healthcare Worker Appreciation section in next week’s paper.
“Join us in recognizing the efforts and accomplishments of our outstanding area healthcare professionals in our community by purchasing an ad with a note of thanks to all medical professionals or a special note to an individual healthcare worker who has made a difference in your life or the life of someone you know,” said Journal Record General Manager Jesse Lamar.

Former Disney actress films in Winfield

Tom O’Mary (left), Michaela Carrozzo (right) and her mother and set designer Jill Carrozzo (center) are pictured on set as they wrap up an episode of The American Heritage Hour.

WINFIELD - Former Disney and Nickelodeon actress and writer/director Michaela Carrozzo has wrapped filming in Winfield with her mother Jill Carrozzo, on a new television project at The American Heritage Hour television production studio located in Winfield.
Carrozzo, 25, is a California native who came to Marion County to work with Winfield-based artist and director/producer Tom O’Mary, who recently opened his art gallery and television production studio in downtown Winfield.