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)

Alabama Power pulling payment service from Hackleburg

HACKLEBURG - Hackleburg residents will no longer have the ability to make payments to Alabama Power at the town hall after Wednesday, August 31.

Alabama Power, who recently made the decision to shut down its Hamilton location, has now made the decision to pull its payment service from the Hackleburg Town Hall building in downtown.
While the service is being removed from the building, individuals will still be able to make payments online and through other authorized stores.

 

Five arrested after hotel drug discovery

WINFIELD- Five people were arrested on numerous drug possession charges after a hotel maintenance man discovered two people asleep in a Hampton Inn hotel room on Monday, July 15.
Winfield Police Chief Brett Burleson said hotel management contacted police after two people were discovered asleep in a room they should not have been in.
“They had paid for one room and had told the front desk that the air conditioner wasn’t working,” Burleson said. “So the hotel gave them another room and they just kept both rooms and had them a little party in both rooms.”

City announces reception for art exhibit

HAMILTON - City officials have  announced an opening reception for the “Alabama Then & Now 1819-2019 Traveling Bicentennial Art Exhibition,” which will be stationed at Hamilton City Hall beginning Thursday, Aug. 1.
The opening reception will take place at city hall on Friday, Aug. 2, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., where artists from around the state will be demonstrating  “en plein air” (in plain air, or outdoor) painting  at the historic Ernest Baxter Fite House built in 1927-1928.

Council hires two police officers, approves promotions


Winfield Police Chief Brett Burleson asks the council to approve hires at the Tuesday, July 16, Winfield City Council meeting.

WINFIELD - At the recommendation of Winfield Police Chief Brett Burleson, the Winfield City Council voted to hire two new police officers at its Tuesday, July 16, meeting.
Burleson appeared before the council to request the hires, along with some promotions within the department.

Catfish, bass labeled hazardous

MARION COUNTY -  Individuals who have enjoyed fishing for Channel Catfish and Largemouth Bass in Bear Creek’s upper reservoir located in Marion County have been warned of chemical contamination by the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Channel Catfish has been deemed safe to eat as a meal only once every month, while Largemouth Bass has been deemed unsafe to consume entirely at this time.

Slatton hires Hulsey for investigator vacancy


25th Judicial District Attorney Scott Slatton (left) and Investigator Rusty Hulsey are seen here outside the Marion County Courthouse in Hamilton on Tuesday, July 23.

HAMILTON - 25th Judicial District Attorney Scott Slatton has announced that the chief investigator position left vacant since 2016 has now been filled.
Lt. Rusty Hulsey, formerly the chief investigator at the Winfield Police Department, has been hired to fill the position.
The position has been vacant since 2016 when Gov. Kay Ivey appointed the former 25th Judicial chief investigator Tommy Moore as sheriff of Winston County.
Slatton said having no chief investigator in his office has hindered his ability to investigate cases.

 

Region sees uptick in unemployment numbers

MONTGOMERY -Marion County’s unemployment rate ticked up six percentage points to 4% from May’s record low of 3.4% according to data released by the Alabama Department of Labor.
In May, only 440 people of an available labor force numbering 12,857 were looking for jobs as compared to June when 515 people in Marion County were looking for work. The labor force is the number of people aged 16 and over who are either working or looking for work.

Chronic Pain, part 2: The disease

HAMILTON - Newton’s third law of motion states that, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” According to Dr. Brent Boyett, the chief medical officer of Pathway Healthcare, the same rule applies to drugs. The disease of addiction Boyett describes addiction as a chronic disease that effects the pleasure/pain center of the brain. He said that pain and pleasure dictate everything we do. According to Boyett, the feelings of pain and pleasure are critical in survival.

Habitat for Humanity builds 20th house


Shemale Archie and her daughter, Ny’Kenzie Nalls, is pictured here outside their home that is under construction in Twin on Saturday, July 13.

TWIN - Some places become known for good things and some places become known for great things. Through the Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Alabama, Marion County is becoming known for kindness and hospitality.
This year, the local Habitat chapter is celebrating it’s 20th home-build and college students from across the nation have been trekking to Twin since February to experience the hospitality and to also make the dream of owning a home a reality for a Winfield family.

New DEA data reveals Marion Co. supplied 23M pain pills from ‘06-‘12

According to newly-released data from 2006-2012, Marion County recorded the second-highest opioid prescription rate in Alabama with an average of 108 pills prescribed per resident.
Marion County comes second only to neighboring Walker County, which saw an average of 140 pills prescribed per person.
From 2006-2012, Marion County was supplied 23.1 million prescription pain pills. Walker County was supplied 66.4 million.

Ivey awards grants to help young victims

MONTGOMERY -  Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded a $378,605 grant to assist a non-profit organization that helps children in Marion and Walker counties who are victims of abuse or who have witnessed violence.
The Walker County Children’s Advocacy Center will use the grant funds to continue providing forensic interviews, therapy and advocacy to victims of sexual or physical abuse and their families at no cost.
“Victims of these horrible crimes should have access to help specifically tailored to fit their needs,” said Ivey.

Funding Community Action Agency

HAMILTON - The Marion County Commission unanimously voted to fund the Marion-Winston Community Action Agency (MWCAA) with around $12,000 to pay for rent and mortgage assistance and to supplement its food program during a regular meeting on Monday, July 15, in Hamilton.
According to Jeff Fleming head of the MWCAA, this funding is known as the Phase 36 funding plan.
“I appreciate the commission for the support,” said Fleming.

Council votes to refinance bond issue

HAMILTON - The Hamilton City Council voted to begin plans to refinance the city’s 2014 bond issue payments at its Monday, July 1 meeting.
The new payment plan would be adjusted to take advantage lower interest rates compared to when the bond account was opened in 2014.
The 2014 bond issue, which totalled $11,320,547.82, was used for several projects; such as purchasing new fire trucks, building the Hamilton Splash Pad, and purchasing the current city hall building.

Hamilton Back-to-School cleanup set for Aug. 10

HAMILTON - Hamilton residents are organizing a back-to-school cleanup bash to help kick off classes going back in session.
Volunteers will meet at the Hamilton High School football field parking lot on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 7 a.m. to organize into groups and begin work.
Marion County Schools held their first day back in school on Wednesday, Aug. 7.
Event organizer Tyler Knight requested volunteers bring hedge trimmers, weed eaters, pressure washers, rakes and gloves.

 

Fuel costs 12 cents less than last year


Amanda Emerson of Hamilton fills up on Wednesday, July 17, at the Junior Food Mart-Shell in Hamilton, where prices were $2.39 per gallon—4 cents lower than the daily statewide average.

Despite tensions with Iran, Hurricane Barry and the summer travel season, gas prices in Alabama have remained low.
According to Clay Ingram, a spokesperson for the American Automobile Association (AAA) in Birmingham, low global demand for gas— combined with large amounts of domestic production—have insulated prices at the pump.
Ingram told the Journal Record at the time of the interview (Wednesday, July 17) gas prices in Alabama were averaging $2.43 statewide. This is 10 cents more than one month ago ($2.30), but 12 cents less than one year ago ($2.55).

Four accused of burning charity-funded home for insurance payout

WINFIELD - Two homeowners and two other suspects are accused of intentionally burning a Habitat for Humanity-funded home for an insurance payout.
The Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office announced on social media on Tuesday, July 9, that homeowners Jonathan Casey Morgan, 32, and Sydni Roshele Morgan, 32, both of Winfield, were arrested following indictments handed down by the Marion County Grand Jury on June 11 for the burning of the Morgan’s home in February 2018.

Real Chapel CME celebrates 100 years in Guin


Michael McCollum gives a history of the Real Chapel CME Church during a special service on Sunday, June 30.

GUIN - One-hundred years ago, a group of people began holding church services in a barn along Purgatory Creek south of Guin.
What they started continues to this day as the Real Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, a church that is now located just up the hill from that same spot.
“This church is full of history and I am proud to be a member of Real Chapel,” said chairman of stewards Michael McCollum during the church’s 100th anniversary celebration on Sunday, June 30.

BSCC gets largest performance-based increase

MONTGOMERY - Bevill State Community College’s (BSCC) will receive the largest performance-based funding increase among the state’s 23 community colleges.
The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Board of Trustees approved a $320.6-million operation and maintenance budget at its board meeting on Wednesday, July 10, in Montgomery—a $19.3 million boost from the previous year.

322 enrolled in summer courses

HAMILTON - There were 322 students enrolled at Bevill State Community College (BSCC)-Hamilton Campus during the summer months.
According to a report published  by BSCC on Monday, July 1, on its website, there were 2,471 enrolled  in BSCC systemwide during the 2019 Summer Semester, producing 17,119 credit hours for the college.
This includes 467 dual enrollment  (high school) students who registered.
BSCC enrollment counts students online and on its campuses in Hamilton, Fayette, Jasper, Carrollton and Sumiton.

 

Mitchell’s charges dismissed

HAMILTON - Rape and sodomy charges have been dismissed for a Hamilton man.
On Thursday, June 3, 25th Judicial Circuit Judge Lee Carter dismissed charges  against 21-year-old Denzel Mitchell, who had been accused of rape and sodomy.
 Those charges were dismissed following a hand- written letter filed in court in March by the alleged victim, who wrote on a piece of notebook paper, “I do not want to pursue the case.”
The girl who pressed charges against Mitchell will remain unnamed as she was under the age of 18 when the incident occurred.

Fred’s to close Guin location, 11 other stores in Alabama

GUIN - The discount merchandise store Fred’s announced that it will be closing the Guin store along with 129 other stores across the nation, including 11 other stores across Alabama.
Liquidation sales have already begun at the stores to be closed.
"While it is never easy to make decisions that impact our valued employees and customers, this initiative represents another necessary step in our continued efforts to stabilize our business by simplifying our store portfolio and product assortment," Fred's Chief Executive Officer Joseph Anto said in a statement.

Sales tax holiday set for end of July

MARION COUNTY - Alabama’s annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday is coming up on Friday through Sunday, July 19 through the 21.
Shoppers will be able to purchase clothing, school supplies, books and computers without having to pay state and local sales tax on items under a certain cost.
Items exempt from sales tax include:
•    Clothing items that cost no more than $100 each (this excludes items like sports gear and jewelry)

 

$500 fine, potential jail time for illegal dumping

IMAGE TAG HERE

HACKLEBURG -  The Hackleburg Town Council approved and signed a local ordinance that will allow the town to punish those who illegally dump into the Hackleburg sewage system during a regular meeting on Monday, July 8, in Hackleburg.
During a regular meeting in May, Tyler McKeller with the sewer treatment plant told the council that there was suspected illegal tapping and dumping into the sewage system in the town.

Funds a major concern for new county jail

HAMILTON -  Marion County Commissioners Kenneth Cochran, Tim Estes and Bobby Burleson, along with 25th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Daryl Burt met with Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams and PH&J Principal Architects Patrick T. Addison and Renis Jones to discuss the ongoing Marion County Jail project on Thursday, June 27, at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Jones began the meeting by expressing his belief that Marion County is in great need of a new jail building, as the current jail does not meet the needs of the county.