Councilman wants to boot food trucks

Hamilton - Councilman Gene Sanderson doesn’t believe food vendors operating out of vehicles and trailers is fair trade in Hamilton.
The topic was introduced to the Hamilton City Council during its work session on Wednesday, May 29. Sanderson wants the council to consider drafting an ordinance that would seek to bar these type of vendors from setting up.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page began the discussion, explaining that the council needs to decide if there is a need to address mobile food vendors operating within the city.

Guard removes dated structure


A large backhoe sits on a cleared foundation on the Alabama National Guard base in Hamilton, where a large storage facility once stood. There are no plans to replace the structure.

HAMILTON - A bridge building constructed during the World War II-era was torn down in April. 
Despite rumors, there are no plans to bring an armory back to the Alabama National Guard base in Hamilton.
Lt. Col. Lee Desmond, who is based out of the Alabama Army National Guard Headquarters in Montgomery, told the Journal Record that a large building on the Hamilton base was subject to routine demolition.
Desmond said that the building was originally constructed in 1941 and was 79 years old.

 

Last First Fridays event set for June 7


The Yellow Hammers performed during the Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce’s First Fridays event held on Friday, May 3, in downtown Hamilton. Shown performing are (from left) Conner Nix, Colby Nix and Cody Bass.

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Area of Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its final “First Fridays” downtown shopping event on Friday, June 7.
The event will take place from 6-9 p.m. with local and satellite vendors setting up booths lining the city square and downtown businesses extending their usual hours to host shoppers.
Local musician Chris Williams will be providing entertainment, sponsored by the Alabama Power Foundation and Bevill State Community College.

USDA reopens continuous crp signup

WASHINGTON, D.C. - USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began accepting applications on June 3 for certain practices under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) continuous signup and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. 
The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, one of the country’s largest conservation programs.

Local residents initiated into Phi Kappa Phi

BATON ROUGE, La. - The following local residents were recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society:
Anna Kimbrough,  Hamilton, was initiated at University of North Alabama (UNA) in Florence; and 
Loreanna McKinney and Taylor Goodwin, both of Winfield, were initiated at UNA.

Magistrate’s office will move to city hall

HAMILTON - The City of Hamilton’s municipal court magistrate’s office will be relocated inside Hamilton City Hall.
The Hamilton City Council voted unanimously to relocate the office during its meeting on Monday, May 20. It also voted to relocate the West Alabama Cable office to the Hamilton Police Department.
Hamilton Mayor Bob Page said that office space used by the cable company inside city hall will now be used for the magistrate’s office.

Legislators face backlash, threats after vote for abortion ban

Montgomery - Marion County’s local legislators say they have faced backlash for their decision to vote to ban nearly all abortion in the state
The Alabama State Senate voted 25-6 on Tuesday, May 15, in favor of a near-complete ban on abortions after the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved it in April, 74-3.
All three of Marion County’s legislators—Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman and Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia—voted in favor of the ban.

Dersham releases new Alabama photography book


John Dersham (left) is shown here with Blue (center) and Jerry Brown, during a photo shoot on Nov. 15, 2014, in Marion County.

HAMILTON -  Renowned Alabama photographer and Alabama promotor John Dersham, who helped start the Image Masters photo club in Marion County, has published a new book of Alabama photography. The book, “My Alabama -- John Dersham Photographs a State,” consists of 218 color photographs that capture the diversity of Alabama’s natural landscapes.

The sounds of other worlds

Mellini
Louis Mellini

A few days ago marked the 1,000th time I’ve seen one of my favorite films, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. 
While that number is an obvious hyperbole, it feels like I’ve seen it that many times and every time I sit and watch it, I love a new aspect of it.

Hackleburg principal set to retire


Hackleburg High School Principal John Hardin is shown in front of Hackleburg High School. Hardin is set to retire after 38 years in education as a teacher, coach and high school principal.

HACKLEBURG-  Hackleburg High School Principal John Hardin will be retiring at the end of the school year after 38 years in education.
“I honestly had no intention of ever being a principal, but as time went on, I got my administration degree,” said Hardin.
“I did apply and was fortunate enough to get hired.”
In 2011, one year after he was appointed as principal of Hackleburg High, Hardin was faced with the challenge of keeping students and staff members organized and united after the 2011 Hackleburg tornado.

 

McCarley transferred as Hackleburg High principal

HAMILTON - There will be a number of principal changes in the Marion County School System as the summer months begin.
The Marion County Board of Education unanimously approved the transfer and resignation of two of its current principals during its meeting on Thursday, May 13. It also took appropriate action to begin searching for a new principal for one of its schools.

Lindh’s early release angers world, state, local leaders


This image made from television footage made in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, Saturday Dec.1, 2001, shows John Walker Lindh at right, claiming to be an American Taliban volunteer calling himself Abdul Hamid. Lindh was among survivors of the fortress prison revolt driven from tunnels there flooded by the northern alliance. Man at left is unidentified. (AP Photo/APTN)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  Much to the dismay of world, state and local leaders, John Walker Lindh, dubbed the American Taliban, was granted an early release from federal prison on Thursday, May 23, after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the release on Fox News Thursday, calling it "unexplainable and unconscionable.”

Love’s will be granted $2M tax incentive

HAMILTON - An anticipated Love’s Country Store and Truck Stop  will receive a tax incentive worth $2 million.
The Hamilton City Council unanimously passed a development agreement with Love’s during its meeting on Monday, May 20.
Through the agreement, the city commits to rebate Love’s for taxes collected on diesel sales, which is taxed at 2 cents per gallon.
Love’s will be reimbursed on diesel tax for up to $2 million or for no more than 20 years, which ever comes first.

 

Lewis remembers those who made the supreme sacrifice


Hytower Lewis is shown here with a wedding photo of himself and his late wife, Dorothy. He is shown at his Country Place Senior Living apartment on Friday, May 10.

 HAMILTON -  For this year’s Memorial Day edition of the Journal Record, I sat down with 20-year Army veteran Hytower Lewis. Lewis, 87, was kind enough to share some of his memories of his time in the United States Army. Lewis served in the Army from 1949 to 1970 and fought in the Korean War and the war in Vietnam.
 
“I have some good memories and some not so good memories,” Lewis said of his time in the service.

Lewis remembers those who made the supreme sacrifice


Hytower Lewis is shown here with a wedding photo of himself and his late wife, Dorothy. He is shown at his Country Place Senior Living apartment on Friday, May 10.

 HAMILTON -  For this year’s Memorial Day edition of the Journal Record, I sat down with 20-year Army veteran Hytower Lewis. Lewis, 87, was kind enough to share some of his memories of his time in the United States Army. Lewis served in the Army from 1949 to 1970 and fought in the Korean War and the war in Vietnam.
 
“I have some good memories and some not so good memories,” Lewis said of his time in the service.

Gudger, Stutts vote to ban abortion


Gov. Kay Ivey signs House Bill 314, the Human Life Protection Act, in her office on Wednesday, May 16.

MONTGOMERY - The Alabama State Senate voted 25-6 in favor of a near-complete ban on abortions.
The Senate approved the measurelate Tuesday night, May 15 and Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law the next day, Wednesday, May 16.
The ban bill only allows exceptions to avoid serious health risk to an unborn child’s mother, ectopic pregnancy and if the unborn child has a lethal anomaly.
Both of Marion County’s senators—-District 4 Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, and District 6 Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia—voted in favor of the legislation.

 

Senators split vote on medical marijuana

MONTGOMERY - A bill allowing medical marijuana has been passed by the Alabama Senate.
The bill passed quickly on Thursday morning, May 9, less than 24 hours after District 6 Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, successfully delayed a vote by debating bill sponsor Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, until time expired on Wednesday night, May 8.
Stutts said that he and Melson went back and forth for about two hours before the session was dismissed for the day.
When a vote was called immediately the next morning, Stutts said no one had time to do anything.

 

Chamber hosting 16th Annual Shrimp Boil

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 16th Annual Shrimp Boil on Tuesday, June 11, from 5-7 p.m. at the Hamilton Fire Department. 
Local musical group Crossing Dixie will be providing entertainment.
“We encourage everyone to come out for a fun-filled evening with friends listening to some entertainment,” said chamber president Lacy Williams.
Pre-sale tickets are $10.00 each and on the day of the event, tickets are $12 each. To-go plates will be available.

Illegal tap suspected in Hackleburg sewage issue


Tyler Mckeller is shown speaking to the Hackleburg Town Council concerning septic waste that has been found throughout the year at the Hackleburg Wastewater Treatment plant during a regular session council meeting at Hackleburg Town Hall on Monday, May 13.

HACKLEBURG -  Tyler McKeller with the sewer treatment plant addressed the Hackleburg Town Council about issues that he has seen at the wastewater treatment plant during a regular session meeting on Monday, May 13, at Hackleburg Town Hall.
“Over the past year, we’ve noticed what appears to be septic waste coming into (Hackleburg’s) system,” said McKeller.
According to McKeller, Hackleburg sewage operates on a closed system, leaving no opportunity for individuals to access and dump into sewers through manholes.

Hamilton High’s Wilson wins Rising Star Scholarship


Hamilton High School senior Mariah Wilson is shown with the WBRC FOX6 News Rising Star Scholarship. Wilson is the first-ever Hamilton High student chosen to receive the scholarship. Using the scholarship, she will be attending the University of Alabama to study social work.

HAMILTON -  Hamilton High School senior Mariah Wilson received the WBRC FOX6 News Rising Star Scholarship worth $5,000 on Thursday, May 2, at the University of Alabama Alumni house in Birmingham.
Wilson is the first-ever Hamilton High student to receive this scholarship from the organization.

Several schools in the state each get one nomination for a student to be chosen for the scholarship program and students are nominated by their guidance counselors.

Brilliant’s CoalFest to commence this weekend

BRILLIANT -  Brilliant will be holding it annual CoalFest on Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25.
The festival will feature arts and crafts, clogging, kids rides, a coal exhibit, horseshoe, games, food and music.
Artists such as Kozmic Mama, Dixie Mafia, Mitch Mann, Tim Cannon, Austin Lewis, Cypress Creek, Crow Bridge and Tosha Hill and Loose Foot and the Magic Makers will be performing at the event.
The festival will also feature the 10th Annual CoalFest Motorcycle Show and Ride on Saturday, May 25.

 

Barnett optimistic about growing hemp


Joey Barnett (right) is shown here with his son, Trace Barnett, a Food Network contributor. The Barnett’s are going to farm hemp in Marion County.

WHITEHOUSE COMMUNITY - Marion County farmer Joey Barnett knows he won’t make a million dollars, but he is optimistic about his hemp growing prospects.
“I am excited about it. I’m not really looking to make a lot of money the first two or three years because I know that’s not going to happen,” Barnett said.
Barnett was one of 152 applicants accepted into a pilot program to grow or produce industrial hemp in Alabama.

Measles a concern for Marion County

HAMILTON - The Tennessee Department of Health reported to the Alabama Department of Public Health that an individual with a confirmed case of the measles traveled through Alabama on April 11, making two stops during the infectious period.
Measles is a serious viral respiratory illness that lives in the nose and throat of those infected. 
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, a single case of the measles will infect up to 95% of unvaccinated people who are exposed.

Shiloh residents flood hearing to stay dry


House District 17 Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, said during a public hearing on Monday, May 6, that he could not support special legislation that would annex Harper’s Junction convenience store into the City of Hamilton. Business owner Vikash Rohella was seeking annexation in order to sell alcohol.

HAMILTON - A proposal is off the table for possible legislative action to annex the Harper’s Junction convenience store property into the Hamilton City Limits.
More than 40 residents of the Shiloh Community gathered to oppose the proposal during a public hearing held at Hamilton City Hall on Monday, May 6, by the Hamilton City Council and House District Rep. Tracy Estes.
Harper’s Junction is located near the intersection of State Highway 187 and U.S. Highway 43, a little more than a mile north of Hamilton’s incorporated limits.

 

Playground campaign needs help


Shown is a graphic rendering of the anticipated Hamilton Elementary School (HES) playground. School booster club officials are seeking $40,000 over the next couple of weeks to assure that the new playground is complete by the beginning of the next school year.

HAMILTON - Needed to meet its fundraising goal by the end of May Hamilton Elementary School (HES) has only a matter of weeks to reach its goal in order to obtain new playground equipment and finish its construction by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
“We need our community’s help!” stressed Paula Wood, president of the HES Booster Club. “We have raised almost $60,000 of our $100,000 goal.”
The funds raised for HES will fund the purchase of new playground equipment that will replace the broken, unusable equipment now on the playground.

 

District accreditation results to be posted in June

HAMILTON - The Marion County School System took its “first journey” through district accreditation  during the month of April.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann west said that several  outside examiners inspected Marion County Schools for an entire week.
The results of their review will be reported in June. It will mark the first time in system history for Marion County Schools to receive a review.

Estes ‘no’ on fantasy sport legislation

Montgomery - A fantasy sports bill has cleared the Alabama House of Representatives.
If passed by the Senate and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, the bill would make it legal for online fantasy sports leagues, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, to be available for Alabama residents.
 The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette, passed the House 74-22 and now heads to the state Senate. Marion County’s representative, Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, voted “no” on the issue in what he called a “final-hour” decision due to moral objections.

Lawmakers need our feedback, prayers

In the upcoming days, our elected officials will be tackling various issues—many of them significant, such as a lottery, abortion, ethics laws, prison reform and our state budgets.
Our elected officials need insight to how their constituents stand on the issues that are before them. We believe we should be involved in telling them what we believe, what we value and what is in the best interest for our state and the counties and municipalities we live in.

The End of Infinity

Mellini
Mellini

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame was released on Thursday, April 25, and I, like millions of others across the world, was very excited to see the conclusion and culmination of over 11 years (22 films) of Marvel Studios’ now titled “Infinity Saga.”

Mechanic struck, killed in hit-and-run


Traffic can be seen backed up on Tuesday morning, April 30, as Alabama State Troopers closed both eastbound lanes on Interstate 22 near Twin for several hours while providing support in a hit-and-run incident, which left a mechanic dead.

TWIN - A mechanic was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Tuesday, April 30, while repairing a disabled vehicle on the shoulder of Interstate 22 in Marion County.
According to Alabama State Trooper-Hamilton Post Cpl. Mark Stone, at approximately 5 a.m., repairman Morris H. Welch Jr., 56, Empire, was killed when a 2019 Freightliner struck him while he was working on a vehicle near I-22’s mile marker 25.
Welch was an employee of M&M Tire and Mechanical Services in Graysville.

 

Winfield pharmacist charged in $200 million health care fraud scheme

 BIRMINGHAM - A Winfield pharmacist was one of 10 people charged in a far-reaching, $200 million prescription drug fraud scheme, United States Attorney Jay E. Town announced on Monday, May 6, in Birmingham.
James A. Mays, III, 43, Winfield, was charged on 20 counts including identity theft, spending the proceeds of healthcare fraud and mail fraud.
A total of 103 indictments were handed down to the 10 employees of a Haleyville-based pharmacy, Northside Pharmacy doing business as Global Compounding Pharmacy.

 

Candlelight Vigil for fallen officers set for May 13

HAMILTON -  The annual candlelight vigil for fallen officers in Marion County will be held on Monday, May 13, at the Marion County Courthouse in Hamilton.
This will also include the monument dedication for fallen officers in Marion County dedicated by Randy Jackson.
It will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a prayer from Dr. Kenny Hatcher, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Guin, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance by Hamilton Cub Scout Pack 56.

Guin set for two days of food music and fun

 GUIN - Guin is set for two days of food, fun and music as the city’s annual MayFest takes place this weekend.
This year’s festival includes a dogshow, a carshow, a lawn tractor pull, live music, food and arts and crafts vendors.
The music begins on Friday, May 10, at 6 p.m. as the Belles of Franklin, a glamorous female vocal trio based in Franklin, Tenn., takes the stage. After that, an Alabama duo known as The Springs will bring their brand of contemporary pop country to the MayFest stage via Nashville.

Legg, Langford discuss jail plans with commission


Jim Langford (right) is shown speaking to the Marion County Commission during a regular session meeting on April 8 in Hamilton.

HAMILTON -  The Marion County Commission met with Andy Legg and Jim Langford of Collierville, Tenn.-based Southbuild Team during a regular session on Monday, April 8, in Hamilton.
The county commission has been in talks with multiple architects  concerning planning for the new county jail and  Southbuild Team presented the council with yet another option.

Stutts ‘no,’ Gudger ‘yes’ on Albritton’s lottery bill

MONTGOMERY -  Alabamians are one step closer to voting on a lottery.
Atmore Sen. Greg Albritton’s paper-only lottery bill passed the Alabama Senate 21-12 on Thursday, April 19, which was the minimum support needed.
Marion County’s two senators were split on the issue. District 4 Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, voted “yes,” while District 6 Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, voted “no.”
The current lottery bill is expected to generate about $167 million annually, according to the Legislative Services Agency.

 

Council votes to allow draft beer bill

WINFIELD - The Winfield City Council passed a resolution during a special-called meeting on Monday, April 29, to allow local legislators to introduce a draft beer bill into the 2019 regular session of the Alabama legislature. If passed, the bill will allow the council to decide whether or not to allow the sale of draft beer within the city limits of Winfield. The council held the meeting to vote on the measure after the Winfield Alcohol board recommended that the council look into draft beer sales.

House overwhelming passes abortion ban 74-3

Montgomery - A strict abortion bill expected to challenge the 1973 Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision has passed the Alabama House of Representatives.
The Alabama House voted 74-3 on Tuesday, April 30, in favor of the bill which would make it a felony for doctors to perform or attempt an abortion unless a mother’s health was at serious stake.
The bill provides no exceptions for pregnancies due to rape or incest.

 

Board accepts Hardin’s resignation

HAMILTON - Hackleburg High School Principal John Hardin’s request to retire has been formally accepted.
The Marion County Board of Education voted unanimously to accept Hardin’s resignation during in its monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 24. Board member Beverly Burleson was unable to attend the meeting.
The Hackleburg principal’s retirement will be effective July 1. The board also agreed during the same meeting to post the position for principal.

 

UNA, NMHS forge partnership for employee scholarships

Florence - North Mississippi Medical Health Services (NMHS) and the University of North Alabama (UNA) will be linking arms in an initiative aimed to maintaining a high-quality workforce.
The partnership between NMHS and UNA announced in March will expand opportunities for career advancement and development for over 7,000 employees, according to UNA Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Ross Alexander.
NMHS employees with associate degrees will be eligible for a 20% off tuition and fees at UNA.

 

Sales tax reaches record for the month of March

HAMILTON - Sales tax for education reached a new high for the month of March.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West told the Marion County Board of Education during its meeting on Tuesday, April 23, that the county collected $132,997 in March, the highest amount collected during that month on record.
The March 2019 collections exceeded last year’s numbers by $5,285.51. The lowest collection on record for the month occurred in 2014, when only $103,415 was generated.

 

WIC participants issued first eWIC cards

HAMILTON -  State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has announced the beginning of Alabama’s eWIC pilot project which is being launched in two phases.
WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infants and children funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services.
The goal of the WIC Program is to improve the health and nutritional status of women, infants and children during the critical times of growth and development.

Two life-flighted after vehicle rolled

HAMILTON - Two patients were life-flighted out of Hamilton after being ejected from a vehicle as it was crashing.
Hamilton Fire Chief Tim Rye told the Journal Record that on Wednesday night, May 1, around 7 p.m., two men and a minor were injured when the driver of a 1989 Ford F-150 lost control of his vehicle and rolled over  at the intersection of Military Trail and Archer Street.
According to Hamilton Police Lt. Jimmy Pendley, the driver, a 43-year-old male, was life-flighted to University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Hospital.