USDA announces buy-up coverage availability, new service fees for noninsured crop coverage policies

WASHINGTON - USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) last week announced that higher levels of coverage will be offered through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), a popular safety net program, beginning April 8. The 2018 Farm Bill also increased service fees and made other changes to the program, including service fee waivers for qualified military veterans interested in obtaining NAP coverage. “When other insurance coverage is not an option, NAP is a valuable risk mitigation tool for farmers and ranchers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce.

Two church arsons suspected near Guin


The New Hope Freewill Baptist Church in Beaverton is shown here on Thursday, April 25 after state and local authorties began an investigation into an attempted arson at the church.

GUIN - Two attempted arsons took place at churches near Guin last week, according to information released by Guin Police Chief Doug Webb.
Webb confirmed on Thursday, April 25, that attempted arsons had taken place at the two churches, but investigators have not determined exactly when they took place.
The Real Chapel CME Church south of Guin suffered what Webb called “minimal” fire damage. “There are scorch marks on the door. Nothing burned down,” Webb said.

 

Fire Truck No. 1 rolls again


The Hamilton Fire Department’s very first fire truck will return to city parades now that it has received replacement parts. Shown in front of Fire Truck No. 1 are (from left) Hamilton Councilman Wade Sullins, local machinist Brad Johnson and Hamilton Street Department mechanic David “Gus” Morrow. The three collaborated together to bring the truck back to working order.

HAMILTON - Thanks to local teamwork, the City of Hamilton’s beloved Fire Truck No. 1 is operational again.
The 1946 Ford half-ton fire truck was the very first ever owned by the Hamilton Fire Department, according to Hamilton Councilman Wade Sullins. He says the city purchased it brand-new in approximately 1947.
“This is the only truck that Hamilton had to put out fires up to 1964 or 1965, when they bought a new one,” Sullins said, adding that the truck was eventually phased out of use.

CDL program revived on Hamilton Campus

HAMILTON -  The Marion County Commission unanimously approved the use of the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training lot at the Marion County Rankin-Fite Airport by Bevill State Community College during a regular session on Monday, April 14, in Hamilton.
BSCC President Kim Ennis was present during the meeting and expressed her excitement in starting the program later this month.
“We are excited about this new program opportunity on the Hamilton Campus,” said Ennis.

 

First Fridays series returning May 3


RTR Pro Entertainment provided music and entertainment during the Hamilton Area Chamber of Commerce’s previous First Fridays event, held on Friday, April 5. Pictured are (left) owner Daniel Barnett and DJ Isaac Walz.

HAMILTON - The Hamilton Area of Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second “First Friday” downtown shopping event on Friday, May 3.
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.
New to the event this month includes a movie showing. The Incredibles 2 will be played in downtown Hamilton beginning at 7:30 p.m.

 

Officials estimate 2020 count will add 1,200 more residents

Regional officials helping to prepare for the upcoming Census say that implications point to Marion County recording a higher population.
Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG) Transportation Director Ryan Hayse is a part of his organization’s team working in collaboration with Census officials to produce the highest possible count in the northwest Alabama area.
Hayse said that NACOLG has been helping the Census Bureau locate previously unrecorded addresses by cross-referencing local address data to the U.S. Postal Service’s records.

 

Hackleburg church changing Franklin Co. Jail


(From left) Kenny Hallmark, outreach leader Daniel Green, Chantry Hagood, Community Church Pastor Josh Lynn and Jonathan Bray are shown gathered after baptizing inmates at Franklin County Jail in Russeville on April 11. Community Church in Hackleburg has been performing baptisms through the Hands and Feet outreach ministry led by Daniel Green.

HACKLEBURG - Community Church in Hackleburg baptized over 35 inmates at the Franklin County Jail on April 11.
For a little over a year, the church’s Hands and Feet outreach ministry has been holding men’s ministry nights at the jail with outreach leader Daniel Green.
Retired Hackleburg Police Chief Kenny Hallmark, who has worked with the ministry during the baptisms, expressed that he has seen a genuine change in the inmates’ lives as a result of the Thursday night meetings and baptisms.

 

Trump signs disaster declaration for Marion Co.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Donald Trump has declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Alabama and has ordered federal assistance to northern Alabama counties, including Marion County.
Trump signed the declaration on Wednesday, April 17, which will result in state and local recovery efforts to receive federal supplements to aid areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding from Feb. 19-March 20.

Winfield business owner concerned about road’s safety


Abby Nicole’s owner Brandon Webster is shown on Friday, April 19, pointing to a stop sign that he estimates is 15 or 20 feet off Woodvale Road. Webster says the sign’s placement creates confusion for drivers trying to determine where exactly to stop.

WINFIELD - The second car wreck in 24 days at a disputed Winfield road has a business owner concerned that the worst may happen before Winfield officials close the road.
“It’s just a matter of time before somebody gets killed,” Brandon Webster, the owner of Abby Nicole’s retail store in Winfield, said. “It’s not if--it’s when. It’s so dangerous,” Webster said, referring to Woodvale Road that runs parallel to his store.

Gudger named to committee overseeing gas tax funds

Montgomery - Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, has been selected to serve on a key infrastructure committee that oversees select funds established through the recent Rebuild Alabama 10-cent gas tax increase legislation.
Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth announced on Wednesday, April 17, that Gudger had selected Gudger to sit on the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP-II) Committee, the team tasked with overseeing local road and bridge projects funded by the ATRIP-II fund.

Cook sees positive scores in testing so far


Winfield Superintendent of Education Chris Cook discusses education-related bills currently being legislated in Montgomery during the board’s Thursday, April 11, meeting.

WINFIELD - Winfield City Schools Superintendent of Education Chris Cook reported that the Alabama Scantron Performance Assessment tests have begun at Winfield Middle School.
“We’ve had very positive results so far. I’m very encouraged with the results that we’re seeing,” Cook said during the Winfield City Board of Education meeting on Thursday, April 11.

$1.9 million in grants received to weatherize homes

HAMILTON -  Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded grants totaling $1.9 million to assist low-income and elderly Alabama residents with weatherizing their homes to lower energy costs.
The grants have been awarded to 14 community agencies across the state that manage the program at the local level and receive applications from those individuals that wish to be considered for assistance.
This includes $142,562 to the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama Inc. (Marion, Cullman, Lawrence, Morgan, Walker and Winston counties).  

 

Jackson retires with 28 years in the Guin Housing Authority


David Jackson (standing at left) and his brother, Bravel Jackson (standing at right), are pictured with their parents, Estes and Ercelle Jackson, at David Jackson’s retirement party at the Guin Housing Authority on Friday, April 5, in Guin.

GUIN-  After 28 years as director of the Guin Housing Authority, David Jackson is retiring.
Jackson looked back on a long and successful career during a retirement party at the Guin Housing Authority (GHA) Community Center in Guin on April 5. There, long-time friends, family and community leaders from across Northwest Alabama gathered to celebrate Jackson’s service.
“It’s been a great experience. I have had a wonderful and long career here,” Jackson said.

 

Park Day will be held on May 18

WINFIELD - Winfield Park and Recreation Department Director Gina Bryant announced that the Fifth Annual Park Fest has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 18, at the Ivan K. Hill Recreational Park in Winfield.
Bryant said the event will feature live music, fleamarket vendors, arts and crafts, inflatables, community helpers, local businesses and churches, city departments, state and marine police and the National Guard. The Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter will land at 10 a.m. and children will be allowed to look at it, Bryant said.

Harbin hits for cycle, leads Winfield to county crown


The Winfield Lady Pirates won the Marion County Softball Tournament with back-to-back wins over Marion County by scores of 11-0 and 15-0. Shown for Winfield are (front row, from left) Sara Beth Cotton, Alana Ballard, Andrea Harbin, C’era Beck, (back row, same order) Aaron Rao, assistant coaches Alexa Box and Mandi Ballard, Brantley Cagle, Anna Lynn, Katherine Box, Tralee Couch, Kady-Grace Eads, Anna Kate Crumpton, Caroline Bostick, Hallie Glasgow, Macy Cummings, head coach Zac Wakefield and assistant coach Derek Trimm.

GUIN - The Winfield Lady Pirates won the Marion County Softball Tournament after defeating Marion County 15-0 behind Andrea Harbin’s four-hit performance in the if-necessary game on Monday, April 15.
The tournament resumed play after being postponed due to an extended lightning delay on Saturday, April 6.
Winfield scored five runs in the first inning before adding three in the second frame.
The Lady Pirates captured the 15-run victory after scoring seven runs in the fourth to earn the county crown.

 

Pyron named overall Bryant-Jordan winner


Marion County High School senior Braden Pyron speaks at the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship banquet on Monday, April 8.

BIRMINGHAM - Marion County High School senior Braden Pyron was named the overall winner of the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Scholarship on Monday, April 8.
The scholarship has two categories with one being achievement and the other recognizing student-athletes.
Pyron was recognized as the winner of the student-athlete category for Class 1A and overall throughout all seven classifications.
“It’s an honor to be recognized, especially coming from a small school,” Pyron said of winning the award.

 

No. 2 Pirates coast to second round


Winfield’s Jackson Elkins (25) celebrates after scoring on his hit to the outfield in the first game of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 3A State Baseball Playoffs. Elkins collected three RBIs on the hit.

WINFIELD - Winfield downed Weaver 19-6 in the Pirates’ second game of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 3A state playoffs on Saturday, April 20.
The Pirates are ranked No. 2 in the final Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A poll.
Winfield’s Ben Parrish earned the win in 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits and five earned runs with four strikeouts.
Jackson Elkins pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed one hit with no earned runs. He struck out two.

 

Fifth-ranked Lady Pirates down 7A’s No. 2 Spain Park

WINFIELD - Winfield downed Lamar County 6-3 in Class 3A, Area 10 action on Tuesday, April 16.
The Lady Pirates are the fifth-ranked team in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 3A poll.
Alana Ballard pitched a complete game and allowed 11 hits, two walks and three earned runs while striking out one.
Andrea Harbin collected two doubles, one single, one RBI, one walk and three runs scored.
Tralee Couch added two singles, two stolen bases and two runs scored.

EF-1 tornado confirmed in Shottsville

Shottsville community - Officials have determined that a low-grade EF-1 tornado touched town in northwest Marion County, causing moderate damage.
Marion County Emergency Management Agency Director Jimmy Mills told the Journal Record that on Saturday night, April 13, a tornado traveled approximately eight miles on the ground through the Shottsville Community, with the majority of the damage concentrated around County Road 13,  specifically between County Road 56 and Grant Road.

Council changes meeting times, will hold work sessions


Guin City Attorney Jerry Hester (left) shows a map to the Guin City Council concerning a plot of land in the Hidden Pines subdivision during the council’s Monday, April 15, meeting.

GUIN-  The Guin City Council voted to change the start time of its meetings from 5 p.m to 5:30 p.m. to allow for a work session before the start of its first meeting of the month. The council meets each first and third Monday of the month in the Guin City Hall council chambers. The council will now hold a 30-minute work session starting at 5 p.m. before the first meeting of each month.
The change was voted on after councilman Jerry Gann voiced his concerns about city financial statements.

Neighbor Day set for April 26-27

HAMILTON -  Hackleburg’s Annual Neighbor Day will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, in Hackleburg.
The festival will begin on Friday, April 26, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will continue on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event will feature music, arts, and crafts and several vendors throughout the weekend.
Musical artists Joseph Baldwin, Crossing Dixie, Kreek, Handshake Promise, Josh Armstrong, 1st Born Sons and Austin Lewis are set to perform at the weekend event.

 

Spectrum buys out WATVC

HAMILTON -  Fayette-based West Alabama TV Cable has been bought out by Stamford, Conn.-based Charter Communications.
The Hamilton City Council unanimously approved a franchise agreement with Spectrum at its meeting on Monday, April 15.
Spectrum is the telecommunications brand for Charter  Communications, which services more than 28 million customers across 41 states.

 

Hackleburg Alumni Banquet set for May 4

HACKLEBURG - The 75th Hackleburg Alumni Banquet will be held on Saturday, May 4, at 7 p.m. in the Hackleburg High School gymnasium.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the banquet will begin at 7. A meal will be served and awards presented.
Tickets for the banquet will be $12 and will be sold at the door.
Honored this year will be the classes of 1969 and 1994.

 

City officials want to enforce littering fines

HAMILTON - The concensus among city officials is that littering tickets should be enforced if issued.
The Hamilton City Council met in a work session on Friday, April 12, where they discussed the issue, which Hamilton Mayor Bob Page said is getting worse, not better, despite the council urging residents to comply with the city’s no-littering ordinance.
Those attending the work session were council members Gene Sanderson, Wade Sullins and Bobby Joe Irvin.

Aggies sweep county golf meet


The Hamilton Aggies’ boys and girlsgolf teams won the Marion County Golf Tournament at Pikeville Country Club on Tuesday, April 9. Shown for the Aggies are (from left) overall boys winner Blayne Armstrong, Kalei Mason, Kaiden Williford, overal girls winner Briley Ballard, Noah Boyette, Mia Hollingsworth and Samuel Sutton.

HAMILTON - The Hamilton boys and girls golf teams won the Marion County Golf Tournament at Pikeville Country Club on Tuesday, April 9.
The boys squad saw Blayne Armstrong finish in the top spot with a low score of 75.
Other members of the boys squad are Samuel Sutton, Noah Boyette and Kaiden Williford.
The girls team is made up of Briley Ballard, Mia Hollingsworth and Kalei Mason. The squad saw Ballard finish as the over low medalist for girls with a 89.

We don’t make the news--we just print it

We received several phone calls this past week concerning our coverage of the Guin City Council meeting in the Wednesday, April 10, edition (Meeting ends early amid shouting, finger-pointing).
Those who fielded the calls were told they didn’t like how this story was handled, the harsh manner in which it was presented. In fact, our staff was told we actually reported too much.
Well, we didn’t like it, either.
Covering meetings when tempers are flaring and conversations and discussions are frayed are not enjoyable for our reporters.

Know how to save a life

Thanks to training and quick action in Winfield on March 30, a choking death was prevented. Devin Smith, a pharmacist, performed the Heimlich maneuver on Todd Fetter after food became lodged in Fetter’s windpipe.
According to the National Safety Council, an average of 5,000 people die each year from choking. Many of those deaths could have been prevented with the right knowledge and training, the kind of knowledge and training that both men possessed.  

Former Gu-Win mayor, wife die in plane crash

BLUE SPRINGS, MISS. -  Three are dead after a plane crashed in Union County, Miss., over the weekend.
Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards identified the deceased as co-pilot Tommy Hue Nix, his wife, Merline Roberts, and co-pilot Jarrod Holloway.
The Guin City Hall office confirmed that Tommy and Merline Nix resided in the Fayette County portion of Guin. Holloway was a resident of Booneville, Miss., according to Edwards.

 

Lightning strike on church baffles pastor


Pastor Paul Gray is shown outside the Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Monday, April 8, a day after lightning destroyed the church’s steeple.

WINFIELD- Zion Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Paul Gray is still trying to process the chain of events that occurred on Sunday, April 7.
Before lightning struck his church at around 1:45 a.m. that morning, Paul Gray was the interim pastor. Hours later, after a vote by church members, he became the pastor.
“We had already planned the vote for April 7 two or three months ago,” Gray said. “I don’t know whether that was a bad omen or not,” Gray said on Monday, one day after the vote and the lightning strike.

Small plane crashes 35 minutes after take off


A small airplane which departed from the Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport on Friday, March 29, crashed after attempting to land at Monroe County Airport in Aberdeen, Miss. The plane received substantial damage. Both the pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries.

MONROE COUNTY, MISS. - Both a pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries after their small plane crashed after departing from Hamilton.
According to a National Transportation Safety Board Aviation accident report, on Friday, March 29, a Piper PA28 airplane departed from the Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport in Hamilton on a personal flight at approximately 5:15 p.m.

‘We Love Hamilton’ city cleanup set

HAMILTON - The Eighth Annual “We Love Hamilton Clean Up Day” has been scheduled to take place on Saturday morning, April 27, with volunteers first being fed a free pancake breakfast.
Last year, more than 75 bags of litter—using 60-gallon bags—were picked up by more than 90 participants.
All cleanup volunteers will meet at the Hamilton United Methodist Church, where the Hamilton Lions Club will be serving food and registration will be held in the fellowship hall.

 

Guin to hold annual cleanup day

GUIN- The annual Guin spring cleanup day will be held on Saturday, April 27, and Guin councilman Bobby Bellew is hoping to have a larger turnout than he’s seen in recent years.
“The most we’ve ever had is 55 or 60 participants and so it’s my goal this year to really top that number so we can have a larger impact on the community,” Bellew said.
Bellew said he is excited about the number of citizens, schools groups, civic groups, church groups, community leaders and local business that have already committed to participate in the annual cleanup day.

City seeking grants to prep for Love’s

HAMILTON - Grant monies are being sought in the City of Hamilton’s effort to prepare for an incoming Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store, which was announced in January.
The Hamilton City Council unanimously agreed at its Monday, April 1, meeting to file applications  seeking $300,000 in grant monies through a Community Development Block Grant and Appalachian Regional Commission grant.
The council also pledged $256,593 to cover the remaining costs of the project, which is projected to be more than $555,000.

 

BTCOA opening keynote draws emotional response


Sonia Martin of Kids to Love is shown presenting the opening keynote address during the 27th Annual Breaking the Cycle of Abuse conference at Bevill State Community College-Hamilton on Friday, April 5

HAMILTON -  Sonia Martin, with Kids to Love, an organization dedicated to finding foster children permanent homes, opened the 27th Annual Breaking the Cycle of Abuse (BTCOA) conference with a keynote address on Friday, April 5, at Bevill State Community College-Hamilton.
Martin presented her keynote address discussing Behavior 101, in which she covered lying, cheating, stealing, manipulation, need for control, violence, aggression and hoarding.

Alabama ties for cheapest gas in nation

Despite forthcoming gas tax increases, one official is confident that Alabama gas prices will remain in the Top 10 for cheapest gas prices in the country.
In an interview with the Journal Record, American Automobile Association (AAA) spokesman Clay Ingram noted that Alabama is currently tied with Mississippi and Arkansas for the cheapest gas prices in the nation, with gas costing an average of $2.44 per gallon for the month of April.
The national average for gas jumped a nickle in the week of April 8 to $2.74 a gallon—eight cents more than this time last year.

 

Hamilton named No. 1 Alabama relocation destination

The City of Hamilton is living up to its official slogan: “Small Town Living at its Best.”
Relocation website and blog Move Buddha ranked Hamilton as the most popular Alabama town to relocate to in 2019.
“Large cities like Montgomery and Birmingham may have a lot of allure, but they also come with a fairly hefty cost of living,” wrote Move Buddha media specialist Tyler Wood. “People are beginning to see the benefits of living in smaller and mid-sized cities.”

Camp launches Lift U for college-age students

HAMILTON - Ahead of its 55th summer camping season, Maywood Christian Camp has announced a new program aimed at college-aged students.
In a March Facebook post, the camp announced that it was launching Lift University, a four-day camping experience for young adults designed to challenge, renew and empower them.
The inaugural Lift U will take place Sunday night through Thursday morning, Aug. 4-8, and be an additional 10th week of camp for Maywood.