Editorial

Gov. Kay Ivey second-year governor from Wilcox County

Kay Ivey is doing a good job as governor. She is a strong and decisive leader, who has done more than steady the ship of state. She is getting things done. She is making her mark as a good governor.
She did a good day’s work when she got Jo Bonner to be her Chief of Staff. They make quite a team. This duo from Wilcox County were cut out to be leaders.
Kay Ivey is only the second governor to hail from Wilcox County. Benjamin M. Miller was the first. The Black Belt region of Alabama has spawned an inordinate number of governors and legislative giants.

Woke liberal culture wants to destroy the fabric of sports

There are few things in everyday life that teach our kids life lessons better than sports. As they grow up and play for different teams they learn about commitment, hard work, how to win with grace, and how to pick yourself up and move on after a loss.
These lessons stay with them forever, and as a parent I know how valuable those experiences are.
This is why we have to ensure sports, especially high school sports, remain fair and free of political influence. When Title IX was enacted, it did just that for female athletes.

Letter to the Editor

The first time I remember feeling a loss of a good thing by “things that come to an end”. I was a kid of seven or so. I had just finished enjoying my very first Tootsie Roll Pop. (A customer of mine on my Chicago Tribune paper route gave it to me as a tip for good service.)
It was cherry flavored. My mouth started watering just now just thinking about that taste experience I had long ago. I guess back then I had been sheltered from candy by my parents. With a bunch of brothers and sisters, candy was not on our weekly menu.

Two sides to every story

There’s an old saying that there are two sides to every story.
As journalists, this is a balance we seek out to avoid biased reporting. Or at least we should be seeking it. Talking to people on both sides of an event or issue is critical in finding out the truth, which is often somewhere in the middle. It’s sad to see how many news outlets, big and small, have forgotten this.
AL.com recently came out with an article that looked into a series of cases in which people were arrested for unpaid debts and held for a long period of time without trial.

Tell them to their face

This past week was a pretty rough one if I’m being honest.
I’ve been a little homesick for Long Island where I grew up, and I finally got to visit--just not for the reason I would have wanted.
I was born in Los Angeles, but I was raised on Long Island, New York, in a place called Farmingville. I lived on a road called Falcon Court where there were two families who we would become familiar with.

The Story of Charles Henderson

Since I hail from Troy, Alabama, allow me to share with you the story of our only governor. Charles Henderson was not only the 35th Governor of Alabama, but he may also be one of the most profound philanthropists in Alabama history. He is unquestionably the greatest philanthropist to grace Pike County.

Teaching Critical Race Theory isn’t what you should be worried about

No, teaching critical race theory, or CRT, may actually help us better understand what the theory is and why it’s problematic. What we should really be worried about is CRT indoctrination and praxis--or practice, as distinguished from theory.
I’ve seen the left and many journalists attempt to paint up CRT as teaching honest history of racism in schools. That is an intentional mischaracterization. Despite all the blown smoke, it is completely possible to teach about racism and systemic oppression without teaching CRT.

ANDI study will offer objective opinion on hot topic

Financial disagreements are among the strongest predictors of a divorce. It’s no mystery as to why, either. In more ways than we’d like to admit, money is power and freedom--and that’s why it’s so touchy. People get fearful when they feel that their relationship with money is challenged because it is an affront to their power and freedom. And when they feel that fear, they get angry. The Northwest Alabama Gas District (NWAGD) board, consisting of six local mayors, has been an amicable group for about the past decade. But leave it to money issues to break that peace.

The greatest person (I know)

The individual citizen is the greatest person I know. With the building collapses of late, it hurts to turn on the news and see someone suffering because they’ve lost a loved one or because they don’t know whether or not the one they care for is alive or dead. For some reason we feel JFK, MLK or even Abe Lincoln are the only ones who have done heroic deeds without considering the many regular, ordinary people who just do what is needed at the time. Ever see someone who has stopped for a car wreck?

John Patterson

Alabama lost its oldest past Governor when John Patterson passed away last month (June 4, 2021). He died on the same land where he was born in rural Tallapoosa County.
Patterson was 99 years old, and he would have been 100 in September. He was the epitome of the greatest generation. He was a veteran of World War II. He volunteered for the Army as a private and left the Army at the end of the war as a major.

Fairness is not a partisan issue

Fairness is the goal of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act currently being considered in the United States Congress. The bill has bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
 H.R. 1735 / S.673 is critically important to protecting the future of high-quality, local journalism in Alabama and across our nation. Support is growing for the legislation, yet much more needs to be done before it can become law.

What’s the obsession with vending machines?

I asked this question last week. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I stock the newspaper racks outside of Shoppers Value Foods in Hamilton and I’ve noticed hordes of thirsty locals storming the 50-cent soda machines outside the grocer’s front door. Yes, hordes.
I didn’t think much about it until I watched a woman feed quarters into one of the machines for a good five minutes before hauling off a plastic bag full of soda.

It was the right call

March of 2019 saw some controversy as our state legislators voted a resounding “Yes” for the infamous 10-cent gas tax, which was implemented to fund our major road projects. Many individuals all around the state and in our county were infuriated at Marion County State Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, and his vote to apply a tax on our residents in what seemed like a decision made against some of our own desires.
Time was always going to tell whether or not it was the right or wrong decision and, well, it seems to us that voting for the gas tax was the right call.

The Birth of a Nation

America, America how long since you were conceived
From the freedom seed implanted, because men believed
That all should have the full right to express
And none should suffer the defeat of repress.

America, your birth was announced by a Declaration;
A statement for the independence of this nation.
Fifty founding fathers that great document did sign,
As they proclaimed the right to be free in every line.

Privatization of ABC Stores Fails Again

Alcohol was on the minds of many Alabama lawmakers this year as the legislature considered an abnormally high number of alcohol-related bills. Several of the bills passed.
Most notable was legislation that made it possible for Alabama businesses to deliver beer, wine and liquor to customers’ homes, and separate legislation that allows state residents to order wine directly from wineries, even if those producers are out of state.

Letter to the editor - A happy heart is good medicine

A happy heart is good medicine Dear Editor, Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Those words came as a reminder to me when my wife and I found ourselves in our van which became stuck in mud resulting from her husband's unfortunate choice of roads to travel. Actually, the 'road' was more of a trail through the woods in a desolate part of the county miles from nowhere. Mid-afternoon came with heavy clouds, intermittent rain and nightfall rapidly approaching.

Good to be back

The last year or so has been weird.
I graduated from Troy University last summer, in the middle of a global pandemic. Which was funny, because I took an elective class on that very subject my first semester at Troy!
I spent most of last summer applying for jobs, and strangely enough, ended up in Troy, North Carolina, where I was hired as the sports and features editor for the county paper, the Montgomery Herald.

A grand entrance

Well, on Monday, June 7, at 10:53 p.m., we had our baby and she made quite the entrance into the world.
My wife woke me up on Saturday morning and told me that she was starting to have some consistent contractions and from there on, we played a very long waiting game.
It wouldn’t be until 67 hours later that our baby, Florence Olive Mellini, was born in our home in Hamilton.
We did, of course, plan to have our baby at home. That was no accident.

City school study sends a message

Hamilton city officials have unanimously commissioned a study to analyze the feasibility of creating a city-run education system and splitting ways with the Marion County School System, which currently operates all schools in the county outside of Winfield.
The step taken during a meeting on Monday, June 7, is just a study, but it does send a message. One, there is a strong and shared desire among Hamilton residents to support their local schools. Two, Hamilton believes its schools have a higher potential.

Prison issue unresolved

There were two major issues not resolved during the just-completed regular legislative session. Gambling and prisons were left on the table and up in the air.
It is foolish to not address a resolution to get some revenues for the state from gambling which currently exists in Alabama. However, it is not imperative that the problem be solved.

Our view - County, cities, towns need to consider animal control measures

Animal service non-profit Hoof or Paw needs financial backing to begin full operations in the area, and it has begun requesting the support of municipalities, something which should be given serious consideration.
Animal control is not a new problem for Marion County, but the new organization, spearheaded by Calen Weston, could be one more step towards putting it on a leash. The county is currently served by the Marion-Winston Animal Shelter in Twin and the Marion County Humane Society, but Weston says there need to be more hands on deck.

What’s going on?

“Brother, brother, brother...there’s far too many of you dying.”
These are some lyrics to one of my favorite songs, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye that have been playing over in my head recently, due to what’s been going on concerning more black lives being needlessly taken by people in, and attempting to act as law enforcement.
Ahmaud Arbery.
George Floyd.
I know the way you’re reading that goes a bit against our regular writing format but the two names you see deserve to stand out in this way.

Not a good look for commission

The Marion County Commission approved county engineer Mike Shaw’s recommendation to reclassify and “adjust” the pay of his employees.
Who are the employees involved? What exactly are the pay adjustments? We certainly didn’t know without having to do some digging.
On the agenda handed to the Journal Record before the meeting began, the topic we are discussing now was simply labeled, “Mike Shaw - Various.”
The topic may have been labeled “various”, but the only thing that was approved was Shaw’s recommendation.

Final thoughts... seriously­­­

Thursday, Oct. 17, one of your Journal Record employees, Scott, a very humble-spoken young man, called my wife and I at 9:30 a.m. and told me about a luncheon on Friday, Oct. 18, being held in your honor, Les, for your retirement. The luncheon was scheduled to be held in the Journal Record’s Hamilton office.

Please allow me to reintroduce myself

I don’t know if me coming back into the newspaper world needs an introduction, because this is more like a reintroduction, if that makes sense?
My name is Jesse Lamar and I am the new general manager of the Journal Record. That’s a little bit different than the way I am accustomed to introducing myself because the last time I was in the newspaper business was at the Northwest Alabamian, where I was the friendly neighborhood sports guys.

Ink is in our blood

I called my good friend Les Walters recently. He’s the associate publisher of the Journal Record newspaper in Hamil­­­ton, the small town where I grew up.
We always share family updates.
And, of course, we always talk newspapers.
“How’s the newspaper going?” I asked.
“OK,” he replied.
Then he stunned me a bit.
“I’m going part-time on Nov. 1,” Les said.
It’s a first step toward retirement, I guess, for my good friend, who is a few years older than myself. His wife recently retired from her long-time job.

From employer to friend

Rarely does one have the opportunity to publicly express his appreciation for another. Yet this is the opportunity lying before me as I write these words. What has proven to be the most difficult part of this process is now knowing what to say.
What began in September 1991 as a relationship between employer and employee has since evolved into a deep friendship I have since come to appreciate more than ever.

National Fire Prevention Week

With the current record-high temperatures and drought conditions in Marion County, it is especially poignant that this week we observe National Fire Prevention Week.
Fire prevention week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 300 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than three square miles of the city.

Alabama unemployment rates at low record-breaking numbers

During the late summer, it was revealed that Alabama’s economy set records for the number of people employed along with the lowest unemployment rate in decades.
Figures released in August had the state with a record-breaking 3.3% unemployment percentage. The numbers indicate a continued upward trend with 57,000 more people employed than at the same time a year ago.
Gov. Kay Ivey said, “The effort we are making to bring jobs and employers to Alabama is working.” She further stated, “We are consistently improving our workforce and preparing Alabama for the future.”

A better deal for Hackleburg

Simply put, Hackleburg has been in a situation of massive risk when it comes to the Hackleburg Market.
Owner Wally Kemp has decided to shut down his business in the town-owned building and grocers Bozeman Family Grocery plan to take over  very soon.
The Hackleburg Town Council has  been in numerous meetings concerning the future of the store and the building as the town council attempted to purchase the equipment from Kemp in order to keep the store running with the new owners.

We welcome limited ammo sales at Walmart

Walmart announced that it would no longer sell handgun ammunition and short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used for military style weapons.
The announcements were made in the wake of two recent mass shootings at Walmart stores--one in Southaven, Miss., on July 31 that left two dead and one injured and the other in El Paso, Texas on Aug. 3 that left 22 dead and 24 injured.

Turning off your devices might be a good idea or... whatever happened to ‘party lines’?

I grew up, like many of our older readers did, with a “party line.”
Nope, nothing “party” about it, because if you had a few old women as part of your “party line,” well, you were doomed!
I don’t know how many residential lines were part of our “party line” in Loango at the time, and I don’t remember those old women’s names who were the dominant voices.

Sept. 11 attacks still echoing loudly in memory, society

It has been 18 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The vast majority of us can remember where we were and what we were doing when we watched, saw or heard about the attacks.
I have plenty of friends who remember sitting in school and their teachers turning the TVs on to watch. I am also meeting more and more adults who were not old enough to remember that day—or who weren’t even born yet.

A real Depression romance

During the Depression, those who managed freight trains were told by the government that men could hop the empty side cars and ride for nothing. They were looking for work, any work; they left home and family hoping to find something that paid any small amount of money so they could send it home.
Hank Meyers was one of these young men.

How do we Make America Great Again? Instill patriotism in our children

Let’s begin by noting this problem does not originate in our local public schools. This issue does not lie at the feet of our local teachers, principals, school boards or superintendents. But while the problem does not trace its roots to our local schools, it is our students and future generations who suffer as a result.

What should we expect?

The Marion County Commission held a regular meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in Hamilton.
During the meeting, David Thornell, the president and chief executive officer of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance, provided the commission with an update on how things were shaping up in our county as it pertains to new industry coming in and setting up shop.
It’s no secret that we as a county would love to have any sort of industry come and do business in our area.
It would provide jobs for us and, in turn, strengthen our communities and help us continue to grow.

Marion County has a school attendance problem

Students in the Marion County School System have an attendance problem. The problem was revealed last week at the Marion County Board of education meeting as Patrick Sutton, a supervisor in the school system, gave a presentation on chronic absenteeism to kick-off September’s “School Attendance Month” (see story on page --).
During the presentation, Sutton revealed some disturbing numbers regarding school attendance in Marion County. An average of 24%--almost a quarter--of students in the Marion County School System missed 15 or more days of school during the 2018/19 school year.

The Opioid Crisis

When I moved from North Carolina to Alabama two years ago, I assumed I would find a local doctor and continue to take the medications I had taken for twenty plus years. Guess what? The Opioid Crisis had arrived before me in the small town of Hamilton, Alabama.

The Summer of 1969

Flowers
Steve Flowers

As we say goodbye to the summer of 2019, allow me to reminisce with you and indeed commemorate more than likely a summer exactly 50 years ago that was undoubtedly the most momentous summer in American history--the Summer of 1969.

Jones in the deep-red

Democrat Sen. Doug Jones, who was elected in a controversial special election in December 2017, spoke in Hamilton recently.
While it is doubtful that we—and the large majority of our readership, for that matter—agree with all the policies supported by Jones, we respect and appreciate Jones’ efforts to hear the people of Marion County. It is an honor to have a sitting U.S. senator come to Hamilton.
Marion County is a deep-red county with practically no Democrat representation in local or state offices. A constable is the only Democrat currently in office.