Editorial

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.

Facebook has jumped the shark

I believe Facebook’s scroll-binding magic is fading.
This means entities, offices and businesses exclusively using Facebook for public relations are in danger of fading as well.
There are inherit problems with using Facebook as a primary marketing tool—especially in Marion County, where 21% of residents are 65 and older. A large amount of people will never see your content.
As a reporter, it has been frustrating to log on to Facebook and find public officials and offices breaking news to the public over social media rather than local news media.

Why limited-government conservatives should participate in the Census

It’s Sept. 5, 2020. You, like most of Alabama, have been waiting months for this day.
As summer slowly faded into autumn, the cool evenings punctuating the still-stifling afternoons, you took heart knowing the long months of faint interest in the NBA and baseball were almost gone. Today, after all this time, the drought is finally over: The first Saturday of college football season has arrived.

Family makes it better

A couple of weeks ago, I went to California to visit my family in Los Angeles.
It’s a trip I’ve made several times throughout the years and let me tell you, visiting L.A. gets worse every time I go.
To start, I am absolutely terrified of flying, which is weird, because I love traveling so much.
There’s just something about being trapped in a metal tube thousands of feet in the air for several hours that just unsettles my nerves.

Education begins at home

Well, it’s that time of year again. Students in Marion County are returning to school this week. The students have fresh new clothes and new haircuts. The classrooms are clean and the pencils are sharpened. Parents are posting one last first-day-of-school photo before sending their children off to school to learn and become better citizens.

Nix looks back on moon-landing era

This week America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Most people old enough to remember, can tell you where they were and what they were doing on July 20, 1969, the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
But for Larry Nix, Armstrong walking on the moon was less about what happened on that day and more about the events that occurred in the decade before the moon landing.
“I’ve always had a big interest in the space program,” Nix said during a recent phone interview.

Survey respondents overwhelmingly support elected state school board

(Writer’s note: We use Survey Monkey for feedback on education issues. Unlike surveys used for political polling, responses are not sorted to reflect the general population of a certain area such as a state senate district where those polled reflect the district’s demographics. However, because the number of respondents is usually very large, we get a very good sense of trend lines. More than 6,500 companies worldwide use Survey Monkey, often to gather information on market share. LL)

The new meaning of ‘Diversity’

Well, folks, it’s happening again.
One of our beloved childhood characters has yet again been changed before our very eyes, completely flipping what we know about our beloved Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
The star of the Little Mermaid remake will be black instead of the fair-skinned Redhead we all know and love.
How ever will we recover from this tragedy?
If you’re sensing a bit of sarcasm in my words, you can be sure that there’s plenty.
I’ll make my words plain.

The Adventure of the ‘WrestleMania Trio’

The date was March 29, 1987. The event was World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly World Wrestling Federation) owner Vince McMahon’s third foray into the world of the squared-circle as we knew it at the time, WrestleMania.
It was a spectacle unlike anything wrestling fans had ever seen! McMahon packed 93,173 people in for WrestleMania, a record attendance that made history for the then-WWF, in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. 
And that didn’t count the pay-per-view (PPV) watchers, which is where we’ll come in shortly.

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.

Past prominent state legislators

The 2019 legislative session is now in the books. As each session is observed, it is apparent that primary, powerful, state senators control the flow and outcome of any and all legislative sessions.
Current Alabama state senators Del Marsh, Jabo Waggoner, Greg Reed and Arthur Orr wield immense influence.

Father’s day

Society has tried to create a mold into which the idealistic father is supposed to fit into. Fathers come in all different forms in someone’s life—whether it be a biological father, step-father, grand-parent or a trusted guardian. 
No matter the case, June 16 is a day of celebration, and remembrance, for these fatherly figures in our lives.          
The definition of a father, according to Merriam-Webster, is “A male parent.” 

No exceptions

During a Marion County Commission meeting, Dynamic Securities and the commissioners discussed security protocols and individuals who were authorized to bypass security when entering the Marion County Courthouse in Hamilton.
One of the topics discussed during the meeting was about the individuals who would be exempt from security checks and be able to bypass security.
All individuals are currently required to go through security checks with the exception of certain judges, officers, commissioners and other elected officials.

Pearce’s Mill: A fading monument to the past

There’s a place here in Marion County called Pearce’s Mill that time has not forgotten. The mill community, named for the family that ran it, is being rendered back to nature by time and decay.
Vines, weeds and trees now surround the 19th-century buildings, hiding the former majesty of the once-thriving community. Pearce’s Mill in central Marion County is not even a ghost of its former self. 
The history of Pearce’s Mill is a microcosm of early Alabama history and the history of America itself. 

Legends of Girls State

For almost 100 years, one of, if not the best, annual event for young Alabama high school leaders in Alabama has been the Alabama Boys State and the Alabama Girls State programs.
These events are sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxillary. Boys State and Girls State are sponsored nationwide by the American Legion. The programs epitomize the American Legion’s mission to honor those who have bought us our American freedom.

This old-aged thing...

I should have begun saving for a facelift many years ago. I didn’t! (Who thinks they’re ever going to grow old! That’s just for grandparents!) 
Alas, the age angels have not seen to carry the weight themselves and have, instead, gifted my body with both mine and someone else’s share. They are not always kind!

Where are Dick Tracy and Sgt. Friday when we need them?

If you are an old-timer like me, or maybe just someone who listened while your Daddy told you about the “good old days,” you know that Dick Tracy was the square-jawed detective in the comic books and Sgt. Friday was the star of Dragnet back in the days of black and white TV. Like all good detectives, they always got to the bottom of things.

Leggings cause rare split in the seams

In an unusual occurrence, the Marion County Board of Education found itself split on an issue. 
It is the norm for the Marion County Board of Education to be in agreement. There are few recountable times where the board has split opinions—let alone votes—on any issue. It has made countless unanimous decisions over the years.
Board members found their views conflicting during a discussion on a proposed ban on leggings during its meeting on Thursday, May 13. The board made no decision on the ban during the meeting and tabled a final verdict for further consideration.

An Act of Congress

Flowers
Steve Flowers

A good many people wonder why simple, straightforward, no nonsense, good-government legislation fails to pass, even though it appears to have universal and overwhelming support and appeal for many voters and legislators.

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.

Searching for the Lost City of Ur

Recently, I embarked on the journey of a lifetime. I went searching for a lost town called Ur and I believe I have rediscovered that ancient place.  
Now, I’m not talking about the ancient city of Ur that you are probably thinking of--the birthplace of the Biblical character Abraham, revered as the progenitor of the world’s three greatest religions--Christianity, Judaism and Islam. That city of Ur, located in modern-day southern Iraq, is approximately 5,800 years old and was the center of a moon-worshiping religion.

For each other’s sake

Quite recently in Alabama, the topics of vaccinations and general health have been magnified by the sudden potential outbreak of the measles virus.
Worries began a few weeks ago when a traveler who was believed to have been carrying the measles virus made two stops in Alabama, causing fear of the virus spreading to our local areas.
Spread of the measles virus is very preventable and the symptoms are clear if and when the virus is contracted.
We believe it is up to all of us to protect each other and pay close attention to any symptoms of sickness and disease.

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.”

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.