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Athens News Courier Newspaper Archive: January 4, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - January 4, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 January 4, 2005  enewscouricr.com  50 ( kms  Auburn at Sugar    Opinion    wanted  The unbeaten Auburn Tigers meet Virginia Q.M Limestone County Commission seeks legal Tech in Sugar Bowl.    IB    advice    on    Huntsville    annexation    5A  The News-Courier  «SruviNf: Athens and Limestone County: A Community of I radition and Future  Title match  Bonus backlash continues  Michelle Russell, upper photo, hugs her daughters Lacey McCrae and Shanika McCrae Sunday during a memorial service at Roselawn Cemetery on the one year anniversary of the death of her husband, Sgt. Larry Russell, who along with Athens policeman Tony Mims were gunned down as they answered a 911 call to an Athens home. At right, Linda Mims, the widow of Tony Mims, gets a hug from Pat Lawrence, the pastor at Berea Baptist Church. To their left is Tony Mims’ mother, Julia Sims. Lawrence was the officer’s pastor at the time of his death. See more photos on Valley, 5A.  News-Courier Kim Rvnders  Daily Bible Moment  his also conies nil the Lord of )Sts, who is iron-rfnl in counsel id excellent in vi dance.  Isaiah 28:29  Lliinrdoiie lokabel  M2Hwv.ll N* Athens 256-232-1051 Obit line 256-771-0934  Chandler says he’ll ask board to cancel rate increase  Bv Tan.)it Nash   tanjie@athensnesys-courier.com  In the midst of a public backlash over the payment of nearly $40.000 in bonuses to Limestone County Water Authority employees, the board which governs the LC VVA will be asked to cancel a rate increase scheduled for water customers later this year.  LCWA Manager Bobby Chandler was the recipient of a $15,000 holiday bonus while 46 LCWA employees each received S500. In 2004 the LCWA increased its minimum  water rate by $1 per month to SI3.76. Another 41-cent increase is tentatively slated for later this year.  Late last month, as news of the bonus payments and the upcoming rate increase spread throughout the county. the public began speaking out against the increase by submitting Sound-Off items and letters to the editor to The News-Courier, as well as appealing to members of the Limestone County Commission to investigate the matter.  The County Commission appoints Water Authority Board members but does not oversee that board's opera  tions, according to Commission Chairman David Seibert.  Seibert said Monday that he spoke with ( handler last week regarding the bonuses and the scheduled tax increase.  “He has agreed that he will probably recommend that the Water Board drop the scheduled 41-cent tax increase. Seibert said. “However, should that be dropped there are several projects in the works and the board will have to vote on whether to continue those projects."  See Bonus, Page 2A  Honoring their heroes  City still awaiting smoking decision  Non-responders get grace period to notify city clerk of their plans  B\ Phil Willis  phil(a athensnews-councr.com  Athens restaurants which began operating Jan.  1 under the restrictions of a new anti-smoking ordinance report few problems, but enforcement of the strict new guidelines has been delayed as some stragglers have not yet tiled a plan with the city clerk s office.  Of the 146 businesses which received a letter from City Clerk John Hamilton requesting their response to the ordinance smoking, nonsmoking or restricted smoking ,11 but about 20 have replied. Those businesses will be given a two-week grace period to tile the necessarv papers, Hamilton said before facing enforcement of the ordinance. Penalties for failure to tile include loss of business license and a $100 per incident fine, Hamilton explained.  "If they do not respond we have no choice but to enforce the ordinance." Hamilton said. "1 hope it doesn't come to that. But new business licenses are due this month and those businesses which have not responded will not be given a license without cooperating."  Hamilton recently mailed second letters to all affected businesses. That helped he Naid bringing in replies from 75-80 eateries. 1 hose who have not replied the city clerk said have given him "lots of different stories" as excuses. Some franchise restaurants, he said apparently had to forward the information to corporate headquarters for a decision.  "We're giving them every benefit of a doubt, but we plan to begin enforcing the ordinance b\ the middle of the month at worst.” Hamilton said.  Should a restaurant opt to prov ide a restricted smoking area, the city clerk explained, that will require an inspection by Jerry Hardaway, satetv inspector with the Athens Fire Department. Restricted areas must be totally isolated from non-smoking areas and have dedicated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.  See Decision, Page 2A  Five who will never be forgotten  Oklahoma and USC square off for national title tonight. Preview inside.  Hey, Sound Off:  Since Athens will ' be housing its prisoners in the new $9 million county jail, why will the Athens City Council not consider merging the Athens Pol ice force into the Sheriff’s Department?  This could be done at no extra expense to either the city or county; eliminating the need for a new police station.  If there is no one in city government who will think “outside the box” and is willing to do what is necessary to save money for the taxpayers of Athens then maybe the taxpayers of Athens and Limestone County should keep a record of how their government leaders vote from now' on and hold them accountable again at the next election.  ^1 Hey, Sound Off: jW Great heavens! A ' $ 15,000 Christmas bonus for the Limestone County Water manager.  1 assume he is doing a good job; he is paid a -hefty $100.000 a year for being a manager. A $15,000 bonus for a manager of a public facility? Makes me think there  Index  Classified 3-5B*  Comics..........6Bv  Headlines ........4A  Farm Life ........6A  Ledger ..........8A  Obituaries........2A  Ellaree B. Harwell Harold W. Kuntz Sr.  Kaitlin Crawford Miller Kim Miller Ethel Mae Nash Levi Wilburn Weir Jr. Sports .........1-2B  Limestone County is filled with unforgettable people those who help neighbors and ask for nothing in return, those who fight for their country and those who run charitable organizations.  We had a difficult time choosing, but finally create this list of the five most unforgettable local residents of 2004:  The local law officer  The deaths of two Athens Police officers one year ago today reminded people here how often we take our law officers for granted. We were suddenly, tragically reminded to thank the men and women who, for so little compensation,  Turner    Swanner  vowed to “serve and protect” our property and our lives.  All local law officers — from dispatchers and jailers to investigators and patrol officers are, as a whole, our No. 1 Most Unforgettable People ot the Year.  Binford Turner  Hendrix    Bauer  A pioneering force behind Limestone County's system of healthcare, its water authority and its Democratic party, Binford Turner died Jan. 23, less than two weeks after a ceremony during which a new water treatment facility at Tanner was named in his honor. "I lere was a gentle giant of a man, a man  who was always a gentleman, who was always thoughtful of his community, who was always planning for the future, said Doug Maund who had served some 30 years on the Athens-Limestone Hospital Board of Directors alongside Mr. Turner.  Rip Swanner  An icon of sports at Tanner High School, Rip Swanner left this world on Feb. 21 ot this year. For years, Swanner had been a fixture at the school and worked as a volunteer assistant coach for the baseball and football teams. He also made valuable contributions to the youth of Tanner. The football stadium at Tanner is named in his honor.  Hunter Bauer  Hunter Bauer, 14. who died in December of a staph infection, was a popular eighth-grade student at Athens Middle School. He fell mysteriously ill in October and remained hospitalized as his classmates held prayer vigils.  Richard Hendrix  The Athens High senior basketball center is the school's all-time leader in scoring (2,544 points), rebounding (1,598 rebounds), shot blocking (569) and consecutive games started (120 games). He signed in November to play next season at The University of Alabama.   

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