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Athens News Courier Newspaper Archive: January 20, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - January 20, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 Thursday, January 20, 2005  enewscou ricr.com  50 Cents  City’s eyesore eradication program continues with home demolitions  By Melanie Walker  me I at i ie@athensnews-courier. com The city of Athens has begun an aggressive clean up program to remove derelict buildings. One building on Washington Street has been torn down and several others have been red-tagged and marked for demolition.  “During the recent elections, several of our councilmen said they heard over and over that we needed to clean up our city,” Mayor Dan Williams said. “That became a priority once we started the new term to identify the property and work with land  owners to get things in shape or take them down.”  Residential or commercial properties that are identified as eyesores are red-tagged and inspected by the city’s building inspectors. The property owner is given a list of items required to bring the property up to code and a time limitation in which to do so.  When a property owner does not comply the city can use the mandated solution of condemning and demolishing the prop-  erty. A lien can be put on the property for the cost of demolition that can be recouped to the city if the property is ever sold.  "Most people don’t realize that the value of the neighborhood increases as these properties are cleaned up and repaired” Williams said. “ F.ven in case of a demolished property, many times the bare lot is worth more than the lot with the home in bad repair.  The city will begin demolition on another spot Friday when it begins work on city-owned property that has been partially burned out.  More on this story coming Sunday  Master of the grill  Joel Belew shares his kitchen and BBQ secrets  Almost perfect  Madison Academy near flawless in rout of Elkmont Red Devils    jb  Courier  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  Condemned home comes down  Workers tear down a home Wednesday in west Athens as a project to rid the city of eyesores gets under way. Property owners will have the opportunity to make repairs and bring property into compliance or risk condemnation and demolition.  Inaugural events  Is TVA property worth cost?  President George W. Bush will be sworn in for a second term today in Washington  3A  NAACP meets  The NAACP will meet at 6:30 tonight at the Athens-Limestone Chamber of Commerce.  Hey, Sound Off:  As to the hazards on U.S. 72 — be careful if you have to make a right onto Blackburn, Glaze, Seven Mile Post or any other road off U.S. 72 West. Make sure that there’s nobody behind you too close. If there is,-go to the next right after you’ve gotten them off your rear bumper, otherwise, you could be dead. It’s only going to get worse as traffic increase. The county commission should be insisting that the Alabama Department of Transportation make some quick, serious changes to the ingress and egress out there. Between the water, speed and tailgating that goes on out there it’s a wonder  Harper: Officers won’t be charged  Disciplinary action possible, but criminal action won’t be taken  Athens Police Chief Wayne Harper said Wednesday no criminal charges will he brought against the officers being investigated for possible sexual misconduct because no criminal act was committed. Those officers, though, could face disciplinary action or could even lose their jobs if found guilty.  “We hope to wrap up this investigation real soon.” Harper said Wednesday, one day after one of the three officers  that there aren’t 5-10 serious accidents out there every day. Defensive driving is the only way to survive it.  More Sound Off  Valley, 5A  Get the news with your morning coffee  Subscribe to The  See Officers, Page 2A  Search on for  Kennemer’s  replacement  Bv SONM Tl USER  sonny(a aihensnens-courier.com Athens Police Chief Wayne Harper said Wednesday an officer within his department will fill the vacancy created with the resignation Tuesday of Lt. Lee Kennemer.  “We will announce the vacancy Thursday or Friday and personnel will advertise it for applications, a process that will take two weeks. After that, 1 will interview those who apply and make my selection.” Harper said, adding that the position will likely be filled with an officer from w¡thin the department.  See Replacement, Page 3A  The Elkmont Town Council Monday night hired Donnie Johns as the rural community’s new police chief. mtKmmmmmmtmmmmmmtmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmammmmmrnmmmmm  Board in order to better oversee maintenance of the river property should the lease be approved.  Wales said he isn’t opposed to expanding that board to include city input in area Parks and Recreation development.  The TVA property, in the Ripley community near Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, is composed of the Cowford Recreation Area as well as significant acreage which is now undeveloped. The Cowford area includes two boat ramps, a river swimming area, restrooms and several rustic campsites.  Wales also expressed concern over costs associated with the undeveloped portions of the land.  "The first thing people will want if we take the property is roads, utilities and picnic tables,” Wales said. “That’s  See Cowford, Page 3A  Index  Classified 5-7B  Comics..........8B  Business.........9A  Ledger..........10A  Movie Listing 3A  Obituaries 2A  William Clayton Brackeen George William Cox Joseph Simon Rodman III Sports .........1-4B  Daily Bible Moment  ^Ebe rich man  Elkmont’s new police chief plans to keep status quo  Athens councilman seeking input on Cowford proposal  By Tanjie Nash   tanjie@athensnews-courier.com  A member of the Athens City Council spoke out against the proposed lease of land for recreational use on Wednesday, a day after the issue was discussed at length in a joint meeting of the council and the Limestone County Commission.  Councilman Harold Wales said he believes the project — which would involve the city and county entering a lease agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority for some 50 acres of river property along Cowford Road — is cost prohibitive.  Upkeep of the « r property would likely    cost  $15,000    to  $20,000 annually,  Wales said.  “1 don’t believe the city’s taxpayers are ready to do that,” he said. “We need to be spending money for our streets and sewers and all other agencies right now. I just don't think it’s a good time to do this.”  During Tuesday's joint meeting, members of the City Council and the County Commission reviewed the possibility of expanding the county’s Parks and Recreation  ing to spend taxpayer money on something w ? e might never see a return on."  — Harold Wittes  «¡■»»•■■■■■■■■■■■■■■•■■H  By Phil Willis  phil@athensnen s-co urier.com Elkmont residents will never even realize there is a new police chief on duty, according to the man hired to replace retiring Chief Jack Caldwell.  The Elkmont Town Council Monday night hired Donnie Johns as the rural community’s new police chief. Johns has been assisting Caldwell on a part-time basis since July.  “Here in Elkmont, you police the neighborhood, not the people,” Johns said. “1 really don’t foresee any change in what Chief Caldwell was doing.”  Johns said he would continue to work different shifts, as did Caldwell, sometimes patrolling at night, other times during the day.  The Elkmont native said he was “pretty tickled” about being named the town’s new chief.  “I know about everybody in town,” he said. “Most of them I went to school with or I’m related to them.”  See Elkmont, Page 2A  also will fade away in bis pursuits.  James 1:11  m  322 H«\.31 N • Athens 256-232-1051 Obit line 256-771-0934  7'00001   

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