Sunday, January 23, 2005

Athens News Courier

Location: Athens, Alabama

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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - January 23, 2005, Athens, Alabama Nearly a dozen    If    Bama hoops With 11 children, the Heinkel family has    fl    UA coach Mark Gottfried gets first developed a method to stay organized    A    win in Mississippi    IB The NewFCourier Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future Sunday, January 23,2005    cnewscoiirier.com One Dollar Index Classified 1-14D Crossword 10A Church Briefs 8A Ledger.........7-8A Movie Listing 11A Obituaries 2A Robert Bruce Flacy William Douglas Hillard J.W. Nelson Sr. Willis Wayne Smith Sports .........1-4B Daily Bible Moment K^od. ..has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 %i t ! nr 322 H»v. 31 N • Athens' 256-232-1051 Ohit lint- 256-771-1)934 Limestone jobless rate lower than state average Limestone County’s 4.3 percent unemployment rate is considerably lower than the 5.4 percent December rate in Alabama, according to the latest figures released Friday by the State Department of Industrial Relations in Montgomery. The county’s jobless rate last month even surpassed the 4.7 percent rate in November and showed 120 more people had a job than from the previous month. In November, the county had 1,560 people without a job. but in December, that rate decreased to 1,440. Shelby County had the lowest jobless rate in December at 2 percent followed by Tuscaloosa County at 3.1 percent. Limestone County’s 4.3 percent ranked 15th in the state. The highest unemployment rate in the state goes to Wilcox County at 15.2 percent. Madison County's rate is seventh in the state at 3.8 percent. Morgan County came in at 5.6 percent and Lawrence County had a rate of 5.7 percent. Cowford property at issue City Councilmen at odds over whether to enter lease By Tanjie Nash tanjie@athensnews-courier.com One member of the Athens City Council says a plan to lease river property for parks and recreation use would cost as much as $20,000 per year. Another member says the cost would be drastically lower and that to reject the plan would “deprive citizens of campsites that would be regulated and controlled." The Tennessee Valley Authority 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. Several months ago a committee was formed to examine the possibility of leasing the property as a joint project between Limestone County and the City of Athens. C ity Councilman Harold Wales has spoke out against the project, saying he believes the high cost of maintaining the property is “not something the city's taxpayers are ready to do." City Council President Jimmy Gill said he. Councilman Henry White, County Commissioner Bill Latimer and Limestone Parks and Recreation Board members Doug Gates. Richard Martin and Mignon Bowers met with a TVA representative late last yeai to discuss the proposal. “TVA is getting out of the park business,'' Gill said "They feel like we could lease that property and handle it locally and it wouldn't cost all that much." Gill said he’d like to consider leasing onl\ the 25 or so acres in the Cow ford area and not the undeveloped additional acreage. "It we get just Cowford on a long-term lease then See Cowford, Page 3A RED-tag houses City workers mark homes considered a ‘danger' to area Bv Melanie Walker melanie@athensnews~courier.com The teeth of the traekhoe bucket bit hard into the roof of the little house on Widow Drive and brought the side of the house crashing to the ground. Workers from the city of Athens Streets Department worked with heavy equipment on the burned out shell of a home demolishing it as part of the city s clean up efforts. The house on Y\ idow Drive is the second house to be tom dow n this week. “The purpose of the city is not to tear down someone's residence that just needs some cosmetic repair," Public Works Director James Rich said, “but to identify those properties that are a danger to the community." The city is currently working from a list of 10-15 red-tagged commercial and residential properties that have been in process for as long as 36 months. The city building inspector identifies properties See Houses, Page 3A Women at Work -ocal firefighters, bookkeepers, social workers and more are featured in a special section about Women at Work. Get the news with your morning coffee Subscribe to The Neu> mm fraK Fund-raiser will give residents first-hand look at new jail B\ Kt i n K\/ik kelly(ci athensnews-courier.com Sally Marks steps gingerly into a black-and-white striped jumpsuit made tV prisoners Wrinkling her nose at the thought ot the fashion statement she is making, she pushes her arms into the sleeves, only to find that she has some extra fabric around the midsection a lot of it. Looking over at Bob Murphree, who is try ing to squeeze into a petite version of a similar jumpsuit, Marks suggests, “Let's trade." He looks relieved and struggles out of the tiny suit, Murphree, Marks and their cohort Su/anne Rainey finally get the jumpsuits over then street clothes, then step behind bars, look into the cam era and smile. They are posing for a photo in the new Limestone County Detention facility on Elm Street to promote an unusual fund-raiser for the Limestone County Boys & Girls Clubs. Marks and Murphree serve on the Clubs’ board of directors, Rainey is executive director of the county's four clubs. The event, called Behind Bars Bed & Breakfast, w ill be from 6 p.m. Feb 25 to 6 a.m. Feb. 26. The concept? For a fee, residents can be See Fund-raiser, Page 3A Inside SiirJFF Hey, Sound Off: More than 30 years ago, when 1 was a teenager. I was stopped by an Athens police officer after he clocked me doing 45 miles pci hour on S. Clinton Street (a 30 mph zone). It was the first time 1 had ever been stopped by a police officer, and I was scared stiff. To my surprise, the officer said, “I’m not going to give you a ticket. Just slow down and be careful.” That officer was a rookie named Lee Kennemer. I've never forgotten the break he gave me. I know nothing of the recent charges beyond what I read in the news. But 1 am saddened that Athens is losing a police officer of his caliber. My guess is he gave many other people a little break along the way. 1 hope some of them take the time to say, “Thanks, Lee." God bless. We’ll miss you. More Sound Off Valley, 6A 232-2720 NeWs-Courier, Kelly Kazek Suzanne Rainey, left, executive director of Limestone County Boys & Girls Clubs, spends a few minutes in the slammer Friday with Bob Murphree and Sally Marks, who are on the Clubs board of directors. They are promoting the fund-raiser Behind Bars Bed & Breakfast, in which people pay to spend the night in the new county jail before it opens in March. News-Courier.Kim Ryuders Mayor Dan Williams looks over the red tag on a home marked as being unsafe.