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Athens News Courier Newspaper Archive: February 25, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - February 25, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 Jail open house  Everyone invited to new facility on E. Elm Street Sunday 2-5 p.m. Food will be free  TheNe  Birmingham or bust  Tanner girls, Athens boys play for berths in state finals in Birmingham    IB  ouner  FKtDAV, Fkbri ARV 25. 2005  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  enewscoiirier.com  50 С KN rs  Baby 1,000  Midwife Roberta Ress delivers her 1,000th baby.  Sunday  mvff  Hey, Sound Off:  The Wednesday issue of The New’s-Courier had a front page picture of a van/inotorcycle accident. Paraphrasing the caption: When a van and motorcycle met unexpectedly, it's no surprise the van won.  This caption is better suited to the supermarket tabloids than to The Courier. Perhaps the motorcyclist’s injuries were so slight that the whole thing could be made light of.  Perhaps all future vehicle accidents will use the same format in their captions to the effect that the heavier vehicle “won.” I can see it now: “An SUV met unexpectedly with a compact and it is no surprise the SUV won,” or maybe, “An 18 wheeler met unexpectedly with an SUV and it is no surprise the 18-wheeler won.” Editor s Note: We agree there are no winners in a traffic accident. We apologize if it appeared w'e did not take the accident seriously.  More Sound Off Valley, 5A  Get the news with your morning coffee  Subscribe to The Seivs-Courier  232-2720  Index  Classified 4-7B  Comics..........8B  Ledger..........12A  Movie Listing 8A  Religion 9-11A  Obituaries 2A  Thomas J. Bailey Archie Black Barney Pressnell Lester Wise Sports .........1-3B  Daily Bible .Moment  Winless, you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 18:3  322 H«\. 31 >• Athens 256-232-I05I Obit line 256-771-09.34  69847 00001  City to tighten iiquor iaws  Mayor says city council may soon address alcohol issues  Bv Phil Willis  phil@athensnew's-courier.com A little more than a year after the sale of alcoholic beverages began in Athens, city officials believe it is time to fine-tune the liquor ordinance governing retailers offering intoxicating brews.  “We've only had one real problem with it, but I think we do need to go back in and  clarify some things,” Mayor Dan Williams said. “We need to prevent such problems from happening again.”  The first real evidence of problems with the ordinance arose last week, when the Athens City Council denied a license request for a convenience store located at the corner of Forrest Street and U.S. 31.  The Spencer Co. had requested the  license for the sale of beer for off-premise consumption at Minuteman No. 53, located just across Forrest Street from Athens Bible School.  In most circumstances, the liquor ordinance prohibits beer sales in such close proximity to a school or church. By ordinance, alcohol retailers must be located at least 500 feet from such an establishment. But the presence of a four-lane highway between the buildings reduces the minimum distance requirement to only 200 feet.  Minuteman No. 53 clearly did not qualify for a liquor license when voters  19-year-old arrested for assault after car collision  Ardmore warrants charge teen was in wrong lane  Bv Sonny Turner  sonny@athensnew's-courier. com A 19-year-oId Elkmont man has been arrested on two counts of assault and driving under the influence of alcohol as the result of a head-on collision that seriously injured two people Feb. 5 in Ardmore.  Joshua Chad Hargrave, of 26425 Scroggins Road, was arrested Wednesday from warrants taken out against him by Ardmore police. The warrant charges tlargrave was driving in the wrong lane while under the influence of alcohol the day of the wreck on Alabama 53 inside the Ardmore city limits.  Two people, Donuell L. Fisher and Montinice Cross, both of 5502 Hames Trace, Louisville, Ky., were hospitalized with serious injuries as the result of the head-on collision.  The warrants charge Hargrave with two counts of first-degree assault, driving under the influence of alcohol and improper lane usage. Bail bond was set at $21,300.  Autopsy confirms man died when hit by car on U.S. 31  Bv Sonny Turner  sonny@athensnew's-courier.com  A preliminary autopsy report received late Wednesday by Athens police confirms that a 42-year-old Decatur man who was struck Monday night while riding his bicycle died from those injuries.  “It was blunt force trauma.” said Athens Police Lt.-Detective Floyd Johnson. “It confirmed the wreck killed him.”  Royce Dale Ramsey, of Harrison Street, Decatur, wf»s killed late Monday night when a vehicle ran over him on U.S. 31 South in front of Lawson’s Trailer Park. Police said Ramsey was found dead in a ditch in front of the trailer park. His bicycle was also found in the ditch nearby.  “We have no new information other than we’re still getting phone calls from people who observed him that night riding on U.S. 31 toward Tanner,” Johnson said. “But we haven’t talked to anyone who actually witnessed him getting hit by this vehicle.”  The driver fled from the scene and police are now actively searching for the hit-and-run driver.  Investigators said Ramsey was on his way to visit his wife who lived in Tanner when he was killed. His body was found in the ditch on the northbound lane of U.S. 31.  Ramsey and his wife, Angie, were separated, said Limestone County Coroner Mike West. She lived in the Tanner community and he lived in an apartment complex. He was a father and worked at Phase II Electric in Decatur. Investigators were told that Ramsey often used his bicycle for transportation.  A passerby telephoned authorities at 11:20 p.m. Monday advising that he had spotted a body in the ditch in front of the trailer park. Johnson said when emergency crews arrived on the scene they found the body. West said Ramsey was dead at the scene.  Police believe the hit-and-run driver was driving a red vehicle. They said judging from the paint left on the bicycle it appears the vehicle that struck him is red and it may have the right front turn signal broken out.  approved the sale of alcohol in Athens in a 2003 referendum, the mayor said. But since that time the city has completed a project to improve the busy intersection at Forrest Street and U.S. 31. With the addition of turn lanes to Forrest Street, convenience store owners believed the building new qualified.  “They didn’t apply until the intersection was widened” Williams said. “But they looked at that, saw a four-lane and filed for an application.  “That makes me think maybe we need  See Liquor laws, Page 3A  Heading to HanceviUe  News-Courier Kim Rvriders  Students cheered their teams Tuesday In Hanceville. Many will return for the regional championship games today at Wallace State Community College.  1,000 students from Athens, Tanner ligh schools expected at games today  By Sonny Turner  .sonny@athensnews-courier. com  Half of the entire student body at Tanner High School will be cleared to attend the school’s basketball game today in the Northwest Regional finals in Hanceville, according to Tanner Principal Billy Owens.  In addition, Athens High School Principal Chris Bolen said he is expecting in excess of 500 Athens students to be there too attending the Athens High game earlier in the morning.  In all, 900 to 1,000 students from both schools, are  expected to attend the games at Wallace State Community College where a win automatically advances the teams to the state “Final Four” next week in Birmingham with a chance at a possible state championship.  “We will not close school, but students who want to go to the game will be allowed to do so with a signed parental excuse,” said Owens.  “We will have a pep bus to leave at 10:45 a.m. and it  See Games, Page 2A  New Water Board members take office Tuesday  Bv Phil Willis   phil@athensnews-courier.com   The embattled Limestone County Sewer and Water Authority welcomed two new members Thursday, as Mark Yarbrough and Jerry King replaced Leslie Bagsby, whose term ends Feb. 29, and Nancy Stevenson, who resigned late last year due to personal reasons.  Yarbrough and King, appointed Monday by the Limestone County Commission, do not actually take their seats on the board until March 1. They join an authority whose other members have been under intense pressure to resign.  The water board, by a 4-1 vote just prior to the holiday, gave its 46 employees a $500 Christmas bonus and approved a $15,000 bonus for Manager Bobby Chandler, who has since resigned. Those bonuses came in conjunction with two recent rate increases for authority customers. Stevenson was the only board member to oppose the bonuses.  When customers learned of the bonuses, the resulting uproar caused Chandler to resign his $100,000-per-year job. County Commission Chairman David Seibert called for the resignations of the remaining board members when he learned the commission is not empowered to replace them. A huge crowd of protesting customers filled the boardroom to overflowing for the authority’s last meeting, with many vocalizing their demands for the board to step down.  But the remaining members of the board have indicated they have no intention of leaving. In fact, during the Thursday meeting those three elected themselves as board officers for  See Water Board, Page ЗА  News-Courier Kmi Rvnders  Outgoing Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority Board Member Leslie Bagsby, left, welcomes his replacement, Jerry King, following a Thursday afternoon board meeting. King was selected by the Limestone County Commission to replace Bagsby, an 11-year veteran whose term ends Feb. 28.   

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