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Athens News Courier: Saturday, March 5, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - March 5, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 Shaw eliminates Eagies  Athens High boys fall 70-55 in semifinals of Class 5A basketball championship tournament.  The NewsCm  >    M    \fu    ii    5,    2005  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  enewscoiirier.cofii  50 C’uMs  Foliies planned  f '  The annual Poke Sal let Follies puts the fun in ifind-raiser,  ;    Sunday  iH№OfF  Hey, Sound Off:  Attention school board and Harold Wales: Not all Brookhill parents think the school needs to be closed! If-you investigate the number of illnesses in Brookhill as compared to otiier elementary schools in the city, I’m sure you will find that there is no noticeable difference. It is a shame that the principal is ill, because we all love her.  However, to close down die second newest school in the city of Athens with no more “scientific data’’  - dian we have is preposterous!  ' If these parents have concerns about their children’s health, then let them move them to another school. I think you’ll find that children can be exposed to rashes, and fungal infections, in many other places, than just school. Also, illnesses of that nature are very contagious as well, so it would Stand to reason that if one child in a family or class has a fungal rash, then you can bet more will catch it.  So, please everyone let’s calm down, and approach this in a rational, educated manner. We all want what’s best for our children ^ine are students at ferookhill as well). Let’s investigate this thoroughly Jefore making such drastic tJhanges.  More Sound Off Sunday  Index  ;rClassified 4-7A  "Comics..........6B  .Ledger ..........5B  Obituaries 2A  Mabron Biggerstaff Jose Juan Guzman Inez Nelms Sports .........1-4B  Daily Bible Moment  e will not be ' afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting ‘ in the Lord.  -^'Ü0d"  Psalm 112:7  ШтШсте %J(akl  322 Hwy.31M*Atfctii5  256-232-1051 Obit lint 256-771-0934  ■ 69847 00001  3,4-year-old found on street  Youngsters sneaked out of grandmother’s house to go to store  By Sonny Ti rner and Tashia Lo\ ell  sonny@athensne\vs-cowier.com Two children — one 3 and the other 4 years old — were found walking alone on an Athens street late Thursday night.  “It was very cold out and they were lightly dressed” said Lt. Floyd Johnson. “The man who found them could have saved their lives.”  Johnson said authorities spent five hours before finding the children’s home at 3 a.m. Friday.  “Apparently, their grandmother had put them to bed earlier in the night and during the night they got up and slipped outside. They told us they were going to the store,” Johnson said of the boy and girl.  Police said Kenny Thompson, of Athens, had just stepped outside at his home late Thursday night and noticed the children walking alone late in the night at the intersection of Hine and Tower Street, southwest of the Athens Post Office. “He got to talking with them and knew they were not sup-  posed to be out there alone. He then notified us,” Johnson said.  “The only thing I thought of was to get them inside and feed them,” said Thompson's sister Cathy Cox. “They didn't seem like anything was wrong...they weren't scared.”  Cox said she tried to get their names, mom and dad’s name and where they lived.  But she said the more questions they asked the children the stranger the answers got from them.  However, after the police came, it was out of her hands.  “We spent much of the night knocking on doors in that area in hopes of finding where these children belonged” Johnson said. “It was 3 a.m. before we finally found the grandmother who was surprised saying she didn't know they were gone.”  Johnson said officials with the Limestone County Department of Human Resources were called in to help investigate and assisted with the door-to-door search.  “The children knew where the store was and we're convinced that is where they were headed” Johnson said. “They just slipped out of the house without their grandmother knowing it.”  Police were called by Thompson at 10 p.m. Johnson said DHR was then called in and DHR officials took the children to the hospital “to be checked out.”  “The grandmother's house w'as a half block from the intersection where the children were found” Johnson said. “Officers knocked on her door earlier in the night, but apparently she was asleep and they failed to get her to the door."  Johnson said the children had on sweat pants and thin tops. They were not wearing jackets. The temperature Friday morning dipped below freezing, ofl'icials said.  “It was very cold out. We don’t think they had been outside long before they were found” Johnson said.  See Sneaked, Page 2A  Water Board: Special audit waste of cash  By Sonny Tlrner  soimy@athensnew's-couner.com Members of the Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority said Friday they will fully cooperate with the state if a special audit of their books is conducted although they believe the SI00,000 it will cost to do the audit is a waste of taxpayers' money.  “We will fully cooperate with the state if an audit is conducted” the board said in a prepared statement. “Our financial statements are provided annually to the Examiners of Public Accounts in the State of Alabama. Our understanding is that a five-year audit of an emergency such as LCWSA may cost in excess of $100,000. We believe that the taxpayer’s money could be better spent.”  Limestone County’s five-member legislative delegation has called for a state audit of the books of the controversial water board. The audit, which w'ould go back five years, is sought in conjunction with a request by the Limestone County Commission which wants authority, among other things, to dismiss some members of the water board.  An audit of the LCWSA operations is conducted each year as required by law. The state just recently completed the last audit. That was done on Sept. 30, 2004, board members said.  “This independent audit verifies the LCWSA is in compliance with applicable state laws and regulations,” they said. “The LCWSA audits have shown the not-for-profit utility to be in compliance with applicable state laws and with the covenants of their bond indentures.”  Limestone County Commission Chairman David Seibert was in Montgomery Wednesday meeting with the county’s legislative delegation asking for a countywide vote of the people to change the laws governing the county water board.  See Audit, Page 2A  Inmates move into new home  By Sonny Turner  sonny@athensnew's-courieKcom Some 200 inmates at the Limestone County Jail are getting a new home this weekend.  The Limestone County Sheriff’s Department started the process of moving the inmates from the old jail to the new facility on East Elm Street Friday night. That move is expected to be completed some time today.  The inmates are being moved in vans 12 at a time.  Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely says the $9 million facility will officially open Monday although administrative offices have been operating from the new facility for the past two weeks.  Jail staff and other employees trained at the new facility several weeks ago.  The detention center is located on East Elm Street in the northern section of Athens. The existing jail will likely be turned over to the City of Athens which will move its officers and jail there while a new Athens Police Department is being built.  The new jail will house 288 inmates at capacity when fully opened.  The county has hired 13 additional employees to work at the new jail. Those employees completed training for the new facility several weeks ago.  c ♦ n- U -1 ou It-    News-Courier Melanie Walker  senator Richard Shelby speaks with a group of residents after a town meeting at the Elkmont Depot Friday afternoon. The capacity crowd listened to Shelby express concerns on Social Security, support for the war in Iraq and gratitude to voters for his election to the Senate.  Shelby visits Elkmont forum  B^ .Mei.ame Walker  melanie(aathensne\\'s-coiiner.com  Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., addressed a capacity, crowd at the Elkmont Depot Friday afternoon in his annual visit to the county.  “I've been coming to Limestone County for 19 years now,” Shelby said.  The meeting is part of an eflbrt by Shelby to visit each county throughout the state annually. He addressed the  meeting for about 30 minutes before taking questions from the crowd.  He covered topics ranging from Social Security, Iraq, upcoming vacancies on the Supreme Court, and Medicaid. He also thanked the crowd for his recent victory in winning a seat in the Senate.  “1 won with 74 percent of the vote,” Shelby said. “I had always intended to be in the Senate. I had not intended to  serve four terms in the House, 1 just didn’t know how to make the switcii.” His wry humor went over well w ith the crowd, who also listened intently as he spoke of the need for possible changes to Social Security.  “Social Security will need no changes for folks who are 55 and older,” Shelby said. “For us, the plan is  See Shelby, Page 2A  News-Courier/Kim Rynders  One of the first batches of inmates to be moved to the new Limestone County Jail arrive Friday night. This group consisted of 12 female Inmates.  $1M allocated for Tanner exit  By Sonna Turner  sonny@athensne\\s-coithei:com  Another SI million has been appro\ed for the proposed Tanner interchange at Interstate 65 and Huntsvilie-Brow nsteriy Road.  US. Rep. Bud Cramer (D-Ala.) announced Friday that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved SI million for the interchange. He said the funding was included in the six-year suiface transportation reauthorization bill.  If the measure passes the full House next w'eek. this will bring total funding for the interchange to $5 million with only another $500,000 needed for the entire project.  “This project is extremely important to the economic development and overall growth of Limestone Countv,” said Cramer. “This transportation biil authorizes critical funds that will go a long way in moving this project along. I look forward to working w'ith my colleagues for this bill’s passage in the House.  Limestone County Commission Chairman David Seibert said last month that engineering work on the Tanner interchange has already started and plans call for project to be bid out sometime in the near future.   

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