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Athens News Courier: Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - March 16, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 Justice in town  C. Eugene Pincham — a retired justice and graduate of Trinity High School — will speak in Athens  Choices narrowed  Ardmore, Clements and Elkmont down to final two picks in search for coaches IB  The News-Courier  VV>:r>M:sDA\, Marcii 16, 2005  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  enewscourier.com  50 Cents  Larry Hal of Clements  Subscriber of the day  St. Pat’s luncheon  A St. Patrick’s Day luncheon and silent auction will be from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church Family Life Center. The event benefits the local chapter of the Red Cross.  Wfli  Hey, Sound Off:  1 would like to make a comment about Brookhill Elementary School. I really believe that this is a great school. 1 also understand that the principal doesn't want to leave because she wants to stay w ith staff and faculty she has been working with for years. Who's to say that these children and teachers may not get sick now? Maybe it has not affected them as fast as the other teachers and children.  What about six months to a year from now, or even in the future it could bring on some type of sickness? Just because everyone at the school is not sick, doesn't mean that there is not anything at the school. It may not be mold but it's something.  More Sound Off Valley, 5A  Get the news with your morning coffee  Subscribe to The Neu's Courier  232-2720  Index  Classified 4-7B  Comics ..... 8B  Health..........10A  Ledger ..........9A  Movie Listing 3A  Obituaries 2A  William “Bill" Bates Lee “Gurlin” Craig Robert G. Dunnavant Sheryle Ann Whitt Sports .........1-3B  Daily Bible Moment  ^i^eturn to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.  Luke 8:39  322 Hhx 31 N • Athens Obit line 256-771-0934  7    69847    00001    6  Autopsy: Woman strangled  Judge sets bond at $250,000 for husband of slain mother  Sonny Turner   sonny@athensnews-courier.com  A preliminary autopsy on the body of a Tanner woman who was found murdered inside her home Sunday reveals that she was not only stabbed and cut, but also strangled.  Limestone County authorities believe the 28-year-old mother of two was killed by her  husband after she told him to leave and that she was seeing another man.  Limestone County Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt said Marcaria Archundia Martinez was found dead in the bedroom of her mobile home at Swan Creek Mobile Home Park south of Tanner Crossroads early Sunday.  Arrested and charged with murder is Fernando Nolasco Mendez, 40, of 10420 U.S. 31 South. Tanner.  Mendez went before Limestone District Court Judge Jeanne Anderson Tuesday who set bail bond at $250,000.    ^    ^    ^  McNatt said rela- Fernando Mendez  tives of the family told investigators that the woman had a boyfriend and that she and her  ¥  husband got into an argument over that. Mendez directed his 10-year-old son to dial 9-1-1 after he walked from the bedroom co\ -ered in what investigators believe was his wife’s blood.  McNatt said Martinez was stabbed on the right side of her chest, but apparently that wound was not deadly because it did not hit a vital area in the body. She had numerous cuts on her hands, apparently sustained in defense of the attack, McNatt said.  See Autopsy, Page 2A  AMAGE...  CONTROLLED  Ncws-Counor file photo  Above, In October, crews were still clearing debris from the beaches and roads, including homes that were ripped from their foundations by Hurricane Ivan’s winds in September. At right, the beaches are now clear of debris and ready for visitors, according to a tourism spokesman.  Photo courtesy Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau  Gulf Shores, Orange Beach clear o: Hurricane’s debris, ready for spring  By Kelly Kazek   kclly@athcnsncws-couricr.com  Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are open for business and seeking tourists.  Expect the familiar    -  sugar-white sands and blue skies, but don’t expect to see the same vacation spot you left last year, said a spokesman for the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau.  The beaches — along with hotels, restaurants and attractions — were devastated when Hurricane Ivan roared through in September.  “I think the key message were trying to  What’s open?  Accommodations, 51 perceni open; ciiiises/chaiters. 78 percent open; resUiLirants, 66 percent; shopping, 81 percent; attractions, 73 percent; golf, 100 percent. Visit \\A\Av.agccvb.com.  get out is the Alabama Gulf Coast is open for business," said Mike Foster, vice-president of marketing for the Visitors Bureau. “The attractions, beaches, the great fishing   -fleet    you've known  before, they're all open. While we might be a little scratched and we might be a little bruised we're inviting people to come back and enjoy Alabama’s Gulf Coast." While high-rise hotels sutTered mostly damage to their beach sides, many of the quaint beach homes that lined Gulf Shores were completely demolished  See Gulf Shores, Page 6A  33 local applicants approved for funds to cover hurricane damage  B\ SONN\ Tlrner  sonny@athcnsncws-couriercom Limestone County will receive $18,110 in disaster assistance as the result of damage caused last September by Hurricane Ivan.  Federal    Emergency  Management Agency officials said 33 applications were received for assistance from Limestone County.  Of the $18,110, FEMA said  $13,658 will go for housing repairs. Other needs assistance such as damages to vehicles totalled $4,452.  When Ivan made landfall on the Gulf Coast, he caused severe damage and destruction in 65 Alabama counties.  Since that time, state and local governments, as w'ell as individuals, households and businesses.  See Damage, Page 6A  Atlanta shooting Suspect heavily guarded at rape case hearing  ATLANTA (AP) — Surrounded by 19 officers in a cin-der-block jail room, the suspect in a rampage that left a judge and three others dead went before a magistrate Tuesday and was informed that authorities plan to charge him with murder.  Brian Nichols, his hands and ankles shackled appeared before Cobb County Magistrate Judge Frank Cox on the same rapte charge that he was on trial for Friday when he escaped from another courthouse. Nichols spoke only once at the hearing, when Cox asked him if he had any questions.  “Not at this time,’’ he said.  Officers lined the walls of the room during Tuesday’s hearing.  • Authorities said Nichols had been alone with a fetnale deputy Friday when he stole her gun and then shot to death the judge presiding over his rape case and two others. He also is accused of killing a federal agent as he eluded police.  See Shooting suspect, Page ЗА  AP photo  Brian Nichols, center, the suspect in a crime spree that left a judge and three others dead, appears in court Tuesday at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta. Nichols was in shackles and escorted by deputies.  .awmen seize $65,000 from two city homes  By Sonny Turner   sonny@athcnsncws-couricr.com   Limestone County authorities working with federal Drug Enforcement Agents raided two Athens homes Monday night, confiscating more than $65,000 that they believe is illegal drug money.  Bobby Sledge, 31, of 107 Cedar Street. Athens, is charged with receiving stolen property as the result of a stolen gun found at his residence.  Sledge and Greg Lockett, 31, of Har\est, were picked up by federal drug agents as they were leaving their homes. SheritT Mike Blakely said evidence against both men w ill be presented to a federal grand jury for possible indictments charging each with conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.  “We believe we put a major dent in our illegal cocaine trade in Limestone County," Blakely said Tuesday. “The money we seized  See $65,000, Page 3A   

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