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Athens News Courier: Friday, April 1, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - April 1, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 «  On the links  Athens High School boys' and girls’ golf teams tee off at Canebrake    jg  Life on the farm  Scenes from Limestone County’s long history of agriculture in a special section inside TODAY  The News-Couriér  Friday, Vpril 1. 2005  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  I i • i  •!  A- ' CrCrdL tvx O'*Vhi CfV ÿ  Bill Magnusson of Ardmore  Subscriber of the day  SilDCfF  Hey, Sound Off:  I was for block scheduling when it first was mentioned but 1 have changed my mind on the matter. I have several friends whose students were in the honors program. They hardly ever had homework because they were given class time to work on it. As a result, they never developed good study habits. They were also in the top 10 in their graduating class. Guess what? They are struggling in college because they are taking 18 hours plus a lab and since they never had to study in high school or develop good study habits. Some may lose their scholarships. These are not kids who look for parties or goof off. Two !i\ c at home and work part time.  Schools all across the state are returning to the seven-period day. I currently have a student in high school who is an honor student. I hardly see homework and when I ask why, they say they did it in class. This is unnerving. because the goal of homework is to reinforce what was taught in class.  I have teacher friends in other school systems and they are looking forward to getting out of the block classes. Don’t be too quick to criticize the school board or the superintendent.  More Sound Off Valley, 5A  Index  Classified 4-7B  Comics..........8B  Horse & Farm  7A  Ledger..........12A  Movie Listing 8A  Obituaries 2A  James Andrew Baker Alvin Bates Ruby Mae Cash Leon Turley Holt Sports .........1*3B  Dailv Bible Moment  wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Colossians 4:5  w  '*Wk am  322 Hwv. 31 s* Athens 256-232-105!  Obit line 256-771-0934  69847 00001  ciievvscotirier.coiîi  50 Cents  ‘I would never let my daughter starve’  Schiavo death has impact on Athens family  By Tashia Lovell   tushia@athensnews-courier.com   After four years of caring for a daughter being fed through a tube, Annie and Eddie Sewell were devastated by news of Terri Schiavo’s death.  “I would never let my daughter starve to death,” Annie said Thursday. “I would never do this to  Stacey.”  Stacey Sewell, 26, has been in what her mother calls a “semi-coma” since a car accident in Huntsville on Feb. 3, 2001. Stacey  is a 1997 graduate of Athens High School and attended Calhoun Community College and Athens State University, where she played softball.  Stacey’s brain stem was sheered in the wreck, but Annie still has hope her daughter will recover.  “Your whole life changes when something like this happens,” she said.  Annie believes Stacey is responsive, just as she believes Schiavo was.  “Terri Schiavo wasn’t dying,” Annie said.  She said it was devastating for her to watch someone die of starvation and thirst. Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed 14 days before she died.  Annie said she and her husband  See Impact, Page 2A  Courtesy photo  Stacey Sewell before the car wreck.  Schiavo’s final moments calm, controversial  PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) — In the end. Tern Schiavo was with her husband, his lawyers and her beloved stutfed animals — but not her own flesh and blood. ’  Schiavo’s parents and siblings had fought bitterly for years against her husband s efforts to have her feeding tube removed and to end her life. A final flare-up in that acrimonious struggle prompted Michael Schiavo to eject his wife’s brother and sister from her hospice room just minutes before she breathed her last breath.  Early Wednesday, with her breathing becoming rapid to labored, and her limbs mottled with red splotches, it became clear that she was entering the last stages of her life. Michael Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos, arrived at the hospice around 10:30 a.m. that day and, uncharacteristically, didn't leave.  At some point Wednesday evening. Mrs. Schiavo’s breathing became very labored and "we thought the end might be near,” said Felos, himself a hospice volunteer. A hospice worker repositioned Schiavo, and that  See Schiavo, Page 2A  Schiavo  U.S. 72 West 5-lane project to begin soon, senator says  Speed limits, trooper crackdown ‘saving lives’  By Sonny Turner  sonny@athensnews-courier. com Construction of a fifth lane on dangerous U.S. 72 West from the Athens city limits to the Lauderdale County line will soon start with the project being put out for bids, State Sen. Tom Butler said Thursday.  “State Highway Director Joe Mclnnes and I met with Athens Mayor Dan Williams and Athens City Engineer James Rich Wednesday in my office and that was one of the projects we talked about,” Butler said. “I’m told that since there is no right-of-way acquisition needed on this project that as soon as the plans are laid out, it will be ready to go.”  Butler last year sent a letter to Gov. Bob Riley requesting immediate relief for what he called “death trap” conditions along U.S. 72 West between Athens and Lauderdale County. His action was prompted by a crash that proved fatal to a young mother and her child and an Athens State University professor.  Since the wreck that took the lives of Nicole Cardwell, 23, her daughter Ciara Marie May, 5, and Dr. Jenita Smith, 50, Alabama State Troopers have been patrolling the highway steadily and new speed signs have been erected including a 45 mph speed limit when it is raining.  “Ever since they made the changes and the state troopers have been watching this highway closely, I don’t think they have had a single fatality out there,” Butler said. “This should tell us something.”  Records show that since troopers have been running radar on U.S. 72, they have issued hundreds of speeding tickets including 1,000 tickets during a two-week period earlier this month.  Butler said U.S. 72 West needs the fifth lane with one of the lanes being used as a center turn lane.  Butler  What gas really costs  News-Courier/ Kim Rynders  Athens firefighter Jared James fuels one of the station vehicles Wednesday. The Athens Fire Department budget for fuel is $8,500 for this fiscal year.  City departments hit hard by fuel crunch  Athens Police Department’s budget this year for fuel (which includes some oil expense) is $75,000. Athens Fire Department has a budget of $8,500.  By Tashia Lovell   tashia@athensnews-courier.com   Everyone is paying big bucks at the pump, but imagine if your budget for fuel and oil was as much as it is for some city departments.  “Our budget for this year is $75,000,” said Athens Police Chief Wayne Harper. “Last year our budget was $45,000.”  The department’s fuel budget is mainly for gasoline but does include some oil expense. According to Harper, the police department went over budget $9,000 last year.  According to Athens Fire Chief Cliff Christopher, their budget this year is $8,500.  “Last year my budget was S6,000 ... went over con-  See Fuel crunch, Page 2A  DA promises crackdown on illegal gaming  By Sonny Turner   sonny@athensnews-courier.com   Limestone County District Attorney Kristi Vails said Thursday she will no longer tolerate illegal gaming devices in county stores and businesses.  “I know there is a possibility several are operating in Limestone County and some business owners think they are legal. But we are serving notice they are not,” Vails said.  The DA said there has been much confusion over the last few years in regard to the legality of electronic and  video gambling devices such as slot machines.  In an attempt to end the confusion in Limestone County concerning these devices, Vails announced that she finds all forms of slot machines to be illegal under Alabama state law.  “These machines are showing up all over Limestone County and they will not be tolerated,” the DA said. “They are subject to immediate forfeiture and those who possess them will be arrested.”  The possession of a gambling device is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a sentence of up to one year  in the county jail and a fine of up to $2,000, Vails said The device could be forfeited to the state and destroyed.  “The district attorney’s office is working in conjunction with the Athens Police Department and Limestone County Sheriff’s Department to begin making arrests of those in violation,” according to the DA.  “As long as there is a game of chance, all are illegal,” Vails said.  “We keep getting complaints and we are going to crack down.”  I  i   

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