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Athens News Courier: Sunday, April 3, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - April 3, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 now, Aprii, 3, 2005  c'new scon rier.com  On I Doi I \R  John Paul II dies  Pope  VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope John Paul II, who helped topple communism in Europe and left a deeply conservative stamp on the church that he led for 26 years, died Saturday night in his Vatican apartment, ending a long public struggle against debilitating illness. He was 84.  “We all feel like orphans this evening,” Undersecretary of State Archbishop Leonardo Sandri told the crowd of 70,000 that gathered in St. Peter’s Square below the  pope's still-lighted apartment windows.  In the massive piazza that stretches from St. Peter’s Basilica, the assembled flock fell into a stunned silence before some people broke into applause — an Italian tradition in which mourners often clap for important figures. Others wept. Still others recited the rosary. A seminarian slowly waved a large red and white Polish flag draped with black bunting for the Polish-born pontiff, the most-traveled pope in history.  At one point, prelates asked those in the square to stay silent so they might “accompany the pope in his first steps into heaven.” But as the Vatican bells tolled in mourning, a group of young people sang, “Alleluia, he will rise again.” One strummed a guitar, and other pilgrims joined in singing the "Ave Maria.”  “The angels welcome you,” Vatican TV said after papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Vails announced the death of the  pope, who had for years suffered from Parkinson’s disease and came down with fever and infections in recent weeks.  In contrast to the church’s ancient traditions, Navarro-Vails announced the death to journalists in the most modem of communication forms, an e-mail that said: “The Holy Father died this evening at 9:37 p.m. in his private apartment.” The spokesman said  See Pope, Page 7A  Johnny Nash of Coxey  Subscriber of the day  Tut’s treasures  Replicas of 120 artifacts from King Tut’s tomb are on display in Birmingham.  SCUDOfF  Hey, Sound Off:  Could someone please explain to me why the few parents at Brookhill whose children are having certain symptoms, still insist on trying to involve the majority of us whose children aren't ill? I received a health survey from the Athens City School system for my child at Brookhill a few weeks ago. I filled it out and returned it to the nurse. Today, my child brought home another survey from ’‘Concerned Brookhill Parents” group! For the record, my child isn’t suffering from any mysterious symptoms.  The school is already undergoing environmental testing, what more do you people want? Until there is some scientific proof that there is something harmful to my child at Brookhill, then there's no logical reason for him/her to leave. If these parents are as concerned as they claim to be, then why haven’t they already moved their children to another school and let the rest of us enjoy our school year in peace?  More Sound Off Valley, 6A  Index  Classified 1-14D  Courthouse Beat .. .15A  Crossword 17A  Ledger ..........8A  Obituaries 2A  Ruby Lee Blevins Earl W. Maples  Other Views 5A  Our Opinion 4A  Sports .........1-4B  Valley...........6A  Weather .........2A  Daily Bible Moment  $&less the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.  Psalm 103:2  Êtimtdtm %ia/>el  322 Hwy. 31N' Atkins 256-232-1051 Obit line 256-771-0934  ¿nO/,7 nnnn -5  NAACP fish fry  News-Courier/Kim Rynders  Members of the NAACP held a fish fry at Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park Friday. The event was a fund-raiser and many people turned out to buy plates. Executive Committee member Leon Steele and Membership Chairperson Keith Harris fried fish and potatoes throughout the day as needed. The plates were on sale until they ran out. For information on becoming a member call Harris at 431-8891.  Clear signal  News-Courier/Kim Rynders  CSX Railroad employee Melvin Phillips cleans a railroad crossing sign on Pryor Street in Athens. Railroad crossings are important to motorists and constant maintenance is needed for safety.  New restaurants, motel may come  By Sonny Turner  sonny@athensnews-courier. com  Athens Mayor Dan Williams said nothing is official, but it appears several major restaurants and motels may be coming to the city.  Those plans include a Lone Star steak house, Holiday Inn motel, Ruby Tuesday restaurant, a Backyard Burgers restaurant and a Bojangles restaurant.  The mayor and Athens City Engineer James Rich met last week with Alabama Department of Transportation Director Joe Mclnnes and State Senator Tom Butler in Butler’s office in Madison to discuss possible improvements in the area near Interstate 65 and U.S. 72. The mayor said that is the location many of the new chain restaurants and hotels want to locate.  “We’re seeking to have some turn lanes and signals put up out there,” Williams said this weekend. “We’re wanting to get in the state’s five year plan and it looks like we will be able to do that.”  Butler is asking city leaders to come up a plan that will include cost estimates to improve the eastern section of Athens.  Williams said the Lone Star, Holiday Inn, Ruby Tuesday and Backyard Burgers are expected to locate on property being developed by Bill Ming which is west of the I-65-U.S. 72 interchange. Bojangles would locate on property just east of Ming’s development, city officials said.  “We’ve heard rumors that Lone Star is coming, but we have nothing official on that,” said Athens City Planner Scott Griess. “We have nothing on paper yet.”  Work to remove and replace the west bound bridge over Swan Creek on U.S. 72 East near the Ming property is now  See Restaurants, Page 2A  Court is filled with speeders  3,300 speeding tickets issued on U.S. 72 West  Title at hand  Illinois, Louisville battle for spot in NCAA men’s basketball championship game  ahead  Did you remember to set your clocks an hour ahead?  iKetoaii cnampionsmp game jg  _^    J    jp    hour    ahead?  ews-Cwrier  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  By Sonny Turner   sonny@athensnews-courier.com  The courtroom was packed and many of the people there had their check book in hand.  Many were there to plead guilty and pay the $158 fine the state charges for a speeding ticket. But some had to pay more because they got caught speeding in the no tolerance zone where the fines are doubled.  That was the scene Friday in Limestone District Judge Jerry Batts’ courtroom and the majority of those in attendance were there because they had been ticketed for speeding on U.S. 72 West, a zone the state has been cracking down on since the first of the year.  “As a matter of fact, there have been 3,300 speeding tickets issued on that stretch of road since January 1,” said Limestone County Circuit Court Clerk Charles Page. “Since the state announced the crack down, they’ve issued approximately a 1,000 tickets a month.”  The strict enforcement was a direct order given by Gov. Bob Riley who toured the area with State Senator Tom Butler after three people were killed in a tragic accident during the rain last fall. The location of that wreck has been the site of other wrecks in the past that took lives, Butler said.  Butler asked the governor require the strict enforcement that now includes a 45 mph speed limit during times of rain. The area in question runs from the Athens city limits to the Lauderdale County line.  “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. This should tell us something.”  Sen. Tom Butler  In court Friday, speeders paid fines of $158 and $178 for the most part. Of that amount, every $35 of the fine goes to the Limestone County Jail with the remainder going to the state and county.  Butler said Thursday that he and State Highway Director Joe Mclnnes both agree that work to five lane U.S. 72 West is nearing.  Butler last year sent a letter to Riley requesting immediate relief for what he called “death trap” conditions along the highway. Turns lanes were in that request, he said.  “Ever since they made the changes and the state troopers have been watching this highway closely, 1 don’t think they have had a single fatality out there,” Butler said. "This should tell us something.”  Butler said one of the five lanes proposed will be used as a center turn lane.   

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