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Athens News Courier: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - April 13, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 Creative minds  Local artists participate in this year’s Panoply Arts Festival in Huntsville jc  Against the wind  ^ West tops Tanner in golf matchup at Athens Country Club    IB  The News-Courier  Wednesday, April 13,2005  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  enewscouriencom  50 Cents  iryx/O'tti'C'êV  Mahlon Yasser of Athens  Subscriber of the day  «№№  Hey, Sound Off:  I find it hard to believe that there are no members of the community w ho do not think that our state legislators’ refusal to change state law- to accommodate the egos of our county commissioners is a travesty of justice.  It is a matter of public record that the Water Authoiity was audited by the state several years ago. It is also a matter of public record that the grand jury “no billed” the allegations of impropriety brought forth by two county commissioners who are now' petitioning the state to change the law and allow them to fire the Water Board members for “making tough and unpopular decisions.”  Exactly what is it that these two “public servants” have against the Water Authority?  The obvious answer would be, of course, it's getting close to election time and these two have started their campaigning in earnest.  More Sound Off Valley, 5A  Get the news with  your morning coffee  Subscribe to The Seu's-Couner ^  232 2-^20  Index  Classified 4-86  Comics..........36  Health Page 14A  Ledger .......10-11A  Obituaries 2A  Cornelia “Connie” Cosby Jack Ronald Day Regina Goode Stephenson Sports .........1-26  Daily Bible Moment  eye cannot say to the hand,  “I have no need of yon; ” nor again the head to the feet, ''I have no need of you. ”  1 Carinthians 1Z'21  322 Hwv. 31 N* Athens ^ . „    256-232-1051  ■'H'. C*« Obit line 256-771-0934  69847 00001  ‘It was quite a ride’  Couple, dog go over 1-65 bridge in van and live  B\ Kfi.lv Kazek  kelly%,athensnews-courier.com  Members of a crew from Decatur Fire and Rescue were lined along the bridge’s concrete barrier looking at the wreckage of a van below.  A truck driver on his way to Athens and a local boom operator from Thompson Tractor joined them.  The row of heads topped with baseball caps seemed to be shaking from side to side, incredulous that the couple and the dog inside the van survived the 58-foot drop from the Tennessee River bridge into the marsh below.  “God was looking out for them,” one man said.  The occupants of the van, Rex and Karen Mitchell, both 47, of Chesterton, Ind., were taken from the scene — he by medical helicopter and she by ambulance.  “I’m not sure where the dog went,” said Rescue Lt. Steve Barnett.  Yet everyone seemed sure the dog, a dachshund, was fine.  “He was licking the rescue workers when he got out of the van,” a rescue worker said.  “He was running up and down, he was so excited” said Tim Lockhart.  Lockhart, who was driving a Thompson Tractor boom truck north along the bridge on Interstate 65 when the wreck occurred stopped immediately to help. He was about to use his truck’s boom to lower himself to the ground to check on the couple when the rescue squad arrived.  “We could see them moving around down there, but we didn’t know how bad they were hurt,” Lockhart said.  Rex and Karen Mitchell were both listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon at Huntsville Hospital. Rex was driving the  See Quite a ride, Page 2A  News-Courier Kim Rynders  Above left, a van occupied by Rex and Karen Mitchell and their dachshund fell 58 feet from the bridge to the marsh below. Both were reported to be in good condition Tuesday at Huntsville Hospital. At top, the Mitchells’ van was pulling this camper, which ended up atop the ramp of the auto transport rig driven by Dale McCool. Directly above, one of the pickup trucks being transported to Athens by McCool was crushed between his rig and the guardrail. A second pickup remained undamaged on the ramp.  As ‘tax day’ approaches, state sends out millions in refunds  By Tashia Lovell   tashia@athensnews-courier.com   More than one million tax returns have already been processed in Alabama and more to be filed with Friday’s deadline looming, a state tax official said.  Carla Snellgrove, public information manager with the Alabama Department of Revenue, said that as of April 7, 1,067,868 returns had been processed.  “We have issued 733,115 returns,” she said. That totals $225 million in refunds in the state so far.  According to Snellgrove, over the last three days the average return has been $306.  Out of those returns processed in the state, 767, 723 have been electronically filed, up 19-percent compared to the ones who e-filed last  See Tax day, Page 3A  News-Courier/ Tashia Lovell  Certified Public Accountant Roan M. Bradley files most of her client’s tax returns electronically. Bradley’s office is located in Athens. The deadline for filing tax returns is Friday. Extensions give filers the chance to put off sending a return until August or October, but those filing extensions must still pay what they think they owe by Friday.  Man remains in county ail after oolice chase  Bv Tashia Lon eli   tashia@aihensnews-courier.com  A man who has been in and out of jail at least six times for stealing automobiles remained behind bars Tuesday in Limestone C ounty Jail after he led Ardmore police on a high-speed chase.  William Troup, 37, of Ohio, confessed Saturday to Ardmore Police regarding his involvement in a three-state theft ring, authorities said.  The ring of nine has been stealing vehicles    in    Tennessee,  Alabama and Georgia and getting paid for delivering the vehicles    to  Jacksonville, Fla., where they would    be  shipped overseas, said officer James Johnston with the Department.  Troup  Ardmore F’olice  See Chase, Page 2A  Road work, gas prices issues at budget review  B\ Melame Walker  melan ie@athensne\is-courier. com The specter of raising taxes to repair city streets was raised at a mid-year budget meeting at Athens City Hall on Tuesday.  Other topics discussed at the meeting were the high cost of gas and the $1,000 monthly expense of a city lobbyist.  For streets that have not been  regularly repaired for a number of years, the idea of finding funds became the subject of earnest debate.  “.Maybe we need to borrow to make the improvements no one will have a problem w ith that,” City Councilman Harold Wales said.  See Budget review. Page 3A   

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