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Athens News Courier Newspaper Archive: April 19, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - April 19, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 Tuesday, April 19, 2005  e new sco uric r.co m  Thieves attempt to rob Elkmont ATM  No money taken in botched job  News-Courier/Tashia Lovell  Thieves used a backhoe stolen from Tennessee to pull over the ATM machine at Community Bank in Elkmont off Alabama 127 Sunday night. The would-be thieves left the scene before getting any money.  By Sonny Ti rner   sonny@athensnews-courier.com   Limestone County investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the thieves who attempted to steal money from an ATM machine at the Community Bank in Llkmont Sunday night are the same people who caused damage at the bank seven months ago in a similar attempt.  “Its very possible that it is the same people," said Limestone County Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt. “We certainly can't rule it out at this point"  The ATM machine at the bank, located just off Alabama 127 near Morris Crossroads, was damaged  See ATM, Page 2A  Top 10 honored    Together    again  Four Athens students are among Calhoun    Auburn running backs expect to be reunited Community College’s Top 10. Coming Wednesday in first round of upcoming NFL draft  The News-Courier  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  revOt kV ¿ft^  James Nash of Toney  Subscriber of the day  Around Rogersville  See images from Rogersville inside The News-Courier today.  8A  № OFF  Hey, Sound Off:  The city fathers are at it again.  They want to raise taxes to repair city streets.  I suggest they take the $3.9 million set aside for purchasing land and building a new police station and repair the streets in Athens.  Leave the police station where it is.  To conserve costs on fuel, park the police cars at City Hall at shift’s end and require officers to provide their own transportation to work.  Hey, Sound Off:  Hip, hip hurray for the Legislative delegation.  At least they can see that the commissioners are trying to control an organization they know nothing about.  More Sound Off Valley, 5A  Index  Classified 3-5B  Comics..........6B  Ledger ..........6A  Movie Listing 3A  Rogersville 8A  Obituaries 2A  Minnie Leo Craig Horace “Bossman” Marks James Robert Simpson Hazel Marie “Reda” Smith Sports .........1-2B  Daily Bible Moment  •o not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.  Proverbs 27:1  c J MmtMme (fjinhd  322 Hwy. 31 N • Athens  256-232-1051 Ob»l line 256-771-0934  Liquor money for roads  City to spend $2.7 million to improve Athens streets  By Melanie Walkfr   melanie@athensnews-courier.com  Bounces, bumps and jiggles are not good for cars but the city of Athens is about to change all that. With no major road projects since 1995, the mayor and city council have put their heads together and put together a plan to put alcohol and gas tax dollars to use along with a loan from other sources for wide-ranging paving and drainage projects throughout  the city.  Using a marker and drawing out a plan on a dry erase board the group showed their building enthusiasm as they worked as a team to find funds that would mend the deteriorating roads throughout the city. It was definitely a “can-do" meeting with everyone looking for solutions.  The focus of the meeting was on nearly $2.65 million dollars in paving projects with another $500,000 to be spent on  drainage. Funds would come from alcohol tax revenue, gas tax and potentially from a loan obtained through the League of Municipalities.  Public Works director James Rich had prepared a “hit list" of projects that were prioritized as worst, needing attention, and OK for now, but needed maintenance. Working from the list, the group was able to see the scope and cost of the w ork to be done and craft a plan to address the issue.  "If we just had $1 million dollars to start we could use the alcohol tax to continue on," Councilman Ronnie Marks told the group. From there the mayor and council shook the money tree to find the dollars to make the project viable, estimat  ing that an initial $1 million dollars would be needed the first year w ith $400,000 a year thereafter.  Councilman Johnnie Crutcher was assigned the task of bringing a resolution before next Monday’s city council meeting that will take the alcohol tax monies out of the city's general fund and place it in a special account. This money can then be used to seed the road paving and drainage projects. It is estimated that this tax would generate as much as $250,000 a year. An additional $150,000 from the gasoline tax would prov ide the $400,000 a year necessary for ongoing maintenance.  See Streets, Page 2A  Get the news with your morning coffee  69847  1  Commission hires project manager for courthouse renovation  By Sonny Turner  sonny(a athensnews-courier.com rhe I imestone County Commission voted 3-1 Monday to approve the hiring of a construction manager who at a five percent fee of the actual bid price will oversee work to upgrade the Limestone C ounty •Courthouse.  “1 voted against it because I think we should hold off on that until we see some plans diuvvn _ up." said District 4 Commissioner Bill Daws. ‘T think that is w hat the architect is for. 1 don’t want this to turn out like it did with the new jail.”  He w as referring to the hiring of a construction manager to oversee the work at the new Limestone County Jail and Detention Center on Elm Street. That manager ended up costing the county more than $700,000.  Martin and Cobey Construction Co., of Athens, was hired as the construction manager of the courthouse renovation plan. Brian Moore, president of Martin and Cobey, said his firms fee will be five percent, excluding the architectural fees. The local firm cannot, by law, submit bids on the project, he said.  “We need a construction manager to make recommendations to hold the costs down,” said Commission Chairman David Seibert.  The renovation will allow space on the second floor to be better utilized by the court system, as well as maintain the buildings history integrity. Completed in 1919 and the fifth courthouse in the history of Limestone County, the building is listed on the register of historic places.  Moore told commissioners earlier that making a plan will take as long as four to five months because he and the architect must work withi the constraints of the historic register and building codes.  Seibert said the renovation plan calls for the construction of additional court rooms.  In other action Monday, the commission adopted a resolution on a 4-0 vote to take the 10 cents  See Courthouse, Page 2A  Two charged with gambling for rolling dice  By Sonny Turner  sonny@athensnews-courier. com Two Athens residents learned the hard way this past weekend that gambling doesn’t pay, especially if you do it on a street comer for the world to see.  An undercover Athens policeman surprised the two Sunday night. The officer said the duo were “rolling the dice.”  Police charged a 20-year-old and a 16-year-old juvenile with gambling on the comer of a city street.  Thomas Heath Jimmison, of 1014 Somerest Dr., Athens, and the teenager, were both arrested and charged with simple gambling. Jimmison was also charged with second-degree illegal possession of marijuana.  “They were arrested after an undercover officer saw them shooting dice at the comer of  See Gambling, Page 2A  Subscribe to The News-Courier  232-2720  Authorities investigate fire deemed suspicious  By Kelly Kazek   kelly@athensnews-courier.com  A Saturday afternoon fire that damaged a vacant Athens home raised suspicions among local authorities because utilities were off, officials said.  Athens police and Athens firefighters are involved in the investigation into the fire at 403 N. Malone Street, said Assistant Fire Chief Danny Southard.  The fire started in a bathroom in the  See Fire, Page 2A  Photos courtesy of Sam Anderson At top, an Athens firefighter keeps a stream of water on the bathroom window where the fire reportedly began in a home on North Malone Street. Directly above, firefighters were on the scene for nearly two hours before the blaze was extinguished.   

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