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Athens News Courier: Saturday, April 23, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - April 23, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 Former Tide star rejuvenated  Antonio McDyess finds new life with NBA’s Detroit Pistons  e News-Courier  Saturday, April 23,2005  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  eitewscou ner.com  50 Cents  »  w  * .  Good t'VvObH / l'tv& KS    J  Stanley Hinkle of Toney  Subscriber of the clay  Ш0Т  Hey, Sound Off:  In response to the sound off on the front page of the paper Friday,  I would like to say that I am a Democrat, a Christian and I am proud of it. My morals are as good as anyone in Limestone County.  My hangup is that every time someone disagrees with the president they are labeled a liberal. If being a Democrat is a liberal, so be it, I am one.  I would put my morals up to any Republican in the State of Alabama.  Because I do not believe in the war that is going on in the world does not mean that I do not back the troops. They cannot help it because the president lied about the war and is getting deeper and deeper all the time. When you start pointing fingers at someone just remember that you have one pointed at the liberals and four pointing back at you. For the life of me, I cannot see how any Republican cannot see that this country is in worse shape than it has ever been. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that.  More Sound Off Sunday  Get the news with your morning coffee  Subscribe to The Neus-Courier  232-2720  Index  Classified 4-5A  Comics..........4B  Golf ............5B  Ledger ..........8A  Obituaries........2A  Sara Ann Morningstar Lucille Newton  Sports .........1-3B  Weather .........2A  Daily Bible Moment  filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.  Ephesians 5:18-19  tlirnvMne (ohafxl  322 H*t.31 N » Allwas 256-232-1051 Obit line 256-771-0934  О  •<Wt Am"  Wales abandons plans for bank  Hobbs Street still favored site for police headquarters  By Sonny Turner  so n ny@a th ensnews-co urier. com Athens City Councilman Harold Wales said Friday that he has abandoned a proposal for Athens to purchase the old Union Planters Bank for a new police headquarters building because it’s obvious he does not have enough votes on the council to carry through with that project.  Instead, Wales said he will vote Monday night in favor of the council pur  chasing property on East Hobbs Street and constructing a $3 million new police building on that site.  “It’s clear to me that I don’t have enough votes on the council (for my proposal), so I will vote for the Hobbs Street site,” Wales said. "I think the council will vote Monday night and two sites will be brought up — the one on Hobbs Street and the one on U.S. 72.1 like the one on Hobbs Street the best.”  Marks    Wales  “I will definitely propose the Fast Hobbs Street site to the council for vote Monday night,” said Councilman Ronnie Marks. “I’m glad to hear that Mr. Wales will favor the Hobbs Street location. 1  think it's time we decided on this issue and move on.”  The final test on property that the city is seeking to build the new police headquarters has cleared the site for construction. That word came this week.  “The final test shows that the water there is clean enough to drink out of,” Marks said. “It shows that site is absolutely clean. Now, I'm ready to vote on it.”  A city building committee had concerns that the property between Thomas Street and Shaw Street might pose a danger due to possible seeping gas from an adjacent service station. But Marks said  See Bank, Page 2A  Mayor walking after surgery to replace hip  By Melanie Walker   melanie@athensnews-courier.com  You just can’t keep a good mayor down. Just a day after hip replacement surgery, Athens Mayor Dan Williams was up walking several steps from his hospital bed to a chair to sit for a while.  “He went into surgery about 9 a.m. Thursday morning and he called us about 12 o'clock to let us know he’d come through all right,” said Fire Chief Cliff Christopher. “His wife, Kay, called us Fnday morning and said he was up and was moving.”  Williams underwent hip replacement surgery at Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville.    Williams  “He’ll spend about three or four days in the hospital and then have five or six weeks of recovery,” Christopher said. It is expected that W'illiams will undergo patient rehabilitation at Encore located on the Medical East campus.  During his recovery, City Council president Jimmy Gill will serve as acting mayor, performing all of the functions normally handled by Williams.  City Councilman Ronnie Marks had also checked in on the mayor’s progress.  “He’s doing fine, he’d come through surgery and was being to move around,” Marks said.  Marks, Gill and the rest of the council will work together to keep the city running smoothly while the mayor is recovering.  “I think we’ll need to check and see whether Jimmy Gill can vote on council issues during the  See Mayor, Page 2A  Power out to prison, residents after storm  By Tanjie Nash  tanjie@athensnews-courier. com Athens Utilities electric crews were kept busy Friday morning restoring power after thunderstorms knocked out service in areas scattered across Limestone County.  Electric Department Manager Gary Scroggins said the largest outage affected about 500 customers after lightning struck and burned a power line at Limestone Correctional Facility.  That outage, as well as several other “spot problems” happened between 8:30 and 9 a.m. during a brief period of heavy rainfall accompanied by lightning, Scroggins said.  After about 30 minutes power had been restored to everyone except the prison, which is located on Nick Davis Road in the Capshaw community.  “As far as we can tell it was lightning that caused the problem out there,” Scroggins said. “Lightning sometimes will get on a line and travel down the line and bum it in two. That’s somewhat common during a thunderstorm.”  The prison has a generator which engages automatically during a power outage, Scroggins said.  “It was about 11:30 when we got them back on,” he said.  Employees at the Limestone Detention Center and Sheriff’s Office, on Elm Street in Athens, also spent much of the day Friday dealing with weather-related problems after a power surge knocked the phone system off line.  See Power, Page 2A  Commission chairman feeling impact of lightning strike Friday  By Kelly Kazek   kelly@athensnews-courier.com   David Seibert knows what it feels like to survive an earthquake.  The Limestone County Commission Chairman awoke sore from his head to his feet Friday morning.  He awoke to items thrown from shelves and a computer and TV that no longer worked. He awoke to a ceiling fan that “goes a zillion miles and hour.”  He awoke to find one less poplar tree in his backyard, its bark and limbs strewn across the yard.  But it wasn’t an earthquake that left Seibert reeling — it was a lightning strike just outside the bedroom window of his West Limestone home.  Midnight was the twitching hour, Seibert said.  He was asleep Thursday night when, just as the clock struck 12, lightning zapped a tree outside the open window, lifting him off the mattress and shaking the house.  “All I heard was ‘POW!’” Seibert said. At the time, he knew lightning had struck somewhere nearby, but he didn’t know the extent of the damage. “I thought it probably hit a transformer. 1 didn’t go outside because it was hailing.”  He went back to sleep.  When he awoke, he felt sore.  “My neck and my shoulders hurt — even the bottoms of my feet hurt,” Seibert said, rubbing his neck and stretching his arms.  Seibert’s wife, Patty, was in Huntsville for a BETA Club convention when the strike occurred.  See Lightning, Page 2A  ï iSS  №  Ж ЪшшТ Ш  7#:- «¿F 4  1ST»  jßWT* nÆjtsT-' л* a-.ty ••  News-Courier/Kim Rynders  In top photo, David Seibert shows the tree that was split by a lightning strike outside his bedroom window. The limbs of the tree that nearly hit the house can be seen in photo directly above.  City School Board approves ‘pretty good deal’ with $140K lease/purchase of two new buses  By Phil Willis  phil@athensnew’s-courier.com The Athens City School Board Thursday night approved what Superintendent Dr. Orman Bridges Jr. described as “a pretty good deal” for the purchase of two new school buses.  The buses will be purchased through a tax-exempt lease agreement w ith Regions Bank. Total amount of the 120-month lease is $139,906, with annual payments of $16,690 per year based on an annual interest rate of 4.15 percent. But 59 percent of the lease payment — $9,780 per year — will be paid by the state, Bridges explained to the board.  A $43,096 repair job in the auditorium at Athens Middle School also received board approval. Alabama Correctional Industries is to “remove, repair, refinish and reinstall” all exist-  ing seats. Bridges said the repairs also would include the replacement of seats, where needed to “fill in the gaps.” ( ost of the repairs will be paid from the 2002 Capital Warrant Account.  Curricular issues approved by the board include the addition of a health class to the summer school schedule at Athens High School. The course will be offered in collaboration with Athens State University and the Boys & Girls Club of Limestone County. The board also approved the state-recommended list of social studies textbooks for grades 3-12 for the 2005-06 academic year. Bridges estimated the cost of the new textbooks at approximately $154,000.  The Athens Counseling Center’s request to use Athens  See Buses, Page 2A   

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