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Athens News Courier Newspaper Archive: April 24, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - April 24, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 Sunday, Лики. 24, 2005  eiiowscouner.com  Ом Doi I vu  Classified 1-160  Crosswords 9A  Ledger ..........7A  Obituaries........2A  Kenny Carter Marsha G. Chambers Jerry Hardiman Sara Ann Morningstar Lucille Newton James Claude Sanders  Other Views 5A  Our Opinion 4A  Sports .........1-4B  Growth potential    Holiday observed  Observations of a woman on her way to    state and Limestone County offices will be  becoming a Master Gardener    closed Monday for Confederate Memorial Day  The News-Courier  Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future  By Tashia Lovell   tashia@athensnews-courier.com  Korean War veteran Blendor Crooks recently had a city street named in his honor.  Athens City Council President Jimmy Gill said Crooks was a Korean  War veteran who was shot numerous times in the war and survived.  Gill said that it was appropriate to recognize Crooks in this way.  Crooks passed away in November, 2003 but several of his relatives were at the dedication held earlier this  month.  Gill said all members of the Athens City Council and some members of the church Crooks attends, James Chapel Missionary Baptist  See Street, Page 2A  Church group buys Athens Country Club  Athens street named after war veteran  Richard and Sheila Sparks, above, have purchased the Athens Country Club and will convert it into an outreach ministry. The golf course at ACC will remain.  By Melanie Walker   melanie@athensnews-courier.com  Some people work all their lives to become part of the country club set with expectations of living the high life and rubbing shoulders with the upper crust of society.  But for Richard and Sheila Sparks acquiring the Athens Country Club is a giant leap of faith. Purchasing the building and grounds of the aging club will fulfill a dream and expand the scope of the ministry of the Southwind Christian Center and the Lionheart Christian Academy.  “This has been such a blessing, things have really fallen into place. I can't tell you all that has happened to bring this about,” Sparks said. “It is hard to find a building in Athens and this one is ideal for outreach."  “It was a blessing,” Sheila Sparks added, “with tennis courts and a swimming pool.”  Their enthusiasm is obvious and their plans for the budding will benefit their congregation and the community but moving their plans forward has not come without opposition. Some in their congregation opposed the idea of outreach to disadvantaged youth.  “They felt that opening our outreach ministry to everyone would bring ‘undesirables,’” Sparks said. “Because of that we had a few people that dropped out of the congregation. But I’ve not seen any real bad kids in Athens. There just aren’t any."  Thinking back on the days when they lived in Knoxville, Tenn., and worked with a teen outreach ministry their, Sparks grows reflective.  “I’ve never had to disarm a kid in  See Country Club, Page 3A  Leads in hit-and-run ‘dried up’  By Sonny Turner sonny@athensnews-courier. com Athens police said all possible leads as to who might have killed a Decatur man last month in a hit-and-run on U.S. 31 South have dried up.  “We’ve received nothing of late,” said Capt. Marty Bruce. “It's pretty well dried up.”  Gov. Bob Riley has posted a $5,000 reward for information that will lead to the airest and conviction of the person responsible for the death of Royce Dale Ramsey,  42, of Decatur.  At first, police were not sure if the motorist who struck and killed Ramsey, of Harrison Street, Decatur, knew it because the conditions on U.S. 31 South that night were horrible with dense fog and rain. But Lt. Floyd Johnson said police now believe the driver committed a crime since he has not come forward.  Ramsey was on his bicycle heading north toward Tanner Crossroads when he was struck from behind and killed. His body was found in a ditch across from  Lawson’s Trailer Park.  Ramsey was on his way to visit his wife who lived in Tanner. The two had been separated for months, police said. They added Ramsey was known to use his bicycle for transportation.  Police said the investigation shows that a red vehicle might have been involved in the death based on the reddish smears of paint found on the bicycle. That vehicle also could have its right front turn signal broken out, police said at the time.  Attorney: Chandler was not at gathering  By Sonny Turner  sonny@athensnews-courier. com  The Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority did not meet in secret last week with former manager Bobby Chandler, the attorney for the water board said Friday.  “It was not a secret meeting and Bobby Chandler was no where near the building,” said Jim Moffatt. “The report (TV report) that came out was incorrect.”  Moffatt said he and acting manager Greg Holland and an engineer discussed future sewer plans with two members (Bobby Gilbert and Alton Robison) of the five-member board Friday (April 15). He said such meetings are common and are held on a rotating basis with board members.  “Two members do not make a quorum,” Moffatt said.  The attorney said Tern Fulton, a member of the the local Citizens for the Defense of Constitutional Rights Inc. e-mailed the news media saying the LWSA had met in secret with Chandler and one Huntsville television reporter went on the air and reported it.  Moffatt said the gathering was not a meeting and violated no state laws.  “Bobby Chandler was no where near that building,” Moffatt said. “As for as a secret meeting, the board at its last meeting adopted the new state open meetings law which takes effect Oct. 1.”  Chandler resigned in January after it was reported in The News-Courier that the water board gave him a $ 15,000 Christmas bonus at a time when it was considering increasing the water rates to customers. The board gave Holland and other employees bonuses, as well.  Chandler resigned after Limestone County Commission Chairman David Seibert called for the • resignations of board members because he said he believed they had lost the public’s trust.  Sewer to cost homeowners $3,000 each  By Sonny Turner   sonny@athensnews-courier.com   An Athens city councilman told residents of two subdivisions Thursday night that he will ask the full council to provide sewer service to those neighborhoods, a project that will cost nearly $1 million.  “The residents have pretty well decided they want to go the gravity flow route instead of the grinder pumps. That means we will have to bore beneath Interstate 65 with those lines,” said Councilman Harold Wales.  Residents were told that if city sewer is constructed in Whitfield Colony and Winslow Subdivisions off Lindsay Lane in east Athens, each household will have to pay approximately $3,000. In addition, the monthly sewer bill lor each household will run approximately $21.45 per month.  “I will present this to the council,” Wales said Friday. “I think the majority of the residents in those neighborhoods are ready to go it.”  Residents met with Wales and Athens Wastewater Superintendent John Stockton Thursday night at Athens City Hall and we r e told the costs involved in such a project.  Wales set up the “neighborhood meeting” because he said residents from those areas had expressed concerns to him that they wanted city sewer since some were having problems with  See Sewer, Page 2A  News-Courier/ Kim Rynders  Blendor Crooks Drive takes the place of Ingieside Drive off South Hine Street near Somerest Drive. Athens City Council President Jimmy Gill, above, headed the dedication ceremony.  Barbara Green  T  of Harvest  Subscriber of the day  in OFF  Hey, Sound Off:  I thought I voted in the wet-dry election for all tax monies from the sale of alcoholic beverages to be for education. What <s up with the city councilman wanting to take $250,000 from its liquor tax revenue for street repairs? If this starts, forget education getting the funds, next the councilman will want to “take” additional monies from this same fund for other projects.  I wish the councilmen would get'their acts together and live within the means of the city budget and like the rest of us, borrow the money from a bank when an unexpected expense comes up that was not included in the budget. Does the city not plan ahead for street projects....pavement is not a one-time expense!  Note: The city council agreed that half of the liquor tax revenue would be given to the City Board of Education, not all.  More Sound Off Valley, 6A  69847  00002  Daily Bible Moment  jf rom whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?  Job 38:29  di  c  \ i&mtdm waftd  §    322    Hwy.    31N • Athe«s  .    256-232-1051  Obit line 256-771-0934  Get the news with your morning coffee  Subscribe to The News-Courier  232-2720   

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