Friday, June 10, 2005

Athens News Courier

Location: Athens, Alabama

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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - June 10, 2005, Athens, Alabama All-County softball Coaches pick top performers, MVP on the diamond in 2005 TbeNe Hobby horses Ken Wilson raises horses as hobby in Cross Key 7A miner Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future Friday, June 10,2005 {-■'CrO-cl' twCrl/WinC^ Marcus Morris of Athens Subscriber of the day Wild property The State Forever Wild Land Trust is interested in purchasing property in Limestone County to add to its 110,000 acres statewide. 5A Hey, Sound Off: A recent writer to Sound OfY complained that the “rich” are not paying enough federal income tax and the “poor” are paying too much. Here are the facts. Almost half of all wage earners pay no federal income tax (zero) and many get money back on taxes they did not pay. It is hard to reduce the taxes on the 50 percent who pay none. Now. what share of the total tax does the other half pay? Here are the “official” facts from the IRS ( http://www.irs.gOv/pub/i rs-soi/01 in05sr.xls). The people with the top 1 percent of income pay 34 percent of the total tax. The top 10 percent pay 65 percent of all taxes. The top 50 percent pay 96 percent of all taxes. It seems to me everyone should pay some federal income tax, regardless of how little they earn. How' can anyone say the “rich” are not paying their share? More Sound Off Valley, 5A Index Classified 3-7B Comics..........8B Ledger..........6A Obituaries 2A Mary Elisabeth Black Macklin Dewain Davis Robert Brown Dollins Woodrow W. Dishongh Joyce Ann Robbins Religion ......9-11A Sports.........1-2B Dailv Bible Moment 1 ecause you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:16 o -<yv, iW ’Mette ne yQho 322 Hwv.31 N « Athens' 2.4-232-1051 Obit line 256-771-0934 69847 00001 e new scou rier.com 50 Cents; Residents complain about re-appraisals of property By Tashia Lovell tashia@athensnews-courier.com Some Limestone County residents whose land values were appraised as much as 18 percent higher this year are upset and are appealing. Within the past couple of weeks, some Limestone County residents have received re-appraisals of their land from the Limestone County Revenue Commissioner’s office. Revenue Commissioner Brian Patterson said Wednesday that this is something that has been done every four years and is ordered by the state. Starting next year re-appraisals would be done on a yearly basis. However, this causes concern for Limestone County resident Bruce Gant who said he has known that this was coming for a while. “Property ahvays goes up — typically speaking,” Today is the deadline to file on appeal on land appraisals to the Board of Equalization. Gant said. But he said as a result of an annual re-appraisal values will be inflated more often thus resulting in higher property taxes. He said that the annual re-appraisals are the reason a lot of people were against the renewal of the 8-mill tax earlier this year. ^ “The schools are actually going to be sw imming in money,” Gant said. He said he does not think there was a funding crisis See Property, Page 2A Judge may rule on moving Barksdale trial in September By Sonny Turner sonny@atlien.snews-courier.com Limestone County Circuit Judge Bob Baker said Thursday he will rule sometime this fall whether to move the upcoming trial of Farron Barksdale from Limestone County as requested by Barksdale’s attorney. But Limestone County District Attorney Kristi Vails is objecting to the change of venue motion. It was the only motion Barksdale See Barksdale, Page 2A At 85, he still represents the Lollipop Guild Munchkin actor to take part in local production ‘Journey to Oz’ By Kelly Kazek kelly@athensnens-courier.com For 20 years, Susan Fisher has had a dream of producing a dance performance of “The Wizard of Oz.” She was involved in a show called “Gotta Dance to see the Wiz” in 1985 and, after becoming a Visit Marens We6 site at www.ozmunc hkinland.com Courtesy photo Jerry Maren hands Judy Garland (as Dorothy Gale) a lollipop. Maren, then 17, was the Munchkin in the center of the three Lollipop Guild members. Jerry Maren recalls magic of ‘Oz’ By Kelly Kazek kelly@athensnens-courier.com For Jerry Maren, Oz was magical in more ways than one. It was a fictional land filled with witches and unusual creatures, but, for the inexperienced teen, it was also a real place — one where he learned he wasn’t alone. Before he stepped onto the set of “The Wizard of Oz” to play .r Munchkin at age 17, Maren had never seen anyone his size. “I’d never seen another little person in my life,” Maren said in an interview by phone Thursday from Pennsylvania. “I’m from a family of regular-sized people.” The knowledge that many other people were like him changed him. “They were similar to me in so many ways,” he said. “We could discuss everything we wanted to and there were I’d never seen another little person in my life.” —Jerry Maren tom all these beautiful little ladies around.” Maren, now 85, made only $50 per week playing a Lollipop Guild Munchkin in the 1939 film (he’s the one who hands Dorothy the lollipop), but he now relies on the See Magic, Page 3A dance teacher herself, hided her time. “We’ve been waiting and waiting for the right cast,” said Fisher, who owns the Dance Factory in Athens. This year was the year. “I’ve got the perfect cast,” she said. Her students will perform their recital “Journey to Oz,” at 7 p.m. Monday, June 20, at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. But Fisher wanted to do something special for the event, her 16th annual recital, so she invited Jerry Maren, one of the few surviving Munchkins who makes appearances, to perform. “My girlfriend and I — she’s a big ‘Oz’ fan — were talking and she said, ‘Look it up on the Internet,”’ she said. “I typed in ‘Munchkin’ and it just popped up.” Maren, who was the Lollipop Guild Munchkin who hands Dorothy the lollipop, will appear in “Meet the Munchkin,” in which he talks about his experiences, at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 19, in the Von Braun Center’s Concert Hall A silent auction will be held from 2 p.m. until show time Sunday. Tickets for Maren’s show and the auction are $5. Tickets for Monday’s recital are $8 for adults and $4 for kids 12 and under. See Journey, Page 3A Board transfers Poole to Cowart By Tashia Lovell tashia@athensnens-courier.com la a move Athens City Schools superintendent Dr. Orman Bridges Jr, said w ill benefit the schools, he recommended three principals be transferred within the school system including Brookhill Elementary School Principal Janet Poole. In a specially called meeting Thursday night, Poole spoke before the board about the recommendation that she said she had only heard about Thursday afternoon. “I’m very emotional,” Poole said. She said the Brookhill school building is putting her health at risk but moving her to another building will not solve the problem. Her concern remains with the students and employees at the school and she wants to make sure they are taken care of. The board unanimously approved Poole’s transfer to James L. Cowart Elementary, the transfer of Cowart principal Randy Murphy to Athens Intermediate School and AIS principal Gamer Ezell to Brookhill Elementary School. Gamer and Murphy had submitted voluntary transfer requests. Poole has had health problems for more than a' See Principal, Page 3A Tris USA Executive Vice President Nobuo Minamikawa, left, and Plant Manager Patrick Montgomery serve the company’s candidate for Firecracker Queen of Dixie, a fund-raising event to benefit Moms On-a Mission. TRIS employees are challenging other local industries to sponsor a competitor for the crown. Freedom Fest held July 4 to benefit troops Firecracker Queen competition begins By Tashia Lovell tashia@athensnen’s-courier.com Games, queens, food and fun — you can expect all of these at this year’s Freedom Festival to be held outside the Athens High School football stadium July 4. This is the 3rd annual Freedom Festival which is sponsored by Moms On-a Mission. MOM is a nationally recognized organization founded by Limestone County resident Karen Koenders, which offers care packages to soldiers overseas. The festival begins at 10 a.m. and will last through sundown when Reliance Bank hosts a fireworks display inside the stadium. At the festival, there will be activities for See Fest, Page 2A