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Athens News Courier: Friday, December 23, 2005 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - December 23, 2005, Athens, Alabama                                 Letters to Santa  Local children’s letters to Santa, greetings from area businesses, inside today  Hoops action  Scenes from local boys and girls basketball games IB  The News-Coun  Friday, December 23,2005  Ser\ iNG Athens and Limestone Colnty; A Commi ntty ok Tradition and Fi 11  enewscourter.coin  50 Cents  Gui Hinke  Subscriber of the day  Dungy tragedy  Son of Indianapolis C olts’ C oach Tony Dungy found dead in Tampa apartment.  IB  fiOIOfF  Hey, Sound Off:  I take my garbage canister to the street on my scheduled pick up day. Once again, because I don't leave my garbage canister out by the street all week like some of my neighbors, 1 have a canister full of garbage for the next week.  Not all of us see the city Sanitation Department's holiday schedule in the newspaper. but all of us do receive a bill from the Utilities Department each month.  VV hy not print the holiday schedule on the bill so we don't end up missing a week's pick up and paying for something we don't receive?  More Sound Off VaUey, 5A  Get the news w ith your morning coffee  Subscribe to The Seu's-Couner ^  2.^2-2^2()  Index     Classified.......    4'6B      Comics.......    3B      Horse & Farm ,    8A      Ledger ......    .. ,12A      Obituaries    2A      Irene Giles Kilgore      Bessie Pollitz Pepper      Religion......    9-11A      Sports.......    1-2B      Valley .......    5A      Weather......    2A     Dailv Bible Moment  I о you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings.  Proverbs 22:29  Limestone Chape  322 Hwv, 31V* Athens 256-232-1051 Obit One 256-771-0934  69847'OOODI  Rumsfeld suggests troop cuts  B.AGHD.XD, Iraq (AP) Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld hinted Thursday that the U.S. militaiy will soon begin reducing its troop strength in Iraq below 138.000, the level it has considered its core force in the country for most of this year.  On an unannounced holiday visit to the Iraqi capital, Rumsfeld hinted a preliminary decision had been made to achieve the modest reduction by canceling the scheduled deployment of two Army brigades.  The cancellation of the deployments  would gradually decrease the number of troops in Iraq by 6,000 to 7,(HX). said a Defense Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement was not yet final. The official said that would bnng the troop level in the country to a little above 130.0(M) sometime next spnng.  The US. temporarily built up its forces in Iraq to about IbO.tMK) to prov ide extra secunty dunng the Oct. 15 referendum and the Dee. 15 election. Rumsfeld had prev iously said those 20.{X)0 extra troops would be leaving socin, and said Thui*sday  that the latest reduetions being considered would be in addition to those.  In an interv lew w ith reporters traveling w ith him on an .\ir l orce cargiY plane to Baghdad RuniNfeld hinted that a preliminary decision had been nuuie to go below the 13S.()0() baseline by not deploy ing a brigade of the 1st Infantrv Division lioin Fort Riley, Kan., and a 1st .Armored Division brigarle now m Kuwait. Other ohicials have said small parts i>t each brigade were likely to go .inyway.  .Asked whether he'd made the decision to hold back those twi> briuades. Rumst'eld  made a distinction betvxeen his decisions as det'ense secretary and final announcements by the U.S. government,  “I iitil It's annouiKwi the government's decision hasn't been announced. 1 herefore it's not final." he said.  l ater. Rumsfeld and (ien. (leorge ( asey pointedly declined to take any questions at a planned question-and-ansvver session w ith reporters at U.S. military headi]iiarters in Baghdad.  \\ hen a reporter pressetl Casey on can-  See Rumsfeld, Page 2A  Delphi says Shareholders out of luck  From staff and wire reports  WASHINGTON — Delphi Corp. said V\ednesday in a regulatory filing that a shareholder request to form an equity committee in its bankruptcy case is “premature" and that it’s “highly unlikely” that holders of coiumon shares will receive anything in the reorganization.  The Troy, Mich.-based auto parts maker said it believ es its shares are worthless. Delphi owns two plants in southern Uimestone County.  According to the filing, the request for a committee came from Appaloosa Management U.P., a hedge fund based in Chatham, N.J., and run by David Tepper.  In October, Appaloosa reported owning 9.3 percent of Delphi, which filed for bankruptcy Oct, 8,  Delphi made its response to the committee request in a Dec. 19 letter to the trustee in its Chapter 1 I case.  In its response, Delphi said its board of directors could represent all stakeholders in maximizing their recoveries in the company's bankruptcy.  The company asked the trustee to hold off on appointing an equity committee until a meeting of creditors scheduled to be held' in February 2006.  Shares of Delphi fell about 2 cents, or 6.3 percent, to 32 cents in over-the-counter trading Wednesday.  Delphi employs 2,200 in Uimestone.  Reminder of loliday closings  Athens City and Uimestone County offices will be closed today and Monday for the Christmas holidays.  Courthouse offices will also be closed both days.  Garbage collection in Uimestone County will not change during the holidays.  The Athens City Sanitation Department picked up items a day earlier than usual. There will be no collection today.  Dreaming of a light Christmas  Ncws-Coiiricr Kim Rvndcrs  80,000 lights shine brightly at Christmas time at the Bobby Powell home off Cambridge Lane.  Limestone man says ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus’ with display  Ba Karen Middleton  karen(aj,athensne\\'s-a)uner.c()m  Depending on their v iewpoint, many in .Athens can see a star in the east come every' Christmas season.  Higher elevations are best.  Cambndge Road resident Bobby Powell said the brilliant display of lights, crowned by a towering 100-foot high Star of Bethlehem, he has showcased in his front yard f rom Thanksgiving to the New \'ear since 1988 is also about a point of view: to celebrate Jesus’ binhday.  “This year, since there has been so much talk about ‘happy holidays’ and ‘Merry Christmas,' everyone should come see my lights because everything 1 have says. ‘Happy  Getting there  Take r.S. Ikist to Camhriclge Lane, turn right, go 1 mile south. Bobby Powell's display is on the left.  Biilhday. Jesus' because Christmas is about Jesus' birthday." said Powell.  fhis year. Povvcll has added some 25,000 lights, bnng-  See Display, Page ЗА  Dr. Rani Gill is one of the physicians assigned to a new “prime care” area of Athens-Lime-stone Hospital Emergency Room. The new area cuts down on waiting and treatment times by tunneling lower priority Illnesses and injuries to a separate care area. With Gill is hospital employee Ron Melson.  News-Courier/Kim  Rynders  mprovements to cut waiting times in ER at Athens Hospital  BV KVREN \tlDDI ETON  karcivci athensncws-courwr.coni  A new “prime care" treatment unit in the Athens-Uimestdne Hospital Imiergency Room has cut average length of stay to 2.04 hours. The local stay compares to a national level of 2.29 hours.  “That doesn't mean that some won't have to wait," said Karen Ferguson, director of Emergency Serv ices.  But along with staffing and configuration changes in the Emergency Room, Ferguson said she wants to promote patient education to change “drive-through'' medicine mentality.  Ferguson said that in the last fiscal year. 26,000 patients were treated in the ER.  “That's over 70 patients per day— we have an extremely busy ER," she said. "We function with this volume and are able to maintain a length of stay at or below national level."  Ferguson began to review emergency services a year ago when she was hired with an eye to reducing w'aiting and treatment times, both issues about which the hospital had received complaints.  She said the first order of business was to reconfigure the area to meet the demands of increased patient volume.  See ER, Page 3A   

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