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Athens News Courier: Friday, March 20, 2009 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - March 20, 2009, Athens, Alabama                                 NCAA tournament overview PAGE IB  The News Courie  Sen ing Athens and Limestone County: A Conmnmity of Tradition and Future  Friday. March 20, 2009  Visit us onfine   www.enewscourierxom   Inside  Today  Warhawks sweep Lawson St.  Calhoun wins big in baseball at Lawson; girls sweep softball tourney at Disney  ^ SPORTS, PAGE IB  Richardson  autopsy  Popular actress died from bleeding in brain  PAGE 2A  AIG outrage continues  House debates bill to tax bonuses for AIG, others  PAGE 7A  Subscrftie  Get the iievN s with your rTiorning cofTet'  SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALUNG 232-2720  Index  Business ........XX  Classifieds  XX  Comics .........XX  Ledger..........XX  Lifestyles.......9  Obituaries.......2A  Xxxxxxx Xxxxx XxxxXxxxxx Xxxxxx Xxxx Xxxxxxx  Sports...........IB  69847  00001  A spring fling  NEWS COURIER FILE PHOTO  Children dress up and ride in decorated wagons or on bicycles for the Do Da Parade, as did this baby in a past event.  Kids Day in the Park event offers fishing rodeo this year  This year’s annual Dogwood Festival in Athens will hold something new for the kids — a fishing rodeo.  The event will be part of the festival’s Kids Day in the Park on Saturday, April 18, at Big Spring Park.  Festivities for Kids Day will include a fishing rodeo with prizes, the Do Da Parade as well as music, face painting, clay art, food and drinks and various other vendors.  The Dogwood Festival is sponsored by the Athens-Limestone Beautification  How to go  Kids Day in the Park will be April 18 in Big Spring Park and includes a fishing rodeo, the Do Da Parade, music, face painting, clay art, food and drinks.  Board, whose president is RSVP Executive Director Betty Ruth. This event is the board’s largest fundraiser of the year.  Children are invited to the park that  See Park, page 3A  Limestone water rates highest in this region  By Karfn MiDDi KtoN  kiircn^'iithcmm'ws-couricr.cow  At $45.44 per 7,000 gallons of water. Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority customers are paying the highest rate in the area.  In a Feb. 5 special called meeting the water board voted unanimously to raise rates by 17 percent.  In a survey of 18 water departments in the region. Limestone ranked highest with Decatur Utilities ranking lowest at $11.48 per 7,000 gallons.  In between were such large municipal systems as Memphis, which charges $17.81; Nashville, $18.41; Chattanooga, $30.74; and Birmingham, $33.83.  Athens Water Department chai*ges $19.29.  LCWSA Interim General Manager Tammy Smith remarked at the February. meeting that the rate increase, which became effective with the February billing, would help the authority pass its 2009 bond test.  The authority failed its 2008 bond test. Annual bond tests are pertormed by auditors to determine the authority’s eligibility for construction bonds and determine the rates the utility must charge customers to repay the bonds.  “The board didn’t discuss whether the increase was permanent or would be decreased once they become comfortable with bond tests,” said Smith Thursday.  Smith said it is difficult to compare water utilities.  “Each has different areas, different debt loads and different density of population,” said Smith.  LCWSA serves more than 18,000 customers in Limestone County that . are not served by municipal water systems. The authority maintains more than 1,000 miles of pipe in its service area. The authority’s customer base is largely residential with only 175 com-  See Rates, page 3A  Three charged in meth bust  Limestone County deputies and officers with the Drug Task Force charged three Limestone County people after raiding a residence Thursday afternoon on Townsend Ford Road, according to Sheriff Mike Blakely.  Michael Gray, 38, and his wife, Shannon Gray, 41, were both charged with manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to Blakely.  “We confiscated about 2 grams of methamphetamine and its precursors, scales and meth pipes,” said Blakely.  Also arrested was Lisa Rose, 27, of Upper Fort Hampton Road, Elkmont. Rose was charged with possession of a controlled substance, second-degree possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.  “We found that in her car,” said Blakely-  All three were being held in Limestone County Jail at late afternoon Thursday.  - Karen Middleton  Bomb threat made at Delphi  NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS  Limestone County authorities are now trying to obtain the telephone records of the person who called in a bomb threat to the Delphi automotive parts plant on U.S. 31 Thursday morning, said Limestone County Sheriffs Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt. During the telephone call, which lasted about one minute, the suspect said there was a bomb m the huildmg and hung up, McNatt said. The call was placed between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sheriff s deputies and Delphi officials were still checking the plant at 1 p.m. They obtained a bomb-sniffing dog from Huntsville Police Department to aid in the search.  Athens man arrested for child abuse for allegedly whipping boy  By Jean CoiJi  jediKfi'a thensnv^vs-courier, com An Athens man has been arrested for allegedly whipping his girlfriend’s 4-year-old boy so severely with a belt that it left marks on his body, an official said.  James Seay Thorne, 39, of 716 Swan Drive was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with felony ag  gravated child abuse, records show.  “It occurred Tuesday night at the Swan Drive address, but we believe it has happened multiple times,” said Athens Police Lt. Floyd Johnson. “He used a belt on him and caused multiple injuries ... It was a bad situation.”  Someone saw the child and reported the alleged abuse to police.  Johnson said. An officer responded, saw the child and called the Department of Human Resources, which is investigating the alleged abuse.  The child has been placed with family.  Thorne has been transferred to the Limestone County Jail, where he remains jailed in lieu of posting a $10,000 bond, records show.  James Seay Thome   

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