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Athens News Courier: Saturday, March 28, 2009 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - March 28, 2009, Athens, Alabama                                 Trojans rebound with win over Class 5A Rehobeth PAGE 7A  The News Couri  Sening Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Iradition and Future  Saturday, March 28, 2009  visit us online  www^newscoufierxom  Inside  Today  Consumers  spending  more  The government reports consumers increased spending for a second straight month in February even though their incomes slipped due to continuing layoffs.  PAGE 7A  Thousands  fleeing  floodwaters  Thousands of tired, shivering, residents of Fargo, N.D., got out while they could and others prayed that miles of sandbagged levees would hold Friday as the Red River threatened to unleash the worst flooding the city has ever seen.  PAGE 4A  Subscribe  Get tiie news with your morning coilee  SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALUNG 232-2720  Index  Classifieds.......4B  Comics...........3B  Ledger..........8 A  Lotteiy..........3A  Obituaries.......2A  Eugene Abies  Sports .,.........IB  Weather.........2A  69847'ODOOI  Utffity rates drop 5%  By Karun MiDoiFroN  km'n^^dhcnsncws-i-ouricr.mm  After straining under a TVA rate hike throughout the winter, Athens Utility customers will get a 5-percent break on their bills, beginning with the April reading.  The Athens City Council approved in a special-called meeting Friday an agreement by which the Electric Department will pass 5 percent of a recent 6-percent TVA reduction to the customers.  The Electric Department will hold back 1 percent of its spring windfeU to rebuild depleted reserves.  “TVA has gone up and down on its rates, but  Athens has not had a local increase since October 1995,” said Utilities General Manager Gaiy Scroggins.  He said with the TVA adjustment, average residential customers using 120Oldlow'att hours per month would see their bills go from S122.25 to $115.96 - a decrease of 5.14 percent.  “We will gain an estimated $730,000 a year by holding back the 1 percent,” said Scroggins. “We had to spend more than $3 million on the Athens District Substation (upgrade) and $800,000 on the new roof for the Utilities building. It depleted our reserves. Weather affects our reserves and when the reserves are too low, we cannot operate effectively.”  Councilman Jimmy Gill proposed that the Utilities hold back 2 percent instead of 1 percent to fund such inirastnicturc needs as burying downtown power lines.  “If you do 2 percent, you could ahv’ays adjust back to 1 percent.” said Gill.  Councilwoman Milly Caudle, who is a member of Spirit of Athens downtown rejuvenation group, agreed that underground utilities would greatly enhance the appearance of the downtown.  “The committee that does the stoiytelling fes-tK^al has hired a landscape architect to do a draw-  See Rates, page 2A  Sharing feelings with peers  NEWS COURIER/KIH RYNDERS  Camp Hope Teen is patterned after Camp Hope for children, depicted in this 2008 file photograph, only it is geared toward teens. Both camps will be held this year on June 9 at Camp Helen Camp ground in the Capshaw community.  New Camp Hope helps teens cope with the loss of loved one  By Jean Coil  jciiii(datliensnc\\s-iX)urivr.aini  Teenagers who have experienced the loss of a loved one — recently or in the past — deal differently with grief. But all of them can benefit from a free, one-day camp where they can play games, talk, listen, share their feelings with peers and have great fun doing it.  Camp Hope Teen offers youth ages 12 to 15 a fun-filled day of activities and an opportunity to connect with others who have experienced loss. The camp is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, at Camp Helen Campgrounds in the Capshaw community.  See Camp, page ЗА  NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS  Kamesha Billips, left, her sister, Kenesha Billips, right, and April Horton talk with Tanner High School Counselor Deana Hollaway about the agenda for the new Camp Hope Teen, which the three students have helped establish.  Madison mayor: It's better for cities to work in teams  B^ K-YRFTM MlDDlirrON luin'iK^athcnsnews-ciiurier.aHii  When communities go to Montgomery or Washington seeking funding, it’s better to approach lawmakers in teams, said Madison Mayor Paul Finley.  Finley, who was elected Mailison’s mayor last year, was Friday’s guest speaker at Rotary.  Finley said when he came onboard he was “frustrated that leaders of other communities couldn’t work together. They had more of an adversari  al relationship. What is needed is a common goal.”  Finley said he and new Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle -went to Montgomery two weeks ago to tiy to secure state highway funds for Martin and Zerdt roads, which are already congested and will become much more so with the influx of BRAC transfers.  “They told us to talk with one voice, one vision and one request,” said Finley. “Going down with one  See Teams, page 3A  Small business strength of local economy  By Kari n M 11)1)1 kix)N  kan ‘II Fat In 'iisiu ‘ws-itnirii 'r.aini In times of economic downturn it is often the small business owner who best survives the financial storms.  “Small business throughout the a)untiy is responsible for more jobs than anyone,” said Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce President Hugh Ball, “'lliey employ local workers and the money spent stays in the area and turns over several times. They are not like large national chains, although they have their place in a tliriving economy and are important locally. But small businesses are the backbone of a local eaino-my.”  Sunday, Tlie News Courier will publish a special section devoted to small business, “National Mom & Pop Business Owners Day.” According to the Web site smallbusinessnotes.com, “Ifte belief that small businesses fere poorly in eco^ nomic downturns is a common misainception. Most solidly run small businesses actually hold their own during downturns.”  One small business. Dip ’n Dog, which is owned by Randy and Patricia Camp-beU and has two stores — FTm Street and East Limestone Road — is surviving the slump well.  Wilma Ulrich, who manages the Ebn Street store affirms the old axiom of busi-  Sm Business, page 2A  NEWS COURIER/KAREN MIDDLETON  Madison Mayor Paul Finley, left, was the guest speaker for Rptary Friday. With him is John Wayne King who with David Kinchler, was responsible for Friday's program. Finley stressed the need for working with adjoining counties to win infrastructure funding.  ASU posts deadlines for scholarships  Athens State University has announced deadlines for institutional, need-ba.sed, and Foundation scholarship applications for the academic year 2009-2010.  Ifte application process for all scholarships is available    online    at   https://stars.athens.edu/stars   Deadline for institutional scholarships such as presidential, academic, student activities leadership, Athenian, golf and alumni is May 1.  See Deadlines, page 3A   

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