Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - May 31, 2009, Athens, Alabama Serving Alliens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future ■--------------------—_ « Vme uoiiar «lUfiydYi МЭу *31» 4Lvw7 ■ =- -—-—«— Jerry King Company 1613 L Gray Blvd. • Athant, AL 35611 230-0402 QNC Mambar П0*/* m Change out your old qyatem with a NEW High Efficiency Haatpump tod^yl M HnMncing AvailBUr through AdwwUtiiUM A TVA Cali for Datai fail Ш lib ТОЛЬ) to û\0, GyûÂS^. Scenes from the big day PAGE12A e News Courier Finally, sunshine: Will it last? Cotton, soybean crops delayed by rains By Karen Middleton kciwn@ athensnews-anirii r.com Limestone County is predicted to enjoy sunny, beautiful weather throughout the remainder of the weekend, but it will take many more sunny days for farmers to be able to make up for lost time due to a rainy spring. Meteorologist Jennifer Lee of the National Weather Service Office in Huntsville said 28.58 inches of rain has fallen on the area since January 1. “The normal rainfall for this time is 26.45 inches,” said Lee. “We are now 2.13 inches above what is normal for the calendar.” Lee said there could be some isolated rain late Saturday or very early Sunday, but the next threat for thunderstorms will be mid-to-late week. Charlie Burmester, agronomist with the Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center at Belle Mina, said it’s too soon to tell if the crops have been permanendy harmed by too much rainfall. “The main thing is the rain has delayed the planting and some formers are having to replant fields and spots,” said Burmester. “It has delayed cotton plating and soybeans, and there’s still a few out there who are still planting com. It has just pushed it all to later in the season.” And how will the late start affect this year’s yield? “Ask me again in August,” he said. Last year’s drought did not harm the crops, but Alabama’s 2008 cotton crop was the smallest in about 25 years because of climbing costs of fuel and fertilizer and stronger markets for com, wheat and soybeans, according to the U.S. De- See Sunshine, page 3A Beasley to follow aad into SHOF Former Golden Eagles star considered one of the greatest athletes ever to come from Athens. SPORTS, PAGE IB Tattoos: Permanent reminders Tattoos give the owner a large circle of comrades, often reveal what the owner holds dear and, with the exception of a laser, permanent. LIFESTYLES, PAGE 9A Visit us online www.enewscourier.com Inside Today Index Classifieds.......1C Crossword 35 A Ledger.........29A Letters..........5 A Lifestyles........9 A Lottery..........3A Obituaries 2A Henry A. Lambert Billy Wayne Massey Louis W. Reynolds Margarete D.E. Russ Tyrone A. Smith Sr. Dorothy Wagner Opinion.........4A Sports ...:.......IB Weather.........2 A 69847 00002 Postponed digital TV conversion to happen next month Do you still have your ears on? People age 60 or older who have older television sets — those with rabbit ears or without cable or satellite sendee — may not yet be ready for the switch to digital signals by June 12. But, help is still available and there for the asking. The Top of Alabama Regional Council Of Governments and the Area Agency on Aging, as well as their partner organizations throughout the region, are now overseeing the “Keeping Seniors Connected Campaign.” The campaign will help those age 60 or older determine whether they need help and help them continue receiving TV programming during the transition to digital TV broadcasting. People who already have a new TV with built-in digital tuner and have an antenna, or who already subscribe to either cable TV or to a satellite-dish service are ready for the conversion. However, those who have an older TV set, those who live outside a cable-service area, or those who get their TV signal ove# the air, will need a converter box and antenna to continue receiving TV signals. For them, the campaign will do the following: • Help them obtain government-issued coupons, including those whose coupons have expired, to pay part of the purchase price of converter boxes; • Help coordinate physical assistance for people to acquire the necessary equipment from a retailer; • Help install and setup their converter boxes; • Provide information about See Digital, page 3A Retiring educator learned from hardships of her youth By Jean Cole Jeaii@athensiiews-courier.com Long before Joan Austin became the boss at Johnson Elementary School, she was a kid-teaching, tax-preparing, wallpapering, McDonald’s-working, worm-forming wife. But through this odd array of jobs ran one thread — a craving to teach — even while once raising 50,000 worms in her backyard. The tall, striking woman with an enviable head of silver hair and limitless energy retires June 30 after 12 years at the helm. “I woke up one morning and knew I couldn’t give it my total passion anymore,” said the 65-year-old principal. The thing about Austin is that she has always listened to herself. • “I knew I always wanted to be a teacher,” Austin said. The hardships of her youth made her a better one. At age 6, Austin had lost her mother to the merciless polio epidemic of the 1950s — a time when young mothers entered a hospital with what seemed like colds and See Retiring, page 8A Joan Austin Athens, the new Hollywood? NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS Owen Griggs with Gray & Holt Dry Goods shows Trisha Black from Spirit of Athens and Alissa Rose-Clark of Art on the Square old movie posters from the Dixie Theater. The theater once showed silent movies and live acts up until the 1930s. The upstairs of Gray and Holt store still has stencils on the walls where film reels were divided by maker, Fox and Paramount to name a few. The store also still has some original theater seats downstairs and old silent movie posters on the walls in the dry goods store, showing the public a glimpse of film history in Athens. Film camp to be offered; festival next on agenda? By Diane Lehr For The New s Courier Two local organizations that hope to stage a film festival this fall are feeling out the project by sponsoring a teen film camp in June. Art On The Square is in discussions with Spirit of Athens on a potential film project and fall film festival. If all goes well, the two groups will work together to create one more way for Athens’ downtown to remain interesting and vibrant for future generations. Art On The Square will begin See Camp, page 3A NEW5 COURIER/MM RYNDERS Trisha Black, left, from Spirit of Athens and Alissa Rose-Clark of Art on the Square find more old movie posters at Gray and Holt Dry Goods as they sit in old theater seats found in the store's upstairs storage area.