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Athens News Courier: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - Page 1

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   Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - June 16, 2009, Athens, Alabama                                 The News Courier  SeeingAthens and Limestone County: A Community    and    Future  Visit us online   www.enewscourier.com   Inside  Today  Delmore  Days  Mayor Dan Williams and sons jam  VALLEY, PAGE 4A  Shelton State coach in town  Annual baseball camp held at Athens Bible School  SPORTS, PAGE IB  Subscribe  Get the news with vour morning coffee  SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720  Tuesday, June 16, 2009  50 cent;  Butler calls for improvements on U.S. 72  By Jean Coi f    1 til OrC On! 1 /Ar» Mr\r\v Dl r •    11.  By Jean Com jested athensnews -courier, cow CLEMENTS — Alabama Sen. Tom Butler has asked the governor and the head of the state Department of Transportation for immediate safety improvements at the intersection of U.S. 72 and Hardy Road.  He has also asked for more state troopers enforcing the speed limit on 72 West and a quicker timetable lor adding a turn lane from Athens to the Lauderdale County line.  I he death of an Elkmont man following a wreck at the  intersection near Blue Springs Elementary School construction site has prompted motorists to call for action.  Butler said Monday he had sent letters to Gov. Bob Riley, to Alabama Department of Transportation Director Joe Mclnnes and to Chief Engineer and Assistant ALDOT Director Don Vaughn.  “I have asked for immediate safety improvements at Hardy Road and 72 West at the location for the new elementary school for the Clements community, increased state trooper presence and enforcement of  speed limits on 72 West; and for moving up the timetable to add the fifth lane for safety reasons to 72 West.”  Butler said he met w r ith Mclnnes and Mayor Dan Williams last week about road issues for Athens, at which time he mentioned the latest 72 West fatality and the need to improve the intersection of  1 2 and Hardy Road before the school opens.  More than 30 people have died on the 15-mile stretch of 72 between Athens and the Lauderdale County line since 1994.  Riley promised in 2004 to add a fifth lane to the stretch, which would allow motorists to turn left off of the busy, undivided four-lane highway without stopping traffic behind them or causing wrecks. However, the DOT's five-laning plan is in the environmental stage, with the engineering, right-of-way acquisition and construction phases still ahead. ALDOT has said this work will take five years.  Some motorists are distrustful of the timetable and many say the improvements should have come 20 years ago.  Residents have a beef about xylene  Timothy W. Collins  rattlo    ti,    -j-    NEWS    COURIER/KIM    RYNDERS  [ ?  g Th ° mas  discovered a filmy substance floating on a stream that flows through his pasture. He wonders if it has anything to do with a BP Amoco pipeline xylene leak six months ago off Alabama 99. He says he cannot get official no-! rom tha  company if his property, pond or animals have been contaminated the    . ' S aPPears t0 be a collectio "  tank  that sits on property across from  xylene from iTpelLTe^ ^  BP Am ° C °  teChPiCianS bega "  C °" eCti " g a " b   Couple wants answers: Are our cattle contaminated?  By Karen Middleton " karen^iithensiiews-courier.coni It’s been six months since a chemical leak from a multi-state pipeline was discovered in the Owens community and one cattle farmer said he continues to await official word on whether it’s safe to sell his 40 head of Beefmaster cattle.  I he pipeline, which carries xylene, was shut down as soon as the leak was reported. It runs from the giant Whiting Refinery in northern Indiana, 20 miles southeast of downtown Chicago to supply Amoco BP in Decatur.  The pipeline w'as installed in 1977. BP uses xylene in the production of tereph-thalic acid    PI A — that in its pow'der  form goes into polyester fibers and plastic containers.  “They say our cows will be all right, but we can t get anything in writing,” said Mandy Thomas Monday.  Mandy and her husband Greg Thomas  say they are afraid to sell the cattle until they can be assured the meat is not contaminated.  If we sell these cows, you’ll be eating them, said Mandy. ‘‘Where is our integrity if these cows are contaminated.  See Xylene, page 3A  Ardmore man captured after high-speed chase  By Jean Cole jean o athensnew s-courier.com An Ardmore man led Limestone County authorities on a 20-minute chase through Alabama and Tennessee on Monday morning, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour before he crashed and was captured.  Timothy Wayne Collins,  35, of Alabama  251 has been charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, attempting to elude and reckless driving, Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said.  See Chase, page 3A  Limestone charges man with breaking son’s leg  For the second time in eight days, a limestone County man has been charged with breaking a baby’s leg.  Marcos Leon Martinez, 23, of 15617 Ham Road in Athens has been charged with child abuse for allegedly breaking the leg of his five-month-old son, according to Limestone County Sheriff's Chief Im res-tigator Stanley McNatt.  The child was taken to a doctor with pain and swelling in the leg and was referred to a specialist in Huntsville, who determined the injury was not accidental, McNatt said.  Investigator Leslie Ramsey investigated the case and made the charges.  An Athens man w'as arrested June 5 by Athens Police and charged with child abuse for allegedly twisting the leg of his roommate’s three-month-old daughter, causing it to break.  Martinez was released from the Limestone County Jail Friday after posting a $5,000 bond.  If convicted of the Class C felony, Martinez will have to serve betw r een one and 10 years in jail and pay up to a $5,000 fine.  Jean Cole  Marcos Martinez  Index  Classifieds .....4-6B  Comics   3B  Ledger..........5A  Obituaries 2A  Estelle S. Haraway Mary B. Senyeri Sports...........IB  Unemployment leveling off in state, county  By Karen Middleton    Surtees    says    the    leveling    off    is    ment.     nrpsi    wi ii  .(•oil)  7 ‘'69847 00001    6  By Karen Middleton karen ° athensnews~couriei Limestone County has 2,662 people out of work. The good news is that figure has held steady for two consecutive months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Unemployment rates in both Alabama and Limestone Copn-ty held steady through and May.  Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom  April  Surtees says the leveling off is an indication the state might be seeing some relief from the recession.  “While we still have many in our state that are unemployed, we are starting to see increases in some job sectors and decreases in the number of jobs being lost throughout the month.”  In May, the state held steady at 9 percent unemployment while Limestone County came in at 7.4-percent unemploy  ment.  Overall, the state lost 6,200 jobs through April and May with the losses mainly in manufacturing, professional, business services and construction.  Local industrial recruiter Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association, said he is encouraged for the time being with unemployment figures tor the last two months, but he said when Delphi ceases production June 26 those fig  ures will increase.  "The numbers are going to adjust to the Delphi layoffs at the end of June, but not all of those layoffs will affect Limestone County,” said Hill.  Hill said Steelcase and Federal Mogul are ordering new machines and gearing up for the consolidation w ith other plants.  1 urner Medical — formerly Turner Machine — is holding fairly steady, also.  See Unemployment, page 3A  j   

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