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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - June 30, 2009, Athens, Alabama Tuesday, June 30, 2009 Citizen: Elm St. turn lane needed By Karen Middleton karen n a thcnsncws -courit r. coin Every day that Bill Wilkes drives his wife to work at the Mental Health Center on Elm Street he worries about fast-moving traffic coming up behind him as he prepares to make a left turn into the facility. Wilkes says that while the Alabama Department oi Transportation was at it during the two-vear closure of the bridge and the road to through traffic, officials should have installed a center left-turn lane. He said he sees a danger area at the Mental Health Center and a mobile home park that the center has established for clients next door. Also, Whitt’s Barbecue has a lot of traffic in and out of the restaurant. “When they reopened the road a couple of months ago (after bridge replacement and widening) the road is very wide and has a good surface,” said Wilkes. “But now, there is a lot of speeding. You also have heavy industrial traffic on that street and from Elkton Street, north to the bridge, you have a lot of apartment buildings and the Mental Health Center.” Wilkes said that along with U.S. 72 West, this stretch of Elm Street poses a danger to motorists. “It is, quite simply, frightening,” said Wilkes, who teaches economics at Athens State University. “I shudder to think how See Lane, page 3A Autopsy pending; smoke inhalation likely killed man in Elkmont fire Until autopsy results are released, authorities can’t officially say what killed an Elkmont man found dead in a burning home Friday but they believe he probably died of smoke inhalation. And the fire was likely caused by burning too close to the home, though the state fire marshal is still investigating. Tommy Don Mankins, 60, ol 29326 Leggtown Road, was found dead in his mobile home about 1 p.m. after a passerby saw the home on fire and called 911. Mankins, a Vietnam War veteran disabled by a head injury, had been burning refuse near his home earlier in the day, which may have caused the fire, said fire and sheriff s officials. See Fire, page 3A Will Rowe get custody of Jackson children? PAGE 9A e News Courier Visit us online www.enewscourier.com Inside Today Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future ‘I don’t really know why I did it’ Police: Fit of road rage apparently led driver to cause wreck Benefit concert held for 7-year-old Elkmont boy undergoing surgery for complications of autism By Jennifer R. Hill jennifer@athensncws~courier.com Five bands and numerous volunteers are coming together next week to help a 7-year-old Elkmont boy and his family. Kyle Redding, son of Michael and Dena Redding, will undergo surgery today at Huntsville Hospital for a muscle dysfunction in his esophagus caused by autism. It is hoped the surgery will correct the function of his esophagus and complications caused from severe acid reflux. Friends and family of the Owens community family will gather to help the family. The Country Crossroads Band, The Barnett Band, The Rural Impact, The Trey Morgan Band and The Sunday Tradition will perform at a benefit singing being held for Kyle from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. Saturday, July 11 at The Bam in Town Creek. The bands will begin performing at noon. Kyle’s recovery will be a long process, Michael Redding said. Kyle will stay in the hospital for at least a month, if not longer, to recover from surgery and learn to eat again, Redding said. Kyle’s diet will also be restricted for a year. He will continue to undergo occupational therapy as part of recovery. Kyle also has immune deficiency syndrome, which makes it difficult for his body to fight off See Benefit, p*QC 3A By Jean Cole jean^athcnsnews-courier.coni A fit of road rage apparently prompted an Athens man to stop his truck on Nick Davis Road, throw it in reverse and rear-end the car behind him. Florian Buss, 20, of 24487 Wagon Trail had two explanations for Limestone County Sheriff’s deputies — “I was already upset about a disagreement I was in” and “I don’t really know why I did it,” said Chief Investigator Stanley Mc-Natt. “I would consider it road rage,” McNatt said. A woman motorist told deputies she was driving along Nick Davis Road between 4:15 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday near Forest Hill Drive when Buss passed her car, McNatt said. She honked her horn at Buss, though the report did not mention why she honked. “When the guy got around her, he stopped in the middle of the road, which made the victim have to stop,” McNatt said. “When she did, he put his truck in reverse and struck her vehicle. ” Buss was charged with three counts of reckless endangerment, because there were three people in the car, and with first-degree criminal mischief, McNatt said. He was released Sunday from the Limestone County Jail after posting a $5,500 bond. Florian Buss Mourning beloved coach Thousands, including NFL players, turn out for the funeral for Ed Thomas, the beloved Iowa high school football coach slain last week. SPORTS, PAGE IB How much is safe? The Federal Drug • Administration weighs options to determine ways to reduce overdoses of painkillers PAGE 6A Subscribe Get the news with your morning coffee SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720 Coming full circle Index Classifieds.......4B Comics..........3B Ledger..........8 A Obituaries.......2A Lee Black John H. Bryan Tommy Mankins Jessie Entrekin Moore John Tolan Whitten Sports IB galley...........4A COURTESY PHOTO Ron Ultz, who has been a city of Athens employee for 23 years, most of that time spent in animal control and code enforcement, will retire Thursday to return to Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, where he will work in site security. Ron Ultz to retire after long career in law enforcement By Karen Middleton kart thensnews-cc hi lit r. com On July 6, retiring Athens Code Enforcement Officer Ron Ultz will travel to Chattanooga for TVA orientation in preparation for reporting to Browns Fer-iy Nuclear Plant’s security department. Ultz, who has been in the city position for five years, worked as a compliance officer at Browns Ferry for 8 1/2 years in the 1980s, but he says “The Ferry” is a different place to come home to. “Security at Browns Ferry is a very absolute business,” said Ultz. “At the time I left, there were 300 officers. Now, they do more with less.” See Ultz, page 3A COURTESY PHOTO Ron Ultz is surrounded by some of the favorite women in his life, from left, daughters Jamie Ultz and Sara Ultz and^tepdaughter Lauren Bonaventura. »
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