Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - September 3, 2009, Athens, Alabama Local runners prepare for cross country meet PAGE IB The News Courier Serving Athens ¿md Limestone County: A Coinnninity of Tradition and Future 50 cents: Thursday, September 3, 2009 Visit us online www^newscourierxom Inside Today Sl\ I Clues into cause of fire sought Investigators gathered along a remote road in a blackened forest Wednesday and sought clues at the spot where a gigantic blaze ignited more than a week ago and grew into one of the largest wildfires in California history. PAGE 3A NASA looks at junk that threatens A piece of space junk drifted toward the international space station and its 13 astronauts Wednesday, though NASA said the threat would not delay a planned spacewalk. PAGE 2A Subscribe Get the news with your morning cofi'ee SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720 7 69847 00 301 Event center tab totals $1.4M By Kvrfn Middlf:k)n k¿^rcn(¿\^thcnsl¡('\\s-c(nlri(‘r.c<)nl There will be a new^ event center for Athens by the end of February. The Limestone County Commission suspended rules of order at a Wednesday work session to approve a contract with Cooper Construction of Birmingham as the low bidder at $1.4 million. Chairman David Seibert said the Commission had to take action on approving the con tractor because paperw'ork for a $100,000 Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs grant was to go in the mail Wednesday. The grant is from state stimulus funds, Seibert confirmed. The Commission also suspended rules of order to approve a resolution allowing County Engineer Richard Sanders to participate in the Alabama County TIGER Grant Program. Sanders said 35 counties are participating in the nationwide Transportation Investment Grant for Economic Recovery competition for funding to replace worn out bridges. Other business Agenda items for Monday’s regular Commission business session are; • Proclaiming Sept. 11 as a Day of Service & Remembrance: See Contract, page 3A VRO-O-O-OM Corvette caravan cruises in to Athens A caravan of Corvettes received a police escort into Athens Wednesday and parked around the Limestone County Courthouse Square. The caravan, which began in Beaumont, Texas Monday morning, is headed to Bowling Green, Ky., for the Labor Day Weekend National Corvette Museum's 15th anniversary celebration. Above, Athens Mayor Dan Williams speaks to the crowd. At right, the courthouse makes a striking background for the corvettes. Below, Mayor Williams presents the group with Athens pins and a certificate welcoming them to the city. NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNOERS Special ed aide s hiring overturned in board dispute By Jfan Colf iciini^^uthcnsiwws-couricr.com More that 41 percent of the students who failed to graduate from’ Limestone County high schools last year were special-education students, said county Special Education Director Tara Bachus. That stunning statistic became the center of a school board meeting Tuesday. Four board members — a majority — rejected a request to hire a special education aide needed to keep seven students in a program aimed at lowering the county’s dropout rate. Unless the aide is hired, the seven special education students will have to return to their regular classrooms, which could increase their likelihood of someday dropping out. Board members who voted against the aide said they believed they were being asked to approve, after the fact, an action already taken without the board’s backing. “Approving things after the fact is getting old to me,” said board member Earl Glaze. Board members who voted for the aide said even if procedures were not followed — a claim school officials dispute — said they believe the board should act in the children’s best inter- See Dispute, page 3A Boaters Invited to take a cruise for Haney benefit By Karen Middleton kareni^atlicnsncws-courier.coni Boaters are invited to the third annual Elk River Party Sunday for a fun day, which will benefit cancer victim Will Haney. Haney, husband of Council on Aging Director Emily vvill Haney Haney, was diagnosed in late spring with a rare form of cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, and has undergone treatment in Houston throughout the summer. Mike Jackson, who has a river home on Anderson Creek, has sponsored the boaters’ outing on Labor Day for the past three years, but this year’s event will be a fundraiser for Haney. “We usually have 100 to 125 boats turn up for this,” said Jackson. “It’s See Benefit, page 3A Index Business....... ...............5A Classified...... ...............4B Comics----•.... ...............3B Ledger ........ ...............7A. Obituaries ..... ...............2A Pete Weaver James Wooten Sports ......... ................IB Valley......... ...............4A Weather....... ...............2A In our Face Join discussions of daily stories, current events, football and more on The News Courier's Facebook page. Some comments made during the week are chosen to run on Wednesday's Opinion page. Join the fun!