Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Athens News Courier

Location: Athens, Alabama

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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - December 22, 2009, Athens, Alabama Jimmie Johnson Ж named Male Athlete о1‘\Уеаг PAGE IB The visit us onflne www.enewscourier.com Inside Today Family: Murphy had been if The family of actress Brittany Murphy, who died Sunday at age 32, said she had flu-like symptoms PAGE 2A Thousands mourn Oral Roberts Mourners gather for a memorial for evangelist Oral Roberts, who died last week in California from complications of pneumonia. He was 91. PAGE 6A Subscribe Get the news with your morning соПее SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720 Index Classifieds.......4B Comics..........3B Ledger..........6A Obituaries.......2A Jimmy George Judy Wells Sports...........IB Valley...........4A Sening Athens and Liingstone 7    69847    00001    6 Council clashes over ‘domino hall’ By Karen Middleton kareniS}atlwitsiw\vs-councr.ci>in The Athens City Council clashed in a work session Monday over rental of the old “domino hall” across from the Chamber of Commerce office. Three council members — Council President Ronnie Marks, Mignon Bowers and Milly Caudle — say rent the renovated building to the chamber for $400 a month as a Tourism office. Two other councilmen — Harold Wales and Jimmy Gill — say it’s a bad deal, because the city spent $85,000 renovating what was once the city’s first electric department facility, not counting in-house labor, and they want a bigger return on the city’s dollar. The council voted to introduce the rental agreement to be acted on at the Jan. 11 meeting. “I cannot support this,” said Wales. “I think the chamber and Jeannette (Tourism Director Dunnavant) do a marvelous job, but we have sunk $85,000 into this building, and if you count labor, about $160,000. “This is the taxpayers’ money and then we turn it over for $400 a month? We will never see a return on our money. I say keep it if we have to move our people into it out of city hall. I would think if you’re going to rent it, then ask $1,500 or $2,000 per month or else make it into city offices.” Caudle said the city doesn’t need to get into the business of renting to outside entities and the city has needed the large meeting room in the back of the building for a, long time. “I know it seems like very little, but we don’t give the chamber nearly enough of what they need,” said Caudle. Gill said, “I hate to spend that much money then turn around and give it away.” Gill also inferred that the agreement with the chamber had not been discussed publicly. However, Marks said it has been discussed in previous meetings and no one asked to See Domino, page 2A Customers get Razzy dazzled NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS Waitress Sissy Legg pours a glass of tea for country singer Razzy Bailey, right, Monday during lunch at Eagles Diner on Elm Street. Bailey was in town, along with George Hill, left, after shooting a commercial in Florence for Razzy Bailey's Barn Dance and Variety Show, which will be held monthly at the Alabama Opry on Airport Road. The first of the old-fashioned jamborees will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 with special guest Trey Young.    . Security guard's observation leads to Athens woman's arrest By Jean Cole jcai} 1.4’a tiwnsiww's -courier, com A security guard at an Athens apartment complex alerted Athens Police to a possible theft on Saturday, leading to the arrest of one of the two suspects, an official said. Athens Police arrested Nicole Anne Chavez, 26, of 19260 Airfield St., Lot 54 in Athens on a charge of third-degree burglary, records show. A security guard at Oakview Apartments on U.S. 31 North saw two people carrying Nicole Anne Chavez copper from the construction site about midnight and approached them, said Lt. Floyd Johnson. One of the suspects fled in a vehicle and the other fled on foot, prompting the guard to call police, Johnson said. A few hours later. Officer Neal Muse saw Chavez walking on North Jefferson Street and stopped her because she fit the description of the suspect described running from Oakview Apartments, he said. Muse and Lt. Trevor Harris questioned Chavez, and she admitted taking copper from the apartments, Johnson said. She was transferred to the Limestone County Jail, where she remained in lieu of posting a $2,500 bond, records show. TrafiBc violation leads to arrest on old warrant for theft by deception An Athens woman has been arrested on a 3-year old warrant for allegedly failing to pay a Decatur concrete company for its concrete, an official said. Athens Police Officer Abe Niedzwiecki stopped Cindy Carol Wise, 39, of 10371 Monks Drive for a traffic violation Sunday and found she had an outstanding warrant for second-degree theft of services, which was issued after a Limestone County grand jury indicted Cindy Carol Wise her on the charge in 2006, officials said. The indictment stemmed from a complaint made in August 2005 by DCA ready mix, said Lt. Floyd Johnson. “Wise purchased concrete for $1,489.64,” Johnson said. “After the delivery of the concrete, Wise stopped payment on the check.” Johnson was unsure why it took so long to serve the warrant but surmised that she may have been living at an address other than that hsted on the warrant. She was transferred to the Limestone County Jail and was released after posting $1,000 bail, records show. — Jean Cole PeU grant fixes may cut time in college A change in how federal Pell grants are disbursed may cut by as much as a year the time some students take to finish college. Beginning with the 2010 summer semester, students who are eligible for Pell grants may use the money during the summer semester. Previously, Pell grants were available only for fall and spring semesters. Those who took classes in the summer had to either find other funding or pay for classes with their own money. “Consider a student who previously was not attending college during the summer due to the inability to pay for the classes,” said Helen McAlpine, president of Drake State College in Huntsville. “He may now take 12 hours covered by a Pell grant. That simple change could accelerate his entry into the work force by as much as a year. That benefit is increased exponentially when you consider the impact on a student enrolled at a four-year institution.” The U.S. Department of Education requires the following of students See Grants, page 3A Bond agent lauds county management By Karen Middittixin karcu^?athcnsnc\vs-i'ouricr.a)m A bond agent praised the Limestone County Commission Monday for achieving an upgraded bond rating of AA. ’Ihe commission borrowed $1,981,455 over 20 years to pay for a contract with Chevron Energy Solutions Co. to lower energy consumption and reduce operation and maintenance costs in county buildings. County Commission Chainnan David Seibert said the county would use funding to install new lighting, commodes, and air^ conditioning units in all county fecilities to help cut an annual $480,000 the county now spends on utilities. Ihe changes will save the county an estimated $94,000 a year in utility costs, Seibert said. The county gave final approval for Series 2009 General Obligation WarrEints and was able to borrow the money at a 3.87 percent fixed rate over 20 years. '“Very few counties in the state have a Double-A rating,” said Reid Cavnar, senior vice president of Merchant Coital investment banker's of Montgomery. ‘Tou are in a very elite group. It’s not easy to achieve that rating, but you have a good See Management, page 3A