Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - December 31, 2009, Athens, Alabama Top local sports stories of PAGE IB The News Courier Serving Atlwns and Limestone County: A Conununity ofTriidition and Future Thursday, December 31, 2009 Visit us online www.enewscourier.com Inside Today Watch for 'blue' moon tonight Revelers ringing in 2010 will be treated to a so-called blue moon. According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. But don't expect it to be blue -the name has nothing to do with color. A full moon occurred on Dec. 2, shown above in Phoenix. It will appear again on Thursday in time for the New Year's countdown. A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, and most years have 12. The last time there was a lunar double take was in May 2007. New Year's Eve blue moons are rarer, occurring every 19 years. The last time was in 1990; the next one won't come again until 2028. - The Associated Press 2009 bad for America Nearly three-fourths of Americans think 2009 was a bad year for the country, which was rocked by job losses, home foreclosures and economic sickness. Forty-two percent rated it "very bad," according to the latest AP-GfK poll. BUSINESS, PAGE 5A Subscribe iet the news with your morning coiiee SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720 Index Business ........5A Classifieds 4B Comics..........3B Ledger..........7A Lottery..........3A Obituaries.......2A Mary Bass Jimmie Pugh Ela Sandy Donald Tucker Sports...........IB Valley...........4A Weatner.........2A 69847 00001 Sheriff to get pay hike? Hemy White proposes legislation to raise salary $30K By Kart:n Miudi kion кип ‘n(S.ntlu ‘iisiu -w s-i r niiii r. пни A bill being advertised for introduction during the upxx)ming legislative session would give the sheriff of Limestone County alx3ut a $30,(ХЮ raise in salary. * District 5 Rep. Henry White, D-Athens, who was at home this week recovering hum sinus surgery, confirmed that he would introduce the bill when the Legislature convenes for the Jan. 12 session. sheriff Mike Blakely, who said his current salary is “about $67,000,” said if the bill passes in its present form it would lUirke the Limestone sherifi'’s salary comparable with Athens Police Chief Wayne Harper. “It would make it about the same as the chief of police and that is about $95,(XX),” said Blakely Blakely, who is currently serving his seventh term in oftice, said “It’s a bill for the office, not for See Sheriff, page 3A Sheriff Mike Blakely Rep. Henry White Calling ASU alumni artists COURTESY PHOTO Students and visitors view works at the 2009 Alumni Art Exhibit at Athens State University. Athens State seeks entrants for annual alumni art show Athens State University is seeking alumnus to present art works to be exhibited in the annual Alumni Art Exhibit. The exfiibit opens Jan. 11 and runs through Feb. 12. “They ask that any alumni who would like to present one of their art pieces, be it on canvas or sculptural, to participate,” said ASU spokesman Guy McClure. “The exhibit will be open to the public for viewing and will hang in the University’s Sandridge Student Center Art Gallery.” Those interested in participating How to submit Those interested in participating should send an e-mail to Gary Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org . The exhibit opens Jan. 11 and runs through Feb. 12. should send an e-mail to Gary Anderson at email@example.com with the work’s title, the artist’s name, the media, and price (if applicable) to be displayed with the artwork. Deadline for artwork information is Jan. 1. East, West bands performing at Sugar Bowl By JbLYN COLK ¡еап'А at I wnsnr\vs-c( niritr.com Marching bands from both ends of Limestone County are in New Orleans this week practicing to perform at the 76th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. Bands fi*om West and East Limestone High schools — along with about 1,000 musicians nationwide — are enjoying the sights of The Big Easy and practicing for their halftime performances at the Louisiana Superdome. The game wiU feature the Florida Gators vs. the Cincinnati Bearcats. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Central Dayhght Time. The game and halftime events will be broadcast on FOX television. One West band parent updated The News Courier on the band’s activities since leaving Alabama Tbesday About 50 of the 76 members were practicing Wednesday morning before playing stand times in various places in the city, said band parent Monica Belue, who works for The News Courier. Today, the band — imder the direction of Janie Winsell — will practice at the Superdome for the upcoming game, as wiU the East Limestone band, which is directed by Jennifer Janzen. West students reported seeing Florida quarterback and 2007 Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow Wednesday morning, though “they stared at him but didn’t speak to him,” Belue said. The band was looking forward to being able to return to the stadium later Wednesday to get autographs from players, she said. East and West band members won’t spend aU of their time practicing. West students had already dined at restaurants, seen the river walk and shopped in stores, Belue said. They plan to go to Mardi Gras World on New Year’s Eve as weU as see the Audubon Aquarium of tlie Americas near the French Quarter and the Entergy IMAX Theatre, Belue said. Capt. Bmce announces retirement from APD By JKAN Coi K JcaiK^^aihctisiicws-courur.com In his 29 years as a police officer, no crime shook Athens Police Capt. Marty Bruce like the murder of two of his colleagues. Bruce, who retires today, never re;illy questioned his decision to join the police force until Jan. 2, 2004. Athens resident Farron Barksdale fatally shot Officer Anthony Mims, 40, and Sgt. l^rry Russell, 42. “At that point, it was easy to question why I was involved in law enforcement,” Bruce said Wednesday, after confirming his plans to retire. “On that day, Sgt. Russell, Lt. Floyd lohnson and 1 were sitting in my Marty Bruce oftice — just minutes before Sgt. Russell and Officer Mims responded to the call — laughing and talking about funny things that had happened to us in the past.” Barksdale had called the Police Department for assistance that day. When Mims arrived, Barksdale shot him from inside his home with im assault rifle as soon as the officer stopped in the driveway. Moments later, Russell arrived, saw Mims’ body and tried to seek cover but was too late. Barksdale pleaded guilty to the murders and was sentenced to life in prison. But he died in Kilby Correct ioniil Facility shortly after arriving in August 2007. Bruce said other cases, such as when a child was injured or killed, were also especially trying for him. See Bruce, page 2A Limestone arrests 2 on drug charges By Jkl\n Ck)iJ /< 'iui^a tin '¡¡siu \ s-a >i ini r. anu Limestone County Sheriff^s officials have arrested two men for trying to sejl 188 prescription pills, an official said. Members of the” sheriff's narcotics unit and other deputies arrested Richard Matthew Smith, 21, of 25532 Flanagan Road in Athens and Cieorge Michael Turner, 21, of 10765 Craigs Cliapel Road in Lester late Tuesday, after receiving infbr-mation the tw^o men were supposed to be heading to a location on Alabama 99 to sell some pills to another subject. Sheriff Mike Blakely said. Authorities arrested the duo on Alabama 99 in the Ouens community and confiscated 154 Soma (a muscle relaxer^ painkiller), 25 clonazepam (a sedative-hyj>-notic), nine Darvocet (a painkiller) and some pipes used to smoke maiijuana, Blakely said. Both men are charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, records show. They remained in the Limestone County Jail in lieu of posting $6,000 bond each.