Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - December 8, 2009, Athens, Alabama
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009‘He deserves the punishment’Son of murder victim Art Champion happy with killer’s sentence
By Kklly Kazek
you saw itj
John Champion of Hazel «»ww>y««w«courter.com Green gave a silent sign of victory Monday, balling his hands into fists, when he knew one of three people accused in the brutal beating death of his father would spend life in prison with no chance of parole.
John, who is hearing impaired, received confirmation of Derrick Green’s sentencing through a sign language interpreter just alter 3 p.m. in
Limestone County Circuit Court. John’s father, 74-year-oid Art Champion of Ardmore, was beaten to death in his home with a hickory stick Nov. 10, 2006.
John found his father’s body the next day, lying in a pool of blood on the bedroom floor.
He reported the murder by taking a note to Ardmore Police.
Limestone County Sheriff’s investigators handled the case.
“I think he deserves the punishment of life without parole,” John said through the interpreter. “I’m happy with the verdict. It’s been a lot of worry and a lot of paranoia that he might be able to get out some day so this is a
lot of relief.”
Accused in the crime were Green, his wife Jeannie Green, also of Ardmore, and Randall “Bingo” Clem of Ardmore, Tenn.
Derrick Green entered a guilty plea to capital murder Friday and attorneys agreed on the life-without-parole sentence but, following Alabama law, a brief validation trial was held Monday A jury was selected to determine if the evidence was adequate for Limestone County Circuit Court Judge Jimmy Woodroof to accept the plea and pronounce sentence.
Trials for Jeannie Green and Clem will follow.
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Sandhill cranes are becoming more plentiful in Wheeler Wildlife refuge. An event is planned for Saturday to allow residents to view the large birds in their natural habitat.
Wheeler Refuge hosts Saturday event to view Sandhill cranes
More and more. Sandhill cranes are making Wheeler Wildliie Refuge their winter home.
'llie birds stand more than 3 feet tall and hiwe a wingspan of more than 5 feet.
“'fhey dance, they strut, and they make a sound like m) other bird and you have a fix)nt row seat to witness one of nature’s greatest displays,” said refuge spokeswoman Teresa Adams.
"fhe refuge and the Refuge Association will hold a crane watch from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Ilie event wiU be at tlie refuge visitor center on Alabama 67 in Decatur.
Activities will begin with the showing of
How to go
A crane watch will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on Alabama 67 in Decatur. Activities are free. Call (256) 350-6639 to reserve your seat.
award-winning conservation films, including a series of short films, “Day of the Sandhill Crane” and “TVibute to the Glorious Sandhill Cranes,” featuring scenes of cranes in their natural environment.
A Waterfowl and Wildlife Tour of the
See Crane, page 2A
East Limestone High
The first step has been taken for East Limestone High School to build a new gym.
Open bidding for the project was approved Monday night by the Limestone County Board of Education.
Hopes were dashed for a new, competition-size gym when proration — spurred statewide by low-ei^than-expected sales tax collections — caused the board of education to temporarily shelve the project last summer.
However, the federal government has since made interest-free bond money available to
schools, and this is what the board is using, along with $3.5 million set aside for the project, to build the new gy m at East.
“We’re excited about the possibilities,” East Limestone High School principal Dennis Black said.
A competition gym is one large enough to host tournaments with visiting teams, dressing rooms, bleachers, storage and concessions. Plans for the new gym include a basement that wdll hold
See Gym, page 3A
County rents out ol(J health (iept. buil(iing for (iental
By Karen Miudeeton
Limestone County Schools will soon begin screening students for dental and vision problems at the old health department building on West Elm Street.
Monday, the Limestone County Commission signed a lease agreement with Sarrell Regional Dental and Eye Centers for Public Health Inc. for $1 per year.
Sarrell will handle all utility costs for the building that has sat empty since last year when the health department moved to its new facility off U.S. 31 South on Clyde Mabry Drive.
The school board approved the arrangement with Sarrell in early November and the county gave verbal approval for use of the old health department building on Nov. 17.
The non-profit Sarrell will screen students to help reach those who are poor and without dental care. The schools pay nothing. Students in county schools will receive free dental screenings that could lead to free or affordable dental care at a later time.
It covers its costs by serving children, ages 1-20, who are eligible for Medicaid or BlueCross/BlueShield ALL Kids, Alabama’s free and low-cost insurance for children. Sarrell has similar dental clinics in Anniston, Bessemer, Boaz, Enterprise, Heflin, Leesburg Talladega and Mo-
See Screenings, page 2A
Heart health event today at Athens State
A presentation on avoiding heart attacks and a health feir wiU be hosted by a cardiology group at Athens State University today.
Both are free and refreshments will be served.
Ibe events from the Alabama Chapter of the American Cfollege of Cardiology, in partnership with ASU and Athens-Lime-stone Hospital, begin at 6:30 p.m. in San-dridge Student Center.
llie presentation, “Nine Ways to Avoid a Heart Attack” with Dr. Phillip Laney is at 7 p.m.
dJie event is intended for people all ages as it deals with both prevention and reducing the effects of heart disease. *
Those who attend will have the op^rtu-nity for free blood pressure checks, free cholesterol screenings, and other heart re-ated services at a mini health frir provided jy Athens-Limestone Hospital.
Doctors and medical professionals frran Athens and Huntsville will be available to answer cjuestions.