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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - December 27, 2009, Athens, Alabama Meyer st(‘ps down as Florida coach PAGE IB 0The News CourierServing Athens ¿ind Limestone County: A C'oininunity oi I nicht ion nnd hiitiire ( )iK‘ dollar Visit us onime Inside Today Weather disrupts travel Drifting snow and cold rain that have plagued much of the country for days stranded drivers and airline passengers Saturday trying to get home after Christmas. PAGE 3A Equity iendin evaporates Hocking the house for quick cash is a lot harder than it used to be, and it's causing headaches for homeowners, banks and the economy. PAGE 13A Index Classifieds.......1C Crossword 17A Ledger.........17A Letters..........5 A Lottery..........3A Lifestyles........9A Obituaries.......2A Alice Blankenship Jeanette Caler Glen Keenon Opinion.........4A Sports...........IB Weather.........2A Sunday. December 27, 2009 7    698'47    00002    3 NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS/EILE PHOTO Members of the 203rd National Guard Military Police Battalion from Athens were deployed for training on Father's Day before being sent to Iraq.Top area stories of2009 include crimes, economic impact, ’Bama I Toni stall ivjxnis Some say a bad economy spurs more crime and this year’s list of the Top 10 area stories reflects that. rhe News Courier sUifl voted and named the following as top stories ot 2(X)9, in no particular order;Greenhiil mass killings On Tuesday, April 7, a student from nearby Rogers Higli School made a grisly discovery: he went across the street to his girlfriend’s home tmd, through a window, saw bodies on the floor. It wouldn’t be long before everyone in the tiny community of Creenhill would know: four people had been murdered inside the home. Kevin Ciarner of Friceville, who was to be divorced the next day alter a year of separation, fatally shot his wife Tammy, their daughter Chelsie, his sister, Karen Beaty, who came from Illinois to testily against her brother in the dixorce case, and his sister’s son, Bobby. Alter the murders, Ciar-ner, who court documents describe as See Top 10 local, page 7A Top 10 of 2009 NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS/ FILE PHOTO Twin white hearses took slain mother and daughter from a funeral in Rogers High School gym to their burial site. Tammy Garner and her teen daughter Chelsie were killed in April by Tammy's husband, Kevin, whom she was divorcing. Kevin Garner also killed his sister Karen Beaty and her son Bobby before killing himself. Here are the area Top 10 stories of 2009, in no particular order; • Greenhiil mass killings • Athens' 203rd unit deployed to Iraq • 3 locals on perfect Crimson Tide team • Ardmoro woman charged in kidnapping • Records released in Barksdale case • Man sentenced in T.G.I. Friday's killings • Economic impact felt with plant closings • Murderer of local man escapes from prison • Local attorney convicted of sex abuse • Local group hopes to resolve PACT problem KiUing spree at Samson top Alabama stoiy for 2009 BIRMINCriAM, Ala. (AP) — A quiet rural town in south Alabama became a grim historic marker in 2009 — site ot the worst mass slaying in the state’s history. The horrific burst of gunfire that claimed 10 lives — some while on a porch on a lazy, spring-like day — added Samson to the growing national map of sites of unprecedented deadly violence. It was the top news story in the stale for 2009, chosen by the Alabama staff of The Associated Press, in a year also marked by Alabama’s worst unemployment in a quarter-century, the conviction of Birmingham’s mayor, a legal saga over electronic bingo and unrelenting red ink in Jet-ferson County.    • At Samson, the violence on the afternoon of March 10 transformed Main Street into a shooting gallery, shocking in its viciousness. Michael McLendon — frustrated over his own failures and carrying a grudge over other slights both real and imagined — killed his mother, four other relatives and five more people before shooting himself to death after exchanging gunfire with police. Stories of both heroism and kindness emerged; Law otticers pursued McLendon through a hail of bullets, and a citizen, Bruce Maloy, was killed while using his heat-up pickup truck to chase McLendon out ot town. yVfterward, donors gave thousands to help the victims. Hut 2009 was a sad year in Samson. Geneva County Sheritf Creg Ward hopes 2010 is belter. “I think there’s not many days go by that we don’t think about it,” said Ward. “It’s made us more aware of the things that can happen, even in a small town like this.” One of Ward’s deputies. Josh Myers, lost his wife and 18-month-old daughter in the shootings. They were gunned down while visiting neighbors, his wife on a porch when McLendon pulled up in his car and opened fire. The dead included four of McLendon’s relatives before he drove on toward more mayhem. See State top 10, page 3A Weekday Lunch Special $5 cash ........"    E»3i*T4SST T ta>. 'i/iuOi’o ; ' 1 вм    If-# Jerry King Company 1 61 3 L Gray Blvd. • Athens, AL 3561 1 230-0402 QNC Member IMe Сои 6d You ШансеЛ Üiui tice change out your old system with a NEW High Efficiency Heatpump toda^ I 6% FiiioiKiiie AsaiUble ihniugh /Vthens L’lUitie* & T\'A Call for Oetail*! ;