Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - February 1, 2009, Athens, Alabama
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7 6 9 647 00002 3Delegates: Budgets main challenge
Local legislators say schools, general fund budgets toughest hurdles in this session
By Kelly Kazek
Members of the legislative delegation representing Limestone County agree that the biggest issue facing them when the session opens Tuesday is budgeting, and specifically the education budget.
As much as 12 percent will need to be cut, according to Gov. Bob Riley when he announced
proration, which will mean tough decisions.
Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw, said he hopes legislators can avoid cutting funding tor teacher pay.
“I would hate to see us lay off educators but educators’ salaries makeup probably close to 80 percent of education budget so that means you got 20 percent left
where you’re going to have to cut 10 to 12 percent, maybe even more,” McCutcheon said.
Rep. Henry White, D-Athens, a retired educator, said he hopes to keep cuts from hurting local school systems.
“With proration, every system is losing money,” he said. "You have to try to keep it where you don’t make drastic cuts and keep the programs we have at the maximum level we can. Somewhere, we have to make up the ditfer-
See Budgets, page 3A
About the session
The 2009 regular session of the Alabama Legislature opens at noon Tuesday at the state capitol in Montgomery. Regular sessions can consist of no more than 30 meeting days every 105 days. This session, legislators will need to approve budgets with cuts because of the economy, and will consider bills that ban texting while driving (see editorial, page 4), expand and tax gambling (see story, page XX), strengthen requirements to help track sex offenders (see story page 16) and more.
A brave battle
NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS
Jeannie Kay Hill, right, looks over medical documents with her daughter Patricia Steele related to Hill's double mastectomy surgery in late December. Hill credits the early discovery of the cancer to regular checkups.
Local woman finds beauty in the fight against rare cancer
By Jennifer R. Hill
Only a few months ago Jeannie Kay Hill, 61, of Athens was working for the well-known makeup company Bonnie Brown as a makeup artist. Vivacious and energetic, she traveled to different assignments, decked-out from head to toe in classic fashion, looking the part of a trendy artist, her daughter Patricia Steele said.
However, after going for a yearly checkup in October, including a mammogram, Hill’s
doctor, Dr. Ann Skinner Chu, told her she found a mass in her breast that needed an additional checkup.
In November, results from a biopsy came back diagnosing the mass as a tumor, Metaplastic Carcinoma of the breast, spindle cell type, triple negative. On Dec. 31, Hill had a double mastectomy, performed by surgeon Dr. Diane Winters.
“I just sat there in shock,” Hill said about
See Cancer, page 3A
County to vote Monday on funding water study in ongoing quarry fight
By Jean Cole
jeama ¿it hens news -courier, com
Limestone County commissioners plan to vote Monday on whether to hire an environmental company to study how a proposed quarry at Tanner would affect water levels and water quality.
The meeting is at 10 a.m. in the Clinton Street Courthouse Annex in Athens.
How to go
Limestone County commissioners will meet at 10 a.m. Monday in the Clinton Street Courthouse Annex in downtown Athens.
sioners first raised the issue of spending $12,000 to hire Shaw Environment and Infrastructure Group during the Jan. _
28 work session.
The company will study how a proposed subterranean quarry and the resulting blasting would affect both ground water and surface water.
Rogers Group is hoping to move its rock quarry from Elk-mont to a site closer to current growth and road-building projects off U.S. 31 at Laughmiller Road. The company has already received preliminary air and water permits from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
Some fear the blasting could lower the water table and, in turn, kill the rare pigmy sunfish
See Quarry, page 3A
Three charged in Friday night drug bust on Lindsay Lane
Limestone County authorities arrested three people Friday on multiple drug charges.
Jason Ezell, 28, of Cross Key was stopped while traveling in his car on Lindsay Lane at about 6 p.m., said Sheriff Mike Blakely-
He was stopped on suspicion of having drugs, but Blakely said he could not release further de
tails. Authorities found an ounce of “ice,” or pure crystal metham-phetamine, in his possession.
He was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine.
At about 8 p.m., authorities searched the home of Ryan Tun-still, 31, and Tracy Tunstill, 32, on Lindsay Lane and recovered an ounce of ice, a large amount of Ecstacy pills, LSD and mari-
The Tunstills were each charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, three counts ot possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
The three remained in Limestone County Jail on Saturday.
— ?Kelly Kazek
Tracy Lynn Tunstill Ryan Price Tunstill
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