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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - January 1, 2009, Athens, Alabama ^vuapj0 A)e^ü LjecOv!The News CourierServing Athens and Limestone County: A Community    and    Future 50 cents Visit us online Coming Sunday USA Weekend Magazine debuts in The News Courier Look inside Sunday for first issue of USA Weekend, which features stories on a variety of topics as well as extras such as the Stickdoku for sudoku puzzle fans. PLUS - Readers of American Profile magazine can continue to enjoy it... beginning Jan. 2, American Profile will be included in each Friday's edition of The News Courier. TWO GREAT MAGAZINES EVERY WEEK! Inside Today ‘69847 00001Thursday, January 1, 2009Official: Wells not impacted Tests show no threat to wells from chemical spill in local pond By Karen Middietfon [email protected] Ron Rybarczyk, BP American public affairs director supporting the pipeline business unit, said Wednesday that of three diinking water wells tested in the vicinitv of a pipeline leak in the Owens community all were found safe. “We got the preliminary reports on the drinking water and there was no xylene above detection limits in the three wells that were tested,” said Rybarczyk, The pipeline, which was shut down as soon as the leak was reported. runs from the giant Whiting Refinery in northern Indiana, 20 miles southeast of downtown Chicago, through Limestone County to the BP Amoco plant in Decatur. BP uses xylene in production ol terephthalic acid — PTA — which in powder form goes into polyester tibers and plastic containers. Rybarczyk said a clamp ordered to seal off a “pinhole leak” wns being installed Wednesday morning; however, AD EM puts the size of the hole at 11/2 inches wide. “Once the clamp is installed, we will put the pipeline back in service and observe it before we cover it back up," he said. Jerome Hand, ADEM’s public relations director, said the agency is See Wells, page 2A The Top 10 stories of 2008 The epic election that made Barack Obama the first African-American president was the top news story of 2008 -followed closely by the economic meltdown that will test his leadership. PAGE 6A Subscribe Get the news w ith your morning coffee SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720 Index Business ........5A Classifieds.......4B Comics..........3B Ledger..........6    A Obituaries.......2    A Hazel Geneva Goode George W. Lackey Herman K. Penlev Gary William Tolen Sports...........IB Could coal ash flow to Athens? AP PHOTO/WADE PAYNE An aerial view shows the aftermath of a retention pond wall collapse at the Tennessee Valley Authorities Kingston Fossil Plant Dec. 22 in Harriman, Tenn. The Tennessee Valley Authority says the 40-acre pond held a slurry of ash generated by the coal-burning Kingston Steam Plant. TVA: ‘No indication’ toxins from Tennessee spill would come here From stud, wire rcfxni s Although the Alabama Rivers Alliance calls the coal ash spill in Tennessee a “huge environmental disaster of epic proportions” and states that the toxic chemicals “may be seeping into the groundwater and flowing downriver, a TVA spokesman said Wednesday the spill appears to be maintained. It is not likely the chemicals could flow into the part of the Tennessee River that runs through Athens, said Mike Harris of the Tennessee Valley Authority. “There’s no indication that would be the case,” Harris said. “Right now, they’re monitoring the immediate area and that seems to be the only impacted area.” The spill of more than a billion gallons of coal ash sludge occurred Dec. 22 near Harriman after a dike ruptured in a coal ash pond at TVAs Kingston Steam Plant, a coal-fired power plant along Interstate 40 between Knoxville and Nashville. The sludge remaining after coal is burned spilled into the Emory River, which dumps into the Clinch River and See Spill, page 3A AP PHOTO/THE KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL, J. MILES CARY Workers and equipment work Monday to clear Swamp Pond Road and the Rail Road tracks near the entrance to the TVA Kingston Steam Plant near Kingston, Tenn. The spill of more than a billion gallons of coal ash from a power plant in East Tennessee may change the way the nation's largest government-owned utility stores coal waste. Valley Voices What is your New Year's resolution? To be a better father and son. -Cameron and Roger Langowski of Athens "To get in better shape and be better off financially." -Cheryl Howell of the Owens Community in Limestone County "Probably just to live happy, have a good time and enjoy life.” - Houston Blaze of Athens "To be more organized." - Kelly Hargrove of Athens "To be more organized - Nathan Martin of Athens Sheriff: Boat would aid in river recoveiy By Kari n Middijtton kiin‘iKaathensne\\s-(x) The latest tool in Sheritf Mike Blakely’s arsenal ol crime-fighting equipment will be a 20-foot aluminum boat with cabin. The Limestone County Commission will vote to awrard the bid to Sea Ark Marine Inc. out of Arkansas when it meets in regular session Monday The company bid $54,720. “It’s just a huge, flat-bottom boat with a little cabin,” said Blakely. “It will come equipped with a basket with winch to retrieve bodies.” Blakely said his agency w'as awarded a $200,000 Homeland Security grant as the sponsoring agency for TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. “'The Homeland Security grant will provide $40,000 ol the cost and the rest will come from confiscated fonds,” said the sheriff. Blakely said that as well as enhancing river security for the nuclear plant, the boat would also be used for day-to-day purposes. “Any function that it is needed, such as plane crashes, lost duck hunters or to retrieve bodies,” he said. “We went to the factory over there in Arkansas. They build for the Navy and others. It’s really im- See Boat, page 3A Isaiah Rice Jonathan Rice Athens brothers, one 16 years old, arrested in bust By Jean Cole jmn a itthensnrws-couritr.coin Two brothers — one ol them only 16 — are facing drug charges following a bust in Athens I uesday night in which authorities confiscated powdered cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and cash, an official said. Isaiah Oneal Rice, 22, and his brother, Jonathan James Rice, 16, were arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine and first-degree possession of marijuana after officers from the Limestone County Sheriffs Department raided their home at 9(18 Beech St. about 7 p.m. “We have arrested them several times in the past, we have gotten numerous buys out there and we have gotten a number of complaints about him and his brother,” said Lt. Lance Royals. Royals and Investigator Josh McLaugJilin arrived at the scene first with a warrant. “We rode up incognito in our subnrban with the rims.” Royals said. “We hit the’ door with a ram and went in.” See Bust, page 3A ;