Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - July 19, 2009, Athens, Alabama
Dixie Youth tournament continues at Sportsplex PAGE IBThe News CourierServing Athens and Limestone County: A Community oí Tréidition and Future
Sunday, July 19, 2009
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Astronauts install new porch
Astronauts working inside and out instailed a porch for experiments on Japan's space station iab Saturday.
Captured soldier on video
The American solder who went missing June 30 from his base in Afghanistan and was later confirmed captured appears on video post Sunday.
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6 slain; suspect held
FAYETrEVTLLE, Tenn. (AP) -Six slayings in two communities about 30 miles apart in Tennessee and Alabama are linked, and a suspect who was sitting on the front porch of a home where some the bodies were found was being ques-doned, authorities said Saturday.
Five people, including members of the same femily, were found dead in two rural homes near Fayetteville in southern Tennessee Saturday, and a sixth body was discovered at a Huntsville, Ala., business, author-
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Hehn said in an e-mail that a suspect, 30-year-old Jacob Shaft'er, of Huntsville, was in custody in Lincoln County, but no charges had been filed. She said deputies found him on the porch of one of the Fayetteville homes.
lincoln County Sherifl' Murray Blackwelder said at a news conference that his department is investigating three crime scenes, though
he did not elaborate. He did not release the victims’ names and would not confirm the causes of death. He also did not release a motive in what he called “horrendous” killings and “one of the worst cTimes Lincoln County has seen.”
Helm said some of the Tennessee victims were related and were killed Friday night or early Saturday. Huntsville police Sgt. Mickey Allen, who worics for the city’s major crimes unit, told IV station WAFT" that based on the sus
pect’s infonnation, police found a body at Hall Cultured Marble Granite late Saturday morning. Authorities have not said how the slayings in the two communities are linked.
Authorities did not release the victims’ ages. But Karon Weatherman, who lives about a half-mile away from the Tennessee homes, said she saw children as young as 4 and 5 running back and forth between the houses acToss the road from each other.
Gettin’ down and dirty
Annual CASA Mud Volleyball tourney draws dozens of teams
It didn't take long Saturday for the pretty green shirts worn by the team on court three above to become splattered with mud, in fact meet the same fate as the sprawling player, right, on court two. The scene was Swan Creek Park near Athens High School where dozens of teams turned out to compete on eight mud pit courts in the 21st annual CASA Mud Volleyball Tournament. It's the biggest fundraiser of the year for Care Assurance for the Aging and Homebound of Limestone County.
Athens cashes in with sports
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Increasing the size of the Sfxirtsplex is a way for the city to cash in on the popularity of travel biill jmd lx!t-ter accommodate all segments of local sfxirts.
Parits and Recreation Director Ben Wiley came to the Athens City Council last week to ask for $24,(XK) to hire a local civil engineer to draw up a master plan for the lacihty oft U.S. 31 North.
“There’s a lot of property out there that’s not being utilized,” said Wiley. “Locally, we’ve got 450 sets of grandparents and parents who are trying to find parking.”
Council President Ronnie Marks said he is in favor of expanding the Sportsplex to accommodate girls’ softball teams.
“I believe parking or a new pod of fields needs to be developed,” said Maries. “We’re going to have to deal with relocating the Girls Softball Program from Cowart. That would also eliminate people parking in the cemetery (Thatch-Mann) over there.”
Wiley said developing a master plan, “gets us moving in the direction of rekx:ating the girls.”
Engineer Taz Morrell, who has been asked to make a Sportsplex master plan
See Sports, page 8A
Sheriff: More cells needed to ensure safety with growth
Limestone County Sherift'Mike Blakely wants County Commissioners to hire an architect to design an addition for the Limestone County Jail so re can house more inmates, improve Jail safety and prepare for population growth.
The sheriflf presented his 2010 budget Wednesday, requesting a total of $8.19 million to run his oftice and the jail. Blakely said he’s hoping to add 24 more single lockdown cells.
“We are running over 220 and 230 inmates a day,” he said. “Out of our 280-bed capacity, we only have 12 single-bunk maximum-secuiity cells
and 72 double-bunk lockdown cells.
Fewer than half the cells in the jail are lock-down cells, and the sherifi’ can’t put just anyone in the open dormitories, he said.
“When we built the jail, we compromised a lot to help to keep the cost down, and when the building was designed we told the commission it would be good for five yeai^, but it was not going to be a salvation finm the problem forever,” Blakely said. “We have a daily inmate population up over 220 and it creates problems when fewer than half are lockdown cells.”
He said sometimes the jail has to house multiple defendants on a capital murder case who
must be separated.
“In a perfect world we could hold 280, but 60 of them would not be females and 140 of them would be misdemeanors,” he said.
The addition is needed now, he said, so he hopes the drawing can get underway.
“We are very proud of this facility,” Blakely said. “But this county is going to grow by another 25,000 to 30,000 people over the next few yeaiTi, and even if they are aU preachers, we are still going to have crime. We need to get this underway. We don’t need to wait two years — fixrm a safety standpoint for employees and for our ability to control jail population.”JiRRY Kino Company
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