Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - July 26, 2005, Athens, Alabama
Ozell Smith of Athens
Subscriber of the day
Hey, Sound Off:
In response to the writer who wants all candidates to declare party allegiance and restrict voting by party line, I disagree for one simple reason: As long as the taxpayers are footing the bill to provide political party primary elections and runoffs, no one can legally be restricted from voting in any political election.
It’s time for Alabama to change the voting laws. The political parties should be paying for primary elections which determine party candidates in the general election, not the taxpayers.
General elections should be the only election process paid for by tax dollars.
Further, I believe all local elections, at the city and county level, should be non-partisan. Who cares which party banner the license commissioner candidates run under.
The job is simply a glorified cashier anyway.
Always vote for the person, not the party.
More Sound Off Valley, 5A
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69847 00001Mayor, council reach compromise
Utilities GM post created, must be filled from within
By Karen Middleton
News-Courier Reporter A vote creating the position of general manager for the Utilities Department went as expected—three Athens City councilmen for it and two against it—but the mayor and council are closer to agreeing what the post should entail.
Mayor Dan Williams has said he is against creating the post of Utilities gen
eral manager, which the city abolished more than five years ago with the retirement ofTom Craven. Councilmen Ronnie Marks, Harold Wales and Johnny Crutcher say the department works better with a general manager to coordinate projects.
Councilmen Jimmy Gill and Henry' White agree with the mayor. They say things are working fine with the three
utilities department managers: Gary Scroggins. Electric; John Stockton, Water and Wastewater, and Steve Carter, Gas, reporting directly to the mayor. The mayor is by statute supenntendent of Utilities, a requirement imposed by the Tennessee Valley Authority many years ago that the federal utility that municipalities with which the agency contracts to provide power have a CEO at the helm.
The mayor said on Friday that he would veto any attempt by the council to hire a general manager. Williams offered the alternative of adding 18 duties to one of the three existing managers with an increase of pay. It would take a 4-1 council vote to override the mayors veto.
“I’ve been for it (general manager's position) all along,” said Wales. “There must have been a need for it when Craven was there and we’ve grown since then. I want to see the responsibility placed with one person. I don’t support any duties being taken away from any manager or to see anyone demoted, but we need a central point of contact, just like we do in the Public Works Department. This is an $85-to-$90-million a year operation and the need and time for it are there. I w ill support it.”
Council President Gill said he could not grasp the need for the position. "For
See Compromise, Page 2A
Can mass transit be secure?
Pennsylvania Station was my first glimpse of New York City and a good predictor of what awaited at the top of the steps on Seventh Avenue — it was filled with crowds hurrying toward offices and tourist attractions. smells advertising foods from every conceivable nation, and neon signs encouraging travelers to shop here, buy there.
On a trip _
last week to New York, my daughter Shannon and I experienced the city after arriving at the busy train station near
the center of -
Manhattan. Located a block from Macy’s and a short walk from the Empire State Building, Penn Station is where thousands of tourists and commuters from New Jersey and the islands surrounding Manhattan are dumped each day.
As much as 1 want to say terrorist activities don’t change my behavior, as much as I want to be one of the defiant ones who can go about daily business despite fears, I admit that I was nervous about taking public transportation while in New York City.
We returned home from New York safely on Friday, the same day transit authorities implemented random searches of people boarding trains, buses, ferries and subways, and two days before a bomb threat forced evacuation of Penn Station.
I was staying on Long Island to interview someone for a potential book project, so 1 combined the trip w ith a vacation Shannon and I had planned. We stayed in Merrick, about 45 minutes outside Manhattan, and
See Mass transit, Page 2A
HOW HOT IS IT REALLY?
Trey Adams refreshes at the Athens City Pool facilities last week.
News-Courier Kim Rvnders
Humidity combined with heat makes air seem hotter
Bv Tashia Lov ell
Monday, North Alabamians felt some of the hottest temperatures of the year, with temperatures in Limestone County ranging anywhere from 93-96-degrees.
But, the temperature felt higher than that due to a vicious thing called the heat index. According to Meteorologist Matt Zika, with the National Weather Service in Huntsville, the heat index reached 104-degrees by midday Monday
See Heat wave, Page 3A
Help for elderly
Elderly people or those who are concerned about an elderly not being able to make it through the hot weather can contact Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound at 232-5751 or the Council on Aging at 233-6412 for assistance.
Council discord continues on appointments
By Karen Middleton
The Athens City Council in a Monday meeting filled one slot on the Zoning Board of Adjustment on a 4-1 vote, but the second seat remains a bone of contention.
State statute calls for five full-time seats on the board with two alternates. Kenneth Taylor was seated as a full-time board member. In June, Councilmen Harold Wales and Ronnie Marks recommended tabling the reappointments to see if more people applied.
Council President Jimmy Gill accused his fellow councilmen of dragging their feet on the reappointments because one, Hubert Ward, is black. Gill charged that the council has a history of lagging on black appointments.
Both Wales and Marks denied Gill’s allegations. In a June work session Wales said he had attended a Zoning Board meeting and that Ward appeared to sleep through the discussions. Marks said he had reports
See Appointments, Page 3A
Police release names of two suspects in failed transit bombings; Brazilian was shot eight times
LONDON (AP) — Police on Monday released the names of tw o of the four men suspected of taking part in the failed July 21 bombings and said a fifth device similar to others used in the botched attacks was found in a west London park.
Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized Monday for the police killing of a Brazilian electrician mistaken for a terrorist. Britain's police complaints commission later said the man, Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot eight times, including seven times to the head.
Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch, released new images of some of the men who tried to bomb three subway cars and a bus. He identified two of the suspects as Muktar Said lbraihint, also known as Muktar Mohammed Said, 27, and Yasin Hassan Omar, 24.
Police also said they arrested two more suspects Monday in connection with last week’s attempted attacks, bringing to five the number in custody.
Police would not release any
details of the arrests except to say they were carried out in an area recently \ isited by Said.
Two other men were arrested in London’s southern Stockwell neighborhood Friday and one was arrested Saturday in nearby Tulse Hill — all "on suspicion of the commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism’’ for the July 21 attacks, when bombs only partially detonated and no one was injured.
Clarke said one of the suspects, who was not identified but was shown in a closed-circuit TV image wearing a “New York” sweatshirt, was chased in the Oval station by "extraordinarily brave members of the public who tried to detain him.” Giv mg them the slip, the man ran out into the Brixton neighborhood, where police found the sweatshirt.
Police believe the other unidentified man, w ho tried to set off a bomb near the Shepherd's Bush station, probably climbed through a window at the end of the carriage when the dev ice failed to go oft'.
"He then made his way along the track for about 200-300 yards, before
climbing dow n into back gardens and making good his escape.” Clarke said.
Omar was last seen v aulting over a ticket barrier at Warren Street station and running toward the exit.
Said, wearing a white baseball cap and a shirt with a palm-tree design, was caught on camera stepping off the bus in the Hackney district.
In making his apology, Blair also defended the police for Friday's shooting.
"We are all desperately sorry for the death of an innocent person and I understand entirely the feelings of the young man’s family, but we also have to understand the police are doing their job in very, very difficult circumstances,” Blair said.
“Had the circumstances been different and had this turned out to be a terrorist, and they had failed to take that action, they would have been criticized the other way."
A spokeswoman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which has taken over
See Bombings, Page 2A
Bogey does it Piece by piece
Mobile golfer wins Alabama Local woman makes hobby of
Open at Canebrake in Athens jb creating scrapbooks
Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future