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View Sample Pages : Athens News Courier, March 17, 2005

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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - March 17, 2005, Athens, Alabama Wear green today Today is St. Patrick’s Day so don’t forget to wear green.# A rising starToday is St. Patrick’s Day so don’t forget    Ardmore’s    RJ.    Roper    is    showing    his    shine    on to wear green.    .^Jmm    baseball    field.    IBThe News-Courier ГtHîRSl)\^, M \U( II 17, 2005Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future 50 Cknts Mike Swanner of Athens Subscriber of the day Judge gives Peterson death Convicted murderer Scott Peterson was sentenced to death Wednesday. 3A M№(ff Hey, Sound Off: I do appreciate The New's-Courier uncovering the dirt at our local county water department. I do hope that if someone knows where the former water manager has gone they will send those good people a copy of Sunday’s paper so they will know what they are going to have to deal with. I cannot understand why criminal charges have not been filed relative to some of the items uncovered. Now to add to this mess we have a commissioner involved. This whole situation is one sorry mess and a black eye to the people of Limestone County for allowing it to happen. More Sound Off Valley, 5A Get the news with your morning coffee Subscribe to The Neu's-Courier 232-2720 Index Classified..... 5-7B Comics....... 8B Business...... 11A Ledger ........ 7-8A Movie Listing ... ...3A MiniPage...... ,12A Obituaries..... 2A Delton Eudon Sandy Sports ........ .1-4B Daily Bible Moment ILet your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glonfy your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ij&meitene 322 Hw>.3IN*Albens 256-232-1051 Obit line 256-771-0934 7    69847    00001 A killer is among us Police not giving up hope of finding hit-and-run driver SONN^ TlRNER sonny@,athensnew s-courieK com There’s a killer on the loose and police don’t know for sure if he’s a cold-blooded killer or one who is afraid to come forward and admit a mistake. But the killer may be among us and it could be your husband, wife, son, daughter or friend police say. But who killed 42-year-old Royce Dale Ramsey remains a big mystery. It’s been nearly a month since Ramsey was struck and killed while riding his bicycle on U.S. 31 South toward Tanner. That Feb. 21 hit-and-run is listed as unsolved but cer tainly not forgotten by Athens police. “We’re still hoping a suspect will turn up,” said Lt. Floyd Johnson, the lead investigator on the case. “We’re not giving, up and we are very much involved in the investigation.” Johnson said at least one investigator and sometimes two work the hit-and-run case almost daily. “We're going back and taking a second look at some of the vehicles we’re looked at before,” Johnson said. “We want to make sure we haven’t missed anything.” Johnson said police are still receiving tips, “but nothing on a steady basis.” Gov. Bob Riley is being asked to post a reward for information that will lead to the arrest of the person who is responsible for the hit-and-run death of Ramsey, of Decatur. Johnson said Wednesday the governor is expected to grant that request but it has not yet come. “We’re pretty confident now that it is someone who knew they hit him,” Johnson said. At first, police were not sure if the motorist who struck Ram.sey realized it due to the conditions on U.S. 31 South that night. Police said it occurred in See Killer, Page 2A Fire on Coleman Avenue Residents escape injury as blaze damages home Traci Fletcher, above right, and her 1-year-old child escaped Injury Wednesday afternoon after their home on Coleman Avenue caught fire near 7th Street in Athens. Athens policeman Jason White holds the child and talks to Fletcher’s neighbor as Fletcher grieves. Firefighters responded to the scene at 2:15 p.m., four minutes after the call came in. Athens Fire Chief Cliff Christopher said a candle was the cause of the blaze. One room was heavily damaged and the other rooms suffered smoke and heat damage. “They won’t be able to stay there for some time,” Christopher said. Gene Fletcher also lives in the home, but was not there at the time of the fire. No one was taken to the hospital. According to a neighbor, the Fletchers had not been living there very long. News-Courier/ Kim Rynders ■f ^ 3i' «1 Jury finds Blake not guilty of murder By Greg Risling Associated Press Writer LOS ANGELES (AP) — A jury acquitted tough-guy actor Robert Blake of murder Wednesday in the shooting death of his wife four years ago, bringing a stunning end to a case that played out like pulp fiction. The jury also acquitted Blake of one charge of trying to get someone to Robert Blake kill his wife, but deadlocked on a second solicitation charge. The jury voted 11-1 in favor of acquittal and the judge dismissed the count. The 71-year-old star of the 1970s detective drama “Baretta” dropped his head, trembled with emotion and sobbed heavily as the verdict was read. He hugged his lawyer and later almost fell while reaching for a water bottle. See Blake, Page 3A Holiday Inn, Bojangles are coming to Athens By N.xncy Gl.4SSCOCk [email protected]\ Two site plans for future Athens businesses were approved by the Athens Commission Tuesday night while plans for a burger chain to locate here is uncertain. A request for approval of a site plan for Backyard Burgers was withdrawn from the Commission's agenda. But the commission approved two other site plans for a Holiday Inn Express and Bojangles Restaurant. “I really don’t know whether they’re coming or not,” City Planner Scott See Holiday Inn, Page 2A Limestone County Courthouse termed ‘super safe’ News-Courier Kim Rynders Heather Hagood, above, goes through security at the Limestone County Courthouse as security officer Carolyn Barnes, right, checks for possible weapons. By Tashia Lo\ ell [email protected] In the wake of last w'eek’s tragedy in Atlanta when a man overpowered a deputy on the way to court and killed three people, we wonder, is our courthouse safe? But. according to Limestone County Circuit Court Judge Jimmy Woodroof, the the courthouse here is a safe place. “I’m very comfortable here,” he said. “We have had no problems.” Woodroof said that no small community is immune to a problem, however. “I think people, if anything, understand there is a viable threat and it can happen anywhere,” Woodroof said referring to last week’s shooting in Atlanta. The judge is planning to meet with other judges. Sheriff’s Department personnel and the courthouse security staff' to evaluate operations and decide “if” anything needs to be done. He said that the security personnel who are in place now do an outstanding job and regardless of any modifications, it is a safe environment. “I feel like people are safe here in Limestone County,” said Courthouse Security personnel Carolyn Barnes. According to Sgt. Allen Craig, if a prisoner is high-risk in jail, two deputies will then escort that person to court. “Classifying the inmate” was a phrase used by Kuwana Moore, See Courthouse, Page 2A ;