Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - March 20, 2005, Athens, Alabama
Faces in the heartSee why missionaries to Guatemala cannot forget the faces of the children there. Wheeler life
Scenes from Wheeler Wildlife Refuge on today’s “Around Rogersville” page 7ACourier
Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future
Sf \D\v, Vf \R( H 20, 2005
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of Oakdale Community
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Hey, Sound Off:
To the person who wrote to Sound Off regarding Councilman Wales and his concern for Brookhill: Of course we did not hear from Mr. Wales before he was elected. Exactly what forum would you have expected him to take?
As a Brookhill parent I would like Mr. Wales to know how much we appreciate his concern for our children and his willingness to take a stand on this issue. You might also be interested to know that none of our school board members have children attending Brookhill Elementary School. If they did, we may be getting a very different response from them at the moment.
I, for one, am very frustrated by the number of letters being published in the newspaper written by parente who do not have chil<i«n at Brookhill. Their main concern seems to be the fact that their children might have a few more children in their classrooms if Brookhill students need to be moved. Believe it or not, our children are just as precious as yours and deserve a healthy environment in which to spend their day.
Sorry if this means “invading” the other schools, which are funded by our tax dollars.
Where are the priorities of the citizens of Athens?
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Daily Bible Moment
US run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.
7 69847 00001Elm street to be 4-lanedMayor says project will make intersection much safer
By Sonny Turner
Preliminary work to four-lane the dangerous Elkton Road and Elm Street intersection in Athens will soon start, Athens Mayor Dan Williams said this weekend.
“We’re going to have turn lanes at that intersection and it’s our plan to four-lane Elkton Road all the way from that intersection to U.S. 31,” the mayor said. “Once the work is complete, this should make this a much safer intersection.”
The intersection has been a constant problem for
motorists and statistics show that since 1999 there have been more than 77 wrecks at that location.
It claimed the lives of three people last summer when a dump truck struck a car broadside after the driver of the car made a left turn onto Elkton Road.
“It’s a real bad spot,” said Williams. “I was out there one day last week and witnessed a near accident.”
Athens Police Chief Wayne Harper said the intersection, like the one at Jefferson and U.S. 72, has blind spots.
“When there are big trucks, it’s hard to see,” he said.
Police statistics show that in 1999 there were 20
wrecks at the Elkton Street intersection; 19 in 2000; 12 in 2001; 11 in 2002; 11 in 2003; and more than five in 2004.
In many of those wrecks there were injuries involved, police said.
In the last fatality accident at the intersection, police said it appeared a car pulled in front of the dump truck because the driver’s view was blocked by another none-involved vehicle at the intersection.
Police said many of the wrecks at the intersection are caused by someone making a left turn and another vehicle is there too turning left and blocking their view.
Beating the colc
Attending baseball and softball games this spring in Limestone County hasn’t been easy. But one way to stay warm and to ward off a howling wind is to wrap up in blankets. This was the way these fans beat the cold this past week while attending a baseball game at Elkmont High School. Weather experts say the cold days are numbered, though, with warmer temperatures expected to return as early as this coming week.
Legal fees, travel, other expenses costly to water board
By Sonny Ti rner
sonny@,athensnews-coiineK corti The Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority spent $373.000 last fiscal year on attorney fees, travel, engineering and accounting services from a total $7.7 million budget.
“1 know that is a lot, but the board now has its books audited once a month and the attorney fees include the professional monthly billing services to our customers,” said Greg Holland, acting manager of the LCWSA. “Those attorney and accounting fees are high.”
The legal and professional fees totalled $150,811; accounting services $132,135; engineering services $58,896; and $31,822 for board and management travel. ^
“I haven’t yet attended my first meeting, but " that is coming Thursday,” said newly appointed LCWSA board member Mark Yarbrough who joins the five-member board along with Jerry King. “1 was appointed with a background in business and 1 hope that will help in us getting these expenses down. 1 would like to streamline it and improve on our expenses.”
See Water board. Page 3A
Councilman wants mid-year budget review
By Sonny Turner [email protected]
Athens City Councilman Ronnie Marks says he will request “a mid-year” budget review of city expenses in April make sure we are on course.”
“I think we are in good shape, but I want to make sure we are,” the councilman said. “It sure will not hurt for us to go in and look it.”
That budget review will follow the city’s plan to build a new $3 million Athens police headquarters building on East Hobbs Street.
The council is expected to vote next week to purchase 3.5 acres for approximately $200,000 to build the new station, a two-story 18,000 square feet facility.
The property the council is seeking to purchase is two parcels along East Hobbs Street between Thomas and Shaw streets. It is owned by Beasley Properties with Bill Ming serving as the broker. Marks said the property is available to the city for $200,000.
The council has done away with its original plan to tear down and build a new Athens City Hall in favor of the police headquarters proposal.
A past council decided to build on property off Interstate 65 behind Applebee’s, then this council recently did away widi the plan to go with the Athens City Hall expansion and now the new building committee says it will recommend the East Hobbs Street location.
“I’m thinking that we need to take care of our most critical need and that is our police department,” Marks said. “After we get the police out of city hall we might find we don’t need any more space there.”
Marks said the committee also has discussed the possibility of building a new fire station on the east side of town and do away with Fire Station No. 2 off U.S. 31 South.
Athens has $3.9 million set aside for the project.
Shake, rattle and rol^
Was he Elton John, Paul McCartney or Stevie Wonder? It doesn’t really matter because the man behind the shades brought down the house this weekend during the annual Poke Sallett Follies. He’s better known as Athens attorney Jim Moffatt.
Marta, 19, is married in Athens
Marta Alonzo, who came to the public’s attention nearly two years ago when she and her scm were placed in foster care, was married in an 11 a.m. ceremony Saturday in Athens.
Alonzo, now 19, and her son, Javier, 2, are no longer under the care of the Department of Human Resources.
Alonzo, who married Leandro Miranda of Athens, is from Xebaji, Guatemala, where her family resides.
In February 2003, Alonzo, then 17, and her then 4-month-old son Javier were placed in separate foster homes when local DHR officials took custody of them.
Alonzo was working at a local poultry plant wften DHR officials stepped in after the baby was taken the hospital to be treated for scabies, a mite infestation.
A group called Free Marta was formed after several people claimed DHR took the mother and son into custody unjustly. The group said it was also unjust for mother and son to be in separate foster homes.
DHR officials are prohibited by law from speaking about juvenile cases, but a woman ^^^o was with Alonzo and Javier when they were placed in foster care said there was never an intent to separate the mofficr and child, only to ensure their care.
Mother and son were united in one foster home in November 2003, where Alonzo was taught parenting and other skills and attended Limestone County CareerTechnical Center.