Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - March 26, 2009, Athens, Alabama
NCAA basketball tournament brackets PAGE 2B■be News CourierSening Athens and Limestone County: A Coninninity ot Iradition and butine
Thursday, March 26, 2009
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Lady Red Devils provide goodie bags, potluck dinner for Illinois softball team visiting Elkmont.
SPORTS, PAGE IB
Catch a falling star
Astronomers match a meteorite found on Earth with a specific asteroid that became a fireball plunging through the sky, giving them a glimpse into the past when planets formed.
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But commission chairman says jail food will cost more if put out to bid
By ICyren Middlfton
Bobby Timmons, executive director of the y\labama Sheriffs Association has issued a statement confirming the organization’s sup-px)rt of legislation to turn over state allocations for feeding inmates to county commissions.
Sheriff’s in 55 of Alabama’s 67 counties operate under the De-pression-era system allowing them to make money operating their jail kitchens. The law pays sheriff’s $1.75 a day for each prisoner they house and lets the elected officers pocket any profit they • can generate.
It’s the same state law in place since 1939 that landed Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett in
federal kx:kup for a night. Bartlett testified that he had kept $212,000 over three years from surplus meal money.
Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Allen Treadaway, R-Jefferson Count>', calls for all food money to lie “collected and paid into the General Eund of the county.” Limestone County Commission Chairman David Seibert,
See Food, page 6A
Inspired to fight fires
NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS
Athens Fire Department Battalion Chief Larry Nelson is retiring today after 33 years and 5 months '
he served under four fire chiefs - A.E. "Mutt" Bumpus, Wilson Craig, Cliff Christopher and Danny Southard. The city will ho o him with a reception from 2*4 p.m. Friday in the old City Council chambers.
after 33 years of dedicated service
By Kare;n Middefixjn
Lany Nelson was a 22-year-old truck driver for Sweet Sue Kitchens when he went to work for the Athens Fire Department under Chief A.E. “Mutt” Bumpus.
He was inspired by his late father, Carlos Nelson, who had been a volunteer firefighter in the 1960s and early 1970s.
“I guess that’s where it got in my blood because I used to go with him to fires,” said Nelson. “He was an ABC (Alabama Beverage Control) agent. I would go with
him to bust up moonshine stills. We’d carry dynamite and I was scared to death it would blow up. I didn’t know you had to use an igniter and fuse.”
The city of Athens will host a retirement reception for Nelson from 2-4 p.m. Friday in the old City Council chambers off North Marion Street. He is retiring after 33 years, 5 months on the job.
He said it’s hard to maintain his 26-year lawn care business while working as a firefighter.
But Nelson is no stranger to hard
work. The father to whom he was so close died at 44 from complications from sleep apnea when Nelson was 13 and he took on a pap>er route. In high school, he worked at local service stations. After graduation he went to work driving a truck for Sweet Sue and working in the company’s warehouse.
After he went to work for the fire department, he continued to drive a truck for eight more years until his appendix
See Firefighter, page 6A
Ardmore, Clements, Athens programs boost science, math
By Jean Coi.e
When Abbie was a little girl, she tried to throw a brick over her brother’s head as he slid down a slide at the school playground.
However, she miscalculat-* ed the brick’s mass, threw it with insufficient velocity and it struck her brother in the side of the head, knocking him fi'om the slide.
Without knowing it, Abbie and her brother were learning about physics that day. Too bad there wasn’t a teacher around to help the two soak up that hands-on experiment.
Most of us learned sffxjut physics by reading about it in a textbook and listening to a
teacher’s lectures. Few of us can recall or apply any of it.
The Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative is changing that. The program, which began in 2002, is designed to improve math and science education statewide so all students develop the skills needed for college or the work force.
Through AMSTI, teachers at selected schools throughout the state receive professional development, equipment and materials, and onsite support needed to teach using hands-on experiments — though nothing as rash as a brick to the head.
Already, 40 percent of Al-
See Boost, page 3A
Stimulus money to provide some local teachers stability
From stall \virvrvi>orts amount to about 8 percent of the
VT 1-. O ofofo’c ffirrp nf 49.000.
From stall wire rci>orts
MONTGOMERY - Nearly 3,800 Alabama teaching jobs that were in danger of being lost will be spared for at least two years thanks to the federal economic stimulus package, State Superintendent Joe Morton announced Monday.
Limestone County Schools superintendent is cautiously pleased about the stimulus money.
Athens City Schools’ superintendent said the money would provide a sense of stability for some teachers.
Morton said about $1 billion will be combined from different areas of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. That includes money under Gov. Bob Riley’s discretion that he has pledged to use to keep the jobs, which
amount to about 8 percent of the state’s teaching force of 49,000.
Some teachers faced being let go in May, Morton said after breaking the good news to a gathering of superintendents from around the state.
“I don’t feel like Santa Claus, but maybe like an elf a little bit,” Morton said. “All this wasn’t made in my workshop - this is from Congress and ... Gov. Riley who stood in there very strong for keeping those teachers employed and not giving those pink slips.”
Morton said Riley had the option of using State Fiscal Stabilization Funds that are available to governors for a variety of areas including school modernization, up-
See Stimulus, page 3A