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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - May 2, 2009, Athens, Alabama Local mail s invention helps you hang onto your hat Story SundayThe News Co 11 r i onServing Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future Saturday, May 2, 2009 Visit us online Inside Today Event center start near By Karen Middleton [email protected] Limestone County Commission had to go back to the drawing board before soliciting bids for construction contracts on the event center. Formerly a Pilgrim’s Pride warehouse off Piyor Street before the county purchased it for $130,000, the cavernous building would “comfortably” seat 2,000, according to Commission Chairman David Seibert. “We had to go back and have the property rezoned and we had to add more restroom fa- cilities to bring it up to city code before we could bid it,” said Seibert. The City Council Monday approved rezoning the event center and the nearby Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives from M-l light manufacturing to B-4 Central Business District. The county began preliminary work on the facility several months ago by replacing the roof and insulating the top of the building. “We’ve expanded the parking lot, did away with the loading dock and improved drainage along Marion Street,” said Seibert. “We’ve also added roll-up doors to be able to drive vehicles into the building.” Seibert said the roll-up doors would enable the county to market the facility for car shows and farm implement and agriculture shows. “We have to bid out the heating and cooling system, lighting, acoustical panels, plumbing and the staining of the floor,” said Seibert. Seibert said the existing poured concrete floor is in excellent condition and only requires See Event, page 2A John O'Brien Man shot in mouth foEowing argument An Elkmont man who was shot in the mouth Thursday night following a family fight remains in critical condition in Huntsville Hospital, an official said. The Limestone County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 8:15 p.m. Thursday from John Joseph O’Brien of 24491 Thach Road stating he had shot his brother-in-law and he was en route to Athens-Limestone Hospital in a private vehicle, said Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakelv. “When officers arrived, they recovered a 22-caliber semi-automatic handgun,” the sheriff said. “At the hospital, they found Douglas Persha. 62, of the same address had been shot once in the mouth and the bullet had lodged in the back of his neck near his spine.” Persha was transferred to Huntsville Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition Friday afternoon in the surgical intensive care unit. “Witnesses said O’Brien got into it with his stepson and threw a chair at him,” Blakely said. “The stepson shoved O’Brien. O’Brien said he was going to get his gun so the stepson left. When O’Brien returned with his gun, Persha told him to put it up. The two argued and O’Brien shot Persha.” See Shot, page 2A ASU interested in downtown site By Jean Cole jt*[email protected] r. com Athens State University is eyeing property on Market Street in downtown Athens that could be used for continuing education, for meetings, for a business incubator or for some other purpose, an official said. The property ASU is attempting to buy is located between the railroad tracks and Reliance Bank on Market, said ASU President Bob Glenn. “Nothing is final until the state board approves the purchase,” Glenn said. “We have submitted the paperwork. But until we get approval, nothing goes forward.” ASU has not yet determined the use for the property it hopes to buy. “I want to include the campus community in that decision,” Glenn said. “We have talked about a number of things, including continuing education, meeting space See Downtown, page 2A Index Classifieds 4B Comics..........3B Ledger..........4A Obituaries 2A Lucille Scroggins Sports...........IB 7 MB,69847 00001    6 ABS hosts arts, crafts show Even storms and rain couldn't keep faithful Homespun shoppers away Friday. The Athens Bible School fundraiser welcomed 46 arts and crafts vendors this year. Homespun begins at 9 a.m. today. Vendor selections have grown over the festival’s history from the mainly country-themed or "homespun" crafts from which the festival takes its name to a wide selection of decorator items, jewelry, fashion accessories, plants, photography, candles, hand embroidery, crocheted and knitted items, wooden crafts, and children's clothing. Above, shoppers browse the plants at Carters Nursery. NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS Hobbs St. closed Don't forget - access will be blocked to Hobbs Street from Clinton to Shaw streets from noon-10 p.m. today for SoulStock. Subscribe Robbery suspect charged with traffic violations Swine flu looks less threatening Storms can’t dampen Homespun Chrysler plants to shut down By Jean Cole [email protected] A man charged Wednesday with robbing a Capshaw bank and leading city and county law-enforcement officers on a chase that reached 120 mph is now facing several traffic violations, an official said. Athens Police have charged Stephen Lamar Vaughn, 40, of 315 E. Main St., Lynch, Ky., with reckless driving, attempting to elude, speeding, running a red light and leaving the scene of an accident, said Capt. Marty Bruce. Limestone Sheriff Mike Blakely said Vaughn could also face charges of reckless endan-germent and criminal mischief for ramming Chief Deputy Randy King’s car during the chase. However, the sheriff said those charges would likely come when the case is presented to a grand jury. The Sheriff'’s Department had already charged Vaughn Wednesday with first-degree robbery in connection with the armed robbery of $4,500 from Reliance Bank at 27510 Capshaw Road in Harvest. Set Violations, page 2A Experts say there is no reason to believe the new virus is a more serious strain than seasonal flu. Troubled automaker reveals it will close five plants by the end of next year. PAGE 5A Get the news with your morning coffee SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720 PAGE 6A ;