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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - May 9, 2009, Athens, Alabama Mothers of Invention: Who thought up what Coming SundayThe News CourierServing Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and f uture50 centsSaturday, May 9, 2009 Thomas is ruled retarded; sentence reduced Trojans one step closer to title Win over South Lamar takes Athens Bible School one step closer to defending its Class 1A state baseball championship. SPORTS, PAGE IB Layoffs slow, but jobless rate still climbs The pace of layoffs slowed in April when employers cut 539,000 jobs, the fewest in six months. But the jobless rate rose to 8.9 percent, the highest rate since 1983, as firms still wary of hiring. PAGE 5A Subscribe Get the news with your morning coffee SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720 Index Classifieds*...... .4B Comics..........3B Ledger..........4A Lottery..........3A Obituaries.......2A John Edward Emery Rachel Virginia Poteete Sports...........IB Weather.........2A 69847 00001 Visit us online Inside Today Bv Karen Middleton A,7/c/) a'ailiciisnews-courkr.coni Kenneth Glen Thomas will be returned to Limestone County Circuit Court May 27 to be re-sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1984 killing of 82-year-old Flossie McLemore, according to District Attorney Kristi Vails. Thomas has been on death row in Holman prison at Atmore since his 1986 conviction. “U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith ruled in an April 21 hearing that Thomas is mentally retarded and not eligible for execution,” said Vails. “Judge Smith signed the order and sent it to Judge (Jimmy) Wood root, who sent it to mv office.” Vails said Thomas would appear in court here May 27 where he will be sentenced to life without parole. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that mentally retarded prisoners should be treated like juveniles in death- row cases. Limestone County Commission Chairman David Seibert, who was Thomas’ special education teacher at West Limestone High School in the early 1980s, was called to testify. Vails said. Thomas was convicted in April 1986 See Sentence, page 2A NLWb COURIER/ JENNIFER R. MILL Wayne Carwile takes a straight razor to the hairline of Charles Fann to finish up his flattop haircut. The flattop was the most popular haircut in 1959, said Carwile. He attributes its popularity decline to The Beatles. Athens barber celebrates his 50th year in business By Jennifer R. Hill jenniieng) Charles Fann, 79, of Elkmont has been coming to get a flattop haircut from Wayne Carwile for about 10 years. He keeps coming back to Carwile’s Barber Shop, located at 115 N. Marion Street just off the Athens town square, because it’s a place he can count on. “[He’s] somebody I can depend on. He’s the best barber in Athens,” Fann said of Wayne, the late Bill Carwile’s son. “He don't rush through.” Others evidently teel the same because Wayne is celebrating his 50th year as a barber in Athens. His family and friends are holding an afternoon celebration in his honor from 2:30 until 5 today at the shop. Wayne’s father opened the business in See Barber, page 3A NEWS COURIER/ JENNIFER R. HILL Wayne Carwile, at left, has been in the "bar-bering" business for 50 years. His shop, Bill Carwile’s Barbershop, is adorned with pictures of family and friends. Look closely above the first top photo to see a shard of metal left in the back wall of the shop after a natural gas explosion in 1974. Parade, concert kick off rodeo By Kelly Kazek keUy& A parade and concert are set today to kick off next week’s Lirrtestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo. Longtime Ardmore Police Chief William “Doc” Oliver will be grand marshal of the rodeo parade that begins at 1 p.m. at the sheriff’s arena on Alabama 99 and winds through downtown. At 8 tonight, Confederate Railroad and Doug Stone take the stage for a concert at the arena. The events will go on rain or Events today The rodeo parade at 1 p.m. today that begins at the Sheriff's Arena on Alabama 99. At 8 tonight, Confederate Railroad and Doug Stone perform at the arena. shine unless there is an electrical storm, said Deputy Sheriff Paul Cain. The concert stage is covered, he said. Sheriff Mike Blakely said the popular recording artists “should set the stage for a successful rodeo week.” The remainder of the week will be filled with events leading up to next weekend’s rodeo. The Exceptional Rodeo, an event for people with special needs, will be from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday, Cain said. Events from rodeo week raise funds to protect the community. In 26 years, the rodeo has funded 33 patrol cars, defrayed helicopter costs, provided vests for reserve officers, and provided a multitude of training for all divisions of the department. See Rodeo, page 2A Probable swine flu found in Limestone MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The number of probable and confirmed swine flu cases in Alabama has risen to 31, and health officials are warning people to stay diligent because the threat still exists. • State Health Officer Don Williamson said Friday that three new likely cases were found in Montgomery County and two additional cases are suspected in Madison County children. Four cases have been confirmed in Alabama and the virus was detected in Shefby, Jefferson, Limestone and Pike counties. Williamson said Alabama has spent $160,000 on new equipment so far and the department’s laboratory is awaiting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention certification so it can do final confirmations. Meanwhile, three school systems in Madison County that closed for two to four days because of flu fears will have to make up those days. Elderly victims of residential li re need assistance By Jean Cole I can c iiUn'iisnow s-imiricrxDin Winford Kelley was in the bedroom of his home on Marion Street on Wednesday when he walked by the door, smelled smoke, and heard popping and crackling. When he opened it, fire erupted. The house he and wife Eunice were renting went up fast, said Athens Fire Chief Dannv Southard. The couple, both in the 70s and disabled, escaped. Some of their pets did not. Now they are looking for an affordable place to rent as well as donations of furniture and anything else needed to setup housekeeping because they did not have renters insurance, said family friend Patricia Steele. “They have nothing absolutely nothing,” Steele said. The Kelleys are among the 30 to 34 fire victims helped this year by the Umestone See Victims, page 3A Police arrest second suspect in computer theft from Walmart Two men who loaded a computer into a Walmart shopping cart and crashed through the exit doors with it in September have been arrested, an official said. Bobby Shane Hawkins, 26, of 5869 Crestmont Drive, Clearwater, Fla., has been returned to Athens from Florida to face charges of second-degree theft of property and second- degree criminal mis- _ .. L-r •. * i    Bobby    Hawkins chief, said Athens Police Capt. Martv Bruce. Hawkins and Bobbv Cobb Jr. are accused in the Sept. 14 theft. Cobb w"as arrested March 23 on the same chaiges. Hawkins was arrested last week in See Theft, page 3A ;