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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - May 22, 2005, Athens, Alabama Index Classified 1-14D Crossword 16A Other Views 5A Our Opinion 4A Ledger ..........7A Obituaries 2A Lynda Gale Elledge Carrie Jane Powell Florence Stella Jackson Sports .........1-4B Daily Bible Moment I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 o •or. Otm“ Minétane fíjhabd 322 Hw\. 31 N • Athens 256-232-1051 Obit list 256-771-0934 News-Courier/ Kim Rynders Cleo Scales, left, and Cynthia Phillips, right, sit with Alberta Kirby, center, in her new home on Plato Jones Street in Athens. Ride ’em, cowboy News-Courier/Alissa Clark Shan Thigpen, 9 years old, rides an electric bull Saturday night at the Limestone County Sheriffs Rodeo. Meanwhile, the Sheriffs Rodeo Arena was filled with real cowboys riding real bulls.Junior LeaguerLocal high school student is accepted into Ivy League college program State finalsAthens, ABS fail in quest to bring home championship trophy jb Serving Athens and Limestone County: A Community of Tradition and Future 9 Pembroke Rees of Athens f" Subscriber % of the day SHUDOFF Hey, Sound Off: Although it is clearly understood that passing the exit exams in necessary to receive a diploma, not allowing a child who has attended 13 years of school to at least walk with their fellow classmates on graduation night is unfair. The statement made to these students by not allowing them to participate in a ceremony celebrating their accomplishment of finishing school is that they have done nothing special and their time invested was worthless. Not receiving a diploma this night does not mean that they are not good enough to celebrate with their fellow classmates. The fact that they will not receive a diploma is insult enough without the added discrimination of not being allowed to celebrate their completion of education. They have plenty of time and other alternatives to receive their diploma, but only one chance to walk w ith their class. Give them a blank paper rolled up. This used to be what was done, what’s wrong with that and why can’t they, at least, be recognized for their efforts. Although I am not against the exit exams, I never had to take them and neither did administrators who will be handing out diplomas. More Sound Off Valley, 6A Woman spends first night in new home built by local man By Tashia Lovell [email protected] Alberta Kirby and her daughter Shirley now have a new home. Professional workers volunteered to work during the past two months to rebuild Kirby’s home on Plato Jones Street in Athens. Her old house was falling apart and didn’t even have running water or a toilet inside. She had lived there for nearly 60 years. In January, Kirby and her daughter were able to move into temporary housing at Higgins Court. Since that time, volunteers have donated labor and materials to build her a brand new home, which was completed on Thursday. The house is 888 square feet with two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, dining area, living room and utility closest. Furniture was also donated for the home. Local homebuilder Ronnie Watts handed over the key to Kirby Friday while friends, relatives, workers, and contributors gathered outside the home. “It’s too pretty,” Kirby said. The News-CouAthens losing Sweet Sue Canned chicken plant moving operations to Augusta, Ga. on June 3, 173 jobs lost By Sonny Turner [email protected] One of Athens’ largest and oldest industries, Sweet Sue Inc., will be closed down with operations being moved to Augusta, Ga., The News-Courier learned Saturday. The Athens canned chicken facility will shut down June 3, according to officials with Conners Brothers in Toronto, Canada. Conners Brothers announced that its US. operating company, Bumble Bee Seafoods, LLC, is closing the Sweet Sue canned and pouch chicken factory in Athens and moving production into its Castleberry’s canned meat and canned chicken facility in Augusta. The company further announced that all qualified Athens employees would be offered a position at the Castleberry’s facility, as well as relocation assistance. “This is a complete surprise to all of us here in Athens,” Athens Mayor Dan Williams said this weekend. “I talked with our Economic Development Director Tom Hill and he said he didn't know anything about either. “We knew the plant had been sold to Bumble Bee with Conners Brothers, but we didn’t know they were going to close it down. This is going to hurt.” Sweet Sue employs approximately 175 workers and was one of Athens’ first plants dating back some 50 years. It was first owned and operated by the late Jim Beasley. “Since the acquisition of the Sweet Sue factory and the Castleberry’s factory in January of this year, we have been evaluating the economics of maintaining dual canning facilities in the Southeast,” said Chris Lischewski, President and CEO of Clover Leaf Seafood, a Canadian subsidiary with Conners Brothers. “Today, competition in the market place has made it imperative that we continue See Sweet Sue, Page 2A 5 injured in wreck on U.S. 72 By Sonny Turner [email protected]\\ s-courier. com Five people were injured in a two-vehicle wreck Saturday morning two miles west of Athens near Posey’s Grocery. Athens-Limestone Hospital spokesman Andy Jackson said one person was seriously injured and was taken by Medflight helicopter to Huntsville Hospital. He said four others were taken by ambulance to Athens-Limestone Hospital. State troopers said the driver of a 2001 Ford, Ann Marie Limback, 23, of New Hope and her two children, Dixie Limback, 4, and Hunter Limback, 2, were all injured. The driver of the other vehicle, a 1995 See Wreck, Page 2A State bill likely no help here From staff, wire reports A bill that Gov. Bob Riley is expected to make law might have helped Limestone County Commissioners fight a company that abandoned a recycling firm here, but the law would stipulate that voters in each county approve the measure. Although it is too late to help in the case of Recycling Solutions, which left behind mounds of household garbage including appliances and furniture in East Limestone, Commission Chairman David Seibert said that type of problem is the reason commissioners sought home rule here locally last See Bill, Page 3A ;