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Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - October 3, 2009, Athens, Alabama Complete coverage of* local high school football action PAGE IBThe News Courier Serving Athens and Limestone Countv: A Coinniunitv ofTriidition and Future ) - , 50 cents Saturday, October 3, 2009 Visit us onOne www^newscourier^om Inside Today . Jobless rate soars The unemployment rate in the U.S. rose to 9.8 percent in September, highest since June 1983, as employers cut far more jobs than expected. PAGE 5A Family defends accused Relatives of an illinois man charged with * the murder of five members of his former wife's family say he is incapable of such a crime. PAGE 3A Subscribe Gel the news with your morning coliee SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWS COURIER BY CALLING 232-2720 7    69847    00001 Man charged in arson conspiracy Jason Cagle By Jean Coi.f io€U}(S.athcnsnc\vs-conri(r.r()in Limestone County authorities say an Elkmont man paid his live-in girlfriend $25,000 to bum his Veto Road home in 2008, then defrauded his insurance company by collecting on the loss. Jason Earl Cagle, 46, of 30305 Veto Road, was arrested and charged Thursday with second-degree conspiracy to commit arson and first-degree theft by deception, said Limestone County Sheriff s Chief Investigator Stanley Mc-Natt. The theft charge resulted from Cagle settling an insurance claim for the house with Allstate. His former girlfriend, Shirley Ann Reed, 47, of 1901 Sparkman Drive, Apt. 1001, Huntsville, was charged with second-degree arson on Sept. 25, McNatt said. She allegedly set the fire that de stroyed the home Oct. 10 and then accepted $25,000 cash from the insurance settlement, he said. “They were not home at the time of the tire, but she had been talking about burning it and getting the insurance and she had been putting boxes in the attic over a period of time so she could start the fire,” McNatt said. See Arson, page 2A ASU campus filled with music as Fiddlers Convention begins 43rd annual event to end late tonight in crowning of fiddle king By Jean C’oi e alhcusiK'w s-c(>uri(‘r.c(iin Hershel Landers looked like a long-faced cowboy in his Sunday overalls as he sat under a shade tree, strummed his Gibson and sang, “I don’t love you anymore ... trouble is, I don’t love you any less.” It was the Hatton man’s 43rd trip to the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Athens. “1 think I’ve been here that many times,” lenders said as he took a breiik Friday on the Athens State University campus. With the sun shining and elbows flying, fiddlers rosined up their bows and jammed with musicians like Landers as the annual fiddlers bash got under way. The event continues today with fiddle competitions, plenty of food, and vendors selling everything from hand-woven baskets to kids clothing. It ends late tonight with the crowning of the fiddle king. Admission is $10, with children under 12 admitted free with parents. Gates open at 7 a.m. today. Late tonight, there will be a See Fiddlers, page 2A NEWS COURIER/KIM RYNDERS Eldon strange of Elizabethtown, Ky., could “fiddle down a possum from a mile-high tree" in the words of poet Stephen Vincent Benet. He was jamming with guitarist Leon Sims, banjoist Rick Allen, mandolinist Harold Foster, dobroist Bill Fowler and his brother, Jerry, on standup base Friday as the 43rd Annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention got under way. Rain can't dampen enthusiasm for Habitat for Humanity Women Build PHOTO BY CHARLOTTE FULTON Avery Shackelford, a senior at St. Andrew's-Sewanee School, does some touch-up painting at one of the Habitat for Humanity houses under construction. By C^u.YRixrrii: Fei.ion For lliv \('ws Courier Last Saturday morning’s rainstorm forced postponement of the Idckofi for Habitat for Humanity Athens Affiliate’s second Women Build, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of a vanload of Tennessee students in town for a day of service. Habitat’s executive director Garth Lowom Jr. quickly revised the game plan, moving the nine students and their advisor out of the rain and into two nearly-completed houses nearby and devising new assignments: touch-up painting and clean-up. The advice Lowom dispensed along with paintbrushes and buckets was about more than just smooth, even bmsh strokes. It was about Ule, about making college choices early and wisely, about the importance of education beyond the high school level — all delivered in a light, bantering style that makes advice more palatable. “Who can tell me what this is called?” asked Lowom, indicating the molding three of the students were about to paint. “Baseboard,” one responded tentatively. “That’s right. Now, I’m going to ask See Habitat, page 3A Woman accused of theft from job ByJian Ck)ii^: /< vi/j ^ ill Ik ‘iisnt ‘\ \s-e< iiirit r.coin A Killen woman accused of stealing at least $2,500 from her employer has been arrested and changed with lirst-degree theft. Crystal Nicole Johnston, 24,    360 County Road 69 vv^as ar-rested Thursday by Athens Police De- CrystalJohnston partment fbllowmg an investigation, records show. She is accused of stealing an undisclosed iunount of cash from her former employer since Jan. 1, said Capt. Marty Bmce. He did not disclose the name of the Athens business or the cunount stolen, however, a first-degree theft charge involves a theft of $2,500 or more. “She would void tnmsac-tions when customers would pay for services and then take the cash,” Bmce said. She was transferred to the Limestone County Jail rhursday and released after posting a $5,0(K) biiil bond, records show. Seven nabbed in 3 Limestone meth lab raids By Jfan C’xMi jemrri at In 'iisiit 'sw-eourii r.eoiu Limestone County dmg officers — with help from Ardmore Police — made three methampetamine busts this week, leading to the arrests of seven county residents. Limestone Oxunty drug officers arrested four people Thursday in Elkmont, records show. After receiving a tip ftt>m Ardmore Police about a possible meth lab at 25949 Rooker Lane, limestone dmg officers went to the home, found a lab in a vehicle, another lab in the house along w ith a small amount of marijuana, said limestone See Meth, page 3AIndex Classified .....................4B Comics .......................3B Ledger .......................6A Obituaries ....................2A Phelix Appleton Clessie G. Jones Rosie Malone Waymon Rector Sports ........................IB Weather......................2A Bring a Buddy 6 Share Your 1st Month'f FeeOnly $1450 each! Mo conwactSv Exp#«» OdofrCf 11, ZOM. 4^    i/ ♦    MoB-TotsSlieii-Thori    5:30    pm ■ Adwm Re< Or, *70 US 311*Call i i 256-729-11«In our Face Join discussions of daily stories, current events, football and more on The News Courier's Facebook page. Some comments made during the week are chosen to run on Wednesday's Opinion page. Join the fun! ;