Athens News Courier (Newspaper) - September 1, 2009, Athens, Alabama
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Sen ing Athens and Limestone County: .4 Coinnninitv ot Iradilion and Future
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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Wildfire threatens LA suburbs
A deadly wildfire that has blackened a wide swath of tinder-dry forest around Los Angeles made another menacing advance Monday, surging toward thousands of suburban homes.
The poop on Bo
He has torn through magazines and stray socks, sunk his teeth into the president's gym shoes. Charm school taught him to sit, heel and shake a paw on command.
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Cify seeks historical input
By K\ren MiDDijrroN ktircii'^athonstH'ws-aniiicr.mm
As promised, Athens officials will hold a second round of meetings to revise ordinances for the city’s historic districts.
A meeting on a July 6 draft of the ordinance drew a room ftiU of residents and a laundry list of objections.
Chief among those objections was a proposed $500-per-day per violation fine and misdemeanor charges for non-compliance.
Athens Community Planner Mac Martin and Public Works Director James Rich said Monday they have letters to go out to both the Beaty Dis
trict and the Houston District inviting them to separate meetings to discuss a softer version of the proposed ordinance.
Houston residents will meet at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Athens State University Ballroom. Two nights later on Sept. 17, Beaty residents will meet at the same time in the ballroom.
“We thought this was a more constructive approach than an at-laige public meeting,” said Martin. “In order to fine tune the ordinance w'e need to actually sit down with the residents of the district.”
“This will be a working meeting,” said Rich.
Martin, Rich, members of the Athens Historic
Commission and the city councilmim who represents the district will explain three revisions.
First, there is a criterion for a certificate of appropriateness as pertiiins to landscaping.
“This has nothing to do with anything organic or vegetation,” said McUtin. “The only thing thiit is regulated is trees. It’s about mature trees and the eftort to preserve them. The piul about lawns and bushes was taken out.
“Trees set so much of the chcuucier of a district. All this is an effort, not necessiirily to regulate landsciiping, but to protect the value of prtip-
See Historical, page 3A
Festival outgrows Athens
NEWS COURIER FILE PHOTO
As many as 20,000 music fans turn up for the annual SoulStock one-day Christian contemporary music festival in May. Organizers say they can no longer accommodate that many people on Athens State University's Beasley Field. They are moving the event to Decatur's Point Mallard Park.
SoulStock pulling up stakes for move to Point Mallard
By Karen MiDDLEroN karen<S^athimsnc\vs-ix)urier.cx)in A fixture on the spring scene in Athens for the past 12 years, SoulStock, a one-day Christian contemporary music festival, is leaving for Decatur’s Point Mallard Park because it ou^rew its Athens State University venue.
Philip Presley, one of the founders of the event in 1997 wffien it was held behind Valley Church on Lindsay Lane and 197 people participated, said crowds grew to 20,000 on Beasley Reid in 2008. This year die concert was rained out.
Preslfty said organizers have been talking about relocating the event for the past “three or four years” and began in earnest a year ago to find an-otiier place in Athens because they felt this city, as
its birthplace, is the rightful home for SoulSt(3ck.
“We tried to make the Sportsplex work, but with that much traffic having to get back out onto Alabama 251 and U.S. 31, it would be dangerous,” said Presley. “Basically, it was just the logistics of having it at the Sportsplex. We didn’t know where to place the stage and we would have had to put up fencing around the whole area. 'Iliere was also the trash issue. We would have had to come up with the garbage cans.
“We could have gotten all the care out with the help of Athens Police, but there isn’t enough parking. At Athens State, people park on side streets and walk to the campus. It would be too dangerous
See SoulStock, page 3A
Calhoun tops 11,000 students In record enrollment
Dr. Marilyn C. Beck, president of Calhoun Community College, announced Monday the college’s 2009 M semester enrollment has reached a new record for the school with 11,187 students enrolled to date, an increase of 18.6 percent over last M’s numbers.
Of the students taking classes at Calhoun this M, 4,904 are enrolled in day and evening classes at the Decatur campus and 4,717 are taking day, evening and weekend classes at the college’s Huntsville/Cummings Research Park site.
Distance Education enrollment has increased 42 percent over M 2008 with 1,220 students taldng classes on-ine. Enrollment numbers for the college’s Dual Enroll-
ment students currendy stand at 165; however, the college’s Admissions Office is not yet finished processing enrollment applications. Final Dual Enrollment numbers for the semester are expected to top 500.
Current enrollment for the college’s program at Limestone Correctional Facility is 181, with another 100 students to be loaded into the system.
“With the additional students to be added into the astern for Dual Enrollment and the LCF program, our final enrollment figure for M should top 11,600 students,” said Rob Steinmetz, associate dean for enrollment manage-
See Calhoun, page 2A
Rescuer awarded $2K libel
By Jean (>)1e
An ¿mimal rescuer who recently received a $5(K) judgment from a Limestone County judge against the owner of Lassie’s Friends Animal Sanctuary in Athens for deceptively killing three dogs has now won a libel judgment against the sanctuary’s owner, rea)rds show.
Deborah Ohm, a volunteer for 4wo by Iwo Rescue in Birmingham, has been awarded a $2,000 judgment against Karen M. Johnson of Athens for libeling her in an electronic message, according to a judgment filed in Shelby County District Court.
The juflgment was filed Aug. 20 following an Aug. 17 bench trial between Ohm and Johnson. No jury was present, only a judge.
Based on the testimony and evidence taken in open court, District Judge John H. Alsbrcx)ks found that on April 30, 2009, Johnson intentionally sent an e-mail to multiple addresses, including Ohm’s that contained material about Ohm that was libelous.
According to court records, Johnson claimed in the e-mail that Ohm called the Tennessee office of the Dr. Wyatt Galbraith, veterinarian for Lassie’s Friends, and yelled profimities at staff, acted crazy and abusive, ac*-cording to court records.
Johnson stated that Ohm traveled to the vet’s office, made a scene and the waiting room clients called Ohm “crazy” and “a terrorist.” Johnson also stated that Ohm had someone claiming to be a lawyer called the vet’s office to “hassle and threaten that they would turn the vet into the board for some unknown reason.”
Galbraith refuted Johnson’s allegations in a nota-riz.ed written statement entered into the court record.
Johnson stated in the e-mail that Ohm threatened Lassie’s Friends staflf with bodily harm. She also stated
See Libel, page 3AIndex
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