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TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2007
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AREA NEWS IN BRIEF

Athens meets on on project

ATHENS — The city has garnered the interest of a new economic development prospect.

But because of competition from other communities wanting to lure the development, no one is giving out details.

Athens Mayor Dan Williams asked for an executive session with the City Council on Monday night to discuss the project. Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association, said discussing the project openly could "be detrimental to the competitive nature of the situation."

Williams did say after the executive session that this is a new prospect and is not related to an earlier proposal the city received about building travel ball fields at the proposed Interstate 65 interchange on Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road.

- Holly Hollman

Athens probes cutting of man, 54

ATHENS — Athens investigators still are trying to determine what led to the cutting of a 54-year-old man over the weekend.

Lt. Floyd Johnson said police have a suspect but have not charged him. The altercation occurred Saturday evening at a home on Jefferson Street north of Airport Road. Johnson said investigators still are trying to determine what caused the altercation and who was involved.

Athens-Limestone Hospital treated and released the victim for knife cuts on his arm and shoulder.

He said police may send the case to a grand jury to see if there is enough evidence to charge the suspect.

- Holly Hollman

Athens to fund police equipment

ATHENS — After quizzing police officials about the need for about $15,000 in equipment, the Athens City Council opted to use reserve money to pay for the requests.

In December, Chief Wayne Harper asked for about $32,700 in equipment such as computers and a mug shot system, and the council balked, asking him to scale back the request. On Monday, Harper cut the request to six computers, the mug shot system and a projector.

Councilman Ronnie Marks asked if police could continue using a digital camera for mug shots. Capt. Marty Bruce said he has to manually download the photos daily. The new system, which costs $5,500, would do that automatically.

Councilwoman Milly Caudle asked why the department needs more computers. Harper said that at the old police station, there wasn't enough room for patrol officers to have the necessary computers but room is available at the new station.

- Holly Hollman

Center to get pool, splash pad

Decatur's Carrie Matthews Park received final approval Monday from the City Council to improve its pool and build a splash pad.

The council unanimously approved the $596,917 expenditure with Burleson Pool Company Inc. for renovation of the pool and construction of a splash pad similar to the water playground at Delano Park.

Bond proceeds will fund the renovation and construction, officials said.

- Chris Paschenko

6 allegedly strip men of shoes

Two Athens men told Decatur police a robbery committed by a gang of men with guns and knives at a party late Friday left them shoeless.

Roberto Gonzalez, 28, and Calvo Santos, 24, called police from a convenience store on West Moulton Street to report the robbery Friday night.

They incident allegedly took place at a party at a residence on Sixth Avenue Northwest, but the victims did not give a specific location, said police spokesman Lt. Chris Mathews.

According to the reports filed, Gonzalez and Santos arrived at the party and were confronted by six Hispanic males, including three armed with handguns and two with knives.

They allegedly pushed Gonzalez and Santos to the ground and stripped both men of their jewelry, cell phones, cash and shoes, a total of about $1,150 worth of property.

The offenders left in a blue Ford Explorer with a Tennessee license plate.

- Seth Burkett

Trinity looking at commercial growth

TRINITY — Trinity could be on the verge of a commercial growth spurt.

Mayor Vaughn Goodwin concluded Monday's town council meeting by setting a public hearing for Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. on a proposal to rezone about an acre for a proposed Dollar General Store atop Trinity Mountain on old Alabama 24, just west of the post office building.

Muscle Shoals developers Gene Aycock and Robbie Martin spoke to the council several weeks ago about the possibility of locating the store there if they secured agreements from nearby residents.

Earlier in the meeting Monday, the council approved annexing a 1.2-acre strip owned by J. Kelly and J. Kaye Meeks and a 50-foot strip owned by Virginia S. Cottrell.

Goodwin said both strips are easements from Braxton Ridge subdivision joining 12 acres on the north side of Gordon Terry Parkway that Cottrell owns.

"An individual is considering the property for commercial development," Goodwin said. "I can't say any more than that at this time."

- Ronnie Thomas

Trinity approves permit for T-Mobile

TRINITY — The Trinity Town Council on Monday approved a special use permit for T-Mobile Communications that will add $2,000 to the town's resources.

The company will co-locate at the 250-foot mark of a 400-foot tall tower on Ghost Hill Road owned by Big Towers Inc. and used by Verizon Wireless.

- Ronnie Thomas

Girl found after fall into Flint Creek

Railroad traffic came to standstill Saturday night as Morgan sheriff's deputies and emergency personnel joined a group of teens in the search for a girl who apparently fell in Flint Creek.

Morgan County Chief Deputy Mike Corley said deputies investigating calls about suspicious vehicle activity on Mitchell Pines Trail encountered a group of juveniles near the railroad bridge spanning the creek at about 10 p.m.

"There was a young girl that had fallen into the water. I don't know that she actually fell off a bridge, but she fell in the water. They (the juveniles) had pulled a vehicle up to the water's edge to try and angle it to get some light to find the girl.

They had actually pulled partially onto the track. As luck would have it, while they were doing that, they had a tire go flat," Corley said.

Deputies called CSX to get traffic on the railroad halted.

Deputies found the girl, unharmed, in the 500 block of Kayo Road, Corley said.

Deputies turned the juveniles over to their parents, Corley said.

- Seth Burkett

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