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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2007
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Lawrence to hire 2 security officers

MOULTON — The Lawrence County Courthouse is stepping up security.

The County Commission approved Circuit Court Judge Philip Reich's request Monday for two more security officers at the courthouse.

Sheriff Gene Mitchell agreed to fund the officers' salaries from the Sheriff's Department budget.

The courthouse already has two full-time security officers guarding the main entrance next to the metal detector. Mitchell said the new security officers likely will be full-time also.

- Kristen Bishop

Rep. Cramer's grandfather dies

HUNTSVILLE — Charles Phillip Cramer, the grandfather of U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, died Sunday at age 100.

The senior Cramer was a native of Madison County and lived his entire life in Huntsville, according to his obituary.

He was a master mechanic and operated an automobile repair business on Franklin Street. He later worked at and retired from civil service at Redstone Arsenal.

A graveside service will be Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Maple Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the National Children's Advocacy Center, 210 Pratt Ave., which Rep. Cramer helped found when he was Madison County's district attorney, or to a charity of the donor's choice.

- Franklin Harris

Trial to start in state bank robberies case

BIRMINGHAM — Trial is under way this week for a Tennessee man facing federal robbery charges related to bank robberies in Alabama, including one at Elkmont.

Limestone County Sheriff's Department Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt said he and other officers went to federal court in Birmingham on Monday and were to return Tuesday to testify.

In August 2005, two masked men in coveralls and straw hats robbed Community Bank of Elkmont of $8,000, using assault-type firearms. Limestone authorities recovered the masks.

DNA testing from a mask led the FBI to one suspect, Jimmy Doyal Hindman, who lives near Chattanooga. Hindman also is accused of robbing the DeKalb Bank of Sand Rock at gunpoint.

- Holly Hollman

Athens to vote on illegals ordinance

ATHENS — The Athens City Council introduced an ordinance Monday that would require contractors to verify they don't knowingly hire illegal aliens.

Councilman Ronnie Marks introduced the ordinance. He said it would apply to those who have contracts of $50,000 or more with the Public Works Department.

The council will decide whether to approve the ordinance at its next meeting.

- Holly Hollman

Group says access to ball fields denied

ATHENS — A travel ball group told city leaders Monday that it wasn't getting access to fields for tournaments, which could kill the program.

Leaders of the North Alabama Explosion said that since the city separated its recreation league, Girls Softball Association, from travel ball, they have been denied city fields for tournaments. Leaders said they depend on the tournaments to fund the organization.

Parks and Recreations Director Ben Wiley said the Explosion failed to schedule two tournaments through him. Wiley and Mayor Dan Williams agreed to meet with the group to work out a compromise.

Parents with the GSA had complained that money it generated was funding travel ball, which led to the separation between the entities. Wiley said GSA bought $25,000 in concession stand inventory but only made $2,000 for the year.

Both entities have denied recreation-ball funded travel ball.

- Holly Hollman

Decatur police probe robberies

Police are investigating three robberies reported over the weekend, including one in which a masked man doused his victim with pepper spray before robbing him.

The pepper-spraying allegedly took place in a laundry room at The Willows Apartments, 1242 Beltline Road S.W., at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday. A man told police he was doing laundry when a black male in a black, hooded sweatshirt came in, sprayed him in the face, punched him and grabbed cash from his pocket.

Also, a woman told police a black male in a gray, hooded sweatshirt and dark, baggy jeans came up as she unloaded groceries from her car at Stay Lodge, 2616 U.S. 31, on Saturday at 7 p.m. The man allegedly grabbed her and threw her to the ground, then ran off with her purse, which contained cash and medications. She complained of pain in her right wrist and right ankle but refused medical attention, police said.

In a separate incident Sunday at about 3 a.m., a woman told police a friend came to her home, grabbed her cell phone and wallet, containing $5,000 cash, and then drew a gun and pointed it at her when she tried to stop him, police said.

- Seth Burkett

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