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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2007
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Mayor recovering from cancer surgery

Mayor Don Kyle was recovering Monday afternoon at Decatur General Hospital following surgery for prostate cancer.

Kyle’s secretary Susan Hood said she spoke with the mayor’s wife, Susan Kyle, by phone Monday afternoon.

“She said the surgery was just fine, and that everything went smoothly as planned,” Hood said. “He’s doing well.”

Hood said Kyle, 56, would remain under observation possibly until Wednesday. Prior to his surgery, Kyle said his third biopsy revealed the cancer Jan. 7, following tests for the disease every six months for the past six years.

Kyle said early detection gave him a 90-percent chance for a full recovery. He said he would return to work part time in two weeks and full time after a month.

- Chris Paschenko

Pancake Day draws more than 7,000

The Decatur Kiwanis Club’s 41st annual Pancake Day attracted 7,466 patrons Saturday.

The number is in the range of average attendance, said Phil Mitchell, Pancake Day chairman. Members continue to turn in money from tickets they sold to the event at Decatur High School, so the club doesn’t have it’s total revenue figure yet. It did total the money made from selling tickets at the door, and Mitchell said it was $500 more than last year.

That was mostly a result of raising the price of tickets from $4 to $5, he said. Nearly all the profits from the event go toward youth programs, ranging from the ball field construction to scholarships. Through the years, the club has given away $900,000 from pancake profits.

- Paul Huggins

Council wants more discussion on sewer

The Decatur City Council on Monday asked Decatur Utilities Manager Kem Carr and members of the DU board to explain ramifications of renewing a waste-water contract without an existing sewerage-incentive restriction.

The waste-water contract between Decatur and the Limestone County Commission restricts the city from using sewerage as an annexation incentive within the portion of Decatur’s city limit that is in Limestone County.

The Limestone County Commission transferred ownership of its sewer system to the Limestone County Water Authority in June, but the waste-water contract with Decatur hasn’t been updated to reflect the transfer, officials said.

The council decided to meet again on the matter, but it did not set a date.

- Chris Paschenko

Man charged with rape of child

HARTSELLE — A man faces charges of raping a child after Morgan County sheriff’s deputies responded to a complaint at a residence Saturday.

Investigators arrested Allen Hugh Parker, 35, of 986 Alabama 36 E., Hartselle, on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and sex abuse.

The victim was a female child under the age of 12, said Chief Deputy Mike Corley.

A family member called police shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday to report an assault, Corley said.

The victim was taken to Decatur General Hospital.

“Evidence gathered there through investigation and by medical personnel lead investigators to believe that there was a factual basis” for the charges against Parker, Corley said.

Deputies arrested Parker during a traffic stop later Saturday.

- Seth Burkett

Police say robbers hit man with gun

Two men beat a man while robbing him in front of his apartment, police said Monday.

Lino Pena, 29, told police two black males ran up behind him in the parking lot of 1327 19th Ave. S.E. at about 10:30 p.m. Friday.

One of the robbers, a 6-foot tall man wearing a bandana over his face, drew a small black pistol and pointed it at Pena, while the second robber, described as about 5-feet 8-inches tall, tried to shove Pena to the ground, said Lt. Chris Mathews, a police spokesman.

“The taller male hit the victim in the face with the gun, and the victim fell to the ground. The male with the pistol took the wallet out of the victim’s pocket and both ran away,” Mathews said.

Pena suffered a cut on his right cheek but refused medical attention, Mathews said.

- Seth Burkett

Collier on agenda to be police chief

Decatur Deputy Police Chief Ken Collier could soon shed the word deputy from his title.

The City Council on Monday added a resolution to its March 5 agenda that would appoint Collier as chief of police.

Following a national search, the council on Feb. 19 unanimously recommended Collier for the job.

Ken Smith, the city’s Personnel Director, said that if the council voted March 5 to hire Collier, then he would take office March 12.

Collier assumed the duties of police chief when Joel Gilliam retired Feb. 23.

- Chris Paschenko

Fire damages Hartselle home

HARTSELLE — Firefighters put out a blaze at 506 Short Street S.E. on Monday before it spread throughout the residence, said Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton.

Of the three residents, only the woman who owns the house was home when the fire started shortly after 5 p.m., Shelton said.

She got out safely.

“She said she heard something popping, went out and saw the side of the house on fire. She called 911. By the time we got here, the fire had escalated to the attic,” Shelton said.

Shelton said the fire damaged the attic and the back part of the house. Its origin was under investigation Monday night.

It took firefighters about 30 to 45 minutes to gain control of the fire by cutting holes in a wall and roof and then heading off the fire inside the attic as it tried to spread, Shelton said.

Flint and Falkville firefighters were called in to man the Hartselle fire stations while Hartselle and Oak Ridge firefighters dealt with the blaze.

- Seth Burkett

Trinity doubles rent for center

TRINITY — The Priceville Town Council on Monday approved renewing a lease for the former senior center on Lile Street, which Ronnie and Libby Dugger operate as a branch of “The Rock” fitness center across the street.

But it will come at a higher price: $500 per month plus utilities. For the past six months, on a trial basis, the town charged Dugger $250 per month plus utilities.

“I just think that for a building that size, $500 is a fair market price for lease,” Councilman Bruce Sparkman said before the vote.

The Duggers were not available for comment.

- Ronnie Thomas

Athens: Sick leave proposal needs work

ATHENS — Citing the cost, city leaders said they do not favor giving city employees the option of receiving 50 percent of their sick leave as a buyout.

On Monday, Human Resources Director Sharon Seay explained to the Athens City Council a proposed policy change where employees could get paid for 50 percent of their unused sick leave or apply the sick leave toward retirement. Now, employees can put it toward retirement or take 1/8 of it as a payout.

Some employees have unused sick leave that would equal as much as a $24,000 payout.

Councilman Ronnie Marks said there needs to be more work on the policy change, such as putting a cap on how much sick leave an employee can roll over.

Councilman Johnny Crutcher said otherwise, it would “hit the budget pretty good.”

- Holly Hollman

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