News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news


Lawrence to pay for animal control truck

MOULTON — The Lawrence County Commission agreed to repay Animal Control Officer Carolyn Atchison $6,500 for a truck she purchased for the animal control office.

Atchison told commissioners the truck they provided her was unreliable and she was forced to buy one in order to do her job. The old truck was more than 20 years old, broke down numerous times and had no communication equipment, she said.

She compared her operation to the Colbert County animal control office, which handles about the same number of stray animals that her office does.

“Our entire budget is less than they spend on office supplies,” she said. “They have three new trucks purchased every five years.”

The commission unanimously approved the motion to buy the truck from Atchison for Animal Control.


Athens police search for robbers

ATHENS — Athens police are searching for two gun-toting robbers who held up a man at a laundry service Saturday.

Capt. Marty Bruce said two men approached the victim at Laundromat on East Hobbs Street at 10:25 p.m. Both had guns and told the victim to put his hands up.

One of the robbers reached into the victim’s pocket and took an undisclosed amount of money, Bruce said. The robbers ran south along the railroad tracks.


Engineer calls for 4-day work week

MOULTON — Lawrence County Engineer Gordon O’Neal told the Lawrence County Commission on Monday that allowing Road Department employees to work a four-day week, 10 hours a day, would save fuel on trips to and from work sites.

Most department employees support the idea, said O’Neal. He noted that fuel prices are rising again and the county could lose about $100,000 in forest receipts.

A federal law, which provides the county with more than $200,000 each year for having Bankhead National Forest within its boundaries, expired last year. Half of that money was going to the Road Department. The law is up for renewal this month.

Lawrence commissioners hand-delivered a formal request for renewal to Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, in Washington last week.

The commissioners agreed to discuss the proposal during the next work session.


Man loses leg in tractor accident

TOWN CREEK — A man lost his leg while plowing his garden Monday morning.

Clyde King of 187 Lawrence County 137, Town Creek, was on his tractor with the tiller behind it when a piece fell off the machinery. King reached down to grab it and got caught in the tiller, said a family member.

Rapid responders found him underneath the tiller with his leg severed, said Emergency Management Agency Director Hillard Frost.

MedFlight transported King to Huntsville Hospital for surgery. He remained in the intensive care unit Monday afternoon. King is in his early 80s, said Frost.


Woman allegedly threatens hotel

A former employee told a manager at Hampton Inn that she was going to “blow up the building and burn down the hotel,” Decatur police said Monday.

The threat allegedly came from one of four former employees who went to the hotel at 2041 Beltline Road S.W. to pick up their final paychecks Friday at about 10 a.m., said Sgt. Steve Campbell, a police spokesman.

According to the report filed by General Manager Amanda Woods, the woman who made the threat argued with employees as she left the premises, then drove to the nearby Burger King, parked and sat staring at the hotel, Campbell said.

Hotel staff received harassing phone calls from ex-employees throughout the day, Campbell said.

Police were investigating the complaint, but had made no arrests Monday.

Seth Burkett

Athens considers measure on illegals

ATHENS — The Athens City Council is considering a rewritten ordinance that would require contractors to verify they do not knowingly hire illegal aliens.

Councilman Ronnie Marks introduced the ordinance Monday. The council will take action March 26.

The proposed ordinance states that a company contracting with the city on public works projects must sign a provision stating the company does not knowingly hire illegals. The proposed ordinance also states the city can terminate its contract with the company if it does hire illegals.

The city currently does not have an ordinance addressing companies using illegals, but the council has been discussing various proposed ordinances.


Trinity OKs purchase for water upgrade

TRINITY — The Trinity Town Council on Monday approved paying West Morgan-East Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority $13,589 for materials for a water line extension on Mountain Home Road.

Mayor Vaughn Goodwin said the 8-inch line runs about one-fourth mile from Hidden Creek subdivision to the Lawrence-Morgan County line. He said the upgrade will improve water flow for better fire protection and residential water pressure.


Passport left in parking lot

A Florence woman says she found a man’s Guatemalan passport Sunday afternoon in the Wilson Morgan Park parking lot in Decatur, near the playground.

Anyone who knows how to reach the owner can call 340-2444 and leave a message.

Steve Stewart

Trinity tables action on center

TRINITY — The Trinity Town Council on Monday tabled discussion on the continued operation of a faith-based substance abuse center for women near North Seneca Drive and Alabama 20 until the owner comes forward and expresses his intentions.

Town Attorney Larry Madison said Jep Tallent of Decatur owns the property and leases it to Carter Videau. Madison said Videau, a minister, calls the facility Grace House. Neither Tallent or Videau was available for comment.

Videau also runs a substance abuse center for men nearby in the former West Morgan Health Care facility in Morgan County.

Mayor Vaughn Goodwin said that in February the Planning Commission recommended that the council allow the facility to operate in a residential zone by conditional use only.

“They started up about six months ago without our knowledge,” Goodwin said. “I’m sure they thought they could do it without any problem, but we contacted them to notify them of the proper steps for this type business.”


Patrolmen get OK for part-time work

TRINITY — The Trinity Town Council on Monday approved patrolmen Robert Todd and Robert Gordon working part time at Calhoun Community College. But not until Councilman Bruce Sparkman questioned their priorities.

Police Chief Chris McLemore assured him that Trinity is priority and that they would work at the college only as needed during sicknesses or vacations.

“What about them working overtime for the town?” Sparkman said.

McLemore responded, “They would be pleased to do that. Give them something to do.”

Sparkman then made the motion to approve the request.

McLemore said during part-time work at Calhoun, the patrolmen would make $15 per hour. They make $11.50 per hour for full-time duty at Trinity.


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