News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news


Lawrence may alter graduation times

MOULTON — Lawrence County school officials are considering restructuring times and dates of graduation ceremonies to allow more people to attend, Superintendent Dexter Rutherford said.

Rutherford and school board members Bobby Diggs and Wendell Logan discussed with principals Tuesday the possibility of scheduling graduations for different times from 3-8 p.m. over three days.

Graduation ceremonies in Lawrence County typically are held at the same time in late May.

Lawrence County High Principal Joe Lang said scheduling ceremonies as early as 3 p.m. could prevent some guests from attending. Rescheduling graduation could also inconvenience seniors who’ve already ordered invitations, Lang said.

“I really don’t know the best solution when you have that many schools,” he said. “I think it’s a good idea, but it may be hard to do with this many schools without causing some other problems.”

Rutherford said staggering graduations could leave the school system compensating teachers who help organize the ceremonies for working beyond their contracts.

Nancy Glasscock

Woman pleads in death of child

ATHENS — The driver of a car that wrecked, killing one child and injuring another, has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide.

Limestone County District Attorney Kristi Valls said Ruth Ann Kyle of Athens opted Tuesday to plead without a plea agreement. Her sentencing will be in January.

In March 2007, a grand jury indicted Kyle for vehicular homicide for the death of her passenger Haley Stewart, 5, after a multi-car collision on Brownsferry Road in the Reid community. The wreck occurred in March 2006.

According to court and trooper arrest reports, Kyle was speeding and passed another vehicle in a no-passing zone. She hit two vehicles, lost control and hit a stand of trees.

The impact ejected Haley and another passenger, a 4-year-old boy, who survived.

Kyle underwent surgery at Huntsville Hospital for her injuries.

Holly Hollman

Area man wanted for Georgia murder

MOULTON — A Lawrence County man arrested in connection with the death of an Americus, Ga., woman remained in jail with no bond set Tuesday, Sheriff Gene Mitchell said.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Johnny Ray Cochran, 47, of 5740 Lawrence County 170 on Sept. 5. He was arrested on Alabama 24 just outside Moulton. Mitchell said Cochran remains in Law-rence County Jail pending an extradition hearing. The case is under investigation, he said.

Cochran is charged with being a fugitive from justice, and is wanted by Sumter County, Ga., authorities for murder and aggravated assault in connection with the shooting death of Melanie Strickland, 47, who was found dead in her home Aug. 18.

Strickland ran an escort service for trucks pulling heavy equipment and doublewide mobile homes, Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith said. Coch-ran worked as a truck driver, Mitchell said.

Nancy Glasscock

Police investigate Athens break-ins

ATHENS — Athens police are investigating the break-ins of 15 vehicles on Fifth and Sixth avenues.

Someone took electronics and rims and damaged many of the vehicles. The total cost of items taken and damage is $1,875.

The thefts occurred at homes, Sandpiper Apartments and at Athens Auto and Tire, where a dozen vehicles were targeted.

Capt. Marty Bruce said the thief struck between 10 a.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday.

Anyone with information can call police at 233-8700.

Holly Hollman

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