Marion County Democratic Party honors our fallen heroes

The Marion County Democratic Party held a cookout on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at the beautiful Twin Oaks Park in Twin, Ala. to honor the fallen heroes from Marion County and around the nation. There were posters with the pictures and names of the marines and soldiers from Marion County who lost their lives during WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Middle East conflict.
Madame Chair Lynda Kirkpatrick gave a memorial presentation honoring our fallen heroes.

The Cleaning Crew of Marion County

If you travel around Marion County, I am sure you have seen those critters called turkey vultures. And most likely you have seen them feeding on whatever that object was that they are feeding on. No doubt the turkey vultures are important to our environment. They clean up the roadside of those critters that did not make it to the other side of the road.


Is it me, or is the world getting crazier? I don’t know about you and your shopping experience, but it seems everywhere I shop and get a receipt, on the bottom of that receipt is a request to let the store know how your shopping experience was. They say they really care and want to know how you felt about your shopping in their location. They promise a reward of some kind if you do take the time to fill out their online survey.

The speed limit is my pet peeve

If you drive any vehicle on Alabama roads, I am sure you have noticed vehicles that seem to want to get so close to your bumper to smell your exhaust pipe. That is one of the many reasons a rearview mirror is in each vehicle. No, not to see the clenched jaws of the person smelling your vehicle’s exhaust, that wants to be in front of you. The reason is to see what is behind you in traffic to keep you safe.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We hope that you are mentally healthy, but I know there are times we all need some help. Know that this does not in any way indicate weakness. When we are healthy, we typically have a positive outlook on life, but there are times we all have periods of doubt, anxiety, depression and/or many other issues that rise up and cause disturbance in our everyday lives. We want you to know help is out there. Many times in our lives, our family, friends and clergy help us with everyday problems.

Foster children are resilient but need our help

Dear Editor:
It is time to come together on behalf of over 400,000 American children and youth who are in foster care because their families are in crisis, and they cannot currently provide safe, nurturing home environments. Approximately 5,800 of these children are in Alabama’s foster care system, and 45 of them are right here in Marion County. These children need safe, stable and loving homes where they can stay until they can safely reunite with their biological parents or establish other lifelong family relationships.

Cemetery association seeks map

This letter is written on behalf of the Oak Grove Church/Berryhill Cemetery Association.  
Several years ago, the association had a large plat/map made of the Berryhill Cemetery (located four miles west of Winfield), had it framed, covered in plexiglass and erected at the cemetery under a shelter.
Unfortunately, vandals caused so much trouble that Jack Weeks, president of the association at that time, took the map down, moved it to his house and stored it in his basement.

Tracy Estes provides legislature update

Allow me to spend a few moments bringing Alabama House District 17 residents up to speed on the happenings in the Alabama Legislature since lawmakers first returned to Montgomery on March 7.
Immediately upon arrival and hearing Governor Kay Ivey’s State of the State address later in the evening, the legislature was called into a special session to conclude the expenditure of more than $1 billion in federal funding provided through the American Relief Plan Act.

The Alabama lottery and taxes

In reading Steve Flowers’ article in the Journal Record’s March 8, edition in the editorial page about Alabama having its own lottery got my attention for more than one reason. When we shop for the majority of groceries, we head to Fulton. No need to tell you where we shop in Fulton. I am sure many do the same thing because the state taxes on groceries is much lower there.

Where does Robert Aderholt stand on women’s issues?

March is the month that we celebrate the women who have opened the doors, broken the glass ceilings, risked their lives and made it possible for women everywhere to vote, own property and even become the vice president of the United States.  Women today stand on the strong shoulders of women who fought for reform created by the inequality between men and women.

The farm-to-market road program should be reinstated

I am a strong advocate for support of truth and justice within the limits of my ability to do what I can. Yet the potential needs of today are far greater than I alone can act upon for a much more decent, safer place for the present and future generations to live and enjoy life more accordingly to the will of God. Jesus said in John 12:32,

Michael Brooks’ Reflections: What’s not to love about John Adams?

David McCullough, who died last August, gave us books about the Panama Canal, the Wright Brothers, the Brooklyn Bridge and the American Revolution and won Pulitzers for “Truman” and “John Adams.” The latter was made into an HBO miniseries that earned 13 Emmy awards and three Golden Globes. In a “behind the scenes” feature on the miniseries DVD McCullough showed his backyard writing cottage and the manual typewriter he continued to use.

Back through the years in Marion County...

Marion County High School opened on Sept. 11, 1912, in the same place it is currently located, although the school is located in its second building currently.
Shown here, courtesy of Marion County School Board Member Don Jones, is the first building, constructed in 1912, after renovations. The photo was taken about 1970. This first building burned on June 24, 1971.
Even though other towns in the county sought the county high school, Guin won the bid. The cornerstone to the first school building was placed in a ceremony on June 5, 1912.

Did the ATF just make you a felon?

On the rather appropriate date of Friday, Jan. 13, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) released their dreaded final ruling banning pistol braces, and in 120 days when the ruling goes into effect, millions of Americans will arbitrarily become felons if they don’t surrender their guns or register them with the ATF.
Several years ago, when companies first started introducing  stabilizing braces to the market, it presented an interesting legal question. as a weapon with a rifled barrel and a stock that is intended to be fired from the shoulder.

Back through the years in Marion County...

Research indicates this is the starting lineup for the 1947 Hamilton High School Aggies football squad. The photo was submitted by Barbara Webb.
This picture was reproduced in a book with the names being out of order and one missing. Through research and comparing the players in this photo to other photos, we have found what we believe to be the correct order of the names.

Inside the Statehouse: Inauguration Day in Alabama

The inauguration of our Alabama constitutional officials was Jan. 16. Our state constitution calls for the inauguration to be held on the third Monday in January. As you would expect and as almanac’s suggest, it is usually a cold day. Over the years I have had countless folks harken back to their high school band experiences of marching in the inaugural parade, especially ladies who had been majorettes. They had to march and twirl a baton in 20 degree weather with skimpy, legless, bathing suit style attire.

Representative named vice chairman of children and senior advocacy committee

By Tracy Estes
With the beginning of a new quadrennium in the Alabama Legislature, members are provided their respective standing committee assignments for the upcoming four-year term. Such was also the case for me, as I begin my second term serving House District 17.
Committee assignments are selected by Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter, who previously served as majority leader and will be replacing retiring speaker Mac McCutcheon.

Back through the years in Marion County...

Nathan Andrew Musgrove was born July 18, 1839 in Fayette County. He died June 6, 1921, and is buried at Winfield City Cemetery. He married Harriet Susannah Smith, who was born on June 1, 1846 in Tippah County, Miss. She died on Oct. 25, 1921, months after Nathan did. She was the daughter of James and Loucinda Smith.
This photo was submitted by Gary Randolph, and those identified in the photo are, back row from left, Sudi Musgrove, Ella Paralee Musgrove, Nathan Musgrove and Harriet Musgrove. Front row from left are a Mrs. Smith (most likely Loucinda) and Clara Musgrove.

Inside the Statehouse: Women rule in Alabama politics

For many years, Alabama has been ridiculed in national publications for having fewer women in political leadership positions than other assumed to be progressive states. States like Colorado, New York and California were lauded for having an inordinate number of females in public office. Well, folks, take a cursory look around at Alabama’s political landscape, and it is a new day in the Heart of Dixie, and unlike the above mentioned liberal states our slate of women leaders are conservative Republicans.

Inside the Statehouse: Two new U.S. senators

Richard Shelby walked out of the U.S. Senate this week after 36 years. Walking out with him is almost all of Alabama’s seniority and power in Washington.
Seniority equates into power in the Halls of Congress, especially in the Senate. National publications have illustrated the fact that Alabama has benefited more than all 50 states from federal earmarked funds due to one man: Shelby.

Pointing fingers is not making a difference

It’s always easy to point fingers at failure when we look at our deteriorating roads, homelessness, drug addiction and the problems we have in Alabama. We are fifth in the nation for poverty and next to the bottom in education. We have a failing healthcare system and rural hospital closings that have put our citizens in harm’s way.  Why does this not change after an election? There is this old saying that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Same elected leadership means the same problems.

Inside the Statehouse: Richard Shelby coming home

Our iconic Senior United States Senator, Richard Shelby, will walk out of the Senate chambers in Washington, D.C. this week and come home to retirement in Tuscaloosa. History will reveal Shelby as Alabama’s greatest U.S. Senator, especially when it comes to bringing home the bacon to the Heart of Dixie. To say Shelby is the greatest is saying a mouthful, because we have had some great ones. Shelby will rest along with the likes of John Bankhead, John Sparkman, Lister Hill and Howell Heflin. He has served longer in the Senate than any Alabamian in state history – 36 years.

Back through the years in Marion County...

This photo was purchased from eBay and is a mailed postcard. The front shows Winfield High School. The back has a message written from Demerica Kuykendall in Winfield addressed to Emma Henzie of Philadelphia. It was postmarked on May 27, 1942.
Winfield High School opened its doors on July 1, 1889. The first principal was C.D. Garrett, an 1889 graduate of the Florence Normal College. He became a notary public and justice of the peace in Winfield in 1890. Garrett was there for one year before moving to Moulton for one year, then to Alexander City and was there in 1893.

Louis Mellini: I’ve seen the G.O.A.T.

The Greatest of All Time. The GOAT. These words and titles are thrown around pretty flippantly now and typically used in sports arguments.
You have your favorite player, you call them the GOAT, then the arguments start.
But, how often do you actually label someone the greatest of all time and actually mean it?
There aren’t many athletes in my lifetime that I have seen who I’d be able to label as the greatest in their sport.
There are two sports where the argument has ever made sense to me: basketball and soccer (football if you are inclined to call it that).

Back through the years in Marion County...

Courtesy of Bill Weaver, this photo shows workers during the construction of Lion Service Station in Hamilton. Left to right are Hubert Ballard, Clint Hardin, Marvin Ballard, Sanders Williams, Henry Bobo, Earl Martin and Elton Sudduth.
This building was located on the corner where the Hamilton United Methodist Church parking lot is presently located. It consisted of a barber shop, cafe and the Lion Service Station itself.
Weaver stated the store most likely opened in the early 1920s. Sandy Sandlin mentioned the store most likely closed in the early 1970s.

Inside the Statehouse: Two Jefferson County legends retire

As we begin to celebrate the Christmas season and close out 2022, allow me to share the story of two great Jefferson County/Alabama political legends.
Alabama Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin is retiring at the end of the year from the state’s highest judicial tribunal. Bolin is a young 72 and would not have retired and would have sought and been elected to another six-year term if it were not for an antiquated state law that disallows someone running for a judgeship in the state after age 70. Bolin is one of the most popular and well respected judges in Alabama.

Back through the years in Marion County...

The youngest daughter of William David Mitchell and Zilla (Frederick) Mitchell, shown to the right, kept this portrait hanging on the wall in her home. The portrait is now in the possession of her great-grandson, general manager of the Journal Record.
Dave and Zill, as they were known, lived most of their life in the Chalk Bluff area of Marion County, a few miles south of Hackleburg. Zill moved in with a relative in Hamilton after Dave died. They are both buried at Union Hill Cemetery near Hackleburg.

Inside the Statehouse: Some legislative leaders retire and pass away

Allow me to share the stories of three of my favorite legislative colleagues. Two of these gentlemen are retiring from the Alabama House of Representatives this year, and one passed away in April.
Representative Victor Gaston of Mobile and Representative Howard Sanderford of Huntsville are going home. A third legend and true gentleman, Steve McMillan of Baldwin County, passed away during the last session in April.

Senator Tuberville: Celebrating Alabama’s 203rd birthday

In 1902, an Alabama woman’s experience on a snowy day produced one of the most commonly used inventions of the modern era. While riding a streetcar in New York City, Mary Anderson noticed that her driver had to frequently get out of the vehicle and wipe snow off the windshield. This sparked an idea that led her to design the first operational windshield wipers, improving driving conditions for all drivers who would come after her.

Inside the Statehouse: Alabama’s Big 10 Mayors

Students of Alabama political history will rightly remember the 2022 midterm election. This election saw the majority of Alabama voters cast their ballots for Katie Britt, who will be the first woman elected to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate. Governor Kay Ivey easily coasted to victory to gain her second full term in office, continuing her reign as the first Republican woman to serve as governor. Republicans from the top of the ballot on down cemented their control of the state government by huge margins.

A little more about Ernest Ray Riley

Editor’s note: This letter is in reference to the Ernest Riley story the Journal Record featured in the Nov. 9, edition.
In the summer of 1941, our family sharecropped on Papa Burleson’s farm in Marion County, AL, about halfway between Guin and Winfield. Wymon Burleson, my father, had a younger brother, James Dalton, living and working in Winfield.