Privatization of ABC Stores Fails Again

Alcohol was on the minds of many Alabama lawmakers this year as the legislature considered an abnormally high number of alcohol-related bills. Several of the bills passed.
Most notable was legislation that made it possible for Alabama businesses to deliver beer, wine and liquor to customers’ homes, and separate legislation that allows state residents to order wine directly from wineries, even if those producers are out of state.

Letter to the editor - A happy heart is good medicine

A happy heart is good medicine Dear Editor, Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Those words came as a reminder to me when my wife and I found ourselves in our van which became stuck in mud resulting from her husband's unfortunate choice of roads to travel. Actually, the 'road' was more of a trail through the woods in a desolate part of the county miles from nowhere. Mid-afternoon came with heavy clouds, intermittent rain and nightfall rapidly approaching.

Good to be back

The last year or so has been weird.
I graduated from Troy University last summer, in the middle of a global pandemic. Which was funny, because I took an elective class on that very subject my first semester at Troy!
I spent most of last summer applying for jobs, and strangely enough, ended up in Troy, North Carolina, where I was hired as the sports and features editor for the county paper, the Montgomery Herald.

A grand entrance

Well, on Monday, June 7, at 10:53 p.m., we had our baby and she made quite the entrance into the world.
My wife woke me up on Saturday morning and told me that she was starting to have some consistent contractions and from there on, we played a very long waiting game.
It wouldn’t be until 67 hours later that our baby, Florence Olive Mellini, was born in our home in Hamilton.
We did, of course, plan to have our baby at home. That was no accident.

City school study sends a message

Hamilton city officials have unanimously commissioned a study to analyze the feasibility of creating a city-run education system and splitting ways with the Marion County School System, which currently operates all schools in the county outside of Winfield.
The step taken during a meeting on Monday, June 7, is just a study, but it does send a message. One, there is a strong and shared desire among Hamilton residents to support their local schools. Two, Hamilton believes its schools have a higher potential.

Prison issue unresolved

There were two major issues not resolved during the just-completed regular legislative session. Gambling and prisons were left on the table and up in the air.
It is foolish to not address a resolution to get some revenues for the state from gambling which currently exists in Alabama. However, it is not imperative that the problem be solved.

Our view - County, cities, towns need to consider animal control measures

Animal service non-profit Hoof or Paw needs financial backing to begin full operations in the area, and it has begun requesting the support of municipalities, something which should be given serious consideration.
Animal control is not a new problem for Marion County, but the new organization, spearheaded by Calen Weston, could be one more step towards putting it on a leash. The county is currently served by the Marion-Winston Animal Shelter in Twin and the Marion County Humane Society, but Weston says there need to be more hands on deck.

What’s going on?

“Brother, brother, brother...there’s far too many of you dying.”
These are some lyrics to one of my favorite songs, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye that have been playing over in my head recently, due to what’s been going on concerning more black lives being needlessly taken by people in, and attempting to act as law enforcement.
Ahmaud Arbery.
George Floyd.
I know the way you’re reading that goes a bit against our regular writing format but the two names you see deserve to stand out in this way.

Not a good look for commission

The Marion County Commission approved county engineer Mike Shaw’s recommendation to reclassify and “adjust” the pay of his employees.
Who are the employees involved? What exactly are the pay adjustments? We certainly didn’t know without having to do some digging.
On the agenda handed to the Journal Record before the meeting began, the topic we are discussing now was simply labeled, “Mike Shaw - Various.”
The topic may have been labeled “various”, but the only thing that was approved was Shaw’s recommendation.

Final thoughts... seriously­­­

Thursday, Oct. 17, one of your Journal Record employees, Scott, a very humble-spoken young man, called my wife and I at 9:30 a.m. and told me about a luncheon on Friday, Oct. 18, being held in your honor, Les, for your retirement. The luncheon was scheduled to be held in the Journal Record’s Hamilton office.

Please allow me to reintroduce myself

I don’t know if me coming back into the newspaper world needs an introduction, because this is more like a reintroduction, if that makes sense?
My name is Jesse Lamar and I am the new general manager of the Journal Record. That’s a little bit different than the way I am accustomed to introducing myself because the last time I was in the newspaper business was at the Northwest Alabamian, where I was the friendly neighborhood sports guys.

Ink is in our blood

I called my good friend Les Walters recently. He’s the associate publisher of the Journal Record newspaper in Hamil­­­ton, the small town where I grew up.
We always share family updates.
And, of course, we always talk newspapers.
“How’s the newspaper going?” I asked.
“OK,” he replied.
Then he stunned me a bit.
“I’m going part-time on Nov. 1,” Les said.
It’s a first step toward retirement, I guess, for my good friend, who is a few years older than myself. His wife recently retired from her long-time job.

From employer to friend

Rarely does one have the opportunity to publicly express his appreciation for another. Yet this is the opportunity lying before me as I write these words. What has proven to be the most difficult part of this process is now knowing what to say.
What began in September 1991 as a relationship between employer and employee has since evolved into a deep friendship I have since come to appreciate more than ever.

National Fire Prevention Week

With the current record-high temperatures and drought conditions in Marion County, it is especially poignant that this week we observe National Fire Prevention Week.
Fire prevention week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 300 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than three square miles of the city.

Alabama unemployment rates at low record-breaking numbers

During the late summer, it was revealed that Alabama’s economy set records for the number of people employed along with the lowest unemployment rate in decades.
Figures released in August had the state with a record-breaking 3.3% unemployment percentage. The numbers indicate a continued upward trend with 57,000 more people employed than at the same time a year ago.
Gov. Kay Ivey said, “The effort we are making to bring jobs and employers to Alabama is working.” She further stated, “We are consistently improving our workforce and preparing Alabama for the future.”

A better deal for Hackleburg

Simply put, Hackleburg has been in a situation of massive risk when it comes to the Hackleburg Market.
Owner Wally Kemp has decided to shut down his business in the town-owned building and grocers Bozeman Family Grocery plan to take over  very soon.
The Hackleburg Town Council has  been in numerous meetings concerning the future of the store and the building as the town council attempted to purchase the equipment from Kemp in order to keep the store running with the new owners.

We welcome limited ammo sales at Walmart

Walmart announced that it would no longer sell handgun ammunition and short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used for military style weapons.
The announcements were made in the wake of two recent mass shootings at Walmart stores--one in Southaven, Miss., on July 31 that left two dead and one injured and the other in El Paso, Texas on Aug. 3 that left 22 dead and 24 injured.

Turning off your devices might be a good idea or... whatever happened to ‘party lines’?

I grew up, like many of our older readers did, with a “party line.”
Nope, nothing “party” about it, because if you had a few old women as part of your “party line,” well, you were doomed!
I don’t know how many residential lines were part of our “party line” in Loango at the time, and I don’t remember those old women’s names who were the dominant voices.

Sept. 11 attacks still echoing loudly in memory, society

It has been 18 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The vast majority of us can remember where we were and what we were doing when we watched, saw or heard about the attacks.
I have plenty of friends who remember sitting in school and their teachers turning the TVs on to watch. I am also meeting more and more adults who were not old enough to remember that day—or who weren’t even born yet.

A real Depression romance

During the Depression, those who managed freight trains were told by the government that men could hop the empty side cars and ride for nothing. They were looking for work, any work; they left home and family hoping to find something that paid any small amount of money so they could send it home.
Hank Meyers was one of these young men.

How do we Make America Great Again? Instill patriotism in our children

Let’s begin by noting this problem does not originate in our local public schools. This issue does not lie at the feet of our local teachers, principals, school boards or superintendents. But while the problem does not trace its roots to our local schools, it is our students and future generations who suffer as a result.

What should we expect?

The Marion County Commission held a regular meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in Hamilton.
During the meeting, David Thornell, the president and chief executive officer of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance, provided the commission with an update on how things were shaping up in our county as it pertains to new industry coming in and setting up shop.
It’s no secret that we as a county would love to have any sort of industry come and do business in our area.
It would provide jobs for us and, in turn, strengthen our communities and help us continue to grow.

Marion County has a school attendance problem

Students in the Marion County School System have an attendance problem. The problem was revealed last week at the Marion County Board of education meeting as Patrick Sutton, a supervisor in the school system, gave a presentation on chronic absenteeism to kick-off September’s “School Attendance Month” (see story on page --).
During the presentation, Sutton revealed some disturbing numbers regarding school attendance in Marion County. An average of 24%--almost a quarter--of students in the Marion County School System missed 15 or more days of school during the 2018/19 school year.

The Opioid Crisis

When I moved from North Carolina to Alabama two years ago, I assumed I would find a local doctor and continue to take the medications I had taken for twenty plus years. Guess what? The Opioid Crisis had arrived before me in the small town of Hamilton, Alabama.

The Summer of 1969

Steve Flowers

As we say goodbye to the summer of 2019, allow me to reminisce with you and indeed commemorate more than likely a summer exactly 50 years ago that was undoubtedly the most momentous summer in American history--the Summer of 1969.

Jones in the deep-red

Democrat Sen. Doug Jones, who was elected in a controversial special election in December 2017, spoke in Hamilton recently.
While it is doubtful that we—and the large majority of our readership, for that matter—agree with all the policies supported by Jones, we respect and appreciate Jones’ efforts to hear the people of Marion County. It is an honor to have a sitting U.S. senator come to Hamilton.
Marion County is a deep-red county with practically no Democrat representation in local or state offices. A constable is the only Democrat currently in office.

Facebook has jumped the shark

I believe Facebook’s scroll-binding magic is fading.
This means entities, offices and businesses exclusively using Facebook for public relations are in danger of fading as well.
There are inherit problems with using Facebook as a primary marketing tool—especially in Marion County, where 21% of residents are 65 and older. A large amount of people will never see your content.
As a reporter, it has been frustrating to log on to Facebook and find public officials and offices breaking news to the public over social media rather than local news media.

Why limited-government conservatives should participate in the Census

It’s Sept. 5, 2020. You, like most of Alabama, have been waiting months for this day.
As summer slowly faded into autumn, the cool evenings punctuating the still-stifling afternoons, you took heart knowing the long months of faint interest in the NBA and baseball were almost gone. Today, after all this time, the drought is finally over: The first Saturday of college football season has arrived.

Family makes it better

A couple of weeks ago, I went to California to visit my family in Los Angeles.
It’s a trip I’ve made several times throughout the years and let me tell you, visiting L.A. gets worse every time I go.
To start, I am absolutely terrified of flying, which is weird, because I love traveling so much.
There’s just something about being trapped in a metal tube thousands of feet in the air for several hours that just unsettles my nerves.

Education begins at home

Well, it’s that time of year again. Students in Marion County are returning to school this week. The students have fresh new clothes and new haircuts. The classrooms are clean and the pencils are sharpened. Parents are posting one last first-day-of-school photo before sending their children off to school to learn and become better citizens.

Nix looks back on moon-landing era

This week America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Most people old enough to remember, can tell you where they were and what they were doing on July 20, 1969, the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
But for Larry Nix, Armstrong walking on the moon was less about what happened on that day and more about the events that occurred in the decade before the moon landing.
“I’ve always had a big interest in the space program,” Nix said during a recent phone interview.

Survey respondents overwhelmingly support elected state school board

(Writer’s note: We use Survey Monkey for feedback on education issues. Unlike surveys used for political polling, responses are not sorted to reflect the general population of a certain area such as a state senate district where those polled reflect the district’s demographics. However, because the number of respondents is usually very large, we get a very good sense of trend lines. More than 6,500 companies worldwide use Survey Monkey, often to gather information on market share. LL)

The new meaning of ‘Diversity’

Well, folks, it’s happening again.
One of our beloved childhood characters has yet again been changed before our very eyes, completely flipping what we know about our beloved Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
The star of the Little Mermaid remake will be black instead of the fair-skinned Redhead we all know and love.
How ever will we recover from this tragedy?
If you’re sensing a bit of sarcasm in my words, you can be sure that there’s plenty.
I’ll make my words plain.

The Adventure of the ‘WrestleMania Trio’

The date was March 29, 1987. The event was World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly World Wrestling Federation) owner Vince McMahon’s third foray into the world of the squared-circle as we knew it at the time, WrestleMania.
It was a spectacle unlike anything wrestling fans had ever seen! McMahon packed 93,173 people in for WrestleMania, a record attendance that made history for the then-WWF, in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. 
And that didn’t count the pay-per-view (PPV) watchers, which is where we’ll come in shortly.

The Birth of a Nation

America, America, how long since you were conceived -
From the freedom seed implanted, because men believed
That all should have the full right to express
and none should suffer the defeat of repress.

America, your birth was announced by a Declaration;
A statement for the independence of this nation.
Fifty founding fathers that great document did sign,
As they proclaimed the right to be free in every line.

Past prominent state legislators

The 2019 legislative session is now in the books. As each session is observed, it is apparent that primary, powerful, state senators control the flow and outcome of any and all legislative sessions.
Current Alabama state senators Del Marsh, Jabo Waggoner, Greg Reed and Arthur Orr wield immense influence.

Father’s day

Society has tried to create a mold into which the idealistic father is supposed to fit into. Fathers come in all different forms in someone’s life—whether it be a biological father, step-father, grand-parent or a trusted guardian. 
No matter the case, June 16 is a day of celebration, and remembrance, for these fatherly figures in our lives.          
The definition of a father, according to Merriam-Webster, is “A male parent.” 

No exceptions

During a Marion County Commission meeting, Dynamic Securities and the commissioners discussed security protocols and individuals who were authorized to bypass security when entering the Marion County Courthouse in Hamilton.
One of the topics discussed during the meeting was about the individuals who would be exempt from security checks and be able to bypass security.
All individuals are currently required to go through security checks with the exception of certain judges, officers, commissioners and other elected officials.

Pearce’s Mill: A fading monument to the past

There’s a place here in Marion County called Pearce’s Mill that time has not forgotten. The mill community, named for the family that ran it, is being rendered back to nature by time and decay.
Vines, weeds and trees now surround the 19th-century buildings, hiding the former majesty of the once-thriving community. Pearce’s Mill in central Marion County is not even a ghost of its former self. 
The history of Pearce’s Mill is a microcosm of early Alabama history and the history of America itself. 

Legends of Girls State

For almost 100 years, one of, if not the best, annual event for young Alabama high school leaders in Alabama has been the Alabama Boys State and the Alabama Girls State programs.
These events are sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxillary. Boys State and Girls State are sponsored nationwide by the American Legion. The programs epitomize the American Legion’s mission to honor those who have bought us our American freedom.