Students will eat free through 2022

All students enrolled in Marion County and Winfield City schools will continue to eat free breakfast and lunch through the 2020-2021 school year, according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Traditional and virtual students have been able to eat free meals throughout the pandemic year. That benefit will continue through May of 2022. According to local child nutritional program (CNP) directors, if a student is eating both breakfast and lunch each school day, this would translate to a $675 benefit.

STATE CHAMPS


The Marion County High School Red Raiders secured the school’s first-ever girls athletic title on Saturday, May 1, being named the 2021 Girls Outdoor Track and Field State Champions. Shown are (front row, from left) Olivia Webb, Serenity Metcalfe, Natalie Carter, Alyssa Perez, Caroline Pyron, head coach Susan Seals, (back row, same order) assistant coaches Kelee Williams and Mineo Lindsay, Porshia Lipsey, Erin Culp, Zoe Lucas and assistant coach Wade Berryhill.

CULLMAN - Marion County High School (MCHS) continues to mark a historic year.
During the 2021 Alabama Class 1A Outdoor Track and Field State Championship which concluded on Saturday, May 1, in Cullman, the Lady Red Raiders were awarded the coveted Blue Map trophy, marking the first time ever for a girls team from Guin to secure a state title in any sport.

Hoof or Paw gets Pikeville land for shelter


Calen Weston, CEO of Hoof or Paw, is shown speaking with the Marion County Commission on Monday, April 12.

HAMILTON - Marion County is taking a big step toward solving its stray and animal abuse problem in supporting the Hoof or Paw organization, which is directed by Detroit resident Calen Weston.
Weston met with the Marion County Commission on Monday, April 12, to discuss five acres of land in the Pikeville area which was designated to the Marion County Humane Society in the past, which was never utilized.

April board meeting: $500 payments to all system employees

HAMILTON – Teachers will close-out possibly the hardest year of their careers with a parting gift.
Marion County Board of Education members approved Marion County School System employees for a one-time lump sum payment of $500 during its monthly meeting on Thursday, April 22.
Marion County Superintendent of Education Ann West said the payments are similar to actions taken by other school systems to thank their teachers for the measures they are undergoing to provide education during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

County faced with major road repairs following inclement weather

HAMILTON - Following several weeks of extreme weather since the start of the new year, Marion County is now faced with major roads in need of repair after facing extreme freezing and flooding on roads within the county.

Marion County Engineer Mike Shaw released a statement regarding the state of the roads and what needs to be done in the coming months.
“The Marion County roads have suffered significant damage as a result of the recent flood event and ice storm,” stated Shaw in his release.

 

Invasive species workshop on May 18

The Marion County Extension Office will be hosting an Invasive Species Workshop on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at the Hamilton Parks & Rec. Building to provided training for landowners, loggers and foresters.
This workshop will take place both indoors and outside. Attendees will learn about worker protection standards, herbicide labels, application methods, invasive plant identification and their control options. After the inside portion, we will transition outside for demonstrations on calibrating sprayers, hack-and-squirt and basal bark application techniques.

Burleson excited by police hire

WINFIELD - Winfield Police Chief Brett Burleson addressed the Winfield City council concerning a young new hire he wants to bring to the Winfield Police Department during a regular meeting held on Tuesday, April 21, at Winfield City Hall.
Austin Elijah Swanigan, 21, will be joining the Winfield Police Department after unanimous approval of Burleson’s recommendation to hire him.
“I’m pretty excited about this young man, he’s put in an application with us a couple of times,” said Burleson.

Roster hits all-time high

HAMILTON - Vaccinations and COVID-19 are complicating the logistical aspects of correctional facilities. Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams told the Journal Record that on Tuesday, April 6, the Marion County Jail marked an all-time record of 189 individuals in custody. The jail, which was built in 1979, is designed to house just 86. One reason for this super-capacity is the presence of nearly 50 state prisoners who have not been accepted into the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), according to Williams.

Firefighters recall the light they found in Hackleburg

When Hackleburg took a direct hit by an EF-5 tornado during the Wednesday, April 27, 2011, super tornado outbreak, people from around the nation found ways to help. According to Hackleburg Fire Chief Steve Hood, two fire departments in particular--one from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and another from a suburb of Pittsburg, Penn.-- provided exemplary aide. Yesterday (Tuesday, April 27), marked 10 years since the disaster, which left 25 dead across Marion County.

New CEO lands in Marion County


New Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance CEO Tom Wisemiller is shown addressing the Marion County Commission during a regular meeting on Monday, April 20.

HAMILTON - The new Northwest Alabama Economic Development Agency President Tom Wisemiller has been on a bit of a Marion County tour in the past week, visiting and introducing himself to the Marion County Commission, Hamilton City Council and Winfield City Council. Wisemiller addressed the Marion County Commission on Monday, April 19, during a regular meeting at the Marion County Commission office in Hamilton.

Sims to make MMA debut in Albertville


Kyle Sims, a police officer in Hamilton, is entering his first MMA title fight on Saturday, May 8, in Albertville.

HAMILTON - Police officer Kyle Sims will premier in his first mixed martial arts (MMA) fight next month. Sims is on the fight card for the Marshall County-based American Fighting League (AFL) for its next event taking place on Saturday, May 8, at the Sand Mountain Park in Albertville. The event begins at 5 p.m. and will be live-streamed online at AFL’s Facebook and Instagram pages. General admission tickets for in-person attendees are $25. As a law enforcement officer in Marion County for the past four years, Sims, 27, is 5-foot-9-inches and weighs 170 pounds.

Fayette Co. willing to partner with Winfield

WINFIELD - Fayette County Commissioner Shane Hughes and Fayette County Probate Judge Mike Freeman visited the Winfield City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 20, to discuss the possibility of helping the city pave roads.
In a regular council meeting held on Tuesday, April 6, at the Winfield City Hall, the City made the decision to pave and chip and seal a number of roads, some of which lie in Fayette County lines.

Photographer recalls April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011 was just one day of a multi-day outbreak.
I was helping a photographer friend from Tuscaloosa shoot a wedding in St. Louis. We drove up from Tuscaloosa in the days and before April 27 and ran into storms in Arkansas and we stopped to take some pictures there. We made it to St. Louis and were staying at a hotel near the airport when the airport got hit by a tornado. We took pics near that area the next day.

Cook says zero COVID cases since February

WINFIELD - Winfield City Schools Superintendent of Education Chris Cook announced that Winfield City Schools has not had a single case of COVID-19 since Feb. 4.
Cook stated this during the Winfield City Schools Board of Education meeting held on Tuesday, April 13, at Winfield Middle School.
“We haven't had a positive case since Feb. 4th, but we have one girl in the elementary school who is awaiting results now. She's shown some minor symptoms, but nothing serious,” Cook told the Journal Record.

Windham gives hospital update

WINFIELD - Northwest Medical Center-Winfield CEO Michael Windham offered a detailed look at goings-on at the hospital during a regular meeting held on Tuesday, April 6, at Winfield City Hall. Windham stated that when he arrived to the hospital last year, the biggest hurdle was the financial situation, which saw the hospital over one million dollars in the red. “I didn’t get to see the financials until I walked through the door. I looked at them and said, ‘This is not right, there’s something not correct here,’” said Windham.

Cooper trial starts May 17

Double Springs - More than five years after the alleged murder of two Hamilton residents in downtown Hamilton, Jimmy Dale Cooper, 61, will be tried and judged by jury.
Cooper was transported from Marion County Jail in Hamilton on Monday, April 12, to Winston County Jail in Double Springs, where he will spend the next month waiting to be tried for two charges of capital murder.

Booth named police chief

HACKLEBURG - City leaders in Hackleburg believe they are making strides toward rebuilding the town’s police force.
Wage competition has led to scarcity of manpower for the department over the last year and town officials have operated with just two full-time officers and recruited part-timers.
Hackleburg Mayor Darryl Colburn believes the town’s new police chief, Jeremy Booth, will help lead in the endeavour.
“I think we can build a really good department with his leadership,” Colburn said.

 

‘An outpouring of goodwill’

Mike Kastner never planned to serve in international relief, but 10 years after the storm, that’s exactly where he now finds himself.
Kastner was one of a handful of American Red Cross volunteers in Marion County after the April 27, 2011, EF-5 tornado tore through the area, killing 25. He says his experience as a small contributor in the disaster relief efforts in Hamilton and Hackleburg gave him a passion for aid work.