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2006 – A look back

By Staff
Staff reports
The top 10 news stories that appeared in the pages of the Hartselle Enquirer in 2006 range from a proposal to build a new high school and finance it with a property tax increase to Vice President Chaney’s visit to promote the reelection of Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville.
A capsule version of the top newsmakers follows:
1. New high school/property tax proposal: The Hartselle School Board and City Council met in a joint work session in February to discuss the need for a proposed new high school and a 12.5 mill property tax to finance its construction. Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed said a facility to house 1,200 students would cost between $25 and $30 million and could be built on property on Bethel Road already owned by the school system. Subsequently, a majority of parents and teachers who participated in a school survey and those who spoke at a public hearing supported the proposal and indicated that the lack of an auditorium in the city was their number one concern. A committee was appointed by the board to garner public support for the tax measure and the council voted unanimously in November to ask the Morgan County Legislative Delegation to sponsor a local bill in the next regular session of the state legislature to authorize a vote in a special referendum on the tax question. Rep. Ronald Grantland, D-Hartselle, said he would pre-file the bill to speed up the legislative process.
2. Opening of the new county jail: A transition plan for the opening of Morgan County’s new $23 million jail came under fire in early January as commissioners began applying the brakes to Sheriff Greg Bartlett’s funding requests. Initially, $1 million was budgeted to furnish and equip the new facility. However, that figure increased to nearly $3 million with staffing requests. Bartlett offered a two-part request for staffing. The first called for 122 personnel at a cost of $1.3 million; the second asked for 102 personnel at a cost of $928,322. The commissioners balked at the request and indicated they felt that the jail could be opened with a smaller staff. In the course of budget discussions, Bartlett and District 4 Commissioner Stacy George exchanged heated remarks. Subsequently, George chose to oppose Bartlett in his bid for reelection as a Republican candidate in the June Primary Election. Later, the commission agreed to hire 78 employees for the jail operation. George was unsuccessful in his bid to defeat Bartlett.
3. City buys land on I-65: Hartselle officials walked their talk for commercial development in May by approving the purchase of 18.8 acres of unimproved land on Interstate 65 from NCB Inc. at a cost of $1.9 million. The deal was closed on June 9 with a down payment of $550,000 and an obligation to pay off the balance in five years at a 6.5 percent interest rate and monthly payments of $27,669. The property is zoned commercial and is located in the southeast corner of I-65 and Highway 36. It has 954 feet of frontage on I-65 and 737 feet on Highway 36. Mayor Dwight Tankersley called the purchase “a step forward in our efforts to promote economic development on I-65.” He said the next step would be to extend sewer to the property. The cost to do that has been estimated at $457,132.
4. Grant approved for canopy work: A $480,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant was approved in February for rehabilitation work in the Central Business District. It will provide 80 percent of the financing for the removal of the flat roof on Main Street sidewalk canopies and replacing it with a slanted roof. Plans also call for the replacement of sidewalks and some of the curbing on Main Street. It is hoped there will be enough money left to replace the street lighting.
5. Primary Election: Voter interest in the June 6 Primary election centered around a personal grudge battle between incumbent Sheriff Greg Bartlett and Commissioner Stacey George. Bartlett came out an easy winner with 12,065 votes to George’s 4,099. Contests for party nominations for the District 4 senate seat also grabbed the spotlight. The outcome was Arthur Orr winning handily over Hubert Porter for the GOP nomination with 84 percent of the vote. Retiring Morgan County Probate Judge Bobby Day grabbed the Democratic nomination by defeating Dr. Angelo Mancuso by garnering 75.1 percent of the votes cast. In other races, incumbent Jeff Clark defeated Dwight M. Jett Jr. for the Democratic nomination for the District I Commission seat, Tom Little won the Democratic nod for sheriff by defeating Charlie Bryant, incumbent Richard Lyons and Ken Livingston landed in a run-off for the District 2 Commission seat, Greg Cain defeated Tom Earwood for the GOP nomination for Probate Judge. In a wide open race for the Republican nomination for Morgan County superintendent, Bob Balch and Guy Bowling landed in a run-off
6. General Election: The Republican Party added a new chapter to its stranglehold on politics in county government by making a clean sweep of offices up for grabs in the Nov. 7 General Election. With over 60 percent of registered voters casting ballots, Greg Bartlett was elected to a second term as sheriff. He edged out Democrat Tom Little with 53.48 percent of the votes cast. In a race marked by repeated personal attacks, Republican Arthur Orr defeated Democrat Bobby Day for the District 3 senate seat by polling 62 per cent of the vote. For Probate Judge, Republican Greg Cain emerged as the winner over Democrat Kimberly Dobbs Ramey with 53.3 percent of the vote. In a race for Morgan County Superintendent, Republican Bob Balch defeated Democrat Bruce Kimbrell, 58 percent to 42 percent. Republican Ken Livingston prevailed over Democrat Ronnie Shipley, 17,466 to 13,895, for District 2 commissioner and Shelly Waters, Republican, won over Democrat Catherine Halbrooks, 19,077 to 13,627, for Morgan County District Judge (Place 2).
7. Library renamed in honor of Huie: Hartselle Public Library was renamed in memory of Hartselle native William Bradford Huie by action of the City Council on July 25. The move followed a recommendation of Hartselle Library Board and a request from former City Councilman Andy Vest. Huie’s 23 novels sold more than 30 million copies and eight of them were made into movies. He was writing the story of his life when he died in 1986. The library was dedicated Nov. 12 with over 100 of his friends, relatives and townspeople in attendance. An archives of his writings, letters, photographs and other memorabilia was opened. His widow, Martha Huie of Memphis, Tenn., was the guest of honor.
8. City takes over garbage collection: The city of Hartselle dropped its contract for garbage collection with Morgan County Environmental Services on Feb. 13 and began providing the service with city workers and equipment. To implement the change, the city purchased over 9,500 garbage and solid waste containers at a cost of nearly $500,000. It also acquired three new automated garbage trucks at a cost of about $150,000 each. The service was provided at no increase in a $9.50 per month rate.
9. Father dies from pistol shot—city’s first homicide in eight years: Edward Duane Killingsworth, 72, of Hartselle became Hartselle’s first homicide victim in eight years when he was shot May 10 by a handgun. His son, Matthew Killingsworth, 45, was arrested at the scene and charged in the shooting. The shooting occurred at 300 Crestline Drive as the result of what apparently was a domestic dispute, according to Hartselle Police Chief Ron Puckett.
10. VP Chaney visits Priceville: Vice President Dick Chaney made a visit to Priceville’s Celebration Arena on Feb. 6 to help raise campaign funds for the reelection of Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville). Some 350 elected Republication officials and party leaders from throughout North Alabama attended the $250 per plate dinner. The vice president’s 40-minute address touched on health care, economic growth, supreme court appointments, the war on terror and national security.

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Annual Christmas parade to be held Thursday  

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Some concerned over new Hartselle superintendent hire  

At a Glance

Town of Falkville to hold Christmas in the Park Sunday

At a Glance

Hartselle Holiday Market returns Saturday

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Old Hartselle post office to become event center, new home for chamber  

At a Glance

‘Have a Hart’ information session to be held Dec. 2

Morgan County

Future leader

News

Alabama DHR accepting applications for next round of child care bonuses 

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Spirit of Thanksgiving: Volunteers deliver 266 food bags on holiday for Meals on Wheels  

At a Glance

Morgan County Sheriff’s Office to let citizens behind the scenes with academy  

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Winter window wonderland  

At a Glance

Council to interview candidates for Parks and Rec director job  

Hartselle

Live nativity scene returns to First Christian Dec. 7-10

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Local church prepares 400 Thanksgiving meals

News

HIS students help clean up effort at Mt. Tabor Cemetery 

News

Lovely landscape

News

Morgan buys SUVs to transport seniors, deliver meals

News

Morgan County Sheriff’s Office to let citizens behind the scenes with academy  

News

Morgan teen exhibits grand champion at Alabama National Fair

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Murder-for-hire defendant seeks bond

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Stadthagen supports

News

SALUTE

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Second grade students in Hartselle honor heroes

News

Alabama DHR accepting applications for next round of child care bonuses 

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