One year ago, the Lakeland Community was on the verge of closing. With only a 45 day notice, the City of Haleyville was informed the hospital would close on December 31, 2017. Closures of small, rural hospitals were becoming commonplace everywhere, but Haleyville and Winston County was no common or ordinary place.
Mayor Ken Sunseri and the City Council and the people who lived in this area did not want the hospital to close and actions were immediately taken to keep it from happening. With an extension to the closing date, the city was given a little breathing room to organize and make a plan. The Haleyville and Winston County Hospital Authority Board was formed, a new management agreement implemented, and a one-cent sales tax passed with half committed to ensuring a bond could be issued for funding of the hospital.
Barry Farris had great compliments and praise for Lakeland Community Hospital. On Friday, December 21, his daughter, Emily Farris, 23, was doctoring one of her horses and while leading it back to a stall, the horse raised up and came down, hitting her on the top of her head with an iron horseshoe. She was taken to the Lakeland Emergency Room, examined, treated for the open head wound, and spent the night in intensive care.
Barry stated all the personnel, including the COO who came to personally check on her, were professional and attentive. He stated he was extremely proud of the hospital and was glad it is open and operating. Farris stated: “I have been to in many hospitals in my lifetime, and Lakeland was every bit as good as most and better than some.
Presently, the hospital is making plans grow to a level of self-sufficiency with new services and reinstate some of which had been previously discontinued.
A custody exchange in the Hamilton Police Department parking lot just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, Christmas Day, led to a fatal shooting of the father of two small children. The location was used as a “safe place” for a custody exchange.
According to reports, a man had accompanied his girlfriend to pick up her children from their father. The father got out of his vehicle and accompanied his son to meet the mother’s boyfriend. The daughter had stayed behind. Reportedly, a verbal confrontation between the two men ensued. The mother stepped between the two but was unable to stop her boyfriend from shooting the father of her children.
Andy Cochran, 29, has been charged with murder and presently is in the Marion County Jail. Andy or Andrew Cochran was the manager of O’Riley’s Auto Parts in Hamilton.