Alabama State Troopers investigated 23 traffic deaths during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday travel period, which was from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, to midnight Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. The total is significantly lower than the total from the same period in 2016 when Troopers investigated 31 traffic fatalities. Continue reading
Postponed from Monday because of New Year’s Day, the Haleyville City Council will meet this Thursday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. With a 30 day extension on closing Lakeland Hospital, the main priority is to keep it open. At the last Council meeting, a Hospital Authority was set up, a sales and use tax approved and a Tennessee Company has agreed to manage Lakeland for the time being.
Saturday, 10:52 p.m., Haleyville, Craft, Bear Creek, Pebble and Ashridge Fire Departments responded to a fire at the vacant restaurant building across from Whitman’s Service Station on Highway 195. The Building was completely engulfed in flames when the firemen arrived and a complete loss.
New Years closed Monday, January 1 & Tuesday 2.
Monday, January 1 will be picked up on Friday, Dec. 29.
Tuesday, January 2 will be picked up on Wednesday, Jan. 3
The Haleyville Board of Education met Tuesday and approved the board expenditures for November in the amount of $1,456,466.94. Amendments were approved to the general administration policy program, the HHS coaching assignments and the superintendent’s contract of employment. In addition, one use of facilities, one field trip, and one fundraiser was approved. The Board approved the resignation of Tiffany Morgan as HHS English teacher and the hiring of Jacqueline Reynolds as English teacher at HHS. A request for maternity leave for Ashley Adamson and leave for Dina Sparks under catastrophic illness were both approved. Recipients of the Mac McAlpine Award for December:
Haleyville Elementary School, Callie Rose Beck.
From the Haleyville Middle School, Buffy Dobbs.
From Haleyville High School, Josefina Ruiz and Macy Harrison.
Students are out for the Christmas and New Year break and will return on Friday, January 5, 2018.
The last City Council Meeting for Debra Hood and Sue Southern
In addition to the announcement Monday about keeping the Lakeland Hospital open, the Haleyville City Council conducted other business including approving the November general operation bills and purchase orders in the amount of $446,967.26.
An agreement was made with the State of Alabama Department of Transportation for a project to widen and resurface the industrial road to benefit Masonite. A grant for $245,000 will cover most of the expense of the project, following the announcement of a $3 million expansion by Masonite.
A change order was approved for the fall paving project, which will increase the expenditure by $2500 to cover four manhole covers and additional handwork necessary on 22nd Street and 8th Avenue.
The Council approved the formation of the Health Care Authority of Haleyville and Winston County. This will enable the City of Haleyville along with the county to subsidize the operations of the hospital. The Council approved a one-cent sales tax and use tax with funding to go to the hospital. These taxes are expected to generate $850 to $900,000 per year. One half will be for the hospital and one half will be utilized for economic development and a reserve for the hospital.
Following a public hearing, earlier the Council approved a request by Nathan Dobbs, Jr. to rezone his property to R-3. Plans for the Dobbs property below the Northwest Alabamian on Highway 195 are to build two-story apartments for people 55 and older.
Christy Harbin was appointed to the Planning Commission. The January Council meeting was rescheduled to Thursday, January 4. The 2018 City Court dates were approved and a report from Sue Southern was heard on the status of the City Court System.
the Mayor and Council wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Again, the next City Council meeting will be on Thursday, January 4.
Mayor Ken Sunseri announced plans to keep the Lakeland Community Hospital open and operational past the planned December 31 closure date with a 30-day extenuation till January 31. Plans call for a Tennessee company to manage and run the hospital. The Council voted to form and appointed members to a new Health Care Authority of Haleyville which will own the hospital. Hopefully, a 30-day extension to the planned closure will be enough time to get an appraisal for the outstanding USDA loan the present company Curae had and find a way to take care of other debts which come with an exchange of owners. Time is critical to keep the hospital open because the employees had already begun looking for jobs at other hospitals. Also, if the hospital actually closed on December 31, it would have to be re-certified, which would be an almost impossible task, especially considering the age of the facility.
Bappa Mukherji, Chairman and Managing Director of Unity, the Manchester, Tennessee company which will manage the hospital spoke to a packed council room and explained his vision for the future. He said the goal was long-term modern health care but it would take a commitment from the community to work. He said bringing back services is the key to include more preventative care services. Surgery would be revived. Not heart surgery, Mukherji stated, but less specialized procedures like hernias, etc, and others. The number of beds will be downsized from the present 59 to 49 in order to lower the overhead. Plans are to open rural health facilities in other area communities. Manning the Emergency Room presents a challenge since contracts with doctors should have already been in place, but can still happen, which is critical to the plan. The new management will take over January 1.
To fund the new Health Care Authority, the Council passed an additional one-cent sales tax and a use tax. Additional funding will come from government sources and normal hospital and ER service charges.
The new Health Care Authority members are Judy Bittinger, Dr. Ready, Dr. Jerry Harrison, Drew Thrasher, Jonathan Bennett, Royce Benefield and Roger Hayes.
What can you do to help keep the hospital open? A website has been set up and it is hoped at least 2,000 people will sign up on the site to utilize the planned wellness program. The site is www.lakelandlives.com. It’s quick, it’s easy and will only take a moment. Please sign up, and pass along the information.