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.
The Haleyville City Council will meet at 5:30 Monday at the Haleyville City Hall. An update of the hospital closing is expected. The Haleyville Board of Education will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Haleyville Schools will have half days Tuesdays and Wednesday and dismiss for Christmas and New Year on Wednesday.
The home of Rodney and Patricia Godsey at 1680 County Line Church Road was completely destroyed by fire Friday evening December 15. The fire reportedly started in a chimney and quickly spread to the remainder of the house. Craft, Haleyville and Bear Creek Fire Departments fought the fire, but the house and contents were a total loss. Patricia is the lunchroom manager at the Haleyville Middle School. The schools are having a fund-raising pajama day Monday at HES/HHS and HMS on Wednesday. The two Godsey children Taner and Anna Laine are both graduates of HHS. An account has been set up to help the Godsey family. You can find it here: https://www.gofundme.com/patricia-and-rodney-godsey Please help as much as you can.
The retirement party for two Haleyville city employees filled city hall Friday afternoon with dozens of friends, family, current, and past councilmen, and Congressman Robert Aderholt who had once served as City Attorney when he was a practicing attorney. Debra Hood, City Clerk, and Sue Southern, City Magistrate were both honored for their service to the city of over 25 years each with praises, plaques and their tenures entered into the U.S. Congressional Record as read by Congressman Aderholt. More photos below.
On December 13, 2017, at approximately 1:08 a.m., officers with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Hamilton Police Department responded to a residence located on Reese Road, Hamilton, Alabama, after Marion County Dispatch received a request from an individual to perform a welfare check on an individual possibly in distress at the residence. At some point, after the officers arrived at the residence a confrontation with an armed subject occurred causing one of the officers to discharge his firearm. The armed subject received a fatal injury and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Marion County Coroner. The State Bureau of Investigation responded to the residence and their Agents are currently investigating the incident. As the incident is currently under investigation no other information is available at this time.
Doug Jones won the special election for U.S. Senate Tuesday by a very small margin with one of the largest turnouts for any state election. According to the Associated Press, Moore had 82% of the votes in Winston County, 79% in Marion, and 69% in Franklin County. It was Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Huntsville and south central Alabama which made Jones the winner.
Jones will fill out the remaining two years of the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions when he was appointed as U.S. Attorney General. This means in two years Jones will need to run again for the full 6-year term for the Senate. As has always been the case in Alabama politics, much can happen in two years or even two months or two days.
In today’s special election, your vote does count!
A memorial service for Jerry Jackson will be this Saturday at the First United Methodist Church. Visitation with family and friends will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the service at 1 p.m.