Monday, March 2, 2015

Cherokee County Teacher arrested on sex charges

Leah B. Garmany

A Cherokee County teacher has been arrested for second-degree sexual abuse and electronic solicitation of a child, according to Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver.
Leah B. Garmany of Centre was arrested Friday.
The crime of second-degree sexual abuse occurs when someone, being 19 years old or older, subjects another person to sexual contact who is less than 16 years old, but more than 12 years old.
Garmany is an employee of the Cherokee County Board of Education. The website for Centre Elementary School indicated Garmany is a kindergarten teacher. However, the incidents being investigated occurred at a residence and did not occur at a school.
The case remains under investigation by the district attorney’s office

Garrard Jury selection resumes this week

Joyce Hardin Garrard

Jury Selection is set to resume this week in the Etowah County murder trial of a woman accused of running her granddaughter to death.  Jury selection, originally scheduled for last week was postponed due to the winter storm that hit the area. 
A large jury pool had been assembled for the capital murder trial of Joyce Hardin Garrard, charged in the February 2012 death of her granddaughter Savannah Hardin. The 9-year-old died, prosecutors say, after she was forced to run for hours as punishment for having lied to her grandmother about eating candy.

2015 Legislative session begins Tuesday

The Alabama Legislature begins the 2015 regular session on Tuesday. Here are five issues to watch.
A shortfall in the state General Fund of several hundred million dollars is expected to be the toughest problem for lawmakers in the 2015 session. Gov. Robert Bentley has proposed $541 million in tax increases. His ideas include raising cigarette taxes by 82 cents per pack and raising the sales taxes on automobile purchases from 2 percent to 4 percent. Bentley would also seek to end some corporate tax loopholes and tax credits for insurance companies. However, his ideas face an uncertain future with lawmakers.
Republicans will push charter school legislation that could see dozens of such schools established over the five years. Charter schools are public schools that have freedom from some of the curriculum and regulations placed on other public schools. The bill proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh would authorize 10 new "startup" schools in the state each year and allow local school systems to convert an unlimited number of schools to charter status each year. Republicans pushed charter school bill in '12 but the effort flopped under internal disagreements and opposition from the teachers' lobby and others.
Marsh, who has led many of the GOP education bills, is also expected to propose legislation that would give teachers higher pay if they give up the job protections of tenure. Marsh said the proposal would offer a choice to educators.
Alabama prisons house nearly twice the number of inmates they were originally designed to hold, a level lawmakers say is both dangerous and could put the state on the losing end of a federal lawsuit. Proposals before a reform task force include creating a new Class D felony for low-level drug and property crimes, adding additional parole and probation officers, increasing funding for treatment programs, increasing use of diversion programs for nonviolent offenders and money for additional prison beds.
Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said lawmakers will deal with a series of bill changing the way the state pays for economic incentive packages. Rather than writing a check up front and giving them money and hoping that it is worked out. It's based on actual jobs that are created so it is done after the fact.  Lawmakers will convene Tuesday at the state capitol in Montgomery.

State Supreme Court rules on Alcohol Sales suit

An Alabama Supreme Court ruling on alcohol sales could affect your community's bottom line.  The Justices sided with Blount County ministers Friday overturning a state law. That law allowed small Alabama towns within dry counties to vote on alcohol sales.  
If the ruling isn't reversed cities with a population of 1,000-7,000 will become a dry city once again. Oneonta just passed its wet vote four months ago. That decision resulted in $30,000 of extra income each month - money promised to fund public safety and education. 
City Manager Ed Lowe says they've had interest from big developers - but a requirement for many - is alcohol sales. 
Oneonta citizens voted 62% to go wet.
Store managers say alcohol sales now accounts for between 20-30% of their revenue.
While many disagree with the State Supreme Court's decision other say they want the city and county to stay dry. 
The mayor in Aliceville says, this decision is devastating to his city finances. Alcohol sales there total $115,000 a year - a huge chunk of the city budget. Several city leaders say they're planning a trip to Montgomery Tuesday to talk with state legislators in hopes of turning this decision around.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Oxford man convicted of killing horses

Brandon Kyle Salers

An Oxford man has been convicted on two counts of killing livestock after fatally shooting two horses last year.
It took a Talladega County jury about 15 minutes to find Brandon Kyle Salers guilty of both of the Class C felonies.
Last year, Renee Rice found two of her horses, Penny and Twinkle, shot to death in her pasture on McIntosh Road. That's in a part of Oxford that extends into Talladega County.
Twinkle, a paint horse, belonged to Rice's seven-year-old daughter, and evidence suggested it suffered for awhile before it died of its wounds.
Salers is now in the Talladega County Jail on $10,000 bond. He's set to be sentenced April 14 in Talladega. He could get one to 10years in prison for each count.

Post Office Delays

Due to the Winter Storm, some postal operations in northern Alabama will open late.
Post Offices with the first three ZIP Code digits beginning with 355, 356, 357, 358, and 359 are scheduled to open at 10 a.m.  Post Offices with the first three ZIP Code digits 362 (with the exception of Piedmont, AL) will open as scheduled. The Piedmont Post Office is scheduled to open at 10 a.m.
Business and residential customers in the impacted ZIP Codes will receive mail delivery, but their letter carrier may arrive later in the day.