Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Man flees police leaving infant in car

A man fleeing from Jefferson County sheriff's deputies today left his infant daughter in the car as he tried to make a getaway on foot. Deputies pulled over Kenneth Morrow, 21, about 2:30 p.m. on Ninth Avenue in Bessemer. He fled, leaving the little girl behind, said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Randy Christian. He was captured moments later and taken into custody. Police later learned that Morrow ran because he had an outstanding warrant for unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle. Morrow also faces several traffic offenses and a child endangerment charge, Christian said. Christian said they tried to give the baby o the mother but learned that the infant's 21-year-old mother was wanted on outstanding warrants for probation violation on a theft charge.
The mother was taken into custody and is being held without bond. The infant was taken into custody by the Department of Human Resources

Man indicted on quadruple killings in Hueytown

Scott Lamar Abbott has been indicted on the March 7 killings in Hueytown, according to the Bessemer District Attorney's office. Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Veitch said today that a grand jury indicted 24-year-old Abbott on five counts of capital murder in the deaths of William Chad Gilbert, 31; Jeri Lynn Cole, 27; Nika Sandlin, 24; and Joshua Gilleo, 26.
Abbott faces one count of capital murder for killing more than one person and another four counts for killing the four victims during the commission of a burglary. Abbott is next expected in court for an arraignment. A date for his arraignment has not been set.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Midfield Man Charged with Murder will Have Hearing April 7

A preliminary hearing is set for April 7 for the 29-year-old Midfield man who is accused of taking police on a chase that ended in a crash that killed an 86-year-old grandmother.
Marvin Leonard Brown was charged with murder, first degree assault, obstructing justice and receiving stolen property. He is in the Jefferson County Jail in Bessemer on bonds totaling to $115,000.
Police said Brown led Midfield police on a chase in a stolen car on March 4. After police lost sight of Brown and called off the chase, he crashed the car into a truck at 48th Street and Huntsville Avenue, killing Willie Lee Williams, 86. William's grandson, Christopher Williams was injured in the crash. Brown's hearing will be in the Jefferson County District Court in Bessemer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lambda Zeta Zeta Helps the Needy in 2008

The year 2008 may have been the start of an economic downturn,but the women of the
Bessemer chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. still found time to have fun and help the
needy. Zeta Phi Beta, Inc. holds chapters in four regions and has 22 chapters total in Alabama.
Calandra McDonald is the area coordinator of region three. McDonald is a liaison for each
of the cities that are in the region, which includes Bessemer, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, Talladega and Aliceville. Lambda Zeta Zeta is a community- based sorority. The women call their motto Z-Hope, which is an acronym for Zeta’s Helping Other People Excel. Most members join one of the chapters while in college. Others join the Graduate Chapter, which is when a person joins the sorority after they graduate. Lambda Zeta Zeta held a 70’s disco night party and scholarship fundraiser on Nov. 1, 2008 at the Bessemer City Auditorium. They invited D.J. Mighty Flam to get the party started. Tickets were sold to help pay for food baskets for various families. Cash prizes, novelties and gift cards were given to the ones dressed in the best 70’s costume. Some members donated money to the scholarship fund. Nov. 15, 2008, Lambda Zeta
Zeta sponsored Prematurity Awareness weekend by holding a seminar at the Greater St. Paul
CME Church in Bessemer. This served as the sorority’s effort to support the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign. The campaign goals are to increase public awareness of the problem of prematurity and to decrease the incidence of premature birth. Pamphlets were handed out to
the ones in attendance and a sorority sister spoke on the causes and ways to decrease premature
birth. On Dec. 13, 2008, Lambda Zeta Zeta participated in the annual Bessemer Christmas
parade. They drove a car and passed out candy to the children. The sorority also gave
Christmas gifts of clothing and toys to a family in the Bessemer area. The chapter also gave gifts to two angels from the Angel Tree in Bessemer’s Chief of Police Nathaniel Rutledge’s office. The women of Lambda Zeta Zeta participated in a can food drive also. The can foods were donated to food banks to help those in need. The sorority held founder’s day, which celebrates the founding
of the sorority, on Jan. 11, 2009, at Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in West Highland.
The Rev. L.G. Young gave the women a message to start their year off. One member, Mary Dean Thomas, is the director of Project Chance, a GED dropout pilot program that was founded
by Sen. E.B. McClain and former representative Lawrence McAdory in 1996. They also collaborated with Dr. Ethel Hall, Assistant Superintendent of Alabama Department of Education and Dr. Yvette Richardson, former superintendent of the Fairfield Board
of Education. This project gives young people a second chance at success to students who have been expelled, suspended or quit school. It targets inner-city students in Bessemer and Fairfield.
In addition to, the activities above, Lambda Zeta Zeta women also give scholarships to
high school seniors. The student can get the application and information packet from one of the 19 members. The scholarship will pay for student’s books or part of their tuition. The deadline is April 3. Zeta will be participating in the March of Dimes on May 16, 2009, at Debardeleben Park in Bessemer. Zeta holds monthly meetings in the library every second Saturday at noon. For more information on the sorority or scholarship call President Glenda McCarroll at 205-925-1567.

Flying the Friendly Skies

J e s s l y n Arnold, left, and Edna MannAronson had many fond memories toshare whenmembers of the Retired United Airlines Employees Association gathered at theBright Star for lunch on Feb. 9. Herb Wilbanks, president of the newly formed Birmingham chapter, did too. In their combined decades of service, they had crossed paths with many famous people and, just as important, had strong ties to Bessemer. Herb was born in Bessemer in 1934, went to Arlington Grammar School and then to Bessemer High School until 1950 when his family moved to Birmingham. Jesslyn Arnold was born and raised in Bessemer also. She graduated from Bessemer High in 1969 and began her career with United Airlines in Chicago at the tender
age of 18. In her first interview, her future boss was worried that she was a little too young and
awfully far from home. “Don’t you think you’ll get homesick?” heasked. If she did, she kept it a secret for thenext 36 years when she took early retirementat 55 and came back to Bessemer in 2006. “I first thought I’d retire in Florida,” shesaid. “But I wasn’t really happy there. I have
cousins, aunts, uncles, friends here. So I came back home, and I have no regrets. I
love it here.” So does Edna Mann Aronson. She returned to Bessemer when she retired in
2000. “My family has lived here all their lives. I still have two brothers and a sister here.”

Accused Killer Remains in Jail

The man accused of killing four people will remain in the Jefferson County Jail instead of being transferred to Taylor Hardin Medical Facility said Judge Fancher on Monday.

Read the rest of the story next week in The Western Star.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fairfield Woman Injured By Gunshots

A 37-year-old Fairfield woman was shot in her home when she answered a knock at her door, police said. 
At least 20 rounds were shot into Lawanda Gregory Hicks' house on 422 53rd street at 5 a.m. A bullet grazed her chest and she was taken to the hospital for a wound to her hand. She was released from the hospital today.
Police said the drive-by may be caused by an argument with one of her teenage sons and the suspect, who is unknown. Four children and one woman was asleep at the time of the incident.
Charles Gregory, another one of Hicks' sons, is in the Jefferson County Jail on burglary charges.
In the course of interviewing juveniles in the investigation, police have made a drug arrest, a car theft arrest, and cleared up at least 10 car burglaries, police said.

Emergency Hearing for Quadruple Murder Suspect

An emergency hearing has been set for March 23 regarding the mental state of Scott Lamar Abbott who is accused of killing four people inside a Hueytown home earlier this month.

Abbott will be back in District Court Judge Eric Fancher's courtroom in the Bessemer Division for a competency hearing.

Multiple Car Wreck Kills One

Helen Mooney, 89, was killed in a multiple car accident at the intersection of 8th and 9th street on March 19. Jefferson County Coroner Pat Curry said she died on the scene at 2:20 p.m.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bessemer Plans to Open New Landfill, Old One Closes

The Birmingham News
Anita Debro

Bessemer officials have resumed talks to open a new landfill for yard and construction waste.

Talk of closing the city's trash depository, Concord Landfill, and open a new one in the Raimund community began nearly two years ago as Concord Landfill neared its capacity.

Concord Landfill is now at capacity, said Bessemer public works Director James Eades.

"We need to do this as quick as we can," Eades said of the relocation.

Eades told the City Council last week that the city will be able to deposit trash at Concord Landfill for only another two months. The landfill holds only trash - tree and limb brush, construction debris and other nonhazardous debris. It is not for household garbage.

Bessemer officials plan to relocate trash to a 20-acre site off Raimund Muscoda Road. The land is already permitted for a landfill.

City Engineer Ron Gilbert said in order for the new landfill to open, the city must construct a new road to the site. Eades said the city will also need to purchase new equipment and possibly hire skilled laborers to work at the landfill.

Eades and Gilbert estimated it will cost about $793,000 to open the landfill. The men said the city should get about 20 years of use out of the new landfill.

City Council members suggested last week informing the residents in the area of the city's plans to relocate the landfill.

Officials said a town hall meeting to discuss the relocation will be planned for residents living near the site.

Monday, March 16, 2009

UPDATE: Headstone

House of Hope Here and Abroad

On Thursday, the Bessemer Rotary Club had their weekly gathering for lunch with guest speaker Rebecca Graham at the YMCA. Graham founded the House of Hope, which houses orphaned children in Campulung-Muscel, Romania. She acknowledged the generous support that her orphanage had received a $25,000 grant from Rotary International. It helped build the Mission Center and it was put into the water filteration and sewer project.

Literacy Program Gives Kids an Even Start

Even Start, part of the Family Literacy Initiative, is a program for disadvantaged children who are toddlers until they are 4 years old. It is a federally funded program in Bessemer that provides special preparation to children from low-income, semi-literate families. Funding has been gradually cut, said Nancy Trucks, site coordinator of project Even Start. "Cut funding and we might be cutting our own throats," she said. The Bessemer facility can only accommodate 26 children. Applications for the fall will be accepted starting March 23.

Census Bureau opened Jefferson County office for 2010 census

The U.S. Census Bureau opened its Jefferson County office for the 2010 census, and workers will verify addresses next week in advance of the population count.

Census counts are taken every 10 years. Results are used in different ways which includes determining the number of members of Congress each state receives, and how federal dollars are given out to local governments.

Residents won't receive census forms until March 2010.

Another 1,200 to 1,500 part-time workers will conduct field operations, he said. They will be among the ones who, beginning next month, handle the task of matching up addresses in north Alabama with updated lists that have been received by the census bureau.

Information about the temporary census jobs can be found at www.census.gov/hrd/

The Census Bureau is expected to hire more than a million people nationwide.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Alabama Adeventure Gets a Makeover

The Birmingham News

E.J. Randolph isn't your typical thrill-seeking amusement park general manager - he doesn't even like to ride roller coasters.
"I'm scared of heights," he admits.
"You won't see me getting on the Rampage," Randolph added, referring to the wooden roller coaster that's the biggest attraction at Alabama Adventure's Magic City USA theme park, once known as VisionLand.
The Minnesota native, who has worked at amusement parks for the past 25 years, took over at Alabama Adventure in Bessemer last June, shortly after the park was acquired by Adrenaline Family Entertainment of Oklahoma. He is now preparing for his first full season in charge of the Bessemer park.
Alabama Adventure kicks off its 2009 season weekends-only on April 18 before going to a daily schedule beginning Memorial Day weekend. Randolph believes Alabama Adventure can capitalize this summer on cash-strapped families opting to stay closer to home instead of visiting higher-priced parks in Atlanta or Florida.
"We feel really excited about this year," he said. "No matter how the economy gets, theme parks have become a way of life."
E.J. Randolph isn't your typical thrill-seeking amusement park general manager - he doesn't even like to ride roller coasters.Adrenaline Entertainment is counting on Splash Beach, which has become the most popular part of the park in recent years, Randolph said. The company is spending $1.1 million to build Upsurge, a 216-foot long waterslide that takes riders on a winding 47-foot drop into a 25,000-gallon pool.
"We felt it was not economical right now to invest $12 million to $14 million in a new steel roller coaster, but we can get a return on the water slide," Randolph said. "We think it will be a very popular ride."
Randolph got his first exposure at an amusement park as a 17-year-old in Arlington, Texas, when he got a summer job working at Six Flags Over Texas. He never imagined a career in the industry, saying he envisioned it as simply a way to earn some extra money.
"I got hooked on it. Once you get amusement parks in your blood, it's kind of hard to let go," Randolph said.
Working at the park helped pay his college tuition at the University of Texas. After getting a finance degree, he began working at the Six Flags park full time. A few years later, Randolph transferred to a Six Flags park in New Jersey, where he met his wife, Debi. He later moved into a management position at a suburban Washington, D.C. park eventually bought by Six Flags.
Moving to Alabama Adventure, a much smaller park, gives him a new opportunity.
"It was my first chance to run the entire operations of a park and put my own stamp on things," Randolph said. "Even though I'm not working for a big chain, it's exciting to be a part of something like this. Our owners are really excited about the park and its future."
One change initiated by Randolph: Instead of having to buy separate tickets for Splash Beach Water Park and Magic City USA or combo tickets, patrons will get into both parks for one price.
Tickets are now $34.99 for adults and $24.99 for kids under 48 inches tall and seniors 62 and older. Season tickets are $59.99 and include entry to both parks and special events such as the summer concert series.
"I felt why should people have to choose which parks to go to," Randolph said. "Both parks play well off of each other. People can go to the water park during the hot part of the day, then go have fun on the rides at the theme park."
Randolph also diversified Alabama Adventure's summer concert series, which he says was in the past tilted "too heavily to Disney Channel stars." Raven is back for the third consecutive year, but no other Disney stars are on the series, which kicks off June 5.
Randolph has booked acts including Grammy nominated R&B star Jazmine Sullivan, classic rock band Three Dog Night, Southern rockers 38 Special, Christian headliner Mercy Me and country singers Julianne Hough and Jimmy Wayne.
Randolph also has added other entertainment to draw people to the park, such as a team of acrobats, Cirque Magnifico, making a week-long stop at Alabama Adventure June 9-14; a July 11 musical event featuring local barbecue restaurants; and a Latin cultural festival on June 21. The park will host gospel concerts on Sundays in August and September, and Oktoberfest in September.
"My goal is to create family activities appealing to everyone," Randolph said

Adrenaline Entertainment hopes adding the $1.1 million Upsurge,
a 216-foot long waterslide that takes riders on a winding 47-foot drop
into a 25,000-gallon pool, will draw even more visitors to Splash Beach
at Alabama Adventure this year.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Midfield Man Charged with Murder

The Birmingham News

A man who fled police in Midfield and later crashed a stolen car into a pickup truck in Brighton, killing a grandmother, has been charged with murder, authorities said Wednesday. Marvin Leonard Brown, 29 of Bessemer, remained in the Jefferson County Jail Wednesday night.
Authorities said Brown led Midfield police on a chase on the afternoon of March 4. Moments after police lost sight of Brown and called off the chase, he crashed the car into a truck at 48th Street and Huntsville Avenue, killing Willie Lee Williams, 86. Brown and Williams' grandson were also injured in the crash.
Brown, who had several outstanding warrants when he fled police, is charged with murder in Williams' death and first-degree assault in her grandson's injury. Bonds on the two charges totaled $90,000

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quadruple Murder in Hueytown Sends Shock Wave

Four people were killed in Hueytown early Saturday morning. Scott Lamar Abbott, 24, stabbed each victim multiple times. The police identified the victims as William Chad Gilbert, 31, Jeri Lynn Cole, 27, Nika Sandlin, 24, all from Hueytown and Joshua Gilleo,26, from Pelham. Police said they believed Abbott was an ex-boyfriend of one of the victims and lived at the home where the murders took place. Abbott went to court Monday for his arraignment where there is a substantial amount of evidence against him. His hearing is set for Thursday, April 2.

McAdory Fire District Cleans Up

Members of the McAdory Area Fire District picked up litter for 1/2 mile on March 7. They picked up trash from the McAdory fire station 2 along Eastern Valley Road. They hope that their
voluntary action will sparkk other groups to participate.

Bessemer Fire Department Welcomes Two New Engines

Fire Chief Paul Syx sent bids out for two bew firetrucks in 2008. The bids went through and now stations 3 and 4 have two new firetrucks. The most important feature Syx wanted was the safety for his crew. Styx became a personal tour guide of each engine. He showed the fireman the features and ho to use each. Syx said anyone can drop in to see the new trucks and take a tur of the building.

U.S. Pipe Moves Screening Location

The Bessemer plant manager at U.S. Pipe, Tom Nicholson, informed Scott and Becki Parsons as well as other residents at Bessemer Gardens of that the reclamation operation would be moved to another location. In the past two years dust collected in yards on on vehicles along with sleep-disturbing noises.

Mayor May weighs in on City Budget

Mayor Ed May talked about three influences for the preparation of the budget. He said expected reveues from all sources, known expenses required to run the city and general economic conditions. May also said not to worry about the trying times in Bessemer because we have not been hit as hard as other cities due primarily to the Tannehill Promenade. May also said his office is always open for ideas on how to improve Bessemer.

Bessemer City Budget Approved

On March 3, the City Council approved the budget after four months of being submitted. Some of the council members felt that the mayor's revenue forecast was unrealistic said councilman Jimmy Stevens. Ninety percent of the budget was approved and will be reviewed again on June 15.

Bessemer Red Cross

The Bessemer Red Cross will host a volunteer fair on March 14 a 1720 2nd avenue North in Bessemer. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.

Bessemer Library Has it All

The Bessemer Library opened six months ago and showcased its many different areas. This includes an auditorium, conference room, children's department and computer lab. Check it out. They are opened 9-8 on Mondays, 9-6 on Tuesday-Thursday, 9-5 on Friday and 10-4 on Saturday. they are closed on Sundays.

And the Award Goes To...

Anthony Underwood Automotive was awarded the Quality Dealership Award from Auto Services Company, Inc. This honor is given to dealers that do an outstanding job of providing high quality and mechanically sound vehicles to their customers.

Bessemer Home Repairs

Bessemer is one of five cities and two counties in Alabama that receives Community Development Block Grant funding each year for home repairs for qualified homeowners. The program alos provides assistance to the elderly and disabled thourgh deferred loans and also for medical related and emergency related home repairs in the form of grants. Loans are up to $35,000 for the qualified homeowners with an interest rate of 3%. For the disabled there is an emergency grant program and improvements can reach $5,000 and does not have to be repaid.

The Foundry Gets Socked

The Bessemer Center for Technology's Future Business Leaders of America completed its first sock drive. The socks colleceted were donated to the Foundry Rescue and Recovery Center on Feb. 12. The socks were given to help the homeless and other needy citizens.