The Trussville Tribune All your news, now for Trussville, Clay and Pinson Sun, 11 Dec 2016 04:03:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jefferson County man dies in I-459 crash Sun, 11 Dec 2016 03:43:57 +0000 more »]]> From The Trussville Tribune staff reports

JEFFERSON COUNTY –A single-vehicle crash at 4 a.m. Saturday, has claimed the life of a Trafford man.

Gregory A. Burnham, 35, was killed when the 2016 Toyota 4Runner he was driving  left the roadway, striking a guardrail then a light pole. Burnham was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash occurred on Interstate 459, two miles north of Hoover.

Nothing further is available as Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate.

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Pedestrian struck, killed Saturday morning Sun, 11 Dec 2016 02:42:27 +0000 more »]]> From The Trussville Tribune Staff Reports

GADSDEN – A pedestrian was struck and killed Saturday in Etowah County.

The crash occurred at 11:32 a.m. three miles north of Gadsden.

Edward Harold Cash, 81 of Gadsden, was struck and killed by a 2011 GMC SUV. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The driver of the SUV was not injured.

Alabama State Troopers are continuing to investigate.

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Alabama politics flying under the radar with presidential election Sat, 10 Dec 2016 17:00:35 +0000 more »]]> By Steve Flowers

While the presidential race played out this year, several things happened in Alabama politics that went under the radar.

First, a federal appeals court upheld the legislature’s banning PAC to PAC transfers. The new Republican legislative majority that marched into the Statehouse in 2011 set out to destroy and bury the last bastion of Democratic power in the state – the once omnipotent Alabama Education Association. They succeeded.

One of the legs they sawed off was the PAC to PAC money laundering scheme that AEA so adroitly used to funnel and hide their campaign contributions. The primary beneficiary of the AEA transfer was to Joe Reed’s Alabama Democratic Conference. The three judge panel’s ruling does not limit the amount of money that the ADC can raise, it just disallows the AEA from transferring money to their sister organization.

The AEA/ADC coalition was not the only group using this PAC to PAC shell game of hiding campaign contributions. The practice was pervasive. However, the ADC was the one that sued to say that the PAC to PAC prohibition was unconstitutional because it banned free speech and due process.

Attorney General Luther Strange praised the ruling saying “the PAC to PAC transfer ban has been instrumental in limiting campaign corruption while adding greater transparency to the election process.” This federal court ruling has hammered an additional final nail in the coffin of the once vaunted AEA.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at

In early October, the U.S. Justice Department launched a statewide investigation into the safety and sanitary conditions of Alabama’s men’s prisons. It has been common knowledge that Alabama’s prisons are overcrowded. It is probably a foregone conclusion that there is a very real possibility that the federal courts may intervene and take over control of our prisons.

The state already settled a suit with the Department of Justice over problems with the Julia Tutwiler women’s prison in Wetumpka arising out of allegations of physical and sexual violence. This settlement occurred about a year ago. The Justice Department is now saying that the same problems exist in the men’s prisons. The DOJ investigation may very well be the precursor to federal intervention.

The prison problem will have to be front and center when the legislature convenes in February. State Senator Cam Ward of Shelby County, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been at the forefront of the prison issue, says, “At the end of the day you have to change the facilities to some degree not just for the safety of inmates but for the safety of those who work there.”

Alabama’s prisons were at 178 percent capacity in July. This severe overcrowding is the primary contributing factor to violence in prisons. There have been six homicides at the St. Clair Correctional facility between 2011 and 2014. There have been riots at Holman prison in Atmore. The Bibb and Bessemer correctional facilities have seen numerous allegations of physical and sexual abuse. All three U.S. Attorneys in the State have tacitly agreed with the Justice Department investigation.

The Governor’s Advisory Council on gambling is meeting and will formulate a plan of action to propose to the legislature when they convene in February. This seven-member advisory panel will examine the entire gambling gambit. Hopefully, this council will promulgate a plan of action for gambling in Alabama.

This issue of gambling has plagued the state for decades. In fact, it has existed since the state’s founding. Gambling revenue is probably the state’s largest potential revenue source. Our state is losing millions of dollars to our surrounding states.

Hopefully, this council will look at all aspects of gambling including the lottery, how to extract some money from the Poarch Creek Indian casino monopoly, and also allowing the locally sanctioned facilities in Greene, Macon and Lowndes counties to exist and pay some state taxes.

The council should have a recommendation to give the legislature by January 31, 2017, in time for the legislative session in February.

The race for our open U.S. Senate seat is beginning to percolate. Candidates will be wise to avoid the interim appointment to the seat by Gov. Bentley. The early favorites to win election to the seat are Attorney General Luther Strange and Congressman Robert Aderholt. A host of viable candidates will enter the fray.

See you next week.


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Heaven’s blessings Sat, 10 Dec 2016 15:00:06 +0000 more »]]> By Kevin Payne, Palmerdale UMC

The popular Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” proclaims in its third stanza: “How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given; so God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven. No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.”

That is a powerful proclamation to us today, especially with regard to how divided we seem to be in our nations over so many different things.

Dr. Kevin Payne Palmerdale UMC

Dr. Kevin Payne
Palmerdale UMC

We are divided politically. We are at odds socially. We are angry and afraid; hurt and wounded.

With such with such fear and anxiety are wondering what do we do? How does this end? What is the solution?

Hence, the words of this Christmas carol that comes from the promise of God’s Holy Word.

There is evil in this world. No amount of legislation, or procedures, or political alliances can keep evil from occurring.

We are quick to ask where God is when we are faced with mind-blowing tragedy. Remember the events of 9/11 and how everyone flocked to church in the weeks that followed? Remember Sandy Hook and the search for understanding? We will remember these days, and, sorrowfully like so many before and since. We will remember but never understand.

But that is where God is. God does not will this to happen. God does not cause such to happen. God gives us free-will to choose to do good or evil, right or wrong, righteousness or unrighteousness. Evil exists because we choose the evil over the good.

But there is hope! In a manger, in a little town, in silence and obscurity, the Christ was born. God the Father sent God the Son so that the blessings of God’s heaven could be brought to earth—imparted to our hearts. We have a Savior! The way things are, are not they way they are meant to be; and God has come to do something about it!

That is the true gift of Christmas. We have one who has been born for us, as one of us, to show us the way to the Father. We have the blessings of heaven in our lives today, even in times such as these. We have a hope, a promise, a faith that proclaims, “Joy to the World, the Lord HAS come!”

When we have days where our questions, fears, and doubts threaten to overtake us, we remember and rejoice because we have Christmas. We have the gift of the Christ, the Savior and ultimate Lord of all Creation. We have an eternal promise that even in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.

May the Christ enter into your hearts and lives this Christmas, and everyday. No matter what we face, the Christ has entered in! Merry Christmas!

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Two killed in head-on collision Friday afternoon Sat, 10 Dec 2016 14:20:28 +0000 more »]]> From The Trussville Tribune Staff Reports

HALEYVILLE – A two-vehicle crash at 3:45 p.m. on Friday has claimed two lives.

The crash occurred on Alabama 243, near the one mile marker.

Kathryn McNutt, 54 of Haleyville, was killed when the 1995 Infiniti J30 she was driving collided head-on with a 1987 GMCS10, driven by James Harold Hood, 76 of Haleyville.

Both drivers were pronounced dead on the scene.

Alabama State Troopers are continuing to investigate.

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Recent rains change amount of water available to ducks for hunters Sat, 10 Dec 2016 13:00:12 +0000 more »]]> By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Alabama waterfowl hunters who ventured out on opening weekend will probably have to expand their territory after several recent rain events have changed the amount of water currently available to the ducks.

“Earlier in the year we were in an extreme drought situation throughout Alabama, especially northeast Alabama,” said Seth Maddox, Waterfowl Coordinator with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “We had a pretty good number of waterfowl here for the youth hunt and the start of the season.”

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) conducts aerial surveys in the areas that tend to hold the most waterfowl in the state, including the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and the Tennessee River drainage.

“The aerial surveys we conducted showed average to a little above average numbers of waterfowl for this time of year,” Maddox said. “With not much available water on the landscape, it helped concentrate the ducks in larger bodies of water like the reservoirs and the backwater sloughs. In Mobile Bay and the Delta it helped concentrate the birds a little more.”

Normal waterfowl habitat like beaver ponds and farm ponds had little water to hold ducks during the height of the drought, and bottomland hardwoods were not flooded like they have been in previous years. The state is still in a significant rainfall deficit despite several days of rain.

Maddox said as opening weekends go, the weekend of Nov. 26-27 was not bad, probably helped because the waterfowl were concentrated because of the lack of water.

“Hunters had pretty good success in most places on opening weekend,” he said. “A lot of hunters had birds when they were coming out of the field. And the youth Saturday the weekend before the regular season opened was good, too. A lot of the youth had birds. I think that was a big success.”

Now that Alabama finally got some rainfall, Maddox said the ducks will likely be expanding their range significantly.

“That rain makes a lot more habitat available to the waterfowl,” he said. “The ground did soak up quite a bit of the rainfall, but this new round of rain will definitely help the situation. The birds won’t be as concentrated anymore, but there will be a lot more available habitat for the hunters and the birds to take advantage of.”

In Mobile Bay and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, where water levels aren’t affected as much by the drought, Maddox said the typical array of waterfowl has been seen this fall.

“We saw a lot of gadwalls and some shovelers,” he said. “We did the aerial survey on Nov. 18, right before a cold front came through. The count was about average for that survey. But I talked to Thomas Harms, our biologist down there, and he said the cold front pushed a lot more birds in after we conducted the survey.”

On opening weekend in the Mobile area, the main birds in the hunters’ bags were gadwalls and ringnecks. Gadwalls are dabbling ducks and stay in shallow water where they can eat mostly vegetation. Diving ducks, like ringnecks, will add crustaceans, mollusks and other invertebrates to their diets.

“We didn’t see many divers when we did the survey, but Harms said they’ve got a little bit of everything down there right now – redheads, teal and a few scaup.

“In north Alabama, gadwalls kind of rule the state as far as dabbling ducks. On the west side of the Tennessee River – Wheeler, Wilson and Pickwick (lakes),

The recent rain and cold front should make duck hunting opportunities better in Alabama.

The recent rain and cold front should make duck hunting opportunities better in Alabama.

we have an above average number of ducks for this time of year. Right now, Pickwick probably has the most ducks with gadwalls, green-winged teal and a good many mallards for this time of year. We’ve also observed some divers like canvasbacks, redheads, ringnecks, buffleheads and scaup (bluebill).”

Maddox just hopes the rainy pattern continues through December

“If we get a little more rain, I think it’s going to open up some of the bottomland habitat, especially if it starts flooding some of the hard mast crops in the hardwoods,” he said. “Acorns are a favorite food of wood ducks and mallards. If you’re looking for greenheads (male mallards), that’s one of the best places to find them.

“And if we get some water in the beaver ponds, it will open up habitat for wood ducks to use across the state.”

Maddox said while the reservoirs along the Tennessee River were affected a little by the drought, it was the smaller areas with food sources for the waterfowl that were impacted the most.

“All the reservoirs were below what they normally are this time of year,” he said. “The main problem was we were struggling on the Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) to get any water at all. We struggled to get our agricultural crops to come up this summer. But we had decent luck with our moist-soil vegetation. That native vegetation should provide good food sources for the waterfowl going into the winter.”

Maddox said the most popular places to hunt ducks in Alabama include the Jackson County Waterfowl Management Area, Swan Creek WMA, the Seven-Mile Island area in Lauderdale County and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

Despite less than favorable conditions for waterfowl hunting, Maddox said Alabama hunters have not been deterred from participating in the season.

“I worked opening weekend in Jackson County, and every boat ramp in the county was full or overflowing,” he said. “From what I’ve seen, I think we’re going to be right on par with what we’ve seen the last few years in the number of duck stamps sold. We sold about 30,000 last year, which has been about what we sold for the last several years.”

Waterfowl hunters are required to have a valid hunting license, federal duck stamp, state duck stamp and HIP (Harvest Information Program) privilege to hunt waterfowl. Only steel shot or other approved waterfowl loads are allowed. The bag limit is six ducks with no more than four mallards, only two of which may be female, three wood ducks, one mottled duck, one black duck, two redheads, two pintails and three scaup. The duck and goose seasons run through January 29, 2017.

There have also been several changes in the waterfowl regulations in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. The 210-acre Apalachee Refuge was created in the triangle-shaped region between I-10 and the Mobile Causeway, west of the Apalachee River. The Refuge provides a resting area for waterfowl, prohibiting any hunting in this area and the operation of gasoline-powered motors from the second Saturday in November through the second Saturday in February. Big Bateau Bay also has the same restriction on the prohibited use of gas-powered motors but is open for hunting. The Waterfowl Management Zone in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta also has new shooting hours and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Hunting is allowed from 30 minutes before sunrise to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

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Teenage girl jumped from, struck by car she was riding in Sat, 10 Dec 2016 01:53:25 +0000 more »]]> From The Trussville Tribune staff reports

CENTER POINT –At about 4:15 p.m. on Friday, deputies responded to a report of a traffic accident in which a 16-year-old girl jumped from and was struck by the car she was riding in.

The accident happened in the 100 block of 14th Avenue NW in Center Point. Deputies and paramedics arrived to find a teen aged female victim suffering serious injuries. She was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Information gathered at the scene indicated that the girl was riding in the front passenger seat of a car driven by an 18-year old male friend. As the car traveled along 14th Avenue NW, she jumped out and fell. When she did so she was struck by the car she had been riding in.

The driver is cooperating with the investigation and is currently being questioned. The Sheriff’s Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team is on the scene.

The investigation is ongoing. Updates will be provided as they become available.

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Michigan man arrested in connection with 13 Jefferson County burglaries Fri, 09 Dec 2016 22:55:09 +0000 more »]]> From The Trussville Tribune Staff Reports

BIRMINGHAM – The Birmingham Police Department has arrested a suspect who is responsible for 13 burglaries in the Birmingham area.

michael-davisMichael L. Davis, 34 of Michigan, was taken into custody for obstructing justice, using a false identity. After his arrest, it was discovered he had several outstanding warrants in both Jefferson County and in Ohio.

During one burglary, Davis and two other suspects fled the scene, causing officers to chase them. The pursuit came to a stop when Davis jumped from the vehicle he was driving, causing it to roll back into a police car. The other two defendants were taken into custody and charged with burglary.

On Nov. 18, officers obtained warrants for burglary in the third degree and giving false information. Both warrants were in connection to an incident at Hop City Craft Beer and Wine.

Davis is being held on bond in the Jefferson County Jail, and additional warrants and charges are pending.

“We are thankful to the public and our officers for the hard work in catching this individual,” Sgt. Bryan Shelton said. “People work hard for what they own, and deserve to live in peace. A good weapon against property crimes are watchful and attentive neighbors. Let’s look out for each other.”

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Alabama admits inflating high school graduation rates Fri, 09 Dec 2016 21:36:20 +0000 more »]]> From The Trussville Tribune staff reports

MONTGOMERY –In a statement released on Thursday, the Alabama State Department of Education admitted state graduation rates reported to U.S. Department of Education were false, resulting in diplomas that “were not honestly earned.”

It is not known if the admission will affect local high schools. The Trussville Tribune has reached out to Dr. Pattie Neill at Trussville City Schools, Michael Lee at Clay-Chalkville High School and Michael Turner at Pinson Valley High School. None of the three had responded prior to publication, but the story will be updated with their comments when received.

The USDE had been investigating Alabama’s grad rate since the state jumped to the third highest on the nation last year.

According to the statement, the ALSDE has determined, after completing an initial audit, that the graduation rate was misstated to the people of Alabama – policymakers, educators, parents, students, all citizens – and to the USDE.

“We are accountable to all people of this state and deeply regret the misstating of our graduation rate, Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance said. “We are now undergoing a meticulous review to ensure that all monitoring and data collection is performed with fidelity.

“The ALSDE did not monitor local systems with the necessary scrutiny. This was an internal, administrative oversight and the ALSDE is now in the process of addressing all related areas. The ALSDE has reviewed related protocols, increased training of staff, and is organizationally restructuring. We will be establishing an internal audit unit to ensure protocols and procedures are followed. We will also continue to work within the USDE.”

According to ALSDE, there are two components that were factors in the misstated rate:

1. The counting of the Alabama Occupational Diploma (AOD) – This diploma was not anchored to the standards required for graduation and students who received the AOD could not be counted by the USDE as a graduate in the USDE Four-Year Cohort graduation rate.

2. Low Oversight of Local School Systems’ Awarding of Credits – The ALSDE did not increase oversight as needed of local school systems’ awarding of earned class credits. In some cases, local school systems misstated student records and awarded class credit, resulting in diplomas that were not honestly earned.

The inflated rates were reported under the watch of former state superintendent Tommy Bice.




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Five charged in theft of property after Trussville Lowe’s burglary Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:29:32 +0000 more »]]> From The Trussville Tribune Staff Reports

TRUSSVILLE – The Birmingham Police Department was called to 1885 Edwards Lake Road on a felony theft at Lowe’s on Nov. 29.

The suspects were hired contractors of Concrete Solutions in Tennessee, and while working after hours, the suspects were observed stealing tools.

Five of the seven suspects were charged with theft of property in the first degree, each with a bond set at $10,000.

The BPD Burglary Unit recovered over $5,000 of the stolen property.

Gustavo Areano

Gustavo Areano

Armando Tamez

Armando Tamez

Juan Carlos

Juan Carlos

Carter Collins

Carter Collins

Cristobal Garcia

Cristobal Garcia

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