YEAR IN REVIEW 2015: November
City gets $250K for Hal Kirby Park
Russellville Mayor David Grissom found out Friday, and announced Monday, that the city has been awarded a $250,000 grant to rehabilitate Hal Kirby Jr. Park.
Following citywide flooding in June, the park was perhaps Russellville’s area of greatest damage. Swirling floodwaters tore down fences and damaged the ballfields, which were damaged to the point of being unable to be used for any summer or fall sports.
A $250,000 Community Development Block Grant to the city will provide new fencing for the two ball fields at the park, a multi-use building to accommodate the concession stand, restrooms and press box and associated walkways that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Local matching funds and in-kind services will provide an additional $109,399 toward the project.
“The ultimate goal is going to be to get Hal Kirby back to ball-playing condition by spring,” Grissom said.
The CDBG was one of several to be announced for the Northwest Alabama area Monday.
Grissom said his office will attend a workshop in December to find out how the grant will be disseminated, and work will begin as soon as possible.
Red Bay reveals new visitor’s guide
A ribbon cutting Monday marked the official debut of a new visitor’s guide in Red Bay, consisting of both a website and a brochure.
“The main concept behind the entire project is getting the people who come into Red Bay to know what’s going on in and around Red Bay,” said Sandra Burroughs of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. The visitor’s guide initiative began, at least in part, with visitors to Tiffin Motorhomes in mind.
The 12-page Visitor’s Guide spotlights leisure time opportunities for visitors in and around Red Bay. It also includes a comprehensive list of most sought-after services such as doctors, dentists, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and retail stores. The Visitor’s Guide was made possible through a grant from the Alabama Tourism Department.
Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow expressed his excitement about the new guide at the Red Bay BBQ and ribbon-cutting event. “I see Red Bay becoming an Appalachian village where people from all over the country will come here,” Morrow said.
The new website is found at www.VisitRedBay.com. It features a more in-depth look at the leisure opportunities in the area, as well as nearby states, and a more detailed list of local services. The website was made possible through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The project has been a yearlong process hat involved input from numerous different stakeholder groups, including Red Bay Mayor David Tiffin, who said he sees the proud accomplishment as a feather in his cap.
FCSO charges man with murder of mother
Scotty Lee Keeton, 30, of Vina has been charged with murder of a family member, a Class A felony.
Friday, a 62-year-old woman, later identified as Sharon Keeton, was found dead when officers with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence on Old Vina Road.
According to officers, a call came in about 12:30 p.m. Friday. The residence had had domestic calls in the past.
Upon arrival, investigators found the woman deceased, with blunt trauma to the head.
Her son, Scotty Lee Keeton, who was in the house when officers arrived, was transferred to Russellville Hospital ER. Keeton was charged with murder Saturday and was held on $500,000 bond.
Citizen of the Year
Who will sustain future generations?
This was the question posed, answered and celebrated at the 2015 Annual Farm-City Award Banquet. The answer, of course, is: farmers.
“Farming is a hard job – a very time consuming job,” said Franklin County Extension Coordinator Katernia Cole-Coffey. “People take it for granted. Farmers make a lot of scarifies to provide us with the food we have. They deserve to be recognized. Without farmers, we would be hungry and naked.”
The banquet, held at the A.W. Todd Centre Monday, celebrated those who have contributed to farming in a variety of ways. The following awards were presented:
– Cattlemen of the Year: Stewart Blackburn
– Farm Family of the Year: Ronnie and Carol Glass
– Farmer of the Year: Derek Jackson
– Agricultural Lifetime Achievement awards: Gene Hamilton, Lottie Hillman and Billy Sturdivant
– Community Development awards: Bert Fowler, Ben Guyton Jr. and Billy Bolton
The top award, of course, is the Citizen of the Year. This year’s award goes to a man who is a Vietnam War veteran, a former Russellville City Councilman, a cancer survivor and a member of the Shriners, Jaycees and Civitans: Jimmy Montgomery.
“For an old boy from Tharptown to get this award, that isn’t bad,” Montgomery said.
He was nominated by the Civitan Club.
“Just about every activity we have, he is there wanting to volunteer … He is definitely a huge part of the community,” said Civitan President Matt Oglesby. “It’s an honor to see him get the award. I know it means a lot to him. I’m glad to see him get recognition.”
Other accolades for Montgomery include his work in approving funds that launched the building of the A.W. Todd Center; being instrumental in creating the emergency weather response system; and establishing Franklin County Relay for Life. For that, of course, he humbly insists on sharing the credit.
“I’m just one of many who has brought that on through the years. It takes teamwork to pull that off,” Montgomery said.
Much of his civic engagement and his achievements are tied to his eight-year city council stint.
“I’ve gotten people wanting me to run again this year, but I won’t do it,” he said with a chuckle. “Get some younger people to do it.”
Montgomery thanked his wife Sandy for her support through the years.