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Wednesday Sep 24

Etowah County News

Ball Play Woman Questioned in Husband's Murder

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 04:24

(Ball Play, AL - July 20, 2010) Etowah County Sheriff's Deputies remain involved in an apparent murder investigation in the Ball Play community of eastern Etowah County. Sheriff Todd Entrekin says the murder investigation began after the body of 53 year old Joel David Kutchenreuter was found dead inside his home at 148 Clay Drive in Hokes Bluff this morning.

According to Entrekin, a 9-1-1 call was received around 5:40 a.m. this morning, and patrolmen were dispatched to the scene. There, the body of the 53-year old man was discovered inside the home, apparently having been shot by three times while lying in bed.

Entrekin says the man's wife is in custody and is being questioned by investigators involved in the case. He says there has been no motive established in the case. However, he says, charges are expected to follow after the conclusion of this investigation today.

Harp Named to State District Attorneys Association Executive Board

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 04:24

(Gadsden, AL - July 19, 2010) Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp is being named as the Alabama District Attorneys Association Secretary-Treasurer for the 2010-2011 Term. Elections to the slate of officers were held during the Association's summer meeting this weekend.

Selected to serve on the elected leadership board include:

  • Tommy Smith, Tuscaloosa County DA, President
  • Chris McCool, Fayette, Lamar & Pickens Counties DA, Vice President
  • Jimmie Harp, Etowah County DA, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Kristi Valls, Limestone County DA, Immediate Past President
  • Tommy Chapman, Conecuh and Monroe Counties DA, NDAA (National District Attorneys Association) Board Represetative
  • Jim Osborn, Lawrence County DA, Member-at-Large
  • Ken Davis, Russell County DA, Member-at-Large
  • Steve Marshall, Marshall County DA, Member-at-Large
  • Steve Giddens, Talladega County DA, Member-at-Large
  • Greg Gambril, Covington County DA, Member-at-Large
  • Michael Jackson, Dallas, Hale, Perry & Wilcox Counties DA, Member-at-Large

According to a press release from Harp's office today, the executive committee "formulates policy and guidelines of the organization in accomplishing its mission: to provide quality training, programs, services and opportunities essential to the success of prosecution."

Previously, Harp has served on the ADAA executive committee and worked tirelessly to promote the interest of prosecutors, victims and the citizens of the state of Alabama.

URGENT: SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING IN GADSDEN METRO AREA

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 04:24

(Birmingham, AL - July 13, 2010) The National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Alabama has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Southeastern Cherokee and Northeastern Etowah County until 2:45 pm today.

Radar is indicating a series of storms lined up along I-59 from Fort Payne to Pinson with very heavy rain.

The doppler radar report indicates winds in excess of 60 miles per hour with heavy rainfall. Locations that can expect impact from the worst of these storms include Hokes Bluff, Centre, Cedar Bluff, Tabor Road, Slackland, Cherokee Rock Village, Leesburg, Sand Rock, Tennala and Weiss Lake.

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
213 PM CDT TUE JUL 13 2010

ALC019-055-131945-
/O.CON.KBMX.SV.W.0242.000000T0000Z-100713T1945Z/
ETOWAH AL-CHEROKEE AL-
213 PM CDT TUE JUL 13 2010

...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR SOUTHWESTERN
CHEROKEE AND NORTHEASTERN ETOWAH COUNTIES UNTIL 245 PM CDT...

AT 213 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF
60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR ANDERSON...OR 8 MILES NORTHEAST
OF GADSDEN...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
HOKES BLUFF...CENTRE...CEDAR BLUFF...TABOR ROAD...SLACKLAND...
CHEROKEE ROCK VILLAGE...LEESBURG...SAND ROCK...TENNALA AND WEISS
LAKE.

THIS INCLUDES...
INTERSTATE 59 EXIT NUMBER 188...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

FOR YOUR PROTECTION...MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF
YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS.

Plans to Re-open, Expand County Landfill Could Result in Dropped Lawsuits

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 04:24

(Gadsden, AL - July 13, 2010) Etowah County Commissioners are now contemplating the next step in a process that could result in the end of two lawsuits against the county. Both lawsuits, almost a decade old, were filed against the county and the Etowah County Solid Waste Authority over the abandoning of the facility a decade ago.

That landfill, in the Sand Valley Community was shut down in 2002, when the authority went out of business. Since that time, property owner, Larry Noble, has filed lawsuits seeking to force the county to re-open or to properly close the landfill which had been in operation since the late 1960's.

Last year, the commission made plans to purchase the property and use the transfer station to handle construction and debris waste. Revenue from that endeavor was expected to be able to properly close the county dump. When an agreement could not be reached, the county, in April of 2009, voted to condemn the property.

Today, Noble, the County Commission, County Attorney Jim Turnbach and Nobel's legal representatives met during the commission's weekly work session to discuss the reopening of the dump for municipal solid waste, construction and debris and community waste management.

Noble's attorney says they are prepared to drop the two lawsuits against the county, if the county will work to remove any obstacles in the process of reopening the 122-acre facility for business. In addition, the property owner, and his partners, are prepared to expand the facility into an additional 90 acres adjacent to the current facility.

Noble tells GadsdenMetro today that the property currently consists of about 90 acres of dumping, with the remaining acreage providing cover soil to encapsulate the debris.

Noble's plans are to re-open the facility as a Municipal Solid Waste Disposal facility. That means, if it is certified by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, it would be qualified to handle "non-hazardous, non-infectious, putrescible and non-putrescible wastes including but not limited to household garbage, commercial waste, industrial waste, construction and demolition debris, appliances, tires, trees, limbs, stumps, dried sludge, ashes, paper and other similar type materials, including special waste approved by ADEM." according to an ADEM publication.

The very involved process would require the county commission to modify its current 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan to acknowledge a need for such a facility. That would follow a public hearing process that County CEO Patrick Simms says could take up to a month of time. He says he will contact the county's Solid Waste engineer to see if any further public hearings would be necessary, and if they can be held simultaneously.

Once the document is modified, then the commission could vote to recognize the facility. Once that has occurred, then ADEM will be notified and testing of the property would begin. That process, says Noble, could take as much as 6 to 9 months.

Following approval by ADEM, the facility would still have a number of obstacles to overcome before opening. "We would have to comply with any instructions from ADEM and do some work on the property before we could even open," says Noble's attorney Cody Robinson.

If successful, the facility would be one of a handful of privately-owned Municipal Solid Waste processing facilities in Etowah and surrounding counties.

County Seeks Solution to Inmate Healthcare Concerns

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 04:24

(Gadsden, AL - July 6, 2010) Etowah County CEO Patrick Simms and Chief Deputy Scott Hassell are starting to seek Requests for Proposal to get a handle on inmate health care costs in the county. The two are currently reviewing several similar requests, including one from Mobile County to fashion their own requests to send to interested healthcare providers.

The county commission added the approval for the requests to Tuesday morning's agenda during its work session prior to the meeting. Simms informed the commissioners that he had med with current inmate healthcare provider, Doctor's Care. Although the five-year contract is set to expire in 2011, the county must renew the contract annually, according to the agreement.

Simms says recent meetings concerning the $1.1 million contract have presented a need for a 5% increase in the contract. "He basically is asking for a 5% increase in the contract amount, but says he will pick up the cost of a mental health care professional for that amount."

Currently, the county is paying for a Licensed Professional Counselor at the same classification as a Sheriff's Food Service employee pay rate. Chief Hassell says the current counselor was hired as a temporary mental health professional on staff.

That LPC provides inmate evaluations every day. Those evaluations are then sent to the CED Mental Health office for possible assignment to CED Mental Health for care. Hassell responded to questions concerning the mental health of the jail's inmates, saying "basically, the mental health system in our state is flawed. It looks like they've just decided to dump the problem on the county." Commissioners raised questions about the housing and care for individuals who should be mental health patients instead of prisoners.

"It comes down to the old 'chicken and egg' thing," Hassell informed the commission. "Did they need mental health care before they stood outside naked urinating on Broad Street at 3 a.m., or, do they need it now because they were out there." He says the monthly bill for psychotropic drugs is a large expense in the current heatlhcare contract.

"What we've got to decide," Simms told commissioners this morning, "is if its worth it to us to not have to put out an RFP." He says the process would have to be pushed through quickly if the county is to have a healthcare provider in place after the beginning of the new fiscal year in October.

Commissioner Larry Payne says he feels a RFP would help the county find out what the true costs of medical care are for the county's inmate population. "I think we owe it to the citizens to find out what kind of real expenses we're looking at," he said in the work session.

Commissioner Jeff Overstreet says he has no problems with the current healthcare provider, in principle. "But there's a lot of questions, and like Commissioner Payne, I think we owe it to the citizens to learn as much as we can on this subject."

Simms says that he and Hassell will have to speed up their process in order to have RFPs returned in time for consideration before the October 1 start of the new fiscal year. "I may have to give the interested parties fifteen to twenty days to conduct their evaluations and visits and get their RFPs in. We'll have to have everything in place and ready to start a smooth transition from one healthcare provider to another within 30 days" of the expiration of the existing contract.

Simms says that the current provider would be more than welcome to complete a RFP as well. That is what happened in Mobile County, and, he explains, the company kept the health care contract with the county's prison system.