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District Attorney Robert Turner Jr. Requests County Commission Support for Prosecutions and Crime Reduction Efforts


Encouraging the County Commissions within the 4th Judicial Circuit to consider including additional funding within their annual budget, District Attorney Robert Turner Jr. hopes that this will allow his office to hire more crucial positions that might enhance their current efforts to put a cap on crime rates within the Black Belt. He will be approaching commissions this month in hopes of getting funds included in their annual budgets to help law enforcement with much needed resources to catch the criminals which would help in a large decline in crimes. 

District Attorney Turner quoted “I believe that the safety of the community should be a top priority of every elected official.   In order for that community to be protected, all branches of government should work together to strengthen one another.  The commitment of the Perry County Commission to the works of our office is greatly appreciated and if we are included in the budget by the commission, it would greatly bolster our efforts in the DA’s office to work faster, more efficiently and more effectively in our pursuit of justice for the people of Perry County.” 

The DA’s office is already running on a tight budget, due to the difficulty in collecting court costs and restitution from litigants. This small percentage of funds, while essential for the office’s functioning, cannot be collected from those who are unable to pay. The Victim Service Officers are overwhelmed with their current duties and lack the resources and time to assist with the growing backlog of crime victims’ cases. 

In need of paralegals, case assistants, as well as investigators, the District Attorney’s office, if these requested funds were allotted, would have more resources to address a backlog of cases that need attention. Furthermore, it would aid Turner in prosecuting cases to bring victims of crime justice in Wilcox, Dallas, Hale, Perry, and Bibb Counties.  

These investigators will fulfill their responsibility of being impartial fact-finders and conduct discussions with individuals who had not been reached by law enforcement or have newly acquired pertinent information since the case had been handed to the DA. 

Decorate for Fall on a Budget


Once Labor Day has passed, the days quickly start to fly by and before we know it, we’re already celebrating Halloween. But the transition from summer to cooler weather gives us all an opportunity to get creative and decorate our homes for fall. We can take a break from apple-picking and pumpkin-spice-everything to give our house a little bit of cozy autumnal charm for the upcoming holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. 

Although the weather may still be mild, and you may not have had your first Pumpkin Spice Latte yet, it’s never too early to start planning your fall decor. Making a game plan of how to decorate your home can be just as rewarding as decorating itself. From traditional, to cozy, to whimsical, you have many different options to make your home feel special during the autumn months.  

When September comes around, we look forward to one of the best parts of seasonal decorating—the chance to plan how to decorate our kitchens for fall! Whether we’re cooking meals for our families or baking treats just for fun, spending time in the kitchen is an important part of everyday life. With the arrival of autumn, it’s the perfect opportunity to give our kitchen a warm, cozy update that celebrates the new season. 

Now is the time to bring out those unique, eye-catching dishes that make every meal special. Whether it be festive pumpkin-shaped bowls for fall soups or vibrant ochre-colored plates for every other course, don’t be afraid to go full out – you won’t regret it! 

For an even cozier autumnal look, switch out your seasonal decor around the house with warm-toned throws, rugs, and blankets. Look for pieces in orange, yellow, and brown tones that will match the changing leaves outside. Or light some pumpkin-scented candles or simmer cinnamon sticks in your slow cooker for a homemade and cost-effective way to add a cozy fall fragrance to your home. And don’t forget to add a few strings of twinkle lights or novelty string lights around the house to add festive flair. With a few simple decor changes, your home will quickly feel warm and inviting–without spending a fortune. 

Transform your kitchen for the cooler months with these ideas:  

Add some autumnal flair with stepstools, tablecloths, and other kitchen accessories in warm, inviting fall colors. • Warm up the kitchen with new dinnerware featuring pumpkins or other cozy themes. • Replace one or two of your existing decor items with ones in seasonal colors, like burnt orange and ivory. • Add some warmth and texture with chunky knit blankets and soft throw pillows. • Bring the outside in with pumpkins and gourds and consider places like the pumpkin patch or the store for quick pickups. • Light some cozy fall candles like cinnamon, amber or woodsy scents in the kitchen and other rooms in your house. • Make your own DIY decor, such as pumpkin-shaped soaps or homemade jar toppers. • Let the kids in on the crafting fun—don’t forget the leaf painting and food-inspired crafts like Oreo Rice Krispie turkeys. 

When learning how to decorate for fall, it’s tempting to rely on decor that will last you from September to November, but don’t forget that it’s fun to have some uber seasonal elements for the slew of fall holidays that we all look forward to.  

While holiday-specific options can span all kinds of fall decor ideas, seasonal fall wreaths are especially perfect for welcoming guests into your home for holiday gatherings. Consider making your own harvest-themed wreath for September, a Halloween wreath for October, and a Thanksgiving-themed wreath for November to hang on your front door. Add a fall rug and you’ll be all done deciding how to decorate your front porch for fall.  

No matter how you choose how to decorate for fall, whether you want one-size-fits-all decor for the whole season or you want holiday-specific pieces every month, the options are endless—and endlessly festive!  

Class of 1988 Event: Former Teachers and Administrators Honored


On September 2, 2023, the Class of 1988, along with many former teachers and administrators, gathered at the Marion Depot to honor all retired educators for the invaluable contribution they made in providing students with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed. It was a bittersweet reunion, filled with fond memories and stories of the time spent in school.  

The gathering was a reminder of how dedicated educators are in helping students reach for their fullest potential. Administrators play an equally critical role in education and deserve equal recognition. It was truly an emotional day for all in attendance. 

Cahaba Medical Care (CMC) Expands Prenatal Services to Marion in Perry County


Cahaba Medical Care in Perry County is dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of pregnant women by providing vital medical services in the area. Before the opening of the CMC Marion clinic, Perry County had no access to prenatal care services. Therefore, expectant mothers had to resort to traveling to other counties, an effort they had difficulty affording. Through the use of distance learning and telehealth technology, CMC provides comprehensive care to help increase access to high-quality, evidence-based care for these women, including those in underserved and rural communities. The data shows that black women in Perry County are disproportionately affected by limited access to medical services, making CMC’s services even more vital. These services help ensure that pregnant women and their families in the area have access to the care they need in order to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. 

Dr. Laura Lishman is offering obstetric care at CMC’s Marion location, where pregnant women can receive ultrasounds, laboratory testing, and fetal and maternal monitoring. Dr. Lishman is an experienced and well-respected family medicine physician who has served the local area for years. She earned her degree at the University of Alabama School of Medicine and went on to finish her residency at the prestigious Cahaba/UAB Family Medicine Residency. As a respected leader in her field, Lishman provides the highest quality of care to her patients.  

Since the clinic is now open, however, these women are guaranteed consistent, top-notch prenatal care, thus ensuring the wellbeing of both the mother and her child. 

Plain and Simple: Strawberry Filled Angel Food Cake



1 Angel food cake, from scratch or store bought 

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 

3 tablespoons lemon juice 

1 teaspoon almond extract 

2 cups thinly sliced strawberries 

1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip 

strawberries for garnishing 


Cut a 1/2-inch slice from the top of the cake and set aside. 

Cut 1 inch from the center hole and 1-inch from the outer edge. Remove center of cake, pulling it out with your fingers and leaving a 1 inch border at the bottom. Tear cake that was removed into pieces and set aside. 

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer.  

Add sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and almond extract and beat until smooth. 

Fold in cake pieces and strawberries. 

Spoon mixture into hollowed out portion of cake. Put top back on cake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. 

Frost with Cool Whip and additional strawberries. 

Plain and Simple: Marry Me Chicken



½ cup all purpose flour 

½ teaspoon salt 

½ teaspoon pepper 

½ teaspoon garlic powder 

½ teaspoon paprika 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

2 Tablespoons oil 

2 Tablespoons salted butter 

2 Tablespoons minced garlic 

1 cup chicken broth 

1 cup heavy cream 

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) 

1 teaspoon oregano 

1 teaspoon thyme 

⅓ cup chopped sundried tomatoes 

fresh basil and parmesan (for garnish) 

cooked pasta, rice, egg noodles or mashed potatoes (for serving) 


In a shallow dish, mix together ½ cup all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon paprika. 

Coat each of the 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the flour mixture and place on a baking sheet or large plate. Set aside.  

Next, heat 2 Tablespoons oil and 2 Tablespoons salted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the coated chicken breasts and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown. 

Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. 

In the same skillet, add 2 Tablespoons minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute (or until fragrant) 

Stir in 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup heavy cream, deglazing the pan as you stir. 

Then add 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon oregano and 1 teaspoon thyme then stir together on a low to medium heat. 

Finally, add ⅓ cup chopped sundried tomatoes to the skillet and stir until the sauce is combined well. Continue stirring while on a low simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. 

Add the chicken back into the skillet and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes until cooked through. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165F degrees. 

Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan and serve warm (with the sauce) over cooked pasta, rice, egg noodles or mashed potatoes. 

Gov. Proclaims September Sepsis Awareness Month


Recently, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a proclamation recognizing the month of September as Sepsis Awareness Month in Alabama and encouraging Alabamians to learn the signs and symptoms and to seek treatment when needed.

According to the Alabama Hospital Association, sepsis is a serious condition, both inside the hospital and in the community, noting that Alabama has the second highest rate of sepsis in the country based on the CDC’s data.  The CDC also states that sepsis claims the lives of 350,000 adults each year in the United States – more than from prostate cancer, breast cancer, and opioid overdose combined.

“Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage and organ failure,” said Donald E. Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association.  “Staff at our hospitals work very hard to catch the condition early and treat it, but it’s also important that members of the public do their part to avoid hospitalization.  If individuals can remember the acronym “TIME,” it will help.  “TIME” stands for “abnormal Temperature,” “signs of an Infection,” “Mental decline,” and “Extremely ill (severe pain or shortness of break)”; if they notice any of these signs and symptoms, they should contact a healthcare provider for further instruction.”

Experts state that for every hour that treatment is delayed for individuals with sepsis, the risk of death increases by 8 percent.  In addition, older adults should be particularly watchful as 80 percent of sepsis patients are 50 years of age or older.  However, children can also become septic, and there are signs for them as well.

“We urge all Alabamians to learn the signs and symptoms and to share this information with their friends, family and co-workers,” added Williamson.  “It’s a condition we should all take seriously and one that if caught early can often be successfully treated.”

For more information, visit www.sepsisalliance.org.

Inside the Statehouse: Of Course the Space Command Decision was Political


By Steve Flowers

In my July 19, 2023 column my prediction was that Democratic President Joe Biden would keep the heralded space command headquarters in Colorado, rather than allow it to be moved to Alabama.  Biden made the Colorado decision 10 days later.  Why? It is very simple. Biden is a Democrat running for reelection for President as a Democrat.  Colorado is a blue Democratic state.  Alabama is a ruby red Republican state.  Of course, the decision to keep the facility in Colorado was political.

The only reason that the federal military officials even considered moving the Space Command from Colorado to Huntsville, Alabama over two years ago was because of our omnipotent senior senator, Richard Shelby.  When Shelby spoke generals and presidents listened.  Senator Richard Shelby was Chairman of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee.  He wrote the federal budget.  There is an old adage that those who control the gold make the rules.  In this regard, Shelby was more powerful than the President, whether it be Trump or Biden.  Shelby told the Generals that he wanted the Space Facility in Huntsville, therefore, they made the announcement that it would be moving to Alabama.

The bottom line is the only reason there was any consideration towards moving the facility from Colorado to Alabama was Richard Shelby, and the only reason that it will not be moving is because Shelby is gone.  I knew at the time of announcement that the Space Command headquarters might move to Alabama, that if Shelby did not get it actually moved before he retired that it would probably never happen. Folks, you are just beginning to see the impact Senator Shelby’s retirement means to the state of Alabama.

Our two freshman senators, Tommy Tuberville and Katie Britt, fought valiantly and commendably for Huntsville, but they are essentially irrelevant in the process.  It is all about seniority in Washington.  Tuberville’s two and a half years in the Senate places him 93 out of 100 in seniority.  Young Katie Britt has the makings of being one of our greatest U.S. Senators, along with giants Richard Shelby, Lister Hill and John Sparkman.  However, currently, Katie’s eight months in the Senate places her 99 out of 100 in seniority.  Furthermore, Tuberville and Britt are in the minority party in the U.S. Senate.  Democrats have a majority in the Senate along with a Democratic President.

Some liberals have implied that Tommy Tuberville was the reason for the decision because of his feud with the Biden Administration over the abortion policy in the military.  That is not the reason.  They are actually flattering Tuberville. With his lack of seniority he is not that relevant in the decision making process. However, his being a rabid right wing Trump Republican surrogate certainly did not help the matter.

Huntsville should not feel so badly about the Biden Administration leaving Space Command in Colorado. It was crumbs compared to what Shelby loaded Huntsville up with in the last decade anyway.  This Space Command deal is more for prestige than it is for jobs and dollars.  Shelby brought most of the high tech and aerospace dollars in the country to Huntsville which is what matters.  Much more importantly, he moved most of Washington to Huntsville, including the FBI Headquarters.  Folks, that is real power.  It is unlikely that Alabama or any other state in the nation will ever see the power wielded by Richard Shelby in the nation’s history.

Yes, Colorado got to keep the Space Command name because of politics. However, lest people forget, Huntsville has grown into one of the premier high tech defense places in America because of politics.

In the post-Depression era of the 1930s, Huntsville was a sleepy cotton town of 20,000.  Our two U.S. Senators during the 1940s through 1960s were icons, Lister Hill and John Sparkman.  They were giants of the Senate, who were New Deal, FDR allies, with seniority, prowess and class. John Sparkman brought the Redstone Arsenal and Wernher von Braun to Huntsville and the rest is history.

Over the years I have told Huntsville’s brilliant Mayor, Tommy Battle, who has been an integral part of Huntsville’s explosive growth, they should name their city Sparkmanville.  Given Shelby’s powerful sustaining of what Senator Sparkman began 70 years ago, maybe Sparkman/Shelbyville should be the Rocket City’s new name.

It’s all about politics, folks.

See you next week.

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

Truck Driver Appreciation Week: Miles of Gratitude for America’s Truckers


By Tommy Neely

Tom Neely

Every day, millions of Americans get behind the wheel and head out on the highways to get to work. But for more than 3.5 million Americans, the highways are their workplace. They are the professional truck drivers who deliver the goods that keep our country moving.

Collectively, American truckers drive approximately 300 billion miles each year. That is the equivalent of nearly 13 million trips around the globe or more than 1,700 round trips to the sun. Every one of those miles represents a stocked store shelf, a package placed on a household doorstep, raw materials delivered to a manufacturer, and equipment conveyed to a construction site.

There are countless reasons to thank professional truck drivers, and soon we will be able to officially put the spotlight on them. Beginning this week, we celebrate the 35th annual National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. This year’s theme — Miles of Gratitude — is a nod to the hundreds of billions of miles that professional truck drivers traverse to get things where they need to be on time, safely, and securely every day. The magnitude of our gratitude should match truck drivers’ commitment to their jobs.

The scale and reach of the trucking industry is simply enormous. Truck drivers deliver almost 11.5 billion tons of freight each year, which is about 70% of all the freight moved in the United States. More than 80% of communities depend solely on trucks to receive their goods.

Practically every object that we touch is transported on the back of a truck at some point, and virtually every aspect of our lives is impacted by the work of the professionals who make these deliveries. Without the trucking industry, the country would come to a screeching halt.

A key player in Alabama’s economy, a staggering 86 percent of the state’s communities rely entirely on trucking to provide essential goods, enabling citizens to flourish and a significant 81 percent of Alabama’s manufactured goods are transported by truck, showcasing the industry’s indispensable role.

With over 125,000 Alabamians employed in this sector – equivalent to 1 in every 13 jobs – it’s clear that trucking is not just a business but a lifeline for the state’s prosperity.

Proving the adage that not all heroes wear capes, truck drivers are among the first to answer the call for help in times of trouble. When the global pandemic struck and the world stopped, these hardworking men and women remained behind the wheel to continue making deliveries. When disaster strikes, America turns to the trucking industry, which is the only form of transportation that is nimble enough and has the capacity and capability to quickly bring relief supplies where they are needed most.

We owe truck drivers “miles of gratitude” for the work they do and the sacrifices they make to help put food on our tables, keep our homes comfortable, and support our families and jobs. The trucking industry is the backbone of our economy, and professional drivers are the industry’s heart. Their dependability and commitment to safety ensures that our quality of life remains high.

During this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we extend our most sincere thanks to America’s professional truck drivers, who move our great country forward and deserve our praise and recognition.

And if you see a truck driver on National Truck Driver Appreciation Week or any week, please take the time to say “thank you.” It is a gesture that goes a long way for drivers who travel a long way for us.

Tommy Neely is president of Ross Neely Systems, Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., and is current Chairman of the Alabama Trucking Association.

JSU Biology Professor Discovers New Plant


Press Release

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – Jacksonville State University biology professor, Dr. Jimmy Triplett, recently discovered a new species of native bamboo in Alabama. Tallapoosa Cane, or Arundinaria alabamensis, is recognized as Alabama’s 31st endemic vascular plant and the fourth species of native bamboo in the US. His research is published in the international science journal, “Phytotaxa.”

This new bamboo species helps shed light on the history of native bamboos in the Southeastern US, including their complex ecology and genetics. Two other species, River Cane (A. gigantea) and Switch Cane (A. tecta), once formed vast bamboo forests in North America known as canebrakes and were traditionally used by indigenous peoples for a variety of tools and crafts.

Alabama is rich in biodiversity – including fish, freshwater snails and turtles – but also plants. Tallapoosa Cane is only found in Alabama, and it is the state’s fourth species of Arundinaria, ranking Alabama No. 1 in native bamboo species. 

Triplett’s lab at JSU studies all aspects of plant biology, but especially the use of genetics to understand diversity and evolution.

“Our native bamboos are closely related to bamboos in East Asia and highlight an interesting distribution shared with plants like magnolias, dogwoods and ginsengs, which is explained by prehistoric land bridges between continents,” Triplett said.

Triplett was also involved in the discovery of Hill Cane, Arundinaria appalachiana – also found in Alabama – and several other species of plants from around the world, including Japan, China, Sri Lanka and Ecuador. He is the curator of the JSU Herbarium, a regional natural history collection of more than 70,000 plant specimens.