Kretzschmar retires on cloud nine

Cleveland Elementary counselor, Paula Kretzschmar retired in high-flying style after her fellow teachers ordered a hot air balloon for her retirement party. Kretzschmar, who has been in education for 39 years, had mentioned doing this after she retired and the thought stuck with one of her co-workers. “Ms. Paula told me years ago that when she retired she wanted to […]

Man arrested after incident at Southeastern School

After leading deputies on a chase across a field and into the woods behind Southeastern School last Wednesday, Carlton Bruce Murray II, 41, of Jefferson County, was taken into custody and later admitted to St. Vincent’s Blount hospital where he remained in intensive care until returned to the Blount County jail Saturday. His bond has been set at $215,000. Murray […]

Sweet potato drop gathers volunteers

Sweet potato casseroles may not be popular in May, but plans to cook the dish were discussed at Lester Memorial Methodist Church last Wednesday. After a North Carolina farmer donated 6.3 million pounds of sweet potatoes to the Society of St. Andrew, an e-mail was sent out asking churches to host potato drops for the hungry. Lester Memorial Methodist Church […]

New state House, Senate districts set by Legislature

NOTE: Doesn’t apply to 2012...

Don’t overreact to the changes shown in the accompanying map. This shows Blount County’s voting districts as drawn and passed by the Alabama Legislature in the session just concluded. But they’re not due to go into effect until the general election in November of 2014. And according to Blount County State Rep. Elwyn Thomas, who said he abstained from voting […]

New WCRL owners focus on local coverage

WCRL, Blount County’s only radio station, changed ownership hands last Friday after being owned by the same family for 59 years. Robbie McAlpine, of Alpine Advertising, and Mark Sims, local business owner, have purchased the radio station from the Bentley family. McAlpine and Sims say they both find it important to keep the station locally owned and operated to maintain […]

Inclement weather may force school attendance on Saturdays

Oneonta Board of Education

Finalizing the details of the new school calendar and a lunchroom renovation were the main points of discussion last Wednesday at the Oneonta Board of Education meeting. Two 180-day calendars were sent to Oneonta City School teachers via e-mail the day before the meeting allowing them to vote for the one they preferred. The calendar, which included various holidays such […]

Blountsville Pool ready for summer

Due to an annual convention attended by several council members, the Blountsville town council meeting was held Tuesday, May 22, instead of the normal Monday evening time slot. During this brief meeting, Mayor Randy Millwood announced the city pool has been repaired and is now operational. He reminded the council and public that the official opening date for the pool […]

HUGS celebrates new beginnings

On Friday, May 25, the children in the HUGS program celebrated their transition into kindergarten. The HUGS program, sponsored by the Blount County Children’s Center, stands for Helping U Get Started. The in-home support program for parents of preschool children includes lessons in child physical and mental development, stress management, along with budgeting and accessing community support, among others. The […]

Grading the Legislature


At the conclusion of each annual session of the Legislature, I am invariably asked to grade the legislators’ performance and assess the accomplishments of the session. Most journalist fall prey to the popular and convenient position of giving the Legislature a perfunctory “F.” Legislative bodies are generally held in contempt and disdain. They are perennially grouped together and branded as […]

Summer camps available across county

Registration is now open for Expanding Horizons, a program conducted by The Blount County Education Foundation, which provides summer library access and summer camp opportunities for students in all grades. Camps this year will include art, music, math, science, theater, ACT prep, breadmaking, going green/outdoor, getting someone’s attention and keeping it, and skins and skulls (an outdoor skills camp). Specific […]