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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2005
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AREA NEWS IN BRIEF

Ambulance hits
vehicle in rear

No one was injured when an ambulance rear-ended another vehicle Monday night, though a patient on board had to be loaded onto a second ambulance for transport, while drivers waited to make a report to Decatur police.

It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident, emergency workers pointed out. The ambulance was bound for Decatur General Hospital on a non-emergency transport when the accident occurred on Gordon Drive shortly before 6 p.m.

"From Alabama 24 until I got on Moulton Street, he was right on me. There was a black Cherokee in front of me, and it made a sudden stop and I had to stop and they didn't have any choice but to hit me," said driver Regina Gholston, 25, of Mount Hope.

As soon as the patient was loaded into the second ambulance, it took off with sirens howling and lights flashing about 6 p.m.

— Seth Burkett

Mayor lobbies
for inmates, anglers

Decatur Mayor Don Kyle asked the Decatur City Council on Monday for money to put boaters in the river and city jail inmates in hot water.

Kyle said the jail's water heater is about rusted out and needs repairs, costing $37,000 "in light of the uproar that's likely to ensue if it goes out next week."

Kyle said he also will have a resolution ready for the council's business meeting next Monday at 10 a.m. to fund concrete work at the Ingalls boat launch facility on Alabama 20.

The city will open bids from four companies on Thursday to build a concrete boat ramp and retaining walls for a facility expected to attract sport fishing tournaments to the city. The project is expected to cost more than $200,000.

— Martin Burkey

Metzger refunds
motorcycle money

Decatur City Councilman Ray Metzger said he has repaid the city more than $2,800 and withdrawn an invoice for more than $1,400 for maintenance and equipment the Police Department bought from his motorcycle shop.

"I don't mind paying a $1,000 fine, but I don't want to serve six months hard labor," Metzger said Monday.

According to state's ethics laws, Metzger could provide service and equipment at cost on the department's Kawasaki motorcycles, but other state laws say elected officials can't do any business with the government they represent.

Metzger initially ignored several warnings because he had been servicing police cycles since 1977, he said. He fumed that the department will have to pay a higher labor rate to take the cycles elsewhere.

— Martin Burkey

Beltline assault
road rage incident?

Decatur police investigated an assault Monday night that radio reports indicated may have involved road rage.

"I don't know what caused the assault. We had one person transported to the hospital, but I don't know what his condition is," Sgt. Denise Stanley said.

Stanley said the incident took place around the 700 block of Beltline Road Southwest.

Decatur EMS was called to the scene about 6:38 p.m.

Road rage may have played a role in the beating, in which one driver reportedly pulled another from his vehicle and bashed his head against the pavement.

— Seth Burkett

Family asks Athens
to pay for wreck

ATHENS — A father wants the city to pay for his daughter's wrecked car because there was no stop sign in the alley where the accident occurred.

Mayor Dan Williams said the father, Steve Brooks, wants the city to pay a couple thousand dollars for the October wreck. Brooks said his daughter was on an alley that runs between Coleman and Malone Streets when she failed to stop and swerved to miss a car and crashed into a ditch.

Chief Wayne Harper said state law requires motorists to yield to a main road. Council President Ronnie Marks said most alleys don't have stop signs. Williams said Brooks did not file a police report, so he doubts the city would have to pay.

— Holly Hollman

Park supporters
lobby for funds

Wilson Morgan Park supporters say they want equal treatment in funding for city parks.

Don Gowen, president and chairman of the board of Friends of Wilson Morgan Park, asked the Decatur City Council during its agenda work session Monday to add $730,000 worth of deferred maintenance needs to a planned $10-12 million bond issue for other projects including fire stations, Colonial Mall renovations and emergency vehicles.

The council recently approved money for 12 new tennis courts at T.C. Almon Recreation Center and new bleachers and road improvements at Jack Allen Recreation Center, Gowen said. Wilson Morgan needs maintenance to keep it up to current standards for residents and the softball tournaments that it hosts annually, he said.

Gowen founded the group after proposals surfaced to sell or trade the park to shopping center developers in return for park land and facilities elsewhere.

— Martin Burkey

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