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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2005
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Area News In Brief

Alleged wife-beater may face meth charge

A man who allegedly assaulted his wife may face charges for making methamphetamine after deputies spotted meth-making materials at his home Thursday, according to the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.

The case against Thomas Edward Crawford remains under investigation and will likely be submitted to a grand jury, said Lt. George Rutherford, head of the county's drug task force.

Deputies called in the drug task force after responding to the domestic disturbance call at 5083 Alabama 36 E., Somerville. Narcotics agents verified that illegal drug manufacturing was taking place in the Crawford home, Rutherford said.

Authorities did not find Crawford at the residence.

His common-law wife was advised of warrant procedures and taken to Decatur General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, Rutherford said.

— Seth Burkett

Jan. 6 deadline for farmers' incentives

Area farmers have until Jan. 6 to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

EQIP is a voluntary cost-share program that provides money to farmers who face threats to soil, water, air and related natural resources on their land. Eligible land includes cropland, pasture, non-industrial forestland and other farm or ranch lands.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides cost-share payments to landowners that can last up to 10 years.

Practices available for incentive payments include spreading poultry litter, tarps or plastic for waste field storage, livestock watering and hay feeding facilities, fencing, forage improvements, tree planting and thinning, wildlife field borders and tillage system conversions.

For more information, contact the NRCS office at 773-6541.

Anders elected to Morgan farm agency

HARTSELLE — Kenneth R. Anders has replaced longtime member Ted Grantland on the Morgan County Farm Service Agency committee. Anders will represent farmers in Priceville, Hartselle, Somerville, Lacey's Spring and Cotaco.

Grantland served the committee for 39 years. Alternates selected in the election are first alternate Robert Dudley and second alternate Mark A. Smith.

The agency will determine its county committee chairman and vice chairman at its January organizational meeting.

IRS warns of tax refund scam

BIRMINGHAM — The Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers in North Alabama of a scam after someone offered to prepare a tax return to get a refund of Social Security payments for Florence area residents.

The person preparing the forms asks for an upfront preparation fee and possibly a percentage of any refund received.

Social Security taxes are generally not refundable, and participants could face penalties for filing a false return, said Dan Boone, an IRS spokesman.

Workers in the IRS office in Florence discovered the scam when they noticed an unusual number of people requesting copies of their Social Security income statements.

The law requires anyone who receives a refund from such a claim to return the funds, Boone said.

Anyone with information about this tax scam or others may call (800) 829-0433.

— Seth Burkett

Homeless cat, featured in DAILY, adopted

It wasn't a white Christmas after all at the Animal Friends Humane Society no-kill shelter, but no one complained.

Lilly, a snow-colored cat in need of adoption and featured in Thursday's edition of THE DAILY, found a family to go home with that same day. Lilly was at the shelter for nine months.

In addition to Lilly, the shelter saw four other cats adopted that day.

— Paul Huggins

Power line goes down on U.S. 72

A power line burned up and fell across U.S. 72 west of Athens on Friday at about 3:35 p.m.

"It appears the connection burned in two. They've isolated it, and they have everything back on now except a few houses on Wright Road. It affected the Bay Hill area west of Wright Road," said Gary Scroggins, Athens Utilities electric department manager, about an hour after the incident.

"Sometimes, with the wind, the connection will start to get loose. As it gets loose, it will start heating up, and sometimes it'll burn in two. It's one of those things that happens several times a year on a system our size," Scroggins said.

The power line was not related to a call of a grass fire on Wright Road, he said.

The Limestone County sheriff's office said the incident did not affect traffic.

— Seth Burkett

Masked man robs Wally World, police say

A clerk at Wally World told Decatur police a masked robber stole $200 from the convenience store on Point Mallard Drive Southeast on Sunday.

At 6:19 a.m., the robber entered the store while the clerk waited on a customer.

He demanded she open the cash register, but did not use a weapon or make any threats, police said.

He emptied the money into a bag and left the store, climbing into an unknown vehicle and fleeing in an unknown direction.

In addition to the black ski mask, the robber wore a black jacket, black gloves and blue jeans, preventing further description, police said. A security camera that should have caught the incident on tape wasn't lined up properly and didn't provide a clear image.

— Seth Burkett

Time to apply for NRCS wildlife incentives

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service has begun taking applications for the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.

WHIP provides cost-share assistance for installation of wildlife habitat enhancement practices such as shallow water areas for waterfowl, tree planting, prescribed burning and creating openings for deer and quail. The program added new practices such as short leaf pine planting and tree thinning this year.

For more information, contact the Morgan County NRCS office at 3120 Alabama 36 W., or call 773-6543.

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