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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2007
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Council rejects bids on fire stations

The Decatur City Council on Monday unanimously rejected all bids for construction of three fire stations.

The lowest bid was about $500,000 higher than the $3.9 million budgeted for construction.

A fourth of Decatur firefighters have been living 45 months in mobile homes and are anxiously awaiting safer and more comfortable confines. Moldy living conditions forced the city to find firefighters alternate housing while on duty.

Council President Billy Jackson said it is the council’s intention to advertise for bids and begin construction as soon as possible.

- Chris Paschenko

Investigators probe Flash Cash fire

Investigators with the Decatur police and fire departments are looking into a fire that damaged a local business early Saturday.

A police officer on patrol in the area saw smoke coming from the roof of Flash Cash, 1402 Sixth Ave. S.E., at about 2 a.m., said police spokesman Sgt. Steve Campbell.

The officer pulled into the parking lot and encountered heavy flames coming from the business, “hot enough they were causing the windows on the outside to shatter,” said Campbell.

Firefighters put out the fire, but the building suffered heavy smoke damage, according to news reports. Detectives and fire investigators had not yet pinpointed the fire’s cause, Campbell said Monday.

- Seth Burkett

Woman accused of forging checks

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Moulton woman Saturday for allegedly forging checks on the Christian Foundations’ account.

According to a Sheriff’s Department report, Helen Faye Hutto, 37, of 21958 Alabama 33, arrested during a traffic stop, faces four counts of second-degree forgery and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

The report says several banks reported returned checks after the Christian Foundation filed forgery affidavits. The Sheriff’s and Moulton Police departments then began a joint investigation.

Sheriff Gene Mitchell said investigators “found evidence that supported Mrs. Hutto’s involvement in the offenses. Mrs. Hutto was questioned by investigators and she was subsequently charged with the additional charges.”

Hutto is in Lawrence County Jail. Bond is $10,000.

- Bayne Hughes

City to demolish historic home

A 99-year-old Decatur house, abandoned by its owners to deteriorate in the elements, will be demolished.

The City Council on Monday approved abating the unsafe, two-story structure at 518 Vine St. N.E. by a 5-0 vote. The home is a contributing structure in Decatur’s historic district.

David Lee, an inspector with the city’s Community Development Department, said the city made every attempt to notify the owners to correct a laundry list of violations, but received no response from William Austin and Charles Bumpus.

The council didn’t discuss a time frame for demolition.

- Chris Paschenko

Man indicted for sex abuse arrested

ATHENS — Athens police arrested a Harvest man this weekend who was indicted last year for sex abuse.

Henry Thomas Parkerson, 33, of 14351 Doe Run, allegedly fondled a 15-year-old female teen on various occasions between May and October 2001, police Capt. Marty Bruce said. The teen was a friend of a family member.

Police received a report about the alleged abuse in February 2006, and a Limestone grand jury indicted him for second-degree sexual abuse.

Parkerson is out of Limestone County Jail on $10,000 bond.

- Holly Hollman

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