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Priceville News

Priceville schools to get a resource officer: Sheriff’s Department, city unite to provide salary, car

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Seth Burkett

PRICEVILLE — Priceville schools now have a school resource officer, paid for by the city and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Ana Franklin and school officials said they hope to eventually place SROs in more county schools.

Deputy Jeff Burbanks is “technically” the first SRO for Morgan County Schools, although two regular deputies primarily work as SROs at schools, Franklin said.

Burbanks, who begins this week full-time, will work at the high school, middle school and elementary school, and will present Drug Abuse Resistance Education to those schools, the sheriff said.

Burbanks, a certified deputy, has been in SRO training since January and will undergo more training during summer break. His salary is between $22,000 and $23,000.

“They’re doing half of the salary, and we’re doing half of the salary through the discretionary funding,” Franklin said.

Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran said the city began discussion with the Sheriff’s Department in August about hiring an SRO.

“Everybody’s concerned about the safety of their children and their grandchildren, and we felt like it was a good joint venture,” Duran said.

Priceville provided a used Dodge Charger from its Police Department for Burbanks to use. The Sheriff’s Department equipped the vehicle and will be responsible for maintenance.

The Sheriff’s Department pays full salaries of its other two SROs.

Franklin assigned Deputy Robert Newman to cover Brewer High School and Deputy Dwayne Childers to Danville High School because those schools are two of the most distant from law enforcement agencies.

County schools in Priceville, Falkville and Trinity rely on police departments in those municipalities for first response.

Newman and Childers also cover other schools on the east and west sides of the county and implement the DARE program. After school hours and during school holidays, they are often tasked with normal duties such as serving papers, the sheriff said.

Franklin said the added protection for schools was needed, but she can’t afford to replace deputies assigned to cover schools.

She’s hoping the school board and other municipalities will chip in to pay for more SROs.

“It’s going to take all of us pulling together to provide resources,” she said. “There’s not any one organization that can afford to put an officer in every school.”

Duran said he hopes Priceville will set an example to the other towns.

Morgan County Schools Superintendent Bill Hopkins said discussions with the sheriff about matching funds are ongoing.

“We’re looking to add to our budget for next year if possible so we can add SROs to all our schools,” he said.

Egg Hunt Rescheduled

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Due to weather concerns, the annual Egg Hunt activity has been rescheduled from this weekend to Saturday, March 30, 2013, at 2:00 P.M.

Priceville school reaches goal

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Deangelo McDaniel

PRICEVILLE — The visitors streaming into Priceville Elementary didn’t raise Taylor Dean’s suspicion until shortly after noon Thursday, when two buses carrying almost 100 educators from across the state rolled onto campus.

“I started to think, ‘Maybe we’re going to get it,’ ” the student ambassador said.

Her thoughts were confirmed when Principal Anne Knowlton interrupted classes and announced Priceville Elementary had become the 34th school worldwide to receive the Leader in Me Lighthouse designation.

The school is the first in the Morgan County school system and the third countywide to receive the honor. As a Lighthouse school, Priceville meets criteria that designate it as a model for the Leader in Me program.

In fewer than three years, teachers at Priceville transformed how they teach by incorporating “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” from the best-selling book by Stephen R. Covey, into the curricula.

“Essentially what we have done is empower our students to be leaders by being proactive and taking responsibility for their actions,” Knowlton said.

The seven habits gave teachers a common language that students start hearing in kindergarten, she said.

“We’re telling them to be proactive and that they are in control of their actions,” Knowlton said.

Lighthouse schools must meet standards in nine areas, such as establishing a leadership environment for parental and community engagement. The process usually takes three years.

Discipline issues

A decline in discipline referrals is an example of how Priceville has benefited from the seven habits.

Knowlton said that when students come to the office, they generally are trying to figure out what they have done wrong, which is a lesson in habit one: Be proactive.

“About 90 percent of the time, they tell us what they have done,” she said. “We turn it back on them to help find a solution to the problem.”

Knowlton said the old way of punishing students has an impact for a while, but “teaching them in these situations lasts a lifetime.”

Priceville’s road to Lighthouse status started in January 2010 with a faculty workday. Knowlton gave teachers Covey’s book with instructions to master specific habits. Five months after the initial meeting, the faculty met again to discuss Lighthouse requirements. The school was in what Knowlton called “full force” when classes started for the 2010-11 academic year.

Priceville established a Lighthouse team that included the principal and five faculty members.

Laura Lamb, a fifth-grade teacher who has been at the school 11 years, was part of the team. She said the benefits of teaching the seven habits were immediate.

“We had tried things like character education programs, but they didn’t stick,” Lamb said. “The biggest benefit of using seven habits is that it talks about being responsible.”

She said every teacher is sending two messages: be leaders and be proactive.

“They hear this in everything we are teaching,” Lamb said.

A Lighthouse review team made an unannounced visit to the school at 7:15 a.m. last Tuesday. The team stayed all day, and in addition to observing, team members talked with students, parents and faculty members. The group took lesson plans and a list of organizations Priceville had initiated since starting the process.

Don’t call us

“They told us they would get back with us in six to eight weeks,” Knowlton said.

That’s why she cried two days later when she learned Priceville had received Lighthouse designation. The announcement came during a symposium that Priceville’s Lighthouse team was attending at Athens State University.

“I was very surprised, and it was an emotional moment,” Knowlton said.

Dean, a fifth-grader who is president of the science club, suspected something special was coming when “so many people came to see our school.”

The ambassadors welcomed educators from around the state, who had been attending the symposium, to Priceville Elementary. The visitors’ schools are trying to gain Lighthouse status.

Letting students show visitors around is part of teaching leadership, Knowlton said.

“We’re always looking for opportunities for our students to be leaders,” she said. “Part of the seven habits is finding ways to let them do it.”

Bus Leaders is another student-led program developed through teaching the seven habits. The students in this program help drivers maintain order by reminding students of the rules.

Howie Mansell, 9, a third-grader, is a bus leader.

“If students stand up when they are not supposed to, I ask them to sit down,” he said. “I try to keep everybody out of trouble.”

Mansell tracks discipline problems. He meets with the assistant principal monthly, and if a bus has no discipline issues, those students are recognized.
No matter where students are in the 88,000-square-foot school, there is some reminder of the schools’ mission and the seven habits.

Knowlton said the ultimate goal is to make sure students have a “can-do attitude” when they are not at school.

“We want our kids to be good and productive citizens as well as good students,” she said.

Lighthouse status
Priceville, a K-5 school with about 720 students, is the 34th school in the world to get Lighthouse status. Thirty of the 34 schools are in the United States, one in Indonesia and three in Canada.

The five Lighthouse schools in Alabama are Moulton Elementary, Chestnut Grove Elementary, Somerville Road Elementary, Priceville Elementary and University Place Elementary in Tuscaloosa.

The Leader in Me Lighthouse program emphasizes a culture of student empowerment by applying “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Priceville’s Lighthouse team includes Principal Anne Knowlton and teachers Laura Lamb, Bonnie Ozbolt, Jackie Teague, DeeDee Hendrix and Carol Stanford.

Priceville to host gun safety classes; officers to speak

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Ronnie Thomas

PRICEVILLE — For those who already own a gun or are considering buying one, two classes coming up in Priceville might be beneficial.

Jerry Welch, an expert on weapons and self-protection, will lead the classes, “Being a Responsible Gun Owner,” on Tuesday and Feb. 21 at Veterans Park Community Center on Alabama 67. Classes begin at 6:30 p.m.

The first session is for women only; the second class is open to men and women. The classes, reserved for Morgan County residents, are free and limited each night to 50 people. There is no registration and seats are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In addition to Welch, Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin and Priceville officer Herman Davis will speak.

Franklin will discuss what the law allows people to do to protect themselves in their homes. Davis, a certified firearms instructor and use-of-force trainer, will explain police response to 911 calls.

Welch, a Priceville town councilman, will take a technical look at weapons, ammunition, security and maintenance.

“We will focus on weapons inside the house only and the use of weapons inside the house,” he said. “I will talk about the prevention of unintended consequences.”

Moore said if police respond to a 911 call, for example, and someone is breaking into the house and the resident is waiting inside with a loaded gun, “We will have him secure the weapon, identify himself to us and have him come outside the residence to meet us. We want them to know who we are, and we want to know who they are. Then we will work to resolve the problem.”

Moore said police “do a lot of interaction with the resident prior to arriving to find out what’s going on.”

Priceville approves alcohol ordinance

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Ben Montgomery

PRICEVILLE — Priceville’s alcohol ordinance passed by a unanimous vote of the Town Council on Monday. But it could be two months before beer, wine and liquor arrive on store shelves.

The city must hold a public hearing for each applicant before the council can vote to approve an alcohol license. The council’s next meeting will be at Priceville Elementary on Feb. 25. Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran said the council won’t allow public hearings for alcohol sales to be held at the school, so the earliest meeting for hearings would be March 11.

Each prospective alcohol licensee must fill out an application, which will be available when the ordinance becomes effective next Tuesday. The candidate must also pass an Alabama Bureau of Investigation and Alabama Beverage Control Board-mandated background check, as well as win the approval of Priceville’s Alcohol Review Committee, which will make a recommendation to the council. The candidate then must wait until the next council meeting, when the council will vote on the license.

The council plans to finalize the application before Tuesday.
Town Clerk Kelly Dean said the council must still decide if it wants to hold public hearings and grant licenses before background checks come back or wait until they are complete. If something negative shows up on the background check, ABC can revoke the license.

“Revoking an alcohol license is very difficult for us,” she said. “It’s easier to revoke the business license.”

The 50-page ordinance has barely changed since the first draft was introduced last month. Its discussion hasn’t had nearly the level of controversy of the debate leading up to the 634-to-606 vote in November to make the town wet.

Only a handful of people have attended two public hearings, the initial meeting when the ordinance was first introduced and Monday’s meeting.

Town Building Inspector Paul “Chip” Spicer, Assistant Police Chief Ron DeWeese and Dean were appointed to the Alcohol Review Committee on Monday.

Priceville looks at liquor ordinance

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

From The Hartselle Enquirer
by Clif Knight

PRICEVILLE — opies of an alcohol beverage control ordinance draft were distributed to Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran and members of the town council at a work session Monday afternoon.

“I’ve got some light reading for you,” Town Attorney William C. “Woody” Sanderson told city officials as he introduced the 53-page draft. At an earlier work session he was asked to keep the ordinance as simple and short as possible.

“What you’ll find in this draft is close to what is contained in the Cullman ordinance,” he said. “I’ve done some tweaking here and there and consulted with Mayor Duran and attorneys for the Alabama Beverage Control Board.”

Sanderson stressed that the draft was nothing more that a draft.

“I suggest that you take some time and read it carefully, jot down notes of concern and get them back to the mayor and town clerk before you meet again,” Sanderson said.” Although you‘re not required to have a public hearing, I recommend that you have one so that citizens will have the opportunity to express their concerns and opinions.”

At a regular meeting that followed, the council set up a second work session to discuss the draft for Tues., Jan. 22, at 4 p.m. A public hearing will follow at 7 p.m.

The ordinance draft provides for a five-member Alcohol Review Committee, appointed by the council. Its task would be to review each application for a liquor license and make recommendations to the council. It would consist of the mayor or designated representative, the town clerk and chief of police or other citizens as designated by the mayor, and two citizens of the town to be appointed by the council. The members would serve at the pleasure of their appointing authority.

The draft provides for the licensing and sale of alcoholic beverages in grocery and convenience stores, restaurants, lounges and liquor stores providing they are located at least 1,000 feet from churches, schools and day care centers, or 250 feet when located on a four-lane highway.

A $300 filing fee would apply and a $1,500 fee would be charged for an off-premises consumption retail liquor license.

In addition, the town would receive an additional license tax of 13% of gross receipts of alcoholic beverage sales.

Businesses would be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 6 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. No Sunday sales would be permitted.

The draft also prohibits outside-store advertising of alcohol product sales and single can sales.

At its regular meeting, the council acted on the following agenda items:
•Approved payment of invoices totaling $148,625.24 for the month of December.
•Approved $300 for the North Alabama Mayor’s Association dues.
•Approved lodging and travel expenses for Mayor Duran and Councilman Tommy Perry to attend an AMA executive meeting in Montgomery, Jan. 23-24.
•Approved $300 for Internet Hosting Services form McWhorter Communications.
•Approved $200 for a full-page ad in the program for the 2013 Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo.
•Approved $25 for the Alabama Association of Municipal Clerks and Administrators 2013 dues for Town Clerk Kelly Dean.
•Approved $245 in registration, lodging and travel expenses for Town Clerk Kelly Dean to attend the Master Municipal Clerk Academy in Tuscaloosa Feb. 26-Mar. 1.
•Approved lodging and expenses for Librarian Paula Hensley to attend the APLS Administration Meeting in Montgomery Jan. 16.
•Approved $5,000 as a sponsor for the spring and fall 2013 racking horse shows at the Southeastern Center.
•Approved $35 for lodging and other travel expenses for Kelly Dean, town clerk/ magistrate to attend the required magistrate maintenance program in Montgomery June 7.
•Approved $1,000 for winter uniforms for Priceville Police Department from Duty Gear in Huntsville.
•Approved $742.50 for Priceville Police Department for hat badges from E Police Supply Co.
•Approved registration fees and expenses for Michael Bell, waste water operator, to attend the ARWA Training Emergency Responses Awareness class in Cullman on Jan. 15, the 2013 Pumper and Cleaner Show in Indianapolis, Ind. Feb. 24-Mar. 1 and the ARWA 35th Annual Technical Training Conference in Montgomery March 13.
•Authorized the re-advertisement for bids on the I-65/Hwy. 67 beautification grant project.

Priceville wins quality-of-life award

Friday, January 11th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Eric Fleischauer

PRICEVILLE — Priceville is on the cover of the January edition of the Alabama Municipal Journal as a winner of the Quality of Life Award.

It won the award among towns with populations of 5,000 or under.

Published by the Alabama League of Municipalities, the journal highlighted Priceville’s recent completion of the Morgan County Veterans Memorial at Veterans Park. Priceville built the $800,000 memorial in conjunction with the Morgan County Combined Patriotic Organization.

Andalusia won the award for municipalities with populations between 5,000 and 12,000. Talladega won among municipalities of 12,000 and over.

Sam’s Club or Publix locating in Priceville?

Monday, January 7th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Ben Montgomery

PRICEVILLE — Morgan County officials and business owners are hoping a Sam’s Club or Publix will be the first major retailer to build in Priceville following the passage of an alcohol ordinance.


Priceville approved the sale of alcohol in a referendum in the November general election.


Priceville City Councilman Tommy Perry said no retailers have approached the council.


He said the council likely will review a first draft of the ordinance at the next council meeting Jan. 14.


Priceville officials are considering a restrictive ordinance with stipulations that include no outdoor advertising of alcohol sales. The city is using Cullman, Athens and Moulton ordinances as models.


Perry said the council likely won’t vote on the ordinance at the meeting.
“If a Publix comes in,” County Commission Chairman Ray Long said, “it will benefit the city. But not the county so much, because some customers shopping at the Decatur store will just move to the Priceville one.


“But a Sam’s could be big. People are driving to the one in (Huntsville) now.”
Brenda Reid of Publix community relations said the grocery chain doesn’t have official plans to build in Priceville. She said the Lakeland, Fla.-based company doesn’t prioritize where it builds based on alcohol sales.


“Many of our markets don’t allow alcohol sales,” she said.


Sam’s Club representatives did not return inquiries Thursday. Sam’s Club is a subsidiary of Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.


Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce President John Seymour declined to comment on developments.


“Now we have to sign all these confidentiality agreements with companies,” he said. “I don’t know if our demographics would support a second Publix that close (to the Beltline Road Publix).”


Priceville’s population grew 76 percent from 2000-10 and is now 2,885, according to 2010 Census figures.


About 600 Sam’s Club stores exist nationwide. Publix has about 1,000 stores.
Tom Fredrick, owner of Fredrick’s Equipment and Fredrick’s Marine who campaigned for alcohol sales, said he has heard of Publix and Sam’s Club interest.


“I think the city going wet could certainly attract them,“ Fredrick said.


Long said he thinks it’s likely that businesses will come forth soon after the ordinance passes. City officials have said there is no definite timetable on passing the ordinance.


Talks of two stores possibly coming started around the time of the last alcohol referendum in 2010, which failed by four votes. Perry said the council was told by a real estate agent in 2010 that Publix was considering Priceville as a potential site.

Valley, US honor those who served

Monday, November 12th, 2012

From The Decatur Daily
by Ronnie Thomas

Morgan parade, memorial among events paying tribute to vets

PRICEVILLE — Duane Ridenhour is a member of the Patriot Guard Riders.

But Sunday afternoon, the Union Grove man parked his motorcycle and stood on Faye Street with a throng of others, waiting for Priceville’s first Veterans Day parade to make the turn into a field toward the Morgan County Veterans Memorial.

“My wife’s riding, and I’m watching her because she has a new bike,” the Vietnam veteran said. “Also, this is one of the most joyous type events we do, and I want to take it all in. We do so many funerals, and they can be emotional. While we still mourn those memorialized at the park, this is more of a celebration, where you’ll see patriotism coming alive, I think now more than ever.”

As the brisk wind whipped American flags at the park and sent some to their cars for jackets, Ridenhour’s observation became a theme a short time later during dedication of the memorial, when more than 500 people gathered in and around the facility’s pavilion.

From Tammy Lee’s renditions of the national anthem and “God Bless America” to taps by Priceville resident Ariel Allen, patriotism rang.

Even before he took the podium, guest speaker Col. R. Brian Williams, a Decatur native, spoke about the meaning of the day.

“It humbles me to come home and see the patriotism of Alabama,” he said. “In any other place, this would just be inconceivable. We do take it for granted here.”

Williams, a 1984 graduate of Decatur High, is director of the Joint Action Control Office, National Guard Bureau in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He led American, coalition and Afghan soldiers into battle in Afghanistan.

“Peace, though fragile as fine china, is often wrought from hands once strong enough to toil at the anvil of war,” he said. “We are here to celebrate the strength, courage and dedication of our veterans who not only wield the hammer of conflict but also shape the world for lasting peace.”
The memorial honors 245 Morgan Countians killed in action from World War I to the present, their names engraved in black Indian marble at five separate stations, each representing a branch of the military.

State, local and county officials gathered for the dedication.

State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, cited the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”

“If you’ll recall, as Capt. John Miller lay mortally wounded, Pvt. James Ryan, the man Miller’s outfit went to save and bring home because he had already lost three brothers in World War II, asked what he could do. Miller replied, ‘Earn this.’ I hope each soldier inscribed back there on that granite cries out the same quote to each and every one of us.”

Lesley “Boots” Mashburn, 91, a World War II veteran, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Two of his Army band of brothers sat in the audience.

George Mills, 91, a former German prisoner of war, said he was making his first visit to the memorial “although I get my hair cut across the street and watched it develop. It’s beautiful, an asset to Morgan County.”

Wallace Willingham, 87, echoed Mills’ sentiment.

Other veterans from the Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard watched the proceedings.
Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran, who dedicated the memorial, also honored his father, holding up his photo, noting, he “stormed the beaches at Normandy.”

Duran spoke about the birth of the memorial park, which adjoins the town’s Veterans Park.

“Councilman Tommy Perry wanted to do something in our park for veterans,” Duran said. “Several months passed before we were approached by Sen. Orr and Bob Stricklin of the American Legion. Before long, we began planning the funding for the memorial park.”
Priceville donated the property and put in $25,000 in seed money. The town and the Combined Patriotic Organizations of Morgan County are co-sponsors of the park.

“The main thing is I’m so proud the veterans turned out today because this is for them and their families,” Duran said. “It’s located in Priceville, but it’s something we have built for all of Morgan County. We couldn’t have done it without the support of everyone.”

Judges announce parade winners

Monday, November 12th, 2012

From The Decatur Daily
by Ronnie Thomas

PRICEVILLE — Judges in Priceville recognized the top three floats in Sunday’s Veterans Day parade.

American Legion Post 15 of Decatur took first place, Serenity Baptist Church of Somerville was runner-up and a float designed by Sonny Wright of Decatur and his family took third place.

Meetings

  • Town Council:
  • 2nd & 4th Mondays
    6:00 P.M.
  • Town Council Work Sessions:
  • 2nd Monday
    4:00 P.M.
  • 4th Monday
    5:00 P.M.
  • Sewer Board:
  • 2nd Monday
    5:00 P.M.
  • Park & Recreation Board:
  • 4th Monday
    6:30 P.M.
  • Planning Commission:
  • 3rd Monday
    7:00 P.M.
  • Library Board:
  • quarterly
  • Zoning Board of Adjustments:
  • per application request