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Priceville News

Priceville alcohol brings in $2,469

Monday, July 15th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Cody Muzio

PRICEVILLE — Priceville collected $2,469.28 in alcohol tax revenue for May, its first full month of sales.

The ordinance allowing for alcohol sales in the town passed in February and the first sales took place in May. Since the town became wet, it has issued nine alcohol licenses. License holders sell only beer and wine. They include three wholesale licenses, one special event license, one restaurant license and one off-premise consumption license.

Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran said the money is going into the town’s capital outlay fund, which is used for special projects.

“It really hasn’t been very long,” Duran said. “I don’t think this is a true indicator of what revenues will be.”

Duran said council members couldn’t estimate what the impact of alcohol sales would be, so the increased revenue was not included in the 2012-13 fiscal year budget.

Priceville license holders said the ability to sell alcohol has improved business.
“We didn’t know how people would take it, but we’ve had no problems so far,” JW Steakhouse restaurant manager Abby Vest said. “It’s brought in a different crowd, and we have more people coming out to have beer or wine with dinner. And none of our regulars have had any complaints.”

The steakhouse installed a bar in one of its dining rooms after receiving its license. Vest said the bar and daily drink specials have also boosted sales, and she expects the upward trend to continue as more people learn what the restaurant offers.

Tucker’s Grocery owner Chris Tucker said his store’s location near the Priceville-Somerville line has contributed to an influx of new business.

“People from the surrounding areas in the county that would never stop here because they’re on their way to get beer in Decatur are stopping here now and often getting other things, too,” he said.

Tucker said he’s taken full advantage of his license and has about 50 varieties of beer and malt beverages in stock.

Foodland owner Josh Gray said he was a little surprised at how effective alcohol sales have been. He said alcohol sales made it the most successful Fourth of July in the store’s history.

“We were thinking it was just going to be a convenience thing and people would just pick up some beer or wine while they were here getting groceries,” he said. “But we do have a lot of people who come in just to buy beer.

“We even have a lot of customers drive in from Decatur and even Moulton and Somerville and buy beer from us because they say they like the store and our people.”

Gray said Priceville’s sales tax — 8 percent, as opposed to Decatur’s 9 — also contributes to outside traffic.

Just across the city border, Chevron manager Tara Farrer is less excited. Her store is in Decatur, but only feet from the Priceville line.

“I’ve been at this store for nine years, and I can tell a big difference in our sales,” she said. “We had a lot of people drive in from Priceville and Somerville who don’t come here to get beer anymore.”

Farrer said the convenience store lowered its prices on alcohol, but the difference is still noticeable.

“I hope it comes up for a vote again and they go back to being dry,” she said.
Decatur’s District 5 City Councilman Chuck Ard said cases like Farrer’s are inevitable, but he doesn’t think the city as a whole will feel an impact. Ard is the liaison to the Finance Department.

“I think that Priceville will do their thing, and I think we’ll do our thing,” he said. “But I don’t see it as a significant loss of revenue for the city.”

Decatur finance supervisor Linda McKinney said the city’s beer revenue for May of 2013 was $94,398, only $1,280 less than in 2012. McKinney said the difference could be attributed to many factors, not just Priceville sales.

Priceville gives $50K for new school sewer

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Deangelo McDaniel

PRICEVILLE — Morgan County’s budget to construct the new Priceville High School on Bethel Road got a boost from city officials.

Mayor Melvin Duran said the city of Priceville will give the school system $50,000 to cover the cost of running sewer lines to the property.

“We’re going to continue to help the schools in any way we can,” the mayor said.

In December, the Morgan County Board of Education paid $789,250 for the 55-acre site near North Park where the high school will be.
The closest sewer line to the property is about 1,500 feet away, Superintendent of Education Bill Hopkins Jr. said.

The city’s appropriation will cover the cost of running lines and installing manholes, Duran said.

He said the council decided to allocate the money because schools are the primary reason Priceville is one of the fastest-growing areas in Morgan County. During a six-month period in 2012, Duran said, the city issued 62 building permits, mostly to families with children. He said plans are for 260 new housing units in the city.

Priceville’s population grew 76 percent from 2000 to 2010 and is now about 3,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Priceville Elementary on Cave Spring Road, which is a K-5 school, added 100 students over the decade. The school was expanded in 2007 to accommodate the growth. The junior high and high school share a campus on Alabama 67, but have been near or at capacity since the site reopened as a high school in 2004.

Hopkins said the plan is to make the Alabama 67 campus a middle school for grades 5-8, which would give the elementary school more room.

The new high school is being constructed for 600 students, but infrastructure will be in place to expand the school to accommodate 900 students.
School officials are using $16 million to $20 million of a $26.5 million bond to pay for the school. Remaining funds will be used to renovate the high school so that it can accommodate middle school students.

GBW Architects of Decatur is designing the school, and Mobile-based Colkert Co. is managing construction.

Firearms safety class returning to Priceville

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Ronnie Thomas

PRICEVILLE — Two classes during the winter on gun safety were so successful that Priceville is hosting another one Thursday in a larger venue.

The class, which will last about two hours, starts at 6:30 p.m. in the town council chamber of the Priceville Municipal Building on Marco Drive.

The class is free to participants who are at least 18 and live in Morgan County. The public will not be permitted to bring firearms into the building.

Jerry Welch, an expert on weapons and self-protection who leads the classes, said about 30 people came to the first session in February at Veterans Park and Recreation Center. He said about 40 people showed up for the second one.

“The room is too small, and I think everyone in town recognized that,” he said. “(Mayor) Melvin (Duran) made the suggestion to move this one to town hall, where we can accommodate more than 100 people at once.”

Welch, a Priceville town councilman, said the overall topic of the class remains the same: “Being a Responsible Gun Owner.” He will take a technical look at weapons, ammunition, security and maintenance.

Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin will speak on gun laws and personal protection, and Priceville officer Herman Davis will talk about officer assistance.

Ryan Welty, director of the Morgan County 911 Communications Center, also will speak.

“I will discuss how a 911 operator handles a call from a citizen who is armed,” he said. “We take a number of prowler calls and calls about a burglar in progress. It is not uncommon for a citizen to be armed, and I’ll discuss how we handle that situation. I expect to get a lot of questions, and I’ll be happy to address them.”

For more information, call Welch at 256-355-7604.

Boys will be boys: Priceville seniors mentor younger kids

Monday, April 8th, 2013

From The Decatur Daily
by Deangelo McDaniel

PRICEVILLE — There was no single incident that prompted Priceville High School senior Jackson Morris to intervene.

He kept hearing about so many “issues” some Priceville Junior High students were facing and thought he could help.

Morris recruited three friends, and they formed the Just for Boys Club to mentor roughly 30 seventh- and eighth-graders.

The mentors don’t expect to change the world, senior Dustin Lorance said.

“But if we can give these kids just one small piece of advice that helps them, then we are succeeding,” he said.

The club meets monthly with no adult supervision and no advanced agenda.

“We talk about whatever they want to talk about, but we always end the meeting with some kind of fun activity,” Morris said.

Eighth-grader Eli Freeman and seventh-grader Tyler Shaneyfelt said they have benefited from the club.

“One of the first meetings we had was about common courtesy and respecting people,” Freeman said.

In another session, mentors taught the middle school students how to tie a necktie.

“I thought it would be hard, but they made it fun and easy, and I felt good about myself when it was over,” Shaneyfelt said.

Some studies suggest the real impact of the mentors’ work may not be known until the middle school students reach high school. A Harvard University study concluded that middle school students who see positive role models — whether teachers or other students — become more engaged and are less likely to drop out.

Joe Adams, of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama in Birmingham, wrote about similar findings in a report for Decatur City Schools last year.

He said middle school grades are important because, “This is when students are leaving the fairy tale and talking about being engineers and accountants.”

“We’re just trying to be that small link that gets some of these kids through tough times,” Morris said. “We went through some of the same things in middle school and want them to learn from our mistakes.”

Teacher Kim Morris is the club sponsor and Jackson Morris’ mother. She said the four seniors came to her and proposed the club.

“They wanted to be positive male role models,” the teacher said. “I have definitely seen a change in some of our students.”

During the first meeting, Jackson Morris, Lorance, Aaron Edwards and Nathan Collier wrote their cellphone numbers on a chalkboard and told the students to call whenever they need help.

All have received calls, and in some cases, received positive feedback from parents.

“I had a father to tell me the other day that his son is more respectful and helpful around the house,” Collier said.

The meetings are generally closed to outsiders so students can speak freely about issues they face.

But on Tuesday, the group agreed to let The Decatur Daily attend the meeting. The mentors talked about the importance of getting along with family and respecting parents.

“I know a lot of time you all may think your parents are trying to ruin your fun when they say things,” Lorance said. “That’s not the case. They have been through what you are doing and want you to learn from their mistakes.”

One student asked about getting along with an older sister.

“No matter what the situation is, you have to be the bigger man and walk away from a fight,” Edwards said.

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.


  • 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