News

Positive picture for Gadsden's finances

A report from Gadsden’s finance director shows increased income and decreased expenses over the last six months.

Lisa Rosser tells the city council that city sales tax revenues have increased 6.3 percent. However, she says much of that increase must go to developers because of incentive agreements involving sales tax rebates.

The report also shows increases in occupational license fees and business licenses. However, Rosser claims business license revenues may drop because that number includes companies helping build River Trace Shopping Center.

The Gadsden Times reports her calling those one-time licenses.


Governor at Lake Guntersville State Park on Monday morning

Local leaders continue the quest to keep Lake Guntersville State Park from closing.

The state has put it on a list of parks it intends to close to fight budget problems.

WAFF-TV reports tourism officials saying closing this particular park would cut their budget by 25 percent, and hamper their ability to market Marshall County for tourists.

The governor intends to visit Lake Guntersville State Park on Monday morning at 10 o’clock.


Man arrested following Craigslist dog theft

Animals have returned to their owners, and authorities have arrested a man.

Scottsboro Police have already charged this Limestone County man, and Boaz Police may do the same.

Police say a Tennessee man agreed to meet with 33-year-old Charles Dryer III of Athens in a Scottsboro parking lot a few months ago to sell a dog on Craigslist.

WAFF-TV reports Dryer allegedly asked to see whether or not the dog would play well with the ones in his vehicle. At that point, Dryer apparently escaped with the dog.

Police say they know of a similar instance in Boaz, but the suspect hit a woman with his vehicle as he tried escaping with her dog. That fractured her hand and injured a rib.


Bond revoked for couple accused of killing relative

A judge has revoked bond for a Marshall County couple.

Authorities have accused Elizabeth and Curtis Austin of killing Elizabeth Austin’s aunt, and then dumping her body in Etowah County.

They have also charged the couple with child abuse, and the aunt served as a witness in that case.


DA's office to decide on possible charges in Gadsden shooting

Gadsden Police continue investigating Monday’s shooting that killed a young man.

When this investigation concludes, detectives give their information to the district attorney’s office to determine whether or not it all leads to criminal charges.

Police say someone shot the 17-year-old after he and two others allegedly broke into a woman’s home to rob her.

The woman told this man a neighbor had her money. When she brought him to the neighbor’s residence, the neighbor ultimately shot him.


Lake Guntersville State Park may close

Budget shortfalls may close 15 state parks, including Lake Guntersville.

This parks draws thousands of people to the area annually.

Rep. Kerry Rich says this makes no sense, calling Guntersville near the last on the list slated for closure.

WAFF-TV reports this park lost a million dollars following tornadoes four years ago, but the deficits have decreased each year. Last year it only totaled $280,000.

Rich says the park continues making financial progress. No one has set a date for its closure.


Investigation continues into robbery, rape, fatal shooting in Gadsden

Gadsden Police continue investigating Monday’s home invasion robbery that included a rape and ended with a fatal shooting.

They say one of three men had a gun as they broke into a home on Norris Avenue.

As one of the men raped a woman inside, the other two rummaged through the house.

The woman tells police those two men left and this third one stayed behind, hitting her in the head while demanding money.

After she told him a neighbor kept all her money, he forced her down the street to that person’s home.

This other person called 911. When the suspect saw this happen, he pointed his gun at the neighbor. The neighbor fired a gun at the suspect.

The suspect ran before he collapsed and died.


DHR worker arrested in DeKalb Co.

Authorities have arested a DHR employee in DeKalb County.

They have charged Ashley Morrison with public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance.

Investigators claim she had a pill bottle with a missing label, describing the pills inside it as a form of hydrocodone.


Murder suspect apparently threatened judge

Attorneys want a Jackson County judge to remove himself from a murder case dating back two decades.

They claim they have evidence showing their client threatened to kill the judge seven years ago.

Barry Whitton apparently made the threat over a domestic issue. However, it remains unclear whether he threatened the judge handling this trial or another judge.

The trial judge says Whitton said last month that he had no beef with him. The judge also says he had no inkling of the threat.

WAFF-TV reports the state has questioned whether or not Whitton really meant all this for the judge who dealt with him in family court.

For now, the current trial judge remains on the bench. A formal ruling may come at a later date.

The trial begins June 2.

Authorities have accused Whitton of murdering his first wife 18 years ago. His second wife and her child vanished a decade later.


Etowah sheriff thrilled with tax reallocation

Law enforcement appreciates the tax reallocation in Etowah County.

The idea of redistributing the county’s one-cent sales tax money can give deputies a raise, the drug enforcement unit financial stability, and the district attorney’s office another prosecutor.

The sheriff says the portion of this reserved for deputy raises can bring starting deputy pay up to $30,000 annually.


Rainsville police looking for man who allegedly dragged officer

Police in Rainsville believe someone used a stolen vehicle to drag one of their officers on Sunday.

The officer continues recovering at home with some cuts and scrapes.

WAFF-TV reports authorities in Marion Co., Tenn. want the same suspect for stealing a riding mower and a trailer.

The incident apparently happened with the trailer attaced to a stolen gray Toyota 4Runner that this man drove.


Scottsboro approves seven-day alcohol sales

Scottsboro’s city council has approved seven-day alcohol sales, and the sales begin immediately.

Officials see this as a way to improve tourism and economic development.

The city council and the mayor have received this suggestion from the chamber of commerce.


Pinwheel ceremony tomorrow brings attention to child abuse

As Child Abuse Prevention Month continues, an annual pinwheel ceremony takes place tomorrow morning.

It happens at 10:30 at the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office.

Representatives from the Barrie Center for Children, DHR, law enforcement, and the judicial system speak about child abuse in the area.

The center places a blue pinwheel on the judicial building’s lawn.


Marshall Co. runs poultry and egg festival

Marshall County has held its annual poultry and egg festival.

The event in Boaz has marked its second straight year.

The crowds from last year have prompted organizers to move it from the fairgrounds to the old outlet mall.

Officials have called it a great way to have fun while learning about the poultry industry.


Reese wins Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville

Skeet Reese has won this weekend’s Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville.

He has taken home the $100,000 top prize for catching 92 pounds 11 ounces over the course of four days.

Over a hundred anglers have participated in this weekend’s event.

The Bassmasters Classic came to town last year.


Teenager saves grandfather following boat fire in Lake Guntersville

A man says his grandson saved him after Friday’s boat fire on Lake Guntersville.

Fire officials say it happened near the causeway bridge on Highway 69.

The man and the teenager had recently changed their boat’s battery and tried cranking the engine.

At that point, an explosion caused the fire. The force knocked off the older man’s glasses and caused his hearing aide to fall out of his ear.

Don Stewart tells WAFF-TV that if not for Noah Hilburn, he might not have survived this ordeal.

Stewart had a hard time keeping his head above water when they jumped in the lake. Hilburn, however, pulled him to shore.

Hiburn has received treatment at a hospital for some burns from the explosion.


The state of Alabama looking at taxing some of your internet entertainment.

http://blogaudio.virtualnewscenter.com/WAVU-WAVU-041315-GARRISON-Streaming Tax-VO [.mp3

Do you stream movies or tv shows off the web? Alot of people do these days, now the Alabama Department of Revenue is considering a 4-percent state tax on movies and music that you stream. The deputy director of revenue says it’s not diffewrent than the old days when you went to blockbuster and paid tax on a movie you rented. The new tax could take effect in October.


Deal surfaces on sales tax redistribution in Etowah Co.

An agreement redistributes Etowah County’s one-percent sales tax.

State Sen. Phil Williams says it now funds a pay raise for sheriff’s deputies, and it provides more money for the drug enforcement unit and the district attorney’s office.

County commission records show this redistribution means cutting nine percent from most other agencies that share in the sales tax money.

The Gadsden Times reports changing the distribution of tax monies requires legislative action.


Car hits woman in Sardis City

A woman went to Huntsville Hospital yesterday after a vehicle hit her in Sardis City.

Police say it happened as the woman tried crossing Highway 431 at Waterline Road.

They claim a 16-year-old girl clipped her with her front bumper, spinning the woman around into her rear view mirror.

No one has released the woman’s name or condition.


Couple charged in murder have child abuse cases pending

Court records show a couple charged with murder has child abuse cases pending against them.

WAFF-TV has identified the murdered woman as a state witness against the couple.

Authorities have accused Elizabeth and Curtis Austin of killing of killing Judith Carranza.

They have identified Elizabeth Austin as Carranza’s niece.

The Austins have waived extradition back to Alabama from Florida.

Investigators have spent time at their home on Walker Road in Horton looking for evidence.

An examination shows officials accusing Curtis Austin of slapping a four-year-old, as well as beating a nine-year-old with a wire hanger on the legs to the point where that kid bled.

Officials have accused Elizabeth Austin of failing to stop that.