Sales tax tops list of county stories

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 3, 2005

Stories compiled by Jonathan McElvy&Rick Couch

Marengo County had its share of ups and downs in 2004. There were several positive changes for the schools and cities. There were also sad events that stole a local landmark and threatened a person dear to his entire community. Another sad event saw many local residents sent away to defend the freedom of those left behind. Through it all, Marengo County pushed forth and emerged with flying colors.

1. Hospitals and schools get tax money

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A 1 cent sales tax was passed in Marengo County with the revenue being used to fund three school systems, eight municipalities a hospital, volunteer fire departments and county government.

The tax is expected to generate $1.5 million annually.

As the tax breaks down for the schools, the Demopolis city school system is expected to receive $144,000 annually because it has the highest percentage of students. Marengo County schools will receive about $74,000 while Linden City schools will receive about $37,000.

Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital is also expected to receive about $255,000 through the tax, though there is a limitation on how much or how little the hospital can receive.

The other 16.5 percent of the tax will be divided between the municipalities in Marengo County. These include Demopolis, Linden,

Thomaston, Providence, Sweet Water, Faundsdale, Myrtlewood and Dayton. Like the schools each municipality will receive a share based on population.

2. Sweet Water Bulldogs win state championship

For the first time since 1986 the Sweet Water Bulldogs found themselves back on top of Class 1-A.

The Bulldogs used an amazing run to cap a 13-2 season and take home their first state championship trophy in 18 years.

Sweet Water knocked off three straight undefeated teams including Loachapoaka (12-0) and Brantley (13-0) on their way to a 34-7 championship game win over 14-0 R.A. Hubbard

at the Hoover Met.

3. Guard unit heads to Iraq

Sadness struck Marengo County as the 200th Engineer Battalion out of Linden was activated to prepare for deployment to the Middle East. The unit is expected to be overseas for anywhere from 12 to 18 months.

A special ceremony was held for the soldiers at Linden Baptist Church and some prayers were answered as the units departure was delayed. Soldiers were given the chance to spend one more night with their families because of transportation issues.

On Tuesday Dec. 28 at about 7 a.m. the buses arrived and the soldiers were officially on their way.

4. Depot Burns

On an early November morning Linden lost one of its favorite dining and meeting places when The Depot Restaurant was destroyed by fire.

Owners Jim and Gelean Weeks barely escaped harm from the fire when they were awakened by Marengo County Sheriff’s Deputies and told to flee the burning structure. The building was the business and home of the Weeks family.

The fire was spotted by Marengo County Deputies Keith Jordan and Ricky Hall who noticed flames coming from the building.

The Marengo County and Linden Fire Departments responded, but were unable to stop the flames from consuming the building.

5. Linden Mayor undergoes surgery

The City of Linden held its breath when they learned Mayor Pat Vice had been diagnosed with cancer.

On a visit to the doctor it was discovered that Vice had a tumor on his brain. Further examinations determined the tumor to be malignant. Vice underwent successful surgery at Birmingham’s Carraway hospital where the entire tumor was removed.

Unfortunately, another tumor was found in Vice’s lung and he was forced to undergo another surgery. This procedure was also successful and no more cancerous tumors were discovered.