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Dateline 08/25/2006 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 

  • Odenville couple facing charges in child’s death
  • Ohatchee Residents Charged with Methamphetamine
  • Alabama Community of Excellence committee visiting Jacksonville
  • Gadsden City Council moves to fill vacant Council Seats


Odenville couple facing charges in child’s death 

An Odenville couple has been indicted for the death of their infant daughter Under a new law aimed at people cooking methamphetamine around children.

St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said 25 year old William Neighbors,  and 24 year old  Melissa Little, have been charged with chemical endangerment of a child after their 15-month-old daughter McKenzie Neighbors died from a toxic amount of methadone in her body. Methadone is a controlled substance normally used in drug treatment programs for addicts. Minor said that A person can be charged with chemical endangerment of a child when someone recklessly causes or permits a child to be exposed to, ingest or inhale, or to have contact with a controlled substance that results in the death of the child.  Minor said that To his knowledge, they are the first people in the state who have been indicted under this new law. The new law went into effect June 1, and the incident happened June 5. Neighbors was arrested late Tuesday, and Little was arrested Wednesday morning. Minor said chemical endangerment of a child is a Class A felony and if convicted, the couple could serve 10 years to life in prison.


Ohatchee Residents Charged with Methamphetamine 

Two Ohatchee residents have been charged with trafficking in methamphetamine.  According to Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson,  the pair were arrested during a Tuesday night road check near Alexandria.  Those arrested were identified as 24 year old Crystal Dawn Hammond and 32 year old Jimmy Darren Lecroy  both of a Bass Lane address in Ohatchee. 


Alabama Communities of Excellence committee visiting Jacksonville 

The city of Jacksonville is putting its best foot forward this week as members from the Alabama Communities of Excellence are visiting the city.  The group will hold a public meeting this Friday from  9 a.m. to noon on the 11th floor of the Houston Cole Library on the JSU campus to hear from the public. The focus is to help cities and towns with populations between 2,000 and 10,000 to focus on leadership, economic development and strategic planning. Jacksonville was among three cities ACE selected this year from a pool of 12 applicants across Alabama.  



Gadsden City Council moves to fill vacant Council Seats 

The Gadsden City Council next week will appoint former and newly elected Councilman Robert Avery to the District 3 seat vacated by Councilman Fred Huff.
The council will fill the District 6 seat formerly held by Councilman Jim Armstrong with the winner of the Sept. 12 runoff for that seat.  The action was suggested by the city attorney to fill the seats vacated when the two councilmen entered guilty pleas to felony charges in federal court last week.  City Attorney Roger Kirby said the council must declare a seat vacant at a meeting before being able to fill the post at the next meeting. In other business Wednesday, the council passed an ordinance putting controls over "day laborer" businesses, but delayed action on two other ordinances aimed at illegal immigrants.  The day laborer ordinance requires someone operating such a business to collect an eligibility verification form from the Department of Homeland Security for each employee he places.  The council tabled action on an ordinance that would require that, when someone is convicted of a city offense and sentenced to jail for at least seven days, a "reasonable effort" be made by the municipal court, with the assistance of the Police Department, to determine if the prisoner had been legally admitted into the United States and, if not, to notify the Department of Homeland Security.  The council tabled an ordinance that would put stricter limitations on housing space based on the number of people living in a residence and also require landlords to verify that tenants are in the country legally.  The council tabled action on Mayor Steve Means' request for outside counsel to look at the Lafferty's Landing contract, which was approved by the council in December, that gave the developer, Rainbow I, incentives of up to $1.5 million in rebates in sales tax revenues based on sales of the development.  Means had complained about the lack of progress on the development and asked that the contract be looked at.  Councilman Stewart, who pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor of reporting late a $1,000 campaign contribution from developer Jason Stinson and is not a target of the federal investigation, said the city should delay retaining an attorney to look into the incentives because of an "unconfirmed rumor" the incentives might not be granted. He said the city is not trying to back out of the agreement.  Reed said prior to the council meeting he believes there "are some other things in the works, federal, state, whatever." Councilman Reed said he wants to wait until the council has all the ramifications of what might or might not happen" before deciding to retain an attorney in the matter.


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