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Filed 09/21/2006 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 

  • Search continues for Alexandria bank robbers
  • Developers file suit against JPA
  • St. Clair deputy cleared in shooting
  • Etowah included in tracking system grant


Search continues for Alexandria bank robbers 

Authorities are continuing their search for two black males wanted for the Tuesday morning robbery of The Cheha Bank on hiway 431 in Alexandria. According to Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson, the two men, wearing bandanas to cover their faces, entered the bank shortly after they opened at 9 Tuesday morning. Deputies found the suspected getaway car on Arrowhead Drive in the Alexandria-Wellington area about an hour after the robbery. None of the money was recovered. Anyone with information about the robbery or anyone who may have seen the 1989 red Buick Century is asked to contact the Birmingham division of the FBI at (205) 326-6166 or the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office at 236-6600.


Developers file suit against JPA 

Two local developers say they have filed a lawsuit against the Joint Powers Authority after learning of plans by the JPA to sell homes along Sumerall Gate Road to Anniston City Councilman Jeff Fink at a lower price than they had bid for the property.  The Joint Powers Authority took the homes off the market Tuesday.   The lawsuit is the second brought against the JPA in recent weeks. The first came from James Bennett and some other original plaintiffs in a 2001 lawsuit that resulted in a consent order. That order states that the JPA would be governed by Alabama’s open meetings, open records and ethics laws. The lawsuit accuses the JPA of skirting the rules of that consent order, and also stems from questions raised by Fink’s proposed purchase of the houses. Developers James Coxwell and Donald Stewart filed the new lawsuit Monday after they said that they learned of the board’s counter offer to Fink. The lawsuit states that Fink is an insider with unique ties to the JPA not shared by the general public.   The suit seeks a temporary restraining order to block Fink from purchasing the property. The suit alleges the JPA improperly countered Fink’s offer by offering to sell him some of the buildings he wanted on Sumerall Gate Road for $320,000 after Coxwell and Stewart had made a “superior” offer of $600,000 for the homes. Stewart and Coxwell had advance knowledge of the Marketing Committee’s recommendation to the JPA board.  The discussion on the offer for the property was discussed by the JPA board in an executive session closed to the public.

Andrew Campbell, an attorney for Stewart and Coxwell, declined to comment on how his clients got the information.  At Tuesdays JPA board meeting, Executive Director Dan Cleckler told the board the Marketing Committee’s recommendation that the JPA sell Fink eight buildings on Sumerall Gate Road instead of 23 initially put on the market for $320,000 instead of $405,000. Following a 40-minute executive session to discuss ithe recommendation  and the new lawsuit,  board member Sen. Del Marsh recommended that the property be removed from the market so that the board can study potential uses for the property. The board approved the plan.

The vote means all parties will have to re-bid on the property when the board puts it back on the market.


St Clair deputy cleared in shooting 

A St. Clair County grand jury has found that the June 4 shooting of Richard Darren Turner by a sheriff’s deputy was justified, eliminating the chance of any charges against the deputy.  District Attorney Richard Minor said since the grand jury has determined the shooting was justified, there would be no further inquiry into the shooting. Minor said that “It is unfortunate anytime a law enforcement officer has to take the life of anyone, even where a suspect raises a shotgun toward them, The grand jury found it was a justified shooting.”   The fatal shooting of Turner took place after police were called to a disturbance at Heathermoor Estates off Old Markeeta Road near Moody. County Coroner Dennis Russell pronounced Turner, dead at the scene from a single gunshot wound to the chest.


Calhoun chamber honors 6 industries 

Six Calhoun County industries were honored Tuesday by the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce for the quality of their work and their commitment to the community.   The awards were presented during the Chamber’s annual Salute to Industry breakfast.   M&H Valve was honored for its safety record over the past year. The company reduced its “recordable incident rate” by 52 percent this year. Westinghouse Anniston received an innovation and technology award for devising a way to destroy flawed, sarin-filled projectiles stored at the Anniston Army Depot. Fuses on about 100 of the shells wouldn’t separate as intended, so engineers worked with a commercial pipe fitter to develop a way to destroy the weapons.   Lee Brass and Bridgewater Interiors both were honored for community involvement. Both companies work to support a number of area charities.   Tyco Fire & Building Products’ Central Castings plant received an award for process improvements that cut costs by more than $500,000 and dramatically reduced scrap, shipping errors and employee turnover. B.R. Williams Trucking was honored for its efforts at employee recruitment and retention.

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