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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Gadsden fire fatality
  • Jacksonville to hold meeting on skate park
  • Highway 77 re-routing
  • Booster suit verdict

 

Gadsden fire fatality 

Gadsden firefighters and police are investigating a house fire on Bonton Street in the Green Pastures community Thursday night that claimed the life of a Gadsden man.
Gadsden Fire officials confirmed the fatality but could not release the victim’s name until family members were notified. the first call came in reporting a fire in a vacant house at 9:24 p.m. Firefighers were able to knock down the blaze fairly quickly, and upon searching found the victim. A woman at the scene who identified herself as the victim’s aunt said he was 43 years old.  

 

 

Jacksonville to hold meeting on skate park 

Jacksonville city officials want to hear from skating enthusiasts before they agree to purchase equipment for the cities new skate park.  Concrete was poured for the project the week and city officials announced Thursday they will hold a meeting at the Jacksonville Community Center Monday night at 6:30 to get input on what equipment should be purchased for the park. 

  

Highway 77 rerouting 

The Alabama Department of Transportation unveiled a proposal Thursday to reroute a mile of Alabama 77 south of Ashland. Some Residents are not happy about giving up their land for the highway. DOT officials brought a map and other information to residents at an informational meeting Thursday at the Mellow Valley School.

DOT officials said there are a several proposed routes for the highway, which would be rebuilt as much as a quarter-mile east of its current location. The stretch of asphalt runs past Wellborn Cabinets. Haynes said the new route would alleviate traffic near the manufacturer and allow the company to expand.

John Shoal, director of engineering for Wellborn Cabinets, said shifting the highway would allow the company to add between 500,000 and 800,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 400 to 500 new jobs. Shoal said the road project would cost the state between $8 and $10 million, and the company would spend $40 million on the new facilities in the next five to seven years. Owner Paul Wellborn made the proposal to the DOT about six months ago. Officials said the route is not final and Thursdays meeting was intended to answer questions and get the public’s input. Officials said that work could start by the end of next summer if the proposal becomes a reality. 

 

Booster suit verdict 

A jury in Scottsboro awarded $5 million yesterday to a former University of Alabama football booster who claimed the NCAA defamed him when it imposed penalties on the Crimson Tide in 2002.    The jury awarded Ray Keller $3 million in punitive damages, $1 million for mental anguish, $500,000 for economic loss and $500,000 for damage to reputation.
   Ray Keller, a timber dealer, argued that the NCAA slandered and libeled him during the announcement of penalties by referring to him and others as "rogue boosters," "parasites" and "pariahs."
   The jury of nine women and three men deliberated an hour Wednesday and about five more yesterday before ruling against the NCAA. Jurors heard three weeks of testimony.
   Keller maintained the sanctioning organization wrongly lumped him in with other boosters who were accused of making improper contacts and payments to recruits in the 1990s.    A separate lawsuit filed in Tuscaloosa over the investigation
resulted in a $30 million verdict against a former recruiting analyst who provided information to the NCAA, but that judgment was overturned on appeal.

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