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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Body recovered from Coosa River
  • Lake levels drop to all time low
  • Talladega to receive paving funds
  • Alabama soldier killed in Iraq awarded silver star


Body recovered from Coosa River 

Authorities say that the body of a Glencoe man who drowned in the Coosa River while celebrating the Fourth of July was recovered near 2:30 Friday morning.  Officials searched for the body of Danny Ray Williamson, who would have turned 48 Friday.  The search had centered in the vicinity of Fitts Ferry crossing near Alfords Bend and Tidmore Bend. A family member in a report filed with the Etowah County Sheriff’s Department said Williamson was on a boat with other family members when some of them decided to jump off to go swimming.  Williamson, who was wearing blue jeans, also jumped in.  Family members said he swam around for a few minutes, went under, came back up but went under again. 


Lake levels to drop to all time low 

In an effort to cope with severe drought, Alabama Power has announced plans to significantly drop the water levels of Harris, Martin, Smith and Weiss Lakes in the coming weeks. By the end of July, the reservoirs will be at levels never seen before at this time of year. Weiss Lake, on the Coosa River, is expected to fall to about 561 feet by early August, about 3 feet below the normal summer level. The release of water from Weiss Lake will also affect reservoirs downstream. Water levels at Lay, Mitchell and Jordan Lakes are expected to fluctuate as water travels down the Coosa.

Smith Lake, at the headwaters of the Black Warrior River, is expected to drop to about 500 feet by late July, about 5 feet below the normal level for that time of year. The water level at Lake Harris, on the Tallapoosa River, will be drawn down to 785 feet by late July. Lake Martin, also on the Tallapoosa, is expected to drop to 480 feet by early August. That’s 8 feet below the normal summer level for Harris and 10 feet below the summer level at Martin. Streams that feed Alabama Power lakes are at historic lows for this time of year. In addition, evaporation is having a significant impact on the reservoirs. Since April, Alabama Power lakes have lost about 1.5 feet of elevation from evaporation. In May, Alabama Power sought relief from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the amount of water the company must release from its dams. The company also asked the Corps to let more water flow into Alabama from Corps reservoirs in Georgia. Corps officials said they would require a full environmental assessment to be completed before they make any decision on Alabama Power’s requests -– a process that can take months. Earlier this year, Alabama Power reduced the water it releases from its dams to the minimum required by the company’s federal hydroelectric project licenses.  


Talladega to receive paving funds 

The city of Talladega will be receiving $2 million worth of state paving projects in exchange for meeting a previous obligation to the Honda plant in Lincoln.  As a condition of the agreement for the city of Talladega to furnish $2 million of city funds to the Honda Phase II expansion project for site grading, the Department of Transportation will make available $2 million of state Public Road and Bridge Funds for the city to improve various city streets. These funds will be available for (fiscal years 2007, 2008 and 2009). An agreement between the city of Talladega and the state will need to be formalized before transaction is complete.  


Alabama soldier killed in Iraq awarded silver star  

A soldier from Alabama who died after covering a grenade to protect four fellow soldiers has been awarded a Silver Star, and his father believes he also deserves the nation's highest award for military valor, the Medal of Honor.  Johnathon Millican's father, Mitchell, got the call Tuesday saying the award will be presented to Millican's widow, Shannon, at her Locust Fork home sometime in the next two weeks.
The 20 year old Millican,  was a member of the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment from Fort Richardson, Alaska. He covered an enemy grenade with his body during an attack by insurgents in Karbala on Jan. 20 and was one of five U.S. soldiers killed during the attack.  Millican was off duty in a communications room exchanging e-mails with his wife when the attack started. The attackers fired several rounds into the room with an AK-47 and one of them tossed in a grenade.

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