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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Body found in national forest
  • Bill to increase county officials pay in Senate
  • Etowah fires believed to be arson
  • Fallen soldier honored


Body found in national forest 

Talladega County officials are working to identify the body of a white male found in the Talladega National Forest, alongside Cheaha Mountain Road Tuesday afternoon.  Sheriff Jerry Studdard said the body was discovered when a couple walking through the woods saw a foot sticking out of the ground. The couple made the report to the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday evening, and a deputy was dispatched to stay at the scene throughout the night until the Alabama Department of Forensic Science could arrive to help exhume the body. After looking at the scene, Studdard said the body had been placed in a hollowed grave and covered in lime. The surfaced foot appeared to be unearthed by forest animals.  The body was removed Wednesday morning from the area where Tater Creek crosses Cheaha Road, but the cause and time of death are still currently under investigation by the Talladega County Sheriff’s Department. Due to the physical state of the body, Studdard said he hopes an autopsy will be able to provide investigators with basic information, including the victim’s identity and age.


Bill to increase county officials pay in Senate 

As the state senate begins to muddle thru the backlog of local bills passed by the house this session, State Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said the  Senate could pass a pay raise for Calhoun County officials by the end of the week.  With only two days left in the legislative session,  it  depends on how much time the Legislature spends debating other issues. The legislation, if passed would give county commissioners an additional ten thousand dollars a year, Revenue commissioner Karen Roper would receive an additional $7,800 and county License Commissioner Barry Robertson would receive an additional $5,600 a year.  If approved by the senate, it would only need the governors signature.


Etowah fires believed to be arson 

Alabama Forestry Commission officials believe a series of wildfires Wednesday that threatened a half-dozen houses was the work of arsonists.  Commission spokesman Philip Smith said the first fire was reported about 1:30 a.m. along Scenic Drive, a winding road that runs along a narrow ridge overlooking Gadsden near Noccalula Falls Park. Within two hours, two more fires had been reported nearby. In all, the fires threatened about 110 acres and took several hours to contain. By late afternoon, firefighters had plowed containment lines around the fires and were set to wait through the night to make sure they didn't flare up again. Firefighters from Etowah, Marshall, Blount, Madison, Jackson and Cherokee counties took part in the effort, along with the Gadsden Fire Department. The fires had burned close to several houses and to within 15 feet of a barn before being contained.  Smith said fire investigators would look over the area for clues and question nearby residents.  


Fallen soldier honored 

The body of fallen soldier Staff Sgt. Shannon Weaver, a graduate of Piedmont High School, will be arriving in Cedartown, Georgia this evening. His wife, Desiree Weaver, who also served in the military, is escorting his body from Delaware to Cedartown. The Patriot Guard on Thursday will meet the plane and escort the Weavers to Gammage Funeral Home in Cedartown from the Rome airport.

Cedartown City Commission Chairman Bobby Alexander signed a proclamation Wednesday declaring today to be a "Day of Mourning" in Cedartown for the soldier and his family.  Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey met with Weaver's grandparents, David and Joan Weaver of Borden Springs, Ala., in Cedartown Wednesday to offer condolences. In Alabama, the House of Representatives honored Weaver Tuesday with the passage of a resolution honoring the soldier for his valiant service.  Weaver’s funeral will be held June 3 at 2 p.m. in the Chapel of the Gammage and Sons Funeral Home with Dr. Robert Wright officiating. Interment will follow in Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery with full military rites. The family will receive friends on Saturday, June 2 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Gammage and Sons Funeral Home.

Weaver was killed May 21 in southern Baghdad while on a mission to disarm roadside bombs also known as IEDs. Two IEDs detonated at the vehicle that he and four other soldiers were traveling in. Two other soldiers were also killed and two were injured.

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