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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Legislature passes “Sheldon and Haley Pugh Act”
  • Sheriff closes Work Center
  • Jacksonville asks for voluntary water conservation
  • Arson suspected in woods fire


Legislature passes “Sheldon and Haley Pugh Act” 

The Alabama Senate Tuesday passed house bill 848, which creates a funding mechanism to establish a program for mentally disturbed individuals who are a danger to themselves and others.  In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson said he has been pushing for the legislation for almost two yearsThe bill adds a four dollar fee to certain transactions in the probate judges office to fund the program.  The legislation is legally termed as the “Sheldon and Haley Pugh Act of Calhoun County”, named for the two young children tragically killed in 2005 when a mentally disturbed man killed them both and their mother.  The
Bill is named for Sheldon and Haley Pugh, killed in January 2005
grandmother, Myra Pugh had formed a group of supporters to join the sheriff in pushing for passage of the legislation.  A committee, consisting of the Executive Director of the County Mental Health Board, the Sheriff, the Probate Judge, a member of the legislative delegation and a resident of the county will comprise the Mental health advisory board.  The fees collected are earmarked for crisis intervention services, which would include the appointment of a county mental health officer.



Sheriff closes Work Center 

Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson Wednesday announced that the recent escape of two inmates from the jail's work center has forced him to take a hard look at jail operations.  Amerson said the work center shutdown will affect inmates working outside the jail facility and in the community.  Amerson said that he has met with the Calhoun county commissioners and that they agree that he needs more staff to adequately operate the jail, but that they do not have the money to fund it.  Amerson said that to property staff the department, including the jail operations, he said he would need 70 deputies, the department currently had 38 deputies on staff.  The sheriff said that he and the county commission are investigating other funding alternatives and will be meeting with the local legislative delegation.


Jacksonville asks for voluntary water conservation 

Faced with a drop in water from a spring which feeds a portion of the city water system, Jacksonville Mayor Johnny Smith Tuesday night called for voluntary conservation measures from the cities water customers.  Smith is urging Jacksonville water customers to curtail outdoor use of water between 8am and 7pm.  Smith said that runoff at the big spring in the city has dropped significantly. 


Arson suspected in woods fire 

Authorities said yesterday they believe arson was to blame for a fire that burned about 140 acres of forest around a national preserve in northeast Alabama. And officials reopened part of Interstate 20 that was closed because of smoke from another blaze.  Both fires were mostly extinguished, but officials said the drought covering north Alabama put the area at risk for more wildfires.   Meanwhile, citing continued dry weather and smoke blowing into the state from fires in southern Georgia and northern Florida, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management warned that the very young, the elderly and people with respiratory problems should limit outdoor activity until conditions improve.   Authorities are trying to determine who caused a fire that threatened hundreds of acres of hilly woodland in the Little River National Preserve, located in extreme northeast Alabama.   In east Alabama, a fire was still smoldering along I-20 but conditions were improved from Monday, when five miles of an eastbound lane had to be closed in Calhoun and Cleburne counties because of smoke from a roadside blaze.

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