Sunday, Feb 1, 2015
Brandon Vontez Hawkins, 24, of Gadsden pleaded guilty Thursday in Calhoun County court to the September, 2011 hold up, at gunpoint, of HR’s Food Mart on Clydesdale Avenue in Anniston. Police said a fingerprint found on a pistol left at the store belonged to Hawkins. The robbery happened just five days after prosecutors allege that he and Donquavious Russell, 21, of Hobson City, shot Barbara Exum, 56, to death in a separate robbery at Papa John’s Pizza on Snow Street in Oxford. Both men are charged with capital murder and are in the Calhoun County Jail without bond awaiting trial.
 
Etowah County's Emergency Management Agency hopes to have seven tornado shelters added around the county within the next two years. Once the shelters are completed, it will mean about 98% of the county's 110,000 residents will have access to a shelter or a place of refuge within five miles of their home in the event of severe weather. Where the nearest shelter to you? Go to the Shelter Etowah website, or use EMA's Facebook and Twitter accounts.
 
Another shooting in Gadsden Wednesday night left three men wounded. Gadsden police responded to the incident quickly after it happened about 11:12pm on Joseph Robinson Street just off North 3rd Street, where they found three wounded men all of Gadsden. All three were taken to local hospitals. A 1999 Buick Park Avenue was found at the scene with multiple bullet holes and shot out windows. If you have information or if you witnessed the shooting please call Gadsden Police at 256-549-4530.
 
If you were planning to serve as a juror at the Calhoun County Courthouse Monday, February 2nd, you can make other plans. Courthouse officials said all of the county’s cases have either settled or the defendants pleaded, which means no trials on Monday. Courthouse staff worked hard to notify jurors, but despite those efforts, some jurors will probably still appear even though they are no longer needed.
 
Scott Meadows, 44, of Gadsden, lead Etowah County deputies on a high speed chase Thursday that ended on I-59. Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin said the man did not pull over when for a traffic stop on Tabor Road about 8:13am. Deputies pursued the man onto I-59 until the chase ended near mile marker 203. Meadows had a revoked license and a warrant from Attalla for failure to appear. An object he threw out during the chase was recovered and it contained drug paraphernalia. Meadows is in the Etowah County Jail.
 
A tougher smoking ordinance goes into effect Sunday in Gadsden. The ordinance prohibits smoking in all enclosed areas of employment in the city. That includes restaurant and bars. It also bans smoking within 20 feet of public entrances to buildings. The City Council passed the ordinance in June, but delayed enforcement until February  1st. Advocates say it will protect the public from secondhand smoke.
 
SPORTS!
 
Thursday, Nick Saban announced he hired Mel Tucker and Jody Wright to join the Crimson Tide's football staff. Tucker will coach defensive backs and Wright, a former Jacksonville State player and assistant coach, will be the director of player personnel.
 
Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a $6 million, four-year contract. The left-handed hitter batted .356 during the 2012-13 season for Villa Clara in Cuba.
 
Bill Clark has turned down coaching jobs since UAB shut down football, but said Thursday he decided not to coach this season for two reasons. He'll become fully vested in the state retirement system this year, and he sees "a glimmer of hope" that the UAB football program may be revived.