Wet/dry vote, schools dominate 2002 headlines
Staff Reports, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle stays dry, a controversy erupts over the high school's much-honored baseball team and the city continued to struggle with filling its coffers.
Those – along with a change over in county posts and the commemoration of the Sept. 11 tragedies – were the year's top stories:
Out of 7,839 registered voters, 3,419 voted against alcohol sales versus 2,025 in favor.
Once again, Hartselle residents spoke out loud and clear against alcohol sales.
In March, two students collapsed at Hartselle High School. Despite initial reports that drugs were not involved, one student later tested positive for marijuana. Both students were members of Hartselle High School's baseball team.
The school board's handling of the incident prompted questions from city council members, some of whom called for the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Lee Hartsell.
Angry parents and baseball players – who felt they were being singled out by the council- showed up en masse and in uniform at a council meeting.
The end result of the controversy was drug testing of all city students involved in extra-curricular activities.
Mayor Clif Knight had earlier floated the idea of a 10 mill property tax increase, only to have the plan sunk by council members.
In December, the mayor again proposed the idea.
This time, council members were more supportive, perhaps because of the dwindling sales tax revenue and the increasing need for capitol project money.
At year's end, the city continued its work on the access road at the Interstate 65 interchange, with plans for a hotel and new gas station at the intersection.
Norma Faye Sparkman lost her commission post to John Glasscock.
Incumbent Jeff Clark retained his commission seat, defeating John Gillott.
Hartselle residents took part in special church services and school programs and the American Legion hosted a flag raising ceremony at City Hall.