Haleyville hospital to close this year

Posted 11/22/17

Let’s clean out the column and see if we can’t stir up some conversation for the turkey meal today...

• The saddest news in the area is that the Haleyville hospital is closing by the end of …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

Haleyville hospital to close this year


Let’s clean out the column and see if we can’t stir up some conversation for the turkey meal today...

• The saddest news in the area is that the Haleyville hospital is closing by the end of the year. Lakeland Community Hospital, once known as Carraway Burdick-West Hospital, announced the news last Friday that the only hospital in Winston County, with 59 beds and 87 employees, will be gone. The blame was placed on what the hospital called “drastic reductions in reimbursements,” by as much as $2 million. A total of seven hospitals in the state have closed in the past eight years, and Alabama hospitals are paid among the lowest for Medicaid in the nation. U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt blamed Obamacare and said he would work with officials in his hometown. The facility’s medical detox program will be switched to Russellville, which, I suspect, will be the closer of hospitals to that area. (The Cullman Times said Walker Baptist Medical Center and Cullman Regional are the closest hospitals, but I imagine many will also go to Russellville. Any which way, it will be a long drive.) Haleyville Mayor Ken Surseri told ABC 33/40 he didn’t know it was coming until Friday morning. The non-profit parent company, Curae Health in Clinton, Tenn., announced it was purchasing the Haleyville, Winfield and Russellville hospitals in late 2014; it also owns Mississippi hospitals in Amory and Batesville.

Any which way you look at it, it is a blow to Winston County and Haleyville to lose your only hospital, albeit on the far end of the county. I am afraid they may not be the only one in time, unless something is done to make it easier for these smaller hospitals. At times like this, I feel good about Walker Baptist and the Brookwood network being in Jasper.

• Because photography people like to know, my Nikon D3100 was jamming up to not release my photo card late last Friday. After a whirlwind overnight shopping search (without finding anything locally), I saved $300 at Target on a combo set for a Nikon D3400, with lens for 18-55 mm and 70-300 (my first zoon lens in years). This should allow me to also download photos on my iPhone wirelessly in the field. Since it was a sudden expenditure, I was a little freaked out, so I want to thank Dad for helping with some of it as an early Christmas present, which should help you readers as well.

• One sad news to Dad and I as we drove to Tuscaloosa to buy the camera was the realization that the Sears store was missing in Fayette. A friend at the Times-Record confirms that it closed recently. As some of you may know, Sears is also closing its store and auto center in Tuscaloosa, which is a shock considering all the years we shopped there on one end of 15th Street or another.

• Tiffin Motorhomes new plant in Winfield is really taking off, to the point that they have decided to open a service center in the city’s industrial park just off U.S. Interstate 22 by next year. By next year the plant may produce six vehicles a day.

• Thank heavens, the Viking Drive project in front of our business is winding down. Last week particularly, we were all about to go out of our mind with the traffic delays as they paved. However, I have to admit it is a smooth drive now, and they also repaired our driveway that had been torn up as part of the process.

Of course, we are still undergoing the sidewalk project in downtown Jasper, where roads are getting blocked and other utility work sometimes has to be done. But Viking also had some sidewalk work done, and all of that is needed. Here we have the two schools on Viking where I assure you we will have a lot of students walking on those sidewalks.

• I’m real proud for Oakman to have community planner Cheryl Morgan come in to start a revisioning process for that city. I think you have older buildings in that city that could give a feature to the town, while the mountains do frame that area. It is pretty some days to drive to Tuscaloosa on that drive. It seems like a natural place to stop for a meal and gas along the way, and I think that nature areas and a nice downtown area make it attractive to allow people to stop there or even come there to eat. I would play up the retreat and tourism elements. The idea of using the rail line might have some prospects, depending on business details.

• As a new member, I have to stay I am becoming more impressed with the friendliness of Jasper’s First Baptist Church, as well as pastor Lloyd Stilley and education and outreach minister Matt Lotspeich. (I’ve learned to spell Matt’s name, if not pronounce it yet.) Stilley has had a good sermon series on Ruth of late — his take on Ruth’s third chapter was called, “What stays on the threshing floor stays on the threshing floor” — and also had a good presentation for new members the other day. Lotspeich has a great heart for others and a good spirit, and I think he is trying to think of new things outside the box. It impressed me the other day over breakfast he turned to the waitress before we said grace and asked if she had any prayer requests. I think that is the type of heart you want in a spiritual leader.

• Zach Baker of our advertising staff sang at Warehouse 319 the other night to raise funds for the Shoe Fund. Zach wasn’t just good; he was very good. I really enjoyed sitting back and listening to some classics. As you may know, he toured the nations in bands such as Ultrasonic, Vallejo and Love at War, and has also done a lot of work in booking.

• All the sexual allegations against famous people have been bad, but it really was shocking to hear Charlie Rose had eight accusers. I had always taken him as a gentlemanly, old world journalist who had the right journalistic priorities, somewhat in the tradition of Edward R. Murrow. It seems like there is no one left in the room now that Rose has disgraced himself. It was Murrow who famously quoted Shakespeare to say, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves.” Many a man in the spotlight now finds the fault, at long last, on himself, betraying those around him. It is sad, so sad.

• Finally, we have lost a lot of celebrities recently, but let’s recall Della Reese, who went home to be with the Lord this week and must be having a wonderful time. I always loved her in “Touched by an Angel,” but let’s also recall that she was an amazing singer. Her classic “Don’t You Know?” decades ago is just a drop-dead classic, showing a perfect technique. On the other hand, I have one live performance recording of “You Came a Long Way from St. Louie” that really hit the rafters, to where she had to do an encore. But in the end, she really had a heart and influence as a person saved by grace, and unafraid to show it. She will be missed, for sure.

And now, as someone who has received much grace by being brought back to Walker County and given a chance to be with you all again, and after hearing so many nice things from so many of you in reaction to what we are doing, I can only say I am thankful for all of you. Here is hoping you have a restful, joyous day and that you have a chance to contemplate all you are thankful for as well.

Ed Howell is the Daily Mountain Eagle’s news editor.