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Florala , Alabama
January 27, 2016     The Florala News
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January 27, 2016

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: i : = ) ESTABLISHED 1900 Location Of One Hundred Forty-Five Consecutive Annual Masonic Celebrations ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH YEAR NUMBER 46.8 PAGES PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 20 ! 6 50 PER ISSUE (SALES TAX INCLUDED) On Beautiful Lake And Gateway TO The Gulf Coast mm by Jan Allred Last Tuesday afternoon local and state law en- forcement officers responded to a set of 911 calls that led them on a frantic four-hour search for alleged perpetrators who attempted to abduct a 12-year-old girl from Paxton. The victim told authorities that between 2-3 p.m. she heard a noise inside her home near Paxton so she went to investigate. While she was searching for the noise a white man in his late teens to early 20s, standing around 5-feet-10 inches to 6-feet tall with sandy blonde, shaggy hair put his hands over her mouth and dragged her from the home into the bed of a blue pick-up truck outside. The girl told authorities the male got in the passenger side of the truck and another male was driving, however, the only description she offered for the driver was that he had brown hair. According to the girl, she stayed in the bed of the truck until sometime later when the vehicle slowed and she was able to jump out and enter the woods. She said she walked for several hours before finding a house she could go to and call 911. Wal- ton County Sheriffs Office (WSCO) officials said the girl was about 4 miles from her home. The WSCO immediately deployed more than a dozen uniform personnel and contacted the Florida De- partment of Law Enforcement to ask for expedited crime scene evidence. "At the time we felt like she was a credible wit- ness and we had to go on what she was telling us," said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. "Our primary con- cern is the health, welfare, and safety of our chil- dren. Hopefully now the people of Walton County will be able sleep easy." Adkinson said his department was more con- cerned with preventative measures than we are with punitive ones adding the girl who called in the abduction will not be charged. He said when she first reported the alleged abduction deputies felt she was a credible witness and jumped into action based on what she was telling them. Ad- kinson said the child, who has not been identified, clearly had "issues" that were not immediately see HOAX page 2 A YELLOW RIBBON displayed at Florala City Hall in honor of Sgt. Turner. In February, every 7th grad- er through" 12th grader in Cov- ington County will have the opportunity to participate in the "True Lies" school assem- bly presented by Phil Chalm- ers. Chalmers has interviewed more than 200 teen killers and school shooters, and is widely considered America's leading authority on teen homicide. In the "True Lies" assembly, he addresses not only the topic of school shootings, but also bul- lying, suicide, substance abuse and internet safety. "I take very seriously the 60 minutes that the schools give me, and I fully expect to see life change in the students from the short time I get to spend with them," said Chalmers. 'We can't be blind to the fact that young people face different stressors than we did growing up. We have to be proactive in identifying potential problem areas to protect our kids and to safeguard our schools from the threat of both internal and ex- ternal violence," said Covington County School Board member Jeff Bailey. Earlier this year, Bailey approached District At- torney Walt Merrell and school superintendents 'Ted Watson, Shannon Driver and Michael Smithart about bringing Phil Chalmers to Covington County. Merrell an.d the three school systems agreed to partner for the project. Merrell had at- tended Chalmers' "Generation Death" law enforcement sum- mit and noted that it was the most powerful seminar he had attended. Bailey added, "Ad- ministrators struggle with how to be 'real' with kids. Phil Chal- mers and this program are just that. He has an 'in your face' approach that the students re- spond to." Chalmers will speak to the students in four separate pro- grams on February 10 and 11. He will present a fifth program at Opp High School Audito- rium, which will be geared to- ward educators and police of- ricers. Parents are welcome to attend as well. Bailey thanked corporate sponsor PowerSouth as well as the District Attorney, An- dalusia City Schools, Covington County Schools and Opp City Schools for their participation and support. Allen Lucas has an- nounced his candidacy for the Covington Coun- ty Commission District 4 seat. From experience is born knowledge, work- ing for Covington Coun- ty Road Commissioners has prepared him to meet the needs of the residents of this county who desperately need a working and knowl- edgeable commissioner. 27yeras hands-on ex- County with extensive perience working on ancestry connections, I these roads every day not only know this area, during FEMA assisted I connect with the resi- disasters has given him dents and understand the hands on experi- your needs. For the past ence and knowledge. 61 years, I have lived in "I know and recognize District 4, and worked the needs of Covington in all 4 districts in mul- County residents, I am tiple capacities from prepared to be your shop foreman to op- next commissioner in eration of heavy equip- District 4," he said. ment. I will do what it ''As a lifelong resi- dent of Covington see LUCAS page 2 .. Allen Lucas Yellow ribbons are displayed at Florala homes and businesses in honor of Sgt. William Josh Turner. Thursday night, January 14, two U.S. Marine Corps CH:53 helicopters collided off the coast of Oahu, Ha- waii while on a training mission. There were 12 Marines aboard. Sgt. Turner, a 2009 graduate of Florala High School, was among them. Last Wednesday, followinga five day search for survivors, the Coast Guard and Marine Corps called off the search. Pieces of the helicopters were recov- ered but no survivors were found. The City of Florala held a prayer vigil last Wednesday evening at the Rodney J. Evans Civic Center for Sgt. Turner and his missing comrades. ... Sgt. Turner Among the miss- ing Marines are Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, of College Station, TX; Capt. Brian T. Kenne- dy, 31, of Philadelphia, PA; Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, of Florence, AL; Capt. Kevin Roche, 30, of St. Louis, MO; Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24, of Chaska, MN; Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, of Gardners, PA; Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, of Woodruff, SC; Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, of Florala, AL; Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, of Spring, TX; Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, of Fort Myers, FL; Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, of Hingham, MA; and Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, of Aumsville, OR. A memorial service was held Friday at Ma- rine Corps Base Hawaii for the lost Marines. Saturday, February 6 is the 10th Annual Can- cer Freeze. This fundraiser helps local families battling the dreaded disease of cancer. Cancer Freeze is held each year at Lake Jackson in F10rala where participants can either water ski, wakeboard, kneeboard or tube in the cold, freezing waters of Lake Jackson for a minimum $20 dona- tion. This fundraising event will benefit 5 people from South Alabama and Northwest Florida who are battling cancer. Since its inception in 2007, this annual event has grown tremendously. This year's recipients of Cancer Freeze proceeds include: Jeffery Biggs of Andalusia, AL, a graduate of Andalusia High School (1993) and Troy State Uni- versity (1997). He was diagnosed with kidney and colon cancer on October 29, 2012. Jeffery passed away in December, 2015. Brandy Barger of Crestview, FL. On August 3, 2015, she was diagnosed with stage 4 adenocar- cinoma. Marie Thames of Elba, AL, age 34. In July, 2015, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The Florala News 1155 Fifth Street Florala, AL 36442 IIlii,[,!,!lJill[,[,[I!! II U r Kellen Bray Findley, age 3, of Andalusia, AL. He was diagnosed with Stage 3 embryonal rhab- domyosarcoma in Sepember 2015. Suzanne Grissett of Andalusia, AL. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2015. To participate in, donate to or sponsor Cancer Freeze, contact Davidson at 850-978-3726; e-mail:; visit Cancer Freeze facebook page or mail to: P.O. Box 92, Florala, AL 36442. All donations to this event are tax-deduct- ible and there are many ways to contribute. 2016 CANCER FREEZE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Saturday, February 6 Lake Jackson, Florala 7 a.m. to Noon - Fishing Tourney $50 per boat (2 people per boat) contact Richard Reeves 850-652-3516 to enter 7 a.m. - 10 a.m. - Pancake & Sausage Break- fast $5 per person, kids 10 and under eat free with adult (inside) 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Blood/Platelet Drive by Life- South 8:45 a.m. - ALL 5K PARTICIPANTS meet at see FREEZE page 5