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Florala , Alabama
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April 7, 2010     The Florala News
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April 7, 2010
 

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Jl ESTABLISHED ! 900 Location Of One Hundred Thirty-Nine Consecutive Annual Masonic Celebrations ONE HUNDRED TENTH YEAR WEDNESDAY NUMBER 4.10 PAGES PRINTED ON ! 00% RECYCLED PAPER APRIL 7, 20 ] 0 500 PER ISSUE (SALES TAX =NCLUDED) [] by Jan Allred Last week, on March 30, the Alabama Senate voted 21-13 to approve a bingo bill sponsored by Alabama Sen- ator Roger Bedford whichal- build a bingo facility in the city. City officials have pur- sued electronic bingo as a means of economic develop- ment for a city they say is pass, would have great- ly hurt. Florala's shot at an electronic bingo facil- ity because that bill defined points of destination and Florala was not included as not work for gambling inter- ests for five years either be- fore or after serving on the commission and gambling interest could no~ contrib- ute to the campaigns of the lows Alabama residents todying economically. Onceone. Most legislators who elected officials who appoint vote in November whether a prosperous city centered refused to support the origi- them to the commission. they want to allow electric around the lumber and tex- hal bingo bill continually The commission would have bingo in the state and if so tile industries, the city has said the points of destina- subpoena power and would if they want to tax and regu- suffered economically since tion would give a monopoly be required to answer to the late electronic bingo, the North American Free to the existing casinos and Alabama Ethics Commis- While opponents of elec- Trade Agreement (NAFTA) make it nearly impossible to sion. tronic bingo cringed, the was enacted and the two construct and open new ca- If this version of the bin- City of Florala saw the vote major employers in the city sinos. Since the city wasn't go bill passes, the Alabama as the first of many teps closed their doors and moved included as a point ofdesti- House ofRepresentation and necessary to bring electronic their businesses overseas: nation, Williamson said the voters approve it then law- bingo to the city. The small Given new life by the sud- failure of the bill was good makers would hold a special city of Florala has become big news over the past six months in the fight to al- low electronic bingo in the state. The city council took the bold step of adopting an ordinance to regulate elec- tronic bingo in the city' and an even bigger step when they, through the Florala Historical Society, entered into an agreement with a Gulf Shores developer to den interest in the city as a location for an electronic bingo facility, city officials realized it could bring new life and jobs into the com- munity. Florala Mayor Rob- ert Williamson has tirelessly lobbied on the city's behalf to legislators pleading the city's case and appealing to lawmakers not to shut the door to Florala's future. Williamson said the first bingo bill, which did not for the city because its fail- ure kept Florala in the race. The bill which was passed last week would create a gaming commission and tax gambling in the state by a minimum of twenty five per- cent. The proposed twenty five percent gambling tax is lower than the gambling tax in New Jersey and Nevada and is not etched" in stone and can be increased. The gaming commission could session next year to iron out more specific details of how electronic bingo would oper- ate within the state. Right now both sides are afraid to predict what the outcome of the House vote will be, how- ever, both sides agree the vote will be close. Senator Jimmy Hol- ley and Senator Harri Ann Smith are the only two Re- publican Senators to vote in faVor of the bill. Wilson "Eddie" Rowell announced Tuesday he is seeking the office of Coving- ton County coroner on the Republican ticket. Rowell has 12 yea~s of ex- perience as a paramedic and is currently employed with Advanced EMS. He said he feels that his valuable experience in both the emergency medical field and his experience in the church can bring both com- passion and expertise to the office of coroner. 'rhe majority of the time when the coroner arrives, it is to a situation that is very emotional and troubling for the family," he said. "On the flip side, there is a profes- sional job to be dohe. I think I have the unique abilities to combine both of those as- pects to best serve the resi- dents of Covington County." Rowell said candidates must meet two qualifica- tions to be coroner - be 25-years-of-age and a year- long resident of Covington IIII County. Rowell, 33, is a life- long resident of Covington County and he and his wife, Amanda, have one son, Eric Jernigan. He is the son of Barbara Cross and Jimmy Rowell of Andalusia and was a 1995 graduate of Red Level High School. He and his family currently attend Good News Baptist Chapel, and in years past, Rowellhas volunteered his time in the church serv- ing as a youth minister. I II I ... Rowell by Jan Allred Dr. Bob Bush doesn't operate in an office like most veterinarians. If you take your beloved pet to his clinic, you won't sit in a waiting room, find maga- zines to read or have a sec- retary to take your name. Instead you'll find a truck with a camper and a man committed to providing the be'st veterinarian ser- vices possible. Dr. Bush returned to Covington County after living in North Carolina for 14 years. While there, he made his living by per- forming a unique, yet vital service, he was a veterinar- ian who made house calls. Although he doesn't have what would you call a "normal" office, his ser- vices are anything but normal His mobile clinic has everything needed to take care of animals." In- side his camper, you'll find a refrigerator filled with everything he needs to of- fer top notch animal care, a microscope, centrifuge, other medical supplies and an area where he can per- form minor surgeries and administer shots. Dr. Bush can do routine vaccinations, heartworm tests, draw blood, send blood, and perform'minor surgery such as dressing up small wounds. If a pet re- quires more extensive medi- cal procedures, he will refer you to a more traditional clinic equipped to provide the needed servicess. While working as a trav- eling vet in North Carolina,~ Bush said he made five to eight house calls everyday but for the last ten years has been working solely in the mobile clinic. He loves animals and his desire to provide services to those who can't get to a tradition- al veterinarian has ted him to contintte operating his mobile clinic in Covington County. Bush moved to North Carolina to be closer to his children but they are now grown and he has returned home to l~e closer to his ag- i Dr. Bob Bush ing parents. When Bush first moved to Raleigh, NC, he worked with a vet there for a year-the, n spent the next four years doing relief work but for the last ten years he's made house calls. Being able to provide people with a nec- essary service at a time that is convenient for them enables more people the opportunity to have see VET page 2 .. Jones . .. Tinsley II by Jan Allred The pair suspected of robbing Wachovia in Florala, as well as banks in East Brewton and Flomaton, confessed to their crimes, saying they gottheir note-passing method of robbing the banks from television. The pair claimed they robbed banks along the Alabama-Florida state lines be- cause they didn't think police could pursue them. On March 25, Rhianna Marie Jones and Jerry Tinsley were indicted on two counts of bank robbery each in Mobile, AL, by a federal grand jury for the robberies in East Brew- ton and Flomaton. If convicted they face a possible sentence of 10 years for each of the two Class C felonies. Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole said he questioned the pair and they confessed to robbing all three banks. He said he wasn't sure why the Florala robbery was not in- cluded in the couple's federal indictment but if he had to make a guess, he would say it's because Florala is in the Middle District and East Brewton and Flomaton are in the Southern District of Alabama. Bedsole said he wasn't sure if Florala was going to be included in the indictments and since he already had a confession from both Tinsley and Jones, he secured warrants for their arrests on the Florala robbery. According to Bedsole, when he interviewed Tinsley and Jones they said they were "ready to get things over with." He said they wanted to plea to all charges and wanted their time to run concurrent for the crimes. When asked why they elected to rob banks their answer was simple and to the point, "they needed the money." The couple said they robbed the Florala bank because they ran out of money.to support their drug habit. The couple said they were driving up U.S. Highway 331 and were nearly out of gas but didn't have any money. Tins- ley told Bedsole he'had seen a show on television about how a bank was robbed by passing a note to the teller and that is how they came up with the plan. He said they parked at a local gas station, walked down to a port-a-potty at Lake Jackson and then went to the bank. According to Bedsole, the pair went inside the bank, presented a note to the tell- er, gathered the cash, left the bank, walked back down to the port-a-potty and then they walked back to their car at the gas station. He said after the pair arrived back at their car at the gas station they simply drove off. The couple left Florala with $1,700 in stolen cash. The couple will face a federal court within the next 90 days,,and it is unknown how or when the two might return to face their charges in Covington County. Tinsley and Jones were arrested on March 19 after the Florala Police Department received a tip from a confidential information on the pair's identity and location. They were arrested after a brief chase in Destin, FL where they had apparently been staying in a motel. They also face charges in Florida relating to the police chase. Tinsley was charged with fleeing/eluding police and flee- ing/eluding law enforcement at high speed, resisting an of- ricer and Obstruction without violence and a third-degree felony charge of possession of a controlled substance with- out a prescription. Jones was charged with resisting an of- ricer and obstruction without violence. by Jan Allred Friday, April 2, was the last day for candidates to qualify and get their name on the ballot in the upcoming election. Candidates seeking office had to be certified by Probate Judge Ben Bowden before 5 p.m. on Friday. There are several incumbents who will face no opposi- tion in their bid to serve four more years in their current position including Covington County Board of Education incumbents Jeff Bailey and Lynda Powell; District Judge Frank "Trippy" McGuire and Circuit Judge Ashley McKa- than; Senator Jimmy Holley, who represents Covington, Coffee and parts of Dale and Houston counties. A few local races are expected to liven up this election see OFFICES page 2