Newspaper Archive of
The Florala News
Florala , Alabama
May 20, 2009     The Florala News
PAGE 1     (1 of 10 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 1     (1 of 10 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
May 20, 2009

Newspaper Archive of The Florala News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

%E.~.-F~ LE ,.r,,..~ 9'~ ~ $6- ~ 20S ~ ~ ~ 4 h, ~b,, ~-:. ~i ~ ,~ ~- : .......... ESTABLISHED ! 900 Location Of One Hundred Thirty-Eight Consecutive Annual Masonic Celebrations ONE HUNDRED NINTH YEAR- NUMBER 5-WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2009- ! 0 PAGES- 50 PER ISSUE IS^'EST^X'NC'UDEDI On Beauti Lake i PROCLAMATION SIGNED- Joyce Matthews, Mary Bass, Shirley Johnson and Cindy Bass look on as Flo. rala Mayor Robert Williamson signs a Proclamation for Poppy Days. FOR POPPY DA YS Whereas, The annual distribution of Buddy Poppies by the Vet- erans of Foreign Wars of the United States has been of- ficially recognized and endorsed by government leaders since 1922, and Whereas. VFW Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled vet- erans, and the proceeds of this worth fund-raising cam- paign are used exclusively for the benefit of disabled and needy veterans, and Whereas, The basic purpose of the annual distribution of Buddy Poppies by the Veterans of Foreign Wars is eloquently reflected in the desire to "Honor the Dead by Helping the Living," Now, therefore, I, Robert Williamson, Mayor of the City of Florala, do hereby urge the citizens of this com- munity to recognize the merits of this cause by contrib- uting generously to its support through your donations for Buddy Poppies' from American Legion Post #304 during May 23, 200~ through May 30, 2009, as symbols of appreciation for the sacrifices of our honored dead. I urge all patriotic citizens to wear a Buddy Poppy as mute evidence of our gratitude to the men and women of this country who have risked their lives in defense of the freedoms which we continue to enjoy as American citizens. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereto set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Florala to be affixed this 21st day of April, 2009. Robert Williamson, Mayor Attest: Kathy Rathel, City Clerk Memorial Day Observance at Greenwood Cemetery Theme: You Are Not Forgotten Florala Greenwood Cemetery Monday, May 25 10 a.m. American Legion Auxiliary #304 of Florala, AL is inviting everyone to the Memorial Observance. Flags will be given out after the program. Speaker is John B. Givhan a retired captain of the United'States Army. The American Legion asks all merchants to fly the American flag on Memorial Day. , state to seek death penalty Thomas Ford McCoy, accused in the April 10 shooting death of Baker resident Curtis Brown, has been indicted on a charge of first degree premeditated murder with a fire- arm. A Walton County, FL grand jury returned the indict- ment on May 11 before Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells. State Attorney Bill Eddins has released a statement saying ,his office intends to seek the death penalty if McCoy is con- victed as charged. McCoy, 42, was arrested in Tampa on April 21, having fled the scene of the shooting, which occurred in DeFuniak Springs. He was recently transported to DeFuniak Springs following hospital treatment for wounds sustained during federal marshals' attempt to arrest him in Tampa, FL. He is reportedly still recovering from those wounds. by Jan Allred As the debate over elec- tronic bingo heats up, the City of Florala has joined the debate. Florala Mayor Robert Williamson confirms that he met with represen- tatives interested in bring- ing electronic bingo to the city. The debate over elec- tronic slot machines has been in the forefront of the news lately. The Sweet Home Alabama Coalition launched a massive public relations crusade to bring the issue of electronic slot machines before the voters and let them decide if they do or don't want electronic slot machines legalized in the state. The issue of gam- bling is not new to Alabama as developer Ronnie Gilley is looking to build a country music entertainment theme park in Houston County. The project, Country Crossings, has been called a cross between Disney World and Branson, MO will in- clude an amphitheatre, resort hotels, amusement park, restaurants shops with the focal point being country music. Gilley's de- sire to place electronic slot machines inside the country music theme park sparked heated debate and brought the issue of gambling in Ala- bama back to the headlines. At the May 11, 2009, Cov- ington County Commission meeting representatives from the Covington Baptist Association were on hand to ask the commission to make electronic gambling illegal in the county. Dr. Fred Karthau's, pas- tor of the First Baptist Church in Andalusia, said the Covington Baptist Asso- ciation (CBA) had adopted a resolution in April to en- courage all public officials to use their authority to keep electronic gambling out of the county. Karthaus stated the Covington Bap- tist Association, along with residents of the county, are confused as to the position of the commission on the is- sue of gambling. By passing a resolution making elec- tronic gambling illegal in the county, commissioners would show residents they see BINGO page 2 i r~ h House Speaker "I am honored to serve of, say he would never run. Seth Hammett of Andalusia, an- the people of District 92 and I m never going to say nev- nounced that he will not I can never'express enough er." Hammett after being seek re-election to the Dis- trict 92 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives. He represents all of Coving- ton County and the eastern half of Escambia County. First elected to the House in 1978, Hammett has served as speaker of the House since January 1999. He is one of only two public officials in history to serve three terms as speaker. Hammett, a resident of Andalusia who was born in Rose Hill, decided no to seek re-election after many discussions with his family. He will continue to serve out the balance of his cur- rent term, which will end in November 2010. His obliga- tions as speaker will con- tinue through January 10, 2011. "After 31 years of service, I believe the time has come ... Representative Hammett for me to step aside," Ham- mett said. 'Wfy decision to leave is final." The speaker decided to announce his intentions at the end of the 2009 regular session to end speculation about his plans before fund raising begins next month for the 2010 elections. "I wanted to make this deci- sion known because the political season will start in earnest the beginning of June and all involved de- serve to know my intentions now," he said. appreciation to them for giving me the opportunity to be their representative in Montgomery," Hammett said. "I intend to do the best possible job in continuing to represent them during my final 20 months as speak- er." According to Hammett, he has spent half of his life serving the people of Cov- ington County and the State of Alabama and he's sim- ply ready for a change. He has also served as majority leader and as speaker pro tem during his 31 years in the House. Hammett had considered a Democratic run for Governor in 2010 but announced earlier this year that he would not run for Governor. However, though he said at this time he doesn't expect to run for governor, he stopped short asked if he would consider tl a run for governor after the I 2010 elections. Local officials were disap- pointed that Hammett de- cided not to seek re-election but said they understood his desire to spend more time with his family. De- spite Hammett's political success, he never forgot his l" roots or the people of Cov- ington County. He has been instrumental in everything I from securing the nursing i~ home in Florala to the four I~ laning of Highway 84 be- tween Andalusia and Opp. His dedication and commit- ment to Covington County and its residents can never tl be replaced. He said he plans to con- tinue his job as economic development director for PowerSouth Energy Coop- erative. by Dotty Nist Plans are underway for Walton County to acquire a unique north central-county site for public recreational use and other purposes. Located six miles east of Paxton near the Alabama line, the 34-acre Natural Bridge Springs and Creek property is named for a limestone arch formation created by the springs run- ning under a road. Always attracting visitors, the site has long served as a popu- lar place for swimming in a pool formed by the springs. Natural Bridge Creek is part of the watersl~ed of the Choctawhatchee River, a. state-designated Outstand- ing Florida Water. According to Pat Black- shear of Walton County Planning and Development Services, lesser-visited parts of the. property are equally impressive, with the spring continuing through a series of pools and rock formations "It's an incredible karstol- ogy," she said. The Natural Bridge site also has much historical interest. According to re- search by the county plan- ning division staff, the area is listed on the Florida Mas- ter Site File as a prehistoric campground, and records indicate that its past uses have included a turn-of-the- century stage coach station, a health resort with hotels THE NATURAL BRIDGE property is named for an arch formed by Natural Bridge Creek running under a road. (Photo courtesy of Walton County Planning Division.) and saloons, a railroad spur logging community, and a grist mill site. The property is composed mostly of upland hardwood forest, considered uncom- mon for the state, with several acres of wetlands, including the creek and its shoreline. Its several types of plant communities are mostly undisturbed. when Walton County District 2 Commissioner Kenneth Pridgen learned that this privately-owned property was for sale last year, he proposed that the county obtain an appraisal and seek grant funds to ac- quire it. The property was appraised at a value of $863,000. In March 2009, the Northwest Florida Wa- ter Management District committed $100,000 toward the county acqaisition of the parcel, and the following month Walton County com- mitted $76,000 from county contingency funds to meet requirements for the grant application. In May, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners authorized their grants coordinator to submit the application for the Florida Communities Trust Florida Forever Pro- gram. However, Blackshear explainedl the county then learned that the legislature had cut out all funding for that program, so the appli- cation was not submitted. Still reluctant to let this see BRIDGE page 2