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The Florala News
Florala , Alabama
July 7, 2010     The Florala News
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July 7, 2010

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ESTABLISHED ! 900 Location Of One Hundred Forty Consecutive Annual Masonic Celebrations ONE HUNDRED TENTH YEAR WEDNESDAY NUMBER ! 7" 8 PAGES PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER JULY 7, 20 ! 0 50 PER ISSUE CS^LEST^X INCLUDED} On Beautiful Lake Jackson And Gateway To The Gulf Coast FHS wins $16,000 state grant for aquaculture program Florala High School's suc- "Florala's aquaculture cessful aquaculture program program is an outstanding will benefit The program's hands- ,from a $16,0o0 on experience pays off for s t a t e students... Corn- munity Ser- vices Grant a n nounced on Tuesday, July 6, by Speaker of the House Seth Hammett and state Senator Jimmy Holley. The money will help the school purchase and install equip- ment for the program's teaching facility and to purchase a wind turbine to produce electricity for the building. - Speaker Seth Hammett exam- ple of a school that con- trib - utes to the local com- m u - nity," said Hammett. 'rhe program's hands-on experi- ence pays off for students once they graduate and local residents benefit now by re- ceiving fish raised through the program. This grant will help ensure the program has the tools it needs to help students and the commu- nity." GOVERNOR RILEY and Speaker of the House Seth Hammett visited Florala High School in 2008for an upclose inspection of the aquaculture program. (file photo) "Florala High School has done an excellent job of de- veloping a curriculum that serves both its students and the community," Hol- ley said. "These Community Services Grants are aimed at helping schools, but like with Florala High School, they often benefit the local residents as well.'" Principal Donny Powell thanked Hammett and Hol- ley for their support of the program. "Our goal is for Florala High School to be the best in their district," said Powell. '"We appreci- ate their helping us achieve that goal." A photo of God's handi- work taken at the Beaches of South Wal- ton. (photo by Merle Wood- ham) Doster to stand trial for Texas murder by Jan Allred Already a convicted mur- derer in the State of Ala- bama and living his life on Alabama's Death Row, Os- car Roy Doster  finally face a Texas jury and the family of his alleged victim, Dennis Courtney. Doster, was convicted by a Covington County jury in 2006 of capital murder dur- ing a first degree burglary, capital murder during a first degree robbery and capital murder by a weapon fired from outside a dwelling in the 2002 death of Gantt resident Paul D. LeMaster. Circuit Judge Ashley McKa- than sentenced Doster to death by lethal injection de- spite a jury's recommenda- tion he serve life in prison without the possibility of .parole. At the time of Courtney's murder, Doster and James Harnage were escapees from the Covington County Jail and were headed west, allegedly stopping briefly in Freestone County. Court- ney lived in Louisiana but had a ranch he was work- ing in Freestone County, was reported missing to the. Freestone County Sheriffs Office. He was found dead April 7, 2005 at his ranch in eastern Freestone county. While searching the ranch for evidence, deputies discovered that Courtney's Ford dually pickup truck and a 4-wheeler were miss- ing and they suspected the person or persons who killed him had probably taken the missing vehicles. It would be two weeks before the vehicles and suspects were found, one in California and one in Neveda. Doster was arrested in California after he sought medical treatment for in- juries sustained when he wrecked a 4-wheeler, which turned out to be the one sto- len from Courtney's ranch. Harnage was arrested in Las Vegas after police spot- ted a pickup truck matching the description of the one missing from Courtney's ranch. Doster and Harnage were indicted on capital murder charges in Freestone Coun- ty on May 30, 2007 in an at- tempt to ensure compliance with the Texas speedy trial act but according to the ap- pears court ruling it wasn't a violation of the Texas speedy trial act but the vio- lation of the federal speedy trial act that resulted in the justices dismissing the capi- tal murder charge against Doster. However, in February 2009, the Texas 10th Court Appeals reinstated the capi- tal murder charges against Doster by overturning the earlier ruling. In April 2010, Doster was given a July 19th trial start date by 87th District Judge Deborah Evans at a sta- tus hearing. Though there is now a firm start date for Doster's trial, he has not given up his efforts to have the capital murder charge against him dismissed and an appeal has been filed on hisbehalf to the U.S. Su- preme Court once again seeking to have the charges dismissed on the contention that the IADA had been vio- lated. At the status hearing the prosecution told the judge they expect to call about 60 witnesses from several states and explained logisti- cal concerns make an imme- diate trial date impossible. The prosecution also esti- mated jury selection could take as long as two months. Judge Evans set jury selec- tion to start on July 19th. She also noted in court and for the record that she had received several letters from Doster so she had prepared a motion ordering Doster be examined for mental competency to stand trial. Upon hearing of her order to determine his mental ability to stand trial, Doster quickly informed Evans he had been examined twice in Alabama. A panel of 350 prospective jurors has been called report to the Fairfield Civic Center in Freestone County for jury selection. Each prospec- tive juror will be required to complete a questionnaire of several pages being pre- pared by the judge. The Texas Attorney General's office said the case is sched- uled to begin on September 7, 2010 in Freestone County, TX. There will be a 12-per- son jury and four alternates hearing the case. Doster has continued to maintain his innocence say- ing he didn't murder Court- ney but prosecutors feel they have clear and convinc- ing evidence to the contrary. The prosecution is currently trying to work out a plea deal with Doster's co-defen- dant, Harnage, in exchange for his testimony against Doster. The State of Texas is seeking the death penalty against Doster. Project Share assistance available by Jan Allred The Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross has began accepting applications for its utility assis- tance program titled Project Share. According to County Chapter Executive Director Merrill Davis, the program is designed to help disabled residents and senior citizens with low-to-moderate income to cover the rising cost of keeping cool. In order to qualify for Project Share individuals must be age 65 or older or on disability. Project Share provides assistance to those who qualify with cooling their homes in the summer and heating their homes in the winter. Davis said while assistance in cooling their homes is available to those who qualify, Project Share does not purchase fans, air conditioning units, or other cooling appliances/devices for homes. Davis said the sole purpose of Project Share is to help qualified residents pay their utility bills and if ap- proved funds goes directly to the utility company. Applications for Project Share can be picked up at the Red Cross Office at 234 Hillcrest Drive in Andalusia; the Florala Senior Center; and the Opp Senior Center. Re- member, in order to qualify for Project Share individuals/ families must not only meet age or disability requirements, they must also meet financial requirements. Proof of in- come and social security cards are required for every mem- ber of the household and applications include a monthly expense sheet and the summer program requires residents to prove a medical need for air conditioning by having a health care professional verify the need for cooling. Once residents pick up and complete the application they need to make an appointment with the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross Project Share case- worker. The Project Share Caseworker will begin meeting with applicants on Monday, July 12, 2010 at their office on Hillcrest Drive in Andalusia For more information, call 334-428-2680. Funds are limited and are dispersed.on a first come first serve basis. City garbage pick-up discussed by council by Jan Allred At their last regular meet- ing, the Florala City Coun- cil once again discussed the city providing garbage pick up. Allied Waste Manage- ment currently receives $108,000 a year for garbage Collection services but their contract will expire at the end of 2011. The city has discussed collecting their own gar- bage several times in the past with the main concern being the cost of purchas- ing and maintaining a gar- bage truck. However, many residents are dissatisfied with Allied regarding lack of garbage pick up, broken and abused dumpsters and overall dissatisfaction with the services provided keeps garbage pick up a hot topic. Councilman Jimmy Wal- drop and Councilwoman Hazel Lee were asked to perform a feasibility study to determine how much it would cost to begin garbage collection. In the study, towns similar in size to Flo- rala will be researched to find out how they handle their garbage collection. Not only is the cost of a vehi- cle and manpower an issue, the city would have to find a landfill where they could dump the garbage. A "Walk of Fame" which will be a way to honor those from Florala who are out- standing achievers was pro- posed by Mayor Robert Wil- liamson. The city would erect gran- ite or bronze markers on the sidewalk or on building walls outside of Florala City Hall honoring to honor those residents. Proposed names include Rodney J. Evans who served in the Vietnam War and received the Med- al of Honor; Dwight Stone, who played in the National Football League; and Mark Gitenstein, who is currently serving as U.S. Ambassador to Romania. The Walk of Fame would serve as a constant remind- er of the people who made it despite the obstacles that stood in their way. Williamson said he would like to see names added to the Walk of Fame annually. He would like to see this as a joint venture with the Tri-Cities Chamber of Com- merce. The council fully sup- ported the project and voted to move forward with and begin pricing the project. In other business, the council: *voted to repair a ditch next to the RV park. *signed a letter of intent to donate property to the Habitat for Humanity proj- ect. *discussed road pav- ing projects in the city and how to determine which roads are a priority. Several things will be considered in determining which roads will be paved first, such as the number of homes of the road, the amount of traffic on the road (including resi- dents and non-residents), and school bus routes. *voted to donate between $300-$500 to the Southeast Alabama Mental Health Board after they received a letter requesting a donation. The council voted to donate the same amount they do- nated last year, which was between $300-$500. *voted to place direction- al lights on the new On the Square Park and Veteran's Memorial. *voted to use remaining Federal Emergency Man- agement Agency (FEMA) funds to construct a new boat pier close to the city boat launch. The project de- pends on approval from the Corps of Engineers.