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The Florala News
Florala , Alabama
October 4, 2017     The Florala News
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October 4, 2017

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ESTABLISHED 1900 Location Of One Hundred Forty-Seven Consecutive Annual Masonic Celebrations ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH YEAR NUMBER 6 " 8 PRINTED ON 100% RECYCLED PAPER WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2017 50 PER ISSUE (SALESTAX i PAGES INCLUDED) ~i i BIB Covington County Circuit Court Judge Lex Short and is to be matched by $133,000.00 in matching and District Attorney Walt Merrell announced last funds or in-kind services. Merrell noted that much week that they have partnered together to create of those matching services will be provided by the a court division specifically tailored to the needs Covington County Drug Court and the Office of of veterans within the court system. In addition the District Attorney. Merrell added that the grant to the creation of this new court, they announced calls for the creation of three new jobs, and the that they have received a $533,000.00 project recruitment of a host of volunteers. award for the implementation of the 22nd Judicial Short said one of the strengths of the project Circuit Veterans Treatment Court. proposal was the partnership with the Opp AM- As for the need, Merrell explained,"We have VETS Post 23. "Walt and I reached out to the men come to realize that veterans face unique chal- and women of that Post, and they were quick to lenges as they navigate through any judicial pro- answer the call to serve." A key component of Vet- cess. We all bring our life experiences with us on erans Treatment Court will be pairing court par- any journey; veterans bring life experiences that ticipants with veteran mentors. The mentors w ll are unique only to them. This Court will help vet- serve as a support outlet for the veteran particit erans find recovery or stability or whatever it is pants. "Any veteran in the county who is interest- that they need so that they do not return to the ed in being a mentor can contact the Opp AMVETS criminal justice system in the future." Post 23 or the Office of the District Attorney about Short added that, "We expect the Court to be how to serve." fully functioning by the end of the year. We will be In addition to providing mentors, "many of the prepared to service as many veterans as we can. out-of-court services that this grant will provide These men and women made vital sacrifices for us for will be offered at the Opp AMVETS Post. We and, as a Court system, we are going to do what- are excited about this partnership and what it ever we can within the bounds of the law to help means for the people of Opp. We know that this them restore their lives." partnership will flourish for the benefit of the vet- Merrell will be the administrator over the pro- erans," Merrell said. gram. Short will be the presiding judge. The proj- Short and Merrell previously assembled a steer- ect, made possible through a grant by the U.S. ing committee to begin planning, in the event that Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will pay $400,000.00 over three years see COURT page 7 Sherrif will .. Sheriff Meeks sheriff Dennis Meeks started with the Cov- ington County Sheriff's Office in 1993 as a dis- patch and corrections officer. He graduated from Southwest Ala- bama Police Academy in 1994 and worked as a Patrolman with the Sheriff's Office until be- ing promoted to inves- tigations. He served as FFD plans wreck Chief Investigator and Chief Deputy before scenario for FHS being elected Sheriff of The Florala Fire De- Covington County in partment is planning November 2006. Sher- to stage a wreck sce- iff Meeks was re-elect- nario with Florala High ed to his second term School students on in November 2010. In Thursday, October 12 at November 2014 he was noon at the entrance to elected to his third term the Kiwanis Park. as Sheriff of Covington The event is being County. planned to show the Sheriff Meeks was dangers of texting and born and raised in Cov- driving. ington County. His par- Texting can make ve- ents are Johnnie and hicle accidents 23 times Ouida Meeks. He grad- more likely to happen. uated from Opp High Distractions from tex- SchoOl. He is married ting outweigh distract- to the former Altheia ibility from other ac- Veasey Mullen. They tivities, such as talking have three daughters with a passenger, ad- and six grandchildren, justing the sound sys- They are members tern or talking on a cell of Sot thside Baptist phone. Church in Andalusia, Department of Trans- Alabama. He is a grad- portation 2013 statis- uate of the Southwest tics show that 3,154 Alabama Police Acad- people died and another emy. 424,000 were injured in During his tenure motor vehicle crashes as sheriff there have caused by drivers who been two additions to were distracted because they were texting or us- see SHERIFF page 7 ing cell phones. U.S. POSTAL INSPECTORS WARN SENIORS AGAINST SWEEPSTAKES SCAMS: The Florala News 1155 Fifth Street Florala, AL 36442 SHAUN WHITE AND JORDAN JONES team Michael's ball carrier. See story and photos page 8. up to bring down a St. ilil:!!l!i!i!fl[j/!l!! 111,.......... Inspector Ett~" specialty is mail fraud, and the story heheard from Mrs. Nelson is one he's heard far too many_ times. see SCAM page 3 Mrs. Nelson's 90-year-old husband, a for- mer preacher, entered a nursing home a year ago, and it doeSn't look as if he'll be leaving any time soon. Although it costs more than $2,000 a month to keep him there, the couple's nest egg, constructed from a lifetime of savings, will be just enough to cover his expenses--and hers. At least that's what her financial advisor told her earlier this year. Now, however, he's not so sure. Mrs. Nelson has gotten hooked on what she calls "playing sweepstakes games" and what he refers to as "gambling." But Postal Inspec- tors, who comprise the federal law enforcement branch of the U.S. Postal Service, have another name for it: telemarketing fraud. They're work- ing to find and arrest the unscrupulous fraud- sters who used illegal come-ons to swindle Mrs. Nelson and other elderly citizens like her out of their life savings Postal Inspector Mike Ellis of the Postal Inspection Service's Oklahoma City office in- terviewed Mrs. Nelson after Bert Mackie, vice chairman of Security National Bank in Enid and a former member of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, asked Postal Inspectors for advice. "We need to raise awareness of the problem," said Mackie, "because if these illegal operators found the Nelsons in Enid, they'll find victims to target in other towns." Just Too Good to be True The Florala City council approved the general fund budget for the 2018 fiscal year at their meet- ing last week. The motion to approve was passed in a 3-2 vote with Councilwoman Sue Mathis and Councilman Jeff Burleson casting the opposing votes. The budget follows: City of Florala .... GENERAL FUND BUDGET 2018 .,,