Casino provides boost to local economy

Published 6:06pm Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I was interested to learn that a great percentage of Wind Creek employees come from out of town.

Monroe County, Baldwin County, Conecuh County and Escambia County, Florida, supply quite a few of these workers. This is good because that indicates they have enough jobs there for so many, including our local workers. These jobs are so well diversified and they spill over into three shifts during the 24-hour span.

From the valet parkers to the cleaning workers, hundreds are gainfully employed. You’ll see workers at the movie theatres, the bowling alley, the arcade, the restaurants and fast food cafes, security areas, casino floor (cocktail waitresses and waiters), slot machine technologists, club card and cashier counters and booths and overall management. And, I learned that management tries to place employees in positions that best fit their talents.

This is especially good for Monroe County. This area has been hit hard with the loss of jobs over the past few years. Several factories have either shut down completely or gone elsewhere, leaving a huge trail of unemployment. Their inland location and an absence of interstate access places this county at a big disadvantage. But credit them for capitalizing on their “To Kill A Mockingbird” shows and events to bring in excellent revenue.

For all purposes, you can credit the Creeks for luring other non-casino related jobs to that ever expanding area of our town. In two more years you will see even more business coming in, bringing shoppers from far away as Mobile, Bay Minette, Georgiana, Evergreen and northwest Florida.

A couple of years ago I wrote about the chinquapin trees, the quince trees and the loquat trees. And, in that column I asked “where are these delectable trees now?”

Surely all of you who are southern natives are familiar with these edibles. I don’t see any of them anymore. I use to see them — and eat them — all the time when I was growing up. Perhaps you did, too.

That chinquapin was a tasty little nut enclosed in a thorny burr and ripened in the fall. A member of the chestnut family, a knife was needed to dig it out. Many roasted them or they could be eaten right out of their shells.

I learned that cutting back our forests was one of the main reasons they seem to have disappeared.

Wild animals also feasted on them, especially foxes and squirrels.

If you want to order some chinquapin plants, I found some web sites where you can order them. The good thing about growing these plants is the fact they do real well in southern Alabama and northwest Florida.

Loquats were also very popular in my younger days. Unlike a kumquat, they are very sweet and juicy. You could tell they were ripe when they turned orange in color. Because of their sweet taste you found it somewhat difficult to stop eating so many at one time, kind of like trying to lay down peanuts.

Used also for jellies and special desserts it was quite common to find these trees growing on your home yards and lawns. One of the problems growing them was keeping the birds away. If you had a loquat tree in your yard, you surely would need a scarecrow.

Now, the quince was a peculiar fruit. It grew on a sizable tree and it had a tough, somewhat tart taste. Some classmates would bring them to school but I never could understand how they could tolerate such a “bitter” taste. By the same token, many folks used them in making jelly. And, this was also difficult to understand how this fruit could blend into such sweet jelly.

Well, like so many other things of the past, these foods are practically obsolete today. However, I am thinking about ordering some of those “chinkapin” bushes just for old time’s sakes.

I almost forgot about the mullberry trees and the Chinaberry trees. They, too, are not seen very much today like they were years ago. Those sweet mullberries made good jelly too. And, how many of you ever used Chinaberry “bullets” for your pop guns?

Now, taking a look at some local and area news from 1966, George Scoggin, the manager of Thompson’s Fine Clothing, was elected president of the Atmore Jaycees.
W.M. Horton retired as principal of Davisville School and moved back to his former Union, Mississippi, home. His wife, Bernice, also an educator here, retired that same year.

Andalusia edged out our Little League All-Stars in a district tournament held here. Members of that team were Randy Hall, John Bachelor, Clint Smith, Curt Donaldson, Frankie Dailey, Gilbert Gorum, Larry Smith, Freddie Troutman, Mike Garrard, Don Ward, Julian Thomas, Jimbo Walker, Damon Bell and Charles Wood. John Bachelor and Heron Hall were the coaches.

Former ECHS basketball coach, Frank Cannon, took a job as a physical education instructor at Yancey State (now Faulkner State Community College).

Next week we will take a look at more news from years gone by.

“…yes, it always whispers to me … those days of long ago …”

You can email Lowell McGill at exam@frontiernet.net.

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