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Alabama is focus of much national news

Have you noticed the number of stories about the state of Alabama circulating in the national media these days?

Take, for instance, the most recent arrest of the Joran Vandersloot, the suspect involved in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway five years ago. Now, he is the prime suspect in the murder of a young Peruvian lady. His state of affairs could reopen the initial investigation and Alabama attorneys are becoming involved in it. The national news media is picking up on it big time.

The real big story is the oil spill on our beaches. I learned this week that more than 500 media outlets have settled in on beaches in northwest Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. One Internet writer painted a very vivid picture about our coastline reporting that he never realized Alabama had such beautiful beaches. He went on to describe our sugar white sands and emerald green waters of the Gulf. Many TV networks have assigned crews to present this disaster on nightly newscasts.

Unfortunately, we may not be able to boast of these scenic treasures now that the tar balls and wads of gooey oil have rolled onto our shores.

Another case focusing national attention on the state was that of University of Alabama-Huntsville professor Amy Bishop. She is charged in those murders up in Huntsville a few months ago. She is also allegedly linked to her brother’s death several years ago.

Yet, another Alabama story of interest is the denial of electronic slot machine-style gambling in the state.

Apparently there are thousands out there who did not agree with the recent Alabama Supreme Court decision and they, reportedly, plan to cast votes for democratic candidates this fall thinking this party most closely represents their viewpoints.

Now, understand, this is not my opinion, but really, I am not seeing very many Republicans advocating casinos in their platforms. I read Internet stories where these same “pro gamblers” have taken issue with our local Poarch Creeks. Some say it is unfair for them to operate casinos and deny opportunity for non Indian casinos. But, you must understand, this pro gambling group is apparently unaware that Native Americans operate under different laws. And, you certainly should applaud tribes, including our own Poarch Creeks, for their entrepreneurial efforts. They are our most prolific employer in Atmore.

The recent gubernatorial election sent thousands to “YOU Tube” on the Internet to watch two speeches by Tim James, who currently is in third place and probably out of the run off. But, then again, his 208 votes behind the second place candidate are really not that many votes to overcome. His race for Alabama’s top spot has drawn much national attention. By the way I think he has handled his situation with dignity.

Star Jackson, a 4-Star quarterback for the Crimson Tide, stirred national headlines last week when he announced he was transferring to a smaller Georgia College.

But, it was a statement by Coach Nick Saban, who is looking at 60 years of age not too far off, that sent horror down the backs of Tide opponents. Saban told the world at the SEC meeting in Destin he was at Alabama to stay. Many mocked this statement, but he explained his plan at Alabama included his being there for many years. And, most everyone realizes it is very difficult to “move around the coaching ranks” when you are nearing 65 years of age. Just ask Steve Spurrier.

Well so much for our being in the national headlines. What about this new contraption called Facebook?

Someone talked me into joining it and I still don’t know how it works. I do know I have been bombarded with photos and names of friends and relatives, some I don’t even know.

I get a kick reading this Web site, particularly reading some of the remarks where ego is the main theme. I have bookmarked one person’s Web site who is really “tooting his own horn.” It is a site full of proudness (or is it pride or grandness). But I suppose it is his way of generating satisfaction. What’s that saying “you can brag, and even lie, but when you begin to speak then all doubt is removed.” I think some of these Facebook posters fall into this category. Then again, most of them post very timely and interesting comments.

Now, here is some news from 1966.

The Atmore Post office underwent a complete renovation adding extra wide service windows and 3,200 feet of additional space. H.C. Williams was the post master back then.

Nell Hill, long time post mistress at Canoe Post Office announced her retirement that year. I can still see her driving that little one seater Nash Metropolitan. When her brother, Russell Stillings, traveled with her from Canoe to Atmore it made for a tight squeeze. Nell, who was married to Dr. Clark Hill, named her grandson after him.

ECHS Principal Travis Black was named to head up the District One Secondary Principals Association. Later after he moved to Montgomery he would often come out to the Auburn University-Montgomery (AUM) baseball games where we would talk about his time in Atmore. He was an avid supporter of my son, Bryan, who played on that team and he came by the day the team flew to Idaho to play in the NAIA College World Series. By the way, that was the first and only time my wife flew in a plane. Eight of us flew out there thanks to the influence of Boyd Sigafoose who had connections with management at the airport. Our tickets were ridiculously reduced due to his efforts.

Mrs. J.H. Biggs, Atmore Advance Lottie Community correspondent, was recognized for her reporting all the news from that community.

Several from here went down to Mobile Municipal Auditorium to see the Lawrence Welk Show on tour. Welk had one of the leading network TV programs in 1966.

Finally, let me say hats off to “The New York Times.” Today (Monday) they published a surprising editorial in favor of our getting “a fair shake” in the bidding process for the tanker refueling contract. In so many words they implied giving the contract to Boeing could create harm with our European friends who want to build the planes in Mobile. It was a “fair and balanced news piece” and I commend their stand. You can read about it on the Internet at their Web site www.newyorktimes.com/opinion.

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net.