Commission story has ‘legs, just won’t die’

Published 3:08 am Wednesday, June 13, 2012

“The commission is exploring more options to obtain that clarity, including whether the Interior department’s letter may provide a basis for judicial review.” That’s the quote by Bryan Taylor in Blake Bell’s Atmore Advance June 9 story. Taylor is the attorney for the Escambia County Commission.

Remember my telling you this story, our commissioners and their fight against the Porch Creek Indians, had legs and “just won’t die?” Well, it is alive and kicking as the commission is on record stating “there is a next step.”

I won’t get into all the details of all that was said by the attorney and the commission because you can read Blake’s excellent story, which was carried in our weekend edition.

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From what I have read, some of these commissioners are quite vocal in their push against the Tribe. Atmore’s Commissioner Smith does not echo this push as he has publicly stated his support for the Creeks.

Who can say how this thing will wind up? But I know this story has been the main topic of “coffee shop talk.” If this effort by the commission continues, rumors indicate some voters will carry venom with them to the next election. Hundreds and hundreds of jobs would vanish if the tribe’s operation is forced to close. This would be a blow to thousands of family members. The Tribe, however, feels they are operating in the proper manner after receiving a reply from the Indians’ national office last week.

Yes, the story, indeed, does have legs. It just won’t die.

There was some good news coming from the commission Tuesday as outlined in today’s edition. That news, which was released after I wrote this column, included an invitation by our commissioners to meet with the PCI Tribal Council, hopefully to come up with an answer to solve this conflict. Let’s see what happens.

I failed to mention three other firms in my column last week about  North Street businesses back in the 1940s and 1950s. Of course, one of those businesses was our own Atmore Advance. A job printing shop was operated in connection with the newspaper. Alabama Power Company was a fixture on this street back then and, in later years, Atmore’s Ford dealership moved from West Nashville Avenue to North Main.

I spoke with Mr. Johnny’s daughter, Ann Staff, who is married to Bill Staff, and learned he is still somewhat active at age 96 in his Foley Flea Market on Highway 59, just north of Gulf Shores.

Although he does not devote full time, you will find him there a couple days of the week. Ann says her dad has maintained this thriving business since he moved from Atmore several years ago.  Another family member manages the business she said.

Helen, his older daughter, now lives In Fairhope where she is a practicing attorney.

After receiving several medical degrees she entered Jones Law School at age 57 and now has a law office with partners in Fairhope, Anne said. She is also involved in real Estate in south Baldwin. Her husband is a retired physician.

Now, the Yellow Front Grocery Store was a relatively short-lived business and was located across the street from the old Alabama Power Company office.

Based out of Tuscaloosa, they carried a full line of groceries using a theme of discount prices. I remember Bob Morrisette, former Atmore Advance publisher, telling me his wife Joyce and some of her family were involved in ownership of this small chain of stores.

More next week.

Lowell McGill can be reached at