Alabama just not ready for gambling, whiskey?

Published 9:19 pm Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Some seem to think casinos are bad and people should not work there. Could this also be the thinking of our commission and their legal crutches? This, of course is not the reason for their actions as they are pursuing legal matters.By the way, as of Monday when I wrote this column, things have been quiet this week in the battle of the commissioners against the Poarch Creek Indians.

But uproar by a few in North Alabama has brought some recognition of a different form. You see, The Jack Daniels Whiskey Company, which is located just across the north Alabama state line in the state of Tennessee, announced they were building a whiskey barrel plant in Lawrence County about five miles west of Decatur. Construction will begin in 2014 and 200 workers will be given the opportunity to fill these barrel making jobs.

Being a tee totaler I know very little about whiskey. Perhaps some of you do (I am not trying to be satirical) .But some have said we don’t want a plant like this in our neighborhood. Well, what is one to do? People must work-don’t they? Our Governor wanted the plant and fought to get it. One person was heard saying soon “you can’t get through Alabama without whiskey and vice”, referring to the whiskey barrel plant in the northern part of the state and the casinos and dog racing tracks in the southern part of the state.

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Now, I realize that whiskey and gambling is bad. But I try to be broadminded about it. Why? Well, I know some friends who work in the gambling industry and I know they must have jobs to survive. I know, too, they are good people-church going people. Thus, it is, indeed, a problem to many.

I have given you my thoughts. Now you give me yours. I won’t tell anyone. Remember, don’t be hypercritical in your thoughts.

In some local news some of the conversations carried on at our coffee drinking sessions at Busters. (I drink water because my half cup of morning coffee gets me through day okay) is a camaraderie with my friends making the day complete. A gathering of sometimes a dozen of us, our main topic is politics. Thankfully we are of the same accord in our political beliefs. That is- all but one wayward soul who leans in another direction. But we don’t hold this against him, not at all. He is just as welcome we are. If only we could get our Government to listen to our group we feel the country would be much better off. Some in our group talk about new trucks and cars. Others talk about boats and trailers. A couple talks about world tours. I suggest some car dealers or car salesmen drop in on us. You might pick up a sale for a new vehicle.

I do a lot of listening in this group. I think they fail to recognize I am older than most of them. And, at my age I don’t care for new cars, boats and trailers and world tours. I am trying to wait around, waiting for a couple of them to pass my age but don’t seem to cooperate.

I apologize for omitting the lead paragraph on Mr. Johnny Hoehn in my column last week. That paragraph contained information about his North Main Street business, Hoehn’s Trading Center. A main stay for years on this street he was a highly regarded businessman. And, as I said last week, he, at the age of 96, will drop by a couple days a week at his Foley Flea Market located on Highway 59.

Here is some good news for those of you who are waiting for oil drilling wells to pop up on your lands. Rumors have it that additional drilling companies are finding tremendous interest in our part of the state. Conecuh County is now one of the most favorable counties for oil and gas exploration and movement back into the State Farm, Huxford, McCullough, Booneville and lower Monroe County areas could increase as deep pools of oil could possibly be explored. We will keep you posted as news becomes available.

In years past, 1964 in fact, Kimbrell Cunningham was recognized with a Boy Scout “Silver Beaver” award for his many years of scout work. In addition to his efforts in that field he was highly regarded in our youth baseball work. Many of you played under his guidance back in the 40s, 50s and the 60s. I wish folks like Buddy Vickery and many others were still around. I am sure they would tell of his inspiration to them. Those were the days when Byrne Field was the center of sports activities. For those of you who were not living here back Byrne Field was our “real” baseball site. And, it drew fans galore when our high school football teams played its games there.

Today Murray Johnson continues our baseball heritage devoting numerous hours of hard work and time keeping our youth teams alive and kicking. People like Murray sometimes fail to get the recognition they deserve. Those many times he has spent out there at our ball parks working into long hours of the night should be publicly recognized. Perhaps before Mayor Shell leaves office he will see that Murray gets a plaque for all that he has done.

We will have more news from Atmore’s yesteryears in our column next week.

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

Lowell McGill can be reached at