414 Washington St.   Marion, Al. 36756     phone: 334-683-6318  fax: 334-683-4616
Publisher: Lorrie Rinehart       Editor: Daniel L. Bamberg       Advertising: Lisa Averett      Bookkeeper: Sheila Duncan
"We are the front lines of truth advocacy. Major media outlets have traded truth for sensationalism, and online news sites have no real legal concerns to keep them in check. Digital text is not ink. The community newspapers are left as the only legally challenged body of information. We cannot afford to lie. We cannot afford to be inaccurate. We are the last stand for freedom of the press. We are the last of the true journalists."

Tuesday, February 16

West Blocton Man’s Unique Story leads to Sought After Inventions

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By Daniel L. Bamberg


Rufus A. Parker was never an ordinary man.  He was born and raised in West Blocton, Alabama during the time of segregation but according to Parker he was the only black man to attend the white West Blocton public school system before desegregation. 

“I left West Blocton in 1949.  I got a little money and moved to Chicago with my cousin.  I couldn’t stand it.  The city was too fast for me.  From there I moved to Cleveland, Ohio and drove a coal truck, but didn’t like it.  So I decided to join the Army,” explains Parker.

After Parker joined the Army he was sent to Korea where his service earned him service medals and bronze stars.  After his service Parker became the very first man in the United States to receive a small business loan.  He used the money to purchase a Peterbilt tractor-trailer, which he drove for a six years.  “I was the youngest black owner-driver in the country at the time,” explains Parker.  I had to go to Chicago to get job runs because not a lot of people were hiring black drivers.  I made my runs between Omaha and Sioux City.

Parker didn’t slow his adventurous life then.  He sold his truck and bought a nightclub in St. Louis with blues legend Albert King.  During that time he met Denver, Colorado Mayor Federico Pena and became his friend.  Not long later, Parker chose to be Pena’s bodyguard.  During the 1990s Pena was tapped by President Bill Clinton to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation.  In Clinton’s second term Pena became the U.S. Secretary of Energy.  “He still calls me fairly regular to this day to see how things are going for me,” stated Parker.

In spite of the amazing stories in the lifetime of the 70-something year old Parker, he claims to have always been an inventor at heart.  He’s been inventing things his whole life and many of those things maintain a U.S. patent.  “I always looked at things to see how they could be improved.  That’s where my inventions come from.” Parker suggests.  Parker has been featured in several publications for his inventions including the Birmingham News, the Denver Post, and several magazines.  He travels around to schools to show students his inventions and speak on the importance of inventing.  He also takes great pride in being a black inventor.  “Some of the most interesting inventions came from black men, and their stories are all unique,” says Parker.

One of his most well known inventions is the “oil jaw lock.”  After a series of crude oil thefts occurred in Diamond, Oklahoma, an oil company sent for Parker.  From there he went to Casper, Wyoming for six years to create a lock.  By the time Parker’s jaw lock was ready and patented the oils wells in Diamond had been locked as the oil company chose to distribute Middle Eastern oil instead.  “I was on my way to the top before that decision was made,” Parker explained.

The EPA passed a law in the late 1980s suggesting anything that flows through a pipeline with a valve on it, must be enclosed with lock and key.  Since that point Parker has been ready to promote his jaw lock. 

Parker has created a wheel lock for 18-wheelers built from A1040 carbon steel, heat-treated to 950 degrees.  “Nothing will grip this.  The only way to get this off is with a torch with a good tip.  The wheel lock is used to prevent wheel theft from commercial tractor-trailers.  The only way to remove a wheel that maintains this lock is with a special key Parker created with the lock.  “I have sold a lot of these in California but I haven’t been able to get the money to make enough to keep selling,” Parker suggests.  That is, not until he was made able to get a business loan, which he is currently finalizing.  Parker will be going to China in late March to oversee the manufacturing of his inventions.  When he returns he will be looking into distribution of a product he believes is necessary and suggests will be highly sought by companies once they see what it can do.  He has created and patented several variations of his gas locks and wheel locks. 

Parker proves after a long life full with various experiences that living outside of the box can be a rewarding experience.  As he begins a journey to see his most notable inventions manufactured at a point many are looking back on their lives, he shows no desire to relax anytime soon. 

These are the stories one discovers when they look beyond the surface of their community.  Unique people are living and working everyday in Bibb, out of the box.  

Mayor Kornegay opposes new annexation attempts

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By Daniel L. Bamberg


State Representative Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale has introduced a bill which would annex property into Lake View, which is also wanted by Woodstock.  The representative will also introduce another bill with the same intention.

“That takes revenue away from us, which I oppose,” stated Woodstock Mayor Ricky Kornegay.  His opposition is fueled by the idea that the annexation would remove two businesses from Woodstock’s police jurisdiction. 

This legal dispute between Lake View and Woodstock has been going on for nearly a decade.  Lake View lies near the Bibb and Jefferson County lines but within Tuscaloosa County while Woodstock sits within both Bibb and Tuscaloosa Counties. 

Lake View’s town hall lies outside of their town limit due to a court ruling that kept previous annexation attempts at bay.  Allen’s first bill introduced on Tuesday, February 2nd is an attempt to annex that property for Lake View.  In the second bill, which he plans to introduce, Lake View will be attempting to annex an area close to an exit off of Interstate 20/59.  That property maintains a few businesses already, including the Lake View sewage treatment plant.  It is also an area seemingly destined for commercial growth.  There is no secret however that Woodstock is concerned about losing the same area.  Evidence shows the place is growing and while Woodstock may or may not gain residency losing this property will cost them in necessary potential sales tax revenue. 

Kornegay also suggests that these two businesses, which Woodstock could lose in the potential annexation, are too far outside of the current Lake View town limits for this property to be in question. 

As of press time Allen had plans for the week to seek consideration of the bills by the Tuscaloosa County legislative delegation.  

Six Mile Meth Maker gets 20 Years

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By Daniel L. Bamberg


In November of 2009 Bibb County Sheriff’s Deputies executed a search warrant at the residence of Jeffery Allen Brown.  The 38-year old Six Mile man was discovered in possession of a methamphetamine laboratory and the narcotic itself.  From there he was arrested and charged.

Later in 2009 he entered a guilty plea in the Circuit Court to the charge of possession of a controlled substance.  Circuit Judge Jack Meigs sentenced Brown on Monday, February 1st to a term of 19 years and 11 months in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections. 

According to District Attorney Michael Jackson, Brown can only see early release through parole because his sentence is greater than 15 years.  His first opportunity for parole should come up in about 6 to 7 years.  “We will continue to crack down on these drug dealers and manufacturers,” said Jackson.

Thursday, February 11

Bibb County had impact on James Spann's life.

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Notable meteorologist James Spann who currently works for ABC 33/40 spoke at Centreville Middle School this morning.  During his presentation Spann told a heart felt story about how Bibb County touched his life before he became the most recognizable meteorologist in Alabama.  For the full story please read the February 17th edition of the Centreville Press.

Hannah and the G.O.P?

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Sheriff Keith Hannah has officially qualified for the 2010 election.  The news came today from Bibb County Republican Chairman Bob Jamison.  Yes, you read that right.  Hannah, a long time Democrat has decided to run on the Republican ticket.  
More on this story in the February 17th edition of the Centreville Press.

Local Residents Alarmed by Road Problems.

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Several road issues in Bibb County have alarmed local residents.  A road in Six Mile is collapsing and the possible detour dirt road is saturated and eroding.   Commissioner Al Green presides over the district which includes Six Mile.   In a brief interview with the press Green suggested, "The road conditions are a priority right now for the county.  We are sorry that the weather has hurt progress.  We are doing the best we can considering the weather problems we are dealing with."  
A full story and more of Commissioner Green's comments will appear in the February 17th edition of the Centreville Press.  

Monday, February 8

Senator Shelby set to visit Bibb County

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U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) will join the residents of Bibb County for a visit on
Monday, February 22, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. His visit will take place at the Sawmeal Restaurant off of Highway 5 in Brent, Alabama.

Senator Shelby will address the legislative agenda for the second session of the 111th Congress as well as important issues facing the nation and the state of Alabama. Following his remarks, Shelby will open the floor to questions and comments from those in attendance.

"Over the years, these meetings have provided an excellent opportunity for area residents to listen and voice their opinions on the activities of our government," said Shelby. "This will be a great chance to discuss the important issues facing our state and our nation as the 111th Congress reconvenes."

As part of his commitment to Alabamians, Senator Shelby holds a meeting in each county every year. He has held over 1500 county meeting since being elected in 1987. This meeting will be open to the public.

The bumbling story of a Woodstock burglar

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By Daniel L. Bamberg


Woodstock Police Officer, Sergeant Jason Beams couldn't have known exactly what sort of strange occurrence was to be discovered as he responded to a dispatch for a burglary in progress.

The incident occurred at 214 McKelroy Drive in Woodstock between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 21st.  While in route, Beams was advised that the subject had been shot. Upon arrival he spoke with James Michael Simpson who had been shot in his left hand. Simpson walked out of his door to go to work. As he approached his S-10 Blazer, he noticed a man was inside the vehicle. Simpson called the police, and then walked outside with a knife. He then approached the offender, telling him to stay where he was until the police arrived. The robber pulled a silver revolver, but Simpson grabbed it. During a struggle to get the gun away from the thief the gun fired, striking Simpson's left hand. It fired a second time. Simpson believed this time it hit the offender in the leg. After this the robber fled on foot. Simpson told Sgt. Beams that the thief was wearing jeans, a dark sweater and a black hat.

Once rescue arrived Beams checked the vehicle. He noticed the window from the driver side door of the truck was knocked out. Glass was inside of the vehicle and there were pry marks on the top of the door. Beams also noticed a small amount of blood in the seat. After assessing the damage Beams asked Simpson a few more questions. Simpson explained that he did not know who the robber was, but that his first name was Matt. Beams confused, asked Simpson how he knew the offender's first name. Simpson said he asked for his name while he was trying to keep him still. The offender replied, "My name is Matt." Simpson was soon transported to UAB-Bessemer.

Soon after, Beams got a call to be in route to 138 Nelson Lane in Woodstock. The subject of that call was needed medical attention for a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Beams arrived at that scene with Bibb County Sheriff's Deputy Ralph Burnell. When they entered the residence Kenneth Blackman was lying on the bathroom floor. Beams asked Blackman to explain what happened. Blackman said he shot himself. Beams asked for the gun.  Blackman suggested it was under his bed. Upon investigation Beams discovered a silver .38 Smith and Wesson revolver under the bed. Beams noticed the six-gun was missing two rounds as it still held four live rounds in the chamber. At this point rescue was attending the Blackman, but Beams noticed the subject was wearing a dark sweater and jeans. Rescue workers pulled the sweater off of Blackman and Beams picked it up only to notice several items in the pockets. Of these items burglary tools and two digital cameras were found. One camera contained a picture James Michael Simpson in its memory. Blackman stated he found the camera on the road.

At this point Beams must have known without a doubt that the robber from McKelroy Drive was the subject lying on the floor with a bullet in leg, and a mysterious picture of the McKelroy victim on the camera in the pocket of Blackman's dark sweater. Beams then asked Blackman to tell him the truth. Blackman then explained he walked over to McKelroy Drive got into a fight with Simpson and was thrown into the window. Then, according the Blackman, Simpson, who he could not identify by name pulled a knife. In retaliation Blackman pulled a gun, which he fired twice. After freeing himself Blackman fled the scene.

James Michael Simpson had surgery on his hand.  He has now been released. Kenneth Blackman who was already out on bond for a shooting in Perry County has been charged with Attempted Murder, Breaking and Entering a Vehicle, Possession of Burglary Tools, and 1st Degree Robbery. After a brief time in the hospital for minor wounds to the hand and leg, he was placed in the Bibb County Jails on $385,000 bond. The Woodstock Police Department would like to thank the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department for their help.

Caught with a Bloody Pistol and a Stolen Cadillac

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By Daniel L. Bamberg


Something must have been in the water in Woodstock on Thursday, January 21st. Two robberies occurred both resulting in assaults and in both cases the criminals seemed to try their best to get caught. One of these situations occurred at approximately 12:15 p.m. off of Old Lodge Road.

According to authorities, two black males approached Hispanic-American Gabriel Montana at his residence. The men were enquiring about how to score drugs. Montana told the men that he was not sure where they could get what they were looking for. Upon hearing this, according to the victim's story the men began beating him with pistols. Eventually they fled the scene. One left in the vehicle he arrived in while the other fled in the Montana's Cadillac. Three hours later Jefferson County stopped Louis Williams from the description of the vehicle. Williams was arrested inside of the stolen Cadillac and two bloody pistols were found in the passenger's seat. Williams has been charged with 1st Degree Robbery and 2nd Degree Assault. He is currently being held on an $80,000 bond.

The other suspect was described to be a tall and slender black male. According to Montana this man told him his name was "Javaris."

How a Broken Gate Established a Local Hero


By Daniel L. Bamberg


It was 1968, the year, which would be remembered for the murders of Reverend Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy. The civil rights movement had been breaking ground, but continued an uphill fight. Meanwhile the Vietnam War was becoming more political than ever and citizens of the United States had become increasingly frustrated with President Lyndon Johnson. 1968, was one of the most eventful years in American History, it was also the year one of West Blocton's sons would lose his life heroically on the other side of the world. Thomas Dewitt Poole died all too young, but his short life impacted many.

Thomas was born on July 02, 1946. He was one of 6 sons and 12 children born to Reverend Mose Poole and the minister's wife, Willie. Friends and family remember him as strong willed, courteous, loving and respectful. "He was one of those boys who would help a woman carry her groceries. If he saw a woman mowing the lawn, he'd stop her and do it himself. That was just the kind of person he was. I always knew Thomas was that way, but I am still hearing more and more of those stories about him now," said his mother, Mrs. Willie Poole.

Thomas loved to fish and hunt. He listened to soul music and would eat pretty much anything. Those who knew him describe him as very spiritual and family oriented. He was also an outgoing young man. When asked if Thomas had a girlfriend when he went to Vietnam his younger brother Kennis smiled and said, "He had a steady girl, but he loved women." Speaking with the Poole family one of the characteristics that Thomas seemed to maintain largely was a strict self-determination. "We went fishing one day and he got a twenty-pound blue cat on his line. He struggled with the fish for a little bit and it snapped his pole. Thomas grabbed the line and pulled it in with a broken pole and the line. It was a sight to see, but Thomas caught his fish," recalls Kennis. Mrs. Poole also remembers his son's strong determination and suggested Thomas did a lot of things as an adult without telling anyone. "He was the kind of boy who knew what he wanted to do and did it," she explained.

It is that portion of Thomas' personality, which makes his story so unique. It isn't just what he did in Vietnam, which is striking. How Thomas got to Vietnam in the first place is a charming story that only makes his short life more heart felt. After accidentally running into a woman's gate while driving, there was no way for Thomas to afford the repairs. Though the woman did not press Thomas to fix it, the young West Blocton man felt it was his responsibility. His solution was joining the U.S. Army. "We didn't know he had signed up. He just told us one day that he was joining the Army, and that was it," says Mrs. Poole.

Thomas chose to tell Kennis about joining the Army and going to Vietnam one afternoon while the brothers were swimming in a creek. "I wasn't concerned about him joining because he was doing what he said he wanted to do. When Thomas made up his mind it was made," said Kennis. Mrs. Poole does remember being concerned and she explains that her husband also had a lot of concerns. He entered the U.S. Army on March 23, 1967.

On February 12,1968 Private First Class, Thomas Dewitt Poole of the U.S. Army was killed by enemy fire in the Republic of Vietnam. He was a member of Company a, 5th Battalion (Airmobile), 7th Cavalry, 1st Calvary Division. During a search and destroy operation in Quan Huong Tra Province his company was moving toward a tree line on the far side of a rice paddy. They became subjected to heavy fire from the North Vietnamese Army, entrenched in the woods. Private Poole's platoon was temporarily pinned down behind mounds, but eventually broke through for their own assault on the enemy. Private Poole charged across approximately one hundred meters of open rice paddy, firing on the North Vietnamese at close range. Poole eventually moved directly into the tree line and personally attacked an enemy bunker killing its three occupants. After other enemy bunkers began to attack with greater intensity the Poole's platoon was ordered to withdraw and regroup. As Private Poole drew back he noticed a fallen soldier. Without regard to his own safety he assisted the soldier. At such point, Poole was mortally wounded in his effort to rescue another soldier.

On April 8, 1968 he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. This is the U.S. Armies second highest honor, to only the Medal of Honor. According to the award's description, it is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguished himself or herself by extraordinary heroism while engaged with a conflict with an enemy of the Unites States, or while serving alongside allies engaged in a conflict with an enemy not aligned with the United States. The act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades.

"When they told me about Thomas' dying I thought it was a dream. I turned it over to the Lord, because it was more than I could handle. I still cry about it to this day," explained Mrs. Poole as she appeared to fight off tears. She further explained that her husband, who is now deceased, also took it very hard. Kennis also carries a heavy burden with him when he thinks of his brother. "I've held a lot of animosity in my life because of what happened to Thomas and others who served. I feel like there was nothing done in Vietnam which was of any importance to this country. It was a political war, a war of occupation. I not only lost my brother in Vietnam but a lot my friends died there as well. There are people in West Blocton still affected by that war to this day - not just those who lost family members but those who served that have been mentally and physically affected by it. Now today, this generation coming up is seeing something similar to it. Wars are meant to be won, not to make political statements," Kennis expressed.

Roy Collins grew up with Thomas. Mrs. Poole explained that the two were virtually inseparable. "They went fishing together all of the time. If you saw one, the other wasn't far behind." Though Roy and Thomas joined the army around the same time, the two did their tours in Vietnam separately. Collins began his tour of duty approximately 6 months before Thomas entered the country of conflict. His memories of Thomas are warm. "He was one of the nicest people I knew. Like most boys we did our share of mischievous things, but Thomas was always courteous and polite. I was stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina when I found out he was killed. That was bad news," explained Collins. As he tells the story about discovering the death of his childhood friend there was something odd, little emotion was displayed. 

Some may dismiss this as the length of time between Thomas' death and the interview. Those who have spoken with Vietnam Veterans before might have a better idea of why the emotion is less. Veterans of that war dealt with death in ways only few before ever had. It was a regular occurrence. It was a normal occurrence. The Vietnam Memorial alone echoes that notion with near clarity. Even later, while looking at some documents this reporter noticed the very cold language used in letters written to the Poole family explaining when and where Thomas' body would be delivered. If one did not know any better, one might think these letters were suggesting where the Poole's could pick up some lost luggage or a crate of some random cargo. The language reflects that of a business transaction. There is no emotion, no regret, no sympathy. There are only instructions. The letter informing the family of Thomas' death was like a face without features. It came off as if the subject were some random event happening to some random person. Reading these things, one might understand how a family can never truly have closure. Not only did Thomas' die in another country, one none of his family members would even dare visit. The death itself is presented somewhat unceremoniously. Medals perhaps make the Government feel justified. Do they help the family's cope any better? Perhaps that depends on the situation.

In the case of Thomas Dewitt Poole there was a shocking revelation. As the interviews for this story were being conducted, something unexpected was explained. Nearly 42 years after the death of Thomas Dewitt Poole, Kennis and Mrs. Willie Poole knew no details of their son's death. They knew he died in battle. They knew he died heroically. Yet less than a week ago, they heard the details of his death for the first time. Even then it didn't come from the mouth of a government official. It came from a reading conducted by a member of the community newspaper. This was not only confirmed in their own words but in the expressions on their faces, the watering of their eyes after I read to them the U.S. Government's detailed explanation. How can this be justified?

Perhaps it is the spirit of Thomas Poole, which expresses the answer. When asked if he believed his brother would have changed his mind about serving had he known the outcome, Kennis offered this: "He do it anyway. I think he believed then and would still suggest that the United States had no business over there to begin with. He would still think his sacrifice was worth it. He would still think serving his country was worth it. He would make the same decision. That is how Thomas was. He wasn't over there because he agreed with what was going on. He was over there because others were serving. I don't think all soldiers serve for a cause. I think they all serve for each other."

In 2008Haysop Creek Bridge in Brent was named after Vietnam Veteran, Willie Gardner Jr, who also died heroically in the line of duty. This moment marked the first time an African-American soldier had been honored with a memorial in Bibb County. Perhaps dedicating something in the name of Thomas Dewitt Poole will never justify his sacrifice, but it is the duty of any community to recognize those citizens who are becoming of its outstanding image. Thomas Dewitt Poole, the son of a local minister, brother of 11, servant of the community, beloved child of his mother, and American hero, deserves such recognition. Black History Month is a time to honor those African-Americans who rose above discrimination and unjust treatment to declare their civil rights. Thomas Dewitt Poole honors his race and his family. His heroism and character however honor his community, his state, his country and his God above all.



Waxing Historic...The Relevance of Black History Month

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Daniel L. Bamberg


It began in 1926, and was then known as Negro History Week. Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History created the observance in order to honor two individuals he considered to greatly improve the lives and social conditions of the African-Americans, President Abraham Lincoln and slavery abolitionist Frederick Douglas. Yes, in truth one of the first persons honored by what has become Black History Month was not black at all. In 1976 after members of a fraternity at Howard University promoted turning the week into an entire month, it became so.

After the civil rights movement and the groundbreaking of de-segregation black history eventually became a very mainstream idea. With that a lot of miseducation has been presented. During the time of segregation black history was taught extensively in black schools as a means for those persons to understand their own background. While many of the most often observed individuals during Black History Month come from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, there was much to honor before then. There were

influential poets, scholars, inventors, athletes, politicians, musicians, and individuals from every walk of life who were recognized annually during the segregation-period's week of observation. Sadly many of those honored then have not become as influential in the post-segregation period. While the works of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, and Barack Obama are important and certainly adequate with the traditions of Black History. Many today however, are not as familiar with the struggle that inspired the great movement of the 1960s.

With racism's wall being chipped away little by little each passing year some feel there is no real need in Black History Month. Many further believe continuing the observance promotes division rather than unity. Rather inaccurately, many believe the idea of taking away Black History Month lies exclusively with racists of non-black origins. Well-known African-American actor, Morgan Freeman has openly expressed his own dislike for the continuation of the celebration. "Black history is American history. The only way to end racism is stop talking about it. The shallow ritual of Black History Month seems to suggest that black history and American History are separate. There isn't a White History Month," suggests Freeman. Those comments have gotten Freeman into some trouble with certain organizations. He further expressed his disdain of separatists speak during an interview with Mike Wallace where he stopped the reporter from calling him black. "I'm going to stop calling you a white man and I am going to ask you to stop calling me a black man." Other lesser known African-American figures have agreed with Freeman's remarks. Meanwhile, many others respect Freeman's statements but believe the preservation of Black History is kept in order to honor those African-Americans that were not alive beyond the days of the struggle.

Whether or not Black History Month is relevant today, is certainly given to the opinion of each individual. This is now the second year Barack Obama will be recognized as the first African-American President. His inauguration has placed a face on something today's adults couldn't predict while observing black history in school. Who would be the first black President was something discussed regularly in those days. His election has reached the summit of the mountain climbed by every individual we celebrated and honored in February before 2009. So as we look back at the struggle, as we consider all which has been overcome let us reflect on those within our own communities, which are continuing to help obliterate that line between black and white.

Throughout the month of February The Centreville Press will honor African-Americans within out own community, which have exemplified Bibb County in Bibb "Out of the Box." 

Thursday, February 4

On A Train Bound for Nowhere...


"You got to know when to hold 'em,
know when to fold 'em,
know when to walk away,
know when to run.
You never count your money,
when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin',
when the dealing's done." 
- Kenny Rogers 'The Gambler'

Daniel L. Bamberg
Here we go again, Alabama.  Following last week's fiasco with state troopers, Bob Riley and Victoryland we are in the middle of another heated debate over in-state gambling.  Should we legalize it?  Should it be up to the voters within the state?  While I will certainly leave the first question up to the individual let me state that voting is indeed something we all possess as a right.

Back in the Spring of 2009 I conducted a lengthy investigation into the Sweet Home Alabama Coalition.  Nothing really came from it because by the time this story become somewhat irrelevant I was going in too many directions and not able to confirm anything.  Two leads had however come from the investigation.  On one hand research into one, Milton McGregor (owner of Victoryland) lead me to contact the Russian Embassy. Meanwhile research into one, Governor Bob Riley lead me to look into possible connections with the Mississippi band of Choctaw Indians.  While nothing has been proven as of yet, it appears that both leaders of each side within the debate raise enough questions that Alabamians do have cause for concern.  

Furthermore there is the financial irresponsibility within both parties.  A lot has been suggested pertaining to Milton McGregor's generous donations to his community. Macon County, however continues to average nearly 33% of families below the poverty line.  It is not a stretch to assume McGregor does just enough to help his own image but not enough to help his community or state.

Bob Riley on the other hand, has become the epitome of abusive power.  Early in his first term the Governor attempted to pass the biggest tax this state had ever seen.  Voters did not allow it, and for that reason Riley pitched a fit, stating the results of the vote would result in the release of violent offenders in state prisons.  Not only did this reaction not make sense, not only was it verbal terrorism, it was the most immature statement I have ever heard in American politics.  So last week Riley decides to use the tax money you and I do pay to send nearly one hundred state troopers to Victoryland as a image of power.  These state troopers did nothing actually.  Simply put, they sat in a parking lot.  Meanwhile who was patrolling our streets?  

Again we have been shown a perfect example of Riley's immaturity.  This is a man who has no concept of responsibility and has done nothing in his two terms to benefit the state.  None, that I can see at least.  We hear about all of these jobs he is bringing into the state but those jobs have not even come close to replacing all of the jobs lost during Riley's reign.  Yet he seemingly remarks daily about the progress of Alabama's work force.  He has taken partial credit for the Vance, Mercedes-Benz plant opening positions to manufacturer the "C-Class".  Indeed many jobs will come from this, but what of those who lost their jobs due to massive lay offs at the same plant.  They are incapable of being rehired for the "C-Class" jobs, so therefore it looks as if Riley along with Mercedes-Benz have created new jobs.   Replacing employment with unemployment and then creating new employment is basically economic hokey pokey.  Nothing is gained, nothing is new.  

For Alabamians however we may soon become faced with an important decision.  Should we or shouldn't we allow gambling to be legalized?  If so should casinos in the state be operated by those who abuse a loop hole in our legal system in other words operated illegally but "technically legal?"  Bibb County residents please allow me to use an example of how passion can sometimes outweigh logic and abuse the very ideals we are protecting.

Bibb County has been dry since Prohibition.  When I was too young to vote the community had an opportunity to vote "wet" but unfortunately the vote allowed the county to remain under prohibition.  This kept a solid amount of potential revenue from entering our own community.  Meanwhile a Perry County man has been getting richer and richer with each passing year.  I have no personal qualm with Chris Johnson.  He is a business man and should be respected for that.  Yet he has benefited for decades based on the Bibb County community's idea that becoming a "wet county" would somehow cause it to become the devil's playground.  It isn't as if Johnson's store is 30 miles away.  In fact for most citizens of South Bibb it is just down the road.  It is even worse in North Bibb, where citizens are just two shakes of a lambs tail from Jefferson and Tuscaloosa County stores.  You could throw a stone from the North Bibb Annex building and hit a liquor store.  
Being a dry county hasn't kept drinkers from drinking.  It hasn't made alcohol less accessible.  The only thing which has come from remaining dry, is a broke county and lack of jobs.

I made an observation during football season in 2009 which infuriated me as a voter within Bibb County.  At a BCHS football game I noticed the banners along the fence.  These banners were from businesses who paid money to have their companies displayed at the game.  The banners were sold to support the football team.  One banner simply said "Chris Johnson" and was followed by his phone number.  It didn't read Johnson's Store or anything else.  It simply said "Chris Johnson".  The problem is Chris Johnson has no affiliation to Bibb County High School.  His children did not attend BCHS.  There is no reason his name should be there.  Sure it is nice of him to recognize and support where his money has come from for decades, but it is also equally a slap in the face.  Don't get me wrong I don't believe Chris Johnson is personally mocking Bibb Countians.  I just take it that way because of the sad irony.  

While many other Bibb-area business perhaps had to gather loose change to purchase one of those banners Chris perhaps didn't even blink.  Had we voted to abolish the Bibb County prohibition those businesses which scraped to support the football program might not be so pressured.  The banners might have even had a cheaper cost, because enough business would allow that.  Sadly however, regardless of facts we will not vote for this county to become wet, ever.  This state will not vote to legalize gambling.  Meanwhile we will continue to do what Bob Riley's administration has been accused of doing.  We will condemn these things from our tongues and support them elsewhere with our wallets, thusly damning ourselves to poverty and stupidity and getting no closer to heaven than we were yesterday.   That's what's cooking under the hat this week.  Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, February 2

Rutledge and Johnson Twins...College Football Bound!

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For the third consecutive season the Bibb County High School Football program has generated athletic scholarships for their stand out players.  On Wednesday, February 3rd Courtney and Corneilus Johnson along with 
Quail Rutledge signed scholarships to further their football careers.  
Quail who is now the state record holder for points scored in a single season signed on with Stillman College.  Stillman had been looking for a running back and will look to the best high school tailback in Alabama High Schools to fill their needs.  
The Johnson twins signed to Tuskegee where both may get a chance to
 contribute early on defense.  The Centreville Press, dedicated to 
serving the community, will update you all on their progress as it occurs.  For a full story on signing day at BCHS please read the 02/11/10 edition of the Centreville Press.

Monday, February 1

Everybody Has One

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Due to space this week's edition of "Everybody Has One" will not be in the Centreville Press. Instead you can read it here.

The Man Who Wasn't There

By Daniel L. Bamberg


"Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today. I wish, I wish he'd go away." This is the opening stanza to the poem "Antigonish" written by poet Hughes Mearns.

It has been used countless times in popular culture for it's ambiguous possible meanings. Most notably this verse is re-spun in David Bowie's socially conscious hit song "The Man Who Sold The World." The piece is inspired by a ghost story from Antigonish, Novia Scotia, Canada. It can be adequately used however, just as any interpretive art, to express other ideas.

Baudelaire once wrote, "Let us never forget, when you hear the progress of enlightenment vaunted, that the devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist." Many faiths give their own interpretation of the devil. If you read the bible in context there are actually many questions about what the "devil" actually is. Are Lucifer, the serpent, Satan, and the devil the same person? Perhaps this is a question for another time. Personally I think Michael Hutchence of INXS said it best when he sang "Every single one of us has the devil inside." We disguise our "devil" as we flaunt our good deeds. We convince ourselves that our own good can destroy our own misdeeds. Don't lose me, for this is not a biblical lesson.

I often wonder how it is that people who earn millions get off by asking common struggling Americans to donate to charity. How is it that people like actor George Clooney living in a castle in the Mediterranean has the audacity to express that Americans should have been supporting Haiti before the tragic earthquake? I further wonder why we as citizens of the United States continuously pacify our own internal problems but continuously pour out our wallets globally. How is it that this country is in so much debt, but we are statistically leading the world in donations, funding, and recovery efforts? Haven't we paid that debt in more ways than one? It is enough to make a proud American cringe. Don't get me wrong my heart goes out to those people in Haiti. I support every single one of the missionaries who are going over seas to feed the poor starving men and women of that country. It is validated especially considering the wonderful outpouring of missionaries in our own country who continuously reach out to the poor men and women of our own country. Those wonderful missionaries who are in the crack houses of America preaching the word of Christ, they are true blessings. There are many hard working, free loving, and wonderful people of who give within the country often. It just doesn't happen often enough.

Excuses to not support the homeless are regurgitated constantly from the mouths of many of you who sent a ten-dollar text to Haiti over the past few weeks. "Those bums living on the streets inside the land of opportunity just need to get a job." Never mind the fact that the vast majority of them have untreated mental illnesses. Never mind the fact that many landed on rock bottom with no hand to pull them up. Meanwhile we are out saving the "trendy" world cause of the week. It was disgusting to see how many people posted "I donated to Haiti" on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other means of public display. Charity with a face is for naught.

I once worked for a well-respected man within a community outside of Bibb County. His company donated ten thousand dollars a year to the Children's Hospital. I know this because it was plastered all over the walls of the office building. The check donation was a photo opportunity each year for the local newspaper. When I came to ask for a donation to help an infant relative of mine afford a cancer treatment I was given $50 from his wife. A man making minimum wage working for this same individual gave me the exact same donation. Perhaps had I been working for the Centreville Press at the time and offered the business owner an article the donation would have been larger.

In December we were given a story about a local company, which purchased a large lot of hams to help a community fire department’s fundraiser. He then donated the hams to the needy. I was told to take a photo for the Centreville Press. On my way there I kept thinking to myself, "This isn't charity it’s a publicity stunt." To my surprise the man was appalled that we were notified and I was politely asked to leave the premises. They requested for us not to print the name of the company. That is true charity and it didn't occur in a strange land.

There is a man in this community right now who is very wealthy. His name is not plastered all over the county, though he is very well known. Some sort of donation from his wallet aided nearly everything worthwhile in Bibb County which occurred in most of our lifetime. Yet he does not flaunt his charity nor does he allow it to be public knowledge. I've never met him, and actually missed an opportunity to meet him late last year. I hope to have an opportunity to shake his hand before it is too late. Meanwhile there are others, who I won't mention by name that haven't as much as contributed a worthy advertisement for their community newspaper. They excuse this with remarks about our "high prices." Oddly, the ad space they do purchase seldom is the same cost to them weekly as common man pays for two weeks in the classifieds. Considering these particular people have more money than 99.9% of this county' residents, I find the pinching of President Lincoln's beard extremely repulsive.

Then there are those who oppose gambling due to their Christian faith. My interpretation of what Christ considers gambling is not so easily comprehensive. From my readings of the same savior I have found that Christ saw our excusing of charity somewhat equal to gambling. Maybe I have misinterpreted, but I digress. Every time you have a spare dollar and pass a needy person on the street you are gambling. If that dollar goes to anything you do not need following a confrontation with someone who could make use of it, perhaps it is just as valuable in a slot machine. We all have things we do not need. Extreme capitalism however would suggest possessing such things are our rights. They are not our rights but our blessings. Don't be fooled readers. Few if any celebrity in Hollywood is left of extreme capitalism. You can't live such a lifestyle and not support the Capitalist dream.

In our attempts to dissolve the devil with the "face" of goodness the man who wasn't there is our own humanity. It is hard to give without reward. When most of us see this man we itch for him to go away. "Just let me tell one person." Unfortunately, that one person feeds the man who is always there, the devil inside. That's my opinion and everybody has one.

Please visit again for weekly thoughts that didn't make "Everybody Has One" in a Bibblogger exclusive "Under the Hat," posted every Wednesday afternoon.

Friday, January 29

Morrison Sisters sign Scholarships

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BCHS Softball stars, Megan and Morgan Morrison signed athletic scholarships today at 3:25 p.m.
Full Story in Wednesday's edition of the Centreville Press.

Annual BCHS Football Banquet Reflects Best Season Ever

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By Daniel L. Bamberg

photos by Lane Lightsey

It takes a lot of people to make success happen,” said Bibb County High School Football Head CoachMike Battles on
Saturday Night.    
On a night when the best single season in BCHS football history was reflected upon, dreams of an even brighter future echoed beyond the praise.

Many members of the community were on hand to celebrate the season that was 2009.  Players from that team sat with their dates with a pride gleaming from their expressions.  After a meal and a viewing of highlights from every BCHS football game in 2009, Battles began to thank the community and entities, which he suggested, helped make the successful season possible.

He thanked the Board of Education, High School Faculty, Principal Lee Van Fleet, Vice Principal Wes Lawley and Superintendent Dr. Don Elam’s administration.  “Success begins at the top and Dr. Elam’s administration have done everything they said they would do.  Mr. Van Fleet and Mr. Lawley genuinely care about all of the kids and that is reflected in everything we did this year.  Some of these kids needed the teachers to help them, and the instructors helped them realize what it takes to be a good student athlete.”   Battles stated.

Coach Battles also thanked Sean Noah and the BCHS band, Lane Lightsey, Ashley Lawley and their cheerleaders for all of their support.  “These girls are athletes,” Battles implied.

The head coach went on to thank the members Bibb County Quarterback Club for putting on the kind of Banquet they have, and the creating the kind of awards, which were to be given out.  The list was almost endless as Battles thanked every individual on-hand, and those not on-hand for their efforts throughout the season.  But this didn’t seem to be lip service.  One thing that has shown through the BCHS football program has been tremendous humility and an apparent inability to take anything for granted.  Just before wrapping his speech up, Battles thanked his wife.  “She doesn’t see me much during the season and takes care of my family and home, but also she is the one who keeps me humble and grounded no matter what.”  When he speech was over Battles apologized to anyone he might have left out.  “Oh yeah, Jayvon’s (Jackson) grandmother.  She made it to more practices than I did,” Battles explained with a smile.

Harper McGee was given a plaque from the BCHS coaching staff and players for his tireless efforts filming each game over the last two years.  “You don’t realize how hard that is until it comes time to break all the footage down and send it off.  We are losing a very valuable part of are team this year when he graduates,” Battles stated. 

Before giving out awards and recognitions Battles went over some of the accomplishments the Choctaws graduating class had achieved.  “This is the winningest senior class in school history, and they leave on a high note with the winningest season in school history.  Something many of you might not know is that this senior class is also undefeated at home.”  Attendees reacted to that statement with enormous applause.  “There is much to be said about an undefeated regular season.  A lot of football players go an entire career without seeing an undefeated season,” Battles remarked.

Quail Rutledge, an individual whose season will forever be etched in Bibb County sports history was also discussed.  “He was an ESPN High School player of the year nominee, made the Alabama Sports Writer’s Super 12, the West Alabama Player of the Year, was a  Sideline Player of the Year finalist, and made the 1st team All State.  He had 273 carries for 2,242 yards.  He also now holds the state record for most points scored in a single season with 286.”  Indeed Rutledge was a stud on the field this year, but as Battles suggested, “Any time Quail was being interviewed he was talking about the team never himself.  That humility not only honors the team and coaches but the school and his community.  He made us all proud,” concluded Battles.  Following that Coach Cook came to the podium to present the “Racehorse Award” to Rutledge.   This award is given out to who accumulates the most total yards per game.

Other awards given out were as follows:

Chelsea Hill was presented the Scrambler Award for best Offensive Lineman.  Andrelle Smith and Diaheem Watkins received the Head Hunter Awards for most tackles.  The Big Chief award we goes to the best Defensive Lineman, and was presented to Diaheem Watkins. The Choctaw Award for the best linebacker was given to both, Taylor Morton and Andrelle Smith.  The Tomahawk Award for best Wide Receiver was handed to Kannon Johnston.  The Scalp Award for best Defensive Back was given to J.J. Rutledge.  The Special Teams Award for most outstanding special teams player was presented to Darren Whatley.  The Scout Team Award, which is annually given to the player who works the hardest, unselfishly each week to prepare the team for a game was given to Adam Gaddis.

The two permanent team captains were Quail Rutledge and Charles Hubbard.  Each year seniors are rotated in and out as team captains, but at the end of the season the underclassman select the “permanent” two for the season.  Those individuals receive an award for this recognition by the peers at the Annual Football Banquet.

Every senior football player was presented with his or her personal jersey in a frame and every cheerleader was presented a plaque for their efforts as well.  The banquet was reaching its climax when Superintendent Don Elam came up to give his remarks on the season of 2009, the future of the program, and the seniors who were moving on.  “Parents you should be really proud, those young men have represented the county well and we know they will continue to do so,” said Elam.  Principal Lee Van Fleet came to the podium to give his final thoughts.  “Seniors, when I met you in the field house a few years ago I told you then, you’d become leaders.  Well give yourself a hand because you are there.  We will miss the seniors.  We are now one of the elite programs in the state.  We have one of the best weight training programs in the state, thank you Coach Mitchell.  To the cheerleaders, your stunts, athleticism, and tireless work are deeply appreciated, said Van Fleet.  Before the principal sat down he made an announcement, which moved the audience to the largest applause of the night.  Alabama High School Coaches Association recently selected Head Coach Mike Battles as 4A Coach of the Year.  On Saturday, January 30th he will travel to accept the award. 

Battles thanked everyone for the applause and stated, “It is exciting when you are picked by your peers.  It is a reflection of how people think about Bibb County’s football program.  Parents you should be proud, because your kids played with class.” 

Battles concluded the banquet with the most profound encouraging statement of the night.  “Seniors in 2009 you had some big shoes to fill.  To the upcoming class, those shoes just got a lot bigger.”

Look for the full story on Mike Battles AHSCA Coach of the Year Award in the 02/03/10 edition of the Centreville Press.

Tuesday, January 26

Fake News Sells, But I Ain't Buyin'

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"I heard the world up, late night
holding my breath tight,
trying to keep my head on right.
There's a chill in the air.
Nobody could care,
how you're caught up in the fight of your life"

- "Heard the World" O.A.R.

Morning television news is typically hit and miss. Sometimes while you are all sleeping not much actually happens. Me, I have insomnia and it can get pretty out of hand sometimes. So as one of those who comes out at night, I can tell you not much is really going on. When the morning news hits, it is usually when something so traumatic happened late at night that most of us, with a conscious wish it was a morning of "misses". Still there is a profound difference in stale news and fake news. Whatever we read in a newspaper or see in the television media should be at least "newsworthy." This morning, the whole story of the Tiger Woods accident was release. Most propably hoped for some actual breaking news to occur. This is not to hope for tragic news. Any news worthy material would have done the trick.

It was bad enough seeing this story make headlines the first time. Society does not rise or fall based on the exploits of any athlete or celebrity. Even the O.J. Simpson trial had more coverage than necessary. Hearing this story again a few months later is ridiculous, to say the least. The story itself however, wasn't the real problem.
Scandals being regurgitated is typical and wasting valuable time ranting about that would be ridiculous as well. When the news anchor explained a blogger from "The Daily Beast" had uncovered the truth with thorough investigative journalism, it should've struck a nerve. Is that what we are calling it these days? Journalism? Investigative journalism? Digging through underwear drawers, hiding in the shadows of celebrity neighborhoods, honing in on sewing circle gossip, and fact checking with TMZ, has that become journalism?

The blogosphere has ruined the very idea of journalism. Rather than using a refreshing new media tool to help society better understand the tools of its own framework these morons are literally feeding the "beast." The gears within the engine of the propaganda machine are turning smoother than ever. The teeth are stronger than ever. All of this leading to Western culture's epic downfall, the creation of an apathetic and oblivious society. Tabloids were once considered the B-movies of news sources. These days they are given nearly equal merit as major news outlets. The blame game would take an eternity to complete, but it begins with those major news outlets.
Effective and unbiased journalism has literally crumbled to the hands of the opinion media and the trash media. The old days of the unbiased news anchor have evaporated. More people turn to Bill O'Reiley, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Chris Matthews, Keith Oberman, and Rachel Maddow than to the Nightly news. It is increasingly bizarre how those who watch MSNBC become heated over how biased the FOX News Channel can be. Equally strange, are those who watch the FOX News Channel and dare label every other outlet too left-biased. It's a game of pot and kettle and everybody's serving the same tea in different cups. No news source should be solely promote any ideology.

I enjoy writing an opinion column and having a podium to speak my mind from. If however, my opinions were leading people to lesser inform themselves, that column would be a gross failure. No columnist should care if you agree or disagree with his or her work. They should strive implore the reader to check against the words of their ideals. Readers should not disagree because the columnist is too liberal or too conservative. They should generate a living opinion, and not be scared to step out of the box every now and then regardless of who is looking .

I don't know much but if there is anything life has taught me humanity, at its best is a revolution never fully revolved. We can't be set in our ways and we can't allow people to think for us. We as citizens should demand more of our news media. The press was not created to entertain but to inform. The opinion press does not exist to push an agenda but to solidify your opinions on all sides of any argument. If you agree with a opinionated media person then those opinions should provide more weight to your argument. At the same time, if you disagree it should create a reaction within you which challenges a greater argument. Agendas within the press are dehumanizing and actively violate the essence of liberation. Agenda-influenced media is simply propaganda used to control. Let's all demand more of our media. Demand all media to no longer misinterpret the first amendment, but instead to protect those such an amendment was created for. That's what has been cooking under the hat this week. Thank you for reading.

Monday, January 25

Bibb County Chamber of Commerce 2010 Banquet

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from press release

The Bibb County Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual banquet, Thursday, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Centreville Baptist Church Family Life Center.The Banquet is one of the county’s highlights of the year, annually featuring top speakers and status reports from mayors and commissioners of all cities, towns and districts in Bibb County.

This year’s featured speaker is Linda Swann, assistant director Alabama Development Office and 2010 president of the Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) organization.  Bibb County is fortunate to nab Swann as she is in high demand. The mission of the ADO is to coordinate economic development resources leading to quality job creation and retention throughout Alabama. During her tenure with ADO, Alabama was named “State of the Year” by Southern Business and Development for a record-setting five of the last seven years. The agency also received top honors with Site Selection Magazine’s National Competitiveness Award in 2005 and 2007 for state-local economic development, among other awards. Swann also brings experience from her earlier role as Director of the Alabama Film Office.

Swann currently serves as President of the Alabama Communities of Excellence, secretary of the Alabama Land Bank Authority, on the board of Design Alabama, Alabama’s Science and Technology Road Map Project and also on the Alabama Commission on Infrastructure.  She has run her own consulting firm, served as director of business information with the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and was Associate Director of Alabama Power’s Resource Centers in Birmingham and Montgomery. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Alabama and a past president and life member of the Southern Economic Development Council. She has also served multiple terms on the boards of Directors for the International Economic Development Council and the Economic Development Association of Alabama.

Over the past year, the Bibb County Chamber of Commerce has grown in spite of the economy. Many businesses and individuals have come to see the Chamber for what it is - a powerful tool to use for a combined voice. Corporations have public relations departments to do just that. A Chamber of Commerce serves as the focal point for all things business and economic in a state, county, town or community.

Executive Director Tracey Mitchell has made it a point to actively serve existing members and seek new members. She has constantly been on the go promoting Bibb County and has helped develop a new website, www.bibbchamber.org, as well as garnering attention at meetings and functions.

The current officers and board of directors for the Bibb County Chamber of Commerce are made up of a cross section of Bibb County citizens from all over the county, dedicated to representing their home county to the best of their abilities and to promote, preserve and make others aware of what we have to offer.

Officers for 2010 are: Faye Gamble, president; Willie Dunn, vice president; Charlotte White, treasurer; Judy Herron, secretary and Tracey Mitchell, executive director.  Board members for 2010 are: Mike Hobson, Chuck Oliver, Mike Oakley, Donna Brothers, Dr. Alesa Judd, Jeff Pierce, Boozer Downs, Pam Gamble, Phil Suttle, Debbie Martin, Joseph Marchant, Matt Kornegay and Linda Renn-Pierce.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Bibb County Chamber of Commerce and really making a difference in your county, please call 205-926-5222 for information. 

Senior Citizen Busted with Moonshine Still and 51 Marijuana plants

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By: Daniel L. Bamberg


67-year-old Terrill Childs of Brierfield was arrested on Wednesday, January 13th after Bibb County Sheriff’s Department performed a search warrant on his property.  The arrest was made as the result of a combined effort between BCSD and the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. 

Childs was charged with Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of a Still.  The still, which is used to make bootleg liquor, was not in operation at the time, according to the ABC Board’s determination.  51 marijuana plants were obtained from the property, which were grown and maintained by Childs.  

Two Arrested For Drugs Following Routine Traffic Stop

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By Daniel L. Bamberg


Bibb County Sheriff’s Deputies while performing a routine traffic stop discovered more than they bargained for on Sunday, January 10th.  Gary Fikes, a 39-year old caucasian male of Eoline and Carla Joffrion, a 28-year old caucasian female of Centreville, were arrested for a series of drug related charges. 

Both have been charged with 1st Degree Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Precursor Chemicals, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, 2nd degree Possession of Methamphetamines, and Trafficking Methamphetamines. 

The Trafficking charge alone resulted in a $1,000,000 bond for Fikes and $1,000,000 for Joffrion.  The other 5 charges total to $117,000 in bonds for each of the two arrested. 

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