County Bingo facilities provide $332,820 to designated entities

Sheriff Benison continues work on changing bingo rules to help hospital

In a telephone interview with The Democrat, Sheriff Benison said that he is continuing to work on changes to the Greene County electronic bingo rules to assist the Greene County Health System (GCHS).
The Sheriff met with the GCHS Board of Directors last week and committed to increasing the per machine fee on bingo machines by $25 to support the health care services of the hospital, nursing home, physicians clinic and other services.
This change in the machine fee would generate $50,000 a month
to support health care for Greene County, starting November 1.
“ We desperately need these funds to cover ‘uncompensated care’ for low income residents,” said John Zippert, GCHS Board Chair.


Shown above: Boligee City Councilperson Ernestine Wade, Mayor of Union James Gaines, Greene County Board of Education CFO Katrina Sewell, Bingo Clerk Emma Jackson, Greene Co. Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Bingo Clerk Minnie Byrd, Shirley Edwards Greene County Hospital Board member, Forkland Councilman Joe Tuck, and Brenda Burke representing County Commission.


On Friday, September 15, 2017, Greene County Sheriff Department distributed $332,820 in monthly bingo allocations from the five licensed gaming operations in the county. The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee and the Greene County Board of Education. To date, only the Palace (Tommy Summerville Police Support League) contributes to the Greene County Hospital. The following assessments are for the month of August 2017.
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $60,000 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500.
Green Charity (Center for Rural Family Development) gave a total of $60,000 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $60,420 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,420; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500.
River’s Edge (NNL – Next Level Leaders and TCCTP – Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $60,000 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500.
Palace (Tommy Summerville Police Support League) gave a total of $92,400 to the following: Greene County Commission, $4,620; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $36,960; City of Eutaw, $27,720; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,620; Greene County Board of Education, $4,620 and the Greene County Hospital $4,620.

Eutaw City Council concerned about financial recordkeeping and reporting

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, the Eutaw City Council was unable to get a second and vote on a motion made by Councilman Joe Lee Powell to pay bills for the month of August.
Three Council members present, LaTasha Johnson, Jeffrey Carpenter and Sheila H. Smith expressed misgivings about paying the bills without a more detailed financial statement and record of the City’s finances and bank accounts. Councilman Bennie Abrams was absent and was not present to second or vote on the motion. Had Abrams been present, the motion may have resulted in a tie vote on paying the bills.
Councilwoman LaTasha Johnson said she sent Mayor Steele a letter asking for specific information about bills and bank accounts especially the funds coming from electronic bingo. Councilman Carpenter said he has been pushing for many years for the city to have a budget and pay bills based on a plan and a budget.

Mayor Steele said the City of Eutaw did not have its records in proper form to provide the reports and budget that were being requested. Steele said Council members could come to City Hall “at any time and request that the City Clerk show them any bills, bank statements or other financial data they want to see.”
Steele said that he had discussed this with James Gardner, the City’s CPA and accounting firm and was advised that additional funds were needed to train and support City Hall staff to enter information in the computer system to generate the needed reports. Steele said that he would invite Gardner to speak with the Council at a work session on Monday, September 18, 2017 to explain the situation.
At the Council Work Session, Gardner explained that the last audit for the City of Eutaw was done by him in FY2012 and that a Financial Compilation Report and Financial Statement was done for fiscal year 2014, through September 30, 2014. There have been no financial statements or reports done by his firm for the ensuing fiscal years of 2015, 2016 and 2017. Bank statements and files of receipts and expenditures are on file in the City Hall, which could be used to construct a financial statement and reports.
Gardner said that he would send an estimate of the cost to do these unaudited compilation statements by the next City Council meeting. Gardner said it would cost $4,000 to $7,000 to train City Hall staff to enter financial information in a modified QuickBooks system, for the city’s multiple accounts, starting October 1, 2017. Once this training was done and the system was properly maintained he could do an audited statement for the FY2018, which ends September 30, 2018.
Mayor Steele said that he would bring a report from the CPA firm on recordkeeping, accounting and financial reporting to the next meeting for the Council to make a formal decision.
At the Council Work Session, Mayor Steele reported that the City water system expansion project was moving toward conclusion. More new digitized self-reporting water meters will still be installed, including individual meters in Carver Circle taking the place of a single master meter.
Steele said the new water tank would be painted by the end of October and put into operation by the end of the year. This would allow the power pole to be moved from its temporary location in the street near the Courthouse to its permanent place. The Mayor also indicated that the water line contractor would return to fix other areas that were affected by the construction.
The Mayor indicated that the City’s knuckle-boom truck to cut and remove trees from city roadways was in the shop and would require $18,000 to $20,000 to repair. He reported that both City backhoes were also in the shop for repair and that the city workers were doing their best to pick up branches piled up on the side of roads and streets.
Steele said, “Our equipment is very old and in need of repair and upgrading. We are going to do our best to prepare for the Tour of Homes, scheduled for October 7 and 8, in Eutaw.”
At the September 12 Council meeting, Councilwoman Sheila H. Smith confronted Mayor Steele and tried to make a motion to deny the Mayor the use of a new 2017 Tahoe, he uses for conducting city business. Smith said the vehicle could be better used by the Police Department.
Steele said he needed the car to show visitors interested in the community, a positive image of the community. He also said he needed a reliable vehicle to travel to meetings to seek resources for the city. The Mayor suggested that Smith was taking these actions against him, as personal retribution, because he had requested that she turn in her city issued cell phone. The Mayor was successful in ruling the motion out-of-order but the issue lingers and may come up again in future meetings.

Greene County and Alabama law enforcement apprehend St. Louis, MO fugitive

raw.jpgOn Wednesday, September, 13, 2017 at approximately 7:30 p.m. law enforcement officials from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, the 17th Judicial Circuit’s Drug Task Force and the Eutaw Police Department apprehended Andre Lemoyne Williams, 32, of St. Louis, Missouri, without incident. Williams was wanted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for Murder 1st Degree and a Parole Violation on which there is a $1,000,000 cash bond. Williams is being held at the Greene County Jail awaiting extradition. “We would like to thank all of the agencies that assisted us with this apprehension including the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit. We also want to thank the Greene County Ambulance Service for being on standby during this high risk apprehension. This is a prime example of what can be achieved when we all work together as one,” stated Chief Deputy Jeremy L. Rancher, Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

Newswire : Even with advanced degrees, Black women earn less than white men

By Bria Nicole Stone (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
Black women have to work seven extra months to earn what White men were paid in 2016. On average, Black women make 67 cents on the dollar compared to White men.
In a recent blog post to mark Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, researchers at the Economic Policy Institute analyzed and debunked myths concerning the reasons why Black women earn less than White men.
Some people mistakenly believe that if Black women simply worked harder, they would earn higher wages. However, according to EPI, the truth is that, “Black women work more hours than White women. They have increased work hours 18.4 percent since 1979, yet the wage gap relative to White men has grown.”
The EPI blog post said that the growth in annual hours is “larger for Black women than for White women and men” who work in low-paying jobs and that, “both Black and White workers have increased their number of annual hours in response to slow wage growth” and “working moms are significant contributors to this trend.”
Half of Black women who have jobs are working moms compared to 44.5 percent of White women.
Another common myth associated with the pay gap between Black women and White men is that Black women would earn higher wages, if they were more educated. “Two-thirds of Black women in the workforce have some postsecondary education, 29.4 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher,” the blog post said. “Black women are paid less than White men at every level of education.”
According to EPI, Black women with less than a high school diploma make $10.62 on average compared to White men who make $15.16. Black women with advanced degrees earn $31.57 compared to White men, who make $48.27.
The racial wage gap persists in jobs dominated by Black women and jobs dominated by White men, according to EPI, dispelling the myth that Black women earn less due to their career choices.
“While White male physicians and surgeons earn, on average, $18 per hour more than Black women doing the same job, the gap for retail salespersons is also shocking, at more than $9 an hour,” according to EPI researchers.
Valerie Wilson, the director of race, ethnicity, and the economy at EPI said that career choice and education have little to do with the pay gap between Black women and White men.
“Black women, whether they make the same career choice [as White men] or not, will still earn less than White men,” said Wilson. “This can be in any career choice whether it is a male- dominated or a female-dominated career. We have seen that even in fields that are more common for women, men still make more than Black women in that career field.”
Wilson said that even though wages are growing faster for women than men, Black women still don’t see much benefit. “While White women do make less than White men, they still earn quite a bit more than Black women,” said Wilson. “Women’s Equal Pay Day was held sometime in April while Black Women’s Equal Pay day is held in July.”
While the wage gap for Black women is caused by both gender and racial disparities, there are still ways to help minimize and close the pay gap between Black women and their counterparts.
Wilson said that economic policy in the U.S. can play a much larger role in minimizing the pay gap.“We have anti-discrimination laws, but we must enforce those laws and ensure they are effective. There also has to be greater pay transparency,” said Wilson. “Other things that can help raise wages is collective bargaining. Also, Black women are known to be in lower-paying occupations, so raising the minimum wage would be very helpful.”
Wilson continued: “We need to make sure that Black women are fighting and being paid what they’re worth.”

Newswire : Police arrest Black NFL player because he was “acting suspicious”

By Frederick H. Lowe

bennett michael1

                                                                      Michael Bennett

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from

( – A Las Vegas police officer pointed a gun at Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett’s head and threatened to kill him if he moved after arresting him for no reason on Saturday, August 26. Bennett posted his experience on twitter.
Bennett was walking to his hotel after attending the Mayweather-McGregor fight when he and other members of a crowd heard what they believed were gunshots.
“Like many people in the area, I ran away from the sound, looking for safety,” Bennett said.
Police, however, singled him out, placing a gun near his head, warning him not to move and if he did, he would blow “ ‘my fucking head off,’ ” Bennett charged. The cop ignored Bennett’s pleas that “he had not done nothing.”
Bennett was lying on his stomach and a second cop came over and put a knee in his back, making it difficult for Bennett to breathe. The cop handcuffed Bennett, cinching the handcuffs so tightly his fingers went numb.
What was going through Bennett’s mind is that the cops would murder him for being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time. “My life flashed through my eyes as I thought of my girls. Would I ever play with them again? Or watch them have kids? Or kiss my wife again and tell her I love her.”
When police learned that Bennett played for the Seahawks, they took the handcuffs off and released him without an explanation or an apology.
The Las Vegas police said the officer arrested Bennett because he was acting suspiciously, two words black men often hear from the police. The cops said Bennett was hiding behind a gaming machine before he jumped over a fence.
As it turned out, there were no gunshots.
The police union, however, wants the NFL to investigate Bennett’s allegations that he was arrested after being racially profiled.
Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, supported Bennett who he said represents the best of the NFL— “a leader on his team and in his community.” Goodell said there will be no investigation.
Bennett has hired a lawyer and intends to sue the police department.

Newswire: Former President Barack Obama assails President Trump’s reversal of DACA

Obama speaks about the sequester in WashingtonDACA protest

Former President Barack Obama, and DACA protest

For the first time since leaving the White House in January, former President Barack Obama has issued a full statement in response to an action by President Trump. On Tuesday, Sept. 5, in response to Trump’s reversal of the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA), Obama issued a lengthy Facebook message. Obama expressed deep disappointment in the overturn of his June 15, 2012 executive order, which was intended to protect young adults brought illegally to the U. S. as children. Trump, calling the executive order illegal, reversed it and asked Congress to act on it with legislation, throwing the lives of more than 800,000 people into limbo.
Trump claims to have “great love” for the youth who have become known as “dreamers”. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, making the announcement, said, “We are a people of compassion and we are a people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.” Obama called it a “cruel” action.
Sessions ordered a six month delay to March 5, 2018 in the implementation of the decision to rescind DACA to allow Congress to act to submit legislation legalizing the program. No new applications for DACA will be accepted. Persons whose DACA status ends between now and March must apply by October 5, 2017 for an extension. DACA gives its holder permission to live, work and attend school in the U. S. without fear of deportation. Trump’s decision makes the future of these young people uncertain and could also adversely affect the economy. Obama posted the following response:
Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules.
But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America — kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.
Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.
That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.
But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong — because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?
Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.
It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.
Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.
What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals — that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.

Newswire : Africa’s floods largely go unnoticed despite higher death toll


Africa flood.jpg Women wades through flood waters in Niamey, Niger, west Africa

Sep. 5, 2017 (GIN) – “Floods in Africa in August killed 25 times more people than Hurricane Harvey did.”

That was the headline of a recent story in Quartz online by Lagos-based writer Yomi Kazeem. “Like severe floods in southern Asia, the disasters in Africa have been largely under-reported compared to similar events in Houston where Hurricane Harvey, a once in a “500-year storm” has wreaked havoc,” wrote Kazeem.

Across Texas, 50 people have been reported dead due to the tropical storm but across Africa, intense rains and mudslides killed at least 1,240 people in August, he pointed out.

Besides the mudslide in Sierra Leone, destructive floods have been reported in Niamey, Niger’s capital city. Last week, thousands of people in Niamey were advised to evacuate their homes following severe flooding. Back in May, the United Nations had warned that more than 100,000 people were at risk of the flooding and so far this year, the death toll has topped 40 people. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed forcing stranded residents to take shelter in local schools.

In Ituri, DR Congo, over 200 people are believed to have died after a mudslide hit a fishing village in mid-August. At the time, Pacifique Keta, deputy governor of the northeastern province, said rescue operations were “complicated” given the mountainous terrain of the area and the continued adverse weather. Like in Freetown, residents in the area have mushroomed on steep hillsides over the years worsening the effects of floods.

Similarly, in Benue, a state in Nigeria’s middle belt, more than 110,000 people have been displaced in after intense rains. In addition to thousands of homes, local markets and government offices were badly affected by the flood, according to the state emergency agency.

While President Muhammadu Buhari says he’s received reports of the flood with “great concern” and has ordered relief efforts, very little has been forthcoming. Collins Uma, a Benue-based writer says most of the relief efforts made available so far are down to the “efforts of individuals and groups, not the government.”

The floods in Benue are also not a new event. “This happens every year and will likely happen next year, but the government pays lip service to it,” Benue-based writer Collins Uma tells Quartz. “If we had working drainage systems, this would not happen.”

Climate scientists have been warning for several years that global warming is contributing the rise of the oceans and the intensification of major storms, like hurricanes, typhoons and other natural phenomenon.