Greene County Commission handled routine business at February meeting

At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, February 11, 2019, the Greene County Commission handled regular and routine business in under an hour. All Commissioners were present and there was little discussion or disagreement.
Paula Byrd presented the financial report showing that the County had $6.4 million in county banks and additional funds in a sinking fund for bond payments in the Bank of New York. She reported that most agency spending was in line with the budgets and since this is the fourth month of the 2018-19 fiscal year, which began October 1, 2018, that most agencies had spend about a third of their budgets. She presented several budget amendments to cover special cases like additional expenses for the November election.
The Commission approved a resolution supporting an increase in the state’s gasoline taxes, under review by the Alabama State Legislature, which would generate a significant increase in support and funding for county road improvement. The state gas tax has not been increased in 27 years since 1992 when it was set at 18 cents a gallon. An increase in this tax, based on fuel and road usage, would provide more funding for road improvement statewide.
The Commission approved the following items on their agenda:

• Approved the schedule of fees for securing alcohol licenses in the county. The amount of the fees is unchanged from last year.• Approved the Ad Valorem Tax Assessment for 2019, which is a routine matter that must be approved annually in the February meeting.
• Approved replacement of a $6,000 gas pump at the County Jail for use by the Sheriff’s Department. It was agreed that these funds would come out of the bingo funds since the Sheriff’s departmental budget for repairs to the jail was already committed and the pump while located at the jail is not part of the jail operations.
• Approved a contract with Terracon for maintenance and engineering services at the County Landfill.
• Approved a request from the County Engineer to employ 4 to 6 temporary workers for the Highway Department, which are included in their budget.
• Approved travel requests for staff and Commissioners to attend training related to their job performance.
The Commission also made several appointments to county boards. Darrow Jones was reappointed to the District 5 position on the Greene County Industrial Development Authority. Commissioner Cockrell requested tabling of the District 3 position.
Mary Snoddy was appointed to the District 1 position and James Williams to the District 5 position on the PARA Board.
Jimmy Hardy was selected for the District 3 position and Carolyn Branch for the District 4 position on the Greene County Housing Authority.
For the Greene County Library Board, Dan Edgar was selected for the District 2 position and Alicia Daniels Jordan for the District 5 position.
The Commission held an Executive Session to discuss legal matters and returned stating that no decisions had been reached that required action in the public meeting.

Eutaw City Council approves ordinance for police officers to drive cars home; Sunday liquor sales; and tables action on matching funds for downtown development

Shown above Mayor Raymond Steele, City Council members and Eutaw Police Officers.

The Eutaw City Council took action on a variety of outstanding issues but tabled a major downtown development and beautification project until Mayor Steele provides more information on the city’s finances and budget.
The Council approved a resolution allowing members of the Eutaw Police Department to drive their official police car home and to use the car to commute back and forth to work from their home location, even if it is in another county. The cars are not to be used for personal purposes but only for the commute from work to home and home to work.
The TS Police Support Foundation, a local charity connected with the Palace Bingo in Knoxville, agreed to pay the additional mileage, gas and maintenance costs for cars used by police officers to commute to work. The resolution acknowledges the contribution of the TS Police Foundation to make this resolution possible. Councilwoman Sheila H. Smith, who also works as an officer of the charity helped spearhead this effort.
The Council approved a first reading of an ordinance to permit alcohol sales on Sunday in the city limits of Eutaw. Eutaw Bait Shop and 12 Roots Restaurant, a new restaurant under renovation at the Thomas Gilmore Courthouse Square, requested this ordinance. The original resolution, which must be approved by the Alabama Legislature, named only the two establishments that requested the change. The City Council decided that this opportunity should be extended to all businesses that request expanded Sunday alcohol sales.
The Council also approved a policy that the City would no longer accept cash payments effective the first week of February. Only checks and money orders will be accepted for water bills and other municipal charges to reduce the chance for losses. Councilman Bennie Abrams inquired if the council members had checked on the impact of this policy on low-income people who did not have checking accounts. The other Council members felt this policy was best for the city. The Council also approved Joe Lee Powell, LaJeffrey Carpenter and City Clerk Kathy Bir as signatories on the municipal bank accounts.
The Council approved an ordinance to declare a storage building adjacent to the National Guard Armory as surplus not needed for public use. Councilwoman Latasha Johnson has been pushing this ordinance as a way to allow the City to lease this building to REACH Inc. for its used furniture distribution service, which has been evicted from the Robert H. Young Civic Center (formerly Carver School).
Mayor Steele objected to the resolution because he contends that the storage building is used and needed for storage of the city’s Christmas lights, ornaments and other supplies. The Council approved the resolution as a first reading as an ordinance subject to a second reading and approval at the next City Council meeting. In the public comments section, some nearby residents said they did not want a furniture business on the grounds of the Armory.
Mayor Steele requested approval to begin engineering work on the TAPNU-TA grant, a $600,000 grant awarded to the city for sidewalks, lanterns and other improvements to the downtown Courthouse square area of Eutaw. The Mayor indicated that he was seeking $210.000 in matching funds for this project by grant and loan funds. The Council tabled further action on this TAPNU-TA grant until the Mayor responds to their questions on city finances and a budget.
The Council felt that without clarity on the city’s finances, including revenues and expenses, in a budget, it could not determine the affordability of borrowing to do new projects. This concern over the City’s finances has been a recurring theme of Council opposition to the Mayor’s plans to revitalize and improve the city.
Council members Latasha Johnson, Joe Lee Powell and LaJeffrey Carpenter made a motion to approve the appointment of Attorney Joshua Swords as Municipal Judge for Eutaw. Councilman Bennie Abrams asked if the other council members had discussed this choice with the Police Department. Councilwoman Sheila Smith asked if the current Municipal Judge, Attorney William ‘Nick’ Underwood, had retired or resigned and why we needed a new judge. The appointment of Swords was approved on a 3 to 1 vote with Abrams abstaining. Mayor Steele also objected to this appointment but it was approved by a majority vote of the City Council.
The Council approved travel for the Court Clerk to a regional seminar for municipal court officials in Birmingham on April 4 and 5, 2019. It also approved an increase in the travel mileage rate to $0.58 per mile in conformity with Federal standards.
Mayor Steele reported that resurfacing of the roads in Branch Heights had been completed and that Central Asphalt did a good job;
clearing of the site for the Love’s Truck Stop has begun and the sewer extension project will begin on January 25, 2019 . He further stated that he was working to pay the most urgent outstanding bills first and work on a report for the Council so they will understand the city’s financial situation.

Board members recognized for School Board Appreciation Month; public challenges criticism of superintendent and school system

Robert Brown Middle School students demonstrate walking and dancing robots they created.

In keeping with recognizing January as School Board Appreciation Month, each of the Greene County schools honored the local school board members with special accolades at the monthly meeting held Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Eutaw Primary students Ja’Siyah Spencer and London Gould, under the direction of 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Keisha Williams, rendered a poem. Principal Barbara Martin invited board members to a special luncheon.
Robert Brown Middle School Students Jami Williams, Omar Elnaham, Kailee Coleman, Jocelyn Pelt and Anthony McMillian, Jr., under the direction of 7th & 8th grade teacher, Ms. Janice Jeames, demonstrated the walking and dancing robots they created in science class.

The group presented board members with sweets and certificates of appreciation.
Representing Greene County High School, Mr. Alphonzo Morton, III, science/biology teacher and Mr. Siegfried Williams, Choir Director, rendered a poem and song and presented board members with bags of sweets and certificates of appreciation.
Superintendent Dr. James Carter, Sr., representing the Central office staff, presented board members certificates of appreciation and fruit baskets.
Phillis Belcher, Executive Director of the Greene County Industrial Development Authority, also recognized the school board members with bags of healthy treats and copies of the spiritual guide, Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Returning to its regular order of business, the board acted on the following personnel recommendations of the superintendent.
Approved resignations of Sondra Green, Health Science Instructor, Greene County Career Center, effective January 15, 2019; Lesley Carlisle, Maintenance Supervisor, effective January 31, 2018.
Approved catastrophic leave for Tyreice Mack, 5th grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School.
Approved employment of Derrick Williams, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation.
Approved salary adjustment for Accounts Payable Clerk, for duties outside regular duties.
Approved supplemental contracts for Shayla McCray, Charlayne Jordan-Riley, and Angelia Hood for duties performed outside regular contract.
Approved supplemental contract for Fredrick Square as School Safety Coordinator.
Approved supplemental contract for Alfonzo Noland, for duties outside regular duties.
The board also approved Dr. Carter’s recommendation that supplemental contracts for coaches remain as is with the caveat that coaches be given extra pay consideration upon completion of annual evaluation, number of students who earn scholarships, won and lost record, practice schedule, and morale of students and coaches within the program.
CSFO LaVonda Blair presented a financial snapshot for the period ending November 2018:
General Fund Balance – $659,662.79 (reconciles to the summary cash report); Check Register Accountability Report – $486,097.48; Payroll register – $898,072.90; Combined Fund Balance – $2,950,901; Local Revenue for the month included property taxes – $202,633.59 and bingo collections – $58,620. Statement ending balance in Merchants & Farmers Bank – $592,538.82 with ending book balance at $659,662.679. The School system’s reserved fund balance is $2,950,901.15
Morgan attempts to buy-out superintendent’s contract
When the board members returned from executive session, board member William Morgan offered a motion which in effect would buy-out Superintendent Carter’s contract and end his services in the system as of Feb. 1, 2019. In the December board meeting, the majority of the board voted to non-renew Dr. Carter’s contract when it ends in June, 2019. Morgan’s motion was deemed out of order, since discussion of the superintendent’s contract was not on the agenda and to add it would required unanimous consent of all board members. Morgan proceeded to expound on the reasons for his motion. He stated that the school system is in great disarray; teachers do not get support they need; principals don’t do their jobs; students don’t get resources needed and all this, according to Morgan, is failure of the superintendent to do his job. Morgan made several disparaging statements against the superintendent, implying the system needed someone new immediately before everything just fell apart. Mr. Leo Branch, board president, had to resort to gaveling Morgan back to order, with the latter insisting he had the floor.
Superintendent Carter followed with his own remarks, refuting Morgans statements of how bad the school system is. Carter pointed to the new and continuing initiatives and the progressive work going on in the system.
Board member Carol Zippert indicated that she wanted clarity that Morgan did not represent her views on the school system. She said that are lots of good things going on in our schools and problems and issues cannot be corrected overnight. It takes a process for progress to continue, with everyone playing a part. She stated that the system is continuing to improve.
During public comments, several members of the audience, including Ms. Hattie Edwards, former Mayor or Eutaw, District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne, Commissioner Lester Brown, community leader Spiver Gordon and retired teacher Mary Otieno, challenged the statements made by Morgan and noted specifics of how they viewed progress in the school system. Each speaker indicated that many entities are responsible for students’ success, including parents, teachers, administrators, the community and students themselves. They all said it is not entirely up to the superintendent. One speaker urged the board to find a way to work together for the students.

GCHS Homecoming a grand success; Tigers deliver a 30-13 win over Holt

Greene County High School students celebrated Homecoming with a variety of activities, from crowning of kings and queens at their annual coronation to the Homecoming parade held Friday, which featured the still-in-formation Greene County High band, dance line, cheer leaders, numerous brightly decorated floats, majorettes, football players, motorcycle and horse riders. Many community participants entered vehicles carrying signs encouraging voters to go to the polls on Nov. 6 for the General Elections. Sheriff Jonathan Benison and Superintendent Dr. James Carter served as 2018 Homecoming Grand Marshals. A large number turned out to enjoy the parade and the game. The Tigers defeated Holt High School with 30 – 13 score, giving the Tigers a 1-3 season.

The Greene County varsity football team has an away non-conference game at Sumter Central (York, AL) on Friday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. Good Luck Tigers.

Newswire : After stunning Soccer World Cup victory migrants also rejoice

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Mbappe – son of African immigrants played on French team

July 16, 2018 (GIN) – There’s a festive spirit in France following its second World Cup final in 20 years. For the decisive game, fans had been glued to their sets, including at a Salvation Army shelter where several dozen migrants had watched the match.

“You can dream in France,” Youssef, a 25 year old from Darfur, Sudan, told the France24 news agency. “If you’re the best, you can be on the team. That’s not true everywhere.” He was referring to the 17 players on the French team who are sons of immigrants. “(Kylian) Mbappé’s dad is from Cameroon and his mother is Algerian.”

In the second half after Paul Pogba (parents from Guinea) and Mbappé score in quick succession, the room goes wild – up and dancing, hugging, turning over their seats.

A group of women on one side of the room start up a chant of, “Thank you, Pogba! Thank you, Mbappé!”

“We are all refugees from somewhere,” reflects Habib from Afghanistan, “but we live here. We’re for the place where we live.”

Close links between French and African soccer go back some 80 years. Senegalese Raoul Diagne played in the 1938 World Cup and later became a deputy in the French assembly, as well as the first coach of independent Senegal.

Just Fontaine, whose tally of 13 goals in the 1958 finals remains a World Cup record, came from Morocco and Zinedine Zidane, arguably the greatest French soccer player, was born in Marseille to Algerian parents.

He was the hero of France’s World Cup-winning team 20 years ago whose success was hailed as a powerful and inspiring rejection of racism in French society.

Peniel Joseph, founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas in Austin, said the French 4 to 2 win over Croatia was “a victory for Africa and immigrants everywhere.”

Khaled Beydoun, author of the book “American Islamophobia,” took a less forgiving view, however, in an open letter to France on Twitter.

“Dear France,” he began. “Congratulations on winning the World Cup. 80% of your team is African (so) cut out the racism and xenophobia. 50% of your team is Muslim (so) cut out the Islamophobia. Africans and Muslims delivered you a second World Cup. Now deliver them justice.”

“You can’t celebrate and cheer immigrants and minorities on the football field and vilify them everywhere else off of it,” he added.

Annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, time for reunions, good food and music

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Lemon Harper of Sumter County shows off his dance routine at Annual Festival.  and John Kennedy Byrd prepares his famous Barbecue ribs at annual festival

Where else can you smile and sway to ole timey blues, enjoy the delicacies of right-off-the grill barbecue and polish sausages, feast on freshly cooked country dinners with assorted pies and cakes and then top it all off with hand churned homemade ice cream.
All this and more is happening at the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival on Saturday, August 25 and Sunday August 26 on the Old Courthouse Square in Eutaw, AL.
The festival features down home blues music, old timey gospel, traditional foods, handmade crafts. Saturday’s events are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with Ole Timey Blues and dancing featuring musicians Clarence Davis, The Liberators, Jock Webb, Davey Williams, Russell Gulley, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, and others.
The handmade crafts available at the festival are traditional quilts and other needle works; baskets from white oak, pine needles and corn shucks. The assortments of down-home foods include soul food dinners, barbecue, fried fish, chicken and skins, homemade ice cream, cakes and pies; snow cones, Italian ice, and more.
Ole Timey Gospel is reserved for Sunday’s festival beginning at 2:00 p.m. and featuring the
The Echo Juniors, The Melody Kings, The Mississippi Traveling Stars, The Golden Gates, New Generation Men of Promise, Greene County Mass Choir, Glory Gospel Group, Angels of Faith, The American Gospel Singers and many others.

“The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is home coming time in the region. Many families, class reunions and social clubs plan their annual activities to coincide with the festival’s schedule,” stated Dr. Carol P. Zippert, festival coordinator. “The festival brings together musicians, craftspersons, storytellers, food specialists, community workers – all who are considered bearers of the traditions and folkways of the West Alabama region,” she explained. “This is a festival where people truly celebrate themselves – their joys and struggles and especially ‘How we made it over,’” Zippert states.
According to Dr. Zippert, the two day festival is open to the public free of charge. The hours are Saturday, August 25, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday August 26, 2:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is supported in part by the Black Belt Community Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation, Alabama Department of Tourism and other local contributors.
The festival is produced by the Society of Folk Arts & Culture.
There is no admission fee for the Festival events.
For more information contact Carol P. Zippert at 205-372-0525;
Email: carolxzippert@aol.com

Newswire : Is the NFL’s new National Anthem policy legal?

Civil Rights Activists, NFL Players react to new policy

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Civil rights activist Tamika Mallory speaking at demonstration against new NFL national anthem policy
Protesters held a rally in front of the National Football League’s New York City headquarters on May 25 after the league announced new rules that punish players who don’t stand for the national anthem.
Tamika Mallory said that the NFL owners were acting as a “proxy for a fascist president” and that the new policy was an attempt to “resurrect slavery in the 21st century” and punish Black players. The kneeling protests started when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting during the anthem and then kneeling as a protest against police brutality.
“ What is being said is that the n–gas don’t have basic rights,” Mallory said. “And I want to say today that Ida B. Wells, Dr. Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, the four little girls in Birmingham are turning over in their graves right now about the disrespect, the disgrace, that is happening in this country.”
Mallory continued: “If we, as Black people, lay down and allow this system to continue to oppress us, we are the ones to be held responsible.”
Civil rights activist and author of “The Revolt of the Black Athlete” Harry Edwards told USA TODAY that the NFL’s new national anthem policy was “the dumbest move possible.” “They put the protest movement on blast,” Edwards said. “They just created a bigger stage than ever.”
In a recent commentary for Vox.com, Harvard Law School labor professor Benjamin wrote: “This new league policy is meant to enforce a particular vision of patriotism, one that involves compliance rather than freedom of expression.”
Sachs wrote that the new anthem policy was illegal—for a host of reasons.“The clearest illegality derives from the fact that the league adopted its new policy without bargaining with the players union,” Sachs wrote. “When employees, including football players, are represented by a union, the employer—including a football league—can’t change the terms of employment without discussing the change with the union. Doing so is a flagrant violation of the employer’s duty to bargain in good faith.”
ESPN.com reported that President Donald Trump supported the NFL’s policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room, during an interview with Fox News. “I think that’s good,” Trump said. “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Many players have already indicated that they are not happy with the new rule.
In a statement released on Twitter, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wrote: “While I disagree with this decision, I will not let it silence me or stop me from fighting. The national conversation around race in America that NFL players forced over the past 2 years will persist as we continue to use our voices, our time and our money to create a more fair and just criminal justice system, end police brutality and foster better educational and economic opportunities for communities of color and those struggling in this country.”
In an interview with ESPN, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin called the president “an idiot…plain and simple.”
“I respect the man because he’s a human being, first and foremost. But he’s just being more divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is,” Baldwin said. “For him to say that anyone who doesn’t follow his viewpoints or his constituents’ viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it’s not very empathetic, it’s not very American-like, actually to me. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded upon.”
Baldwin continued: “It’s kind of ironic to me that the president of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.”
In his Vox.com commentary about the NFL’s new national anthem policy, Sachs wrote that now that the owners have made it a workplace rule to stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room, any player who takes the field and takes a knee is protesting an employer rule. That protest, Sachs said, “is unquestionably protected by federal labor law.”
The NFL pre-season begins in August.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

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Shown Wilson Morgan DHR Director, Jacqueline Woods, Service /APS Supervisor, Latonya Wooley - Foster Care Worker,Beverly Vester ,Q.A. Coordinator, Kimberly Tyree - CA/N Investigator surround  Judge Judy Spree.

Monday, April 2, 2018 Greene County Probate Judge; Judy Spree, issued this proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. “Whereas,  National Child Abuse will be recognized throughout the United States, as well as in the commonwealth of Alabama during the month of April; and Whereas, Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well being of children and families; and Whereas,  preventing child abuse and neglect is a community problem that depends on involvement among people throughout the community and Whereas, child abuse is considered to be one of our nation’s most serious health problems with scientific studies documenting the link  between the abuse and neglect of children and a wide range of  medical emotional psychological and behavioral disorder; and Whereas, effective child abuse prevention programs succeed because of partnership among agencies, schools, religious organization, law enforcement and the business community and Whereas, during the month of April and throughout the year our  communities are encourage to share child abuse and neglect prevention awareness  strategies and activities promote prevention across the county.
Therefore I, Honorable Judge Judy Spree, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Probate Judge of Greene County,  hereby proclaim the month of April in the year of 2018 to be Child  Abuse Prevention  Month in Greene County and urge all residents to engage in making a difference in the lives of children in Greene County by promoting safety and awareness to prevent abuse from happening.

One dead, four injured at Sin City Deciples bikers social event in Eutaw

 

 

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Mandel Pearson

In a press conference held Monday, January 16, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation agent Jason Ward confirmed that one person is dead and four others were injured in a shooting early Sunday morning at the Eutaw National Guard Armory. The armory was being rented out for a social event by the Sin City Deciples Motorcycle Club and Greene County Deputy LaJeffery Carpenter. The Sin City Deciples have bases in Birmingham and Anniston.
The ABI said the shooting took place just before 1:30 Sunday morning at the National Guard Armory. Investigators recovered about 100 shell casings in the parking lot of the armory where the Sin City Deciples MC sponsored an event Saturday night. Other motorcycle clubs present at the social included the Show Stoppers MC which has a base in Birmingham.
The person killed in the shooting has been identified as 36-year-old Mandel Pearson of Anniston, AL.
According to Eutaw Police Chief Derick Coleman an argument started inside the building before those involved moved outside. That’s when the shootings happened. The victims were first brought to Greene County Hospital emergency room and stabilized. Two of the victims were then airlifted by helicopter to UAB with life-threatening injuries, and two others were transported by ambulance to DCH with non-life threatening injuries.
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says among the injured was an off duty Greene County Deputy, LaJeffery Carpenter, who suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Members of the Showstoppers Motor Club were also present at the social event at the armory.

This club, based in Avondale, AL, was founded in 2002 and members wear red and black with a jester logo.
Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele stated that it is always sad to lose a life by violence. “The city sends its condolences to the family of the man killed and lifts prayers for all the those injured,” he said. Mayor Steele also remarked that there has never been such an unfortunate incident as this at the armory facility.
“ I plead with young people in particular to put down your weapons. Deal with your disagreements in non-violent ways. Try to resolve your differences without weapons.,” Steele said.
According to Wikipedia, Sin City Deciples is a “one-percenter” outlaw motorcycle club that started in Gary, Indiana in 1966. Sin City prides itself on being open to all men, regardless of race or color. But most importantly is known for its historical roots as a club that was founded by and started as an African American Club, but allowed membership of all races of men that meet its strict guidelines to join…thus for breaking the mold of the historical 1% outlaw tradition of racism.
Outlaw bikers refer to their organizations as “one-percenter” motorcycle clubs (MC) rather than gangs. The term “one-percenter” originated from a statement made by the American Motorcycle Association in response to a motorcycle rally held in 1947 in Hollister, California, that turned violent. The American Motorcycle Association stated: “99% of the motorcycling public are law-abiding; there are 1% who are not.” Outlaw (or one percenter) can mean merely that the club is not chartered under the auspices of the American Motorcyclist Association, implying a radical rejection of authority.
The clubs are also known for serving a large number of charity organizations.
A high percentage of military veterans have joined the club, as well as doctors, lawyers, and other corporate Americans. As with any 1% outlaw club there is much secrecy surrounding members, and its requirements to join. However it has been noted that the brotherhood of the Sin City Deciples is one of the tightest knit outlaw motorcycle clubs in existence, making Sin City have a great deal of mystic around its exact numbers and requirements
Members are required to ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles and pride themselves on the tight knit brotherhood and unity they have developed over years, and decades of riding with each other from state to state. With charters that span from coast to coast, and active charters in almost every state in the United States and in Europe, they are one of the oldest and largest outlaw clubs in existence. Exact membership is unknown, however it has been rumored that they have thousands of active members.

 

Solidarity meeting held to support electronic bingo in Greene County

Nat WinnGreenetrack CEO Luther “Nat” Winn addresses Solidarity meeting

 

On Tuesday, November 21, the Black-Belt Solidarity Committee held a meeting at the Eutaw National Guard Armory in support of Greene County Constitutional Amendment 743 authorizing electronic bingo in Greene County. The Solidarity Meeting Committee consisting of Val Goodson, Beverly Gordon and Patricia Edmonds sponsored the meeting.
Two hundred supporters of bingo attended and heard statements from community political and organizational leaders in support of electronic bingo and its benefits to the community.
The meeting was held in response to a recent lawsuit filed by Alabama Attorney General Mike Marshall to stop bingo in five counties around the state including Greene, Lowndes, Macon, Morgan and Houston where bingo has been authorized by voter support of Constitutional amendments.

Sheriff Joe Benison spoke and said he enjoys serving the people of Greene County with his staff of 34 employees and encouraged unity in the face of the attack on bingo by the Attorney General.
Hodges Smith speaking on behalf of the Greene County Volunteer Fire Associations said, “ Before bingo, we had to raise money for fire trucks and other equipment selling hot dogs and hamburgers. It was very difficult and we could not get all of the up to date equipment we needed. We do not want to be pushed backwards into the dark ages again. We need to stand together for bingo.”
Johnny Isaac, Chair of the E-911 Board also spoke in favor of bingo and the need for unity in view of the attack on Amendment 743.
John Zippert, Chair of the Greene County Health Systems Board of Directors said, “We received a distribution of $39,375, for the month of October, from four of the five bingo establishment this week which helped the hospital to meet payroll and expenses to continue to provide health services in Greene County to people who do not have any insurance.”
Mayor Raymond Steele spoke of the benefits of gaming to the City of Eutaw and other municipalities in the county that receive bingo funds. County Commissioner Allen Turner reported that the County Commission used bingo funds to match Federal funds for road and bridge repairs, which stretched the funds and made them to further to help the people of Greene County.
Luther ‘Nat’ Winn, CEO of Greenetrack said he was pleased to see people standing together to protect what we have. “I hope this sends a message to AG Marshall not to come to disrupt the jobs and economic progress we have made through electronic bingo.” Winn continued, “ I want you to know that we are not going to close our operations this time. If the state comes, I for one am going to stand in the doorway of Greenetrack and stop the State of Alabama from disrupting a gaming industry that employs hundreds and supports the county agencies and schools of Greene County. This is a part of our voting rights and civil rights and we are not giving up without a fight.”
Commissioner Marcus Campbell of Sumter County and Probate Judge Crawford of Hale County also spoke in support of unity to keep Greene County bingo working because it provides employment and other benefits to residents of their adjoining counties.
The Solidarity meeting was adjourned and a monthly Greene County Fire Association meeting went forward.