Bingo facilities distribute $484,468.83 for October; Forkland’s improvements supported by bingo funds

Following summary provided by Mrs. Kinya Isaac
Bingo Funds regulated by Sheriff Jonathan Benison have afforded the Town of Forkland the opportunity to promote economic development, create jobs, enhance community programs for senior citizens, purchase a recreation and education center for our youth and property for a future park development. It has not only insured a balanced operational budget for the town, but the bingo allocations have also provided seed and matching funds for numerous projects such as vehicles for the newly reactivated police department, $350,000 CDBG Grant to pave streets, Equipment Purchase Grant and the Forkland Innovative Center. Accomplishing the visions of the town’s 2017-2020 Strategic Plan would have been impossible without Charity Bingo.
Mayor McAlpine and the Town Council have initiated the process to build a Public Safety Building which will house the police department, the fire department and the municipal court. Charity Bingo Funds give the Town of Forkland an opportunity to provide vital services which enhance the quality of life for the residents of the community and the surrounding areas.
Distribution for October
On Wednesday, October 14 2020, Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $484,468.83 from four licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions were contributed by Frontier, River’s Edge, Palace and Bama Bingo.
The recipients of the September distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Sub charities include Children Policy Council, Guadalupan Multicultural Services, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources and the Greene County Library.
Bama Bingo gave a total of $113,499.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s $33,750; City of Eutaw, $7,750; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities, each $1,133.33.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,333.33.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,333.33.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $140,983.89 to the following: Greene County Commission, $37,478.82; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $41,377.50; City of Eutaw, $11,340.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,750.75; Greene County Board of Education, $12,873 and the Greene County Health System, $15,325; Sub Charities each, 1,389.47.

Four Bingo facilities contribute $394,420.53 to local entities for month of August

On Monday, September 21, 2020 Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $394,420. 53 from four licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions were contributed by Frontier, River’s Edge, Palace and newly opened Bama Bingo.
The recipients of the August distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Sub charities include Children Policy Council, Fire Department, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources and the Greene County Library.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $116,194.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,333.33.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $104,185.47 to the following: Greene County Commission, $29,696.42; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $32,577.50; City of Eutaw, $3,510.75; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,510,75; Greene County Board of Education, $9,513.00, and the Greene County Health System, $11,325.00. Sub Charities, each $1,085.73.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $145,291.35 to the following: Greene County Commission, $37,601.10; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $45.360; City of Eutaw, $11,377.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,766.25; Greene County Board of Education, $12,915.00 and the Greene County Health System, $15,375; Sub Charities each, 1,394.
Bama Bingo gave a total of $28,748.73 to the following: Greene County Commission, $7,642.50; Greene County Sheriff’s $8,437.50; City of Eutaw, $2,312.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $968.75; Greene County Board of Education, $2,625.00, and the Greene County Health System, $3,125.00. Sub Charities, each $283.33.

Bingo distribution totals $379,643.45 for July 2020

On Friday, August 14, Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $379.643.45 from three licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions were contributed by Frontier, River’s Edge and Palace.
The recipients of the July distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Sub charities include Children’s Policy Council, Fire Department, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources and the Greene County Library.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $114,924.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,500; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,133.33.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $110.165.19 to the following: Greene County Commission, $29,286.06; Greene County Sheriff’s $32,332.50; City of Eutaw, $8,861.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,712.25; Greene County Board of Education, $10,059, and the Greene County Health System, $11,975.00. Sub Charities, each $1,085.73.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $154,533.28 to the following: Greene County Commission, $41.086.68; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $45.360; City of Eutaw, $12,432; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $5208.00; Greene County Board of Education, $14,112 and the Greene County Health System, $16,800; Sub Charities each, $1523.20.

Greene County bingo distributes $169,425.05 for March 2020

Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison promoting social distancing presents distribution check to Forkland Clerk Kinya Isaac and Greene County Health System CEO Dr. Marcia Pugh.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $169,425.05 (1/2 payment) for the month of March, 2020 from three licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions were contributed by Frontier, River’s Edge and Palace. The recipients of the March distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System). Sub charities include Children Policy Council, Fire Department, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources and the Greene County Library.
Sheriff Benison’s bingo rules provide that the Association of Volunteer Fire Departments, headed by Hodges Smith, receives between $,3400 and $3,500 each month from bingo operators, however, Mr. Smith refuses to cash the checks and states that he has been advised not to accept the money from the Sheriff’s rules.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $33,386.25 to the following: Greene County Commission, $8,875.20; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,798.45; City of Eutaw, $2,685.45; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $1,125; Greene County Board of Education, $3,048.45; Greene County Health System, $3,629.10. Sub Charities, $329.10.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $55,082.64 to the following: Greene County Commission, $14,643.03; Greene County Sheriff’s 16,166.25; City of Eutaw, $4,430.75; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $1,856.13; Greene County Board of Education, $5,029.50, and the Greene County Health System, $5,987.50. Sub Charities, $542.87.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $80,956.16 to the following: Greene County Commission, $21,521; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $23,760; City of Eutaw, $6,512; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $2,718; Greene County Board of Education, $7,392 and the Greene County Health System, $8,800; Sub Charities, 797.86.
Sheriff Benison set guides for re-opening bingo facilities
Due to the COVID-19 virus, March and April 2020 fees under Electronic Bingo amendment 743 were delayed or not received in the electronic bingo office that is regulated by Sheriff Jonathan Benison. The fees are required in the rules and regulations set out in amendment 743 which is regulated by the Sheriff of Greene County.
Although the electronic bingo halls were closed because of the virus, the electronic bingo licensees and operators saw some of the citizens’ needs in the county. Some of the licensees and operators decided to meet some of these needs by paying some of the required amendment 743 fees to the charities.
The electronic bingo licensees and operators who met this challenge were Frontier-Dream, Palace (T.S. Police Support League and Rivers Edge – Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Non- Profit Organization.
In the meantime Sheriff Jonathan Benison has sent a letter to each licensee and operator asking them to submit in writing a safety sanitation plan for employees and patrons that will be returning to the electronic bingo halls to play and work.
The safety of all future patrons is at stake. Face masks, gloves, plastic face shield may be necessary as a future expense that each operator may have to incur, due to the close proximity of each patron.With face masks, ‘No smoking’ would be a problem to some patrons. Hand wipes/sanitizing each machine after each player quits playing to insure the next player is at a ‘clean’ machine.
This virus pandemic may require additional employees to make sure that the halls are kept sanitized.
Submitted by Sheriff Jonathan Benison

Sheriff distributes $349,814.79 for February from three bingo facilities

Shown L to R accepting bingo distributions: Union Councilwoman Louise Harkness; Martina Henley, representing the City of Eutaw; Kelsey Spencer, representing the Eutaw Housing Authority; James Morrow for the Greene County Golf Course; Sheriff Benison; Marylin Gibson for the Greene County Library; Earnestine Wade for Town of Boligee; Yolanda Young for DHR; Dr. Marcia Pugh CEO GC Health System and Forkland Mayor Charlie McAlpine.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $349,814.79 for the month of February 2020 from three licensed bingo gaming operations in the county, including Frontier, River’s Edge and Palace. The Charities of Greenetrack, Inc. reported distributions to the various community entities separately from the sheriff.
The recipients of the February 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, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
This distribution report includes the following Bingo Sub- Charities: Association of Volunteer Fire Departments, Greene County Golf Course, Poole Memorial Library, Children’s Policy Council, Greene County Housing Authority and Department of Human Resources.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $68,997 to the following: Greene County Commission, $18,342; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $20,250; City of Eutaw, $5,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $2,325; Greene County Board of Education, $6,300, Greene County Health System, $7,500. Frontier’s total distribution included $4,080 to six sub charities at $680 each.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $118,904.85 to the following: Greene County Commission $31,609.38; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $34,897.50; City of Eutaw, $9,564.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,006.75; Greene County Board of Education, $10,857, and the Greene County Health System, $12,925. River’s Edge total distribution included $7,301.22 to six sub charities at $1,171.87 each.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $161,912.94 to the following: Greene County Commission, 43,042.56; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $47,520; City of Eutaw, $13,024; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $5,456; Greene County Board of Education, $14,784 and the Greene County Health System, $17,600. Palace’s total distribution included $9,574.38 to six sub charities at $1,595.73 each.

Greene County bingo distributes $425,814.57 for January 2020, including $24,857.58 to sub charities

Shown L to R accepting bingo distributions: Kathy Bir, for the City of Eutaw; James Morrow, for the Greene County Golf Course; Dr. Marcia Pugh CEO GC Health System; Jennifer Watkins for the Children’s Policy Council; Marylin Gibson for the Greene County Library; Anita Lewis for the Greene County Housing Authority; Sheriff Benison; Emma Jackson Bingo Clerk; Yolanda Young, for DHR; Lorenzo Thompson for Town of Union, Earnestine Wade for Town of Boligee, LaVonda Blair, Greene County Board of Education CFO; and Joe Tuck for the Town of Forkland. (not shown a representative from the Greene County Commission).

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $425,814.57 for the month of January 2020 from four licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions for January are contributed by Greenetrack, Inc., Frontier, River’s Edge and Palace.
Sheriff Benison announced a new bingo entity, the Raymond Austin Memorial Foundation for Rural Advancement & Development, Inc. will open in April/May.
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, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
This distribution report includes the following Bingo Sub- Charities: Association of Volunteer Fire Departments, Greene County Golf Course, Poole Memorial Library, Children’s Policy Council, Greene County Housing Authority and Department of Human Resources.
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $71,400 to the following: Greene County Commission, (no distribution); Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000 + $24,000 for undesignated recipient); City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Greenetrack’s total distribution included $3,900 to 13 sub charities at $300 each.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $68,997 to the following: Greene County Commission, $18,342; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $20,250; City of Eutaw, $5,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $2,325; Greene County Board of Education, $6,300, Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Frontier’s total distribution included $4,080 to six sub charities at $680 each.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $123,504.63 to the following: Greene County Commission $32,832.18; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $36,247.50; City of Eutaw, $9,934.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,161.75; Greene County Board of Education, $11,277.00, and the Greene County Health System, $13,425.
River’s Edge total distribution included $7,303.20 to six sub charities at $1,217.20 each.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $161,912.94 to the following: Greene County Commission, 43,042.56; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $47,520; City of Eutaw, $13,024; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $5,456; Greene County Board of Education, $14,784 and the Greene County Health System, $17,600.
Palace’s total distribution included $9,574.38 to six sub charities at $1,595.73 each.

Four bingo facilities distribute $359,660 for month of November

Bingo Clerk Emma Jackson, Officer E. Carpenter, Forkland Mayor  Charlie McAlpine, Dr. Marcia Pugh Greene County Health System CEO, Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Ruthie Thomas representing the City of Eutaw, Boligee City Councilwoman Earnestine Wade and Union Mayor James Gaines.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $359,660 for the month of November 2019 from four licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions for November are contributed by Greenetrack, Inc., Frontier, River’s Edge and Palace. The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $-0-no distribution; 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, the Greene County Health System, $7,500. Included in Greenetrack’s November contribution is $24,000 for undesignated recipient.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $-0-no distribution); 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, Greene County Health System, $7,500. Included in Frontier’s November contribution is $24,000 for undesignated recipient.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $73,300 to the following: Greene County Commission, $-0-no distribution); 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, and the Greene County Health System, $13,300. Included in River’s Edge November contribution is $24,000 for undesignated recipient.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $151,360 to the following: Greene County Commission, $-0- (no distribution); Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $80,960; City of Eutaw, $24,640; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $7,040; Greene County Board of Education, $7,040 and the Greene County Health System, $17,600. There was no amount reported for an undesignated recipient.

Bingo facilities distribute $359,660 to local entities for October, with $72,000 unspecified

Shown Above: Bingo Clerk Minnie Byrd, Union Mayor James Gaines, Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Greene County Hospital Board CEO Dr. Marcia Pugh, Greene County School Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, Boligee City Councilwoman Ernestine Wade, Representing the City of Eutaw, Ruthie Thomas, Bingo Clerk Emma Jackson and Forkland City Councilman Joe Tuck.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $359,660 for the month of October 2019 from four licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions for October are contributed by Greenetrack, Inc., Frontier, River’s Edge and Palace. Green Bingo is no longer in operation, however, a bingo license was issued by Sheriff Jonathan Benison to a new entity, the Raymond Austin Memorial Foundation for Rural Advancement & Development, Inc. on August 8, 2019.
The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
The following distribution reports, excluding the Palace, also contain an additional $24,000 from each bingo operation but does not give the recipient of this total amount of $72,000.
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $67,500 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, the Greene County Health System, $7,500. ( + $24,000 for undesignated recipient)
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $-0-no distribution); 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, Greene County Health System, $7,500. (+ $24,000 for undesignated recipient)
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $73,300 to the following: Greene County Commission, $-0-no distribution); 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, and the Greene County Health System, $13,300.( + $24,000 for undesignated recipient)
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $151,360 to the following: Greene County Commission, $-0- (no distribution); Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $80,960; City of Eutaw, $24,640; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $7,040; Greene County Board of Education, $7,040 and the Greene County Health System, $17,600.

2018 – Year in Review

In this article, we will review the highlights of local news stories that affected Greene County during the past year – 2018.

Love’s Truckstop planned

The most notable development for Greene County during 2018 was the announcement that Love’s corporation had secured an option to purchase land at the Exit 40 intersection with Interstate Highway 20/59 on the outskirts of Eutaw. Love’s plans to build a truck stop with 87 spaces, a convenience store with three fast food outlets and other services for trucks and travelers.
The development of the project was contingent upon the City of Eutaw extending sewage lines about a mile to the project site at an estimated cost of $900,000. In July, Mayor Steele announced a $400,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) toward the sewage project. This was followed in August by an announcement by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) of a grant of $372,425 for the project.
The Greene County Industrial Development Authority agreed to loan the City of Eutaw, the balance of funding needed to complete the sewer line. At its December meeting, the City of Eutaw accepted bids for construction of the sewer line.
On October 15, 2018 a groundbreaking was held at the site, where Love’s confirmed that it was building its 470th Travel Center and Country Store in Greene County at the Interstate 40 interchange.
Governor Kay Ivey, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, State Senator Bobby Singleton, members of the Love’s family and management, and many other dignitaries attended the groundbreaking
The $16 million travel stop will be built on a 13.9-acre site and is expected to bring an estimated 43 permanent jobs to the area with a projected 1,000 trucks per day. The facility is expected to sell 8 to 10 million gallons of fuel and have retail sales of $4 to 6 million per year, which will significantly increase tax revenues to Greene County and the City of Eutaw.
Construction of the Lowe’s project is expected to begin in January 2019 and be completed by late Fall of 2019.

Electronic Bingo

The Greene County Community continued to benefit from a gaming and tourist industry authorized by local voter approval of Alabama Constitutional Amendment 743 in 1986.
Five bingo parlors at Greenetrack, Green Charity, Frontier, River’s Edge and the Palace provide 600 or more jobs and over $4.5 million in revenues to the Board of Education, County Government, Sheriff’s Department, Municipalities and the Greene County Hospital and Health System. Additional contributions to E-911, the Greene County Volunteer Firefighters Association and other civic charities are also made.

Each month, the Democrat had a photo and story on the basic fee distribution by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. The monthly distributions averaged over $370,000 each month for the year.
The Greene County Hospital and Health System received $540,000 in bingo fees ($25 per bingo machine) for 2018, the first full year it was included in the monthly bingo fees distribution. This helped stabilize the finances of the Greene County Health System and insured the continued operation of these critical health facilities.
Electronic bingo in Greene County and throughout the state is under attack as “illegal slot-machine gambling” by State Attorney General Mike Marshall, who was re-elected in November. In September 2018, we reported on a status conference, in front of special Circuit Judge James Moore of Fayette County with representatives of the State and all five bingo operators, to discuss a calendar of future motions and hearings in this critical case.
State AG Marshall is continuing to push the case to end electronic bingo in Greene County despite the catastrophic implications for this industry in lost jobs and revenues, in a historically persistent poor county of the Alabama Black Belt.

2018 Local and Statewide Elections

The past year was a major election year for state offices and the Legislature in Alabama and also local elections for Sheriff, Circuit Clerk, Probate Judge, Coroner, County Commission and other political positions.
Numerous candidates for state and local offices qualified by February 9, for the Democratic and Republican primaries on June 5. Several positions were uncontested: Terri Sewell for Congress in the 7th District, Bobby Singleton for State Senate, A. J. McCampbell and Ralph Howard for State House seats involving Greene County.
In the June 5 primary, Greene County voters chose to re-elect Sheriff Jonathan ‘Joe” Benison, Ronald Kent Smith for Coroner, Veronica Morton Jones for Circuit Clerk and for Commissioners: Lester Brown for District 1, Tennyson Smith for District 2, Corey Cockrell for District 3 and Allen Turner for District 4.
Six weeks later after the July 17th primary run-off, Rolanda Wedgeworth triumphed over Jeremy Rancher for Probate Judge and Roshanda Summerville was chosen to be the nominee for District 5 County Commissioner. Since there were no Republican challengers on the local level, all Democrats running for local and legislative positions were elected subject to no independent or write-in challenges in the November General Election.
At the statewide level, Greene county voters helped Walt Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa, to be the Democratic nominee for Governor and Joe Siegelman to be nominee for Attorney General, in the June primary. However, despite strong support in the November 6 General Election, in the Black Belt, Maddox was defeated by incumbent Governor Kay Ivey and Siegelman was defeated by AG Mike Marshall,
In November, Alabama voters continued Republican control of all major statewide offices and a solid majority in both houses of the State Legislature. This despite Maddox’s promise to “expand Medicaid to 300,000 uncovered people in the state on my first day in office” and Ivey’s
Promise to protect Confederate monuments where they were in the state.
Alabama Congressional delegation remained with six Republicans and one Democrat – Terri Sewell.
In June 2018, Governor Kay Ivey appointed Barbara McShan, longtime Revenue Clerk to the position of Greene County Revenue Commissioner to serve out the term of Brenda Goree, who retired.
In November, the five County Commissioners were sworn-in and selected Tennyson Smith as Chair and Roshanda Summerville as Vice Chair for the next four years.

Mayor Raymond Steele and Eutaw City Council often at odds

From the very first meetings of the Eutaw City Council in January 2018 there were fissures and disagreements between Mayor Raymond Steele and City Council members. The disagreements centered around use of city facilities and vehicles, development of a budget for city finances, payment of bills, operation of the water department, repair of roads in Branch Heights, and the addition of items to the meeting agenda without prior consultation with the Mayor.

The Mayor and City Council generally agreed on support for the Love’s Truckstop project but disagreed on practically everything else. There were concerns about the use of the National Guard Armory after a shooting in the –parking lot after a January party at the facility that ended after midnight. City Councilman Jeffrey Carpenter, also a sheriff’s deputy was injured in the shooting.
In March, Mayor Steele purchased the Carver School from the Board of Education for $213,000 with a $50,000 down payment and four years to pay the balance. The Mayor wants to use the school classroom and gymnasium facilities for after-school and weekend youth programs, adult education and cultural programs and other community activities. Council members argue that the purchase is too costly, no operational plan or regulations exist for use of the facilities, and the purchase should have been coordinated with the County Commission and other agencies.
The Mayor and Council have disagreed about the closing-out of the $3.1 loan and grant package with USDA Rural Development for improvement of the water tower and water system. Many of the water meters were incorrectly installed and may not be providing accurate billing reports. Billing has been behind and late which has placed financial hardships on the City in paying its bills.
Several Council members have called for a budget to determine how city finances are being used, when decisions were made such as using $115,000 of funds set aside for Branch Heights roads to pay other bills. Later funds were contracted for Brach Heights roads repairs but the contractor has not started work as yet. Council members are also calling for an audit of city finances but the cost seems high in relation to the benefits.

Other News and
Developments

Greene County Board of Education continued to make progress during 2018 on improving student learning and performance. LaVonda Blair was hired early in the year to be CSFO to handle school finances after the departure of her predecessor. The TieTying for new ninth graders at the High School continued. New courses in welding, auto mechanics and computer coding were added to the curriculum. A virtual high school program was added to serve persons who dropped out or could not attend classes. At its last meeting the Greene County Board of Directors voted 3 to 2 not to continue the contract of Superindent James H. Carter. Unless this decision is rescinded, the Board will spend much of 2019 searching for and interviewing candidates to replace Carter.

Mills Pharmacy opened for business in July in Eutaw in the old Solomon Drug location giving residents a choice in purchasing their drugs. The General Dollar in Eutaw was remodeled giving more space for food items. A new General Dollar opened in the Clinton community at the end of the year. The Super Dollar store closed and the Family Dollar store burned down and the remains cleared away during the past year.
Greene County celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday on January 17 with a breakfast, a march through downtown and a rally at the Courthouse, which featured Dr. Cynthia Warrick, President of Stillman College. In March, many Greene Countians participated in the 53rd. Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, Alabama to celebrate and agitate for voting rights. In July, the Alabama Civil Rights Museum sponsored the 49th anniversary of the 1969 Special Election in Greene County, which was the beginning of Black political control of Greene County.
In August, the community celebrated National Night Out and Back to School Rally on the Courthouse Square. At the end of the month, the 43rd annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival was held on the Courthouse Square. In December the Chamber of Commerce sponsored the annual Christmas Parade.

Many other news and community events were held during 2018 – too many to mention in this summary.