Pine Electric Co-op Send Linemen to Help Restoration Efforts after
Southern Pine Electric Co-op has sent seven
linemen to assist Okefenoke Electric Cooperative in Hilliard, Florida to
help restore power after Hurricane Irma’s landfall.
Linemen who will be assisting Okefenoke
Electric are Tracy Emmons, Kirk Carter, Ricky Quates, AJ Faircloth, Adam
York, Norris Brooks and Grayson Peters.
Alabama Youth Dove Hunt Schedule Announced New
Registration Process for 2017
Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) announces that the
state’s 17th Annual Youth Dove Hunts have been scheduled for 2017. The north
zone hunts begin on September 9. The south zone hunts begin on September 16.
Although the hunts are free,
registration is required.
Online registration is scheduled to open August 28, 2017, at 8 a.m. For
the complete hunt schedule, visit www.outdooralabama.com/youth-dove-hunts.
WFF is implementing a new
registration process this year. Hunters submitting a registration for
participation in a youth dove hunt must be a parent or an adult at least 21
years old and have a Conservation ID (CID). Additionally, once you receive a
registration confirmation email and accept the hunt you wish to attend, you
cannot register for a second hunt until the date of your registered hunt has
As it becomes available,
additional information describing the registration, notification and hunt
acceptance process will be posted to www.outdooralabama.com/youth-dove-hunts.
Alabama’s Youth Dove Hunt
events are held in open fields and staffed by WFF personnel, which
encourages a safe, secure environment for both parents and participants. The
program also makes use of private lands and fields opened for use by
community members, which fosters good relationships between hunters and
To participate in the hunts,
youth hunters must be age 15 or younger and accompanied by an adult at least
21 years old (or a parent) who holds a valid state hunting license and a
Harvest Information Program (HIP) stamp. Hunters should obtain their license
and HIP stamp before the hunt since they will not be available on-site.
Before each hunt, a short
welcome session with reminders on hunting safety will be conducted. All
hunters are encouraged to wear eye protection and earplugs.
Doves are migratory and covered
by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has
special rules and regulations that apply to dove hunting which all hunters
must follow. To review the Alabama Cooperative Extension System
recommendations for plantings related to dove management, visit
The Alabama Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and
enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine
Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.
To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.
Method Modified for Some Military Personnel and Those with AL Non-Driver ID
personnel stationed in Alabama and those with Alabama non-driver
identification cards will see changes this year in the process of purchasing
Alabama recreational hunting and fishing licenses. The changes became
effective August 21, 2017.
personnel stationed in Alabama must apply for a hunting and/or fishing
license at their local probate office, license commissioner, Marine
Resources Division office, or Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division
headquarters in Montgomery, Ala. A valid U.S. driver’s license, military ID
card, and a copy of military orders assigning them to Alabama for 30 or more
days will be required when applying. This also applies to spouses and
Those with Alabama non-driver
identification cards must also apply for a hunting and/or fishing license at
their local probate office, Marine Resources Division office, or Wildlife
and Freshwater Fisheries Division headquarters in Montgomery, Ala. Two
additional proofs of residency are required when applying.
These changes were made to
ensure the correct license types are being sold to applicants. It is a
violation of Alabama law to willfully or knowingly make a false statement
when purchasing an Alabama resident hunting or fishing license.
Hunters and anglers make
conservation efforts in Alabama possible through the purchase of hunting and
fishing licenses. Fish stocking, wildlife management, public hunting land,
and marine fisheries management are just a few of the programs funded in
part though license sales.
More information about the
types of licenses available, hunting rules and regulations, and how to
purchase a license can be found at www.outdooralabama.com/alabama-license-information.
The Alabama Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and
enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine
Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.
To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.
Southern Pine Sends
Student Representatives To Tour Washington
The Washington D.C.
National Rural Electric Youth Tour, sponsored by local electric
cooperatives, the Alabama Rural Electric
Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, is part
of a grassroots program to educate high school juniors on the electric
cooperative program and the cooperative ideas for which it stands. In June,
approximately 58 students from Alabama traveled to Washington D.C., joining
more than 1,500 students from across the nation. The youth tour experience
is filled with fun activities, but its overall purpose is to increase
students understanding of the value of rural electrification, help them
become more familiar with the historical and political environment of our
nation’s capital through visits to monuments, government buildings and
cooperative organizations…and visit elected officials to increase the
students’ knowledge of how the federal government works.
2017 Washington D.C.
representatives for Southern Pine Electric Co-op are (Front L to R): Ashlyn
Glick, Escambia Academy; Ashton Cobb, J.U. Blacksher High School; (Back L to
R) Ally Jackson, W.S. Neal High School; Jasmin McCreary, Hillcrest High
School; Todd Watson, T.R. Miller High School and Neelee Harrison, T.R.
Miller High School
Eastern Indigo Release Adds 26 to Conecuh Forest
By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Jim Godwin crouched next to a patch of white sand in the Conecuh National
Forest last week and gently released a dark, 6-foot-long serpent. The
threatened eastern indigo snake didn’t hesitate to slither quickly into the
intended target, a gopher tortoise burrow.
The head of the eastern indigo snake, with its tongue testing the muggy
July air, made a brief appearance at the burrow’s entrance, but there was
too much hubbub going on in the longleaf pine forest for it to pose for
photos. No encore. Elvis has left the building.
The hubbub was created by efforts to reestablish a viable population of
the snakes that once were abundant before the longleaf pines became a prime
species for lumber production. More than two dozen people, including
wildlife and forestry professionals as well as interested citizens and their
children, joined the project leaders to release the snakes.
Godwin, of Auburn University’s Alabama Natural Heritage Program, has
spearheaded the project for the past 11 years, and last week’s release of 26
eastern indigo snakes increased the number of released snakes significantly.
Through a grant from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural
Resources’ Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division, the program had
previously released 107 eastern indigos into the wild, according to WFF
Grant Coordinator Traci Wood.
“This project is an example of great accomplishments for the eastern
indigo snakes and all the partners involved,” Wood said. “It’s a great
effort toward the recovery plan to enhance and maintain a population in the
historical range of the eastern indigo. This species was extirpated from the
state and hadn’t been seen since the 1950s. It is considered an apex
predator. It plays an important role in the ecosystem, specifically the
longleaf pine ecosystem. I think this is an exceptional example of the
reintroduction of an imperiled species.
“This project is not only about the propagation and release of these
snakes in the forest; we are also monitoring these snakes. PIT (passive
integrated transponder) tags were inserted into the snakes. We will have
technicians walking areas where snakes were released to look at survival,
abundance and demographics.”
Eastern indigo snakes are the longest reptiles native to the U.S. at more
than 8 feet long. They prey on a variety of small mammals, amphibians,
lizards and numerous species of venomous snakes. The venomous copperhead
snake is a common meal for the indigo. Godwin said indigos will range far
and wide during the warmer months and then seek refuge in the gopher
tortoise burrows during the winter.
Wood said the WFF’s State Wildlife Action Plan identifies 366 species
that are in the category of greatest conservation need.
“Alabama is one of the most diverse states in the nation, specifically
Conecuh National Forest, in terms of amphibians and reptiles,” she said.
“This area is the most biologically rich public land in the country.”
Wood said the long-term goal for the eastern indigo project is to release
300 snakes into the wild.
“It’s a long-term effort our agency is committed to with all our
partners,” she said. “I want to thank Jim Godwin with Auburn University,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Zoo Atlanta and OCIC (Central Florida Zoo’s
Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation) for all their work and dedication.
And I want to thank the U.S. Forest Service for their exceptional management
to give us this opportunity to release these snakes in quality habitat.”
Tim Mersmann, Conecuh District Ranger, said he hopes the release of
eastern indigo snakes becomes an annual event.
“We are all about restoring longleaf pine forest ecosystems on the
Conecuh,” Mersmann said. “It’s really what drives us. This open,
fire-maintained forest is what we’re about. This type of forest ecosystem
used to be the most common condition along the coastal plain and the Gulf
Coast and Atlantic Coast. Now it’s fairly rare. Many of the species
associated with it are rare as well.
“We’re about restoring this condition as part of our natural heritage.
And restoring the ecosystem means restoring the parts and pieces. One of the
most exciting and striking pieces, no pun intended, is the eastern indigo.
These snakes are very docile, but they are really a top predator in this
type of ecosystem. So, to get them back after decades of being missing from
this ecosystem is really exciting.”
Mersmann said that herpetologists have studied the 84,000-acre Conecuh
National Forest and determined it has more species of amphibians and
reptiles than any public land unit in the country.
“We’re really proud of that,” he said. “It’s a great haven for reptiles
and amphibians, a great home for a snake-eating snake like the indigo.
They’ve got a real smorgasbord to choose from. And it’s heaven for
herpetologists as well.
“Beyond the herpetologists, this is part of our natural heritage. It’s
part of the legacy we want to leave for the future. That is why we really
enjoy having kids out here for the indigo snake release. That’s been part of
Godwin said last week’s release was the fifth major release in the
project’s 11-year history.
“When we set out looking for a place to begin this project, Conecuh stood
out as the only place in Alabama where we could successfully accomplish this
task of reintroducing a population of indigo snakes back into Alabama,”
Godwin said. “It had to do with this relatively intact landscape and good
ecosystem management, and, as best as we know, the perpetuity of that
“This area is incredible for reptile and amphibian diversity. Another
species in Conecuh that is rare is the gopher frog. One of the top breeding
sites for gopher frogs is right here in Conecuh.”
Godwin said during the early days of the indigo project the snakes to be
released were propagated from indigos that had been captured in the wild in
Georgia. The indigos in last week’s release were bred in captivity at the
Orianne Center at the Central Florida Zoo. Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia
Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army’s Fort Stewart also
provided indigos in the past.
“Rearing an indigo in captivity costs a lot,” Godwin said. “When you
multiply that by 50 or 60, it’s a huge task. We’re very grateful the zoos
have been able to step up. The Birmingham Zoo now also has an interest. As
this project has moved along, it has continued to expand. We also welcome
new partners to help support this.”
Godwin said monitoring the success of the reintroduction of the indigo
population is a difficult proposition, but new technology promises to make
it easier. During last week’s release, the youngsters in the group were
given priority to release the snakes, hopefully fostering their interest in
Goodwin said eastern indigos are next to impossible to find in the wild.
“If you don’t have a radio transmitter in an indigo snake, you don’t know
where it’s going or what it’s doing,” he said.
Godwin did say one eastern indigo snake was spotted in Conecuh National
Forest this year.
“This is a federally threatened species, and the person who saw it knew
it was protected,” he said. “I wish we could have collected some
information, but he did the right thing by leaving the snake alone. We know
indigo snakes are surviving out here. We hope in the future, the children
will grow up with an appreciation and a real care and concern for these
Yes, You Still Have To Have A Permit To Carry A Concealed Firearm
Several people have asked
about pistol permits lately and seem confused about Bills in Alabama's
Legislature that might change concealed carry laws.
The quick answer is yes, you
still have to have a permit to carry a concealed firearm on your person
and in your vehicle.
The Alabama Senate did
Senate Bill 24 which would eliminate permit requirements for Alabama
residents allowing them to carry a firearm concealed on their person and
in their vehicles, however, that Bill has now moved to the Alabama House
in the form of House Bill 414.
In the meanwhile, if you have a Pistol Permit or plan to apply for one,
you should read this section of
Pine Making Upgrades To Owassa-Cook’s Dairy Electrical Line
By: Jim Allen
BREWTON - On March 28th, Southern Pine Electric Cooperative released the
following Public Service Announcement:
Unfortunately there are some people out there calling Southern Pine
members and telling them that their power will be out for an extended
period of time.
If you are contacted by anyone claiming to be a representative of
Southern Pine Electric Co-op telling you that your power is going to be
out, please contact your local Southern Pine office immediately to
Thank you, Southern Pine Electric Co-op.
Although extended loss of service is not scheduled, some Southern Pine
customers will be experiencing brief outages while the Co-op upgrades
several sections of it's power grid for the remainder of 2017.
According to Vince Johnson, CEO and General Manager of Southern Pine
Electric Cooperative in Brewton, the company is in the middle of a $5.9
million two-year plan to replace, upgrade, and harden the system's power
grid in Escambia, Monroe and Conecuh counties.
“Right now there are between 25 and 30 projects in those counties to
replace and upgrade the system - from residential connections to 11 mile
sections of distribution line – it's all being upgraded,” Johnson said.
Southern Pine operates in a five county area, he said, and has some
3,300 miles of distribution line.
“Twenty years ago we conducted a system-wide survey and found we had 700
miles of copper wiring,” he said.
It was then the company instituted the practice of creating and
budgeting two-year plans to systematically replace and upgrade sections
of the power grid that need it most.
“Today, we have about 200 miles of copper wiring,” he said. “It's just
time to upgrade the line – and bring better service to our members.”
The current two-year plan started in January 2016 and will end in
One of those projects includes the replacement and upgrade to an 8 mile
section of distribution and service line in northern Conecuh County from
Owassa, along County Road 29, to Cook's Dairy at Highway 83.
“As best we can tell,” Johnson said, “that section was installed
sometime in the 1950s. We haven't installed copper since then.”
Johnson stressed the importance of the Owassa distribution line which
sends 14,400 volts of electricity 40 miles and ends in Midway where it
supplies power to several industrial sites.
The existing lines are being replaced and upgraded with a more robust
system that includes swapping out the old copper wiring with thicker
aluminum wire containing a steel core. To accommodate the larger wire at
the top of the pole is heavy-duty hardware and stronger cross-member
supports. To hold all this in the air, the Co-op is using larger power
poles with upgraded guy-wire supports.
To clear the way for this major upgrade, Southern Pine work crews have
been removing trees and brush ahead of the actual installation, which is
being completed in mile long sections.
The Owassa-Cook's Dairy project serves approximately 1,800 Southern Pine
members and is expected to be completed in June at a cost of around $1
million, Johnson said.
The subcontractor performing the actual installation is Harper Electric
Construction Company out of Andalusia. Johnson said Harper Construction
not only won the bid to replace the power line, but has been a working
partner with Southern Pine for the past five years and works with the
Co-op to make repairs following storm damage from severe weather.
Any mention of storm damage to power lines brings up Hurricane Ivan, and
a noticeable change in Johnson's tone of voice. Southern Pine, along
with other power companies in our area, took a beating from Hurricane
Ivan that won't soon be forgotten.
Johnson said Hurricane Ivan
caused extensive damage to Southern Pine's entire system and took 800
contractors, in addition to Southern Pine's existing workforce, two
weeks to bring the system back to full operation.
Although nothing can prevent damage and outages when the weather becomes
severe enough, the upgrades now in progress within Southern Pine's
service area should go a long way towards mitigating and minimizing
outages to their members.
“Most important to us are our Southern Pine members,” Johnson said. “We
want to be responsive to their needs and work with them any way we can.
We want to provide our members with electricity safely and reliably, and
give them our best effort. We owe that to them.”
writing this article myself and bringing up the details of this murder
through a rehash of court documents, I have chosen instead to link to this
article from The Montgomery Advertiser.
I will not be
including an article concerning this case in our July print edition in order
to spare the family of Ms. Clarene Haskew more local public disclosure,
however the people of Conecuh County have a right to know the latest
information concerning this case.
Dead Man Identified In
Wednesday Officer Involved Shooting In Evergreen
15 October 15
The information contained
here is from news sources and has not been confirmed by official sources.
According to the Alabama Law Enforcement
Agency, (ALEA), “Troopers responded to assist Conecuh Co Sheriff Randy
Brock's Office in the apprehension of a suspect wanted for an assault that
occurred earlier in the evening in Monroeville. Multiple attempts to
persuade the suspect, who was believed to be armed, to surrender failed. At
that point, the suspect exited the residence and fired multiple shots at law
enforcement. In an effort to defend themselves, law enforcement officers
from several agencies returned fire and subsequently killed the suspect. No
law enforcement officers were injured.
“Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier,
Col. John Richardson and SBI Director Gene Wiggins responded to the scene.
"SBI will thoroughly investigate both the
officer involved shooting and the assault in Monroeville," Secretary Collier
said. "I am very relieved that no officers were injured this evening."
State Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene and will conduct the
investigation of the officer involved shooting and the assault that occurred
“Investigation is ongoing and nothing further will be
released at this point.”
According to news sources, the
incident began in Monroeville Wednesday when the male suspect, identified as
Leslie Portis Jr., 57, of Evergreen, allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend in the
leg then fled the scene.
The girlfriend was reportedly
in critical condition due to loss of blood, and was transported by
helicopter to USA Medical Center.
Portis reportedly fled into
Conecuh County using back roads then barricaded himself inside a residence
along US 31 just south of Evergreen where he was confronted by law
Evergreen Wood Products And BIOTAP Update
May 7, 2015
By: Jim Allen
EVERGREEN-Something that was never widely reported occurred at the March 9th
Commission meeting when Mr. Bob Miller attended to report on the status of
Evergreen Wood Products. The incident was mentioned on James Leon Windham's
Blog, Conecuh News & Views, but not in the write-up in the Evergreen Courant
– and I thought it irrelevant because it involved me. Well to be more
accurate, Commissioner Johnny Andrews involved me.
As anyone who's been reading my work knows, I've been a strong advocate for
the recovery of $350,000 in taxpayers money that was “loaned” to the City's
Industrial Development Board about a year and a half ago to help “start up”
Evergreen Wood Products.
Evergreen Wood Products never “started up” and the taxpayer funds, $175,000
from the City of Evergreen and $175,000 from the County Commission, was
When Mr. Miller appeared at the Commission meeting and it was Commissioner
Andrews' turn to address him, Andrews deferred stating, “I have no
questions, but Mr. Allen is in attendance and I bet he does!”
I declined. It was not my place to interrogate Mr. Miller or place him on
the hot seat in relation to the still missing funds at a County Commission
It was our County Commission who voted to loan our money to the City's IDB,
and Commissioners Andrews and Cook were strong advocates at the time to do
Our Commission did not loan the money to Miller. They loaned it to the IDB,
at the request and upon the reassurances of Evergreen's Economic Development
Director Bobby Skipper, that it would be repaid.
It's the IDB who is responsible for the funds.
Now, for one reason or another, Mr. Miller and Evergreen Wood Products has
been allowed to continue to occupy the former Gerber facility although the
business has never begun production.
On Thursday, April 16th, I attended a meeting of the City of Evergreen's
Industrial Development Board at the Depot in Evergreen. And it was most
To keep it short, the meeting went something like this: the Gerber facility
belongs to the City's IDB and Miller has been allowed to occupy it while he
continues attempts to acquire funding to begin operations. Over the past
year and a half, Miller has missed several deadlines for acquiring the
necessary funding to begin operations – to include repayment of the $350,000
loaned to the IDB on his behalf.
Blame for those delays was tossed back and forth by both sides.
The meeting was for the IDB to decide if it would order Miller to
immediately vacate the facility – or extend another deadline to May 20, 2015
when Miller claims he will finally have the funding necessary to close the
After an Executive Session, the IDB chose to postpone the decision until
Monday, April 20th when it would meet again at the Depot. In the meanwhile,
Miller was to provide the IDB with documentation verifying his funding will
be available and the deal will indeed close on May 20th.
It was also stated during that meeting that another business is interested
in occupying the facility should it be vacated by Miller and Evergreen Wood
During the Monday, April 20th meeting, the IDB spoke by phone with the
potential investor. After the conversation, the IDB voted, although not
unanimously, to extend the deadline until Wednesday, May 20th.
Personally, I was glad to see that members of the IDB have been making the
repayment of taxpayer funds an integral part of closing the deal with
Miller. As this saga continues, the taxpayers of Conecuh County will
positively know the status of Evergreen Wood Products on May 20th.
The information on BIOTAP is short, but not sweet.
This from their website (
www.biotapsouth.com ): “BIOTAP South provides a broad range of
testing services to physicians, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities
through highly complex CLIA certified laboratories. Located in Evergreen,
Alabama, our services include routine and specialized immuno-chemistry,
toxicology/drug confirmation, endocrinology, hematology, serology,
microbiology, cytology, pathology and molecular testing. Also provided, is a
full spectrum support for auditing and inspections by CLIA and other
governmental agencies. BIOTAP South serves to provide physicians the highest
level of client services in the industry.”
This all sounds great, but in fact, there is no BIOTAP South, LLC., facility
in Evergreen producing any of this stuff.
As some of you may remember, the story of BIOTAP began a bit more than a
year ago with some members of the Conecuh County Commission hot and heavy to
purchase a former 20 acre truck line facility on Ted Bates Road to house an
“undisclosed” medical facility. The seller wanted to cut the property down
to 16 acres and wanted a reported purchase price of around $600,000.
At that time, the name BIOTAP was not even mentioned and the deal centered
around the purchasing of this property (as quickly as possible) by the
county. Fortunately, a couple of Commissioners had concerns about possible
contamination at the site and a very contentious Commission meeting was held
to determine if an Environmental Impact Study should be conducted at the
property and whom should pay for it.
At that meeting, Mr. John A. Johnson, Director of Coastal Gateway EDA was
instrumental in the effort for the county to purchase the property and spoke
on behalf of the seller.
Johnson conveniently recommended a Bay Minnette company that was ready to
inspect the property within days, said the seller refused to pay for the
study, then suggested during the meeting that open discussion of the
possibility the property might be contaminated with hazardous waste could
constitute slander. County Attorney Anthony Bishop disagreed.
Ultimately, the taxpayers of Conecuh County paid about $3,000 for a study
that concluded further study was necessary.
The property was not purchased and word eventually leaked the potential
employer was named BIOTAP South, LLC. Representatives of the company
appeared before the Conecuh County Commission in June 2014 to answer
questions concerning the proposed facility and suggested the company would
start preparations to open within 60 to 90 days.
Soon thereafter, efforts began to find a suitable location in Evergreen and
the former Resource Center on Jaguar Drive near Hillcrest High School was
Some offices related to Reid State Technical College at the building, which
is owned by the Conecuh County Board of Education, have been required to
relocate - and in recent months negotiations and contracts (that included
tax incentives) with the Conecuh County Board of Education, the City of
Evergreen, the Conecuh County Economic Development Authority, and the
Conecuh County Commission have been negotiated and signed by those entities.
According to a June 23, 2014 letter from Mr. Johnson, announcing the pending
arrival of BIOTAP, it states the Alabama Industrial Development Training
Institute (AIDT) was also kicking in more than $100,000 to help train
After months of negotiations what has not been signed, and reportedly only
awaits BIOTAP's signature, is the final contract to close the deal.
When again questioned about the status of BIOTAP during the April 27th
Commission meeting, Commissioners David Cook and Johnny Andrews stated that
BIOTAP South, LLC., was still in the process of trying to find investors to
launch the company.
After more than a year into the process of trying to bring this company to
Evergreen and Conecuh County, this was the first public mention of the
company even being in need of funding.
When questioned about any specific time limit on when BIOTAP South would be
required to close the deal, Commissioner Andrews stated there was none.
Man Wounded By Law Enforcement Following Domestic Dispute
Saturday, March 7th
By: Jim Allen
OWASSA – It's been a little more than three weeks since a Conecuh County Deputy
was involved in an officer involved shooting of an Owassa resident and only now
are some details of the incident being released by authorities.
The shooting happened at the Owassa Road home of Tommy and Barbara Burt about
11:15 a.m., on Sunday, February 8th.
Information gathered at the scene indicates law enforcement was called to the
Burt residence about 11 a.m., in reference to a domestic dispute between the
Shortly thereafter, bystanders in the area reported hearing one gun shot and
could see law enforcement grabbing their weapons and taking cover behind their
vehicles as shouting came from the area of the residence.
Police units with the Evergreen Police Department, the Conecuh County Sheriff's
Department and Alabama State Troopers began arriving at the scene about 11:30
Approximately 30 minutes later, two ambulances from Conecuh County Emergency
Medical Services arrived on the scene and both ambulances were soon escorted at
high speed by law enforcement towards Evergreen.
Reports are that Tommy Burt, 41, was flown by LifeFlight to Mobile for emergency
surgery for a single gunshot wound to the stomach. He was reportedly out of
surgery around 8 p.m., that evening.
Anytime there is an officer involved shooting, the State Bureau of Investigation
(formerly ABI) is called in to conduct an investigation.
The roadway was completely blocked with yellow tape and police vehicles after
the incident and SBI agents began arriving at the scene at approximately 1:30
p.m. The road remained closed to traffic until about 6:30 p.m.
At the scene, Conecuh County Sheriff Randy Brock said he would have to
coordinate with the SBI before preliminary information concerning the incident
would be released, possibly as soon as the following day.
An unidentified SBI Agent at the scene said he could not comment concerning the
incident and that it would be several days before their investigation would be
However, information surrounding the shooting was not immediately made available
and as of press-time, the SBI investigation into the incident continues.
When initially contacted February 13th, Trooper Jamie Maloy with the Alabama Law
Enforcement Agency Public Information Unit confirmed an investigation by the SBI
was underway at the request of the Conecuh County Sheriff's Department, but gave
no indication as to when it might be completed.
Subsequent phone calls and emails to Trooper Maloy have gone unanswered.
During a recent interview with Sheriff Randy Brock at the Conecuh County
Sheriff's Office, Brock said the SBI has up to 60 days to conduct their
investigation and that once it was complete, the results would be sent to the
state and to local District Attorney Steve Wadlington.
The case would then be brought before a Conecuh County Grand Jury at some point
in the future.
The SBI investigation is completely independent, and as for the progress of the
investigation or what direction it may be taking, “They don't keep me informed,”
Brock said the call to the Burt residence was originally dispatched as a
Domestic Violence call. He said he could not comment on details of the incident,
but did confirm Burt did not shoot at law enforcement and that the only shot
fired at the scene was by the deputy.
After consulting with District Attorney Steve Wadlington, Sheriff Brock
identified the deputy as Brian Nelms (pronounced Nims) of Repton. Brock said
Nelms has been with the Conecuh County Sheriff's Department since September 5,
Nelms has reportedly also worked for the Brewton and Monroeville Police
Brock said Nelms has not been involved in any prior shooting incidents and, “I'm
sure my Deputy did what was necessary to protect himself and the victim.”
Neither Sheriff Brock nor Chief Deputy Tyrone Boykin were on the scene when the
shooting took place.
After the incident, Nelms was placed on Administrative Leave with pay, Brock
said, and was reinstated to active duty on February 16th following approval by
“His clearance to return to work has nothing to do with the investigation being
performed by the SBI,” Brock said, meaning his return to work is an issue
separate from the actual investigation of the incident.
After the results of the investigation are released by the SBI, Brock said more
information concerning the circumstances surrounding the shooting may be made
“We have nothing to hide,” he said, “People need to know what's going on.”
Following his release from the hospital, Burt was subsequently taken into
Federal custody by U.S. Marshals and placed in the Mobile Metro Jail on February
18th where he is reportedly being held on a charge of felon in possession of a
This development apparently stems from the investigation by the SBI who, Brock
said, located almost a dozen firearms inside the Burt residence, and a prior
criminal history that showed he had been convicted of a felony.
A record search at the Conecuh County Circuit Clerk's Office indicates Burt has
had some minor brushes with the law over the years and was charged with a Class
B felony as a teenager some two decades ago.
That information was evidently relayed to federal authorities who took Burt into
Repeated calls to the Public Information Officer at Mobile Metro Jail to inquire
about Burt's status have not been answered or returned.
In an interview with Robert “Bobby” Crosby, the father of Barbara Burt, Crosby
said Tommy Burt sustained internal organ damage from the shooting and that a
section of his intestines had to be replaced with plastic tubing.
Crosby also went into detail concerning what he says happened that Sunday.
According to Crosby, he received a call from his daughter that morning stating
the couple had been involved in a marital dispute and Tommy Burt wouldn't allow
her access to the keys to a vehicle so that she could leave the residence. She
asked him to come pick her up.
Crosby said his wife, Elaine, then called 9-1-1 and requested Sheriff's deputies
meet him at a gas station in Owassa.
Crosby lives in Evergreen some 10 miles from the Burt home.
Two deputies met Crosby at the gas station, he said, and he informed them of the
situation before they all proceeded to the residence.
Once there, Crosby said, the two deputies entered the home by passing through a
door adjacent to the carport and escorted Barbara Burt outside the residence
while Tommy Burt was in the shower.
Rather than leaving immediately, Crosby said his daughter wanted to return
inside to retrieve some clothes and a discussion ensued on the carport just
outside the door leading to the residence.
A few moments later, Crosby said, Tommy Burt appeared at the door wearing only
boxer shorts and opened the screen door.
He said Burt always kept a rifle leaning up against the wall inside the door,
and that although he did not see Burt with the rifle, one family member at the
scene later told him Burt was holding the rifle with the barrel pointed down,
and another told him Burt was holding it by the barrel with the butt down.
Crosby said the deputy, “Gave him no chance. When the door came open he just
shot and ran.”
At that point, he said, law enforcement took up defensive positions in front of
the house and repeatedly called for Burt, who had fallen backwards and lay
wounded on the floor, to come out of the house.
Crosby said some 35 minutes passed before Burt was heard, “hollering for help”
from inside the house. Law enforcement then approached and found Burt lying on
the floor just inside the screen door.
Crosby said that at no time did Burt threaten law enforcement, and that his
daughter, Barbara, had only minor scratches and bruises and did not need medical
attention. He said she only later went to the hospital at the insistence of law
“Barbara was not beaten,” Crosby said, and she has no plans to press any charges
against her husband.
Sheriff Randy Brock also stated the Conecuh County Sheriff's Office has not
filed any charges against Burt, and that none were pending.
[NOTE: Other family members were contacted for comment concerning this
article and chose not to participate. This newspaper respects their decision and
their privacy. Also, in our print edition, paragraphs 4 and 5 of this article
were out of order. The approximate time of the shooting reflects that change.]