Country Crossing Drama

by - January 06, 2010

Work has been a mad house today. I'm talking phones ringing every two minutes, multiple live shots for every show (including the morning show -- that rarely happens!), and general craziness on every end of the spectrum. And who, you may ask, is the cause for all the chaos? Why none other than Alabama's most recent big headline-maker - duh da da dah! - Country Crossing.

For those of you who aren't from around here, Country Crossing is an entertainment complex that's partially completely and mostly in the works. Among the finished attractions are a couple restaurants, a bar, amphitheater and of course the dreaded electronic bingo pavillion. Alabama's esteemed governor, Bob Riley, is against bringing gambling into the state, and he lumps electronic bingo machines in with slot machines. Now don't ask me to tell you the difference between the two. Just know that there is a difference...even though they look the same and have the same basic operations.

What I do know is that Riley supposedly accepted money from one particular Native American tribe located in Mississippi, and the result of these donations supposedly is that the governor will do anything to keep any form of "gambling" from entering the state.

Now all this is water under the bridge. Country Crossing has been a huge controversy for the past...well, forever. But things really exploded last night just before 9:00 when the station got a phone call about a possible raid at the entertainment complex. So Mark Culver, county commission chairman, scheduled a press conference for right after our 10:00 show started. Needless to say the press conference streamed live through the first part of our newscast.

Then things got really interesting. The governor's gaming task force showed up at Country Crossing at 4:00 this morning...where the leader, David Barber, was served with a restraining order. Naturally, WTVY has had updates all day long - in the morning show, on Live at Lunch, and soon to be on the 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 shows, as well as online.

Now the governor's office has released a scathing statement in response to Culver's actions. Apparently he barred the door and prevented the task force from entering the pavillion. And, this just in (literally)! Attorney General Troy King has released a statement knocking the governor and his task force.

There have been phone calls from all kinds of people. The last one I took was from a law enforcement guy in Florida calling to pledge the support of three counties. At the end of it he assured me that he wasn't "drunk or nothing."

Whoo. What a day.

And to top it all off, I started my day off with a 20 minute phone call from an elderly widow who thinks her insurance company scammed her and wanted the station's help because she can't afford an attorney. I'm still not sure what she thought we would be able to do for her, short of reporting it.

You May Also Like