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     By all appearances Evergreen has one more rejection and one more lost opportunity. 
     On Monday, 27 March, the city received a letter from Wal Mart advising that Wal Mart is not interested in coming to our little acre of earth.  This after the multi-person Evergreen entourage visit to Wal Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Not totally sure who all made the trip but I know the Mayor and one member of the City Council, Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development Coordinator Bobby Skipper and County Commissioner Johnny Andrews functioning, I suppose, as a member of the Cooperative District Board.  I’m not exactly sure who footed the bill for this trip but I’m positive it can be run to ground if need be.
     Why did Wal Mart elect not to come here?  Who really knows but just think if you were a major business would you come to Conecuh? 
     Let’s take a look see and think about why I would or wouldn’t come here. 
     On the positive side the prime thing that should govern anyone’s way of thinking whether they are buying a house or putting in a business.  I believe the word of the day is location, location, location.  There is no doubt we have a wonderful location.  The weather is not to cold, not to hot, not to violet (even though there is the occasional tornado/hurricane).  We are at a crossroads with I-65 super slab running north and south, Highway 31 running an almost parallel route and good old Highway 84, the El Camino Corridor, running east and west.  We have a modern up to date airport capable of handling some pretty fair sized aircraft, a Greyhound Bus terminal and a beautifully restored Historic Depot.
     There are some buildings of various sizes available in or near town.  An industrial complex begging for business and the continually growing Liberty Hill project.  Housing is not a real problem for any executives that feel they need to be near the business.  Schools???  They are a work in progress.  Living here one is less than a 2 hour drive from Montgomery or Mobile.  Granted we are a little short on entertainment but if we could get that toe in the door that’s very subject to change.
     Those are positives, now let’s examine the detractors. 
     Although I am personally against drugs in any form, the much heralded arrest in Castleberry over the past few years has only shown that our county is a growing conduit for trafficking of illegal substances.  Top that off with the lawsuit(s) against the Town of Castleberry and its police chief and what does that equate too?  It smacks of speed traps and entrapment.  Think of Georgiana and how things were there.  Don’t drive 1 mph over the limit or face a ticket taking money out of one’s pocket.  I’m not advocating that anyone should break the law but I am advocating that the law should administer and use their authority with a little less zeal.
     Would you want to bring your family or business into an environment like that?
     Let us continue to look and again, I’ll go to the problem we face here with drug situations.  In the last few editions of the Evergreen Courant you read about a drug arrest at the 4 way stop in Lenox, well out in the county and on county roads.  Another drug arrest at the intersection of C. R. 7 and Highway 41 near Lenox, still well out in the county.  Next is a stop and arrest on I-65 at the Castleberry & Lenox exit where a record breaking amount of an illegal drink is seized.  Don’t know if that was being transported into our county or was just being transported through it.
     We have the shame of a well-documented arrest of one of our top elected officials, a county commissioner charged with the duty to run our county and manage our assets, arrested on charges of distributing an illicit drug.  In fact this commissioner was part of the visiting party to Wal Mart headquarters.  I'm sure they're impressed. Yes, this would be Johnny Andrews, District 3 Commissioner.
     These examples are only the skimming of the surface of our county.  At one time booking reports of those put in the county jail was available to the populace and were actually reported in the newspaper.  One could determine who and what charges an individual was booked into the jail under, what their bond was and who bonded them out.  It seems as if that information has been pushed to one side as no longer pertinent or needed.
     How many of you knew there were 50 registered sex offenders in Conecuh?  That is the current number listed however, due to death, change of address, etc. no one knows just how accurate that number really is.  Again, no reporting puts people in a position where they don’t know and the sad part is, an awful lot don’t care.   

     If a major company (big business) was looking at coming to Conecuh you can bet your bottom bippy they are looking at these “statistics.”  Again, put yourself in their shoes, can you find more reasons to come to Conecuh or can you find more reasons not to come?   

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