Dodge City council seats new member, hears complaint over gaming machines

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Heather Langley is sworn in Thursday evening to fill the seat left vacant by Murray Lowe. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

 

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Dodge City Town Council on Thursday evening selected and seated community native Heather Langley as its newest member, filling the vacant seat of Murray Lowe, who resigned last month as he and his wife prepared to move away from Dodge City. 

Langley told The Tribune, “I’ve lived in Dodge City my whole life; I was born and raised her, same property, and so were my children. And after the passing of my great, grandparents and my dad, and then seeing (Councilwoman) Inez’s (McDonald’s) husband- he passed away recently- I realized that if someone either my age or younger doesn’t get involved and start caring, then everything that these people have worked for is just going to go to the wind. Someone has to get involved and keep traditions and things and momentum going.” 

Langley talked about the tremendous growth she has seen in the area since her childhood, saying that she wants to help the town continue to grow. 

Challenge over gaming machines 

On Langley’s opening night, the council heard from Jeffrey Hefner, owner of the Little Vegas Thrift Store, who came to question Mayor Tawana Canada over her reported refusal to renew his business license after he installed gaming machines in his business. Hefner complained that the Town has denied him a license renewal over the machines while a truck stop in town has the same machines, adding a claim that the Cullman County District Attorney’s Office approved the machines. He said that he will go to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and asked if a letter from that office would satisfy the mayor.  

Canada replied, “If the attorney general says yes, those machines are legal, then yes, I will give you a business license, but not till the sheriff, someone from his office, someone with authority, gives me written notice that I can put on file.” 

Hefner told The Tribune that the machines in his place of business are “skill machines” which are legal in Alabama, the same as those common in bingo parlors. 

The Tribune reached out to Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry, who said that Hefner’s machines were recently inspected by the AG’s Office and were found to be out of compliance with state gaming machine regulations, so the sheriff’s office delivered a notice of removal to the business. 

Other council business 

The council approved: 

  • A payment to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management of $4,290 for Underground Injection Control (UIC) fees. 
  • The addition of a part-time temporary maintenance worker to augment current staff with road cleaning, the town park and ponds at the sewage treatment plant at $9 per hour. The job will be advertised soon, and applicants must be at least 18, have a driver’s license and submit to a drug screen. 
  • The installation of a streetlight on the road outside Finishing Touch Body Shop and Detail, to make the entrance more visible to tow trucks coming to the shop after dark. 

 The Dodge City Town Council meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at Dodge City Town Hall. The public is invited to attend. 

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com