WHITE HALL, AL (WSFA) - Governor Bob Riley is trying to stop the White Hall Gaming Center's planned re-opening at noon Tuesday, a little less than two weeks after it was forced shut by state officials in an early-morning raid.
We've heard the stories of machines being seized and guns being drawn and even the fact that 100 people are, at least temporarily, out of a job in a county heavily burdened by unemployment. But who are they, these men and women desperately in need of a paycheck but caught in the middle of a situation they can't afford?
Ruby Rudolph busily cleaned dishes in her kitchen Monday afternoon as she talked about the prospects of going back to work. There's probably no one happier about the latest news than she. It's been five years since she first went to work for the center as a maintenance supervisor.
"I started telling people, 'oh we're going to be open again. We'll be open again.' Yes, I was excited," she said as she rinsed her dishes. "Very much so. Just to know that we got our jobs back, hopefully, and that we'll be going back to work."
It's been a week and a half since Rudolph last clocked-in for her shift. "This is my city. I've been living here all my life..." she said, "and citizens of White Hall voted for that place..."
It was then that she wiped the counter with a dish rag, stepped back and tried to hold composure. "...And actually one night I did cry," she admitted.
While Rudolph wasn't inside the gaming center when the raid went down and didn't see the guns, she heard about how officers handled the situation. "I think if you're going to go in a place you ought to be able to go in and tell people why you're there and what your purpose of being there and not scare everybody, because somebody could have had a heart attack," she explained.
Now, insecurity has set in, because 100 jobs mean a lot to a community with more than 17 per cent unemployment. "It did hurt quite a bit," she said. "You don't know if you're going to wake up the next week or next two weeks or the next three weeks even and have a job. And, I got bills here...."
After working at White Hall from the day it opened she says she knows she will survive. "I feel like I'm a Christian. I think I'm going to be OK because I put God first," she said before pausing. Then with a swoosh of the hand she said, "I just move on."