News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2005

Steve Stewart

Senator: Let the people be seen, heard

Teachers in the state Senate visitors' gallery cheered loudly Wednesday after leaders announced a compromise that could lead to passage of the state budgets.

One senator called for quiet, but M.J. Ellington reports that this led Sen. Sundra Escott, D-Birmingham, to release a month of frustration.

"I am insulted that you asked for people in the gallery to be quiet," she said. "Those people up there are not millionaires like some of you are. They are working people with house notes who took a day off to come down here. These are their lives on the line, people who could get pink slips.

"All they ask of us is to quit fighting and do the people's business. That is what they elected us to do."

Birds and jailbirds

Sheryl Marsh reports progress in the great outdoors and the great indoors.

She notes that Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Pam Swanner says the North Alabama Birding Trail will be finished June 30, with a dedication ceremony at Day Park on Sept. 30.

Pam and other tourism officials are looking forward to flocks of "birders" as well as birds.

Meanwhile, members of the Morgan County Commission toured a facility that nobody will be flocking to: the county jail that's under construction on First Avenue Northeast.

Chairman John Glasscock said he's impressed with progress. The jail must be ready by Oct. 1, and "I would say it's 65 or 70 percent complete."

Brothers and icons

Mother Theodora, a native of Romania, is a Romanian Orthodox nun living and working in Merrillville, Ind. She talked with Melanie Smith while visiting Decatur to install an icon she painted for Annunciation of the Lord Catholic Church.

Theodora said she grew up in an area so thoroughly Orthodox that she hardly knew other faiths existed. She knew of Catholics and viewed them as "brothers" with a different leader.

She said she cannot imagine worshipping without icons, which she emphasized are not idols, but places to meet God.

Man's best friend?

A pit bull became excited and bit a Decatur man on two occasions, police said.

After apparently returning home late, the man argued with his wife as he stashed his beer in the refrigerator. This excited the pit bull, which latched onto the man's leg. An encounter the previous day led the dog to bite the man on his arm.

The man declined medical treatment, but Chris Paschenko says police called animal control to investigate the dog's aggressiveness.

Smile for a tax break

City Councilman Ray Metzger wasn't sure the invitation to attorney John Caddell's 95th birthday party on April 21 included him.

Council President Billy Jackson delayed the council's budget meeting 30 minutes so members could attend the party. He mentioned that group pictures would be made with the honoree, who often attends their meetings seeking tax breaks for companies coming here or expanding.

"He won't let me be in the picture," said Ray, who has a history of opposing tax abatements.

Martin Burkey passes on Councilman Ronny Russell's joking reply:

"Everybody in the picture gets an abatement."

DAILY Weekend Editor Steve Stewart compiles and edits You Don't Say. If you have an item of community interest, call Steve at 340-2444, e-mail him at, or write to You Don't Say, THE DECATUR DAILY, P.O. Box 2213, Decatur, AL 35609.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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