News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2005

Steve Stewart

Moonshine, road surveys donít mix

Don Vaughn, Alabama's new chief highway engineer, has done a little bit of everything in 35 years with the Department of Transportation, M.J. Ellington reports.

In the early 1970s, with a new civil engineering degree from Auburn University, Don and colleagues surveyed some rural land for an interstate highway that shall remain nameless in a county that also shall remain nameless.

"This man walked up from the middle of nowhere and asked what we were doing there," Don said. "We told him we were just surveying for this road."

The stranger told them, "You don't come in this section of (nameless county) without an invitation."

It seems there was a whiskey still nearby.

"We decided right away that we were finished with that area, and we could survey for that road somewhere else," the new chief said.

Close call

Othel and Susan Thomason of Hartselle had a tree fall on their truck during Monday's thunderstorm.

"It was buried," said Susan, who took pictures to explain to the insurance company what she was certain would be extensive damage.

When they removed the tree, they had a surprise.

"I couldn't believe that truck didn't have a dent or scratch on it," Susan said.

Seth Burkett observes that aside from relief, the Thomason family can enjoy a sense of accomplishment — they got an early start on firewood cutting this year.

Signal for help?

A woman fishing from the banks of the Tennessee River called for emergency help. She thought she had seen someone using a flashlight as a distress signal.

Morgan County and Athens-Limestone rescue squads responded, Bayne Hughes says. Athens put boats in from the north shore, and Morgan started from the south shore.

Both searched for more than an hour before they determined the flashing light was from a buoy's reflectors.

Gone, but not forgotten

An older woman, who obviously had not visited the Morgan County Courthouse in a while, thought Larry Bennich was still chairman of the County Commission, according to Sheryl Marsh.

Informed otherwise, she commented, "It's a sad day in Morgan County because he sure was a good one."

Larry retired last November after serving 18 years as chairman. John Glasscock is his successor.

An extra city service

The clerk at Hartselle City Hall was puzzled when a resident purchased a yard-sale permit and then left 50 cents on the counter, Deangelo McDaniel reports.

About two days later, the man returned and put down another 50 cents. She saw him walk out with the city's copy of THE DECATUR DAILY.

"We stack our papers on the counter, and I guess he thought he could buy the paper here," the clerk explained.

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. DAILY staff members contribute many of the items you see here.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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