News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Young driver's best-laid plan 6 days short

German exchange student Stephan Weissenborn is a straight-A student, but his plan to save his parents more than $1,400 came up six days short.

Stephan, 17, wanted to get his driver license in America for $25, Deangelo McDaniel reports. It would have been good in Germany, too, where a license costs $1,500.

But in his research, Stephan learned that he had to be in America 180 days before he could take the test. His visa was for only 174 days.

"I guess he came up more than a day late and a dollar short," Hartselle school employee Lisa Galloway said. Her family was his host.

Veggie coupons a hit

Debra Rains, director of Morgan County Area Transportation System and Commission on Aging, said a lot of elderly residents were happy to receive coupons for shopping at farmers' markets.

Debra received $32,000 worth of $20 coupon booklets from the State of Alabama Farmers Market Authority for senior citizens to buy fruits and vegetables. She passed out all the booklets, and the seniors have been shopping since, Sheryl Marsh reports.

(Council)man working

It was a spending decision and not a career change that had District 4 Councilman Ronny Russell riding a Decatur garbage truck last week.

Ronny is liaison to the Public Works Department, and he was trying out a demo truck.

The city's first automated trucks grabbed a bar on garbage cans. Experience showed that the bars broke. Then the city bought trucks that grabbed the whole can.

The driver operates it from a station on the side of the truck. The demo also uses a grasping arm, but the driver can operate it from his cab. It's also smaller and can more easily negotiate alleys.

Ronnie hopes to join the same driver on the same route with his regular truck to see if the difference is worth the money.

Smoking what?

Mark Whitt, co-owner of Whitt's Corp. and owner of three Whitt's Barbecue locations, told Jay Wilson that "we had a slogan that didn't go over too good, one time. I think it had too many other meanings."

What was the slogan?

" 'Smokin' up the South,' " Mark laughed.

Taking the plunge

Want a cool and cheap wedding?

Visionland Theme Park near Birmingham is looking for "a fun-loving couple who wants a one-of-a-kind wedding."

It will take place aboard a new attraction, the Cahaba Falls log flume ride, with the newlyweds plummeting 26 feet into 35,000 gallons of water after saying "I do."

Patrice Stewart says she hasn't written about many marriages that went downhill faster than that.

The park will contribute punch, cake, bridal bouquet, boutonniere, music and a floral arch at the end of the ride, as well as free park admission for 200 guests.

To enter, send up to 100 words telling why you want this park wedding to before July 15.

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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