News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Sam Walton invited driver to breakfast

Harold Russell, 65, of Cullman recalls a favorite moment when he was driving a truck long-distance for Wal-Mart.

"It was early one morning, somewhere in Georgia," he told Ronnie Thomas. "I was asleep in my cab when someone awakened me, banging on the door."

It was the late Sam Walton, the Wal-Mart founder.

"He said, 'Come on, driver, let's get some breakfast.' And he bought. That was my first time to meet him. I had always heard truckers were his favorite people."

No takers

At a public hearing, Finance Director Melanie Maples several times offered those in attendance copies of Decatur City Schools' 2006 budget.

She got no response, other than a few giggles from board members and reporter Bayne Hughes. For some reason, no one in the audience seemed interested in a 100-page manuscript that features rows and rows of numbers.

School board member Karen Duke offered this suggestion: "It's great reading at night to put you to sleep."

One car, two titles

A Decatur man, who recently purchased a car, received two vehicle titles in the mail.

One title was his. The other was registered to a pickup owned by another Decatur man who had a different name and address.

Rather than capitalize on some kind of criminal enterprise, the man told Chris Paschenko he delivered the title in person to the owner. Maybe that's the state's way of saving on the price of a stamp, stuffing one envelope with two titles headed for the same ZIP code.

Final inspection

After winning the state competition, Morgan County bus drivers Pam Estes and Mark McAnally had high hopes when they went to the Southeastern School Bus Safety Rod-E-O in Sarasota, Fla.

The bus inspection is a major part of the competition. Judges create five problems on the bus and give points for each one the driver finds. The two told Bayne that the bus they inspected was in such bad shape they found more problems than the ones the judges created.

Neither Morgan County driver achieved the goal of a top-10 finish.

Water, pizza and beer

Even the most hotly debated topics before Decatur City Council come with some humor, and the council's debate about allowing the Carnegie Center for the Visual Arts to serve alcohol was no exception.

During the public hearing, one resident gently suggested that there were probably several church members who enjoyed a drink now and then.

"Cheers!" Councilman and First Baptist Church member Gary Hammon responded, tipping back a bottled water. Later, discussing a beer license for Mando's, Councilman Ray Metzger expressed surprise that the established local eatery didn't have one yet.

"They want you to come eat a pizza," Councilman Ronny Russell said, alluding to Metzger's recent confession that he likes to have a beer occasionally, although he's a devout churchgoer.

Send stories for You Don't Say to or call Weekend Editor Steve Stewart at 340-2444. Or write 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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