News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Am I wanted in North Courtland?

Once the word got out, calls began rolling into North Courtland Police Department seeking an answer to the biggest question in town.

"Do you have a warrant for my arrest?" the callers asked magistrate Pat Swoopes.

Clyde Stancil reports that the owner of the biggest taxpayer in town had grown tired of mysteriously losing inventory, installing a digital security system called Virtual Police.

It caught eight people stealing merchandise from Sibley's Fuel and Food, formerly RKM Fuel and Food. They distracted the cashier and stuffed items into shirts, pants pockets and even a bag that one boldly took from behind the counter. They took hats, candy, soft drinks and over-the-counter medicine.

Chief Alex Taylor discovered the thefts while viewing the video.

All of the accused — some of whom work at a well-paying production plant — pleaded not guilty in Municipal Court.

What's a raptor?

Tennessee Valley Raptors quarterback Ben Sankey led his team into the second round of the United Indoor Football Association's playoffs before the season ended.

Ben, a native of Chicago, Wake Forest graduate and veteran professional, answered a tough question from Michael Wetzel: "Do you know what a raptor is?"

"Yes. I lived in Toronto (home of the NBA Raptors) for a while. I've seen 'Jurassic Park' a few times, and I played football at Wake Forest. There, they made us attend class."

He added that some schools don't require that of some of their players; however, he didn't name any of those institutions.

Influential people

At a luncheon to announce the creation of a 120-acre biotechnology campus and institute in Huntsville, local officials praised founder and entrepreneur Jim Hudson for bringing some 900 jobs.

Then it was Jim's turn to thank people who helped make it happen. He ticked off a long list of local business, economic and political officials, including several state lawmakers.

"With all these people, we ought to have more influence," he quipped.

Sitting next to him, Gov. Bob Riley said something that the audience couldn't hear, but Jim decided he should mention.

"The governor said, 'You just got $50 million,' " Jim laughed.

Ready to help

Give those folks from the Morgan-Lawrence County Chapter of the American Red Cross credit. Ronnie Thomas saw firsthand that they're ready to serve when tragedy strikes.

As investigators worked the scene of a plane crash near Alabama 20 and Woodall Road, they didn't have to leave for lunch. That's because Sheila Brazelton, director of emergency services for the agency, and her No. 1 volunteer, husband Jimmy, dropped by with chicken lunches and soft drinks from nearby Jack's Family Restaurant.

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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