News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Hot wheels gave bride a slow burn

Catherine Jones, 85, of Decatur told Ronnie Thomas about the uneasiness she felt when her husband, Lewis, bought their first car, a 1937 Chevrolet.

The couple, who married in 1935, had saved about $700, but she didn't want to see it all spent on a car.

Her father, Sam, and brother, Dawson, accompanied Lewis to Birmingham to shop.

"He spent it all," Catherine said. "I guess I should have been pleased we now had a car. But I cried all night because we had worked so hard and had been so conservative to save that much during the Depression."

Prize arrives

The 2006 models have hit the market, and Allan Crow of Hartselle on Thursday picked up the car that he won April 22 at a Decatur dealer.

Allan was a winner in General Motors' Hot Button promotion, selected randomly from people who chatted with an OnStar operator. OnStar is an electronic system that provides information and assistance around the clock for subscribing

Mike Minor, general sales manager for Lynn Layton Chevrolet, says Allan's new car is a dark silver Impala LT, equipped with XM satellite radio and, of course, OnStar.

The retail value is about $24,000. Allan customized it by paying for extra options.

When does this get easy?

After two weeks of Hurricane Katrina response, the head of Alabama's Emergency Management Agency took a breather to reflect on his current post, M.J. Ellington reports.

Bruce Baughman took the Alabama job in 2003 after 28 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He headed to wife Carolyn's home state and what he thought would be a calmer post — only to encounter three major hurricanes along with the usual mix of disasters since then.

"This is probably the busiest retirement job in the world," he said last week from his office in Clanton.

Playing no favorites

When Mother Nature decides to send the big one, even disaster professionals can't keep a storm away from their loved ones.

M.J. says when Katrina tore through Biloxi, Miss., it destroyed Bruce's daughter's home three blocks inland. His daughter evacuated with husband and child.

"They lost everything," Bruce said. "She said they won't go back."

Police and pizza

Don't look for the Decatur Police Community Resource Center in the usual place at Colonial Mall unless you want to leave with a large pizza.

Mall officials signed a deal that will put Chucky Cheese in that space, and the City Council approved a new lease for space in the Sears wing of the mall at the same highly favorable rate.

Chief Joel Gilliam said police will get 2,400 square feet instead of the present 1,750 square feet at no cost.

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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