News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Shirts, coins, pencils for storm victims

Almost every school in THE DAILY'S coverage area collected relief items or held coin drives for Hurricane Katrina relief. Education Writer Bayne Hughes is receiving reports of students really doing their part.

Somerville Road Elementary teacher Suzanne Lee said one student had not brought any items for the collection, so she went into a backpack, pulled out a clean T-shirt and added it to the pile of clothes.

"Our kids are literally giving the shirts off their back," Suzanne said.

Somerville Road teacher Connie Teague said another student donated a pencil "because that's all he had to give."

Woodmeade Elementary fourth-grader Shalynn Crawsley donated her piggy bank with her allowance to the school's coin drive.

First things first

Decatur City Council President Billy Jackson didn't attend a recent agenda work session and he arrived late to the council business meeting afterward.

Councilman Ronny Russell, who chaired the meeting as president pro tem, said Billy was "unavoidably detained."

Billy said later that he was watching his son quarterback Brookhaven Middle School's football game and plans to be around for all his children's milestones. He got to see his son throw two touchdown passes that night.

"It's a priority for me," Billy said. "I want to be there to see my daughter kick her first soccer goal."

The rats are winning

How inefficient can government be?

New Delhi reportedly has a rat-catching department that hasn't caught a single rodent in more than a decade, according to The Associated Press.

Ninety-seven rat catchers are on the payroll of the municipal Rat Surveillance Department. It last saw a lot of action in 1994, when a plague outbreak killed 56 people in Northwest India.

Each rat catcher earns about $77 a month, but no records exist of rodents being caught in the past 10 years, The Hindustan Times reported. Meanwhile, rats can be seen scurrying across public parks, streets and even in homes.

Their names in space

"It's kind of cool knowing there's a 6-mile-wide rock in our solar system with my name on it," says Bill Cooke. "I don't own it, but someday maybe I can visit there."

Well, maybe not. It's nearly 300 million miles from Earth, between Mars and Jupiter.

Colleagues found the work of Bill and Rob Suggs, astronomers at Marshall Space Flight Center, to be notable, so they named an asteroid for each man. The two study meteor showers, among other things.

The Beatles, Shakespeare and several astronauts have their names on asteroids, and now they're joined by these childhood friends from Rossville, Ga.

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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