News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Mrs. Claus canít resist local stores

Santa Claus apparently has the same problem with Mrs. Claus that men around the world are familiar with.

During the Nov. 10 holiday open house night for downtown Decatur businesses, Santa took Mrs. Claus along for his official appearances in stores.

But Patrice Stewart says he was spotted in several Bank Street shops tugging on her red velvet dress and ho-ho-ho-ing that it was time to move on.

Mrs. Claus, who obviously helps Santa with his gift list for millions, thought the evening was a good opportunity to shop Decatur and kept stopping to check out items that would be "just perfect" for someone on the list.

Where the heart is

Near the end of a public hearing Tuesday in Trinity on two planned residential developments, Larry Johnson, 56, rose to support the project of patio — or R-3 — homes.

The Solutia retiree said he liked the idea of someone else cutting his lawn and taking his garbage to the street, as the developer of Stone Village Estates proposed.

"I've lived here most all my life and have discovered I must live in an R-3 home, because it's a small house and I have vinyl siding," he said.

He told Ronnie Thomas, "I might not be able to afford one of the new R-3 houses (which will start at $120,000), but I think they'd be nice to live in."

Gas-nozzle drive-off

A 50-year-old Danville woman stopped at a Decatur convenience store to buy fuel.

Police told Chris Paschenko the woman paid for the fuel and drove off, leaving the pump nozzle in her tank.

The tank's emergency shut-off valve prevented a fuel spill, but the convenience store had a hefty repair bill. The pump and a pipeline were damaged, to the tune of $5,000.

Watch your language

In city government, it's not what you say, but how you say it.

In budget meetings, Decatur city councilmen took special care with language in discussing sensitive subjects, Martin Burkey reports.

Transferring or cutting 26 city jobs? Councilman David Bolding called that "downsizing."

A possible $12 million bond issue to fund several projects, including new police cars, fire stations, streets, tennis courts and completing the Jack Allen Recreation Complex? "It's not debt. It's an investment," David said.

"You are the terminology man," Council President Billy Jackson said, grinning.

Councilmen Gary Hammon and Ray Metzger proposed a bonus for city employees. Chief Financial Officer Gail Busbey reminded them that they can't legally give bonuses. However, they can approve a "one-time pay increase."

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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