News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Move here; get personal attention

Local officials who went to Arlington, Va., to tout Decatur to military personnel who have been reassigned to Redstone Arsenal spent long hours and lots of their own money, reports Eric Fleischauer.

The award for the greatest sacrifice may go to Jeanne Payne of Decatur City Schools.

Jeanne, the director of curriculum, wrote a letter to distribute to the 400 folks who are headed south. No great feat, except for one thing. She wrote every letter by hand.

Here's water; let's eat

Rain came Tuesday, and so did a wading bird.

A long-legged gray bird stood in water that had overflowed the ditch along Central Parkway Southwest. The bird was looking intently at the water, surely hoping for a fish.

It was lunch time when Melanie Smith spotted him or her as Melanie drove in the downpour.

Junket for a cause

Democrats who are former members of the Legislature converged on the State House to renew friendships and swap tales, M.J. Ellington says.

One tale came from 97-year-old Fuller Kimbrell, who had driven himself to Montgomery from his home in Tuscaloosa. He was state finance director under Gov. Big Jim Folsom in the late 1940s and later was a powerful legislator.

He chuckled as he told about getting a local bill passed against repeated opposition from another legislator in the county the bill affected.

"How would you like to go to Argentina?" Fuller asked his reluctant colleague.

"Well, yeah, most people probably would like to go to Argentina. I think I would," the man answered.

A fact-finding trip was arranged.

"He was gone a week, and we got the bill passed," Fuller recalled.

Ounce of prevention

Exercise is good for older people, scientists reported last week. A study showed that those who exercise three or more times a week are 30 to 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

For some, it may be too late.

DAILY editors were talking about this story when Assistant Managing Editor Richard McCann, 64, lamented, "I forget to go to the gym."

Playing with food

Aochan had Gohan over for dinner, and they became fast friends.

It doesn't sound unusual until you learn that Aochan is a 4-foot rat snake and Gohan is a 3.5-inch dwarf hamster.

Zookeepers in Toyko couldn't get the snake to eat frozen mice, and they thought a live hamster would be more appetizing.

The Associated Press reports that after meeting the hamster, the snake decided to eat mice. The snake and hamster are such buddies that Gohan sometimes takes a nap on Aochan's back.

Gohan, incidentally, means "meal" in Japanese.

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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