News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Fisherman has a lot of friends

Ronnie Thomas has written a couple of stories about Leon Petty of Decatur, who overcame physical and emotional scars to become one of the best local fishermen. He lost his right arm and right leg in a motorcycle accident in 1989.

Leon was overwhelmed to learn that some fishing buddies are raising money to buy him a new motor, perhaps an entire new rig.

"Hey, man, I'm tickled to death," he said. "You don't know how good people around you are until you get to know them."

Brad Cook of Tanner and his brother, Steve, of Neel spearhead the Leon Petty Fund.

"I met them and their dad while fishing," Leon said. "Not only them, but so many others. I don't know them all by name. They just know me when they see me. We just go out and fish."

Guess who's calling

Winford Turner, the veteran North Alabama newsman who died Tuesday at his home in Decatur, always had a telephone to his ear — dialing his many sources and friends, rounding up news.

A few years ago when Winford was an editor at THE DAILY, I heard on a Saturday morning that he was in the hospital. I phoned his wife, Christina, at their home.

While Christina and I talked, a beep came in to indicate a call was waiting. Sure enough, it was Winford. He had negotiated access to a telephone in the intensive-care ward and was doing what Winford always did.

They buried Winford with a cell phone. I'm expecting a call any minute.

Officer assistance

While investigating a complaint at a hotel, a male officer, reluctant to pat down a female suspect, asked Pamela Gayle Robinson of Belle Mina if she had any drugs on her.

"She said, 'No, but I have some ice in the hotel room,' " Lt. Chris Mathews, a Decatur police spokesman, told Seth Burkett.

"Ice" is slang for methamphetamine.

When the officer went to search the hotel room, the 26-year-old suspect allegedly made the following request:

"While you're in the room, could you go ahead and flush the drugs (down the toilet) for me?"

Instead, the officer called in narcotics agents to collect the evidence, and the suspect went to jail.

Church and country

Contemporary Christian singer Carman Licciardello seemed relaxed when he took the stage in front of nearly 900 people at Autumnwood Baptist Church on Monday, Melanie Smith reports.

After upbeat praise songs that had many on their feet and clapping, he ventured into secular music.

He played "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on his guitar and people sang along. Then he did the theme song from "The Beverly Hillbillies." Carman seemed amazed that almost everyone knew the words. He stopped playing before the crowd stopped singing.

"I've walked into a crazy church," he joked.

Then he performed "Home on the Range," imitating Willie Nelson.

"I'm from New Jersey," Carman said. "People there, when they hear a country song, break out in a rash."

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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