News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JUNE 25, 2006

Steve Stewart

Veggies with ranch take place of fries

Decatur school board member Karen Duke asked how students are adjusting to the new healthy menus the state now requires.

Child Nutrition Program Director Julia Senn said the adjustment has been easier than expected, Bayne Hughes reports. Fresh, steamed vegetables have replaced french fries in popularity "as long as ranch dressing is available."

Julia said the only healthy item the students rejected was fat-free salad dressing.

"They love low-fat dressing as long as you don't tell them it's low-fat."

Invited guests only

John Godbey, who could write a book about how to photograph children, often asks about their upcoming parties because they light up in anticipation. Sometimes a child will invite John to the party. Sometimes John will ask if he can come, and usually the answer is yes.

Luke Balch, whose birthday was Thursday, apparently has a more refined sense of etiquette than the average 5-year-old.

Luke told John about his party plans, including two dinosaur cakes and vanilla ice cream. John expressed regret that he couldn't attend.

"I know you can't come because I didn't send you an invitation," Luke responded. Luke's parents are Dustin and Susie Balch of Decatur.

Teens on a roll

A toilet paper caper ended when Decatur police stopped a vehicle
driving without headlights at 2 a.m. on Augusta Drive Southwest.

The officer discovered (and charged) an 18-year-old occupant in possession of liquor. A further search found three large rolls of toilet paper, and the teenagers admitted they were on their way to roll a neighbor's house. The officer confiscated the toilet paper and sent the conspirators home, Paul Huggins reports.

Not our gator

THE DAILY has received e-mails with pictures of an alligator swimming with a deer clutched in its jaws. The senders have said the picture was made at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, and they're worried about people's safety there.

Amy Pollick visited the urban-legend Web site, learning that the picture was actually taken at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, about 40 miles south of Savannah, Ga., on March 4, 2004. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Fire Management Director Terri Jenkins snapped the photo and estimated the alligator was 12 to 13 feet long.

You can find the picture at

No charge for mustard

Maybe this is fast food, but it's definitely not cheap food.

The Old Homestead Steakhouse in Boca Raton, Fla., offers a $100 hamburger billed as the "beluga caviar of sandwiches." Owner Marc Sherry translates that as "heaven on a bun."

It contains beef from the United States, Japan and Argentina, and is garnished with organic greens, exotic mushrooms and tomatoes. Ten dollars goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, according to The Associated Press.

Send stories for You Don't Say to, or call Weekend Editor Steve Stewart at 340-2444.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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