News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Let's get the scientific name right

Veteran guide Terry Davis knows the main tours of the Mammoth Cave National Park system in Kentucky about as well as anyone.

Leading a group of 37 — including Mike Wetzel's family from Moulton — back from the famous Frozen Niagara formation, Terry was explaining the difference between stalactites and stalagmites.

Near the cave entrance, a visitor noticed a metal tube poking through the ceiling to the sunshine above. When asked, Terry said, "We call that a stalagpipe."

No drive-offs here

A uniformed Decatur police officer stopped at a Sixth Avenue convenience store to fill up his gas tank, Seth Burkett reports.

A glitch caused the card reader to decline Sgt. Mike Harvey's Fuelman card, saying the card was expired even though it wasn't.

When Mike asked the clerk what he should do, the clerk told him he could either pay her the $44 he owed in cash or she would call the police.

She wasn't joking.

Mike persuaded her to call the card issuer instead, and the card proved to be valid.

Lt. Chris Mathews said that had the clerk called police, Mike, being the closest unit, could have responded.

Making business of sport Martin Burkey asks: Could the city's bureaucracy save money by improving relations with its tourism industry? The Decatur City Council approved a contract with Michael's Tree Service for removing 13 hazardous trees and up to 25 others for $1,000 per tree. "Are these large trees?" Councilman Ray Metzger asked. "We could have had the lumberjack competition do this," Councilman Gary Hammon quipped, referring to the Stihl Timbersports Series competition at Point Mallard Park, which brought the country's best wood choppers and ax throwers to town.

Skating up the stairs

Climbing the steep streets and sidewalks of ancient Quebec City while in Canada for a Kiwanis International convention, Decatur's Rick Williams and I observed that even though we both exercise regularly, we can get winded by walking up a flight of stairs.

A day later, 192 steps loomed in the clock tower on Montreal's harbor. But there was no way up without walking, although apparently somebody had tried. A sign warned: "Do not climb the stairs wearing in-line skates."

It's cold, but it's hot

Sunny Sky's ice-cream shop in Angier, N.C., has been selling a hot ice cream — hot as in spicy.

Called Cold Sweat, it's made with three kinds of pepper and two kinds of hot sauce. It evolved from shop owner Scott Wilson's unsuccessful idea for a vanilla jalapeno flavor that might appeal to Hispanic customers (it didn't).

The Associated Press says one of the first customers trying Cold Sweat was Justin Smith, 22, who threw up but came back for more.

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. This column appears Sundays and Wednesdays.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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