News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Firefighters called to put out a candle

Decatur firefighters rushed to Matthews Lane Southwest, only to find that the reported "fire" was actually a candle, Seth Burkett says.

A firefighter put out the flame by smothering it with a plate, said Lt. Janice Johnson.

A 15-year-old girl had called in the fire after the candle burned down to the wax and began to flame up, Janice said.

"She did good. She called 911 and got all the kids out of the house while her family was gone."

Who is chief deputy?

During a retirement party for Limestone County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Jim Landers, the Ardmore police chief made a startling announcement.

Chief Doc Oliver said he was going to be the new chief deputy.

"You'll have big shoes to fill," Jim told Doc.

Doc looked down at his shoes and told Holly Hollman, "Well, my shoes are kind of small, so I guess I'll have to stay police chief."

Leave him behind?

As the state Department of Education prepared to release the annual No Child Left Behind figures on how public schools perform, state Superintendent of Education Joe Morton briefed journalists.

He stressed that 2014 is the year when federal education officials may start financial penalties in states that do not make the grade.

M.J. Ellington says one journalist asked, "Will you be retired by then?"

"I'm sure there will be people who hope I will be," answered the superintendent.

Tide washes in

Sometimes you just have to make a visual statement to get your point across, Patrice Stewart observes.

Apparently, a University of Alabama fan bought a Decatur house from a former Auburn quarterback who moved back to Tiger Country.

The first clue the neighbors got as to the new owner's football allegiance was a stone elephant mounted on top of the brick structure encasing the mailbox.

10 cents an inch

The death of former Gadsden Times sports editor and longtime Birmingham News sportswriter Jimmy Bryan brought back decades of memories for Ronnie Thomas.

Ronnie says Jimmy gave him his first daily-newspaper byline in fall 1959 after hiring him as a high school stringer for 10 cents a column inch.

"That was even after I wrote a letter to the guy I thought was sports editor at Gadsden. He had left," Ronnie said. "Still, Jimmy called and said to come see him. I've written in some form or other ever since, none of it coming close to matching Jimmy's style."

City Hall contraband

When they set up a security checkpoint at the front door of City Hall in Wichita, Kan., they started finding things in hiding places.

Guards have found bags of marijuana, crack and other illegal goods in the potted plants, according to The Associated Press.

In the first 39 days of screening, officers seized 3,457 prohibited items and detained 15 people. An open bottle of whiskey was in a man's bag, and a woman was carrying brass knuckles.

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.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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