News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Thisíll help his golf game at 80

At age 80, the occasionally irascible Dave Dobbs describes himself as "the epitome of optimism."

Though a few Decatur City Council and parks department employees might differ on that, Dave remains boundlessly energetic when it comes to his golf game, Martin Burkey reports. Dave was an aggressive advocate for the Point Mallard golf course during his years as a Point Mallard advisory board member, and he hasn't changed much, he told the Parks and Recreation board recently.

"I'm the epitome of optimism because I'm 80 years old and I just bought a new set of golf clubs," he declared.

If your wife's unhappy ...

During a Decatur City Council meeting about the potential for an ethanol plant locating nearby, resident Jim McCullough said its odor would ruin the city's most precious resource: outdoor recreation on the Tennessee River.

Jim said he loves living on the river, and even though he's "ruined" his nose and apparently can't detect pungent smells, the odor would still bother him indirectly.

That's when Jim's wife, Judy, told the crowd that the smell would bother her.

Chris Paschenko says he understands Jim's thinking. If his wife isn't happy, then he is, by default, unhappy.

Helping the vulnerable

Ann Denbo of Decatur says she didn't realize Marie Hood was talking about her during the buildup to an award presentation until Marie mentioned Ann's husband, Morley.

But few others at a meeting in Birmingham could have been surprised when Ann received the Georgia Vallery Award from the Alabama Council of Community Mental Health Boards.

The council cited Ann for years of leadership, service, and help for individuals and families. Mental illness in Ann's family caused her to seek to improve Alabama's entire mental health care system, said Marie, who is director of the Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama in Decatur.

Mentally ill people "are usually the victims, not the perpetrators," Ann says. Public perceptions have improved, but many people still overlook mentally ill artists, writers, "people who have success and go ahead and stabilize and have a life."

Driver education

Good Samaritans tried their best to help a boy who was struggling to steal a car in Mesa, Ariz.

Well, they didn't know he was 14 years old and was stealing it. They just thought he was a young driver learning about manual transmission.

At least 15 people responded to his call for help, according to The Associated Press. They got behind and pushed, and Margarita Wood climbed in to teach him.

He got the car going, but others saw his erratic driving and called 911. The car belongs to a friend of his, who declined to press charges.

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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