News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

A teacher’s rule: No mess left behind

Ronnie Thomas believes any fast-food manager would like Virginia Aycox, a substitute teacher at Hartselle Junior High School.

Ronnie was lunching at Burger King on Sixth Avenue Southeast when Virginia called for her students to clean up before heading out.

“Even if it isn’t your table and you see a mess, pick it up,” Virginia said.

Ronnie couldn’t resist. “I’m almost finished,” he told Virginia.

“No problem,” Virginia said. “They’ll be happy to get your stuff.”

The students left the dining room spotless. Virginia held them up at the door and asked, “Now, what do we say to these nice people who put up with us?”

They turned toward the counter and said in unison, “Thank you!”

Ronnie says each deserved a king’s crown, for sure.

Ambitious trade mission

Republican Gov. Bob Riley and Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks like to hang around together in “bipartisan” gatherings where the press shows up, M.J. Ellington reports.

The commissioner arrived a little bleary-eyed and jet-lagged to help the governor announce an alternative-energy strategy group.

Ron got home less than 24 hours earlier from the opening of an Alabama trade office in India. It will help market state products to the giant country where many people consider cows sacred objects, not food.

“I asked him if he went to India to market Alabama beef,” the governor quipped.

First and last

Max, the healthy boy born Jan. 30 to John and Amy Godwin of Decatur, was welcomed by the entire Godwin clan, including big sisters Ginny Tyler Godwin, 18, and Shelton Godwin, 15.

Friends and family have been joking with the couple for months about their ages (46 and 43) and the 15-year gap.

This was the 23rd great-grandchild for Regina and Fred Stephens, and she succinctly summed up the family tree, granddaughter Susan Godwin Thompson told Patrice Stewart.

“John and Amy were the first in the family to have children, and now they’re the last to have children.”

Premature consent

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Estes was a one-man show at a recent federal trial in Decatur, so he had not had a chance to review U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler’s proposed jury instructions.

David told the judge he would agree to the instructions, provided they contained nothing unusual.

Without missing a beat, Eric Fleischauer reports, the judge said he was pleased that David consented to the instructions — including the instruction, he added with a wink, that said, “If one side presents an expert, that side wins.”

David had presented no expert witnesses; the other side had.

Fast thinking works

An 80-year-old woman in Hampden, Maine, was watching the Super Bowl when a man broke into her home, grabbed her from behind and began pushing her toward the bedroom.

Faking a heart attack, she told the intruder her medicine was in her car in the garage. After they retrieved the medicine, the man fled, according to The Associated Press.

“The lady had enough common sense to keep her wits about her … and avoid becoming another victim,” said police Sgt. Dan Stewart. Police arrested a 45-year-old man who is a convicted sex offender in Alabama.

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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