News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2007

Steve Stewart

Hotels profit from traffic bottleneck

Nothing ruins a road trip quite like an interstate wreck that backs up traffic for miles. But sometimes there's a silver lining, Paul Huggins says. Some Decatur hotels found one while they staged a tourism campaign at the Alabama Welcome Center at Ardmore.

A bad wreck on Interstate 65 occurred April 6 while the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Hospitality Association alerted spring break travelers of the hotels available here.

They intended to catch only motorists needing a halfway place to stop, but after telling drivers about the wreck, they secured about 50 reservations from people who wanted to avoid the bumper-to-bumper crawl.

Report those 'sore eyes'

In a new feature called "Hiding in plain sight,'' The Daily is asking people to phone in eyesores in their neighborhoods. The effort has touched a nerve with readers, who are swamping the newspaper with reports of blight.

Scott Morris got a chuckle out of one of the calls last week. The woman on the other end of the line said she was calling to report a "sore eye."

We also got calls from people trying to locate the owner of a disabled car pictured in front of a house. They wanted to buy the car.

Preparing to hatch?

The mama mourning dove that banged her head on a patio roof when frightened off her nest is still sitting. Another bird, evidently the papa, takes turns with her.

The Decatur homeowners can tell the difference because one dove's head still looks scraped — the result of an incident described here earlier. According to bird guides, doves are known for abandoning nests.

This one didn't, although a human accidentally bumped the hanging basket. The eggs were exposed for at least an hour on a cold night. So far, Melanie Smith has seen no fledglings, despite the faithful parenting.

One source said that doves will return to the same nest to lay eggs typically two or three times in a season. This pair is on its second clutch in the basket. The first two eggs successfully hatched, and the little birds flew the nest.

Romantic mystery

Reporters often ask people a personal question: How old are you? We're not prying — it's just that telling someone's age helps readers know him better.

Sometimes people decline to give their ages. "I'm 73,'' a man told one of our reporters, "but you can't print it because my girlfriend doesn't know it, and she's 41.''

No crumb left behind

Memo to thieves: Don't even leave crumbs behind. In Eastpointe, Mich., Norman O. Wheeler, 40, allegedly abandoned a partially eaten cinnamon bun when he stole a car.

Police officer Ed Lulko sent the bun to the state crime lab, which matched the DNA to Norman's. It was already on file because he had a criminal record, The Associated Press reported. Caught more or less red-handed, Norman pleaded guilty.

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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