News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

100-year-old book of laws survived fire

Morgan County Probate Judge Greg Cain found a 100-year-old book on Alabama’s criminal code that could have survived the 1926 courthouse fire.

Greg told Chris Paschenko that he found the book of criminal sections 6210-7900 in storage at the current Decatur courthouse. He has been showing off the find.

Inscribed on the first smoke- and water-damaged page is the partially legible signature of a man Greg believes was a justice of the peace and probate judge named L.O. Troupe.

Billiards and bets

“There’s a section that deals with pool halls and saloons” in that lawbook, Greg said.

“Any person operating a billiard hall that knowingly allowed minors to play would face a $50 fine. It even had one for betting on elections. That was a $2,500 fine, and would have been a stiff penalty in 1907.”

Supporting local business

Using large amounts of paper may seem wasteful, but it can sometimes be a resourceful way of pleasing your customers, Kristen Bishop observes.

Lawrence County Industrial Development Director Evon Zills told local officials that her office compiles hundreds of documents and maps in a digital format to send companies interested in relocating to the county.

But she was quick to point out three large binders about 8 inches thick sitting on the table.

“Of course, we try to support International Paper as best we can,” she joked.

With nearly 1,150 employees, International Paper in Courtland is the largest company in the county.

Three’s a crowd

There were smiles all around when Gov. Bob Riley brought up the name of Bradley Byrne, a state senator and lawyer, to the State Board of Education as prospective chancellor.

In the cordial spirit of the moment, the governor had another thought, M.J. Ellington says.

“The only downside is that there will be three attorneys at this table,” the governor quipped.

One of the lawyers, board member Randy McKinney, R-Gulf Shores, had a comment of his own: “I assume the governor means the downside is the others are not,” he said.

Board member David Byers, R-Birmingham, is also a lawyer.

Friendly sea lion

Astro the sea lion waddled out of San Francisco Bay and joined schoolchildren’s walk-a-thon in Corte Madera, Calif., completing a whole lap.

Earlier, Astro’s mother abandoned him and biologists bottle-fed him. They released him into the wild with a radio tag, The Associated Press reported.

But the 1-year-old marine mammal keeps finding his way back to civilization, even from miles away. “They are very intuitive, like dogs,” said Marine Mammal Center spokesman Jim Oswald.

The center may place Astro in an aquarium because even though he’s cute, he and humans might hurt each other.

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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