News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

No smoking and no place to get away

The truth is beginning to surface about why some people oppose Decatur’s new no-smoking ordinance.

One man told The Daily that his wife doesn’t like to go into smoky places, so he can go alone and enjoy a beer with friends.

He’s afraid his social life may change after the ordinance takes effect Oct. 1.

Meanwhile, a woman who enjoys her cigarettes told a reporter that if she couldn’t enjoy smoking in a public place, she didn’t think fat people should be allowed to eat in public.

Known but not wanted

State Attorney General Troy King made what has become an annual trip to Decatur on Tuesday to give the Alabama Safe Schools 2007 Awards of Excellence to Decatur High and Oak Park Middle schools.

Superintendent Sam Houston said Troy has been to Decatur so often that he now knows school officials on sight. A school in Decatur has won the award in each of its six years in existence.

“This is the one instance where you want the attorney general to know your name,” Sam joked, as quoted by Bayne Hughes.

Fireman hitches a ride

As fires raced through brush along railroad tracks and into trees in Trinity on Aug. 28, a Daily photographer did more than snap photos.

Ronnie Thomas said he first saw Brennen Smith focusing on a blaze off Old Trinity Road across from Forest Home Estates subdivision. He later noticed Brennen driving across a field to get closer to a Tennessee Valley Authority substation — this time with a passenger.

Decatur firefighter Lyle Willits had hitched a ride on the tailgate of Brennen’s pickup. Lyle was on his way to light backfires south of the substation. According to a spokeswoman for Norfolk Southern Railway Co., brakes stuck on a passing train car, sparking the fires.

Signs and sermons

Sign in front of Decatur’s Ninth Street United Methodist Church: “Sign broke. Message inside.”

A recent column item contributed by Tom Wright, about ministers leaving Rotary before the speaker was finished, reminded me of sage advice from the late Rev. Ralph Gwin, a Baptist preacher in Monroeville: “I never heard anybody complain that a sermon was too short.”

Amy Pollick saw this highway sign near Lakewood, Colo.: “Correctional facility. Do not stop for hitchhikers.”

Saving the poor shark

A Coney Island lifeguard rescued a shark on Labor Day.

Marisu Mironescu, 39, said 75 to 100 people were “bugging out,” circling a 2-foot sand shark off a New York beach. They were holding and hitting the fish, which The Associated Press described as “largely harmless.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to let them hurt the poor thing,” Marisu said.

He grabbed the shark and carried it out to sea, where he let it go.

“He was making believe like he’s dead; then he wriggled his whole body and tried to bite me,” the lifeguard reported.

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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