News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Tell the truth before riding roller coaster

Not everybody was thrilled Lauren Estes told the Morgan County Board of Education that she loved the family that hosted her when she went to Japan as part of the Daikin Homestay Program.

The family tried to make the Falkville High School student feel at home, Bayne Hughes reports. They took her to Disneyland, and she rode all the rides.

Her host mom — whom Lauren described as timid and nice — asked in stilted English as they got on the roller coaster, “Is this scary?”

Lauren doesn’t think roller coasters are scary, so she said no. The mom appeared to be praying as they waited, and then she screamed through the whole ride.

As they exited, she told Lauren with a smile, “You lie.”

Unteachable moment

Elementary-school teachers have long accepted that all learning stops when a snowflake drifts past the classroom window.

What they had not figured out until recently, however, is that in the middle of a drought, a raindrop has the same effect.

Eric Fleischauer heard that when one of the summer’s rare rainstorms briefly deluged Leon Sheffield Elementary School, students were glued to the windows.

The teachers, also startled by the liquid gems, didn’t have the heart to discipline them.

Mayors’ master key

When Mayor Don Kyle addressed the Rotary Club of Decatur, former Mayor Julian Price introduced him.

In jest, Julian presented Don with a prestigious award, the key to the city — which consisted of a large brass key tied with a pink ribbon.

“I want you to know that this key is suitable for wearing at all occasions at which keys are commonly worn to,” Julian said.

Don accepted graciously, says Evan Belanger.

A bishop’s coaches

The man recently named as bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama, Robert J. Baker, wrote to the Diocese of Charleston that his friendships there won’t cease.

Melanie Smith saw his parting letter on a diocesan Web site.

The bishop said it wasn’t easy to say goodbye, “especially to people who have helped me learn to be a bishop, firsthand.”

People gave him encouragement, sometimes couched with reminders about what he needed to improve, he said.

“May the people of the Birmingham diocese benefit from all your good coaching and coaxing,” he wrote.

He was ordained and installed in Charleston in 1999.

They never learn

A woman drove a stolen car to the courthouse in Manning, S.C., to pay a traffic ticket, sheriff’s deputies said.

They got a tip that Amber Renee Helton, 21, would be in the 2001 Dodge Intrepid, missing from Tennessee. When she arrived, they arrested her and her 35-year-old passenger, Terry Lynn Alvery, according to The Associated Press.

A week earlier, Amber Helton had been acquitted of possessing a stolen tag but convicted of driving without a license.

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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