News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

If caught on camera violating smoking law, just quote Bill Clinton

The Decatur Parks and Recreation Board was discussing the difficulty of enforcing the city’s new smoking ordinance at outdoor locations, Catherine Godbey reports.

In the time it takes for a bystander to notify park officials and for them to reach the offender, usually the smoker finishes the cigarette, explained Recreation Superintendent Kelly Varnell.

Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Grady Tyler hopes technology will deter violations.

“I personally wouldn’t think of not following the ordinance,” Grady said. “I’d be afraid that someone might take my picture with a cell phone.”

As board members argued how someone caught smoking on camera could deny it, Kelly blurted out the defense: “I didn’t inhale.”

Thank you, Bill Clinton.

Well, it was close

Legendary Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham shared a funny newspaper error with Danielle Palmer.

“As a reporter, you’ll appreciate this,” she said.

Her book “Alabama, One Big Front Porch” was mistakenly called “Alabama, One Big Fruit Punch” in one newspaper, she said.

Kathryn will appear at the first Athens storytelling festival Friday and Saturday.

Rivalry without rest

Fans of rival football teams do their best to annoy each other in life, and some take those conflicts into eternity.

In a cemetery along U.S. 331 between Highland Home and Luverne, Tom Wright saw Alabama and Auburn flags flying side by side on graves.

Reptile’s refuge

Snakes don’t have large brains, but one of them was smart enough to know it could slither up to headquarters at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge without reprisals.

Refuge biologist Bill Gates told Paul Huggins he found a poisonous cottonmouth at the back stoop to the headquarters office.

Most startled observers would respond by grabbing a hoe and chopping off its head, but Bill used a special tool to carry it back to the Tennessee River.

As long as a snake’s not interfering with refuge work, Bill said, he’ll offer it protection.

Don’t be reckless

A graduate student’s purse was stolen. Inside was a disk that contained the only copy of her almost-finished master’s thesis.

She used transaction records from her stolen credit card to locate the treasured disk in a trash bin outside a store, The Washington Post reported.

Now comes word that somebody stole a laptop computer from Croucher Brewing Co. of New Zealand. It contains “all our financials,” as well as label designs for new beers and business contacts, said co-owner Paul Croucher.

The brewer — desperate like the graduate student — is offering lifetime free beer for return of the laptop, according to The Associated Press.

Did these people miss the memo about backing up data?

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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