Area code transition starts in April

Posted 2/14/19

Let's clean out the notebook ... and Happy Valentine's Day, lovers! And for us old-time radio fans, by the way, today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of comedian Jack Benny, who died at 80 in …

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Area code transition starts in April

Posted

Let's clean out the notebook ... and Happy Valentine's Day, lovers! And for us old-time radio fans, by the way, today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of comedian Jack Benny, who died at 80 in 1974. As a literal member of the fan club (jackbenny.com), I had to get that in ... 

• I've seen a number of news stories of late repeating what we have already reported, but it is worth noting again: AT&T is giving warning that starting April 13, people in the 205 area code area will start transitioning to have a second area code — 659 — for new numbers in this area. The old area code will be in effect for the older numbers we have, but we will all have to dial the area code from now on instead of just the seven digits within the 205 area code. These two area codes will serve the entire area that is now served by area code 205. 

When I say we will be transitioning, if you still use seven digits without the 205 area code on April 13, it will still go through but it is encouraged to start using the new way of dialing the area code. On Oct. 12, you have no choice - you have to dial the 205 area code regardless. And then on Nov. 12, the new 659 area code will be assigned to new numbers, and you will have to dial 659 or 205, depending on the number. Keep in mind, this will not affect E-911 or other three-number services. 

I've put a copy of AT&T's pamphlet on our "Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle" Facebook page for anyone wanting to see more details 

• The Winston County Republican Party scored a major speaker for its March 8 Lincoln Reagan Dinner, set for 6 p.m. at the Double Springs Municipal Building. According to state Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, former Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, is set to be the speaker. Although he is certainly controversial in many quarters, he will certainly be popular with many conservatives, especially with the talk of the border immigration policies raging on. Advance tickets can be obtained from Wadsworth and other party members. 

• I wish you could have seen the expressions of the Jasper City Council in a work session recently when the speed bumps were brought up again. It was quite obvious from Councilman (and former Mayor) Sonny Posey that he thought many of them had been a mistake to put up to begin with and that the moratorium on more of them was fine with him. Personally, I think about them often because I go up Sixth Avenue where all those nice homes are and I hit every one of them. I always wanted to live in one of those homes, but it is probably just as well as the speed bumps would drive me nuts, traffic or no traffic. 

• Just to clarify for someone on Facebook in relation to a commission story: When I said District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burrough compared the fact that he only had one part-time worker compared to several for District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis, that doesn't mean that the part-time worker is all Burrough has. He has nine full-time workers and one part-time worker, while Davis has several part-time workers. That is why it costs Burrough $500,000 to $550,000 for payroll and benefits versus $400,000 for Davis, which was the point. Burrough has even less money to spend on roads once such costs are calculated. Burrough also noted on Facebook that the average costs per employee including insurance and benefits is $50,000. 

• I wanted to say how sorry I was to hear about the death of Glenda Gail Harris, the mother of our managing editor, Ron Harris. Having lost my mother in 2015, I know how tough the loss is. I was planning to attend the visitation and services, but the unusually long length of Monday's Walker County Commission work session upset those plans. (I also had to be done to get ready in time for Carbon Hill City Council that night.) 

• I am sometimes learning that the best desserts are sometimes simple and small. Both Chick-fil-A and Milo's have a children's ice cream cup, which is just about right instead of a large order, and it is subtle in presentation so you don't think of it as a kiddie thing - its just a black cup. I usually order the cup of vanilla ice cream with some chocolate syrup. 

• I felt bad for a man in the county's District 2 who called today. He has a building that could wash away thanks to a culvert change some time back. The county officials I called truly feel bad about it, too, and are willing to do it, except they say it is on private property (a major no-no imposed on local government everywhere) and the U.S. Corp of Engineers is thus requiring a permit that could cost up to $10,000. Sometimes the higher levels of bureaucracy just makes life difficult. I think the county officials are still trying to find a solution, and I commend them for it. 

• While we are at it, I will say this for the commission on the funding: They happen to be right, as I think many people don't understand about the funding complications. You can have a surplus in one fund, such as solid waste, and it doesn't do you much good on paving roads. The road funds come to the districts and are divided equally, but they have to pay for employees and for other needs, such as signs (which are stolen often) and litter (which they wish someone would steal, but won't) and then you have little left for roads. You have a county sales tax but it goes straight to the schools, which the county has nothing to do with. And we all know how badly it can go with the Sheriff's Office, especially when communication breaks down and lawsuits ensue. So I would encourage people to look deeper into the details we are reporting and not just rely on a headline or a Facebook comment. 

Having said that, could the commission do a better job communicating its financial position? Yes, probably, and that may have cost them the 1-cent tax. I think you are seeing them realize they need to come up with visuals and manners to communicate the message. 

(One way they could help me is to give me documents when they are having their budget discussions. I sit there listening and trying to put it together, and they'll say, "So that $25,000, is that for this quarter?" and I'm like, I don't know what page you are reading that from." Then again, other government boards on city and county levels across the state do this as well. They know the reporter is going to come and write this. They know they have to make this easy for the public to understand. So why do government boards hoard all the materials to their table and the reporter has to run up afterward and ask for explanation?)

• The irony of last weekend: I could have come in special to attend the BamaCarry meeting as a number of officials were there. However, I was visiting a friend of mine in Saraland over the weekend who knew I had never gone hunting or even fired a weapon before. So, armed with a newly purchased hunting license, on Saturday morning I fired every pistol and rifle my friend had. I kept using the left eye instead of the right and had to pause for the safety, so no deer was going to be in danger that afternoon. We sat in a hunting house in Washington County for hours and the deer, not taking chances, never showed up.  One turkey who knew it was not his season showed up to eat in front of us.

At least I had a good teacher: The friend was Stan Stokley of Saraland Elementary, who is one of three finalists for state elementary principal of the year. And he also took me to Ed's Shack near the Battleship Alabama, where I discovered I serve pretty good shrimp for a guy who can't cook. (The restaurant mascot is an alligator, which I found appropriate.)