Let's clean out the notebook ... • The Carbon Hill City Council tonight will hear about the new truck stop on Exit 46 off U.S. Interstate 22, as Maburn and Donnie Naramore, who are developing …
Let's clean out the notebook ...
• The Carbon Hill City Council tonight will hear about the new truck stop on Exit 46 off U.S. Interstate 22, as Maburn and Donnie Naramore, who are developing it on County Road 11, are preparing to speak at the meeting. I stopped the other day to get photos in advance, and the brothers were quite upbeat about the whole venture. They have had to overcome a lot structurally with the old bingo hall, but they are making progress to open the truck stop this year. I can tell you they are very pleased with their dealings with the city, and I think the feeling is mutual from the other side. Certainly, I can see a number of businesses taking shape in this area once the truckers get wind that they are open.
• By the way, I have had to take a couple of recent photos at the auditorium at Carbon Hill Elementary/Jr. High School, and I am quite impressed. If anyone wants to have some major meetings, that would be the place to do it.
• The Walker County Commission was thrilled about the turnout for Monday's second effort at a night meeting. It was a full house, and only a few people spoke to the commission; most I think just wanted to listen. It encouraged the commission to keep up the effort. July 16 and Oct. 15 will also be set at 6 p.m. this year, if anyone wants to mark it on the calendar. (But keep in mind the May 7 meeting is cancelled due to other needs for the meeting chamber that week.)
• A couple of major votes are to take place this Sunday at Jasper's First Baptist Church concerning a director for the weekday preschool and on using the building fund for some remodeling. We're planning on a story to tell about that and other progress at the church as the pastor, Lloyd Stilley, is nearing his second anniversary as pastor in May. (By the way, something called the National Christian Choir slipped in Sunday night there from the Washington, D.C., area and just floored everyone. I wish everyone could have heard it. Judging from the response, I bet they come down to the South more often.)
• The July 10 date for Jasper's Sunday alcohol referendum sort of surprised me, as a week later would have been the county and state runoffs. But then in talking to City Clerk Kathy Chambless, I became aware that the city elections are held in a different place than the Jasper Mall, where county and state elections are held. An earlier wet-dry election was held on the same day as county elections and that created confusion, as people had to go to two polling places. It will be interesting to see how an isolated election for the Sunday alcohol sales will do. With the city's help, we will pass on more information about where the alcohol election will be.
• The People's Party is going to have to start real local, it looks like. Organizer Bill Cleghorn has found out from Ed Packard, the revered and quite knowledgeable head of elections for the Secretary of State's Office, that each legislative district would require a separate petition for those races, as would a run for the 4th Congressional District seat. So I think Bill and his people will concentrate initially on county races.
• I'm told the Foothills Festival in Jasper will be holding monthly meetings to plan for the Sept. 7-8 festival, so there will be plenty of opportunities to sit in on planning. The initial reaction from the musical lineup put together by Zach Baker has been very enthusiastic from people who know more about these acts. Even though he is not a headliner, Taylor Hicks will be a big draw, especially if he interacts with the next act, Robert Randolph's The Family Band, which he is friendly with. Randolph is supposed to be one whale of an entertainer, and Hicks is no introvert, either. Plus they found a way to get Christian music from the McCrary Sisters and Paul Thorn.
• I am very impressed with the new "meat and two side" type of meals now being offered at Warehouse 319, as they are moving toward more of the type of lunch I think would be popular with the Jasper downtown crowd. Plus the Sugar Shack is serving hot dogs now, and Ella's Boutique will set up an ice cream and sweets place in front of the store. Plus Michelle's is taking over the old First National Bank drive-through. So I think we are continuing to see some good diversification. (By the way, I thought the hamburger steak meal at Mr. Bean's was pretty good the other day, too, on Highway 78; I am hearing others say good things as well, including about the steaks.)
• Again, for the candidates: The word limit for out candidate profile is 500 words. Not 1,000, not 1,700 words. It's 500. Let's just say we are having trouble with that. And those must be run two weeks before the election.
• Keep in mind the flags should be flying at half-staff through Saturday for former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday and will be buried on Saturday.
• Our congratulations to columnist John Archibald of al.com for winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He has certainly driven the discussions in this state for a number of years now, and it is probably high time he be rewarded for that.
• It was also good to get a visit from Patrick V. Cagle, the new president of the Alabama Coal Association, while he was in town. We had a nice long talk about current events, and also about how robotics have become a big thing in mining, which has improved the safety. As in other industries, technical and computer education is becoming a must in coal mining.