Let's clean out the notebook ... • Keep in mind that Jasper's First Baptist Church will have two major events Sunday — one to show off new renovations and the second to honor a parting staff …
Let's clean out the notebook ...
• Keep in mind that Jasper's First Baptist Church will have two major events Sunday — one to show off new renovations and the second to honor a parting staff member who has been serving this community since 2010.
The first is to have an open house for its student center from 4-6 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. Snacks will be served and tours will be given to see the complete renovation of the facility, which was built more than 70 years ago and which some will remember years ago as being a funeral parlor.
You will recall from our story on the church recently that the $250,000 renovation, paid for with funds outside the budget, gutted much of the interior for a badly needed update. "Eventually we will have garage doors similar to like Warehouse 319 where you can raise those up, with Edison lights in that little opening area and inside will be wide open for gathering space, concerts, videos to be shown," pastor Lloyd Stilley said this past spring.
After the open house, the church will honor Matt and Lindsey Lotspeich with a reception on Sunday at 6 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the church. As I've said, Lotspeich, the pastor of education and evangelism, and the former youth minister for the church, is heading out this month to become a church planter in New York State. (Ironically, the church may be getting closer to getting a new youth minister.)
I can say he and his family will be missed. He always had a true dedication to Christ and has a great heart. Plus, he also is arguably one of the city's best country music historians! The couple has just marked their ninth anniversary on Aug. 1.
• Well, the Ohio 12th Congressional District race has given us a lot to mull over, and technically it is not over. The networks are not being biased by not calling it, because as of late Wednesday morning, according to the New York Times, Republican Trou Balderson leads by 1,754 votes over Democrat Danny O'Connor with all precincts reporting. However, 3,535 provisional ballots have yet to be counted. There is an automatic recount for less than a half percentage point for a margin, but it appears to be .9 percent now. I think the consensus is that Balderson is going to be the winner, but in a close one like this you can't call it officially.
Truthfully, it is a victory for the Republicans, but it is also a victory for the Democrats. Winning for the GOP means fundraising will still not drop off, but my understanding in press reports is that the party is spending like $3 million each for several of these special elections. As we have the November elections coming, that cannot be sustained.
As for the Democrats, the Associated Press reports, "Many of the districts Democrats are hoping to flip in November are more favorable to them than the Ohio 12th. If they can compete there, they’re well positioned in the key battlegrounds." Politico identified 70 seats with better partisan makeup for Democrats than this race.
They apparently feel they did well in getting suburban voters to join urban voters to offset rural votes. O'Connor ran ahead of Hilary Clinton's 2016 totals, although Balderson had good vote totals as well. In fact, it looks like he won six counties to only one for O'Connor, but O'Connor won like 2-1 in Franklin County.
• For those who are wondering, it now looks like at least eight Democratic women are running for governor in the nation, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, in Washington state, a House seat and a Senate seat are both featuring female candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties.
• Dad has been amazed in Winfield that we've had the storms in Walker County on Monday and Tuesday, as he says they haven't seen anything. They got rough up here at times. I had a surge protector/breaker in the kitchen that went down both afternoons, and I had to switch them on later (thankfully with the refrigerator still cool).
• Soon enough I'm going to finally take a vacation to see some friends in North Carolina. To my shock, I have realized now that I will be close enough that I'll get to see the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, which will be rather interesting to see. (If you like race car driving, I think middle North Carolina has a hall of fame or some other attraction on every corner.)
As I don't fly that often, I went to Birmingham Sunday afternoon to get myself reacquainted with the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport. First I had to get over the shock (again) of the downtown Birmingham road work, as lanes are already being closed down on U.S. Interstate 20-59; I wonder what it will be like during a weekday, even at mid-morning or early afternoon. Next, it took me a couple of passes and a call to the airport even to determine where to do temporary parking for an hour or two at the airport. (The $1 an hour cost isn't bad; it is the $10 or so daily cost for parking while you are out of town — and similar costs for rental cars — that made me decide to get dropped off and picked up.)
It is amazing, too, how the airlines rack it up. I was proud of myself for getting a rather inexpensive round-trip ticket. Then online they brought to mind upgrading in case you needed to change a flight. And then there was wi-fi. And then there was flight insurance. By the time it was over with, I felt I was in an episode of "The Untouchables" and Al Capone had taken all I had, without any recourse but to slink out. And I still have to get the bags checked that day. (And, no, it wasn't Southwest, which is better about those type charges, but they didn't have the flight I needed.)
• At the CPR event for Walker County Board of Education workers this week, Eric Pendley of Regional Paramedical Services said RPS's new flight service is doing well with its numbers. I hope it continues to do well, as that is going to be an important service for our area.
• Elane Jones of our staff just dealt with someone sending in an obituary to the Mountain Eagle. Only it turned out not to be the Daily Mountain Eagle; it was The Mountain Eagle. If you go to themountaineagle.com, you get taken to a paper in Whitesburg, Kentucky, called The Mountain Eagle. I would have never have guessed someone else had a name much like ours. (Keep in mind, before it went daily, we were the Mountain Eagle as well.)