Time for some contemporary news

Published 9:16am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A friend of mine, whose name I won’t mention, told me this week I should write more contemporary news.

I told her my expertise lies in people and events from the 1940s-60s, but I said I will make an effort to write some columns from the 1980 to 1995 years. This friend informed me many readers do not always identify with those stories from so long ago. The more I thought about it, I realized she was correct. I am sure some younger readers would like to read about happenings from “their era.”

So, I will use a few paragraphs from 1986 this week. I will also use this year on several upcoming columns.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians purchased the Best Western Motel and restaurant from Mr. and Mrs. Martin Weber that year. The Webers sold the business so they could devote more time to their We Care Business.

Local and area teachers received the good news that Livingston University (now known as University of West Alabama) would offer graduate and undergraduate courses at a Brewton campus. This afforded teachers the opportunity to further their college degrees and keep their teaching certificates current without having to leave home.

After many years of dedicated service, John Garrard retired as president of The First National Bank. Ollie Strawbridge, who also had a long time presence at the bank, assumed his position.

ECHS senior Dana Pettis won the county Jr. Miss title in January and competed in the state contest in Birmingham. She is the daughter of Woodrow and Shirley Pettis.

Joe Brogden, local attorney, became our Escambia County Circuit Judge. His wife, Louise, was also named head dietician at Green Lawn Hospital.

Now, looking back to 1955, Bob Norman was called as pastor of First Baptist Church here. Rev. Norman was not only an excellent minister but he was an extremely talented trumpet player. Norman often said his trumpet work help pay his way through college.

New Jersey attorney J.R. “Bob” Tucker set up his law practice here that year.

Betty Smith, Atmore’s representative in the Miss Alabama Contest, finished as one of the finalists in that Birmingham event and received a one-year scholarship to Huntingdon College.

After Bill Cargill retired as manager of the local Escambia County Employment Office, he turned to his entrepreneurial talents establishing a seafood route in Baldwin and Escambia counties.

If you ever wanted to find a “certain favorite fish” you could call Bill and he would get it for you. Unlike today seafood was reasonably price and always plentiful. Because of the oil spill, I think how difficult it would be for him today to operate that business. But, knowing Bill, I am sure he would find a way to keep it going.

Eulene, his wife who was also the daughter of L&N Railroad Depot agent John Weekly, filled his life with support and encouragement.

She was regarded as a most professional nurse dedicated to helping others when they were sick.

In some current news, for those of you who take medicine regularly, I read where there are 12 colors used on medicine today. I checked out my many bottles and found red, green, purple, orange, white and pink pills.

Now, I am curious. What other colors could possibly be used? I know many generic pills are usually white. Perhaps you could name all those12 colors.

Another friend told me his “scanner” was making a lot of static and he could not listen to police reports like he “used to do.” I told him my scanner was acting the same way and I asked an authority on scanners why this was happening and he explained in somewhat technical terms it had something to do with this new digital era we are in.

My friend also wanted to know if I knew all the police codes heard on scanners. I told him the only one I know is 10-4. I referred him to Marvin Risher whose pleasant and authoritative voice has been heard on our local scanner for a number of years. I am sure he can tell him where he can get a copy of all these codes.

As tragic as Beth Holloway is unable to bring closure to the disappearance of her daughter, Natalee, a new world has opened up for the Birmingham native.

Lifetime TV Network has taken her story and made it into a weekly series called “Vanished.”

Using a format similar to the John Walsh TV series, Holloway appears to be heading to a new career in Television entertainment.

The network has altered her very photogenic profile and projected her into an extremely attractive hostess for this new show.

Let’s hope her new career continues to ascend because her life has crumbled since that eventful trip Natalee made to Aruba five years ago.

Next week, I will have more news from the year 1986 plus a few stories from the yesteryears.

“….yes,…it always whispers to me…those days of long ago….”

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net

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