Red snapper rules cause change in focus

Published 11:25am Thursday, May 29, 2014

The new regulations on limiting the number of Red Snapper fishing days has caused charter boat captains to focus on other game fish ventures. Beginning next week, anglers will see the Red Snapper season reduced from 11 days to nine days.

Four local boat captains who have been in the charter business for a number of years will have to “work around” these new regulations to keep their businesses afloat.

Butch Tucker, Wynn Milson, Brent Shaver and Bill Staff Jr. have been making their livings on the Gulf waters for over 25 years. They, along with hundreds of others, are scratching their heads trying to find a reason for the federal cutback. A report from the Associated Press last week said the government is making decisions on flawed statistics that “indicate a reduced number of Red Snappers in Gulf waters.”

Orange Beach Fishing Association officials say their studies have found plenty of Snappers off Alabama’s coast. “We hope within three years the season can be extended perhaps to weeks rather than days,” one official said.

Speaking of these charter boat captains, I am reminded of their younger days here growing up and playing in our Little League, Babe Ruth and Pee Wee football programs. They were all excellent ball players and now they are accomplished, successful businessmen.

Two of them were in the national spotlight during the BP oil spill controversy. Brent and Bill Jr. were interviewed by CBS, explaining their misfortunes caused by the spill. They related how the catastrophe completely shut them down for a while. Fortunately, they have recovered and their businesses are going strong now.

Watching Brent in that interview, I had to take two glances to recognize him behind that bushy Ernest Hemmingway-type beard. He also had a role as a boat captain in a recent TV documentary about sinking old broken down ships to the ocean floor to create ideal fishing beds.

Now let’s take a look at some news from 1954 and 1955.
In 1955 the Atmore Jaycees and Jaycettes were recognized for outstanding service to the community. One of their most popular fundraising drives was gathering funds for the underprivileged Christmas shopping tour.

Many young children were taken to participating merchants, where they shopped free due to the efforts of these two fine organizations.
Jaycee officers that year were George Keenan, Sam Ford, Taylor Faircloth, Robert Faircloth, James Forte, Robert Maxwell and Elam Fayard.

The Jaycettes officers were Virginia Ford, Ernestine Miniard, Thelma Pitts, Janelle Forte, Billy Gilbert and Sarah Fayard.

Two ECHS students were selected to attend Boys State at the University of Alabama. They were Bobby Barnes and Gordon Bryars. Sponsors of the two were American Legion Post #90 and Atmore Lions Club respectively.

Sam Jack Cassidy received an honor for accomplishments as a member of the Crimson Tide football team. The former star ECHS running back was on scholarship at the Capstone.

J. Whisinant, well known principal at Escambia County Training School, resigned from his position for a promotional move with the Anniston School System.

In 1954, after returning from a Camp Stewart training excursion, the Atmore National Guard unit gave a letter of appreciation to Roy “Red” Powell for his many years of service. A corporal in the Guard, he was regarded as “do-it-all” type. He was particularly talented in woodworking and repairing items necessary to the operation. Commanding Officer Lt. Mason Montgomery stated, “Cpl. Powell literally kept our unit in tack. If we had a breakdown or needed something built in a hurry, Red would take care of it. He was just that good.”

Other officers in the unit included, Lt. Nathan Little, Lt. James H. Shirley and Lt.Charles D Bryan.
Roy Kinard from Silverhill brought in the first bale of Cotton. It was processed at Curries Gin.

Long-time local Alabama Power Company head Murray Greer was promoted to a higher level and moved to Eufaula company headquarters. Tommy Hand took over at the local office following Greer’s promotion.

Several from here traveled to Montgomery that year to attend a statewide celebration in memory of Alabama native Hank Williams.

The Advance featured a story and photo of a huge bobcat, which was killed near the homes of northwest Florida’s Lewis and J. D. Long. The Longs said their dogs “treed” the cat in a very tall tree. Members of the community reportedly came by to get a look at it on display near their homes.

And, how about this for uniqueness? Owners of a restaurant in Canada, realizing that rambunctious kids tearing through aisles can raise the blood pressure of patrons, offered a discount for keeping their kids under control.

They said business almost doubled when their customers realized they “could come and enjoy a nice meal free from distractions of loud children.” Sounds like a winner to me. I would like to see discounts offered to patrons who go directly to their tables without stopping by my table spouting long non-interesting conversations causing my food to go cold.

I would like to see this sign inside my favorite restaurants….“Don’t Talk to Our Customers While They are Eating.”

Next week we have more news from days and years gone by.

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