Stimulus bill and TV reception are talk of the nation

Published 3:47 pm Wednesday, February 18, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
Many readers of my column, I am sure, receive monthly social security payments. And, I am also sure these readers are aware of the $250 one time payment they will receive as a result of the enormous stimulus package approved by Congress last week.
But, in case you are not aware of this, you can expect this cash payment in the very near future according to a news story by the Associated Press. Not only will social security recipients receive cash payments, but those on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), pensioned and disabled veterans will also receive cash benefits.
I have also learned that many who were entitled to stimulus cash rebates last year, but did not receive them, can apply for them again this year. I suggest you talk with those who prepare your income taxes for clarification on this matter. You may have $300 or $600 still due to you.
The Social Security Act of 1935 detailed the overall social security program which many of us today rely on for a portion of our retirement. However, many changes and additions have been made since that program began. And, now, this latest stimulus bill earmarks another cash payment. Those who are still working will receive various new tax credit benefits. However, I do not have any information to pass along to you in this regard.
I am not endorsing or criticizing this stimulus bill, but, it makes me wonder how $250 can be such a “big deal.’ Sometime over the next several years we will pay it back through our taxes. The most idiotic portion of this stimulus package is the “marvelous train ride,’ from Nevada to California that Senators Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi railroaded through just a day or so before Congress passed the bill. Pork funds were included in the bill to construct a direct super fast railroad connecting Las Vegas to California.
The rail project is only one of the vast number pork projects included in the 700 plus pages of the bill.
Well, the on again-off again changeover from analog to digital TV reception has changed back into third gear. The TV industry was scheduled to go totally digital yesterday. The Federal Communication Commission, at the last minute, ordered some stations to continue in the analog mode until June 12. Most commercial TV stations in Mobile were told by the FCC to delay until June. Local Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) ceased analog broadcasting last night and can no longer be seen with use of rabbit ears or an outside conventional antenna. Thousands have not yet purchased converter boxes necessary to receive digital signals. Now they will have about four more months to buy these boxes. Seems strange there was so much controversy and indecision regarding this changeover.
Those who receive TV reception via rabbit ears or traditional rooftop antennas may want to contact local cable companies, Direct TV or Dish Network. These firms have inexpensive plans which will provide access to all local channels. I understand one of these firms can get you hooked up for under $20 a month. This way you will not need be concerned about purchasing a converter box. And, TV programs will look a lot better, too.
While on the subject of TV sets, here is another problem. No decision has been made yet that addresses the disposition of your old TV sets when High Definition (HD) saturates the market. Currently there are, reportedly, restrictions on getting rid of these sets. They can’t be picked up with your trash or garbage. So, how do you dispose of them? Well, I suppose we will have to wait for congress to provide us an answer
Now let’s continue more reminiscing about people, places and events from the year 1970.
Dr. C.P St Amant’s well known fishing boat ‘Ragin Cajun’ took top Bill fishing honors in a Big Game Fishing Rodeo off Dauphin Island.
The First National Bank celebrated its grand opening with tasty food and entertainment in its modern two stories building on South Main Street. The bank began operations here in 1915.
Bill Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Smith, capped Medical Honor Society recognition at Auburn University. Now, a prominent orthopedic surgeon, he makes regular visits once a week to Atmore Community Hospital to see local and area patients. His medical office is located in Pensacola.
Robins Swift, Jr. was honored by the local American Legion post for his work in the Atmore Chamber of Commerce and Atmore Jaycees
The Atmore Assembly of God Church organized a new chapter of the Royal Rangers. This organization was active with youths in the church. Those charter members were Norman Wilson, Charles Wilson, Ray Biggs, Bobby Allen, Cecil Daniel, Clay Whitehead, Edgar Norris and Pastor Ronald Cox.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Atmore’s population grew to 8,202, an increase of 29 since the 1960 survey.
Will Adams was honored by Mayor Tom Byrne and city councilman for reaching the “ripe young age of 120.” Mr. Adams was the oldest living citizen in Alabama at that time. He still has a few relatives living in Atmore today.
Escambia Maid of Cotton honors went to Martha Currie, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Currie.
Atmore police officer Johnny Norris was first on the scene of a crop-duster plane crash near Rockaway Creek Road. Norris pulled the victim, who was from Baldwin County, from the crashed plane prior to it bursting into flames. The crash victim escaped serious injuries, thanks to the bravery of Officer Norris.
Ernest Ward football coach Joe Latham was selected to head the Florida District One High School Football Association.
The old L&N Depot was dismantled to make room for a new parking area. The building was originally constructed in the 1920s.
And, finally, it should not go unnoticed this week that Murray Johnson has completed forty years of dedicated service to the Atmore youth athletic leagues. I’ll have more about Murray in an upcoming column.
I’ll have more news from the year 1970 next week.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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