Out with old news, in with today’s

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This week I am replacing nostalgia events with some current happenings and possible happenings in the state.

This includes news over the past several days about yard sales, the Auburn Trustees, junior college sports and loss of viewers on CBS.

An Associated Press story out of Phenix City Monday stated the City Council was considering clamping down on yard sales. Because of so many weekend yard sales the mayor of that city said “it’s like living beside a thrift store.” The new law, if passed sometime this week, would make it a misdemeanor to hold more than two yard sales a year. “Violators would face fines from $50 to $500,” the AP report noted. By the time you read this column that city council vote may be known and the citizens of that area will have learned the outcome.

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It seems odd for yard sales to be denied. I know several from our area who conduct these sales on a regular basis. And, some are very skillful. They find bargains throughout a three-county area and resell these goods for a profit. I am told these people make good money.

It would be a shame for these folks to be denied their yard sales. I don’t believe they really need to worry about that here. Everyone should have the right to earn money.

Another news story of interest last week is the loss of sports at four junior colleges. Jefferson State, Gadsden State, Bevill State and Northwest-Shoals Community College have dropped practically all of their athletic programs because of the current cutback in state funds.

Now, this is totally devastating. What if Jeff Davis in Brewton and Faulkner State in Bay Minette were forced to do away with their sports departments? Do you realize that many, many of our young athletes begin their careers at these schools? For years these have been traditional training grounds for baseball, softball and basketball players. And, quite a few of these players have gone on to four-year college athletic programs.

Financial trimming has hurt everyone in our state. Let’s hope funds from other sources can be found to help keep these two programs alive.

Katie Couric, reportedly, will be leaving her CBS anchor post in the near future, as reported by an Internet Web site this past week. She was quoted by the Internet magazine saying “I think local news stations have something to do with it.”

Is this a slap in the face of local CBS affiliate WKRG Channel 5? It is evident this station has gross problems with its audio. In fact, it seems the sound gets louder when they switch to commercials and back to live newscasts. The station is also recognized for having only one full time sports reporter, even though the anchors frequently double on sports. But, all in all WKRG does, indeed, serve Atmore well.

Couric has CBS in third place behind ABC and NBC. It seems the problem for this network is not the local affiliates. She never “made it” as a nightly anchor after several years as a highly successful daytime host.

Bobby Lowder, by a 3-2 vote, was voted back on the Auburn Board of Trustees last week. This act generated numerous comments on Internet forums throughout the state. Most of those comments came from posters who, apparently, did not approve of his getting voted back in to the Trustee Board. Apparently, his tight rule in AU matters was not appreciated by some. His recent bank collapse didn’t help either.

But, Jimmy Rane, who was also voted back on the board, was well received by a lot of folks. And, rightly so.

He has been and currently is still involved in countless good deeds, not only for Auburn University, but for his hometown of Abbeville and the entire state.

I am sure you know him as “Yella Man” on the Great Southern Woods TV commercials.

Decked out in his yellow garb he rides off into the sunset on his stately stallion. Having trimmed down his weight he resembles some of our Saturday matinee cowboys. His TV commercials have been voted some of the most entertaining ads on the air. Even more fitting is the “Riders In The Sky” quartet singing in the background.

This man is a great ambassador for Auburn. I do not know who writes his commercials. Some say he writes them, but I do know they grab your attention each time they are shown on TV.

Well, each Spring Splinter Hill is flooded with visitors who come to see the famous “Splinter Hill Bogs.”

Better known as Pitcher plants these bogs, which attract visitors from several states, also contain one other plant that we called “Lady Watches.” This plant has a red bulb-like growth on a thin stim(is this my spelling error for this week’s column?) The top of the plant somewhat resembles a heart.

Having grown up with these plants it wasn’t until the last few years they became so popular. They grow only in a few locations in north Baldwin County.

You can see them right now along Hwy. 31, which is between the Perdido highway to the interstate and the Phillipsville Road about two miles south of that interstate road.They are also evident in a few other sites in the area.

People have dug themfrom the bogs and tried to raise them at their homes without success. For some reason they will not flourish outside their Splinter Hill habitat.

We will have more next week from people, places and events from our yesteryears.

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