Mentone hotel’s burning is a sad loss for our state

Published 4:12 pm Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Have you been keeping abreast of the rift between The Weather Channel and other leading weather services?

Well, it’s gotten to be a little hot and heavy here lately. And the reason, according to other weather sources, is the fact that TWC has no authority to lend names to these dreadful winter uprisings. Even the National Weather Service concurs.

Fox News, The Weather Underground and a few other leading news outlets flatly will not recognize the outlaw names NBC’s weather mouthpiece is spewing. If it were not for excellent weather front men like Jim Cantore and Mike Siedel, viewership would be even lower. Only during hurricane seasons is the station’s viewership sustaining itself in a higher loft.

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Here’s my opinion on what’s happening. Because all the NBC affiliates are currently suffering low viewer ratings, the naming of these storms is their hope to draw attention from their downward slide. Firing some of the real good on-air personalities and replacing them with amateur “bathing beauties” the past couple of years was not the answer either.
Popular as he may seem to be, the morning personality in need of breathing lessons does not offset the dip either.

Personally, I like to bring up The Weather Underground on my laptop or watch Fox News’s weather report. TWU actually provides a more thorough source for weather developments for some leading TV and weather outlets. Right now TWC and Direct TV have an ongoing spat having to do with program fees. This has been going on for a while and latest reports offer no end to this conflict.

So, when you hear about winter storms with a name, just remember this. Those names are not authentic and are symbolic only to The Weather Channel.

Now, let’s take a look at some news from our area.
Mobile is noted for turning out some real pretty ladies over the years. Take Yolanda Betbeze, for instance. This beautiful young lady from that county was selected America’s Miss America in 1951.

Today, two other lovely ladies are drawing attention to TV and movie film makers. Mobile District Attorney Ashley Rich and Dee Dee Bonner, A.J.McCarron’s mother, are now garnering the spotlight.

Rich is one of four district attorneys across the deep South that film crews are cramming their cameras for a possible TV series in the future. Described as highly photogenic, the attractive Rich sometimes finds it difficult to perform her court duties because of the camera’s presence. Some of her court scenes have been uploaded for possible future showings.
Dee Dee, also considered photogenic in every respect, was selected parade marshal at one of Mobile’s recent Mardi Gras parades. She was first brought to the spotlight when ABC cameras picked her up from the audience at a college bowl game.

The real spotlight was on her son’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, but continued exposure from that film shot created more time on camera for Dee Dee. She is now seen in numerous magazine and TV pieces.

It will be interesting to see that which may develop from these two pretty ladies as their careers seem ripe to unfold.
Several years ago former ECHS renowned football coach Herbert Barnes and his wife parked their Airstream in the parking lot of the Mentone Springs Hotel in Mentone, Alabama. This lovely town is located in Alabama’s extreme northeast section of the state, near the Georgia-Tennessee state lines. I ran into them while settling property damage flood claims resulting from severe mudslides and onrushing waters in that Lookout Mountain area.

He and his wife showed me around this popular vacation site known as The Mentone Springs Hotel and grounds, an area he was very familiar with. Built in 1984, the charm of this stately building was most impressive. The building was so large that it appeared to cover a “few acres”. The décor of that particular area rendered an awe of almost living back there during that time.

Well, news came this weekend that this national treasure burned to the ground. For those of you who ever went there, I am sure you will share in its loss. People from the world over came to that hotel. Possibly some of you went there on occasions, too.
Last week in my piece about the auctioneer, I gave out the wrong name of that popular “sales pin” ambassador. While I referred to him as Art Hammac, I have now been informed that his first name was Autry, using “Aut” as short term.

Thanks to two good friends, Robert Godwin and William Grissett, for setting me straight. I value their corrections as I value their reading each week. My son Bryan is an avid customer of William’s reputable lawn equipment and supplies.

And, speaking of Robert, I plan to have a short conversation with him one day on all the red, blue and green cotton I saw growing down in the Rio Grande Valley back in 1980 when I worked a hurricane there. It’s very interesting, this cotton, so colorful growing in vast fields down there. I want to learn why I have never seen colorful cotton grown here.

Ricky Mason has furnished me some very interesting nostalgic stories about Alabama ghost towns, including a noteworthy clip about Canoe. I’ll have these tidbits soon in one of my columns.
Next week, I will have more news from nostalgic days gone by.

You can email Lowell McGill at