Editorial

Back through the years in Marion County...

This row of buildings today in Hamilton are on First Avenue Southwest on courthouse square. Today, they are the Town Square Jewelers, office buildings and also the House of Plenty.
In the late 1940s when this photo was taken, the buildings included City Market, Fred King’s store (displaying a Peters Shoes sign over the main entrance) and the farm bureau (displaying a Wayne Feeds sign over their entrance).

Inside the Statehouse: Alabama school board members

School board members are some of the most selfless public servants in Alabama. This accolade goes to the Alabama State Board of Education, and more specifically, local school board members. These members are tasked with a very important mission but receive very little compensation for their time and efforts. They are indeed public servants.

Back through the years in Marion County...

Currently, this is known as the Blue Moon Drive-In Theater located in Gu-Win between Winfield and Guin. This picture was snapped in 1980, and filed with the Library of Congress in the John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive (1972 - 2008).
The original name of the business at the time this photo was taken was Gu-Win Drive-In Theater. It was opened in the 1950s by George G. Thornton, who passed away on June 5, 1963. It was shut down in the mid-1980s, reopening later as Blue Moon.
Thornton was the first mayor of Gu-Win, when it was incorporated in 1958.

Inside the Statehouse: The decibel level story

Those of us who served a long time in the legislature have a lot of stories. I served 16 years from 1982 to 1998 from my home county of Pike. I chose not to run again in 1998. However, I missed the camaraderie and friendships of other legislators who became lifelong friends.
It was apparent that those of us who hailed from smaller towns and rural counties knew our constituents better and were better known by our constituents than those from urban areas.

Who is opressing Alabama women?

It appears to me that Lynda Kirkpatrick is using her leadership positions within the Democratic party as a platform to promote feminism. In her recent editorial entitled “It doesn’t matter which political party women belong to in Alabama,” Kirkpatrick, the chair of the Marion County Democratic Party, accused both Alabama Democrats and Republicans of oppressing women. In her letter, she claimed that all women “are being discriminated against, regardless of political party. All you have to be is a woman.

Response to Collins’ fall festival letter

In response to the letter to the editor by Danny Collins about the Halloween carnivals and fall festivals, I would like to attempt to present another way of looking at your view about the two. First, I do remember going to Halloween carnivals, and I have screamed my way through my share of “haunted houses.” The carnivals that I remember and festivals that we have today are not much different from the ones that I remember. We played games, passed out candy, etc. Haunted houses do not appeal to me anymore, but if I wanted to go to one; I could find one close by.

Inside the Statehouse: Buck’s Pocket is a real place

For decades, losing political candidates in Alabama have been exiled to “Buck’s Pocket.” It is uncertain when or how the colloquialism began, but political insiders have used this terminology for at least 60 years. Alabama author, the late Winston Groom, wrote a colorful allegorical novel about Alabama politics in the 1960s and referred to a defeated gubernatorial candidate having to go to Buck’s Pocket. Most observers credit Big Jim Folsom with creating the term.

It doesn’t matter which political party women belong to in Alabama

There is a special kind of betrayal, a cleaver-sized knife in the back, for the women of Alabama who thought maybe, finally, with a female governor we would get somewhere. The insulting remarks that we have heard from Trump about grabbing women by the genitalia and Roy Moore’s allegation of sexual assault fell on the deaf ears of women in Alabama who in spite of being personally insulted, voted for both of them. Our own governor supported both of these men and failed to stand in support of her own gender against the vulgar and disgusting display of degradation of women everywhere.  

Back through the years in Marion County...

This photo was taken on March 3, 1936, and is of a drug store of the time called apothecary. It was located on what is today known as County Road 13 in Bexar on the western end of Marion County.
Noticeable in the photo are the stove pipe coming out the front window, the wooden doorsteps, the rock foundation, the piece of pottery in the other window and the detailed woodwork on the building. Also barely seen is what looks to be a clothesline running from the tree to another building on the left.

Inside the Statehouse: Alabama is a big front porch

This is the final version of a three week series of stories that illustrate that Alabama is a “big front porch.”
James E. “Big Jim” Folsom was one of our few two-term governors. In the old days, governors could not succeed themselves. Therefore, Big Jim was first governor in 1946-1950. He waited out four years and came back and won a second term in 1954, and stayed through 1958.

When did Halloween carnivals become fall festivals?

I'd like to talk about the Halloween carnival Winfield doesn't have.
I have been gone from Winfield many years now, but I still keep my finger on the pulse here. Back in the 60s and 70s, we always had a Halloween carnival at the armory with cake walks and a haunted house, which was put on by the high school science club. A "box" was borrowed from Miles Funeral Home, and I laid in that coffin myself and would rise up with fake blood flowing from my eyes and scare the bejesus out of whoever walked in.

Michael Brooks’ Reflections: On second chances

It was a fearful time in 2006 when a number of rural churches were burned in Alabama. I remember a deacon's meeting in which we discussed whether we ought to take night shifts at our church to protect our property. One of our deacons dismissed the idea: "We'd probably end up shooting each other," he growled.
A short time later three college students were arrested. The FBI tracked them down, quite literally, by their tire tracks. That tire treads can be as effective as fingerprints or DNA is still amazing to me. All of us who belonged to rural churches breathed a sigh of relief.

Inside the Statehouse: Incumbency prevails in secondary constitutional offices

Incumbency is a potent, powerful, inherent advantage in politics. That fact is playing out to the nines in this year’s Alabama secondary constitutional and down ballot races.
Several of the constitutional office incumbents do not have Republican or Democratic opposition. Of course, having a Democratic opponent is the same as not having an opponent in a statewide race in Alabama. A Democrat cannot win in a statewide contest in the Heart of Dixie.  

A two-party system will strengthen democracy and solve nation’s problems

Dear Editor,
After voting many years for a person, not a political party, I believe a two-party is essential for a democracy to function.
The three sections of our government, the legislative, the executive and the judicial, were set up so each could over see the work of the other two. The political parties in Congress should function the same way.

What happened to our neighborly visits?

By Peter J. Gossett
General Manager/Editor
“Come on son, let’s go,” were words I remember my grandmother telling me during the summers of my youth. They were dreaded words which usually meant we were going to visit someone, such as a relative or some of our neighbors. As a kid, going to visit someone meant a boring sit, where my grandmother could see me, and while listening to their conversations, usually settled along times gone by.

Inside the Statehouse: The 2022 senate race will be most expensive in state history

The marquee race in this big 2022 election year is for our open U.S. Senate seat.  It is beginning to percolate.
The race has been raging for over a year already, and we are getting poised to begin the final full court press to the finish line. The GOP Primary is three months away on May 24, with a monumental runoff on June 21. The winner on that day will be Shelby’s successor.

New concealed carry law would only work in-state

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
The Alabama state legislature is currently discussing a bill that, if signed into law, would allow Alabamians to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
Currently, anyone who wants to carry concealed must get a permit from the county sheriff. Here in Marion County, it’s a relatively simple process of filling out a form, passing a background check then going to the sheriff’s office to get your picture taken and pay a small fee for the permit. That’s pretty much it.

Letter to the Editor: New CDL training rule makes the trucking industry better and safer

By Tim Frazier
Demand for commercial truck drivers nationwide has reached a critical point, and it’s only going to keep growing for the foreseeable future. With the current strain on the world’s supply chain, pay and earnings have gone up significantly for truck drivers — a career that was already a well-paying path to the middle class for Americans without a college degree.

Our Funny Bone

They tell me we all have a funny bone.  I don’t know about other people my age but my bones tend to ache more than they tend to be ( humerus) humorous.  
Statistics tell us the human body contains at least 206 of these valuable items in a variety of sizes.  I haven’t done the counting myself so we’ll just accept the computer’s estimate as being accurate.

Post-pandemic movie-going

I went to the movies for the first time in a while a couple of weeks ago to see Shang Chi.
The movie was good--I love Kung Fu movies--but this won’t really be about the movie itself.
This will be more about the post-pandemic movie-going experience.
Look, I get it, we have all been cooped up in our houses avoiding social interactions--I understand that.
But, we all have to realize when we go to theaters or anywhere, for that matter, that there are OTHER PEOPLE THERE WITH YOU.

The importance of humility

I’m 28 years old this month.
Being nearly 30 is not old at all but the older I get the more I reflect on who I am and how I act and that’s always changing.
 It’s not only age that does it, I love God as well and that brings about its own constant self-reflection.
I am constantly having to put myself in the uncomfortable position of looking at myself and seeing just how wrong I am in a lot of situations and having to readjust my actions in order to live right.
 It’s difficult, we all go through it—it’s just a natural part of life for everyone.

Parting wisdom: be an engaging reader

This will be my last week contributing to the Journal Record--at least in my current capacity. As of today, Wednesday, Sept. 29, I am writing full-time for the Lagniappe Weekly in Mobile.
I can only count on one hand the times I’ve had to make a decision this defining. Marion County has been so good to me. My employees are incredible, and the readers and friendships I’ve made have been nothing short of outstanding.
As a student of this community for the last four-and-a-half years of writing here, it seems odd to me to try and return any parting wisdom.

Building a Future

MLK wasn’t the only one to have a dream. We all have one of those. Your value isn’t something that is placed on you by another.
Your value comes from the inside.
YOU get to decide!
MLK’s dream didn’t die with him. The beat goes on.
When I was younger, my new husband and I were in the army.
We’d left my hubby’s well-off family (they owned several businesses, a new home so large it had a rifle range in the basement, and a lot of land), however, by the time we’d returned home, everything they owned had been sold.

Remembering the Tenth

Governor Kay Ivey recently released a statement pushing back against some of President Biden’s recent vaccine mandates, calling it federal overreach. Many other state leaders and officials have also spoken out against the new mandates for similar reasons.
At the same time, Texas is also challenging federal rulings with its recent abortion ban.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the all the arguments surrounding the issues of masks, vaccines and abortion, I’ve noticed something happening.

Huntsville is state’s largest city

Huntsville has rocketed past Birmingham as Alabama’s largest city.  It is not named the Rocket City for nothing.  The Census Bureau had been predicting this amazing boom in population in the Madison (Huntsville)/ Limestone area, but the actual figures recently released reveal a bigger growth than expected.  Huntsville grew by 20% or 35,000 people and is now a little over 215,000.  

The State of Affairs

My husband and I left a democratic-run state 25 years ago. We relocated here in Alabama, where my family originally is from. We knew this state believed and was run “by the people and for the people’s” freedoms.
Those freedoms now are under siege right now by a tyrannical, bordering on communism, illegitimate regime. It's time for U.S. citizens to save our great country.

Census results are revealing

Well folks, the final Census figures are in from last year’s 2020 nose count.  The census is taken every 10 years to determine the lines and boundaries of congressional and legislative districts. However, the census reveals a lot more information about us as a state and nation than just how many of us there are.  It paints a picture of who we are as people and what we look like.

Positive Winfield budget encouraging

The Winfield City Council voted to adopt a new budget during its meeting on Sept. 7.
According to Winfield Mayor Randy Price, this budget marks the first time in a long time that the city will have a significant surplus in the budget.
Price said that in the past, the city has often found itself scrambling to move funds around to make sure all of the bills get paid.

Are we living in alternate realities?

College football games launched in full force earlier this month with stadiums packed full of spectators and screaming fans. High school football games and volleyball games have been taking place without restriction for a month. And from the looks of it, Hamilton will have its Buttahatchee River Fall Fest. But Mule Day has been canceled. Do we have a shared sense of reality anymore?

Save the Hamilton prison

We cannot afford to lose jobs in Marion County. That may sound like a rather obvious statement that could apply to any city or county on the planet, but it’s one that we at the Journal Record feel needs to be said after the news that Gov. Kay Ivey plans to close Hamilton’s Aged and Infirmed facility within the next few years.
Ivey’s plan to reform prisons in Alabama involves the closing of four prisons in the state, including our own in Hamilton.
Jobs lost is always going to be a negative and it is always something we should try to avoid if we can.

I miss Mule Day, but...

My family moved to Winfield when I was halfway through second grade.
My dad had been hired as the youth minister at Winfield First Baptist Church, so we moved to Winfield and have been here ever since.
When we first arrived, my dad was informed of a tradition that applied to newcomers to town.
He was asked to be a pooper scooper in the annual Mule Day parade.
My family used to live in Vernon, so my parents were aware of Mule Day, but I was too young to remember it, so I was hearing of it for the first time.

Meaning behind words: Examining our National Anthem

To my own embarrassment, a recent event afforded me a few moments to do something I had not done in quite some time--contemplate the words and meaning of our National Anthem.
Invited to sing our anthem at the Marion County School System teacher in-service event in August, I actually listened to the words for the first time in what seemed an eternity.
As the words flowed across my lips and those in attendance stood at attention, the words had meaning like never before.

20th Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

This week marks the 20th Anniversary of the infamous 9/11 terrorist attacks on our nation.
It was a day in your life where you remember where you were and what you were doing when you first heard of the attacks on the New York World Trade Center and Pentagon. It changed our world.
Like most people, I thought the first plane that flew into the towering Trade Center, was an accident.
However, when the second plane hit you knew it was not pilot error.
It was traumatic and terrifying.
I asked several of our state leaders their memories of that fateful day.

Trump Comes to Alabama

Former President Donald Trump paid a visit to the Heart of Dixie last week.  Obviously, this is Trump country.
Alabama was one of Trump’s best states in the 2020 Election.  He got an amazing 65% of the vote in our state. If the turnout for his August 21 rally in rural Cullman County is any indication, he would get that same margin of victory this year if the election were held again.  Many of those in attendance were insistent that Trump won last year’s presidential contest and that it was stolen from him.

What does it cost?

For me, there is nothing that spreads as violently and chaotically as misinformed arguments.
We have become knowers of all and learners of none.
Whether it's about COVID-19 or any social justice issues, everyone knows everything.
There’s no more humility in our hearts, there’s no kindness, no grace--just the spirit of know-it-all.
I’m not sure what causes it, exactly. Were we always like this and has social media just given us a platform to openly show just how awful we can be to one another?

More Summer Political Happenings

Allow me to again open my political notebook for more summer political happenings in the Heart of Dixie.
As Labor Day approaches it looks as though the state constitutional officeholders, all Republicans, are going to escape serious or even any opposition. Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate are running unopposed. However, all three are running aggressive campaigns or, as the old saying goes, are running scared.

Summer political happenings

his long hot and wet summer is coming to a close, and Labor Day is on the horizon. Labor Day weekend will not only mark the beginning of college football season, but also the traditional start of the 2022 political season.
Most of the horses are in the chute for the May 24, 2022, primary election. So let the fun begin.

We have a unique situation

wo school systems, two policies pertaining to students with masks. We have a unique opportunity to observe how these policies compare.
The Marion County School System began the school year last week simply recommending students to wear masks in classrooms. The Winfield City School System went ahead and required them in all of its facilities.

Creating an epic and staying sane

Last March, the world shut down.
I was still in college at Troy, and all classes went online. All work for the Tropolitan (the student newspaper) was being done virtually.
After a few weeks of not leaving my apartment, I was starting to go insane. I beat all my video games and binge-watched all the shows I’d been planning to watch. Cabin fever was setting in.

We still need newspapers--and democracy--to survive

It seems a weird time to be celebrating or marking anything, but it is a fact on the calendar that next Wednesday marks the 40th anniversary of my first newspaper interview.
Essentially, I have been in the news business for 40 years now, and almost always dominated by newspaper work. I briefly tried radio for a few months and certainly I have added work on our digital platforms since I returned to the Eagle, but generally I have been about putting out a newspaper. And I figured out I've spent about 30 of those years in Marion and Walker counties.

Status of Race for Shelby’s Seat

he field may be set for the race to fill the Seat of our iconic senior U.S. Senator, Richard Shelby. When Senator Shelby announced that he would not seek a seventh six-year term in the United States Senate earlier this year, many of us expected a stampede of candidates to throw their hats in the ring. When a U.S. Senate seat opens for the first time in 36 years, you might expect everybody who had ever won a 4-H speaking contest to enter the fray. However, I guess politics does not have quite the allure that it used to in bygone days.

Courthouse digitization a no-brainer

Marion County Probate Judge Paige Vick addressed the Marion County Commissioners on Tuesday, Aug. 3, to ask for a little over $200K to digitize deeds and mortgage files from 1901-2007.
Vick wants to use American Rescue Act funds to move the project forward, but even if this project is not eligible for those monies, we at the Journal Record believe the project should be funded in any way possible.
The importance of digitizing files and historical documents is of supreme importance, especially in our county, where our Marion County Courthouse has suffered greatly.

Letter to the Editor

I was watching the news this morning and I notice all the "new medicines" with multiplyingly strange looking names for all the "new ailments" that I have never heard off.  The medicine being advertised said for you to check with your doctor to see if the new medicine can help you with that condition.

Ivey should coast to re-election

or over a year I have been touting the fact that the 2022 election year in the Heart of Dixie was going to be the busiest and most monumental in history.
Folks, it looks like it is not going to be as eventful as anticipated.  Yes, everything is on the ballot, but the power of incumbency is thwarting the drama.  It appears the U.S. Senate race is going to be the marquee event.

Gov. Kay Ivey second-year governor from Wilcox County

Kay Ivey is doing a good job as governor. She is a strong and decisive leader, who has done more than steady the ship of state. She is getting things done. She is making her mark as a good governor.
She did a good day’s work when she got Jo Bonner to be her Chief of Staff. They make quite a team. This duo from Wilcox County were cut out to be leaders.
Kay Ivey is only the second governor to hail from Wilcox County. Benjamin M. Miller was the first. The Black Belt region of Alabama has spawned an inordinate number of governors and legislative giants.

Woke liberal culture wants to destroy the fabric of sports

There are few things in everyday life that teach our kids life lessons better than sports. As they grow up and play for different teams they learn about commitment, hard work, how to win with grace, and how to pick yourself up and move on after a loss.
These lessons stay with them forever, and as a parent I know how valuable those experiences are.
This is why we have to ensure sports, especially high school sports, remain fair and free of political influence. When Title IX was enacted, it did just that for female athletes.