Editorial

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.

Letter to the Editor

The first time I remember feeling a loss of a good thing by “things that come to an end”. I was a kid of seven or so. I had just finished enjoying my very first Tootsie Roll Pop. (A customer of mine on my Chicago Tribune paper route gave it to me as a tip for good service.)
It was cherry flavored. My mouth started watering just now just thinking about that taste experience I had long ago. I guess back then I had been sheltered from candy by my parents. With a bunch of brothers and sisters, candy was not on our weekly menu.

Two sides to every story

There’s an old saying that there are two sides to every story.
As journalists, this is a balance we seek out to avoid biased reporting. Or at least we should be seeking it. Talking to people on both sides of an event or issue is critical in finding out the truth, which is often somewhere in the middle. It’s sad to see how many news outlets, big and small, have forgotten this.
AL.com recently came out with an article that looked into a series of cases in which people were arrested for unpaid debts and held for a long period of time without trial.

Tell them to their face

This past week was a pretty rough one if I’m being honest.
I’ve been a little homesick for Long Island where I grew up, and I finally got to visit--just not for the reason I would have wanted.
I was born in Los Angeles, but I was raised on Long Island, New York, in a place called Farmingville. I lived on a road called Falcon Court where there were two families who we would become familiar with.

The Story of Charles Henderson

Since I hail from Troy, Alabama, allow me to share with you the story of our only governor. Charles Henderson was not only the 35th Governor of Alabama, but he may also be one of the most profound philanthropists in Alabama history. He is unquestionably the greatest philanthropist to grace Pike County.

Teaching Critical Race Theory isn’t what you should be worried about

No, teaching critical race theory, or CRT, may actually help us better understand what the theory is and why it’s problematic. What we should really be worried about is CRT indoctrination and praxis--or practice, as distinguished from theory.
I’ve seen the left and many journalists attempt to paint up CRT as teaching honest history of racism in schools. That is an intentional mischaracterization. Despite all the blown smoke, it is completely possible to teach about racism and systemic oppression without teaching CRT.

ANDI study will offer objective opinion on hot topic

Financial disagreements are among the strongest predictors of a divorce. It’s no mystery as to why, either. In more ways than we’d like to admit, money is power and freedom--and that’s why it’s so touchy. People get fearful when they feel that their relationship with money is challenged because it is an affront to their power and freedom. And when they feel that fear, they get angry. The Northwest Alabama Gas District (NWAGD) board, consisting of six local mayors, has been an amicable group for about the past decade. But leave it to money issues to break that peace.

The greatest person (I know)

The individual citizen is the greatest person I know. With the building collapses of late, it hurts to turn on the news and see someone suffering because they’ve lost a loved one or because they don’t know whether or not the one they care for is alive or dead. For some reason we feel JFK, MLK or even Abe Lincoln are the only ones who have done heroic deeds without considering the many regular, ordinary people who just do what is needed at the time. Ever see someone who has stopped for a car wreck?

John Patterson

Alabama lost its oldest past Governor when John Patterson passed away last month (June 4, 2021). He died on the same land where he was born in rural Tallapoosa County.
Patterson was 99 years old, and he would have been 100 in September. He was the epitome of the greatest generation. He was a veteran of World War II. He volunteered for the Army as a private and left the Army at the end of the war as a major.

Fairness is not a partisan issue

Fairness is the goal of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act currently being considered in the United States Congress. The bill has bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
 H.R. 1735 / S.673 is critically important to protecting the future of high-quality, local journalism in Alabama and across our nation. Support is growing for the legislation, yet much more needs to be done before it can become law.

What’s the obsession with vending machines?

I asked this question last week. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I stock the newspaper racks outside of Shoppers Value Foods in Hamilton and I’ve noticed hordes of thirsty locals storming the 50-cent soda machines outside the grocer’s front door. Yes, hordes.
I didn’t think much about it until I watched a woman feed quarters into one of the machines for a good five minutes before hauling off a plastic bag full of soda.

It was the right call

March of 2019 saw some controversy as our state legislators voted a resounding “Yes” for the infamous 10-cent gas tax, which was implemented to fund our major road projects. Many individuals all around the state and in our county were infuriated at Marion County State Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, and his vote to apply a tax on our residents in what seemed like a decision made against some of our own desires.
Time was always going to tell whether or not it was the right or wrong decision and, well, it seems to us that voting for the gas tax was the right call.

The Birth of a Nation

America, America how long since you were conceived
From the freedom seed implanted, because men believed
That all should have the full right to express
And none should suffer the defeat of repress.

America, your birth was announced by a Declaration;
A statement for the independence of this nation.
Fifty founding fathers that great document did sign,
As they proclaimed the right to be free in every line.

Privatization of ABC Stores Fails Again

Alcohol was on the minds of many Alabama lawmakers this year as the legislature considered an abnormally high number of alcohol-related bills. Several of the bills passed.
Most notable was legislation that made it possible for Alabama businesses to deliver beer, wine and liquor to customers’ homes, and separate legislation that allows state residents to order wine directly from wineries, even if those producers are out of state.

Letter to the editor - A happy heart is good medicine

A happy heart is good medicine Dear Editor, Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Those words came as a reminder to me when my wife and I found ourselves in our van which became stuck in mud resulting from her husband's unfortunate choice of roads to travel. Actually, the 'road' was more of a trail through the woods in a desolate part of the county miles from nowhere. Mid-afternoon came with heavy clouds, intermittent rain and nightfall rapidly approaching.

Good to be back

The last year or so has been weird.
I graduated from Troy University last summer, in the middle of a global pandemic. Which was funny, because I took an elective class on that very subject my first semester at Troy!
I spent most of last summer applying for jobs, and strangely enough, ended up in Troy, North Carolina, where I was hired as the sports and features editor for the county paper, the Montgomery Herald.

A grand entrance

Well, on Monday, June 7, at 10:53 p.m., we had our baby and she made quite the entrance into the world.
My wife woke me up on Saturday morning and told me that she was starting to have some consistent contractions and from there on, we played a very long waiting game.
It wouldn’t be until 67 hours later that our baby, Florence Olive Mellini, was born in our home in Hamilton.
We did, of course, plan to have our baby at home. That was no accident.

City school study sends a message

Hamilton city officials have unanimously commissioned a study to analyze the feasibility of creating a city-run education system and splitting ways with the Marion County School System, which currently operates all schools in the county outside of Winfield.
The step taken during a meeting on Monday, June 7, is just a study, but it does send a message. One, there is a strong and shared desire among Hamilton residents to support their local schools. Two, Hamilton believes its schools have a higher potential.

Prison issue unresolved

There were two major issues not resolved during the just-completed regular legislative session. Gambling and prisons were left on the table and up in the air.
It is foolish to not address a resolution to get some revenues for the state from gambling which currently exists in Alabama. However, it is not imperative that the problem be solved.

Our view - County, cities, towns need to consider animal control measures

Animal service non-profit Hoof or Paw needs financial backing to begin full operations in the area, and it has begun requesting the support of municipalities, something which should be given serious consideration.
Animal control is not a new problem for Marion County, but the new organization, spearheaded by Calen Weston, could be one more step towards putting it on a leash. The county is currently served by the Marion-Winston Animal Shelter in Twin and the Marion County Humane Society, but Weston says there need to be more hands on deck.

What’s going on?

“Brother, brother, brother...there’s far too many of you dying.”
These are some lyrics to one of my favorite songs, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye that have been playing over in my head recently, due to what’s been going on concerning more black lives being needlessly taken by people in, and attempting to act as law enforcement.
Ahmaud Arbery.
George Floyd.
I know the way you’re reading that goes a bit against our regular writing format but the two names you see deserve to stand out in this way.