Let's clean out the notebook ...• Earlier this year my address got added to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association mailing list; why, I don't know. But in the days after Graham's death, I have …
Let's clean out the notebook ...
• Earlier this year my address got added to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association mailing list; why, I don't know. But in the days after Graham's death, I have to admit I was impressed that they sent out their first notice about his death without asking for money; they only asked for remembrances. Then came their Decision magazine, which was a well-done memorial edition.
They also sent a newsletter where Graham's son, Franklin Graham, revealed that in the end, people from 232 countries and territories visited the association's website. He said his father would have been thrilled with the response.
"One person who watched the funeral was an older man in the hospital," the younger Graham said. "For many years he has resisted his family's efforts to witness to him. He heard me say, 'Last week my father embarked on the journey he had been looking forward to all his life, the journey from Earth to Heaven. If this were your funeral today, would you be in Heaven? Are you sure?' The Holy Spirit touched his heart. He shut off the TV and asked for a chaplain to come to his room to pray with him as he gave his heart and life to Jesus in repentance and faith."
He told another story about one guest standing in line to see the casket at the Graham library, who asked a woman behind her how God had used Billy Graham in her life. She replied she had never heard him nor heard much about him, but that news coverage of his death, including interviews from others, made her realize something was missing in her life. "I want what those people have," she said through tears.
"Right there near the casket, one guest shared with the other about God's love and the simple truths of the Gospel that my father preached his whole life," the younger Graham wrote, adding that the association will continue its mission as it always has.
• As I could not get myself out of bed Sunday for a 10:15 a.m. service (I was hurting some in my side at the time, which delayed sleep), I wound up going to Desperation Church for their 11 a.m. service. (Adam Hicks does do well with his sermons.) Their numbers still interest me; that Sunday after Easter, 10 minutes after the service started, they were still adding rows of chairs in the back, and it was already the second service of the morning.
They revealed that they had 150 people to be saved at all their campuses, with about 50 saved in Jasper on Easter week. Moreover, they mentioned how they are planning an expansion soon into Jefferson County, and they want to look at some other areas. Hicks mentioned that one of the Easter Week activities was in Winfield, and that they would like to set up a campus there eventually. When he later prayed, he prayed for Jefferson and Marion counties, so I think the expansion into Winfield, while not necessarily immediate, is seriously being looked at.
• The Justice Department has sent out a release to indicate that they mean business when one evades their tax payments, as well as tax preparers who inflate refunds by falsifying deductions and doing other illegal actions. "Even if a tax return preparer makes an error on an individual’s tax return, it is still the taxpayer’s responsibility to pay the correct taxes, and that individual may still be responsible for any unpaid taxes, interest, and fines resulting from these crimes," the release said, noting tax returns are signed under penalties of perjury. They then listed some cases where people went to jail for one or two years and all the way up to 119 months.
• While a little part of me still misses my 2010 Buick Lucerne (and always will), my new 2015 Honda Accord is amazing me, as I am sometimes getting 29-30 mpg, which is quite an improvement. Finally getting a backup camera isn't bad, either. Fortunately, my State Farm insurance payment (which I have deducted monthly) is only going up $20 a month.
• Congratulations to Dr. Kim Ennis, who will now be the permanent president at Bevill State Community College. One big upside is that no one has to train her on the surroundings. She takes over at a time when vocational education is coming back into vogue, and will have to continue to ramp up more offerings while also striking a balance so that we don't lose track of academics. And, she also gets to figure out how to make athletics work.
• I was very glad my photo of a woman holding a relative's photo at the crime victim's memorial at the courthouse square on Tuesday ran in the paper on Wednesday. They asked the relatives to hold up the photos in a moment of silence, but some of them held them to where they were facing toward the people holding it. On one last passover, one woman up front had opened her eyes and caught my eye; she was turning around the relative's photo so it could be seen by the camera. I nodded knowingly to her and started taking photos while she closed her eyes again. I was glad to do her that favor.
• A visitor asked me this week in the office, "Are you concerned about the drug problem in the county?" I was a little incredulous, but she was being genuine. We are quite concerned at the paper, and, as I have said, we are starting to work on a series about the effects of drugs on our citizens and how we might improve our lot. If anyone has any personal stories they are willing to share of how drugs have affected loved ones who have died from this dread problem, we would ask you to get with James Phillips or Jennifer Cohron on our staff, so that we can share the full effects of how drugs has ravaged our county.
By the way, I have talked with other people who have indicated that they want to hear how the sheriff candidates feel about the drug problem, and want to hear how the candidates feel about this problem. The response, or lack of one, could have a favor in the vote of many people.
• I was glad to see Fred Nichols, a well-loved member of the Jasper Kiwanis Club and Jasper's First Baptist Church, in good spirits at Harbor Chase after his recent health scare, where he collapsed while visiting Jasper High School to encourage students and was thought to have little chance to survive. Miraculously, he survived and seemed in fine form while I visited his new apartment, where the Daily Mountain Eagle was coming to him.
• As a reminder, keep in mind the Carbon Hill City Council is delaying its meeting from this week to next Thursday night at 6 p.m. so the city clerk can take some professional classes. Also, the Walker County Commission will hold its second quarterly night meeting on Monday at 6 p.m., where the public will be allowed to speak. This is a good chance for those who cannot come to meetings held in the daytime.
Also, the People's Party will be holding their organizational meeting today at Guthrie's at Parkland Shopping Center at 2 p.m.
• My biggest joy of the week is that Netflix has added a British crown jewel not known by most Americans. "Dad's Army" for a decade in the 1960s and 1970s became one of the best sitcoms ever anywhere but has rarely been circulated in the states. A mostly male cast mines humor from the time when the Home Guard, made up of mostly older people, protected England from a possible German invasion in World War II. It is a very funny sitcom, verbally and physically, that also has some pathos and patriotism thrown in. This series, which has about 80 episodes and came to my attention through YouTube, was about as famous there as "I Love Lucy" was here, and many in the UK can still sing the theme song and recite lines. Aside from the fact that the first couple of seasons are in black-and-white and it takes a while to get settled into the rich characters, it is a joy to watch, knowing the whole series can now be seen easily in its entirety and in order.
(P.S.: Let us also remember today is the 73rd anniversary of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which is no small marker for that generation.)
Ed Howell is the Daily Mountain Eagle's news editor.