Let's clean out the notebook...
I rarely plug what is coming in Walker Magazine - I don't actually get to do much with that publication - but I was excited for Jennifer Cohron with something she is delving into for the magazine.
Tuesday she was gone for much of the day. When she came back, she said she was doing a story on the late U.S. Rep. Carter Manasco, who was at one time secretary to U.S. Speaker William B. Bankhead and later in life a coal industry lobbyist.
She had been told of a couple of boxes of related items at the Bankhead House that Bevill State Community College provided on permanent loan, but had not been catalogued yet. What she found was a treasure trove of material - a Bankhead diary, campaign materials, letters and much more. I was quite jealous she got the chance to find it. Some of the materials were secured by the Bankhead House for display or better safekeeping.
Manasco was in contact with a number of players over the years, and he had an interesting career even after Congress. It should be a good story coming up.
(Of course, you would be surprised how often material like this is put in a box and someone by accident discovers wonderful things. I know from my love of films that long-lost films have been put away like that, sometimes labeled and sometimes not, perhaps as a copy kept on the other side of the world from foreign distribution, and it turns out to be a missing masterpiece.)
• Early indications are that sales and internet tax revenue has been good this year, which may help local governments with their upcoming Fiscal 2020 budgets that begin Oct. 1. That may be good news for the Walker County Commission, which is not awash in funds but in recent months has appeared a little more stable at least.
• The football season is here, and CBS42 is still not on my DirecTV at Woodland Villas. It already feels incomplete. All you people who prayed awful things about the CBS football announcers over the years, I hope you're happy.
• This is certainly not a good month for Trump. The economy, one of his strengths, is showing uncertain times in the wake of tariffs as far as a recession, and now the deficit is about to hit $1 trillion. He has backflipped on gun legislation that no one knows where he stands. He is running behind in several key states he needs, such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. He has made a number of Jewish segments mad over comments. A number of Republicans are now looking at jumping into the race to at least provide some challenge within the party. Democrats, after foolishly promoting Medicare for all, are now dialing that back big time. And, bless his heart, he won't be able to purchase Greenland, which, security or no security, is going to look foolish to average swing voters.
All said, he is still likely the nominee and he has a good chance - but things are getting a little frayed, and there are indications he and staffers are privately worried. The General Election is like a lifetime away, politically, but he has got to find ways to win the swing voters he got last time. There is a growing unease on Capitol Hill about the economy, for sure.
He may be helped that if a recession does hit, the effects might wait until 2021. And Democrats have got to get to the middle themselves and look responsible, although there are indications some of them are finally looking at the polls and realizing they have to be more moderate. Joe Biden, however, is not attending a lot of events he needs to, and could appear too aloof or confident in a Thomas Dewey sort of way.
• I was sad to see how some people on Facebook complained about our report on the accident report for the child who was killed in the four-wheeler incident. Some obviously felt we shouldn't have published it. Of course, it was not pleasant, and we all feel for the family. But a deputy and his vehicle, both paid for by the taxpayers, were involved, and the matter had been referred to on Facebook by people on both sides of the incident. A candlelight ceremony was held. It would be hard to ignore following up on what happened, as public as it had been and as much discussion as was held.
It is not easy sometimes to get official reports about such incidents (it should be, of course) but in this case we had the report, signed off by a state trooper. It was an official report done at taxpayer expense that would tell what caused the accident. (A toxicology report could take up to a year as part of the homicide report, to determine more completely what caused the death. This report showed more what caused the wreck.)
We called someone from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (alea.gov), which is over troopers. They said we could purchase it off ALEA’s government website for $17. We got a wreck report number (9693412, to save you time) and then downloaded off the crash report section. It looks like any other accident report in the state, although it had an incredible amount of information. But it is a public government report of the cause of the accident, and the details of the accident itself will not change. It was not written by the deputy, but was signed off by a trooper, whose name we recognized. (There is personal information like addresses and phone numbers, and that is why we wouldn’t reproduce the report here.)
So, we published what the official report says, a report posted online for sale and recognized as an official government document from an official investigation. That is what we do, good or bad. Some may wish to follow up with details of the report by legal means. But we now know where we stand with details.
It is one of those moments we don't enjoy our job - we just do it. We pass along government findings so the public can be up to date, and that is what we did. And if there are new developments, we'll pass them along.
• Talking with the crew that is tearing down Jack's near the Walker Baptist Medical Center for a rebuild, they noted they had helped tear down the old Ryan's to make way for Applebee's. They said despite the length of time that the building had sat there, it was the cleanest building you ever saw.
• The Sipsey Heritage Commission posted on Facebook Monday that state Rep. Connie Rowe, R-Jasper, met with a Tyson representative over the Tyson spill that caused the fish kill at the Mulberry Fork, and she is still working on the matter. They also said U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt made some contacts with the Environmental Protection Agency, which wrote back they could not share details as they are investigating. He also contacted the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, an advocate group promoting human rights, racial equality and such and which owns Tyson stock, has been pushing Tyson over water management policies. The commission said the coalition would file a resolution mentioning the Mulberry Fork situation when Tyson investors meet next February.
• Just a reminder that the DME PrepZone website (brought to you by Southern Orthopedics) will start really being useful this weekend, with scores, maps to the games, and all sorts of data and statistics. (Look for "info" at the far right of the box scores for individual game material.) Meanwhile, the staff is really planning on our Facebook page to really have pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage of high school games like we've never seen on the local level. It should be fun; James Phillips, Jeffery Winborne, and others have put a lot of work into this. Hopefully, it will help to give you the most up-to-date football coverage. The website is dmeprepzone.com, while the Facebook page is Daily Mountain Eagle.