Let's clean out the notebook ...
• We now know at long last what Walker County Commission Chairman Jerry Bishop will do. He's going to run next year for a second term as chairman.
That had not looked certain at all in the past, what with some disappointments and a health scare at one point, but over lunch with Bishop, 75, Monday to discuss courthouse security, he said his health is now much better and he's more energetic, and that he is still able to do a good job. He said he's had friends and co-workers approach him about it, while he really wants to finish some goals.
"I haven't accomplish what I really wanted to do, and I don't know how much I'll get done in another four years, but I want to try it. We've got a good start." He does note the economy has helped out with the county's finances and the county seems to be moving forward.
By the way, Allen Estell has a Facebook page up saying he is running for District 2 on the commission. He states on the page he wants to cut commission pay 10 percent, cut out the $10 tag fee, have one night meeting each month, hold district meetings and look at all contracts for possible bidding.
• Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Merrill announced Tuesday morning he had received much positive feedback and he had filed paperwork for a possible run for the U.S. Senate. He says if he decides to run, he will make an announcement next week. Given the interval of days to make such a decision, I gotta feeling where he's already leaning.
I will say that this will make the race even more interesting. Tommy Tubberville says his own internal polling shows him leading Roy Moore 23 percent to 18 percent, followed by Bradley Byrne at 16 percent and Merrill at 7 percent. I will be interested what the independent polling shows in time, especially as Merrill gets started. I think he has a chance to make up ground to get into the runoff, as I think his name recognition would be better than Byrne's.
But let's be clear: This is going to be a tough, hard-fought race, with a former Auburn coach and the controversial Ten Commandments judge, as well as Merrill, thought to be the best campaigner in the state, and Byrne, well-known in Republican circles. (By the way, I have late word that Bear Creek native and Haleyville resident Stanley Adair, who is a solid Trump man, is running as a Republican for the seat.)
• The Journal Record in Hamilton reported that state Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Hamilton, whose district also goes into Winston County, was the lone abstention on the education budget during the Regular Session, which passed 102-0. He was actually pleased with the budget - but he had not gotten reports concerning Bevill State Community College-Hamilton. He requested expense reports from the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and from the Hamilton campus to reassure himself that expenditures were not being cut in Hamilton.
He said he only got a half-page budget report instead of a detailed accounting - and was told it would be difficult to get him the reports he wanted. He made a written request at that point, but apparently he still didn't get the information in time for the vote.
Estes did note he checked in with House Speaker Mac McCutcheon to note he was at odds with a favorable budget and his unfulfilled request. The speaker told him, "Vote your district."
• I noticed something of a rally or meeting at the Walker County Courthouse Monday night, with people wearing shirts saying, "Team Tinker." Looking on Facebook, I read Tuesday was the day Greg Tinker was undergoing bone marrow transplant at UAB Hospital; he was in good spirits afterward. He will be in the hospital for two weeks and in isolation for two months due to a weak immune system. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page, Team Tinker, has been set up for Greg to help him with the financial burdens of his cancer treatments, hospital stays, doctor visits and other related costs. Funds above the cost will be used to build clean drinking wells in Malawi, Africa, which is a project close to his heart. I hope Greg knows many people in this area are praying for him.
• Zac McCullar, the 10-year-old son of First Baptist Church of Carbon Hill pastor Scott McCullar, has continued to be celebrated at the Southern Baptist Convention, as he had pushed on his own for an emphasis for a Children's Ministry Day throughout the churches nationwide, which has been designated for the third Sunday in July through 2023. He was brought up on stage with Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd for the national convention in Birmingham the other day, the second year in a row that has happened. He seems to regularly get photos made with celebrities at these events now, to the astonishment and delight of Pop.
(Scott McCullar was also honored at his church the other day. He was getting up to preach, and the chairman of the deacons interrupted him to say encouraging things, I suppose in the wake of the difficulties in the city of late. Members then kept getting up to say wonderful things about him and to pray over him. It was a great sign of how God can just step up out of the blue to bless you through others.)
• One should look through the acts passed in a session on the Secretary of State's website (which is excellently laid out) to see how much is done in the Regular Session of the Legislature. There is sooooo much small stuff, such as resolutions for people back home or urging Congress to do this or that. Someone passed regulations for bare knuckle boxing in the state, for crying out loud (House Bill 396, if you don't believe me).
But then there were a lot of items that almost slip through the cracks. I was happy, for instance, that the Department of Public Health has been instructed to help educate the public with Alzheimer's and dementia needs, which is sorely needed. I'm also glad that more help will be given to caretakers in terms of getting an absentee ballot. This is close to me, as the fourth anniversary of my own mother's death approaches on July 2.
• I was intrigued with what our publisher, James Phillips, posted the other day on Facebook: "I hear and see all the time that community newspapers are struggling and losing readership. I'm not sure where people find their statistics, but I can without question tell you the Daily Mountain Eagle currently has its highest readership numbers in its history. While print subscribers are not where they were two decades ago, those numbers are holding steady. Digital numbers are going through the roof. I'm thankful to live in a community that cares about its local newspaper and supports our efforts to continually serve our area in a variety of ways."
Ed Howell is the Daily Mountain Eagle's news editor.