Let us post your changes online

Posted 2/1/18

• I was gratified to hear Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided to prioritize local news sources in posts in response to requests from local newspapers and to help people have more engagement with their communities. Apparently he and his wife took a cross-country trip that also made its way to Alabama, and he visited at least one newspaper in Alabama. I think it is a great idea, and it will certainly help the Daily Mountain Eagle engage with our area readers, and will help other smaller newspapers across the nation. Moreover, it will provide a way to still keep our readers engaged with breaking news and what is happening in their communities.

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Let us post your changes online

Posted

Let’s clean out the notebook ...

• I was gratified to hear Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided to prioritize local news sources in posts in response to requests from local newspapers and to help people have more engagement with their communities. Apparently he and his wife took a cross-country trip that also made its way to Alabama, and he visited at least one newspaper in Alabama. I think it is a great idea, and it will certainly help the Daily Mountain Eagle engage with our area readers, and will help other smaller newspapers across the nation. Moreover, it will provide a way to still keep our readers engaged with breaking news and what is happening in their communities.

I know we tried to do what we could during the recent winter storm, posting away closings and such, but it was the best service we could do to make sure you were in the loop. I know many cities, counties, school systems, agencies and the like post on their own pages and Twitter about closings and schedule changes and such. But many people look at our Facebook page; I see thousands sometimes look at something within minutes. I am told 23,000 page likes were generated from our Facebook posts this past week, and 57,000 people seek our posts in their Facebook News Feed.

When you post to your own page, would you email, text or instant message to the Daily Mountain Eagle to let us know as well, so we can post on our page and also help get your message out? We can also pass along some of your changes, if still timely, in our print edition.

• At least in the early stages, I am not seeing any great concern from the Carbon Hill City Council about the coal mining proposal from FM Coal and Freddie Hunt. It seems to be short term, technologically advanced to be less disruptive and dangerous and would net some money for the city. I think assurances need to be in place in case severe damage is done to the roads, but other than that it seems very workable.

As a side note, Hunt and his delegation said the area involved was commonly known as Debardelebn Hill. It might be commonly known but not commonly spelled. I asked a simple question and had the Daily Mountain Eagle and Carbon Hill City Hall all searching for how to spell Debardelebn. We heard different versions at that, but we went with Fire Chief and dispatcher Buddy Smith, who seems to be regarded as the expert in all things such as this, as it seems to be assumed he’s been around so enough he might have overheard them being named in the first place. It may have not been quite that long, but he has that respect.

• I’m writing this a couple of hours ahead, but the mayor of Hamilton, Bob Page, and Jasper Mayor David O’Mary were having lunch Wednesday to get to know each other and advance area cooperation; I came along as a third-wheel as I know both. I think it is a great idea for area mayors and commissioners to interact with each other, as area cooperation and interaction will actually improve the region. The fact that O’Mary is from Winfield originally (like me — yes, I know, a pattern of invasion), the ability to interact with Marion County seems natural, as it would be with Winston, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, Cullman and Blount counties.

• I would say U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt is still considered safe in his seat, but the fact he has drawn Republican and Democratic opposition says a lot about the state of things these days; he will now likely have to spend money at both ends of the election year, in a way. It is interesting, too, that Rodney Frelinghuysen, the head of the House Appropriations Committee that Aderholt sits on, is leaving Congress and the chairmanship will come open for the next term. Aderholt is chairman of Agriculture Subcommittee (also dealing in rural development and the FDA), and is a member of other subcommittees.

In a statement, Aderholt said, “It is too soon to talk about changes and reforms to the appropriations process, but there is no doubt that major changes need to be made. If allowed by my colleagues to serve as the next chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I look forward to addressing these challenges ....”

Ah, a hint of promotion to the head of the whole committee. Nice. He goes on to note he continues to look forward to working with Frelinghuysen, as he is still chairman for now.

However, I read this week that six other committee chairmen are also leaving Congress. Politico says the role of committee chairman has lost its luster due to “domineering party leadership, bitter partisan feuds and a GOP base that automatically loathes anyone in power.” It may be a thankless role even if Aderholt finally has waited his turn to be at the top of the committee, as the House is full of division within itself. Aderholt would definitely be aligned with the hard conservatives.

• By the way, I have known the congressman for years and get along with him well. Aderholt took pains in his interview last week to say he respects the local media, but he had harsh things to say about the national media. I even joked about the topic with him, but it has continued to gnaw at me the more I have thought about it. The national media gets their slaps, and they sometimes have their missteps. But on the whole, I think they do a wonderful, thankless job of uncovering things that you would never otherwise hear of. We have a splendid newspaper war between the Washington Post and the New York Times that is yielding great stories. I want to say they are not perfect, and the Daily Mountain Eagle is certainly not perfect, but I want to align myself with the profession. I am still proud of it and think the president and conservatives need to rethink their policy of bashing it, as we do our part to keep democracy going with a free press.

• I was devastated and heart-broken, like many of you, to hear about Carbon Hill student Jarrett Lee Turner’s death over the weekend. From all accounts, he was a good young man, and many of the youth in that community are broken up about it. I thought it was appropriate to have the funeral in the Carbon Hill High School Gymnasium so students could easily attend, as they are the ones most affected outside of the family. I did not suggest covering it, because I thought that was an intrusion of sorts. I am hearing talk of a tribute on the football field this coming season and a scholarship.

It is difficult when you lose someone who never got to experience life yet. When I got word of this Saturday, while I had weekend duty, I also heard about a pastor friend of mine in Missouri who had to do a funeral that afternoon for a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide. Needless to say, I didn’t feel like writing much that day.

• I was devastated to find out Edith Duncan died this week; a daughter brought an obituary announcement and an old photo, and I didn’t catch on who we were talking about. Duncan was officially retired from working in a number of Walker County government offices. However, she was still a pleasant part-time gatekeeper receptionist at the Walker County Commission office, and we would talk while I waited; sometimes she had to use an inhaler when I came in. She was a lovely woman and I really want to express my sympathy with the family.

Ed Howell is the Daily Mountain Eagle’s news editor.