Let's clean out the notebook ... • It is no small thing that the Walker Area Community Foundation's Fall Grant Cycle opens today, with organizations welcome to go to www.wacf.org to …
Let's clean out the notebook ...
• It is no small thing that the Walker Area Community Foundation's Fall Grant Cycle opens today, with organizations welcome to go to www.wacf.org to apply. The deadline for submitting an application is Sept. 1. If one applied during the spring grant cycle, one has to wait until spring again.
The foundation is still a gem for this area, as many area counties don't have a program like this. Many people with grant needs I think don't know where to go to get some grant funds that may need to help with a project, thinking of many big agencies out of town. In fact, there is something here in the county that may can possibly help, with local officials to talk to. I would urge them to look this month at possibly looking at this avenue. (Also, the executive director of the foundation, Paul Kennedy is on the board for the Cawaco Resource, Conservation & Development Council, and that is also an excellent resource to look at for several hundreds or thousands of dollars in help.)
• Although I had to leave early Wednesday from the U.S. Census meeting at Jasper Area Family Services Center, sponsored by VOICES for Alabama's Children, I want it stated the Daily Mountain Eagle is solidly behind the effort to get a more accurate count for the U.S. Census next year. We have to have community leaders involved to plan to get people out helping and to get the public to understand the need to get a thorough count of demographics, as the law mandates the data is private for practically a lifetime. The information is critical to getting more and better grants for just about every grant you can think of, and for bringing more business and industry to the county.
• When I moved to town, I barely missed the open house for the new Jasper High School, and it has taken this long for me and and school officials to finally set aside some time to get me a private tour. I should have done it soon; I was astounded at how much it is like a community college.
Naturally, they have regular classrooms, and plenty of them. I think they have something like eight or so science lab rooms; the one I looked at was top notch. But then they have their own area for health courses, complete with beds, patient dummies, and other medical equipment. The ROTC doesn't just have a room but a suite, with dressing area and an office. The culinary course area has a full fledge kitchen in addition to the nearby kitchen used to cook for the cafeteria. There is a separate PE gym not far from the main basketball arena. There is a band room and a choral room, each for their space.
The counselors area alone has a large number of computers, as does what I call the library - although these things are now labeled media rooms these days. (Thankfully, they still have some books.) There is a meeting area in the library so classes can meet, and then send them into the main room to research what they talked about. The auditorium I think seats like 1,200. I'm told one visiting technician told someone he had worked in Vegas and Broadway, and the technical aspects of that auditorium are the best you can get.
They have more than 100 acres and are still expanding for tennis, track and, as I took it, are looking at the idea of making the track oval big enough that maybe a football field could be placed in the center one day, as many other schools do.
I was told they spent north of $50 million on the complex (a good chunk of which was required due to the earth work; how anything is constructed in this region of the country, with this rolling, sliding dirt, including an interstate, is a miracle only God knows). But it was worth it, as this probably the best high school I have seen in what is considered a rural county, albeit at a city school system with Jasper being somewhat larger than usual. But this is maybe the crown jewel of the city.
• I was sorry to hear Wednesday that former state Sen. George Bolling died on Sunday, July 21, at his home in Fayette. He was 82. He was in the pharmacy business in Fayette for about a half a century, and then served in the Alabama Senate from 1990 until 1994, when Roger Bedford decided to run for his old seat again in the Senate, defeating Bolling. He was always a nice guy to work with.
• I am still learning how to do all this mobile stuff at stores now. I walked up to the Walmart pharmacy counter Monday and noticed I could do a pre-check out. I wound up getting up the app and already paying for it and signing for the payment on my phone. When I got up to the counter, I had to scan in a code and that was pretty much it.
As if that wasn't enough, when I got up to the self-service checkout, I realized I had left my wallet home. (I had just plopped down in my chair after getting back to the apartment when I saw on my app the prescription was ready, and ran out again.) I had never tried the Walmart pay at the checkout, using my phone, but I was already set up apparently with my card - I've ordered online, such as the pick up service - and so the payment went through.
Truthfully, I already have my State Farm insurance card on my Apple wallet. If I can get my driver's license on there one day, I think I'm pretty much set.
• U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne made a pretty good first impression the other day, as I not only interviewed him but sat in at a tour and meeting with Walker Baptist Medical Center officials. I might not blame the national media as much as he does for our ills (although they deserve their share). But he came across as personable and involved in Congress. I took it he wants more work across the aisle and has been able to do that sometimes in Congress. I did like how he always asked average workers at the hospital what they would like people in Washington to know that they don't know.
It wound up being as much of a meeting that told you what it was like to be in Congress. He apparently spends about three or four days a week in Washington, and 12-hour days are not uncommon, with absolutely no time to decompress or take a break from start to finish, as there is always something going on on the floor or at the office. He says to keep his sanity he gets up early to work out at the gym at the Capitol, where everyone with absolutely no regard of party catches up with everyone else on all the backstage stuff going on.
• I wound up using a pre-planned visit to Dr. John Bivona to complain about the coughing I am still going through. I was asked about a breathing treatment. Naw, it is probably not that bad at the moment. I was convinced to do it anyway, and I did. I nearly coughed up a lung and thought for a minute I was going to have to ask for a drink of water. Needless to say, I got two shots and a seven day, twice-a-day supply of antibiotics. Then again, Publisher James Phillips has been about in the same shape. It seems to have been a long year for me, as this is the second round of sinus drainage.
The medications have also made me tired at times. I said the other day I have sat in at Jasper's First Baptist Church and heard some good sermons of late. I've only seen half of them as my eyelids would get heavy. But we were all looking in the same direction in a big crowd and no one would notice.
On Tuesday the aforementioned Paul Kennedy came over to talk with the news staff about some news ideas (Paul is a fountain of good, useful ideas on any given subject). So the late afternoon meeting seemed to go on a while, and this was my third of the day. And, for some reason, I had not slept as soundly the night before as I would have hoped, although I seemed to had made it through the day OK.
I'm at the end of the table, and suddenly my eyelids got heavy. I lifted them. They drooped again. I drank from by drink. I squirmed. They drooped again.
Then I think my head started dropping. I lifted it. The eyelids dropped. My concern began to rise.
Later, I asked Nicole Smith if I seemed to be getting tired. She said she almost bust out laughing. I took it she had to quit looking at me or she would have. I immediately texted Paul and apologized. Like the sermons, I had to assure him I heard all he said.
Well, I think I did anyway.