Put away the debate, wear masks to help others


Let's clean out the notebook ... 

• I was planning this week to say that I saw more masks being used in Walker County. I'm throwing that page of the notebook in the trash can.

I was planning on a story this week but waiting on a certain phone call. It came at the end of lunch on Tuesday at a downtown restaurant, where I went in to get a quick lunch. (Eating at this particular one establishment at 11 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. is not so crowded, and I like how things are spaced out for the virus. Most of the time, though, I do take out.)

Having already paid, I ran out (forgetting my tea-to-go and almost forgetting my mask), and talked by phone on a bench on 19th Street, holding my mask to my face. The story fell through, but my jaw fell further: I couldn't believe how many people under a mandatory mask ordinance were walking down the street with no mask on. And that includes several professional people walking down in suits, some of whom I recognized. 

Mind you, in some ways, it is much better than it was, and I do see compliance at Walmart. But at one fast food place in Jasper, I saw an older man sit at a table that was off-limits, and I have seen some people coming into restaurants without a mask before they sit at their table.  Essentially, I see now we have a ways to go, especially as Gov. Kay Ivey has stretched out the mask and Safer at Home orders to the end of August. 

I try to do what I can, outside of an occasional error. I wash my hands for 20 seconds, and I wear a mask, not for myself but to prevent accidentally spreading the virus to others in case I have it without symptoms. I keep my distance and try to back up if I can when people walk up to me. I want 6 feet, not 4 nor 3. Please don't get nearer than that. I even keep a distance at the Daily Mountain Eagle

However, we still have conspiracy theories and false information being passed around. The video with the team of doctors is being taken off social media to the consternation of many, but studies have disproven much about what these so-called medical experts say. The congressman who announced he had contracted the virus hasn't been wearing a mask much and supposedly said in an interview he got the virus from wearing a mask. And the president is pushing his beloved choice of medicine when regional clinical trials have disproven its effectiveness. We've heard theories that Dr. Anthony Fauci and others are politically trying to overthrow the government, all the way to Biblical prophecy showing itself.

I really think people are being led by astray by some very twisted people who are hurting more than helping. Masks, handwashing and distancing are not tools of political revolution. They are proven tools in combatting viruses like this. If we are Christian, we must do this to protect and help others, not ourselves, mandate or no mandate. Let's put aside the stubbornness and political debate and just wear our mask, wash our hands and keep a few feet apart. 

• As we start high school football, let me offer a suggestion to those who are uncomfortable going but want to be supportive. I would suggest you check with your team to see how much season tickets are and, if it is affordable for you, purchase such a package and then stay home. And I am sure the band programs will continue to need your support through donations. 

• We are amazed how well Chick-fil-A handles its drive-through (although we agree the drive-through upgrade is sorely needed to meet demand). However, I went through a drive-through line at Milo's Monday, stretching around the block, and yet is moved rather quickly. I was quite impressed with their efficiency, and I can tell you I've seen several long lines. People are telling me they are still skittish about going to a dining room, but they will still drive through or pick up. 

• By the way, I went through Captain D's line and saw the spaces for mobile ordering that ask you to blink your lights when you drive up, which is a new one. They still haven't opened the dining area. 

• During the July 13 Walker County Commission meeting, Walker County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Regina Myers was downstairs getting an email, saying that the county had been included in a disaster declaration for the storms in April. However, individual assistance was not included as so many were insured; the assistance was public, such as reimbursing the county for road work and things like that. 

• James Phillips checked about the Dora City Council meeting last week, but nothing much happened that night. About a month away from elections, I am not sure many city councils will handle but what they have to anyway, and I don't blame them. 

•  The Daily Mountain Eagle is still closed to the public, by the way, due to the pandemic, but that doesn't stop people from banging on the doors at all hours.  If you will call us or leave messages, email us or even leave messages or payments in the locked drop box during business hours Monday through Friday - it is taken up after business hours - we can help you. Subscription and ad payments, photos, Cash Word, church and calendar events, letters to the editor, and more can be left there securely. It has worked out well as a secure method. 

Payments can also be mailed to Daily Mountain Eagle, P.O. Box 1469, Jasper, AL 35502 or they can be made over the phone using a debit or credit card. You can leave messages on our phone answering machine; I get messages at my desk with a red light on the phone, and Tia Jones checks hers all day for subscription and delivery problems. 

We also have extension numbers for certain needs, as prompted by the answering machine, and we each have an individual extension number. (My extension number is 238.) The general phone is 205-221-2840. All our work emails have our first name, followed by a dot ("."), our last name, and "@mountianeagle.com." We also check messages on our Facebook page. 


Ed Howell is news editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at ed.howell@mountaineagle.com