Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ah, how times change

Once in the not-too-distant past, Blount County officials and activists were up in arms about the Birmingham Water Works Board's efforts to raid the Locust Fork River for the Magic City's long-term water supply. Of course, that was before suburbanites from Jefferson and Shelby counties figured out that plenty of open land was available not too far north of Birmingham and decided it would be a good idea to start moving there in droves.

A decade or so later, it's Blount County that's looking north to shore up its own future water supply. The leading target is the Tennessee River, particularly the part that runs through Marshall County, and the Blount County Water Authority wants to sell whatever water it doesn't use to nearby Birmingham and Cullman. Shockingly, Marshall County officials decided Monday that giving away their drinking water and getting some environmental damage in return probably wasn't the best way to get re-elected and promptly rejected the plan.

It's funny how a few years and a population boom can turn a few of your priorities on their head.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish the Blount Countian had a website so I could point you to their recent articles about the water problems.

Of course Inland lake is in Blount county but is used for the Jefferson county water supply. I guess they thought that getting water from Locust Fork too was a little unreasonable.

Reports are that this plan is still underway.

Blount county is sort of the Canada to Jefferson county's USA.


10:33 AM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Interesting -- and fairly apt -- way to describe the Blount-Jefferson relationship. Most people in western Blount County feel a much closer connection to Birmingham than to Oneonta, though, so I'm not sure how they would fit into the analogy.

All philosophical observations aside, I very much want Blount County to find a steady, adequate water supply without having to destroy the beauty of the Locust Fork River. It's the next Shelby County waiting to happen, but with the advantage of having that county's growing pains as a helpful guide to know a few mistakes not to make. "Secure stable water supply" has to be near the top of the agenda for the folks in Oneonta.

When I read The Huntsville Times' story, I suspected the Marshall County officials might be using a public expression of sound and fury to signal that Blount County needs to put a better offer on the table. If The Blount Countian is reporting that the deal is still on, then there may be some weight to that theory. But I'll confess that I haven't read "this newspaper" (so nicknamed because of its excessive self-referentialism) in several weeks, so you likely know more specifics than I do.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I wasn't clear... I meant that JeffCo's plan to get water from the Locust Fork was still underway, apparently.

I wish I had saved the newspaper so I could give you more details. The Blount Co water authority got a huge bill - from JeffCo I think - something about not charging them correctly in the past... I hate it that my memory is so full of holes these days!

Anyway, I actually like the Blount Countian quite a bit, even though they sometimes seem to omit things that they should be reporting. Have you seen the other county paper? That's the one that had a hard-hitting report about the fact that the Blount Countian was a member of the ACLU. Their spelling and grammar leaves a lot to be desired, and I wouldn't say they're overly professional... but they do sometimes have news that the BC misses.


6:57 AM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Why am I not surprised that Jefferson County still longs for a big piece of the Locust Fork?

This is the first I've heard about the alternative Blount County paper. From your description, it sounds even more conservative than The Blount Countian, assuming, of course, that that's possible.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is the first I've heard about the alternative Blount County paper. From your description, it sounds even more conservative than The Blount Countian, assuming, of course, that that's possible."

Ack! Are you sure you're reading the Blount Countian? (It was previously named "The Southern Democrat" I think.) Maybe you are reading the other one already. It's called the Blount Banner. Part of their news is actually from the Hanceville area, and they apparently have alternate front pages, depending on whether the paper is sold in Blount Co or in the Hanceville area.

The Blount Countian is more central in its politics, or sometimes left-leaning. It's usually in two sections, while the other paper normally just has one.

As an example of the differences in the two papers... This week the Blount Countian has a long story about a local German exchange student and her views on living in the US. It quotes the poet Robert Burns (twice). This week, as it often does, the Blount Banner presented one of those erroneous internet email propaganda pieces as an original editorial. Sometimes it reprints, verbatim, press releases from pro-life organizations.


8:18 AM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

"[A]ssuming, of course, that that's possible." OK, that's the first -- and last -- time I try to crack a Blount Countian joke online. And yes, you're right, it was The Southern Democrat until the late '80s or early '90s.

As long as the new alternative paper is at least good for a laugh now and then, it's all right by me.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

If I recall correctly, "The Blount Countian" was "The Southern Democrat" until the year that 'beloved' Governor Guy Hunt was elected (he was the first Republican governor since Reconstruction).

9:02 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

That would make sense. I think Guy Hunt's election was a shock to almost everyone, including Guy Hunt. He won solely because the Democrats spent all of their time squabbling in court over who their nominee would be, and the voters punished them for it.

What surprises me is that Democrats still control the Legislature and frequently win statewide races in a state that's as Republican-leaning as Alabama. Just goes to show that politics isn't always about the label you wear.

2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both of these papers are guilty of "selective journalism" They are quick to report any news that involves "common folks", but if might damage the reputation of any of the "elite", the story doesn't get printed. Case in point: Today's front page had an article about a teacher in ST. Clair county(whom I do not know), who was convicted of a sexual crime with a student. A few weeks ago, a young man was killed at the home of one of the better known families in the area, under very suspicious circumstances, and nothing was mentioned in EITHER paper. I was not the only one that noticed this lack of journalistic integrity. Don't get me wrong, I'm not out to damage anyone's reputation, but newspapers are supposed to report the news, not the news of people that can't afford censorship.

2:54 PM  

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