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Look Back ... to a local dependence on coal, 1946

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The concept of an "after-Thanksgiving sale" in retail stores was relatively new in Anniston in 1964 (it was the fourth year for the undertaking) such that it was still thought worthy of an explanatory article on Page 1.

Nov. 22, 1946, in The Star: How dependent was the local economy on coal in 1946? A Page One story describes how several Anniston industries will be affected if the national strike by 400,000 miners of soft coal continues. Tellingly, it’s only in its first day and warnings are being sounded. It’s not that the industries use coal in their manufacturing processes, but it is needed to heat their buildings and to run the trains that bring in supplies. For example, Amber Textile Mills has coal supplies which will last about two months, for heating only. The company is more concerned about the transportation picture, which was described by a company spokesman as “Very bad — I don’t know how we are going to get our materials moved.” At Monsanto, spokesman Fred Reeves said it has several months’ supply of coal right now, but reduction of rail service would mean supplies of raw materials, such as bauxite and chlorine, would soon be exhausted. A few major Anniston plants would be less affected: Kilby Steel and Adelaide Mills both use natural gas, while Acme Weaving Mills is entirely electric in its power needs. But still, even these depend on railroads being able to ship goods and on workers having warm houses. 

Nov. 22, 1996, in The Star: State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson said Calhoun County must pick a site for a new health clinic in five days or lose $2 million in state funding for the project. Williamson told county commissioners yesterday that if they miss the deadline the county will probably not get a new health department building for at least two or three years. The county’s decaying health department building adjacent to Regional Medical Center topped a list in December 1995 of 30 facilities across the state due for renovation or reconstruction by means of a $30 million bond issue. All the county had to do was secure a site by this past July, and it would have gotten a portion of that money. But it failed to do that. And now it appears it might fail to meet its “second chance” deadline extension. The favored site at the moment is the sports field of Johnston Elementary School at 8th and Leighton. Also this date: Anniston school officials’ insistence that kids need to have good grades inside the classroom before they can do the fun stuff outside — and the officials’ willingness to back up their insistence with consequences — has made national news. Rush Limbaugh and Paul Harvey have put the word out to their respective radio audiences, while the Associated Press is telling everyone else. Starting this week, Anniston High students can’t participate in extracurricular activities if they get any grade below C on their report cards. At least 500 of the high school’s 843 students failed to meet the new standard.