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The Millbrook Independent

May 27th
On newspapers and meeting President Kennedy
Written by News Desk   
Sunday, 03 August 2014 07:12

bobmartinBy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Publisher

Tennessee Valley Publishing, the parent company of The Decatur Daily, has acquired The Advertiser-Gleam in Guntersville from the Harvey family.

TVP also owns the Times/Daily newspaper in Florence, The Moulton Advertiser, the Hartselle Courier Journal, Madison Weekly News, American Classifieds, Courier Journal in the Shoals, a dozen websites, billboard company TN Valley Media Outdoor, and operates the Redstone Rocket under contract with the U.S. Army on Redstone Arsenal.

I actually started my newspaper career at what was then The Florence Times/Tri Cities Daily. The paper, at that time owned by a local family in Florence, was delivered on the north side of the Tennessee River in Lauderdale County and The Tri Cities Daily in Colbert County on the south side, primarily in the cities of Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia and the counties of Colbert and Franklin. The only difference in the two newspapers was the name on the masthead.

I started at the newspapers in the circulation department the week I began school at Florence State College in the fall of 1959 and was hired as a reporter in early 1963, shortly before I graduated from Florence State College, now renamed The University of North Alabama. Later I served as news editor, managing editor and editor before being hired in 1971 by Alabama Chief Justice Howell Heflin to work as a court administrator in Montgomery.

Being associated with the paper offered many rewarding experiences; one of the first being assigned to cover the visit of President Kennedy to Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) headquarters in Colbert County. The president arrived by plane from Huntsville and landed behind the headquarters building. Governor George Wallace and Alabama's two senators, John Sparkman and Lister Hill traveled with him.

There were only a few of us awaiting the plane and I walked, virtually alone with the President and a Secret Service agent up the path to the TVA headquarters and had about five or six minutes to interview him on the way.

Several weeks later, one of the local photographers in Florence, who had also been awaiting the President's arrival, dropped by the office and handed me an envelope. "I thought you'd like to have this," he said. It was the negative of the photo he had made of me walking up that path with the President.

The Shelton family is honored the Harvey family has entrusted TVP to continue the legacy of the Advertiser-Gleam. "Our family and the Harvey family have been close friends for many years, and we have always admired and respected their dedication to the Advertiser-Gleam and the Guntersville area," said Barrett Shelton Jr., past publisher of The Daily.

The Advertiser-Gleam was established 73 years ago by the late Porter Harvey of Birmingham. The newspaper veteran died in 1995. His son, Sam Harvey, now 83, was named editor in 1967. His grandson, John Harvey, became general manager in 1999. Don Woodward, the founder's late son-in-law, held the position of business manager and advertising director for 39 years until his retirement in 1999.

The Harvey family, as well as the Shelton family have made outstanding contributions to the newspaper profession in Alabama. The Advertiser-Gleam will continue in good hands.

Situation at Alabama State continues to fester

In the duel of Gov. Robert Bentley, who chairs the board and certain members of the Alabama State Board of Trustees, the score is in Bentley's favor 2-0. This past week the governor, who is also chairman of the board, removed Judge Marvin Wiggins as a trustee. Another member, Elton Dean, resigned last week under a threat from Bentley to remove him.

I understand Wiggins plans to challenge his removal. Bentley says Wiggins benefitted from $30,000 paid to his wife to direct a two-week summer camp program at the university.

Now, the governor also says Wiggins violated his duties as a trustee by not informing the board that his sister-in-law had been disbarred from the practice of law in North Carolina. Wiggins retorted that his sister-in-law's status as a lawyer played no role in her qualifications to be an instructor. She was paid a total of $185,000 by the school for 18 months in that position. Not a bad gig.

Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent and the publisher of The Millbrook Independent. E-mail him at:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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