We should all leave such a legacy
MONTGOMERY- You may have seen the headlines in the newspapers a few days ago that the University of Alabama-Birmingham had received a $13 million grant from the National Cancer Institute for brain cancer research.
This grant will allow UAB to become one of the foremost institutions in the nation in trying to find a cure for this most deadly of all cancers.
Now…as radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say…let me tell you the rest of the story. And as I said above, it is a personal story but one that needs to be told, one that I want to tell.
In 1999 my good buddy and long-time tennis partner Richard L. Holmes was diagnosed with brain cancer of the worst sort. While it was never said, we knew he could not survive.
Richard's name may ring a bell with at least some of you…he served as Legal Advisor in the Cabinet of Gov. Albert Brewer; he served with distinction for two decades on the State Court of Civil Appeals; and after retiring from the judiciary he served on the University of Alabama Board of Trustees.
Early in 2000 Richard came up with an idea. He volunteered to lead an effort to raise money for brain cancer research at UAB. One rainy night I rode to Birmingham with Ken Upchurch Sr….another of Richard's friends and tennis partners…where the campaign was kicked off. Richard was in good form that night. He took a few shots at me and my bad backhand and I responded in like manner. It was a happy-sad occasion.
Before he lost his fight with cancer a few months later a substantial sum of money had been raised. Even more came in as memorials at the time of his death, then the Alabama Legislature gave UAB $180,000 to prepare the 800-page grant proposal.
I don't know how things work in the after-life, but I want to believe…I do believe…that there was a broad smile on Richard's face when that grant was announced.
Would that all of us could leave such a legacy.
The campaign for lieutenant governor between Democrat Lucy Baxley and Republican Bill Armistead is getting testier by the day.
Recently when Baxley was asked to divulge in what banks state deposits were made she responded by sending grocery carts full of deposit slips and bank statements to the consultant, Melissa Hederman.
Hederman said she was being "stonewalled" by Baxley.
An official in the Treasurer's Office said all they had done was comply with her request.
Look for a major effort in the 2003 regular session of the
Legislature to substantially raise the tax on cigarettes in Alabama.
Many states have turned to this levy with gusto in recent years and
they have used the same argument…not only will it generate needed
revenue but the higher cost for what we used to call "smokes"
discourages young people from taking up the habit.
The tax on cigarettes in Alabama is about 17 cents a tax. Only five
states have a lower tax. If the state doubled that tax it would still be 25
cents below the national average.
Which reminds me of the one-liner voiced by a chain-smoker: "If
the price of cigarettes continues to go up we will soon be paying what
they are worth."