rod-and-fred-baptismLittle did Michelle Ammons know when she sent her son off on a field trip with his football coach that he would wind up … baptized.  The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Breckinridge County High School Coach Scott Mooney took about 20 players by school bus to a revival meeting at Franklin Crossroads Baptist Church in nearby Hardin County.  Nine of them agreed to be baptized, including Ammons’ son, Robert.

Robert said the coach told them the outing would “bring the team together.”

His mother is not pleased, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky is looking into the matter as a possible violation of separation of church and state.

School Superintendent Janet Meeks, who is a member of the church and witnessed the baptisms, doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.  She said attendance was not required and another coach paid for the gas.

Here’s some other stories from around the South that grabbed our attention.  And check out our News and Opinion Feeds for a lot more Southern happenings.

Maybe his folks shouldn’t have let him attend: The South Carolina NAACP joined the pile atop U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for his “you lie” shout-out to the president of the United States during this week’s joint session of Congress.  “This was not the first time the citizens of South Carolina have been faced with such national and international embarrassments,” said Lonnie Randolph, NAACP state president. “There is a history and legacy of embarrassment by people elected to represent the citizens of South Carolina.”

Oh: Here, according to The Valdosta Daily Times, is  Valdosta City School Superintendent Bill Cason’s explanation, in a memo to principals, for not letting  students see President Barack Obama’s back-to-school address:  “President Obama’s proposed lesson plans, to be completed before, during and after his speech, are not aligned to Georgia state standards and, therefore, would not meet the district’s instructional goals, nor would it help students achieve or exceed personal and educational goals. If the president’s lesson plans were carried out as written, significant instructional time would be diverted from our main goal of teaching the Georgia Performance Standards. Daily instructional time is a valuable resource, and every effort should be made to maintain its integrity. It should also be noted that the speech is to occur during the time that lunch periods are scheduled.”

Sell the elephant: Alabama Rep. Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) is protesting the layoff of 43 city workers under a privatization plan, and he has a solution:  Sell the elephant at the Montgomery Zoo.  “They could have sold that elephant out at the Zoo for about $1.3 million and later on bought another elephant,” Holmes told the Montgomery Advertiser.

man_buried_in_carTaking it with him: Ninety-year-old Lonnie Holloway of Saluda, S.C., was buried exactly the way he wanted to be:  Strapped into the seat of his ’72 Pontiac with his hand on the steering wheel. Holloway and his beloved car were lowered into an extra big hole at Rock Hill Baptist Church cemetery.  “It was unusual,” his caretaker, Rosa Anderson, told the Augusta Chronicle, “but it was what he wanted.”

Check your guns at the door: Memphis’ Beale Street entertainment district is among areas finding a way — at least temporarily — around Tennessee’s new law allowing folks to pack heat in bars and restaurants, as well as municipal parks.  Business owners in the popular blues strip banded together to hire a security firm to run metal detectors over people as they enter the clubs.  “We are not opposed to citizens’ rights to bear arms,” Beale Street Merchants Association executive director Onzie Horne told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal . “We simply believe that guns and alcoholic beverages just don’t mix.”

More chicken news: Mr. Clucky may not be banned from Miami Beach after all.  His owner, Mark Buckley, has met with the mayor, who indicated the city might grant an exception to city laws that prohibit fowl in residential-zoned areas. Buckley was fined $50 a day in July and told to evict Mr. Clucky and his hen girlfriend, Wallflower, from their first-floor condo after a neighbor complained about the crowing, according to the Miami Herald.  But Mr. Clucky has since become a celebrity chicken, riding on the handlebars of Buckley’s bicycle around South Beach and appearing on TV.

Picture 2Sinks on their heads? Tampa, Fla., police are looking for a gang of bizarrely costumed robbers.  They have hit three pawn shops.  In one robbery, they were wearing hospital scrubs.  But, according to the St. Petersburg Times, they’ve also shown up wearing beautician’s hair-washing sinks on their heads, and, in one case, one of the them wore a child safety seat on his head.

Bonfire of the uh-oh: A Labor Day bonfire on Little Tybee Island spread out of control, bringing  fire trucks and a Chatham County Mosquito Control helicopter.  Tybee Fire Chief Skip Sasser told the Savannah Morning News that the helicopter dumped water for about an hour before the fire was brought under control, leaving about two acres scorched.

Building better beach houses: That second home in Gulf Shores, Ala., may soon cost a bigger chunk of change.  The Mobile Press-Register reports that Gulf Shores officials are considering adopting the most recent International Building Codes, which would require, among other things, that single-family homes have indoor sprinkler systems and swimming pools be enclosed by fences.

Breaking green wind: The Virginia Beach city council has voted to allow residents and business owners to erect windmills to generate electricity. According to the Virginia Pilot, a homeowner with at least one-third of an acre can install one free-standing windmill up to 35 feet tall or a roof-mounted turbine.  City officials said at least 20 people have expressed an interest.

Ohmm: A former Southern Baptist pastor from Memphis has become the U.S. Army’s first Buddhist chaplain.  Thomas Dyer, a Tennessee National Guardsman, is to be deployed to Afghanistan in December, according to The Tennessean.

Dew Droplets: An 18-year-old South Pittsburgh, Tenn., man was charged with murder for allegedly shooting an acquaintance in the back during an argument over the cost of brake parts … Montgomery, Ala., residents say they are experiencing an unusually bad siege of lawn-eating armyworms … A Greer, S.C., man was recovering from burns after he chased a rabbit into a power station and got hit by thousands of volts of electricity … A Clover, S.C., teacher told investigators that she discovered her tea was spiked with hand sanitizer.

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.