There are several things I wanted to mention to our readers…

Welcome Back, Johnny!

It was so good to see Fort Payne Council member Johnny Eberhart’s face during Thursday’s virtual work session as he continues to recover from COVID-19. It’s good to have his experience on the council as the city faces hard choices on its budget.

He said, “I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. I really think I wouldn’t be here not if not for all of the friends and people that prayed for me. I’m not fully recovered, but I’m a lot closer than I was. Pray for everybody else that’s got this and be very careful if you get it. Make sure you check your oxygen level, it nearly got me. I want everyone to be aware of what’s going on. This COVID is the real deal, and I pray that it’ll all get over with so everything can get back to normal.”

I’ve been one of the ones praying for Johnny and everyone touched by this disease. The new vaccine brings hope. Some people are skeptics, but I’d take that shot right now if I could! It’s appropriate that the first doses go to our valiant first responders and those at greatest risk of complications. This scourge has dragged on for nearly a year, claiming the lives of nearly 6,000 Alabamians, and the sooner we all follow the recommendations, the faster we’ll return to something resembling life as we knew it.

Progress 2021

The historic events of the past year are a key theme in this year’s Progress edition. I’m very excited because we’re going to be sharing tales of heroism and overcoming adversity during unprecedented times. If there’s one thing we know, it is that DeKalb County is resilient and always emerges stronger when we come together. If you have a story about how the pandemic has affected you/your business (or news tips generally), I’d love for you to shoot me an email with a few details. We must not lose these stories and the lessons learned.

Citizen of Influence Nominations

Each year inside the Progress edition, The Times-Journal honors a member of the community who works to make DeKalb County a better place and deserves to be recognized. To nominate someone for the 2021 Citizen of Influence, please send an email before Jan. 31st to Many certainly deserve recognition and we want to know their names and what they’ve done to make an impact on the community!

DeKalb Living

We also want to showcase local brides and grooms sharing their special day in an upcoming commemorative edition of our monthly magazine, DeKalb Living. Information should be sent to before January 31.

Congrats, Crimson Tide

What a remarkable job Nick Saban continues to do as the University of Alabama puts yet another trophy on the shelf, whipping Ohio State this week, 52-24. I was just excited we were able to have football season at all, so our state being represented in the big game is whipped cream with a cherry on top.

Finding our ‘Better Angels’

There’s no ignoring the historic and disturbing events happening in Washington D.C. Please pray for our nation, regardless of who you voted for. People are hurting and fearful, but we must remember the words delivered by our 16th president at his first inaugural address in 1861 on eve of a bloody Civil War: “We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

— Steven Stiefel is the publisher of the Times-Journal. His column appears in Saturday editions. Email:

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