For some people, reading public notices in the local newspaper is a matter of habit — and sometimes a matter of saving a family farm.
Lindel Foshee gets five newspapers at the home in Red Level, Ala., where she lives with her husband, Booster. She got in the habit of reading public notices during the years they ran the Peoples Bank of Red Level.
“Having worked in the bank, I always checked the legal notices,” said Lindel, now 82 years old. “The tax notices and the unpaid taxes, we needed to know what was going on with our customers.”
So it was a couple of tax seasons ago when she ran across a familiar name in the notices printed in the Andulusia Star-News: Her hometown friend and college roommate from the University of Alabama.
There among the unpaid property taxes was her old friend’s family farm that could go up for auction if the taxes weren’t paid.
“That set off an alarm,” Lindel recalled recently.
So she called the family and made sure they were aware the taxes were owed. It may simply have been a matter of a missing address, but it reminded Lindel how important such notifications could be.
“People just forget sometimes. They had moved around, and the address just got lost.”
When government officials talk about the possibility of taking notices out of newspapers, they occasionally forget the reasoning behind them: Readers see the notices and make connections that might never happen some other way. They know the family and understand the consequences behind the notice.
In the internet age, it’s also a good reminder that pulling notices out of newspapers tends to cut out the people who depend on them most — older folks in rural areas who are familiar with their neighbors.
Red Level has a population of 487 people in Covington County. In addition to the Star-News from the county seat in Andalusia, which recently celebrated its 175th birthday with cornbread cake at the Three Notch Museum, the Foshees read the Evergreen Courant from nearby Conecuh County.
They also get the Opp News from the eastern part of Covington County, as well as the Montgomery Advertiser and the Montgomery Independent regional newspapers.
“I’m curious,” admitted Lindel. “I know the people.”
Although she and Booster, now 90, are retired from Peoples Bank, the family business started in 1914 where he served as president, she remains a member of the board of directors and keeps up on the notices.
“For me, it’s a necessity. It gives us clues on our customers. I’ll go through every single one of them.”
So it wasn’t luck she spotted the notice that caused her to call her friend’s family, enabling them to catch up on the back taxes and keep the property from going to sale.
“They were so thrilled,” Lindel said, explaining that it’s just part of doing her duty as a friend and businesswoman. “I got to be a hero for the family.”
This entry was posted in Effective Newspaper Notice, Foreclosure on February 5, 2019 by Barry Smith.