Sunday, August 2, 2015

Florence Country Club Sale?

A reader asked if there was any new info on the proposed sale of the Florence Country Club back to the city. As far as we know, there isn't. Another reader had suggested some real estate agent would receive a huge fee from the sale. We're not sure if one needs to be involved, but a real estate attorney would be in on the sale in all probability. Your tax dollars at work

What would this mean for the not-so-booming College of Integrative Quackery founded by Zing Zang Zung? If new UNA prexy Kenneth Kitts wants to take on a real challenge, he'll try to sort through that little debacle.


There has certainly been an up-cropping of green double aiches recently. You know the ones...the italicized capital letters in bold which now precede the name of any Keller facility in Colbert County.

We hope Colbert Countians think of their commission whenever they see the Huntsville Hospital logo connected to that of Keller. Huntsville holds the purse strings; the voters hold the key to the next commission.


On the subject of the Colbert County Commission, we hear that budget woes abound for that august body. Mounting debts are forcing cuts that are not going to make anyone happy. In fact, these reductions will very likely lead to a reduction in key services.

As always, we welcome your comments...


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Why Is the State Housing These Prisoners?

Our state is cash strapped, especially our prison system. Yet, for whatever reason, those individuals sentenced to both state and federal time must do their state time first. Why?

There's no real parole in federal prison, so sentences are usually at least 85% of total time. Sentenced to 10 years? Do 8 years and 6 months. Sentenced to 10 years in state prison and you may do as little as 15 months.

The state is currently housing Matthew and Patricia Ayers who each have a life sentence. The couple also have federal sentences that total hundreds of years. In other words, they would never leave the federal lock-up, so why is Alabama housing them, feeding them, providing them with medical treatment?


Did you know it can possibly be a felony for a state inmate to have a Facebook account? Many do; remember Gary Baskins and his infamous prison pics?

The DOC has asked anyone spotting a page belonging to an inmate to report it immediately. As we write this, there are currently two escaped inmates on the loose, presumably still in south Alabama. We don't want to encourage any more.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Inmate Abortion Q & A

Randall Marshal
Who is the inmate? While it shouldn't be hard to discover the name of the inmate, there are enough crazy people out there that we have no desire to make the woman's name public.

Why did she file suit via the ACLU? Our guess would be her attorney in the drug case is court appointed and did not want to take on a case that would take him/her to federal court in Huntsville without substantial financial rewards.

Who is the ACLU attorney? He has been named as Randall Marshall and is paid by the ACLU. In all probability, the inmate is not paying the ACLU lawyer anything.

Why did she even contact the ACLU? Our educated guess is she felt going through the county/state courts in Lauderdale could take such a length of time it would be too late to secure an abortion.

Who would have paid for the procedure? Sources have said the inmate would have paid. She would also have had to pay off-duty deputies to escort her to and from the Huntsville Clinic.

Is Lauderdale out any money on this? Oh, yeah... The county has had to pay at least for travel to the Huntsville courtroom and probably has also had to pay some extra legal fees to the county attorney, but the latter is not a given.

Why did the inmate's local attorney contact her about the district attorney's petition to bar the inmate from custody of the unborn child? Our guess is that the inmate called him/her when she became aware of Mr. Connolly's intentions.

Did the local attorney behave unethically? That may be something the Alabama bar will have to decide if Marshall files a complaint. It's difficult to see how the attorney could have behaved any differently under the circumstances, assuming the inmate asked to speak to him/her.

What will happen to the child? That will depend on the father, if known, and other relatives who might file for custody. It's rare that a judge severs all biological ties with the child, but if that does happen, the infant will be put up for adoption. In many cases, this is the best option for the child.

What will happen to the inmate? Since she is not charged with trafficking or some other crime where certain sentencing is mandatory, and depending on her previous record, she will probably receive probation. Let's hope she makes the most of it.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Just who is the attorney?

Just who is the attorney who committed such a breach of ethics according to the ACLU lawyer representing the incarcerated pregnant Lauderdale County inmate? And are we taxpayers footing his/her bill?

The attorney arrived on the scene pretty quickly after DA Connelly announced he would seek to take custody of the unborn child. Maybe someone smelled money?


It's almost August. Florence, do you know where your new animal shelter, government plaza, Sweetwater Arts & Entertainment District are?

Hmmm, neither do we.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Don't Shoot Him, He's Insolent

We received the following petition in our e-mail earlier this week:

Petition by Les Anderson
Elkhart, Indiana


When my son Zach met a girl through an online dating app, she said she was 17 years old and lived about twenty minutes away. The two decided to meet up and had consensual sex. Zach was a typical 19-year-old studying computer science at Community College -- until he found out that the girl had lied about her age and was really 14.
Though the girl admitted to lying about her age and even her parents agreed the encounter was completely consensual and that Zach didn't do anything wrong, Zach found himself convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. He'll now have to be on a sex offender registry for the next 25 years.
He just finished serving 90 days in jail. Now he's on probation for the next 5 years and he's lost all of his work toward his computer science degree -- part of his sentence is that he can't use a computer or smartphone or live in a house with internet access. He can't even talk to anyone under 17.
This has effectively ruined Zach's life. And it's clear to anyone who hears his story that he is not a sexual predator who needs to be on a sex offender list for 25 years. He's a teenager who met another teen like so many others do, online.
In court, the girls parents didn't just ask the judge to show Zach leniency, they called for the case against him to be dropped altogether.
Zach plead guilty but only because we were told he would be a candidate for Holmes Youthful Trainee Act status. The HYTA allows first-time offenders older than 17 but not yet 21 to avoid harsher penalties like the state-mandated 25-year listing on the sex offender registry.
But the judge refused to listen to us, Zach, or the parents of the girl.
Now Zach must live his life with a scarlet letter. He has to walk down the street and think: ‘Am I too close to a school? Is there a child who’s close to me? It's not right and it's not what the law was intended to do.
As parents, all we want is for our son to be able to pursue his dreams and ambitions in life. We want him to be able to live a normal life. So we're asking that the Judge, the Prosecutor's office and the MDOC to drop all charges or grant HYTA to Zach. And we need your help.
Please sign our petition to support Zach and say to the Judge, the Prosecutors office and the MDOC that the sentence given here is wrong, harsh, and unfair.

Sad, isn't it? Oh, not the young man's plight, but that his parents and about 95K other idiots think that this young man is being singled out.

In Alabama, there is only a two-tiered system; the young man would also be on the sex offender list for life if convicted here. While we do feel some small amount of sympathy for him, we have to ask:

1. Why would Zach trust some girl he didn't know to tell him the truth?
2. How did this crime come to light if no one was complaining?
3. Why are these parents so vocal about his sentence, but never taught their son about the law?

Parents, please tell your sons about the charge of Second Degree rape. A local news site just today posted charges against a Tim Vandiver of Killen who was similarly accused of statutory rape.

It really doesn't look good on a resume'.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fallen Officer?

Every definition of “fallen officer” that we have found refers to an officer killed either while on duty or while reporting to duty. While we have the greatest respect for Brian Faulkner of the former ABI, he was not killed in either of the above situations. Cpl. Faulkner was either traveling for personal business reasons or joy riding on a motorcycle when he was injured in March of last year. Faulkner
subsequently died at Huntsville Hospital from his injuries.

No one wants any new names added to the list of local fallen officers, but those already there deserve our utmost respect. The TimesDaily should apologize to the families of all fallen officers for its error.


The Tuscumbia fire chief has returned to duty. Will he face a three day suspension?


We are not familiar with the Mission of Mercy drug rehab facility. We do know that young Mr. Scott has been through at least two previous drug programs, one at the expense of the state (read: taxpayers). Is family paying for this latest attempt to rehabilitate Hottie Scottie?


Monday, July 27, 2015

School boards owe a huge duty...

School boards owe a huge duty to the general public. They are tasked with overseeing the overall functions of local schools, approving the hiring of teachers and coaches, seeing that state and federal curriculum guidelines are followed, drafting and implementing policies, approving and overseeing budgets and a host of other, often mundane, duties. However, too many school boards seem to have forgotten the greatest part of that duty.

School boards owe it to the general public to search for, find, employ, and retain the best teachers available. This should be their number one priority. However, it often isn't. The pursuit of this goal has been lost in favor of the pursuit of 'state titles'. Sports titles, that is. Sports is where the money is in education. Everyone knows that unfortunate fact. Schools split gate proceeds, enter 'bidding wars' to recruit coaches, vie for tournament hosting, etc. Local communities also count on visiting spectators spending money on food, gas, and lodging . 'Everyone' benefits. Right? Well, do they?

Too often school boards hire a 'coach first', rarely taking into account that coach's ability to teach. This is not to say that there aren't some truly wonderful teachers that also happen to be coaches. There are. Some of the finest teachers that I ever had were also coaches. But I digress. School boards, in order to secure a 'winning coach', will often, too, guarantee the desired coach's spouse a teaching position, very often failing to even consider more suitable candidates. A few years ago, one local school board hired a 'winning' head football coach, paying that coach over $90k/yr to 'just coach'. That coach's salary was almost double the teacher's salary for that system. This particular coach had no classroom or administrative duties whatsoever. When was the last time a school board spent over $90k/yr to hire a 'winning' classroom teacher? Do practices such as these fulfill a school board's duty to the public?

No one denies the fact that few things are 'as American' as attending a home ballgame. However, sports-related functions and expenditures affect only a small segment of a school system's student population, yet seem to consume the greatest amount of time, effort and financial expenditures. To some, the trophies and headlines that result from a winning season seem to justify the expense and sacrifice. 
It's too bad that academics rarely benefits from the same enthusiasm and zeal. In the end, sports teams frequently 'win', but students always lose.