Thursday, May 28, 2015

Muskrat Madness?/MSHS Questions

From Tuscumbia Muskrat: So a new nonprofit committee has been created to manage the "welfare and beauty" of Tuscumbia's Spring Park. Ok, is anyone else confused?!? If the committee is making the park "suitable for locals and tourists" then why should the city continue to have a Park Director on salaried payroll?!? Who is the committee saving ... Spring Park, the Park Director's job, or both? I am 100% in favor of saving the park, however, I am NOT in favor with saving the job of the Park Director who has done a terrible job in managing Spring Park. His incompetence is why this committee came into existence. Hmmm... I did catch a few interesting names serving on the committee such as Bubba Underwood. He ran against incumbent Mayor Bill Shoemaker in the last mayoral election. Is this committee also being served as a political move for the next upcoming mayoral election? Very interesting!


From a reader: What is the deal??? We got a new crew of administrators at MSHS this past year. Have you noticed that none of them reside in Muscle Shoals? Although I don’t think it is a requirement, I just think that it is strange none of them are even from Colbert County! Chad Holden, Principal, Kevin Davis, Assistant Principal and Karen Hairrell, Assistant Principal all live in Lauderdale County!! Also, Gary Dan Williams, Career Principal lives in Lauderdale County! I do think that all the MSHS principals that have school aged children send them to MS city schools. Of course, they would want the best for their children so the opportunity to have your children in one of the best school around is a job perk! But, Williams’ children go to school in Lexington where he lives and used to work. According to my neighbor (who has relatives in Lexington) he will never move his kids to MS. If an employee was being supportive of their school system, it seems that they would jump at the chance to send their kids to the school where they work. Williams is often a topic of conversation at our home because Williams has previously spoken to my child in a demoralizing way and some of my kids friends are not allowed (by their parents) to take courses at the Career Center because of Williams and the way he treats students. After a group of ladies brought it to my attention that none of the administrators live in MS, I asked my kids and their friends if Mr. Williams ever attended sporting events to support his students, they said that I had never known him to be at any extracurricular activities, including sports. I know the MSHS administrators are required to be at these types of events. Why does Williams want to work where he will never be a part of the community through his children and where he apparently he doesn't care to support his students? You know that at least some of those boys in career classes also play sports. What is the deal???


From J. Redmon:  NO Superintendent or principal can tell students/parents 'not to clap' at an assembly.  That would be a violation of the students'/parents' 1st Amendment rights.  They can ASK/request that there be no applause, but they cannot prohibit such.


More tomorrow...


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Questions for Anthony Olivis

From a voter:

Will someone PLEASE question Anthony Olivis!!!

Comments from Anthony Olivis, Colbert County Superintendent, in the Times Daily newspaper:

“We’ve already had our belt pretty tight,” he said. “I guess we’ll just have to punch another notch in it. I hate it for our school system. We’re going to look at personnel programs. We have some capital projects we’re going to have to put on hold. Patches on top of patches, I guess.”

Where is responsible investigative reporting when the people need it? Why doesn't anyone ask Mr. Olivis where the $8 million left to him by the previous administration went? How can he have the nerve to say these things when he has squandered all that money????


Thoughts on Colbert Heights sixth grade graduation: 

Anthony Olivis/Jeff Cornelius/Alvie Shaw can...

1. Tell the students what to wear.

2. Tell the students what venue.

3. Tell the students there will be no school party

4. Tell the audience not to applaud.

5. Tell the families they can't take photos.

What they can't do is tell the parents what to drive. We think a limousine is a waste of money, especially at that age, but it is not our business. How can these "educators" presume to dictate to parents what transportation they can use?

Yes, we also want to know where all the money went.


The preliminary hearing for John Clark Burns Jr. has been reset to July 23, 2015. No, he (or someone) may say charges were thrown out, but they were not. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Letter Not One Official Answered

We often hear from friends that elected officials will not reply to their mail. Here's one such unanswered letter. We think it's a great one:

Begin forwarded message:
From: Lecia Ford <>
Date: May 8, 2015 at 9:12:40 AM CDT
To: "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <
Subject: Budget Cuts 
May 8, 2015

Dear Sirs:

My name is Lecia Ford and I am a lifelong resident of Colbert County.  My Father was a small business owner in Leighton, Alabama for 49 years, and at an early age, I learned the value of hard work, treating people with respect and dignity.

Though the years have passed, these everyday values have not.  I am sure you can relate to this.

I am currently in my 18th year with Riverbend Center for Mental Health.  Like any job, it can be stressful and at times, a grind.  The job, however, offers something special – the chance to help others, not justany others but people who truly need help.  We see and help a diverse group of clients. Some of their circumstances would break your heart.  If not for us they would be at a ‘dead end’.  We are the last resort for some of society’s most unfortunate members, through no fault of their own.  They have been cast into a world they neither asked for, nor understand.

Others may write to tell you the statistics on how much ‘we’ cost versus how much ‘we’ save; I can’t give you that.  I can tell you my Daddy taught me that what you put forth, comes back to you many times over.  My Daddy was a smart man – and I learned his lessons well.

I hear so much from politicians when they seek office about Christian values and our need for them in our government.  School prayer may be nice, but “Actions speak louder than words”, so let’s put our Christian values to work and look after the people Jesus had the most empathy for – the poor, the sick, the hurt, and most especially the Children!

I would offer suggestions like closing golf clubs, raising taxes, or cutting back on tax breaks to corporations, but I’ll leave this up to you to decide. I want you to spend one day at Riverbend and then ask yourself, “what is the right thing to do?”

Lecia Ford
Admissions Clerical Supportsss
Riverbend Center for Mental Health


No, not one reply. Our officials at work.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Last year we blogged about two veterans who qualified for a Memorial Day remembrance long after their actual service. We used the names Jim and Joe. Jim is about to get justice; his family will never have peace. A family member has related she wants Jim's story told after all cases have been adjudicated. We hope that is within the next few months:


Remembering others as well:


Peace to all families who harbor hurt this Memorial Day.

All of us at Shoalanda Speaks

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Put a Figurative Stake Through Anthony Olivis' Heart on Tuesday

If you're voting Tuesday, send Anthony Olivis a real message. Vote "No" on more taxes to let the little martinet know his punitive policies don't go over well. Hold him accountable. He's at least been a bad steward with your tax dollars. Why give him more?


Lisa Singleton-Rickman? Have you read her article on the election? Not ONE word from the opposition was included. We have to ask why. Is the TotallyDecatur that out of touch or just in someone's pocket?



Amazon does now have one copy for one cent. The others? Take out a mortgage.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

More Tax Opposition in Colbert County

Colbert County, Alabama: Colbert County Commissioner David Black has announced his opposition to a proposed 27% county property tax increase. Commissioner Black encourages the voters of Colbert County (excluding the cities of Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, and Sheffield) to go vote in opposition of the tax increase this coming Tuesday, May 26th. Commissioner Black issued the following statement regarding the increase:

“As a County Commissioner, I oppose the school tax on which citizens will vote this coming Tuesday. Rather than paying higher taxes, I would prefer that we, the citizens of Colbert County, would have a discussion about improving the quality of education. We should be asking why our schools can’t be amongst the top rated in the state, especially since we already spend over $10K per student, more than 92 percent of counties here in Alabama. We should be asking to see the current budget, looking at how current dollars are being spent, and how we could improve matters. We should be asking for, and expect, excellence!

Our teachers already do an outstanding job! I thank them for that. Likewise, I encourage our students to strive for excellence! Better education leads to better jobs and higher incomes, which benefits us all. The more knowledge our students have, the better equipped they will be for all aspects of life. Both the quality and the perception, of our schools directly impacts economic growth, residential development, and quality of life. However, simply spending more of the taxpayer’s money is not the way to accomplish this. We need a different discussion. One about academic excellence, not more taxes.”


From a reader:

What is going on at Colbert Heights Elementary School? A new principal who has been there since January and was able to have a long time janitor fired. I have several kids who came thru this school and I always saw Mr. Pride working. I am a witness to the other janitor asking kids if their rooms were clean and said if not go tell the principal.

Maybe the firing of this janitor was part of the deal with this principal who was also hired in a rush and secret. I also pay property taxes in the county and I am not fooled by all the facts and figures put out by Mr. Olivis and Mr. Cornelius. My entire family will vote no. Until I know quality and high standard people are hired I have no intentions of paying another penny in taxes. How can you possible justify the fact of hiring a long time employee and just having a fiend of the principals already standing by to sub when he was out and was immediately hired to replace him. Mr. Montgomery may have had his problems but he was loyal and respectful to all parents, grandparents, students and in fact anyone who was in the school. 

I simply asked the principal what happened to Mr. Pride and she told me all the things he did wrong. The paper said private meetings are held to discuss employees. should this not be the case in the schools also. Hopefully one more year and the system can again clean up the mess made in the last 3 years. But until then I guess out with the old and in with the new will continue. I just don't have extra money to fund getting rid of old employees. VOTE NO Tuesday for the tax.


Ask Tony Olivis how much the board has spent on defending law suits...


Friday, May 22, 2015

Vote "No" on Tuesday!

Trust Me! I've Tried to Fire Only 4 Out Of 9 Principals!

Somehow we never thought we would see the day we would tell anyone to vote "no" on a school tax. That day has come, brought to us courtesy of Anthony Olivis and his blood-thirsty cronies. Here are some interesting facts about Colbert funding for schools:

* According to School Digger, Colbert County ranks 86th out of 123 school systems in Alabama. Yet they receive more tax dollars than 92 percent of those same school districts. They are wasting our money. Now, they want more of YOUR money to throw at the problem in the hope it will simply go away. Make sure you go VOTE NO on Tuesday, May 26th on the proposed 27% property tax increase in Colbert County. Let the School Board know they need to learn to use the money they have wisely before asking the voters for more!

* Colbert County Schools spends MORE tax dollars per student than 92% of school systems in Alabama, yet they rank LOWER than 70% of schools in the state academically? This tax increase would put Colbert County Schools in the 95th percentile in Per Pupil Expenditure, according to new numbers release last week by the Alabama State School Board, even though they currently spend more than 130% as much per student than the median. If we aren't seeing results at these outrageous levels, why would we expect to see any better results by throwing even more money at the problem?

* The May 26th Special Election to vote on the proposed 27% Property Tax increase in Colbert County will cost the voters between $30,000 and $40,000. If this election had been held last November with the rest of them, it would have been completely free. If the County School Board is going to waste tens of thousands of dollars on a low-turnout election, why should we trust them with more of our tax dollars?

* Colbert County Superintendent Anthony Olivis has been telling people that this is only a 10% tax increase, not a 27% tax increase. Depending on how you look at it, this could be true. If you lump all property taxes together, you get 30 mills, which this vote would increase by 10% if passed. However, this is not what is being voted on. We are voting on the county district-level property tax for the school board, which is currently 11 mills. The tax being increased is being increased by 27%. With no other type of tax increase would you lump everything together and use the smaller percentage. If a municipality had a 2c sales tax rate and wanted to raise it by .5c, nobody would lump it in with all the other sales taxes - they'd naturally see it as a 25% tax increase, as they are measuring that on the tax actually being increased. This is merely an attempt to make the tax sound less burdensome than it is. Even if we went with the Superintendent's number, it would still constitute a 22% total property tax increase over a 2-year period. Whether it is 10% or 27%, it is too much! We are taxed too much already, and our families are hurting. We can't afford to pay more money to a massively mismanaged school board.

*Finally, a previous blog: Olivis Seeks More Tax


It would seem without Robert Montgomey's guidance, the graduation at Colbert Heights Elementary was less grand than usual, but at a higher dollar price. We've received some complaints. Our initial opinion?

The kids will live no matter if they were robbed or not. The parents are the ones who feel cheated. Make your voice heard at the polls...on Tuesday and at the next school board election.