Thursday, April 27, 2017

Drains on Humanity Part I: "Tony Smith"

A story that ended ten years ago:

Many years ago, we and a sorority sister finished our lunch at Trowbridge's and turned north to visit a new antique store on Court Walk. A man turned the corner heading south and spotted us. He immediately blocked our way and spoke, calling our friend by name. We could tell our friend was none too delighted to see the man, whom she didn't introduce. She began to edge around him.

From the other direction, a woman appeared, and the man whom we'll call "Tony Smith" introduced her as his wife. He then asked our friend her name, even though he had personally addressed her more than once in our short conversation. This presented us with an opportunity to escape, much to the relief of my friend. She explained that she knew the man slightly and that over the years since school he had become more and more bizarre, always steering the conversation to sexual subjects.

Over the next few years, we would hear Tony's name mentioned from time to time. His wife eventually left him and his children didn't speak to him. He couldn't hold a job because of complaints from women. His parents died, and siblings soon sought psychiatric treatment for him. Tony was diagnosed with a kind of schizophrenia and was on psych meds, but his condition only worsened as he aged. Finally a brother had him placed in a nursing home where he eventually died amid rumors a highly offended nurse may have hastened his demise with some extra tranquilization.

Some citizens are super productive; others are drains on society. Tony Smith was a drain on society whom you helped pay for. While there were rumors over the years that Tony had assaulted various women, as far as we know, he was never charged with these assaults and no woman ever came forward to declare she was anything more than highly morally offended. 

The same can't be said for a similar drain on society...Thomas Grant Campbell. 


Speaking of drains on society, we saw earlier today that Brady Ann Irons has a new arrest after months of assumed sobriety. Will she now join her former partner in crime Wes Akin in the Alabama prison system? We're not holding our breath.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rejected Plans from Hugo Dante - Who's at Fault?

Hugo Dante is the head architect at Cr3ate, a local firm with offices in Tuscumbia...or Florence, depending on the the web source. His futuristic architecture graces cities on both side of the river, while his more traditional designs may be found in everything from pharmacies to mortgage companies to even the UNA campus.

Bid laws don't apply to architectural services in Alabama, and Dante was selected by former Florence mayor Mickey Haddock to design the new animal shelter. When new mayor Steve Holt saw the final plans, he was shocked to find both a gift shop and a sandwich shop tucked among the large lobby and many grooming stations. Holt immediately sent the plans back to Dante for a revision.

Now a similar revision is being required of Dante to plans for the new Anderson Nursing Building at UNA. The university board of trustees president stated in a TD article that he needed Dante, whom he didn't name, to be on the board's side...whatever that might mean. Are they at odds with Dante, whom Marty Abroms called more of an artist than an architect? 

We infer there was at best a lack of communication in the UNA planning; as for the Florence animal shelter planning, we may never know what the former mayor instructed Dante to design. There's been no word on how much these little Snafu's are costing the taxpayers.


While on the subject of the new Florence animal shelter, we can understand the purpose of a gift shop, at least a small one. Go to pick out a puppy, stop to purchase a stuffed one as well to commemorate the day. Yet, what was Dante's purpose of a sandwich shop? Surely the process of looking at available animals shouldn't take so long that one is then too hungry to drive a mile or so to a nearby eatery?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tricky Dicky & Sharky Marky Want YOUR Money! - Part II

Yesterday, we presented some extremely interesting information on elected official Dick Jordan's plans for some of your tax dollars you didn't even know you were on the hook for. Now let's look at Mark Linder's plans...both of them...for university money, some of which involves your tax dollars.

According to TD reports:"Melson said the University of North Alabama has agreed to use the arena for basketball games and graduations. The university is moving to NCAA Division I and needs larger sports facilities, he said."

The article doesn't specify what kind of agreement has been reached. Obviously, the ag center is not yet a done deal and may never be. If it does come to fruition, the university would logically pay a fee to use the facility.

Let's assume the ag center does become reality by May 2020 as Sen. Melson wants, what about Flowers Hall? We're sure the 1970s era gym will be well-used for practice, high school tournaments, etc. Like everyone who cares about UNA, we hope it's well taken care of.

Earlier this month, UNA athletic director Mark Linder announced a massive renovation for Flowers Hall to begin after approval from a state governing body; he didn't give a timeline as to when approval or renovations could be expected. Among Linder's plans for the gym is a new floor. These are needed periodically in all gyms, and apparently UNA is past due for one. The other two renovations proposed by Linder are not quite in the same category. One is, in fact, extremely questionable. 

Linder has announced new seating. The current bleachers are original to the gym and obviously need improving. The question is: Do they need a total replacement? We frequently read of bleachers in various local gyms being refinished...or has that sophisticated electronic space age bleacher technology passed the old seating by?

Yet the installation of new bleachers isn't the most questionable item on Sharky Marky's agenda. He wants a VIP reception area for all those bigwigs who are sure to visit UNA basketball and volleyball games. In case you think Mick Jagger might soon show up on campus to catch a local game, Linder is referring to monetary donors. We're aware that UNA does have the stray donor here and there, but they're never mentioned when the university requests more state funding. Perhaps it's just us, but would a donor who really cares about the school want UNA money used for a VIP area in Flowers Hall? And what of the VIP area if scheduled games are moved to the ag center? 

Can you all say "poor planning?"


Tuscumbia (or is that Florence?) architect Hugo Dante has had to or will have to redo two plans for taxpayer funded projects this past year. We'll look at these tomorrow. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tricky Dicky & Sharky Marky Want YOUR Money! - Part I

The following blog isn't about the proposed agriculture center, at least as to whether you or we or anyone else want it. It's about the mindset of local politicians and others who spend your tax dollars.

In case you need to be brought up to speed on this situation, here's a brief rundown of the facts:

1. Several years ago, a two-cent a gallon gasoline tax was passed for Lauderdale and Colbert Counties in order to pay for the RSA's Marriott Hotel complex and Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. At that time, it was publicly stated the tax would be removed when the bonds were paid off.

2. The bonds are almost paid off, and the Lauderdale legislative delegation, with the exception of Larry Stutts, wants to continue the gasoline tax in that county in order to pay for a proposed agriculture center. Sen. Larry Stutts feels this is taking advantage of the Lauderdale County taxpayers (gasoline buyers).

3. The Florence City Council is also opposed to this proposal, partly since TVA funding will be diverted to it; however, one council member is opposed for other reasons.

4. According to a recent TD article: "(Dick) Jordan said when the economic development bonds are repaid, the city wanted to use the money to help build a bridge over Cypress Creek on West College Street, and to pave city streets."

Did everyone get what Tricky Dicky said? He's not concerned about taxpayers remaining on the hook for this two-cent tax; he's concerned the city can't latch onto it once it's no longer needed to pay off the RSA bonds.

So where does Sharky Marky fit in? Tune in tomorrow for Part II where we'll discuss UNA athletic director Mark Linder and local architect Hugo Dante.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sen. Smooter Speaks on the Ag Center

State senator Horatio Leander Smooter IV of U-Turn, Alabama, has graciously consented to pay us another visit. We took the opportunity to ask him some questions on the proposed Lauderdale County agriculture center.

SS: Sen. Smooter, do you support the proposed new mega-coliseum for Lauderdale County?

HS: First, let me say thank you for having me back again. It's always nice to renew relations between U-Turn and the Shoals. I want to go on record as saying I support Mel and Mal.

SS: Mel and Mal?

HS: Yes, that's Sen. Tim Melson and Sen. Malpractice Stutts to those of you who don't rub shoulders with us chosen ones in Montgomery. 

SS: But aren't they taking different sides?

HS: It would seem so, and we agree with them.

SS: We'll take that as a "no comment." Do you foresee the legislature voting on this issue before the session is over?

HS: Well, as you know, anything can happen. We live in a world where a dermatologist can be governor and Ed Henry thinks he can run for the U.S. Senate. Let's just say that we're going to give the new ag center the same consideration we always give the education budget.

SS: That little a chance, huh? Before you leave, do you have any parting words for our readers?

HS: Indeed, I do. For all of you currently residing in Moulton, we in U-Turn would just love to have you move to our fair city. I'm not going to, ahem, prevaricate and say we don't have any witches in U-Turn, but we at least don't provide them with their own brooms.


Some facts about the ag center:

1. It will be financed mainly via a loan from the USDA. We've heard speculation this is why it has to be dubbed an ag center. We welcome any more informed comments on naming, which appears to be a drawback to public support.

2. If the funding isn't passed in this legislative session, the center may not come to fruition at a later date, as Doc Larry has suggested it can.

3. The center will not be in the wilds of nowhere as some have suggested, but in the eastern end of Florence (albeit just outside the city limits) immediately south of Florence Fire Station No. 2 on Florence Boulevard (pictured as red dot on above map).

Saturday, April 22, 2017

At Least We Know Britton Watson Can Abstain

Britton Watson

At the recent vote on Florence City Schools superintendent, two members abstained from voting on the issue. One was perennial odd member out Britton Watson. So she won't abstain from voting on a UNA issue even though the university pays her for public relations work, but she'll abstain from voting yea or nay for Dr. Jimmy Shaw because...we have no idea why.


We've learned that the town of Lexington has a relatively new water department clerk. The previous long-time clerk who generated so many complaints left two years ago after being questioned by council members concerning bookkeeping irregularities. We're happy to clarify that we've received no complaints about the current clerk.


Rep. Ed Henry is running for U.S. Senate? Perhaps now's a good time to remind voters that Henry is an admitted "murderer." No, we don't think he actually murdered anyone; we simply think he's more than just a little batty on several subjects.


Here's a chance for readers to chime in: How do you feel about part-time employees (who don't receive benefits) being paid more per hour than full-time employees? It's a fairly common practice, and we don't oppose it. Yet we have a feeling it's about to become a local issue.

Readers? We await...


We hope everyone remembers our blog gives you a voice. We don't have to agree with you to publish your comments. Just remember no vulgar language, libelous statements, or incitement to violence.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Joyce Jeffreys & Cassandra Lee: Real Witches

Moulton? You know...that shopping/industrial mecca located in the beautiful and sophisticated county of Lawrence. That's right; it's the county seat of a downtrodden area desperately seeking new industry. Well, good luck to that.

It seems that some years ago a group of eight or so men met daily at a business on Moulton's square. The business went under, so the group moved to a second location. When that business also went under (seeing a business trend in Moulton?), the then mayor asked the group to meet in a vacant room at city hall. 

Now there are some new council members in Moulton. Here's the first witch:

Joyce Jeffreys
Joyce Jeffreys made it onto the council originally by placing a curse on a council member and taking her place when she died. Jeffreys had no challengers last fall after that stunt.
Cassandra Lee
Cassandra Lee actually won her seat by deluding voters into thinking she had a pulse...and a soul.

At the last council meeting, Jeffreys and Lee asked the new mayor to throw out the senior group, whose ages range from around 79 to around 91. Why?

Spokeswitch Jeffreys gave two reasons. First they were taking up valuable parking. Really? The last time we ventured to the town square in Moulton, we thought there had been a bomb threat.

The second reason? We really love this one. If you were a female employee, would you like to have to warm your lunch in the room next to these old men? Yes, she really said it. Funny thing is the men meet either mid-morning or mid-afternoon. So who's having lunch then? 

We realize the citizens of Moulton may be stuck with Jeffreys and Lee for the next three and one-half years, but after that let's hope they're sent packing back to whatever coven or bagnio from which they arose.