Sunday, November 29, 2015

December: Happy Trial Days?

December is fast approaching, and with it some interesting trials…unless again delayed for various forensic reasons. Mark Edwin Montgomery is facing trial for the murder of two women and a dog. It should be a slam dunk Capital Murder conviction, but after Jeremy Williams’ recent trial, we may need to rethink that.


Let’s digress here a minute; do you ever expect to hear?:

“Mr. Doe, you’ve been convicted by a jury of your peers of kidnapping, raping, slaughtering, and cannibalizing 16 nuns and a cocker spaniel; however, this court has received affidavits from several of your friends, most under 25…years of age and IQ points…who state you have a good heart. Therefore, I’m going to let you go this time with only a warning.”


Meanwhile back in the real world, the third attempt to try Wes Akin and Brady Irons for drug trafficking should also be coming up. Has the heroin trade slacked up in the two years since the reputed major dealers in the Shoals were arrested?

We have no idea, but it seems about time for another major drug bust. Just who names those operations anyway? Remember Rick Thompson’s Operation Copy Cat? Limestone County seems to like the term Operation Spring Clean. North of the state line, we’ve just had Operation Glacier (maybe they only arrested those dealing in “ice?”).

Why not have more transparency? How about “Operation Get Joe the Mole and His Old Lady Off the Streets” or “Operation Ship the Needmore Gang’s Backside Down South?” Somehow those have a much more memorable ring to them.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

At Least We Have Football

Once upon a time, there was a man in his 50s; he was heavy and wrinkled and not much to look at. He liked young girls. No, we’re not saying underage girls, just young women. A friend of the man became used to the parade of younger women at the man’s home. Some were poor, some were scarred, some were hindered on life’s highway by unwanted children whom they presumably didn’t know how to prevent.

The man’s friend noticed that as the man aged, the girls became rougher looking. For after all, everything in life is a tradeoff. The man had not increased his financial worth, and what little looks he had were fast going. The search for a young woman to date had become more difficult.

One day the man called his friend to meet his latest squeeze. The friend was shocked to find an unkempt young woman who must have weighed 400 pounds…but as the man told his friend, “she’s only 18!”

Aren’t we like that in Alabama? We don’t have an adequate mental health system, we don’t have an even halfway decent prison system, we don’t have state of the art schools, we don’t even have money to keep the state parks open that 90% fund themselves.

What we do have is a great football team. At least No. 99 can boast that; we’re pretty sure Shoalanda and J. Redmon are a little disappointed after today. We do wonder if we would have such great teams if they depended on taxpayer dollars rather than revenue they produce themselves.

Each of us has to demand a state legislature that sets priorities…the correct priorities…and keeps them. Of the Shoals area’s most recently elected state officials, only Tim Melson seems to have not had some hobby horse to ride or axe to grind. Props to Dr. Melson!

Now, to you others: Can you at least pretend to care about the financial condition of our state? You have until February to perfect your game face.


Besides the budget, which should certainly be the top priority, our local delegation needs to address:

* State Certificate of Need Laws

* The state’s continued involvement in the retail sale of liquor.

* The legislature’s extremely annoying habit of taking up valuable time by reading into the record commendations for every constituent who so much as passes his driver’s exam. (If a valued citizen passes away, we can see mentioning the good works he/she did in life. What we can’t see is commending each and every high school or college jock who gets his/her name in the local paper—isn’t that reward enough for such accomplishments?)


Friday, November 27, 2015

Florence Owes UNA Parking Spaces?/Billy Hammock

We've just read another "You Said It" in which the commenter declared the City of Florence owed UNA students a place to park if the university decided to rent storefronts for classrooms. Really?

Let's see how that would work. Florence tears out meters, installs UNA parking signs on X number of spaces...then UNA fails to rent the space the next year. That's just one scenario. There are actually worse ones.

For the record, Florence budgets thousands of dollars for UNA each year. Nice, huh? We're not saying that the university doesn't deserve the funding; we're saying that the city does support the local university. UNA students don't do a very good job parking in approved university spots. How good would they be about parking in designated spots downtown?


We're not endorsing anyone yet in the race for Lauderdale County License Commissioner,but we wish to commend local businessman Billy Hammock. Why?

Hammock is the first candidate to be interviewed who DIDN'T state he deserved the job because a relative of his had previously filled the position. Ah, Alabama politics! Making Chicago look good...


Many of us yesterday...


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"You Said It?" Really?

A recent “You Said It” decried self check outs at Walmart. They took away jobs from human beings. Yes, all automation takes away jobs from humans; however, new technology ostensibly leads the way to increased jobs in other fields.

We’ve always been bemused by those who want to go backward in time instead of forward. How would it be if all washing machines were outlawed? Would the “You Said It” commenter like having to take his/her washing to a laundry where others were employed to do this task for him/her and then charge for it? We think not. Yet we have no doubt there were those 100 years ago who decried the advent of automatic washers.

Related Post: Bring Back Florence Wagon Works?


We all know what tomorrow is. We suggest we all be thankful for the blessings of God, including automatic washers and self checkouts.


Question: Does the atheist thank Publix for his Thanksgiving Dinner? Or maybe Heavenly Ham? Inquiring minds and all…



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Eleven54? Might Be a Matter of Taste...

There's a new business at the Seven Points intersection in North Florence. We had received a few highly critical e-mails regarding the shop before we actually saw the "renovation" to the old drive-thru eatery, carpet store, plus-size dress shop, specialty restaurant, bakery. We're using the term renovation very gingerly here.

We're all for local businesses, but this one reminded us of the now defunct Rusty Dime in Muscle eyesore. Sorry.We calls it as we sees it. We've seen better looking jury-rigging in Little Guatemala in Russellville, tin and all.

If anyone is extremely concerned, the store may be violating some building codes; it's worth the effort to find out. If not, the owners of the next business to locate there will take down the debris that's been nailed to the outside of the building soon enough. Nothing seems to last over five years there.


We now have an answer to the question concerning the Jarmon Lane arrest by Lawrence County authorities. We're waiting for permission to publish the details.



Monday, November 23, 2015

Another View of "Equine Therapy"

A Guest Blog from a Regular Reader:

I read with angst the recent Shoalanda Speaks article about the “Equine Therapy” and want to present a first-hand testimony, as our 16 year old daughter is a client of hers. To start with, here’s a few points about Animal Therapy: Studies have shown that non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, problem solving and leadership are among the many skill sets that equine therapy help with. Children can receive so many positive benefits from Animal Assisted therapy. 

One study conducted in 2010 with children and therapy dogs found that the animals provide a social and emotional support system for the child, with assumptions that because the animal seems non-judgmental to the child, it is perceived as comforting, raises the child's self-esteem and makes it easier for the child to express themselves. 

Therapists rely on techniques such as monitoring a child’s behavior with animal, their tone of voice, and indirect interviewing. These techniques are used in order to gain information. Other benefits include releasing stress, increasing morale, increased calmness, decrease preoperative anxiety, improve patient outlook, reduce the need for preoperative medication, reduce fear and anxiety in patients with a psychiatric condition. After several years of stressful events in our lives, we started searching for treatment for our daughter to help her cope with issues that most adults couldn’t handle, much less a 14-16 year old. 

We started with her pediatrician and went to a Licensed Psychologist in Madison for nearly a year. This psychologist declared her “healed” from her depression and anxieties, when only two weeks prior, was recommending a psychiatrist and medication. Then witnessing our daughter slowly slide deeper into depression and higher anxieties, we decided to try Equine Therapy one time to see how she like it. 

The magic between some people and animals is truly astounding. And the stuffiness of sitting in a counselor’s office can be very intimidating, cold and impersonal. Our daughter has always had a passion for horses, and we have known the operator of Equine Therapy for quite some time. She has now been going for several months, at least twice a month, sometimes more if she is having a particularly bad day or week. She has NEVER shoveled ANYTHING, NEVER cleaned ANYTHING. The closest thing to “work” is brushing down the horses. 

They work together with these horses, who are rescues, getting them acclimated to people. Last week they worked on getting a lead rope & halter on a horse that has never had one on. To see the immediate change in our daughter’s disposition after playing with those horses for an hour is truly remarkable. She comes home relaxed, happy & smiling. Her entire demeanor is different for several days following. She always talks about what lesson the horses taught her each trip. The life lessons she’s bringing home are always very touching and opens up new avenues for us to discuss life’s issues with her.

If there is an outlet we can benefit from to keep our child from having to take medication, you better believe we are going to support it. So from these parents, we’ll take this “un-licensed” Equine Therapist over a Licensed anything, any day. She has truly been a God send to us, and we thank God every day to have her in our lives.