Sunday, April 13, 2014

Keller Stalls Again?

Hell, We'll Kill Ya Hospital

By the time RegionalCare is allowed to build its new Lauderdale County facility, there will be no need for a maternity ward. In 2108 all infants will be delivered via test tube.

Yes,  the Keller Hospital appeal hearing is now set for early May; however, sources say the Colbert County bully has hired even more attorneys who will (surprise) not be ready by this date. This is not a capital case. This is not even a criminal case. It is fast becoming the basis for a class action lawsuit against Keller. All those who feel their health is in jeopardy due to these delays should ban together and let Keller know just what a lawsuit really is.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Losing More Shoals Industry?

...and another one bites the dust? While it’s only a folk saying that celebrity deaths and airplane crashes come in threes, there may be validity to the rumors that a third local manufacturing concern will join International Paper and Hillshire Farms in leaving northwest Alabama.

If the demise of this western Lauderdale County company should come to pass, how many more employees will lose their jobs? Pedal faster; how much can this area take, or should we say give up?


Who has been most affected by the loss of IP and Hillshire Farms? Certainly along with Lawrence County, Alabama, the counties of Lauderdale, Limestone, Morgan, Colbert, and Franklin have been negatively impacted. The area affected by the year-end closing of Hillshire Farms is not as great simply because the wages were lower. Outside Lauderdale, Colbert County in Alabama and Lawrence County in Tennessee will be home to most losing jobs when the Florence plant shuts its doors in December.

We would like to see some projected numbers of how many former IP and Hillshire employees are now leaving the area in order to find work. No, we don’t expect to see it reported in the TotallyDecatur. For bad economic news to be reported by Shelton Publishing, it has to originate in Montgomery. 


Friday, April 11, 2014

Kathy Smith Aaron: Not Necessarily Our Opinion?

We recently blogged on Kathy Aaron, a Muscle Shoals resident who last year took part in the robbery of her former employer. After any blog, we usually receive e-mails concerning the perps. We usually clean them up...if we publish them at all; however, Kathy seems so nice and all, here's the goods:

I went to H.S. with Kathy (maiden name Smith) Aaron. She was a 1977 graduate of Russellville High School. We were in band together for a few years. She was a mean, freckle faced little bully to the younger band members, but I got along with her because I get along with almost everyone, and because I thought she was funny trying to boss the smaller kids around. (Not too mature of me, I guess).
Years later, she went to work in Russellville at what was then Harco Drug. Tim Aaron was hired there as a pharmacist, and over time, they dated and then married. They have been divorced for many years now. Tim used to be, well, not very attractive, but likeable, and most of us felt that she married him because he had a better career than she would ever have. Now, he looks much better and has a very pretty wife. I went to college with him.
At one time, Kathy was said to be a druggie, around the time she was working in the drug store. I don’t know if she straightened up that part of her life or not before turning to larceny.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Center of the Shoals?

The center of the Shoals is hardly the center of the Universe. It’s mainly land-bound and seemingly has little to offer in the way of attractions; however, it will soon offer a new tourist magnet—a sign proclaiming Sheffield the the center of the Shoals. This sign will be in addition to the newly placed refurbished neon marvel that now greets the public on Second Street.

We’ve received some comments on the City of Sheffield spending 12.5K on such a sign for Riverfront Park. Nevertheless, the money for the sign came from a grant and could be spent in only certain ways. Sheffield would have been remiss not to have taken it.

Now, back to what was once called urban renewal. Many in Sheffield (think Steve Wiggins) have labored long and hard to see Sheffield become all it can be. Has the once second largest Shoals town come even close? We would hardly think so.

We may not totally adhere to the expression “Build it and they will come,” but we have no doubt some sprucing up of many of Sheffield’s tired old storefronts would attract new business. Yet many property owners seem to think it better to let a building rot than rent it for less than what it would bring if it were up to snuff and sat in the center of downtown Florence--another group for whom logic is a lost cause? C’mon, Ian, get tough on ‘em. It’s the only way they’ll ever behave.

And while we’re at it... Whoever may soon represent Sheffield in the newly configured state districts should be MADE to fight for an overpass at the Montgomery Avenue rail crossing. That should be the number one priority, and if not accomplished, the citizens should elect someone who can. If someone can convince Gov. Bentley to fund the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, someone can influence Bentley and the DOT to fund the overpass; it’s as simple as that.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

If Someone Offers You a Ride to the Airport...

Locals arrested in McNairy County:

In October the Sheriff's Office was contacted concerning a high profile burglary in Adamsville, we assisted the Police Department with processing the crime scene and began working the case at the request of the District Attorney's Office and with the cooperation of the Adamsville Police Department. The Sheriff's Office has executed over a dozen search warrants in Tennessee and Alabama and interviewed dozens of witnesses and suspects. On March 26th we were able to Arrest Shawn Vandiver of Russelville Alabama and have issued an Arrest Warrant for Kathy Aaron of Muscle Shoals Alabama.

This case is an example of the expertise and hard work of the employee's of the Sheriff's Office. This investigation was technically and financially complex and worked completely by the Investigators at the Sheriff's Office. Great job to Investigators Hitchborn, Kellum and Johnson and Chief Deputy Strickland.

According to other sources, only 60K of the cash and none of the electronics have been recovered in the theft of possibly 250K. Aaron was a former employee of the victim who offered him a ride to the airport. You just can't hire good help anymore...

The victim's statement:

"I am deeply saddened and disappointed to learn that a former employee and co-worker was involved in such a vicious crime. I do have complete faith in our justice system and look forward to seeing all parties involved being brought to justice and prosecuted appropriately.

Over the last six months I have been so impatient so much of the time and wondered where are my rights as a victim. It seemed to be all about the rights of who we knew broke into my home.

I had to turn it over to a just God that knew exactly who did it and had a plan to bring them to justice all along. I knew Sheriff Buck and his staff was doing all they could do. My only advice is to protect yourself and your home as best as you can and if it happens to you, let the system work.

I do want to say thank you to Guy Buck and the McNairy County Sheriff's for the countless hours that they worked to solve this case. Also, to Bob Gray in the district attorney's office, without his help none of this would have been possible."


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ah, A Value Judgment!

Unless the topic at hand concerns some highly immoral act--rape or kidnapping for instance--we are always happy to publish different points of view. We will usually offer our point of view as well; after all, it is our blog.

Yesterday we published an interesting account of the repercussions of Greg Scoggins role playing as the Deerslayer. If any had doubts, we think the man should never be allowed to even look at a gun again, let alone serve as a police officer. We hope he's attacked by innocent deer every night in his dreams.

Nevertheless, we are amused by the whole legal morass the case is trapped in. We also love to see Mr. Billy Underwood's defense of anyone. As an attorney, he rocks!

Now...about HASRA v. PAWS. One of our readers accused us of supporting PAWS in the not so petty squabble which that organization has taken to circuit court. We have not published our views, but were greatly amused that any readers thought we supported PAWS based on anything we had recently written. HASRA is one of the most noble organizations we have ever seen. We do hesitate to criticize PAWS at some level, since for years that group was the only one of its kind in the area and did perform a great service.

No, we wholeheartedly support HASRA. BTW, Bruce, you rock also!


Back to former officer Scoggins...why would he have taken a gun and shot such a magnificent animal? For food? We know that's been reported, but...

We've consulted our friend Miss Marple who has concluded since he was dumped by his wife and had to use a gun to prove his manhood, Greg Scoggins doesn't have a penis. We welcome your thoughts on this, but please use correct anatomical wording. Bada Bing!


Monday, April 7, 2014

The Buck That Broke Alabama?

Editor’s Note: Have you ever watched an episode of Law & Order that started out as one case, then minutes into the plot, veered into a totally different storyline? The following article on the State’s case against former Muscle Shoals police officer Greg Scoggins is similar to that. This account may be long, but it’s worth reading. In fact, if you make it to the end, there’s quite a bombshell. There will be more on this at a later date:

The 23rd day of December, 2012, was a warm, mild morning. A 200-pound monster buck was grazing in an open field on Tennessee Valley Authority property situated at the intersection of Wilson Dam Road and Second Street in Muscle Shoals. Across Second Street stood a two-story structure, being the City of Muscle Shoals Sewage Water Treatment Plant. The buck, with his harem of six does, made it an everyday practice of grazing that field in the mornings.

Little did the buck know its life would be changed when it intersected with police officer Greg Scoggins of the Muscle Shoals Police Department. Scoggins’ life had changed dramatically in the past fifteen months. He had lost his home, filed bankruptcy, lost every worldly possession including his family pets in a fire at his rental home, and he didn’t have insurance to replace any of his items. Three weeks previous to this encounter with the monster buck, he was served with divorce papers by his wife, kicking him out of his new rental house. Officer Scoggins, a thirteen-year veteran of the Muscle Shoals Police Department, was an avid hunter and had been eying this buck for some months.

It now represented meat on the table, and respite from the mental sadness he had been going through.
Scoggins pulled off of Wilson Dam Road into the field and pulled out a rifle that he had been carrying in the back of the vehicle. A shot at 110 yards felled the buck who ran about forty yards towards Second Street and expired near a fence line which borders the roadway. Unbeknownst to Scoggins, David Moore was working at the Muscle Shoals Sewage Water Treatment Plant and he had watched everything from the boom of the gun to the buck expiring at the fence line. David Moore then spent the next forty minutes on his cell phone trying to get a Conservation Officer, Muscle Shoals Police, Mayor, City Councilman, USA Federal Government Agent, Federal Authorities, or their ABI Agent involved in what had happened.

Moore, who had worked for the City over fifteen years, kept a pair of binoculars handy everyday so he could watch that field daily. His job, extensively, was to watch gauges and gadgets at the Waste Water Plant to make sure the sewage water was treated properly. He had a unique schedule on this Sunday; one in which he could leave the Sewage Waste Water Plant halfway through his shift. He could go to church in Florence and sing in the choir. He took this sabbatical opportunity to follow Scoggins in his patrol car, who was following a red pickup truck. The driver of the red truck had helped Scoggins load the buck into the back of it. The convoy turned at Congress Street and Moore turned and went back to the Waste Water Plant and called the Muscle Shoals Police Department. He told them their police officer was somewhere on Congress Street. Within ten minutes, Sgt. Cedric Morris and Capt. Clint Reck of the Muscle Shoals Police Department showed up and ordered Scoggins back to the station where he was told to turn in his badge and gun belt, and he was put on a three-day administrative leave. While there, Chad Holden, of the Alabama Conservation Department, gave Scoggins three tickets for Reckless Endangerment, Hunting Without Permission, and Hunting By Aid of A Motorized Vehicle.

Scoggins, needing legal representation, hired Tuscumbia attorney Billy Underwood and Florence attorney Johnnie Franks for his criminal and civil problems. He was later to lose an appeal before the Muscle Shoals Civil Service Board to keep his job and appealed that case to the Circuit Court of Colbert County, Alabama.

Underwood and Franks immediately attacked the fact that Scoggins was charged in the District Court of Colbert County and not tried in a United States Federal District Court. The Tennessee Valley Authority was federal property. His attorneys did not know the State of Alabama, through Governor Fob James in 1988, had entered into a strange agreement with the federal government whereby Alabama supposedly accepted back jurisdiction over TVA lands. The agreement would require the State to patrol and police over 600,000 acres of property in North Alabama.

Underwood and Franks, in the criminal cases, immediately filed briefs and requested the criminal cases be dismissed and sent to Federal Court because it was on federal property. Doug Evans, assistant District Attorney in Franklin County, was appointed to prosecute this case. The local District Attorney’s office in Colbert County had decided to opt-out of prosecuting Scoggins. Evans, now with the aid of the Tennessee Valley Authority, happened upon the 1988 agreement between Governor Fob James and the State of Alabama. The agreement stated basically the State of Alabama would accept back, by a word called cession, jurisdiction, rights, privileges, and franchises from the Federal government on all 600,000 acres of property in the northern tier of Alabama. The swath of land covers from Colbert County, on the west state boundary, to Dekalb on the east. The agreement stated the Tennessee Valley Authority shared all jurisdictional powers with the State of Alabama. Years later the Tennessee Valley Authority, in a cost cutting move, withdrew every single TVA police officer in North Alabama from those properties making them basically a bad lands due to the fact there would be no police officers patrolling them.

Muscle Shoals Police and the Colbert County Sheriff’s Department testified they never patrol Tennessee Valley Authority property in Colbert County. During the criminal trial the Honorable Chad Coker, District Judge of Colbert County, Alabama, ruled the 1988 cession of jurisdiction between Governor Fob James and the State of Alabama, was law and the criminal cases could be tried in the District Court of Colbert County. He, however, commented at trial his reluctance as a lowly sitting District Court Judge to find an agreement between the federal government, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Governor of the State of Alabama null and void.

At the end of the trial, Judge Coker found Scoggins not guilty of Reckless Endangerment and Hunting From a Vehicle. He did find him guilty of Hunting on TVA property without permission of the federal government. Underwood and Franks immediately appealed the decision to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. The legal brief filed by Scoggins’ attorney argued the 1988 cession of land and jurisdiction by the United States government between Governor Fob James and Tennessee Valley Authority was void. His attorneys attacked the wording of the agreement. Even the State’s Attorney General, Luther Strange, agreed the wording of the agreement was incorrect. The State of Alabama, through the Attorney Generals Office, argued “during the thirteen-year period since the agreement was signed, the State of Alabama has exercised concurrent jurisdiction over this property and neither the state nor the federal government had complained.” The Attorney General seemed to say, because there was no dispute between Alabama and the Federal Government, Scoggins should be estopped from nullifying the agreement. Scoggins’ attorneys argued the state legislature had to vote to accept the land.

On the 7th day of March, 2014, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals surprised everyone. It agreed with Scoggins’ attorney that there wasn’t an agreement according to the 1988 cession that Governor Fob James and TVA signed but went a different route and stated there didn’t ever need to be an agreement; that under the Code of Alabama the legislature had stated specifically it will always accept land or jurisdiction of lands the state had ceded to the United States government without any further action of the legislature. It basically gives to the federal government a blanket agreement to deed any properties it wished back to the State of Alabama without the Alabama Legislature voting to accept those lands back into the state. This raises the serious question of “what if the Tennessee Valley Authority decides to deed back to the State of Alabama all the coal ash ponds at their coal stream plants and also decides to deed back from the Hollywood, Alabama Nuclear Plant all its contaminated nuclear waste acreage?” The State of Alabama does not have monies with which to handle and clean up these waste dumps. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals incidentally does not normally rule on civil matters, it being a court to entertain criminal law appeals.

Enter former Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Pamela Baschab, who now with Underwood has filed a Motion for a Rehearing the 28th of March, 2014, requesting the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reconsider the ruling in light of the fact that, under Paragraph Five of the statute it was interpreting, stated the State of Alabama Legislature had a right to vote on the 1988 agreement to accept or reject. Baschab has been a jurist on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals for over twelve years and felt this case was one she needed to help correct a wrong. There now is pending in front of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals a Motion for Rehearing with Scoggins’ lawyers stating they will appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court if their motion is denied. As the law now stands, the State of Alabama is at the mercy of the federal government who could deed to the state any property it didn’t want or give jurisdiction to the state properties it wants the state to patrol without Alabama having any legal objection to their grants.

Worth reading, wasn’t it?