Sunday, September 25, 2016

We're Bringing Neiman Marcus & Harrod's to Florence

Yes, we at Shoalanda are arranging for mega department stores Neiman Marcus and Harrod’s to come to Florence. How are we doing this? Simply because Florence deserves these stores; they should be ours. And if you vote for Shoalanda for Grand Poobah, we will make sure they locate here.

Did anyone reading the above think any of that made sense? No? Well, how about this: The new Publix should have been built in Tuscumbia rather than Muscle Shoals. Anyone out there think that’s something a Tuscumbia town councilperson could achieve?

For those who may not know, the Shoals’ latest Publix is located at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Sixth Street. Well…it is close to Tuscumbia; however, does any thinking person believe Publix would have located in Tuscumbia if the Muscle Shoals property had not been available? Or do you think the grocery giant would have kept searching for available parcels in Muscle Shoals?

So what should you in Tuscumbia think of someone running for office who says: That should have been us. That’s exactly what District 3 candidate William Foster said. Did he elaborate on how he would have accomplished that if he had been in office? Sadly, no.

Foster faces longtime businessman David Couch in the October 4th runoff. It was a very close primary on August 23rd and should be similarly close in the runoff. Only one vote separated Foster and Couch, so your vote counts in the runoff.

David Couch has a degree in economics from UNA, has worked for AT&T for years, and has real plans for his district…not pie in the sky promises. He’s said it’s not all glamour as some citizens want, but actual work to prepare an infrastructure for new business.

Vote for logic; vote for a viable candidate; vote for David Couch on October 4th.


Tomorrow morning, it will be one week since Robert DeShawn Childers was last seen; what are the odds he will be found? Most people think missing persons cases end at some point one way or the other, but do they?

Robert Gene Weems went missing from Florence 19 years ago. At this point, it’s a good guess he hitched a ride with someone and began a new life…or his life sadly ended due to making the wrong choice.

Let’s hope Shawn Childers will shortly be found alive and well.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Dynasties: good or bad? Obviously they can be either. Some time ago an article in the TimesDaily commented on the Heflin political dynasty in Alabama, as well as the Jordan political dynasty in Florence. Our opinion? Two generations in the same field don’t make a dynasty, so Dick Jordan’s family doesn’t count. 

Are all dynasties good? Unfortunately, no. A reader asked us about the Crowden family in Florence, a family with three generations of males known for their expertise in the field of burglary. No, not all dynasties are to be lauded. (We will probably do an extended article on these three at a later date for Shoals Crime.)

So what are you teaching your children?


A reader reminded us that not only is Shawn Childers still missing, so is Chance Southern, a young man from Florence. No, we don’t think these two cases are related, but we hope both men are found safe very shortly.

Both have been missing for almost a week. If you have any information on their whereabouts, please call the authorities.


We’re going to assume 99.99% of our reading audience is happy tonight…at least in the football department!

Friday, September 23, 2016

It May Be the Age of Social Media, But the Old Adages Still Apply

From a reader:

"Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater" I've heard that a lot in my lifetime. It's great advice. So is "Act in haste, repent at leisure." Often they go hand in hand. What sounds great at first has unintended consequences. It's better to think things over before reacting strongly.

This weekend I heard and read a lot of heated rhetoric promoting a boycott of the NFL due to the actions of Colin Kaepernick. Seems like a lot of people want the entire NFL held responsible and economically punished for the actions of Mr. Kaepernick and his supporters.

I'd encourage those people to check out the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh game this weekend (CBS). During the Anthem, watch the Steeler's #78. He's 6' 9" and north of 325lbs.He's kind of hard to miss. He'll have his hand over his heart and he will sing every word. See,# 78 is Alejandro Villanueva. Born on a military base in Meridian, Spanish parents, his father was there with NATO so AV was born a US citizen. He grew to love his country. He graduated from West Point and served 3 tours of duty in Afghanistan. He was awarded a Bronze Star for Valor for rescuing wounded members of his squad. After fulfilling his military obligation, he looked to return to football. He'd played receiver, tight end, offensive tackle at West Point. The Eagles gave him a chance to play d line but cut him. Pittsburgh picked him up as an offensive tackle project. AV just wanted to play. Since 2014 he's moved from practice squad to back up to starting left tackle. He makes around $500k, extremely low for a starting tackle. It's less than 5% of what Kaepernick makes. Is it fair? Is life? AV will tell you that he lives in the greatest country on God's earth. And that he plays where the best of the best perform.

There are approximately 2000 young men playing in the NFL. Most are decent people. Don't believe me? Ask most any charity in any NFL city if the players contribute time and money. Check their web sites to see what causes they support. It might surprise you. What surprises me is the level of animosity directed at the entire NFL. I don't remember seeing or hearing calls to boycott college football when the Baylor scandal broke. So why the hatred for NFL? It makes no sense to me. Maybe someone can explain it to me. But anyone trying to throw AV out with the bathwater is probably going to end up with a hernia. 

John A. Nutbrown


We have had two writers weigh in on Colin Kaepernick, so we'll offer our opinion. Kaepernick knows as much about the plight of black Americans as we at Shoalanda do. Can you say "tempest in a Gatorade bottle?" 

We're reminded of a blog from 2014; scroll down to #5 in the Gang Signs category:


As we publish this, Robert DeShawn Childers has been missing for four and one-half days. Unless he's with someone. he has no food. We ask that our readers continue to look out for any sign of Shawn.

We had one reader who questioned our opinion of Leroy Darby. In case there is doubt...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why is Robert DeShawn Childers Missing?

For those not aware of Robert DeShawn Childers’ story:

* Childers’ father purchased a house and land at a Lauderdale County tax auction around 20 years ago.

* The elder Childers failed to pay taxes, stating he thought he was exempt due to his age and a disability. In short, he dropped the ball.

* Approximately 10 years ago, Robert DeShawn Childers, a physically and emotionally disabled veteran, moved into the home and has resided there since that time.

* Due to unpaid taxes, the property was again sold and was purchased by Leroy Darby.

* Approximately two years ago, Leroy Darby upped his legal attempt to evict the Childerses from the property. A short time later, the senior Childers passed away.

* Approximately four to five months ago, Leroy Darby had Childers’ power permanently turned off; Shawn spent the summer without air conditioning.

* Approximately two to three months ago, Leroy Darby managed to have Shawn evicted in part. A court order stopped the proceedings, but Shawn’s possessions were discarded in a ditch.

* Earlier this week, Shawn Childers went missing.


DeShawn Childers

What has happened to Robert DeShawn Childers? There are six possibilities:

* Shawn left his home for a walk and had a medical emergency, not being physically able to make it back.

* Shawn left for some secluded spot to think over his problems, not telling anyone where he was going.

* Shawn went for a walk and was picked up by someone with whom he decided to make a new life without telling anyone.

* Shawn went for a walk and was picked up by some lowlife who robbed him of what little money he had and discarded him in some manner.

* Shawn had grown so weary of life’s hardships that he no longer wished to continue.

* Shawn was taken out of the picture by someone who would benefit from his removal.


Public records tell us that Robert DeShawn Childers has had problems in his past, problems all related to substance abuse that are not uncommon in many veterans. Before readers bombard us with these issues, please remember that Shawn was not a drug trafficker, rapist, or baby snatcher. He was someone who had not, for whatever reason, gotten the help he needed.

What of Leroy Darby? Certainly he legally owned the property in which Shawn was residing, or at least had a good claim to it. Was Shawn in any way Leroy Darby’s legal responsibility? No.

Yet morally and ethically, Leroy Darby at least failed as a human being. At this point we don’t know the full story of Shawn’s disappearance. Let’s hope he will shortly be found safe and Leroy Darby has no new events for which to answer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Our National Anthem/Tuten to Defend Dillard?

National Anthem, The Panty Tree Again & Contacting the Rider
By: The Midnight Rider
National Anthem
Civil War
World War I
World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Desert Shield
Desert Storm
War on Terrorism
You may be wondering what the Rider is getting at with the above pictures. I want to remind people of the sacrifices that have been made to keep us free. As probably all of you know, recently there has been a NFL Player that refused to stand during the National Anthem. Is that his Right, yes? But it is DISRESPECTFUL!
He is free in this great country of ours to play football because of the people that have sacrificed. If he doesn’t like the National Anthem, hold a Press Conference, talk on the TV, or, here is an idea, write an editorial to Shoalanda Speaks.
Young children look up to “Sports Stars” wanting to be like them. Not standing for the National Anthem can cause a bad influence to a young mind. I think that all of his Sponsors should pull their money, see if he notices that. Where I come from, if he had not stood up during the National Anthem, my Team Players would have stood him up and then we would have had a “discussion” about it after the game.
This Country needs to stand together, not apart. The National Anthem should remind everyone of sacrifices.
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The Panty Tree
It looks like the Rider has gotten something stirred up with my articles on the Panty Tree. This morning (9-14-16) on KIX-96, they had a lengthy discussion about the Panty Tree. They were asking people to call in if you had donated a pair of panties to the Panty Tree but they would not mention your name. RRIIGGHHTT!!
Contacting the Rider
Let’s try something new. If you have a question for the Midnight Rider or have a topic that I need to investigate, you can contact me via Shoalanda Speaks at They will forward it to me.
Until then……
I am and always will be, the midnight rider


When Florence attorney Edward "Chip" Dillard was first arrested, we heard he had some help securing an Athens attorney to take his case. Now we hear he's being repped by Robert Tuten of Huntsville. We doubt that Mr. Tuten is defending Dillard out of the goodness of his heart.

If what a member of the extended Bray family told us several years ago is true, Tuten charged a fee of 400K to represent Christie Bray Scott at her murder trial. Good help obviously ain't cheap...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What Motivated Mickey Haddock to Sponsor the Fireworks Law?

The Anderson family of Florence contributes to many politicians and political causes. We haven’t checked to see if any Andersons have contributed to Steve Holt or Susan Goode, but it’s highly probable they have. We do know the Anderson family has given $7,500.00 to current Florence mayor Mickey Haddock during this year’s mayoral contest.

One of the Anderson family’s principal companies is TNT Fireworks located in the Florence Industrial Park. Is there big money in fireworks? We assume there is. Yet fireworks are legally sold in Florence only in July and December. There aren’t too many retail businesses that operate only 1/6 of the year.

Therefore we ask why rules are needed to govern such businesses? Obviously, there is a need for certain rules in order to maintain safety. Rules of taxation also are important to the running of city government. Anything else?

The City of Florence apparently thinks so. For a business to sell fireworks out of a permanent location, it must have had a wholesale business presence in Florence for the past five consecutive years…although the law actually reads “concurrent” for some unknown reason:

In short, the recently passed Florence law means that for the next five years, only permanent stores owned by TNT may legally sell fireworks in the city. Is there a point to this law other than to give TNT a monopoly? If there were five such businesses in the Shoals, we would still have to ask what the point of such a law is?

If a business is licensed, pays taxes, and abides by all safety regulations, what is the problem? The new law was dreamed up and sponsored by Mayor Mickey Haddock. He has yet to answer as to his motivation.

Politicians are much like children. Tell a five year-old not to take more than two pieces of candy from the bowl, and he will take three. If no one calls his hand, the next day he will take four; the day after he will take five. Our mayor and city council are much like that child. They’ve performed many slights of hand the past few years. Now is the time to say “Enough!”

Ethics complaints take months to be processed through the system. By the time the Alabama Ethics Commission rules on the validity of the complaint against Haddock, etal. the election will be long over. Vote for a change on October 4th. Vote for Steve Holt and Kaytrina P. Simmons!

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Word from Steve Modas/Lucky to be Alive?

From Mr. Steve Modas in answer to a blog post by Rogersville Rose:

My name is Steve Modas; most people just call me Big Steve. I appreciate the chance Shoalanda Speaks has given me to respond to an article posted on here written by Rogersville Rose concerning my business (Big Steve's) donating money and items to schools. This practice of helping schools seems to irritate Rose. If selling alcohol eliminates us from helping schools then it would also eliminate Walmart, Food Land, Publix, Dollar General. Walgreens, CVS pharmacy, and most restaurants and gas stations. We wouldn't have many businesses left to help the schools. 

Times are hard for schools; government funding is constantly being cut even as government puts more mandates on them. Businesses and individuals including myself try to help by donating to worthy projects and programs. Rogersville Rose didn't like it that my name was put on a shirt. I've attached pictures of both sides of the shirt. No students were given these shirts and no where do they mention alcohol. 

I sponsored a big basketball tournament held around Christmas each year back when I was in business with my son at Lil' Steve's. Lil' Steve's has some liquor stores but mainly they are gas stations we had a banner hanging that said nothing more than 'Lil' Steve's an American family owned business' no mention of alcohol. We try to feed the home and visiting teams during playoff games it seems that them thanking me for doing that during the game also upset Rogersville Rose. Rogersville Rose has probably never helped the schools; most people that like to condemn those that do usually don't. 

I was condemned all over Facebook for wanting to set up a lunch fund at Brooks for anyone that didn't have lunch money for any reason. Those that condemned me for it at least did it on their Facebook using their name. Although I know who Rogersville Rose is and I know it's just a personal attack on me, most people don't know it. 

To Rose and anyone else that has a problem with schools being helped at least let everyone know who you are and don't hide your vindictiveness behind a beautiful flower. In closing Rose also says that I might be trying to attract future customers. That's just ridiculous; anyone that knows me knows I don't sell to minors and never will. I don't think anything I have done to help schools will cause a student to start drinking. I just want to help when I can and God willing I will continue helping. 

Thanks again for allowing me the opportunity to comment on what's been written about me on here.


We're happy to publish the above from Mr. Modas. We will note that the name "Rogersville Rose" was given our reader by us and not one that she/he chose. We are also happy tp publish the attached photos. We had visualized only the name of a liquor store on the front and a bottle of booze on the back. Now we all have the real picture:


We've had several readers contact us bout the Saturday night incident at Sidepockets Lounge. One faithful reader has informed us Nick Hoffman was extremely high on drugs and attempted to stab a third man, but was prevented from doing so by a woman who hit him over the head with a chair. Good for her!