Thursday, June 22, 2017

Who's a Professional? Not Brandon Willcutt

It was only a few days ago that we blogged on the subject of words. They can mean anything anyone wants them to, right? No, not really.

Today's TimesDaily published an article by Robert Palmer on the new local head of Alabama Young Democrats, Brandon Willcutt. Willcutt works for Scope 310, an organization assisting the mentally challenged; Palmer called Willcutt a mental health professional.

We were curious as to what Willcutt actually did at Scope 310 and looked at his LinkedIn profile. The gentleman doesn't claim any degrees, but has attended UNA. 

We admire Willcutt for working with Scope 310, but unless his profile is out of date, he's not a professional in what he does. It's unfair to real professionals who have stayed the course to earn a degree to call him one. 


There have been reports of a barge running over a fishing boat near Cypress Creek yesterday afternoon; readers are asking about the circumstances. We've had no information on this. If you have details, please send the info to us.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Who Got a 5K Bonus?/Ditto Lawrence County

Most of our readers probably know that Jennifer Gray and Keith Lankford from the Shoals are among six finalists for the position of superintendent of Decatur City Schools. That means there's a 33% chance this area will be losing an educator/school executive.

We've received some e-mail about there being a conflict of interest in this search, and we do plan to address this later. Today we want to discuss why these two want to leave the Shoals.

Certainly Jennifer Gray's current position as school principal is a step down for the former Lauderdale County superintendent, so it's hardly surprising she's seeking this job. How about Lankford?

He's been at Sheffield two years. That city's schools need strong leadership. There's certainly more of a chance for Lankford to make a real difference in Sheffield than there is in Decatur. The cost of living is also less in Sheffield, so why is he eager to leave?

There are rumors that some are seeking a raise for Lankford if he remains in Sheffield. That may just be pie in the sky, but there are five thousand realities in Lankford's recent pay. Yes, the school board gave Mr. Lankford a 5K bonus for his last year's work. Is Lankford's seeming interest in the Decatur job simply a ruse to get more pay?


The CFO of Florence City Schools Connie Wallace has been gracious enough to contact us with some information. When the new middle school is complete, the portable classrooms will be returned to the company from which they're rented. No more portable classrooms in the foreseeable future.

Mrs. Wallace has also informed us that the new middle school construction is right on schedule. Kudos to everyone making this happen!


We were quickly informed after we published yesterday that the puppy-dropper wasn't from Franklin County, but from Lawrence. We don't have a great many stats from Lawrence at our fingertips, but we'll be compiling them for a future blog.

What we said about Franklin is still very true. Let's hope someone gets the ball rolling on some positive measures extremely soon.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Attention Franklin County - You're a Sick Joke!

Yes, you, Franklin County. Your priorities are skewed. You need an animal shelter and you've made absolutely no progress in getting one.

In case any of our readers missed it, this weekend a woman from Franklin County dumped a litter of puppies after hours at the Colbert shelter. She did do the right thing when contacted and returned to take them to a rescue. No, Colbert can't take animals from other counties. Neither can Lauderdale. This is just common sense.

Don't worry, Franklin County, we're now going to address the City of Russellville. It was Russellville's previous mayor who claimed that city didn't have an animal control problem. No, and it doesn't have an illegal immigrant problem either, does it?

Nothing about this situation will change unless one of two things happens. One - The state will come in and make Franklin County do the right thing; or Two - Citizens will place pressure on their elected officials to remedy the situation.

Certainly the second choice would be quicker, so we're asking residents to act. Yes, John Smith on Waterloo Road, that's you. Yes, Jane Jones on Cotaco Street, that's you also. Yes, you...the attorney who hangs out at the courthouse...Larson E. Pettifogger, isn't it? That means you as well. 

Don't just write a letter to elected officials; write one to the Franklin County Times and the Franklin Free Press. Make sure no one can say there's no animal problem in your city or county. 

We honestly don't know how you sleep at night...


Now a special word to a few of you in Russellville. Yes, we understand Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. That applies to most of Franklin County's rural residents and some in the county seat, but we know it doesn't apply to a great many in the city of Russellville.  

Please don't tell us you trust your elected officials. If your money market account never made any money, or even worse, would you continue to say you trusted your broker or banker? You have the intelligence and the resources to get things done. 

If you like to see dying, abused, and starving animals, just continue as you have done. If you have an ounce of real pity in you, do the right thing and contact your elected officials and tell them to get off their arse and build a shelter.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Porta-Huts for Our Kids?

If you live in Florence, you probably know that the city's middle school children are housed in modular classrooms. This was one reason that many of us found it imperative to complete the new middle school. One who didn't, of course, was Florence School Board member Britton Watson.

We were reminded of this situation when a portable classroom recently burned in the city of Decatur. This is what it looked like:

Brookhaven Middle School in Decatur

We began a little research into these units, which basically amount to trailers. In fact, some manufacturers continue to call them that. Some even call them huts. It's all semantics, but we do believe school children deserve better than this.

It seems that when used everyday, these portable classrooms have a life expectancy of ten years. When the new middle school opens, we assume the porta-huts will be mothballed for future use in emergencies. Let's hope we don't have any of those.

In fact, let's hope we don't have any fires like Brookhaven. 


A second Colbert County commissioner has joined David Black in opposing expedited court house entrance for local attorneys. This in spite of several road department employees having these clearances.

Well, as we've often said, you can never trust an attorney too far...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017

Each year we ask our male readers to be a good example to their children. This year, we're going to ask something different. If you can't be a good example to your sons and daughters, at least don't be a bad one.

During this past year, due to reader request, we blogged on a man (now deceased) with a long criminal history, his son who's currently serving a decades long prison sentence, and his grandson who's awaiting a prison sentence. Then just earlier this month the news told us of a Florence man who took his 18 year-old son on a home invasion.

No, if you can't be a better example than that, leave. Your child will thank you one day, and even is he or she doesn't, isn't it still better than having them curse you from a prison cell?

Happy Father's Day from All of Us at Shoalanda Speaks 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Muskrats for Mental Health & Park Safety

From the Tuscumbia Muskrat:

Insanity is defined as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think this is the perfect slogan for Tuscumbia’s Park Director – Joel Kendrick. Every year the same mismanagement practices are done over and over again – so why does the Mayor expect different results?

I am sure most everyone in the Shoals area has heard about the many calamities at Tuscumbia’s Spring Park. With each new incident we are supplied with a new Times Daily article spotlighting the current park issue at hand. As I dove into the latest TD article (“City hires safety consultant” June 13, 2017) I began to draw a question that has perplexed me for quite some time – Why is the Mayor covering-up for the Park Director?

According to the article, Mayor Bubba Underwood is working toward solving the ride safety issues at Spring Park. The main solution came from the city hiring a safety consultant. Apparently in just a few days the newly hired safety consultant determined that city employees need training on ride safety protocols and found that there were insufficient safety guidelines in place for the park rides. (By the way – I also identified that a lack of knowledge and training were indeed a major issue for park employees.)

In addition the safety consultant informed the city that employees were incorrectly operating the Python Roller Coaster ride. Apparently park employees were unaware that ALL 5 cars needed to be in operation in order for the ride to function safely and correctly. Instead only 4 cars were in operation on May 31st which was the day that the 6 children became stuck on the roller coaster ride.

I truly appreciate the Mayor hiring a safety consultant and addressing our children’s safety. However, could Mayor Underwood please explain the job duties of our Park Director? Spring Park employees are under the supervision of the Park Director and it is HIS responsibility to ensure that training and safety protocols are in place. 

I find it extremely discomforting that the Park Director has been just “getting-by” on a wing and a prayer for all these years. We are very blessed that no park visitor has ever suffered a severe injury from general ignorance of ride safety. If a Production Manager at a plant didn’t give his employees proper safety training --- would the manager be fired? If we continue to keep a park director who keeps dragging the park down then that is Insanity indeed!


The Keller Festival is at hand. Let's hope all rides will be functioning safely and that no muskrats, er, children will be injured during the event. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Did Someone Say Polls?

We had a critic ask us about UNA placing number two in a ranking of 30 four-year colleges in Alabama. Certainly it's nice to place in the top numbers of most polls, but two of the criteria for the most recent poll were cheap tuition and number of acceptances (low ACT scores). It reminded us of some other polls in which UNA had scored/not scored in the past few years.

U.S. News & World Report 9/14: Two Alabama colleges ranked; UNA was not one of them.

Dept. of Edu. 2/17 Most Earning Potential: UNA ranked 14th in state.

Niche 9/16 Best Dorms: UNA ranked 15th out of 25 in state.

Niche 4/16 Attractive Females: UNA 12th out of 17 in state. 

Niche 4/16 Attractive Males: UNA 3rd out of 17 in state.


Polls can be either worded or manipulated to mean anything anyone wants. Of the above polls, we feel only the Department of Education polls holds real merit, and even that poll is iffy. Why? Did the poll take into consideration bare figures or did it also consider which universities produced grads willing to move farther afield to increase their income?


Polls for the upcoming U.S. Senate race? There's already squabbling over which, if any, are official polls. Do we have any endorsements on tap? Of course; we'll go ahead and give you one clue that the Republican candidate this blog endorses will not be Luther Strange.