Friday, October 31, 2008


While many aspects of our Halloween holiday are pagan in origin, contrary to many recent reports, Samhain was not the Celtic god of the dead. The Celts did worship many gods, including a god of the dead/underworld; however, Samhain was a season of change and prelude to winter and the new year.

So, for all of us Celts (Irish/Scots/Welsh), today marks the end of an old year. In fact, for many centuries the Gaelic word for the eleventh month has been Samhain. Have a safe, happy, and prosperous Celtic New Year!

What's up with this: Does the TimesDaily actually think their new computer column penned by a syndicated geek is an improvement over that of local techie Jim Fisher?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ode to Billy Don

Midnight on October 31 will mark the end of Sheffield Mayor Billy Don Anderson's term in office. Defeated in his bid for another four years, Anderson is not going down without a fight.

Billy Don has called a special meeting for Friday at four o'clock. Ostensibly a budget meeting, sources close to the current mayor indicate that BD will attempt to have himself appointed to the Sheffield Utility Board. One of the few successful components of Sheffield, the utility department offers BD access to city records and could be used as a stepping stone to other positions--something BD would obviously prefer since the sale of his former bank left him without a job.

If you think there is more to this story, you're right. BD's camp has been responsible for rumors concerning the demise of the new River City/Riverfront Park development. Both Trophy Golf and River City Developers say this rumor is unfounded. Obviously, River City founders William B. Campbell Jr., Ron Riley, and David A. Steenson have ties to the area and are eager to see the project succeed.

All Sheffield citizens are urged to attend this meeting. Sheffield deserves a treat and not a Billy Don trick.

What's up with this: What local not-so-photogenic ambulance chaser is bringing suit against the town of Lexington? Sorry, guy, if your clients win, the town will probably be glad to hand over the key to the city.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Lady or the Russellville Tiger?

Every six years, Halloween falls on Friday night. Therefore this should not come as a surprise to any of the powers that be. In a kinder, gentler time a Wednesday Halloween presented problems for small rural communities, as a Sunday holiday still does. Now it seems in a Southern culture of "two-a-day" the Friday night lights take precedence over the Celtic New Year's Eve.

Russellville had obviously hoped to have a perfect season, and as it stands now, has only one loss and a stab at a State Title. In other words, local residents just love to watch a successful team. This Friday, the Russellville Golden Tigers will play Colbert County, only a short drive for Franklin County residents. The Mayor and other elected officials naturally want everyone from the area to drive to Leighton to support their team, but what of traditional trick-or-treating? Easy: Halloween is now Thursday night! I'm sure Russellville City teachers just loved that pronouncement. Of course, those not interested in football may now trick-or-treat in Russellville on Thursday and then travel to Muscle Shoals on Friday for an encore and a toothache.

Perhaps now the Russellville officials will change Christmas to July. The sales are better.

What's up with this: If the Lauderdale County Teachers' Credit Union is unable to recoup the six million lost on loans to bankrupt Tim Shelton, just who loses?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just Say No to Deborah Bell Paseur

Like it or not, many Alabama judges are elected. This may change in the next few years, but for now the citizens of this great state are stuck with the system. There are many in this area who will vote for Judge Paseur since she is something of a local girl. The same goes for those who will vote for Paseur because she is a Democrat. Even some may vote for her because she is Catholic or female.

Both judges are qualified; however, Greg Shaw has more education and has run a clean campaign, unlike Paseur who is throwing some dirt in the waning weeks of the fight. My friends in the local judicial system tell me that, while Paseur has done much good in the community, she assumes every defendant is guilty and has therefore often tilted the scales of justice against the accused. Perhaps most defendants are guilty, but surely some are not. Paseur does not have the high regard of many defense attorneys, and this alone speaks volumes.

Vote for the best qualified candidate on November 4. Vote for Judge Greg Shaw.

What's up with this: Killen has the highest per capita percentage of sex offenders in the Shoals area. Is there something we non-residents are missing?

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Unclaimed Parkway

Most individuals will usually lay claim to anything that bears their name, but not Danny D. Putman of the Rogersville/Elgin area. Putman, the developer of Rolling Brook Subdivision, had the bright idea some years ago of devising a short cut from Alabama 101 to US 72. Cutting an "L" shaped drive through commercial property that he owned, he sought to attract small businesses to what he hoped would become a shopping mecca in the small community of Elgin Crossroads.

Unfortunately, only two businesses located on this roadway, now named Putman Parkway, one of them owned by Putman himself. Putman assured those who expressed interest in the land that the Lauderdale County Commission had promised to take over the road at the appropriate time. Unfortunately, the appropriate time will not come for the commission until Putman upgrades his parkway.

As the years have passed without any maintenance, those who travel the pothole-riddled road have attempted their own jury-rigged repairs by dumping concrete construction blocks into the ever-growing chasms. If this isn't bizarre enough, Putman now insists he no longer owns the road. Since he has sold the property on both sides of the parkway, it belongs to the many new owners, according to Putman who still maintains an office nearby.

Without home rule, the Commission is unable to force Danny D. Putman to maintain the parkway that bears his name. I wonder if things are going better at Rolling Brook Subdivision?

What's up with this: Are there really no lady Lions in Killen? Surely someone can sing a verse of "I am woman, hear me roar."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dr. Parker Griffith for Progress

In a conservative area, it's not every four years that a U.S. Congressional seat is up for grabs. In two weeks, we of the Shoals and the Tennessee Valley will have the opportunity to elect the person who will serve us for the next twenty years or more. This is undoubtedly the second most important race on the ballot and one that we should thoroughly research.

If you've read my bio, you know that I am conservative. I don't deny that I usually support the majority of Republican candidates in any election. There is no way that I can support Wayne "Peanut" Parker.

Unlike his opponent, Wayne Parker has run a dirty race and now must reap what he has sewn. Even without his unfounded jabs at Dr. Griffith, Parker has shown himself to be a man of little substance who will grasp at any issue in order to create a controversy and amass votes from those who are of the lower strata of the population. Does any intelligent person actually think the U.S. Department of Education is passe'? Perhaps Wayne Parker plans to create the Department of Misinformation and ensconce himself as its director.

Vote Dr. Parker Griffith on November 4. Our future depends on it.

What's up with this: Yesterday's column on Sheffield potholes garnered some e-mail and comments--namely, the Darby family should be ashamed of its part in allowing Sheffield to become the eyesore it has in the last thirty years.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Historic Sheffield Potholes

Since the leaders of Sheffield have announced that their fair city is about to embark on a new era, I will suggest they take advantage of one of their historic assets--potholes in almost every downtown street. I can see the blurb: Visit Sheffield, the pothole capital of the world.

With Ian Sanford the mayor-elect and a new golf course complex in the works, Sheffield is about to take a leap into the 21st century. No town can be expected to keep streets in excellent repair when there are no tax dollars coming in, but we do hope the powers that be will make street maintenance their top priority when these expected windfalls do make an appearance.

Congratulations to Ian Sanford on his recent election. It's a marked improvement, and we wish him the best.

What's up with this: What North Alabama community is about to go to war over the issue of incorporation? Remember, a mayor does not a metropolis make.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Shoals Ghost Walk with Debra Glass

In case the pumpkins on every doorstep haven't given it away, Halloween is just around the corner. This autumnal holiday wouldn't be complete without Debra Glass's annual ghost walk.

This year Ms. Glass will be leading tours on October 24-25 and October 27-31. Tours begin at 7:30 p.m. and originate at Wilson Park. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, Debra is a consummate story-teller and provides a memorable experience for anyone from nine to ninety-nine.

I chose Debra Glass's Ghost Tour as my topic today in order to honor a special request; however, I've been aware of her collections of ghost stories and Romantic fiction for some time. Always best sellers in the Shoals, you can buy her work at Coldwater Books in Tuscumbia and K's Cove in Elgin.

When you see Debra, tell her Shoalanda said, "Boo!"

What's up with this: It seems a local candidate for state office is being opposed by numerous Shoals area defense attorneys. Look at it this way, guys--if she wins, you won't ever have to put up with her again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

High Speed Chase on Sheffield's Hatch Boulevard

Some Sheffield parents picking up their children from school on Wednesday afternoon were met with more than the usual traffic jam. According to sources in the area, five or six Sheffield Police cruisers were involved in a high speed chase on Hatch Boulevard shortly after three o'clock.

For those unfamiliar with the area, Hatch Boulevard is a highly patrolled residential street extending from downtown Sheffield to what is commonly called the TVA intersection. Speed limits on Hatch are 35 and 25 mph.

Witnesses to the chase reported the car being pursued was traveling at such a high rate of speed as to make it unidentifiable. There were also conflicting reports as to the number of cars in pursuit, but five or six was the most reported number.

Were Sheffield Police chasing a dangerous criminal? Was the miscreant apprehended? We the general public may never know since the police have stonewalled on the subject. We the public can and should object to these sort of chases for petty crimes.

Why? After all, the police are chasing criminals, aren't they? Yes, but in doing so they are endangering the lives of innocent citizens. Hatch Boulevard is a two-lane thoroughfare leading to various residential communities and often congested during morning and evening drive time. The police contend such chases deter crime. Most chases are initiated by speeders or other petty criminals whose identity the authorities already know (that's what license plates are for). It hasn't been that long ago that a Lauderdale deputy killed an innocent teenage girl in an attempt to pass her car while en route to a domestic dispute in Lexington. No one was hurt in the dispute, but the young woman left grieving parents and an unfulfilled future.

Now is the time to write or call the Sheffield Police Department and complain about this cowboy behavior that is all too common among today's law enforcement. You may just save a life.

What's up with this: What new area Doc-In-A-Box clinic may soon be closing due to lack of customers? It must not be better than Botox.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

William Smith, JD, Endorsement

William Smith, JD, is the best thing that has happened to the Lauderdale County Commission in recent memory. Smith is a go-getter who doesn't need this office to launch his career or bring him fame; he already has both. Both a practicing attorney and published author/local historian, Smith has long been in the forefront of the fight to bring Lauderdale County into the 21st Century.

Until now, both sides have run a clean campaign; however, his opponent Rhea Fulmer has recently initiated a few uncalled for jabs. Ms. Fulmer, who believes the body of water just west of Killen is called "Shoals," has lambasted Mr. Smith for his choice of campaign sign colors. Ms. Fulmer apparently doesn't know that Kelly green is a long way from Sping green--or that the use of colors can't be copyrighted. If this is her idea of a campaign issue, I hope the citizens of eastern Lauderdale County realize she's just not Commission material.

Shoalanda Speaks wholeheartedly endorses William Smith, JD, for the Lauderdale County Commission on November 4, 2008.

What's up with this: It seems a certain former Lauderdale County detective and amateur chef has taken up the mantle of ghost-hunter. Hope he doesn't get K.O.'d.

Scott Carrier's Last Stand

Lame duck Florence Councilman Scott Carrier voted against both the 2009 budget and proposed utility rate increases. His was the only negative vote on either issue, both sure to pass at the next council meeting. Carrier's objection to the budget was based on its lack of cost of living raises for city employees. At least this was Carrier's stated objection.

Carrier's recent letters to various area newspaper editors have shown the mayor-wannabe to be disgruntled and blaming voters' bad judgment for his loss in the recent Florence City elections. His votes against these issues obviously resulted from his negativity and have cost the city two weeks in preparation for the coming fiscal year. The next council meeting will be Carrier's last, and I'm sure many feel as I do--good riddance to his theatrical shenanigans.

Will Scott leave the Florence political scene for good? That remains to be seen, and even if he should do so, guy pal Matt Osborne is waiting in the wings to assume the mantle of bad boy council critic. Mayor Irons may finish his second term wondering why he sought an encore in the city's highest office.

What's up with this: Sources at a local District Attorney's office have indicated we can expect the imminent arrest of a Florence restaurant owner/manager for First Degree Theft.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October 20, 2008 - Meet Shoalanda Speaks

Beginning today, conservative political pundit Shoalanda Speaks will be discussing issues facing the Shoals area. While Ms. Speaks is a true Southern conservative, she will attempt to present all facets of the issues discussed herein. Please feel free to contact Shoalanda at if you have any questions about the Shoals area, its politics, or noted citizens...or if you have an idea for future columns.

What better way to begin than with a toothy issue--that's right--the proposed Tuscumbia dog ordinance. That city has certainly been lax in its enforcement of current animal control laws. Perhaps Tuscumbia needs only to make a concerted effort to enforce the existing laws before enacting an ambiguous code that could be easily overturned. "Barking for no reason?" Sorry, guys--dogs don't bark for no reason. If the city feels it needs a stronger ordinance, I would suggest that it look to current laws in neighboring cities. Florence has long been adept at animal control without such draconian edicts. Spot and Rover don't need a maximum security prison--just a little guidance now and then.

Today's What's Up with This: Speaking of Tuscumbia, what local artist with the initials P.W. was recently escorted from Coldwater Books by local police?