Monday, May 31, 2010

Tim Milam - Pro & Con (A Special Report)

Note: We published at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, indicating that it would be our last political column before the election. At 11:48 Sunday night we received a guest commentary that was favorable to Tim Milam, candidate for Colbert County District Judge. We believe strongly that Memorial Day should be just that--a day to honor those who have given their lives for our country; however, when we informed the guest blog's author that her column would not be published until Tuesday, she implied we were dishonest in our request for blogs espousing a differing view from ours. Therefore, we are publishing a special blog for this pro-Milam article and including another recent submission that takes the opposite view.


Time for a Leader in Colbert County

By Concerned Colbert County Mom

I fully support Tim Milam as being the next Colbert County Judge. He is an honest, hard working, Christian man that believes in obeying the law and doing whats right. So many have slandered this man, made false accusations, and told lies to try to discredit him personally. It has been brought out about Dallas, the truth has NOT been told about this situation. Dallas has no hard feelings toward the Milam's, he loves them and stays in contact with them regularly. The situation of Dallas no longer living with Tim Milam was not a decision of Tim making him leave, or "kicking him out", Dallas left on his own to explore life to his liking. During this campaign, people have gotten so ugly and nasty, without knowing the facts. It doesn't matter who gets hurt, whose reputation gets destroyed, or the impact these lies have played on the life of these candidates. It has all been about winning a vote. People I ask you to please stop the rumors, the lies, the hear say: If there is something you want to know about any of the candidates, by all means go to them and ask them. Don't listen to the garbage that is spreading on the forums, radio, papers. Pray and ask God to guide you in the right direction as you go to the polls Tuesday. And May God be with each of these candidates and see them through this election. I have made my choice, that's my right. Now you make yours, its your choice.


The Devil Made Him Do It

By Chief Tuscumbia

Tomorrow: It's been suggested that because of apathy in the governor's race, there will be a low voter turn-out tomorrow. We sincerely hope that each registered voter in the Shoals will exercise his or her right and duty on Tuesday.


Memorial Day 2010

Today is our nation's official observance of Memorial Day. Unfortunately, due to several hotly contested local races in tomorrow's primary, we've given little attention to this day, a day to honor our country's military who have died in service. Perhaps some readers missed our series of columns from last year; therefore, we will today give them a well-deserved encore.

Some Gay Ball?

Sammy Coker - He Died Twice for his Country

The Don Michael-Audie Murphy Bridge?

Lionel Terry - He Died to Protect an H-Bomb

Alabama Veterans Museum & Archives

Matthew D. Conley - He Never Saw His Daughter

As today we honor those who gave all for America, let us remember to pray for those who are currently serving our country.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Final Word: Three Guest Commentaries

This will be our last political blog before Tuesday's primary. We bring you a guest commentary from each county.

From Lauderdale:

Chad Holden: Ready to Lead on Day One

My wife and I, along with our son Conner, have certainly enjoyed meeting so many people in Lauderdale County since joining the race for Board of Education the very first week in February. After four months of visiting just about every town in the county, shaking many hands, eating a lot of fried fish, and enjoying a fine breakfast every Saturday morning, we are now only days away from the June 1 primary.

As I said to a group of folks assembled in Waterloo last week, the candidates are all making "closing arguments" now as we near election day. I will take a moment to say that voters have a tremendous list of qualified men and women who care deeply about Lauderdale County on the ballot in 2010. I have come to know and call "friend" just about every local candidate on the ballot, and I can honestly say it will be a tough choice when casting my votes this year. All the candidates are winners in my mind.

The candidates running for Board of Education will be the last to appear on the Democratic ballot. However, I believe the two school board seats are among the most important decisions voters will make this year. What a great opportunity voters have to make a change on the board of education! Two open seats, no incumbents, and six good candidates. Now comes the hard part: choosing the "best" from among the "good."

In my final request for your vote, I ask everyone to take a serious look at all the candidates for the school board. As I have listened to the voters, the consensus is clear: people are ready for change. People do not want "more of the same." The citizens of Lauderdale County are hungry for school board members who have a passion for public education and understand what it takes to educate our children. People are tired of the "politics-as-usual" and want the school board to put education first. I genuinely believe that I am the only candidate running for Place 2 who represents "real change" and offers a perspective that no other candidate can offer a full-time classroom teacher on the front lines of education every day.

My opponent claims to be the only one with a "vested interest" in our schools since his children are enrolled in the Lauderdale system. My "vested interest" is a one-year-old son named Conner who will be in school soon enough. This race is not a competition about which candidate has the oldest children or the most children. The issues facing our schools are much bigger than that. This is not about me, my family, or my own community. It is about electing board members who are trained and ready to lead a school system with 1,000 employees and over 8,000 students. It is about electing board members who have the education and training necessary to make decisions about curricular and extracurricular matters, as well as the tremendous budgeting challenges our school board faces.

I am a Christian leader, husband, and father. I am a classroom teacher, certified administrator, and an officer in the Alabama Education Association. As an advocate for public education both at home and in Montgomery, I have a good working relationship with our state legislators and AEA officials which will benefit our schools if elected. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and be the voice speaking for you, fighting the good fight, and putting education first.

To do that, I need your vote on Tuesday, June 1. I humbly ask that you consider my qualifications, experience, and passion for education and cast your vote for CHAD HOLDEN for School Board Place 2.

Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself about the election this year, and by all means, pray for the candidates and their families.

Chad Holden

Candidate for School Board Place 2
Lauderdale County

From Franklin:

Chief Jeff Masterson

From Colbert:

He Knows Which Children Are Worth Saving

by Tuscumbia Tom

Yes, Tim Milam relinquished custody of an adopted son, but he kept the boy's sister. That tells me he knows which children are worth saving and which ones aren't.

Tim Milam will use this same judgment in family court. We need a District Judge that will be able to decide which children are worth saving. It's a hard choice, but Milam has demonstrated he's able to weed out the chaff in his own family and can do the same in court. We don't need bleeding hearts that think every child is basically good. They aren't.

Tomorrow is the official observance of Memorial Day...then the election. We hope that each voter will pray to ask God's guidance as they make their decisions and mark their ballots.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's Almost Over

We thoroughly agree with our friend Matt Osborne that it will be refreshing when the Alabama Primary is officially over. Of course, then begins the...sigh...runoff season. Let's see where we are with other recent issues.

Over: Sandra Killen-Burroughs is now officially the newest member of the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board. Look for Sandra to continue her rise up the political ladder.

Almost Over: Paige Hite McWilliams has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for her theft of Cherokee Library funds. McWilliams is seeking probation, while Special Prosecutor Doug Evans is asking for the full sentence. Apparently, Evans has no desire to allow the former library director even work release status since she has been ordered to repay the stolen funds within 30 days. We feel McWilliams has suffered enough humiliation. If the missing money is repaid promptly, surely probation would better serve both her and the public.

Who Knows When It Will Be Over: A preliminary hearing for UNA nursing student Andrew Daniel Scott of Killen was held Monday in Lauderdale County District Court. Scott, who was arrested in February on charges of possession of a controlled substance(s) non-marijuana and drug paraphernalia now faces a grand jury indictment. His appeal in the adoption of his biological son will be held next month.

Doubtful that It Will Ever Be Over: Donald Wayne Darling II has been arrested again--this time for domestic violence and assault.


For those of you who have been caught up in the current "Click-it or Ticket" campaign, we present Junior Brown...

Trader Evaluates: Check out Trader's newest blog.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Colbert Sheriff Ronnie May: Worried?

Ronnie May: Worried?

A Guest Commentary By

C. R.

The “Click It or Ticket It” traffic safety program has returned to our roads again. The "Click It or Ticket" campaign is set to run from May 24 through June 6, 2010. The mobilization, expected to involve more than 10,000 police agencies, is supported by $8 million in national advertising funded through Congress and coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The program focuses on seat belt use, DUI, and aggressive driving. This program is a valuable tool to help local law enforcement lower the death rates on our highways during holiday periods. The program is paid for by a grant and costs the sheriff’s office nothing.

Most local law enforcement agencies are involved with this program except one. The Colbert County Sheriff’s Office turned down the opportunity to be included in the May 24 through June 6, 2010, program. The sheriff’s office has participated in the program before. When several deputies started to ask where was the sign up sheet for the program, they were informed by a supervisor that the program was canceled this time because it was an election year and the sheriff was afraid to offend someone.

I guess the sheriff is more worried about re-election than protection of the citizens.


The Shoals Republican Club along with Shoals2DC will host a candidate cookout for all Republican candidates on the state, local, and federal levels on Friday, May 28th from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at McFarland Park, Picnic Shelter #2. McFarland Park is located on the northern shore of the Tennessee River in Florence off Alabama Highway 20 at the intersection of U.S. 72 before O’Neal Bridge.

All Alabama Republican candidates on the state, local, and federal levels have been invited to attend. The event is open to the public and free. Come out and meet the candidates. This is your opportunity to ask the candidates about themselves and the important issues facing our country, the state and the Shoals area. The Republican Primary is Tuesday, June 1st. The Shoals Republican Club meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month. All meetings of the Shoals Republican Club are open to the public. For more information, contact Shoals Republican Club President William Smith at (256) 767-4529, or


Most recent release from Jeff Masterson, showing presumably questionable use of campaign funds by HD 18 Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow: Link


Florence attorney Greg Burdine, Florence City Councilman Hermon Graham, and Florence businesswoman Candy Haddock are seeking the Democratic nomination for Alabama House District 1. Haddock has few political connections and is a very dark horse. Graham has demonstrated from past behavior that he is far from a team player. That leaves Burdine, who does have the education and political contacts to represent this district.

We have previously asked Burdine for a vision statement and have received no response; therefore, we will not endorse anyone in the Democratic Primary. We make no secret that we feel Republican Brad Holmes is the man for the job.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Masterson v. Morrow: Where Does the Truth Lie?

Photo courtesy of Alfa

Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow has deep roots in Red Bay. Pictured above at his 300 acre Cypress Cove Farm, the former economics instructor at Northwest-Shoals Community College has come under fire this week for misappropriating over 77K of taxpayer dollars for his Franklin County farm. One of four children, Morrow is the only one to remain in Red Bay, where he resides on property that has been in his family for generations. Sources say with the property inherited from his parents and uncle, along came the financial means to keep up the land. So, why would Morrow risk everything for what might be a rather trivial amount to him?

Perhaps he hasn't. Sources say Morrow has taken out an ad in the Red Bay newspaper claiming that accusations by his opponent Jeff Masterson are motivated by more than Masterson's desire for the HD 18 seat; Morrow blames Indian casinos in Mississippi for much of the hubbub over state money spent on his land--land at least partially leased by the Bear Creek Development Authority to use for educational purposes. Besides the annual "Farm Week," local school children are welcome one day each month at Cypress Cove.

Seventy-seven thousand dollars for 16 days a year of education/entertainment at a venue where exhibits from the private sector also regularly set up? There must be something in the water in Montgomery...


Jeff Masterson's response to Morrow and the Bear Creek Development Authority:

Today the board members of the Bear Creek Development Authority attacked the Masterson Campaign for telling the truth. The board members claim that the Masterson ads “harm the good name not only of BCDA, but also of the teachers...” The Masterson radio ad...does not mention the Bear Creek Development Authority or any teachers. There are absolutely no claims of any wrongdoing on the part of anyone except Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow.

“Iʼm disappointed that the fine members of the authority would try and distort what my campaign has been saying,” said Masterson. “All we have said is the truth, which is that Johnny Mack Morrow has used Community Service grants to build buildings, install an irrigation system and hire a worker for his farm. These expenditures are documented in his own handwriting and none of them are through Bear Creek.

"I once again call on Johnny Mack Morrow to return to the state the over $75,000 of taxpayer money he has misspent,” said Masterson.


There are new additions at Judge Sandlin's Locker.


The Shoals Republican Club will host a luncheon featuring Angela Laughlin and Dr. Gerald Freeman, candidates for Alabama Senate District 1. The luncheon will be at Ryan's in Florence at Noon today.

At this time, we are happy to endorse Dr. Gerald Freeman for the Republican nomination. Dr. Freeman has been a local physician for many years and will make a great and much-needed addition to the State Legislature.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tim Milam's Forgotten Son

The Forgotten Son

A Guest Commentary By

Hoffman Dean

The topic of children and family has been pointed out as an important issue among candidates in the Colbert County District Judge’s race. Although it has been mentioned in passing within several TimesDaily forums, I feel the need to draw direct attention to the following question:

“Where’s your forgotten son, Mr. Milam?”

Most people learn early in life, often from their parents, that it’s never a good idea to throw stones in a glass house. Mr. Milam apparently never grasped the meaning of that statement. Possibly, because his father was deceased and his relationship with his mother became extremely volatile. As for the reason, we may never really know. But maybe, just maybe, the oldest candidate in the Colbert county district judge’s race will learn this valuable life lesson now, before anyone else suffers the wrath of his dirty campaign tactics.

Tim Milam states, on several occasions and on various political marketing pieces, that he adopted THE CHILD of his deceased sister, who passed away after a lengthy battle with Cystic Fibrosis. The truth is that his niece and nephew were to be left with and cared for by his mother. Mr. Milam and his wife, as evident in Colbert County court records, sued his mother for custody of his sister’s two children, a boy and a girl. So I ask you now, concerned voters of Colbert County, what kind of man, what kind of father, rips a family apart to gain custody of a child, and parents that young child, only to give him away a few years later? The same man who sues the woman who gave everything to raise him on her own. The same man who never mentions his mother or the FORGOTTEN SON he gave away because of minor discipline issues. As for the evidence, follow these links and you will find personal photos of Tim Milam’s adopted son. The proof is in the captions.

In 2004 Dallas Milam was part of the Tim Milam family. He called Tim and his wife “Mom & Dad,” and Tim’s grandson was referred to as the boy's nephew. But just two short years later, he was no longer in the Deshler High School football program as part of the Milam family, he was living in Mississippi, playing football at a different high school, throwing up “gang signs” and referring to himself as “Lil Gotti.”

How easy it is for a child to get lost in this world when parental guidance is absent in their lives. How important is a candidate’s relationship with their own family in regards to the their ability to weigh cases in family court?

If Tim Milam is elected judge, will the children of Colbert County be as disposable as his own FORGOTTEN SON?


I just wanted to back up the statement that Tim's adopted son has been repeatedly left out of any and all political statements made by the Milam camp (his words in red).

Interests: "My wife Sonia, my children; Nina, Hunter, Morgan and Myranda and my grand children, Grant and Ava! Im all about my famiily!"

From his ShoalsInsider release:

"I am a proud parent and grandparent of four kids and 2 grand kids. My life revolves around them and what sport/activity they are involved in."


"It is crucial for any District Court Judge to have children. I have biological children and have adopted a child. Until a person walks in the shoes they should not be allowed to Judge others. How can any person who does not have children be, qualified to decide all the issues for any child in District Court? I do not believe they can. A Judge should have their own children before they can understand how to treat someone else’s children. District Court Judge also hear adoptions under certain circumstances. I have handled many, many adoptions. Further, as stated above, I have adopted a child. Two of the other candidates do not even have children. None of the other candidates have ever adopted a child."


"My sister died of Cystic Fibrosis in April of 1999 and my wife and I adopted her child, Myranda, she attends Deshler middle school."


More tomorrow on Johnny Mack Morrow. Until then we leave you with our favorite quote from this campaign. BFred in the TimesDaily Forums on Judge Jimmy Sandlin: "Once you get past the whole adultery and screwing over his family thing he's a pretty good guy."


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Special Report: Morrow's Documented Expenses

We have just received the following report from Jeff Masterson, Democratic candidate for HD 18, the seat currently held by Johnny Mack Morrow:

Discretionary Fund Expenses Benefiting Johnny Mack Morrow's Cypress Cove Farms

We invite our readers to peruse the records and offer comments.


Cypress Cove Farms: Morrow's Waterloo?

Johnny Mack Morrow seemed like the proverbial shoo-in for retaining his House seat. There is no Republican opposition in that bastion of Democratic rustics, and Jeff Masterson (pictured) has, until now, been an extremely dark horse. The question is, "Did Morrow actually use (read: steal) over 77K in taxpayer funds to complete various projects on his Cypress Cove Farms?"

A working farm, Cypress Cove is open annually to students in Morrow's district. Each year grade school youngsters come from Haleyville, Hamilton, and all over Franklin County to visit the legislator's Red Bay farm during what the legislator calls "Farm Week." Perhaps a better term would be "Your Tax Dollars at Work Week."

Jeff Masterson is currently a Russellville City Councilman and a relative unknown outside Franklin County--until now. We have to ask just how long Masterson has been sitting on this information and, more importantly, can these accusations be proved? If Morrow has used tax payer dollars for personal gain, there would be more than an ethics violation in Johnny Mack's future. Morrow could possibly be adding the title "convicted felon" to his political resume'.

What if Jeff Masterson can't prove his accusations? In that case, we hope Mr. Morrow, a 20 year veteran of the House, winds up making even more improvements to his farm with money won in a libel suit against his opponent.


We had planned to endorse Johnny Mack Morrow in the House District 18 race; however, we obviously now feel that until these charges are investigated (and that may not happen until after the primary), HD 18 voters will do well to monitor developments day by day and vote accordingly.


Don't tell Tim James, but Jeff Masterson's Facebook page has parallel postings in Spanish. Well...he is a Democrat.


Lauderdale District Judge? A Hard Decision

The Lauderdale County District Judge's race has been overshadowed by its sister contest in Colbert County, where it seems anything goes as far as campaigning. This is not a bad thing at one level, but perhaps many voters in Lauderdale County have not looked at this county's race with the thoroughness it deserves. Below is an updated profile of Democratic candidate John Odem:

* POSITION SOUGHT: Lauderdale County District Judge
* PARTY: Democratic
* AGE: 30
* OCCUPATION: Attorney
* RESIDENCE: Killen, Alabama


A. Judicial campaigns are quite unique. All candidates must be attorneys in good standing with the State Bar Association and they must reside within Lauderdale County. The key issue for this campaign is who is the best candidate to serve the people of Lauderdale County as District Judge for the next six (6) years. I believe that candidate is me. I have the education and the background to fill this position. I have the experience necessary to render fair decisions in accordance with the laws of this state. I am old enough to know how to do the job and young enough to get the job done.

I will treat every party with fairness and impartiality according to the law. I will uphold the dignity of the court and continue bringing honor and justice to the courtroom. Decisions rendered by the court effect everyone involved. Every judge wishes to have the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job. When these characteristics fail to materialize, the judge must rely on good common sense and proper temperament. A judge must rule on the evidence presented and testimony of the witnesses. I will look for the truth. Sometimes the tongue lies, but the eyes do not.


A. While there are three Circuit Judges in Lauderdale County there is only one District Judge. This judge is responsible for certain types of both criminal and civil cases. The District Court has jurisdiction over civil lawsuits up to $10,000.00. It also has jurisdiction over small claims disputes, also known as the people’s court, where citizens present disputes to the court without the assistance or expense of an attorney. As District Judge I promise never to be influenced by who their attorney may be or the fact that they have chosen to pursue their argument without counsel. Lawyers, money and politics will never effect my decision, only the evidence and the facts.

The District Court also has jurisdiction over all misdemeanor cases arising within the county. These cases include domestic violence, assault, misdemeanor drug possession, DUI, theft and criminal mischief. Although these crimes are simple misdemeanors they need to be dealt with using a firm hand of justice. I believe that domestic violence violators should be jailed. Particularly when women and children are involved. It has been my experience in District Court that counseling and court ordered programs have very limited success. Furthermore, DUI and misdemeanor drug offenders should be punished in accordance with the law. I believe in particularly firm treatment for habitual offenders. Everybody deserves a chance, however, jail is the only thing that will get some peoples attention. I promise to be firm, fair and consistent while hearing these cases.

It is essential that the District Court has a smooth working relationship with the clerk’s office, Sheriff’s Department, the office of the District attorney and State Troopers throughout the county. I will maintain a healthy relationship with these entities. If elected, I plan to meet with the heads of these departments to inform them of my procedural plans as well as open my door to suggestions and new ideas to make our system run more efficiently.

I work hard and I like staying busy. This job calls for proper temperament and good common sense. As Judge, I am prepared to hear the evidence, locate the problem and solve it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I will render nothing but fair and impartial decisions on each and every individual case.


A. I believe most of our legal problems start at home at an early age. As District Judge I will invite every Lauderdale County classroom, teacher and student to visit my courtroom and our county jail. I want our children to see the consequences of making poor decisions. My motto will be “Look Before you Leap.”

I have always been an advocate for Judge Jones’ program in which he assigns a portion of a state or county road to be kept clean by a person granted probation or a suspended sentence. I would like to incorporate this program into the District Court. If a person is found guilty of a crime but spared jail time, I think the proper punishment would be to have that person help keep the litter from the streets in the community where they live. This imposes punishment and allows for physical exercise. It is a win/win for the community.

I intend to follow the good examples of previous local judges such as Judge Tease, Judge Leslie Johnson, Judge Pasuer and Judge Carpenter, all of whom had limited experience and were about my age when elected. Experience does not determine success. After all, it was experienced ship builders that built the Titanic but amateurs that built the Arc. Sometimes proper inspiration and willingness to always do the right thing prevails.


A. There’s no substitute for honest and integrity. Judges are in a unique position in our legal system. A judge’s decision must be fair, impartial and without outside influence. A judge must avoid even the appearance of impropriety. I feel it is beneath the dignity of the court for a judicial candidate to ask for campaign contributions. As Judge I will not be influenced by any person and will make all decisions in accordance with the evidence and the law. I simply will not open the door for some campaign contributors needing a favor to remind me of their past generosity.

John S. Odem


Both candidates in this primary are more than qualified. Florence Municipal Judge James Hall II has more experience, while Odem has an abundance of energy and enthusiasm on his side. In short, one cancels out the other.

While I personally support Judge Hall because of issues relating to the campaign that do not affect others, we here at Shoalanda do not feel that we can endorse one candidate over the other. We ask that voters in Lauderdale County research all issues and ask God's guidance in their selection of the next Lauderdale County District Judge.


The Lauderdale County Commission has just recommended our friend Sandra Killen-Burroughs for the Florence-Lauderdale Tourist Board. Congratulations, Sandra!

We had announced several weeks ago that there would be big news coming from the eastern end of Lauderdale County, and this is it. We doubt that the Florence-Lauderdale Board could find anyone more qualified than Sandra. We trust her approval will be forthcoming shortly.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lexington Mayor Bobby McGuire Doesn't Know?

Lexington has water troubles...again. Now, the small Lauderdale County town is searching for a new well, but Mayor Bobby McGuire doesn't know why. It seems the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has informed the town's water department that it must find a new source of water by the end of December. From Saturday's TimesDaily:

McGuire said he's unsure exactly why they must find another water supply, but he is following ADEM's guidance.

Well, McGuire could form a committee and hold some town meetings and perhaps consult one of the local psychics in order to find out why the town needs a new water source. Or...he could just ask ADEM, but perhaps that would take more intellect and common sense than the current mayor can muster.

We understand that a very politically savvy, forward-thinking candidate will be in the running for mayor in two more years. Perhaps then Lexington will no longer be the laughing stock it was made to appear in this situation.


Carlton Utley is the current Colbert County Coroner. Mr. Utley has performed his duties well--duties that are always unpleasant at best and which require him to leave the comfort of his home or office at all hours. We'll further add that Alabama coroners are grossly underpaid.

We're happy to endorse Carlton Utley in the Democratic Primary.


The Colbert County School Board Place 6 race is hotly contested. Dr. Freda Daily, a denizen of that infamous town of Cherokee, has spent quite a few bucks on her campaign to win this election. Is she the most qualified?

Even though she possesses a doctorate, Daily is lacking in vision for the Colbert County system. Her opponent's ideas outshine the good doctor's in every area. Therefore, we endorse Nancy Bishop Parker. Good luck, Ms. Parker.

What's up with this: It seems another Sheffield sexual predator is in the news--living in an unauthorized area and attempting to "befriend" three young boys. Thanks to the TimesDaily for bringing this growing problem to the attention of its readers.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sexual Morality? Let's Talk about Ethics

Sexual Morality? Let's Talk about Ethics

A Guest Commentary by

Bailey Quarters

Let's bring (sexual) morality back to the Lauderdale County Courts? Shoalanda, I agree with your statement, but let's address an issue everyone can and should get on board with. Let's address Ethics.

I pay taxes because I work. This is what a responsible citizen does. Do I pay too much? I'm not sure what would be too much, but I pay a lot. I expect my tax dollars to keep Lauderdale County and the State of Alabama running. I do not expect my tax dollars to create a job for a judge's girlfriend.

I'm not sure why the taxpayers of this county have not rioted in the streets about this. I'm not sure why Stan Dean supports this man, this now-divorced judge.

So, let's leave the morality out of it and talk about an actual crime that took place. Rhonda Bogus is gone now, but CITY still has offices in Lauderdale County. What started out as a good idea became an excuse to waste taxpayer money. That's what you need to talk about, Shoalanda, the legal issues, not the morals.


And now another guest commentary from Wayne Nix:


Just a thought: Do you think when God handed out brains and common sense, he did it in reverse alphabetical order for the 50 states and ran short on the last one? (Translation: At his point we'll take either Artur Davis or Bradley Byrne.)


Friday, May 21, 2010

In Judge Sandlin's Locker

In a recent blog, we asked what kind of change Judge Jimmy Sandlin had brought to the Lauderdale Circuit Court. We stated that the lives of Judge Sandlin's family have certainly changed since he was elected on the platform of saving marriages. One of Judge Sandlin's children has contacted us to say that he supports his father in all that has happened and has taken part in Sandlin's advertising campaign.

Our statement holds, but we have no desire to hurt Judge Sandlin's family. We have stressed to this young man that he is welcome to write a blog for us and we will be happy to publish it; however, it appears he does not wish to.

How about other change that Sandlin has wrought? Obviously, for every winner in family court, there is a loser, but we have previously been impressed by the work that Patricia Locker has done to bring certain court problems to light.

Patricia has begun a website called In Judge Sandlin's Locker. We invite you to visit this informative site and judge for yourself.

Yes, we support Willson Jenkins, a man we think will make a great judge. If there should be runoff between Sandlin and Billy Jackson, we will support Jackson. Let's bring morality back to the bench.


Shoals Republican Club Hosts

Alabama State Senate Candidates

Jerry Freeman and Angela Laughlin

Thursday, May 27th

The Shoals Republican Club will host Republican Alabama State Senate District #1 candidates Angela Laughlin and Dr. Jerry Freeman on Thursday, May 27th from 12:00 noon until 1:00 p.m. at Ryan’s Family Steakhouse Restaurant on Cox Creek Parkway in Florence.

Each candidate will be given time to introduce themselves and speak about the important issues facing our state and the Shoals area. Alabama State Senate District #1 encompasses all of Lauderdale County and a portion of Colbert County, including Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, and Sheffield. The Republican Primary for Alabama State Senate District #1 is Tuesday, June 1st.

The Shoals Republican Club meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month. All meetings of the Shoals Republican Club are open to the public. For more information, contact Shoals Republican Club President William Smith at (256) 767-4529, or


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kossuth Students: They Beat a Duck...

Photo of ducks in Spring Park courtesy of T. L. Martin Sr. Visit his page on Flickr.

Kossuth is a small community in Alcorn County, Mississippi. According to Asst. Supt. Wayne Henry, due to academic requirements in place at this time, there's little opportunity for field trips. For an end of year treat, the Kossuth Middle School took such a field trip--to Tuscumbia's Spring Park.

According to news reports, the group was large. According to Mr. Henry, there were chaperons. Henry states that the majority of the six involved were 13 years-old--old enough that they should not have needed constant supervision. Yet, six of these students managed to acquire a plastic baseball bat and beat a duck. That's right--a duck! Let us say this again: Six Kossuth Middle School Students beat a duck with a baseball bat.

From accounts in the TimesDaily, the duck lived and is supposedly recovering. If the children belonged to any of us, they would not be faring so well.

Henry went on to tell us that the students had been disciplined under the guidelines of the school handbook; he could not elaborate further due to school policy. Any additional punishment will be decided by the Tuscumbia/Colbert Park authorities and the Colbert County Juvenile Probation Office. Oh, and of course he added the parents of the children...

Children? They were mainly 13 years-old--teenagers. Calling a spade a spade, they were little thugs who should not be allowed in public again until they learn some common decency. How long will that take? In their case, it may be too late already.

Will the Kossuth School District be returning to Colbert County, or any county in the Northwest Alabama area for future field trips? Mr. Henry isn't ruling anything out.

We liked Wayne Henry. We also felt sorry for Mr. Henry, who stated that it should be the parents' job to teach ethics and morals while the school teaches math, science, etc. Very true words, Mr. Henry, but whether the fault of your school district or not, Kossuth has left a lasting impression on the Shoals and it's not a good one.


Trader has a new restaurant evaluation posted. If you've been thinking about visiting the Rice Box in North Florence, you need to check out his latest blog.


Don't forget to vote in our latest poll. The poll will end at 11:59 p.m. on May 31st. At 7:00 a.m. the next day, a different sort of poll will open. We hope that each voter will choose to be informed about the various candidates and vote accordingly.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Readers Speak

Some recent comments and questions--we'll start with a humorous, but valid question:

Don't you guys have spell check?
Yes, but it doesn't work on titles (and apparently our editor doesn't either), so if you see any blatant errors, please contact us asap. Many thanks.

Why do you all comment on other counties if you live in Lauderdale? Please read yesterday's blog. This is 2010; what's good for Lauderdale is good for Colbert is good for Franklin is good for Alabama. Even if you don't live in Lauderdale, feel free to send any comments about elections in this county . Again, we're happy to publish guest commentaries.

Do you have an agenda? Only for the best candidates to lead us into an uncertain future. Again, please read yesterday's blog. No one pays us anything and we have endorsed in three counties so far. We don't endorse if we don't have facts on which to base that endorsement; however, we realize any political stance is less valid or important to those whom it doesn't affect. If the voter doesn't have food on the table, he/she couldn't care less if the candidate is green or not.

If I want to send you a guest blog, do you have to publish my name? No, in fact we have published most commentaries under a pen name. We welcome all work, but will edit for vulgar language and anything that could be inferred as libelous. Your opinions do not have to agree with ours--that's one of the major reasons for accepting guest commentaries. We are happy to publish opposing views; however, we will not accept any blogs that support rapists, pedophiles, etc.--that should be self-explanatory.

Those figures on the Colbert County District Judge race seem low. Where did they come from? The guest commentary we recently published used data (we take it) originally published in the ShoalsInsider...and many thanks to that website for publishing them. The State of Alabama has updated disclosures, and we are publishing those figures today.


That brings us back to that donnybrook in Colbert County. Just who has spent what? Here's an updated list (amounts rounded to nearest thousand):

Nathan Johnson - 7K

Tina Miller Parker - 10K

Chad Coker - 22K

Polly Ruggles - 23K

Tim Milam - 38K

With the election twelve days away, it should be interesting to see how campaign expenses compare to the final vote tabulations.


Finally, we haven't had a poll in quite some time. We've received many questions about our "man on the street" based predictions in the above race, so today we're offering a poll on the Democratic primary for Colbert County District Judge. The poll will record only one vote per IP addy.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lauderdale v. Colbert...or Who's Your Daddy?!!!

Everyone knows, just as they have known for over one hundred years, that residents of Colbert County should not spend their tax dollars in Lauderdale, just as Lauderdale citizens should never support any civic project in Colbert. Further, don't even think about mentioning Franklin County. Yes, we know all this was supposed to have changed some years ago, but has it?

All of us who work with Shoalanda live in Lauderdale County with the exception of one individual. Trader lives in Colbert County, and while we have not asked him how he feels about any elections on either side of the river, we're sure he knows he's more than welcome to contribute to this blog as well as his own. That goes for everyone who reads us; we openly solicit blogs from readers of every political slant and have never failed to publish any that have been sent to us.

Yet, many seem to have read one or two of our almost 600 columns and continue to make assumptions about who we are and what we stand for. They (who woulda thunk it?) even wander aimlessly with their false ideas and publish them as fact in other venues.

As far as we honestly know, our publisher, who has never written the first blog or told us what to write, is the only person associated with Shoalanda who is related to any candidate in the tri-county area. He is related by marriage to a Lauderdale candidate. Nor have any of us used any candidates to obtain a divorce, buy a car, or have the lawn mowed. Our opinions are based on facts and personal observations. We offer them to you in the For What It's Worth Department and hope that you both enjoy the content as well as learn a few things that might not be common knowledge.

When Billy Underwood predicted the Colbert County District Judge's race would be the one to watch, the political equivalent of an Auburn-Alabama football game, he wasn't just gushing idle rhetoric for the TimesDaily. One has only to read the TD Forum to see what balderdash is being uttered about many of these Colbert attorneys.

Our opinion on the leaders in this race is just that--opinion based on observation and accounts sent to us from all areas of Colbert County, from Cherokee to Littleville to Leighton. As we have said before, the race is still anybody's ball game, especially with Tim Milam's 30K still to come into advertising play. It's a sad commentary, but many vote based on slick adverts without even a nod to the issues. Thank God we live in a Republic and not a Democracy.


The civil suit against former Cherokee mayor Mignon Willis began yesterday after a series of delays. We'll keep you abreast of events as they are related to us.


Colbert County candidate for Sheriff Lyn Gregory will be in Leighton today from 10:30 a.m until 12:30 p.m. Stop by the Leighton Volunteer Fire Department to speak with Lyn and learn about his vision for modern and ethical law enforcement in the county. We understand he will also be serving hot dogs, so we can't think of a better lunch date.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Where Did the Money Go?

Where Did the Money Go?

A Guest Commentary by

Nicholas James

Recently Tim Milam disclosed that he gave $30,000 to his own campaign. The other candidates are running on budgets that are, on average, under $5,000. Milam has a lot more.

That $30,000 he gave to himself....where is it going? He seems to have more signs than the other candidates, but not $30,000 worth.

He could get a TV ad made and shown on Comcast for $5,000 to $10,000, but I haven't seen one. He could get lots of radio ads.... has anyone heard one? With that kind of money he could blanket Shoals radio with ads. But he hasn't. The Times-Daily charges $520 for a full page, full color ad. At that price Milam could run 57 pages. So he could either buy every page in the Sunday paper or a full page ad every day for two months. Has he run any full page ads? I don't get the paper, so I don't know.

If he hired people to go door to door, with $30,000 he could pay 93 people $8.00 an hour to work a 40 hour week to tell people about his qualifications for District Judge. Or he could pay one person the same amount to knock on doors for 21 months.

So what is Tim Milam spending $30,000 dollars on? Does he have any left?


What's up with this: If you're short on work in the office, it might not be the best idea to Tweet about it. Just a thought...


No Longer Smokin'...No Longer Mowin'

The University of North Alabama is getting even more serious in its efforts to quell tobacco use on campus. Kudos to the university for extending its tobacco free zone; now no tobacco products are allowed within 30 feet of doors, open windows, and breezeways.

We're not sure what percentage of faculty and students smokes, but this would be an ideal time to institute a campus wide cessation program. Students taking Community Nursing classes could man an office or kiosk where help would be available each day during the semester.


Do you know your mail carrier? None of us here does, in the changing world of the United States Postal Service. Now it seems that eBay is seeking to prevent the USPS from eliminating Saturday mail delivery. Shaif Sleiman, an eBay procurement director, has specifically mentioned the service's current low postal rates. He must not be using the same USPS that operates here in the Shoals. We've heard recent complaints that, even with increased revenue from higher rates, the Muscle Shoals Post Office no longer mows its lawns with any regularity.


Just who are The New Sons of Liberty? Apparently so many entities are claiming that distinction, they could be a doo-wop group. One NSL has announced support for gubernatorial candidate Tim James, while another has pre-purchased one million dollars in television ads for candidate(s) as yet unnamed.

A relatively small group purchasing one million dollars worth of TV adverts in a state election is rather like...oh, we dunno...let's say a county district judge candidate spending thirty thousand dollars.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tony Logan Blames the Media

Especially after the municipal court trial, there was an inordinate amount of media coverage, television coverage and newspaper print coverage. Likewise, there have been numerous Internet blogs as well as just word of mouth. - Tim Case, Defense Attorney for Tony Logan

Florence attorney Tim Case is seeking to have Tony Logan's second DUI trial moved to a county outside Northwest Alabama. We won't attempt to guess how much more this will cost the taxpayers of Lauderdale County, if anything. Since a special prosecutor is still in place from Logan's March trial in Florence Municipal Court, we assume the only participant forced to travel to the wilds of South Alabama would be the judge, and that wouldn't be a given since Gil Self and the the other two circuit court judges may recuse as well.

Will the evidence against Logan not play as well in an area in which he is an anonymous law enforcement officer? A blood alcohol level of .272 three hours after the Tuscumbia chief's arrest should smell as sour in any venue. We have every confidence that other areas of Alabama will realize that Tony Logan's blood was over one-fourth gram per decalitre alcohol. We think any confusion the jurors may have will involve the logistics of Logan even being able to start an ignition in such an inebriated state.

As for Internet blogs, we weren't aware our friend at Osborne Ink had commented on this local case. Should any of our readers have missed our views on the former Florence Deputy Chief, we'll happily provide links.

Tony Logan Pulls a "Rick Thompson" - 12/06/09

What Tony Logan Did Next - 12/07/09

Tony Logan Takes Tuscumbia - 12/08/09

Tony Logan Was DUI? Apparently, Very Much So - 12/09/09

Tony Logan's Blood Alcohol Count--No Mistake - 03/12/10


One Star-Spangled Spectacular Comin' Up

Pictured: Star-Spangled Spectacular 2008

It's off. No, wait, it's on. Okay, it's a maybe.

Not sure where you'll be spending Independence Day if the annual Spirit of Freedom celebration is canceled...for good this time? We understand the fireworks display has gradually diminished until it was over within five minutes last year; will 2010 be a real fizzle?

So, where do you go if you just have to have that pyrotechnic fix? Try Doublehead Resort, just south of Wheeler Dam in Lawrence County. This July 4th will mark their third Star-Spangled Spectacular, an event that many have come to prefer over the McFarland Park display.

We do have to ask...whatever became of sparklers in the back yard?


We recently endorsed Chad Holden for Lauderdale County Board of Education Place 2. The Place 1 seat currently held by longtime member Joe Frank Fowler is also up for grabs this year. Three educators are vying to succeed the 73 year-old Fowler: Mike Palmer, Sherrie Perkins, and Larry Roberson.

Of the three, Roberson has the most varied experience. He is also retired from the local system, ostensibly ensuring his neutrality in county issues--a trait that has often been lacking in the Lauderdale Board. We endorse Larry Roberson for Lauderdale Board of Education Place 1.

What's up with this: We've previously found Republican candidate for House of Representatives Les Phillip an interesting politician. Now he's comparing himself to Rush Limbaugh. Hmmm, which is a worse role model: Rush Limbaugh or Ron Sparks? We're thinking...we're thinking...


Friday, May 14, 2010

The Next Colbert County District Judge?

The election of a new Circuit or District Court Judge is a rarity. Colbert County has certainly fielded a covey of candidates from all areas of the legal world. From reading various forums in the area, it would seem that many don't fully understand the role of District Judge. From The Guide to Alabama Courts:

District Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases.

Criminal cases handled by District Courts include most misdemeanors, some ordinance violations, preliminary hearings for felony cases, and guilty pleas in felony cases that do not include a death penalty.

Some misdemeanors and ordinance violations may be heard by Circuit Courts as lesser-included offenses in a felony case, or if an indictment for a misdemeanor has been returned by a grand jury. District Courts will generally only handle ordinance violations if no Municipal Court exists in the area, and shares jurisdiction with Municipal Courts over criminal acts that violate state laws but can also be prosecuted as municipal ordinance violations.

Civil cases handled by District Courts include general civil cases when the amount in dispute is less than $10,000, excluding interest and costs. District Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts over most civil cases that involve amounts in dispute between $3000 and $10,000, exclusive of interest and costs. District Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over Small Claims cases, which are most civil cases that involve less than $3000 in dispute, excluding interest and costs.

District Courts share jurisdiction over juvenile cases with Circuit Courts and can receive certain cases, such as adoptions, from the Probate Court if a proper request is made and granted. When Circuit Courts or District Courts hear juvenile cases, these judges sit as a Juvenile Court and a separate docket is maintained.

District Courts offer a simplified Small Claims procedure for eligible cases involving less than $3000 in dispute. Cases that are beyond the limits of District Court jurisdiction are heard in Circuit Courts, even if the amount of money in dispute is less than $3000. For example, District Courts do not have jurisdiction over certain types of equitable relief, including declaratory judgments, and District Courts are prohibited from exercising jurisdiction over certain types of cases, including actions for negligence against municipalities.

Now that we all know exactly what a District Judge does, who will do it best for Colbert County? We have stated before that Chad Coker and Tina Parker have been the front runners in this contest for quite some time. A close third is Tim Milam, followed by Polly Ruggles and Nathan Johnson.

Both Parker and Coker have impeccable legal credentials, as well as a strong sense of social responsibility. We think that both are destined to serve Colbert County for years to come. At this particular time, after much consideration, we endorse Tina Miller Parker for Colbert County District Judge.


A few years ago, a neighboring county held a large political rally. One candidate, a man who sought the office of Lt. Governor, stood before the vast audience and spoke. At the end of his speech, he asked that those present would vote for him. He then asked that if they could not find it in their hearts to vote for him for Lt. Governor, at least not to vote for Luther Strange.

We have a similar request of you, our readers, today. We don't believe all the strange tales that come to us via e-mail, but when person after person, from all walks of life, e-mail us accounts of dirty campaigning by one individual, then--yes--we believe them to be true.

If you can't find it in your heart to vote for Tina Parker, we humbly ask you to vote for Chad Coker, or to vote for Polly Ruggles or Nathan Johnson. As someone said, if a candidate is this dishonest during an election, what would he be like if elected judge.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tina Parker - A Woman of Vision

Billy Underwood, Democratic Party leader in Colbert County, has pronounced the election for District Court Judge to be the one to follow this year. Five candidates are vying to succeed Judge George Carpenter, not counting the unopposed Republican whom we have not as yet profiled.

We have previously received personal communications from Chad Coker, Tim Milam, and Tina Parker; our sources show Coker and Parker as the front runners. Our original showcase of Parker was in July of last year, and since that time the citizens have asked many insightful questions of all the candidates. Today we bring you an update from Tina Miller Parker:


I am a native of Colbert County, born in 1970 and raised in Muscle Shoals, where I still live today. My parents are Jerry Miller, originally from Florence, and Sue Russell Miller, originally from Tuscumbia. My maternal great grandparents were raised in Cherokee before they married and moved to Sheffield. I have one brother, Jeff, who is married to the former Stephanie Kimbrough from Leighton.

I am a licensed attorney practicing primarily in the areas of personal injury, family law, consumer bankruptcy, and workers’ compensation. I was raised in a blue collar family, and through them I learned the value of hard work. I have never been afraid of long hours, and I earned my law degree by attending classes at night while working full time during the day as a paralegal. I began practicing law in April 2002 for a large insurance defense firm before I began representing injured people in 2005. I have experience handling civil and criminal cases in both District Court and Circuit Court, and I would love to take that balanced experience with me to the District Court Judge’s office.

Between graduating from UNA in 1993 and starting law school, I earned a childhood development certification from Northwest-Shoals Community College, and I opened and directed Kid Safari Child Care in Muscle Shoals, where my staff of 13 and I cared for 85 children. I spend a large amount of my spare time giving back to the community by volunteering for local organizations, mainly those that support our community’s children. I serve as the President of C.A.S.A. (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Colbert County, where we pair trained volunteers with abused and neglected children and advocate for those children through the judicial system. I serve on the board of directors for the Shoals Optimist Club, another youth organization, and I have volunteered and raised funds for Safeplace, Habitat for Humanity, and P.A.W.S. (Pets are Worth Saving) of the Shoals.


There is no question that the new Colbert County District Court Judge will have big shoes to fill. Judge Carpenter has enjoyed five terms on the bench. I had the experience of winning one of my very first trials as a new lawyer in his court, and he was fair and respectful. Judge Carpenter is responsible for a very large docket of cases each year. In addition to hearing traffic cases and other misdemeanors, he also hears juvenile cases, evictions, and civil cases involving monetary damages up to $10,000 in value.

One of my goals for the District Judge’s office, should the voters in Colbert County allow me the privilege, is to organize the voluminous traffic court docket in such a manner that people do not have to take an entire morning or afternoon off work for a court appearance. One way this could be accomplished would be by dividing the docket alphabetically by last name into two or three groups, staggering the court date and time for each of these groups.

I would also like to separate the DUI docket from the other traffic docket and invite guest speakers whose lives have been permanently changed as a result of DUI-related crashes to address the DUI defendants. I have spoken to local people who have lost loved ones in DUI-related accidents who are eager to participate in this program. So many people, and young adults in particular, have the mind set that they are invincible. My hope is that, through this program, we can reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders in Colbert County.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to start a juvenile drug court in our county. We have a program for adult offenders, but we need a program for young people who are starting down a slippery slope of drug or alcohol abuse. A juvenile drug court would place nonviolent youthful offenders in a community corrections program, provide them with much-needed counseling, and require them to perform community service and undergo random drug testing and strict monitoring. If a juvenile fails to complete the program, he or she is still subject to being placed in a detention center. But if a juvenile successfully completes the program, we have one less delinquent breaking into cars or homes to steal for drug money, or driving under the influence and placing innocent folks in danger, and we have one more good, contributing member of society. We have a successful juvenile drug courts already in place in our state, and we could benefit from this program in our county.

A good judge is one who treats every man, woman, and child who comes before her or him with respect, whether they are rich or poor, black or white, young or old. When it comes to a judge, people deserve equal access to the system, a speedy trial and ruling, and fair, unbiased decisions that are based upon the law and the facts of each individual case. A good judge will have an open door to listen to the concerns of the citizens in the county. Judges are granted much discretion under the law, but a good judge will not abuse that discretion. A good judge will manage the courtroom and docket efficiently and will always be mindful of the fact that she or he is a servant of the citizens. I respectfully ask for your support and for your vote on June 1st.

Tomorrow: An endorsement


Sheffield: Sexual Predator Central?

Many in the Colbert County town of Sheffield have made it no secret that they worry about the large number of sexual offenders living close to the downtown area. The Alabama Department of Public Safety site currently lists 26 offenders in Sheffield--one of them the late Rudy Stanback who made the list due to a conviction of second degree (statutory) rape.

Apparently among their number is an activist of sorts, one Derek Warren Logue, whose crime took place in Franklin County. Logue, a former Moulton resident, calls himself a civil rights advocate and is the author of Once Fallen, a book that advocates the forgiveness of sex offenders based on Biblical principals. We certainly believe in forgiving all who sin against us, but we also understand the difference between honest and trustworthy.

Logue, pictured at his 1996 wedding, was 24 in 2000 when he had sexual relations with an 11 year-old girl. In almost all of Logue's writings, he blames his victim. The above link is the least salacious website to feature Logue, either as hero or villain. In fact, the content of most of these websites is so disturbing that we suggest you Google them at your own risk.

Logue would like us to believe that he and others like him are changed. What his writings actually do is portray such a twisted individual that we can't blame those who live nearby this Sheffield "activist" for wanting rid of him. We hope that everyone from Turtle Point Village to Manning Homes, from Wilson Lake Shores to Little Guatemala in Russellville, teach their children about sexual predators. After all, they don't wear it stamped on their foreheads...but they should.


Those who knew Tim Yeager during his tenure at Brooks High School in Killen are having some interesting things to say about the former coach. Yeager is currently awaiting a Tishomingo County Grand Jury hearing on charges of sexual improprieties with a 14 year-old student at Iuka Middle School.

* ...
one of my closest friends told me that Coach Yeager did this to her as well. He made some extremely inappropriate advances several times and she would laugh them off. Then the final time, he actually touched her and she made it very clear for him to never do that again and it stopped then.

* ...Yeager back then was making advances to some of the girls (cheerleaders I think). I remember hearing through grapevine that he called one or two of them at home and told them to come to his house and he would supply alcohol, etc.


Daniel Horton of Dirrty Apple Films tell us that we can look forward to a new Belgreen Cops video in the near future. In the meantime, here's our favorite:


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More About John Odem

Florence attorney John Odem is a remarkable man with a brilliant future. We first profiled Odem when he announced his candidacy for Lauderdale County District Judge several months ago. Odem, the son of Dennis Odem and his wife Carolyn, is not only a busy lawyer, but also a musician and a helicopter pilot--the youngest ever licensed in the state of Alabama.

Those who have seen John perform with his band the Cadillacs say he would have little problem making a living with his music, yet the second-generation attorney is serious about his law career. He practices criminal law as well as being an expert in pre-nuptial agreements--something he advocates for all future marriages. John is also staunchly against the death penalty. From a 2007 TimesDaily interview:

Florence attorney Dennis Odem, who represented Riley and Waldrop during their murder trials, contends the death penalty does not deter homicides."I don't think people who are committing a capital crime give one thought to, if I do this, I might be sentenced to death," he said.Odem said he expects Alabama will abandon the death penalty as a form of punishment.

When recently interviewed by the ShoalsInsider, Odem promptly answered questions concerning his relative youth:

A new broom sweeps clean. In my private practice of law I have handled hundreds of cases as plaintiff’s attorney in District and Circuit court. I have been specially appointed as a Prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office in Lauderdale County as well as the City of Tuscumbia. Between all these fields of practice I find myself in the District Court on a daily basis. I believe this experience makes me very qualified for the job. My friends Judge George Carpenter and Judge Ed Tease were 29 and 30 years old when elected to the bench. Debra Bell Pasuer was also elected at a very young age and the county benefited many years of her presiding on the District Judge bench. Decisions rendered by the court effect the lives of everyone concerned. I feel privileged to be in a position to continue the precedent of honor and dignity of the court set by previous Lauderdale County Judges.

Obviously, whether John Odem is the next Lauderdale District Judge or not, he's becoming a political force in the county. Kudos to Odem for having accomplished so much at such an early age and for having shown such integrity in his campaign. He will face Florence Municipal Judge James Hall II in the June 1st Democratic primary.


Looking for a new vehicle? Hate the thought of trudging to local dealerships and paying extra for all your trouble? Then you need to check out Shoals Auto Finder. Beside cars and trucks, Shoals Auto Finder also showcases boats, motorcycles, and parts. The site administrator is Wayne Nix of the ShoalsInsider. We can promise that Wayne will bring you the best personalized service possible.

What's up with this: Those Sheffield merchants still displaying portable signs are now not only in violation of the city's sign law, but owe a total of $800.00 plus court costs. The total fine will rise $100.00 per day. Well, no one ever said civil disobedience was cheap--or intelligent.