Monday, October 4, 2010

Howard Keeton's Word?/Ambiguous Bill?

County Commissioner Troy Woodis said it appears the board has given away control to Huntsville - Sunday's TimesDaily.

Appearances aren't always what they seem, but if they were, it took all of 15 minutes for the Helen Keller Board to "give away control" of Colbert County's only not-for-profit hospital. You, gentle reader, know that it was a done deal long before the board met that fateful morning. Now, not just Woodis, but the entire Colbert County Commission is up in arms over the pact with Huntsville Hospital.

Was the board wrong? Certain HKH members have now stated that more public discussion should have gone into the preliminaries, but we doubt the board expected the backlash, especially from the Colbert County Commission. Why?

As recently as six weeks ago, Colbert County Commission Chairman Howard Keeton said he would leave such decisions up to the HKH Board (TimesDaily August 19th). Can we blame the hospital board for taking him at his word?


New Lauderdale Bill ambiguous? There was some discussion in local forums as to the authorship of a local bill that, if passed, would establish a separate County Commission Chairman, a position how held by the Probate Judge. Looking back at records in the TimesDaily, County attorney Chris Smith and Administrator Jenoice Bevis were the authors of the bill. We're sure the bill has been tweaked several times since its inception; voters should remember that passage of the bill will cost taxpayers at least 30K per year.

We say at least since, while there has been much talk of Dewey Mitchell's retirement, there has been no official announcement of such. Should he continue in his role as Lauderdale Probate Judge, the extra cost to taxpayers would be much more--the additional 30K reflects an entry level salary for both positions.

Speaking of Chris Smith, he's rumored to be running for the probate judgeship should Mitchell retire. If elected, he would have to give up his current law practice, but there would be no conflict of interest should he act as an independent consultant in issues not concerning the county. In other words, the passage of such a bill would be beneficial to Christopher Smith should he be the next probate judge.


Local Heroes: The past few weeks we've been recognizing individuals who are true local heroes. One reader recently commented that so far we have honored only the male of the species; therefore, today we wish to honor Ninon Parker, a true asset to Tuscumbia and the Shoals area.

Ninon has worked tirelessly in many projects over the years, but most recently in creating a retail cooperative in downtown Tuscumbia--a business incubator that has already proved invaluable. Thank you, Ninon, for all you do.

We'll even add a second local hero this week--Dick Jordan. Mr. Jordan is the Florence City Councilman for many of us and was most recently responsible for ensuring the fountain in Wilson Park was properly restored. His many works in historical preservation in our beautiful city are often overlooked due to the contentious nature of politics.

For both Ninon and Dick we offer a poem that one sees quoted all too infrequently, but which personifies the work they do in both preserving the past and building for the future:

The Bridge Builder

By Will Allen Drumgoole

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again will pass this way;
You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you this bridge at the evening tide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him."


Connecting October 7th. This time we mean it!