Friday, September 30, 2011

Doogie Whitesell?/Kim Gonzalez Redux

Curbed National is an online real estate magazine that yesterday featured Neal Whitesell and his mega-mansion in its section entitled Genius Pads. The article, "The Doogie Howser of Industry Builds Massive Florida Manse," described the 32K square foot home as being situated on 1.5 acres of land and having six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. No word on the number of broom closets.

We're not sure if Whitesell still qualifies as a Doogie Howser. The rarely photographed fastener maven is pictured here at a speaking engagement in 1991. Whitesell's quote below the photo is especially intriguing since his companies are known for their rapid turnover of employees.


The manager of the Dollar General in Littleville has confirmed that Kim Gonzalez Williams had recently been banned from the store due to suspected shoplifting. Other reports indicate Williams was at the Family Pharmacy when she was arrested for misdemeanor shoplifting. Obviously she has a drug problem and should be treated for such--not tried again for past crimes that she may or may not have committed. Let's hope the Colbert County judicial system will ensure she gets the help she needs.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jonathan Wade Cossey: Was Family Really Happy with Deal?

Jonathan Wade Cossey killed two individuals during a drug-fueled robbery attempt. He then attempted suicide. Now Cossey has accepted a plea deal in which he will be sentenced to Life with Possibility of Parole (Felony Murder). Lauderdale County prosecutors say the families of the two victims are happy. Really?

This comment was posted by a family member on September 28th:

I know he will spend the rest of his life in prison, we have lots of family and friends to object to him getting parole. We all know that justice will come to John Cossey our Beloved Lord will give him the justice us mere humans can not. John has never show any remorse for what he has done. I hope he rots in hell.

We realize that no one can predict what a jury will do, but we can look at what Cossey did and didn't do. He didn't kill someone with whom he was having an argument or who had shoved him or who had somehow offended him. He murdered two people in cold blood while trying to obtain drugs and presumably money.

There's a great difference between justice and revenge, but we're not at all sure Cossey's sentence was justice. We're glad some family members will continue to protest Jonathan Wade Cossey's release. We will publish Cossey's AIS number and other data when available. Protests stay on record for the total incarceration. We may not be around in 30 or 40 years, but our protests can be.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Laws, Attractions, & Laws of Attraction

Much of Alabama's "Illegal Immigrant" bill seems to be left intact by the Federal courts. Now, we play a waiting game to see how the new laws that remain on the books will impact our state. New laws and a new industry that actually exists--sounds good.


Local Halloween attractions are certainly gearing up, and as our friend O.B. said recently, there's something for everyone. We salute another local artist today: Debra Glass. Debra has brought the Shoals a Florence ghost walk now for several seasons, and it just keeps getting better. For this October's schedule, you may visit:

Debra is indeed an artist, having published several local histories as well as numerous novels of romantic fiction. Since the death of Beverly (Barton) Beaver, Debra is undoubtedly the area's most well known author. Way to go, Deb!


Laws of attraction? Have you heard the latest PC term? There are, at least to a few disturbed and misguided individuals, no more pedophiles. These sick individuals are merely "minor attracted." What a wonderful defense for school teachers who seduce and rape our children.

Does anyone find this new term surprising? When it takes 21 months and counting to try a teacher who has sex with a minor student (Amanda Watkins), or nine months and counting to make a ruling on the licensure of a teacher accused of inappropriate and unwanted physical contact with his students (Keith McGuire), there is a problem with the system.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

National Alabama Calls It Quits!

While it may be great news (we sincerely hope) that there will be new jobs coming to the Shoals when Navistar takes over the Barton facility on January 1st, what of the 120 or so employees who now toil in the vineyard of rail car manufacture? What of others who specifically trained as welders in order to qualify for a job that will not be forthcoming?

Apparently when TimesDaily reporter Trevor Stokes let the cat out of the bag months ago, the powers that be were indeed looking for a new company to take over the mile long plant. Why the smokescreen? Or should should we call it something more sinister?

Related post: Bronner to Sell Rail Car Plant?


Now, about those law suits... We assume a company that manufactures automotive engines will not be taking over the debt and legal responsibilities of National Alabama. Looks like our state retirees are out of luck.

Obviously you win some and you lose some. The Shoals lost here, and Dr. David Bronner will write it off and rest on his other investment laurels. Our main problem is the lack of truth that has been forthcoming from both the company and the local press. Our local rag didn't have to report on all the successes of National Alabama--mythical achievements--yet it did. What does that tell us?


If you're like us you love new blogs. A reader recently sent us a link to one written by "coach422002." My, my, we can certainly see how some bloggers do give others a bad name. More to follow...


Monday, September 26, 2011

Mollycule: A Go-Go Getter

When someone suggested we do a blog on a go-go dancer for our series on Shoals artists, we initially didn't know what to think. Go-go dancers? Isn't that 1960s? Raves? Well, we at least knew what they were. Apparently both are going strong in 2011, and a Shoals resident is at the forefront of the movement.

Pictured above is Tara Molly Tate, a Sheffield native and graduate of Muscle Shoals High School and Northwest Shoals Community College. The daughter of Joni James Madden of Muscle Shoals, the 21 year-old Molly was raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather passed away earlier this year, and Molly is currently the primary caregiver for her grandmother--a great responsibility for one so young. Yet Molly does much more. In her own words:

I'm Tara Molly Tate aka DJ Mollycule. I've been learning to DJ for a little over a year. I have been in love with the scene for years. I live for the music. I'm also a GoGo dancer for Renegade Workshop (the company I work for) which is based out of Huntsville, AL. We are a group of lovers and our love is based on the Electronic Dance Music. I, myself am a promoter. I tell everyone when, and where, and what! I travel all the time, it's hectic sometimes. I'm also a nurse assistant so I'm quite the busy girl. I've met hundreds of amazing people through my psychedelic adventures and my life is so off the chain right now. I've met almost every favorite music producer of mine, which I am proud of. I represent and promote for several crews all over the Southeast and now branching west, and hopefully worldwide. The movement is love.

Molly went on to explain that raves are about Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. There is also a second "R"--Responsibility. Those attending a rave look out for each other, preventing accidents and other untoward events. That being said, raves are strictly adult entertainment. Those who attend must be at least 19, and those who entertain usually wear as little as the law will allow. In other words, raves aren't for everyone.

They are certainly a passion for Mollycule, who along with four other young women make up the Basscadets. Wages are slim to non-existent, but Molly has performed from Florence to Alaska--something not everyone her age can say. Pictured below are two views of Molly in her Mollycule persona.

We wish Molly the best in her quest for peace, love, unity, and respect.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

James Rodney Hampton: Dancing Sex Offender

James Rodney Hampton--Convicted Child Rapist
Modified from an original by Jim Hannon

James Rodney Hampton, now 51, raped two members of his family and was sentenced to 15 years in prison on October 6, 1994. By September 1997, Hampton had made parole for his crimes against the eight and 10 year old girls and returned to the Shoals area that October.

Hampton has lived mainly in Lauderdale County, but worked wherever he could find employment. He has frequently toiled as a cook, recently at the Waffle House on Hwy. 43 in Colbert County. By 2009, he had completed his sentence and was in most ways a free man. At that time, or perhaps even before, Hampton began to participate as an "Indian" dancer in powwow re-enactments across the valley, educational entertainment held mainly in public parks.

Yes, we said Hampton was mainly free; he is still required by law to register as a sex offender and to adhere to the guidelines the State of Alabama has set up for such felons. These guidelines call for sex offenders to steer clear of public parks where children may be found. Last weekend, James Rodney Hampton participated in his usual role as an Indian dancer at Trail of Tears festivities at Waterloo Park.

Whether Hampton knew he would be photographed by Jim Hannon of the TimesDaily as he rode into a public park in the small western Lauderdale town of Waterloo--a photograph that made both the pages of the local paper and its online gallery--is unknown. An alert reader noticed Hampton and reported him to a local police chief, then contacted us here. We understand others have reported Hampton to the state's sex offender website. You may do the same at the bottom of this linked page:

James Rodney Hampton


Lauderdale County has thrown down the gauntlet: There will be no new RegionalCare hospital in Colbert County. It's Joe Roach's next move. We're sure he didn't get where he is by being either nice or stupid. We earlier said popcorn was in order. Let's add some Walnettos and watch the show. Just how free the show is depends on Roach's next move....


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Is 27.5 Years Justice? You Betcha!

Franklin County residents should be glad Steven Jeffrey Cain was indicted on Federal charges instead of state. Now Cain will have to serve most, if not all, of his 27.5 year sentence for robbery and being a felon with unrestored rights in possession of a firearm. The drug store bandit could possibly be 79 years old before he again sees freedom.

What if Cain had been tried on state charges? When a Lauderdale County man murders his step-daughter during a rape attempt and receives 25 years, or a four time rapist gets three years in Franklin County, or a Lauderdale drug dealer is sentenced to ten years for the murder of a nurse, who knows what Cain's sentence might have been?

The police officer Cain attempted to shoot: Jake Tompkins


Lindsay Pulsipher

Looks like Cypress Moon Productions has found an interesting replacement for the role of Bonnie Parker. The new star of Bonnie & Clyde may draw more fans than the original choice Hilary Duff.


If you haven't visited Quad-Cities Cuisine this week, be sure to check out TBR's review of Montagu's and Frostbite Frozen Treats: Link


Friday, September 23, 2011

Mac McAnally/Grand Jury Updates

Since we've been spotlighting local artists this week, Mac picked the perfect time to release his album. Obviously, with this Red Bay native's talent, any time is perfect. You can pre-order Mac's latest, Live in Muscle Shoals, on his website. The album will be released October 11th. Congratulations, Mac, on your many nominations and awards.


The recent Franklin County grand jury docket didn't include Kimberly Bynum, the Vina teacher arrested last June for having sex with an under-age student. Authorities state Bynum will be on the next docket scheduled before the end of the year.

Related post: Kimberly Bynum


The latest Colbert County grand jury did indict Crystal Sutton Huddleston on charges that she embezzled 65K from 911 funds. Huddleston is now a Scentsy representative.

Related post: Who Embezzles & Why?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The "Catfish Wrapper" is Back!/Mary Carton Has Grit

We're showcasing two, or more correctly three, local artists today. While they couldn't be more different, they both epitomize what's special about the Shoals area in general and Colbert County in particular. If you don't watch anything else until TBS begins its Halloween marathon, you have to watch this eye-opening video from Steve & Sheri Wiggins, aka The Catfish Wrapper:

We believe every word of this insightful video is true. Unfortunately, that includes the great divide between the two counties. Let's try to put this aside for a few minutes and take a long look at RegionalCare and its plans for Helen Keller Hospital...or at least what this mega-corporation's plans were. We here in Florence have recently been up in arms over our garbage situation. Let's hope the entire Shoals area will now similarly unite in the quest for the best health care.

Thank you, Steve & Sheri for all your efforts. We've named Steve a local hero once before, but now we want to proclaim both Steve & Sheri Wiggins local heroes for all they do for Sheffield, Colbert County, and the Shoals area.

Related post: If It Seems Too Good...


Our second local artist is our friend Mary Carton. Mary not only writes a local blog, Rosedale Gardens, she also blogs for Grit Magazine. Currently, she's also running the Facebook site Remember Tuscumbia, but that's still not all. Mary has used her photography skills to bring us 2012 Tuscumbia Alabama. We'll have more information about this calendar when it's officially on sale.


Sometimes overheard conversations can be the most enlightening, not to mention entertaining. We often hear others comment on various writers, painters, sculptors, etc., by announcing they could do just as well. Perhaps they can, but are they? It's not just having talent that sets one apart from the crowd, but knowing how to use it and promote it--something our local artists do very well.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We Interrupt This Blog...

Murphy's Law--Corollary IV: If it can be misunderstood, it will be.

We recently announced that we would be "partnering" with The Connection (as well as some other blogs) on political ads. This has apparently caused some confusion, which we will attempt to dispel.

1. The only other blogs in the Shoalanda Group at this time are Shoals Crime, Quad-Cities Cuisine, & Shoals Blogs (which we need to update).

2. Shoalanda Speaks is primarily a political blog and takes stands on local issues and politicians.

3. The Connection is an Internet magazine which has no publishing connections to Shoalanda and which does not endorse any candidates.

4. Blogs associated with The Connection are Nurse Nan, DOGed PURRsuit, & Trader Evaluates.

5. Shoalanda Speaks and The Connection have entered into an advertising agreement (we think the word partnering threw some readers off) to offer political ads in the upcoming election. This agreement includes other ads (we have been running two retail ads for some time) and will also possibly include some blogs not belonging to either group. Advertisers may choose cafeteria style on which sites they wish to advertise.

6. All advertising will be handled through Trader ( We do not know bundle rates, etc., or which other blogs are available at this time.

7. Extremely Important: We endorse candidates on this blog. If candidate A wishes to advertise on Shoalanda, he/she needs to be aware that we may endorse candidate B. This will in no way impact the quality or placement of advertising on our site.

We hope that clears up any misconceptions about our future advertising.


We'll continue our series on local artists tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Fly in His Ear & a Hit on Her Hands

There's a Fly in My Ear by Susan Larson

We continue our series on Shoals artists/authors by introducing Susan Larson's debut book. Illustrated by Keith Jones of the UAH art department, the book targets pre-school readers. You may purchase Larson's book via her website (Link), but we suggest you attend her upcoming book signing at David Christopher's. Mrs. Larson will be at Christopher's at 11:00 a.m. on October 8th. We're predicting big things for this author/illustrator team.


In ten days, Deadwood Hollow will open its gates. It's been a few years since the Shoals had a corn maze, and now thanks to Deadwood, we have two. This attraction not only looks like a winner, the owners care enough to request feedback from patrons. This Halloween promises to be the best in Shoals history.


Image of First Quarters for $50.00--yes, it's still a bargain: Link


Monday, September 19, 2011

ATV Claims Another Child/Never Trust a Sorcerer

Noah Lane Trapp, son of Brad and Leann Trapp, has become another underage victim of an All Terrain Vehicle. The eight year-old Phil Campbell youth died a short distance from his residence on Hwy 34 in Franklin County. Children do not belong on an adult ATV, if they belong on any at all. Yet it seems no matter how many youths die, parents still allow their children to ride them. If you should be tempted to let your child ride such a vehicle, please remember Noah Trapp and Misty Robbins first, then make your decision.

Related post: Misty Kay Robbins


We'll be highlighting local citizens in the arts this week; our first is author L. R. Barrett-Durham. Many may know Barrett-Durham as Leia Barrett-Durham. From her bio:

Leia Renee Barrett-Durham was born and raised in the Shoals. She graduated from Central High School and Northwest Shoals Community College with a CIS Degree. She currently works at Listerhill Credit Union as a Network Technician, but also runs a home business called Wildcat Mountain Artistry, http:\\\wildcatmtnartistry, where she makes custom stained glass windows and original oil paintings. She is married to James Durham, from Cherokee, and has one son, Patrick. They have lived in Cherokee since 2002. Leia has always enjoyed writing and is currently working on the sequel to Never Trust a Sorcerer, which she says is about 1/3 of the way finished.

Book signings are in the works for the Cherokee Public Library, Coldwater Books and K's Cove!


A special promotion from Ms. Durham:

On September 17th, 2011, Cherokee resident, Leia Durham, published Never Trust a Sorcerer, under the pen name L R Barrett-Durham. This is the first novel in a long series from this new local author.

Never Trust a Sorcerer is an epic fantasy novel comparable to Lord of the Rings or Eragon. Dancing scimitars, political intrigue, not to mention dwarves, elves, barbarians, and a little bit of romance. Leia would like to offer Shoalanda Speaks readers a special discount of $2.00 of the list price.

To order Never Trust a Sorcerer, please go to: and enter in discount code: E3K3KM7K. This offer will be available until October 17th 2011, so order now! Support this up and coming local author! You can find Leia at, where you will find updates on book signings and new works.

Many thanks, Leia, for offering our readers this promotion!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

500K Page Hits!/Political Season is Here

Some time between Noon and 1:00 p.m. today, our page hits should reach 500,000. This number reflects hits since June 8, 2009. Since that date we have had slightly over 336K unique hits. Thanks to all our readers and a special thanks to Shoals area bloggers who link us. As always, we appreciate guest editorials/columns on any subject and happily publish rebuttals to any of our blogs.


We see that billboards for Daniel Rosser, Democratic candidate for Colbert County Probate Judge, have begun to blossom on the landscape south of the river. In past elections we have endorsed candidates, but have not taken any political advertising.

In the upcoming election, we will be partnering with The Connection to supply limited Internet ads on our site; however The Connection will offer more extensive advertising in their online magazine. Please contact Trader at or 256.336.5483.


Alabama Republican Party Executive Director T. J. Maloney will discuss the upcoming Republican Primary rules and qualifications at the next Shoals Republican Club meeting on Tuesday, September 20th, 12:00 noon at Singleton’s Bar B Que Restaurant at 4220 Huntsville Road in Florence.

The Alabama Republican Primary will be held on March 13, 2012. Qualifying opens November 14, 2011 and closes January 13, 2012. Alabama Republican Party Executive Director T.J. Maloney will talk about the primary rules and qualifying procedures for the 2012 elections covering all offices from the local courthouse to the White House.

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


Saturday, September 17, 2011

"I'm Not Good at Losing"

RegionalCare CEO Joe Roach says he isn't good at losing. That could be good or bad. Of course a hospital in today's world is a business. No more paying with produce or livestock; and you do get what you pay for. Our problem? Why did RegionalCare sign an agreement to build in Lauderdale and then go looking in Colbert? Rather like getting married and looking at singles ads on your honeymoon, isn't it?


For the second time in this brave new world of the Internet, the TimesDaily has updated its web site, and for the second time all archives appear to be lost. Oh, well, you say, you don't have to go through the TD site--there's always Google. Sorry. Google no longer displays them either, unless you can find a cached version of some articles.

The interesting part? The TD made such a show of updating its forum with a format that would save past discussions, but thought nothing of using a new server that would delete its archives from 2001 (the last update) until the present. They probably thought it was no great loss since few articles concerned Decatur.


On the subject of the new TD format, we see they're now calling their classifieds "stuff." Hmmm, we can remember when teachers encouraged their students to read the local rag in order to improve their vocabulary.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Do You Know Your Nurse?

If you're like us, you may not know who's who in a doctor's office, but we're pretty sure you don't want the cleaning lady giving you an enema to treat a sinus infection. So, how do you know who's doing what to you?

We've received several questions about this recently, and we advise care if you aren't sure what someone's credentials are. From Nurse Nan (2009):

Due to a local physician having some problems at his office, we've had several questions concerning just who's who at the doctor's. Here's the run down of what type personnel you will usually find:

Physician - either a Medical Doctor or an Osteopath
Physician's Assistant - these are licensed and usually possess a Master's Degree
CRNP - these highly trained nurses are licensed and also usually possess a Master's Degree
RN - professional nurses; there are currently four kinds practicing in the state, but all have the same legal status
LPN - trade nurses that are called LVNs in some states
Medical Assistant - these are not licensed, do the basics, and do not usually administer injections
Phlebotomist - personnel trained in drawing blood, found in larger offices

If you have any doubt about who is assisting your physician or administering vaccinations, etc., feel free to ask. All competent personnel will be glad to answer your questions concerning their credentials.

We hope this helps those who are unsure of their medical providers...and yes, we'll have more on this at a later date.


The Shoals Democratic Club
will meet
Monday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Operating Engineers Union Hall, Dr. Hicks Blvd., Florence
Guest speakers
Rep. Greg Burdine, D-Florence
Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, D-Red Bay
A light meal will be served at 6:00 p.m.
The public is always invited to attend.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sidney's Safe Foundation/Benefit

Those who read us regularly know one of our top priorities is to stop/prevent violence against women/children/disabled/etc. We've just learned of a fantastic organization here in the Shoals, Sidney's Safe Foundation. From their Facebook page, a list of their current programs:


*"Pack them with Love!" send home back packs full of food over the weekend for needy kids! Most of these kids only meal is the one they get at school.

*"Whites for Women!" (necessities for women in jail )

*"Pack them with Love too!" back pack collection and distribution to needy kids(at registration and had teachers direct needy families to me and then I would speak to them about DV, A and D and get info on other needs).

*"Fill them with Love!"(Summer lunch program for needy kids. We go to needy area and give away sack lunches and speak to each about DV, A and D and also find out other needs) (We also go to needy areas door to door and ask what food needs they have).

*"Cover them with Love!"coat, clothes and blankets (last year we gave away about 300 coats and I told Sidney's story at half time of each upward ballgame) (we go door to door in needy areas and ask what the families needs are and at the same time tell Sidney's story) (each school n our area knows we have clothes at all time available for kids, so teachers contact us throughout the year to bring clothes for needy children) (handmade blankets given to DHR for kids that r taken out of homes)

*"Wrap them in Love!" ( we get donations for gifts and we make things for needy kids and families for Christmas then deliver on Christmas Eve or Day.) We have fundraisers and take donations to fund these programs.


There will be a fundraiser for Sidney's Safe Foundation on Saturday night at 7:00 at the Ritz:

PERFORMING - Savanna Smallwood, Russell Mefford of Fiddleworms, Angela Hacker, James LeBlanc, Archie Hubbard, Katlyn Barnes and Summer Hall! All performers are on volunteer basis and are subject to change. Proceeds will help those affected by Addiction, Depression and Physical Abuse!!!

One of our programs is "Pack them with Love!". Provides back packs full of ready to eat foods to underprivileged Shoals area children for weekends. Some of these children's only meal is the one served to them at school.

The adult tickets are 10$ and kids 10 and under are $6
Call 2567409581 for tickets! Or pick up at Envy in Killen, Frolic in Florence, Jewell's in downtown Florence and the Housing Authority in Tuscumbia.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

UNA's Pursuit of Excellence? Destiny by Choice?

Leo usually looks, well, regal. Even friendly and content. So why does this emblem for Human Environmental Sciences look mad at the world, even rabid? We'll guess he's like most students and not pleased with the university's move to Division I.

According to a full page ad in the Courier Journal, it's the university's destiny...a destiny by just doesn't say who's choice. It does say it's part of the university's pursuit of excellence in all areas. In fact, if one who had never visited the campus were to read this glowing blurb, he or she would infer the campus cobblestones were made of platinum, or at least gold.

In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. Of course, if you too feel this is UNA's destiny, you're invited to shell out a Grover Cleveland every year in order to make it happen. We bet those UNA operators are barely able to keep up with the incoming calls...


Some other bloggers check in on the upcoming move:


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Corey Griffin/Alabama Gardener

When Corey Langley Griffin graduated from Talladega High School in 2009, he was ranked 14th among the top 100 tennis players in the state. Apparently this ranking was still not good enough to ensure Griffin a scholarship, and he chose to attend the University of North Alabama as a walk-on player.

The 20 year-old Gold Gym's employee can't consider himself a part of the university's nine-man tennis team any longer. Griffin, the son of Alicia Langley Griffin, was arrested Sunday and charged with the alleged rape of a fellow UNA student. Our sources indicate Griffin has been released from the Colbert County Jail on 100K bond.


Be sure to catch the October issue of Alabama Gardener. Pictured on the cover is an autumnal scene from the gardens of Phillip Oliver of Florence. Phillip writes the extremely popular Dirt Therapy blog.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Dr. Christopher Parker Gay - Another Sanction

The ongoing saga of Sheffield osteopath Christopher P. Gay continues. The story up to now:

May 27, 2009 - Dr. Gay's license to practice medicine was suspended by the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners due to his refusal to take a drug test.

September 9, 2010 - Dr. Gay was placed on probation by the Board and his authority to write scripts for certain scheduled drugs was negated.

October 13, 2010 - Dr. Gay was ordered to pay the Board $6,690.65 in administrative costs.

April 20, 2011 - Dr. Gay was again suspended from practicing medicine in Alabama due to failing a drug test.

August 4, 2011 - Dr. Gay was placed on probation a second time, again with restrictions placed on his practice.

August 15, 2011 - Dr. Gay was ordered to pay unknown administrative costs (this Board directive has not yet been published on their site).

It is known that Dr. Gay is banned from treating Medicare patients. He has also lost his insurance provider status with several companies and sources have reported his practice is now run on a cash only basis. Authorities at Helen Keller Hospital have refused comment on the situation.

Related post: A Danger to His Patients


The Connection is having a 1st Anniversary contest. Be sure to enter to win a Starbucks card: Link


Here's a post card we haven't seen before: Link


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Good Samaritan: "Additional Arrests Are Possible"

Buried in the "B" section of the TimesDaily on September 8th was a short article on the scheduled December sentencing of Randy Gist, former owner of Good Samaritan Hospice in Florence. At the bottom of the story lay a bombshell: (Tim) Case said additional arrests are possible.

Certainly anything is possible, but why mention this tidbit to the press if Case wasn't sure it was a major possibility? Was he referring to the physician who owned half the defunct hospice? Or was he referring to the business manager, a nurse who was stripped of the "Registered" credential long ago?

Rumors abound that the FBI is hot on the case of another local physician who is said to have committed major Medicare fraud. Perhaps our Federal investigative arm needs to set up a special Shoals office for those who see Medicare as their personal gravy train.


The call came to ECM late on the morning of September 11, 2001. Authorities instructed the hospital to prepare every available room; the Florence hospital would soon be receiving stable patients from the UAB burn unit.

None came. None came because UAB received no critically injured and burned patients who needed the beds more. They were all dead.

As personnel at ECM stood and waited for the influx, so did their counterparts in Birmingham. How long before they realized the futility of their preparation? How long before our country realized the magnitude of what occurred early on that Tuesday morning?

Each of us reacted in different ways. Many joined the military. Others resolved to change what could be changed. We fall into the latter category. We can't go to Washington and tell them how to do things. We can work to make the Shoals a safer and more productive area in which to live. Let's recommit to that today.

Holding the Block since 2008

Saturday, September 10, 2011

21st Century Obits/Remembering 9/11

While looking through the TimesDaily online obituaries, we came upon this advert:

At first glance, we were bemused; after a few more glances, we're still undecided who would benefit from these alerts. Are they for the vengeful high school rivals who hope each will go first? Are they for those who are so estranged from their family in Manitoba that Great-Aunt Gertie won't call when Uncle Lou finally turns up his toes for good? Perhaps there are some things for which modern technology just shouldn't be used. Not that the TotallyDecatur cares.


There will be several 9/11 remembrances this Sunday. Here's one that may be of special interest to movie buffs:

Join Pillar of Fire and the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library as THE SCREENING ROOM commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a cinematic salute to New York City at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11. Films include the romantic comedy MANHATTAN (Woody Allen's love letter to the Big Apple) and the "Into the Wild" segment of the global anthology SEPTEMBER 11, directed by Sean Penn and starring Ernest Borgnine. Admission is free.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Lexington Medical Clinic Closes

"I'll be here till I die." Dr. Diana McCutcheon referring to the Lexington Clinic in 2003.

Like life itself, the community of Lexington has always been full of troubles. For many years, ECM Hospital provided staff for the small clinic located in the business section of Lexington...when it could. Many physicians refused to man the outdated clinic and those who did soon left. Then Dr. Diana McCutcheon arrived.

McCutcheon was a 1982 graduate of the American University of the Caribbean, a small medical school based in St. Maarten and owned by DeVry University. The small college was founded in 1978 and is, according to Wikipedia:

"accredited by an obscure organization called the Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM), an independent organization based in Ireland that accredits medical schools on behalf of several governments, including the governments of St. Maarten and the Netherlands Antilles."

Shortly before McCutcheon's arrival, the town built a modern facility to house it's public clinic. Located just north of town on the road to Tennessee, the new brick building and the matching drug store located next door were the pride of the rural community. Residents considered McCutcheon, an internist and former ER physician, a godsend. The town council even appointed Tom McCutcheon, the physician's then husband, the new municipal judge.

Diana Khadhiri McCutcheon herself felt so comfortable in the clinic that she wished to purchase it from the town. When mounting debt from water and sewer related issues caused the town to face a large shortfall, the town council agreed to sell the facility. McCutcheon immediately built an addition to house her growing cosmetic laser practice. Parking lots at the clinic and adjacent drug store were always full.

Soon the now 53 year-old Dr. McCutcheon opened a second location nine miles to the south in Elgin. Again, McCutcheon included a cosmetic laser clinic in the facility, also selling Obagi products. Beauty isn't cheap, but sources stated the physician still made the majority of her income from her medical services. Despite her success, Lexington residents said it wasn't unusual to see nursing staff performing gardening or other outside tasks after clinic hours.

Then in July of this year, patients arrived at the walk-in Elgin Quick Med to find it locked. Callers were told it was because of a staff shortage related to the July 4th holiday, and the facility soon reopened, but long-time patients were greeted by unfamiliar staff. Other patients then found the main facility in Lexington closed. Rumors abounded in the eastern end of Lauderdale County, but calls to the Lexington office were answered with only a recording stating the office was closed due to vacation season.

Several Lexington residents state they're upset by the current situation. They now have to drive several miles out of their way to see the physician they've come to claim as "theirs." No one knows how long the clinic will remain unmanned, and an anonymous source with the town says there are no funds with which to buy back the clinic, and if they did, would RegionalCare consider providing a new doctor?

While Lexington residents lament the apparent loss of their town doctor, some Sheffield residents are wondering why Dr. Christopher Parker Gay remains in practice...

To be continued Monday...


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why Didn't Linda Stanley Think She'd Be Indicted

Former Muscle Shoals City magistrate Linda Stanley has told Judge Hal Hughston she wasn't prepared to pay back any of the almost 90K she embezzled from the city because she didn't think she'd be indicted. Why?

Was it because she had worked for the city for almost 25 years or was it because she knew the "right people?" We had predicted she wouldn't receive probation, but will serve only a matter of months.

Related posts:

Is Linda Stanley Guilty?

Muscle Shoals Loses 33K in Theft


From our friend Daniel Horton:

"For the latest football scores and North Alabama gossip, tune to WFHM 95.5 FM tomorrow night starting at 9:30pm! The gang from who brought you Belgreen Cops and the Belgreen Bear will be bringing you the Highway 43 Friday Night Special on the Big 95.5. We hope you'll join us for a night of football, music, and general hellraising!"


Tomorrow: A local clinic has closed its doors in Lauderdale County and Colbert County's Dr. Chris Gay has again been before the Board of Medical Examiners. A new trend? Or an old one?


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mayor Irons Failed... add many "hidden costs" to the costs of continuing burying our trash. It will cost 2 million to line the new cell, the cost of further legal battles, permits, and surveys. All in the hope that ADEM will allow the City to continue operating a leaking landfill.
-- Scott Ruffrage from Save Cypress Creek

Not to mention there may be only four months of use left in the current landfill no matter the decision. If you care about Florence and Cypress Creek, write your council member now, fax, or call.


While on the subject of garbage, we regularly receive reports of three or more individuals who walk the streets of Florence immediately before garbage/trash pickup and rummage through cans. Dumpsters may provide some "prizes," but garbage cans? We assume they're looking for aluminum or other metal products, but this is such an unsanitary...and dangerous...hobby that we suggest either the city council enact some measure against it or the police enforce any current laws on the books.


Sadly inclement weather prevented the Walkin' with the Outlaws historical tour this week, but don't despair. This cool weather should put us all in the mood for autumn and All Hallows' Eve. Here's the skinny on this year's Ghost Walk.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alabama Has a Recusal Law?/MUG reinvented

Alabama has a recusal law for judges? Who knew? Apparently our great state has had such a law since 1995. The law states that a judge must recuse himself from a case when either a party or a party's attorney in the case has contributed two thousand dollars or more to his election campaign.

Why are most Alabamians not aware of this 16 year-old law? One, it's not now being enforced, nor has it ever been. Two, even in 2011, 2K is a fairly sizable campaign contribution--one that even the most well-heeled attorneys might refrain from. Three, it doesn't address a party in the suit having contributed to a judge's opponent.

The next question that each of us should be asking is why the law has never been enforced. From the Birmingham News:

Alabama's recusal law has never been enforced. The Alabama Supreme Court says it can't write the rules to implement the law until the U.S. Justice Department signs off that it doesn't disenfranchise minority voters; but the Alabama Attorney General's Office says no such federal approval is necessary and has refused to submit it to Washington.

Now the American Bar Association is pushing each state to adopt an enforceable recusal law. It would certainly be in the interest of Republican Chief Justice Charles R. Malone to pursue this now, before a Democrat, oh, say, Charlie Graddick makes a campaign issue of it--Graddick being so well-known for his honesty and all.

Related post: Judge Mike Jones & the Two Teachers

***** in Sheffield is now MUG's Chicago Eatery. Be sure to stop by their Cox Boulevard location and try one of their famous sandwiches and become a fan on Facebook.


Monday, September 5, 2011

What's Wrong With Labor Day In Tuscumbia?

The following is a guest commentary by Miss Dwanda Fribish, the even lovelier sister of the the lovely Miss Wanda Fribish:

When I read in the Times Daily that the Labor Day festivities in Spring Park still include a beauty contest, I was speechless. Just not speechless enough not to sit down and write Shoalanda about it. This is 2011. Why are we still allowing this silly cattle show for women between the ages of 18 and 25 who probably don't have IQs any higher than that?

If we're going to have a beauty contest, it should be all inclusive. Here's what I think would be the perfect lineup.

Contestant 1 - Bernie Zohanawoski, a pipefitter from Zip City. Bernie is 35 and has chest hair long enough to plait into attractive, or not so attractive, patterns.

Contestant 2 - Vilma Krouse, a 41 year-old welder from Upper Leighton who is eight months pregnant with her 9th child. She would obviously get a lot of sympathy votes.

Contestant 3 - Leigh Silesi, gender unknown, but at only 20 is an up and comer in the world of basket weaving with rebar. This Frog Pond resident looks good in stilettos.

Contestant 4 - Imah Bit Dowdy, widow of a long-time machinist's local prexy who at 83, is a long shot. Imah holds the hotdog eating record at the Lexington Senior Center.

Contestant 5 - Jane Fonda, not technically a Shoals area resident, but is currently on tour to promote her new biography and would be sure to get a lot of votes from Vietnam vets.

Now there's a truly inclusive lineup. Maybe next year...


We wish each and every one of you a happy Labor Day!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Update on "Save Cypress Creek"/Domestic Violence

From Scott Ruffrage:

CRITICAL VOTE: TUES. SEPT. 6TH @ 5:00PM @ CITY AUDITORIUM! This is what we have been fighting for, for two years. This is the "make it or break it" moment for the City of Florence! Your voice and presence is critical in helping to SAVE CYPRESS CREEK. Show your support and be there.


The new domestic violence law went into effect September 1st. We've received several questions about the law. Some have asked what constitutes a domestic relationship. According to the law in Alabama it includes: Anyone related by blood or marriage, spouses, ex-spouses, two people who share a child/children, or two people who have lived together within the past ten months. Other states may extend the period of co-habitation up to two years.

We sincerely hope that any of our readers who feel endangered will consult with an attorney or Safeplace.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Who Should Come First? Why Do We Even Have to Ask This Question?

Two women stood side by side waiting on their orders at a small take-out restaurant. Bev and Jan had never met before, but after requisite chat about the weather, Bev mentioned her daughter had just recovered from scarlet fever. A mother herself, Jan knew this once common childhood illness derived from untreated strep throat. Did she dare ask?

Yes, she did ask why Bev was not aware of her daughter's illness sooner. Bev's answer, although heartbreaking, was telling. It seems Bev's sister's daughter had cancer, and she had been just too involved with her niece to notice how ill her own daughter was.

The above story is true. While there certainly were extenuating circumstances involved, Bev had nonetheless placed another's child before her own. Is this what we want for America? The plight of those seeking to immigrate to our country is heartbreaking, but we as a country in dire economic straits cannot properly take care of our own.

No, we shouldn't have to ask the question. Our citizens should come first. When we have full employment and proper medical care for all our citizens, then we can begin to consider those less fortunate who were born outside our borders. Those who think that policy sounds harsh have not stopped to consider the effect uncontrolled immigration has on our own citizens.


We recently mentioned the Tennessee Valley Juvenile Detention Center located in Tuscumbia. A former inmate there provided an interesting description of every day life in the facility, but a former employee felt he had left out one of the most important parts.

It seem each detainee is allotted just three feet of toilet paper each day. Three feet for 24 hours? The children who are in the detention center are there because they have committed a crime. If they were adults they would be incarcerated in a county jail. Yet, don't county jails provide adequate toilet paper? We've heard the Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center has at times been out of soap, but never that they rationed toilet paper. Let this be a lesson to you if you're thinking of shooting into a school bus...


Friday, September 2, 2011

Just Who Is Irresponsible? Perhaps It's the Judge

H. Mark Kennedy is a former judge and the current chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party. If your political leanings are so far to the left that you reside in Leningrad or if you have a very strong stomach, you may follow him on Twitter:

Justice Mark Kennedy

Be forewarned that you will be joining Kennedy's throng of 13 current followers. Yes, we said 13--pathetic, isn't it?

But perhaps you don't know Judge/Chairman Kennedy. Just how did he come to be an Alabama Supreme Court Judge, now retired, and later Chairman of the Dems? The fact that he's the son-in-law of the late Gov. George Wallace should give us a clue.

Now it seems he's calling the Republicans "irresponsible" concerning their immigration bill, throwing in the word "ridiculous" for good measure. Well, you can't say he's afraid to take a stance. How do most Alabamians feel? We hope they tell Markie Mark it's time to pack up his extended family and head for...oh, how about outer Mongolia...or anywhere outside this state where the Wallace/Kennedy family has ranted, raved, and pillaged for the last five decades.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bernie Delinski Does Indeed Have a Fan Page!

Some months ago a Facebook wag questioned, "Bernie Delinski has a fan page?" Indeed he does, and we think he's well deserving of one, if for no other reason than his annual commencement address and his putting up with the editors/publishers of the Totally Decatur. If you enjoy Bernie, we encourage you to become a fan:


For those who grow more and more disappointed with our daily rag, there's still:


Recently we've had a large number of inquiries concerning two individuals with high profile arrests in Franklin County. We have been informed today that the grand jury will meet next week, but the list of cases to be presented was not available. We will continue to call and to report in the days to come.

Obviously the charges against Jeremy Shane Hall should be of great interest to everyone. There has been a civil suit already filed against the former Russellville police sergeant. If not indicted or convicted of state charges, Hall could conceivably face Federal charges.

Related posts: