Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Who Would Hurt Blackie?

Shoals Writer/Photographer Mary Carton & Her Three Hooligans

Who doesn't love Hooligans? At least my friend Mary Carton's Hooligan's? More to the point, who would ever want to hurt one? We've always felt that at least with the written word one should be able to make a point without resorting to vile epithets, so let's just say whoever attempted to harm Blackie earlier this week comes from a long line of bachelors.

Another neighborhood dog in Tuscumbia was killed, and we know his parents must be suffering. If you have any information concerning the waste of oxygen who harmed Blackie and his friend, contact us or the Colbert County Sheriff's Department. We're offering a small reward.

Good luck and a speedy recovery, Blackie. We love you.


Since beginning this blog, we've endorsed candidates in three elections. This week our endorsement in the Colbert County School Superintendent's race has produced more input than any previous contest. We will be publishing some of our readers' thoughts in the immediate future. Please feel free to write us with your thoughts.


Happy Leap Year Day!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lane Roland or Troy Woodis?

Incumbent Colbert County Commissioner Troy Woodis and newcomer Lane Roland are competing for the Democratic nomination for Commission District Two. Woodis is the owner of Woodis Properties and also works for Coldwell Banker in Florence. Woodis has in years past been the pick of the TimesDaily.

Lane Roland is the manager of the North Alabama Gas District's Madison Office.Roland formerly worked with the City of Sheffield as an engineer.

Neither real estate nor natural gas transmission would seem to prepare one for the political arena, but that has yet to stop many candidates. Their credentials otherwise seem equal.

We've had some fun with Woodis and his "press ops" concerning the now defunct National Alabama Rail Car facility in Barton, but he has nonetheless served his county well. We happily endorse Troy Woodis as the Democratic nominee for Colbert County Commission Place 2.


The Florence Civil Service Board has stated the new police chief will come from within the department. Currently there are two deputy chiefs: Neil Rhodes and Tim Shaddix. Whoever succeeds Rick Singleton will have some proverbially large shoes to fill.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Better for Colbert Schools: Montgomery or Olivis?

If you've read anything at all about Colbert County Schools recently, you know this system is in trouble. There is a shortfall of funds in order to run the system, and now the central office is so overrun with mold that a new (as in we hope older remodeled) building is considered the only hope. So who should take the helm of this beleagered system?

Bob "Tuc" Montgomery is one of two candidates running on the Democratic ticket. Here is his vision statement:

If elected as Superintendent of Education in Colbert County, I will take a goal-setting approach.  My primary goal will be to continue the success the Colbert County School District has experienced in recent years.  Our current Central Office administration has done a great job in these tough financial times, managing to improve academic standards while facing extensive budget cuts.

I want to continue improving our academics and ensure that our district is providing every child the opportunity and tools they need to either pursue a higher education or a career in the trades, depending on their own aspirations.  I want to see to it that those kids who struggle are provided with opportunities for success.  The superintendent’s job is ultimately about preparing our kids for a bright future, and that will be my top priority.

Some of the key functions of the superintendent are ensuring the district has a strong and progressive academic curriculum, providing for a strong financial base, and fostering good parent/community involvement in each of our schools.  While each of these is critical, the financial issue will be the biggest challenge we face because it will be a balancing act to continue progressing academically while controlling expenditures.  This will be one of my major focus areas – we have to provide the best education possible based on our financial resources, while keeping the doors open and providing paychecks for our people.

The second Democratic Candidate is Anthony Olivis. Here is his vision statement:

I am running for the position of Superintendent of the Colbert County Schools System. I feel confident in my ability as an educator and principal and now, I would like the opportunity to lead our school system to further successes.

Due to the obvious disparity in the scholastic records of these two candidates, we feel it's almost a redundency to endorse a candidate here; however, we confidently predict Tuc Montgomery is the man to lead Colbert County out of its current misasma of financial difficulty and into a bright future. We wholeheartely endorse Robert "Tuc" Montgomery for the Democratic nomination.


No matter how you personally feel about inducing abortion as a means of birth control or to eradicate the results of a rape, etc., you should still have enough common sense to know when a state bill would financially benefit a member of our legislature. From Greg Reed:

But there’s no chance Preferred Medical Systems, where Reed is vice president, would benefit, he said. It is the company’s policy not to do business with abortion providers. I do not sell ultrasound equipment in my business to clinics that are abortion clinics,” the Republican state senator said recently. According to campaign information, Preferred Medical Systems sells diagnostic medical equipment in five states.

The above statement is the epitome of doublespeak. There are only a handful of "abortion clinics" in Alabama. There are many obstetric clinics which offer abortions when necessary. We don't see where Reed is promising not to sell to them. Aren't politicians wonderful?


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jennifer Gray or Jerry Hill?/Clarification

Jennifer Gray and Jerry Hill are running for Lauderdale County School Superintendent on the Democratic ticket. We've previously commented on Jerry Hill:

Below is a statement from Jennifer Gray:

I have been married to Jeff Gray for 21 years. We have two children. Sydney graduated high school in 2009 and is a college senior. Connor is a high school senior. We are active members at First Baptist Church in Green Hill.

I have been an educator for 22 years spending 15 years as a classroom teacher at Cloverdale Jr. High School and Rogers High School. In 2005, I became the assistant principal at Brooks Elementary and remained there for 3 years. I am currently in my fourth year as Elementary Curriculum Director and Federal Programs Coordinator for the Lauderdale County School system. I hold a master's degree in Early Childhood Education, an EdS in Educational Administration from UNA and am on track to complete requirements for an EdD in Educational Leadership in 2012.

We're happy to endorse the more qualified candidate, Jennifer Gray. Good luck, Jennifer!


Recently we began a poll concerning linking a blog detailing the crimes of a convicted rapist who now teaches art classes to young children. Many have construed this to be a new blog which we would pen. This particular blog has been floating around local cyberspace for some time, and a reader asked us to place a link in our sidebar. We had mixed feelings about this and initiated a poll on the matter. 

We will honor the results of the poll, whatever they may be; however, we and other Shoals bloggers have received several interesting communications about the possibility of such a link. At all times, we advise parents to know who teaches their children. Pedophiles pick up on which children have no love or attention at home; they then seek to provide the missing elements in the child's life.

If you don't take care of your children, you can't expect others to.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fowler, Fulmer, or Beavers? It Boils Down to Baggage

Most of us wake up with a little baggage under our eyes. When we travel, baggage follows us to our destination. A new relationship? Baggage treks along after us there as well. Sometimes it's needed; sometimes, it's a liability.

Both Joe Frank Fowler, former Lauderdale County School Board member, and Rhea Tays Michael Fulmer, current District I Commissioner have plenty of baggage. Many considered Fowler less than efficient before he retired from the board, and many others came to shudder whenever Fulmer made one of her off the wall pronouncements concerning county employees at the commission's semi-monthly meetings.

Unfortunately, we often choose the lesser of several evils when endorsing a candidate, and that we do today with Dan Beavers Sr. Beavers has served the school board well and cannot serve the commission in any worse manner than Fulmer. We therefore endorse Dan Beavers Sr. for Lauderdale County Commission Democratic nominee for Place I.


We've had several readers in Lauderdale County contact us concerning unresolved car burglaries in the eastern end of the county. If you've been a victim, send us any facts in your case, and we'll run the story during our next "Bad Boys" segment.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Rape: The Final Frontier

When we think of Safeplace, we think of abused wives. Still many of these wives and girlfriends have been brutally raped. Many will never tell their story, and many more will never live to tell their story.

That brings up a publishing conundrum. Some weeks ago, we offered a reader poll in which we asked if local arrests and accompanying photographs should be published. Out of approximately 200 who responded, 75% voted that such arrests should be published in some form. Currently both the ShoalsInsider and The Quad-Cities Daily post these local public records.

We've long held that crimes committed in the distant past should stay there. If there is one exception, it is crimes involving rape and child sexual molestation. These remain current news due to laws requiring the rapists/pedophiles to register with the state and additionally the fact that many experts say rapists can never truly be rehabilitated. Recently we've been sent a link to a blog concerning a brutal Colbert County rape that happened over 20 years ago. Is this something that we should add to the list of local blogs in our sidebar? We're going to offer a two-week poll and let our readers decide.


We censor blog comments not only for language but for libelous statements. Recently a few have questioned if the latter is necessary. From Don Burleson Consulting:

Bloggers must also be aware of their responsibilities as hosts of discussions where comments are invited from readers.  Any defamatory comments made in other posts on the blogger's website may result in the blogger being held responsible for those comments and being sued for libel.  

Apparently, it makes no difference if you offer a disclaimer concerning comments of others, the blog publisher is still responsible for what commenters say. We prefer to err on the cautious side


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Two Tommies Get Bad News

from tommy....thank you all for coming today to support me...i really dont have words right now except that i will not just sit down. i will fight to be with my family and friends. They said I was Gonna do LIFE inside the wall ...I say I am gonna have a life and i will be free!!! we only just begun to fight!!!

The above words were posted on the Facebook page of Jon Thomas Wallis this afternoon after his sentencing. Tommy Wallis, aka the Inkslinger, received a life sentence in Judge Jones' courtroom this afternoon. We may assume that Wallis (pictured on his 31st birthday) intends to appeal his sentence. Only capital sentences provide a free appeal, so Wallis' quest will be expensive, as well as lengthy.

Wallis had previously been arrested for stalking and convicted of drug trafficking. We'll be having more on Wallis in upcoming days.


Wallis wasn't the only Tommy to get bad news today. Tommy Arthur has been scheduled to die by lethal injection on March 29th. We're not holding our breath...


With the abundance of violent crime in the area, many forget that we are primarily a political blog. We'll soon be adding a new team member--an expert in Alabama politics as played out in our capital. Keep reading...


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mel Grimes: The Dem to Beat for Commission Chair

If you live in the western end of Lauderdale County, you know the east gets the gravy. If you live in the eastern end, you know the west gets preferential treatment. Hmmmm, both statements can't be true. Actually, neither is true. If you think the long running feud between Lauderdale and Colbert Counties is the only one going, you haven't talked to those who reside in Waterloo or Rogersville.

Unlike other large counties, Lauderdale has only two districts, therefore a certain amount of polarity is inevitable. The eastern end of the county is also more populous, giving it the edge in voting. Sadly, it may come down to this mini-geographic divide to decide the new office of County Commission Chair.

Three Democrats are vying for this part-time job: Dewey Mitchell, Mel Grimes, and Candy Haddock. Haddock, judging from a previous local run, would seem to be the dark horse. A strong businesswoman, she has little political experience and would be a long shot to win the nomination. Obviously the Democrats are seeking a candidate that can beat Republican Quinton Hanson.

Dewey Mitchell may be seen as something of an incumbent since he is retiring as county probate judge. One Florence city council member has called Mitchell the worst probate judge in the history of the county. Others have taken issue with his less than tactful approach concerning day to day problems inherent in the office.Perhaps the most unsettling accusation concerning Mitchell is that he has chosen to run in order to secure a certain Lauderdale site as the location of the new hospital.

That leaves relative newcomer Mel Grimes; just what does he stand for? A member of the Waterloo town council, Grimes has proved popular with voters in the eastern end of the county. Even more importantly, he has stated he looks forward to improving the county using the intellectual support of individuals who actually have expertise in the areas currently affecting Lauderdale County.

Mel will be giving us a statement in the next few days. We happily endorse Mel Grimes for the Democratic nominee for Lauderdale County Commission Chair.


We've had several questions lately concerning what can be done to stop convenience stores from selling tobacco products to underage youths. If you have seen such sales, first contact the manager/owner of the retail establishment. Note the time of the sale and the name of the offending clerk.

If the problem still continues, contact the ATF of Alabama at:

Huntsville Satellite Field Office
3750 Corporal Road
Redstone Arsenal, Alabama 35898 USA
Voice (256) 533-8880
Fax (256) 533-8881

The agents in charge will either put you in touch with local authorities or handle the matter themselves. Good luck.


Dino's Deliberations: Legislative Salaries

Dino's Deliberations: Legislative Salaries

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jon Thomas Wallis Sentencing/Absentee Voting

The sentencing hearing for Jon Thomas Wallis will be Thursday, February 23rd, in Lauderdale County Circuit Court. Wallis was convicted in December of the attempted murder of his wife. Those wishing to comment during the sentencing may do so. Tommy Wallis faces a minimum term of 20 years.

Related post: Wallis Convicted


Circuit Court Clerks Missy Homan Hibbett (Lauderdale County) and Nancy Hearn (Colbert County) would like to remind everyone that absentee voting is going on now.  You may qualify to vote absentee if you will be unable to vote on Tuesday, March 13 due to:
1.  Being out of town on election day
2.  Physical illness or condition
3.  Job responsibilities
4.  Military service
5.  Attending college out of town
Call or go by the county circuit clerk's office if you have questions.  You may also visit the Secretary of State's website for more information.


From our friend Daniel Horton:

We thought you might like to know that in addition to videos and books, we're also getting into the music business too! This is the first single from our good friends Ashlyn Maine, their first album will be out from Dirrty Apple in about a month on iTunes and Amazon!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Is Sheffield Shooting Range a Brownfield?

In 1979, the North Alabama Shooting Association leased property from Sheffield and opened a firing range in what was then a desolate part of the small Colbert County town. Ten years ago Ridge Pointe subdivision came into being and is now demanding the City of Sheffield shut down the range.

Unlike many people, we see little value in guns, but we also have common sense. Didn't those who purchased homes in Ridge Pointe know of the range when they signed on the dotted line. Why protest now?

Fancy subdivisions breed guess what? More fancy subdivisions. Obviously the property on which the range is located is now worth much more than in 1979. One of our readers who frequents the shooting range has heard the property called a brownfield. In the U.S., brownfields usually require a small amount of work to be turned into valuable property. We're not sure that a shooting range has left any contaminants to be removed. The property could more correctly be termed shovel ready.

Yes, things change, but it will be interesting to see who eventually purchases the property from the city. Damn the shotguns and follow the money.


Colbert County Schools superintendent Billy Hudson is demanding the system build a new central office complex. If the current offices are so mold ridden, and we have no doubt they are, we're surprised Hudson wouldn't be happy with just clean and safe accommodations. Money to build an entire new complex could be better used in the not so wonderful world of Colbert County education.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Rain in Muscle Shoals Falls Mainly on One Business

For some time we've communicated with a businessman in Muscle Shoals. This man owns a small business and has invested his life savings in the building and inventory. Yet approximately once every two years or so it floods. This has been going on since he bought the building 20 years ago; he can find no buyers for the property.

When this gentleman purchased the property, he talked with his councilman who assured him that the flooding problems in that fair city had been corrected. Apparently most of them have, but a few low-lying properties remain in danger whenever the town experiences a gully washer. After all these years, the man can no longer get insurance, and one neighboring business actually complained the last time this gentleman placed sandbags along the front edge of his property.

Is there an answer to this problem? The man has given up trying to get the city to work on the flooding problem. After all, they say it's only two or three businesses that are now affected. Live with it. So what is the man's complaint?

The City of Muscle Shoals has given tax relief to new businesses such as Zaxby's, but will not assist him in keeping his long term business from going under, pun intended. Is there an answer? Probably not, but long-term small business owners in Muscle Shoals should look at the situation and put themselves in this man's place. It just might encourage them to support him the next time it floods.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Old Glory at Florence High School/Publicity?

A regular reader has asked us to comment on the condition of the U.S. flag at Florence High School. It seems the flag has seen better days and needs to be replaced. We frequently see such flags over the entire Shoals area. Does your business or home fly a tattered symbol of our country?


A few weeks ago, a representative of Sweetwater Mansion began a blog in which she made various claims about local citizens, all individuals who had criticized the current condition of that estate. At least four local people, none of whom is connected with this blog at this time, have been accused of various crimes from child abuse to pornography.

Such false accusations are usually better left unanswered, but since this seems to be an ongoing attack, we wished to set the record straight. Of the three accused of working here, none of them does at this time. We would be happy if any or all of them wished to write for us as a regular member of our blogging team or as a guest contributor.

The fourth person has been accused of child neglect and abuse. He has also been accused of stalking the director of Sweetwater. According to an attorney one of the four consulted, this gentleman has grounds for a civil lawsuit. It's possible the other three do also.

If any readers have any questions about Sweetwater's history, its current owner, or its current problems, we suggest they refer to this blog:


Friday, February 17, 2012

Amanda Watkins to do Mandatory 10 Years

2009 School Photo

Colbert County Judge Jackie Hatcher yesterday sentenced Amanda Duboise Watkins to two mandatory five year terms to be served consecutively. If Watkins should experience any trouble in prison, she will be forced to serve the entire 20 years--not a pleasant thought.

This sentence doesn't bode well for Kimberly Bynum of Franklin County and Dana Allen of Lauderdale. These two women face similar charges and ostensibly similar sentences should they be convicted.

At Trial 2011
Related post: Delmer & Amanda Duboise Do Their Students


Bailey's Bailiwick: Just Say No to Teacher Sex

When I was a small child we had a neighbor, Mrs. Dollie Smith (I've changed her last name). Miss Dollie as most people called her was a widow with several grown children. Miss Dollie always had a neat yard and was known for serving the Lord.

At some some point when I was in school at Richards Elementary, Miss Dollie's daughter and son-in-law had to leave for military duty or some similar reason. Their two children came to live with her. These girls were older than I, but sometimes my mother would drop them off at Coffee High before taking me on to Richards. They were both very nice and polite. One of them even once chided me for sassing my mother.

Some months ago, a friend asked me if I knew who Carter Watkins was. I replied that he was Amanda Duboise Watkins' husband. My friend said yes, but he was also the son of one of Miss Dollie's granddaughters, the girls I had known briefly in childhood. I admit I hadn't thought about them in years, and Miss Dollie has been gone quite some time. Still, I thought a great deal about Carter and his plight after that.

My friend thought that Carter had taken his wife back. I don't know if that is true, and whatever decision he made was his alone and he obviously knows more about the situation than we do. If it's true, it's doubly sad that now his wife Amanda will be gone for ten years. When she returns her daughter will be almost grown.

If Amanda is mentally ill, she should have been allowed to get help. If she isn't mentally ill, I want to ask her, "Was it worth it, Amanda?"


Thursday, February 16, 2012

UNA & Dickinson State

Dickinson State University is a college similar in size to the University of North Alabama. The Bismarck, North Dakota, school desperately needed more funding (perhaps it strove to enter Division I athletics?) and saw the advantage of Chinese students who paid large amounts of out of state tuition.

Authorities now say Dickinson State became a diploma mill. In the past eight years, 410 Chinese students were issued diplomas from Dickinson, but only 10 of these actually earned them. Apparently the students, most of whom didn't speak English, returned home early or didn't have the academic ability required to do the coursework. Nevertheless, they had paid their money and they received their diplomas. Nice, isn't it?

It seems Florence will now have a large campus dedicated to alternative medicine and filled with Chinese students. As long as our tax dollars don't pay for this and local police have no additional problems, this will add a few jobs to the local economy and certainly more than a few dollars to the local retail scene.

But will UNA now be seen as a diploma mill like Dickinson State? We hope not. We also doubt that many local students will seek degrees in this program. In other words, this new college won't be turning away any U.S. students for those who have more money. Now, let's get the popcorn and watch.


Our friend Justin has asked us what Jesus would do concerning illegal immigrants. Obviously, we can only attempt to answer that question. We do know that Jesus commanded us to follow the laws under which we live. If Jesus wanted us to give these illegal immigrants special emphasis, shouldn't we be sending any extra income to other countries to provide a means to bring them here? Once they're all here...oh, well, we'll worry about that later...not to mention planning which other laws we should break.

If our tax dollars support illegal immigrants, we can be sure this only encourages more illegal immigration. If our tax dollars support U.S. citizens who are having a rough time, we can also be sure that at least part of them will use that money to overcome their current adversity, strive to do more, get a better education, and become productive citizens of our country.

Helping others is like playing the stock market. We invest in those whom we believe will give the highest civic return for our investment. When we win, everyone wins.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dino's Deliberations: Revamped Legislative Compensation? It's a Possibility! Read more.....

Dino's Deliberations: Revamped Legislative Compensation? It's a Possibility! Read more.....

Evelyn A. Servin & Presente

This is Evelyn A. Servin, a resident of either Russellville or Albertville, depending upon which news source you consult. Evelyn and her husband Jorge are activists--activists who throw around the word "racist" quite frequently. Perhaps the Servins feel if they use the word often enough many will come to believe it.

The song says "words are all I have," and certainly semantics can be either a champion of your cause or a cruel mistress. After all, according to many news outlets, there are no more illegal aliens, only undocumented ones.

Evelyn recently attended a protest at the state capitol in Montgomery. She and her followers are seeking nothing less than the repeal of HB56. We doubt that Servin and her cohorts accomplished much besides wasting time and gasoline.

Servin works for an organization called Presente, a champion of causes in U.S. Latino communities. This is certainly admirable up to a point. Which admirable causes are featured on their website today? Bringing more Latino categories to the Grammys. At least Presente is diversified.

Photo courtesy of the New York Times


Need your fix for Shoals arrests, complete with photos? Look no further than:

Need your fix for scandalous behavior in Cherokee? Look no further than:


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cupid Causes Conniption

Yes, it's that time of year when relationships are made or broken. Good luck to all our readers out there and we hope you survive another St. Valentine's Day without any massacres.

The best gifts are the small ones. We suggest you:

Share your dinner with your neighbor.
Visit a nursing home.
Call your elderly aunt.
Bag up the clothes you never wear for Goodwill.
Have a smile for the clerk who shorts you five cents in change.

In fact, these are all pretty good ideas for any day of the year...


Monday, February 13, 2012

A LEO Speaks Out on Airsoft/"Colby" Hall?

A faithful reader who is also a retired law enforcement officer (LEO) has some interesting comments concerning Airsoft and Hershel Dale Graham (who was 16 when he shot his stepfather):

While I support one's right to own and use AirSoft 'guns' (RESPONSIBLY), speaking from a LEO's perspective, they pose a very real danger. LEOs rarely have the luxury of  'time' when someone points a 'weapon' at them or someone else in their presence. AirSoft 'guns' were/are designed to mimic real firearms. LEOs are trained to respond with deadly force if threatened with a firearm. If a LEO hesitates, even the slightest little bit, it may cost him or someone else their life (it already has). If someone points an AirSoft 'gun' at a LEO, I can only think that they are wanting to commit 'suicide by cop'.

In my opinion, the AK pictured being held in the vehicle is an 'AirSoft' model. Otherwise, it is a 'short barreled rifle'....recently made legal in Alabama, but ONLY with the payment of a $200 NFA tax and blessings from the BATFE. AirSoft 'guns' only need the 'red tip' to be sold...not possessed or used. Our TacTeam used AirSoft copies of the HK USP pistols and MP5s they used on duty for training.inside public buildings. 

At 16, juveniles don't possess 2nd Amendment rights. So...they cannot lose them.
Editor's Note: Wikipedia states that it is also illegal to possess an Airsoft or other simulated weapon without the red/orange tip. Wiki has been known to have misleading information; comments welcome.


A poster on Facebook recently mentioned the abominable spelling contained in the TimesDaily, which immediately prompted a rebuttal from TD staff writer Russ Corey. Why mention it here?

An article by Hannah Mask in today's TD mentioned "Colby" Hall. After reading the article, we commented on the incorrect name in the space provided by our local daily rag. This morning the comment had been deleted. We wonder if elementary school teachers still suggest reading the TD as a means to improve English and communication skills?


Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Violent Youth Doesn't Get Help

Years ago bomb threats and similar notices of violence were classified as disturbing the peace or even as simple pranks if the guilty party was underage. Now police take such threats extremely seriously, as they should, but are they all equal?

Last Monday night a 14 year-old boy posted on his Facebook page that he was planning on blowing up Muscle Shoals High School, as well as planning on bringing a gun to the school to kill both students and faculty. It would be difficult to do both, but an alert teacher informed police. Less than 12 hours later the boy was arrested at school and taken to a juvenile detention facility.

The unidentified student was living with his grandfather, so we may assume he previously had a troubled home life. Would he have gone through with his threats? Only he knows the answer to that question. No matter the answer, the boy needs help to mature beyond such violent reactions to everyday problems.

What of those who don't get help? A 16 year-old boy shot his reputedly abusive stepfather and claimed self-defense. The shooting in question occurred 34 years ago, and the records in the case were least until recently. The shooter is now 50 year-old Hershel Dale Graham who admits to killing David Andrasik last November. He's again claiming self-defense.

Attorneys for former UAH professor Amy Bishop are seeking to bar records of her previous violent assault from being admitted into evidence at her trial. We expect the attorney for the former wrestler from Red Bay to do the same. How sad no one helped Hershel Graham get the help he needed.


What's behind sudden Sheffield opposition to a gun club shooting range? Several readers have asked us this question, but if the Colbert County town has any ulterior motives, we're not aware of them. Readers? Anyone have any ideas? Comments always welcome.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Should We Be VOCAL?

Pictured above is Miriam Shehane, one of the founders of VOCAL (Victims of Crime and Leniency). The Shoals is lucky to have a VOCAL chapter and even more lucky to have Denny Kimbrell as its president.

Do we agree with everything VOCAL does? No, but we agree with most of it. DK will be writing some more for us on this organization and, we hope, the function of grand juries. We're sure he is the strongest supporter of VOCAL among us here at Shoalanda.

Should we be vocal, or should we just sweep all crime under the rug?  We recently blogged on a man convicted for the attempted murder of his wife, but some have replied that this man couldn't be guilty because he bought his wife so much. Of course, perfect sense... Nevertheless, we will supply his inmate information after his sentencing so that those who wish to protest may do so.

We've also been criticized for blogging on non-violent, embezzlement type crimes. All the crimes mentioned herein have been those committed in local or county government offices. In other words, the victims in these cases are the taxpayers. The public has a right to know if taxpayer money is misappropriated...or misused in other ways.

Last, we have teacher/coach crimes against students. Yes, the students participated in some of these crimes. They are still a crime. We cannot fathom why anyone would want these types of incidents covered up, but yet some do. No, they are never over and done with...the abuser will strike again. It's the responsibility of the caring public to make sure that doesn't happen.


Mo Brooks' Kickoff :

Lauderdale County
Time: 2:00pm-4:00pm (CST)
Location: Royal Avenue Recreation Center
(located behind Braly Stadium)
421 N. Royal Ave.
Florence AL 35630


Friday, February 10, 2012

Bowling & Airsoft: The Sports of Kings/Barry Lane

If you've watched much TV Land, you've probably seen the episode of Laverne & Shirley in which Squiggy (or was that Lenny?) declares, "Ah, bowling--the sport of kings." Apparently the late 1970s saw a new "sport" on the horizon. It came from Asia and it's called Airsoft. Let's just say that bowlers may have a right to be offended by our pairing their sport with Airsoft.

Acting on a total weapons ban, some Japanese companies began to produce versions of tactical weapons using what are commonly called BBs for ammunition. Others countries soon followed. After a reader informed us that Airsoft was not just one brand, but a generic name for weapons used in the sport of Airsoft, we found at least 15 companies that produce these watered down versions of high tech weaponry.

How common are Airsoft weapons? While illegal in Australia, Maylaysia, Korea, and some other countries, they're mainly legal in the United States. San Francisco, Washington, Chicago, New York City, and some smaller areas outlaw their purchase or use. No matter what the location in the U.S., all Airsoft guns are classified as illegal weapons if the orange tip has been removed or is painted over.

Can we definitely say Elijah Graham was holding an AK-47 assault rifle? No. We can definitely say that he was either pictured with an AK-47 or an illegal weapon.


Last month, a Franklin County grand jury indicted Barry R. C. Lane for six counts of sodomy in connection with several incidents involving a young boy. The abuse began in 2004 and continued until last year. Lane quickly posted a 50K bond and returned to the free world. Unfortunately, this isn't such an unusual occurrence these days.

What is unusual is that 21 year-old Lane was already out on bail for similar crimes. From the July 20, 2011,  Franklin County Times:

A Russellville man was arrested Monday on sexually-related charges stemming from incidents that took place over a several-year period, officers said. Barry R.C. Lane, 21, 158 Franks Circle, Russellville, was charged with two counts of first-degree sodomy, second-degree possession of marijuana and another sexually-related charge. According to Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver, the sheriff’s office received a report that Lane had sexually assaulted a female child under the age of 12. During the investigation, Oliver said Lane admitted to the sexual acts and said they were committed over the last several years and even as recently as last month. He is being held at the Franklin County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

Legally, Lane was entitled to the second bond; we do wish that the judicial powers that be in Franklin County had set the bond at a figure ensuring Lane would remain off the streets until his trial.


Several readers have communicated they've tried to comment, but have been met with a spam filter. We're working on the problem, but it may involve the users' browser. While testing settings, some approved comments were inadvertently deleted. If your comment wasn't published, please resubmit, and thanks for reading.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tattoos & Violence and Judgment?

Two recent murder cases have provoked discussion on tattoos, and judging from some Facebook postings this is something everyone feels strongly about. Two men involved in local murder cases have proudly shown off new tats on their FB pages; do tattoos correlate with violent behavior? We found an interesting study that says yes, but if you have a tat, don't yell just yet. This is a synopsis of the study:

Results. Participants with tattoos and/or body piercings were more likely to have engaged in risk-taking behaviors and at greater degrees of involvement than those without either. These included disordered eating behavior, gateway drug use, hard drug use, sexual activity, and suicide. Violence was associated with males having tattoos and with females having body piercings. Gateway drug use was associated with younger age of both tattooing and body piercing. Hard drug use was associated with number of body piercings. Suicide was associated with females having tattoos and younger age of both tattooing and body piercing. Tattoos and body piercings were found to be more common in females than males.

The study doesn't contend that those with tattoos are more violent by nature. What it does present is that those guilty of violent acts are more likely to be tattooed than not. We have also been surprised by some comments on our own FB page concerning today's topic. One poster who owns a thriving business stated he would not hire anyone with visible tats since these techs go into people's homes. This surprised us, but we do see the rationale. Would a tech with a tattoo on his arm be unwelcome in our home? No, it wouldn't bother us in the least (We haven't checked with other bloggers in our group). What about piercings and scarifications? No, but since these types of body "art" carry inherent dangers of infection, we do wonder why anyone would choose them.

Pardon the digression and back on the subject of tats, here's some pics of two very young men recently accused of violent acts:

Tuscumbia Youth Arrested for Domestic Violence

Elijah Graham Accused of Complicity in Murder of David Andrasik

In closing, we hope everyone remembers that tattoos are usually pretty permanent. We suggest you think long and hard before getting that ink. If you decide you can't live without one, then check out the artist before you've said yes to that needle. Oh, we do hear it's painful...


The arrest of one of two men accused of murdering David Andrasik has prompted the usual onslaught of "Judge not..." remarks. Are we as Christians, or any discerning individual, not to judge when a crime has taken place? If the answer is no, then there is no need for police or courts. Everyone from Charles Manson to Adolph Hitler is innocent by reason of (fill in the blank). No, we are most certainly to judge in many cases. Here's a quote that sums it up admirably:

F.F. Bruce: "Judgment is an ambiguous word, in Greek as in English: it may mean sitting in judgment on people (or even condemning them), or it may mean exercising a proper discrimination. In the former sense judgment is depreciated; in the latter sense it is recommended.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another Government Embezzler?/Tats & Violence

Lauderdale Solid Waste Office Manager Trina Holden Reynolds

It seems waste in local government has a new meaning. Trina Holden Reynolds, office manager for the Lauderdale County Solid Waste Department, has been accused of embezzling at least 2.5K dollars. This is a preliminary figure used simply for bringing initial charges. Authorities expect this figure to rise after a forensic audit.

While men usually embezzle in larger amounts than women, the fairer sex is by far more often to steal from employers. FBI statistics state men account for only 36% of embezzlement type crimes, while women make up 63% of these creative accountants. Apparently 1% of embezzlement crimes go unsolved.

At least locally, we've had many more reported cases of theft by government employees than by those in the private sector. Is this because government employees receive less oversight or perhaps because these women consider government funds to be at least partially theirs to start with? Possibly theft in the private sector is covered up and paid for by insurance companies or reimbursed from employee retirement accounts. When these types of crimes are reported, those in authority always promise tighter controls in future. It would certainly be expedient if government department heads took more initiative before the crime--not afterward.

Related post: Who Embezzles & Why?


There have been several recent online discussions concerning tattoos and what they say about those who proudly wear them. Obviously tattoos are more mainstream than in the past, but the ink art still carries certain legal restrictions. In Alabama, it's illegal for anyone to tattoo a person under the age 18 without express written consent from a parent or other legal guardian. Body piercings and scarification carry the same restrictions.

Tomorrow we'll look at what physicians and psychologists say about the relationship between tattoos and violence. In the mean time, feel free to send us your take on the subject--as our friend the Brown Recluse says, we know you want to.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Let's Play a Game: Which Line Are You In?

Get ready, gentle readers, today we're going to play a game. If your last name starts with A-M, you will go into Line 1. If your last name starts with N-Z, you will go into Line 2. Now pay close attention, there will be different instructions for each line.

Line 1: Stay in line. Don't push or shove. As you enter the line, pay us 5K.
Line 2: No need to stand on protocol. Stand where you wish. Everything is gratis.

Line 1: Proceed slowly to the first marker. Be ready to pay us another 5K.
Line 2: Move as fast as you wish. Your money is no good here.

Line 1: Wait to enter until the person before you has completely entered. Hand over 5K more.
Line 2: The door is wide, no need for any real lines. It's all good and it's all free.

Line 1: You're in, but not done. Show us your immunization records and pay another 5K.
Line 2: You're in. No need for immunization. Medicaid will take care of that. All free, of course.

Line 1: Don't complain that it's taken several years. Swear you've never committed a crime of moral turpitude and provide us with the name of your future employer.
Line 2: You made it in just days! Great! Criminal record? Who cares? No job? Don' t worry; we have plenty of food stamps and other hand outs--all courtesy of the people in Line 1.

Anyone in Line 1 feel just a little discriminated against? How about the hard working woman who survived the atrocities of World War II and then had to repay her passage to the U.S.? How about the Indian family who have become citizens, own several business, and still can't get their parents into this country? How about the young Australian woman with a great education, wonderful job prospects, and an American husband? In fact, perhaps she would offer us a few words of wisdom:

Sydney Morris Oh no! You mean that illegals might have to do what EVERY OTHER IMMIGRANT HAS TO DO TO ENTER & STAY IN THE U.S. LEGALLY? Yeah, pay up, get in line, pay again, take the HIV test, pay up some more and wait like the rest of us.

And there are actual citizens who support illegal immigrants who have no job, no education, and slim prospects of ever supporting themselves in this country?


Monday, February 6, 2012

No, It's Not About Race; It's About Money

Russellville Hispanics are again crying "Racial Discrimination" and asking why they should wait until they have 20K to become legal citizens. Let's does that work? We would all like new Bentleys so why should we wait until we're able to pay for them? Go to any store or service oriented business and tell the proprietor you want something but can't pay for it. Just what do you think he/she would say?

Our tax dollars in Alabama are extremely limited. The motto of every honest, competent citizen should be "Alabamians First."

Related post: "Hispanic" Is Not a Race


In case anyone should feel this state has money to toss at non-citizens, it's been announced that the Alabama budget will be suffering a deficit of 450 million for next year.


Seeking names of WWII Veterans who lived in the TVA Village #2, both before and after war. Info desired for Village #2 history project. Phone collect 703-278-8615 or email


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mignon Willis Exhonerated/Dana Allen Update

Former Cherokee Mayor Mignon Willis has now overturned a civil judgment against her in Mississippi. In 2010, Rehab Solutions of Tupelo, Mississippi, a company owned and operated by Willis' extended family, secured a judgment against the accountant. Willis contented she was not guilty of any malfeasance, and the Supreme Court of Mississippi has upheld her position.

Willis currently serves as chairman of Cherokee's Water Board. Her supporters are encouraging her to run against long time mayor Chuck Lansdell. Willis previously served one term as mayor and has been a constant thorn in the political side of Chuckles Duckles, as one of his online alter-egos dubs him. Stay tuned.


There’s little worse than witnessing the fall of a person who held public trust. We will assume that’s the reason many have e-mailed us concerning the professional status of Dana Myhan Allen, an employee of Florence OB/Gyn who has been charged with Second Degree Rape.

Was she in fact a nurse? This question seems to be the basis of much concern among our readers. Here’s what a health care administrator has to say:

The state database does not list this Dana Allen as a licensed nurse. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a nursing degree. Remember anyone can wear scrubs and usually do if they work in a doctor’s office. Mrs. Allen could be licensed in another state, but her employer could not allow her to work as a nurse unless licensed in the State of Alabama. If Mrs. Allen has claimed to be a licensed nurse she could be subject to another felony charge.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Real AK-47? Yep/Absentee Voting

The things we learn about society in general and gun afficiandos in particular never cease to amaze us. We recently published a photo of Elijah Graham holding a Russian AK-47 assault rifle...yes, a real one. One of young Mr. Graham's supporters quickly informed us that Elijah was actually holding an Airsoft brand air gun. Hmmm. Do such things actually exist? We would have bet no; however, we would have been wrong. Never underestimate the decadent desires of the American public.

Below is a photo of such an air rifle. Note the hollow, open stock and the orange tip. These two features distinguish the air gun from a real AK-47--which Elijah was holding. They also theoretically distinguish the air gun for the benefit of police. It's still a sobering thought that those who protect our lives and property are forced to contend with such "fun toys."

It's also a sobering thought that a father would buy his son a six hundred dollar assault rife.We're going to guess that supporters will now also contend that isn't a real cigarette the then 17 year-old Elijah is smoking?

Absentee voting for the March 13 primary begins locally on Monday, February 6.  Individuals who are not be able to vote on March 13 between 7am and 7pm due to work or being out of town (for example) are eligible to vote absentee.  Candidates, as you campaign, you will discover voters who say, "I'll be out of town on March 13."  They might say, "My work schedule doesn't allow me to go vote."  Encourage them to vote absentee.  If there are any questions, contact the office of the county probate judge or circuit court clerk.  You can also visit the Secretary of State's website at


Friday, February 3, 2012

Why Wasn't Elijah Graham Indicted?

Hershel Dale Graham

Why wasn’t Elijah Graham indicted for assault against David Martin Andrasik? This is the question many readers have asked. We can offer only theories.

We’ve determined the younger Graham lacked one month being 18 when he committed the assault against David. If he were to be indicted, he would probably receive youthful offender status and his conviction, if any, be sealed. That begs the question should he have been indicted for helping disable David before his father Hershel Graham shot the young Red Bay father dead? We’ll inject here that if Elijah had been the one to pull the trigger he would almost certainly have been tried as an adult. The fact is Elijah, no matter how sinister his intentions, would have been charged with only assault if the situation had gone no further.

The defense would argue Elijah was an abused child—a motherless son who was not supervised by his father...or worse, whose own father abetted the under-age young man in purchasing cigarettes and tattoos. Should the elder Graham be convicted, Elijah will then be a de facto orphan, a fact that doesn’t bode well for his future.

We’ve also been asked why the TimesDaily has published a somewhat one-sided version of the altercation that led to David Andrasik’s death. We rarely defend the journalism on the TD, but its writers can only publish the information they’ve been provided by the Red Bay police or the Franklin County District Attorney’s office. It’s certainly more than likely the writers at our local rag have no idea that David stopped because a dog belonging to the Grahams ran in front of his car.

We have to wonder if Red Bay officials are now enforcing the leash ordinance...or are they once again turning a blind eye?


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hershel Dale Graham Indicted for Felony Murder

Alleged Driver with Russian Assault Rifle

One of two participants in the November 2011 shooting of David Martin Andrasik has been indicted by the January Franklin County grand jury. Hershel Dale Graham of Red Bay was arrested Wednesday and taken to the Franklin County Jail, charged with Felony murder. Graham's son Elijah, a 2011 graduate of Red Bay High School, has alternately been listed as 17 to 19 years of age. Witnesses say the younger Graham ran over Andrasik's foot before the elder Graham shot the victim in the heart.

Sources say bail was set at 100K, and Graham bonded out earlier today with instructions to stay away from the Andrasik family. If convicted, Hershel Graham will face 20 years to life in prison. We hope this is the beginning of some closure for David's wife Carla and his three young children. We encourage all our readers to join the Facebook page:

Update on Wilson High School volunteer coach charged with Second Degree Rape: Several sources have stated that Dana Myhan Allen will plead not guilty by reason of mental defect. Just as former Sheffield Junior High teacher Amanda Duboise Watkins claimed an earlier rape clouded her judgment, Allen will allege the advances of an older teacher/mentor while she was a student at Wilson left her with the inability to comprehend the enormity of her actions. If convicted, Allen faces two to 20 years in prison.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Female Predators: A Pretrial & An Arrest

Kimberly Bynum

Pretrial for Kimberly Bynum, the teacher who formerly taught at Vina High School, has been set for March 21st. Bynum was arrested in June of last year for an admitted sexual relationship with a student. Under Alabama law, students who have reached the age of consent are still prohibited from sexual relationships with teachers until they reach 19. If convicted of the Class B Felony, Bynum could face a sentence of 20 years.


Dana LaShanna Myhan Allen, according to WHNT Channel 19, is a wife and mother. According to her Facebook page, she's an employee of Florence OB/Gyn Clinic in West Florence. According to Lauderdale County detectives, she's a second degree rapist who preyed on underage boys at her alma mater Wilson High School.

The daughter of Danny and Connie Myhan, the 38 year-old Allen has been married for 18 years to Russell O'Neal Allen. For several years, Allen has been a volunteer basketball coach at Wilson where all of her alleged victims were students. According to detective Travis Clemmons, the investigation has linked Allen to several students, but only one under the age of consent. Like Bynum, Dana Allen faces a felony charge that could result in a sentence of 20 years. 

A Political Forum for Candidates Seeking the Office of
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
at Rogers High School, Greenhill
6:00 PM in the Cafeteria
This event is sponsored by the Lauderdale County Education Association.
The public is invited to attend.