Sunday, April 1, 2012

Doers Actually Get Something Accomplished...Eventually

Rear of Weeden Home

You've probably heard the old joke: There are two kinds of people in the world--those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don't. Today, we're going to divide the local population into four types:

1. Those who couldn't care less about the area's problems. Those who fall into this group ask what the area can do for them, not vice versa.

2. Those who really don't want to do any work, but want to take credit for any work that is done. If someone else does it and they get no credit for it, then it's wrong.

3. Those who have tried to help this area, but have become discouraged by those in Group 2.

4. Those who have (usually) had many false starts, but keep on trying until they actually accomplish something.

In yesterday's blog we honored local writer and filmmaker Thomas Beane as a local hero. We're sure Thomas has had many projects that didn't work out as intended or are still in the editing stage due to unanticipated problems. That's life. To his credit, Thomas Beane has many completed projects that have greatly benefited the Shoals and will continue to do so for years to come.

One of Thomas' most noteworthy projects is his video on Sweetwater Mansion, aka the Weeden Home. Thomas made the video while a student at the University of North Alabama, long before owner Susan Leigh Smithson allowed Cynthia Johnson to act as "Director," but now a certain group who has recently taken to Shoals cyber space has denigrated Thomas' work, calling him a trespasser at best. Let's look at some recent dialogue:

Click to Enlarge

"Carmen" asks if "you people" ever tell the truth. We're not exactly sure to whom she's referring, but we can see that Thomas has been accused of trespassing. How did Thomas reply to such a statement?

"I could care less about the issues surrounding Sweetwater or the community division between the various groups. I also have no interest in attacking people in public or private. However, I do have an interest in defending myself. My name is Thomas Beane. I did do a film project with a production crew at Sweetwater for a class that I had at the University . I did not trespass onto the property. I would not even agree to any subject within the film until I had permission and cooperation. I had permission from Charlotte Dean at Cypress Realty, who was under contract and had the listing for the property at the time. I contacted her to receive permission, which was granted. She also provided a CD copy of interior pictures for our use, which I picked up at her office. On the day that we filmed, Florence Police Department responded to a call at the property, someone had seen us at the gate. An officer came out. I talked to him about why we there and told him about the project. I provided the name of the realtor and the officer called her office. After talking with her, he left. All of this was recorded on both the radio transmission log and documented at the police department in the shift log. I discussed all of this with Cynthia Johnson and we agreed that there was no foul committed. We resolved the issue for all parties involved. I did not talk to Smithson because I did not have to do so. The property was under contract with a realtor, as I mentioned. Mrs. Dean did not give me permission the first day that I called. She called me back. As to whether she talked to anyone about it, I would refer that question to her. I have no reason to believe that Mrs. Dean did not have the right to provide such permission. The project was never intended to be a commercial project nor has it been marketed as such. It was an educational project. Anyone who claims that anything other than this happened does so without knowing the facts of the matter. I met Glass while doing this project. I have maintained the same professional relationship that I do with anyone that I have worked, which are many. I do not know who writes the different blogs nor am really interested in participating in such. If someone has proof that I did this project illegally or if Mrs. Smithson has questions about my one-time interaction with the property, I encourage them to contact me directly. I will be glad to provide contradictory evidence. 

"For the record, I have never been inside of Sweetwater. I asked Charlotte Dean about the interior. She stated that it was unsafe, so she provided the disk with the interior pictures.

"I want to add that I offered the use of rights to the video to Cynthia Johnson to sell with all profits benefiting the Sweetwater restoration project. She stated that she would like to do that if they could figure out the best way to incorporate it into the fund drive. She also offered me a position working with the restoration project. These offers were made approx. one and a half to two years ago. I had to decline her offer because I am the primary caregiver for my disabled mother, which requires priority in my time. I have not heard back from her on the video matter. As far as I am aware in relation to the three phone conversations that I have had with Cynthia Johnson, there exists no conflict between myself and anyone official associated with Sweetwater or the restoration drive. So I find the above comments involving me surprising and false."

Once again, thank you, Thomas, for all you do for the Shoals area.



  1. And that my friends isn't an April Fools joke. Don't think the ones running that blog saw that one coming. Agree, thank you Mr. Beane.

  2. I was honored to be a part of several of the stories in the video and to help out students from my alma mater. Permission was obtained from someone in charge at every place I visited.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. We published this comment since White and Johnson's names have been openly published on the sites being discussed, and Bowers has earlier admitted to being Carmen. Our opinion? We agree with you. Johnson once offered some psychic advice to a friend of ours to whom she sold advertising. It did not go over well...

  4. so Shoalanda you are wanting us to believe in ghosts based on this great work by Beane, Debra Glass and the other supposed rational individuals?

    Shoalanda, it's all made up don't you see?

    You are intentionally trying to mislead the public with all this voodoo stuff. DING DING there is no such thing as ghosts it's just entertainment.Don't take it serious.

    The house will be worked on in time. For the most part the house is stable. What rot there is is confined to the cornice which in most cases is not original. Don't be so critical of sweetwater the house in its present condition will outlive anyone alive today.

  5. We haven't checked with everyone here, but I personally don't believe in ghosts. How about demons, Toby? Do you believe in demons?

  6. The video was about ghost LEGENDS in the Shoals. It is not asking anyone to believe or not to believe. Every community has legendary stories, and the Shoals is no different. Our goal was to record these legends/folklore. I am pretty sure that Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox were not real. However, that has not stopped several cities around the US from erecting statues of the two legendary figures. This is not a video in the style of Ghost Hunters or Paranormal State. It is really about the art of storytelling that has been an element of society since the ancient days. We recorded the legends and allow the viewers to make up their own minds about what they believe. If these stories were made up, they were done so long before I produced this project. Some of the legends that we covered date back to the late 19th and early 20th century.