Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kenneth Eugene Risner Wanted Again

Kenneth Eugene Risner has been on the move lately. Risner was being held in the Colbert County Jail for making a terrorist threat that shut down Spring Park in Tuscumbia, but on May 4th he was transferred from Colbert to the Lauderdale County Detention Center. Details of the transfer and his life at the Detention Center are unconfirmed, but after spending two to three weeks in Florence, Risner complained of chest pains and was taken to ECM Hospital for treatment.

Upon release from ECM, he was picked up by Colbert County deputies who returned him to the Tuscumbia facility. He bonded out of the Colbert Jail a few days ago and is awaiting a court date of June 26th. Upon his release, family members had told authorities they were taking Risner to a mental health facility for treatment. Unfortunately, such treatment may have to wait.

Kenneth Risner is now wanted on a warrant from Wayne County, Tennessee, charging him with burglary. Sources in Lauderdale say that when he became aware of the new warrant, Risner decided to flee. A search is reportedly on for the 48 year-old Lauderdale man. He should be considered unstable and possibly dangerous.

Related post: Bad Boys: Kenneth Risner


As we stated yesterday, Tanisha Tetter Welch has sent threatening communications to at least three friends/family of murder victim Amanda Taylor. One of those threatened lives in Madison County and has been unable to press charges. We're unsure of the rationale behind that...are such threats just business as usual in our neighboring metropolitan county?


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tetter & Ron: Mental Evaluations All Around?

Content Warning: Screen shots of threats from Tanisha Tetter Welch, Ronald Weems' first cousin, have been censored for publication, but still contain graphic wording and imagery.

Yesterday we introduced you to Tanisha Tetter Welch, mother of two small children, niece to Laquania Welch Weems, and a wanted woman in Colbert County. Tetter (bottom photo), as she is called, has stated that her cousin Ron Wikkid Weems (top right), confessed murderer of Amanda Taylor, is her best friend. Early in May she announced on a social media site that she wanted to kill herself, but later renounced the idea after receiving a letter from Ron in which he told her everything was going to be all right. Shortly after that optimistic pronouncement, Ron's attorney asked for a mental evaluation of his client.

While we don't doubt both Ron and Tetter have mental problems, both know right from wrong--that is the standard by which they will be judged--Ron for Felony Murder and Tetter for Misdemeanor Harassment. While Tetter has threatened more than one individual, many of her rants have been directed toward one person, a person extremely close to Amanda and one who has done much to ensure there will be justice for the murdered mother of three.

Just what has Tetter threatened? Looking at the message to the right, it would appear that violence was her intent, or at least what she wanted her victim to believe was her intent. The mention of more "clowns" in her family is quite telling.

Do we think the Insane Clown Posse played a part in the murder of Amanda Taylor? No, not in any real way. We do believe Laquania Weems abdicated her responsibility to her son many years ago and gave him over to what's come to be called a thug mentality. It would seem that her sister accomplished the same with Tetter.

Both were, for their age, overly enamored with the hip-hop group and, yes, to at least some degree became immune to the violence portrayed in the songs. Note Tetter's use of a hatchet wielding juggalette as a Facebook icon. Tetter has even used one of ICP's videos in an attempt to frighten one of her targets.

Our sources tell us Tetter is also wanted in Franklin County on charges that will take precedence over the harassment charges facing her in Colbert. No matter what awaits her in Russellville, we hope she will be held accountable for her threats to others.

If anyone else has received similar messages (and we know at least two others have), we urge you to send copies to Kyle Brown of the Colbert County District Attorney's office. He can instruct you in the best way to file charges. Tetter Welch needs help, but she won't get it unless she's held accountable.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tanisha Tetter Welch: Wanted for Harassment

We strongly believe in supporting family. most cases. Pictured above is Tanisha Tetter Welch, known to friends as Tetter. The niece of Laquania Welch Weems and cousin to Ron Wikkid Weems, Tetter has made it a point to contact anyone supporting Ron's murder victim or her family. In case you think Tetter has been reaching out in kindness, think again.

 Ronald "Wikkid" Weems

Not only has Tetter been communicating with these individuals via Facebook, she has recently taken to visiting at least one of Amanda Taylor's family at their place of employment. We'll be publishing screen shots of some of these less than cordial missives tomorrow. They will require some editing to cover up language, but--warning--they will still retain some words not used in Sunday School.

Tetter has described herself as "two people." While she obviously doesn't know the meaning of schizophrenic, this is a quote from her Facebook page: I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other, and when I am alone I am together.

Perhaps she finds it easier to defend herself if she can blame some alter ego for her rants and rages. Then again, perhaps she is genuinely mentally ill; she has stated in the past that she wants to die. Ostensibly, she's depressed that her cousin's murder trial will begin during her birthday week. At this moment, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that this mother of two is wanted in Colbert County.

One of Tetter's victims swore out a warrant for her on Friday. So far, Tetter has eluded authorities. If you know Tetter Welch's whereabouts, call 256-383-0741. 


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

He was with a small group of American soldiers pinned down at Iwo Jima. They had no water, and the commanding officer sent one of their ranks to secure something for the men to drink. He didn't come back. The officer sent a second man; he too did not return.

The commanding officer then sent a third man to find water. This soldier had no hopes of making it back, but he went. He did come back and bring the much needed water. He survived the war, married, and came to Florence to work and raise his five children. His name was Fred Stevens. Sadly, Fred Stevens, his wife, and two of their children were later killed by a drunk driver.

Today we remember not just those killed while in service, but also those who have served our county, lived productive lives, and are no longer with us. Will it ever end? No. Sadly, it won't.

The Great War: Saluting Frank Buckles

The Cold War: He Died to Protect an H-Bomb

The Vietnam War: He Died Twice for his Country

The Iraqi War: He Never Saw His Daughter


Sunday, May 27, 2012

A New Mayor in Russellville's Future?

David Grissom's campaign for mayor of Russellville is now in full swing. He is running against current mayor Troy Oliver, the recent subject of a state ethics probe. Here's Mr. Grissom's official bio:

David Reed Grissom was born August 20, 1972, to Judy Keeton Grissom and the late Robert Reed (Bob) Grissom. He is a lifelong Russellville resident. He attended the Russellville City Schools and graduated from Russellville High School in 1990. He attended Northwest Shoals Community College, Phil Campbell, from 1990-1991, and then transferred to the University of North Alabama, Florence, where he received a B.S. degree in Marketing and graduated magna cum laude in 1994.

He is married to Melissa Fuller Grissom who is an art teacher at Russellville High School. They have one daughter, Kate Reed Grissom, who is 6 years old and in the first grade at Russellville West Elementary.

David is President of Alabama Gun & Pawn, Inc. in Russellville (since 1997); Alabama Title & Pawn of Haleyville, Inc. (since 1998); Alabama Title Pawn, Inc. in Moulton (since 1999); Alabama Title Pawn of Red Bay, Inc. (since 1999); Alabama Super Pawn, Inc. in Sheffield (since 2000); Cash Spot in Russellville (since March 2007). He was Vice-President of Diamond House, Inc., in Russellville from 1990-2000 and was Manager of Grissom Car Wash in Russellville from 1988-1990.

He is a member of the Russellville City Council, District #5 (since 2008); is a member of the Community Spirit Bank Board of Directors (since July 2007), Community Spirit Bank Advisory Board (since February 2000), and the Audit Committee of Community Spirit Bank; member of Board of Directors, Tit
le Pawn Council of Alabama, Birmingham; member of Board of Directors of Council for Fair Lending, Birmingham; lifetime member of Russellville Lodge # 371, member of Scottish Rite 32nd Degree Valley of Birmingham, member of Cahaba Shrine, Huntsville, and member of the Franklin County Shrine Club, Russellville. David and his family are members of Rockwood Baptist Church.

If anything is needed in Russellville, it's accountability. As the election draws nearer, we'll be showcasing other candidates.


Apparently the new law in Sheffield hasn't scared the pants on everyone. In this pic submitted by a reader, a man near downtown Sheffield displays more than moobs. We have to ask why he is even wearing a belt?

The photo was reportedly taken at an apartment complex that has seen better days. This complex has also been the home to various sex offenders throughout recent years, as well as drug dealers. Is there a way to reverse this trend? If the landlord can't or won't do anything to upgrade the property, perhaps it's time for the City of Sheffield to step in. 


Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Surprising Poll & A Local Villain

When we initiated our "Pants on the Ground" poll, we hadn't even an inkling how the vote would turn out. It seems the vast majority of the 142 who took time to vote were in favor of the local legislation. The results were as follows:

Yes, we need the laws: 102 votes for 72% of ballots cast
No, we don't need the laws: 28 votes for 20% of ballots cast
Who cares: 12 votes for 8% of ballots cast

If you know of anyone who's been cautioned under this law, e-mail us the story. Have pictures? Even better. Lookin' like the fool with their pants on the ground...


A local villain? Surely there are no villains in the Shoals. Unfortunately, this area is no different from other parts of the country.

Less than a week ago we became aware of a Colbert County resident making threats concerning a local murder investigation. While we had heard gossip of such for the many months the story had been unfolding, this was the first hard evidence we had seen.

Now a local resident is wanted for harassment in connection with these threats. The person has yet to be apprehended as we write this. Monday we'll have a complete account of these extremely unsettling events.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Misguided at Best: Two Prime Examples

Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone And not for strangers with you. Proverbs 5:16-17 *

John Doe is quietly shopping in a big box store. From the next aisle, hidden from his view, he hears a man speaking on a cell phone. He's not intentionally eavesdropping, but he's close enough that it's impossible not to hear. The other shopper has had business problems, and no solutions have so far worked. The only option he feels left to him is the murder of the owner of Acme Widgets, his chief competitor. John Doe peers around the corner and sees a man wearing a polo shirt inscribed with his name and the name of his business. Is this some joke Joe Bleau is playing on unsuspecting shoppers? What does John do?

Meanwhile in an alternate reality, John Doe is leaving the big box store when he runs into his friend and neighbor Joe Bleau. Joe tells John he's having business problems and is planning to murder his chief competitor. What does this John do?

We're betting the two Johns acted completely differently. The John in the first scenario probably called the police, while the second John probably attempted to persuade his friend to reconsider. If his friend went ahead with his nefarious plan, we're betting John testified that Joe had been under so much pressure he no longer knew right from wrong. Which John acted in the best interest of society?

The moral of the tale is that friends and family either cannot or choose not to see the faults of those closest to them. This is natural. This is also why friends and family of the accused are not allowed to sit on his/her jury.

We have the deepest sympathy for those whose children have chosen a wrong path and have disappointed them. That does not mean we will defend those children. Neither does it mean we will overlook the crimes of these children as long as their family continues to spout vicious and hateful words against the innocent they irrationally feel have wronged them.

As long as these people maintain their Facebook pages claiming ownership to a child that is not theirs, we will continue to post arrests, trials, and sentences. This is not dredging up old news. They manage to keep the news quite current all by themselves.

* This scripture reference, although from the Old Testament, holds a valuable truth for us today. If a man fathers children with someone to whom he isn't married, he can't expect to have any role in their upbringing.


While Bailey was filling in for us, she commented that Laquania Welch Weems no longer had a Facebook page. A friend of Laquania has sent us a link to a private page belonging to Weems, mother of confessed murderer Ron Wikkid Weems. Here's the photo she is currently using (Oh, and someone please buy the poor woman a blouse).

Neighbors say that Laquania has had medical problems, but is still maintaining custody of Ron's child with Laurel Pruett. It was revealing to read on Laquania's social media site that she and Ron moved from Leighton to Muscle Shoals in order to shelter Ron's three children from violence. Somehow we feel they failed.


Hate those "CAPTCHA" words on comment forms? You're not alone. Since we have comment moderation enabled, we're discontinuing use of the "human verification process." We hope this will make it easier for readers to comment.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Who Will Be Florence's New Police Chief?

Current Florence Police Chief Rick Singleton is retiring next month. Yes, it's that soon. Rick is currently running for mayor of the largest town in the Quad-Cities, and we wish him luck. He will be leaving some large proverbial shoes to fill.

Tomorrow the City of Florence will be holding initial interviews for his successor. No applicants have been officially announced by the city, but we may expect each of the two deputy chiefs to apply.

The deputy chief with the longer tenure is Neal Rhodes, pictured at right. Rhodes has long served with the force and in 2006 graduated from UNA with an MS in Criminal Justice. He is married to Cindy Rhodes; the couple has two sons, Will and Wes. Neal rose in ranks from uniformed officer to detective to captain, before being selected as deputy chief.

The second deputy chief is Tim Shaddix, pictured at left. Tim rose to the rank of deputy chief when he succeeded current Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan in April 2008. He and his wife Elizabeth own S&K Properties and reside with their children in Killen. Tim has been with the force since 1982.

Will there be other applicants? We would certainly think so, and while it hasn't been officially announced as being so, we will also assume this is the second round in the selection of Florence's new chief.

There is often a school of thought that a complete outsider functions best in offices of authority; in other words, a new broom with no previous connotations of staff sweeps both clean and best. We have never held with that tenet; we believe our new chief will best be selected from the ranks of the current police force.

We wish both deputy chiefs the best on Friday and in their future careers. Rick Singleton will be leaving a department in not just good stead, but great stead with the citizens of Florence. Let's keep it that way.


Kudos to all those who keep up public websites. It's a time consuming task and one that usually offers few thank yous. With that being said, we couldn't help but notice the quality of the two pics above varied greatly. Looking at the stats on the two, the photo of Neal Rhodes is of a much higher definition than that of Tim Shaddix. We realize they were taken at different times and probably with a different camera and by different individuals. 

If this can be corrected, we would hope it will be. Second, we didn't want any of readers to think we had intentionally sabotaged anyone's photo.


Thanks to Bailey Quarters for filling in here for a few days. We will be having some follow ups on her blogs in the next few day. Let's hope Bailey will continue to find more time to write for us on a regular basis.

Remember, guest blogs are always welcome!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kidnapped?: One Reader's Story

It’s normal for children who come from a stable and loving home to think they have the best parents in the world. I know that I was no exception. When I was three years old, my mother had serious surgery. Removing an infected gall bladder is usually not major surgery today, but that wasn’t the case when I was a child.

I listened. I always listened, not often commenting. I heard my mother discussing with my father what would happen if she died. I heard my father reply that she shouldn’t think that way. She would be fine...and after many days of fighting the pain and infection, my mother was fine and came home to us.

A beautiful sunny Friday afternoon marked her first foray out of the house. She and her best friend had gone shopping and left me in Daddy’s care. Looking out the window for her to return, I saw instead a green Alfa Romeo pull into the drive. A sailor was driving, and a stout blond man in civilian clothes sat next to him. He was my cousin and also the man half responsible for my entry into the world.

Daddy announced that Mason had arrived from Millington early. He took my hand and led me out onto the porch. Mason jumped out of the roadster and grabbed me. I began to scream. I looked at Daddy, but he only looked back at me in surprise. Why wasn’t he trying to stop Mason?

“Put me down. Put me down.” I screamed and began to kick. I was being kidnapped, and Daddy was just standing there. I kicked harder.

Mason held me so tight I was in pain. “This is my daughter.”

“No I’m not. Put me down.” I couldn’t say another word. I was literally heaving at this point. It must have then dawned on Daddy that I thought I was being kidnapped, and he took me out of Mason’s arms. The poor sailor looked as if he wanted to leave right away...and he did. Daddy continued to hold me, but I couldn’t stop crying. As we walked toward the house, Mason muttered something about “just wanting to show me off” to the young gob who had saved him train fare to Sheffield.

I never heard my father speak of that incident. I know if he did remember it, it was not the flash bulb type memory that I carry with me until this day.

A child deserves two loving parents. A child deserves security. A child doesn’t deserve some sperm donor trying to snatch him for his personal gratification. 

Thanks to one of our regular readers for sharing a very personal and traumatic story. I hope everyone who has ever wanted to take a child away from its parents will read this and take it to heart. I keep reading on Facebook pages about the family members who are so "hurt" over a child they've barely seen, but none of them mentioning what's best for the child. Selfish hardly covers it.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bailey's Advice: Throw Them Out

If you read the news from around the country, you know a 74 year-old grandmother outside Detroit has been charged with killing her 17 year-old grandson. This lady was "raising" the boy after his parents divorced and moved out of state. His friends say he was no trouble maker, but he was in an alternative school and police had been called in when he attacked his grandparents before. Why was the grandmother arrested? She shot her grandson eight times. There was a similar case in one of our neighboring counties recently, but it was the boy who killed the grandmother.

The interesting thing to me is that almost all commenters on the shooting stated the boy should have been with his parents in the first place. I agree, but many parents fall down on the job and grandparents are the only hope for them. Unless of course one shoots the other dead.

I wrote about Laquania Weems yesterday. When Ron Wikkid's youngest child (that we know about) is 17, Laquania will be 73. A reader wrote that the little girl may turn out well after all, and she may. She would have a much better chance of turning out well if Laquania would give her to the state to be adopted. After Ron and Laurel Pruett are convicted, they will have no say so in what happens to the child.

If Laquania does keep the girl and she turns out like her father? Well, for starters, catering to her every need and allowing her to live off others isn't going to solve the problem. If Laquania Weems had thrown Ron Wikkid Weems out when she first realized he was a druggie and an abuser, he just might have shaped up and Amanda Taylor might be alive today.

Should a parent defend their child? I say that depends. I just published a comment from someone who questioned why this blog did an article on Andrew Scott's latest arrest. I would think it was for those who kept pushing for Andrew to take his "biological child" away from its parents. This is something that Andrew's parents still support. Wake up, Mr. Scott. The best thing you can possibly do for this young man is to let him sink or swim on his own. 

You bailed him out the day he was arrested, didn't you? Three or four days in jail might have opened Andrew's eyes. Now he can continue to feel used and abused by society. If you don't get him some help, this won't be his last arrest.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Laquania Welch Weems is Guilty

Laquania Welch Weems is guilty. How guilty is anyone's guess. Yet the Muscle Shoals police have never charged this sorry excuse for a mother with any crimes. At least she's as guilty of hindering prosecution as Laurel Pruett, Matthew Fox, and the chillingly cruel Ash Lette, the stripper with the axe.

She at least feels some shame since she has taken down her Facebook page. That was after she had updated it with a photo from the 1970s, complete with cowgirl hat and a red heart frame. Of course, we may be giving Laquania too much credit. Let's look at her accomplishments.

She is a widow who doesn't work. She was happy to take in her grown son, who also didn't work, but relied on the Salvation Army to help with his kids' Christmas. Not to mention she took in any woman who caught her son's fancy, and that was apparently plenty. All the while, her grandchildren lived under the same roof.

Did she raise Ronald Wikkid Weems to be a murderer of just to be a loafer who lived off society and spent money intended for his kids on himself? She obviously had no problem when Ash Lette (legal name Ashley Greenhill) chased away a visitor with her axe. That's chased away as in threatening with a lethal weapon. Nice folks, huh?

Now she has Ron's child with Laurel, getting state money for her. Not only have the police not arrested Laquania, DHR hasn't taken away the child. So now she can raise Pandora Pruett as she raised her father. That's some moniker the little girl has, so in twenty years or so we can be sure to spot it when the product of Laquania's raising starts her own rap sheet.

Actually we think Laquania likes all the publicity. She even showed a television crew around the basement where her son killed his victim. Think she's an Agnes Scott graduate? Some people don't need painting with what Shoalanda calls a white trash brush--you can see and smell their lifestyle a mile away without any help from prosecutors or defense attorneys.

Should those convicted of Second Degree (Statutory) Rape be placed on the sex offender list? I can't see that these men, or women, are in the same class as those who force someone to have sex.  "The Connection" is currently compiling a list of those who have actually abused others while committing their crimes. Here's the latest entry...


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bailey's Message to a Battered Woman

Dear Battered Woman:

I've never met you and I've never been a battered woman. If you want to stop reading now, feel free, but I just may have something to say that will help you.

I don't know how you became involved with him, but that doesn't matter now. You had him arrested, but then dropped the charges because...well, he begged, he threatened, his family begged, his family threatened. Now he's out of jail and threatening you again.

You can't change the past, so you have to deal with the present. Re-file the charges if you can. Press new charges when he accosts you again. Get a restraining order--Protection From Abuse. Get an alarm system. Yes, they're expensive, but you don't have much choice. You'll feel safer and be safer. Make the local alarm company aware that you have a stalker.

If you have evidence in the form of letters or photographs, store them in a safety deposit box or with a friend or attorney. Make sure he knows others know and nothing had better happen to you if he values the rest of his life. Make sure your employers are aware of who he is and what he's threatened. Who knows? They may have contacts that will assure he's arrested and tried if he pulls something with you at work.

Get a stun gun--they're fairly cheap now. Get a "real" gun if you can stomach it. Take lessons on how to use it. Now that you feel fairly safe, join a support group and see what others like you have gone through in the past. You're not the only one.

Now you want to say, "Yes, but you don't know..." What I do know is your situation won't change until you do. His family? They can threaten all they want. They won't do anything. If they do, have them arrested too. Him? He's 90% bluff. The law knows about him. He doesn't want to go back to jail. The law can do only so much if you won't or don't follow through.

It won't take him long to see that you're mad as **** and won't take it any more. Fortunately for you and unfortunately for the unlucky person, he'll find a replacement for you very soon.

A man (or woman) can only bully when he/she has someone who allows it. Don't ever allow it again.

Since Shoalanda is taking the day off, I'm going to use my bailiwick to comment on another subject...

So you want to bring the rest of the Shoals up to your "moral standards?" Nothing wrong with that if you really have any.  I suggest first you stop stealing from Shutter Stock if you want others to think you have any sense of morality.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Republican? Thanks for the Compliment!

We can't speak for everyone who writes for this blog, but we have never made any secret of having Republican leanings. That doesn't mean we don't vote for a Democrat from time to time, so perhaps we are technically Independent. We once called ourselves conservative, but considering the utter nut cases out there, we now prefer the term moderate.

Someone who became a "fan" of our blog during our coverage of the Amanda Taylor murder has apparently been very surprised at our moderate stance...which she seems to find very anti-Democrat. In her words: Start (to help her stepbrother Roger Bedford) by not reading any blogs by the blogger "Shoalanda Speaks" shes (sic) an apparent Republican..... poor journalism!!

First we don't consider ourselves to be engaged in journalism, except peripherally. We comment on current events and we do try to provide salient details of stories the TimesDaily overlooks. Even so, we believe Republicans can be as proficient journalists as Democrats. 


One sore point with our aforementioned critic was our statement that Roger Bedford has no ties to Florence. After all, she said, his wife is from Florence. Yes, she is, but...

Where does Roger Bedford live?
Where does Roger Bedford work?
Where does Roger Bedford go to church?
Where does Roger Bedford get his dry cleaning done?
Where does Roger Bedford buy his gasoline?
Where does Roger Bedford get his hair cut?

Hint: The answer isn't Florence. Voters in East Limestone and portions of Madison may also ask the same of Tammy Irons. What are her ties to those areas? Bedford or Irons may be elected and work very well for the areas they will represent, but they do not have real ties to those areas. Obviously, neither Bedford nor Irons is responsible for the redistricting debacle. Republican leanings or no, we say there had to have been a better way.

A point to ponder: What do Democrats do? If you make $250,000.00 a year, they would love to take $125,000.00 to give to those who don't work. Well, you say, that isn't too bad. Okay, but if you make $25,000.00 a year, they would also love to take $12,500.00 to give to those who don't work. Oh, wait, you say, now that's hitting home. Yes, it is.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Update on Andrew Daniel Scott Arrests

Andrew Daniel Scott

Twenty-two year-old Andrew Scott, aka Hottie Scottie, was arrested in Florence on May 11th for Third Degree Theft of Property and Second Degree Burglary of a non-residence. The Killen resident previously received youthful offender status for a non-marijuana drug arrest in February 2010.

As recently as 13 months ago, Scott's father posted on his Facebook page: How do you justify taking a child from his biological father? Laws created in a corrupt legal system are second to God's law.

God's law? As far as we know God hasn't given out any updates on his plan for families. Perhaps Andrew's troubles stem partially from feeling above man's law? 

Related post: Andrew Daniel Scott of Killen Arrested


Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Bedford in Florence's Future?

If the proposed redistricting plan is approved by our legislature, Florence will be in Sen. Roger Bedford's district. We're going to have to agree with Sen. Tammy Irons that this move is illogical and just plain, well, dumb.

We doubt Florence could regularly expect more than lip service from Bedford, but we've been mistaken before. Could the Florence vote send Bedford packing? That's entirely possible, but it would require a super candidate. Anyone out there?


The redrawn district lines for the seat currently held by Tammy Irons will make it nearly impossible for a Shoals resident to win the seat. - Mike Goens of the TimesDaily

Certainly the current plan diminishes Tammy Irons' loyal base, but northern Limestone and Madison counties are not the population centers of those areas. Irons has always been a good campaigner, whether she's been the best candidate for the job or not.

As with Bedford, any defeat of Irons will involve a super candidate. We predict a Democratic challenge from Limestone and a Republican foe from Madison.


Weakening of the Shoals? That's what opponents are stating the new redistricting plan will accomplish. We say let's make lemonade. Instead of one senator representing us, we'll have three. That's three chances to produce an advocate for this area. Just because a candidate isn't from the Shoals, it does not automatically follow that he or she won't "play nice" in order to win the votes of this area--even Bedford. What's being predicted to be a huge loss for the Shoals could turn into a win-win situation for extreme northwest Alabama.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Undercover & Out of Control/New Poll

Holly Ann Shempert was an undercover informant for the City of Sheffield. Now she faces not only drug charges, but the charge of First Degree Theft for going AWOL with the authorities' 3.5K listening device.

Sheffield Police stated she apparently couldn't resist the crack cocaine once she was inside the location to make the buy. A quick check shows Shempert with drug arrests in the Jacksonville, Florida, area over the last ten years.

Obviously that's the problem. Sheffield Police should have known they can't trust those big city druggies. It's only the local crack heads that have any integrity...or understand the proper use of tweezers.


Be sure to check out the poll on O.B.'s Corner: Poll


Mine eyes have seen the gory of the coming of the store; Walmart is marching on...


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Tuscumbian: Tuscumbia History At Its Best

Live in Tuscumbia? Just love local history? Then we have a great new blog for you. Actually, it's our friend Mary Carton who's responsible for the blog, and she's requesting submissions. If you would like to write for the blog, contact her at:

Their first post has been penned by Tuscumbia historian Jim Smith. Enjoy...


The following responses, updated periodically, are in answer to state senator Tammy Irons' remark published 5/12/12: Several weeks ago, I was told by a member of the reapportionment committee* that they would draw me a great district to be elected as a Republican.

Gerald Dial: If someone told her that, they drank too much or smoked too much. (Awaiting follow-up)

Cam Ward: I just have not heard of any such bribe or conversation. The first I read about it was in the newspaper. Maybe she did have the conversation but it is not something I heard.

Clay Scofield: You can be assured that it was not I who offered Tammy Irons a "Republican district" if she switched parties.

Trip Pittman: You can rest assured that I will give your e-mail the serious consideration it deserves. (Awaiting follow-up)

* Nine Republican senators - We've contacted each of them concerning this accusation. We currently have four replies and are awaiting initial answers from the remaining five.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Tammy's Quote: The Comma Makes a Difference

Journalists are notorious for not using the Oxford comma. Many shoot back that such commas, indeed most commas, are not needed. Yet today we have the perfect example of how much difference a comma can make.

Local state senator Tammy Irons was quoted Saturday in an article written by Mary Sell. The most astonishing pronouncement from Sen. Irons concerned a supposedly offered bribe by the Republican Party and was picked up only by the TimesDaily and the Decatur Daily; however, there was another extremely interesting quote from Irons that was punctuated quite differently in the two papers.

"The very place I live my life has been stripped from me." The Decatur Daily

“The very place I live, my life has been stripped from me.” The TimesDaily

Which did Irons actually say?  We hope her statement didn't include the comma. Life should be more than political aspirations...


The following responses, updated periodically, are in answer to state senator Tammy Irons' remark published 5/12/12: Several weeks ago, I was told by a member of the reapportionment committee* that they would draw me a great district to be elected as a Republican.

Gerald Dial: If someone told her that, they drank too much or smoked too much

Cam Ward: I just have not heard of any such bribe or conversation. The first I read about it was in the newspaper. Maybe she did have the conversation but it is not something I heard.

* Nine Republican senators - We've contacted each of them concerning this accusation.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Eyes of Periwinkle Blue,
A Smile That Could Light Manhattan,
Love without Bounds...
That Indeed is Mother.

Wikipedia defines Mother's Day as both commercial and religious. It's certainly commercial enough; we've heard that the Saturday before the big day is the biggest 24 hour period Walmart has during the entire year. Religious? Surely for most of us, the love both for and of our mothers borders on a religious experience.

To all mothers out there, we say may God bless you and give you the needed wisdom and strength to bring up successful and productive Children. Not everyone is lucky enough to have such a mother--here's an account of a very special mother:

A Face Only a Mother Could Love


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Who Told Tammy What & Why?

Several weeks ago, I was told by a member of the reapportionment committee that they would draw me a great district to be elected as a Republican. -- Sen. Tammy Irons in today's TimesDaily.

If this is true, it would not only be unethical, but illegal. Did the TimesDaily try to follow up on this startling accusation? If anyone from the TD did, it was not memorialized in our daily rag. Let's see what we actually have here.

First, Sen. Irons states it was a member of the actual Senate panel/committee who propositioned her. Let's examine the committee very closely. It's composed of 11 members, so that narrows down the range of guilt. It's safe to assume it was a Republican who allegedly offered our state senator a bribe, so that limits it to nine state senators. Let's put it in black and white.

Did Gerald Dial offer Tammy Irons a bribe? Denied on 5/11/12

Did Cam Ward offer Tammy Irons a bribe?

Did Trip Pittman offer Tammy Irons a bribe?

Did Jimmy Holley offer Tammy Irons a bribe?

Did Clay Scofield offer Tammy Irons a bribe?

Did Bill Holtzclaw offer Tammy Irons a bribe?

Did Arthur Orr offer Tammy Irons a bribe?

Did Gerald Allen offer Tammy Irons a bribe?

Did Bryan Taylor offer Tammy Irons a bribe?

The TimesDaily article quoted Gerald Dial as stating, "If someone told her that, they drank too much or smoked too much." That leaves eight state senators who have been placed in an extremely shady light by Sen. Irons. These senators should be easily accessible using their senate e-mail addresses. We would hope each would offer a statement.

Perhaps one offered Sen. Irons this political plum in jest? While it's possible, we're told that would be tantamount to an airline passenger greeting an old friend named Jack with a casual, "Hi." In other words, it's just not done unless one wants to have a whole lot of 'splainin to do.

The reapportionment of both Senate and House districts is overseen by and must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. We have to wonder how they will respond to such an accusation.

To be continued...


Friday, May 11, 2012

Tim Kent's Civil War Tales/Pants on the Ground?

Author Tim Kent

Last December, apparently in a Christmas rush, we mentioned Tim Kent's Civil War Blog but failed to provide a permanent link. We're correcting that oversight today, as well as suggesting you invest in his novels--a must for any Civil War aficionado.

This link will get you started; it has a short excerpt from Die Like Men. Enjoy!


Want to purchase Die Like Men, or Never Smile Again by Tim Kent? Here's the link to a fantastic local publishing house. Bluewater Publications is only a little over ten years old, but it's already made a national impact. We're sure you'll find something for every taste.


The cities of Sheffield and Tuscumbia care how you dress, specifically how you guys wear your pants. In fairness, the law applies to ladies as well, but they seem to exercise somewhat better judgment in sartorial matters. So...was the law really necessary or could these cities better serve the public by addressing more serious economic and health issues? We have a two-week poll posted in the sidebar. Vote, but also feel free to comment here or via e-mail.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Real Gerald Winston Surratt Jr./UNA Robber

Gerald W. Surratt Jr.
Yea that for sure is his father... The pictures posted by WAAY 31 and Times Daily are correct...Dont know how Colbert County screwed that up... but I lived with "Jerry" for the past 10 months.. I have been having a bad gut feeling about him for the past few months, but was a little shocked to find out what he had actually been doing...  Posted by Katie

The above quote was taken from our comments. Actually, the photo of Mr. Surratt Sr. who died in 2004 was issued in error by Sheffield City Police, not Colbert County. We don't know how the mistake was made, but we are happy to publish a photo of the real Gerrald Winston Surratt Jr.

Also, we have checked with other Sheffield sources, and Surratt is still incarcerated in their city jail and is under investigation for other crimes. He is being held for an alleged intruder type sexual attack that occurred in the city. We have not published comments from Surratt's family due to the language involved. We are happy to look into this further, but suggest the family contacts the City of Sheffield as to the error.


We've been asked to publish the artist's sketch of the suspect in an abduction/robbery that occurred recently on the UNA campus. Readers who have contacted us have feared the suspect's crime was cut short in some manner and his victim was lucky to escape.

We have no new information on the investigation into the robbery, but do know that all local law enforcement agencies are working together in piecing together the robber's crimes and bringing him to justice.

Again, we ask all UNA students/employees to be alert and carry any legal means of self-defense. If you're in doubt as to what is legal, contact UNA security or Florence City Police. If the robber/abductor is still free, his crimes may escalate.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

All First Degree Rapists Must Register/Ronnie May

There seems to be confusion in some Shoals cyber circles about who has to register as a sexual offender in some states. Rest assured, anyone convicted of First Degree Rape has to register in any of the 50 states. A convicted First Degree Rapist recently made this statement: If I went to Florida or Tennessee, I wouldn't even have to register, but I returned to Alabama because of my family.

Is there any truth in the above statement? No. Let's look at Florida. A supporter of the convicted rapist has used the following to back up his claims: Florida State Statute Section 943.04354 describes how people who committed their offenses before July 1, 2007 can also avoid having to register as a sexual offender or predator. (prior to Megan's Law)

The law states that all must register, but some convicted of sex crimes may be removed from the state registry if the offender petitions. The above law refers to statutory crimes and crimes that did not involve penetration. In other words, First Degree Rapists are never absolved of the need to least for 20 years. After this length of time--calculated from the time sentence is served--the offender may petition the court. That in no way affects someone who has just been released from prison, and we have no idea how many are successful in being removed after the required 20 years, especially if a weapon was used.

Looking at Tennessee, we have asked permission from The Connection and Jeff Jones to use his article word for word:

A convicted rapist living in Florence has been interviewed in a local blog. He is quoted as saying:

Because other states have a three-tiered assessment that classifies offenders in categories, such as child molesters, predators, serial rapists, sex offenders. In Alabama, all categories are lumped together and minor sex offenders have the same responsibilities as more heinous crimes, such as child molesters. If I went to Florida or Tennessee, I wouldn't even have to register, but I returned to Alabama.

Is his statement true? We'll look at Tennessee first. 

Tennessee does a two tier system: Sex Offenders and Violent Sex Offenders. In some instances, a conviction for sexual crimes other than rape may be "forgiven" after ten years. They are never immediately forgiven. They are never forgiven for First Degree Rape. They are certainly never forgiven for Violent Rape, which would include any crime in which a knife was used to coerce the victim.

For more information about who may be exempted from the Tennessee registry, you may wish to visit:

Have we looked extensively at all 50 states? No. We have checked on just the two specifically mentioned by the convicted rapist; however, a quick Google search turns up no states which do not require First Degree Rapists to register.

A word of advice to those who date registered sex offenders: If he came home with lipstick on his collar, wouldn't you "check it out?" If he comes up with tales as to why he has been railroaded and treated differently, we advise you to do the same. Divorces are expensive.


Like the mug shots in The Quad-Cities Daily? Apparently you won't be seeing many from the Colbert County Sheriff's office. From TQCD:

Sorry, but Ronnie May, Colbert County Sheriff, is the only law enforcement agency in Northwest Alabama to charge prohibitively high rates for public records. Therefore The Quad-Cities Daily does not have them available.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sex Offender Registry & Notification Act (SORNA)

SORNA stands for the Sex Offender Registry Notification Act (SORNA). SORNA uses a three tiered-system; Alabama currently has only one level, not distinguishing between the youth who committed Second Degree (Statutory) Rape and the mature male who raped and sodomized children.

SORNA was created in 2006 as part of the Adam Walsh Act and was designed to be used in all 50 states and territories. So far, Alabama has not implemented the Act, but can expect to lose Federal dollars if it does not by a stated deadline. This deadline has already been extended twice for all states and may be extended again. Eventually, SORNA will replace most of the current registry laws in Alabama...and indeed every state.

Where does a convicted First Degree Rapist fit in SORNA? One convicted of First Degree Rape is automatically entered into the highest tier--Tier III. Specifically for:"engaging in a sexual act with another by force or threat."

So what of the convicted rapist who said " it('s) different in other states (than Alabama) because other states have a three-tiered assessment that classifies offenders?" We're not sure whom this individual was trying to convince, but when SORNA is finally implemented in Alabama, he will be placed in Tier III.

Tomorrow: A look at Tennessee and Florida


If you missed it, it seems Autumn Marie Wood will not be getting youthful offender status:


Monday, May 7, 2012

Where & Why: Risner, Surratt, & Watkins

A reader has asked why Kenneth Eugene Risner, recently arrested for terrorism in Tuscumbia's Spring Park, is being held in the Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center. From what we can glean from contacts, Risner's original case of stalking stemmed from an arrest in Lauderdale County. On bond in that case, Risner was returned to Lauderdale County which held priority.

Another reader informs us that Risner's preliminary hearing in the Colbert case will be May 15th. He also still faces a similar stalking case in Franklin County.

Related post: Bad Boys--Risner


Gerald Winston Surratt Jr. is free on bond after a recent arrest for sexual assault in Sheffield. Besides several DUIs, Surratt also has previous arrests for drug related crimes.

Sources state Surratt lived in Alpine Village owned by his uncle's family and where he did at least occasional work in property management. While he lived in Florence, his alleged crime was committed in Sheffield, where he was initially transferred before being released.

Several have asked if more charges may be forthcoming. We've not been able to get anyone to speak either on or off the record on this, but our take is Surratt would have already been arrested if he was connected to other crimes.

Related post: Two Lovely Houseguests


Convicted rapist Amanda Duboise Watkins was sentenced to do ten years in prison and ten years on probation; however, she is currently serving her sentence in the Franklin County Jail, ostensibly because of prison overcrowding. Several readers have written to ask if Watkins is receiving preferential treatment since her parents and siblings reside in Franklin County.

We're not sure how this arrangement came to be, but we do know Colbert County Judge Jackie Hatcher had to approve any variations in normal procedure. Watkins will be serving the next ten years without opportunity for parole. We would expect her to be transferred eventually to a state facility.

Related post: Delmer & Amanda Duboise 

Note: Incorrect photo of Surratt has been obscured; for photo of Gerald Winston Surratt Jr., please see 5/10/12 blog.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Goodbye, Dr. Lindsey

The sad news greeted most of us this morning; George Lindsey had passed away. Stories of his precarious health had made their way around the Shoals for the past year, but his passing was still unexpected to most of us.

His legacy will live on at his alma mater. The world has lost a true star...and a true gentleman.


Trivia: When Lindsey's character of Goober first appeared on The Andy Griffith Show, his last name wasn't Pyle, but Beasley.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

How Much Money Does Keller EMS Take In (Net)?

 Doug Arnold--He May Need Refresher Course in Accounting

If you haven't kept up with the Colbert E-911 ambulance controversy, here's a quick synopsis. Bryan Gibson has founded Shoals Ambulance Company, an entity the City of Muscle Shoals wants to use as its primary responder within its boundaries. The Colbert E-911 Board says sorry, no can do. They award the service contracts and have awarded the sole contract to Keller EMS. Keller has stated that any competition will cause it to go out of business, having lost 2K already this year according to Keller CEO Doug Arnold. Really?

Let's look at available figures for past years. Keller charges a base rate of $440.00 for a service run. It answered 8K calls during the last year for which statistics are available, for a gross income of $3,520,000.00. This amount doesn't include any non-emergency runs.

How many of these 8K emergency runs did Keller actually receive payment for? A source tells us that 70% is a reasonable figure to use. This rate includes both insurance and private payments. How much does insurance pay? A quick check online shows that insurance reimbursement runs around 80%. Some of the remaining 20% in charges are paid by the individual and some are written off.

Using the above figures, the actual gross income for Keller EMS would have been $1,971,200.00. Using these same figures, we could reasonably assume the gross income for the first quarter of 2012 would have been $492,800.00--at least. From this amount would be subtracted utilities, salaries, fuel, ambulance maintenance, fees, and replacement of used/outdated supplies. How much would the net income for Keller be? Since we have no actual amounts for the above expenses, that would be impossible for us to say. What we do say is, using normal accounting practices that pro-rate depreciation, etc., a gross income of almost 493K (and it's obviously much higher due to non-emergency runs) that results in a 2K net loss seems extremely unusual, particularly for a well established company.

Note: If any of our readers have more accurate figures on actual percentages of fees collected and/or reimbursed, please forward them to us. Many thanks.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Laurel Pruett & Matthew Fox Back in Court

Thursday saw two of the four defendants in the Amanda Taylor case back in court. Laurel Pruett (pictured right), along with Matthew Fox and Ashley Greenhill are accused of helping admitted killer Ronald Weems dispose of Taylor's body--in legal terms, abuse of a corpse and hindering prosecution.

Pruett sought a reduction in bond. Not surprisingly, Colbert Judge Jackie Hatcher refused. A reader has informed us that Pruett has undergone a transformation of sorts since her arrest; but with no family in the Shoals, she is considered a flight risk.


Matthew Fox, now 21, requested that he be given youthful offender status. Fox (pictured left) was 20 when he assisted in disposing of Taylor's body at the request of Ashley Greenhill.

Judge Jackie Hatcher will rule on Fox's request June 3rd. We're predicting the Florence man won't receive that coveted designation. The Colbert County District Attorney's office is opposed to the request, especially in such a high profile crime. Many states use the age of 18 as a cut-off date for youthful offenders, and Fox was close to his 21st birthday at the time of his crime.

For information on the youthful offender classification, see post on Autumn Marie Wood: Link


Ashley Greenhill did not join her fellow conspirators in court. It remains possible that the part-time stripper may be tried as a habitual offender. Greenhill and Pruett have court-appointed attorneys, while Fox's family is said to have hired a lawyer to represent him.

Related post:

The Killers Three


Thursday, May 3, 2012

What Can Dr. Diana McCutcheon Expect?

The formal announcement that Dr. Diana K. McCutcheon had been indicted for Medicare and other insurance fraud came as no surprise to many in Lexington or the surrounding communities in Lauderdale County. From physicians to Nurse Practitioners to laser by one they had left McCutcheon's practice over the past few years, citing differences in vision...or sometimes worse.

The question on everyone's lips today is what can McCutcheon expect should she be convicted. Obviously no two judges will think alike on such matters, but we can look at others who have faced similar charges. Most over billing accusations have been leveled at hospitals, but a few have been lobbed at physicians. A doctor in Virginia served 18 months for fraud that occurred over a two year period from 2005 to 2007. Is this indicative of what McCutcheon might expect?

The second concern is repayment and fines. How hard pressed will McCutcheon be to repay 1.3 million? That figure may seem inconsequential compared to fines that are often levied against those convicted--not to mention the loss of her medical license. The aforementioned doctor in Virginia was forced to sit a second time for his medical exam, something those who have been in practice for many years do not find easy.

Others are asking what the Elgin-Lexington communities will do if they are deprived of a physician. Sadly, most insurance will not allow them to drive to Tennessee. Look for Rogersville and Florence physicians to pick up a number of patients...

Related post: Lexington Medical Clinic Closes


Don't forget Larry Fisher and  Debra Glass will be at First Fridays tomorrow in downtown Florence. If you can't make it Friday, the pair will be at Ye Olde General Store across from the post office on Seminary Street Saturday morning with copies of their latest book. If you missed Volume 1 of Remembering Florence, we understand there are a limited number of these remaining.

Many thanks to Larry for taking the time to come back home to personally autograph these fantastic volumes. Thanks also to Debra for her tireless efforts in helping compile these wonderful memories.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Have a Wild Weekend! (And a Date with Mable...)

Would you like a date with Mable this weekend? Say no more. We can fix you up.

"Brave Mable" is the creation of Shoals artist/writer Amy Collins. Amy (along with Mable) will be at the 2nd Annual Jack O'Lantern Farms' Arts & Crafts sale this Saturday. The farm is located on Garage Road in Sheffield just off Hatch Boulevard; the sale hours are 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

We recently added Amy's blog to our list and have been extremely impressed with her work. The show will also feature other local artists as well as cooking demonstrations. See you there!

(If you don't make it to the show Saturday, you can buy cards featuring Brave Mable at The Yellow Door, the Wine Seller, and the Spa at the Shoals Marriott.)


If the art sale wears you out, don't worry. You have a week to rest up for Rodgeapalooza.

Yes, it's the latest brainchild of our friend Daniel Horton, so you know it will be entertaining. Here's the link for more info:


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Two Lovely House Guests: Liles & Surratt

Not every girl is lucky enough to have a date for Valentine's Day. Florence Police made sure Tabitha Dawn Liles (pictured) had holiday companionship when they arrested her on February 14th for Failure to Appear. Apparently she was a fun date, and the city's finest again asked Tabitha out for May Day festivities.

The 29 year-old East Florence resident was arrested Monday for kicking her three year-old son in the chest. If her son is lucky, maybe she won't be out by Mother's Day. Kudos to the family Liles was visiting for alerting police to her abusive nature.


Another house guest was recently arrested. Gerald Winston Surratt Jr. was apprehended by Florence police after a young woman accused him of entering her locked bedroom at a Sheffield apartment complex where he was a guest and sexually assaulting her.

Our sources say that Surratt has contacts in property management and has access to keys and floor plans of various rental properties in Florence and the surrounding area. Surratt, who had been drinking at the time of the alleged assault, has a record of DUIs. Instead of driving school, wouldn't Gerald Surratt have been better served, not to mention the public, by a stretch in rehab?