Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yes, It's Real News

The most important news to you might be the birth of a child, but you know it won't make the front page of the TimesDaily. If the stock market should crash to unprecedented lows, it would certainly be the headline of the New York Times, but it might not be of great significance to you. That's pretty much the reason we have newspapers devoted to the stock market, movies, or music. Just because it's not what you want to read, that doesn't mean your next door neighbor won't pay some big bucks to subscribe--either in print or online.

The Quad-Cities Daily is one of two online newspapers/magazines now operating in the Shoals on a daily basis. Yesterday the QCD broke a dramatic story about alleged impropriety by a Sheffield youth/music minister. We felt the news was so important that we immediately linked it here. No, we didn't expect the TimesDaily to report on the story for several reasons. There have been no criminal charges filed against the Methodist minister and there may be none for several days, or even weeks. Was it important to break the story before actual charges were filed?

We would answer a definite yes to that question. Obviously, rumors were already rampant in Sheffield, and the QCD presented the known facts in a fair and unbiased way. Yet one poster on the Tennessee Valley Talks forum commented he would still consider it all rumor until it appeared in the TD. Sadly, some things never appear in our local rag, or if they do, you've already learned the details elsewhere. That's the nature of today's ever changing media. In 20 years, you can expect to wake to both your morning coffee and your hand-picked news stories presented to you by your home's computer system.

Until then we hope you'll take a look at The Quad-Cities Daily and Pen-N-Sword (formerly The Connection) in order to obtain a balanced look at the Shoals. The story the TD chooses not to cover may just be the one that could change your life.

Related post: Local News: A Lost Cause


Monday, July 30, 2012

Special Report: Breaking News from Sheffield

Steve Wiggins of the Quad-Cities Daily has just published Part I of a dramatic story on an alleged pedophile associated with a Sheffield Church:

Blackberry Trail: Another Day, Another Curse

We've facetiously blogged before about the "Curse of the Shoals." It's often mentioned in conversations concerning big businesses which move here and then mysteriously falter or even go bankrupt; however, if any entity in the Shoals area is cursed, it would seem to be Florence's Blackberry Trail Golf Course north of the city. Now mayoral candidate Billy Ray Simpson has promised he will sell the property if elected.

The public golf course was built in an undeveloped area off Hwy 47; at the corner of the course lies the Wilson Family Cemetery. We'll leave our readers to decide how the city handled that aspect of the project, but suffice it to say many historians were appalled by the course's placement.

Blackberry Trail Golf Course was largely completed by 2000, at a cost of four million, one million over initial estimates. Then city council member Bobby Dolan fought to abandon the project altogether, but still the city toiled on, citing the ultimate value to Florence. When the course finally opened after several delays, the mayor, council members, and their guests were allowed to play without charge. Obviously that provided more ammunition for those who ardently opposed the new course. That regulation was eventually changed.

After being open to the public for only a short time, serious problems with the greens and drainage became apparent. The course officially closed for three months while the city consulted various engineering firms in an attempt to remedy the problems. The three months turned into a year, but the course did reopen in June 2003. Approximately three weeks after the re-opening, vandals struck the course, causing an estimated 75K dollars in damage. This time, the course managed to stay open while repairing the greens using city employees. This frugality led to actual damages being under 5K, but according to news reports no one was ever arrested for the crime which park authorities blamed on adults with an axe to grind. Or could it have been ghosts of Wilson family members?

By the end of 2004, the course was still operating in the red, having lost 330K in the past fiscal year, but city officials were quick to announce that revenues were on the upswing. Then came complaints regarding course employees. Approximately twenty Shoals golfers filed reports with the city, while some wrote letters to the TimeDaily encouraging a boycott due to the maltreatment of patrons. Rumors also cropped up concerning employee theft at the pro shop. Parks director Regina Gresham promised new protocols in dealing with the public, and things again began to look up for Blackberry.

By 2007, the Florence course had been host to several small tournaments and was about to host a gathering of mostly minority golfers. The morning of the tournament, golfers arrived to find racial slurs and epithets spray painted on buildings and putting greens. This time authorities were able to apprehend the culprit. Jake Adam White was arrested on vandalism and burglary charges and required to repay the 5.5K damages. White later violated his probation and is serving a prison sentence in the Limestone Correctional Facility. We're left to wonder how much ill will White's crime created among visiting golfers and just how much money he ultimately cost the city.

Since 2008, the course has been relatively smooth for Blackberry Trail, and the city expects it to have paid for itself within the next 15 to 20 years. Considering his competition, we doubt that Mr. Simpson will win the office he's seeking, but if he should and places the golf course on the market? Any buyers out there for a property that's been called snake bit?


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Are Charges Against Florence Detective Valid?

WAFF has reported a citizen has filed charges against a Florence police officer. Anyone can file charges against anyone--that doesn't mean the allegations have merit. A contact at the Florence Police Department could not give us any specifics concerning the recent complaint stemming from a murder investigation, but he did have some non-specific comments.

Assuming it was the Jerry Ivy murder scene, various factors came into play. The shooting took place at the well-traveled intersection of Central Avenue and Connor Street. There was some light remaining at around 8:30 p.m. on July 19th and several neighbors were either on their respective porches or taking a walk. Family members of the victim, including his sister, were also present, and many have stated they feared retribution in some form.

Police arrived approximately five minutes after the initial shooting call. Bystanders were told to vacate the scene immediately. Some traffic was diverted in an attempt to preserve evidence. Our source says this is standard procedure and no one would have been treated any differently if the murder has occurred in any other area of Florence.

Obviously the behavior of the officer in question could have been unprofessional and involved much more than a raised voice. We're hoping it wasn't and didn't. We are sure Florence's new police chief Ron Tyler had hoped he wouldn't face such allegations about his department this early in his tenure.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Intriguing Look at Assault Rifles & Ammo

David K. has sent us an erudite look at the positive side of gun ownership:

There are several reasons why responsible, law abiding citizens should have the right to own any type of firearm the want. As a matter of fact I think it should be a requirement of every responsible, law abiding US citizen to own a firearm, but that will never happen. Let me address some of the reasons why I feel this way.  

1. The saying IS true that "when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns". Think about that for a minute. Since their invention millions of firearms have been produced and if laws were passed banning ownership of firearms criminals would be able to obtain them one way or another to use in their criminal activities.

2. Although it will never happen just imagine, if everyone over the age of 21 was required to take a firearm safety course, learn how to properly handle and use a firearm and be required to carry one with them and have one available in their home what that would do to petty crime like muggings, robberies, home invasions and so fourth. A criminal would think twice before confronting someone who is probably armed.

3. If there were no guns whatsoever, people would still kill and harm others and the weaker would be even more susceptible to falling victim. Just look at past history before the invention of gun powder. Someone wanting to kill someone else WILL find a way.

4. Lets look at the recent theater shooting in Colorado. Had the shooter not had access to firearms he might have used explosives instead, killing even more people than he did. But, if the majority of the people in the theater had been armed themselves, even though he was wearing body armor someone would have gotten off a head shot and put him down before so many was killed or wounded. And being the coward he was would probably not have carried out his attack had he known he would have met armed resistance.

5. And, while many people including yourself I suspect, think it would never be possible consider what would happen if the United States were invaded by one or more foreign countries. If our military troops were spread thin in several small conflicts such as for example: Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria and as an example North Korea, Iran and a couple other countries maybe China included decided to invade the US mainland in an unexpected and undetected attack, would our remaining troops be able to ward off an overwhelming attack without help from the general "armed" citizens? If you think so just rent the movie Red Dawn and watch it. This alone is why every law abiding household should own at least one assault weapon and a few thousand rounds of ammunition for it.

And by the way, I only became a member of the NRA last week due to the current negotiations going on at the United Nations on limiting the small arms manufacture, ownership and trade disguised as the UN Arms Trade Treaty which would eventually limit American citizens ownership, trade and modification (attaching a scope to your deer rifle yourself would be illegal) of even hunting and sporting firearms.

Once the gun control lobby succeeds in banning assault rifles, hand guns will not be far behind, then next will be shotguns that fire multiple projectiles in a single shot followed by all high powered rifles like used in hunting and it would eventually be illegal to own even a single shot .22 caliber rifle. Give an inch and they will take a mile.I guess it's a good thing I'm not the one who draws the line because it'd be at "law abiding, sane, American citizens who have been trained and licensed to own such firearms" strict requirements and limits should be placed on fully automatic weapons but not as restrictive as they currently are and require that ammunition be traceable to the purchaser and hold them accountable for any misuse.

We appreciate David's input, but do have a few short comments. We find his idea of labeling ammunition intriguing, but have no idea how it could be accomplished. We have several young friends who shoot targets and complain about the cost of ammo for a .22 rifle. Identifying the source of ammo would be a further deterrent to those who shoot targets, skeet, or trap; however, no hobby is inexpensive. As with anything in life, you pay to play.

Our original blog referred to a ban on only assault rifles. Several readers defended ownership of these and mentioned the possibility of a "Red Dawn." If the unnamed enemy makes it as far inland as north Alabama, they're certainly well-trained and well-armed. A shooter with an assault rifle could take out scores, perhaps even hundreds, but what then? He would soon be killed himself. His family would be left either to the enemy's hands or to scrounge for themselves for months or years. Why not join intellectual forces with those who defend our shores? Use a sword to chop off the tentacles of an evil creature, and he will grow more. Chop off the head with cunning and well-laid plans, and you win the war.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Kimberly Bynum/Such a Hot Button

Amanda Watkins and Dana Allen have hit the dust, up next is Kimberly Bynum. All three are married women who admitted to affairs with teenagers. Watkins and Bynum are teachers, while Allen was a volunteer coach. The sexual encounters of Watkins and Allen fall under the category of Second Degree Rape, while Bynum's crime is relatively new territory.

It's illegal in Alabama for a teacher to have sex with a current student under the age of 19. In the first 12 months after the law was enacted on July 1, 2010, six teachers were charged. Previously, these six would have faced only charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Bynum's attorney has had his client's day in court postponed twice. While some prosecutors claim the crime is comparable with incest, teacher advocates deem it simply a breach of trust that should result only in the loss of teaching license. It will be extremely interesting to learn what Joey Rushing may or may not offer the former Vina teacher.

From a friend: It's all right to kiss a teacher if she's a nun. Just don't get in the habit.


A friend's comments on guns:

Would it surprise you to find out that not only do I own an AR15 myself, by my wife owns an AR15?, too  We have dozens of 'high-capacity' magazines and thousands of rounds of ammo for them. BTW....hers is PINK. :D

Now...WHY do we own them? Simple: Because we can. Does doing so make us evil, unstable, etc, etc, etc? No more than your owning your blog makes you an 'evil, liberal journalist'. Your 1st Amendment RIGHT to own, write, etc , with regards to your blog, are INSURED by my 2nd Amendment RIGHT to own my AR15.

Here's a some food for thought....and you can verify what I am saying easily:

* Criminals will ALWAYS be able to get WHATEVER they want: drugs, weapons, etc. When America decides to LOCK AWAY its violent criminals FOR GOOD.... I MIGHT consider not owning an AR15 or similar weapon. But until then....*I* am solely responsible for my own security, as well as that of my family. BTW...IF your own home was suddenly forcibly invaded, what would YOU want as a weapon for self-defense?

* Japan decided NOT to invade the west coast of the U.S. after Pearl Harbor due to AMERICAN GUN OWNERSHIP.

* Americans have NO NEED for cars and motorcycles that can exceed 75 mph, yet my Titan truck shows 140mph on the speedometer and many of today's motorcycles can EXCEED 160mph.

Tomorrow: An even more liberal look at guns...


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dana Allen's Bond Revoked?/Lauderdale Law Suit

Update: Allen to Serve Three Years.

Dana Myhan Allen is scheduled to be sentenced today for having sex with an underage male. We have no firm idea of what sentence Judge Mike Jones may impose on the Lauderdale County wife and mother, an employee of a local medical clinic, but as of yesterday the state was seeking to revoke her bond for trespassing on Wilson School property. We have to wonder about Allen's mental condition. Surely freedom is worth more than whatever she expected to gain from such an unwanted visit. Or did she feel this would be her last chance to see someone before a possible prison sentence?


For those of you who are long time readers, you're familiar with our friend Mark Davis. Mark and his wife divorced in Tennessee and initially shared equal custody of their daughter. After moving to Lauderdale County, Mark's ex-wife sought a new custody arrangement, citing the need for the young girl to attend kindergarten. Then circuit judge Mike Suttle agreed with the child's mother and stripped Mark of his right to joint custody. Is this fair? Is it even legal?

For several years Mark has been attempting to have Suttle's ruling reversed. During this time, the ex-Mrs. Davis has filed her own motions, asking for child support. Remember: The original agreement in Tennessee called for joint custody in which each parent would support the child while she was in their respective care.

After much legal wrangling and time that Mark has lost with his daughter, he's now filed suit in Federal Court . Listed as defendants in the case are:

Brenda K. Baker

Tonya Blackstock Smith

Robert J. Bentley

Gilbert Porterfield Self

Ned Michael Suttle

Robert F. Smith

Chris Connolly

Stacey Bryant Hooper

Lindsey Mussleman Davis

Melinda Morgan Austin

Cynthia L. Bratcher

Nancy Buckner

Terry A. Moore

Each defendant is accused of four counts of violating Mark's civil rights. In a few weeks, if not sooner, the court will decide if this suit has merit. If their decision is in the affirmative, a trial date will be set. We'll have updates on the suit as they become available.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sentiment, Progress, Section Eight, Welfare, and You Can't Tell the Players without a Program...

Today's TimesDaily ran a front page story on the plight of renters who may be evicted from the Brandon Block property if RegionalCare is successful in obtaining title to the entire six block area. At least three commented on the article via Facebook, two taking the position that any holdouts were just seeking more money and one vowing to fight the hospital giant. Michael White asked us to chime in...if we could do so without the bias he felt was only too apparent in the TD article. Let's look at some of the issues:

1. Renters - If renters (that's in any area) don't have a lease, they should be aware they can be evicted with notice, but without any financial compensation for the expenses involved. A lease works for protection of both landlord and renter. No lease--no way to fight back. We'll add that while RegionalCare is not legally bound to assist in helping these renters move, if many are forced to redo their budgets in order to move, they will be seeking aid from DHR. In other words, if RC doesn't pay, the taxpayers will.

There are many costs in moving that can easily blow a budget. A renter can't get his current deposit back before moving, but has to come up with a second deposit for a replacement home/apartment. Moves take time, and that means missing work. If the renter has lived in a certain location for years, the utility deposit in Florence has since gone up and they will be expected to pay the difference no matter how timely their past payments have been. Borrow a truck for the actual move? Sure, you can try that. How about the pregnant woman who can't move heavy furniture? We'd like to think neighbors will help out, but in reality she may have to hire someone. Anyone who says moving is easy hasn't moved recently.

2. Section Eight - Mr. White mentioned the renters being Section Eight. We doubt that all the renters are, and those who utilize that program are not all lazy as Alex Buchanan has suggested. We would like to think there are still young couples who are frugal enough to seek modest rental housing while saving for a down payment on a home of their own. We would certainly hold them in higher regard than a couple who lives in a luxury apartment with pool, but can't pay their light bill or make the co-pay for their child's doctor visit.

3. Value (Sentimental & Monetary) - Yes, surely some are attached to these homes if they own them. We're told some couples are in their ninth decade of life and never expected to have to vacate these homes before the big move to the next realm. We can understand their reluctance to sell.

Mr. White said some appraisals were in the 10K range. We don't know if this valuation was for rental property or private homes. Certainly any rental property valued at only 10K would be better razed; however, appraisals are subjective. You may live in a 500K home, but that two hundred dollar a roll flocked wallpaper in your dining room may look like the first thing to replace to a prospective buyer. Many improvements don't add actual value to a home, or at least not dollar for dollar.

4. All of East Florence should be razed - Yes, there are some very nice homes in East Florence, but we admit there are some that cannot be rehabilitated. We do wonder if Alex Buchanan was including the Elton Darby estate in his very broad pronouncement.

5. The entire area is made up of drug dealers  - Really? We're sure there are some, but all? Even the couples in their 80s? You can say this about many neighborhoods from downtown to West Florence to Seven Points--that doesn't make it true.

5. What would we do - If it were us personally, we'd agree with Mr. White and take the money and run. Nothing stays the same. Why not consider it a big adventure? A chance to live life differently and make new friends. But what of older residents? Many retirement complexes are extremely nice and provide free transportation as well as having nurses on duty. You might just discover what you've been missing.


We're sure government officials are sued with great regularity. Some suits are frivolous, while others have very valid grounds. Tomorrow we'll bring you up to date on a family court case that may have far reaching repercussions, not just locally, but nationally as well.


We've certainly gotten quite a response concerning our stance on banning assault rifles and will be publishing some within the next few days. One such response came from a friend of ours. It seems both he and his wife own assault rifles "just because they can." It reminded us of this wee bit of humor:

Mrs. Jones: Mrs. Smith, did you know your husband chases women?

Mrs. Smith: That's all right. My dog chases cars, and neither one would know what to do if they caught one.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two Thoughts on Waterloo

Watershed Moment in Waterloo

A Guest Commentary By

Hank Thomas

Recently the Concerned Citizens of Paradise Drive wrote a letter to the Lauderdale County Commission and to the Chairman Dewey Mitchell regarding 5 major defects affecting the safety of the citizens on the road. Mr. Mitchell and has yet to address the letter. His subordinates the County Attorney and County Engineer also received a copy of the letter and they decided they would put signs in the Town of Waterloo alerting citizens to the fact that the road is curvy and steep. Neither took any action on the need for guardrails, loose and unstable road surface and warning signs at dangerous blind turns and hills on the road. They were also forewarned as well as Mr. Mitchell that inaction could lead to serious injury or loss of life.

Sadly on May 30, 2012 a young man from Killen was traveling on the road when the vehicle he was riding in exited the roadway on one of the blind curves and a very steep hill and plummeted some 75 feet to the bottom of a ravine. Unfortunately the young man lost his life. The accident may have been prevented if only Mr. Mitchell as Chairman of the commission and Mr. Irons and Mr. Thornton as commissioners had followed the lead of Ms. Fulmer and Mr. Parker who voted to amend a 1981 county resolution to allow improvements to the road and to address the obvious and noted defects on the road. For reasons known only to them Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Thornton and Mr. Irons voted NO to any changes and to leave the resolution in place.

Under the leadership of Mr. Mitchell who is up for reelection the commission continues to live in the past. Operating under a resolution that was adopted 31 years ago shows no vision on his part. 31 years ago this road was for fish camps, now there are people living and driving on the road full time. 31 years ago many things we now take for granted were not in use, such as cell phones, laptops, and many other tools we use today. Under his leadership we had to wait 4 years for a new emergency management plan. The one we were operating under was written in 1989. The commission paid $10,000 in 2008 and we just now have what they are calling a new plan. What plan takes 4 years and is paid for in advance. Answer: Lauderdale County Commission’s Emergency Management Plan.

Now the county commission Chairman Mitchell is saying we have to re bid the present Lauderdale EMS ambulance service contract because the City of Florence wishes to do so. When has anyone entered into a partnership where one partner tells the other what they must do. The contract should have made it clear that if either party wishes the contract to remain in effect then the contract stays valid until it expires. No complaints have been presented, nor breach of contract on the part of the ambulance service. With 2 years remaining on the contract what is the need. What if the contract comes back with bids that overall increase the cost to the county. Lack of leadership again raises these questions.

Please join me in calling your commissioner and requesting that the commission address all of these issues and to change the time of the regular commission meeting to 6 pm to allow working citizens to attend the meetings to see for themselves how ineffective this commission led by Chairman Dewey Mitchell has become. Two of the commissioners have voiced support for a change in the meeting time. I leave it to you to decide which 3 commissioners wish it to remain at the present inconvenient time for most of you.

Editor's Note: Dewey Mitchell is technically not up for re-election, but is seeking the new post of Commission Chair. Until this election, the Lauderdale Probate Judge acted as chair. Florence Councilman Sam Pendleton has called Mitchell the worst probate judge in county history. Thankfully, both Democratic and Republican candidates for this post are juris doctors. We would hope Alabama will some day amend this office description.


If you purchased a Sunday TimesDaily, you may have read the regular Shoals Area insert featuring local communities. It seems one Lauderdale town was missing. Has Waterloo defected to Mississippi?


Monday, July 23, 2012

Bad Boys: Return Engagement/Words of Wisdom

We see two big, bad convicted killers have again made the arrest reports. Roger Keith Pitts is ostensibly awaiting trial for a series of burglaries in the western end of Lauderdale County, and this makes the second time (6/7) he's been arrested since the initial theft charges. Let's hope he goes away for a long time.

David Darryl Thomspon also has a new arrest (7/10) in Lauderdale. Convicted of manslaughter in the death of a Killen nurse, the county is apparently still waiting for results of his appeal. How long must Melissa's family wait for justice?

Related posts:

Roger Keith Pitts

David Darryl Thompson


Just a few words of wisdom here (or at least our opinion): If you wish to set yourself up as an example of Christianity, Buddhism, Atheism, or even Pastafarianism, may we suggest beating up your boyfriend is not the way to go about it. You may think because of your beliefs we don't care about you. That's not the case. We think you have tremendous potential. Wake up and take control of your life...and control doesn't come from alcohol or physically abusing those you think have wronged you.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wanted: Joshua Thomas Henson

As we publish this morning, police are still searching for Joshua Thomas Henson. The 22 year-old resident of Neal Morris Road in Tuscumbia is wanted in connection with a Saturday hit and run on Sixth Street in Sheffield.

A source with the police department commented unofficially that Henson is on probation in both Lauderdale and Madison County for forgery charges from 2011. Somehow, we don't think fleeing the scene will help Mr. Henson's case at his next court appearance.


The caretakers of a feral cat colony at McFarland Park have informed us that several of the moggies have been killed by a sub-human being with a gun. If you have any information, please forward it to our contact. There is currently a $100.00 reward being offered for any information that results in a conviction of this wanton individual.

Call 256-324-9347


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Two Freedoms...Two Sides To Story

We in Alabama dearly cherish our freedoms. We here at Shoalanda do also, but we have comments on two of those freedoms. No matter what you think the Second Amendment says, unless you're planning on vacationing in Somalia this summer, we don't think you need to keep an assault rifle handy.

You may have perfectly valid reasons for keeping a Sig in each room of your home or a hunting rifle in each vehicle, but you have no ethical or moral reason for possessing an automatic or semi-automatic assault rifle. It's time our government reactivated the ban on these guns. We're not so naive as to think this will cure the problem within 24 hours, but over time the problem will diminish. Just how many have to die before our government sees that?

We'll address the anti-gun lobby while we're at it. They're often so busy including everything but a sling shot in their anti-gun rants that they lose effectiveness. Why don't we all concentrate on the largest problem first? When maniacs can no longer purchase assault rifles, then we can sit back and observe what other laws may or may not need to be changed.


That brings us to the freedom of speech. We're certainly glad it's free, but we hope everyone strives to make sure their speech is truthful. We totally agree with the three sides to every story statement and try to publish submitted rebuttals as well as comments.

Since the beginning of the year, two blogs have sprung up with the purpose of maligning certain individuals. Between the two, at least eight people have been named as being "Shoalanda." Apparently they keep throwing out names in the hopes of getting it right. Obviously it's irritating to those who have been accused of illegal acts they've never even considered. Why don't they take legal action?

Most libel in Alabama is civil. That requires hiring an attorney and paying out some very big bucks. Most of those accused by these two blogs are indeed pillars of the community and believe their actions, professions, and reputations all preclude anyone from believing these extremely odd tales.

While we have no kind words for these two blogs, they do exemplify the freedom we have to speak our minds. The sad thing is they use falsehoods in the attempt to bolster their opinion of others.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Jerry Ivy/The Connection

Jerry Ivy turned 50 on July 18th. On the night of July 19th, Randall Junior Clemmons shot Ivy dead. Since Ivy was in a vehicle at the time of the shooting, Clemmons can be charged with a capital crime. The 42 year-old shooter, known as "Junior," has an arrest history for drug crimes.

Ivy is survived by daughters Stacey and Rebecca, two sisters, two grandchildren, and many friends, some of whom have contacted us concerning the shooting. Our sympathies to all his friends and family. 


If you've missed The Connection the past two days, our friends have been busy installing new software. Look for some exciting new features.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Update on Two Accused Sex Offenders

Do innocent individuals ever plead guilty? We assume the answer to that question is "yes." There is a special plea called an Alford for those who claim innocence but realize other factors possibly prevent them from being found not guilty. Such was not the case for a current local mayoral candidate; however, after agreeing to serve 20 years and one day for the crime of attempted rape of a child under 12, this individual was granted a new trial on appeal.

After serving approximately five years in prison, the man in question was tried for the crime he originally pleaded guilty to and acquitted in 1997. For all those who have asked about his political rights, these were automatically restored at his acquittal. You, the voters, will have opportunity to vote for an opposing candidate if you wish. We hope that those who oppose this man do so on his platform, not simply on past charges. If he is indeed guilty, he will face a higher judge at a later date.


A reader sent a correction on our blog about Cecil Roy Ellsworth. While the majority of his legal woes did take place in Texas, his Second Degree Rape conviction was in the State of California. If convicted of his latest alleged crime, trafficking in a dangerous drug, Ellsworth faces a minimum sentence of at least three years.

Depending on the actual drug involved and the amount sold, Ellsworth could possibly face life in prison. Much will depend on what the Colbert County District attorney chooses to offer Roy Ellsworth. 


Are sex offenders ever "cured?" We're sure for every study stating the answer is "no," there will be opposing studies answering "yes." We're going to leave the answer to that question up to you the reader, but here is a link to a 2006 study involving sex offenders in four countries. It produced some very interesting results:


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mayoral Surprises In Two Local Races?

Perennial mayoral candidate John Hargett of Florence has again thrown his Republican hat into the ring. Sources close to the Florence accountant have previously stated Hargett enters the race every four years in order to have a platform for his ideas on local government. With four candidates on the slate, a runoff may now be in the works for Florence. Rick Singleton and Mickey Haddock are sure to garner the largest chunk of votes, but will either one have a majority? Our sources say it's currently a toss up between the two.


Phil Campbell can expect some controversy in its mayoral election. Like Florence, the Franklin County town now has four candidates on the ballot...but one may soon be challenged for lacking political rights. Stay tuned...


Robert Thrower to speak at Tennessee Valley Historical Society Meeting  
The Tennessee Valley Historical Society will have its Summer Quarterly Meeting on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. at the Sheffield Public Library Conference Room, located at 316 North Montgomery Avenue, Sheffield, AL.
Robert Thrower, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, will talk about “Tuscumbia Landing and the Indian Removal.”
The presentation will explore the causes of the Indian Removal (“Trail of Tears”), the role of Tuscumbia Landing during this period within the Sheffield/Tuscumbia area; the chronology of events and the compassionate response of the local people towards the victims of this tragic period of American history.
The meeting is free to the public and all are invited to attend.
Refreshments will be served at the program’s conclusion.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Eyewitness Account of Tuscaloosa Shooting Scene

While not local, Tuscaloosa is still close enough to hit home to us in the Shoals. The following is an edited account from Ron Wisely, a forum poster, who arrived on the scene immediately after the shooting:

I was upstairs at Mellow Mushroom playing poker with some coworkers when it happened. We had the patio door open and heard what sounded like a gunshot. About 3 seconds later we heard 8 or 10 more shots. We went out to the patio to see what happened and saw people running away from Copper Top in the direction of Greensboro Ave. I saw several people lie down in front of the fountain in front of Copper Top and get up and run towards Wilhagen's when they got an opportunity. Being a Monday (I guess that's the reason) there were no police cruisers sitting at the intersection there like there usually is. It took several minutes for the first police officer to arrive. I decided to walk down there once it seemed the shooting was done, to try to move my car (parked right in front of Copper Top) before the ambulances and such showed up and blocked me in.

As I got to my car, more emergency vehicles were showing up so moving my car was not an option. I asked a few people what happened and no one seemed to know exactly what went down. There was a guy lying on his stomach just inside 1831 with paramedics attending to him. When they brought him out on the stretcher, he was on his stomach with his head up looking around. He didn't seem like he was fatally wounded.

About this time I noticed a friend of mine sitting at a table on the patio in front of Copper Top. I asked him what happened. He said a guy shot up the side door to Copper Top (probably the first shot we heard) then came around the corner (from the outside) and started unloading on the people on the patio in front of Copper Top and 1831. Said it was a single shooter, a white guy in a bandanna. My friend had been shot in the heel of his foot. He showed me where the bullet went through the back of his shoe and it seemed like a really small hole, as if it was from a .22 or something. His foot wasn't too messed up either, although he had clearly been shot in the foot. Another guy right there had been grazed on the top of the foot and there was a girl who had taken a shot in the thigh. Her wound looked really small as well.

Paramedics were attending to someone inside Copper Top and he eventually walked out of the bar with his shirt off, holding his shirt pressed tight to the upper part of his chest. Again, from everything I saw, it seemed like the shooter used small caliber bullets. I stuck around with my friend until paramedics surrounded him, even though he told them he was fine. I heard a cop tell another cop that Copper Top has a great camera system so hopefully they got the shooter on camera.

I went back to Mellow and we finished our poker game, since there was nothing we could do except be in the way. No one was rushed away in an ambulance. After our game was over, I was getting ready to leave Mellow Mushroom and drive home. By this time, police had taped off everything from where Greensboro meets 4th Street (the road in front of Copper Top), to the intersection at 4th and 23rd, to where 23rd Avenue and University Blvd meet. A cop at University and 23rd (right in front of Mellow) told me I wouldn't be able to move my car until the investigation was done, which would probably be 7 or 8 in the morning, since it was right in the middle of a crime scene.

I spoke to him for a few minutes about the incident. He said 17 people had been shot, 4 critical, and no one had died that he knew of. He said it was like a "miniature Columbine" and that the shooter just had the intention of killing people at random. Luckily (hopefully) no one was killed. He confirmed it was a white male in a vest (he pointed to his vest and said 'a vest like this' so I assume he meant a bullet-proof vest--maybe). He also confirmed the shooter had not been caught and he seemed uncertain about the chances of collecting useful footage from the cameras at Copper Top.Just want to disclose as much as I can so there's no confusion here.

Forgot to mention, people I spoke to on the scene said it was an assault rifle of some sort that he was shooting, and the last officer I spoke to confirmed this. The wounds I saw and the bullet hole in my friend's shoe looked like something small, but my coworker who served in Iraq said some assault rifles (I don't remember the one he named--I don't know a lot about guns) fire .22 caliber bullets.


Happy Birthday, Sandra Killen Burroughs !


Monday, July 16, 2012

Drug Trafficking Isn't For Angels/Dakota Holt

Our blog yesterday focused on Cecil Roy Ellsworth; this 66 year-old Sheffield resident was arrested on June 29th for drug trafficking. We've had some questions concerning this supposedly reformed registered sex offender.

Ellsworth's public arrest report does not indicate what particular drug the trafficking charge involved; however, depending on the quantity of unnamed illicit drugs this career criminal possessed at arrest, if convicted of this crime, he would serve a minimum of three years. The maximum sentence is Life Without Parole. Considering Ellsworth's previous record dating back 50 years, he could easily be sentenced as a habitual offender.

We're guessing those who are defending Ellsworth are doing so for the sake of argument alone. We're also guessing that this sex offender doesn't mention just how recent his arrests are when he speaks at various local churches.


Sources in Colbert County tell us Dakota Holt, the admitted shooter of Dylan Milam, has been released from custody and placed with family members. The Milam family has suffered several tragedies over the past decade, and this latest development has not made it any easier for them. We hope this case can be tried quickly and offer Dylan's family a degree of peace.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cecil Roy Ellsworth

What kind of crime stays with the perpetrator forever? Obviously the answer is a sex crime. The above is an arrest photo for Cecil Roy Ellsworth who was charged in Sheffield on June 29th for trafficking in a dangerous drug and possession of marijuana. The 66 year-old Ellsworth has a record going back over 50 years, but now he wants us to believe he's reformed. He was recently featured in an article on his prison ministry, the Courier Journal giving him front page space.

Most of Ellsworth's crimes were committed in his home state of Texas. Laws in each state are different and don't always have corresponding names here in Alabama. We do know Ellsworth is a registered sex offender and was convicted in Texas of having "unlawful sex" with two young teenage girls when he was 33. Ellsworth moved to Alabama in January of this year...or at least registered here for the first time. We're not sure what Cecil Roy Ellsworth found so appealing about our lovely retirement community, but we hope he soon finds even greener pastures.


Two faithful readers made us aware of Ellsworth's activity here in the Shoals, and one sent a very moving essay:

"...never knew my father and my mother was an alcoholic. By the time I was 14, I had been in over 10 foster homes. I had started to smoke pot and was ready to move on to stronger drugs when I met "Lewis." He told me he was 21, but was actually 29. I thought I was madly in love and would have done anything for him. I wanted a home and children and stability in my life and I was sure Lewis would give it to me.

"He told me he needed money or he would be killed by the people he owed. By now I was 15 but still too young to get a real job. I did what he asked me to and began working as a prostitute, giving him all the money I took in. I would go to Bradshaw during the day and immediately meet Lewis after classes. Whatever he wanted I tried to do.

"It ended when I caught a disease and my foster parents discovered what was happening. Lewis was not only 29 but was married and had two kids. I felt ashamed, but I didn't want him arrested. No one ever brought any charges against him and I don't where he is now, so many years later. What he did to me has affected my life and I'm not able to have children and not really able to stay in a relationship with anyone. They can call it statutory rape if they want to, but I and girls like me know it's really just plain rape."


Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Child Left Without Parents/ECM Memo

Raymond Gibson and Brooke Parrish

At 4:30 p.m. on July 8th, Savanna Brooke Parrish, 20, changed her Facebook status from "Enganged" to "Single." At 4:30 a.m. on July 13th, Brooke's ex-fiance' fatally stabbed the young woman who was the mother of his infant son Jaylen Grant Parrish.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Ronnie Willis has stated Raymond Gibson, 21, had previously been involved in an altercation with Brooke's grandfather on Thursday night. Our sources at the LCSO have reported Kenneth Parrish, 65, suffered extensive blood loss but is expected to make a full recovery.

The deputy also stated Brooke may have attempted to break up an argument between Gibson and her uncle. No matter the cause of the conflict, a child not yet one year old now has no parents. Gibson has a minor record, but no previous history of violent crimes and is expected to be charged with Felony Murder.


From the Desk of Russell Pigg, CEO of ECM Hospital (RegionalCare) -

I want to provide you with a quick summation of our meeting tonight with property owners of the preferred site for the new North Alabama Medical Center. The following information was shared with the group:

* The preferred site encompasses six blocks from Helton Drive through Enterprise Street, just past the bridge overpass on Veteran’s Drive.

* We have signed a letter of intent with New Vision United Methodist Church.

* There are available alternate sites if agreement cannot be reached with all property owners.

* Property owners will be offered double (100% more than) the appraised property value.

* Local appraisers will be used during the valuation process.

* Title searches, appraisals, transfer taxes and broker fees will be covered by RegionalCare.

* Sellers will be issued an earnest money of 10% of the purchase price once clear title is established and all property owners are under contract by October 1, 2012.

* Owners will be issued final checks at the completion and approval of the CON and government required processes.

* Estimated closing date is the first half of 2014.

We had a good group in attendance tonight and are excited about moving ahead with this phase of the project. Our local broker will begin making contact with owners on Friday. As events occur, I will keep you posted. I appreciated your many efforts to make our hospital the areas (sic) first choice for healthcare.

All property owners under contract by October 1, 2012? It's going to be an interesting summer...


Friday, July 13, 2012

Special Report: Stabbing Victim Identified

The woman fatally stabbed this morning near Brush Creek has been identified as Savanna Brooke Parrish. The young mother was reportedly killed while trying to intervene in a dispute between her grandfather and another man.

The identify of the alleged assailant has not been confirmed, but he is reportedly a Florence resident and an employee of a local security company. We will have complete details tomorrow.

Thoughts on Smokehouse/Navistar Stock Down

Several readers have commented on the recent closing of Florence landmark Smokehouse Billiards, asking if we planned to dedicate a blog to the East Tennessee Street eatery. The TimesDaily seems to have thoroughly covered the subject, but we do have two comments.

If ever asked the identity of the first woman to breach the establishment's doors, you would be correct to answer Linda Ronstadt. Our second comment concerns some memories of city employees. Apparently it was the custom of some to enjoy half and half at lunchtime. Perhaps, gentle readers, you would do well to complete your business with city hall before noon. Looking on the bright side, that doesn't seem quite as decadent as the three martini lunch.

Note: The current owner of the Smokehouse has recently announced plans to be open in a larger location by August 1st. 

Photo by Dave Reasons


Our favorite Barton company can't seem to get any good news. Navistar stock has fallen 38% in the past three months. From Seeking Alpha, July 11:

NAV has had an eventful first half for the year, and it heavily relies on the second half to improve its earnings, after showing losses for two consecutive quarters and missing earnings by 397% and 264% in the last two quarters respectively. However, the slow forecasted growth in Brazil and India means that the incremental revenue expected from these markets may not be realized. This, coupled with the internal problems faced by NAV such as potential hostile takeovers, engine compliance issues and towering warranty costs, gives us the notion that NAV is not expected to rise this year.


Happy Birthday, Mary Carton!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Paradise Drive Doesn't LIve Up To Name

Since a fatal accident on Paradise Drive in Waterloo, discussion of what repairs are needed to make this road safe have increased. From a reader:
The death that occurred in Waterloo is on the same road the county commission has refused to make safe. The county commission voted 3-2 to leave the road as a 1981 resolution had said with minimal maintenance only. Fay Parker and Rhea Fulmer voted to eliminate or change the resolution, but D.C. Thornton and Larry Irons voted to leave the 1981 resolution in place and the tie was broken by Dewey Mitchell voted to leave it in place.

I also sent the commission and the road engineer a Notice of Defects on February 10th 2012, and they have taken no action to correct. One of the defects is lack of adequate signage and guard rails. Both may have prevented this accident from occurring.

We realize the commission cannot turn all Lauderdale County roads into a California freeway; however, one needless death is one too many. Kudos to Fulmer and Parker for at least attempting to rectify the problem and sour lemons to the Thornton, Irons, and Mitchell.


On Monday, our friend Amy Collins wrote her last regular blog. We will leave the link in our sidebar for those who would like to look back over her profound and humorous observations.

In the mean time, she will continue with Brave Mable on Fridays. The Brave Mable line is available at several outlets in the Shoals. As Mable would say, "Buy Local!"

Note to Amy: We just wish we had thought of your "wordless" catch phrase before you did...


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chris Stanback Murder: From a Riot to a Whimper

Eddie Frank Chandler has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 1994 murder of teenager Christopher Stanback (pictured). Almost two decades ago, Chris' death caused a near riot situation:

Now in the summer of 2012, Chandler's plea agreement calls for a mere sentence of 15 years, a sentence that will likely entail Correctional Incentive Time and a possible release in five years. Perhaps the saddest part, next to the death of a young man, is that many others were presumed guilty of a crime of which they knew nothing.


Our sympathies to the family and friends of Beth Childers. Several have emailed us today concerning a woman who made a difference in her community. We hope to have more later in a celebration of her life.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Who Is Russell Pigg?

Since April 2nd, Russell Pigg has been the CEO of Coffee Health Group. Or would that now simply be RegionalCare in the Shoals? We may assume RegionalCare offered Pigg quite an incentive package to lure him from Dyersburg, Tennessee, where he was CEO of their regional medical center for less than three years.

Before his tenure at Dyersburg Regional, Pigg served for three years as CEO of Gateway Medical Center in Clarksville, Tennessee. Let's hope the three year tenures don't become a pattern. Pigg's first trial by fire will be Thursday night when he possibly faces the antagonism of East Florence property owners, many of whom have no desire to sell their family homes.

If Pigg should go the way of his immediate predecessor Joe Roach? Judging from this photo, he just may have a future in any zombie apocalypse on the horizon...

Related post: Joe Roach



Monday, July 16, 2012
6 p.m. - light meal
6:30 p.m. -- meeting
Steelworkers' Union Hall in Muscle Shoals
Corner of Wilson Dam Road and Avalon Avenue
SPEAKERDr. Humphry Lee, President of Northwest Shoals Community College
Public Invited
For additional information, call 256.412.9966 or email shoalsdemocrats@gmail.com.


Monday, July 9, 2012

A Second Chance for East Florence Entertainment District?

Everyone in the Shoals is waiting for Thursday night. We're guessing property owners in the East Florence business district, now dubbed the East Florence Arts & Entertainment District, are especially eager to know RegionalCare's plans.

Only a few blocks from the Brandon property, a site our friends at The Connection have christened "Brandon Block," the heart of what was once Sweetwater to the locals will certainly now be able to live up to its promise. Hospital employees finishing a shift should be able to make a quick stop at any number of small cafes or bistros. Here's hoping someone immediately acts on our friend Mary Carton's suggestion to buy the old depot and turn it into a restaurant. Get the property while it's hot!


We've been asked if the RegionalCare site is a "done deal." That we don't know, but from looking at property maps and aerial maps of similar new hospitals, purchasing all of Brandon Block would not be necessary. We'll have more on this for the homeowners affected in later blogs.


We're not sure of  the age of  the photo in today's blog, but you can't miss the old East Florence Drugs building. At one time it was a sister store to North Florence Drugs and a Rexall outlet. Someone should bottle the smell of these old drug stores, along with Rogers Department Store--they could make a quick million.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

(RegionalCare) Would Like To Invite You...

...to join us for an informal presentation related to this property, its possible use for a hospital campus, and a review of potential terms and market-appropriated offers in the event this site is selected for the new regional hospital. District 3 Councilman Hermon Graham, ECM Hospital CEO Russell Pigg, Reverend Gregg Reynolds and appropriate local real estate brokers/consultants...

The above letter was sent to all property owners in the six block area that includes the old Brandon School, now New Vision Methodist Church. The letter states "in the event." Is it in fact a done deal? We'll know more after the Thursday night meeting.

We've seen this property listed as a long shot for the new hospital, mainly due to the numerous small surrounding properties the hospital giant would have to acquire in order to create a campus large enough for both a hospital and a cancer center. The prevailing theory being it would require excessive time, perhaps even years, to acquire all this property at a reasonable price. Perhaps RegionalCare now thinks Helen Keller Hospital will challenge the certificate of need for that long in any event?

What of New Vision? The North Alabama Conference of the Methodist Church purchased the property in what it calls a community outreach program, and the group held its first services there in May 2008. Whether the conference or the small congregation holds the deed, we don't know. We do know several tenants left the center last December, ostensibly due to a rent increase.

The church itself was designed to reach out to a community in need, as much of East Florence is; however it has not grown as rapidly as some predicted. If the conference still owns the property, to refuse this offer would be unthinkable. Assuming there is an offer...


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Earth to Mayor Shoemaker & Other Pressing Issues

Concerning the Colbert County Animal Shelter, Tuscubmia Mayor Billy Shoemaker said, "it seemed unfair to ask non-pet owners to pay taxes for the animal shelter and believes the vaccine fee could solve the funding woes."

Okay, Mayor Billy, does that mean when I go to buy my car tag I can say, "Hey, I don't have kids. It's not fair for me to have to pay a school tax. So, just take that amount off before I buy my tag?"

I want to get personal and tell you a story about a friend of mine. I'll call her Lydia because I've never met anyone by that name and I don't want to embarrass anyone. Lydia is one of the most honest and sweet people I've ever met.

Lydia likes to shop more than I do, so that's a lot. One day at lunch she left a dress shop and the alarm went off. Here came all sorts of people who looked through her purse and bag. You might say Lydia was just a little embarrassed by this, but the store apologized when they didn't find anything that she had stolen.

The next week, different store, same scenario. This time the store didn't even apologize to Lydia. Needless to say, Lydia didn't want this to happen any more, but she wasn't sure what was making it happen. Enter Lydia's boyfriend.

Jim was a local police officer, so when he heard Lydia's story, he looked in her purse. Lydia was always dieting, so she had started carrying a small calculator to add up the calories she had when she ate out. Jim took the calculator with him and placed it in his shirt pocket. He went to the same dress store Lydia had trouble with the first time and guess what? You're right, he set off the alarm.

So now Lydia knew her calculator would set off certain alarms. What did she do? What would you do? Remember, she was totally innocent of any theft and she had every right to carry a calculator with her.

If you guessed Lydia stopped carrying the calculator in her purse, you'd be right. She never set off any more alarms that I know of. End of story and now you want to know why I bothered to tell you this.

I once wrote a blog here where I discussed a man who had been accused of rape. He was never indicted but several of us writers thought he should have been. Why? Well, one thing was he'd had the law called on him twice before. Once for a violent act in high school and once in college for whatever the woman had accused him of.

Don't you think this young man should have started choosing girl friends more wisely? If I were 20 years old and had already had two girl friends report me to authorities, I'd sure be on my toes to weed out any prospective girlfriends who might just get mad and falsely accuse me. Note to all young men: When normal women get mad at you they call you a ****head but don't call the police and make up some lie about you.

So to my constant critic who keeps popping up here and there saying how terrible I am to think his friend should have gone through the court system, just remember Lydia. Don't you think your buddy should have been as smart as her?


Friday, July 6, 2012

In Judge Jackson's Courtroom

Family Evicted From Home

A Guest Commentary By

Concerned Lauderdale Citizen

"Judge Billy Jackson does not understand how to structure his docket efficiently." 

"Judge Billy Jackson does not know the law."

You, readers, may decide for yourself if the above comments are true. I only repeat what I have recently heard from others. Ask your own questions, and find your own answers, for you are paying the man’s salary of over $100,000. Would you pay anyone else who is not doing his job adequately?

There are currently cases from Fall, 2011, which still await a ruling from Judge Jackson. There are emergency motions from this past Spring which have not been addressed, as well as current emergencies.

And I have heard a detailed story from a previously credible source which puts Judge Jackson in a very negative light. It seems he is using his authority to hurt families rather than help them.

Judge Jackson gave a mother and her children only hours to vacate their home under threat of eviction by sheriff. They had to leave behind almost everything they owned because there was so little notice from the court. The mother had previously followed every court order and was not prepared for this decision because she was waiting for the judge to rule on competing orders.

Judge Jackson allowed a deadbeat dad to move back into the house who has not complied with court orders for more than five years. Judge Jackson has known for many months that the deadbeat dad has refused to provide court ordered life insurance for the mother and the children. The mom had suggested to the court that their marital home might secure the dad’s life insurance obligation to her and to their kids, and she was waiting for the judge to decide. But the judge denied her request at the exact same time that he ordered her and the kids to vacate their home. Judge Jackson also knows that the kids have never spent a night with their dad in five years, and they refuse to live with him.

The deadbeat dad is also in contempt of court on other issues, both present and past. But Judge Jackson has refused for many months to even set a date in court for the trial to address the deadbeat dad’s contempt of court. Apparently, the dad has been in contempt of court before on several things. This particular deadbeat dad also stalked and threatened the mom and had a Protection from Abuse order enforced against him by Judge Jackson.

Yes, readers, you read correctly. Judge Jackson is aware that the mother is in compliance with court orders and always has been while the deadbeat dad is not in compliance with court orders and never has been. Judge Jackson ordered a mother and her children out of their home with only hours notice, so they are now homeless. But the deadbeat dad now has two homes.

And Judge Jackson has done nothing to secure the court ordered life insurance for a mother and children. The deadbeat dad might fall over dead at any minute, and it would be Judge Jackson’s fault alone that they did not have their mandated life insurance. I remind you readers that Judge Jackson has refused for months to even set a court date.

What is Judge Jackson doing? According to what I am hearing, he has some explaining to do. I am concerned about the mom and her children, even if Judge Jackson is not. I will follow up to let you know what happens in this case.


We'll add to the above commentary that we have heard complaints concerning the circuit court clerk's office and its inability to schedule, rather than Judge Jackson's. The same was said of Judge Jimmy Sandlin's court. What is the truth? We have no idea, but hope the problem, no matter its roots, can be corrected as quickly as possible.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Defense of Ronald Eugene Weems - Part III

 Weems/Greenhill/A Second View of Weems

The mental evaluation of Ronald Eugene Weems was interesting...until the so-called Ron Wikkid was asked about his crime, and then it became riveting. The confessed murderer of Amanda Taylor began a startling account of what he "thinks" happened.

According to Weems, he and Amanda were arguing. Amanda physcially attacked him. Ron has previously stated in this evaluation that he weighs 210 pounds and stands 6' 2". Amanda Taylor was a much smaller woman.

Ron goes on to say that he reacted and began to fight with Amanda. We'll ask here just how hard it would have been for a man his size to fight off an attack, assuming one actually took place. Weems does not state how long this "fight" continued.

Then Ronald Eugene Weems states that he "blacked out." Yes, that is the bombshell of this report. Ron Wikkid says he doesn't remember choking Amanda to death. Ron has previously gone on record years before the murder that he suffers from blackouts, so what this may mean for the defense is almost anyone's guess, but wait, here comes the second bombshell.

When Ron woke up, Amanda was dead with a nylon strap wrapped around her neck. Since the murder, bits and pieces have come back to Ron (how convenient) and he now thinks Ashley Greenhill played a much larger part in Amanda's murder than he previously stated.

We don't like that wonder of a mother/stripper/hatchet-wielding waste of oxygen, but we doubt she took part in the actual murder of Amanda Taylor. Our boy Ron is clutching at some pretty weak straws here.

How will it play in court? First, we doubt Ron's attorneys will use this Plan B. Assuming they do? Well, if you're on the jury and buy this, let me tell you about my Arizona waterfront property....


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Mayberry Independence Day

Andy Griffith, June 1, 1926 - July 3, 2012

We're hearing the Higgs boson particle may eventually lead to reverse time travel. Wouldn't we all love to revisit our childhood...not live there again, but just visit? We're not betting the farm on the possibility, but certainly we'd all love to visit Mayberry in the early 1960s, wouldn't we? Wonder what they're doing in America's favorite small town for the Fourth?

You probably wouldn't have found anyone in Mayberry who was ashamed of our country. Ahh, but you say we can't go home again. If you think you can't, you haven't visited YouTube recently.

Happy 236th Birthday, USA!

July 4, 2011 - Tommy

July 4, 2010 - God Bless America

July 4, 2009 - Goodbye, Miss Liberty


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Defense of Ronald Eugene Weems - Part II

On May 22, Dr. Sydney H. Garner of Psychological Specialties in Dothan performed a mental evaluation on Ronald Eugene Weems, aka Ron Wikkid. Judging from some of the photos of Weems posted online, we're surprised the evaluation didn't mention "arrested development." Obviously the main thrust of the interview was to determine if Weems is competent to stand trial and to assist his defense attorneys. Here are some interesting tidbits contained in the final product:

1. Ron's late father was 11 years older than his mother. His 61 year-old mother is currently disabled (although we'll add this didn't keep her from ushering WAAY reporters around the basement murder scene).

2. Ron indicated he was the father to only three children (according to other sources, there are at least two more who are still legally his).

3. He had been a patient at Riverbend for four years previous to Amanda Taylor's murder and was on anti-seizure and anti-depressant medications during part of this time.

4. He had been arrested previously for domestic violence and theft of property.

5. Ron has a total of six tattoos and piercings of the ears, lips, and genitals (Ouch!).

6. He hears voices in the back of his mind and feels these sound like the voices of demons; however, these voices have never commanded him to do anything.

7. Ron also sees flashes of color from time to time (he stated he has taken LSD in the past).

8. Ron stated that at the time of the murder Laurel Pruett was his current girlfriend.

Thursday: What Ron says really happened...


Monday, July 2, 2012

The Defense of Ronald Eugene Weems - Part I

Approximately ten days ago, attorneys filed two important documents in the state's case against Ronald Eugene (Wikkid) Weems, currently under indictment for the murder of Amanda Taylor. The first relates to Weems' denial of Social Security disability payments in February 2011. The second document is the mental evaluation of Weems formally released on June 19th.

The document concerning Weems' request for disability contained some very interesting data; however, since much of it used medical terminology not generally familiar to the public, we've asked a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner for her opinion on the claim. Below is our interview with her:

SS: Weems claimed disability for three medical issues. The first was a heart condition that resulted in palpitations. What does that mean?

NP: Palpitation usually refers to a fast heartbeat. Some people use the term to indicate an irregular heartbeat. I've looked over Weems' application and it states he has previously had a medical procedure to correct that condition. It also indicates he was not taking medication for it. Most patients will take a beta-blocker to slow or regulate their heartbeat if that is a major problem for them. Since Mr. Weems was seeing a physician regularly, I'll assume the doctor did not think this was of serious concern.

SS: Weems also claimed that he had rheumatoid arthritis. Is this debilitating?

NP: It certainly can be. What I found odd was that the physician who compiled the medical report on Weems didn't mention testing for this condition. Tests for RA are usually extremely accurate, so if he actually had the disease, it should have been easy to document. Also, there's no mention in the report of any medication for this condition. Most physicians would have prescribed medication specifically directed at the RA, an autoimmune disease, or at least some potent anti-inflammatories.

SS: Weems further claimed a back injury. Would this be hard to prove?

NP: Mr. Weems' record did indicate having previous back surgery to fuse some discs. This type of surgery is not rare and is usually successful. I noticed the document broached the possibility of malingering. That's always going to be looked into when a patient claims joint or similar pain not backed up by medical testing.

SS: Weems stated he was bi-polar and, perhaps the most shocking revelation, claimed he had periods of "spacing out." How could this affect his case?

NP: I'm not sure if you mean his case for disability or his legal case. As far as the disability, it seems his brain scans were normal. As for his legal case, I've never been called to testify in a case like this and I would imagine both the prosecution and defense will call some really big medical guns to debate this. My take on it is that it coming well before the murder, establishing a pattern of black outs would certainly help in Weems' defense if he claims temporary insanity.

Tomorrow: Another revelation in Weems' mental evaluation...


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hard Times v. The Quad-Cities Daily

While we don't consider our primary mission here at Shoalanda Speaks to save our readers money, we're certainly all about eradicating waste from personal as well as public budgets. Why pay for something you can get free?

Now we know you've all at least looked at Hard Times while you've waited to pay for your snacks/smokes/gas at the corner mini-mart. It's what most of us would call a guilty pleasure. Hard Times has detractors who say such publications feature those who have not been convicted. We agree with that, but we also want to know if the young man who does our yard work has been charged with burglarizing local homes. So, yes, many of us are going to read these type publications; the main question is should we pay for it?

One meager dollar a week doesn't sound so bad, but when you think in terms of fifty-two of them in a year's time, you're putting it in perspective. That brings us to The Quad-Cities Daily. This online publication is not only free, but offers the exact time of arrest, as well as the number of charges. In other words, was your housekeeper arrested for one bad check that was a total accident, or has she been hanging wallpaper all over the Shoals?

Here's the link, you decide: The Quad-Cities Daily


While on the subject of saving money, Volumes I and II of Remembering Florence are now on sale. It's not too early to think about Christmas gifts.


Update on possible site of new RegionalCare hospital: Brandon School Dilemma