Sunday, September 30, 2012

Four Escape in Lauderdale County - Update

Ricky Dewayne Lawson, 28

 Robert Lee Brown, 20 

Wesley Lee Gibson, 27

Ricky Dewayne Lawson, Wesley Gibson, Damien Lee Nix, and Robert Lee Brown escaped sometime around 11:45 p.m. from the Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center. They are not presumed dangerous, but exercise caution.

This post will be updated as more information is released.

Update: Nix has arrests for armed robbery in Franklin County and may be dangerous to the public--No picture available at this time.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

"It Was A Man"

We don't know what description of her attacker the recent UNA rape victim was able to give. We're sure it provided more details that the campus rapist's gender; we also assume more details will be released at a later date after they've been confirmed. This was the second incident in the university parking deck in the past seven days. Obviously co-eds will be avoiding this area, and probably most male students. Does that mean the student body will remain safe?

We've mentioned before that students need to check with public safety as to what self-defense items are allowed on campus. A personal alarm is always a great choice for those women, and men, who must be out at late hours or in deserted areas. Here's a link to a very effective personal alarm that doubles as a door alarm. Others are available at various retail outlets and big box stores.


On the bright side for UNA students:

Save the date for a fun night...


Friday, September 28, 2012

Bad Boys Revisited

Ken Risner has been indicted by a Colbert County Grand Jury for crimes involving a terrorist threat. Risner was arrested several months ago in Tuscumbia's Spring Park, forcing an evacuation.

More: Domestic Violence Redux

McKenzie Corey Johnson has been arrested in Florence for failure to register as a sex offender. He's either out of prison again after a robbery conviction or never went south.

More: Why Is He Out?

Andrew Daniel Scott has been released from jail by order of Judge Gil Self. We infer Judge Self knows the current state of our prison system almost automatically ensures drug court/probation for the Killen resident and made sure Hottie Scottie served some actual time (around 60 days).

More: He's in the Jailhouse Now


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

More on Mitchell Terry/Hershel Graham

The arrest of Mitchell Blake Terry is producing more questions; is he in fact the North Florence Bedroom Intruder? We believe he was in no way connected to the recent attempted kidnapping in Tuscumbia, but our sources at the Florence Police Department have remained mum on the laundry list of charges that may be facing Terry.

The official news release also connects Terry to a second Heathrow burglary/assault on September 21st, but not the three home intrusions from this spring. A reader has sent us a quote from Terry's mother's Facebook page in which she mentions his "victims." This may refer to those burglary victims in crimes that go back at least three years.

Terry did not live in the North Florence area; we have to wonder why he chose that location for his crime spree. No matter his rationale, he is now behind bars, and we hope he stays there.


Pre-trial for Hershel Dale Graham, admitted killer of David Martin Andrasik, has been postponed for the fourth time. David's family understandably is seeking quick closure to the case, but that may not be possible.

No matter the number of delays, Franklin County Judge Terry Dempsey will eventually require Graham's attorneys to face this day in court. Graham will eventually be tried and judged by a jury of his peers. Murder cases often take two or more years to be brought to trial. It's a sad reality, and we wish the Andrasik family the best in their wait.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mitchell Blake Terry

Florence police have charged Mitchell Blake Terry, 31, with the Summit Ridge sexual assault of September 17th. At this point he has not been charged with the three other North Florence bedroom intrusions from last spring.

Terry has a lengthy history of burglary. Police files show arrests from April 2008, February 2009, December 2009, and April 2010. The April 2010 arrest also included charges of resisting arrest.

Since DNA evidence was left at the Summit Ridge home intrusion, we may assume records from previous crimes helped to identify Terry positively. We have to ask what Terry was doing walking free with such a current record. It's certainly possible he was incarcerated during the summer months, explaining the gap in attacks.

More as it develops...


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Micah Coffey 1979-2012

Micah was born not far from Whoville, it is a little town located in Lawrence County where everyone wonders who you are! We have been pondering this who is Micah ourselves. We know a few things about him like: his old friends call him harpo, we aren't sure if its because he harps on things or plays the harmonica known in the blues circles as the "harp". He sometimes plays the keyboard with his feet, we just think this is a result of his childhood, growing up the way he did and all. He has been a real asset to the band though, we couldn't find anyone else to do all the stuff he does.-- From The Flashbacks website

Sadly, Micah Coffey, musician and Lawrence County coroner, passed away this morning at his home. Our friend Carlton Utley had this to say: It will be a loss to the Lawrence County community because Micah was one of the most good hearted people I ever had the pleasure of knowing. I think of him as a friend and as long as we worked together on the ambulance, it`s more like family.

Our sympathies to Micah's family.


Pen N Sword is reporting that missing Sheffield woman Laura Willingham has been found:


Monday, September 24, 2012

Attempted Kidnapping In Tuscumbia Foodland

A shopper in the Tuscumbia Foodland almost became the victim of a kidnapper Sunday. The female victim was shopping at the relatively small market when a large man asked her the location of the restroom. When she replied that she didn't know, the assailant grabbed her and began pulling her into the back of the store.

Apparently store personnel initially thought the assault was a friendly stunt, but called police when they realized the woman was in danger. Tuscumbia police arrived to find the man hiding in a back stockroom. When police searched the suspect's white van, they reportedly found several guns. Officers also informed the victim that the assailant had pending sexual charges against him in Florence.


According to UNA police chief Bob Pastula, the man arrested this morning for flashing a co-ed in the parking deck claimed he was urinating and didn't realize he was visible to anyone else. John Cameron Crouch, 21, could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail if found guilty. He posted a thousand dollar bond and was released from the detention center.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

This Law Isn't Fair...

Uh, Shoalanda, you say, which law are we talking about? All of them. Or just about anyway. Almost every law on the books is unfair to some segment of the population. Are you old enough to remember when it was common for a large percentage of cars on the road to have an "Antique" license plate? It seems that some previous incarnation of our state legislature had the bright idea that any vehicle over 25 years old would qualify for a one-time only car tag. We'll guess most members of that august body didn't realize just how many old trucks and other beaters were actually on the road.

Was it fair for Citizen A to pay taxes through the nose for his/her 20K car, when Citizen B drove a 50 year old Bentley valued at 45K but paid nothing? Our legislature finally woke up to the huge loss of revenue and revoked that particular bit of legislation. Now our Republican led lawmakers are being criticized for amending a law that for the last five years has given disabled homeowners an across the board property tax exemption without regard to their income. In truth, 100% of the legislature voted to amend this law.

Live in a 100K house and pay taxes? Guess what...Mohammad Ali next door in his McMansion isn't paying anything. Our current legislature has simply plugged a hole in an existing law. It's often hard to quantify a disability, but not so hard to quantify actual income. Those who're crying "new tax" are either unable to think logically or overly eager to criticize anything Republican.


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Saturday, September 22, 2012

May 2009 Unsolved Rape/Jamey DuBose

While we don't think it's connected to the four recent attacks that have taken place in the general area of North Florence, there is a three year-old rape case that remains unsolved in the city. Shortly after noon, on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, a young woman answered the door to her home, described only as somewhere "off Simpson Street." A dark, possibly Middle Eastern man with an accent then forced his way into the home, beat, and raped the woman. The victim was found by her husband sometime around 1:30 p.m. and taken to ECM Hospital for what were described as serious injuries.

WAFF reported at the time that the location of the attack was approximately two blocks from Seven Points intersection. The four home invasion/attacks occurring this year have all taken place to the north of Seven Points, two at apartment complexes.

A poster on the Tennessee Valley Talks Forum has suggested the attacker is familiar with the floor plan of the apartment complexes and may work in maintenance for a similar facility. We've previously suggested the attacker may be a college student since there was a gap in the attacks over the summer months; the attacker could also have been incarcerated during this time.

If you live in an apartment, any added expenses you entail to secure your home may be reimbursed by your landlord. It doesn't hurt to ask...stay safe.


We've had several readers comment on the salary of Florence High School head football coach Jamey DuBose, reportedly the first cousin to former University of Alabama coach Mike DuBose. There seem to be several rumors floating around, but the base annual salary is more, no less. He received a one-time 5K moving allowance from the Florence Quarterback Club.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Cecil Roy Ellsworth Arrested in Sheffield

Sources in the Sheffield Police Department have identified Cecil Roy Ellsworth as the registered sex offender arrested yesterday on charges of criminal solicitation for prostitution. Ellsworth moved to the Shoals in January and was arrested in June on two counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, first-degree possession of marijuana, and illegal possession of prescription drugs.

Due to a prior conviction on similar charges three years ago, Ellsworth faces a felony charge on the marijuana possession. At that time, Sheffield police stated they were also investigating Ellsworth for promoting prostitution. If convicted of the drug charges, Ellsworth faces a minimum of three years in prison.

Ellsworth has previously promoted himself as someone active in prison ministries, but neighbors in Sheffield have filed several complaints about his other activities. After our June blog on the sex offender, a reader contacted us with claims that the police had set up the Texas native. Somehow we feel Sheffield authorities have better things to do...


The Tennessee Valley Historical Society invites you to visit their booth in Building No. 1 at the North Alabama State Fair this weekend. The theme of  "White-Black and Red in Civil War" historically depicts all races who fought either on Confederate and Union sides and the battle flag artifacts depicting the period.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thousand Dollar Reward for North Florence Bedroom Intruder

Sometimes the promise of a monetary reward is required to make us do the right thing. We hope the newly announced award in Monday's burglary/sex abuse case will bring someone forward. If you have any info on what some have dubbed the "North Florence Bedroom Intruder," call the Florence Police department at 256-768-2728.

Below is an artist's sketch of a young man wanted in a kidnapping/robbery on the UNA campus earlier this year. He may have nothing to do with the North Florence crimes...or he may be the perpetrator, or would that be pervert?


The Monday burglary/attack occurred at Summit Ridge Apartments off Helton Drive. An online blurb for the Dalcor property reads: Discover the thrill, excitement and glee of living in Summit Ridge Apartments. We may safely assume it was pretty exciting early Monday morning, but not in any good way.

Police say the intruder entered via a sliding glass door. Here's another little device that would be a worthwhile purchase for those of you who have such entries. Keep in mind there are cheaper versions on the market as well as more expensive. These can also be purchased locally at big box home improvement stores.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quad-Cities Daily - One Million Page Hits!

Our friends at the Quad-Cities Daily are announcing they've now racked up one million page hits, not a bad showing for a local Internet news source. Congratulations to Steve and Sheri Wiggins for the achievement.

Like them or not, local arrest photos have a place in today's world, and the QCD brings them into your home or office at a great price--free! The QCD also broke the story of a local music minister being forced to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Here's looking forward to your next one million page hits!


Need more home security? For as little as six dollars up to twenty, you can buy a door stop wedge alarm. Simply Google the four words "Door stop wedge alarm," and you'll find at least a dozen merchants who sell them online. They're also available at big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe's. Two doors will cost around forty dollars at most to secure. This alarm type is louder than the door/window alarms sold at Big Lots or Dollar Tree.

Any security is better than none. If you're really living on the cheap, simply place a large metal object against the door of your dorm room or apartment. Then be ready with the wasp spray or, as b50m has suggested yesterday, your lethal weapon of choice. No, we're not advocating firing a deadly salvo at the pervert; b50m's choice of body parts to target should work just swimmingly.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Has North Florence Bedroom Intruder Struck Again?

Are young college age women being targeted by a bedroom intruder in the North Florence area? It would seem so. Let's look at these four intrusions/attacks.

1. All victims were relatively young white females.

2. Intruder always described as young white male.

3. All attacks occurred on a week-day morning while UNA was in session.

Beyond that, details have varied. Here's a run down on each attack:

1. North Wood Avenue - February 24, 2012 - Victims were 20 and 21 year-old roommates and UNA students. One victim was held down and choked until she escaped. Attack occurred at 3:15 a.m. on a Friday morning.

2. Seymore Avenue - March 24, 2012 - Victims were 19 and 20 year-old roommates and UNA students. Both escaped. Attack occurred at 4:15 a.m. on a Wednesday morning.

3. Heathrow Drive - March 26, 2012 - 30 year old victim was held down on her bed until intruder was startled by child and fled. Attack occurred at 4:00 a.m. on a Monday morning.

4. Summit Ridge - 18 year-old victim was held down and sexually abused. Attack occurred at 5:30 a.m. on a Monday morning. Attacker described as 6 feet tall and wearing a red hooded sweatshirt.

Is it a coincidence that the attacks halted over the summer months and resumed shortly after the start of UNA's fall semester? We're sure Florence police are looking into every aspect of this case. In the mean time, stay safe. Be alert and invest in some extra protection.


Monday, September 17, 2012

A Sweet Deal for Steven Scott?

Pictured above is 53 year-old Steven Len Scott of Russellville. Sources say Scott has been a frequent visitor to various mental health facilities and had been living on the street when he was placed in Village Square Apartments in Russellville. According to an article in Pen N Sword, the facility will take no one younger than 55...and they must have a mobility disability in order to qualify.

Last month Scott shoved or pushed down an elderly tenant, one using a walker no less, removed her keys from her purse, and headed south in her car, which he eventually abandoned in Moulton. Authorities speculated Scott was headed to Sarasota, Florida, where he has family, but the opportunistic car thief made it only as far as Morgan County.

So what is Russellville charging him with? Unauthorized use of a vehicle. We thought such charges were reserved for those who borrowed cars and decided to keep them a few extra days, not those who attack the owner and flee to parts unknown.

Scott remains incarcerated in the Franklin County Jail. We hope Steven Scott's victim will insist that stronger charges be filed.


Russellville is not immune from the plight of "street people." Just as in large cities, small towns will also have those who live on the street, many by choice. It's commendable for DHR and other services to attempt to find homes for those who want and need shelter, but it also should be expected that those who use the system in order to find such housing will abide by the rules.

Several relatives of Village Square residents have contacted various news media concerning recent arrivals at the HUD housing complex. While the situation is alarming to them, these new tenants are breaking no laws (with the exception of Scott). If these individuals are causing hygiene problems, we would suggest contacting the Franklin County Health Department. Good luck.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Hot in Montgomery

It was 97 degrees outside, maybe 98. In an era when most vehicles didn’t come with air even in the South, Miss Linnie didn’t know how hot it was in her car. Once she got to her new job it would be cool. A practical nurse, she was going to be taking care of two elderly women, aunts to the richest man in the Shoals. She wouldn’t have to worry if her check was good, and the ladies’ home should have enough amenities to make the job more than pleasant.

Once on the porch of the modest house, she found the front door open. Walking into the living room, she felt the stifling air and saw a box fan in the window. Surely Mr. D. had bought his aunts at least one air conditioner. After a chat about her duties, Miss Linnie had to ask.

“You ladies don’t have an air conditioner?”

“Oh, yes,” one replied. “We don’t turn it on unless it gets hot.”


Gentle readers, it’s hot in Alabama. Oh, autumn may be one week away and the mornings may be cool, but in Montgomery the state treasury is so hot that it’s about to go up in flames in nine months. What happens then?

If a town or county can’t pay its bond debt, the federal government takes over, but what about a state? You say you don’t care because the wasteful legislature, along with some even more prodigal state agencies, got us into this fix. You’re certainly right about that, but what about the citizens who have worked hard? What about the elderly and handicapped who depend on the state? Should they suffer?

Perhaps even more important, if we don’t use the trust fund money now, what other emergency are we saving it for? It’s not going to get much hotter around here than it is right now. Vote "Yes" Tuesday.

For an opposing view, be sure to read: Vote No September 18th


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stop DHR Corruption?

Kathleen Raskin

Kathleen Raskin lives in Las Vegas, but she has a bone to pick with Lauderdale County. We've said before that there are really few winners in family court, loving and caring adoptions being the exception. Those who "lose" are certainly unhappy. Such a one is Ms. Raskin.

In fact she's so unhappy that she's started a website called:

She's seeking the termination or impeachment of Judge Billy Jackson, Denise Burch JD, Labrisco Cook, and Sarah Jane Hendershot. We will assume that Cook and Hendershot work for DHR. 

We're not sure how far Ms. Raskin will get with her crusade, but she's certainly making her presence known on various websites dedicated to consumer complaints. 


A word of advice concerning social workers (or anyone else): If they marry a man who's already been married and divorced four times, they might not have very much common sense to start with...


Friday, September 14, 2012

Mitchell Harris Breland--A Bad Apple?

Mitchell Breland - Former Decatur/Moulton Police Officer

You’re Eight Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than a Terrorist - Jim Harper (taken from National Safety Council statistics)

Mitchell Harris Breland is 27 years-old, the father of three eight year-old daughters, and divorced. Breland began working for the Decatur Police Department in late 2007. By early 2010, he and his wife Cassandra Lynn Rust Breland were estranged. On the night of April 20th, Cassandra ran to a neighbor's home. Her chin and throat showed signs of injury, and she stated her husband had attacked her with an assault rifle. Police arrested Mitchell, charging him with Third Degree Domestic Violence.

2010 Mug Shot
A conviction would have meant Breland would not have been able to carry a gun legally--a sure end to his police career. Cassandra later recanted her testimony, and Decatur dropped charges against Breland; however, by this time, the young officer had tendered his resignation to the police department.

Breland then began work with the Moulton police force where he's remained until placed on paid leave August 29th. DHR has alleged Mitchell Breland is guilty of child abuse/torture; having beaten one of his daughters so badly she required hospitalization.

If these charges should prove true, we certainly hope Mitchell Harris Breland is never allowed to carry a weapon again.

* Sources state Breland married Cassandra Rust in December 2007. Ex-wife Jaime DeMoss Cousin filed a PFA order against Breland on August 16th; she is reportedly the mother of his children.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

What Next for Elijah Graham?/Letter Coming Soon

We blogged yesterday concerning Elijah Tanner Graham's recent Red Bay arrest for possession of a controlled substance--non marijuana and drug paraphernalia. According to Graham's Facebook page, this is not his first arrest, meaning he has already used his one ticket for youthful offender status.

Franklin County does not have drug court per se; in other words, probation for this offense is not a given, but could be considered likely. If you feel that this young man, a man who took part in the assault against David Martin Andrasik last November, should be incarcerated for these drug crimes, we urge you to write:

Hon. Terry Dempsey
Franklin County Courthouse
410 North Jackson Avenue
Russellville, AL 35653


District Attorney Joey Rushing
Franklin County Courthouse
410 North Jackson Avenue
Russellville, AL 35653


Contacting us: We had some questions yesterday on how to contact us anonymously. While we can assure you we do not divulge sources, we can also understand anyone's desire for anonymity when communicating about one's employer or an elected official.

We suggest using G-Mail in order to set up a quick and anonymous e-mail account. It takes less than five minutes.

We've been promised a copy of the letter sent to over a dozen Alabama agencies concerning a local sheriff. We'll have it scanned and published as soon as possible. We realize there are always two sides to a story and will welcome any rebuttal.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Elijah Graham Arrested/We Need Copies

Elijah Graham

Earlier this year, many readers wondered why Elijah Graham was not indicted for Felony Murder in the death of David Andrasik. Witnesses at the scene had testified Elijah ran over Andrasik's foot, hindering his escape, before Hershel D. Graham fatally shot David in the chest. The Red Bay 18 year-old has was arrested on September 7th for possession of a controlled substance--non-marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The elder Graham has yet to be brought to trial. Sources say the court date for Hershel Graham has again been postponed.

Related post: Similar Crimes


Several readers have inquired concerning the contents of the two letters we recently blogged about--letters related to a local sheriff's department. While we know the basic content, we don't feel comfortable publishing hearsay information. If anyone has a copy of either letter, please scan it and e-mail it to us at:


Some advice to young (and older) women. If you're called into your boss' office, supposedly for an infraction of rules, and he states something like this, "You're in a lot of trouble, but if you take off those Bobbie Brooks and show me what you got, I'll forget about it," this is what you reply:

1. What you're suggesting is immoral.
2. What you're suggesting is sexual harassment.
3. Does your wife know you act this way?
4. Do the voters (if applicable) and members of (insert name of church if applicable) know you act this way?

Then you file appropriate charges faster than he can scarf a sugar-coated doughnut.


Special Report: Mo Brooks' Speech

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks delivered the following speech this morning to the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Mr. Speaker, In Egypt, our embassy walls were scaled and the American flag ripped apart. 

“In Libya, America’s Ambassador and three other Americans were brutally murdered.

“Ironically, our own Embassy in Egypt apologized by condemning Americans who exercised their religious and free speech rights as, quote, “misguided individuals [who] hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.”

“The White House, rivaling the Keystone Cops of lore, distanced itself from its own State Department apology.

“Let’s be clear. In Libya, this White House spent American treasury and risked American lives to topple Moammar Gadhafi thus empowering those who killed our Ambassador.

“Not one to learn from history or its own mistakes, this White House says that America ‘will work… to support a Syrian opposition to hasten the day when Assad falls.’

“Mr. Speaker, America must stop spending our treasury and risking American lives for those who neither appreciate our sacrifices, nor believe in basic liberties like freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

“Mr. Speaker, I pray the President is listening.”

We agree 100%...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's 9/11, and We're...

Still here.

Did you listen to the words of the song? Think about what you've done in the past 11 years. Have you gained more than you've lost? Have you helped more than you've hindered? Why were you spared while others were taken?

There's probably no concrete answers to any of those questions, but it's still a good day to think about it...


Monday, September 10, 2012

The Letter - Part II

It seems all employees of a certain local sheriff's department have received a letter, or at least a communication which includes copies of a deposition in a sexual harassment case. These letters are in no way connected to the letters several organizations received two weeks ago from a deputy.

Employees of the department are said to have reacted in different ways to this communication. How did the sheriff react? We're told he's been playing the Gorgonite. (If you don't know how Gorgonites defend themselves, they hide.)


A source in Tuscumbia has stated the investigation into the robbery and murder of Elbert Davis is progressing slowly. Currently they're attempting to ascertain if an older youth, approximately 20 years old, may have been involved with the 14 year-old suspect. The younger suspect is reportedly still being held.



Monday - September 17, 2012
6:30 p.m. - meeting
6:00 p.m. -- light meal
Speaker:  Dr. Alexander Aguado, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Alabama
location correction:  Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 760 Picnic Pavilion, Avalon Avenue, Muscle Shoals
Public Invited
For additional information, please call 256-412-9966 or email

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cherokee: The Shoals' Answer to Dodge City

Welcome to Cherokee, the town that law forgot, or forgot law, or perhaps never knew the meaning of the word. Once again this small western Colbert County town has thumbed its collective nose at the law, this time election law. So far Cherokee has not conducted a recount of the Malone-Mason council race, and Debroah Malone has been forced to file a lawsuit--a suit that costs the citizens of Colbert County actual taxpayer dollars as well as possible lost new business. After all, would you think it expedient to open a store or factory in a town that has the recent history of lawlessness ascribed to Cherokee? We thought not.


In another local election, Wayne Killen defeated current Lexington mayor Bobby McGuire in the race for a council seat. Killen said the town wanted a change. Not all change is good, but this one obviously will offer more transparency in the workings of this small town's once tight-knit political machine. It was a long time coming.


Last week, TimesDaily political columnist Mike Goens wrote of dirty politics in some local elections. He didn't mention names, and we haven't heard any specifics. If forced to venture a guess, we'll go with Russellville. The new mayor has his job cut out for him.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Killers at 13/14/15: What Do They Deserve?

Victims: Hollins (13), Milam (13), & Davis (88)

Autumn Maire Wood: 

Crime: At 15 she killed Brooklyn Ann Hollins during an unsupervised house party. Pinning Hollins down, she alledgely beat the 13 year-old girl with her fists before reaching for a kitchen knife and stabbing her in the chest. Wood fled the scene, but turned herself in later that night. Autumn Wood is out on bail and living with family members.

Extenuating circumstances: Wood's father's whereabouts are unknown. Her mother has drug and prostitution convictions. Wood was being home schooled and had little supervision or guidance

Dakota Holt:

Crime: At 13 he killed Dylan Milam, also 13, during an overnight stay. Shooting Milam with a rifle he was using for target practice, Holt initially stated the gun fired accidentally and ostensibly showed remorse. He confessed only after being confronted by authorities over contradictory forsenic evidence. Released from juvenile detention, Dakota Holt is now living with family members and awaiting trial.

Extenuating circumstances: Holt lived with his mother and her boyfriend, a convicted drug dealer. Father was marginal figure.

John Doe:

Crime: At 14 he reportedly killed 88 year-old Elbert Farley Davis Jr. Davis died from a fractured skull and neurological injury due to as yet unpublished circumstances. Killer attended Deshler High School. Reports indicate teachers recognized the youth as being at risk and had tried to intervene. The youth is reportedly in juvenile custody.

Extenuating circumstances: Unknown at this time. We don't believe he will prove to be the child of professional parents who were active members of a local church.


If convicted, the three teen-age killers will be incarcerated until they reach the age of 21. What then?

Pen N Sword is following the Davis case and broke the story of the arrest. Related article: 


Friday, September 7, 2012

Special Report: Arrest in Davis Death?

Pen N Sword is reporting an arrest in the Elbert Davis Jr. murder: Link

Navistar Announces New 18-Month Plan

The new CEO of struggling Navistar has announced an 18-month plan to bring financial stability to the cash-strapped company. This plan includes reducing the workforce by 700 in order to increase capital. In other words, no new hires at Barton or anywhere else unless essential.

And after 18 months? No one seems to know; Navistar itself is shooting for a period without any new disasters. That may sound glum, but isn't that a good day for most of us?

However, one financial analyst has stated:

The management team at Navistar is beyond incompetent and reaches into the realm of imbecilic. After being delisted from the NYST it apparently still has not mastered basic accounting – as the SEC has launched another probe into its accounting practices. However, it is the lack of coherent strategic thinking and continuing failures in execution that truly illuminate how mediocre the “leadership” team is at Navistar. The board must be equally inept for tolerating such sustained poor performance. During the Great Recession Nav was rescued by the US Military’s desperate need for mine resistant vehicles, however, there won’t be a rescue from Uncle Sam this time. The current engine debacle is not root cause of the company’s problems, just its most visible. The company’s core truck business is imploding and its declining market share and mounting losses are simply a period to a sentence Ustian has been writing since he was elevated to CEO.


We had incorrectly reported that Matthew Fox had been denied youthful offender status in June. It seems his hearing was only postponed; Judge Jackie Hatcher will be making a ruling soon, but we can't see Fox receiving this plum.


A reader commented on our article concerning the Natalie Chanin-Billy Reid organic cotton field:

I am quite sure that Mr. Reid will offset the costs of the free T-shirt and party by raising the price on the already expensive shirts and clothing. There is statistically no difference in this organically grown cotton and the typical harvested cotton. By the time is makes it to the manufacturer it will have been washed and cleansed in numerous chemicals which are probably just as bad as the pesticide. At the price of these items it is really sort of an insult to ask people to freely come and weed their fields.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Volunteers: Sweetwater v. Chopping Cotton?

 Designer Natalie Chainin

"Chopping cotton" is not a term frequently heard today. Thanks to modern herbicides, farmers no longer have to chop down the weeds in cotton fields, saving time and labor. Yet herbicides are a two-edged sword--they often destroy much more than the intended weeds and cause other environmental problems. That's where organic farming comes in.

Currently there's an organic cotton field in north Alabama, and local designers Natalin Chanin and Billy Reid have requested help in weeding this cotton field. That request resulted in some questions from our readers. Just how did we feel about this? Isn't that similar to the once frequent requests for local volunteers to restore Sweetwater Manison, aka the Weeden Home?

It's not even close. Those who volunteer to help chop cotton for these two designers will be given an exclusive tee-shirt designed by Chanin and an invitation to a season-end party thrown by the two local clothing czars. We consider that pretty good pay for helping with this project, plus we understand several who have already participated have lost weight in the process. 

Those who requested help at Sweetwater were doing so in order to restore a privately owned home, a home that had deteriorated due to neglect from this same owner. There were always questions about those who organized this project and just where the money went. It's our understanding that the committee has now disbanded at the request of the owner, who failed to take in the tremendous sums promised by the committee chairwoman. She also reportedly had concerns over the property being used for private parties. Earlier this year the committee threw a going away party for one of its members; that seems to have been the last straw for owner Susan Leigh Smithson.

On the committee's side, a former member has told us those who paid for needed items out of their own pocket were never reimbursed. That hardly comes as any surprise.

What do we predict for the Weeden Home? Unless Smithson can find a buyer, we see a bleak future for the ante-bellum house that will surely fall into even more disrepair.



Thursday, September 6, 2012
8 p.m.
Shoals Democratic Headquarters
1529 Broadway, Sheffield
(between McDonald's and the Kia Dealership)

Join us in watching President Obama's Acceptance Speech.
Finger foods will be served. The public is invited.
Valuable information and handouts will be available.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Demos': A Preemptive Strike?

From Peter Demos on the closing of the family's Florence restaurant: (We could’ve given) people more notice, but we didn’t want to do that issues, because there have been shootings recently, and we didn’t want to take the chance that somebody could do something crazy and hurt someone else.

Why did Peter Demos suspect something of that nature was a possibility in Florence? We may never know, but "almost 60 plus" employees losing their jobs obviously covers a great deal of the socio-cognitive spectrum, at least in a restaurant. Good luck to those who are now looking for work. Kudos to the Demos family for providing two-weeks severance pay to their former employees.

Almost 60 plus? Who wrote the TimesDaily article? Yogi Berra?



Monday - September 17, 2012
6:30 p.m. - meeting
6:00 p.m. -- light meal
Speaker:  Dr. Alexander Aguado, Associate Professor of Political Science at the UNA
Steelworkers' Hall -corner of Wilson Dam Road and Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals
Public Invited
For additional information, please call 256-412-9966 or email


Pen N Sword was reporting on a new bikini sports bar in Muscle Shoals. The post seems to have evaporated. Now that's some hot news!

The Shoals' one previous attempt at a bikini type bar never materialized, but that was over 10 years ago. Is the Shoals ready for this type "entertainment?" Stay tuned.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lauderdale Ambulance Wars--Today!

From Hank Thomas:

Shoals Ambulance
The County Commission under the leadership of Dewey Mitchell, Chairman, has decided to rebid the Ambulance contract for Lauderdale County. Mr. Mitchell stated that the city of Florence representative advised him orally that the city wished to rebid the contract. Mr. Mitchell indicated there is no formal written notification to him or the commission from the city regarding the Ambulance bid. Based on this oral notification the commission decided to allow a rebid of the ambulance contract.

The present ambulance contract is for 3 years and allows for a rebid each year in September without cause. The present Vendor has had a contract with the city and county for 4 years of 2, 3 year contracts without having to rebid in any year. The EMA Director stated that in the 4 years of the contracts the vendor has had only one complaint and the complaint was resolved to the satisfaction of all parties to the contract.

Mr. Mitchell advised the other reason for a rebid of the existing contract was to see if there is possibly an improved contract with a rebid, which he hoped would benefit the citizens of Lauderdale County. Mr. Mitchell was asked what would occur if in fact the bids came back higher and costs the citizens of Lauderdale County more money for the ambulance service. No response has been forthcoming on that question from the Chairman. Two of the commissioners Fay Parker and Rhea Fulmer questioned the need for the rebid and were advised by Mr. Mitchell that with the city wishing to precede with a rebid the city had forced the hand of the county, since the contract was a joint venture of both governments. No vote was taken on this matter and according to Mr. Mitchell a vote was not required to move forward with the rebid. This information was discussed in a work session of the county commission.

The bids were then prepared and were sent to any interested party that met the requirements of the written bid package. The bids were closed on August 2, 2012 and 2 ambulance companies submitted a bid. Both services gave a business address in Colbert County. After the bids were closed and nothing could be changed I requested to see the bids. I was advised that I could not see the bids until after they had been voted on. This did not appear to follow the rules of the Freedom of Information Act and I then contacted the Attorney General’s office in Montgomery and found I was correct and should be allowed to view the bids. I wrote a request with the information from the AG to the county commission and I was then allowed to view the bids.

After reviewing the bids I, found, in my opinion, that all but one of the sections and requirements of the contract were met by both ambulance services. The only exception was in the various charges that each ambulance service proposed in the bid. Below are the bid prices each service submitted.

Service                             Lauderdale EMS           Shoals Ambulance

ALS Non-emergency             $290.00                                 $490.00

ALS Emergency                     $450.00                                 $595.00

BLS Non-emergency              $240.00                                 $400.00

BLS Emergency                      $320.12                                 $425.00

Your commissioners will be discussing the ambulance bids in the next work session which is on September 4th. This is an important decision as it affects all citizens in the city of Florence and the county of Lauderdale. Please contact your commissioner with your thoughts on this matter.


Apologies to Mr. Thomas and our readers for not publishing this earlier. The work session is today, but you can still contact your commissioner during the next two weeks. It's not a given that the bid will be awarded at the next regular meeting, especially since this will be a joint city-county effort, but the earlier you provide your input, the better for your voice to be heard.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Another Labor Day, Another Beauty Contest

Our previous Labor Day Beauty Contest (Labor Day 2011) proved so popular that again this year we’re presenting a pageant filled with a bevy of local workers at their finest. Here’s the ideal 2012 lineup that you may not see today at Spring Park:

Electra Fide – A longshot at 57, this IBEW member will have to convince judges her hair really isn’t crimped ala 1980s style, but the result of years of repairing bad wiring.

Ray Bann – This forty-something represents the Small Government Workers’ local. Her talent is talking out of both sides of her mouth. Ray’s also a longshot due to her having no support outside her four square-block home district.

Prunella Pastel – At 65, this representative of the Painters’ Union will have to convince judges those age spots are actually flecks of paint she’s been too busy to wash off.

Liveratta Gomez-Potelliata – Representing “undocumented” workers, this 4’ 8” Guatemala native refused to reveal her age on the grounds the question was racist. She may be a no-show if ICE agents catch up to her first.

Troy Oliver – The only candidate the Ex-Mayors’ Union could dredge up is sure to have the Russellville judges' support since they’re so glad he’s finally gone.

Margo Beige – The representative of the Northwest Alabama Bloggers’ Union, Margo is the favorite to win this year, replacing Shoalanda Speaks who at 97.5 years-old couldn’t navigate the steps up to the stage.

Hench Broad – A last minute entry, she’s representing a spin-off union yet to be named. She has the support of RSOL and anti-SOAR groups, but may face a backlash from any judges with an IQ over 12.


On this Labor Day 2012, we salute all area workers and their families. We also salute those workers of a previous era who toiled tirelessly in order for their children and grandchildren to enjoy college degrees and positions in local society and government. You’re not forgotten.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Talking Back to NAHCER

 Evelyn A. Servin - Hispanic Indian Activist

Today's TimesDaily has once again presented its readers with a one-sided view concerning illegal immigration, albeit in an article criticizing a purported similarly lopsided immigration debate, at least according to some Hispanics. Let's look at what two NAHCER (North Alabama Hispanic Coalition for Equal Rights) members had to say. Coalition remarks will be in red; our replies will be in green.

Evelyn A. Servin:

“We’re all part of a bigger coalition, which is the Alabama Coalition of Immigrant Justice. We’re all under that umbrella.”

Uh, Ms. Servin, that word "justice" in your group's do realize that part of the definition of justice is following the law and and using lawful means, don't you?

"Hispanics’ civil rights are violated in multiple ways each day. For example, things that white people would simply be warned about, such as driving with a taillight out or not stopping the full five seconds at a stop sign, are things that could land a Hispanic in jail or result in a heavy fine."

Really, Ms. Servin? Could you give us one example of that? Admittedly running a stop sign or failure to yield is a moving violation. It would be up to the officer's discretion as to how he/she handled it, but going to jail for having a taillight burned out? Please...just one example of that. We'll be happy to publish it. We'll even be happy to do a series of blogs about it if you can prove it really did happen. Or is this reported jail time in the same category as the infamous First Friday Murder Plot?

Also, please remember that Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race. There are white and black Hispanics who are offended whenever you misuse the word.

"One of the greatest things the law tries to do is promote fear."

We have it on pretty good authority that if you're not breaking any laws, you don't have anything to fear. If you feel that way about the United States, why do you want to live here?

Richard Hoffman:

“As I’ve spent time with Hispanic people, (I’ve learned) that they have values Americans supposedly treasure, and wants and needs."

Mr. Hoffman, most of the western hemisphere and a great deal of the eastern have similar values to U.S. citizens. Certainly Hispanic (Indians) have wants and needs. That should come as a surprise to no one.

"Some immigrants made mistakes and broke laws by coming into the U.S. illegally. But that horse is out of the barn, and now we need to figure out a way to deal with it."

Just where should this amnesty stop? How about the bank robber who really needed money and has been on the run for 20 years? Or maybe the serial killer who is truly reformed? After all, it's been 40 years; why not let Charles Manson leave prison to spend his twilight years in peace and meditation? Oh, and as for amnesty for those illegal immigrants here now, that plan really worked well 20 years ago, didn't it? You don't think it just might actually encourage more illegal immigration, do you? Nah...

"Another misconception is that people think getting documented is an easy process."

No, Mr. Hoffman, we don't think it's cheap, quick, or easy. Our friends from India and Australia and Ireland who have done it have told us how hard it is, but they did it legally. Think about that.

Related posts:  


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Field Goal Tops Carjacking?

If you're registered with the TimesDaily e-mail alert system, you're notified of breaking news stories as they're published in the TD. We received such an alert last night; it seems Gadsden kicked a field goal and beat Florence in this season's opening football game. While we're disappointed Florence didn't win its opener, we're a little bemused as to why this would be breaking news.

We're especially perplexed since the TD hasn't yet reported on the carjacking that happened in Russellville Wednesday night. For real breaking news, we may just have to depend on Pen N Sword and The Quad-Cities Daily.


The smaller the hometown newspaper, the more humorous the news. We'll attempt to recreate an article from the Lawrenceburg news some 20 years ago:

Last week we reported that the John Smiths arrived home at two-clock Sunday morning to find they'd been robbed. The Smiths would like our readers to know that they actually arrived home at ten o'clock Saturday night. When Mr. Smith woke up at two o'clock the next morning to go to the bathroom, he decided to check on the dog in the back yard and discovered the burglary.

Well, we're certainly glad the Smiths weren't out until all hours...


A reader from Cherokee wrote:

I for one don't  think it should be frowned upon by having a vote verification and/or recount of votes when Ms. Malone was only beaten by 2 votes.  It should be mandatory and/or automatic when it is that close.  If the voters and/or politicians were honest then they have nothing to worry about.