Friday, November 30, 2012

Big Doin's in Rogersville Monday

Miz Shoalanda asked me to fill y'all in on the next Rogersville Town Council meetin' that's scheduled for Monday night at 6:30. Looks like there just may be some fireworks if one new council member gets his way. Boy, has that camper been rockin'.

This here's what I understand will be on what they call the agenda if ol' Jim Landers gets his way:

1. His first resolution calls for the disbanding of the Rogersville Planning and Zoning Commission as well as for the disbanding of the Rogersville Zoning Board of Adjustment.  If the rumor is accurate, this resolution also calls for the powers and responsibilities of this Commission and Board to be assumed by the Rogersville Town Council.

2. His second resolution, among a few other items, is to remove the Rogersville Mayor's ability to authorize expenditures for items costing less than $500.00.  Again, if the rumor is accurate, this resolution requires town council approval of all expenditures made by the town.

3. His third resolution calls for a State Department of Public Examiners to conduct a comprehensive audit of just about everything that is owned by the town of Rogersville.  This includes all government organizations such as the fire department, police department, etc.  

4. His forth resolution has, if you can believe it, the biggest impact! It effectively strips the Mayor of his ability to hire and fire town employees except over a few staff positions while allowing the Mayor to retain supervisory responsibilities over all town positions.   In renaming key leadership positions within the town government this resolution reserves to the council itself the power to hire/terminate the following positions: 

Town Clerk and Magistrate,
Police Chief and Police Officers,
Deputy Police Chief and Building Inspector,
Street and Recreation Supervisor,
Fire Chief,
Town Attorney, Town Judge, and Town Prosecutor
Library Director and Senior Citizen Director

5. Another resolution that is to be on the agenda for Monday formally establishes town employee work hours, lunch hours and schedule. 

Most of my friends and cousins in Rogersville are pert disturbed bout number four there. I'd say that really means it's ol' Jim's way or the highway. So if all y'all in Rogersville can come out to the meet up Monday and say your piece bout what's happenin' it might do some good. Otherwise, I might just decide to drive on up to Elgin to buy my bait.

Thankin' y'all in advance and thanks to my cuz FP for typin' out the fancy words in the agenda.

Bubba Leroy Smuckpucker II
Dog Ear, Alabama 


We'll add to Bubba's excellent commentary that item three on the agenda will cost approximately 50K. We hope every concerned citizen of Rogersville will attend the meeting Monday and show strong unified support for Mayor Richard Herston.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prison Time for Dr. Diana McCutcheon?

It wasn't that long ago you saw her face on a Dr. Hicks Boulevard billboard. Along with her then-husband, Florence attorney Tom McCutcheon, they encouraged you to look better with lasers--to do it for yourself! Now Dr. Diana McCutcheon's face will be plastered on some online mug shot site; she's pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicare and Blue Cross-Blue Shield.

From a Federal Court press release:

McCutcheon conducted the fraud through her medical clinics in Elgin and Lexington in North Alabama. According to the indictment and McCutcheon’s plea agreement, she operated a scheme to defraud Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and Medicare between 2007 and 2011 by fraudulently billing for the removal of multiple skin lesions on patients who had received cosmetic laser and other treatments for various skin conditions. The conditions included sun spots, age spots and wrinkles and were not covered by insurance.

Dr. Diana McCutcheon
McCutcheon conducted the fraud through her medical clinics in Elgin and Lexington in North Alabama. According to the indictment and McCutcheon’s plea agreement, she operated a scheme to defraud Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and Medicare between 2007 and 2011 by fraudulently billing for the removal of multiple skin lesions on patients who had received cosmetic laser and other treatments for various skin conditions. The conditions included sun spots, age spots, and wrinkles and were not covered by insurance.

What kind of sentence may we expect for Dr. McCutcheon? Last month, two Miami physicians received 10 year sentences in Federal prison; however, their fraud involved almost ten times the proceeds that McCutcheon reportedly took in.

Sadly, many of her patients are now left without a doctor, but what after her release? Some physicians are allowed to again practice while others are not. It will be quite the ongoing story...

Related post: Lexington Medical Clinic Closes


Congrats to Russellville on a new business: IGA


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dustin Blake Gaines--On the Run in Russellville

On Sunday night, the Pen-N-Sword reported breaking news of a truck theft in Russellville. The suspect in that crime had been linked to a string of home break-ins. Apparently the car thief was busy last weekend, and Russellville police have implicated him in three vehicle thefts that took place during the holiday period. He's been identified as Dustin Blake Gaines, 24, of Russellville.

From a press release: Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said a warrant was issued Monday for Dustin Blake Gaines, 29, 188 Cemetery St., Russellville. “We had a rash of vehicle thefts over the weekend, where we had three cars taken,” Russellville police Sgt. Joe Hargett said. “Gaines has been developed as a suspect, and we need to question him.” Police said Gaines also has outstanding warrants for escape from a prior incident. Gaines is a described as a white man, 5 foot 11 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds. He has sandy-colored hair. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 256-332-2230 or Crime Stoppers at 256-386-8685

It seems Gaines is no stranger to law enforcement. The married father of two has served a lengthy stretch in prison. In 2003, Gaines was charged with a controlled substance crime. Theft and Receiving Stolen Goods charged followed in 2008 and 2009. He's recently been charged with assault and is currently out on bail for another controlled substance crime. He should be considered dangerous.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Easy Money...Stacks of It


The FBI is seeking the public's help to solve at least four North Alabama bank robberies. The suspect, authorities say, robbed the Peoples Bank in Guntersville on August 2 and Traditions Bank in Priceville on August 8. A Cullman bank was robbed two weeks ago, and the Regions Bank in Rogersville earlier today.

The FBI and police in Priceville and Guntersville are seeking a suspect described as a black male, wearing glasses, a band aid across his nose, in his mid to late 20's, approximately 5'10" to 6'0 feet tall, and weighing approximately 140 to 150 pounds.

A reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of this individual. Anyone with information is asked to contact local law enforcement or the FBI's Birmingham office at (205) 326-6166.


The TimesDaily regularly recycles stories about every two years. One mainstay is the "real life forensics is nothing like CSI." We're going to take that as quite an understatement since DNA testing in the December 2008 murder of  Harry Ricks Sr. didn't identify one of the three assailants until June 12th of this year.

In August, authorities arrested Derek Terrell Burt for the crime; however, his two accomplices have yet to be identified. While Burt had family and friends in Colbert County, he was a resident of Leeds outside Birmingham. There is a reward for information leading to the arrest of the other two thugs, but so far no one has come forward with any information. Tips can be called in to the Colbert County Sheriff's Office at 256-386-8550.

On an interesting side semantics note, Derek Burt remains jailed, but has attempted to orchestrate the contract killings of Ricks' wife and daughter, witnesses to the crime. Burt reportedly wrote a would-be hit-man that there was no need to pay a lawyer a dime when a couple of "stacks" would do it. Colbert Sheriff May informed the unhip public that stacks referred to bullets. Really? We admit we fall into the very unhip category, but were under the impression a "stack" referred to a thousand dollars. This will definitely be an interesting trial.


Monday, November 26, 2012

TimesDaily & Guns at Work

State Sen. Roger Bedford recently sponsored a "guns at work" bill which the TimesDaily duly covered, or did it? You may read the TD's coverage here: Link

The article omitted one important detail--the bill simply allows an employee to keep a weapon in his/her vehicle while on company property. Or perhaps it wasn't so much an omission as it was an intentional implication of employees possibly running amok at Kohl's, Jack's, or Wise Aluminum.

From Capt. James T. on the TVT Forum:

Why omit that important info? ... Because the TD is biased against the bill and want to work people up into fearing that people will have their guns within reach at the office (locked in a desk drawer.)  Is it not the papers responsibility to report the truth, and not their twist on the truth?

That's very provocative speculation there, Capt. Surely our local paper wouldn't twist the truth, would it?


Something to think about: If you live in Florence, the average per capita income in your hometown is around 32K. If you live in Athens, it's around 40K. Are actual per capita incomes that disparate? The answer is no, but such data released by U.S. agencies is a reminder that not everything can be measured in dollars and cents.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Coaches, Fathers, and Other Figures

Aubie & A Truly Great Coach
We doubt too many are honoring Gene Chizik today, but lest any feel too sorry for this one-time icon at Auburn University, the Birmingham News is reporting some very interesting details concerning his days as head coach, especially after the university's national championship. Here's a few interesting revelations:

* Almost all mandatory workouts became optional.
* Many players stopped attending classes and/or doing classwork.
* Private security became the norm--players had to be forced to follow Chizik's dictates.

In  other words, when the annals of this decade's Southeastern football are written, Gene Chizik will be considered Auburn's answer to Mike Price.


Years ago Gary Crosby, son of Bing Crosby, penned the story of his life growing up with a famous singer/actor for a father. It wasn't pretty. It seems when informed of the sudden death of his famous father, he simply finished the golf game he was playing at the time.

Often we see those honored in local or even national media and we know their private lives were nothing like their public persona. If you want to know what a man...or like, ask their children.


Other figures? Let's arbitrarily use an institution as a "figure." The print media today is in serious trouble. We don't blame even our local paper, if you can call it that, for scrounging for every reader it can get.

Yet, while local news once predominated the TimesDaily's online headlines, that's no longer so. Click on many stories thinking you'll find something of local interest and you'll instead be confronted with national stories that have little to do with us in the Shoals.

Obviously we should want to know what's going on nationally and internationally, but the TD is not the first place most of us look for that kind of news. That's why we're glad to have the Quad-Cities Daily and Pen-N-Sword to fall back, wait, to make our first choice for what's happening in the Shoals.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

22 Men Missing in Central Alabama...

But enough about the Auburn football team. On the Alabama side, Nick Saban had to hustle to find available Druid Hills Junior High varsity players for the fourth quarter. We're a house divided here at Shoalanda, so we're sure D.K. and some others among us thoroughly enjoyed Bama's lop-sided victory.

Photo: Dave Martin


We received this comment from Dino of Dino's Deliberations, the go-to person for local/state political rationale from both parties. We feel the comment on William Smith's appointment as license commissioner deserves more exposure:

The Governor appoints on recommendation of the local Republican Committee of Lauderdale County. As a County employee, Ms. Marks probably joined her colleagues on the County payroll in practicing non partisan politics. Smith may be the first Republican license commissioner in Lauderdale county for many years. A Democratic governor would have also appointed upon local party recommendation.

Now Mike Goens may feel free to issue several individuals an apology.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Close to Home Sex Crime - Aaron Gregory Lucas

At the age of 25, Huntsville native Aaron Gregory Lucas joined the Alabama National Guard. A year later, in 2009, he transferred to active duty, served in Afghanistan, and won a Bronze Star. Back home in the States, the married father of two was stationed in Colorado where he received the commission of 2nd Lieutenant. This is what most of us would call a success story.

Then investigators in Colorado tied Lucas to at least 14 incidents that occurred in two cities between June 2010 and August 2012. Among the sex crimes Lucas has been charged with are indecent exposure, child enticement, and kidnapping. Kidnapping by itself is a felony, a crime of moral turpitude, and can carry a life sentence. If convicted of each of the 23 charges, Lucas could be sentenced to up to 100 years in prison. He's currently out of jail on a bond of 730K and back on duty at Ft. Carson, Co.

These crimes are both terrible and newsworthy in themselves, but how do they relate to us in northwest Alabama? It seems Lucas has friends in this area and may have spent time here. We don't know if any local law enforcement are looking into unsolved crimes of this nature in the Shoals and immediate surrounding areas, but at least one 2008 case in Hazel Green has now been reopened with Lt. Lucas as the prime suspect.

We're told so often today that we've wronged our children by teaching "stranger danger." Yes, most abductions are by neighbors, acquaintances, and even family members, but Lucas, who was unable to lure even one child successfully (the one he kidnapped escaped almost immediately) is a prime example that stranger danger still has its place.


A reader has asked if the spouse of a convicted felon with unrestored gun rights can own a gun. From the sources we've consulted, yes, he or she can, but probably would not want to if they cared about their spouse. If the gun should be found by law enforcement in any commonly shared area of the marital home, or in a mutually used car, the former felon would face both state and federal charges. Not really worth it, is it? Of course, the gun owner just might want to get rid of his or her spouse without forking over a huge financial settlement...


By request, the King of the Texas honky tonks:


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We hope each of you has a great Thanksgiving Day. We also hope that each of us will continue to be thankful for all our blessings until Turkey Day rolls around in 2013!

All of us at
Shoalanda Speaks

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It Takes a Village? Or a Lawsuit...

Both northwest Alabama men were young teachers and both used legal means in an attempt to secure a job they thought was unfairly taken from them. What did they accomplish? Let’s see...

Ben attended a local university that turned out teachers. He was very good at what he did and had in fact won many competitions in the world of music. Not only was Ben accomplished, he was handsome and used to getting what he wanted out of life. Upon graduation, he took a job teaching music in his hometown school system. Yes, he was moving up rapidly in education circles and he was attaining national fame in the music world as well. The only way to go was up.

Then the school system stated they had to make cuts. Just months short of having tenure, Ben was let go along with two other teachers. The school board’s system was not unanimous, and many, including scores of Ben’s music students, protested with some actually picketing the BOE. Why had the board selected Ben of all teachers to let go? Devastated, the newly married Ben began to ask questions.

It seems Ben had dated the daughter of one of the board members. The board member had even thought Ben would become a member of his family, but it wasn’t to be. When the board was faced with making cuts, this particular member immediately placed Ben on the list to get the boot. Was it fair? Of course not, but it does happen all the time in the world of small time politics. Ben sued for unlawful termination, but lost. After the suit, he found it difficult to find a job and his new wife left him. Things were moving rapidly all right...just not in the right direction.

Now ten years later, Ben has a great job, a certain amount of fame, and a loving wife. He’s probably better off than if he had remained in the local school system. Yet he wasted at least two years in trying to get back what he thought was taken unfairly from him.

Lenny’s case was slightly different. He had taught for several years in a local school system and was a competent and loyal employee. When the new job was posted, he had reservations. Lenny knew what the qualifications for the job should be, and he had them all. Yet listed with the educational requirements was another course under “the ideal applicant will have.”

The course wasn’t one that other school systems had required for similar positions, and only one current teacher in the system listed it on her resume’. Lenny immediately knew the job was probably going to go to this politically well-placed woman in the system, but he decided to apply just to see what would happen.

Four others sought the job, including the woman rumored to be the board’s choice. When the BOE’s pick was announced, no one was surprised that the well-placed teacher won the plum. Lenny had no intention of filing a grievance, but that didn’t stop him from telling other teachers in the system just what he thought of the whole rigged deal.

Word soon reached the teacher who received the promotion. Speaking to another woman she thought was her friend, she announced, “I don’t know why Lenny is so upset. If I hadn’t taken the job, he wouldn’t have even been the board’s second choice."

As most of our readers know, you can never really be sure who your friends are, and the woman’s statement soon made it back to Lenny. Now he was mad. He filed a grievance and accomplished part of what he wanted. Everyone in the system now knew of the board’s favoritism, but in the end he still didn’t get the job.

Did his grievance cause him to be passed over for future promotions? Let’s just say Lenny’s rise up the ladder of the school system was slow.

Is there a moral here? Perhaps Ben’s aunt said it best. Why would you want a job it takes a lawsuit to get?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mike Goens & Sheryl Marks

Mike Goens is a managing editor at the TimesDaily. Yesterday he wrote an article on the appointment of Florence attorney William Smith as the new Lauderdale County License Commissioner. Goens specifically mentioned "over 20" individuals applied to succeed retiring Mickey Haddock, but named only one beside Smith--Sheryl Marks.

Marks has 28 years experience in the license office, and Goens obviously implied she should have been Gov. Bentley's appointee. We have to wonder why Goens singled Marks out.

What of the other 19 plus applicants? Were none of them even close to Marks in their professional abilities. Perhaps Marks is a friend of Goens...or perhaps she has indicated she intends to protest Smith's appointment in some manner.

Marks' tenure of 28 years is almost unheard of in today's world of job hoppers. Why has she remained so long in the license commissioner's office with little chance of advancement? It would appear Marks is a graduate of Central High School, but online profiles list no post-secondary education. Assuming her age is listed correctly at 46, Marks would have begun work at the license office just out of high school. If Marks truly wanted to advance, wouldn't she have made some attempt to further her studies? There can be little doubt that Smith looked much better on paper than Marks.

Gone are the days that a high school diploma will get anyone anywhere except into some colleges; however, also gone are the days when anyone, male or female, needs to relegate themselves to a job with no chance of advancement. We have no doubt that Ms. Marks will be able, should she choose, to make her mark in another career and be much happier doing it.


Have you often wondered how the Shoals area stacks up education wise against other areas of Alabama and the U.S.? Here's a recent study by CLRsearch:

Click to Enlarge


Monday, November 19, 2012

Unrest in Rogersville: Just How Big Is That Camper?

Just How Big Is That Camper?

A Guest Commentary By

Bubba Leroy Smuckpucker II

If you ain't never been to Rogersville, you've missed out on a lot. I hate to admit it, but it's a sight purdier than Dog Ear and that takes some doin'. I visit the bait shop up there about once a month and they always got sumpin goin' on to bring in the visitors. Trouble is, now they've done gone and stirred up some real trouble with their secret meets in campers and what have you. I think they musta heerd about Cherokee meetin' in the storm shelter or sumpin.

It seems Rogersville has some new council members and they've started out by makin' plenty people mad. First they go and take money away from the tourism folks, about six thousand dollars I heerd. Then they go and fire Miz Lisa Crumbley the town clerk. One of the council members, ol' Jim Landers, even yelled at poor Lisa for no reason. Kinda makes my blood boil for a man to treat a woman that way.

Ol' Jim's the one behind takin' the money away from the Rogersville Area Chamber of Commerce. It seems Miz Gail Littrell is on the council and voted to give the funds to RACC, but ol' Jim accused her of being a votin' member of the RACC board. Well, there warn't no truth to that. Everbody knows Miz Gail is just what they call a liaison and don't vote, but you couldn't tell ol' Jim that when he got on his high horse, no'sir.

Ol' Jim says he wants to save Rogersville money, but heck he's the one wantin' some fancy new police uniforms. Lemme tell ya, I think Jim Landers needs watchin'. Big time.

Well, I've said my piece, at least for the time bein'. Now I want to remind you all to visit me for all your septic tank and automotive needs. I've got me a new building cuz the mechanic work is just boomin'. Here's a snap shot Miz Mary Carton took of my new place, real cool in the summer, but a little nippy since fall's here. Hope to see you all soon.


We'll note that the recent meetings in Jim Landers' camper never included a quorum, so were technically legal. How many can Landers fit in his clown car, er, camper? Perhaps we should look at it as an algebra problem and try to determine how many meetings it took for all five council members to discuss Landers' earth-shattering agenda but never arrive at a quorum. It gives new meaning to the trailer rocking...


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Keith McGuire's Teaching License Restored...Conditionally

Ten years, and it's still not over. Last week a Montgomery County Circuit Court conditionally restored the teaching license of one-time Lexington barber Brian Keith McGuire. Before the former Clements coach can return to the classroom he must complete seven steps, among them counseling.

Should Keith McGuire fail in any of the steps or should he not pass muster with his counselor, he will not win the right to return to the classroom. And what if his teaching license is fully restored?

McGuire, now reportedly using the name Brian, has not taught in over four years. During this time the man also known as Fox was employed in a sportswear factory and tried for the rape of a teenager. After being found not guilty by a Lauderdale County jury, McGuire began work as a prison guard in south Alabama. Will any state school hire McGuire after the publicity his cases have garnered? We doubt even Fog Horn Jr. High in Dog Ear would be interested, but stranger things have happened.

Related: The Keith McGuire Rape Case


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Memorial Grove Park/Sheffield

Quick, before it's gone, drive west on Florence Boulevard and look to the right as you intersect with Tennessee Street. You'll see Memorial Grove Park, but mainly you'll be enthralled by the red maple trees that have turned a glorious auburn color. A line of the young trees surround the entire park, and we can only imagine how beautiful this will be when the trees are older.


What do others think of the Shoals? We weren't sure whether to be happy, sad, or just amused about this quote concerning Sheffield:

The purpose of building an attraction in a town is to get people to visit who otherwise wouldn't. In that respect, the 18-foot-tall rock 'n' roller in Sheffield is a success. Driving down the bumpy streets of this hardscrabble city, you think your directions must be a mistake; the statue seems so out-of-character. But there it is, shiny and hard not to notice. - Roadside America


Concerning the above quote, thanks to the Quad-Cities Daily for all they do to help bring success to Sheffield. You can always find an interesting read: Link


Friday, November 16, 2012

Another Lawsuit Against Lauderdale Sheriff's Office

Sources say an age discrimination suit was filed last week against Lauderdale County Sheriff Ronnie Willis. It's unknown how many employees, all reportedly female, are involved in this suit, but other new suits are also said to be pending.

This comes on the heels of a second visit from the Alabama Ethics Commission and reports of a third letter sent to various officials concerning Willis. The Ethics Commission has given Willis until the end of February to implement new policies in several areas. 


Tuscumbia police are attempting to put together a reward for new information in the murder of Elbert Davis. A 14 year-old boy long rumored to be a suspect in the case continues to be held in juvenile facilities on charges relating to a string of burglaries.


Pen-N-Sword has published a list of those banned from the University of North Alabama campus. The list, interesting as it is, does not provide a rationale for the bannings. There has to be an intriguing tale behind each one:


Thursday, November 15, 2012

No Sale for AMHOF?/Libel?

If you've read the TimesDaily today, you know the sale of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia has stalled--ostensibly due to problems with the title. At least that is what the buyer, part of the State secondary system, is claiming. Those affiliated with the HOF state there should be no problems with the title. So...are there?

The land the HOF sits on was donated by the city of Tuscumbia, but where did Tuscumbia get the land? Apparently from a donation by a private individual. The article doesn't state why the land was given to Tuscumbia originally. Was it for the HOF or some other purpose or was any purpose stated? Is the indivual(s) who donated the property still alive and willing to sign off on the sale if necessary?

We're going to guess there's a little more involved here than what has been reported. Whether this sale is a good deal for the State's secondary system or not, 40 acres is certainly more than the HOF needs. An outright sale of much of this land should keep the HOF in operation for decades, assuming a minimum of 10K or less in monthly expenses.

Surely some business seeking to expand in the area would be interested...or is this another boondoggle ala Yellow Creek, Lockheed, National Rail Car, and now Navistar?


Our recent "dog story" has brought some questions--namely can the man accused of assaulting a local woman's dog sue the woman for libel? Libel in Alabama requires three things: the published story must be untrue, the publisher(s) must know it's untrue, and the story must have caused the victim either monetary or social harm.

Since it would be hard to prove who actually attacked the dog, any suit for libel would be a crap shoot. Sad, but true. Similarly, the retired police officer-businessman accused of being a Peeping Tom would have a difficult time in proving her accusations untrue.

What the woman in question needs to remember is that she has accused other prominent citizens of things she knows are not true and can be proved so. Has a very prominent Shoals author published a pornographic book directed at and sold specifically for teen girls? The answer is no. Has a Shoals historian-businesswoman ever been arrested for forging the power of attorney of anyone? The answer is still no.

The woman in question is fond of saying, "It's just a matter of time." We feel that way also--just a matter of time until she steps over the line with someone who has the both the indignation and funds to invest in a lawsuit.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Childcare at Florence Blvd. Belle Foods/More E-Mail

I saw your recent Blog about Belle Foods and certainly appreciate all the press we can get. While we are an Alabama company, we do not have the big budgets of a Publix to flood the airways about who we are. I noticed in your blog, that you were uncertain if any of the Shoals stores would be getting a Belle Jr. Childcare area. I wanted to let you know that the Florence store on Florence Blvd in fact did receive a Belle Jr.

If you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience.

Thanks so much!

Paul McLaughlin
Advertising and Public Relations Coordinator
800 Lakeshore Parkway
Birmingham, AL. 35211

SS: We're hearing nothing but great things about Belle Foods in the area. We're especially glad to know child care is available. We wish you great luck in bringing quality foods to the Shoals.


Please don't use my name. I have a young friend who works at a Shoals plant that has something like 40 work release from Decatur, and maybe some from Hamilton. One of the Decatur prisoners offered my friend 15 cc's of morphine for 8.00. My friend just laughed, but how's the best way to report this?

SS: First I would look at it logically. Where would a man in work release get morphine? I'm pretty sure we can rule out prison medical facilities since there are none at Decatur, and even in Hamilton we would doubt any serious narcotics are present. When a prisoner in Hamilton becomes that ill, he's paroled to family, as we understand it.

Of course, the prisoner could have purchased it...somewhere. We're pretty sure he would have paid more than 8.00. We checked the street value for 15 cc's of morphine and are disturbed at what we found. We're going to guess what the man had for sale was 15 mg. of morphine in tablet form. They seem to sell in large cities for 7.00 a pop.

If the man has only one for sale, just be glad he didn't have more...and just hope none of them is drugged up on the job and endangering your friend and others. We understand drug tests are given monthly and randomly at work release, so I would not be too concerned. If you want to report this incident (or if any readers want to report this), here's the contact info:


We're going to add some opinion to the the above e-mail question. If you randomly picked 40 individuals off the street, odds are you would find at least one who, if not dealing in illicit drugs, is engaging in some sort of illicit activity. For those who oppose work release at any level, this is a prime example that such employees are no worse than those pulled from a free world job pool and are often much better. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Debra Taylor McClain Robertson: Illegal Juror?

Debra Taylor McClain Robertson

Debra Taylor Robertson, 48, has a criminal record in Lauderdale County dating back over 10 years. Most of the Texas native's arrests in Alabama are drug related, but in the early part of the last decade she was arrested and indicted for arson, a felony and a crime of moral turpitude. Florence police charged Robertson, then known as McClain, with setting fire to the house she shared with her still-married boyfriend. Authorities claimed Robertson had threatened to burn down the East Florence home when spurned. Unfortunately, the grand jury indictment listed an incorrect address, and Robertson escaped trial by agreeing to pay a portion of the repair costs to her erstwhile lover, now reconciled with his wife.

Flash forward ten years, Robertson was arrested November 4th on a misdemeanor charge of Disturbing the Peace and a felony charge of Intimidation of a Witness. We don't know if the charges involve recent arrests of her son or her third husband, both of whom have had legal problems; we do know this allows us to bring up a point concerning the David Darryl Thompson murder trial.

In February 2011, Robertson served on the jury that convicted Thompson on charges of Manslaughter in the death of Killen nurse Melissa Kenney Garrett. Would prosecutors have allowed Robertson to serve if her jury questionnaire had mentioned these previous serious brushes with the law? We've asked two attorneys this question, and both were of the opinion Robertson would never have been selected if her arrest record had been fully reported.

Unfortunately, it's too late to correct. Reports indicate Thompson remains free on an appeal bond in the Garrett shooting. No, justice is never perfect or swift.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Attention, Mr. Florence Child Molester/SCA Barton

Yes, you may like girls who have reached puberty, but since one of your victims was only 12, that technically makes you a child molester. Recently you've been making several mothers nervous by hanging around a certain venue, sitting in the back in the dark and staring. To quote one mother, you've been "creeping them out."

Oh, but you say you've never really harmed anyone since you aren't a rapist. Well, yes you have, and we have several e-mails from families who have told us how their relatives still suffer for what you did to young girls who trusted you.

The law entitles you to drop someone off where children are present and to pick them up. We suggest you adhere to this--we're sure you can find something to do in downtown Florence while you wait for whomever it is you're chauffeuring. 

And if you don't discontinue your antics? We have the phone number to the proper authorities and will make sure the families that have contacted us also have it.


From The Blaze:

The SCA plant in Barton (AL) will begin reducing staff immediately, and the cuts will continue through 2015. SCA officials confirmed they are cutting jobs, at not only the Barton facility, but at locations around the world. They’re calling it a “global cost and productivity program,” and it will be implemented over the next three years


We're sure many of our readers have been called for jury duty at some point. Prospective jurors are given a questionnaire which they must fill out honestly. Two of the questions are:

26. Have you ever been arrested? ( ) Yes ( ) No
27. Have you, a close relative, or a close friend ever been convicted of a crime? ( ) Yes ( ) No

What if a prospective juror is using a name different from the one they were arrested/convicted under? Does the clerk's office run a background check using social security numbers? How would having such a person, particularly one who continues to thumb their nose at the law, on a criminal trial jury affect the verdict? We'll look at one such case tomorrow.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day 2012

Today is the 94th anniversary of the Armistice. Today we honor all veterans, but we're going to single out two.

World War II sergeant Euell Stutts recently received his much deserved Bronze Star after 66 years. The honor itself makes him no more a hero than he's always been, but we believe our government should honor such men. Not all chose to serve their country, and not all who served did so honorably.

Congratulations, Sgt. Stutts. The entire Shoals is proud of you.


We also want to honor a second Shoals veteran, a man who no longer lives in the Shoals, but resides in the nearby city of Madison. This man served our country for many years, notably in Desert Storm where he was wounded.

Today this veteran is retired from the military but still serves his community and country in a much less dangerous way. We thoroughly enjoy his insights on Facebook; if you're not familiar with Larry Allen, you should be. Larry's a graduate of Coffee High School and the University of North Alabama.

Larry, we appreciate all you've given for your country and we salute you on Veterans Day 2012.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

That's Some Dog Story

The woman lives in the eastern end of Florence. Her home is well maintained and sits on a manicured lot. Yet her house doesn't stand out among its neighbors; nothing visible to the passerby would exacerbate the chance of burglary or vandalism. Yet the homeowner frequently mentions her problems with would-be intruders, vandals, etc. Just not to the police.

A few years ago the woman reported to friends and later to anyone who read her online writings that an intruder had entered her back yard, struck her dog with a baseball bat, and then left the bat inside her sun room as a warning. A warning as to what? She's never stated.

The homeowner was quick to blame a Florence businessman, a man she didn't like. Does this man have a record or reputation of committing such crimes? No. So why did she blame him? She told friends, and again anyone that would listen, she had seen him driving by her house, stalking her.

Stalking is a much overused word these days, but be that as it may, was the man actually in her subdivision? Yes, this gentleman has a close relative living a few blocks from the woman in question. A rational individual would think it odd if the man never entered the subdivision to visit the relative, not odd that he did.

However, the woman wasn't finished with her accusations. She accused him of knocking on her door one night and asking if she was "afraid yet." What would you do if that happened to you? We can tell you what the woman didn't do. She didn't get even a partial tag number of her supposed stalker or make a police report.

Do we think either incident happened? Since we know the man in question, we don't consider it going out on too long a limb to state there's no way he ever visited her property. Did anyone attack her dog? It's certainly possible.

Sources say the dog in question actually belonged to her son, a young man now in prison. He reportedly had many enemies due to committing a well-publicized crime with serious racial overtones, as well as owing money to various individuals who don't mind what they have to do to collect.

If you've followed our blog for any length of time, you know how we feel about anyone who would abuse an animal. It's sad the owner didn't report the crime. We would have offered a reward to anyone who could have brought the real miscreant(s) to justice.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Daniel Rosser Has Work to Do/50K in Overdrafts?

 Downtown Leighton, Alabama Business District

After we published our blog on voter apathy and poll worker malfeasance in Leighton yesterday, a reader suggested we do more than report the problem to our readers. Current Colbert County Probate Judge Tommy Crosslin pooh-poohed the incident of 50 District 5 voters receiving District 4 ballots. Since the buck stops with the probate judge, we would have expected some promise of "getting to the bottom" of it, but perhaps Crosslin felt he couldn't comment further since he's soon leaving office.

That brings us to Daniel Rosser. We supported, and support, Dan since we feel he's the most qualified for the position. We don't expect Mr. Rosser to do miracles within 24 hours of taking office, but we do expect more efficiently run elections in future. We hope to publish a comment from Dan shortly.


It would seem Leighton has more pressing problems than poorly informed poll workers. It's been reported that approximatley 50K in payments to Leighton's waste disposal department were co-mingled with water department funds and apparently never returned.

Does one city department have to sue another city department in order to make this right? Again, the TimesDaily simply reported the situation, but asked no questions concerning how this happened and what was being done to correct it.

The TD also reported that Leighton had 50K in overdraft charges during the past year. Just a thought here, but after around one or two thousand in such charges, wouldn't the town learn not to write checks when there was no money in its accounts? Novel idea, we're sure, but it's worked for us.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Leighton Not a Show Stopper? No, Just Apathetic

Election Day 2012: Fifty voters at Leighton Town Hall, District 5, were mistakenly given District 4 ballots. How many noticed the error and reported it? The same number who apparently don't care who their county commissioner is. Zero to be exact.

Lame duck Colbert County Probate Judge Tommy Crosslin called it a non-showstopper, meaning the snafu didn't affect the outcome of the election in which Roger Creekmore retained his commission seat. Creekmore defeated Tommy Oswalt by 64 votes. There was no commission race in District 4 since the incumbent ran unopposed.

Colbert Countians are fortunate in having six commissioners; Lauderdale has only two commission districts. Colbert's commissioners should have a close relationship with their constituency, yet apparently neither Creekmore nor Oswalt made any impression on these 50 Leighton voters. Nor did these 50 individuals care who their next commissioner was. Can we get a collective "Pitiful?"


That brings us to the poll workers at Leighton Town Hall. We say workers, but in a small precinct, there may have been only one responsible for issuing the ballots. Apparently quite a bit of worker training is needed in Colbert County. Let's hope they get it before the next election.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thank God & Greyhound - Ta Ta, Rhea

Rhea Tays Michael Fulmer has attributed her loss in yesterday's election to Lauderdale County voters marking a straight Republican ticket. Yet Dewey Mitchell in Lauderdale managed to overcome such voters. No, Rhea, you even lost your home boxes of Elgin and Center Star. Political office shouldn't be used for personal vendettas. Yes, it always has been misused by some, but today's voters have a right to expect more from their elected officials.

Congratulations, Roger Garner!


We've received several questions concerning the termination of Killen police chief Mark Parker. We have heard no rationale for his dismissal that we can confirm. We urge all interested Killen residents to inquire into the matter with their elected officials. If you live in Killen, the mayor and council serve you, work for you.

You may not get an answer for several reasons, but if you feel these elected officials are not responsive to the citizens of Killen, there will be a chance to replace them in not quite four years. In the mean time, keep a close eye on them. The watchful eye of the public has been known to make politicians and children behave.

We have to ask if the Killen council, like Cherokee, had previously met in private to discuss this?

OB's Corner has contact information: Mark Parker



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mark Parker Out in Killen

Just released from WAFF:

Killen Mayor confirms the new council's decision to remove Mark Parker as Police Chief. No reason given as to why the decision was made. I'm told each new administration has the decision to keep/remove the Police Chief & they voted to terminate him. Officer Brian Hammond has been named Interim Police Chief.

If you haven't yet voted, be sure to do so!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Roger Creekmore/Threats at Cherokee High School

When casting a vote, it's always a great feeling to know that even if your candidate doesn't win, the office will be in good hands. We've stated before that will be the case if James Hall should become the next Lauderdale County Probate Judge by defeating our pick William Smith.

Apparently that is also the case in the Colbert County District 5 Commission race. We endorsed Tommy Oswalt on the basis of the man we know him to be. We'll certainly admit that those of us who write for Shoalanda were not that familiar with the kind of man Roger Creekmore is. Readers have taken it upon themselves to inform us of Roger's character and to make us aware of what he has done for the citizens of Colbert County. Here's one recommendation from someone we admire greatly.

I agree with you that Mr Oswalt is a good man, is a successful businessman and has no hidden agenda but the same can also be said about Roger Creekmore.

As a resident of district 5 I believe it would be extremely bad to lose him.In 2007 a company located in Colbert County and began importing Human Waste—from New York City— to be spread on land and used as “fertilizer” in our County. The pathogens present in this waste had the potential for significant health risks to our residents. We were told nothing could legally be done to stop this practice. Roger Creekmore took office, took action, and working with our legislative delegation and the voters of Colbert County passed a constitutional amendment banning this practice. Our public health was protected.

In 2008 our Sheriff’s department was suffering from a lack of adequate patrol cars, Cars dedicated to patrol duty were being run 24 hours a day. Working with the Sheriff other low mileage, state surplus patrol vehicles, at a fraction of the cost of new vehicles. Today the Sheriff’s department has a patrol car assigned to every Deputy and due to the accrued mileage being spread out over more vehicles, overall maintenance costs for the fleet has actually decreased.

In the 10 years prior to 2008, over 25 persons had lost their lives at the “Rock Cut” section of U.S. Hwy 43 north of LIttleville. Roger Creekmore got involved and partnering with the Coroner’s office, Littleville Fire Department and elected officials, directed public attention to the issue. Roger personally went to Gov. Bob Riley and asked for his assistance. Within months this section of the state highway was upgraded, paved and center and outside guardrails were installed. Since completed in 2010—no loss of life in this section of highway.

Roger Creekmore believes in responsibility in government; over the past four years of his service in office, while our national government accumulates trillions in debt and our state government must borrow from its “rainy day’ reserves to meet its obligations, your Colbert County Commission has operated within its means and returned money each year to its general fund reserves. All in the middle of a recession. That’s responsible government taking care to spend your tax dollars wisely.

It would seem in the end, that no matter your choice, District 5 will be in great hands. Don't you wish all offices could boast those kinds of candidates?


Sources say Shoals schools were in lock down this past Friday due to threats involving Cherokee High School. Apparently parents and guardians were not informed of this as it was happening, and many have questions. We have no further knowledge of the situation and appreciate all info from the public.


D.K. has reminded us that the maximum sentence for Manslaughter in the Autumn Wood case could be 20 years, not 15, since a weapon was used. If this should be the final sentence, Wood would be eligible for parole in approximately seven years. Also, we assumed if Wood is convicted of Felony Murder, the judge would sentence her to Life. As D.K. pointed out, while the maximum sentence is Life, the minimum is 20 years. As with the Manslaughter verdict, there is no Correctional Incentive Time for sentences over 15 years, but one could expect a parole hearing in approximately seven years in this case.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

...For Tuesday We Vote/Autumn Wood

While every election is important, so many voters don't research, or sometimes even bother to check their ballot in, local elections. We hope each of you will vote Tuesday, no matter how you mark your ballots. Here are our picks on some pivotal local spots:


Chief Justice of the Supreme Court - Bob Vance. Vance is a man of integrity; his opponent Roy Moore is a grandstander who cares only for himself.

Lauderdale County:

Probate Judge - William Smith. William is a practicing attorney with vast experience in service to his community and local causes.

Commission Chair - Quinton Hanson. Quinton owns a successful local business, and do we really need another term for Dewey Mitchell, the man Sam Pendleton has called the worst probate judge Lauderdale County has ever had? Quinton has promised more transparency in county government. Now that will be refreshing.

Commissioner District 1 - Roger Garner. Roger is a level headed businessman who promises not to use this office for personal vendettas.

Commissioner District 2 - Joe Hackworth. Joe is not aligned with any cliques and promises to bring a breath of educated fresh air to county government.

Superintendent of Education - Jennifer Gray. Jennifer not only has the best interest of the county school system at heart, she also has the "pieces of paper" to make her the best choice.

Colbert County:

Probate Judge - Daniel Rosser. Daniel is a practicing attorney. Jim Bonner has many good points, but no legal education and until only recently resided outside Colbert County.

Commissioner District 5: Tommy Oswalt. Tommy is a local businessman with no apparent hidden agenda.

Franklin County:

Probate Judge - Barry Moore. Barry has served well the past five years. His opponent failed to show up for the NWSCC sponsored debate. Connie Green has run more on the record of her late husband than on the platform of her vision for Franklin County.


We continue to receive questions and comments concerning Autumn Marie Wood, the confessed killer of 14 year-old Brooklyn Ann Hollins. Therefore, we're republishing some facts of the case, along with some educated guesses concerning her fate.

Fact - Wood was denied juvenile status and will be tried as an adult.

Fact - Wood is charged with only Felony Murder. She cannot receive either the death penalty or a sentence of Life Without Parole.

Prediction: The Lauderdale County District Attorney's office will give the jury the option of convicting Wood of Manslaughter. In this way, there is a greater chance Wood will not go free.

Fact: If convicted of Manslaughter, Wood will almost certainly receive the maximum of 15 years. Since it is a Class B felony, she will complete her sentence in five years (assuming good behavior) and also be eligible for parole in 20 months.

Fact: If convicted of Felony Murder, Wood will be eligible for parole after 10 years--sooner if she has support from community and competent attorneys.

Prediction: We're giving 51-49 odds that Wood will be convicted of Manslaughter.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Child in Danger? Yes! - Part III

Mike Jones
Mark Davis is now desperate to remove his daughter from the custody of his ex-wife. With no immediate help forthcoming from the courts, he has decided to take his case to the court of public opinion. Mark has sent the following letter to all Lauderdale County churches:

LAUDERDALE Judge MIKE T. JONES is knowingly and willfully allowing a 10 year old Innocent Little Girl be subjected
to immoral, illegal and Criminal acts under Alabama law.

My name is Mark D. Davis. I am a 48 year old Christian active parent with shared equal custody of a 10 year old little girl. 

A court petition and verified affidavit was recently filed with Judge MIKE T. JONES. The petition requested a temporary restraining order or emergency hearing to protect the little girl from being exposed to the daily care, custody and control of a lesbian couple, Tina Smith and Tifanie Reaves. Tina and Tifanie are openly engaged to be married. Tifanie openly and regularly use the “F” word, and both are known to listen to despicable rap music using the same language, they are known to drink alcohol and use illegal drugs. In recent court testimony the mother, Tonya Blackstock (Smith), confirmed she allows our little girl to stay daily (and some overnights) with her openly lesbian sister, Tina Smith. Tina Smith in open court testimony admitted she is in a lesbian relationship and living with Tifanie Reaves.

On 10/22/12 JUDGE MIKE T. JONES was provided three Alabama Supreme Court rulings that are clear the law in Alabama indicates: 

A.   The "detrimental effect" of homosexual conduct is established by the great mass of Alabama law, which prohibits and condemns homosexual conduct…”

B.   “Homosexual behavior is an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one's ability to describe it. That is enough under the law to allow a court to consider such activity harmful to a child…”

C.   Homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense (Class A misdemeanor) under the laws of the state…”

D.  “…No matter how much society appears to change, the law on homosexual conduct has remained steadfast from the earliest history of the law (since 1533), and that law is and must be our law today. The common law designates homosexuality as an inherent evil, and if a person openly engages in such a practice, that fact alone would render him or her an unfit parent.” 

On 10/25/12 JUDGE MIKE T. JONES DENIED my court petition for a temporary restraining order or emergency hearing. JUDGE MICHAEL T. JONES is willfully allowing an innocent little girl exposed daily to illegal, immoral and criminal acts under Alabama law.

Contact Judge MIKE T. JONES at (256) 760-5831.

View all documentation provided to Judge MIKE T. JONES at

We reiterate that there are few real winners in Family Court matters; however, the more we learn of our system in Lauderdale County, as well as the entire state, the more we believe that a complete overhaul is in order. Will that eradicate all problems? No, but it's a step in the right direction.


Sources in Colbert County tell us Tanisha Tetter Welch, first cousin of accused murderer Ronald Weems, is being held without bond until her November 20th court date for sending harassing communications concerning the murder of Amanda Taylor. We will correct that Welch was not arrested at work (she apparently does not have a job), but at a physician's office.


Autumn Wood? We've received a comment concerning Autumn Wood, admitted killer of Brooklyn Hollins. While this comment contained no specific words that are unacceptable to publish, it did contain certain sexual imagery that we do not wish our blog to convey to our readers. We'll have more to say on this next week.


Friday, November 2, 2012

A Child in Danger? Yes! - Part II

Mark Davis has now spent years trying to regain 50% custody of his daughter, custody the Tennessee courts gave him. Not only is Mark confronted with a huge uphill battle, he is now concerned about the moral character of two of his daughter's caregivers--his ex-sister-in-law and her fiancee'.

We use the term fiancee' since the couple present themselves as engaged, even though Alabama does not recognize same sex marriage. Also, Mark's sister-in-law continues to advertise for new relationships on Pink Cupid, a popular Lesbian hook-up site on which she has two profiles. We understand that many same-sex couples have lived monogamous lives for years, but this particular couple would not seem to be one of them.

Mark is also concerned about the presence of alcohol and other drugs in the home of these two women. If their Facebook page is so open concerning their use of such drugs, how much more is present in their private life? What does Mark's daughter see every day?

Desperate for a chance to present this evidence in court, Mark filed for an emergency hearing. As we've recently heard from others, the word "emergency" in Lauderdale Circuit Court apparently doesn't mean what it does to the average citizen. Faced with the inaction of local courts, Mark decided to take a bold step.

To be continued tomorrow...


Several readers have commented concerning the daughter of Ronald Weems and Laurel Pruett. She was also at the recent baptism of Weems, an event that reportedly occurred at a Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals. Relatives and friends say that Laquania Welch Weems continues to have custody of Pandora Pruett, who was videotaped with her father after the baptism. 

For those who wish to see Pandora placed in a permanent loving home, please contact Colbert County DHR:


Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Child in Danger? Yes! - Part I

The little boy is clinging to a ledge with one hand. Is he in danger? Certainly.

The little girl is walking within inches of a downed power line. Is she in danger? It's certainly possible.

The little boy is playing with a Pit Bull that has previously mauled a child. Is he in danger? Could be.

The little girl is being taken care of by a relative with an unsuitable lifestyle. Is she in danger? Some people would answer yes. Others would want to know more about the lifestyle.

 How Charming. Someone Has Lent Her a Helping Hand.


Since the inception of our blog, we've corresponded with our friend Mark Davis. We've always found Mark to be an intelligent, caring person who truly loves his daughter. Mark's divorce was granted in Tennessee where he was given 50% custody by their state courts. When his ex-wife moved to Alabama, Mark also moved to be able to continue sharing custody with his wife.

Then an Alabama court overturned the shared custody agreement in order for the child's mother to enroll her in pre-school. We're sure many readers may not find this particularly upsetting. After all, most custody arrangements in Alabama are drawn under similar guidelines. Yet, it was upsetting to Mark who wanted to be part of his child's upbringing.

It became even more upsetting, to use a mild word, when Mark discovered his child was being taken care of several hours each day by his ex-sister-in-law and her partner/fiancee'. Lest you think this deals mainly with opposition to a Lesbian life-style, think again. It deals with a lifestyle that most would find unsuitable for any child no matter the orientation of the caregivers.

To be continued tomorrow...