Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Top Stories of 2013?

Porno Mom Patricia Ayers
Two days ago we published a list of our top ten blogs according to readers (using StatCounter statistics). Do we agree? Not quite.

Our top story according to readers was the heir to the Burnscraft fortune (or what's left of it) driving drunk, crashing, and ending the life of both his girlfriend and a local Tennessee landmark. We rate this as only number three, since all victims (with the exception of the store building) were willing participants in the activity.

Our personal number two is the Vina teacher sex scandal. It's not surprising that there are men out there who take advantage of young girls...or that there are young girls so lacking in morals that marriage means nothing to them. What is surprising is that these two male teacher/coaches were not able to control themselves despite 1) Knowing it was wrong at all levels, 2) Knowing they could lose their jobs, 3) Knowing they could lose their families, 4) Knowing they could be labeled as sex offenders for life. We don't consider teachers to be more moral than anyone else. We do consider most of them smarter than the two Vina coaches.

Our personal number one story is the sad tale of a local couple who used the woman's own young daughter to produce pornography. How sick do you have to be? This couple walked among us. If both this mother and step-father could be sentenced to Life Without the world would be a better place.


Monday, December 30, 2013

The NSA in Florence: An Urban Myth?

We love urban myths. At least we used to before they became so political...you know, FEMA is building big mouse traps for all Caucasians who speak English. No, the old fashioned urban myths are extremely interesting, and many were built on truths, while still others were created to be told around camp fires at night.

Is the NSA listening to us as we speak into those plastic rectangles we constantly carry? Are they monitoring this blog as we write it? Could be, but since we aren't plotting to overthrow the U.S. government, we're not too concerned. Still some things are more interesting than others.

A friend recently told us of a story her friend told her--so you know it has to be true. It seems that the SunTrust Bank building in Florence rents part of its top floor to the National Security Agency which uses it to monitor local comings and goings as well as communications. Yes, really, according to this local urban legend.

We looked at the SunTrust building a few days ago. It does have several antennae located atop the roof. We're sure most of them have logical reasons for being there. The building does overlook much of downtown Florence and Sheffield, but that's what precipitated the rumor to start with, isn't it?

So how about it? Anyone have any info to support or debunk this rumor?


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Most Popular Stories of 2013

Just what were our most popular blogs of 2013? Here they are, and not surprisingly the Vina teacher sex scandal made three of the top ten.

1.  Alcohol Involved in Brittany Underwood's Death

2.  Warrant Issued for Burns' Arrest

3.  Red Bay Facing a Lawsuit?

4.  Billy Underwood Fires Back

5.  The Saddest Post

6.  Who Is James K. Pharr? 

7.  Sonny Tibbs

8.  Teacher-Student Sex

9.  Patricia Ayers 

10. Chief Logan, It's Not All About You

Is that how we would rank them? Not quite. Our list appears tomorrow.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wilson Dam Road?

We see a prediction from the TD's Mike Goens that part of the newly four-laned Wilson Dam Road in Muscle Shoals will be open soon. Judging from the status of the work, that prediction isn't hard to make; however, the future of the expansion would still seem to be up in the air.

The Southern Railway overpass prevents further extension...at least without some serious money that our state doesn't seem to have. It's anyone's guess how long it will take to circumvent that problem, and not even the state highway department has made any official comments.


Other predictions? We'll leave those to Mike Goens, but we will be having a run down of our top stories for this past year. Stay tuned...


Friday, December 27, 2013

How Close Are You to Being a Suspect?

The man quickly withdrew twenty dollars from a local ATM and drove home, not even looking at his receipt. As he was about to toss the small piece of paper in the trash, he noticed the balance read $400.00. The Florence man had just been paid; his checking balance should have been almost $3,000.00; had his account been hacked?

As he was about to call the bank, hoping that customer service was still open, he noticed the account number--it wasn't even his. Upon contacting the bank, he was told the ATM was out of sync--it was giving each customer the previous customer's receipt. The man breathed a sigh of relief.

Now one of our contacts at the Florence Police tells us a similar thing has happened in an investigation of a theft. In other words, the photograph the authorities hoped to retrieve was actually that of another banking customer. Obviously, it happens.

We were not told the name of the bank or the location of this error, but it could have been anywhere in the Shoals. It could have been our pictures...or yours. How does a banking institution make this up to a customer? We sincerely want to know.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ta Ta, Ronnie

Lauderdale County Sheriff Ronnie Willis has formally announced he will not be a candidate for re-election. Willis has stated he wants to spend more time with his family. We're pretty sure the FBI's opinion of his administration didn't exactly encourage Willis to run for a fourth term...


It's only been a short while since all the offices in the Lauderdale County courthouse were renovated to provide extra space and offer a more ergonomic work environment. Now we hear the district attorney's office is looking for office space to purchase in downtown Florence. Oh, well, it's only money.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Merry Christmas 


D.K., J. Redmon, Bailey Quarters, &


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Blood on the Streets of Tupelo

It's the birthplace of Elvis. It's smaller than Florence. It's not the wild west, and one doesn't expect a shootout between bank robbers and police. Yet that's what the small Mississippi town got for Christmas.

The miscreants are still out there. There's no denying that they're armed and dangerous. Let's hope they're captured before they take their act on the road to Alabama. Let's also pray for the families of the two officers. Christmas will never be the same for them.


We hope everyone is vigilant this holiday season and every day!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Who Will Be Next "Director of Cultural Tourism?"

Now that Libby Stoddard Watts Jordan has officially taken the new position of curator for the Rosenbaum home, who will replace her as the Director of Cultural Tourism with the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board? Mrs. Jordan is the first to hold that position, having served the past three years and four months.

Since Mrs. Jordan has stated her new position as curator for the Rosenbaum home will result in a pay cut, we may infer the cultural tourism position pays more than $37,500.00 a year. Perhaps Martha Murphy would be interested in this position; she would be more than qualified.

We'll update our readers on the new Director of Cultural Tourism as soon as we have a name.


Is Champy's Fried Chicken a local landmark? Hmmmm. A friend looking for the restored Sheffield neon sign stated that was all he had to go on from reading the article in the TotallyDecatur...


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jordan's Wife New Director of Rosenbaum Home

Libby Watts Jordan, third wife of Florence councilman Dick Jordan, has been named the new director of the Rosenbaum home. Watts, who's undergraduate degree is in geology, beat out 29 other applicants for the position.

Martha Murphy, one of four city employees who applied for the job, has filed a grievance. Murphy, currently administrative assistant to the mayor, states she may take her quest for the job to other more official legal venues. Murphy is the founder of Mrs. Murphy's Foods and has an extensive background in several business areas.

Now here's the kicker: The job pays only $37,500.00 a year. Perks? Fascinating surroundings and an impressive job title. What are these perks worth in dollars and cents? Zero.

So what's the beef? The position is worth very little financially, and the fact that there were 29 applicants besides Mrs. Jordan doesn't speak very well of the local economy...or mindset. The real beef seems to be "the appearance of evil." We say if Libby Watts Jordan wants the job, let her have it. Surely there are much better things to come for Martha Murphy and any other qualified applicants who may not have been given a fair shake.

Related Post: What's Happening


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tourist Wars?

Lodging tax is what most of us would call big money. Now there seems to be some dissension as to what entity will control this money in Florence-Lauderdale. As it stands now, all funds go back to the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board to use as they see fit. If Mayor Mickey Haddock and others get their way, the money will soon be controlled by the city/county where the revenue was generated.

It would seem one motivator for this change is the possibility that Lauderdale tourism will merge with the enemy--Colbert County. There are certainly pros and cons to both sides, and we don't have enough information as yet to have a concrete opinion.

We do opine that the Florence City Council members already have a great deal of influence on local tourism and the arts/museum facet of city government. Insert "Coming Attractions" reel here...


Isn't it interesting that Sandra Killen-Burroughs is the only member of the tourism board to have actual experience in the wonderful world of tourism? (Sandra is no longer a board member by her own choice.) It's our opinion that members of any board should have at least some present or past ties to the entities the board controls.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Graham Files Second Appeal

Convicted killer Hershel Dale Graham has filed his second appeal on the last legal day to do so. Graham was arrested and tried for Felony Murder in the shooting death of David Andrasik. After being convicted of Manslaughter, Graham appealed first to the circuit court and was denied. His next step is the criminal appeals court. If the appeals court upholds his conviction, Graham may still appeal to an even higher court. How long will Daddy's money hold out?


For those who asked about the Joel Moyers shooting case, here's a link to the basic info:


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Joel Moyers Gets an Early Christmas Present

Joel Moyers, the Limestone County man accused of murdering Brandon Hydrick, has received an early Christmas gift--bail. Moyers has been granted bail by an Alabama appeals court and quickly bonded out of the Limestone County Jail. The decision to grant Moyers bail has produced some inflammatory comments from the Hydrick camp. Just FYI, it might not be a good idea to call the prosecutor and judge "f***ing idiots." The state's case is extremely weak, and we have previously predicted a manslaughter verdict as the most fitting.

Another word to the wise for the Hydrick family concerns the advisability of posting pics of the deceased drinking from "turkey feather beer bottles." We're sure Moyers' defense team will be using the autopsy toxicology report to cast doubts on Hydrick's innocence in the whole unfortunate chain of events.

We never advocate suicide for anyone and hope that Mr. Moyers has received psychological help since his earlier attempt. It simply doesn't make any friends for Hydrick supporters when they post comments concerning the possibility of Moyers being able to escape vengeance for Brandon's death. We're pretty positive the permanent results of suicide rank just a little above a prison sentence. We're also pretty sure vengeance and justice are two different things.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dear Santa: Some Peace on Earth?

Dear Santa:

We here at Shoalanda Speaks would really like some peace on earth this Christmas. How about it?

BTW, we've all been very, very good this year. SS

Dear Shoalanda:

You'll be happy to know I have all the elves working on it, but first we're trying to get things going at the local level. We've been working on the Cherokee Town Council for several years now, but it may be a lost cause. Ditto for Leighton, and we don't have much higher hopes for Rogersville.

We're also working on Muscle Shoals, but between the mayor's battles with Billy Underwood and the E-911 Board, we may not be able to bring any peace there either. And Lawrence County? Sheesh, don't even mention them. Russellville is a mite better this year, except for its police department. You wouldn't believe what the elves tell me about that place. 

We've done pretty good with Sheffield, at least for the time being. We'll see how things go there when election time rolls around. Florence? Meh. Even the senior citizens are restless. UNA? Don't ask. Then there's hospital wars, hospice wars, and ambulance wars.

How about this: instead of peace on earth, I just send everyone a new Bentley for Christmas. It'll be much easier for me to arrange.

Best Regards,



There you have it from the chief elf himself...


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mirror, Mirror: Municipal Court

If you've been to one municipal court, you've pretty well been to all. The number of available seats may vary, and the judge's dais may rise to greater heights in some courts, but one thing is extremely consistent--they all take in a lot of money.

Problems with the court system are also very similar. Wherever there's a lot of cash, there's always the temptation to pocket some of the court's proceeds. It was just in 2010 that a Muscle Shoals city magistrate was convicted of pilfering over 86K in city funds. She served a five year prison sentence (with good time) and is now a free woman...or almost free; she still has to work to pay back her ill-gotten gains.

Earlier this year, LaDonna Hitt Montgomery pleaded guilty to embezzling more than 65K from the Russellville Municipal Court. Hitt agreed to pay back the stolen funds and is currently on probation for her crimes.

The crimes of both municipal court employees were revealed by a routine audit. We don't usually look at accountants as crime busters, but perhaps we should. After all, one sent Al Capone up the river...


Our friends at Pen N Sword have an interesting article: Shake Up in Rogersville. It seems there should be a follow up, don't you think?


Monday, December 16, 2013

Would Muscle Shoals Walmart Lie?

Quick, everyone, what does O.B. hate more than Auburn? If you said Walmart, you're obviously a regular reader of OB's Corner. It seems our local Muscle Shoals WallyWorld has ticked some customers off. Yes, we were as shocked as you.

From J. Redmon:

As reported to me, WallyWorld 'sold' 32-inch LED HD TVs on 'Black Thursday' for $98/each. Naturally, they ran out before all customers were able to purchase one. So...WallyWorld 'sold' them the TVs, via a sort of 'rain check' deal, wherein the customers still desiring one of the $98 flat screen TVs could PAY IN ADVANCE, and the TV was guaranteed to be delivered to the local WallyWorld in time for Christmas. SURPRISE!  When customers that paid for TVs showed up at the Muscle Shoals WallyWorld this past weekend to claim the TVs that they had paid for, WallyWorld failed to deliver, instead offering the customers 'in-store gift cards'.  As reported to me, customers were not offered cash refunds.

Anyone else out there have a similar problem? BTW, if you really want the best deals, try Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Big Lots first.


It seems the Grace Episcopal Church in Sheffield has been declared a public nuisance. Let's hope the committee to save the 110 year old building will have the public support it needs. You don't have to live in Sheffield to support its restoration. We'll have more on this later.


How about Florence nuisances? We hear the city building code enforcer has told a certain rental company to bring all its properties up to snuff or tear them down. Slum landlords? Yes, even in the Shoals.


Coming Thursday: Christmas history repeats itself in Lauderdale County. (Don't think "Merry," because it won't be.)


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Got a Light?

The Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center may soon begin to sell electronic cigarettes. One rationale for the sale of these e-cigs is said to be inmates destroying electrical wall outlets when trying to light contraband smokes.

We don't doubt that's true; however, cigarettes are not the only contraband to be found in jails. Cell phones are also widely smuggled into such facilities. Cell phones also need to be charged--something done via wall outlets or light sockets. No, simply cutting down, or even out, the contraband smokes won't solve the problem of destruction of jail property.

How does contraband enter the detention center and other jails? The Lauderdale jail has visitation via telecommunicatons, so we can rule that out as a conduit. Some inmates work outside the jail or are ferried to various courts. We're not sure how much supervision these inmates have during these excursions, but we would imagine quite a bit.

You don't think any of these deputies/jailers are bringing in any contraband to supplement their incomes, do you? (In case you're wondering, that comment was directed to south of the river.)


We understand the Lauderdale Detention Center may be getting some high profile residents fairly soon. Stay tuned...


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Have You Been Blessed?

Most who are reading this today have been richly blessed. If you doubt it, just compare your income to that of those who live in 99% of other countries. Now compare your income to the average U.S. citizen. You're on a roll, so compare your income to residents of Alabama and the Shoals area. How about it? Aren't you doing pretty well?

Sadly not everyone can say that. Many are children who have no say in how they are being raised or what their parents do. Others have serious illnesses that prevent them from continuing to work. Think about that phrase "but for the grace of God..."

Please adopt at least one person this holiday season. Christmas may be just another day to many, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you haven't yet selected someone to help, here are a few ideas:

* Salvation Army Angel Tree (children & senior adults) at Regency Square. You may also call (256) 764-4432.

* Hospice patient stocking tree: Link

* CASA (children) (256) 765-0041 or email to andreaholt@lauderdalecasa.org.


Friday, December 13, 2013

The Florence Christmas Parade Miracle

I told Miz Shoalanda that I had to tell ever body about this, it being the Christmas season and all. Last night was supposed to have been the annual Dog Ear holiday parade, but the school had to hock all the band instruments in order to have enough mac and cheese to last in the lunchroom until January, so the whole family decided to pack up and catch the annual Zip City parade.

Well as luck would have it, the mayor of Zip City had done gone and cancelled that parade as well cuz all the rain had washed out most of their one paved road. Let me tell you cousin Elmo and his wife Sally was both upset over that since Judy Lee won the Zip City Collard Princess pageant this year and they was all dyin' to see her on the parade's onliest float.

But all warn't lost. Ever since Judy Lee dyed her hair green last summer she's been hearin' how she should join the Kudzu Queens. It seems they all was going to be in Florence's parade, so off we set for the big city. Elmo's youngest boy Barney was especially excited and he don't get that way often since he shot his eye out with that Daisy air rifle he got two years ago.

Once we got in Florence there was more people than at Congressman Freeble's funeral last year in Dog Ear. Give the people what they want, I guess. Anyhoo, just as we all saw that sea of green hair, Judy Lee pushed little Barney and herself to the front of a whole bunch of bird watchers. At least I guess that's what they were cuz ever time a group of girls passed by they would start talking about those cute little birds with the topknots. 

Judy Lee started waving real big like and told Barney to do the same. One of the Kudzu ladies saw them and started throwing candy. Now if there's anything little Barney likes, it's free candy, so he stuck his little head out powerful close to the lady throwin' all the Tootsie Rolls.

The next thing I knew there was a scream like at one of those horror movies the Dew Drop Drive-In used to show on Friday nights. Yep, one of those pieces of candy hit Barney right in the eye. His bad eye.

It swelled up somethin' terrible and by the time we got back to Elmo's house it looked like a blue baseball. Elmo and Sally kept tellin' little Barney not to cry cuz it could have been his good eye that got hit, but that didn't seem to help none at the time. Sally got some frozen possum out of the freezer and put it on Barney's eye and told him to go on to bed and stop complainin'. By then it was pretty late, so we decided to spend the night at Elmo's and get an early start back to Dog Ear the next morning.

Now here's the really strange part. When little Barney got up this morning he could see out of both eyes. Yep, that Tootsie Roll undid the damage the BB had done. Now if that ain't a Christmas miracle I don't know what is. So now Elmo and Sally want to thank the Kudzu Queens for makin' them the happiest folks in Zip City.

Merry Christmas to all who read this,

Bubba Leroy Smuckpucker II

Thursday, December 12, 2013

History Repeats Itself?

Yesterday we compared 2013 to 1950. It would seem a bit of more recent history is about to repeat itself in Lauderdale County. Many officials have remained mum on the big story, but not all. Watch this space for future developments.


Want to adopt a new family member? Don't cause a riot at the Colbert Shelter; here's your best bet:


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's 1950, and...

* The local university is rampant with crime against women.

* A local pol has just used his influence to secure a job for a family member.

* Florence has lost a fantastic opportunity to a larger city.

* Colbert and Lauderdale Counties are at each other's throats.

* Many local cities are turning their backs on the animal problem.

* Locals are moving north to find good jobs.

No, wait. That may have been 1950, but it's still true in 2013. The more things change...?


We've received many comments on the local ambulance wars over the past months. We've saved all that has been forwarded to us and plan to do at least one blog on what's wrong...and right...with local ambulance service. We welcome reader input on this and all issues.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nothing Wrong with an Attractive Sow's Ear

There's nothing wrong with wanting to do better and be better. There is something wrong with failing to comprehend or admit one's limitations. The 450#, 78 year-old ballet dancer isn't going to perform Swan Lake for the president. Neither is the Shoals going to be New York City...nor should it want to be.

Many boats have already sailed in the success regatta. In fact, they sailed so long ago that the winner, usually Decatur, has already retired many of them. Things are tough all over.

We see people laugh when a new business is announced which employs only 50 workers, but should they? Announce one new business a week and see what that adds up to. It won't make up for the loss of International Paper or (the mythical) National Rail Car, but it's a start.


We love to read of increased enrollment at UNA and of all the activity on campus, but somehow committing crimes or dumping crime victims doesn't seem to be one we should be proud of--yet it happens pretty often:


Maybe it's time to take a hiatus from recruiting new industry, students, etc., to check on nurturing and keeping what we already have?


Monday, December 9, 2013

Bronner Hog Tied

Like Dr. David Bronner or not, it's obvious a resolution passed by the RSA board will severely limit his ability to invest RSA funds. Bronner just may become the Internet Explorer of Alabama investing:


International Paper has donated 10K to Lawrence County schools. That should go a long way once IP officially leaves the building. Any of our readers done much sight-seeing in Lawrence County recently? Moulton is its richest city. Think about it...


Ever notice when Florence/Lauderdale law enforcement discuss a serious crime, they usually state it began at a club in Sheffield. Hmmmm...


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gary Hugh Stancil: Another Blot on Franklin County Schools

Subjects Taught
Physical Education
I have been a physical education teacher for 14 years.  I received my MAEd and BSEd degrees from The University of North Alabama(2001, 1993) and  a BSEd (social science) from THE University of Alabama (1989).  I am Phil Campbell High School graduate (1977). 
"Gary Hugh Stancil, 54, 5272 U.S. 43, Spruce Pine, was indicted on four counts of attempting to commit a controlled substance crime and one count of second-degree manufacturing a controlled substance, Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said."
Well, that might explain the cadaverous look...


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Did Someone Say It Was Impossible?

 Photo courtesy USA Today

Ahem, way to go Auburn! Let's keep that crystal football in the state!

The Staff at Shoalanda Speaks

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Little Customer/Client Service, Please?

Mr. Gibbs: A Heavenly Shelter Rescue!

We receive scads of e-mails about bad customer service or inferior service or lost/stolen items/pets. We choose not to publish these since we don't have space, they are subjective, and our blog deals with mainly political/criminal issues.

However, we're aware that many business owners don't know how they or their employees are perceived by the general public. Some don't care, but some are simply oblivious to problems in their business. We were impressed by this blog and hope everyone reads it:

We wish we could have been there...


While on the subject of local blogs, we'll move on to OB's Corner. OB, while hardly objective when it comes to the University of Alabama, is a great sports writer. We may make some radical feminists very unhappy here by stating that, while many women love football, it's usually the male of the species who analyses and dissects the coaching and plays. OB does a great job of this, and we would like to see him start a second blog dedicated to local/state sports. How about it, OB?


Has Twitter increased gambling or made it easier to participate? An interesting article:


Thursday, December 5, 2013

It Is 2013, Isn't It?

From a reader:
I just saw your post on the Tuskegee request, I know why this was requested. I sat on the visitor side for the game with my son, the racial slurs to both us and the people of Florence became so bad we left the game at halftime. I reported this to the police and we were told we were sitting in the wrong place. This is 2013 isn't it? It was our fault so I guess we were fair game to be called names unprovoked. I then told the officers if I had been saying those thing I would be escorted out, he only responded to tell me to sit on the other side…..so yes segregation does exist today, only reversed it seems.

It's a sad commentary on our society no matter which side spews the racism.


Another reader on yesterday's post:

When I saw the post I assumed from the way it was written that applications for the job were just a formality. 

Really? Who woulda thunk it? The things we learn from our readers...


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's Happening at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home?

Florence is extremely lucky to be home to the only Frank Lloyd Wright structure in Alabama. If you're not familiar with the Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum home, here's a link:

The City of Florence now owns the home and has meticulously restored it since its 1999 purchase. The home is part of the Arts & Museums program and is staffed primarily by volunteers. It now seems the museum will be getting its own curator.

It should be a plum job with several applicants. We look forward to announcing the lucky ones on the short list...or perhaps the lucky new curator should a short list be dismissed with.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

More Comments on Chief Tony Logan

Comments on Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan seemed to be running 3:1 in support of the former Florence officer, but that was hardly surprising. Individuals will usually post a comment to refute an opinion much more often than to support it.

The one thing missing from most comments? Logic. No, Logan is not a private person due to his salary being paid by the taxpayers of Tuscumbia. Nor would Logan be off limits if he worked in the private sector--he's currently the defendant in a criminal case. The original case may be old, but it is Logan himself who has prolonged it all these years.

Have any of us here ever met Logan? We can't speak for other team bloggers, but Shoalanda herself has never met him.We do know he's taking up valuable Lauderdale County tax dollars by continuing to appeal his Florence DUI conviction on a legal technicality.

We're at a little loss as to why someone who believes in following rules has low self esteem. We're going to put that comment in the same file as those which inform us an 11 year-old girl seduced her rapist. Narcissism should never be mistaken for self-esteem.


Is a police chief ever above the law? Hmmmm. Perhaps we should ask former Florence Chief Rick Thompson.


We have an interesting addendum to our list of cremains locations. One friend thinks Matthew Fox's remains should be scattered at Arx Mortis where he stored the tools he used to dismember Amanda Taylor.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Honoring Those Who Pass?

Cremains on Football Field
No matter how diametrically opposed our ideals or beliefs may be, we wish no one ill; however, it's appointed once for man to die. So when that time comes for certain locals, we have some thoughts on where to dispose of their ashes.

Doug Arnold, CEO of Helen Keller Hospital: Any old courtroom should do. After all, he hasn't been shy about filing lawsuits in every venue he can think of.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Ronnie Willis: The kitchen at Krispy Kreme. It may not be sanitary, but that never stopped him before.

Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan: Logan's Roadhouse. After all, he thinks it's named for him.

UNA board member Steve Pierce: NCAA Division I headquarters. It's about as close as he'll get.

Oft convicted Jerry Don Crowden: Yard of the Lauderdale County Detention Center. That's where he spent most of his time in life.


If you can think of any others, feel free to e-mail them and we'll be happy to add them to the list.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chief Logan, It's Not All About You

If you know the saga of Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan, you know he was once a deputy chief in Florence. He lost that job presumably because of some bad choices. These choices didn't bring Logan any ill gotten gain or harm any ex-girlfriends; they were just to help friends, but they were still unethical, and he paid the price. Anyone wonder why someone of his intelligence made those choices?

Anyone wonder why he continues to fight a DUI conviction that he without a doubt deserved? How many thousands of dollars has Logan spent in order to prove he's above the law, and why does he think he's special?

Some months ago a person whose veracity is beyond question told us of attending a funeral visitation at which Logan was present. Many in attendance related fond memories of the dear departed, but Logan's tales all revolved around himself.

Now we have the investigation into the murder of Brioni Rutland. Chief Logan stated it was the "craziest three days of my life." We have news for Logan; the three days were hardly any better for Rutland's family and friends. So why is it always about Logan?

More importantly, what does that bode for Tuscumbia? Narcissists come in all socio-cognitve groups, but one in power just might be one to watch rather than to laugh at.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Let's Join Together...

And get behind Auburn for the national championship!

War Eagle!


Friday, November 29, 2013

We Lost Three in November

The Shoals area lost three young men in November. Why? We don't know the backgrounds of these three men except for what's been reported and many e-mails which could...or could not...contain some insight into their lives.

One we've heard little about. One we know was an athlete with a good future ahead of him. One came from a good family, but reportedly had mental problems leading to a checkered past. All three are now dead, and two of them were murdered in cold blood. Again we ask why?

It's a month until New Year's and the usually stale resolutions. We're asking all the men out there reading our blog today, as well as women, to look around you. Who needs some extra guidance? Who has no male role model? You don't have to adopt a child to influence him or her. Go for it!


While we have received some information on the murder of Bree Rutland, as mentioned above, much of it can't be verified by us. We have two local news sites which have done an excellent job in getting the news out to the public. Let's support them all we can...


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013!

In all things, let us give thanks to Him who made us!

We hope each of our readers is extremely thankful for all their blessings today. Be careful and take time to think of the second most important event of the season...the Iron Bowl.

The Staff at Shoalanda Speaks

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Man In Black

He wears black...and a mask. He robs mini-marts and any other easy marks...and he struck again early this mornng in downtown Florence.

Is he one person or two or several? Most of the recent gas station type robberies have been the work of a man acting alone. One or two have involved two men. The crimes took place mainly in Florence, and the perp was armed with a handgun.

Someone knows who he is. There's a generous reward. Let's hope the Florence Police can get this man off the streets before he hurts someone.

More: A Few of the Robberies


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Little "Mea Culpa" For Ya

Reinforcing Bar
Two days ago our blog posted a chart outlining three local manslaughter cases. We listed the sentence for Neler Keeton as 15 years, when in actuality it was 20. Mea Culpa. That's the max for Manslaughter in Alabama; yes, he really ticked off the judge, but did he deserve it?

Our fellow blogger D.K. feels that he did. Shoalanda herself doesn't, and it's a point on which we have always disagreed. Keeton was guilty from the moment he escaped to his house and didn't call 911, but before that?

Anthony Hunt was 35 years Keeton's junior, and co-workers reported he had a hot temper when crossed. He wanted to make sure Keeton had little or no access to his own grandson, and he got his wish. He just wound up dead in accomplishing his goal. No, he didn't bring the rebar to Mr. Keeton's property, but he did use it. The prosecution contended Hunt hit Keeton accidentally, but no one has ever explained how he hit his former father-in-law on the forehead. Just how does that happen?

Now Mr. Keeton is serving a 20 year sentence, but what about Hershel Graham? He shot David Andrasik, a man with no weapon, one too inebriated to harm anyone, and received two years. We think D.K. agrees this is totally unacceptable. What about Chris Martin? Just as Hunt had dropped the rebar before Keeton shot him, Grant Campbell had dropped the knife before Mr. Martin shot him. It will be interesting to see what a Colbert County jury thinks about this case.


We'll elaborate on a personal opinion here (and we're pretty sure D.K doesn't share it). Any 40 year old man who hits a 75 year-old man over the head in anger just might very well be better removed from the gene pool. No, we don't advocate shooting anyone, but nevertheless it was no great loss to mankind. Hunt was at worst a man who could not control his anger and at best a 40 year old who couldn't take a 75 year old in a fight without using what could have been a lethal weapon.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Remember "Slugo?"

Or is it spelled "Sluggo?" No matter; we're sure the name refers to only Douglas Craig, late of Franklin County. Yes, very late--Slugo was killed while attempting to murder an ex-girlfriend. If you tuned in late:

It seems Slugo is still remembered fondly by some in Russellville. Here's a recent Franklin County mug shot to prove it:

At least Slugo gets to visit the jail for one more Thanksgiving...


We see a possible market for such shirts. How about, "John Wayne Gacy: Just Clownin' Around!" Or "Osama Mio!" We can rule out "Che Che Cha Ching"...he's already been done to death.

Are we surprised by this? No. Haven't you heard...Charles Manson is engaged to a 25 year-old. What should you give the bride? We would suggest a brain scan.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

UNA: One Win, No Kills

The University of North Alabama won its first playoff game of the season yesterday without physically harming any Tuskegee players or fans. Guess the segregation paid off?


Only the TimesDaily could place a positive spin on Boaz losing 1K jobs at its Pilgrim's Pride plant by lauding the fact Russellville's plant would gain 100 of those positions.


Wondering what affects Felony Murder cases in the Shoals? So are we. Here's a chart featuring three very similar cases with two very dissimilar verdicts:

Click to Enlarge


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Serial Shoals Home Invader?

Less than two weeks ago a home invasion was reported in Indian Springs. At that time, all news outlets carried the story. Now we're receiving e-mails stating there was a second, unreported home invasion. The story goes that the Florence Police Department handed out notices with the info on both robberies.

Whether there has been a second home invasion or not, there is a robber out there. He's described as tall, white, with dark/dirty blond hair. He targeted what was called an "older" couple who had just returned home (from shopping?). We hope all our readers are super careful this time of the year...and always.


A friend says no outlaws are allowed in Indian Springs...except those grandfathered in. We'll assume that includes him and we give him permission to shoot to do some damage if he comes in contact with this miscreant. Since it's Lauderdale County, we'll assume Bryce Graham won't try to indict him.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Segregation Returns to Florence?

It seems Tuskegee wants their students and fans separated from those of the University of North Alabama. We didn't realize that UNA had such a rough reputation. Let's hope Florence is extra nice to all Tuskegee visitors. That will teach them...


We received a few private comments about Thomas Grant Campbell. We certainly do not mean to detract from the awards the ex-Marine won while in service to his country. Neither are we able to diagnose any mental issues, but such behavior swings reported both in and out of the military might indicate a bi-polar disorder or some other type of mental illness.

We will admit to being surprised that Chris Martin was indicted for anything more than Manslaughter. Colbert County can't get Ronald Weems indicted for Capital Murder, but its D.A. can get Mr. Martin indicted for Felony Murder? Another example of what's wrong with our justice system.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

No Home Boys in Muscle Shoals

Muscle Shoals has the second largest school system in the area and is currently seeking a new superintendent. Where is it looking? Apparently not locally, since all the candidates are are from academic galaxies far, far away.

Well...we all know non-locals are better...or do we? In truth, while that new broom may sweep away some of the cobwebs of cronyism, there's something to be said for a local candidate for a local job.


What's wrong in our schools? It seems it might not be the faculty/staff, but the students themselves. State Superintendent Tommy Bice says students in Alabama are "downtrodden," with 60% of them qualifying for reduced lunches. We're pretty certain at least some who qualify don't avail themselves of the reduced rate.

Is our state just that poor?  Perhaps along with birth control, the state should teach some financial management? Two can't live as cheaply as one, and a family with five children can't live as cheaply as a family with the traditional two little ones.

That being said, are high school graduates not prepared to support themselves if need be, or are these young people just determined to have kids while still flipping burgers, or is it a little of both? Or could it be that if we consider the state as a whole, there just aren't enough good jobs to go around?

We read every day that the jobs would be here if the workers were trained; so which is it? Think about that 60% figure and then don't just lament it. Do something about it.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Indicting That Ham Sandwich

It's an old joke that a competent district attorney can indict a ham sandwich. Obviously that's not always the case in the question of self defense. Colbert County's Bryce Graham did secure an indictment against James Christopher Martin in just four days. Is this odd? We've received some questions about the swift indictment in a case where the defendant will plead self-defense and defense of others.

The deceased was the son of a prominent Shoals restaurateur. A former Marine, Grant Campbell worked for a company his cousin owned. The shooter Martin also worked for ICS roofing. It's probably safe to assume that no matter the outcome of the legal charges, Martin won't be getting his job back.

What of Campbell's dishonorable discharge? We understand that AL.com has contacted some local news outlets in order to find out more. This is from Wikipedia:
A dishonorable discharge (DD) can only be handed down to an enlisted member by a general court-martial. Dishonorable discharges are handed down for what the military considers the most reprehensible conduct. This type of discharge may be rendered only by conviction at a general court-martial for serious offenses (e.g., desertion, sexual assault, murder, etc.) that call for dishonorable discharge as part of the sentence. With this characterization of service, all veterans' benefits are lost, regardless of any past honorable service, and this type of discharge is regarded as shameful in the military. In many states a dishonorable discharge is deemed the equivalent of a felony conviction, with attendant loss of civil rights.[14] Additionally, US federal law prohibits ownership of firearms by those who have been dishonorably discharged[15] per the Gun Control Act of 1968.

You can be sure that Tim Case will bring up Grant Campbell's past behavior. You can also be sure a jury will be duly influenced by the fact that Campbell was less than honorable in serving his country.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Victims & Stolen M16s: It's Never All Black & White

A friend of ours recently questioned our referring to the two 17 year-old women involved in the Vina High School sex scandals as "victims." The word "victim" obviously has many connotations and certainly in legalese a victim might be one who intentionally made the wrong choices in order to promote an agenda but was deemed too young to be held responsible.

Do we personally call these two young women victims? We don't know their upbringing or in the case of Brian Keeton if any physical or chemical inducements were (allegedly) used. We're 99% sure from the details that have come to light so far that both these women need spankin' and the two coaches need divorcin'.


Campbell's Madison Drug Bust
Now we come to a much more permanent type of  victim--a shooting/killing victim. For every victim who's murdered at random for money (think Mr. Elbert Farley in Tuscumbia), you have countless more who are murdered because of their choices and actions. That doesn't mean they should have been killed; it simply means if they had behaved in a rational, law abiding manner, they would not have been placed in a position to be murdered.

This latter group includes Thomas Grant Campbell. He's dead, so we don't know his side. We do know he willingly went to the Sheffield residence of Chris Martin. We do know that several local news agencies have pointed out that none of the three adults involved in the shooting have lived a completely law abiding life. Campbell's previous brushes with the law seems to have involved drugs and some (allegedly) stolen guns that precipitated his dishonorable discharge from the military.

This space is reserved for a sermon entitled "Life is Hard Enough without Drugs or Alcohol," but sadly such sermons never seem to reach their intended audience.


Monday, November 18, 2013

"FOR A FACT" about Jason Dewayne Green

Jason Dewayne Green of Franklin County is a man in a lot of trouble whether he or his employees want to admit it or not. It's obvious Green doesn't want to admit his alleged crimes; his attorney Billy Underwood will be taking each case to trial separately (of course, the judge may have something to say about that). We would hate to have Green's legal fees.

There does seem to be some question as to just what Green has been charged with--at least according to his employee who wrote this:

You are FOR A FACT lying about the stolen cars. I mean was you around at the time? Was you one of those reporters that was surrounding them like the paparazzi if Miley Cyrus was walking down the street?,,,,, Wait.....there were no reporters , just dumb @#+=:es like you assuming. And I hate to burst your bubble honey but there was no murder. But all of any part of that is none of your business. 

It's not hard to enumerate just what Green is indicted for; let's hope we don't leave any out...

...operating an auto theft facility and 98 counts of no records for secondary metal recycling transactions over $500, all felonies.They also each face 30 counts of no records for secondary metal recycling transactions under $500 and 215 counts of scrap metal records violation. Both charges are misdemeanors.

From the same TimesDaily article: In early September, the Greens were arrested for buying and selling stolen property. Investigators said they found two tractor trailers ­— one reported stolen from Hamilton and the other reported stolen from Daleville — at the Greens’ business. Another vehicle found at the business had an altered vehicle identification number, which is against state law. Authorities said several stolen vehicles have been recovered from the Greens’ business.

Of course, the above doesn't list Jason Green's indictment for Felony Murder in the death of his girlfriend Shay Ledlow. We're guessing Green isn't sweating the auto theft charges that much.

Yes, we here at Shoalanda are obviously lying. At least we're in good company--the TimesDaily, Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver, and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. As for it being "none of our business?" The last time we checked, any one under indictment was placed there by the citizens of the State of Alabama--that includes all those who write under the banner of Shoalanda.

Related Post: Jason Green Indicted for Felony Murder


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nobody Knows...the Troublesome Facts

We sincerely strive to bring correct information to our readers; that doesn't mean we don't make mistakes. Certainly we see many mistakes in other published media. We welcome corrections and addenda, but often it's impossible to verify. Below are some thoughts on recent Shoals stories of note:

1. The weir at Cypress Creek -- it's been again reported by the TimesDaily that "at least four" have died in the drowning machine. It's not hard to locate the names of at least five who have drowned, and all should be remembered: Jerry Roberson, Allen Weeks, Max Harlan, Will Pannell, and Daniel S. Smith. If anyone knows of more victims, please send us their names and the circumstances of their deaths.

2. Sonny Tibbs -- AL.com had this to say about Tibbs: Tibbs, formerly a teacher and girls' basketball coach at the high school, was teaching at Vina Elementary School at the time of his arrest Friday; however, a source close to the school (as well as "Scout") has informed us that Tibbs formerly coached boys' basketball and has never been involved in coaching the girls' team. It's also been stated that Tibbs' duties were not changed in September, so any cover up did not involve a transfer (Apparently Vina is such a small school that all 12 grades are housed together). We welcome comment on this also.


Both the Quad-Cities Daily and Pen-N-Sword have had some excellent articles related to Greg Aziz and his arrest. Be sure to like them on Facebook.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Update on Two "Local Rape Cases"

Approximately one year ago, Army officer Aaron Lucas was arrested for the abduction and attempted rape of a child in Colorado. It then came to light that Lucas was a suspect in an attempted Hazel Green abduction and that he was a sometime visitor to the Shoals while stationed in Huntsville.

If you think the term "slime" is appropriate for the good Lt. Lucas, you may not be aiming low enough. It seems he has an identical twin brother, and...well, you fill in the blanks. His defense attorney has stated it will be up to the jury to decide if that fact has cast any doubt on his guilt. We're guessing the attorney thinks he's as guilty as Hades.

Related post:  Close to Home Sex Crime


Moving even closer to home, there's been an extremely interesting rape case in Athens that has brought international attention to the north Alabama town. Here's the basics:

Now Clem has been sentenced. From an AP article: Austin Clem, 25, raped the young girl three times between the ages of 14 and 18-years-old and will spend two years in a reform program and three years on probation instead of being locked up. Mr Clem will also have to register as a sex offender, but the slap on the wrist outraged many in the courtroom.

Oh, but it's really a horrendous sentence to hear his defense attorney tell it. Why? From the same AP article: Some of the hardships Mr Clem will face include not being able to drink alcohol at parties or cross state lines to buy lottery tickets, the attorney explained.

Really? Many people we know don't drink alcohol anywhere, and certainly most don't buy a lottery ticket anywhere! This is punishment? If Shoalanda is ever convicted of rape, she's going to ask to be banned from eating turnip greens. That'll show her!


Interesting thought: Lucas and Clem actually make the Vina coaching staff look good.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Vina High Student Victims Were Best Friends

Gary Williams
When asked about the two current teacher sex scandals at Vina High School, Franklin County Superintendent Gary Williams replied, "I don't know how things like this happen." Perhaps that's part of the problem. We've had teacher friends who carefully chose every word spoken to students of the opposite sex; they felt such actions were needed in order to maintain a professional relationship that could never be questioned. It would seem familiarity doesn't always breed merely contempt.


Williams has also reported to the press that the two 17 year-old girls (reported victims) were best friends. The superintendent stated that at the time of his arrest, Tibbs had been transferred to Vina Elementary School in August after a nine year stint at the high school. We're surmising someone knew something was not quite cricket.


And just how old are these two teacher/coaches? The TimesDaily and some other news sources have stated Sonny Tibbs was 35. Arrest records, along with a college bio, list his birth date as 11/18/74, making him 39 in three days. Similarly, the age of Brian Keeton has been reported in the TD as 38. Official records list his birth date as 3/26/73, making him 40. Both more than old enough to know better.


Sometimes reader e-mail is just too good not to pass along: I was thinking about the comment that "sex sells." It's nothing compared to death and dismemberment, but you may be able to throw that in too. The coachs' wives haven't finished with them yet.


Special Report on Greg Aziz

The rumors are true: Greg Aziz Indicted

Previously from our site: Off Shore Bank Accounts

And it's only taken three years...

The Staff at Shoalanda Speaks

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Runnin' Wild in Franklin County

Running wild, lost control.
Running wild, mighty bold.
Feeling gay, reckless too,
Carefree mind all the time, never blue.
Always going, don't know where,
Always showing..I don't care!
Don't love nobody, it's not worthwhile.
All alone, running wild!

It may be an old song, but it could easily be Vina High's new anthem.


A source close to the situation in Vina has related that the most recently terminated coach, Brian Keeton, is married to a student whom he taught while at Winfield. While the TimesDaily has reported Keeton's age as 38, official sources are reporting it as 40, making him 23 years older than his alleged victim/lover. 


State Senator Roger Bedford is initiating a change in the law that affords a suspended teacher pay even if he/she has admitted guilt. Thanks, Sen. Bedford.


Good for Joey Rushing to want to assist in making teachers aware that sex with a student under 19 is illegal, but should it really be necessary? For the record, don't try to put out flames with gasoline...

They're not ill-educated, Joey, they're just immoral. You probably can't change that.


The following comment was sent to us and was not publishable in regular comments due to some language. The writer gave us permission to edit it:

I've been following your blog because I am interested in the events taking place at Vina.
1.) Props on the name. Love word play.
2.) Don't let all this extra attention from the Vina scandal get to your head. Sex sales. ***** "journalism" doesn't, so all of this should go away quickly.
3.) I'm fine with you saying terrible things about Vina. It's the business, so I understand.
4.) I do, however, take offense to this article. "Alabamians first?" "We see out tax dollars wasted on those who have no love for our county, much less citizenship."?? Pray tell, Ms. Shoalanda, how do you have any right to say that these people have no love for this country? Because I never risked my life to be here, travelled thousands of miles through dangerous territory in total fear of being found out to be here, nor have I been separated from my family to be here. Have you?
I can handle the criticism of teachers, principles, schools, etc. for sex crimes, but I so very desperately need to know where do you get off setting the bar for what is considered love of this country?

Our answers?

1) Many thanks. It wasn't particularly well thought out, but it's amazing that many don't realize it represents Shoals Land.

2) Not much goes to my head. For the record, we've gotten many more hits on at least five other news stories in our five years of publishing. We don't claim to be journalists here. We do claim to be astute commentators on local boondoggles. 

3) We're not saying "terrible things" about Vina High School as a whole. We are commenting on the behavior of certain teachers and coaches.

4) How do I have the right to say "Alabamians First?" I'm a citizen, for better or worse. It's my tax dollars that are unfortunately not going to veterans, schools, etc., at least in any great measure. They are going to those who are here because they want something free. I could leave here, but I choose to stay and make things better. 

Remember the meeting Roger Bedford and others had at the A.W. Todd center about two years ago? There were no U.S. Flags there...only Mexican flags. They really love our country, don't they? No, if Canada were closer, they would go there since there's more welfare programs (due to much higher taxes on those who work). How can I judge these people? It's easy. I judge them by their actions.