Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer of '65: Murder on the Lake - Part I

Historians say America changed in the mid-1960s. It did in the Shoals, but perhaps not for the same reasons it did elsewhere. It was officially less than a week into summer on June 28, 1965. It may have been Monday, but it wasn't unusual for kids out of school to party each night of the week. Many had the money and parents who trusted them--a lethal combination.

It was also a time when there was only one public high school in Florence. Coffee High had five social clubs and an arch enemy across the river in Sheffield, but as anyone would have told you before that night it was all harmless competition.

Robert Stewart Jr., known to his friends as Bobby, had been a big time jock at Sheffield High. A track star, Bobby had graduated in 1960, winning a scholarship to Florida State University. Five years later, Bobby was back in the Shoals and attending what was then Florence State College, but at 23 he still lacked several credits to graduate. If anyone had any concerns about Bobby, it was that most of his friends were younger and still in high school. The youths looked up to Bobby, and he liked it that way.

It became common knowledge that the Nenon Social Club would be having a party that Monday night. Coffee High was home to only the last three grades of public school, so only rising juniors and seniors would be among the girls who had rented a cabin on Lake Wilson. Bobby decided to crash the event, taking along as many as 30 youths from Colbert County.

The Nenon girls had invited boys to the unchaperoned party, but just not any from Colbert County. Once Bobby and his crew reached the cabin on Lauderdale Beach Road, they found themselves unwanted by the Nenons who managed to bar their entrance. It seems if Bobby Stewart and his Colbert County friends couldn't attend the party, he would make sure no one else did...

To be continued...


Colbert County Coroner Carlton Utley has a new Facebook page; be sure to like it:


Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Shoals: Just One Big Happy?

A Florence-Lauderdale visitors center has been in the works for some time. We're now told that once it's completed it will have a new name to better reflect its service to the entire Shoals. Not too long ago we would have been pleased with that news. Now? Not so much.

For those from across the river who are applauding this move, we have some questions. First, let's look at a positive quote from Rodney Hall:

Thank you Debbie Wilson for thinking outside the lines and over the river... We are the Shoals! 

We have to ask if Mr. Hall spoke to the Colbert County Commission about the oneness of the area? Perhaps he wrote a letter? How many who want to use Florence and Lauderdale's greater tax base to promote the county just to the south stood up to the Colbert Commission when they opposed the new hospital?

Everything in life is give and take, but it seems some of the powers that be in Colbert want only to take...


Both Pen N Sword and the Quad-Cities Daily have some interesting photos related to the Jessica Bevis Broadfoot murder investigation:

While visiting the QCD, be sure to check out their ongoing photographic coverage of the Helen Keller Festival--it's the next best thing to being there!


Friday, June 28, 2013

My New Boyfriend "Slimy Bastard"

"Slimy Bastard" Jones

Yes, after years of looking, I think I've found the right one. Oh, I know I thought Mad Dog was the one. And then Wikkid--you all know what happened to him. Of course there was Killer and finally Danger--looks like he's going South too. But I really think Slimy Bastard is the perfect man. Hope all my friends wish me well.


Ladies, and one in particular, we've said this before, but we'll go for it one more time. If he trash talks about you and degrades you, he'll probably hit you. If he hits you, he definitely won't hesitate at some point to shoot you. You have parents, siblings, children, and friends who care for you. Okay, so you luuuuuv him. You're probably the only one, and that's why he thinks he can control you.

There are counselors who can help you get over your addiction to this man and men like him. Please do whatever it takes. Please...


Sadly, one young lady chose unwisely and paid the ultimate price for it. PNS is covering the story:


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Doesn't Know a Taser from a Gun?

A guest editorial in Pen N Sword concerning the incident at Hurricane Creek Baptist Church is extremely interesting. It does portray Red Bay Sgt. Kyle Palmer in a better light than he has previously been presented, but one statement is extremely odd. We're told that Palmer pulled his gun, waved it around, then holstered it before pulling his taser and making a statement.

The editorial relates that Palmer drew his gun thinking it was the taser and then returned it when he realized his mistake--at least that seems to be the official story. Okay...

We recently saw a photo of a police officer in a large northern city who had the scope on his assault rifle mounted backwards. Anything is possible, but even in a stressful situation, pulling a gun instead of a taser seems a stretch.


We incorrectly listed the new trial date for Kimberly Bynum George as August 17th, a Saturday. The correct date is August 19th, if it's not postponed an eighth time.


We've had a lot of feedback concerning yesterday's blog on the pink splotch defacing the photograph of a local man. Many of the comments we couldn't publish due to their language and many didn't wish to comment publicly. It seems that some felt the mysterious splotch was a pink shadow surrounded by a pink halo.

We've never seen anything like this before, but both intuition and common sense tell us that no shadows or halos could be pink. We consulted with some semi-professional photographers who agree. We're certainly still open to comments, but please keep the language suitable for all family members.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Who's the Prankster at the "TimesDaily?"

Practical jokes are usually anything but. We hadn't intended to make any comment on the SCOTUS decision from earlier today, but after looking at the online edition of the TimesDaily, we're compelled to get in our two cents...valued at approximately .008 in today's market.

At first glance we wondered why some gentleman was wiping pink paint from his face. Then we noticed it wasn't paint, but a Photoshop-type pink blur intentionally placed over the image of a local man celebrating what many consider to be a milestone in gay rights.

No matter what you think of homosexuality, we hope you don't condone this type of juvenile humor. Perhaps the perpetrator was thinking of only the print edition which is often prone to such extraneous color washing and felt safe from punishment. But an online photo in the age of digital photography?

Let's hope TD editor Scott Morris issues the gentleman an apology. This is much worse than an article of over 20 years ago that changed the name of Wilson Park to Queer.

If you wish to debate homosexuality, do so on its own merits or lack thereof. Don't take a cheap shot at the gay community. Pink represents breast cancer awareness, not gayness. Now aren't you, whoever you are, ashamed of yourself?


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Foot in the Back & a Gun to the Head...

Obviously rumors are rampant at this point over what really happened on June 2nd at the Hurricane Creek Baptist Church near Vina in Franklin County. Red Bay Police Chief Jana Jackson has issued a public statement, but she's impeded by being able to say only so much concerning an ongoing investigation. Church members have commented publicly, but their accounts have been reported in snips and sometimes the sequence of events has not meshed in all of them.

Was there wrong on both sides? We think Mr. Steve Scott, a church deacon, would have fared much better if he had not asked Red Bay Sgt. Kyle Palmer a second question. Does that mean Mr. Scott deserved the physical abuse he took from Palmer? Remember, the good sergeant was working with a group of rural Baptists, not the Hell's Angels. A kind word from him would have gone far. Instead, Palmer chose to show these radical anarchists just who was in charge on church property. Nothing like drawing a gun to show who's boss.

Is this a rare instance of abuse of police authority in Franklin County? If you've read our blog for a while, you may remember our mention of another Franklin County event that we've been asked not to blog about in order to protect the jobs of innocent victims. We have no wish to delve deeply into this and hurt the innocent, but perhaps we can offer our readers a snippet of what happened in the city of Russellville a few years ago.

There was a place where people lived, worked, and gathered...and one sold dope. Did any of the others know? We're told they didn't. We do know most didn't have a clue as to any illegal activity. A woman exited her vehicle, saw the glint of a gun, and was told to hit the ground. When her knees and weight made the act of hitting the ground too slow a go for the officer, he placed his foot in her back, pushed her to the ground, placed a gun to her head, and told her if she wanted to see her family again she would do as he said. The woman had a large family, many of them sick, many of them young. She did what the officer said. Later she had to visit a hospital with her injuries. Her attorney, a local all-purpose country barrister, advised her to "forget it."

Again we ask if these events are rare? We somehow doubt it. Should you report an officer if he's rude? We wouldn't--maybe he was just having a bad day. Should you report an officer if he's physically abusive when no one deserved such treatment? If you don't, his next victim could wind up in the cemetery where he will have no earthly voice.

No, we don't think the members of the Hurricane Creek Baptist Church were wrong to complain. Let's hope it does some good.


Monday, June 24, 2013

You Read It Here First...

The town of Red Bay has announced it will be hiring extra security this August for the scheduled joint convention of the DAR and Colonial Dames. Police Sgt. Kyle Palmer stated that you can't be too careful when these two groups of gangbangers get together.

Ronnie Willis held a news conference today in which he promised to rid the courthouse of the scourge of female employees over 40. Willis stated it may be a Herculean task and plans first to travel to Savannah, Georgia, for a human resources conference led by Bubba Hiers. 

Fired UNA women's softball coach Jason Anderson remained mum on the possibility of a lawsuit against the university. He stated he had no plans to act until all the wiretap tapes were listened to.

Helen Keller Hospital CEO Doug Arnold has been given 30 days to change his hairstyle or face a copyright infringement suit by Donald Trump.

The Colbert County Commission went on record today as being opposed to the new Alligator Ice kiosk at McFarland Park in Florence. They stressed they had no opposition to four flavors, but a selection of five was entirely too much for Lauderdale County.

Finally, Shelton Publishing in Decatur announced it would be changing the name of the TimesDaily to Veces al Dia.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Evelyn Servin: Rowdy, Troublemaker, Peacebreaker

In case you think our blog today is biased or prejudiced, think again. We're not calling Evelyn A. Servin anything she isn't claiming to be. First, let's look back at some of Mrs. Servin's previous activities in Franklin County:

In today's TimesDaily, Mrs. Servin is again interviewed. Let's examine two of her quotes:

“We haven’t had immigration reform in over 20 years." True, but we haven't had federal reform on the legal sale of alcohol in over 80 years either. We weren't aware that laws needed to be updated with the frequency of a McDonald's or Burger King restaurant. Should they be updated because we now have fewer illegals or more? Think about that one...

The article continues: She  believes some measures of the proposal are “more drastic,” such as increasing funds for border patrols. We could write an entire blog on that statement alone, but it stands on its own.

However, it's not what Servin said in the article that's so troublesome; it's her Twitter account that presents a facet of her admitted personality that's hard to understand. Evelyn Servin dubs herself a "revoltosa," the feminine form of the Spanish word "revoltoso." Below is the definition of revoltoso.

We're all for changing many things in the system, as one of our blogs from last week illustrated. We simply prefer to to it legally if at all possible. Presenting herself to the world as rowdy and a troublemaker will do her no favors in the political climate of Alabama...or anywhere else.


Red, White, Blue, & Rowdy:


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Red Bay Ruckus & the ABI

Bay Tree Park: Does Red Bay Have New Claim To Fame?

Yesterday the Red Bay officer involved in the alleged civil rights violations of members of the Hurricane Creek Baptist Church was named in the press for the first time. Here's some interesting info on Sergeant Kyle Palmer and his victims.

We've mentioned before that the Alabama Bureau of Investigation will not enter a case on the request of a private citizen alone. Red Bay Police Chief Jana Jackson has stated she called the ABI on the night of the June 2nd incident and was told it was not something in which the agency was authorized to get involved. Why?

Was the ABI fully apprised of the situation? Will they become involved now that four formal complaints against Sgt. Palmer have been filed? Will they wait until the church deacon files a law suit against the Red Bay force?

Conducting only an internal investigation is not avoiding the appearance of evil. If the Red Bay Police feel they are on firm ground, perhaps they should consider that the daughter-in-law of the injured deacon Steve Scott is an attorney. We have to ask the citizens of Red Bay if they are comfortable with their tax dollars being used to defend a lawsuit...or possibly being paid out if Mr. Scott and the others involved win the suit?


Friday, June 21, 2013

Trial Date Number Eight Set for Kimberly Bynum

Vina High School
Yes, Kimberly Bynum George's Franklin County trial for having sex with one of her students has been postponed a seventh time. The new date is August 17th, 26 months after the former Vina teacher's initial arrest for having sex with a student ten years her junior.

Why? We've speculated before that since the county's trial docket is so full, Judge Terry Dempsey has allowed this many postponements in order to get to more pressing legal matters. We've also speculated that Bynum's defense team is hoping she becomes pregnant by her victim cum husband. Nothing like a pregnancy to produce sympathy in a jury.

Are the delays hurting anyone? Yes. First they hurt Bynum's ex-husband who is also a victim in all this. Second, they hurt the judicial system by attempting to manipulate the court. Is this rare?

Apparently not. Let's move on to Hershel Dale Graham, convicted killer of David Andrasik...


Just yesterday we mentioned that Graham would be sentenced in one week. We were mistaken. His sentencing is being postponed due to the fact one of his four lawyers will be in Gulf Shores for a vacation on June 27th. Aren't three attorneys enough to be present for a sentencing? We would have thought so, but if sentencing Graham with only three present could somehow leave a loophole for an appeal, we certainly see how a postponement is necessary.

It does present a problem if all four must be present at the sentencing. With that many attorneys, Graham could have as many delays as Kimberly Bynum. It also provides more opportunity for Graham's son, former mother-in-law, and anyone else who may have a sadistic mindset, to taunt David's family on a local forum.

We'll post the new sentencing date as soon as it's available...


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lawsuits, Petitions, & Us

One of the greatest feelings in the world is to know you've changed something for the better. Unfortunately, change often requires a lawsuit. We've focused this week on the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office; we know there are several lawsuits still pending against either the office itself or Sheriff Ronnie Willis in particular. Are these lawsuits deserved or merely frivolous?

Frivolous lawsuits aren't as common as some would have us believe, due in large part to the amount of money it requires to hire an attorney and/or court charges for filing litigation. If a judge assigned to a case feels there's no basis for the charge, he/she can dismiss the case before it wastes any more judicial resources.

We look forward to seeing just where the remaining cases against Sheriff Willis will go...


Second to a lawsuit is a petition. Until faced with the fact that attorneys for convicted killer Hershel Dale Graham planned to ask for house arrest for  their client, we've never before initiated a petition. After we close out the petition and Graham is sentenced, we may initiate one to remedy the very broken Alabama system for crimes considered Capital offenses in this state. It will obviously be a long and on-going process, but it will be well worth it if the current system can be overhauled even in a small way.

Hershel Graham will be sentenced one week from today. We ask that if you haven't already signed the petition, you do so now. You don't have to live in Franklin County or even Alabama to sign. We will shortly be closing it out and forwarding it to Franklin County Judge Terry Dempsey.


Besides a lawsuit or a petition, is there a quicker way to bring change to a faulty policy or program? It depends on how large or entrenched the offending policy may be. Sometimes all it takes is for us to write a letter.

If the problem is local, and local is what we're basically about here, you may be surprised at how soon the situation is remedied. Try it, and then tell us how it worked for you. We love success stories.


A movie about many things...including an incompetent sheriff. Sorry we couldn't find the excellent 1974 version.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Dispatch Dirty Deal

Yesterday we blogged of seven Lauderdale County employees who recently lost their jobs as dispatchers for the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department. We've been informed that the actual number was six--four full-time and two part-time. There's several layers to this story, and we will not be able to go into all of them today. Let's just say it will be interesting when each layer is carefully pulled back and examined.

As each question concerning these terminations is answered, three more are generated. While most citizens of the county have sympathy for anyone who loses a job, the bottom line for most is money. Isn't the consolidation a good move?

Yesterday we stated it was, and we still believe that to be true; however, the job title of "dispatcher" doesn't seem to cover adequately what these employees did for the sheriff's office. Here's a few of the extra duties these dispatchers performed:

1. Maintaining protection from abuse orders

2. Checking and pulling warrants

3. Assigning case numbers for reports

4. Maintaining officer overtime log

5. Running driver license and car tag numbers

6. Several other small clerical duties

Will the 911 dispatchers now handle this? We understand the Lauderdale EMA has firmly refused to consider doing so. That means not only will Lauderdale County now be paying 911 for its services, the county will also have to hire part-time clerical help for the above referenced tasks.

We also understand while Sheriff Ronnie Willis made a huge pretense of attempting to influence 911 to hire the terminated dispatchers, Lauderdale's 911 office had already hired the additional dispatchers needed before the termination was officially announced.

Are the fired dispatchers mad? Obviously they're not happy, but they are not vindictive. Will there be lawsuits? We don't know. We will follow the story as more develops.


There are some reports around the courthouse that these dispatchers will not be allowed to draw their unemployment compensation. While the two part-time employees may not be eligible, the four full-time certainly should be. If any are denied, please contact us.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Now That You've Been Fired/Zoning Gone Amok in Florence

Whether you call it "fired," "terminated," or "laid off," it happens to the majority of employees at some point in their lives. Many receive a Reduction in Force (RIF) bonus. Some receive an admonition not to darken the door again unless they want a visit from the police. It seems some Lauderdale County employees recently received something extremely interesting when they were shown the door.

Yes, four full-time and three part-time sheriff's dispatchers recently lost their jobs when their positions were consolidated into the 911 office. We agree this sounds more practical on every level, but we do feel for those who were terminated through no fault of their own. What did they receive?

(Sheriff Ronnie) Willis said each of the dispatchers who lost their jobs were given applications for 911 dispatcher positions.

Pardon the cliche', but isn't that special? Couldn't any of us simply walk into the 911 office or some office associated with the county commission and acquire such an application? Couldn't Sheriff Willis at least have given them a recommendation? Or would that have made it much worse for them in the job market? The best of luck to these seven former county employees.


Several months ago we were discussing rundown areas of Florence with a friend who corrected us on the condition of at least part of East Tuscaloosa Street. He suggested we drive by a block that had been almost totally renovated into homes of value. When we saw what these three homeowners had achieved we were greatly impressed.

Yet recently something happened that devalued much of the work they had done. A corner lot was vacant, and some enterprising landlord decided to build a small bungalow on the property. Lest you think it might be some stylish architecture one would find in a gulf coastal town, think again. The house reeks of cheap.

Most areas of downtown are in mixed zones for building. In other words, one can build a business or apartments next to a single family dwelling. That doesn't mean they should, or at least they shouldn't be able to if it doesn't improve the neighborhood. How can the City of Florence extol the beauty of Walnut Street when it denies that same beauty to a neighboring street?


Monday, June 17, 2013

Journalism, Anyone?

Over the years, we've received several comments that what we do isn't real journalism. Never have we attempted to be a journalist, but we do consider ourselves quite adept at political commentary. We have no desire to be a journalist for three reasons:

1. They don't usually make enough money.
2. They aren't allowed to use the Oxford comma by AP style rules.
3. They are not usually allowed to publish their opinion.

Opinions are important; we should all read opinions that we know will be contrary to ours--we just might learn something. One of the most hilarious "fan letters" we ever received gushed about an article we wrote. It was one of the most interesting and well-presented works of writing this woman had ever encountered...until we got to the last paragraph and gave our opinion. That ruined the whole thing. We still laugh whenever we remember that particular missive.

Reading some recent articles in the TotallyDecatur, we decided to look into what it takes to be a journalist, as in acquiring a degree to give one that official title. Quite probably most schools have differences in curriculum, but here's one from a prominent university:

Writing: two courses required
Cultural diversity in the United States: one course required
Ethics and leadership: one course required
Global cultures: one course required
Independent inquiry: one course required
Quantitative reasoning: one course required

We're not sure how many writers for the TD actually have degrees in journalism. We're pretty sure they can't read street signs considering how far off geographically they are on many locations. Our favorite errors involve writers who have no idea where Florence Boulevard begins in the downtown area and those who write about the intersection of streets that run parallel to each other.

Then there's ethics; sometimes we see that and sometimes we don't. One article that comes to mind concerned the opposition of a local Baptist Church to selling beer at concerts at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. No matter how we felt personally about the sale of potables, we couldn't help but notice the author of the piece didn't say he even tried to contact church officials to publish their reasoning for the opposition. That would qualify as quite a slanted work that didn't publicize its intent in advance.

Of course, there's all those writing courses journalists must take. We noticed the fruit of these classes in a recent Bobby Bozeman article:

Food vendors will be on hands along with T-shirts being sold and the donations to the Old Railroad Bridge Company will be accepted.

We've read better in The Suburban News. 'Nuff said.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers Day 2013: Fathers & Friends

If you're male, your father was your first best friend and mentor. If you're female, he was your protector and still is. If you still have your father, tell him how much you love him today. If you no longer have him, tell a father figure how much he means, then do something good in honor of your father.

Sadly, we see where some refer to their male parent as a "sperm donor." And more sadly, for some it's true. If you know such a child or young adult, resolve to be the father (or mother) figure this person needs.

We hope each of you has a blessed Fathers Day.


Friends? We have many, some more special than others. Sometimes we unintentionally hurt those who are close to us. While Shoalanda personally works for herself, we know many work for companies or entities they care about. This is admirable and says much about their character.

We've had our say about UNA's current policy on foreign investors and don't plan to broach the subject again unless something dramatic happens...and we sincerely hope it doesn't. It was certainly never our intention to hurt those whom we admire and love.

Just remember this: If someone agrees with you 100%, then you have some serious mind control going on...or the other person is lying big time.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

George Wallace, Jabez Stone, & William Cale

It's been 50 years since George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door. Apparently it's trendy this month to debate why he did it. Keeping a promise? We calls it as we sees it, and garnering votes from uneducated rural Dems is the most likely answer. Did he really believe Caucasians were the master race? We doubt it, but it was a vote getter and that was all that was important to him. There's a term for that, and we'll get to it.

Such actions bring to mind Jabez Stone. Can't quite recall who he was? How about Daniel Webster? A fictionalized version of the great orator defended Stone in an attempt to extricate the farmer from a signed contract...with the Devil. Yes, like George Wallace, Jabez Stone sold his soul to the Devil, and just as Wallace later claimed to have been redeemed, the character of Stone wins his soul back. Among Webster's words of wisdom at the trial are these:

"No American citizen may be forced into the service of a foreign prince. We fought England for that in '12 and we'll fight all hell for it again!"

Now we have a comparable situation in the Shoals. We count among our dear friends a high pooh-bah from the University of North Alabama. She states that because of government cuts to education, President William Cale had no choice but to accept the offer of a Chinese Communist who desired to align himself with the university.

We wish to make clear that there's a huge difference in recruiting Chinese students, who have committed no sin other than being born in a Communist country, and a card carrying member of the National Peoples Congress. That Chinese governing body numbers approximately 3K. In other words, Zhang Zhiting is in the top .00375% of the Chinese Communist government, but it's all about money isn't it? Selling whatever we have to sell to keep body and soul together.

Oh, sorry, bad choice of words. Do you smell sulphur?


Did someone say Chinese alternative medicine?


Friday, June 14, 2013

Jane Fonda New VP of Entertainment at UNA

Jane Fonda with Anti-Aircraft Personnel outside Hanoi July 1, 1972

In a surprising tactical move to recruit more international students, the University of North Alabama today announced Jane Fonda will be joining the university as the new Vice President of Entertainment. In a press conference open to invited guests only, a university spokesman stated the new addition will appeal to the vast numbers of Chinese students expected to arrive on campus within the next five years.While Fonda has moved away from her openly Communistic leanings the past few years, the spokesman added that she remains a living legend to all those raised in countries that personify the term "red states." 

In a footnote to the announcement, the obviously ebullient spokesman added that in deference to Zhang Zhiting, the Chinese businessman behind the new school of integrated health and a member of the National Peoples Congress, an executive branch of the Communist Party in China, the names of ROTC graduates who fought in Korea and Vietnam will be expunged from the plaques at the World War I Memorial Amphitheatre. 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

UNA U.S.-China International Institute

"UNA Keeping You Safe from the Commies by Clogging Their Arteries with Fried Chicken"

The first problem seems to be the title of the new UNA school is ungrammatical, but why let that bother us when there's so much more to this deal that promises to...ummmm, do something for the Shoals. The salient question is just what will this new endeavor bring to the Shoals besides money, or is money all that counts?

Perhaps it's what we're not seeing that bothers us the most. No local physicians have come forward to praise this move. Neither have any nurse practitioners, other nurses, or hospital administrators. If money is all that matters, let's look to Nevada for inspiration. Just think of all the local girls who would be making the big bucks then...


A new comment on the incident at the Hurricane Creek Baptist Church has raised some interesting questions. First, we're told the two queries of church deacon Steve Scott were:

1. What's going on here?

2. Do we not have county law enforcement to handle situations in the county?

It was apparently the second question that raised the ire of the Red Bay police sergeant. We're not an expert on police jurisdiction; therefore, we have no idea if the officer acted improperly by not first contacting the Franklin County Sheriff's Department to help with the search. We may infer that at this point the Red Bay officer knew the child was in no danger and that there was no pressing need to physically remove her from the worship service. Since the church, located just outside Vina, would be under the jurisdiction of the sheriff's department and not Red Bay, it would seem this sergeant's actions are extremely suspect.


Interesting article about the Russellville municipal clerk under indictment for embezzling 25K. Since she's reported to have worked for the city since 2005, we wonder what the actual total of missing funds might be and why the statute of limitations is three years.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lifestyles of the Slimy and Scaly?

No, we're not talking about any former circuit court judges; we're just trying to figure out what a mural of fish has to do with the lifestyle of downtown Florence. The last time we looked, there wasn't even one catfish restaurant.

We also have to wonder about the new TimesDaily software. Under articles similar to "Lifestyles of Florence" is "Man Arrested on Charges of Rape and Sodomy." The staff at the TD may really need to work on that feature.


We're sure Facebook, if you indulge, sends you all sorts of pages on your news feed, suggesting you just might like them. We recently received a posting from Yellowhammer Politics, a seemingly conservative endeavor. Looking it over, we see the "no new taxes" phrase.

That may sound good to some, but in this state it's not a matter of too much tax, but the wrong things/people being taxed. Can't we come up with just one candidate for at least one office who would promise to look into that?


Speaking of elected officials, for over two years we've received complaints about a certain Lauderdale official who doesn't like black women, or any women over the age of 40 or so. While we find such prejudices extremely distasteful in most instances, look at it this way: Would you really want him to like you?


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Update on Hurricane Creek Baptist Church Assault

We have been given some new information on the Sunday June 2nd assault that took place at Hurricane Creek Baptist Church in Red Bay. The victim was Mr. Steve Scott aged 62. (Apologies for adding a few years to Mr. Scott's age in our previous blog.)

The incident occurred at the evening service, during which Mr. Scott asked two questions of the Red Bay police sergeant investigating a case of custodial interference. The officer, said to be 36 years younger than Mr. Scott, then physically attacked the church representative. The cowboy cop then reportedly drew his gun and began to brandish it in front of several congregants, at least one of whom called the Franklin County Sheriff's Department.

Deputy Clint Holcombe

Franklin County Deputy Clint Holcombe arrived to defuse the situation. Several present credit Deputy Holcombe with preventing much worse injury to Mr. Scott or others. Scott was then taken for medical treatment which determined his arm was sprained rather than broken as originally thought.

We still have no word on an ABI investigation; however, it seems some members of the small Baptist church will be filing formal complaints against the Red Bay officer. In our previous blog we stated the officer in question might be better employed as a bouncer. One reader reflected...

Oh, and to correct the statement that the cop would fit right in as a bouncer: I know him personally and if you take away his badge and gun and taser and pepper spray and nightstick and the knowledge that he's afforded extra protection under the law, he wouldn't swat a fly!


Monday, June 10, 2013

They Cut Her Ears Off!

She apparently didn't look enough like a Pit Bull to her owners so they clipped her ears...with a pair of scissors. Infection ensued. Now she's at the Florence Shelter facing expensive medical treatment.

We know only that she was confiscated from a home on Cherokee Street in Florence. Whoever did this to her should be made at least to pay her vet bill. The horrible thing is perhaps many do the same and we never know it.

The shelter has named her Soleil. If you'd like to contribute:

drop donation at the shelter 702 E College St
Or donate by Paypal
Please indicate that your donation is for Soleil. 


We've had several questions concerning the young man from Muscle Shoals who remains hospitalized in a coma. We did not break the story, and don't have any new info. We do hope he recovers quickly and whoever is responsible for his condition will be punished.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Free Days of "TimesDaily" Numbered?


Shelton Publishing of Decatur owns several newspapers, among them the TimesDaily and the Courier Journal, both located in Florence...the Shoals. The Decatur Daily could be said to be the Shelton family's premiere publication, and it's not free online except for the basics. Neither does it have a forum, something TD editor Scott Morris has openly stated he opposes.

Earlier today the online news site Pen-N-Sword, not affiliated with Shelton or any other publications, reported seemingly new policies at the TD:

It's a well known fact that publishers make their money via advertising, not from those who purchase their publications. Charging for online content is not that common at this point, and after at least two years of rumors that such charges were coming, we're a little surprised that they may finally be here.

While we don't yet know the extent of these fees for online viewing, earlier in the year the Tuscaloosa News uttered rumblings concerning charging for its forum. We haven't checked recently to see if that policy is still in place, but if the TD should initiate charges for its TVT forum, there are alternatives to that also.

Tomorrow: Alternatives


The Alabama Department of Transportation has confirmed it will be closing one of the overpasses on Hatch Boulevard for several months. It's initially worrying, but perhaps the project will be like the new paint job for O'Neal Bridge announced three...or was that four...years ago. We're still waiting.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Red Bay Facing a Lawsuit?

It was Sunday June 2nd. A person called Red Bay Police to inform them a child was missing. What could have been a horrible situation was apparently simply a case of custodial interference. Yet it has led to a severely injured citizen and a possible law suit against the town.

A Red Bay officer investigating the disappearance of the young girl learned that she might be in a worship service at Hurricane Creek Baptist Church. Arriving at the church building, the cop entered, found the girl, and removed her from the worship service.

We don't know how much commotion this caused, but one gentleman, reportedly a deacon, also left the service to determine the problem. The man is reported as being in his late 60s and a respected member of the community. Once outside the building, the Red Bay officer informed the church member that he had no business inquiring about what had just happened. Things escalated.

At some point, the Red Bay officer physically attacked the Hurricane Creek Baptist Church deacon, breaking his arm we're told. Other members had by then come outside, one calling the Franklin County Sheriff's Department. Someone, possibly Shannon Oliver himself, arrived and threatened to arrest the Red Bay officer.

We understand the officer was not arrested, but the deacon was taken to Red Bay Hospital for treatment. To answer the question of one reader, we do not know if the ABI has been called in. Obviously it should be.

Yes, we know the name of the Red Bay officer who allegedly broke the deacon's arm. If legal charges are filed, we will be reporting it, but not until then.

Red Bay officers do not receive the training those who work in larger towns are subject to. This officer would be better employed as a bouncer at a night club. He would fit right in.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Forums, Red Bay, & Libel

Red Bay, Alabama

There's a national online forum that we won't name here due to the remote possibility someone either 13 in age or IQ is reading this and has not yet discovered this modern wonder. This forum is not censored and posters regularly libel others.

We've discussed the legal definition of libel before, as in grounds for a civil suit, and damages to income or personal life is the third requisite for such a suit. That means such suits are extremely difficult to win, and most attorneys shy away from taking them.

Some weeks ago a poster claimed the female police chief of Red Bay was having multiple affairs. Our opinion is many cannot accept a woman in a position of authority. Now, someone supporting a light sentence for Hershel Dale Graham, convicted killer of David Andrasik, has brought up a similar topic concerning Chief Jana Jackson and Andrasik. Multiple posts have been made, all along the same line, and all labeled as originating in Florence. 

Whoever the poster(s) is, he/she may think it's a safe bet that they can't be traced. First it does take a court order. It also helps to have the right contacts. Does anyone think Chief Jackson doesn't have the right contacts? Does anyone think Chief Jackson could not claim her job security was put at risk by these posts?

No, it would be fairly simple for Chief Jackson to determine the origin of these posts. If we were Elijah Graham, currently under indictment for drug possession/distribution in Franklin County, we would want to be sure no more such posts are made.

Tomorrow: What Really Happened at Hurricane Creek Baptist Church in Red Bay?


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Harry Wayne Roberts Charged with Rape

Three weeks ago, Harry Wayne Roberts and his wife were listed as wanted individuals, namely as the masterminds of a local theft ring that targeted heavy equipment across northwest Alabama. Today Roberts, 48, has been charged with First Degree Rape in Colbert County.

Roberts and his wife Stacy Elaine Murray, 34, list their primary residence as in Russellville. Murray had reportedly turned herself in to Franklin County authorities, but Roberts had not. If Franklin County still wants Roberts, he's being held in the Colbert County Jail. Considering the newest charges against him, he may wish to stay there rather than return to his wife 


We've received several comments, both public and private, on yesterday's blog concerning Autumn Marie Wood. Obviously accusations need to be verified before they are published, but one rumor seems to be in full force. Did someone hand Autumn the knife she used to stab Brooklyn Hollins?

The current account of Autumn searching a kitchen drawer for a weapon hardly makes sense. Surely Brooklyn didn't lie on the kitchen floor patiently waiting for the fight to resume. We're sure these facts will be brought out at the trial in September.


Several readers have also asked if the murder trial of Jason Green started today. A Franklin County judge had scheduled the trial, postponed four times, for June 6th; however, we have no new info on the proceedings. Such trials usually begin on Monday, with the first day being reserved for jury selection. There's a good chance the proceedings have again been postponed. We welcome any input.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Fair Trial for Autumn Marie Wood?

A reader has asked if Autumn Marie Wood can get a "fair trial" in Lauderdale County. For those who may have missed the news today, Wood was denied her second request to be tried as a juvenile in the stabbing death of Brooklyn Ann Hollins.

Wood's attorney may now ask for a change of venue. We would doubt that such a request would be granted. Tony Logan's was; Christy Scott's was not. Go figure. Wood could also accept a plea bargain. She's not denying she killed Hollins, but at this point she is claiming self defense.

As for a "fair trial," it's our opinion Woods would ultimately come out better going to trial than accepting a plea. The teenager is physically attractive and many on a jury will feel sympathy for the young woman. It may be a sad fact, but Wood will be in court in person to present her side--Brooklyn Hollins will not.


Let's look at another sad fact. It's been reported there were 18 youths at the unchaperoned house party. Probably more attendees were female than male, but we may assume at least nine party-goers were young women. One such youth lived in the home, leaving eight teenage girls who were overnight guests at this unsophisticated soiree. Of the eight (probably more), all had parents/guardians who allowed them to spend the night away from home without speaking to an adult in charge.

Someone on a local forum has commented on the grammar and spelling of youths discussing the crime. We may safely assume if these parents don't care where their daughters spend the night, they certainly don't care about their education or lack thereof.


Special: New Arrest for Corely Langley Griffin

Our three-time loser friend with crimes against women has again been arrested. Court records show Corey Langley Griffin was charged with Coercion, or Harassment and Intimidation, in his hometown of Talladega. Want to bet his victim was female?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kellergate Is Now

From a concerned resident of Lauderdale County:

1) The people of Lauderdale county and their leaders need to petition the governor to intervene and encourage the CON board to act upon the original request for 300 beds. The more the better. We can all make a difference if we call or write to his office. If he is serious about helping create growth and jobs in Alabama, this is a no-brainer.

2) If the businesses in Colbert county will not support the growth and stimulus that this would add to the community, then don't support them with your dollars either. Let them know that if they continue to support the efforts by HKH to stifle this project, that you can spend or send your dollars elsewhere as well. Let's face it, pocketbooks talk. We saw in the TD yesterday where some businesses left Colbert county to open in Lauderdale because up to 2/3 of their customers were from Lauderdale county. We can use that to our benefit. 

3) Let your physician know that that you support this project and encourage him to do it as well. they don't have to practice or admit to the hospital to know that what is good for the community will be good for them.

I think the reason for all of the ads by the HH and HKH administration has been to solely place the blame on RegionalCare when they decide not to build a hospital. They know that Regionalcare will not build a 220 bed hospital to replace a 350 bed facility. That is why they have never openly said they did not want a hospital, only a smaller one. This way they save face and make it look like RC is the bad guy. One of their own commissioners made the statement in the hearing that they would have no problem with it if it was being built in Colbert county.

We agree with our commenter 100%. In the past we have supported Colbert County (and Franklin and Limestone) in any endeavor. Now we're presented with the hard cold truth that Colbert not only doesn't support Lauderdale County, but has placed a knife in the county's back. Note the last paragraph of our reader's comments; hence the title Kellergate.

We realize not all citizens of Colbert County oppose the new hospital, but a financial boycott seems to be the best way to make Lauderdale's voice heard. Our readers may do as they please. My personal expendable income will no longer be spent in Colbert County.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Unneeded Certificate of Need?

It must have been a really interesting year--1974. Richard Nixon resigned, Patty Hearst was kidnapped, and the Federal government decided to rope in certain aspects of our health care. Why the latter? It seems the theory was too many hospitals or similar endeavors would increase health care costs for the consumer.

Approximately 13 years later, the Federal government abandoned its stance, but all but 17 of the 51 boards remained in effect, including the one in Alabama. Just what does our CON Board cover? Here's the basic list:

  • Construction, establishment, or acquisition of new healthcare facilities, including:
    • general and many specialized hospitals
    • skilled nursing facilities
    • intermediate care facilities
    • skilled or intermediate care units in veterans' homes
    • rehabilitation centers
    • Ambulatory Surgery Center
    • facilities for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) treatment (dialysis)
    • some alcohol and drug abuse facilities
    • home health agencies
    • hospice
  • Addition of beds or change of bed classification
  • Any medical equipment whose associated cost is greater than $2,647,548
  • New annual operating costs greater than $1,059,019
  • Any capital expenditure for or on behalf of a healthcare facility or organization in excess of $5,295,096
Please note that the expenditure limits are indexed annually. The amounts indicated are for FY 2012.

Quite long for just the basics, isn't it? Don't you wish the government would take that much interest in payday loan stores?


So what happens if the CON Board denies RegionalCare its request for a new hospital--at least the one RC wants to build? The denied party has 15 days to appeal; all appeals will be heard and acted on within approximately five months. And if RC should also lose the appeal? That isn't clear. A private source tells us they could apply again in 24 to 48 months, but we can't find that in any state literature.

And what if RC should decide a smaller hospital isn't worth its time or money? The Brentwood hospital conglomerate would then owe Lauderdale County 40 million. We don't see that happening, but it will nonetheless be interesting to see how this plays out.


By now we assume Jerry Don Crowden is safely back in the Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center. We've had several readers contact us to say this was Crowden's third escape--not second as reported in PNS, but we've been unable to verify that.

If you missed the Pen-N-Sword article on Crowden, his release date is 2029. He isn't eligible for Good Time and we don't see him making parole. Of course, now he has a new escape charge. Here's hoping Lauderdale County tries him this time as a habitual offender.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

What the TimesDaily Doesn't Tell Us...Or Is That Ronnie Willis?

Saturday morning saw an escape from the Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center. Perhaps you read about it in the TimesDaily...or perhaps you were lucky enough to read about it in Pen-N-Sword. These two news outlets gave different accounts of why the escapee Jerry Don Crowden was incarcerated to begin with.

We often hear, and we at Shoalanda usually agree, that the TD is a cheerleader for local business and nothing more. This could be the reason the possibility of danger to the public was played down, yet the Florence Police Department page on Facebook gave at least part of the info on Crowden that PNS published. The difference?

Reading the article in today's TD that announces Crowden's capture, we notice that the info on Crowden came from Ronnie Willis' office. Perhaps that's the problem?

No, Jerry Don Crowden wasn't arrested in May for his most recent crime spree. He was returned here from prison in May for additional court appearances. Obviously he didn't want to go back. Perhaps now he'll be incarcerated for the rest of his natural life. The Shoals will be safer.


Have you often wondered what the Certificate of Need Board is and why it has so much authority over local health care? You can thank the Federal government for the original CON premise. Tomorrow we'll talk about it in some depth and what an unfavorable ruling for RegionalCare could mean.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Update on Carla Rena' Cannon Animal Abuse Charge

Pictured is Carla Rena' Foxx Cannon, half the married duo currently facing 14 counts of misdemeanor animal abuse in Lauderdale County. In yesterday's blog, we stated Cannon was employed at Florence High School. Cannon is, as our police source informed us, a Florence teacher, but not in the Florence City system. She currently works as the Media Specialist for K-6 at Wilson School in the Lauderdale County system. Wilson uses a Florence mailing address, but is technically outside the city. Apologies to the Florence City system and CFSO Connie Roberts who obviously want nothing to do with Rena', as she calls herself.

Yes, indeed, Cannon has taught at several county schools including Lexington, Cloverdale, and Central. She has previously taught special education and holds a masters degree. Of course, no one ever equated little grey cells with compassion, now did they?

One word of advice for Rena': With all the money you and hubby Bart saved on dog food, buy some lipstick for your June 20th court appearance. Nothing like a little fresh paint on an old barn as the saying goes. We've seen some of the photos of the abused and dead dogs; you're going to need all the help you can get.

Editor's Note: The Florence Animal Shelter expects all fourteen surviving dogs to recover and be placed in permanent and loving homes.