Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What Do Lauderdale Investigators Investigate?

Several months ago, a source with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department sent us information that the three individuals who died in a March house fire may have already been dead when the fire was set. A member of the victims' family soon contacted us to say that was definitely not the case, and we immediately corrected the misinformation.

Now we see that an Alabama Fire Marshal has noted errors in a recent report that appeared in PNS. The latest PNS article lists the previous sources for reports of an accelerant being used in the fatal fire--at least two news organization stated they were quoting Lauderdale investigators:

Whenever a fire results in a fatality, state fire marshals are called in. These individuals are highly trained in arson and present the definitive reports on any fatal fires. It seems odd that sheriff's department personnel chose to relay this information. It also seems odd that they feel free to comment on the case, while the fire marshals do not.

The Brewer family has wounds that will never heal. Let's hope the investigation is completed soon and whoever is responsible is soon brought to justice.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CON Meetings Redux/Eyesore?!

Two days ago we commented on Rep. Greg Burdine's attendance at both Certificate of Need meetings in support of RegionalCare and a new hospital in Lauderdale County. Shortly after we published, Tom Whetstone of RC informed us that state senator Tammy Irons was in attendance for one of the two meetings. We apologize for that omission.

One reader sent a photograph of those who supported RC in person at the first hearing:

We regret that we don't have names for all the faces, but we do see Irons and Burdine. The reader who sent the photo stated that everyone placed themselves for the shoot. Very interesting...


The TimesDaily has been producing a gallery of Shoals eyesores for the past few weeks. This week's was Tuscumbia, and among the normal run-down houses was one surprising entry:

The photo is by Matt McKean and shows the dilapidated state of two Deshler signs. We're going to assume the signs were erected by some booster group that has now disbanded or has simply forgotten this project. The sign on the right appears to be falling apart, and both are in need of fresh paint.

Surely some Deshler Alumni are willing to contribute toward redoing these signs? Someone? Let us know.

Note: This is a very worthwhile series of photos, and we hope Mr. McKean doesn't mind our using his excellent photo here in an effort to sham..., uh, encourage someone in Tuscumbia to do something about this.


Monday, July 29, 2013

I Thought It Was a Joke

Remember a few months ago when The Onion proclaimed the leader of North Korea was the sexiest man alive? I know you remember when Shoalanda announced Jane Fonda was the new Vice President of Entertainment at UNA. Then there was an often linked article about a couple living in Manhattan without running water. All jokes.

So that's what I thought when I opened an email that said Shoals had a retweet for me. It was a "Baptism Party" at McFarland Bottoms (sic) with hotdogs afterwards. So I'm thinking "who's the funnyman that wants to make fun of church?"

It turns out there really is a "Launch Point Church" complete with a Flash Gordon rocket logo. I still thought for a few minutes that it must be some kind of humanist gathering that really got into the spirit of a joke, but after Googling several sites, I've come to think it's a real group in Colbert County.

I can remember when teachers tried to instruct kids how to act in certain situations. I vividly remember a Christmas Party in the school's gym; at the end a young man sang something like "Away in a Manger." Most kids started to applaud at the end, but the teachers soon put a stop to it. Back in our classrooms to collect out things, the teachers explained how you weren't supposed to applaud an act of worship.

Now I think the teachers just say "do the best you can" and hope for the best. I'm not sure about the hope part. I told Shoalanda what I was going to write and that it might generate some emails. She said it wouldn't be the first blog that did.

I guess those "If it feels good, do it" bumper stickers really worked.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Second Look at Greg Burdine

Our representative to the State House for District 1 has announced he will seek re-election in 2014.  It's no secret that most of us at Shoalanda have Republican leanings; neither is it a secret that we endorsed Mr. Burdine's Republican challenger in 2010.

While we usually lean toward the more fiscally responsible party, we try to judge each candidate on his or her own merits. That brings us to the recent RegionalCare v. Helen Keller Hospital debacle.

Who attended both Certificate of Need hearings in Montgomery? If any think Democrat Tammy Irons and/or Republican Lynn Greer were in attendance, think again. We didn't even hear of any letters they wrote to support Lauderdale County in its pursuit of a new hospital. It was Greg Burdine who was at the hearings and spoke for Lauderdale County and its citizens.

We don't know at this point if a Republican candidate will challenge Mr. Burdine in the next election or not. If one does, he or she will certainly have an uphill battle.


Pen-N-Sword recently had an interesting article on a Limestone County murder case. The admitted killer was given a plea of Felony murder, meaning he will someday be eligible for parole--just like Ron Wikkid Weems. Yet, the same Limestone County District Attorney continues to seek a Capital Murder conviction for Joel Moyers.

We read of those who still hope for a new state constitution. We can't even reform our pathetic Capital Murder laws, much less our outdated constitution.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Harlan School Update/ALFRA Meeting

We've had some updates and clarifications concerning the termination of Dr. Shirley Coker at Harlan Elementary School in North Florence. It seems six teachers had requested transfers at the end of the last school year. At least some of these teachers were later questioned by an attorney for the Florence School Board.

The first called meeting of the Board was last Tuesday night. Dr. Coker received her walking papers on Wednesday, and a second Board meeting Thursday night put a coat of whitewash on the deal, or as one of our readers stated, the meeting was nothing but window dressing.



On Friday, August 2nd at 10:00 AM, THE ALABAMA ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES AND ENFORCEMENT WILL MEET in the Mezzanine Classroom, Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building, 300 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama.

The purpose of the meeting is a 4 year review of Child-Support Guidelines in Rule 32, Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration as mandated by Federal Law.

This is an opportunity for parents to share their experiences directly with decision makers, with regard to application of the child support guidelines and enforcement. We would like to invite those impacted to participate so that the Child Support Committee will hear real stories of real situations to help them make informed and fact-based decisions toward improving the child support system for Alabamians. Even if you do not intend to speak, please attend to learn more about how State practices affect the lives of many Alabamians. Your presence alone could make a difference!


ALFRA does much good in the state. If anyone with an interest in reforming the child support system in Alabama has the opportunity to attend this meeting, please do so.


Friday, July 26, 2013

What's Wrong at Harlan Elementary School?


Several months ago, we received reports that Shirley Coker, principal of Harlan School in North Florence, had been playing musical chairs with her staff. While this may be upsetting to the school's employees, it's not a capital offense. Some parents have also weighed in on other issues at the school, but again, so many complaints can be viewed as subjective. Now the Florence City School Board has "accepted Coker's resignation."

We know only that the Thursday night board meeting was a called conclave not on their regular schedule and that Coker was escorted from the Harlan building. Will there be more information available later? It's a possibility, but if you've been a Harlan employee or parent who feels used and abused, we suggest you pay a visit to the board and tell them your story.


The Alabama Music Hall of Fame Board has three vacancies. One of these was created by a 25-year veteran who felt he'd served long enough. Kudos to Jimmy Johnson for all he's done for the local music scene.

The other two vacancies were created by members who live in Tennessee; they stated this was an impediment to their effectiveness. We've long felt members of any board in Alabama should reside in this state. We have to ask if this epiphany just came to these two board members or are there underlying factors?


Everyone out there in Florence have lights? We're just asking--it seems our Florence Electricity Department workers still don't have a contract...


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Grand Juries: Getting It Right or Wrong?

Some states don't use the grand jury system anymore, but Alabama is one that does. Like so much of our justice system, a grand jury seems to be a crap shoot. We've always heard it said that a good district attorney could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, but is this always the case?

While it would seem rape and other sex crimes are the most difficult to get an indictment for, it would appear others have their problems as well. Demarcus Key shot at his intended victim seven times, didn't manage to hit him, but was indicted for Attempted Murder:

Desmond Powers shot his ex-wife twice and was indicted for only Assault:

Maybe grand juries have more sympathy for those who shoot an ex-spouse?


At 6:25 tonight, Andrew Reid Lackey gave up his life, after taking the life of a Limestone builder on Halloween night 2005. We don't know what his mindset was, but life on death row can't be easy. He reputedly stated he was sorry for his crime...something Tommy Arthur has never been.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What Does It Take to Revoke Bail?

Joshua Alexander Mardis can't seem to stay out of trouble. At 21, he's now become a three-time loser--or has he? Mardis was arrested for his third crime spree sometime early this morning, but depending on how these crimes are adjudicated, he may not have three strikes against him.

Here's a run down of Mardis' first two run-ins with the law: Mardis Arrest

Here's the skinny on his arrest from this morning: Third Set of Charges

We have no idea if Mardis has come to trial for his 2012 arrests. If he hasn't, he has no prior convictions of which we're aware. Obviously the Texaco robbery hasn't been adjudicated yet, so he may have no felony convictions.

For those on Facebook talking about a life sentence, it probably won't happen. What should be of concern to citizens of Lauderdale County is why this young man made bail in the May Texaco robbery. Surely he won't be given the opportunity to bond out of his latest arrest, or will he?


Like SciFi and Fantasy? Here's a great read from local author E. G. Glover. If you have a Kindle, you may borrow one free book a month. Why not try this one?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Who Loves a "Badass?"

Who? We do, that's who. "Badass" Brooklyn Animal Rescue has several Facebook pages, but there's one you should especially be interested in:

You'll find our abused friend whose ears were chopped off with scissors, as well as others you may recognize, on their site. These dogs have been adopted and can't be happier. Well, maybe on days it snows they may miss Florence just a little, but for the most part they're ecstatic to have a new loving home! Be sure to like the page and show them how thankful you are that they're rescuing these wonderful animals.


We've had a few more questions concerning the Jeremy Shane Hall misdemeanor conviction. It seems that some think if the Russellville officer had been guilty, he would have been tried for the original felony charges. We can't speak for the special prosecutors who would have tried the case, but almost any case is a crap shoot.

There were certainly victims, but they lost no money. In fact, five of them gained money for their problems. We doubt they felt satisfied, but we can see how many would feel they should. Also, the plea demands that Hall never work as a police officer in Alabama again. We predict he can't find work in any other state as well.

Yes, the plea was a sweet deal for Hall, but we understand he will be paying his attorney fees for some time. Everything in life is a trade off.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Get 15 Free! What a Deal?

Yes, the announcement has finally come that the TimesDaily online will no longer be free, except for 15 articles each 30 days. So we get half a view every day? We're not sure how many of us will pay the $8.00 charge to subscribe for the online version, but before we do, we should be aware of alternatives. offers Birmingham, Huntsville, and Mobile news online. The state coverage is great, as is the sports. Locally we have several alternatives which we've mentioned before. The Quad-Cities Daily this week is featuring Handy Festival Photos, so take a look if you haven't.

For those readers in Franklin County, the Franklin County Times is still free online, as is the Franklin Free Press which offers a tremendous amount of news on the softer side plus high school sports.

We have no doubt the TimesDaily will make a tidy profit off its new venture, but we also know it will lose some readers...and advertisers.


Hobbies? Addictions? Hobbies are great. Collect antique hat pins or European fishing lures? Go for it, but if your hobbies are actually addictions that ruin your life, we have to ask why?

It seems one Florence woman has already lost her children (or perhaps grandchildren), now she's been arrested again. The Pen-N-Sword story is below. What does it take to convince someone they need help? If you know someone that has a drug problem, you have every right to give up on them, but we hope you don't.

Some just take longer than others to see the light. Look at Robert Downey Jr. There's a success story that should inspire us not to give up.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Was Jeremy Hall Framed? We Think Not

A friend and contributor suggested to us that former Russellville police officer Jeremy Shane Hall may have been framed due to being involved in a domestic dispute. We realize that many husbands...and wives...are often victims in more ways than one when it comes to a divorce involving child custody. Do we think Hall was? No.

Five women filed civil suits against Hall and ostensibly more gave the ABI depositions in its criminal investigation of the good sergeant. Did they all lie? It's possible, but not probable. Yes, we've heard that some bragged they would be millionaires, and we don't doubt that some did. Exactly how much money each of these five women received is open to speculation. The insurance carrier for the City of Russellville settled, and city attorney Daniel McDowell said their claims were baseless.We contacted McDowell, but did not receive a response. That was not unexpected.

Another friend of our blogging group commented that she would not have told anyone if she had been subjected to sexual abuse while in jail. That, friends, is exactly why so many rogue officers know there is hardly any likelihood of being taken to task over their behavior. The following vignettes say a lot about our system.

True or False: Only evil and immoral women are in jail? Misty was celebrating her first anniversary and her husband wanted to make it special. He planned to refrain from drinking that night at dinner, but after Misty had partaken of two drinks, he decided to join in. Hubby realized he shouldn't be driving, but Misty was in much worse condition than he, so he got behind the wheel. After a Tuscumbia police officer spotted their car weaving, he turned on his blue lights. Hubby, who had a previous DUI unknown to Misty, made a quick turn into a vacant lot, exited the car, and ran. Misty was left bewildered, charged with public intoxication, and taken to jail where she remained overnight. She may not have shown the best judgment, but neither was she Bonnie Parker.

True of False: Police officers never come on to a woman first? Jen was driving in a rain storm when she saw the blue lights behind her. She quickly pulled over into a large parking lot where her car was visible to anyone passing by. After the Florence officer gave her a verbal warning about her brake lights, he returned her driver license, and touched her hand. He really liked her and planned to stop her again if he had the chance. Jen was dumbfounded, but she didn't report it. The officer was 10 to 15 years younger than she, and it wasn't as if touching her hand was sexual. She shrugged it off until a year later when the officer was charged with checking underage girls out of school. Maybe she should have reported the incident, but would anyone have believed her?

No, just being in jail doesn't make someone a liar and just being a police officer doesn't make someone above abusing his power. In the end, it may boil down to a male-female take on the former Sgt. Hall. Still, you can bet the ABI officers who investigated Hall are just slightly familiar with interrogation; if Hall's accusers had been lying, these agents would have tripped them up.

Goodbye, Sgt. Hall. It wasn't nice for the City of Russellville to have known you.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Revisiting Some Recent Blogs

We recently blogged on Martini's Bar and Lounge in Sheffield. We were given the information by authorities in Sheffield and found a Facebook page with this name. A reader has made us aware that the official name of the establishment is, or was, Celebrities Martini Bar and Lounge.

This prompts two questions: Did any celebrities ever frequent this watering hole? Did any patrons ever actually order and drink martinis? We're going to guess the answer to both questions is "no."

It's a moot point now since the bar is closed. No word on any new owners or names, but the odds would seem good that some will come along. The Sheffield club actually producing the two gun fights was JD's Glass in downtown Sheffield. You've now been warned.


Another reader asked about the deleted comments on a blog mentioning alleged child abuser Ryan Anthony Allen. While we're happy to publish comments that disagree with us as long as they don't contain profanity, etc., we don't choose to give anyone a platform for child abuse. Neither do we choose to enable those who use private communications to make threats and vulgar language to enhance these threats.

It's probably pointless to try to engage in any rational debate with someone who lists their occupation as a mother you would love to f**k. Why is anyone surprised that those who have no morals or shame are usually the first ones to abuse a child--then make excuses for it?


Still another reader asked about some questionable language we allowed in the comment section on a blog concerning a lawsuit against the City of Muscle Shoals. As a rule, we don't publish such comments, but the language in this case was borderline and came from someone wishing to answer a charge made against him.

We do ask for all commenters to proof their remarks. If you wouldn't say it in front of a judge, please don't say it here.


Tomorrow we'll take another look at Jeremy Shane Hall and answer some questions concerning our previous blog on his misdemeanor conviction.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Ronald Howard Charged in Dog's Death

Ronald (Ronnie) Howard has been charged with Animal Cruelty in the death of Rumble, a bulldog shot last week in Cherokee. Howard is 16 and has been charged as a juvenile. The Howard family has stated the dog was vicious. As always, there are two sides to every altercation; however, this is one which could have had a much happier ending if Howard had simply used some common sense and manners.

Note: The photo of Ronnie Howard is an older one sent by a family member who is concerned for him. He is currently 16 years old; it was the choice of authorities not to charge him as a adult.


Use Real Words: We have a friend who is a speech pathologist. Among her many clients are children who have some degree of intellectual impairment. These children often create their own vocabulary and expect others to understand their utterings. One incident stands out; a group of children in a special needs home would ask for "tap" when requesting something to drink. The SP would always reply, "use real words."

That's our advice to anyone seeking to make their intentions or actions known. We would also suggest it's difficult to harm the reputation of anyone who lists her occupation as "MILF." No child deserves to be thrown to the floor, beaten, and/or raped. If we have to tell anyone that, we have little hope for them.


Tomorrow at Natchez Trace Harley-Davidson: Outreach praise and worship team will hit the stage at 12 Noon. Brooklyn Hall hits the stage at 2 until 2:30!!! Big line up all day tomorrow starting at noon for live music. Come show love and support. Skinny Molly hits stage at 7..... Poker Run last bike out at 11...... FUN. ALL FOR Hollie Hodge Rea. GOD BLESS ALL THAT'S HELPED MAKE THIS A SUCCESS!!!!!

(Apologies to the organizers of this great benefit that we have been unable to contact them due to our phone taking an unscheduled swim. They--Lisa Steel Murr & Co.--do a wonderful work!)


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Riley Redux/Rapist at Large

Remember Jock Bo Riley, one of our "bad boys?" It seems he's let his rehabilitation slip. He's been arrested again in Franklin County for two counts of receiving stolen property in the second degree, one count of receiving stolen property in the first degree, and one count of escape.

Riley is now in violation of the terms of his split sentence. Unless other arrangements are made, he will be going south to complete the remainder of that sentence. We're pretty sure his victims will not be unhappy with that.


We have another entry in the abusive boyfriend category. This one is especially heinous--a rapist, and he has Colbert County connections. While there's a reward for his capture, we can't imagine anyone needing that incentive to turn this cretin in.


More on this tomorrow:


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Real Non-Story

There was a time when we would have espoused the "We're the Shoals; We're One!" mantra. As stated before, due to the current leaders in Colbert County, we can no longer support that ideology. If we can't support that, we can hardly get behind a Decatur corporation who's here to help us by creating non-issues that do nothing to bring success to Lauderdale County--or any county in our immediate area.

On June 30th the TimesDaily published an article in which it claimed Debbie Wilson, Director of Lauderdale Tourism, had received calls concerning a new name for the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Office. We admire Debbie for what she does, and obviously when it comes to tourism, the more sites included the better, but she is, after all, paid to promote tourism in Lauderdale County. We're going to guess at least some of these calls came from the TD itself.

The next day there was a poll on the issue, and more folks voted for a new name than didn't. No surprise there, is it? We're sure Colbert Countians wanted some free publicity. We in Lauderdale County will also lobby for a new name in Colbert County...but we don't expect one.

Then one week ago, Russ Corey did the follow-up story. No new name. Period. Sandra Killen-Burroughs and the tourism board had spoken. That should have cleared things up for good, now shouldn't it? Apparently not for the TD.

Yesterday, the TD did a second story on this non-issue. Apparently our local rag and Jennifer Edwards decided to poll every board member to see how he/she felt individually. Same outcome--no big surprise. If the TD really wants to help things in the area, we suggest they contact the Colbert County Commission to encourage them to keep their nose out of Lauderdale County's business.

But, hey, if Colbert wants to play that way, we're pretty sure Lauderdale has a much nicer facility waiting for the Walgreen's Call Center on this side of the river. How about it, guys? Why not offer them an incentive to move since that's how we seem to be playing the game these days?


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Last Chance for the Shoals?

From Rodney Hall:

The hall is open this week from 2:00-9:00PM with volunteers in conjunction with the Shoals fair, which is renting the property. Come out and support the Hall of Fame in the Shoals!!! This could be the last chance to see it in the Shoals??? reduced admission $8.00.

Is this the last time the HOF will be open in the Shoals? It's certainly possible. The HOF's charter requires it to have at least a token exhibit in Colbert County. Much has been said about plans to keep the HOF here, but to date there have been no announcements of any actual work toward that end. The issue may soon evolve into one of the HOF's ability to sell the Tuscumbia property on which it sits.


We posted this story on our Facebook page and received several comments. Our wish is that no other mother or family has to go through this, but sadly it happens again and again. Now that Noah is on the road to recovery, we may assume Ryan Allen may receive as little as a one year sentence or probation. How do we assure he never feels the need to hurt another child? There are never any easy answers.


Coming tomorrow: The non-issue that the TimesDaily just won't let die.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Lauderdale Tax Dollars at Work in Sheriff's Dept.

Who pays the salaries of Lauderdale County employees? That may sound like a needless question, but it's not something most of us think about. Yes, some of the budget is carved out of sales tax that can come from citizens of other counties or even other states, but most of these salaries come from the citizens of Lauderdale itself. Lauderdale County citizens have a right to expect the best possible employees, but that's not always what we get.

On the flip side, each department manager has a right to choose those who work for him/her and to promote those who are found to be exceptional employees. By exceptional, we don't mean those who buy the most beer for their bosses or wear the largest bra. We realize it's easy to second guess these decisions, but some hires/promotions leave the majority of us shaking our heads at either the system itself or those who actually made these dubious selections.

Recently, the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office had an opening for what is called the Midnight Shift Sergeant. This shift covers 11:00 pm to 7:00 am--the time when you expect most criminals out to be plying their trade. It would also seem to have been a popular job opening since several applied. We understand that among the applicants were:

Brett Martin - A former state trooper
Patrick Davis - Nine years experience, plus college
Randall Haddock
Randall McCreary
Richard Richey - 25 years experience
Tim Ray
Tracy Vanderford - 22 years experience
Others whose names we don't have

So, just whom was selected by Lauderdale County Sheriff Ronnie Willis? We hope you selected "None of the Above" so that you may count yourself the winner of one of today's astute reader prizes. No, it was none other than Deputy Terry Woods. You may remember Deputy Woods, one who has been on the receiving end of several lawsuits for which the taxpayers of Lauderdale County have paid dearly.


Ask someone why they voted in a particular way and you may get some astonishing answers. If you truly want the best for whatever county you reside in, now's the time to start looking into next year's candidates.

We would suggest the voters of any county would not want someone who campaigns to clean up an office but gives his family and friends jobs or who campaigns on family values but has been married five times. No candidate is perfect, but some are better than others.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rumble Was Shot & Killed Friday in Cherokee

A nine year-old taking a walk on a city street on a summer day--that's the scenario we present to you. The young boy took along his dog, a dog who had been raised as his canine brother. As the pair walked down Fourth Street in Cherokee on Friday, a man shot Rumble Creasey, as the dog was called.

Rumble's human family has notified authorities. They will presumably press charges. The shooter will claim some form of threat of aggression from the dog, and nothing will be done--unless it's handled correctly. Many animal cruelty cases are not handled correctly even in large metropolitan areas.

We have to ask if this shooter had his gun handy as Rumble stepped onto his front yard? Did he have time to run inside to retrieve the weapon? Did he ask the young boy to restrain his dog if he did indeed feel threatened?

We'll bring you an update as soon as it's available--and the shooter's name as soon as charges are filed.


Several have inquired about LaDonna Montgomery Hitt, the Russellville City Court Clerk who recently pleaded guilty to embezzling 68K in city funds. Apparently her one year probation didn't sit well with some in Franklin County. Specifically some have asked if her plea was a misdemeanor or a felony. We believe she pleaded guilty to a felony, but as to why such an easy sentence? Here's an interesting article from PNS:


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tom Freeland Sings Those Poor Lawyer Blues

Tom Freeland
Silly us--just a few weeks ago we were concerned with stopping Chinese students from eating the dogs and cats of Florence. It seems we should have been worried about such more pressing matters as the inane signs one finds posted around Franklin County. We're unsure how such back woodsy admonitions have escaped our attention.

However, we may sleep well tonight, for it seems at least one of these signs has been outed by Tom Freeland, an Oxford, Mississippi, attorney. Freeland was forced to suffer the insipidities of Franklin County when he and three other lawyers bravely trekked into the wilds of Franklin to represent indicted murderer Hershel Dale Graham.

Besides having the exciting and honorable career as an attorney, it seems Freeland is also a blogger. Jimmy Durante had a quote about that, didn't he? In one of Freeland's blogs, he spotlighted a sign on a soft drink vending machine; you may view it here: Courthouse in Russellville, Alabama. Be sure to note all the comments wherein the state of Alabama is generally trashed.

Well, perhaps Freeland just had nothing better to blog about that day. Another of Freeland's recent blogs lamented the lack of English proficiency in the news profession today. References were made to "class." We just bet he really loved having to speak with Hershel Graham and his son Elijah.

Of course, we're equally sure he didn't mind taking Hershel's money, now did he? Several have asked how Hershel Graham could afford four lawyers. We have no idea, but Graham will still be going away for a long, long time. Tom Freeland really needs to worry less about rural Alabama courthouses and more about getting a better class of clients.

You may still sign the petition for maximum sentencing for Hershel Graham until the end of the month: Sentence Killer Hershel Dale Graham to 20 Years.

Just for Tom and Hershel:


Friday, July 12, 2013

Passel of Plumbers Plenty Piqued in Muscle Shoals

How to Tell If a Plumber Is from Muscle Shoals...

A Quick Quiz to start your Friday off: A fictitious city places an ad for a plumbing & gas inspector who must have A/B/C for qualifications. This totally fictitious city interviews four applicants. Which one does it choose?

A. Applicant who has A/B/C
B. Applicant who has A/B/C
C. Applicant who has A/B/C
D. Applicant who has only A/B, but knows the right person

Okay, you say it has to be a trick question. We agree, and apparently the original trick was on the three applicants who have A/B/C. Now the trick may be on the fictitious city in Colbert County. We're pleased to publish a letter from Mr. William J. Underwood to the City of Muscle Shoals:

Mayor David Bradford
City of Muscle Shoals
P. O. Box 2624
Muscle Shoals, AL 35662

RE: Alvin Butler Chard and Joseph Michael Moon

I'm sure you remember that on or about the 22nd day of January, 2013, you signed a City of Muscle Shoals job description for a Code Enforcement/Plumbing/Gas Inspector. It was the minimum requirements that a person had to have to receive an offer of the job from the City of Muscle Shoals. One of those requirements was that the individual must possess a master gas and plumbing card. The Civil Service Board of Muscle Shoals received the qualification requirements for the hire. Irregardless the Civil Service Board received four individuals to vote on for that job they canned the three that had all the proper requirements, and hired the only one that did not even have the minimum qualifications.

My clients have been discriminated against because they were qualified and one of those three people who were qualified should have received the job. The Civil Service Board violated my clients civil rights by disregarding the mandate made by you that the minimum requirements be followed. This is the same Civil Service Board that fired Greg Scoggins saying that they had to uphold all mandates that you gave them.

What makes this particularly disturbing Mayor, is that there was an article in the TimesDaily newspaper some days later, in which the newspaper openly exposed the corruption by the Civil Service Board. The newspaper article mentioned that the man hired had a brother that works for the City of Muscle Shoals. I have no doubt in my mind that you know about the whirlwind of fire concerning this matter, and you have done nothing. You have a constitutional obligation to see that the city is run properly and it was your mandate that there be certain minimum requirements. You failed to step in and do anything about this. Not only did you fail to do something about it, the five City Council Members, who incidentally, four of whom go to church with you, failed to do anything about it when they saw the article. That means that every city father in Muscle Shoals, knowing the man that was hired improperly, acquiesced to it.

Somebody inserted his name as qualified for this job for the Civil Service Board to consider him. I plan to sue the City of Muscle Shoals in either state or federal court. I am looking to see whether I can sue you personally for your constitutional disregard of the proper hiring techniques being violated at the city.

My clients have waited this long so that you cannot fire the individual who received the job. I would be the first person to sue the city if you do fire him. The City of Muscle Shoals allowed this inspector to be hired knowing he lacked the minimum requirements, and this man quit his job at the City of Sheffield. There is no way you can now fire him. I would ask that you have your insurance company get in touch with me so that this case is not vetted in the newspaper. I plan to give the newspaper everything I acquire when I file suit, and take the depositions of all the City Council people.

I will also point out one other thing, I have heard a city council member is going to retire because of sickness. I have also heard that it is the consensus of the city council to hire somebody from that same Civil Service Board who disregards the law. I just want to bring this to your attention as I am familiar with what I consider the back door politics that is taking place at the city.

I await your reply. I will file a lawsuit in the next forty-five days.


Note: Since both suits are identical save for the name of the plaintiff, we are publishing only one.




I, Alvin Butler Chard, being over the age of twenty-one years do hereby depose and say as follows:

That on or about the 22nd day of January, 2013, the Mayor of Muscle Shoals endorsed a job description for the employment of the Code Enforcement/Plumbing/Gas Inspector for the City of Muscle Shoals. It stated, in regards to the hiring of said Employee, the applicant must possess a master gas and plumbing card. These are extremely important in effectuating the job for the City of Muscle Shoals and is a prerequisite for most every other municipality in the Muscle Shoals area.

Sometime in April of 2013, this Petitioner and three others appeared before the Civil Service Board of Muscle Shoals. At that time the Civil Service Board, in complete disregard of the stated job description, agreed that an individual who did not have a master card or plumbing card would receive the job of Code Enforcement/Plumbing/Gas Inspector. The City of Muscle Shoals discriminated against me in that the city did not follow its own job description. The Civil Service Board was mandated by the job description to hire an individual that had a masters gas and plumbing card. It defined the job description. The City discriminated against me because I have a master gas and plumbing card and was fully qualified to do said job. It further discriminated against any individual who wanted to apply for this job who did not have a master gas and plumbing card. It made it so that individuals who had the qualifications of the applicant that was hired did not apply because, they felt they could not be hired due to the fact, that they lacked the master gas and plumbing card.

I have been damaged in the amount of the annual salary of said Code Enforcement Officer. The City has blatantly discriminated against me by hiring somebody who did not qualify under their job description and they are required to follow their job description in hiring employees. I ask for one year of salary and my attorney fees.


Other than there being no mention of slaying innocent turtles, we thought the above documents told 'em a thing or two...or three.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Danny McDowell Said What?

Jeremy Shane Hall has received a suspended sentence (read: slap on the wrist) for his alleged sexual assault of several female Franklin County prisoners. Perhaps we should look at the good and rejoice that he can no longer work as a police officer in the state of Alabama.

Where is he working? We hear an ambulance service in Red Bay where he has already brought abject terror to one patient. A career in french fries seems to be in order.

Related post:  Hall Arrested


Now on to Russellville city attorney Danny McDowell. When asked to comment on the money paid to Hall's victims, he was quoted as saying: We didn’t believe there was any merit to the claims made against the city or city employees.

Really, McDowell? Not all filed civil lawsuits, did they? What...they just picked out Hall because they didn't like the way he looked? Please elaborate as to why you felt this way. Women everywhere are extremely interested.


Ryan Anthony Allen is in a lot of trouble for allegedly beating and shaking his girlfriend's two-month old baby. Allen's sister is defending him by saying he chastised her for spitting on her own infant. Perhaps members of Allen's family should remain silent?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kisses & Hisses

Kisses, or at least some kudos, to Sandra Killen-Burroughs, chair of the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board. Sandra is a friend of ours so we can verify what a great job she's done while heading the board. Now Sandra has stood up to those who seek to muddy the Lauderdale side of the Tennessee River with extraneous names for the new visitors center--a center paid for with Lauderdale tax dollars. We have to ask how a few phone calls inquiring about a name change came to be a news story in the TimesDaily?


Hisses to Franklin County's dismissal of the criminal suit against disgraced Vina teacher Kimberly Dawn Bynum George. We do realize it would have been a tough go without the testimony of her victim cum husband. Perhaps a plea involving a fine and probation would have been in order? Her ex-husband and his family are victims in all this too.

We understand that Bynum-George's teaching license was revoked, and she has been working in a service establishment in Madison County. We hold teachers to a higher standard...and rightly so.


A friend offered this comment after reading yesterday's blog: I'm surprised that Martini's turned out to be a dive. You expect sophistication from a business that uses advertising based on a close-up of breasts.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Martini's Bar/Sgt. Kyle Palmer Update

Martini's Bar and Lounge on Hatch Boulevard in Sheffield is a rockin' kinda place. The problem seems to be when customers leave Martini's and venture into other neighborhoods. The lounge, located directly across from the service entrance to Shoals Kia, was once home to Down the Hatch and Club High-Class. The latter was called a teen club, but once had its own shooting to boast:

It seems Martini's has recently been the scene of two fights that spilled over into other towns. While not reported in local news outlets, one of these altercations culminated in a shooting at a Muscle Shoals mini-mart. We'll assume no serious injuries resulted. Last week's shooting on West Mobile Street also sprang from a fight that originated at Martini's. 

Perhaps it's time for the city of Sheffield to take another look at Martini's license? 


The Red Bay Police office of internal affairs has been taking testimony this week in the hearing of Sgt. Kyle Palmer, the officer accused of excessive violence during a recent investigation outside his jurisdiction. Those who have heard the testimony thus far have commented anonymously that much isn't adding up, at least with Palmer's version of events. We look forward to their final report.


Success? How does one achieve it? Our advice is to keep on truckin'. Yet at least some who seem destined for success in life don't quite make it. We have to ask how someone falls so far...


Monday, July 8, 2013

From Bubba: Judy Lee Dyed Her Hair Green

For the Fourth, me and the whole family piled in our Dodge Ram Tough truck with the extended cab and headed to see Cousin Elmo and his wife Sally and their brood in Lauderdale County. We especially enjoyed the fireworks at the Zip City Airport, but they would have been a mite better if the folks in charge hadn't started the show just after noon. I heard they didn't want another incident with the potato salad like last year.

Anyhoo, we went on back to Elmo's to enjoy his new above ground pool when in come his eldest Judy Lee. I swear I tried not to stare, but Judy had done and gone dyed her blond hair green. To be more exact, it was the color of green you hope to never see on any livin' thing. I had to tell Bubba III not to point and giggle, but it warn't that easy for me neither.

So on the way back to Dog Ear, I got to thinkin' about the whole hair mess. Why would Judy Lee have dyed her hair green? I come up with three answers:

1. It was for St. Patrick's Day
2. She lost a bet on a Notre Dame game
3. She wanted to tick off Elmo and Sally

Now since it's July, I felt I could pert much rule out the whole St. Patrick's Day thing. And I'm not sure anyone around Zip City plays Notre Dame, so that's a long shot too. I finally decided she just wanted to make her parents mad cuz they wouldn't let her run off with one of Jason Isbell's roadies.

I asked Miz Shoalanda what she thought, and after thinkin' for a while, she said it could have just been what they call a "fashion statement." Now I've never heard of one of those and was half afeared to even ask what that is, but it didn't really sound all that bad.

So my point today is that sometimes you can reckon all you want, but you may not have enough to go on to come up with the right answer. But just remember, ever body's gonna reckon about the odd things in life and comment on them. Just tellin' folks what your opinion of the matter is doesn't count as gossip. That reminds me, don't mention to Elmo or Sally about the Jason Isbell roadie deal, they might not even know yet.



An answer on the lack of license plates on Shoals Ambulance vehicles: The Ambulance manufacturer AEV has not sent the completed paperwork on the ambulances. Without the proper paperwork they can't get the tags. The situation is beyond the company's control.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Who You Gonna Believe? Not ANPH!

Casa Bonita - Oneonta
ANPH stands for Alabama Non-Profit Housing, a group whose mission is published as: To provide decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing for the low income residents of Alabama. What the mission statement of ANPH doesn't mention is that these low income residents must be agriculture workers. So far in the organization's seven years of existence, it's built ten units, or less than one and one-half units per year.

The ten finished units are in Oneonta and bear the name Casa Bonita (Pictured left--the riprap's a nice touch). Translated into English, the ten unit complex is called Pretty House or Nice House. You may ask how anyone could be opposed to building pretty houses? Apparently someone in Oneonta was, since current ANPH president Jacob Rogers has publicly stated it took three years to get approval for the compound to be built in that central Alabama city.

When finally completed, the complex actually lay one mile outside Oneonta city limits and consisted of five duplexes. The ten units have two, three, or four bedrooms. When the project was finished in October 2011, Rogers stated there would be more units added; however, no work on any addition has been started. What the ANPH has done is to make plans for a similar project in a northwest Alabama city.

The organization has found eight acres in that lucky town which it feels will be perfect for its second foray into USDA subsidized housing. If we read the ANPH's Facebook page we would be led to believe their new housing project is a done deal. From FB March 2012: ANPH and Florida Non-Profit Housing met with the City of Russellville today. The City is supporting us 100% for a new project!!! Sites have been determined! Development stages have been started!

Yes, dear friends, the lucky town is Russellville, but we have to break the bad news to you. While ANPH would have its investors think the city is supporting them, the town of Russellville has actually refused to grant any permits for this Franklin County equivalent of Beverly Hills. Oh, let's not call ANPH outright liars, let's just call them wishful thinkers.

At least 20 prominent Russellville citizens, including attorney Jeff Bowling, attended the last council meeting to voice their irritation at the project. Rogers, who apparently has never had any Dale Carnegie courses, is publicly blaming the town council for not presenting the project in the right light. Also present was a similar group from Florida offering its unsolicited expertise. Further, there was someone calling himself the Rev. Charles Dale (no church affiliation given of course) blaming the council's rejection of the project on racism. Someone please buy Dale a dictionary...please!  

Rogers has stated he will break down the council and prevail (we told you he had never heard of Dale Carnegie). Rosewood Gardens will be built...on the main a single residential area...because it's all about money. If ANPH cared about Russellville and its citizens, it would have found an area currently zoned for two-family dwellings.

Hmmmm, was that really Rev. Dale from whatever or could it have been Rev. LeRoy from the Church of What's Happenin' Now? 


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ronald Weems at Limestone Correctional Facility

Ron Wikkid Weems has been processed and placed at the Limestone prison facility near Capshaw, Alabama. He will have an appeal hearing on August 5th.

The Weems case never ceases to amaze us. Colbert County District Attorney Bryce Graham stated he could find no grounds to charge Weems with Capital Murder, even though a case could surely have been made for attempted rape based on testimony from others who viewed the body.

Ashley Greenhill had several prior convictions, one of them for a violent crime against her own child, but wasn't tried as a habitual offender. Matt Fox and Laurel Pruett faced only two charges each. If they had been charged with and convicted of three separate felonies they would have then been in danger of a life sentence should they ever commit another felony. Wasn't there evidence for at least a theft charge in Pruett's case? 

Now we're confronted with an appeal hearing from Weems and his attorneys. Yes, Ronald Weems will be returned to the Shoals and again have the opportunity for better food and family visits. Let's hope it's his last visit. Amanda's family deserves more justice than what has so far been meted out.


Neighbors of Laquania Weems state she has relinquished custody of Ron and Laurel's daughter to a nephew. The child's situation seems to be going from bad to worse. We know several have contacted DHR over the past year or so concerning this child, but nothing has been done. At this point, it seems as if everyone is waiting for the next clown shoe to drop.


A reader has asked us why Shoals Ambulances don't yet have license plates on their vehicles. We were unaware of that--perhaps special tags were ordered? If any readers can enlighten us, shoot us an e-mail.


Friday, July 5, 2013

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

It was shortly before eleven o' clock when Richard Romine Sr, his son, and four friends arrived at the camp on Lauderdale Beach Road. The entrance to the camp driveway was blocked by a car identified as the one that had pursued the four Coffee youths.

The six men exited their vehicle with the intention of walking down to the camp, but were met by another Coffee High School student. The young man sported a bloody lip and informed the group that Bobby Stewart's gang was attacking anyone who tried to get to the lake cabin. It wasn't safe to go any farther.

Romine decided to ignore the young man's warning and began the trek to the cabin, along with his five companions. Before he reached the camp, a group of five young men approached. The oldest one spoke directly to Richard Romine Jr., asking him what he thought he was doing there.

The elder Romine walked forward and asked the man if he was Bobby Stewart. When Stewart replied in the affirmative, Romine extended his hand and identified himself, stating he was concerned about the violence that had been taking place between the Colbert and Lauderdale County boys.

After shaking Romine's hand, Stewart quickly stated he had not attacked anyone, but Romine continued, asking Stewart if he had not instigated most of the violence over the past few months. Romine stated if the violence continued he would have Stewart arrested. Stewart shot back that he could just as easily have Romine arrested.

Whether Richard Romine Sr. was angered or simply tired of the ongoing dispute, he decided to finish it that night in some manner. Pulling the .38 from his pants, he fired into the ground, later telling authorities he simply wanted Stewart to know he was indeed serious.

When Stewart saw the gun, he stepped back. Romine first hit Stewart in the stomach with his fist, then swung at Stewart's head, still holding the loaded gun in his hand. The gun discharged, hitting Stewart just over the left eye. A shocked Romine knelt and held Stewart's head in his lap as others brought a car down to the scene. Romine and some others placed Bobby Stewart in the car and headed toward ECM hospital.

After being met by an ambulance on the way into Florence, Romine helped the group transfer Stewart. He then began to follow the ambulance to the hospital, but abruptly decided to drive to the Florence Police Department instead. Romine entered the Pine Street department and immediately announced he had shot Bobby Stewart, handing his weapon to a surprised police captain.

The call came into the police department that Robert T. Stewart Jr. had died in the emergency department at approximately midnight. Now Richard Leland Romine Sr. was facing a charge of what was then called First Degree Murder.

To be continued...


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day 2013

Rain? Really? Rain shouldn't stop you from reflecting on our nation and where it's going. Are we more divided than ever? Somehow we doubt it; we simply see it reported at every turn. So be you Democrat or Republican or somewhere independently in between, happy Fourth of July!

It wouldn't be Independence Day without this song. This version has three highly celebrated performers, but only one was a true success in life. Do you know which one?


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Dad Who Did (Almost) Everything Right...

Paxon Thomas Jordan was seven years-old on July 1, 2007. An only child, everyone said Paxon was wise beyond his years. Certainly his parents loved him and wanted the best for him. They knew it was illegal to shoot fireworks in the city of Athens, but the big back yard of their upscale West Athens home was just perfect. There wasn't anyone more safe or methodical than Paxon's father. It would be so entertaining for Pax and his 13 year-old friend from next door.

On July 4th, Shannon Jordan purposely waited until nine o'clock to start the fireworks; he wanted the best possible show for the two boys. He placed the Smoke & Mirrors rocket on a table, making sure Paxon and his friend were 30 feet away as safety experts suggest. He lit the fuse, then rushed to stand beside the two boys. It would be something for them both to remember.

The family dog saw the lit fuse and ran toward the table, knocking it over just as the rocket took flight. Instead of an upward trajectory, the small missile headed toward the three onlookers--it hit Paxon just a few inches above the heart. The young boy dropped to the ground, no longer breathing. The rocket exploded three feet from his body.

As  Beth Jordan drove the short distance to Athens-Limestone Hospital, Shannon performed CPR. Physicians were in the emergency department waiting to receive Pax. They worked for shortly over an hour before they emerged to tell the Jordans that at the age of seven years and three days their son was dead.

Both DHR and the Alabama BATF investigated Paxon's death. In the end, no charges were filed against the parents. The mayor himself said that they had suffered enough.

Please be careful tomorrow!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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

The car pulled onto the Lauderdale County road leading to the lake house. Inside were four youths, one a May 1965 graduate of Coffee High School and three current students, all football players and all anticipating a summer party. Instead what awaited the boys was a gang of Colbert County youths led by Bobby Stewart.

With the road blocked, the driver attempted to turn around, but was forced into a ditch. Continuing to drive, he made it back onto the road and out onto Highway 72. Heading back toward Florence, the driver realized he was being pursued by Stewart and some of the track star's friends. Speeds reached 65 miles an hour, but the group of Coffee footballers lost Stewart and his gang after turning onto Huntsville Road.

Instead of reporting the incident to authorities, the youths decided to seek the aid of Richard Leland Romine. The Florence butcher was only 40 years old, and many of his son's friends saw him as one of the gang, one who would know how to handle the situation.

Six months before, Romine's son Richard Jr. had been attacked by Bobby Stewart. Friends said the attack was so vicious that Richard Jr.'s own family couldn't recognize him. For whatever reason, the fight was never reported to police, but Richard Sr. had good reason not to like Stewart or his friends.

The boys immediately drove to the Romine home in North Florence and were soon joined by Richard Jr. who had been at a movie that night. The six decided to return to the lake house and confront Stewart. No one suggested calling authorities, but Richard Romine Sr. was going to be prepared for any eventuality. He picked up a gun...

To be continued...


Autopsy results indicate the death of Jessica Nicole Davis Broadfoot was indeed a homicide. No surprises there. Pen-N-Sword has new information on the murder, along with some exclusive photographs. We'll post a link when it's available.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Belle Foods & Chapter 11

It was ten o'clock at night. Cars drove around the parking lot looking for a place near the Food World door. None was available.

When was this? Around 1980. So what happened? Mainly Walmart--the local consumer can purchase groceries, pet vitamins, and a new lever for the toilet all in the same place. What's not to like? Actually, our friend O.B. and some others can tell us plenty that's not to like, but for many consumers, it's a way to save money and time in one quick shopping trip.

Did Belle Foods know what it was getting into when it purchased the once famous Bruno chain that included local Food World markets? Apparently not. While Chapter 11 is designed to let a company reorganize as it pays off debts, it appears there are already offers coming in for the Belle Food stores in south Alabama. Here in the Shoals? None that we're aware of.

Does this bode well for Foodlands, Big Stars, or similar markets? So far, most of these smaller stores have managed to hang in there, but the past few years have seen a decline in the offerings at Foodland bakeries and in their meat department.

It seems it may be an Aldi, Walmart, and Publix world--none of them local or even from Alabama. To those inclined to lament these changes, perhaps you could type out a list of remedies using your Word Perfect or Lotus 123 software?


A nine year-old child died yesterday. She was a passenger in a truck driven by a 16 year-old. Not only was this child not buckled in as required by Alabama law, she was sitting in the lap of a passenger who, along with the driver, survived.

We're often asked to give our opinion on such deaths, probably because we've previously criticized parents who let young children either operate or ride on four-wheelers. The nine-year old had no idea of the danger she was in. The 16 year-old should have known the law, but obviously didn't care. He should now care and be reading his insurance policy very carefully. We can tell him right now it won't pay for even half of what the child's parents will sue for.

Parents, why let your child put himself/herself in such a position? You don't have to answer--we already know your response.


Apparently, the murder of Jessica Broadfoot wasn't Homajean Grisham III's first violent rodeo: