Monday, September 30, 2013

Huntsville Hospital: Closer Than You Think

There's nothing like truth in advertising, Helen Keller Hospital demonstrates that old adage very well. Take a look at the hospital's new logo:

Yep, that "HH" is not for Howard Hughes. Never has Huntsville Hospital been so close...and it would like to be a whole lot closer to Lauderdale County than it already is. Remember that.


Any certified welders out there? FreightCar America Needs 150 Welders


Candlelight Vigil for  Victims of Domestic Violence
October 1, 2013
at 7:00 pm
This event is to not only honor those who have survived, remembering those whose lives were so tragically taken. Hope to see everyone there. The crosses are out front of the courthouse for the entire month.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Five Unsolved Shoals Murders

The past fifteen months have seen five unsolved murders in the Shoals--four in Lauderdale County and one in Colbert. Most recently, Lula Addison was found murdered in a downtown Florence motel. VOCAL held a candlelight vigil for Ms. Addison last Thursday night at Wilson Park. Florence Police continue to seek Eugene Lee Jones of Bessemer for questioning. The case is now two months old.

Arson in the Central community in Lauderdale County took the lives of three members of the Brewer family last March. Family of Bobby and Sandy Brewer and their nephew Bradley Adams have initiated a ten thousand dollar reward for information on the person or persons responsible for this deadly crime.

Finally, Elbert Davis of Tuscumbia was murdered in June 2012. The murder of the 88 year-old Davis remains a priority for Tuscumbia police, but according to a source in Colbert County, the authorities are no nearer solving the crime than they were in the days immediately following the murder.

It may sound trite to say that someone somewhere knows something, but nonetheless it's true. As our own Florence Police Department preaches, "If you see something, say something."


Apologies to D.K. and the local VOCAL chapter for not announcing the vigil for Lula Addison. The Addison family needs support now and will continue to need it after the miscreant is apprehended.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Revenge of Hangman's Corner

If you're a regular reader, you may remember our blog on a downtown tradition that waned as political correctness waxed.

The Halloween noose may not be the only thing fading from memory concerning the downtown corner. We recall one sage elder who predicted a fire at what then housed Culpepper's Bakery. The outer wooden walls of the two story building were covered with only a thin coat of stucco and would never have passed inspection if not for the then owner's place in societal hierarchy.

It's been some time since we thought of this learned gentleman's prediction...until Friday morning when the building did burn. It's thanks to the Florence Fire Department that the blaze resulted in such little damage. Let's hope the entire complex is rewired and continues to stand guard at the corner of Court and Tuscaloosa Streets.

Noose or not, some mornings you may still encounter just a whiff of that fabulous Culpepper's aroma if you close your eyes and wish hard enough.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Other Points of View/Site Problems?

It's often easy to think the Shoals area is better...or worse...than other areas of our country. Better? We do have beautiful waterways and vistas not found everywhere in the U.S. We also have wonderful residents who give meaning to the term "Southern Hospitality." Other than that, are we that different from others in our everyday lives?

How about the worse part? Are our problems worse because of the economy and living conditions in some areas of the Shoals? Let's look at a recent comment by Deb Willbefree on child abuse:

I don't know what it is like down in Alabama, but I suspect it is similar to PA. In my observation, it is not the village that falls short--it is the child protective system and the laws.

There are very few child abuse cases up here that, along with the report of the abuse, the news does not also include mention that neighbors had called the police, called child protective services...called and called.

One recent and extreme case here is the poster child for why child abuse happens. A 6 year old child--who weighed 24 pounds--was found lying in the street, in a diaper, in February. A passing motorist found him and called police.

Upon investigation, the little boy had a twin sister. Both had been locked in a bedroom for a long time....with a potty chair. They were the size of 2 year olds.

Get this: Child Protective Service were on the case! For YEARS. Had people in and out. A pediatrician had called the authorities due to their small size when they were THREE MONTHS old.

They're doing well in foster care. The parents were put in jail last month I forget how many decades long their sentence was. The children had served six years.

The village is only as good as the authorities. Unfortunately. And we have to keep calling...

It seems cruelty to those who cannot fight back is universal. We urge everyone to be dilligent; you just might save a life.


Our friend Mark Davis remains in jail. We are sorry there are no real updates, but urge everyone to write to encourage Mark at this time. You may also contact Judge Mike Jones and let him know how you feel about his handling of this case...lawsuit against him and all.


Several friends/readers have recently commented that our site has been either hard or impossible to load. We have added nothing to the site, but Blogger did change its software for importing photos and for making comments. We have contacted Blogger about the problem, but have not received any feedback as yet. If you have a problem, please make us aware of it.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Another Look at Lyndsey Brooke Grindol

Earlier this week, we blogged about three parents who are currently under indictment for harming their children. One was Lyndsey Brooke Grindol who allegedly broke her child's arm intentionally. A reader/friend who knows Lyndsey contacted us with some information concerning the young mother.

Among other things, it seems she is an EMT, a person trained to help, not harm. She's also obviously a person who would know how fragile a child's limb really is. It appears that not only was the young girl's arm broken, but Madilynn had severe bruising and swelling around her eyes that the mother could not account for.

Grindol is also the mother of a young son, Aidan. Her online comments often mention her fondness for her children, but also lament the lack of men in her life. Perhaps for her it was a love/hate relationship with her children? DHR is monitoring both Madilynn and Aidan.


Pen-N-Sword recently published an article on a three year-old who was taken from her parents due testing positive for cocaine in her system. It seems that our state child protective services had previously taken an eight year-old from the couple. A reader asked why the younger child had not already been taken. We have no idea of the circumstances, but we do know DHR in Alabama has many problems.

More tomorrow...


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No Parole for Tre' Wells

If you have not already heard, James Leroy (Tre') Wells III, now 27, was denied parole last Tuesday. He will next face the board in five years. Currently he has served half of his 20 year sentence for the brutal murder of his mother. D.K. will be bringing some more hearings to our attention in the next few weeks.


Why would anyone kill their own parents? There are probably as many answers to that question as there are murders; however, we asked someone who has studied local violent crime. Our source reports that in an unscientific study, approximately 50% of all such murders occur in a home where there is also a severely handicapped sibling.

That was obviously not the case for Tre' Wells who was an only child. Fully formed impulse control or not, the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Wells was extremely brutal and almost totally unfathomable.


Which Huntsville television station offers more in local expose's? Most readers probably said WAFF. Look to that station to be bringing the Shoals a story on someone we've profiled here...


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Three Not So Perfect Parents

You know the drill; all are innocent until proved guilty. How many really are innocent? Probably very few. Today's news carried reports of those arrested due to indictments--three were parents who had harmed their children.

Amy Leigh Gladden allegedly was so stoned on prescription drugs that she didn't know her 15 month-old son was wandering the streets of Muscle Shoals. Authorities say Michael Stacey Prater of Lauderdale County used his five year-old son as a human shield. Florence police have accused Lyndsey Brook Grindol of intentionally breaking her young child's arm. That's a lot of abuse for a small area...or is it?

How many parents lose track of their children only to have a neighbor corral them instead of police? How many fathers involve their children in their nefarious pursuits? How many mothers twist their child's arm, just not to the breaking point? We don't think it takes a village to rear a child, but it may just take one to save some children from their own parents.


The fall season is upon us, but we're also in the middle of allergy season. In Alabama, it starts on March 1st and ends on February 28th.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Charges Against Mark Davis?

Yesterday we blogged on our friend, photographer Mark Davis. We received this comment that we're republishing here:

Its important to note that Mark's 2006 child support order was overturned by the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals and remanded to the Lauderdale County trial Court to be corrected.

This is another reason why the only valid child support order was the $0 order from the TN court.

When Judge Jones finally "corrected" it in April 2013, Jones had charged him for 5 years of daycare expense when Mark's daughter was not in daycare and attending public school. Judge Jones also charged Mark for health care premiums for his ex wife and her husband. It also appears that Judge Jones may have calculated the child support using the new increased guidelines vice the old ones that would be applicable to this case. Additionally Judge Jones charged Mark 12% interest instead of 7.5% pursuant to applicable law.

All of these over charges created an child support arrears of $34,000 which Judge Jones ordered to be paid immediately. Mark had no means to pay that.

Mark appealed, and the case is still with the AL Civil Court of Appeals.

Even though Mark wasn't paying child support through the State, he still paid for his child's braces, school lunches, extracurricular activities, clothes, food, and medical expenses. He frequently wrote his ex wife asking if there were any financial needs for his daughter that needed to be taken care of. The reply was no.

Mark submitted receipts for the above which the judge even stated in his order that he was not going to give Mark credit for.

Bottom line, the State wants its Title IV-D funding. Mark was exposing officials unlawfully accepting this money so they decided to shut him down and throw away the key.

Mark is truly one of the best men you will ever meet. He is a true Christian and I will forever stand by his side!

If Mark could bond out on $600 we would have him out today. Unfortunately, the only way for him to be released is for him to purge himself of the Civil Contempt and pay the approximate $34,000 in full.

If he wishes to contest the fact that the amount includes 5 yrs of daycare expenses for when his child wasn't even in daycare, or that the above amount includes health insurance costs for his ex wife and her husband, he would have to post a supersedes bond and pay 150% of the judgment amount.

This information was given to us from his attorney.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sue Judge Mike Jones, Get Thrown in Jail?

 If you're a regular reader, you know that Shoalanda is a friend of Mark Davis. We make no pretense to be anything else. We admire Mark and want you to know his story if you're not familiar with it. We understand there are two sides to every story, but we're asking you to consider what has happened Lauderdale County.

Mark and his wife had a daughter while living in Tennessee. A short time after the child was born, Mark and his wife divorced. The divorce decree gave each parent equal custody--joint custody if you will. Sometime after that, Mark's ex-wife moved to Alabama, and he followed in order to remain an active parent in his daughter's life.

When Katie became old enough to enter kindergarten, Mark's ex-wife sought to have the custody arrangement amended. She wanted to have control of the child's schooling, and Judge Mike Suttle agreed, striking down the original Tennessee decree. Now the State of Alabama said that Mark could have Katie only four days (two weekends) a month.

Mark, who acts as his own attorney, felt the judgment was invalid. Over the past six or so years, Mark has been involved in litigation to secure 50% custody of his daughter which he feels is legally his. During this time, Mark did not pay child support since it was his opinion the original Tennessee decree was the valid one--not the one issued by Judge Suttle.

After Suttle retired from the bench, Judge Mike Jones took the case. At some point Mark sued several individuals involved in this litigation, including Judge Jones. Now Jones has jailed Mark for contempt of court.

This is not standard procedure, although it is in Jones' power to do so. We ask why it was done. If it's not standard procedure, has it been done in retribution for the lawsuit?

The wording of the orders which sent Mark to jail is apparently somewhat nebulous. Some feel it could be considered an ongoing edict, effectively keeping Mark there for years if he doesn't pony up a huge chunk of cash...with an illegal amount of interest.

We have been very concerned for Mark since learning of this situation and today called the Florence-Lauderdale Detention Center. We were informed that the court order is for 60 days, but that there is a provision of a $6,000.00 appeal bond. In other words, if Mark (or anyone) pays $600.00 plus a small fee to a bail bondsman, he can be freed right now. We are not sure if this is correct or not, but we hope it is.

Here is a link to a Facebook page set up on Mark's behalf:

We're asking each of you to consider this incident: Could it happen to you? Think about it...


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thanks, Sandra/Lexington Shooting?

Sandra Killen Burroughs will be retiring as head of the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board; her expertise has been invaluable. Boards can be tiresome and take precious time away from family. We would have preferred that Sandra could have found time to have remained at the helm, but wish her well as she leaves.


Did you read of the supposed shooting in Lexington earlier in the week? James Travis Murks and his girlfriend claim they were accosted by a bearded man on County Road 50 and shot at. Murks had several gunshot wounds to prove he was targeted, but by whom?

A source at the sheriff's department tells us it was only two weeks ago that Murks and his girlfriend were the targets of a drug bust at a motel in Lawrenceburg. Murks managed to make a hasty exit via the bathroom window, leaving his girlfriend holding the bag of pills. Child services took custody of the woman's 13 year-old son who was also in the motel room at the time of the raid. Perhaps there's more to the story than Mr. Murks has admitted?


Friday, September 20, 2013

Our First Champion Liar's Award

Very often people live an encapsulated existence. They work, play, and worship with individuals as much like themselves as possible. There's nothing really wrong with that, and even much of that is not by choice, but by nature of the individual's education and career. Then there's the Internet.

In the past 10 to 15 years, the Internet has opened most of us up to new friends...and unfortunately to some we would never choose to associate with in real life. We've become aware of many who support child abusers and rapists, so to encounter some who support those who drink, drive, and kill should be no surprise to us, although it usually is.

We recently published several blogs about a young man who killed his girlfriend in a fiery crash. No matter how good a person this man may be, he still has to answer to the legal powers that be for this young woman's death. Due to complaints from his supporters, our Facebook page was changed to that of a Public Figure last week. Apparently about ten private messages which were sent over a period of time suddenly appeared today on the current Shoalanda Speaks page.

Those who have read our blog for a long time know that we don't use the names of individuals who are not public personages in some way. This would include bloggers, politicians, elected officials, and those who have been arrested/indicted/convicted of a crime. We thought long and hard about that policy today when we received the following message on our FB page:

Hehe. I traced this IP address (well the one for Shoalanda Speaks Blog). It came back to XXXXX XXXXXX. Well I spoke with Mr. XXXXXX and he gave me your first name and cell phone number, because I told him I would like to advertise. I paid to join a website and traced your cell phone number. Just letting you know that I know what your real name. Thanks. And tell Mr. XXXXXX thanks for the help.

That little message contained at least five lies. Let's look at them:

1. I traced this IP address (well the one for Shoalanda Speaks Blog). In order to even have, much less trace, any IP address that Shoalanda has used, one would first have to contact Blogger with a subpoena. One is not going to get a subpoena issued by a judge without hiring an attorney, and you'd better have a very good reason to ask for one in the first place.

2. It came back to XXXXX XXXXXX. No blog has ever been posted from any location belonging to that gentleman, whom we know only online. 

3. Well I spoke with Mr. XXXXXX. The person you referred to has no knowledge of such a call or conversation.

4. he gave me your first name and cell phone number, because I told him I would like to advertise. - Even if you had contacted the gentleman, there's no reason for him to give you any info on any of us since we do not handle our own advertising.

5. I paid to join a website and traced your cell phone number. Just letting you know that I know...your real name. No cell phone companies make their subscribers known without a subpoena--there's that darn word again.

The woman who wrote that message wins our Champion Liar's Award, but what else? Nothing else because we (and probably most of us) don't have the psychological problems she seems to have. What if we did?

Young lady, do you not realize you used your real name to send the message? Tuscumbia is a small town--it wouldn't take much to locate your workplace and discover your supervisor's name. Most employers want just a tad of honesty in their employees. If we contacted him/her, they might not even tell you, but you can be sure your work ethic would forever after be more highly scrutinized and your chances at any promotion a lot lower than they were before.

You might also want to remember in future that not everyone will be as tolerant of your lies as we are being...just some food for thought.


For those who have asked, we have not had any update on the physical condition or arrest of John Clark Burns Jr.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Do We...Fund Something for Colbert County?"

Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock has asked, " we take monies from the city of Florence and Lauderdale County and fund something for Colbert County?” Mayor Haddock is referring to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and says it's open for discussion among members of the city council. We doubt the discussion will get far, at least we would be hard pressed to think of any rationale for supporting a Colbert County entity with Florence/Lauderdale money. We much prefer the City of Florence donate any extra money to the RegionalCare legal team to combat the Helen Keller Hospital lawsuits.


No Hope? State representative Ken Johnson from Moulton has said there's "no hope" for keeping International Paper in Courtland. He and others are touting new industry. If each new industry employs 200, as the Jack Daniels cooperage is planning, it will take five to six new industries to make up for the loss--that's assuming former IP employees from other counties want to continue to work in Lawrence County.

Many new industries start out with only 50 to 100 employees. Realistically, Lawrence County may never recover its tax base. A sad epitaph: Lawrence County--home of the tired, penniless, and downtrodden.

Welcome to the other Alabama.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Old? New? It Depends/Paroles

Current Florence Senior Center

Florence will be getting a new senior center in the near future. A spokesman for the group using the current facility has asked for a building that will last 40 or 50 years. City officials have indicated the new center will be designed for add-ons when needed to extend the usefulness of the structure, but 40 years is a relatively short life span. No one can say built-in obsolescence is dead in the U.S.


Waterloo is getting something new--it's called a Village Post Office. It will be located in a store, bank, or similar facility and provide basic mailing services. Hmmmm, isn't that just a fancy name for a postal sub-station. We can recall one in the Elting branch of SunTrust. Apparently if you can't come up with a new idea, at least give an old idea a new name.


Tuscumbia Mayor Bill Shoemaker wants Lauderdale cities to support the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. While we hope everyone in the area does support the AMHOF, somehow Shoemaker's proposal seems just a little ludicrous considering the recent Colbert County events surrounding RegionalCare's new hospital.


D.K. attended the parole hearings of both Matthew Fox and  Jamie Mackey. Neither man was granted an early release. Fox will serve the remainder of his sentence, and Mackey will next appear before the board in five years.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Does James Leroy Wells III Deserve Parole?

In September 2003, James Leroy Wells III turned 17. The next month he killed his parents. After initially blaming an intruder, James Leroy, who was known as Tre', admitted he had killed the Littleville couple.

It took three and one-half years for Tre' to come to trial. He was eventually convicted of Manslaughter in the death of his mother Lavonda, but acquitted of all charges in his father's death.  Lauderdale County Judge Mike Suttle ordered Tre' to serve the maximum of 20 years.

Tre' had been incarcerated since his parents' deaths and received credit for time served in the Colbert County Jail. He's now housed in Draper Correctional Facility and will end his sentence on December 2, 2023.

Yet supporters of Tre' are hoping he won't serve those last ten years. He comes up for parole on Tuesday, September 24th. Has Tre' paid for his crimes? It's always hard to judge one so young who had no prior record; however, he killed his own parents. A psychiatrist at the trial called Tre' delusional.

For those who wish to write the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles:

Re: James Leroy Wells III
AIS# 255622
301 South Ripley Street
PO Box 302405
Montgomery, Al 36130-2405
Telephone: (334) 353-7771, 353-8067
FAX: (334) 242-1809


Monday, September 16, 2013

How to Identify a Murderer...or a Genius

Law enforcement has for years been looking for a way to find criminals before they strike, especially murderers. We've looked over some Shoals area murders from the past few years and have spotted a definite trend. How can you spot the murderer?

Easy...they would all give you the shirt off their back. It seems it's always said of those who are arrested or convicted for murder--the Johnson brothers, the Brewer brothers, and many others. We actually think it may be why they commit murder; they are always cold, and that makes for angry individuals.


How to spot a genius? That one is really easy. They're all under 30 and still know everything. Apparently intelligence tends to decrease exponentially as a person ages and their experiences increase.


D.K. tells us that Christolyne Brown's parole was turned down last Tuesday. Tomorrow, Matthew Fox and Jamie Mackey will have their day before the board. One week from tomorrow, one of the Shoals' most infamous killers will be up for parole. We'll discuss him tomorrow...


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Say "Thank You" to OB & Bubba

We have been friends with O.B. for what may be considered a long time in this era of constant social flux and superficial amenities. While a close friend of ours initially pointed out how the illustration in our blog on the Cypress Inn crash could be misunderstood and a second stated it would perhaps better be replaced, because of the nature of some demands from those we've never heard of and don't wish to hear of again, we chose to let the photo remain in place.

For those who wanted it replaced, O.B. has come to your aid and made a special request. He's always had our back, and for him we are replacing the original graphic with one that has been cropped and redone.

We received the new photo this afternoon from the gentleman who made the original Photoshop type graphic. He wanted us to be sure to convey his apology if it was misunderstood. He in no way was attempting to comment on anyone's final resting place, but simply on the tragedy of the fire. He added it was not his first altercation with the PC group and would probably not be his last.

We'll also relate that this was extremely magnanimous of O.B. since he was named in some of the off-color comments. While he is a good friend, he is not connected with our blog. At this time, we have three or four who are part of our blogging group. Many others are our friends; we're sure they get into enough trouble on their on without having to take blame for what is published here.


The Crash:

We do have an update on the crash itself; we're publishing this information since there seems ostensibly to be so many who have attempted to refute the police reports.

1. The arrest warrant for John Clark Burns Jr. was initiated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol--not the Wayne County Sheriff as we originally blogged. Burns is charged with vehicular homicide.

2. Partial details of the crash were published in the Wayne County News on Wednesday, September 11th. Our blog was published several hours after the WCN went on sale and we were forwarded details from several readers. Thanks to Bubba for purchasing a copy after visiting at Salem Church in Zip City this morning. He says not to tell his grandmother in the nursing home who's still a Hardshell.

3. The details of the crash itself published in the WCN are somewhat disparate from those published in the TD. According to the TD, Burns' truck was traveling north on 157 when it approached the (almost) T-zone and headed into the the old Darby Store. According to the WCN, Burns' truck was headed east when it carromed into the building.

4. The Tennessee Highway Patrol officially said only that excessive speed was involved in the crash. A LEO reported that in his work, excessive is usually defined as at least 30 miles over the limit, indicating the truck was traveling at approximately 85 miles an hour in his opinion.

Peace out...


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Personnel Changes at Lauderdale Sheriff's Office?

Sources at the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office say they're currently awaiting a new office manager. Nancy Hammond Sartain has been the office admin for a little over two years. Good luck, Nancy. We're sure you can find a position with much better working conditions.


Our friend and local author Jim Smith (Walk Through Town) is said to be improving after surgery. If you know Jim, be sure to send him a card.


For those who have asked to see a pic of the Darby Store at Cypress Inn, Tennessee, here's a photo from Mike Womble:


Friday, September 13, 2013

Facebook, Fatalities, & Friends

Facebook & Fatalities: The events of this week give us an opportunity to address at least one issue that no one likes to think about, but nevertheless should. We've all been teenagers and said (and done) things just to get attention. The past few years we've seen at least four young men who have lost their lives unexpectedly. We've looked at their Facebook pages and all have had entries that most adults would find objectionable. We can understand these young people never considered they would not be around to later edit or delete any remarks.

Any parent might wish to talk to his/her child about their Facebook entries. We have an idea that many kids refer to themselves as homosexual or bisexual just for the the shock effect. We also know that referring to an ex-girlfriend as a dog in heat might seem like cool revenge, but do you or your child really want that as an epitaph should the worst happen?


Friends: The word friend usually has great connotations. What do your "friends" say about you? We've seen some friends this past week, and family, who haven't made a good impression on any of us here at Shoalanda.

Earlier in the week, we were sent links to two Facebook pages of individuals involved in a tragic car crash. We were also sent photos by someone who does some work for us. Until a friend contacted us we had barely heard of the accident at the Tennessee state line that look the life of Brittany Underwood. Some time after we published, we received a message from a close friend of ours who asked us to look again at the photo we used with the blog.

If we had looked at our inbox first, we might have deleted the photo at a very early date, but we didn't. By that time we had already received demands to take the photo down. Some of these demands used language not used in polite society. FYI, if you ever need a favor, you might try asking politely before you demand.

We know that when people die tragically, many who hardly knew the individuals become their best friends; however, considering the language and threats made by people claiming to be friends of Clark Burns and Brittany Underwood, it would make anyone take a second look at their character.

Most of these remarks were simply negative, yet some surprised us. One man who made a negative remark has had numerous relatives contact us regularly asking for help in prosecuting those they hold responsible for this man's nephew's death. If there were any way we could help, we would, but sadly there's not.

Others, one who claims to be a member of Miss Underwood's family, has made crude remarks about four people who don't even work with us here. Three women were called "b*****s" and one man was called an "sob." These four (or maybe five--two women have the same first name) had absolutely nothing to do with what was published here. Do you really think a cabal of local citizens got together and decided to hurt a grieving family?

Please think before you speak/write such cruel and vulgar words. Is that what your friend/relative Brittany would have done? We here don't know her and can only judge her now by your actions.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Warrant Issued for Burns' Arrest/If You Missed the Thuggery...

The Wayne County, Tennessee, news has reported that the sheriff's department issued a warrant for John Clark Burns Jr.'s arrest when he leaves the hospital. While this is very sad, it should dispel rumors that Burns was not intoxicated at the time of the accident that killed Brittany Marie Underwood.


Ah, if you missed the brouhaha last night, we're afraid it's no longer available. We would have preferred to keep the Shoalanda page a friend type page rather than making "her" a public figure, but since some users...oddly enough not any who were our FB friends...have protested, we are now a "page" which one must fan or like. This was not our idea, but was done entirely by FB. Most of our friends made the transfer, but if you have been omitted, it was by FB and not us. We are very sorry for any inconvenience.


Now to clear up some fallacious remarks concerning yesterday's blog. All but two or three came from commenters who were not our FB friends. We have always believed everyone should have a right to comment if they wish, as long as they can abstain from cursing, etc. Sadly, many can't. Apparently many also can't read:

1. Burns isn't the man's name. Yes, John Clark's surname is Burns. No one here made that up to add any excitement or irony to the story of the fiery crash.

2. Burns wasn't drunk. According to reports now released from Wayne County, he was legally intoxicated.

3. Burns is only 25, so he shouldn't be held accountable (we don't make these up, folks). At 25, a man is old enough to smoke, drink, marry, get a tattoo, serve his country, make legally binding contracts, have finished law school, or lack only one year finishing medical school. Yes, Burns should be held accountable.

4. Burns will suffer enough since he killed the woman he loved. That's not for us to decide. The State of Tennessee has already issued an arrest warrant for Burns. What if he had killed your relative? 

5. The Darby store/homeplace was in such disrepair it's no great loss (we're cleaning that one up quite a bit). We're glad that everyone who commented on this lives in Beverly Hills, but the old store was loved by the family that built it and owned it. Just because it may not look like something of value to you, that doesn't mean it wasn't priceless to others.

6. The Darby store was auctioned off about a month ago. According to family, it most certainly wasn't.

7. Shoalanda said the store was worth more than Miss Underwood's life (That little ditty was contributed by a man who said he's leaving Tuscumbia and the Shoals because he can't find a job that's worthy of him). No, we said more knew of and loved the store than Miss Underwood. That's simply mathematical fact. The store was 89 years old and had been part of thousands of lives. Those who are grieving for the store should be allowed to.

8. The store owners shouldn't care about the building since someone lost their life in the accident. The store owners have money invested in the building, as well as great sentiment. The family member who contacted us also stated he wanted to see Burns held accountable for killing Miss Underwood. They also have every right to want Burns to repay them for their monetary loss.

9. The Burns family will sue Shoalanda for "slander." We're pretty sure the word is "libel;" however, nothing published was untrue.

That about covers the untrue comments. Yes, we did delete comments that used profanity, etc. That's always been our policy. We're won't get into the comments on the blog that threatened innocent doves, friends of the blogging group, you name it. Sadly, we're pretty sure that once Burns is arrested, these same people will be yelling, "Off with his head."


Shoalanda Speaks is Now a Public Figure

Facebook has moved our page to the "Public Figures" category. We apologize if any are having a difficult time finding it. If this makes it hard to follow our posts, you may still follow us via the Blogger option. Thanks to everyone who support us!

The Staff of Shoalanda Speaks

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Alcohol Involved in Brittany Underwood's Death

Brittany Marie Underwood & John Clark Burns Jr.

A source familiar with the investigation of the Monday morning wreck in Cypress Inn, Tennessee, has stated alcohol played a major role in the crash. Brittany Marie Underwood, 25, lost her life, and a local landmark was destroyed after John Clark Burns Jr. lost control of his truck and crashed into the decades old structure. Both the store and the truck were a total loss to the ensuing fire.

Burns, also 25, had reportedly left a downtown Florence bar shortly before the accident. He remains in Vanderbilt Hospital. His Facebook page lists his employer as Turtle Point Country Club. Sources expect charges to be filed upon his release.


Let the White Ones Fly

It's dove season again. If you see a white dove, let it continue to live and fly on. These doves are used in weddings, graduations, and funerals. Their owners have a monetary interest in the fowl. Please be considerate. Thank you.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

At What Point is Money More Important?

We all need money to exist. Yes, we know that came as a big surprise to you, but when does money become the be-all/end-all for us? We recently discussed the new charges at the TimesDaily to view their news items. Yes, there is a way around it; but, yes, we have ponied up the 16.00 for two months viewing. Note: The TD may say 8.00 per month, but one must purchase a minimum of two months.

How about money and politics? How many said they couldn't stand Bill Clinton's morals, or lack thereof, but tolerated him because they felt he had improved the economy? Closer to home, how many think it's just dandy to give foreign students first chance at UNA classes if they're paying cash money? Guess those young Alabamians on Pell Grants can rusticate on the farm.

Just something to think about...


Speaking of money and morals, or perceived morals, how about the lottery? Would we ever purchase a ticket? No way. Yet it seems someone in Florence has hit it big:


Monday, September 9, 2013

A Big Shout Out to Little Punks

Just yesterday we blogged on children who turn out badly. No, it isn't always the parents' fault; however, earlier today, we were reminded of just how monumentally bad some children are. Bad to the bone, huge disappointment, total failure, you fill in the blank. Sadly, it may be that those who fit that description may not be viewed that way by their families. After all, these children think they're entitled, and that most definitely is the parents' fault.

This afternoon we heard of a 16 year-old dog killer who threatened a man who's...well, let's just say 64 is a great number and leave it at that. Yes, if the 16 year old had been some months older, he would have been arrested and tried as an adult. Of if he had killed a person instead of an animal, he would have been tried as an adult. Can we mention his name?

It's always been our belief that if you can marry at 16, much less cuss out adults old enough to be your...umm, great-uncle, you should also face the consequences of your crimes. In other words, you did the crime, now see your name published.

However, since you're so sensitive and all...hey, what was the name of that child actor who played "Opie?"...we surely wouldn't want to mention that or where you live...and the name of that popular Jeep?...since we wouldn't want your schoolmates shunning you or anything. (Sorry our ADHD kicked in there for a few seconds.)

Now, you little punk, you got anyone else you want to cuss out?


What does the law say about naming juveniles? Courts releasing the name of a youth charged with a crime is quite different from a news source knowing the name and publishing it, but it does remain nebulous in Alabama. How about other states? If you're ten years-old in Iowa and commit even a misdemeanor, look for your name to be made public. It seems that's the trend, and we agree with it.


We once heard of a teacher in a local system who was often totally exasperated with his students. One day after exclaiming, "How juvenile," the teacher was met with comments from several students who answered back, "We ain't juveniles, Mr. Smith. We ain't got no record."


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Working Those 15 Articles?

We had a request yesterday in the comment section to blog on how to get around the 15/mo. TimesDaily article limit. We think anyone with any computer savvy can figure that out. We will get you started by saying the limit of 15 applies to each browser. Use three browsers and you get a total of 45 free. We've also discovered that once an article is opened, there is no double count if it should be opened again. Did we mention anything about, we didn't.


Interesting article in the TD concerning designer drugs. It failed to mention the fake LSD and similar drugs being sold on blotters--the kind that took the life of a Muscle Shoals teenager. Just tell your kids that if they're stupid enough to do any drugs and die or turn into vegetables, you'll put them in unmarked graves or warehouse them at some public nursing home where they'll remain for the rest of their lives. If that doesn't do it, you should ask yourself where you've failed.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Not an "Orchestrated Attempt" at a News Story

Years ago, many newspapers used what were called "fillers" to even out page content. In an era before computerized type setting, fillers were invaluable--not to mention they enlightened readers on the population of various foreign countries. Today we still have fillers in the TimesDaily. They're usually fluff pieces that relate what various garden clubs have accomplished over the summer months. Sometimes there seems to be even less point.

Below is an article from today's TD:

It's mainly the ending that's confusing. Was the article an attempt at humor? Was it published before it was completed? One of our readers in Red Bay has stated that if anyone working at the TD could write, they wouldn't be working at the TD. It seems like a sound theory.


If you missed this, here's another arrest for possession of child pornography:

Thanks to the Quad-Cities Daily for their in depth reporting.


Friday, September 6, 2013

No More Appeals for Jon Thomas Wallis

Laynie's face was bruised; it was always bruised. Laynie told her friends that Eddie beat her regularly. First she asked them to visit often to protect her; then she told them to stay away. One day the local news carried the story of a woman's suicide. It was Laynie. The funeral was packed, and those who worked with Eddie told how much he had loved his late wife and had tried to help her conquer her demons. The days and weeks after the funeral, Laynie's lies began to unravel little by little. Very little of her account of life before the Shoals proved to be true. Was she also lying about Eddie?

Tessa was one who had especially tried to help Laynie. She worked a second job to help her husband through law school and she often encountered Eddie there on weekends. He was kind and courteous. He told Tessa how much he missed Laynie. When Tessa had a flat, Eddie was the first to offer to fix it. Tessa began to believe Laynie's tales of Eddie's violent nature were just more lies.

Then Eddie came by Tessa's workplace after being evicted from his apartment. He felt the landlord had blamed him for Laynie's death. As he spoke, his voice grew louder and deeper. He used words that Tessa never heard outside a movie. Eddie's eyes grew large and he plainly said how he would love to find the landlord alone and kill him with his bare hands. 

Tessa realized Eddie was capable of being two different people...


Aren't most of us really two different people? Just not to the extremes of Eddie...and perhaps Jon Thomas Wallis. Tommy, as his many friends call him, is now serving a life sentence in prison. We've received word that he's exhausted all his appeals. His only recourse now is parole. How long he must serve to be considered is nebulous, but certainly at least 10 years without an attorney to lobby for him. Probably it will be much longer before the board sets a date.

Here's two links of interest:

Notice the February 2012 FB page entry. Tommy has never had any other felony? My, my... What was that three years for trafficking? We don't think it was a misdemeanor. 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Do You Really Need a Website?

How many of you have your own website? Not counting Facebook or blogs which many use as a personal page, we're guessing not too many of our readers have a personal website. How about business? Obviously many businesses can use a website to help market their product or make important announcements, but how many have one just to say they do?

It seems that besides the official City of Florence website, Florence now also has a Facebook page. We assume we can now find out which city streets to avoid due to construction or when to expect scheduled power outages, but couldn't these be announced via the FPD Facebook page? No matter, we're big time now. Here's the link (and may we suggest they work on the header):


Under the "Do all businesses need a website?" heading, here's one for you (we didn't have the courage to click on the "Your Stories" section): Exciting Website


The Quad-Cities Daily has begun publishing Marion County arrests. Marion is just to the south of Franklin, and you can bet the reports will include many regular offenders from Russellville and Phil Campbell. The QCD--your "go to" source for arrest reports.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why Revenge Isn't Justice, but Neither is "Justice"

The most horrible thing a person can experience in life is the death of those they love most. If the death is accidental, it makes it that much worse. The "what if's" never go away. Yet even worse is the death of a loved one at the hand of another.

We've commented many times that friends and family of victims can never, no matter their education or maturity or morals, be objective. We here at Shoalanda sometimes become personally involved with victims and their families even though we never met them or even knew they existed before the crimes that changed their lives forever.

We'll add that we often receive e-mails from others these miscreants have hurt over the years, so we do have a better idea of the perp's character than those who may only read a short account in a local newspaper. We know of those beaten and stabbed by a man who received only two years for killing a young father. We know of the women harassed and sexually abused by a teacher accused of rape. At that point, we are no longer unbiased, but we do not deny that fact.

We've also commented on the unfairness of Capital crimes in Alabama. There is no justice in the world if a wicked man, who even uses the name "Wikkid," kills and dismembers a young mother and gets only Life With Possibility of Parole, but a frightened man who accidentally kills someone is tried for Capital Murder.

Yet, while we know "justice" can be very dissimilar among the various states, we've never commented on it or even delved very far into it for our personal edification. If you think justice isn't different from state to state, just check out the various penalties for possession of child pornography. We promise you'll be surprised.

Today we read of a man who murdered Sheffield native Joseph Glen Pruitt. The crime took place in New Mexico where the killer was sentenced this week to life in prison. We don't know the specifics of the crime, but what little we have read causes us to think the killer deserved the sentence, or possibly even a stronger one.

The killer Lawrence Tarbert will be eligible for parole after 30 years, yet the investigator interviewed stated: “No one has ever paroled out of New Mexico state prison on a life sentence.” We have to assume than many who have received such a sentence are "less guilty" than Mr. Pruitt's killer.

No, we only approximate "justice" no matter what state we live in. That's why it's important to lobby for what you think is fair. Remember the parole hearings coming up this month. There's a doozy we haven't yet mentioned, but we will. Keep reading...


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Matthew Fox & Jamie Mackey

We've previously mentioned that Matthew Fox will be having a parole hearing on September 18th. He has far more chance of making parole than did his co-conspirator Ashley Greenhill. Fox has no previous criminal record and quite possibly has legal representation on his side.

The family of Amanda Taylor doesn't want to see Fox released, and we agree. Fox entered the situation of his own free will and failed to extricate himself when he had the chance.


Also on September 18th, Jamie Allen Mackey will be up for parole. You may read about Mackey here:


Matthew Fox
AIS# 289240

Jamie Allen Mackey
AIS# 200300

301 South Ripley Street
PO Box 302405
Montgomery, Al 36130-2405
Telephone:  (334) 353-7771, 353-8067
FAX:  (334) 242-1809

Monday, September 2, 2013

Miss Labor Day 2013

Yes, it's that time of year again...time for the annual Labor Day beauty pageant. This year's festivities started on a sad note when it was announced that the Sheffield Sanitation Department's entry would not be able to compete. Dirty Sally Tally has been in a coma since the theft of the dumpster at the methadone clinic. Very odd, and we wish her the best.

This morning's entries included the following:

Helga (Helen) Keller Jorgenson - 47, member of the Hospital Workers' Union and an employee at HKH. Helen brought a shot in the arm to the contest by adding talent to her catwalk appearance. Juggling three AK-47s, Helen stated she was ready for any RegionalCare employees who would even think of a hostile takeover of the Colbert County hospital.

Carmen Miranda Electra - 39, member of the Electricians' Union and currently on strike against the City of Florence. When questioned about how the strike was going, Carmen announced her union cell was responsible for the four-hour loss of power in downtown Florence this morning. She felt things were heating up, so to speak, but if the electric workers don't get a new contract soon, she couldn't promise that anything in the city would be heated up this winter.

Allison (Alley) Katz - 57, animal control officer representing the Florence Municipal Workers' Union. Alley's talent portion demonstrated her ability to wrangle a pit bull and Maine Coon simultaneously.

Morticia Porter - 35, member of the Garment Workers' Union of Lexington. Morticia's talent was being able to read. Considered a long shot, Morticia may get a sympathy vote since she's legally blind and the only woman in her small town not to have been married to the police chief.

Ahh, thank God it's only once a year...


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Two Local Parole Hearings September 10th

Many  readers have asked to be made aware of parole hearings for local individuals. We're going to attempt to keep everyone updated on these as we hear of them. Scheduled for September 10th, from D.K.:

Lesia Kay Bigley
AIS # 256270
Lesia killed Edward Bigley by shooting him nine times.
Christolyne Brown
AIS # 172096
On Nov 23,1991, Brown killed Billy Jean Burton, grandmother of  Lauderdale County Assistant District Attorney Angie King Hamilton. Brown confessed to the horrific stabbing murder of Mrs. Burton and stated to police "if she got released she would murder again." Brown has 46 disciplinary actions.

You may contact the board at:

301 South Ripley Street
PO Box 302405
Montgomery, Al 36130-2405
Telephone:  (334) 353-7771, 353-8067
FAX:  (334) 242-1809
Be sure to include AIS number in any correspondence.