Saturday, November 30, 2013

Let's Join Together...

And get behind Auburn for the national championship!

War Eagle!


Friday, November 29, 2013

We Lost Three in November

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

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

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


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


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013!

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

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

The Staff at Shoalanda Speaks

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Man In Black

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

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

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

More: A Few of the Robberies


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Little "Mea Culpa" For Ya

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

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

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

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


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


Monday, November 25, 2013

Remember "Slugo?"

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

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

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


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

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


Sunday, November 24, 2013

UNA: One Win, No Kills

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


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


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

Click to Enlarge


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Serial Shoals Home Invader?

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

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


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


Friday, November 22, 2013

Segregation Returns to Florence?

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


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

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


Thursday, November 21, 2013

No Home Boys in Muscle Shoals

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

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


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

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

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

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


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Indicting That Ham Sandwich

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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

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

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


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

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

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


Monday, November 18, 2013

"FOR A FACT" about Jason Dewayne Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Post: Jason Green Indicted for Felony Murder


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nobody Knows...the Troublesome Facts

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

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

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


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


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Update on Two "Local Rape Cases"

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

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

Related post:  Close to Home Sex Crime


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

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

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

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


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


Friday, November 15, 2013

Vina High Student Victims Were Best Friends

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


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


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


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


Special Report on Greg Aziz

The rumors are true: Greg Aziz Indicted

Previously from our site: Off Shore Bank Accounts

And it's only taken three years...

The Staff at Shoalanda Speaks

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Runnin' Wild in Franklin County

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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

Our answers?

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Teacher-Student Sex is More Than a Molehill

It would be very easy to start out with a joke, but as one reader pointed out, problems at Vina are far more serious than losing a few ball games. Yet another reader sent us a Facebook posting in which a Vina High supporter accused this blog of making a mountain out of an ant bed, or words to that effect.

Boys' basketball coach Brian Scott Keeton has denied the allegations of sex with a 17 year-old student. If the allegations are false, the student should be punished severely. If true, Keeton should never be allowed to teach anywhere again. If true, we have to ask again, just what was this 40 year-old man thinking?


On a November 5th Facebook post, Brian Keeton's wife quoted from an article on how to "fireproof your marriage." On November 8th, the day Sonny Tibbs was arrested, she asked for special prayers. We hope everyone does pray for this lady and her child.

Let's also remember the family of the 17 year-old student. As a friend says, it's not always the parents' fault.


Okay...just one small joke: Coach Tibbs was booked in an Alabama hoodie. It's nice to see Franklin County is giving Auburn equal time.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sonny Tibbs Given Two Weeks to Resign

Tibbs' Booking Photo at Top

First, a letter from an individual familiar with the situation at Vina High School:
I'd like for you or someone to ask the question as to why Tibbs was put on paid leave. The tenure law was changed last year for this very reason--so that boards can place an employee on unpaid leave and so that the employee doesn't get paid for being investigated. The law does have a provision that if the allegations are proven unfounded, then the employee is entitled to back pay.

So what's the reason for paid leave? He confessed--case closed. It probably doesn't hurt him that he's good buddies with Gary Williams and Richie Hester.

It would also be nice if you'd ask if Vina teachers had possibly been emboldened in these sorts of actions since school officials were pushing to drop the charges against (the last teacher caught having sex with a student).

Just my two cents...these kids are being mistreated with the direct blessing of the administration at all levels and in the Franklin County DA's Office, in every way possible (allowing a teacher to resign instead of firing them, placing them on paid leave instead of unpaid, dropping the charges because the board didn't want the embarrassment and...the list goes on).


WHNT is reporting that Sonny Dewaine Tibbs has been given two weeks to resign or be terminated. In the mean time, he's being paid by the taxpayers of Franklin County and Alabama. We agree with the letter writer: Tibbs confessed to at least three sexual encounters with a 17 year-old student--what else will it take for him to be fired immediately?


A reader has commented that Tibbs and his wife Regina Michelle have only two children--not three as we previously blogged. We're happy to correct that, but it does not change the fact that Tibbs betrayed the trust of his wife, parents, and children.

We learned a long time ago that teachers are just like the general population; there are good ones and bad ones. We simply don't think it should take that much self control to stay away from a teenage girl entrusted to one's care, no matter how many married lovers she may have had.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Resolve to Honor Our Veterans 365 Days a Year

Unlike those remembered on Memorial Day, those honored on Armistice/Veterans Day are with us yet. Many need our help to navigate lives that are torn apart by war. Let's resolve to remember our veterans 365 days a year and to ensure our Veterans Administration is funded.

The Staff at Shoalanda Speaks

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"He's No Coach" and We Agree

Randy Hester
Our blogs on accused Vina coach Sonny Tibbs and coach/principal James Pharr brought scads of e-mails to our inbox. Many contained personal statements (even attacks) concerning the two Vina High School employees, or others, that cannot be reproduced here. Those which can be published are very interesting:

* Shoalanda, get the facts straight. James Pharr is no coach. Vina's football team hasn't won a game in two years. He has coached 4 years and his record is 4-36. (Point taken)

* Franklin County School Superintendent Gary Williams told the parents 2 years ago that it was Pharr's last year as coach because he didn't want a principal coaching because it would take away from him paying attention to his principal duties. Well, he lied. He is still coach and look what all is happening.

* I call Vina High the house that (Board Chair) Randy Hester built. He was elected by the people for the people, but he runs it elected by the people for Randy Hester's family. Both of his sisters drive buses. His wife drives a bus and is an aide.

* No big loss if Tibbs gets fired. The boy's basketball team didn't win a game last year and probably won't this year.

* Pharr got a grant for $6000.00 to buy a new lawnmower for the school. He keeps it for the football field and doesn't let the other coaches use it unless they want to help pay for it. He said he was the one who asked Roger Bedford for the money for it and if they wanted to use it they could pay to use it. (If proved, this might be an ethics violation?)

* Convicts are on campus during school hours weed eating, mowing and cleaning. I don't think they should be on campus while children are present but it has been going on for 2 years. There was even had an instance last year or maybe the year before where a parent was arrested because she was bringing drugs to one of the convicts on campus. 

And finally...

*  I just read Lisa White's comment. My child was at Vina when all of that was going on with Bynam and said that was bull crap. The whole class was talking about that because that boy was in her classroom all day long. Even when she was to be teaching them. When the Tibbs thing broke on the news my kids and their friends who were at our house said they had all been suspecting something because the two of them were always in the new gym together with or without other students in there. A principal should be aware of this stuff. My child said Pharr has no idea what is going on at school because all he does is stay at the weight room or the field house.

We received several comments that were in a similar vein, but you get the picture. The image of an asylum run by the inmates does come to mind. One reader suggested an attorney general's probe. We doubt that is feasible, but anyone may file an ethics complaint with the state ethics commission or contact the accrediting body:

Alabama Commission on Higher Education
Telephone:  (334) 242-1998
Fax:  (334) 242-0268
Delivery Address
100 North Union Street
Montgomery, AL  36104-3758
Mailing Address
P. O. Box 302000
Montgomery, AL  36130-2000


Saturday, November 9, 2013

What's "An American Test?"

How the U.K. Handles It

Both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans have claimed victory in the recent settlement of Alabama's new immigration legislation, a fact that has precipitated much press. Some of the ideas put forth, along with inane rhetoric, are laughable. Some news presented to the citizens of Alabama should give us all pause for thought.

While we have the greatest respect for Cliff Wright, a Florence attorney who handles immigration affairs, he might do well to request silence from his receptionist Diana Wilmes. In a recent TimesDaily article, Wilmes reported having to pay $4,000.00 in legal fees in her quest for citizenship. We have news for Ms. Wilmes: Four thou is very little compared to what many of our friends have paid to gain citizenship. How much would we have to pay to become citizens of her native Columbia? We would also like to know just what "an American test" is. Wilmes stated she had to take one.

The TimesDaily article went on to lament how deportation of breadwinners caused remaining family to turn to food stamps and other state and federal programs. How sad that as Veterans Day approaches, we see out tax dollars wasted on those who have no love for our county, much less citizenship.

No, we can't support everyone. Let's support Alabamians first. It shouldn't be a hard choice.

Related posts:


Friday, November 8, 2013

Who is James K. Pharr & Just What Does He Know?

A few readers have asked us about Vina High School Principal James K. Pharr and how much he knew of at least two sex scandals in his school. Obviously, we can't say what Pharr knew...or to use the old cliche'...just when he knew it.

Pharr was raised in Hackleburg and received his teaching degree from the University of North Alabama. In 2010, the Franklin County Board of Education renewed his contract as principal of the small county high school. Pharr was principal when a married female teacher began a sexual affair with a student over ten years her junior. Now another married teacher has initiated an affair under Pharr's watch.

If the latest news accounts are correct, it was the family of Sonny Tibbs' victim/lover that informed authorities of the affair--not school officials. We didn't have to dig too deeply to discover that Pharr is a coach himself and leads the Red Devils football team.

It's beginning to look a little like a good ol' boy network, isn't it? We hope the Franklin County Board of Education will hold anyone responsible who knew about Coach Sonny Tibb's sexploits with students...but we're not holding our breath.


We haven't done an actual count of how many secondary schools are in the Lauderdale/Colbert/Franklin area. Counting non-public schools, an estimate would number close to 20. Of these 20 or so schools, the only two reported cases of teacher-student sex have been at one school in Franklin County...and not a very large school at that. Either such cases are grossly under reported or the problems at Vina are so out of control that no responsible parent would send their child to that school.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Let's Talk Some Real Turkeys

It's November, so what's more apt than some turkey talk. No, we're not going to discuss fowl, but something...someone...foul. If you haven't read any news today, here's an interesting update:

What was Coach Tibbs thinking? Sure, we know the joke about how some men (all men?) think. Yet most manage to keep their pants zipped. What happened with Sonny Dewaine Tibbs? What has he given up?

He may still have his job until the Franklin County Board of Education meets, but he won't have it long. He won't have his teaching license long either. We don't know his wife or how she will react to his affair, but we do know Sonny boy has lost her trust. He may have lost her. If there is a divorce, you may as well say he's lost his three children also. Finally, if his "victim's" parents are inclined to help Franklin County prosecute, you can bet he may very well lose his freedom, along with all that money paid for bail and legal fees.

We may assume that no matter what he's lost, he will still have his career as a professional wrestler. Special, isn't it?

Now that we've discussed Coach Tibbs, what about the 17 year-old girl? We have no idea why a young woman would want to have sex with a married man approaching middle age, but some do. Even if her family is so louche as to not think twice about her sexual faux pas, you can be sure her classmates will not be that kind. In a school the size of Vina, everyone knows who the girl is. So do her neighbors. Any reputable college may look twice at her application for admission, assuming she even wants to further her education. The well to do, educated suitors won't be knocking at her door either. We have to wonder if she still thinks it was worth it...


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Help Our Country, Help UNA, Help Yourself

The University of North Alabama's ROTC program has had a reprieve. The long-time fixture at the university is now on probation. The army isn't for everyone, but if you have any inclination to serve your country, check out the program at UNA. Your commitment doesn't have to be forever, and it offers rewards that last a lifetime.


On the "Justice Isn't Always Justice" front, we just read of a man who was sentenced to 11 months in jail for having sex with an inflatable pool toy. It was his third similar offense; his victims being two rafts and one blow-up pumpkin. Hmmmm, boff an inanimate object in Ohio and get 11 months--kill a man in Alabama and get 24 months. What's wrong with this picture?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thelma Resigns!

Long time readers and critics of Cherokee government know Thelma--whose last name has changed from time to time. If you're not familiar with the one-time diva of the Cherokee Town Council, here are some links:

Now Thelma has resigned abruptly. Former mayor Chuck Lansdell is long gone. Former town attorney Rebecca Narmore is currently harassing other Colbert towns as the attorney for the E-911 Board. Who will be left to offer comic relief? Pardon the typo, "comic relief" should have been erudite guidance...ahem.


Live in Florence? Now Bowser and Fluffy will require a license. If they aren't neutered, that license will be expensive. Do the the right thing!


Monday, November 4, 2013

What Next for Lyndsey Brooke Grindol?

Lyndsey Brooke Grindol now faces a January 13th trial date. Charged with child abuse, Grindol could face a year in prison for the alleged attack that left her then 19 month-old daughter Madilynn with a broken arm. That's a big "could" since a jury might decide to convict her of domestic violence, a misdemeanor, or even give Grindol her freedom.

The Florence woman is a graduate of Northwest Shoals Community College and currently holds an EMT license. A knowledgeable source wrote:  She recently was kicked out of Mid-Lauderdale Fire Department for taking Madilynn to fire calls at all hours and leaving her buckled in her car seat. This was after many warnings not to bring the baby to fire calls.

At least one of six father candidates for Madilynn has taken a DNA test and been eliminated. The young child is living with a neighbor of Grindol at this time. It would seem almost anything is preferable to her living with such an abusive mother.

Grindol, 25, is also the biological mother of a young son who lives with his father. Where's a good spay/neuter program when you need one?


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Illegal Arrest of Blogger?

"Legal Schnauzer" After Alleged Arrest Beating

Not all political blogs are equal. Our own blog does not report on the real or alleged marital infidelities of elected officials, or anyone else, unless these sexploits have become common knowledge via another news source or affect Alabama taxpayers, and usually not even then.

That was not true of Roger Shuler, known in Alabama cyberspace as the Legal Schnauzer. He has been reporting on the son of former Alabama governor Bob Riley, as well as our current attorney general. Whether true or not, these blogs should become the object of civil suits, not criminal, but it hasn't quite worked that way.

Shuler is currently in jail. You can read his story here: Corruption Fighting Reporter

Scary, isn't it?


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Criminal Appeals & Appealing Criminals

Attorneys for Hershel Dale Graham presented their arguments for a retrial in Graham's manslaughter conviction last Wednesday. Franklin County Judge Terry Dempsey has taken the matter under advisement and will issue his findings at a later date.

Most initial appeals are never granted. After all, Graham's attorneys are essentially asking that Dempsey find himself or his rulings negligent in some way. If the appeal is denied, Graham's attorneys will then seek the next highest court in their attempt to free their client.

Did we say "free?" Graham is basically still free after being convicted in the shooting death of David Andrasik. If the rotund retired wrestler is as ill as his attorneys have claimed, he may never make it to prison to serve any time.


Several readers have e-mailed us that Jason Green no longer wears an ankle monitor. Green is awaiting trial in Franklin County after being charged two years ago in the murder of Shay Ledlow. If these reports are true, it could be that Green has put up a larger amount of bail in order to have greater freedom in his comings and goings.

Shay's family is still waiting for justice...


Friday, November 1, 2013

Who Houses the Homeless?

The Alabama Department of Transportation wants to do away with a Huntsville camp for the homeless. Some DOT bigwigs want to built a new camp for the (mostly) men who live under bridges in the Madison County seat. That idea in itself is controversial, but let's consider just the problem of not having a home, and, yes, there are those in the Shoals who do not.

Some of these are exploited by relatives. Others have had illnesses. There's not just one agency which helps those that far down on their luck, and many turn their backs on them. While the Salvation Army is indeed a church, it at least provides temporary shelter for some of these homeless. Kudos to the SA and other organizations which help those in a great time of need.

Do all want to be helped? Sadly, no. The following true stories are not to discourage anyone from helping those truly in need, but are related to show just what alcohol can do to a once productive person.

"Dave" lived and worked in Huntsville. He drank after he left work and all weekend. He made good money in construction, but spent the most of it on liquor, preferring booze even to a roof over his head. When he was hospitalized due to a work-related accident, he chose to be released to a men's shelter rather than go to his brother's home where he would not be allowed to bring potables.

"Les" was much closer to home. He grew up in East Florence and had fallen victim to alcoholism early in life. He drew a small veteran's benefit and some food stamps. It was never enough to support his need for drink, and he eventually moved into a cave on an East Florence hillside.

A small grocer took pity on Les and gave him a sandwich each day. One day the grocer noticed his Nyquil stock was diminished quite regularly, but he never remembered selling any of the cold medicine. A visit to the small cave across the street found Nyquil bottles littering the ground around Les' makeshift home.

How do you help these people? Should we? At least in Les' case, he had served his country. Both Les and Dave had once been productive members of society. Should we ignore them because we have no money? Or are we ignoring them because we (read: government) choose to spend money on those who are not even citizens?

And what if these men totally refuse help? That's the ethical rub, isn't it?