Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tuscumbia Makes Daily Mail/Dumb & Dumber

"Well, it is Alabama."

The above was one comment concerning an article in the internationally popular Daily Mail. What was the article? If you guessed an item detailing the mock alien invasion turned bomb threat, you would be correct.


Tony (Dumber) Olivis
Let's see...someone, quite possibly a bored teenager, decided to tell his/her friends on Facebook that a radio promotion had implied a bomb threat for local schools. Yes, and Paul is dead. Not to mention we're all getting microchipped next week. Who believes these things?

If someone were going to bomb anything, would they announce it on the radio? Wouldn't the hacked radio station just possibly call police with this little bit of news? But Dumb and Dumber, otherwise known as Tony Logan and Tony Olivis, blame the radio station for this...ummm, fiasco?

Let's talk (Tony) Turkey. It's men like Logan and Olivis, particularly the latter who should at least claim some measure of education, who hold Alabama back. We can't logically expect every citizen of Alabama to be MENSA material, but we can expect our elected school officials to demonstrate at least a modicum of common sense.

Olivis called the Star 94.9 ads in "bad taste" and added that school safety was no laughing matter. We're guessing he didn't even listen to the ads...either that or he intentionally lied. Just remember that at election time.

And Chief Tony Logan? He says he had to add extra patrols to placate parents. How about placating all Tuscumbia citizenry by repaying the salary you've taken while wasting time in court fighting a DUI charge?


Special Report: This Is the Saddest Post We've Ever Written

If any have not heard, Jerry Wayne Edgil and his wife Carol Ann Cunningham Edgil were in an auto crash last night in Franklin County. Carol Ann, 72, later passed away at the hospital. Jerry, 71, is in critical condition in Huntsville.

We're asking for prayers for the entire Edgil family. Unless you know them, you cannot know what they have done for others in the northwest Alabama area.

We ask this question of all: "What have they seen in thine house?"

Everyone at Shoalanda Speaks

Friday, August 30, 2013

Unionize Helen Keller Hospital?

That elephant looks familiar. Does his owner know something we don't? How would Huntsville Hospital feel about such a plan? It might just be an interesting autumn in local hospital circles.


On September 12, 2013, at 7:30 AM in the Guillot University Center on the UNA Main Campus, a Celebration of Diversity Breakfast will be held to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Desegregation of the University of North Alabama. Advanced tickets are $15.00 for individuals (or $100 for a table of 8 – with special recognition for the sponsoring organization) with proceeds going to support minority scholarship programs at UNA. Mr. Wendell Gunn, UNA’s first African-American student, will be the featured speaker with musical performances by the UNA Student Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Terrance G. Brown. Tickets are available from the UNA Office of Student Engagement or by contacting the UNA Department of History and Political Science at 256-765–4306 or

We hope that everyone will be able to be part of this special event to commemorate an important milestone in the history of the Shoals and UNA.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

It Was An Alien Invasion?

No bomb threats, just an alien invasion, and a mock one at that. From WMSR 94.9:

Everyone, we have received numerous inquiries about the article in the Times Daily this morning. Of course, we were not reached for comment for the piece. They have agreed to run our take on the events of this week tomorrow. Additionally, WAAF and WAAY will be running stories tonight which include our thoughts on the matter and the actual audio featured on the air (which many of you have already heard).

We're still not sure how an advertising ploy was turned into a bomb threat or threat of something even possibly worse, but that is the Shoals. In fact, that's almost any community. We're also not sure why extra police, etc., were needed after it became apparent that the nine o'clock event was harmless. Rationales, anyone?


We understand the new Star 94 format may even be playing some real music:


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just What Was That Promotion? Da Bomb?

We know that rumors of bombs coming to Florence city schools Thursday have made their way to police who have stated there have been no credible threats. Who makes those kinds of threats? Usually teenage boys who think it's...umm, cute? Smart? We're not sure what they think or if they think at all, but such threats are 99.99% of the time based on nothing.

Besides a drain cleaner type "bomb," how many of us would have any idea how to make an explosive device? How many of us would be stupid enough to even try? How many of us would be blown up if we did try?

However, it seems Tuscumbia has some sort of similar problem. We say it seems, since we're not sure what rumor is making the rounds, just that it's based on a promotion related to Star 94, a radio station in the Shoals. We went to their website and clicked on a promotion link and were met with Asian characters.

We're going to guess that Star 94 subscribes to some national franchise advertising, for after all, isn't that the way in the 21st Century? It's not what you say, but how loud you say it, how many special effects highlight the speech, and sadly even how many times you can insert words your grandmother wouldn't have approved of. It's even sadder that we can't send our children to school completely sure of the fact the most violent thing they will face all day might be a schoolyard bully.


We appreciate any reader input on local threats. We don't want to encourage them, but to shine light on them. Similarly, we recently asked about the need for two ambulances at a medical emergency. Two of our readers replied concerning the frequent need of two teams for heavy lifting. One of these readers also mentioned that female patients may request a female paramedic. Again, we thank all our readers and friends for comments and answers to our/reader questions.


It's extremely rare that we comment on national issues, obviously knowing how little our ideas can influence things at that level. We have to say that while we're aghast at the chemical bombing in Syria last week, we don't want to be singing Over There for another group of "our boys." Prayers for this situation. How many presidents in our lifetime could campaign for re-election on the slogan "He kept us out of war?"


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meet Chris Seibert

You may remember the name Chris Seibert from some weeks ago when he saved a child from drowning in the gulf, or you may know him as an Athens city councilman. Be prepared to hear a lot more about Chris in days to come--he announced this afternoon that he will be running as a Republican, seeking to become the state senator for District One. From his bio:

Chris served our country for 7 ½ years as an Air Force officer, and his MOS, or job description, was logistics. Having lived in a combat zone, and observing first hand just what a daunting task it is to get everything from soap to Stinger missiles in country, I have great respect for his experience. His area of expertise was transportation, and prior to his commissioning as an officer, he played football for Alabama, majoring in history and minoring in business. He attended ‘bama on a ROTC scholarship, and got his MBA from USA in Mobile.

He was in the Azores during 9/11, dealt with the stresses of watching the threat level on his base skyrocket overnight, and after getting out in ’05 with the rank of Captain, parlayed all of his experience in college and overseas into becoming a successful regional medical device rep. He is responsible for sales as well as mentoring the 8 guys who are members of his team, and he teaches docs how to successfully use robotic cardiac ablation catheters.

His wife’s name is Tiffany, they met as kids, dated in high school and have two boys, Brock, age 8, and Ben, age 5. Tiffany has been active as a wife, mom, and in the community as part of the Library Foundation, the Athena League, Spirit of Athens and the Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation. Chris has recommended to both of his sons that they serve their country in the branch of their choice, something that used to be considered a reasonable way to show appreciation for all of our blessings as Americans.

Chris spends his spare time coaching soccer and youth baseball while he mentors his sons as well as what he hopes are the future leaders of Athens through athletics. He is on the church council at First United Methodist, and is a member of Rotary. The Seibert family lives in the Historical District of Athens, a place where being an active community member just goes with the territory.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Blame Spellcheck for These Errors

It's certainly easy to blame spellcheck for a number of errors in the news today. If we can't attribute errata to spellcheck, the slightly more evolved auto-correct often looks like a good patsy. Examples?

We read of a woman who wasn't going on a diet just yet because she was getting pregnant that night. In reality, she was getting Pringles, as in potato chips. A friend regaled us with an account of trying to type the name Nipper into an article while the auto-correct kept changing the man's name to Nipple.

Yet some errors can't be chalked up to anything but...hmmm...what? Again we see the TimesDaily telling us the Alabama Music Hall of Fame needs more notoriety. Really? We think the word Russ Corey was looking for in both articles was publicity. We also think he doesn't read the comments to his articles or he would have been aware of his error the first time he misused the word.

Then we recently ventured over to the Flor-Ala online to see how the can carry/can't carry battle is shaping up. Weren't we surprised to learn the Tennessee River runs through Florence. Whether this error was caused by too little geography being taught these days or too many smoking materials being readily available, we weren't sure.


Very cool video:


Sunday, August 25, 2013

AMHOF Ad Nauseum

If you've read the TimesDaily today, you quite possibly now know more about the problems at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame than you've ever wanted to. We are going to commend the TD for asking some questions that should have been asked long ago. Now we're going to ask two...

1. If some board members were only on ego trips and some employees only there to cash a paycheck, why didn't someone step in some way, some how, long before the HOF went bankrupt?

2. If everyone from the board to the mayors to the business leaders to Joe Bleau on the street are so concerned about the AMHOF, why hasn't at least one of them weeded the #*&^ parking lot?


On the subject of maintenance for the HOF and other state, county, and city buildings that may need just a little sprucing up, why don't some local Boy Scouts make it a project for a badge? That's only if there aren't enough cemeteries to go around...


Speaking of city properties that need some extra work, we see the vandal who spray painted racial epithets on Florence's Blackberry Trail Golf Course and clubhouse has again been arrested:


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saluting Jim Smith

Many in the Shoals know of Jim Smith and his wonderful book Walk Through Town. Jim has frequently provided historical details for our blog, as well as offering some columns for us and other blogs to publish.

We've learned that Jim has had some serious health problems, and want to wish him well in his recuperation. We also want to commend Jim and his lovely wife for taking time to visit with Kerry Gilbert during Jim's hospitalization. The Shoals has some wonderful talent in every area of the arts, and we need to take special care of it.


Monday is fast approaching. That's P-Day for the TimesDaily; after August 25th, readers will have to purchase a subscription to read the full TD online. We've heard many say it's just not worth it them. If you've never checked out these local sites, do so now. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised, and as always, they're completely free:


Friday, August 23, 2013

The Truth About School Resource Officers

Yesterday, we made a humorous comment about school resource officers. One who labors here with us felt it was perhaps not in good taste. The line why don't they call them "ya better do what I say or ya get 120 volts below the belt" officers was not intended to disparage these men and women who help protect local schools.

We simply feel the term "resource officer" doesn't clearly define their roles in local schools. If students and parents had more respect for these officers, it would make their jobs much easier; however, we assume if these same students and parents had enough proper respect for others, there would be no need for these officers in our schools to begin with.


The regular school resource officer for Hibbett Middle School is Matt Minor. We have not been able to verify that he was the one who held down the fort at the recent gun in lunchroom incident, but nonetheless, we hear great things about him, and he deserves the public's thanks for an often under appreciated job.


The “Muscle Shoals” movie will be showing Sunday August 25th at the Shoals Theatre at 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM.
General Admission and VIP reserved seating available.
General Admission $20
VIP Reserved Seating with movie poster $40

More Info


Thursday, August 22, 2013

A "Judgement" on "Heroine"

A Shoals Heroine Being Used?
Several readers regularly kid the bloggers here at Shoalanda, as well as our friend at O.B.'s Corner, about our critiques of the TimesDaily. We usually call it the TotallyDecatur, while O.B. prefers the moniker TimesFaily. The latter certainly works in the spelling department.

Earlier this week the TD treated us to a story on the rise of heroine use in the Shoals, while today a sportswriter announced it was judgement day at the University of Alabama. Does our local rag need better spellers or better proofers?


Honest answer many of you feel safer now that Franklin County teachers are armed? That's what we thought. Honest answer many of you teachers out there have ever wanted to kill a student? Yep, we were right again.


The School Resource Officer at Hibbett Middle School has made the news. Why, oh, why are they called "resource officers?" Wouldn't they be more effective if dubbed "Ya better do what I tell ya or get 120 volts below the belt officers?"



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Saluting Kerry Gilbert/Protest Letters Still Arriving

Local musician Kerry Gilbert remains in ECM Hospital awaiting test results. Kerry is well known in  local music circles, operating primarily out of his home base of Franklin County. Friends say that Kerry remains upbeat while awaiting word on what could be a serious condition.

Fellow KGB band members have stated that the self-employed musician has no health insurance. Several benefits are planned, and we'll post more information as these events are finalized.


For several years, Kerry Gilbert and the KGB have headlined a monthly concert that has benefited the restoration of the Roxy Theatre in Russellville. The Roxy was recently home to several Watermelon Festival events, but it's the concerts complete with neon flashing that present the old venue at its best. Let's hope these events will carry on even if Kerry is out of commission for a few months.


If you haven't yet read elsewhere, the board turned down Ashley Fawn Greenhill's bid for parole this morning. According to DK, the board stated that letters of protest were still coming in even as the broad began today's meeting.

Letters work--both ways. Now the public is reasonably safe from Ash Lette until the fall of 2015.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

No New Constitution?/Hard Times

We've mentioned the need for home rule and constitutional reform here before...not that we think it's going to happen in our lifetime. Mike Goens again brought up the subject of a new state constitution in his column last Sunday, but we didn't see scores of readers joining the bandwagon.

The last official word that we heard almost four years ago? The state legislature would be rewriting the constitution one article each year. They just failed to announce a start date. 2113, perhaps?


Guns in schools? For every opinion, there's an equal and opposite opinion. We hope the incident at Hibbett Middle School was an isolated event and not the preview of the coming Wild West show. For those who have already sent e-mails asking, we haven't found any arrest record for the father with the gun hidden beneath his shirt.


The first day of school for most local students was yesterday. Along with all the pleasantries, there seems to be a new phenomenon if we're to believe several who have contacted us and also posted on local forums.

Yes, in the 21st Century, it seems we get to kid our classmates about their summer arrests. Nice, huh? Our opinion? If you're old enough to be in Hard Times to start with, you're too old to complain about the fallout. What if it's the parents who have graced that wonderful publication? Then we suggest they get their act together or their kids will be featured in 10, 15, or 20 years.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Ronnie Willis, Morals, & Dollars and Cents

The list of those hoping to become Lauderdale County's next sheriff just becomes longer and longer with the announcement of the candidacy of Carmon Ray, retired county investigator. Yet, current sheriff Ronnie Willis has not announced his retirement.

Will he stay or will he go? Sources at the courthouse have informed us that Willis was advised to retire or "face a serious investigation." 'Bout time! Yet is that how most things are handled in this area? Apparently so....


Do morals matter in political contest? While many will answer with a resounding "yes," many others will say not if the office holder or wannabes can efficiently do his/her job. What if two candidates are equally qualified? Do morals make the difference there? We think so; remember that when voting for the next Democratic candidate for Lauderdale County Sheriff.


Earlier today, Hershel Dale Graham put up an appeal bond, or perhaps more to the point, Graham's father put up the 10K for the unemployed wrestler. The TimesDaily finally reported on Friday's sentencing, but once again reported only half the salient testimony in the case.

No, Tom Smith, not all witnesses said Mr. Andraskik pushed Graham. Those who testified that David touched Graham were his father, son, and son's girlfriend. How about those who testified that David never touched Graham? Those were two neighbors and a Red Bay school teacher who could not navigate around David's car. We can see that there are some who might doubt the neighbors' testimony, but that of a high school teacher who didn't know any of the participants?

David's family is hoping for a quick appeal, and a retired FBI agent is contacting the Department of Justice asking for an investigation into the light sentence. Was the judge in error?

While we do think Judge Terry Dempsey erred in giving Graham such a light sentence, we realize that the rotund Red Bay killer would be nothing but a money pit for the Department of Corrections. Even the cheapest of medical care isn't cheap, and obviously the state had no reason to want to take the fat man on.

Let's just hope he doesn't decide to shoot anyone else while awaiting a decision on his appeal...


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Matthew Fox/No Confidentiality

Yesterday we blogged about Ashley Fawn Greenhill, the stripper with an axe who was also Ron Wikkid Weems' sometime squeeze. Apparently Matthew Fox wanted her to be his. That's one of the two obvious reasons for his behavior. The other would be that Fox just couldn't resist involvement in a murder/dismemberment. We hope the latter isn't true.

Fox will have his day before the parole board on September 18th. Again, letters do count. Most of us can't be there in person, but we can write. If you have something to say about early release for Matthew Fox, here's your chance. If the Arx Mortis gravedigger doesn't make parole, his end of sentence date is October 21, 2015.

Alabama Board of Pardons & Paroles
301 South Ripley Street
PO Box 302405
Montgomery, Al 36130-2405
Telephone:  (334) 353-7771, 353-8067
FAX:  (334) 242-1809
Re: Matthew Richard Fox, AIS#289240


From a reader on Hershel Dale Graham:

Time to let the cat out of the bag, though I'm sure many of you know already. If it goes in print then maybe it'll make a difference. Personally there is not a thing that can be done to me for violating confidentiality as I am not a person that my career binds me to confidentiality.

The good Mr. Graham has been in therapy for some time. Mental health counseling, that kind of therapy. All of the information I am about to state comes from prior to the shooting, not after.

During group sessions (no, I do not attend - I merely am privy to the information, not a patient personally) Mr. Graham has stated on multiple occasions that he would like to kill someone just to know how it feels. However, he is not mentally disturbed enough to qualify these statements as simply the product of an unwell mind. What he was being treated for does not cover wanting to kill someone just to know what it is like.

He has made these statements repeatedly over the course of years.

What he did qualifies as premeditated as he has had years to plan this. He has made plenty of prior statements, and since he is mentally ill when he used the weapon he was violating the Brady Bill.

This crime was not manslaughter, as his prior statements in a confidential group therapy session clearly demonstrate that this was premeditated murder. He relied heavily on his HIPAA rights to conceal the information from the court and from the public. Several members of the public already knew, though, but that will not help in a court of law.

In short, what I am saying is that Graham is a slightly mentally ill man who violated Federal law by possessing a firearm which he used to murder someone long after he had clearly established a pattern that he would like to murder someone just for kicks.

If the locals don't feel like acting civilized in this matter it is a simple thing to notify the USDOJ about a Brady Bill violation that resulted in a death which the locals have yet to imprison the convicted and sentenced offender for. It could result in his immediate imprisonment and the investigation and possible removal of those involved in letting him remain free or giving an absurdly low sentence for such a clearly heinous offense.


The above statement confirms what we've heard from many. Whether contacting the Department of Justice would impact the case at this date, we have no idea. It is something to think about...


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Who Would Let That Dog Ash Lette Out?

Everyone remember that stripper with an axe, Ash Lette, legal name Ashley Fawn Greenhill? If any should not be familiar with this Brooks High graduate, here's a link to help you catch up:

Some excuse for a member of the human race, huh? Of Ron Wikkid Weems' three co-conspirators, guess which one is coming up for parole first? If you guessed anyone but the notorious baby biter herself, you're giving the State of Alabama too much credit.

That's right, Ashley will have a parole hearing on August 21st. This smacks of a fancy attorney, but where did Ashly come up with the money? Remember--both Matthew Fox and Laurel Pruett have been incarcerated longer than Greenhill. In reality, they're closer to release than the notorious stripper, and should, in theory, have earlier hearings.

If you feel any outrage over this, you may write the parole board:

Alabama Board of Pardons & Paroles
301 South Ripley Street
PO Box 302405
Montgomery, Al 36130-2405
Telephone:  (334) 353-7771, 353-8067
FAX:  (334) 242-1809
Re: Ashley Fawn Greenhill, AIS#264119

If you want to be sure your letters are not just filed away to be glanced at and forgotten, you may write each board member directly:

Robert P. Longshore
William W. Wynne Jr.
Cliff Walker

Considering Ashley's past record, we doubt she makes parole, but considering her quick date, there may be even more influence at work than a high paid legal eagle. If she makes parole, one consolation is, judging by her record, she won't stay out of trouble long. Assuming she doesn't make parole, Ashley's end of sentence will be November 20, 2015.


Several have asked about Dr. Diana McCutcheon. She is currently housed in a minimum security facility for women in Aliceville, Alabama. The prison is approximately 50 miles west of Tuscaloosa near the Mississippi border. Her release date is April 27, 2014.


Will the Department of Justice be looking into Hershel Graham's past? It's possible. Some new information tomorrow.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Updates & Answers

Two interesting, but very different, criminal cases are in the limelight today. First, Hershel Dale Graham was sentenced to 14 years today. He will serve only two, assuming he behaves himself on five years of subsequent probation. He is scheduled to turn himself in Monday or put up 100K appeal bond money. Which will he do?

We have wondered about the many delays in sentencing; now we believe these postponements were to give Graham more time to come up with the money for an appeal bond. Will he win? We doubt it. It's our understanding that Joey Rushing dotted every "i" in this case. Mr. Rushing, as always, carried out his duties well.

We know the Andrasik family is deeply saddened that there was not a stronger sentence. Judge Terry Dempsey stated it was a difficult decision for him to make. How will it affect the retired rotund wrestler from Red Bay?

We doubt that a felony conviction will limit Graham very much. He doesn't work, and we doubt that he plans to travel to any exotic countries that would not allow a convicted violent felon a tourist visa. Graham's main problem may now be in controlling what those who know him have called a volatile temper. The fat lady hasn't sung yet, and the fat man may not be fat after two years in an Alabama prison.


The second case? We'll let you read about it here:


Occasionally, someone asks us about our policy in reporting on past arrests/convictions. We never mention any past arrests, etc., unless the person is arrested again or thrusts themselves into the public arena to run for office or something similar.

We consider any crime/alleged crime to be off limits once it has been adjudicated and the person has finished with any legal requirements. Obviously, convicted sex offenders never finish their legal obligations. If the subject has been arrested again, we do discuss past arrests/convictions. These past arrests are not usually allowed in court. Should they be? It's our opinion that it depends on the case.

Justice is elusive, money and connections talk, and sheer geography may make the difference in any outcome. We don't see this as changing. We do suggest our readers lobby for justice--don't just sit back and trust the system to do the right thing in every case.

Tomorrow: Look who's up for parole...


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bryan Gibson Moves Up?

Below is a press release concerning Bryan Gibson, owner of Shoals Ambulance Service (Thanks to a faithful reader):
NEW YORKJuly 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Enhanced Equity Funds ("EEF"), a leading healthcare services private equity firm, today announced it has entered into a partnership with Bryan Gibson to lead FirstMed EMS, LLC ("FirstMed") as its Chief Executive Officer.  FirstMed, headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, will be a platform for continued growth in the ambulance market and currently conducts over 500,000 medical transports in Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Southern regions.
Throughout Mr. Gibson's impressive 25 year career, he has developed extensive experience within the emergency medical response industry.   He spent over 14 years with Rural/Metro Corporation ("Rural/Metro") where he rose to Chief Operating Officer after initially joining the company in 1997 when it purchased Memphis-based Priority Emergency Medical Services which he co-founded.   As COO, Mr. Gibson commanded operations over Rural/Metro's company-wide geographic footprint which included four hundred communities in twenty-six states with over 8,000 employees.  Subsequent to his departure from Rural/Metro in 2011, Mr. Gibson founded Shoals Ambulance, Inc. where he will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer.
"I'm very pleased to be joining the EEF family," said Mr. Gibson.  "EEF's proficiency in healthcare services, finance and acquisitions will allow our FirstMed team of ambulance industry professionals to take advantage of the many exciting opportunities in the current medical transportation industry space."
Under Mr. Gibson's leadership, FirstMed will continue to acquire ambulance companies and launch organic expansion efforts on a national basis while delivering superior patient and customer service.  EEF will support the FirstMed growth strategy with additional equity capital and acquisition expertise.
"Bryan has a tremendous track record and we are thrilled to partner with an executive of his caliber," said Andrew M. Paul, EEF's Founder and Managing Principal.  "We believe Bryan has a powerful combination of industry and operational expertise that will build FirstMed into a market leader."
"FirstMed is uniquely positioned to capitalize on changing dynamics in the ambulance industry," added Samarth Chandra, a Principal at EEF. "We see a number of compelling opportunities in the marketplace and will be swift in executing on them."

Interestingly, yesterday a reader contacted us about a situation in Florence. The reader mainly wanted information into an event, which we didn't have, but we hope some readers may be able to answer the gentleman's question.

It seems a police car and two ambulances were observed in a downtown neighborhood. The reader had feared a shooting or some other crime of violence; however, we have not heard of any. Our question concerns the need for two ambulances? We obviously don't know the situation, but are interested in the rationale.

Comments always welcome...


Friday: Colbert Animal Control Board meeting at 10:00 a.m. at Muscle Shoals City Hall/Sentencing for Hershel Graham in Franklin County at 1:00 p.m. 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gimme Shelter...

From a faithful reader:

The Colbert shelter has some very major problems and there is evidence of a pattern of negligent behavior on the part of most of the staff, and efforts to cover it up from the media.  Friday is the next board meeting.  It will be held at 10 a.m. at the conference room outside Mayor Bradford's office in the Muscle Shoals City Hall.  Prior to Richie's surprise resignation, they planned to discuss the director's position and qualifications.  I suspect they were considering simply promoting Richie.

The board consists of the three Colbert mayors, plus Emmitt Jimmar as commissioner, and one community member.  I know one of the mayors personally, and I believe he reads your blog quite regularly.  The other is politically astute enough that he probably checks in daily, and the third will hear about it from others.  My concern is that they know the media attention will not go away until they do the right thing for the animals.  The right thing would be to clean house entirely and do a wide, external search for a new director, one who is not in the good ol' boy system and instead is there because of a compassion for animals.


Are you listening, Mr.s Mayor? Mr. Jimmar? Yes, we know the travel incident you covered up for the last director. Tax payers don't want their money spent that way. You know what Spike Lee said...


Hershel Graham will be sentenced in two least we're keeping our fingers crossed. The petition was sent in today, but you can still contact Judge Terry Dempsey at this email addy:


Discussion of threats continue concerning the Mitch Campbell shooting. We've blogged that we have not seen any; that does not mean they were not out there. The Justice for Mitch page states that it won't tolerate such threats; what about personal family pages?

People often say things in grief that they wouldn't say otherwise...and do things. Again, that's why friends and family are never on a jury. Assuming there was something off about last Saturday's shooting, the Campbell family is about to learn just how slow justice can be.

A source in the sheriff's department has told us deputies believed Campbell closed a gate to his drive to keep them out. That doesn't jive with anything else we've heard, and isn't necessarily true. If true, it only raises more questions.


The Campbell death discussion and a recent online discussion on a faux military figure have both produced some interesting language. Are people today incapable of stating an opinion without uttering a curse or obscenity with it? Hint: when you do this, it doesn't make the recipient any more eager to hear your side of whatever problem you think you have.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Other Social Media?

Travis Clemmons has stated in the TimesDaily that family and friends of Mitchell Campbell have made threats on Facebook and "other social media." We've glanced at the Facebook pages and haven't seen any threats.

We have seen name calling--that won't make the ABI take you any more seriously. We have seen suggestions that Mr. Campbell's friends fire a clip in the air in front of their homes--a great way to get someone else accidentally shot. We have seen suggestions that the shooter needs to be raped in prison--while not an actual threat, that seems to be a universal favorite of some--see the Hydrick brothers. We have seen the number of shots listed as six by the Campbell family while the preliminary autopsy says three--an exaggeration but no threat.

We do wonder to what other social media Mr. Clemmons is referring. He does know MySpace is dead, doesn't he? Rhetoric like that just makes one feel more sympathy for the Campbells. So far, neither side is winning in the public relations race.


Florence attorney Hank Sherrod held his first news conference today in connection with the shooting. We're not sure where this will be going as far as a civil case, but we do think any depositions should be filmed. We'd buy a ticket to see that movie.


Monday, August 12, 2013

This Thing Called Protocol...

The word "protocol" has popped up in two recent events--both of which ended in death. Much discussion has taken place concerning the use, or lack of such, by Lauderdale County deputies Saturday night. No matter what precipitated the shooting itself, it's mind boggling that any would suggest the deputies should have arrived via the front driveway.

If the event had been a real attempted murder or hostage situation, the deputies would have been sitting ducks for the shooter. That being said, what happened after the deputies arrived seems to be the subject of debate even among the deputies themselves.

For those who have asked, no, we didn't publish a photo that included Deputy Joe Shanes because we knew he was involved in the shooting. He was simply in the photo labeled as Lowery Davis. Another fine example of incompetence in the Lauderdale Sheriff's office.


According to PNS, something unsavory has hit the fan at the Colbert County Animal Shelter. Let's hope that Roscoe's death and the lack of protocol that precipitated it will be a catalyst for needed change in that department.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why Did Mitch Campbell Die?

We once heard of a man in Madison County who had the chance to purchase a beautiful home on a large lot in an unincorporated area. The man snapped up the bargain home and quickly moved in. It was only a matter of days before heat and humidity brought the smell of a local pig farm to this man's new prize. He immediately contacted the local health department. They laughed.

Yes, many things are legal in the county that aren't legal in the cities. That's why many choose to live in a rural setting. Firing a gun is one of these hobbies that's not illegal in the county...or Central Heights.

Why did Mitch Campbell die? So far we've heard only the family's side. There's always two sides to every story. We do know the neighbor with whom Campbell had words earlier Saturday called the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office. The deputies went in prepared for a gun/hostage situation. The family says they couldn't have been more wrong.

We understand that law enforcement in such a situation has only a split second to respond or possibly lose their lives. They responded with five, perhaps six, shots. The ABI investigation may take weeks. Even then, the report will never state what was going through Mitch Campbell's mind when he first saw the deputies. No such report can ever be complete. The neighbor who made the call has much to answer for.

Our sympathies to the Campbell family. You can read more on the shooting here:


Yesterday we blogged on Lowery Davis, the most recently announced candidate for Lauderdale County Sheriff. One of our readers has been very vocal in announcing the photo we ran was not of Mr. Davis, but of a Deputy Boone.

If this is the case, we would appreciate Mr. Davis forwarding us a photo, as well as Mr. Martin; however, here is a screen shot from the sheriff's office page that identifies this gentleman as Mr. Davis:

We still think Bo is cuter than any announced candidates.


A friend recently mentioned this old adage. We think it's worth repeating: You can choose your friends; you can't choose your family.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Everybody Wants to be Sheriff: The Field Thickens


Lauderdale County Deputy Lowery Davis has added his name to the list of those who want to be the next Lauderdale Sheriff. Lowery joins Lexington's Augie (Family Values) Hendershot and fellow deputy Brett Martin on the Democratic ticket. Rick Singleton, former Florence police chief, is running as a Republican. Current sheriff Ronnie Willis has not formally announced his retirement, but many in Lauderdale are hoping and praying.

Photo: Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department


Earlier tonight, a Lauderdale deputy shot and killed a Central resident who was reportedly involved in a neighborhood dispute. We know that many such incidents are unavoidable, but we hope whoever is the next sheriff, he or she will focus on more training for all deputies.


Don't you love a good romance? Here's one that had a happy least for the victims. The moral would seem to be: If you have to pay for it, it may not be worth it.


Friday, August 9, 2013

JD's: Good, Bad, or Somewhere in Between?

It was college football practice, and the rains came. The coach saw nothing else to do but take the team inside and view some films. While screening a film on emergency first aid, the coach noticed a freshman fullback had fallen asleep.

Freezing the screen, the coach called out, "Wojohoski, what would you do if you had your nose broken in two places?'

Startled awake, the young footballer quickly answered, "Why, I'd stay outta those two places."

Many of our readers have related that they stay out of J.D.'s Glass in Sheffield. The club has been connected to two recent shootings, but neither took place on the club's premises. The cities of Muscle Shoals and Florence had the honors of cleaning up after these altercations.

The owners of the downtown Sheffield establishment have denied that the club is a menace. Perhaps one person's menace is another's entertainment? Judging from the Halloween Bash poster pictured, the entertainment might not be everyone's cup of tea...


Lauderdale County resident Donnie Johnson and the Lauderdale County Commission are at odds over the ownership of land adjacent to County Road 458 at Center Hill. We have it on good authority that a land survey usually settles such disputes. We don't know who is right, but whoever is wrong will be, or at least should be, at least slightly embarrassed by the curb controversy. Another case of no good deed going unpunished?


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sweet Revenge?/J.D.'s Glass Shut Down

An old line states that revenge is like calamari, best served cold. Well, there's cold and then there's stone cold. Earlier today we saw a vehicle bearing the bumper sticker: Robert Jason Poss = Murderer. The name didn't ring a bell, but a quick look up found that in 2011, Poss shot his estranged wife, the wife's friend, and then himself. Only the friend lived.

So while Poss may have cheated justice, or revenge, by avoiding a trial, he's now immortalized as a murderer on some bumper stickers, assuming there's more than one in existence. This could open up a whole new niche for local printers. They would have to be very careful. The dead can't sue for libel, but rapists, abusers? Perhaps it's an idea whose time hasn't yet come.


Unfortunately, the sentencing for Hershel Dale Graham has again been postponed. The new date is August 16th at 1:00. Some wag mentioned the Watermelon Festival--perhaps painting the killer green and rolling him down Lawrence Avenue? I'm sure many would pay to see that.


After two shootings, J.D.'s Glass in Sheffield has been shut down. It would appear the owners are ready to pursue legal means to keep the club open. It will be interesting...


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Is There Ever Justice in Franklin County?"

One of our readers asked that question of us, and presumably of anyone reading Facebook that day. Obviously there's never total justice anywhere, but we hope our system comes close. Alabama is strapped for funds, with some counties faring better than others. Franklin County is not one that fares well.

Then we have unfair laws (Read: Capital Cases) and juries who come from such diverse backgrounds that finding peers of defendants is almost impossible in some cases. It's not going to change anytime soon, but we can all lobby for what we believe to be fair.

We can't ask a prosecutor in a relatively minor case to continue if the victim won't testify. Sad, but true. We do think a prosecutor should forge ahead in a rape/murder case even if the victim's mother supports her daughter's killer. Apparently not everyone agrees.


In Franklin County, we will see the sentencing of Hershel Dale Graham on Friday. The admitted killer of David Martin Andrasik has been free much too long, but it's not that rare. It's simply most don't notice the slowness of the mills of justice until it affects their families.

Our petition to Judge Terry Dempsey will be presented to him tomorrow. We're hoping for the maximum of 20 years for Graham. He wanted to know what it would feel like to kill someone; now he needs to know what it feels like to be incarcerated miles away from family and friends (if he has any of he latter).


Meanwhile in Limestone County...the Capital Murder trial for Joel Moyers is scheduled for September 9th. Will it start that day?

It's not likely. There's a 91-page docket with 268 other cases scheduled to be heard that day. Perhaps they'll skip lunch?


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Retakes and Reruns

The Quad-Cities Daily has an excellent article on the three new board appointments for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, as well as some candid discussion of what precipitated the three most recent resignations...or should we say four.

Rodney Hall has also contacted us to report the building and exhibits are in much better shape than has previously been reported. It would seem one salient question remains: Will the AMHOF move, leaving a token exhibit in Tuscumbia?

A reader asked if the AMHOF will actively seek a new director. At some point, yes, but without funds for a salary, we doubt there will be many applicants...


The young man described as the king pin of Tennessee Valley heroin trafficking has again been arrested. This brings the number of known arrests for John Wesley Akin to five:


Monday, August 5, 2013

The Return of Ron Wikkid

Ronald Eugene Weems, aka Ron Wikkid, was in the Shoals today. Wonder if he enjoyed the 50 mile trip from the prison in Capshaw where he'll be spending the rest of his life--we hope? It seems Mr. Wikkid had two issues with his conviction.

One of his complaints was ineffectual counsel. Well, Ron, it is pretty hard to get anyone off when there's not only your run of the mill murder but dismemberment as well. So your attorney John McKelvey knows someone who's a big supporter of your victim's family. Imagine that. Did you think you had more supporters than the grieving family of your victim? Hmmm. How does your head get through that cell door?

Now we will have more appeals, but at least the Wikkid One won't have to come back to the Shoals for any more proceedings.


During Ronald Weems' murder trial, his sometime girlfriend Ashley Greenhill testified that she called in her friend Matthew Fox to help dispose of Amanda Taylor's body. She related that Fox had a reputation for that sort of thing. We asked at the time just how does one acquire such a reputation?

Sometime after we published that blog, it hit us that Fox often played the part of a grave digger in a local Halloween enterprise. Talk about life imitating art...


Signs of the times? Who knows of some local Neon signs still in use? Or at least still hanging in their original location? Leave a comment or message on Facebook if you think you know of such a sign that may not be that well-known.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lauderdale County Didn't Want it?!

One of our most astute commenters on Facebook mentioned moving the Alabama Music Hall of Fame to Veterans Park in Lauderdale County. He felt the proximity to the Marriott would ensure some steady patrons. Good idea?

It certainly shows promise, but apparently no one in any position of power in Lauderdale embraced that idea. Why? We can only assume the HOF is in such a death spiral that no one who has actually seen it recently would want it--not even to get back at Colbert County for their stand on the new RegionalCare hospital.


Liberal, Conservative, or somewhere in between? A recent comment by an old friend mentioned the conservative leanings of Pen-N-Sword. We had to think about that one. There's very little political commentary on that site--mainly local news. We have noticed that PNS publishes press releases from both federal and state elected officials.

Yes, like him or not, Mo Brooks is the U.S. Representative for many of us. All of us would do well to monitor the mindset of any of our officials in Washington. As for the state representatives who send PNS glowing commentaries of what they've been up to, we've noticed they all seem to be of the Democratic variety.

We decided to ask how these are chosen. It seems that PNS publishes the commentaries that are sent to them from our elected officials. If readers want a more...or less...liberal take on politics, encourage your elected officials to send out regular press releases


Under the topic of "Semantics Can Be a Dangerous Game," we see where some opposing a state abortion clinic have begun using the term "pre-born." Let's hope none of our Alabama legislators takes up that sadly lacking effort to oppose these clinics. Any laws to protect the "pre-born" would have to prove that those affected were indeed going to be born--something no one can do.


We've often commented on the legal problems that surround the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office. Is it the only such office in Northwest Alabama to suffer from a lack of leadership? Apparently many in Lawrence County feel that Sheriff Gene Mitchell has his own set of problems. More on this later...


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Shoals Radio Daze?

A guest commentary that asks some surprising questions:

Shoals residents should be questioning this situation. Have you tried to listen to WLAY or WVNA in the last few years? They have both been getting Special Temporary Authorities (STA) from the FCC to operate on "temporary" antennas at low power (after both were off the air for a protracted period). 

I question the use of the word temporary since this has been going on for years now. I think in the case of one of the stations they were renting property for the antenna and the landlord raised the rent. I'm not sure if that happened with the other, or if they just decided to sell the property to make a quick buck. 

It's possible that they are working on getting facilities to broadcast as licensed, but my suspicion is that they're just keeping something on the air so they don't have to turn in the licenses, either in hope of selling the license to someone who will really use it or (my real suspicion) they don't want to turn in the license because someone else might get it and bring some competition to the market. 

Stations are supposed to meet the conditions of their license. An STA is for a temporary emergency, such as a tower collapse or station fire. WYLE-TV had its license revoked by the FCC because they were not operating as licensed.


Anyone have any ideas on the current situation with these two stations? Comments welcome.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Barnard Not Paid? HOF to Huntsville?

We're not sure if anything can save the beleaguered Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Everyone has ideas, but no one has any money. It seems Director Wiley Barnard certainly didn't have any money.

Barnard stated in a TimesDaily interview that “It’s hard to do a job with no budget, let alone not being paid consistently.”


If the HOF is to survive, it may have to pack up its exhibits and relocate, that is if it can legally do so. A great article in the Quad-Cities Daily mentioned Huntsville as one of two areas currently courting the facility. The second area is Baldwin County on the Gulf Coast:


From Colbert Heights Volunteer Fire Department:

Our monthly BBQ fundraiser will be Saturday August the 10th from 4-7pm at First Baptist Church of Colbert Heights located at 6000 Woodmont Drive. We will have Spring Valley market catering our dinner, we will have BBQ ribs, chicken and pulled pork plates, all plates come with potato salad, baked beans, bread and tea. The cost is $8.00 per plate dine in or carry out. All proceeds go to the monthly operating cost of your ALL VOLUNTEER department.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

What Do You Do With A Stale Donut?

A few years ago we began a list of local eyesores. Our intention was to limit the list to ten, and as one was (hopefully) corrected, insert another less than appealing sight. The first eyesore on our list was the Knight-Humphries donut on East Tennessee Street.

Knight-Humphries Building Showing Donut Sign Under "E."

The corner building now home to a local real estate company has been occupied by many businesses over the years, and while we are only guesstimating, we believe the donut shop was in business in the 1960s. The Florence sign ordinance was adopted in the early to mid 1970s.

The building was home to Trailways after the donut makers folded their aprons and drove into the sunset. It's possible there have been others forgotten over the years. Now we've been contacted by a representative of Knight-Humphries who believes the City of Florence owns the sign. Why?

The sign does appear to be on the city's right-of-way and, if so, was placed their illegally; however, the owners of the donut shop obviously paid for the sign (at least we hope the City of Florence didn't) and it would have been transferred to each subsequent owner.

We've contacted Dick Jordan, the councilman for the downtown area, to get his take on the best way to remove the sign. Should taxpayers pay for having it removed when it does belong to Knight-Humphries, but is on the city ROW?

Feel free to offer your takes on this, and we'll publish them.