Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Even Angel Has a Fan...

We recently blogged on a local hospice that bills itself as non-profit. A friend mentioned that Helen Keller Hospital also describes itself as non-profit. Of course, HKH usually takes that designation just a little too seriously. We do have to wonder, given some of the hospital’s losses in recent years, how HKH can afford its ever growing army of attorneys to fight against the new RegionalCare hospital in Florence. Surely Huntsville Hospital isn’t helping to finance that fight?


Sources say the woman at the center of some local nursing home fraud has passed away. No word on any lawsuit, but we will keep attempting to find out more particulars on possible sidelined narcotics. If you have loved ones in nursing homes, don’t hesitate to ask about their care. If nothing is being covered up, the staff should be happy to address any of your concerns.


A recent commenter on Angel Gieske has championed Angel as someone who helped unite families—no matter if there were “problems” with her credentials or not. Well, gentle reader, the problems also extended to her using a fraudulent address for her non-profit “agency” and lying under oath about it all. We’ll add that if credentials don’t really matter, a friend of ours, plumber by trade, has expressed an interest in setting up a practice in neurosurgery. Any one out there want to give him a try? We’re sure he has the best interest of any patients at heart...


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Punishment for Those Band Members?

We’ve received several comments about the band bus incident. The high school has been named in various places, but we won’t add this blog to the list. We will say the school is one that the Shoals area should be proud of, but just not in this one instance. For all we’ve heard, we’ve not learned of any punishment meted out to these two students. Should there be?

When we were in high school a few hundred years ago, it was common for some to ridicule band members, especially the males, but in reality anyone who makes the band is extremely talented. Playing an instrument is not like singing—it doesn’t come naturally—it has to be learned, and that takes discipline. Factor in the need to master the marching, and you have to admit those who play in the band are much more likely to be a success in life than many of their classmates.

That being said, what kind of person, unless totally wasted, has sex in public? We can imagine in 2055 the female may be walking down a street when she’ll pass someone who can’t resist saying to a companion, “That’s the girl I went to high school with who had sex in public.” just doesn’t go away.

Our opinion? No matter how intelligent, these two (the male has reportedly been in some serious trouble before) seem like great candidates for the alternative school.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Another Take on William Harold Kimbrough III

Our blog recently mentioned William Harold Kimbrough III, aka Trey, currently under arrest for possession and distribution of an illegal narcotic, namely heroin. Some felt our blog was too hard on Kimbrough and had him already wrongly “convicted.”

We don’t know what Kimbrough’s defense will be, but unless the families of his victims and local police have all lied or choose to recant, he will be going away for a long time. A friend of ours has suggested Kimbrough wasn’t your average dealer, but someone caught up in his own addiction, which he couldn’t seem to conquer. That may be true, but it doesn’t change the state laws concerning heroin distribution.

That brings us to his victims. We say “victims” since four of his customers died and one was at the brink of death for several days. These five were not forced to purchase this drug, nor were they forced to take it. Yet they didn’t plan on death being a side effect of a relatively short euphoria.

Yes, we’ve been sent names of those who died, and no, we won’t publish them here. If this list is correct, there is one victim which greatly disturbs us. Our mental health system may not be a total failure, but it fails many. Yes, many in the system have fought to protect us, but we continue to fail them miserably. Tommy Atkins lives today and he still fails to claim the respect he deserves.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Bro. Jeff" Has a Fan!

It seems whenever someone is arrested for a crime, there are those who defend them; however, the more heinous the crime, the fewer defenders they usually have. In the past we've received comments from those who support abusers of women, rapists, kidnappers, and even murderers. Yes, we know, it was either for a good cause or all the victims really deserved what they got. Let's see how far that argument goes with the judge and jury.

We've even seen a child rapist defended because his four year-old victim seduced him. As stated, those comments are rare; however, we've just recieved our second comment on a "Bro. Jeff" blog that implies most of the case against Jeff Eddie was based on "gossip."

So, to "Get a Life People," we say this: Jeff Eddie confessed his crimes. No one forced a confession, no one forced him to plead guilty, and no one forced Eddie to do what he did to innocent young men. He, and he alone, is responsible. While we don't like to think about such things, you can be sure there are many out there who do like children in a sexual way, but actually manage to suppress these desires...just as Shoalanda managed to turn down that double chocolate fudge cake at Sunday dinner...


As an afterthought, are we sure this commenter was defending Eddie or does he simply support the clergy in general? We're pretty sure he supports Eddie in particular since he has not commented on two other recent cases of local clergy seducing children. There are much better ways for a true friend to support a person than to overlook such serious shortcomings.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Hospice of the Shoals: Really Non-Profit?

We've received many inquiries over the years concerning so-called "non-profit" agencies in the Shoals and elsewhere. Recently, for whatever reason, we've received a few concerning Hospice of the Shoals. Is it truly "non-profit?"

The answer is yes and no. Confused, now?

Any business has to have income in order to function. We doubt the nurses, aides, office staff, etc. want to work for free. If any Hospice of the Shoals employees work for free, please contact us and we'll make a retraction on this point immediately.

Come out with 10K left over one that profit? What about the next month when the hospice comes out 10K under what's needed to make expenses and payroll? It should even out, but one can never accurately predict expenses--just as you might not be able to predict what damage a storm might do to your roof.

So, should you donate to this hospice? If this is your charity of choice, we say you should go for it! There are no owners who receive huge incomes each month--this is the standard by which they are truly deemed non-profit.

Remember, if you or someone or the United Way does not contribute, this hospice if funded only by patients with insurance...and that's certainly not all of them. The uninsured deserve care as much as anyone else, at least when they're dying.


Are all for profit hospices equal? No. See above comment about mismanagement by greedy owners. 


Friday, April 25, 2014

Bad Heroin?/William Kimbrough

From a reader on our story concerning the four who died and one seriously damaged from a specific batch of heroin:

They didn't die from 'bad' heroin. They od'd because the heroin was more pure than what they're used too. We are hearing it's only being cut 2-3 times instead of 8-9 times. It's more potent not bad. They get what they used before but it's too much and they don't know til it's too late. Watch American Gangster you'll get what were seeing. Someone's gotten an almost direct line to a source and selling it dirt cheap. Yes the dealers should be held more accountable but not sure that will ever happen.

This is only too true, but we have heard of these drugs being cut with rat poison. Nothing would surprise us.


The dealer arrested in those crimes was William Kimbrough III. With his ears he could give up drug dealing and run his own flying service. (We don't make it a practice to comment on the physical appearance of others, but we'll make an exception for a heroin dealer.)


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why So Many Girls Missing?

We received the above question from a reader? Why? We don't know...each of these cases is different. We can say that with most law enforcement agencies on Facebook, these cases are out front and center almost as soon as they're reported. Some missing teens are "found" almost immediately and would previously never have made the media that published only every 24 hours.

Of course, monkey see, monkey do. Not that teenagers are monkeys or anything, but we pretty much think grounded for life is a satisfactory ending for most of these escapades.


Check out both the Quad-Cities Daily and Pen-N-Sword for the latest on missing persons in the Shoals. Be sure to like them on Facebook as well.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

No One's With the Band?

We recently read an article in PNS concerning drug testing for band members at a local high school (Wilson Drug Testing). It seems that bands are considered an arm of sports. This is in addition to regular random drug testing at various high schools.

Almost immediately after reading this article, we received a communication concerning a very unsavory incident on a local band trip. The school was unnamed, and we have not asked, but we believe it was in Colbert County.

Now for those who have not made it into the 21st Century, we regret that we have to tell you that not all children are reared in the First Uptown Baptist Church or the Cherry Lane Church of Christ. What does that mean for parents? It means you gotta watch those little darlings like Henry watching Foghorn.

Of course, it's not just the band. Remember the Clements High School cadaver debacle. About the same time an Alabama high school student was killed while crossing I-65 after specifically being told not to. We haven't heard, but we assume the high school was sued anyway.

Oh, you say your kids wouldn't. Probably not, but do you really want them to see their friends' intestines on the median or the equivalent of Deep Throat on the band bus? The moral? If it's a long trip, take enough parents to sleep in shifts...and be sure to wear your leisure suits to embarrass them to the max. Send us the pictures.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Are They Drug Dealers?

If you provide drugs in exchange for sex, are you a drug dealer? If you fall into that category, you probably don't have to worry about prosecution in the State of Alabama.

A few years ago, a man of dubious integrity did provide drugs to a woman of his acquaintance; then he received sexual favors; then he shot her dead. At least one person criticized this blog for calling the man a drug dealer.

Now a similar case in the Shoals has produced some similar rhetoric. "He's not a drug dealer. He just offered the young women drugs in exchange for sex."

Well, we're glad he cleared that up for us.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Did You Say "Role Models?"

If you haven't been reading about a certain murder trial in Minnesota, you've been missing out on a ethical/moral dilemma. During the Thanksgiving holidays in 2012, two young teenagers were shot and killed while robbing a 63 year-old man in ill health. It was reportedly the third time the pair had targeted the victim's home. When police searched their car parked a short distance from the house that became their last stand, they found prescription drugs and other loot from another home they had robbed the day before. Prosecutors want the jury to believe the two youths were just after some quick drugs, but the first to feel the lead of the homeowner's gun had in fact left the kitchen and entered the basement looking for God only knows what. Sounds like some really nice kids, doesn't it?

Lest you think the duo was known to police before their demise, think again. These were no urban gangsters, but a pair of middle class first cousins. The boy was 17, the girl 16, and both were considered "role models" in their high school. That's right, role models. The prosecution is seeking to portray them as a bored pair who had lost their way and totally undeserving of the multiple bullets that riddled their bodies.

How do we feel? Up until the homeowner saw fit to inflict a final head shot to finish them off, we pretty much support his handling of the situation. Shattered kneecaps should be common on the job hazards for such little punks. So let's say the homeowner could have held the pair, called authorities, and ended the afternoon robbery with all participants alive and kicking--just how would these role models have been handled in Minnesota courts? We're not sure of Minnesota laws, but in Alabama they could have sought...and probably gotten...Youthful Offender status.

And is there a point to discussing a trial taking place hundreds of miles away in the frigid clime of a prairie state? Yes, we're about to compare two very different local youths who went over to the dark side, but in the interim, we'd like our readers' opinions on the two Minnesota home invaders. What would you have done? What should be the homeowner's fate? We welcome all comments.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lynn McLean: Licensed or Not?

We've had several questions concerning Florence psychologist Lynn F. McLean. We can only say at this time, McLean's license is suspended and may become valid again on May 22, 2014. The State's report indicates McLean was charged with eight ethics violations.

McLean's name has always been closely linked with that of Angel Gieske. Considering this, if any have questions concerning custody agreements, etc., it's best to contact DHR or your attorney. All the best to those who have suffered wrongly.


A recent syndicated article in the TotallyDecatur lamented how the upper members of the Chinese Communist Party uses brutality to get its way. So are we to infer that some or all upper members of the Chinese Communist Party are evil? Would that include UNA’s seeming benefactor Zhang Zhiting?

We’re guessing whoever approved the article was just looking for filler. Wonder what thought of it? Someone said the good Chairman is only a Communist since it helps his business. Why are we thinking of the Klan in America the 1920s and 1930s and the Nazi Party in 1930s Germany?


Friday, April 18, 2014

Another Hottie Scottie Victim

We recently received a communication from a gentleman who had read the Shoals Crime post Kinky Killen Kidnapping. He states he was a victim of Andrew Daniel Scott and had reported the theft, but has not received any restitution from the young man...and he’s looking for answers, not to mention money.

One route the victim inquired about was hiring his own attorney. Unless the amount he lost was well into the thousands, we don’t see that as being economically feasible. If he wants to be sure Scott pays as some kind of justice, then it might be morally worth it to him.

Unfortunately, it’s possible that this theft may have been admitted by Andrew Scott, but not specifically listed in any of his indictments and, therefore, not legally binding to require restitution. Since Scott was arrested again last November, anyone who has been a victim should contact the Lauderdale County District Attorney’s office for help in how to proceed now that Hottie Scottie is again active in the system and awaiting further sentencing.

If this theft was documented and mentioned in Scott’s previous plea agreement, the victim (or other victims) should contact the office of the circuit court clerk to determine if the courts are holding any funds for disbursement. There seems to be close to two dozen reported victims in the wake of Andrew Daniel Scott’s seven-year long crime spree, and we doubt all will ever be repaid.

And, yes, it’s very sad when anyone’s hard earned money is taken from them and winds up in the nose or arm of a douche bag.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Finding the Brown Recluse

Yes, our friend the Brown Recluse has reached a milestone and also has a new web home. Congratulations to our favorite spider, er, blogger in reaching 100,000 unique page views. Total page hits usually run about 150% of unique hits, so Margaret is a force to be reckoned with in Shoals Cyberspace.

We have been remiss in not updating her new website addy, but rest assured it has now been done. Her site may be found in the list of links appearing in the left hand column of our blog. Once there, we promise you’ll be charmed by the Brown Recluse’s photography, doodles, and of course writing. You’ll be happy you checked in to learn of her latest adventures with Ol’ Boy and Mr. Gibbs. 

While on the subject of blogs, our sister publication Shoals Crime recently updated its posts. If any readers have an article on local crime, please feel free to forward it to us with information on how you want authorship listed. Any articles sent to us remain the property of the author and may be republished elsewhere at any time.

If you have a local blog and are not listed in our sidebar index, please forward the information to us. We want you to have a long, successful, and happy run!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Catching Up with Mark Davis

We've received the following communication from Mark Davis. We have his permission to publish it in toto and unedited:

I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about Alabama DHR reporting me to the credit reporting agencies when there is no Alabama statute that grants it.

The complaint was forwarded to the federal government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (

Word arrived today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now has an active investigation regarding the issue.

Also there was a state level hearing with the DHR on their acting adverse to me.

As I have said since 2010, federal regulations mandate the previous Tennessee child support judgment that ordered me to directly support our daughter be registered in Alabama in accordance to a particular mandate.

The state hearing officer Louise Shaddix verbally agreed with me on this issue and said "everyone at DHR knows well that an out of state judgment must be registered in Alabama."

Well, that was never done.

This means my being jailed was illegal.  I am fully supporting Katie consistent with the only valid court order... the Tenn order.

Although, the hearing officer will not issue an order for 30 days, I suspect she might cover for DHR. She is employed by DHR.

Another federal violation by the DHR  is that Federal law indicates I am to have an independent hearing by an independent hearing officer.

I have attached a written summary of the issues addressed in the DHR hearing. The summary includes quotes from the Alabama child support and procedures manual showing the DHR fraudulent failures.

I have redacted personal information including my daughters name. You have my permission to publish it, either as a whole or in sections.

This involves public monies and the public should know about it.

Finally, the federal regulation regarding an administrative hearing CFR 205.10 said that I am entitled to view "all documents" in the DHR case file prior to the hearing. I have requested to review the case file since December 2013.

Chris Connolly objected and said that I am not entitled to view it. The hearing officer agreed indicating the file is "confidential".

The 8th federal circuit court of appeals quoting the US supreme court said when Alabama agreed to accepted federal funding it is mandated to follow federal regulations regardless of the state agency policies, otherwise the state agency is violating the supremacy clause of the US Constitution. See the first page of the summary.

Chris Connolly's response on my viewing the DHR case file is that he is not required to follow 8th federal circuit case law. Connolly said we are in the 11th federal circuit. Never mind, the 8th circuit is quoting the US Supreme Court.

We are supposed to be a nation of laws not of men. Yet, Chris Connolly is of the opinion he is above the law.


We welcome comments on Alabama DHR!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prosecute Adultery?

Yes, we believe that adultery is technically a crime in Alabama. Now Lawrence County, Alabama, deputy Harold Knighten has used that as a defense in checking out his competitors on a publicly funded crime base. Do we think he will win using this defense? No...

But should he win, divorce cases in Alabama will become much more interesting. Joe Bleaux thinks his wife Missy is cheating with Handsome Harry Heartthrob and he names Harry in the complaint. If Joe wins, won't the county district attorney then be required to prosecute Harry and Missy?

Alabama could become a attorney's dream.


Wonder how Knighten's wife feels having her extra-curricular activities made known to the world?


Monday, April 14, 2014

A Word About Muscle Shoals

We are publishing this anonymously since we have not obtained permission to us a name. If the writer would like credit, please contact us, and many thank:

What is up with the City getting "permission" from the court to demolish and haul off privately owned buildings they deem as public nuisance?

They harass some of the developers when their vacant lots have growth of 12 inches of grass and threaten them with their "ordinance" on public nuisance.

I have a string of text messages with one councilman that explained how they do the privately owned buildings demolition and to "trust him".

I told him I guess the best way to get something free when your roof falls in is to have the city deem it a public nuisance and clear your property so you can re-build. What a plan. Such rocket scientist.

Didn't get an answer to my question if they billed the owners - I think we probably know the answers to that one.

Yeah right.

ANOTHER QUESTION - What about that money pit called the Cypress Lakes Golf Course?
Millions of dollars spent - and they are running scared that the public will ask for the income and expenses (not to mention in kind work from all the different departments)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Keller Stalls Again?

Hell, We'll Kill Ya Hospital

By the time RegionalCare is allowed to build its new Lauderdale County facility, there will be no need for a maternity ward. In 2108 all infants will be delivered via test tube.

Yes,  the Keller Hospital appeal hearing is now set for early May; however, sources say the Colbert County bully has hired even more attorneys who will (surprise) not be ready by this date. This is not a capital case. This is not even a criminal case. It is fast becoming the basis for a class action lawsuit against Keller. All those who feel their health is in jeopardy due to these delays should band together and let Keller know just what a lawsuit really is.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Losing More Shoals Industry?

...and another one bites the dust? While it’s only a folk saying that celebrity deaths and airplane crashes come in threes, there may be validity to the rumors that a third local manufacturing concern will join International Paper and Hillshire Farms in leaving northwest Alabama.

If the demise of this western Lauderdale County company should come to pass, how many more employees will lose their jobs? Pedal faster; how much can this area take, or should we say give up?


Who has been most affected by the loss of IP and Hillshire Farms? Certainly along with Lawrence County, Alabama, the counties of Lauderdale, Limestone, Morgan, Colbert, and Franklin have been negatively impacted. The area affected by the year-end closing of Hillshire Farms is not as great simply because the wages were lower. Outside Lauderdale, Colbert County in Alabama and Lawrence County in Tennessee will be home to most losing jobs when the Florence plant shuts its doors in December.

We would like to see some projected numbers of how many former IP and Hillshire employees are now leaving the area in order to find work. No, we don’t expect to see it reported in the TotallyDecatur. For bad economic news to be reported by Shelton Publishing, it has to originate in Montgomery. 


Friday, April 11, 2014

Kathy Smith Aaron: Not Necessarily Our Opinion?

We recently blogged on Kathy Aaron, a Muscle Shoals resident who last year took part in the robbery of her former employer. After any blog, we usually receive e-mails concerning the perps. We usually clean them up...if we publish them at all; however, Kathy seems so nice and all, here's the goods:

I went to H.S. with Kathy (maiden name Smith) Aaron. She was a 1977 graduate of Russellville High School. We were in band together for a few years. She was a mean, freckle faced little bully to the younger band members, but I got along with her because I get along with almost everyone, and because I thought she was funny trying to boss the smaller kids around. (Not too mature of me, I guess).
Years later, she went to work in Russellville at what was then Harco Drug. Tim Aaron was hired there as a pharmacist, and over time, they dated and then married. They have been divorced for many years now. Tim used to be, well, not very attractive, but likeable, and most of us felt that she married him because he had a better career than she would ever have. Now, he looks much better and has a very pretty wife. I went to college with him.
At one time, Kathy was said to be a druggie, around the time she was working in the drug store. I don’t know if she straightened up that part of her life or not before turning to larceny.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Center of the Shoals?

The center of the Shoals is hardly the center of the Universe. It’s mainly land-bound and seemingly has little to offer in the way of attractions; however, it will soon offer a new tourist magnet—a sign proclaiming Sheffield the the center of the Shoals. This sign will be in addition to the newly placed refurbished neon marvel that now greets the public on Second Street.

We’ve received some comments on the City of Sheffield spending 12.5K on such a sign for Riverfront Park. Nevertheless, the money for the sign came from a grant and could be spent in only certain ways. Sheffield would have been remiss not to have taken it.

Now, back to what was once called urban renewal. Many in Sheffield (think Steve Wiggins) have labored long and hard to see Sheffield become all it can be. Has the once second largest Shoals town come even close? We would hardly think so.

We may not totally adhere to the expression “Build it and they will come,” but we have no doubt some sprucing up of many of Sheffield’s tired old storefronts would attract new business. Yet many property owners seem to think it better to let a building rot than rent it for less than what it would bring if it were up to snuff and sat in the center of downtown Florence--another group for whom logic is a lost cause? C’mon, Ian, get tough on ‘em. It’s the only way they’ll ever behave.

And while we’re at it... Whoever may soon represent Sheffield in the newly configured state districts should be MADE to fight for an overpass at the Montgomery Avenue rail crossing. That should be the number one priority, and if not accomplished, the citizens should elect someone who can. If someone can convince Gov. Bentley to fund the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, someone can influence Bentley and the DOT to fund the overpass; it’s as simple as that.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

If Someone Offers You a Ride to the Airport...

Locals arrested in McNairy County:

In October the Sheriff's Office was contacted concerning a high profile burglary in Adamsville, we assisted the Police Department with processing the crime scene and began working the case at the request of the District Attorney's Office and with the cooperation of the Adamsville Police Department. The Sheriff's Office has executed over a dozen search warrants in Tennessee and Alabama and interviewed dozens of witnesses and suspects. On March 26th we were able to Arrest Shawn Vandiver of Russelville Alabama and have issued an Arrest Warrant for Kathy Aaron of Muscle Shoals Alabama.

This case is an example of the expertise and hard work of the employee's of the Sheriff's Office. This investigation was technically and financially complex and worked completely by the Investigators at the Sheriff's Office. Great job to Investigators Hitchborn, Kellum and Johnson and Chief Deputy Strickland.

According to other sources, only 60K of the cash and none of the electronics have been recovered in the theft of possibly 250K. Aaron was a former employee of the victim who offered him a ride to the airport. You just can't hire good help anymore...

The victim's statement:

"I am deeply saddened and disappointed to learn that a former employee and co-worker was involved in such a vicious crime. I do have complete faith in our justice system and look forward to seeing all parties involved being brought to justice and prosecuted appropriately.

Over the last six months I have been so impatient so much of the time and wondered where are my rights as a victim. It seemed to be all about the rights of who we knew broke into my home.

I had to turn it over to a just God that knew exactly who did it and had a plan to bring them to justice all along. I knew Sheriff Buck and his staff was doing all they could do. My only advice is to protect yourself and your home as best as you can and if it happens to you, let the system work.

I do want to say thank you to Guy Buck and the McNairy County Sheriff's for the countless hours that they worked to solve this case. Also, to Bob Gray in the district attorney's office, without his help none of this would have been possible."


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ah, A Value Judgment!

Unless the topic at hand concerns some highly immoral act--rape or kidnapping for instance--we are always happy to publish different points of view. We will usually offer our point of view as well; after all, it is our blog.

Yesterday we published an interesting account of the repercussions of Greg Scoggins role playing as the Deerslayer. If any had doubts, we think the man should never be allowed to even look at a gun again, let alone serve as a police officer. We hope he's attacked by innocent deer every night in his dreams.

Nevertheless, we are amused by the whole legal morass the case is trapped in. We also love to see Mr. Billy Underwood's defense of anyone. As an attorney, he rocks!

Now...about HASRA v. PAWS. One of our readers accused us of supporting PAWS in the not so petty squabble which that organization has taken to circuit court. We have not published our views, but were greatly amused that any readers thought we supported PAWS based on anything we had recently written. HASRA is one of the most noble organizations we have ever seen. We do hesitate to criticize PAWS at some level, since for years that group was the only one of its kind in the area and did perform a great service.

No, we wholeheartedly support HASRA. BTW, Bruce, you rock also!


Back to former officer Scoggins...why would he have taken a gun and shot such a magnificent animal? For food? We know that's been reported, but...

We've consulted our friend Miss Marple who has concluded since he was dumped by his wife and had to use a gun to prove his manhood, Greg Scoggins doesn't have a penis. We welcome your thoughts on this, but please use correct anatomical wording. Bada Bing!


Monday, April 7, 2014

The Buck That Broke Alabama?

Editor’s Note: Have you ever watched an episode of Law & Order that started out as one case, then minutes into the plot, veered into a totally different storyline? The following article on the State’s case against former Muscle Shoals police officer Greg Scoggins is similar to that. This account may be long, but it’s worth reading. In fact, if you make it to the end, there’s quite a bombshell. There will be more on this at a later date:

The 23rd day of December, 2012, was a warm, mild morning. A 200-pound monster buck was grazing in an open field on Tennessee Valley Authority property situated at the intersection of Wilson Dam Road and Second Street in Muscle Shoals. Across Second Street stood a two-story structure, being the City of Muscle Shoals Sewage Water Treatment Plant. The buck, with his harem of six does, made it an everyday practice of grazing that field in the mornings.

Little did the buck know its life would be changed when it intersected with police officer Greg Scoggins of the Muscle Shoals Police Department. Scoggins’ life had changed dramatically in the past fifteen months. He had lost his home, filed bankruptcy, lost every worldly possession including his family pets in a fire at his rental home, and he didn’t have insurance to replace any of his items. Three weeks previous to this encounter with the monster buck, he was served with divorce papers by his wife, kicking him out of his new rental house. Officer Scoggins, a thirteen-year veteran of the Muscle Shoals Police Department, was an avid hunter and had been eying this buck for some months.

It now represented meat on the table, and respite from the mental sadness he had been going through.
Scoggins pulled off of Wilson Dam Road into the field and pulled out a rifle that he had been carrying in the back of the vehicle. A shot at 110 yards felled the buck who ran about forty yards towards Second Street and expired near a fence line which borders the roadway. Unbeknownst to Scoggins, David Moore was working at the Muscle Shoals Sewage Water Treatment Plant and he had watched everything from the boom of the gun to the buck expiring at the fence line. David Moore then spent the next forty minutes on his cell phone trying to get a Conservation Officer, Muscle Shoals Police, Mayor, City Councilman, USA Federal Government Agent, Federal Authorities, or their ABI Agent involved in what had happened.

Moore, who had worked for the City over fifteen years, kept a pair of binoculars handy everyday so he could watch that field daily. His job, extensively, was to watch gauges and gadgets at the Waste Water Plant to make sure the sewage water was treated properly. He had a unique schedule on this Sunday; one in which he could leave the Sewage Waste Water Plant halfway through his shift. He could go to church in Florence and sing in the choir. He took this sabbatical opportunity to follow Scoggins in his patrol car, who was following a red pickup truck. The driver of the red truck had helped Scoggins load the buck into the back of it. The convoy turned at Congress Street and Moore turned and went back to the Waste Water Plant and called the Muscle Shoals Police Department. He told them their police officer was somewhere on Congress Street. Within ten minutes, Sgt. Cedric Morris and Capt. Clint Reck of the Muscle Shoals Police Department showed up and ordered Scoggins back to the station where he was told to turn in his badge and gun belt, and he was put on a three-day administrative leave. While there, Chad Holden, of the Alabama Conservation Department, gave Scoggins three tickets for Reckless Endangerment, Hunting Without Permission, and Hunting By Aid of A Motorized Vehicle.

Scoggins, needing legal representation, hired Tuscumbia attorney Billy Underwood and Florence attorney Johnnie Franks for his criminal and civil problems. He was later to lose an appeal before the Muscle Shoals Civil Service Board to keep his job and appealed that case to the Circuit Court of Colbert County, Alabama.

Underwood and Franks immediately attacked the fact that Scoggins was charged in the District Court of Colbert County and not tried in a United States Federal District Court. The Tennessee Valley Authority was federal property. His attorneys did not know the State of Alabama, through Governor Fob James in 1988, had entered into a strange agreement with the federal government whereby Alabama supposedly accepted back jurisdiction over TVA lands. The agreement would require the State to patrol and police over 600,000 acres of property in North Alabama.

Underwood and Franks, in the criminal cases, immediately filed briefs and requested the criminal cases be dismissed and sent to Federal Court because it was on federal property. Doug Evans, assistant District Attorney in Franklin County, was appointed to prosecute this case. The local District Attorney’s office in Colbert County had decided to opt-out of prosecuting Scoggins. Evans, now with the aid of the Tennessee Valley Authority, happened upon the 1988 agreement between Governor Fob James and the State of Alabama. The agreement stated basically the State of Alabama would accept back, by a word called cession, jurisdiction, rights, privileges, and franchises from the Federal government on all 600,000 acres of property in the northern tier of Alabama. The swath of land covers from Colbert County, on the west state boundary, to Dekalb on the east. The agreement stated the Tennessee Valley Authority shared all jurisdictional powers with the State of Alabama. Years later the Tennessee Valley Authority, in a cost cutting move, withdrew every single TVA police officer in North Alabama from those properties making them basically a bad lands due to the fact there would be no police officers patrolling them.

Muscle Shoals Police and the Colbert County Sheriff’s Department testified they never patrol Tennessee Valley Authority property in Colbert County. During the criminal trial the Honorable Chad Coker, District Judge of Colbert County, Alabama, ruled the 1988 cession of jurisdiction between Governor Fob James and the State of Alabama, was law and the criminal cases could be tried in the District Court of Colbert County. He, however, commented at trial his reluctance as a lowly sitting District Court Judge to find an agreement between the federal government, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Governor of the State of Alabama null and void.

At the end of the trial, Judge Coker found Scoggins not guilty of Reckless Endangerment and Hunting From a Vehicle. He did find him guilty of Hunting on TVA property without permission of the federal government. Underwood and Franks immediately appealed the decision to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. The legal brief filed by Scoggins’ attorney argued the 1988 cession of land and jurisdiction by the United States government between Governor Fob James and Tennessee Valley Authority was void. His attorneys attacked the wording of the agreement. Even the State’s Attorney General, Luther Strange, agreed the wording of the agreement was incorrect. The State of Alabama, through the Attorney Generals Office, argued “during the thirteen-year period since the agreement was signed, the State of Alabama has exercised concurrent jurisdiction over this property and neither the state nor the federal government had complained.” The Attorney General seemed to say, because there was no dispute between Alabama and the Federal Government, Scoggins should be estopped from nullifying the agreement. Scoggins’ attorneys argued the state legislature had to vote to accept the land.

On the 7th day of March, 2014, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals surprised everyone. It agreed with Scoggins’ attorney that there wasn’t an agreement according to the 1988 cession that Governor Fob James and TVA signed but went a different route and stated there didn’t ever need to be an agreement; that under the Code of Alabama the legislature had stated specifically it will always accept land or jurisdiction of lands the state had ceded to the United States government without any further action of the legislature. It basically gives to the federal government a blanket agreement to deed any properties it wished back to the State of Alabama without the Alabama Legislature voting to accept those lands back into the state. This raises the serious question of “what if the Tennessee Valley Authority decides to deed back to the State of Alabama all the coal ash ponds at their coal stream plants and also decides to deed back from the Hollywood, Alabama Nuclear Plant all its contaminated nuclear waste acreage?” The State of Alabama does not have monies with which to handle and clean up these waste dumps. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals incidentally does not normally rule on civil matters, it being a court to entertain criminal law appeals.

Enter former Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Pamela Baschab, who now with Underwood has filed a Motion for a Rehearing the 28th of March, 2014, requesting the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reconsider the ruling in light of the fact that, under Paragraph Five of the statute it was interpreting, stated the State of Alabama Legislature had a right to vote on the 1988 agreement to accept or reject. Baschab has been a jurist on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals for over twelve years and felt this case was one she needed to help correct a wrong. There now is pending in front of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals a Motion for Rehearing with Scoggins’ lawyers stating they will appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court if their motion is denied. As the law now stands, the State of Alabama is at the mercy of the federal government who could deed to the state any property it didn’t want or give jurisdiction to the state properties it wants the state to patrol without Alabama having any legal objection to their grants.

Worth reading, wasn’t it?


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Another Take on Paul Bussman

We recently blogged on Republican State Senator Paul Bussman. Sen. Bussman was unhappy that a bill affecting animal welfare was being debated on the last day of the session. After all, there were so many more important bills.

We have to ask Sen. Bussman if there were some lesser bills debated on the first day or the session? Or the second? Or the third? It would be nice if our elected officials could prioritize during the entire term, but alas they can’t seem to. What was his suggestion to correct this? A filibuster.

So Sen. Bussman thinks if 30 or so minutes of the daily session is “wasted” on a bill, he should waste the entire day? Logic isn’t his strong point, is it?


We had some comments on our blog concerning Sen. Bussman. Do we think animal welfare is more important than that of Alabama’s human citizens? No, but perhaps this will illustrate the point:

A man stood on a pier looking out at raging storm. To his left, a large ship was sinking. It was barely recognizable on the horizon, but he knew the ship carried elected officials and other dignitaries from around the world. Sadly, there was nothing he could do to save it.

Looking to his right, the man saw a small canoe thirty feet from shore. This craft was also sinking, and the lone passenger was frantically trying to save himself. The man on the pier looked at the life preserver hanging nearby. He could easily toss the flotation device to the canoeist and save his life. Did he?

We certainly hope he did. Just because he couldn’t save the hundreds in the cruise ship doesn’t mean he shouldn’t save the lone boater. Similarly, just because we can’t make every citizen’s life better, we shouldn’t overlook a valid opportunity to improve the life of the animals with which we share our world.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Who Were the Five?

Who were the five? The five Shoals residents who have recently seen their worldly exits hastened due to some bad heroin? No, we don’t need to know their names even though some have been suggested to us, but we can infer some basics without ever knowing any actual identities.

Each of the five died in Florence and probably had the same dealer. If not the same immediate dealer, the drugs sold to these five unfortunate souls came from the same source via those lower down in the hierarchy. It’s only a matter of time before authorities can name him...and arrest him.

Can he be charged with some sort of homicide? Probably, but if he has enough prior convictions, he can be given Life Without Parole strictly on a the basis of being a habitual offender. The penalties for selling heroin or other such Schedule I drugs are extremely stiff in Alabama. 


Can we be sure this unknown, unnamed dealer will be captured? Nothing in life is sure, but we’re guessing there will be those only too happy to name names, reward or not.

It wasn’t that long ago that a young Muscle Shoals man died after taking what he thought was LSD. No one was ever charged in his death, but our sources (and did we ever learn a few things) explained how such designer drugs made their way to the Shoals via the Silk Road (now shut down?) or other secretive online sources.

Heroin is different. In the past 12 months, there have been several dealers arrested, but none has made his way to trial as of this date. These individuals are still free—out on bail. God help them if they’ve continued to deal in this drug. God will forgive them, but the courts of Alabama will not.


Friday, April 4, 2014

What's Really Wrong at Hillshire?

Taking, but no giving? Everything in life is give and take. Next to family dynamics, nowhere is that more true than in the workplace. You work over 30 minutes without pay? No problem, but there shouldn’t be a problem if you take home that five cent trash bag in a pinch. Happy employees make good employees.

What about another type of give and take? What happens if a company uses up all its assets (take) and doesn’t replace them (give)? Remember Union Carbide? At one time that chemical giant had a huge plant in Muscle Shoals. When it left the area, it cited old equipment too far gone to repair. We’re sure there have been many industries in the Shoals that have gone down that path in the past, but now we have another name to add to the list.

Hillshire Farms, a company that often couldn’t correctly pronounce its own name, will be leaving Florence in nine months. We predict a smaller company will then purchase this “outdated” plant, rename it, and offer much lower wages. Sad, but a fact of economic life.

Do you work in a manufacturing plant? If you do, just how old or outdated is the equipment that surrounds you each day? If no one is maintaining it or replacing it, you would do well to have your resume’ ready.


We have to wonder why safety concerns have been cited at Hillshire Farms. Has OSHA visited recently? If so, perhaps that visit precipitated this unexpected closure.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Horse With Many Names Comes to Florence

Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler says smack is back. You, the Big H, maybe Mexican brown or China white. We’re sure there are plenty of other names, but it’s been a long time since we read a Rolling Stone.

But don’t worry, we live in an enlightened age. The State of Alabama knows how to handle it. If meth is a problem, outlaw Sudafed. Now heroin? Get your Veterans Day poppy now folks; by November, they’ll be illegal. 


Just how does someone get on heroin? Say what you will about pot, but it’s not a gateway drug (and no, Shoalanda does not do it.) Does someone just wake up one morning with back pain and think the Tylenol no longer cuts it, so they’ll give heroin a try? We don’t think so. We often laugh at many misconceptions concerning drugs, but in the case of heroin, we believe the term “pusher” hits the mark. You know: Try it, you’ll like it.

So besides possible death, just what are the drawbacks of heroin use and dealing. For starters, heroin is one of the drugs included in the state trafficking law. There will be no plea offers, there will be no probation, and there will be no parole. Once in prison, there will be no work release. Not a pleasant picture is it?

Do we think anything written here will influence even one possible user? In a word, no. Local authorities are asking parents to talk to their children. Not bad advice in some cases, but certainly not effective with all. How about seeing a young successful man have his name plastered all over the front page and then watching him go south for a long time? For those who say such arrests shouldn’t be publicized, we say yes they should. It may be the only deterrent available, and saving one life is worth it.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Pit Bull Should Bite Paul Bussman

Paul Bussman, a Republican representing Cullman in the Alabama Senate, has effectively shut down the low-cost spay/neuter bill. Why? He's uncomfortable with it.

Many of us are uncomfortable with the state senate itself. Can we shut them down...or at least up? We say if any veterinarians want to work for free, that's their business. No one is forcing them to. We have a "free" clinic in Florence that treats homo sapiens. Shall we shut that down as well?

Again, we have a Republican that's making many sorry they voted in the super-majority. The Libertarian Party is growing in Alabama. We can understand why.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Psychic or In Need of Psychiatric Help?

From a recent TimesDaily article on parole hearings: “We know what they’re going to say, anyway,” Janette Grantham of Victims of Crime and Leniency said. “They’ve found Jesus, and they want to go out and be a good example. That’s what they all say.”

We have the greatest respect for VOCAL; in fact one of our blogging team is very involved in the local group. We simply know that everyone can't be placed in the same basket and thrown to the wolves.

What the article, or Ms. Grantham, didn't tell the reader is that those up for parole don't have the option to attend their hearings in this state. While they may "address" the board in writing, the state finds it cost prohibitive to escort prisoners to a parole hearing in Montgomery or to arrange a video hookup.

Now you know. Oh, and we want to take Ms. Grantham to Tunica with us...