Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jack O'Lantern Farms Boycotts Shirey Ice Cream

Selectively Civic Minded?

In the early years of our blog, we often showcased local businesses. As does our good friend OB, we believe in keeping our money here in the Shoals when possible. After Pen-N-Sword and the Quad-Cities Daily arrived on the scene, the need decreased for our blog to feature these businesses. Both local news sources do a great job of making the public aware of what’s new out there.

One such local business we featured was Jack O’Lantern Farms. Our blog didn’t have the readership it now has, but the article still reached approximately one thousand readers. The owners never contacted us concerning the blog, as many featured businesses did. At the time, we assumed they were simply too busy or perhaps were not aware of our showcasing their products.

Some time later we became aware that Jack O’Lantern Farms was aligned with a group that had for a short time taken over the Weeden Home. We at Shoalanda had found much lacking in the group’s handling of the historical site and often blogged about it. A website owned by this group once suggested crucifying and burning alive someone they disliked (no, it was no one here at Shoalanda) as well as making cruel remarks about two others they perceived as gay. This didn’t seem to bother Jack O’Lantern Farms at the time, but now the local produce company has sprung into action. It’s taken up a protest against Shirey Ice Cream.

Someone once called our blog anti-gay. We have no idea what produced that conclusion since we’ve rarely addressed any of these social/religious issues. We’re going to address them now.

We really don’t care what you (that’s anyone reading this) do in your bedroom if it’s consensual. We do care if you, no matter what your sexual orientation, force yourself on any person, especially a child who can’t fight back. We do care if you steal from taxpayers or anyone else or break the law in other ways.

In other words, if we have something negative to say about you here, it’s not because you’re Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, a Drag Queen, or anything else. We don’t enjoy your conversation, posts, or whatever any less if you’re not heterosexual. You are no less our friend. If you aren’t our friend, it’s not because of your romantic or sexual interests.

We cannot think of one instance in our lives when we’ve ever insulted anyone because he was different...for whatever reason. We do not condone anyone else insulting least because of your sexual orientation. Your driving skills on the other hand may be a different matter.

As for Shoalanda herself? I’m quite heterosexual, thank you. I primarily contain my moral improvement speeches to myself unless others are being hurt. On Judgment Day, the only one I’m responsible for is me. If you desire any spiritual guidance, I’m happy to help, but I’m not going to tell you that you’re going to hell, rather tell you how to get to heaven. If you’re not interested in God’s plan of salvation, nothing I say will make any pronounced difference, and I’m not going to ram it down your throat. I will ask here which is more harmful to society, two men who live their lives in a committed relationship or a man who marries five times and blames the first four wives for the problems life dishes out?

So what about those who do have negative comments about gays? The same goes for you. You may be anti-gay, anti-fluoride, or anti-finger nail polish. Just because we disagree on a subject doesn’t mean we’re not friends. As long as you aren’t out there physically abusing others because of their beliefs, you’re entitled to matter what any Hollywood stars may say.

After that small interruption, we now return to the subject of Jack O’Lantern Farms. Earlier this month, one of the three brothers who own Shirey Ice Cream posted some Tweets that many found offensive. When we read them, we found them odd and wondered if perhaps Mr. Shirey had been into the cooking sherry before he made these pronouncements.

Now, it seems the Shireys’ new business venture in downtown Florence is at best on hold. Florence loses along with the Shirey family. Yet it wasn’t just the Shireys’ would-be business partner that bolted. It seems that Jack O’Lantern farms also decided to jump on the rickety misguided bandwagon. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to boycotting Shirey Ice Cream--even though only one of the three owners seems to have been involved in this brouhaha.

The problem with boycotts is they can work both ways. If Jack O’Lantern Farms can participate in a boycott against the Shireys over some personal ill thought out anti-gay rhetoric, then those who support the Shireys’ right to do business can boycott Jack O’Lantern Farms, a business that once aligned itself with what could properly be called a hate group. The owners of Jack O’Lantern Farms may soon be surprised at just how many prefer Shirey Ice Cream to their produce.

In the end, it’s up to you, gentle reader. Your money talks. Just remember this, if we truly knew the beliefs of every businessperson we gave custom, just how many would we continue to patronize? We looked at Mr. Shirey's FB page--he seems also to like guns and killing the lesser of God's beautiful creatures. Why not kill him with kindness? Boycotts are a slippery slope.


Friday, May 30, 2014

A Few Hastily Chosen Words

No, Candidate for High Sheriff, your ex-wife (you say first, everyone else says second), is NOT responsible for killing your dead son. If you feel this way, you are indeed too mentally deranged to serve the citizens of Lauderdale County.

You can bet we'll have more later!


Boycott Jack-O-Lantern Farms? Suits us. They've never minded exercising their so-called political clout, and we've remained silent until now.

Pass the Shirey's Ice Cream, please!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Muslims Get Three Wives; Augie Hendershot Gets Five?

Just as important as my qualifications, is the fact that I am a man grounded by my faith.  I value my integrity and my service to the people.- Augie Hendershot

Why Is This Man Smiling?

Family values? Morals? Just plain common sense? Whatever you call it, Augie Hendershot doesn't have a very good track record.

We knew Augie had been married four times, but after a recent blog, we were sent documentation that the Lexington Police Chief is now on marriage number five.

Vote wisely.


We owe the TimesDaily an apology. We missed their article on James Madden's death in Birmingham. It was covered two days after Madden was found shot.

However, we've received some more interesting comments on issues overlooked by the TD. We plan to publish them after the election.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

And What of Jeff Burbank?

Jeff Burbank is the current principal at the Colbert County alternative school. Earlier this week, the board of education transferred him to a classroom position at Colbert County High School for the fall term. Interesting development, isn’t it? Now the position at the alternative school is open for Tony Olivis to fill.

Will Olivis attempt to fill it with Bob Montgomery, the beleaguered Colbert Heights Elementary School principal now on administrative leave? That, gentle readers, is what one of our sources told us over a week ago—days before the board meeting.

Ideally, such a position should be posted. Even more ideally, the current principal wouldn’t have been transferred to start with. So now we have Superintendent Anthony Olivis either removing or attempting to remove four of his nine school administrators since he took office less than two years ago.

The TimesDaily has listed $21,000.00 as the current amount spent so far in attempting to oust Bob Montgomery. Obviously, it’s not over yet.

What of the other three administrators? Just how many tax payer dollars have been spent defending the school board against their legal motions? Will Jeff Burbank sue? Will Bob Montgomery be forced to sue to retain his job at CHES? Will the board pull its collective hair out?

Pass the popcorn...


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Will Olivis Be Voted Out?

We regularly compare candidates for various offices and make recommendations. Two years ago, we did just that in the Colbert County School System race for superintendent. We looked at the qualifications of the two men who sought this office, neither or whom we knew, and then read their press releases. We chose to back Bob (Tuc) Montgomery as both the most educated and experienced.

Needless to say, whenever we endorse any candidate, we get mail from those who support his/her opponent. The most mail we have ever received was concerning this one endorsement. We are not unaware that much of this kind of mail is from one person using different e-mail accounts, but in this case we felt, and still feel, that Anthony Olivis had strong support. Mr. Olivis’ backers sent us varied accounts of his accomplishments.

After reading the material on Olivis, we decided to publish some of it. We also did something that we have never done before, we withdrew our endorsement of Montgomery and advised the voters of Colbert County to consider carefully the two candidates before they entered the polling place.

Now the citizens of Colbert County are faced with having a superintendent who has attempted to sack three school principals in two short years. There are only nine schools in the system (counting the alternative school), so we have to ask why 33% of Colbert administrators were so incompetent? Or is there something more here?

Obviously, in Mr. Montgomery’s case, he opposed Olivis in the election. Some politicians have long memories, short fuses, and carry grudges. We don’t know if that was the case with Mr. Montgomery’s suspension, but so far, no real evidence has been brought to the public’s attention concerning any malfeasance by the former CHES principal.

We were sent a copy of a Facebook posting by a member of Mr. Olivis’ family in which it was stated Olivis would gladly sit down on a one to one basis with teachers and parents of students who had any concerns. This sounds good on the surface, doesn’t it? Read it again. Apparently Olivis has not agreed to speak before a group on the matter, where it could be recorded or videotaped, nor has he agreed to discuss his actions with any Colbert County taxpayers unless they have a child in one of the schools affected.

We’ve heard many say that Olivis cannot win the next election for superintendent. Yet, voters have short memories and are often swayed by dog and pony shows. Therefore, we can’t say with complete conviction that Olivis will serve for only two more years. We can say that we will support anyone running against Olivis...and hope it is Bob Montgomery.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Jim came back from Afghanistan with a wounded body. Joe came back from Afghanistan with a wounded mind. The two Shoals area men are now dead. Both died during the past year by their own hand, although the death of Jim has been declared an accident. Neither man deserved to die. Both men deserved much more help than they received from our government.

This Memorial Day, take time to do a little research about our country’s Veterans Administration. Yes, the VA is for those who are living, not those we memorialize each May, but unless someone does something soon about the VA, many more who have made it back to the home front will yet become victims of war.

To the families of Jim and Joe, we say thank you for their service. May you find some peace.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lauderdale Dem Candidates for Sheriff?

While there are only two Republican candidates for sheriff in Lauderdale County, there are six hopefuls on the Democratic ballot. All have various levels of experience. All have the minimum qualifications. How does one select the best candidate? Below are some brief insights on each Democratic candidate:
  1. Lowery Davis – He doesn’t bother with meaningless promises of “reform,” but stands more on his current record of work and achievements. Davis has the most experience of any morally viable candidate.
  2. Randall Haddock – He wants to make the department more effective. Obviously, every candidate in recent memory has suggested the same thing. If the department is still run in a shilly shally manner, we need more than a little verbiage on “want.” We need someone who can demonstrate “how.”
  3. Augie Hendershot – He has many good vocational qualities, but lacks the morals needed in an elected official. (We realize not everyone cares about morals, but if you do, you might want to pick a candidate with fewer wives than a basketball team.)
  4. Randall McCrary – He has a great deal of experience, but very little in leadership. Just considering oneself a leader doesn’t make one.
  5. Brett Martin – We already have a sheriff who mangles the Queen’s English; do we really need another? (FYI, Mr. Martin, the past perfect tense of run is “run” not “ran.”)
  6. Carmon Ray – He has vast experience, and wants to bring back respect for the department. Again, this is noble, but just how would Mr. Ray do this? We also have to broach a very touchy subject here. The ideal candidate would be one who could serve for four or so terms in order to provide continuity. Unfortunately, at 70, Mr. Ray might not be able to do that.’s a mixed bag, isn’t it? We’re going with Lowery Davis. Good luck, Mr. Davis. No matter who wins, let’s hope the new sheriff can pull the department up from the muck it has fallen into.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lauderdale Sheriff: Baker or Singleton?

Thank God and the FBI that Ronnie Willis will be leaving office soon. Lauderdale County voters have an opportunity to elect an honest, competent sheriff. So who?

Two are running on the Republican ticket. Jeremy Baker is a state trooper and a former marine. He says he won't tolerate crime. We don't think Willis' attitude against crime was too lax. It was his handling of other situations that should have given voters pause after only one term.

Rick Singleton is the former Florence police chief. As such he has executive experience, as well as time in the trenches.

We're sure that both candidates are honest and both want what's best for Lauderdale County; however, Rick Singleton outshines Baker in experience and leadership. We wholeheartedly endorse Rick Singleton for the Republican candidate.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Why is the Colbert Heights Elementary School Principal in the Crosshairs?

Why is the Colbert Heights Elementary School Principal in the Crosshairs?

A Guest Commentary

Recently, a Sports Illustrated article named Alabama’s Coach Nick Saban to their “Most Disliked People in Sports” list, generating some interesting online comments at BamaOnLine:

“I don’t think I have ever known a great leader who wasn’t hated by some.  It is a byproduct of great leadership and great success.”  —wfbamafan

“Those that have goals which can only be attained through effort and hard work are often disliked by those seeking the easy path.  In short … loafers will always ridicule the achievers in an attempt to deflect their own lack of deeds and shortcomings.” —Crimson_Ghost

A comparison could be made here in the situation with Principal Bob Montgomery at Colbert Heights Elementary School (CHES).  With Montgomery’s background in coaching, he and Saban probably have similar management styles and each has achieved his own degree of success in his chosen field.  But each of these men is disliked by some — most notably in Montgomery’s case, the Colbert County Superintendent, a small minority of CHES teachers (2-3), and at least some of the parents.
So here’s the question:  Why are these people so eager to dislike, malign, and even punish successful people? 

For those who may not know the situation, the Colbert County Superintendent, Mr. Anthony Olivis, placed Montgomery (his opponent in the last superintendent’s race), on leave of absence in February of this year, refusing to give him a reason.  A later Pen N Sword blog said Olivis planned to invoke the “gross inefficiency” clause in his contract.  Ultimately, Olivis was unable to come up with anything to convince the Board of Education that termination was warranted — he learned just before the March Board of Education meeting at which he planned to fire Montgomery that he didn’t have the votes to let him go.  Thank goodness the Board did not simply rubber stamp Olivis’ recommendation.

According to many teachers and parents, Montgomery’s done an outstanding job at CHES in the 11 years he’s been there.  Academically, the school has the best test scores in the county.  He’s improved the facility and grounds (adding playgrounds and playground equipment), kept the facilities clean, painted, and repaired, and maintained landscaping, often helping with his own hands and on his own time.  A computer room was added a few years ago and two Pre-K classes have been approved and added.  Classroom technology has been updated and parent involvement has increased.

The school is in great shape financially.  Teachers have everything they need and more, whether it’s training or classroom supplies.  In fact, elementary teachers from all over the county want jobs there, and current teachers don’t want to leave.

Now the rumor mill reports that in spite of finding no evidence of wrong-doing, Olivis is planning to transfer Montgomery to the county alternative school, effectively punishing him for his success at CHES.  Montgomery has endured three months of job and retirement uncertainty, as well as defamation of character as a result of Olivis’ inept handling of a situation seemingly triggered by Olivis’ own personal and political motives.

Back to the question:  Why are people so eager to dislike, malign, and even punish successful people? We can all speculate as to why Olivis would try to discredit and impugn Montgomery.  The obvious reasons, known to those who have worked with both men, are not particularly flattering to Olivis and need not be stated here.

But what about the two or three teachers who helped Olivis in his bid to take down Montgomery? Perhaps Crimson_Ghost was onto something when he/she said, “… loafers will always ridicule the achievers in an attempt to deflect their own lack of deeds and shortcomings.”

And those community folks who seem so enthusiastic in their slander of Montgomery — spreading vicious, ugly lies as reasons for his being placed on leave of absence?  There’s another quote by an unknown author which says, “Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots.”

Could all these people (Olivis and select parents and teachers) be compared to theSports Illustrated folks who voted Saban to the list of “Most Disliked People in Sports?”  Maybe those at Sports Illustrated don’t like Saban — but ask any Alabama fan what they think of him, and you’ll get a very different opinion.

Surely most CHES teachers and parents hold a better opinion of Montgomery, who by most accounts is a proven and successful leader, and appreciate what he has done for their school and their children.


A very well-spoken commentary. We always welcome guest blogs. Please always state if you want your real name used or not...and many thanks!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

What's in a Name?

We receive numerous e-mails each day. Many are in thanks for covering a specific subject, and some ask us to continue to follow up on a specific story. If we have any new readers joining us today, let us stress we do not do articles on anyone who is not a public personage, usually meaning having been arrested or still in the state or federal legal system. This designation can also include elected officials and those who thrust themselves in the public domain by holding news conferences or sponsoring public campaigns concerning certain issues.

A few years ago, a young area woman was brutally murdered. The victim’s aunt contacted us and requested we publish as much as we could on the crime. At a later date, the victim’s father contacted us asking that we not link these blogs to his Facebook cause page. We certainly honored his request, but until we discussed the issue with the gentleman, we were unaware he and the aunt were at odds on the matter. Our opinion was the father’s wishes should come first.

Now a slightly similar case has arisen. We recently did a blog on “Landon’s Law” which we wholeheartely support. We also support the prosecution of the one responsible for Landon Letsinger’s death. We do find this case slightly similar to the incident involving John Clark Burns Jr. who is currently indicted in Tennesse in the vehicular homicide death of Brittany Underwood.

We made the comment that a member of Landon’s family had supported Burns. We have been contacted by the Letsinger family and wish to clarify that this person is not a member of the immediate family. We had assumed the person in question was Landon’s uncle when in reality he was much farther removed. We are happy to make that correction and apologize for our error.

We plan to do a more in depth blog on John Clark Burns Jr.s’ legal problems at a later date.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How Do You Know the Truth in the Shoals?

“Why wasn’t it in the TimesDaily, if it’s true?” We’ve heard and seen this question many times in the past few years. There are also some who say that while they read something in the Quad-Cities Daily or Pen-N-Sword, they won’t believe it unless it’s published in the TD. So, just why is some news published elsewhere, but not in the TD?

We’ve said before that if you want to know what cooks in Sheffield, read the QCD. The owners live in Sheffield, work in Sheffield, and know all the elected officials and half the police force. We saw some criticism of the QCD (albeit from a very disreputable source) when they broke the story of an investigation into sex charges against a Methodist minister. The TD finally reported on the case, but long after the news had been more thoroughly covered in the QCD. Why? Was the TD covering up? Our opinion is the TD didn’t have a clue for several weeks about the case.

Last week a Muscle Shoals man who had quite a rap sheet in the area was murdered in Birmingham. Pen-N-Sword published several articles on the murder, and WHNT presented a brief segment on the crime, but so far nothing has been in the TD. Didn’t the TD think it newsworthy? We’re still scratching our heads over why this didn’t make the TD. Perhaps there was no room for the story without omitting some of the myriad articles on the Shoals’ growing industries or its harsh treatment of illegal immigrants?

Some omissions aren’t so benign. When Russellville activist Evelyn Servin pickets in the area, the TD publishes what we’re sure they consider a heart wrenching account of her plight. When Servin is arrested on multiple charges in Gadsden, the TD is suddenly bereft of any comments on the poor misunderstood Mrs. Servin.

How about convicted child murderer Christie Scott? Testimony (taped) from and concerning her boyfriend took up half a day at her trial a few years ago, yet not a word on this aspect of the case was published in the TD which had a reporter in the courtroom every day.

More recently, we have the vehicular homicide case against John Clark Burns Jr. We have no idea if the TD’s failure to report the Tennessee arrest warrant for Burns was simply shoddy journalism/saving space or if the TD didn’t want to publish a story about the grandson of the founder of Brunscraft Yachts. Burns has not yet had his day in court, and his victim’s family is suing “On the Rocks” in Florence. The TD did an article on the lawsuit, but still failed to mention Burns’ criminal charges.

Tomorrow: A few more words about John Clark Burns Jr. and a clarification on a recent blog.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mr. Olivis, Are You Listening?

A guest commentary on the Colbert County School system:
Tuc Montgomery will be named the Principal of the Alternative School (located at Colbert Heights) at the beginning of the next school year.  As evidenced by the myriad of lawsuits filed against the district and Mr. Olivis, it is evident that, once again, Mr. Olivis acted without full knowledge of the laws regarding faculty.  As Mr. Montgomery had signed (shortly prior to the suspension) a new three year contract, there is absolutely nothing Mr. Olivis and the school board can do other than move him to another area in the school system.
I think you should know also that Colbert County will be doing away with current student retention programs - due to so-called funding issues.  With the school(s) scores being what they are, I feel this is a horrible mistake.  IF there are any funding issues within the system, the lawsuits which have been settled at this point have 100% been plaintiff victories - ethically, morally, and financially - which only add to the fiscal problems.
Mr. Olivis is systematically trying to replace any standing administrators in the district with his own "people".  Hence, the many lawsuits that have been filed/are filed against the system as of late. 
Obviously, Mr. Olivis will not win any reelection attempt.  Beyond the constant upheaval with a spouse in the school system, I genuinely feel sorry for the students and parents.  They should not have to bear the brunt of the poor handling of the system by Mr. Olivis.
We welcome any comments on this...from either side.


Monday, May 19, 2014

They Published WHAT in Rogersville?

We’ve accidentally called people on our smart phone. We’ve published blogs that were unfinished. We’ve even activated burglar alarms accidentally. Yet there are some things that seem almost impossible to do accidentally...although we once heard of some off-brand preacher stating that many youths have had sex accidentally.

If you’ve been wondering what made its way to a Facebook page “accidentally” and was of so much concern to Rogersville city officials, we can now fill you in. It seems a list of city employees along with Social Security numbers debuted on Facebook via a prominent city official.

How was this published accidentally? We assume it was a copy and paste type post, yet we still can’t fathom what the employee (whose name we won’t reveal) thought she was posting. City officials state the post was online for only two or so hours and that no harm was done. And they’re sure of that?

We’ve had some humorous comments concerning the three Killen youths who were arrested in connection with a home invasion near Emerald Beach. Should we have really branded them stupid? Perhaps one member of the nefarious trio deserves that honor more than the rest.

Cody Wade McGee, 18, reportedly tried to escape from custody during a recent court appearance. McGee, whose age had previously been listed as 16, is a 2013 graduate of Brooks High School. We’re surprised he made it that far. We predict he may be making it all the way to South Alabama very soon.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Muscle Shoals, Football, & Corruption

A Guest Commentary:
Hasn't been so long along ago when the Times Daily wrote about coaches at Muscle Shoals Schools getting big bonuses. In their defense, the superintendent gave the bonuses on school checks. Some say coaches in a rival school system turned this unethical practice in. If  they had not, the money may have never been recovered from the group of parents, months after the public money was paid to the coaches. The superintendent said they had been doing that for years. How many years and how many thousands of taxpayers money were handed out? 
The school board acted surprised. Didn't any of those people ask questions? Do they look at financial statements or do they know what that is? They must be ignorant. Maybe they are too busy planning their next trip at the expense of the poor people of the city to be bothered with something as insignificant as the law.

After a slap on the wrist by the Alabama Ethics Commission and warning against a repeat performance the high school just can't help itself. Within the last month, flyers were hung on walls at the high school offering 2 - two hour classes after school to teach students how to take an ACT test. At the cost of $40.00 CASH, the students could reserve a seat in a minimum class of 15 students. Cash was required since this was the teacher's money for conducting the class after school in the taxpayers building.
Once again, the public is footing the bill for a building and utilities as teachers take cash from our children to put in their pockets. If these public employees want to line their pockets, they need  to find a shade tree in their back yard, not in a publicly owned facility at the taxpayers expense. This message should be received loud and clear: Any person in the big city of Muscle Shoals that wants to use the facilities can and should at no cost. 
Rock On Muscle Shoals. Politics and Religion AND let us not forget FOOTBALL. GO TROJANS.
How bout that city council giving another $100,000.00 for lights at the new football stadium?
If they win a state championship this year - what is that costing the taxpayers per player? $100,000 - or more per player? 
Somehow this doesn't surprise us. Any input?


Saturday, May 17, 2014

We Support Bobby Inman!

Officer Bobby Inman has helped our bloggers on several occasions. That doesn't mean he could never become violent, but we doubt that Officer Inman did anything that was out of line. The City of Sheffield says differently.

Let's see...a motorist is mouthy, then belligerent, then requires pepper spray, then a taser hit is necessary. After all this, is the need for some physical violence, to use the term loosely, that out of line?

Thanks to all officers who protect us daily. If stopped, just say "Yes, Sir., No, Sir., or Thank you, Sir." Believe us, it works out better that way. You can have your day in court if needed.

...and go get 'em, Billy!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Three Vicious Killen Home Invaders?

Yes, teenagers often do stupid things, some more stupid than others. We see that three Killen teenagers have done something exceptionally stupid. They burst into (read: Home Invasion) the Emerald Beach Road house of a friend who supposedly owed them money. With them they carried two machine guns and one sawed-off shotgun.

Of course the weapons were actually Airsoft replicas, which do shoot a type of pellet and can be dangerous on their own. One investigator, Brad Bolton, stated they “looked real.” Yes, Mr. Bolton, that’s what Airsoft weapons do--they are exact replicas of working fire arms, albeit with an orange tip--unless the little angels remove or paint over it before attacking someone.

The three stupid youths will now be tried as adults…for attempted armed robbery and burglary no less. Do they deserve that? Yes, and more. So here’s a little salute to these wonderful all-American youths in case you missed it elsewhere.

Arrested were:

Timothy Ross - 16

William Myers - 18

Cody McGee - 16

If you see them out in public, be sure to hit them with an Airsoft baseball bat.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Walgreen's to Leave?

Could the Shoals lose Walgreen’s also? It seems it’s possible if the hundred year old plus company is purchased by a European entity. While the drug stores themselves would remain relatively unchanged, there would be no guarantee that the call center in Muscle Shoals would remain.

We’re placing Walgreen’s in the “Maybe” column. We don’t envy Gov. Robert Bentley. He doesn’t have enough fingers to place in the dyke...


In the mean time, we’re awaiting some decision on the new RegionalCare hospital in Lauderdale County. The only good that has come out of the Colbert County fight to keep the new health care facility from being built is the income generated for corporate attorneys...and none of them is from the Shoals.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It Wasn't ELDER Abuse (Do They Make This Stuff UP?)

A Killen woman, aged 58, has been accused of abuse that lead to her sister-in-law's death. The victim was 57. This is indeed a horrible crime.

We do have to ask why the TimesDaily is calling it "elder abuse." The law passed in 2013 states that victims have to have reached their seventh decade of life (60 and over) to be included in this law. Pen-N-Sword has called it "patient abuse." There also is a law, not mentioned anywhere in these articles, that covers protected persons, meaning someone who is not mentally competent, but his was not mentioned in either article.

No one here is an attorney, but we don't see how a 57 year-old woman qualifies as a victim under this law. Perhaps TD reporter Tom Smith could clarify this for us.

Charges against Maria Ann Springer Lindsey may be upgraded once her victim's autopsy is complete.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Local Jobs for Graduates?

Graduation is a time for new beginnings. Unfortunately in the Shoals it is also often a time for graduates to leave the area in order to find jobs. This is an area that produces “too many” teachers, nurses, and even MBAs. We have graduates who have been overcharged for their education and now they will enter the workforce as underpaid.

Nevertheless, congratulations to those who had the intelligence and perseverance to make it through college. We commend you and wish you only the best.


A reader has asked when the pot holes on Wood Avenue in Florence are scheduled to be repaired. We think the city’s construction schedule had this project inked in for July 2012. In other words, it should have already been completed by now. To those who may wish for a more specific date, we’ll venture the project will be finished around the time Hwy 43 to Lawence County is completed and just before the O’Neal Bridge is repainted. In other words, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”


Monday, May 12, 2014

Band Assailant to Go Free?

First, we wish to correct an error in our previous blogs concerning the brutal assault that occurred at Brooks High School in Killen. We had reported both assailant and victim were juniors in high school; however, the victim was in junior high--big difference. So now we have a young man who is 16, quite probably 17, who attacked a second young man who was probably no more than 14.

The attack, no matter what provoked it, was brutal and could have been fatal. It was not some teenage boy who decided to sucker punch someone--not that we advocate that, but we can understand how that sometimes happens. No, we have an attack that took several minutes in which the assailant could have...should have....realized what he was doing and stopped.

Unless the victim should suffer further (and we certainly hope that he does not), the charge will remain felony assault...that is until his attorney asks that his defendant be tried as a juvenile. Most area judges don't give that designation lightly, and we certainly hope this case will not be an exception.

However, if the Brooks High band assailant is classified as a juvenile, he may do no time at all. Is this a fitting punishment? Is being expelled from school enough? This young man may very well be happy about that.

Let's remember the victim in all this...


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Free At Last, er, Again?

Anyone been reading the TotallyDecatur recently.? If you have, you’ve noticed the Decatur based publishing company is no longer charging for content. We don’t know if this is due to a temporary problem with software or if Shelton Publishing decided the pay per view policy substantially lowered page hits. The fewer page views, the less the Shelton family can hope to charge for advertising.


Readers regularly ask us for an update on the situation at Colbert Heights School in Colbert County. Unfortunately, we have none. Tax dollars still pay for work the principal Tuck Montgomery is not allowed to perform, as well as his replacement. We’re guessing several attorneys are also making just a few bucks from this brouhaha.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Landon's Law

“Landon’s Law” is designed to prevent deaths related to certain illicit drugs. The law named for Muscle Shoals resident Landon Letsinger will not prevent all such deaths. In fact, if it had been in effect last year, there’s no guarantee it would have even prevented Landon’s.

The person responsible for Landon’s death is known to authorities. We have his name, but we are not going to publish it until legal charges are brought against the young man. We hope such charges are forthcoming. Just as with William Harold Kimbrough III, if you provide drugs that kill, you should have to suffer the consequences.

Unlike Kimbrough’s victims, Landon thought he was taking something relatively harmless. We hope none of our readers will ever fall victim to what killed Landon, and the best way to prevent this is not to do drugs in the first place.

The second best preventative? At the time of Landon’s death, Pen-N-Sword published an article that contained this bit of advice on hallucinogenic drugs: If it’s bitter, it’s a spitter. No one who provides you with such drugs is your friend. Remember that.

Oh, and back to the young man who gave Landon the drugs. When he is charged, it may be as a juvenile. Authorities may not make his name public, but as we have said before, if someone is old enough to do the crime, he’s old enough to have his name published, so you can expect to see it here.

Landon’s family lives each day with the knowledge of what this young man did…and didn’t do. Let’s hope justice, while not swift in this case, will at least be sure.


Not long after Landon’s death and after some members of Landon’s family asked if we could help, a young woman was killed by a drunk driver. We blogged on her death before the young man was actually arrested (a warrant had already been sworn out, but the driver was still in hospital). One who defended this young man was, to our surprise, a member of Landon’s family.

The difference in the two cases is that John Clark Burns Jr. was known to his victim’s family, but there is no difference in the pain that both Landon’s family and Brittany Underwood’s family feels. Both families deserve justice.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Where Is Bro. Jeff?

Jeff Eddie is now in State custody at Bibb Correctional Facility. His release date is Februrary 5, 2044. If he is held day for day, he will be 72 years old when released. Alas, in 2044, there will be drugs that make Viagra look like Bayer Asperin. Yet his victims will still be having nightmares about the man.

We have been asked if Bibb Correctional Facility is too good for "Bro. Jeff." The Brent, Alabama, prison holds minimum and medium security prisoners. While we don't like Jeff Eddie, there is no reason for him to be held in a maximum security facility. It costs much more to house maximum security prisoners, and we have no doubt Jeff Eddie doesn't have the...uh, guts to run and start a new life with no funds and the law nipping at his heels.

For those who want to protest any early release Eddie may seek, his AIS number is 293645. If any of us are no longer among the living in 2044, our letters will still be on file in Montgomery. 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Less Than 30 Days Later...

Hon has announced it is closing. Our April April 12th blog:

We were asked at the time why did not name the industry. We were hoping that our information could have been faulty or that there would be a miracle. Now 190 more jobs are gone...or soon will be.

If you believe in God and serve Him, please take 60 seconds to pray for all who have lost jobs. There are many in smaller companies who have also lost their livelihood. We count all of them as friends and are praying for something good to come...soon.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It Was Described as "Horrific Assault"

The Thursday assault on a Brooks High 10th grader has been described as "horrific." According to one source, the victim required more than one surgery and was in ICU for two days. He is scheduled to be released today. The current charge against the alleged attacker is Second Degree Felony Assault; however, when presented to the grand jury, it could be elevated to First Degree.

Sadly, according to our sources, the attack could also be classified as Sexual Torture, although it was allegedly instigated for its brutality and not as a sex crime. It's extremely sad that our high schools are no longer safe. Only two weeks ago a young woman in another state was murdered on campus because she refused to attend the prom with a long-time friend.

We have to ask if this alleged attacker had not displayed some violent tendencies before? We have to ask how his parents have raised him? Yes, as our friend TBR says, it's not always the parents' fault, but more often than not, they have contributed by raising a child in an environment where he's always "right" no matter what. If a child can't handle disappointment in high school, how can he be expected to function in college or later the real world?


So, you have a sex offender in your neighborhood, along with about 37 of his closest relatives including children, living in a home built for a family of four? We can't promise our advice will rid your neighborhood of this pariah, but then again it might.

1. Call the owner of the rental home or write an anonymous note. Let him/her know how many are living in this house and make sure it's clear that one is a sex offender. This obviously won't work with some of the "slum lords" in the area, but you can try.

2. If there's illegal activity, call police. That includes parking on the wrong side of the street. Most towns frown upon this and will ticket those who do so. There are also noise ordinances. Make sure they're enforced. Similarly, you can call the building department if there is structural damage to the home or if the lawn becomes overgrown.

3. While not all sex offenders are prohibited from living with children, many are. Take photos and call the county probation office. If the the reporting officer is in another department, the probation office can tell you whom to contact. If you see children visiting this home, take photos if possible. Again, forward these to the appropriate officer to whom the offender reports. If there are no photos, it's his word against yours.

4. If your neighborhood didn't get the notice of the sex offender moving in, you can download one from the state site. Print enough copies to make sure everyone within several blocks receives one.


Rent from a slum lord, or have one who owns property in your otherwise nice neighborhood? Tell us about it.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Lauderdale DHR Sued for Racist Abuse


VS. CASE NO:______________

DEFENDANTS A, B, C, D, E, F, being
case workers and supervisors at LAUDERDALE


Comes now Mandrea Williams, Tina Wilson, and Tina Wilson as next best friend of Jordan Wilson, born 04/20/2001, and Meena Williams, born 04/19/2008, by and through their attorney, William J. Underwood, and state unto this Honorable Court as follows:

1. That currently being held against her will is Tina Wilson and her two minor children, Jordan Wilson and Meena Williams.

2. They have been taken by a DHR worker, whose name is as yet unknown to plaintiffs, to a safe house.

3. That she is being constantly harassed to sign a PFA against Mandrea Williams and refuses to do so.

4. There have been allegations that Mandrea Williams has been physically violent with the co-plaintiff and the children.

5. There has been no proof of this and, since 2003, the Lauderdale County Department of Human Resources has harassed the plaintiff and his girlfriend.

6. This is an interracial couple and plaintiffs allege that Lauderdale County DHR is racist and its individual case workers are racist in regards to this union and case.

7. Not only are they racist, DHR and its female minions are sexist, having had numerous meetings with Mandrea Williams and, at every meeting, having only females present. To be exact, all meetings have had six to eight female workers interviewing Mandrea Williams.

8. The accusations are that Mandrea Williams has physically harmed Wilson and the children.

9. Said allegations are a complete untruth and cannot be proven in court. Tina Wilson and the children deny there is any physical abuse.

10. Because none of the children, nor Ms. Wilson, will state that they have been hit or physically accosted, DHR and its minion workers have threatened Ms. Wilson with the removal of her children by placing them in foster care.

WHEREFORE, THE PREMISES CONSIDERED, plaintiffs pray for $20,000 from Lauderdale County Department of Human Resources and defendant DHR workers A, B, C, D, E, F for its failure to properly investigate and its racist mentality being in violation of the Civil Rights Act in how they treat these plaintiffs as opposed to other individuals.


Plaintiff incorporates all the allegations set forth in Count I of said complaint and states as follows:

1. That there are, as yet, unnamed individuals, being DHR workers, who are working outside the scope of their employment. That is, they are failing to investigate or they know they cannot prove a case against Mandrea Williams for any type of physical abuse but are still punishing him and his family by removing Tina Wilson from his residence and forcing her to stay in a safe house in Lauderdale County, Alabama against her will.

2. The defendants have failed to speak with any of the neighbors.

3. Plaintiffs’ attorney has talked to Terry Hayes. He is a neighbor and lives 100 feet or less, across the street, from plaintiffs. He has lived in that residence for forty years. During this time, he has met Mandrea Williams and the other plaintiffs, and at no time has he been spoken to by DHR workers or any representatives of law enforcement. He maintains he has never heard any loud noises, nor fights emanating from the Williams’ residence located at 85 County Road 172, Florence, Alabama.

4. The plaintiffs assert there has never been a call to the police for any domestic violence at said house, nor has a PFA ever been filed.

5. This is a witch hunt by the Lauderdale County Department of Human Resources and its employee workers A, B, C, D, E, F as yet unknown to plaintiff, who are working outside of their scope of employment and turning a blind eye to evidence as it appears in this case.

6. The next door neighbors, Nina Lawson and her daughter Jerri Lawson, age 20, have babysat the children many times. Neither have they been contacted by DHR or its workers. They would state to them there has been no violence, nor have the children ever confessed that the father has been abusive to them.

7. This is a violation of the civil rights of all individuals as plaintiffs via the Lauderdale County Department of Human Resources and its workers. They have failed to properly investigate this matter and are keeping plaintiff’s biological daughter, Meena Williams, from him. This is inflicting grave emotional and physical distress on Meena Williams, Jordan Wilson, and Tina Wilson.

WHEREFORE, THE PREMISES CONSIDERED, plaintiffs jointly and severally pray for $15,000 for the physical and emotional distress it is causing them to be held against their will at a safe house, and the abusive and racist attitude of DHR and its workers in Lauderdale County.



Plaintiff incorporates all the allegations set forth in Count I of said complaint and states as follows:

1. The children and Tina Wilson need to be able to leave on their own free will without the threat of foster home for the minor children. Foster care will cause the children irreparable emotional and physical damage.

2. That DHR in Lauderdale County has been known to put minor girls in foster homes where they have been abused.

3. Lauderdale County DHR fails to properly investigate all of its foster care parents, and putting a child in one home where she is abused is one too many and so is a failure to properly investigate.

4. DHR and its workers are working outside of the governmental protection that they have in this case in that they are ignoring all the indications of non-abuse and failing to properly investigate the neighbors around the Williams’ household which would, beyond a doubt, show there was no actual abuse at said household.

WHEREFORE, THE PREMISES CONSIDERED, plaintiffs prays that this  court will have an immediate hearing and allow said children to be returned to their residence located on County Road 172 in Florence, Alabama.

Submitted this the 28th day of April, 2014.
/s/ William J. Underwood

Attorney at Law
Post Office Box 245
Tuscumbia, AL 35674
(256) 383-1791 (256) 383-5221


DHR not investigate thoroughly? Surely... Oh, well. It will be interesting.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

New Meaning to Dangerous Instrument?

A Brooks High School 10th grader has been accused of Felony Assault against a fellow student. It happened, in all places, the band room. These band members are getting as dangerous as pit bulls, aren't they?

The victim remains hospitalized--and it happened four days ago. In Alabama Felony Assault is considered:

  • By intending to and causing serious physical injury to another person with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
  • By causing an injury to a person, and possessing the intent to either disfigure another person seriously and permanently; or destroy, amputate, or permanently disable a member or organ of the person’s body.
  • By recklessly engaging in conduct that creates a grave risk of death to another, and the conduct also causes serious physical injury to a person under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
  • By causing serious physical injury to another while engaging in a felony clearly dangerous to human life (or during flight immediately after engaging in the felony), or while committing any of the following felonies: arson or attempted arson in the first degree; burglary in the first or second degree; escape in the first degree, kidnapping in the first degree; rape in the first degree; robbery in any degree; or sodomy in the first degree.
  • By causing serious bodily injury to another person with a motor vehicle, while driving under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or a combination of the two.
Those are some pretty serious charges. Just why were these two students alone for any length of time? Still, teachers can't watch these little darlings 24/7. We're guessing the little perp may have taken lessons from some former teachers?


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Quality Control for Heroin?

There have been some recent comments/questions concerning “bad heroin.” It seems everyone has their opinion. We decided to ask someone who works in the medical field to comment.

I found this question interesting, since I’d never really thought about it before. First, how strong is most heroin? The drug is derived from the poppy plant, but it can be assumed that as with marijuana, some plants are more potent than others. Heroin from China would not have the same strength as heroin from Mexico, etc. There are some relatively inexpensive hand held scanners that can determine molecular content and therefore purity of anything from drugs to gold, but it might be a safe bet that street dealers don’t use them. So I have no firm idea how anyone locally would be able to determine the strength of the product he was selling and/or taking.

From what I’ve read, the drug is usually diluted, or cut, with another substance, and maybe many times before it reaches the end user. I read a lot about fentanyl being used in some areas of the country. I found it hard to believe since the drug is so highly regulated. The end product you would see in the private setting would almost always be in a patch (brand name Duragesic) used for patients with uncontrollable pain.

Researching this, I learned that there are many analogs of this drug (similar but not quite the same). It would still take either a chemist of a super thief to provide the quantity of these drugs that would be able to dilute heroin to the needed extent.

Police have said the product which killed the four locals wasn’t diluted. I don’t know if that’s their opinion or if they have the toxocology reports back. It it wasn’t diluted, this would be unusual. I would hope the gentleman who was arrested for trafficking the heroin informed the police where he obtained the drug.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Florence Seeks New Animal Control Director

Florence is seeking a new animal control director. Some have questioned the salary; however, we feel the working environment demands a certain salary...and we don’t just mean being faced daily with the possibility of having to euthanize healthy animals.

The director would report to a member of the Florence Police Department who in turn reports to the police chief. He or she would also ostensibly answer to Phil Stevenson who is the official spokesperson for the city. Three, or more, superiors isn’t that odd in the business world, but for a city department with the history of Florence animal control, we don’t envy the new director.


Earlier today we published a special report concerning a theft of funds from Highland Park Baptist Church. The reader who had contacted us asked about an arrest. If the church is attempting to have its insurance repay the amount taken, it will have to turn the matter over to police. We await more info.


Special Post: Theft at Highland Park Baptist Church?

We have just received this; we have no more information, except that a second source has corroborated these basic facts. Comments welcome!:

It has been presented to the HPBC membership that the 8th commandment - "Thou Shalt Not Steal" has been violated by a staff member.
Taking "tens of thousands of dollars" and have not seen an arrest or has there been an arrest and the media and police are covering this up.
There is a fundamental problem in that sins appeard to viewed as different degrees that Brother Jeff was arrested and ultimately serves a long sentence. While there is enough guilt on his part, a normal person would have to ask, how many people in authority and responsible for hiring those that care for other people's children were guilty of praising Bro. Jeff and depositing their children in his care on a regular basis. Would these good people not question their judgement of who they are hiring in their workplace after subjecting their children to someone they deemed as wonderful and spiritual when it was to their benefit to do so.
Every person in that church with anything to do with that situation have dirt on their hands too.
Back to the stealing. Is there an arrest warrant for someone taking the member's tithes and offerings meant for something other than lining the pockets of one individual - or maybe it should have gone to mission trips - that in itself has rumored to have compromised commandment 7 & 10.
Politics and Religion do lend themselves to much controversy and seems like these two go hand in hand at HPBC.
Brother Jeff - you committed a grave act - and you are being punished justifiably. You should have committed #8 and you might still be at home with your family.
Another view from the outside as I try not to violate commandment 9.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

John Wesley Akin & Gangsta Jazz?

A reader has asked if John Wesley Akin, currently under indictment in Lauderdale County, Morgan County, and Florida, was wearing an ankle monitor when he pulled a bunk earlier in the week. Considering the seriousness of his charges, that may very well have been the case. He could have removed the monitor or disabled it in some way resulting in an almost immediate missing person search.

It’s also possible that a family member or even friend has helped with Akin’s bail and was keeping close track on the alleged heroin dealer. When the financial backer thought there was a distinct possibility Akin was on the run, he or she immediately reported him missing. He was apprehended within 24 hours of his disappearance.

Akin, like Trey Kimbrough, faces a very stern sentence should he be convicted, not only because of the amount of heroin found in Akin’s vehicle last year, but also because of his past brushes with the law. Also as with Kimbrough, we’ve had readers tell us of Akin’s good points and his love for his family.

Unfortunately, if convicted, Akin faces a very likely 25 year sentence with no chance of early release due to his previous crimes. That may still be less than Kimbrough will face if convicted since the Lauderdale District Attorney’s office is sure to attempt to indict Kimbrough on felony murder charges as well.


A reader tells us that Florence High School recently held a “Gangsta Jazz” concert. Is being a gangsta now something of which to aspire?