Sunday, November 30, 2014

Air Guns/Is School a Social Institution?

Apparently all three of these type guns are air guns...

Pellett gun: An air gun (also called pellet gun) is any variety of projectile weapons that propels projectiles by means of compressed air or other gas, in contrast to firearms, which use a propellant charge.

Airsoft gun: Replica firearms, or a special type of air guns used in airsoft, that fire spherical projectiles of many different materials, including (but not limited to) plastic, aluminum, and biodegradable material. This is achieved by a technical solution of either: compressed gas. spring-driven piston.

BB gun: A type of air gun designed to shoot spherical projectiles called BBs after the shot pellet of approximately the same size. Modern BB guns usually have a barrel with a bore and caliber of 0.177 inches (4.5 mm) and are available in many varieties. BB shot for modern BB guns is usually steel, plated either with zinc or copper to resist corrosion, and measure 0.171 to 0.173 inches (4.3 to 4.4 mm) in diameter. Some manufacturers also still make lead balls of slightly larger diameter and which are generally intended for use in rifled BB gun barrels. The term is often incorrectly used to describe a pellet gun. Although in many cases, a BB can be fired in a pellet gun,[2] pellets usually cannot be fired in a gun specifically designed for BBs. However, many air gun models allow for both types of ammunition.

So if we infer correctly, any replica of a real weapon (airsoft) would come with an orange tip. We can see why someone might want to remove the tip if they were using it to scare off burglars, but why take it this AK47? (Giving E. Graham the benefit of the doubt since he was 17 when this was taken.)

Isn't that just asking for a police officer to shoot you?


Some years ago we knew a man who often sat on public school accreditation committees. When assigned to a Madison County high school, he was met warmly by the principal who knew him slightly. Obviously the accreditation was going to be a walk in the park.

Our friend first asked for the school's mission statement; the first line said: XXX XXXXX High School is a social institution. He immediately told the principal that no school was a social institution for educators and made him re-write the mission statement before proceeding with the evaluation.

From educator Rick Wormelli:

I used to think teachers could be friends with their students, but then I realized I was confusing “friend” with “friendly.” We can grow closer to students when we share a common interest or work on long-term projects, but in every interaction, we must remain teacher/student, mentor/mentee, not true friend, and this is wise.

If any local educator is trying to relate to his students as a "friend," he is doing them a great disservice. 


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Orange Tips & Gang Signs

Do all pellet guns, etc., require an orange tip to be legal? We've had some comment on this. In fact we've addressed this before, but here's what the law says as we understand it. Comments welcome.

1. All airsoft guns must be sold with an orange tip. It's a federal law since 1992. These guns can't be transported across state lines legally without the tip.

2. Apparently it's legal to remove/paint the orange tip in Alabama, but not in Texas, New York, and several other states.

3. Previous blogs on airsoft weapons.


We've also had questions on what actual gang signs are. Were the Muscle Shoals High School students using real gang signs? We think not, but what were they saying? We offer this interpretation:

1. Girl in blue on left: She has arthritis. We recommend meloxicam.

2. Second girl from left: She's simply defending her Second Amendment right to carry two "hand guns" or she really likes Annie Oakley.

3. Chad Holden: He's trying out for the title role in the re-make of Weekend at Bernie's.

4. Baby Face Nelson: Since his hands are inverted, those aren't peace signs; he's giving his audience a double dose of "up yours."

4. Girl second from right: It's obvious--she's a zombie. It's their natural stance.

5. Boy at far right. That's the most obvious of all. He's giving the Black Power salute, but odds are he couldn't tell you who Tommie Smith or John Carlos are or why they used such a salute.


Anyone doing anything special around six this evening?


Our sympathies to the family of Jason Shane Green. Jason lost his life earlier this week in an automobile accident. He will be missed by many including us who always looked forward to his comments.



Friday, November 28, 2014

Some Words of Wisdom for Parents

1. Don't encourage your child to play with matches and gasoline simultaneously.

2. Don't encourage your child to do Tai-Chi exercises in the middle of the interstate at midnight while wearing dark clothes.

3. Don't encourage your child to remove the orange tip of his airsoft/BB gun illegally and then point the weapon at someone.

4. Don't encourage your child to take photographs of himself and friends flashing gang signs with the principal who then will post it on Facebook where he has 3,600 friends who will then send it to their friends. (A corollary to this suggestion is not to expect Shoalanda to take down the photo after half the Shoals has already seen it before it even reached her.)

5. Don't encourage your child to blame others for his mistakes.


Pictured is the old First Federal Bank building on Mobile Plaza. Over the years it's had many remuddlings. Several years ago we had an appointment in a first floor office and actually had to ascend to the second floor and back down again to get to the correct business.

We've been told the original limestone facade was ruined in some of the attempts to modernize the building. Now there seems to be a great deal of money going into this new incarnation of the old edifice. The door is incredible; the awning--not so much. We realize it's not finished, but it hardly looks organic. We're hoping it improves.


What do your thoughts say about you? Familiar with those Rorschach tests where you tell the shrink what the ink blots look like? Perhaps much in life is that way. We blog about a city having bar fights and we're automatically racist? Post a photo with flames and we're condemning others to Hell? No. We think it's all in the mind of the beholder. We have no need to apologize for anyone else's evil thoughts.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

May Mr. Peabody and Sherman...

Bring you flake rolls...

From Culpepper's this holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving from...

The Staff at Shoalanda Speaks

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Readers Speak on Tuscumbia Streets & Clueless Athletic Directors

Just how bad are Tuscumbia streets?

From AC: I live in Tuscumbia. The streets are pathetic. Absolutely ridiculous. If you drive a new car, it will be total crap in a matter of months just from driving around downtown. I'm wondering where our tax dollars are going. Hopefully someone can offer some insight.

From JB:  I live in Belview Heights subdivision....the same as Mayor Shoemaker....and where the street intersects with Colonial Heights is terrible....they keep patching which just makes matters worse ....just large humps of asphalt which makes holes for water to stand in..I have lived here for10 years and nothing has been done to correct any of the streets in the older subdivisions....we pay taxes also....someone needs to ask for grants....

From AP: These streets will literally beat your car to death. We've got restaurants, boutiques, all kinds of businesses but we can't afford to pave our streets. I just wonder where OUR money is going. 

From JR: Take your pick as for the 'worst' of Tuscumbia's streets.  The Old Lee Highway is 'up there', as is Cave Street.  Tuscumbia is rivaling Sheffield for the worst streets in The Shoals.

While we're discussing Tuscumbia's street 'woes', perhaps someone can answer this question: Why isn't there a 'School Zone' and corresponding flashing light on the south end of Cave Street when approaching Deshler High School?  I'd also like to know why Tuscumbia's police department doesn't monitor traffic on Cave Street before school starts and after school lets out? Cars routinely speed through the area during such times.  It's only a matter of time before a student is injured or killed by a speeding car.


A reader on UNA athletic director Mark Linder:

I think there's a simple answer to the questions about Linder's actions. He doesn't know what he's doing. Let me explain. I think you're connected to the legal world in some way and understand a lot. Most people don't. When Linder, probably a frustrated jock, heard the word theft he assumed felony and suspended the two Russellville players. Now he can't go back and change it without admitting he made a mistake. He's not gonna do that.


Is the above reader correct on Mr. Linder's actions? The NCAA legal department referred us to the UNA student affairs department; we've yet to receive an answer.

A local attorney has stated the two second string players have a good case against UNA if they should choose to pursue it. We'll update as we have new information.


A reader offered the following comment on Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie May's recent conduct:

As one who is in a supervisor position, I couldn't imagine going from a non-supervisors job to a supervisor role without the benefit of a transition period. The amount of paperwork that is required in a supervisor role that is not in other positions is unreal. Frank is being done a major disservice by not being allowed to learn what is needed in his new position. He'll have to learn the hard way after he assumes the Sheriff's position instead. 

 Bottom line is that it will be the citizens of Colbert County who suffer.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ronnie May Tarnishes His Legacy

We initially supported Jim Berryman for Colbert County Sheriff; after Frank Williamson defeated Mr. Berryman in the runoff, we offered our support to Mr. Williamson. During the days running up to the election we received what can only be classified as "mud" against both Williamson and his opponent Phil Andrews. We sincerely hope neither candidate was behind this mud-slinging. We did hear at that time that current sheriff Ronnie May did not support Mr. Williamson. That was certainly his prerogative.

After Mr. Berryman was defeated in the runoff, Ronnie May welcomed him back as a deputy. Is Mr. Williamson now similarly serving as a deputy until he officially becomes sheriff in January? We were told that Sheriff May refused to reinstate Mr. Williamson; upon checking, we found this to be true.

If Sheriff May would like to offer his rationale for this, we would be happy to publish his comments.


Does someone dislike Chad Holden enough to set him up? It appears that someone would like to see him ineligible for the Lauderdale County School Board. Let's hope Mr. Holden reports this and has it removed:


Do you live or work in Tuscumbia? How are your streets? We've been asked why the avenues of that stately town are in such disrepair? Do you have a comment? Send it to us.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Our Thoughts? Glad You Asked...

No matter that many can't seem to comprehend this, we don't always agree 100% with the guest blogs we publish. How do we personally feel about the Chad Holden photo?

We don't feel these kids will become thugs because of some fun. Look carefully in many local attics and you may find snaps of several junior high kids posing with a starter pistol, berets, and fedoras (Yep, we were wanna be Bonnies & Clydes). All of them turned out pretty well - retailers, artists, medical personnel, consultants, etc.

The difference is that Ralph Smith or Eddie Frost didn't take part in these somewhat dubious antics. We're at a loss as to why Mr. Holden agreed to be called the "original gangsta." Perhaps it's because only last year he was their teacher? Roles change.

Educators are not the students' friends. If any educators think that, then they are failing the young people they are trying to teach. Neither should they "relate" as one young woman expressed it. In fact, we were of the belief (perhaps mistaken) that male educators don't touch their female students or allow the girls to touch them (this was not directed at Mr. Holden but others whose photos we have been sent).

Being a pal is fine, but when it's time for discipline, students don't usually take leadership from a pal all that well.

Our second beef with Mr. Holden? Suspending a young student for her dyed hair because he always goes by the rule book, but allows some students to make gang signs on campus when this is also forbidden in the handbook. How is this consistent in any way?


Thugin' Thursday: 

The day on which it is acceptable to post thuggin pictures of yourself, friends, acquaintances, idols, or strangers on social media. Occurs every Thursday of every week. 

Finna have a hood thuggin thursday #tt

Dis pic be dope af. holla, we be thuggin. #thugginthursday 

Would someone please tell us what "finna" means?


Joe Pampinto? We believe he is mistaken when he refers to the Muscle Shoals Gas Department. From what we've been told there is no such animal. Natural gas is delivered and billed by the North Alabama Gas District.

We have not learned all the details of the grill donated to a local bar, but it does seem possibly to have come from the NAGD. A reader asked how this can be handled. Since the elected officials of Muscle Shoals are aware of and happy about this, we would recommend contacting FERC. If the alleged gift did occur, it could very well be a violation of the Commission's rules.

Note: We're not sure that Pampinto didn't screw up more than a name in his comments to the press. We still find it hard to believe that the manager of NAGD would participate in such a thing.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Special Post on Activities in the City of Muscle Shoals

We received this earlier today and believe it deserves to be published in full:

Why? Double Dipping? Who does he serve? Does he leave his "day job" to "play School Board". Serving 2 masters?

Appalling is not close to the outrage I feel looking at that picture of Chad Holden and those want to be thugs/gangsta's.  - Thuggin with the true OG?
For any adult to put themselves in the middle of children acting like thugs making those kind of gestures is alarming.
Isn't it against the law to be making a gun gesture in a school?
For the principal not only to participate in such garbage, but also to post that picture on his facebook indicates a high level of immaturity and lack of leadership.
I would be interested to know what disciplinary action was taken by his superiors for such abuse of public facilities.
Taxpayers should be alarmed at the lack of leadership from the top down for these things to be allowed.

Maybe LAUDERDALE COUNTY VOTERS will remember this when Chad Holden once again asks for their support, telling them about his "accomplishments".
I'm sure this picture will re-surface if he tries to mis-lead us again.
Muscle Shoals, you're on your own if you choose to employ people that are out of touch with reality.

On the golf course debacle.
Cypress Lakes 3G's - Gas-Golf-Guzzling.
Why is alcohol allowed on taxpayer public property?
There is an ordinance against alcohol on publicly owned properties I believe.
Is this city council above their own laws - sorry, that question was borderline insane in itself.
The Gas Department "donates" a gas grill.
How much is the GAS BILL for Hole 19 booze bar?
Do those jokers really think kicking Rhoda P out of the "Country Club" is going to solve their problems? That woman has brought a little stability to that place for a change and those councilmen are going to throw the shaft to her? PITIFUL.

AVENGE the DEATH of your ANCESTORS at the hands of the MAYOR!!!
Take the Course - Take the Schools - Take the Thugs!

Which brings me to this conclusion.
Coaches and Councilmen are interchangeable.
Say what it takes to get what you want.
Use taxpayers and parents to get what you want.
Charge and tax people to get what you want.
Enforce rules only on those who get in the way of getting what you want.
Don't enforce rules on those who insure you get what you want.
Feed your ego on other people's back to get what you want.
Lastly, for any MS policeman that was working the summer before Dee Liner's senior year (and he was 18) might remember an incident at a home in MS (during the same time of his 2 arrests). I'm told the MSCS superintendent and principal were advised of Liner being run off by a homeowner to which Liner returned with his back up boys. The homeowner had to pull a gun on Liner to make him take his hands off his daughter and leave.
As you said Shoalanda, it's all about winning, and we all know the Trojan star was on the field in a matter of weeks after all those incidents the summer before his senior year.
Expect any better when you see that kind of picture of the kids and principal at MSHS "thuggin"?
Where is that boy now anyway?

Something (Fill in the Blank) This Way Comes

Something thoughtless this way comes: That would be Shoalanda who attributed the Ray Bradbury fantasy tale Something Wicked This Way Comes to Stephen King. We have read it and loved it, but obviously had our minds elsewhere when we wrote that blog. Thanks to a witty reader's comment for our laugh of the day.

Something misunderstood this way comes: We knew that we were missing something concerning our comments on Sheffield bars. We had asked why they had such violent problems, and got some odd answers. We've just learned that some readers thought this was a racist comment. Most assuredly it wasn't. We have no idea who owned/operated some of the shut down businesses, but we're pretty sure at least one could have qualified as "Country & Western."

If you had asked us which local town had the largest African-American population, we would have answered off the top of our heads Tuscumbia. So we decided to check:

Florence -- 19.4% black
Muscle Shoals -- 15.3% black
Sheffield -- 26.8% black
Tuscumbia -- 21.2% black

We have learned some new demographics, but now we're wondering why there's over a 10% difference between Sheffield and Muscle Shoals.

Something imperial this way comes (warning--strong language): That would also be Shoalanda. Our friend O.B. calls himself a benevolent dictator as to what comments he will publish. A recent critic has mentioned two problems she has with us. We'll address one here.

When a young man, driving under the influence, wrecked and took out both his girlfriend and a Tennessee landmark, we published a photo sent to us of the couple. It seems many didn't like the photo since it had Satanic undertones or some such. Why did we not take it down early on?

Probably because one of the first remarks stated something to the effect: You better take down that picture you goddam motherfuckin' bitch. Maybe it's just us, but we felt some hostility there. If you ever question anything we publish, we'll be happy to discuss it with you in a civil manner. Otherwise, we don't owe you anything so don't expect anything.


The critic mentioned above asked why we didn't meet with Mr. Mark Linder personally as he offered. Probably because we have only one or two questions, one of which requires only a yes or no answer.

Question One: Is it UNA's policy not to suspend athletes for misdemeanors as quoted in the Flor-Ala?

If the answer is "No," then we would have no more questions, but advise Mr. Linder to ask that the Flor-Ala do a retraction.

If the answer is "Yes," then we would ask

Question Two: If you don't suspend for misdemeanors, why were the two Russellville second string players suspended?

Rest assured, this is an ongoing quest for fairness.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Muscle Shoals: Thuggin' & Free Grills

From a Colbert County reader:

Thought you should see the origin of the THUGGIN craze. Attached is the URBAN DICTIONARY explanation of Thuggin Thursday.

The 2nd attachment is a picture taken in (Chad Holden) principal's office at Muscle Shoals High School on October 2nd 2014. Holden is featured as one of the "thugs" in the photo op with students doing gang signs and one young lady is pointing her finger in a gun sign as well.The young man to the far right holding the mega phone is said to be Levi Fell's brother, Isaiah. This picture was posted on Insta Gram AND Facebook.

One man told me Holden posted the picture on his facebook and thought the man was kidding when he criticized him for doing that kind of thing in a school and with students with him being a leader / principal!  Holden finally removed the picture from his FB.

Wonder WHY kids are "Thuggin"? WHY NOT, when a principal is "Thuggin" with them. They learn by example. Then they become adults (18), go to college, go afoul of the law, and Shoalanda has material to publish. Sad but true.

CLEAN HOUSE - the public doesn't know the half of what is going on in all these schools.


Note: We were unable to download the Urban Dictionary photo without some modification. We will use this later. Here's the photo of Chad Holden--at least he didn't have red hair: goes well with Gangsta Jazz at Florence High School: Link


Are you a customer of the Muscle Shoals Gas Department (if there is one)? Then you should read this.

We understand that there was a restaurant at Cypress Lakes Golf Course when Neil Whitsell so generously gave the green elephant (turtle habitat) to the City of Muscle Shoals. We were unaware that there was also a separate bar, but that is to be expected. It's called, at present, the 19th Hole Lounge.

Since the city took ownership, we are aware of at least two entities which leased the restaurant. A usual type of agreement would be for the lessee to pay a monthly fee plus a percentage of the profit. For whatever reasons, Muscle Shoals is now doing away with the eatery.

However, it seems the lounge will remain. Who is the lessee? Or perhaps we should ask if there is a lessee? It seems the 2013-2014 city budget allotted 85K to run the bar. This would be 85K in tax dollars.

Apparently since the restaurant is being shut down, the city thinks it's a good idea to install a gas grill to prepare some fast food for the golfers--we're guessing a little food insures more liquor sales. Where did the city get its gas grill?

It would seem the Muscle Shoals Gas Department donated the grill. Where did the gas department get the grill? We're going to assume that it originally cost them some money--money produced by gas sales to Muscle Shoals residents. 

But wait! Does the City of Muscle Shoals have a gas department? We would very much like a link to info on this city department. Just as in our finite wisdom, we didn't realize that Cypress Lakes had a separate bar, we thought that the Northwest Alabama Gas District served the citizens of Muscle Shoals directly. 

So we obviously have research to do. After all, we can't imagine why the Northwest Alabama Gas District would give a local bar a free grill. We think Tony Burns has more sense than that...


The 19th Hole Lounge sounds classy, huh? Why are we thinking of a line from the West Texas Waltz? "We heard us some sounds; it was a honky tonk lounge."


Friday, November 21, 2014

Readers Speak on UNA Thug Culture

First a very pertinent statement from a reader:

Did you speak to the problems with Dee Liner in the summer before his senior year after being arrested twice in a matter of 2 weeks? Then, the deal last summer with the UNA player, (previous MSHS player) Levi Fell...

Maybe too much testosterone and not enough character building exercises contribute to the little darlings attitude of being above the law when you are a coach or player. The egos grow when they step on field and think it's all about "me" and the crowds adore "me".
Our thoughts? We have not in the past mentioned all UNA athletes' sins. That will soon change. Our main purpose in this line of blogs is to determine why two sets of players guilty of the same level crime were treated differently. (We're sorta guessing it's because one group involved the star quarterback during playoffs.)

Now a very misguided word from a reader:

I suppose if I'd told some of the whoppers you've told about folks in this blog (and left out others who did things much worse) I'd hide, too.

Many readers comment that we are in error, but never seem to want to mention specifics. If we are ever in error, we are more than happy to make a retraction/apology. Leaving out anyone? If you know of a public person who has committed a crime or ethics violation, send us the info. We can't blog about something if we don't know. You also should know that we publish all guest you have absolutely no valid point.


Twitter? Yes, we've had an account for ages and rarely use it. We have not felt our readers needed to know when one of our bloggers saw a squirrel on his windowsill or other such exciting facets of our lives. Linking blogs? We did that for a while, but most of our readers find us via Facebook or have us bookmarked, so we have not felt Twitter worth the effort...until now.

We've all heard of #breaktheinternet." So now we're presenting #breakunathugculture.

No one has to follow us, much less actually forward our Tweets to their followers, but if you wish to do so, here's the link:


A new Quad-Cities Cuisine is up: Chat-N-Chew.

Want to publish a restaurant review? Send it to us:


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Angels & Devils?

There's been much said about Angel Trees recently. At one time, the Salvation Army also erected a tree for nursing home patients. We haven't seen those recently. If you would like to help a senior adult in care, we have a suggestion.

For several years, the Heart's Cry Thrift Store at Elgin had their own Angel Tree for nursing home patients. Denise Melton told us that often some names went unclaimed and many who were claimed still received nothing. Now Mrs. Melton purchases each patient a small fitting gift.

This is very expensive as you can imagine. If you would like to help the Meltons with this project, here's the info:


We have received this communication from Mr. Mark Linder, UNA athletic director:

If you post this response, I request your professional courtesy to post it in its entirety…

“Shoalanda Speaks, 

There was not a policy change. We handled both situations within the framework of our policy for misdemeanors. In all cases, our main objectives are to correct behavior and to use the experience as a learning opportunity for our student. In both situations, we are quite satisfied that occurred.  

If you would like to continue to discuss this issue, I will certainly make myself available for an in-person meeting with you. We thank you for your interest in UNA Athletics and Roar Lions!


Mark Linder”

Unfortunately, the missive doesn't address the issue. Surely if Mr. Linder had been misquoted by the campus news, he would have stated so here. All five players committed a Class A misdemeanor, for which legal punishment is the same. This was the quote from the Flor-Ala:

Linder said the players will not be suspended from the team. He said any time players are charged with a misdemeanor, they are not suspended.

Yet the two second string players were suspended. Why?

Someone has said on Facebook that a thief is worse than an obnoxious drunk. We've thought about that statement, and cannot decide if we agree or not. Those drunks could have taken to the road and killed someone quite easily. It wasn't their first rodeo with Florence Police, yet they're not suspended.

What does this tell us? O.B. called Coach Bowden's teams a thug culture. It seems it's still alive at UNA. Win at any cost and make up the rules as you go along.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Appeals Court Says Hershel Graham Is Guilty

A second round of appeals in the manslaughter conviction of Hershel Dale Graham has affirmed the original jury decision. Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing stated the next round of appeals, if Graham chooses, would be the State Supreme Court.

Graham, a former professional wrestler, has claimed numerous health problems; however, there didn't seem to be anything wrong with his trigger finger when he shot husband and father David Andrasik. The Red Bay man still maintains he can no longer walk, but is often seen out and about at Walmart and other shopping meccas.

Should Graham not continue with his appeals process, he will serve only two years in prison, with the remainder 12 years on probation assuming good behavior.


A reader on athlete arrests:

This reminds me of Tanner high school several years ago. A player was arrested for breaking into cars, but it was during the football season and he was a good player. They eventually came up with a policy. If a player was arrested during a season he was given a warning, and if he was arrested a second time during the same season he could face discipline. Arrests outside the season or from a previous season didn't count.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Contacting the NCAA?/Other Predicaments

We have not heard from Mark Linder concerning the discrepancy in UNA football team suspensions. We assume the first two young men have a good case for a lawsuit against the university if they so wish.

We feel the NCAA should handle it and will be informing them. If any other readers want to also address the issue, you may contact them here:

The National Collegiate Athletic Association
700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222
Phone: 317/917-6222
Fax: 317/917-6888


Several readers have asked about three situations in a local town that may be connected. They very well may be, and we're sure there will be more info available in January. Until then, we cannot publish info that has not been verified.

We leave you with a Stephen King title: Something Wicked This Way Comes.


It's a blustery November:


Monday, November 17, 2014

Does Quarterback Luke Wingo Get a Free Pass? Will Mark Linder Please Explain This Discrepancy?

We would like some elucidation on this...

Last week three UNA football players were arrested on misdemeanor alcohol charges:

The Flor-Ala has stated: Linder said the players will not be suspended from the team. He said any time players are charged with a misdemeanor, they are not suspended.

However, only a week before, two UNA players were arrested for misdemeanor theft. 

At that time, an article in the TimesDaily stated: UNA Athletic Director Mark Linder said the two players have been suspended indefinitely from the football team and all football-related activities.

So, which is it, Mr. Linder? Either you do suspend for misdemeanors or you don't. Someone isn't getting a fair shake here, and it would seem to be the two shoplifters...or could it be the other three got more than a little preferential treatment since the group included the star quarterback?


Sunday, November 16, 2014

And Now for Something Entirely Different

Let's play match the celebrity to the rape:

1. I survived the Nazis, lost my wife and unborn child to a cult murder, and make iconic films. No one cares that I gave a 14 year-old girl champagne and ludes, then forced her to have sex in a hot tub.

2. I'm the best known TV dad in the world, and I just luuuuve Jello. No one cares that I raped at least 13 young women, one who was just 15 when I rendered her unconscious with drugs.

3. I'm the biggest supporter of gun rights in the U.S. No one cares that I had sex with Courtney Love when she was just 13.

Whenever you see these men, be sure to shout "Tally Ho." (If you don't know that joke, you're missing out on some fun.)


Saturday, November 15, 2014

To Parole or Not to Parole?/Amber Marie Wood

We have a corrected report from D.K.:

Tammy Irons did NOT attend  the parole hearing, but she did write a letter each time, and only way we would have known that Tammy Irons & other State Reps had written letters, Johnny Mack Morrow while speaking for 10 minutes, told the Parole Board it was his first time ever there, as he was waving his arms, he proudly told who had written letters on behalf a Convicted person by a Jury & Sentenced by a Judge in Franklin County. Roger Bedford was there that morning of the hearing, but sneaked out the door before the hearing started.   
This same hearing was held less than 2 years before, before these same parole board members; they turned down the Parole for a max of 5 years the first time. When some questioned why, we were warned to let it go, or we (VOCAL) would no longer get support from them.
I feel any one has a right to protest for or against any Parole Hearing, but should not do so under a letterhead as a State Rep. or Senator.


Obviously, this is something D.K. has been very concerned about. The more we think about state legislators using their influence either way, the more we feel this should be banned.

Note: This is an instance of a hearing originally being put off five years, but then rescheduled for only two due to outside influence.


Many have expressed concern over this parole hearing. Some have suggested that Autumn has been in trouble, having once being assigned to the Birmingham work release center, then being transferred to the Montgomery facility. Since she's lost no good time, this could have been done due to a medical problem. Note: Not all inmates housed in a work release facility are actually work release; many are actually minimum-out as Amber is.

We don't think members of Brooklyn's family have to worry about Amber making parole, unless there should be some dramatic new influence--either a paid attorney or a state legislator, etc. Her release date is two years after her parole hearing, so neither do we see her having a second hearing in the intervening 24 months.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Ethics Question 3: Roger Bedford, Etal.

Some things in life are taken for granted without much thought from the average Joe or Jane Citizen. Shoalanda herself will admit that she had never thought about today's topic until approximately two weeks ago. Let's start here: What do our state legislators do?

We couldn't find a job description exclusive to Alabama, but we did find an all-inclusive one:

When their legislative body is in session, state legislators create and process bills that will become state law if approved. They also form issue-related committees and subcommittees and debate and read bills and amendments on the legislative floor.

So, is this all? Does four lines cover it?

Most of us know of another role these legislators fill; they assist their constituents with various problems. Certainly Roger Bedford has been known to help a friend out when dispersing state funds. Anything else?

They appear, either for or against, at parole hearings. Is this in their job description? We're using the word "appear," but many will only write the board or call. It is less frequent for them to actually put in an appearance.

Some time ago, Roger Bedford and Johnny Mack Morrow attended a parole hearing for a Franklin County citizen. Also attending was Tammy Irons. Why Tammy? We assume she identified herself as a friend of the inmate's family, but we all know that the board knew who she was.

D.K. has asked us to address this again. We have no idea how ethical or unethical it may be. After considering the issue, it would seem that our legislators should not be allowed to influence the board either for or against unless they had personal knowledge of the case (that's not hearing about it years afterward).

Has anyone ever filed any ethics charges against those who attend and influence such hearings? We don't know, but we do know it would be almost impossible to learn of a phone call to a board member. Perhaps if any contact was required to be registered, it would solve the problem?


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ethics Question No. Two: The Clerk & the Cop

Before we examine our ethics question for today, we have a final rebuttal in the Singleton-Hendershot contest. Even though it was sent after the election, we believe it is worthwhile:

Mr. Redmon, Thank you for sharing your perspective. And, while I recognize the points that you attempted to illustrate, I think you may have missed my broader concept. Yes, those with medical degrees are technically doctors” (once they pass their state’s licensing boards) as are psychologists, lawyers, educators with an EdS degree and anyone with a PhD.

However, most hospital administrators are in fact not doctors.  They are CEO’s with MBA’s and strong backgrounds in finance and marketing.  Rather, I think the term you were searching for is “Chief Of Staff”.  These positions have a medical and/or surgical background, but perform as administrators and not practicing medical health professionals.  There is a reason they no longer treat patients or perform surgeries – because such work requires the use of “perishable skills” that must be practiced (“practicing medicine”) constantly or they will quickly deteriorate. I ask you sir, and I hope you have the intelligence to answer in the affirmative, wouldn’t you prefer to have a practicing surgeon performing your open heart surgery as opposed to the administrative chief of staff?

And as to educators, I agree that yes, a principal or a superintendent in most cases begins their career as an educator (even though the State of Alabama has no such requirements for an elected superintendent.  Coincidentally, the State doesn’t require Sheriff’s to have a law enforcement background or pass an academy, as well as our Coroner’s are not required to have any medical background or training.  Interesting, yes?).  However, having many friends and family members who are also educators, I would venture to say that many classroom teachers feel that their administrators are at best “out of touch” with classroom dynamics as well as the demands placed on our most successful teachers.  In support of this, let’s compare how many teachers retire from teaching and come back as substitute teachers.  I challenge you to find a principal or superintendent that does likewise.

And, while I would agree with you that in most instances a superintendent or principal has a background in education, this is generally not the same in our institutions of higher education, as evidenced right here at the University of North Alabama where former President (who was also a “doctor”) Robert Potts was not an educator, but in fact, an attorney.

Yes, Sir, you are correct.  History IS full of examples of great leaders that had inept staff beneath them, and yet they still managed to do their jobs.  Speaking as a veteran and with Veteran’s Day upon us, military leaders George S. Patton and Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller in particular come to mind.  And why is that?  Why were they able to overcome adversity? Why did they persevere? Why did they have the unquestionable respect and loyalty of their troops?

Because they progressed through the ranks, they knew the mission as well as the job of those above and below them, AND they served on the front lines - alongside those they led.

Semper Fidelis.


Earlier in the election season, we were asked if the town of Lexington was operating in violation of the ethics law by having a chief of police and magistrate who are married to each other (they call themselves the Clerk & the Cop). Our original thought was that it was not, but we promised to look into it for our reader.

First, just what does a municipal magistrate do in the state of Alabama? Here are a few duties taken from the state's site (Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration):

* Issuing Arrest Warrants for misdemeanors

*Allowing release on personal recognizance

* Allowing a continuance of trials

It would seem much more than we knew, and certainly some would be prejudiced by a family association. If any feel they have been a victim of some sort of conspiracy between the "clerk an the cop," it's best to present such information to the Ethics Commission rather than debating it here.

We did find that this connection is not allowed in West Virginia, since it offers the "appearance of impropriety." In other words, a good attorney could possibly bankrupt Lexington if the right victim chose to sue.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Are the Latest UNA Arrests Newsworthy?/Louie Dewayne Risner

A few days ago we linked a felony arrest of a UNA student in Athens (Lance Thornton). We joked he wasn't even a football player. The next day the Huntsville television stations and the TD reported on the misdemeanor arrest of three UNA players on alcohol related charges. Several of our readers don't think it's newsworthy.

We understand these young men had been cautioned before; their neighbors were at wit's end to deal with the problems these role-model athletes were causing in a residential neighborhood. The TD had even mentioned them anonymously in an article on problems related to UNA students.

If these young men had been Auburn or Alabama players, don't you think it would have been in the news? Just Google to see several similar arrests reported in statewide news.

We can't speak for everyone, but if we had an athletic scholarship, fans, prestige, etc., and the police cautioned us about our behavior, there would be no need for any repeat visits. We would have been thoroughly chastised (read: the fear of the Lord would have been placed in us).

Here's our friend Daniel Horton's take on it: This is absolutely news. Being a starter for a college football team puts you in the limelight and makes you a role model and representative for the university and surrounding area. They've failed that responsibility and that factually is newsworthy.


The recount of the Bedford-Stutts state senate race is now in progress. Interesting that the first version of Stutts' lead stated 26 votes. That quickly morphed to 40. The last report was 60. Is someone named Chad hanging out at these disputed precincts?


It seems a young Waterloo man has been indicted in the death of a woman who fell from a three-wheeler Louie Dewayne Risner was operating illegally. Matthew Andrew Austin is facing charges of negligent homicide. We have to ask if he would have even been arrested had he not fled from the scene.

The latest reports failed to mention that Risner was primarily to blame and was also arrested: Link


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lisa Singleton-Rickman Said WHAT about Judy Hood?

The TimesDaily's headline story today concerned the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board. We decided to peruse it since the money spent on the board's retreat has resulted in criticism and we were interested in learning more about something called "Strategic Doing." We first read about Strategic Doing in an article in PNS; nothing like a good gerund to spice up the latest new thing under the sun.

However, both these topics pale as one gets farther into the article. Mentioned prominently were Judy Hood and Nancy Sanford. Just who are they?

Ms. Sanford is described as the director of the Florence-Lauderale Library. No mention is made of Nancy's husband being Ian Sanford, the mayor of Sheffield. We're sure he was crushed.

So how about Judy Hood? Did we read that she is a former spokesperson for Helen Keller Hospital? No. Did we read that she held a similar position with International Paper in Courtland. Nope. Was it mentioned that she is an event coordinator for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame? Negative. So how about her innovative tours of Muscle Shoals music sites? Negatory on that also.

Just how was Ms. Hood described? Here is the direct quote: wife of famed bass guitarist and Swampers member David Hood.

While we're sure Ms. Hood is proud of her husband, we're sure of her reported modesty, we're sure of her easy going nature, we're also sure Ms. Hood, whether she will admit it or not, had to have felt slighted by these words.

We automatically looked for Robert Palmer's name, or Russ Corey's. When we discovered that the writer was Lisa Singleton-Rickman, a woman who has to have experienced at least some discrimination due to her gender, we were gobsmacked.

Yes, the TotallyDecatur can speak for all those illegals who are so deserving of our respect, but it can't seem to feel the same for a local woman made good all on her own. We know Ms Hood won't admit this, but an apology is in order.


Veterans Day 2014

Today we salute all veterans. Thank you for serving our country. We know you don’t get the respect you deserve, even on your special day. So from all of us at Shoalanda Speaks, we offer you our heartfelt appreciation. You and your brothers who came before you are what made our country great.

We’re presenting a special song today; it’s not so much about a veteran who failed, but a veteran whose country failed him:


Monday, November 10, 2014

A Second Look at Justin Matthew Green

We've recently had quite an upswing in comments about Justin Matthew Green. Apparently, he was indicted on stronger charges than which he was originally charged. These new comments and e-mails have caused us to take a second look at his case.

First we've been accused of not stating all the facts or of reporting lies. All our info comes from the TimesDaily which we would assume received the report from either a police officer or the indictment itself. Yes, we know, sometimes police officers have been known to either get things mixed up or lie. Yes, really.

Here's our original blog: Justin Matthew Green

We have also been accused of having some inside knowledge of the case. Rest assured, we don't. We have been told that the victim was Green's biological child. Whether this is true or not, we have no idea. If it is true, the two older children could also be Green's.

Let's look at the facts as reported in the TD and consider them logically one by one.

1. Only three other people were in the house when the child died--Green, a four year old, and a five year old.

2. The instrument of death was an electrical cord. No toy for a 13 month old would use an electrical cord; one for an older child might. One of the three, even if innocent of a crime, placed the toy in the crib. If it had been there for some time, Green allowed it to remain.

3. The cord was wrapped around the victim's neck--at least three times. The cord was then pulled tight enough to leave ligature marks and eventually cause death.

Now we have to ask if a 13 month old child could have wrapped the cord around its neck and pulled. Even if it could have, when she lost consciousness, she would have loosened her grip. Could the cord have caught on something? We ask what...assuming the child was in a safe environment to begin with.

Why Green was indicted for only manslaughter, we have no idea. Would he have been indicted at all if there had been evidence that one of the child's siblings or half-siblings had killed the child?

Green is now free on a 10K bond. It's a sad world.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ethics Question No. 1: Roger Bedford

This question was sent from a reader:

I understand Roger Bedford has occupied a position as State Senator for years and years while also, simultaneously, holding court in Russellville as the Municipal Court Judge. This seems to be an inherent ethical conflict as he occupies positions within both the legislative and judicial branches of government. Would it be ethical for a Supreme Court Justice to also be a Colbert County Commissioner or for Governor Bentley to also be the Montgomery City Judge?

We're going to attempt to find correct answers to all ethics questions submitted to us; however, we're going to give our opinion of this case--it may be right or it may not. Bedford's salary as a state legislator is paid for with state funds. His salary as a municipal judge comes from City of Russellville funds. Further, since Bedford's district included Russellville, that also eliminated a conflict that could have occurred in the state senate if Bedford had been city judge for Waterloo or some other town outside his district. In other words, if Waterloo and Littleville were both finalists for a state grant, which one would he have chosen?

However, continuing in this line, what if Bedford had represented Mr. Doe in a large civil case, and then Mr. Doe came before him in municipal court? Small town justice can get sticky.


If you have ethics complaints, you can send them to:


Saturday, November 8, 2014

The League of the Red Headed Educators

From a reader:

With regards to the Muscle Shoals City Schools' student that was punished for daring to dye her hair: MSHS's principal alleges that this student's brilliant and vibrant hair color somehow created the possibility for a classroom disturbance, thereby creating an atmosphere not conducive to learning. Hogwash.  WHO ultimately caused the 'disturbance'?  WHO drew attention to this student's hair?  WHO is ultimately going to cause the Muscle Shoals City School System to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars in defending the principal's actions?

Due to the nature of my profession, I have the opportunity to frequent dozens of public schools on a regular basis.  I frequently observe students that have, for whatever reason, chosen to dye their hair a myriad of colors.  I have yet to witness where doing so has created or fostered an environment opposed to learning.

The Muscle Shoals City Schools system would be well-advised to review the case of Tinker v Board of Education before this incident spirals beyond their control.


We'll inject here that such hair color might bring, if not a disturbance, at least some odd looks...for only a few days. Since this hair color was not new to the student, it shouldn't have been noticed. Note: Insufficient clothing on anyone is always a disturbance with anyone in high school no matter how many times it's worn.


We've been sent a fourth question concerning ethics. It is somewhat similar to the police chief/magistrate conundrum, but does deserve a long and thoughtful look when we begin our series.

Very interesting that two of our four questions involve Roger Bedford...


Friday, November 7, 2014

Angel Trees, Red Hair, & Nebulous Hospitals

A reader has informed us that Florence Mall will no longer allow the Salvation Army angel trees to be erected in the mall. Apparently they are allowing no charitable endeavors to establish any kind of base or event there.

This seems extremely draconian to us; however, we know that some years ago a Lauderdale County probate judge established the same rules for the courthouse. We're not sure who the new mall manager is, but we do welcome input from anyone connected to what was once Regency Square.


It seems that a Muscle Shoals student has become disinterested in school since she may no longer sport red hair. This could be a good thing; the young lady can work her way through college as a sports referee. Do you think the word the TimesDaily education writer was seeking was uninterested?


Ah, the TD will also be the subject of this topic. Robert Palmer recently wrote an article on a second microbrewery to locate in Florence--East Florence to be exact. Palmer first mentioned the proposed Entertainment District. The title is actually Arts & Entertainment District, and it's been official for some time. That doesn't mean that it won't be slow going or that our city council may not repeal their previous actions. We're pretty sure the owner of the Sweetwater Depot was not happy with Palmer's wording.

However, that is not why we're addressing Palmer's pitiful prose. He went on to say that much depended on if the new hospital is built. We have news for Palmer: Barring an ISIS terrorist attack on the Lauderale County seat or an unforeseen RegionalCare bankruptcy, the hospital will be built. We assume the word "if" was used to appease a few readers in Colbert County, but he scored no boy scout  badges with his wording on the Lauderdale side of the river.


We're going to be addressing three ethics issues that our readers have brought up. These issues are unknown territory to us, so if any readers have expertise in these matters, we look forward to your educated comments. Note: That's "educated," not comments that suggest no one cares about ethics in local/state government or that we're picking on people unfairly.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

26 Votes? No One Knows for Sure...

We're going to start out with some words from our fellow blogger J. Redmon:

The following Bedford quote is from the TD on Wednesday, November 5, 2014:

"I am so proud of the positive race we ran, talking about real issues and the need to build a better Alabama for our children and grandchildren," Bedford said Tuesday night.
While not conceding the race, Bedford said he will be at peace if the final results are in Stutts' favor.

The above is a quote from the same candidate that, in the last days prior to the November 4th elections, chose to run a 'smear campaign' against Dr. Stutts.  Such actions speak volumes about the Mr. Bedford's personal convictions and integrity. 


Only 26 votes now separate Stutts and Bedford. The recount could turn into several recounts; both absentee and provisional ballots usually come into play. In Colbert County, there were supposedly quite a few provisional votes due to voters not having the correct documentation.

Perhaps someone could start an office pool on just how many days before the election is official?


We had several quotes from readers which came to us late and were not published before the election. Most no longer apply, but we will publish one question from a faithful reader:

If the Democratic candidate for sheriff in Lauderdale County had "family values" why was Rick Singleton the only one who had kids willing to have their photo taken with him?


The Democratic candidate referenced above ran ads stating that a "Mike Walker" would be his chief deputy. We asked on our Facebook page who this person was. There were well over 1K hits to our question...and no one knew.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

No Attorneys Were Hurt in the Making of this Blog

Yesterday, a regular contributor wrote:

The beauty of blog spots are that they are open forums to any kind of antics, not like media outlets that have an obligation to verify a source's story.

The reader went on to say:

I would think the attorney that Andrews hired to make sure things were done right when he found out there was an issue over a guided hunt should be a little worried over his violation of attorney/client privilege for "leaking" such false information to anyone.

Since we have supported two Colbert County attorneys in their successful attempts to win elected office, we were greatly concerned by this. We realize that everyone makes a slip from time to time, but this seemed out of character for 95% of the attorneys we know. Keep in mind, we wouldn’t be surprised at anything approximately 5% of them did.

Would an attorney who had represented Phil Andrews break a legal confidence? We hit pay dirt with our first call. No attorney, local or otherwise, is responsible for obtaining copies of Mr. Andrews' misdemeanor complaint. So whose story was not vetted? It would seem to be that of our reader.

The arrest was mainly a tempest in a teapot. We feel it had little to do with the outcome of the election.

A word about our friends: We have sources in all local law enforcement agencies; we have friends among the many attorneys in the Shoals; we have friends in all walks of life.

We make sure that we know as much as possible about a situation before we report on it…and we usually know 90% more about any situation than we make public. We are extremely glad that no Colbert County attorney committed any unethical acts in this case.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Special Election Post by a Special Reader

Seriously people, we spend our days fussing about how things go wrong in our lives. Well this week, we have the chance to possibly make some things go right. I hope that in the last months you have done some research. If you go out and don't do the research and then get bit in the behind, you can ONLY blame yourself. You should have spent time making sure your candidate was qualified, a person of integrity and good character. A person who could take care of your county in whatever position they were running for and not fall back on the job. I hope that you have NOT spent your time sitting back on your behinds assuming you know the candidates in your county elections. I can assure you right now, you do not know anyone. 
 I have seen people post on this blog day after day about how they KNOW this candidate or that candidate. I can tell you if you have only known a person while he is working or out about town, you don't know truly know them. Just because you have known a person for a few years does not mean you know them…you do not. You know what they want you to know about them. 
 I hope you will and have spent time on your knees praying and asking for God's leadership in all of these elections. Follow GOD. HE is the ONLY one who should be leading you in this election process. 
HONESTY, and INTEGRITY -- not lies and hidden secrets.