Thursday, April 30, 2015

Raffle, Snaffle/Tom Jones Insurance & Financial Services Bites the Dust?

Florence businessman Harold Lewis says Phillip Pettus and Lynn Greer want a raffle, not a lottery. Perhaps Mr. Lewis could explain the difference to us? Then perhaps he could explain the difference between socialism and communism or an illegal alien and an undocumented resident.

Let's see...a lottery has a cash price, while a raffle has a prize worth money. A lottery ticket usually costs around two bucks, while a raffle ticket can cost much more. A lottery may have more than one winner, while a raffle usually has just one prize. Any other differences? Please let us hear, Mr. Lewis.

And we see the Lauderdale County Commission didn't appreciate Pettus and Greer volunteering them for oversight of this raffle/lottery. The commission actually seems to know trouble when it sees least some of the time.


NOTE: Tom Jones Insurance & Financial Services was spun off from Tom Jones Insurance Agency in 2005, according to officers with the latter.

For some time we've been sent information/documents concerning the owner of Tom Jones Insurance & Financial Services and the company's business endeavors which many were comparing to a Ponzi scheme. Until now we haven't commented on the alleged problems at the agency since we felt there was a very slight chance of a personal vendetta and most of the documents would require a juris doctor to fully comprehend them. In other words, for all we knew some of the charges levied against the company might be comparable to a restaurant losing two points off its health score because the lid to an outside dumpster was blown open.

Click to Enlarge

However, on Tuesday the Alabama Securities Commission issued a 27 point document concerning the Tuscumbia/Muscle Shoals business. The final paragraph states in part:

Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that (Ronnie) Powell be barred from transacting business as a dealer, agent, investment adviser, investment adviser representative; that Powell and (Tom Jones Agency) be barred from performing any function or activity of the securities business in Alabama. (Order No. OB-2015-0008)

A sad end to a once great business?


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Who (or Where) Is the Tuscumbia Fire Chief?

The website for the City of Tuscumbia lists David Cole as the fire chief. According to our sources, Chief Cole has been on medical leave since last fall. He is reportedly suffering lung problems related to diesel exhaust. Stanley Nall is the acting chief.

In 2012, Cole unsuccessfully ran for mayor against Billy Shoemaker. In other words, he's a past and potentially future fixture in city politics. Until recently, many assumed Cole was about to retire. Now many are speculating he will take over a very troubled aspect of Tuscumbia...the Park Department.

Why is this really big news? It seems a Tuscumbia Fire Department employee filed a grievance against Cole last fall, accusing him of assault. The employee agreed not to pursue charges when told that the chief would be retiring for "medical reasons."

Confused yet? Just think how the muskrats feel. They have no idea whom to root for.


The "Muskrat Ramble" by Kid Ory who composed the classic jazz piece:


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coaches & Corrections

First on the coaching front, we've been asked the status of former Muscle Shoals baseball coach Jonathan Knight. We have no new info, but several contacts have pointed in the direction of Florence High for the popular coach. We wish him the best.

Is Josh Fowler leaving as well? We hear Deshler is calling.


Now, from a reader:

Concerning Brenda Mayes departure from MSHS as women’s volleyball and basketball head coach, we’d like to know how her salary compared with that of head football coach Scott Basden. Basden makes $97,000(+) of reported income and hasn’t won a state championship. Mayes, on the other hand, has won several state championships. Under Title IX rules, shouldn’t Coach Mayes salary be equivalent to or exceed that of football coach Scott Basden. Merit does mean something, doesn’t it. Do we smell another lawsuit coming? When we say the word “equality”, do we really believe there is such an animal that exists. Just a little food for thought for those upper crusted individuals in Muscle Shoals.

We have no figures on this, but before anyone looks up salaries and hopes to make a point, consider the same accusation was made against UNA a few months ago. According to athletic director Mark Linder it's comparing apples and oranges since boys' sports bring in more revenue than the girls' and football brings in much more revenue than basketball. If anyone does pursue this, we'll be happy to publish their findings.


We also want to correct some misinformation from a reader concerning Coach Tracey Montgomery. She has no son in the Muscle Shoals school system, just two lovely daughters.


If you missed our big mistake two days ago, the Will Powell family wants everyone to know they are Republicans...not Democrats. The Lauderdale race to succeed circuit Judge Mike Jones should be one of the more interesting.


Small town politics are always interesting. In case you haven't heard:


Monday, April 27, 2015

Revisiting Kyle Palmer's Gun v. Taser Incident

Sgt. Kyle Palmer
The recent fatal shooting of a suspect in Oklahoma by a 73 year-old reserve deputy who mistook his gun for a Taser reminded us of the June 2013 Red Bay incident in which Sgt. Kyle Palmer mistakenly drew his gun on a Hurricane Creek Baptist Church deacon (those Baptist deacons being so slick--especially those recovering from surgery). If you missed the details of this melee, here are the basics:

The Taser incident? From another June 2013 blog: A guest editorial in Pen N Sword concerning the incident at Hurricane Creek Baptist Church is extremely interesting. It does portray Red Bay Sgt. Kyle Palmer in a better light than he has previously been presented, but one statement is extremely odd. We're told that Palmer pulled his gun, waved it around, then holstered it before pulling his taser and making a statement.

The editorial relates that Palmer drew his gun thinking it was the taser and then returned it when he realized his mistake--at least that seems to be the official story. Okay...

We recently saw a photo of a police officer in a large northern city who had the scope on his assault rifle mounted backwards. Anything is possible, but even in a stressful situation, pulling a gun instead of a taser seems a stretch.

Red Bay sergeant Kyle Palmer is neither 73 (not that we think that signifies incompetence in any way) nor is he a reserve deputy. As far as we know, the investigation into his actions at the rural church produced not even an official reprimand.

Little has been reported about the incident until now. From the Franklin Free Press:


The website for Hibbett Patient Care has been down for some time; however, it appears the beleaguered company has issued a statement: Hibbett Takes Leave of Absence.


A friend has reported to us that the railroad bridge in Spring Park has been repaired; however, she has concerns about some other park features. We'll be publishing some of Mary Carton's photos this week. Mary is one of many concerned about the condition of the park, but all citizens need to make their voices heard.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Battle of Wills?

Will Powell
Errata: We received our info from a member of the local Democratic Party. Apparently Powell is also running as a Republican. Apologies to Will. Any Dems out there?

Will it be Republican Will Motlow v. Democrat Will Powell for the circuit judgeship in Lauderdale County? It's too early in the game to say, but that's a good possibility at this point. We hear only good things about both attorneys. Party shouldn't matter in this election; the electorate needs to select the better man for the job.

Why is ADA Powell running as a Dem? His bio in today's TimesDaily says it all. His father was an iron worker, meaning union, meaning Democrat to most union members. The joke used to be that union officials would follow Shoals workers into the curtained booth to make sure they pulled the right lever. Those days are over, thankfully, but some ideologies die hard.

And what of Mike Jones' legacy? If we have one criticism, it's of his sketchy policy on recusals. Jurists should avoid all appearance of evil. We'll be very interested in Motlow and Powell's policy on when such action would be needed in their court.


How much does your school's football coach make? It seems ten Alabama coaches in the public school arena bring in 100K or more each year. Who are they? Here's a very interesting slide show from There's one Shoals coach in the mix, but it might not be who most readers will think...


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Brooks, Arc, & Child Molesters: We Aren't Doing Our Job!

We plan to have more on the termination of Muscle Shoals baseball coach Jonathan Knight in the next few days. For now, let's look at Brooks school in Killen. A teacher, who has been named in many online sites, has been accused of mental, emotional, and physical abuse. The current charge against this teacher involves some chemical damage to a child.

No, it should not have happened. Yet, we understand this woman has been reported over the years and nothing done. Now the parent of the injured child has reported the matter to DHR. We have absolutely no idea if this state department will help or not. Has anyone ever reported the woman to the Killen Police? Assault is assault. Police have to follow through on all reports. Let's hope now that the "Facebook Police" are on the case, this woman, if guilty, is barred from teaching in Alabama.


Our parks, at least some of them, have been threatened. Now much of the mental health system is in peril of reducing or even eliminating services. Arc in Lauderdale and Colbert Counties has been extremely verbal about their shortfalls. Make no mistake, Arc has numerous programs, but just to the south in Franklin County, we have the Sarah Dinsmore Center. There may be, and probably are, other programs run by the Franklin Arc, but the Dinsmore Center in Red Bay is certainly the most well known.

We asked the parents of one Dinsmore client how the center was faring financially. The reply was no problems had been reported to them. Does Franklin Arc have better financial management or simply fewer clients? There are currently 29 chapters of Arc covering 67 counties. Why do some fare so much better than others financially? We usually support less centralization, but at least some overall auditing of finances might reduce some local Arc problems.


Our friends at The Quad-Cities Daily dropped quite a bombshell in their article on Florence businessman Kneeland Hibbett Jr. yesterday. In case you missed it:

This article (be sure to read to the end) leaves many questions unanswered, but it certainly is thought provoking. Apparently this was not a one time incident. Someone in Baldwin County was prepared to make this arrest, but more importantly, Hibbett was monitored in some very sophisticated manner after his first release. We're sure there will be more to follow.


What do these three separate news items have in common? We're not doing enough to protect our children. There's no simple answer. We live in an age where child molesters expect us to support them. Black is white and vice versa. Don't rely on others to protect your child. We hope they do, but in the end, it's your responsibility.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Phillip Pettus Tirelessly & Mindlessly Marches On!

You have to hand it to Sen. Larry Stutts; when voters called him on his attempts to rescind Rose's Law, he had the common sense to back least for this session. One can't say the same for Rep. Phillip Pettus of Greenhill.

Pettus in his finite wisdom is still attempting to steal suffrage from Florence, Sheffield, Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals, Athens, and the list goes on. He was quoted in today's TimesDaily as saying he had heard only five individuals speak against this bill. Maybe that's because he said he had better fish to fry on the night the local legislative delegation held its public meeting on the proposed bill.

We're surprised the bill made it out of committee. Even if it should pass, it will not be law before a statewide vote to approve it, which we don't see happening.

Props to Johnny Mack Morrow and Marcel Black for representing all the people they were elected to serve. It's been said that voters have a short memory; guess what? Political bloggers don't.


Rep. Ed Henry of Hartselle doesn't care if his bill costs Alabama tons in litigation; he's just protecting students by wanting to ban abortion clinics from any area in which there's a public school--all those demonstrations might be upsetting for the little tykes. Pardon us for introducing some logic here, but why not establish that permits for these demonstrations are not issued for school opening or closing times. Now if Rep. Henry would just start working to counter violence in movies, television shows, video games, and even homes, he might actually do some good.


What of Rep. Lynn Greer? So far he hasn't even mentioned any legislation on Alabama's antiquated Certificate of Need policy, but he has introduced three bills singing the accolades of Lauderdale County lady basketballers. First things first in Alabama...


Tomorrow: More on current problems at local schools


Thursday, April 23, 2015

School Daze for Fun & Profit

First, we keep reading comments in various places that say "they're tearing down Coffee High School." No, "they're" not. A school is a group of individuals that come together to learn. It belongs in the same grouping as a hospital or church. It's not the building, it's the people.

The Florence Board of Education did away with Coffee High School years ago. Is the old building worth saving just for sentiment? The original building which morphed into Appleby Junior High was destroyed by fire many years ago. No, not much is left of Coffee but memories. Neither Coffee nor Bradshaw grads have an extant alma mater.

If it were up to us? We'd keep it...probably. It's a money pit at this point and not suited to the needs of today's classrooms. Could the building be used for something else as is Burrell-Slater? Come up with some ideas, and we'll publish them.


Let's now travel east to Brooks. A parent has filed charges against a teacher, accusing her of physically assaulting a young girl. DHR is investigating, but we don't know the status of any police inquiries. The investigation may take quite a while. We do understand the parents' concern, there is a lot of he said/she said at this point. If any new relevant information is reported, we will publish it.

It's good for all parents to remember that teachers are human and make mistakes, lose their temper, etc. If you suspect abuse, follow your instincts, and above all, let the proper authorities handle it. (That means if you deck a teacher, you will go to jail.)


Ah, now to the sunny south side of the river and a trip to Muscle Shoals Middle School. Late this afternoon, parents met with officials in an attempt to sort out the sudden termination of coach Jonathan Knight. The few reports we've had so far indicate that Coach Josh Fowler was taking 100% of the blame. More tomorrow in all probability.

In the mean time, from a concerned Muscle Shoals Parent (edited to remove identify of teacher):

The excuse for firing Coach Knight was that ONE parent complained to Boss Basden who immediately called his people in a private meeting on who was allowed to work for him. Wonder who the ONE parent is? Could it be another coach that is threatened by Coach Knight's success - or maybe even Basden who has 3 sons in the MSCS?

On a long running issue that goes un-addressed by MSCS & the High School: Countless parents and students have complained for YEARS about a high school xxxxx teacher that struggles with instruction techniques. The teacher has been sent for remedial training with no avail while most students have to hire a tutor. With so many honor students FAILING that course - perhaps the problem isn't the students and their preparation by other teachers for the class - it might be the person employed in the role of "teacher".

Yet ONE parent complained about a winning coach and it was an instant firing. The 3 men have revealed yet again what the future holds for Muscle Shoals. Athletics rules.


We'll finish up at Sheffield High. We've said before that the best way to handle dress code problems in most instances is simply to "agree" with them. There are exceptions, but a simple tee-shirt is not worth fighting over, at least to us. You/Your child will not have to deal with this for a lengthy period of time, and some things are extremely hard to prove. Go on, say "Yes, sir, and thank you," graduate, then write a blog about them. How does that sound?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Hidden Reason Joe Wheeler May Close?

From L. Stone:

Have our readers been following the state parks closing story? I don't think many people understand what is really going on. The big secret most people want to keep hidden in the frenzy for more taxes is that the operational money for the parks comes from money spent by park users. Cutting budget money going to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources should not affect the parks since that money doesn't go there to start with.

If you look at the map of the cuts one thing becomes apparent. The cuts are concentrated in small communities where the state park is very important for tourism. Huntsville will not lose Monte Sano. Birmingham will not lose Oak Mountain. Mobile will not lose Meaher or Gulf. (There aren't any parks close to Montgomery.) In short, the cuts will not affect the four largest cities in Alabama.

To use a Shoals example, look at Joe Wheeler State Park. If you close Joe Wheeler it will be a major economic loss to Rogersville which depends on river tourism. They will still have the monthly fire department fish fry on first Saturday and Christmas at the old church, but for all practical purposes tourism will be over for Rogersville and a thriving little town will see businesses close, unemployment rise and people leave.

It's not just Rogersville. Many other towns, such as Guntersville, depend on state parks for tourism. What would be the impact if, say, Monte Sano in Huntsville closed? If would be missed by the community, but the tourism impact would be negligible. There are lots of other tourism options in Huntsville. (Some might even want Monte Sano to close because it could mean more money for their pet tourism project.) Closing Monte Sano State Park would not even end recreation on Monte Sano now that the Land Trust has property on the mountain for events and hiking.

Is this a coincidence? No. The closings have been selected where they will cause the most pain. The politicians in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources know that if they look at cutting or closing something near one of the larger cities where tourism options abound they will not get a big reaction. They also know that if they select closings that threaten to decimate towns like Rogersville or Guntersville or any of a number of small communities they will generate a firestorm of opposition that will manifest itself in lots of angry people writing their representatives telling them to give the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whatever they need to save their park and their community.

Not only is there no talk of cutting parks near the large cities, but they are still talking about spending massive amounts of money to expand facilities at Gulf and Oak Mountain. This does not sound like the actions of a park system truly facing a budget crisis. That's because the only crisis facing the state park system in Alabama is a manufactured crisis.

This reminds me of a manufactured crisis in Huntsville a couple of decades ago when the state was facing budget problems and UAH was looking at cuts in state funding. Frank Franz, the president then, tried a dramatic ploy to get more money. His solution was that since UAH was losing X million dollars from the state and that it cost X million dollars to run the medical school the solution was to just close the medical school in Huntsville. He didn't count on this little ploy blowing up in his face. What ended up happening was that the state severed all connections between UAH and the University of Alabama School of Medicine, the Huntsville program was placed solely under the control of UAB, and UAH had its funding cut by even more since they no longer had a medical school.

Maybe someone needs to look at severing the connection between the state parks and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.


Let's play "Know Your Aquatic Rodents"

We recently posted some pics found under the search for "muskrat," but it appeared several rodents were incorrectly identified as muskrats. We're sure the Tuscumbia Park Department wants to blame the right critter for its current woes.

We were surprised that the muskrat was the smallest of these animals. Surely the park department could trap and release them somewhere else.

Trivia: The McIlhennys of Tabasco sauce fame was not the first Louisiana family to import nutria to the U.S., but the third. Nutria proliferation was encouraged until the 1950s.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jonathan Knight Termination/Misdemeanor Redux

Jonathan Knight Termination Statement Revised by Original Author:

Monday evening, Athletic Director Scott Basden called a “secret baseball” meeting with Superintendent Brian Lindsey, MSHS Principal Chad Holden & MSHS Head Baseball Coach Josh Fowler.  Basden instructed Josh Fowler to fire Head Coach Jonathan Knight for MSMS 7th & 8th grade Baseball,  immediately. If Fowler did not fire Knight, Fowler himself would be terminated.   Coach Knight had a winning season of 32-4 for 2015.  Knight has been head coach for the last 4 years and has made a huge impact on the Middle School baseball program.  Basden’s reason for Knight’s firing was “a parent approached him regarding a conflict of interest in Knight having a child on the Varsity Baseball team and him being a Middle School coach.  The majority of coaches at Muscle Shoals also have children in sports in the high school or middle school programs.  Baseball parents and players truly believe that Basden is penalizing Knight because his son is not playing Varsity Football this coming season.  Coach Knight has been fired with unjust cause!


From a Muscle Shoals reader:

Concerning Coach Knight and BOSS BASDEN's called "secret meeting". (who exactly is in charge in the school system?)

So let's figure out Basden's motives to get rid of a winning coach -------- because he has a son in sports?

head football coach and AD
son plays middle school football

Son's high school - he coaches his boys

has sons play football

has a son that plays football

has a son that plays football

COACH WOOD (assistant)
mommy is principal at elementary

COACH MIZE (assistant)
mommy is guidance counselor at high school

mommy is high school bookkeeper

Is that enough to make a point - or should I go on about the other 20 or so coaches and their personal entanglements at MSCS?

Coach Knight should think about going to Deshler or Florence - They love winners in all sports (the new coach at Deshler is going to give Basden a run for the money in recruiting. Basden might have met his match)

Hide those rings Derrick Gargis!!!!!  Getting rid of a coach with a record of 32-4 should be alarming to you with those state championships under your belt..


While we realize we will never satisfy some critics on some issues, we will again try to explain to JT our misdemeanor policy in this statement: A misdemeanor in and of itself does not make a public personage. A felony, in our opinion would, and does in this blog. Did we express ourselves in the most understandable manner concerning the Lauderdale County man's arrest. No. But did we lie? No.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Who Is a Public Person?/Jonathan Knight Bites the Dust?

Greg Scoggins, aka Deerslayer
We've published our policy on blogging on arrests, etc., many times. We seem to have some obtuse readers who don't get it or pretend they don't. Since yesterday we received some requests to report on the misdemeanor arrest of a Lauderdale County man. We chose not to, and a Muscle Shoals reader has questioned us repeatedly.

In the simplest terms, we blog on misdemeanor arrests if they involve a PUBLIC PERSON. What is a public person?

1. A celebrity. If Mick Jagger gets a DUI in Sheffield, we'll probably mention it.

2. An elected or employed official who holds our safety and the public well-being in his/her hands. A judge hires his entire family? Yes. A police officer goes hunting on city time and kills a sheltered animal that basically belongs to all taxpayers? Yes. A park employee gets arrested for misdemeanor theft on his lunch hour? No.

3. A person who injects himself/herself into the public eye. A man holds a news conference stating he was abused by city officials in some manner and has a record of falsely claiming the same in several cities he's lived in the past 40 years? Yes.

4. A person currently in the legal system. This includes anyone currently under arrest or indictment, in prison, or on probation. In other words, if a man on probation for felony bank robbery is arrested for misdemeanor assault, we would feel free to publish this arrest. What if a man killed his brother-in-law, three neighbors, and seventeen chickens 30 years ago, completed his sentence, then received that ubiquitous DUI in Sheffield? No. We'll note that sex offenders never leave the legal system.

No, JT, Greg Scoggins doesn't have to be John Dillinger's brother. If you don't understand why he's a public person and the brother of a local sociopath isn't, we're very uncertain on how to elucidate you.


We have received the following statement from an extremely reliable source. We are choosing to publish it as it was written to us. We welcome any comments and rebuttals.
Monday evening, Athletic Director called a “secret baseball” meeting with Superintendent Brian Lindsey, MSHS Principal Chad Holden & MSHS Head Baseball Coach Josh Fowler.  Basden instructed Josh Fowler to fire Head Coach for MSMS 7th & 8th grade Baseball immediately.  Even though Coach Knight had a winning season or 32-4 record for 2015.  He has been Head Coach for the last 4 years and made a Huge impact on the Middle school baseball program.  Basden’s reason for Knight’s firing was “a parent approached him regarding a conflict of interest in Knight having a child on the Varsity Baseball team and him being a Middle School coach.  The majority of coaches at Muscle Shoals also have children in sports in the high school or middle school problem.  Baseball parents and players believe that Basden is penalizing Knight because his son is not playing Varsity Football this season.  Coach Knight has been fired with unjust cause!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

What of Joe Wheeler Park?

So the state closes Joe Wheeler State Park, what happens to it?

1) It sits and rots/goes to scrub while the state awaits money to reopen it.

2) The state sells the land and improvements at auction.

Now this presents an interesting scenario. We do not believe DreamVision is locating here or anywhere else for that matter. We've had several bigwigs send us communications about this and all indicated a no-go. But what if...

From a reader (he stresses he is strictly speculating):

On the semi-hot topic (I realize it's frigid now but this is Bama) of the theme park....notice the odd announcement of fifteen-odd state parks on a potential closure list, and Wheeeler State Park noted among the fifteen?

Not that I would suggest such a thing....but maybe the game plan got shifted around and the real target of acquisition is become some theme park?

First, this announcement that Wheeler was pulling no profit to sustain itself.  With the golf course, lodge and can it not make a profit unless there's some loser team managing it or a lousy marketing scheme?  

Second, it's around 2,500 acres....way more than the 1,200 that the theme parks guys were talking about....which is way more potential.  

Third, it's right off highway 72 and within a fifty minute drive to Huntsville.  

Fourth, it's on the lake, with tons more potential for tourism.

So, my suggestion....since there's no action on the TVA property....maybe it's not the target and maybe Joe Wheeler is being arranged as a quick sell deal to these guys?

Just a humble suggestion.

Roy H.

We'll inject here that four days ago WHNT attempted to contact Bryan (Transparency) Robinson of Killen. He refused to return their phone calls.


Want Jim Smith's book Walk Through Town, but can't make it to Coldwater? You may contact him via e-mail:

Book is available for $10.00 plus shipping $2.50.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Our Friend Jim Smith Sure is Popular!

We recently linked some books by local authors, one of them Jim Smith's Walk Through Town. This lovely memoir of his youth is described as:

Walk Through Town is a delightful recollection from Jim Smith's youth. Revisit a small town (Tuscumbia) located in North Alabama and the memories of a ten year old boy who once walked the streets of this small town. This title is well worth reading for all ages.

At the time we posted the link, Amazon was out of new copies, The famous bookseller's used price started at 47.00 at that time. Jim has contacted us about the availability of his work; it's at Coldwater Books in Tuscumbia. We should also have an update on purchasing directly from Jim in a few days.

Want a used one from Amazon? As of today, you'll have to pay anywhere from 291.00 to 362.00! We suggest you try Coldwater first.


From L. Stone:

For the fine dining in Sheffield department:

I was at the checkout today in Harbor Freight. I noticed that a woman behind me had one of the electric fly swatters. She was looking at it skeptically when I told her that I got one and it worked well. I explained that I use it for destructive carpenter wasps (which many here call bumble bees). She said she was interested after seeing the owner using one to get flies in a Chinese buffet in Sheffield. I regret not asking the name.
Electronic Fly Swatter


Is this the greatest love song? One of our readers thinks it just might be:


Friday, April 17, 2015

Phil Bates: He Can't Teach, But He Can Coach?

Most of us are familiar with ACT; we took this test to get into college. In the world of 21st Century education, ACT also provides the Aspire Program. From their website:

ACT Aspire and the ACT measure student development of knowledge and skills in the same academic areas from grades 3 through 12. The scores from these assessments can help educators monitor students’ academic growth over time. ACT Aspire maps learner progress from grades three through high school on a vertical scale, anchored to the scoring system of the ACT.

Phil Bates, a UNA grad who has coached at Deshler and now at Colbert County High School, teaches world history at Colbert Heights High School. He recently administered an ACT Aspire test. Such administration is also called proctoring and comes with certain rules and restrictions. Among these is a prohibition against electronic devices. In other words, even the proctor can't possess any devices connected to the Internet, or even a calculator. Those we know who have taken such tests for advanced certifications tell us that they have been required to remove their wrist watches. In other words, any possible means of cheating is highly frowned upon.

Bates obviously knew this, yet he...what? We're guessing checked his smart phone for messages, ball scores, important phone calls (hey, maybe the Braves would be in desperate need of a new coach that day).

Anthony Olivis
So now he's suspended by Supt. Anthony Olivis for ten days...oh, and the county school board was not informed until after the suspension. Wait, he's suspended only from teaching history. He still gets to coach. There's a play-off going on right now; what a coincidence.

We're not surprised at the limited nature of his suspension. What we would love to know is who reported Bates. Someone obviously entered the testing/class room, or was at least passing by an open door, and saw Bates engrossed in some frenzy of electronic activity...or was it one of the students?

Rules are rules. Will the test have to be given over at school expense? Will the board investigate further? Will Anthony Olivis issue any more imperial commands? Stay tuned for the next episode of Colbert Heights Turns the Stomach.


We had some comments concerning Percy Sledge's song When a Man Loves a Woman. Who knew we were infidels for not thinking it the most romantic song evah? Here, try this one:

Feel free to send more suggestions.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ryan Anthony Allen Gets 15 Years for "Worst Case of Child Abuse"

This is Ryan Anthony Allen in a selfie taken last month:

He doesn't seem too concerned about anything, does he? Well, we bet he is now.

This is Noah Pounders, the two-month old child Ryan Allen abused until it was doubtful he would live:

Ryan has claimed he was in a relationship with the child's mother; the mother says he was simply watching the child. Tony Logan says it was the “worst case of child abuse he had ever seen."

Now Allen has taken a plea which netted him a 15 year sentence on a Class B Felony. In other words, if he's good, he'll complete his sentence in five years and be eligible for parole in as little as 20 months. Noah Pounders is forced to endure a life sentence of brain injuries that can't completely be cured.

We'll publish Allen's AIS# and other data when it's available.

Related: Allen Indicted


Trivia for the day: Anyone remember who Jackie Coogan was? A little known fact from his early adulthood was that he took part in the lynching of the kidnapper/murderers of his best friend, an LA department store heir.

It's not for us to say what some miscreants deserve, but thoughts do cross our mind...


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Russellville Killers/Math Challenged at Arc?

If you missed it, Jason Dewayne Green was sentenced earlier today to 19 years for the shooting death of Shay Ledlow.


Hershel Graham, the killer of Red Bay husband and father David Andrasik, has finally made it out of the Kilby Infirmary where he had been held for weeks. He is now in general receiving at Kilby and should be transferred to his permanent location soon.


Arc and mental health programs? We support these tax-funded programs 100%, or at least usually do. We realize some funds from city, county, and state revenue are ear-marked and just can't be handed out in any direction. After all, the world also seems to need more plazas with fountains and bell towers (insert Charlie Whitman joke here.)

What would Arc do if funding is cut? We hope it doesn't have to find out, but we also have quite a bone to pick with Murray Townsend, state and local Arc board member. He recently stated:

The mental health funding rates have increased by 4 percent in the past 15 years, while in the same time period the rate of inflation has been 41 percent.

Really? 41%? Just how did you come up with that figure, Mr. Townsend? We're going to say that after checking, the highest rate mentioned by any watchdog site was 36%. That was somewhat higher than we had anticipated. So, Townsend just fudged by 5%? Or is Arc not getting enough bang for its buck. Plus, the 36% is an average that includes everything from a gallon of milk to a Cadillac to a McMansion. 

In other words, some items purchased by Arc might have even gone down in price over the last 15 years; in fact these staples would not be subject to the same inflation found in the automotive or construction world. Not only that, the rate of inflation also includes precious metals; we sincerely hope that Arc is not indulging in those purchases.

Here's a very thorough article that compares inflation between 1999 and 2009:

We have always supported Arc in the past (and still do--just not some of its leadership at this point), but somehow we're sure those Minnesota orphans are looking better by the moment to many. Much more attractive confabulation...


It can be said that Percy Sledge put Muscle Shoals on the map...or not. No matter, no history of Shoals music is complete without several paragraphs related to Sledge and his greatest hit, "When a Man Loves a Woman." 

Don't miss our friend Dino's tribute to Sledge: Percy Sledge

Was his signature song one of the greatest love songs in history? Another friend is doing a guest blog on that, but in the mean time, here's one sent personally from Shoalanda:


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pick Your Pate for Charity!

Now you can vote for your favorite Pate Brother, or all of them. Just be sure to remember to donate to HASRA or Safeplace each time you do. Here's the line-up:

#1 is William Pate. William is a Deshler grad who currently lives in Florence. He's married to the former Pam McVay.

#2 is Shaun Pate. Shaun lives in Sheffield.

#3 is Joey Pate. Joey is a grad of both Deshler and the Alabama Fire College. He lives in Muscle Shoals where we understand he runs the entire fire department, so those who live in Muscle Shoals are super safe. He is married to the former Kim Lindsey.

#4 is Dan Pate. Daniel is a Deshler grad who was a star football player, single-handedly winning a state championship. He's currently in the Alabama Air National Guard where he keeps us safe from Communists (well, you haven't seen any lately, have you?). He is married to the beautiful Stormy Lee Pate and they have three super intelligent and attractive children.

So how do you vote? There is a poll in the left sidebar where you can vote for your favorite Pate. We do hope that everyone who votes for their favorite brother will make a donation to either HASRA:

or Safeplace:

You may leave comments and recommendations in the comment section. Tell us why you voted as you did. Just keep it light and G-rated. The poll will be open until the end of May so that voters will have their income tax refunds back to contribute to our two extremely worthy causes.

Where's the No-Bid Plaza?/A Truly Fantabulous Contest

The Alabama legislature is considering a no-bid law for public works projects. We chiefly support bids on most everything connected with government spending, but we know that some projects are exempt. The services of an architect is one exemption, and this can be either good or bad. In case you've forgotten:

So how is this project going? We have no idea. The last mention of the project seems to have been in February 2014 when architect Donnie Phillips stated his plans should be finished by May 2014. Once work started, Phillips estimated the plaza would be open in four months.

We feel sure there has to be a parallel universe somewhere in which the College Street Plaza sits side by side with the UNA College of Intergrative Health and a fully operational rail car plant.


Well, we seem to have missed another holiday...and it was a biggie. How could we have overlooked "National Pate Day?" The Pate family has a long and distinguished heritage in Colbert County:

Now it seems there's a National Pate Day, and we feel so horrible about missing it, we have come up with an appropriate way for everyone to salute the Pate brothers while actually doing something for one of the area's most worthy causes.

Below is a picture of the Pate Brothers, presumably posted for Siblings Day which somehow morphed into National Pate Day. We want you, our wonderful readers to vote on your favorite Pate. This is strictly going to be on an honor system, but if you vote, you need to make a donation to HASRA or Safeplace. We'll have the poll up by tomorrow, but in the meantime, you can be making your selection now.

L to R: William, Shaun, Joey, & Daniel


Monday, April 13, 2015

Tuscumbia Employee Salutes Park Patron?

The TimeDaily recently offered us its version of muskrat, hate, but muskrats and the light show at Spring Park aside, there seem to be many problems with the park that are being glossed over. We're publishing a new guest editorial today; it's accompanied by photos, so we can say that most of this is documented. Did a City of Tuscumbia employee direct an obscene gesture at our writer? If any employees wish to make a rebuttal, they are always welcome.

From our guest editorialist:

We had an article on muskrats in the newspaper on March 22, where the rec. director told the public, "creek will most likely be down for two weeks" After a period of three weeks, we get another lesson on muskrats, where we are informed that it will take another two to three weeks for repairs to be completed. Again all blame was on the muskrats Might I assume from this that if the rec. director fails to have it ready in two more weeks, we will get another article on muskrats, and how we are having FEW complaints. 

The nice picture in the newspaper shows three people working while the rec. director watches I have been in Spring Park most every day this last month, and have seen the rec. director there only three times, never helping.

Saturday`s newspaper says, "Kendrick said that the other park rides , including the carousel, small roller coaster, and train are up and running. For the most part, we`re full steam ahead right now." The truth is the train is in operational condition only with three cars, The other three are inside in shambles, being used for PARTS.

The huge drive wheels are not on the engine and have not been for three years. The railroad bridge is a total embarrassment from missing boards and the crossing gates are not working properly.

The park was scheduled to open the first weekend in March. Six weeks later the lights on the carousel STILL are not working, still no music. I think I can say that the lights, or lack thereof, is not a muskrat problem. {management, maybe?} It also safe to say that the rusted bathroom door is not muskrat related.

The rec. director believes that the waterfall will be repaired "by the time the light show repairs are done" I suppose TWO to THREE weeks? Now if our rec. director is proud of his part in this, and willing to say the rides are up and running," and for the most part are full steam ahead", we may have an understanding as to why things are in the shape they are.

PS= I was siting in my truck today, enjoying the scenery, when I received an obscene hand gesture from the engineer and conductor. CLASS?


On the bright side in Tuscumbia, we believe that city has the honor of having the most adept police chief. We understand there may be some news in the Elbert Farley Davis Jr. murder investigation in the immediate future. Prayers for Chief Logan and all involved in bringing this murderer to justice.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Phillip Pettus v. David Bronner?

First, who are the highest paid employees of the State of Alabama? For your reading enjoyment:

1) David Bronner
Salary: $572,097.02
CEO, Retirement Systems of Alabama
2) Donald Yancey
Salary: $331,139.64
Deputy director, Retirement Systems of Alabama
3) R. Marc Green
Salary: $306,378.29
Director of investments, Retirement Systems of Alabama
4) M. Hunter Harrell
Salary: $276,069.17
Director of private placements, Retirement Systems of Alabama
5) Dr. Donald Williamson
Salary: $271,516.66
M.D., state health officer, Alabama Department of Public Health
6) Mark Heinrich
Salary: $271,400.00
Chancellor, Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education
7) Julie Barranco
Salary: $255,011.16
Director of fixed incomes, Retirement Systems of Alabama
8) Ronald Jones
Salary: $243,095.12
Chief examiner, Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts
9) Glen Pringle
Salary: $243,002.73
Development director, Retirement Systems of Alabama
10) William Ashmore
Salary: $233,902.05
CEO, Alabama State Employees’ Insurance Board
11) Thomas Bice
Salary: $229,416.60
State superintendent, Alabama Department of Education
12) Randall Hillman
Salary: $225,299.92
Executive director, Alabama Office of Prosecution Services
13) Diane Scott
Salary: $221,610.17
CFO, Retirement Systems of Alabama
14) William Kelley
Salary: $215,314.55
Director of benefits, Retirement Systems of Alabama
15) Dr. Thomas Miller
Salary: $213,216.10
Chief medical officer, Alabama Department of Public Health
16) Dr. Karen Landers
Salary: $207,192.80
Assistant state health officer, Alabama Department of Public Health
17) Dr. Nabajyoti Kakati
Salary: $206,784.90
Psychiatrist, Alabama Department of Mental Health
18) Dr. Sabin Sebastian
Salary: $206,684.90
Psychiatrist, Alabama Department of Mental Health
19) Dr. Marie Glenn
Salary: $206,192.80
Psychiatrist, Alabama Department of Mental Health
20) James McLain
Salary: $205,400.00
General counsel, Alabama State Bar
21) Keith Norman
Salary: $205,400.00
Executive director, Alabama State Bar
22) Dr. Mary McIntyre
Salary: $204,921.80
M.D., assistant state health officer, Alabama Department of Public Health
23) Leura Canary
Salary: $204,831.58
General counsel, Retirement Systems of Alabama
24) Gregory Fitch
Salary: $201,745.00
Executive director, Alabama Commission on Higher Education
25) Samuel Welch
Salary: $200,153.12
Presiding judge, Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

It's been speculated over the past few years that David Bronner's star is falling within the state. The RSA has often been compared to a pyramid scheme. We're not accountants, nor are we going to offer an opinion on these charges at this time.

What we will offer is that a very respected source has told us Phillip Pettus, R-Greenhill, is among a group seeking Dr. Bronner's ouster. We await more on this....


Our governor? He refuses his salary. Is that just PR or is that true dedication? How many of the above referenced 25 would be willing to forgo his/her salary for a year? How about a month? Two weeks? Didn't think so.


Want more money? Marry it? Work at a chicken plant? Apply to the RSA?


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pettus & Greer Now Want to Steal Votes Statewide

We've had several reports of flying pigs the past few days, but how can that compare to the realization that Marcel Black...we say Marcel the most intelligent representative the Shoals seems to have at this moment?

Now Phillip Pettus, R-Greenhill, wants to steal not only Florence's vote, but the votes of Sheffield, Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals, and God & a computer system only know how many other towns. First, Pettus has failed to find one Lauderdale County resident to come forward to support his hare-brained scheme. Wouldn't just one contact the TimesDaily, contact us, contact "You Said It," contact a local forum? So far no one has.

And Pettus' cohort in thievery Lynn Greer? He recently said this: If you’re going to represent the county, you ought to be out in the county. How hard is it for Greer or anyone else to understand that Florence is in the county? If he's referring to an incorporated area, he needs to consider Killen, Rogersville, Anderson, Lexington, and Waterloo. What if Florence could keep all its tax dollars? That's looking pretty good to us at this point. Surely Muscle Shoals would want to keep all theirs as more bailing out Anthony Olivis over his newest lawsuit.

And what does Pettus himself say of his first attempt at robbing Florence voters? "It ain’t dead, but it isn’t going anywhere right now, so this (new bill) is statewide.”

It "ain't?" Is Pettus that ill-educated or does he think that makes him sound folksy? We have news: It makes him sound like some stereotype from Saturday Night Live, not like a man who wishes to have the trust of those he purports to serve. We firmly believe that everyone is entitled to make mistakes, but we also believe our representatives should be doing the very best they can. If this is Pettus' best, he is an embarrassment to our area.


Some other brilliant bills now attempting to make their way to passage in the state legislature:

No bids required? Public Work Projects

How about the Fetal Heartbeat Bill? Terri Collins of Decatur says she wants to educate women (and presumably a few males as well) about the horrors of abortion even if it means lawsuits against the state that will rob funding for those children already here.

We've mentioned this crazy thought before, but why not fund education on birth control and even...shudder...abstinence? No pregnancies mean no need for abortions under most circumstances.


Another wild and crazy idea of ours is to promote neutering of companion animals. Fewer animals means the need for fewer animal control officers. Here are some statistics: Cost Savings from Spay/Neuter Programs.

The day we see our legislature address that? We'll have the flying pigs image ready to post.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Remembering Judge James Hall II

We once read the obituary of a long-gone ancestor. In terms considered florid today, the short article noted the gentleman was one possessed of many friends and few enemies. In our youth, we found that an odd saying; why did this ancestor have any enemies? Sadly, everyone has enemies, and we're sure Judge James Hall was no exception. We're more sure that he had a multitude of friends who will miss him all the days of their lives and smile when they think of him.

It's truly hard to find an honest man, a man who places principal before pecuniary gain. Judge Hall was such a man and was a tremendous asset to Lauderdale County. He cannot be replaced. His friends and family are now diminished, but his memory will live on...rightly so.


We cannot comprehend the enormity of the actions of some who wave a banner of righteousness while promoting evil at every turn. One such family comes to mind today. Judge Hall fought for what was right, and this despicable group of cretins reviled him for it. Most regular readers know of whom we speak. Some ask why we even mention this sociopath and his conglomeration of enablers at this point. Indeed, why? They are now known for their true selves while Judge Hall was not diminished by their libelous statements. Nevertheless, we're sure they're sitting in various settings today feeling persecuted. Feel sorry for them? No, we don't.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lynn Greer: 14 Bills & Not One on CON

State representative Lynn Greer has sponsored 14 bills this session--not one of them concerns either repealing or revamping the state's certificate of need law. Want to know what Greer thinks is so much more important? Here ya go...


We've recently heard from our favorite pervert, Derek Logue. We can't publish his comments due to language, but we are happy to clarify that Logue was not convicted of First Degree Rape, but First Degree Sexual Abuse in connection with an 11 year-old victim.

In other words:

(a) A person commits the crime of sexual abuse in the first degree if:

(1) He subjects another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion; or

(2) He subjects another person to sexual contact who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated.

(b) Sexual abuse in the first degree is a Class C felony.
(Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, §2320; Act 2006-575, p. 1512, §2.)

A friend recently stated she couldn't imagine family of drug dealers actually getting on Facebook to defend them. We've always felt that way about sex offenders. It's been about five years since we discovered that any of these miscreants actually lobbied to defend their lifestyle, etc. 

Logue also mentioned he was going to "own" both our blog and Sen. Larry Stutts. We may not like Stutts' recent politics concerning Rose's Law, but we're pretty sure he can handle the likes of Derek Logue.


Tomorrow some words about Judge James Hall.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Can Cypress Lakes Be Saved?

In the past fiscal year, Cypress Lakes lost 339K+ dollars; so far this year, the golf/tennis club has lost 199K+. We've often passed this site, and it's beautiful. From what we've seen, Cypress Lakes puts the courses in Florence to shame. Why can't it make enough money?

This is from a reader who resides in Muscle Shoals:

“We’ve spent five months waiting to meet with the cable guy,” Pampinto said. “It doesn’t make sense to spend $6,000 a year on cable and Internet when only a handful of people work there.

DOES ANYONE HAVE A PERSONAL CONNECTION WITH LARRY THE CABLE GUY? Get 'er done. Call Joe at 256.762.1173 immediately. The future of Muscle Shoals and Cypress Lakes is hanging in the balance.

After kicking Rhoda P's out of the Cypress Lakes Country Club because of her causing the demise with a huge utility bill, why haven't the finances improved?

Muscle Shoals City has the largest sales tax in the Shoals and looks like that will be pushed even higher after the debacle at the golf course and the additional huge investment in the football program at MSCS.

“It may not seem like a lot of money, but when you are losing $300,000. you have to keep chipping away. It takes pennies to make dollars,” Pampinto said.

AGAIN - is a sales tax or other tax in the shadows of City Hall?? Pennies make Dollars as Joe Pampinto said. Why are the other council members hiding behind Joe Pampinto aka Citizens' Mouthpiece.

Change in the winds for 2016?


Video of Johnny Mack Morrow's meeting on Rose's Law:


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Larry Stutts v. Derek Logue

Larry Stutts, Republican state senator from Colbert County, has been in the state news twice in the past 24 hours. Five other Republicans disagree with Stutts' assertion that they knew about Rose Church. We're sure more is to follow on this situation.

The second news item is the one we're most bemused about. It seems that Stutts is introducing a bill to add minors who commit sex crimes against other minors to the sex offender registry. Opposition? Yes, that would come from Derek (the Rogue) Logue, formerly of Sheffield and currently on the registry for the crime of First Degree Rape.

Logue may no longer live in Alabama, but he is, in his own words, lobbying against this bill. That in itself should be enough to make it pass.

If you came in late: Derek Warren Logue

Logue is wrong that the registry is pointless. It's still very needed. What the registry does need is a tiered the one in Ohio where he currently lives and which has labeled him a sexual predator. Then there would be no problem distinguishing those who commit Second Degree Rape from those who commit the crime in the First Logue.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Readers' Thoughts: Spring Park/Muscle Shoals High

We're publishing some readers' thoughts on Spring Park in Tuscumbia and on Muscle Shoals High School Policy. Our thoughts on these issues will be published in red beneath the original comments.

On Spring Park: Saturday, April 4th. To add further to an ongoing tragedy, the carousel has NO power, so NO CAROUSEL The blinking lights at the RR crossing are not functioning, causing a real safety hazard. The only person who knows how to fix them is out of town. The only other responsible person is the Rec. director, but he NEVER comes to the park on Saturday, his off day . WHAT TO DO ?

We've talked to several individuals who have indicated that the railway/train could support the park by itself. Could the city lease the train to a competent individual to run, maintain, and pay half of the profits? Any comments?


On Muscle Shoals High School Track: Over the weekend, I was quizzed to why the citizens of Muscle Shoals are locked out of using the track at the M.S. football dynasty. The statement was that it was always a community use when there was no construction and were told that has changed since the 10 million upgrades. Looking back through the "Trash Daily" newspapers, the coach is quoted as saying;

“Our track is not only used by the school; it’s used by the community, and, anytime we have to close the gates, there are a lot of people who get frustrated,” he said. “The track is a great asset for us.”

The last statement the man made to me was, "and they want us to vote this month on more taxes for that school". Maybe the coach who runs the schools and city will have a change of heart...

Could this be a security issue? What times were the public allowed to use the track in the past? Was there a sign-in? Maybe there were also insurance issues? Comments please (Just don't shoot the messenger).


A second reader comment on the track: The info below was a quote from MS Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Scott Basden in 2010.  OK, the track has now been completely resurfaced and is still closed.  The “citizens” are frustrated but it’s apparent now the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach doesn’t want “HIS” facility open to the public.  Never mind that it was the“citizens” who paid, correction – are paying for the next 30 years, for “HIS” facility.  Contact your local City Council Members and Mayor if you want the track re-opened for public use.  Contact information below:

Joe Pampinto           256-762-1173
Neal Willis                 256-335-5284
Mile Lockhart            256-577-0352
Jim Holland               256-335-5345
Allen Noles                256-335-5336
David Bradford        256-335-3626

Remember, if you don’t call, then don’t complain!

Coach: Muscle Shoals track in need of resurfacing
By Michelle Rupe Eubanks | Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 12:00 am
MUSCLE SHOALS -- The track around the Muscle Shoals High School football field is a popular spot for residents to get in an evening walk or a night-time run.
This summer, however, it’s been off limits because the track has fallen into disrepair, according to Muscle Shoals High School Athletic Director and head football coach Scott Basden.
“Our track is not only used by the school; it’s used by the community, and, anytime we have to close the gates, there are a lot of people who get frustrated,” he said. “The track is a great asset for us.”

Do the city council members have any control over the track? It would seem logically to be the school board's decision. Anyone know for sure?

Neal Barker, Basketball Coach

On Muscle Shoals' new basketball coach: 

Wonder why they dug a long strip up in the nice parking lot at the concessions stand at the football field next to Harding Avenue. Makes you wonder when they will quit throwing money at that football field.

Did anyone send you anything about the Trash Daily's article on the new Head Basketball Coach at MSHS? He was fired from Spain Park as basketball coach the first of March and hired at MSHS the end of March. Interesting that Lindsey said his salary will be 60-70K but they don't know his teaching assignment?

The legal calculation of a teacher/coach pay is: Teaching assignment = $$ based on certificates/degrees and year of teaching (this guy is young), Additional $$ for the coaching supplement. A teaching assignment and a coaching supplement does not equal 60k or 70k. Even crazier is that they hired a coach without any specifics.

Wonder why the teachers aren't questioning a starting salary that is, in most cases, twice the amount a teacher is paid coming in if not a coach. Can't make this stuff up.

This we have no knowledge of or ideas about. Readers?