Friday, July 31, 2015

Inmate Abortion Q & A

Randall Marshal
Who is the inmate? While it shouldn't be hard to discover the name of the inmate, there are enough crazy people out there that we have no desire to make the woman's name public.

Why did she file suit via the ACLU? Our guess would be her attorney in the drug case is court appointed and did not want to take on a case that would take him/her to federal court in Huntsville without substantial financial rewards.

Who is the ACLU attorney? He has been named as Randall Marshall and is paid by the ACLU. In all probability, the inmate is not paying the ACLU lawyer anything.

Why did she even contact the ACLU? Our educated guess is she felt going through the county/state courts in Lauderdale could take such a length of time it would be too late to secure an abortion.

Who would have paid for the procedure? Sources have said the inmate would have paid. She would also have had to pay off-duty deputies to escort her to and from the Huntsville Clinic.

Is Lauderdale out any money on this? Oh, yeah... The county has had to pay at least for travel to the Huntsville courtroom and probably has also had to pay some extra legal fees to the county attorney, but the latter is not a given.

Why did the inmate's local attorney contact her about the district attorney's petition to bar the inmate from custody of the unborn child? Our guess is that the inmate called him/her when she became aware of Mr. Connolly's intentions.

Did the local attorney behave unethically? That may be something the Alabama bar will have to decide if Marshall files a complaint. It's difficult to see how the attorney could have behaved any differently under the circumstances, assuming the inmate asked to speak to him/her.

What will happen to the child? That will depend on the father, if known, and other relatives who might file for custody. It's rare that a judge severs all biological ties with the child, but if that does happen, the infant will be put up for adoption. In many cases, this is the best option for the child.

What will happen to the inmate? Since she is not charged with trafficking or some other crime where certain sentencing is mandatory, and depending on her previous record, she will probably receive probation. Let's hope she makes the most of it.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Just who is the attorney?

Just who is the attorney who committed such a breach of ethics according to the ACLU lawyer representing the incarcerated pregnant Lauderdale County inmate? And are we taxpayers footing his/her bill?

The attorney arrived on the scene pretty quickly after DA Connelly announced he would seek to take custody of the unborn child. Maybe someone smelled money?


It's almost August. Florence, do you know where your new animal shelter, government plaza, Sweetwater Arts & Entertainment District are?

Hmmm, neither do we.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Don't Shoot Him, He's Insolent

We received the following petition in our e-mail earlier this week:

Petition by Les Anderson
Elkhart, Indiana


When my son Zach met a girl through an online dating app, she said she was 17 years old and lived about twenty minutes away. The two decided to meet up and had consensual sex. Zach was a typical 19-year-old studying computer science at Community College -- until he found out that the girl had lied about her age and was really 14.
Though the girl admitted to lying about her age and even her parents agreed the encounter was completely consensual and that Zach didn't do anything wrong, Zach found himself convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. He'll now have to be on a sex offender registry for the next 25 years.
He just finished serving 90 days in jail. Now he's on probation for the next 5 years and he's lost all of his work toward his computer science degree -- part of his sentence is that he can't use a computer or smartphone or live in a house with internet access. He can't even talk to anyone under 17.
This has effectively ruined Zach's life. And it's clear to anyone who hears his story that he is not a sexual predator who needs to be on a sex offender list for 25 years. He's a teenager who met another teen like so many others do, online.
In court, the girls parents didn't just ask the judge to show Zach leniency, they called for the case against him to be dropped altogether.
Zach plead guilty but only because we were told he would be a candidate for Holmes Youthful Trainee Act status. The HYTA allows first-time offenders older than 17 but not yet 21 to avoid harsher penalties like the state-mandated 25-year listing on the sex offender registry.
But the judge refused to listen to us, Zach, or the parents of the girl.
Now Zach must live his life with a scarlet letter. He has to walk down the street and think: ‘Am I too close to a school? Is there a child who’s close to me? It's not right and it's not what the law was intended to do.
As parents, all we want is for our son to be able to pursue his dreams and ambitions in life. We want him to be able to live a normal life. So we're asking that the Judge, the Prosecutor's office and the MDOC to drop all charges or grant HYTA to Zach. And we need your help.
Please sign our petition to support Zach and say to the Judge, the Prosecutors office and the MDOC that the sentence given here is wrong, harsh, and unfair.

Sad, isn't it? Oh, not the young man's plight, but that his parents and about 95K other idiots think that this young man is being singled out.

In Alabama, there is only a two-tiered system; the young man would also be on the sex offender list for life if convicted here. While we do feel some small amount of sympathy for him, we have to ask:

1. Why would Zach trust some girl he didn't know to tell him the truth?
2. How did this crime come to light if no one was complaining?
3. Why are these parents so vocal about his sentence, but never taught their son about the law?

Parents, please tell your sons about the charge of Second Degree rape. A local news site just today posted charges against a Tim Vandiver of Killen who was similarly accused of statutory rape.

It really doesn't look good on a resume'.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fallen Officer?

Every definition of “fallen officer” that we have found refers to an officer killed either while on duty or while reporting to duty. While we have the greatest respect for Brian Faulkner of the former ABI, he was not killed in either of the above situations. Cpl. Faulkner was either traveling for personal business reasons or joy riding on a motorcycle when he was injured in March of last year. Faulkner
subsequently died at Huntsville Hospital from his injuries.

No one wants any new names added to the list of local fallen officers, but those already there deserve our utmost respect. The TimesDaily should apologize to the families of all fallen officers for its error.


The Tuscumbia fire chief has returned to duty. Will he face a three day suspension?


We are not familiar with the Mission of Mercy drug rehab facility. We do know that young Mr. Scott has been through at least two previous drug programs, one at the expense of the state (read: taxpayers). Is family paying for this latest attempt to rehabilitate Hottie Scottie?


Monday, July 27, 2015

School boards owe a huge duty...

School boards owe a huge duty to the general public. They are tasked with overseeing the overall functions of local schools, approving the hiring of teachers and coaches, seeing that state and federal curriculum guidelines are followed, drafting and implementing policies, approving and overseeing budgets and a host of other, often mundane, duties. However, too many school boards seem to have forgotten the greatest part of that duty.

School boards owe it to the general public to search for, find, employ, and retain the best teachers available. This should be their number one priority. However, it often isn't. The pursuit of this goal has been lost in favor of the pursuit of 'state titles'. Sports titles, that is. Sports is where the money is in education. Everyone knows that unfortunate fact. Schools split gate proceeds, enter 'bidding wars' to recruit coaches, vie for tournament hosting, etc. Local communities also count on visiting spectators spending money on food, gas, and lodging . 'Everyone' benefits. Right? Well, do they?

Too often school boards hire a 'coach first', rarely taking into account that coach's ability to teach. This is not to say that there aren't some truly wonderful teachers that also happen to be coaches. There are. Some of the finest teachers that I ever had were also coaches. But I digress. School boards, in order to secure a 'winning coach', will often, too, guarantee the desired coach's spouse a teaching position, very often failing to even consider more suitable candidates. A few years ago, one local school board hired a 'winning' head football coach, paying that coach over $90k/yr to 'just coach'. That coach's salary was almost double the teacher's salary for that system. This particular coach had no classroom or administrative duties whatsoever. When was the last time a school board spent over $90k/yr to hire a 'winning' classroom teacher? Do practices such as these fulfill a school board's duty to the public?

No one denies the fact that few things are 'as American' as attending a home ballgame. However, sports-related functions and expenditures affect only a small segment of a school system's student population, yet seem to consume the greatest amount of time, effort and financial expenditures. To some, the trophies and headlines that result from a winning season seem to justify the expense and sacrifice. 
It's too bad that academics rarely benefits from the same enthusiasm and zeal. In the end, sports teams frequently 'win', but students always lose.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kitts Does Stand-Up; Says “Stuff”

Academicians should be extremely versatile, but who knew that UNA's new prexy Ken Kitts liked to do stand-up comedy? Perhaps it's more a case of, in our best Randolph Scott voice, “You ain't from around these parts, are you stranger?”

In a recent article in the TD, Kitts lamented the amount of Alabama/Auburn/Tennessee items he regularly saw displayed in local businesses. Kitts believes this paraphernalia should be replaced with UNA's purple and gold. Hmmmm, good luck with that.

It seems Kitts has called in Mark Linder to liaise with various retailers in order to have these large university symbols removed and UNA themed items placed in their stead. That should work out well; we can't imagine any store owner who wouldn't be thrilled to have a non-native bigwig dictate what they should display in the establishment they have labored for years to turn into a success.


Now, Dr. Kitts, about this “stuff?” Did you perhaps mean items? Paraphernalia? Miscellany? Accoutrement? You're the president of our local university and all you can think to call sports related items is “stuff?”

Did Steve Pierce pick you personally?


We believe in giving credit where credit is due. We've certainly criticized Mark Linder in the past over his vacillating policy on athletes who commit misdemeanors, but we wish to commend him on making sure the track is open to the public.

The UNA facility has so far had no vandals or lawsuits filed over it. We guess all the vandals live in Muscle Shoals?


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Volunteer Coaches?

Doesn't the news of selfless volunteers helping local schools sound good? Is there a downside? Maybe.

While our heading today says “coaches,” we may as well throw in chaplains as well. The Russellville schools system was roundly criticized for having a football chaplain; however, it seems the gentleman was just someone who showed up one day and volunteered his services. Hmmmm. So if you're a minister, you're good to go with any school programs? Think Jeff Eddy.

On to coaches, it's only been a few years since a woman who volunteered her services to a rural Lauderdale County school went to prison for having sex with some of the students at that institution. Were there any lawsuits? We have no idea, but we haven't bothered to check.

Then we come to Deshler. We usually hear only great things about that high school. We believe Brioni Rutland had only the best intentions toward his former high school, yet he was murdered only a short time after leaving a football practice. We don't know how involved Mr. Rutland was in the illegal world of gambling, and now that he is no longer with us, the defense attorney representing his killer is free to accuse the former Deshler standout of all manner of evil. On the flip side, did no one at the school know of Rutland's little money making endeavor? Surely someone knew something, but did nothing.

Now we've had a complaint about another volunteer high school coach, a young man who is still in college. Our advice is to report all qualms about this “coach” to the school board. Obviously the school itself knows most of the problems in this man's life and simply doesn't care.

These are your children. If you're concerned about people who just show up to “help out,” make your voice heard. File a written complaint and we'll publish it.


Friday, July 24, 2015

A Simple Request of Judge Terry Dempsey

Do you remember the name Tom Freeland IV? Mr. Freeland was a high profile Oxford, Mississippi, attorney who ventured to Franklin County to assist in the defense of Hershel Graham, convicted killer of David Andrasik. Freeland came from a long line of attorneys, his father having been friends with William Faulkner. In other words, Mr. Freeland wasn't some fly-by-night ambulance chaser—he charged big bucks for his services.

Tom Freeland Sings Those Poor Lawyer Blues

Sadly, Mr. Freeland passed away last February from complications relating to surgery. That apparently leaves two attorneys still representing Graham, but we doubt either of them comes cheap. Someone in Graham's family, presumably his father, has money to throw after his profligate son.

While Graham remains in the Kilby infirmary, he is scheduled to be returned to Red Bay under house arrest, ostensibly a dying man. That apparently can't be changed.

However, it's come to our attention that while the Grahams have spent countless dollars on Hershel's defense, no restitution has been made to David's family. Upon his sentencing, Graham was also ordered to pay the Andrasik family $9,986.00 in damages to cover funeral and other miscellaneous expenses. So far, not one dollar has been offered in restitution.

Let the dying man go virtually free? So be it, Judge Dempsey, but surely you can summon up the wrath to at least suggest Graham pay his court-ordered debt in order to be released.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chad Holden to Leave Lauderdale Board

Chad Holden has announced he will not be running for a second term as a Lauderdale County School Board member. The job is usually a thankless task, but we hope someone qualified will step up to seek the position.

We're sure Leslie M. Shoals will have some comments for us at a later date.


We see that opposition to the proposed soft drink tax has solidified. It's doubtful it will pass. Our take is that Gov. Bentley felt a threat to everyone's Co-Coler would have a wake-up effect. We'll see...


Locally, we've had a reader ask if James & Debbie Gibson could be charged with theft of services in relation to their continued use of a Florence sewer line. We doubt it since they have apparently been paying a much too small amount, but nonetheless paying each month.

We have to ask why even have a water/sewer manager if the city isn't taking his advice? The Gibsons have had plenty of time to digest the news of the line closing. This is not  a chess game. Take Mr. Doyle's advice and close the line now.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Gov. Bentley's Getting a Bum Rap

It's no secret to anyone who can read that State Auditor Jim Ziegler is running for governor. Zig, as he's called, has some great ideas...and some not so great. You might say that makes him like the rest of us.

Recently he's criticized Gov. Robert Bentley for removing the Confederate battle flag from the state capital in Montgomery. Yesterday he slammed Bentley for waiting until PresBO ordered the US flag to be flown at half-staff until ordering the same in this state.

Whoa. Let's look at flag etiquette...even though it's not always followed. Only the president may order the national flag flown at half-staff, with one possible exception. A state governor my order the flag lowered when a notable citizen dies. None of the four unfortunate victims of the Muslim terrorist attack was from Alabama.

It's been only two years ago that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered flags in that state lowered to honor singer Whitney Houston. What can we is New Jersey. Many laid that peculiar at best decision at Obama's feet. While our commander-in-chief has much to answer for, that little aberration is not one of them.

Nor should Bentley be blamed for following correct flag etiquette this week. We're much more concerned with those who refuse to call the Tennessee shootings a terrorist attack. If that wasn't one, just what would it take to be one? Another 9/11?


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Who's Pregnant?!!!

We had some very interesting comments recently on teen pregnancy. Who's fault is it? Which is your approach to sex education?

Really bad parent: Don't bother us now, kid. Your mom and I are half way to a really great buzz. If you want to know about sex, ask you cousin Lonnie. He has enough little bastards running around that he should be able to explain things to you.

Pretty bad parent: Oh, yes, my husband and I will talk to the kids about sex as soon as we think they're ready. Our son is only 16 and our daughter only 15. We have plenty of time yet.

Average parent: All I can say is thank Heaven for Scouts and those lessons they teach in P.E. I can rest assured my daughter knows all she needs to, and I didn't have to have that talk with her all by myself.

Pretty good parent: My husband and I looked into the sex education curriculum they have at school and then talked about it with our kids. We've told them they can come to us at any time they have more questions. They're good kids so we don't expect any problems along those lines.

Really great parent: After we'd looked into what sex education was being taught at the children's school, we discussed it with the kids at length. At first we thought that would be enough, but when the preacher's daughter got pregnant and the guidance counselor's son got chlamydia, we took another look at what our own kids knew. I can remember being told by friends that a girl can't get pregnant the first time, and my husband remembered hearing in high school that a girl couldn't get pregnant if she drank enough orange juice. Was anyone out there telling our kids that kind of thing in 2015? We decided to make a list of myths and misconceptions and have another talk with our children. If they have an unwanted pregnancy now or contract an STD we'll know they have some underlying emotional problems, but we sincerely doubt that will be the case.

So how about you? What's your style?


Monday, July 20, 2015

So Who's Paying for This Abortion?

A Lauderdale County Inmate has filed suit against Sheriff Rick Singleton for not offering ready access to a Huntsville abortion clinic. Think what you may about abortions in general, the state is in no way financially responsible for funding one unless the prisoner's life is in danger.

The ACLU has stepped in to assist the inmate, who doesn't see the need of a court order allowing the county to transport her to the clinic. So what happens if she should die or suffer other injury during the procedure? The sheriff would be left holding the proverbial bag. The county would be paying out a settlement.

The inmate is listed as Jane Doe. Does that mean the fetus' father isn't aware of the pregnancy? This should be an interesting case. If the inmate wins, we trust the medical bill to the state, if there is one, or other incidental expenses will be made public to the taxpayers of Lauderdale County.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hard Hitting News?


If you read us regularly, you know we're not a news site. We're a blog with our own opinions. Local news is changing very rapidly, and the Shoals area is lucky to have several news outlets which cover situations the TotallyDecatur shuns.

We've just recently linked Shoals News. The content is not copious, but it has hard-hitting original articles. We hope everyone checks out their latest on a recent SNAFU involving the railroad crossing on Montgomery Avenue.


We hear there will be some interesting developments in the Justin Matthew Green manslaughter trial...and they're going to cost Lauderdale tax payers more money.

How nice. Kill a kid and get extra funding. Our legal system at work.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Talking Back to James Gibson

James Gibson is a man who wants a free ride. Well, don't we all? Sorry, it doesn't work that way, Mr. Gibson. For those who came in late, Gibson and his wife Pattie own a run down trailer park in that luxurious metropolis of St. Florian. For years the Gibsons have been hooked onto the Florence sewer line without paying any extra fees. Florence says no more.

Let's look at what Gibson says:

Why should I pay 20% more than anyone else?
We'll take a wild guess it's because your trailer park is outside the city limits and the line is substandard. Does that make it any clearer for you, Mr. Gibson?

Why should I have 1 million in coverage? Again, the line is substandard and it serves many families who just might not have incentive to keep it free of things like towels, utensils, etc. You play, you pay.

There are too many homes in the park to provide a separate septic tank for each one. Really? Don't you mean you don't have the money to install these tanks? That's the bottom line, isn't it? You're running a business, but you don't want to invest in any capital improvements.

I feel like we've been singled out.
Only because you're running a substandard business offering substandard housing. If you can afford to hire an attorney, you can afford to do the right thing.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Not All Murder Victims Are Equal

Kayla Glover
Gov. Robert Bentley frequently offers rewards for information leading to arrests in unsolved murder cases. Family often adds to these rewards in addition to the standard 1K Crime Stoppers reward.

While we know that state finances are extremely tight, Bentley has offered a reward in cases as recently as April. The rewards range from 5K to 10K. No such reward has been offered in the execution style hit on Gary Wayne Baskins and his driver Kayla Glover.

No, not all life is equal, is it? Do we agree? We honestly don't know, but we do lean toward putting the money where it will do the most good. Comments?


There is still in place the 1K reward offered by Crime Stoppers. Baskins reportedly left Section 8 housing in North Florence approximately two weeks before his death and checked into the more expensive Key West Inn in Tuscumbia. Apparently he wanted a quiet new place to live and had the money to pay for it. He had $1,100.00 in his pocket the night he was shot.

Someone has to know who was looking for him, has to know why Baskins felt the need to move so suddenly. All tips are anonymous. It may be the only way this crime is ever solved.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Muscle Shoals Track Closed

We all know the high class group at Muscle Shoals doesn't like outsiders using THEIR facilities, but blaming it on an Insurance Carrier?

Lindsey said he only heard one complaint? Lindsey - your selective hearing is working well - too bad the gate at the public's track isn't.

Where is the City Council in this loop (on vacation again - or maybe the mayor is sick)? With over 1.5 million tax dollars (and as the infamous Mayor Bradford touts - $1.5million is only the cash - the in-kind contributions total around 6 million)

Back to the issue - How do all the other schools (institutions owned by the public) allow access to the Public's Facilities, but Brian Lindsey won't - unless you are one of the insiders and need the facilities and Scott Basden to babysit while you conduct your personal photo-shoot? 

Does he expect the people of Muscle Shoals to be so stupid they believe that line?

Time for a change - CITY ELECTIONS 2016
 Leslie M. Shoals

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Nick Saban Speaks...Who's Listening?

If you didn't believe the gubnah, will you believe Nick Satan, uh, Saban? The U of A football coach has stated the Confederate battle flag must go. He probably has more influence than the dermatologist from Tuscaloosa.

We imagine many are torn over this issue, even more so now, which is sad. Didn't they ever think about the imagery before Coach Saban brought the matter to the attention of his adoring public this week? Maybe not...


From Rebels to Nazis...that's grammar Nazis. We see that Darren Rhodes has begun to advertise his new loft living spaces in the old McCorkle's building. Note the apostrophe, Mr. Rhodes. It's your friend.

We look forward to whatever may be locating on the ground level. How about a dedicated area for pop-up shops?



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dewey Doesn't...

Rules are made to be broken? We won't go as far as that; however, in life one has to be flexible. Apparently Lauderdale Commission Chair Dewey Mitchell isn't, at least when it comes to the budget.

The fiscal year is over half over. So far there have been no surprise expenses for the county. Doesn't having the opportunity to save the county thousands of dollars in vehicle maintenance sound like a good deal?

Dewey says no. Dewey says why have a budget? That sounds good, but we bet if his office had an expensive leak directly over his desk he wouldn't be thinking about the budget when he ordered it fixed even if it caused an excess in yearly maintenance spending.

Yesterday, we suggested robbing to Peter to pay Paul is never a good idea. We stand by that, but in the case of new vehicles for the sheriff's department, that won't be necessary. Wisdom would say “go
for it.”

Now, who's running against Dewey in the next election?


Monday, July 13, 2015

Local Politicians & Personal Finances

Years ago a certain man ran for mayor of a very small Shoals area town. One frequent comment about this candidate was that he had gone bankrupt running his own business; why should anyone trust him to run the town's finances?

There are always checks and balances in any government. The larger the government entity, the more such checks are in place. Yet, the question of personal financial responsibility should be part of any candidate vetting.

Rumors have long haunted a certain local politician concerning his personal finances. We do have to ask if robbing Peter to pay Paul is a personal business strategy, would that make him more apt to apply that strategy in city government?

We've often felt that many good candidates were overlooked as simply being a one trick pony. Maybe some are. Others with great ideas wouldn't know how to appear personable if the fate of the universe depended on it. Don't judge candidates on their personality or who their father was; ask real questions and demand real answers.

Candidates for county offices are already warming up for battle. Can candidates for city councils be that far behind. Start asking questions now. The Shoals deserves competent financial management.


We see someone asked the difference in allowing a St. Florian trailer park to hook up to Florence lines and allowing Wilson School to do the same. We'll be happy to elucidate the individual.

First, these are two separate lines. We assume the Wilson School line is up to code. The St, Florian line is not.

Second, the school is not operating for financial gain. Allowing a school free use is hardly the same as allowing a business, in this case a trailer park.

Third, the misguided critic of Florence seems to think the residents of this park will have to pay for new arrangements. No, the owner of the park is responsible for that. Will the park close? Possibly.

As we recently advised with renters, anyone purchasing property should be aware of any legal restraints on or possible problems with the purchase. Buy a pig in a poke? Whose fault is it?


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Good Ol' Boy Journalism?

I think it's time to end the "Good Ol' Boy" network between the Times Daily and the City of Tuscumbia. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have yet another article with the "self-promoting" Tuscumbia Park Director, Joel Kendrick. This time he's singing his praises for people visiting the Tuscumbia Roundhouse Museum.

The Times Daily has done nothing but provide us with feel good blah blah fluffy journalism. I know I'm not pointing out anything new here, but I am so tired of these puffed up grandiose Joel Kendrick articles written by Bernie Delinski. Now don't get me wrong, I think Mr. Delinski is quite talented and I very much enjoy his "non-Tuscumbia" columns. I just don't see the validity of Mr. Delinski covering a city where his wife is employed by the city's attorney. That my friends can create quite a precarious predicament. Can I trust that these articles are unbiased? 

Hmm ... It's interesting that every time there are rumblings over concerns with Tuscumbia's poor park conditions (etc.) that a happy-feel-good article pops up in the Times Daily. I guess that means that Joel has Bernie on speed-dial! Yep, it's Good Ol' Boy journalism in action. And by the way, the Roundhouse article mentioned the need for roundhouse volunteers. Well, whatever happened to men who once volunteered at the roundhouse? Can we get a quote from Mr. Kendrick on that?

Tuscumbia Muskrat

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Rhodes Said...Gingerbread Said

Our main thrust with this blog is to expose government waste and malfeasance. We also are happy to help any readers with problems that may be related to government or other entities which they feel have encroached on their lives or livelihood.

However, business is business, and any business owner does have the right to do as he/she wishes with property, as long as it's not legally prohibited in some way. Recently we published a blog by J. Redmon, a member of our blogging team. J. lamented the fate of Gingerbread Antiques due to actions ostensibly initiated by the building's owner Darrin Rhodes.

At that time, Rhodes offered the following statement:

Gingerbread Antiques may be closing, but that is the decision of the owner. I have never requested they leave or spoke with them about a rent increase. There are always two sides to every story, and after this article anyone with a question knows how to reach me.

Now Gingerbread is closed, and this notice has been posted on the door:

Where does the truth lie? Perhaps somewhere in between Rhodes' version and Clemmons' version?

It's never easy to establish a new business; one major risk is improving rental property, only to be thrown out in favor of someone who will now pay more because of your improvements...or if the owner has a suddenly better bright idea of what to do with the property. Our advice is to get and keep an airtight lease. Even better, purchase the property if you at all can.

Rhodes recently announced he will also be turning the old McCorkle's Furniture building into apartments. We wish him well, but since this seems to be a new game plan for Rhodes, we suggest anyone renting a business space from the property manager dust off the lease and be prepared for what may well be coming.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Big As Nashville?/Return of DreamVision?

There's nothing wrong with being supportive of community. There is something wrong with those who take stock of a situation and then misinform. Most of us know to take the hyperbole that spouts from some TimesDaily writers with a modicum of doubt.

According to Robert Palmer, the town of Muscle Shoals is just as well known throughout the US as Nashville. Yes...that would be why David Letterman had to ask the Secret Sisters to repeat the name in order for him to understand it. That would be why so many writers who commented on DreamVision's plans for a music park here were met with “where?”

Nashville was in the music business approximately 40 years before Muscle Shoals. Movies have been made about it long ago. It's nice to hope Muscle Shoals and the surrounding area will be as famous as
Nashville some day, but we're not there yet.


Did someone say DreamVision? Bryan Robinson tells the public that it's still in the works. Perhaps even destined now for Athens. Wonder if he meant Georgia or Greece?



Thursday, July 9, 2015

College of Integrative Health/Pause That Refreshes

Delays with the new animal shelter? Mayor Mickey Haddock has stated there are two sites being considered, but infrastructure will cost at least one-half million more than the shelter costs already budgeted. This seems exorbitant, but then so does everything related to government operations. Obviously everyone wants the best for the new shelter.

But's been mentioned the city might repurchase the old Florence Golf & Country Club property. Infrastructure there is already in place, at least for the most part.

Hallelujah, the animals are saved. Fantastic opportunity, huh? Yes, it is, but it seems intended not only to save the City of Florence some money, but to save face for the University of North Alabama. When last we checked, the College of Integrative Health had ONE student. Just how much money has UNA lost in this deal with its high-ranking Chinese Communist benefactor?

The country club property currently houses the senior center as well as some city offices. It sounds close to perfect no matter who currently owns the property. We say get on with it.

Just remember, if you lie down with a Chinese Communist who has sworn to oppose democracy at every turn (and who may well have what we're trying to protect for dinner), you get up with not only fleas, but an embarrassingly red face.


Will the Pause That Refreshes soon cost you more? If Gov. Bentley gets his way, it just might. It's not just manufactured soft drinks, but your tea as well. Will oxygen be the next thing taxed?

We can see it now: Shhh! Be quiet and I'll take you round back to the garden where I grow the Orange Pekoe. We eagerly await the arrest of the 97 year old lady who bootlegs the Earl Grey from Mississippi.

How much will this cost us? Pundits in Montgomery are estimating 200 extra bucks a year. Pass the Adam's Ale.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015


1. First, a question about the vacant lot at 101 Park Boulevard. As recently as 2008, there was a remuddled home cum apartments in that location. Now the building has been removed and a huge basement filled in. A friend who used to live nearby wants to know what happened to the apartments.

2. Zoning laws? The city of Sheffield has refused to allow a temporary pool with a privacy fence in the front yard of a dwelling. The duration was to have been two weeks. We can understand this at some level, but the pool was to have been for a child facing surgery who would not be able to swim afterwards. On this note, what fun things are there to do in Sheffield for a pre-school child that are within the budget of a young family? Send us some suggestions.

3. Our reader who was seeking help with a dangerous tree in Sheffield has been denied by the utility department. We hope he has kept documentation of his requests in case of future problems.


Perhaps some of our readers remember a few years ago when our FB page was personal rather than a public personage. At that time we had a few complaints about a local attorney, but nothing we could publish since formal charges had not been filed...and never were as far as we know.

We mentioned we would keep an eye on this attorney's exploits, and the next day we had friend requests from two Florence attorneys. Neither one was the subject of our readers' ire. Insert laugh track here.

Now it seems there may be fresh news about this person. Stay tuned...


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Muscle Shoals to Become Johnny Depp-Produced Series

"Sir Richard Branson, Jason Felts and Justin Berfield’s Virgin Produced is joining forces with Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-nominated executive producers Joshua D. Maurer and Alixandre Witlin’s City Entertainment (“Georgia O’Keeffe,” “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself”) and Johnny Depp and Christi Dembrowski’s Infinitum Nihil to produce a new drama series inspired by the award winning-documentary feature Muscle Shoals. Greg Camalier, who directed and produced the documentary, will also produce the television adaption. Virgin Produced Executive Vice President of Production Rene Rigal brought the project into the company and will be overseeing with Infinitum Nihil’s Bobby DeLeon."


A critic has just admonished us for denouncing the release of Hershel Graham, a man who has shot two men in his life, one of whom died. Yet he feels Tommy Arthur (whom we facetiously mentioned in a comment) should remain on death row for having shot four individuals in his life, two of whom died. Is killing for money worse than simply killing for pleasure? Who decides these things?

Who says John Wesley Akin should spend at least 15 years in prison for selling a certain amount of heroin, but it's all right to let Graham go relatively free? Now that Akin has detoxed, is he any kind of
threat? Isn't Graham with his neuroses much more of a danger to society? All it takes is a gun and the ability to use one hand to fire it in order to kill someone.

What about the youth who gave his friend the N-Bomb? Once he has been treated for his addictions, will he be a threat to society? He didn't force any drugs on anyone. He had no intent to kill, yet he may do a mandatory 15 years along with Wes Akin. Where is the justice?

If we're judging on the threat of violence, pray tell why Neler Keeton is still incarcerated? He shot a man who had struck him with a rebar and got 20 years. Have you seen a photo of him recently? Shoalanda herself could take Mr. Keeton in a fight.

And of course, George “Old School” Rhodes did only 5 years for murder—now where is he? In jail again for assault. He doesn't exactly look like the Terminator either, does he? Who's to say Graham won't re-offend, even while on house arrest?


Monday, July 6, 2015

Hershel Dale Graham--Now Our Problem

Since 2008, the state of Alabama has allowed some prisoners to return home under house arrest if they are in soon. Those convicted of Capital Murder and Rape are excluded from this program.

How about Manslaughter? They can qualify. Hershel Dale Graham, 52, has apparently qualified for this program after serving a little more than four months, all but a few days in the air conditioned Kilby Infirmary.

Authorities at Kilby say death is fast approaching Graham, a man who used a wheel chair at his trial, but miraculously managed to visit Walmart sans wheelchair or cane while awaiting an appeal of his sentence.

Now, Graham will live in Red Bay with his father and be on the Medicaid roll—your tax dollars at work. Theoretically he can leave his home for medical visits, worship services, and in some cases grocery shopping. We're guessing he will shop at Walmart where he can also browse their other wonderful upscale selections of merchandise to make life easier for the lallygagger.

How soon will Graham die? Morbid question, isn't it? What if he doesn't pass to his reward in the next 20 months? We assume he will then be on straight probation for the remainder of his sentence (five years).

During this time, he will have to walk the straight and narrow or be forced to do the actual 14 years. Will he? He must see himself as a master manipulator, but it's not just the hills that have eyes. Red Bay will be watching for him to make a misstep.

David Andrasik's family deserved better. Unfortunately, Judge Terry Dempsey failed to give it to them. Many thanks to DA Joey Rushing for diligently pursuing the case against Graham who murdered the husband/father in cold blood.

So the town of Russellville shot flocks of Canada geese before the Jam on Sloss Lake? It's the Franklin County way, now isn't it? We often hear it said that many in Franklin still live in the 19th Century. We're not so sure they're even that advanced...


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Justin Matthew Green...Again

From a reader:

Could you help me to understand why XXXXX is being charged with taking someone's life that was of an age that could have refused to take drugs, then when XXXXX gets caught again with drugs he's locked up until his trial date but Justin Green is being charged with the possible death of an innocent child and he fails a drug test but is turned loose only hours later? I have a grandchild the age this sweet baby girl would be and I don't think at the age her life was taken that she would have been capable of wrapping anything around her little neck tight enough to do harm, but yet a parent who is supposed to protect her can harm her and still be a free man.

Is there one answer to the above question? Perhaps not. Deaths related to drug cases seem to carry stiffer sentences, even though both cases are being prosecuted as manslaughter.

First, we're not sure how long Green remained in jail. It could have been hours or days. We assume he made bail on his latest charge.

The case against Justin Matthew Green is also not as strong as the case in the drug death. Green has reportedly blamed his partner's two young children in the death of his daughter. Authorities hope to prove he was at least negligent in allowing the child to die even if they can't prove Green intentionally wrapped the cord around Arabella's neck.

If Green is convicted, the judge will hopefully take into consideration his two previous arrests and the current infraction, whatever it may have been. A sentence of 20 years would still not be enough, but it may be only 15 since there was no gun involved. Whatever the maximum, let's hope Green goes away for a long time.

After much deliberation, our take on the matter is that there was no ill intent in the drug death. There was a violent intent in the strangulation death of Arabella Green. She didn't deserve the treatment she received from someone who claimed the name of father. We have another name for him, but it would violate our own policy against using vulgarities.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Angel Nava: Paying for his Upkeep

He's an illegal alien and you're paying for his upkeep—hopefully for the rest of his natural life. He's Angel Nava Campos and he killed his long-time girlfriend in an extremely brutal manner, then left her body
in a ditch at the Catholic church building in Russellville.

At his legal appearances, Nava needed an interpreter; in other words, no matter how long he had been in our country, no matter how many illegitimate children he fathered, no matter the job opportunities he missed, Nava refused to learn enough English to get by on a day to day basis.

Franklin County DA Joey Rushing said it was the most brutal murder he had seen during his span in office. Yet, no jury trial is without risks. The family of Lesley Plott decided to accept a plea. Instead of Capital Murder, Nave pleaded guilty to Felony Murder, meaning at some point he will be eligible for parole.

Do we think he will make it? If we are forced to speculate, Nava will die in prison at the hand of another inmate. If the impossible should happen and Nava is paroled, he will be deported to Mexico. Yep, revolving door.

We have no idea why Miss Plott had even been in a relationship with Nava. We infer language didn't matter. Nava didn't have to understand the words during an argument since he reacted with violence when provoked.

If we tell our young readers to avoid such relationships at all costs, how many will listen? Our psychic powers predict zero. Why? They are the exception, of course.

Franklin County employers, the best thing you can do for your country, state, county, and city is to refuse to hire illegals and to report any whom you think are here illegally. It's a crime to hire illegal
immigrants—Remember that.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Censorship & the Cult of Muscle Shoals

A guest editorial:

Before settling in North Alabama, my husband and I lived in Kentucky and Tennessee. While he worked in engineering, I taught high school English. I'm now retired to write full time, but I do sub in Limestone County and have a good understanding of both school spirit and censorship.

I faced some censorship, especially in Kentucky, in what I could assign my students. It's frustrating in literature, but what about school life in general? Who benefits? Not the students or their parents.

Blog on Colbert Heights or Deshler? I haven't seen one single person take umbrage. Blog on problems at Muscle Shoals? Then certain people organize a protest. They call on school spirit to lead others into doing their bidding.

Who benefits? Not the students who will soon find out in college that they aren't really all that special or the taxpayers who are giving a host of others a special ride at their expense.

I would never have written this if I hadn't seen one particular "bigwig” invoking the name of a dead student to censor any criticism of Muscle Shoals schools. He and the school administrators bear watching. What is it that they don't want you to know? Why would anyone at all ever want to “shut down” a political blog? The only answer is the blog is bringing truth to light, and these people don't have enough Kool-Aid to cover all their machinations.

I'll admit to finding my adopted hometown of Athens a little provincial at times.  I just have to look at Muscle Shoals to be glad of where I live.



The author of a recent blog on problems accessing the Muscle Shoals football field/track will continue to write for us from time to time under the name "Leslie M. Shoals." We have published many of LMS's guest blogs over the years, and always appreciate the input whether we personally agree or not.

The definition of "recant" is: say that one no longer holds an opinion or belief, especially one considered heretical.

We sincerely doubt that LMS has written anything that he/she would wish to recant.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When Politics Wins, Children Lose

Second only to the feuding between rival political parties, is the in-house feuding of 'educational politics'. In this, small school systems seem to excel.  One only has to look at what has been happening in the Colbert County and Muscle Shoals City school systems to see the validity of this claim.

I've had conversations with numerous friends over the years regarding the seemingly endless list of problems the school systems in The Shoals area continue to have. Without fail, the topic always gravitates towards the same question: Why don't all of the systems in Colbert County ' consolidate'?  It would make sense.  There could be one superintendent and four assistant superintendents.  The combined schools would move into different athletic rankings (Face it. That's where the REAL money is.).  Combined funds could allow for more options regarding school improvements, course offerings, increased teacher and staff salaries, etc. 

Ahhh....but then politics rears its ugly head.  Combining the current school boards would be the easiest of the transitions required.  Each community would still have a voice (They do now. Don't they???). Getting the area superintendents to back such a plan would be the greatest  hurdle.  What is that old saying?  Oh, yes: 'Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

Another question also pops up:  Who hires the teachers for our local school systems?  Traditionally, it has usually been left up to each individual school principal to interview prospective teachers and then make a recommendation to the system's superintendent, who then presents that recommendation to the school board for approval.  Here is where 'politics' again rears its ugly head.

Several years ago a local system's board was the subject of a 'micro-managing' complaint.  The complaint was filed by the system's teachers with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a prestigious accreditation organization, of which every school system wants approval.  After an investigation, evidence of micro-managing of the system by its school board was found.  The results indicated that the system's principals were not allowed by the board to make decisions affecting the day-to-day operations their respective schools.  The board received a 'slap on the wrist' by SACs and promised to behave.  Yeah, right........  On a side note, one local school system recently terminated a well-respected and popular principal.  Rumor has it that this principal wouldn't cave to one school board member's 'demand'.  How refreshing.  A principal with principles.

But I digress.  This particular system wasn't/isn't alone in these transgressions.  Every system in the area is guilty.  Prospective teachers are interviewed by principals, or in some cases, a committee.  A recommendation for hire is made and submitted to the superintendent.  Then the recommendation is received by the school board....and overruled, often in favor of a lessor-qualified candidate. Why?  Politics. 'Someone' wanted a 'favor'.  This 'favor' often involves someone's relative, who just graduated from college,  'needing' a teaching job, effectively nullifying the hiring of more experienced, and better qualified, candidates.  In some cases, the individual to be hired has been 'decided' even before the interviews occur.

As in all things associated with life, there are winners and losers.  In these scenarios, the winners are easy to determine.  But who are the losers?  Answer: In almost every case it is our children.  Our children lose by not having the absolutely best qualified, and most experienced teachers in their schools.  Is this to imply that all recent graduates of a state-certified teacher education program can't teach?  Of course not.  But the deck, as currently being dealt, is definitely stacked against our children.


Contacting us: It seems many of our readers, especially those in Muscle Shoals, cannot distinguish between our opinions and those offered by guest bloggers. Therefore, we are making a few changes in our posting policies.

We welcome those who wish to join our team, but for those who wish to remain separate (some are contemplating beginning their own blog), we are asking that they provide us with some form of screen name and an e-mail addy.

We already request some minimal form of identification from those who post comments here, so this small inconvenience for our contributors is not without precedent. The real name of guest contributors (should we have it) will never be revealed.


From time to time we have had complaints about other sites we have linked either here or on our FB page. We do take complaints seriously; however, we link what we think the local public needs to know.

We are currently updating our links. While we prefer links to be reciprocal, that is not set in concrete. If you know of a local site our readers would enjoy, send us the link. Many thanks.