Monday, August 31, 2015

A Resignation or Just Wagging the Dog?

An writer has suggested Gov. Robert Bentley should resign if he has been using public facilities to carry on an extra-marital affair. Has he indeed been doing as much?

The allegations come at an interesting time. Is someone wagging the dog or is our Mr. Meek leader really a Lothario at heart?


On the home front, no one locally has resigned, but we understand more spouses are turning up for various meetings.


Is New Bethel School now saved? We congratulate them on their 100th anniversary and hope the current Colbert superintendent doesn't make any more of his infamous command decisions before his term is over.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Anthony Olivis Throws in the Towel!

Colbert County School Superintendent Anthony Olivis has announced he will not seek re-election to his current post...after only one term. During that term, Olivis has managed to alienate half the teachers, support staff, and parents...not to mention those he's fired without cause. He's also managed to decimate the system's bank account.

Assistant Superintendent Jeff Cornelius...oh, excuse us...that's Dr. Cornelius we hear...will be running for the vacancy. We're accepting opinion pieces on this candidate or any other candidate for the post.

Good luck, Colbert County!


Autumn Wood, who was eligible for a parole hearing last April 1st, now has one scheduled for September 16th. The family of her victim Brooklyn Hollins wants Wood to serve the entire ten and one-half years of her sentence. Whether Wood makes parole or not, as long as she behaves herself, she will be free on April 24, 2017.


We never think of Brooklyn Hollins that we don't remember her last words. We know it's not as if everyone knows their last words will be exactly that, but it is a great reminder to watch what you say. How would your family feel if these words made it into print or were published on the Internet?


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Corruption at Joel Moyers' Trial

It seems that the list of oddities related to the Limestone County capital murder trial of Belle Mina man Joel Moyers just keeps growing and growing. Now a juror has come forward reporting that the case was discussed outside the jury room and he felt coerced into voting guilty. What does the county prosecutor say?

Brian Jones says it's smoke and mirrors. What might not be smoke and mirrors is that Jones and company insisted on the judge making rulings on issues while Moyers was too ill to attend the proceedings. A defendant in a capital murder case (or any other murder trial as far as we know) is allowed to be present at all proceedings if he so wishes.

From the Athens News Courier:

In his affidavit, Gilliam claims that after deliberation grew heated, jurors asked to break for lunch. He said five jurors, including the jury foreman, went to Zaxby’s restaurant. When they returned, one of the jurors sat next to Gilliam on a bench and told him: “Stay calm, we talked about it at lunch and we got a better plan maybe to help you out.”

He said he returned to the jury room angry and asked the other jurors, “So, what is y’all’s great scheme that y'all have come up with?” He said the other jurors could tell he was upset, so they backed away and didn’t explain what the plan was (to get him to vote for capital murder.) He said the five jurors admitted they had talked about it at lunch while at Zaxby’s.”

The above are just two of the new issues brought to light by Moyers' defense attorneys. The hearing will continue on September 1st. No matter what you may think of Moyers' guilt or innocence, remember that if the State of Alabama can strip him of his constitutional rights, they can strip you of yours.

Maybe even bus you to pick cotton...


And that wonderful paragon of innocence Ronald Weems will one day have a parole hearing—our unfairly administrated laws a work. Weems' cohorts in crime, Laurel Pruett, Matthew Fox, and Ashley Greenhill will be completing their sentences in October. Yes, in less than two months.

Greenhill had already left the area before her arrest. Will she now return here? Pruett has a child here that was never officially permanently taken from her custody. She also has family in the Carolinas where things may now be looking better for her. Matthew Fox? His family lives here, and we assume he will be welcomed back at his old job, a horror-house grave digger. Remember? He was the one described as someone who knew how to dispose of bodies.

While we hope the three are now able to lead peaceful, productive lives, we hope that their reappearance will not be thrown in the face of Amanda Taylor's family.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Rob Carnegie: What Was the Lure?

A reader has sent us a most interesting take on why Rob Carnegie is coming to the Shoals:

Carnegie won't be here long, just long enough to set the paycheck for someone's wife who will slide right in the comfy spot and order others around. Stay tuned for some good-ole-boy payback when property for the new animal shelter is bought at a premium.

Interesting, but what if it's another back room plot? The final details of Rob's contract have not even been worked out, but the code word seems to be bonuses. That's the one open end item in his package.

No matter the final salary, no matter if Rob's wife could have motivated the move (she could be a US citizen, even a Tennessee native—we have no idea), Rob has not dealt extensively with the board. Just wait...

Oh, about that board member resigning? No one has heard a word of which we're aware. We understand his wife has had very bad health for a long time. It certainly couldn't have gotten any better this past week.


UNA parking situation at the new dorms? We're seeing lots, and we mean lots, of vehicles parked in the lot at the College View Church of Christ. That's not being a good neighbor. Time for Kittsy to get his feet wet and take on a real problem.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Say It Ain't So, Guv!

Of all the headlines we might have expected this week, the one we would never have anticipated was a divorce in the governor's mansion. Well, he is a lame duck, so no political harm done. Who saw it coming? We're sure someone did. We're also sure the real reasons will be known to few...and we're not one of them.

We were once disturbed by Bentley's name change during his first run for the Montgomery mansion. For those who don't know, he wanted to have the title. “Dr.” placed before his name on the ballot. Also for those who don't know, any attorney is also entitled to be called “Doctor.” Oh, where will it end?

When Bentley failed in this attempt, he had his first name legally changed to “Doctor;” then had it changed back when election officials declined to honor his request. We all have our odd little quirks, but this seemed a harbinger of nothing good. Perhaps we should be surprised it's taken this long to surface. And just why is this receiving so little coverage? Was it really that much of a surprise?


On the local divorce front, a certain Lauderdale action has again made news in Baldwin County. Isn't it wonderful when “He said; she said” is so public?

Attorneys for Kneeland Hibbett have stated it may be a year before his criminal case comes to trial. Perhaps Ms. Hibbett can postpone the divorce until her ex is on the sex offender registry. It would look so much better in court documents.


Speaking of surprises, hold your hat... It's coming to local news near you soon!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Local Board Expenses?

Several readers have asked how expenses are handled with members of local boards. Each board may have a different policy, but we can give you a pretty good run-down on how most bodies handle these costs.

Local boards...oh, let's pick one...say the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board may offer a monthly stipend for each meeting. We don't have actual data, but appreciate any input from those who do. This would not be a large amount and would be paid via check.

Travel expenses? There's a possibility of some mileage reimbursement for those who might drive from Rogersville to Florence, etc., but it would be very little. Actual board members would have very little need to travel since they all live in this immediate area. The UNA and Alabama Music Hall of Fame boards do travel for meetings. We've received some inquiries about this, but obviously some travel is necessary.

Entertaining expenses? If any board member did need to take anyone to lunch/dinner, he or she could get an advance and then file an expense report, either paying back the excess or receiving a second check for overage. In most cases of this nature, the board member would probably simply file the report and not ask for an advance.

Proof? Expense reports have to be documented. If they aren't the board will hear from its accountants. It would be difficult to put too much over on a small board with limited funds.


Now, we see Rob Carnegie is being paid 110K per year. Nice salary. Rob will be working with an area 1/3 the size of Kingston, Ontario, but he will be working with a budget that is 1/10 of Kingston's. He will also be working with a board that is less than ideal.

Pass the popcorn.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The State of Florence & UNA

Once a year the mayor Florence, currently Mickey Haddock, gives an address/report as to the state of the city. Unless asked, there are very infrequent updates on projects in the works. We're going to list
some and their status, as far as we know it, here. We're starting with UNA since one of the city projects seems to depend on a UNA project.


1. Move to Division I: Basically a done deal and waiting for an invitation to join a conference? True, but what if that much wanted invite doesn't materialize? How long will the university wait? We're assuming that as new board members are added, the whole matter could be re-voted.

2. The College of Integrative Health Quackery: How long do we have to wait to realize Zing Zang Zung was just having us on...getting his revenge if you will. He saved face, but UNA lost it. The important part of this deal now is the ownership of the Florence Golf and Country Club. Will UNA sell, as in immediately if not sooner?

City of Florence:

1. New animal shelter: The country club site would be ideal and cost very little in the way of new infrastructure, but will the city be able to purchase it? It seems Mickey Haddock wants this site, but in the mean time the old shelter is in need of maintenance. We realize all who volunteer there love the idea of working with animals, but can't the shelter find anyone to do a little make-do scraping and painting since it would appear it may be two years before the new shelter is ready?

2. Downtown Entertainment District: Nothing new and we don't see it happening.

3. Sweetwater Entertainment District: Nothing new announced, but we do expect to hear some rumbles in that direction any day now. If not, the city if dragging its feet.

4. College Plaza? It could be dead for all we know. No new announcements. Doesn't the “Projects Coordinator,” aka Dick Jordan's brother-in-law, make monthly or at least somewhat regular reports? Why aren't these online?

We welcome any input from readers who may have new information on any of these projects.


Monday, August 24, 2015

What's on the List?

Who is on the list is bad enough, but when financial institutions begin to solicit sex over the Internet, it's...just plain wrong. In all seriousness, if anyone working at the Florence Federal Credit Union did use that name to establish a membership in the wonderful Ashley Madison Agency, we trust he has been dealt with. If we use the name of our employer, the Acme Widget Co., to even purchase a movie download, we would be flogged...many times...then boiled in oil. We hate to think what would happen if we used the company name (not even close to a financial institution) to solicit a little nookie.

Now about those physicians: Do you want someone treating you who doesn't even have the expertise to set up a phantom account? We're pretty sure they sell prepaid debit cards on almost every corner.
'Nuff said.


From a Florence reader: Tell Cherry Pitts that there are actually three parking places in front of Crazy Little Chicken. One is a parallel space in front of the building. Looks like they have not been repainted in some time.

From a Tuscumbia reader: Why hasn't Tuscumbia City Schools posted a school board minutes since 2013? Why hasn't their student breakfast/lunch menu been revamped in at least as many years?

In regard to the last question, we'll give the Muscle Shoals system a five-star rating in providing an app for students and parents to peek into the wonderful world of cafeteria food. How about it, you other Shoals systems?


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Calling for Alex Nelson's Resignation

Regular readers know that we think the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board is, at best, a mess. Certain members of the board crucified Debbie Wilson. More recently these same members, to put it
colloquially, done Alison Stanfield wrong.

Everyone makes mistakes. Shoalanda herself has made a few (yeah, big surprise). Yet no matter how irritated we have been, discouraged, just plain heart-sick, we've at least tried to do the right thing 99% of the time. It may have proved to have been the wrong decision, but most of our mistakes have been honest ones.

We're thinking now of a man long gone to his reward and how he lived his life. Good works do live on. There are other men we could add to this mental picture. They persevered and they fought the good fight and loved their families.

Bad works? We're thinking of an old joke about political candidates, but we'll rise above quoting it. We're not stupid and we're not naive. Most people wear morals like a Sunday frock to be discarded when it suits them. Nothing will change that.

We hope that tourism board member Alex Nelson will resign...maybe even get some help...maybe even start treating women better?


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Renaming Pocket Park/”Raised in a Barn” Award

We have received some positive feedback concerning the renaming of Pocket Park on North Wood Avenue. The small amphitheatre-style park is in the old Norwood Theatre location. Carmel Olive was a long-time civic leader and prominent North Florence businessman.

From his 2014 obituary:

Carmel Dean Olive, 84, of Florence, passed away Thursday, September 18, 2014 at ECM Hospital. He was a member of Broadway Baptist Church, was former State Commander of the American Legion, VFW, DAV, Alabama and Tennessee Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star, York and Scottish Rite
Bodies, former Potentate of Cahaba Shriners, Order of DeMolay, North Alabama State Fair Board, and he served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

If you have some other suggestions for renaming this micro park, please send them to us.


Manners? Many people ain't got no couth no more. We somehow doubt many who fall into that category actually care, but they should. Recently another local blogger criticized the Lauderdale County Sheriff for wearing his hat indoors. While we could not be absolutely sure that Rick considered himself in uniform, we believe that was the case. Uniform hats may be worn inside unless one is dining.

So how about those “Gimmee hats” or “'Neck hats” that we frequently see on the great unwashed? Bad taste; not the thing; acting as if one was raised in a barn.

Some people obviously deserve a pass since that old country expression comes close to applying literally to them. For those who have a college education, are successful businessmen, and represent local government, there will be no get out of ill-manners jail for them.

Therefore, we're giving Leighton businessman Chuck Morgan our first “Raised in a Barn” award. Congratulations, Mr. Morgan. You really made Leighton look...well, like most people think Leighton looks.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Naming Names...and Buildings

For many years a public facility could not be named for a living individual. Why? Think the wonderful Winfrey Sanderson Gymnasium on the former Coffee High School campus. Gov. George Wallace did away with that little law in order to repay his cronies with “lasting memorials.”

Obviously, nothing is really lasting. The name “Coffee” is fast disappearing from our area. The names of CSA leaders, no matter what their accomplishments after the war, are becoming extremely rare in the world of public buildings in any state. We expect a move to rename the John C. Calhoun Community College at any moment.

Yet the Shoals seems to have any number of generic parks and buildings. Pocket Park? Sounds...hmmm, adequate. Why not name it for long time North Florence businessman Carmel Olive?

The new dorms and other edifices at UNA? Named for streets? Well, at least they have a name. Universities are composed of smaller colleges which usually have individual names. There are at least four at UNA, not counting the College of Integrative Health Quackery. None of them is named. Why not?

Older buildings are named. Even newer fountains are named along with the lion habitat. Will the naming last? Unfortunately, no. Floyd Hall is about 50 years old and about to be razed. Time marches on.

In the mean time, why at least not try to honor those who have brought progress and success to this area and its university? There's no perfect person out there, but any honoree would almost have to have led a more spotless life than Florence native Winfrey Sanderson.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

He Came to Florence...and Left

We'll call him “Pat.” He lived in a northern state (read: cold) and he was very unhappy since the death of his wife. Florida...that was the place to be, and since he knew Florence, Alabama, was on the Florida state line, he applied for a job in that fair city.

He got the job, edging out qualified local applicants who actually knew the system Pat was now in charge of, but that mattered little since Pat talked a good game. He may have even been a singer/songwriter for all we know.

Indeed, he did sing...and tap dance...and make everyone like him, at least at first. He soon found just how far it was to Florida and just how cold the Shoals could be in the winter. He met a woman who like him wanted to move farther south; they married and did just that.

Then came the aftermath. Was there missing money? There were certainly missing records, sloppy bookkeeping, undone tasks, and broken promises. No one was sure just what Pat had or hadn't done, but in the end the system he once headed was disbanded. The employees who had worked for the system for years before Pat was even heard of were left not only jobless, but referenceless since there was no system left to hand out such accolades, and the replacement body wanted nothing to do with any reminders of the broken system that had once been the envy of many areas in the Southeast.

Ah, it's truly a cautionary tale, isn't it? Perhaps today there are those who want to come here not because they have any interest in our area, but because we're only a few minutes away from Nashville? Or at least much closer than Kingston, Ontario?


We trust everyone yesterday recognized our photo of Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. There are truly many great imports from Canada; sadly, the Shoals area seems to get the National Railcar variety.

Perhaps we should start a pool on how long our new tourism director will last? Just what number special session of our legislature will be in Montgomery when Rob discovers the depths of pettiness that plague our board members? If he returns to Canada, perhaps we can talk him into taking some of our elected representatives with him?


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Canny Canadian Carnegie Causes Caustic Comments

Or, if you prefer the sub-title: Revenge of the Tourism Board.

When a 30K firm of head-hunters was engaged, we held out little hope that our friend Alison Stanfield would be promoted to the position she deserved. After all, the board would say, did you really think we paid all that money just to hire the prophet from our own country?Obviously not.

Our money was on the candidate from Birmingham. We even felt there were possible, perhaps even likely, behind the scenes machinations going on there. But, no. The board in their finite wisdom hired the candidate from Canada. Let's consider this for a moment. Very little has been said about the actual arrangement, but we may infer a few things.

* Rob Carnegie, the new director, previously worked in Franklin,Tennessee, for three years. He either has or has had a work permit to toil within our country. He may even have dual citizenship—he is an alumnus of a U.S. college. The public has very little information on Carnegie outside his LinkedIn page. 

* Work visas/permits are routinely given to students, but are not usually long-term unless the individual is in a unique field. We don't think tourism qualifies for this. 

* But, wait! Carnegie is also a singer/songwriter. The next time DreamVision holds a news conference, he can be there with his original composition adding credence to the event...or at least some humor.

* What does Carnegie say, eh? In his own words: "There is definitely an attachment here, being my hometown, but at the same time too I'm excited about the opportunity ahead of me," Carnegie said. "I'm going to miss (the staff) and it's hard leaving that culture and environment. That's the part of it that's the most difficult."

* Trouble in paradise? According to Kingston news reports, Carnegie is the second similar official to resign in as many weeks. Just wait until he meets our board on their terms...snicker.

* Salary? Our fellow blogger L. Stone has indicated the 70K to 120K range is determined by whether the new director is a spouse of a board member or simply a cousin. Just how much will Carnegie's salary be? We await...

* Local knowledge? No, he really won't be standing on a street corner directing stray tourists, so we're not as concerned with his lack of local background as with other problems he may either encounter or unwittingly produce. Just wait until he realizes the depth of the Tennessee River.

* The big question? Go ahead and shoot the messenger if you wish over this one, because we're owning it. Why hire a Canadian over a U.S. citizen? Please, Alex & David & any other stooges out there, tell us why. Is it because the promised advent of Chinese Communists at UNA didn't produce any riots and you're getting something (we don't know what, but something) out of this?

We'll be discussing the treatment of Allison Stanfield at a later date. Comments solicited, welcome, and published!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Battle for Peepers

She (via a family member) said:

Florence friends and animal lovers everywhere. Please help. My sixteen year old cat Emma recently passed away. I saw a post about how the shelters in Alabama (these are not no-kill shelters) are full and need adoptions urgently. My mother went to Florence Lauderdale Animal Shelter to adopt a cat. It was closed. While she was there, on the phone with her door open, this beautiful, loving kitten, who had apparently escaped from the shelter, with no collar, on a busy street, jumped into my mother's car. The kitten could have easily died if my mother didn't rescue him. After attempting to see if someone was inside the shelter and even asking the vet across the street if they could keep him, she took him home, where for the past two days my family has given him nothing but love in a safe, comfortable home.

Today, the shelter made a post on Facebook about the kitten. The shelter was closed all weekend - if they noticed the kitten was missing they did not share it on Facebook until today. When I saw the Facebook post, I told my mother to call so they would know this kitten had found its forever family. We wanted to adopt the kitten and pay any fees for his adoption. She was told that they had decided to make this kitten a "shelter" cat and that she must return him. What loving person would return a kitten they have grown to love to live a life in a crowded animal shelter?

The shelter sent animal control to my parents' house and my crying mother handed this beautiful kitty to the officer. My mother says the officer was kind and said he was only doing what his superiors told him to do, but because he was wearing a badge, she felt that she was required to hand the kitten over. I am outraged. The kitten needs a home. This kitten deserves better than a life as a "shelter pet". Please help. Call the shelter. Call the Florence mayor. Share this status. Help us get this beautiful kitten back in our loving home. We are heartbroken that a shelter whose purpose is to find loving homes for animals would deny this cat the opportunity to have a life as a family member in a loving, comfortable home with the best care in the world. Our animals deserve better. Please help. Adding contact info - Vinny Grosso - Animal Control Director - 256-718-5170. Mayor Mickey Haddock - 256-760-6400,

He said:

I am the Florence Lauderdale Animal Shelter Director. We have an unfortunate situation concerning a cat named Peepers. Peepers was dropped off at the shelter a little over four months ago. He required extra attention due to his small size. Three shelter employees, Joni Lovelady, Kelly Lane and Kimberly Carter raised Peepers and agreed to adopt him and keep Peepers at the shelter as our official shelter pet. Volunteers and patrons who visit our shelter have come to know Peepers due to his outgoing personality. He is spends many hours a day being held by children as well as adults. He knows no stranger. 

This past Saturday, while the employees were inside the building caring for the animals, Peepers apparently jumped into Mrs. Self’s vehicle while she was parked in front of the shelter. A little while later, the employees went to lock up and couldn’t find Peepers. They stayed for over an hour looking for him. They contacted their supervisor that Peepers was missing and reluctantly closed the shelter and went home. Kimberly got to the shelter by 7:00am the next morning to continue the search. Later on that afternoon, a customer stated that she had seen Peepers leave with a lady. The next morning, the employees took to Facebook to find their cat and within the hour, Mrs. Self called the shelter to state she had Peepers. 

This is where things get difficult. We know Mrs. Self would provide Peepers with a secure loving home but in order for that to happen, the three women that raised him and adopted him would have to give up the pet that they also love dearly. I will meet with the employees today and also will contact Mrs. Self. We will do our best to make all parties happy. I respectfully request that the negative comments being made towards my staff, to please stop. Those shelter employees that work with the animals and care for the animals have huge hearts. Saving animals is their passion. Let us all be respectful of each other and hopefully we can get this issue resolved real soon. Thank you.
Vinny Grosso
Animal Control Director

This is a tough call, but let's examine some facts:

1. The kitten was gone for 48 hours before he was reported missing on FB.
2. The kitten was not seen to before the shelter closed.
3. The kitten will have better care in a private home. (Think medical expenses.)
4. The kitten will be subject to various diseases at the public shelter.

Not being Solomon, we can't promise returning Peeps to his new mom is the correct choice, it's the one we're going with. Comments welcome.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Local schools and male teacher inequality

As the 2015-16 school year takes off, another local school is one step closer to becoming an all female-staffed school. This is in a time period when positive adult male role models are increasingly difficult to find. This prompts several questions:

Why the apparent reluctance among local school systems to place male teachers in elementary and middle school settings? Every educational study done over the past 30 years has shown the need for male teachers in these formative years. Surely there are qualified male teacher applicants applying for these vacancies. Of qualified applicants, how many males are chosen for interviews? What is being sought in an applicant? Is it education, relevant experience, classroom management skills, Highly Qualified status, or something else? Locally, who conducts the actual interviews, and who makes the recommendations for hire to the superintendent and board?

Parents deserve to know how this process works and that the best possible applicant is selected to educate their children.


Now that Muscle Shoals has a new nepotism policy, we have to ask: Is it retroactive?


Sunday, August 16, 2015


Have you ever read a politician's comment and thought ... Hey, why didn't he/she just cut to the chase and say what they really meant?!? For example tonight WHNT19 had a segment called "Taking Action: Addressing the sinking crosswalks in downtown Tuscumbia" which featured a citizen calling-out Tuscumbia to make repairs on sinking crosswalks.

Mayor Shoemaker made several very lackluster comments so I thought hey let's help the mayor "cut to the chase". Check out the WHNT19 report then read the "cut to the chase" comments below.

Mayor Shoemaker: "Their main priority right now is clearing up the damage left behind from an EF-1 tornado that recently passed through." CUT TO THE CHASE: Um... can't you see that we are in the middle of a TORNADO clean up?!? We don't have time to correct an ongoing, unsafe road hazard. Come on, we have priorities! Broken tree limbs need picking up first!!!!

Mayor Shoemaker: "Fixing them is a long term goal by digging them up and starting from the beginning." CUT TO THE CHASE: We really don't have the money to do it right now because tax payers are still paying off my new office (nice executive desk, chair, bookshelf, etc.) along with all the other high cost renovations to city hall.

Mayor Shoemaker: "It’s going to take the right timing to get the project done safely and effectively. They hope to address the crosswalk problem this fall." CUT TO THE CHASE: If we put off the repair project then maybe people will forget about the problem. If not, then we can blame it on the Muskrat burrowing underground. Yeah, I think that's believable. Or I can consult with the Park Director for another excuse. 

Mayor Shoemaker: "It’s not safe to put out warning cones, because they could cause more harm than good." CUT TO THE CHASE: Oh no we can't have warning cones! Let's not cause additional attention to the road hazard. (I've got to divert their attention away from the sinking crosswalk) Did we mention we had an EF-1 Tornado? 

Thank you WHNT19 for Taking Action, but I'm afraid we will never see results ... Unless the Robbin$ Family can bail out our city again.

Tuscumbia Muskrat

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Rep. Ed Henry Strikes Again

Rep. Ed Henry
Boards of Education in our area are notoriously slated for nepotism, do-nothingness, and just plain ignorance. No one can remember a time citizens of western Lauderdale have felt they had a true voice in matters of county education. If Rep. Phillip Pettus had his way, citizens of Florence wouldn't have a say...quite literally.

Now an 18 year-old wants to run for a place on the Lauderdale Board. Now Rep. Ed Henry wants to do away with the State Department of Education, responsible for disciplining teachers at a state level as we understand it.

Why not give the 18 year-old Rep. Henry's job? He couldn't do any worse than Henry has in the past four years. Hartselle must be so proud...


So why does Rep. Henry want to close down a long-standing department? He's been in an ongoing war of words with Supt. Bice for several weeks over funding.

Henry has called Bice a liar concerning what the superintendent has called a 4% cut. No lynch mobs appeared to take out Bice, so now Henry apparently thinks the best way to be rid of him is to do away with his job.

Ah, Alabama politics...making Muscle Shoals look good.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Only 40 or 50 Years?

We've commented before on this trend, if after all these years it can be called a trend. It's built-in obsolescence. Buildings are designed to last around 30 years, unless they're a fast food franchise, for which eight to 10 years is a long life. We can understand that thinking in the medical profession, at least to some extent. Yet buildings can be built to be easily remodeled or added on to.

Florence's new animal shelter will be built in sections, pods if you will. So what are we waiting for?

The new hospital? Mayor Mickey Haddock says it should serve Lauderdale County for 40 or 50 years. Really? Our current facility has been added on to more than a paid escort's chest, but the main building is around 70 years old. Let's hope the new hospital is around just as long.


Maybe you don't read too many articles about abused children, especially infants. It's not fun reading, is it? Who does the abuse? Not usually the mother. More often the male in the menage is responsible. More often than not, he's not the infant's biological father. What does it take to make a woman realize when she moves a man into her home, that doesn't automatically make him a caring parent?

The Justin Matthew Green trial is set for October. We understand he bypassed an arraignment. Guess he understood the charges pretty well, huh?


Thursday, August 13, 2015

We Now Have Hospital Lift-Off!

After much money spent fighting Lauderdale County, mostly by Huntsville Hospital via Keller we strongly suspect, RegionalCare now has an uncontested go-ahead to build it's new hospital. We never
particularly cared for Joe Roach, former ECM head honcho under RegionalCare, but we hope he will send Keller some well-chosen hubris-inspired words at this time. They deserve it.


In keeping with a medical theme, we're going to give Doogie Howser some advice. We have it on good authority that the older people get, the more they see their physicians. Ditch the Bama Bangs you're sporting in those photos. They don't exactly inspire confidence among those over, oh, 17 or so.


Still on a medical theme, how do you break an eardrum? Maybe it's something new they've developed in Lexington? Should we look for a broken pancreas next?


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A “Marquis Organization?”

The third candidate for new director of Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Director has stated the current tourism staff is considered a “marquis organization.” That sounds very nice, but what the heck is it? Google couldn't tell us, even when we decided the TD had probably mis-transcribed “marquee.”

Who knows? Florence may have several marquis organizations just lying around and no one knows about it.


More grandstanding? It was highly publicized when our physician governor chose to stop payments to Planned Parenthood. We agreed with his decision.

However, it seems that in the past two years our state has paid only a few thousand to that organization and none of that was even slightly related to abortions.

We used to hear “If it feels good, do it.” Now it would seem those in Montgomery subscribe to the mantra, “If it sounds good, say it.”


So Blake Edwards wants a smaller animal shelter. Well, we've always heard he's so great with saving money...


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Canada? Uh, It's Somewhere/Tourism Troubles

Geography? We're sure many can take or leave it, but we also expect professional writers to have a basic understanding of it. Just last week Coffee Road morphed into Coffee Highway in the course of the same article in the TimesDaily. The former is the correct name, but once outside the Florence City limits, the well-traveled road becomes the Savannah Highway. Also last week, another TD writer insisted on adding an extra “s” to Shoal Creek. That, sadly, is not uncommon in this area.

Now a TD writer is apparently unsure what to do with the Canadian province/state of Ontario. We see that a candidate for the position of Florence Tourism director is from Kingston-Ontario, Canada. Perhaps he will soon move to Florence-Alabama, USA? Eh?


We see the salary for the new head honcho of Florence tourism will be in the 70K to 120K range. A 50K range fluctuation? We understand that experience counts, but that vast a difference seems odd. We welcome comments.

Also, the second candidate interviewed would be leaving his own company if he should be offered the position. Most individuals usually do the reverse. If this gentleman isn't doing well with his own
business, how can he expect to do better with a public position where he will have to contend with the board...yes, that infamous tourism board of Youtube fame?


A reader has asked why we removed a blog about Lauderdale Circuit Court Clerk Missy Hibbett. We have not removed the blog that we recently published. As of this morning, it was still listed in our
side bar under the “Most Read.”

Since we published that guest blog, Kneeland Hibbett has been returned to Jail in Baldwin County. The TD has published some very intimate details of the upcoming Hibbett divorce that we see no need of reiterating here. We will suggest that while we're sure everyone out there can improve upon job performance, perhaps some problems in the clerk's office are caused by transient emotional problems that may be soon be resolved. Let's hope things improve for that family.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Your Legislature & Doc Larry at Work

If you've never looked at a list of bills/proclamations passed each day during a session of the Alabama legislature, you've missed something. Much, we say much, of what is processed each day are proclamations honoring various individuals and other entities.

Did April May Wartsenall win the Sandpit County free throw basket ball toss? Then you can bet someone in the legislature introduced an official proclamation in her honor which was endorsed by the noble body of do-nothings and read into the record. First things first, and a working budget be hanged.

Then come the reaffirmations. Apparently many pols in Montgomery think laws that have been on the books a while or which have been repealed in other states need to be reaffirmed. Dodger Badword, your non-working erstwhile senator, used his last year in office to reaffirm Alabamians' right to hunt. We're waiting for the next logical bill, one that will reaffirm the male of the species' right to use the bathroom standing up.

Now that brings us to one of our favorite local lawmakers. It's really hard to pick between Sen. Larry Stutts and Rep. Phillip Pettus, but we're going to concentrate on ol' Doc Larry today. It seems the Franklin County volunteer fire departments wanted to establish fees to be collected from the local citizenry. This type law unfortunately needs the support of the legislature since there is no home rule in this state.

Did Doc Larry jump to help out these men and women who risk all for citizens in peril? If any of you guessed “yes,” you don't seem to know the real Larry Stutts. The good physician stated he had “bigger fish to fry” than helping out any first responders in Franklin County. It's really bad when someone makes Roger Bedford look good, isn't it?

But wait...there's more. The next day Doc Larry co-sponsored a bill making it illegal to sell entire or parts of fetuses. If you think that sounds good, you may not realize that it is already against federal law to do so.

So why? We can't think of a single instance in this state where such sales have been initiated. That brings up the next logical point. How about counterfeiting of currency? We see one or two cases of that in northwest Alabama each year, so why not pass a state law to back up the federal statutes on that crime? Maybe because it's as unnecessary as the bill on hawking fetuses?

The TimesDaily called Stutts' behavior “grandstanding.” We agree. We'll also add "smarmy" to the list of adjectives.

And to you who live in Franklin County? If you're ever disappointed in your volunteer fire protection, remember Dr. Larry Stutts' role in denying you a safer environment.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Florence: The Agent Orange City

If any readers think Agent Orange was a type of poison, think again. The chemical used widely in Vietnam was a super-fertilizer. Sprayed on foliage, the chemical caused vegetation to grow to fantastic proportions within days. Plant cells would expand so rapidly that they finally burst, killing the plant.

Isn't Florence a little like that? For the past 50 years the Lauderdale County seat has experienced almost nothing but growth. To a lesser extent, the town of Muscle Shoals has followed a similar pattern.

Yet due to Florence's size, there's much more infrastructure to maintain in the town north of the river. Yes, we spend countless thousands on studies that never produce anything tangible, while sidewalks in the older sections of downtown rot, split, and buckle. Just try contacting your councilperson to see how far you get with reporting the needed repairs.

Now we're told that Huntsville has three entertainment districts, so the public shouldn't protest two in Florence. Is there really that much entertainment to be had in our fair city? Perhaps it will lead to
a rivalry similar to the old Coffee-Bradshaw one-up-man-ship of years past.

Barry Morris says we don/t need an entertainment district downtown. From what we know of the matter, we agree totally with him.

Rick Elliott disagrees, stating that the area is just getting back to “our roots.” Really? Remember it was only a few months ago that Rep. Phillip Pettus told Florence citizens that Greenhill residents want nothing to do with us. If that's really true, just how many in Florence consider the restaurateur from the far city of Nashville to be “one of us,” dictating our policies?

Deputy Chief Tim Shaddix tells us that the entertainment district will require extra patrols and extra officers. In other words, any money gained in tax revenues will be spent on public safety.

There are those who have criticized Florence for catering to retirees. Make no mistake, the city has also courted industry. It's just that some retirees came, but most industries simply nodded politely and went on their way to larger cities. Florence will never be Birmingham or Atlanta. That doesn't mean it shouldn't try to improve. We're just asking if more alcohol and revelers are an improvement? What say you, Mickey Haddock?


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Blake Edwards Has Some Interesting Opposition

Florence District Five councilman Blake Edwards, co-owner of Hospice of Tennessee Valley, will be having some interesting opposition next year. A Florence youth, who will barely be the required 18 years of age by the 2016 election, will be opposing first time councilman Edwards.

Three years ago Edwards, son of a late long-time city administer, narrowly defeated Coy Bramlett to win his seat in a district rife with controversy over a new Walmart. Edwards has also faced criticism for numerous lawsuits against his hospice during the past four years.

Does Florence High student Chase Holcombe have the proverbial snowball's chance? Anything is possible. Edwards has not yet announced that he will seek a second term, and there's certainly plenty of time for others to announce their candidacy.

It looks like it will be an interesting election...


We had only just declared J. Redmon missing in action on our restaurant blog when he posted a most interesting review:

As with all our blogs, rebuttals and comments are welcome.


We're waiting for Cherry Pitts to send us her rebuttal to some extremely caustic criticism of her review of the The Crazy Chicken; however, we pass that way frequently and have never seen a deck, nor did Cherry mention one in her review. We made a point to look deck in sight. Perhaps it's around back?

We wish the small cafe' the best of luck in a hard market.


Did you know you can follow us via e-mail. Not everyone is into Facebook. If you aren't, simply scroll about halfway down the page to enter your e-mail addy. You'll receive our newly published blog immediately via your e-mail account.

Many thanks for reading...


Friday, August 7, 2015

Who Was Driving in the Fatal Crash?

The parents of two-year old Addison Whitaker have filed suit against Robert Chase Capley. The civil suit recently filed in Lauderdale County states that Capley was operating the vehicle in which the toddler was killed last June. Also a passenger in the vehicle was Addison's aunt Allison Whitaker who was not seriously injured. Court documents indicate the dead child was not restrained and was at least partially ejected from the car when Capley lost control due to excessive speed and wrecked on Sharp's Mill Road.

Previous accounts in the TimesDaily had indicated that Allison Whitaker was driving the car and caused the accident that killed her niece. We assume these reports, written by Tom Smith, were taken from the state troopers who investigated the fatal crash.

It would appear that a great deal of misinformation was provided to the officers who initially investigated the death. Why? An attempt to avoid prosecution?

We assume the Whitaker family can prove that Capley was driving; however, if this wasn't initially evident, there may not have been a BAC taken from Capley. Is he escaping criminal prosecution in this child's death?

Restrain all children! It's the law!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Work How Long, Get a Pension?

If you are elected to our wonderful legislature, you will get a pension after only two years of service? Apparently so. Our tax dollars at work.

Our legislature used to have one session every two years, now they have one or two, usually two, each year and get little to nothing least of any importance.

Think about it.


We had this blog ready to post, but think it's important to add something. We have a food blog called Quad-Cities Cuisine. It's part of our blog group and everything published there is copyrighted. Anyone publishing these blogs in toto are stealing and may be subject to prosecution.

We ostensibly have two regular bloggers, J. Redmon, who blogs very little at that location, and Cherry Pitts. We know who J. is, but we do not know who Cherry is. We do know she has been unable to blog recently due to her mother being in rehab; now that she's back, we're happy to publish whatever she sends us. Unless she has sent us something under another name, food blogs are all she has ever written for us.

We just published a blog on a new cafe in North Florence. Cherry gave it a VERY GOOD review. Yet that apparently wasn't good enough for one other local blogger. Cherry contacted us to say she may not be doing any more food blogs due to her mother's illness and the criticism she just took from this bully.

We told her to give it a few days, then write her own rebuttal to this man's cruel comments. In the mean time, we happily accept blogs from anyone who would like to review any local restaurants.

Remember, Cherry or anyone else out there, if you give in to a bully, he/she wins. We appreciate you!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Your Opinions?

As regular readers know, we publish almost all opinions here whether we agree or not. Many times we publish opinion blogs on issues of which we have no knowledge. We always welcome rebuttals. This blog is an outlet for your political voice.

Many do not seem to understand that. Recently we published a blog by an anonymous writer on Missy Homan Hibbett, Lauderdale County Circuit Court Clerk. We don't know what problems may or may not be present in that office. Rebuttals to that particular blog are welcome. No, we do not know the author's real name, nor would we divulge it if we did.

We will say that we know one Lauderdale judge frequently blames Ms. Hibbett for his troubled court. We doubt there is simply one problem that causes all the delays in cases and other snafu's that haunt our local court system.

Comments and blogs are always welcome.


An update/correction on the Huntsville Hospital lease with Keller. This is entirely the responsibility of the Keller board of directors. The members appointed by the Colbert County Commission are completely autonomous after their appointment. There is currently only one board member who was appointed by the county commission. Our apologies for some misleading information.

How can the average Colbert Countian make his/her voice heard with the current Keller board? Send us your ideas and past experiences.


In closing, Lynn Greer... Just where is that bill to abolish the state certificate of need program? You were certainly able to introduce bills which would restrict our voting rights and establish a non-lottery raffle, so where is the bill you promised on the CON? We're waiting.


We regularly receive comments and blogs via third parties. This is acceptable, but you can always reach us via our personal e-mail at


Tuesday, August 4, 2015


This post is about government abusing its power granted by the Constitution, oppressing its citizens.

I am completely against abortion. I don't like the ACLU. They choose ONLY issues to fit their agenda. I am more against our government making private decisions for its citizens.

When we American Christians allow government the power to operate outside the bounds of the Constitution, we risk being told when we can, and cannot, attend church.  American's have done little to stop these government acts and omissions and a reason our liberties are threatened every day.

Most in Alabama don't know that our elected officials - with their self granted  title of nobility - treat any issue regarding a child: that the child automatically becomes ward of the state.

Most women don't know this, including the female, I assume attorney, ACLU author of the below referenced story, writing, "If our client lost parental rights to the fetus, the district attorney could have argued that her uterus was essentially a ward of the state, and that she would no longer be allowed to make decisions about her own body, including getting an abortion."

Chris Connolly backed off his chemical endangerment charges of the young mother seeking an abortion, Connolly was first going to place this mother under the jail and terminate her parental rights, rather than first getting her treatment.

Connolly exposed this mothers (who has a right to privacy) - charges to the public, not the ACLU. Connolly, did that for his own personal gain.  Connolly is an extortionist. He doesn't care about children. Further, more than not of our state court judges are extortionists. Most none of them honor our Constitution. This includes five of the US Supreme Court judges.

While you see this post as a reference to a case where the mother wanted an abortion and she changed her mind, in part, due to the state attempting to save the life of an unborn child, what you don't see is our government used extortion over the mother for her to make private decisions over her uterus.

Abortions will stop with individual education at church and home, not from our government.

When the government tells a woman she can't have an abortion, the government will then tell us Christian American's when we can and cannot attend church. I don't want that. Do you! 

Mark Davis

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ms. Missy Hibbett, Circuit Clerk

I’m gonna have a fit like my gramma used to have if things don't change. One of those old fashioned “tell it like it is”. “Politics make strange bedfellows” is a mild understatement. Over 20 years ago, I began work at the Lauderdale County Courthouse and thought I had died and gone to Heaven. This was the dream job and I couldn’t wait to go to work every morning, just to help people that came into our offices.

Over time, I find the self satisfaction of helping others has taken a backseat to the daily Courthouse soap opera. Circuit Clerk Mr. Kenneth Austin, who served many years and set a high standard of ethical leadership, employed a chief clerk, Kathy Haynes, who required the same high level of personal and moral integrity of the office staff. Those days of the public service mentality and professionalism have been reduced to a social playground. 

Ms. Missy Hibbett, Circuit Clerk, has switched to the Republican party and feels very confident in her association with the “majority”. So much so, that she has a habit of arriving to the courthouse very late in the day. It appears she comes to work wearing pretty much what she probably was out on the town in the night before, thus setting the tone for the attire (or lack of) for most of the women in her office. It would be rather ridiculous to assume much work is done when most employees are in their party wear, without proper “chaperones” and supervision. From all accounts, calling the clerk’s office will only get you caught in a series of transfers from one office to the next. It’s near impossible to catch Ms. Hibbett in her office to actually talk to her. Perhaps once this appears in print, things will change for a little while.

Unfortunately, the Circuit Clerk’s office doesn’t operate in an autonomous manner. While citizens are inconvenienced by the lack of leadership and prompt service, other court/courthouse activities are delayed and rescheduled for lack of leadership by the Circuit Clerk. So, next time you get mad at one of the other offices, or courts, for a delay in getting your records or action, think again. The problem might not be IN the courts, or other offices, your delay might be caused by the office down the hall from the courtrooms.

Ms. Hibbett, you and your acting chief clerk, Lisa West (who made her rounds at the courthouse telling tales on you before you set her up with a cushion job), may not be able to get the protection from the Republicans as you have bragged about. At some point, the “rest of the story” will be told about you girl’s activities that will make any good ole republican turn red in embarrassment, and as gramps would say, “head for the hills”. 

I might not be a Republican, but I’m turning red just thinking about how I voted for you, Missy Hibbett.
"Frank Lee Speekin"

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Florence Country Club Sale?

A reader asked if there was any new info on the proposed sale of the Florence Country Club back to the city. As far as we know, there isn't. Another reader had suggested some real estate agent would receive a huge fee from the sale. We're not sure if one needs to be involved, but a real estate attorney would be in on the sale in all probability. Your tax dollars at work

What would this mean for the not-so-booming College of Integrative Quackery founded by Zing Zang Zung? If new UNA prexy Kenneth Kitts wants to take on a real challenge, he'll try to sort through that little debacle.


There has certainly been an up-cropping of green double aiches recently. You know the ones...the italicized capital letters in bold which now precede the name of any Keller facility in Colbert County.

We hope Colbert Countians think of their commission whenever they see the Huntsville Hospital logo connected to that of Keller. Huntsville holds the purse strings; the voters hold the key to the next commission.


On the subject of the Colbert County Commission, we hear that budget woes abound for that august body. Mounting debts are forcing cuts that are not going to make anyone happy. In fact, these reductions will very likely lead to a reduction in key services.

As always, we welcome your comments...


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Why Is the State Housing These Prisoners?

Our state is cash strapped, especially our prison system. Yet, for whatever reason, those individuals sentenced to both state and federal time must do their state time first. Why?

There's no real parole in federal prison, so sentences are usually at least 85% of total time. Sentenced to 10 years? Do 8 years and 6 months. Sentenced to 10 years in state prison and you may do as little as 15 months.

The state is currently housing Matthew and Patricia Ayers who each have a life sentence. The couple also have federal sentences that total hundreds of years. In other words, they would never leave the federal lock-up, so why is Alabama housing them, feeding them, providing them with medical treatment?


Did you know it can possibly be a felony for a state inmate to have a Facebook account? Many do; remember Gary Baskins and his infamous prison pics?

The DOC has asked anyone spotting a page belonging to an inmate to report it immediately. As we write this, there are currently two escaped inmates on the loose, presumably still in south Alabama. We don't want to encourage any more.