Saturday, January 31, 2015

DreamVision: Yea or Nay?




DreamVision...that's a lovely name. They're bringing a dream vision to the Shoals, at least we think they are. Several readers have sent us links that challenge what the company says about itself. All great enterprises have detractors; so who's right? Perhaps only time will tell, but the Shoals has been burned before.

Not all announced projects that didn't materialize have been humongous like National Rail Car. There was that golf course/walking trail proposed for Sheffield some years back. Unlucky in love Sheffield was also promised a new cinema multiplex that failed to materialize. Then of course there's UNA's College of Integrative Health which has only one student this semester. We're sure there have been more failures, but those come to mind.

What do we know of DreamVision? Here's some facts that may...or may not...be problematic:

1. When Al.com attempted to contact DreamVision on Friday with some very pertinent questions, the company did not respond. Perhaps because the PR department had left for a long weekend? It's possible.

2. The company states on its website that it's "emotionally driven." We have no idea what that means. If it's raining outside, they don't feel up to working? It may be just us, but this is a strange way to describe a company that supposedly deals in millions or even billions of dollars every day.

3. Three of the top executives of the company are in the Silanskas family. A very wise lady once told us never to work for a family run business unless prepared for continual bickering, etc. Would this hold true for such a large company. Who knows?

4. The company's website says that it wants to make Texas the "epicenter of the theme park world." Does that leave any room for the Shoals?

5. The Texas theme park? It was announced at a Ft. Worth gala on June 1, 2013. So far there have been no other new developments.

6. The Ft. Worth theme park was originally slated for Dallas in 2011, but DreamVision owners abruptly changed their minds without giving an explanation.

7. At the 2013 announcement in Ft. Worth, DreamVision also announced its intention of building a theme park in South Africa (known for its extremely low crime rate) in two to four years.

8. Money, honey? So three theme parks are now scheduled, costing billions of dollars, and the company's only income is currently from? One short video on the market and one in production?

Let's hope it's true and doable, but let's not bet the rent money just yet.

*****

Been Accused of Blogging Something You Haven't? Why, Yes. Yes, We Have

Some time ago we remarked that we had no idea why this blog was considered "homophobic" by anyone. We received two replies that supposedly offered some of our previous comments. The only problem was that the comments came from another Shoals blogger--not us.

During the election season last fall, we opened our e-mail inbox to find at least 20 angry e-mails accusing us of publishing a statement from a Lauderdale County candidate that one of his ex-wives was responsible for the death of his son. To say we were gobsmacked would be putting it mildly. How anyone who reads this blog could think we would publish such a thing is beyond our reasoning.

So where was the statement published? In the same blog which produced the anti-gay remarks. Now this blogger says he, or someone, has been accused of writing something that actually came from our pen, so to speak. Mistaken attributions seem to come with blogging territory. We didn't blame the blogger in question when we received fallout for his words, therefore we humbly request the same courtesy.



Shoalanda

Friday, January 30, 2015

Laura Fitterman: New Animal Cruelty Charges


We've blogged about Laura Fitterman before. In fact, we have a link dedicated to her in our sidebar.



Now Fitterman, using the surname Sherwood, has again been arrested in Lauderdale County on charges of animal cruelty. Laura and her husband Patrick are accused of cruelty to 25 horses and donkeys, plus two lamas, 50 rodents, and over 150 rabbits, cats, and dogs. They are both being held without bond in the Lauderdale County Detention Center.

Undoubtedly, Fitterman-Sherwood and her husband will plead some kind of mental defect causing them to collect and the neglect these animals--they face one felony charge and 15 misdemeanor counts. Will Laura Fitterman stop now? We doubt it. Let's hope permanent monitoring is in her future.

*****

Frequently we read comments about various drug users; many say just watch the news for their obituary. Is that all we can do?

We are extremely interested in any new programs or therapy out there that can help these individuals. We know the methadone clinic in Sheffield is a savior for some, but what about others?

Today we saw the latest mug shot of a young lady we've blogged about at the request of her family when she went missing...twice. The change in her face was gut-wrenching. How do get help for someone who doesn't want it? Comments?



Shoalanda

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Word From Chief Tony Logan


Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan has offered us an update on the search for Mr. Elbert Farley Davis Jr's killer. We should have more on this next week:

About a year and a half ago we assembled all of the investigators, chiefs, and the sheriff of Colbert County for a day long summit to discuss the case. I felt it was important to have fresh eyes look at the case. We did not share our suspect list early in the day so that we did not influence their conclusions. At the end of the day the group had pretty much come to the same conclusions and suspect list that we had which at least made me feel that we were working in the right direction.

Most recently I asked Lauderdale District Attorney Chris Connolly to have his cold case squad to review the case. About 2 months ago his squad along with Dr. Greene of Alabama Forensics and our staff met at Mr. Davis residence to go over the scene along with reports and photos of the scene. I felt important because the residence was sold and the new owners were about to move in so it would be our last opportunity to go into the residence with it in much the way it was when Mr. Davis was attacked.


I am in constant contact with his (children). We meet each Wednesday to discuss where we are with the case. Ever since it took place anytime the investigators have someone in to interview on any crime they always ask if they have any information on the Davis case.

Please feel free to share any suggestions you might have that would assist us in this case. I just want to be able to give closure to the family and bring to justice those responsible for his death.

*****

This week Mark Montgomery pleaded Not Guilty to shooting two women and a pet dog dead. He will now stand trial in Lauderdale County and waste countless dollars of taxpayer money. Let's see...he told his sister he killed them, he had their blood on his clothes and shoes...yep, a jury should buy the not guilty plea.



Shoalanda

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tattoos? We Can Go Either Way


A reader has contacted us about a post on our personal page that she either intentionally or unintentionally misunderstood. Why the remark about the handcuffs tattoo?

We had been attempting to contact Tony Logan. For those who don't know, Tony is a long-time police officer and the current chief in Tuscumbia. The first "Tony Logan" we found was apparently a tattoo artist, but since the tattoo icon was a pair of hands in cuffs, we had to do a double take on it. That's called serendipitous humor, or more colloquially "what are the odds?" Our remark was not an indictment of tattoos.

*****

We will comment on a negative side of tattoos. Having the word "Crip" written out numerically on your abdomen, with Adolph Hitler above it, might just make people think you were not mainstream society material.

*****

On another note: Over the years we've been blamed for posts on OB's Corner, Left in Alabama, Pen-N-Sword, and the Quad-Cities Daily...and probably a few on the ShoalsInsider, but we're not totally sure about the last one.

Again we ask that you send your criticisms of any links to the proper site. Again, we remind you that ANY posts with profanity or vulgarity will be deleted and you will be banned. No one has the automatic right to post vulgar comments, threats, etc., on a site belonging to anyone else no matter what any uneducated person may think.

Similarly, while we feel certain articles about murder victims may have gone too far, hindsight being 20-20, libel is making false statements--not true ones. Also, while we hope all news outlets have spoken truthfully, a dead person cannot be legally libeled in Alabama or any other state.

*****

Murder is a horrible crime. Earlier today we discussed this with a former police officer. He affirms the position that some murders are justified and the world is better off. We take the position that this is not the case, but we can understand why some murders are not prosecuted. We also, as we've stated many times, understand why a family who's hurting wants to strike out.

If your family member needs help, it's wonderful to pray about it. We do suggest you also try to get that family member help.



Shoalanda

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reward for Info in Davis Slaying "Around" 15K


We recently reported that there is a 5K reward for information in the murder of Mr. Elbert Farley Davis Jr, 88, who was killed during a home robbery in Tuscumbia in 2012. The current amount is "around" 15K. We're not sure what "around" actually means, but it's a tremendous sum to many of us.

We heard indirectly from Chief Tony Logan that he appreciated our keeping this in the public eye. We have some ideas on this and are asking Chief Logan to contact us via our e-mail or our FB personal page "Shoalanda Hutton Speaks."

We're also asking that any of our readers who live in Tuscumbia share this post. Someone knows something. We can't imagine how Mr. Davis' family feels at this point. Let's help get this scum off the street.

*****

Oh, news flash, we've just been told we can't ban anyone from our FB page. Well...we had no idea. A law suit? Really? For excluding you from our FB page? You can still read us here and we encourage you to do so. You might learn something. Oh, okay, we have no hopes of that. Disregard. And, hey, it could be worse; we could be quoting "Contendah" on this extremely sordid situation.



Shoalanda

Monday, January 26, 2015

We've Been Mistaken About Republicans & Pit Bulls


Much Cuter Than a Thug or a Republican!

First, our apologies to the Pit Bulls in our reading audience; we really love you, but we'll get to that later. At one time we thought Republicans in charge in Alabama would turn things around for the state. How wrong we were. Progress has been made--mainly due to Gov. Bentley. Others? Not many Repubs. have helped that much.

So what else have we been wrong about? Pit Bulls. Yes, it seems there is some new research that there may be, at least in some of the dogs, a gene that can cause the animal to snap without very much provocation. Yet there's good news; researchers are attempting to find ways to remove/replace this gene. We hope it's very successful and very soon!

*****

Now regular readers may be wondering why this topic is of news today. We've had almost 100 new likes over the weekend...and very few of them seem to be fans. Insert any jokes here that you wish. Lest you think these new followers are Muscle Shoals school system groupies, think again. These are friends of the Muscle Shoals murder victims.

We have linked both QCD and PNS articles on these murders. We've found them of great interest. Apparently many have not. Many have made comments that would make the proverbial sailor blush. Who are these people?

We've thought about this phenomenon before, but not to any great degree. We know these individuals have had the same educational opportunities as the rest of us. Yet they refuse to learn; they refuse to fit in; they blame everyone but themselves for their problems.

We've had friends murdered....and you know what? None of them was innocent. All of them were participating in things that were either illegal or immoral or both. We loved them. We wanted to see their killers punished. Yet we never defended their actions or blamed the police or those who reported on their crimes.

So why are there so many in the area who have the mindset that nothing is their fault? Why don't they want to learn and improve? We've come to the conclusion that there is a bad gene in their biological makeup. They see crime and violence and threats as acceptable behavior; even though society has offered support, they have refused it. They seek the lowest common denominator. Yet they can't understand why they aren't a success in life.

After the Pit Bull genetic problem is mended, perhaps we start on homo sapiens?



Shoalanda

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rewards: How About Elbert Farley Davis Jr.?


In August 2012, Mr. Elbert Farley Davis Jr. was found unconscious in his Tuscumbia home; he died a short while later of his injuries. We don't think Mr. Davis' attacker originally intended to murder the 88 year-old WWII veteran. Mr. Davis' home was the target for some thug who wanted quick cash and some drugs in the mix to boot.

There's currently a five thousand dollar reward offered for information in this murder. Yes, the thug will be charged with Capital Murder since Mr. Davis died in connection with a robbery. That's a lot of money. Someone knows something.

Mr. Davis was truly an innocent victim. He wasn't a drug dealer, drug user, abuser, adulterer, or gambling kingpin. He simply got in the way of a burglary and paid the ultimate price. If you know something, say something.

Tuscumbia Police urge anyone with information about Elbert Davis’s murder to contact the Shoals Area Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 256-386-8685.

*****

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000.00 reward in Saturday's double homicide:


*****

Some readers don't like the Quad-Cities Daily's article on the Muscle Shoals murders press conference. Perhaps they don't like the photo of the chief? No matter, this publicity will help solve the crimes.

Some don't like the Pen-N-Sword background article. No matter, the more information out there the better to help solve the crime.

Some don't like the Tennessee Valley Talks forum topic. We agree there has been some speculation that is improper, but it will bring more attention to the crimes.

If you want these murders solved and prosecuted, you should be happy they're not being covered up. Believe us, we know some that have been.



Shoalanda

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Did The Autistic Muscle Shoals Child Have Rights?


We've certainly had some interesting comments on yesterday's blog and we believe this is the proper venue to answer them rather than on Facebook:


1. Please remember, any comments with vulgarities will be deleted. We've tried several ways to counter this tendency in certain posters and have failed miserably. No more warnings. Your comment will be deleted. Feel free to scream. If you can't comment without using "dirty words," what is your comment worth?

2. We've had a private comment about Dr. Conner's job title. After looking at it again, we agree with our reader that the title is nebulous. We at first thought it simply lacked an Oxford comma, but that would still not make the title any less nebulous.

3. For those who mentioned it's not unusual that a wife and husband work in the same system, we agree--we've stated so before. Dr. Dennis Conner is more than husband to an elementary school teacher; he's also the brother-in-law to Supt. Brian Lindsey.

4. One reader said we should ask the Muscle Shoals board to answer our questions, but in almost the same breath stated they were above such questions. Nevertheless, we're preparing some questions. The board may answer or not--it's up to them.

5. For those who say we shouldn't have reported on the case of the autistic student being forced from the only school she had ever known, we ask what if it had been your child? What if you had tried everything; wouldn't you seek an advocate anywhere you could find one, especially one that reaches thousands each day?

6. Does the mother of the autistic child have any legal recourse against the Muscle Shoals school system? We're not attorneys here. It may well be that she has none. We are fairly sure that any attorney would argue the board waited two years into the new policy to force the child out. What if a court says the board was still within its rights to do so? So be it, but remember, just because you can do something, it doesn't mean you should.

*****

Now, turning to Lauderdale County, we're always amazed at how some perceive "the county." A recent comment in the TimesDaily remarked that Dewey Mitchell needed to be unseated. We agree totally--he should never have been elected in the first place, but the voters spoke, very ill informed voters.

This Lauderdale citizen continued that he/she wanted someone from "the county" in the position and was glad that Danny Pettus is running. We are too, but he isn't from the county anymore than Dewey Mitchell is. According to records, Mr. Pettus lives in Killen. Killen is a town just like Rogersville, Florence, etc. What the commenter obviously meant was that he/she wanted someone who didn't live in Florence.

What we want is someone who will do the job honestly and fairly, no matter where they live in Lauderdale County. This is what every concerned citizen should want.



Shoalanda

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dr. Dennis Conner Has Quite a Title/"Braggs"


Editor's note: While we frequently instigate topics, we have never instigated one about anything even remotely related to the Muscle Shoals school system. Any topics we have discussed here have been forwarded to us by concerned parents. We happily accept rebuttals for any of our blogs.


Yesterday we blogged about a young girl who was no longer allowed to attend school in the Muscle Shoals school system. Whether the system made the right or wrong choice in this matter is somewhat irrelevant to today's topic. In the past few weeks we've received many communications involving admission and treatment of non-resident students. The fact that such a problem is so common within the system was certainly news to us. That many parents want their offspring educated at a Muscle Shoals school?

Apparently enough that there has even been a special job created to handle the boon/problem. No, we're not joking. Dr. Dennis Conner's official title within the system is "Non-resident, Attendance and Instructional Support Coordinator." By the way, his wife is a teacher at Highland Park Elementary in Muscle Shoals.

So if we read his job title correctly, his job is to coordinate attendance and instructional support for non-resident students. By any chance, did the U.S. Army originally create this job description? How much time does this take? Are there really that many non-resident students? According to those who write us, the system is dumping non-resident students right and left. Aren't they afraid they will no longer have a job for Dr. Conner?

We'll reiterate that only one of our five bloggers lives in Colbert County and that's not in Muscle Shoals, but if we were a Muscle Shoals parent, we would be asking if such a position was justified. After all, these tax-payer dollars could be going toward the football program.

*****

A friend has commented it would be interesting to know how many Muscle Shoals football players are non-residents. Anyone know the data on that or where one could obtain such data?

*****

Just how good is the Muscle Shoals school system? We're told they say they're the best in the Shoals. Really? And they can't even use spell check?

Click to Enlarge

Oh, wait, maybe it's one of those new gangsta words?


Shoalanda

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Just What Are Resident Requirements for Muscle Shoals Schools?


Sometimes residency isn't easily peg holed. There's a local joke that asks, "Just where does Petersville end and Underwood begin?" Sorry we can't answer that question for you, but we can definitely say that Petersville starts where Florence ends at Mama Jean's restaurant. So how about other cities?

We once knew a person who lived within the Leighton police jurisdiction, had a Sheffield Zip Code, and received utilities from Muscle Shoals. The Florence and North Florence post offices have two different Zips and much mail addressed to 35630 is labeled "North Florence, Alabama."

If you think it's hard to know where you actually live, how about where you go to school? There's been a lot of talk recently about resident and non-resident students in the Muscle Shoals system. In case anyone needs to be told, we support fees for non-residents--if you don't pay property tax of some sort in Muscle Shoals, why should your children attend its schools gratis?

The problem with the Muscle Shoals system seems to be that not all are treated equally and that school admins don't agree on what policy actually is, particularly in relation to grandfathering in students after their policy change a few years ago. A reader writes us:

Dennis Connor told me they had not had any students that were "grandfathered in", Brian Lindsey told me they did have students that were nonresident students that were "grandfathered in" so I guess it holds true if you don't have money in your pocket or if your father or mother or someone is not a big-time political person or can line the pockets of the ones who run the show, then you get thrown under the bus like my daughter. I guess my question is was my daughter's rights violated because they chose 2 years later to notify me of the board policy change? In my opinion it was unfair they should've given me time to find a place in the jurisdiction. 

So who's correct? Brian Lindsey or Dennis Connor? The student referenced above has suffered because of nebulous policy; we'll undoubtedly have more on this later.

***** 

Several changes have already taken place in both the Lauderdale and Colbert County sheriff's offices. Most are reported to be liking these changes, but there has been some unrest--mainly in Colbert County. There are several situations in that county which are currently unresolved. We'll be reporting on these situations after they're finalized.

*****

Somehow when we think of (certain) Colbert County and Muscle Shoals school officials, this song comes to mind:




Shoalanda

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Teacher Sex: Sonny Tibbs & the Greatful Dead




Teacher sex, anyone? It's not just at Vina High School, but we'll focus on one of those three cases today. If you remember, Sonny Dewayne Tibbs, Vina coach convicted of having sex with a female student under the age of 19, was to serve 60 days in jail as part of his sentence. Not much time, is it? Now it seems he's like Amanda Watkins--getting some preferential treatment?


*****

Yes, Amanda Duboise Watkins got 10 years, but she's doing them close to home:


*****

We have previously mentioned some lawsuits that are to be made public this month or at least very shortly. Until they are public record, we have no intention of making them public. That doesn't mean that others will refrain from public comments and re-postings of private images. We know that some are making the rounds of Shoals cyberspace even as we type this.

Not that anyone will take our advice, but here goes. If you're a teacher, don't defecate where you eat. If you are just that immoral, at least visit your favorite Wally World for some of those latex thingamajimmies they have on the wall adjacent to the pharmacy. If you don't, you're no better than our favorite career criminal.



Shoalanda

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Local Censorship? Just Who Does it?


Does this area have much censorship? Perhaps we should define censorship. Have you seen the "Buddy Jesus" or "Buddy Christ" memes? Here's one:


Is it in bad taste? Certainly, if you're a Christian. (We at least didn't post the one referring to Catholicism.) While no one knows how Christ looked, we're pretty sure he didn't have long hair or wear gold medallions; still, we're not about to shoot anyone over it. So how many memes do you see referring to the Muslim faith?


Is the lack of Muslim memes censorship? If a publication is afraid of being fire-bombed, we would say it might better qualify as self-preservation, but it's still censorship.

How about other areas of news? How about censorship of government cronyism, student favoritism, or even this blog? Think no one would want to censor our blog? Think again. While we're sure many may see their sacred cow mentioned here (hey, we're even inadvertently getting in Hinduism!) and mentally wish we'd just disappear from Shoals cyberspace, most don't openly advocate that.

Over the years, we've seen only two do so; one the father of local career criminal and one more recently who was a very misguided supporter of Muscle Shoals High School. Both thought someone should "shut us down." Who or on what legal grounds, we're not sure. We've also heard of a few instances in which some have wished to censor the (defunct?) ShoalsInsider, Pen-N-Sword, and Quad-Cities Daily.

Just remember, if they can censor us, they can sensor you...

*****

Eaten somewhere recently and just loved it? Just hated it? Tell us about it. Send your reviews to shoalanda.speaks@gmail.com and we'll publish them here:


This week we have a review of PoBoy's in its new transplanted Tuscumbia location.



Shoalanda

Monday, January 19, 2015

How to Remove Your Name from the Sex Offender Registry within 30 Days


Obviously considering the number of sex offenders in our nation today, the registry serves a limited purpose and may do harm. Do you want your name removed?

If so there is a plan available to you that will cost you absolutely nothing. Sound too good to be true? Wait. I promise it's easy. Just what do you have to do?

Die...


If you're confused by our topic today, hold on. When I was filling in some months ago I received a comment from Derek Warren Logue, once-local child rapist now living in Ohio. He earned the title of child rapist when at the age of 24 he had sex with an 11 year old girl. He now campaigns for an end to both the sex offender registry and any age restrictions on consensual sex.

Derek always makes reference to the number of hits he get on his sites compared to Shoalanda's local blog. Why should anyone expect any less? A report from January 2012 states at that time there were almost 750,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. How many of them don't want off the registry? Maybe I should ask how many have family that does want them off. These sex offenders and their families spend hours on end hoping to hide from their crimes, hoping for a loophole.

So I decided to see how many hits one of our blogs would get with just the right title. I'll post an update in a few months. In the mean time you can read about Logue in Ohio where he's classified as a "sexual predator."

Derek Logue in Ohio

And on older SS blogs.

Shoalanda on Derek Logue


Bailey

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Signs of the Time? Don't Blame URBan Broadcasting


001 Mitchell Boulevard


Pictured is the rusting WVNA sign located adjacent to the northern entrance to O'Neal Bridge. The exact address is 001 Mitchell Boulevard. The property on which the sign sits is currently for sale by Weichert Realty for an unknown (at least to us) sum. The appraised value listed by Delta Systems is $5,300.00 for the relatively small triangle of land.

However, URBan Broadcasting doesn't own the property which at one time touted the time and temp along with a revolving blurb for WVNA FM/AM radio stations. It seems the property and sign's official owner is Mary Jane Darby, the widow of Elton H. Darby who at one time owned WVNA. The Darby family/estate is notorious for its tangles with Sheffield and other public entities over what amounts to little more than abandoned property.

Shall we assume this sign will be refurbished or torn down anytime soon? Not unless the property is sold. The sign is in Dick Jordan's district, as is the Knight-Humphries Donut. The location is described by realtors as great, but it's actually small and hard to access. It does offer a great location for signage. Let's hope a new owner is soon found.

*****

Sheffield five years ago. It's moving forward, at least parts of it:





Shoalanda

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Did Dewey Park Parker?


From a reader:
Fay Parker (is) most senior commissioner, but Dewey (Mitchell) decided they would now vote after 20 years doing it by Seniority. Chairman, a Democrat, voted for a Republican, Roger Garner, still in his first term. Looks like Fay is not voting how Dewey wants him too.
 
The Lauderdale County Commission has followed the appointment method for years. This precedent predates the service of Judge Mitchell and all of the current County Commissioners. When Judge Mitchell took office in 1995, Commissioner Bobby McCormick by seniority, and appointment, was the "vice chair". After Mr McCormick was defeated, the Commission authorized the Chairman to appoint the "vice chair". At that time, D.C. Thornton was the commissioner with the most seniority and was appointed "vice chair" which continued the precedent.
 
As you will read, the statute in question does not require a new appointment or election every two years following an election cycle. Neither does our rule of procedure. Therefore, the previous appointment of Mr Thornton remains in full force and effect until he retires from the Commission, is defeated at election or a change is made by proper official action of the full county commission.

*****

Is the above guest blog presenting anything really new about Dewey's ethics? No. Read on...


*****

Who needs fire lanes? From a reader:

Why don't the Florence and Muscle Shoals police departments enforce ordinances prohibiting 'parking in fire lanes'?  This is a HUGE problem in Florence's Kmart Plaza and at the various Walmarts in the area.

*****

This video has 22 views. Voters were really interested in the election, weren't they?




Shoalanda

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sociopaths, Career Criminals, & Rapists?


We recently commented that two Shoals area career criminals were sociopaths. We're going to add John James Common of Russellville to that list. Here's an update on Russellville's boy wonder:


We had been aware that J.J. was once arrested for having sex with an underage female. We even knew this young girl was mentally challenged. Yet according to a report at the time of the incident, the sex was forced. J.J. was never prosecuted in connection with this incident.

Both Jerry Don Crowden and Andrew Daniel Scott, whom we previously named as sociopaths, are career criminals and have both been involved in rape scenarios, although Scott was never charged in connection with any crime in the incident that resulted in the conception of a child.

Moral: You don't do anyone any favors by not reporting the crime of sexual assault. These sociopaths continue down their own private road to ruin and take those who love them with them. Don't be an enabler.

*****

From a reader: Didn't you do an article on TCS's student admission policy awhile back? IIRC, TCS WILL NOT remove 'problem students' that are 'out of district', even at the risk of potential harm to other students. IIRC, Deshler Middle School's principal had a rather heated discussion with parents of students in his school that were fed up with the 'out of district' troublemakers.

*****


Cold? Let's warm up:





Shoalanda

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stop Supporting These *(&^ Rapists!


There's never a news article or a blog about a rapist or child abuser that some woman doesn't write in to defend him. Are there ever any innocent men accused of these crimes? Certainly, but they are feeeeeew and faaaaaar between.

Now the Colbert County court system tells us that Charles Kyle Adcock, formerly of Muscle Shoals, committed First Degree Rape--a total of 12 times. Yes, we wonder why his young victim didn't inform her parents/guardians, but the district attorney's office seems confident these charges are correct and will stick.

Speaking of sticking... It seems dear Mr. Adcock is engaged. Guess what? His fiancee' Whitney Paige Zorn is championing his innocence. So maybe he is innocent and certainly she is faithful. How faithful?

Adcock, 31, was arrested in his home county of Carrollton in Texas on August 20th. He listed his parents and Miss Zorn as emergency contacts. Was he engaging in wishful thinking? Apparently not. On August 30th, Miss Zorn placed their wedding gift registry online. In case you want to send a gift:


So what if Adcock is convicted. He's looking at a long sentence. Will Miss Zorn wait? Sadly if her current behavior is any indication, she may give it a few years.

Tomorrow: Sociopaths & Rape?



Shoalanda

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Who Will Replace Debbie Wilson?


We had planned a blog on the injustice done to Debbie Wilson; however, she seems to have turned the table on Dick Jordan and the Testy Tourism Three, so we will offer sincere congratulations on her new post with the State of Alabama! Florence/Lauderdale loses. We're unclear if Debbie will have to relocate to fulfill the job requirements for this position. We hope not, but obviously Florence has not been that hospitable to her recently.

*****

From Florence-Lauderdale Watchdog:

We are furiously checking on the validity of this rumor from some random person on another page:

Libby Stockard Watts Jordan
"In a related story, city councilman Dick Jordan announced today he will now be in charge of the local Tourism Office, wife Libby will be the assistant director, with son Bill and Grandsons all paid special assistants to the director. Male Tourism Board Members are said to be prepared to expand the current budget to accommodate the additional expense. Electricity expense will be reduced to help balance the numbers."

*****

And from another source:

We've heard that if Steve Eason doesn't work out in his new position, Scooter Muse has a job for him cleaning toilets at various public housing locations.

*****

While on the subject of nepotism/cronyism, we recently heard this joke:

Q - How many blacks work in Muscle Shoals City Hall?

A - Three. One African-American, Marcel, and Marcel's son.




Shoalanda

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Muscle Shoals Non-Resident Policy: Our Take


We've recently published two guest blogs on the non-resident student policy at Muscle Shoals schools. Aside from the advisability of taking in such students, once they are in, they are in. They are the same as resident students and should be treated equally.

Scenario: Two boys, one a resident student, one a non-resident, feel a little bored and decide to make a bomb in chemistry. After the explosion in which ol' Sasquatch loses his beard, the boys admit their guilt. If only the non-resident student is expelled, you can bet your ebony hair dye that there will be a lawsuit.

However, that doesn't mean that the oh so entertaining educators at Muscle Shoals schools can't keep a sharper eye on non-resident students. That would be hard to prove, and we hear stealth is something of a specialty for them.

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It's been pointed out that since Chad Holden has assumed the principal's position at Muscle Shoals High School, no monthly newsletters have been posted. Is anything happening there, or is it all a secret?

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Debbie Wilson has flown the coop, and we can't blame her. The only remaining question is whether Libby will get this plum job or hold out for Barbara Broach's job as the Florence-Lauderdale Watchdog has suggested she will do.

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Apparently, it's drawn some controversy:




Shoalanda

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Second Take on Non-Resident Students at Muscle Shoals


From a reader:


I read with great interest your guest editorial published Wednesday, January 7 regarding the MSCS policy as it relates to non-resident students. I will preface my remarks by stating that I am a parent of 2 children that are non-resident students in the Muscle Shoals school district.

To quote your guest blogger: "The Muscle Shoals City Board of Education passed a new non-residency policy on May 20, 2013 giving the Superintendent the "right to revoke the enrollment status of an out-of-district student at any time for any misconduct that would warrant suspension under the Code of Student Conduct"

Principles have been instructed to hold non-resident students to a much higher standard than other students. Any conduct that "is less than exemplary" is reason for probation that eventually leads to expulsion. If a parent attempts to appeal a decision made by Dennis Conner, they have no other recourse but to go to Dr. Lindsey, his brother in law."

If a non-resident student is involved in misconduct significant enough to warrant a suspension, they SHOULD be subject to having their enrollment status revoked. These students SHOULD be held to a higher standard by principals. They SHOULD be expected to exhibit exemplary behavior. These students are out-of-district, and as such, are owed NOTHING by the MSCS or the MS BOE. If they are students in the MSCS system as non-residents, they are there by choice, and should be appreciative of the opportunity they have been offered. Muscle Shoals isn't required to accept any non-residents, and it is perfectly reasonable for them to expect non-resident students to "bring something to the table".

It is silly to suggest that the city should have built a new high school, rather than spending money on athletics. The high school is 14 years old. If the system has too many students, then Dr. Lindsey is correct in suggesting that out-of-district enrollment be looked at/reduced. The answer would certainly not be to build a new school solely to accommodate the non-resident population, regardless of what was spent on the athletic dept. (And that is not to defend the millions poured in to the football program-that was outrageous as well).

It would seem as though, given all the issues discussed here regarding the problems and shortcomings in the MSCS system, there wouldn't be such a problem with people trying to get their children INTO or keep them in the system...

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From Florence-Lauderdale Watchdog:

" Why would Libby Jordan, who is the curator of the Rosenbaum Home, need to go check out Indian Museums unless she has her eye on another position, say as Director of Tourism? "

Libby is a smart, capable person and would do a good job no matter where Dick puts her so any of our criticism are not directed at her personally.

However, it is widely known that Libby is being groomed by Dick Jordan to replace Barbara Broach upon her retirement.

There is another incredibly-capable person who already works within the city who has a master's degree in the arts who is far more qualified than Libby but, sadly, doesn't stand a chance as long as Dick is pulling the strings.

We acknowledge that there is a rumor of Libby being groomed for the Tourism department but can find nothing but speculation to support that claim. We think the city leadership knows the town will rail against any attempts to replace the current tourism director.

*****

Did you ever notice if there's an article in the TD about Libby Jordan, it's written by Robert Palmer?

*****




Shoalanda

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"That's Why I live in the County"


* I want my dogs to be able to run loose--that's why I live in the county.
* I want to keep chickens in my yard-that's why I live in the county.
* I want to let my grass grow--that's why I live in the county.
* I want to park in my front yard--that's why I live in the county.
* I want to shoot my gun in the back yard--that's why I live in the county.
* I want to live next door to a (noisy business/pig farm/dump)--that's why I live in the county.

Oh, wait, you've never heard the last reason. No, probably not, but we are utterly amazed that anyone who prefers to live in the county for the first five reasons has the temerity to complain about their next door neighbor's noise.

No, Alabama does not have home rule for counties. If you want to live in the county for the first five reasons, don't complain about the sixth one. You don't look very intelligent.

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The WVNA sign by O'Neal Bridge continues to rust and foster copious climbing plant growth. The sign now belongs to Urban Radio Broadcasting of Mobile. Do they care? Probably not. The property it sits on apparently belongs to the City of Florence; however, the city seems to also overlook this eyesore--it's in Dick Jordan's district.

It's been on our Shoals Eyesore list for some time. It seems it will remain so for the foreseeable future.

*****

The Sherwin-Williams Police has issued a new warrant for Lucky's Package Store on Jackson Highway in Sheffield. Now it's a compound felony--the bright yellow street paint is currently abetted by purple lights around the windows. What? The drunks can't find it otherwise?

*****. 

While looking for info on the Sheffield City Jail, we found:




Shoalanda

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Are Muscle Shoals Schools Really Family?


From a reader:



Remember - the banner for MSCS is "FAMILY".

Is that something like "Norm's Bar" on Cheers, where everyone knows you by name?

FaMily until we screw you out of your money, use your kid on the football field, or you have an opinion. 

D-I-V-O-R-C-E comes easy for the "FaMily". 

MSHS kicks kids that are 18 and failing out of school in December and tell them not to come back that they have "earned their credits" (without having to take exams) so they will not drop out and it be a black mark against graduation rates. Or, in some cases, offers to let student withdraw to avoid being kicked out. If these kids are on the streets, they aren't the MSCS problem. They just become the worry of police and public safety.
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From Florence-Lauderdale Watchdogs:
Our roving reporters tell us that the Tourism department meeting went as expected. By "as expected" we mean that Alex Nelson was an unabashed jerk that seems to have "woman issues."

When one female audience member politely asked if the board to speak up, Alex retorted, "There are plenty of empty chairs up front!"

When it was all said and done, the board approved their budget as expected. What we do not understand is why they appointed Alex as board vice president after all the distraction he has heralded these past few months.

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Looks like a nice old neon sign in this video:




Shoalanda

Friday, January 9, 2015

Just What Did Happen in Sheffield This Afternoon?


From a reader:

Elvis Who Isn't Elvis?
I am a former law enforcement officer. My training, with regards to responding to calls, was extremely specific on the 'hows' of vehicular response to calls. When responding to a call, some departments, or E911s, but not all, will dictate the officer's response mode. Other agencies often opt to allow for 'officer discretion' when responding to calls. However, 'officer discretion' ONLY comes with experience.

Having said that, calls can be broken down into the following types:

1. 'Code 1', which means NO lights or siren, but speed may be increased to NO MORE THAN 10 MPH over posted speed limits;

2. 'Code 2', which means lights ONLY, but NO siren. An officer's response speed WILL exceed posted limits, sometimes by MORE THAN 10 MPH, depending on the urgency (EX: response to a silent alarm at a bank); and

3. 'Code 3', which means lights AND siren. An officer's response speed WILL exceed posted limits, sometimes by a great deal, depending, again, on the urgency (EXS: an active shooter at a school or business, automobile accident with injuries, medical emergency, etc.).

'Officer discretion' aside (it's a truly wonderful 'tool' when properly used), one cannot help but wonder what an unmarked Sheffield police cruiser was responding to on the afternoon of January 9, 2015, at 1615HRS, that required a 'Code 2'-type response up Hatch Blvd. towards downtown Sheffield. Officers assigned unmarked vehicles should remember that EVEN WITH strobes, such vehicles are MUCH LESS visible than marked units with a light bar, especially when responding to emergencies.

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Meanwhile at Muscle Shoals schools, a second reader offers a take on nepotism:

NEPOTISM LAW passed April 2013 - - with a grandfather clause for employees in CURRENT POSITIONS

Lindsey Hired January 2014

STUDENTS FIRST ACT - prohibits a school employee from receiving a "Thing of value" ($25 was defined later as a thing of value).

Non resident teachers/Lindsey/Connor that bring their children to MSCS - $500 tuition for first child/$250 for each additional is WAIVED by an old Board policy.

This policy was not changed after the Students First Act was passed. THING OF VALUE?

There are easy lawsuits - the Superintendent is clearly in violation - that is why brother in law was not given a principal job. A lot of rookies, making a lot of mistakes at the expense of the children.

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And in Lauderdale County, a reader informs us:

Angie Roberson (indicted for theft from town of Rogersville) is currently cooling her heels in the LCDC. Her trial date is set for February 27th. She has no bond. I understand she is less than happy with her accommodations.

*****

We wonder just how much time Mark Linder, UNA athletic director, spends explaining university policies--more than he does in making them?


*****

And finally, in the "For What It's Worth Department." We don't envy Mark Parker his new position:




Shoalanda

Thursday, January 8, 2015

To Our Friend in Paris/City of Muscle Shoals


For most of this blog's life, we've used Statcounter. One of the features of this service is to enumerate the geographic locations our readers come from. Often we have Shoals area residents traveling, sometime for weeks or months, who view our blog; however, we've been aware for some time that we have two faithful readers who reside in other parts of the world--one in the South Pacific and one in the Paris area.

We don't know if our Paris reader enjoys our blog or perhaps views it as humor. It's possible the reader is actually French and is reading our blog for a scholarly thesis on small town life in America (we once had a high school teacher whose British cousin received a degree from Oxford in Alabama politics).

No matter why you read our blog, we hope you are safe today. We realize that Paris has a few more citizens than Zip City, but nevertheless the recent terrorist attack cannot have been pleasant for you. We would like to know that you are all right and how your everyday life has been affected by these events. If you would like to contact us, please do so at shoalanda.speaks@gmail.com.

*****

Speaking of small town life, here's some revealing insights by a citizen of Muscle Shoals:

Interesting: The video on the MSC website features in the most part are of events in Tuscumbia and Florence. MSC also published that the new Love's Travel Stop is their accomplishment as well. NOT.

Who paid for the tall silver musician statute between the library and high school? Rumor has it the city, electric department, water department and maybe the gas department each paid equal by using our taxpayer dollars. However, lip smacking, absent on the job mayor David Bradford and his little council men were the only ones at the un-veiling.

Where were the other publicly owned department representatives? Do they vacation like the mayor? Everyone knows the MS Mayor only shows up for the show and is usually at home or in Georgia baby-sitting his grandchildren.


*****
As for the sculpture(s), there are to be four total--one in each of the Quad-Cities. Wise Alloys donated the aluminum. Aside from that, the four sculptures and their surrounding gardens are anticipated to cost 450K, of which 75K had been donated at the time the Sheffield statue was unveiled in 2012.

Who made these donations? If any reader has information on this project, please send it to us.



Shoalanda

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Muscle Shoals Schools & Non-Residents


A Guest Editorial:

Muscle Shoals City School Superintendent Dr. Brian Lindsey and his Brother in Law, golfing buddy, cohort Dr, Dennis Conner who is the Non-resident, Attendance and Instructional Support Coordinator have been throwing non-resident students out of their schools, many of which have been in the school system since Kindergarten. They are being thrown out for very minor infractions, basically any reason to boot them out. This is heartbreaking, demoralizing and devastating to the children. They being forcibly uprooted and made to leave their school and classmates behind.

The Muscle Shoals City Board of Education passed a new non-residency policy on May 20, 2013 giving the Superintendent the "right to revoke the enrollment status of an out-of-district student at any time for any misconduct that would warrant suspension under the Code of Student Conduct" 

Principles have been instructed to hold non-resident students to a much higher standard than other students. Any conduct that "is less than exemplary" is reason for probation that eventually leads to expulsion. If a parent attempts to appeal a decision made by Dennis Conner, they have no other recourse but to go to Dr. Lindsey, his brother in law.

The reason is that the school system is over capacity and they spent all of the money on the athletics program instead of building another school.


It is also rumored that talented football students have been recruited from outside the city to Muscle Shoals High School. It seems that non-residence athletes are encouraged at the some time that other non-resident students are being railroaded out of the school system.

Here is an excerpt from the Times Daily article about those apartments dated May 24, 2014

Muscle Shoals Superintendent Brian Lindsey said the school system could be impacted greatly if a large number of school-aged children move into the system that, at best, has limited space for growth.
"There are a lot of unknowns with it but we have to serve the students in our district so if it packs us up, we'd have to first look at our non-resident population," Lindsey said. The district currently has more than 400 non-resident students.

"The high school is pretty close to capacity now and kindergarten's enrollment is up for next year but if we have space issues we'll just deal with it," he said, "The complex will likely have kids, so we'll just deal with it as it comes."


Another interesting tidbit:

Dr. Conner was selected to take over the Principle position at Webster Elementary, but Montgomery vetoed the appointment because of the appearance of “nepotism and conflict of interest.”

*****

We realize residency requirements can be tricky. If preferential treatment for certain athletes can be established, this would indeed be lawsuit material.

Currently, we're very interested in the projected update of the Muscle Shoals High School handbook including dress code. We've glanced at the current handbook and will offer an observation on the mission statement:

Providing opportunities for all students to obtain wisdom and to achieve their greatest potential.

Educators should realize that knowledge and wisdom are two different animals--apparently some don't. 



Shoalanda

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Steve Eason to Coordinate City Projects?


Yes, it seems it's true that former Florence city clerk Steve Eason is the new coordinator for the city's capital projects. Exactly what that position entails, we have no idea. Eason was removed from his position as city clerk by a 5-1 vote of the Florence City Council in October 2004. Sources say that Eason is married to Councilman (and former mayor) Dick Jordan's sister. At the time of Eason's termination, outgoing Mayor Jordan accused the five who ousted Eason of having a vendetta.


Vendettas seem to be popular in Florence. We can remember a vendetta against a Florence planning department employee. Surely just a coincidence...

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Public information? All arrests are public record. The TimesDaily has stated it doesn't publish misdemeanor arrests, but that policy apparently wasn't followed when the five UNA football players were arrested late last year. The TD seems about as consistent as UNA athletic director Mark Linder.

Just because the TD doesn't publish an arrest, whether felony or misdemeanor, that doesn't mean it isn't newsworthy. We see the TD did publish the out of state arrest of a Rogersville man on attempted murder charges the day after it appeared on other sources.

We understand the TD refused to publish the name of Greene Davidson who was convicted on animal cruelty charges. So, a drunk college kid is more newsworthy than a middle aged preacher who deliberately starved a family of dogs? Interesting...

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In the humor is where you find it department, a reader made us aware of an ad in this week's Courier-Journal. The staff of a certain business wishes everyone a happy new year. Just the staff?

Apparently the owner(s) don't even show up except to collect a draw. It's not against the law, but if this is all the attention the owner gives to his business, we wonder how much he gives to the city council of which he's a member?



Shoalanda

Monday, January 5, 2015

Florence-Lauderdale Watchdogs!


This is a relatively new Facebook page. They are imparting some valuable information--information we have not been able to publish due to liability issues. As with anything you read, we encourage you to check for yourself.

Re-hiring Steve Eason so he can get his pension? We had no idea anyone gave him the time of day. More lawsuits in the works?

Lots and lots on the Testy Tourism Three. Check it out here:


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We've learned today that convicted killer Hershel Dale Graham has decided to pursue his appeal options to a higher court after being denied a hearing with the previous court. If you see him out gallivanting at Walmart, be sure to send us a pic.

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For those who asked about placing a Courier-Journal ad, yes you have to furnish a name and address. A name could be something like "Citizens for Better Colbert County Schools." An address could be any business which allowed its use. As for cost, you will have to call the CJ.

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Tomorrow we'll be looking at what is public information and what should be public. Feel free to send questions or comments.



Shoalanda

Sunday, January 4, 2015

How to Oust Colbert County Supt. Anthony Olivis


Several have contacted us concerning the possibility of removing Anthony Olivis from his elected position. The easiest way would be to ensure he resigns under pressure. Would he?

Simply acquire system financial statements for the month before he took office two years ago and the current month. If the system has lost the millions as reported to us, take out a full page ad in the Courier Journal and publish copies of the statements (it shouldn't be that expensive). This should bring down the wrath of enough Colbert citizens on Olivis' head to force him to take some action.

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We've reported before that the last published agenda for the Colbert County Board of Education is for March 2014. A reader has informed us that it has not been updated. If enough citizens contact them, they should rapidly begin to take this much more seriously than they do:

425 Highway 72 West (Physical)
P.O. Box 538 (Mailing)
Tuscumbia, AL 35674
Office: 256-386-8565       Fax: 256-381-9375
Office Hours: Monday-Friday (7:30-4:00)

*****

We also understand there will soon be more updates on the situation at New Bethel School. We will endeavor to publish them as we receive them.


We realize that things change and that closures/consolidations are sometimes necessary; however, threats of closure should never be that--threats in retaliation for perceived slights or wrongs.


Shoalanda

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Anonymity & Whistle Blowing




We've had one Facebook comment we would like to address here:

It is amazing to me that you print editorials that doing nothing but attack the Colbert County School System. If the person writing this editorial is so knowledgable about the county why is he/she afraid to include a name. I mean if it is all true there wouldn't be consequences for that person. It's because the whole point of the editorial is to create strife between the administration and employees. And like any bully the person creating this editorial just wants to cause problems. I have many friends working in the Colbert County School System and they appreciate and support Mr. Olivis. Many, many county school systems are struggling with financial problems and that should be laid at the doorstep of this state. This state does not fund its education system adequately and we all suffer for that reason. The job of superintendent is a thankless, stressful job and I am amazed anyone will do it. If I were Mr. Olivis I wouldn't do it because there is no appreciation and plenty of critics. It would be so nice if you used you web site to help others instead of tearing people down.

Let's look at this misguided commenter's points...

1. If you work for a public official who's skimming money from the public till, just how long will you keep your job if you report it? How about if you know this public official is hiring his friends instead of more competent applicants? How about if you know this official is out to get revenge on those he thinks have slighted him over the years. How about if he or she is merely fudging the time card?

It may sound noble to include a name, but in the end it leads to the unemployment line, especially in a system which has now attempted to fire four "enemies." Mr. Olivis would not think twice about firing any whistle blower at this point.

2. All school systems lose money? We can't address that one way or the other, but to have lost 8.5 million dollars in two years is mind boggling (if the correct figure) not to mention the State Board has warned the system. Do Colbert County citizens want their school taken over by the State? Just look to Franklin County to the south of Colbert. It has less financial resources--have you seen it attempting to close any schools or reducing personnel in this fashion?

3. Using our site to help? Yes, we do that every day. We're attempting to help those Mr. Olivis has fired or transferred simply because they didn't support him in the last election or ran against him. We're attempting to help the children who are the real losers in all this. We're attempting to help Colbert County taxpayers who expect their hard earned money to be put to educational use--not to be wasted on God only knows what and employee lawsuits.

We're going to add here that this commenter comes from the school of thought that if you don't mention it, it will go away. Let's never mention the child who was raped, never mention the public official who stole thousands, never mention the drunk who killed his innocent daughter, never mention the religious figure who sexually molested his charges, never mention the school janitor who hit a female employee. It will just all go away...

*****

Speaking of the Leighton Elementary School janitor who struck a female school worker and was only transferred--not dismissed. How would you feel is this was you, gentle readers? Would you feel justice was done? How about the workers at the janitor's new location? How do they feel? Perhaps just a little on edge knowing they could become this man's next victim?



Shoalanda

Friday, January 2, 2015

Colbert County School System – The New Gilligan’s Island?


Today we're presenting an excellent guest editorial. We know that all school systems in Alabama need more funding. You may criticize the Muscle Shoals City schools for excess spending on their football program, but at least they have something to show for their money. The Colbert County School System has nothing to show for money expended to fight lawsuits instigated by Anthony Olivis' actions. 

For whatever reason, many do not access the Internet. If you own a business in Colbert County, we're asking that you do as several did during the time leading up to the November elections. You can have 100 copies of this blog printed on cheap paper for less than one dollar. Give them to your customers; they have a right to know the truth.

*****

The New Gilligan’s Island?



The Colbert County School System (CCSS) outlook is bleak. Every day that passes with the Skipper (Superintendent Anthony Olivis) and Gilligan (Assistant Superintendent Jeff Cornelius) in charge is another day of system decline and budget shortfall. The Skipper scurries around the island (Central Office) reacting to situations and crises as they occur rather than acting – planning and preparing in advance so problems never happen in the first place. At every turn, First Mate Gilligan manages to ruin the system’s chances of being rescued. Whenever he tries to help, he always ends up doing more harm than good. He’s the Skipper's little buddy and does most of the unpleasant chores on the island.

When leaving office two years ago, the previous CCSS administration left close to $8 million in the bank for the incoming Skipper/Gilligan team. Now the system is more than $500,000 in the red and the deficit is climbing every month.

The system CFO was summoned to the State Department of Education (SDE) in Montgomery to give a report on system finances and to present a plan of action to correct the current deficit. Whatever plan was presented doesn’t seem to be working though. Where did the money go?

Where will the money come from to operate the school system going forward? Only two options are currently available to reverse the negative slide, neither of them pleasant.

One alternative is to consolidate New Bethel Elementary with CHES. Of course, the New Bethel community would not be happy with this option. Consolidation has already been brought up at recent board meetings but is not likely to happen since board members (especially the one representing the New Bethel community) are scared of losing in the next election if they support it.

The second alternative is to cut people – faculty and staff. Reductions in personnel should have been done two years ago to balance dwindling revenue caused by declining student enrollment. This would have been unpopular in the best of times, but would have been doubly hard for the Skipper since many of the potentially affected positions were held by his supporters in his election race against Bob Montgomery.

The bottom line: We have no competent leadership in Colbert County willing to do what is necessary to solve the financial crisis in our school system. The Skipper and Gilligan, as well as the Board, are all afraid of losing their high-paying jobs, thus putting their own self-interests above what is good for our children. Politics at its finest.

There has been no public release of information concerning the current CCSS status – financial or otherwise. Employees, communities, teachers, and parents are kept out of the loop. The Skipper and Gilligan make decisions on their own without consulting the Board. This has caused a rift between the administration and Board members.

In addition, the Colbert Heights community remains in the dark regarding the principal position at Colbert Heights Elementary School (CHES).

If there is a plan, it seems to simply be “watch as we go.” Gilligan has filled in as principal at CHES since the beginning of the school year, a position that he has stated publicly is beneath him, and he wants out. He wants to go back to the Central Office to his cushy $100,000+ job.

The Skipper has suggested that a different “principal-of-the-month” fill in at CHES until school is out, with these fill-ins coming from the Central Office. This is a recipe for disaster! Some of the potential fill-ins have no principal experience at all. Who suffers? Kids and teachers.

The decision to oust Montgomery from CHES (and attempt his termination from the system) by the Skipper and Gilligan because of the political and personal agendas of a few was a monumental blunder. CHES, when led by Montgomery, was a top-performing school. Look at what the Gilligan’s Island team has created now at CHES since their attack on Montgomery.

People say Gilligan wants to run the system, but wake up people – look at the system now with these two running it. Who will pay for these blunders? Taxpayers will pay and students will suffer.

Morale in the system continues to decline faster than student enrollment.

Shenanigans at the Central Office seemed to settle down somewhat with Gilligan being assigned to fill in at CHES. With the rumor mill predicting his return to the Central Office and his assistant superintendent duties, employees there are less than pleased. Gilligan created an environment of drama and hostility at the Central Office. He was condescending, arrogant, and it was not hard to figure out he had his own self-serving political agenda.

System employees feel intimidated and threatened and will not speak out for fear of being retaliated against if they question or disagree with an Island policy or procedure. There is no sense of “teamwork” in the system. Perception is that this administration creates an environment of chaos, dishonesty, and intimidation.

In addition, employees realize the system’s current path will most likely lead to layoffs and families will be faced with major financial challenges. Our system was on a sustainable path before the Skipper and Gilligan took over. What happened?

Gilligan has managed CCSS academics for the past two years after being assigned the task just after the Skipper took office. As reported in a recent Times Daily article, Colbert County Schools ranked lowest in Shoals Area graduation rates with a decrease in the graduation rate for 2013-2014. When contacted, the Skipper said this was due to a failure to track students. So – who was in charge of this? Gilligan was in charge! Where does the buck stop?

Unfortunately, in its present financial condition, the CCSS cannot afford to create new academic programs and provide proper resources. Since this is a major concern to parents when it comes to educating their children, it has the potential to create a further decline in student enrollment.

The CCSS cannot continue to operate under the status quo – its current path is simply not sustainable. Changes MUST be made. Since the Skipper and Gilligan were put in charge two years ago, the system has been in a state of decline. We need changes at the top – beginning with the Skipper/Gilligan team, and continuing with a few Board members. (Employees are not blind to the fact that in addition to selfishly protecting their own jobs at all costs, several Board members are guilty of hiring their relatives and supporters just as Skipper and Gilligan have done.) There is no time for politics or agendas now – it’s time to make tough decisions. Our system is in dire financial straits and employees want to know where they stand system-wide.

Perhaps new Board member Ricky Saint will challenge the rest of the Board to do what is in the best interest of the kids and the system. The best thing that could happen for the system is for the Skipper and Gilligan to resign their positions before the SDE comes in and takes the system over. Both have proven themselves to be incompetent and incapable of running the CCSS.

*****




Shoalanda