Sunday, January 31, 2016

Republican Platform/Angel Gieske

A reader asked our opinion on the Republican platform for the upcoming session. Much of it is good, but we can easily see three of the platform’s planks that are not so good. Let’s look at them. 

* “Alabama’s Right To Work Constitutional Amendment – Although Alabama and many other southeastern states are firm right-to-work states, labor unions have stepped up their efforts to organize industrial facilities across the region after experiencing recent successes that include Volkswagen in Tennessee and Golden Dragon in Wilcox County. Alabama passed one of the nation’s first right-to-work laws roughly 60 years ago, but House Republicans believe it is time to enshrine that employment protection in our state constitution and will offer an amendment to be included on the November 2016 election ballot.”

So this has been a law for 60 years, but due to unions working harder to unionize businesses, we now need to “enshrine” this law in our state constitution? So much for fewer laws, needless laws, and constitutional reform.

* “Preserving Second Amendment Constitutional Rights – The Alabama House Republican Caucus pledges to assist members of our federal delegation in overturning Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders attacking our Second Amendment right to own firearms.”

So just how do our state representatives plan to assist our federal officials? Shouldn’t they stick to taking care of state business and, just a thought, adopting a viable budget? And just what executive order has actually infringed any mentally fit citizen’s right to purchase a weapon?

* “Unborn Infants’ Dignity of Life Act – Recent reports about outrageous acts by Planned Parenthood and its representatives have prompted public outcry regarding the organization and the cavalier practices it utilizes regarding unborn life. In order to ensure that these atrocities do not occur in Alabama, the House Republican Caucus will offer legislation banning the sale of the bodily remains of unborn infants.”

Legal experts say sales of fetal tissue/parts are already illegal, but that’s not the main problem with this legislation. There is no such thing as an “unborn infant.” If our legislators go through with this quite possibly redundant piece of legislation, let’s hope they at least change the name so that Alabama won’t again be a laughing stock. Or perhaps next year they could introduce legislation to protect breathing cadavers?


Speaking of the upcoming legislative session, will anyone attempt to disenfranchise Florence voters?

Segueing to the Lauderdale County School Board, we hear one member has been missing in action recently. Many are not happy over this, and we fail to see the “integrity” in intentionally dodging questions.


Angel Gieske? The fraudulent counselor has again been arrested, this time in Colbert County. Wonder how her mental evaluation at Taylor Harden went? She’s set for trial in Walker County next week; how many out there think the state will recover any of the money either paid to Gieske or lost by DHR because of her actions?


Today's article on sentencing in the TD again confused Capital and Felony Murder. Tom Smith correctly stated that Nathan Boyd is serving life without, having been convicted of Capital Murder. His brother Eric was convicted of Felony Murder and IS elibible for parole, which strangely enough he mentioned later in the article.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Battling Baptists v. Marauding Methodists?

We fully understand that the Muslim religion can be compared in scope to the Christian religion. Just because some factions are murdering, raping cannibals, not all of them are. Yet we’ve always said that despite the rogue churches with 20 or so members, you don’t see too many Christians who feel the need to go to actual war with those who don’t believe exactly as they do.

We’re going to inject here that we have at least one Baptist blogger among our ranks; this particular blog in no way describes our feelings for our good friends in the Baptist church. That being said, how many of you have heard of Dean Young, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Orange Beach who is opposing Bradley Byrne?

Young has stated Byrne can’t be trusted because he is an Episcopal, a religion that accepts gay marriage. If you haven’t guessed by now, Young is a close friend of Roy Moore. Byrne himself states that he opposes gay marriage, but has not migrated to the Anglican Church which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

Again, this comment in no way reflects our opinion of Baptists in general, but Byrne should ideally counter with his own charges against Young who must believe once saved, always saved. After all, he could easily use this doctrine to rob his constituents blind and not feel even slightly guilty about it. (We know that most Baptists would inject here that if Young did so, he had never truly been saved.)

With a month to go before the primary, this seems to be the first mud we’ve seen flung, and thank God it wasn’t in our area. We don’t doubt there is some to come in the next few weeks. Do your own investigation into the facts and vote accordingly.


Religious preference? We haven’t taken a survey, but we’re pretty sure Prince in an Apawstolic.


A young man sat on the first row of an Episcopal Sunday School class, intently listening to the priest who taught the group. The man raised his hand and asked the speaker if one could find salvation outside the Episcopal Church. The priest pursed his lips, thought for a minute, then said, “Yes, a man could find salvation outside the Episcopal Church, but a gentleman wouldn’t avail himself of the opportunity.”


So a woman from Waterloo possibly defaced a hunter’s truck and threw away his keys and she gets a larger write-up in the TD than the man who brutally beat his own small child? No, we don’t condone what she did. Anyone aware of illegal hunting should take the alleged miscreant’s tag number and contact the game warden.

The poacher, or non-poacher as the case may be, could have easily shot the woman. It’s just extremely sad that we’ve become so inured to stories about child abuse that they no longer rate that much copy, but take a Sharpie to a hunter’s truck and you become Public Enemy number one.


Friday, January 29, 2016

They Were Caught, So Who Suffered?

When two city employees are caught in the act (on a table in a public office no less), which one is fired? If you guessed the male, you just haven't been paying attention for...oh, your whole life. It takes two to do this particular tango, during the work day no less. We sincerely hope this woman sues in order to get her job back. No, we don't condone what she did. We do believe that if there is punishment, it should be for both participants in this act.


Republicans have released their agenda for the next legislative session:

“Zero-Based Budgeting Reform – In order to bring a new level of scrutiny, transparency, and accountability to the appropriations process, the Alabama House Republican Caucus will begin to implement a new ‘zero-based’ budgeting system. This revolutionary new process will require state agencies to fully account for each dollar they receive, help identify ineffective programs that are in need of elimination, and potentially save or re-direct substantial amounts of taxpayer dollars.”

“Pension Reform – The Alabama House Republican Caucus will continue its efforts to ensure the long-term solvency and fiscal health of the Retirement Systems of Alabama while protecting and preserving the current level of benefits earned by existing retirees and employees.”

“Alabama Taxpayer Advocate Act – Under current law, the role of Taxpayer Advocate must be filled by an employee within the Department of Revenue who is selected by the commissioner and reports directly to her. In order to ensure fair and equitable treatment of Alabama taxpayers, House Republicans will offer legislation requiring the Taxpayer Advocate to be appointed by the governor from a pool of candidates recommended by a committee of government officials and business professionals. The advocate’s role and duties in protecting taxpayers’ interests would be expanded significantly under this measure.”

“Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit – During the past five years, Alabama has transformed into one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, and the Legislature has worked to provide incentives necessary to lure thousands of new, high-paying jobs to our state. Small businesses, however, have created more than 65 percent of all new jobs over the past 20 years nationally. To encourage further job expansion within the state, Alabama House Republicans will propose a $1,500 income tax credit for every new, qualified employee hired by small businesses operating within the state.”

“Alabama’s Right To Work Constitutional Amendment – Although Alabama and many other southeastern states are firm right-to-work states, labor unions have stepped up their efforts to organize industrial facilities across the region after experiencing recent successes that include Volkswagen in Tennessee and Golden Dragon in Wilcox County. Alabama passed one of the nation’s first right-to-work laws roughly 60 years ago, but House Republicans believe it is time to enshrine that employment protection in our state constitution and will offer an amendment to be included on the November 2016 election ballot.”

“Protecting Public Safety from Syrian Refugee Threats – Recognizing the inherent risks that exist and lacking confidence in federal claims of thorough background checks, the Alabama House Republican Caucus will oppose any Obama administration effort to relocate masses of Syrian or other Middle Eastern refugees to our state. The possibility of even one “refugee” with a questionable background slipping through the system poses a danger to our public safety that Alabamians should not be forced to endure.”

“Preserving Second Amendment Constitutional Rights – The Alabama House Republican Caucus pledges to assist members of our federal delegation in overturning Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders attacking our Second Amendment right to own firearms.”

“School Security and Student Safety Task Force – Alabama schools have been extremely fortunate to avoid a violent situation like those that have occurred in other states, but we must continue looking for ways to improve school safety and ensure we are as prepared as possible to prevent or mitigate any situation that might arise. The Alabama House Republican Caucus will create a task force comprised of key education, law enforcement, and emergency management leaders from across the state and tasked with completing a comprehensive review and assessment of state laws, regulations, and protocols relating to security and student safety in our public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. The Legislature will consider the task force’s resulting recommendations for improvement.”

“Teacher Pay Raise – Recognizing their importance in preparing students for success in the 21st Century workplace, House Republicans will work to provide Alabama’s K-12 and post-secondary education personnel with a pay raise.”

“Wireless Infrastructure Renovation for Education (WIRED) Act – An extensive knowledge of operating computers will be required of everyone in the 21st century workforce, so today’s students must be proficient in the latest technologies. Three out of five schools in the United States currently lack the infrastructure needed to take advantage of wireless technology, and that number is believed to be even higher in Alabama. The WIRED Act proposed by House Republicans will create a framework for putting wireless broadband in all K-12 public schools by providing grants to local systems for the purchase, installation or upgrade of wireless infrastructure. Schools already possessing the necessary infrastructure may use the grants to purchase wireless devices and technology.”

“Unborn Infants’ Dignity of Life Act – Recent reports about outrageous acts by Planned Parenthood and its representatives have prompted public outcry regarding the organization and the cavalier practices it utilizes regarding unborn life. In order to ensure that these atrocities do not occur in Alabama, the House Republican Caucus will offer legislation banning the sale of the bodily remains of unborn infants.”


Now, how many of these laws are totally redundant and will never be passed?


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Richard Shelby, Guns, & Sex

Richard Shelby is Alabama’s long-sitting US senator. Surprise: He’s running again. Bigger surprise: His campaign ads show him holding a gun. Biggest surprise: He simply won’t be defeated in the upcoming elections. No, we‘re not going to endorse anyone for the senate simply because there’s no need. Shelby, gun and all, will win. 

Our main question is: Does anyone out there feel more secure because Richard Shelby owns a gun and implies he can shoot…something? Show us an ad for a sheriff’s candidate holding a rifle and we might be duly impressed. The fact that our senator, or governor, thinks simply holding a gun makes him a better candidate is laughable. Voters should care more for a candidate’s economic IQ than his/her gun IQ. Sadly, some don’t.


The most recent survey on causes of death in the United States is out. It covers the year 2014, and 21 states had a higher death rate from guns than from motor vehicle accidents. Tennessee was one of those states, and it’s causing some comments.

The percentage of families in the U.S. owning a motor vehicle? 90%. The percentage owning a gun? 32%. We’ll admit that we found the latter number much lower than we would have expected.

Should these statistics concern us? Comments please (and we know we’ll get them.)


A recent comment in the TimesDaily caught our eye. It asked if anyone notices that the paper’s law and order section lists a gun theft almost every day. No, we hadn’t. Do any local police agencies keep a spreadsheet on these thefts?

Theoretically, guns are registered to owners. In other words, they can be traced. An intelligent person wouldn’t purchase a firearm without the proper receipt complete with seller’s name, etc. Yet we doubt gun thieves have any problems selling their ill-gotten fire arms…or even worse, using the weapons themselves in nefarious pursuits.


Question for thought: Why do so many cry out for blood when a child is left in a hot car, but simply say “tut tut” when a child dies because of easy access to a loaded handgun? We see far more deaths among children, especially toddlers, due to guns than due to being left in a parked vehicle.


The sex part in the title of today’s blog? Mainly we just threw that in to get your attention, but it is our opinion that Shelby, Bentley, and others we could name (from Franklin County) think holding a gun makes them more sexually attractive. News flash: It doesn’t; however, such photos do bring to mind Elmer Fudd and Charlie Whitman.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Invest in What, Eh?/Robert C. Fuller

It seems that Rob Adolph Carnegie, that veritable avatar of tourism in Northwest Alabama, is seeking investors in his branding project. Investors to pay for advertising? We have no idea what these investors are to receive for their money.

Will branding become a reality? Robbie baby is setting up a committee or focus group or coven or something to look into it further. Is everyone clear on that? If you are, please elucidate us.


A reader has sent us some information on the gentleman who jumped to his death from Bibb-Graves Hall in the 1960s. He was not a professor, but the college's business manager/treasurer. His name was Robert C. Fuller and he lived near what is now UNA with his wife, an Appleby Junior High science teacher. Apparently his suicide was totally unexpected and rocked what was then Florence State College.

We don't have a date for his death, but we will publish more on his tragic leap from the tower if it becomes available. We understand Fuller was childless and has no living descendants.


We recently mentioned a new blogger. He will be arriving soon; his screen name is Jasper Black, and we think you'll enjoy his work.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rogersville Police/Lauderdale Community Corrections

Do Rogersville Police and Lauderdale County Corrections know where everyone is?

From an anonymous source in eastern Lauderdale County:

Apparently, a Rogersville police officer recently called 911 from his home in Killen, but could not be understood because of his slurred speech from allegedly drinking too much Nyquil (the recording would be available at 911). The Rogersville police chief's son went over to the officer's house in Killen and took the officer's phone from him. The officer then proceeded to get on the police radio in his patrol vehicle and talk to dispatch in an incoherent manner. Chief Terry Holden then responded to the scene. After the episode, the officer was suspended for 3 days, but allowed to use sick leave, so he could still be paid while on suspension. As citizen of Rogersville, I have heard about officers who have been let go for much less. I guess the police chief has his favorites.

From an anonymous source at Lauderdale County Corrections:

Andrew Scott was arrested yesterday morning in Limestone County. He was released on his own recognisance. No word on how serious this will be or what Judge Self will do.


Interesting. Does Chief Holden have his favorites? Comments? And how about Hottie Scottie? He's been back in community corrections for just over a week and has a new arrest(s)? And just why was he in Limestone County? Anyone else think Lauderdale Community Corrections has more than its share of problems? Comments?


Monday, January 25, 2016

Doc Larry Knows?

Hi, everyone. Prince here. I just had to put in my two dog biscuits about a recent comment from your (hey, I’m not claiming him) state senator Larry Stutts. Some folks don’t know that before Doc Larry was making a living delivering babies that he made one taking care of fur babies. That’s right, he was a veterinarian, and I’m proud to say one of my cousins once had the opportunity to bite him. Ruff!!!

Most of you probably do know that your legislature (not claiming that either) is about to meet in Montgomery. Doc Larry has been quoted concerning his stance on additional funding for Medicaid, and do you know what he said? He said he’d never had a woman about to give birth arrive in an ambulance if she had private insurance.

I’ve got to ask if Doc Larry was taking a survey? B’Arf! Maybe something like “How far apart are your contractions and by what means of transportation did you arrive at the hospital?” If he did, wouldn’t he risk having some of them shoot back, “And how did you get here? Your broom?”

About the only thing good I’ve got to say is thank God that his current patients can do more to defend themselves than bite. But if any of you think a bite is in order, just call me. I’m available.


Yes, Prince is totally correct that our legislature is about to meet in less than two weeks. Fast times on Goat Hill. Remember, you vote and you have a say in what laws your representatives pass. Make your voice known.

Have concerns about any law being considered? Contact us. We’ll happily publish any guest blogs.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

A.I. & Oliver Brazelle

AI, the common abbreviation for Artificial Intelligence, has been around for a long time, but a particular version of AI veritably stormed onto the scene about 15 years ago with Sony’s introduction of AIBO, short for Artificial Intelligence (Ro)Bot. Did AIBO look like Robbie, flailing its claw hands in the air and screaming “Danger, Will Robinson?” No, it looked like a puppy. Why? Puppies sell. Everyone loves a puppy. Who could resist it? Sony was no marketing fool.

So we now have Oliver Brazelle, an 81 year-old man, who is again in the public eye. He’s small, soft-spoken, and smiling. He’s your father or your grandfather or maybe even your great-grandfather. Who wouldn’t want to come to his aid if he were stranded in a snow bank looking totally helpless?

But Brazelle wasn’t helpless for all those years he sexually molested young males in his care. No, it was the young men who looked up to him who were helpless. It was the young men who were reportedly intimidated by his assertions that no one would believe them. Oliver stated at his sentencing that the Devil made him do it. Just what convicted criminal could not say the same thing?

So should we put those thoughts aside and allow the one-time youth and music minister to have a great degree of freedom even while he’s ostensibly serving a two year sentence, a very lenient sentence for which his attorney Ralph Holt plea bargained? When does justice end and revenge begin?

If Brazelle had been convicted 30 years ago, we know that no one would have even suggested a type of commutation of his sentence. But he’s 81 and is apparently costing the state a lot of money to house, or at least was. No, as of this month, it seems Brazelle is in Lauderdale Community Corrections where he pays a weekly fee to enjoy whatever freedom he may.

From PNS: Oliver Brazelle

Yet the PNS article is correct that sex offenders are barred from community corrections. The plea called for Brazelle to register as a sex offender, and he is indeed listed as being barred from any such community programs according to his DOC listing.

So why is he in this program? Many murderers and drug traffickers (think Wes Akin) are barred from community corrections. Will they be next?

We may need to clarify that last paragraph. We think many who are barred from community programs would do well there, but it’s not our call. If it were our call, someone with a great deal of potential who had once had a problem with drugs would certainly be eligible for one chance at a community program. Yes, one chance and one chance only. No, we don’t think sex offenders deserve that chance…not even 81 year-old Oliver Brazelle.


We understand that Lauren N. Columbia, recently arrested in the death of a second child born dead due to drug addiction, was given youthful offender status in her first case. Having such, Columbia’s records are sealed, at least from the public. Her first charge can be used against her in her newest case. What happens to a youthful offender? From Huntsville defense attorney Andrew Segal:

If a person is adjudged a youthful offender and the charge is a felony, the court can:
• Suspend the imposition or execution of sentence with or without probation
• Place the defendant on probation for a period up to three years
• Impose a fine for the offense with or without probation or commitment
• Commit the defendant to the custody of the Board of Corrections

Our take? Those acquainted with Columbia and the father of her two children tell us Lauren’s father promptly bailed out his daughter and secured a private attorney for her. We have to ask why he didn’t insist on her going to rehab? Now the young Florence woman may be going somewhere much less desirable than an inpatient rehab clinic.

Editor’s note: While we don’t totally agree with how the law on chemical endangerment of a child is now being used, we have addressed Lauren Columbia’s actions not simply due to the request of several regular readers, but also due to this being her second charge on the same offense.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Billy Hammock/He Said What?

It may be a toss-up as to which local election is the most heated, but certainly the race with the most candidates is that for Lauderdale County license commissioner. We’ve recently run a short platform from Tony Cox. Today we present Billy Hammock’s:

I am a lifetime resident of Lauderdale County and a 28-year business owner, commercial property owner and homeowner. I am married to Brandi Clark Hammock who has been a resident of Lauderdale County for 26 years. We are members and attend Eastside Church of Christ. 

I have been a jeweler for 31 years of which I have owned my current business Creative Jewelers for 28 years. I am a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America, and have thirteen certificates in the jewelry industry. In 2010, I won an international award from one of the world’s largest jewelry manufacturers for innovation in the jewelry industry. I am a supporter of our local university UNA by being the title sponsor for the Miss UNA Pageant, among other events at the university.

To date, I have had the opportunity to leverage a relatively high profile as a Historic Downtown Florence business owner (seen and heard often over the years on television and radio) to the service of the community, acting as Board Chair of the Florence Main Street business development non-profit; Chapter President of the BNI business networking group; Board of Directors of Downtown Florence Unlimited (DFU); Board of Directors of Attention Home; and a longstanding member and participant in a number of other civic organizations.

Over the decades, I’ve seen how attentive and committed city and county officials can inspire robust commercial development and position our residential communities as desirable alternatives to larger, high-cost cities in adjacent counties.

To that end, I am seeking to become an even more active and deeply involved participant in the county’s future growth – and feel that the position of County License Commissioner would allow me to become part of the team moves Lauderdale County into a bright and vibrant future.


There’s an old saying—“consider the source.” Most of us do that in many ways almost every day. We expect more of a teenager than a child, just as we expect more of an adult than we do of the adolescent. What about those who present themselves as role models? Those who lead large numbers of students? Don’t we expect more from them, especially those who present themselves as qualified educators?

Certainly we all make mistakes from time to time when we speak off the cuff, but not all mistakes are equal. A noted local educator was quoted in the TimesDaily recently. This is what he said:

 Not too long ago, me and my son had some work to do

We felt like that old movie ad with Nathan Lane in La Cage aux Folles (How do you think I feel? Betrayed, bewildered...); this is the principal of Mars Hill Bible School speaking?


Friday, January 22, 2016

Another Local Ghost…or Two?

We’ve always wondered why the spirit of an unnamed student who reportedly jumped from an O’Neal Hall window and the ghost of an unidentified construction worker from the 1970s are always presented as UNA’s resident spirits, while a much more dramatic death is never spoken of.

For many years, Prof. Fuller (if anyone has a first name for this longtime university employee, please send it to us) faithfully tended the chimes located in Bibb Graves Hall. He was frequently seen ascending the stairs to look after his charge, or descending after correcting some problem.

Then one afternoon in the 1960s, Prof. Fuller descended in a very non-traditional way and landed in a window well on the north side of the campus. Leatrice Timmons, a noted longtime English instructor, refused to teach in the basement classroom after seeing Fuller land outside her window during the middle of a class.

Fuller’s death was ruled a suicide, and for years no one maintained the university’s chimes. Do they work today? We haven’t heard them recently; if anyone knows please feel free to comment.

Yet we never hear of Fuller’s spirit roaming the administration building where he ended his life. Perhaps a ghost with a real name is somewhat off-putting?


That brings us to the latest ghost tale for downtown Florence. We’ve been told employees at the Florence Public Library often comment that minor accidents are caused by late librarian Terrye Sledge-Terry who tragically lost her life a few years ago after a short battle with ALS.

We have to ask why staff at the library attribute these incidents to Terrye who worked much longer at the Tuscumbia library than she did at Florence. Why attribute them to someone who cared about the local library? Friends who regularly visit the library tell us the most notable problem at that venerable institution seems to be the homeless who congregate during daytime hours and disturb other patrons with their snoring.

For those who do think Terrye haunts the halls of the Florence library? If that’s all you have to worry about, you don’t really have much to worry about at all, do you?


Do ghosts and driving on snow make you...


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bentley is What?/Gerald Surratt Jr.

A recent article on capital punishment called Gov. Robert Bentley a former physician. What? His medical college has stripped him of his diploma? No, he's simply a physician who is not currently practicing.

However, that does bring up a point that we've never seen discussed. Except for declaring a condemned man dead, physicians are barred from taking part in executions. Does that mean the act of signing a death warrant is also banned for our current governor? Interesting question, isn't it? If the answer is yes, our good governor has committed a serious ethics violation...probably not his first.


From J. Redmon:

Surratt and Presley are REPEAT customers of the Lauderdale County work release program, dating back to AT LEAST 2008. Surratt's family (one of the Hensley Property Group bunch) CONSTANTLY bailed him out of trouble. Judge Jones found a 'fat fish' with Surratt......

We've had readers ask us how Ben Graves would handle cases concerning Surratt (his second cousin) if elected. Graves is running for what is commonly called family court judge and should, if elected, not have to face this issue.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

UNA Parking/Mickey D's

Someone actually paid for a study to tell UNA officials that the university needs more parking spaces? We need to tell them we’re available, for the right fee, to investigate repeated reports of two large jungle cats spotted on campus near the president’s home.


Now let’s segue from parking places to a possible local haunting, we said with tongue firmly in cheek. Some weeks ago we initiated a petition to rename Pocket Park in North Florence for deceased businessman Carmel Olive. The petition drew little interest, and we were told by more than one that much lack of interest stemmed from the fact Mr. Olive never liked the park.

Why? It seems he wanted the space used for more parking for businesses along that section of Wood Avenue. In short, he never supported or approved of the park.

Oddly enough, when Mr. Olive closed his photography studio and sold the land to McDonald’s, even more parking spaces were lost. After careful consideration, we feel that either the ghost of Mr. Olive or possibly the spirits of those who have lost their lives after running out of both food and gasoline while hopelessly driving around seeking a space to park near Crazy Caroline’s may be haunting the Seven Points Mickey D’s.

Our food blogger Cherry Pitts once enumerated some of that location’s shortcomings. We’ve personally waited for what seemed like days in the drive-thru late at night. We’ve been told of arrests, employee fights, drug dealing via the takeout window, and numerous other problems that don’t seem to plague other locations of that famous Scots eatery.

Perhaps the Seven Point McDonald’s could be added to local ghost tours this fall? It wouldn’t be the only possible addition…

Coming soon: Does she really walk her old stomping ground pulling tricks on those who came after her?


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

No Wake Up Calls for These Bad Boys?

When rehab doesn't work:

Everyone in Franklin County knows Elvis Adam Presley—the perennial bad boy that is. He even once recruited an immediate family member to bring him drugs to the Franklin County Detention Center. He has more felony arrests than his namesake had Grammys. His latest was in Florence in November for shoplifting.

Next comes Jock Bo Riley. He hasn’t limited himself to just one county, but has had felony arrests in Lauderdale, Franklin, and Marion. His record goes back at least 7 years; his most recent arrest being a parole revocation. He's currently incarcerated in the Franklin County Detention Center with a release date of February 3, 2017.

Then there’s Gerald Winston Surratt Jr. He’s had arrests in Lauderdale and Colbert Counties and was on the area’s most wanted list for over a year. His criminal career has heated up in the past few months with new arrests in December and just this month for burglary and theft. Sources say he’s still a suspect in a major crime from a few years ago.

Let’s not forget J.J. Common. You have to hand it to someone with enough chutzpah to shoot a high school football player in the middle of a game. It’s too bad chutzpah doesn’t come with common sense. J.J.’s latest conviction was a few months ago for attempting to burn down the Colbert County Jail.

No “Bad Boy List” is complete without Andrew Daniel Scott. His rap sheet goes back at least six years and his AlaCourt record is four pages long. A PNS article recently revealed that Scott was AWOL for a week last year after another stint in drug rehab. The court didn’t have to issue a warrant for his capture since he already had one outstanding for failing to show up in District traffic court on a speeding charge. Yet all he received for these infractions was 90 days total in the detention center. He’s now back in community corrections, and it’s anyone’s guess what that means. Why he wasn’t charged with escape is also anyone’s guess.

What do our bad boys have in common? Utter disregard for the law, chronic drug abuse, no father in the home during many of their formative years, and almost zero chance at any decent future. Presumably all have been through drug rehab, some more than once. Maybe the most frightening thing about these habitual offenders is that our readers tell us women support them both emotionally and financially while they’re incarcerated.

Somehow we’re reminded of Slimy Bastard….


Monday, January 18, 2016

How Many Chances for Drug Addicts?

Probably most of us have known someone who was seriously injured in an accident and then prescribed narcotic pain killers for a great length of time. Some of these people do become addicted, and many do not receive the help they need from physicians. Often these addicts break the law and then receive treatment by court order. Then there are those who began their drugged up path to destruction of their own free will.

Now put yourself in their place; if you had conquered an addiction, would you immediately begin to take the same narcotics again? Narcotics obtained illegally?

If you did, why would you do it? Perhaps you have a death wish? Perhaps you desire to get back at a family member? And just how many chances would you expect the courts to give you? How many rehab stints would you expect the state to pay for on your behalf?

As for the last question, we do know that most private insurance companies will pay for three trips to rehab. Their rationale is that statistics show if you aren’t off drugs after three rehab stays, you never will be. Interesting, isn’t it?

So why do courts keep giving chance after chance to any drug users who aren’t convicted of trafficking? We’re told that community corrections are a big money maker for the counties. It would seem money talks In both the corrections game and DHR.

On the flip side, victims of drug users will probably never see complete (if any) restitution if these drugged up thieves aren’t made to work while serving their sentences. The moral of that is for everyone to have adequate insurance to cover such losses.


With apologies to Jay Leno: Dumb criminals? Lauderdale County has them.

Lauren N. Columbia has now been arrested on a second charge of using drugs while pregnant. Like the law or not, it is how it’s being interpreted in our state and county. We’ve received several communications about her second arrest, and these readers are singularly unhappy about Columbia’s actions.

The first child she lost? We would have hoped a sense of remorse and proper rehab would have sufficed to turn her life around after her September 2015 indictment. We would have thought she would have suffered enough without being incarcerated. Now she’s lost a second child at birth due to drug usage; it seems incomprehensible. We don’t know how many times she has been in rehab altogether or even if her family has helped her, but obviously she still has an active addiction. Is prison the only cure? We don’t know. Comments are welcome.

More such stories to come...


Sunday, January 17, 2016

No Bargain?/Endorsements

We don't usually comment on local businesses, but a faithful reader has sent us a very interesting comment on a local catalogue return business. This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of any or all bloggers here:

Have you noticed how Bargain Hunt in Florence has become the NoN Bargain Hunt.? When it first open you could get great bargains there but since they got a new manager a while back it has changed. Most all merchandise has a sticker that indicates that they received a truck early which equals no discount.! I have intentionally marked some boxes of the merchandise just to see what would happen. I would go in the store every week to "check" for my marked merchandise. Of course some would be gone and some would still be there. Then one day when I went in to check to see if it was still there I noticed that a couple of the boxes that I had marked had a new sticker on it with a new date which very strangely indicated that it had came in on another "early truck". This merchandise had been there almost an entire month so the discount would have been good but No they changed it so that no one is getting a discount that one would expect from a returned item setting for almost a month in a discount store. I guess the new manager must think people are stupid and do not notice these things. It won't be long before they go out of business from lack of business.


We have not yet endorsed any candidate in upcoming elections. We appreciate all platforms sent to us and will endeavor to have them posted as soon as possible.

However, one of our regular bloggers has sent us an endorsement, and we feel it worth publishing now:

I have been involved in education for almost 30 years.  Along the way I have managed to learn what is important and what isn't with regards to administrators.  I have never met Dr. Satchel, but if how she has raised her family is any indication of what residents of Colbert County can expect of her, I have ZERO reservations in endorsing her for Superintendent.

J. Redmon


Please send any platforms or press releases in Google Doc format if possible.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Tony Cox/Two Very Different Habitat Volunteers

From Tony Cox, candidate for Lauderdale County License Commissioner:

Thanks for the opportunity to address you and your readership. The business of politics in general, and politicking in particular, is new to me.  It is refreshing to actually have someone pointedly ask for a statement on my qualifications.

I was born and raised in Lauderdale County, and am 48 years old.  Married  to Sarah (Phillips) Cox for 26 years.  Sarah has taught at Lauderdale County High since 1998. Two children: Ethan (20)  jr at the University of Alabama, and Madeline (16) is a jr at Lauderdale County High School.  I am a member of the Killen Church of Christ.

I am currently in my 25th year of public service in Alabama. I am very proud to have served as a teacher and coach in the Florence City School system since 1995. I graduated from Waterloo High School in 1985, then from UNA in 1989.  I received Traffic Safety Certification from the University of Montevallo, and my Master’s Degree in Administration from UNA in 1999.  I was the head Baseball Coach at Coffee High School, and currently teach at Florence High.  With the consolidation of the city schools, I pursued an after school vocation on the water, receiving my USCG Captain’s license in 2005.

For the past 25 years, I have taught licensing, tags, and registration. I have dealt with the public in schools, on ballfields, and on the water.  Throughout my career, I have continued to seek advanced degrees while serving the public.  I feel this experience qualifies me to learn the intricacies required of the position, to stay abreast of the impacts of legislative mandates, and to use my experience as an educator and leader to help the people of Lauderdale County stay ahead of changes in licensing and registration.

My goal for the office is simple:  

I want you to be able to get exactly what you need, as quickly as possible.

I am interested in the idea of expansion of services county wide, as with satellite offices and local municipal kiosks, but will reserve any commitment until results are seen from a cost/benefit analysis of the first kiosk, only recently opened in Rogersville.

Again, I  thank you for the opportunity to explain my qualifications and interest in this position.  
Please contact me if I can do anything to help you,  and I hope to be able to do so soon as your next License Commissioner.

Tony Cox


We couldn't help being struck by the fact that missing Marine Capt. Steven Torbert had, as a youth, used his free time to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. What young man doesn't prefer carpentry to having fun? No, Steven was an exceptional young teenager to say the least.

Then we remembered John Wesley Akin, now serving 20 years for heroin trafficking in the Limestone Correctional Facility. What different paths these two young men took.

Please continue to pray for the Torbert family.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Neglect in Florence?

We’ve recently received communications concerning Veterans Park and the Blackberry Golf Course in Florence. Both are said to be in various stages of neglect. Why?

It’s been reported that the city didn’t want to invest in upkeep of Veterans Park while much of its future was in limbo over the RSA project. Blackberry Trail? Are there any muskrats around?


Any college or pro football fans out there? It hasn’t been that long ago that certain individuals highly criticized Auburn’s Cam Newton for leaving school a year early to turn pro. We all know that no one from Alabama would do that. That’s right, no “one” did; it was two.


In the “It Bears Repeating Department,” there’s a reason that friends and family of defendants aren’t allowed on juries. Such people may “think” all they want to…even juris doctors, but that doesn’t mean anyone with any common sense believes all those coming up for parole in murder cases should be given another chance at freedom.


One of Florence’s own, Marine Capt. Steven Torbert, is missing after a helicopter crash in Hawaii late Thursday night. A total of 12 individuals are missing as of last report. Prayers for all the families, please.


We're sure most of us females would have been a more than willing hostage:


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Judges Are Like Bloggers

We’re sure that some judges are shuddering at that thought, but indeed judges and bloggers have one very important trait in common: They both make decisions every day and invariably receive negative feedback for these decisions from at least part of the public.

In what could be called a sparsely populated area, judges invariably are connected in some manner to many who appear before them. Sometimes these judges recuse themselves; other times they don’t. We were asked recently to comment on a current case set to be heard shortly in a local circuit court. It seems a family member of a person to appear before this judge had “socialized” with him. Wouldn’t this be grounds for recusal?

Upon looking closely at the matter, the person in question worked for a law firm and was included in various business lunches. If recusal were called for, then it would have to affect any attorney, clerk, etc., who had ever had a business lunch with the judge. We don’t see business lunches as being included in the definition of socializing, and don’t feel that a recusal was in order.

Does that mean we agreed with the judge’s decision to offer youthful offender status to one of two defendants in a manslaughter type case? No. We think both defendants should be incarcerated for at least 10 years, if not more. Nevertheless, we’re not the judge or jury, and it’s not our call to make.


While on the subject of judges:

Some years ago a family member of ours decided to have what’s commonly called bariatric surgery. We understand that this surgery offers several methods to obtain the desired weight loss, but none is completely safe. In doing research on the subject, our relative constantly encountered the caveat not to let a surgeon perform this procedure who didn’t already have over 100 of these operations under his/her belt.

How about judges? Would you want your relative to come before a judge who had never practiced law as such? Think about this as the elections near. We’ll have more later and accept comments on either side of this issue.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The mythical 'gun show loophole', background checks, internet sales, and FFL dealers

There IS NOT, and NEVER HAS BEEN a 'gun show loophole' .

ALL federally licensed dealers that 'set up' at gun shows ARE REQUIRED (and always have been) to run background checks on ALL firearm purchases made at the show. What HAS NOT BEEN (and STILL ISN'T) required of PRIVATE CITIZENS attending, OR 'setting up' at gun shows, in order to sell firearms from their own LEGALLY-ACQUIRED collections to OTHER PRIVATE CITIZENS, is a Federal Firearms License, or FFL. The BATFE has ruled, for DECADES, that private citizens, selling and buying firearms from OTHER private citizens, to dispose of, or add to, their private collections, DOES NOT constitute 'engaging in the business'.

Another misconception, aka 'FLAT OUT LIE' propagated by liberals, is that 'internet sales of firearms' are unregulated. Not true. ALL firearms ordered ON LINE from firearms dealers MUST be shipped directly to ANOTHER FFL. THEN, the individual that ordered the firearm is required to come in and fill out 'Form 4473' and submit to (and pass) an FBI background check BEFORE taking possession of the firearm. Individuals selling firearms on line to individuals out of state MUST ship said firearm to an FFL. Individuals buying firearms from 'private party' sites STILL MUST adhere to established federal guidelines. Such guidelines dictate that a private party may sell a long gun to another private party FACE TO FACE, as long as the buyer is LEGALLY ABLE TO POSSESS A FIREARM. Handguns sold in such a manner CAN ONLY BE SOLD to individuals meeting the previous requirement PLUS also being a LEGAL RESIDENT of the same state as the seller. Violation of ANY of those provisions constitutes a FELONY.

J. Redmon

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Colbert Superintendent/E-Mail Addy

Several years ago a Lauderdale County man faced trial on an extremely serious charge. Due to the somewhat odd circumstances of the legal proceedings, it made many national blogs and news sites. Invariably, the defendant in the case would comment in his favor using the name of his cousin or even his former sister-in-law who testified against him. We don’t think such posts, which we’ll call fraudulent for lack of a better word, are that unusual in a world of anonymous cyberspace.

Four years ago, we endorsed Robert “Tuc” Montgomery for the position of superintendent of Colbert County schools. We looked at the credentials of both Mr. Montgomery and Anthony Olivis and felt we had made a wise choice. Immediately, we were bombarded with e-mails and FB communications in support of Olivis. In looking back, we now believe many of these communications were from Olivis himself, or perhaps Olivis’ family, but couched in names that were untraceable.

At that time, we reconsidered our position. The race now seemed a tossup on qualifications, so we withdrew our endorsement and asked that voters thoroughly research the candidates themselves. This is the only time we have ever withdrawn an endorsement, and we have certainly regretted doing so during the years of Olivis’ tenure as superintendent.

Whenever Olivis has made a decision that invariably cost the tax payers money or was otherwise highly dubious, he always commented that he would speak on the matter one on one to parents only. Really? Only parents…other tax payers had no right to question his decisions costing money the system couldn’t afford, but more importantly costing the children of Colbert County education wise. Just how many parents do you think would be able to take off from work to make this private appointment with Olivis, where we’re sure they knew they would only be fed a line and still given no real answers?

We’re told…and we believe…that Olivis is a tightly strung man who couldn’t stand the heat of the educational kitchen and decided to call it quits after one term. No matter the reason, he’s doing the children of the county a huge favor.

Who will succeed Olivis? Two seek this office, and we will be spotlighting them in the weeks to come. We urge voters to begin their own appraisals of Dr. Gale Satchell and Dr. Jeff Cornelius. We welcome comments from all voters and otherwise concerned citizens.


Private meetings? Like Anthony Olivis, a gentleman of whom we asked a question refused to answer us in an e-mail. He “very gracisously” informed us he would answer our one or two questions in a private meeting.

Now this hired official could honestly say he had tried to answer us, but we refused to listen. Sounds good on the surface, doesn’t it? Now think about it some more.

A written answer can be edited until it contains just the language to convey a person’s opinion. There’s no accidental misspeaking. A verbal communication would be preferred only if the person questioned wanted to deny his answers later. It also deters anyone from asking questions if they have to take time away from their schedule to fit in a meeting on non-neutral ground and at the time designated by the person being interviewed.


Since our FB page is that of a personage and not a friend page, any comments we receive not in answer to a post are displayed in the left sidebar. We attempt to check these regularly, but sometimes miss a comment for a few days.

In other words, readers who do check our sidebar for comments might just see something that we would feel obligated to remove once we saw it. Happy reading!


Our e-mail address is listed at the bottom of our site. For those who may have had a hard time finding it:


Monday, January 11, 2016

Ed Henry Strikes Again

Ed Henry, Republican state representative, doesn’t want increased background checks on gun sales which require all dealers to register. Why? It seems it’s his hobby to buy and sell at gun shows and he doesn’t want to have to go to the trouble of registering for a hobby.

Well, let’s see, Rep. Henry, if you want to sell your great-aunt Agatha’s famous funnel cakes at the next Helen Keller festival, you’ll have to buy a business permit, endure a health department inspection, and establish certain accommodations if you sell these wonderful delicacies via a food truck. Perhaps we’re missing something here, but while food poisoning is a serious condition, we’ve never heard of funnel cakes killing anyone, not even a flesh wound. No, we don’t think these new regulations will save thousands of lives. They may save three or four a year, and that’s something.

And Rep. Henry, since you’re so gung ho on assuring that Alabama citizens aren’t traumatized by abortion clinic protests, surely you realize that we citizens will feel much better knowing just who is selling guns at the civic center, fairground, wherever our fair cities hold these emporiums on a regular basis? It should also help local gun dealers who have permanent businesses, buy permits, pay taxes, etc. Just think how much this new policy will level the playing field.


We recently read an article that referred to State Auditor Jim Zeigler as “batty.” We have to wonder how the author would classify him if they had to rate him against most of our state legislators?


We’ll shortly begin endorsing candidates. Any candidates who would like to present his/her platform to the public via our blog should forward any communications to us by January 20th.

The biggies? Two circuit judgeships in Lauderdale as well as license commissioner. In Colbert, the superintendent of education is the contest to watch. The March 1st primaries will decide the victor in many of these elections. So far, no dirt has been slung; let’s hope this proves true until the November general election.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

If You Don't Laugh at This...

You're just not human:

In case you missed the articles in the TimesDaily and Decatur Daily, this six year-old child (whom we won't name) is going to the national championship game. Did his family tell him it came with a free root canal?


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Is the TimesDaily Depressed?

We understand that several e-mail addys for the TimesDaily are returning any communication sent to them. Well, it does cut down on negative comments.

Along that line, we understand the TVT forum is still not taking new members. Just a personal opinion here, but it’s now so boring we’re not sure why anyone would want to join, but if anyone does, they should be able to. Either allow new members or take down the forum. For those who miss long time forum member Bill Gray, his commentaries occasionally show up on Pen-N-Sword.


Any property crime victims out there? Contact us with your county information and the status of your restitution. We understand that these procedures give new meaning to the expression “blood from a turnip.”


A very big correction: Sheffield Street Superintendent Bradley Bump’s wife does work for the Parks and Recreation Department, but in Tuscumbia, not Sheffield. Our apologies to Mrs. Bump. We understand that Mrs. Bump does not know the new secretary in the Sheffield Street Department, has never worked with her, and is not friends with her. In other words, there was no cronyism at work in the new hire for Sheffield.


L. Stone has a suggestion for Florence’s new music sculpture: If they put the statue in Florence next to the tourism office will they select a Canadian artist to be memorialized?

He also has an inspired idea for the new tourism office jingle:


Friday, January 8, 2016

$1,800,000.00 Doesn’t Buy What It Used To

What would you do with an extra 1.8 million dollars you just happened to have lying around? If you’re the State of Alabama, you’re refurbishing the Governor’s Mansion South in Orange Beach.

We’re sure property in Orange Beach is just a little on the high end of the scale, but surely much of the so-called value of the deserted mansion is in the land itself. In other words, if the current edifice should be torn down, just how much would the lot be worth?

We’re also pretty sure that a knowledgeable person could tear down the current home and rebuild for less than 1.8 million. Perhaps that’s not allowed in the terms of the original gift to the state. 

Photo from

So what about refurbishing? A few years ago, one of our regular critics thoroughly trounced our suggestion that jail trusties assist in at least some part of the removal of Ghost Bridge in Lauderdale County. Yet it was only a short time later that Franklin County inmates razed the entire old jail without any contracted assistance. Surely at least part of the renovations could be done by correctly classified inmates from a state work release center?

We’re sure media watchdogs in Montgomery will be keeping tabs on how much of this project is no-bid. Not that it would deter some of those in charge in our state capital. While our inept legislature attempts to frame a budget, state employees keep spending like Michael Jackson.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Is Muscle Shoals Guilty of Illegal Sports Recruiting?

From Leslie M. Shoals:

So what is the law on recruiting for high schools????


Morgan Leaves Wilson for Muscle Shoals.

“They contacted me last year and talked to my dad about it,” Morgan said. “They convinced him about Muscle Shoals and they convinced me to go there. … (My dad and I) got an apartment about two weeks ago. It’s a nice town.”

Superintendent Basden knows the state athletic association isn't going to enforce the rules, and with good ole boy toy Holden (who is a Lauderdale Co. School Board member where Wilson is one of HIS schools) just does as he is told at MSCS. Where is his loyalty Lauderdale County?

Maybe someone will "leak" this to someone that cares.


"Morgan said transferring wasn’t done on impulse, but one that was thought out after being contacted by Basden and defensive coordinator Chris Balentine last year. They contacted me last year and talked to my dad about it,” Morgan said. “They convinced him about Muscle Shoals and they convinced me to go there. … (My dad and I) got an apartment about two weeks ago. It’s a nice town.”


So what is the law on high school recruiting? From an April 2012 article:

Stiffer penalties passed recently by the Alabama High School Athletic Association are intended to discourage recruiting by coaches. Beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, a team found guilty of recruiting will go on restrictive probation and will be banned from the state playoffs for a year.

Any coach ruled to have been involved in illegal recruiting faces a ban from coaching at an AHSAA school for a full year, as well.

So? Is there a problem or not? Here's a useful link:


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Before You Say Blog…/Frank Mallonee

Bill Britt of the Alabama Political Reporter says he cringes whenever he hears the word blog; we’re assuming that’s mainly when it’s used to describe his news site. The word “Blog” is short for web log, and it’s absolutely what our website is—a political blog with a dash of other topics thrown in.

After all these years, we still get comments telling us that a good journalist wouldn’t inject so much opinion. We’re not journalists here, and opinion is what we give…free of charge.

Even one of our own bloggers recently called the Tennessee Valley Talks site a blog—no, it’s a forum. Shoals News, Pen-N-Sword, and the Quad-Cities Daily are not blogs; they’re news sites just as the Alabama Political Reporter is. Many of these news sites will have an editorial now and then, but that still doesn’t make them a blog.

We were greatly distressed to learn that some news sites which have sprung from the printed page have used Britt’s commentaries without proper attribution, much less financial reimbursement. We’ve had that happen on rare occasions here, but most sources who quote us give us proper credit and/or a link. Thanks to all who do link us.

What of those who openly steal from us or one of our bloggers? It’s irritating, but as we told our food blogger Cherry Pitts, it says a great deal about them and their character, not us.


Our favorite blog quote? From Reg Henry who said: If you can’t say something nice about someone, write a blog.


Dr. Frank Mallonee recently passed away. Mallonee was a long time UNA political science professor, and a scholarship is to be inaugurated in his honor—a very fitting tribute.

The University of North Alabama has turned out many fine graduates over the years. The finest we believe are those who learned from professors there that making a value judgment is not a bad thing, but a very good thing. Thank you. None of us is picking cotton yet.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Did Judge Billy Jackson Throw a Monkey Wrench?

We’ve received many inquiries as to why Lauderdale County Circuit Judge Billy Jackson is retiring 50 weeks before the end of this term. We can only speculate and are still left with more questions than answers. Jackson had already announced he was not running for re-election, leaving only the two Republican candidates, Florence attorney/license commissioner William Smith and property manager/municipal judge Ben Graves, in the running for the office.

Now a replacement will have to be found. He, or she, will almost certainly be a Republican, or at least one who like Jackson is capable of donning the mantle of the Grand Old Party when it suits their interest. Gov. Bentley has already pulled Will Motlow from the fray by appointing him probate judge to succeed the late James Hall. What our governor will do now is anyone’s guess.

Perhaps the one burning question is did Jackson plan to thwart anyone’s chances in the upcoming election? We eagerly await comments.


Several months ago we debated with a regular contributor on the issue of voting against someone. Our reader felt it was better not to vote at all if one couldn’t vote “for” someone on the candidate’s merits alone. We disagreed.

Now we have an interesting problem that a reader has presented to us. A certain “businessman,” not well thought of in this area, is backing a candidate in a very public way. Is this the candidate’s fault? No, obviously not, but it does precipitate some interesting thoughts on the subject of the relationship between these two men. Are they cut from the same disreputable cloth? Comments (no names, please).


Monday, January 4, 2016

Get Your Red Hot Sculptures Here

The cities of Florence and Tuscumbia still don’t have their rock-n-roll sculptures in place…or even in line to be in place. Actually, as far as Tuscumbia goes, for all we know that Colbert County town may be planning a work of art that is not Milli Vanilli. Supposedly Florence is planning a piece that it not Sam Phillips.

Sure, it started as a good idea, but now it’s so convoluted and divisive it could have come out of Washington. Audwin McGee, sculptor who produced the first two works, states the cost of creating these masterpieces is phenominal. So why does Florence think it will get a quality artist who will do the job for around 20K?

But enough rehashing what we already basically knew. Let’s look at what else the TD article on these aluminum monstrosities has to tell us. One proposed Florence location is the East Florence roundabout? Wait…the roundabout hasn’t been approved itself, has it?

Memorial Grove Park? Andy Betterton says it’s off the table. Who knew it was even on the table? At least we won’t have to worry if a rock icon deserves a place next to a fallen police officer in the wonderful world of Shoals sculpture gardens.

The most interesting points? Betterton seems to grasp that McFarland Park floods even if the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board doesn’t. He also mentioned “When the mayor was talking about a government plaza between the (Lauderdale County) courthouse and the government building, it was discussed putting it there.” So Mayor Mickey Haddock is no longer considering this amazing plaza? Has anyone asked him why not? Didn’t the city pay quite a fee to a no-bid architect to do the initial planning? All before the idea received any official approval of course. In fact, we’re not aware that the idea was ever voted on.

The idea in itself was a good one, all though some citizens voiced opposition to closing one block of West College Street, and their voices deserve to be heard. Our problem was paying an architect in advance for plans that might never be acted upon. Perhaps the city is waiting for Fitz Hill to enter with his additions to the plaza project so that he can receive his standard no-bid fee for any architectural project contemplated in Florence?


How are the no-bid services of architects chosen in Florence? Let’s see…Fitz Hill is the brother of former state representative Bob Hill, so that must help. Robert Whitten got the plum project of the new tourism center, but he actually has vision and talent, and he deserved something after being one of three architects paid to begin work on the refurbishment of Mobile Plaza a few years back—only for all to be “forgotten” about until a fourth designer was hired. Donnie Phillips? Well, he had a dream looking out his office window, so naturally he deserved it. We don’t make this stuff up, folks…


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Doc Scumbag?/Site News

In case you missed it, one of the Shoals’ state senators, Larry Stutts, was crowned state scumbag of the year 2015 by We read the article and our opinion is the man having sex with the family dog deserved that honor, but he beat out ol’ Larry by the thinnest of margins.


Some Site News (Yes, you gotta read it): We’ll be having a new blogger join us soon. He warns us his commentary will be pithy and not everyone’s taste. As we tell everyone, all opinions are welcome here as long as editorials don’t advocate violence or sexual perversion (rape/child sex/etc.) or contain libelous statements or vulgar language. We reserve the right to rebut any blogs, either guest editorials or those written by a member of our blogging group.

Readers’ opinions are also welcome as comments on Facebook, but the above restrictions apply there as well. Interestingly, in seven years we’ve had to ban only one person for linking/advocating a sex offender site. It’s also interesting that this person was attempting to defend a local career criminal known for trying to take a child away from its parents.

If you would like to write for us from time to time, but don’t wish to join our group, please create a screen identity for your editorials. This helps to ensure that our readers can easily understand who is espousing or presenting certain ideas or facts, as in recent blogs about the Muscle Shoals school system.


We’re frequently sent information on topics that don’t fit into our normal blogging parameters. In other words, if Pastor Joe Doe is having an affair with Deaconess Ima Ezee, we have no interest in reporting on it. While we regret the situation, it’s a private matter and also falls under the umbrella of libel.

Recently it was reported that a church refused to allow a child to bring her service animal into worship services. Churches are exempt from the ADA, and this seems to be a localized and private matter. If the church or the family should hold a news conference on the issue, this would bring the situation into the public realm, but until then it’s not anything we consider appropriate for our blog.

We also get requests to mention specific crimes in our blog. While we do mention some major felonies and on rare occasions lesser crimes committed by public personages, we don’t feel the need to mention a certain indicted individual simply because his/her family owns a large local business. In one recent case, we will probably comment once the case is tried and more facts are known. Again, we don’t comment on misdemeanors in and of themselves.

We had one question about “Prince.” Yes, our Canine-American friend will remain with the blog until the situation with the Florence Animal Shelter is resolved. Yes, obviously another blogger voices Prince’s opinions; all other bloggers are indeed individuals. Number 99 has yet to grace our site with one of his promised pithy pieces, but we understand he has been busy accepting a Nobel Peace prize, breaking the bank at Monte Carlo, and painting the guest bath in his idyllic country manse. We still eagerly await!


Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Real Cost of Heroin in the Shoals

We regularly see women who are pulled into the underbelly of society by drugs. These women leave their families to trade their favors to drug dealers, or perhaps to anyone who can pay, in order to obtain cash to purchase drugs. Certainly politics isn’t the only institution to make strange bedfellows.

Is it only women who become embroiled with partners they would ordinarily not look twice at? No. A recent pair of drug arrests/pleas/trials proved that the degradation drugs bring can affect males as well as females.

So how is preppy, Habitat for Humanity volunteer, scholar, businessman John Wesley Akin fairing at Limestone Prison? We have no idea. We still have high hopes for Mr. Akin when he can finally shake off his prison shackles in 20 years (or perhaps less depending upon parole). Akin’s female partner in crime Brady Irons has yet to have her case adjudicated. It will be interesting to see how her sentence compares to Akin’s 20 years and her mother Candace’s 8 years.


Speaking of drugs…have you had a longer wait at a certain area McDonald’s drive-thru recently? We hear at least one window attendant was dealing drugs during his late night shift. So…it isn’t just breakfast that’s served 24 hours a day?


Remember to wrap up in this cold January weather. If the cold really bothers you, we suggest moving to Montgomery in February; we hear there’ll be non-stop hot air in our capital city for several weeks.