Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Strategic Undoing/Dillard is Baffled?

Here is a little ditty I call, "Strategic UnDoing". In the land of wasteful spending in Florence tourism three expensive decisions are doing nothing.

 #1 - Strategic Doing, whatever that means. Right now it means nothing because there is no evidence of anything being done. Tourism Board member David Muhlendorf led the push for tourism to hire a Ms. Faden or similar name to conduct a tourism strategic doing session. It didn't work and nothing else has been said or done about it. Seems that board needs to take private lessons on over consulting. You can plan, to plan, to plan and do nothing.

Rob Gets Down as Only a Canadian White Boy Can Do

#2 - With much fanfare and hoopla the Branding study push was on by Mr. BBQ Rob. Then nothing... Someone should tell him there already is a show about nothing. Interesting that one of the first things Canadian Rob did was to take down videos of the riveting board meeting at the end of 2014. It was painful to watch for the community but it shows the board actually doing something. 

#3 - An attorney at every meeting and on retainer. Now that the board is doing nothing why do they have to have a lawyer to watch? Guess they are afraid they might end up doing something potentially bad again and end up in the legal hot water they seemingly avoided when Debbie Wilson divorced from them. Something is not always better than nothing but we think the community deserves better.

Signed: A Reader with at Least an Ounce of Common Sense


During his initial court appearance on human trafficking charges, Florence attorney Edward Ray “Chip” Dillard said he was baffled by the charges. Really? It seems that Dillard, while he may claim to be baffled, had anticipated at least some kind of arrest and had Athens attorney John Totten on standby.

It’s been alleged that as much as four weeks ago, Dillard’s cell phone was seized in connection with an investigation into contraband smuggling at the Lauderdale Detention Center. While no arrests have been made in that investigation, the odds are that a charge related to drug smuggling will be added at a later date.

Others to be arrested? It’s surprising the names that have come up in various communications sent to us. Yes, we predict at least one more arrest is a 99% possibility. More than one? If we had to guess one way or the other, we’d guess in the affirmative.


Anyone else see the humor that our dermatologist governor is smart enough to use burner phones to carry on an immoral relationship, but not a juris doctor carrying on an illegal drug smuggling operation?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Someone's child, left long ago,
A strange land,
Someone's foe.

An unmarked grave, fields of green,
Resting quiet,
Just eighteen.

Winds of freedom, wash us now,
Remember him,
This I vow

Memorial Day Poem Written by 

Victor C. Kleinschmit

Sunday, May 29, 2016

No Girl Under 16/Brooks Grads Vandalism

A news story concerning one of Chip Dillard’s alleged victims has been making the rounds, but it is true? (We partially based yesterday’s blog on the article.) The account of one of Dillard’s victims being under the age of 16 apparently originated in an AL.com article which stated:

The sex abuse charge involves Dillard subjecting one of the victims – who was younger than 16 years old – to sexual contact. Because of her age, she was legally unable to consent.

However, this is not what the actual indictment states. While we have not yet seen a copy of the entire indictment, an attorney with local connections has provided us with a photograph of the section in question:

It would seem that the woman involved, one L.S., was not under 16, but under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. While interesting, this charge might be one of the hardest to prove in court. If the victim was so impaired as to be physically unable to resist the sexual contact, how does she have an accurate recollection of the event? Of course, there may have been a witness to the sex abuse; authorities do say the whole case against Dillard and Timothy Wylie Staggs is a slam dunk.


Thought for the day: While it's true that many police investigations are comparable to fishing expeditions, one should remember that those "gone fishin'" can usually catch something when directed to the likeliest spot on the bank.


Every year at this time, we read of high school seniors who vandalize various school facilities as some right of passage. Often the destruction is costly; always it is in bad taste and doesn’t speak very highly of their intelligence.

A reader has sent us photographs of recent vandalism at... 

We are removing the pictures in question so that no one loses their job. Our schools are in a sad state: nepotism, student-teacher sex, fights, sex clubs, blackmail. Any of our readers think this should be the status quo?

...Our reader was concerned that the students involved are not being held accountable. We have no idea if they are or aren’t. We can definitely say they are poor representatives of their school, community, parents, and church (if they have one).

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sex, Booze, Pills, & More Sex: The Life of Chip Dillard

He came from a good Florence family; he worked hard; he became a JAG (member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps) in the military--that’s one side of Edward Ray “Chip” Dillard. The other side? While still in college, he was named as a co-respondent in a high profile divorce; his alcohol abuse tanked his military career; he was in and out of rehab more often than some people are the supermarket; he had numerous DUIs; he called himself a member of the “wolf pack” and was suspected of slipping drugs into the Lauderdale Detention Center. Now he’s behind bars, and some are saying he will never again see freedom.

Illicit drugs have long been a problem in both the Lauderdale Detention Center and the Lauderdale Community Corrections Center. Inmates serving time in community corrections obviously have access to drugs on the outside and smuggle them into the center in various ways, but the detention center itself? That requires help from outside sources, and Chip Dillard has been suspected for at least the past month of introducing the contraband into the jail.

Yet any new state drug charges would be the least of Dillard’s worries. His indictment on human trafficking charges mentions at least one girl under the age of 16 whom he allegedly abused sexually. Then there’s witness intimidation and terrorist threats thrown in for good measure.

We asked a friend how dumb was it for Dillard to slip drugs to inmates. His reply was: No dumber than Dillard doing a girl no older than 15. That pretty well sums up the whole sordid debacle.

More: Chip Dillard Arrest


It would seem in the local rumor mills, anyone who ever passed Chip Dillard on a public street is a confederate in the human trafficking scandal. We can say that we expect at least one more arrest in the immediate future, and the arrestee won’t be an attorney…

Friday, May 27, 2016

Final History Exam?/Sex in the Courtroom

School days, school days, Dear old Golden Rule days:

Up in the mornin' and out to school,
The teacher is teachin' the Golden Rule.
American History and Practical Math,
Studyin' hard and hopin' to pass.
And workin' your fingers right down to the bone,
The guy behind you won't leave you alone.
Ring, ring goes the bell,
The cook in the lunchroom ready to sell.
You're lucky if you can find a seat,
You're fortunate if you have time to eat.
Back in the classroom open your books,
The teacher don't know how mean she looks.....

Remember that song? Have things changed much since you old timers sang that song and dreaded “THE test”? The FINAL EXAM? The ONE test that revealed how much you learned throughout the year, the big kahuna, the big “do or die” test, the one you burned midnight oil, study groups, prayed, stressed and hoped for just a little understanding from the teacher on essay questions? Hoping, just hoping, your grade would pass the parent test.

Now, you are the parent. You’re still praying and stressing over “the test” just as your parents did, and hoping, just hoping your kid’s grades reaffirm what they told you all year about their hard work. You just have to believe one day little Johnny and little Susie are going to do great things and compete against the best of the best to win those high paying jobs as a result of that high level of instruction! Have things REALLY changed? You became your parent, and it’s just a cycle of life? Really? You might be surprised.


Interesting Facts about the U.S. Presidents. Name the president who.....

“would often skinny dip in the Potomac River”

“taught his parrot how to cuss......”

“was also a licensed bartender.....”

“was noticeably drunk during the inauguration....”

“did not have a college degree”

“in one poker game, he bet the White House china collection and lost it all in one hand”

“was legal guardian to a girl he later married.....”

“was a member of the KKK...:

“most likely had more affairs of any president”

“was the first mixed president”

Would your sweet little elementary student have to study much for that final test? Yes, your elementary student could have memorized those fun facts and probably made 100. Or, your high school child could have taken that as a FINAL EXAM in history class with a 20 minute open page test. But to make it really hard on them, if they didn’t find those answers in 20 minutes, then their memorization skills had to kick in to complete the rest of the test.

Thank goodness for RIGOR and PREPARATION for college. This level of preparation might explain the huge drop out rates after one year of post secondary education.

Does this happen in 2016? YES... Final Exam 2016 in a MSCS history class taught by a coach. This might account for the “high” graduation rate at MSCS.


Leslie M. Shoals


Take a deep breath. There's plenty of time for the latest Shoals scandal. It will be around for some months to come.


Sex in the Courtroom - Part I

I cast the net looking for information on local attorneys soliciting sex in exchange for legal services. While we know that Donald Tipper is no stranger to this practice, it's very clear that it is common. One of the two recently indicted have begun to sing a song about some of their colleagues.

It seems the local sex trade amongst the Shoals elite runs a bit deeper. Here is what I know as of right now. Gil Self was interviewed by the FBI for two hours yesterday. Carole Medley is being called as a states witness. Question is, how long did these judges know of human trafficking and sexual abuse?


Mr. Black has written an excellent article, but you're seeing only the first part now. Translation: the second part was too hot to handle, at least until more information is gathered.

You'll note that it was the FBI questioning jurists earlier this week--not Luther Strange's office. We'll also add that it's the job of attorneys to seek lower sentences for their clients and that district court doesn't handle cases of a more serious nature. We doubt that Judge Medley has much inside info into what may...or may not...have been going on in the Lauderdale Court System as far as "human trafficking." We have verified that she and Judge Self are on a witness list expected to testify against at least one local attorney.

We don't think this is a problem unique to this area. Neither do we think most of the women involved were unwilling to enter into these type deals with local attorneys. 

As for Mr. Dillard, he has provided this blog with information from time to time. If the charges against him should prove true, we will be extremely disappointed, but there should never be room for sexual abuse of any kind in our society.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

John Pilati: A Classic Case of Misdirection?

Misdirection? It’s a magician, or even a murderer, making the audience look in one direction while he or she actually performs the intended, but furtive, action. Could misdirection be what John Frederick Pilati’s quest for reinstatement to the Alabama Bar was all about?

Pilati served one term as Franklin County District Attorney before being convicted of a federal misdemeanor and losing his political rights. He later was convicted of five more federal misdemeanors and required to register as a sex offender.

In March of this year, the State of Alabama restored Pilati’s political rights, but not his right to own or possess a firearm. At that time, we had two questions about the matter, but obtaining any information has been difficult at best.

Our first question: Does one automatically lose political rights if convicted of a federal misdemeanor? The federal attorney’s office in Birmingham refused to answer our questions without an official written request from an attorney, so we’ll just say that apparently the state does rescind these rights since a federal misdemeanor is so much more serious than a misdemeanor committed at the local level.

Our second question asked how the state was entitled to restore rights removed by a federal conviction or to remove a miscreant from the sex offenders’ registry. Again, we have no official answer. We can say that there is no federal sex offender registry—only the state’s. It would seem logical that the state could remove an offender placed there by the federal government if it so desired. It could also restore political rights within the state.

We were mildly surprised that Pilati did not have his right to own a firearm restored, but perhaps the state had its reasons. Here’s a comment that appeared on our FB page:

17 years ago, when I was 16, I was riding the Russellville strip when this man in an unmarked suv with no lights or markers ran my car off the road and almost killed me. I, being young, dumb, and full of testosterone followed him and confronted him about it. So the man pulls a gun on me and says "I'm John Pilati, the D.A. of Franklin County and you're interfering with an investigation." I wasn't interfering with anything. I just wanted to know why this guy tried to wreck me and kill me. After his cronies ran my license they finally let me go. This guy's a joke and will put other people's lives on the line just so he can arrest somebody. He never needs to work in politics or law enforcement again. He's got a short fuse and is a danger to society.

Apparently the first inkling many in Franklin County and the Shoals had of Pilati’s restored political rights came when the Franklin County School Board chose the former DA as one of three candidates for the county board of equalization. Let’s think about this; who on the school board nominated Pilati? How did this member even know that Pilati was now entitled to serve on the board and how did he/she know that Pilati would even want to serve? Obviously Pilati was approaching various Franklin County citizens in his attempt to return to public life.

An article in the Franklin County Times then related Pilati’s quest to return to the practice of law. Yes, that was the official reason for Pilati seeking to have his political rights restored and his name removed from the sex offender registry. Was that the only reason?

Only around 50% of disbarred attorneys in this state who seek to return to an actual law practice are able to do so. Pilati also had to have known he would have at least a modicum of strong opposition.

Does Pilati need the money? His family owns Pilati Investments which controls a local television station and the Franklin Free Press which John Pilati runs. Pilati himself, along with a partner, owns Golden Tiger Properties, a company involved in various land sales. The practice of law can be tedious for the most dedicated of attorneys; does the former Franklin DA fall into that dedicated category?

From anecdotal evidence, Pilati often participated in the day to day police operations of Franklin County. Do you ever hear of the Lauderdale DA appearing personally at the raid of some dope house or the Colbert DA overseeing drug tests for probationers? No, Pilati was hands on, and probably for the adrenalin rush as much as any deviant pleasure he was accused of getting from his job.

A reader yesterday told of personal opposition of six FBI agents at Pilati's bar association hearing. Yet another reader has stated the opposite:

I've spoken to someone who was actually there. There was no FBI agents there. There were no opposition witnesses there at all. The only one opposition witness was Alice Martin who opposed via telephone. Pilati had 5-6 people testify FOR him, but no one was actually present to testify against him.

A third reader has replied:

Not sure who was at Pilati’s hearing in person, but I’m told there were numerous letters written and on file against him.

Now we have Pilati with rights restored, but no real law practice (he may use his legal expertise in other business activities); so did he benefit from having his political rights restored? Misdirection? Perhaps Pilati’s main thrust in seeking the restoration of his political rights wasn’t to resume a law practice? Perhaps it was to enable him to run for political office?

Pilati obviously has political connections. Would he desire to run for mayor? It’s a possibility, but that office is a thankless one filled with minutiae and bureaucracy. A more likely choice would be a run for the state house against Larry Stutts.

Would Pilati have a chance? We think he would…and he would fit right in.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

John Pilati Update

From an informed reader:

(John Frederick) Pilati's reinstatement (to the Alabama bar) was denied. I heard from a reliable source that six FBI agents showed up to testify against him. I don't think the transcripts are available to the public, but if so, I bet they are interesting. 

From what I understand, he can petition every year for reinstatement, but it will now be harder due to the first denial on file and all of the opposition that was logged. And I believe he has to prove that he is worthy instead of them proving he is not. His first shot was his best chance. I don't think he was expecting as much opposition as he received.

We expect to have more on this later.



(I'm) obtaining tons of reports on life after kratom in Alabama. Countless people are being sent back to the doctor and dope house. Just as predicted. Many people who were using kratom as maintenance therapy have relapsed. God forbid people use a plant they can obtain cheaply or even grow. We know methadone and suboxone to be so safe and all.


Be sure to catch H.D.'s latest review on Quad-Cities Cuisine:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

City Elections/Return to Zodiac/Water

A guest editorial:

City Elections

Ahh yes, it is that time again, the time for City and Town Elections. This is the time where Mayors and City Council members go out to “press the flesh.” They will be “kissing hands and shaking babies”, or something like that. I think the powder keg election will be the City of Sheffield. I have already heard of several people that are speaking about running against the elected Officials.

Remember folks, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about how the City or Town is being run. If you don’t like it, do something about it. Go to the City or Town Council meetings. Your voice will not be heard if you are not there.

Next, don’t be afraid to ask questions. There is no stupid question. If you don’t understand what they are talking about in the Council meetings, ask. That is the only way you are going to find out. Education such as this is free.

I want to say that is was good to see the Owner/Publisher/Director of the Shoals Insider the other night. He has had some ups and downs with his diabetes, but he was in good spirits, looked good and was excited to see the Shoals Insider back up and going. Welcome back, Brother.

Until next time:

I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider.



Another reader with an entirely different take on a recent Zodiac Theatre play:

Unlike the previous reader, I very much enjoyed the play Sordid Lives at the Zodiac and experienced NONE of the “problems” this reader says he/she encountered. Obviously this is a failed actor, turned down for any role in the play, scorned and out for blood. To that person, I say, “You Suck!”

You can complain about the prices all you want but just remember, no one forced you to pay $15 a ticket. That was your choice. You sound as miserable as a person can be with your gripes and complaints about everything from a person's laughter, to a baby making sounds, to way the ticket taker took your ticket, to the freaking lighting. Why on earth did you go in the first place? Keep your miserable, hateful, negative self at home. No one will EVER give a ****.

And by the way, the director is an absolutely wonderful person and unfortunately lost his Mom on Sunday so shame on you for kicking a man when he is already down. This was a well produced play with an EXCELLENT cast of LOCAL citizens, all which have other jobs and other responsibilities in life and participate in these local plays as a hobby to have fun and bring enjoyment to the lives of others. You should take lessons from them and learn how to be happy.


Are you "in the know" about your water supply? No matter where you live in northwest Alabama...or anywhere in the U.S....you should be able to have access to fresh and pure water. From time to time, this has been a problem for some small towns. Now it's a problem for a large area in Lawrence and  Morgan Counties.

If you're not sure which entity supplies your water, call the number on your utility or water bill and ask. If you have more questions, continue to ask. Google the name of your water supplier. This is not Flint, Michigan. 

If you still have questions, contact local press. Contact us. Contact your state representative's office. 

It's a sad day when the Rime of the Ancient Mariner applies to us.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Another Administrative Position?/Zodiac Theatre

From the TD: New Administrator at Muscle Shoals Schools


Will MSCS hire someone experienced in Special Programs or just move another inept employee around to keep it in the "faMily"?

It will be interesting to see exactly who is put into this newly CREATED position. Will it be someone from outside the faMily that has vast knowledge and experience in the field, or just another recycled employee that can't do the job they are currently in, or maybe going to be out of?

Times Daily only lists 26 administrators. You can now add secretaries, assistants to the secretary and office personnel to the number of "administrators", MSCS has about a 1 to 80 ratio to students. If you really want to boggle your mind, count all the coaches and support employees and that employee to student ratio is more like a classroom ratio of 1 to 17.

Don't panic parents, the City Council will bail them out - with YOUR money.

On the next new position hire: Pam Russell, "It is hard to run a program when you are in meetings all day.”

Maybe MSCS would be better stewards of time and the TAXPAYERS' MONEY if they each learned their own job, rather than including other employees in their travel parties. MSCS is a "travelocityschool" with the administrators going to conferences. If the administrator can't understand the content of the meeting, the philosophy is to carry along your assistant so they can do your job (or digest the information and regurgitate it in simple terms for the struggling administrator).

Special called meetings seem to be the norm in MSCS. Recent hires of yet another Coach - Perry Swindle - and of course his wife will be coming along with a nice salary package as an administrator as well.

Exactly what does Perry Swindle's new job title entail? What is his salary? How many coaches does it take for MSCS to get it right?

Maybe Swindle will save Basden this year. Lord only knows, he hasn't been able to do it on his own.

Something that causes the average person to go hmmmmmmm.

Stay tuned for another special called meeting. You can rest assured it will be another shuffle and musical chairs game in the faMily.

Leslie M. Shoals


From a reader:

This weekend, I had a disappointing experience going to the Zodiac Theater for a show produced by Shoals Community Theatre. The play, Sordid Lives, is a well known comedy and the director had appeared in many productions locally for the past thirty years. People in the area who had seen the production suggested it was the funniest production they had ever seen. So how could it go wrong?

It began 15 minutes before the show began. I was greeted by a very rude box office staff who seemed to treat patrons as second citizens unless they knew them personally. It seems that lines do not matter in the Shoals Community Theater. If you know someone, you can skip the line, but don’t you dare try to buy a ticket or pick up a ticket if you’re a stranger. After quite the struggle with the box office volunteers I entered the theater.

Unfortunately, due to fire in the original theater downtown, the play was moved to the Zodiac Theater. The Zodiac is a unique space converted many decades ago from a car garage into a theater. There have been no renovations since. The theater felt like it could fall in at any time and the lights were hung with no safety cables above patrons’ heads. The theater, at least that evening, was not air conditioned, and the presence of dust and mold made my allergies flourish.

The show itself was ruined before it began. Apparently, Shoals Community Theater allows infants in the theater. This would be acceptable if it were a Gingerbread production, but not at a production by the Zodiac Players. Albeit very cute, the presence of a baby in a theatre is highly distracting as she was making noise throughout the show and often held high in the air, blocking those sitting behind her.

The quality of the production was sub-par. Yes, it is a community theatre production with an all volunteer cast and crew, so production quality should not be measured against that of a professional theater. Compared to other community theater productions, though, the quality was still lacking. Having some actors amplified and others not in a tiny 150 seat theater was unnecessary. The slow pacing of the play that included 5-10 minute-long scene changes made a 2 hour show with an intermission into a nearly 3 hour show. Worse, the director clearly wanted to be on stage, overshadowing his cast by laughing heartily after each line and singing louder than the cast during musical numbers.

The price for a ticket was $15 (with a $2 unexplainable service charge for buying at the box office). For $17, one could see a number of professional quality productions across the state. This weekend, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson produced by The Dane in Birmingham, for example, had a ticket campaign “A Hamilton for a Jackson,” in which tickets to the highly acclaimed musical were just $10. It featured a professional set, director, musicians, and actors in a theater similar in size to the Zodiac, but tickets were $7 less. I would like an explanation how Shoals Community Theater justifies selling tickets for $17 for a straight play in which everyone involved is an amateur. The rights and royalties are not expensive, the technical aspects of the play were not nearly professional quality, and all other production costs are minuscule compared to that of a larger musical or production at a larger theater. Where is that money going? It certainly isn’t the theater upkeep in either space.

All this to say, Florence should expect better a theatre going experience from its premier community theatre company.


We have been asked the current status of John F. Pilati's law license. Apparently there are rumors floating around that Pilati was denied reinstatement to the Alabama Bar. Pilati was also at one time a member of the Mississippi bar. At this time we can say with certainty only that as of five o'clock this afternoon, Pilati was not a current member of either bar association. We will update this when more information is available.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

William Marshall Gardner

Florence attorney Marshall Gardner passed away earlier this month. A friend and long-time reader has sent us an addendum to his obituary:

William Marshall Gardner was born August 16, 1951, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. While his early life was spent in Virginia, both his parents had deep roots in Alabama where they moved after Marshall’s father William V. (Bill) Gardner retired. Marshall’s mother Corrine Davis Gardner’s family was from the Elgin Community via Muscle Shoals. Marshall was always extremely fond of his Elgin relatives, and they of him.

After high school graduation, Marshall entered the army and served at Kagnew Station in Ethiopia, now Eritrea. Some of his most vivid military memories were of Kagnew, and he proudly displayed the Kagnew emblem on his Jeep for years.

After leaving the army the first time, Marshall received a degree in political science and education from UNA, being commissioned a Second Lieutenant upon his graduation. For the next 15 years Marshall traveled the world working for the NSA. When his mother once commented on her nephew who was an executive with Reynolds Metals and “flew all over the world,” Marshall replied that he did also, but in his case he drove the plane. Indeed, Marshall flew missions over Iraq during his long military career and later received his commercial pilot’s license.

Upon leaving the active military, Marshall taught for a short period in Florida. An avid baseball fan, he was always extremely proud that two of the young men he taught went on to play professional ball.

Deciding to enter the practice of law, Marshall attended school at Ohio Northern and practiced for a short time in Hawaii before returning home to the Shoals. Arriving too late to take the bar exam in Alabama for that year, he first passed the Tennessee bar and practiced in that state before becoming licensed in Alabama.

As an attorney, Marshall performed his pro bono work for animal welfare. He loved all animals, but especially Boston Terriers and cats, often entertaining others with tales of his ginger girl Rum Tum Tugger who looked like Humphrey Bogart and Tallulah with “half tail at full sail.” While working as an adjunct at UNA, Marshall never missed an opportunity to visit with Leo and Una.

A member of MENSA, he admired intelligence, wit, and style. He greatly championed the First Amendment while espousing a sensible approach to the Second.

An avid student of local history, Marshall was delighted when he had the opportunity to make the former Pine Street home of Charles Wescott Negley his law office. Marshall was also a Civil War Scholar whose knowledge of that conflict and those who wrote of it was probably unsurpassed in the Shoals. His favorite Confederate was Gen. Joe Wheeler, and he always hoped the South would rise again. Marshall was a brilliant satirist, his tastes in literature were catholic, and he could quote Kipling by heart.

As someone who took moderate to conservative stances on political issues, Marshall at one time commented frequently as “daybeggar” on the old TimesDaily forum. He was delighted to have been made an honorary member of the Republican Women’s Club.

Marshall’s only sibling Don once gave him the complete collection of Elvis Presley recordings which he cherished, but his favorite artist was Jimmy Dale Gilmore who sang of “commitin’ suicide in self defense.” Sadly, Don Gardner passed away as a result of an accident in 2010.

Marshall always cared deeply for Don’s two children. Nephew Will Gardner of Winchester, Virginia, and niece Lara Gardner Allen of Birmingham also survived Marshall.

Marshall took a special interest in the Alabama Veteran’s Museum in Athens where a brick in his honor lies in the courtyard. As an alternative memorial choice, there’s nothing more fitting than a gift to this institution.


Each of us at Shoalanda Speaks offers our sincere sympathy to Mr. Gardner's friends and family.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bama Bastards?

It's not unusual to see jokes online that refer to "baby mama" and "baby daddy;" however, besides being ungrammatical, these colloquialisms are no laughing matter in terms of what illegitimate births cost the state. In 2014, Auburn University published a study linking illegitimate births to crime and poverty. In other words, individuals with more education, money, and morals marry before reproducing.

So just what are illegitimacy rates/facts in Alabama?

* For the last year available, 42.6% of all state births were to unmarried women.
* In over half illegitimate births, the father chose not to take responsibility for the child unless forced to do so in court.
* Up to 90% of illegitimate children will not have their biological father in their lives by the age of five.
* Seven Alabama counties had an illegitimacy rate of over 70%: Macon, Wilcox, Sumter, Dallas, Lowndes, Perry, and Greene.
* African-American unwed mothers outnumber white unwed mothers by two to one.
* Predominately white Shelby County had the lowest illegitimacy rate at 17.7%.
* Instead of learning from mistakes, 40% to 50% of unmarried women giving birth in Alabama already had one child born outside of marriage.
* Since 1992, the majority of welfare recipients, not just in Alabama, but all states, have been unmarried mothers. The majority of these recipients never had a permanent partner or have been deserted by their partners.
* As many as 65% of unwed mothers in Alabama do not have a high school diploma. Of the other 35%, many suffer from various mental illnesses.
* One in five men in prison in the U.S. are unwed fathers, some becoming fathers while technically incarcerated. New laws in many states prohibit mothers from seeking child support from prison work or work release income.
* It costs each taxpayer in Alabama $85.00 a year for each child on Medicaid. The cost per taxpayer for illegitimate children on Medicaid is well over $100.00. This amount does not cover other welfare that the illegitimate child receives.
* According to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, the average IQ of an illegitimate child is 20 points less than its legitimate counterpart.This increases the stigma of illegitimacy.

Should the educated, intelligent, and caring of Alabama be concerned about the above statistics? Before anyone says "meh," think about that $100.00 in taxes each year going to support these children.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Florence Mayoral Race

As it stands now, four candidates are running for the position of mayor of the Shoals' largest town:

1. Mickey Haddock - Incumbent, former license commissioner

2. Billy Ray Simpson - Activist, preacher, perennial candidate

3. Susan Goode - Florence businesswoman with strong backers

4. Steve Holt - Recently retired as head of Shoals Chamber of Commerce

With four candidates, and we may as well be honest here, three of them strong contenders, there is bound to be a runoff. We'll have more information on these candidates in the near future. We encourage them to send us their platforms, and we encourage readers to send us questions they would like the candidates to answer.


Florence District One City Council? This will be the council race to watch with several factors coming into play. Stay tuned.



Times Daily featured videos....


Coach Lindsey "......................................Underage drinking is on the decline so to speak, we're seeing more, uh, hearing about more drunk use......................

Did Coach Lindsey have a little slip of the truth and had to catch himself real quick?
Yes, Muscle Shoals, you do have a problem.

Leslie M. Shoals


Not enough evidence to prosecute or just good ol' boy cronyism? It seems an attorney who toils in Franklin County, but whose main office is in Marion, has borrowed a substantial amount of money from a client. The loan was unsecured, and the client has been described as "elderly."

Marion County authorities won't prosecute this attorney for any type of unscrupulous conduct aimed at an older client. Is there lack or evidence or something much more sinister?

Moral: Make sure any loan you make is secured with a promissory note.

(We may have more on this later.)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's Not Nice to Try to Fool Mother Shoalanda

It seems to be a local phenomenon that no one in the Shoals is ever actually arrested even though their names appear in legal documents. Or perhaps they’ve actually been arrested for a much lesser charge than is reported in the media. At least that is what many family members and friends would have us believe. Some even accuse the media of intentionally lying for whatever perverse reason.

Such was the case earlier this week when our blog linked an article on the latest arrest of Holland Noah Elkins. Here’s the original article:

As soon as we linked the article, the mother of Elkins’ girlfriend/baby mama posted this on our Facebook page. From Ms. M.:

Actually it's on a traffic ticket in case you want the real truth!!! Lol, get it right before you post it.

An interesting remark since all this blog did was post a link; yet what was untrue? Being given to debate, we couldn’t resist pointing out that county traffic tickets are adjudicated in District Court, not Circuit Court, and suggest Elkins’ most recent arrest was in connection with his December 2015 felony domestic violence arrest. Enter the baby mama Ms. K. who posted:

I am the only person who was there other than Holland and nobody seen or heard anything because there was nothing to see or be heard. Holland has never put a finger on me in any harmful way in our relationship of almost 3 years now. He's a wonderful Daddy and man.


yes the circuit court warrant is traffic tickets but you should know the district court warrant since you already know so much. (We’re not even sure what this statement means.)

We’re not going to repost all of Ms. K’s remarks, but to put it concisely, she accused the Florence police of setting Elkins up. Interesting if true, but we sincerely doubt it.

So what do the court records say? Here it is by the numbers.

1. Holland Noah Elkins was previously convicted in 2012 of two felonies: a violent home invasion and bank robbery. He was given a 20 year sentence with 36 months to serve, followed by 5 years probation.

2. On December 7, 2015, Elkins failed to report for a regular meeting and drug test with his probation officer. He did not call, and the officer was unable to contact him.

3. On December 23, 2015, Elkins visited Ms. K., and an argument ensued. According to police reports, Elkins began to strangle his victim by pushing her against the wall of a stairwell with one hand while throttling her with his other. He continued to choke the young woman until they reached the bottom of the stairs where he then threw her to the ground and continued to choke her.

4. Police were called to the scene on Mars Hill Road and found the victim disheveled and bruised. When they asked her if she needed medical attention, she replied in the affirmative and was taken to the emergency department of ECM Hospital. Her medical records will be part of the case against Elkins.

5. On March 3rd, Circuit Court Judge Gil Self issued a warrant for Elkins’ arrest due to his first probation violation.

6. Elkins’ felony domestic violence case was referred to the grand jury on May 9th and a second warrant for his arrest was issued on May 11th.

7. Elkins was picked up by authorities on May 12th and remains in the Lauderdale County Detention Center without bond.

8. We may infer that Elkins’ victim will not testify against him since the felony domestic violence charge is at least his third violent charge. If he should be convicted as a habitual offender, Elkins could expect a life sentence, possibly even life without parole. Obviously it’s not in his victim’s financial interest to see him sent back to prison.

So there we have the official court record on Holland Noah Elkins’ current legal problems. Is there a traffic ticket as well? Our source didn’t find one, but stated there could possibly be some charge in Florence Municipal Court that wouldn’t show up on state records.

Will Judge Self revoke Elkins’ probation and send him back to that luxurious resort system down south before his trial on First Degree Domestic Violence? We’re not making any predictions on that, but anticipate Elkins’ attorney will ask for drug treatment instead.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Let's Play "Is Your Teacher an Idiot?"/Florence Police

Idiot Savant: It’s a term one doesn’t hear that often anymore, presumably because it’s not P.C. Briefly, it means a person of little intelligence who has a gift in one area. Sometimes we’re reminded of the term when we see those who perform well in their jobs, but haven’t a clue about anything else going on in the world.

This past week a Lincoln County, Tennessee, teacher has been in the news for assigning her class a project in which they were to make crosses. The original assignment was probably for Easter and would have been a great idea…in 1956.

We haven’t taken a poll, but certainly most who write here are of the Christian faith. Without a doubt, we can say that Shoalanda herself is. So why a blog about the Lincoln County School System being targeted by the Freedom from Religion organization?

We can sum it up in just one sentence: If a teacher is allowed to assign a class a project to make crosses, a teacher is allowed to assign students a project to make Islamic symbols…or symbols representing the Church of Satan. It’s as simple as that. Do you want your children making such symbols in school? No, we didn’t think so.

And for those who don’t see the connection to the term idiot savant, we ask why teachers with at least a four year college degree in education don’t understand what the law is on that subject?


If you’ve read some comments on our Facebook site, you know that the Florence Police Department was recently accused of making up evidence against a person. Do we believe this accusation? What do you think?

We plan to have a blog ready on this complaint soon, but in the mean time, if any of our readers have encountered this alleged behavior, please contact us. We don’t expect to receive any, or at least many, anecdotes from citizens, but in the interest of fairness we are asking, especially if this has happened in the past five years or so. We are aware of rare incidents (a detective forging witness statements 20 year ago, for instance), but we support our police department and feel that such incidents are the exception to the rule.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What it takes to be a Law Enforcement Officer and This Week

Our friend Bobby Inman is feeling better and has forwarded us the promised essay:

First of all, I want to thank all that have checked up on me the last couple of days. I had three seizures last Friday and was hospitalized. However, I did come into the Office today because I had told Shoalanda Speaks that I would write an article for the website about this week.

This article is about what it takes to be a Law Enforcement Officer. A Law Enforcement officer can be anyone, Male or Female, Black, White, Asian, etc. Big or Small. But they all have one thing in common. They have the “Heart” of a Law Enforcement Officer. They put their lives on the line to protect you and me in today’s Society.


These Officers spend their careers working odd shifts, Holidays and Birthdays. They miss their kids growing up, everyday events with friends as well as family and important dates. Off time is spent in Court or catching up on sleep. You will not get rich in Law Enforcement. The Pay Scale for Officers is low which is really sad.

These Officers see the worse of Society. They see the wrecks, the Domestic Situations, the death, the chases and the bad side of people. They have to deal with the heat, the cold, the snow and the rain. There are long shifts as well as overtime. But, they chose this profession. They are the Warriors in today’s Society that keep us safe. They have made the choice that they may lay down their lives to Protect you. 

As of today, there has been 35 Law Enforcement Officers killed this year. That number is too many. Furthermore, there has been 12 Police K-9s killed in the Line of Duty this year. So, next time a Police Officer stops you for a traffic offense, realize that he is stopping you to help you. He might have saved your life telling you not to run that STOP Sign again. But also realize that he may not survive the next traffic stop.

Respect the men and women who wear the blue, grey, brown or whatever color uniform of Law Enforcement. They are someone’s Mother or Father, Brother or Sister, Son or Daughter. They are there to protect us. This week is the National Law Enforcement Memorial Week. Let’s salute our fallen comrades.   


"When a police officer is killed, it's not an agency that loses an officer, it's an entire nation." -Chris Cosgriff, ODMP Founder

Bobby Inman is retired from Full-time Police work. He currently works as a Reserve Deputy for the Colbert County, Alabama Sheriff’s Department as well as owning Hammer Down Gun & Pawn. He has articles published in Law & Order Magazine, Police Marksman Magazine, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement Magazine as well as several published ebooks on Amazon.


Thought for today: Forgiveness is better than "calamari," nevertheless, be careful what you say about your enemies--remember you're the one who made them.


A beautiful song written by Guy Clark and performed here by the writer and Townes Van Zandt. Townes died on January 1, 1997, and Guy passed away this morning:

Monday, May 16, 2016

Police Officers' Memorial Day/Life Without? We Doubt It

From the website:

National Peace Officers Memorial Day falls on Sunday, May 15 in 2016. Because National Police Week takes place during the calendar week on which May 15 falls, this year's official NPW dates are Sunday, May 15, 2016 through Saturday, May 21, 2016.


Bobby Inman of Sheffield had contacted us about writing an article on this week's memorial activities; however, he has been ill. From Bobby's family:

Bobby did go to the hospital for an episode of 3 seizures. That combined with the stomach virus he has left him dehydrated and weak. He was later released from the hospital. I think this time he understands he's not as young as be used to be...he has to take this serious and do something about it. We would like to thank Sheffield Police, Sheffield Fire & Keller Ambulance for taking care of him tonight. Hammer Down Gun & Pawn will continue operating with Martha Sue, Anthony Davis, Drew Sebelski, Travis Bennett & myself while Bobby recuperates. Thank you. Paige

Best wishes to Bobby for a speedy recovery.


From a reader: You missed the point about why Holland Elkins' victim is defending him. He has at least two previous convictions for violent crimes. If he's convicted of felony abuse (strangulation), he could get life without.

Since we strongly doubt Elkins' victim will testify against him (the Florence Police set him up according to her), we doubt that he'll be convicted.

Ladies, there's no need to stay in an abusive relationship, but we're sure there are cocker spaniels out there paying more attention to that admonition than those for whom it's written.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What to Expect When You're Arrested for Domestic Violence

Below is a list of what a person arrested on domestic violence charges may expect. You should note that most of these also apply to anyone arrested for any crime:

* You'll be held a certain number of hours, usually 12, even if you can make bail immediately.

* Your mugshot will be in Hard Times, perhaps even on the front page where your friends can easily see it when they check out at the corner mini-mart.

* Your mugshot will be online in the Quad-Cities Daily--free for anyone with Internet access to view

* Ditto the last comment, but change the site name to the Shoals Insider.

* If the domestic violence is considered a felony or if you have quite a rap sheet already, you'll rate an article in Pen-N-Sword.

* Ditto the above with your name in the TimesDaily.

* Depending upon where you work, you  may even rate an article in the Flor-Ala.

* No sympathy from anyone outside your family and a few misguided friends.

The above list of ramifications of domestic violence doesn't include legal fees and lost time from work. You may even lose your job, assuming you have one.

And if you really want to push how your umpteen arrests are all a mistake, you may even rate your own blog  post on this site.


Domestic violence was not our originally intended topic for today, but a reader inadvertently suggested it to us when she took up for a man with domestic violence charges (big surprise) and a rap sheet that reaches to the coast and back. This offender remains in the detention center as of tonight, as he has been for the past five days. We infer, traffic ticket no show or not, the judge is not happy with the perp's actions.

We'll add in the interest of fairness that we've had many complaints over the years about the inaccessibility of Florence Municipal Court when seeking to change a court date. We're sure this is true, but an individual already in the system with a domestic violence charge should already have an attorney who can handle a change in appearance dates for any other extraneous matters the alleged abuser faces in either circuit or municipal court.

In other words, if you're on probation or other legal programs, you're not the brightest tiki torch on the patio if you simply blow off a court appearance.


Just a reminder: Each day we plan to link one article from the Shoals Insider and Pen-N-Sword on our Facebook page. If you have comments, please contact the original publication.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tom Brokaw: Alabama Doesn't Need You

In case you missed it, this is what former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw said earlier today at Ole Miss' graduation:

“I’m so relieved to be speaking to a graduating class at Ole Miss. If I were speaking at Alabama, I would have to use smaller words and shorter sentences.”

Perhaps Brokaw has been taking lessons in stand-up from PresBO? No matter the rationale for Brokaw's attack on this state, we have a few words for him--some of which might even have more than one syllable.

Brokaw has cancer and has presumably been undergoing chemotherapy. He spoke today at the graduation exercises wearing a baseball cap, we say a baseball cap! We're also sure that someone with Brokaw's money could afford an attractive wig...yet he didn't seem to think Ole Miss' graduation deserved that much respect.

Does Brokaw respect anyone?


We had thought the August mayoral race to watch would be Florence; however, Tuscumbia's election is shaping up to be interesting. Stay tuned...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Restroom Attendants? No. Zoo Keepers? Yes.

Our state leaders now want restroom attendants in public school unisex restrooms. How much this would cost is anyone’s guess. Perhaps teachers already banned from the classroom could be utilized to keep down the costs?


Apparently what schools today need are not just bathroom attendants, but zoo keepers. Below is a photo currently making the rounds of a so-called prank at Curry High School in Jasper (Walker County). 

Let’s see…first the climbing rope was made into a noose, but no one noticed? Then two students pose that now infamous pose, but no one noticed? That’s not to mention a third student openly used his phone/camera during school hours (policies differ at various schools, but we’re betting this violated school policy), but no one noticed? Then someone, probably the one who took the snap, put it on social media thinking no one from the Walker County School System would notice? Well, they hadn’t noticed anything up until now, had they?

Now three kids are in hot water, and the mother of one is stating it was just a learning experience for the youths. Just a radical idea here, but isn’t it better if kids learn how to behave at home first?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New Heights in Tourism Vision

For those of you who may have questioned Rob Carnegie’s vision in relation to the upcoming barbecue cook-off at McFarland Park, you couldn’t be more wrong. Hackers have sent us Carnegie’s notes straight from his official planning page, and the diversity of events over the next few years is amazing.

2016 BBQ Festival – Featuring pork barbecue with special musical guests the Mulholland Muslim Trio.

2017 BBQ Festival – Featuring beef barbecue with special dance program by the Hindu Hillbilly Haints.

2018 BBQ Festival – Featuring chicken barbecue with hands on neck-wringing exhibitions by a local Santerian cult.

2019 BBQ Festival – Featuring goat barbecue with special gypsy theme including a round of “Are you smarter than a professional pickpocket?”

2020 BBQ Festival – Featuring turkey barbecue with special guest Les Nessman interviewing Florence city council members on the topic of bombing the Four-Lane Shopping Center with live turkeys.

2021 BBQ Festival – Featuring possum barbecue with special appearances by local Red Cross volunteers demonstrating the proper care and dressing of bite wounds.

2022 BBQ Festival – Featuring squirrel barbecue with special guests the Kentucky Headhunters backed up on stage by a Power Point presentation on Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

2023 BBQ Festival – Uh, give me time; I’ll think of something.


A reader has asked:

Texas Town to Build $62.8M High School Football Stadium

The gauntlet has been thrown. Will the citizens of Muscle Shoals respond?

Our reply:

Let’s not give them any ideas.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What Now That Kratom Bill Has Passed?

It’s official. SB226 passed and was signed into law by Governor Bentley. This bill makes kratom and its alkaloids a Schedule I substance. This means it is considered too dangerous for even research; yet we know kratom is effective for pain management, opioid withdrawal, and opioid replacement therapy.


Pro kratom activists from Kratom United and Botanical Legal Defense fought tooth and nail in Montgomery because they see the alarming statistics of opioid abuse in Alabama. They went to the halls in our capital and distributed scientifically backed information which included a study from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Also present in Montgomery was Barry Matson from Prosecution Services and the Alabama District Attorney's Association (Registered Lobbyists) Bradford Health Services (also registered lobbyists) Rep. Mack Butler and Sen. Arthur Orr. They sponsored the two kratom banning bills allegedly written by Barry Matson.

Opponents of HB175 and SB226 reported unsolicited physical contact from Matson, dirty looks from him in the halls, name calling, and very caustic tones. I spoke with him myself over the telephone and I assure you, it was difficult to get a word in with him. He came at me very defensively. "I bet you already have your mind made up about this stuff," he said. Matson rattled off anecdotes and pointed to a recent death where the deceased's toxicology report pointed to a cocktail of known deadly drug combinations and the presence of kratom with no quantitative data. He claimed to have gotten thousands of phone calls from parents about kratom. He told me he had addicts in the programs he is affiliated with (I assume Bradford and Drug courts) that could not get clean because of kratom. He later reported that all of those in his affiliated programs are testing clean. He also held claim to having reports on deaths exclusive to kratom and data showing its harm.

When asked for those reports by KU, BLD, and myself, he was out of contact. His only reports that became transparent were written by himself where he claimed that kratom is 13 times more potent than morphine. That would make a single drink of a concentrated form like Viva Zen lethal. I suppose those phone calls from parents were from grieving parents who lost their children.

Matson tactics were filled with anecdotes and blatant lies and questionable ethics as his programs are directly affiliated with Bradford Health Services and both stand to gain from a kratom ban. We are sure the ethics violations will become transparent.

Butler and Orr were not receptive to our attempts to contact them.

SB226 was referred to the house health committee, and during its reading the committee pulled members selectively from the house floor to vote. It passed and was sent to the house floor for vote. Mack Butler motioned for a "temporary voice vote" and the bill was passed. We are not entirely sure what happens in a temporary voice vote but my contact with the ALGOP tells me they have never heard of such a thing.

During their celebration one of their constituents Lance Dyer revealed that they have been ordering kratom to compile lists of vendors and infiltrated advocacy, apothecary, and natural medicine groups so they may stay one step ahead of the opponents of the bills.

All and all this ordeal continues to point to protection of private interests. Bradford Health Services, the for profit probation services, private prison industry, and pharmaceutical companies stand to lose heavily from kratom. People have the right to chose natural medicine over pharmaceutical drugs and that right is being stripped away from us in favor of drugs that are known to be highly addictive and kill. As noted in my previous article, Viva Zen and like companies are not kratom. Kratom United has launched a nationwide boycott of Viva Zen and like companies. If you want more information please visit Kratom United and Botanical Legal Defense.

It should be noted that Lance Dyer is the father of Dakota Dyer--the Georgia boy who committed suicide supposedly because he was under the influence of synthetic cannabinoid JWH-18 and JWH-250. While there is no proof as to why the boy killed himself, Lance has become a drug warrior fighting research chemicals and designer drugs. While I applaud his efforts in that department, he fails to understand that these pieces of legislation are going to result in the death of many more people…every single one of which is someone's child.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What Would You Do?

You manage a small drug store that has just been purchased by the infamous “Pharma-Bro.” The new owner raises the cost of a month’s cancer treatment from $10.00 to $500.00; what do you do?

A. Sell the drug for $500.00, even though you think it’s immoral.

B. Sell the drug for $10.00, even though you’re technically stealing from your employer.

C. Quit your job and seek employment at a reputable drug retail outlet.

For most of us, the answer would be simple. We quit—thereby not offending our moral sensibilities or breaking the law. What about those who continue to sell the drug at the old price and then brag about how they’re flouting their employer’s policies?

Now substitute the name of this drug store manager with the name of Alabama’s Supreme Court Justice. 


Some past actions of Judge Roy Moore:

1. He called the state's first case of mad cow disease a plot to help pass an animal identification system.
2. He told his replacement Chief Justice Gorman Houston that he was going to hell.
3. He placed a granite monument depicting the Ten Commandments inside the state judicial building...complete with the wording "c. Roy Moore." (We're pretty sure God doesn't like plagiarism.)
4. He said in 2005 that homosexuality shouldn't be tolerated in Alabama. (We're not weighing in on the right or wrong of that particular orientation. We just want to be sure Moore doesn't decide to not tolerate them with gas chambers.)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sheffield: A Law Unto Itself?

So the town of Sheffield turns a blind eye to illegal peddling at Town Plaza Shopping Center, but won’t similarly overlook sidewalk vending on Jackson Highway? Apparently the town council has told the owner of a dilapidated Jackson Highway business that she can’t sell illegally at the location she owns, but she can sell illegally at the shopping center on South Montgomery Avenue.

Did this wonderful advice come from Sheffield’s city attorney, or did the council just make it up as it went along?


Recent news reports concerning Dr. Leonides Santos of Russellville brought to mind much more serious complaints from a few years ago about Dr. Christopher Gay. Gay was practicing in Sheffield when he ran afoul of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.

From the board’s March 2016 legal entries:

On Mar. 4, the Commission entered an Order reinstating the license to practice medicine in Alabama of Christopher P. Gay, DO, lic. no. DO.687, Anniston AL, and placing it on indefinite probation, subject to conditions.

Read More: Christopher Parker Gay


As for Dr. Santos, a reader sent us this:

Dr. Santos was a fantastic surgeon!!! He never ever told any family, patient, or staff that he "couldn't" operate on an emergency case. No matter whether it was a dissecting abdominal aneurysm, or a victim with multiple gunshot wounds in the ER, he did his damnedest to put them back together and heal them.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

A few words for those considering becoming wives and mothers:

Social Science on the Benefits that Marriage Provides to Children

Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to be physically or sexually abused, less likely to use drugs or alcohol and to commit delinquent behaviors, have a decreased risk of divorcing when they get married, are less likely to become pregnant/impregnate someone as a teenager, and are less likely to be raised in poverty. ("Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences," Bradford Wilcox, Institute for American Values, www.americanvalues.org/html/r-wmm.html)

Children receive gender specific support from having a mother and a father. Research shows that particular roles of mothers (e.g., to nurture) and fathers (e.g., to discipline), as well as complex biologically rooted interactions, are important for the development of boys and girls. ("Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles," 2006, www.princetonprinciples.org)

A child living with a single mother is 14 times more likely to suffer serious physical abuse than is a child living with married biological parents. A child whose mother cohabits with a man other than the child's father is 33 times more likely to suffer serious physical child abuse. ("The Positive Effects...")

In married families, about 1/3 of adolescents are sexually active. However, for teenagers in stepfamilies, cohabiting households, divorced families, and those with single unwed parents, the percentage rises above 1/2. ("The Positive Effects...")

Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the chance that children themselves will divorce or become unwed parents. ("26 Conclusions..." and "Marriage and the Public Good...") * Children of divorce experience lasting tension as a result of the increasing differences in their parents' values and ideas. At a young age they must make mature decisions regarding their beliefs and values. Children of so called "good divorces" fared worse emotionally than children who grew up in an unhappy but "low-conflict'"marriage. ("Ten Findings from a National Study on the Moral and Spiritual Lives of Children of Divorce," Elizabeth Marquardt, www.betweentwoworlds.org)

All of us at Shoalanda Speaks