Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kudos to UNA/City of Florence

Kudos to the University of North Alabama for offering housing to students displaced by the Tuesday night fire at Ivy Green Apartments. If any readers know of needs for clothing, toiletries, etc., send us the pertinent info and we’ll publicize it.

Similarly, if you know of organizations collecting for those displaced in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas, let us know. Remember that those displaced include four-legged family members and most of the wildlife in the area. Let us know of charities/organizations helping them as well.


Sirens? We’ve received conflicting reports about sirens in Sheffield, as well as other areas, malfunctioning. We did learn something: The sirens are designed to warn those outdoors and not those indoors who presumably have other warning systems. Several readers have commented that the rains were so strong during part of the storm that even sirens a few blocks away couldn’t be heard.


Now some more props—this time to the City of Florence. The East Tennessee Street beautification project has been complete for a few weeks now, and we encourage any who haven’t yet viewed it to do so.

The best part? We’re now able to remove the hideous Knight-Humphries donut from our list of eyesores. It’s been a while since we’ve updated our list of the worst of the worst offenders in the Shoals/Franklin area; send us your submissions.


Pennies for Polio? Tomorrow we’ll tell you why you should just say no to this national Rotary Club scam that’s already made its way to northwest Alabama.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Did Your Siren Sound the Alarm?

At least one Huntsville television station told viewers to prepare for power outages tonight. Certainly it’s good to have a battery operated weather radio on standby; however, not everyone does. Many rely on local civil defense sirens to tell them when to take shelter.

The Shoals is under a tornado watch until at least 11:00 p.m. and earlier was under an actual warning for 30 minutes. Did you hear the sirens?

We’ve had reports that the sirens weren’t activated in Sheffield. This isn’t the first time in recent memory that our Sheffield readers have contacted us about non-working sirens. Aren’t they tested weekly?

If you’re concerned (and you should be), you need to contact the Sheffield City Council. That’s assuming they aren't blown away later tonight…


As a side note, we referred above to the sirens as “civil defense” sirens. Theoretically, these sirens would sound the alarm if the Shoals is ever attacked by terrorists. We do have to ask how citizens would know the difference between tornadoes and terrorists?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lauderdale Landfill Epitomizes Poor Planning

Earlier this month, Lauderdale County received approval to expand its non-garbage landfill to take construction waste from Florence and Rogersville. Demolition of a former Florence K-Mart store, buildings on the old Coffee High School campus, and an apartment complex at UNA had all been placed on hold. We have to ask why?

Companies that demolish large structures are usually responsible for clearing the site of debris. What if the expansion hadn't been approved? Was there no other site prepared to take this debris?

In the case of the old Married Students Apartments, as they were originally dubbed, the contractor had indicated the site would be cleared and a new parking lot finished by the start of the Spring semester. Now UNA says it may be mid-semester before the new lot of 200 spaces opens.

UNA also says that's okay. Remember, students, you can park on residential streets. 


The University of North Alabama wants to grow, as in enrollment growth. Presumably, the university now has the dorm pace to accommodate this growth, but what about parking? UNA has already indicated that the 200 new spaces on Circular Road won't be enough to provide adequate parking for the current enrollment. We realize UNA doesn't want to construct parking spaces for students who may never come, but surely our local university wants to be a good neighbor and provide for those already on campus?

Perhaps UNA needs to invest in a parking survey. The City of Florence's survey turned out to be well worth the money. Oh, wait, no it didn't. At least we'll now have a purple and gold parking deck...won't we?


Could painted parking meters be a partial answer to Florence's parking woes? Paint two or three on each block, then charge a little extra to park in those spaces. Drawbacks? They would probably need frequent touch-ups It's worked for other cities, why not here in the Shoals?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chance Aaron Southern/The Ghost in the Camera?

By all accounts, Chance Aaron Southern, 16, has led a troubled life. He first went missing in 2014 at the age of 14. In September of this year he disappeared again in Lauderdale County. The Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office was recently quoted in an article in which authorities theorized the missing youth didn't want to be found due to looming legal problems.

No matter the reason for his vanishing act, young Southern has cost the county time and money. Now he's posting on Facebook, having updated his profile pic two weeks ago. We don't know what legal consequences Southern is looking at in Lauderdale County, but we suspect a small reward might do the trick in finding our perp/runaway. 


We couldn't help but notice the nine friends of Chance Southern that FB offered up to us on his timeline page. No, we don't know any of them personally, but we knew of 1/3 of them. One is similarly missing Savannah Clever, while a second was a witness to a recent Colbert County shooting, while a third is a frequent flyer in Lauderdale courts, having been accused of assaulting "elderly" victims for money and drugs.

Dogs. Fleas. Got it?


A professional photographer has speculated the ghostly light present in a recent TD photograph taken in the Colbert County Courthouse was the result of an ISO setting that was too high. A faithful friend and reader has similarly informed us that the sleeves on the robe worn by Judge Chad Coker in that nebulous photo are fitted at the wrist to facilitate writing. That would certainly account for at least part of the flaring effect.

All comments on the allegedly haunted courthouse welcome.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Still No Action on Paradise Drive

From Hank Thomas of Waterloo:

See attached letter (below). The original letter was written in February 2012 and in May 2012 a young man was victim of a crash and died. I have sent a follow up letter every year since 2012 to no avail. County presently in lawsuit over the death. Still no action on the road. Hopefully the new County Chairman will address the situation, since the outgoing Chairman never did anything for the citizens using Paradise Drive:

On February 9, 2012 I wrote and you each received, with the exception of Mr. Garner a letter outlining in detail defects on Paradise Drive in Waterloo Alabama. No action was taken on the defects mentioned in the letter. The county engineer did have two signs installed indicating steep grade and curve on the road with each being placed some distance from the gravel portion of Paradise Drive.

Since the letter was received we have had a death occur on the road due in part to the defects pointed out in the letter and still no action. The death occurred in May of 2012. Mr. Mitchell pointed out in the minutes of December 10,2012 that when the commission is made aware of defects, by citizens, that action must and will be taken by the commission to prevent liability on the part of the commission and the citizens of Lauderdale county. This statement was in conjunction with the removal of the "Ghost  Bridge". I concur with Mr. Mitchell on his statement, but wonder why he has not applied this logic to the defects on Paradise Drive even after the death on Paradise Drive.

The commission is presently being sued for negligence as it relates to the defects on Paradise Drive and the death caused in part by the lack of attention to the defects. Still no action from the commission or the county engineer to correct the defects. I have never received an explanation for why no action is taking place nor non-planned .Different department heads point to one another as perhaps needing to provide the answer. As pointed out in the previous letter the standard of care which is the duty of the county "is to keep it's roads in a reasonable safe condition for travel, and to remedy defects in the roadway upon receipt of notice"  The county commission in my opinion has not only failed to act on this matter, but have shown contempt towards citizens voicing their concern regarding the defects. I feel State Law 23-1-80 is not being followed by the county commission on the defects on Paradise Drive.  

Please consider this letter and the attached letter of February 9, 2012 notice of defects on Paradise Drive Waterloo Alabama since no action has been taken on the February 9, 2012 letter. I contend that the first letter is still valid as a notification and this letter is to put the commission on notice that this is a continuing problem. My hopes are that we will not have to suffer more deaths or injuries to get the commission to use their role as commissioners of the people to instruct and oversee that the defects are corrected as quickly as possible.

I would appreciate a response to my letter outlining the county commission's position as to why no action will be taken or a plan of action to correct the defects on Paradise Drive.
Hank Thomas


The ongoing situation on Paradise Drive was recently brought to mind by the proposed housing projects on North Shore Drive. If developer Will Andrews thinks the county will step in and bring that street up to scratch, he's bound to be disappointed.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Another One Bites the Dust at the LCDC

Brandon Lane Pate
We periodically have readers ask us if Edward Ray (Chip) Dillard will ever be charged with smuggling pills into the Lauderdale County Detention Center. While we have no concrete knowledge of the reported investigation into the crime, we will assume that investigators know the attorney general’s human trafficking case against Dillard is such a slam dunk that there’s no need to waste any more money on the Florence attorney.

With electronic visitation now the norm, few individuals have access to prisoners. We see that a relatively new corrections officer was charged yesterday with smuggling items into the LCDC—at least drugs weren’t found among the confiscated assortment.

So far, Brandon Lane Pate is not yet 20 and reportedly has had an army career cut short for unknown reasons. Now he’s charged with the misdemeanor of supplying prisoners with contraband. Anyone have a job waiting for Brandon? He probably really needs one since his FB page says he's going to be a father in June...if his girlfriend doesn't kill him first.


The trials of Chip Dillard, Tim Staggs, and Brett Mitchell are reportedly scheduled for next month. We haven’t seen any updates, but it’s anyone’s guess when the three will actually make it to the dock…or if one of more will take a plea.

Various legal eagles tell us Mitchell will receive a slap on the wrist, while Dillard and Staggs will face the fury of the attorney general’s office. At 84, Staggs is almost assuredly looking at a life sentence; will the attorney general’s office give him a chance to flip? Judging from how much they reportedly want the 52 year-old Dillard, we’re going with a yes.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Are you truly thankful? Then remember to show your thanks by performing an act of kindness each of the next 31 days. By Christmas Day, it just may have become a habit!

Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at Shoalanda Speaks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Who Owns Point Clear/Laurel Cove? Not Will Andrews!

No matter what anyone thinks of the proposed developments in extreme eastern Florence (or Florence planning jurisdiction), the owner of the property on which these semi-detached dwellings and townhouses may be built is not developer Will Andrews.

The only property owned by developer Andrews in Lauderdale County would appear to be a vacation home of some ilk in Killen:

The 16 lots referenced in news accounts and the adjoining plat all belong to Florence housing director Shaler Roberts III:

Why have the TimesDaily and Robert Palmer continued to publish false information? 



Roads to the above referenced subdivision will also prove a problem since they're overseen by the county. Will Andrews and Shaler Roberts' best bet is to have the land annexed into Florence. The county has an abysmal record of improving such roads. Just ask the citizens of Waterloo and Elgin.


If you don't subscribe to our Twitter feed you've missed a great pic of a serial abuser celebrating Thanksgiving by violating his probation...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Mommy and a Mummy

Mother of the Year?
By: The Midnight Rider
We can hardly say that Denya Logan is Mother of the Year much less a mother at all. Recently she was arrested in Lawrence County as part as a Drug as well as Prostitution Ring. Ok, no big deal you say? I knew that I knew that name from somewhere so I started doing a little research.
Denya Logan
Madison County, Alabama has arrested her for carrying a firearm without a permit. Tuscumbia Police Department shows that she was arrested in June of 2015 for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia as well as Unlawful Possession of Marijuana. Further investigation shows several more Misdemeanor Arrests in Colbert County as well as Leighton, Alabama.

Now, let’s talk about the big one. Denya’s 2 month Son was found dead. Tuscumbia Police Department investigated her husband, Michael. Denya supported her husband by saying :

 “There’s no doubt in my mind that Michael did not do this. Now I have to deal with the tragic loss of our son and burying him.”

Luckily Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan realized something didn’t track with the story. The husband was arrested and made a plea bargain for Manslaughter. Supposedly, Denya was not home when the incident took place.
Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan
Mother of the Year? Not even close. We are glad that Tony Logan and his officers as well as Investigators were able to prove on behalf of the infant the wrong doing of the father.

So, what is next for Denya? I am sure more arrests.

Until next time…
I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider.


We see that Denya, who defended her man even after he killed their child, is now with another man. This man was happy to drive her to her assignation in Moulton. Hey, a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do to get some cool cash, right?

Ladies, what does it take for you to just say no to men like that? Oh, wait, sorry. I remember now...your guy, with his 20 felony convictionss, is the exception. Carry on...



It may be Thanksgiving week, but according to our readers, it's still Halloween. First we have Satanic rituals, then a ghost. Now we have a mummy. 

We noticed several on Facebook who commented about a perp who was breaking into cars in Muscle Shoals. Is he a mummy? We'll let our readers decide.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Courthouse Ghost/Prostitution Sting

We certainly had some interesting responses to our reader who thought a recent Colbert County Commission meeting looked like a Satanic ritual. Now we have an alternate take on it from another reader:

You missed the big picture. It was a ghost. Look at the white area in the photo. The electrical charges in the air caused the judge's robe to flair out like that, maybe even produced a burst of cold wind that filled out the sleeve. You do know the courthouse is haunted? 

Here's the photo blown up and enhanced. We sometimes see white areas like this in photos and have heard them termed ghosts when there's no explanation for the glare. 

Readers, what say you produced the white glare on the sleeve (assuming it's only sleeve we're seeing)? We say florescent lights. What produced the flaring sleeve? We have no idea...



In case you missed this article in PNS:

Tomorrow the Midnight Rider will have a very interesting take on the story...


The feasibility of a mega-tennis court complex in Florence has popped up again. Get your popcorn ready; there's already an argument over who's going to pay for a study. It seems the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism board has already paid for the initial plans for the courts, so what if they never come to fruition? Oh, it's okay, the board will be getting more lodging tax soon. Or will it? Stay turned...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Was That a Satanic Ritual in Colbert County?"

We frequently miss some very interesting things. So thanks to a reader for asking about the recent swearing-in ceremony of the newest Colbert County Commission. Just what was the judge wearing? The ceremony looks like a Satanic ritual.

We’ve attended many trials and have never once seen a judge’s robe with a hood, much less a jurist actually donning a hood…not even to pass a death sentence.

Of course, the TD’s Russ Corey didn’t bother to name the officiate at the ceremony. We don’t know if it was our friend Daniel Rosser (we’ve never been to a probate hearing, but didn’t think robes were worn) or one of the county’s trial judges. 

Obama Inaugeration (See? No Hood)

We and our reader would just like to know the story behind the hood. Do you get paid extra if you wear it?



Apologies to the TD for utilizing half their photograph, but we knew a picture was worth a few thousand words in this instance.


Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Don’t forget to take food to the local animal shelters. In fact, why not foster a dog or cat for the holiday weekend. You just might wind up with a permanent new family member.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Illegal Immigration/Supporting Sexual Abusers

We support Jeff Sessions on his illegal immigration stance. Why? Let’s look at these scenarios.

A local homeless shelter closes suddenly; 30 men are unexpectedly thrown out on the street. They have no food and are huddling in a small park nearby the closed shelter…

A. Joe walks by and wants to help. He has only 3.00 cash in his pocket, so he runs into a nearby store, gets change, and hands each man a dime.

B. Jim similarly walks by with only 3.00 cash. He picks out one man and takes him to the local burger in a box and buys him the meal combo, while the remaining 29 men go hungry.

C. John walks by in the third scenario. He feels so strongly for these men that he takes his debit card and buys each of the 30 a meal combo. Then later in the week he realizes that the 90.00 he spent had been allotted to purchase his child needed textbooks. Now John’s son will fall behind in school.

That pretty much sums up our immigration problem. There are no easy answers, but the “B” scenario is best for our country. Jeff Sessions will ensure that’s how illegal immigration is handled, and we should be grateful to him.



Do you support the sexual abuse of children? Apparently some do. Some months ago, we published a blog from a Killen woman who had been “accused” of writing for us. Until a friend told her of the Facebook post and she contacted us, we had not heard of her, nor she of us. Why was she accused and by whom?

Apparently she was accused by a friend of a Killen man with a long rap sheet who has appeared in our blog frequently. It seems that now M.P., another young friend of the perp, has picked up this story, basically aiding and abetting a man who sexually abused an 11 year-old girl. We understand the need to support one’s friends, but when you accomplish that by lying, by supporting a sexual abuser in the process, you might want to rethink your position.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Jeff Sessions/Georgia Carter

Jeff Sessions has recently gotten a lot of bad publicity, some of which he deserves. His remarks on sexual assault were seemingly uncalled for; however, giving him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he meant the act of groping someone can’t compare to rape?

We’re linking an article on Sessions written by someone who knows him well. It contains some interesting information on his Senate rejection some years ago. Ted Kennedy even criticized Sessions’ name? Such an action should be unbelievable, but coming from a man who in all likelihood committed premeditated murder, we’re not surprised.

No, criticize Sessions, or anyone else, for his actions, not his name, be it Jeff Sessions, Wilberforce Jackanapes, or Howell Heflin who voted against Sessions’ confirmation to a federal judgeship. Speaking of Heflin, he got off pretty easy when he commented on the size of Fawn Hall's breasts, didn’t he? Is that kind of “locker room talk” that much different from what Trump has been accused of?



A few weeks ago, Florence-Lauderdale Tourism’s Georgia Carter announced she was leaving to accept a director’s post in another city. We’re sure money was a factor, but we also have to ask if working conditions played a role as well?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Kiddie Porn/Five Year Rule/Professional Licenses

Pornography is a big business. Unfortunately, so is child porn, but it’s illegal—as it should be. If you’re attracted to children, get some help. No child should be sexualized; it’s as simple as that. None of the children victimized entered the business because they wanted to; all of them were forced into this horrible situation.

It’s sad that anyone who has accomplished so much in life is brought down, loses everything, in the last third of life when he should be enjoying the fruits of his labors. Don’t let this happen to you.



Yesterday we published a photograph sent to us by readers. This photo was ostensibly only two weeks old, but those close to the situation report it’s seven years old? Is it?

Looking at the date stamp, it could be ten or more years old. We’re not sure the stamp is working properly since clocks on older cameras have been known to malfunction—it appears to show either 2006 or 1006. We are satisfied that the photo is older and that someone resurrected it in some form of vendetta against one of the people involved.

The actions depicted in the photo are dodgy at best, but not illegal. So, no, to whomever wants to turn this over to the bar association, it’s old news and your complaint will be filed away with the appropriate office clerk cursing under their breath that someone gave them extra work.

Almost all professional organizations use the five year rule. Almost any indiscretion over five years old, sometimes seven, is looked upon as old news for licensing purposes.


That brings us to our e-mail. We regularly receive “news” of legal indiscretions committed over 20 years ago by attorneys/judges, nurses/physicians, etc. What many people don’t realize is that these professional people reported all these incidents when they were licensed.

If these professionals commit new crimes, we’ll be the first to list their old ones in the story. If they’re minding their own business and making more money than you, we’re going to consider you…umm, what’s the word? Oh, yes…a vindictive idiot.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bring Your Own Noose...

At first, we were going to mention how alcohol makes people do untoward things, but then we realized it wasn’t the alcohol as far as everyone was concerned. Someone (and we don’t know who) made a noose and took it to a Halloween party ostensibly held at a local bar. In other words, it was a premeditated noose.

We do know who is pictured holding the noose in the photograph below. We understand the person has already been reported to the state bar association. We can hardly wait until Florence again makes national/international news.

Photo Removed Due to its Age & Lack of Relevance 

Moral: Don't try to think and drink at the same time.



So someone held a wedding reception in Sheffield and used a Lawrence County caterer? We’re assuming they got a good deal.

That worked out really well, didn’t it?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Replacing Jeff Sessions/Florence Tourist App

There’s no “if” in replacing Jeff Sessions; there’s only a “when.” Our Alabama senator will shortly become a member of Donald Trump’s cabinet. Secretary of Defense was the original guess of most pundits, but now State and Homeland Security are being bandied about.

No matter Sessions’ new position, we’ll then collect a new senator. Smart money is on Luther Strange, but nothing is ever a given. If it should be Luther Strange, Alabama will then need a new attorney general.

When Governor Bentley thinks of all this newfound power, he must be rubbing his hands together in delight like…well, just like Mr. Burns.



Are there other givens out there? There certainly are. No matter what filmmaker Michael Moore may predict, most solid political experts know there’s every likelihood that Trump will be our president for eight years. Can you say totally new U.S. Supreme Court?

Trump has hinted at some laws he will support and at some he will wish to overturn. The plain truth is that Trump will have little influence over which current laws will be contested in the court, a court that will go on long after Trump leaves office.

Insert “bumpy ride” line here…



We see that Florence now has a new app that will supposedly lure visitors to our area. First, people have to download the app. Scratch that. First they have to know that Florence exists, that the app exists, then they have to download it.

Yep. Wonder if anyone is keeping score on just how well that will work?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sheffield Tax Wars/Super Moon

Sheffield Sales, Celebrities &The Election
By: The Midnight Rider
Sheffield Sales
I saw in the Times Daily this morning that Tracie Southern had finally been able to get a permit to sell her items. For you that are not familiar with this, months ago, The Rider wrote a story about Mrs. Southern. She was into it with the City of Sheffield because she was not allowed to sell items out of her place located on Jackson Highway. The City didn’t have a permit for that. It appears her continued vigilance with taking the matter up with the City of Sheffield, a solution was found. Good for you Mrs. Southern.

So, now my next question is what is going to be done with the “Saturday Flea Market” in the Foodland Shopping Center. The City was upset with that because the vendors were not paying Sales Tax. This will be interesting to see if anything is done to the Flea Market.

During the recent Presidential Election several celebrities made the comment that if Donald Trump won, they would move to Canada. I saw on Facebook today that an Alabama Mayor had started a “Go Fund Me” site to help gather money to help these people move. That is hilarious. My thing would be, if you said you were moving to Canada, “See ya.” I am sure it will be much better up there. Bye, Bye.

The Presidential Election
Ok, everyone, the election is over with. Donald Trump won. All the rioting is not going to change that. I recently saw on Facebook a young lady that pulled her dress up and pooped on a trump sign, before smearing it with her hands. This was done in a public place. News flash to this young lady, you’re an idiot. You didn’t change anything. You made a fool out of yourself on video. If I was a guy where you live, I would have to have serious thought about asking you out. I would be afraid you would poop on me.

Until next time…
I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider.


Did someone say "Super Moon?"

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Friends in Low Places, or How Did He Get Here?

We have no doubt that foreign nationals who enroll at UNA are well vetted; however, that same vetting process doesn’t apply to their friends. We frequently hear about homeland security visiting our local college campus; fortunately, we’ve never heard of any students being arrested for any crimes against the state and investigators always seem more interested in the friends of students than students themselves.

Why a discussion of this now? We’ve just read of a recent arrest of one “John Doe” and our thoughts turned to how he arrived in the Shoals, presumably from New York:

We’ll assume Mr. Doe came here looking for an easier life and not to blow up Staggs’ Grocery. Yet what is his connection to the Shoals? Or did he simply throw a dart at a map?



While we haven’t done an exact count, we probably support fewer than 50% of the policies of President-Elect Donald Trump. One that we do support is the deportation of those illegal immigrants who’ve been convicted of a violent crime. Our local police have enough danger in their lives without facing additional threats from non-citizens.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

More Pesky Government Guidelines

Pesky rules certainly get in the way, don’t they? One of those pesky guidelines dictated by the state department of transportation is the color of street and other traffic signs. It hasn’t been that long ago that Florence had to redo some signs depicting its lily/fleur de lis/giglio logo due to their lack of sufficient contrast.

Now the Student Government Association at UNA wants Florence to change out street signs in the downtown area. According to the student who designed the new purple signage, the green signs are “dull.” We agree, but the law clearly states street signs must be white, brown, green, or blue. This works out nicely for such a university town as Auburn which uses blue signs, but not so well for Florence where purple signs would mean a loss of state funding.

After being rebuffed by Florence’s media czar Phil Stevenson, the SGA has turned to the Florence Chamber of Commerce for assistance. Hugo Dante, designer of the purple post toppers, has lamented that the chamber has yet to answer.

Perhaps the chamber simply hasn’t had time to respond, or perhaps it doesn’t intend to. If the latter is true, this is a great life lesson for the undergrads. No matter how innovative, attractive, or practical your idea may be, don’t expect your elected officials, must less those appointed, to give you the courtesy of a reply.



As we searched for a photo of one of the larger green/gold Florence signs, we found something else. Below is a colorized 1942 photo of downtown Florence. The black and white original has been offered for years on eBay, but this is the first colorized version we’ve seen:

Colorized by Patty Allison