Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sexual Predator at Florence Plaza Petting Zoo


We understand the man alleged to have sexually molested a young girl at a traveling petting zoo/carnival has been arrested. Good! Yet we're sure this was not the first incident the man was involved in, nor will it be his last.

We're posting a photo of the alleged abuser before he was arrested:


Is this incident now over? It will never be over for the child who will always remember. Is it the fault of Jungle Safari or the fault of the owners of Florence Plaza where Big Lot's serves as the anchor store?

Surely the Jungle Safari show has much to answer for. We're sure they present themselves as a trustworthy bondable company. We're also sure Jungle Safari isn't the only traveling carnival with this problem. If anyone should wish to dig more deeply, animal abuse is also likely to come to light.

Thanks to the Florence Police for acting as quickly as possible. Sometimes we fail to realize that most arrests can't be made without a warrant, and that takes paperwork and locating a judge.

All we can say at this point is to remind parents to be vigilant at all times. It only takes a few minutes, even in public, for a predator to strike.




Friday, April 29, 2016

And Booze Cake It Is!


Thanks to the hard work of the Alabama Legislature, our state now has an official cake…the Lane Cake, aka the Booze Cake or the Bourbon Cake. The chef who created the Lane Cake was Mrs. Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, who wrote an extremely popular cook book in the late 1800s.

One would think our legislature would have better things to do at this point in time than establish a state cake, but even that is not the most worrying detail of the whole matter. There was even a debate concerning the cake. Why? Were there lobbyists for Crocker Coconut Cake or Deen Dumpling Doodles?

Related: Official Alabama…

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Remember the David Pennington murder? Nunley Twins

There’s been a new development with one of those charged in his death: Probation Revoked

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A belated congratulations to our friends Jim & Beverly Smith on their wedding anniversary:





Thursday, April 28, 2016

287K Judgment Against Bryan Robinson


Bryan Robinson, a local investment adviser with ties to DreamVision, was a no-show in court yesterday. A Lauderdale County judge automatically entered a judgment against Robinson:


One has to speculate as to why Robinson failed to appear to answer the civil charges. Our sources have told us for some time the odds are good that Robinson will eventually face criminal charges in relation to these bogus land deals, as well as other contractual obligations that were never satisfied.

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Some years ago we were surprised to learn that we were an ex-girlfriend of convicted killer Ronald Weems. We’ve also been called the ex-husband of a local teacher arrested for having sex with a student.

Most recently we’ve been called the ex-wife of “ED.” We’re sure Mr. D was as surprised as we were to learn of this relationship. We do want to thank Mr. D for his help in clearing up a matter that has been totally misrepresented and for any information he may have forwarded to us via perfectly legal channels.




Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Legislature Acted in Only 23 Days?


Humorist Lewis Grizzard once said that if the NBA had been in charge of World War II, Germany and Japan would still be in the running. The same may be said about the Alabama legislature where the word “committee” is tantamount to an abandoned Walker County mine shaft.

However, the legislature actually managed to get a law passed in only 23 days. In case you weren’t keeping up with events earlier this month at East Limestone High School:


Today the legislature has passed a bill, hopefully one without any loopholes, that makes it a misdemeanor to doctor a news article, etc., or in any way produce statements implying one has been arrested for or convicted of a felony when one hasn’t.

While it’s a good law, we’re not sure how much such legislation is needed. If the East Limestone student had been arrested legally, he would have pleaded to a lesser infraction. Most who would contemplate such jokes are adults who can, and should, be sued in civil court and hit in the pocketbook where it will do some serious damage.

How about our legislature puts their heads together on the subject of Medicaid?

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It’s been said that if Gov. Bentley calls a special session, our legislature will convene, then immediately adjourn in order to let him know just what they think of his leadership. This might be an enticing idea, but how much would it cost the citizens of this state?

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While most entertainment media have been consumed with the death of Prince, the music world has also lost another great talent…





Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lori Hook: Troll Supreme


Those who have read our blog for a number of years know we strongly advocate for proper safety gear and total off-road driving for go-karts, quadcycles, etc., both for adults and children. Yet no matter how strongly parents admonish children, it’s not unusual for a child to think that it won’t matter “just this once.”

That was the case with two Hartselle teenagers this past week. Two 15 year-old girls tragically lost their lives. As if this isn’t enough for the teens’ parents to bear, a troll has been attacking those who are hurting…and the victims as well.

Lori Hook is from Cullman; her Facebook page says not to bother her unless you’re an advocate of legalizing marijuana. Apparently lobbying for the legalization of pot is not Hook’s only hobby:


Several readers have contacted us about this woman. It’s possible FB would remove her posts, but the damage is already out there. Hook’s posts would be troubling no matter the circumstances, but according to friends of the victims’ families, no one even remotely connected to the accident knows the woman.

We’re pretty sure no one wants to know her now. Our sincerest sympathies to the families of Brianna Lewis and Breanna Jackson.




Monday, April 25, 2016

Tourism? No Exact Figures


Tourism figures are out for the year 2014, but do we really know the exact amount tourists spend in the Shoals each year? No. Even hotel/motel tax fees don’t give a complete picture since many rent rooms due to emergencies at home or special occasions. Restaurants? That truly has to be a guesstimate.

Remember Colbert County said their tourism income was down, but it could be related to a hotel/motel paying its taxes late (In other words, paying two years of taxes in 2014)? That could also work the opposite way in Lauderdale and Franklin if a business failed to pay its taxes.

As for the year 2014, Lauderdale citizens have Debbie Wilson to thank for the increase in tourism revenue. Just think of the good she could have done if she had remained.

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A short morality tale:

Last night, I decided to light some lovely candles behind the fiberglass draperies in my front window. Then, being hungry, I placed a large pot of stew on the stove and turned it on high. Alas, I was too sleepy to eat it, but left it cooking in case I woke up hungry. But once in bed, I decided to smoke and read as best I could by a lamp that kept irritating me by popping and crackling.

Apparently I did fall asleep, for when I awoke the house was on fire. I ran outside and encountered a man walking by. I shouted at him to take a hose and put the fire out. Do you know what he said? He said he didn’t have a hose. I then gave him what-for and told him that because of his actions, he had let my home burn down and ruined my life. I guess that really told him, huh?

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We’ve posted a new restaurant review; it’s an update to Logan’s Roadhouse in Muscle Shoals. If you have an interesting review about a local eatery, be sure to send it to us. We appreciate all articles; thanks especially to H.D. for this one.





Sunday, April 24, 2016

Let's Do Nothing?/Your Right Ends Here


It's not unusual at Christmas to see a certain fallacy pointed out: Just because we can't give a million dollars to a charity, we're excused for not giving anything. We agree; everyone should do what they can.

It may be April, but we're seeing a lot of that fallacious thinking about events in Montgomery. Since no one has really insisted house speaker Mike Hubbard be removed from office, why insist Robert Bentley step down as governor?

At this point, the courts are presumably taking care of Hubbard. Yes, he should step down, but just because he hasn't, it doesn't follow that we should also allow Bentley to continue to lead, or whatever it is at this point he's doing.

Not a day has passed the last month that the public hasn't been informed of some shocking new revelation about our governor. Just three days ago we learned that Bentley took LaMason to the White House as his "date" for an official dinner.

Isn't it time we all contacted our state representatives and demanded they act...and act now?

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Do we support battered women? Yes; however, that support ends when they take a gun and shoot a sleeping individual in the back. In other words, there's a limit any sensible person reaches in support of any cause or problem...and that includes addiction.

Our support for those addicted ends when that person no longer even tries to do right. We're pretty sure that Adolph Hitler was abused by his father and traumatized by the loss of his mother. Not too many excuse him, do they?

We're sorry when your friend/relative kills/steals/kidnaps, but it doesn't follow that any sensible person thinks he should be given a pass just because you love him. If we did, we wouldn't need prisons or jails, now would we?

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This past week our blog received some criticism for linking an article about a Muscle Shoals jail inmate who died. Interestingly, the many news sources who actually wrote about this sad event didn't receive any criticism from this person.

We're pretty sure our critic simply used the inmate's death as an excuse to bash our blog, but it did remind us that we failed to mention who actually broke the story: Shoals Insider. The area's first online news source has returned to the fray the past few months, this time with mugshots as well as other legal listings. We've linked the SI in our sidebar; if you haven't been reading, you miss out on the total picture.





Saturday, April 23, 2016

Florence-Lauderdale Sports Tourism?


What is sports tourism? Sports Tourism is defined as a specific travel outside of the usual environment for either passive or active involvement in competitive sport where sport is the prime motivational reason for travel and the touristic or leisure element may act to reinforce the overall experience.

Is Lauderdale County, and more specifically Florence, a target for sports tourism? Let's look at Lauderdale sport by sport:

1. Football/basketball/baseball - The University of North Alabama attracts tourists for its football program. The other two sports may also attract out of towners to a lesser degree. Their stay would usually be just overnight.

2. Tennis - Here's hoping we get those long promised new courts, but how many out of towners would come just for the pleasure of playing on them?

3. Fishing - Rogersville gets a gold star in this, but didn't the board say just last year that it wanted to concentrate less on promoting fishing in the area, that it wanted to branch out? Yes, but now we're back to the original question of what other sports areas? (After the Town of Rogersville's recent behavior, we're highly recommending Savannah, Tennessee, if you feel an overpowering need to fish.)

4. Skeet & Trap - A sport limited in appeal and another one that would probably entail only a one night stay over.

5. Boat Racing - The area has held some minor races before, but not any major meets. Is there room on the circuit for a new entry?

6. National Swim or Snow Ski Meets - Is there anyone out there who thinks the income derived from these tourists would ever offset the costs of facilities?

7. Golf - Sorry; they'll just go to Colbert County.

8. Wrestling - No comment.

9. Anything else - We're sure we've left something out, so we're happy to accept comments for an upgrade to this list.

In short, sports tourism is one of those terms that may sound good on paper, but is hardly suited to Lauderdale County's geographical location or current amenities. So why did Rob Carnegie, current Florence-Lauderdale Tourism CEO, suggest it? Perhaps it's much like his last idea of a barbecue cook off--recycling saves time and thought.




Friday, April 22, 2016

Abuse/Harassment


The couple was enjoying a camping trip, but couldn’t help but notice something odd about the pair in the camper next to theirs. The husband repeatedly reminded the woman to go inside out of the sun. The next morning, the campers found the woman with a swollen face and unable to leave her bed. They immediately called the local sheriff’s office.

The deputy who arrived thankfully knew that the sick woman hadn’t been the victim of a beating, but was suffering from an autoimmune attack brought on by too much sun. Was the woman who called authorities embarrassed? Probably. Was she wrong to have done so? No.

If you see a child that’s possibly being abused, call DHR. You might be wrong, but you might just save a life. It’s sad that some who knew of Serenity Renfroe’s abuse didn’t call anyone. It’s also sad that those who did call DHR, including a physician, didn’t receive an ideal response from that organization…but at least they did something.


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Do you ever wonder what kind of person harasses another? We’re sure there are many reasons for such behavior and also many ways a person can react to harassment. Sometimes it’s better to stop being nice to a person because you feel sorry for them. You can be sure they have no such feelings for you; intimidation, or at least attempted intimidation, is usually best handled quickly and with, if needed, legal recourse.

We may be sorry for anyone with an addiction, but we’re much more sorry for his victims. That is not going to change. Right is not going to change, no matter how often you attempt to justify a friend/relative’s actions or lie about his behavior to others. Did you ever think that if you put as much effort into actually helping your addicted friend instead of trying to cover up for him, your friend just might have made some real progress? Or perhaps you would have realized he’s a sociopath that no amount of help can fix?

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Our friend Nick Ireland is a crime writer based in Huntsville. He’s currently working on accounts of North Alabama murders which he hopes to publish in the near future. This is his second article for Shoals Crime:




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hot Teachers? No, Just Arrested Ones

Remember Calvin's Teacher? Mrs. Wormwood

Teacher-student sex, there’s a term that may encompass a vast array of circumstances. Is anything a given?

Different age groups and genders aside, most teaching positions (that would include any school personnel) are covered by a morals clause. In other words, if you work in a school setting, you promise not to have sex with students…or to kill them even when they deserve it. The state has tried to make this basic moral principal into a law. Has it failed?

How are things going locally, or at least in North Alabama? It was only a few years ago that a Vina High math teacher divorced her husband and married a student, thereby avoiding prosecution. Should she have? We recently received this communication from a reader:

This is how a real prosecutor handles the situation of a teacher marrying the student they had sex with in order to avoid a trial:

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/04/student-wife_must_testify_agai.html#incart_river_home_pop

Joey Rushing should be ashamed.


Do we agree? No, at least not in the comment about Mr. Rushing. The Franklin County prosecutor did try; he soon found that the student/husband wouldn’t testify. Even if this misguided young man could have been forced to offer damaging testimony against his wife, would a jury have convicted…or would Mr. Rushing have been wasting tax payer dollars?

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That brings us to Lorie Gean Earwood, the former LPN who was arrested for having sex with a student at Florence High School where she worked. Earwood lost her license almost immediately and has now been indicted and is awaiting trial. We understand she also lost her home. Wonder if she thinks it was worth it, even though her “victim” was 18.

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Earwood’s fate may hang on a Decatur case. Carrie Cabri Witt has been arrested for having sex with two of her students, both 17. Witt has hired Huntsville attorney Robert Tuten and plans on making a test case of the law which criminalizes sex between a school employee and a student under the age of 19.

We have to ask…is it worth it? Neither Earwood nor Witt, both well over the age of 40, had any long range life plans with these students. To put it bluntly, no matter your age or vocation/profession, how hard is it to keep your pants on when your job in on the line?

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We’ve had some more comments concerning sources. Our sources are always anonymous. It’s easy to say we should reveal sources…as long as the sources aren’t you, isn’t it?

It’s also easy to say that certain topics shouldn’t be covered if you don’t like them, isn’t it? Readers should remember that even sex crimes against children have their supporters. Wouldn’t want to offend them, would you? Oh, you would… Just remember that you don’t get to pick which actions should be criminal…at least until you’re elected to the state legislature.




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"Calling Out" Town of Rogersville


A few months ago we began receiving comments from various readers on illegal drag racing in Oakland, Greenhill, and Rogersville; the latter is an incorporated town and should be much easier to police than county areas serviced by scattered Lauderdale deputies. At that time, we received via an official source the following message from the Town of Rogersville:

There is absolutely NO TRUTH to the absurd claim that the City of Rogersville is selling, or otherwise issuing, permits for drag racing in the Industrial Park.

We published the above statement on April 7th, and no one at Call Out 256 refuted it. Yesterday we published some new concerns from a Rogersville citizen concerning a drag race that ostensibly took place on Sunday in that city. We say ostensibly, since Rogersville officials now say the race was on a county, not a city, road. Was it?

We were, after hours of unsubstantiated claims, sent this:


The above article is from the East Lauderdale News, and we believe it to be genuine. When we asked the Town of Rogersville to reply, we were told:

They didn’t get one from Rogersville. Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office had to issue it. It was a county road.

We have to ask if the named street (Jarvis Brewer Drive) is outside the Rogersville town limits, why was the town council even asked permission to use the road? A map of Rogersville shows the entire park inside town limits. From the information we’ve been able to assemble, we’re suggesting this:

1. To those who have complained about illegal racing in Rogersville: It would appear that it’s legal. For those who think it damages the city in some way, we would suggest you protest to the town council. None of our bloggers lives in Rogersville or has a stake in city politics. If you need assistance in composing your concerns, we will be happy to help in that way. We do appreciate your concerns, but the Town of Rogersville is not apt to listen to anyone from outside its voting jurisdiction, and it would appear that it cares little for those who do.

2. To Call Out 256: First, we apologize for believing the town over your business; however, you might want to note that of the ten or so who supported you on FB, none supplied any data to back up their claims until repeatedly prodded, and absolutely none was polite in expressing a difference of opinion. If our bloggers didn’t care about the truth, we would have left the issue as it was. These supporters might want to look up the term “ad hominem attack.” They might also want to check their own veracity since no one here equated them with drug dealers or murderers.

3. To the Town of Rogersville: It would seem that you owe both Call Out 256 and our blog an apology. You also probably owe an apology to the person whose office you used to convey what are, at best, incorrect messages. You need to address the concerns of your citizens without prevaricating; it doesn’t make you any friends. In the past, this blog has supported Rogersville events. We will cease to do so until we do receive an apology for your fraudulent statements.

We want to add that’s it sad one cannot trust local governments to tell the truth. Were we na├»ve to take the Town of Rogersville’s statement as truth without checking in some other manner? Perhaps. It’s a mistake that we will not make again…and one we hope those thinking of doing business in Rogersville will not make.

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From a reader:

I think I can clear up some confusion over last weekend's 'street racing' -- and legality thereof -- in the Rogersville Industrial Park ...

On April 7, you quoted a Rogersville city spokesman: "There is absolutely NO TRUTH to the absurd claim that the City of Rogersville is selling, or otherwise issuing, permits for drag racing in the Industrial Park."

What happened was: The Rogersville City Council agreed to allow the closure of a street inside the industrial park (Rogersville Business Park) for a group planning on filming footage for a 'reality TV show' on the condition the group provide: 1) an agreement indemnifying the City from liability; 2) proof of insurance for participants; 3) a city 'parade permit.'

The county may also have had to grant permission.

The group/producers making the request said the footage would possibly be used in a future episode of the Discovery Channel show "Street Outlaws" and said that at least some of the participants would be coming from this '256 Call Out Racing' group. It is said that the producers would be wanting to close the road twice: for initial filming (which was presumably what took place last weekend) and again at a later date.So, were 'permits sold or otherwise issued' for 'drag racing?' No, but permission was granted for this group to close the road for filming -- and what they filmed themselves doing was drag/street racing.

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As for the above, we agree it's a likely scenario...but why is Rogersville intent on covering up the filming, and why do the race supporters keep referring to the money that was paid Rogersville?

Street Outlaws? Not the best title under the circumstances.




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

History Made in Rogersville?/Midlife Mattress Crisis?


A reader sent us the following captioned photo:

Started out virgin asphalt at the end of the day we have this. History has been made

The photo was reportedly made Sunday in the Rogersville Industrial Park. History? We see damage to a road built to entice new business.

Let's be clear here, no one who blogs for us lives in Rogersville. In other words, no one has a personal interest in the success of this industrial park. A concerned Rogersville citizen has sent us this photo...and several more. It's hard to believe that the authorities don't know what's going on; we assume at least some in the police department condone it.

If you live in Rogersville and you want this illegal, juvenile behavior stopped, you have to speak up. If you don't want it stopped, you might as well start keeping tabs on scrap metal prices since that's where these spec buildings are headed.

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And from a reader in Muscle Shoals:


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Live in Florence? Do you know your municipal district candidates? Now's the time to start your research. Much more to come!




Monday, April 18, 2016

A Wounded Officer: What Were Your First Thoughts?


What’s the first thing you thought when you heard a Florence police officer was down. Our first thought was, “I hope it wasn’t XXXXX XXXXX.” That’s not wishing bad luck on any other officers; it’s simply hoping that our friends are protected and safe. We’re sure many of our readers, some as far away as California or Nova Scotia or Paris, thought similar thoughts.

Information at the time of the shooting indicated the wounded officer was alert and responding to treatment. Information later in the morning confirmed that Officer Brian Berry was an extremely lucky man. At that point, we saw no reason not to publish the officer’s name before the FPD made an official statement. The TimesDaily did likewise, a few hours later.

We’re sure many breathed easier that their friend/loved one was not involved; it also allowed those who were so inclined to pray specific prayers for Officer Berry’s continued well being.

At the time we published the wounded officer’s name, we did not have the name of the shooter. We would not have published it if we had, since we had no way of knowing whom in his family had been notified and whom had not. There’s a tremendous difference in publishing the name of a hero who’s going to be coming home to his family and publishing the name of a man who attempted to kill that hero and later took his own life.

Officer Berry, we thank God that you were patrolling the Cox Creek Parkway area early yesterday and that you are now home safe. Additional thanks to all those who labor on all local forces and watch over us while we sleep.

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After the shooter’s name was published on two other sites, we had one reader inform us that we shouldn’t link the information. No, obviously such things are always better kept quiet so that as many conspiracy theories can be generated as possible.

Our sympathies to the family of Matthew Hall McCravy.




Sunday, April 17, 2016

Special: Wounded Florence Police Officer Identified


Sources close to the Florence Police Department have identified the officer wounded shortly after midnight this morning as Brian Berry. Officer Berry was reportedly wounded in the face, but was alert and talking when transported to Huntsville Hospital.

YOUR Taxpayer Dollars at Work (He Apologized to Her?)


So, Robert Bentley apologized to Rebekah Mason for mentioning her breasts…and we should forgive him and move on? At least one TD letter writer has indicated that’s the wise course of action.

Certainly what two consenting individuals do is between them and God. Yet those who break their marriage vows should never be considered the best job prospects; what other responsibilities are they shirking?

Undoubtedly Bentley shirked many of his job duties when he placed “face time” with Mason above meetings with department heads. Such neglect shouldn’t be too hard to understand: The governor was fooling around with his chief adviser when he should have been taking care of state business.

That’s totally wrong, and he needs to be gone. Period.

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In case any have forgotten, there has been some desk polishing much closer to home than Montgomery. Both parties are still reportedly married to their original spouses, but only one still has a job funded by taxpayers. There’s still no word or any lawsuit filed by the one who lost her job—yes, it was the female half of the adulterous pair who lost her job. Imagine that…

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Are Lauderdale Tax Dollars Going Out of State?/Were You Arrested?


Lauderdale County is not unique in the state, but it is one of only three counties that border two other states. Many attorneys who practice in Lauderdale also hold licenses in Tennessee and Mississippi; that’s just good business. Do any bordering counties in Tennessee or Mississippi utilize the services of Alabama attorneys in their court systems? We’re guessing the answer is no.

So does Lauderdale retain any attorneys who live in Tennessee to work for the county court system? We’ve been contacted by a few who believe this to be true.

No matter how much money such attorneys spend in Lauderdale, they still pay income and property tax out of state. Why would the Lauderdale County court system even consider such a thing when there are many, many reputable attorneys who both work and live in this county?

Expect an update later…

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If you’ve read our blog for any length of time, you know that we love to learn new things. Sometimes it’s not something new that we learn, but the proper term. Everyone out there familiar with the term “non-custodial arrest?” We weren’t, but thanks to a legal eagle friend, we can now put the correct name to what happens each day across the entire country.

Yes, if you’re stopped and given a citation (our attorney friend demands that we say citation and not ticket), you have been arrested. When you sign the citation, you are released on your own recognizance. Think back to those employment applications which ask: Have you ever been arrested for anything other than a minor traffic violation?

While we were discussing this with our friend, we decided to pick his brain further. Just why do certain counties physically arrest someone for driving with a revoked license, while others don’t. Our authority couldn’t promise us a totally comprehensive answer, but said it may depend on the size of the county. In other words, Franklin County deputies will haul your backside to jail, while those in Jefferson County don’t have time to waste on such “small potatoes.”

If a person arrested for driving with a revoked license and speeding 85 mph in a construction zone with workers present is already out on bond on drug trafficking charges, is that a violation worthy of rescinding bail? Again, our source says it may depend on the judge. He then inquired if the county where bond was made even knew about the Jefferson County arrests? Good question…

(Thanks again to our legal friend. We didn't find his answers pathetic at all.)




Friday, April 15, 2016

Bail for Berryman & Gargis?


We previously blogged about Cody and Brittany Payton of Franklin County. They were taken into custody last week; we don’t know if one of our readers provided the tip or not, but we hope whoever turned this lovely couple in will get at least some monetary reward for doing so.


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That brings us to Evan Berryman of Lawrence County and Shannon Gargis of Franklin; both men are currently under arrest in connection with the beating deaths of their girlfriend’s children.

It’s been suggested to us that these men should be given bail. It certainly might not be a bad idea. These men deserve to feel at least part of what they put these two toddlers through; however, we do feel that anyone deserves a chance to repent of their evildoing, and release from jail might not provide it for these two great guys who were so loyally protected by their victims’ mothers.

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Our sincerest sympathies to the family of Julia Chester. She leaves behind, among others, a loving husband and two small children.




Thursday, April 14, 2016

LunchRoomGate Part II




Let’s return to the latest Brooks High School scandal, aka LunchRoomGate. We’ve been told that all Lauderdale County schools employ the same payment policy for school lunches. We have no doubt that’s true, but…

For some reason, Brooks began to implement that policy with dramatic results this past Monday. Why? Obviously, it was at the direction of an administrator for Brooks. Who was it? Why was it?

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There would seem to be three kinds of students who were not allowed to eat on Monday:

1. The student who left lunch money in his/her vehicle. Why are these students not allowed to return to the parking lot? Do school admins fear drug deals? Sexual liaisons? Huffing? Just why are students not allowed to return to their cars during the school day?

2. The student whose parent forgot to give their child lunch money. Okay, some have called these children/parents irresponsible, but it obviously happens. Perhaps a child has only one parent and that parent is in the hospital. Why make the child go hungry (after being embarrassed in the admin’s office, of course)?

3. The student whose parent(s) has no money to give the child. These parents need to be sure to sign up for federal and state programs which pay for these lunches. Yes, we’re sure there will be some abuse, but had you rather a child went hungry? How about a garden club or Sunday school class adopting a certain student? $60.00 a month should cover one student; how financially painful for an organized group would that be?

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Over the years we’ve known many parents of one or two children who suddenly faced the prospect of taking in several nieces and nephews. These are circumstances where every penny is needed; there’s no shame in soliciting help when it’s available:


Finally, if your child witnessed what happened at Brooks on Monday, please send us an e-mail or FB message. While it shouldn’t have happened to even one child, there are conflicting reports as to the number of children who suffered due to what could be called an inane policy…or at least the poor implementation of this policy.




Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's August 2015 at Brooks High School




There's a lot of rumors floating around today about just what's been going on with Brooks High School lunches. Our first thought was to look at the school website, but unless it's August 2015, nothing posted there was very helpful. Or perhaps the monthly menu hasn't changed since August of last year?

The salient question: Are students being denied lunch when their account has a balance owing? According to the county superintendent, the monetary cutoff is $10.00. If a student gets that far behind in payments, then he/she will be offered a substitute lunch. Sure, gruel always sounds good, don't you think?

School officials expressed shock that students sent to the administrative offices for being behind in lunch payments failed to return to whatever was still waiting in the lunchroom for them. Really? We personally would have hidden in the restroom until lunch was over if we'd been treated that way. Whatever happened to a discreet note sent home at the end of the day?

Why is Brooks High the only Lauderdale County school with this problem? We're sure all schools have their own set of problems, but since we've been writing this blog, Brooks has had at least FOUR scandals...and it's not the largest high school in the system.

Is there an answer to this problem? A Lauderdale County businessman has offered to set up a fund to aid students who may be cash strapped. It's a great idea. We'll publish details as soon as they become available.

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State and county elections are now over...at least until this fall. Summer months will see city/municipal elections, so don't toss your barf bags just yet.




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Caption Contest/LED Signs




This photo from Robert Bentley's visit to Franklin County made the rounds a few days ago. We've given it a caption; can you come up with one of your own?  Just send your straight lines to us at Shoalanda.Speaks@gmail.com. We'll plug the winners into the photo.

What do you win? The great thrill of seeing your name, or screen name, under your unique political art. There's no deadline; it looks like LeftEarGate is going to continue for some time.

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From J. Redmon:

Has anyone learned of any concerts planned for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame for 2016...or for ANY time? Meanwhile, LOOK at what Cullman, AL has managed to do: Rock the South | Cullman, Al | June 3 - 4, 2016

*****

If Florence should adopt an LED sign ordinance similar to what's being anticipated in Muscle Shoals and Sheffield, how many current signs would be affected? Hunt's TV & Appliance comes to mind, and we're sure there are others.

We have a suggestion, albeit one that might not be doable. LED signs with large amounts of blue appear to be police when viewed in the rear view mirror. Is there some way to delete or dilute this color from these ultra-bright advertisements?




Monday, April 11, 2016

Maybe They're in the Corn Field?




Any theories as to where 467 residents of Lauderdale County disappeared between July 2014 and 2015? Lawrence County lost only 311, and the closing of IP-Courtland should more than have accounted for that.

Franklin County gained 104 residents. We assume there's no need to question too deeply from whence these new residents came?

*****

A reader asked what happened to Phillip Pettus' bill to increase penalties for domestic violence if such acts occurred in front of the victim's child, etc. The bill is currently stalled in judiciary committee. As we've pointed out before, the bill needs to be edited to remove the passage of still another qualifying crime for Capital Murder designation. Other than that, we support it wholeheartedly.

*****


Did you know that Alabama is one of only seven states which use the "Capital Murder" designation in its code. All other states prosecute First Degree Murder, for which there must be at least some premeditation. Translation: Be sure you know where you're aiming that gun and that you're a crack shot. If not, you may just find yourself on trial for your life.





Sunday, April 10, 2016

Still in Prison? Hershel Graham & Mitchell Terry


Hershel Dale Graham, 52, remains in prison, even after a Franklin County judge ruled that the supposedly dying man could return home. Oh, and if it isn't self-evident, he hasn't died yet either. So, why is he still in the Kilby Infirmary, where he's been since entering the system in February 2015?

There have been rumors that Graham's father is afraid of the rotund retired wrestler and won't provide a home for him. Or it may simply be that left to a diet of prison food, Graham has lost enough of his girth that he's no longer in danger of dying from his alleged health problems.

Hershel Graham's release date, assuming he isn't allowed to come home on medical leave, is February 11, 2017. Two years for taking the life of a young husband and father; not much is it? If Graham's father doesn't take in the Red Bay shooter, sources say his mother in Mississippi will give the twice married felon a home. Graham has yet to pay any compensation to the family of his victim David Andrasik.


*****

Remember the North Florence Bedroom Intruder? If you don't, here's some background:



Mitchell Blake Terry is currently serving two concurrent 30 year terms for burglary and sex abuse. The Florence man had been out of prison only seven months when he began his North Florence burglary spree. Terry had been released on parole in 2011 after serving over two-thirds of his 2009 Lauderdale County sentence for burglary, theft, and escape. 

Terry, 35, is now housed at the Bullock Correctional Facility. He will be eligible for parole consideration in October 2022. His end of sentence date is September 2042.

*****

One of our blogs on Mitchell Terry includes a sketch of a UNA kidnapping suspect. No one has ever been charged in that crime; however, our sources tell us a strong suspect was eventually identified, but there has never been enough evidence to convict the Florence man. If you have any information about this crime, please call Florence detectives at 256-760-6500. Your tip could be what's needed to get this man off the street for a long time




Saturday, April 9, 2016

Poor/Drag Racing/Justice


From yesterday's TimesDailyBusiness and community leaders from throughout the Shoals got a glimpse today into life below the poverty line as they participated in the Poverty Challenge Simulation at Richards Center.

The seminar was presented by Alabama Possible of Birmingham. Did our tax dollars actually pay for any of this? Read on: The groups had four, 15 minute-long weeks to accomplish their goals including securing necessary social services, getting children to school, seeking employment and getting bills caught up.

So these "leaders" spent a total of one hour being poor, all the while sitting in the relative luxury of the Richards Center. Perhaps next time they can simply play a game of Monopoly?

*****

On drag racing in the Rogersivlle Industrial Park:

The police have to 'catch them in the act'. It's like the drag racing that's happening out in Oakland. 'Members' get texts/tweets about upcoming 'races'. Lookouts are posted for the cops. Rogersville doesn't have the luxury of a large department. I'm willing to bet that during these 'races', any local LEOs 'just happen' to be tied up on 'other calls' on the opposite side of town.


We had just mentioned Brady Ann Irons in yesterday's blog. It seems she's taken a plea deal and will be headed south. The sad thing is that her mother is incarcerated as well, and Irons reportedly has a young child. She also leaves behind a relatively new boyfriend whom she picked up after her partner in crime Wes Akin went to prison (we actually feel a bit of sympathy for Wes). We predict her latest squeeze won't be waiting when she gets out.

We'll have more on Irons' sentence when information is available.




Friday, April 8, 2016

Our Elected Frequent Flyer




Our not so transparent governor has always been quick to tell us he doesn’t take a salary to serve as our state’s chief executive. What he hasn’t been telling us is that he uses a state helicopter to travel 15 miles. That would be roughly the distance between Florence and Center Star.

He certainly hasn’t been forthcoming with information on how much keeping his wife and his mistress separate has cost the state. No, there’s much Robert Bentley hasn’t been forthcoming about. But of course, he’s asked our forgiveness, so it shouldn’t matter…should it?

*****

We’ve leaned that “256 Call Out” is attempting to become part of the Discovery Channel lineup, either with its own program or as a segment of a more inclusive program offering. Wonder if they will keep any arrests in the final cuts?

*****

Speaking of forgiveness, it would appear that the drug trafficking trial of Brady Ann Irons is finally on the horizon. Irons faces a jury trial on Monday, if she doesn’t take a plea.


Sources say the former waitress is now working for an inventory service. Ralph Holt is her attorney. Hmmm, what would Billy do?




Thursday, April 7, 2016

"256 Call Out" Said; Town of Rogersville Said


We recently published a guest opinion on drag racing in the Rogersville Industrial Park. We have had several individuals relate that the town has issued permits for this activity. Did it?

If you're not familiar with 256 Call Out, it's described as a television show dedicated to Alabama drag racing. We can't find a single listing for this television program. This is from a February FB post:


Everything has been finalized with our street. If you're interested in racing, and being filmed with us hit us up. We are about to start scheduling.

If you're not familiar with Rogersville, the photo depicts a public street in the industrial park. What does the town say? This is from a spokesman:

There is absolutely NO TRUTH to the absurd claim that the City of Rogersville is selling, or otherwise issuing, permits for drag racing in the Industrial Park.

So that should clear up one point. If any citizens know of this 256 group using public Rogersville streets in the future, you know they're lawbreakers, so simply call the police.

*****

From a reader (We've edited slightly to remove names we haven't been given permission to use):

I am in the newspaper today. Below you will read an article about painting O'Neal Bridge. I beg everyone in the Shoals to pass this story around & make sure everyone has read it and then go look at your car. SHARE this on Facebook!


My wife has a Jaguar, she loves her car. She looked long and hard for a car she always wanted and she found this garage kept nice 2002 Jaguar. She bought it. Mid November she went across O'Neil Bridge when the bridge contractors over sprayed it along with two - three other cars. She called and asked Seminole to fix it. They took two weeks to send a man to look at it, now it's after Thanksgiving. The body man they sent said it couldn't be cleaned it was down to the metal, it needed repaint. $4000. We then asked our friend C***** who paints cars he said the same thing, $3800. After that Melissa couldn't get a soul to return her phone calls. She was always told the holidays had everything running crazy and someone would call her. No one ever did.

In early January the Department of Transportation called her to check on a update. DOT made the contractor call her back and then she and the manager of Seminole got in a argument and he didn't want to deal with her any longer because she is a woman. So I had to step in and deal with it. He told me he doesn't deal with women. He had a few choice sexist words to describe his dislike for dealing with "women". I didn't want to argue with him; I just wanted my wife's car repaired. 

The manager tried to get me to argue with him but I stayed very professional and never tried to threaten or argue. Finally in late January the manager told me he was gonna send someone from Florida to clean her car. If it couldn't be done then he would paint it.
I selected C***** our friend and body guy. Once the manager of Seminole called C***** to haggle the price down, C***** would not budge and really didn't want to talk to him. The manager called me and asked me if C***** was black, then told me he didn't deal well with black people. I was beside myself wondering how this idiot has worked with anyone in his life.

Finally in late February the car was painted and Seminole would not give me the check to give to the body man, They said they would deliver it to C***** when the job was done. I sweated the whole two weeks the car was being painted. I worried they would try and stiff us and her car would be stuck at the body shop. We picked the car up and it was painted and done. Four months to get something done. 

So I ask everyone go look at your car if you see anything like a dark grey bump on your car you have been over sprayed too. Call DOT first and let them know don't deal with Seminole Bridge company. Also if it is over sprayed on cars that means their over spraying the water too and what about the fish and everything else that lives in the water?

And the O'Neal Bridge work continues through 2017. Singing River looks pretty good doesn't it?




Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Thoughts on Bentley/Who's a Sociopath?


First, L. Stone has some thoughts on Bentley...you know the governor currently involved in LeftEarGate:

* I guess now everyone knows why the governor wanted nicer prisons for men and women.

* Is it just me, or when a public figure says they've been forgiven does it sound like what they're really saying is "f*** you"?

* The icing on the cake is the presiding person (in impeachment trial) will be Roy Moore.

...and on recent safety awards for local schools:

* I'm disappointed that Muscle Shoals didn't get recognized for safest walking track.

*****

Yesterday we published this visual on our FB page. We were surprised when it got around 8,000 hits. Apparently many of our readers know a sociopath. Some were even married to one. If you're about to make any commitments, you might want to look over this check list. 


We're going to add something to the apology category. Sociopaths never apologize because no mistake is ever their fault. We don't know about you, but we've made several mistakes in life that were totally our fault and a great deal more that were partially our fault. 

Again, we say get out while you can. Run, don't walk. If not, you may find yourself in the shoes of those mothers who have lost their children to men who were just so perfect...

*****

We understand a certain school nurse under indictment for having sex with a student is now working as a janitress, but she says not for long. She was set up. We say tell it to the judge.



Shoalanda

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

One Week Until Runoff Election


The primary runoff will be held April 12th...eight days away. Turnout is expected to be especially low. We're sure our readers are civic minded enough to visit the poles and vote next Tuesday, aren't you?

We sincerely endorse Jim Bonner for state school board place 7. We believe he has the interest of the area's children at heart and won't let this district down.

Meanwhile...in Lauderdale County, Heath Haddock is running against Rodney Pettus for the Republican slot as candidate for license commissioner. We have looked at the records and stances of these two gentlemen; both are extremely dedicated and qualified. We will not make an endorsement in this particular election; we recommend that you look at each candidate and decide which you think is more suited. The winner will face Tony Cox in the general election in the fall.

*****

Many of our longtime readers will remember the King Cockfight blog we previously linked. King has begun to write once again; here's a link to one of his newer articles:

That time I walked in a hurricane


Be sure to subscribe to King's site and stop by to say hello the next time he makes a public appearance at Ricatoni's.



Shoalanda