Thursday, June 22, 2017

Who's a Professional? Not Brandon Willcutt


It was only a few days ago that we blogged on the subject of words. They can mean anything anyone wants them to, right? No, not really.

Today's TimesDaily published an article by Robert Palmer on the new local head of Alabama Young Democrats, Brandon Willcutt. Willcutt works for Scope 310, an organization assisting the mentally challenged; Palmer called Willcutt a mental health professional.

We were curious as to what Willcutt actually did at Scope 310 and looked at his LinkedIn profile. The gentleman doesn't claim any degrees, but has attended UNA. 

We admire Willcutt for working with Scope 310, but unless his profile is out of date, he's not a professional in what he does. It's unfair to real professionals who have stayed the course to earn a degree to call him one. 

*****

There have been reports of a barge running over a fishing boat near Cypress Creek yesterday afternoon; readers are asking about the circumstances. We've had no information on this. If you have details, please send the info to us.




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Who Got a 5K Bonus?/Ditto Lawrence County


Most of our readers probably know that Jennifer Gray and Keith Lankford from the Shoals are among six finalists for the position of superintendent of Decatur City Schools. That means there's a 33% chance this area will be losing an educator/school executive.

We've received some e-mail about there being a conflict of interest in this search, and we do plan to address this later. Today we want to discuss why these two want to leave the Shoals.

Certainly Jennifer Gray's current position as school principal is a step down for the former Lauderdale County superintendent, so it's hardly surprising she's seeking this job. How about Lankford?



He's been at Sheffield two years. That city's schools need strong leadership. There's certainly more of a chance for Lankford to make a real difference in Sheffield than there is in Decatur. The cost of living is also less in Sheffield, so why is he eager to leave?

There are rumors that some are seeking a raise for Lankford if he remains in Sheffield. That may just be pie in the sky, but there are five thousand realities in Lankford's recent pay. Yes, the school board gave Mr. Lankford a 5K bonus for his last year's work. Is Lankford's seeming interest in the Decatur job simply a ruse to get more pay?

*****

The CFO of Florence City Schools Connie Wallace has been gracious enough to contact us with some information. When the new middle school is complete, the portable classrooms will be returned to the company from which they're rented. No more portable classrooms in the foreseeable future.

Mrs. Wallace has also informed us that the new middle school construction is right on schedule. Kudos to everyone making this happen!

*****

We were quickly informed after we published yesterday that the puppy-dropper wasn't from Franklin County, but from Lawrence. We don't have a great many stats from Lawrence at our fingertips, but we'll be compiling them for a future blog.

What we said about Franklin is still very true. Let's hope someone gets the ball rolling on some positive measures extremely soon.



 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Attention Franklin County - You're a Sick Joke!


Yes, you, Franklin County. Your priorities are skewed. You need an animal shelter and you've made absolutely no progress in getting one.


In case any of our readers missed it, this weekend a woman from Franklin County dumped a litter of puppies after hours at the Colbert shelter. She did do the right thing when contacted and returned to take them to a rescue. No, Colbert can't take animals from other counties. Neither can Lauderdale. This is just common sense.

Don't worry, Franklin County, we're now going to address the City of Russellville. It was Russellville's previous mayor who claimed that city didn't have an animal control problem. No, and it doesn't have an illegal immigrant problem either, does it?

Nothing about this situation will change unless one of two things happens. One - The state will come in and make Franklin County do the right thing; or Two - Citizens will place pressure on their elected officials to remedy the situation.

Certainly the second choice would be quicker, so we're asking residents to act. Yes, John Smith on Waterloo Road, that's you. Yes, Jane Jones on Cotaco Street, that's you also. Yes, you...the attorney who hangs out at the courthouse...Larson E. Pettifogger, isn't it? That means you as well. 

Don't just write a letter to elected officials; write one to the Franklin County Times and the Franklin Free Press. Make sure no one can say there's no animal problem in your city or county. 

We honestly don't know how you sleep at night...

*****

Now a special word to a few of you in Russellville. Yes, we understand Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. That applies to most of Franklin County's rural residents and some in the county seat, but we know it doesn't apply to a great many in the city of Russellville.  

Please don't tell us you trust your elected officials. If your money market account never made any money, or even worse, would you continue to say you trusted your broker or banker? You have the intelligence and the resources to get things done. 

If you like to see dying, abused, and starving animals, just continue as you have done. If you have an ounce of real pity in you, do the right thing and contact your elected officials and tell them to get off their arse and build a shelter.




Monday, June 19, 2017

Porta-Huts for Our Kids?


If you live in Florence, you probably know that the city's middle school children are housed in modular classrooms. This was one reason that many of us found it imperative to complete the new middle school. One who didn't, of course, was Florence School Board member Britton Watson.

We were reminded of this situation when a portable classroom recently burned in the city of Decatur. This is what it looked like:

Brookhaven Middle School in Decatur

We began a little research into these units, which basically amount to trailers. In fact, some manufacturers continue to call them that. Some even call them huts. It's all semantics, but we do believe school children deserve better than this.

It seems that when used everyday, these portable classrooms have a life expectancy of ten years. When the new middle school opens, we assume the porta-huts will be mothballed for future use in emergencies. Let's hope we don't have any of those.

In fact, let's hope we don't have any fires like Brookhaven. 

*****

A second Colbert County commissioner has joined David Black in opposing expedited court house entrance for local attorneys. This in spite of several road department employees having these clearances.

Well, as we've often said, you can never trust an attorney too far...





Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017




Each year we ask our male readers to be a good example to their children. This year, we're going to ask something different. If you can't be a good example to your sons and daughters, at least don't be a bad one.

During this past year, due to reader request, we blogged on a man (now deceased) with a long criminal history, his son who's currently serving a decades long prison sentence, and his grandson who's awaiting a prison sentence. Then just earlier this month the news told us of a Florence man who took his 18 year-old son on a home invasion.

No, if you can't be a better example than that, leave. Your child will thank you one day, and even is he or she doesn't, isn't it still better than having them curse you from a prison cell?


Happy Father's Day from All of Us at Shoalanda Speaks 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Muskrats for Mental Health & Park Safety


From the Tuscumbia Muskrat:


Insanity is defined as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think this is the perfect slogan for Tuscumbia’s Park Director – Joel Kendrick. Every year the same mismanagement practices are done over and over again – so why does the Mayor expect different results?

I am sure most everyone in the Shoals area has heard about the many calamities at Tuscumbia’s Spring Park. With each new incident we are supplied with a new Times Daily article spotlighting the current park issue at hand. As I dove into the latest TD article (“City hires safety consultant” June 13, 2017) I began to draw a question that has perplexed me for quite some time – Why is the Mayor covering-up for the Park Director?

According to the article, Mayor Bubba Underwood is working toward solving the ride safety issues at Spring Park. The main solution came from the city hiring a safety consultant. Apparently in just a few days the newly hired safety consultant determined that city employees need training on ride safety protocols and found that there were insufficient safety guidelines in place for the park rides. (By the way – I also identified that a lack of knowledge and training were indeed a major issue for park employees.)

In addition the safety consultant informed the city that employees were incorrectly operating the Python Roller Coaster ride. Apparently park employees were unaware that ALL 5 cars needed to be in operation in order for the ride to function safely and correctly. Instead only 4 cars were in operation on May 31st which was the day that the 6 children became stuck on the roller coaster ride.

I truly appreciate the Mayor hiring a safety consultant and addressing our children’s safety. However, could Mayor Underwood please explain the job duties of our Park Director? Spring Park employees are under the supervision of the Park Director and it is HIS responsibility to ensure that training and safety protocols are in place. 

I find it extremely discomforting that the Park Director has been just “getting-by” on a wing and a prayer for all these years. We are very blessed that no park visitor has ever suffered a severe injury from general ignorance of ride safety. If a Production Manager at a plant didn’t give his employees proper safety training --- would the manager be fired? If we continue to keep a park director who keeps dragging the park down then that is Insanity indeed!

*****

The Keller Festival is at hand. Let's hope all rides will be functioning safely and that no muskrats, er, children will be injured during the event. 





Friday, June 16, 2017

Did Someone Say Polls?


We had a critic ask us about UNA placing number two in a schools.com ranking of 30 four-year colleges in Alabama. Certainly it's nice to place in the top numbers of most polls, but two of the criteria for the most recent poll were cheap tuition and number of acceptances (low ACT scores). It reminded us of some other polls in which UNA had scored/not scored in the past few years.

U.S. News & World Report 9/14: Two Alabama colleges ranked; UNA was not one of them.

Dept. of Edu. 2/17 Most Earning Potential: UNA ranked 14th in state.

Niche 9/16 Best Dorms: UNA ranked 15th out of 25 in state.

Niche 4/16 Attractive Females: UNA 12th out of 17 in state. 

Niche 4/16 Attractive Males: UNA 3rd out of 17 in state.

*****

Polls can be either worded or manipulated to mean anything anyone wants. Of the above polls, we feel only the Department of Education polls holds real merit, and even that poll is iffy. Why? Did the poll take into consideration bare figures or did it also consider which universities produced grads willing to move farther afield to increase their income?

***** 


Polls for the upcoming U.S. Senate race? There's already squabbling over which, if any, are official polls. Do we have any endorsements on tap? Of course; we'll go ahead and give you one clue that the Republican candidate this blog endorses will not be Luther Strange.







 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Developments in the UNA Discrimination Case




From Concerned Citizen 101:

An earlier article talked about Andrew Luna who was Director of Institutional Research and was removed from his position and has not been seen on campus since. An interim director has been appointed. This occurred late January 2017 early February. There are several reasons going around about why he's not been there. One of the reasons is he was written up last year for not "doing" his job. However, if you look at the above mentioned website you will see he is still getting paid over $8,000 per month. Why would he still be on payroll if he was removed for not doing his job? Why is he still getting paid if he's not coming to work.

Well here's the update... if you check the website http://www.una.edu/university-spending
and click on the month of June 2017 you will see Andrew Luna was paid over $32,000 this month. I guess they finally finished negotiating his settlement and this was the payoff. Again if he was terminated for not doing his job back in January or February why has he been on payroll all this time and more importantly why the huge amount this month?

Also, in an earlier article it was reported about the Mitchell v University of North Alabama discrimination lawsuit. Well there's been some more questionable activities since then. It was mentioned in the article that Head of HR Catherine White told Mitchel that effective February 1, 2017 she would be moved back under David Shields' supervision.

Here's the update... if being placed back under the control of the very person you have filed years worth of complaints including audio recordings to prove your allegations wasn't enough they are now making Audrey Mitchell rearrange her office area so that Kevin Jacques (another key person named in the lawsuit) can have an office right next to hers. This is supposed to happen June 23, 2017.

You mean to tell me President Kitts, Head of HR Catherine White and Amber Fite-Morgan who is the University Attorney and Chief Diversity Officer all are okay with intentionally creating a hostile work environment. Which by the way is against the law. All of these people whose job it is to uphold the law and protect those that have been violated, thought it was a good idea to publicly retaliate against Ms. Mitchell. Which by the way also against the law.

Anyone smell a setup? They are trying to harass her until she either drops the lawsuit or leaves UNA. If that doesn't work they are also hoping to get some dirt on her or get her to lose her temper so they can use it against her to terminate her. I pray she continues to stand strong.

Something needs be done with everyone on EC and those named in this lawsuit. Where's the Board of Trustees? Do they think this is okay? Are they helping President Kitts, David Shields and others named in this lawsuit get away with it? Has anyone on the Board requested an independent investigation into the documents filed and evidence presented?

There is no way this lawsuit should have gotten this big. This should have been addressed properly and lawfully when Mitchell first filed the complaint with then President Cale and then again with Interim President John Thornell.

If I had the evidence I would file a complaint with the The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and have them come investigate UNA's policies for investigating complaints. I would also file a complaint with the Alabama Bar Association against Amber Fite-Morgan.

I know somebody on that campus has some evidence. Well, they need to take a stand. I know that's easier said than done but I can tell you that nothing is going to change until UNA is fully investigated by outside unbiased agencies.

This also needs to be on the six o'clock news. I know one of your readers has to know somebody who will break this story. Pressure from the community knowing the dirty little secrets will force UNA and the Board of Trustees to acknowledge what's really going on and put processes in place to prevent these activities from happening again. It's time to use your resources and expose the "Real" UNA. That's the only way true change is going to happen.

Let's all rally behind these employees and help them get justice. They can only do so much without risking being retaliated against or terminated. Post comments with names and resources that will be willing to do a full story on all of this. I would love to turn on the news and see a real investigative piece UNA.

Wouldn't you???!!!!


***** 

In case you missed CC101's first article: UNA Follies



 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

UNA Salaries v. First Responder Salaries?




https://www.una.edu/university-spending/

Do you think maybe there were bonuses paid in January this year? There are larger payments than usual to some employees (Paulette Alexander, Robert Armstrong, etc).

I am appalled at the regular salaries for most all the instructors/deans/professors, etc. The sad thing is, this the norm in education at all levels, not an exception!

What about our first responders pitiful pay for working all hours, weekends, holidays, in the heat, cold, bad weather and under extreme hostile conditions many times?

This disparity is NOT acceptable.

Wake up people - pay our police, firemen, nurses like we pay those who work less than 180 days a year!

Leslie M. Shoals
*****
From a reader:
You mentioned that our university no longer has Florence in its name, if you look at online material, it will just say it's located in the Shoals. I don't know how students from out of town manage to find it.
*****
With the announcement that Alice Martin is running for state office, we now have two local candidates running outside local parameters...and qualifying won't be over for months. 




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Keith Lankford Wants Out of Sheffield


Sheffield City Schools Superintendent Keith Lankford wants out of that fair city. In case you missed it:


One of our regular readers had a very interesting take on it:

 
Sheffield Superintendent Keith Lankford is one of the 4 finalists for Superintendent of Decatur City Schools. This story was featured online in the Decatur Daily yesterday, yet the Times Daily hasn't reported it. The people of Sheffield deserve to know that this man who has been here exactly 2 years and has turned our system completely upside down is trying to sneak out the back door.

We have to ask why it wasn't published in the TimesDaily? Why does Keith Lankford want out so soon? Hasn't he been preaching the transformation Sheffield will undergo once Inspiration Landing is completed?


*****

Like the Pen-N-Sword article? Then like PNS: Like!




Monday, June 12, 2017

Does Anyone Here Speak English?


We originally intended to do an article on Butler Cain, announced local candidate to become our next congressional representative. That involved a quick look at Dr. Cain's LinkedIn profile; we found this among his recommendations:

Butler is one of the most enthusiast and best professors I have ever had.

Is the above a result of unchecked spell-check? Do Dr. Cain's students not practice proof reading? While not in the English department, there's also a lack of analytical thinking in the above statement, not to mention a familiarity that is perhaps unique to Democrats. 

While the young woman who wrote the above statement is from West Texas, we have similar problems locally. Ever read the Flor-Ala? Do these students pay attention in English class? Do they even bother to attend? 

*****

Back to our intended topic, does Cain have a chance to win this seat? It's very early yet, but he certainly has a good chance to win the Democratic nomination.


*****

We trust everyone knows who Otto Wambier is; he's coming home to the U.S. in a coma. We infer two things. One: North Korea either doesn't want war with the U.S. or it has no money for a body bag. Two: See the above topic; our universities are failing students miserably.

Would any who ever took a course from Dr. Charles Gaisser think North Korea was a vacation paradise? Our keyboard even froze up on those last words.





Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shoalanda Jessica Snarker?


Earlier today, two residents of Wildwood Trail called our blog snarky. Yes, we know, surely not us. One resident felt we should address the problems of residents of West Irvine Avenue once the new apartment complex is completed. 


We've touched on this before, but we want to stress these two things. First, we believe the planning department of Florence will make sure there is adequate infrastructure - sidewalks, entrances, exits, etc. 

Second, we want to ask what the residents who have complained about this project thought Hensley-Graves planned to do with the property? Please tell us. How did any of you think this property was not eventually destined for the home of apartments?

*****

Now, a word about news. No matter what any of us think about the TimesDaily, it publishes more news than any other outlet. Yes, some is hard to find among all the cheerleading, but it's there. 

We also have three online news outlets, two of which publish every day and two of which actually publish news stories not found elsewhere. We suggest you read these two online news sites to get a complete picture of what's going on in the Shoals. 

***** 

We've been asked if we have an update on Lexie Norfleet, UNA student/softballer who was injured in a boating mishap this past weekend. We do not, but appreciate any information our readers may have to pass along. 




Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bluewater Brewing Has Kidnapped "Andy Capp"


We would never have known of this intellectual theft if Florence-Lauderdale Tourism hadn't posted a picture of the back side of Bluewater Brewing. Was that the intention of Rob Carnegie? Did the president/ceo of this tourism group want to cause trouble for a competitor of a tourism board member?



No matter Carnegie's intentions, he did bring the theft to the attention of many who would otherwise never have known of the situation. We haven't driven by the back of the building ourselves, but there appears to be other similar characters which may be displayed illegally. 

Lest any think the cartoon strip Andy Capp is in public domain after all these years, it's the property of Creators' Syndicate in Hermosa Beach, California.

*****

It hasn't been that many years since Hanna Barbera forced a small local chain of mini-marts to remove one of its characters from its advertising. We understand a veterinarian in a county adjacent to Lauderdale lost the Snoopy on his doghouse for similar reasons.

Many become rich due to their artwork. Others barely eke out a living from their characters. Do you really want to steal from them? 





Friday, June 9, 2017

Getting Your Two Cents Worth in Colbert County


In approximately 18 months, the two-cent gasoline tax designated for bond payment on the Marriott/Jones Golf Courses project will be history. That's at least history for Colbert County. In Lauderdale it will then begin to pay for a bond issue on the proposed ag center.


You have a truck with a 50-gallon tank and drive through Colbert at least once a week, where do you fill up? Unless you simply wish to donate to the ag center project or you're religiously serious about avoiding Colbert retail due to that county's stance on the new RegionalCare hospital, the answer is easy. This is not a criticism of the ag center which we support, but an observation. 

*****

We've received several comments on the proposed Inspiration Landing project; yet none of them has addressed the issue of the Montgomery Avenue office closing. We'll be publishing the comments soon, but still hope for more info on whatever precipitated the closure.

***** 

The Waffle House low health score reminded us of an old joke: 

Where do old waitresses go when they die?

They don't die; they go to work at Waffle House. 




Thursday, June 8, 2017

Another Accident on Paradise Drive


From Hank Thomas:


Paradise Drive saw another accident today. Three young ladies who were driving slow when they drove past my home, were drawn into a ravine when their Jeep would not brake on Paradise Drive due to loose gravel. The loose gravel made their Jeep continue to slide down a hill while they were trying to stop. 

They were very fortunate that the Jeep did not roll over and all were wearing their seat belts. The road right now is very dangerous. I tried today to pull a trailer up one of the hills and could not get enough traction to make the hill and then my SUV and trailer slid backwards down the hill while I attempted to get it stopped. I finally stopped braking and put my SUV in reverse to drive backwards down the hill. 

Someone not experienced on driving Paradise Drive could  have easily been in a ravine or ditch. I have copied Tom Smith of the Times Daily, Danny Pettus County Commission Chairman on this email . I also contacted the county road department by phone. We had a young man die because of neglect on this road in May of 2012. We need the road addressed before another death. Please let your voice be heard by calling the road department and your County Commissioner. West end Commissioners are Fay Parker and Joe Hackworth. 

*****

Previously: Still No Action on Paradise Drive 

We understand the county took Paradise Drive into its system on the understanding that it would remain a gravel road. Did the county make a mistake? Yes, it was tantamount to adopting a damaged child. What are the county's obligations? There are legal responsibilities and moral responsibilities. We suggest the commissioners consider the latter.




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Has Inspiration Landing Gone Pfft?!!!




Has the Curse of Yellow Creek struck again? It seems there have been dramatic changes with Sheffield and the Inspiration Landing project, and we'll be the first to say that we have no idea what they may mean. Is the project first broached in late 2015 now dead in the water?


As of yesterday (at least) the office that served as an operations center for John Elkington's project is closed. What view that's available into the office on Montgomery Avenue indicates the mass removal of office furniture...and we say "what view" since most of the windows are covered with a drapery or sheet. Since there's no sign to direct visitors to a new location, we may safely assume there isn't one.

We've begun our inquiries, and two Sheffield insiders say they're not surprised. We do know that Elkington was here in May to hobnob with Kiefer Sutherland; our friend from Memphis seems to like that aspect of his chosen role in project development life. 

Is there a possible innocent explanation? We assume there could be. We also assume those who are touting the project will soon offer one. Elkington has continued to promise May 2018 as the opening of phase one - an amphitheatre. While construction for such an endeavor would be minimal, has anyone seen any signs of work at the proposed location? Or are we ostensibly still awaiting environmental approval? Has said approval fallen through?

We welcome comments from any in the know...





Tuesday, June 6, 2017

"Words Can Mean Whatever We Wish Them To"


We just read this:

Ashton Kutcher and Jada Pinkett Smith are to present prizes at this year's CMT Music Awards. The 39-year-old actor has joined a long list of celebrities who will give out the prestigious awards at Nashville's Music City Centre on Wednesday. The star-studded bash celebrates folk musicians and recognizes the best music videos and television performances over the past year. 

So we assume after we stab our latest boyfriend in the back we can say, "We just popped a pimple like he asked us to."

*****


 *****

From L. Stone:

If the university loved the city so much then why did they change their name to get rid of Florence?

*****

From a longtime reader:
Only weeks ago UNA was ready to buy the Middle School property for tens of million dollars. Shortly afterwards they decided to raise tuition again because they need funds. Now the plan is to buy property that is also not for sale for parking. Let's not forget the Nursing school that busted construction estimates. It may be time to take a deep breath and formulate a plan that does not involve knee jerk reactions.
*****
If UNA wishes to use the right of eminent domain, why not have the College View church property condemned? It's much more convenient.

*****

We don't anticipate Jeff Sessions resigning as U.S. Attorney General, but if he does, could he/would he then run for his former senate seat? A lot of points to ponder...




Monday, June 5, 2017

We Are the UNA; Prepare to be Assimilated


The University of North Alabama is getting another new parking lot. We read the article this morning with anticipation. The university stressed that this should help improve relations with its neighbors, and goodness knows we get mail from homeowners near the college complaining of students blocking drives, interfering with regular navigation, and just all round bad behavior. Yes, this looked good...until...

Until we read to the end of the article and a university spokesperson mentioned the college's plan to purchase two houses in the 200 block of West Irvine Avenue in order to connect the new parking lot to an existing one. Three homes dot the landscape on the northern side of the 200 block, and the university already owns or rents 216 which currently houses something called UNA's Outdoor Adventure Center.


What of the two farther west? According to property records, they have private owners. Do these owners want to sell? There was no mention of any current negotiations, only that the university wanted the two houses...in the long term. 



It's fine to make plans, but to voice these plans publicly is unwise, not to mention rude. How would you feel if UNA suddenly announced in the TimesDaily that it wanted YOUR home?

*****

Just earlier today, someone (we're guessing a UNA student or recent grad) posted a comment to our blog. We couldn't approve it because of language, but the gist was that Florence was nothing without the university. Yes, the university was so much more important than Florence City Schools. The college should be allowed to just take what it wanted. 

While that particular battle is over, our mail/comments ran 90% in support of the City of Florence and the school board. Perhaps the most humorous comment from that period came from a former city candidate who said we didn't support the city of Florence when we supported the City of Florence. Note the capital "C." It still doesn't make sense, does it?

We have a pretty good idea that if the university should somehow spontaneously combust, it would be unfortunate, but Florence would go on. Sorry to have to be the one to tell you that, snowflake.




Special: No Room for Violence Against Women Here


We have three rules here for posting comments, either directly to our blog or to our Facebook page:

1. No cursing/profanity/vulgarity/dirty words - Pretty simple...you would think.

2. No libelous statements - Do not accuse anyone of anything illegal, immoral, etc., especially a private person. Sure you can say Donald Trump is a pathetic president or Hillary Clinton is sorry excuse for a human being. What you can't say is Baptist deacon Ebineezer Lebowski is doing his housekeeper. 

3. Do not incite or condone any violence, especially against women, children, infirm, etc. 

How often have we had to deal with number three? We did once have a woman blame a four year-old girl for seducing her boyfriend. Yes, really.

Now to the point of this special post:


About ten months ago, a man on probation for domestic violence was arrested again...as in it was the umpteenth time Ryan Kent Pollard was charged with abusing a woman. A local news site published a comprehensive article about Pollard and what he had done to his victims and we linked it. We know that Pollard knew of the article when he was finally released from jail since we were forwarded a humorous story about it. He told his (then) latest misguided conquest that the only arrest he had ever had was for marijuana and he was borrowing money from his family to sue the news site. And, yes, this poor woman naively believed him.

Apparently one of the victims in this article just found it and wanted to add some more tales of violence at the hands of Ryan Kent Pollard, as well as enumerating more victims. (We've lost count.) Pollard followed her here, and it wasn't pretty. 

We have banned Ryan Kent Pollard and will be calling his probation officer, assuming he's still on paper. We doubt that it will do any good. We doubt it will stop some unsuspecting woman from believing his lies. All we can do is try.

And what do we have to say to Ryan Kent Pollard, abuser of women? If we said that, we would be breaking our rule number one.
 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Lynn Greer Gets Called Out/Trademark Infringement?



It's official; the Alabama State Legislature will be getting sensitivity training. We highly suspect it will be comparable to the sexual ethics training of two hours required of new Alabama school teachers. 

Perhaps the most humorous thing about the TimesDaily article on the training was the specific mention of Lynn Greer who sent all of his fellow legislators an old story about monkeys. We've heard the old saw for years, usually in a religious context, but when Greer forwarded the version comparing our legislators to monkeys, he was quickly attacked.  

How do we feel? We wonder who cares what Lynn Greer says after his broken promise on addressing the Certificate of Need problem in this state. Whoever runs against Greer should drill that one home again and again. Doesn't anyone think it's extremely odd that Greer can apologize for a silly analogy, but can't apologize for failing to keep a campaign promise? 


*****

We know of at least two local businesses over the years that were legally made to stop using copyrighted cartoon characters in their advertising. In other words, many artists...you know, those who need to make a living...take theft of their characters very seriously. 

Here's an interesting article on various problems, none local. Link

Is there a new local problem? Yes, stay tuned... 



 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Muskrats with Common Sense/Questions


From the Tuscumbia Muskrat:


First, I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to Tuscumbia's Mayor Underwood, who responded quickly to this past week's Spring Park roller coaster incident. That being said, on Friday, June 2nd Mayor Underwood addressed the roller coaster incident that occurred on Wednesday, May 31st. He provided a summary of what caused six children to become stranded on Spring Park's roller coaster. 

First let's get a clear picture of the roller coaster in question. The Python Coaster is a single train with 5 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a possible total of 10 riders. The coaster cars ride on an 11.5 foot single helix track. The coaster does not operate with a motor for motion. It generates its motion by pulling the cars to the top by chain and then allowing gravity to take care of the rest. The Python Coaster has been in operation at Tuscumbia's Spring Park since 2005. 

Now ... how did it get stuck? Here is a summary of Mayor Underwood's explanation as confirmed by the roller coaster's manufacturer: On Wednesday, May 31st the Python Coaster could not descend the top of the hill because the majority of the passengers were located in the back car. Once the front of the coaster tipped the hill it did not have enough weight for gravity to pull the coaster forward. When this occurred the coaster's safety feature (aka rollback brakes) locked in order to ensure that the coaster did not go backwards.
This makes perfect sense, right? Yes this explains the "mechanical issue" but was that the real safety complaint expressed by parents and others at the scene?

The apparent "in charge" park employee for that evening did not handle the incident with professional and courteous care. In fact the park employee's solution was to order two teenaged city employees to climb up an average ladder to retrieve the six children. An eyewitness overheard one of the teens state that this plan wasn't safe. Was this presumably Tuscumbia's protocol for retrieving passengers from the top of their stuck roller coaster?!? (And with tearful, frightened children) This incident is disturbing not because of the mechanical breakdown but how a Tuscumbia City Employee put six children and two teenaged city employees in harms way. 

Yes, Mayor Underwood did address this issue. He stated that the city would look at new ways to help the children off the coaster if this occurred again. Okay that's a great idea, but I can't be the only person asking why wasn't there ALREADY a safety evacuation procedure in place? After all, this was not the first time that the coaster had been stuck. Remember it's been in operation since 2005. How did they disembark the ride in the past?

Mayor Underwood stated that all Spring Park rides are inspected daily. He also mentioned that park employees were aware of the safety features (aka rollback brakes) on the coaster but just didn't know how to disembark the passengers once they are stuck on the ride. What?!? 

Alright then - if that is true, and the city employees are knowledgeable, then why weren't the passengers loaded properly (with equal distribution of passengers in the front & back cars) in order for the coaster to operate correctly? Can we truly trust the daily inspection of the park rides when clearly the park staff does not seem to know how the ride functions? 

So why did Mayor Underwood contact the ride manufacturer? Mayor Underwood's was first provided an incorrect assessment from park staff of the issue being a "malfunction" as stated in the Times Daily - "Mayor Kerry Underwood said the chain that lifts the coaster did not release the coaster so it could go down, and that left riders stuck on top of the ride." "Underwood said he has been told this is not the first time the malfunction has occurred, and he is investigating to find out if that is true." (Bernie Delinski Staff Writer, Jun 2, 2017) 

I assume the manufacturer solved the problem and provided an explanation of the coaster's safety feature - rollback breaks stop the cars from going backwards. So it wasn't a malfunction as stated by the staff who inspect the cars daily. Once again this could of been avoided by loading the cars for proper weight distribution. It all comes down to "lack of knowledge". Our Park Director does not have his staff trained. 

So why is this an issue now? Let's face it, would Mayor Underwood even be discussing this if not for a Facebook post with over 1,000+ shares that led to local newspaper articles & local TV reports. We all know that mechanical failures happen. That's a fact! Leadership and preparation should always be maintained, especially when such failures are inevitable. The true concern is that our Park Manager has not prepared his full-time or seasonal employees on proper ride operations & safety protocols. May 31st's incident could have been preventable with knowledge and training. It's a shame that the mayor cannot rely on his park director. Instead he is forced to turn toward the guidance of a safety consultant because of lackluster park management. 

By the way - Before the city took over the Spring Park attractions, Harvey Robbins had an excellent staff who were well trained and passionate about the maintenance and safety of the rides. I suggest that Mayor Underwood consider consulting with this group first!

*****

Questions? 

We've been asked if we plan to post more on NWSCC? We've published all we've received so far. An interesting aside, on most issues we usually see 50-50 views or 90-10 views. On this topic, we're seeing about 60-40 views condemning the local community college. If you have sent us an editorial and haven't seen it published, please resend.

A post by ET in which he mentioned an effeminate twerp? That was totally his description and not ours. We've looked at the gentleman's FB page and believe it belongs to a transgender female to male (if we have that backwards, we apologize). That is entirely that person's right. So he doesn't like our blog? Fine; that is also his right. He doesn't like the three Shoals news sites that post at least once a week? He doesn't seem to like much, does he? 



 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Deerslayer Greg Scoggins Hits the News Again...and a Car


Everyone remember Greg Scoggins of Deerslayer fame? If you don't...


It seems Scoggins is now employed in the city of Tuscumbia and crashed into a a car turning in front of him this afternoon. Scoggins says his lights and siren were on. Sheffield was called to investigate since a Tuscumbia officer was involved. Both drivers were taken to hospital with what are reported as minor injuries.

*****



Another former news maker is also back in the spotlight. Candace Carol Irons was arrested on drug charges in Colbert County earlier this week:


Irons received a 108 month sentence for her part in a heroin trafficking scheme four years ago. At least five of those arrested were charged in the deaths of four users. She's been serving her sentence in community corrections and a highway trash pickup program. Is it now to regular prison for Irons to join her daughter's erstwhile drug dealer boyfriend Wes Akin? 

*****

A chilling statistic:

Over 90% of recovering heroin addicts will relapse in some manner; if not renewing their addiction to that opiate, they will become similarly addicted to other opiates or opiods. 




Thursday, June 1, 2017

"Grieving Families?"


From E.T. (who tells it like it is):



A few weeks ago I got a message from a man who said I wasn't much of a publisher. I thought that just involved buying software from time to time and taking writers to lunch since that's what they tell me but if someone wants my thoughts I'll give you some.

I saw a post that this blog hurts grieving families, I suppose by writing about the crimes of murder. So just how does that work? I'll look at some recent blogs.

Tommy Arthur - His first victim was in 1977. Some of our writers were still in school. I was in Alaska in the military. How are we responsible for this family's grief? Troy Wicker who came later? Ditto the school thing for some. How does this blog cause grief for these families? 

Christie Scott - Yeah, we caused all her actions. Not sure how it works but it must be true if even one reader says so. Probably everyone who writes here would have taken her little boy and raised him. How are we responsible for his death?

Erica Fox - She hasn't even come to trial and she's playing the abused wife card. Yeah, let's not mention her affairs. That might just get her convicted of her crimes and no one would want that. Especially since this blog is responsible for her husband's death and his family's grief.

Ron Weems - I saw someone mention how this blog commented on his victim's death several times. They didn't mention that her aunt asked us to. No, why let facts get in the way of some good criticism? 


While we're commenting on this blog, its not connected to any news sites in the area, unless you count some advertising sales. Don't blame us for what the three sites publish and don't blame them for what we write here. And to a certain little effeminate twerp, please learn the difference between a forum, blog, and news site. 

And no, I didn't leave here in 2010 when three writers did. But you don't seem to care who's who. If you do, contact me and I'll fill you in.


E.T. 

*****

No, no one is responsible for the grief of any families except for the individual(s) who took their loved one's lives. These families can look the other way or they can demand justice...and that means a messy trial in most cases. 

We have never understood the philosophy of simply looking the other way. How does that improve society? We've never had anyone answer that question. 




Special: Incident at Spring Park


From the Tuscumbia Muskrat:


Yesterday several children were trapped on the top peak of Spring Parks' roller coaster. Many of the children were scared and in tears as they awaited their rescue for almost an hour. Now a roller coaster break down is not uncommon since it has happened many times before, especially in the last 4 years. What makes this story astonishing is how this situation was handled. A park employee ordered a teenage boy to use an average ladder to climb and retrieve each child.

The teenager noticed the flaw in the plan as being entirely unsafe and begged for an alternate plan. Parents and other onlookers requested that the park employee call 911 for a safer rescue. The park employee refused. A concerned parent took the matter into their hands and dialed 911. Within minutes emergency personnel arrived and rescued the children - much to the relief of their parents and guardians. The park employee disappeared during the rescue and did not speak with the parents afterward. Much to the dismay of park guests the same park employee reopened the coaster after it was dislodged from the top of the coaster - all without proper inspection and maintenance!?! 


I would be shocked on how the children and parents received little to no care but this has been happening for many years now. I just hope this time our new Mayor will see through the "lies" and "manipulation" of a poor Park Director who has long lost control of the safety and wellbeing of our park guests. It's time to put new people in charge who can treat the issues with "actions" and not "words". Please keep your excuses Kendrick - which we will see in the coming days from an article in the Times Daily. Mr. Underwood - are you going to make a difference like you promised? WE NEED A NEW PARK DIRECTOR!!!