Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Two-Way Race for Senate...or Three-Way?/How Many Times Did Deputy Shoot?


 
Mo Brooks After Congressional Shooting

Many Montgomery pundits are saying it will be a Luther Strange-Roy Moore Republican runoff for U.S. Senate. Others are saying it could possibly be Luther Strange-Mo Brooks. Really?

Let's see, pick the most dishonest politician you can think of in Alabama. Yep, that would be Luther Strange. Next, pick the kookiest. Yep, that would be Roy Moore who once called Mad Cow Disease a political plot. Is this what Alabama deserves?

Perhaps these two men are what the state deserves if the majority of voters support them. Why do they support them? Mo Brooks may not be perfect, but he's not a nut-job and he's not dishonest (that we know of; we welcome comments). 

Mo Brooks is the state's best bet. Let's give him a chance.

*****

This is just a random thought: A man, with presumed mental problems, attempted to back over a Lauderdale County Sheriff's deputy last week. How many times did the deputy shoot him? Take you time...

Kudos to the deputy for keeping his head. No one was hurt, James Allen Burbank was arrested, and the D.A. has one less case to consider. 



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Florence Hoteliers Sing "Too Little, Too Late" Blues


As it stands now, we don't support the tennis complex; however, we are amused by one of the arguments of Florence hoteliers against it. Yes, the proposed complex aids the Marriott more than other hotels. That's what the attraction is designed to do. That's what it was designed to do ten years ago. Why didn't you protest then?

It's rather like UNA objecting to a new Florence middle school when it had almost ten years to do so and didn't. No matter how anyone feels about the viability of a tennis complex, that particular argument against it holds no water.

*****


We've had one reader ask if the contract reference to the attraction could be changed, as was the law on the termination of the two-cent gasoline tax. Unlike our legislature which can change laws on whim, it would take both sides to change the contract, so basically the answer is no.

While we supported the ag-center, we did have qualms about the law being changed by our representatives after a promise was made to the residents of Lauderdale County. This is certainly something to remember the next time such a promise is made.

*****

Speaking of UNA, at least two of our readers have asked why the name of the officer who shot Poodles hasn't been published. We have no idea supported by anything the university has said, but it probably boils down to the fact officials don't legally have to identify the officer. Or perhaps the university is concerned that Poodles may have friends of the type who would retaliate against the officer.

We have heard a name, but we doubt what we heard is correct or spelled even close to correctly. In the end, unless he's indicted for some reason, we don't see it being released, at least by UNA.



Monday, July 17, 2017

Ping, Ping, Telephone Ping - Sachiko Basden


The latest on the mobile belonging to missing Tuscumbia woman Sachiko Basden is that it's on; she's just not answering. In such cases, it's very easy for law enforcement to get a court order to ping the phone, showing its location within meters. Some phone companies will do this for whoever pays the bill; in other words if there are four phones on a Verizon account, the account holder may have any one of them pinged and located. We have no idea how Ms. Basden's phone is set up, but surely authorities know where it is...if it's indeed on. 

Richmond Hills, a Tuscumbia subdivision where the Basdens live, is close to the Valdosta Highway. Surely the police wanted to ensure she hadn't been hit in busy traffic. Surely the police know the last person she called and who called her last and got an answer. 

Ms. Basden doesn't seem to have any family here with the exception of her husband and children. Her children (or at least some of them) use a different last name, so we may assume there's an ex-husband out there somewhere. Why would she have left four children behind? She has no money, no identification, and no vehicle. There have been no search parties or tracking dogs. Someone obviously knows something.

The whole thing is troubling since so many are thinking the worst. If Sachiko Basden wanted to embarrass her family, she's done it. If her family wanted to embarrass her, they've certainly done it.

Ms. Basden, if you're out there, it's time to come home. Please.

*****

A few years ago, a single man from Tuscaloosa married a woman with two children. Apparently he wasn't accustomed to the chaos, and arguments often ensued. One Friday night, there was a knock-down, drag-out (at least figuratively), and the man drove away, leaving his phone and billfold behind. When he hadn't returned by Saturday morning, his wife did the most logical thing - she took to Facebook.

Everyone felt sure the young husband would return by Sunday night and make it to work on Monday morning, but he didn't. At that point, everyone then thought he was probably dead or halfway to California. Then on Monday night he showed up as if nothing had happened.

He hadn't eaten in four days and had been sleeping in his vehicle in a parking garage. If a divorce or murder followed, we never read about it...




Sunday, July 16, 2017

Missing, Missing, Missing, Missing!



Police report that as of three days ago the Shoals and its surrounding areas have a new missing person to add to the list. There have been conflicting reports about the status of the Tuscumbia woman's phone; we can hope she will return soon and all will be well with her and her family. What about the other three?

Susie Lanier - Mrs. Lanier has been gone five weeks. Her purse and cell phone were left behind. Lanier may return to her family, but we'll be honest enough to comment that the odds are pretty long on that and get longer each day. If there was a crime committed, things are complicated by authorities not knowing if the event took place in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, or Colbert County, Alabama. 

Shawn Childers - Mr. Childers has been missing from Lauderdale County since September 2016, or roughly 10 months. Childers' family believes he was the victim of foul play and have incriminated his roommate David Randall Nix who has been caught out in several lies. Without more than circumstantial evidence, authorities have not been able to make an arrest.  

Janson Brewer - Mr. Brewer has been missing from Lawrence County, Tennessee, since August 2016, or roughly 11 months. It's entirely possible that Brewer and his companion simply left the area in an attempt to start a new life, but his family desperately wants to know where he is. 

Perhaps you have a small piece of information that you feel has no value. Let authorities judge. Contact them at the numbers listed. We all need help from time to time. How would you feel if this was your family?




Saturday, July 15, 2017

Puddles Probably Sans Pity for Poodles


From a reader:


Do you think "Poodles" has a chance to win a lawsuit?

Our answer: We may be off on some of the details of this similar incident, but not many...

The officer saw the man driving erratically in his attempt to beat the traffic. He turned on his blue lights and stopped the black male driver. The driver then saw that the officer was a game warden and drove off. The game warden again gave pursuit until the driver stopped a second time. As the driver attempted to retrieve his license, the game warden felt threatened and shot the man dead. The driver's family portrayed him as the injured party and eventually won some kind of lawsuit.

Wrongful death lawsuits are civil and are usually heard by a jury. So, yes, anything is possible in these cases. Yet even if Poodles should win, she will still be facing legal consequences for her actions. A Florence man was recently sentenced to life in prison for attempting to murder a police officer; Poodles may fare no better

***** 

From another reader:

Your blog is not only informative but a source of entertainment for me. I have really enjoyed reading about poodles lately. I don't know if you know this or not but there is actually a band called puddles pity party. I'm not joking. They're going to be in Birmingham sometime this year and I saw it on Ticketmasters website. I just thought that you might want to use that tidbit in your blog some time. Maybe they're trying to raise money for her to defense!
SAT JUL 29 8PM Puddles Pity Party Iron City Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 
 
Our answer:
 
Yes, we've certainly heard of Puddles, in fact due to another member of our blog. Perhaps Puddles would do a show for Poodles...uh, no, we're guessing no. 

*****
 
What's Deaf, Dumb, & Blind and Costs 3.5 Million Dollars?
 
 
 
 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Police Officers Not Doing Their Jobs?



As a former law enforcement officer, it bothers me that I no longer see law enforcement officers in The Shoals conducting traffic stops.  We love to gripe and complain about Shoals drivers, but often fail to make the connection between poor driving characteristics of area drivers with the lack of traffic laws enforcement.  Some local LEOs that I have mentioned my concerns to offer up the following 'excuses':

* We're too busy responding to criminal activity.
* We've been told NOT to issue too many traffic citations.
* Working traffic is boring.

My responses to the above excuses have been:

* The crime reports in the TD don't support this response.  Either the officer isn't being truthful, the local LE agencies are under-reporting crime stats, or the TD isn't reporting all criminal activity.
* The various city councils and/or mayors issuing these edicts should be removed from office at the next election.
* WHY are you wearing a badge?  Are you a REAL law enforcement officer, or are you simply wearing a badge because you think it's 'cool'?  DO YOUR JOB! Please.










*****

We'll be looking at Sheffield police in the next few days. Do they single out certain individuals? If you have any experience with Sheffield officers, let us hear.




Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jason Dewayne Green: Liar, Drunk, Thief, Murderer


First, Shoalanda hasn't made any plans to murder anyone...well, at least any that she would really carry out. Yet if accused of murder or any other serious crime, she would make a bee-line to Billy Underwood's office. Billy always tells it like it is and he has integrity.

 
 


What does Jason Dewayne Green have? An AIS number and a bunk at a medium security prison. 

When Green was free, he ran a junk business with his father. He also stole cars - a nice sideline if you own a place that sells scrap metal. We guess he needed the money to buy the alcohol that fueled his drunken rages against an innocent woman whose only crime was loving and trusting him. 

Of course Green denies killing Shay Ledlow. He claims he only gave her the gun and told her to use it. Did Shay actually kill herself? Forensics proved it was impossible for the shooting to have played out as Green claims. 

Green received some excellent advice from Billy Underwood and took a manslaughter plea, avoiding a life sentence for Felony Murder. For those who may not know, manslaughter is punishable by 10 to 15 years, or up to 20 years if it involves a gun. There is no Correctional Incentive Time (Good Time) on sentences above 15 years.

Now all that information is available online at the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles site. It's also something that Mr. Underwood carefully explained to Green, but now Shay Ledlow's murderer is claiming it wasn't adequately explained. He's maintaining that he thought he would do only eight years. The bottom line is that Jason Dewayne Green wants a new trial.  

We're sure that if Shay Ledlow could speak, she would say she wanted to live...but Jason Dewayne Green robbed her of that chance.




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Colbert-Lauderdale Detention Center?


Colbert County wants and needs a new jail before some state agency takes over the old one, or more to the point closes down the current dilapidated one. Lauderdale County needs more room. Are the two needs compatible?

Juvenile penal facilities have been combined for some time, so it's legally possible to merge the two detention centers. What are the chances this will happen? We'd say two, and our readers know what those two are.

Now that the Lauderdale County Commission has instituted a program allowing inmates with chronic illnesses to serve their time at home with electronic monitoring, the jail population should be reduced to at least a small degree. More and more sentences are being served in community corrections, further reducing the Lauderdale jail population. 

What of Lauderdale County population in general? Between the years of 2010 and 2014, the population increased by only 400. We're sure business leaders hope this trend changes, but county officials need to consider every alternative to add room to Lauderdale's facilities before they commit to a multi-million dollar project with Colbert County. 

*****

Forgive our humor here, but Poodles has a hard head in more ways than one. The official verdict is now six shots: Two to head (neither penetrated her skull), one to right arm, three to chest. That's not counting that some bullets splintered and left fragments in various places, probably causing the conflicting reports as to how many times the Florence woman was shot.

Jessica LaShae Dye's mother has said that in her "confusion," Poodles perceived the UNA shooter to be an assailant. She was trying to escape and get to the ER at ECM Hospital when she failed to negotiate the corner of Pine and College Streets. 

Poodles' mom also informed press that most of her daughter's previous arrests were for drugs and not violent crimes. Perhaps it slipped her mind that Poodles had been arrested in Sheffield for assaulting her younger brother...the one who has now ostensibly hired an attorney. 

It also seems that Poodles went to prison for eight months for cocaine possession in 2014. You mean that wasn't enough to teach her a lesson? She's currently facing new cocaine possession charges from September 2016. Things don't always go better with coke.




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dan Barger Raises Proposed Lodging Tax Increase


We have recently been discussing how wrong the TD gets facts. The proposed increase in lodging tax for Florence is one of those things. Robert Palmer incorrectly stated it was originally 3%, but raised to 5% in the latest estimates.

No, not quite. It was originally 5%, but scaled down to 3% after city hotel management launched a protest. Now it's back up to the original 5%. Barger says this will cover the cost of needed upkeep to the park. There has been practically no park maintenance in the past 10 years at the Veterans location. 

Former city councilman Barry Morris says the financial study on the proposed tennis complex is flawed. If so, it would not surprise us. If Barger is correct that lodging tax will bring in 600K a year if the increase is approved, it will take just under 16 years to recoup the money spent...and that isn't counting interest. 

It's also interesting that the proposed new ball fields were previously estimated at coming in at 3 million. Now it's 3.2 million. Hey, what's an extra 200K? 


Has anyone explained how the magic number of courts is 31? Does the plan call for a nominal fee for locals to use the courts? 

The most recent statistics indicate one in 17 people play tennis at least once a year. How about at least 10 times a year? Then the number falls to one in 32. We strongly suspect that figure is lower in the Shoals; however, we are presumably building these courts for the tourism that comes with large competitions. 

Whether these courts, should they come to pass, are a big hit or a tremendous flop, ala Cypress Lakes Golf & Tennis Club, we may not know for at least 10 years. Whoever is on the Florence City Council at that time will have to deal with the situation. Good luck...




Monday, July 10, 2017

Poodles' Family Has Lawyered Up


First, we'll correct a comment we made on a FB post yesterday. Jessica LaShae Dye isn't married as we stated. She had previously been involved in DV/Assault with a man we believed to be her husband, but who is actually an immediate family member. Sources say he's retained an attorney or is looking for one.

As to shots fired by the UNA officer, we've heard as few as six with three hitting Ms. Dye. Family members who have contacted us are adamant the woman known as Poodles was hit nine times out of 14 shots fired. Ms. Dye was hit twice in the right arm, twice in a lung, and one shot grazed her head. Four other shots may be classified as flesh wounds, one in the left hand. 

Ms. Dye is very lucky to be alive. We hope there is some dash cam or body cam footage, but we reiterate that no one should ever attempt to flee from police. If you can't respect the person, respect the uniform. We'll add that going to jail for a few hours or even days is much preferable to being hospitalized for weeks or months while in severe pain.

***** 

What do drugs do to a person? Here are photos taken five years apart: 






How bad is anyone's life that they want to start doing drugs? No matter who is to blame for the UNA shooting, it wouldn't have happened if Poodles had been thinking rationally in the first place.




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Bubba Shot the Jukebox...and Poodles


By now most of our readers know that a UNA police officer shot the operator of a motor vehicle early Sunday morning. Rumors and assumptions abound; let's look at them along with questions from our readers.

* Is the UNA Police page down on FB? It appears to be, but we don't know why.

* How many times was the driver, Jessica LaShae Dye, shot? The unconfirmed report is six.

* How many times did the officer fire his weapon? Apparently more than six.


* Was the driver black? No, she was a 28 year-old white female.

* Why was the driver identified and not the officer? Possibly the easiest answer is that ALEA can do as it chooses in the investigation.

* Is the press blaming the officer? We haven't seen that. We saw a few comments as to why an article would call Dye a victim. One of the meanings of the word "victim" is someone to whom something has happened. There are apparently two victims (or one victim and one would-be victim) in this instance - both Dye and the officer were on the receiving end of an action according to initial reports. 

* People are saying Dye, aka Poodles, wasn't doing drugs when pulled over. People can say anything. We will say that Poodles has quite a record of drug arrests and if she wasn't on drugs at the time of the incident, she is incredibly stupid. Actually, she's incredibly stupid either way.

* Where was the officer standing when Poodles attempted to run over him? We've saved this question for last. Initial reports, which are usually wrong on some facts, have said the officer checked Poodles for warrants after pulling her over for speeding. When he found she was wanted, he asked her to step out of the car and she then tried to run him down. 

Now think about that. When an officer speaks to you after you've been pulled over, where does he stand? Just a thought...

*****

Prayers for both the officer and Poodles and her family. 




Saturday, July 8, 2017

How to Take Inventory?/Tennis Zero Hour?


A man owns a small plumbing supply shop, and it's inventory time. He anticipates increasing his business by 25% during the year, so he multiplies his stock by 1.25 for inventory purposes. Wait, you say, that's not right.

No, it isn't, but we see it every day in some areas. We were reminded of this when a woman defending convicted killer Hershel Graham threw in a few words about Red Bay being the greatest city in Alabama. We love Florence; we love Athens; yet are they the greatest cities in Alabama? Mountain Brook and others might just have a few words to say about that. 

You can't have the greatest city or greatest schools or greatest anything else simply by wishing. You have to work at it. 

*****



That brings us to Veterans Park. Will the tennis courts come to pass? We may soon know if Dick Jordan can persuade some of his fellow council members to see his way.

Jordan says the RSA's David Bronner has given his approval to the project. Perhaps after 12 or 13 years Bronner is willing to say yes to almost anything as a major tourist attraction to simply conclude that side of the deal?

Our major concern is the loss of ball fields. Will they be replaced? Will access demographics change? Will the southeastern part of the city be harmed by the loss of these fields? Let's hope the Florence City Council has some good answers for that.




Friday, July 7, 2017

Financial Exploitation of the Elderly?


We don't see too much exploitation of children in our era. Child labor laws prevent that. There's certainly sexual exploitation, and our laws carry special punishment for abusing a child under the age of 12. 


We now have special laws for taking financial advantage of anyone over the age of 60. A great many laws have arbitrary demarcations as to age; yet sociologists now define an "elder" as someone who has reached the age of 70. Our personal opinion is that anyone who dupes their patient/friend/family should face serious consequences. Perhaps it's just simply easier to use a certain age in this type law than to define what constitutes a serious illness.  

A great many who are duped financially are simply avaricious. Others are taken in by a pretty face and would be no matter their age. Others simply qualify as being absent from some of their holdings and not investing time or money in getting estimates of value on property sold (think the sex offender from Central who was convicted of bilking a woman in a timber sale). 

We were reminded of all this recently when a 75 year-old woman was arrested for such a crime:


We have no idea how many patients this woman cared for, but being a caretaker was obviously her vocation. If she stole from one (and this is only alleged at this point), she probably stole from others. Some may have been younger than she. 

Now let's hypothetically say this woman claims her alleged victim took advantage of her, perhaps didn't pay her. How does the law handle that? Dueling claims of elder abuse? How about shoot-out at Boot Hill?







Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hershel Dale Graham - A Menace to Society


Hershel Dale Graham was given a health leave (compassionate leave) from prison. He was dying, barely alive. Now he's a pall bearer:

We have no doubt that God can take care of Graham and do it in whatever way He chooses. Yet most murderers face more than a few months in a prison infirmary. Some who were actually defending themselves face decades in hard confinement. 


This is our justice system. If we don't squawk about it, who will?




Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Luther Strange/Magic Dust/Girls with Knives


Will any of you be voting for Luther Strange for the U.S. Senate? If you plan to, please write us and tell us why. There is no perfect candidate out there; sometimes there is no good candidate at all. There is always the lesser of evils. We don't feel Luther Strange is either of the above. More to come.

*****

From a reader:



You probably own magic dust. So many folks do. Everyone needs protection.

Everyone has a brand of dust they prefer and their own model of squeeze bottle. It's a major business here in our country. My wife carries that glittery stuff that just turns an attacker into a frog. I prefer the kind that maims or kills, but that's just me.

I hear people wanting to take our magic dust away from us. Some say the government already has storage facilities to hold all our dust. What happens then? You think the criminals will turn in their magic dust? It's made to last hundred of years, so how long will it take to confiscate it from the bad guys and neutralize it while we sit at home afraid to go out at night without being turned into a pink dragon and robbed?

No, there are no answers to that question, so let's all keep our magic dust. Better the bad guys are turned into flying monkeys than me.

***** 

Our reader has given us all something to ponder...or not. We will say this: Now we have teenage girls carrying knives to meet their enemies on street corners. Do their parents care? The answer is one word spelled with two letters.




Tuesday, July 4, 2017

How the Canadian Grinch Tried to Steal Independence Day


From Nigel Knorr:
It appears that the fireworks show and festivities at McFarland Park is back on thanks to Mayor Steve Holt and some other generous sponsors who stepped up and made it all happen.  I reviewed the sponsor list who helped out and I noticed one obvious name missing:  Florence Lauderdale Tourism or as I see they have also now started calling themselves, the Florence Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.  

Regardless of what Canada Rob calls his office now, they did not step up to the plate and help with saving this event.  Is this event tourism?  Yes it is!!!  Maybe Dick Jordan didn’t want to help out, or maybe it was the incredibly educated and tourism minded tourism board who didn’t see the need.  

Well according to one source who approached the tourism director with the proposal for sponsorship, Canada Rob didn’t see the need in tourism supporting such an event. I guess he celebrated Canada Day on July 1st instead.  Regardless, it's a shame that Florence Lauderdale Tourism did not and will not have any role in this HUGE tradition for the Shoals area and beyond.  Whats next?   Perhaps they will stop sponsoring fishing tournaments too because after all, Canada Rob doesn’t fish !!!

Nigel Knorr

*****



We don't look bad for 241! 
Happy Independence Day!

All of Us at Shoalanda Speaks 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Lynn Greer is Grandstanding Again





A recent editorial in a state publication called out legislators who offer up feel-good legislation while never addressing real problems in Alabama. Certainly Lynn Greer is one of those, or at least his current bill is. Greer attempted to submit this bill on capital punishment last year, but it never made it out of the judiciary committee. There was a reason for this. Most of what Greer is proposing is already law. Let's look at some of the points of the bill which would add to the already 19 crimes this state prosecutes as capital offenses.

1. Greer’s bill would make murders committed on school or day care campuses capital offenses. The murder of any child, no matter where, under the age of 14 is already a capital offense. Also, the murder of two or more individuals during the same act is also a capital crime. Greer's bill would add older children and school workers to the special victims, but is mainly unneeded.

2. Greer’s bill also adds the murder of prosecutors as a capital offense. The murder of any state or federal official because of their office is already a capital offense.

3. Murders of family members of law enforcement, correction officers (sic) and judges as acts of revenge would be punishable with death. While these type crimes are not specifically capital crimes in themselves, they are if the crime also involves breaking and entering, kidnapping, or shooting into an occupied vehicle or dwelling - in other words, most of the ways these crimes would be carried out.

Now, if Rep. Lynn Greer of Rogersville would only introduce legislation on abolishing, or at least amending, the state's current law on certificates of need. He promised two years ago to do so.

We're still waiting...




Sunday, July 2, 2017

Return to Inspiration Landing


Finally an official statement from the Inspiration Landing project on the closing of its local office: Simply not needed at the moment? Didn't want to sign a two year lease? 



This is a long term project with the first leg ostensibly scheduled to be finished by around the third week in June 2018, if not sooner. There are supposedly at least four stages to this project, yet no local office will be needed long term?

Perhaps one of those rental trailers? Anyone priced one of those lately? Surely a local storefront is cheaper. 

Our take? We haven't enough information to offer an informed opinion, but if we had to hazard a guess? John Elkington has not yet been able to find the investors he's been seeking. 

Anyone see a small version of DreamVision here?

***** 

Remember those proposed theatres on Hatch Boulevard?

Remember that golf course proposed for near where Inspiration Landing is promised?

Remember that railroad overpass proposed many times over the years? 

Remember promised improvements to the Sheffield school system?

We're sure we could go on, but you get the idea...




Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Sheffield Demon Railroad Crossings


What's wrong in Sheffield at the Montgomery Avenue railroad crossing and similar railroad/street intersections? First a comment from a reader:

Main reason crossings are being blocked and will continue to be! Corporate Greed, just like most of America! Norfolk Southern has closed down Chattanooga yard! The result is congestion at Birmingham and Sheffield! Phil Campbell was blocked for 4 days! Railroad said due to mechanical issues with locomotives but that was a lie! It was because they had no room in Sheffield to park the train!
  
Now here's a short answer from D. Claytor:

More true than not. On the other hand, if they make a big enough stink it could mean Sheffield gets some cuts with jobs moving to Memphis, Birmingham and maybe back to Chattanooga. I am surprised Chattanooga got cut and Sheffield didn't. Hopefully these problems will be fixed soon. Whenever big changes are made on a railroad it takes a few months for operations to adjust and settle down. 

***** 



The newest approach to this problem is a rehash of a very old one - build an overpass with city tax money.

The Great Train Robbery?