Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lawless in Alabama?


No matter what anyone says, many Alabamians love those who break the law. Of course, that's only the laws with which they disagree. It's civil disobedience, don't you know? 

No, this blog isn't about a state issue, but a local one; however, we will inject here that several have commented to us that former judge Roy Moore broke Alabama gun law by possessing a gun at a public political rally. Apparently he didn't since the rally wasn't public. No, the rally was held on private property and those who attended had paid for admittance. 

They paid? As in cash money? A fool and...


Returning to the local issue, for those not aware, the City of Florence entered into an agreement with the Retirement Systems of Alabama in which it promised to establish an attraction at Veterans Park or, if not, to use the two million set aside for the attraction to refurbish the Florence Conference Center. After a little over a dozen years and still no attraction, the RSA has asked for the two million to be transferred to begin work on the refurbishment of a building now in its name. 

Pretty straight forward, we'd say. Yet we see letters to the editor at the TD which have implied the city council is simply giving the funds to the RSA. In fact, a little bribery was also implied. 

We read one letter twice and believe the author to be fairly educated. Yet he didn't understand what a contact was? Or did he simply think the city should have not kept its end of the bargain? We're going with the latter. 

After all, how much Alabama history has been built on sheer lawlessness?




Friday, September 29, 2017

No More Police Force at NWSCC


From a reader:

On September 20, 2017 Dr. Humphrey Lee, the President of North West-Shoals Community College decided to get rid of all the Campus Police Personnel and replace them with a private security firm that no one has ever heard of. They have no kind of training; no kind of background checks are done on them. Some of the ones that are hired have been fired from other police agencies for violations of department rules. They have no type of training for dealing with Active Shooters, Domestic calls, or any type of Law enforcement related issues. 


Dr. Lee’s reasons behind this was to save the school money and benefits, but what about the safety of our kids, students and faculty members that are on campus? While he continues to let XXXXX run the college and he's just a figure head. It seems no one cares, from the community to the people in Montgomery, that we no longer have a safe campus, and morale really (is low). 

He did this by using the “Reduction in Force” policy all the while planning a new campus in Lauderdale County. If there is money to invest in a new campus why can’t he afford to protect the taxpayers on the Colbert Campus?  It seems he doesn’t hold our Boys in Blue to a very high regard since he made the statement that the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission wasn’t as good as they think they are and that he didn’t need Police officers on his campus.

I hope he never does need police officers on his campus but the idea of them already being there may be why he has never needed them in the first place!

*****

If all we cared about was a really great straight line, here's where we'd say: But who's going to protect the campus from Poodles?





Thursday, September 28, 2017

Child Porn? Yes, It's Made in the Shoals


It hasn't been that long ago that a North Florence man was arrested for producing child pornography using his grandchildren. Nice guy, huh? Is this extremely rare? No. Remember the Ayers couple now serving sentences that range in the hundreds of years for photographing the wife's disabled daughter? Remember the Killen man with the largest collection of child porn ever found in the state who had at least one local video he had shot himself (it contained images of a teenager and not a child)? 

Now a Muscle Shoals man has been arrested for filming a young child wearing a Colbert County school shirt. Authorities know the identity of the child who is cooperating with investigators.


According to news reports, there have been at least three investigations in Georgia concerning McCormack, a former kindergarten teacher. No official charges were ever brought in that state. Three investigations and no charges? 

We do our children a great disservice when we drop the ball in these types of inquiries. Let's hope the feds can make this latest charge stick.

*****

Speaking of federal crimes, albeit not nearly so heinous, Roy Moore has...ummm...not filled in his senate campaign ethics form correctly. How many who voted for him on Tuesday will care that the former judge lied on something he had to swear to? We're not holding our breath until the majority speaks up to condemn him. 



Oh, and the wife he dragged along the campaign trail lied on one of hers also. No word on Sassy the horse he rode in on.




Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How Far Would You Go to Save Your Grandchild?


Sandra Hill Treadway didn't like the mother of her young grandson. In fact, she so disliked Lyndsey Brooke Grindol that she paid a hit man to kill the young woman who was trying to regain custody of the boy. 


No, we don't condone such behavior, but Treadway obviously felt she had little choice. Of course she had a choice, but rational people don't always think logically when a young family member is in danger. 

Does Treadway deserve a 60 year sentence? We're predicting a new trial, but even that will be a crap shoot for the Hatton woman sentenced today in Lawrence County. 

*****

Intended Victim Lyndsey Grindol


Does Grindol have custody of her two children? Did DHR ever determine which of the six soldiers was the father of the older one? 

Interesting questions, but the salient query should be why did Grindol and Treadway's son have unprotected sex in the first place? Our previous comment about spay/neuter still stands.




Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"I Will Not Embarrass You" - Doug Jones


Remember actor Dick Van Patten? He was never a leading man, not because he lacked talent, but we assume because he didn't look like Cary Grant. In other words, he was often overlooked, and many who watched him every week on television probably couldn't have told you his real name.

Dick Van Patten

We realized tonight that Van Patten is whom Doug Jones reminds us of. You know...Doug Jones? He's the one who doesn't wear a cowboy hat or wave guns at political rallies in order to get applause.

Doug Jones wants to be our next senator. Will he make it? Not having a direct route to any oracles at the moment, we can't say. We can say one of Jones' campaign promises is not to embarrass our state. That looks pretty good for starters. Yes, a sad commentary on the state of state politics.

Most agree that Richard Shelby is in his last term in the senate. Of course, he could run again, but probably won't. He doesn't need the money, fame, or the headaches at this point in his life. Whoever wins our senate election in December could soon be our senior representative in that governing body. If that isn't a sobering thought, we don't know what is.


*****

Serious question for our readers: Would you hire a 22 year-old man, currently under indictment in Lauderdale County and with an outstanding warrant for his arrest, who has had at least 13 arrests in the past five years?

Ah, we're sure most of us forget that it's the media's fault that the man can't get a job. After all, who does background checks?





Monday, September 25, 2017

Know This Woman? Call Athens Police


Remember an Alabama police officer who didn't realize he was on CCTV when he stepped behind a dumpster to, ahem, do what he had to do? At least he thought he was being discreet. 

While this is not what we at Shoalanda envisioned exposing when we founded our blog, we think certain individuals are incapable of functioning in polite society; however, there's not usually much we can do about it. This? 

We'd say someone knew just where the cameras were and how to accomplish what she wanted, or to at least make it appear that she had.  

Is she from Lauderdale County? We're told she is. If you have information on this fine specimen of Southern womanhood, call Athens Police at (256) 233-8700.


If she's prosecuted, we imagine it will be for public lewdness. After her conviction, we predict she will then run for office on the "What You See Is What You Get" ticket.




Sunday, September 24, 2017

Vote Tuesday! (If You're Eligible)


Only 12 to 15 out of every 100 registered voters will be at the polls on Tuesday? And that figure is probably a high estimate if it rains. Don't we care where Alabama is going?

All right, that was a silly question. As long as it's going backwards, most people are happy. News flash: You're never going to agree 100% with any candidate, and voting for the lesser of two evils is allowed.

Then December...

*****


Pictured above is Roy Moore riding home from polls in August. Obviously, Moore didn't want to call undue attention to himself. If elected to serve in Washington, perhaps he can find a cheap used pope-mobile to navigate that beltline traffic?

***** 

Exceptions to every rule? We've frequently blogged that failing to call out evil will never make it go away. That can't be said for protests. 

Just consider it the TimesDaily school of news coverage. Not sure what that is? It means while university women protested UNA's treatment of a rape victim, the TD was covering co-eds dipping writing instruments into a fountain for good luck. Ah, priorities...




Saturday, September 23, 2017

Who's Paying to Elect Roy Moore?


We're constantly hearing that Washington interests are financially supporting Luther Strange's bid to become Alabama's junior state senator. This may fall under the heading of supporting a known entity (evil) or it may be something more sinister...or it could be very few want to attempt to work with Roy Moore. So who's supporting Moore?

Here's a comprehensive list: Moore Donations

Any surprises? Not that we can see as far as individual donors; remember some business entities donate to each candidate in a race in an attempt to hedge their bets. We are surprised by the number of property management firms and related businesses. No, we have no idea what that might be about.

*****

Here's another little article about Roy Moore's previous behavior:


This particular investigative piece offers more information than any we have yet read. Now we have to ask if the 7,000.00 removal fee was taken from Roy Moore's salary before he was chucked. 

If you're considering voting from Roy Moore, who pretends to love the law so much, why did he attempt to copyright something in free domain? Did he really hope to sell miniatures to finance future campaigns...or does he simply love his own name so much that he wanted to see it on a monument before he passed to his reward?


And if he does stand for the Constitution, why were no words from that pivotal document included in his infamous granite monument?





Friday, September 22, 2017

Inspiration Landing LLC Administrative Revocation in Tennessee


First we wish to thank a reader for sending us this. While it might take an attorney practicing in corporate law to understand all the nuances of the situation, it should still be very interesting to those keeping track of John Elkington's Inspiration Landing project.


1. In late 2015, John Elkington filed for an LLC under the name Inspiration Landing in both Alabama and Tennessee.

2. The Alabama LLC remains extant, while the Tennessee company does not.

3. The Tennessee LLC was "administratively removed" after one year in late 2016.

Are any of these facts important to those who support Elkington's Inspiration Landing project? It would seem it's very common to incorporate in all states in which one seeks to do business, so Elkington also incorporating in his home state of Tennessee seems prudent.

Now we come to the "administratively removed." We had no idea what that phrase actually meant and assumed Elkington asked for the LLC to be disbanded. No, we couldn't have been more wrong in our educated guess. It means that the State of Tennessee cancelled the LLC after one year. Another educated guess is that, since it was active for a period of 12 months, it was cancelled when Elkington didn't seek renewal or pay renewal fees.

Why wouldn't John Elkington wish to do business in his home state of Tennessee? We seem to have more questions than answers, but one possible rationale is that the Memphis property guru isn't seeking investors from Tennessee...where they know him best.


*****

A minor update on our bank sale blog. Several readers thought we might have been referring to the sale of First Southern a few months ago. No, this is a rumored sale that has not come to fruition. The interesting thing is that of those who commented on the correct bank all mentioned the continued downsizing in staff, offices, and customer service.

Customer service? How hard is it to be polite to someone who's throwing their money at you? 





Thursday, September 21, 2017

Second Opinions on "Tuscumbia Landing"


First, short and sweet:
Bob Perry is not the spokesperson for Tuscumbia Landing nor Inspiration Landing.  I'm not sure where you got the misinformation from. Bob has distanced from the project that Sheffield decided to proceed with.

We took the information from a 2015 TD article. Obviously, since there is some conflict here, the TD would never update it and cause any readers to reflect on what's really going on.

Now some more pithy remarks:

Why should Tuscumbia have anything to do with "Tuscumbia Landing" since it's located in Sheffield? Is that town trying to create an overflow? Steal the glory from Sheffield? No wonder (Ian) Sanford didn't participate in any meetings with Hoskin and Underwood.

I doubt it gets much farther, but if it does, the town of Sheffield will have to deal with the tribes you mentioned in your blog unless a judge decides different. Then you're talking years of litigation and John Elkington ain't gonna live that long with his current trophy wife. In fact, does Sheffield have an insurance policy on Elkington? Might be worth it.

Finally:

 

Too many Indians there. Let's get Elizabeth Warren down here too. Indians can be 1/16 in some states, but have to be 1/8 in others. People like Robert Perry can just say they're Indian, but what if they're 1/4 Apache, 1/4 Chickasaw, 1/4 Cree, and 1/4 Navaho? 

People understand the difference between French and English and they live just 50 miles apart. What about Indian tribes that live 2,000 miles apart? Why do people lump them together and give people like Warren and Perry a pass on being "Indian?"

***** 

Looking on the bright side, we now have room for a new scam to move into Colbert County...




 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuscumbia Tribal Wars 2017 or Know Your Cherokees


The State of Alabama recognizes the following indigenous Indian tribes: 


(We'll pause in our narrative here to ask for public comment; we have no idea how these tribes compare. Which ones are just in it for the gambling? Which ones for federal funds? Which ones for whatever glory the name "Indian" might bring? We'll publish all comments.)

Why are these tribes important now? Some or all of these tribes have at least partial control over Tuscumbia Landing. In fact, some or all may have total control. We'll take comments on that also.

We have removed a photo of Robert Perry who does not wish to appear here even though we did not comment on who might be correct in this war party. We can see that any negotiations with him will go well.



Robert Perry is a local who's on the Tuscumbia Landing Authority board. He's also a member of the Chickasaw Tribe and has worked as a lobbyist for various other tribes. From past news accounts, we may infer that Sheffield and John Elkington have accepted him as a spokesperson/liaison between Tuscumbia Landing and the Inspiration Landing project. 

But talk about your chiefs...there's a new one in town, or at least he was here some days ago. The TD gave his visit less space that a UNA rape du jour.


So we hope all our readers are now clear on who's dealing with Sheffield and Inspiration Landing? No. Neither are we. And where was Sheffield mayor Ian Sanford while Tuscumbia mayor Kerry Underwood received all the press?

More legal battles if this project ever gets off the ground? We may never get a finished Inspiration Landing, but we certainly see a reality show coming out of all this.




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What Guidance Do School Boards Need? Sex Education, Maybe?


If any school boards need guidance from the public, it's not in decreasing the administrative reach of the principals and similar staff. No, it's pertaining to teacher/student sex.


Yes, that was teacher/student sex as in a story could break any minute. So, let's see, an employee loses a job. If that employee is licensed, he or she loses that license. The school board is possibly sued. 

What were they thinking?

***** 

Other rumors? We can at least answer a question from a reader. No, we haven't heard of any sale of a major Shoals banking institution, but that would be the norm. Stocks often split as a result of the sale, so everything is hush-hush until the ink is dry on the contract.

Do we expect it? The Shoals has always been a volatile market for banking, so while "expect" may not be the word, it wouldn't surprise us. Thirty years is about average for most brands.




Monday, September 18, 2017

Too Good to Speak a Certain Language? One Boy Was!


We had one persistent critic from yesterday who said that those of us in Lauderdale County were too good to listen to (or apparently speak) another language besides English. We were reminded of this charming true story...

A five year-old boy lay ill at home; his parents called the local physician who in that era made house calls. The physician began to speak to the Cajun child who looked perplexed. It finally dawned on the old country doc that the little boy couldn't speak French.

Why, it was child abuse he told the boy's parents. A boy that age who speaks only English? Outrageous. 

The little boy's parents told the physician that they would teach their child French after he had started and become acclimated to school. So how did the child turn out?

He was Jimmy Yves Newman, who performed professionally as Jimmy C. Newman - the "C" was for Cajun. If you've sadly never heard of him, you've missed something. One of the things most people in life miss are the right priorities. Jimmy's parents didn't.

*****

Remember when high school language teachers fought over Latin or French being the most useful? We'll give you a hint...it really is Latin.

***** 






Sunday, September 17, 2017

"An Increasing Hispanic Population"



"(Russellville) school district has an increasing Hispanic population, currently about 40 percent."



The above quote came from a recent TimesDaily article. Is it disturbing? Assuming the author of the article knows what Hispanic means, yes. It means that new immigrants are arriving faster than they're being assimilated. 

We may also infer that work visas aren't being given these immigrants to toil at local chicken processing plants. In order to receive one of those highly coveted visas, the immigrant must have specialized skills.

It also means the task for local educators will become harder each year. More money will be spent on remedial education, and less on college prep courses. 

Franklin County has always been poor. Removed from any major traffic artery, Russellville has only a modicum of industry. 

Try this experiment: Google the term Franklin+County+Alabama+New+Industry, then specify an entry within the past 12 months. Unless you really want to try it for yourself, the only new industry was 11 months ago and it was a company dedicated to fracking, or extracting oil from sand deposits. Most counties would cast voodoo spells to keep this kind of "industry" away. And remember, this new industry wasn't located in Russellville, just Franklin County.

Should we be concerned about this? No one who blogs here lives in Franklin County; therefore, any concern we have is from a humanitarian slant. Those who have chosen to remain in Franklin County and stick it out will see their children leave for college and never come back except to visit. Physicians and attorneys may practice in Franklin County, but they'll reside in Colbert or Lauderdale.

Is there an easy answer? Unfortunately...no.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Who Is Selfish in the "Kingdom of Kitts?"


From our guest blogger of three days ago, Dick Tracy:


To paraphrase from Lincoln, is it altogether fitting and proper for the Board of Trustees to give Kitts a raise while giving nothing to the staff and faculty who worked hard to help the President meet his goals? Let’s look at some important leaders in history to see how they treated the people below them.

For years, Fidel Castro was the Communist leader in Cuba. He wanted everybody to believe that he was living sparsely in the same type of substandard quality as the rest of his people Yet, the leader actually earned millions each year. He even had his own private island where he could shelter his wife and five children from the reality of what he created. In comparison, Kitts is trying to create is only little island of power while putting on the mask of the caring, smiling president.

Timur was a leader in western Asia during the 1400s. Part of his regime included modern-day Iran and Syria. It is said that in present-day Afghanistan, Timur ordered the construction of a tower made out of living men, one stacked on top of another and cemented together. In comparison, Kitts was given a raise because he met the goals that the Board set for him. However, these goals were actually achieved, in large part, by the blood and sweat of the faculty and staff below him.

Joseph Stalin’s leadership in Russia during 1930s was of the iron fist variety. He brought about collectivism, mass starvation, the imprisonment of millions, and the “Great Purge” of the intelligentsia, the government, and the armed forces. Likewise, Kitts, has either fired or run away many of the good people that made UNA the great institution she is today.

Now, I can’t speak for all of the faculty and staff at UNA. But I can say that most of us didn’t request or expect a raise this year because we just recently got one. We also know that a huge cost for UNA are salaries of its workers and most of us remember this fact every day when we work with students. We are not a selfish or greedy group. We actually love working here and enjoy seeing our students succeed.

What bothers us is the fact that Kitts has the audacity to accept bonuses and raises when the institution is struggling financially and we are now starting to loose enrollment again. On top of all of this, UNA is building a new nursing building (very much needed) and, according to the TD, is talking about purchasing Gary Baker’s studio and block of buildings for over 2 million dollars. Is there an influx of money that I’m unaware of? What kind of message does this send to the staff and faculty, many of us who will be here far longer than Kitts?

Do we need to start lining up to become the sacrificial lambs to the Kingdom of Kitts? Do we need to lay down our lives so that Kitts can have a little extra spending money and his smile become a little wider (he doesn’t pay a mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc.)? It looks like a few on this campus have already felt the stinging blow of Kitts's sacrificial sword.

The time for talk is over. If Florence wants UNA to change, it is going to have to send a loud message to the Board through economic sanctions. That is the only thing the Board seems to care about. So, what can you do?

If you don’t like the high cost of UNA’s tuition and (especially fees), then go elsewhere.

If you don’t like what Kitts is doing to UNA, cut off your gifts to the institution.

If you don’t like where UNA is going, there are plenty of other places to buy insurance, buy your books and fireworks, buy your cars, and invest your money (listen up, Board!).

If you are fine with everything, then do nothing.

I just heard in the news today that Harvard University, one of the most liberal institutions in the US, had to yield to pressure from the alumni, donors, and the overall community over a recent appointment. It seems that they hired Chelsea Manning to a position there. Manning was the soldier who was convicted of espionage and had the sentence commuted by President Obama. The protests of the people who hold the purse strings over Harvard was so great, they had to rescind this person’s appointment.

We can cause the same change. We can demand accountability. But we have to act now. Let’s take a stand to stop this insanity.

*****

Two addenda: We wish to apologize for a lack of editing in Dick Tracy's previous editorial. We had intended to remove one descriptive comment that we felt was unjust, but failed to do so when we transferred the text.

Also, we noticed the TD editorializing on how UNA should proceed with its recruitment endeavors. We were reminded of the story of the Baptist preacher who tried to tell seasoned educators how to run their schools...




Friday, September 15, 2017

Paradise Drive/Recycling


From a Waterloo Resident: We got good news, the commission decided Monday 9/11/17 to remove the 1981 resolution keeping Paradise Drive from being maintained as all other county roads were maintained. We have tried to get this resolution removed since 2006. The county has also settled a lawsuit for the death that occurred on Paradise Drive in 2012. We will now, hopefully get this dangerous road maintained and made safer for the citizens of the county. The previous Lauderdale County Commission and their Chairman, would never consider to do this, nor put the removal of the resolution to a vote. We appreciate what the new Chairman through his leadership accomplished for Paradise Drive.

The removal of the resolution will not cost the county any money. The only costs it will occur is if and when the county road engineer decides to make improvements to the road. With the resolution in place he could only do "Passable Maintenance" to the road. The removal now removes the excuses used by the previous chairman and commissioners.

*****


Note to Casey Glover of the Florence Fire Department: If our house burns down, please don't identify the papers and plastic bottles by the back door as "trash." It's called recycling and something your employer (the city) encourages. 

*****

Tomorrow we'll have a new guest editorial on the financial situation at UNA. It's another doozy, so stay tuned.




Thursday, September 14, 2017

What Timing!


A few hours after our guest blog on Kenneth Kitts and UNA published yesterday, the TD ran a story on Kitts receiving a bonus from the cash strapped university. We sincerely hope one, or all, of our three guest writers who toil at the university will pen an editorial on their thoughts concerning this outgo.

*****


A reader commented yesterday that Kenneth Kitts had terminated more high profile employees in his short tenure at the university than William Cale did in nine years. This reader was in the process of compiling the number of lawsuits against the university and promised to forward the information to us. We know it stands at at least a half dozen--not a small number for UNA having to pay through the proverbial nose to defend.

*****

From another reader: My daughter started UNA this fall and when we got the bill, 25% of it was fees. It comes out to 2300$ a year in fees on top of tuition. This seems extreme.

***** 

We're still receiving mail on the brouhaha the Lauderdale County Board of Education recently experienced; however, a highly placed individual believes these unmerited attacks are finished and asked that we refrain if possible from any new blogs about the town involved. We're happy to comply with that request as long as these attacks are truly over. We are saving all correspondence for future publication if warranted.





Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An Insider's Surprising Look at Kennth Kitts & UNA


We asked if any our regular readers could clear up any of the seemingly odd financial situations, as well as administrative problems, at the University of North Alabama. Almost immediately we received this from a university employee:


In response to your recent post about UNA, I have some observations as a long-time employee there. First, federal grants are determined by the federal government and students qualify based on their financial aid application. Most UNA students just don’t meet the criteria set by the government to receive grants. The College of Nursing, however, has received millions of dollars in special grants to allow under-represented groups to attend nursing school. This program has been going on for years and, to my knowledge, is quite successful.

As far as UNA crime, I believe it is lower than the City of Florence. Because UNA is inside the City of Florence, I believe there would be a strong relationship between the two and crime statistics. If you look at other universities our size, our crime rate is very low.

That still leaves UNA with its largest budget in the history of the school, but still seemingly struggling to keep its head above water. What is wrong? I have a few observations:


Killing the Golden Goose – A couple of years ago, UNA was receiving a lot of donations from the outside public in support of its capital campaign. The person who coordinated all of this was Dr. Dan Hendricks, Vice President for Advancement. Dr. Hendricks was so good that he made the $25,000,000 goal even before the official kick-off dinner. So, what did Dr. Kitts do to show his appreciation, he fired Dr. Hendricks and replaced him with Debbie Shaw. Look at how little money she has brought to the campus. Oh, and by the way, was there even a search for that position once Hendricks was forced out? Likewise, Clinton Carter, as the institution’s Vice President for Business and Finance, did a lot in his short period of time to put UNA in a better financial position. His reward? You guessed it. Kitts fired him. UNA hired Vice President for Enrollment Management, Dr. Thomas Calhoun, to address declining enrollments. After years of hard work under his leadership, UNA finally saw a substantial increase in enrollment. That same year, Kitts fired Dr. Calhoun.

Tuition Discounts – Many years ago, UNA’s dimwit of a provost, Dr. John Thornell, made the decision that UNA would offer deep discounts to students with ACT scores as low as 21. He created the Vanguard Scholarship. This is not really a scholarship because no money is coming in from an outside source. It is just a discount in the tuition. If you check, many students come in with these scores. The result is that the new freshmen are paying far less than the rest of the student body and tuition has to increase annually so that current students can keep paying for these discounts. Let’s say you are a store that sells milk. Your cost for milk is $2.00 and you sell it for $3.00. However, to get more people to come into your store, you offer new customers milk at $1.50 which is less than you paid for it. Therefore, you must now raise the regular price of your milk to $3.50 in order to cover the difference. Why should your loyal customers pay for the new ones?

Wasting Money – Bottom line, UNA should have never moved to Division 1 Athletics. The students, faculty, and staff were not for it. However, the Board actually believes we will receive a huge revenue stream from television contracts. If they speak the truth, why are they so worried about the budget now? I mean, we should be rolling in the dough right now. The truth is that UNA will not see any media revenue for years. By that time, it will be ten years or more before we actually break even from all of the costs and higher salaries associated with the D1 move. UNA has also hired two marketing consulting firms and one individual marketing consultant (a friend of Kitts). After tens of thousands of dollars for these contracts, UNA has only made minor changes to its logo. Either UNA is not listening to its consultants, or I should go into logo design. Seems more lucrative than what I’m currently doing.

Inflated Salaries – When Dr. Gregg Carnes was hired as the Raburn Emminent Scholar, he was brought in because of certain skills UNA wanted. The emminent scholar is money given by an outside donor to “sweeten” the pot for good professors. This money is added to the regular salary that the professor would normally be paid. In this case, Carnes was making over $170,000 while all of the other accounting faculty were making less than half this amount. Now, there is nothing wrong with the Emminent Scholar program. It is designed to bring in top-notch faculty who have a special skill in teaching or research. However, when Carnes was promoted to Dean, he retained his Emminent Scholar position even though deans typically do not teach or do research. That is why he is the second highest paid administrator at UNA at over $225,000 a year. Nobody other than the president should be making that much at UNA. How about Tammy Jacques? What was her academic qualifications to become the Title IX coordinator? Yet she gets a big raise while her boss (Mr. David Shields) and her husband (Dr. Kevin Jacques) are currently being sued for, guess what, discrimination and Title IX violations. Interesting. Also, Ms. Catherine White and Ms. Cindy Conlon were promoted years ago from their director positions to assistant vice presidents, yet they only supervise one department and their responsibilities did not change. How does this happen?

Too Much Overhead – Over the past five years, look at the increase in staff positions at UNA. Student enrollment has not increased that much. Yet, UNA still finds the money to hire more staff positions. The last time I checked, UNA should be “teaching” and not “administering.” Most administrative assistants who work within the academic departments should be placed on nine-month contracts with the faculty. During the summer, hardly anyone can be reached within the academic departments, including the administrative assistants. These salaries should go down. While other institutions are either shutting down services, merging with other institutions, or eliminating positions, UNA is operating at status quo. For example, there is a director position open within the Sponsored Operations department. They are the folks who help you apply for grants and government contracts. About 12 years ago, this department was housed with Institutional Research. Why can’t they do that now and eliminate a director position? UNA spent numerous hours and vast resources in a recent cost containment/program prioritization plan. However, nothing has been done. It is time for UNA to become leaner so that our students will not have to pay to fatten the calf more.

Teaching Quality – UNA has many good and talented faculty. We also have our share of faculty who just don’t care. Many of these are tenured. We need to get rid of them. I will not tell you how many times students approach me to complain that, after turning in a homework or other assignment, they have to sometimes wait up to six weeks before receiving a grade or any feedback. Sometimes the student never receives feedback. If I’m not mistaken, about a year ago, UNA participated in a national survey and this was one of the major issues bought out by our students. Shouldn’t the objective of class assignments and homework be to generate quick feedback as to how the student is doing in the class? This is not a good example to set by a school who says it has small class sizes and caring faculty.

I love UNA and most of the people who work here. However, the administration has got its priorities all messed up and it is hurting everyone. The Board needs to recognize that nothing can be done without the upper administrators taking control. However, Kitts has shown that he has made some stupid decisions and he is quick to anger (i.e. Florence Middle School property and the first response letter attacking the student who was raped by a UNA professor). It is time for the Board to act and make some serious changes.


*****

A new administration? Now it's wait and see. 




Tuesday, September 12, 2017

",,,To Put it on the Back of the Students."


In June, the University of North Alabama increased tuition by 4.9%. In other words, what 1,000.00 would buy last fall now costs 1,049.00. This increase failed to solve UNA's money woes, and board member Steve Pierce stated: We also felt obligated not to put it on the back(s) of the students.


Yet, a great deal of new funding is on the backs of students...or their parents. Total revenue from the increase amounts to 1.4 million dollars a year. A university which once touted its low tuition can no longer do so. It can advertise its trees, fountains, squirrels, and lions. What it can't advertise is adequate parking, transparency, or low crime rate. In fairness to the university, very few institutions of higher learning can tout a low crime rate in the 21st Century.

So who will get a bonus this year? We await...


*****

Now here's an interesting tidbit: UNA offers less grant money each year than the average public or private college in Alabama. More students on average apply for student loans. Seemingly that would logically follow. 

Why doesn't UNA offer at least the average amount of grants each year? Perhaps one of our regular contributors can enlighten us.





Monday, September 11, 2017

Recusals?/A Great Man?


Paperwork has been filed for a new trial in the Chris Martin case; the request was based on a connection between Judge Jackie Hatcher and the family of victim Thomas Grant Campbell. We fervently believe Chris deserves a new trial; however, we consider it doubtful Hatcher will admit she should have recused herself.

If Hatcher refuses to order a new trial, there will be more appeals. All the while Chris Martin sits in jail. Yet we call our justice system the best in the world.

*****



A Great Man?

* He served his country in the military.
* He took care of his family, especially his widowed father. 
* He was always there for those who worked for him, helping in any way he could.
* He gave generously to others, even paying mortgages when homeowners were faced with eviction.
* He stood up for what he thought was right.
* He lost his life to a man of questionable mental state who later committed suicide.
* At his funeral, thousands of admirers came to pass by his bier.

Who was this great man?

John Dillinger 

*****

The above anecdote illustrates that even those who make grave mistakes in life can be described in glowing terms. Simply because a man does good, that does not mean he's incapable of evil.

We've received a letter from a friend of Lexington baseball coach Cole Mitchell. We're attempting to verify a few points, but expect to post it within a few days.




Sunday, September 10, 2017

Arrest David Randall Nix for False Statements to Law Enforcement


In less than a week, Robert DeShawn Childers will have been missing for one year. The last person to see Mr. Childers was his unwanted housemate David Randall Nix. 

While there's always hope, it's logical to assume after all this time that Childers is unable to return to his friends and family. We know that it's difficult to make a case for murder when there is no body; however, we do know that Nix has been discovered in several lies to Lauderdale sheriff's investigators. The powers that be have the ability to hold Nix accountable for at least some of his sins. We hope they do so.


*****


Now something no one likes to talk about - rising gasoline prices. Shortages are expected to reach the Shoals as early as Tuesday. Orange Beach has reported some stations asking 6.00 per gallon, and AG Steve Marshall has announced this is price gouging and will be prosecuted.

Prices cannot legally rise over 25% unless the supplier has upped their charges. All very nice, but that means we could see 3.13 a gallon fuel? Perhaps we should all fill up tonight?

No matter the immediate rise in prices, the long term doesn't look good after Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Katia. Nothing wrong with cocooning during football season, is there?





Saturday, September 9, 2017

Roy Moore "Won't Kiss the Ring?"


Kissing the ring? What does it mean? If you look up the expression, you'll find it usually refers to paying homage to popes, kings, and dukes – all individuals who wear a ring signifying their position.


We don't have any kings or dukes in our country, but we do have those who owe loyalty to the pope of the Catholic Church. Is that what Roy Moore is referring to when he says he “won't kiss the ring?” Luther Strange is an Episcopalian and Doug Jones identifies as a generic Christian.

Just when you thought Roy Moore couldn't get any stranger...


Not working in the hallowed halls of academe, we had no idea what would constitute grounds for a complaint against a school administrator, particularly by someone who doesn't work in said system. Here they are:
  1. Violation of American Disabilites Act
  2. Violation of Human Rights
  3. Violation of Title IX of Civil Rights Bill
  4. Violation of Other Civil Rights
We're guessing number four is the choice of a certain former volunteer at a Lauderdale County school. The salient question is: Does everyone have a right to volunteer at local schools? We're also guessing such complaints are laughed at, wadded up, and quickly forgotten.




Friday, September 8, 2017

The Lexington Letters aka The Truth about Jeff Cruse


Today we're publishing our first installment of comments about controversial Lexington preacher Jeffrey C. Cruse. We hope the Lauderdale County School Board takes note:

Reader One: You need to do a background check on Jeff Cruse. For 25 years he preached at congregations in the same area of Kentucky then came to Lexington. Pretty big change unless he had to leave.



Reader Two: I live in Elgin, but close enough to know what goes on in Lexington. My kids went to school there. They always complained about Mr. Will Joiner's discipline, but now when they come home they always ask how he is. That should tell you something.



Reader Three: Jeff Cruse is volunteering 15 to 25 hours a week? Where does he get time for his family? My guess is he doesn't and you can't tell me God likes that.



Reader Four: Cruse was a minor league ball player. He never made it very far so now he wants to “help” others learn to play ball. He overstepped his bounds and was told not to come back. End of story except this “man of God” won't let it go.



Reader Five: Any Baptist can tell you the problem. The Joiners go to church at Clements and not FBC of Lexington. Cruse doesn't get the Joiners money or prestige so he's always been jealous. And he wants to clean up Lexington. I didn't know we needed to be cleaned up, at least before he came.



Reader Six: I really can't stand the Freedom from Religion Foundation but turns out they're good for something. I've reported Cruse to them so now we'll see what happens. Sorry he brought such publicity to a nice little town.


Reader Seven: Don't know the preacher involved, but I can attest to the fact that Wiseman and Joiner have been into it with each other for years. I've had dealings with Joiner and can honestly say I was treated respectfully and responsibly. Joiner has never, in my experience, aired any dirty laundry about another teacher. That CANNOT be said for Wiseman. I would think that, if there is a protocol or a process for raising a protest against a school administrator, that ALL channels would be exhausted. THEN you should go public if no resolution is reached. Why were certain Lexington staff members giving "press conferences" when some hadn't even filed a grievance? It would seem to me that if you call yourself a Christian, you would show respect for the process and the law.





 
We mentioned earlier that we had received some anonymous letters (poison pen letters) about the administration at Lexington School. We went back and checked our e-mail, only to discover they began soon after Jeffrey C. Cruse says he was let go as a volunteer coach.



None of this paints a pretty picture of Jeff Cruse, does it? Perhaps the church deacons need to practice some discipline?