Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Take Back Bama"/Jay Merriner




We've said more than once that we've been extremely disappointed in the Republican party in this state. That's not to say we've regained any faith in the Democratic party. What's a voter to do?

There's a new movement in this state:



Will this grassroots organization solve all the state's problems? Will it solve even a few? Will it even catch on? We say it can't hurt to watch to see what happens.


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For the reader who asked, there's a great deal of difference in having sympathy for a person addicted to drugs and one who sells them. Yes, many dealers start out as users, but not all users become dealers. Some dealers have never used; yes, they may be few, but they are out there.

Will education put a stop to drug use? It certainly may curtail much of it, but there are always those who can "handle it." These are the same as women who can change their significant others from bad boys to ideal husbands. The odds are not in their favor and never will be.


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Was Jay Merriner a drug dealer working with his brother-in-law or was he a totally innocent victim...or perhaps something in between? While we don't know the answer to that question, we do know a victim's family always sees him or her as totally innocent while law enforcement may be guilty of thinking the worst. 

Will the truth be told at trial? We doubt it; we predict a plea deal. No winners in this, and a sad commentary on family dynamics.





Monday, January 30, 2017

Baby Tate/Swampettes & Angry Vaginas


Accused Infant Abuser Bougher

It seems our friend Billy Underwood has taken on Nathan Paul Bougher as a client. Bougher is accused of physically and sexually abusing his month-old son. This should be interesting.


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The fundraising event for Baby Tate has been postponed until March 4th. It will be held at Natchez Trace Harley Davidson and benefits Tate’s family who has, until recently, been forced to travel from Tuscumbia to Birmingham while the infant was hospitalized. We'll have more on this as the event draws closer.

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The Swampette tours are back in the news. Thank God Judy Hood is married to David Hood or she would never have accomplished anything in life. So how does that work for our friend Debbie Wilson? Debbie is unmarried, so the TD’s Lisa Singleton-Rickman must have had a difficult time finding anything good to say about her.

Does David Hood have anything to do with the Swampette tours? He may, but we’ve never read of it. There’s currently a local man who has started his own news network; one of his first segments was on “angry vaginas.” Yes, really.

However, this isn’t about any radical feminist issues. We simply feel Mrs. Hood deserves credit for what she’s accomplished. We’re pretty sure she’s capable of founding and leading a tour business whether she’s married to a local guitarist or not.





Sunday, January 29, 2017

Forbes & Childers -- Someone Knows


No one likes unsolved crimes, especially the police. We believe our local authorities really care about solving such crimes, but in some cases they can’t do it without help.

We believe the Florence police have some strong leads in the murder of Andrea Susan Forbes, but want to be sure they have a strong and valid case before making an arrest or arrests. If you have any information concerning Andrea’s death, or just her movements leading up to it, please contact Florence Police at 256-768-2764 or text a tip to 274637 using keyword “FPDTIP” plus your message.

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It’s now been four months since Robert DeShawn Childers was reported missing. At this point, we may, unfortunately, assume the worst. His family deserves closure. Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Mr. Childers is asked to contact the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department at 256-760-5769 or 911.

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There’s a Walker County man who’s been missing for a few years now. His family believes they know who killed the young man, but more information is needed to make an arrest. State and local authorities have offered an award of 6K, but still no one has come forward with information.

A few months ago, the missing man’s family attempted to secure more money for the reward. Their rationale was that, while those with information wouldn’t contact police for a 6K reward, they would for 10K or 15K. This is a sad commentary on the state of society today.

Certainly, money talks. Yes, there’s probably a small reward in the cases mentioned above; however, each and every one of us should be willing to do what we can to bring these miscreants to justice.

We await…





Saturday, January 28, 2017

Observations/Why Robbie Can't Spell


Some observations:

* Why are state troopers 'allowed' to violate School Zone speed limits when NOT responding to emergency calls?

* Is there a 'conflict of interest' involved if local judges own the Lauderdale County Community Corrections property?

*Why are there Fire Zones in front of local businessesif local LEOs refuse to enforce them?

* Madison City Schools 'dodged a major bullet' with regards to who WASN'T selected as their new superintendent of schools.









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Our blog on the murder of Andrea Forbes has garnered more "thank you" messages than any we can remember; however, it's not the first time we've addressed the issue of some victims receiving less justice than others. Look to the left sidebar and our newly Featured post from 2011. 

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Want to promote Shoals spots of interest to tourists? It might be good to spell them correctly, Robbie Baby. No, Rob Carnegie didn't make a typo; both a Tweet and an Instagram post from earlier today have misspelled Deibert Park. Oh, well, as the McKenzie brothers would say, spelling isn't the long suit of most Canadians.




Friday, January 27, 2017

An Update from the Midnight Rider & the Escape Room

Keller Strikes out Again & the panty tree
By: The Midnight Rider
Keller Hospital and Collections
http://cityoftuscumbia.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/SignE.jpg

I have gotten more information of Keller Hospital turning people over to Collections wrongly. As you may remember, I have written two articles previously of this. One incident was where a friend had been turned over while he had been making payments to Keller. The second was where an employee was turned over to Collections even though they were paying. 

Now we have a new incident. I saw documentation of this incident. A friend went to the ER. His insurance paid most of the Bill except for around $300.00. He paid the remaining balance upon getting the Bill. Flash forward three months and a call was received from the Collection Company where Keller had turned him over. It was explained that Bill had been paid and the cancelled check was in hand.

The Collection Company said that Keller would have to be the one to have the matter closed. It took around a hour on the phone with Keller to get this straightened out. I know mistakes happen but there is a pattern here of Keller turning people over to Collections for no reason.

As I have stated before, a new hospital is coming. Keller should focus on making people happy, not ticking them off.



The Panty Tree
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Pm0Yn2nxx1UGmD_fpN80ACpaMB29m5qcwQTQHdQCvKmeZ_4pAmNdlmmmgf3BLsc9xEviIBFh4CaN3uazF2z1zHon34AdchZH4z2Hse8awZP1_AWjF0YHdstZIniNBobNnpMbjXkot5HSrAaA1Q
You may remember the Midnight Rider wrote an article last year about the Panty Tree located at the end of the Railroad Bridge in Sheffield. I have received information from an informed source that the Panty Tree has blossomed with new fixtures. I will be making a trip to the Railroad Bridge to see if this is true.
I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider.

https://www.freeonlinephotoeditor.com/tmp/img-5744fe72cc940/step0003.jpg?1464139539412

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Now, let us return to the Escape Room Florence. First we want to make a correction; we obtained ownership details from state filings and incorrectly listed Randy Winborn as a partner in the business. He is in fact an attorney who acts as the business agent. The Escape Room is owned by Adam Zills and Bob Lindholm. 

We're seeing a lot of wonderful reviews for this fun business. If you've experienced this new to the Shoals activity, tell us about it. If you haven't, be sure to do so. The Escape Room is located at 108 South Pine in Florence; you will find an ad portal in our sidebar.




Special: Our Friend Jim Smith Has Passed Away




Our friend Jim Smith passed away on January 25th at the age of 80. Jim was a frequent poster on the old TimesDaily forum, a local historian, and someone who greatly valued his friends and family. Rarely a week passed that Jim didn’t send out encouraging e-mails, or perhaps a humorous story to make the day seem a little brighter.

While Jim grew up in Sheffield and graduated from Sheffield High School, as a young lad he delivered newspapers on a Tuscumbia route. Years later, after retiring and moving back to this area, Jim wrote an account of his time as a newsboy. You may still purchase new copies of Walk Through Town at Coldwater in Tuscumbia and used copies on Amazon. Jim also published an extremely informative article on a local rarity: Tuscumbia’s Lustron Home.

Jim leaves behind his loving wife Beverly, two children, and scores of friends and fans. All our sympathies to those who loved Jim and will miss him…as we will.



All of Us at Shoalanda Speaks

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Andrea Susan Forbes Deserves More




We don’t know why Andrea Susan Forbes left her home and family in Johnson City, Tennessee, to move to Florence in 2015. We may assume it was for a reason that can easily turn sour. The 33 year-old’s Facebook friends were mainly from her home in Tennessee. A neighbor at the Sherrod Apartments in North Florence is said to have stated she and Miss Forbes had both lived there over two years and didn’t know each other’s names. 

No matter the circumstances of Andrea Forbes’ life, she didn’t deserve to be murdered. She, in death, does deserve to be treated with some respect. There’s little respect on a gurney being taken from a murder scene; there’s little respect on an autopsy table; there’s little respect when the intimate details of one’s life are plastered over local news, not to mention social media.

Judging from past cases in Lauderdale County, even if Miss Forbes’ murderer is found, he will receive a slap on the wrist. Murder victims in certain circumstances never receive justice. Prosecutors invariably say “at least we got something.”

Did you see the photo the Shoals Insider posted of Miss Forbes? She looked like an all-American girl. The one Pen-N-Sword posted? She looked glamorous. The one Florence police provided media? She looked like a homeless person coming off a week long binge. We have to ask why? The photo with the half-shaved head wasn’t even her Facebook profile picture. Someone had to dig to find that dubious photo. Again, we have to ask why?

No, Miss Forbes wasn’t a Florence fixture; nor was she a pillar of society. She was a human being, and her killer deserves to be punished.






Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Negligent or Not? Plea in Toddler's Death


Earlier today, William and Chelsie Whitfield pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in the shooting death of Robert Reaves, a toddler whose mother had left him unattended while visiting the Whitfields. Colbert County DA Bryce Graham stated:

“This case was not about punishment or revenge, but about taking responsibility, and realizing there are consequences for your actions whether it be negligent or not.”

Well, that was interesting. Negligent or not? We're waiting for him...or anyone...to ask the mother Ashley Reaves to take responsibility for her actions in the child's death.

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One good thing in the whole boondoggle of this shooting is that this young couple may still have charges against them dropped after 12 months. No, we don't approve of guns lying around, but neither do we approve of expecting individuals to randomly take responsibility for children not their own.

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We encourage everyone to read or reread this blog (and comments):






Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Advice to the Lovelorn/Barry Lumpkins




The year is still young; let's see if we can't help all those youngsters out there keep their resolutions to find Mr./Miss Right this year...

1. Guys, if she carries a flick knife, you may wish to pass her by. (See news item on knife fight at Center Star.)

2. Girls, it may be easier to get along with a man in jail/prison who can't hit you, but once they're out, they're usually not that charming. (Please doff your hats in memory of the apprentice nail tech's perfect relationship.)

3. Guys, you may feel it in your bones that your sister married the wrong man, but please refrain from shooting him dead. It never looks good on your resume'. (Our armed robber friend is claiming innocence in the killing at the Forks of Cypress.)

4. Back to you girls, if he's beaten you up several times, you might do well to think twice about taking any free PCP from him. You never know...

5. In conclusion to both sexes, when thinking about whom to date, consider their ex-spouses. You can bet she/he was just as dumb/ugly/lowdown as they are now when your prospective squeeze married him or her. If they were that desperate, what does that say about them?

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Did everyone read about Dr. Lumpkins, local physician?


So the guy is walking about with alcohol, hydrocodone, and oxycodone in his system. Wait...did we say walking? We're not sure what was keeping the guy from being dead.

Losing drugs on a mission trip? Pitiful. He should have to listen to 72 hours of those kids singing at Montreat for telling a lie like that.




Monday, January 23, 2017

Murder, He Said...





We often read of January seeing the most, or at least more, deaths since many individuals strive to hang on until after the holidays. How about murders? Since this is the third January in recent memory in which there has been a cluster of local murders, we were curious. Apparently, statistics say August is the most deadly month in most cities. Heat? Kids out of school? We have no idea, but we would definitely be interested in local stats.


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There were at least two murders this weekend/Monday; perhaps there was a third. Let’s hope that’s the end of it for this year or we’ll morph into Midsomer County.

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Looks like one or our favorite bad boys was back in the jailhouse this past week:


How hard is it to show up to municipal court? If you don’t have money, they’ll let you work it out at the recycling plant. So why blow something like that off, especially when you’re still on probation for bank robbery? Someone please put the home lobotomy kits on sale…





Sunday, January 22, 2017

A New Day/Christopher Kilpatrick


The Shoals is fortunate to have new leadership in several towns. We believe Florence and Tuscumbia in particular are on the verge of great things…or at least better things.

We’re especially happy to see Steve Holt, Kaytrina Simmons, and Michelle Eubanks keeping the channels of communication open in Florence. Let’s hope others follow their example.

District One councilwoman Simmons is holding a meeting for her constituents:


Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: UNA-Commons Building-room 330 (Main entrance of University near the fountain-it’s the building to the left of Parking lot.) Aderholt Drive.

Please come out so we can meet and share your thoughts and what you would like to see for District 1. If you have anything you would like to know please feel free to contact me in advance and I will try to have you an answer at the meeting. I want to hear from YOU!

I can be reached via the following:
ksimmons@florenceal.org
256-760-6401

Refreshments will be served!
#loveyourdistrict1

Council Member,
Kaytrina P.Simmons

Please share so District 1 Constituents will be notified.


We look forward to reporting on concerns for this district and how the city will be handling them.

*****


Great news: The Colbert County Courthouse metal detector will be moved from the lobby to the foyer! Snicker. Eye roll. More snickers. Sorry, but that’s what the TD’s Russ Corey said. Our friend Judge Daniel Rosser should put in for hazardous duty pay.

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Christopher Wayne Kilpatrick is currently accused of attempting to murder a Florence police officer. Was he trying to take out some correction officers as well?


Not all law enforcement officers are perfect, but our sympathies and concerns are always with them. Unless we’ve worked in law enforcement, we’ll never know what they face on a daily basis.




Saturday, January 21, 2017

Showcasing Florence in a Bad Light


Tunnel vision? Yes, we all have it from time to time. We see only what we wish to see. Is that ever good? We can’t think of even one instance in which it would be.

A few weeks ago, a young woman, presumably somewhere in the U.S., posted a pic on FB in which she attempted to showcase herself preparing to go to a holiday party. The pic went viral.

Why? Was the young woman that attractive? No, it went viral because she didn’t block the photo and it depicted a bedroom in shambles. You would really just have to see the photo to believe it. Now something similar has happened in Florence, and it doesn’t speak well of the city.

Graffiti…it’s here, not just on the railroad bridge, but in downtown Florence, and apparently we’re so used to it that we don’t notice it. 

Graffiti at Two O'Clock of Illegally Parked Bike

Since we’re now checking Rob Carnegie’s Tweets carefully for more favoritism, we couldn’t help but notice his Tweet of a motorbike parked the wrong way on Mobile Plaza. Our followers on Twitter noticed something else—Carnegie had inadvertently included some serious graffiti in his shot.

One reader said it didn’t make him want to visit the plaza. Another said it was in bad taste and that it encouraged just what she attempted to discourage in the youth she worked with. Is this how others see our town? Apparently so.

Let’s work on that. Let’s also work on hiring someone to lead Florence-Lauderdale tourism who will actually encourage visitors to come here.

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A great friend of ours (whom we can’t identify for obvious reasons) is preparing an expose’ of the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board. This friend did ask us if we were sure Carnegie was the one doing the Tweeting and not a member of his staff (not Miss Stanfield).

We see more than one of the Tweets are centered around Mobile Plaza. The above photo depicts No. 116, a music venue. Robbie Baby fancies himself a singer (so did George Burns); therefore, we’re 99% sure it’s Rob who’s playing favorites. Just what he’s getting out of it, we don’t know…yet.




Friday, January 20, 2017

A New Day/A Word from the Midnight Rider


We're not yet 1/12th of the way through 2017 and we have a new president, a leader who promises economic improvement. Sure, we'll have to take his peccadilloes along with the improvements he makes, but the American people did that with Bill Clinton. Let's see how it works out...

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UNA and Division One
By: The Midnight Rider
http://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2015/06/06/635691574849006126948821376_northalabama.jpg

This article is about the University of North Alabama and their move to Division 1. This has been going on for years. I remember reading about this back in 1995. It seemed that Steve Pierce wanted this move. Maybe it was his pet project. Flash forward to 2017 and the announcement has been made that the University of North Alabama will be moving to a Division 1 ranking.
Okay, let’s look at this. First and Foremost, that aspect that should be focused on the most is Education. Does the move to Division 1, help the Education of the Students? Education is what keeps the doors open at the University of North Alabama. Parents and Students alike pay Tuition to gain this Education. If this move helps with the Education, we should be for it.
However, the move to Division 1 is not about Education, it is about Sports, namely Football. My thought process is if the University of North Alabama had dominated their Football Division, say for years, maybe it is time for a change. However, the last time the University of North Alabama won that Division Title was in the mid-1990s, with Coach Bobby Wallace at the helm. Now, Coach Wallace almost did it this past year. But now he has retired.
We are a long way from the mid-1990s. There have been several Coaches that have tried to bring that Championship home to Florence. Hudspeth couldn’t do it. Terry Bowden couldn’t do it. Of course, that was a disaster in and upon itself. Why would the University of North Alabama move when they haven’t conquered that area yet?
With the move to Division 1, what about the facilities that the University of North Alabama have now? Are they going to have to build a new Stadium? Are they going to have to build another Baseball Field?  It seems like every time I go out to the mailbox, I am getting something from the University of North Alabama about sponsorships for the University.
I was a student at the University of North Alabama. I paid my Tuition. I did my time there.  I got my Education. If the University needs money for different things, maybe this move should have be postponed or not done at all.
https://www.una.edu/test/images/graphic5.png
I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider.

https://www.freeonlinephotoeditor.com/tmp/img-5744fe72cc940/step0003.jpg?1464139539412
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Another extremely pertinent article from the MR. So how's the new roof for Collier Library coming along? Three who blog here attended UNA, so we're extremely interested in its continued well-being. We welcome both information and comments.




Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Colbert Jail in This Lifetime?


Colbert commission reactivates jail committee - January 6, 2017 

Let's hope THIS TIME, the commissioners will not get side-tracked!

Just a trip down memory lane and reading past news articles from many years, it's no secret this is a worn out debate on financing. It's time to roll up your sleeves, prioritize budgets and get this done.

We hope every local government entity will examine their own spending and cut the excess.

Time for a little common sense budgeting and cut the fluff!!!

Just a FEW of the previous articles - (just back to 2003) - many of our children and grandchildren are growing up reading about the need of a jail. Wonder if their children and grandchildren will still be laughing at this situation?


Colbert closer to new jail - Feb 4, 2003

TUSCUMBIA - An intergovernmental committee studying the construction of a metropolitan jail for Colbert County will recommend its choice of architect to commissioners in two weeks.

County Commissioner Troy Woodis, who is chairman of the committee, said the recommendation will be presented to the commission during its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5. The commission is required by law to oversee the county jail.

Preliminary cost estimates of the jail range from $8 million-$12 million. Cherokee Mayor Chuck Lansdell, a member of the committee, said the true cost won’t be known until contractors submit construction bids.

The committee also expects to find out whether Helen Keller Hospital will sell 8.5 acres on Avalon Avenue to build the 200-plus bed facility. Woodis said the hospital’s board is expected to make a decision soon. The land is on the north side of Avalon in Sheffield.

The committee has not made a recommendation on paying for jail construction and operation. The most frequently discussed method is adding a fee to all court cases filed in municipal courts and circuit court in Colbert. A $35 fee has been mentioned.


Colbert leaders look into jail cost - June 13, 2007

TUSCUMBIA -- If work began today, it would take roughly three years to complete a new Colbert County jail, a contractor told county commissioners Tuesday.

"Right now, we're just looking," Commission Chairman Rex Burleson said. "We're not proposing anything at this point."

Moore and his associates will provide the commission with two cost estimates.

One will be for a new jail built on the site of the existing jail and another for a new facility on property adjoining the county road department on Alabama 157.

Burleson said the commission will discuss funding options once they see the cost estimates.

Commissioner Troy Woodis said the commission is considering a facility that would house 175 to 225 prisoners.

The existing jail was designed to house 62 prisoners, but Sheriff Ronnie May said it consistently holds 100 or more.

May earlier told commissioners that about 24 inmates were awaiting transfer to state prison facilities.


Colbert County Jail in need of replacing - May 12, 2009

The county needs a new jail, but the commission must address one major issue - how to pay for it.

"That jail thing has been lying there dormant for a number of years," Commissioner Roger Creekmore said. "We realize there's some issues with the existing jail. We want to go ahead and be proactive now about addressing those issues."

Creekmore wants the commission to explore how much a new jail will cost and options for funding it.

Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie May said many of the jail's problems are because of its age.

The jail was designed to hold 62 inmates, but as of May 5, it contained 88 prisoners. May said as many as 125 inmates have been in the jail at one time.

He said the way the jail was built makes it difficult for jailers to monitor prisoners. There is a video surveillance system, but some of the cameras are inoperable and the system does not have a recording function.

"Ideally, we want cameras that monitor physical activity and record it," May said.

The last jail renovation project was in 1986 when the interior was painted and new flooring installed. Broken welds on metal bed frames were repaired. May said the dispatch area has also been renovated.

Security officer Heath Halcomb has been working at the jail for 11 years.

"There are sinks that don't work and toilets that don't flush," he said during a tour of the facility. "There are recurring problems with the plumbing."

Assistant Chief Deputy Mike Aday said freezers and refrigerators are in two or three separate locations in the building and food items often have to be brought from an upstairs storage room downstairs to the kitchen.

A small downstairs pantry is stocked with cans of hominy, peas, green beans, pork and beans, and containers of grits and oatmeal.

On a recent Wednesday, the cook and two inmate workers were preparing food trays with hamburgers, french fries and two cookies.

"It's their favorite meal," Aday said.

The lack of sufficient pantry space requires jail personnel to order food items on a weekly basis, he said.

The jail lacks a place for inmates to exercise outside. During Sunday visitation, friends or family stand outside the cells to speak to inmates through an opening in the cell's metal doors.

In the basement, among a maze of pipes and conduit, sit two industrial washing machines. Across from the washers are stacks of mattresses.

Aday was unsure what some of the electronic junction boxes and wiring attached to a wall were for and whether they were still being used.

He said the recommendation of the last grand jury that toured the facility was to build a new jail.

May said each time the fire marshal, insurance inspector, state jail inspector or health department inspector comes through, they leave a list of items that need to be corrected. The kitchen, however, received a 93 rating from the health department on the inspector's last visit.

"The fire marshal seems to be the one who has been more extensive in his reports about what needs to be repaired," May said.

James Brumley, the county's general fund accountant, said about $200,000 has been spent on jail maintenance in the past five years. The money spent on maintenance is far less than bond payments on a new facility.

Creekmore, one of the commission's two newest members, wants to start looking at what a new jail would cost."We could sit here all day and guess what a new jail is going to cost, how many beds do we need, how are we going to finance it, where are we going to locate it," he said. "We need someone in here with experience in a consulting capacity to help answer those questions."

May said he has asked for a new jail, which would include a sheriff's office, in each of his budget requests dating back to 1999.

The commission had an architect work on a jail design several years ago, Commissioner Troy Woodis said. Woodis was a member of a jail committee that May said met for a time, but interest apparently waned and the meetings became less frequent."The commission received a $10 million cost estimate four years ago, the sheriff said. A new jail would likely cost much more.

May said renovating the jail is not an option."You cannot increase the capacity," he said. "The only way would be to strip out the whole interior and put cells on the second and third floors."

The most popular idea has been a consolidated jail that would house county inmates as well as inmates from Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, Tuscumbia, Cherokee, Leighton and Littleville."The capacity would be increased to hold around 250-275 inmates," the sheriff said.

Commissioner Rex Burleson likes the idea of a judicial building that would include what May was describing. With the current shape of the economy, however, Burleson said the county doesn't have the money to build it.

"I'm not saying we don't need it," he said.Burleson said the expense doesn't end after the jail is built."It's an ongoing thing and you have to look at the expenses after you build it," Burleson said.

"I don't know what the funding mechanism is going to be," Woodis said. "That's what we come back to every time. If you do not have the money to pay back the loan or the bond or however you finance it, you can't do it."

The county does not want a federal judge to order the construction of a new jail."Where the community and the (residents) are going to lose is if the federal courts get involved," May said. "Historically, they have a lot of requirements in the facilities they order done. The cost increases substantially. I've talked to sheriffs all over the state that have been ordered federally to have new facility done. Each one said the cost has been anywhere from $4 million to $6 million more."

Federal court action led to the construction of a new jail in Lauderdale County.In 1993, a U.S. District judge ordered the Lauderdale County Commission to levy an additional 2 mill ad valorem tax to fund the construction of a new jail, county administrator Jenoice Bevis said.The jail was completed in December 1995 at a cost of nearly $6 million, Bevis said.The commission removed the tax in October 2003 after the bonds used to fund the construction were paid off."In October 2001, it was reduced because we knew we would not need the whole two mills to finish it out," Bevis said.

Franklin County avoided federal intervention when the county commission agreed to replace the facility, which was the second oldest jail still in operation in the state at the time. The jail cost the county about $11 million and comfortably houses 140 inmates, Sheriff Larry Plott said. Under most federal court orders now, they maintain jurisdiction over it for two years, so essentially they will be running it," Plott said.



Leslie M. Shoals

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A reader has questioned the sexual torture charge against Nathan Paul Bougher, accused of the physical and sexual abuse of his one-month old son. We agree; it would be extremely difficult to prove Bougher used a foreign object on the boy. His current story is that he may have harmed him while inserting a suppository. 

This may make little difference in the final outcome of Bougher's sentence. Since early last year, convictions of physical and sexual abuse of a child under the age of six have carried the same sentence as sexual torture in this state. In other words, unless Bougher is lucky enough to make a deal, he will get life with the possibility of parole. Of course, it's unlikely he'll survive in prison long enough to be eligible for parole...

*****



We see that Trip Advisor lists 17 popular escape rooms in Alabama. Escape Room Florence is number 14; let's see if we can't get it ranked higher:


We also see that Rob Carnegie's paid favorite, um, sorry, personal favorite is not even listed...




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Florence Tourism's Rob Carnegie Playing Favorites?




Playing favorites. Why do people play favorites? We can think of only three reasons: Liking someone, disliking someone, financial gain. So why is Rob Carnegie, Florence-Lauderdale Tourism President/CEO/Head Chinook, playing favorites? We may never know, but we sincerely hope we can put a stop to it. If we can’t put a stop to it, we can at least offset some of his damage.

Remember, a private company/individual may play favorites at will; a public entity may not. Rob Carnegie works for the city/county; he may even be subject to ethics violations—we’ve never had reason to look into it until now.


***** 

Disclaimer:

1. We had never heard the term “escape room” until some months ago.

2. We have absolutely no inclination to visit an escape room, and if we do, we’ll stream a movie from the Saw franchise until it passes.

3. We, as far as we know, know absolutely no one who owns, manages, or works for an escape room in any location. 

***** 

While lackadaisically perusing out Twitter feed earlier today, we came across this:


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In case any readers are not familiar with the word “premier,” its definition is this: first in importance, order, or position; leading.

So Robbie Baby is saying Paradox Escape Room is better than Escape Room Florence. Why? Who owns these businesses?

A quick check tells us Escape Room Florence is owned/managed by Adam Zills and Randy Winborn. Paradox Escape Rooms of Alabama is owned/managed by Martha F. Stevens and Kristie A. Stevens. We’ve never heard of any of these people, but we’re betting Rob Carnegie has.

So congratulations, Escape Room Florence, you’re the winner of a free ad for the duration. That means as long as Rob Carnegie heads Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, we’ll make sure our readers are aware of your excellent business and any specials or innovations you bring to the fray. We’ll even assist you in finding an attorney in case your current one isn’t up to suing Florence-Lauderdale Tourism. 


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Do ads here work? You betcha! Before Christmas we mentioned an eBay site selling 19 John Morgan prints. 48 hours later, the site had sold 14 of them, grossing almost $1,700.00.

Of course, you don’t have to advertise outright with us. If Rob Carnegie decides to play favorites again, we’ll be offering more free ads.





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Billy Underwood Wins Prestigious Award




In 2015, Martindale-Hubbell reported there were just under 15,000 attorneys licensed in the state of Alabama. How would one pick just 10 out of those 15,000? It certainly wouldn't be easy, and it also would certainly be a great honor to be picked in any category.

Some categories of cases are more difficult than others. In other words, a client should know going in that it's going to be an uphill battle; therefore, many clients have little or no praise for those who have represented them. In these cases, finding an attorney whom clients praise is much like Diogenes' search for an honest man. 

Yet a local attorney has been selected for such an honor. The American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys is an independent organization that ranks attorneys who practice in the field. Each year the organization chooses ten lawyers in each state to receive its prestigious award as best of the best.

First a client or a peer must nominate an attorney. Then the institute researches the attorney's background and cases. Finally, after much independent evaluation, the group chooses the ten attorneys for the award. This year, William J. Underwood of Tuscumbia was chosen as one of the ten in this state. Most people in the Shoals know him simply as our friend Billy. 

We often think of Billy as one of the go-to attorneys in difficult criminal cases, but DUIs can also affect an individual's life for years. It's good to know that Colbert County, and yes the entire Shoals, has someone like Billy Underwood to represent them. You can contact the Tuscumbia attorney at 256-383-1791. 


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There was a guy named Guy; got to be a joke here somewhere. 



Looking at his Facebook page we see he can't find a girlfriend. He's not sure why since all the other guys have them. You think it's because he rapes on the first date?





Monday, January 16, 2017

Sears/Sandra Killen Burroughs


The Midnight Rider has already blogged on Sears leaving the area; however, he failed to touch on a couple of things. Since Shoalanda is approximately 75 years older than he, we remember the candy counter at the old Sears store on Tennessee Street, as well as the seasonal toy department where a rotund Santa held court each December and the business office in the back where many cashed payroll checks before banks had drive-in windows. 

When those things gave way to a new store, there were still Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools. Then those things seemed to move into the background of a busy world. It must be at least a year since we've even set foot in Sears and that was probably to get somewhere else in the mall. Is that what happened with everyone?

Our stream of consciousness moved on to Spiegel; is that former department store still alive and kicking in the cataglogue world? Apparently it is, but their luxurious home furnishing line is no more. When did that happen? Perhaps when the Internet made it as easy to shop in Hong Kong as on Court Street?




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Congratulations to our friend Sandra Killen Burroughs. Sandra is currently working hard for the town of Lexington; keep up the good work, Sandra!





Sandra Killen Burroughs Elected to the Alabama League of Municipalities Executive Committee

MONTGOMERY – SANDRA KILLEN BURROUGHS, MAYOR, LEXINGTON ALABAMA,has been appointed to the Alabama League of Municipalities (ALM) Executive Committee by ALM President Dr. Howard Rubenstein, Mayor of Saraland. Mayor Burroughs will play an important role as a leader of Alabama’s municipal advocacy and resource organization. 

“It’s an honor to be asked to serve in such an esteemed capacity for the Alabama League of Municipalities.   I will proudly represent not only the town of Lexington on this committee but also Lauderdale County, the Shoals area and all of Alabama!!  Remember, no one succeeds alone.  If you surround yourself with positive people, you will have positive results.”

As a member of the ALM’s Executive Committee, SANDRA KILLEN BURROUGHS will meet with other municipal leaders throughout the year to establish the ALM’s strategic direction, advocate on behalf of municipal interests and determine ALM’s operational goals.

“The Alabama League of Municipalities has represented municipalities and their citizens for over 80 years,” said Ken Smith, Executive Director of the League. “Our Executive Committee has the important function of setting the League’s direction, goals and priorities. I want to thank each of the members for their service to our organization and I look forward to working with them during the upcoming year.”
The Alabama League of Municipalities is a nonpartisan membership association of nearly 450 incorporated cities and towns. Since 1935, ALM has worked to strengthen municipal government through advocacy, training and the advancement of effective local leadership. As the recognized voice of Alabama’s cities and towns, ALM’s member municipalities benefit from a variety of member programs, services and activities that are impossible to accomplish alone.

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Sandra isn't the only one of our friends who's been given a tremendous honor. We'll publish more details on that later this week.




Sunday, January 15, 2017

Credille Indictment/Food Stamps?


Jeremy & Ronnie Credille (The Cross is a Nice Touch)

A reader commented on the length of time it took to indict Jeremy Credille in the Muscle Shoals murder of Jason Fox. We were also surprised since Erica Fox had incriminated her boyfriend Ronnie's brother in her August confession. So why was Jeremy Credille allowed to roam free for five months?

Grand jury dockets aren't written in stone. We've seen Bryce Graham get an indictment in a matter of weeks in some cases. Did the Colbert DA have to present the case twice...or more? 

Interestingly, Graham never got an indictment in the case of the two volunteer fire departments with allegedly missing money. Yet, he got a very prompt indictment against a young couple in the death of a visiting child whose mother wasn't watching him.

The expression of the day is: Go figure...


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According to the Sheffield school superintendent, 84% of students in his district live in poverty. Certainly not all households in Sheffield have children between the ages of five and 18, yet the image of 84% of households which do living in what may be considered poverty should be concern making to all of us. 

Once again the term "food stamps" has reared its ugly pointed head in connection with this poverty. The TD isn't the only medium to continue to use this term; however, we're pretty sure the number of individuals receiving food stamps in Sheffield...or anywhere else...is zero. No one in the entire United States has received food stamps since 2004. All such benefits were morphed into the SNAP program by that year and are sent to the public via EBT.


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Speaking of SNAP, there's no tax on food purchased with that program. Yet, Alabama is one of only four states still charging tax on groceries. Humans have to eat just as they have to drink and breathe. We have the image of state legislators charging tax on steam water and oxygen if only they could figure out a way to do so.