Thursday, February 16, 2017

Apartments on Old Coffee Property?

Florence developer Eugene Sak currently owns 19 incorporated businesses in Florence. Several are connected to property/construction endeavors. At the most recent Florence School Board meeting, assisted by board member Britton Watson, Sak offered 6.5 million for the property. Was he just whistling Dixie?

As far as we know, the multi-acreage property isn't zoned for apartments...and most likely wouldn't be...ever. So why does Britton Watson now favor Sak's suit? That we don't know. Watson, presumably a New York native, owns, along with her husband, Blue Olive Advertising. We're not aware of a connection between the agency and any of Sak's companies, but that's not to say there isn't one. We appreciate all comments (just keep them clean).


For those who are concerned or have simply inquired:

1. The Waterloo Road property long rejected by UNA is immediately adjacent to the campus.

2. There are no homes or businesses located there.

3. The property between the campus and Wildwood Park measures one to two miles in length and is of similar width, all undeveloped.

4. Many members of the West Florence community have been begging UNA for years to purchase and develop this tract of land.

5. Florence says it wants to move west; why doesn't UNA?


Earlier today, Pen-N-Sword announced they had installed a new firewall. If any of our readers (and you know who you are, JB) continue to have problems accessing the site, please let PNS know.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Midnight Rider/Shoals Tatler

Keller Hospital: Layoffs
By: The Midnight Rider
Helen Keller Hospital

If you read Shoalanda Speaks regularly, you know that we have written several articles which show Keller Hospital in a not so good light. Below is from WHNT 19 News that recently came out:
SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Two hospitals in the Shoals are cutting employees due to operational costs. Helen Keller Hospital and Red Bay Hospital say they have had to either reduce scheduled hours or eliminate positions at the two facilities, affecting a total of 22 staff members.
“Although we hear and read about the issues of healthcare in Washington and Montgomery, unfortunately, the greatest impact of these issues is always local,” the hospitals said in a statement. “The economic challenge of rising costs and uncertain reimbursement cannot be ignored, so we are taking steps necessary to ensure that patient care remains our priority. We are working with our staff to help them in this transition and we do not expect any further staffing action to be taken. None of these changes will diminish our ability to provide quality care.”
Ok, with that being said, you should know that this article was forthcoming. As I have stated before, with the new Hospital being built, now is not the time for Keller Hospital to be burning bridges. I don’t see how Keller can continue to have quality service when they are cutting personnel.
So what about these people that lost their job? They must now scramble to find employment without suffering from the layoff. A Source from Keller Hospital told us that the positions that were cut were full time positions. They will now be turned into Part Time Positions with cut or no benefits. That is really sad.
Be careful Keller. When that new Hospital is built, they may put you out of business.
I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider.

Last night's Florence School Board meeting is over and little has changed. We will correct one point from our special blog: While UNA says 70 parking spaces will be lost due to new construction, the board says parking spaces will actually be gained.
Britton Watson? She gave local builder Eugene Sak the floor to make an offer on the property. So much for her wanting merely to be fair with the university. We'll have more on this later.
Marty Abrom's fear of the space between the stadium and school having the appearance of an alley? While we have no idea how it will look, if it does resemble an alley when built, why not capitalize on it? How about "Victory Alley?" It certainly sounds better than Back Alley Bar or Greasy Hands Barbershop.
We recently mentioned Tommy Wallis who's serving a life term as a habitual offender from Lauderdale County. A reader asked us about an article on Tommy's wife that recently appeared in the Shoals Tatler. Apologies that we were behind in our reading; sad that Tommy's children are a part of this situation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day 2017!

Valentine's is a day of love, and love comes in all shapes and sizes. If you're short a significant other this year, don't spend the next 10 months alone. The Shoals has plenty of little ones out there just waiting for a furever home. Some adoption agencies will even let you take the new love of your life home for a trial period. Perhaps we could call it pawfasting? No matter what you call it, we suggest you give it a try and report back to us on how your new significant other is doing!

All of us at Shoalanda Speaks

Special: The UNA Crooked Land Grab Charade

Tonight, four representatives from the University of North Alabama will speak before the Florence School Board. Ostensibly, they want to convince the board to cease plans to build a new middle school on the old Coffee High School campus and to sell the property to them. Let’s look at some facts.

1. In 2010, the Florence School Board approached UNA and asked if the university had any interest in purchasing the property. The university said NO! The school board took the university at its word and initiated its own plans for the property.

2. The school board then began plans to rehabilitate the property in some manner. Over six years later, the university has come forward to say it’s changed its mind.

3. In 2014, community meetings were held in order to make further decisions about the property (renovate the old Coffee building or to tear it down and build a new facility). UNA said nothing.

4. The property is located in a residential neighborhood—not a good location for a large parking lot.

5. The property is home to a three million dollar gym belonging to Florence City Schools.

6. UNA president Ken Kitts has stated the property would be suitable for not only a parking lot, but for tailgating parties. Yes, he really did. So much for academics, let’s just make sure we have a place to tailgate.

7. UNA currently plays an average of five games a year at Braley Stadium. Assuming game and preparations take 12 hours (this is a high estimate), we’re talking 2.5 to 3 days out of the year that UNA would be using the property it’s seeking to buy, at least for any official events.

8. When the new middle school is constructed, approximately 70 parking spaces near the stadium will be lost. More than 70 could be gained if the university or the city school system purchased the vacant lot/mini mart directly across from the stadium.

9. UNA is not landlocked. It has, for years, consistently refused to look at adjacent property to the west of campus.

10. Kitts has stated he has spoken with school board officials one on one in order to avoid “public scrutiny.” Yes, he really admitted that. Is that not pathetic?

11. There are currently two grades in the middle school now housed in portable classrooms awaiting a new building. The building is scheduled to be completed by fall 2018. How long would these two grades be forced to attend classes in trailers if the board had to start over with a property search, traffic study, and basically new architectural plans.

12. Contractors have already sent in bids on the new middle school construction. These are set to be opened on February 23rd.

13. UNA board member Libby Jordan has stated she’s disappointed in the lack of transparency shown by the university. Good for Ms. Jordan! She’s been a stand up person throughout this whole crooked charade.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Vulgar Memes/Be More?

Some years ago we were eating at a steakhouse when we overheard the following:

Server 1: That table left me $7.00!

Server 2: Flossie, that was your husband and your uncle.

Server 1: Yeah, so?

That’s usually what happens when we garner a number of new likes in a few hours' time—they all are friends with each other and they all are upset over something written here. Yesterday, we congratulated the owner of a new bakery and attempted to be polite while offering a small constructive criticism. We can be more direct.

No, unless you’re doing a glamour or porn shoot, you don’t need to worry how your hair looks. Besides docking your health score, stringy hair hovering over food doesn’t entice anyone to eat. Period.



Memes. Apparently the FB profanity filter doesn’t reject memes, so we still have to delete them manually. We will do so and will ban anyone attempting to circumvent the filter in this manner.

We also had some of our new readers naming a friend of ours from Tuscumbia. No, she had nothing to do with our short remark about the bakery and, while we didn’t delete or ban, we did hide these remarks from the general public. First and only warning.


Moving on to the sociopathic criminal element… Not everyone can have a gifted IQ. Nor can everyone have even an average IQ. Yet for anyone who has the ability to read to think that any or all of those who write here want to be a person who has spent 40% of his life in the legal system, a person now sitting in jail, a person who has more illegitimate children than DHR can enumerate, a person who is almost certainly headed south (perhaps for the rest of his life ala Tommy Wallis), is mind boggling.

Apparently we waste our breath when we urge others to strive to be more. They think the “more” is J.J. Common. And that is why we should thank our law enforcement officers daily.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Advice to a Baker & a Girl Friend

Congratulations to Baker’s Layne Bakery, newly opened in Muscle Shoals. We will offer a little advice: health department rules require the hair of those preparing food be restrained at all times. We hope you had a great grand opening today!



We’ve received a comment from a young woman, 20 years-old, who states she is the girlfriend of J.J. Common, the 33 year-old Russellville man accused of attempted murder and drug trafficking in Russellville. This young woman has a child with Common and is pregnant with a second child. She made several vulgar remarks in her comment, making it unpublishable.

We will offer two of her points. First she says J.J. has never raped anyone. After some additional research, we do want to make a correction. Common’s mentally challenged alleged victim was 15 at the time of the incident. Charges were dropped according to the Lauderdale County district attorney’s office due to the girl’s mother not wanting her to testify.Or if you prefer the defense attorney’s version, the girl wasn’t sure if penetration had taken place.

As for your assertions that J.J. has never beaten up a girlfriend, let’s look back to December 2011 when he broke into the home of his erstwhile girlfriend’s uncle, attacking the uncle and aunt in the process of kidnapping the young woman whom he dragged out by her hair. He was charged with burglary, theft, assault, kidnapping, and domestic violence. Since he ran when police arrived, we’re surprised he wasn’t charged with attempting to elude as well.

No, J.J.’s crimes are much more than drug related. You suggest he won’t be convicted of any of his current charges. Young lady, they have him on video. Police, in certain instances may lie; video doesn’t.

We wish you and your children well. Please take some advice. Get your GED; go to college; strive to do better. You just might be surprised how far in life you may go without J.J. holding you back.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Capital Murder?/Attempted Murder?

If we can’t do the right thing, or if there is no right thing to do, let’s at least do something. It won’t help the matter, but it will make us feel better, and in the case of the state legislature, make them look good…or so they think.

Rep. Phillip Pettus is again seeking to add one more capital crime to Alabama’s long list. It didn’t work last year, but he thinks it might this year. Or perhaps he thinks it will keep on making him look good so that he can say he at least did something.

No, adding the capital element to domestic killings won’t stop anyone from committing the crime. Any honest person in law enforcement can tell you that. No one has ever raised a shotgun to fire at his/her partner and stopped, thinking about the consequences. It just doesn’t work that way.



Speaking of consequences, we’ve been asked why J.J. Common was charged with attempted murder. After all, if he couldn’t hit his intended victim in 15 shots, was he actually trying to kill the woman who allegedly owned him money?

We’re guessing he was only trying to scare the woman, but judging from a Lauderdale case from a few years ago, the attempted murder charge will stick. A man in Florence stood ten feet away from his victim, fired six times into the sidewalk, and was later charged with and convicted of attempted murder.

After 15 years of dealing with J.J., we’re pretty sure that Franklin County is tired of him. If it takes a jury trial to put him away, the county just may be up for it—no plea bargains offered this time.


News flash: J.J. has a “good heart.” Haven’t we heard that before about other sociopaths?

Friday, February 10, 2017

J.J. - Sociopath to the End

Alabama’s criminal justice system—it should mean more than simply having law breaking judges on the bench. Sadly, in many cases the system is broken. Case in point: J.J. Common.

In Need of Legal...and Sartorial...Help

We’re pretty sure many in the Shoals were like us earlier today when we saw J.J.’s photo online. We shouted “J.J.!” out loud and began to laugh. Sure, it’s funny…but then again, it isn’t.

J.J. is a violent man. Yet, we’ve heard he’s charming and all that. Good for him. Not too many with bullet holes in their vehicles can be called charming. Not many men who rape young girls and beat up girlfriends can be called charming.

We’re going to ask again: Why wasn’t J.J. in prison? We’re going to ask if his current charges for attempted murder and trafficking in three different drugs will put him away as a habitual offender this time?

We’re sorry for his mother and his aunt, but they assisted in making him what he is…a sociopath who knows his family will help him beat the system. Let’s hope the system wins this time.



The superintendent of Sheffield schools says a recent bullying incident was heart-rattling. We’re pretty sure it’s going to be purse-rattling as well.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

School: Bullying, Sex, & Closings

We’ve had several ask us to comment further on the assault at L.E. Willson Elementary School in Sheffield; however, we have no inside information either supporting or debunking the attack story specifics. As far as the Facebook posts relating to the attack being removed, we will venture a guess that the mother’s attorney asked her to delete them.



What we do know is that current and former school personnel have contacted us saying attacks on students are routinely covered up, as are sexual encounters between staff and students at the high school level. Well, that’s just lovely. Let’s hope the current superintendent can rein things in.


One interesting rumor that we will mention: Does the Sheffield superintendent and board of education plan to consolidate two or more schools in the system? Are the days of L.E. Willson numbered? We welcome any inside information, and all replies are anonymous.


Are school cover-ups common place? While we can’t say yea or nay to that question, we’re always reminded of an incident from 20 years ago. A friend had a child who was at best described as rambunctious. One day the woman received a call from her son’s school asking her to come in for a talk; it seems her son had hit a much younger, smaller child, causing him to need medical attention.

If her son was guilty of a second offense, he would be expelled. Oh, she didn’t have to worry this time; school authorities had told the injured child’s mother that the nonverbal boy had fallen and hurt himself. Nice, huh?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sheffield Law Suits/John Elkington

Sheffield is a small town; it doesn’t need (as in can’t afford) any lawsuits. Since the Sheffield School Board is, while mainly autonomous, still a part of Sheffield city government, any suit against the board is in reality a suit against the town. Let’s look at some current law suits, or at least suits that are recent.

1. Wrongful termination by street department employee

2. Civil rights violation suit by former city council candidate

3. Possible suit by parents of young student having sex with high school teacher

4. Attorney Jon McGee hired in assault case involving L.E. Willson Middle School student

Are there more? We haven’t done an official check, but it’s certainly possible. Anyone else want to know if Sheffield will have to hire an additional attorney to handle all these complaints? After all, a city attorney’s job is usually pretty mundane if the town’s government doesn’t consider it a law unto itself. Spending eight hours a day, five days a week taking care of Sheffield business probably wasn’t what Steve Worsham signed on for.



While we’re visiting Sheffield, how’s Inspiration Landing coming along? We noticed recently that the TD’s Russ Corey listed one of developer John Elkington’s qualifications as being a former Vanderbilt football player. We’re pretty much at a loss for words…


Ah, how many knew that Dub’s Burgers was one of the foremost places to eat in Florence? What? You mean just because it’s technically in Athens, it can’t be listed as a draw for Florence tourism?

We were greatly amused by a Tweet from Bryan@WBLN that stated:

Another good Florence place to eat is Dub's Burgers in Athens. #CannotReadAMap

What prompted this humor? Earlier today Rob Canegie at Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Tweeted about Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals. The link to the tourism Instagram account did mention touring the W.C. Handy home, but where should you eat in between? If you think Odette or a similar Florence eatery, you’re not thinking like Robbie Baby. He suggested the 2nd and 13 Bar & Grill in Sheffield. Yes, he really did.

And one of BryanWBLN’s hash tags for his Tweet? #CannotReadAMap. Snicker. Can’t anyone stop Robbie before he starts promoting Frog Pond in Franklin County or Hamilton…in Ontario?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bullying or Assault?/Housekeeping

Bullying or Assault in Sheffield?
By: The Midnight Rider

From WHNT 19 News:
COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – A Sheffield elementary school mother is upset about injuries her daughter received recently. She claims her fourth grader is the victim of bullying.
The pictures you’ll see in this story are quite graphic. They flooded social media over the weekend. WHNT News 19 met with the girl’s mother on Monday. Kelly Turpin said this is an ongoing problem.
Turpin's children
Turpin’s daughter has a concussion, two black eyes and bruised face.
“When I came in she was very upset and covered in blood,” said Turpin. “The first thing I did was scoop her up and find out what was going on.”
Turpin says she was called to her daughter’s school on Friday morning. As her daughter was leaving art class at L.E. Willson Elementary in Sheffield, Turpin says she had an incident with another student.
At first, Turpin says the school told her it was an accident.
“My child started talking right then and said, ‘No Momma, I told them she grabbed me and pulled me and jumped on top of me,'” said Turpin.
Turpin claims the other student has been bullying her daughter for a while. We understand the Turpins have also spoken with an attorney.
WHNT News 19 spoke with Keith Lankford, Superintendent of Sheffield City Schools by phone.  He says they were not made aware there was a bullying situation going on until afterwards. He added they are diligently investigating the incident and will enforce the school code of conduct if necessary.
First of all, let me put this as politically correct I can, “This is Horse Shit!” This is not bullying but an assault. This little girl got beat. With the Sheffield City School Systems not doing anything, they are at fault. I have spoken to several parents whose kids go to Sheffield Schools who say that this is not uncommon. Bullying is rampant in the School System.
Of course they have a School Resource Officer. Oh, wait a minute, they got rid of the School Resource Officer who had been there for years and have a new one. But there is the problem of one School Resource Officer for three schools, so that is not working. I have news for you, if that had been my child, I would have been waiting for the aggressor’s parents so we could have a “conversation.”
Kids at this age need to be learning not worrying about getting jumped at school. Does bullying exists? Yes it does. Is Sheffield Schools doing something about it? It doesn’t appear that they are. Thumbs down to Sheffield School System.
Is the Midnight Rider mad about this? You’re damn right I am.
I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider.

A bit of housekeeping; everyone please read:
1. If we are in error on any subject, please inform us as soon as possible. Simply saying “you’re wrong” does not help us understand what’s incorrect. We have readers from all walks of life who do this. We once had a professional gentleman take four posts to point out the one word error in our blog. It certainly needed to be corrected, but we are not mind readers.

2. If you feel something should be deleted or wording changed, you may always feel free to ask us. We usually try to see all sides and are happy to work with you. Please do not start your message with “You god**** dirty mother*****n’ ho” if you wish us to oblige you. Words like that assuredly don’t make us wish to accommodate you. BTW, when you use this kind of language in your FB posts about us or any other writers, you don’t look intelligent, moral, or even fit to live outside a padded and locked cell. Think about it…

3. If you don’t want to look foolish, please don’t start your message with “I’m getting a lawyer” or “I’ve hired an attorney.” We know what attorneys charge; you first have to have that kind of money and second you have to be willing to spend it. The first thing an attorney will do…if we are in error…is to ask us to correct the matter. That’s something you should have done to start with. So in over eight years of writing this blog, how many have ever contacted an attorney about something we had blogged? Only one. We took our data from two other news sources who had published first, but we were happy to correct the post, as was one of the other two publications. Who was the victim of the false news report? Chip Dillard, now in the Lauderdale County lockup. We’re sure he wishes he could clear up his current situation as easily.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ken Kitts & UNA Have a Diabolical Plan

Did you hear the one about the Florence swain who proclaimed his undying devotion for his ladylove? The problem was his chosen lady already wore a diamond on her finger, had the Vera Wang gown in her closet, and the announcement mailed to the newspaper. In short, he was the epitome of too little, too late.

The above would apply to UNA president Ken Kitts…if he really wanted the old Coffee High School property for the university. What Kitts really wants is almost anyone’s guess, and we’re guessing the right to say the university is due a new football stadium.

Let’s look at the timeline:

Fall 2014 – Plans are already underway for a new middle school on the Coffee property when Kitts arrives; he says nothing.

Summer 2016 – Demolition of the old Coffee building is announced, as well as the completion of architectural plans for the new middle school. Kitts says nothing.

Fall 2016 – Demolition is delayed due to a problem with a landfill permit. Kitts says nothing.

October 2016 – Demolition begins. Kitts says nothing.

November 2016 – Earthmoving on the site begins. Kitts says nothing.

December 2016 – Kitts privately approaches the Florence School Board with a request to purchase the land. The TimesDaily says nothing.

January 2017 – Rogers Kimbrell, presumably working for the university, attends a public school board meeting at which he asks them to consider trading the Coffee property for the old Powell School property.

February 2017 – Kitts goes to the TD with his idea to purchase or trade the property—29 months after his arrival at the university—stating it’s his duty.

The above facts are only what the public has been told. What other backroom finagling may have gone on, who knows? Does Kitts really want the old Coffee property? There are certainly enough reasons to believe he should never get it.

1. Florence has paid thousands of dollars to tear down four old buildings on the property, to prepare the property, to commission plans for a new school to sit on that specific property, and for a required traffic study.

2. Residential neighborhoods around the property don’t want the green space turned into a large parking lot/tailgaiting area.

3. Parents and public, leery of modular classrooms now in use, have been assured the new school will be ready for Fall 2018.

4. Even if UNA should in some manner actually acquire the Coffee property, it still wouldn’t own the stadium; that might be next on its list of proposed acquisitions, leaving the Florence Falcons in the lurch.

No, the most logical assumption here is that Kitts wants the city and the school board to say no to this more than odd request. He can then go to the university’s board and to the public to explain the pressing need of a new stadium for the now Division 1-AA Lions.

Before any readers proclaim “…but the university wouldn’t lie,” just remember this:


This is some great footage shot from a drone. Be sure to like and subscribe to this channel:

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Topsy Talks on Tourism

We've been fortunate to have a reader with an inside view on local tourism write for us from time to time. In the interest of clarity, we're going to dub this reader/writer "Topsy." Topsy has sent us a very interesting take on some of the shenanigans now going on in local tourism:

Here is a thought on Canada Rob promoting Colbert County so often. Rob is getting his direction from that o’so intelligent Florence-Lauderdale tourism board. They are clearly eyeing a takeover of the Colbert County Tourism Convention & Visitors Bureau. They have mismanaged the huge budget that Florence Lauderdale Tourism had for 20+ years and are now in search of more funding. 

Hey, "Why not takeover Colbert County?" They hired Rob (whom they can control) at a much higher salary than their former director, even paid him under the table for some fake moving expenses (remember that is why Kelly Kelley resigned from the board), built a new visitors center that regardless of what the board claims was WAY over budget (well they had to save Libby Jordan’s not so excellent record of project manager by pretending that the building was under budget when all along it was WAY over budget just like the Library that she was the project manager for. After all, the very reason most of them are on the board to begin with is because Dick Jordan placed them there so that he could and does control them). So LOOKOUT COLBERT COUNTY - Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Sheffield. They are coming for ya and they won’t stop til they get your money and your tourism office.

With that being said, it might be a good thing for Lauderdale and Colbert counties to merge their tourism efforts and become one office. It works well for the Shoals Chamber of Commerce (if they could ever find a new leader to replace Steve Holt who is now the new Mayor of Florence. That sure came back to bite someone on the butt pretty dang fast. Whomever was behind running Steve out of the Chamber sure got a shock when he was elected MAYOR #karma).  But should Lauderdale and Colbert counties EVER merge their tourism offices, it surely doesn’t need to include ANY of the current board members from the Florence Lauderdale Tourism Board.



And on the Escape Room Florence front, here's a great story:

Saturday, February 4, 2017

TD Writers & Legislators...Not Too Bright

How hard is it to read a street sign? We’re guessing for the TimesDaily’s Jennifer Edwards and Robert Palmer, it’s pretty difficult. Twice in the past month, Irvine Avenue, one of Florence’s oldest thoroughfares, has been called a street. We’ll give Palmer his due, he did correct his error in the third article about a proposed round-a-bout. If such a simple concept of street v. avenue eludes these writers, how are we to expect them to convey the intricacies of bond issues and similar financial dealings? 


In case you’re wondering, we don’t know of anyone who blogs here who supports the medical termination of pregnancy as a method of birth control. We do support implementing some common sense in our legislature.

According to the TimesDaily: "There will also be a bill protecting medical personnel from being forced to perform abortion procedures that violate their moral beliefs."

So, when’s the last time you read of anyone putting a gun to anyone’s head to make them participate in such a procedure? If a person accepts a job at what’s commonly called an abortion clinic, just what do these people think goes on there?

We were hoping that the upcoming legislative session would focus on a budget, new infrastructure, little things like that. Guess not…


From 20 to six, here’s the short list of candidates to replace Alabama senator Jeff Sessions:

Congressman Robert Aderholt, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, head of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Jim Byard, State Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R- Anniston), Rep. Connie Rowe (R- Jasper), and former Montgomery-area state lawmaker Perry Hooper Jr.

A final selection could come as early as Monday. Smart money is, unfortunately, on Strange. Note that none of them is from extreme north Alabama. What? You’re not surprised?

Friday, February 3, 2017

How Would You Like a 100% Raise?

There aren't many who would turn down a 100% raise, are there? Gov. Robert Bentley's pet Stan Stabler is asking for basically that...and more. His current budget for ALEA is 44 million. For the 2018 budget (the budget year starts in October 2017), he's asking for 104 million. If Stabler lied for Gov. Bentley, will he lie for other reasons? 


A friend shared our blog on Rob Carnegie promoting Tuscumbia. One of his friends then asked if anyone at this blog was ever happy. Yes, personally, we've very happy. When it comes to how we feel about state and local government, we're much less so.

We expect some waste of our tax dollars. How many of you go shopping and never purchase an inferior product? Or even the wrong product? Governments are no different. It's only when government doesn't care, when it deliberately wastes money, that we call foul. 

And each and everyone of you should too!


Did someone say Rob Carnegie promoting something outside Florence and Lauderdale County? Florence Tourism has a new cover for its Twitter account:

It's sad that Rob's vision is so bad he can't distinguish Florence from Muscle Shoals.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Trump Makes Unannounced Visit/Domestic Abuse

Trump makes unannounced visit
By: The Midnight Rider
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk toward Marine One while departing from the White House, on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is making an unnanounced trip to Dover Air Force bace in Delaware to pay his respects to Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens, who was killed during a raid in Yemen. Owens is the first active military service member to die in combat during Trump's presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump made an unannounced visit Wednesday to Dover Air Force Base for the return of the remains of the US service member killed in the raid in Yemen.
Trump went to Dover AFB on Marine One, along with his daughter, Ivanka, and Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.
Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, a Navy SEAL, died of wounds suffered during a raid Sunday in Yemen against al Qaeda, according to US Central Command.
First of all let me say that I don’t care if you are White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Democrat or Republican, It takes a real American to do what Trump did. It doesn’t matter if you voted for Trump or not, you have to respect what he did. There is a lot of Protest going on about his tenure as President. The thing about it is, you can Protest all you want, and he is still the President.

For him to go to the retrieval of Remains for a fallen Service Member, to me that shows character. When was the last time you saw a President do that? It is a published fact that Trump has contacted several families of Fallen police Officer just to talk to him. Trump supports Law Enforcement as well as our Service Members. That is the way it should be.

First Responders as well as our Military Members sometimes give the Ultimate Sacrifice to keep us safe or free. The Ultimate Sacrifice is their lives. Their families have lost someone that will never return in exchange for our Freedom and we should be thankful for that. Covering your faces, looting, protesting, breaking windows, that is not how you get your point across. That will get you an “ass whoopin”’ when the Police gets there.

Will everyone agree with what Trump does? No. But for a Commander-in-Chief and his Daughter to make a secret trip to Salute a Fallen Soldier with the family, that shows me Class. Class that maybe some other leaders of Countries should take notice of. Our Service Member deserves this type of Respect.

I am and always will be, the Midnight Rider.


There was another act of domestic violence last night. While one woman was shot, at least no one died. We’re not sure if you count the man killed by his brother-in-law a victim of domestic violence or not, but if you do, that makes four serious incidents in the past two weeks. By serious, we mean shot or stabbed, resulting in three dead and two hospitalized. Why?

In two of the incidents, alcohol played a large role. In another, it was depression. In the third, drugs may have contributed to the act of violence.

This past year, we’ve often thought that Huntsville was becoming a second Birmingham. Now, we’re pretty sure the Shoals isn’t far from Huntsville in the percentage of domestic violence/drug crimes. Is there a fix?

We’ll close with the story of the second drink. Three famous actors had lunch at a restaurant near their studio. With lunch, the actors had a cocktail. At the end of the meal, the waiter asked the trio if they wanted a second drink. Two replied yes; one no.

Of the two who replied in the affirmative, one lost his career and wound up in rehab; the second died after a fall, too inebriated to know he was bleeding out.

The third who refused a second drink? He became president of the United States.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Let Us Splain This River Thing

Photo Posted on Florence Tourism's Instagram Account Today

You see, there’s this river. It’s long and it’s wide. A great many people forgot about the river over the years until people on the north side of the river desperately needed a new hospital. Then the people on the south side of the river tried to tell the people on the north side what they could or couldn’t do. Suddenly the river roared back. 

It’s a great deal like this Alabama-Auburn thing. Always root for (insert name Alabama or Auburn) unless they’re playing (insert name Auburn or Alabama). Similarly, always root for Colbert, Franklin, etc., unless they’re competing with Lauderdale.

And God forbid…pay close attention now, Robbie Baby…you’re paid to promote Florence-Lauderdale and you promote Tuscumbia-Colbert. Tuscumbia is a beautiful town. It’s historic. It’s well worth seeing. It’s just not what you’re paid to promote; get it, Rob?

Not all sights, or sites, around the Florence-Lauderdale area are equal. More people may be interested in seeing Rogers Hall than are in seeing the Rogers Department Store building…or vice versa. Yet a person could post a different interesting photo on Instagram each day for ten years just from Florence-Lauderdale. Why is Rob Carnegie posting a photo from Tuscumbia to the Florence Tourism account?

Doesn’t Robbie Baby know about the river?


Now a word to all you guys in Colbert County. We’ve seen people in Sheffield and Tuscumbia thoroughly trounce Muscle Shoals for using a photo of Ivy Green in its promotional material. Now’s your chance. Shoalanda not only gives you permission, but is actively recruiting you to give Rob Carnegie hell for stealing one of your top tourist draws. Please…go for it!


Now let’s talk legalities. We don’t know who, if anyone, owns the copyright to the picture Rob Carnegie posted today, but we do know it’s not anyone in Lauderdale County. We’ve seen the photo floating around for years and quickly found it on a site from 2011. If we had to guess, it may be 30 or more years old.

Sure, Tuscumbia is glad to let you use it, aren’t they, Rob? See remarks in section above. Still, if you continue to use photos that aren’t your own or don’t belong to Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, you’re going to tick someone off someday. Let’s try to be a little more honest, shall we, and at least give credit where due.


We do have to congratulate Rob Carnegie--he's really on a roll. In the past month, he's promoted one Florence business over its competitor, spotlighted an illegally parked motorbike, misspelled Deibert Park, and now is promoting a town outside the Florence-Lauderdale area. From the movie Elizabethtown: ...there's a difference between a failure and a fiasco. A failure is simply the non-presence of success. Any fool can accomplish failure. But a fiasco, a fiasco is a disaster of mythic proportions.