Friday, March 31, 2017

Johnny Mack Morrow's Catch-22/Roundabout it?


Franklin County's Johnny Mack Morrow and Allen Farley of Jefferson County have proposed several new takes on improving prisons in Alabama. One is to clean up gangs and cell phones, ensuring no new prisons are needed. We're not exactly sure how that works. Remove cell phones and excess prisoners are so distraught that they die on the spot? Hmmm, it could work.

But the DOC says aside from some perfunctory sweeps of prisons, cell phones aren't a top priority. It's waiting for new prisons with cell blocking technology to make those little bundles of contraband totally useless. We believe that's called a Catch-22.

Johnny Mack isn't so keen on the current prison commissioner either. He says Commissioner Dunn doesn't have previous corrections experience as required. The state's personnel director says that requirement is "vague." Well, that explains a lot of the people currently working for the state, doesn't it?

*****



Governor Bentley wants new prisons, and someone in Florence wants a roundabout...somewhere. It turns (pun intended) out that there are actual memes about roundabouts...lots of them. This is for a reason, folks.




Thursday, March 30, 2017

For Those Who Like to Watch Paint Dry...


You're in luck. This weekend promises even better:



That's right; shredding is tops on the list for reasons to plan a weekend in Florence. Perhaps we've accused Robbie Baby wrongly for advertising Colbert County attractions?

*****


Some individuals aspire for their children to be greater than they; others don't. Apparently Randy Agee is one who doesn't. He was just quoted as saying he hopes his young son can someday take over his Rayo Mart on East Second Street in Nitrate City. 

Say what? Has Randy been dipping into his new liquor stock? 




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Apartment Wars/Florence Senior Center




It would seem the new apartments planned for West Irvine Avenue are about to become a reality We feel this can be a boon for West Florence. We also feel that the city under the direction of Melissa Bailey will make sure there is adequate ingress and egress for the complex, as well as construct sidewalks, etc.

We previously asked how Brink and Hensley will feel about this new complex. Aha! It seems that Hensley-Graves Holdings is the owner of the property where the developers will build. We assume Hensley-Graves will retain some ownership when the complex is completed.

So now we have only Brink who might object...and perhaps Tim Rhodes who's a much smaller player in the apartment game. It will be interesting to see if anyone connected to these businesses attempt to throw up roadblocks to the project.


*****

A reader wrote to us a few months ago, explaining that Hensley-Graves and Hensley-Thompson are now completely separate entities. The reader didn't elaborate on the split, and we would love to have more information. If anyone can expound upon this division, contact us. Your name, e-mail, etc., is always kept anonymous.


*****

We had to laugh at the letter to the TD editor concerning the Florence senior center/country club. No perhaps those who frequent the old country club don't need anything so nice, but we've opined before that you should never give someone something, then take it away. 

On the subject of the old country club, it looks like Zing Zang Zung has abandoned plans for a local college of integrative health quackery. Oh, you weren't surprised? We guess only those at UNA were astounded. See yesterday's remark about Sheffield being a Sadie Hawkins and apply it to UNA.






Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Inspiration Landing/Passing the Trash


John Elkington

Anyone heard anything new on Inspiration Landing in Sheffield? It's been two weeks since Sheffield ponied up $2,500.00 to initiate an environmental assessment on an old dump site--probably too soon for any definitive reports. Yet while we were checking on possible results, we noticed something.

John Elkington, developer extraordinaire, asked Sheffield to pay the relatively small fee for the assessment. Sheffield, a perennial Sadie Hawkins in Alabama development, said sure and may we buy you a Mercedes while you're waiting.

Pitiful.

*****

Speaking of trash, we assume everyone has kept up at least slightly with the Tad & Lizzie saga out of Columbia, Tennessee. Hasn't anyone wondered why a 50 year-old man suddenly became interested in 15 year-old girls? The answer is: unless he has a brain tumor or some similar disease, he didn't. He's always had a yen for girls this age and the schools where he's taught have known it.

Pass the trash...

*****

In case you've missed it, there are petitions circulating to disbar both Jeff Sessions and Luther Strange in Alabama. Will they accomplish anything? No, but surely it will make us feel better at least to sign on the dotted line to give Strange what he deserves. He almost makes TK the AG look good...almost.




Monday, March 27, 2017

UNA Apartments?


Why are they called apartments if they are stuck together? - George Carlin


The 2016 fall enrollment at the University of North Alabama was roughly 7,500. Assuming 25% of that number belonged to the freshman class which must live with family or on campus, that leaves 5,625 students in need of housing...or does it?

The freshman class is always the largest, so for rounding purposes, let's remove the odd 25 students. Now let's remove 600 who live at home or who are married and rent/own houses. That still leaves a whopping 5,000 who rent apartments in the Shoals. We feel this number is still a little large, but nevertheless we'll go with it.

Now enter a Georgia company wanting to build an apartment complex that will house 420 students. How this number was arrived at, we don't know. Each of the six units will have three levels for 18 floors of apartments. Still, we'll go with the developer's figure of 420. That would be slightly over 8% of students needing off campus housing.

Think Hensley and Brink aren't going to have someone lobbying against this? Think again.

*****

From a reader:






Sunday, March 26, 2017

High School Sports/Toddlers Drinking/Crime News


A reader writes:

Interesting reading on the AHSAA today. Whats with these educators thinking that no one can tell them what to do. It was the same reaction when tourism officials and the state legislators tried to get them to NOT back start school so early to help with tourist attractions that employee so many students (their only source of income) and cutting short the time attractions stayed busy (cutting short tourism dollars that help fund schools). The reaction from school superintendents then was "We don't want anyone to tell us what to do!!!" Now we are hearing if from AHSAA. How much power and control do they really need? They really don't wanna answer to anyone

*****

Another reader writes:



I don't know if Rob Jones is in with Rob Carnegie or not, but he has a photo of a toddler, I presume his own, holding a glass of beer posted online. Not a good example for tourism board member.

*****

L. Stone comments on the Muscle Shoals band trip:

Melanoma not medicine.

*****

Like crime news? If you do, you're not alone. We're going to offer praise where due and say that the TimesDaily reports a great deal of this type news--just not all of it.

This weekend the Shoals Insider had a huge story about an upcoming rape trial. Pen-N-Sword had an article about a Marion County teacher accused of sodomy and attempted rape of a child under the age of 12. Neither of these stories has been covered by the TD. For the best coverage of local crime, you can't rely on one source:






Saturday, March 25, 2017

Britton Watson's SEI/Definitely "Junior"




A Statement of Economic Interest, or SEI, must be filed yearly by each office holder in Alabama. Here is a link to Florence school board member Britton Watson's:


Since the SEI doesn't list her clients or how much they pay her, it would require the ethics commission to dig further into her finances to establish just how firmly she's aligned with the University of North Alabama. Yet just a quick glance reveals some glaring omissions. Why state that her husband's parents' business interests are "N/A?"

*****

Watson's business Blue Olive must not be booming. It moved from a large independent structure on the outskirts of downtown to a much smaller building on Court Street to an even less expensive building on North Wood Avenue. Not exactly traveling up the corporate ladder...

*****

We had to laugh when we looked up Greg Watson Jr.'s LinkedIn listing. Apparently he thought it looked more...hmmmm, we're not sure what he thought, but most think redneck...to call himself the "second." For any who may be confused as to when to use "II" in naming a child, here's a great article:





Friday, March 24, 2017

Muscle Shoals: Still a Pay-to-Play School or Just a Privileged Class?




From a Parent:

Is there anything more important at Muscle Shoals than football? No, of course not! Are there any sports more important than boys sports at Muscle Shoals? No, of course not! But, that was until the class of 2021 came on the scene last year.

Take a look at last year's 7th grade and this year's 8th grade volleyball, basketball, and softball teams and you will see the SAME team. Wait, did I just say 7th grade softball team? Yes, they received their own softball team for the first time in school history. The school couldn't cut any of their "special" 7th graders because that would leave no room for 8th grade players, on a team that is normally heavier on the upper class. And this year, where is the 7th grade softball team? You guessed it - nonexistent because it was no longer needed, as the school could cut the new 7th graders.

When volleyball started, it was noted through pictures on RiverCatPhoto.com (the school photographer) that the uniforms the 7th graders were wearing were actually the 8th grade uniforms and the 8th grade was wearing the 7th grade uniform. And when said 7th graders became 8th graders, do you think they would appear in what they wore in 7th grade? No, of course not, not as "the seniors" of the middle school. The now 8th graders received the JV uniform.

When basketball started, the same thing appeared to happen. The 7th graders appeared in the 8th grade uniforms and the 8th grade wore the 7th grade uniforms. What would happen this year as the now 8th graders would take the court? You better believe they received the JV uniform.

When softball started, it was a whole different ball game, with the same players. Thin t-shirts were given to both grades instead of jerseys. Pants were then given out to which fit neither team. The 7th grade was allowed to wear their own black pants and 8th grade was not. What happen this year? Remember, 7th and 8th grade were combined into 1 middle school team. The JV high school team received a thin top with pants and the middle school team received the JV/Varsity uniforms. Yes, uniforms as in 2 different uniforms.

The class of 2019 is full of talented female athletes, but never received the red carpet treatment. So, which parent or parents are paying the school or blackmailing someone at the school to get everything they want? These parents are setting their kids up for failure because the coaches are too scared to say no to any of them. Will the first time they hear "no" be in college? It will be interesting to watch how the class of 2021 takes over female sports next year when they are actually high school students.

*****

Questions of the day:


1. Why did Bill Jordan resign from the Florence School Board?

2. Why didn't Britton Watson resign from the Florence School Board?




Thursday, March 23, 2017

What Is WRONG With Britton Watson?




Today Britton Watson voted against accepting a Craig Construction bid and starting work on the new middle school. Watson was the only board member to do so. She suggested it would be cheaper to keep students in the modular classrooms for a while. We have no idea how long she thinks these modular structures will suffice.

We will stress that Watson was not on the school board when it voted to tear down the old Coffee High building that was being used for a middle school. Perhaps that was a bad decision. Whether bad or good, it's too late to go back; the old building is gone.

This is tornado alley. Sure, there's advanced warning and shelters, but just how comfortable would you be sending your children to school in what amounts to fancy trailers when it's not a necessity? Perhaps we should just pull these children out of school and send them to work in a 19th Century Welsh coal mine?

Again, we say what is wrong with Britton Watson? Sour grapes that she didn't get her way to sell UNA the property? The same university she's contracted to write PR for? Does anyone trust Britton Watson at this point?



Kudos to Bill Gullett for abstaining from voting on the construction bid due to the company he WORKS FOR doing business with Craig Construction. Did you get that one, Britton? A company you OWN does business with UNA, and you've voted against the citizens and children of Florence in order to appease your client. Why haven't you resigned yet? Waiting for the ethics complaint?




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Evelyn Servin Says Free National Security Risks


“ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately. However, as Secretary [John] Kelly has made clear, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”



This past weekend, ICE arrested 40 individuals in five northwest Alabama counties whom it deemed security risks. The raids came as a surprise to the illegal immigrant population, as we assume they were meant to. Now our old friend Evelyn Servin is demanding the group's "rights." 

If what Servin says is true, we're sure some of the immigrants who were guilty by association will be freed and given a chance to make their status legal. Servin says one of the main problems is not having money to file the necessary paperwork to clear up the status of these immigrants.


Really? You mean these immigrants can't pay like those from India, Australia, etc.? This is regrettable, but we would ask Servin why legal immigrants should be forced to pay these fees, but her illegal immigrant friends should not?

*****

Want to know more about Evenly Servin? Read it here: 





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

UNA/FCS Battle Over?


Much Ado About Nothing

Finally, UNA and Florence City Schools are in agreement on the new middle school. No green space at the front of the school will be lost, and the avaricious university won't try to take over the Florence property. While there are some very minor Florence losses in the settlement, it was mainly win for the city school system.

So how did UNA fare in the parking department? It will get 75 parking spaces on the south side of the stadium and 21 behind the stadium between it and the middle school. Those 21 will be rented out to boosters.

We're tempted to make jokes about the 21 leased spaces, but there are those just silly enough to pony up the money for something so inane. Everyone should be happy for the extra 75, especially if you've driven by the stadium on one of the rare UNA game days. Even more are needed, and we still favor either UNA or the city purchasing the vacant lot/mini-mart on Royal Avenue across from the stadium.

Now here's another silly bit. UNA is going to build some bleachers on the south side of the stadium. We really have no idea what kind of view they will afford, so we won't comment on that. We will say that unless UNA is playing Alabama A&M or in the playoffs, these bleachers won't ever be used.

Oh, wait, we have an idea. Why not make opposing press use these bleachers...much like Muscle Shoals High School does at their stadium. That will show the true purple and gold colors of the current UNA administration.

The agreement also calls for stadium lease terms to be reduced to ten years. If, by some miracle, UNA should build its own stadium before the end of that period, will it still have to pay its share of concessions revenue, etc., for home games? Or perhaps UNA could pay a lump sum fee to get out of the lease. A deal is a deal, especially after UNA has caused so many problems for the city and its school board.





Monday, March 20, 2017

A Muscle Shoals School Parent Speaks Out


From a reader:


Is sunscreen medicated?

Apparently so, if you're a student at Muscle Shoals. In a recent meeting at Muscle Shoals High School, band members and parents were told sunscreen is medicated and cannot be shared.

The Muscle Shoals band is getting ready to go on a trip to Hawaii and in doing so they had a meeting about rules and expectations. In these "rules" the students were told if they run out of sunscreen then they will just get burned because they cannot share sunscreen as it is medicated. But they are allowed to keep the medicated sunscreen ON/WITH them?

As per school policy, any medicated item (including cough drops and lip balm) must be kept with the nurse and a student must see the nurse to use such item. So, guidelines state the nurse should keep every individual bottle of medicated sunscreen on her/him and distribute to the student when needed and then taken back up. But the school doesn't have a nurse attending the week long trip, the band director(s) will be keeping all medications EXCEPT said medicated sunscreen that can't be shared without facing punishment. 

So, is sunscreen medicated or is it not? If so, then it shouldn't be on or in possession of the student. If it's not, then why can't they share instead of getting sunburned if they run out?

*****

These school "medication" rules are bureaucracy run man. Lip balm and sunscreen? Why not mouthwash and toothpaste? It would seem that any illicit substance could much more easily be placed in mouthwash than lip balm.

*****

We've been sent information on a certain private school. We will be publishing a blog on wasted federal money; however, we do not publish sensitive private information unless it relates to waste of our taxpayer dollars. This has always been our policy and we don't see that changing in future.




Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Tale of a Rob(ber) Baron...or Two


Rob & Michelle Jones

Rob Jones has been a member of the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board since August 2016. Jones, along with his wife Michelle, owns Singin' River Brewing, a microbrewery located on the outskirts of downtown Florence. A few blocks to the east is Blue Water Brewing, the only other such endeavor located in Florence. Blue Water is owned by Aaron Hannah and Patricia Wilkins, neither of whom is affiliated with the tourism board. Friendly competitors? Well, competitors at least. 


Since both brewing companies are in Florence, Florence-Lauderdale Tourism should be promoting them equally...rather like Rob Carnegie promoted the area's two escape rooms equally. Oh, sorry, he didn't. What do you think that was about? No matter, let's now concentrate on how Florence's tourism department is promoting these two breweries.

What Rob Carnegie posts in tourism's Instagram account is also posted on its Twitter and Facebook accounts under the name “Visit Florence, AL.” Wonder what the rest of Lauderdale County thinks of that? No matter, as we said, for the moment we're strictly looking at the blurbs for the town's two breweries, so let's have at it:

March 18, 2017 – Post for Singin' River's weekend patio bar

March 13, 2017 – Post to advertise the patio bar's opening at Singin' River

February 21, 2017 – Post on beer tasting at Singin' River


February 18, 2017 – Post on Singin' River...just because, we guess

February 15, 2017 – Post on Singin' River presents a songwriters' showcase

January 25, 2017 – Post on a Singin' River fun run


January 17, 2017 – Post on Singin' River songwriters showcase

We're not going all the way back to August of last year; we think we have enough posts to spot any trends. Let's see...seven posts for Singin' River owned by one of Rob Carnegie's bosses...and for Blue Water? Let's add them up...there's...and there's...hmmm, there's none.

Anyone have any ideas why Rob Carnegie favors a business owned by his boss? The reader who first brought this to our attention did. Yes, according to the Alabama ethics law, it's a possible crime. Whether Rob Jones has joined Rob Carnegie in this alleged crime or not, we don't know. Our reader has told us his intentions of filing an ethics complaint. We still feel that the owners of Blue Water Brewing should also file a complaint. Stock up on popcorn.




Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ethics Complaint to be Filed against Killen's Connie Parrish


When you break ethics laws, it says a lot about your morals and your character, and if you’re going to do that for a little bit of extra money there, what else are you going to do? - Ryan Blessing

Connie Parrish - Used Position to Secure Raise for Mother

Common sense and logic? They're in very short supply in the Shoals, especially among those who pretend to serve the public. Now it seems we have three new ethics controversies in Lauderdale County alone. We've previously covered Florence school board member Britton Watson and her ties to UNA. Here's the skinny on the Killen controversy.

Connie Parrish is a Killen councilwoman; her mother works at the senior center. Late last year, Parrish requested a raise for her mother...and got it. She did not vote on the issue, but she is the one who introduced it and elaborated on why her mother deserved the pay increase.

Councilman Ryan Blessing is filing an ethics complaint against Parrish. Not only is what Parrish did unethical, but according to the law, is a crime...a Class B Felony. Killen mayor Tim Tubbs waltzed all around it.

*****

Now, something else we noticed while watching the Killen council meeting: Tim Tubbs doesn't listen. Blessing clearly stated he had requested and received an opinion on Parrish's actions; then Tubbs stated nothing could be done until the opinion of the ethics commission was solicited and received.

And we thought only women had a problem being heard in meetings...

*****

Next we'll take on Rob Carnegie and his blatant shilling for Singin' River Brewery, a company owned by his "boss" Rob Jones...




Friday, March 17, 2017

Ethics: Killen & Florence-Lauderdale Tourism


Ryan Blessing, a Killen town council member, is prepared to pursue ethics charges against a fellow council member over possible wrong-doing at the senior center. We're guessing it will be months before the ethics commission issues a statement. We'll have more on this later.

*****

Favoritism from Rob Carnegie has again come into question. From a reader:

Florence Tourism Photo

I wanted to correct you on two things. First, it's Singin' River beer not Singing River beer. Next, I've been to the brewery and while you can't tell it in the tourism photo, there's a fence around the patio at the brewery so they can sell beer legally there.

But I'm questioning the tourism organization virtually advertising Singin' River so much. There's a second brewery in Florence just blocks away from Singin' River. It's Blue Water and it's owned by someone I know who could use a good plug now and then.

Rob Jones

I've not seen where Carnegie or whoever said Singin' River was better, but one of the owners of the brewery is Rob Jones who's on the tourism board. So he's virtually Rob Carnegie's boss and Rob's pretty obviously a suck up. So isn't this all illegal or at least unethical?

*****

While we don't think it's illegal, it is very unethical, but that hasn't stopped Carnegie before. Nothing can be done about it until someone files an ethics complaint. We would think the owner(s) of Blue Water would be the obvious candidate, but anyone may do so. If anyone has evidence that Jones was in actual collusion, the complaint can be filed against both.




Thursday, March 16, 2017

"You're Not The Boss of Me"




The comments from AHSAA director Savarese speaking sternly to a legislative committee sounded like children (brats) scream "You're Not The Boss of Me".
According to the highly educated coaches led by Savarese, laws do not apply to coaches in Alabama public schools. It's clear they write the rules for themselves, and "You're not the boss of me".  Clearly defying law and order while biting the hand that feeds them, Savarese led the charge to put legislators and people in Alabama in our proper place.
It was made clear, no one will tell Savarese and Alabama High School Coaches what to do and certainly can't make laws that have oversight of these highly educated coaches who acknowledge the practice of recruiting football players (illegal activity).
Looks to me like the recruiting efforts should be for quality teachers if we want a sound education system.
What exactly did Savarese have to say on the Hill?..........(a few statements from the full article)
Savarese said he couldn't tell lawmakers all that is being considered, though, as the AHSAA board will vote on bylaw changes on April 12 that could have an effect on the direction the AHSAA takes on this issue.
Savarese said all 51 state high school athletic associations have been looked at for best practices and believes any rules developed about postseason competition should be handled by the AHSAA, not the legislature. 
"I have full faith in our membership to develop, to create, to analyze the data to develop those rules for the future," Savarese said. 
Whorton acknowledged those coaches in attendance who oppose the bill, but said he had talked with over a hundred coaches who want the bill to pass.
Those coaches are afraid to testify in support of the bill in fear of retaliation, Whorton said, adding, "Something's wrong with the system when you can't get any coach who wants this done" to testify...
The discussion turned to the problem of recruiting. "Recruiting is at its worst as it's ever been in the history of Alabama, and anybody who denies that is living in a dream world," committee member Rep. Jim Patterson, R-Meridianville, said.
Lawmakers asked coaches to acknowledge there is recruiting in both public and private school sports, and while coaches did acknowledge it happens, those attending said they did not participate in recruiting. 
Comparing the pools from which the smaller public schools draw students to the pools from which the smaller private schools draw students, Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, said, "At the end of the day, we are responsible for the public schools and keeping government out of the private schools. If you can't protect the public schools from an unfair playing advantage, I think at some level it's our responsibility." 
Read full article at:   

Leslie M. Shoals

*****


A few readers have sent up a copy of a video currently floating around on FB that depicts a Franklin County school bus doing excessive speed on a narrow, serpentine county road. There's some controversy about just how fast a school bus can go. Before we post the video, we're asking readers with any knowledge of erratic driving in any county or the mechanics of governors on these buses to contact us with your stories.




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Daniel Rosser/Wedding Registry Offices




First, we want to offer a sincere apology to Colbert County Probate Judge Daniel Rosser. We missed his announcement to us that he would be moving from the Alabama Democratic Party to the Republican. This is a transition that many Alabama politicians have made, and we believe Daniel will continue to serve the people of Colbert County for years to come.

Judge Rosser has always made himself available to us and the press to answer questions and provide us with important information. We believe him to be a man of intelligence, integrity, and insight. We have no idea if Daniel will face opposition in the next general election, but we cannot think of anyone who is more qualified than he.

Thank you, Daniel, for all you do!

*****

We see that some in our legislature are opposing the abolition of traditional marriage licenses. Their rationale? How do you prove a marriage exists without a returned marriage license? It's very simple. The bride and groom sign the register, as they've been doing in the U.K. for years, and the document is just as official as the returned license when notarized. Copies are just as easily made of a registry contract as of the license.

Will this modernization of the process come about? We don't know, but it's a bill we support.




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Needless Abortion Laws from Useless Legislators




The Alabama legislature recently concluded Pro-Life Day. One of the four pro-life laws passed stated that medical personnel couldn't be forced into participating in an induced abortion. This included physicians, nurses, and techs, but we'll guess the law was aimed at the latter two. So was this law needed, and will it work?

From the last year that statistics are available we see that abortions are performed nationally in:

1. Family planning clinics commonly called abortion clinics
2. Other clinics
3. Hospitals
4. Physicians' offices

Alabama reported that nine such facilities were available in the state in 2014, five of them being abortion clinics. That means that the remaining four fall into the last three categories named. We're guessing these four in our state are "other clinics" that somehow fly under the radar of the controversial name abortion clinic, but we don't know for sure. For the sake of argument, let's say that at least one is a hospital or obstetrician's office.

We're sure anyone seeking employment in a family planning clinic knows that abortions are performed there. What about the nurse or tech who goes to work in a physician's office or hospital and then finds that assisting in an abortion is mandatory? The new law says they can't be fired for refusing. Sounds good, doesn't it?

But wait! Alabama is a right to work state. That mean's you can be fired on your employer's whim. Sure, you can sue under the new law, but you won't win. You'll just be out money you can't afford to lose, plus have to sit in court while your former employer relates every incident he/she can think of where you were late, back talked, picked up the wrong instrument first...you get the idea.

For once, just for once, could our legislature concentrate on a workable budget? Is that too much to ask? Oh, wait, this is Alabama; it probably is.




Crowden Crime Dynasty


Many individuals follow in the footsteps of their fathers; most of them aren't criminals. Jerry Jerome Crowden > Jerry Don Crowden > Jerry Benjamin Crowden; three generations of burglars and ne'er do wells named Jerry Crowden. Jerry Jerome is deceased, but we've previously christened Jerry Don one of our sociopaths; is Jerry Benjamin one as well?


Now Jerry Benjamin has been indicted for his participation in 12 residential burglaries dating back 18 months, as well as 47 other evil deeds. Benji, as he's known to friends, has already been down south where his sex offender father is currently doing a 20 year sentence for burglary, theft, escape, receiving stolen property, and promoting prison contraband (drugs).

Will Benji now join his father in the incarcerated lifestyle or will some judge take pity on him...until the next time? We're sure his victims are hoping justice is done this go round.

*****


Here's a nice homey photo of Benji from Facebook...where he calls himself the 23 year-old founder and CEO of Crowden Enterprises. We're going to take a guess that crime is a major component of this business.

Or maybe not. We can see it now: You'll love the Crowden line of burglar tools or your money back. Remember we've put three generations of testing into our product.




Monday, March 13, 2017

How UNA Really Mucked It Up With Move To Division One


A Guest Editorial:


This Line-Up Has Even Leo Bumfuzzled

Proponents of UNA have said FCS did not do diligence as far as planning. I would say that's more true for UNA's move to Division 1. The schools we will be playing are so far away how many people will come from out of state to see a game? How many UNA fans will travel and how much money will it cost to transport UNA teams? I would argue UNA will need less parking for games.

The Atlantic Sun does not sponsor football so they have partnered with the Big South. Here is a list of teams in that conference and the distance from Florence, Alabama:


Campbell- 9 hr and 48 minute drive, 670 miles
Charleston Southern- 8 hr 23 minute drive, 560.2 miles
Gardner-Webb- 7 hr 6 minute drive, 465.8 miles
Highpoint- 8hr 41 minute drive, 556.9 miles
Longwood- 10hr 4 minute drive, 637.3 miles
Presbyterian College- 6hr 44 minute drive, 446 miles
Redford- 7hr 48 minute drive, 505 miles
UNC Asheville- 6hr 19 minute drive, 398 miles
Winthrop- 7hr 40 minute drive, 497.9 F
Mounmouth- 14hr 55 min drive, 981.4 miles

When the announcement came out it said all UNA Athletic teams are going Division 1 so here is a list of the teams and distance in the Atlantic Sun Conference, sports other than football will be playing:

FGCU- 12 hr and 8 minute drive, 850 miles
Jacksonville- 9 hr 4 minute drive, 612 miles
Kennesaw State- 4 hr and 12 minute drive, 228 miles
Lipscomb- 2 hr 14 minute drive, 128 miles
New Jersey Institute of Technology-14 hr 49 minute drive, 979 miles
North Florida- 9 hr 10 minute drive, 619 miles
South Carolina Upstate- 6 hr 32 minute drive, 435 miles
Stetson- 10 hr 12 minute drive, 682 miles.

UNA teams will spend a lot more time traveling than playing with this move and a ton of money. Was a lot of thought put into this?



Editor's Note: No, that's not really Leo; that's the famous Clarence.


*****

Ah, yes. Welcome to Florence where you don't have to be bi-polar to be elected to office, but it helps. How long until UNA wants more money? Perhaps Kitts can give some of his 40K bonus back?

No, wait. We have a better idea. Since UNA is so flush, why not have the university give some of the three million back that the City of Florence donated toward the new science building?

Live in Florence? How long does it take you to make three million dollars? Oh, sorry. The floor is too cold to laugh and roll on, isn't it?




Sunday, March 12, 2017

Calling for Britton Watson to Resign


A few years ago, an extremely caring and efficient Florence School Board member resigned. Why? It wasn't because he had committed some sexual indiscretion or ethics violation. No, it was because he felt something he had been quoted as saying had adversely affected his ability to serve the citizens of Florence. We disagreed with him, but it was his choice.




Now we're asking for Britton Watson to resign. She has a tremendous conflict of interest about which she's not been forthcoming. Yes, her ad agency works for UNA, or at least was working for the university when it issued this press release in December of last year:



How many on the board knew of this conflict? How many in the professional news business? How many in the general public?

No, Britton Watson cannot ethically work as a contract employee for the university and then sit all innocent on the school board and suggest that giving in to UNA is in Florence's best interests. Any caring parent in the city of Florence should demand her resignation effective immediately. Any concerned taxpayer should demand that she step down.

Britton Watson, we would love to hear from you. Have you anything to say concerning your behavior?





Saturday, March 11, 2017

Britton Watson Watch/How to Get a Parking Lot




Does the unmitigated duplicity of some elected officials constantly amaze you? We hope you answered "what else is new?" Now let's add New York native Britton Watson to the list of self-serving individuals who think ethics is a word describing the eBay category in which you'll find tribal jewelry.

In case your memory needs refreshing, Britton Watson is a newly elected Florence School Board member, and as far as we can tell the only member to suggest the new middle school could possibly find a better home than the old Coffee property. At a recent public meeting, Watson introduced Florence developer Eugene Sak who made an offer for the property. His magnanimous offer was approximately one-fifth of what UNA bid for the Cherry Street lot.

Sak is a one-time business associate of Bryan Robinson of DreamVision notoriety. We previously stated we didn't know of any connection between Sak and Blue Olive, Watson's company. We have since been made aware that the connection is between Sak and Greg Watson Jr, Britton Watson's husband and partner in Blue Olive Advertising. It seems Sak and G. Watson are partners in two companies: Medex Care and American Rx.

Cozy, isn't it? Oh, yes, we're sure there is something more going on there, but much of what has been sent us cannot be proved and could therefore be considered libelous. We'll just say that Mr. and Mrs. Watson, along with Sak, are not avoiding the appearance of evil.

*****

The Greenhill senior center needs a new parking lot and is seeking funding. It's simple, really; tell UNA the center has completed plans for an addition and is ready to roll. The university will then demand to purchase the property for a huge parking lot...which the center can use when UNA isn't. That would be most of the time. Problem solved. 

Sadly, the homeowners around the former Coffee High School property don't want an ocean of asphalt in their neighborhood. In fact, 90% of the residents of Florence prefer to keep the Coffee campus green. We now understand the school board has definitely ruled out the old Powell property, calling it totally unsuitable. 

No matter, Rogers Kimbrell has said; the city has that property off Helton Drive that it recently considered for the new animal shelter. Animal shelter...kid shelter...works for Kimbrell...




Friday, March 10, 2017

Why East Mobile Street Is One-Way (At Least Our Theory)




Visit the downtown of any large city and you're apt to see one way streets. Notice any trend in these streets? If you're driving east, the street or streets parallel to your street run(s) west. Similarly this is true for north/south one-way streets. Why? Among other things, it ensures that you don't have to travel a mile if you suddenly decide you want to change direction.

Now let's look at downtown Florence. This past week has been filled with references to the town's founding in 1818. In other words, Florence has been around quite a while. So have East Florence and North Florence. How did/do travelers get from East Florence to North Florence? The easiest way has always been Royal Avenue. If the traveler wanted to go downtown how did he/she go? The traveler exited Royal and turned west up one of four streets: Hermitage, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, or Tennessee. Remember, Tombigbee dead ends before reaching Royal.

Now let's bring Florence Boulevard into the mix. We have not been able to find the exact opening date for that venue to speeders and fender benders, but 1954 seems to be close. Since we're unsure, we'll say 1950. That means Florence was a town for at least 132 years before drivers had to contend with navigating the Tennessee Street/Florence Boulevard problem. 

Those in charge of street planning in that era decided to leave the last block of Tennessee open and make it one-way to Royal Avenue. While it's basically two-way again at this point, it still doesn't filter traffic to downtown from Royal Avenue. Now city planners had three streets leading into Florence that were two-way and one that was carrying only traffic exiting the city at a time when the downtown was the only shopping game in town. 

The above paragraphs are facts; the following paragraph is a very logical theory. 

What could have been more natural than to have made East Mobile (immediately parallel to East Tennessee) one-way bringing traffic into the city. Voila! Two two-way streets, one street carrying only westbound traffic, and one street (terminal block) carrying only eastbound traffic.



This seems like the perfect time to mention that Florence Boulevard ends at Memorial Grove Park. West of that is all Tennessee Street. We've always been dismayed at the Eagle Scout who for a badge project charted Florence City Cemetery as located on Florence Boulevard. Ah, well, if Steve Pierce or Robert Palmer can't understand why East Mobile is one way, why should a mere youth be able to read street signs?