Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Meanwhile in...


Florence: The informants who told us the Stricklin-FloBama feud was settled were apparently wrong. It will be interesting to see what the next 60 days hold.

Sheffield: The infamous vacant lot? It's miraculously been mowed. No word on any other clean up in progress.

Tuscumbia: Reports indicate that wear and tear still take their toll on Spring Park. No word on the muskrats. Yet the big story is the re-awakening of the Four-Way Motel, aka the motel that wouldn't die. No word from Chester the Cheater...

Muscle Shoals: Three hour meetings without bathroom breaks? Ah, the wonderful world of Brian Lindsey. Did Mrs. Chad take notes? Probably not; we hear that it was hush, hush. Just think, 13 more fun-filled days to go before the citizens actually get to vote.


*****



Anyone else hearing that Rusty's going solo? Well, he always was the one with the real talent even if he refused to wear the signature red tie.



*****

Question of the week: Which is worse...a school admin who lives outside the school jurisdiction or one who isn't registered to vote in the jurisdiction? Think about it, and we'll definitely have more on this later.





Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rusty Water Pipe Goes on Tour


First a fable submitted by a reader:

Why I Won't Give My Brother-In-Law Any More Money

About three or four times a year my brother-in-law comes knocking at my door. He cries about how he's changed his life and if I'll just lend him $50.00 to get my sister's wedding ring out of hock he'll be a new man and a credit to the family. The problem is there's a liquor store between my house and the pawn shop. Do I need to finish this story?

*****

Did you hear the one about the superintendent who took a rusty water pipe to an employee institute day? From there he moved on to Highland Park Elementary and a parents' meeting. We're guessing the pipe is a bit like Jack Benny's violin.

We're not sure when Highland Park was built, but we are pretty sure it was many years after UNA's Bibb Graves Hall. Any problems with rusty water pipes there? 

If the pipes are rusty at Highland Park, why isn't there money to remedy the problem? Surely there hasn't been any wasteful spending in the Muscle Shoals system's past...

*****

And a note to Dr. Lindsey, it seems many of the teachers at the high school are not happy with you and Chad Holden keeping them until after 5:00 p.m. yesterday while you spouted your rhetoric about assisting with passing the tax referendum. They want Shoalanda to make you two stop. We replied that we'll do our best.




Comedian, Con Man, or Confused?


From a regular reader:

When Steve Holt became mayor of Florence he discovered the plans for the new animal shelter included a gift shop and a snack bar. Did he just say, "Oh, well, that's the plan. Nothing I can do"? No, he quickly changed the plans.

But Chad Holden tells the citizens of Muscle Shoals that Brian Lindsey couldn't scale back on the plans for the new football stadium (aka athletic complex) when he took office. Just nothing to be done but go through with it.



How many of you believe that? Not only that, we've seen the 2013 newspaper article where Coach Basden says it was all Lindsey's idea. What gives? Which man is confused or should I use another word?

But let's go on. Holden says two different attorneys general have said it's all right for Alabama schools to campaign for more money. No, what at least one of these said concerned the Alabama Excellence Initiative. No one got an opinion on the Muscle Shoals district which has the highest home tax in the county. 

Then look at this...



So I guess Lindsey could rob a bank and give the money to the school and it would be all right if he stated it was in the board's best interest? Sorry, Chad, I don't think it works that way. 

Have you seen any other school officials supporting this tax? No, didn't think so. Chad Holden is either a comedian or a con man. Or maybe just confused. Or he really, really wants to support Brian Lindsey. Isn't Lindsey the man who gave Holden the job of principal at Muscle Shoals High School? Didn't Holden move to Muscle Shoals just to please Lindsey? 

That's some loyalty. Or is that something else that we just can't put a name to yet?


Monday, August 13, 2018

Waterloo & Liars?


What would you do to save your school? Or could you care less? Like a displaced Cosmopolite in a Cafe', many in Florence now regret having no alma mater. So what if your school is still open, but the Thanksgiving turkey isn't the only thing on the fast approaching chopping block?

There's long been talk of closing Waterloo School. Would a state football championship help keep it open? Sadly, in this state, the answer might just be yes. So how far would you go to get that state championship? Or in other words, what's a little illegal recruiting if it fills a pressing need? 

If you have information or comments on current antics at Waterloo School, please contact us. 


*****


Across the river we have the booming school district of Muscle Shoals. Recently, we read an article by one educator advocating the proposed property tax increase and noticed several flaws in logic. "Flaws in logic" is the nicest way we can put it, but several of our readers have used much harsher words. "Liar" seems to have sprung to the minds of many Muscle Shoals citizens. 

To say we've been bombarded with rebuttals to a certain principal's defense of a 31% tax increase (67% if you must), would be putting it mildly. We have enough material to blog on for days, even disregarding the comments concerning the principal's "manly parts."

So let's get started:


Click to Enlarge


Sunday, August 12, 2018

What's Wrong at Muscle Shoals Post Office?


USPS officials are mum on the Avalon Ave. Post Office closure, other than citing 'safety concerns'. OK. Let's examine some possible/plausable 'safety concerns':

The building in question is too new for there to be any likely asbestos issues. We can probably rule that out right off the bat.

Electrical? Again, as with asbestos, not likely due to the building's age.

Black mold? Now we're getting warm. Black mold infestation is no respector of age. Most are aware of the litany of health problems associated with black mold. Which brings us to the REAL questions:

Why the secrecy? Could it be that officials are worried about possible medical claims from Post Office patrons? What about possible health concerns of family members of USPS employees working at that location? It is entirely possible, plausable, even, that USPS employees working in an environment infested with black mold could/would bring such mold spores home on their clothing. 

See the possible 'real' issue, now? It goes from being a 'safety concern' to a major CYA concern.









*****

Several readers have contacted us about the post office closure. The most interesting theory involved bomb making materials being present in the building. While the workers who are going inside are wearing some protective clothing, we've not seen any photos of what could be considered body armor. We're ruling out explosives for that one reason. Until the postal service elaborates, we're all in the dark.




Saturday, August 11, 2018

Who Lives Where?


We've had several questions concerning where various Muscle Shoals school administrators and personnel live. We've asked a person who's in the know and received this list. Residents of Muscle Shoals are in green. If there should be any errors, please contact us and we will correct immediately.






Superintendent Brian Lindsey Non Resident

Assistant Superintendent Denise Woods Non Resident 

HS Principle Chad Holden Resident 

HS Asst Jeff Madden Non Resident

HS Asst Kelly Nichols Non Resident 

MSMS Principle Kevin Davis Non Resident 

MSMS Asst Brittany Schneider Resident 

MCBride Principle Alan Willingham Non Resident 

McBride Asst Michelle Swindle Non Resident 

Webster Principle Jason Simmons Resident 

HPES Principle Wes Pounders Non Resident 

Career Academy Principle Caryn Hairell Non Resident

Howell Graves Sheneta Smith Non Resident. 

Another Negative Take on Muscle Shoals School Tax


The upcoming school tax referendum has certainly provoked some interesting comments. As has always been our policy, we will be happy to publish both pros and cons; however, we have not as yet received any comments in favor of the tax. We did hear from the Muscle Shoals resident who's an editor at a site not associated with us, and he will be voting "No." 

That brings us to yesterday's blog written by Leslie M. Shoals. Leslie wrote for us for some time before we asked the writer to choose a name (it keeps down confusion). When the writer failed to choose a name, we suggested "Leslie M. Shoals" in part since Leslie could be male or female. We have always endeavored to refrain from identifying Leslie's gender.



Now a Muscle Shoals school admin has stated on his FB page that Leslie is female, calling the writer a constant critic of both the school system and the city council. It would seem that someone realizes he made an enemy at some point and possibly feels guilty about it? We all make mistakes, and the easiest way to correct them is to apologize for our behavior. No child, whether in Leslie's family or not, should be mistreated by school admins. Just our opinion...


*****

From another Muscle Shoals resident:


To help enlighten voters about some facts not being discussed:

Per the news article published in the Times Daily on May 8, 2013:

In January, the school district began construction on a $5.9 million center for technology adjacent to Muscle Shoals High School. The school district is using $2.9 million from the bond and $3 million of its capital reserves to fund that project.

So, let’s do the math:

$10,000,000 bond issue

$2,900,000 portion of bond used for Center for Technology

$7,100,000 was spent on the Athletic facility, football field turf, and stadium upgrades.

The city kicks in $1.3 million to help with the bond issues for high school and this $10 million bond for Career Academy and Athletics Facility, field and stadium upgrades.

Give Us MORE:

The city is paying an additional $200,000.00 each year toward the 10 million dollar bond issue which means the city is paying roughly 4 million of the 10 million from taxpayers money. Let that sink in!

There’s 3 things you’ll notice never gets mention:

#1: The money (tax payer money) they get from the city already.

#2: How much the current tax has generated in the last 8 years. 2010 was $2.1 million. 2017 over $4.1 million. Most of that increase started on 2013-2014 due to the housing market really exploding and it continues to grow.

#3: That the new appraisals are estimated to bring in over an additional $1 million. Don’t miss this!! The school will get the money they are asking for off of the increased appraisals and the homes that are continuing to be built. The tax will do nothing but dip twice. The tax not passing will not foreclose the Muscle Shoals Schools as they are trying to act like it will.

These three things they do not and will not discuss. They know it points to a lack of planning and management. This is what people need to see and understand over and over and over. Money IS NOT THE ISSUE!

Remember: Property taxes are voted on every 30 years. So if this passes it’s good till 2048. Or until they come asking for more...




Friday, August 10, 2018

Several Concerns as a Muscle Shoals Citizen


Below is a blog written by our regular writer Leslie M. Shoals. Leslie is the only one of our writers who resides in the city of Muscle Shoals. Yes, we know that another local blogger has attempted to implicate owners/editors of other sites as being part of our blogging team. You may believe him or you may believe us. If we wished to lie about the person's involvement, we would also lie about Leslie's. So, yes, Leslie has a special interest in the upcoming tax referendum, while the rest of us do not. 

How would Shoalanda vote if she lived in the city of Muscle Shoals? The answer is "No" since current tax revenue isn't being spent expeditiously, we can't believe any added revenue would be spent in any more accountable fashion. 


*****


The belief that educators model good behavior for the students is something that is sacred. It's critical for the development for young minds to witness the highest level of moral and ethical behavior of those school employees they are exposed to at every level.

However, the Muscle Shoals City Schools are failing miserably in setting the good example for their students in the importance of following rules and concentrating on getting a quality education.

Muscle Shoals Employee Handbook - as adopted by the School Board upon recommendation by the superintendent:

4.11 Political Activity
        a. Employees may not appropriate Board property or resources for use in political campaigns and may not engage in partisan political activities (including but not limited to the distribution of campaign material or literature) during regular school or duty hours or at a Board sponsored or sanctioned events, functions, or at activities at which the employee is on duty or assigned official responsibilities.
         d. Political signs may not be placed on schools or school board property. 

As you can see from the pictures taken at the High School, McBride Elementary and the Middle School, there is very little regards the principals really care what the rules are, nor do they fear being held responsible for clearly violating the rules. Then again, Superintendent Lindsey doesn't hold any respect and regards for the board members doing right either as he has vote yes signs lined up in front of the Board Central Office as well as the Community Ed Office next door. (now - how about that community?)

Let's look at much deeper and troubling reports out of the Middle School. A PE teacher (non resident) lectured the children to tell their parents to vote for an increase in property taxes based on it will only cost their parents $4 a month and the children would reap the benefits when they get to the high school where this tax will allow them to buy really nice PE equipment for them to use there. Wow - Haven't heard that as one of the "capital improvement" plans Mr. Lindsey has thrown out there.

Earlier there was much ado made about McBride Elementary School (principal is non resident as well) using the taxpayer's LED school sign to promote the political campaign "Vote Yes".

Now, we have him, and the Middle School Principal (non-resident) lining the street and around the multi million dollar athletic facility with campaign signs to vote yes - clearly violating the policies - with no regard for the rules.

How do these administrators expect the children to respect them, let alone follow the rules, and aspire to do great things, with this kind of childish and illegal acts going on?

What is the penalty for such? Those are also spelled out within the pages of "thou shalt nots", however, there has to be moral and ethical governance and oversight for a civilized society to function in such a manner.

Mr. Willie Thompson, Mr. Farrell Southern, Mr. Clay Wood, Mr. Stoddard, Ms. Rudolf, did you read the handbooks before you approved them to make them binding rules of procedures? Do you realize by your lack of enforcement of rules, you have set a precedent for any and all attempted enforcement of rules to be thrown out in a court of law?

CITY COUNCILMAN NOLES, WILLIS, LOCKHARD, SOCKWELL - MAYOR. Is this what you condone with your appointment of yes people to that board? Your test of accountability will be taken in 2020 - we're ready to grade you, and not soon enough. 

And, you want the good citizens of Muscle Shoals to give you MORE MONEY? You can't manage simple tasks like rules and regulations, how can we expect you to manage money?

It's obvious, you have bigger problems than money - you have a serious lack of moral and ethical values in some of your administrators.

This ole timer says a BIG NO to any further feeding of the fattened cow.

VOTE NO - AUGUST 28th



Thursday, August 9, 2018

Kudzu - 99 v. Sheffield Signs - 0


If you remember our movie location from yesterday, it was 32nd Street and 20th Avenue in Sheffield. We didn't pull that designation from an old film can. The lot at this corner has been for sale for approximately five years...and mowed once during that time.

It gets better. You know those "Can You Find the..." that are regularly posted on the Internet. Well, we have a great one for you. Can you find the sign that says "Slow - 25 MPH?" 




Couldn't find it? You're not alone; we required the assistance of the reader who sent us the photos earlier in the week. Here's a closeup that shows the sign from the middle of the above photo. Warning: You may still have to look carefully.




Every city and county government should require that all signs be cleaned off and refurbished if necessary at least once a year. This particular sign is near a school zone and just might at some point save a life if anyone could read it.


*****

But that's not all. Remember the photo of the pool hall located in Sheffied? This is two to three doors to the north:



The city should either make the owner clean this hazard up or confiscate the building to rehabilitate and sell for expenses. We hope no one is holding their breath...





Wednesday, August 8, 2018

It Came from the Depths of Sheffield



Alabama Irrational Pictures

and

Shoalanda Z. Arkoff

present




Starring...

John Elkington as the Fearless Entrepreneur who Dared Enter Inspiration Landing, Never to be Heard from Again



and

Charlie Grimmett as the Hapless Building Inspector who Bravely Fought on until Overcome by Kudzu



Featuring...


Keith Lankford as the Feckless Superintendentt who Deserted His Station



and 

The Comedy Duo of Ricky Terry & Celia Kelley as the Bungling Pair Attempting to Walk the Perimeter of City Hall in Less than 60 Minutes




Filmed on Location at the Corner of 32nd Street & 20th Avenue!





Showing Now at a City Near You!





Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Karaoke with Cole Smith (and a Touch of Rape?)


Monday night was "Karaoke with Cole Smith" night at the 72 Roadhouse in Rogersville. We have no idea who Cole Smith is, but we can positively say what happened there did nothing to enhance his career. Now the roadhouse is shut down; will it reopen?


That may depend on what did happen there. Was it only attempted rape or did the manager succeed in his alleged attack? Is alleged the operative word; forensics will soon prove if this unfortunate young employee was actually drugged and raped, simply drugged, or neither? 

In the interim, the owner(s) will have lost revenue and may never be able to regain the lost patrons. At best...the very best...there were some unfortunate hiring decisions made here.

*****



If you're 17 and wish to enter the military, you need to be able to run two miles in 17 minutes. If you're older and wish to be Sheffield's next police chief, you need to be able to run 1.5 miles in 15 minutes. How many excellent law enforcement personnel does that preclude? Anyone think the fix was in?

No matter, most in the Sheffield City Council saw through that and didn't want Ricky Terry (yes, he's not a favorite in several communities, and we're not talking criminal). Let's hope a second round of picks will work out better.




Monday, August 6, 2018

Kitts Said (Insert Euphemism)


Did you ever leave a job to pursue other interests? Or perhaps you left to pursue other opportunities? What does that mean exactly? Hmmm, let's see: Sacked, canned, fired, dumped, given the boot, phased out - you get the idea. If you don't get it, here's a great article that explains it very well:



So how was David Shields' resignation announced? From the FlorAla:



UNA prexy Kenneth Kitts didn't have too much to say, did he? Kittsy has more sacks to his credit than most SEC defensive linemen. 

"Break Me off a Piece of That Kit Kat..."

Perhaps we should start a pool on who will be next? Mark Linder or Leo?

We're going with Linder. Leo can bite back.




Sunday, August 5, 2018

How Loud Is Loud?


Noise ordinances are worded in several different ways, from defining decibels to distances. In most cases, sound ordinances that are easily enforceable speak of noise that could be considered unreasonable. Obviously, very little noise coming from a bar could be designated as unreasonable. 

However, this point in Florence may be moot if several of our readers are correct. They've informed us that the FloBama and the Stricklin Hotel have reached an amicable resolution to their differences. Let's hope that's the case.


*****




On the local education front, David Shields is now gone from UNA. Why? More personality clashes? One of the results of the Jane Doe lawsuit fiasco?


*****

Meanwhile in Muscle Shoals, an election is fast approaching. Does anyone think the additional property tax will be approved? Does anyone actually believe that Supt. Brian Lindsey either knows or cares how to use the taxpayer funding he currently has? We're predicting a huge "No" victory.

Before anyone can say "for the children," is there someone out there who can tell us one thing in the Muscle Shoals school system that is currently substandard? That's not counting administrators, of course.



Friday, August 3, 2018

Steve Hargrove Leaves Sheffield BOE


Not only has Keith Lankford left the Sheffield school system where he was superintendent, board member Steve Hargrove has also reportedly resigned. This may be old news to some who are in the know - it happened in June. Yet, there have been no public announcements about Hargrove's resignation. 


*****

The Muscle Shoals school board says that the only reason anyone moves to that Colbert County city is the quality of education. Really? Surely the city has other alluring attributes? 


*****

Dr. Jimmy Shaw

It's a good time to ask if Muscle Shoals does have a better quality of education than the other three major systems in the Shoals. Depending upon the criteria, the Florence City School System comes out first in many surveys. Florence also has much less drama and political machinations than Muscle Shoals while offering a more rounded education. Surely that counts for something? Thank you, Dr. Jimmy Shaw!





Thursday, August 2, 2018

Needy or Greedy?/Private Security


From Stop the Home Tax:


Mr. Thompson as a resident and a parent with a child in our school system you are wrong for saying that the “anti” side is against the future of our children. I am embarrassed for you that you use such tactics as to say that. I want nothing but the best for my child and every other child. I want the best education that our money can Afford! You want us to be aware of the future of our children when you as a BOE member hasn’t planned for the future of our school system. I’m sorry this this has become such a hate thing between 2 sides, because I’m not that kind of person.
Being proud of the our school is what WE are all about. I would love to see all the schools have new facilities. What I have a problem with is how so much money is spent in certain areas instead of equal distribution and planning ahead. You can’t argue that the school system receives a nice amount of money already, over $30 million a year. This does not include fundraisers and monies the education foundation raises. When there is such a need for new buildings why are you not planning ahead and looking into the future way before now. You talk about the future but why has the BOE not taken action before now!! It’s so demanding that you all of a sudden need money now and you couldn’t see this coming several years ago. You have been on this BOE for many years and you want people to jump up and give money when planning is the key to the future. Just as these children are a key to the future. 
You want to make it sound like 67% is an invalid number. Yes, that’s a big number to stare at and $4.17 is a small number to stare at. And sure “your side” will show as small of a number as possible to make them think it’s not much. When you raise 7.5 to 12.5 (millage) then that is a 67% increase no matter how you figure the math.
I don’t know where you get your number but the average homeowner will not be giving $4.17 a month. You need to research better and maybe see Tommy Oswalt at the Colbert County Rev. office. The property taxes have just increased significantly and you didn’t factor that in. You also are assuming an average and you're way off base. It is fair to say the lower your property value is the less you will pay, but the higher your property value is the higher you will be paying. Your $4.17 is inaccurate in so many ways.
I’ve talked to many more folks than you, I promise! I’ve given out over 260 yard signs and I have 200 more wanting them. As I deliver them I get to hear their story.
You know it seems to me that better solutions are available. It’s sad to see that a small city as ours can’t come to an agreement on this instead of this stuff that’s happening. We should all be spreading the Love.
Come on Mr. Thompson, you're better than this, we all love our community and the school system, don’t make us look like haters!
As Mr. Richard Riley said, a former respected teacher of the Muscle Shoals School System, “No one is opposed to adequately funding our schools but there is a big difference between the needy and the greedy.”

Leigh Ann Hunter

*****


Over the years I've had occasion to work for several private security companies. There are a few facts about private security worth noting:

* Private security officers ARE NOT law enforcement officers.
* Private security officers DO NOT have arrest powers, neither can they forcibly restrain any one. This is to shield the security company from lawsuits.
* Private security officers have NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to intervene in any incident. Rather, they are trained to OBSERVE AND REPORT. This is to shield the security company from lawsuits.
* Private security officers have minimal training, UNLESS they are employed by a FEDERAL agency, such as TVA. The minimal training supports the private security companies' objective of being a 'witness', rather than a 'deterrent'.
* Private security officers are very often underpaid, have NO meaningful benefits, and as a result, the industry suffers a very high turnover rate. Security companies will charge $25-35/hr for their services, yet the security officers on the site may make no more than $8-10/hr. So: If $28,000/yr is being requested to hire a PRIVATE security company officer, the security officer will only 'see' $15,000-18,000 of that money. The private security company will pocket the rest.
* Lastly, private security companies secure contracts by UNDERBIDDING their competition. In other words, a site (Your child's school?) is 'protected' by the LOWEST BIDDER for the contract.





Wednesday, August 1, 2018

We Heard Us Some Sounds, It Was a Honky Tonk Lounge


We sincerely hope that we can stop laughing long enough to compose this blog. Let's begin at the beginning...



Florence, being a happenin' kind of a place (insert Steve Martin sketch here), wants to be many things to many people. Specifically, our lovely town wants to have a downtown entertainment district, so we have places like On the Rocks and Flo-Bama. You know Flo-Bama - it's why you can't find a parking place near Fred's when you get off work. 

But it's here; it's been here for quite some time. We haven't heard of any muggings, brawls, or honey trap schemes, so if you don't like it, just don't go there. Pretty simple, isn't it? 

On the other side of the social coin are boutique hotels. Florence now has two - the Gunrunner and the new Stricklin. Our personal opinion is the jet set doesn't want to come to Florence and even the most urbane business travelers are on a budget, so they won't be staying at any boutique hotels while visiting here. Sure, there will be some visitors, even some locals on a special night, but enough patrons to keep two such establishments in business? We'll see.

Now, if you aren't familiar with Florence, the Flo-Bama is located adjacent to the Stricklin Building where the new hotel is located on the upper floors. Sounds from this honky tonk lounge probably don't bother diners at Big Bad Breakfast, but they do irritate hotel patrons who wish to sleep at night. Who saw that coming?

Now the owners of the Stricklin have filed suit against Flo-Bama...and the City of Florence for not enforcing the noise ordinance. Remember, the Flo-Bama may be a dive but it's been there since 2010. The Stricklin opened just this past month. Perhaps we should mention here that the hotel has its own bar, the Boiler Room. Yes, they actually named it that. Florence obviously needs a seminar on naming businesses. We're expecting the Bloody Bucket to arrive shortly.

Now, gentle readers, if we open a store on Shetland Island selling air conditioning units, will you feel sorry for us when we fail? What? You're not answering that question? Oh...you're too busy laughing at the owners of the Stricklin Hotel.




Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sheffield/Challenging Question


We've gotten quite a few comments from residents of Sheffield concerning grown up lawns. Most have stated the code is not fairly enforced. If you know of a lawn/lot whose owner needs to be contacted concerning the grass/health problems, call the Sheffield building inspector:



The Building Department and License Department are located in City Hall at 600 N. Montgomery Avenue, Sheffield, Alabama on the main floor.  Hours of operation are 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Monday - Friday.  Our mailing address is P.O. Box 380, Sheffield, Alabama 35660.  Contact us at 256-386-5606 or by Fax 256-386-5604. 

If anyone has any problems, let us know.


*****

We also had several comments about our blog on the police lip-sync challenge. We failed to label the clip we published. No, it certainly wasn't Florence. The video was from the Skokie police department and has been labeled by critics as the best example of the fad so far. No comment. Wait, we will comment. They left out the Nazis.


*****

We've been asked if it's true that a certain local police chief has forbidden his troops from participating in this lip-sync fad. We checked and have discovered there may be a video from that town's housing authority that would be even more entertaining. 





Monday, July 30, 2018

The Grass is Always Greener in Sheffield Municipal Court


Many small towns make money via the municipal court route. The collection of fines is not always fair, but, as they say, you can't fight city hall. Or can you?

Sheffield is a small town in desperate need of cash (that is until their version of DreamVision opens). Speed traps? That may be true, but there aren't too many city streets that would qualify as a venue for one. 

So what else is easy pickin's? Below is an account from a Sheffield resident. We are not including our reader's name, even though it was sent in connection to this article. It's an interesting situation with no easy answers.


*****



On April 19th a letter was sent to me from the city of Sheffield building department warning me my grass on my lot was too tall. I complied and made sure it was mowed a day or two later. Now the city ordnance says if I do not comply then in 10 days the city will send me a citation to appear in court. On May 30th a citation to appear in court was sent and July 16th I showed up to court. 

Between April 19th to May 30th my grass was mowed 3 times. I have receipts for those mowings from the man I hired to mow the grass every 10-14 days Now May 24-29 it rained every single day and my grass cutting guy said he would not mow if the grass is wet. Because of all the rain my grass grew over the legal limit. When I went to court that day the prosecutor said it didn’t matter if I had receipts showing I had complied. What mattered is I was caught with tall grass after I was warned of the tall grass. 

So here is my argument, the law reads that the city must send a warning and I have 10 days to comply if I don’t comply in 10 days then the city must send me a summons. Ok so that means they are gonna take a picture on the day they went to send me a warning, then they must go out to look at the lot 10 days later and give me a citation if I have NOT complied. Not 41 days later. The city of Sheffield seems to think if they have warned someone once then the next time they catch you with tall grass from now until doom's day that they can send you a citation to appear in court. 

I tried to explain to the prosecutor that I had had the lot mowed 3 times and the reason it is high is the four five days of rain where the yard man wouldn’t come. He told me it doesn’t matter, how do I plead. I said I’m not pleading anything I refuse to take part in a kangaroo court. And be rooked in to something I didn’t do or had no control over. He blew up like a bomb, threatened me that he would set this for trial and he was asking for jail time. I told him I’m not scared go do it. What’s the most the judge is gonna give me 24 hours? He then had me tossed out of court. And never sent me my paperwork for trial. I had to call up to find out my trial date.

The city is abusing their own ordnance. They are not checking on the warned lots 10 days after a warning was sent and they using the warning as a forever way to cite people. The day I went to court there were 6 people in there for grass violations - the city has found a new revenue at 400 bucks a pop.



*****

Anyone else like to report a similar incident?








Sunday, July 29, 2018

Criticism for Florence Police


So which had you rather do: Video a lip-sync or drink boiling water? No matter how silly you may look, we hope you chose the former. 



If you're not aware, many police departments are engaging in the lip-sync craze. Presumably that's because there's no crime in their towns. Some have been pretty bad, but some have been just short of perfection. The Muscle Shoals Police video is surely something to behold.

So did surrounding towns heap the officers with praise? At least one town says it can do better. Yes, Florence says it can outdo Muscle Shoals, presumably between solving several cold case murders. The FPD is so sure of itself that it released a teaser.

Now here's the kicker - the teaser is set in (drum roll) Sheffield. We were a little perplexed to see the Florence officer cavorting at a Sheffield landmark, but then we tend to notice little incongruities like that. This time, we weren't the only ones.

It seems many have commented on just why the FPD would film a video designed to showcase their department in a neighboring town. The comments haven't been exactly favorable. 

So will the finished video offer any surprises? We have no idea, but let's hope it depicts the FPD arresting the entire population of Muscle Shoals and herding them into the detention center. It may be the only way to redeem themselves.




Saturday, July 28, 2018

SROs v. Private Security (Or Lawsuit City)


The young man was accosted by three other boys outside his high school (still on school property). A private security guard ran to the young man's rescue. No, wait, he didn't. The young man being attacked was the smallest; the security guard picked him up, turned him upside down, and then pounded him into the concrete. The young boy required emergency surgery, and it's still unknown if he will ever be the same.

Think this couldn't happen here? The above incident happened in May of this year at Jemison High School in Huntsville where private security guards are used instead of SROs. These guards have no arrest powers, and their level of training is unknown. The injured student's family has already initiated a lawsuit against the security company and Huntsville City Schools.


*****



We've related the above cautionary tale since we've been getting some very differing accounts of just who and what the City of Rogersville is seeking to fund at their school. A School Resource Officer is an actual law officer who is assigned to a school - definitely not private security. 

If Rogersville paid the salary of this person, or funneled the money to the Lauderdale County Board of Education to pay the salary, this person would not be an SRO. We have no idea at this point if the latter is the case here or if individuals are simply confused about the matter.

The salient point is that if this is private security, Lauderdale County High School, the BOE, and the city itself could be setting itself up for quite a lawsuit. But, hey, it's only taxpayer money.