Saturday, March 31, 2018

Is Term "Sex Offender Ministry" off Target?

Our blog has been called out for using the term "Sex Offender Ministry" in connection with the current ministry centered at the Four-Way Motel. We used this term, since those connected with it have stated 50% of those who will reside there will be sex offenders. If any found this misleading, we apologize. Again, it's the sex offender element that we find unsettling. We will say a second time, if this ministry catered to former cat burglars, we would have few qualms about it.



Here are some points that cannot be disputed:

1. The organization "Outreach Reentry Ministry" is registered to Willie Simpson and John Williams and is over 25 years old.

2. This organization began to increase its profile last summer. Why? 

3. Offices for this organization moved recently from a local church building in Florence to the old Four-Way Motel in Tuscumbia.

4. According to Chester McKinney (speaking at a very public Colbert County Commission meeting), the Church of the Highlands will be working with this ministry.


Does this blog have a problem with the Church of the Highlands? No, at least not in the way it's been asked.

It is our opinion that if the pulpit minister for this church spoke on the subject of divorce, alcohol, etc., the 40,000 regular attendees would soon diminish greatly. Please note that's an opinion; however, we encourage anyone to listen to sermons regularly given at any mega-church and then tell us they don't preach a feel-good or uber prosperity gospel...or both.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Legislative Session Ends - No Guns in Schools

While the good citizens of Alabama may soon be paying for a special session of our legislature, the regular session for this year has ended. One bill that didn't pass was the arming of teachers. So at least for this year, we don't have to worry about Mr. Debtwitchet shooting Junior.


What else has been promised over the years and never come to fruition? A revamping of our state constitution and either a revamping or outright removal of the certificate of need law. Maybe next year? Just kidding.



A reader asked us if we were sure the Church of the Highlands was assisting/over the Four-Way ministry. This is from its ultimate critic Edward Bowman:

I want to make something’s clear. Some are making statements that the Church of the Highlands isn’t involved in this “ministry” (business) halfway house for convicted sex offenders. That’s not true!

Fact 1. Church of the Highlands made it quite clear to me when I spoke to them about Willie Simpson and their involvement.
Fact 2. Mayor for the City Tuscumbia made clear to me that the Church Of The Highlands has oversight of this “ministry” (business) halfway house.
Fact 3. If you look at the template for Tuscaloosa the Church Of The Highlands & Chamber Of Commerce... it’s like mirroring the same!
Fact 4. Mr. McKinney made the statement in a room full of people (video to back it up) 3 times that the Church Of The Highlands has oversight of this!


We're not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that a scandal in Lauderdale County is about to make everyone forget about the half-way house...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Church of the Highlands & the Sex Offender Ministry

According to Chester McKinney, the Church of the Highlands is over the current half-way house being run by Willie Simpson and his quarter-century old Outreach Reentry Ministry. There are so many producers in this miasma of outreachings that it could be a major motion picture. 

How did Highlands and Outreach discover each other? How did they both uncover Chester McKinney? Why is this mega-church even in the Shoals? We presume to "church" those who just don't fit in with more mainline ministries. That may sound good on the surface, but we've found such organizations to create more problems than they solve. This may certainly be the case with this offender ministry.

How did the formula of 50% sex offender clientele come about? Is this a given, or will we see this ratio change as time goes by? 

Yes, we just used the word "change." This is a term that most psychologists say sex offenders don't relate to. Make no mistake, if this were a ministry dedicated to cat burglars, we'd have a great deal less to say about it. Only this is a ministry that seems to be dedicated to those whose crimes have placed them on the registry. Why?



One aspect of this ministry that we've not seen covered extensively is the "why" only non-Shoals area offenders? Does this ministry seek to separate them from their families, if they have any? That begs a second question: Why a half-way house? Most offenders are paroled to rejoin family, if at all possible. Apparently family doesn't want these men...and there may be a good reason for that.


We see one foe of this ministry is admonishing others not to make it political by criticizing Sen. Larry Stutts. Yet he and others are criticizing current candidate Frank Williamson. If there is a difference, please explain it to us.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

State Senate 2018? Dive Right In...

Both Larry Stutts and Johnny Mack Morrow made the news today. We usually don't like negative politics, but now would have been the time for Morrow to condemn Stutts' lack of action concerning Chester McKinney's half-way house in Tuscumbia. Or should we rename that facility a work house?

Stutts? Here's the basics from Josh Moon:

Morrow? He came up with more questions about the Four-Way motel deal than its major critic. Perhaps that indicates more experience in back room deals?



We see the TimesDaily is calling the Four-Way residents "inmates." So far, with only two, the residents are all free men, but on parole. Will the facility also house probationers? How about community correction inmates? So much hype, and so few facts.

If you want to learn a little more about the Alabama parole system, here's a great article:

It's from 2015, but it's still on spot for 99% of the information.


So we're looking at "six to eight months" for the highly hyped roundabout to be completed? Construction should begin in June; if you have a favorite business in the area, visit it now. At least some will fall by the way during construction.

Don't like the roundabout? Don't worry. In another 30 years, the city and state will come up with something "better." 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

David Clayton Wiseman Takes Care of His Family?

"Teacher Hilda Wiseman and Principal Will Joiner have mutual cousins. David has helped to tear his wife from her family as well as almost destroying the school. That's why I didn't let my two kids take band." A Reader

It's not easy being a band booster - just ask the band parents at Lexington High School. Nine or ten years ago was an especially difficult time (reports differ on the exact year). As the school year ended, the band booster account had a balance of 23,000.00. There were some small bills to be paid from the account, but nothing major, so the Purple Pride would be flush for fall. At least that's what the parents thought.

Then in July, the boosters were called to a special meeting. The new boosters' president, David Wiseman's sister-in-law, informed them that their account was 1,000.00 overdrawn. The group was told that Wiseman himself had deposited the money to cover the overdraft, but he needed to be repaid immediately since he himself had cash flow problems due to a family illness. There would need to be an immediate fund raiser.

Booster members later learned that it wasn't common for a band director to have access to fund raising accounts, but at Lexington it was a standard practice. No one ever discovered the whereabouts of the missing money, but in the fall, Wiseman's niece had a new mellophone to play in the band, while other less well connected members held their instruments together with ponytail holders. After all, Wiseman's niece (the booster president's daughter) needed a good instrument to assure her band scholarship to Auburn. The cost of a professional mellophone runs around 2,000.00, so where the remaining 22,000.00 may have gone is anyone's guess.

By that time tensions were running high. When a band booster meeting followed a reprimand from the principal and the superintendent, those in attendance were sure to hear of it. Discretion never seemed to be David Wiseman's strong point. 

Now Wiseman has initiated an effort to smear school administration. Perhaps he thought his past behavior had been forgotten? According to at least one parent, the best thing that could happen to Lexington School would be for David Clayton Wiseman to resign. We concur.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Wisemans: A Gift to Lexington That Just Keeps on Taking

Our view on life is that it's give and take. If you're given much, you try to return that in some manner. Yet there are those who take and take and always seem to expect more. Several who have written us concerning David Clayton Wiseman and his wife Hilda Jane Springer Wiseman have portrayed this couple as feeling Lexington School owes them something. We agree...and we sincerely hope that something is deposited into their checking accounts each month. That should pretty well cover it.

To understand the Wisemans, you may need to go back over 25 years when David was a young band director. Either he had little self control or he felt that he was above the rules, for he began a relationship with a young female student. To say that 25 years ago was a different "era" is probably too much of a simplification. We've known of teachers admonished for inappropriate relationships many years before that time period, but perhaps Lexington under its former principal was worried that it could not replace Wiseman and simply overlooked this peccadillo since David and Hilda were going to marry...despite the 12 year age difference. 

David Clayton Wiseman has just scored his first coup.

Now a married woman, Hilda Jane Wiseman is also armed with a degree in education from Athens State and is looking for a job. Where better for her to teach than with her husband at Lexington? No matter that such arrangements are frowned upon in most school systems, the Wisemans forge ahead with their plan for Hilda's career, and she becomes a fixture at the same school as her husband.

David Clayton Wiseman has just scored his second coup. 

Wiseman must have felt he could do no wrong at this point, but things changed when he was diagnosed with tinnitus and hearing loss. Obviously (according to Wiseman) he needed better acoustics and asked the Lauderdale Board of Education for a new band room. Never mind that such schools as Rogers had sold donuts for years in order to pay for a new band room, Wiseman felt the Lauderdale board should pay to build a new edifice to commemorate his talent.

When the board refused Wiseman's request, let's just say he didn't take it well. If he had expected an easy victory this time, he was not to have it. David Wiseman authorized sound studies of the band facilities and blasted legal threats at the board, going so far as to call them out in public. One reader reported:

It was a constant fight. My problem was his open discussion about private meetings with Principal Joiner and the Board...disdainful comments and an attitude that influenced the kids to have conflicts with their school leaders...

No, it seems David Wiseman doesn't take failure well - another of life's lessons he's apparently failed to learn. Yet for a time the band director still had supporters. Then came the summer of either 2008 or 2009 (we apologize that we cannot narrow this time frame down). Band boosters were called in to discuss the need for an emergency fund raiser. 

Where had $24,000.00 of band booster money gone?

Tomorrow: David Clayton Wiseman takes care of his family.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A UNA Insider Again Speaks

From Concerned Citizen 101:

Well it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about UNA. Not because things have gotten better because believe me they HAVE NOT. I have waited because I like to verify the information before I write something. This will jump around a bit but hold on to your seats you will not believe the magnitude of pure foolishness that is still going on at the University of North Alabama. 

If you remember in my last post ( I told you that Ms. Audrey Mitchell was forced out of her position by Kimberly Greenway, Catherine White and President Kenneth Kitts. (See link above) Well I thought that maybe Ms. Mitchell’s new Vice President Mr. Evan Thornton (VP for Business & Financial Affairs) would at least be a good person so that she could finally have some peace. Well I spoke to several employees and people affiliated with UNA and it appears that Mr. Thornton is just as questionable and shady as the rest of the Administration. Heck, I guess that’s why Kitts chose him to replace Mr. Clinton Carter. But I’ll let you make your on conclusions based on the facts.

So it appears that Mr. Thornton was originally hired by Mr. Clinton Carter as Controller in the Business and Financial Affairs Office. I’m told that when he first got there he was very nice and helpful to everyone. When Mr. Carter abruptly left in the summer of 2016 (some say he was terminated by Kitts and escorted off campus) Mr. Evan Thornton (white male) was promoted to interim Vice President. While working in the interim position he worked very closely and depended very heavily on Melissa Williams (black female) to help carry the load of Controller duties such as audits, Board of Trustee reports and all the financials at UNA. During this time, Mr. Thornton even promoted Ms. Williams to Assistant Controller. I’m told Evan often bragged on her in many settings saying Ms. Williams was his right hand and he couldn’t do any of this without her. This went on for about a year.

Finally the Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs position was advertised and Mr. Evan Thornton applied, went through the interview process and received the job. Now that Evan got what he’s where the mask comes off and the true colors of Evan Thornton are revealed. I’m told that he did some relocation of people and soon after he got his permanent position he promoted Cindy Conlon (white female) (Remember that name. You should she’s named in the Mitchell v UNA lawsuit) from Assistant Vice President of Procurement to Associate Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs. Here’s the problem. I’m told that Cindy Conlon doesn’t know anything about accounting, financials and couldn’t begin to do anything to help with audits or board reports. But she’s paid very well to supervise the controller and assistant controller positions.

Now that Evan Thornton was officially the new VP his old position of Controller needed to be filled. You would think if Ms. Melissa Williams had stepped up when needed and had been doing the duties of Controller along side Evan Thornton for a year he would promote internally and reward Ms. Williams for helping him in his time of need. Well of course not. It appears that UNA doesn’t reward too many minorities. Heck, he promoted her white counterpart (Cindy Conlon) and she wasn’t in the least bit qualified. I’m told Cindy Conlon’s new position wasn’t advertised externally either. They do for who they want to do for. Well I digress.

So the Controller position is advertised externally and Ms. Williams applies. I’m told that she was selected to receive a phone interview but was not “good enough” to receive an on campus interview. Now comes the suspicious part. I’m told the search committee consisted of Cindy Conlon and everyone’s favorite HR person Catherine White. (Now I know you remember that name. She’s now named in multiple lawsuits and EEOC complaints.) There were other members on the committee but I’m told not one person on the committee had direct knowledge and hands on experience of what a Controller actually does. How did Mr. Evan Thornton approve such a committee? Sound like a sham committee?? Look like funny business going on??? Well because it is.

I’m told the person who was eventually chosen for the position Mr. Mike Nelson doesn’t even have a Masters degree and has never worked in/with Higher Education financials. I’m told Mr. Nelson doesn’t know any of the accounting/financial systems that UNA uses and is NOT familiar with any of the processes. But I’m told that Ms. Williams has been asked by Mr. Evan Thornton to train Mr. Nelson on more than one occasion. Yes, you read that correctly!! The same black female who applied for the position. The same black female who was told by Cindy Conlon and her sham of a search committee that she was not good enough to make it to the final three for an on campus interview was asked to train her new white male boss. Let that marinate for a minute.

If Cindy Conlon was so qualified to be promoted from Assistant Vice President for Procurement (which was only responsible for one small area which was purchasing and had no supervision over the Controller or Assistant Controller and nothing to do with the accounting and financials of the University) to Associate Vice President which the Controller and Assistant Controller would now report to them why would Evan ask Melissa Williams to train her new boss? Just ask Cindy Conlon. Oh I know, she doesn’t know how to do the work!! So, how in the heck could she train him. I’m told Melissa Williams is still doing a lot of the Controller job duties.

Anyone else see this as bull? I sure hope Ms. Williams has or is going to file an EEOC complaint.

There’s something else about Mr. Evan Thornton that I was told that I find quite disturbing. It appears that several people under Mr. Thornton’s supervision has received a speech from him that basically says: UNA is a great place to work and if you don’t like it at UNA you can just leave. He then says something like...if you think you can find something better go try and then let him know because he wants to go and work there to. I’m told that his staff usually hears this when they are voicing concerns about something.

Again just my opinion. But Mr. Evan Thornton is threatening his staff so that they will be too scared to file complaints or voice their opinions and/or concerns. He is also creating a hostile work environment with fear and intimidation. Let’s face it if a Vice President comes to a meeting and stands up or sits there and says to a group of his subordinates if you don’t like UNA you can leave then that could be construed as a threat! From his perspective UNA may be great and that’s fine. But he has to know there are real issues at that University and everyone does not have the same experiences as him. Heck everyone does not receive the same pay (over $170,000 per year) as him. But what Evan Thornton is really saying is if you have issues than you need to leave and that’s just wrong.

What is wrong with these people? How does Evan Thornton think this speech is okay to say to people? Again, I guess that’s why Kenneth Kitts chose him. He thinks like the rest of the Administration. Be very careful Mr. Thornton or you’re going to find yourself named in your very own lawsuit. Especially if he has been dumb enough to give his speech in the presence of Ms. Audrey Mitchell.

After hearing all of this I made the statement “All of the University of North Alabama Administration (Executive Council) needs to be cleaned out. 

But someone pointed out that maybe not everyone on the Executive Council is questionable. It appears that the new Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Ross Alexander, has been doing a lot of good things and doing a lot of firsts in hiring/promoting qualified minorities since he’s been there. Dr. Eric Kirkman named new Director of Kilby. Dr. Terrence Brown named new founding Director of the School of the Arts. But one can’t help but wonder why now. Is this sincere or smoke and mirrors due to the racial discrimination issues that are becoming public? Time will tell.

Which brings me to my next point which includes both UNA and everyone’s favorite newspaper TimesDaily. I was told and actually heard the recording for myself that someone made when they called the You Said It line at TimesDaily and left the message to be published in the You Said It column of the newspaper. The call was made several weeks ago and to date has been omitted. When you read the exact message that was left you will see why. Here’s the message verbatim.

If you think that UNA naming a building after its first black student means all is well at UNA you are sadly mistaken. Let's not forget the Mitchell v UNA lawsuit as well as other discriminatory incidents that's have occurred to minorities on that campus. There are letters that were sent to several black pastors and civic leaders in the area that detail these incidents and call for protests. Let's also not forget that the same names keep coming up in these various incidents and lawsuits. This includes President Kitts, Catherine White, Kevin Jacques, David Shields, and Amber Fite-Morgan. The letters demand the university Board of Trustees such as Joel Anderson and Marty Abroms and others stop playing politics and do something about the systemic discrimination on the campus.”

Now how many think this will ever be printed. Mr. Joel Anderson and Mr. Marty Abroms wouldn’t have it and everyone knows TimesDaily only prints the feel good, make UNA look good articles. If the caller had said how great UNA is then that would have found its way in the You Said It column very quickly. Well I’m calling TimesDaily out. I will be writing the editor and asking when I can expect this message to appear in the paper. I was told that supposedly Ms. Sherhonda Allen and some of the writers have already received some emails.

Concerning the letters that were mentioned that were supposedly sent out to black ministers and civic leaders more to come at a later date. I’ve read one of the letters so I know it’s true but I’m waiting on an update on if the black community is organizing an actual protest about the racial discriminatory issues. I’m told they are and all I can say it’s about time. My advice = keep protesting, keep marching, keep calling and asking questions until there’s some real change and all issues resolved and all involved removed. Apply the pressure in a very public way!!

Once I confirm some things I will be sure to write about it.



No matter what you may think of the Four-Way re-entry program in Tuscumbia, here's a kicker for you. A resident of Colbert County reports she called Dr. Larry Stutts, aka Sen. Stutts, about the situation. His advice? Pray for the lives of these men to be changed.

While we believe in the power of prayer, such an answer to a real-world problem just doesn't cut it. Certainly, pray, but let's at least have a contingency plan for any problems that arise out of this "ministry."

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Lay for an "A"

We've stated before that we wouldn't want to be a teacher in today's world. Kudos to all who strive to teach our youth. Yet the teaching profession isn't immune to sexual predators. Married or single they're out there. We encourage all parents to discuss the problem with their children. If you don't you might wind up with a 30 year-old band director for a son-in-law.


How do school districts handle the problem of male teachers who prey on their students? If it's Lauderdale County, they might just give the victim a job as a teacher when the time comes. 

Rewarding sexual predators with a job for their new wife? And some think this is normal...



So a faith-based half-way house doesn't need a business license? Apologies to the City of Tuscumbia for assuming it had issued such a license. 


Assuming all goes well, tune in next week for a knock-your-socks-off expose' on the shenanigans one local band director has been up to.



Friday, March 23, 2018

Multiple Plots Sickening...

It would seem the Four-Way Motel debate is heating up again with David Black calling the situation a low priority for him. Oh, well, we're sure campaigning for a higher office comes before the welfare of Colbert County. Remember that when you cast your vote for state treasurer in June.

We continue to have readers ask us for more coverage. We now ask something of them. Let's not make this about Tony Logan or Frank Williamson simply because you don't like them. If there is a real problem here, and it seems more likely with every revelation, let's stick with that and place the blame where it belongs...if anyone can discover that person or group.



Speaking of revelations, we've had several readers send us information on the Wiseman situation at Lexington School. We're checking each report out before we speak on this couple, so don't think we've forgotten you. We will mention that David Wiseman must be close to retirement age for an educator, if that is any consolation. Often problems of this nature simply slink away and are never heard from again.


Speaking of slinking, it seems one of our Bad Boys is missing, or at least some of his friends fear that he is. We wish him no physical harm, but if he's left the Shoals, aren't we better off? Then again, if you really want to find him, why not check all the jails. After all, he's spent the majority of his adult life behind bars and hasn't shown any inclination to mend his wayward lifestyle...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Wisemans: Keeping it All in the Family?

Years ago a very savvy woman told us never to work for a family owned business. Why? No matter how close the family, there would be constant infighting with spouses jumping in to support their mates. As those old television listings would say: mayhem ensues.

Now we have a similar situation in the Lauderdale County School system. Just how common is it for spouses to work together at the same small rural school? We have no idea, but we can predict that at some point mayhem is destined to ensue.

Disgruntled Employees David & Hilda Wiseman

Some time ago during a situation stirred up by a would-be athlete turned local Baptist minister, we received some complaints about Lexington band director David Clayton Wiseman. Now he and his wife Hilda Jane Wiseman have filed a formal complaint against school administration.

Let's see how that works. Of the 95 or so school personnel, four have problems with administration and two of these are married to each other? Wow! What are the odds?

If anyone wants to record their problems with Wiseman, we'll be happy to publish the summary; however, in order to remedy the situation, parents and students need to contact the Lauderdale County School Board. 

Good luck!



New Political Action Committee

There will be a meeting of a new Northwest Alabama political action committee on Sunday at 2:00 at the Florence Public Library. The purpose of the committee is to vet candidates in regard to their stance on animal welfare issues. Everyone is invited to attend and make a difference.

Notice to local candidates, especially Lauderdale County Commission candidates: It would do well to take notice!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Storms, Ambulances, & ...Sex Offenders

We've been asked if a tornado is spotted in Leighton, why do the warning sirens sound in Cherokee as well? Interesting question; we've seen many complain about similar phone warnings for peripheral areas. Does the EMA simply flip a switch and all county alarms are activated? Comments welcome.


It's hardly news that ambulances are frequently stopped at the railroad tracks in Sheffield. Such was the case on the afternoon of March 18th when an ambulance attempted to assist in a Sheffield Fire Department call:



Now a few corrections/addenda on the sex offender brouhaha in Tuscumbia:

1. The Four-Way property was definitely purchased by Chester McKinney, at least in part. Legal title may be in the name of McVantage; we're waiting on a clarification on that.

2. While we stated the Department of Corrections was involved, as it is in various drug treatment centers around the state, it is instead the Alabama Parole/Probation Department which has joined with Outreach Reentry Ministry to run (or at least give blessing to) the program centered in Tuscumbia.

3. If the Church of the Highlands is involved, we're going to surmise that group is assisting in finding jobs for some of those who will come here. This is what this new-age church has done in other areas of the state. We've been told that not all of these offenders will work for McVantage.

4. If anyone wants to blame Tuscumbia Chief Tony Logan or Colbert Sheriff Frank Williamson, it can be only for a delay in notifying residents who live in the affected area. This is not something new, and for those who say it has nothing to do with the upcoming election, we must ask "why complain now?" Both Chief Logan and Sheriff Williamson seem to be taking undue blame in decisions over which they had no control. 

5. We see that the name of Tuscumbia mayor Kerry Underwood has now been added to various hit lists. Did he facilitate the project's business license? We don't know and have no concrete idea as to why he's been added to a long list of alleged culprits in this endeavor. 

It would appear that most of the questions involving this "ministry" have been answered. For those who don't want it in the area, we ask how can it now be stopped?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Some Four-Way Facts

We continue to receive questions about the Four-Way property and related projects. Here's a quick update:

1. While the sign at the property states "Four-Way Inn," the property is registered for tax purposes as "Four-Way Motel."

2. The owner of record at the end of 2017 was Dilipkumar Patel. The property was valued at only slightly over $10,000.00 which should tell us all something of the physical state of the business.

3. A new owner will not show up on Delta Tax records until the end of 2018. Any sale of the property would be recorded at the Colbert County Court House in case anyone wants to research this and let us know if there is a new owner.

4. Outreach Reentry Ministry is definitely registered with the State as a non-profit corporation. It has been since February 1991, so it is not new. Registered officers are Jimmie Simpson and John Williams. No one else is named as being part of this organization.

5. At tonight's Colbert County Commission meeting, Chester McKinney is reported to have said the Church of the Highlands is part of this ministry.

Now some personal observations:

1. For those who say the Colbert County Commission should have stopped this, we ask "how?" The motel/half-way house is in the Tuscumbia police jurisdiction. Why all the drama at the county commission meeting? Is it to embarrass David Black? From what local attorneys tell us, David Black doesn't need anyone's help in embarrassing himself. Again, why not protest to the Tuscumbia City Council?

2. For those who truly wish to help convicted felons begin a new life, we suggest separating sex offenders from non-sex offenders. Those who may come to this project with a burglary or robbery conviction will only be burdened by the stigma of sex offender associated with the project.

3. For those who feel the county sheriff's website is not updated in a timely manner, why not lobby for more tax dollars to hire more personnel? Or perhaps a qualified volunteer could take over the website?

We might as well end this with a "to be continued" since we're sure it will be...

Sex Offender Notification in Tuscumbia?

Above all things, we believe in presenting truthful information. Yes, we give you our opinions, but we do so based on fact. Let's look at some facts about the Four-Way Motel controversy:

1. Flyers? In Alabama, a flyer is required to notify nearby residents of sex offenders. For a city the size of Tuscumbia, the radius is 1,500 ft. It would be the job of the Tuscumbia police to mail out these flyers since the Four-Way facility is in its jurisdiction. 

2. Those who have pointed out that possession of child pornography is a non-violent crime have been accused of "defending" these two men. No, it is simply presenting a fact. These two men who have moved to Colbert County have never been convicted of a violent sex offense. That doesn't mean that they will never commit one, but simply means as it stands now, it is a lie to call them violent sex offenders. 

3. Who is responsible for the predicted influx of sex offenders? The Alabama Department of Corrections and Outreach Reentry Ministry which have ostensibly teamed to bring this to our area.

4. If something goes wrong, who can be sued? We're hearing a lot of talk about the McKinney brothers, but their names are not on the official registration of Outreach Reentry Ministry, founded in the early 1990s. It would be prudent to establish just how the McKinneys are involved legally.

5. Do we think it's a great idea to have these sex offenders in Tuscumbia? One word: No.


Happy Vernal Equinox!


From a reader:

Colbert County, the home of a couple of Superintendents of Education who can’t budget and live within their means.
Colbert County Superintendent Gale Satchel wants the County Commission to raise our property taxes by 5 mil - yet when Chairman Darol Bendall asked her in the meeting how much 1 mil was, she said she didn’t know. Think about that one. She knows she needs 5 mil but doesn’t know what 1 mil is? I think we haven’t heard the last from that one - or those who are against the excessive waste!
Then, we have Muscle Shoals City Schools superintendent who also wants to raise our property taxes by 5 mil, while pressuring the County Commission to raise the sales tax also. Either way, he just wants more money.
Once again, refer to the earlier comment about Ms. Satchel’s inability to budget and live within her means. Reviewing their budgets and excessive spending on athletics and travel, there is room for much debate over their ability to manage such large organizations.
Not everyone who calls for higher taxes pays their fair share. Brian Lindsey lives outside of the Muscle Shoals school district but wants everyone to pay more property taxes while he won’t be affected at all. Mr. Lindsey doesn’t live in the city, pay city property taxes NOR DOES HE pay the out of district fee others have to pay to send their kids to Muscle Shoals even though he gets his paycheck from the Muscle Shoals education system and his kids go to Muscle Shoals.


When this nation was founded, many wanted to steer completely away from English methods and traditions. Our country doesn't mint pennies; it mints one-cent coins, based on the French centime. In other words, it takes 100 to make a dollar. Similarly, the mil is 1/1,000; it takes 10 mils to make one cent. 

Since a mil has never been minted in this county, many call it an abstraction. Whatever you want to call it, five mils equal a half-cent. If these tax proposals pass, your sales tax would increase by .005 on the dollar.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Tuscumbia Business Licenses/Hit & Run

We had a few readers who informed us that the old Four-Way Motel is not in the City of Tuscumbia. While that may be true, it is in the police jurisdiction. The Alabama Department of Revenue mandates that cities require a business license for establishments within their police jurisdiction. So, yes, at least some city offices knew the facility, be it a treatment center or half-way house, was coming. 

As of today, so far as we can ascertain, the facility has two patients/inmates. Both are non-violent. We keep hearing the word "violent" being applied to these offenders; however, we doubt that this will be the case. 

We do think that the Tuscumbia City Council should have held hearings on the matter - remember, this is in the city's police jurisdiction. If you live in Tuscumbia and are upset, contact your city council members. That being said, we've seen some projects practically fought over by the City of Florence and Lauderdale County, so the Colbert County Commission could have probably stepped in if it had wanted to...if it knew the facility was coming. 



It hasn't been that long ago that aspiring glamour model Christina Marie Carroll was arrested for a Florence hit-and-run. Now would-be electrician David Lee Borden of Cherokee has been arrested for a similar crime in Leighton. 

After the Carroll crime, we had at least two readers who criticized this blog for highlighting the case. They both admitted the hit-and-run was wrong, but sought to lay some blame on the victim. It does not matter if the victim was responsible for the accident. In both cases, they may have been.

What matters for legal and moral purposes is that the drivers chose to leave the scene of the accident. How hard is that to understand? David Lee Borden chose to leave the scene not once, but twice. He said he "panicked" the second time. So did he have an excuse for leaving the first time? 

At least his mama or some similar family member in whom he confided made him come back to face his despicable actions...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

This Disease/Blame the DOC

This Disease

There are things that terrify each of us. Things that we dare not say out loud or put on paper. Scenarios which should not be dwelled upon for fear that too much concentration will somehow bring them to life. Then there are those issues that we must talk about no matter how frightening, otherwise we risk having them spread like a virus. This week in our community I’m aware of at least three individuals who have made the unfortunate decision to take their own lives. Three people that will be remembered not only for how they lived, but for the empty spaces they leave behind in the hearts of those that knew them.  

Growing up as child in this area, I must have been guarded by my parents from such horrors taking place because I can’t recall suicide being as large of an issue as it is now. As hard as I try to think back, I can only remember two people that were loosely connected to me who chose to end their own life. One a family friend who’s attempt was not successful and consequently spent the rest of his years deformed by a split second bad decision. The other a rising star in high school. The kid we all wanted to be, who on the outside appeared to have life figured out, but on the inside struggled to fill some missing piece. 25 years later and I can’t step out onto a soccer field without remembering how much he loved the game and wonder what he would be up to now had things been different. Had he known how much he meant to those lucky enough to be around him even for a moment, would it have made a difference?

I’m not a counselor. I’m not a trained therapist who has spent years learning to help others fight their demons. At times I struggle with anxiety and depression just like everyone else. Although I don’t have a state issued license on the wall with my name in bold print certifying me to help with such things, it doesn’t mean I can’t recognize that suicide is a disease which is quickly spreading through our community. I don’t need a degree to listen to your problems and neither does anyone else. If you are reading this and think you are alone and nobody will understand, you’re wrong.

This morning as I was walking through the house I noticed a verse my wife had written on the refrigerator; Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit”.

There are people around us that are hurting and all too often lately we don’t realize it until there’s no time left to let them know they are loved. I encourage you to look for those around you who are pulling away and pull them closer. Make sure your children know there is nothing they could ever do to separate themselves from your love or that of our God above. Remember to ask questions and have conversations and to not get so caught up in your own life, that when somebody you care about begins to lose value in their own, you take notice and are there to remind them how important they are. It doesn’t take special training to listen, to give a hug, to be a friend, to cure this disease called suicide. All it takes is love.


If any of us can help deter anyone from taking his or her life, we earn multiple stars in our crown. The dearest friend Shoalanda ever had placed a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. The friend was two hundred miles from the Shoals, but there is enough blame to go around and to reach across the Southeast. We live with it. We sincerely hope you never have to.



We continue to look into the Four-Way Motel/Half-Way House situation. From what we can ascertain, this project was initiated by the Alabama Department of Corrections in some form. If any city or county agency is to "blame" for its location here, we would first look at the Tuscumbia business license office or planning commission (if the city has the latter). 

So, no, neither Tuscumbia Chief Tony Logan nor Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson brought these people here. Blame certainly lies elsewhere.

Altruism aside, the McKinney family is making money by hiring these offenders. It may be a good work, but it's also profitable. 


There are currently 122 sex offenders residing in Colbert County, at least that's the registered number with past convictions. In the past three years, only two have been arrested, and these arrests resulted from a violation of SORNA address change requirements. 

These figures should put some of this into perspective.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Four Way Facts - Part I

Over the next few days and weeks, we'll be bringing you some facts about the new half-way house located in the old Four-Way Motel on Highway 43 in Tuscumbia. Arguments on both sides of this issue have become heated, and for now we're merely looking at some statements about the endeavor that should be verified.

First, there has been criticism of the amount of time it took the Colbert County Sheriff's office to post the names and locations of the first two residents, obviously both sex offenders. These two men have been convicted of possession of child pornography and are not violent offenders. The last names of these two men have been posted on Facebook, so we'll go with that only. 

While we're sure the people opposing this half-way house have many valid points, we want to be sure they are not mistaken in any of them. There are numerous reasons to oppose this social experiment without stating any falsehoods.

Let's look at the claims concerning the delay in posting to the Colbert County site:

Claim - They were both finally added on the 13th of March. So Mathis was 25 days of (without) the public knowing and Story was 15 days of (without) the public knowing.

1. Mathis was released from custody on February 22 and registered with the State on February 27. That would mean Colbert County added Mathis 14 days after it became known he was living in the area, not 25, assuming the add date of March 13th is correct.

2. Story was registered with the State on February 16. Colbert County added him 25 days later.

It would appear the names and dates may have been reversed in these claims and that one was a day off. We also have to ask how long it took the State probation office to inform the Sheriff's office. You'll notice they were both added on the same day, suggesting the person responsible for this task updates the site at intervals. Is this a good policy? We have inquired, and it appears the person responsible for the county site has been ill and not working a 40 hour week. 

We suggest those interested in local sex offenders always check the State site and group the offenders by zip code in order to have the most complete information. This site also lists the actual offense so that you'll know the type of offender living in your neighborhood.



Ah, today was the big day in Florence. Any fatalities or lesser casualties? Let's hope the pub crawl didn't turn out to be too literal.