Monday, April 30, 2018

Roy's "Attorney for Men"

Roy Moore has filed a lawsuit against five individuals alleging a criminal conspiracy against him during his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. If you look at the complaint, you'll find a great of information about these five individuals, but take a closer look.

Defendant Richard Hagedorn is guilty of only having a gay brother who works for the Washington Post and knowing the other four defendants. Debbie Gibson? She once translated for Hillary Clinton and announced she supported Doug Jones. 

Now we have to ask if Roy Moore had a difficult time finding an attorney to take such a case? Apparently he did. His lawyer is Melissa Isaak who advertises that she is an "attorney for men." If you're bumfuzzled over that one, apparently she handles divorces for male clients only. 

So is a divorce attorney for men the ideal person to represent a client in a criminal conspiracy trial? If the plaintiff is Roy Moore, she very well could be. 

Braid her hair into pigtails and she could possibly pass for a young teenager. Yep, that's the right one for, Roy.


Now we have a quiz for you. You live in a small community that's been rocked by tragedy. Which do you find the most unsettling?

A. A man runs onto the school campus and tampers with a flag just to get in front of television cameras. (He could easily have had a gun.)

B. There are reported threats against the life of the young girl who caused the tragedy.

C. Some object to the unauthorized lowering of the school flag to half staff.

In case you think you know the answer, you've obviously never played three card monte or lived in a small community. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Picking & Choosing the Laws/Codes We Follow

Soon Alabama voters will have a chance to add still another amendment to our state constitution. The amendment, if approved by voters, will allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public buildings. Is this a good thing?

Two things can happen, and probably both will. First, there will be lawsuits against the state. The amendment specifies that the state cannot use taxpayer money to defend these suits, meaning they won't be defended at all, but automatically lost up front. So what is the purpose of the law? We call it grandstanding, but we see that more and more people are using the term dog whistle blowing. Whichever you prefer, this will not end well for the state or its taxpayers.

Second, how do you feel about a few verses from the Satanic bible being placed next to the Ten Commandments (only nine of which most Christians follow)? Not too keen on that, huh? You may say that can't happen, but more and more Satanists are demanding their fair share of public time:

If you didn't watch the video, this took place less than two years ago in Pensacola, a city just across the state line from Alabama.



We've had several ask us this afternoon our opinion on following the U.S. Flag Code. Our opinion is what it's always been, you shouldn't be able to pick and choose which laws or codes you follow. If we did that...well, our income tax remittance would be about $10.00 a year - seems more than fair to us. 

We've also heard of (that was not from, but of) some who want to harm the driver in a fatal crash killing three Wilson students. Wouldn't many think that tit for tat? No, we can't pick and choose. Sorry. Half-staff flags should be reserved for certain individuals, usually those who served our country or in the military, not children.

So get out the popcorn. We're sure we'll be hearing from those of a certain ilk who disagree. By that we mean the pickers and choosers, not those who want to do things decently and in order. (Apparently some have gone against the Wilson School's principal; that speaks volumes about them...)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Alice Martin/Seat Belts!


Chester McKinney, Jr.  (Owner of 4 Way Motel / Sex Offender Re-Entry Program)

Deserve Victory PAC: Chaired by Claire Austin, Montgomery; biggest donor was Mantra Governmental, Montgomery and affiliated PACs andSenate Majority PAC. 


(A lead lobbyist for Gilley, Jarrod Massey, was charged in the scheme. Massey is president and founder of Mantra Governmental in Montgomery, Ala.)

Senate Majority PAC: Biggest donors were Alabama Education Association and Drummond Co.



Of the five teenagers involved in Thursday night's tragic accident in St. Florian, only one was reported to be buckled in. Parents, what are you teaching your children?

How about you, schools? If we see the need for sex ed, why not some passenger ed? We're pretty sure that no matter how many teens may be engaging in sexual activity, even more of them are driving around aimlessly on weekends. Homeroom teachers, this is your chance to make a difference. Don't pass it by as unneeded or unhip.

Friday, April 27, 2018

A Guest Blog on Kenneth Kitts

Kenneth Kitts: Idiot or Egomaniac?

I’m new to the Shoals area and I normally don’t write to blogs. However, the issue with the University of North Alabama's president has left me scratching my head. This “brilliant” college administrator has redefined making a mountain out of a mole hill and has placed the institution and the state in financial jeopardy.
It seems that last year a female student, “Jane Doe,” filed a lawsuit against the university because she believed that she was assaulted by a visiting professor and, according to her Title IX complaint, the institution did not handle things correctly.
These types of suits happen all the time and, based on what even U-North has said, her claims against the professor seem to be reliable. Now, normally, these types of lawsuits tend to fly under the radar of the media and are quickly adjudicated by the affected parties. Simply, either the institution did or did not handle the incident correctly. Either a trial will decide, or the matter will be settled out of court and the institution will learn from its mistakes, if any mistakes were made.
Nevertheless, if an institution is involved in this type of lawsuit, the only words that should come out of the CEO’s mouth is something like “the matter is under litigation, therefore, the institution has no comment.” That’s it, plain and simple. If Kitts had only said what hundreds of other presidents before him have said when asked about a lawsuit, the matter would have gone away in the public eye.
What Kitts actually did either borders on idiocy or egotism. He writes a letter condemning “Jane Doe” as essentially a liar and a money-hungry zealot. What was he thinking? Does UNA not have the availability of professional legal advice before a letter like this was made public? If UNA believes “Jane Doe” was truly forced into some type of inappropriate situation with one of their professors (which they later acknowledged), why belittle and ridicule her?
Well, because of Kitts’ stupid move, what would have been a brief buzz in the local media, now made the websites of major news outlets across the nation including the New York Times and the Washington Post. A few days after the first letter, the institution released a second in which they acknowledge that the professor probably did something inappropriate, so they took care of the matter by removing him.
This second letter caused even more problems for UNA. The media later found out that, while the institution did dismiss him in November, they paid his salary through April. Why? According to Kitts, it was to avoid a lawsuit and embarrassment to the student. However, Isn’t Alabama an “at will” state? This guy they dismissed was a temporary professor. He was not tenured. Therefore, the university could have just sent him on his way. They didn’t, and it smells like UNA is trying to cover up something.
Actually, the university dismissed the professor “without cause” which is something you do when you want to get rid of someone in an “at will” state. By not stating a cause, the institution is less likely to be liable for any clam the dismissed person might have against the institution. However, in the second letter, Kitts said that it was clear the professor acted inappropriately, and he was dismissed because of that action. In other words, the institution just gave a reason through an open letter to the public as to why the professor was dismissed even though the professor was officially dismissed “without cause.” Which reason is the truth?
I think it is clear that the professor must have done something inappropriate to “Jane Doe,” and the university was right in dismissing him. It could also be true that the university did handle the matter correctly regarding "Jane Doe" and may be exonerated. However, now that Kitts decided to open his mouth again, the professor was able to find a crafty attorney to file a multi-million-dollar libel lawsuit against the state because UNA told the media a technical falsehood about him. Again, officially, UNA dismissed him “without cause,” but told the media that he was dismissed because of acting inappropriately.
So, here you have a professor that probably did something wrong to a student, but now, through Kitts' comments, has a huge lawsuit against the institution that he may actually win.
All of this could have been avoided if Kitts had just responded to the media with “the matter is currently under litigation, therefore, the institution has no comment.”
Kitts’ actions clearly show that he is either an idiot who had no idea of what he was doing, or an egomaniac who believes he is the all-knowing and all-powerful puppet master. Either way, his unbridled voice means that the state and the university could lose millions of dollars. I’m left scratching my head wondering why he is still employed.

Clarence Darrow
Read About Lawsuit Here: The UNA Rapist?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Return to Inspiration Landing

Memphis developer John Elkington has been back in the area with an update on his Inspiration Landing project. Specifically, he's mentioned several businesses which have offered letters of intent to build in the commercial project. That is, or course, assuming there is a project. The TimesDaily article failed to mention any investors. Yes, you know, those elusive money men who back such things. Has Mr. Elkington managed to acquire any of them? 

As for delays resulting from lack of government approvals, that we can easily believe. A waterfront project is extremely different from revitalizing Beale Street. Perhaps Elkington had not initially taken that into consideration when he offered his timeline of having the amphitheatre ready by spring? The word is now that construction on the amphitheatre will start by the end of the year. That's eight months to get the government ducks in a row. 

The TD article also mentioned just how much money Elkington had personally spent on the project. We're sure that Mr. Elkington has spent some money on various preliminaries, but as to how much... No, we have no idea what Elkington has invested, but we do know that most of it would seem to have been at the beginning of the project. Beginning, as in before he realized just how hard it would be to find outside funding. 



Now a word from a Sheffield resident (caution - strong language):

Inspiration Landing was supposed to OPEN next week. Now, Elkington is confident he’ll break ground some time this year. A brewery and a chapel????? Which “well-known ministers “ are they going to bring in? The Church of the Highland pastors who are bringing in sex offenders? And thank God that Sheffield Utilities is going to “benefit” from the brewery. Forget the RESIDENTS of Sheffield who have recently had to choose between buying groceries and medicine or paying their ungodly high utility bills. As long as Steve Hargrove and Sheffield Utilities are rolling in cash, to hell with the rest of us. Hargrove is a deacon at York Terrace Baptist Church. Does his anti-alcohol congregation and pastor approve of his benefiting from a brewery? Russ Corey also failed to mention the 3 species of bats and 10 species of clams which are on the Endangered Species list and would be negatively impacted by this project. But hey, the truth has never mattered-not with these folks. Sheffield residents-WAKE UP!


Finally, is a letter of intent binding? We did some quick research thinking the answer would be no. Apparently it depends. So, can Elkington make the Hilton and the five restaurants build in Sheffield simply based on a signed letter of intent? We're guessing not if the project isn't built in a timely manner or every facility promised doesn't materialize. 

This little deal may require a lot of popcorn. So stock up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

County Judges - Time for Reorganization

Sometime last year there was a move afoot to temporarily reassign circuit court judges, moving some from counties with a lower case load to counties with a higher number of cases. This may still be a pending plan, but we've read nothing about it recently.

Let's compare two counties - Lauderdale and Etowah. Lauderdale has a population of approximately 94,000. It currently has one district judge and three circuit judges. Etowah has a population of 104,000. It currently has two district judges and four circuit judges.

Does 10,000 more inhabitants justify two more judges? Yes, Etowah at one time had a larger population, but for whatever reason, the population of that county has been declining for some time. If we realign voting districts with great regularity, why not judicial districts? We would love to hear from some of the area's judges. We can publish comments anonymously if that is what you prefer.


Circuit Court Districts


Inspiration Landing? We see there will be a microbrewery - a must have, according to John Elkington. There will also be a chapel. Ah, there you have the perfect balance.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Regal Inn: An Asset or a Liability to Sheffield?

The Regal Inn has been on our Eyesore List for several years. In March 2010, according to the TimesDaily: City building officials, fire marshals and health department officials closed the northern section of Regal Inn on Jackson Highway Wednesday over health concerns. Whether these issues, raw sewage among them, were ever corrected we have no idea.

According to public sex offender records, three sex offenders were living in the motel before the two from the Four-Way Motel were moved there. As far as we know, it it not currently against the law for sex offenders to be clustered in a public facility (motel). We can understand why some find it disturbing.

Local television stations are covering this controversy, so look for more to come.



A local activist has asked who pays the rent for these men if they don't work. It's our understanding that many sex offenders are classified as so unemployable that they receive a disability payment from Social Security.

If you look at the Alabama sex offender site, or any state sex offender site, you will note that a large number of these men...and women...are listed as disabled. This is not a physical disability in most cases, but simply the result of their status.

To be continued...

Monday, April 23, 2018

Not Steve or Troy

Next to the governor and lieutenant governor, the attorney general holds the most power. Those who've read this blog for years know what we here think of Troy King, aka TK the AG. Our legislature is still removing crimes from the "moral turpitude" list King concocted. 

Then we have appointed Steve Marshall. One of his opponents said this of him at a recent Huntsville gathering: 

Candidate and Birmingham attorney Chess Bedsole said there was "corruption" in the attorney general's office, but it was "corruption of the heart." "You cannot value your own career more than you value justice for the Alabama people," Bedsole said referring to Marshall.

From another opponent: 

Alice Martin, a former U.S. attorney and assistant state attorney general, said she was a lifelong Republican, while Marshall "switched parties in 2012."

That leaves just Martin and Bedsole in the Republican column. Which would better serve the people of Alabama? We invite comments.



This is a must read concerning the Johnny Mack Morrow town hall held earlier. Note the payroll/rent plan for these residents. Also note how Joe McKinney has seemingly clammed up on the subject of his ongoing "social work."

We're not sure Morrow's bill is the best plan, but it beats no plan at all.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sex Offenders at UNA...and in General

Obviously, there's a difference between "sex offender" and "registered sex offender." Is it just that the plain ol' sex offender hasn't yet been caught/convicted?

We recently published an account of the University of North Alabama visiting prof who was alleged to have committed date rape with a female student:

This man had a history of being accused of sexual assault. Accusations aren't convictions, but arrests do show up in some background reports. It depends on what kind of agency one uses for the report and just what is asked of that agency. Was UNA to blame for hiring this man? If he had no convictions, didn't he deserve a chance? Just how should such a situation be handled?

While there are no easy answers to these questions, we do know that a man in his 50s doesn't suddenly turn into a sexual predator. There had to have been other incidents that were simply not reported or that were covered up. We encourage every victim to report any sexual assaults, no matter how minor. You just may save someone else from something far worse.



We see a lot of FB squabbles and don't get into most of them. A couple of years ago one of our regular readers sent us a link to his new blog and we posted it in our sidebar - that doesn't mean we agree with every thing he says anymore than we totally agree with all our guest bloggers. Yes, the blog is usually pretty critical in a sarcastic way, but his latest post contained a very interesting question concerning reporting of sex offender info: 

No. 3: Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson. You don't like Williamson. I get it. You criticized him for not reporting new sex offenders in a timely manner. Okay, let's say that your criticism is justified and not just some petty revenge on your part. Then what did you say? 

You criticized Williamson for not reporting to the state in a timely manner that two sex offenders had moved out of the county. Actually, all you know is that he (or the person responsible in his office) didn't remove them from the online site. If Williamson is responsible for immediately notifying the state of incoming sex offenders, why isn't the sheriff of the county where these two moved (and registered) responsible for notifying the state of the same thing? See, you can't have it both ways. 

We have to agree with our blogger friend there. Our opinion is the state needs to set up a better interface between the counties and ALEA. Better guidelines need to be established. If you're in doubt about sex offenders in your area, it would seem at least for now, you should consult county sites rather than the official ALEA page. That organization states that it's behind with data; perhaps we need to demand more manpower? Ah, more taxes also. No easy answers there either. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Presenting Eric Aycock

From Senate District 6 candidate Eric Aycock:

I am a 1994 graduate of Muscle Shoals High School, I attended NW Shoals Community College and finished with a degree in business from the University of Alabama in 1998.  I serve as the Director of Safety for White Oak Transportation with over 200 trucks in service.  

The common goals of our community live in the anticipation of the future, for we know that the best days lie ahead of us.  As a 42 year old candidate for State Senator, I look to the future as a vast opportunity.  I see it in the eyes of my 2 young boys.  I see it in the hearts of parents throughout our district.  I see it in the restlessness of a generation that has blazed a trail of extraordinary ambition.

As a believer, husband, dad, a deacon in our local church and a businessman I know that we were all made to serve, thrive, and lead.  I only want to leave a legacy of service, regardless of party, position or leadership.  Servant leadership is the cornerstone of my campaign.  It’s not the people supporting me, it’s me supporting the people, serving the interests of the most precious resource we have, our children.

I have no scores to settle behind the veil of legislation.   As we commit ourselves to the future, we realize that the status quo will remain just that, the status quo.  And that status in Montgomery has been broken promises, self-serving legislation, corruption and greed.  Alabama is better than this.  I am a live-long conservative who will fight for the unborn, the God-given rights that He endowed upon us, and the promise of a new future in our exceptional homeland.



District 6: Due to the gerrymandering of districts, this senate district consists of all of Colbert and Franklin Counties, plus parts (snippets) of Lauderdale (all of Florence), Lawrence, and Marion (all of Hamilton). 

Eric faces incumbent Larry Stutts and another political newcomer Steve Lolley in the June 5th primary. For years the Shoals was represented by Roger Bedford who resided in Russellville. Bedford's hometown benefited, but our area not so much. If Steve Lolley is elected, this situation will be repeated; Lolley resides in Guin in Marion County. While we love and appreciate our readers in Marion, we obviously place the Florence/Shoals area first. We NEED representation.

Second, while we have no doubt that Lolley is a competent, moral man, Eric's credentials are equally so. The Shoals needs Eric Aycock in Montgomery. We're happy to endorse Eric for the position of state senator in District 6!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Does MS Industries Have Horns or Not?

When MS Industries first arrived on the scene in Lawrence County, several very learned environmentalists predicted disaster. MSI persevered and now has a distinct presence in Lawrence and Franklin Counties, with corporate offices in the latter. With the average life of many such businesses being 30 years, we see that MSI promises at least 50.

But is MSI a good neighbor? The silica producing entity has just purchased a new Russellville restaurant, an eatery that was highly hyped and only two months old. Now the Bricks will shut down, at least for several months and perhaps forever.

Is it the intent of MSI to buy up more buildings/businesses in downtown Russellville? Is this an improvement or simply a way for the mining concern to thumb its nose at a town that initially didn't want it?



Speaking of Russellville, we see that things are not looking up for our favorite Franklin County bad boy:

Will J.J. get life without? We're not a betting group here, but if we were, we would definitely put our money on Joey Rushing asking for it. BTW, still flouting the law, J.J. can be found on Facebook offering words of wisdom to his fans all the way from Fountain. 


Our local sheriffs often get a bum rap for not maintaining order in the various purviews under their jurisdiction. A reliable source has told us the Lauderdale Detention Center had some cells last weekend housing 30 men in facilities designed for eight. You have to admit it's hard to cross every "t" and dot every "i" under those conditions...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Time for Tiered Sex Offender Ratings?

Many states have tiered sex offender ratings. In other words, if an individual didn't know what Second Degree Rape was, he/she would know that a Tier Two sex offender was not dangerous. Some go beyond the two layered tier to add an even higher level for violent offenders/predators. 

We see many advocate some strong punishment for all sex offenders, but in a small percentage of these cases, it's simply not called for. To solve this problem, our legislators would have to act on it; then would it be retroactive? No simple solutions here.


Bogey at Digital Roofing


Similarly, what can be done in the area of missing persons? Some are reported almost immediately, while others are not reported to law enforcement for a month or longer. The latter was the case with the young man whose body was found in East Lawrence; he had not been seen in over 30 days when a family member reported him missing. 

Yet we have a woman missing from Moulton whose disappearance was reported in 17 hours. Kidnapping or accident? This could be the case, but law enforcement has looked in Gulf Shores for the city councilman's wife. If it should prove she just decided to pull a bunk as a young Birmingham woman did a few months ago, she should be made to repay the efforts extended on her behalf and funded by taxpayers.


Remember our friends at Digital Roofing? Zach and Chris and their supervisor Bogey? One of our favorite readers appeared to be a great fan of Zach, while most preferred Bogey! They want everyone to know that their business extends to Shoals. Try them; we'll think you'll like them...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Same Muscle Shoals City Council?

At the meeting on 4/16/2018, the Muscle Shoals City Council voted to eliminate the term limits for the North Alabama Gas District. All other boards come under the two term limit rule. We must ask why? Well, the answer is probably quite simple. The council says it’s because two members of the board are appointed by the Madison City Council and Madison doesn’t impose term limits. Good try fellows but this answer doesn’t pass the smell test. Muscle Shoals has absolutely nothing to do with the Madison appointments and Madison has absolutely nothing to do with the Muscle Shoals appointments. So then what could possibly be the reason…hmmm… Well, looking at the makeup of the City Council and certain employees of the North Alabama Gas District, we can begin to see what’s going on.

Just so happens that a certain long time councilman’s (Councilman A) son works for the NAGD…Oh but wait, we’re not through, another long time councilman’s (Councilman B) son also works for the NAGD. But of course neither councilman had anything to do with their sons being hired. Sorry guys but that won’t pass the smell test either because a NAGD board member at the time councilman A’s son was hired made the mistake of bragging (while somewhat intoxicated) how he got the boy hired. But then this member was removed from the board when the council passed the rule that board members couldn’t be related to employees of the board they serve on, so the board member was immediately placed on another prestigious, money paying-free vacation board. Councilman B said he knew nothing about his son even seeking employment with the NAGD and that the boy just walked right in the NAGD office and convinced the manager that he should hire him and he did. Well, that doesn’t pass the smell test either because the manager tells a completely different story of how Councilman B continuously contacted him about hiring his son. So, let’s see if you really plan to do the right thing. Term limit resolutions mean nothing because your individual vote determines the number of terms for each member. So guess you’ll have to try again to avoid exposure to your underhanded deed. GOTCHA!

Same City Council voted to impose two term limits on all municipal boards. However, the meeting prior to passing this resolution, two members were reappointed to the Electric Board – another money paying-free vacation board. Problem was, one of the newly reappointed board members couldn’t keep a secret and told that he had been in conversation with some of the city councilmen and that he and the other board member had nothing to worry about because they wouldn’t pass the resolution until they were reappointed.  Matter of fact, the individual had no idea one of the people he was telling had his phone on record…oh the beauty of today’s technology.

Same City Council, with the exception of Mr. Chris Hall, voted to send a request to the legislature which will place an additional 5 mil property tax on Muscle Shoals residents. Council members say we are the lowest mil rate in the area…THEY LIED! Check with Revenue Commissioner Oswalt and you’ll see we already pay 16 mils. When asked where they got their info, ready for this answer…BOE Superintendent Brian Lindsey told them it was 7.5…HE LIED! Four of the five (3 of which have served multiple terms) had no idea what the millage rate was…and guess what, they don’t care. You ask why pass such a resolution requesting the mil increase??? Their answer, because BOE Superintendent Brian Lindsey told them they had to have it.

Same City Council, with the exception of Mr. Chris Hall, would not honor the request of a citizen’s group to request the legislature allow Muscle Shoals to have an elected BOE. The fantastic four said they’re pleased with the way everything is being handled at the BOE. Of course, 3 of the 4 have spouses that either currently work for or have retired from the MS school system. OK to tax us but not OK to give us a referendum for an elected BOE.

Same City Council, with the exception of Mr. Chris Hall, voted to reappoint embattled BOE member Clayton Wood for another 6 year term. Councilman Ken Sockwell personally told several of us who spoke with him that he was not supporting Mr. Wood’s reappointment…but guess what…HE LIED and voted for Wood!    

Well the list could go on and on but we’ll stop here and let these sink in for a while. People of Muscle Shoals surely expect much better than this. We dare any member of the council to deny any of the above facts because we won’t hesitate to publicly bring forward the proof positive. First, we’ll work to defeat the mil tax and then we’ll work to remove Noles, Willis, Lockhart and Sockwell. Good news is, there are already individuals lining up to run against Lockhart and Sockwell so now all needed are opponents for Willis and Noles.  More to come...stay tuned! 

A Muscle Shoals Citizen



The above letter is extremely interesting. We took the liberty of putting the most interesting paragraph in red. If we lived in Muscle Shoals, we would be contacting not only our council, but Brian Lindsey.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

District 6 Now a Three Man Republican Primary

The Republican race for District 6 in the Alabama Senate is now down to three: Larry Stutts, Eric Aycock, and Steve Lolley. Let's have a quick look at them.

Larry Stutts - The Muscle Shoals physician barely beat out Roger Bedford to win this seat in the last election. He immediately made news in Montgomery, but not for any good reasons. voted Doc Larry its Scumbag of the Year.

Eric Aycock - This Muscle Shoals businessman is new to politics. His platform is refreshing and his campaign manager is the daughter of one of Stutts' deceased patients. See Scumbag of the Year.

Steve Lolley - Lolley is from Guin and has been campaigning mainly in Marion and Franklin Counties. At this time, how much of an asset he would be to the Shoals is a question mark.



After the June 5th primary, the Republican winner of the above race will face Democrat Johnny Mack Morrow...presumably. We say presumably since there's quite a bit of time between the primary and the November general election.

We're waiting for the attorney general office's report on Morrow expense reports. Will there be an October bombshell? And if there is negative news, will Morrow soldier on?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Colbert Countian's Letter to Church of the Highlands

April 16, 2018
Mr. Chris Hodges
Founder and Senior Pastor of Church of The Highlands
4700 Highlands Way
Birmingham, Alabama 35210
Dear Mr. Hodges:
It has come to my attention as well as others that Chester and Joe Mckinney have opened a halfway house. Their plan is to house former inmates that were incarcerated at the same prisons where Church of The Highlands ministry operates. The two men presently living at the Four Way Inn Motel at 512 Hwy 43 S Tuscumbia, Al 35674, are convicted sex offenders. Both men were brought into our community in secrecy without a word from Chester or Joe Mckinney. There was no notification by law SB 301 from our Sheriff Frank Williamson.
On March 20, 2018 during our County Commissioners meeting I addressed the Commissioners concerning this “so called” halfway house. Not long after, Chester McKinney spoke and explained his plan for this program headed by Willie Simpson. Mr. McKinney announced to the public that Church of The Highlands is helping with this program. Mr. McKinney also told the Tuscumbia Mayor Bubba Underwood that Church of the Highlands was to oversee the sex offenders.
This poses SERIOUS questions for Colbert County...
1. What part does Church of the Highlands (COH) play in the plan for a halfway house here in Colbert County, in the State/ ADOC, and in other cities?
2. What connection is there between COH and LifeLink ministry? How long has it been around?
Randy Walker for years has been the head or pastor of the Prison Ministry at COH. He is the founder of LifeLink and is on the Prison campus in the “Faith Dorm.”
3. Does LifeLink run the Faith Dorm?
LifeLink has been assigned space in the dorm and has a full time employee in Bibb County Correctional Facility.
4. How is all this funded? Who screens the guys before the Reentry? Who is responsible if they get out in my community and molest a child or my child?
5. How does the work release program through “Faith Dorm” at Bibb County Correctional Facility work?
I know that Church of the Highlands hosts all the ADOC training at your churches main campus. I’’ also aware COH has a ADOC employee come in and train COH members to go into the 17 different prisons. We (Randy Smith and I) had a sit down meeting with Shoals COH pastor, Caleb Chambers. I ask him who pays the ADOC employee to come in and train your members.
6. Has COH taken over the ministry and the work release program in Alabama State Prisons? Who pays the ADOC employee to do the training at your COH campus(s)?
7. Does COH / LifeLink / The Halfway House(s) get funding from the DOJ (Federal) ADOC (State) or County/Local grants and or money from local businesses/ corporations or foundations?
8. What does COH know about the Faith Based Partnerships ( U.S. CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS Title 28Chapter IPart 38 - PARTNERSHIPS WITH FAITH-BASED AND OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATIONS )which involves the church and ministries as Government contractors?
9. Is this or any other of your Reentry programs required to be ran, including the Faith Dorm- as an Interfaith or all Faiths operation like other Faith Based Programs are ran?
10. If you are taking money from the churches or from your own church too, Isn’t their not a *Fiduciary Responsibility on the part of COH - LifeLink - Randy Walker - Chris Hodges - and everyone involved in this prison Reentry ministry - given that funding is being solicited and support in other ways - volunteers are being organized - Isn’t there a Fiduciary Responsibility with this program to those who help fund it and the community it is to serve?
(*Fiduciary Duty- A legal obligation of one party to act in the best interest of another. The obligated party is typically a fiduciary, that is, someone entrusted with the care of money or property. Also called fiduciary obligation!)
11. Who is responsible if a child is harmed by former inmates in your Reentry Programs?
I think at a minimum you owe Colbert County and our communities families answers to these questions! Your prompt reply is appreciated to clear up any and all confusion on this subject.
Ed Bowman
Concerned Parent &
Colbert County Resident
Cc: Breken Terry-WAAY 31 News
Russ Corey, Times Daily
Dino Rizzo, Executive Director of ARC (Association of Related Churches)
Associate Pastor of Church of the Highlands Birmingham Campus
Caleb Chambers, COH,-Shoals Campus
Randy Walker Correctional Ministry Pastor/ Lifelink Church of the Highlands
A Worship Service or a Widespread Panic Concert?
In case anyone missed it, the two remaining sex offenders at the Four-Way motel have been moved to the luxurious Regal Inn in Sheffield. Weren't there facilities in Montgomery to take them?
Anyone else find it interesting that Chris Hodges calls himself founder of this church? We owe Al Gore an apology.
Finally, while we disagree with Mr. Bowman on many of his views, he's spot on concerning this issue.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

"Ten Commandments" Issue in Governor's Race?

Bill Hightower is a Republican. He's running for governor. He's conservative. In other words, he was pretty much a cookie-cutter candidate. That is until he said in the recent debates he doesn't support the proposed constitutional amendment allowing representations of the Ten Commandment on state property. How did his opponents take this? Picture a pack of ravenous wolves jumping on a bucket of KFC.

The fact that the amendment will be declared unconstitutional in courts of law or that the state would then be forced to place representations of words of wisdom from the Flying Spaghetti Monster in similarly public locations doesn't seem to bother these other candidates. We give props to Hightower who also commented that bragging about one's Christianity shouldn't be part of a political campaign. He may just be the man to defeat Kay Ivey.



Speaking of elections, the primary is seven weeks away. If any local candidates with opposition in the June 5th election have press releases on their platforms, please send them to us. We'll begin to make endorsements in a few weeks.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Sheriffs and Parents?

This election season has already turned muddy, especially in the Colbert County Sheriff's race. One point critics of the current sheriff make concerns a timely manner of reporting. Over the years we've noticed that very few counties are timely in updating their most wanted or sex offender list. We attribute this to a lack of manpower rather than any shoddy job performance. 

Would you expect a sheriff to direct an office worker to change the oil in the squad cars? No, most people wouldn't. So no one should expect all sheriff's deputies to be able to sit down at a computer and magically learn a program in ten seconds in order to update various lists once or twice a day.



We've mentioned before that if you're on a warrant or most wanted list, it's extremely prudent to check to be sure your name has been taken off. The same holds true for checking the arrest/booking information law enforcement provides the press. Just because you pay a fine, it doesn't automatically follow that anyone actually removes your name from their website on that day.


Now a (highly edited) letter from another concerned citizen in eastern Lauderdale County:

You are not a concerned citizen of Lexington nor do you speak for anyone in Lexington. If you are so adamant about your child being on the team then maybe you should teach them how to play the game. There were 35 kids that tried out and 20 of them made the team. Did you hear that?? 20 kids out of 35 made the team. That means more made the team than did not. Maybe your kid does’t want to play and you are forcing it on him. Is that why you have to hire private coaches? I am guessing that none of the kids that were good enough to make the team hired anyone to help them. Most of them had parents that helped them learn the game. And you want to talk about cheating???? Seriously??


We have to ask if parents of debate team members worry this much over their child's success?