"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Monday, November 20, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Work Session, First Storm Shelter Site Chosen, November 20, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall (photo by G. Morgan)

First Storm Shelter location announced - to be built behind the Randall's Chapel Methodist Church. Property lease usage terms, a 20 year lease for $1.00 per year. Construction to begin 2-3 months by City of Scottsboro, Scottsboro Electric Power Board and Scottsboro Water Sewer and Gas will participate in the construction. (Photo credit - Inside an Alabama storm shelter; FEMA Grieg Powers, Fair Use for non-profit news reporting.)



Facebook Live Video link of Reports:   https://www.facebook.com/garry.l.morgan.5/videos/10214634121830449/

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Regular Session 11-13-17

Scottsboro City Hall photo by G. Morgan



                                              Video Photo Captures
From left to right, City Council President Tony Wallingsford, City Attorney Steve Kennamer, Council Member Patrick Stewart, Council Member Jessica Butler considering issues before council. 

Council Member Smith comments about cost overruns of projects.

Mayor Robin Shelton, left, discusses project cost increases in Goose Pond Walking Trail and decreases in expenses, Council Member Stewart looks on.

Jackson County Commission, Regular Session - Meeting Continued Until Thursday, November 16, 2017 Regarding Court Referral and Community Corrections, Special Video on Agenda Item 14 - UPDATE - Agenda Item 14, Community Corrections Court Referral Issue, November 16, 2017

On going issue regarding a non-profit arm of Department of Corrections and Jackson County Courts - Community Corrections and Court Referral.

UPDATE November 18, 2017 
Regardless of the comments of political, judicial or officials of Community Corrections/Court Referral there is no  Federal Certified Laboratory for drug testing in Jackson County Alabama or the entire State of Alabama. There needs to be local improvements, drug abuse is a mental health care problem, more so than a legal problem. Mental health care funding in Alabama has decreased and Medicaid funding is not provided under the Affordable Care Act in Alabama.

In Jackson County Alabama, the acceptance of drug testing laboratories whose standards do not meet Federal Standards, and where the local legal standards do not meet the standards of employment law nor Department of Transportation requirements of drug testing is ridiculous and not supportive of a just legal system. This problem is simple to correct, there is no will to do so as it would mean following a set of just legal standards which insure a system of checks and balances not present currently regarding drug testing of those clients in the Court Referral system in Jackson County. Laboratories meeting federal legal standards of drug testing laboratories: https://www.samhsa.gov/workplace/resources/drug-testing/certified-lab-list  

The failure to require Court Referral clients testing positive to not be called in and informed of test results immediately when a positive test is demonstrated is a failure of due process. The failure to not have two sealed sample containers with urine as is the standard of practice is not only a failure of due process of law and a violation of standards of practice but an excuse to incarcerate without due process of law. To wait weeks, over a month, before notification after a known positive test result is ridiculous and demonstrates a failure of our legal system involving Court Referral. The bottom line - there needs to be improvement regarding drug abuse treatment and the organizations involved in drug testing in Jackson County Alabama.

Here you will find the facts and figures and what is needed: https://www.samhsa.gov/criminal-juvenile-justice  and  https://www.samhsa.gov/gains-center

UPDATE: November 16, 2017 
Agenda Item 14 on the County Commission Agenda - Community Corrections resulted in a continuation of Monday’s meeting today at 10:30 AM. The meeting lasted approximately one and half hours.

The Jackson County Commission will consider whether to change the Court Referral - Community Corrections status from a non-profit organization to an organization under the purview of the Jackson County Commission.

Concerns have been brought forward regarding accountability and procedures of the Court Referral Program. The issue was further tabled to be discussed and decided upon at another meeting. Interviews by WHNT-TV of Judge Holt and Commissioner Guffey were aired on the 5PM News cast. Link: http://whnt.com/2017/11/16/jackson-county-commissions-continues-a-two-year-investigation-on-the-countys-corrections-system/

The Court Referral Program falls under the Code of Alabama http://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-12-courts/al-code-sect-12-23-4.html    
Community Corrections is governed by Alabama 2003 Department of Corrections Act  http://sentencingcommission.alacourt.gov/Legislation/cc_summ.htm   
Administrative  Procedures and auditing http://www.doc.state.al.us/CommCorrections.aspx

Commissioner Jeffrey Williams from the Alabama Department of Corrections was present and made a comprehensive presentation; Judge Jennifer Holt, Presiding Judge Jackson County Circuit Court; Jackson County District Court Judge Donald Word: Jackson County Courts Clerk Donna Barksdale; Director of Community Corrections Mike Brown; Director of Court Referral Brandon Brown were present; Jennifer Lackey from the Lackey Law Firm who are the attorneys of record for the Jackson County Community Corrections and Court Referral Office; Parker Edmiston of the Edmiston Law Firm attended.

Videos, Part 1 & 2 November 16, 2017 Commission meeting continuation

Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeffrey Williams makes presentation to commissioners. (photo by G. Morgan)

Presideing Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Holt  discusses her concerns with Commission; Commissioner Tim Guffey in foreground listens. (photo by G. Morgan)

Community Corrections Director Mike Brown answers questions. Commission Chair Mike Ashburn on right; Attorney Jennifer Lackey of the Lackey Law Firm and District Judge Don Word. 
(photo by G. Morgan)

VIDEO (Nov. 13, 2017)
Regarding Agenda Item 14, Community Corrections Court Referral

Scottsboro, Alabama November 13, 2017 Jackson County Commission Agenda Item 14 Motion to Discuss Community Corrections.  Motion was made to go into an Executive Session to discuss Good Name and Character. "Incompetent . . . Incomplete" says, in part, requested report by Jackson County Commission referring to Community Corrections accountability. I was informed by a confidential source that Judge Holt was present prior to the Commission meeting to express alleged displeasure with agenda item 14, Community Corrections. Mr. Porter, County Attorney, was asked if Judge Holt was present during the Executive Session on agenda item 14, he stated "no comment."

Commission Meeting was continued until Thursday, 16 Nov. 2017 at 10:30 AM regarding Agenda Item 14;  Department of Corrections will be present. Blog posts regarding Court Referral and Community Corrections:   http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/Jackson%20County%20Community%20Corrections%20and%20Court%20Referral



                                    VIDEO PHOTO CAPTURE PHOTOS
Mr. Johnson, County Engineer, discusses best option for bridge project on CR 92.

Dr Reyes, Superintendent Scottsboro City Schools, discusses schools with Commission.

Commissioner listens to presentation on employee health insurance plans.

Commissioners discuss going into Executive Session regarding good name and character involving Court Referral - Community Corrections issue.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Work Session November 6, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall photo by G. Morgan



                                   VIDEO PHOTO CAPTURES
From left to right - Scottsboro City Clerk Whitney Phillips; City Council President Tony Wallingsford; Scottsboro City Attorney Steve Kennamer

Scottsboro Mayor Robin Shelton discusses square renovation cost overruns.

Scottsboro City Councilman Keith Smith asks questions about contract cost overruns.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Jackson County Commission, Regular Session, Environmental Concerns Presentation, Cancer Rates, Biosolids Sewage Sludge Issue, ADEM Testing of Water on Sand Mountain, October 23, 2017

Historical poor stewardship by corporations and individual polluters, along with negligent state and federal agencies are killing people in Jackson County Alabama. An extreme statement when extreme measures need to be taken. The placing of money before the health and welfare of citizens is unacceptable. 
Center for Disease Control's National Cancer Institute's, NCI, Map of Alabama in regards to cancers and cancer rates. Jackson County, upper right hand corner of map in red, demonstrates high cancer death rates. Various cancers are present in the community at levels which are above the state and national averages. A review of the statistical data indicates females are at greater risk of cancer deaths. Female death rates for Jackson county are ranked at #7 while males are ranked #11 in the state of Alabama. My presentation to the Jackson County Commission may be seen at 7 minutes 18 seconds in the below video of the commission meeting.

Testing by ADEM, April and May 2017 of water in the area of North Sand Mountain demonstrated increased levels of e. coli, low oxygen content of water, dangerous levels of "oxygen demand" indicating organic pollutants present, Nitrogen Ammonia highly elevated, total phosphorus elevated. The problem with ADEM appears to be timely and continuous followup testing of water in the areas of pollution. 

NCI CANCERS STATS for the State of Alabama, Jackson County
(cancers of concern, sex and age relations, elevated rates, red grouping)
#1 Thyroid cancer incidence for all sexes, age under 50, #3 incidence rate for all ages.
#2 Pancreatic cancer incidents for males all ages, #6 death rate for men.
#2 ovarian cancer deaths (females) all ages.
#6 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma incidence all ages female.
#2 Liver cancer deaths, male all ages.
#4 Leukemia deaths, males all ages.
#2 Kidney, pelvic, renal cancer incidence, female, all ages.
#3 Colon and Rectal cancer deaths female all ages; #9 death rate for both sexes.
#1 Brain cancer deaths males, all ages; #2 deaths for both sexes.
#4 Bladder cancer deaths, both sexes all ages.


Report from the Huntsville Times, January 8, 2008, on historical dumping in mining sites on North Sand Mountain, TVA involvement; E. coli and mercury contamination in area of concern.There is a question whether the remediation effort was accomplished. In 1995 wells were tested in the Flat Rock Fabious area by the health department, over 50% of wells tested demonstrated e. coli content in the well water at unsafe levels. Area contamination was a great concern at this time, 1995, due to a massive fish, turtle and amphibian kill in the Coon Gulf area, reports from local residents state, "Nothing was living, the stench was horrible, you could walk across the water because of all the floating dead animals." ( Article reproduced under fair use rights for non-profit news reporting regarding community health. Click on image for an expanded view.) 



Monday, October 23, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Meeting Regular Session, Final 2017-2018 Budget Approval - Council Member Smith Questions Cost Overruns on City Projects October 23, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall photo by G. Morgan

Facebook City Council Reports Video



City Council President Tony Wallingsford, center, asks for motions to bring agenda items forward for a vote. City Clerk Whitney Phillips sits on Mr. Wallingsfords's right; City Attorney Steve Kennamer reads applicable document on Mr. Wallingsford's left.

Council Member Keith Smith, photo left, asks questions regarding city projects cost overruns.

Mayor Robin Shelton, photo left, addresses Mr. Smith's (photo right) concerns. Council Member Gary Stewart, center, looks on.