JAMES MADISON QUOTE - 1822

"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."

SCOTTSBORO WEATHER

Saturday, December 29, 2007

More Graffiti on Caldwell St.







City Hall is between Broad and Caldwell Streets.

Around Town, Graffiti Tags






Caldwell Street, which is the street immediately to the west and runs parallel to Broad Street, seems to be a favorite street of taggers. Gang related? Maybe. Juvenile vandals? Most likely. Whatever, these vandals are destroying property. One tag on the corner of Laurel and Caldwell is over 10 ft. up on the building. The vandals had to climb a pole to get on the roof of the building. http://www.nagia.org/Gang%20Articles/Graffi.htm This site deals with gang tagging. This one deals with "SANE" graffiti, http://www.sixcentz.com/photopages/sane.htm The Scottsboro "sane" seems to be a "SANE" wannabe.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Remodeled Bandstand Shaping Up



The day after Christmas personnel from Tolar Construction working hard to finish up the Jackson County Courthouse Bandstand. This is a project funded by concerned citizens of the Jackson County Historical Association.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Operation Iraqi Freedom




Please remember our military this Holiday Season in your prayers. I have added the official DOD site for Operation Iraqi Freedom to my links.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

2007 YEAR IN REVIEW


The Jib-Jab 2007 year in review, these guys are great! http://www.jibjab.com/originals/in_2007


Here's wishing everyone a safe and Happy Holiday Season, God Bless the U.S of A.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

From Congressman Bud Cramer's Office


Congressman Bud Cramer announced today, December 19, 2007, the following appropriations for Jackson County has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Congressman commented, " I have fought to insure that Congress supports Jackson County's funding priorities and allows for it's continued growth." Representative Cramer is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Monday, Dec. 18, 2007, for the Fiscal Year of 2008 The Consolidated Appropriations Act. Included in the Act are the following appropriations for Jackson County: 1) $129,940 for water and waste water infrastructure improvements at the Jackson County Industrial Park. (Rep. Cramer has provided over $1.78 million dollars in funding for the Jackson County Industrial Park for infra-structure development.) 2) $539,000 was secured for improvements to the Scottsboro Municipal Airport. 3) $600 million dollars for drought relief for farmers in Jackson County and across the country who were adversely affected by the 2007 drought.


Representative Cramer stated, " This funding will help ensure that our community remains a great place to live, work and raise a family." The FY 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act now moves to the U.S. Senate for approval.

Goose Pond Colony Board Meeting



Each 3rd Tuesday of the month the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board, better known as the Goose Pond Colony (GPC) Park Board meets to discuss business. I have been attending these meetings regularly for the past 4 months and have attended off and on during the last year. Last night there were 25 citizens in attendance, there were no hired journalists present. It seems the "press" is avoiding the meetings of the Park Board like the plague. Maybe they think the meetings are not news worthy or maybe they do not want to report on the truth of events at the park. Whatever the reason, I think it is very peculiar that the local press does not cover this municipal corporations meetings, thier choice, but when problems occur that effect the citizens of Scottsboro it is a shame our local media is not there to cover this situation, now on to the report.


Old Business: Marina courtesy vehicle discussion. It was decided that the marina courtesy vehicle for marina occupants must be signed out through the Marina Managers Office or Park Office.


New Business: 1) General Managers Resignation Letter was read and approved by the full board. Mr. Barry Chandler, General Manager resigned effective 31Nov. 2007. 2) A salary continuation (severance pay) was approved and signed off on by The Board President and Board Attorney. The "continuation of pay," as the President and Attorney calls it, was approved for Mr Chandler until May 2008, 6 months. The GPC Board President commented that Mr. Chandler served in an admiral fashion during his tenure at Goose Pond. 3) Board Members were assigned as "liaison members" to the various departments, cabins, camp grounds, golf course, marina, administrative office. It was stated that this was accomplished not for the board members to participate in management of the facility but to assist in communications to the board in the absence of a General Manager. It seems the "liaisons" were appointed in lieu of appointing an interim general manager. 4) Job Description for the General Manager is in Draft form and will be approved at the next meeting. There was no previous formal job description or formal contract for the General Managers position. 5) Advertising of the General Managers position was discussed and a committee was appointed to oversee this task. 6) Winter Golf rates discussion. 7) Special Projects Review and discussion. 8)Audit Review and progress report. 9) November Financial Report. 10) Resolution for approving check writing on GPC's accounts. All Board Members were placed on the document along with the Administrative Officer. 2 signatures are necessary for the GPC entity to write checks to pay their bills. 11) Reports from Department Heads. 12) Citizen presentations. There were 25 citizens in attendance last night. Most were concerned over conditions and uncertainty in the camp ground to include pending rules. 7 citizens spoke to the board expressing their concerns about the camp ground. One concerned citizen spoke concerning an incident that occured of a person falling into an open sewage septic tank in the camp ground. It was stated that this individual received several cuts and scrapes due to this accident. It was also stated that the person injured is receiving medical treatment due to recurring skin infections, the injured will receive an AIDS test in approximately 6 months. The citizen stated the board will be hearing more about this in approximately 2 months. I spoke to the board concerning my concerns over abuse of boards power, Open Meetings of the Board and the relationship to the severance pay for the past General Manager and abuse of individual board members authority to grant the "continuation of pay." The GPC Board attorney made comment that he did not agree with my view of this situation. I will be writing more about my concerns over management of GPC in a separate story in the near future.

Monday, December 17, 2007

City Council Meeting


The meeting tonight was conducted in 2 parts, Work Session and the continued Council Meeting from last week due to the Christmas Holiday. Mr Simmons was present tonight, it was good to see Buddy back on his feet. The Mayor was out , he passed on information that he was begining his chemo therapy and is going to begin radiation treatments next week. Please remember the Deason Family in your prayers.


Work Session: 1)Bob Stone concerning the Solid Waste Ordinance, no show. 2)Ken Swift on Flag Protocol: Mr Swift requested that when the City displays the flag outdoors during the hours of darkness that it should be directly lighted. Mr. Swift states this is not the case at Word Field. Mr. Smith, City Council President, stated this matter would be looked into and corrected. 3) Mrs. Duffey made presentation concerning FEMA Requirements for Flood Damage Prevention. 4) Planning Commission Resolution Discussion concerning Zoning Change for property on Snodgrass Rd. and Driftwood Shores. 5)Discussion concerning acquiring electricity for poles in front of City Hall. Apparently the light poles don't have electricity. The need for an in house Maintenance Tech was once again brought up. The Council has budgeted for a new position of a maintenance technician. 6) Discussion of Dec. 31 as a City Holiday. 7) Police Chief Ralph Dawe presentation. a. Graffiti around town discussion. There have been several pieces of property vandalized around town by drawings in paint. Chief Dawe reported that it appears the graffiti has been placed on the various properties by juveniles. No one has been apprehended for this act. b. Discussion concerning ordinance to impound vehicles where there is no proof of insurance and drivers that do not have a valid drivers license. c. Discussion on donations for fallen Huntsville Police Officer Eric Freeman, Officer Freeman was shot and killed this weekend. He leaves behind a wife and 5 children. Please remember the Freeman Family in your prayers. 8) Discussion concerning budget amendment for Community Planning Department vehicles. $30,000 has been budgeted, $6640.00 needs to be added for the vehicles. 9)Bid Opening for Mayors vehicle. Discussion concerning the need for a new Mayors vehicle, costs and type of vehicles available was discussed. 10) Discussion concerning backup system for computerized files. Department heads requested to report back to City Council concerning frequency of file backup, type of files backed up, and training employees on backing up of file systems.


City Council Meeting Continuation: 1) Public Hearing for Alcohol Beverage License for Beer and Wine, Pizza Hut (new store) on S. Broad St. License approved. 2) Resolution Establishing Public Hearing for property rezoning. Property location is on Snodgrass Rd and Driftwood Shores, hearing to be held on Jan 14, 2008. 3) Bid selection for new Mayors vehicle, awarded to Harbin Ford, $19,916.00 for a Mercury Gran Marque. 4) Budget Amendment approved for the Community Planning Department for vehicles. $6640.00 approved to supplement the $30,000 already approved. 5) Budget Amendment for City Hall General Administration, tabled. 6) Dec 31, 2007 Holiday approved. 7) Budget amendment for Mayors vehicle in the amount of $19,916.


May all Scottsboro Employees and Officials Have a safe and Happy Holiday Season. Next meeting of the City Council will be a work session on Monday Jan. 7, 2008.

Chamber of Commerce Property Sale



A while back the developers of the property on Goose Pond Island donated a lot to the Chamber of Commerce. I received an anonymous letter Friday expressing concern over the recent sale of the donated property. In the letter it was stated that the property was sold at $51,000 and was appraised at $100,000.


I visited with Mr. Rick Roden, Director of Jackson County's Chamber of Commerce this morning concerning this issue. Mr. Roden provided me with a copy of the appraisal and we had a discussion over this issue.


It is true, the property has recently sold for $51,000. The appraised value of this parcel was $51,300. The Appraisal was performed by Epps Appraisal Services of Scottsboro, dated April 3, 2007. Mr. Roden informed me that the property had been on the market for several months and had not sold. He expressed his gratefulness in this recent sale as all money from the sale goes to the Focus Jackson Program. Mr. Roden also conveyed to me that the realtor's involved in the transaction waived all commissions in order that the full sale price would go into the Focus Jackson Program.


Many thanks to Mr. Roden for taking time to explain this matter. Thanks also go out to the anonymous letter writer for giving me the opportunity to clear up this matter and potential rumor. Chamber of Commerce link: http://www.jacksoncountychamber.com/

Friday, December 14, 2007

Scottsboro Employee Park






Very nice area for the use and relaxation of our City's employees. I contacted Mr. Joe Rogers, Street Department Superintendent and Mrs. Gail Duffey, City Clerk, concerning this area. A poster within had mentioned this area was in a poor state of repair.

The area is very clean and kept, the docks are dangerous, the picnic tables and the bath/shower rooms are falling apart. One dock has been condemned by the TVA. Mrs. Duffey explained that Mr. Cecil Word donated the property to the City's Electric Power Board, the Water-Sewer-Gas Board and the City of Scottsboro for the use of their employees. She also conveyed that a committee would be meeting after the first of the year to discuss the dock's and park's condition. Mrs. Duffey was not aware of the Condemnation of the dock. I contacted her concerning the notice.

I have fond memories as a child being invited to fish off the dock, it used to be great Crappie fishing. Our City's leadership needs to maintain this area in a safe and presentable condition, failure to do so reflects badly on the city as a whole.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Around Town, The Wedding Dress


While traveling around town you should always watch where you are going. This shop's "window dressing" caught my attention. The bridal dress in this window certainly adds new meaning to the phrase "window dressing," or undressing in this case, I think she is waving.

The Costs of the 12 Days of Christmas


The cost of Christmas has sky rocketed this year. The Maids a Milking pay raises and rising Gold prices have had a staggering effect. Here's the proof and a detailed report: http://www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com/ Brits seem to be purchasing the pictured item in record numbers, must be the consistent bad weather. He don't look like Howie.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snake Rock Award, Jackson County Legislative Delegation


The Daily Sentinel published an excellent article about the TVA in lieu of Tax handouts by the Jackson County Legislative Delegation. Here's a link to the article:http://www.thedailysentinel.com/story.lasso?ewcd=6f04c9850e6e8d56


The Legislative Delegation gets the Snake Rock Award. This award will be bestowed on politicians and government's officials who act as a "snake in the grass" and fail to tell the citizens the truth of an issue.


The TVA in lieu of tax is not theirs to hand out, it is county money disbursed from the state treasurer to the county and municipalities of the state served by the TVA. The Delegation passed a series of Local Acts to divert a portion of the funds into the Legislative Delegations accounts. The last Local Act was passed in 1999 which was not advertised in the local press as to the specifics of the Act, a violation of Alabama's Constitution. This law placed a cap on the amount of money the county could receive over the previous years TVA in lieu of tax disbursal. Any amount over last years disbursal goes to the Delegation, less a small amount to the hospital and the EDA. This year it appears the Jackson County Legislative Delegation will receive about $1,000,000.


The Delegation uses these county funds to hand out to what ever organization they feel as deserving and of course, who supports their reelection. The Delegation maintains they have no responsibility to disclose the deliberative process of the fund disbursal. They state the open meetings law of this state does not pertain to them. The passing out of the TVA in lieu of tax fund is simply, a scheme to further their reelection.


Fortunately the rock, which has a snake on it, is to large to move. The rock is located at Goose Pond, they will have to settle for this picture.

Monday, December 10, 2007

County Commission Meeting

The Commission meeting today started early, 3:30PM to discuss the particulars of County Garbage Collection, this was a work session prior to the regular 4:30 meeting. The county is purchasing tippers and new garbage cans which would eliminate waste collectors from having to empty cans directly into the truck waste bins. This has been an area that has resulted in past injury to employees. Tipper cans will result in an improvement of operations.

Regular meeting: 1) Bridgeport Librarian, Louise Brown, and Scottsboro Librarian, Nancy Gregory, meet with the Commission to discuss Library fund distribution within the county. At the last Commission meeting it was announced that Dutton is starting a Public Library. A person from the state Library Commission will be meeting with county Librarians next week to discuss fund distribution. 2) 8 items were approved in the consent agenda. The consent agenda involves items of the day to day operations of the county in which the Commission must approve. 3) Discussion concerning proposed Drug Testing policy changes. 4) Approval of new Personnel Director, Ms. Aaron Dixon was approved. Currently Ms. Dixon is the Office Manager of County Solid Waste. County Solid Waste is already short a clerk as she was approved for hire in another job within the county. The Assistant Office Manger of Solid Waste will move up to the Office Manger position. 5) Resignation of Dana McAllister was approved and Cathy Hancock was approved to fill that position. 6) Sharon Whitmire was approved to position of Superior Recording Clerk in the Probate Office. 7) One time pay raise was approved for county employees, $100.00, Merry Christmas.

City Council Meeting

Short meeting this evening. Mr. Simmons was out, he had recent surgery. The Mayor was also out, the Mayor announced this past week he has cancer. Please remember our elected officials in your prayers.

1) Business license and fee rate ordinance change approved. 2) City of Scottsboro Employee Handbook change approved. This concerned grievance filing time frame change from 30 days to 10 days. 3) City Attorney discussion concerning posting of residents address on structures. 4) Appointment of Committee to inquire and report to Council on Residence address visibility. There appears to be a problem with some homes not having a visible address for emergency services. 5) Budget Amendment for Finance Department of $2520.00 to furnish new office for staff, office furniture and computer equipment. 6) Bid opening for concrete to Solid Waste, awarded to Jackson County Concrete. 7) Bid opening for StreetScapes project, Willow Street and Houston Street, lights and sidewalk. Low bid was $439,548, Clark Associates. This was tied to a previous grant award which Scottsboro is responsible for 10% of the project. Scottsboro's funding is in a reserved CD account. 8) Council meeting will be continued until next Monday, Dec 17, 2007 after work session.

Granny's Face


When you're around about town one should always watch where they are going. This strange "Puff Ball" looks like Granny's face.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Forum name banned on al.com


It seems the hypocrisy of the media never ends. There is something wrong with a discussion forum when even the mention of the name "arklite" is tagged as inappropriate language, this is what has occured on al.com. Political scoundrels controlling the media, or the corporate media battling for your hearts and mind? It appears this recent example of media censorship occured today.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

More on Goosepond Colony (GPC)




At the last GPC Board meeting Mr Parker Edmiston was present at that board meeting. Mr. Edmiston stated he was representing one or more clients concerning non-payment of wages. In todays Daily Sentinel, Mr. Edmiston has an ad listing, over the comic strips, requesting witnesses for "off the clock" workers of the Goosepond Colony Municipal Corporation.


I have also confirmed through 3 seperate sources that a severence pay package has been authorized for payment to Mr. Chandler. Mr. Chandler resigned on Nov 30th, he was the Manager of GPC. This severence pay package has not been discussed at any open meeting of GPC. It is a violation of Alabama's Open Meeting Laws for decisions of the board to be made in an executive session or outside of the open meeting.

Open Meetings in Alabama

Enclosed is an outline link concerning Open Meetings in Alabama http://www.edaa.org/uploadedFiles/Resource_Materials/Open_Meetings_Act.pdf Good outline and lists other links to view the Manual for Public Officials concerning open meetings.

Mayor Dan Deason

Mayor, God bless you and your family. It is most appreciated that you are keeping the public informed of your situation. I send my best wishes and will pray that you have a speedy recovery.

Mayor Deason recently stated he has cancer.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Bud and the Trumpster


Congressman Bud Cramer's Site. I've noticed Northwest Alabama is gaining many manufacturing industries, good for them. If only Jackson County could realize the same gain. http://cramer.house.gov/HoR/AL05/

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Around Scottsboro







I went out today to see the new site where our animal control shelter is going to be erected. At first it was apparently going to be built immediately west of the old baler facility. I stopped by and visited briefly with Morris at Recycling for Scottsboro. He's doing great and was very busy but he took the time to say hi and we discussed the animal shelter briefly. After contacting Curtis Davis, Scottsboro City Planner, he described for me the new proposed location. This location is west of Marshall Drive, south of US Hwy 72 and across Marshall Dr. from the City school bus lot, the city owns approximately 1 1/2 acres in that location. A very low area, Curtis tells me that there will be fill placed in that area.

Another construction is the new bridge across the mighty Tennessee on Alabama Hwy. 35. I'll be posting some pictures of the construction progress as it proceeds. I've also enclosed a picture of the 2 bridges as they appeared a few months back.










Goose Pond Colony Secrets, Shhh!


The secret is out, of course it has been out for the last couple of weeks. There has been much discussion on local forums about this "secret." Goosepond Colony (GPC) Manager Barry Chandler has resigned, effective November 30th. The day before Barry's resignation we had a discussion about what was going on at GPC. We talked about several things, Plantation Point, rumours that has been circulating concerning him, pending legal action concerning GPC. Barry would not disclose any information about any pending legal action nor would he disclose the reason for his resignation other than to give praise to the GPC Board.


The GPC Board seems to have a problem with recognition of their responsibilities of keeping the public informed concerning Goosepond Colony. GPC has had a history of corruption, various management problems and the most recent Scottsboro Audit pointing out concerns over GPC's high debt. Then to top off the situation citizens of Scottsboro have to be subjected to censorship of discussion on the local Scottsboro public forum, al.com, concerning the activity of the GPC Board. After all, it certainly was not the tooth fairy that was responsible for banning me from al.com as a result of discussing concerns at GPC. Nor was it the tooth fairy that removed all posts concerning GPC from the Scottsboro forum. Discussion concerning the Scottsboro Park and GPC Board was censored/removed from the Scottsboro forum.

I want to know the rest of the story. That is why I have requested several public documents from GPC, ie Managers Evaluation, Managers Job Description or contract, Personnel Policy, Loan Documents and other public writings.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Jackson Co. Courthouse

Fire previously destroyed the Jackson County Courthouse. In the 1980's and 1990's it was a wonder it didn't burn again, the physical structure and electrical systems had been seriously neglected. The Courthouse has been repaired but how about the current law suit concerning the neglect of the current County Commission concerning Courthouse Security. The Commission is responsible for installing a workable security system for our seat of county government. The County Commission was obviously not responsible for the criminal acts of John Christopher Lee, however they are responsible for building security. When will they meet their responsibilities? The Alabama Supreme Court has ordered the Commission to improve the security of the courthouse, they have not. No money for a security system seems to be the standard answer, but other projects get funded. What about the Jackson County Legislative Delegation, are they not able to help? The delegation certainly gives 100's of thousands of dollars of county money away to further their own reelection.

Reason for the Blog


I have came to realize that local politics, as with all politics, may result in disagreements with the folks who hold power. In the case of Scottsboro, a small southern community, power is held by a few who attempt to pull the strings of the many. My community's political party of choice is that of the Democrats. The local Dems are very conservative and resist change greatly, particularly if that change stands to take power from those who hold it. Within Scottsboro and Jackson County there is a power class. A class that partly evolved from "old money" and now seems to evolve from the many attorneys who earn their living around our town square. There are 26 attorneys at last count around our town square. I remember the days, more than 40 years ago, when every kind of business imaginable could be found around our square, the majority legal, some illegal, very few attorneys. The mega-chain store is largely responsible for the demise of the town square. I often wonder what the effect would be if "Wally World" would take a towns square and make the square their business instead of building a roof and four walls to house the store then discard it.

We are fortunate in Scottsboro to be blessed with the beauty of the Tennessee River Valley and the mountains surrounding it in Northeast Alabama. There is no doubt that Scottsboro is a fine place to raise a family, good schools and a low crime rate. For the most part, good people concerned about their community.

You must be wondering, after all that rambling, why the blog? To provide the folks of our small city alternative news, the way I, Garry Morgan see it by exploring life and politics in Scottsboro, Alabama. Don't forget, "watch for snakes."

Welcome

I have created this blog to discuss the events in and around Scottsboro and Jackson County Alabama. Feel free to comment as it would certainly be a dull world if we all agreed. Please refrain from using profanity and act responsibly within. Please, "watch for snakes."