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."

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Scottsboro City Council

Scottsboro Street Scene 1910.

Tonight was a regular meeting of the Scottsboro City Council. For an expanded view of the agenda please click on the image.
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Old Business on the Agenda: 1) Mr. Brinkley and Mr. Myrick were each nominated and approved for a 3 year term on the Adjustment and Appeals Board. Mr. Womack, Mr. Tubbs and Mr. Petriske were each nominated and approved for a 4 year term. 2) Mr. Scott Berry and Mr. Patrick Stewart were each appointed to a 4 year term on the CDA Board. 3) The Mayor selected Ms. Rosetta McCamey to the Housing Authority.

New Business: 1) Resolution approved to vacate a city easement on the property of Mr. Forrest Benson. 2) Street Department surplus property declaration approved for a 1996 Komatsu Excavator and a Ford Truck. Property to be sold on govdeals.com. 3) Alcohol beverage license approved for Roxy's Cafe on South Broad St., previous "Bonedaddys" restaurant. 4) Budget Amendment approved, Rescue Squad appropriation for $2000. The Rescue Squad expended many hours during the winter snow storms. It was stated this appropriation will be utilized for fuel purchases. 5) Alcohol beverage license approved for Salt International Bistro, to be located at 3509 South Broad St., previous "City Lights" Restaurant. 6) Bid Opening for used Solid Waste Service Truck, awarded to Southland International of Huntsville, Al., for the amount of $35,950.00. 7) Extension of Scottsboro Recycling lease for 5 years of old baler building. Lease to be extended till May 2016. 8) Vacancy on Water Sewer and Gas Board due to the death of Mr. Albert Ricker. Mr. Ricker was a dedicated citizen of Scottsboro and will be missed by many. Applications to fill the remaining term must be submitted to the City Clerk by March 18, 2011, 4:30PM. 9) Resolution for Improvement Research of Al. Hwy 79 from Scottsboro to Guntersville, Al. Request for the Alabama Department of Transportation to research how the roadway may be improved to support tourism and economic development of the area. 10) March 14 City Council meeting to be rescheduled prior to the March 21 work session. Council members will be in Washington, DC during the 14th to meet with Federal Legislators and their staff. 11) Council Member Gary Spears appointed Mr. Brad Dudley to the Rec Com Advisory Board.

Jackson County Commission

Jackson County Commission Agenda for February 28, 2011. Click on image for an expanded view.
Jackson County Commission, Commissioner Jack Allen was absent from today's meeting. Ms. Bias, Commission Chairperson, announced that an employee of the Jackson County Sanitation Department had been struck by an automobile at Bryant, Al., she reported the employee was airvaced to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tn. where he was in serious condition.

Mr. Phillip Widner, County Engineer, recommended that a variance requested by Mr. Jason Butler concerning a subdivision road not be approved. (Agenda item C-New Business.)The variance involved approving a gravel road instead of a paved road. Commissioners Clemmons and Smith voted to approve the request, Commissioner Stone voted no. Ms. Bias stated the subdivision variance involved a not for profit organization.
Commissioner Clemmons and Mr. John Porter, County Attorney, discuss specifics concerning the subdivision road issue.
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Problems with the Jackson County Park FEMA reimbursement were also discussed at todays meeting. Apparently there is a problem with underground versus overhead electrical power. The Administrative Assistant of the Jackson County Legislative Delegation stated the delegation would do all they could to assist in resolving this matter at the state level.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Goose Pond Colony a Beautiful Location with Financial Problems - Plantation Point


The Docks Restaurant

Cabins and Lodge
The amphitheater at Goose Pond Colony

The Marina

Beautiful scenery, great fishing and golf may be found in this wonderful family setting. There is also a campground at Goose Pond Colony. More information on the Jewel of Scottsboro and Jackson County Alabama. http://www.goosepond.org/
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PROBLEMS AT PLANTATION POINT
There seems to be a disconnect concerning the viability of the Plantation Point Golf Course.
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The Plantation Point Golf Course was built as a private business venture. When it was financially strapped, it was sold to the City of Scottsboro's Park and Recreation Board, Goose Pond Colony Board (GPC Board).
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The course was built in a terrible location which has resulted in a failed sewage system due to low elevation and a high water table, an area called Sauty (Sauta) Bottoms. A failure which has cost the citizens of Scottsboro near one million dollars to fix.
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Some city council members claim it is not fair to sell or close the course due to the homeowners living around the course. Some on the city council have suggested they could manage the course better than the banker, accountant, engineer and business men on the current City Parks and Recreation Board (GPC Board). My reply, it is not fair that citizens at large are forced to pay for the residents of Plantation Point living around the golf course privilege, since they contribute nothing toward that privilege, no maintenance or privilege fees--nothing, a fact conveniently overlooked by some on the City Council who use this as another opportunity to push forward their private agendas.
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Normally a homeowner living on a golf course pays dues for that privilege, not so in the case of Plantation Point.
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Because of the loss of income, the Plantation Point Golf Course is being placed up for sale for the amount of $1.3 million. If it can not be sold, it is to be closed, according to the Chairperson of the City Parks and Recreation Board (GPC Board), a seperate corporate entity of the City of Scottsboro.
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The current Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board consists of astute, well organized professionals who have the best interests of Scottsboro and Goose Pond Colony in mind. While some on the City Council of Scottsboro have previously catered to private interest groups who offer the most money for their reelection.
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Less than 10 years previous the Goose Pond Colony Board and facility was near bankruptcy due to poor management and the "good ole boys" giving away GPC property and services.
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The current GPC board, coupled with innovative thinking of a previous city council, brought GPC out of a pending failure and collapse. Some on the current city council need to refresh their memories concerning the facts of the situation and stop with the deceit.
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The Citizens of Scottsboro must ask of themselves, "do we want to loose all of Goose Pond Colony due to the problems of a seperate Golf Course in which the home owners living on the Plantation Point Golf Course pay no money to maintain? Perhaps the citizens which live on or at Plantation Point should purchase the course and maintain it.
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Widows Creek Revisited -- Institute for Southern Studies Report -- Hexavalent chromium pollution linked to coal ash disposal

Fair Use Rights not for profit usage - photo by "creekkeeper" Photo by Hurricane Creek Keeper John Waltham - South Wings Aviation.
Fair Use Rights not for profit usage - photo by "hccreekkeeper" Photo by Hurricane Creek Keeper John Waltham - South Wings Aviation.
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Widows Creek coal ash and gypsum pond spill, January 9, 2009 at the TVA's Widow Creek coal fired plant. TVA officials denied the existence of the coal ash existed downstream. TVA officials attempted to downplay the extent of the spill. Going so far to report to the Tennessean Newspaper in Nashville, Tn., "the photo's which Morgan has presented are not coal ash from Widows Creek or Kingston, we do not know what it is as most of what was released was water." The TVA not only knew the spill was coal ash but has intentionally misled the public as to the extent of the danger as a result of the spill.
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A report released this month from the Institute of Southern Studies reveals shocking news that hexavalent chromium was released and present at 73 times the EPA safe level. ISS - Hexavalent chromium pollution linked to coal ash disposal
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photo by G. Morgan

17 miles downstream at Bellefonte Landing the grey coating could be found. The sludge extended under the surface for 15-30 feet beyond the shoreline.


photo by G. Morgan


Pictures documenting the extent of the Widows Creek Spill.


Fair Use Rights not for profit usage - Photo by Hurricane Creek Keeper John Waltham - South Wings Aviation.

"The very highest level of hexavalent chromium -- 7,370 parts per billion -- leached from the coal ash produced at TVA's Widows Creek facility, where a 2009 spill released some 10,000 gallons of coal ash waste into the Tennessee River. That level is more than 73 times the federal drinking water standard of 100 ppb for total chromium." (ISS Report Feb 3, 2011)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Scottsboro Solid Waste Department Recycle Truck, note the notice on the rear of the vehicle, "This vehicle was funded by ADEM, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, through a grant from the Alabama Recycling Fund."
Click on image for an expanded view.
Scottsboro City Council Agenda, New Business for February 15, 2011, there was no old business.
1) Surplus property for Cemetary Department approved for sale on govdeals.com. 12 items were declared surplus, mowers, tractors, attachments etc. Council Member Spears asked the question, "how effective is govdeals.com for the City of Scottsboro? Mr. Wheeler provided the answer, "govdeals.com has been very sucessful and has resulted in increased receipts for the city departments surplus property sales." 2) $28,000 to be utilized for increased safety improvements for City Hall. 3) Bid opening for recyclable waste. Bid was awarded to Traylor Group, $20.00 per ton for 100 tons. A comment was made by Mr. Blizzard, Director Solid Waste, after questions concerning bids for the waste as to competitiveness of bids. (paraphrased) "The money to the city is greater when you consider the landfill space saved by eliminating the recyclable waste going into our landfill. The money to the city, figuring in the landfill space saved, is about $60.00 per ton." Mr. Blizzard also commented this is the highest bid received in 2 years. 4) Bid for Street Department Equipment awarded to Bob Cat of Huntsville, Al., for $56,571.36 5) Landfill Generator and power distribution equipment bid awarded to W.W. Williams of Atlanta, Ga. for a 450Kw generator for the Landfill Gas Collection project. Cost of all equipment will be $455,000 which includes a maintenance warranty for the equipment purchased. 6) Bid openings for Street Department Dump Truck were rejected due to excessive costs. Bids ranging from $&1K to $75K exceeded expected costs. Mr. Dolberry, Street Department Superintendent, stated he would attempt to acquire prices for a used vehicle which would cost approximately $40K. 7) Personnel Board appointment, Ms. Linda Bray was reappointed. 8) 4 members of the Tree Commission were reappointed- Mr. Cecil Wells, Dot Claybrook, Donna Greer, Ron Claber. 9) Ms. Mary Ferrell was appointed to the Recreation Advisory Board. Interested parties for a position on the Airport Advisory Board should contact Mr. Hodges or the City Clerk, Ms. O'Shields, 256-574-3100. 10) One position on the Architectural Review Board is open due to the term expiring of Mr. Jimmy Bergman, interested citizens must live in the City Historical District, applications must be submitted to the City Clerk no later than Mar. 18, 2011 by 4:30PM


Jackson County Commission



Jackson County Commission agenda, click on the image for an expanded view.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

TVA Problems at Watts Bar, Fired Project Manager, Large Sums of Money Sent to Iran

TVA, Tennessee Valley Authority, construction photo on the Watts Bar Unit 2. (TVA Contractor Photo)
TVA Photo of Watts Bar Nuclear Plant
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Masoud Bajestani, former Vice President of Nuclear Construction at Watts Bar, TVA bestows the title of Vice President to many senior TVA project managers, has apparently been terminated from his job. The TVA at this point is being very hush, hush about the reasoning's for the termination. Press reports are circulating that Bajestani withdrew $1.5 million from a TVA deferred compensation account and sent much of the money to Iran. In a Chattanooga.com report filed on February the 1st Bajestani is quoted, "...I had this opportunity that I discussed with (wife) to invest some money outside the U.S. and specifically buy some property back in Tehran, Iran. So I decided to withdraw that money and invest it outside the U.S." http://chattanoogan.com/articles/article_193558.asp
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Chattanooga Times Free Press Dave Flessner reports, "TVA Communications Vice President David Mould said Bajestani's departure "was not related to his work on the Watts Bar project." But he declined to discuss why Bajestani was dismissed." http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/jan/30/tva-fires-watts-bar-project-manager/
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In true TVA style conflicting press releases were provided by the TVA as indicated in this AP News release posted in Scottsboro's Daily Sentinel. http://thedailysentinel.com/news/region/article_ccc5d6c8-2e5e-11e0-aa55-001cc4c002e0.html The article in part states, "TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said Tuesday that Bajestani's departure was not related to a Thursday letter from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, first reported by WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, that cites TVA "errors and omissions" in a Watts Bar project fire protection report and excessive delays in providing information."
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Others are asking questions and display great concern, as they should. Earnest Norworthy asks the question. "Has TVA reported this matter to the NRC, SEC, Homeland Security and the FBI for possible further investigation?" A very valid question, there is concern at the NRC concerning shoddy management at the Watts Bar nuclear facility. http://norsworthyopinion.com/TVAs_latest_nuclear_disaster.aspx
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UPDATE- Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC, Letter Dated Jan. 27, 2011 Subject: Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2, Status of Operating License Review PDF link: http://richmedia.onset.freedom.com/wtvc/lfy7c7-wb2statusoperatinglicense.pdf
Serious issues as to "timeliness and quality" of the required documentation submitted to the NRC for the appropriate licensing. A sloppy TVA Nuclear Division, is not an acceptable trait for managers in assuring the safety of citizens in the TVA operating area.
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UPDATE: February 4, 2011, Article by Anne Paine of The Tennessean. The article begins- "Masoud Bajestani, who until a week ago headed the $2.5 billion nuclear building project at TVA's Watts Bar plant, has, according to court documents, told lies both on personal financial matters and in dealings with a contract employee who reported safety problems on another nuclear project." http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110204/NEWS21/102040381/2275/RSS05
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UPDATE: February 5, 2011, Masoud Bajestani retaliated against workers reporting safety violations in violation of the Federal Whistle Blowers Act. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110205/NEWS11/102050352/Nuke-project-chief-who-left-job-last-week-had-fired-whistle-blower?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Cimg%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cp