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

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Jackson County Commission Regular Session 4-25-17

Jackson County Courthouse, south side photo by G.Morgan

AGENDA

Mr Sisk and Mr. Guffey were absent.

SURPLUS EQUIPMENT AND VEHICLE LIST FROM PUBLIC WORKS
Agenda Item 2-approved

VIDEO

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Meeting, Regular Session April 24, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall - photo by G. Morgan

AGENDA

VIDEO

'

Scottsboro Board of Education Work Session April 20, 2017 - Staffing Issues and Superintendent Selection

Scottsboro Schools, Page Administration Center 
Photo by Scottsboro Schools, Fair-Use rights for non-profit news and commentary

Thursday was a work session for the Scottsboro Board of Education. Similar to the Boards other work sessions they can be long, this one was approximately 3 hours. Important issues were covered such as Superintendent selection discussion, the current Superintendent Dr.Sandra Spivey, will be leaving in a couple of months, and schools staffing requirements. Related article from the Clarion, April 12, 2017: http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10916:sboe-to-search-for-new-superintendent-&catid=42:clarion-rotation-stories&Itemid=142

Dr. Spivey commented that the Scottsboro Schools system has been loosing student enrollments at approximately 50 per year and that this has been ongoing for several years. The loss in enrollment will result in a teacher loss within the school system in the upcoming year. 

The below videos will speak for themselves. During the Staffing segment there was a heated discussion about issues which I elaborate on in a short video. Regarding the superintendent selection process, there appears to be a transparency issue regarding the publishing of all candidates for the superintendent position. I inquired to Mrs Thompson, School Board President about the issue after the meeting. Currently there is no intention to release all applicants for the job to the public. There is also a question of whether the final selectees will be interviewed in public prior to the boards choice. 

Another concern is the organizational process regarding the agenda. The Superintendent of Scottsboro's Schools is not a school board member and should not be establishing the agenda, that is a job for the School Board President. The President and the Superintendent should discuss matters which would be placed on the board's agenda, but never should the Superintendent establish the Agenda, in my opinion, as this compromises the purpose of the School Board's President and the organization function of the board as to checks and balances function of the governmental entity. 

UPDATE
UPDATE 8-25-17: After further consideration and thought, this writer thinks it is important to offer forth my further thoughts and information gained on this matter based on my leadership experiences,  training, political involvement in community,and discussions with knowledgeable individuals about Alabama school boards within this state and area

Responsibilities
The problems and their solutions involving the Scottsboro Board of Education are the sole responsibility of the Scottsboro Board of Education; they, the School Board, are the RESPONSIBLE authority as to school board matters, the buck stops with the school board regarding Scottsboro Schools as to policy, budget and rules of the school board. The electorate is responsible to be knowledgeable about the character and experience of those they elect to school board office.

It is unfair to the Scottsboro Schools Superintendent for the school board's to attempt to PASS OFF its RESPONSIBILITY onto the school's superintendent. It is important to remember, RESPONSIBILITY may not be delegated. Dr. Sandra Spivey has demonstrated a strong leadership style which local citizens I think are not familiar, personally I am impressed with her leadership style and capabilities. Further, because of a lack of leadership training and experience many on the school board, past and present, are ill equipped to deal with her very capable leadership abilities. The Scottsboro Schools Superintendent is accountable to the Scottsboro School Board. The problem and question, is the school board capable of managing and leading the school system as to budget, policy and the superintendent? The superintendent is responsible for the day to day operations of the schools and reporting to the school board, which includes keeping the board informed on all issues which may affect the schools operations. This includes advising and making recommendations to the school board on important issues

AASB, Alabama Association of School Boards - Hidden Agendas
In discussions with individuals and a lack of past replies from the AASB on issues, there appears to be a problem with their facilitation of transparency and the conduct of meetings to include citizen input. It was good to see the long standing citizen input session was brought back into the process of the Scottsboro School Board, no thanks to the AASB's bureaucratic position. There is a concern that the AASB's influence is a direct threat to transparency, open elections and the operation of the Scottsboro School Board for the citizens of Scottsboro, Alabama.

My recommendation is that the school board, its President, and the superintendent should think twice before allowing an inordinate amount of influence from the AASB and their hidden/secret agendas. Examples: facilitating squashing of  transparency, no citizen input to the school board, elected board officials replaced by appointed officials, and the AASB's facilitation of regional legal support of school boards by large corporate law practices.

 On the AASB web site there ( http://www.alabamaschoolboards.org/ ) is the appearance of nothing but support, I'm sure they facilitate this support function. However, when there is an effort to remove citizen input, squash transparency, remove elected officials via supporting appointed school board members, along with supporting corporate regional legal services instead of local attorneys, there appears to be a degree of inordinate influences via a hidden agenda within the political mechanisms of the AASB. It is my opinion they are not supportive of the community, but embrace the position of a political action committee supporting no accountability to the electorate in regards to school boards. 

After considerable thought, observations and discussions the over reliance on the AASB's hidden agenda regarding school board management is creating problems for the citizens of Scottsboro, Alabama as to schools management.


AGENDA
Click on image for an expanded view.

VIDEOS







Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 17, 2017 Jackson County Commission Work Session, Citizen Presentation - Justice for Stacy UPDATE: Justice for Stacy - April 21, 2017

North Side Jackson County Courthouse photo by G. Morgan

UPDATE: Justice for Stacy - April 21, 2017 - The autopsy results for Stacy Sullivan have been released. The investigation is closed, because of concerns for the family, the cause of death and contributing factors will not be released by this writer. 

JUSTICE FOR STACY
On or about April 21, 2016  Ms. Stacy Sullivan's death is still unresolved due to dysfunctional state leadership which has failed to place sensible priorities on important law enforcement critical areas, specifically Forensic Sciences. 

There will be a candlelight vigil for Stacy at the north entrance of the courthouse on Friday, April 21 at 6 PM. 

Interview with Judy Nichols Hayes at the Jackson County Commission
Scottsboro, Alabama; sister of Stacy Sullivan; "A Scottsboro woman’s death is still unsolved a year later due to long wait for forensics report." http://whnt.com/2017/04/13/a-scottsboro-womans-death-is-still-unsolved-a-year-later-due-to-long-wait-for-forensics-report/ Over one year waiting for autopsy results, family suffers, politicians make excuses. Presentation to Jackson County Commission and Sheriff. Yes politicians you are responsible, as you are the representatives of the people of Jackson County Alabama. Times 12- It has been stated there are 12 unresolved probable murders in Alabama due to the State Forensic Lab budget cuts/failures. 



                                               AGENDA

Commission Meeting Video

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Regular Session April 10, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall photo by G. Morgan

AGENDA

VIDEO

Jackson County Commission Regular Session April 10, 2017

South Side Jackson County Courthouse, photo by G. Morgan
As a reminder, renovation around the square is scheduled to begin on April 17, 2017 at the southeast corner, the east side will be renovated first.

AGENDA

VIDEO

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cancellation of Scottsboro Downtown Market Event Associated with Protest of Sheriffs Department Officer Involved Shooting in Pisgah, Alabama; Release of Officer Shooting Video, Allegations of Davis's Family Suggests Failure to Secure Evidence, Coverup?? - UPDATES (1215 4-5-17) (4-11-17): Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen Provides Information, (4-11-17) New Video

Facebook cropped photo of Alex Davis, Fair Use for non-profit news reporting.

According to various news reports 18 year old Alex Davis, a Pisgah High School Student, was shot and killed by a Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy in Pisgah, Alabama on February 7, 2017 after responding to a "fight call" on County Road 60. 

 Al.com news reported the deputy responding found a man bleeding from "a hammer blow to the head." The responding officer attempted to subdue Davis by using non-lethal force via a "stun gun" to subdue Mr. Davis. It was reported the non-lethal force was not successful, "the deputy then "fired his gun." http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2017/02/high_school_student_killed_by.html

WHNT-TV Huntsville, Al. News report stated - "According to the Sheriff’s Office, Davis came at the deputy with a board. The deputy asked him to stop repeatedly. He also tried to subdue the teenager with his stun gun twice. Investigators say Davis was able to regain strength and pull the electrodes off him to pursue the deputy again. That’s when the deputy shot Davis, who died at the scene." http://whnt.com/2017/02/07/1-person-killed-following-deputy-involved-shooting-in-pisgah/
(UPDATE) Chief Deputy Harnen stated to me in the phone conversation that the deputy involved in the shooting had expended all of his taser cartridges in the attempt to subdue Davis with non-lethal force. 

WRCB-TV Chattanooga, Tn. "The NBC affiliate in Huntsville, WAFF 48 News, spoke with the young man's bus driver. Melissa Morgan said he was very friendly and a good friend...Neighbors learning about the shooting are questioning why someone had to die." http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/34454946/pisgah-hs-student-shot-killed-by-jackson-county-deputy


UPDATE: 12:15 PM Wednesday April 5, 2017 - Phone Conversation From Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen of the Jackson County Sheriffs Department
Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen, Jackson County Sheriffs Department. (Photo by Jackson County Sheriffs Department - Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.)

Not All is Apparent in the Video Released

Chief Deputy Harnen stated: The board displayed by the concerned relative in the below video is not the board which the suspect utilized to strike the auto or threaten the officer - "That board is in the possession of the ABI (Alabama Bureau of Investigation) as evidence. There were several boards in the yard area."

Chief Deputy Harnen also stated in regards to the video shown in the links: "The video displayed is not the entire video, there is more, hours." I asked, "how much of the video did you watch?" Chief Harnen's reply, "I watched about 30 minutes." Chief Harnen mentioned there were different angles. I asked: "Were there more than one camera?" His reply, "yes."

March 27, 2017 Video Surfaces

WZDX - Huntsville, Alabama and RocketCity.Com reports on March 27, 2017 that a video surfaces in the officer involved shooting. "The Jackson County DA took the case to a grand jury where evidence was presented. That jury decided against indicting the deputy. Davis' biological mother, Mandy Carrasco is now speaking out and showed video of the encounter between Davis and the deputy."  http://www.rocketcitynow.com/news/exclusive-video-from-officer-involved-shooting-in-jackson-co/681520288?utm_medium=social&utm_source=WZDX_Huntsville

Home Security Video of the shooting displays disturbing revelations. (Update} But as the Chief Deputy points out above, the entire video is not shown.  http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/play/6847151

(Update} It is important to point out that the deputy was cleared of any wrong doing by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's investigations division. There has been no release of forensic information regarding toxicology testing of Mr. Davis. 

UPDATE - April 11, 2017 Jackson County Commission - J.J. Hicks Speaks to County Commission, New Video, Not Seen, Released By Permission.




April 4, 2017 Downtown Scottsboro Reports on Weekend Market - Cancelling the Market Due to Protest About the Officer Involved Shooting

(Fair use of public Facebook photo of ad for non-profit news reporting and commentary)

"Downtown Scottsboro regrets to announce the postponement of Market on the Square on April 8th. We have been made aware of a planned protest to be held on The Courthouse Square on this same date. In an abundance of caution, we feel it is in the best interest of our vendors and our community to postpone Market until further notice. As soon as that date is determined, we will let everyone know.
 All vendor fees will be returned ASAP by U.S. mail."
"Thank you for your understanding and your continued support." 

Quite a few people had a comment about the cancellation of the Scottsboro Downtown Market event, including myself. Several postings were censored/removed.


My initial comment to questions regarding permits for a protest - Answer to the question asked: "There is no requirement to have a permit to protest. I have discussed the right of protest with county and city public officials and protested on the square and in front of city hall regarding political issues. Here are some basic rules. 1) Protesters may not be armed; 2) Protestors may protest on public property but may not interfere with the rights of others as to egress or regress into or out of buildings or obstruct the flow of traffic. 3) Protesting does not mean inciting riots or facilitating violence. 4) Communications of threats is against the law. 5) Laws apply anywhere including a protest, it is not against the law to express speech. The cancellation of the market is typical of those who have a right wing agenda facilitating fear regarding the rights of citizens. To say protestors will be violent is a ridiculous, assuming statement. The protesters have achieved one of their goals, bring attention to what they believe is a problem. The smart thing to do would have been to hold the market and have the Sheriff and a representative of the DA's office present to discuss the situation with the protestors and hold a press conference. Act smart, not ridiculous by demonstrating fear to our nations most time honored traditions."

It was also revealed that the Sheriff's Department had not been contacted by the Downtown Scottsboro group to determine if there was a security problem or to ascertain the Sheriffs thoughts about security.  


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sickness - City and County Government Meeting Reports for Monday April 3, 2017

Photo by G. Morgan with with wood bear.

Went to the ER at Highlands Saturday with terrible whooping cough and upper respiratory infection symptoms. I'll be going to my family physician to determine a more definitive diagnosis regarding pertussis, whooping cough, the cough has grown severe enough to make me sick. Pertussis in adults. http://www.healthline.com/health/new-baby-vaccination-guide/pertussis-in-adults-signs-symptoms#overview1

Folks - for those which follow my reports and videos within, I will not be videoing and reporting on this Monday's county and city government meetings.

It is interesting to note that "whooping cough," pertussis, is on the rise in our nation. CDC report on the disease - https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/causes-transmission.html Pertussis is a reportable disease.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Meeting - Part 1 Work Session; Part 2 Regular Session March 27, 2017 - First Monday, Downtown Scottsboro, Scottsboro Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Scottsboro Cruise-In

Scottsboro's First Monday Trade Days is the longest continuous historical event in Jackson County Alabama and the City of Scottsboro. The last Mayor to strongly support this event was Mayor Dan Deason. 

The event has taken big hits in the last few years, primarily due to the intentional denigration by an earlier Tourism Advisory Committee, which recommended the event be held one time a year; a city councilman who commented that it was not worth the time and effort; and a Scottsboro event coordinator under Mayor Potter who went to the square and literally ran people off. The current City Council has offered very little support for the event, but offers considerable support for conflicting events. There should be an effort to advertise Scottsboro and all it's events. This photo -  Earliest known photo of First Monday (photo owned by G. Morgan, former proof photo from the Asheville Post Card Co.)

Scottsboro Boys Trial was on a First Monday, April 1931. (photo owned by G. Morgan from obsolete news paper file auction purchase - Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.)

1955 Ford Times photos - Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

21st Century First Monday, photo by G. Morgan

MY POSTING ON FACEBOOK REGARDING "DOWNTOWN SCOTTSBORO" MARKET ON THE SQUARE

Downtown Scottsboro, Market on the Square - conflicts - non-profit status and relationships. Co-mingling of funds, governmental and non-profit funds? This letter was provided via Facebook messenger and the Downtown Scottsboro Facebook site early this morning.
At last night's City Council meeting, March 27, 2017, it was stated that “Downtown Scottsboro” is a non-profit 501c3 organization.
The City Council voted to cover the activities regarding ‘Market on the Square,’ on the City of Scottsboro's insurance as a co-sponsor of this event. I asked for your 501c3 status on March 9, 2015, you did not answer my request. I'm once again asking for proof of your non-profit (NP) status, if you have a NP status.
What is your relationship to the ‘Revive Scottsboro’ group? Is the ‘Revive Scottsboro’ group a 501c3 organization connected to “Downtown Scottsboro?” I ask this question due to my removal from the ‘Revive’ group when I asked about its’ purpose. I noticed discriminatory comments, and questions about inclusivity of all citizens. It is and was my opinion that the ‘Revive’ group is a discriminatory organization which does not stand up to tests regarding supporting equitable treatment of all citizens. Leadership of the group failed to answer simple questions regarding purpose of the group.
Upon review of your Facebook page it was noticed that previous funds allegedly provided to this group were paid, per your request, to the DRA, Scottsboro Downtown Redevelopment Authority for Christmas decorations, the DRA is a corporate entity of the City of Scottsboro.
Does the “Downtown Scottsboro” organization have a board and leadership, do you have an official organization, do you have bylaws, and what is your connection to the DRA? It has been previously stated that you are not connected with the DRA, obviously that is not true since you advertised a place to send checks on your Facebook page,to the DRA as pictured below  https://www.facebook.com/downtownscottsboro/

"Downtown Scottsboro" in your Downtown Market flyer you state you are a non-profit entity and that you collect funds. As such, and with the connection to the City of Scottsboro, and the DRA it is important that you disclose your non-profit status.
The issue of revitalization/redevelopment are important issues, and Scottsboro is in need of a strong revitalization/redevelopment program. However, its purpose and activities were questioned during its’ formation. The American Planning Association has specific guidelines regarding Redevelopment Programs. Previous article and questions raised about the DRA and their purpose along with video regarding its’ formation. http://arklite.blogspot.com/…/scottsboro-city-council-work-…
All of this is confusing, I'm asking for clarifications regarding relationships to the Scottsboro DRA, “Downtown Scottsboro” and Revive Scottsboro. Please respond on Facebook Messenger or my email address, as supplied on Facebook messenger. I would like to see a copy of your 501c3 status, if you have one.


The three above photos were taken form the "Downtown Scottsboro" Facebook page, a public page on Facebook. ( the photos copy purpose are Fair-Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary). The Market on the Square is one week after First Monday. 

SCOTTSBORO CRUISE-IN
The Cruise-In on the Square was a great benefit to the First Monday Event and drew large crowds. It was announced at last nights City Council Meeting the Cruise-In would be moved to behind 50-Taters in the old K-Mart parking area.
This event was conceived to support First Monday as this poster depicts. The event is to be moved off of the Square beginning in April 2017. The Scottsboro City Council approved a $4950.00 Tourism Grant for the event to be located behind 50-Taters on County Park Road. There was no prior discussion as to the intention to move the Cruise-In event. It seems the movement of the event was reached in secret.

The Cruise-In supports children in county schools who cannot afford food after school is out, an admirable program. I wish them the best of luck. It is unfortunate the City of Scottsboro does not support this event remaining on the Square. The early events were held surrounding the current city hall. 
Links regarding the Cruise-In supporting it with videos and lots of pictures, going back to 2008.

BUDGET HEARINGS
During the Scottsboro Budget hearings I had requested funds to advertise First Monday and/or the City of Scottsboro. Not one City Council Member, nor our current Mayor said anything about any level of advertising support. The silence was broken by Dr. Andrew Hodges of the Downtown Revitalization Authority stating, First Monday should be supported.

CONTRACT AND GRANT FOR NEW SCOTTSBORO ENTRY WAY SIGNS
When this came before the City Council I asked if this sign could be attached to the new entry way signs 
There was no commitment to this request, silence regarding the City Council supporting First Monday is not golden. The City of Scottsboro does have the First Monday Event on the City website.
My work supporting First Monday is voluntary, I also maintain the First Monday Facebook page which may be found at https://www.facebook.com/tradedayscottsboro/

BOTTOM LINE
The City Council and the Mayor need to take a leadership role in this city regarding the various events. The last Mayor to offer constructive event planning and coordination was Mayor Dan Deason. Hopefully, the current council and Mayor will wake up and realize they have a leadership responsibility.

DOWNTOWN SQUARE RENOVATION
Square renovation will begin on April 17, 2017. The renovation will begin on the east side, starting on the southeast corner.


SCOTTSBORO CITY COUNCIL MEETING - DUEL SESSION
Scottsboro City Hall, photo by G. Morgan

WORK SESSION AGENDA


WORK SESSION VIDEO



                                   REGULAR SESSION AGENDA
                                        Click on image to expand.
      (note the items marked on the work session agenda as agenda)

VIDEO

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Meeting, Regular Session, Scottsboro Summerfest Presentation March 20, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall, photo by G. Morgan

Scottsboro Public Square renovation project is set to begin on or about April 17, 2017; one side of the Courthouse Square will be renovated at a time. 

AGENDA

Presentation on Scottsboro Summerfest by Jimmy Coble, Summerfest will be held on June 17, 2017 at the Goosepond Colony amphitheater from 3PM to 12:00AM.



CITY COUNCIL VIDEO

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Jackson County Commission Regular Session Continuation on County Park Building Lease and Work Session, Commission and Sheila Sheppard of the Jackson Co. EDA Asked Questions on How Federal Budget Changes Would Affect Workforce Development Programs, March 20, 2017

Jackson County Courthouse, north side, photo by G. Morgan

AGENDA
Jackson County Alabama unemployment rate is the highest since July 2014, same as it is now at 7.5% http://www.jacksoncountyeda.org/workforce.pdf
Alabama's current unemployment, Jan. 2017 is 6.4%, U.S unemployment for the same period is 4.8%

Will work force development funding be cut, including CDBG Grants and the end of the Appalachian Regional Commission as proposed in the new Federal Budget as President Trump recommended. Report on the end of important Federal programs: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/16/what-does-trump-budget-eliminate/99223182/

VIDEO

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jackson County Commission, Regular Session March 13, 2017

Jackson County Commission photo by G. Morgan

Big Issue - Decision on Jackson County Park building rental/Jim Hems contract tabled.

AGENDA
VIDEO

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Work Session March 6, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall photo b y G. Morgan 

Next meeting of the Scottsboro City Council will be March 20, 2016. 

AGENDA

Item 3 on Agenda Scottsboro Cruise'N




VIDEO 

Jackson County Commission Work Session March 6, 2017

Jackson County Courthouse south side, photo by G. Morgan.

AGENDA

VIDEO

Monday, March 6, 2017

Scottsboro Board of Education, Regular Session on March 2, 2017 Awards Ceremony and Business Session

Scottsboro Board of Education, Wendell Page Administration Center. photo by Scottsboro Board of Education; Fair Use rights for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

AGENDA



VIDEOS
Part 1 Awards Ceremony



                                   Part 2 Business Session



                              Budget Amendment, Agenda Item K