"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."


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Goose Pond Colony (GPC) Board Meeting

Another full house (first picture) for the monthly Parks and Recreation Board of Scottsboro (2nd picture) meeting today at the GPC office at 4:30PM. Normally the meeting is on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 4:30PM, it was moved to today. Roger Linville, Board member, was absent.

Old Business: 1) Audit Review and presentation by Todd Shirey. There were no material findings, $450,000 was paid to decrease the debt, there was (net or gross?) income of $223,000 for the previous fiscal year. The auditors comment of the overall condition and management of the facility, impressive. 2) Campground Rental Policy approved. The camp ground may not be used as a permanent residence. Permanent residents present at this time have until June 1, 2008 to find a permanent residence. 25% of camping spaces will be maintained for short term camping, 2 weeks, camp ground management may extend for 2 weeks pending availability. 3) Camp ground rules were approved. The Board expressed complete trust in the manager of the campground to enforce all rules and policies. 4) General Manager Position. The Board received 95 resumes from applicants across 10 states. The selection was narrowed to 20, then 10, then the top 6. Out of the top 6 Mr. Lyle Sosebee was selected as the Goose Pond Colony General Manager (I apologize for the original misspelling of his name.). Mr Sosesbee is a 1991 graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Business. Mr. Sosesbee has been a Wal-Mart Manager and a private business owner. Mrs. Sosesbee is employed by the Jackson County Health Care Authority. Mr. Sosebee will begin his duties on March 1, 2008. (third picture is Mr. Sosebee) 5) Golf Professional Position, 7 applications have been received, it was decided by the board that Mr. Sosebee will select the Golf Pro after March 1.

New Business: 1) The Docks Restaurant (4th picture) Lease contract was approved for extension until May, 2009 at current contract rates. 2) Termite Control Contract for The Docks Restaurant was awarded to Cook's Pest Control, cost will be $2334.00 for first year and $700 for each subsequent year. Contract is a year to year contract. 3) Special Projects Review: a. Reported there were $45,000 uncommitted in this account. b. There will be renovation and improvement of 2 pull thru camper spots costing $1100.00 each. c. Further Discussion on Water Fountains for GPC golf course, fountains on the course will cost $800.00 each. Approval was granted to purchase the fountains prior to The Spring Fling Golf Tournament. d. Ventilation Hoods for The Docks Restaurant should be installed by March 13. 4) Financial Report: $62,000 profit as of Jan 31, 2008, $82,000 ahead of last years finances. Kudos given to Department Managers for outstanding performance. 4) Manager Reports: a. Cabin renovation proceeding, suggestion by Administrative Assistant to donate old bed covers and drapes to the Rosalie Community for the disaster victims, approved by board. b. Pro shop inventory being brought under control. $3,000 sales credit from supplier, $3,000 sales from shop, $2-3,000 to be returned to Nike for credit. c. Swimming area repairs to be accomplished, wood decking and indoor outdoor carpet will be installed. $2,500.00 cost. d. Discussion concerning pool fence at Plantation Point. Board attorney will check on responsibility for repair, Home Owners Association or GPC Board. e. Walkway bridges and restrooms under going renovation and will be complete shortly. f. Bunkers being reconditioned at Plantation Point. g. Pump for sewage system at Plantation Point tested and working. h. Traffic Control discussion concerning resolution to traffic tie-ups during fishing tournaments.

Citizen Presentation: Representative from the Marina Boat Owners Association (marina, 5th picture) questioned the Board on issues of Special Projects vs. Maintenance Funds. Mike Baggett, Chairman of the GPC Board had the following to say due to questioning by the representative on priorities and spending policy. " It has taken years to improve the facility due to past neglect. All money is going into maintenance and fixing what has been broke. I wish we could spend money on enhancements, we can't as we are fixing what is broke and maintaining what we have. This board will not borrow any more money."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jackson County Commission Meeting

Commission approved Resolution to support Governors appeal of FEMA denial of Emergency Funds to tornado disaster on Sand Mountain. In other business, 1) the Commission approved reimbursement to David Bogue, License Inspector for $237.00 for a wreck which occured destroying a fence in Dekalb Co.. Mr. Bogue was on official business when he had the vehicle accident. Mr. Bogue stated he personally reimbursed the property owner for the fence damage. There was $2361.00 in damage to the county vehicle according to the low estimate. The commission approved repairs in the amount of the low bid. 2) Issue of Rapid Deployment Decontamination Units tabled until next commission meeting. 3) Consent agenda approved, comment was made as to the high expense of Juvenile Detention costs for the current month, total costs were $13,983.50.

New Business: 1)Tax rates approved, same as last year as presented by Revenue Commissioner. 2)Public Works Department personnel: Resignation of Robert Keller approved, his replacement plus 2 other labor positions were approved for hire. 3) County Commission Work Session for Architects presentation on replacement windows for Courthouse, Tuesday, March 18 @ 9AM. 4) Reimbursement for Commissioner Carl Marona for gas containers and food provided for disaster relief. 5) Resolution of Appreciation to City of Scottsboro and Madison County for help in disaster relief. Special Recognition to Mr. Cecil and Freddy Hicks for providing equipment and crew to assist in disaster relief effort. 6) Grant approval for Jackson County Water Authority, Estill Fork water project.

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Old Business: 1) Electric Power Board Appointments: Ms. Margaret Gross and Mr. Alan Williams were appointed, there were 15 names submitted to the council for the 2 new Power Board appointments. 2) Tree Commission: Dot Black, Doris Greer, Cecil Wells, and Ron Cleaver. Mr. Jim Reeves was appointed to fill the unfinished term of Mr. Boozer. 3) Personnel Board: Linda Bray 4) Port Authority: Harold Tollenson.

New Business: 1) Alcohol Beverage License, Public Hearing, Carrolton Event Center, 3509 South Broad St., approved. 2) Alcohol Beverage License, Public Hearing, Rocking country Night Club, 3504 S. Broad St., approved. 3) Resolution to Alabama Department of Transportation for traffic count for a proposed traffic light at Stewart Rd. and S. Broad St. 4) Appointment of General Maintenance Technician Position, Mr. Rodney Hancock was selected as most qualified. 5) Surplus property declaration for Street Department: 1995 Ford Flatbed Truck, 6ft. John Deer tractor attachment, sheepsfoot packer. Property to be sold on govdeals.com, money from sale will be applied to Street Department Capital Expense Fund. 6) Resolution of Appreciation to Mr. Robert Hodges, Airport Manager-Word Field, for 10 years of outstanding performance. 7) Council Meeting to be continued on 3 March, 2008.

Citizen Presentations: 1) Ms. Sheila Washington, thank you to the City Council for support of Black History Month. 2) Presentation and invitation to all citizens by Rev. Terry Broom to attend a special event at the S. Broad St Church of Christ. The topic will be "The Silencing of God: The Dismantling of America's Christian Heritage," presentation by Dr. Dave Miller, Director Apologetics Press, Fri. & Sat. Feb. 29-Mar2, 2008, 7-9PM and Sunday 1-2PM.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snake in the Grass Award

The Snake in the Grass Award goes to the extremists of the Democratic Party who have pandered propaganda and lies concerning the Don Siegelman affair. These Democrat extremists have made accusations of a vast right wing conspiracy, alleging an attempt to destroy Democrat leadership in Alabama and other states. It is my opinion the only conspiracy is the planning by the Democrats in the scheme to pass false information to the citizens of the United States. The Democrats have produced no evidence of judicial or prosecutor misconduct, only false allegations in attempt to destroy the current Republican managed Federal Justice System. A lively discussion has been ongoing on al.com, http://www.al.com/forums/alabamapolitics/index.ssf?initial=true for many months over this issue and has been brought to the forefront of discussion since 60 Minutes, a CBS News Magazine, has announced it will run the story concerning Don Siegelman this Sunday.

Pictured are 2 snakes in the grass, a rare black adder with a normal color adder, the adder is the only poisonous snake native to the British Isles. The Snake in The Grass Award is presented to the extremists of the Democratic Party who have failed to produce any hard evidence of a corrupt Federal Justice System in the Don Siegelman affair. They have only produced false allegations attempting to poison the minds of citizens concerning the Federal Justice System in order to further the plans of Democratic Party extremists. It would seem these extremists would rather return to the days of King George where royalty escaped prosecution for crimes against our early citizens. President George Washington had this to say about the treachery of political parties: "... they serve to organize faction...to put in place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party...to usurp for themselves the reins of government..." http://www.laughtergenealogy.com/bin/history/politics.html
(photo credit: UK public domain photo)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Protocol vs Life Saving Tornado Warnings or Money vs Life

In the early morning hours of February the 6th, 2008 an EF4 tornado, according to the National Weather Service, touched down in Jackson County. I was up and tracking the storm from the point it demonstrated a Tornado Vortex Signature approximately 60 miles southwest of Scottsboro until the storm was immediately west of Guntersville. At that point the Weather Underground site demonstrated the storm would either hit Scottsboro or Sand Mountain. Either way I decided it was time to leave my home and go to the nearest shelter, which was the Jackson County Courthouse. I sat in my car for a few moments and waited for an audible warning over WKEA radio. It was pouring rain and the wind was blowing hard. The first audible official warning was sounded on the radio between 5:05 and 5:10. I immediately went inside the Courthouse basement. By this time the storm was already in Jackson County. My previous tracking of the storm over Weather Underground and Monitoring of all TV stations indicated the storm was moving at 55-65 mph. The storm was already in Jackson County before the warning was given. I did not hear the warning sirens in Scottsboro at 5:05. A friend of mine near the Dutton Community told me he heard the first official warning at 5:10 and they headed to his storm shelter. He stated to me he could hear the warning sirens as they proceeded to take shelter. The tornado struck the Pisgah-Rosalie area at 5:15AM.

I have been performing extensive research on National Weather Service (NWS) tornado warning protocol. I found this disturbing information: http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/120818.pdf This paper indicates the NWS is more concerned over savings of money in sheltering people rather than saving life. The disturbing paragraph reads as follows:
"As cited earlier, a NWS demonstration test in 2005
showed reduction in the area warned at near 70%. A
recent scientific study by University of Oklahoma
Associate Professor of Economics Dan Sutter (now
associated with University of Texas – Pan American)
concluded that a reduction of 70% of the area warned
would minimally save the economy hundreds of millions
of dollars in reduced cost of sheltering (Sutter, 2006)."

This individual storm warning protocol has been sold to citizens as a measure to advance the warning of life threatening storms. I can distinctly remember local weather news broadcasts indicating this fact. If the system is applied properly it will do exactly that, a superior advanced storm warning for specific areas. However, this is not the case, it appears the system and the bureaucrats running it prefer to utilize the system, as the article indicates, to save money NOT LIVES. The February 6, 2008 official storm warning was not given until the storm was well into Jackson County. This defeats the purpose of a comprehensive warning system.

It is my belief that the NWS and the County's EMA warning system is hindered by bureaucratic protocol. Kudos should go out to the local TV stations and their staffs. They did a wonderful job warning the public of this storm and saved lives. The Weather Underground web site is another wonderful tool in storm warnings. (This site is linked in my links section.) No home should be without a weather warning radio, properly programmed and turned on.

I wondered why the NWS and EMA did not issue a timely warning, now I know the reason, bureaucratic protocol placed over life saving measures. It is my belief this damning article proves the point, along with eyewitness testimony of the actual warning. (photo credits: public domain money stack photo; tornado n' lightning: http://wallpapers.jurko.net/pic/1130/ ; Rosalie Damage photo, courtesy: Creig Moore
Addition, 2/20/2008: The Jackson County EMA does not initiate siren "warnings" for Scottsboro. Scottsboro does not have any warning sirens as of this date. After discussions with Victor Manning, Director Jackson County EMA, it has been revealed that the EMA issued 3 tornado warnings after the National Weather Service initiated the warnings. Times of the warnings were not recorded.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Scottsboro City Council Work Session

Tonight's meeting was short. 3 items on the agenda and one added. 1) Presentation by R&M Enterprises concerning the advantages of an internet bidding platform which extends the City's bidding pool for equipment or projects. This is an internet reverse auction program which allows the city to draw from a broader base of bidders for equipment. It was explained that the city would be charged no fee, fees are collected from the winning bidder. The average savings utilizing this program was 13.85%. There is no contract required for this service. Information packets were provided to the council members. There are 250 cities participating in this program in 18 states, to include several Alabama cities. 2) There was a review of requests for Board and Committee appointments. Reviewed were requests for the: a) Electric Power Board, 15 citizens have requested to be placed on this Board; b)Tree Commission, this commissions requests for placement has been extended until Feb. 21st, contact Mrs. Gail Duffey, City Clerk at 574-3100 if interested; c) Personnel Board and d) Port Authority. Decisions will be made at the Feb 25th regular City Council meeting. 3) Presentation by Mr. Eddie Blizzard, Chief of Solid Waste Department concerning several construction projects. Projects include a roof for Sanitation Office, scale at the landfill, concrete work for the Sanitation Office drive and baler/recycle facility. Concrete will cost between $32-$35K. 4) Presentation by Ms. Shirley Dawson concerning the possibilities of installation of a traffic light on Stewart Rd. and South Broad St. The City Council will consider this issue at their next council meeting.

Reports: The Mayor was absent. I've been informed that the Mayor is "down in his back." Please remember him and the Deason family in your prayers as he continues his battle against cancer. Mr. Smith, Council President, requested that Department Heads prepare a plan to cut fuel costs by 10%. Mr. Simmons congratulated the Street Department, Solid Waste and the WSG Board on their efforts and spirit of cooperation in the repairs on Kyle St. It was reported that the street should be open by early next week. Mr. Simmons also commented that the days of conflict are past and working as a team are the results of cooperation.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Old Business: 1) Zoning Ordinance Change, the developer that had requested a rezoning of the area at the end of Snodgrass Rd. withdrew his request. This issue had came before the council for 2 consecutive sessions and had meet with resistance from the residents of the area. The area is currently zoned Residential, Agriculture, and Manufacturing. The developer had requested the area be zoned P-1, the Zoning Board had approved the change. The council disapproved the Zoning Boards recommendation due to the developer withdrawing the rezoning request. 2) Job Description was approved for a General Maintenance Technician. It was announced that the position would be an appointed, non-classified position. Mr. Smith announced that the employee would "work under" Mr. Dolberry at the Street Department.

New Business: 1) New Airport Manager Job Description approved. 2) Warning Sirens bid opening. The low bid approved was for $263,456 awarded to McCord Communications. The Mayor announced during his report that the request for the sirens began in June 2006. A total of 13 sirens will be installed. 3) Bid Opening for Truck Chassis for Street Department awarded to Harbin Ford as low bidder for $24,366.50. 4) Surplus property declaration: 1 item for Solid Waste, a 1987 Chevy truck chassis; 3 items for Street Department, 1975 Ford 2600 Ford Tractor and 2 Caterpillar tractors, one a 1949 model. All items will be auctioned on GovDeals.com. Sale money will go into the capital outlay funds for the department. 5) Furniture for Mayors Secretary's office, total request of $1030 was not approved. There was no motion made for approval, the issue died for a lack of a motion. 6) Sole Source vendor resolution approved for Gulf States Distributors, supplier of Taser stun weapons for Police Department. 7) Council President Keith Smith reported that a letter had been received from Rep. Bud Cramers office concerning fund availability for an automatic weather reporting station and a taxi way system for the airport. It was reported that a request for this funding would be hand carried to Washington, DC tomorrow morning.

Jackson County Commission Meeting

The Jackson County Commission meets twice monthly on the 2nd and 4th Monday at 4:30PM.

Today 4 people meet with the Commission. 1) Ken Tolar meet with the Commission to discuss the replacement of Courthouse windows. It was suggested that an architect be hired to consult on the replacement of the windows in the courthouse. The Commission approved bringing in an architect to make proposals on services for window installation. Mr. Tolar also mentioned that the gazebo was nearing completion and that a spire will be placed on the top in the next few days. 2) Randy Webster, Solid Waste Manager meet with the Commission to discuss distribution of garbage containers in the county. There was discussion concerning replacing of containers due to storm loss. Mr. Webster reported that he currently has approximately 400 containers on hand. He also reported that he needs to hire 2 office workers, one to replace Deborah Cleaver who is resigning as Office Manager and another administrative office employee. The Commission approved the resignation of Ms. Cleaver and the hire of her replacement and another administrative employee. 3) John Parsons of Scottsboro Computers made presentation for computer maintenance services. Christopher Haston also submitted a proposal for computer maintenance services. Apparently during the last Commission meeting another proposal for services was made. John Parsons of Scottsboro Computers was awarded the contract for computer services. 4) Judy Weaver made announcement of events during Black History Month. There will be displays at the library and a youth rally at the Rec-Com on 23 Feb from 6-8PM. $500 was requested and approved for Black History month expenses. 5) Jail Maintenance Staff was approved to receive overtime pay. These workers are hourly wage workers and have not been receiving overtime when called in or required to work overtime. They were authorized to receive compensatory time off as overtime was not authorized according to Mr. Tidmore, Commission Chairman, they will now receive overtime pay as other maintenance workers receive when working overtime. 6) There were 7 items in the consent agenda which was approved.

New Business: 1) A resolution for establishing a speed limit on Co Rd. 60 at 45 mph was approved. 2) An agreement with the Department of Public Examiners of Public Accounts to Audit Federal Assistance Funds received by the county was approved. The audit is scheduled to begin next week. 3) Engineers recommendation to hire Tim Bell for HMT1 position that James Carson did not except was approved, effective Mar. 3, 2008. 4) County advertisement in the State Fair Catalog was approved. 5) A resolution was approved recognizing the Scottsboro Wrestling Team's winning the State Wrestling Championship. 6) Recognition was given to the many folks who assisted and are still helping in the cleanup of storm damage on Sand Mountain. 7) It was stated that Jackson County has not been declared a Disaster Area for the receipt of public assistance funds for disaster relief. Requests have been submitted but not approved. 8) 13 campers were picked up from the state EMA to house homeless victims of the storm. The county Commission agreed to be responsible for the campers. In accordance with state law a charge must be made for the camper usage. It was decided that a contract for 6 months for camper usage would be required with a monthly charge of $1.00 (one), if longer time was needed that would be approved in 6 month increments.

Tornado Help Center

A tornado help center has opened in Pisgah, Alabama for the citizens on Sand Mountain that were effected by last week's storm. http://blog.al.com/breaking/2008/02/new_tornado_help_center_open_i.html

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

1 Fatality, Injuries and Severe Damage in Jackson Co.

Storms that moved thru Jackson County Alabama in the early hours of the morning cut a wide path of destruction extending from the Marshall Co line on Hwy 79 up to Sand Mountain. The most severe damage is located in the Pisgah/Rosalie Community. Reports indicate there is one death and several injured. A county wide emergency was declared and Emergency Responders from all over Jackson County responded to the Pisgah/Rosalie area. Emergency Responders from Dekalb County and Madison County have responded to this emergency. One name has been released as a fatality, Linda Tinker of the Pisgah community. Damage photos by David Brewer of the Huntsville Times http://blog.al.com/breaking/2008/02/jackson_county_residents_surve.html Huntsville Times update http://blog.al.com/breaking/2008/02/pisgah_woman_dies_as_tornado_h.html Story and photos from The Clarion http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=863&Itemid=1 The Daily Sentinel picture and story http://www.thedailysentinel.com/

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Animal Control Shelter

It looks like this will be the site of the new Animal Control Shelter. This site is between Recycling for Scottsboro and the Scottsboro Police Department Pistol Range. The two previous sites were unsuitable. The site west of the Scottsboro City School Bus Barn was in a low area and would have required considerable fill to have been placed before construction. The other site between the Bus Barn and Recycling for Scottsboro contained a considerable amount of garbage from the 1950's and 60's mixed with fill dirt. That site was considered unsuitable due to the garbage mixed with fill dirt.

The Mayor announced at last nights City Council Meeting that construction will begin on Feb. 11, 2008. Construction will be performed by the Alabama Department of Corrections utilizing inmate labor which will result in decreased costs of construction.

Gazebo Near Completion

The remodeled gazebo on the north side of the Courthouse is nearing completion. There will be a brick garden area surrounding the gazebo, that portion is not complete. Ms Judy Weaver, Director of the Scottsboro/Jackson County Heritage Center, tells me there will be a dedication of the gazebo planned for April. Tolar Construction performed the remodeling.
update, 11 Feb: Ken Tolar reports that the base will receive a new coat of paint and a spire will be added.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Tonight's City Council Meeting was conducted in 2 parts, a Work Session and a Special Call meeting.

Work Session: 1) Black History Month discussion and presentation by Ms. Sheila Washington. There will be a youth rally at the Rec Com and a Display at the City Library. 2) Don Glasgow of Driftwood Shores made another presentation concerning opposition to zoning opposed by land owner and developer Sonny Barnes. This concerns the property at the end of Snodgrass Road which was approved by the zoning commission to be zoned from Agricultural, Manufacturing and R-1, single family dwellings to P-1, planned community development. 3) Sonny Barnes spoke to the issue of the rezoning. Council President Keith Smith has scheduled a Community meeting on this issue on Thursday, Feb. 7 @ 6PM at the City Hall Council Chambers. The issue should be decided at the next Council Meeting on Feb. 11, 2008. 4) Street Scape program discussion concerning Engineering and Testing Services. Cost will be $60 per hour, $47,000 has been set aside for the testing and engineering services. 5) Citizen presentation concerning hunting in and around the new Goose Pond Island development. The gentleman made a presentation in objection to hunting in the area. He claimed there was deer hunting that was occurring in the area. He stated spotlighting was occurring and that Alabama Fish and Game had been contacted. He also complained about duck hunting, stating that all the hunting was disturbing him and other home owners. At one point the speaker stated, "...it was like we were in Iraq..." refering to the shooting. The City Attorney pointed out that hunting regulations are established by state law and that hunting at night or unauthorized hunting on private property was already against the law. Council President Keith Smith pointed out that hunting was a southern tradition, however illegal hunting would be dealt with. The Mayor requested that, apparently in support of the citizens concern, no hunting signs be posted. It was pointed out to the Mayor that it was not the city's responsibility to post signs on private property. The concerned citizen stated that maybe a gate placed on the road to prevent entry would be an answer to the problem. (The roadways in Goose Pond Island Developed area are public roads, this is not a private roadway area.) 6) Discussion on Rec Com pool filtration system, costs will be $12,242.50. 7) Discussion of Organization Chart for Street Department. Mr Dolberry requested that an unfilled driver position be converted to an Office Assistant. Mr. Dolberry also requested that the Street Dept. budget be amended for $5000 for purchase of a new vehicle instead of a used one with 200,000 miles. $20,000 had already been approved for a used vehicle. It was stated that for $5000 more a new vehicle could be purchased. 8) Discussion concerning Airport Manager new job description. 9) General Maintenance Technician job description and salary discussion. Mr. Smith mentioned that he thought the position should be an appointed position. 10) Discussion by Police Chief Ralph Dawe concerning commemorative plaques at the old city hall. 11) Mayor Deason requested an amendment to the budget for $1030 for office furniture for his secretary. It was stated that this was not discussed or requested at the budget hearings.

City Council Special Call Session: 1) Approval of the Street Scape Engineering and Inspection Contract. 2) Rec Com pool filter approved for $12,242.50 3) Street Department budget amended for $5000 4) Organizational Chart change was approved for Street Department.

Reports: The Mayor stated that the construction of the Animal Control Shelter will begin on Feb 11. He also disclosed there has been a new site selected which is between the old baler facility and the Police Firearms Range. The other site between the old baler and the bus barn was found to contain garbage and is not suitable for the project. The site west of the bus barn was stated to be in a low area. (I'll go out to the area tomorrow and get some pictures of the new area.) Council President Keith Smith reminded folks to vote tomorrow. The voting site is at the Rec Com.