"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."


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Previous Jackson County License Inspector back in jail after failing drug test

The Saga Continues - Jackson County man back in jail after failing drug test - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Jackson County's previous license inspector, Bradley Tyler Smith, Grandson of Commissioner Jack Smith, is back in jail after a failed drug test. Smith was terminated in January of this year after questions were raised by citizens and some on the commission concerning Smith's hire. Commission Chairperson Sadie Bias appointed him to the position of license inspector last year stating, "he deserved a second chance."

Previous articles about the license inspector issue: http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/license%20inspector

Daily Sentinel article on issue:  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_ec0a81be-79e9-11e1-8440-0019bb2963f4.html  (For whatever reason the article will not form a link, cut and paste in browser to view article.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jackson County Commission & Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Jackson County Commission
New Business: 1) Appointment of a member to the Marshall Jackson County MRA Board was tabled. 2) 3 temporary hire employees for the County Park were approved. 3) 3 highway improvement projects were approved: a. Bellefonte entrance on Hwy 72; b. CR67 designated as a high risk road for improvement. c. Cty Rd 11 approved for 3.766 mi. between Hwy 72 & Hwy 35. 4) Surplus property declaration Pak-Mpr rear trash loader. 5. authorization to allow the county engineer to declare metaldumpsters surplus. 6. April 6th 2012, Good Friday declared a county holiday. 7) American Red Cross Month Proclamation signed for April 2012.

City Council Meeting
1) Shriners Road Block approved for April 1, 2012 . 2) 13 items approved for surplus property in the Stret Department. 3) Gail Moore was selected for the Industrial Development Board vacancy. 4) City Engineer Charles King was appointed to the Architectural Review board. 5) Vacancy on the Commercial Development Authority to finish term of Mr. Bob Cuthbertson which expires in March 2013. Applications must be submitted by Apr. 12, 2012 by 4:30PM to the City Clerk. Mr. Smith opened discussion concerning funding of the CDA. 6) Mayor Potter and Councilman Spears was appointed to a committee to provide feedback to the city council regarding the North Broad St. railroad crossing. 7) The city council meeting was continued until next Monday for the purpose of voting on the Board of Education appointment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scottsboro City Council Work Session Report

The big issue at Monday's City Council work session was a suggestion to close the rail road crossing at North Broad Street in Scottsboro. The Norfolk and Southern Rail Road had been in contact with the city and has requested that 2 crossings be closed.
Mr. King, City Engineer

Scottsboro City Engineer Charles King spoke about the issue. 2 rail road crossings were considered for closing. The Kyle Street crossing and the North Broad Street Crossing. Mr King suggested that only the North Broad Street crossing be closed. It was discussed Monday and last Monday night that the North Broad Street crossing is dangerous due to its track elevation and low approach to the track.

18 North Side residents were present at the work session to express their concerns and demonstrate unity. Mrs. Tiajuana Cotton, speaking in behalf of the Voters League, stated: "The people of the North Side Community feel we are being disenfranchised. There has been one death as a result of blocked rail road crossings. We are very concerned and appalled that any crossing would be closed."
Mrs.Tiajuana  Cotton, Voters League Spokesperson

Mrs. Cotton reminded the council about the several North Side Community residents whose homes were flooded in August 2010.  "The Maple Street flooding issue has not been resolved." Note figure 3-2 in the Flood Mitigation Plan Map, Scottsboro's 2004-2020 Plan at this link Strategic Plan - 2020 - City of Scottsboro, Alabama  Figure 3-2 does not include the Maple Street area as a flood zone. The red asterisks indicates the end of the FEMA flood consideration area at or before the rail road tracks. Maple Street is the street immediately above the rail road tracks. The area north of the middle red asterisk was the area which flooded pictured below.
Figure 3-2 Scottsboro's 2004 2020 Development Plan

 (reference flooding issue: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2010/08/drainage_problem_in_scottsboro.html and http://arklite.blogspot.com/2011/01/scottsboro-city-council-meeting-maple.html ) Mrs. Cotton continued, "what message are you sending to the community concerning north side residents?" Mrs Cotton closed with the sentiment that it seemed the city council had already decided on closing the rail road crossing.
City Council Member Gary Spears. Mr. Spears stated, "a final decission has not been made to close the crossing."

City Council Member Gary Spears spoke about the possibility of an under or overpass at one of the rail crossings, he also spoke about long waits at crossings.  City Attorney Steve Kennamer stated the issue of an underpass or overpass has been an issue that has been discussed for 40 years.
City Council Member Thermon Bell
City Council Member Carol McCrary

Council Members Bell and McCrary voiced their concern about the rail crossing issue. Both assured citizens there would be no immediate decision made and "we hear your concerns."
City Council President Matthew Hodges

Mr. Hodges stated that the council will need to consider these matters further at another work session to include considering community needs. He assured citizens that no decisions would be made until we look closely at the rail crossing situation.  Daily Sentinel article concerning the issue: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_42812886-72d8-11e1-9505-001871e3ce6c.html

Other Agenda Items: 1) Industrial Development Board position to be filled at Monday's council meeting. 2) Shriner's Roadblock event to collect charitable contributions to be placed on Monday's agenda; date April 1, 2012 8AM to 12PM. 3) Street Department excess property discussion, 13 items to be declared excess property. Sale of property proceeds to be utilized for the Street Department capital expense purchases. 4) Board of Education appointment will not be made next Monday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jackson County Election - Vote Tabulation Problems?

Election Results link from the Daily Sentinel: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_c1348302-6d7f-11e1-b546-001871e3ce6c.html

Problems were encountered with the Unity electronic display. Seems there was an official that was not aware of how to work the equipment. Persons who regularly operated the equipment could not do so as they were running for office, a lack of training was evident. Another disturbing question - some persons appeared to have inside information concerning the voting boxes in outlying areas (Stevenson & Bridgeport) before they were posted, which raised questions of why and how did that come about?

Voting Results - reported to be absentee tabulations. Some members of the press seem to be given access to this data while others were not. There was considerable confusion.

Problems with equipment.

By 9PM it began to come together.

Dennis Miller wins the Democrat primary.

Ken Ferrell wins the Jackson County Circuit Court race. Now he can deal with the County Commission attempting to move the court records without his permission. Daily Sentinel article:

Scottsboro City Council Report

Monday was a regular city council meeting. 1) 3 vacancies on the Historic Preservation Board. Questions concerning eligibility for this board should be addressed to the City Clerk at 256-574-3100. Applications for the positions must be submitted to the city Clerk no later than 4:30PM March 30, 2012. 2) Alcoholic Beverage License hearing and license approvals for Busters Pub & Grill- 3509 S. Broad St. and The Bait and Tackle Grill at Goose Pond Colony; both licenses were approved pending required inspection approvals. 3) Budget amendment for police vehicle purchases, a. $72, 000 for patrol vehicles; b. approval received to use FTA funds, $55,382.00 for purchase of 2 SUV "command vehicles." Both requests were approved, old vehicles are to be sold on gov-deals to assist in financing the accessory equipment for the vehicles. See previous council work session entry: http://arklite.blogspot.com/2012/03/scottsboro-city-council-work-session.html  4) Cemetery Department budget amendment was approved for the purchase of 3 mowers totaling no more than $15,000.

Mayors Report: Ms. M.M. McKinnon has resigned from the Scottsboro School Board due to a move out of the area. Interested citizens to fill the position should contact the Scottsboro City Clerk no later than March 22, 2012 4:30PM. Mayor Potter also discussed the positive aspects of Bass Fishing Tournaments and Golf tournaments in the area. Goose Pond Colony Bass and Golf Tournament Schedules and Events may be found at: http://arklite.blogspot.com/2012/02/scottsboro-parks-and-recreation-board.html

Jackson County Commission Meeting

Monday March 12, 2012 was a regular meeting of the Jackson County Commission.

The big issue: The Jackson County Commission went into Executive Session to decide on postponing the decision concerning the TVA in-lieu-of-tax issue legal dispute between the Commission and the Legislative Delegation. Judge Little, Madison County, was the Circuit Court Judge which heard the issue before the court. Both Jackson County Circuit Court Judges recused themselves due to a conflict of interest. There was a decision reached in August 2011 but as of February 2012 a final legislative bill had not been finalized (see news articles below).

The current commission decided yesterday to allow the next seated commission to deal with the issue. It was also stated that it was doubtful the issue would be finalized during the current legislative session. Mr. Porter was authorized to approach the Court and Legislative Delegation concerning postponing any final decission until the next commission is seated. Judge Little will have to approve any actions.

Daily Sentinel articles-  August 1, 2011- "Commission delegation to sign agreement"  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/local/article_87c5492a-bc87-11e0-a505-001cc4c03286.html  and Aug 8, 2011- http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_ddfcdcc8-c1d6-11e0-afad-001cc4c002e0.html   Feb 2012- "TVA Bill yet to be crafted" http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_03bd4476-51e1-11e1-b46d-0019bb2963f4.html

Yesterday's commission agenda, click on image for an expanded view.

Commissioner Horrace Clemmons donated $3928.00 from his salary to move the Section, Alabama School Zone lights, item G on the agenda.
Commissioner Clemmons, District 4, has donated his entire salary for charitable and immediate needs within the county during his 4 year term as a county commissioner. Mr. Clemmons has stated he will serve 1 term and no more.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Jackson County Commission Work Session

North side and current secured entrance of the Jackson County Courthouse (photo by G. Morgan)

Yesterday was a work session for the Jackson County Commission prior to Monday's regular meeting.
Agenda, click on image for an expanded view.

1) Cat Fish Festival- Johnny Johnson made presentation to the commissioners as a representative for the Small Business Council. Discussion concerning contributions for the festival: The Commission will contribute $2000 for the festival which will be held at the Jackson county Park on May 19, 2012. http://www.jacksoncountychamber.com/component/jcalpro/view/436/33 
2) J.P. Parsons was scheduled to discuss the Crow Mountain Hill Climb-not present. There was discussion that several citizens from Crow Mountain had complained about the event and had requested the Commission not approve future events.
3) Ken Tolar of Tolar Construction made presentation concerning the bid process related to the demolition of the County Annex Building. Mr. Tolar had submitted questions related to the bid process as stated in the bidding proceedures. Mr. Tolar stated, "my questions were never answered and were an integral part of the bidding process." Mr. Tolar provided commissioners with the questions asked. Ms. Erickson, County Administrator, stated she had sent the questions to Mr. Porter, County Attorney, with no reply, Mr. Porter is out of town at this time. It was stated the site has not been inspected for asbestos in the building materials. Commissioners stated no bid has been accepted and all bids will probably be rejected and rebid. The questions reflect several serious issues related to the demolition of the building. Apparently the Commission Chairperson had not been made aware of these questions. The fax was addressed to the County Commission's Administrator, Sandra Erickson. Ms. Biased stated in the future the commission chair is to be informed of such questions involving the bidding process and it should be the commission chairperson who would decide to refer such questions to the county attorney. Questions submitted by Tolar Construction below, click on image for expanded detail.

4) Presentation by County Engineer regarding Public Works projects and Waste management issues. Road repair, bridge repair and paving requests for matching funds from the state are outlined in the Commission Agenda image shown above in D-1-a thru h. The county will have to provide 20% of the funds to be eligible for the transportation matching funds. Metal dumpsters are being replaced throughout the county if possible. It was commented that there will be a need for 20 more plastic garbage cans costing approximately $6500. It was also mentioned that Mr. Hicks has sold out his garbage collection service to a private company from Chattanooga, Tn., this involves the Pisgah area.
5) Other issues are described on the agenda shown above. a) Mr. Clemmons donated part of his salary to move the caution light in Section by the school. b) Citizen presentations will be allowed at work session end without getting on the agenda after the commissioner presentations.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Womens History Month - March 2012

Womens History Month - March 2012 - local history and theme stories

Fukushima Chronicles - 1 Year After

One year after the Fukushima disaster there are distinct, demonstrated shortcomings in the nuclear industry. Nuclear power has great risks which the nuclear industry fails to convey to the public. The nuclear industry and government regulators within the United States express an attitude which is deadly and dangerous. Attitude failures-vanity, invincibility, neglect and a failed value system relating to money before human life and health with no regard and respect for the realities of our natural world is a dangerous combination which resulted in the Japanese Fukushima disaster.

Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated from Fairewinds Energy Education on Vimeo.
"Fairewinds analyzes cancer rates for young children near Fukushima using the National Academy of Science's BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) VII Report. Based on BEIR VII, Fairewinds determines that at least one in every 100 young girls will develop cancer for every year they are exposed to 20 millisieverts [millisievert (1 mSv = 0.001 Sv)] of radiation. The 20-millisievert/ year figure is what the Japanese government is currently calculating as the legal limit of radiological exposure to allow habitation of contaminated areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In this video, Fairewinds introduces additional analysis by Ian Goddard showing that the BEIR VII report underestimates the true cancer rates to young children living near Fukushima Daiichi. Looking at the scientific data presented by Mr. Goddard, Fairewinds has determined that at least one out of every 20 young girls (5%) living in an area where the radiological exposure is 20 millisieverts for five years will develop cancer in their lifetime."

"Fukushima Nuclear plant released  far more radiation than reported...Caesium-137 fallout, however, is a much greater concern because it will linger in the environment for decades. The new model shows that Fukushima released 3.5 × 1016  Bq caesium-137, roughly twice the official government figure..."

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) Blog, Fukushima-One Year After: http://blog.cleanenergy.org/2012/03/08/remembering-fukushima-one-year-later/

Perhaps the greatest error of Fukushima is based on an attitude of invincibility and a non-scientific approach to risk and problem solving as expressed in the Carnigie Report on the Fukushima disaster introduction. The last sentence sums up the dangerous attitude- "... perhaps most importantly, many believed that a severe accident was simply impossible."

The Carnigie Endowment for International Peace Report: "Why Fukushima Was Preventable"-
"Though there is no single reason for TEPCO and NISA’s failure to follow international best practices and standards, a number of potential underlying causes can be identified. NISA lacked independence from both the government agencies responsible for promoting nuclear power and also from industry. In the Japanese nuclear industry, there has been a focus on seismic safety to the exclusion of other possible risks. Bureaucratic and professional stovepiping made nuclear officials unwilling to take advice from experts outside of the field. Those nuclear professionals also may have failed to effectively utilize local knowledge. And, perhaps most importantly, many believed that a severe accident was simply impossible." http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/03/06/why-fukushima-was-preventable/a0i7
From Fairewinds engineer Arnie Gunderson: "This Carnegie Study is similar to the Greenpeace study but Carnegie is more supportive of nuclear and portrays these problems as solvable. Greenpeace said the accidents were due to regulatory capture and the echo chamber effect and suggests international nuclear pressures are systemic." 
The Fukushima Report from Greenpeace leads off in one segment with this quote: " For a successful technology, reality must take precedent over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." Quote by Richard Feynman. The Greenpeace study is at http://www.fairewinds.com/content/echo-chamber-regulatory-capture-and-fukushima-daiichi-disaster

"Fairewinds shows that the nuclear industry's plan to vent the containment at Fukushima Daiichi could not have prevented a containment failure and the ensuing explosions. Look at the graphics from the containment stress tests conducted more than 40 years ago at a US nuclear reactor identical to Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1. This video and its graphics provide important clues about why Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 exploded."

FOIA disclosures reveal deceit on the part of the NRC: "USS Ronald Reagan measured 0.6 mR/hr direct gamma shine from clouds 130 miles from Fukushima Daiichi" - 

Indications of intentional cover-up by Nuclear Regulatory Commission - nuclear industry concerns placed before human safety health & welfare.

“Really troubling” wind shift said NRC: 1,000 microSv thyroid dose south of Tokyo over ten hour period on Mar. 14 reported US Navy — 300km from Fukushima — “This reminds me of the drill” http://enenews.com/really-troubling-1000-microsievert-thyroid-dose-south-of-tokyo-over-ten-hour-period-on-march-14-reported-us-navy-nrc-over-300km-from-fukushima/comment-page-1

Intentional cover-up by the NRC: http://enenews.com/nrc-weve-stop-labs-testing-fukushima-radiation-directors-knock-doe-cool-worried-about-talking-press-about-consequences

FOIA disclosure, NRC report from Japan: "There is spent fuel and pellets and whatever all over the place around the plant." http://enenews.com/nrcs-top-man-japan-spent-fuel-pellets-all-place-around-plant-trying-clean-dose-going-be-incredible
Top US nuke official in Japan: "Take it slow “without just running the military in there to kill people” for us to feel better..." http://enenews.com/top-us-nuke-official-in-japan-take-it-slow-without-just-running-the-military-in-there-to-kill-people-wait-so-its-without-a-lot-of-loss-of-life-300-millisieverts-per-hour-outside-react

As we examine the after action reports and news stories it should become obvious where the actual failure lies. Unfortunately, it seems the problem in the United States, as it was in Japan, we do not learn the lessons of history, nor consider that human error and the attitudes and failed values associated with the failures, which lead to the disaster, is occuring in the United States today. The real questions: How much pain, suffering and costs will it take? Will it take making a United States city a ghost town before our political leadership and the nuclear industry's supportive bureaucrats of the NRC learn the lessons of Chernobyl and Fukushima Japan? 

Human reliability failure is the "clear and present danger" with any nuclear program. Deception is being practiced at the highest levels today concerning the risks of nuclear electrical power generation. Deception, the lack of scientific process and the ignoring of natural events will eventually lead to a disaster. The failure of values, placing money before life and health, will multiply the effect of a nuclear disaster. It is not possible to engineer your way out of a failed value system and a deceitful bureaucracy. 

The other Fukushima Chronicles: http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/Fukushima%20Japan
For more information concerning the dangers of nuclear power: http://www.matrr.org

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Scottsboro City Council Work Session Report

Scottsboro's Police Department (photo by G. Morgan)

The big news at last nights City Council meeting work session: 1) The City of Scottsboro will be spending $137,045.00 for new police vehicles. 2 new SUV's for investigators and 3 new Dodge patrol cars, all outfitted with equipment which will cost an additional $10,350.00 per unit. The autos per state bid were reported to cost $23,371 each. Total of $102,363.00 for the patrol cars. The 2 SUV's will be funded with FTA (failure to appear) funds. A budget amendment will be required for $72,000. It was also stated the total cost will be $137,045. There were no explanations given for the discrepancies in the total figures other than the FTA funds will be utilized for the purchase of the 2 SUV's, costing approximately $55,000. (It is written the way it was presented.)

In other business: 2) Mr. Brooks Hall made a presentation concerning a request to raise  fines  for alcohol related offenses and sales taxes for alcohol sales. He suggested the additional money raised be utilized for education and treatment programs for alcoholism. He also suggested the additional revenues be utilized for transportation of inebriated people within the city. Mr. Brooks has spoken several times in opposition of alcohol sales license stating, "alcohol causes an increase in crime, domestic abuse and sexual abuse." 3) Mayor discussed the closing of the railroad crossing at North Broad Street. Mayor Potter also discussed the Cemetery Department will be needing 3 new mowers.

Citizen presentation: Garry Morgan requested a local ordinance be implemented to enhance existing ethics laws involving elected and appointed officials receiving benefits as a result of holding public office. Elected and appointed officials receive reduced rates at city facilities while citizens pay full price. This is the second request and did not seem to be warmly received. Click on image below for an expanded view of the request.

I have also received information that the City of Scottsboro has been paying twice the amount for city bond sales commission fees for many years equalling millions of dollars to the agent as compared to other municipalities. For example: The City of Ft. Payne may be charged a 1.5% commission fee for a bond issue sale while the City of Scottsboro is paying 3% for the same sales commission. Information has been received, I have seen the document presented, but not by the document's originator, the facts have been reported in a 3-4 page analysis with definitive figures which have been presented to the City Council and Mayor with reference source. It was also reported that at least one local press agency received the same report. There has been no release of any of this information to the public. The city's last bond issue seller commission involving the recreation complex and streets improvement was more equal to other municipality sales commission rates.

Scottsboro's debt situation is begining to demonstrate poor management. Worse, there seems to be a moral values disconnect between serious needs vs. influential citizen demands. For example: Roseberry Rescue Group vs The Jackson County Rescue Squad; city soccer fields and splash park vs storm shelters in at least 3 other locations of the city. That is not to mention the neglect demonstrated in the community on the North Side of the tracks of our fair city.

The Daily Sentinel Report: Impact Learning Center to move in April - http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_2d391222-6725-11e1-881b-001871e3ce6c.html

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Jackson County Alabama Political Forum - Meet the Candidates

On February 28, 2012 the Student Government Association at Northeast Alabama Community College sponsored the 2012 Jackson & Dekalb County Political Forum. It was a packed auditorium, most of the candidates and voters were from Jackson County. Many said it is the largest political candidate participation in memory. Enjoy the photography and music. Good luck to the candidates, thank you for running for public office.

Also may be viewed on You Tube at: http://youtu.be/kFWFBZ4zFFo
Windows Media Audio-Video Production by Garry L. Morgan, Photography by Garry L. Morgan, audio by the Posies-audio rights aquired via Microsoft Inc. licensing aggrement. Usage is not for profit community educational awareness.