"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, June 20, 2012

Jackson County EDA Meeting - The Good, The Bad and The Darn Ugly! UPDATE-June 26, 2012

UPDATE Dynetics issue: Much has been said in local media about the Dynetics issue including a considerable amount of propaganda from local EDA officials, Huntsville Times link: http://blog.al.com/huntsville-times-business/2012/06/dynetics_plans_for_test_facili.html 

The proposed Larkinsville site is to be a "test bed" site. The question is, what is it that Dynetics will be testing and is it dangerous? After examining Dynetics mission and products here is the likely answer: Propulsion and related engines - http://www.dynetics.com/products/space-propulsion  Fuels reference from Dynetics site- "Our capabilities in multiple propellants include liquids, solids, and hybrids, with experience in both green and toxic propellants: liquid and gaseous oxygen, hydrogen, kerosene, propane, methane, ethane, nitrous oxide, hydrogen peroxide, HAN, hydrazine, and HTPB." Hydrazene propulsion, "CLASSIFICATION: B2; probable human carcinogen." CDC info concerning Hydrazene-  http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hydrazine/

Every month on the 3rd Tuesday at noon the Jackson County Economic Development Authority, EDA, Board of Directors meet; such was the case Tuesday, June 19, 2012. This meeting was Stacey Ledwell's last meeting. Jackson County Commissioner Jack Allen will replace Mr. Ledwell. Information on the Jackson County EDA may be found on line at http://www.jacksoncountyeda.org/
EDA CEO Dus Rogers presents Mr. Stacey Ledwell, outgoing Board Director and Treasurer, a certificate of accomplishment for his tenure as an EDA Board of Director. (photo by G.Morgan)

Education information, the EDA news letter-"Echoes," including events, may be found at this link: http://www.jacksoncountyeda.org/news.html The EDA Workforce Development partnerships with the various schools and organizations in the area are impressive. The partnerships are linked on the EDA site: http://www.jacksoncountyeda.org/education.html

The EDA has a prominent Facebook presence: http://www.facebook.com/jacksoncountyeda

Business Items : First up was discussion related to Dynetics Corporation's plans of locating to Jackson County, Al.  I was informed this discussion was a confidential discussion. Dynetics link: http://www.dynetics.com/about

I was surprised to read this mornings news in Scottsboro's Daily Sentinel disclosing the information. The Daily Sentinel was not present in yesterdays meeting. Quote from Daily Sentinel: "Dr. Marc Bendickson, Dynetics CEO said the company is committed to economic growth in North Alabama and expansion into Jackson County will help facilitate that goal...Company officials confirmed they are considering a site in the Larkinsville area to perform a variety of testing services." Link: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_01594c1a-bb28-11e1-b0b1-001a4bcf887a.html

There has been no finalization of any contracts related to this deal. Negotiations are in a critical stage. It is my opinion the release of this information was intentional for the purpose of interfering with negotiations in this critical stage.

Under the Alabama Open Meetings Act such negotiations may be kept from public disclosure due to sensitive contracts related to real estate and business negotiations in which the disclosure could jeopardize the industry locating in the area, thus costing citizens jobs or costing citizens economic development funds and opportunities. Nothing has been finalized concerning this deal.

Apparently this deal will bring very few jobs to Jackson County. There are several environmental concerns for this area, including hydrology and geolgy impacts due to Karst Terrain.
WAFF TV report on this deal: http://www.waff.com/story/18839702/some-residents-unsure-about-dynetics-expanding-into-area?clienttype=printable

In my discussions prior to the EDA meeting, I inquired of the CEO, "does the EDA have an Attorney on the board?" A public boards attorney must certify Executive Sessions (closed sessions) as proper and legal. The EDA does not have an attorney and has not had one for at least 2 years. The reason I was present was due to information I had received concerning accountability relating to actions of responsible persons on the EDA. A lack of an Attorney to advise the EDA Board of Directors and staff  "for years" is an example of failed management.

In other business, Warren Hicks of TVA Economic Development (ED) was present to provide updates on TVA ED.
Mr. Warren Hicks, TVA Economic Development. (photo G. Morgan)

Workforce updates, existing industry updates, CEO's report, and various items of confidential information was discussed. All items of public nature may be found in the news letter or site information.

Spectra Energy may build a pipeline through Jackson County. It was commented Spectra Energy would like to discuss the pipeline situation with the EDA. Spectra Energy link: http://www.spectraenergy.com/  Story links: "Pipeline Possible" http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_b451e7fa-7ac8-11e1-bab3-001a4bcf887a.html

Other items of importance disclosed: Brown-Forman Cooperage Mill refused to locate a larger facility in the Jackson County Industrial Park due to the background of the Bellefonte Nuclear Power plant, (paraphrased)"the image was not in conformance to their environmental policies and public image," commented Mr. Rogers concerning Brown-Forman's concern. Article from this blog on Brown-Forman's small facility in north Jackson County: http://arklite.blogspot.com/2011/12/more-jobe-for-jackson-county-brown-and.html

The larger plant deal, phase 2, fell through for the citizens of Jackson County. Brown-Forman Cooperage is building a larger operation near Decatur, Alabama: http://www.areadevelopment.com/newsItems/6-15-2012/brown-forman-cooperage-alabma-expansion-25541612.shtml TVA's Bellefonte Nuclear plant had a negative impact for approximately 200 permanent jobs. The Jackson County Industrial Park is located east of the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant between U.S. Hwy 72 and the nuclear plant. The nuclear plant image would have made for a poor image for Jack Daniel's products.
The Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, not in conformance with the image of Brown-Forman. "We don't want no stink'n nuclear liquor."A similar image is evident from Jackson County's Industrial Park (Ghosts of Bellefonte by G.Morgan http://www.matrr.org/

Monday, June 18, 2012

Scottsboro City Council Work Session - Maple Street Property Purchase - Grand Theft Garbage Trucks

The big news involves a $724,488 FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant to purchase property involved in the August 2010 Maple Street Flood. 12 homes and 3 lot owners will be offered fair market value for their property prior to the time of the August 2010 flood. The Federal share of the grant is $543,366; City of Scottsboro's share is $90,000 of which $10,000 in Engineering costs will be counted as part of the city's share. Previous stories on this blog with photos regarding the 2010 flood issue: http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/Disaster%20Relief%20August%202010%20Flood

Grand Theft Garbage TruckS: Joy riders will pay dearly for this crime. Apparently 2 garbage trucks belonging to Scottsboro's Solid Waste Department were stolen this past week. One was stolen last week while another was stolen over the weekend. Both trucks were taken from the Martintown Landfill. Unconfirmed sources say both have been recovered, one was burned the other was recovered in Stevenson. The vehicles were for landfill use only. Arrests in the case are expected soon.

In other Business: 1) Library Roof project. $108,000 from the Bond Reissue will be used to fix the roof at the Scottsboro City Library. Mayor Potter stated a pitched roof will be installed to assist in drainage. Air conditioning units will be removed-relocated or replaced. 2) Morgan Butler, Esquire representing the Architectural Review Board discussed proposals for the use of  the old Derrick Building. The Architectural Review Board had met concerning the issue without posting the required notice at City Hall or notifying the press concerning the meeting.
Architectural Review Board member Morgan Butler, who has a law office on the north side of the square near the Derrick Office Building fire site, discusses Architectural Board recommendations with the City Council. (photo by G. Morgan)

 3) Solid Waste Surplus Property discussion. 4) Review of Employee Job Descriptions discussion.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

 North Broad St. Rail Road Crossing to be Closed
North side approach looking south at the North Broad Street Crossing. An 18 wheel towed vehicle became stuck on the crossing in the past month utilizing this approach.

In a 3 to 2 vote, with the Council President Matthew Hodges breaking a tie vote, the North Broad St. crossing will be closed. Mr. Hodges commented after the vote, "we will be looking at evacuation planning in the case of an emergency in this area." Mr. Speers and Ms. McCrary voted no; Mr. Smith, Mr. Bell and Mr. Hodges voted yes to close the dangerous crossing.

City Council President Matthew Hodges broke the tie vote in the North Broad St. rail crossing issue. (photo G.Morgan)

Ms. McCrary and Mr. Smith discuss the Broad St. rail crossing issue. Ms. McCrary stated,  "larger, more visible signs should be placed prior to the crossing...the crossing should remain open in the case of other crossings were blocked."  Mr. Smith commented, "if the Broad Street crossing was blocked,  the crossings left and right of the Broad Street crossing would also be blocked." (photo by G. Morgan)

Mr. Speers suggests that height restrictive, protective devices could be placed on the approaches at the crossings to warn off large vehicles. Mr. Speers stated he believed the crossing should remain open and voted to keep the crossing open. Mayor Potter, left side of picture looks on. (photo G. Morgan)

Mr. Bell suggested that that a locked double gate be placed at the crossing which could be opened in case of an emergency. Mayor Potter and Mr. Bell both confirmed that Norfolk Southern Railroad rejected this plan as the crossing would not be a permanent closed crossing. Mr. Bell voted to close the crossing. Daily Sentinel article on issue: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_3aa5df3a-b4d2-11e1-8fcd-0019bb2963f4.html
In other business, the agenda for new business.

1) Bond refinancing issue for $10,575,000- 2002 city bond, interest 5%. $108,000 will be returned to the city, the bond's time will remain the same. The $108K will be utilized to replace the roof on the library before further damage occurs. (Rate is 3.8%) 2004A Board of Education bond issue. $2 million dollars will be returned to the Board of Education, debt will be extended for 3 years, the rate is 3.8%.
Mr. Larry Ward of Morgan Keegan presents the details of the Bond Issue refinancing to the Scottsboro City Council. The council approved the bond issue refinancing. The Scottsboro Board of Education must approve the school bond issues before it becomes final. (photo G. Morgan)

2) The Severe Weather Tax Holiday (Jul 6-8) and the School Sales Tax Holiday (Aug 3-5) was approved.Both issue ordinances were changed to reflect "until reascended." Dates will change but the tax holiday will continue unless the city council cancels the tax holiday. 2) Budget amendment for Commercial Development Authority (CDA) of $15,000 approved. Subsequent years budget line item will be $20,000. 3) Vacancy on Zoning Adjustment Board, applications must be turned into the City Clerk by Thursday, June 21, 2012 by 4:30PM, 3 year appointment. 4) Contract with Barge, Wagner, Sumner and Cannon Engineers for airport improvement approved. 5) New Fire Department Organizational Chart approved allowing a Fire Fighter position to be a driver position. 6) Donation of the Derrick Office building on the north side of the square to the City of Scottsboro approved. The space is 11.5 ft by 50ft. with a small rear outside space of approximately 5ft Demolition by the Street Department and supervised by the City Engineer will begin immediately.

Picture submitted by Mayor which suggests a proposed use of the property. This property is in the historical district and all building or demolition must meet the approval of the Historical Commission. (photo by G. Morgan)

Jackson County Commission Meeting - Public Hearing

The Jackson County Commission, left to right-Mr. John Porter, County Attorney; District 3 Commissioner Gaylon Stone; Distric t4 Commissioner Horrace Clemmons; Commission Chair Sadie Bias; Ms. Sandra Erickson, County Administrator; District 1 Commissioner Jack Smith; District 2 Commissioner Jack Allen.  (photo by G.Morgan)

Yesterday afternoon was a regular meeting of the Jackson County Commission. After the prayer, pledge of allegiance, roll call, acceptance and approval of previous commission meeting minutes, acceptance of current agenda the commission's business began with the acceptance of the consent agenda, there were no public speakers.

--Consent Agenda: 3 items were approved totaling $7451.98:  a) $2887.50 to Tennessee Valley Family Services Inc. for the month of May 2012; b) $4464.48 to County Attorney John F. Porter for services during the month of April 2012.: c) $100.00 in membership dues paid to AAEM, The Alabama Association of Emergency Managers, info link: http://www.aaem.us/aaem-online/node/1

--Old Business
First up was the Public Hearing for the County Animal Control Ordinance issue. Ms. Sadie Bias stepped down as the Chair and allowed Chairperson Pro Tem Jack Allen to Chair this portion of the meeting. 6 citizens spoke concerning the issue in the public hearing. 4 spoke against passing a county animal control ordinance and 2 were in favor of the ordinance.
County Attorney John Porter passes around sign up list for the Animal Control Ordinance Public Hearing. (photo G. Morgan)

The two citizens who spoke in favor of the animal control ordinance had experienced problems with stray animals. Ms. Sharon Thomas told of a person who collects cats and described how the more than 50 felines were a health hazard to neighbors. Another gentleman, Steve Fisher, described how he had been attacked twice and bitten by stray dogs while riding his bicycle.
Ms. Sharon Thomas spoke concerning stray cats. (photo G. Morgan)
Ms. Ellen O'Connor spoke against the animal control ordinance. (photo G.Morgan) She discussed the Home Rule issue, U.N. Agenda 21 including the passage of the Anti-Agenda 21 Act. The orange booklet Ms. O'Connor holds is the U.N. Agenda 21 information booklet. Below is a copy of Ms. O'Connor's presentation, click on image for an expanded view.
On Sand Mountain in Jackson County there are packs of stray dogs, escaped mixed wolf hybrids and coyotes. Some farmers will place mules in with their cattle to help protect the cattle from stray canines, inter-bred wolves and coyotes. At times, hunts to eliminate these stray animals have occurred. Feral canines in packs are a problem. As usual, it is the irresponsible citizens who have created the problem.

Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips speaks about the issue of Animal Control. (photo G. Morgan) The Sheriff stated, "without an ordinance my hands are tied...show me a law which exists now and I'll take action." No one displayed a law which permits the Sheriffs Department to take action and confiscate animals on private property, unless animals are vicious or have no rabies tag.  There are laws in Alabama which relate to threatening animals, here is a comprehensive listing: http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stusalst3_1_1_3_8_1.htm  .

MY COMMENTS-  Your rights stop when they interfere with my rights. An individual has the right to be secure in his home and property; to protect his or her life and limb, to include that of family and others from attack. Irresponsible citizens are the reason government passes laws to protect responsible citizens from the irresponsible ones.

In the Republic we are a nation of laws, we are not the rabble of a democracy where an irresponsible majority rule. Nor, are we a government where a radical minority exerts rule.

We are fortunate to have the right of redress via government process, e.g the courts, a political process which many times involves the press and the various government entities involved. This is why we must elect responsible, sane and educated leadership to office. Leaders who are not afraid to make tough decisions which support responsible actions of government in support of all the citizens. It is vitally important that our government's leaders communicate with the citizens they represent and in turn it is the citizens responsibility to communicate with their elected representatives. In this area, our government's elected leaders and citizens are lacking.

The animal control ordinance proposition "died on the floor" due to a lack of a motion. The Daily Sentinel report on issue: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_cc537f06-b4d1-11e1-a77b-0019bb2963f4.html

--In other Old Business: Jack Allen was appointed to the Jackson County EDA Board. Mr Smith made the nomination and Mr. Stone seconded the nomination. The vote was 3 to 1, Mr. Clemmons voted no. Commissioner Clemmons had nominated himself at the last commission meeting. At that time the motion died due to the lack of a second. Mr. Allen made a motion to table the issue which was approved. My Comment: Mr. Clemmons made a serious political mistake in the nomination of himself at the last meeting. There were other ways to handle the issue. Apparently the majority of EDA Board members have a much stronger influence on the County Commission than the minority on the EDA Board first thought. Daily Sentinel article on this and the other issues: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_fcd06f8a-b4d2-11e1-a883-0019bb2963f4.html

In New Business: a) Revenue Officer position was resended in a  3-2 vote with the Commission Chair breaking the tie. b) An issue to authorize the County Attorney to continue the legal action, payment to be taken from Commissioner Clemmons' pay account, relating to the constitutionality of the TVA in lieu of tax issue Local Act died on the floor due to lack of motion. Daily Sentinelarticle on issue: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_df2f5752-b4d2-11e1-a4b0-0019bb2963f4.html   c) Approval was acquired for a new oven and tilt skillet for the county jail. d) Approval for the advertisement of a road and Bridge Foreman at Public Works. e) John Kellenberger was reappointed to the DHR Board. f) Approval of 2011 insolvents, errors and taxes to be resolved in litigation. g) County Road 693 was approved for closing after last Thursdays Public Hearing.

Reports: The County Engineer stated $1.3 million Federal Patriot Grant had been approved for road improvements of County Road 17. Weather permitting, work will begin the week of June 18, 2012.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fukushima Chronicles - the danger and the saga continues.

The GE Mark 1, a defective Nuclear Reactor design. 24 defective reactors of this type exist in the United States. 3 are located near Athens, Alabama at TVA's Browns Ferry Nuclear facility. The Browns Ferry Reactors have been problematic for many years, including a recent "Red Finding" by the NRC due to defective valves and poor management by TVA personnel at Browns Ferry.

A "grave situation" continues..."if Unit 4 were to catch fire, you would have to evacuate Tokyo...There is as much cesium in the fuel pool at Unit 4 as there was in all of the atomic bombs dropped in all of the tests in the 1940's, the 1950's, the 1960's, and into the 1970's. All of the above ground testing has less cesium in it than is in the reactor pool at Fukushima 4 right now...Tokyo Electric and the Japanese government are not taking the situation serious..." Discussion on prompt criticality detonation of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3; the denial and ignoring or the detonation which occured at Unit 3.

Fairewinds Associates latest educational video. http://vimeo.com/41633459

More information and links: Fukushima Wall Bulge - http://www.treehugger.com/energy-disasters/fukushima-nuclear-plant-wall-bulge-new-concerns-another-disaster.html  
Radioactive Tuna - http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SCI_JAPAN_RADIATION_TUNA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT 

Information and links on biomagnification and food contamination as a result of the Fukushima Disaster.
Cesium 137 has a half life of 30.17 years; in the food chain it mimics Potassium. The higher up the food chain the greater the biomagnification as each higher life form ingests the Cesium ingested from the lower life form, particularly in saltwater. It appears the science writer attempts to mislead readers.

Is the information listed in the AP article intentionally false or an uninformed opinion by the science writer? In the case of propaganda, there are usually true statements mixed with fallacy with the express purpose to mislead people exposed to the statement. The writer's statement is submitted as scientific fact, not opinion, the statement in question is an intentional fallacy.

Based on my previous experience with intentional false information by the Department of Defense establishment the statement in question is propaganda. "Don't worry people your tuna is safe," is the message conveyed. However, the facts point toward quite the opposite, your tuna is not safe. Particularly in this case of radioactive element contamination in tuna.

Mercury, like Cesium, is biomagnified. Pacific tuna which has been found to contain Mercury contamination. Mercury in Tuna: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090501195628.htm "...Researchers found that open-ocean fish have a much stronger [mercury] fingerprint than do coastal fish, a discovery that opens the door to new ways of analyzing human exposure to mercury." http://insciences.org/article.php?article_id=8425

REFERENCES (cut & paste reference links)

-- Bioaccumulation of cesium-137 by biota in different aquatic environments. "... the bioaccumulation rate of 137Cs in the fish species in sea water was higher than in brackish water." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11482657

--Biomagnification of radiocesium in a marine piscivorous fish "Radiocesium is the only trace element apart from Hg (mercury) that may be potentially biomagnified at the top of the marine planktonic food chain. We quantified the assimilation efficiency from ingested prey uptake rate from the aqueous phase and efflux rate of radiocesium in a marine piscivorous fish...the biomagnification of Cs137 in Marine predatory fishes is largely caused by the extremely high Cs137 assimilation from ingested prey, despite the high efflux rate of Cs137 compared to those measured in freshwater fishes." http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps/222/m222p227.pdf or http://www.cityu.edu.hk/ap/nru/pub_j44.pdf

Tritium in Water and Bioaccumulation of Cesium and Strontium
"The radionuclides cesium-137 and strontium-90 are both fission products with a
radiological half-life of about 30 years. If released into the environment, they can both
concentrate again at various steps of the food chain. The way they accumulate depends
on their chemical behavior."

"Cesium-137 has chemical properties that are similar to potassium. Because the cells in
plants, animals and in the human body cannot distinguish between cesium-137 and
potassium, cesium-137 can be mistaken by the body to be potassium and absorbed as
such. Because most potassium in the human body is found in the blood, cesium-137 can
be found in all parts of the human body." http://www.nuclearactive.org/docs/BF_FS.pdf

Spent Fuel Concerns at Fukushima: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/world/asia/concerns-grow-about-spent-fuel-rods-at-damaged-nuclear-plant-in-japan.html

Flawed MIT Study Used To Dismiss Need For Nuclear Disaster Evacuations: An extensive review has discovered considerable flaws in an MIT study. The controversial mouse study is being promoted as evidence for scaling back nuclear evacuations and evacuation zones. The study, upon closer inspection was found to have numerous methodology problems and misrepresented established research evidence that solidly contradict their claims. The extensive review of the MIT study including a summary of our findings can be read here: http://www.simplyinfo.org/?p=6081
Nancy Foust www.SimplyInfo.org - The Fukushima Project

Join us on June 28 thru June 30 as concerned citizens and activists meet in Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Know Nukes Y'all Summit: http://knownukesyallsummit.org

Friday, June 8, 2012

Let the sunshine in on Legislative Delegation's Discretionary Board

MORE ABOUT THE SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION: http://sunlightfoundation.com

TVA-In_Lieu-of-Tax in the news - "Supreme Court declines to answer," says headline in Jackson County's Daily Sentinel.

The article states: "The bill also creates a Jackson County Discretionary Board consisting of the members of the legislative delegation and the chair of the Jackson County Commission. The sitting senator will be the chairman of the committee."

""We met with the commission, board of education, fire departments, police departments... sought input from everyone we could, regarding the bill," stated Rep. Robinson. Yea, but did they hold a community meeting and gain public input?

Will the "Discretionary Board's" meetings be open to public; will the Sunshine on this process; do the citizens care about responsible, responsive, accountable, equitable, responsive open government????  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_8172505a-b0eb-11e1-bc40-001a4bcf887a.html

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Scottsboro City Council Meeting - Work Session

Scottsboro City Council met in the Mayor's meeting room after the Monday night work session, in a continuation of the work session, to discuss the new job descriptions which Auburn University help to prepare. The job description process involved reviewing each job description with input from all parties: employee,  department head, Mayor, human resources and a final revue with input from Auburn University. The completed job descriptions will be available for public review in the City Clerks office after the City Council has approved them. The cost of the job description and pay scale review by Auburn University: $18,050.00.

In other business: 1) Discussion of ordinances approving sales tax holidays: Inclement Weather Sales Tax Holiday, Jul. 6-8, 2012 and Schools Sales Tax Holiday Aug. 3-5, 2012. The city ordinance will be prepared so a council vote for approval will not be required during each annual tax holiday time. 2) Fire Department Organizational Chart discussion relative to drivers and department lieutenants. Reorganization will allow experienced, ranking personnel to be made available for fire scene leadership. 3) Discussion concerning the North Broad Street railroad crossing closing. The Daily Sentinel article on the crossing closing issue: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_21b219ce-af52-11e1-b520-001a4bcf887a.html

4) Derrick Building sold to city for $1.00. Did the City Council approve the purchase in a public meeting? Daily Sentinel article: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_3d5a28ba-af52-11e1-90c1-001a4bcf887a.html  >>Update: The item is on Mondays agenda, listed as donation of Derrick property.<<