Aquatic Plant Management Forum

State Representative Wes Long (R-27) is leading an Aquatic Plant Management Forum in Guntersville, focusing on Lake Weeds.  Invasive aquatic weeds can hinder native aquatic weed growth, interfere with navigation / recreation / flood control, and adversely affect fish and wildlife habitat.

Aquatic Plant Management Forum
March 12, 2011
9 am – 12:30 pm

Guntersville City Senior Center
1500 Sunset Drive
Guntersville, Alabama  35976

You are invited and encouraged to attend a free forum open to the public that is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, 2011. This meeting has been organized in order to provide factual and educational information about major aquatic resource issues, and it is also intended to promote and facilitate dialog regarding proposals to return aquatic plant management in Marshall and Jackson Counties to an institutional program. 

Hopefully, these discussions will to lead to near-term and long-term solutions for aquatic resource issues that affect the citizens and property owners of our area. 

Grab a bite at Wintzell’s Oyster House after the forum – the words of wisdom on the walls ensure that it’s always a learning experience:

The most important things in life aren’t things.

Mo Brooks Huntsville Open House

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) will be holding an Open House in his Huntsville District Office, located at  2101 W. Clinton Avenue, Suite 302, on Friday, March 4, from 2 to 4 p.m.

“I’m looking forward to meeting with constituents from the Huntsville area and hearing their concerns,” said Brooks. “I hope a lot of people will stop by. My staff will also be on hand to answer casework questions, and help in any way they can.”

Congressman Brooks also announced plans to hold future open houses in other district offices in the Shoals and Decatur. “We’re going to have open houses at the Shoals and Decatur offices in the next few months,” said Brooks. “In addition, my staff will be visiting locations around North Alabama and setting up temporary offices so that folks who can’t visit the three main offices can meet them and ask questions.”

For more information about the Huntsville Open House, please call the Huntsville Office at (256) 551-0190 or visit

Huntsville Pastors’ Pro Life Rally

From our friends with the Alabama Alliance Against Abortion:

Huntsville Pastors Pro Life Rally At 12 Noon, Saturday January 22, on the steps of the Madison County Courthouse.

Area pastors and local government officials, will be participating. This is an annual event held every year for the past 12 years. Over 30 area pastors have come and participated in our events. All area office holders are welcome to speak. All area pastors are welcome to come and participate, and speak for 2 minutes. Invite your pastor to come. Moral leadership in America begins with leadership of our pastors.

Judge Roy Moore, County Commissioner Mo Brooks, and Rev. Jimmy Jackson of Whitesburg Baptist Church were our keynote speakers last year. The Alabama Alliance Against Abortion is known for being a leader in north Alabama pro life events. We have sponsored Life Chains in Huntsville with over 3,000 in attendance.

For more information contact Alabama Alliance Against Abortion at, email or call Reverend James Henderson at 256-337-0826.

Reverend James Henderson gave the invocation at the Huntsville Governors’ Forum last Spring.

“Whatever you do for the least of them, you do for me.”


Congressman Robert Aderholt will be the keynote speaker at the Pro Life Rally in Huntsville on Saturday, Jan 22, at Noon. [Thanks Jessie]

Huntsville Retail Summit

This should be fun:

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, with his city coming off of a string of economic development successes, announced a community wide economic development summit and unveiled an interactive “Ideas Map” as part of his administration’s continued commitment to growth in Huntsville.

“Developing Ideas: Planning for Huntsville’s Future,” will be held on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19th at 6:00pm. The event is hosted by and will be held at the Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology (601 Genome Way, Huntsville, Alabama 35806).

The event is free of charge and is open to the public.

“The successes we’ve seen in economic development over the past year have been unmatched by any other community in our nation,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “Each of those successes started with an idea – and this summit is another incredible way for our residents to bring their ideas to the table.”

Steve Doyle of The Huntsville Times wrote “Trader Joe’s…”:

Called “Developing Ideas: Planning for Huntsville’s Future,” the event includes a panel discussion led by Mayor Tommy Battle and two city department heads directly involved in retail recruitment, Economic Development Director Joe Vallely and Acting Planning Director Marie Bostick.

Other panelists are commercial developer Don Beck, downtown real estate expert Donna Lamb, A.J. Smith of Smith Appraisals and Huntsville Development News blogger James Vandiver.

…”This will give citizens a chance to weigh in on what they would like to see here as far as retail stores,” Battle said Friday. “Some will fit and some won’t, but at least we’ll have input on what people are looking for.”

Battle said two retailers seem to be high on everyone’s wish list: Cheesecake Factory and Trader Joe’s, a specialty grocer with stores in Nashville and Atlanta but none yet in Alabama.

James Vandiver’s blog is Huntsville Development News:

The purpose of this summit is to get feedback from the public about where the city should be going in terms of economic development and planning. Representatives from the real estate community along with city officials and yours truly will be there to answer your questions. The format of this event is still evolving, and the attendance will ultimately determine what will be done.

Here’s my wish list:  H&M, IKEA, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, CCs (Community Coffee house), Nordstrom, Von Maur, American Girl, Lego Store, a Cracker Barrel at I565 and Oakwood, and a Taco Bell (or better yet Bandito Burrito) in 5 Points.  I’d also like for someone to carry “Volunteer Traditions” products.  I think the Von Maur, Brooks Brothers, Cracker Barrel and Taco Bell are doable, the rest are dreams…

Other retail I’ve heard mentioned in wish lists: Trader Joe’s, Cheesecake Factory, Saks, Diesel, Bulgari,  Johnny Rockets, In-and-Out Burgers, Joe’s Crab Shack, Coach, Urban Outfitters, Whole Foods, Bass Pro Shops, California Pizza Kitchen, Macy’s, Z Gallerie, Aldi, Chipotle, Wegmans, and Dave and Busters…

SHCA meeting – schools



From our friends at the South Huntsville Civic Association:

Monday January 24, 2011 7pm
Grissom High School Auditorium
Open to the Public
Please attend the upcoming meeting on Jan 24th, 7pm at the Grissom High School Auditorium. The original topic for our first quarterly meeting was planned to be Crime and Safety. Due to the dire situation of our Huntsville City School System, we have decided that it is imperative to focus on our educational system and upcoming changes required to reduce the existing $20 million debt incurred by our school system.

 One of SHCAs priorities is to promote academic excellence in our schools. In the next few weeks, the Huntsville City School System is required to provide the State of Alabama Board of Education with a plan to cut our existing $20 million debt. The recommendations from our school system will not only impact our school system but could also dramatically impact our property values and community.
It is inevitable that the school board will not only have to close schools, cut staff and school programs but also rezone the school districts. Over the years, we have been very fortunate to attend schools close by or in the neighborhoods where we’ve chosen to live. This may not be the case in the future. School programs could be cut. The Reduction In Force policy, if left unchanged could result in excellent teachers losing their jobs based on the length of service (tenure) instead of job performance or other Objective Criteria.
A new Superintendant of schools will also be hired. It must be stressed that this individual should not be an advocate for any particular part of Huntsville. He or she must be unquestionably able to represent all areas of Huntsville in an unbiased fashion. Any conflict of interests will be unacceptable.
SHCA is working to insure that south Huntsville residents have a voice in the decisions which must be made. If you would like to further participate in this process, please consider joining our Education Committee. For more information email us at
We urge all residents to attend this meeting. Even if you don’t have children in the school system, these changes will impact you and your property values. Our attendance will be an indication of south Huntsvilles dedication to education.
Please tell all of your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers about this meeting.

South Huntsville Civic Association
P.O. Box 12271
Huntsville, AL 35815

As much a part of Huntsville as the stars in the sky

Huntsville's own since 1944








South Huntsville, get ready for a treat – Huntsville’s own Star Market is coming to Bailey Cove, in the former Southern Family Markets location.

Marian Accardi of The Huntsville Times wrote “Star Super Market will open Thursday on Bailey Cove Road”:

“This is a great time to be opening a grocery store because this is one the busiest times of the year for the grocery industry,” said Darden Heritage, the owner of the Star Market stores and pharmacies.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be Thursday at 9:30 a.m., and the store will open for business at 10. The store will open with 120 part-time and full-time employees…

It will be a couple of weeks before the Madison County License Department’s satellite office opens in the store, said Heritage, and a U.S. Postal Service contract station should be open around the first of next year.

License Director Mark Craig said residents will be able to obtain vehicle and boat titles and renew and replace driver’s licenses at the satellite office. A tax collector drop box will be provided for payments.

Star is locally owned and operated and their commitment is “to serve every customer with courtesy, while offering the best value possible”.  Star offers a superlative butcher shop, great wine and beer selection, nice cheeses, fresh produce, Zapp’s chips, Green Mountain soap, and Terry’s Pizza.


Star is opening a new store and hiring 120 employees in the midst of troubling economic times.  Southern Family Markets employed 75 people when it closed due to “disappointing financial performance”.  As far as I know, Star isn’t getting a TIF or tax incentives.  There’s room in the comments section for discussion as to why Star thinks they’ll be successful…

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords

The Grand Opening of the Alabama Robotics Technology Park is rescheduled for November 10, 2010 at 1030AM.

The Alabama Robotics Technology Park will consist of three individual training facilities each targeted to a specific industry need. The three buildings will have an investment of approximately $71 million including robotics equipment.

The classes listed on the ARTP website are oriented to operator safety.  As far as leading to employment: “There are no job postings at this time.”

Robotics Technology Park
6505 U.S. Hwy 31 | Tanner, AL 35671

From Huntsville:
Take I-565 West (turns into Highway 20 at the I-65 interchange)
Follow signs to Decatur (westbound Highway 20) for approximately 2 1/2 miles
Take the Highway 31 North/Calhoun Community College exit right just before reaching the Tennessee River
The Park’s main entrance is located on the left (approximately 1 mile from Highway 20- across the street from Calhoun Community)


Note that the AIDT Maritime Training Center in Mobile is offering Free Welding Classes which may lead to jobs at Austal Shipyard building the Littoral Combat Ship class based on the LCS 2 design – USS Independence.  Austal is a good shipyard from what I’ve seen (note that IMO Bath Iron Works is the best US shipyard – plus it’s just up the road from L.L. Bean).

BTW for Navy news and analysis I read CDR Salamander – he knows the Navy.  His observations about shipbuilding programs on which I’ve worked were spot on, so he’s got lots of credibility with me.  Here’s CDR Salamander on the down-select:

From the same Generation of leadership that gave us “Every Child Gets a Trophy” and turned the Navy Achievement Medal into an addendum to PCS orders – via NavyTimes,

The long-awaited decision on which competitor will win the Navy’s littoral combat ship competition is expected to be revealed Wednesday afternoon, and the answer will surprise most people.

The winner? Both teams.

The LCS is seen as a replacement for the FFG class of ships (Frigates), but CDR Salamander describes LCS as “a large, expensive, low endurance, under-armed Corvette.”   

The Independence is a beautiful ship and while I like the tri-maran concept, the ship only has one gun (57mm).  It seems like it has lots of room but nowhere to put weapons (it had planned to mount the Army NLOS system – oops – cancelled).  Plus, the LCS2 program was plagued by overruns – the cost went from $220 million to around $700 million – almost a half a billion dollar overrun!  The competing LCS1 USS Freedom experienced similar overruns.  Will they ever learn?

Navy officials acknowledged that one reason for the cost overruns was the decision to begin production before the design was mature.

I agree with this comment at CDR Salamander:

Kill the entire program… Take those LCS we built and give them to the USCG as medium endurance cutters and cut our losses, accept our lessons, and make sure we don’t do this again.

The Navy doesn’t remember how to build ships and doesn’t seem to remember that they should be building warships.  If the new GOP Congress cares about being good stewards of our money and not just pork piggies – they’ll cancel LCS and start over.

I’m not just beating up on the Navy – we’ve got our own problems close to home – remember the Comanche (20 years and $8 billion)!

/rant on

You know what bothers me about DoD and NASA (and the Huntsville jail) cost overruns?  We know how to do better.  For example, Congress and the OSD are trying to institutionalize improvement with the CAPE office (more powerful than the old CAIG), but getting the brass to listen to bean counters or engineers can be difficult:

“It’s all about management. You can have all the safety rules you want, but if you don’t follow them, bad things will happen.”

The thing is – techniques have been around for years for cost control (earned value) and risk mitigation (probabilistic scheduling). 

/rant off (I could keep ranting about this for days, so I’ll just stop with that one example – don’t get me started about contract requirements that have nothing to do with actually making something or creating “bow waves” of unperformed work)

Sweep the Democrats out of North Alabama!

From the Mo Brooks for Congress campaign:

Join Mo Brooks and his fellow North Alabama Republican candidates for an evening of food, fun, and entertainment…

Date: Thursday, October 28, 2010 starting at 6PM
Location: New Soccer Village Indoor Arena near the old Greenbrier Cotton Gin (I-565 Exit 3 then north to the old Greenbrier Restaurant)
Cost: $15 per person / $25 per family ($5 discount if you bring a broom)

Music by Mike Ball and his Smokin’ Hot Bluegrass Band.

Please RSVP by calling 256-881-3779 or email

Sanford Fundraiser

From the Paul Sanford campaign:

J.V. & Jeanette Balch
Joyce Ellett
David & Kathy Linden
Herschel & Lynne Matheny
Allan Rhodes
Art & Jackie Sanford
Louise Sanford
Terry & Timi Sanford
Frances Taylor
Ken & Connie Ward 

Cordially Invite You to a Fundraising Reception

Paul Sanford, Republican State Senator District 7

Monday, October 18, 2010
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Monte Sano Lodge

 Contributions Appreciated                                                Casual Dress

RSVP 256-882-7626                                                     Music—Tony Mason

 Paid for by friends of Paul Sanford/218 Westchester Ave./Huntsville, Al 35801


Marching Maroon and White Gala



The AAMU Marching Maroon and White Band, The Showband of the South, is honoring the retirement of “the legendary Mr. Arthur B. Wesley, II, Director of Alabama A&M University Bands” with a Roast and Toast Gala:

We, the Marching Maroon & White Band (MMW) alumni committee are proud to announce its first Roast and Toast Gala on Saturday, October 23, 2010, at the Von Braun Center North Hall.  This year we are honoring the retirement of the legendary Mr. Arthur B. Wesley, II, Director of Alabama A&M University Bands.

This event will showcase Mr. Wesley’s many contributions to AAMU, the state of Alabama, and our nation.  Under his leadership, the famous MMW has performed at the 117th Annual Tournament of Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA, the All American Army Bowl in San Antonio, TX and the Atlanta Falcons Football game. Mr. Wesley is one of the greatest directors in the country. Through his untiring efforts and leadership the MMW remains one of the top bands in the world.

Proceeds from this fundraiser will be used for the purchase of much needed band equipment and instruments.

Tickets are $50 per person, or a table of ten can be purchased for $650.  All table sponsors will be listed in the souvenir program, if the table is purchased by September 3, 2010.  If you are unable to attend, but want to send your congratulatory ad to Mr. Wesley in the souvenir program, please see the attached for the various ad prices.  This event is being publicized throughout Alabama and the country.  Please show your support by purchasing tickets, being a table sponsor and/or purchasing ads for the souvenir program.  AAMU ALUMS everywhere are expected to support this event…

Your financial support will ensure the University Band Program continues to provide quality music to the university family and the community at large.  Your support is welcomed in helping us honor this great BAND DIRECTOR and public servant for his many contributions.  Should you require addition information, please call Derrick K. Yates, Interim Director of Bands, Alabama A&M University (256) 372-4099.