The Vagabond - In Memory of Hazel Louise Pierce Oliver

One of Gadsden’s finest Southern ladies passed away last Saturday (Dec. 26) at the age of 100. 

Until a few months ago, no one could keep up with Hazel Oliver because she stayed extremely active and involved in so many things.

Hazel’s mind was sharp as a tack, and she gave you an answer at a moments notice. She

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Craig Ford - Time to expand Pre-K in Alabama

Since 2008, education spending for K-12 in Alabama has gone down by more than 20 percent. Those cuts have been felt in every classroom in the state, from outdated textbooks and technology to larger class sizes.

But this year, the state has an opportunity to invest in education again instead of cutting it.

This year, the state of Alabama

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Pious Bob - The Gift Unopened

In 1 John we see our second chances: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins

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Craig Ford - Remembering Christmas

What does Christmas mean to you? 

It’s a question that will probably get a different answer from every person you ask. Every family has their own traditions and customs that make Christmas unique to them.

Of course, certain things about Christmas are universal. For every Christian, Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. He

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Pious Bob - Showing up to accept our prize

In 1 Peter we hear of God’s gift to us through Jesus: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in

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The Vagabond - History of the Noccalula Falls Christmas lighting

Attempts in the past for making the mountain a special place have come and gone. Back around the 1980s, local historian Joe Barnes met with many interested parties at the old Clayton’s Cafe on Noccalula Road to encourage improvements. A lot of dreams were shared. One of these dreams was to have an alpine village at Noccalula Falls and

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Craig Ford - We can’t have education without educators

One of the biggest problems we have in education right now is the shortage of teachers. This is true both nationally and in Alabama.

Today, fewer college students are enrolling in education courses. Eric Mackey, the executive director of the state superintendents association, recently told the Times Daily that there are about 40 to 45 percent fewer college students

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Pious Bob - Admitting to Knowing Him

In the Gospel according to Luke we hear this concerning Peter: “And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:52-62).

Peter is destroyed as he realizes his denials, which Jesus had predicted. This was a low point in Peter’s life. He had committed everything to Jesus. He had gone the whole way of Christ’s ministry. Now, as Jesus is

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Craig Ford - Maybe Santa will bring us what Rep. Aderholt won’t

We are just a few weeks away from Christmas, and children across the state are heading to the mall or shopping center to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.

I haven’t sat on Santa’s lap since I was a kid, but at this point Santa may be our best hope for finally getting

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Pious Bob - Spiritual Restructuring

In St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, he gives us some good food for thought:  “Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
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Craig Ford - Republicans should leave teachers’ retirement alone

It’s been a rough year for the powers that be in Montgomery.

There have been more than a few bad headlines this year, and we only avoided a government shutdown after three costly legislative sessions that led to an $80 million raid on public education and $86 million in new taxes.

The wheels clearly have come off the bus

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Pious Bob - The Waiting Game

In Psalm 62 we hear, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” (Psalm 62:1).

Are we willing to wait in silence for God? We are hyperactive and impatient when it comes to waiting on God. In our fast-pace world we need answers and solutions now! God doesn’t work that way. He’s more like your

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Craig Ford - Remembering our educators this Thanksgiving

In our house at Thanksgiving, our family likes to sit around the table and name the things we are thankful for in our life. Of course, everyone always names the big things like family, our freedom and so on. But the things that I’m most thankful for are the people in my life who have made a difference -

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Pious Bob - Living on Praise and Thanksgiving for Him

We hear about a positive way of connecting with the Lord in Psalm 100: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of

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Craig Ford - Progress has been made, but more work needs to be done

Congratulations to Gov. Robert Bentley and Secretary of State John Merrill on their work to fully enact the “motor voter” law. It’s refreshing to see a news article about voting in Alabama that isn’t negative. And while it did take more than 20 years and the threat of a costly lawsuit, Alabama is finally moving toward compliance with the

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Pious Bob - Placing Our Confidence

We hear St. Paul say in Colossians: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and you have come to fullness in him, who is the

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Craig Ford - Appreciating our veterans on Veterans Day

November is a time to be thankful. Of course, we celebrate Thanksgiving later on in the month. But November is also the time when we celebrate Veterans Day and give thanks to all those who have served our country.

Veterans Day began as a day to remember those who served in World War I. That war ended at the

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Pious Bob - The Journey to the Spirit

In the Gospel of John we hear Jesus say, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-52)

St. John’s explanation of these words of Jesus is, “Now he said this about the

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The VagabondStrange happenings around Etowah County - Part V

The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend. The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens.

Earlier in the series we discussed Bigfoot sightings around the area. This week

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Pious Bob - Seeking God’s Household

In John’s Gospel we are told: “Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’ “  (John 8:31-47).

Being a slave

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Craig Ford - Animal cruelty and neglect no laughing matter

It blows my mind that we still have to deal with animal cruelty and neglect in 2015. But unfortunately there are still sad stories like the one that just came out of Walker County. A man there owned more than 50 dogs. When his house was foreclosed on, he took 11 of the dogs with
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Craig Ford - Where's the beef?

Do you remember that old Wendy’s commercial with the older lady asking, “Where’s the beef?” The point of the commercial was that Wendy’s competitors didn’t deliver what they promised and, more importantly, didn’t give the customer what they wanted.

When I think about Alabama politics and what’s going on in our state government, I find myself asking that same

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Pious Bob - The Intercession Network

In St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans we hear, “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring charges against God’s

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County Part V

The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend. The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens. 

This week we continue our discussion on UFOs found around Etowah County. Unfortunately,

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County Part IV

The Vagabond has place together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend! The Vagabond has actually witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens. This week we will discuss UFOs found around Etowah County. Unfortunately, there have

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Pious Bob - The Power and Glory Forever

In the Book of Isaiah 42:1-9 we hear foretold, “I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench...He will not grow

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Craig Ford - Our state leaders need to get back to the mainstream

When even the Republican leader in the state senate says you’re out of touch, you know things have gone too far. But that is where we are in Alabama politics these days. It’s about the mainstream versus the extreme, and right now the extreme is winning.

In a recently released recording of a meeting between the governor and the

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Craig Ford - What education surplus?

Stealing from children is wrong. Period. But that’s exactly what the Alabama Legislature has done and will probably continue to do.

Several members of the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives have written and spoken publicly about a “surplus” in education. They have also claimed that if we combine the budgets, it will solve all our general fund budget

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Pious Bob - Patience in Serving

In First Peter 4:7-19 we hear: “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County Part III

Watch out…there may be monsters in the Coosa!

The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We recently discussed a Bigfoot roaming in the area and 12-foot giants buried in Whorton Bend. Researching these stories is an adventure in itself, and The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings.

This week we will discuss river

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Craig Ford - The importance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

There are a lot of things that make October a special month - the Major League Baseball playoffs, the heart of football season and the changing weather, just to name a few. But October is also important because it is the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I’ve always been proud to support those who fight against this terrible disease,

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The Vagabond - Strange happenings around Etowah County - Part II

The Vagabond has place together several strange happenings in Etowah County, so over the next few weeks we will discuss such topics as a Bigfoot roaming locally, large monsters of the Coosa River and UFOs. It is an adventure in itself, and The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings.

This week we’ll discuss sightings of Bigfoots

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Pious Bob - All in the Same Boat

We hear Mark quote Jesus in Chapter 4:35-41: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 

This story of Jesus causing the wind to cease and the sea to be calm while the disciples were fearful for their lives is a snapshot that lives in the photo albums of every generation. We are all challenged. It’s the same

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Craig Ford - Bentley got his tax increases but still closing parks and DMV offices

As if $86 million in new taxes and an $80 million raid on public education weren’t bad enough, Gov. Robert Bentley now has announced that he will close more than 30 drivers license offices, as well as some state parks and National Guard armories.

The governor has spent this entire year trying to convince legislators and the people of Alabama

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Pious Bob - Making Prayer a Partner

In 1-Thessalonians 5:12-28, we hear St. Paul say: “See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 

Paul reminds us

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Pious Bob - Magic or Faith

In John 4:46-54, we see how Jesus deals with someone who initially wants Him to perform magic. Someone who is not a believer: “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ The official said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my little boy dies.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden, Part 6

The Vagabond started a new series a few weeks back about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. 

Along with Altoona historian Ryan Cole, The Vagabond visited the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to perform mining and historical research at one of the school’s libraries.

Prior to that visit, however, and with Andrew

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Craig Ford - Paul Lee is the one who should be ashamed

It would be an understatement to say that this year has been an odd one for Alabama politics. But nothing surprised me more than when Rep. Paul Lee, a Republican from Dothan, came up to the microphone on the last night of the legislative session that ended last week and gave a speech during which he said that it

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Craig Ford - State Republicans still don’t solve the budget crisis

In a special legislative session where their options were to either raise taxes, cut services or raid education, the Republicans in the Alabama Legislature somehow managed to do all three and still not solve the long-term problems in the budget.

What is also very telling are the taxes they chose to raise. Every one of their tax increases is

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Pious Bob - A Two-Way Street

In 2nd Kings 2:1-18 we hear Elisha seek something special from Elijah: “When they had crossed [the Jordan], Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’” 

Have you ever known someone whose spirit impacted you the way

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden, Part 5

The Vagabond started a new series a few weeks ago about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started.

Along with Altoona historian Ryan Cole, The Vagabond recently visited the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to conduct research in the W.S. Hoole’s Special Collection Library. While on campus, we discovered a wealth of information

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Craig Ford - Ford introduces legislation to protect school chaplains

College football has finally started back, and it couldn’t have come soon enough! Football is a way of life here in Alabama. Only family and God are more important.

That’s why I was so troubled a few weeks ago when the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Auburn University asking them to “abolish the chaplaincy” in

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Pious Bob - Placing our confidence

In Colossians 2:8-23, we hear St. Paul say to us: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him,

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden Part 4

The Vagabond started a new series a few weeks ago about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There was some surprising history to be found.

As mentioned earlier, the early settlers knew the presence in the Gadsden area of iron ore. John S. Moragne, one of the first settlers, discovered in 1850

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Pious Bob - Understanding acceptance

There is a difference between falling in love with someone and loving the Lord. Falling in love is a wonderful experience, but God’s love is what we should fall for. We share that kind of love with all human beings. It’s hard work sometimes.  

In Deuteronomy 6:1-9 we hear Moses sharing: “You shall love the LORD your God

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden- Part 3

The Vagabond recently started a new series about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There is surprising history to be found.

As mentioned earlier in the series, the early settlers knew the presence of iron ore in the Gadsden district. John S. Moragne, one of the area’s first settlers, discovered the outcrops

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Craig Ford - Legislature shouldn't waste another chance to pass lottery

There aren’t a whole lot of good things anyone can say about what’s been going on in Montgomery lately. The legislature has failed to pass a budget - twice! Legislators return to Montgomery next week for a third legislative session to address the budget crisis, but there is still no agreement on any solution.

But despite all of this,

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The Vagabond - Early iron ore mines in Gadsden Part Two

The Vagabond started a new series last week about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There are some surprising histories to be found. Last week’s article was about the mine explosion near Tuscaloosa Avenue.

The region’s early settlers knew the presence of iron ore, coal and limestone in the Gadsden area. John

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Pious Bob - At Home with God

God wants us to connect with His eternal kingdom while we are still in the natural world. By sending us His Son Jesus the Christ He is making that connection for all people forevermore. It is hard for us to think eternally. 

In Revelations: 212:1-7 we hear in part; “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will

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Craig Ford -Time for state leaders to prove that life matters

Last week, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey wrote an article entitled “Life Matters” in response to the recent Planned Parenthood videos. Like Lt. Gov. Ivey, I am 100 percent pro-life, and was shocked by the videos that came out. Life does matter, and should be treated with dignity and respect at every stage, including before birth.

But Lt. Gov. Ivey’s

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Pious Bob - Preparing for His visitation

In the modern world we want to know if someone has tried to get in touch with us, or has left us a message. Technology has provided us with so many ways to communicate with each other. There is scarcely a place on the planet with which we cannot have some sort of communication.  We
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The Vagabond -Early iron ore mines of Gadsden - Part I


The Vagabond is starting a new series about the iron ore mines around the Gadsden area and how they got started. There are some surprising histories to be found.

1908 explosion

On Oct. 28, 1908 at 8:15 p.m., an explosion of 400 cases of dynamite was so terrific that almost every plate glass front in downtown Gadsden was broken. Twenty-four

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Craig Ford - A new school year is starting, but it should be starting later

Remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day? Over the last few weeks, students across Alabama have started a new school year right in the middle of August. Some have even been back for two or three weeks.

Instead of spending the last few weeks of August working summer jobs or on family vacations, teachers and students are

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Pious Bob - Pain and Seeking

In Acts 17:26-27 we hear, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one

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The Vagabond - Grover B “Billy” Bowers of the Gadsden Pilots

The Vagabond recently looked at two baseball bats and a vendor badge that were used in the Gadsden Pilots games and owned by Grover B “Billy” Bowers, a player for the Pilots. Grover’s son was given these items. They later were given to his best friend, Richard Short, who lived a few doors down. These items were recently donated

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Craig Ford - A path forward

It isn’t often that legislators in Montgomery are universally in agreement on anything. But this week it happened, twice.

First, legislators in the State House of Representatives agreed by a vote of 92-2 to kill the budget that had passed earlier in the year. Additionally, everyone agreed that this legislative session has been a complete failure and waste of

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Pious Bob - Seeking the Lord has no Barriers

You have probably seen TV commercials for a medicine or treatment that describe a product while showing people doing lots of neat things as if the medicine or treatment would turn their lives totally around. As the joy and wonder on their faces is being shown and the product is described, there is something else going on in the

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden 1836-1900 Part 5 - Final

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden” by Charles P. Smith, the mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906. Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and historically valuable essays,

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Craig Ford - Republican legislators need to stop blaming Democrats and start leading

The wheels have come off the bus in Montgomery. 

That’s the only way to describe what’s happening in our state legislature. Now more than ever is the time for legislators to reach across the aisle and work together to solve this budget crisis. But instead, Republican legislators are attempting to blame Democrats because they can’t pass their own tax

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Pious Bob - To Whom Can We Go?

We hear this story in John 6:60-71, “Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know

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Craig Ford - Robbing our children is not the answer

The crisis in the General Fund budget has dominated lawmakers’ focus this year, and for good reason. But one proposed solution continuing to come up would be devastating for Alabama.

State Sen. Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) has introduced a bill to combine the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets. In the past, I argued that all that would

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Pious Bob - Contemplating Our Lives

People tend to contemplate life as they live it from childhood to late life. A person’s particular take on life will guide them in how they see themselves in their life. There’s always a chance to change our direction in life, whether we seek guidance from God, a friend or take it on ourselves - or maybe

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: Part V: 1836-1900

Recently The Vagabond pulled up an article called “Early History of Northeast Alabama.” In it was a section called “A history of Gadsden” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906.

Charles P. Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences for the Gadsden Evening Journal. He wrote six extremely interesting

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Craig Ford - The “Element of Surprise” is Just Another Game

Two weeks ago, Gov. Bentley surprised everyone when he called the special legislative session. Legislators had expected the governor to wait until mid-August to call the session, but the governor said he wanted to use “the element of surprise” and take pressure off legislators over the gambling issue.

The people of Alabama expect their leaders to work together, and

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Pious Bob - Ships Passing in the Night Need Light

Isn’t it a pity that the relationships with others in the environments in which we live can be like ships passing in the night? We move past our fellow citizens without even noticing that they exist. Ministry to others is the furthest thing from our minds. We have our things to do and seek activity with our favorite groups

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Craig Ford - The smart way to spend the BP money

Alabama won a huge victory last week when the BP Oil settlement was announced. As a part of that settlement, the state will receive $2.3 billion dollars over the next 18 years, with a billion of those dollars being given to our state’s General Fund budget. That means legislators now have to determine what is the best use of

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: Part III: 1836-1900

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden ” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906. Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and historically

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Pious Bob - Branching Out from the Lord

In receiving Holy Communion, we connect with Christ Jesus through His Body and Blood. Another way of understanding this connection we make to Jesus is actually being part of His Body and Blood. A way we describe this is by understanding we are in the vineyard with Jesus. The gospel of John enlightens us with the description by Jesus.

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Craig Ford - You can’t fix something you don’t believe in

For months, we have been told that the state needs at least another $200 million to avoid catastrophe. We have been told that we are broke because the way we budget for our state government is broken.

Unfortunately, what we have been told is true: our government is broke, and it is broken. But you can’t fix something if

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Pious Bob - Forgiveness by the Grace of God

We live in a country that is managed by politicians and government. Fortunately, we are a democracy and not a dictatorship. We get to vote who goes into political office. While our democracy was founded by faith based leaders, we are not a theocracy. In our democracy, the Church and State are separate, but live together in some sort

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: 1836-1900 Part II

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden ” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906.

Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and historically

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Craig Ford - Time for a real solution to gambling question

Decisions made by the government and high-profile court rulings consumed the news last week. Most of the breaking news has centered on the U.S. Supreme Court decisions. But there is one court ruling that hasn’t gotten as much attention, and it’s just as important to the people of Alabama because it has such a huge impact on the future

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The Vagabond: A History of Gadsden: 1836-1900, Part II

The Vagabond recently pulled up an article from the Etowah Historical Society library called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which contained a section called “A History of Gadsden ” by Charles P. Smith, who was mayor of Gadsden in 1905-1906.

Smith was known as “The Hooter of Owls Hollow” who wrote his reminiscences. He wrote six extremely interesting and

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Pious Bob - The Importance of Dots

Imagine the World Globe with dots all over it. Using dots on the globe is a way learning institutions, governments and the media show us certain information about things that impact us. It’s a way of describing the places that certain things are happening. As I watched some dots on a television documentary the other day, I began to

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The Vagabond - A History of Gadsden: 1836-1900

The Vagabond recently pulled up some papers called “Early History of Northeast Alabama,” which included a section called “A History of Gadsden” by Charles P. Smith.

Smith was born in Sulphur Springs, Ga., on May 20, 1863. He attended schools in Sulphur Springs and Trenton and graduated from the Chattanooga High School at the age of 17. The next

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Craig Ford - Opposing gambling legislation protects gambling interests

Last week, Gov. Robert Bentley announced that he would not include any gambling proposals in the call for a special legislative session later this year. I believe Gov. Bentley is wrong to refuse to include gambling in the call for a special session, and I will introduce a gambling bill when the legislature returns to Montgomery.

There are only two

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Pious Bob - The Strength and Protection in Patience

In 1-Peter 2:1-10, Peter pulls the worldly rug out from under us in saying: “Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation--if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 

In one statement Peter

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Craig Ford -The Legislature’s Failures Keep On Coming

There have been a lot of things said about the state’s legislative session that just ended. But no one is calling it a success (at least not anyone who wants to maintain any credibility).

From the legislature’s failure to pass a General Fund budget, to the Republicans’ inability to agree among themselves on a solution to the budget crisis,

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The Vagabond - Labor Day tragedy in Alabama City

For many years, The Va-gabond had heard about a major local happening that many folks talked about for several years. Around 90 years ago, Sept. 6, of 1926 at 11 a.m., this event happened in Alabama City. It was a spectacular tragedy.

It so happened that there was a circus parade in town and lightning struck a high voltage

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Pious Bob - The Waiting Game

In Psalm 62, we are reminded of the waiting we must do in seeking God in our lives: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.” 

Are we willing to wait in silence for God? We are hyperactive and impatient when it comes to waiting on God. In our fast-pace world we need answers

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Craig Ford - Can the legislature solve the budget crisis?

It’s been a joke on the internet for who knows how long - somebody takes a picture of a stop sign missing a letter or the University of Minnesota’s logo painted on the 45-yard line instead of at midfield, and there’s a caption that reads, “You had one job to do.”

The Alabama Legislature also only has one job

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The Vagabond -The Smiths of Hokes Bluff - A rich local heritage continues

The Vagabond recently spoke with John Smith of Hokes Bluff. John works for Byers Engineering Company as a quality control inspector of telecommunications contractors who design jobs for AT&T. He had studied Environmental Science at Auburn University. John comes from great heritage going back to the Civil War. His great-great-great grandfather, Joshua T. Smith, was
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Pious Bob- Willing to accept His gift

Sometimes we need to get down to the bare bones of our professed religion. In James 1:17-18, 21-27, we are challenged: “If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows

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The Vagabond: Robert Cannon Garrett, escort of Emma Sansom

Last week The Vagabond talked about William Alfred Williams, who supposedly escorted Emma Sansom back to her house after showing General Forrest where the ford was at Black Creek in Gadsden. It has been debatable about whether this happened or not, and even has been questioned if Williams was part of Forrest’s unit. As far as The Vagabond can

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Craig Ford - Combining state’s budgets will only make crisis worse

It’s no secret that the state of Alabama is in a budget crisis. It’s a crisis that we’ve known for three years was coming, but our state leaders waited until the elections were over before they publicly acknowledged it or offered any solutions. There have been several solutions proposed, from more taxes to expanding gambling. However, the most recent

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Pious Bob- Striving to be Effective and Fruitful

There is much pressure on each one of us to be what the world wants us to be. It is so easy to cave in to the world and miss being who we really are. Seeking who we really are is not an easy task for us. We need to rely on the Word of God in the Bible

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What would Jesus do? - Craig Ford

We are often reminded that this nation was founded on Christian principles, and certainly a majority of the representatives in the Alabama legislature are Christians. 

So when the General Fund budget, which finances all government services and agencies outside of education, came up for a vote last week, I couldn’t help but think about that popular phrase from the

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The Vagabond- Sergeant William Alfred Williams Escort of Emma Sansom

The Etowah Historical Society is conducting valuable research work in connection with local history and persons who helped make it, and already the research has brought to light some interesting things that otherwise been forgotten.

The society recently learned something of the history of the young Confederate Army sergeant who was detailed by General Nathan Bedford Forrest to give

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Pious Bob- Understanding His Promise of Closeness

Many have asked the question, ‘Why does God let bad things happen to good people.” Our life on earth is by its nature sometimes pretty dangerous. Just leaving the house and driving to work or shopping can be dangerous as we operate our vehicles in wild and crazy traffic. 

The many illnesses and diseases that we can experience in

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The Vagabond- How did Etowah County get named? And why its first name HAD to be changed

Why did our early fathers decided to create a new county from several others? Why was the area later name Etowah, and what most important thing affected them to call it by that name? 

The Vagabond doubts one can easily find the answer under Internet sear-ches, as it took several years to come up with the answers. The Vagabond

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Who’s leading the Alabama House of Representatives?

Every organization needs leaders. An army needs a general. A team needs a coach. A company needs a president or CEO.

The Alabama House of Representatives also needs leadership, especially when we are facing a crisis like the one we are facing now. But over the last few weeks, it has become obvious that the wheels are coming off

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Preparing for the Kingdom

  Are we prepared to surrender things in our lives in order to obtain a relationship with Christ? It is our path in seeking a relationship that will guide us and support us going forward as we strive to do the Lord’s work in this world. In this we become a part of Christ and reflect His every call.  

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Republicans are trading in job slogans for taxes

  After five years of passing millions of dollars in tax cuts for big businesses and billion-dollar, out-of-state corporations that, in some cases, pay zero state income taxes, Republicans in the state House of Representatives are about to raise taxes on working men and women.

Only six months after campaigning on a pledge to create more jobs and never raise

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Hunting for gold in Southside in the 1890’s

  There have been many efforts to mine gold in Eto-wah and adjoining counties, mostly with small profit, although in some instances a few nuggets of real gold were found.  There have been several stories about Indians pointing out where gold could be found and about the various kinds of mining carried on by white men who believed the Indian

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State legislature thinks brown shrimp are more important than people

 When I first saw the list of bills we would be debating in the state House of Representatives, I thought it was a joke. The first bill up for debate was a bill to make brown shrimp the official state crustacean.

This is your state legislature’s priorities, folks. Not peoples’ lives or jobs, and certainly not being responsible

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Is Seeing Really Believing?

 In this, our natural life, we have difficulty believing that God is really at our side delivering His Grace. If we don’t receive a concrete sign that God is working in our lives, we don’t always trust in Him.

We hear in John 4:46-54 in part: “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you

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Robert L. Adams Sr.: Early Telephone Pioneer in Gadsden

 Last week The Vagabond talked about R.A. Mitchell and Robert L. Adams Sr., who were involved in Gadsden’s first car accident on Lookout Mountain.

This week there’s more on Robert Adams, who was a son of a pioneer Alabama family and one of the early developers of the state’s telephone service. He lived to be 87 and was

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Maybe Democrats won the 2014 elections after all

  Late Saturday night, Inside Alabama Politics reported that Republicans in the Alabama Legislature will introduce their own gambling bill this week, which will include a lottery and authorization for a possible compact with the Poarch Creek Indians.

On the one hand, I’m glad to see Republicans embracing the Democratic Party’s legislative agenda. A lottery has been a part of

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Christian Community

There are times in our lives when we can experience God’s “unconditional love.” There are times when all the resistance created by social and economic pressures is swept away. And there are times when hatred, jealousy, anger ambition, judgment, fear and insecurity are leveled.

The December, 1988, evening of the memorial service for my mother and the days before

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First automobile accident in Gadsden

  The first automobile accident in Gadsden was believed to have been around August of 1903. The mishap was nearly fatal for R.L. Adams and R.A. Mitchell, two of the most prominent men of the city.

A resident of Atlanta, Adams came here to become manager of the joint offices of the Western Union Telegraph Company and the Southern Bell

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