State leaders in Montgomery have become Robin Hoods - just not the kind that everyone remembers hearing about as a child. Instead of taking from the rich to help the poor, we’ve started taking from the poor to give to criminals. Alabama’s leadership has become nothing more than Robin Hood in reverse.
State leaders needs to refocus. Trying to
Gadsden has had a few booms that helped to build the city to its present prosperous stage, although some of them appeared to have caused some damage when they collapsed.
When the town was laid off into city lots, there was a boom in real estate, which was rather interesting, at least.
One year after the first steamboat on
St. Paul gave us some good advice in his letter to the Corinthians. He helps us today in removing the stumbling blocks in our seeking the Lord: “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters. In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.” (1 Corinthians 7:10-24 NRSV).
“Another session has come and gone without a vote on a state lottery. The legislature passed a teacher pay raise, only to have that raise taken away when the state’s PEEHIP Board hiked up their insurance rates. And we couldn’t find the money to fund Medicaid, but the governor did everything he could to put the taxpayers in an
St. Paul fires out at us over the law of his time versus the relief Christ gives us in His suffering for us in saying:
“For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book
Back in February of 1868, Gadsden suffered its most disastrous fire up at that time when what was called the Masonic Lodge block was entirely destroyed, along with some of the main stores of the little town. The Masonic Lodge Block was on Broad Street between Third and Fifth streets.
The blaze was discovered at 12
This week, the state House of Representatives will be taking up the massive prison bond legislation that Gov. Robert Bentley and state leaders have made the centerpiece of their legislative agenda.
There’s no doubt that our prison system has serious problems and, in cases like Tutwiler women’s prison, some are so old and in such bad shape that they
One of the funniest things to happen in Gadsden during the so-called “Gay Nineties” (1890’s) was the purchase of a “dead man” by four of the leading farmers of Etowah County.
The local farmers were taken in by one of the slickest swindles of the day, but could not do anything but grin and bear it.
Right in the
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the anchor of our Christianity. Jesus wanted to be sure that His resurrection was real and not a hoax, so he planted some seeds. He did this after His human death: “But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my
I’m not a lawyer, but I believe it’s important for those of us calling for the governor’s impeachment to make our case to the public and the state legislature.
The first point being that the governor doesn’t have to break the law to be impeached. Impeachment is about whether he is fit to continue in office, regardless of whether
David moved from doing things his way to doing things God’s way. He says in Psalm 5: “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover them with
It is very unlikely that few if any Gadsden residents can locate where the smallest brick business house on Broad Street or, for that matter the smallest building in the city was located.
Yet, it is right in the center of the downtown district.
The building was a one-story structure wedged in by what is today’s Gadsden Museum of Arts,
Being in leadership comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is the image of the place you represent. Gov. Robert Bentley and our state leaders are the image of Alabama. Now, thanks to them, we have a serious image problem.
In government, we have Democrats and Republicans. There are partisan issues, and that’s a good thing.
This has been a disheartening week for the State of Alabama. The news of Gov. Robert Bentley’s relationship with Rebekah Caldwell Mason has embarrassed our state on a national level and become a distraction for the state legislature at a time when legislators need to be focused on solving the state’s problems.
Nobody rejoices in seeing another person’s downfall,
When there was much discussion of hydroelectric power over the country in the 1900’s, Gadsden was talking about the Coosa River as a potential asset in that direction, but there were other plans before the public.
In this area there was much talk of harnessing Noccalula Falls for power, first by the old water wheel method and later by
St. Paul speaks to the Thessalonians about crediting God for His Words: “We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s Word, which is also at work in you believers.” (1 Thessalonians
Since Gov. Robert Bentley’s relationship with Rebekah Mason became public last week, there have been calls for him to resign. Those calls have not come just because of his relationship with Rebekah Mason. Gov. Bentley isn’t the first person in Montgomery to do what he did and probably won’t be the last.
The reason Gov. Bentley should resign is
The world is full of leaders in all aspects of life. In reading the Gospel according to Matthew, we hear just what our Lord’s explanation of leadership is: “...but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came
The Emma Sansom statue on Broad Street in Gadsden was dedicated back in 2007, and many locals celebrated the unveiling.
This week The Vagabond once again has his nose stuck in the old history book. Sometime way back, Patsy Hanvey of Turkeytown and the late Hazel Oliver bought the dedication to my attention.
On July 4, 1907, a local
The Ringling Brothers Circus made its first appearance in Gadsden on Nov. 8, 1899. The show had been in Birmingham and Anniston and left to Chattanooga and Huntsville. Everybody had heard of the great organization that was a rival of the Barnum & Bailey show, and equally as large and imposing.
Ringling Brothers Circus was founded in the United
Paul’s teaching time with the Corinthians using their own words: “’All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are beneficial.’All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
Paul quotes what some Corinthians had said, that “All things are lawful for me,” and warns them of the danger of
Alabama’s state employees are the unsung heroes who keep our state running. But they also have been neglected and left out for far too long. If Gov. Robert Bentley can find a way to give his cabinet and staff members 80 percent pay raises, surely we can find a way to give our state employees four percent!
St. Paul reminds us concerning the origin of the word: “We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:9-13,17-20).
Last week The Vagabond met a young lady from Huntsville, Sarah Belanger, who is writing a book about Prohibition in Northeast Alabama. The Vagabond in the past wrote about the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the little fountain that was built at the corner of Broad and First streets in front of Gadsden City Hall. There were
Did you know that seven out of 10 children under the age of 17 are exposed to advertisements for e-cigarettes?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014 more than 18 million middle and high school aged children in the United States were exposed to ads for e-cigarettes. Experts expect the e-cigarette industry to grow to $50
The Vagabond - The story of Ernest Tubb’s first Texas Troubadours From Gadsden to Nashville, Part II
Charles Reese recently spoke to the Etowah Historical Society about his father, Vernon “Toby” Reese, a famous country star from Gadsden. Charles discussed many things about his father and shared some of the photos of him. Charles wrote a book about his father and donated one to the historical society’s library. Last week we shared some of what he
In Paul’s letter to the Romans we hear: “For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:15b-19).
The bad news is that Adam ate the forbidden fruit. The good news is that Christ has brought abundant consumable fruit. A number of
This week, voters across Alabama went to the polls to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. In November, we will do it all over again.
More than three million people are registered to vote in Alabama, and in the last presidential election, 73 percent of those people actually turned out to vote. This November, turnout could be
In the Gospel of Mark, we hear a man say something that many have a hard time saying today: “Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:33-39).
On our last day will it be said of us that, “Truly this
There is no better form of government than democracy. Our founding fathers gave their lives just so we could have the right to vote and the right to govern ourselves.
Democracy is fundamental to being an American. We all have the right to be heard in our government. And when it comes to the state of Alabama, it’s time
Last week the Vagabond discussed the early streetcars in the Gadsden area, the first ones being drawn by horse and later ones by steam locomotion dummies. We continue this week to the electrified streetcars. The story continues...
As stipulated, Captain Elliott had agreed to extend a line to Noccalula Falls on Lookout Mountain. In 1891, the Hollingsworth estate granted
This portion of Psalm 91 meant much to me as I faced a hurdle in life: “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12).
This psalm impacted me in a time
When U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt spoke to the local Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday (Feb. 17), he had a lot of explaining to do.
To start with, he should explain why anyone who wanted to hear his/her congressman speak had to pay $25 per person. We elected him; we shouldn’t have to pay just to have the opportunity to
Although a precise detailed history cannot be written about Gadsden’s street railway and steam dummy systems, the following tentative history has been pieced together.
Sometime during 1886, Col. R.B. Kyle and Herman Herzberg and their associates petitioned the Gadsden City Council to grant the Gadsden Land & Improvement Company a franchise to build a horse car street railroad in the
We hear in Psalm 50 how thanking the Lord and living right is all He wants: “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!...Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me; to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50)
Everything that we do should
There’s a fine line between standing up for your principles and political extremism. These days, unfortunately, political extremism seems to be the standard. There’s no clearer example of this than the reaction Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) to House Democrats’ legislative agenda last week.
House Democrats’ agenda includes a lottery, an educator pay raise, warning labels on e-cigarettes
The story of the naming of Attalla is often incorrect, and The Vagabond would like to tell the factual history on how Attalla was named and how the city was connected with the early railroad that went from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Meridian, Miss.
We continue the story…
An early employee of the railroad remembers that the
We hear in the Gospel of Matthew: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven...” (Matthew 5:43-48).
If anyone needs praying for, your enemies do. If we were in a right relationship with God, would we pray for harm to come
During his State of the State Address Tuesday night, Gov. Robert Bentley laid out his four-year plan, which included spending up to $800 million to build four new super prisons. The next day, the governor announced that he wants to transfer $181 million out of the education budget and put it in the general fund budget, which also pays
In 1 John we venture into our true relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: “For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers
There’s no doubt that momentum for the lottery is building in Alabama. A public opinion poll, paid for by the House and Senate Republican Caucuses, found that 62 percent of likely Republican Primary voters support the lottery, and 59 percent even support expanding gambling in Alabama.
These strong numbers show why two Republican state legislators, Rep. Alan Harper and
This past week The Vagabond was on Lookout Mountain and recalled the old hotel that once stood overlooking the mountain.
There are a few of the old families who children remember their parent talking about the Mineral Springs Hotel. Many people who settled in this portion of Northeast Alabama in the early 1900’s recall that about the time the
In the Acts of the Apostles we hear Jesus telling Paul: “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you...” (Acts 18:1-11).
Paul was opposed and reviled in the synagogue in Corinth. He then went out to proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles in the surrounding area. The Lord spoke to Paul in
When the state legislature returns to Montgomery in two weeks, one of the top issues will be a cost-of-living pay raise for educators. Both parties agree that the money is there, and now is the time. But there are some major differences between what both parties are proposing.
House Democrats will propose a five-percent pay raise for all teachers,
Have you ever wonder about the little marble water fountain on Broad Street near the Emma Sansom statue and in front of Gadsden City Hall?
Recently on the Welcome to Gadsden Facebook page, a photo was shown of the old fountain and folks were asking about it. The Vagabond did research and found that the fountain had a very
As droves of Alabamians recently flooded into Tennessee, Georgia and Florida for a chance to win the $1.6 billion Powerball, it’s obvious the people of Alabama want to play the lottery.
People in 44 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands are all allowed to purchase lottery tickets. Alabama is one of just six
The Bible seems to connect with everything in life. In Leviticus we hear: “You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:14).
A week and a half ago my cochlear implant was activated. While my hearing ability has been deteriorating for several years
Former Gadsden-Etowah Tourism Board executive director Albert Lloyd Wagnon recently passed away. The Vagabond knew Lloyd for many years and often stopped by to see him at the tourism office. Lloyd was an inspiration to many as he was to The Vagabond. In his recent book Vapor Trails, he mentioned the Etowah Historical Society and what folks need to
New Years is a time of reflection and resolutions, a time for changes and fixing mistakes. With the state’s next legislative session beginning in less than a month, there’s a resolution I would like our state leaders to make: fix the problems with the Accountability Act.
The Accountability Act was sold to us as a way to give children
In the Acts of the Apostles we hear St. Paul speak to the Ephesian Elders: “But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace...remembering the words of the Lord Jesus,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 -
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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