Considering their options

Last week, we reported that the professional services firm Volkert presented five options for overpasses spanning the Norfolk Southern Railway tracks that pass through Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals during a stakeholders meeting.

As anyone who has been stuck at a railroad crossing in Sheffield for long periods of time knows, this has been an issue that has been discussed and debated for decades.

Officials expressed their favorite options, but ultimately decided that they needed to see more details before making a final decision.

“We want the best one,” we quoted Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry Underwood as saying in our story. “We want to be sure the money is there before making a commitment. It’s something that’s needed.”

Jesse Turner, the transportation planning director for the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments, said a public meeting is being planned for late July, but an online option is also being worked on that would allow people to view the options and submit a comment form.

We’re glad to see officials taking a look at this issue that has become a thorn in the side of many in the Shoals. We’re also glad to see that officials are working to make sure they choose the plan that offers the best value for the area.

Fiscal boon for AMHOF

The Alabama Music Hall of Fame board got some good news last week.

First, we reported that the 2020 awards and honors banquet earned a $66,000 profit for the hall. The banquet was held Jan. 25.

While the revenue was down a bit from some of the previous years, such as the $81,000 from 2018, it’s still a good chunk of change for the venue.

Also last week, the hall announced that it had received a $67,000 bequest from the estate of Eddie Hinton’s late mother, Laura Deane Perkins.

“She left it to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in honor of her son, Eddie Hinton,” we quoted board member Judy Hood as saying in our story.

Hinton was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2018.

He arrived in the Shoals in the mid-1960s and was considered by many in the music community to be the next big thing. He became good friends and writing partners with the late Shoals songwriter Donnie Fritts.

Together they wrote the hit “Breakfast in Bed,” which was recorded by Dusty Springfield and the British band UB40.

Hinton also wrote songs for Percy Sledge and Bobby Womack.

“We are beyond grateful for Perkins’ generosity,” we quoted Hood as saying. “We hope others will follow her example and consider the hall of fame in their estate planning.”

Getting better all the time

Last week, we reported that Alabama’s unemployment rate was 9.9% for the month of May, down from April’s 13.8%. In the Shoals, the unemployment rate dropped from 15.3% in April to 10.3% in May.

While this is a far cry from what it was before the pandemic, it’s still a good sign.

“I think you’ll probably see that it’s going to continue to step back down,” we quoted Kevin Jackson, president of the Shoals Economic Development Authority, as saying in our story.

Jackson said the Shoals has a diverse economy that is the type that is needed to bounce back.

“We have some strong companies in this area and they were able to weather this thing, and that’s just a testament to the people in the Shoals,” he said.

And that’s just good news.

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