Thumbs down to Silver Airways for getting off to a shaky start in the Shoals. Officials of Northwest Alabama Regional Airport said the airline has been plagued by cancellations and late departures since beginning service to Atlanta in October. Another problem, according to Airport Director Barry Griffith, is the price of tickets. He said 70 percent of the flights cost $100 or more above flights out of surrounding airports. The problems are having a negative effect, with boardings in January at 141 compared to 617 for the same month in 2012. The airline and local airport officials need to solve these problems quickly, and find a way to assure public confidence in the service.
Thumbs up to city officials in Florence for pursuing funds to build a new corridor on College Street through west Florence to connect downtown with Alabama 20. If the plan comes to fruition in the coming years, it will mean a five-lane street with a four-lane bridge across Cypress Creek. It will connect with Alabama 20 at Gunwaleford Road near the sportsplex and include a pedestrian/bicycle greenway. The plan will offer a more direct route between Alabama 20 and Florence Boulevard, possibly spur development and reduce traffic at the foot of O’Neal Bridge.
Thumbs down to an excavation worker who accidentally cut a fiber optic cable Wednesday, knocking out communications for many Shoals residents and businesses. The utility contractor was working between Huntsville and Athens when he bored through the cable, according to AT&T spokeswoman Sue Sperry. People across north Alabama got a reminder of how much they depend on telephone, Internet and email access. It is also an expensive reminder to verify what lies below before digging.
Thumbs up to U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, Lauderdale County and the city of Florence for working together to open a new congressional office for the Shoals. It is a long way to Huntsville, where the 5th District Republican calls home, and even longer to Washington, D.C., where he represents parts of north Alabama. So it is good to have a local office to represent the needs of Lauderdale County. The office is in the Florence Lauderdale government building on Court Street.