The Wire

  • Treasure hunters and FBI search for lost Civil War gold in Pennsylvania — NBC Nightly News

    A story that $55 million in Union gold was lost during the Civil War has long been dismissed as a myth — but this week, a team of FBI agents joined the search in rural Pennsylvania.

  • New law can send Alabama owners of vicious dogs to prison —


    In addition to new penalties for owners of dogs that cause injuries, the law sets up a process for people to file a sworn statement that a dog is dangerous, prompting an investigation by an animal control or law enforcement officer. If the investigator finds that the dog is dangerous, the dog will be impounded pending a decision by a municipal or district court.

    If a court determines that a dog is dangerous and has seriously injured or killed a person, the dog will be euthanized. If a court determines that a dog that has not seriously injured a person but is still dangerous, the court could order the dog to be euthanized or to be returned to its owner under strict conditions, including that the dog is microchipped, spayed or neutered and that the owner pay a $100 annual fee, post a $100,000 surety bond and keep the dog in a secure enclosure.

    If a dog that has been previously declared dangerous kills or seriously injures a person, the owner could be charged with a Class B felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison. If a dog that has not been previously declared dangerous kills or seriously injures a person, and the owner knew the dog had a propensity to be dangerous and recklessly disregarded that, the owner could be charged with a Class C felony, punishable by 1 to 10 years.

  • Decatur man pleads guilty to kidnapping and child sex-trafficking charges — Justice Dept.

    A Decatur man pleaded guilty today in federal court to kidnapping and child sex-trafficking charges as part of a detailed plan to hire someone to kidnap a woman and her 14-year-old daughter, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.

    BRIAN DAVID “Blaze” BOERSMA, 48, entered his guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor to attempted kidnapping of a minor, attempted kidnapping, attempted sex trafficking of a child, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime. A sentencing date has not been set.

    Boersma worked at the Alabama Farmers’ Cooperative in Decatur shuttling trailers from the storage yard to the warehouse where they would be loaded with merchandise for shipment to other locations. His plea agreement with the government lays out his efforts in the fall of 2017 to encourage a co-worker at the co-op to find someone willing to kidnap a woman and her daughter for payment. Boersma, in installments, gave the co-worker $3,440 to hold for a kidnapping payment. The co-worker alerted the FBI to Boersma’s plan in mid-September and the bureau sent two undercover employees to pose as willing kidnappers.


6 months ago

BREAKING: President Trump Coming To Alabama In Support of Luther Strange

Donald J. Trump waves to a crowd of tens of thousands in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo: Julie Dermansky)

Earlier today President Trump announced that he will be in Huntsville next Saturday in a show of support for Sen. Luther Strange’s Senatorial campaign.

Sen. Strange and Roy Moore are currently caught up in a highly contested election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat. After President Trump was elected, he announced that Sessions would lead the Justice Department, leaving his Senate seat vacant. Shortly after, Strange was appointed to fill the seat until an election could be held.

During the primary election earlier this summer, President Trump publicly endorsed Strange. Now that Strange and Moore have entered the runoff, the President has made clear that he is wholeheartedly supporting “Big Luther.”

In his tweet from today, President Trump said, “I will be in Huntsville, Alabama, on Saturday night to support Luther Strange for Senate. “Big Luther” is a great guy who gets things done!”

Speaking to his enthusiasm for President Trump’s unwavering support, Sen. Strange said,  “I am proud to have President Trump’s endorsement in this race and I am looking forward to his trip to Alabama. It is an honor to work hard beside him to deliver upon his promises to the American people, like achieving tax relief for hard working Americans and building the wall on our southern border.”

6 months ago

Petitioners Want To Change Name of Alabama High School Named In Honor of Civil War General

Photo: Huntsville City Schools Facebook

As reported by WHNT News, Lee High School in Huntsville is now the target of a group wishing to erase the memory of a war that took place over 150 years ago.

RELATED:  Charles Barkley Says Confederate Debate Is Waste of Time

The group behind the proposed name change has registered their petition with the website, They’re advising that the school, which is currently named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, change its name to Paulette R. Turner High School in memory of the first African American student to integrate there.

The school’s mascot, a general, is also under fire from the group. Along with name change, the petitioners also hope to see the official mascot changed to the Trailblazers, in honor of Paulette R. Tuner.

Currently, the petition has 1,277 supporters, out of a goal of 1,500. If the group  achieves their goal, they plan to present the petition the Huntsville City School Board and to the Huntsville Mayor, Tommy Battle.

6 months ago

No Vacancy: Alabama Hotels Going Fast In Wake of Mass Exodus from Florida

As reported by WHNT News, while the worst of Irma is expected to hit southern Florida, it might follow evacuees to already crowded Alabama hotels.

Currently, almost all South Alabama hotel rooms are full of evacuees from Texas, Florida, and Georgia. And now northern Alabama establishments are selling out at a dizzying rate.

The Homewood Suites in Huntsville reports that from the time Florida was placed under a State of Emergency, their phones have been ringing off the hook with people looking for shelter. “We’ve had several people wanting rooms with two beds, we’re already out of those,” said Vickie Thrower, General Manager at Huntsville’s Homewood Suites. “We’ve had several calls from people stuck in traffic, and anticipated getting here around 6 and 7 p.m.; now they’re not getting here until 10 and 11 p.m.”

To make matters worse, some weather experts have placed the northern portion of Alabama in the direct path of Hurricane Irma sometime Tuesday morning, according to some models. While the storm will have obviously lost strength at that point, it still has the potential to drop a considerable amount of rain that comes with high winds. That leaves a path of storm damage running from Miami to Huntsville.

Adjacent state evacuees and Alabama storm preparations could cause a myriad of problems for the Yellowhammer state. Most hotel rooms are sold out, flooding is a possibility, and gas supplies could become depleted.

We will know more as the weekend progresses, but folks should prepare for all possibilities.

To stay up-to-date on all Irma related issues, follow us on our Facebook page.

7 months ago

New Space Complex Coming to Decatur

Photo: Dynetics Facebook

As reported by WHNT News, yesterday marked the beginning of a new $21 million aerospace complex in Decatur.

The new complex will be composed of three buildings—each constructed with the capability to test the structural viability of large space structures. This includes NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) program and commercial clients.

Congressman Mo Brooks, who attended the event said, “I had been saddened by America’s loss of human space launch capability and NASA astronauts being reduced to having to thumb a ride with the Russians to get to the space station. But today, I am heartened to know the Tennessee Valley is once again playing a major role to launch American astronauts to space on American-made rockets.”

CEO of Dynetics, David King, has been a long time proponent of increased space technology across the Tennessee Valley. And he once worked at Marshall Space Flight Center. He added, “We’re very excited about this capability to build these large aerospace structures here in Decatur-Morgan County.”

Beyond the obvious economic impact of the project, it a major piece in Alabama’s ever growing space industry. From Huntsville to the new complex in Decatur, the Yellowhammer state is hurtling forward in the industry.

There are 25 immediate jobs, and when the complex opens in late 2018, residents of Decatur should expect to see a flurry of opportunities follow.

Touching on the impact he hopes the aerospace will have on the city, Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling said, “We have over 14,000 residents that travel daily east of here to go to work, it’s time we’re able to help those residents stay here in Decatur and work.”


7 months ago

Huntsville Takes Major Step To Be The Landing Ground For New Generation Spacecraft

Photo: Sierra Nevada Corporation Facebook

The Huntsville International Airport recently applied for a FAA license to land Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser spacecraft.

Unlike NASA’s orbiter fleet that is now retired, Dream Chaser is based on a aerodynamic design that allows the entire aircraft to act as the wing. It has small winglets that allow it to have directional stability, but its major advantage is the higher lift-to-drag ratio. This gives it a variety of landing zones previously inaccessible to NASA’s old shuttle program.

As reported by WHNT News, this is the second phase in the quest to bring the spacecraft to Alabama. In the first phase, the runway and taxiway environments of Huntsville’s airport had to be tested against the capabilities of Dream Chaser.

Now that the city is moving into the second phase, Huntsville International Airport Executive Director Rick Tucker said,

“The preliminary study proved the feasibility of landing so now we are pleased to announce that we have initiated the permitting process with the FAA. This is much more than an economic development project that will bring additional business to the airport and the community. This represents a shared vision of Huntsville as a leader in the commercial space economy as the first community to make a commitment to this vehicle and its role in space commerce.”

The FAA permitting process is expected to take up to 24 months. However, Huntsville is the first international airport to take part in the process.

In a statement by SNC’s Vice President of Business Relations, John Roth said,

“We are very excited to be working with Huntsville as the first commercial airport that will apply for a FAA permit to land Dream Chaser after an orbital mission. We feel that the ability to land a space mission on a commercial runway anywhere in the world is a big advantage of our vehicle and will bring space up close and personal to thousands of people who can come out and see the landings.”

Departing from the way space exploration was conducted in the past, there is an increasing interest in the private sector. Companies like Space X are now developing technology that they hope will make space travel accessible to the general public in the coming years.

With Huntsville being an epicenter for space and rocket development, winning a contract with Dream Chaser would bring national attention to the state.

7 months ago

Huntsville Provides Free Internet To School Families

Photo: Huntsville City Schools Facebook

As reported by WHNT News, Huntsville was chosen to be the recipient of a 1.2 million dollar grant aimed at eliminating the technology gap facing our society. So now the school system is offering free T-Mobile hot spots to families with students in grades 3-12.

The project has been online for two weeks, and now half the hot spots are providing families with 24/7 Wifi.

According to a spokesperson from the city school system, Huntsville was able to purchase over 6,000 hot spots with the grant.

Keith Ward, with Huntsville City Schools, said,

“You can go to our home page, there’s a banner there that has the T-Mobile EmpowerEd on it. You can click on that and find out more about it; there’s actually a link to an application. . . We have laptops that are issued in grades 3-12 for students, and the resources are placed on there, but to be able to take full advantage and to get all of the things that you want to take advantage of, having the internet is key.”

According to Ward, if you can get free lunch then you’ll qualify for the program.

7 months ago

Huntsville Rocket Center Receives $10 Million Grant

Rocket Park in Huntsville (photo courtesy of the Marshall Space Flight Center)

In a recent visit from Gov. Kay Ivey, Huntsville received some welcome news. As reported by WHNT News, Gov. Ivey awarded a $10 million economic development grant aimed at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC).

Part of the grant will fund the construction of a cyber camp for Alabama students. A place where they can go to become inspired about the future of technology and exploration.

In a statement from the USSRC, they said, “U.S. Cyber Camp will target Alabama’s awareness of careers and degrees in cybersecurity, and as an extension of the Space Camp model, build leadership and team building skills, and increase students’ confidence and performance in math and science.”

While the final details of the building have not been worked out yet, it is clear that the new building will connect the museum and Davidson Center. And it might even be big enough to hold a Saturn V rocket.

In her remarks about the new grant, Gov. Ivey said,“Today is a great day for Huntsville, North Alabama, and indeed the great state of Alabama,” said Ivey. “In order to have a workforce that is prepared for the 21st century and can field jobs for the 21st century, we must train our students in technology.”

A curriculum is now being developed, with hopes that they can get the school underway as soon as possible.

CEA Deborah Barnhart emphasized the need for the Rocket Center. Not resting on our laurels, she insists we must continue to innovate. And in a statement to reporters, she said, “In order to meet the growing demand and expand our mission to inspire the next generation of explorers and leaders, the Rocket Center must grow,” She said“We need more classrooms, more simulation space, more space to showcase the life-changing progress of NASA, TVA, the Army, the MDA, the FBI, and all of our Team Redstone partners. And we need room for US Cyber Camp.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle is extremely pleased with the progress being made in his city, noting that it will be known for “cyber.”

This is just one in a string of development programs going on throughout the state.

7 months ago

Madison County Elementary Becomes Home of HEALS Clinic

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the new clinic

The days of missing school to go to the doctor are over at Madison County Elementary. After years of hard work, the Gurley Community in Madison County have made a dream a reality by breaking ground on their new HEALS clinic.

As reported by WHNT News, HEALS is a non profit organization based out of Huntsville that provides medical care to children while they are at school. The goal is to give assistance to families who would normally struggle to provide health care for their kids. The building will be located at Madison County Elementary, but it will also serve school kids thought out the county.

Most patients there are on public insurance or no insurance at all, making it very challenging to get the care they need. Touching on the problems facing Madison County kids Executive Director of Heals Inc. Teek Patnaik said,

“They have the obstacle of having to cross the mountain to get to a lot of resources. And a lot of the resources that they do have are in neighboring municipalities, and the kids here don’t have access to it.”

One of the best features of this new clinic is the on site medical care that students will receive. And Patnaik said,

“The parents can drop their kids off at school and by the time they pick them up their child has had their medical check up, and the things that they need to be successful in that classroom. . . We want our kids in our classroom learning, and so this partnership is just going to help the whole student. Not just for health and dental, but also in the classroom as they excel academically. “


Heals has medical offices at several site’s throughout Northern Alabama. And there are three locations in Huntsville alone. To learn more about what HEALS is doing to help Alabama students check out their website.

7 months ago

Phil Williams Announces Candidacy for State Senate

State Rep. Phil Williams (R-Huntsville) fills in as Acting Speaker of the House during the 2014 Legislative Session (Photo: Facebook)

Local businessman and entrepreneur, Phil Williams, has announced that he is running for Alabama State Senate District 2. The district encompasses much of the Huntsville Metro Area, including Redstone Arsenal. Bill Holtzclaw, the district’s current senator, will not seek reelection. Williams, a Republican, currently represents District 6 in the Alabama Legislature.

Williams was raised on a small farm in rural Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama at Huntsville with a degree in international business. Throughout his career, he has been involved with the development of several small businesses, specifically with technology start-up companies. Williams co-founded 3D Research Corporation in 2002 with his wife Lisa, and the two quickly built it into one of the fastest growing companies in both 2004 and 2005.

Williams began his political career in 2009, when he entered the special election for the Alabama Legislature and won a highly competitive election. According to a news release from his campaign, Williams has had quite a track record in Montgomery. He has opposed efforts to raise taxes on small businesses, fought to increase funding for education, and worked to pass the Alabama Ahead Act. He was reelected in 2010 and 2014 with no opposition from either political party.

“In the State Senate I will continue to fight against the business as usual mentality that typically results in higher taxes for us.  Alabama deserves leaders that work to solve the problems facing our families and our state – not those that go to Montgomery to play political games. If we are going to move forward we must have fundamental change in how we approach education, funding for roads and reforming our government”

Williams’s platform focuses on the three E’s that he believes should be at the forefront of any Alabama political discussion: Education, Economy, and Ethics. Williams promises to fight to keep the schools in North Alabama the best in the state. “The education of our children must be our main objective if we are going to prepare our students for the jobs of the future.” He also pledges to fight to keep North Alabama growing economically. “I will continually look for ways to support our local business community that drives our economy.” Finally, Williams hopes to rid Montgomery of the stigma that has surrounded state politicians over the past few years. “Everybody knows how ugly Montgomery can be and I will continue to be very outspoken in challenging elected officials to maintain the highest ethical conduct.”

Williams and his wife Lisa have been married for 21 years and have one son. He likes to spend his time mentoring small businesses in the Huntsville area. The Republican primary will be held June 5, 2018.

7 months ago

Huntsville Provides Free Eclipse Glasses

Photo: NASA Facebook

As reported by WAFF News, the Huntsville International Airport will be providing 5,000 free eclipse glasses to help protect those watching the solar event.

As many of you know, parts of the U.S. will experience a full solar eclipse August 21st. While the darkest path of the event will pass just north of Alabama, many can still witness a partial eclipse in the northern parts of the state. Specifically, east of Huntsville is predicted to be the most impressive location to watch from.

Given the rarity at which the sun and the moon enter alignment, NASA is warning the public about the dangers posed from witnessing the eclipse without the appropriate eyewear. They say that if you look directly at the sun during any phase of alignment, you can still cause lasting damage to your eyes.

The glasses the public is advised to wear have been developed by NASA. To make sure your pair is authentic be sure to check the manufacturer’s name and certification number on the side. Each pair should have an international standard number “ISO 12312-2” printed on them.

To pick up your pair of glasses go to Parkway Place Mall in Huntsville. Each pair is free, however, there is a limit of one pair per person.

7 months ago

New ICBM Being Developed in Alabama Will Bolster U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder

In the face of increasing provocations from an out-of-control North Korea, last week we reported about the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (MM3) that are currently being used by the U.S. Air Force. These missiles, developed predominantly by Boeing in Huntsville, are crucial in deterring the current nuclear threats being made by North Korea.

However, the U.S. Air Force has solicited a brand new ICBM that would greatly enhance the capabilities of our nuclear arsenal. The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) would cost about $85 billion but would give the better performance against precision guided missiles which didn’t exist when the Minuteman was developed. According to Breaking Defense, the current MM3’s trace their roots back to the Minuteman I, which was developed by Boeing in 1958 to equip the U.S. for a possible nuclear exchange with Russia over the North Pole. While these missiles have undergone significant improvements since the beginning of the Cold War, they still rely on an older technology. The new GBSD will boast an open architecture design making it easier to replace components and will be designed to last for decades – possibly into the 2070s.

While the GBSD is expensive, it’s relative to our national security and is still significantly cheaper than upgrading all 800 of the current MM3 missiles.

Boeing isn’t the only contractor being considered to develop the GBSD. Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman are also competing for the bid. The Air Force is expected to award the contract on September 12 and hopes to have the GBSD ready by 2029. While several high profile contractors are vying for the spot, there are several reasons Boeing would be the best fit. The current Minuteman missiles work as an offensive complement to the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System (GMD), which is used to intercept incoming warheads in space. Boeing largely developed the GMD in Alabama, and a contract with Boeing could bring hundreds of jobs to the state. As the lead contractor for developing the Minuteman missiles since Minuteman I in 1958, sticking with Boeing would provide a seamless transition into the development of the GBSD. As a spokesperson from Boeing noted to Yellowhammer:

“GBSD is key to national security, and we’re committed to providing the U.S. Air Force with a solution that will give the U.S. a technological leap forward in capability against evolving nuclear threats. Based on mature technologies, Boeing’s GBSD solution offers lower risk and a smooth transition from Minuteman III to GBSD readiness, without costly delays from knowledge transfer or learning curves.”

These advancements in America’s nuclear arsenal will prove crucial in the effort to curtail North Korea’s growing threat. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted strict sanctions against the rogue nation over the weekend, targeting their primary exports—coal, iron, and seafood. In response to the sanctions, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho stated, “We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table.” According to CNN, Pyongyang vowed to “teach the U.S. a severe lesson” if it used military force against North Korea. Boeing’s development of the new GBSD’s sends a strong message to North Korea regarding the United States’ own commitment to formidable deterrents.

8 months ago

Senate Confirms New U.S Attorney for Alabama’s Norther District

Madison County Senior Prosecutor Jay Town has been confirmed by the Senate to serve as U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s Northern District.

In his short career, Town has been a driving force in the legal profession. One of his largest accomplishments before his appointment came from his push to streamline Alabama’s death penalty appeals process, which was adopted by the Alabama legislature.

In a statement to WHNT New 19, Town said, “ I am humbled and honored to continue to serve the great people of Alabama as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District. I am grateful for the special trust and confidence shown to me by President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, Senator Shelby, and all of those who supported me through this process. I inherit a very capable office and look forward to joining them in doing great things.”

Jay Town has worked for the Madison County District Attorney’s office since 2005. His role as U.S. Attorney General will give him jurisdiction over 31 Alabama counties, including Huntsville, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Florence, and Scottsboro.

8 months ago

Alabama’s Economic Development Ranked Among Highest in The Nation

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, left, celebrates a recent announcement that Blue Origin planned to build a rocket engine production facility in Huntsville. Alabama and some of its cities received high marks in the latest business rankings by Business Facilities magazine. (Contributed)

As reported by Alabama News Center, Business Facilities magazine, a publication focused on economic development, has showered many Alabama cities with high praise.

Included in their annual ranking report, Business Facilities pegged Huntsville as the nation’s top metro area in aerospace/defense. As part of their annual growth metrics, they cited the concentration of aerospace engineers and expansion plans by Boeing Co. as a major catalyst for growth in Huntsville.

When asked about the work Boeing is doing in Alabama, Ken Tucker, director of state and local government operations for Boeing said,

“Boeing is investing in the future of Alabama as a center of innovation, continuing to bring highly skilled jobs and growth to the region.”

Currently, Boeing has 2,700 employees in Alabama. By 2020, they project to add another 400 jobs and increase funding to their Huntsville program by $70 million.

Mobile, took home two prestigious rankings in the recent magazine release as well.

Business Facilities placed Mobile No. 2 in the category for economic growth potential among U.S. cities with fewer than 300,000 residents. The acquisition of an Airbus manufacturing facility in Mobile was cited as a key economic development responsible for the No. 2 position.

Mobile was also ranked No.8 in the publication’s ranking of cities with low costs.

Speaking of the favorable rankings, Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce said,

“Alabama’s economic development team will continue to work tirelessly to recruit high-caliber companies, and this ranking is another testament to the advantages that our state possesses for business across the globe.”

“One of those key advantages is our workforce training programs, which are a key component of the support system we have in place in Alabama to help companies in many different industries find and develop the skilled workers they need to achieve success,” he added.

Business Facilities positive economic rankings come just days after Gov. Ivey gave a speech addressing how improved education can help contribute to economic growth in Alabama.

In her speech, Ivey highlighted her goal of ensuring Alabamian’s are qualified for industries coming to Alabama.

“My goal is for every Alabamian who wants to have a job to have one, but not just any job. I want our people to be well-trained, qualified and well-paid for the jobs they have so they can better provide for themselves and their family and be productive members of the society.”

To read more on Governor Ivey’s education plan, please see Yellowhammer News.

8 months ago

Alabama Business Spotlight: Huntsville Business Uses Spray-On Coating to Protect Our Trucks and Our Troops

By Lauren Naumcheff

Truck owners across the nation use a spray-on coating to protect their bed liners from rust, corrosion and leaks. What most users of this product don’t know is that the same product they apply to their trucks is also used by soldiers and police officers to catch bullet fragments. The Huntsville-based business responsible for creating this multipurpose coating has grown into a global operation.

LINE-X began as a small family-owned company in Santa Ana, California specializing in chemical manufacturing. The company was one of the first to develop a high-tech, spray-on elastomer polyurea. Right away the founders recognized the coating’s incredible durability and how well it adhered to metal, wood, fiberglass, concrete, foam and much more. The coating was branded LINE-X and soon became a high-end option for truck bed protection.

Since 1993, LINE-X has been used to protect bridges, farm equipment, construction equipment, boats, trailers and much more. It found a niche as the perfect coating for truck bed liners. LINE-X launched a national franchise program in 1999 focusing on the automotive aftermarket. LINE-X franchises expanded to offer truck, SUV and Jeep accessories as well as protective coatings for various industries.

LINE-X has now grown to include more than 500 locations in 70 countries and over 45 manufacturing partners.

One of the company’s greatest accomplishments is recognizing how LINE-X can benefit security and defense applications. The coating has anti-spall properties, meaning it can effectively catch bullet fragments that strike a ballistic plate. Today, many US soldiers and police officers wear LINE-X coated ceramic plates for added protection. LINE-X can also reduce the threat of falling debris and shrapnel caused by a bomb blast by basically holding a wall or structure together. In fact, there are walls of the US Pentagon that are sprayed with LINE-X for exactly this purpose.

While LINE-X was not founded in Alabama, after the economic recession in 2009, the business relocated to Huntsville and now proudly calls Alabama its home. Since the move, LINE-X has been able to expand its business to include even more industries, going far beyond automotive applications.

“Huntsville’s high tech atmosphere is the perfect environment for continued growth of our LINE-X research and development programs,” said Dennis Weese, president of LINE-X.

Alabama has proved to be a favorable business environment for LINE-X, as the company has nearly doubled its workforce since the move. It also recently expanded its facility with a move to Huntsville’s Jetplex Industrial Park in February. The new space is almost three times as large as its previous headquarters.

LINE-X has enjoyed much success in Alabama, and was named the 2017 Alabama Manufacturer of the Year in the medium category by the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) and the Alabama Technology Network.

“The annual Manufacturer of the Year Awards seeks to honor Alabama manufacturers – from the largest industrial employers to the smallest businesses – for displaying efficiency, safety, and excellence in their products and the process for making them,” said William J. Canary, president and CEO of the BCA. “Quite simply, manufacturing is an economic engine powering the state’s economy. Alabama manufacturers in the 21st century are leveraging technology in new and exciting ways.”

In the future, LINE-X hopes to continue to thrive, bringing more recognition and innovation to Alabama.

“We want LINE-X to become known as the best provider of automotive aftermarket services in North America. Not only that, it’s our hope that many other industries come to realize how well LINE-X coatings prevent corrosion and reduce the need for costly, ongoing maintenance. It could be a game changer for infrastructure, manufacturing, and construction,” said Weese.

About the Business Council of Alabama: For more than three decades, the Business Council of Alabama has been Alabama’s foremost voice for business, standing up for Alabama businesses that are the job creators and innovators driving our state’s economy. Through this Business Spotlight Series, the BCA tells the stories of these businesses that proudly call Alabama home and in the process, we hope to show why we work hard every day making a sweet home for business. For more information about the BCA, please visit their website.

Sponsored Content

8 months ago

Huntsville Terrorism Suspect Could Be Back On the Streets

After weeks of arguments from both sides, a Madison County judge has set a $250,000 bond for a Huntsville terrorism suspect. Aziz Sayyed has been held without bond since his arrest on June 15. Sayyed (22) was charged with “soliciting or providing support for terrorism in the 2nd degree,” a Class-C felony. If charged, Sayyed could face up to 10 years in prison.

Sayyed’s arrest was a result of a months-long FBI investigation that uncovered a plot to bomb a Huntsville law enforcement center. Officials say Sayyed was in possession of enough materials to build a bomb similar to the one used in the Manchester, England attack that resulted in 22 deaths. The FBI also discovered information that ties Sayyed to the terror group, ISIS.

Related: Alabama Terror Suspect Targeted Huntsville Law Enforcement and Practiced Beheadings

Judge Schuyler Richardson’s decision ended weeks of speculation about Sayyed’s fate between now and his trial. Madison County Assistant District Attorney Jay Town argued that no Alabama court has been faced with a case such as this one. While the Alabama Constitution guarantees a person’s right to bond in all but capital murder cases, Town claimed that Sayyed’s ties to ISIS present a serious danger to the public if he is released. Sayyed’s attorneys claimed that this was a gross misreading of the law, and that Sayyed was still entitled to receive bond.

Judge Richardson’s ruling was much higher than the $150,000 bond prosecutors requested. In his order, Richardson wrote:

“Having determined that the defendant has an absolute constitutional right to release on bail, the court is presented with the question of the amount of bail to be set. The court is required to consider the likelihood of the defendant’s appearance as required, the defendant’s financial situation, the nature of the offense alleged, and the likelihood of danger to the public. Based upon testimony, the court finds that the defendant would pose a grave risk of harm to the public if released. Taking all of the above into consideration, the court sets the defendant’s pretrial release bond at $250,000, cash only.”

Setting a cash-only bond prevents Sayyed from using a bonding company to post the money. Sayyed will have to pay the full $250,000 to be released.

Sayyed’s preliminary hearing is set for August 2, 2017. If he posts bail, he will remain under house arrest and be required to wear an ankle monitor.

9 months ago

New Rocket Facility Means $200 million and 342 Jobs For Alabama

New 200,000 square feet facility to locate in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park 

Blue Origin has announced plans to manufacture its BE-4 engine in Huntsville, a move that represents 342 jobs and a $200 million capital investment in Alabama’s economy.

The company’s new state-of-the art production facility will be built in Cummings Research Park, the country’s second-largest research park. The BE-4 is will power United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket, which will end the nation’s dependence on Russia for access to space for critical national security space systems.

The important caveat to this announcement is that it’s contingent on Blue Origin obtaining the contract to build the engine for United Launch Alliance. Anticipating this contract, Blue Origin President, Robert Meyerson, said:

Alabama is a great state for aerospace manufacturing and we are proud to produce America’s next rocket engine right here in Rocket City. The area’s skilled workforce and leading role in rocket propulsion development make Huntsville the ideal location for our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.

Obviously, Huntsville is attractive to companies like Blue Origin because of its significant aerospace presence that includes NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, which ranks 14th in NASA research funding in the nation. As Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said:

Blue Origin’s decision to locate its BE-4 engine manufacturing center in Huntsville reflects the deep and longstanding capabilities in the city that became the cradle of the nation’s rocket program. Huntsville is a hub of innovation in every facet of aerospace, making it the perfect home for this Blue Origin facility.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle emphasized this point as well: “Huntsville is proud to be the nation’s propulsion center of excellence, and we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Blue Origin to join our team. When you look at NASA’s visionary work at the Marshall Space Flight Center, the talent and capacity of Huntsville’s space industry partners, and our expertise in research and development, engineering, and manufacturing, Blue Origin is joining a truly remarkable environment.”

Alabama’s senior Senator, Richard Shelby, also embraced the decision: “This announcement today is excellent news for our state. I am pleased to see Blue Origin investing in Alabama, and I look forward to working with them and other businesses to continue boosting economic development opportunities.” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey concurred: We are excited to welcome Blue Origin to Alabama. I must commend founder Jeff Bezos and company President Robert Meyerson for their vision to create this innovative company, and for choosing to make Alabama its home sweet home! Because of this investment, more Alabamians can provide a better living for their families, and it helps cement Alabama as the preferred destination for the aerospace industry.”

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber press release notes that a host of entitles contributed to Blue Origin’s recruitment to the Yellowhammer state, including the Governor’s office, the Alabama Department of Commerce, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the City of Huntsville, Madison County, and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.

“Today’s announcement ensures that our community will continue to be at the center of the world’s rocket propulsion development. Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin will build on the legacy of the German rocket team and the Marshall Space Flight Center to power the growing commercial rocket business that will be a critical part of our nation’s future space program,” said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale W. Strong.

President and CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, Chip Cherry concluded, “Blue Origin reinforces our regions’ place as the Rocket City, and a center of excellence for rocket propulsion.  Blue Origin’s presence will have a positive impact on our State, our region and our community.”

9 months ago

Huntsville Leads Alabama with Lowest Unemployment Rate

Downtown Huntsville, Alabama

Workforce Development key in providing skilled workers

Alabama recently announced that the latest statewide unemployment rate is down to 4.9 %— it’s lowest mark since the 2008 recession.

Among the state’s big five metro areas, Huntsville leads the way with only is 3.7% unemployment, and Mayor Tommy Battle was effusive in his praise:

I congratulate the governor on the announcement and all of the local officials across Alabama for their hard work in creating jobs for their communities. I also thank the companies who are hiring and investing in our people. It’s great to be in a state where cities like Russellville, with a population of 10,000, can bring in 900 new jobs, and Guntersville, with a population of 9,000 can generate 1,000 new jobs.

While statewide gains are significant, Huntsville also the led the state in job growth over the past year, being responsible for almost 15 percent of Alabama’s 38,000 new workers. This trend isn’t new. In the past 10 years, the greater Huntsville area netted 22,000 new workers and doubled the U.S. job growth rate.

With this success, however, comes another challenge. Low unemployment magnifies the gap between those seeking jobs and the skilled employees businesses need. As jobs become increasingly high-tech, there are people left behind because they lack the skills to fill positions once guaranteed with a high school diploma.

“Trades across Alabama have been talking about the lack of skilled workers to fill their jobs, and that means workforce development is the next critical step for state leaders to address,” said Battle. “We want the state to continue working with local governments to provide job-training programs so that each area of Alabama can provide for their local workforce needs.”

Economic forces and technological disruptions have fundamentally changed the workplace and the skills required for success.  In the coming years, economists predict 80 percent of jobs paying a living wage will require some type of post-secondary credential. The World Economic Forum says 65 percent of children who enter the primary grades today will end up working in job types that don’t exist yet.

An education beyond high school – whether it’s a technical credential, two-year associates degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree – will be essential to keep Alabama growing and prosperous. As Battle noted,

The jobs are coming, but let’s not lose sight of what is important. State leaders need to be taking swift and determined action to prevent a “workforce gap” from negatively impacting economic growth, quality of life, and prosperity for decades to come.

Battle says he is proud of Huntsville’s community-wide team approach to ensure North Alabama’s workers are trained for the jobs in demand, including collaborations with our educators, two-year college systems, and entities like Manufacture Alabama.

We need more of these partnerships to attract high-wage jobs and train Alabama’s workforce for the 21st century and beyond.


9 months ago

Purple Heart Winner Runs for Alabama Congressional Seat

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — After serving with distinction in the U.S. Army, retired Captain Clayton Hinchman is running for Congress in Alabama’s Fifth District as a Republican. Hinchman will compete for the seat currently held by U.S. Senate candidate Mo Brooks, who can run for reelection if his bid for the upper chamber fails.

Hinchman lost his leg to an improvised explosive (IED) attack on a night mission to kill or capture Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq. The 2008 attack also severely damaged his hearing, which has been mostly restored with hearing aids. For his sacrifices, he earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Meritorious Service Medal.

After his time in the military, Hinchman founded USi, an expert technology and engineering solutions provider in Huntsville. The company has since been acquired by Ignite, and Hinchman serves as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer.

His educational background includes an undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Masters degree from Georgetown University, and a continuing executive education certificate from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. He is also a graduate of the Goldman Sachs Small Business Program at Babson College.

At a campaign launch event last month, Hinchman emphasized that his service background more than prepares him for what he might face in D.C.

“I know what a battlefield is like, and the battlefield in D.C. does not intimidate me,” he said. “For too long, our politicians have put platitudes over principles, and partisanship over people. They have forgotten what it means to serve.”

Some of Hinchman’s campaign priorities include reforming the corporate tax code, increasing the funding for air and missile defense systems, reforming Veterans Affairs, and promoting cyber programs for K-12 schools.

The general election for Alabama’s 5th Congressional district will be held on November 6, 2018. Party primaries will take place on June 5, 2018, with a possible runoff on July 17.

9 months ago

Alabama City Ranks First in the Nation for Yearly Tech Job Growth

U.S Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL (Photo: Flikr user Bryce Edwards)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A new study from ZipRecruiter and Payscale revealed that Huntsville, Alabama is the top city in the country for annual job growth in the tech industry. According to their analysis, the Rocket City has enjoyed a tremendous boom in tech jobs with an annual growth rate of 309 percent.

The results were determined through an examination of ZipRecruiter’s active database of more than eight million jobs, and analysts studied the year-to-year growth of tech jobs in each major Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In earning its number one ranking, Huntsville’s tech jobs growth rate surpassed other up-and-coming tech cities, including Thousand Oakes, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Orlando, Florida; Nashville, Tennesee; and Jacksonville, Florida.

The report also noted some of the top tech jobs in Huntsville, such as software engineer, systems engineer, systems specialist, help desk support, and information technology specialist. Median pay begins at $59,500, but it jumps up to $96,400 by mid-career.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle was pleased with — but not surprised by — his city’s latest distinction. “Technology is just part of Huntsville’s DNA and we are well positioned to capitalize on the expanding tech sector,” Battle said. “Still, we know it is the whole package that drives Huntsville’s growth – a strong education system, well planned infrastructure, low cost of living and high quality of life – that’s what people are looking for today.”

Huntsville has received similar recognition before. This year, named the Alabama city its seventh-best metro area for STEM jobs. A few years back, ranked Huntsville as the second best city for tech jobs, due to the pure number of jobs and the high wages available.

9 months ago

Mom of Huntsville, Alabama Teen Who Died in Church Bus Crash Shares Her Daughter’s Final Journal Entry

Sarah Harmening from her Facebook page

Fox 5 Atlanta reports that the last journal entry of the Huntsville teen who tragically passed away in yesterday’s bus crash expressed her wholehearted faith in Christ before the accident that claimed her life. 17-year-old Sarah Harmening was on her way to minister to children in Botswana, Africa with a group of fellow high school students from Mount Zion Baptist Church in Huntsville when their bus collided with a car near the Atlanta airport, injuring 39.

Today, her mother, Karen Harmening, spoke to the media about her daughter’s radiant life that was marked by a deep love for others and an unshakable Christian faith, before sharing her daughter’s final journal entry. Before reading from Sarah’s journal, Karen spoke to the media about the life her daughter led:

We asked to have the opportunity to speak because our daughter Sarah was a gift to us that was given on December 20, 1999. And she loved the Lord with a love that was tangible. I hope you will listen to it because it’s what she lived and breathed for. They were on the mission trip to Botswana…and she was so excited. She earned all the money to go and share Christ with children of Botswana.

Then Karen began to read Sarah’s moving journal entries:

I was just sitting here on the bus feeling a little sad. I guess because I’m going to be gone so long and I was a little uncomfortable. Then I decided to read my Bible. I prayed and opened up to 1 Peter 5 and 2 Peter 1. Pretty much everything I read applied to me now. It talked about watching over the flock entrusted to you which would be my little buddies in Botswana.

Karen also said Sarah’s expressed the need to humble herself, continuing to read:

Which I will need to do and that also means being a little uncomfortable. It talked about the devil prowling about like a lion seeking whom he may devour which he will especially be doing on this mission trip. And now it is our mission trip. And how we will need to be alert and of sober mind. And lastly, how we will get to participate in His Divine Nature! I mean how awesome is that?

Concluding the journal entry, Karen read Sarah’ final thoughts:

And we were out there talking and praying. And we know that the incredible thing is impacting the world for Jesus Christ and we want you to know the love of Jesus Christ. And if you do not know Him as Savior and Lord, for our precious, precious Sarah please seek Him for today for his Word,”

Sarah’s sisters, Katelyn, Kristen, and Sophie then concluded the family’s remarks by reading an extraordinary text message Katelyn received from Sarah. In the text, Sarah shared 1 Peter 5:23-25 with her sister before concluding:

This is such a great reminder. We are like a wisp of smoke. We are only here for a moment and this not about us, life is not about us, it’s about God who is eternal. So, I want to dedicate the one moment I am here, completely and entirely to Him.


Sarah Harmening from her Facebook page
10 months ago

New Town Moves Up To Become Alabama’s Third Largest City

Original photo, “New York Skyline at Twilight Hour” by Flickr user Marco Verch. CC 2.0. Addition of “Sweet Home Alabama” text made by Yellowhammer News.

Huntsville has overtaken Mobile as the third largest city in the state of Alabama. According to new numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Rocket City is estimated to have a population of 193,079, while Mobile’s is estimated a 192,904. These estimates compile data and estimate through July 1st of 2016.

This is a significant change from last year, when Mobile held a nearly 2,500-resident lead on Huntsville. The gap was even wider in 2014, and there was a difference of more than 11,000 in 2011.

This shift can be attributed to Huntsville gaining residents and Mobile losing them. In the past year alone, Huntsville’s population estimate has risen by 2,136, and Mobile’s has decreased by 489. This trend has continued since the last census was taken in 2010. In that span of time, Huntsville has gained 12,100 persons, and Mobile’s population has fallen by 2,207.

Birmingham will remain the most populous city in the state with an estimated 212,157 residents. The Magic City is followed by Montgomery, which is projected to have 200,022. But both of those cities are seeing a decrease in numbers as well. Birmingham lost over 300 residents from 2015 to 2016. More significantly, it has only seen a net gain of 120 people since 2010. Montgomery has seen a steeper drop, losing nearly 900 from 2016 to 2015 and 5,631 since 2010.

Statewide, the population increased by about 10,000 people. The 2015 estimate for Alabama was 4,853,875, and that figure was raised to 4,863,300 in 2016. It will be interesting to see if these trends continue and what cities are the most populous in 2020, when the next census is taken.

10 months ago

Google Fiber launches in Alabama’s Rocket City

The Google Fiber “bunny” logo at the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Starting today, some Alabamians in the Huntsville area will have access to one of the fastest available internet connections. Through Google Fiber, customers can now sign up for fast internet, television, and phone services individually or in various bundles.

Google Fiber is the ultra-high speed internet service offered in select cities by Alphabet, inc., the parent company of the Google search engine. The connection provides an Internet speed of up to one gigabit per second for both download and upload, which is roughly 100 times faster access than what most Americans have. To put that in perspective, such speed allows for the download of a full movie in less than two minutes.

For $50 per month, customers can receive internet speeds of 100 megabits per second. For gigabit internet and 220 television channels, customers will have to pay $160 a month. Google will also offer telephone service with any plan for an additional $10 monthly charge.

The first area to receive the service is the north end of the city between Pulaski Pike and Interstate 565. It was selected to be integrated first because it is the smallest of Huntsville’s six utility divisions.

Caroline De Gantes, the leader of Google Fiber’s Huntsville business team, told that Huntsville was selected because it is a “forward-thinking, innovative city.” She also noted that Mayor Tommy Battle has helped streamline the process. Because of the city’s cooperation, Google has been able to “serve people faster than ever.”

Huntsville is one of the few lucky cities across the country that currently has access to Google Fiber. Only seven other cities have access to the service, and big markets such as Dallas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix were just cut out of the expansion picture due to Google Fiber’s recent rollback.

“Google’s entrance into our market bolsters our high-tech legacy, energizes our entrepreneurs, thinkers, and engineers, and supports the high quality of life Huntsville is known for delivering,” Mayor Battle said last year. “Fiber to the home is the Internet infrastructure for the Twenty-First Century. It is as vital to our quality of life as roads, water, sewer, and electricity. It will become the benchmark for cities vying for talent.”

Google also has one of its nine U.S. data centers in Jackson County, and the facility operates out of a converted Tennessee Valley Authority plant.

Huntsville customers can learn more about Google Fiber and its local services on its website linked here.

11 months ago

YHRadio: Mayor Battle hopes to apply his Huntsville strategy for success to ALL of Alabama

Huntsville Major Tommy Battle joins Scott Chambers and Andre Tice on Yellowhammer Radio to talk about his recent announcement to run for Alabama Governor in 2018. Mayor Battle lays out his plan to improve the state, which includes a greater emphasis on education, attracting more economic prospects, and repairing the state highways that Scott Chambers commutes on.

The full conversation with Mayor Battle can be heard on the Yellowhammer Radio podcast or in the video above.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Podcast on iTunes.

Scott Chambers:

We are joined right now on the Yellowhammer news hotline by the one, the only Mayor Tommy Battle of Huntsville, Alabama. Mayor Battle welcome into Yellowhammer Radio. How are you doing, sir?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Doing fine, how are y’all doing this morning?

Scott Chambers:

Livin’ the dream.

Mayor Tommy Battle:


Andrea Tice:

Glad to have you on board. Excited to hear about you throwing your hat into the ring. I think this is the first time a mayor, this is what Scott has told me-

Scott Chambers:

This is true.

Andrea Tice:

That you are the first mayoral candidate to enter the governor’s race.

Scott Chambers:

Not enter the race, but there has never been a mayor in state history to take the office of governor.

Andrea Tice:

Got it.

Scott Chambers:

So how do you feel about your chances, Mayor Battle?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

We’ve never had a mayor elected governor, that’s why we’ve gotten into the problems that we’ve gotten into.’Cause mayors have to solve problems, it’s interesting, we solve problems in the grocery store line. We’re standing there getting groceries, somebody comes up to us and if there’s a problem, we have to take care of them.

And that’s the same way government’s gotta be. It’s gotta be a person to person government, and we’ve been very, very fortunate. In the north Alabama area we’ve had some great successes, and hopefully we can transfer those successes to the state.

Scott Chambers:

That’s a beautiful answer. That’s a great answer. ‘Cause Andrea and I were talking about this off the air. We’ve had no mayor elected as governor, but we need that because you guys, you balance budgets, you work with city councils, you work with the entire state to make your city prosper, and you’ve certainly done that in Huntsville. I first visited Huntsville when I was a kid, and then I guess when I was about 18 years old, I made my first trip solo to Huntsville to visit friends, and I’ve spent many, many weekends in that fine city over the years. And if you go back five years, you go back 10 years, especially 15 years, and you look at the progress in what you have done as mayor of Huntsville, a big pat on the back to you. Because Huntsville is a beautiful city and there’s been so much progress under your leadership.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

We’re real proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. I moved up to Huntsville in 1980 from Birmingham. I grew up in Birmingham down on Rocky Ridge Road many moons ago. Went to Berry High School down there, and 10 to 60 percent of our people are from somewhere else. As we come in, we try to bring good ideas from areas … Some of the not so good ideas, we try to make sure they stay out of our public policy and it’s been a real successful track record that we’ve been able to do in the last 10 years with jobs, and schools, and education … And you know, touching on all the things that really helped our community grow and state grow.

Scott Chambers:

You mention education there, which is a real important thing for the state of Alabama. I know as mayor of Huntsville, you’ve overseen 250 million dollars in new school facilities. If elected governor of Alabama, will you continue that push for better education in the state?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Oh gosh, education is key. It’s paramount to being able to recruit industry and recruit jobs. Mrs. Battle was a kindergarten teacher for 27 years and now runs a little nonprofit that gives back materials to teachers. And education is the key for any of our success that we can have. We’ve got to make that one of the number one issues that’s out there because we have great education in a bunch of areas, in quite a few areas across the state, but then you have some key areas that we’ve gotta work on, and as we work on those key areas, and we can bring those up, it brings our whole economic prospects up for the state.

Scott Chambers:

Excellent. Well you know, that’s … Another thing that I want to talk about, and sometimes we laugh and joke because I drive. I live in Etowah county, in south side, and I drive to the studio every day to Birmingham. So, I drive roughly 140 miles round trip each and every day. I drive on state highways.

Mayor Tommy Battle:


Scott Chambers:

State highways to someone that drives every day, it’s a pain in my rear, sir, and I know that you have overseen a pay as you go solution there in Huntsville for 500 million dollars in road and infrastructure projects. If elected governor of Alabama, will you assure me and all the other drivers out there we’re gonna have a good road system in this state?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Well, we’ve got to work on the roads. I mean, that’s gonna be key to us. When you start looking at I-65, which is over capacity [inaudible 00:04:13] and everybody knows that little slow down period just because you’re over capacity. And you compare 65 to what Georgia’s done on I-75 going north and south through the state.

Scott Chambers:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mayor Tommy Battle:

I-75 is six, eight, 10 lanes all the way across.

Scott Chambers:


Mayor Tommy Battle:

We’re sitting here with the majority of 65 is four lanes. You just cannot compare. You compare the economic development of every interchange in Georgia on I-75 versus economic development on our interchanges on I-65. Those are things that you want to invest in, and it is an investment, it costs money, but you have to invest in that to become a prosperous state, to become a state with good jobs and good paying jobs, and to improve your job standards and your quality of living.

Andrea Tice:

Mayor Battle, I have a question. Scott mentioned the pay as you go program which you instituted or implemented at least in Huntsville

Mayor Tommy Battle:


Andrea Tice:

Can you explain that more to the person who’s not from Huntsville, who’s … This is a new concept and how that works and how it’s benefited your area?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Sure. We’re in Washington, D.C. right now and most of your state highway money and federal highway money is a 90/10 mix. 90 percent federal money and 10 percent local money. We stepped up with the state, and we went to the state because it was crucial that we had some roads built that would keep us on roads prosperity, keep us being able to bring in jobs, bring in industry.

So, we committed 25 million dollars a year to put to roads and road building, and that’s the 25 million dollars a year, year in and year out, that we’ve committed from now until through the foreseeable future. And the state matched our 25 million dollars. So they put up their 25 million dollars.

What it did, it helped them take the money that the state gives [inaudible 00:06:03] and really multiply it so that they can get more road projects out of it because we’re paying more than our fair share for it, and they can use it for somebody else’s match if they need to, but for us it was crucial to pay that just so that we could go ahead and get roads and we could get them into [inaudible 00:06:20] on them in the next seven to eight years. And as we’ve done that … And it’s a pay as you go, it’s not a bonded out, it’s not gonna have our kids paying for it for twenty years. We don’t have that generational debt which I almost call generational theft, which you know, we want something now but we don’t want to pay for it so let’s push it off on our kids. To me I think that’s one of the most important conservative values you can have is that you pay for what you get.

Andrea Tice:

All right, then while we’re talking about money, let me just change the topic just a little bit because there’s a story that came out recently about a woman in Birmingham who was able to defraud the Social Security System for probably roughly 10 years. Even after she was convicted of killing her own husband and that’s where she got the benefits from. Then we’ve got another story coming out of Florida, which is just one state over, of millions and millions of dollars being paid out in Medicaid fraud to people who had fraud allegations against them. So, let’s talk about that whole arena here in Alabama, and what would be some of the first steps you would take as governor to address that issue?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

You know, fraud abuse is something that we all need to jump on but it’s very tough to address situations where most of the work that they’re doing and they’re talking about doing is federal programs being administered federally.

Andrea Tice:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mayor Tommy Battle:

We need to be more [inaudible 00:07:43] out in Washington. I’m in Washington right now and we’re talking to a congressional delegation and our senators and talking about the need for Medicaid. You need to have Block Grants coming down. The state knows how to administer that money much better than the federal government.

Andrea Tice:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Those kind of issues coming back home to us gives us a local control over it so that we can address what’s actually needed but also we can address the wrongs in the system also. As we work through this it’s gonna be very important to us that we continue to go to the federal government and try to get their fingers out of what we do in the state because I really feel like the state and our local officials have a better idea about where we need to go and what we need to do.

Scott Chambers:

So you’re definitely a states’ rights guy there

Mayor Tommy Battle:

(laughs) Definitely a states’ rights guy. I’m a local community guy. It’s kind of interesting, sometimes the state legislature will send things to the cities because they want to kind of control what the cities do and I keep looking at them and say “Man, y’all the guys that don’t want the federal government stepping into your business and then you step into a local situation.”

Andrea Tice:


Mayor Tommy Battle:

So, I think all of us need to stay in our lanes.

Scott Chambers:

Well our guest is Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle who is running for governor of Alabama and in the final few moments here I have one question and then I want to close out and find out who you are. But before we get to that I want to ask, you know the last administration that just left office in Montgomery … The word corruption keeps coming up, time and time again. Alabama politics have been known for corruption. If elected governor of this state, what will you do to cut down on corruption in Montgomery?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Well, I think it’s more important that we walk the walk rather than talk the talk. We’ve had many, many people talk the talk of, “I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that. Uhh, you know, uhh w-we’re all good Christian fellows who- who are running for office.” But more importantly, we’ve gotta walk that walk. For nine years we’ve been able to walk the walk of a good honest government that responds to the people, a government that addresses issues that are important. And that’s the only way to build confidence in your government. You’ve gotta tell the people “Hey, there’s a plan, there’s a strategy.” And the end result to that plan and strategy is jobs, is a prosperous community. And if you can make them understand that and work with them so that they can have confidence in you, that’s the only way to get confidence back in your government. And we have lost confidence in our government over the last three years with everything that’s gone on.

Andrea Tice:

Yes, that is true. I’m glad you’re identifying the confidence factor that’s been lost, the trust factor.

Scott Chambers:

No question. Well, in our final few moments here tell us: who is Tommy Battle? Tell us about yourself, for those that around the state, that in north Alabama, most everyone knows the name, knows who you are. In south Alabama, there’s a few people that may not know who the mayor of Huntsville is. So, who is Tommy Battle?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

You know, I think the biggest thing to say is that I learned a lot of values from my parents. I learned from my parents, my mom and my dad, the value of hard work. Working in the back halls of Britling’s Cafeterias which was the family business. Working back there you [inaudible 00:11:04] and everything else, you learn the value of hard work.

But also, going through … Growing up in Birmingham, working in Mobile part-time to get through school, coming to Huntsville … We’ve been able to have some achievements, and the great thing about it is, going to Montgomery it won’t have to be on the job training. We already have a strategy, a plan that has been very successful in the north Alabama area … Can we transfer that to Montgomery, and make Montgomery successful also, and can we pull back confidence in Montgomery? Those are some of the key issues that I think everybody should look at when they’re looking for their next gubernatorial candidate.

Scott Chambers:

Absolutely. Mayor Tommy Battle, we appreciate you being on with us here on Yellowhammer Radio today. We look forward to continuing this conversation as the campaign moves forward and look forward to having you here in studio with us some time.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Great, I’m looking forward to it.

Andrea Tice:

All right, have a great time up there in D.C.

Scott Chambers:

All right, take care, sir. Absolutely.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

All right, thank you.

Scott Chambers:

Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle on Yellowhammer Radio we’ll come back and take your phone calls, go through some of the rest of the news of the day. You can listen to the program of course on 101.1 FM, 95.3 FM in Birmingham, and also 1260 AM as well. Check us out online,, tweet the program @yhnradio. Your phone calls coming up next 866-551-9933. We are live from the call, heating and air studio.

11 months ago

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks mulls a run for U.S. Senate

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL5)

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks may soon become the next candidate to enter the race for U.S. Senate.

On Tuesday, Rep. Brooks told Yellowhammer News that he is strongly considering a run for the seat formerly occupied by Jeff Sessions. Though undecided, he said that he’s “more than happy to offer my record against any announced candidates or anyone considering a run for the United States Senate.”

“I have a very solid track record on limited government, lower taxes, and moral issues, which explains in part why voters have asked me to continue the jobs I have been elected to so many times,” Rep. Brooks said.

During an interview, he explained that the need to solve the nation’s debt crisis has reached a fever-pitch. He indicated that the issue could become a focal point in his campaign if he enters the race.

However, Brooks noted that his hesitation to declare a run for Senate comes from an expectation that the race will become contentious and attack-filled, which would be difficult on his family. Though, if his campaign’s bank account is any indication, he could certainly emerge as a top target. Currently, he holds $1.2 million in cash, which would allow him to begin a campaign with solid resources.

“Although I have more cash on hand than any other candidate, I am not yet in my comfort zone, given the enormity of the attacks that would be expected and the 7 figure costs required to defend against those attacks,” he said.

The Huntsville-area Congressman says that he will make a final decision on whether or not to run for Senate between May 15th and May 17th.

Senator Luther Strange has announced that he will vie for the seat that he currently holds. Others who have confirmed their candidacy include ousted Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, State Representative Ed Henry (R- Hartselle), and Randy Brinson, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama.