The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

23 mins ago

History made at Montgomery Zoo after pygmy hippo gives birth to twins

(Montgomery Zoo/Contributed)

The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum on Wednesday announced the extremely rare birth of twin pygmy hippopotamus calves on August 4.

Both female, the calves were born to first-time parents Asali and Mikey.

The calves were the third and fourth birth of pygmy hippos in the last four years at the zoo in Alabama’s capital city.

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Sadly, one of the newborn calves only lived for two days due to a condition called brachygnathism, which made it impossible for the calf to nurse.

However, the survival of one of the twin calves is a historic milestone to celebrate, as the birth of twins is a major anomaly for the species.

According to a release from the Montgomery Zoo, there were only 11 confirmed cases of twin hippo births from 1903-2015 throughout the world. Of those 11 births, there were only four cases in which one of the calves survived and only one case in which both calves lived.

In fact, with the high infant mortality rate of pygmy hippos, until about one month after birth, having a set of twins where one survived is significant to research and conservation of the species.

Description of the species via the Montgomery Zoo:

The pygmy hippopotamus is a large mammal native to the forests and swamps of western Africa. A cousin of the much larger common hippopotamus, the pygmy hippo is semi-aquatic and relies on proximity to water to maintain moisturized skin and a cool body temperature. Reclusive and nocturnal, it is a difficult animal to study in the wild. However, pygmy hippos have a history of breeding well in captivity. The World Conservation Union estimates that less than 3,000 pygmy hippos remain in the wild.

Though pygmy hippos share the same general form as the hippopotamus, they grow to approximately half the height and one quarter of the weight of their larger cousins. Full grown, the pygmy hippo typically reaches 30-32 inches in height, 59-70 inches in length, and 400-600 lbs. in weight. It is estimated that pygmy hippos can grow to ten times their birth weight by the age of five months.

The other calves born at the zoo in recent years (Monty in 2016 and Levi in 2018) are now continuing to mature and thrive at the Greater Richmond Zoo in Virginia.

The public is invited to join the Montgomery Zoo on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. to celebrate the surviving newborn calf’s introduction to the public.

Mom (Asali) and baby will be housed in a temporary habitat located in the South America realm of the zoo, near the flamingos, until the calf is approximately a year old.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

53 mins ago

7 Things: White House gun control ideas circulating, Space Command hopes for Alabama, Pelosi throws water on liberals’ impeachment hopes and more …

(WH/Flickr, YHN)

7. Alabama resident arrested for terrorist ties 

  • Nayef Qashou is being held in a Montgomery detention facility after being found out through a long FBI terrorism probe. Qashou was found to be an Islamic State (ISIS) supporter and is being charged with destroying records and lying to the FBI.
  • Qashou was asked to carry out attacks for ISIS in the United States, and he said that he would only carry out an attack if it was against U.S. soldiers. But he also offered his service to ISIS to “drive fuel trucks, feed troops, and use a gun to defend against U.S.-led attacks against ISIS.”

6. Tommy Battle has announced his reelection 

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  • On Wednesday, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle announced that he will be campaigning for a fourth term as Huntsville’s mayor, which was expected after news that he had an announcement to make was made public last week.
  • At his announcement, Battle spoke about the things already accomplished and ongoing improvements made while he’s been mayor, and he noted that while Huntsville is projected to become the largest city in the state within five years, Battle wants “to be the best, and not just in Alabama.”

5. Whistleblower complaint about Trump phone call with a foreign leader 

  • A whistleblower has alleged that during a phone call between President Donald Trump and a “foreign leader” that a concerning promise was made, but acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share details about it with lawmakers because he said it did not meet the “urgent need” standard.
  • This argument will boil down to one of executive power and the Deep State, and whether the president of the United States has the power to conduct business as he sees fit on foreign policy; it will end up before a judge.

4. Iran threatening “all-out war” if the Saudis retaliate 

  • Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif says that if the United States or Saudi Arabia engage in military strikes at Iran that they would fight “to the last American soldier.” The only way they will talk to the United States is if Iran was provided full sanctions relief as promised under the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • The Saudis and the United States have publicly made the case that it was in fact Iranians that attacked Saudi Arabia’s oil sector because “[t]he attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” according to the Saudi Arabian military.

3. Pelosi says “no” to impeachment for Brett Kavanaugh 

  • Once again, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has declined to support impeachment, but this time with Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and, more simply, Pelosi just said “no” when asked about if the House would give attention to the Kavanaugh allegations.
  • Other House Democrats are also against seeking impeachment of Kavanaugh. U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA) said that Kavanaugh isn’t a priority, which seems to be the general consensus of most House Democrats.

2. Alabama is the top contender for Space Command 

  • It was reported by Breaking Defense that it’s rumored that Redstone Arsenal is currently the top pick for the U.S. Space Command headquarters, which would be due to affordability and “access to and knowledge of military space at senior levels.”
  • Mayor Tommy Battle, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and others have argued in favor of making Redstone Arsenal the headquarters, with Battle saying, “We have all the elements of what the Space Command needs to have here.” He added there would be savings of about $100 million if stationed at Redstone Arsenal.

1. Possible gun control proposal going around Capitol Hill

  • While President Donald Trump hasn’t made an official decision on any of the gun control proposals, one of the proposals for a gun background-check is being seriously considered.
  • The bill would require background checks for all commercial gun sales, which would include gun shows. Trump is expected to announce legislative changes soon.

1 hour ago

Workforce development, infrastructure priorities for Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba

(Facebook)

Although it is sometimes overlooked by its counterparts around the state of Alabama, the city of Dothan remains a hub for commerce for not only the Wiregrass but southwestern Georgia and parts of the Florida Panhandle, as well.

During an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba discussed his city’s relationship with the rest of the state.

“Sometimes we think we are the neglected city down here in the southeast corner, but we feel like we’re ideally located to a lot of lakes and, of course, the beach,” Saliba said on Tuesday’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” broadcasting from Troy University’s Dothan campus. “We’re about an hour and 45 minutes away. We think we’re a great family spot and we always have a lot of things going on.”

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“[W]ithin about 50 miles, we are the largest city,” he added. “So we are kind of the hub for retail and medical. And we have a lot of folks that come into our city. We are around 68,000-70,000 people. But we balloon to 120,000-125,000 during the day — mostly working, shopping and, of course, seeking medical help as well. So, we have a lot going on. The economy has been good. It has been across the state over the last few years. So we’re enjoying the benefits of that.”

Saliba noted one obstacle for Dothan was not being connected to the Interstate system, even though Interstate 10 is roughly 35 miles to the south on U.S. Highway 231. Saliba says he hopes the state of Florida will continue to make progress in four-laning additional routes from I-10 to the Alabama state line, including Florida Highways 77 and 79, and U.S. Highway 331.

The Dothan mayor touted the city’s successes but said improving workforce skills remains a priority.

“I think the state of Alabama and the city of Dothan have done very well with economic development over the several years,” he said. “I do think workforce development is the issue. We have a lot of companies here. We’ve got now to provide a quality workforce. And you know now the unemployment rates in Dothan are at all-time lows. People are working that want to work. I think that is important. But we’ve got to work on skills — soft skills as well as the hard skills.”

Saliba pledged to continue to contribute to Alabama’s efforts to improve the economy. He also noted his recent participation in a meeting of the “Big 5 plus 5” mayors of Alabama, which included the mayors of the state’s 10 biggest cities, as a part of that effort.

“We have a lot of good people down here,” he said. “We’re a very entrepreneurial spirit I think because of where we are. We’re a little bit away from everyone. We pull from Georgia. We pull from Florida. And from Alabama. And so, we think we have a lot we think we can do to contribute to the state of Alabama, and how things are run. We want to participate and we a part of that. I’m very appreciative to the Big 5 and to be able to go to the last meeting and looking forward to having conversations about where our state is headed and talking about the issues that we all kind of share.”

Although Dothan has yet to have one of the big auto manufacturers locate nearby, as has been the case for Huntsville, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Saliba is hopeful and pointed to a mega-site effort the city has in cooperation with Florida.

“I would think every mayor dreams at night of having an automotive plant at least get somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 or 30 miles — get these Tier 1, Tier 2 opportunities,” he said. “We worked on a mega-site. We share one with Florida on the Alabama-Florida line. We have tried attracting that as well and will continue to do so. I don’t know if we’ll ever have one real close but if we get one as close as the Florida line, I think that we would be very happy with that.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

3 hours ago

Nick Saban named to Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame 2020 induction class

(Univ. of Alabama Football/Twitter)

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame next year.

The announcement was made in a release this week.

Saban is being inducted as the former head football coach at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he won 75% of his games and the 2003 national championship in five seasons with the Tigers.

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The class of 2020 will be enshrined June 27 in Natchitoches, LA.

A 35-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the inductees. The panel considered a record 150 nominees from 31 different sport categories on a 33-page ballot, explained Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland.

Here is what the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame wrote about Saban:

Saban went 48-16 from 2000-04 at LSU before jumping to the NFL for two seasons as head coach in Miami, then returning to college football at Alabama, where he has captured five more national championships since 2009. His Tigers won Southeastern Conference championships in 2001 and 2003, reigning as SEC West Division champs from 2001-03, and he won his first national and SEC coach of the year awards while guiding LSU to the 2003 BCS national crown. He is the first sitting college coach elected to the Hall since Grambling’s Eddie Robinson (1985).

Saban carved his prominent place in state sports history with the 2003 BCS national title win by his LSU squad over Oklahoma in the Superdome. His Tigers compiled a 48-16 (28-12 SEC) record in Baton Rouge, part of his 232-63-1 mark as a college head coach entering 2019.

Saban is the first coach to win a national title with two different FBS schools since the inception of the Associated Press rankings in 1936. Saban and Bear Bryant are the only coaches to win SEC crowns at different schools. His collection of national championships equals the record set by Bryant.

Among Saban’s coaching tree, former LSU assistants Jimbo Fisher, Will Muschamp and Kirby Smart are current SEC head coaches and Derek Dooley was coach at Tennessee. He is a 2013 inductee in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Saban’s Crimson Tide have beaten LSU eight consecutive times, with the Tigers last winning on November 5, 2011.

UA’s football program celebrated Saban’s coming induction in a tweet on Wednesday.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

‘Clean Home Alabama’ initiative launched to help maintain ‘Alabama the Beautiful’

Governor Kay Ivey signs Clean Home Alabama proclamation. (Alabama Community College System/Contributed)

By signing an official proclamation this week, Governor Kay Ivey launched the Alabama Community College System’s (ACCS) “Clean Home Alabama” initiative.

Alabama’s community colleges will partner with residents and community organizations in every county of the Yellowhammer State for this college-led effort to help beautify the state’s natural landscapes, growing infrastructure and expanding communities.

Clean Home Alabama will take place November 1-11 this year.

The initiative was established by ACCS Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker, with the mission of continuing to serve communities both inside and outside of campus walls.

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“Community is so much a part of what our colleges do each day that it’s even in our name,” Baker said in a statement.

“Alabama’s community colleges are located within every region of the state, which means we are perfectly positioned to organize and execute an effort of this magnitude to help maintain ‘Alabama the Beautiful’ during our state’s bicentennial year,” he added.

Community college students, faculty and staff will serve alongside residents and members of several community organizations on Clean Home Alabama days for a number of beautification and litter pickup projects. Several community organizations have already committed to projects.

One partner, Alabama People Against a Littered State (ALPALS), donated 150 trash bags to each community college and is assisting colleges and groups with the process for obtaining official road markers in their honor for the ALPALS Adopt-A-Mile, Adopt-An-Area and Adopt-A-Stream programs.

Projects for Clean Home Alabama can range from picking up litter along a roadway or helping to beautify entrances and exits into local parks, cities or facilities.

Learn more here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

Episode 5: Alabama State Rep. Mike Ball

(YHN)

Dale Jackson is joined by State Representative Mike Ball to talk about how he went from being born to a mentally-ill single mother to the Alabama legislature.

Ball describes how an early life of tribulation, including being reunited with his father and witnessing his death, prepared him for his current role as a public servant.

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11 hours ago

Gone but not forgotten: Bryant-Denny Stadium goes blue for slain Tuscaloosa PD officer

(Kent Gidley/Univ. of Alabama)

Tuscaloosa Police Department Investigator Dornell Cousette was remembered in a special way on Wednesday night, when the University of Alabama used Bryant-Denny Stadium to honor the fallen hero‘s life and show that they back the blue.

UA lit the iconic stadium blue from 8:00-9:00 p.m.

Former TPD Lt. Andy Norris shared stunning pictures of the scene on his Facebook page.

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Video taken inside the blue stadium showed a surreal scene.

On social media, UA Athletics said, “Tonight we honored the memory of Tuscaloosa Police Investigator, Dornell Cousette. Officer Cousette was a true hero. Thank you for your selflessness to serve our community. We will always remember you.”

You can view numerous high-quality photos of the night honoring Cousette courtesy of UA Athletics here.

(Jeff Hanson/Univ. of Alabama)

Additionally, Cousette’s police car will be parked outside the stadium at the Walk of Champions until approximately noon on Friday. This is intended to be a way for the community and public to come show their support for the officer, along with his family and fellow law enforcement officers.

(Ashley Gooden/Twitter)

Read about more ways to honor Cousette, including visitation and funeral services, here.

RELATED: ‘Will never be forgotten’: Ivey ordering flags to half-staff for Tuscaloosa PD’s Dornell Cousette

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

16 hours ago

‘A stark reminder’: Lee County resident arrested on federal terrorism charges, supports ISIS

(FBI/Facebook)

The Associated Press on Wednesday reported that Nayef Qashou is being held in a detention facility in Montgomery after being arrested in regards to a substantial terrorism probe.

During this multi-year probe, the FBI said Qashou told agents he would execute an American soldier if ordered to do so by the Islamic State (ISIS). The Lee County resident was taken into custody on Monday. He is reportedly charged with lying to the FBI and destroying records.

In a newly unsealed affidavit, the FBI explained that Qashou arrived in the country in 2015 with plans to study nursing at Southern Union State Community College’s Opelika campus. He is a dual Jordanian and American citizen who grew up in Saudi Arabia, authorities noted.

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The FBI has interviewed him over 12 times since then. Agents also searched his home in Auburn, telling a judge they were looking for computer equipment and computer storage devices.

Per The Associated Press, the FBI advised that Qashou used encrypted phone apps to communicate with suspected terrorists who told him he should carry out an attack in the United States.

The encrypted communications included the discussion of attacks against U.S. forces, among other things, according to the affidavit.

“Qashou would not tell interviewers exactly how he responded to the suggestion to conduct a U.S. attack,” FBI Special Agent Scott Sullivan wrote in the affidavit. “He stated he essentially responded by saying the only way he could justify an attack is for it to be against U.S. Armed Forces personnel on U.S. soil.”

Qashou also claimed to FBI agents that he does not believe in violence.

However, he also said he would help ISIS and “drive fuel trucks, feed troops, and use a gun to defend against U.S.-led attacks against ISIS,” the affidavit outlined.

The man consented to numerous interviews at the FBI’s Auburn field office, where he allegedly voluntarily shared some eyebrow raising information, including his desire to join fighters in Syria.

The affidavit additionally stated that Qashou tried to minimize his support of “radical Islamic ideology.”

“Qashou stated he believed ISIS is fighting a humanitarian war that will benefit all Muslims in the Middle East,” the document explained.

He reportedly ended one of the interviews by saying he felt “it was his duty as a Muslim to inform the interviewing agents that he thinks the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is innocent and the FBI should reopen the case to examine all the evidence.”

This comes the week after the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Last week, Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03), who represents Lee County, spoke about the serious dangers of domestic terrorism. Rogers is the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

He reacted to the news of Qashou’s arrest on Wednesday in a statement.

“Today’s arrest is a stark reminder that terrorism remains a threat in our own backyard,” Roger said.

“According to the FBI, Qashou used encrypted phone apps to discuss attacks on U.S. forces on American soil. I applaud the diligent work of law enforcement for their continued vigilance and preventing any potential violence before it could occur,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

17 hours ago

Episode 26: Kent State recap, Texas A&M roast

(YHPN)

DrunkAubie is back to talk about the easy Kent State win, laugh at Mississippi State’s quarterback turning into a Madden glitch and preview this week’s matchup with Texas A&M.

The guys also roast Texas A&M and discuss if Nick Saban is a vampire.

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Celebrate the Seventh Amendment at Jefferson County Courthouse

(YHN)

The Alabama Association of Justice and their members invite all courthouse employees and judicial staff to celebrate 230 years of the Seventh Amendment guaranteeing the right to a civil jury trial. Join the fun: Monday, September 23, 10:00 am to 10:30 am at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N #251, Birmingham, AL. For more information contact jsmith@alabamajustice.org.

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19 hours ago

On this day in Alabama history: NASA unveiled space shuttle Enterprise

(Wikicommons)

Sept. 17, 1976

It was named after the Starship Enterprise, from the famed TV show “Star Trek.” Indeed, much of the cast of the show and its creator, Gene Rodenberry, attended the unveiling on this day in 1976. It represented a completely new concept for the nation’s space program: a reusable space orbiter. But Enterprise would never make it to space. Rather, it was the “test shuttle,” built for atmospheric tests only after being launched from a modified Boeing 747 jet. Enterprise had no engines and no functional heat shield, making it incapable of spaceflight. And design changes after Enterprise’s unveiling made it impractical to retrofit for space travel. Constructed primarily in California, Enterprise also spent time at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, where it underwent rigorous ground-vibration testing. It was in Huntsville that, for the first time, all the space shuttle’s key components – the orbiter, external tank and two solid-rocket boosters – were tied together.

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22 hours ago

Tuscaloosa man faces capital murder in officer’s death

(Tuscaloosa PD, YHN)

A man faces capital murder charges in the death of an Alabama police officer.

Police said Tuesday that 20-year-old Luther Bernard Watkins is charged with capital murder in connection with the death of 40-year-old Tuscaloosa police officer Dornell Cousette.

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Authorities say Cousette was shot and killed Monday night while attempting to arrest Watkins who was wanted for robbery and other charges.

Lt. Jack Kennedy says that Cousette had received information that Watkins, who had multiple felony warrants, was at a Tuscaloosa home.

Police say Cousette drove by the home and Watkins fled inside.

Kennedy says Cousette got out of his car and pursued Watkins into the home.

Kennedy says “almost immediately gunfire erupted inside.”

Watkins was wounded. Cousette was killed.

Cousette was an Army veteran who had been with the police department for 13 years. He was engaged and had two daughters.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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Guarantee your group finishes the year in style

(NASCAR/Facebook)

Talladega Superspeedway’s premium corporate hospitality options allow your group to enjoy the race in a whole new way. Whether entertaining clients or surrounded by friends, hear the roar of the track and savor the first-class amenities together in your own private viewing area. A limited number of suites are still available for the October race weekend.

Complete your booking to experience the best Talladega Superspeedway has to offer.

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24 hours ago

Alabama parole chief resigns after less than year in role

(Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles/Facebook, YHN)

The chair of Alabama’s Board of Pardons and Paroles is resigning from her governor-appointed station effective Oct. 1 after less than a year in the role.

News outlets report Lyn Head said she made the decision after fervent prayer.

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The Tuscaloosa lawyer and former prosecutor has served on the board for a total of three years.

Gov. Kay Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola says the governor will begin the process to name a replacement.

Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall have criticized the agency over the past year for its handling of a repeat offender who was charged in three slayings while paroled last summer.

They later backed legislation that gave Ivey greater control over the agency and led to the suspensions of three top administrators.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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1 day ago

7 Things: Jones now against Kavanaugh impeachment, Biden and Warren separate themselves in new poll, vaping illnesses hit Alabama and more …

(D. Jones, R. Shelby/Facebook)

7. Alabama A&M coach not taking the team back to UNA

  • Connell Maynor, the Alabama A&M football coach, has said that he and his team were treated poorly while visiting the University of North Alabama for their game over the weekend, mentioning, “This ain’t 1959. We don’t have to put up with that type of stuff.”
  • While Maynor didn’t specifically say what happened, he stated, “There was too much stuff that went on off the field, behind the scenes that was not professional on their part at all. And we were very, very disappointed in the way they treated us, in every aspect off the field.”

6. Trump not impressed by Warren’s rally size

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  • Both President Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) held campaign rallies, and while Warren was estimated to have 20,000 people in attendance at her rally, Trump was less than impressed.
  • Trump commented on Warren’s rally, saying that he didn’t think she actually had 20,000 people in attendance. He added that “anybody would get a good crowd there” because the rally was held in Manhattan’s Washington Square.

5. Professors at the University of Alabama think the University of Alabama is racist

  • In an attempt to appear woke, the Faculty Senate at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa has voted to declare a recent resignation of a dean was made possible by a “racist and toxic environment” at the school, even though the professor resigned after posting things on social media that were in themselves racial in nature and could easily be seen as toxic.
  • The text of the resolution passed by the Faculty Senate references the past issues and “reputation” of the university and claims the culture on the campus is “non-inclusive and discriminatory,” but they don’t explain what events are taking place on the campus that back that up.

4. Alabama hospitals must report gunshot wounds

  • A new law that goes into effect September 1 will require all Alabama hospitals, clinics, mental health facility and nursing homes to report gunshot wounds to law enforcement, which could have played a role in the arrest of a cop killer.
  • Reports are required to be made before patients are released from the hospital, and, until now, Alabama has only been one of three states that didn’t require gunshot wounds be reported.

3. First vaping-illness cases confirmed in Alabama

  • Three people in Mobile County, ages 17-20, have been hospitalized with the vaping lung disease that’s recently received national attention. But there is no word on whether the products were black market or over the counter.
  • The lung disease has shown up in 36 states, but the percentage of high schoolers vaping is higher in Alabama than it is nationwide, with 24.5% of high schoolers in Alabama using e-cigarette products compared to 20.8% of high schoolers nationwide, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

2. New Democratic presidential polls

  • A new poll put out shows a significant change in where the top 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are, but to no surprise, former Vice President Joe Biden is still leading at 31%, a five-point increase since July.
  • U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has gained six points since July, putting her in second place at 25%, while U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has gained one point, but he’s still only polling at 14%. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has stayed at 7%, but U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has fallen eight points, putting her at only 5%.

1. Doug Jones flip-flopped on Kavanaugh impeachment

  • While U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) originally seemed to support impeachment, on MSNBC Tuesday he had a change of heart when he admitted, “I don’t think you move forward with any allegation in which the victim can’t remember anything and is reluctant to talk about it.”
  • When the most recent allegations were made against Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Jones immediately said that Kavanaugh’s impeachment was “inevitable,” adding that “it’s unfortunate we didn’t have all of this information for everyone to have a full investigation, an opportunity to review it back in the fall.”

1 day ago

The marginally qualified elites

(TODAY/YouTube, YHN)

One of the current high profile stories in our culture involves how celebrities and power elite families have manipulated the system to give some of their marginally qualified children preferences in college admissions to elite universities.

Our anger is modified when we can put faces on the villains. Television stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among those in the current focus of public outrage.

While I understand the rage of regular folks who play by the rules and do not have inside connections or mega bucks to help their kids gain admission to coveted institutions, I argue that the focus on celebrity misdeeds is diverting our attention from the real culprit, the dependence of colleges and universities on test scores by the standardized testing industry.

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The companies that administer such tests have no public oversight and are able to limit our children’s career options and paths to success simply by placing numbers next to their names. Institutions will claim such scores are not the determining factor in admissions, but, in reality, that is their prime purpose.

If celebrity and power elite children do not make the cut on standardized tests and are admitted because of improper influence, then one would assume they would not succeed. But if they are successful and ultimately graduate, one would have to assume the scores mean little.

As a high school teacher for 17 years, I saw too many cases in which good students did not test well on standardized exams, and it often altered their confidence and opportunities in life.

In one case, a young man wanted to be an engineer but was denied entrance into a major public university because of a low score on standardized exams. His teachers, including myself, wrote letters for him, and the university gave him a chance. He graduated as an engineer and continues to be a highly respected professional in this community. In other cases, our pleas on behalf of worthy students were not successful.

As for Felicity Huffman, she will be fine. She will spend her 14 days in prison and use the experience to become an advocate for prison reform and perhaps enhance her career as she gains more public sympathy for taking responsibility. After all, God – and the gossip-hungry public – love sinners, especially the redeemed sinner.

But when we talk about sentencing some of these folks up to 40 years in prison, I say give me a break. We do not give that time to child predators and others who commit heinous crimes. Perhaps these celebrities should hire Alex Acosta, the former labor secretary and U.S. Attorney who gave Jeffrey Epstein a big break all those years ago. I understand he needs a job.

In truth, career-aspiring prosecutors are playing to the mob, and these are show trials. Perhaps prosecutors should give some overdue attention to universities that give preferences to qualified and, obviously, sometimes questionably or marginally qualified children of families who are willing to purchase admission.

There are countless examples in which power elite families have managed to get their marginally qualified children admitted to certain institutions by giving huge financial gifts or supporting vanity building projects. The practice involves individuals from both the well-known and the obscure, and it includes both private and publicly-funded universities supported by tax dollars.

A series of emails and related documents recently released by a major west coast university gives validity to this issue. Adding insult to injury are the tax deductions the affluent receive for such donations.

The bottom line is that it should not matter if it is celebrities or other power elites with plenty of cash who are gaming the system because, at the end of the day, it is all just bribery.

Waymon E. Burke, Ph.D. is a history and political science instructor at Calhoun Community College who has taught at the high school, community college and university levels for 47 years. He is also the co-host with Dale Jackson of Yellowhammer’s “Guerrilla Politics,” a weekly political discussion broadcast on WAAY-TV in Huntsville.

2 days ago

High-speed internet access: A necessity for rural Alabama

(Pixabay, YHN)

Over the past two years, Alabama’s elected leaders passed legislation expanding rural access to high-speed internet — also known as “broadband.” Increasing access in rural areas of our state to this essential element of infrastructure means improving quality of life and expanding opportunities for our people and communities.

AARP has an active interest in this issue. The reason is simple: expanding access to high-speed internet throughout our state would have a direct, positive impact on the lives of adults over age 50 and their families. High-speed internet access has become vital in helping our communities and their residents thrive and be successful.

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High-speed internet access offers local businesses and our agriculture industry the means to serve customers near and far, providing income and jobs. Schools and colleges require high-speed internet access to ensure students get the education and training they need for quality job opportunities.

Additionally, for the existing workforce, it provides access to telework jobs, distance learning and online job search sites that enable them to change or advance their careers.

Telehealth services available through high-speed internet make connecting to specialists and other health care providers easier for both caregivers and their loved ones. New technologies help improve health and safety by providing access to state-of-the-art support services.

Family caregivers can find tools to monitor the home and activity of a loved one, improve communication, combat isolation and prevent/detect falls. This need has become even more critical as hospitals and other providers have been leaving rural communities in Alabama.

AARP will continue to work with Alabama’s leaders in the public and private sectors to end the “digital divide” in order to bring the benefits of high-speed internet access to all parts of our state.

Anna Pritchett is the associate state director of AARP Alabama

2 days ago

SAWDC AlabamaWorks! to host career event for high school students

(PIxabay, YHN)

SAWDC AlabamaWorks! is set to host its 10th Worlds of Opportunity hands-on career exploration event on Wednesday and Thursday, and will give students the opportunity to participate in activities relating to jobs that do not require a four-year degree.

According to a press release, the free event, which will be held at the Mobile Civic Center, is set to host high school students, including 7,919 Alabama eighth graders, and 128 businesses.

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Students will have the opportunity to speak with industry professionals about future jobs and high school seniors will have the chance to win a $1,000 scholarship towards a technical program at a local school.

“Students will have the opportunity to talk to industry professionals about high-demand jobs in our region and how they can obtain these jobs in the future,” the press release states. “High school seniors who attend WOO Varsity will be entered into a drawing to win a $1,000 scholarship toward a technical program, to Bishop State Community College, Coastal Alabama Community College, or Reid State Technical College.”

For more information on the WOO Varsity event, or to register, click here.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

2 days ago

Of course the guy helped by a media smear supports media smears

(Fox Business/YouTube)

Alabama’s junior Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has had a lot to say about Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh lately.

On Sunday, a day after the latest liberal smear was launched, Jones scurried to a TV camera outside of a church and said that the impeachment of Justice Kavanaugh was “inevitable.”

He added, “And it’s unfortunate that we didn’t have all of this information for everyone to have a full investigation, an opportunity to review it back in the fall.”

Of course, there was nothing to review; the entire smear has now blown up in their faces.

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So Tuesday, Jones found himself in the unenviable position of looking like a former prosecutor who condemned an innocent man based on scurrilous information so he walked back his position.

The sheepish Jones told MSNBC, “I don’t think you move forward on any allegation in which the victim can’t remember anything and is reluctant to talk about it.”

But don’t think Jones is the only liberal media darling feeling the heat. Even United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) thought better of her ill-timed condemnation of Kavanaugh.

And then she put it back up.

Why? Because the facts don’t matter here. Democrats and their media have decided this is how they will proceed on these matters.

The decision to lie or mislead without any evidence in order to gain a political advantage has been an effective weapon for the media and their Democrats.

The truth is irrelevant when the stakes are so high.

If they have to pressure witnesses to lie, they will.

If they have to omit facts that change the whole story, they will.

Jones already knows this — there is no risk to this kind of behavior.

The media will not hold Democrats responsible or point out their embarrassing behavior.

This is how Doug Jones became a United States senator.

The Washington Post wrote a story about an allegation, with no evidence, and the rest of the media ran with it and they declared anyone who would dare vote for Roy Moore be forever labeled a child molestation enabler.

Without this playbook, Jones would have been the latest Democrat chump fed into the ALGOP woodchipper and spit out the other side.

Instead of being a less than a one-term footnote in history, Jones would have been just another also-ran loser. Jones would go down as the prosecutor in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and nothing more — a feat he should be proud of course, but he wouldn’t be called “senator” for the rest of his days.

It’s not Jones’ fault. He is just an unwitting observer in all of this.

He is a Red State Democrat they can point to and say, “See, we can even win in Alabama with the right message!”

Unfortunately, the real message from that 2017 election was the allegations don’t have to be true or provable, they just have to be made and the media will do the rest.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

2 days ago

‘Will never be forgotten’: Ivey ordering flags to half-staff for Tuscaloosa PD’s Dornell Cousette

(City of Tuscaloosa/Facebook, PIxabay, YHN)

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday declared that flags shall fly at half-staff on the day of Tuscaloosa Police Department Investigator Dornell Cousette’s interment to honor the slain hero.

Cousette, a 13-year veteran of the department and U.S. Army veteran, was shot and killed in the line of duty on Monday evening.

In a statement, Ivey said she was “devastated to learn of the news that Alabama lost our fourth law enforcement officer to a senseless act of violence this year.”

“Two beautiful children lost their father. A soon-to-be bride lost her fiancé. The Tuscaloosa community lost a protector and 13-year veteran to the force. Truly, Alabama has lost one of her heroes, Dornell Cousette,” the governor lamented.

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“We cannot take for granted the tremendous sacrifices our men and women in law enforcement make each and every day in order to keep us safe,” she emphasized.

“Because of Officer Cousette’s brave call to action, the felon he pursued now remains in custody. Officer Cousette laid down his life in service to the people of Tuscaloosa,” Ivey continued.

The governor concluded, “Our deepest prayers remain with Officer Cousette’s two children, his fiancé, the Tuscaloosa Police Department, the city of Tuscaloosa and all of our brave men and women who put their lives on the line to ensure the protection of our communities. The ultimate sacrifice of Officer Dornell Cousette will never be forgotten.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Alabama Power employees provide Mobile elementary students with homework kits

(Alabama Power/Contributed)

Stacy Walley had a problem.

The Employee Development coordinator at Alabama Power‘s Barry Steam Plant had to figure how to get a square peg in a round hole to provide homework supplies for a Mobile elementary school.

And she did it.

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Walley is the plant’s liaison with George Hall Elementary, one of Barry’s “Partners-in-Education,” which means Barry employees regularly visit to provide funds and emotional support for the pre-K-fifth grade school in the economically struggling Maysville community in southwest Mobile.

Principal Melissa Mitchell requested supplies so students can work from home without lugging pencils, pens and paper back and forth each day.

“Our teachers believed it would benefit our students to have everything they need on hand at home so obstacles in completing homework and projects would be removed,” Mitchell said.

But Walley had a quandary.

“I have a certain amount of money I’m allotted to spend with George Hall each year and I really didn’t want to take away from that amount, because we do other events throughout the year,” Walley explained.

Those events include treating honor roll students to doughnuts each quarter; keeping supply closets stocked and providing a visit from Santa Claus at Christmas.

It’s in the bag

And then Walley had an idea: Ask Barry employees to sponsor a homework book bag for each of the 335 students.

“I bought the supplies and basically divided the cost by the number of students. I felt it was much more personal than just asking people to donate money toward the cost of supplies,” she said.

The cost came to $5 per student. Less than three weeks after sending an email request to the Barry “cluster” (Barry, Washington County Co-Gen and Theodore Co-Gen), employees had contributed $1,745.

“It just amazed me to see how quickly our employees came together to support these children,” Walley said. “It wasn’t like they were sponsoring just one student or two. There were four or 10; one employee even sponsored 40 children because she was a student at Hall when she was in elementary school.”

Mitchell was equally astounded, and verified Walley’s hunch that sponsoring each child individually would be more meaningful.

“It was truly amazing to see the team deliver a bag for every student in our school,” Mitchell said. “We appreciate all Alabama Power does each year to support our school, but it is extremely heartwarming to know this gift came to us through personal donations of employees.”

‘A win-win’

“I was so happy for my sweet kids at George Hall and so proud of my Barry family,” Walley said. “It was a win-win for me to be able to do this and not take away from their quarterly honor roll celebration and Operation Santa at Christmas.”

Mitchell commended Alabama Power for what it does year-round for George Hall.

“Many of our students do not have proper uniforms or supplies,” she said. “It is a comfort to know our school will always have the materials, supplies and clothing needed to support our students thanks to the support of Alabama Power.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 days ago

Blount county sheriff to hold prayer vigil over ‘rampant evil’

(Blount County Sheriff's Office/Facebook, PIxabay, YHN)

The sheriff of an Alabama county dealing with several grim cases has organized a prayer vigil.

AL.com reports Blount County Sheriff Mark Moon released a statement Friday about the upset in the “normally quiet and peaceful county.”

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He didn’t mention specific cases, but said the last month has been trying.

Deputies this month found the body of a missing man stuffed in a barrel behind the home of one of the four people later charged with capital murder in his death.

Last week, a woman and her boyfriend were charged in the death of her 18-month-old son.

The sheriff says the “stressful times and most recent events” have made it “evident that evil is running rampant among us.”

The vigil is set for Oct. 2 at a high school.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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2 days ago

Sixth annual Crush Wine & Food Festival next week in Huntsville

(Homegrown/Facebook, YHN)

Wine lovers rejoice! Homegrown, LLC of Huntsville, is planning an incredible weekend just for you.

If you need a mini escape from football craziness and are not quite ready to carve your pumpkin, make sure to reserve September 25-29 on your calendar for some boozy fun at the sixth annual Crush Wine & Food Festival.

Due to growing popularity with festival-goers, the organizers have added whiskey to the lineup and expanded their food offerings this year as well. With over 150 wine labels, exclusive chef dinners and whiskey/wild game pairings, this event is bound to become one of your newest annual traditions.

Boasting five different tasting, dining and entertainment opportunities, the Crush Wine Festival has something for everyone. Check out the schedule for the festival:

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(Crush Wine & Food Festival/Facebook)

Wednesday, September 25: Champagne Kickoff Party

What: Presented by The Westin, Mumm’s Champagne and Tito’s Vodka, the Champagne Kickoff consists of an intimate, laid back evening of celebration toasting to the festival’s events. Mumm’s Champagne, specialty Tito’s drinks and heavy appetizers crafted by Chef Bill Stellwagen of The Westin will be served as you mingle with the industry’s best chefs, winemakers and chocolatiers who help bring the Crush Wine Festival to life each year.

Where: The Westin at Bridge Street Towne Center

Thursday, September 26: Winemaker and Whiskey Distiller Dinner

What: Presented by The Scout Guide, Keel Point and Jason Landers, a three-course winemaker and distiller dinner to remember will be handcrafted by Johnny Dolan (Hunstville native and executive chef at the Lion’s Share in San Diego, CA) and Chef Renee Boyzo, executive chef at Purveyor.

Where: Purveyor

Friday, September 27: Whiskey and Wild Game Experience

What: Presented by Progress Bank, this event will feature 20 spirits – a tent for scotch, bourbon and whiskey, each to offer wild game tastings to pair with your pour. Dolan and Boyzo are slated to host this unforgettable evening, too.

Where: Big Spring Park East, Downtown Huntsville

Saturday, September 28: Signature Crush Wine Festival

What: Presented by Progress Bank, the main event will feature 150 wines from all over the world, live music, grape stomping, wine-inspired food items and much more.

Where: Big Spring Park East, Downtown Huntsville

Sunday, September 29: Champagne Brunch

What: Presented by The Scout Guide and Tito’s Vodka, the event closes out with a classic Champagne Brunch sure to offer you many opportunities to toast to your new vino and whiskey expertise. Offerings such as a sparkling wine tasting, a Tito’s vodka bloody-mary bar and live music are sure to cap off the week’s events by providing guests the ultimate Sunday Funday.

Where: The AC Hotel

In an effort to give back, a portion of this year’s proceeds will benefit the Huntsville Hospital Foundation’s Crush Parkinson’s Fund – a charity with the mission of furthering research and providing the best innovative care for those affected by the disease.

Specifically, the Crush Parkinson Fund is aiming to add a Parkinson’s nurse navigator to the clinic staff who is trained to provide educational and emotional guidance to patients and their families as well as assist in helping each patient meet their optimal results during treatment.

This popular multi-event festival has sold old for the past five years, so don’t delay in reserving your spot for the fun!

Tickets range from $50 for a general admission ticket to the signature Crush Wine Festival to $400 for the Ultimate VIP Crusher Package, which covers every event throughout the week.

All tickets can be purchased at www.CrushWineFestival.com.

2 days ago

Lockheed Martin to base hypersonics programs in Alabama, add 272 jobs

(Lockheed Martin/Contributed)

COURTLAND, Alabama – Lockheed Martin Monday announced plans to make North Alabama its flagship location for work on hypersonics programs, with plans to open a new production facility and hire nearly 275 people, including engineers.

At a groundbreaking ceremony today, Lockheed Martin said it will add two new buildings at its Courtland facility for the assembly, integration and testing of hypersonics programs. The company said it will locate the management and engineering workforce for these programs in Huntsville.

The move means 72 new jobs in Courland and 200 new positions in Huntsville over the next three years. Additional job growth is expected.

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“The decision to bring hypersonic manufacturing to this region would not have been possible without the support of the State of Alabama, our local partners including Lawrence and Madison counties, the cities of Courtland and Huntsville and Tennessee Valley Authority as well as those elected representatives in Congress,” said Scott Keller, vice president and general manager for Strategic and Missile Defense for Lockheed Martin.

“On behalf of Lockheed Martin, we are honored to expand our presence in Northern Alabama and watch as the next cohort of innovators take advanced defense technology to levels we once thought were impossible,” Keller added.

During an official ceremony today in Courtland, Marillyn Hewson, chairman, president and CEO for Lockheed Martin, was joined by Senator Richard Shelby, Governor Kay Ivey, and Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Space for Lockheed Martin, among others.

Officials representing the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy were on hand in Courtland to mark the occasion at the site of the next hypersonic production facility.

Lockheed Martin’s Ambrose will host an event later today in Huntsville to celebrate the increased workforce expansion as part of this effort.

LONGLASTING TIES

Lockheed Martin’s strong partnership with the state of Alabama dates back several decades and includes research and development on rockets and space launch vehicles, tactical missiles, space exploration, and air and missile defense targets.

The company employs more than 2,000 people in Alabama. Earlier this year, it announced an expansion at its missile production facility in Pike County.

“Lockheed Martin has a longstanding relationship with the state of Alabama, and I am proud to see that strengthen even more as they make our state the flagship location for their hypersonic programs,” Governor Ivey said.

“Both Courtland and Huntsville will gain new jobs, which is always welcome news. I am proud and confident that Alabamians will help advance Lockheed Martin’s goals as we begin working towards the advancements of the future,” she said.

Lockheed Martin is an industry leader in the development, testing and fielding of hypersonic systems. Hypersonic Strike capabilities have been identified by the U.S. government as a critical capability that must be addressed in support of the U.S. National Security Strategy.

Lockheed Martin has established partnerships with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and DARPA on key programs to meet the needs of this critical mission.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)