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.

28 mins ago

VIDEO: Trump’s second impeachment moves forward, Mo Brooks faces targeting in D.C., Alabama’s vaccine rollout is too slow and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Party Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— President Donald Trump has now been impeached again, but will Democrats actually follow through in the Senate?

— Is U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) really in danger of censure, expulsion and/or prosecution in Washington, D.C.?

— Where is Alabama’s vaccine rollout in comparison to other states?

87

Jackson and Handback are joined by State Senator Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) to discuss the U.S. Capitol riots and their fallout, the next legislative session and whether it will be shortened or not.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” at those who believe threats of violence actually help their cause in spite of all the evidence that shows otherwise.

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

1 hour ago

An open letter to President Trump from a former supporter

(White House/Flickr)

Dear President Trump,

I voted for and supported you, as did 74 million Americans throughout the land, and now we are all absolutely and completely betrayed. The Democrats have the presidency and Congress because of you. I am a Christian and wholeheartedly believe in forgiveness – but my forgiveness of you will be difficult. Here’s why.

For about three years your accomplishments were incredible – more than any president in my lifetime. You brought Kim Jong-un to the table and accomplished more in one year with North Korea than Barack Obama or Bill Clinton did in 16. Clinton’s sunshine policies and Obama’s Wilsonian overtures did nothing to advance anything with that Asian nation. But you had Kim talking, at least for a while.

869

You managed to author new trade deals with Canada, Mexico, China and the European Union. You brought NATO to heal by demanding other member nations pay their fair shares. The border with Mexico was strengthened and we were on a concrete plan to better regulate and control illegal immigration.

The economy was perhaps your greatest accomplishment. Usually, the president has little power to deeply affect economic cycles but you lowered taxes and eliminated draconian regulations, essentially removing the tourniquet off of the economy’s blood flow. It absolutely erupted. In fact, I would argue that the economy – running like a greased locomotive going downhill by early 2019 – was better able to shoulder the initial economic shut down due to COVID.  Had Hillary been in the White House, I have no doubt that her weak economy would have tanked with a COVID shuttering. 

But once COVID hit, you implemented that shutdown and you seemed – at least initially – on top of the crisis. Always remember that politics is perception. And, fair or not, the media helps shape perception. Once the summer of 2019 came, you stopped acting like an active leader. You never directly addressed the people, as Reagan or the Bushes would have done. You never inspired confidence in our ability to defeat the virus. Instead, you endlessly moaned about the media and tried to shape perception via Twitter, which was largely unsuccessful.

I have no doubt that the media single-handedly destroyed your presidency with all the misinformation it monolithically propagated. From Charlottesville, VA, to COVID, you never could use the media for your own purposes. Instead, you antagonized it by fighting with Jim Accosta, Chris Cuomo, and other talking heads with whom you had no business arguing, like a child on a recess playground. 

George W. Bush understood that you will never gain the full support of the media and so when it was critical, he ignored it. He placed the media beneath himself and his office, which is absolutely proper.

Your ego would not allow you to be gentlemanly, empathetic or kind. I think this is one reason why the media hated you so much. And instead of leading the people through the COVID crisis, you were viewed by most Americans as petty. If you would have just been nice, pleasant and active for the media, you’d be president today.

Also significant, you never could give others credit when things went well or take the blame when they did not. Reagan was always the first to admit when he was wrong and when he was right, he credited others instead of himself. George H. W. Bush and his son did the same. Obama and Clinton were mixed with this – I saw them give and take credit. But you? You always took credit for everything, without exception. And what’s worse, when things went haywire, you blamed everyone else. What you did to Jeff Sessions was completely wrong. And you ended up doing the same thing to James Mattis, Rex Tillerson, William Barr and many others. During your four years you had four chiefs of staff, five Deputy Chiefs of Staff, four national security advisers and three secretaries of defense. The rate of turnover in your administration was higher than any other president.

Lastly, you manufactured what now seem to have been completely untrue stories about election fraud. You did this in complete dismissal of the truth and most damning, you willfully lied about it for over eight weeks while you should have been focused like a laser on Georgia.

When Republicans tried to legally and constitutionally stand against the electoral votes in certain swing states on January 6 (a largely symbolic gesture), you encouraged your supporters to march on the capitol, which they did. And when they overran the capitol police, ultimately causing the deaths of six Americans and the vandalism of our capitol building, you sat and watched, like Nero playing his fiddle, for hours and hours.

You never made it clear that this was illegal, violent, murderous and destructive. You, it seems to me, tacitly approved while the capitol was ransacked. This is pathetic. You sir do not deserve to be our president. I do not support impeachment or removal because it is essentially a fait accompli

However, your dithering on 6 January absolutely and concretely confirms that your time in Washington is over, forever. I will never vote for you again because you placed yourself above your office and the Constitution. 

Your actions have probably destroyed the Republican Party in its present form. And the damage that Biden-Harris will inflict on the nation will further illustrate the depths of your failure. Perhaps worst of all, the media’s false claims about gun-toting, redneck, racist conservatives that have been made for years have now been given a real example, the damaging results of which will not be known for a long time.

Goodbye, Mr. Trump. Go into that good night silently, please. Someday I will forgive you, but I don’t know when.

Kenny Moore is a missile defense engineer and college history teacher in Alabama

 

3 hours ago

Veronica Crock joins Commerce team as senior project manager

(Made in Alabama/Contributed, YHN)

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Veronica Crock, an experienced economic developer and former educator who focused on workforce preparedness, has joined the business development team at the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Crock, who holds the title of senior project manager, will concentrate her efforts on advanced manufacturing projects statewide. She will also have an initial focus on Southeast Alabama, where she previously worked as an economic developer.

“The project managers in Commerce’s Business Development Division work strategically to create opportunities and jobs for citizens all across Alabama, and Veronica has the expertise to help us advance that mission,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“She is a great addition to our team.”

246

‘OUTSTANDING JOB’

Crock previously served as the president of the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. in the region that houses the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence/Fort Rucker and numerous aerospace companies.

She also served as president of Grow Southeast Alabama, an 11-county organization that promotes industrial growth and job creation across the region.

“Veronica is well known to our team at Commerce for the outstanding job she did in leading the local economic development efforts in Dale County, as well as her leadership with the regional efforts of Grow Southeast Alabama,” said Ted Clem, director of Commerce’s Business Development Division.

“We are excited to have someone of her caliber on our project management team.”

EXPERIENCE

Before starting her career in economic development, Crock served as dean at Enterprise State Community College and the Alabama Aviation College, where she collaborated with economic development organizations, local governments, and educational entities to establish a solid workforce development background.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a master’s degree from Troy University, and completed doctoral research at Alabama State University. She is a graduate of the Applied Economic Development Honors Program at the University of Alabama and the Intensive Economic Development Training Institute at Auburn University.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to work with such a dedicated team of economic development professionals,” Crock said. “I look forward to serving the state in this new role and will work hard to be a valuable and contributing member of the Alabama team.”

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

5 hours ago

New respirators to aid front-line workers at Anniston hospital

(Alabama NewsCenter/Contributed)

A midnight run to Miami is helping protect health care workers at Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Anniston.

Thanks to the support of multiple community partners, RMC has obtained 20 Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) that will be used by professional staff treating patients at the hospital who are suffering from COVID-19.

PAPRs are worn over the head, typically with a clear screen in front, to protect health care workers from potential exposure to airborne pathogens. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, PAPRs are in short supply, just when they are needed most.

316

RMC officials were able to secure a supply of PAPRs – in Miami – with help from the Oxford Police Department. Indeed, not only did the police help find the vital equipment, they also agreed to make an overnight dash to South Florida to retrieve them.

The officers arrived back in Anniston Tuesday morning and delivered the critical equipment to the grateful team at the hospital, which continues to see a surge in COVID patients. 

“Nearly a year into this pandemic, we are grateful for the continued support that has kept our physicians and staff going,” said Lagina Fillingim, RMC Foundation director. “Thank you to everyone who made this donation possible.”

Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge said the department was happy to assist.

“If we help them, it’s going to help us,” Partridge said. “They’re first responders like we are. They’re on the front lines every day.”

He said Oxford Mayor Alton Craft reached out to the department to see if they could help the hospital locate the PAPRs. “I told him we’d certainly try,” Partridge said.

“We went ahead and made an emergency purchase because they’re in high demand. Two officers drove down to pick them up,” he said.

He said the PAPRs will not only help the hospital workers, they indirectly help the police department and the entire community.

“When an officer is hurt or injured in the line of duty, we need the doctors and nurses to take care of them, and they can’t do that if they’re sick with COVID,” Partridge said.

The PAPRs were purchased with support from the Alabama Power Foundation and other community partners, including Noble Bank, the Calhoun County Chamber of CommerceCalhoun County Economic Development Council and the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama.

The RMC Foundation continues to seek donors to support a variety of programs at its affiliated facilities, including the purchase of needed equipment and supplies. To learn more or to donate, visit https://rmccares.org/donate-now/.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

7 hours ago

Alabama Power hydro generation benefits from 2020 rainfall

(Nik Layman/Alabama NewsCenter)

Lots of rain in 2020 meant lots of clean, renewable, low-cost hydropower for Alabama Power customers.

Preliminary figures show the company produced significantly more hydropower in 2020 than projected, placing 2020 as the eighth-best year on record for hydroelectric energy production.

“Hydropower is one of the most cost-effective sources of energy,” said Herbie Johnson, Hydro general manager for Alabama Power. “The more hydropower produced, the better for our customers.”

273

With hydropower, there’s no need to purchase fuel, since the source of the energy is a renewable resource: rain. Hydropower also creates no emissions, helping protect air quality.

Of course, hydropower is subject to the whims of Mother Nature, since it depends on ample rains to keep hydro reservoirs filled.

That wasn’t a problem in 2020, with record spring rains, adequate summer showers and two major hurricanes in the fall. Indeed, those record spring rains resulted in the best January through April in the company’s history for hydropower production.

Those spring rains broke records across the state, leading to higher-than-average rainfall totals for the year in multiple locations. At Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, for example, rainfall for all of 2020 was the fifth-highest on record. Rainfall data for Birmingham dates back to 1896. Anniston, Birmingham, Huntsville, Muscle Shoals and Tuscaloosa all recorded their soggiest first quarters ever in 2020, according to the National Weather Service.

The substantial spring rainfall, combined with wise management of water resources throughout the year, helped make 2020 a strong year for hydropower generation in Alabama.

Turbine upgrades at several Alabama Power dams in recent years have helped the company produce more renewable energy with less water. Alabama Power has 14 hydroelectric facilities on 11 lakes across the state. The company’s lakes also provide sources of drinking water, recreational opportunities and help fuel local economies.

Typically, Alabama Power gets between 4% and 8% of its electricity annually from hydro. The company’s diverse generating mix includes power produced from nuclear, natural gas and coal-fired power plants, and from renewable resources such as solar and wind.

Learn more about Alabama Power hydro generation at https://apcshorelines.com/.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

8 hours ago

Daughter of Tuskegee receives COVID vaccine

(Arthur Owens/Contributed, YHN)

As a daughter of the city of Tuskegee, I embrace her proud history. Tuskegee Institute, now University, the prolific George Washington Carver and the legacy of the courageous Tuskegee Airmen are among the first topics that I’m asked about when I meet people who are not from the area. Some people even ask if I know Lionel Richie, which always makes me smile. Invariably, conversations turn to another, less welcome topic, the shameful Tuskegee Syphilis Study that remains a scourge on my beloved hometown. Lately, the Study is being talked about in news reports as the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on people of color increases.

With the recent news of emergency authorization for two COVID-19 vaccines, I’ve thought a lot about the weight of history and the skepticism and distrust for the healthcare industry that lingers in the African American community. As a registered nurse with Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS), I wonder how willing Veterans from my community will be to trust and take advantage of the promising, potentially lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine that is being offered at our facility.

252

In-mid December, VA launched a phased plan to vaccinate Veterans who reside in community living centers and employees with the goal to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated. CAVHCS received its initial shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and began vaccinating on December 22.

As I’ve weighed the pros and cons of the vaccine and what saying yes or no could mean, I say with certainty that I will get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. While I understand the vaccine does not guarantee that I will not become infected, it lowers the risk of getting infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Though I no longer live in Tuskegee, my commitment to the city runs deep as my octogenarian parents, whom I care for, still live in the community. As a wife, mother, health care professional and neighbor, getting the vaccine is only one way I’m looking out for the well-being of the Veterans I serve, my family and the residents of my childhood home.

After being vaccinated, I will continue to wear a mask, wash and sanitize my hands frequently and keep appropriate distance as recommended by the CDC. I urge Veterans and everyone in my hometown to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines to make an informed decision about being vaccinated against the coronavirus.

VA has online resources with information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Veterans who are interested in being vaccinated should call CAVHCS at 800-214-8387.

Cheryl Owens is a registered nurse with Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System

9 hours ago

Alabama’s innovative weather data network growing

(Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Power is joining forces with Baron Critical Weather Institute (BCWI) to expand the collection and analysis of real-time weather data in Alabama in an effort to improve weather-related decisions by citizens, first responders and government agencies.

A BCWI weather sensor and webcam was installed Jan. 13 at Alabama Power’s facility on 4th Street near downtown Tuscaloosa as part of a new pilot project between Alabama Power and BCWI. BCWI founder and CEO Bob Baron said weather data and video from the equipment will be sent continuously to BCWI for integration into its mesonet, a high-density weather network it uses to improve public safety through advanced data analysis.

298

“These sensor reports allow us to see instantaneous changes in the wind, barometric pressure and temperature,” Baron said. “Data and video from the mesonet helps us identify and track severe weather faster, as well as improve the accuracy of winter weather forecasting across the state.”

Alabama Power partners with Baron Critical Weather Institute from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The BCWI, a nonprofit organization, was established in 2018 to research how weather affects transportation. It has since evolved its focus into world-class instrumentation supporting public safety, educational outreach and economic development. Baron said Alabama Power will help BCWI connect its network to benefit public safety agencies, such as the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the Alabama Department of Transportation, as well as meteorologists at news outlets statewide.

“The goal of the Baron Critical Weather Institute is to install at least one webcam and sensor in every county in the state,” Baron said. “Alabama Power has a great footprint and we’re very excited about them being involved in what we’re doing.”

Alabama Power Engineer Meredith Morgan said the company is partnering with BCWI because it believes the data and video will help both the company and its customers.

“We saw this as a beautiful partnership,” Morgan said. “We saw this as a way to better protect our state, as well as provide our company additional weather information needed to keep our crews safe.”

Morgan said a second BCWI weather data sensor and webcam will be installed at an Alabama Power facility in Birmingham in the near future, with more possibly to follow.

To see weather data and video from the BCWI mesonet, visit BaronCriticalWeatherInstitute.com and click on “Map” in the navigation menu at the top of the page.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

10 hours ago

Volunteers build new fish habitats for Alabama’s lakes and rivers

(Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter)

New artificial fish habitats will soon be deployed in Alabama lakes and rivers as part of a joint effort by Alabama PowerB.A.S.S. and Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation to help fish thrive.

Approximately 200 “spider blocks” were assembled Jan. 9 in Calera. High school anglers, coaches and parents from the Gardendale Rockets Bass Fishing Club and HUKONE Bass Club joined volunteers from Alabama Power, B.A.S.S. and Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School to assemble the fish-attracting devices (FADs). The work was done in an open field, allowing participants to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

“This is exciting,” said Darrel High, state youth director of Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation. “We do a lot of projects and we like for our high school clubs to get involved with these type things. I think it’s great.”

247

Alabama Power, B.A.S.S. team up to build new artificial fish habitats from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The spider blocks were built using 150 bags of cement, 200 buckets, 1,600 synthetic sticks and water. Alabama Power Environmental Affairs Specialist Mike Clelland said the spider blocks will replace aging natural habitat.

“As our reservoirs age, the natural habitat starts to deteriorate and go away, so we’re supplementing the old stumps, logs and trees with spider blocks built out of synthetic materials,” Clelland said. “As these structures sit in the water, they’ll start collecting algae and macroinvertebrates, which are little insect colonies. That in turn will attract smaller fish to feed on, and in turn the larger fish will come to the smaller fish, so we’re creating mini-ecosystems throughout the reservoir.”

Clelland added that these artificial habitats can survive much longer than natural FADs, such as old Christmas trees, because of their synthetic structure, giving fish more reliable habitats in which to thrive.

“These fish habitats will be here for many years,” Clelland said.

Catherine Huffman, coach of the Gardendale Rockets Bass Fishing Club, said her anglers enjoyed putting the habitats together.

“It’s very exciting,” she said. “It’s a good project and it’s good to get them out of the house and get them working.”

Clelland said the FADs will be placed in area lakes and rivers in the coming weeks with GPS locations of the new habitat drops placed on apcshorelines.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

23 hours ago

Allen Flanigan leads the way for Auburn as the Tigers defeat Kentucky at home

(Auburn Basketball/Twitter)

Auburn Arena wasn’t as crazy as it usually is when Kentucky comes to town. Yet, the game was just as exciting as ever.

The Tigers defeated Kentucky 66-59 on Saturday in a back and forth game in which neither team had a lead larger than seven points. Sharife Cooper becoming eligible has changed the way Auburn plays, and the ball is being spread around more in the last three games than it has all season.

Cooper had 11 points and seven assists against the Wildcats, but it was Allen Flanigan that led the way in scoring. Flanigan finished the game with 21 points along with nine rebounds, which were both the highest numbers on the court today.

After the game, Bruce Pearl praised Flanigan’s style of play saying, “Allen Flanigan is a man out there, he is a full-grown man.”

So far this season, Auburn hasn’t looked like the same team of the past couple of years. Shooting on the perimeter has been a struggle for the Tigers, only hitting 4-23 in this game, and Auburn has only shot 33% from deep this season. However, Bruce Pearl is letting his team play to their strengths.

405

On the inside Auburn has a big man, TJ Thor, who is built for the NBA. Thor only had six points against the Wildcats but was able to create havoc down low in the paint to create space for other players to get clean shots at the rim. Stretch Akingbola is another big man who had zero points today, but his presence was felt down low opening up the floor for his teammates.

Pearl would be the first one to admit that his team was struggling earlier this season without Cooper being eligible to play. For that beginning stretch of the season, Auburn didn’t even have a true point guard on the court, but now the Tigers are starting to trend upwards.

Before the game, Pearl explained what it meant to play Kentucky. On what it takes to beat the Wildcats team, he said, “We’ll have to play our best game of the year to beat Kentucky… They’re the benchmark of our league.” He continued, “People will be measured on how you play against Kentucky, and that’s how you should be measured.”

At the end of the day, Pearl’s team was able to measure themselves against Kentucky to see where they stand in the league.

On his team’s win over the Cats, Pearl commented, “Give Kentucky credit, but we managed to to score 42 points in the second half to get the victory.”

Kentucky isn’t the same juggernaut that college basketball fans are used to seeing, but a win over the Wildcats is always a big deal for any team. After the loss today, they fall to 4-8 on the season and are 3-2 in conference play after starting off 3-0.

The two SEC teams to beat the Cats this season were the two teams from the state of Alabama. While Auburn has recently become the “basketball school” of the state, Alabama is the top team in the SEC at this point of the season with five straight conference wins.

The Tide look a lot like the last few Auburn teams who lived or died by the three-point shot.

These two Yellowhammer State teams will meet again later in the year, but for now Auburn have their sights set on Arkansas. Auburn will travel to Fayetteville to take on the 10-4 (2-3 in conference) Razorbacks on Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. CT.

Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: hayden@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter: @hayden_crigler.

1 day ago

Will student loans be forgiven?

(Pixabay, YHN)

November’s elections imply we will likely see some Federal student loans forgiven. Current student debt levels reflect the morphing of a reasonable program. Loan forgiveness may produce significant changes for higher education.

President-elect Joe Biden has indicated a willingness to forgive $10,000 in loans per borrower via executive order. A Democratic Senate will likely result in congressional action; Senators Charles Schumer and Elizabeth Warren want $50,000 in loans forgiven. Cancellation of all loans may now be a possibility.

Before considering the consequences of loan forgiveness, let’s consider why government should make student loans. America has long been described as the “Land of Opportunity,” and as Arthur Brooks argues, Americans accept unequal economic outcomes more readily than Europeans. Many accept unequal outcomes because they believe people have a chance to succeed based on their own efforts.

561

Free enterprise has generated enormous prosperity but also wealth disparities. A rising tide does lift all boats. The Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World finds that the incomes of the poorest 10% are eight times higher in the most economically free nations than in the least economically free nations. Free markets also produce billionaires.

Inequality has become a topic of intense debate. Resentment of the rich could lead to high income and wealth taxes which would significantly reduce economic freedom. Widespread belief in equality of opportunity short-circuits the politics of envy.

Education, including college, has long been an element of American opportunity. College is seen as a gateway to the middle class. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that persons with bachelor’s degrees earn 65% more than those with only a high school diploma, a lifetime difference of $1 million.

This difference in earnings explains why financial institutions would make college loans without government guarantees. Market-based loans would favor students: with stronger academic credentials; pursuing higher-paying degrees; and with assets for collateral (e.g., well-off parents).

Libertarian professors might contend that a market for loans provides opportunity, while liberal professors might judge America inherently unfair. The perceptions of an opportunity society that matter politically are those of Americans, not professors.

To dig into these perceptions, imagine we could design an unbiased test predicting success in college very well. Suppose we administered this test to high school juniors one time and banned anyone scoring below a given threshold from attending college.

Does this sound fair? Such a system, I suspect, would strike many of us as somehow un-American. We celebrate the rags-to-riches stories or the football walk-on who ends up being an All-American. We value the opportunity to try even when the experts tell us we will fail.

Market-based loans must offer reasonable returns to attract investors. Yet, ensuring opportunity involves giving students who are likely to fail an opportunity. Maintaining an opportunity society probably requires some bad loans to marginal students. Government guarantees enable such loans, and I consider investing in maintaining equality of opportunity worthwhile.

Unfortunately, the student loan program pays for tuition at expensive private colleges and for graduate and professional degrees. This goes well beyond ensuring basic opportunity and means loan forgiveness will benefit the well-off. Households in the top 20% of the income distribution hold $3 of loans for every $1 held by the bottom 20%. A quarter of students graduate college without debt, often because they worked or started at a community college.

Forgiving outstanding loans might make current students expect their loans to be forgiven too. This would essentially usher in free college.

Yet even government money is not free, and programs typically have mechanisms containing spending. For instance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture supports selected crop prices but limits the eligible acreage. Washington’s financial support of higher education has to date involved few cost-control measures; loan forgiveness may provoke such controls.

Student loans reflect a familiar pattern. A reasonable rationale for a limited program provides cover for profligate spending. The problems caused by not limiting access to government-subsidized loans may now cost taxpayers, and especially responsible student borrowers, billions.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

1 day ago

New mural celebrates Alabama literary giants

(Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter)

Johnna Bush spends most of her days painting portraits, but when the Grove Hill studio artist got a call from a friend about plans for a new mural in downtown Monroeville, she stopped and listened.

“I really believed in this project because I believe what they’re telling and preserving is so important,” Bush said. “This is a wonderful teaching tool for the children.”

536

Monroeville mural celebrates Alabama’s literary giants from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Monroeville Main Street asked area artists to submit ideas for two murals: one honoring Truman Capote and the other honoring his childhood friend Harper Lee and eight other writers whose work earned Monroe County the designation as Alabama’s Literary Capital. After a few weeks of thinking, reading and drawing in her head, Bush painted her suggestions and sent them to the judges at Monroeville Main Street. Both of her ideas were selected.

“I was blown away by the detail on the Capote mural, but the precision she put in and the representation of the writers in the literary capital mural is exquisite,” said Anne Marie Bryan, executive director of Main Street Monroeville. “When she put that Pulitzer Prize on the bottom shelf and framed it with the three Monroeville writers that won it, I was just in awe.”

Bush completed the Capote mural in 2018 and then got to work on the literary capital mural. After months of fundraising and planning, Bush began painting the outside wall of 29 Pineville Road in October 2020. She worked night and day using a lift and chalk line to hand-draw the bookcase, followed by a projector and ladders to project each segment on the wall to be sketched.

“After that it was pretty straightforward,” Bush said. “It took about seven days to paint after it got drawn on the building. It’s a little bit of a trompe l’oeil feel to it in that it’s rather three-dimensional. It gives you the feeling that it’s a hole in the wall.”

The finished work features a bookcase honoring the works of Lee, Capote, Rheta Grimsley-JohnsonRiley KellyWilliam Barret TravisCynthia TuckerHank WilliamsMark ChildressMike Stewart and Marva Collins. Bush simply calls it “Literary Giants.”

“Nobody ever sees the agony of what’s going on inside your head or the research, but when you can say ‘Yes, this is what I was thinking,’ it’s very gratifying,” Bush said. “I didn’t want it to immediately reveal itself, but if they will come and ask questions, they’re going to be shockingly pleased about what was really accomplished here.”

“It amazes me that she painted that mural in less than three weeks,” Bryan said. “She is such a talented artist.”

The mural is a natural complement to the Literary Capital Sculpture Trail unveiled in 2019. The trail features 14 bronze sculptures – one for each of the 10 writers, one to represent the Pulitzer Prize won by three of the writers and a second sculpture for Lee, Capote and Tucker. Bryan said this new mural is just another reminder that anyone can do very big things, even when you come from a small town.

“It is important when schoolchildren walk the square that they be able to learn a little bit about each of these writers because you never know when the next poet is in the group or the next artist,” Bryan said. “These writers have proved that.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 day ago

Walker County swears in its first ever female judge

(Contributed)

History has been made, as Circuit Judge Joeletta Barrentine became the first ever female circuit or district judge in the 198-year history of Walker County.

She was sworn in on Friday in the county seat of Jasper and now sits on the bench on Alabama’s Fourteenth Judicial Circuit, which covers Walker County.

“To the people of Walker County, I am grateful beyond measure for the confidence that you have placed in me,” said Barrentine before a socially-distanced crowd at the Community Health Building in downtown Jasper. “I pledge to you all to discharge the duties of my office to the best of my abilities. I will strive with all that I am and all that is within me to live up to your expectations.”

146

“The rule of law must always be followed,” she continued. “The oath that I have solemnly taken before y’all today means that I will do my job without any fear of intimidation, or favor. And I will rule in each case independently of my personal beliefs. The rule of law must always be followed.”

A Republican, Barrentine won a high-profile primary in March of last year. She then faced no opposition in November’s general election. The new judge was previously in private practice.

Also sworn in on Friday was presiding District Judge Henry Allred. A Republican, he was elected to a third term in 2020.

“I have two daughters, so it was very special to me and my family for me to be sworn in by Walker County’s first female judge,” commented Allred.

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

1 day ago

South Alabama dives into Galapagos research

(University of South Alabama/Contributed)

When Dr. Ronnie Baker returns to the Galapagos Islands as part of ongoing research project with the University of South Alabama, he’ll bring along a dozen underwater cameras and a plan for surveying the waters surrounding one of the most remote and unique ecosystems on the planet.

“What I’d like to do is look at the mangrove and other shallow water habitats along the coast,” said Baker, who is also a senior marine scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. “And get a general baseline of the juvenile fish communities to allow us to detect changes in these communities into the future.”

The research is part of a collaboration with the University of North Carolina and Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Baker is one of seven South researchers who have been awarded grants to explore research opportunities with the Galapagos Science Center.

879

He made his first trip in 2019. He planned to return this fall, but the coronavirus pandemic interrupted travel. His next chance might come in the spring.

COVID-19 restrictions may have delayed trips to the archipelago for South faculty and students, but they haven’t diminished enthusiasm for the partnership. A USFQ team of engineering students and an instructor recently participated remotely in a USA innovation program as they seek to link disposers of recyclable materials with buyers.

Meanwhile, three South students have worked on research projects with faculty from USFQ. Marie Foret and Aaron Wilson, both honors students, are participating in meaning in life research, surveying USA students to secure a comparison population and offering an opportunity for cross-cultural understanding. Lena Siemers, a December graduate in international studies and foreign languages and literature, assisted on a project focused on human migratory flows from Venezuela to Ecuador.

“When you start these kind of partnerships, you hope they’ll grow into something meaningful and significant,” said Bri Ard, director of international education at South. “With USFQ, we had a great idea and we were able to execute it.”

Alex Rendon, director of operations for the office of international programs at USFQ, said South research fit well with plans for the International Galapagos Science Consortium.

“One of the motivations for inviting USA to join the consortium,” Rendon said, “was the strong capacities in sustainable fisheries and ecotourism that could elevate ongoing activities to higher levels of scholarship and greater global visibility.”

The Ecuador program joins more than 15 South partnerships with colleges around the world. These include exchange programs with the Toulouse Business School in France, Hanyang University in South Korea and Kansai Gaidai University in Japan.

The Galapagos Islands, which are more than 500 miles off the coast of South America, are famous for inspiring Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution during his scientific voyage on the HMS Beagle in 1835. Because of their isolation in the Pacific, the islands have a large number of unique species and are a national park and marine reserve of Ecuador, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dr. Tony Waldrop, president of the University of South Alabama, helped start the Galapagos Science Center when he was vice chancellor of research at the University of North Carolina. The center was founded in 2011 as a hub for research among local, national and international scientists. The focus of work is on interdisciplinary research, education through science and community support. The connection between Waldrop and USFQ administrators led to South joining research in the Galapagos.

“These kinds of relationships are incredibly valuable,” Ard said. “You automatically have university buy-in and support. It’s a bit of a dream.”

Lynne Chronister, vice president of research and economic development at South, offered travel grants to professors interested in Galapagos research. These included Dr. Sean Powers, Dr. Alison Robertson, Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski and Baker in the department of marine sciences; Dr. Kevin White in civil, coastal and environmental engineering; and Dr. Alex Beebe and Dr. Steven Schultze in the department of earth sciences.

Areas of study are fisheries, climatology, oceanography and seismology, along with tourism and hospitality, health-related services, and civil and coastal engineering. In years to come, field work could include graduate assistants and undergraduate students from Mobile.

“This will give our students an opportunity to gain international experience,” Chronister said. “Both in the classroom and in research.”

Right now, South professors are trying to plan their research around the travel restrictions and health concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s delayed all of the research by about a year,” Chronister said.

In 2015, some of the first scholars from the University joined an international research project in the Galapagos Islands. A pair of South biologists at the time, Dr. Ylenia Chiari and Dr. Scott Glaberman, helped identify a new species of giant tortoise – the Eastern Santa Cruz Tortoise, Chelonoidis porteri.

Baker joined the South faculty two years ago. He was born in the United States, but grew up in Australia and earned his Ph.D. from James Cook University in northeast Queensland. For several years, he did research in Australia and Papua New Guinea. His post-doctorate experience includes work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Galveston, Texas, and the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Fla.

One of his mentors at the Smithsonian, Dr. Ilka “Candy” Feller, is a world leader in mangrove research and traveled to the Galapagos in 2019.

“What’s she’s found there,” Baker said, “is an incredible mangrove system unlike any other in the world.”

His plans for the Galapagos rely on an underwater camera system developed by one of his former students. Small waterproof devices are much easier to use than bulky equipment from years past. The hard part comes with analyzing all of the data from different cameras at different locations.

Species of snapper and grouper are most valuable to the fishery, but also most vulnerable to overfishing. Ecotourism is an opportunity, but also a concern. One question for national park officials is whether to allow snorkeling at certain mangrove bays.

His research will have an application for island programs with ecological tourism and sustainable fisheries.

“That’s quite appealing,” Baker said. “To be able to work with the national park managers, to have our work tied to their immediate plans.”

(Courtesy of the University of South Alabama)

1 day ago

UAH scientists are part of first discovery of giant neutron star flare outside Milky Way

(UAH/Contributed, NASA, YHN)

The first-time discovery of a giant flare from a neutron star that’s outside Earth’s galactic neighborhood is the subject of a new research paper in the journal Nature that has four co-authors from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System.

“This is the first time we could claim, without a doubt, a giant flare from outside of our galactic neighborhood,” says co-author Dr. Peter Veres, a research scientist at UAH’s Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR).

Only three such giant flares have been detected since satellites have observed the gamma-ray sky. All three are nearby by space standards. Two are located in the Milky Way and one in the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy.

1016

Video of the unique magnetar outburst can be seen at https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13751.

The find was made by the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM), an instrument aboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope with 12 low-energy sensors and two high-energy sensors. The bulk of the study is based on GBM data with additional measurements from the Burst Alert Telescope instrument aboard the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory’s Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission satellite and some radio observations.

Early in this decade UAH developed GBM’s performance requirements and its ground and flight software. Dr. Michael Briggs, CSPAR assistant director and senior principal research scientist, is the deputy principal investigator for the Fermi GBM. The instrument was built through a collaboration between UAH, NASA and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany.

At UAH’s Cramer Research Hall, the university’s scientists regularly monitor the data from GBM together with colleagues from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and the Max Planck Institute. The principal investigator for the Nature paper is Oliver Roberts of USRA, headquartered in Maryland. The UAH co-authors are Dr. Veres; Dr. Briggs, who this year won NASA’s Exceptional Public Achievement Medal in part for his GBM work; Dr. Narayana Bhat, a CSPAR research scientist; and Rachel Hamburg, a UAH graduate research assistant (GRA).

Co-authors are from nine universities and also include UAH alumnae Dr. Colleen Wilson-Hodge of MSFC, who is the principal investigator for Fermi GBM, as well as authors from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

The giant flare was observed as a short burst of gamma-rays by the GBM instrument on April 15, Dr. Veres says.

“Neutron stars are very compact, city size objects with mass that is somewhat larger than the mass of the sun,” Dr. Veres says. “These flaring neutron stars have extra strong magnetic fields and also go by the name magnetars.”

Giant flares are also very bright, he says.

“The three known flares were all so bright that every instrument observing them was blinded by the huge number of gamma-rays.”

Because the photons from those earlier discoveries were arriving faster than the instruments could count them, Dr. Veres says that even though scientists know how a giant flare looks in broad terms, measuring their detailed properties was elusive.

“Now, with the observation of this giant flare, we can see details of the event that were not possible to discern before,” he says. “The picture we have for this giant flare is that the magnetic field became strong enough to produce cracks in the neutron star.”

As a result, an energetic jet was released and hurtled toward the GBM instrument at very high speed.

“For the first time we were able to determine the speed, which turns out to be very close to the speed of light,” Dr. Veres says. “Through all of this the magnetar should be rotating and we also find signs of this rotation. We don’t know exactly how fast, but a good estimate is once every eight seconds – that is consistent with our observations and interpretation.”

Even at such a large distance, the giant flare was bright enough that it caused problems in a small segment of the GBM data.

“We overcame this issue by using data from the BAT and patched up this short part,” Dr. Veres says.

The entire event was unusually short, lasting less than two-tenths of a second. “For me, the outstanding result is that we observed even shorter variations, about 1/10,000th of a second,” Dr. Veres says. “This is a record among cosmic gamma-ray flash sources. The variations tell us about the size of the object responsible for the emission and point to a neutron star origin.”

The UAH research team contributed data analysis, mitigation of instrumental effects and data interpretation. Dr. Briggs and Dr. Bhat used their expertise with GBM to show where the data needed correction. Dr. Veres analyzed the spectrum, calculated the total energy involved and worked on interpreting the findings. Hamburg, the GRA, put the event in context of other observations from GBM to show it was unlikely to be a gamma-ray burst.

Research for the new discovery was funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the data is another feather in the cap for the 12-year-old Fermi satellite and its GBM, which launched in 2008 as a mission with a five-year lifespan.

“The Fermi mission was designed for five years at first and extendable for five more years,” says Dr. Bhat, a recipient of MSFC’s Golden Eagle Award in 2018 for quickly restoring GBM to operation after it was turned off when the Fermi spacecraft had an anomaly.

“GBM is now more than 12-years old and I am happy to say that it is working flawlessly,” Dr. Bhat says. “There are several reasons for it to function well even now, and maybe even 10 more years, perhaps.”

First, GBM doesn’t have consumables on board that could run out and limit its life, he says. Second, the detectors were well designed and fabricated by the German scientists from the Max Planck Institute per the mission requirements. Third, the onboard electronics were designed, fabricated and well tested in the U.S.

“Recently there was some scare about a couple of detectors that were overheating,” Dr. Bhat says. “Then we carried out an elaborate high-temperature stability test in our laboratory and demonstrated that there is no danger to the detectors functioning at those temperatures. As a result, it is no surprise that GBM is functioning well and will remain healthy for a long time to come.”

Scientific discoveries from GBM data have brought national and international recognition to its team of researchers, including the 2018 Rossi Prize from the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society. The Rossi Prize is awarded annually in honor of Italian physicist Bruno Rossi for a significant contribution to High Energy Astrophysics, with particular emphasis on recent original work.

GBM’s high detection rate for gamma ray bursts led to a joint science and observation partnership with the Laser Interferometer Gravity Wave Observatory (LIGO) group that first observed gravitational waves. The LIGO partnership resulted in GBM becoming a major player in multi-messenger astrophysics.

(Courtesy of UAH)

1 day ago

Alabama economy fares better than neighbors during pandemic

(Pixabay, YHN)

A nationwide survey by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that Alabama fared better economically than its neighboring states during the first seven months of the pandemic.

A new experimental bureau survey and interactive U.S. map reveal the monthly and state-by-state amount of taxes collected for general sales, lodging, alcoholic beverages, motor fuel and tobacco products. Although some states – such as Alabama for alcohol sales – don’t publicly post all tax revenues, the bureau site provides percentages in all available categories as well as links to state tax collection details.

The color-coded U.S. map affirms data released Jan. 4 by the Alabama Department of Revenue, showing that after underperforming in March and April 2020, Alabama’s tax collections from May through September soared above previous years in general sales and motor fuels. However, lodging receipts were significantly down nationwide and Alabama was no different.

455

Alabama has been a national leader in motor fuel tax revenue increases during the pandemic, ranking fourth in March and April, fifth in May, third in June, second in July and first in August, when receipts were 26% higher than 2019. The motor fuel tax is distinct from the state gasoline tax. The state raised the gasoline tax rate in September 2019 and again in October of last year. Another increase in the gasoline tax is slated for October of this year.

The census survey shows that Alabama led neighboring states in general sales tax revenue percentage increases over 2019 in four of the first seven months of the pandemic. Alabama’s -1.8% sales in March was the second-best rate nationally, behind Virginia’s -0.4%. That month, no state surpassed revenues collected the previous year.

Alabama tax revenues began rebounding following Gov. Kay Ivey’s May 22 order to reopen retail stores, restaurants and bars with limited capacity and social-distancing restrictions. Alabama led its neighboring states in general sales increases in May, July (Top 8 nationally) and September.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama started the pandemic faring the worst in lodging tax revenues among Georgia and Mississippi (Tennessee and Florida don’t report), dropping to -69% in April versus the prior year. While things only got worse in much of the nation regarding lodgings, Alabama began improving and by July had for three continuous months the least difference in receipts versus 2019 when matched against neighbor states. In September, Alabama was 17% below the previous year receipts, which was the fourth-best percentage nationwide (Illinois was first with an 80% increase over 2019).

As overall tax revenues in Alabama fell from April through June 2020, receipts rose dramatically the remainder of the year, beginning in July with a 70% increase over the previous year. By year-end, the state had received a record $12.2 billion in combined tax receipts.

Tobacco sales tax revenue was the other underperforming area for Alabama in 2020, a shift after the state in March was one of five in the U.S. with a greater than 20% increase over 2019. By April, Alabama tobacco sales had fallen to the third-worst year-over-year rate nationally.

While Alabama doesn’t publicize month-to-month alcohol tax receipts, bar and restaurant closings reduced on-premise sales nationwide and in two neighboring states: Tennessee saw drastic revenue drops every month of the census survey, while Florida saw a roller coaster effect as bars opened and closed, going from -40% in July to 40% in September. In Georgia, alcohol tax revenue exceeded every month versus 2019, and some states saw huge gains, such as Connecticut at 359% in May, Delaware 266% in March and New Jersey 234% in July.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

Southern Company, Apple launch Propel Center digital learning hub in Atlanta

(The Propel Center/Contributed)

Southern Company and Apple joined educators and community stakeholders on Jan. 13 in announcing a partnership to launch the Propel Center, a new digital learning hub, business incubator and global innovation headquarters in Atlanta for students of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including those in Alabama.

Both Apple and Southern Company, which is Alabama Power’s parent company, are founding partners, with the Southern Company Foundation and Apple each contributing $25 million to the effort.

“We know inequities exist in our society, and it’s up to each of us to be more intentional in our efforts to make a difference and bridge the gap,” said Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning. “We know more must be done, and the establishment of the Propel Center is another important demonstration of Southern Company fulfilling our commitment to move our communities to a more equitable future. Partnering with Apple in this initiative is an exciting way to connect future leaders with these critical resources.”

783

“We’re proud to partner with Southern Company on this groundbreaking new project to build a global hub for innovation and learning for the entire HBCU community,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. “This important effort builds on our long-standing collaboration to advance educational equity, and we are thrilled to be working together to help HBCU faculty create best-in-class curriculum and ensure their students have access to cutting-edge skills and opportunities.”

The $25 million investment from the Southern Company Foundation will help grow Black entrepreneurship and provide much-needed technology resources to the workforce of the future. This commitment is part of the $50 million multiyear initiative Southern Company and its subsidiaries announced in 2020 to provide scholarships, internships, leadership development, access to technology and innovation to support career readiness for students attending select HBCUs within the Southern Company system’s service footprint in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

“We are incredibly encouraged by the future possibilities presented through our support of HBCUs,” said Chris Womack, president of Georgia Power. “By investing in better outcomes, we create new opportunities for the students of today to become the leaders of a more prosperous tomorrow.”

Propel is both a physical and virtual campus that is designed to provide HBCUs with shared resources to support their work of preparing leaders to improve the world. Via a physical campus and digital learning tools, students from 100-plus HBCUs will be able to connect with the brightest minds in the world, through one-of-a-kind global opportunities. The students will also be able to connect with each other – a key component as they become more civic-minded leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

“Tech jobs offer lucrative salaries and among the best opportunities for growth, yet the workforce in the nation’s top firms still does not reflect the country’s diverse population,” said Dr. David A. Thomas, president of Morehouse College. “Black and Hispanic professionals continue to be underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers. What students need are more opportunities at the college level to show and grow their skills in coding, programming and data analysis in partnership with industry leaders. Apple and Southern Company are committed to developing the talent found at HBCUs and are committing resources to help improve diversity in STEM.”

Miles College in Fairfield, near Birmingham, is part of the partnership with Propel Center and will collaborate with the center and other HBCUs to bring leadership and career development programming to its students.

“We look forward to being an active contributor to this groundbreaking center of learning and opportunity for Miles College students,” Miles College President Bobbie Knight said.

Propel’s  physical campus will be in Atlanta at the Atlanta University Center, a consortium made up of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Morris Brown and Spelman College. Southern Company will serve as the energy partner for the construction of the building, ensuring it is sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“The Propel Center will be a tremendous asset to Atlanta’s thriving HBCU community and will advance the mission of these institutions in the United States, and around the world,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “Thank you to Apple and Southern Company for investing in our youth and our communities. We are honored to join you in this monumental effort.”

The Propel Center continues the work that was established by Alabama Power and Apple in February 2020 with the launch of Birmingham’s Ed Farm, an education initiative supported by the Alabama Power Foundation. Ed Farm aims to equip educators and communities in Alabama with innovative tools and strategies that support active learning for all students. Among Ed Farm’s goals: to increase educational equity, improve learning outcomes through technology and prepare the future tech workforce.

Anthony Oni, vice president, Southern Company Gas, who is the founder and chairman of Ed Farm, designed the Propel initiative to advance collaboration and innovation at HBCUs. He will continue to work on the project going forward, actively engaging with academic and institutional partners.

“These investments are critical as we begin to truly scale Black innovation ecosystems,” Oni said. “By leveraging technology and partnerships to connect students with unique learning opportunities, we can lift up the talent that already exists at these institutions of higher learning and accelerate their development. In doing so, we will have a hand in shaping the workforce of the future – and the leaders of tomorrow.”

“Ed Farm’s foresight to bring together this collaboration will forever impact opportunities for our students as innovators in the future workforce,” added Miles College’s Knight. “The Propel Center exemplifies the sincere commitment of our partners, Apple and Southern Company, to value the cultivation of the HBCU graduate.”

For updates and more information, visit www.PropelCenter.org.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 day ago

Black Belt Adventures urges hunters to donate venison

(ALBBAA/Contributed, YHN)

Hunters Helping the Hungry has provided more than a half-million pounds of ground venison to those in need in Alabama, and the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBAA) is encouraging hunters to make a special effort to donate harvested deer to the program during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend of January 15-18.

Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) started in Alabama in 1999 through funding derived from the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation, which is chaired by Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). The Foundation pays processors in Alabama $1 per pound for the ground venison, which is then donated to food banks and charities in Alabama.

Commissioner Blankenship and Pam Swanner, ALBBAA Director, said the impact of the global pandemic has greatly increased the need for donations of protein-rich venison for those impacted by the virus.

894

“We know this past year has been difficult for many, and we hope this targeted weekend will assist in providing healthy, organic ground venison to families in need all across the Black Belt region,” Swanner said. “During this time of year, and especially with the impact of COVID-19, we couldn’t think of a better way to encourage sportsmen and women to utilize this free program to support the areas in which they go afield.”

Commissioner Blankenship said Alabama’s deer herd provides a bountiful resource that can be shared in this time of need.

“I think Hunters Helping the Hungry is a great program,” Commissioner Blankenship said. “We have such a healthy population of deer in our state. A lot of landowners need to harvest more does off their property to keep the deer herd in balance. When the freezer is full, this a great opportunity to manage your deer and donate the harvested animals to Hunters Helping the Hungry, which then donates the venison to the food banks to help those in need. We want to make sure there is no waste in the harvest of these deer.

“With the COVID situation and food banks being relied on by a lot of people to provide their protein and sustenance, it’s a great opportunity for deer hunters in the state to make sure those food banks are stocked with good meat to help the people in those communities.”

Because the processing fee is paid by the ACNRF, there is no cost to the hunters.

“All they have to do is drop the deer off at one of the participating processors with a Game Check confirmation number, and the processor takes care of the deer and sends it to the food bank,” Commissioner Blankenship said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Currently, eight processors are participating in the HHH program within the Black Belt with 15 food banks participating within the region. The participating processors are Buckster’s Deer Processing in Montgomery County, Green’s Deer Processing in Clarke County, M & S Wildlife Services in Choctaw County, Nichols Deer Processing in Dallas County, Richey’s Deer Processing in Hale County, John’s Deer Processing in Lee County, Milliron’s Deer Processing in Russell County, and Venison LLC in Wilcox County. For a full list of participating processors and food banks statewide, please visit https://www.outdooralabama.com/programs/hunters-helping-hungry.

Paying the processing fee for HHH donations is only one of many benefits ACNRF provides.

“The Foundation does a lot of good work to help promote hunting, fishing and wildlife management in the state,” Commissioner Blankenship said. “Scholarships are provided at the University of Alabama and Auburn University in different disciplines. We provide seed and other materials for youth dove hunts around the state. We help support the Adult Mentored Hunting Program. A lot of things that come through the Foundation really support the work of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, especially those things that encourage people to become hunters and fishermen and get out and enjoy the outdoors.”

The Foundation has also been impacted by COVID-19, limiting the methods it can use for fundraising.

“The Foundation receives contributions from interested people throughout the state, but the biggest fundraiser is the Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt,” Commissioner Blankenship said. “Due to COVID, we were not able to have the hunt last year, and we won’t be able to have it in 2021. But we’re counting on 2022 to be the best Alabama Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt ever.”

Commissioner Blankenship said individuals, companies or groups that want to donate to the Foundation can contact the ADCNR Commissioner’s office at 334-242-3486.

Commissioner Blankenship also serves on the ALBBAA board, which he said is a very natural partnership between the Black Belt group and the Foundation.

“The ALBBAA accentuates the great hunting we have in the Black Belt region and tries to help people in that area through the natural resources, which are so abundant in the Black Belt,” he said. “I really enjoy the work of the ALBBAA to promote those counties in the Alabama Black Belt. Most of those areas have smaller cities and small communities where hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation are a big part of the way of life there and a big part of the economy. The more people we bring to that region of the state, the more it will help with economic development and economic resources for those counties. I really appreciate the work ALBBAA does in the less populated but very important areas of our state.”

The Black Belt includes the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox.

The ALBBAA’s mission is to promote and enhance outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner that provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens. Visit www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org for more information on the outdoors opportunities and cultural heritage in the Black Belt.

Those who donate a deer to the HHH program during the designated food drive and tag Alabama Black Belt Adventures on Facebook or Instagram will be entered into a random drawing for an antler mount from Foster’s Taxidermy Supply in Montgomery.

David Rainer is an award-winning writer who has covered Alabama’s great outdoors for 25 years. The former outdoors editor at the Mobile Press-Register, he writes for Outdoor Alabama, the website of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

2 days ago

Ivey urges patience as vaccine rollout picks up pace; State still compares poorly to others

(Amanda L Abbett/UAB Hospital/Contributed)

Governor Kay Ivey is urging Alabamians to be patient with the rollout of their state’s coronavirus vaccination system. Her comments come as Alabama has received criticism for its slow process compared to other states, though the pace has increased in the last week.

Compared to other states and territories, Alabama has ranked at or near the bottom in terms of shots given per thousand people, and in terms of the percentage of doses in its possession that it has gotten into arms.

The pace of administration notably quickened in the last five days, rising from 87,138 total shots administered as of Monday to over 130,000 on Friday, meaning around 50% of the state’s shots given out have been administered in the workweek ending on January 15.

397

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s (ADPH) dashboard on Friday afternoon, 130,394 doses of one of the two coronavirus vaccines have been given out of the 370,575 that have been delivered to the state.

“[State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris] and his team are continually working to more efficiently get this vaccine into the arms of Alabamians,” promised Ivey on Friday.

Since receiving its first doses in December, Alabama has focused on vaccinating health care workers and nursing home residents.

On Monday, January 18, eligibility to get the vaccine expands to any Alabamian aged 75 and over, along with first responders like police officers and firefighters.

ADPH announced earlier in the week that the hotline it created to handle appointment calls from people in the newly eligible categories was beingly regularly overwhelmed, and all slots to get a vaccine at county health departments have been filled through the end of January.

The agency said only eligible citizens, can still call the hotline and have their information added to a waiting list.

“Callers will be contacted as soon as more appointments are available,” relayed ADPH. The number for the hotline is 1-855-566-5333.

RELATED: Jefferson County running independent COVID-19 vaccination process from rest of state, creates separate hotline to call

“I am thankful so many Alabamians are willing and ready to get their COVID-19 vaccines. Please continue to be patient as we are in the very early stages of distribution,” said Ivey on Friday.

The Anniston Star reported in recent days that an online web portal to schedule vaccine appointments is in the works, but still a ways off.

Both vaccine products approved for use, from medical companies Pfizer and Moderna, require two doses given three to four weeks apart before their effectiveness takes hold.

Alabama has roughly 326,000 health care workers and around 350,000 citizens aged 75 or above, according to ADPH. Recent estimates of the number of police officers and firefighters in the state were not readily available.

The federal government has currently allocated Alabama 640,150 doses of coronavirus vaccine.

“Our current supply remains limited, but we are committed to vaccinating as many Alabamians as possible. We will get shots in the arm and off the shelf. In the meantime, be patient, wear your mask and practice good common sense. Let’s get this thing behind us,” Ivey concluded.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 days ago

Former Crimson Tide national champion Martin Houston running for mayor of Tuscaloosa

(Martin Houston campaign/YouTube)

Tuscaloosa businessman, pastor and former University of Alabama football player Martin Houston on Thursday announced his entry into the Tuscaloosa mayoral race.

During a press conference at his campaign headquarters in downtown Tuscaloosa, Houston was introduced by Crimson Tide legend Gene Stallings, who was Houston’s coach during Bama’s 1992 national championship season.

Watch Stalling’s remarks and the entirety of the announcement here.

Speaking to a small group of supporters and media at the live streamed event, Houston laid out his vision for Tuscaloosa, focusing on increased transparency, inclusion, diversity and economic growth.

479

“I first knew that Tuscaloosa was an extremely special place during an official college visit to Alabama in 1988,” said Houston, who played fullback and running back for the Tide for the 1989-1992 seasons. “What I thought was just a four-year decision to play football turned into something much more. Tuscaloosa is where I married my childhood sweetheart, raised our children, and found my purpose. For 32 years, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to serve as a businessman, a pastor, a volunteer, and a coach here.”

At the university, Houston received both the Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellence and Charlie Compton Christian Leadership Awards. He was also the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ “Christian Athlete of the Year” in 1992. He went on to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1993 until a knee injury ended his NFL career.

Now, Houston is senior director of Membership Growth for Alabama One, serves as the lead pastor at Harvest Church in nearby Coker and hosts “The Martin Houston Show” on Tide 100.9. Additionally, he is a faith-based, inspirational speaker and is the chief empowerment officer/lead communicator for “The Empowerment Center.”

Houston and his wife of 31 years, Cassandra, have four children and three grandchildren.

“We all know the potential that our city has. It’s time to raise the bar and take Tuscaloosa from being just a good city to a great one,” he remarked on Thursday.

“I know that many of you feel disrespected, disconnected, and disenfranchised,” Houston added. “I want everyone to know that I hear you. Everyone in Tuscaloosa deserves a place where they can be heard. When I’m your mayor, everyone will have that place—that seat at the table.”

The pastor noted, “Tuscaloosa needs a candidate who is of the people, by the people, and for the people. I am running so I can make Tuscaloosa a better place for everyone to live, work, play and worship.”

“We can and will do this with focused, determined efforts to be an economically sound City driven by innovation, diversity and inclusion at every level,” he pledged. “Your voice matters and in the coming weeks, I look forward to earning your trust, your respect and your vote.”

Earlier the same day, incumbent Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox announced that he is seeking reelection to a fifth term. This will be Maddox’s first municipal bid since being the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2018.

He released this campaign video on Thursday:

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

2 days ago

Tuberville: Trump made a ‘mistake’ at rally but ability of armed intruders to get into the U.S. Capitol ‘very concerning’

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Trump ally Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) admits President Donald Trump made a “mistake” with his rhetoric at a rally staged in Washington, D.C., before a joint session of Congress met to certify the 2020 Electoral College results. However, he also said he had questions about how the event unfolded.

During an appearance on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5, Tuberville explained the challenges Trump has faced, even as his term is coming to an end, adding that the president may not have been aware of how influential he is with his base. However, the football coach-turned-U.S. Senator said there were some peculiar circumstances regarding the crowd that day.

“[A] lot of people up there cannot stand an outsider being in office, and that’s Donald Trump,” he said. “He made a mistake last week. I don’t think he even really realized how powerful he is with his base. Now, I watched all the footage of the riot. I’d never seen a Trump rally, which he has had over 600 of them, with people come wearing helmets and backpacks and those things. I don’t know who was involved in it, but it happened, and it should have never happened.”

381

Tuberville also said he had concerns about the incident and what could have been done to prevent it, noting the FBI did not relay the threat to Trump.

“[It’s] very concerning,” he said. “I live next to the Capitol. I walk around it every day. I get up early in the morning, and I can walk to work. I get up, do a little exercise. It is a beautiful place. We have 2,000 people that work for the Capitol Police that day, obviously. Now my understanding is that the FBI knew they had gotten word there was going to be trouble at the Capitol the day before it happened. That word never got to the President of the United States. As a Senator, I want to know why that wasn’t passed on down the line. Is the FBI holding secrets? I don’t understand that. But, you’ve got 2,000 Capitol Hill police, and my understanding is they thought, ‘Hey, there are never any problems with Trump rallies because they come and they go.’ There’s been 600 of them, but this was different. I don’t know why it was different. I don’t know why we had people get involved in the things that they get involved in. We had people killed in this. We had a policeman get hit with a fire extinguisher. He got hit in the head, and he later passed on. We had a lady that was a veteran that was shot.”

“I went home about four in the morning, that night after we went on with confirming Joe Biden,” Tuberville added. “I was just taken aback from knowing our country is much, much better than what we went through that day. And it should never happen. Now you can see — they’re probably going overboard now. There are going to be 10,000, 20,000 National Guard people around every building. It looks like a third-world country, and it makes you feel bad for what our forefathers had built.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

2 days ago

Mo Brooks says Democrats looking to censure, expel and prosecute him are behaving like communists

(Congressman Mo Brooks/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

Much to the pleasure of the Alabama political media, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) is right in the firing line when it comes to the Republicans the national media and their Democrats are attempting to blame for the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.

There have been numerous reckless reactions to this by in-state media, who claim to be above political mudslinging and who supposedly just want to bring the facts to the people.

Al(dot)com’s John Archibald declared that the announcement that the Space Command HQ was coming to Huntsville was “sedition on commission.”

689

The Space Command HQ was a payoff, for sedition, Archibald claims. Alleging a crime without reason or merit. Journalism.

His colleague and intellectual equal J.D. Crowe drew a picture depicting Brooks and every other Alabama Republican who voted for election oversight as members of the Klan and accused them of treason.

Alleging a crime without reason or merit. Journalism.

All of this is based on three accused wrongdoings:

1. Brooks was an outspoken proponent of having votes on election irregularities, even though he knew those votes would fail.

This is a completely legal and justified action provided for in the U.S. Constitution.

2. He spoke at a rally six hours before the shameful and seditious actions that took place that day and used the phrase: “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”

Not great stuff here by Mo Brooks, but it is not a crime, and it is pretty amazing that a prosecutor is suggesting it be prosecuted.

3. He planned the rally itself.

This allegation is weird, and, until Thursday, Brooks had not been asked about the allegation directly.

It is based on the now-deleted Periscope video by Ali Alexander in which he claims, “We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.”

What does this mean?

That Brooks himself worked to book the space, the sound equipment and sent the mass emails for the riot.

That seems unlikely. A pressure campaign on members of Congress to vote with him? That’s not normal.

The obvious implication that whoever planned the rally also planned the siege is not backed up by facts.

Brooks was asked about the allegation, if you can even call it that, during a Thursday appearance on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show.”

He said, “I don’t recall ever having met the guy, ever having communicated with the guy, ever having seen the guy. I don’t know where he’s coming from.”

But don’t let that stop the mob from alleging a massive conspiracy, which they are doing by tying in guided tours of the U.S. Capitol in the days preceding the riots.

Brooks thinks Alexander may have been “inspired” by his appearances on radio and TV, suggesting that may have led to him wanting to plan the rally.

But Brooks also pointed out that the rally was not the issue (which it wasn’t).

“[F]rankly, a rally is a great idea …  that was a great rally,” Brooks advised. “The rally wasn’t the problem. The problems were these militant groups, along with rally attendees at the U.S. Capitol. That was the problem.”

He continued, “I did not invite anyone, I did not set the time, I did not set the speakers.”

“I have had no communications with anybody involved in the operational planning,” Brooks added.

But this is not going to stop anytime soon. Censuring is all but a certainty; expulsion seems unlikely because of the hurdles required. But an attempted prosecution could be in the congressman’s future because Democrats are emboldened and want to hold as many Republicans as they can accountable.

The District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is looking for charges.

“I know I’m looking at a charge under the D.C. Code of inciting violence, and that would apply where there’s a clear recognition that one’s incitement could lead to foreseeable violence,” Racine stated.

If all of this seems like a far-fetched nightmare where political speech is criminalized, you are right.

Brooks compared this reaction by his Democratic colleagues and D.C.’s attorney general as dictatorial forces like you would see in communist China or the Soviet Union.

Based on their fervor to make their political foes pay right now, you would be hard-pressed to describe it any other way.

Listen:

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

Where to get locally made king cakes in Alabama

(Rachel Ishee for Edgar's Bakery/Contributed)

It’s officially Carnival season — the period of time after epiphany (January 6) and before Lent (starts Ash Wednesday) — which means Mardi Gras celebrations are beginning to kick off. And you know what goes hand in hand with Mardi Gras? King cake. No Mardi Gras would be complete without this sugary sweet delicacy topped with colorful icing. Thought to have been brought from France to New Orleans in 1870, king cake tastes like a cross between coffee cake and French pastry. Sometimes stuffed with filling and always stuffed with a plastic baby, the oval-shaped cake is iced with the colors of justice (purple), faith (green), and gold (power).  If you can’t make it to New Orleans this year, here’s where you can get locally made king cakes in Alabama.

6 Places to get King Cakes in Alabama

477

Edgar’s Bakery – Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, multiple locations in Birmingham

The king cake from Edgar’s Bakery has been named one of the best king cakes in the nation, according to USA Today. This popular bakery offers traditional or filled king cakes (choose from strawberry, cream cheese, or pecan praline). And the best part about Edgar’s king cakes is that they can be shipped nationwide. So if you don’t have a location near you, don’t fret, sweet goodness can still come your way!
Price: $30

Savage’s Bakery & Deli – Birmingham

Savage’s Bakery has been making their famous cookies, cakes, and pastries since 1939. It’s no surprise they also make a killer king cake. They offer a filling of traditional cinnamon or cream cheese and two sizes of the cake. Savage’s also ships nationwide.
Price: $16 (small), $21 (large)

Pollman’s Bake Shop – Mobile

Pollman’s is known as THE spot in Mobile to get a king cake. They’ve been pumping out king cakes — made fresh every day during Mardi Gras season — since 1950. In fact, they were the first bakery in Mobile to make king cakes. The thick king cakes come in three sizes and are topped with colorful sugar. Pollman’s also makes cute decorated Mardi Gras cookies. You can order Pollman’s cakes to be shipped.
Price: $16.99 (small), $18.99 (large), $32.99 (extra large)

(Angie Mosier for Hero Doughnuts/Contributed, YHN)

Hero Doughnuts & Buns – Birmingham

Hero is known for its huge, fluffy, brioche-style donuts (and handmade buns for sandwiches). In Mardi Gras season, they make king cake donuts and full king cakes (which they call King Rings). The donuts are available daily during season, and King Rings are made to order with a 48-hour notice. The cakes serve 14–16 people. This shop is the king cake hero you didn’t know you needed.
Price: $30 (King Ring)

Mason Dixon Bakery & Bistro – Huntsville

Mason Dixon Bakery is known for being a place that’s inclusive of all dietary needs and offers allergen-friendly foods and baked goods. During Carnival, they offer a traditional king cake as well as a dairy-free option for those with sensitivities. The cakes are large enough to feed 12.
Price: $35 (standard), $40 (dairy free)

Sugar Rush Donut Company — Mobile

This donut shop offers king cakes year-round, so you can get your fix anytime. Covered in a generous amount of icing and sprinkled in the traditional colored sugar, they are decadent and delicious. The donut shop also offers king cake donuts, when you want a quick fix on the run.
Price: $18.99 (small) or $24.99 (large)

Julia Sayers Gokhale is a writer and editor who has been working in the lifestyle journalism industry since 2012. She was Editor in Chief of Birmingham Magazine for five years and is now leading Yellowhammer News’ lifestyle content. Find her on Instagram at @juliasayers or email her at julia@yellowhammernews.com.

2 days ago

Media outlets misquote Tuberville, incorrectly claim inauguration ceremony must be held January 20

(Tommy for Senate/Contributed)

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has gone viral — but for something that he did not actually say.

National media outlets have pounced on an article from Birmingham’s CBS 42, a Nexstar station, that quoted Tuberville as saying, “We probably could have had a swearing-in and inauguration later after we got this virus behind us a little bit. Again, we’re talking about Washington, D.C.”

“However, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution requires that the inauguration and swearing-in of a new President take place on January 20th. It wasn’t clear if Tuberville was aware of that during the interview,” CBS 42 wrote directly following that quote.

There are two major issues at play here. The words attributed to Tuberville were a significant misquote, and the 20th Amendment does not actually mandate an inauguration to occur on a certain date — or at all.

746

The relevant section of the 20th Amendment only states that the “terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January” every four years.

Additionally, Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution mandates the following: “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: – ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'”

There is no mention of an “inauguration” or any form of swearing-in ceremony in the Constitution, nor is there a requirement that the president take the oath of office in any type of public setting at all. President-elect Joe Biden could take the oath of office in his basement at noon on January 20 while being in line with both what Tuberville is alleged to have said and his constitutional duties.

However, getting back to the main issue here — media outlets have fabricated what Tuberville said.

The CBS 42 article that contains the misquote was posted at 8:47 p.m. CT on January 13. As of noon on Friday, January 15, no correction had been made.

This comes despite the fact that the very same article features video footage of what Tuberville actually said.

“I think we’ll have a new president,” Tuberville affirmed.

Then, speaking about the traditional, in-person inauguration ceremony, he continued, “I don’t know how big it’s going to be. We probably could have had the swearing-in and done an inauguration a little later on, after we’ve got this virus behind us a little bit. But again, we’re talking about Washington, D.C.”

Other outlets across the state and world have spread the misquote, however, while also botching what the 20th Amendment says. This includes al(dot)com, whose headline incorrectly reads: “Tuberville says delay inauguration, but date is set by Constitution.”

Additional examples of outlets both misquoting Tuberville and not understanding the 20th Amendment were CNN, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.

And of course, there is Twitter itself amplifying the misinformation by creating a “trending” moment about Tuberville.

A gender studies professor at Duke, who admittedly dislikes Tuberville, decried the situation in a Twitter thread:

“I despise Tuberville, but we should quote people accurately and plausibly interpret the accurate quotations. We also have enough to worry about without inventing new outrageous statements. Delaying Biden’s presidency isn’t what he said. It isn’t what meant. Stop saying it,” the professor wrote.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.

Following Yellowhammer News’ article, CBS 42 updated their story to reflect the correct quote at 1:32 p.m., however they have not made a note in the article explaining the nature of the update or noting the original mistake.

UPDATE 4:35 p.m.

CBS 42 at 4:21 p.m. posted the following as a “clarification” on its article: “In a previous version of this article, two words were omitted in a quote attributed to Sen. Tommy Tuberville. The article has since been updated with the addition of those two words, ‘done’ and ‘an.’ The story has also been updated with a statement from the senator’s spokeswoman.”

That “statement from the senator’s spokeswoman” reads as follows: “It’s incorrect to interpret the Senator’s comments as calling for the postponement the actual act of swearing-in President-elect Biden. The Senator spent the last two days visiting with Alabama medical care providers to receive updates on the ongoing pandemic. Understanding the widely recognized health and safety concerns regarding large gatherings, the Senator was suggesting the public gathering for inaugural ceremonies could be reconsidered. As the Senator has previously said, President-elect Biden will take over next week.”

This came after Tuberville tweeted about the issue:

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

2 days ago

Another record-shattering year: Thank you, Yellowhammer readers!

(YHN)

The year of 2020 will go down in history for many things, most of which we are happy to see in the rearview mirror.

In spite of the craziness of the past 12 months, the entire Yellowhammer News team would like to say “THANK YOU” to our tremendous audience whose support helped make 2020 another record-breaking year for our company.

As evidenced by our continued year-over-year audience growth, we are proud to provide a reliable daily product that resonates with the people of Alabama. From everyone at Yellowhammer, we sincerely appreciate and value the trust you put in us.

Thank you, Yellowhammer readers!

1