The Wire

  • Honoring Korean War Veterans

    From an Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs news release:

    The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking Korean
    War veterans for the Korean Ambassador of Peace medal. The Korean government
    would like to show their respect and gratitude for the devotion and sacrifice of the U.S. troops during the Korean War by presenting the medals to veterans.

    Sometimes called “The Forgotten War,” in part because its memory is often
    overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War, it began after some 75,000 North Korean soldiers poured into South Korea on June 25, 1950. By the time the war ended in July 1953, an estimated 5 million soldiers and civilians had died, including more than 700 from Alabama.

    South Korea’s government began offering the medals in 1975 to veterans who visited
    the country through its “Revisit Program,” which was meant to show gratitude for the
    vets’ service, as well as see how the country has prospered since the armistice was
    signed.

    In Alabama, there are 21,991 Korean War veterans, according to the U.S. Department
    of Veterans Affairs. But the state does not have a list of their names and addresses, so
    has to rely on word of mouth and local media to alert veterans to the honor.

    Veterans should call 334-242-5084 to receive an application for the medal. A medal
    presentation ceremony will be held at a later date.

  • AG Steve Marshall, CVS Health Announce Safe Drug Disposal Program in Alabama

    Excerpt from an Alabama Attorney General news release:

    Attorney General Steve Marshall joined with CVS Health Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer Thomas Moriarty, Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale, Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer and Homewood Police Chief Tim Ross today to announce a safe medication disposal program in Alabama.

    CVS Health has provided in-store drug disposal units at five of its stores in Alabama and also has equipped 36 law enforcement agencies with on-site disposal units to provide a regularly available means for people to properly discard unused medications.
    “It is extremely dangerous to keep unused prescription drugs on hand when they are no longer needed,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Many of these are controlled substances, and opioids, in particular, can bring tragic results. We have had tremendous success with Drug Take-Back days in Alabama and these permanent collection sites provided by CVS Health are a valuable asset because now there is a way for people to safely dispose of drugs year-round.”

    Alabama ranks first in the nation for the number of painkiller prescriptions per capita, and Attorney General Marshall has made fighting opioid abuse a cornerstone of his administration. He serves as co-chair of the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council which issued a comprehensive action plan last December. In February of this year he filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for the harm caused by its reckless marketing and sales of opioids.

    “CVS Health is dedicated to addressing and preventing opioid abuse in the communities we serve in Alabama and across the country,” said Moriarty. “Expanding our safe medication disposal program to CVS Pharmacy locations in Alabama is one of the many initiatives we support to fulfill that commitment and our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

    Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer said, “I would like to thank CVS Health for choosing Homewood to officially launch their safe drug disposal program in Alabama. Keeping unused prescription drugs off the streets and out of the hands of those who might be harmed by them requires a team effort. Pharmacies, law enforcement and every citizen has a key role to play. I appreciate CVS Health for taking steps to reduce the likelihood of accidental poisoning and drug abuse in our community by making it easy to dispose of unused and expired medicines while shopping at our local CVS Pharmacy.”

  • Rep. Byrne Calls for Rural Hospital Relief

    Excerpt from a Congressman Byrne news release:

    Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) recently partnered with a bipartisan group of Members of Congress in urging Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to fix the Medicare Area Wage Index, which severely hurts Alabama’s hospitals.

    Alabama has the lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the country. Based in large part on the Wage Index, seventy-five percent of Alabama’s hospitals are operating at a loss with an average median operating margin of negative 6.5 percent. The problem is worse in rural Alabama, where hospitals have a median operating margin of negative 12.2 percent. Unless changes are made to the Wage Index formula, the problem will continue to get worse and additional Alabama hospital closure is likely.

    Congressman Byrne said: “We are facing a medical crisis in rural America. For too long, the Medicare Area Wage Index has been gamed by hospitals in very affluent parts of the country at the expense of rural America. Congress granted CMS wide authority to administer the Wage Index, and it is time the system be reformed in order to ensure continued access to hospital care for those in rural Alabama and rural areas throughout the United States.”

16 mins ago

Roy Moore backs Troy King in AG race

In a post that first appeared on the “In God We Trust Movement” Facebook page and later on a Facebook page affiliated with former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, Moore backed former Alabama Attorney General Troy King in his bid to reassume the state attorney general post.

Moore, who was defeated last December by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) in a special election last year to fill a void left behind by Jeff Sessions, touted King’s credentials in the post.

“I fully support Troy King for the office of Attorney General,” it read. “He has the leadership, experience, and dedication to do an outstanding job. He is a Lifelong Republican who will stand for conservative values.”

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“Troy King has a proven record fighting against corruption,” Moore also said on the flier. “I have seen first hand the miss-use [sic] of power by the political establishment, and I know how badly we need an Attorney General committed to cleaning up Montgomery. I believe Troy King is the man for the job.”

The Facebook post touted that 50,000 of those mailers were sent to Moore supporters.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

1 hour ago

Del Marsh: Judge Kavanaugh’s record is clear — He deserves to be confirmed

(WH/YouTube)

When the name Brett Kavanaugh was first mentioned to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, like many of you, I did not know who he was or much about him. I began looking into him for more information as to what kind of Supreme Court justice he would be, should he be confirmed by the United States Senate. What I found was a fair, mainstream judge who believes in the United States Constitution, who has dedicated his life to public service and a judge who shares our conservative Alabama values.

His academic record is just what you would want to see from someone who sits on the highest court. He graduated from Yale for both his undergraduate studies and for law school. He has been a clerk for judges on the Third and the Ninth Circuit courts, as well as a clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court. Since 2009, he has been a lecturer at Harvard’s law school.

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Judge Kavanaugh has published over 300 opinions in his career and his decisions show a judge who will apply the law as written and enforce the text, structure, and original understanding of the Constitution. His opinions have been cited as law by over 200 judges from across the country. He is no stranger to the current make-up of the Supreme Court as many of those who
have clerked for him have gone onto work in the Supreme Court, and dozens of his opinions have been endorsed by the current members of the Court.

As impressive as his professional career has been, his personal character seems to be impeccable. He serves as a coach for youth basketball, is a leader in his church, serves meals to needy families, and is a tutor for children at local elementary schools in the Washington D.C. area.

All of this has led me to believe that Judge Kavanaugh is the most qualified person in the country to serve on the Supreme Court. In his current role in the D.C. Circuit Court, he was confirmed with bipartisan support – and nothing will have changed from that confirmation until now.

Unfortunately, this vote will be a very close vote and many experts believe that the confirmation could come down to the decision of Alabama’s Senator Doug Jones. If Senator Jones wants to represent the people of Alabama, he will take a look at Judge Kavanaugh’s record, as I have, and vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court. Alabama should not have a Senator that shares the same values as far-Left extremists such as Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren. Since he has been in the Senate, Senator Jones has a history of deferring his opinion on important issues until they have been decided by others (confirming the Secretary of State and the CIA Director are the first issues that come to mind). He has vowed to have an “independent review” of Judge Kavanaugh’s record. If he is serious about his slogan of Country over Party, I believe that the record speaks for itself and he will have no choice but to vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

Senator Shelby has already said that Judge Kavanaugh has “impressive credentials” and that “This nomination is one of the most important items that we will consider this year.” I completely agree and I hope that the Senate will do the right thing and confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the next Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

We need a justice in the Supreme Court who will uphold and apply the laws of the Constitution, not an activist judge who will re-write our laws to gain political points from those who have an extreme agenda. It is clear that Judge Kavanaugh is the kind of high character public servant we need.

Del Marsh is president pro tempore of the Alabama Senate, representing the 12th District.

2 hours ago

Illegal alien beheads 13-year-old Huntsville girl

(Madison County Sheriff)

Law enforcement officials in Alabama say an illegal alien and an immigrant in America on a green card are responsible for murdering a 13-year-old girl with special needs and her grandmother, who had connections to Mexican drug cartels, says a report by AL.com.

The brutal beheading of 13-year-old Mariah Lopez took place after she witnessed her grandmother, Oralia Mendoza, get attacked with a knife in a cemetery, according to court testimony.

Mendoza, the 49-year-old grandmother, was alleged to have had connections with the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel, a popular and deadly drug-trafficking organization.

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Mendoza, along with Israel Palomino and Yoni Aguilar, had traveled to Georgia on June 2 to pick up methamphetamine, according to Investigator Stacy Rutherford. During the trip, one of the men became suspicious that Mendoza’s involvement was a setup.

Authorities say that Mendoza and Aguilar lived together and had dated one another in the past.

Palomino and Aguilar reportedly woke up Mendoza one night and told her that they were taking her and her granddaughter somewhere safe.

On June 4, Mendoza and Lopez were reportedly driven to Moon Cemetery located on Cave Springs Road. According to Aguilar, Mendoza and Palomino got out of the car and argued about the entire situation.

According to Aguilar, that is when the situation escalated and Palomino stabbed Mendoza. Due to Mendoza’s granddaughter being at the scene during the crime, Aguilar and Palomino took the 13-year-old girl to a separate location nearby and beheaded her.

Aguilar revealed to investigators that he was holding a knife when Palomino walked up to him and moved his arm back and forth in a sawing motion. Lopez was later beheaded.

Days later, both Aguilar and Palomino were placed in custody.

Two knives were recovered and cell phone signals from both of the men’s cellphones were pinged at the locations of each occurrence.

Palomino, 34, and Aguilar, 26, are both charged with two counts each of capital murder in the slayings of Mariah Lopez and her grandmother, Oralia Mendoza.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and also contributes weekly to The Daily Caller

2 hours ago

Roy Moore is not done embarrassing Alabama yet

(Wikicommons)

Whether you view former Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore as the “Ten Commandments’ Judge”, the “guy banned from the Gadsden Mall”, or the “guy who lost to Doug Jones”, you probably don’t think very highly of him. He has brought loads of scorn upon the state of Alabama — some feel this is not his fault.

Whatever you think of Judge Moore, you probably think he should go away. Unfortunately, it appears that he is not interested in doing that. “Borat” creator Sacha Baron Cohen has a new TV series and Moore was apparently a target of one of his pranks.

Moore is rightly embarrassed, but is pretending he is going to sue Cohen if he airs the tape Moore is concerned about:

“I am involved in several court cases presently to defend my honor and character against vicious false political attacks by liberals like Cohen. If Showtime airs a defamatory attack on my character, I may very well be involved in another.”

Why this matters:

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Moore is an attorney and was the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He knows as well as anyone that if he said something on a tape during an interview it can be used. He will not win a single lawsuit he is involved in, but he will bilk his supporters for more money. He may sue, but you can sue on anything. He cannot win a lawsuit with a comedian who is producing a satire piece.

Moore is a public figure, a target for liberals, and he needs to fade into obscurity. Moore also needs to realize that his insistence on standing on the public stage only hurts the causes he holds dear. If he truly cares about Alabama, and not only about himself, he will stop answering media inquiries.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

3 hours ago

University of Alabama System chooses new interim chancellor Finis E. St. John

(Finis E. St. John IV)

The University of Alabama System has chosen an interim chancellor to replace the retiring of current chancellor Jay Hayes at the end of the month.

Finis E. “Fess” St. John, IV, who currently serves on the UA system’s Board of Trustees, will succeed Hayes on August 1.

St. John will take an unpaid leave of absence from St. John & St. John law firm in Cullman and will serve as interim chancellor without compensation.

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“The fact that Fess St. John is willing to serve as our Interim Chancellor without compensation is a tremendous public service,” Board Trustee Joe Epsy said in a statement.

“We are extremely grateful that he is willing to step in and take on these complex administrative duties at a crucial time for our campuses and the UAB Health System,” Epsy continued, in part.

St. John graduated cum laude from Alabama in 1978, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Jasons. He went on to receive a law degree from the University of Virginia.

4 hours ago

Georgia woman gets five years for filing fraudulent tax returns through Birmingham business

(Pixabay)

A Georgia woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for preparing and filing fraudulent tax returns through her Alabama-based business.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, in a news release, says U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced 38-year-old Patrice Anderson on Monday for 13 tax-related counts. A federal jury convicted Anderson in September for using her Birmingham-area business, Queen’s Fast Tax, to file returns between 2009 and 2012 that she knew contained false information.

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Evidence at trial showed that Anderson filed tax returns claiming refundable credits to which her clients were not entitled so that they could receive much larger refunds than they were eligible for. In return, Anderson would charge the clients abnormally high fees – up to $3,000 per fraudulent return – to file their taxes.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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WATCH: Real estate investor Brian Trippe discusses overcoming lethargy to reach full potential

In this episode of Executive Lion’s Living Life On Purpose, Andrew Wells and Matt Wilson sit down with Brian Trippe to discuss life, business and overcoming lethargy to reach your full potential.

Brian Trippe is a successful real estate investor, author, family man, servant-hearted leader, and a follower of Christ. Brian has a passion for helping people learn and grow in life and in business through Alareia.

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WATCH:

3 Takeaways


1) Brian was at a point where he did not want to work or grow. He had to break through that malaise and now he is seeing the fruits of his labor. We all have to overcome the laziness and push through whether we feel like moving forward or not. Breakthrough is on the other side of that.

2) Sometimes, we have early experiences that we can draw from that will help us in the future. Brian was a coach and now he loves to coach people in business to reach all they are capable of achieving. Try to figure out what experiences you have that you can draw from and teach others from your own trial and error.

3) Purpose is a driver in Brian’s life. When you have purpose, the daily grind becomes less difficult. You know why you are doing something versus simply focusing on what you are doing. Discover your purpose and life becomes fun!

5 hours ago

Kay Ivey hits back at Walt Maddox campaign for ‘limited energy’ comment, says he ‘doesn’t have enough energy’ to take a stand on Kavanaugh

(Maddox/YouTube, Ivey/Flickr)

Last week, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and his campaign for governor took a shot at Governor Kay Ivey’s age, saying the 73-year-old has “limited energy.”

The Ivey campaign responded Monday with a news release blasting Maddox for remaining silent on President Donald Trump’s Brett Kavanaugh nomination to SCOTUS, claiming the Tuscaloosa mayor “doesn’t have enough energy to take a stand” one way or the other on Kavanaugh.

The Ivey news release reads as follows:

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Walt Maddox has shown his true liberal colors by refusing to support President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. His repeated dodging and silence has shown that he is going to toe the liberals’ pro-choice party line.

Last week, when asked multiple times about President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Maddox refused to support Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who will protect life and defend the Second Amendment. Apparently Maddox doesn’t have enough “energy” to take a stand.

The reality is now clear as day — Maddox’s moderate talk doesn’t match his liberal walk. Alabamians won’t be fooled by a smooth talker who won’t stand up to the radical liberals who now run the Democrat party.

Governor Kay Ivey has made it clear: she supports President Trump’s pick, and encourages all United States Senators to vote for his confirmation. Ivey will always fight to protect Alabamians’ Constitutionally-protected rights, and she is the only candidate for Governor who has been endorsed by the NRA, Susan B. Anthony List, and the Alabama Citizens for Life.

6 hours ago

Trump ally Roger Stone makes a last-minute endorsement ahead of Alabama primary runoff

(King Campaign/Facebook)

Former Trump advisor Roger Stone is traveling Alabama with Troy King on Monday, touting King’s credentials in an attempt to give him the edge over Attorney General Steve Marshall in Tuesday’s primary runoff election.

“As you can imagine, I get dozens of requests from good candidates, men and women across the country who are supporters of the president and real conservatives,” Stone said at an event Monday morning in Huntsville. “There’s just not enough days in the month, hours in the day to help everybody I’d like to help.”

“But this race is particularly important because the choice could not be more clear-cut,” Stone said.

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“I hope the people of Alabama will recognize that Steve Marshall is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a liberal Democrat, posing as a conservative to get through tomorrow’s runoff,” he said.

Stone will be traveling with King to Birmingham, Mobile and Ozark on Monday to reiterate his endorsement pledge.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

7 hours ago

Steve Marshall returns to campaign in heated AG race with Troy King

(Marshall Campaign)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and former Attorney General Troy King are making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s Republican runoff.

Marshall returned to the campaign trail Saturday for the first time following the suicide of his wife last month.

Marshall thanked people for supporting him during his loss. He said he never considered dropping out of the race because his wife had urged him to run.

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“One of the last things that my wife had left for me was a note. She said that I know you are the man for the job and the man for Alabama,” Marshall said.

A group of GOP attorneys generals, including Pam Bondi of Florida, held rallies with Marshall on Saturday in both ends of the state. Bondi said “ethics and integrity mean everything” and others praised his record as a prosecutor.

“We believe in what he’s doing for Alabama and I believe in what he’s doing for President Trump,” Bondi said Marshall is seeking to win the office in his own right after being appointed last year by then-Gov. Robert Bentley. He previously served 16 years as the district attorney of Marshall County.

Both King and Marshall are stressing their records in the heated runoff.

King, who was attorney general from 2004 to 2011, is seeking a political comeback.

King was appointed as attorney general by then-Gov. Bob Riley. He was elected to a full term in 2006, but he lost the 2010 GOP primary to Luther Strange.

In an interview with the Associated Press, King said he was the true Republican in the race, noting that, as a 10-year-old, he went door-to-door campaigning for Ronald Reagan. Marshall, who was initially appointed by Gov. Don Siegelman, switched to the GOP in 2011.

“On Tuesday this election is about the Republican Party nominating a standard-bearer. Only one of us is a Republican,” King said when asked why runoff voters should choose him.

King will hold a series of Monday rallies with Trump ally Roger Stone.

Both campaigns paused their activities last month following the death of Bridgette Marshall. King said he pulled his commercials from the air for a week after the death out of respect for his opponent.

In returning to the campaign trail, King said he would focus on contrasting their records.

That does not mean the primary has not gotten heated at times.

King criticized Bentley’s appointment of Marshall when Bentley was the subject of an ethics investigation as a “crooked deal.”

King said Marshall got his dream job and “let a man who corrupted Alabama go free.”

Marshall responded that he was ethically required to recuse himself from the investigation, but he appointed an “experienced tough prosecutor” to lead the probe and “six weeks after that Robert Bentley was out of office.” Bentley resigned after pleading guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance violations.

Marshall’s campaign sent out a direct mail piece with unflattering headlines from King’s time as attorney general, including that King had briefly been the subject of a federal grand jury investigation. The probe ended without charges.

King responded that the probe was politically motivated and was leaked to the press to derail his 2010 campaign. He said it ended without charges because he did nothing wrong.

The runoff winner will face Democrat Joseph Siegelman in November.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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8 hours ago

Alabama among states running speed enforcement task

(Pixabay)

Alabama joins Georgia and three other states in a week-long speed enforcement operation beginning Monday.

“Operation Southern Shield” will run through Sunday, July 22.

Law enforcement in Georgia and Alabama will join Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina in pulling over drivers who are traveling above legal speed limits on interstates, major highways and local roads.

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Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, says the main focus will be to encourage motorists to slow down. He says they hope the effort will reduce crashes and provide a safer experience for motorists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says speeding killed more than 10,000 people in the United States in 2016 and was a factor in 27 percent of fatal crashes in the nation.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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8 hours ago

Alabama man arrested in July 4 boating crash that killed two

(Hale County Jail)

A man faces charges in a west Alabama Fourth of July boating crash that killed two people and injured five others.

Al.com reports 29-year-old Richard Latham Jr. was arrested Friday in Tuscaloosa and transported to the Hale County Jail in Greensboro. Latham’s hometown was not released. A woman who answered the phone at the jail would not release that information, referring all calls to the sheriff’s office.

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Latham faces two counts of reckless murder and is being held without bond. It was unknown if he has an attorney.

Authorities say Latham was drinking and driving a ski boat on the Black Warrior River when the crash happened about four miles south of the Moundville boat landing.

Killed were 46-year-old Richard Glover, of Akron, and 23-year-old Destiny Graben, of Northport.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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9 hours ago

7 Things: Run-offs continue to be ugly — Trump and Putin one-on-one — 12 Russians and zero Americans indicted — and more …

(White House/Pixabay)

1. One day left for primaries run-offs across Alabama. AG, Lt. Gov., and AL-02 are most interesting races

— These elections will have very low turnout. 18 percent is the high projection, so if you are reading this, you probably will have a big impact on how these things turn out.

— The ugliness and dishonesty in the two statewide races (Lt. Gov. and AG races) will probably be eclipsed by the midterms and Governor’s race in November.

2. Trump and Putin finally meet after his raucous visits with NATO and the United Kingdom’s Theresa May

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— Trump’s European tour has been a whirlwind with differences between the U.S. and its allies exposed. Trade deal and defense spending took center stage as a U.S. president fought to put the U.S. first.

— No one knows how the Trump-Putin meeting will go, but the media has already declared that Trump lost. The 12 indictments Friday raised the stakes.

3. Irresponsible media outlets took the weekend to imply that the 12 indictments proved Russian collusion — it did the opposite

— The media seized on two parts of this story from Friday: Roger Stone was involved with people he didn’t know were part of the Russian government and Guccifer 2.0/Wikileaks/DCLeaks are involved with the Russian “hacking” of the DNC.

— Rudy Giuliani laid out the proper response from Trump’s perspective. He said the indictments are good news, the Russians did it, no Americans involved, and Trump is innocent.

4. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could be facing impeachment, and probably should be fired

— Apparently, the Trump administration knew these indictments were coming, but the releasing of these indictments on the heels of the Trump-Putin meeting seems like a bad call while the president is overseas.

— Calls for Rosenstein’s impeachment over delays in investigation into FBI agents are gaining steam, but Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) says there is no real reason for it to happen.

5. The beheading of a 13-year-old Alabama girl by a drug cartel in Huntsville goes national and international

— A special-needs Challenger Middle School student was killed by illegal aliens in relation to a drug cartel beef after she saw her grandmother killed.

— The 13-year old’s grandmother apparently double-crossed the cartel and was killed by her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend. Both are in custody.

6. You cannot vote in the GOP runoff if you voted in the Democrat primary, but no one will actually charge you

— Secretary of State John Merrill warned people against voting illegally with a press release saying, “As a result of legislation passed in the 2017 Session of the State Legislature sponsored by Senator Tom Whatley of Auburn and Representative Arnold Mooney of Indian Springs, voters will only be able to cast a ballot for the party that they selected in the June 6th Primary.”

— This does not really matter. We know people are voting illegally and we refuse to have them charged.

7. Illegals are able to vote if they want to — this is undeniable

— Voter ID laws won’t be of much use if illegal voters are still able to register and vote in American elections, which is happening pretty easily. One county in Pennsylvania had 139 illegal voters.

— The only reason we are aware this happens is these individuals self-report as they apply for American citizenship. It’s happening and it’s not being stopped.

10 hours ago

Alabama mission groups back safely after being stranded in Haiti

(Russellville First Baptist Church/Facebook)

Two Alabama mission teams have returned back to the state after being stranded in Haiti for days amid a government spike in fuel prices.

News outlets report that the Faith Community Church team in Trussville and group members from First Baptist Church in Russellville arrived back in Alabama this week. The groups of nearly 50 students and chaperones had been in a secure compound since July 7.

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The State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs advised American citizens against traveling. The incident caused the closure of the airport in the capital city of Port-au-Prince and the stoppage of many flights to and from the U.S.

The cancellation of flights stranded church groups and volunteers from a number of U.S. states, including South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

Church officials say another group is expected to be on its way.

First Baptist senior pastor Patrick Martin is on the Haiti trip. In a Facebook post, he urged people to pray for the travelers.

“Praise God. Please continue praying. Pray for us to get out, but also please pray for those we are leaving behind,” Martin wrote. “Pray for Haiti. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people. They have a bad reputation thanks to a corrupt government that would rather pad their own pockets than care for their people. Pray that the gospel would be a shining light in the middle of poverty, and that the Kingdom of God will advance through the efforts of those in country, as well as those who come in like we did.

Martin added: “We will be back. I promise.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Joel Rotenstreich is an Alabama Bright Light dedicated ‘to life’

(K. Shamsi-Basha/Alabama NewsCenter)

Humility is the overarching impression you get when you meet Joel Rotenstreich.

Every year, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center honors a person whose actions have helped not only the center, but life for the Jewish people of Birmingham as well as people from other faiths. This year, Rotenstreich is the honoree.

It would take columns to list the accomplishments and selfless actions of Rotenstreich. His work in education, social justice and interfaith only begin the list.

“My passions throughout the adult part of my life have been education and bringing people together. The third is social justice. Treating everyone equally, equal opportunity, doing the right thing,” Rotenstreich said.

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Rotenstreich headed fundraising for the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in 2016 and again in 2017. His face-to-face strategy worked wonders.

“Fundraising for the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center is essential. The place teaches courage, integrity, cooperation, endurance, self-respect, respect for others. We’re training teachers to teach the lessons of the Holocaust, and this is happening all over Alabama,” Rotenstreich said. “Close to 1,500 teachers across Alabama have been trained by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center.”

Rotenstreich sees connections among historical events that tie human consciousness together. Things like the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing during the civil rights struggle and other world-changing events. He notices these connections especially when he travels to Israel. Introducing others to Israel and its history and culture is another passion for Rotenstreich and his wife, Bunny. They have led 22 trips to that country.

“We’re connected; we are all in this world together,” he said. “The four little girls who were killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 — there is a connection, and we are trying to teach everyone about the history and lessons of the past.”

Rotenstreich has served on boards of numerous organizations and led the Anne Frank Tree project in which a horse chestnut tree like one she mentioned in her diary was planted in Kelly Ingram Park and dedicated to the “victims of intolerance and discrimination.” Rotenstreich was campaign chair and president of the Jewish Federation, served three five-year-terms on the Mountain Brook Board of Education and was its president from 2000 until 2002.

Kendall Chew, outreach coordinator at the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, may know more about what Rotenstreich has achieved than Rotenstreich himself.

“L’Chaim means ‘to life.’ The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center adapted that phrase as the title for their annual fundraiser. L’Chaim honors someone every year who has brought life to the community and the mission we serve,” Chew said. “This year we are fortunate to be honoring someone that speaks and walks our mission every day in his life, and that’s Joel Rotenstreich.”

L’Chaim will take place at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19.

“I am extremely grateful to be honored by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center,” Rotenstreich said. “Getting recognition for what I stand for means something I’m doing might be working.”

Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at karimshamsibasha@gmail.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 day ago

Auburn University making Alabama ‘go-to place’ for additive technologies

(Auburn University)

Additive technologies commonly referred to as 3-D printing are revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, giving engineers and designers new methods to create custom parts in aerospace and other industries.

Auburn University is moving toward its goal of being a leader in this game-changing technology. It’s making strategic investments to broaden its capabilities in additive manufacturing and building partnerships with organizations such as NASA and companies including GE Aviation.

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 Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Auburn’s concentration on additive manufacturing is positioning the university’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering as a national leader in this field.

“Additive manufacturing represents a significant breakthrough that will reshape how manufacturers produce all kinds of products, and it’s critical that Alabama’s workforce is prepared for this technology,” Secretary Canfield said.

“Auburn University is laying the foundation to ensure that we’re fully ready for future advances.”

That includes supporting the Alabama delegation at the Farnborough International Airshow near London next week.

Larry Fillmer, executive director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation, or ARTF, and Cary Chandler, director of business development for ARTF, will be available to meet with aerospace companies to discuss potential opportunities for collaboration with Auburn on projects to advance applied research in additive manufacturing and workforce development.

The overall objective is long-term economic growth for Alabama.

‘GO-TO PLACE’ FOR ADDITIVE

Auburn has hired additional faculty with expertise in additive manufacturing and now has more than 20 faculty members involved in the field. In addition, the university has spent over $8 million on teaching and research equipment, including 3-D printers and instrumentation such as a world-class fatigue testing laboratory and an X-ray computed tomography non-destructive testing center.

The moves have paid off.

Auburn has been involved in sponsored additive manufacturing research programs from NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, and private industry, among others.

An important step for Auburn was the 2016 creation of the Center for Industrialized Additive Manufacturing, with a $1.5 million NIST grant to help small manufacturers use additive manufacturing for reliable production of metal parts.

For Tony Overfelt, professor of materials engineering, who was the inaugural leader in the additive manufacturing focus at Auburn, the center representedan opportunity to propel Alabama to a leadership role in additive manufacturing and spur workforce development by immersing students in the new technology.

“As we launched our efforts in 2016, one of our long-term goals was to make the state of Alabama the go-to place for additive manufacturing,” he said.

And Auburn intends to lead the way.

“The creation of the Auburn University Center for Industrialized Additive Manufacturing helped position Auburn at the forefront of this growing field of research,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

“This reaffirms our college’s commitment to advancing research in manufacturing, which is vital to the state of Alabama and the nation.”

NASA ALLIANCE

Meanwhile, Auburn’s additive manufacturing link to NASA has grown particularly strong.

The university and the space agency signed a cooperative agreement focusing on additive manufacturing in late 2017 and together they formed the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence, or NCAME.

In January 2018, Auburn President Steven Leath visited Huntsville to see first-hand Auburn’s extensive involvement with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

While there, Auburn-trained engineers working in NASA’s additive manufacturing center showed Leath where they are constructing flight hardware for the Space Launch System, or SLS, using innovative 3-D printing technologies. The SLS is NASA’s Mars rocket, now under development.

“The rapidly expanding field of advanced manufacturing requires new skill sets, or, in other words, a new workforce of highly trained specialists,” Leath said. “Auburn is educating and training a growing number of engineers to meet that need—working hand-in-hand with our industry and government partners to ensure they have what they need to bring these technologies out of the lab and into the workforce.”

“Joining forces with NASA and creating NCAME elevates Auburn’s additive manufacturing program even higher. We believe that our joint efforts in AM research and workforce development will help take the U.S. back to the moon and ultimately to Mars,” said Nima Shamsaei, associate professor in mechanical engineering and director of NCAME.

In March 2018, ASTM International, a global standards organization, selected the Auburn-NASA partnership, along with EWI and the U.K.-based Manufacturing Technology Centre, or MTC, as the winners in a global competition for its first Center of Excellence focusing on additive manufacturing. EWI is a leading engineering and technology organization, and MTC develops innovative manufacturing processes and technologies.

The goal for these organizations and their partners is to create a global innovation hub that advances technical standards, related research and development, education, training and more.

“It’s clear that this new center has the potential to shape the future of industries like aerospace, auto, medical and more,” said Katherine Morgan, president of ASTM International.

Shamsaei, who is Auburn’s lead in the Center of Excellence, says, “As a primary mechanism for standards-related research, the ASTM Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence seeks to close knowledge gaps and encourage innovation.”

The ASTM Center of Excellence will be housed in the Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory, a $22 million project being completed on campus this summer with 60,000 square feet of labs and office space for work on additive manufacturing of metals, as well as advanced polymers and composites.

GE AVIATION

The university has also built a strong partnership with GE Aviation, a leader in additive manufacturing that operates a manufacturing plant in Auburn where jet engine fuel nozzles are produced using additive manufacturing techniques.

Last year, GE selected Auburn as one of just eight universities in the world to participate in their groundbreaking academic program focusing on 3-D printing research and education initiatives.

In addition, students in Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering have worked with the company’s engineers on a number of real-world design and testing problems.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

1 day ago

VIDEO: Trump rocks NATO — Alabama run-offs get nasty — Walt Maddox implies Gov. Ivey is too old to be Governor, and more on Guerrilla Politics!

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Why are we pretending Trump isn’t all in on NATO after he called for more defense spending?

— Are the Alabama Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor races the nastiest ever?

— Why is Walt Maddox already slinging mud at Governor Kay Ivey?

Attorney General Steve Marshall joins Jackson and Burke to discuss his court victory over Troy King and the upcoming run-off election.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at Twinkle Cavanaugh who thinks a boat citation is an “arrest” worthy of an attack ad.

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1 day ago

Alabama first responders go through ‘crucial’ active shooter training

Thursday, over 60 officers from Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, Anniston Police Department and Oxford Police Department endured inter-agency training at the Xtreme Concepts Inc. (XCI) Training Facility in Anniston, AL., to combat an active shooter situation.

Per a news release, the group went through three “challenging” scenarios dealing with an active shooter at XCI’s facility, formerly known as Fort McClellan, to “simulate a diverse field of situations.”

“I wanted to put something in there that they don’t see,” Anniston police Sgt. Donny Smith said, regarding a female shooter in an office romance gone bad scenario. “I want to get inside their heads.”

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Experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted in the Thursday training session designed to improve collaboration between various departments to combat potential active shooter situations.

Xtreme Concepts Inc.
Xtreme Concepts Inc.
Xtreme Concepts Inc.
Xtreme Concepts Inc.

A portion of the news release as follows:

The Xtreme Concepts explosives experts were able to create situations where improvised explosives are placed inside an active shooter situation. These improvised explosive devices have been found at places in out state such as Magnolia Elementary School in Trussville in 2016 or the most recent event at Santa Fe High School in Texas this year where similar explosive incendiary devices were found at the school.

“It is always a pleasure to host these first responders who put their lives on the line for our communities every day. Anything that we can do at our facility to make Alabama a safer place is a priority for us,” Landon Ash, CEO of Xtreme Concepts, said.

Groups, initiatives align under AlabamaWorks! Success Plus

(AlabamaWorks!)

Alabama is moving quickly in developing a trained workforce that meets the needs of business, with major changes in recent years in how our workforce development system operates.

The process began four years ago when the Alabama Workforce Council recommended a re-alignment of our workforce programs. The Alabama Legislature responded by passing legislation to make the changes possible, and Gov. Kay Ivey, then lieutenant governor, fully supported these measures. Today, Alabama’s workforce landscape is strikingly different.

One of the Alabama Workforce Council’s recommendations was to reorganize the state’s 10 workforce regions into seven. The Legislature approved funding for staff to run these councils, and these regional workforce directors work closely with the business community as well as the Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama Community College System, K-12, the Alabama Department of Labor, the Career Center System and other related agencies, to identify and meet the needs of industry and workers. In addition, Commerce and the ACCS have assigned liaisons who link each region to workforce training and other resources.

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The legislature also required that at least 75 percent of the voting members come from the business community within each region. This raises the level of engagement with Alabama businesses.

Another significant change in the streamlining of workforce development was the realignment of the Workforce Innovations Opportunity Act program. The three local WIOA boards were expanded to seven and aligned with the seven workforce areas. Many business leaders from around the state were appointed to the state’s WIOA board and, in some areas, to the local boards. Again, this change has resulted in a more even approach to WIOA funding and a significant increase in business engagement across the state.

In 2016, the Legislature approved the creation of Apprenticeship Alabama, designed to increase the number of apprentices to assist companies in building their pipeline of workers.
In its first year, 2017, Apprenticeship Alabama significantly increased the number of apprentices statewide. And while the modest tax credit was a new benefit to companies, the fact that there was an office dedicated to helping businesses register their programs with the U.S. Department of Labor enabled the program to grow. Navigating the waters of federal registration can be tedious, but the Apprenticeship Alabama staff, along with the regional councils, are dedicated to assisting companies with the expansion of this training program.

At first glance, the various components of workforce development appear to be separate entities with separate goals. When you look closer, however, they form the backbone of Gov. Ivey’s recently announced AlabamaWorks Success Plus initiative.

The Success Plus education attainment initiative is the cornerstone of the governor’s “Strong Start. Strong Finish” endeavor. Ivey announced that by 2025, Alabama MUST have 500,000 additional workers who have more than a high school diploma.

Many high schools and career technical programs offer students credentials that qualify within Success Plus. Some students involved in dual-enrollment programs with the ACCS receive not only a high school diploma, but an associate degree or certificate.

Without doubt, one of the most important factors in the development of Alabama’s workforce system has the foresight and the wok of the Alabama Workforce Council, a business-led advisory group for the governor, the Legislature and agency heads. Under the Chairmanship of Zeke Smith, from Alabama Power, the council has provided the sounding board needed by among business and state leaders and the vehicle for candid discussions about workforce development initiatives. The importance of the AWC cannot be understated.

Finally, workforce development in this state would not be complete without the work of AIDT. AIDT is Alabama’s workforce training incentive program. It assists both existing businesses in expansion and new businesses moving to the state. AIDT is consistently ranked in the top three training incentive programs in the country, and we are extremely proud of our ranking. Day in and day out, AIDT staff are boots on the ground assisting more than 130 projects across the state helping fill thousands of jobs.

Of course, the best entry point to any job-seekers is the 50-plus Alabama Career Centers located strategically across Alabama, managed by the Alabama Department of Labor.

When you build a team, the goal is to be the best. This involves uniting team members who are good at a particular position. On their own, they may not make a significant impact. But working as a unit, they perform like a well-oiled machine. During the past four years, we’ve been putting this team together, and we’re seeing the fruits of our labor.

Why does this matter to you? Simply said, these changes, these new initiatives, program improvements and alignments will keep Alabama in the game for new industry and jobs. We must have an educated and skilled workforce for our businesses in the world to come.

For more information about these and other programs within Alabama’s education and workforce infrastructure, visit www.alabamaworks.com.

Ed Castile is deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce and director of AIDT.

1 day ago

Back Forty Beer Company-Birmingham pouring it on with beer and food

(M. Tomberlin/Alabama NewsCenter)

The first satellite brewery of Alabama’s largest beer maker is now open in Sloss Docks next door to Birmingham’s historic Sloss Furnaces.

Back Forty Beer Company-Birmingham shares a name and elements with the mother brewery in Gadsden but it also has its own unique elements.

“We’re going to be focused on bringing core beers from Gadsden that people love but also complementing it with craft beer that you can get nowhere else other than this location and distributed locally in the Birmingham market,” said Doug Brown, owner and CEO of Back Forty-Birmingham. “These satellite breweries were developed on a concept of satisfying the consumer’s demand for unique craft beer that can be found nowhere else.”

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The 6,200-square-foot operation has indoor seating for 170 and outdoor porches, decks and a beer garden that encourages visitors to relax on swings or rocking chairs or get a bit more active with a pingpong table, cornhole and is even considering adding fly-fishing lessons.

In addition to a full brewery operation, Back Forty-Birmingham has a kitchen where executive chef Russ Bodner is elevating bar food.

The Back40 Poutine comes with gravy made from Back Forty’s award-winning Truck Stop Honey brown ale. The Naked Pig Boiled Peanuts come with garlic, arbol chili and thyme. There is also Confit Chicken Wings with a rotating hot sauce, grilled okra with harissa and pickled raisins, and Grilled “Street Corn” with chili aioli, toasted coconut, lime and cilantro.

Bodner puts his twist on pizzas, too, and then shows even more creativity with large plates (Steak-Frites with Naked Pig “beernaise” sauce, anyone?), sandwiches (Lamb Burger for something different) and house-made sausages.

Bodner has developed his own style after working at an award-winning Greek restaurant in New York, working with Lake Martin culinary royalty Rob McDaniel at Spring House and then serving as an executive chef at Lake Martin’s Kowaliga Restaurant before going to St. Louis for a few years.

When Back Forty-Birmingham came calling, Bodner was ready to come back to Alabama and join the exploding culinary scene in Birmingham.

“I thought this was a great opportunity to bring something Birmingham doesn’t have – a brewery with a restaurant in it,” Bodner said.

Doing his own pickling and making sausages are a few of the elements that Bonder hopes will make Back Forty-Birmingham stand out. He believes the food pairs well with beers but also stands up well on its own.

“I want to have fun and I want all of the staff to have fun and learn with what we’re doing,” he said.

The full menu will not be available until after a July 21 grand opening with a ribbon-cutting at 4:30 p.m. That event will feature live music from WildEyes and Truett.

For this weekend’s Sloss Music and Arts Festival, Back Forty-Birmingham will be open and offering a limited menu.

Hours: Monday and Wednesday 3-10 p.m., (closed Tuesday), Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight and Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 day ago

Deep Roots is an Alabama Maker unlocking the medicinal power of herbs

(M. Tomberlin/Alabama NewsCenter)

Deep Roots (Montevallo and Birmingham)

The Maker: Cameron Strouss

Cameron Strouss just wanted to feel healthy again.

Surgery and post-operative treatment to her ankles when she was a teenager left her in pain and with more physical problems than she had before. Undiagnosed food allergies caused more problems and Strouss struggled to find answers through the typical doctor-prescription-treatment route.

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Arthritis, pain, fatigue and anxiety were the norm, but Strouss couldn’t help but think there was a better way.

“Finally, one day I saw a plant and I thought, ‘Why don’t I know how to use this? Why wasn’t this passed down to me?’,” Strouss said.

Strouss started using herbs much like she would pharmaceuticals – taking a specific herb to treat a specific problem or symptom.

“I was not getting the results I wanted to with my own health and I realized that it’s more about the whole body so I started just learning more and doing more diet and supplementation with herbs, looking at nutrient issues and more well-rounded dietary supplementation and then also using herbs,” Strouss said.

Strouss earned a degree in biology at the University of Montevallo. She then went to work at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens to brush up on native plant knowledge.

An internship with Herb Pharm in Oregon, training with clinical herbalist Thomas Easley, and work with All is Well Health and Inspiration in Andalusia put her on the path to become a registered herbalist (RH) through the American Herbalist Guild and a functional herbalist (FH) through the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine.

After completing her herb training five years ago, Strouss decided to put her knowledge to work.

“It was time for Deep Roots to become a thing and for me to start helping other people with their health,” she said.

Deep Roots offers clinical consultations that include chronic and acute care herbalism. The company also presents educational programs on herbal and botanical medicines.

Strouss mixes her own medicines and sells them through the Deep Roots store in Montevallo, online and at events, such as the Market at Pepper Place.

Strouss also operates the Embody Practice Center in Birmingham.

While more people are discovering herbal medicine, Strouss reminds them that what she is doing isn’t new.

“I’m not fringe or cusp or a pioneer,” she said. “This has been a road that’s been forged long before me but I’m glad to be holding the torch and passing now on to other people through our educational programs.”

Deep Roots Apotheke & Clinic

The product: Herbal medicines, extracts, salves, teas and blends.

Take home: A bottle of Alabama Heat ($20).

Embody Practice Center, 3918 Montclair Road, Suite 100, Birmingham, Alabama 35213

Deep Roots storefront, 620 Main St., Montevallo, Alabama 35115

https://www.deeprootsapothekeandclinic.com/

Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 days ago

Alabama apps: Wyndy helps pair parents with babysitters

(Contributed)

Alabama NewsCenter is highlighting apps developed in the state. This is the first story in a series.

Tommy and Ginger Mayfield needed a babysitter, but the Birmingham couple’s schedule was irregular and hectic with 3- and 1-year-old daughters.

“Life was crazy those years. When we looked through babysitters, we were using the same technology parents had been using for the last 10 to 15 years, which was basically no technology,” Mayfield said. “The hurdles of texting each potential sitter, stopping by the ATM – I just thought, “‘Why isn’t there an app to make this process easier?’”

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A native of Mountain Brook, Mayfield was working unpredictable hours at a law firm and his wife was taking night classes for a master’s degree, making the need for a trusted babysitter dire, and their time for searching short.

In his pursuit of solving their babysitting problem, however, came the genesis for Wyndy.

How great would it be, Mayfield thought, to have an app for parents in need of a babysitter and for babysitters in need of work? The idea came in May 2016, and by spring 2017, his idea manifested on the app store and Wyndy launched with no charge. The name derives from the character Wendy in Peter Pan.

“It’s hard for people to believe Jones Valley can produce the same technology as Silicon Valley, but I think we’re increasingly seeing that happen,” Mayfield said.

Wyndy works by allowing parents to post jobs on the app, and babysitters can then pick postings fitting their schedule.

The babysitters are all full-time college students. Anyone wishing to be a babysitter for the app must pass a background check and go through an application process, according to the company.

An in-app timer tracks how long the babysitter works and the parents then pay through the app. In addition to Wyndy connecting parents with background-checked college babysitters, the app also helps parents save time.

“It used to be if I wanted to take my wife out, we had to start thinking about a babysitter days in advance, but now I can come home Friday afternoon and get a babysitter instantly,” Mayfield said.

According to the company, it takes an average of two minutes for a parent to find a babysitter. The process can be quicker with parents having the option to save babysitters from previous jobs, curating a list of favorite Wyndy babysitters.

While many people might think of steel or automotive manufacturing driving Alabama’s economy, the city of Birmingham and other parts of the state have become a hotbed for startups and app developers.

According to an April 2018 “State of the App Economy” study by the App Association, 39,000 Alabamians currently work in computing jobs. Those jobs come with an average salary of $85,466.

The future of the industry looks bright too – with a projected job growth of 12.5 percent in Alabama by 2024.

Nationwide, the “app economy” contributes $950.6 billion to the U.S. economy and employs 4.7 million people.

You can follow Wyndy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 days ago

Gov. Ivey to lead Alabama team at Farnborough International Airshow

(Made in Alabama)

Governor Kay Ivey is leading a team of Alabama economic development specialists to the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow for meetings aimed at accelerating growth in the state’s aerospace and aviation industry.

Governor Ivey will join a small working team from the Alabama Department of Commerce in scheduled appointments with high-ranking executives and key decision-makers from major aerospace companies.

The Farnborough Airshow, beginning Monday, July 16, is the global aerospace industry’s premier trade event in 2018.

“In the past year, we’ve seen many exciting aerospace projects come to Alabama, and our goal is to make sure we land more of them. At the Farnborough Airshow, I will work with my team at the Alabama Department of Commerce, led by Secretary Greg Canfield, to position the state for additional growth and job creation in the aerospace industry,” Governor Ivey said.

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“Alabama is a leader in aerospace, and we’re aiming to elevate the state’s profile in this important industry through even more growth.”

Governor Ivey and Secretary Canfield will join economic development professionals, elected officials and university representatives from around Alabama at the event near London.

Organizers say Farnborough will host more than 1,500 exhibitors and up to 100,000 visitors during the event’s trade show portion, which is dedicated to industry representatives and other professionals. More than 20 U.S. states are typically represented at the international event.

AEROSPACE GROWTH

“At Farnborough, we can showcase Alabama’s many advantages and capabilities in the aerospace sector.”

The air show mission comes at a time of robust growth for Alabama’s aerospace industry.

In 2017, aerospace companies finalized plans for nearly $700 million in new capital investment in Alabama, which will create 1,750 jobs, according to projections by the Alabama Department of Commerce. Investment in the sector totals around $2.4 billion since 2011, resulting in 8,300 new jobs.

Hiring trends within the sector remain strong, with companies including Boeing, Airbus, GE Aviation, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Blue Origin expanding their workforces in the state.

Secretary Canfield said the Farnborough Airshow represents a unique opportunity for his team to engage in a series of scheduled appointments with key industry figures over three days.

“At Farnborough, we can showcase Alabama’s many advantages and capabilities in the aerospace sector while positioning the state for additional investment and job creation,” he said. “Our team can connect with companies from around the world at one location, without having to travel all over the globe.”

GAINING MOMENTUM

Alabama officials have attended the Farnborough International Airshow and its sibling, the Paris Air Show, for a number of years because having a presence at the industry’s most important annual events is seen as critical to efforts to land new aerospace jobs and investment.

At the Paris Air Show in 2017, Governor Ivey and Secretary Canfield attended 22 appointments with industry executives. The discussions touched on five ongoing projects and uncovered four potential new projects for Alabama. Altogether, these projects involved between 1,600 and 1,900 possible new jobs.

“Alabama’s aerospace industry is thriving and gaining momentum for even more future growth,” Governor Ivey said. “I want to see this industry continue to expand across Alabama, bringing good jobs, additional investment and new capabilities.”

Governor Ivey has a deep interest in aerospace. She is the former chair of the Aerospace States Association, a nationwide group representing states’ interests in federal aerospace and aviation policy development. She is a member of the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

2 days ago

Shipt expansion, Birmingham initiative propel Magic City’s tech sector

(Alabama NewsCenter)

Birmingham is abuzz from two major economic development announcements Thursday that will shape the city’s tech economy for generations to come.

Shipt’s decision to expand its Birmingham headquarters by investing $10 million and adding 881 jobs was certainly the big news of the day.

Those jobs will pay $48,300 on average and create a payroll of $1.1 billion over the next 20 years.

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“We’re really excited about the over 800 new jobs that are going to be coming to Birmingham,” Shipt CEO Bill Smith said. “These are going to be highly skilled, high-paying jobs in parts of our company such as software engineering, data science, operations, our experience team, our partner success team, marketing and other parts of the business. These are fantastic jobs. I’m really excited to see those come here.”

The Shipt expansion also led to the creation of a new economic development incentive program for Birmingham. The Putting People First Fund will be used to train, recruit and develop tech talent in the Magic City.

“The whole idea of the fund is very simple, it’s very direct. It is to invest in Shipt’s greatest asset but it is also to invest in our city’s greatest asset and that is our people,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said. “We believe that when incentives are steered towards cultivating human potential, Birmingham, our city, can grow. But that also means that companies can thrive and our people can prosper.”

The fund consists of a Talent Investment Program, Talent Acceleration Program and Talent Optimization Program.

By tailoring a human-capital-focused economic development strategy to Shipt, it gives Birmingham a tool that will be attractive to other tech companies, said Josh Carpenter, director of Innovation and Economic Opportunity for the city.

“It’s a comprehensive strategy to grow with and alongside a company and let them know that we have an innovative tool to invest here so they can grow,” he said.

Carpenter said a tech company’s major investment is most often its people and economic development incentives are needed to address that need.

“If we can offset some of that cost and co-invest in that talent with the company, that enables them to spread their dollars elsewhere and potentially grow their workforce, hire more workers or turn part-time jobs into full-time jobs,” Carpenter said.

Having such an incentive is bound to catch the eyes of entrepreneurs and other tech companies, Blair King, Economic Development project manager with Alabama Power, said.

“It’s an exciting time to develop those different tools, shift our existing tools that can help apply to this tech ecosystem as we continue to grow new startups and as they continue to grow in Birmingham,” King said.

Smith said Shipt wanted to maintain its headquarters in Birmingham after Target purchased the company for $550 million in December. He said the incentives allow Shipt to do that.

“We’re also excited about developing new talent in Birmingham and the surrounding areas and also about attracting new talent to Birmingham and our state,” he said. “When you have a company like Shipt, it can be a great magnet to bring new talent to the area and we hope to do that.”

Smith hopes that Shipt can be the seismic shift for the tech industry that Mercedes-Benz has been for the automotive industry in Alabama.

“I really think of this as being bigger than just Shipt,” he said. “You know, companies create an ecosystem and there already is a great technology ecosystem here in Birmingham and here in our state, and I connect this as a catalytic event that has the potential to have an impact on our state similar to the impact that the recruitment of Mercedes has done for the state’s automotive industry.”

The state’s new incentives that are tied to job creation also make it more attractive for industries beyond the traditional manufacturing operations.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said the state should tout the success of homegrown startups like Shipt.

“This expansion will not only raise the standard of economic development in Alabama, but it will open the door to the world of the rapid changes in technology going forward,” she said.

Woodfin said Birmingham plans to promote the Putting People First Fund to other companies to grow the tech sector in the city.

“This is a model for us to expand and be the hub for the entire tech space in the Southeast,” he said.

The program will work in conjunction with other initiatives to build on education and worker training.

“We have to develop a more educated workforce that will make Birmingham a more desirable location for future tech companies looking to grow and/or looking to expand,” Woodfin said. “It represents another milestone in moving towards our vision of making Birmingham a destination.”

Shipt officials said they now have about 300 employees on three floors at the John Hand Building in downtown Birmingham. The addition of 881 new jobs will likely create a need for more office space and the intent is to remain downtown, though no specific location has been announced.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)