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.

11 hours ago

Fmr Gov. Don Siegelman appears to be using outrage over George Floyd to sell new book

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman (Photo: Mike Disharoon)

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to sell his new book is using robocalls that appear to reference the current unrest over George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody.

On Thursday afternoon, a Yellowhammer News reporter received a robocall from 1 (800) 890-5875, a number listed as “Robocaller” by the phone protection company NoMoRobo. The voiceover of the robocall was apparently recorded by Siegelman himself.

The message began, “Don Siegelman, your governor here. We’ve got to protect people from the abuse of power by police, prosecutors, or presidents.”

“My new book, Stealing our Democracy, is a wakeup call to action. It’s also number one among new releases on amazon.com,” the message added.

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An individual from the Wiregrass told Yellowhammer News that she also received the voicemail.

In addition to that, at least one Twitter user appeared to have received the robocall.

Siegelman was convicted on June 29, 2006, of conspiracy, bribery and fraud.

The former Alabama Democratic governor appeared to lump in his claimed unjust treatment by the authorities with the death of George Floyd.

Listen:

Siegelman is currently promoting his new book “Stealing Our Democracy.”

Yellowhammer News’ request for comment from Siegelman was not immediately returned. A message was left on his personal cell phone number.

He claimed the book is “#1 among new releases on amazon.com”

Yellowhammer News examined the new releases chart on Amazon.com, which revealed that Siegelman’s book is not in the top 100 best selling new releases.

However, the book is #1 in the sub-subcategory “Urban, State & Local Government Law.”

Urban, State & Local Government Law is one of 12 sub-subcategories of the “Administrative Law” subcategory.

The “Administrative Law” subcategory is one of 23 subcategories under the category “Law.”

“Law” is one of 36 categories into which Amazon divides the kinds new-release books that it sells.

As a matter of record, the book is only available for pre-order. It has not been released to the public yet.

The former governor’s book claims that his downfall and conviction of felony bribery were part of a politically motivated prosecution coordinated by Karl Rove.

His book will be released to the public on June 16.

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

11 hours ago

Two charged with capital murder in slaying of Moody PD officer

(St. Claire Sheriff's Office/Contributed)

Two suspects have been charged with capital murder in the case of slain Moody Police Department officer Stephen Williams.

The two suspects are 27-year-old male Tapero Corlene Johnson and 28-year-old female Marquisha Anissa Tyson. Both are from Birmingham and will be eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

At a press conference Friday, St. Clair County Sheriff Billy Murray described said the investigation is still continuing and described it as “complex and intense.”

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Williams was posthumously promoted to lieutenant at the press conference on Thursday by Moody Police Chief Thomas Hunt.

Hunt said Williams had remarked at times that he would like to achieve the rank of lieutenant someday, and now he will forever be known as Lt. Stephen Williams.

The District Attorney for St. Clair County said the two suspects had been in police custody since the shooting on Tuesday night.

Investigators say they have determined that Johnson and Tyson fired weapons at Williams who was responding to a disturbance at a Super 8 Motel.

A GoFundMe page to help Williams’ family has been raising money in recent days.

Williams served the public as a police officer for 23 years before being killed in the line of duty this week.

Governor Kay Ivey commented on the incident earlier in the week, saying Williams “died a hero.”

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

12 hours ago

Data shows Alabama nursing homes performing better than national average for COVID-19 cases, deaths

(Pixabay, YHN)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday released facility-specific COVID-19 data for nursing homes across the United States, and an analysis of the data shows Alabama fairing better than the national average.

The data was collected on a mandatory basis by the CDC and currently covers through the week ending on May 31.

Nationwide, the average number of confirmed coronavirus cases per 1,000 residents in nursing homes was 91.2, while the average number of deaths from the disease per 1,000 residents was 30.2.

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In Alabama, both of those numbers were significantly lower than the national average, at 64.9 and 20.9, respectively.

Alabama Nursing Home Association president and CEO Brandon Farmer issued a statement on the data’s release.

“According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Alabama nursing homes report fewer cases of COVID-19 per 1,000 residents and fewer deaths from COVID-19 per 1,000 residents than the national average,” he confirmed.

“Because we are on the front lines of fighting COVID-19, we expect the number of COVID-19 cases to rise as more tests are administered and the data is added to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) system. The Alabama Nursing Home Association hopes this data will be used to prioritize resources for skilled nursing facilities,” Farmer advised.

“Alabama nursing homes have been transparent from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he continued. “Our members have reported cases to their local county health department and the Alabama Department of Public Health from the start. In May, we began reporting cases to the CDC. Facilities also inform residents and their family representatives and employees of cases in their buildings. We are following the guidelines set forth by the multiple state and federal agencies that regulate our sector. No other business or health care provider reports COVID-19 cases to more government entities and people than nursing homes.”

Nationwide, nursing homes reported 95,515 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 31,782 deaths through May 31. Nursing homes in Alabama reported 1,000 confirmed cases and 335 deaths.

Moving forward, CMS will release the next round of data on June 18. After that date, new data should be released weekly.

“The Alabama Nursing Home Association and its members will continue to work with local, state and federal leaders to address the needs of nursing home residents and employees,” Farmer concluded.

The CMS data can be viewed here.

As of Friday at 2:00 p.m., the Alabama Department of Public Health reported 19,073 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, with 672 deaths.

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

12 hours ago

NFIB survey of Alabama business owners shows ongoing COVID-19 related fears

(Pixabay, YHN)

A new study from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) showed that an overwhelming majority of proprietors are nervous about several aspects of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting their business.

Yellowhammer News reported in the first week of May that 70% of the NFIB’s membership across the United States was concerned about individuals filing frivolous lawsuits claiming a business had caused them to catch COVID-19.

A poll from the Alabama division of NFIB this week shows that 69% of businesses in the Yellowhammer State remain nervous about lawsuits, and roughly equal amounts are worried whether customers might come back and that it may prove difficult to comply with ongoing regulations.

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The top results of the survey as follows:

  • 70% of owners say they’re very or moderately concerned about getting customers back.
  • 69% are concerned about managing the health and safety of their customers; 66% are concerned about managing the health and safety of employees.
  • 69% are concerned with having to comply with new regulations related to the coronavirus.
  • 68% are concerned about finding an adequate supply of supplies such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant.

NFIB state director Rosemary Elebash told Yellowhammer News Friday that the survey was administered to businesses in every county and every city with a significant population.

“It wasn’t just NFIB members,” Elebash added about the survey, saying the group had worked with a number of trade associations to increase the amount of responses.

The NFIB also continues to strongly support Senator Arthur Orr’s (R-Decatur) bill to grant civil immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits to businesses in Alabama.

Elebash noted in a release that Orr’s bill would be “one of NFIB’s top priorities” if Governor Kay Ivey calls a special session later in the year.

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

13 hours ago

Tuberville: Nationwide unrest linked to ‘education and jobs’

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Many argue there is much more to the civil unrest across the nation than the lone incident in Minneapolis involving the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the police department. Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville indicated he agrees with that.

During an appearance on Huntsville WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Tuberville, a candidate for U.S. Senate, said based on his interactions with people on the campaign trail, there is a longing to get back to a sense of normalcy in the wake of the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I speak to eight to ten places a day — groups are worried, obviously. I think they’re getting a little more confident they can go out and be around other people,” he said. “And we’re just hoping we can just put this pandemic, and it is a problem, it is serious — again, you’ve got to protect yourself. It’s not going away. It is still here, especially if you’re having health problems and those things. That will go away — but then all of a sudden we get hit with this civil unrest, and again — we’re all Americans. We’re all in this together. We’ve got to find a solution.”

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Tuberville said he is asked for his thoughts by voters while on the trail, to which he said he points to “education and jobs,” and the erosion of the American middle class.

“I had a group ask me today, ‘Coach, what do you think the problem is?’ Education and jobs. We don’t have a middle class anymore,” Tuberville stated. “There are people out there that don’t have the opportunity to advance in this country like they want to. This is not a black issue. This is not a white issue. This is an American issue. We shipped our jobs to China, bottom line. We’re finding out more and more about that every day, and we’ve got to give the opportunity for young men and women to have a chance to grow in this country, and give them a fair chance. Unfortunately, our middle class has dissipated. We have more drugs in this country, and a lot of people take other options. We got to understand — we’re all in this together, 340 million people. We’re either going to make it together or not make together.”

@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 Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

13 hours ago

City of Mobile temporarily removes Admiral Raphael Semmes statue from downtown

(@Jaysha_WPMI/Twitter, YHN)

The City of Mobile has removed the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes from downtown, however this appears to be a temporary action.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson tweeted that the statue was removed at his direction in the early morning hours of Friday. The base of the monument still remains.

“On June 4, 2020, I ordered that the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes be moved from its location at the intersection of Government and Royal streets in downtown Mobile,” the mayor said. “The task was completed this morning, June 5. The statue has been placed in a secure location.”

“To be clear: This decision is not about Raphael Semmes, it is not about a monument and it is not an attempt to rewrite history,” he continued.

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“Moving this statue will not change the past. It is about removing a potential distraction so we may focus clearly on the future of our city. That conversation, and the mission to create One Mobile, continues today,” Stimpson concluded.

Per WKRG, City of Mobile spokesperson George Talbot clarified that the removal of the statue is temporary. Next steps are to be announced at a later date.

This comes after the statue was defaced earlier this week. The City promptly cleaned the statue after that incident.

Semmes commanded the CSS Alabama in the Confederate Navy. He died in Mobile in 1877.

Originally dedicated in 1900, the statue of Semmes is covered by the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. The City could potentially face a $25,000 fine for removing the statue.

Semmes is a member of the Alabama Hall of Fame. The City of Semmes in western Mobile County was named after him, as was The Admiral Hotel (a Curio by Hilton property) in downtown Mobile.

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

15 hours ago

Former Alabama AG Bill Pryor named chief judge of 11th Circuit Court

(Wikicommons)

Judge William “Bill” H. Pryor, Jr. on Wednesday took over as chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Pryor served as Attorney General of Alabama from 1997-2004 before being nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the 11th Circuit in 2003.

The 11th circuit court has jurisdiction over all appeals out of federal district courts in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. The court meets in Atlanta.

News of Pryor’s ascension into the chief judge role was first reported by Law.com. Selection as chief judge on federal courts is based on seniority.

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Law.com quotes Pryor as saying, “I will strive to follow the example of the chief judges who preceded me by serving our circuit with the professionalism and integrity that the members and employees of the federal judiciary regularly serve the American people.”

As chief judge, Pryor will be in charge of the court’s operations and administration. He will serve in the role for seven years.

Preceding Pryor as chief of the 11th Circuit was Judge Ed Carnes, also an Alabamian, who turned 70 on Wednesday and is assuming senior status.

Carnes’ replacement is another Alabamian. Judge Andrew Brasher was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a 52-43 vote in February to take over Carnes’ spot on the court. Brasher is currently a U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of Alabama.

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

17 hours ago

Jobs numbers show historic jump up, unemployment down

(WH/Flickr, UAH/Contributed, YHN)

The nation’s unemployment rate dropped in May, while Alabama saw its fewest unemployment claims in nearly three months.

The U.S. Department of Labor released it May jobs report on Friday. The report showed that the U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, a jump which amounted to the largest increase on record.

Meanwhile, the Alabama Department of Labor reported 20,786 unemployment claims had been filed for the week ending on May 30. This was the lowest number of claims filed in a week since early-March.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Governor Kay Ivey reacted to the latest jobs numbers by expressing her optimism for a strong economic recovery.

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“While the past few months have been difficult, our state and nation are beginning to bounce back,” Ivey said. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have emphasized the need for us to strike a balance between protecting people’s personal health during this health crisis and their jobs – simply, you cannot have a life without livelihood. President Trump has provided solid leadership during a time that no one could have fully prepared for, and because of that, our nation is beginning to bounce back. He is charging the states with opening again in a smart and safe way, and we are doing just that in Alabama. We still have more work to do on both the health and economic sides, but we will exhaust all efforts to ensure Alabama is back on her feet.”

Citing states, like Alabama, which reopened their economies earlier this spring, U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia outlined his belief that conditions are now favorable for sustained growth.

“There is an opportunity to return millions upon millions [of people to work] in the next few weeks,” he told Fox News.

Scalia expects a full recovery to be well underway before the end of the year.

“I think we can make a lot of headway this year,” he remarked. “I think we can start now. We’re seeing it.”

The national unemployment rate dropped to 13.3% in May. Fox News reported that some economists had expected the unemployment rate to surge to nearly 20%. Construction, manufacturing, healthcare and retail all saw significant increases in employment last month, a sign that the economy could be rebounding more quickly than expected.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early on Friday morning to share his thoughts.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

19 hours ago

7 Things: Alabama AG says Huntsville’s tear gas was justified, COVID-19 is still going on, Birmingham shuts down over protests and more …

(YHN)

7. Easing restrictions on Paycheck Protection Program supported by Alabama

  • The more relaxed requirements for businesses receiving funds through the Paycheck Protection Program were passed by the U.S. Senate and House this week. Businesses would only be required to spend 60% of funds on payroll, instead of 75%, and they’ll have 24 weeks to spend funds, instead of eight weeks. 
  • All Alabama representatives in the House and Senate supported this move, and now the legislation awaits President Donald Trump’s signature. So far, the program has saved over 50 million jobs, according to the Trump administration. 

6. Remove Jefferson Davis Day?

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  • In Alabama, Jefferson Davis Day is every year on the first Monday of June, and now Alabama Democratic Party chairman State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) is calling on Governor Kay Ivey to remove the holiday. 
  • England sent a letter to Ivey asking her to call a special session to add removing the holiday to the agenda. A spokesperson for Ivey’s office said that the governor “is certainly open to sitting down with lawmakers to discuss this proposal.”

5. Walmart is pulling firearms

  • Due to protests over George Floyd’s death, Walmart has decided to remove firearms and ammunition from some stores. A spokesperson said that this decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.”
  • Walmart hasn’t specified which stores will have guns removed. Firearms and ammunition will still be available for purchase, but they “are being stored in a secure room.”

4. On-campus learning to return for fall semester

  • The University of Alabama System, which includes Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, has announced that they’ll have students back on campus this summer at a limited capacity, and then full classrooms will be back by the fall semester.
  • A resolution released by the system said, “The Board of Trustees believes that the UA System can best fulfill its core mission of teaching, research, and service by resuming on-campus activities in the Fall 2020 semester.” Students are able to go back on campus with limits on June 22; the fall semester will start on August 19 for all campuses.

3. Birmingham closes down ahead of protests

  • In preparation for more protests, including rumors of the KKK protesting, a fence was put up around Birmingham’s Linn Park and Kelly Ingram Park, the University of Alabama at Birmingham closed campus early “out of an abundance of caution,” some businesses downtown closed early, and courthouses closed down at noon by order of Jefferson County Presiding Court Judge Elisabeth French.
  • The City released a statement that the parks were fenced off “for public safety purposes to ensure unregistered gatherings do not occur.” The roads around Birmingham City Hall were barricaded, but even with this reported, Mayor Randall Woodfin’s Office of Public Information released a statement saying that “the city has not announced a shutdown nor does it plan to announce a shutdown.”

2. The coronavirus pandemic is still a thing

  • A popular narrative as things have reopened whenever there are crowds is that there will be a spike in coronavirus cases, and while that is yet to actually happen, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield has said that protests going on across the country could cause a resurgence of cases.
  • Redfield spoke before a House Appropriations subcommittee and suggested that those protesting get tested for the coronavirus. He told U.S. Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL) that “there is a potential, unfortunately, for this to be a seeding event.” He went on to say that the CDC is “very concerned that our public health message isn’t resonating.”

1. Mayor and AG defend Huntsville response

  • Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has made a public statement about the protest in downtown Huntsville that ended in the use of tear gas, and he explained that “people who were not part of our community” were responsible for the late unpermitted protest. Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner said, “We did the right thing last night.”
  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall defended the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and force as an appropriate and proportional response, saying, “After an hour and a half of warnings and with daylight dwindling, law enforcement dispersed the crowd with the least amount of force possible and using no lethal weapons. This, despite the fact that the crowd was found to have backpacks full of weapons and spray paint, and which attacked officers with rocks and bottles full of frozen water.”

1 day ago

State Sen. Ward on Confederate monument controversy: ‘You can’t let mob rule dictate any of the policy, one way or another’

(Screenshot/APTV)

Given the subject matter related to the nationwide protests and demonstrations underway in the name George Floyd’s death while in the custody of Minneapolis police, it was inevitable that the controversial subject of Confederate monuments in Alabama was to be raised.

In 2017, the Alabama legislature passed a law requiring local governments to obtain permission from the state before moving or renaming buildings and monuments older than 40 years.

During an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN, State Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) weighed in on the law, which is under scrutiny as the city of Birmingham has acted in violation of the law and removed a monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers and sailors that was on display in the city’s Linn Park.

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“It’s a civil penalty, not a criminal — so in other words, you can’t hold a city liable for a crime but you can penalize them for civil means,” he said. “My interpretation of the law sponsored by Sen. Gerald Allen, and was voted on pretty overwhelmingly by the House and the Senate, is that it is a $25,000 fine to remove historical monument — and I think there is a period of time back it had to be constructed. Anything before 1968 or 1970 … it is considered a historical monument. Therefore, in order to remove it, you had to appeal to this executive commission set up and appointed by the governor.”

“Birmingham can pay the $25,000 fine,” Ward explained. “They have the means to do that. I think a lot of your smaller cities that $25,000 penalty would be considered a pretty hefty fine for some of these local city budgets, smaller towns.”

Ward said there has been a movement in the past to strengthen the law by enhancing the penalties for violations, but maintains the law is still a civil statute and not a criminal statute.

“You can’t make it criminal, but you could look at civil penalties if you want to enhance the civil penalties,” he added. “I believe Senator Allen has said he wants to look at increasing somehow some of those penalties. If you’re going to change the law in order to strengthen it — that’s how you would do it. At the same time, before we get too bogged down in the whole debate on monuments, we also got a lot of other issues we need to deal with, as well.”

The Shelby County Republican lawmaker warned against the terms of the law being altered as a reaction to “mob rule,” which could threaten the system of government if allowed.

“You can’t let mob rule dictate any of the policy, one way or another,” Ward said. “You’re for or against the monuments, in my opinion. If you start doing that, you’re throwing your whole republican form of government out the window. I mean, the idea is we have laws. Change the laws if you don’t like the monument law, change the law. Make it stronger or make it weaker. But if we start saying, ‘Well, we got some people that are starting to riot. We’ve got to ignore or change some of the laws on the books to adapt to that. I think that’s a very dangerous precedent.”

What could happen going forward with the Alabama Monuments Preservation Act is uncertain, according to Ward. However, he said he expects there to be a continued debate between now and the lead-up to the 2021 legislative session.

“I don’t know there’s an appetite to do that,” he said. “There’s a couple on the Democratic side of the aisle who want it reversed. I know Senator Allen on the Republican side has spoken about increasing, making it stronger. We can’t go back into regular session until February 2021. I’m sure there will be a lot of debate between now and then as to what happens with this particular law.”

@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 Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

1 day ago

Attorney general backs Wednesday tear gas usage by law enforcement officers in Huntsville — ‘Crowd was found to have backpacks full of weapons’

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Thursday afternoon released a statement supporting the dispersal of a crowd in Huntsville the day previous by law enforcement officers.

Officers on Wednesday evening used tear gas and pepper spray to break up the crowd after they reportedly refused to comply with orders to disperse. At least one police officer was injured by the so-called protesters, and a reporter on the scene said objects were thrown at law enforcement vehicles. One local business was damaged.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle on Thursday morning released a statement about what occurred, noting that “people who were not part of our community” were responsible for the unpermitted gathering that led to the clash.

A release from the attorney general’s office said Marshall supports “law enforcement in their efforts to protect the public from violence spurred by anarchists attempting to hijack peaceful protests.”

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Given the infrequency with which tear gas is employed, the attorney general’s office explained that Marshall believed it was his duty to examine what necessitated its use in Huntsville.

A review of the incident by Marshall resulted in him backing the law enforcement officers’ usage of the non-lethal tool.

“The appropriateness of police actions must always be judged by the circumstances in which they occur,” Marshall said in a statement. “After talking with the Huntsville Police Department and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, I am well-satisfied that the actions taken by police were reasonable under the circumstances.”

“After a peaceful protest, hosted by the local chapter of the NAACP—which abided by the law and should not be blamed for what came after—hundreds of hostile demonstrators ignored multiple requests by law enforcement to leave the area. Rather than leaving, those demonstrators put on gear and readied for battle,” he outlined. “After an hour and a half of warnings and with daylight dwindling, law enforcement dispersed the crowd with the least amount of force possible and using no lethal weapons. This, despite the fact that the crowd was found to have backpacks full of weapons and spray paint, and which attacked officers with rocks and bottles full of frozen water.”

The attorney general’s office stressed that they have zero tolerance for aggressive acts against law enforcement.

“Alabama is fortunate in that most protests taking place in recent days have been conducted peacefully,” Marshall concluded. “At the same time, over the last 10 days—and even as we speak—law enforcement intelligence from around our state indicates the intent of some to infiltrate protests with violence, property damage, and targeting of law enforcement officers.”

RELATED: Huntsville mayor: ‘People who were not part of our community’ led Wednesday protest which resulted in tear gas usage, police officer injury

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

1 day ago

Jerry Carl endorsed by Coastal Alabama business, civic leaders

(Jerry Carl for Congress/Facebook, YHN)

Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl on Thursday announced that he has been endorsed for Congress by Coastal 150, a group of community leaders who work to further the mission of the Coastal Alabama Partnership to advance the interests of coastal Alabama.

In a statement, Coastal 150 executive director Wiley Blankenship said, “Our members believe that Jerry Carl is the right person to serve our region in Congress. He understands our unique needs and supports our shared vision for coastal Alabama.”

“We expect that Mr. Carl will represent coastal Alabama well and we look forward to working with him in Washington,” Blankenship continued. “The experience, character and leadership that he brings to the office is what we believe is necessary to solve the challenges facing our region and our nation.”

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Carl is running against former State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) in the Republican primary runoff to be held on July 14. They are vying for the congressional seat currently occupied by U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01).

“Coastal 150 represents many of the job creators in south Alabama, and I am thankful for their endorsement,” Carl commented. “I have worked closely with these business leaders to foster economic growth and a job-friendly environment. They understand the unique needs we have here in south Alabama and know what it will take to get our economy back on track. As a small businessman who has created jobs right here in our community, I am honored to have their support and will fight tirelessly alongside Trump to get our economy open again.”

This comes shortly after Carl received the endorsement of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s political arm, FarmPAC. He has also been endorsed by the third and fourth place finishers in the AL-01 GOP primary, State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) and businessman Wes Lambert.

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

2 days ago

Protests don’t have to end in tear gas

(Ted Eytan/Flickr, Pixabay, YHN)

The latest contentious protest in Alabama took place in Huntsville Wednesday night as the city made it clear that it would not be tolerating lawlessness and open-hostility in the street.

How long can they hold this position? Time will tell.

Before we get started, let’s take a second to remember all of this is predicated on the unanimous agreement among citizens and politicians alike that an event that happened over 2,000+ miles away was horrendous, illegal and needs to be aggressively punished to the full extent of the law.

No one in Huntsville has expressed a different opinion or begrudged anyone for being outraged.

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This was not a clear lie, much like the Michael Brown situation in Ferguson. This was clearly a situation where a man was killed at the hands of the police while in restraints and unarmed. Period.

But this is still a society where free speech is not only important — it is necessary.

That means that the government will not infringe on your right to assemble and voice your opinion. The value of that opinion is irrelevant. Klan members and Nazis have utilized it because unpopular speech is what needs to be protected.

Stating that George Floyd should be alive is not controversial in any way, and no one has pretended otherwise.

As protests across the country indicate, a multi-racial cross-section of America has taken to the streets to share this opinion.

But, and this is important, I can’t walk into a judge’s chambers or scream my opinion while running down the freeway expressing it as cars try to avoid me.

In Huntsville and everywhere else, you need a permit to close city streets, and the city appears to have even been lax on that in this matter.

Trust me, I know something about this:


Obviously, you can just walk in the road and force the authorities to stop you. Maybe they will give you “space to destroy,” maybe they won’t.

Much like Monday’s protest, Wednesday’s protest ended with most protesters going home. Both were followed with a standoff that ended in tear gas (quibble if you want, that’s what it was).

Why? Because after the protest, a portion of the protesters moved on while a remaining mob decided they were going to stand in the street until the cops made them move.

They wanted negative attention, and they got it.

Where does this end?

Huntsville’s downtown area was already shut down for two days this week. Is this to be expected every other day until those protesting declare we have racial equality? It’s unlikely we ever get there.

So at some point, the city will be required to open up the street and the protesters will have to move on.

The warning was given repeatedly. It was obvious that the crowd was not going to leave the road until a reaction from law enforcement was obtained.

So they got one. Tear gas was deployed, things were thrown, an officer was hurt and 24 non-protesters were arrested.

Did this advance the cause of the actual protests? No. It hurt them.

Was disruption the goal after the fact? Probably, so mission accomplished.

Citizens do not want this strife in their city, especially when they already agree with the cause.

Most Americans know we can always be better as a society.

Most Americans know we have come a long way from where we have been.

Most Americans want peace and fairness but they also want law and order in their communities.

Some in the media are sitting at home egging-on the protesters and hoping for more lawlessness.

But that is about them. Bad behavior at protests and after them emboldens the elected officials and law enforcement to give less leeway to actual protesters. It will also make citizens equate the actual protesters to the rioters and looters we see all day on cable news, and no one should want that.

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

2 days ago

Alabama Democratic Party chair calls on Jefferson Davis state holiday to be abolished

(Wikicommons, Christopher John England/Facebook, YHN)

State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), the chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, on Thursday sent a letter to Governor Kay Ivey in support of ending the state holiday that recognizes Jefferson Davis’ birthday.

The holiday this year was on Monday, June 1; it is recognized on the first Monday in June of every year in accordance with state law (Section 1-3-8, Code of Alabama 1975).

In his letter, England requested that Ivey include amending this section of state law if she calls a special session this year. The 2020 regular session of the legislature ended last month.

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A spokesperson for Ivey’s office told Yellowhammer News in response to England’s letter, “That is a conversation that would have to begin with the Legislature. However, Governor Ivey is certainly open to sitting down with lawmakers to discuss this proposal.”

England has been a member of the state legislature since November 2006.

Yellowhammer News’ search of online legislative archives found that no bill has been introduced during England’s tenure in the legislature to end Alabama’s state holiday recognizing Jefferson Davis’ birthday.

Before Republicans took control of the legislature in 2010, both the Alabama Senate and the House had been majority-Democrat since 1868.

State Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and State Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) brought a bill in 2015 that would have made both Jefferson Davis’ birthday holiday and Confederate Memorial Day unpaid state holidays, unless decided otherwise by the governor each year. The holidays are currently paid. That bill passed out of committee but never received a vote on the Senate floor.

Jefferson Davis, a member of the Democratic Party, served as president of the Confederacy from 1861-1865.

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

2 days ago

Legislation easing restrictions on PPP loan payback supported by Alabama congressional delegation

(Wikicommons)

Each member of Alabama’s congressional delegation voted in support of a bill to ease restrictions on businesses receiving loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that passed Congress this week and now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk.

The bill extends the time businesses have to spend their loans from eight to 24 weeks. Additionally, to qualify for loan forgiveness, borrowers would now be required to spend 60% of the loan on payroll where it had been 75% previously.

The Trump administration told Politico that the program has saved 50 million jobs across the country. The Birmingham Business Journal is reporting that $6 billion in PPP funds have been distributed in Alabama.

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The PPP was created as part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus packages known as the CARES Act that Congress passed in March as an attempt to alleviate the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The program proved so popular that legislation to replenish the funds proved necessary later in April.

The initial rollout of the program saw overwhelming demand that swamped many loan providers and led to some small businesses not receiving their loans in a timely fashion.

The kinks were later ironed out, and currently, the federal government holds $120 billion in PPP funds still available for a small business in need.

The initial eight-week deadline to pay back the loan for businesses that did not qualify for loan forgiveness was rapidly approaching for many PPP recipients.

Both payroll and rent/mortgage costs are eligible for forgiveness under the program.

Politico reported that some lenders expect an amount of renewed interest in the loans given the extended time available for repayment.

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

ALDOT awards latest round of local road, bridge grants

(YHN, Pixabay)

Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) on Thursday announced that $1.7 million in funding is being awarded to cities and counties for various local road and bridge projects.

The funding is part of ALDOT’s Annual Grant Program, which was created under the Rebuild Alabama Act enacted in spring of 2019.

The annual program by law sets aside $10 million off the top of the state’s share of Rebuild Alabama gas tax revenues for local road and bridge projects. This accounts for a small portion of the overall tax revenues that are put towards infrastructure improvements across the state.

A total of $7 million was already awarded earlier this year, with approximately $1.3 million to be awarded later this fiscal year.

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“Alabamians across the state are continually seeing the progress made on our roads and bridges. These projects now nearing a total of $9 million are going to go a long way in improving our state and the daily lives of every Alabamian,” Ivey said in a statement.

“Having a modern and safe infrastructure system will help Alabama continue to advance, and I remain committed to ensuring that this is a reality for us,” she concluded.

This latest award cycle sees six projects added to the 31 projects announced earlier this year. It is anticipated that all projects will be under contract by the end of the calendar year, after bids are taken.

You can view a list of the six new projects awarded grants here.

In addition to the Annual Grant Program, local governments can also apply for infrastructure funding under the ATRIP-II program, also created by the Rebuild Alabama Act.

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

2 days ago

Huntsville mayor: ‘People who were not part of our community’ led Wednesday protest which resulted in tear gas usage, police officer injury

Photo courtesy of HuntsvilleNewsWire.com

Huntsville has made the news after law enforcement officers on Wednesday used tear gas to break up a crowd who reportedly refused to comply with orders to disperse.

At least one police officer was injured Wednesday evening by the so-called protesters, and a reporter on the scene said objects were thrown at law enforcement vehicles. One local business was damaged.

On Thursday morning, Mayor Tommy Battle released a statement about what occurred, noting that “people who were not part of our community” were responsible for the unpermitted gathering that led to the clash.

“Yesterday, our city saw two separate protest events. The first was organized by the local chapter of the NAACP who worked with the City and Huntsville Police to organize a thoughtful event filled with hope and a call for justice,” the mayor said. “We gathered to mourn the tragedy that occurred in Minneapolis. We came together in supporting a First Amendment right to voice a call for change throughout our country. I saw families and small children. Students and seniors. Black and white. Our community has a shared mission – more must be done.”

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However, Battle outlined that a separate gathering from the permitted NAACP event subsequently occurred.

“What occurred after the NAACP event was disheartening,” he noted.

“A second event occurred, structured by people who were not part of our community,” Battle advised. “They gathered at the courthouse to block the square and protest.”

The mayor explained, “This was not part of a permitted event, and there were no local organizers in charge, which becomes a public safety issue. Even so, police allowed the protestors time to express themselves before asking everyone to leave. Most complied, but others did not. Police were clear in their instructions and worked with the remaining protestors for more than an hour before using non-lethal irritants. The protesters had every opportunity to peacefully leave and they chose otherwise. The leadership of this second group is not our community.”

“It is a hard thing for us to see in Huntsville, but we’ve worked too hard to grow this city as a place of respect and opportunity,” Battle concluded. “Let us turn pain into purpose and do the hard work to create meaningful change. We won’t let people and organizations from outside our community turn us against each other. This is a time for us to unite, to protect the city we love and to move forward in a way that is more equitable and just.​”

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

2 days ago

State Sen. Elliott tabbed as ’emerging legislative leader’ by national foundation

(Screenshot/APTV)

State Senator Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) has been selected by a national group to be a member of the 2020 Emerging Legislative Leaders Program.

The national group choosing Elliott is the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) in partnership with the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

Elliott is one of 50 state legislators from across the United States taking part in the program. Participation is limited to lawmakers in their first or second term.

“This leadership program provides an opportunity for collaboration with colleagues from across the country to share ideas and best practices to address complex public policy issues,” Elliott said in a release about his selection.

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The selection process included a nomination by Alabama State Senate leadership followed by a personal application from Elliott himself.

The application form on the SLLF site asks those applying for the program to be thorough in giving their responses because “this is a very competitive application process.”

Elliott commented, “I am humbled and honored to have been nominated by Senate Leadership and selected by SLLF to represent Alabama in this prestigious program.”

The program in which Elliott will take part is held in Charlottesville on the campus of the University of Virginia. The foundation’s website describes the proceedings as “4 days of challenging classroom discussions, led by a team of professors at the Darden School.”

Alabama legislators who have been selected as an “emerging leader” in years past include then-Rep. Greg Canfield (R-Vestavia Hills), Rep. Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville), Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), Rep. Neil Rafferty (D-Birmingham) and Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster).

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

7 Things: Alabama protests continue, all 4 officers charged in George Floyd case, Rosenstein acknowledges the FISA process was flawed and more …

(YHN)

7. Birmingham officer with coronavirus finally going home

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham police officer Sgt. Parnell Guyton has finally been sent home after spending 59 days at UAB Hospital fighting the coronavirus. A release said that he is “one of UAB Hospital’s first and most severely ill COVID-19 patients.”
  • Guyton was on a ventilator for 45 days at the hospital, “was in the Medical Intensive Care Unit for 23 days and spent 36 days in the Special Care Unit,” and his recovery from the virus has been called “a true miracle.”

6. GOP convention will be moved out of North Carolina

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  • While some portions of the Republican National Committee convention will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, due to contractual obligations, an RNC official said, “The night the President accepts the nomination will not happen in Charlotte.”
  • Apparently, the decision isn’t completely final, but with how President Donald Trump has talked about the convention and wanting it to take place in full capacity, it’s unlikely that these plans will change. Trump said on Twitter that because of Governor Roy Cooper “we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.”

5. Marshall following through on Birmingham lawsuit

  • As promised, Attorney General Steve Marshall has filed a civil lawsuit against Birmingham for removing the Confederate monument in Linn Park, which will cost the city $25,000. 
  • In a statement, Marshall recalled how he made it known to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin that if the monument were removed there would be a lawsuit filed and that he’s filing the suit against Birmingham for violating the Memorial Preservation Act. 

4. Byrne: We don’t need to deploy the military into cities

  • President Donald Trump recently came out and said that he could use the Insurrection Act to send military troops into cities where rioting and looting has been taking place as a way to restore order, but U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) is saying there’s “no reason” for this. 
  • On Twitter, Byrne went into detail that the Insurrection Act “is a tool that should only be used as an absolute last resort,” which is in agreement with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s statement that this act should be used “only in the most urgent and dire situations.” He added that the country is “not in one of those situations now.”

3. FISA warrants should not have been signed

  • Part of the catalyst for the premise of the Trump/Russia investigation was filled with so many errors and untruths that the man that signed off on the warrant renewals, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, now says he would not have signed off on the warrant had he known about the since-revealed misconduct. 
  • U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked about Trump/Russian collusion, “The whole concept that the campaign was colluding with the Russians, there was no there in August 2017. Do you agree with that statement?” Rosenstein replied, “I agree with that general statement.”

2. All four officers are now being charged

  • Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has announced that the other three police officers involved in George Floyd’s death will be charged with third-degree murder, and the officer, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck will be charged with second-degree murder. 
  • The three other officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J.A. Keung, will also be charged with two counts of aiding and abetting. A maximum sentence of all four officer’s charges would carry a penalty of 50 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. This comes just before the memorial for George Floyd, which is set to be held on Thursday. 

1. Alabama protests continue

  • More Black Lives Matter protests have taken place in Huntsville, Vestavia Hills, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery, with all protests ending mostly peacefully, but some were arrested in Birmingham for curfew violations. Tear gas was deployed in Huntsville after the crowd refused to disperse. 
  • In Huntsville, a police officer was hurt by a thrown object as police attempted to clear the downtown square after fears the protest would turn violent with weapons seen in the crowd. In total, 24 people were arrested. Huntsville Police Department said, “What you saw tonight was probably the most extreme patience I’ve ever seen with people who wouldn’t do what we say and were breaking the law.” 

2 days ago

Funds being raised for slain Moody Police Sgt. Stephen Williams’ family

(WVTM/Facebook, YHN)

A GoFundMe has been launched for the family of Moody Police Department Sgt. Stephen Williams, who was fatally shot in the line of duty on Tuesday evening.

Williams, 50, is survived by a wife and three sons. He served as a police officer for 23 years.

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The GoFundMe was launched early Wednesday morning. Donations will go to any needs that the Williams family has.

As of Wednesday at 10:30 p.m., the GoFundMe had already garnered about $33,000.

Donations can be made here.

RELATED: Ivey: Slain Moody PD Sgt. Stephen Williams ‘died a hero’ — ‘This senseless violence must end’

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

2 days ago

Alan Jackson’s Alabama drive-in concerts rescheduled

(Alan Jackson/Facebook)

Due to concerns about the weather, country music legend Alan Jackson is postponing his two Alabama drive-in concerts to next week.

The Cullman performance will now occur on Friday, June 12, and the Baldwin County concert will be on Saturday, June 13.

The news was announced on the official Alan Jackson Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon.

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“With potential tropical storm conditions in the forecast for the Alabama coast on Saturday, organizers determined it’s in the best interest of safety for fans and event staff that the Fairhope show be rescheduled,” reads the social media post.

“Given the unique nature of the staging and set up for these events, the Cullman concert is being rescheduled in conjunction with this decision,” Jackson’s page adds.

All tickets already purchased will be valid for use on the new dates.

Each ticket purchased allows for two passengers in the vehicle of the ticketholder.

The concerts were initially announced on May 27 and are designed to allow fans to enjoy live music while observing social distancing protocols during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tickets for the Cullman show are still available. The show in Fairhope has sold out its space for cars, but those with tickets can by a pass for an additional passenger.

Attendees will be required to remain in the parking spot for their vehicle, but the event’s website says each spot should have enough room to accommodate getting out of a car and sitting in a lawn chair. Backing into a spot and sitting in a truck bed is also allowed.

Jackson’s Cullman show will be held at York Farms, while the Fairhope show will be at Oak Hollow Farm.

Attendees breaking social distancing protocols will be forced to leave the show, according to the event’s website. All event staff will be wearing masks.

The tickets sold are non-refundable, and kids under four get in free of charge.

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

COVID-19 has changed our state’s industry and workforce landscape, our goal remains the same

(AlabamaWorks!/Contributed, Pixabay, YHN)

The human toll of COVID-19 is unprecedented in Alabama, and businesses of all sizes have taken a shellacking due to the pandemic. As such, our tactical focus for workforce development has transitioned from filling positions in the tight labor market we enjoyed in February to pandemic response, incumbent worker training and dislocated worker training today. The future of work has accelerated 10 years in three months.

The Alabama Workforce Council (AWC) is working with the Ivey administration and partners across the state to share best practices, key facts and resources for employers, employees and those who have been recently unemployed.

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While the immediate focus of our efforts has transitioned to workforce recovery and response efforts to COVID-19 through our work with informational webinars, workforce recovery surveys, and resources for businesses (all available online), the AWC and AlabamaWorks remain steadfastly committed to the governor’s attainment goal of adding 500,000 highly-skilled workers to Alabama’s economy by 2025. Notably, in these uncertain times, this goal has not changed.

Creating a highly-skilled workforce and resilient economy, even one that will be recovering for the foreseeable future, is necessary for Alabama’s economic vitality. For those who have become unemployed or underemployed due to COVID-19, reskilling or upskilling now can lead to sustainable in-demand career pathways that produce measurable benefits in the future.

Success Plus, the formal name for the governor’s postsecondary education attainment goal, outlines the need to add an additional 500,000 Alabamians prepared for in-demand, high-wage careers to the workforce by obtaining credentials, certificates or degrees in addition to a high school diploma by 2025. More must be done to create stackable pathways that allow individuals to earn credentials through career-specific education and shorter-term programs that prepare them for immediate employment and future advancement.

To this end, Alabama has established a quality-assurance process for credentials through the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways (ACCCP). The ACCCP is tasked with identifying in-demand occupations in Alabama, developing competency models and career pathways for each of the in-demand occupations, and identifying related credentials of value associated with each of the in-demand occupations.

Additionally, on June 8, the Alabama Workforce Council will launch the Governor’s Survey of Employer Competencies, which will survey employers in each sector and region of the state to assist the ACCCP with identifying these in-demand occupations as well as the related competencies and credentials of value-aligned to those occupations.

The survey will be conducted between June 8 and June 15, 2020, and, going forward, the survey will be conducted annually to assist the ACCCP’s 16 Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) with their work of linking credentials of value to one or more specific competencies needed for a job. Ultimately, this will allow employers to create competency-based job descriptions that list the specific skills required for a job, rather than using associate or bachelor’s degrees as placeholders. Therefore, it is vital that employers of all sizes, and from each industry sector, provide responses to the survey. The TACs will receive the results of the Governor’s Survey of Employer Competencies at the June 17, 2020 ACCCP meeting.

It is clear that much work remains to be done. COVID-19 adds challenges to our ultimate goal, but the Alabama Workforce Council and AlabamaWorks knows that – regardless of the pandemic – clearly identifying in-demand jobs, with their related skills, and facilitating more opportunities for high-skill, high-wage careers is now more important than ever.

To learn more about the Alabama Workforce Council’s response to COVID-19 and to learn more about Governor Ivey’s vision for creating 500,000 highly skilled workers by 2025, visit www.alabamaworks.com.

Tim McCartney, formerly of McCartney Construction in Gadsden, is the chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council.

2 days ago

Ashley Robinett to lead Alabama Power Public Relations

(Alabama NewsCenter/Contributed)

Ashley Robinett has been named Alabama Power’s vice president of Public Relations, effective immediately.

In this role, Robinett will oversee the company’s corporate communications and brand management, providing strategic communications counsel that ensures messages reach employees, customers and key stakeholders.

Robinett most recently served as vice president of Corporate Real Estate where she was responsible for managing the company’s land holdings in support of business objectives through land management, acquisition and sales.

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Prior to leading the company’s corporate real estate efforts, Robinett was the area manager for Alabama Power’s Birmingham Division, where she was responsible for business office operations, customer relations, community development and external affairs.

“Ashley is a proven leader with a strong commitment to the community. She brings invaluable experience to this role that will help shape how we communicate with our employees and customers, and adapt strategies based on their evolving preferences,” said Mark Crosswhite, Alabama Power CEO.

Robinett joined the Southern Company system in 2001 as an engineer at Southern Power. She worked several years in Southern Company’s fuel services organization, managing emission allowance, procurement and other strategic environmental issues for the generating fleet.

In 2008, Robinett returned to Southern Power to manage its resource planning, risk analysis and business case development functions, including renewable energy. She has served as the assistant to the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Southern Company and to the president and chief executive officer of Alabama Power.

Robinett is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham and is active in the community, serving on the board of directors for Preschool Partners and Children’s Harbor. She is involved with the Kiwanis Club of Greater Birmingham and the 2019-2020 Class of International Women’s Forum Fellows Program.

Robinett is a member of the Auburn Alumni Association board of directors and remains involved with the university through the Auburn Engineering Alumni Council and 100 Women Strong, an initiative supporting female students in the College of Engineering. She is a leader on the Alabama Power Council on Culture and Inclusion and serves on the Southern Company Diversity and Inclusion Alliance, overseeing the alignment and execution of D&I strategies.

Robinett received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a minor in business from Auburn University. 

Alabama Power Company, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), provides safe, reliable, affordable electricity to more than 1.4 million customers across the state. Learn more at www.alabamapower.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 days ago

‘Miracle’: Alabama police officer discharged from hospital after 45 days on ventilator due to COVID-19

(UAB/Contributed)

While many reports have only focused on the grim news associated with the coronavirus, there have been many stories of perseverance and survival that have flown under the radar.

One miraculous case in Birmingham, Alabama, is a prime example of how inspiration can be drawn from this unprecedented time in American history.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has announced that Sgt. Parnell Guyton, a 47-year-old UAB police officer, has been discharged from UAB Hospital after 59 days of in-patient care.

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Guyton was admitted on March 31 with COVID-19 and received a police escort from his fellow university officers and a celebratory sendoff from Medical Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Unit providers as he was transferred to a rehabilitation unit on Friday. The father and husband will hopefully be reunited with his family soon.

A release detailed that “Guyton was one of UAB Hospital’s first and most severely ill COVID-19 patients.”

“He had to immediately be placed on a ventilator, which he stayed on for 45 days,” the release added. “He was in the Medical Intensive Care Unit for 23 days and spent 36 days in the Special Care Unit. Two of our physicians who have cared for him said they cannot remember caring for anyone in their career with a worse case of acute respiratory distress syndrome and actually surviving.”

Guyton’s recovery, called “a true miracle,” is merely the latest example of how UAB has been a national leader in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: UAB commitment to state vital in COVID-19 response

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently proclaimed that a drug discovered and tested at UAB “will be the standard of care” for coronavirus patients.

University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis “Fess” St. John, IV, is being consulted by the White House on how to best reopen America safely and responsibly, with President Donald J. Trump predicting a recovery resulting in “the best” economy of all-time.

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