1 year ago

$18.7 million in grants awarded to help Alabama communities

Governor Kay Ivey announced Wednesday that she has awarded $18.7 million in grants to help improve 58 Alabama communities.

The funds from the Community Development Block Grant program will enable communities to provide water, improve roads and sewage systems, construct public community buildings and remove blight.

“Community Development Block Grants are vital to Alabama communities wanting to raise living standards and improve living conditions for their residents,” Ivey said in a statement. “I am pleased to award these grants, and I commend all those local leaders who, by seeking these grants, show they have their communities at heart.”

The competitive grants are awarded annually in an array of categories including county, large city, small city and community enhancement. The grants, made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

Areas of Alabama receiving grants include:

North Alabama

  • Cullman (City) – $450,000 to provide sewer, water, drainage and street improvements in the Katherine Street area.
  • Guntersville – $450,000 to provide street and drainage improvements in the East Lake community.
  • Hackleburg – $85,000 to provide improvements along four streets, including widening and paving or sealing.
  • Hanceville – $250,000 to build a 2,500-square-foot senior center.
  • Leighton – $350,000 to provide water line improvements at several locations.
  • Scottsboro– $208,958 to demolish and clear 25 deteriorated and dilapidated structures throughout the city.
  • Town Creek – $350,000 to upgrade and repairs sections of the town’s sewer system.

North Central Alabama

  • Ashland– $350,000 to provide road and drainage improvements and water upgrades.
  • Blount County – $350,000 to improve three roads totaling eight miles north of Blountsville.
  • Childersburg– $450,000 to improve sewer services in the Coosa Court and Childersburg/Fayetteville Highway areas.
  • Clanton – $239,400 to demolish and clear 28 dilapidated and vacant houses.
  • Fayette County – $250,000 to improve water lines and provide road resurfacing in an area west of the town of Belk.
  • Heflin– $40,000 to help the city develop a plan that will assess needs and goals.
  • Marion County – $350,000 to provide public water service in the Bexar Church area.
  • Millport – $203,315 to upgrade one the town’s three water tanks serving 340 persons.
  • Oneonta – $450,000 to replace deteriorating sewer lines and collection system in an area involving sections of Hillcrest Circle and Underwood and Valley avenues.
  • Pell City – $450,000 to improve the efficiency of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
  • Reform– $350,000 to renovate and repair various sections of the town’s sewer lines.
  • Steele – $189,977 to raze and remove 15 dilapidated structures throughout the town.
  • Sylacauga – $250,000 to demolish 11 dilapidated structures throughout the city.
  • Tuscaloosa County – $235,990 to provide public water service benefitting 63 residents in the Evanstown Road and Sid Davis Road areas.
  • Weaver – $122,628 to raze and clear 11 dilapidated and unsafe structures throughout the city.

South Central Alabama

  • Camp Hill – $350,000 for sewer improvements at the town’s wastewater plant.
  • Dallas County – $350,000 to supply public water service connections to residents in the Bogue Chitto community.
  • Hayneville – $349,601 to make improvements on sewer lines and wastewater treatment facility.
  • Forkland – $350,000 to upgrade water lines and improve two streets.
  • Greensboro– $350,000 to improve sewer lines.
  • Lanett – $250,000 to complete the final phase of a downtown revitalization project.
  • Marengo County – $350,000 to pave five roads.
  • Marion (City) – $450,000 to improve its wastewater treatment plant.
  • Millbrook – $250,000 to construct a new senior citizen center.
  • New Site – $177,460 to renovate its senior citizen center.
  • Perry County – $350,000 to provide public water services to 145 residents south of the city of Marion.
  • Randolph County – $350,000 to provide public water services to 78 residents along two county roads east of the city of Roanoke.
  • Tallapoosa County – $350,000 to provide public water services in a rural area near Dadeville.
  • Tallassee – $250,000 to demolish 27 vacant, abandoned and dilapidated structures throughout the city.
  • Valley – $450,000 to improve sewer services in the Langdale Mill Village area.

Southeast Alabama

  • Abbeville – $350,000 to provide full or partial rehabilitation of up to 27 houses in the Stegall Heights area.
  • Brundidge – $350,000 to improve water services and demolish 13 residential and commercial structures.
  • Clayhatchee– $127,288 to resurface a section of Providence Lane and improve drainage.
  • Dale County – $308,700 to provide public water to 42 households along Dale County Road 21 and Penny Point Road.
  • Geneva– $450,000 to improve drainage in a local neighborhood.
  • Gordon – $349,787 to provide water and sewer improvements at various locations within the city.
  • Goshen – $325,000 to upgrade the town’s water lines and improve water quality.
  • Kinston – $350,000 to rehabilitate up to 20 occupied houses and bring them up to compliance with the Southern Building Code.
  • Level Plains – $250,000 to provide street and drainage improvements along Faith Street and Phyllis Avenue.
  • Opp – $450,000 to provide sewer system line improvements along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive from Cannon Drive to Hardin Street.

Southwest Alabama

  • Brewton – $450,000 to renovate or replace dilapidated sewer lines along multiple streets.
  • Castleberry – $350,000 to replace aging and undersized water lines and improve streets in various sections of the town.
  • Chatom – $350,000 to rehabilitate sections of the town’s sewer lines and a lift station.
  • Choctaw County – $350,000 to resurface multiple roads in the northeast part of the county.
  • Flomaton – $201,115 to resurface several roads within the city to reduce safety hazards.
  • Loxley – $350,000 to replace aged and damaged sewer lines along the east part of town.
  • Monroeville – $450,000 to replace sewer lines along multiple streets on the west part of the city.
  • Pennington – $350,000 to resurface 5.5 miles of road in various locations within the city.
  • Repton – $350,000 to improve drainage and improve streets at various locations within the city.
  • Robertsdale – $450,000 to replace sewer lines and improve drainage at various locations.
  • Silas – $350,000 to improve drainage and resurface streets at several locations within the city.

“As a former mayor, I know how valuable these grants are to communities and I also realize the time and effort that local leaders, planners and residents invest in obtaining funding,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said.

“ADECA is pleased to have a role in this process that will benefit communities all across Alabama,” he added.

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

2 hours ago

7 Things: Ivey says not to panic-buy gas, companies in Alabama need workers, border chaos must be addressed and more …

7. History will not remember Liz Cheney’s leadership position 

  • U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is on the cusp of being ousted by her fellow House Republicans, and the American media has declared this to be a pivotal moment in American history, which it clearly is not. Proving why she is being removed, Cheney spent her last full day in leadership rehashing the U. S. Capitol riots and talking about former President Donald Trump and his supporters.
  • U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) highlighted this when citing why his “friend” needed to go. He advised, “[S]he has made a decision that she is going to use her position as conference chairman not to just promote the position and point out the shortcomings of the Democrat majority and the Biden administration, but rather continue to relitigate what happened on January 6. It is not the job of conference chairman. It is to be the voice of our conference in talking about why we ought to be in the majority and why this majority is wrongheaded, the administration is not doing what the country needs.”

6. Rockets hit Israel, Israel hits back 

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  • In the latest round of Middle East violence, the terrorist group Hamas began shooting rockets into populated areas of Israeli cities with the support of Palestinian leadership. The Israeli military responded by launching targeted attacks on the leadership of Hamas and at rocket sites. Obviously, civilians are caught in the crossfire, again.
  • The American media seems somewhat unnerved by Israel’s defensive capabilities and uneven death toll, but they seem to be hellbent on ignoring the fact that the death toll is only low on the Israeli side because they are able to retard Hamas’ attacks.

5. Schumer wants to legalize marijuana 

  • U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is planning to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana and expunge records of those who have been convicted of possession.
  • Schumer specifically said, “It is not just legalization but a deal for the injustices of the past expungement of the records making sure that the money that’s made from marijuana goes to the communities, communities of color, poor people communities, that have paid the price for this ridiculous scheduling of marijuana.”

4. Kids 12-15 could get vaccinated in Alabama this week 

  • The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use on those 12 to 15-years-old, and now it could be approved for use in Alabama by Thursday.
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham vaccination clinics are planning to provide the doses to younger age groups by Thursday if the vaccine is approved for use by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today.

3. Secure the border 

  • Governor Kay Ivey and 19 other governors have signed a letter together demanding that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris address the crisis at the southern border. The letter points out that there have been “172,000 encounters in March, the highest number in nearly 20 years, as well as 18,890 unaccompanied children, the largest monthly number in history.”
  • The letter goes on to say, “The crisis is too big to ignore and is now spilling over the border states into all of our states.” They directly blame Biden’s administration and policy decisions for the surge.

2. There are jobs out there 

  • After it was announced that Alabama would be withdrawing participation from federal unemployment benefits, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released a report showing that there’s a record number of job openings.
  • In the report, 31% of businesses say they’ve raised wages and 20% will increase compensation within the next few months. In addition, there’s currently a record 44% of businesses reporting job openings.

1. Ivey: Stop panic buying gas

  • The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack has led to many in the Southeast panic buying gasoline, and now Governor Kay Ivey is urging people to stop panic buying, as this could result in even more issues.
  • Ivey stated, “Please do not fill up your car unless you need to and do not fill multiple containers. Overreacting creates more of a shortage. Please use common sense and patience!”

3 hours ago

U.S. Rep. Rogers on Liz Cheney ouster: ‘We’ve got to be fighting today’s fights and tomorrow’s fights, and not the fight of yesterday’

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is expected to be voted out of her position as House Republican Conference chairwoman, the third-ranking member of the House Republican caucus, and be replaced with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

The move by Republicans has drawn very vocal reactions from the media and other Democrats, who allege that Cheney’s removal is a product of the GOP’s blind allegiance to former President Donald Trump. Cheney had been a frequent critic of the 45th president and remained so beyond his presidency.

During an interview that aired on Tuesday’s broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks), the ranking Republican on the House Armed Service Committee, called Cheney “a close friend,” but acknowledged her comments about the January 6 incident on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. had a lot to do with her ouster. He argued Cheney should have had a more forward-looking focus in her leadership role.

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“Everybody sees it coming,” he said. “Liz is a close friend of mine, but she has made a decision that she is going to use her position as conference chairman not to just promote the position and point out the shortcomings of the Democrat majority and the Biden administration, but rather continue to relitigate what happened on January 6. It is not the job of conference chairman. It is to be the voice of our conference in talking about why we ought to be in the majority and why this majority is wrongheaded, the administration is not doing what the country needs. She has made this conscious choice. You know, we had a vote on this back. I think it was in February. And she survived. And everybody told her then, ‘We don’t care how you vote on the impeachment or any of that. That’s all behind us. You need to be talking about the conference goals and agenda.'”

“That’s what that position is all about,” Rogers added. “She has chosen not to do that. I fully expect [tomorrow] she is going to be recalled, and Elise Stefanik is going to be put in that position because we’ve got to be fighting today’s fights and tomorrow’s fights, and not the fight of yesterday. She just won’t turn loose of it. Now at this point, because she’s my buddy, and I hate that she’s taking this course of action — but she’s a very smart lady, and this is a conscious decision on her part.”

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

17 hours ago

How the Regions Tradition led to Alabama’s star-studded vaccine PSAs

You already know the Regions Tradition’s reputation for competition. It’s the first major on the PGA TOUR Champions schedule in 2021, and it produces millions for charities.

But it’s also the place where things get done. And this year’s focus was intended to save lives.

The Bruno Event Team, which manages the Tradition, and the Alabama Department of Public Health used the annual Celebrity Pro-Am tournament as a stage to create a public awareness campaign encouraging Alabamians to get the COVID vaccine ASAP.

The idea, the pitch and the execution all came together in a week. And when approached, the centerpiece of the project agreed to participate without hesitation.

The centerpiece?

Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

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RELATED: College football’s biggest names turn out for 2021 Regions Tradition Celebrity Pro-Am

“Research told us you don’t use national celebrities,” said Gene Hallman of the Bruno Event Team, which produced the spots. “You use local doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Or you use local celebrities. And in this state, no one is better known than Coach Saban.”

In fact, according to a Montgomery pollster the Bruno team consulted, there’s no one more respected throughout the state than Saban. John Anzalone told the Wall Street Journal that Saban’s favorability rating is the highest in the state – 77 percent. That means that even Auburn fans who root against him each week still respect him.

Or, as Anzalone told the Wall Street Journal, “He is a God.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health reached out to the Bruno team to create a marketing campaign for the state’s underserved population, intending for the spots to motivate Black, Latino and tribal populations to get the vaccines. The public awareness videos will run on television and radio stations statewide, as well as on social media.

But as the campaign expanded, the goalpost moved. With federal and state grants provided for that specific reason, “we’re going to try to reach a very broad audience – the entire state,” Hallman said. “We’re not hammering people. We just want to provide an education on the science of the vaccine, so people can make an informed decision.”

And, since it’s Alabama, there’s also another lure: the opportunity to pack college football stadiums at 100% capacity next fall if enough people get vaccinated.

It’s not the first time the tournament known as the Regions Tradition proved to be a catalyst for change.

When the Champions Tour first came to Birmingham in 1992, Hallman’s group was called in to help with a very hush-hush operation. They were told an unnamed group of visitors from Europe, interested in bringing business to the U.S., would be coming to town to see what Alabama had to offer. No other information was provided, but they were to be shown a good time.

Only one problem.

The first tournament was held in August, a notoriously bad time for southern hospitality – at least for people used to cooler weather than the notorious sticky, 100-degree days. But, as luck would have it, an unusual cold front swept in at the start of the tournament, providing record low temperatures that created perfect temps for the visitors.

So, the secret entourage spent a week at the tournament, got to meet popular Champions Tour legend Chi Chi Rodriguez, and spent a day touring a large plot of land outside Tuscaloosa, less than an hour away …  land that would eventually become the site of Alabama’s first automotive manufacturing plant.

As for the vaccine spots, once Saban came on board others followed. The list includes an NBA legend, a college conference commissioner, a U.S. Senator and other coaches. All recorded their parts while participating in the Regions Tradition Pro-Am.

“We asked and they answered in two seconds,” Hallman said. “There was no hesitation. We got them all on camera that day.”

(Courtesy of Regions Bank)

17 hours ago

Governor Ivey urges Alabamians not to panic-buy gas

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday spoke with the U.S. Department of Energy on a call regarding the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, which has caused a shutdown of the pipeline operations.

The pipeline, which is the largest system for refined oil products in the United States, is 5,500 miles long and can carry 3 million barrels of fuel per day between Texas and New York. It is operated by Colonial Pipeline Company, which is headquartered in Georgia.

The pipeline runs through Alabama, as people may remember from a Shelby County leak in 2016 that caused gas shortages in the region. The county is home to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm.

However, Ivey wants to assure Alabamians that the temporary pipeline shutdown should be resolved in the coming days and that any potential gas shortages have not reached the Yellowhammer State.

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“Please do not fill up your car unless you need to and do not fill multiple containers. Overreacting creates more of a shortage. Please use common sense and patience!” Ivey said in a social media post.

The governor’s spokesperson reiterated Ivey’s message.

“She was assured that the pipeline should be operational in a few days,” said Gina Maiola. “She is urging Alabamians and others to not panic and to use good judgement. A shortage has not reached Alabama at this time, and she reminds us that an overreaction would only lead to that. Be courteous, only fill up if you need to, and do not fill up multiple containers. Governor Ivey urges patience and common sense.”

Public Service Commissioner Jeremy Oden echoed Ivey’s words.

“While the state of Alabama is fortunate to this point to not be suffering from gas shortages, there have still been reports of panic-buying and gas price increases,” he said in a statement. “I echo Governor Ivey’s request that Alabama residents refrain from panic-buying, which would only cause more anxiety in the market. As Colonial has stated publicly they are working vigorously to reestablish service.”

The Colonial Pipeline shutdown comes as the average price of gas in the U.S. has risen from $2.112 per gallon before President Joe Biden was elected to $2.985 per gallon this week.

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

19 hours ago

Vocational center for construction, electric vehicle, aviation technology fields coming to DeKalb County

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced a $1 million grant to help the Fort Payne Board of Education construct a new vocational center aimed at training students in careers that include construction, electric vehicle and aviation technologies.

The funds come from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.

The new DeKalb County vocation center will prepare Fort Payne high school students and adults for the future while helping to meet the needs of Alabama’s workforce in several career fields.

“Alabama is sounding the call for a skilled workforce and the Fort Payne Board of Education is responding to that demand,” Ivey said in a statement. “This program will ensure that students graduating from high school will be ready for rewarding and high-paying jobs, and that employers will be hiring a qualified workforce to move our state forward.”

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RELATED: Guest: Electric vehicles important for Alabama’s automotive industry

The new Building, Electric and Aviation Technology Center will provide students with a rigorous training program in a workplace environment to ready them for careers.

“The path to rewarding careers does not always go through colleges and universities,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell added. “I applaud the Fort Payne Board of Education for offering other options for students who have the same dreams for successful careers but choose a different path to get there.”

The project is supported by Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro), who chairs the Alabama Space Authority and the legislature’s Aerospace and Defense Caucus.

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