3 months ago

7 Things: Shelby, White House signal shutdown won’t happen, Flynn sentencing delayed as judge goes off, bipartisan prison reform passes and more …

7. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is the latest political talker to be attacked by liberal groups and the media; He fought back

— Multiple advertisers, including NerdWallet and Pacific Life insurance, have pulled advertising from the show. Others like Smile Direct Club have pulled all of their political advertising, which hurts shows that have nothing to do with this “controversy.”

— Multiple media outlets have carried lists of advertisers and boosted the outlets giving them steam, but Carlson and Fox News have made it clear they will not be cowed by efforts to silence opinions.

6. The sick Guatemalan child that was dragged across a desert to enter the United States illegally, not as an asylum seeker, died of sepsis, but her father lied and said she wasn’t sick 

— After denying to border patrol agents that his daughter was sick when apprehended in the U.S., she had not been able to consume water or food for days and it has been determined she likely died of sepsis.

— In a statement issued by his lawyers, he said he was “grateful for the many first responders that tried to save young Jakelin’s life in New Mexico and Texas” and now says the daughter had food and water which contradicts what he told agents.

5. Bump stocks are banned — You have 90 days to turn them in

— Anyone who possesses bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly must destroy the weapons or turn them, which follows a promise President Donald Trump made in May of 2018.

— Bump stocks have been brought into the public purview after the Las Vegas massacre that killed 58 people, but other than that attack, bump stocks don’t seem to be much of a public safety threat.

4. Tax opponent Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform comes out against a gas tax increase in Alabama

— Grover Norquist sent a letter to Alabama state senators asking them to reconsider a newly proposed gas tax urging, “[T]hey reject the aggressive, but misguided push to hike the state gas tax, a proposal that would diminish and, in some cases, could totally erase the relief that your constituents have received from federal tax reform. ”

— The ATR president noted gas taxes were defeated at the ballot box in “Missouri, Utah, and Washington State” in November. He also mentioned the taxes hit poor citizens the hardest.

3. Prison reform bill passes in a rare feat of bipartisanship

—The bill has many measures, which includes changing the sentencing on crack to mirror powder cocaine, changes n the “3 strike law,” gives judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders, boosts prisoner rehabilitation efforts and allow some prisoners a path to early release.

— The president and supporters of this bill say that the bill will “keep our communities safe,” but a check of prison stats will tell you that people in prison are there for a reason: “74.4 percent of all prisoners in the United States were serving sentences for one of just 11 offenses: murder, manslaughter, rape, sexual assault, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, car theft, fraud, “other” violent offenses, and weapons violations. Just 15.2 percent of them were serving time for drug offenses (only 3 percent for drug possession).”

2. Former General Michael Flynn has his sentencing delayed; he and the White House differ on whether he actually lied

— A federal judge delayed former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s sentencing. The judge also questioned whether Flynn committed treason and said he “sold” the county out before walking back both allegations.

— After months of talk about what happened with Flynn and the FBI, it becomes clear Flynn has cooperated, knew he was lying and now accepts that he willfully lied, but the White House continues to imply Flynn is a victim.

1. Alabama Senator Richard Shelby says a “continuing resolution” is likely as the White House signals they will be open to not shutting down the government for a wall

— After issuing a threat of a partial government shutdown if he did not get $5 billion for his wall, President Trump is apparently “extremely flexible,” according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on that issue and may be looking to get the wall done in another way.

— One-third of conservatives would pay for the wall with their own money, 19 percent said they would pay an additional $100, 19 percent said they would pay $300 and two percent said they would pay more than $1,000 per year.

Couple creates restaurant-retail campus on Alabama Gulf Coast

It’s been 35 years since Brian Harsany got his first job in the restaurant industry, and he never looked back. Brian started busing tables and washing dishes in 1983 while in high school, and later went on to major in hotel and restaurant management at Florida State University. His degree and experience took him into management roles at various restaurants, both family and corporately owned businesses.

Then, in early 2006, everything started going to the dogs – and cats, in his case.

Several months prior to that, he’d begun developing a concept for his own restaurant. After he and his wife, Jodi, heard about a piece of property from three different friends – three days in a row – the two finally got in the car to check it out. They immediately saw potential.

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The property was on Canal Road in Orange Beach, and the Harsanys planned to open just one restaurant, which they would name after their rescue dog, Cosmo.

“We know that everyone loves their dogs,” said Brian. “Also, the name allowed us to have any cuisine we wanted. If we had given the restaurant an Italian, French or Greek name, everything wouldn’t have jelled.”

Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar opened in May 2006. The colorful and casual setting paired well with its large and eclectic menu, which could satisfy the palates of foodies to the pickiest of eaters.

It wasn’t long before Brian’s and Jodi’s business plans started growing along with their crew of four-legged family members. Luckily, the property around Cosmo’s afforded them plenty of space to expand.

By 2010, Cosmo’s retail selection had outgrown the space in the restaurant. That year, the Harsanys opened Maggie’s Bottle and ‘Tail, named after Maggie, another adopted dog. The gift and bottle shop is attached to Cosmo’s and sells T-shirts, jewelry, local artwork and merchandise for dog lovers. There’s also an extensive selection of wine and beer, which is available for sampling. They had a need for a venue where guests could hang out and have a drink prior to sitting down for a meal, so they added Maggie’s Parlor as neighboring tenants moved out.

In 2016 came Luna’s Eat & Drink, named after another dog, Luna, followed by Buzzcatz Coffee and Sweets. The original legal name was “Three Angry Cats,” because the Harsanys thought their cats might be angry that no businesses were named after them. However, they decided to make their “doing business as” name Buzzcatz, since “it’s catchy, fun and marketable,” added Jodi.

Jodi serves on the board of a local organization dedicated to improving the lives of animals – Orange Beach Animal Care and Control Program. She and Brian often host events at their businesses to support the group’s mission.

Jodi’s work with the animal program is just one of many community and environmental service groups in which the couple is involved.

Orange Beach City Councilman Jerry Johnson said, “No matter what it is, even if it’s the last minute – if we need catering or people to participate in cleaning an island, Brian and his team are always there. It’s really the culture they have created within their company.”

Brian agreed. “We do a lot of things with our employees in the community, so we can get them involved and they can get a good grasp on what it means to be part of a community,” he said.

They also focus on serving their employees, offering insurance, 401K plans and free exercise boot camps.

“We put ourselves in their shoes and offer them what we’d want to have,” Brian explained, adding that by taking care of their employees, they in turn take good care of their customers.

“It is vitally important that we always execute and give the experience that the guest is expecting when they step foot on our property,” Brian said.

Outside of the restaurants and businesses at the Canal Road campus, the Harsanys also own GTs on the Bay, a family-friendly restaurant and hangout on Wolf Bay, as well as Cobalt The Restaurant, which is nestled under the Perdido Bay Bridge.

“When we first opened Cosmo’s,” said Jodi, “I never imagined all of the opportunities we would have.”

Brian added, “It is our pleasure to be business owners here and to be so involved in our community.”

You can visit Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar, Maggie’s Bottle and ‘Tail, Luna’s Eat & Drink and Buzzcatz Coffee and Sweets at 25753 Canal Road in Orange Beach; GTs on the Bay at 26189 Canal Road; and Cobalt the Restaurant at 28099 Perdido Beach Boulevard.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 hour ago

State Rep. Sorrell vows to cut government waste by seeking to remove requirement for legal notices to be published in newspapers

Earlier this week on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” State Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) explained his decision to vote against the Rebuild Alabama Act, which is legislation signed into law earlier this month by Gov. Kay Ivey that will ultimately raise gasoline taxes 10 cents by 2021.

In addition to polling that showed his constituents overwhelmingly against the measure to gas taxes, Sorrell justified his “no” vote by explaining that there were areas in state government with waste that could be eliminated to save taxpayers money that should have been considered before a tax increase.

One such area the Shoals Republican identified was a requirement that legal notices were to be published in newspapers.

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“You are never done looking for waste in state government,” Sorrell said. “Imagine if our state government only wasted 2 percent. It sounds like a very small number – hundreds of millions of dollars, right? There is still waste in state government. Actually, I have a bill to address that, and I’ve made that very same point. If we’re going to be talking about tax increases, we have to be talking about where we can save the taxpayers money.”

“Specifically, the bill I’m referencing is a bill that would remove the requirement for legal notices to be published in newspapers,” Sorrell added. “It’s a very expensive and time-consuming process  some of these legal notices are $1,000 — the publishing of the voter rolls every two years. The city of Huntsville spends $100,000 a year on required legal notices. That’s money they could be using to, you know, fix potholes or repave city streets.

Sorrell told APTV host Don Dailey he was still seeking a dollar figure on how much the state spends on legal notices.

“So, I don’t have a number. I’m looking for a number right now,” he added. “I have the legislative fiscal office trying to give me a number right now on how much the state of Alabama spends. This would also help municipalities and counties. But all that information, all those legal notices could be posted online almost for free. And we could be saving the state millions of dollars a year. So yeah, we’ve never done enough to cut waste in government. I’m going to continue looking for ways. I’ve only been down here a few weeks, and I believe I’ve already identified millions of dollars of waste.”

The Alabama Press Association, the trade association that represents the state’s newspapers, has long resisted any efforts to remove requirements to publish legal notices in newspapers over the years.

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

University of South Alabama researchers study progression of deadly lung syndrome

Researchers at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine have developed a pre-clinical model for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a progressive disease that occurs in critically ill patients. A team led by Dr. Diego F. Alvarez and Dr. Jonathon P. Audia published the results of this NIH/NHLBI-sponsored study in the March 11 online edition of Pulmonary Circulation.

ARDS has a mortality rate of 40 to 60 percent in patients who develop the disorder, which is characterized by worsening lung function. Typically ARDS develops as a result of community- and hospital-acquired pneumonia and patients are treated in an intensive-care setting.

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“Right now there are no therapies to treat these patients once ARDS develops other than supportive care,” said Audia, associate professor of microbiology and immunology. “Our goal is developing comprehensive models to understand the disease progression and how it resolves, and then ultimately being able to use this model to test new therapies.”

Audia and Alvarez, who is an associate professor of physiology and cell biology, have been researching the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common cause of hospital-acquired pneumonia, and its impact on lung biology and pathogenesis for the past nine years, publishing numerous scientific articles on the subject.

The current study was the first to take a comprehensive look at the progression of ARDS in animal models examining effects on the lung vasculature, building upon the team’s previous work in cell cultures, Audia said.

The researchers examined two groups of rats infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa – one group after 48 hours and the other after seven days. The first group of mice displayed the clinical hallmarks of ARDS, while the second group displayed lingering effects of infection, inflammation and fibrosis seen in patients who succumb to ARDS, but signs of lung repair also were observed.

The modeling sets the stage for future research. “We don’t know whether the host response is not strong enough to kill the bacteria or if there’s something defective with the repair pathway and the patients never fully recover,” Audia said. “It’s one of those things that’s a black box. Nobody knows which part goes awry.”

He said further research could help doctors predict how patients will fare in response to an initial pneumonia infection, and ultimately lead to the development of new interventions and therapies to combat pneumonia and ARDS.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 hours ago

Google brings Wi-Fi-equipped school buses to Alabama town

Google is not only building a $600 million data center in Alabama, but the internet giant is helping some school kids in a small Talladega County town get their homework done.

Google announced the launch of its Rolling Study Halls program in Munford, a community with around 1,200 residents. The initiative brings Wi-Fi to students with long commutes in 16 communities across the country.

Google provides each school district with Wi-Fi through fully functional school buses, computers and onboard educators for the buses. The company says the program helps students reclaim more than 1.5 million hours of learning time that would otherwise be lost during long bus commutes.

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“It’s important for students everywhere to have access to the tools they need to learn every day,” said Alex Sanchez, a spokesperson for Google.

In Munford, six buses will become Rolling Study Halls, allowing 240 students to access Wi-Fi on commutes between 45 minutes and one hour.

Equipping students

“Innovative programs like the Google Wi-Fi school buses are allowing us to provide our public school students with the 21st-century educations that they will need to compete in the global economy,” Ainsworth said.

“Google’s Rolling Study Halls is something we know will benefit the students of Munford, and help them create the next big thing right here in Alabama,” McClendon said.

Rolling Study Halls is part of Grow with Google, a new initiative to help create economic opportunities for Americans. The program aims to give people across the United States resources to grow their skills, careers and businesses by offering free tools, training and events.

In April 2018, Google began construction of its Alabama data center in the Jackson County community of Bridgeport, in the northeastern corner of the state. Google said the data center will be a hub for internet traffic, fitting into a network that keeps the company’s search engine and its other internet-based products functioning around the clock.

The center is expected to create between 75 and 100 jobs.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and state Sen. Jim McClendon joined Google officials to announce the program’s arrival at Munford Middle School alongside students and administrators who use the outfitted buses daily during the 2018–2019 school year.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

Leaders deliver results for a stronger Alabama

Thank you to the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate for your bi-partisan support of the Rebuild Alabama Plan. Because of your leadership, this historical effort will result in safer roads, thousands of new jobs, and a stronger Alabama.  Finally, it’s time to #RebuildAL.

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