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4 days ago

Alabama National Guard ready to help with Hurricane Florence response on the east coast

Governor Kay Ivey has the Alabama National Guard on standby to assist with response efforts to Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas and said Alabama is sending additional state personnel and resources to assist.

While the National Guard is ready to roll out when called upon, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) has already been officially activated to help. Before knowing the extent of what else will be needed, they have already committed to providing a mobile communications unit to bolster public safety radio communications.

Since 2011, Alabama’s National Guard – which is the fifth largest in the country – has been activated 23 times and they will be ready to assist this time if needed.

“The National Guard also cooperate across state lines, so for Hurricane Florence, the Alabama National Guard has already been in communication with the national guard in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia,” Director of Military Support Col. Jim Hawkins said, per CBS 42.

The Yellowhammer State understands more than most the importance of helping neighbors in need.

“If you go back to Hurricane Katrina, practically every state in the United States sent assistance to either Mississippi or Louisiana, after that they formed what’s called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact,” Hawkins explained.

He also outlined what a typical National Guard response to a hurricane entails.

“It could be things like high water evacuations. Security is always important, when people are displaced and property is damaged, maintaining security and assisting law-enforcement is critical,” Hawkins advised.

Ivey emphasized that Alabama is ready and willing to help.

“As the East Coast makes preparations ahead of Hurricane Florence, Alabama will also be prepared to aid in any way we can. I spoke with the governors of North and South Carolina and offered our support,” Ivey remarked in a statement. “Alabama EMA will continue working with their counterparts in the Carolinas. Taking the necessary precautions ahead of time and having all-hands-on-deck to respond is of the utmost importance. Alabama stands ready to help.”

Currently, AEMA’s mobile communications unity, one AEMA staff member and one Mobile County responder are at a staging area in North Carolina. They will support that state in maintaining critical communication links for public safety radio communications and their primary role will be to support their counterparts as they experience an overwhelming need to coordinate North Carolina’s response efforts.

“We are leaning forward to support those states that may be impacted by Hurricane Florence,” AEMA Director Brian Hastings said. “We are a close-knit team in FEMA Region IV, and when one state is threatened, we all stand ready to assist our incredible neighbors to prepare, respond and recover to save lives and mitigate human suffering.  Alabama is always ready to assist when there is a need.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 mins ago

Speaker Mac McCutcheon: Ivey ‘doesn’t really need to debate’ Maddox

As the gubernatorial election for the state of Alabama draws near, Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) weighed in on Republican Gov. Kay Ivey’s decision to not debate her Democratic challenger Walt Maddox, despite the Tuscaloosa mayor’s pleas.

McCutcheon said Ivey, who chose to not debate any of her three Republican challengers before the primary, “doesn’t really need to debate” her Democratic challenger for the November 6 election.

“When it comes to debates, in a campaign, every campaign is different,” McCutcheon told WHNT. “The candidates of those campaigns, they need to look at the polling, they need to look at the issues, they need to look at the opportunity they have.”

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“I think from the polling numbers that we’re running in all of our legislative districts Gov. Ivey is polling very high, she’s got a lot of support,” he added. “Governor Ivey is in a position right now where doesn’t really need to debate Mayor Maddox.”

Speaker McCutcheon said debates often do not provide detailed responses. He insisted that voters can find answers to their questions without a debate.

“If they’re listening to social media, if they’re looking at her job performance, if they’re looking at the issues and really digging deep into the issues, I think the answers are there for the public,” said McCutcheon.

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

26 mins ago

Animals driven to Alabama in a school bus after being saved from Hurricane Florence

In the story of “Noah’s Ark except it’s a school bus,” The Washington Post detailed how a truck driver saved more than 60 animals from Hurricane Florence and drove them to Alabama.

The man who rescued the animals, Tony Alsup, has been back and forth between the South Carolina coast and Alabama in the last week, shuttling 53 dogs and 11 cats to safety from endangered animal shelters.

Running on very little sleep and fueled by Waffle House pitstops, the 51-year-old trucker from Tennessee is being hailed as a savior for the otherwise defenseless animals, many of whom would have been put down by the shelters facing the then-approaching hurricane. Now, in the aftermath of Florence, he continues to search for pets in need of rescuing.

“I’m like, look, these are lives too,” Alsup told The Washington Post during a Waffle House stop.

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He continued, “Animals — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus. But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.”

Alsup, who wants to open his own animal shelter one day, has been rescuing shelter pets from floodwaters with his bus since Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coast in 2017. When he saw on the news how so many animal shelters had become overcrowded with lost or rescued animals, Alsup figured he could help by transporting animals to vacant shelters.

Yet, he knew he could not put them in a semitrailer.

“I thought, well what can I do?” Alsup explained. “I’ll just go buy a bus.”

Since then, he has helped with rescue efforts during hurricanes Irma and Maria and, now, Florence.

Once Alsup loads the animals in his bus, he drives them to Foley in Baldwin County. There, his friend, Angela Eib-Maddux, has opened her privately run dog shelter to the new arrivals. She gives them baths and fluffy blankets and “spa treatment,” Alsup said, until they can find enough shelters or foster homes to take the animals.

As of Monday, Alsup had managed to find a permanent home or new shelter for every animal he rescued.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

48 mins ago

Dem state senator’s son arrested on domestic violence charge

Akil Michael Figures, son of Alabama state Senator Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile), has been arrested on a domestic violence charge, per Fox 10.

The 36-year-old Figures was reportedly charged with third-degree domestic violence (menacing), and this is by no means his first run in with the law in Alabama. He has an extensive rap sheet, including drug charges, giving false information and various traffic offenses.

In June, Figures made headlines when he was shot in the leg in Foley. Authorities then said a man shot Figures twice in the leg at a home in the Baldwin County city.

On Tuesday morning, he was booked into Mobile County Metro Jail just after midnight and then released on bail a short time later.

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Additional court records show that a woman, who Figures previously dated, filed near the end of August for protection from the alleged abuse. She was granted this protection until February. Figures has denied the abuse claims and asked for a hearing on the request for protection.

Per the Lagniappe in Mobile, Figures pleaded guilty in 2006 to a single charge of “possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine” after federal prosecutors agreed to a deal dropping a similar charge related to the distribution of ecstasy.

After being sentenced to five years in jail and eight years of probation for that distribution plea, lawyers representing Figures in 2016 asked for probation period to be cut in half, saying the man had kept an “unblemished” record and “regained the trust and confidence of his family.”

The attorneys’ request in 2016 did stipulate that Figures had received a “technical infraction” of his probation “for sending a text message after being ordered to refrain from any further communication with a woman with whom he had a relationship.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Walt Maddox finally has a plan for Medicaid expansion and it’s pretty bad

Alabama Democrats love bad ideas.

They also have no clue how to pay for these terrible ideas, even though some have tried to figure it out, bless their hearts.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox has been pushing the media-friendly idea that if we would just expand Medicaid. all would be well, unfortunately, he knows almost nothing about the program.

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As Yellowhammer News exposed yesterday, Talk 99.5’s Matt Murphy embarrassed Maddox on the issue:

MADDOX: There are 33 states that have gone along with the expansion of Medicaid. There are six more that are considering it.

MURPHY: You know how much the state budget for Medicaid is right now?

MADDOX: Not offhand —

MURPHY: It’s about a quarter, a quarter of the total budget. Twenty-four percent of the total budget is Medicare and that is expected to over the next decade go up to as much as 35 percent of the total state budget and I’m wondering how we stop that.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he also has no idea how to pay for the program.

MADDOX: You take a combination of taxing the existing gambling that is here and sports gambling. And that will be what you put in your general fund as your offset to it.

The problem is this doesn’t even come close to actually covering the cost of his idea.

If he is capable of getting the legislature to allow existing gambling to be taxed, liberal columnist Josh Moon speculates it would only bring in $15 million.

If he is capable of getting the legislature to pass a sports gambling bill, we can look to Mississippi and see that they are projecting that they will collect $30 million in taxes. Granted, Mississippi is about 60 percent of the size of Alabama, so if we play with the math that puts Alabama at about $50 million a year in revenue.

Play with the math any way you want, but the guy proposing these measures is clearly out of his depth. Clearly, Maddox has no real clue what the numbers are and we still aren’t anywhere near the $150-$200 million that he acknowledges his proposal will cost.

This remains a media favorite talking point with no substance. It’s time for Walt Maddox and his campaign to figure out how to pay for his proposal.

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

3 hours ago

Huntsville City Council candidate’s ties to Bernie Sanders revealed in ad — ‘Few things are scarier than socialism’

On Monday, Dr. Mary Jane Caylor’s campaign for Huntsville City Council released a creative new social media ad that invoked her opponent’s ties to socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

With Halloween on the horizon, Caylor hit her opponent, Frances Akridge, with the tagline “few things are scarier than socialism… Especially in our local government.”

Akridge, the ad says, has donated to liberal campaigns across the country, including Bernie Sanders for President, Rick Nolan for Congress (Minnesota), Katie McGinty for Senate (Pennsylvania), Nelson for Congress (Wisconsin), Zephyr Teachout for Attorney General (New York), Nanette Diaz Barragán for Congress (California), Deborah Ross for Senate (North Carolina), Chase Irons for Congress (North Dakota), Maggie Hassan for Senate (New Hampshire), Paul Clements for Congress (Texas), Morgan Carroll for Congress (Colorado), Russ Feingold for Congress (Wisconsin) and Pramila Jayapal for Congress (Washington).

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While local races are normally less partisan than statewide or national races, Caylor’s campaign tied Akridge’s “ultra-left” activities to the local level, saying that Huntsville would be hurt by socialist City Council policies.

“Imagine how much of your money Frances Akridge will want to tax and spend… We cannot afford to let Frances Akridge traffic in her big-government values to our City Hall,” the social media caption reads.

It continues, “Huntsville’s bright future demands fiscal responsibility and a budget that is overseen by an experienced, conservative leader. We need the conservative, proven, and principled leadership of Dr. Mary Jane Caylor.”

Caylor has an extensive resume of public service, including past experience as superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, executive director of the Huntsville Bicentennial, member of the Base Realignment and Closure recruitment team and a four-term member of the Alabama State Board of Education. She was also crucial to the establishment of the Veteran’s Memorial in downtown Huntsville.

On her website, Caylor lists education, infrastructure, community safety, supporting first responders and being a good steward of taxpayer money as top issues. Akridge names community recreation, “maintenance & enhancement” and health along with safety and education.

In response to Caylor’s ad, Akridge shared a Facebook post that read, “Huntsville municipal elections are SUPPOSED TO BE nonpartisan. And now we have this crap.” The post did not dispute any of the ties to socialist or liberal candidates or that Akridge would govern as a socialist on the city council.

According to Caylor’s campaign, in the October 9 Huntsville City Council District 2 election, “the choice is clear: Socialist Frances Akridge or Conservative Mary Jane Caylor.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn