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3 months ago

Alabama officials react to President George H.W. Bush’s passing

Former President George Herbert Walker Bush passed away on Friday, and Alabama leaders took to social media to mourn and pay tribute to the nation’s 41st president.

Bush lived a life dedicated to the highest order of public service. Long before his famous “Points of Light” presidential initiative that promoted volunteerism and community service, he personified his belief that “there could be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others.”

Husband to Barbara – who passed away in April – and father to George W., Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and Robin, Bush’s exemplary service began on his 18th birthday when he enlisted in the Navy. He went on to fight in World War II, even becoming the youngest ever naval aviator at the time in 1943.

His historic career after the war reached the zeniths of business and politics. Before his presidency from 1989-1993, Bush was an oil tycoon, a congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Republican National Committee Chairman, chief liaison to China, Director of Central Intelligence and Vice President.

Alabama’s political leaders shared their thoughts about Bush, the nation’s longest living president.

In a release, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said, “President George H.W. Bush was a true American statesman and hero. He dedicated his life to serving the country he loved for more than 70 years. From a young Naval aviator shot down in WWII to Commander-in-Chief, President Bush led our nation with integrity, honor, and measure. Annette and I join all Americans in mourning his passing. His legacy of humility and devotion will never be forgotten.”

In accordance with U.S. Code, Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) has ordered flags to half-staff for 30 days of mourning.

“President George H.W. Bush was a true statesman and patriot who served our country in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later as Congressman, Ambassador, CIA Director, Vice President and President. The honor he showed our people will live on long after today. He was a leader for us all, and his presence will be truly missed. I pray for the Bush Family as they mourn the death of their father, grandfather, great-grandfather and our 41st President,” Ivey said in a statement.

“George H.W. Bush was an American hero who served our nation in WWII, as a Congressman, as UN Ambassador, as CIA Director, as Vice President, and as our 41st President. The nation will be forever grateful for his lifetime of service. Prayers to the entire Bush family,” Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) tweeted.

In a statement, Byrne added, “George H.W. Bush was an American hero and icon. Throughout his 94 years, he served our nation in so many ways, and he accomplished so much. Despite all of this, I think the life of George H.W. Bush is best summed up in a very simple phrase: he was a good man. May God be with the Bush family and a grateful nation as we mourn and remember a good man and an American hero.”

In a tweet, Congresswoman Martha Roby (AL-2) said, “Sad news tonight as we mourn the passing of our 41st President, George H.W. Bush. He was a remarkable American who served this country honorably. He will be dearly missed. My prayers are with the Bush family during this time.”

Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-3) tweeted, “Sending heartfelt prayers to the Bush family this morning after the passing of President George H.W. Bush. The world lost a great man today who will be remembered for a lifetime of service.”

Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-6) tweeted, “I am deeply saddened by the passing of President George H.W. Bush. He was an example to me of an honorable public servant and of character, compassion, and courage. Ann and I send condolences to the Bush family and thank God for his dedication to America and his example.”

In a tweet, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-7) remarked, “In the Navy, the CIA, and in the Oval Office, President George H.W. Bush dedicated his life to serving. He was a true patriot who put his country first. Today my prayers are with the whole Bush family.”

Attorney General Steve Marshall (R-AL) said, “Saddened to learn of the passing of America’s 41st Commander-in-Chief, President George H. W. Bush this evening. He and first Lady Barbara Bush epitomized grace and character. We lost them both in the same year. Our prayers go out to the Bush family.”

In a release, Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) commented, “President George H.W. Bush epitomized all that is great about public service. A man of means who could have lived a life of comfort and relaxation, he chose instead to open himself to the criticism that politics and difficult decisions often bring.”

“Our nation is better off for the service that he gallantly offered both in office and as a veteran of World War II. During his presidency, the Berlin Wall fell, the Iron Curtain was finally parted, and our world became more stable and secure under his watch,” he continued.

McCutcheon concluded, “President Bush is now reunited with his beloved Barbara and the daughter, Robin, that they lost. History will be kind to him, which is just and deserved.”

On behalf of the Alabama House Republican Caucus, Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) released the following statement:

“The members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus join the rest of the nation and freedom-loving people around the world in mourning the loss of President George H.W. Bush.

He will be considered among the greatest of our one-term presidents, and most will agree that our nation would have been spared much drama and turmoil had he been elected to a second term.

He was both a gentleman and a gentle man who offered an example for others to follow. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they celebrate 94 years of a life well lived.”

The Alabama Republican Party released the following statement:

“The Alabama Republican Party extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of President George H.W. Bush. Our nation not only mourns a great president, but a great man. As a dedicated husband, father and grandfather, he spent a lifetime proudly caring and supporting those he loved the most.

A WWII veteran, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.N. Ambassador and Republican National Committee Chair, the 41st President of our United States dedicated his life to earnestly and courageously serving the American public.

We are deeply grateful for the way President George H. W. Bush loved and led America. Now and in the years to come, we will remember President George H.W. Bush and the lasting impact his legacy leaves behind. He truly is a point of light in our country’s history.

May his faith in God be a great comfort to his family and all who love him.”

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

12 hours ago

Byrne first to officially declare run vs. Doug Jones – ‘Future is too important to sit on the sidelines’

Just down the street from where he grew up, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced Wednesday evening his candidacy for the United States Senate while surrounded by family, friends and supporters gathered at Wintzell’s Oyster House in beautiful downtown Mobile.

Byrne became the first candidate to officially announce a run against the incumbent from Mountain Brook, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL). In doing so, Byrne made clear his campaign will focus on his record as a fighter for Alabama’s values, drawing a clear and direct contrast between his traditional Yellowhammer State roots and the “radical policies” being pushed by Jones’ Democratic Party.

In his announcement speech, Byrne emphasized, “The fight for America’s future is too important to sit on the sidelines. I am running for the United States Senate to defend the values important to Alabama.”

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The congressman spoke about the “disconnect” between hardworking, everyday Alabamians and people stuck in the bubble of Washington, D.C.

Byrne urged attendees, “Look in Washington and tell me you don’t see people that have a vision that’s fundamentally at odds with what America is.”

“We need a Senator who will fight with President Trump to defend the Constitution, build the wall, stand up for the unborn, push for lower taxes, make health care more affordable and protect the Second Amendment,” he outlined. “I will fight every day to bring Alabama’s conservative values to Washington.”

Answering questions from reporters following the announcement, Byrne decried the Democratic Party’s embrace of socialism and “[killing] babies as they’re delivered.”

He also warned voters that Democrats should be expected to try and interfere in the Republican primary through “fake news” and  manipulative social media efforts. This comes in the wake of revelations that “Project Birmingham” was orchestrated to aid Jones’ general election candidacy in 2017.

Byrne, a labor-employment attorney by trade, is the former chancellor of the state’s community college system and one-term member of the state senate. He has served southwest Alabama in Congress since January 2014.

The Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Alabama will be held March 3, 2020, with the general election to follow in November.

You can watch Byrne’s announcement speech and hear him answer questions from reporters afterwards here.

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

13 hours ago

Watch live: Bradley Byrne announces U.S. Senate run against Doug Jones

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) is set to announce his candidacy for the United States Senate seat held by Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) live at the Wintzell’s Oyster House in downtown Mobile.

Watch live below:

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

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14 hours ago

Heavy rains swamping Deep South

Heavy rains are causing problems in parts of the Deep South.

Police in Huntsville, Alabama, say a half-dozen roads are blocked by downed trees or utility poles plus water from flash floods.

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Flood watches and warnings cover the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia and nearly all of Tennessee is at risk for floods.

Several school systems are delaying classes or closing.

The weather service is predicting as much as eight inches of rain in spots through Saturday, and freezing rain and sleet are possible in western South Carolina.

Forecasters say moisture from the Gulf is mixing with weather systems moving eastward in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.

As much as one inch of rain an hour is possible, and the weather service says some areas could get more.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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14 hours ago

Ivey announces plan to turn old Jefferson County mine into technology park with $85 million economic impact

Alabama is working again — including in places that have been dormant for decades.

Governor Kay Ivey, the Alabama Department of Labor’s (ADOL) Abandoned Mine Land Program (AML) and United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) announced Wednesday that long-abandoned mine land in Jefferson County will be reclaimed, making way for the new Grand River Technology Park project and relocation of the Southern Museum of Flight.

“This reclamation project has the potential to bring millions of dollars in economic impact, and hundreds of jobs to the Greater Birmingham area,” Ivey said in a press release. “The new Grand River Technology Park will be a regional nexus for research and development, tourism, and light manufacturing. This project will bring positive improvements to the citizens who call this community home.”

This project, which is expected to generate an economic impact of more than $85 million, has been made possible through funds appropriated from the U.S. Treasury through the AML Pilot Program Grant. The funding was secured by the stalwart leadership of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Shelby said he is looking “forward to witnessing the impact it will have on the state.”

The senator said, “The Grand River Technology Park project will attract new businesses and promote economic development throughout the Birmingham area. I am proud that the AML Pilot grant funds I worked to secure have helped make this effort possible and look forward to witnessing the impact it will have on the state.”

The project is possible through a collaborative public-private effort and includes participation by ADOL’s AML Program, U. S. Steel, the City of Birmingham, the Southern Museum of Flight, Jefferson County and the City of Leeds.

In 2018, U. S. Steel and its community partners were given approval for a $6 million grant by the ADOL AML Pilot Program toward the development of its Grand River Technology Park.

“We are pleased to see the redevelopment of this land. We are grateful for the partnership of Governor Ivey, [ADOL] Secretary Washington, and the AML staff during this process and thank Senator Shelby for securing AML Pilot grant funds. We look forward to providing quality economic and community development projects that will benefit the Birmingham community,” U. S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt commented.

The technology park represents a multiphase opportunity to reclaim and transform approximately 105 acres of undeveloped land surrounding and including several pre-1977 abandoned coal mine lands in east Jefferson County. An initial assessment conservatively estimated that 1,200 new employment opportunities will be created by this project.

Plans for the Grand River Technology Park (Contributed)

Dangerous abandoned mine land features previously reclaimed on the property included many portals (openings to old underground coal mines) and vertical openings (former air shafts associated with underground coal mines) connected with Red Diamond Mines #2 – #5, #7, #9, #11 and #12, as well as the former Tennessee Coal and Iron (TCI) Mine #6, all of which ceased operations in 1948.

After the closure of these underground mines, a major portion of proposed development was strip-mined for coal prior to August 3, 1977, leaving extensive spoil piles (waste rock and soil overburden removed to access the coal seam) on the property and a highwall cut (a hazardous vertical bluff left where mining of the coal seam ceased) adjacent to the current location of the Barber Motor Sports Park. Evidence of the highwall cut and spoil piles still remain on the property today. As part of the redevelopment of the property, extensive reclamation will be performed on these remaining spoil piles.

“Our Abandoned Mine Land Program does a wonderful job in helping to ensure that old, dangerous mines are properly reclaimed, which eliminates safety hazards and allows the land to be redeveloped,” ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington advised. “In addition to cleaning up this site and making it safer, this project will help to improve the lives of many.”

To date, the ADOL AML Program has reclaimed 81.6 miles of dangerous highwalls, eliminated 1,613 dangerous mine openings and completed approximately 661 reclamation projects in the coalfields of Alabama.

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

15 hours ago

Alabama law requires the state and local governments fund The Democrat-Reporter’s racist rants — It is time to stop

Almost every politician in Alabama wanted to get in on condemning, and in some cases calling for the resignation of the editor, publisher and owner of a rag out of Linden, Alabama, with roughly 3,000 subscribers.

The governor, both United States senators, multiple congressmen and congresswomen, the State Senate pro tem, the lieutenant governor and surely countless others went on the record to say this is unacceptable.

It is obviously unacceptable, but now what? You can’t really force a guy who owns a newspaper to quit. Especially when he seems to think he has done nothing wrong.

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All of this is a minor problem. The Democrat-Reporter is a small-town nothing newspaper. If the Auburn Plainsman hadn’t posted the editorial in the form of a photo, no one would have ever known.

This raises another issue. The state of Alabama is providing revenue to this newspaper and other newspapers around the state of Alabama. And it is actually worse than that: Current state law requires government entities in Alabama to advertise legal notices, legislation, constitutional amendments, voter rolls and other public matters in the local print media outlets, which is not cheap.

So, how much does The Democrat-Reporter get from the governments?

Well, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) alone spends thousands every year.

Maybe these aren’t all required expenditures, but for what other reason would ALDOT be spending this money here?

What have the local governments been required to pay this newspaper? What about average citizens and businesses that have to post foreclosures, abandoned property and other matters in a local newspaper by state law?

Even without the racist overtones of this story, this matter should offend you. There is currently a state law that requires we do business with a series of private entities.

This may have been a necessity decades ago, but it is time for the state legislature to readdress this issue for the 21st century.

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