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3 months ago

Auburn students win $50K toward electrotherapy garment to aid injury rehabilitation

Auburn University students who developed a personalized electrotherapy garment to aid injury rehabilitation earned $50,000 in funding and services as winners of the fourth annual Tiger Cage student business pitch competition.

Presented by Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business, Tiger Cage identifies and rewards the best early-stage products, services and business concepts that emerge from Auburn students.

ESCAPE Therapy — the business concept of doctoral students Sarah Gascon, kinesiology; Matt Hanks, kinesiology; and Dawn Michaelson, consumer and design services — walked away with the grand prize, edging three other finalists on April 6 at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

Teams presented their ideas to a panel of industry judges in a manner similar to “Shark Tank.” Judges included Delphinus Medical Technologies CEO Mark Forchette, River Bank & Trust CEO Jimmy Stubbs, Frontier Labs co-founder Sean Cook, Tara Wilson Agency CEO Tara Wilson and MartinFederal Consulting CEO Corey Martin.

Wilson, a 1997 Harbert College finance graduate, said the judges had a “tough decision” choosing the winner.

“The team that won has an innovative idea and product that has the ability to be scalable and I think that was a big differentiator,” she said. “This team can continue to go on in these competitions and their product will be viable to a larger group of people in the end.

“Tiger Cage certainly shows me that Auburn has put together a great group of intelligent students who are thinking about innovation and entrepreneurship. I was very impressed with all four teams.”

ESCAPE Therapy’s prize rundown included the $25,000 cash grand prize, $15,000 in donated services from Allegiance Merchant Services and $10,000 in legal services from Bradley Boult Cummings. Gascon, ESCAPE Therapy’s CEO, certainly understands the potential market for her concept — athletic trainers and physical therapists. She is an aspiring 2020 Summer Olympic Games competitor, training at Auburn University with Team USA Handball.

“Usually, physical therapists require you to do some physical therapy at home and they give you instructions,” Gascon explained. “What happens is the patient says that they are going to do the rehab, but they don’t. They are really visiting the therapist only seven to 10 sessions. In reality, to receive a full recovery they need more than that. Our garment works in conjunction with the physical therapist. The patient can take it home and they can use it while they are also doing the rehab exercises.

“We are bridging the gap between a physical therapist and a patient.”

Winning second place was Snippety Snap — public administration and public policy doctoral candidates Olivia Cook and Courtney Haun — which developed a public cellphone stand and integrated mobile app that allows users to take photographs in popular locations. The team took second place, winning $10,000 in prize money, $10,000 in donated services and another $1,000 by earning the People’s Choice Award.

Enki Engineering took third place and $6,000 for its idea to produce a spiral engineering calculation notebook. Team members were junior supply chain management major Terran Ray, junior software engineering major Garrett Raab and sophomore marketing major Jackie Litschewski.

Finishing fourth and winning $4,000 was Savor, a mobile app concept focusing on the reduction of food waste. The team consisted of junior business major Evan Walker, senior software and aerospace engineering major Rain Li and computer science graduate student Abhishek Jariwala.

Gascon described ESCAPE Therapy’s Tiger Cage journey from a business idea in September to the 2018 champion as “very long.”

“At the start of it, it was just an idea that we wrote on paper,” she said. “We didn’t know how to write an executive summary and we didn’t know what a business model was. We knew nothing in terms of how to operate a true business.”

Then Gascon smiled and said, “But we are doctoral students and are very high achievers. We had to learn all of the different aspects of how to build and develop a business — and we perfected our craft. It’s remarkable that we were here [in the finals] because we think about the first few months and it was just an idea and we didn’t know what we were doing. Now, we have business people coming up and talking to us. We received a lot of mentoring from Dr. [Lakami] Baker. That really helped direct what we wanted to say, how we wanted to say it and what we want to think about in terms of having a successful business. This is our next adventure after school and we’re looking forward to hitting the ground running.”

ESCAPE Therapy already has a list of potential customers.

“A lot of my Team USA teammates are saying, “When will this come out? We want it right now!” Gascon said.

34 mins ago

Man arrested in connection to triple murder in Alabama

Police say a man has been arrested in connection to a triple murder in Alabama.

Guntersville Police told WAFF-TV that 52-year-old Jimmy O’Neal Spencer was arrested Tuesday on four counts of capital murder.

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The bodies of 74-year-old Marie Kitchens Martin and her 7-year-old great-grandson, Colton Ryan Lee, were found in a home on Friday, and 65-year-old neighbor Martha Reliford in her home.

Spencer was taken to the Marshall County Jail.

The body of a missing man, James Michael Baker, was found near the crime scene. Investigators have not determined his death to be connected.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 hours ago

President Trump congratulates Rep. Martha Roby on her runoff victory

President Trump took to Twitter Wednesday to congratulate Rep. Martha Roby in her House District 2 primary runoff victory against former District 2 congressman Bobby Bright.

Trump expressed that his endorsement contributed to Roby’s “landslide victory.”

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There were questions, particularly among national news commentators, about whether Roby would be able to overcome the stigma of de-endorsing President Trump in the 2016 election, but his support for her put that question largely to bed.

“I’m honored and humbled that the people of Alabama’s Second District have again placed their trust and confidence in me, and that I will have the opportunity to continue to do this job on their behalf,” Roby said in a statement, in part. “On behalf of my family and me, thank you to each person who went out to the polls today to support me.”

“Over the last year and a half, it’s been a great privilege to be a part of the conservative momentum and to work alongside my colleagues in Congress and the Trump Administration to push some very important priorities over the finish line. We are in a unique position to accomplish even more, and I’m eager to continue the fight,” she also said.

Roby faces Democrat Tabitha Isner in November.

4 hours ago

Rex Lumber Co. to build new facility, bring more than 100 jobs to Alabama

A lumber company is investing $110 million in a new facility in Alabama’s Pike County, bringing more than 100 new jobs.

WSFA-TV reports Rex Lumber Co. announced Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony that the new facility will be located 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Troy in the Harmony Community. It expects to employ around 110 people.

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Officials say the Southern Yellow Pine sawmill is expected to be operation by June 2019.

Currently, Rex Lumber Co. operates sawmills in Graceville and Bristol, Florida. They also have a site in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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About last night: Three takeaways from Alabama’s Runoff Election

With Alabama’s primary election runoffs now in the books, here are three takeaways from the results.

North Alabama has spoken.
When this election cycle began, it became evident that north Alabama saw a window of opportunity to increase its influence.  The results from the Republican primary runoff have shown the electorate in that area of the state was eager to flex its muscle.

Will Ainsworth pulled out an impressive come-from-behind victory in the Lt. Governor’s race. Steve Marshall enjoyed a resounding win in his bid to retain the Attorney General’s office.

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Both candidates hail from Marshall County and both effectively energized their bases in the Fourth and Fifth Congressional Districts. This is particularly evident when you look at their margins of victory in those north Alabama counties compared to the performances of their opponents in their own base counties. Ainsworth and Marshall won big at home.

With Ainsworth and Marshall the presumptive winners in November (more on that below), north Alabama could have the Speaker of the House, the Lt. Governor and the Attorney General in positions of power.

Keep an eye on this dynamic in the 2020 race for the U.S. Senate.

Democrats?
Several months ago, a fashionable narrative developed among some that Democrats were going to move the needle in November 2018. In fairness to the delusional, much of this was borne out of the bizarre circumstances surrounding the Moore-Jones election.

However, these runoff elections are a culmination of months now during which no one is seriously talking about Democrats — let alone their chances in November.

Even the ultra-liberal New York Times, which is an arm of the Democratic Party, posted this statement as part of its updated Alabama primary election results on June 11:

“In deep-red Alabama, the Republican primary almost certainly determined the general election winner.”

Democrat candidates up and down the ballot — from Walt Maddox in the Governor’s race to Democrat legislators like Johnny Mack Morrow — will tilt at their windmills. But they won’t be able to escape Nancy Pelosi and their own party’s dysfunction.

Expect big Republican wins in November.

It’s time to change Alabama’s runoffs.
South Carolina holds their runoffs three weeks after the primary. Alabama puts six weeks between its primary and its runoff.

In South Carolina’s top race, there were only 24,000 fewer votes in the runoff than there were in the primary. That was only a 6.5% decrease.

In Alabama’s top runoff race, there was a nearly 200,000 total vote difference between the primary and the runoff. That’s a 37.5% decrease in participation. Undoubtedly, those three extra weeks, which bring the runoff deep into the summer, contribute significantly to voter apathy.

South Carolina has established an efficient process for handling military absentee ballots within its three-week runoff. Alabama should do the same.

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5 hours ago

7 Things: Trump backtracks on trusting Putin, election results, new permanent tax cuts, and more …

1. President Donald Trump backtracks and tells an absurd lie 

— After stating he believes Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence officials, President Trump backtracked. He received intense criticism from within his own party, from Democrats and from a deranged media.

— In a statement read by the president of the United States, and believed by no one, he states, “The sentence should’ve been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.'”

2. And the winners are…

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— Attorney General Steve Marshall crushes former AG Troy King in a race that wasn’t even close.  Marshall will face former Democrat AG and Governor’s son Joseph Siegelman.

— State Rep. Will Ainsworth squeaks by in the Lt. Gov. race, barely beating the more well-known candidate Twinkle Cavanaugh to be the odds-on on favorite to win the job in November. (Quick: Who is the Democrat candidate for Lt. Gov.?)

3. New tax cuts

— A second round of tax cuts, and a move to make the tax cuts permanent, are being discussed by the White House and Congressional Republicans. The fact they expired was a major part of the complaints by Democrats on the issue.

— Democrats, who still don’t want tax cuts, have filed a frivolous lawsuit with the federal government because blue states taxes are so high and the 1st round of tax cuts capped deductions on state taxes that could be deducted.

4. Toyota CEO continues to sound the alarm on Trump’s tariffs and how they will impact Alabama

— Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama President wrote that a 25% tariff on foreign automobiles will have a devastating impact on manufacturing.

— This is exactly the argument Kay Ivey made earlier this summer when she said, “Import tariffs, and any retaliatory tariffs on American made goods, will harm Alabama, the companies that have invested billions of dollars in our state, and the thousands of households, which are dependent upon those companies for a good-paying job.”

5. After a hate-love relationship with Trump, Congresswoman Martha Roby survives in Alabama’s only real contested Congressional race

— Roby absolutely destroyed former Democrat turned Republican Bobby Bright. Bright was possibly the worst GOP primary candidate if the goal is to point out the divisions in the GOP because he has a vote for Nancy Pelosi on his resume.

— The “can she overcome talking bad about Trump?” narrative should die — it will not.

6. More details emerge about Governor Bentley’s past and present with Rebekah Caldwell Mason

— Bentley continues to deny the affair with his former aide was sexual, which really stretches the bounds of believability.

— The former governor’s love-interest is apparently still working with Bentley at his dermatology office in Tuscaloosa. She is not listed in the staff section of the website.

7. There is a silly notion working its way through the media and Democrats that anyone upset with Trump’s comments must abandon the GOP

—  A Republican Party county chairman in Ohio resigned on Monday after watching President Donald Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin, calling it a “matter of conscience”

— While this continues to be a theme, many Republicans continue to support the GOP because as I wrote for Yellowhammer yesterday, “The economy matters, the Supreme Court matters, controlling our borders matters”.