The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

3 days ago

Federal grant to help develop workers in west Alabama

(UWA/Contributed)

A $2.5 million federal grant will help develop new workers with a goal of expanding economic development in rural west Alabama.

The money is going to the University of West Alabama for work in a 10-county region.

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The area includes some of the state’s poorest counties, and officials sometimes cite the lack of qualified workers as part of the problem.

The grant will fund programs to develop new workers, recruit them into industry and get them working.

It will also establish and expand rural apprenticeship initiatives.

The grant was awarded by the Labor Department in partnership with the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The University of West Alabama is one of eight organizations in five states to receive the money.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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6 days ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pixabay, YHN)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

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1 week ago

Montgomery voters to elect new mayor

(S. Reed, D. Woods/Facebook, YHN)

Voters in Montgomery, Alabama, are about to elect a new mayor.

Probate Judge Steven Reed and businessman David Woods face each other in the Tuesday runoff.

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The two were the top finishers in the first round of voting in August.

Reed is the probate judge of Montgomery County. Woods is a businessman and owns WCOV-TV.

The winner of the runoff will replace current Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange.

Strange did not seek reelection.

If Reed is elected, he will be the city’s first African-American mayor.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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2 weeks ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pexels)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

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2 weeks ago

PETA wants mascot hit by Auburn player to retire

(Auburn Football, Georgia Football/Facebook, YHN)

An animal rights group wants Mississippi State to retire its live bulldog mascot named Jak after he was crashed into by an Auburn University player making a mad dash for the end zone.

News outlets report People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sent a letter to the Mississippi college, saying it was sheer luck that Jak wasn’t severely injured or killed in the Saturday clash with tailback JaTarvious Whitlow.

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Whitlow scored the first touchdown of the game, entering the end zone with a momentum that carried him past the goal line and out of bounds, where he crashed into Jak, who then briefly left the sidelines.

Jak’s official Twitter account says his chin and right hind leg were bruised, and he’ll return to mascot duties next week.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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2 weeks ago

Ethics panel sends complaint about Alabama senator to DA

(Dennis C. Latham/YouTube)

The Alabama Ethics Commission has voted to refer a complaint against Montgomery Sen. David Burkette to the Montgomery County District Attorney for review.

It was not immediately clear Wednesday what the complaint entailed, or when the alleged offense occurred, The Montgomery Advertiser reported.

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Burkette’s attorney, Al Agricola, declined to discuss the allegations.

“I can say that Sen. Burkette looks forward to the opportunity to show that he has not committed any crime or intentionally violated the law,” Agricola said. “We’ll see how this all develops.”

Montgomery District Attorney Daryl Bailey said the attorney general’s office will handle the issue.

Spokesman for the Alabama Attorney General’s office, Mike Lewis, said he was unable to answer questions about the case Wednesday.

Burkette, who served on Montgomery City Council from 2007 to 2018, was elected to the Alabama Senate last year.

Burkette suffered a stroke late last year but served through the legislative session this spring.

The Alabama Ethics Commission reviews complaints against elected officials.

If it finds probable cause that an ethics violation occurred, it refers the complaint to the attorney general or the appropriate district attorney.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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2 weeks ago

Alabama lawmaker, pastors call Birmingham a sanctuary for ‘preborn’

(Arnold Mooney for Alabama/Facebook)

An Alabama state lawmaker and dozens of pastors are calling for the city of Birmingham to be declared “a sanctuary for preborn children.”

AL.com reports Republican Rep. Arnold Mooney and five pastors presented the Birmingham Proclamation to the State House on Wednesday.

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They’re opposed to plans for a new Planned Parenthood clinic.

Terry Gensemer of the Charismatic Episcopal Church for Life said the group is providing the proclamation to the governor, attorney general, and Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who supported the passage of Alabama’s strictest abortion ban.

The vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Southeast, Barbara Ann Luttrell, says the Birmingham clinic is expected to be finished before year’s end.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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2 weeks ago

Yellowhammer set to honor Horace Horn with 2019 Power of Service Award

(H. Horn/Contributed, YHN)

Yellowhammer Multimedia on Thursday announced it will present this year’s Power of Service Award to Horace Horn of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative. Yellowhammer will present the award at its annual Power of Service event set to take place on October 17 in Montgomery.

Horn currently serves as vice president for external affairs at PowerSouth. Yellowhammer is honoring Horn in recognition of his years of exemplary service to the state of Alabama.

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“Horace Horn has an incredible record of economic development success stories, and he has been a champion for rural Alabama throughout his entire career,” said Tim Howe, owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to recognize Horace for the work he has done to improve our communities across the state.”

This is the fifth year that Yellowhammer has presented the Power of Service Award. Past recipients include Johnny Johns, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Jimmy Rane, Sen. Jabo Waggoner, Congressman Gary Palmer, Mark Crosswhite, Swaid Swaid and Speaker Mac McCutcheon.

Horn began his career in poultry farming and commercial construction before his service at USDA Rural Development. He joined PowerSouth in 2000.

Among the organizations on which Horn has served are the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority, Alabama World Trade Association, Coosa Alabama River Improvement Association, Alabama Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, the Southeastern Federal Power Customers, Alabama Wildlife Federation, Business Council of Alabama, Alabama World Affairs Council and the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

He served as the fourth chairman of the Alabama State Port Authority and has testified in front of the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System regarding the effect of Fed policy on production agriculture.

For Power of Service ticket registration, detailed celebration information and sponsorship opportunities, click here.

2 weeks ago

Record heat for Alabama on first day of October

(PIxabay, YHN)

Forecasters say the first day of October brought more record high temperatures across Alabama.

The National Weather Service says Muscle Shoals in northwestern Alabama had its hottest October temperature ever recorded when the mercury hit 99 degrees (37 Celsius) on Tuesday.

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The previous record of 97 was set on Oct. 3, 1903.

Huntsville had its hottest October temperature ever when the mercury hit 97 degrees.

That broke a previous record set on Oct. 8, 1911.

The story was the same to the south.

Mobile reached 96 degrees to set a new all-time high for October, and temperatures were rising to near record levels in central Alabama.

More records could fall since forecasters say the heat will continue through early next week.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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2 weeks ago

Regulators: Gulf of Mexico red grouper limits staying low

(Wikicommons)

Regulators say catch limits for red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico will stay at this year’s levels indefinitely.

This year’s catch limits and targets were about 60% lower than 2018 levels.

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They were cut after 2017 landings came in at their lowest level in recent years and fishers reported seeing fewer legal-sized red grouper.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries adds that an extensive red tide outbreak off Florida’s west coast in 2018 may also have hurt the red grouper population.

An announcement Tuesday said commercial quotas will remain at 3 million pounds (1.36 million kilograms), with recreational target levels at 920,000 pounds (417,309 kilograms).

To account for management uncertainty, commercial quotas and recreational targets are set a bit lower than the amount experts consider it safe to harvest.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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2 weeks ago

Former Alabama state legislator Pete Turnham dies at 99

(Auburn University College of Agriculture/Contributed)

Former state legislator Pete Turnham, who was a force in the Alabama House of Representatives for decades, died Monday.

He was 99.

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His son, Joe Turnham, confirmed his father’s death.

Pete Turnham served 40 years in the state House. He was first elected in 1958 and retired in 1998.

The Auburn legislator, often affectionately known as “Mr. Pete” in the halls of the Statehouse, was also known as dean of the legislature because of his lengthy service.

“They don’t make them like he was. He was a great Southern gentleman and statesman. He was a great orator. I think everybody looked up to him,” former House Speaker Seth Hammett said Tuesday.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on the grounds of the State Capitol complex in Montgomery and in state House District 79, Lee County, “as a mark of respect” for Turnham.

The flags will fly at half-staff on the day of his interment on Thursday until sunset, Ivey’s order said.

Hammett said Turnham was also a great champion of Auburn University during his decades in the legislature.

A World War II veteran, Turnham was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with Valor.

Turnham served under nine governors.

In the legislature, he was chairman of the House Education Committee and known for his work on education issues.

His family says a pilot program that paved the way for public kindergarten and the creation of regional mental health centers are among his signature accomplishments.

A public graveside service and memorial will be held Thursday in Auburn.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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2 weeks ago

Some AL Democrats push for earlier date for meeting on party bylaws

(D. Jones, T. Perez/Facebook, YHN)

Some Alabama Democrats are trying to call a state meeting amid a looming deadline from Democratic National Committee officials and an ongoing power struggle over the direction of the state party.

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) is among those seeking an Oct. 5 meeting of the Alabama Democratic Party’s executive committee.

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Jones’ campaign started a “Fix the Party” website for committee members to review proposed new party bylaws and submit a meeting request.

The Democratic National Committee in February ordered Alabama to update bylaws to provide representation of more minorities — not just African-Americans — in the party and to hold new chair and vice-chair elections.

A DNC panel this month gave the state party until Oct. 5 to approve the new bylaws, the latest in a series of deadlines given to the state party.

Alabama Democratic Party Chair Nancy Worley scheduled an executive committee meeting for Oct. 12, a week after the deadline.

She said the meeting was scheduled then so it wouldn’t interfere with October mayoral races.

Executive committee members can call their own meeting if a majority of committee members agree.

The Jones campaign said in an emailed statement that it created the “Fix The Party” website so members could easily access and view the new DNC-approved bylaws and the letters from DNC Chairman Tom Perez and the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

“As of this afternoon we are confident that we will have enough support from SDEC members to call for the October 5th meeting,” the campaign statement read.

Perez this month said the state party had “fallen far short of meeting its basic obligations” and national party officials have withheld funds because of the chronic problems.

Worley, who was reelected as party chair last year, wrote in a text message that “malcontents” are pushing for the Oct. 5 meeting.

She said the party leadership submitted several sets of bylaws, but said national officials seemed to always have a moving target.

Worley said she believed the “real problem” is that some in the party remain unhappy with the result of last year’s leadership elections.

Worley won reelection as party chair over a nominee backed by Jones.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Friday said the party must “get it right.”

“The Alabama Democratic Party must be a platform for progress for our state. As the mayor of the most progressive city in the state, we’re counting on the state party to get it right. If we’re going to have success in the future we just have a strong two-party state,” Woodfin wrote in an email.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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2 weeks ago

Alabama Power reducing water releases amid drought

(Alabama NewsCenter/Contributed)

Alabama Power says it’s reducing water releases from its hydroelectric dams because of a drought affecting the state.

The move is intended to prevent lakes from shrinking too much.

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But a statement from the utility says that without rain, water levels will still likely fall below normal on lakes including Weiss, Henry, Logan Martin, Harris, Martin and Smith.

Parts of the state haven’t had substantial rainfall in weeks, and a federal assessment shows more than 80% of Alabama is abnormally dry or in a drought.

Conditions are worst in eastern and central parts of Alabama.

Montgomery is more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) below normal, and Troy is more than 10 inches (25 centimeters) below normal rainfall.

Totals are more than 3 inches (8 centimeters) off in Birmingham.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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3 weeks ago

Southern drought deepens; 11 million affected

Weeks of dry, hot weather have plunged the Deep South further into a drought that’s affecting more than 11 million people and threatening crops across the region, a new assessment showed Thursday.

The latest report from U.S. Drought Monitor showed arid conditions worsening across a five-state area from Louisiana to South Carolina.

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Conditions are particularly bad in Alabama and Georgia, where nearly the entire state is too dry.

Areas around the suburbs of Birmingham and Atlanta are particularly hard hit.

The National Weather Service on Thursday reported record temperatures for several Alabama cities: Montgomery at 100 F (38 C); Troy at 98 (37 C), Tuscaloosa at 97 (36 C) and Birmingham and Anniston each at 96 (35.5 C).

Drought conditions extend into northern Florida and the southern Great Lakes region.

Much of Texas and the Southwest also are too dry.

Some areas have gone weeks without substantial rain.

Farmers say the dry weather is hurting their crops, and Alabama has declared a statewide fire alert because of extremely dry weather.

About 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Birmingham in Montevallo, sprinklers ran full tilt at a roughly 200-acre (81-hectare) commercial nursery, Green Valley Farms, that is near the most parched area in the South.

A few miles away, April Hebert watched her 1-year-old son Collins toss rocks into a partially dried-up pond at a park in Helena.

Brown leaves that are normally still green this time of year covered the ground under trees.

“It’s terrible,” she said of the drought. “I’m afraid we’re going to go straight from summer to winter without a fall.”

The Agriculture Department said pastures, hayfields and soybean crops are drying up because of the drought, and some farmers have been feeding hay to livestock because of a lack of grass.

Most crops are still in good or fair condition despite the lack of rain, the agency said.

While lake levels are falling, no mandatory water restrictions are in place.

The National Weather Service said most places in Georgia and Alabama received below-normal rainfall in August, and temperatures for the month were as much as 3 degrees above average in Georgia.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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3 weeks ago

Alabama among seven states in fishing disaster declaration

(phil/Flickr)

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has declared fishing disasters for seven states on three coasts.

“Fishing is the cornerstone of countless coastal economies and has been a way of life for generations of Americans,” he said in a brief news release Wednesday. “This determination acknowledges the critical role fisheries play in our communities, and the risks they face from natural disasters and other causes beyond their control.”

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Ross’ action makes people and businesses eligible for NOAA fisheries disaster assistance.

Congress has appropriated $165 million for such help for fiscal 2019 and the Commerce Department decides allocations to eligible fisheries, the statement said.

The statement said a regional disaster occurred for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama because of “extreme flooding events in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Alaska and California each had multiple requests approved; one for both Georgia and South Carolina will help shrimpers and shrimp processors.

An unusually cold spell in January 2018 killed the vast majority of shrimp overwintering in estuaries, Erin Weeks, spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said in an email.

California requests for the red sea urchin and sardine fisheries were approved, Jordan Traverso, spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in an email.

Ross also approved a request from the Yurok Tribe of Klamath, California, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman Kristin Brown said in an email.

Tribal Chairman Joseph L. James’ letter to Ross in February said last year was the third in a row that the tribe hasn’t been able to catch enough Chinook salmon from the Klamath River to sell any.

The Pacific sardine fishery has been closed since 2015, California Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote Ross in June.

A disaster was declared for the first two years; Wednesday’s action brings it up through 2019.

Both of Alaska’s pending requests were approved, Brown said.

Those were for the Pacific cod and sockeye salmon fisheries in 2018.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Ross’ action could qualify Louisiana for millions of dollars in federal aid.

“I appreciate President Trump and Secretary Ross for this emergency declaration, which is critically important to our fishing industry in Louisiana. Our shrimpers, oyster farmers and fishers suffered greatly as Louisiana engaged in a historic flood flight this year, including two openings of the Bonnet Carré spillway, as the river was in flood stage for 211 days,” he said in a news release.

Midwestern floodwaters pouring into the Gulf of Mexico from rivers and the spillway have killed oysters, hurt fish catches and damaged livelihoods, Edwards told Ross in June.

Freshwater from the spillway affected Mississippi and Alabama, dramatically reducing salinity in the Mississippi Sound and causing toxic algae blooms that closed all of Mississippi’s beaches.

It dumped trillions of gallons of freshwater into the Sound, Joe Spraggins, executive director for The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, told the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

The freshwater killed large numbers of oysters, which glue themselves to the bottom or to reefs and sent fish so far out into the Gulf that many fishing boats couldn’t get out to them.

Alabama canceled its oyster season because there weren’t enough to harvest.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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3 weeks ago

New project highlights civil rights sites in Alabama

(Alabama African-American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium/Facebook)

A new project is highlighting some of the places in Alabama that played a role in the civil rights movement.

An online, oral history presentation called “Voices of Alabama” features photos of historic sites and interviews with some of the people who worked with the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

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The state was a hotbed of the movement at the time.

The parsonage where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. lived in Montgomery is included.

So are other places including a home in Selma where landmark demonstrations were planned, as well as churches in Birmingham that played a role in the movement.

The project features 20 sites total.

It was assembled by the New York-based World Monuments Fund and the Alabama African-American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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3 weeks ago

TVA holds meetings to build public trust in coal ash storage

(TVA/Contributed, YHN)

The Tennessee Valley Authority has a three-pronged mission to promote energy, economic development and the environment.

Now add to that rebuilding public trust.

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The New Deal-era public utility has taken a beating recently for a series of missteps surrounding its storage of coal ash.

For decades TVA, like other utilities, primarily dealt with this waste by sluicing it into unlined pits and impoundments.

When a dike burst on a six-story tall impoundment in Kingston in 2008, the problem could no longer be ignored. Although the spill was cleaned up, the repercussions for TVA are ongoing.

Many of the workers involved in the project are suing TVA’s subcontractor, claiming inhaling the coal ash made them sick.

And residents who live near other coal-burning power plants have expressed concerns the toxic chemicals in the ash could leach into their drinking water.

TVA CEO Jeff Lyash has said the utility is following the law and science in deciding how to deal with its coal ash storage.

But he also recognizes that TVA needs to win the public’s trust.

That’s why the utility has been holding a series of community meetings to explain its plans for the coal ash and let the public ask questions.

Lyash said in an interview that coal for many years “helped power economies and improve lives and communities.

“Now we also realize that along with the benefits, we have to be committed to carefully managing the coal combustion residuals,” he said.

At a community meeting in Gallatin on Tuesday, TVA staff filled a conference room at the local civic center and answered questions about colorful posters that explained the local coal plant’s history and what TVA is doing to monitor and prevent pollution.

The utility has held separate meetings at Kingston and Bull Run and more are planned.

As part of its outreach, TVA is also creating community action groups for interested citizens to act as liaisons between the public and the utility.

Lyash announced this summer that the utility will dig up and remove about 12 million cubic yards (9.2 million cubic meters) of coal ash the Gallatin Fossil Plant.

The TVA had been fighting a lawsuit claiming the coal ash was polluting the Cumberland River, a source of drinking water for Nashville downstream.

Lyash said the decision to move the Gallatin ash to a new lined pit was specific to that site.

Other old, unlined ash pits in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama may be capped and left in place if the utility determines it is safe to do so.

It is the closure in place that has some people worried. That’s where TVA hopes its outreach will help.

TVA is the nation’s largest public utility, providing power to more than 10 million people in parts of seven Southern states.

“We’re committed to the safe handling and storage of coal ash,” Lyash said in an earlier interview. “We’re committed to being good stewards of the environment.”

 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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3 weeks ago

Alabama Democratic Party faces new election deadline

(Alabama TV/YouTube, R. Kelly/Facebook, YHN)

The Alabama Democratic Party faces an October deadline to hold new leadership elections and update bylaws as some members push to get the state organization back into compliance with the national party.

The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee on Friday approved proposed bylaws submitted by several members of the state party’s executive committee, including Democratic legislative leaders.

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The group made the submission on their own in an attempt to break through a stalemate that threatens Alabama Democrats’ ability to participate in next year’s DNC convention.

National party officials wrote in a Saturday letter that the state party’s executive committee has until Oct. 5 to approve the bylaws and until Oct. 19 to hold internal elections.

“It is essential that new bylaws and elections occur immediately to resolve this long ongoing problem as we head into key elections in 2020 and a time when all Democrats and all state parties need to be fully integrated and involved in what we need to do to win,” national party officials wrote.

The deadline is the latest twist in the ongoing dispute between Alabama and national party officials.

In February, the Democratic National Committee ordered the Alabama party to hold new elections for party leaders and to revise bylaws to provide representation of more minorities — not just African Americans — in the party.

National party officials found multiple procedural irregularities with the election of Chair Nancy Worley and Vice Chair Randy Kelley.

Last month, Worley and Kelley were stripped of their seats on the DNC because of missed deadlines to hold the new elections and get new bylaws approved.

Worley did not immediately return text messages seeking comment.

A DNC panel said previously that it won’t approve the state’s delegate selection plan until the state party holds new leadership elections under properly approved bylaws.
(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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3 weeks ago

Grant money to help assist immigrant crime victims

(HICA/Facebook)

Nearly $700,000 in federal grant money will go to a nonprofit group that works with Hispanic immigrants in central Alabama.

An announcement from the governor’s office says the Birmingham-based Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama is receiving the money to work with immigrants who become victims of crimes in Blount, Chilton, Jefferson and Shelby counties.

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Advocates say immigrants are sometimes hesitant to report crimes because of fear of entanglement with law enforcement and cultural differences.

A statement by Gov. Kay Ivey says crime victims deserve assistance regardless of their background, and she is praising the immigrant-aid group for its work.

The money will help provide services including support groups and advocacy for crime victims.

The Justice Department grant is being administered by the state.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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4 weeks ago

Court: First Amendment protects ‘hate group’ label

(U.S. Courts/YouTube)

A federal judge says a liberal advocacy group has a First Amendment right to call a Christian ministry a hate group for its opposition to homosexuality.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson threw out a lawsuit filed by the Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries Media Inc. against the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, Alabama.

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The ministry sued the law center, Amazon and others in 2017 because it wasn’t included in a program that lets Amazon customers donate to nonprofit groups.

The suit says the refusal was because the law center had labeled the ministry a hate group for its stance against homosexual behavior.

The judge ruled Thursday that the liberal watchdog group has a free-speech right to make the claim.

His ruling didn’t address whether the ministry is a hate organization.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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4 weeks ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(YHN)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

1
4 weeks ago

Wildfire burns about 500 acres in parched Alabama

(Pixabay, YHN)

A wildfire has burned about 500 acres of land in rural eastern Alabama, and there’s a statewide threat of additional blazes.

The Alabama Forestry Commission has spent two days fighting a large wildfire around Alpine in Talladega County.

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The fire has already consumed about 500 acres, but the agency says no people or homes are in immediate danger.

About 120 fires have burned more than 1,000 acres of land in the state in the last week.

The state has issued a fire danger advisory for all 67 counties because of dry weather conditions.

Nearly half the state is currently abnormally dry, with severe droughts in Shelby County near Birmingham and Dale and Henry counties in southeastern Alabama.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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4 weeks ago

Tuscaloosa man faces capital murder in officer’s death

(Tuscaloosa PD, YHN)

A man faces capital murder charges in the death of an Alabama police officer.

Police said Tuesday that 20-year-old Luther Bernard Watkins is charged with capital murder in connection with the death of 40-year-old Tuscaloosa police officer Dornell Cousette.

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Authorities say Cousette was shot and killed Monday night while attempting to arrest Watkins who was wanted for robbery and other charges.

Lt. Jack Kennedy says that Cousette had received information that Watkins, who had multiple felony warrants, was at a Tuscaloosa home.

Police say Cousette drove by the home and Watkins fled inside.

Kennedy says Cousette got out of his car and pursued Watkins into the home.

Kennedy says “almost immediately gunfire erupted inside.”

Watkins was wounded. Cousette was killed.

Cousette was an Army veteran who had been with the police department for 13 years. He was engaged and had two daughters.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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4 weeks ago

Alabama parole chief resigns after less than year in role

(Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles/Facebook, YHN)

The chair of Alabama’s Board of Pardons and Paroles is resigning from her governor-appointed station effective Oct. 1 after less than a year in the role.

News outlets report Lyn Head said she made the decision after fervent prayer.

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The Tuscaloosa lawyer and former prosecutor has served on the board for a total of three years.

Gov. Kay Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola says the governor will begin the process to name a replacement.

Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall have criticized the agency over the past year for its handling of a repeat offender who was charged in three slayings while paroled last summer.

They later backed legislation that gave Ivey greater control over the agency and led to the suspensions of three top administrators.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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