Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced today that he will hold twelve town hall meetings during the August District Work Period.
Known as the “Better Off Now” Town Hall Tour, Congressman Byrne will hold public town halls in each of the counties that make up Alabama’s First Congressional District. Byrne will discuss how the American people are better off now thanks to a booming economy, stronger military, and safer communities.
Byrne ranks among the top of all Members of Congress for the number of town hall meetings held. Since assuming office in late 2013, Byrne has held over 100 town hall meetings, including meetings over the phone and through Facebook.
All the town hall meetings are open to the public and free to attend. All the information can be found online below.
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology Technology Director Katreena Mullican has been invited to present at the Google Next ‘18 conference in San Francisco, Calif, July 24-26.
Google Next is an international conference where more than 10,000 developers, technology leaders, and entrepreneurs come together to have a collaborative discussion about the Google Cloud Platform.
Mullican has more than 20 years of experience in architecting Linux, virtualization and hybrid cloud solutions. As HudsonAlpha’s Cloud Whisperer, Mullican brings her expertise in automation of on-prem composable and public cloud infrastructure for scientific applications and workflows to the Institute.
“HudsonAlpha is one of the top sequencing centers in the world, so it’s my job to think outside the box to design hybrid platforms appropriate for our sequencing and research workloads,” said Mullican.
Mullican will participate in a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Cloud Talk Tuesday at 1:00 pm in the South Hall to discuss how HudsonAlpha uses the composable HPE Synergy platform for an on-premises Kubernetes cluster that can scale to Google Cloud Platform.
Late Thursday afternoon, Democratic congressional hopeful Tabitha Isner issued a press release claiming “incidents of ‘brute force attacks’ on her campaign’s main webpage.”
“When investigating the source of these attacks, the website administrator discovered over 1,400 attempts to login to the website as an administrator in the past week,” the release from campaign manager Megan Skipper said. “Of those 1,400 attempts, 1,100 came from Russian I.P. addresses. Russian meddling in U.S. elections continues to be a real and immediate threat.”
"Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on April 11, the airline announced today. Frontier Airlines will start by offering direct service to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia from Birmingham. Introductory prices will start at $39."
"At 87, Clint Eastwood is not only trying new things, he’s trying daring new things, and his new film 15:17 to Paris represents one of the most audacious gambits of his career. To dramatize the tale of three Americans who tackled and subdued a heavily armed Islamist terrorist on a train out of Amsterdam in 2015, Eastwood cast the young men, none of whom had professional acting experience, as themselves. It’s a decision with little precedent in the entire history of motion pictures."
Former Secretary of State and Alabama native Condoleezza Rice is a woman of many interests and talents. In addition to her love of politics and country, she also loves football. In fact, Rice gave an interview with with the New York Times in 2002, saying that she would like to be commissioner of the NFL one day. As we reported back in 2014, Rice might actually be a good fit for the job. The question is, is now the time for a change?
Roger Goodell is not the most popular man in the country right now, or in football for that matter. Goodell took over the NFL’s top spot in 2006, and his leadership has been called into question on multiple occasions. In 2014, Goodell was ridiculed for his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal. Now, he can’t seem to keep anything straight as he attempts to handle the controversy surrounding national anthem protests by players.
Goodell has switched sides multiple times throughout the debate. On one hand, Goodell has stood up for players who choose to kneel during the national anthem, saying they aren’t trying to be “disrespectful to the flag.” However, on Wednesday, he announced that the NFL wants all players to stand.
“We just had two days of conversations with our owners of which this was a fair amount of the conversation and I think our clubs all see this the same way,” Goodell said Wednesday, as reported by USA Today. “We want our players to stand. We’re going to continue to encourage them to stand. And we’re going to continue to work on these issues within the community.”
As it seems Goodell doesn’t know how to pick a side, many have called for a change in leadership.
Insert Condoleezza Rice.
In the New York Times interview mentioned earlier, Rice had this to say regarding the job as NFL commissioner:
“I think it would be a very interesting job because I actually think football, with all due respect to baseball, is a kind of national pastime that brings people together across social lines, across racial lines. And I think it’s an important American institution.”
Growing up in Sweet Home Alabama, Rice was almost destined to become a fan of the game. Her father, John, was a high school football coach in Birmingham, and taught her to love the South’s favorite pastime.
However, Rice doesn’t just love the game, she knows the game. In 2014, she landed a spot on the prestigious College Football Playoff Selection Committee, and quickly earned the praise of her fellow committee members who are mostly ex-coaches and players.
“I really consider myself a student of the game,” Rice said. “I find the strategy and tactics absolutely fascinating. I find the evolution of the game really interesting. Again, as it relates to military history. Military history has swung back and forth between advantage to the offense and advantage to the defense. When the offense has the advantage, then a new technology will come along that will temporarily give the defense the advantage and vice versa. Football has that kind of pattern, too.”
There is no doubt that if given the opportunity to take the reins of the NFL, Rice would continue to do what she does best – make Alabama proud. So, is it time for a change?
Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon Endorses Roy Moore
Roy Moore continues to rack up endorsements from major Republican figures ahead of the December 12th special election. On Wednesday, his campaign announced the endorsement of Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia). McCutcheon believes that Moore is the only candidate to fill Jeff Session’s shoes.
“I am pleased to add my name to the continually-growing list of those endorsing Judge Roy Moore in his bid to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions,” McCutcheon said. “Judge Moore is the only candidate remaining in the race who holds the same conservative beliefs and moral values that most Alabamians share, and he is the only one who will follow in the footprints that Jeff Sessions left behind.”
“The fact that noted liberal Democrats like Joe Biden and Tim Kaine are working feverishly to elect Judge Moore’s opponent offers concrete proof that Doug Jones opposes President Trump’s reform agenda and embraces Barack Obama’s ultra-leftist positions on issues like Obamacare, abortion, immigration, and gun control,” McCutcheon observed. “The liberal course that Doug Jones would chart for our nation directly contradicts the mainstream conservative views of average Alabamians.”
“For these reasons, Judge Moore has my firm support and my prayerful hopes for his successful election on December 12th.”
McCutcheon’s endorsement adds to an every-growing list for Moore that includes state leaders such as Del Marsh and Tripp Pittman, celebrities like Chuck Norris and Sarah Palin, and Elected Officials such as Mo Brooks and Mark Meadows. It seems Republicans are coming out of the woodwork to show support for their candidate.
Cattle Truck Overturns in Birmingham, Cowboys Called to the Rescue
Traffic on a section of Interstate 20-59 known as “Dead Man’s Curve” was slowed significantly yesterday, as a truck transporting over 100 heads of cattle lost control and overturned. The crash happened around 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The driver, whose name was not released, was transported to UAB hospital.
According to ABC 33/40, somewhere between 120-140 cattle were in the truck when it overturned. Officials say several cows were killed in the wreck, and the rest were stuck in the truck for hours before crews could pull them out. Cowboys from Jasper arrived around 4:30 p.m. to assist crews in removing the cattle from the scene. They made a makeshift corral in the middle of the interstate to contain the animals as they worked to unload them.
That portion of the interstate was shut down for several hours as crews worked to clear the scene. However, traffic is now back up and running. There has been no report as to the condition of the driver at this time.
Roy Moore: Kneeling During National Anthem is Against the Law
Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore gave an interview with Time Magazine in which he said that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are breaking the law. “It’s against the law, you know that?” he said. “It was an act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”
According to Newsmax, Moore is referring to a section of the U.S. Code that outlines appropriate conduct during the national anthem. That section states:
“Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and . . . all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their head dress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.”
The code doesn’t necessarily give any legal penalties for not following these rules.
Disputes over players kneeling over the national anthem have been at the forefront of national news, as politicians debate over the motives of the protests. President Trump has said that these protests are a blatant disrespect of the country, and has called for any NFL player who kneels during the anthem to be fired. Meanwhile, others believe that the players are exercising their right to protest the injustice they see throughout the country.
“I back the President in upholding respect for the patriotism for our country, on two grounds,” Moore said. “One, it’s respect for the law. If we don’t respect the law, what kind of country are we going to have? Two, it’s respect for those who have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice. I’m surprised that no one brought this up.”
“If they didn’t have it in there, it would just be tradition,” he added. “But this is law. If we disobey this, what else are we going to disobey?”
Fox News Releases New Poll Claiming Moore and Jones in a Dead Heat
As reported by The Hill, Fox News has released a new poll suggesting that Roy Moore and Doug Jones are virtually tied in the race for Alabama senate at 42 percent of the vote a piece.
The poll also found that 11 percent of voters were unsure of who they were voting for, while another three percent responded “other.” Meanwhile, the poll found that 42 percent of Moore voters expressed that they had some doubts about the candidate, as opposed to 48 percent who said they strongly supported the Republican.
On the Democrat’s side, the poll found that just 28 percent of Jones’ supporters had doubts about their candidate. However, 21 percent of his voters said they were simply voting against Moore and not necessarily for Jones.
Additionally, the poll claimed that only 77 percent of Republicans were likely to support Moore, as opposed to 85 percent of Democrats who were likely to support Jones. It also found that Alabama voters are split on their opinion of President Trump, with 48 percent seeing him positively and 47 percent seeing him negatively.
These findings represent a dramatic departure from previous outcomes in recent Alabama elections. Alabama elected Donald Trump by a 28 point margin and nominated Moore as a slap to the face to establishment Republicans, making even the most casual political observers incredulous to these findings.
So what do we make of this Fox News poll?
According to Breitbart News, the methodology skewed the results. Breitbart points out that two research firms contributed to the poll: Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company. Their data “reveals not only the strange questions asked per group but also the small sample size, the overreliance (and need for correction) on cell vs. landline users (i.e., traditionally younger vs. traditionally older voters).”
Moreover, Anderson Robbins is run by Christopher Anderson, a Democrat strategist who most notably worked for John Kerry. Shaw & Company, on the other hand, is run by Daron Shaw. Shaw has had a long track record of promoting establishment GOP candidates such as Lindsay Graham and Bob Corker. The point is, both of these firms are likely predisposed to give Democrats a sense of hope that Doug Jones can defeat Roy Moore.
While polls can be insightful, most are conducted with the desired outcome in mind.
UAB Researchers Make Major Progress in Treating Seizure Disorders
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have made a new discovery in seizure and epilepsy diseases in the brain.
The researchers found that a dietary supplement, glucosamine, is able to alter proteins in the brain and significantly dampen the effects of seizures in rat and mouse subjects. According to the Birmingham Business Journal, the protein, named O-GlcNAcylation, was discovered to have a regulating effect in treating pathological hyperexcitablility (overreaction to stimuli) in the brain.
The results provide researchers with a target for potential therapeutic treatment of seizure disorders. Proteins are essential to the functions of the brain, and any change can have drastic consequences in both improvement and reduction of conditions. Therefore, researchers acknowledge that it is imperative to better understand the interworking of proteins within neural circuit changes before developing any concrete form of treatment.
“Our findings support the conclusion that protein O-GlcNAcylation is a regulator of neuronal excitability, and it represents a promising target for further research on seizure disorder therapeutics,” the UAB researchers wrote in their research significance statement. They acknowledge that the process is likely to be very complex. However, the discovery is a promising step toward treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders in children and adults.
Mo Brooks Named Founding Member of New House NASA Caucus
28 members of Congress have joined together to create a bipartisan congressional caucus to mark a new era in space exploration. Representative Mo Brooks (AL-5) is one of the founding members of the House National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) caucus. The caucus will be dedicated to advocating for the space agency’s economic and national security importance, as well as educating policy makers on current NASA initiatives.
According to Alabama Today, Brooks currently serves as the vice-chair on the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. “It is an honor to serve as the Congressman representing the Tennessee Valley, home to Alabama’s Marshall Space Flight Center – one of NASA’s largest field installations with nearly 6,000 civil service and contract employees,” Brooks said. “Without the contributions of the dedicated engineers, scientists, and other talented professionals we would be unable to inspire the next generation with the dream of continued space exploration.”
The caucus is led by Representative Steve Knight (R-CA) and Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). The announcement was made Wednesday, on the anniversary of the launch of Pioneer I in 1958, NASA’s first spacecraft.
“I am excited to report that there is a renewed commitment to space exploration on Capitol Hill and you can feel the excitement. The recently launched NASA Caucus will help bring to the forefront NASA’s most important endeavors, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to further America’s global leadership in space,” added Brooks.
The government space agency has been at the forefront of political discourse over the past few years, as underfunding and the rise of the private sector in space exploration has led some lawmakers to believe the agency is obsolete. The caucus hopes to keep NASA as the forerunner in modern space technology and exploration.
Kyle Davis has been dismissed from the Auburn football team after a year and a half long career on the plains. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn made the announcement on Tuesday. “I just want to let everybody know that Kyle Davis has been dismissed from our team for breaking team rules,” Malzahn said. “We wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”
According to The Plainsman, Davis missed Auburn’s entire spring practice for “personal reasons” and was suspended for the Tigers’ season opener against Georgia Southern. He was again suspended Saturday, as the sophomore did not play in Auburn’s 27-23 loss at the hands of LSU.
Davis is the third player to leave the Auburn team this season. Backup quarterback Sean White was dismissed after his arrest for public intoxication, while junior defensive lineman Byron Cowart transferred from the program.
“Any time as a head coach a player has to be dismissed, that hurts,” Malzahn said. “Every situation is different. We have a lot of great kids on this team and any time that happens it’s another opportunity for someone else. That’s just how I look at it.”
Davis finished his Auburn career with 19 catches for 458 yards and two touchdowns. He had seven catches for 210 yards this season.
City of Gadsden to File Lawsuit Amid Impending Opioid Epidemic
As reported by the Gadsden Times, the Gadsden City Council has voted to file a civil lawsuit against the nation’s top drug manufacturers in response to the monstrous opioid epidemic facing the city.
The council voted Tuesday to contract the Gadsden law firm Cusimano, Roberts, & Mills to represent the city in the litigation process. The city is seeking punitive damages against the three largest opioid wholesalers in the country: McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health.
“The litigation focuses on the wholesale distributors and their role in the diversion of millions of prescription opiates into the illicit market which has resulted in opioid addiction, abuse, morbidity and mortality,” the agreement between the city and the law firm states.
The city has entered in to a recovery-based contingency fee, therefore there will be no cost to taxpayers for the litigation process. The city hopes to use the money recovered to establish better treatment options for addicts within the city. Currently, Gadsden is the sixth worst city in the nation for opioid prescriptions per capita, with 155 prescriptions for every 100 people.
“We would like to have funds from the distributors set up to have centers in this city to help treat that problem,” said City of Gadsden lawyer Lee Roberts. However, he said the city doesn’t currently have money to do that.
The city claims that the three major wholesalers, who control 85 percent of the market, have not adequately reported their opioid dealings to government officials. Those reports should include if there has been an overuse or unusually large number of opioid prescriptions in certain areas.
The city council claims that this failure of reporting has cost the city and its taxpayers, as they incur the cost of overtime policing, nuisance property abatements, emergency responses, and antidote medications due to the increase in overdoses.
Gadsden joins many other Alabama officials in the fight to impede the opioid epidemic that is facing the state. Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined several other Attorneys General to combat the epidemic at the national level. Alabama’s Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council is also working to advise Governor Ivey on ways to curtail overdose rates and provide addiction treatment to all Alabamians.
Auburn City Schools Considering Major Policy Changes
According to the Opelika-Auburn News, the Auburn City School System is currently reviewing many of its policies, including admission and graduation requirements. Many of the changes would affect special education and immigrant students. The board of education plans to vote on the proposed changes at its November 14 meeting.
The school system is seeking changes to admission requirements that would include immigrants and English language learners. Homeless students are exempt from the residence requirement for admission under the current policy’s “Admission to Schools Section.” The new policy would expand on the current one.
“All homeless, migrant and immigrant students, children in foster care, and English language learners will have equal access to the same free appropriate public education, including public preschool education, provided to other children and youth and will be provided the opportunity to meet the same challenging state content and state student performance standards to which all students are held without being stigmatized or isolated… The enrollment of homeless, migrant, and immigrant students, children in foster care and limited English proficient children and youth shall not be denied or delayed due to any barriers that are specifically prohibited by applicable law,” the revised section reads.
The new policy would allow children in foster care to remain in their school district even if their foster family was zoned to attend a different school. The current attendance requirements make no mention of foster children.
Fundraising and Crowdfunding
In the new era of GoFundMe and Kickstarter, the school board is hoping to implement updated policies regarding fundraising efforts by school employees and students.
“Any property, money or other resources that are obtained by a Board employee through grants, fundraising, online giving, or like means in the name of or for the benefit of the school system or its students becomes the property of the school system and are subject to board policies and procedures governing board property and resources,” the proposed policy states. This would ensure that all money raised on behalf of the school actually makes it into the administration’s hands.
The proposed revised policy also makes changes to the graduation requirements for special education students.
“Graduation options for students with disabilities according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will be governed by policies of the Alabama State Department of Education,” the changes would read. “Auburn City Schools will comply with these policies when determining the graduation status of each eligible student.”
This change would replace the current policy that states that special education students have the option of obtaining a Certificate of Attendance, an Alabama Occupational Diploma, or passing the required exam to earn a regular diploma. It also removes the Alabama Occupational Diploma and Certificate of Attendance from its graduation ceremony requirements.
The school policy that would see the biggest changes is the “Parental and Family Engagement Section.” Essentially everything in this section would be changed in order to comply with section 1116 of the Every Student Succeeds Act signed by President Obama. The proposed section would provide more opportunities for parents to be involved in school activities. The school board hopes that parents and schools will have a more active, productive relationship.
A full list of the proposed changes can be found on the Auburn City Schools’ website.
An inmate on work release who escaped from a job site in Centre Monday morning has been captured in Georgia. Cherokee County Police say that Jimmy Wayne Blair left a construction site at approximately 10:30 a.m. in a truck belonging to his employer. He attempted to flee to Georgia, likely heading for his hometown of Silver Creek.
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Deputies immediately posted Blair’s picture on their various social media accounts. It is unclear whether social media led to this specific arrest; however, the department has had success capturing suspects using social media before.
Blair (39) was arrested around 11 p.m. Monday night by Cherokee County and Floyd County, GA Sheriff’s deputies. He was originally being held on property crime charges for which he was arrested in 2016. He was previously being held on a $10,500 bond.
Brad Keselowski escaped three major wrecks over the last 16 laps to win the Alabama 500 Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
Only 14 drivers crossed the finish line in the accident-filled race. Keselowski was able to pass Ryan Newman for the lead on a white flag and held on to secure the win. The victory advances Keselowski to the semi-finals of the Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs.
“This is still sinking in,” Keselowski said. “It is a special place to get to race and a special place when you win here. It was really a collaborative effort with the team and getting a real fast car and making the right moves as a driver and a lot of help from up above with staying out of those wrecks. It really takes all three and we had them all today.”
As reported by SBNATION, Newman finished second, followed by Trevor Bayne, Joey Lagano, Aric Almirola. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished seventh in a disappointing run for the Talladega superstar. Earnhardt was seeking his seventh win at Talladega in front of the epicenter of his fan base.
“I know those folks were hoping we could put something together, and I know there’s a lot of folks came here, particularly to see this race because it’s the last one here,” Earnhardt said. “I hate to leave slightly disappointed, but hopefully they enjoyed everything else they saw. I mean, we ran as hard as we could, did the best we could.”
There were three major accidents requiring red flag stoppages that slowed the closing laps. The biggest was a 16-car pile up that began when contact between Martin Truex Jr. and David Ragan sent Kurt Busch into a spin. Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Truex Jr., and Keselowski were all involved in the pile up. All but Harvick, Keselowski, and Kenseth were eliminated from the race.
The wreck-laden race will send a shakeup throughout the playoff standings going into next week’s elimination race at Kansas Speedway. Keselowski and Truex, who won last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway, are guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals. The chaos at Talladega once again proves that the Alabama track is one of the biggest and baddest in NASCAR.
A three year old girl has drowned after falling into a grease trap at a Bruster’s Real Ice Cream in Auburn on Saturday. According to Fox News, the girl’s body was pulled from an in-ground container used to trap cooking grease from the restaurant.
“Video evidence from the scene shows that the young girl was playing with two of her siblings when she apparently fell through a lid covering one of the grease pits on the property,” Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said in a release. “She had been missing about 5-10 minutes when she was found unresponsive in the grease trap.”
The girl was taken to East Alabama Medical Center where she was pronounced dead Saturday afternoon. Harris maintains that her death was the result of an accidental drowning. “No foul play is suspected and the death investigation indicates that she drowned in the sludge that was in the six-foot-deep inground container,” he said.
The owner of the Auburn Bruster’s released a statement on Facebook regarding the accident:
“As the owner of the Auburn Bruster’s, our deepest condolences go to the family of the child who tragically died Saturday. They are acquaintances of ours and have been regular customers. We are truly heartbroken that this happened. Our thoughts also are with our young crewmember who tried to revive the child. Like all of us, he is quite shaken. The entire Bruster’s family is horribly saddened by this tragic accident. We continue to help local authorities investigate what caused this incredibly sad accident. We hope everyone in the community also will keep the family in their thoughts and prayers. Lance and Kara Latham”
Shooting Occurs on Tuscaloosa Strip Following Homecoming
A shooting occurred outside of Rounders Bar on the University Boulevard strip in Tuscaloosa around 12:40 a.m. Sunday morning. Police found a 28-year-old black male who had suffered a gunshot wound to the lower back. Police were given the suspect’s vehicle description, and were able to stop it a few blocks away.
According to WBRC, two of the three occupants of the vehicle were identified as Kenneth Ray Ikner (37) and Tamarcus James Ikner (26). Investigators were able to determine that Kenneth Ikner and the victim had an ongoing dispute over a woman. According to witnesses, Tamarcus Ikner began an altercation with the victim before returning to the car, grabbing a gun, and shooting him.
The victim was treated at DCH hospital; however, his condition is unknown at this time. Kenneth Ikner is being charged with 1st degree assault, and Tamarcus Ikner with attempted murder. Both are being held on a $60,000 bond.
Rounders released a statement on Twitter regarding the incident:
“Sadly there was a shooting on the Strip; however, it was completely unrelated to us and didn’t involved any of our customers. We’d like to thank the Tuscaloosa Police Department and Campus PD for quickly arriving on the scene and keeping everyone safe.”
On Thursday, Roy Moore’s campaign announced the endorsement of the Alabama Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston). Marsh’s endorsement comes as many of the state’s Republican leaders have begun to rally behind their candidate to ensure he defeats the Democrat in December.
“This is a time for unity,” Marsh said Thursday. “Alabama Republicans voted overwhelmingly to elect Judge Moore as our nominee for the United States Senate, and I will support our nominee. The liberal policies of the Obama Era – embraced by Democrat Doug Jones – have failed, and we must do all we can to support our president. If Alabamians want to ensure that President Trump has another ally in the United States Senate, then it is imperative that they support the Republican nominee.”
Marsh has represented Senate District 12 since 1998, and has served as President Pro Tempore since 2010. He plans to seek reelection in 2018, continuing on his platform of improved education and infrastructure.
Moore continues to hold a significant lead over Doug Jones in early polls. Marsh’s endorsement is more than likely only the beginning of a plethora of Republican lawmakers who will throw their support behind Moore leading up to the general election in December.
AG Marshall Encourages Alabamians to Observe National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Attorney General Steve Marshall has asked Alabamians to observe October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Marshall hopes that Alabamians will recognize those lives who were lost and damaged by domestic violence, celebrate and honor those who have survived, and show support for those who advocate for victims of such a horrible crime.
In a press release on Thursday, Marshall emphasized that public awareness and support is crucial in the fight against domestic violence.
“Public awareness is a vital weapon against domestic violence. This is a pervasive and secretive crime because offenders try to make victims believe the attacks are their own fault, and use the victims’ affection and dependence to keep them trapped in a vicious cycle. Sadly, whether we realize it or not, all of us know people whose lives have been marked by domestic violence. Victims need to know that they are not alone, that they need not be ashamed, and that they may be provided with justice.”
According to the Attorney General’s office, nearly one in three women will be physically assaulted by their partner. However, only one in four of those abuses are ever reported to police. Nearly 18 percent of all violent offenses reported in Alabama last year were domestic violence related. There were indications of domestic violence in 4,611 offenses including, 43 homicides, 238 rapes, 95 robberies, and 4,325 aggravated assaults.
Marshall praised the work of victims’ advocates across the state, who work to provide information and support to those affected by domestic violence. “Caring volunteers and professionals hear the cries of victims who were betrayed by those closest to them. It can begin with someone just listening and caring, and then showing the victims a way out where they had felt trapped and lost. Oftentimes, survivors may provide the strength and understanding to help others,” Marshall said.
Victims can obtain help by calling the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-650-6522, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233. The U.S. National Sexual Assault Hotline automatically connects to a local rape crisis program based on the caller’s area code. It can be reached at 1-800-656-4673. There are also numerous online resources to help victims receive the support they need. A list of shelters and other resources is available on the ACADV website.
“It will take all of us working together to fight domestic violence. Friends and families, local community members, victims’ advocates, law enforcement and prosecutors, we all stand with those who need our help to survive and overcome, to see that offenders are stopped and punished, and to remember and honor those who were lost,” said Attorney General Marshall.
Alabama Principal Helps Student Out of Jam with the Tooth Fairy
Students at Faith Academy. Courtesy of Amber M Byrd (Facebook)
A young student at Faith Academy in Mobile was going about his day when the unthinkable happened – the lost tooth that he had been keeping safe in his pocket had vanished. When the boy realized his tooth at fallen out, he was devastated. However, the boy’s principal knew exactly what to do.
According to WBRC, Faith Academy principal Barry Pickering wrote a letter to the Tooth Fairy on behalf of the boy, vouching for the fact that his tooth was in fact gone. The letter reads:
“Dear Tooth Fairy,
Andrew lost his tooth at school today. Please accept this letter to vouch for him, as he will put it under his pillow. I know Andrew well and will say that he is a fine young man. Andrew cannot find his tooth, but I assure you it is gone.”
A picture of the letter has been making its way around social media. This is just another example of the incredible lengths some educators will go to love their students.
“Angel Shots” Protect Against Sexual Assault at a Birmingham Bar
At least one Birmingham bar is now using the concept of “Angel Shots” to help patrons who feel unsafe carefully get out of a bad situation. The “Angel Shot” is basically a bar tender SOS; it’s a specific drink order that serves as code words to tell the bartender that you need help. The bartender will know that you do not feel safe with the person you are with, and will help you exit the bar discreetly.
A sign posted on the women’s restroom at The J Clyde in Birmingham reads, “If you feel unsafe, tell a server or bartender you want an Alcatraz shot. They will help you.” Executive Chef Neil Ellis told ABC 33/40, “If a patron is uncomfortable with someone they’re with or even someone they met here and need to make a discreet exit from their present company, they order our shot.”
Ellis said that the bar has had an angel shot procedure for the past couple of months. A Crisis Center worker introduced the process. “They order the shot and we’ll come get them on the pretense of something else – needing to come up to the bar or maybe take a phone call – and we’ll escort them out of the premises and away from any dangerous situation,” said Ellis.
The name of the “Angel Shot” changes regularly so that people don’t catch on. “There’s no reason someone should have to have a bad night. We want to avoid that at all costs,” Ellis said.
Safe Shelby Sexual Assault Counselor Erica Barron says that bartenders and patrons are playing an increasingly important role in the modern dating scene. In a world where many meet strangers on dating apps, they are typically going to meet for the first time at a bar. She urges everyone to be on the look out for potential dangerous situations and take action if needed.
“Stepping in doesn’t have to be a big scene. It can be diverting someone’s attention. It can be interrupting a conversation. It can be [going] over to speak to someone else or to dance. It doesn’t have to be confrontational; but if you can redirect that, it will go a long way in preventing something bad from happening.”
The “Angel Shot” is just another way that bar owners are providing a way to redirect those bad situations, potentially saving someone from a traumatic experience.
Sen. Del Marsh to Serve as Honorary Starter at Talladega
According to ESPN, Alabama Senator Del Marsh will be waving the green flag this Sunday as the honorary starter of this year’s 500 Monster Energy’s NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway.
Marsh is currently serving his second term as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. He represents Senate District 12, which encompasses Calhoun County and portions of Talladega and Clay counties. Marsh has been known as an active figure in the Senate, serving on various committees, including serving as Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility and Accounting committee. In addition to his political activity, Marsh has been very successful in business. He is a past owner of Industrial Plant Company and Aerospace Catalogs, as well as a past director of Colonial Bank.
Grant Lynch, Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway, is excited to have Marsh participate in the festivities.
“We are thrilled to welcome Senator Marsh as the Honorary Starter and have him wave the green flag for the start of the Alabama 500. The support and work that he does for citizens of Calhoun, Talladega, and Clay counties is second to none and we are proud to recognize him at NASCAR’s Most Competitive track for this special event.”
Marsh will no doubt be presiding over a historic race in the history of NASCAR. The Alabama 500 is the second race in the Round of 12 of NASCAR’S Playoffs, as well as the final start for six-time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. In anticipation of Earnhardt’s final start, Governor Kay Ivey has proclaimed Sunday as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day.
NASCAR’s most competitive venue never fails to disappoint, and Sunday’s race is shaping up to be extra special. To purchase your tickets for the Alabama 500, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com
South Alabama always seems to upset someone each year, usually a team with high hopes who’s caught not looking. This year, that team was their state rival, the Troy Trojans.
Troy has been feeling pretty good since they went in to Death Valley and upset the LSU Tigers on homecoming. And with a paycheck of $985,000, they should have been feeling great. However, South Alabama caught the Trojans sleeping Wednesday night, and took home the famous victory belt.
Troy struggled to produce offensively throughout the night. Quarterback Brandon Silvers, who was the star of the show in Death Valley, had a lackluster game against the Jaguars. The Trojan offense gave up four turnovers on the night, which was probably the difference in the game. Give the Jaguars some credit, their defense showed up and held their own against a hot Trojan offense.
South dominated the game, putting up a 19-0 lead early in the fourth quarter. After a couple of missed field goals, Troy finally made it into the end zone with six minutes left. Troy was 4-1 going into the game, while South Alabama was 1-4.
Troy’s loss is even worse news for LSU, whose embarrassing loss looks even worse. The Tigers hope to continue their shot at redemption against Auburn in Death Valley on Saturday.
If Wednesday night proves anything, it’s that anything can happen in rivalry games. It also serves as a reminder to never get too cocky, no matter who you beat.
Suspect Killed After Opening Fire on Alabama Police Officers
A suspect was killed and a Homewood police officer injured after gunfire was exchanged in a business parking lot off of Lakeshore Parkway early Thursday morning.
The shooting occurred outside of Allsouth Appliance at 345 State Farm Parkway. At around 1:30 a.m., two Homewood police officers spotted two vehicles in the parking lot, one of which had its trunk open. There were two men and a woman near the vehicles.
The officers suspected the cars may have been used in a string of break-ins in the city. As they were attempting to identify one of the main suspects, he fled on foot. The officers chased him, deploying their taser guns, which had no effect on the suspect.
The suspect then began firing at the officers, hitting one in the thigh. Officers returned fire, killing the suspect. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The wounded officer was taken to Grandview Medical Center and is in stable condition. At 5 a.m., the suspect was taken to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. The other two persons of interest were taken into custody.
Both officers will be placed on administrative leave during the investigation, which is standard policy for officer-involved shootings. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency will conduct the investigation.
Rick Burgess Endorses Will Ainsworth in Alabama Lt. Governor Race
Rick Burgess, popular radio personality and co-host of the “Rick and Bubba Show,” has endorsed Republican candidate Will Ainsworth for Lieutenant Governor. According to a press release from Ainsworth’s campaign, Burgess believes that Ainsworth’s “fresh perspective, deep religious faith, and devotion to moral principles” make him an excellent candidate for the position.
“Will Ainsworth is a self-made man who doesn’t have to run for lieutenant governor, which makes me want to support him even more because he feels called to serve the state,” Burgess said. “As an Alabamian, I am tired of hearing the same old names all the time…so let’s get some fresh blood and try something different. We cannot afford to take a step backwards in this lieutenant governor’s race, and while I have no ill will toward anybody else who is running, I know Will Ainsworth and the job he will do for us.”
Burgess said that new blood is what Montgomery needs in order to clean up the corruption that has plagued the capitol city in recent years, referring to politicians in Montgomery as football coaches with a losing record. Burgess said that men and women of integrity, like Ainsworth, will be able to change our state for the better.
“My family and I are supporting Will Ainsworth for lieutenant governor not just because we love Will, but because we love Alabama, and we know it can do better,” Burgess said. “I hope you’ll prayerfully commit and join us in supporting Will if not for yourself, then for our children and the next generation.”
Burgess gave his endorsement at an Ainsworth campaign event at the Fish Market Restaurant in Hoover. Ainsworth expressed his gratitude for the endorsement, saying, “Rick Burgess is someone I look up to in life because he uses the platform of radio for the kingdom of God. He has influenced more people for the kingdom of God than anyone I know, so I appreciate his support.”
After Moore Victory, Politicians Seek Bannon’s Backing In Alabama and Beyond
Courtesy of Flickr user Michael Vadon
Weeks after Roy Moore’s victory in the Alabama senate election, political candidates across the country are biting at the bit to shake hands with Steve Bannon in hopes of getting his endorsement. According to the Sun Herald, from Senate candidates to state legislators, political rivals are jockeying for the ex-White House aid’s support.
“Steve is one of Washington’s Pied Pipers of the conservative movement,” said Brett Doster, media consultant for Roy Moore, Alabama’s Republican nominee for senate. With Moore’s victory, Bannon has found himself in the midst highly contested GOP races across the board.
Even more political figures from Alabama want to catch a ride on the Bannon train. “I plan to reach out to him to see if there’s an interest, to see if they’re willing to come on board to help us,” said Alabama state Rep. Barry Moore. “It would be a good shot in the arm. It would be good for us to have him involved if at all possible.” Moore hopes to challenge Representative Martha Roby in the 2018 Republican primary, partly over her criticism of President Trump during the 2016 election.
However, Bannon’s influence doesn’t stop at federal elections. State legislators from all over have flocked to garner Bannon’s support. Florida state Representative Mike Hill was spotted wooing the Breitbart executive chairman at a political rally for Roy Moore in Fairhope the night before the runoff. “The same establishment that he is fighting in Washington, D.C. is the same establishment we’re fighting against in Tallahassee,” said Hill.
Veteran Republicans, however, see Bannon as an alarming threat. Many see his nationalist brand as out of line with traditional Republican values, and a potential turnoff to more moderate voters. “A civil war led by the Steve Bannon’s of the world is destructive not only internally, but…independents are not in favor of nationalist movements and extreme politics,” said Al Cardenas, the former chairman of the American Conservative Union.
Some have also claimed that Roy Moore’s victory, in fact, had little to do with Bannon’s support. Many argue that Moore’s reputation as a religious crusader and Luther Strange’s appointment by disgraced former governor Robert Bentley and his backing from Mitch McConnell swayed voters more than anything. However, that hasn’t stopped candidates from West Virginia to Mississippi from calling on Bannon to stump for their campaign.
One GOP strategist said that Moore’s win opened “the floodgates, and people who have been on the fence about jumping in point to that, see a path and try to recreate that magic in their own states. They will probably be overlearning a lesson. I think there are things unique to…Alabama. But I think it’s huge encouragement to candidates like that.”
One thing is for sure; candidates are not likely to stop vying for Bannon’s support anytime soon.
Week seven of college football has the Auburn Tigers traveling to Baton Rouge to face off against LSU in Death Valley. This Tigers vs. Tigers matchup never disappoints. Last year, both programs left the game looking a little different than when they came in. In one of the most bizarre endings in college football, Auburn came out on top after it was determined that LSU’s last second score came after time expired. Auburn’s season turned around after that game, as Sean White led the team to a five game winning streak. However, that game saw the end of an era at LSU, as the school decided to fire long-time head coach Les Miles in the middle of the season. Ironically, Miles and his 2007 championship team are being honored at this year’s matchup.
This year, Auburn is looking much better coming into the matchup. The Tigers are coming off three straight SEC wins with more than 40 points scored in each game. Stidham, Johnson, and company put a pounding on Ole Miss last week in a 44-23 victory. Kerryon Johnson rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns, while Stidham had another amazing game through the air. The Auburn offense shows no signs of slowing down, and with the defensive squad to back them up, the Tigers seem to be waiting for someone to challenge them.
LSU could be that challenge, although they need to play a near perfect game to be able to keep up with those other Tigers. LSU came back from an embarrassing homecoming loss to Troy and beat Florida in a close one, 17-16. The Tiger defense has the talent to be one of the best in the nation and is playing pretty well so far – they’ve racked up 20 sacks on the season. The offense is another story. The Tigers have struggled to sustain drives and even score throughout the season. The stalwart Auburn defense will be a challenge for LSU’s sputtering offense.
LSU will be the best defense Auburn has faced since its lost to Clemson. In that game, Auburn’s signature running game was non-existant as the offensive line struggled, giving up 11 sacks. It will be interesting to see how this improved Auburn offense handles another high caliber defensive attack. So far, adjustments on the O-line have worked incredibly well, but will they hold up in Death Valley?
Auburn has not won in Death Valley since 1999. Could this be their chance? All signs would point to yes. If the Auburn offense can prove its worth against a high caliber defense and continue its lights out performance, the Tigers should come out with their fourth straight SEC win. However, expect this one to be lower scoring than the last few. Auburn could finally face a tough defensive battle, not to mention the ominous environment of Death Valley.