The Wire

  • Shots exchanged during road rage incident on I-20 during morning rush hour

    Excerpt from AL.com:

    An apparent case of road rage led to an exchange of gunfire on Interstate 20 Thursday morning.

    It all began about 7:30 a.m. on I-20 westbound just before the Interstate 459 south ramp. The victim – a 22-year-old man from Pell City – told Irondale the suspect cut off him off and then continued the harassment.

    A short time later, the victim said, the motorist pulled out what looked like an AK-47 and opened fire. The victim pulled his own gun and returned shots, said Irondale police Det. Sgt. Michael Mangina.

    The victim was not injured, but police have found at least nine bullet holes in his Nissan. The passenger side window also was shot out, and there was a passenger in the vehicle at the time.

  • TVA Opens Guntersville Dam for First Time Since September 11, 2001 Attacks

    Excerpt from The Advertiser-Gleam:

    TVA has re-opened the dam for very limited public tours. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the tours filled very quickly and no more are scheduled for the immediate future.

    Access to the interior of the dam has not been available since the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001. The new tours are a pilot program to get people back in the dam.

    For decades after its construction, the powerhouse of the dam was open to the public. You could go in just about anytime you wanted. The same was true for the top of the dam, where people could walk across. But it all changed due to the security risks after 9/11.

  • Alabama officials oppose possible automobile, parts tariffs

    Excerpt from Decatur Daily:

    Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said large tariffs on imported automobiles and parts — and potential counter tariffs imposed by other countries — could lead to lost jobs in Alabama.

    Canfield said his office will continue to communicate to President Donald Trump’s administration that possible 25 percent tariffs would hurt the state.

    Trump has asked the U.S. Commerce Department to study the tariffs on national security grounds, hoping to bring back jobs, The Associated Press reported this week. But industry experts and analysts say the increased costs will raise prices, hurt sales and bring layoffs. Already, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on some Chinese-made autos and parts, but extending them to Canada and Mexico would hurt the industry more.

1 year ago

No pit stop: Life after NASCAR for six-time Talladega winner Dale Jr. will include sunshine and old houses

Photo by Sarah Stierch
Photo by Sarah Stierch

Dale Earnhardt Jr., a 26-time NASCAR winner, announced in April that this will be his final year of driving. Tuesday morning, Earnhardt tweeted that he and his wife Amy are going to be appearing on a home improvement series on the DIY Network. Apparently, they are going to remodel a historic home in Key West.

The name Earnhardt has always resonated with race fans in Alabama. Dale Jr. won the race that is now named the “Geico 500” at the Talladega Superspeedway three times, and his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., also won the race three times. Additionally, Dale Jr. won the fall race (now called the “Alabama 500”) three times, and Dale Sr. won that one seven times. Combined the Earnhardts have taken home the checkered flag at Talladega 16 different times in NASCAR competition, and Earnhardt Sr.’s 10 wins is a Talladega record. Unfortunately for Earnhardt Jr., his car blew a tire at Talladega during Sunday’s race. He will get one more shot at Talladega in the fall before he retires.

According to a release by DIY Network, Dale Jr. has a “soft spot” for home improvement, and his wife Amy is an accomplished interior designer. Dale and Amy actually met when she was building his North Carolina home. She was working for an Atlanta-based architectural firm. The two were married on New Year’s Eve of last year.

In the upcoming series, the Earnhardts will be renovating a dilapidated home in the historic Old Town district of Key West. They are going to transform it into a contemporary seaside resort. As part of the drama of the show, DIY Network says they will run into some typical challenges with an older house, including the plumbing, wiring, and structural issues.

“Amy is a fantastic designer. She has creative ideas and a strong work ethic,” Dale Jr. was quoted as saying. “We love DIY projects around the house, so I expect this to be challenging but fun.”

Dale Jr. is smart to go into television, given that he has been voted Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Cup Series 14 times. This should be a fun watch for NASCAR fans and sports fans in general. It will provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the off-track passion of the most popular driver on the NASCAR circuit. The show is set to air in 2018.

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1 year ago

‘I love the passion’: One prominent SEC football analyst just made it clear he isn’t going anywhere

Tim Tebow speaks at a fundraiser (Photo: Dhanny Prawira)
Tim Tebow speaks at a fundraiser (Photo: Dhanny Prawira)

ESPN announced a multiyear agreement with Tim Tebow, ensuring that the former Florida and NFL quarterback will continue with the SEC Network as an analyst. He began with the SEC Network in 2014 and will remain part of “SEC Nation,” which is the mobile college football preview show each Saturday on the SEC Network. Hosted by Maria Taylor, Tebow joined former LSU standout Marcus Spears and Paul Finebaum on the show last season.

“Over the last three years ESPN and the SEC Nation crew have become like family,” Tebow said in a news release. “I love the passion that SEC fans bring to our set every Saturday morning and I look forward to continuing to share my own love of the game with fans on ESPN and SEC Network.”

Tebow’s exploits on the football field are well known. He won two national championships and was twice SEC Player of the Year during his time at Florida. In 2007, he won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious award. He played three seasons in the NFL after being drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos. He participated in 37 total games and 18 regular season contests. He threw for over 2,400 yards while in the league, including 17 touchdowns, and ran for 989 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Most recently, Tebow followed his dream to pursue a career in professional baseball. He signed a contract with the New York Mets in September, and he began the 2017 season with the Columbia Fireflies, a Class A baseball franchise based in South Carolina. Just this past week, Tebow got four hits for the Fireflies. He is 22 of 91 at the plate in 25 games this season.

His thrilling play and commitment to his Christian faith have made Tebow one of the most cheered for and polarizing athletes in today’s sports world. It looks as if he will continue to be a central part of SEC football coverage for a while.

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1 year ago

It’s one of the most attended events in sports, and it’s happening in Alabama this weekend

It’s that time of year again. Enormous crowds will descend on Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for a host of auto racing events and some other very interesting activities.

Friday includes qualifying and practices throughout the day at the track, and the ARCA Racing Series race, the General Tire 200, at 5pm.

Then at 7pm, it’s the ‘Big One on the Boulevard.’ It’s a Talladega-style party. This event starts with a parade featuring some of the big-name drivers proceeding from turn three to the turn-two area of the racetrack. Once the parade concludes, several insane activities take place. There’s the ‘Gordo 500,’ where four contestants race to consume Gordo cheese. There’s the ‘Stick the Ass,’ in which four contestants race blindfolded to stick their number on the “big booty.” It’s guided by the voice of a NASCAR driver with whom they’ve been matched. Then there’s the ‘Hat Dance,’ where four teams of two contestants do a hat dance while popping balloons. And there’s the ‘Stuff the Taco,’ where tacos are built with actual people covered in nacho cheese. Needless to say, this is a very wild evening.

On Saturday, there will be more qualifying leading up to the Sparks Energy 300 race, part of the NASCAR XFINITY Series. That will take place at noon. The rest of the day will be devoted to qualifying for the main even, Sunday’s Geico 500. On Saturday night, The Charlie Daniels Band is providing a concert in the infield of the racetrack.

The grandstands open at 8am on Sunday. The green flag is scheduled to drop on the big race around 1pm. The entirety of the race is 188 laps around Talladega Superspeedway totaling 500.08 miles. The honorary starter for this year’s race is going to be Airman First Class Kellyn S. Connally, a pharmacy technician assigned to the 42nd Medical Support Squadron at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Jeff Gordon owns the record for most victories in this race with a total of four. We will see if Brad Keselowski can defend his title from a year ago. It should be a fun weekend at Talladega.

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1 year ago

DOLLARS: Here is just how valuable Nick Saban’s new contract is (spoiler: it’s a lot)

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is calling on high schools in the state to come to the assistance of schools in West Virginia. (Kent Gidley/UA Athletics)
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is calling on high schools in the state to come to the assistance of schools in West Virginia. (Kent Gidley/UA Athletics)

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban had a new contract approved by the compensation committee of the University of Alabama’s board of trustees on Tuesday. The new deal is a three-year extension on his current contract that will run through 2024. He received a $4 million signing bonus for agreeing to the contract, which makes his total pay for this year just north of $11.1 million.

According to TideSports.com, a further breakdown of Saban’s salary shows him making a base salary of $240,000 this year with a talent fee of $6.48 million and a signing bonus of $4 million. He’ll also earn an additional $4 million spread out from 2020 through 2022. This puts him making around $11.15 million this year, $7.15 million next year, $7.55 million in 2019, $10.35 million in 2021, and an average of $8.75 million from 2022 through 2024. The total worth of Saban’s package is $65 million, according to a USA Today report.

This makes Saban the highest paid college football coach, eclipsing Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s $9.004 million salary. According to a USA Today database of coaching salaries in 2016, Saban will be followed by Harbaugh, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer at $6.094 million, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops at $5.55 million, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher at $5.25 million, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin at $5 million, and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn at $4.729 million.

Saban is not the only coach to receive a new contract. All 10 of his assistants received raises. New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will be making around $1.2 million, and recently hired athletic director Greg Byrne will be making $900,000.

If you juxtapose Saban’s contract with the revenue that Alabama football brings to the City of Tuscaloosa, not to mention the notoriety to the University of Alabama, it can be argued that Saban is not only worth what he is paid but even underpaid. According to a USA Today database, Alabama’s athletic department brings in more than $148 million on an annual basis. Nick Saban is arguably the most beneficial financial investment UA has ever made, and the leadership of the school is ensuring that he isn’t going anywhere.

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1 year ago

Wow: Alabama softball player gets tagged out after hitting it over the fence

During Monday’s softball matchup between Alabama and Ole Miss, Tide player Bailey Hemphill hit one over the fence. As she rounded the bases, she began to celebrate. The problem for her was that she never actually touched home plate. Watch it:

Gotta touch the plate. (via @sportscenter)

A post shared by espn (@espn) on

Ole Miss appealed the ruling after noticing that Hemphill did not touch the plate. Hemphill subsequently attempted to tag the plate, and Ole Miss tagged her. She was ruled out, and as you can see, Alabama coach Pat Murphy had some words with the umpire after the ruling.

The critical nature of that call can’t be understated. The Tide was trailing 3-2, and the home run would have tied things up. Alabama never recovered, losing the game 5-4. The loss dropped the Tide to 39-13 on the season and 11-9 in SEC play. Alabama is on the bubble to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament, something they have done every year since 2005.

Many times, sports provides opportunities to learn lessons the difficult way. Hemphill and the entire Alabama team will probably not forget to make contact with home plate again.

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1 year ago

Will we see any Alabama or Auburn players skipping bowl games this year?

Derrick Henry of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs against Auburn University in the Iron Bowl
Derrick Henry of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs against Auburn University in the Iron Bowl

The debate has started over whether we will see college football players skip their bowl games over concerns about taking a hit when it comes to a potential NFL payout. The issue has been thrust into the headlines after former LSU’s Leonard Fournette was taken fourth overall in the NFL Draft and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey was taken eighth overall. Both guys have several things in common — they both are highly-touted running backs, they both were top 10 draft picks, and they both skipped their team’s bowl game last season.

In Fournette’s case, he skipped the 2016 Citrus Bowl, a matchup against Louisville. The presence of Fournette ended up not being that vital to the Tigers’ success, as they won the game by 20 points. McCaffrey sat out last year’s Sun Bowl, a game in which his Stanford team beat North Carolina by two. Both players decided not to play in their teams’ postseason games, and both were taken in the top eight draft picks. At the time, the decisions were derided by some. ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit called it a “disturbing trend” and seven-time Pro Bowl running back Marshall Faulk pointed out that the additional experience is vital in learning how to deal with a 16-game NFL schedule.

That creates an interesting precedent for future star players whose teams are playing in bowl games with no major implications. The upside for players in doing this is not risking a injury that could cost him a lot in NFL money. The downside is that it eliminates a tape for NFL scouts and evaluators to use when deciding whether to take the player. In the cases of Fournette and McCaffrey, they took the chance that the drawback of getting injured far outweighed the extra game tape that the bowls would have provided, and that risk paid off.

This would likely only occur in bowl games of no championship consequence. It would be hard to imagine any player skipping a College Football Playoff game or national title game. Even the non-playoff New Year’s Six bowls should be safe from players sitting out. But when it comes to the standard lower-tier bowls, such as the Independence Bowl, Music City Bowl, Liberty Bowl or even the Birmingham Bowl, that is where you could see this phenomenon begin to gain steam.

On the one hand, heavily-talented college football players are sitting on a lot of money and need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. But, there also seems to be an increasing erosion of many traditions and institutions that we have long held as sacred, not just in college football. At what point does a trend like this begin to damage the game of football and thereby damage the athletes skipping the games?

It’s certainly a topic that is not going to go away in college football. Next bowl season, I imagine that we will see quite a few more players deciding to sit the bowl season out. What do you think? Should players play in bowl games because they love football, or should they treat it strictly as a business decision?

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1 year ago

Roll Draft Roll: Here is a look at the history Alabama just made in the 2017 NFL Draft

Alabama made history by becoming the first team to ever have nine selections in the top 80 picks of the draft. The Tide also had the most players taken in the first round of any school with four. The 10 overall draftees were a school record for Alabama. Here are the Crimson Tide players who were taken in the 2017 NFL Draft.

16. Marlon Humphrey (CB – Ravens)

The Baltimore Ravens took Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey with the 16th overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. He was the first Tide player taken in the draft. The Hoover High School graduate is the son of legendary Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey. He was redshirted in his first season, 2014, before racking up 81 total tackles and five interceptions in two seasons with the program. After his redshirt sophomore season, he decided to enter the draft.

17. Jonathan Allen (Alabama DE)

The Washington Redskins chose Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen with the 17th overall pick in the first round of the draft. He was a major defensive presence for the Tide. From Leesburg, Va., Allen scored two touchdowns for the Tide in 2016. He also contributed 152 total tackles and 28 sacks in four years of work. Allen won the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronco Nagurski Trophy last season, which go to the nation’s best defensive player.

19. O.J. Howard (TE – Buccaneers)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Alabama tight end O.J. Howard with the 19th overall pick in the first round of the draft. In his four seasons with the Crimson Tide, he caught 114 passes for 1,726 yards and seven touchdowns. The senior from Prattville High School was also named third team All-American and second team All-SEC last year.

31. Reuben Foster (LB – 49ers)

The final Tide player taken in the first round of the draft was Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. The San Francisco 49ers took the senior from Auburn, Ala., with the penultimate first round selection. He won the Butkus Award last year, which is awarded to the most outstanding linebacker in college football. He was a unanimous All-SEC and All-American selection. He was Alabama’s leading tackler last season with 115, including five sacks and 15 tackles for loss. One of the storylines surrounding Foster was a positive test for a diluted urine sample at the NFL scouting combine.

34. Cam Robinson (OL – Jaguars)

The Jacksonville Jaguars chose Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson with the 34th overall pick in the second round of the draft. He was an integral piece of the Tide’s offense last year, providing protection for freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts. He was first team All-SEC and received the Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior lineman, and the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is awarded to the best blocker in the SEC.

49. Ryan Anderson (LB – Redskins)

The Washington Redskins took Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson with the 49th overall pick in the second round of the draft. Anderson was a five-star recruit at Daphne High School when he signed with the Tide. He had 128 tackles in his four seasons in Tuscaloosa, including 40 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks. He also returned an interception for a touchdown.

55. Dalvin Tomlinson (DT – Giants)

Alabama defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson was the final of three Alabama players chosen in the second round. The New York Giants added him with the 55th overall pick. Tomlinson had 122 total tackles while at Alabama, including 10.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.

78. Tim Williams (LB – Ravens)

The Baltimore Ravens selected Alabama linebacker Tim Williams with the 78th overall pick in the third round of the NFL Draft. After four seasons with the Tide, Williams ended his time in Tuscaloosa with 58 total tackles, including 31 tackles for loss and 21 sacks. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown.

79. ArDarius Stewart (WR – Jets)

The New York Jets added Alabama wide receiver ArDarius Stewart with the 79th overall pick in the third round of the draft. A junior from Fultondale, Ala., Stewart decided to turn pro after a 2016 season that earned him first team All-SEC honors. He was a reliable weapon for freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, catching 54 passes for 864 yards and eight touchdowns. In three seasons, Stewart had 129 receptions for 1,713 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 13 times for 82 yards.

112. Eddie Jackson (S – Bears)

The Chicago Bears took Alabama safety Eddie Jackson with the 112th overall pick in the fourth round of the draft. Before getting injured, Jackson served as a defensive back and a punt returner for the Tide. He suffered a broken leg in the eighth game of the season last year, the win over Texas A&M. During his four seasons in Tuscaloosa, he had 130 total tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss, and had nine interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He also returned 11 punts last season, and two of those were for touchdowns.

Alabama is one of the best in college football at reloading each season, but it is going to be quite a feat to fill the voids created by the 10 talented players who were just drafted.

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1 year ago

YHRadio: Elliott Sadler throws out a challenge to those who don’t think race drivers are athletes

NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler was a guest on Yellowhammer Radio earlier this week and made it clear that anyone who does view NASCAR drivers as athletes does not have an adequate perspective of the sport.

It started when Yellowhammer Radio host Scott Chambers referenced some pushback he had received on Twitter for referring to Dale Earnhardt Jr. as one of the world’s most popular athletes.

Sadler, a three-time winner on the Sprint Cup circuit, responded to the critics by saying, “Anybody that does not think we are athletes, I will challenge them in any kind of sport they want to challenge, other than ice hockey. I’ll play them in baseball, whoever can hit the ball or throw the ball the farthest; a game of one-on-one basketball; who can throw the football the farthest or tackle the hardest; golf, who can hit the golf ball the farthest. Any kind of sport they want to play against me to see if I’m an athlete, they are welcome to. Let me see if they can back up what they’re shoveling.”

Sadler went on to explain that calling them non-athletes is a constant theme, “We hear that all the time about athletes, and we train hard, just like everybody else.”

He pointed out that one thing that hurts the perception of racing is the lack of visibility of the opponent. He noted that in basketball, you can see the other person on the court. In baseball, you can see the opponent in the field. Whereas in racing, all that is seen of the opponent is the car itself. Sadler noted that he played six sports growing up.

“People really don’t know that it’s 150 degrees inside the car where your head is and probably 200 degrees where your toes are. There are no time outs. We lose eight or nine pounds per race,” Sadler said. “Also, we run the cars on the edge a half-inch apart at 200 miles per hour, like we’ll be doing next week at Talladega. It definitely takes hand-eye coordination, but being that you don’t get to see it, you just see the cars on TV, I think changes the perception of people’s views.”

The training that racers have to endure is another rigorous aspect of the sport that Sadler feels is under-appreciated by critics. He went on to discuss how training for the amount of heat that builds in the car during a race is one of the keys to being ready for a race.

“I train different than other athletes. I played a lot of different sports and trained for them too. But, training for a race car, we sit in a steam room a lot. We sit in the sauna a lot, getting your lungs used to breathing hot air,” Sadler explained. “We train in a heated gym, instead of an air-conditioned gym. We wear sweatsuits and stocking-caps. We want our body used to being in hot temperatures because that’s where our workplace is.”

He also said that NASCAR is allowing drivers to use heart rate monitors during the races, which helps them train.

This debate over racing being or not being a sport is one that has dragged on over the decades. There have been articles written arguing why it is not a sport and many making the case that it is. The debate intensified six years ago when NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson won “Best Male Athlete” at ESPN’s ESPY Awards. Elliott Sadler’s description of all that goes into racing on Yellowhammer Radio was one of the best repudiations of the doubters that has been presented. There is clearly enough hard work and training involved in racing cars to qualify the drivers as athletes.

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1 year ago

April 27th officially declared a ‘Day of Remembrance’ in Alabama

Charlie Baldwin, 72, looks toward his destroyed home in the Hillman Station area of Birmingham after an EF-2 tornado tore through the neighborhood. (Michael Sznajderman/Alabama NewsCenter)
Charlie Baldwin, 72, looks toward his destroyed home in the Hillman Station area of Birmingham after an EF-2 tornado tore through the neighborhood. (Michael Sznajderman/Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey officially declared April 27th a “Day of Remembrance” in the state to honor the victims of the storms that ravaged the state on that date in 2011. She also ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff across the state on this day.

“April 27, 2011, will forever be a part of our history. It is fitting and right that all Alabamians pause in remembrance of those lost and in honor of those who survived one of the most devastating natural disasters in our state. As we commemorate the sixth anniversary of these tornadoes, we must also remember the resolve of our people. Alabamians are hardworking, resilient people, and our response in the face of this tragedy is proof of our strength,” Ivey said in a release.

It was just six years ago that 62 tornadoes ripped through the state, causing an immense amount of damage and a death toll around 250. It is a day that many Alabamians who lived through it will never forget.

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1 year ago

This is how victims of the April 27th, 2011 storms are being honored in Lawrence County

A new monument was unveiled this past weekend in the Lawrence County community of Mount Hope. Residents gathered Sunday to commemorate a reminder of those in that county who perished as a result of the April 27th, 2011 tornadoes.

Thursday is the six-year anniversary of the devastating storms that ravaged many parts of Alabama. Fourteen people died in Mount Hope when an EF5 tornado ripped through the town. The death toll for the state on that tragic day came to 243.

Emily Reeves, whose grandmother died in the April 27th, 2011 storms, recalled, “Through all the debris, we finally made it over there and everything was gone. It was like a ghost town, foundation was the only thing left. After about the first fifteen minutes, I found her underneath, probably 20 feet of debris.”

After saying the monument made her heart smile, she said, “I feel good about it. And I know where she’s at.”

So many Alabamians were directly affected by the deadly tornadoes on that day. Those who lived through it will most likely never forget it, but the monument will help future generations understand the devastation that took place.

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1 year ago

EPIC: Auburn fan uses music playlist to troll Alabama fans

One Auburn fan decided to get creative with his Spotify playlist.

As you may be able to tell, he cleverly uses the titles of various songs to create an order reflecting Auburn Network announcer Rod Bramblett’s call of the “Kick Six” play that won the Iron Bowl for the Tigers in 2013. His title of the list, “Davis is gonna run it all the way back,” alludes to former Auburn player Chris Davis, who ran the kick back.

The playlist is an almost identical replication of the transcript of his description of the play on November 30th, 2013.

Bramblett’s original call reads, “Davis is going to run it all the way back. Auburn’s going to win the football game. Auburn’s going to win the football game. He ran the missed field goal back. He ran it back 109 yards. They’re not going to keep them off the field tonight. Holy Cow. Oh, my God. Auburn wins.”

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1 year ago

Donald Trump Jr. is set to pay Alabama a visit

Faulkner University in Montgomery has announced that Donald Trump Jr. will speak at its Annual Benefit Dinner. The event will be held in October, and it will mark the institution’s 75th anniversary.

Faulkner president Mike Williams said in a release, “Donald Trump, Jr. is a giant in the landscape of American Business, and we are extremely excited to have him here in Montgomery. We are confident that those who attend the benefit dinner will hear an incredibly memorable speech from Mr. Trump.”

Williams went on to say that this is Faulkner’s biggest event of the year, and the dinner is a chance to share great guest speakers with the River Region and provide scholarship opportunities for students.

Trump Jr. is the son of President Donald Trump and currently the overseer of all aspects of the Trump organization. This includes the Trump International Hotels, Towers, Golf Links around the world, as well as many commercial properties. He resides in New York City with his wife Vanessa and five children.

The Faulkner Annual Benefit Dinner will take place Thursday, October 5th, at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Montgomery.

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1 year ago

‘I still want to coach’: Tommy Tuberville discusses future after deciding not to run for governor

Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville has decided not to run for governor of Alabama. This was first reported by AuburnUndercover.com before Tuberville himself confirmed it on satellite radio.

While a guest on “The Playbook” on SiriusXM, Tuberville said, “It’s been a long process and I was doing it for the right purpose. At the end of the day, I decided not to run.”

Tuberville had been hinting about a potential run since February. Earlier this month, he met with several power players in Montgomery. The former college football coach also filed the preliminary paperwork to run for governor last month and reportedly loaned himself $100,000.

One of the obstacles that Tuberville would have had to overcome would be Alabama fans opposing a former Auburn coach. His lighthearted appeal to Crimson Tide fans was that they should remember that he was the coach who gave them Nick Saban.

As for what he may do next, Tuberville told SiriusXM, “I still want to coach. It’s what I’ve done all my life. This game has given me a lot.”

Tuberville was the head football coach at Auburn for 10 seasons from 1999 through 2008. He was 85-40 in his time there, including an undefeated season in 2004. In 2015, he served as president of the American Football Coaches Association.

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1 year ago

Supreme Court will not hear Alabama Democratic Conference’s challenge of 2010 campaign finance law

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear a challenge by the Alabama Democratic Conference of a 2010 law prohibiting the transfer of funds between political action committees.

The challenge by the Alabama Democratic Conference, which is a predominantly African-American organization, was that the restriction on transferring money between PACs violated freedom of expression and free speech under the U.S. Constitution.

The impetus for the law was to prevent the hiding of contributions by shifting them around through multiple political action committees.

Last year, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld the law, holding that it does not violate free speech and is a legitimate means of combating corruption. The Alabama Democratic Conference appealed the ruling, and the Supreme Court has now said it won’t hear the challenge.

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1 year ago

Study finds that tourism revenue in Alabama took a leap in 2016

John Kemper of Fairhope, Mike Robichaux and Ali Robichaux of Ruston, La. and Trinity Stanley of Homer, La. relax at Fort Morgan. Tourists have come back in record numbers since the 2010 oil spill. (Robert DeWitt/Alabama NewsCenter)
John Kemper of Fairhope, Mike Robichaux and Ali Robichaux of Ruston, La. and Trinity Stanley of Homer, La. relax at Fort Morgan. Tourists have come back in record numbers since the 2010 oil spill. (Robert DeWitt/Alabama NewsCenter)

According to a study by an economist at Auburn University Montgomery, the state of Alabama saw a more than five percent increase in revenue from tourism last year. The study was conducted on behalf of the state tourism agency, and it finds that tourists spent north of $13.4 billion in the state last year.

These numbers include spending on hotels, shopping, transportation, and restaurants. It is a 5.4 percent jump from 2015.

Related: Stain of BP oil spill long gone from Alabama’s Gulf Coast as tourism booms

To no surprise, Baldwin County leads in the most spent on travel at $4.2 billion, according to the research. Following Baldwin are the counties of Jefferson, Madison, Mobile and Montgomery. Alabama Tourism Department director Lee Sentell says the amount spent by travelers in Alabama has doubled over the last 14 years.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the study was the finding that the money spent by tourists was responsible for creating around 180,000 jobs.

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1 year ago

Something happened last season that Nick Saban says he will NEVER get over

Alabama head coach Nick Saban gave an interview to ESPN reporter Chris Low, and he spoke candidly about the last-second 35-31 loss in the College Football Playoff title game to Clemson.

During the interview, Saban said, “I’ll never get over it because you never do with those kind of losses. I never got over the returned field goal at Auburn. I never got over playing poorly against Ohio State and losing that game late. And then in this game, we didn’t play very well, and Clemson did when they had to. That’s what eats at you… You look at the Clemson game, and our really good players didn’t play very well. But Clemson was a damn good team. They were the best team we played against with the best quarterback, and where we needed to play well, we didn’t.”

He is referring to several late-season losses that Alabama has had the past few years. In 2013, Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a field goal 100 yards to end the Tide’s quest for a third consecutive national title. In 2014, Alabama was beaten by eventual national champion Ohio State 42-35 in a College Football Playoff semifinal.

It is well-documented that Saban has won five national championships, four while at Alabama. He is entering his 22nd season as a head coach this year. Through all of the winning and celebratory moments, it seems as if he is always able to call to mind his toughest losses.

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1 year ago

Dem Rep. who called for Trump’s impeachment and then denied it to speak at a university in Alabama

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is going to deliver a speech Friday evening to college Democrats at Auburn University. She has made headlines recently for openly calling for the impeachment of President Trump, and then she denied it.

Hours after Waters tweeted that she was going to “fight everyday until he’s impeached,” she told MSNBC that she never called for his impeachment. Even Politifact said she was lying about saying she didn’t call for Trump’s impeachment.

This comes a month after she released a cryptic tweet that simply said, “Get ready for impeachment.”

Waters, elected to the U.S. House in 1991 and the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in the late 1990s, has clearly made some irresponsible and unsubstantiated claims about the president and the future of his administration. That whole Russian narrative that Waters and many other Democrats peddled now looks pretty laughable.

Waters is scheduled to be at Pebble Hill (home of Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts) in Auburn on Friday. She will reportedly be joined by state representatives Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) and Elaine Beech (D-Chatom).

It’s difficult to imagine what this Rep., who is either an outright liar or is suffering from serious memory loss, will have to say to young students. Some friendly advice to her would be not to speak too harshly about the man who won this state last November by 27 points.

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1 year ago

Is there an open terror investigation in Alabama? DHS Sec. John Kelly says yes

ISIS fighters (photo captured from video)
ISIS fighters (photo captured from video)

Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed that there is an active terror investigation taking place in all 50 states. This, of course, includes Alabama.

He made these remarks during a speech at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He was making a point about the decentralization of the terror threat facing the United States today. He called the increase in homegrown terrorism “unprecedented.”

He also revealed that since 2013, there have been at least 37 plots to attack the nation that have been linked to ISIS. He said terrorists are within the borders of the United States planning attacks “every single day.” There have been 36 homegrown terror cases arise in the past year alone, according to Kelly.

Just this Tuesday in Fresno, Calif., a shooter killed three individuals before shouting “Allahu Akbar” upon getting arrested.

Sec. Kelly was confirmed as head of DHS on the same day that President Trump was inaugurated. This is the first time he has spoken extensively about the terror threat facing our country. He is certainly sending a message to all Americans that the threat is real and right here with us.

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1 year ago

If you are a proponent of life, you need to know about these three measures before the Alabama Senate

(Christine Szeto/Flickr)
(Flickr user Christine Szeto)

The Alabama Senate Republican Caucus has designated Thursday to be pro-life Day at the Alabama Senate. On this legislative day, there will be a focus on passing legislation that protects the unborn and promotes a culture of life in Alabama. There are three particular proposals that are being taken up.

First, the Senate will debate and vote on an amendment to the Alabama Constitution that would declare our state a pro-life state. It would also equip the state to enact strong legal protections of the unborn if the controversial Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision is reversed.

The amendment’s co-sponsor, Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) said, “President Donald Trump has already appointed a solid constitutionalist to the Supreme Court in Judge Neil Gorsuch. One more appointment could flip the balance of the Court in favor of overruling Roe V. Wade and return the issue to the states. A Constitutional Amendment declaring Alabama a pro-life state would put us in a very good position to better protect life if the Supreme Court ever revisits its own disastrous precedent.”

Secondly, the Alabama Senate will take up a ban on assisted suicide. Republicans argue that the so-called “right to die” can easily turn into a “duty to die,” so they want to outlaw this practice in our state.

Finally, the Senate will vote on a bill that will allow healthcare providers to opt out of participating in abortions and other procedures that would violate a personal religious belief. The exceptions to this would be situations where the life of a patient is at risk.

These three proposals have already been passed by the Alabama House of Representatives.

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1 year ago

Sen. Shelby wants to use his ‘SMART’ idea to simplify the tax code

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

On the 2017 version of Tax Day, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate aimed at creating a flat tax on all income.

S.893 is known as the Simplified, Manageable and Responsible Tax Act (or SMART). It would establish a flat tax rate of 17 percent on all income. The exemptions would be personal exemptions of $14,590 for a single person, $18,630 for a head of a household, $21,190 for a married couple filing jointly and $6,290 for each dependent.

Those exemptions would also be indexed to the consumer price index to ensure that inflation does not increase taxes on its own. Earnings from savings would also not be included as taxable income, which Shelby calls an immediate tax cut for virtually all Americans.

“On Tax Day, the American people are reminded that our nation’s tax code is unnecessarily complex, confusing, and inefficient. The SMART Act is a straightforward solution that would require taxpayers to only file a simple postcard size return, which would save Americans time and money. The SMART Act would also allow businesses to redirect resources away from tax compliance and instead focus on expanding their businesses and creating jobs,” Shelby said in a release.

Shelby also emphasized that closing the loopholes for individuals and businesses through this act would create broad-based lower tax rates that would give them competitive edge and the opportunity to create and retain jobs.

With an administration that now seems eager to work on reforming the American tax code, initiatives such as this could actually see the light of day. Thus far, the bill has been introduced in the Senate and referred to the Finance Committee. We will keep you updated on where it goes from here.

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1 year ago

The NCAA just created a rule bad enough that Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn BOTH strongly oppose it

Auburn football coach Gus Malzhan and Alabama football coach Nick Saban
Auburn football coach Gus Malzhan and Alabama football coach Nick Saban

Following Alabama’s second scrimmage of its 2017 spring football camp, Alabama head coach Nick Saban answered questions from reporters on a variety of topics. One question concerned a rule that was just passed by the NCAA about programs being allowed to hire a 10th assistant coach. Heretofore, nine has been the limit for on-field assistants at Division I college football programs.

In typical Saban fashion, he decided to redirect the conversation to address some who have commented on the size of coaching staffs in college football.

After affirming that he supports the decision to allow a 10th assistant, he said, “All these people who complain about staff sizes, we pay interns a very small amount of money. You would be shocked at how cheap the labor really is. Almost, like, criminal. And we have administrators complaining about how many cheap labor people you have trying to promote the profession and develop the game. How else do you develop guys?”

Saban went on to draw attention to a new rule restricting the hiring of high school coaches by Division I programs. He also brought up a rule that requires former players to be no more than seven years removed from graduating to be eligible for graduate assistant positions.

The basic point Saban is making is that without these positions, which are clearly not well compensated, many young coaches would not find opportunities to break into the profession. He decries the rule about not hiring high school coaches as being against the growth and development of the game of football.

He finished with this shot at other head coaches, “I guess it’s the paranoia that we all have that someone else is doing something. Everybody else is allowed to do it, but you choose not to do it. Just like when I used to go on the road in the spring. Everybody could have gone on the road in the spring. Urban Meyer (Ohio State’s head coach) and I were the only two that went out every day. Everybody else complained about it, but they could’ve done it. It wasn’t against the rules. So, they just don’t want to work?”

Saban is not alone in his criticism of the new ‘high school rule.’ Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, who began his career as a high school coach, said it could be a “death sentence” for some coaches. Georgia head coach (and former Alabama defensive coordinator under Saban) Kirby Smart also voiced his opposition to it, adding that he is the son of a high school coach.

Saban has been to the mountaintop of his profession on multiple occasions. He started as a graduate assistant at Kent State. With very few exceptions, coaches begin their careers as high school coaches, graduate assistants, analysts, interns, and other entry-level positions. Five-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick started as a special assistant for the Baltimore Colts in 1975.

If such staff rules are being implemented simply to stop the coaches at the top of the profession, such as Nick Saban and Urban Meyer, it is very shortsighted. At some point these coaches will retire. This rule could keep many quality high school coaches from breaking into the business at the college level, impacting the growth of the game for years to come. It truly is a rule that harms the grassroots of college football.

You know the rule must be a bad one to get Saban and Malzahn to line up in solidarity opposing it.

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1 year ago

Trump heads south to be the first president since Reagan to speak at NRA Forum

President Donald Trump is going to be speaking at the National Rifle Association’s annual Institute for Legislative Action leadership forum in Atlanta later this month. He will become the first sitting president since Ronald Reagan in 1983 to address this group.

As a candidate, Trump received the earliest ever endorsement by the association. In February, NRA president Wayne LaPierre said the organization would have President Trump’s back “for the next eight years.”

Related: Locked and loaded: Alabama ranks in the top five for registered guns per captia

In March, the Trump administration reversed a last-minute Obama administration regulation banning the use of lead ammunition on wildlife refuges.

Gun control groups are already threatening to demonstrate in conjunction with Trump’s address. Anti-gun activist and Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts said “volunteers” will be in Atlanta during the convention and “will not be silenced.”

The event is Friday, April 28th. Other notable speakers include Alabama’s own Sen. Luther Strange, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, former congressman and retired Lt. Col. Allen West, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), and others.

Over 80,000 are projected to attend the event, and 800 vendors are also expected to be on hand.

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1 year ago

Tax Day 2017: Where does Alabama rank in how much dough gets sent to Uncle Sam?

The Associated Press ran the numbers on which states paid the most in taxes last year. The leader by a large margin was the District of Columbia. D.C. residents paid an average of $36,569 in taxes. Alabama, on the other hand, was 47th on the list ahead of South Carolina, New Mexico, Mississippi, and West Virginia. Our state paid an average of $4,874 in taxes per resident in 2016.

On average, those who live and breathe in close proximity to the federal government each day fork over more than those who live outside the beltway. Given many of the wasteful ways the feds misuse our tax revenue, this should not be a surprise.

Here is the AP’s graphic listing each state and how much tax is paid per person.

These numbers include federal income taxes, employment taxes, trust taxes, and estate taxes.

The article also lists Alabama as one of the big winners when it comes to the amount of return gained on each dollar of taxes paid. Wallethub recently ranked this state as the fourth-most dependent state on the federal government.

The deadline for filing taxes this year was moved to April 18th due to the 15th falling on a weekend and Monday, the 17th, being Emancipation Day.

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1 year ago

Alabama CEO named communications consultant to the Pope

Michael Warsaw, the chairman and CEO of the Irondale, Ala.-based Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), has been named a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication.

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Warsaw said, “I am extremely humbled and honored by the Holy Father’s appointment. This is a tremendous recognition of the role which EWTN plays in the life of the Church throughout the world. I am grateful to Pope Francis for his confidence and look forward to serving the universal Church in this post.”

According to a Bloomberg profile, Warsaw has been the CEO of EWTN since 2013. Prior to that, he served as the president of EWTN Global Catholic Networks for about 13 years. He first joined EWTN in 1991.

EWTN was launched in 1981 by Mother Angelica out of the garage of the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale. It now employs nearly 400 and is transmitted to roughly 268 million homes in 145 countries.

Pope Francis established the Vatican’s Secretariat of Communications in 2015 as a way to further the Catholic Church’s message and ministry in a world of rapidly changing technology and methods of communication.

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