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The Wire

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

    Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

    Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

    Excerpt:

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

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

2 months ago

Zeigler: The birth of Christ changed the world

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” At least, that is what the song claims. Is it, though? I choose to believe that it can be.

In this busiest of seasons, people take joy in helping others. There are toy drives and food drives; there are visits to nursing homes and hospitals. We reach out and help the unfortunate. We show our concern for each other in countless ways at Christmas because that is the focus of Christmas — showing Christ’s love.

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When God sent Jesus to the earth in the form of a helpless infant, He demonstrated the unfathomable depth of His love for us. Even knowing that Jesus would be rejected and mocked and eventually killed, God still willingly sent His precious son. When we share ourselves with those we love, and especially with those we do not know, we are celebrating Christmas in its most real sense.

We celebrate Christmas with gifts, lights, music and feasts. When we remember the one small child whose birth changed the world, we celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in the best possible way — by sharing God’s love with a hurting world.

Jim Zeigler has been Alabama State Auditor since January 2015.

3 months ago

Zeigler: A lifestyle of Thanksgiving

(Pixabay)

Settlers in Massachusetts held the first Thanksgiving celebration in the New World in 1621. George Washington issued a proclamation creating the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government in 1789. On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father” to be celebrated on the fourth Thanksgiving in November, and the official holiday of Thanksgiving began.

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Hopefully for Christians, Thanksgiving is much more than a day of celebration. It is a lifestyle, a way of life. We are told in I Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Is this even possible? Yes. Is it easy? Not always.

When we give thanks, we acknowledge the goodness of God. We recognize that our joy comes from the Lord, not our circumstances. By giving thanks, we focus on what we have rather than what we wish we had. Our hearts experience joy, and real thanksgiving happens.

During this season of Thanksgiving, I hope that you will thank God for His provision and His plans for you even when you do not understand all your circumstances. As you count your blessings, you cannot help but be overwhelmed by God’s goodness and grace.

Jim Zeigler has been Alabama State Auditor since January 2015.

10 months ago

50th Anniversary of Gov. Lurleen Wallace’s death in office, and her portrait is still missing from the Capitol Rotunda

(Wikicommons)

Tuesday, May 8, will be the 50th anniversary of the death in office of Lurleen Wallace, Alabama’s first female governor.

The official portrait of Gov. Lurleen Wallace remains out of the capitol rotunda where it historically and legally was until January 2015.

The mistreatment of the Lurleen Wallace portrait by the Bentley administration was a shameful example of historical revision.

It was three years and three months ago, January 15, 2015, five days before I would take office as State Auditor. With no notice, officials of the Bentley administration hurriedly removed the two Wallace portraits from the capitol rotunda. In their place, they erected a new portrait of Gov. Robert Bentley, in the final days of his first term.

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It was premature. Traditionally, the portraits of governors are erected in the capitol rotunda after the governor leaves office. But Gov. Bentley just could not wait. He jumped the gun. He had his own official portrait painted and erected just before his second term started.

The saga of the removal of the Wallace portraits and my four attempts to get them returned read like a soap opera. Sadly, it is all true – a documentary of the dysfunctional Bentley administration.

On my first working day as State Auditor, I was notified by my staff that the Bentley administration had removed the Wallace portraits. I quickly walked the halls of the capitol and, sure enough, the new Bentley portrait was in the second floor rotunda. The Wallace portraits had been put on a wheelbarrow, ridden down the elevator one floor, taken left down the hallway just far enough to be off the guided tours, and relegated to a wall by the Secretary of State’s office. Neither of the Wallace governors have any historical connection to the Secretary of State’s office.

I immediately began researching the law about the placement of the Wallace portraits. I found a joint resolution of the 1983 legislature which mandated that the Wallace portraits be displayed in the rotunda in perpetuity. The action of the Bentley administration in removing the Wallace portraits from the rotunda was illegal, in violation of the letter of the law and the clear legislative intent.

I drew up a request to the Director of Historic Sites, who had actually removed the Wallace portraits. I included a copy of the
joint resolution of the legislature mandating that the portraits remain forever in the rotunda. He did not care and did not return the Wallace portraits.

I sent him a second request, this time giving him new information that would have made a difference to any sensible person. I told him that the oldest of the four Wallace children, whose mother and father had both been governor, was hospitalized in terminal condition. Bobbie Jo Wallace Parsons was not expected to live. This was a terrible time to remove her parents’ official portraits from their legal and historical place of honor. He again did not restore the Wallace portraits.

Heartless.

He was then fired as Director of Historic Sites.

Bobbie Jo Wallace Parsons died.

I drew up a third request, this time to the Director of the Alabama Historical Commission, Frank White, asking that he return the portraits to their legal and historical place. He met with me, listened, and was as courteous and professional as could be. But he did not return the Wallace portraits to the rotunda.

Frank White was then fired as Director of the Alabama Historical Commission.

I then sent a fourth request to return the Wallace portraits to the Historical Commission itself. I met with their leadership, and they declined to return the portraits. They said it would cost money to put the portraits back — an odd attempt to justify an illegal action.

I offered to raise the necessary money with a GoFundMe account. I figured it would take me about two days. They thought that was a joke.

One regret in my three years as State Auditor is that my four requests to return the Wallace portraits to the rotunda have been denied, along with requests by many of you.

The 50th anniversary of the death in office of Gov. Lurleen Wallace on May 8 would be an appropriate time to right this wrong. You can contact the Alabama Historical Commission at lisa.jones@ahc.alabama.gov or 334-230-2690.

Jim Zeigler had been Alabama State Auditor since January 2015.