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.

Ainsworth: Democrat Doug Jones fiddles while America’s cities burn

(Senator Doug Jones/Facebook, CBS Evening News/YouTube, YHN)

America is under attack by liberal fanatics.

Violence, arson, looting and vandalism are becoming commonplace from socialist mobs, and scenarios once seen only in movies like “Mad Max” are happening in real-life on the streets of Portland and other major, Democrat-controlled cities.

If we are going to restore law and order across the country and return a measure of civility to our daily lives, we have to elect tough, strong, conservative leaders to hold the line in Washington, D.C.

Leaders like Coach Tommy Tuberville.

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Coach Tuberville fully supports the men and women who serve in law enforcement, and he recognizes the inherent dangers they face each time they report for work.

He believes that the “Defund the Police” movement is perhaps the single craziest public policy initiative ever offered in the history of our American republic, while, at the same time, many of the backers of this dangerous, outlandish and unrealistic idea have donated thousands of dollars to Democrat Doug Jones’ campaign for U.S. Senate.

Coach understands that if someone is the victim of a robbery or a home invasion or another serious crime, they do not want the city to send a social worker, a mediator and a representative from Planned Parenthood in response. They rightly expect the city to send several highly-trained, fully-equipped law enforcement officers who will apprehend those responsible and put them in jail.

He also embraces the fact that our nation was founded upon the principle of peaceful protest, and he knows that because our founders believed it so important, they made that right the very First Amendment in our Bill of Rights.

Great changes have come throughout history from peaceful protest. Women gained the right to vote through peaceful protest, and voting rights were secured and civil rights were expanded to all citizens through peaceful protest.

But while Coach Tuberville will always fight to protect your rights to protest peacefully, he believes that the violent protests erupting in California, New York and other locales are altogether unacceptable.

He, like all law-abiding Americans, thinks that protesters who throw rocks, attack police officers, vandalize public property and engage in other serious and unlawful behaviors should be tossed behind bars and handed the harshest punishments available.

Doug Jones has remained largely mute on the topic of anarchy in the streets, and his few comments have dismissed the frequent violent uprisings as mere inconvenient distractions.

Alabama’s junior senator once helped prosecute the men who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church and killed four innocent girls – and our state and nation are better for it – but his commitment to law and order seems to have since given way to partisanship, politics and pandering to his liberal base.

His lack of respect for the laws of our nation is also evidenced by the fact that as an attorney, he represented murderous drug kingpins, bank robbers and other dangerous felons.

Doug Jones also defended former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat politician who was so corrupt that even the Obama Justice Department refused to consider his request for a pardon or commutation of his six-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

Almost as egregious as turning a blind eye to crimes when they do occur, Jones voted twice to remove Donald Trump from office despite the fact that absolutely no evidence of presidential wrongdoing existed. Jones, in essence, voted to convict an innocent man simply because he does not like his politics.

Similarly, Alabama’s junior senator has allied with other liberal Democrats in opposing most of the almost 200 law-and-order federal judges that President Trump has nominated since Jones took office, and he famously worked to derail Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accession to the high court.

When Doug Jones first ran for the U.S. Senate, he promised to be a new kind of Democrat – an independent thinker who would buck his party elders when necessary and set a middle-road course. Too many Alabamians made the serious mistake of taking him at his word.

He has, instead, proven to be a committed, lock-step liberal whose silence on social upheaval enables the most fanatical wing of the extremist left to promote its Socialist agenda through violence, force and terroristic threats.

A vote for Coach Tommy Tuberville is a vote to support our men and women in law enforcement, reclaim our streets and once again place the rule of law above mob rule.

I encourage you to let your voice be heard on November 3.

Will Ainsworth is the lieutenant governor of Alabama

Ainsworth: A little effort can make a big difference in the fight against the COVID-19 virus

(Will Ainsworth/Facebook, YHN)

Every American was a bit disappointed when the White House announced this week that social distancing guidelines will remain in place at least until April 30, and some governors across the nation have mandated that statewide shelter-in-place orders may be enforced until the end of June.

Working from home, avoiding contact with others and venturing into public only when absolutely necessary can make life seem much like the Bill Murray movie, “Groundhog Day.” Each day, the temptation to break a social distancing guideline becomes a little harder to resist and the desire to ignore protocols and immediately return to your normal routine becomes that much greater.

But facts, statistics and simple, everyday hard truths demand that we not only hold the course in the fight against COVID-19, but also practice stricter self-discipline in how we act and what we do.

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As this column is being written, Alabama is teetering on the edge of its 1,000th documented case of Coronavirus, and 19 of our fellow Alabama citizens have already succumbed to the deadly sickness.

Every indicator points to the situation getting significantly worse in our state before it begins to improve, and President Trump has ordered additional ventilators sent to Alabama from the national stockpile in order to prepare for what awaits us.

If current trends continue, Alabama’s healthcare resources will likely be pushed beyond capacity by the end of the month, and the number of hospital and ICU beds that are needed will exceed the total number we have in the state.

The good news is that Alabamians can prove all of these projections and possible doomsday scenarios wrong if we just use common sense, take self-responsibility, and follow the rules that health professionals suggest.

Too many among us are still refusing to take the COVID-19 crisis seriously, and by doing that, they threaten their own lives along with the lives of everyone they love and everyone they meet.

Since Gov. Kay Ivey declared the state’s Gulf Coast beaches closed in order to enforce social distancing, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has reported a dramatic surge in weekend traffic on Alabama’s lakes and rivers.

My family and I live by Lake Guntersville, and we have noticed the massive groups of people congregating together, jumping from party boat to party boat, and ignoring every rule about social distancing and self-isolation that the Center for Disease Control has asked us to follow.

It may come as a surprise to these weekend revelers, but sun, water and cold beer are not effective vaccines against COVID-19.

For proof of this fact, just look toward the group of University of Wisconsin-Madison students who spent their Spring Break in Gulf Shores in mid-March. Upon their return north, several of the students have displayed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19, and all of them are currently under quarantine.

Each time an individual or family decides to strictly follow CDC guidelines and do their part in the fight against coronavirus, the numbers bend in our direction, and all of us get that much closer to safely resuming normalcy.

Assuming Alabama has a daily infection rate of 20%, trends show that we can expect to have more than 245,000 total cases of COVID-19 by May 1, but if through discipline and resolve we can reduce that daily growth to 10%, a little more than 9,000 cases will occur. At 5% growth, we have only 1,600.

In other words, just a little effort and diligence from all of us can make a tremendous difference. Social distancing is recommended because the virus that causes COVID-19 can travel at least three feet when coughed or sneezed, and it can live on surfaces for days.

The rules for social distancing are easy to understand and follow, and they require you to remain at least six feet away from others, wash your hands frequently with soap, sanitize and wipe down surfaces, stay at home to stop the spread, and self-quarantine and contact your physician if you experience symptoms.

President Trump was wise to extend the social distancing requirements for at least another month, but all of us look forward to the day when future extensions will not be necessary. To accomplish that goal, we must each remember three simple things – stay smart, stay healthy and, most importantly, stay home.

Will Ainsworth is the lieutenant governor of Alabama and serves as an appointed member of Gov. Kay Ivey’s COVID-19 Task Force.

Ainsworth: Closing public schools is the right call in the fight against COVID-19 in Alabama

(Outside The Pocket/Contributed)

Governor Kay Ivey, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey and the members of his learning options task force deserve commendation for making the difficult decision to keep K-12 public schools across Alabama physically closed for the remainder of the academic year.

The closure certainly disappoints students who will remain separated from their teachers and classmates for the time being, and some parents may even be wary of its necessity, but the public health and safety of millions of Alabamians demanded that it be done.

Consider for a moment that in the past two weeks, almost 550 COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in Alabama, and those numbers continue to climb dramatically each day. Deaths are beginning to occur across the state, and dozens of Alabamians are at this moment fighting for their lives on ICU ventilators.

Proms and graduation ceremonies can be held at a later date, and extracurricular activities and sports can be postponed, but protecting our families and stopping the spread of this invisible killer requires us to take action now.

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My wife, Kendall, and I are parents to twin boys, Hunter and Hays, who are in fourth grade, and a daughter, Addie, who is in second grade, so we understand that the responsibility of continuing their education falls on our shoulders for the foreseeable future.

Each parent across the state is going to have to set up and follow a school structure from home for their children in order to ensure they do not fall behind academically. Parental responsibility has never been more important.

To assist in those efforts, Dr. Mackey and his task force are working with each school district to provide instructional support to homebound students through distance learning, which allows teachers to share lessons, answer questions, and give assignments using broadband Internet and video technology.

Dr. Mackey and team have published guidance that will help school districts be able to serve students who do not have access to broadband internet. In some cases, instructional packets will be assembled and sent to the home, and completed assignments will be returned through the mail.

Alabama Public Television has also committed to broadcast classroom instructional programs for K-12 public school students studying at home.

Many students from low-income backgrounds depend upon their schools to provide free or reduced-cost breakfasts and lunches and supplement the nutrition that they may be lacking at home.

To help ensure these students receive the nourishment they need, a number of locations across the state are making free meals available to any child who is 18-years-old or younger. No paperwork is required, and no questions are asked, but to ensure social distancing is maintained, the meals must be picked up onsite and consumed elsewhere.

A list of feeding locations in cities, towns, and communities across Alabama may be found by visiting www.breakforaplate.com on the Internet.

Likewise, in areas where school supplies prove scarce or difficult to acquire, school systems may deliver them to students according to bus routes.

Local systems will be working, as well, to provide necessary services and continuing support to students with disabilities and special needs.

Reopening our classrooms in the long-term will depend upon every Alabamian following social distancing, self-isolation, and other public health guidelines in the short-term.

Even with hospitals in New York, California, and Louisiana exceeding capacity and COVID-19 cases in Alabama on the rise, too many among us are not taking the threat seriously, and by doing so, they are endangering themselves and everyone they encounter.

The best way to stop this virus is to act as if you have the virus by staying home, avoiding public situations to the fullest extent possible, and using simple common sense.

As I have noted before, Alabamians have always shown courage in a crisis, so the best way that we can all stand together against COVID-19 is by staying apart.

The on-going pandemic has forced many inconveniences and changes in our daily lives, and the closure of schools for the coming months certainly ranks high among them.

But emptying our schools to protect the public health and safety is far better than having them empty because our children are sick and fighting for their lives against the COVID-19 virus.

Will Ainsworth is the lieutenant governor of Alabama and serves as an appointed member of Gov. Kay Ivey’s COVID-19 Task Force.

Ainsworth: President Trump continues keeping his promise to make America great again

(Will Ainsworth/Facebook)

Trump Derangement Syndrome has reached epidemic level among extremist liberals and their allies in the national news media, and its symptoms were in full manifestation last week when the president retaliated for the unprovoked attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq.

As everyone is aware by now, angry mobs violated American soil and laid siege to our embassy as brave U.S. Marine guards protected our diplomats inside.

Upon learning that the riots were not spontaneous protests, but rather fully orchestrated attacks planned and organized by Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, President Trump took immediate and forceful action.

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Soleimani led a group that the State Department had officially declared a “foreign terrorist organization” and was directly credited with the deaths of 608 American soldiers.

As his vehicle was leaving the Baghdad airport, Soleimani, whose mere presence offered even more evidence of his involvement in the embassy attack, was struck and killed by laser-guided Hellfire missiles fired from a U.S. drone traveling at 230 mph.

Four other violent, Iran-backed militia leaders and four senior Iranian military officials were also killed by the silent Reaper drone, which was piloted by soldiers located several hundred miles away.

President Trump posted a lone image of an American flag on his Twitter account shortly after the strike.

Rather than celebrating the death of known terrorists whose hands were permanently stained with the blood of hundreds of U.S. soldiers, Nancy Pelosi, the entire field of Democrat presidential candidates, vacuous Hollywood stars whose opinions count for naught, and the members of the leftist press hailed Soleimani as some kind of martyr who was immorally targeted for destruction.

Even after the Pentagon announced it possessed information that Soleimani was “actively developing plans to further attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the mournful wails of Washington liberals continued unabated.

Perhaps they would have been happier if President Trump had followed the Obama-era policy of Iranian appeasement by offering pallets of cash in hopes of purchasing their good will and friendship.

But just as Chamberlin’s appeasement of Hitler failed in the 1930s, the weak-kneed Obama approach has proven equally impotent today.

I applaud President Trump for using a show of power to teach the Iranians that they may disrespect our culture and way of life, but they must respect our strength and might if they wish to survive.

Even before their irrational reaction to Soleimani’s death, there was ample evidence to show that liberals were in the deepest throes of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Consider for a moment that since President Trump took office, the U.S. economy has sustained the longest expansion in our nation’s history, the stock market consistently sets new record highs and unemployment is at its lowest level since statistics have been kept.

Similarly, Alabama reaches new employment benchmarks each month, and many businesses are finding it hard to hire new employees because there are more jobs available than workers to fill them.

New industrial expansions are announced across our state almost daily, and many Alabamians who felt hopeless just a few years ago possess renewed hope today.

Rather than celebrating the man whose generous tax cuts and pro-business philosophy created this historic economy, liberals in Congress chose, instead, to reward him by passing baseless impeachment articles while simultaneously denying him the basic due process rights that the Constitution guarantees.

Since taking his oath of office in 2017, President Trump has kept the promises he made to the citizens who elected him.

He has made America strong again.

He has made America safe again.

He has made America prosperous again.

And he has made America great again.

I continue to offer President Trump my thanks and my full-throated support, and I encourage all of my fellow Alabamians to join me in doing the same.

Will Ainsworth is the Republican Lieutenant Governor of Alabama.

Will Ainsworth: Common Core is a failed, Obama-era relic that must come to a quick and immediate end

(Alabama Forestry Association/Twitter)

Alabama took a strong step toward independence in its public schools this week when the State Senate approved legislation to repeal the Obama-era curriculum mandates known by most as Common Core.

Everyone agrees that Alabama needs strict academic standards that our children must meet. It is vital to economic development, it is vital to our workforce development and it is vital to our children’s future success.

Where we differ in the Common Core debate is who should set those standards.

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I believe Alabamians should determine the curriculum and standards for our state’s schoolchildren based upon our available resources, our needs and our first-hand knowledge of what makes Alabama great.

We should not rely upon some out-of-state entity or liberal, Washington, D.C. bureaucrats to determine our standards, and we certainly should not continue embracing this most damaging legacy of the disastrous Obama administration.

When Thomas Jefferson said, “The government closest to the people serves the people best,” he understood that a top-down approach and governing from afar denies the important knowledge and details that those on the local level possess.

Perhaps the most asinine theory behind Common Core mandates is the cookie cutter approach it takes to schools across our nation.

Rather than recognizing and accounting for the differences among the states, their workforce needs, and the public educations they should offer, Common Core demands an across-the-board, one-size-fits-all mandate that is typical of liberal policy pronouncements.

Moreover, the public schools in a politically conservative state like Alabama, where character education and allowing students to acknowledge God are important, are vastly different from the schools in ultra-liberal cities like San Francisco and New York City, where educators consider themselves enlightened and the groupthink doctrine of political correctness dominates.

But, in the end, the most effective argument for repealing Common Core is the fact that it has proven to be an unmitigated failure.

When Alabama first adopted Common Core roughly a decade ago, advocates labeled it as the cure-all for our public education system, but the magic elixir they promised has proven to be just a worthless bottle of snake oil.

Prior to the adoption of Common Core, Alabama’s students ranked at or near the bottom in almost every education metric that was tested, and, a decade later today, our state still ranks 49th in math and 46th in reading.

For these stated reasons and too many others to detail, it is time for Alabama to abandon this liberal social experiment and chart its own, independent path toward success in education – one that is rooted in conservative principles and one that embraces long-proven, fundamental teaching concepts.

Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston), who filed the legislation, and the co-sponsors of his bill should be commended for working to end this unnecessary Obama-era relic. Dropping the gavel when the repeal of Common Core passed the State Senate was one of the happiest and most satisfying moments of my time in public service.

Will Ainsworth is the Republican lieutenant governor of Alabama.