The Wire

  • Alabama House Speaker McCutcheon hospitalized with heart issue, expects to be released following treatment

    Excerpt:

    Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) announced on Friday that he has been hospitalized with a heart issue but expects to be released following treatment over the weekend.

    “Deb and I appreciate the prayers of healing that so many have made on my behalf, and I am well on the road to recovery,” McCutcheon said in a press release.

    “Tests indicated that I had a blocked blood vessel in my heart, which resulted in the fatigue and shortness of breath that I felt, and the issue will be treated with simple medication,” he explained.

  • Ivey launches year of Alabama’s bicentennial

    Excerpt:

    Governor Kay Ivey launched the year of Alabama’s bicentennial at the Alabama State Capitol on Friday, emphasizing that it will be a full year to celebrate and educate.

    “We have an opportunity in front of us, and just as Alabamians have done for the past 199 years, we will make the most of that opportunity,” Ivey said in a press release.

    The governor continued, “Alabama is defined by its people. It’s that simple. As we near our state’s bicentennial, we recognize that our story of success is told by our people. And that is who we are celebrating: the Alabamians who got us here, all the men and women across our state today and the future generations of Alabamians who will help take us to even greater heights.”

  • Byrne helps spearhead passage of legislation reforming Congress’ sexual harassment policies

    Excerpt:

    Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) helped lead the charge to pass major legislation on Thursday that will update how sexual harassment claims are dealt with on Capitol Hill, including that members of Congress will now be personally responsible for claims against them instead of taxpayers footing the bill.

    The legislation, which passed both the House and Senate on the same day, reforms the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) of 1995, which sets up the harassment complaint process for employees on the Hill. For decades under the CAA, the Office of Compliance facilitated taxpayer-funded settlements for workplace allegations against members and their offices in secret. That office will be drastically overhauled under the new legislation.

    Byrne had been working since 2017 to get this process fixed, relying on his past work as a labor-employment attorney. The new bill will make all settlements public record and make members of Congress personally responsible for paying settlements against them, even if they leave Congress.

3 months ago

Alabama Power employee’s focus on safety helps keep the lights on

(Joe Allen/Alabama NewsCenter)

Safety is the biggest concern for Alabama Power Company. Employee Russell Davidson works to ensure he and his crew stay safe so they can keep the lights on for customers.

Davidson started with Alabama Power in January 2007, and has worked his way up to a plant control operator at Plant Gorgas in Walker County, where he has been for three years.

Being a plant control operator requires a high level of skill and extensive knowledge of how the plant operates. A plant control operator monitors and controls all the various sub-systems that work together to create electricity.

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Davidson says his priority is to make sure his unit is “producing as much power as needed, so when our customers reach to flip the switch, the light comes on.”

None of what Davidson does would be possible without having a mind for safety. Davidson says the people he works with are like family, so looking out for their safety and well-being is a given. “As a plant control operator, first and foremost, my job is to ensure my crew and myself are working as safely as possible,” Davidson says.

This was one reason Davidson became a member of Plant Gorgas’ Emergency Response Team (ERT). The ERT consists of “medical first responders, high-angle rope rescuers, confined space rescuers and chemical first responders,” says Davidson. He goes on to say, “This volunteer team is on plant site to handle almost any emergency that arises due to the dangerous nature of our jobs and the inherent risk we face on a day-to-day basis.”

Davidson’s heart for volunteering doesn’t stop when he leaves work. He has been a member and volunteer at Farmstead Baptist Church in Jasper for 24 years. At the church, Davidson runs the audio-visual equipment. He says that while he was not blessed with the ability to sing, he was given the talent of being “able to make someone else sound good while singing.”

Davidson has also helped coach Upward basketball for many years. Upward is a Christian sports league for children in grades 5 through 8. He began coaching when his daughter, and then his son, expressed interest in the sport. “I have always loved playing, but I never tried to teach the game. Hopefully, I have made a positive impact on the kids I’ve worked with,” says Davidson.

When he is not busy keeping the lights on or volunteering, Davidson enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, teaching his children how to hunt, fish and enjoy nature.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 months ago

18 new electric vehicle charging stations added to UAB campus

(C. Helton/Alabama NewsCenter)

Dr. Jason Morris has been eyeing electric vehicles, and considering when would be the right time to make the leap. On June 29, in a parking lot at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, his eyes were opened wide about the possibilities.

From a moderately priced Nissan Leaf, to a fully loaded, all-electric BMW i8 that can cost about five times as much, Morris could see and touch the possibilities – while learning more about how UAB is making the switch to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) more convenient for faculty, staff and visitors to the campus and its sprawling medical complex.

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Last Friday was the first day that employees at UAB, the state’s largest employer, had access to 16 new electric vehicle charging stations installed at four campus locations. Employees can refuel their electric vehicles at the stations free of charge.

When UAB’s new home for the Collat School of Business opens later this summer, there will be two additional chargers available to employees, bringing the total to 18.

To celebrate, UAB Sustainability held an electric car show “to help people see the different options that are out there if they wanted to purchase an electric vehicle,” said Julie Price, UAB Sustainability manager.

“We are always trying to reduce our environmental footprint and make life better in the sustainability triple bottom line: economic, environmental and social sustainability,” Price said.

She said the new infrastructure will help reduce vehicle emissions in the city center. Another benefit of electric vehicle charging stations is that “once electric cars are plugged in, they are plugging into a multitude of fuel sources, as opposed to just gasoline,” Price said.

Alabama Power partnered with UAB on installing the 18 new chargers for employees only. UAB already has eight chargers available to campus visitors at three campus locations.

While at the car show, spectators could view cars from all price ranges, from the Leaf– with a starting retail price of $29,990 before federal tax credits, which can reduce the price –  to the i8, with a starting price of $147,500.

Morris a physician at UAB, said he was interested in purchasing an electric vehicle, and has been waiting on the infrastructure before he made his move. “When I saw this, I thought it was a good chance to come out and see what all was being offered between UAB and Alabama Power and all the partners.”

UAB Sustainability hosts several events on campus year-round to encourage students, faculty and staff, as well as community members, to do their part in making Birmingham a better, more sustainable place to live, Price said

Alabama Power employees have been working with others in the Birmingham area and around the state who are interested in electric vehicle chargers. Among them is Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, which recently added chargers in its parking deck. The airport is scheduled to unveil the chargers to the public at an event on Thursday, July 5.

Learn more about electric transportation at http://www.alabamapower.com/ET.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)