The Wire

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


    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


    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


    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 years ago

Alabama REALTORS® announces endorsements for 2018 primary elections


The Alabama REALTORS® Political Action Committee (ARPAC), the political arm of the Alabama Association of REALTORS®, has made its endorsement of candidates for the primary elections to be held on June 5, 2018. The list includes candidates for Constitutional, Statewide, Legislative, Judicial, Public Service Commission and State Board of Education offices. The candidates endorsed exhibit a commitment to home ownership, private property rights, economic growth and development.

“We are proud to endorse each one of these candidates,” said Kim Hallmark, ARPAC Trustees Chair. “They recognize the vital role REALTORS® play in promoting our state and helping grow thriving, safe and sustainable communities.”


“These candidates understand what Alabama needs to continue to grow, to create jobs and opportunities and reach its full potential,” said Jeremy Walker, Alabama REALTORS® Chief Executive Officer. “This pro-business, pro-growth focus will help advance the real estate market, and in turn, provide opportunities for our members to help more Alabamians experience home ownership and everything our great state has to offer.”

The Alabama Association of REALTORS® (AAR) is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals comprised of over 15,000 members from 26 boards and 1,200 real estate companies. United by adherence to a Code of Ethics, our members work as real estate professionals in the sale, lease, appraisal, management and development of residential, commercial, rural and resort properties throughout Alabama.

For the Constitutional and Statewide races, ARPAC endorses:

▪    Governor: Kay Ivey

▪    Lieutenant Governor: Twinkle Cavanaugh

▪    State Treasurer: John McMillan

▪    Alabama Public Service Commission, Place 1: Jeremy Oden

▪    Alabama Public Service Commission, Place 2: Chip Beeker

For the Alabama Senate, ARPAC endorses:

▪    District 1: Tim Melson, R-Florence

▪    District 2: Tom Butler, R-Madison

▪    District 3: Arthur Orr, R-Decatur

▪    District 4: Paul Bussman, R-Cullman

▪    District 5: Greg Reed, R-Jasper

▪    District 6: Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia

▪    District 7: Sam Givhan, R-Huntsville

▪    District 8: Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro

▪    District 9: Clay Scofield, R-Arab

▪    District 11: Jim McClendon, R-Springville

▪    District 12: Del Marsh, R-Anniston

▪    District 13: Randy Price, R-Opelika

▪    District 14: Cam Ward, R-Alabaster

▪    District 15: Dan Roberts, R-Birmingham

▪    District 16: Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills

▪    District 17: Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville

▪    District 18: Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham

▪    District 19: Priscilla Dunn, D-Bessemer

▪    District 20: Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham

▪    District 21: Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa

▪    District 22: Greg Albritton, R-Bay-Minette

▪    District 24: Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro

▪    District 26: John Knight, D-Montgomery

▪    District 27: Tom Whatley, R-Auburn

▪    District 28: Billy Beasley, D-Clayton

▪    District 29: Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva

▪    District 30: Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville

▪    District 31: Jimmy Holley, R- Elba

▪    District 32: Chris Elliot, R-Daphne

▪    District 33: Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile

▪    District 34: Jack Williams, R-Wilmer

▪    District 35: David Sessions, R-Mobile

For the Alabama House of Representatives, ARPAC endorses:

▪    District 1: Phillip Pettus, R-Killen

▪    District 2: Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville

▪    District 4: Parker Moore, R-Decatur

▪    District 5: Danny Crawford, R-Athens

▪    District 7: Proncey Robertson, R-Decatur

▪    District 8: Terri Collins, R- Decatur

▪    District 9: Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle

▪    District 10: Mike Ball, R-Madison

▪    District 11: Randall Shedd, R-Cullman

▪    District 12: Corey Harbison, R-Cullman

▪    District 13: Connie Rowe, R-Jasper

▪    District 14: Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley

▪    District 15: Allen Farley. R-McCalla

▪    District 16: Kyle South, R-Fayette

▪    District 18: Jamie Kiel, R-Russellville

▪    District 19: Laura Hall, D-Huntsville

▪    District 20: Howard Sanderford, R-Huntsville

▪    District 21: Rex Reynolds, R-Huntsville

▪    District 22: Ritchie Whorton, R-Owens Cross Roads

▪    District 23: Tommy Hanes, R-Bryant

▪    District 24: Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville

▪    District 25: Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville

▪    District 26: Kerry Rich: R-Guntersville

▪    District 27: Wes Kitchens, R-Arab

▪    District 29: Becky Nordgren, R-Gadsden

▪    District 31: Mike Holmes, R-Wetumpka

▪    District 32: Barbara Boyd, D-Anniston

▪    District 33: Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga

▪    District 34: David Standridge, R-Hayden

▪    District 35: Steve Hurst, R-Munford

▪    District 36: Randy Wood, R-Anniston

▪    District 37: Bob Fincher, R-Woodland

▪    District 38: Debbie Wood, R-Valley

▪    District 39: TJ Maloney, R-Heflin

▪    District 40: K.L. Brown, R- Jacksonville

▪    District 41: Corley Ellis, R-Columbiana

▪    District 42: Jimmy Martin, R-Clanton

▪    District 43: Arnold Mooney, R-Birmingham

▪    District 44: Danny Garrett, R-Trussville

▪    District 45: Dickie Drake, R-Leeds

▪    District 46: David Faulkner, R-Birmingham

▪    District 47: David Wheeler, R- Vestavia

▪    District 48: Jim Carns, R-Birmingham

▪    District 49: April Weaver, R-Alabaster

▪    District 50: Jim Hill, R-Moody

▪    District 51: Allen Treadaway, R – Morris

▪    District 52: John Rogers, D-Birmingham

▪    District 53: Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville

▪    District 55: Rod Scott, D-Fairfield

▪    District 56: Louise Alexander, D-Bessemer

▪    District 57: Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham

▪    District 58: Rolanda Hollis, D-Birmingham

▪    District 59: Mary Moore, D-Birmingham

▪    District 60: Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham

▪    District 62: Rich Wingo, R- Tuscaloosa

▪    District 63: Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa

▪    District 64: Harry Shiver, R-Bay Minette

▪    District 65: Elaine Beech, D-Chatom

▪    District 66: Alan Baker, R-Brewton

▪    District 67: Prince Chestnut, D-Selma

▪    District 68: Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville

▪    District 69: Kelvin Lawrence, D-Hayneville

▪    District 70: Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa

▪    District 71: A.J. McCampbell, D-Livingston

▪    District 72: Ralph Howard, D-Greensboro

▪    District 73: Matt Fridy, R-Montevallo

▪    District 74: Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery

▪    District 75: Reed Ingram, R-Montgomery

▪    District 76: Thad McClammy, D-Montgomery

▪    District 79: Joe Lovvorn, R-Auburn

▪    District 80: Chris Blackshear, R-Phenix City

▪    District 82: Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee

▪    District 84: Berry Forte, D – Eufaula

▪    District 85: Dexter Grimsley, D-Newville

▪    District 86: Paul Lee, R-Dothan

▪    District 87: Jeff Sorrells, R-Hartford

▪    District 88: Al Booth, R-Prattville

▪    District 90: Chris Sells, R-Greenville

▪    District 92: Mike Jones, R-Andalusia

▪    District 93: Steve Clouse: R-Ozark

▪    District 94: Joe Faust, R-Fairhope

▪    District 95: Steve McMillan, R-Bay Minette

▪    District 96: Matt Simpson, R-Mobile

▪    District 97: Adline Clarke, D-Mobile

▪    District 98: Napolean Bracy, D-Mobile

▪    District 100: Victor Gaston, R-Mobile

▪    District 101: Chris Pringle, R-Mobile

▪    District 102: Willie Gray, R-Citronelle

▪    District 103: Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile

▪    District 104: Margie Wilcox, R-Mobile

▪    District 105: Chip Brown, R-Mobile

For the Alabama Supreme Court, ARPAC endorses:

▪    Supreme Court Chief Justice: Lyn Stuart

▪    Place 2 Associate Supreme Court Justice: Tommy Bryan

▪    Place 3 Associate Supreme Court Justice: Will Sellers

▪    Place 4 Associate Supreme Court Justice: Jay Mitchell

For the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals, ARPAC endorses:

▪    Place 1 Court of Civil Appeals Judge: Michelle Manly Thomason

▪    Place 2 Court of Civil Appeals Judge: Terri Thomas

▪    Place 3 Court of Civil Appeals Judge: Terry Moore

For the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals, ARPAC endorses:

▪    Place 1 Court of Criminal Appeals Judge: Richard Minor

▪    Place 2 Court of Criminal Appeals Judge: Chris McCool

▪    Place 3 Court of Criminal Appeals Judge: Bill Cole

For the State Board of Education, ARPAC endorses:

•   Place 2: Tracie West

•   Place 6: Cynthia McCarty

3 years ago

Veterans group follows up rejected #PleaseStand ad with PSA the NFL doesn’t want you to see

(AMVET "Please Stand" PSA)

(AMVET “Please Stand” PSA)

American Veterans (AMVETS) has produced a 30-second public service announcement elaborating on a print ad the NFL refused to run in its Super Bowl program because of the simple, two-word message – “#PleaseStand.”

Both the new PSA and the originally rejected print ad can be viewed and downloaded on AMVETS’s multimedia page here.

AMVETS, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving veterans and promoting patriotism for more than 70 years, is delivering a message inline with its Americanism program by emphasizing the basic values of civic responsibility, public service, patriotism and respect for the flag.

Amid controversy surrounding the NFL’s decision to allow players to kneel during the National Anthem, the NFL rejected AMVETS’s “#PleaseStand” print ad January 21 and issued a public statement that called the ad too “political.”

AMVETS is a non-partisan organization and does not consider its message political at all. Its new 30-second PSA elaborates on its #PleaseStand message by not only calling for people to stand, but also to observe other non-political civic responsibilities as well.

“Our message has always been patriotic and polite. It simply requests that people choose to stand during the National Anthem. It neither judges, vilifies or even opposes those who choose otherwise,” said AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chenelly. “We’re simply asking that people choose standing, and the NFL has made it harshly clear that it does not want veterans delivering this message anywhere near its biggest game. We think that’s wrongheaded.”

The AMVETS Americanism Program is a patriotic program the organization offers schools and youth organizations nationwide as a resource for teaching children in kindergarten through 12th grade about their American heritage, civics and citizenship.

AMVETS is the only Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization open to all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years.

(Press release / AMVETS)

3 years ago

Fort Morgan boat ramp temporarily closed starting Feb. 12

(Outdoor Alabama)
(Outdoor Alabama)


 The Alabama Marine Resources Division will close the Fort Morgan Boat Ramp in Baldwin County for renovations on February 12, 2018. Access to the ramp will not be permitted throughout the renovation process.

Renovations to the Fort Morgan Boat Ramp include replacing the existing two single-lane launch ramps and one finger pier with two double-lane launch ramps and three finger piers. When completed, the renovations are expected to alleviate much of the congestion experienced during heavily utilized periods.

Updates will be posted to the Alabama Marine Resources Division Facebook page. For more information about the Fort Morgan Boat Ramp renovation, contact Chris Denson at 251-968-7576, or Todd Mize at 334-353-8596.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit their website

(Press Release/Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)

3 years ago

Your donations help support Alabama’s wildlife

(Drew Senter/Outdoor Alabama)

(Drew Senter/Outdoor Alabama)



You might not associate wildlife with doing your state income taxes, but there is a connection. The Alabama Nongame Wildlife Fund check-off box on the state income tax form provides citizens a way to donate all or a portion of their state tax refunds for the benefit of nongame wildlife.

Alabama is home to more than 1,000 species of animals that are categorized as nongame – species that are not hunted, fished or trapped. The Nongame Wildlife Program, administered by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), is responsible for many programs including conducting wintering surveys of bald eagles, shorebird surveys on the coast, and research on threatened and endangered species such as wood storks and red-cockaded woodpeckers.

The Nongame Wildlife Program does not receive any state tax dollars. It is partially funded by the citizens of Alabama through tax-deductible donations. In 1982, the Alabama Legislature enacted a law providing for the Alabama Nongame Wildlife Fund check-off box on the state income tax form. These donations are matched with federal funds, so even the smallest donation is valuable. The federal funds come from the Pittman-Robertson Act, a federal excise tax on sporting firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Those funds are set aside for wildlife restoration and management.

Past donations to the Nongame Wildlife Program helped bring back bald eagles, ospreys and bluebirds to Alabama, but many other nongame wildlife species still need help. If you enjoy watching wildlife, here is your chance to lend it a helping hand. Make a donation to the Alabama Nongame Wildlife Fund on your state income tax form.

For those not receiving a state income tax refund, tax-deductible donations can be made to Alabama’s Nongame Wildlife Program, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, 64 North Union St., Montgomery, AL 36130. For more information, call 334-242-3469.

For more information about Alabama’s Nongame Wildlife Program, visit this link

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about nongame wildlife and ADCNR, visit here.

3 years ago

State parks seek input to enhance Gulf State Park Pier fishing experience

(Billy Pope/ADCNR)

(Billy Pope/ADCNR)


Have you ever gone fishing at the Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier? If so, Alabama State Parks wants to hear from you. In an effort to continually provide quality outdoor experiences, Alabama State Parks is launching an online survey to learn more about the experiences of anglers who utilize the pier.

Everyone from avid fishermen to occasional anglers is encouraged to take the survey so that Alabama State Parks can better provide a quality fishing experience at the state’s only public pier on the Gulf. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and is available at this link.

“We are thankful for the many visitors who choose the pier as a fishing destination,” said Emily Vanderford, State Parks Natural Resources Planner. “Our goal is to provide them with the best fishing experience possible. The data collected through this survey will help us accomplish that goal and assist us in meeting the needs of our park visitors.”

The current Gulf State Park Pier was opened in 2009 after the original pier was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan. The 1,540-foot pier is open 24 hours a day and features an indoor concession-area, comfort stations and wheelchair accessible rail fishing.

For more information about the pier, visit this link.

The Alabama State Parks Division relies on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. To learn more about Alabama State Parks, visit here.

(Press Release/ Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)

3 years ago

Lee County public fishing lake will reopen Feb. 1

(Outdoor Alabama)

(Outdoor Alabama)


Lee County Public Fishing Lake will reopen on February 1, 2018, under the operation of new lake managers Chris and Tina Wright. The lake had been temporarily closed during the transition of operations to the new lake managers. Lee County Public Fishing Lake is located 6 miles southeast of Opelika (or 9 miles east of Auburn, Ala.).

The lake offers public restrooms, a covered fishing pier, and a boat ramp. Bait, fishing tackle and snacks may be purchased at the concession. In addition to a valid fishing license, a daily $3 fishing permit is required for anglers 12 years old and older to fish. Boats may be rented for $5 and privately owned boats may be launched for $3. State public fishing lake licenses are available for purchase at the lake.

For more information about Lee County Public Fishing Lake, call the lake managers at 334-745-6563; the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Fisheries Section at 334-242-3471; or visit here.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit this link.

3 years ago

Need a vacay? Here are some discounts going on at Alabama State Parks

(Alabama State Parks)

(Alabama State Parks)


After the stress of the holidays, you deserve a few days away from work and home. An Alabama state park is the perfect place to help you recharge and get ready for the new year without draining your bank account. Select parks are currently offering winter specials on overnight accommodations now through February 2018. Check out the current specials listed below and begin planning your winter getaway.

Current Winter Specials at Alabama State Parks

Chewacla State Park
Camping and cabins: Discounted rates. Some restrictions apply.
For more details, call 334-887-5621.

DeSoto State Park
Discover DeSoto Package: Motel rooms only $79 per couple.
For more details, call 800-568-8840.

Frank Jackson State Park
Camping: Now through February 28, stay three nights for the price of two.
Campsites only, cabins not included.
For reservations, call 334-493-6988.

Gulf State Park
Cabins and cottages: 15 percent off new reservations for stays before January 30.
For reservations, call 251-948-7275.

Joe Wheeler State Park
Camping: Three nights for just $50.
Lodge rooms: Stay for two nights Sunday through Thursday for just $99.
Cabins: 25 percent off any cabin. No minimum night requirement.
Offers valid through January 31.
For reservations, call 256-247-5461.

Lakepoint Resort State Park
January only: $59.95 double queen lodge room, or stay two nights at the regular rate and get a third night free on any cabin, lakeside cottage, lodge room, or campsite. Use discount code “DQ59” when making reservations online.
February only: $69.95 double queen lodge room, if you make your reservation before January 31. You will also receive a coupon at check-in for one free boat ramp pass that’s good for your entire stay. Use discount code “FISH” when making reservations online.
For more details, call 800-544-5253.

Lake Guntersville State Park
Camping: $15 per night Sunday through Thursday.
Offers valid through February 28.
For reservations, call 256-571-5455.

Monte Sano State Park
Cabins: Now through February 28, stay three nights and get the fourth night free.
Offer valid for Sunday through Thursday nights only.
For reservations, call 256-534-3757.

Only available at DeSoto, Cheaha, Joe Wheeler, Lakepoint, and Lake Guntersville state parks
Hunter’s Special: $49.95 special lodge room rate.
Hunters must show hunting license and WMA permit upon check-in.
Now through February 28.

For more information about these and other Alabama State Parks specials, visit this link. These deals are highlighted each month in the Parks newsletter. To receive the newsletter, you can sign up here. You can also stay informed about your favorite state park via social media. For a complete list of Alabama State Parks social media accounts, visit this link.

The Alabama State Parks Division relies on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. To learn more about Alabama State Parks, visit this link.

Press Release/Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

3 years ago

Chief Justice Lyn Stuart will run for reelection



Chief Justice Lyn Stuart officially qualified to run for re-election as Chief Justice in 2018 last week in Montgomery.

Ms. Stuart issued a powerful statement to begin her 2018 run, “I believe this year we can continue our emphasis on having full confidence in our courts to not only provide a voice for the families of Alabama but also for those who have fought to have their voice heard. I want to bring a sense of security back to the working class that the state of Alabama will protect their rights.”

Chief Justice Stuart has served on the Alabama Supreme Court since 2000 when she was elected to serve as Associate Justice. Ms. Stuart was re-elected in 2006 and again in 2012, serving on the court for over 15 years until her appointment as Chief Justice in 2016.

Stuart was excited to begin her run saying “I am honored to be able to run for this state’s highest judicial office and have an opportunity to show the Alabama people that I am the candidate they can trust to speak for their conservative values. I want to show that we still can find common-sense solutions in today’s age.”

Ms. Stuart has served as a speaker for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, training judges and other professionals on the handling of child abuse and neglect. Ms. Stuart has long been an advocate of child-safety, herself having two sons, Tucker and Shepard, and a daughter, Kelly. She is also the grandmother of two grandchildren, Sophie and Thomas.

3 years ago

Senator Tom Whatley will seek re-election in the 2018 Republican Primary



AUBURN, Ala – Alabama State Senator Tom Whatley announced last week that he will seek re-election for State Senate District 27.  Senator Whatley qualified with the Alabama Republican Party in Birmingham the first day qualifying opened.  Senate District 27 covers Lee, Russell, and Tallapoosa Counties.  Senator Whatley is currently serving his second term.   He chairs the Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Committee and is also a member of the following committees: Banking & Insurance, Confirmations, Finance & Taxation, Education, Health & Human Services, Judiciary, Transportation & Energy, and Veterans & Military Affairs.

Senator Whatley has worked hard to pass several pieces of legislation that help Alabama families, veterans (the Heroes for Hire Bill), seniors, students, and children (the Autism insurance bill and Ava’s Law).  He was instrumental in securing an additional $13 million in education dollars for the nation’s premier Pre-K program.  Recruiting jobs and companies to Alabama like Schmidt USA, Leonardo, Baxter International, SiO2, Viper, Blue Origin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Airbus, Touchstone Precision, VCOM, Arkal, GE Aviation, and Equifax will continue to be a priority.

Senator Whatley also introduced a bill that was signed by Governor Kay Ivey to make our election process more transparent.  The bill stopped party crossover voting and will protect the integrity of our election process giving everyone clear choices no matter the party in November for the general election.

“I am proud of the accomplishments we have made in my legislative career.

We have the lowest unemployment rate ever and our housing prices are increasing for the third straight year along with our economy being the 12th healthiest in the nation.

But there is still work that needs to be done.  I will continue to help move our state’s economy forward by creating and supporting a pro-business environment, and I look forward to working with Governor Ivey and the Republican leadership to improve our roads, ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely, and protect our conservative values and morals,” said Whatley.

Senator Whatley was recently named Legislator of the Year by the National Autism Law Summit.  He sponsored the bill that will allow autistic children to receive intense, individualized therapy that focuses on improved communication and social skills.

“Autism affects thousands of families across Alabama, and it was time that we made sure those families could access affordable treatment for their children,” Whatley said. “There are a lot of dry legislative battles in Montgomery, but this was a fight that was clearly worth it, and it is an honor to be recognized for the small part I played in the process.”

Senator Whatley is a native of Lee County where he was raised on the family farm.  He is an attorney and has served his country in the U.S. Army and has been in the Alabama National Guard for over twenty-nine years.

3 years ago

Alabama State Representative Danny Garrett to run for reelection

State Representative Danny Garrett
State Representative Danny Garrett

MONTGOMERY–State Representative Danny Garrett (Republican-Trussville) has filed qualifying papers with the Alabama Republican Party to run for reelection as State Representative for House District 44, which includes Trussville, Clay and parts of Pinson. Garrett was first elected to the Alabama House in 2014.

As a freshman, Garrett quickly gained the respect of leadership and his colleagues and has developed a reputation for his conservative principles, his pragmatic approach to legislative matters and his business and financial expertise. Garrett serves as a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee-Education; the Education Policy Committee; the Small Business and Commerce Committee and he was recently appointed by Speaker of the House to the newly formed Fiscal Responsibility Committee.

Garrett also serves as the Co-Chairman of the Joint Task Force on Budget Reform, a group of seven House members and seven Senate members formed in 2017 to make recommendations for improving the state’s budget process. The Joint Task Force presented an Interim Report to the Legislature at the end of the 2017 session and will submit a Final Report early in the 2018 session.

In his three or all businesses, Garrett has been a leading advocate for legislation to reign in predatory lending practices in Alabama and has also co-sponsored legislation to protect citizen’s second amendment rights, traditional values and the life of the unborn. For the past three years, the American Conservative Union has consistently ranked Garrett’s voting record among the most consistently conservative in the Alabama House.

Garrett has been recognized for his ability and willingness to work with both Republican and Democrat colleagues.

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon commented, “Because Danny Garrett possesses a special combination of leadership abilities, wide-ranging fiscal experience and outside-the-box thinking, I handpicked him to serve as House chairman of the Legislature’s budget reform committee even though other members had more seniority.  He is deeply committed to fundamentally changing the way Montgomery operates, and our state’s finances will soon be on a much firmer foundation because of Rep. Garrett’s hard work, innovation and conservative reforms.”

Nathaniel Ledbetter, Alabama House of Representatives Majority Leader said, “As the House Republicans have begun streamlining the state budgeting process and saving taxpayer dollars, Danny Garrett’s encyclopedic knowledge of financial matters has proven to ban an invaluable asset. Rep. Garrett is working hard every day to give Alabamians a state government that is as efficient, productive, and conservative as the citizens it seeks to serve. As House Majority Leader, I fully support Rep. Garrett in his reelection to the Alabama House of Representatives.”

Johnny Amari, Trussville resident and member of the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee, said, “Danny Garrett has done an impressive job representing our district over the last three years. Danny has performed his duties with honesty, integrity and transparency. He’s definitely earned my vote, my support and four more years.”

Alan Taylor, President of the Trussville City Council, stated, “I wholeheartedly endorse Danny Garrett for reelection as the representative for House District 44. He possesses the leadership skills necessary to move our state forward. His impeccable character and conservative values has served us well, not only in District 44, but throughout the state of Alabama.”

Ronnie Dixon, Executive Director of the Clay-Pinson Chamber of Commerce, said, “Danny Garrett is a very active and a supportive representative for our area. He is always accessible and available. He has represented the interest of Clay and Pinson in Montgomery as if he were a resident. I fully support and encourage others to support Danny’s reelection.”

Charles Webster, Mayor of Clay commented, “I consider Danny a friend and a great representative for our district. He has always been available to talk with us on any issues. He is also a man lead by God and that’s what we need in our leaders. I support Danny in his reelection and encourage others to do the same.”

Vicki Bailey, a resident of Clay who is active in local area politics, stated, “Public servant isn’t a term used when speaking of politicians much anymore, but it is a term used when you live in District 44. Representative Danny Garrett serves his district with a true servant’s heart. Always listening to his constituents, he works diligently on issues to make life better for them, as well as others across the state of Alabama.”

Christian Crawford, a graduate of Clay-Chalkville High School and current SGA President at Auburn University-Montgomery commented, “Danny Garrett is a man of honor and integrity. Our district is fortunate to have him as our representative. In today’s political climate, there are very few statesmen; however, Danny Garrett is a true man of the people. He is a compassionate and Godly leader. I urge everyone in our district to reelect him as our representative.”

Joe Cochran, a former member of the Pinson City Council and the “Voice of the class 6A state champions Pinson Valley Indians,” commented “I am honored to place by trust in Danny. He has stood tall in the face of Montgomery politics and remembered who he represents in all situations. He is a friend to our community and a steadfast representative of his constituents.”

The Republican primary election will be on June 5, 2018.

3 years ago

Alabama House Republicans approve resolutions urging respect for American flag and support for border wall

(Pixabay & Wikicommons)


The House Republican supermajority accomplished two items in its 2018 “Flag, Family, and Country” legislative agenda this week by passing caucus resolutions that call upon Congress to quickly fund and build a secure wall along the U.S./Mexican border and urge respect for the American flag during patriotic displays such as the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner.”  Both resolutions were passed unanimously.

“Like most Alabamians, our Republican House members believe the on-going protests involving the American flag are unpatriotic and disrespectful, and we understand that our nation’s borders must be secured against those who wish to break our immigration laws,” House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R – Rainsville) said.  “Because Republicans posses a supermajority in the chamber, these caucus resolutions carry the same weight as House resolutions since they reflect the body’s prevailing opinion on issues of importance.”

State Rep. Rich Wingo (R – Tuscaloosa), who played linebacker for the Green Bay Packers from 1979 to 1986, offered the caucus resolution urging all individuals to show respect for the American flag and other symbols of national pride and said his action was prompted by NFL players who kneel, sit, or make disdainful gestures during the National Anthem.

“Our flag and other patriotic symbols are intended to unify all of us as one nation and one people, but this handful of professional athletes are using them to divide us while setting a bad example for our young people,” Wingo said.  “Alabamians of all colors and creeds are a largely patriotic people, and this resolution is meant to speak for all of us who love the American flag and appreciate the soldiers who have served and shed blood to defend it.”

The resolution supporting construction of an impenetrable wall along the nation’s southern border, which was a cornerstone promise of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, was sponsored by State Rep. Will Ainsworth.

“Our nation’s borders are not simply suggestions that can be ignored and violated on a whim, but, instead, they are vital security checkpoints that must be secured, closed, and regulated against those who wish to do harm to our citizens and our economy,” Ainsworth said.  “We must take strong and public actions against those who would break our laws with their simple presence, and construction of the border wall is the first and most important step in that effort.”

Editors’ Note: The full text of both House GOP Caucus resolutions accompany this release

Resolution of the Alabama House Republican Caucus

Whereas, the Alabama House Republican Caucus holds a significant supermajority in the Alabama House of Representatives and represents the prevailing opinion of the members of the body; and

Whereas, the American flag has for generations been a symbol and a beacon of hope, democracy, and freedom here at home and throughout the world;

Whereas, “The Star Spangled Banner,” which was penned in response to courageous American soldiers who victoriously fought against a British invasion and which later became our national anthem, honors the American flag and the principles it embodies, as well as all of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives and livelihoods protecting our country and the freedoms we hold dear; and

Whereas, the ceremonial presentation of our American flag and the playing of the national anthem are inextricably linked to the sacrifices of our great men and women who fought for our country and continue to fight for our country; now therefore,

Be it resolved, that by the position taken herein, the prevailing opinion of the members of the Alabama House of Representatives is as follows in regards to the presentation of our American flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the playing of our national anthem:

That the ceremonial presentation of our American flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the playing of our national anthem are sacred times of unity and pride for all Americans, as well as a remembrance of sacrifice for our country, and deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and honor.

That while freedom to protest and petition the government to remedy grievances are rights that are among the cornerstones of our nation’s principles, to use any such times as the presentation of the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the playing of the national anthem to make demonstrations of protest is to trivialize these symbols of the very freedoms that ensure such rights, as well as the great sacrifices made to protect those freedoms

That the United States of America, because of its principles and its citizens who are committed to tirelessly defend its freedoms and cultivate its virtues into an even more excellent government of the people, is the best institution of freedom, democracy, and liberty for people who strive for peace and prosperity for all, and the best defender against tyrants and evildoers who seek power, wealth, and influence at the expense of the rights of others.
Be it further resolved, that the Alabama House Republican Caucus urges the citizens of this state and our nation to treat the presentation of the American flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the playing of the national anthem with a sacred dignity out of respect for the freedoms that these symbols represent, and in honor of the brave men and women who fought and died protecting such freedoms, and to find other meaningful and productive ways to bring attention to issues of concern, as noble as they may be.

Resolution of the Alabama House Republican Caucus

Whereas, the Alabama House Republican Caucus holds a supermajority in the House of Representatives; and

Whereas, the Republican supermajority maintains the prevailing opinion among members of the Alabama House; and

Whereas, statistics show that nearly 1,000 aliens are caught and captured each day while trying to illegally cross the Mexican border into the United States; and

Whereas, it is estimated that a significant number of aliens successfully avoid detection and capture, and break our immigration laws by crossing the border and establishing residency illegally; and

Whereas, established procedures already exist that allow immigrants to petition the U.S government to enter the country legally, hold lawful employment, and become legal citizens if they choose, and

Whereas, President Donald J. Trump was elected upon a cornerstone promise to build a secure and impenetrable wall across the United States’ southern border in order to deter illegal crossings; and

Whereas, an Alabama-based company is among a handful that is building a prototype border wall for consideration by the Customs and Border Protection Agency; and

Whereas, securing our nation’s border is vital to protecting U.S. interests, shielding taxpayer dollars from abuse, deterring terrorism, and enforcing the rule of long-standing immigration laws; and

Whereas, the U.S. Congress has proven reluctant to provide full and immediate funding for the border wall and has not yet embraced the need for an aggressive initiative to seal our nation’s borders from those who break our laws with their simple presence; now therefore,

Be it resolved, we, the members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus, call upon the U.S. Congress to support, fund, and help quickly construct the secure border wall that Americans endorsed when they elected Donald Trump as president.

3 years ago

Auburn online programs receive top rankings from U.S. News & World Report

(Auburn University/Facebook)
(Auburn University/Facebook)

AUBURN, Ala. – Four of Auburn University’s online graduate programs placed in the top 15 according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Online Program rankings released Tuesday.

Online programs that received high marks include the non-MBA programs (No. 6) and MBA (No. 11) in the Harbert College of Business, the College of Education (No. 13) and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering (No. 15).

“These most recent rankings reflect Auburn’s commitment to translate our high-quality academic programs into first-rate, online learning experiences,” said Bill Hardgrave, Auburn University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “These latest rankings demonstrate the value of an Auburn degree in the workforce, and serve as a testament to our faculty experts who develop and deliver these programs.”

The rankings come at a time when the university steps up its strategy to increase the number of online course offerings and programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Since the implementation of the university’s strategic plan in 2013, Auburn has increased its online course offerings by more than 300 percent. In spring 2018, the university launched two new online undergraduate completer programs, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Computer Science, for students and professionals who have earned some college credits and want to complete their degrees at Auburn.

The U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs rankings are based on each program’s reputation, admissions selectivity and faculty credentials, with some consideration of other factors that can improve online learning. Only programs in which all the required coursework could be completed via distance education were considered for the rankings.

(Charles Martin/Auburn University)

3 years ago

Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill announces 3rd Annual International Adoption Day 


January 10, 2018 – MONTGOMERY – Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill and his team will host the fourth annual International Adoption Day on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. in the State Capitol’s Old House Chamber. Alabama families who have gone through the process of adopting children from other countries in 2017 will be recognized for their philanthropy and love.

Recognizing that his office is integral in the process that allows numerous international adoptions to occur, Secretary Merrill began International Adoption Day in January 2015 to celebrate and congratulate the families in their selfless efforts to adopt internationally. Hundreds of Alabama citizens decide to increase their families by offering their loving homes to children from other countries that are party to the Hague Convention and beyond. These countries require specific documentation that must be authenticated or certified by the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office before granting the adoptions of their children.

Secretary Merrill and mother-daughter guest speakers Sondra and Lydia Martin, respectively, will provide remarks, and each family will receive a special certificate of recognition. The families will also have the opportunity to tour the State Capitol and the Archives & History Museum.

For more information, contact the Secretary of State’s Office at 334-242-7200.

3 years ago

Local small business owner, farmer running for Alabama State Senate

(Andrew Jones/Contributed)
Andrew Jones (Press Release)


Andrew Jones, Centre native and owner of Deep South Coffee Factory, has announced his candidacy for State Senate in District 10. Jones, who is also a 4th-generation Cherokee County farmer, will run as a Republican. In addition to serving on both the Cherokee County and State Republican Executive Committees, Jones is active in the Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmers group and is also a member of Centre First Baptist Church, where he serves as pianist.

“As a small business owner and farmer, I’ve seen how government regulation and misguided policies often break the back of our small businesses and family farmers. Ladder-climbers and career politicians in Montgomery have lost track of what is important- developing our local economy, repairing our crumbling roads and bridges, and providing our children with a first-rate education,” said Jones. “We have so much potential here, and we need a State Senator that can be trusted to represent our Northeast Alabama values while not shying away from tackling the difficult decisions our state faces. This means keeping taxes low, supporting faith-based initiatives, and fighting for our families. Above all, I will work to move our area forward, make sure our needs are addressed, and ensure that we get our fair share of dollars from Montgomery.”

Jones holds a Master’s of Public Policy from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, but says that the best education he ever got was growing up on his family’s farm. “Everyone in the legislature would benefit from some time spent on a family farm to see how much hard work it takes just to make ends meet,” said Jones.

“Too many politicians tout their Montgomery ‘experience,’ yet use their position as simply just another stepping stone to a higher office,” Jones continued. “This has resulted in a legislature that kicks the can down the road and fails to address the challenges facing all of us in Etowah, Dekalb, and Cherokee Counties. Our legislators can’t just say “no” all the time. They need to tell us what they are for. A prime example of this was how a handful of legislators blocked critical infrastructure reform without offering any other solution.”

Infrastructure is a key component of Jones’ platform. “There was a situation in Cherokee county where a small bridge collapsed just an hour or two after a school bus had crossed over it. That is totally unacceptable. Unfortunately, we are in a bare-minimum maintenance situation with our infrastructure. There will be no funding for new infrastructure unless we get legislation passed.

There are many projects which I want to see completed, including extending I-759 in Gadsden and completing the Highway 411 4-lane project between Etowah and Cherokee counties. Many people travel that road for work, and the bottleneck there is dangerous.”

Supporting farmers and small business, recruiting new industry, and providing workforce development are also important to Jones. “Getting rid of outdated regulations and making it easier for folks to start a small business will help our local economy. Alabama is one of the least-supportive states for small business creation in the nation. Additionally, we must aggressively recruit new industry. We are competing with surrounding states, and we need to do everything we can to get those jobs. We have the best workers in the nation, but we must train our workforce and equip our people for the jobs of tomorrow. We must be prepared for the next economic downturn.”

“When it comes to education, the most important thing we can do is expand access to pre-K,” said Jones. “We need to get that done, even if it means rearranging some of our priorities. Most families are not able to get their children into pre-K because very few spaces are available. Studies have shown that if you can get a child reading at the appropriate level by 3rd grade, then she is more likely to graduate high school. In addition, I believe that we should give our local school boards as much say in our children’s education as possible. We must also make sure that our students at smaller schools have the same opportunities as everyone else.”

The public can visit or to find out more. The State Senate District 10 seat is currently held by Phil Williams, R- Rainbow City who is not seeking reelection. The Primary Election will be held on June 5th, 2018 and the General Election will be held on November 6th, 2018.

3 years ago

HudsonAlpha 5K in Huntsville to benefit childhood genetic disorders research

(Hudson Alpha)


Huntsville, Ala. – Registration is now open for HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s annual Double Helix Dash 5K and one-mile fun run. In its seventh year, the Double Helix Dash raises funds and awareness for HudsonAlpha’s childhood genetic disorders research.

This unique race, which will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 3, winds through the double helix pathway at McMillian Park on the HudsonAlpha campus. The pathway, built to mimic the structure of DNA, is the world’s largest model of the double helix.

HudsonAlpha scientists will discuss the latest advances in childhood genetic disorders research, including the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research, or CSER, project. CSER provides the means for DNA sequencing to identify the genetic causes of undiagnosed conditions for children such as Jessi Watts of Decatur, Ala.

Jessi, who will be this year’s Double Helix Dash childhood champion, was diagnosed with Rett syndrome. Rett syndrome is a neurodegenerative disorder that is almost exclusively seen in girls and affects about 1 in 10,000 worldwide.

Jessi Watts (HudsonAlpha)

“Through CSER, we have identified several patients affected with Rett syndrome,” said Greg Cooper, PhD, HudsonAlpha faculty investigator. “In this population, a molecular diagnosis can lead to more effective clinical management and prognostic accuracy.”

Jessi spent ten years taking seizure drugs that she did not need until HudsonAlpha provided a more precise, clinical diagnosis of Rett syndrome in 2014.

“Because of the diagnosis, we are no longer throwing punches in the dark and fighting this creature that was slowly stealing our daughter,” said Dana Watts, Jessi’s mother. “Jessi totally understands that her life is better thanks to HudsonAlpha and we are so thankful for the CSER project.”

The Double Helix Dash is presented by HudsonAlpha and the Huntsville Track Club and Demetria McClenton from WAAY-TV is the emcee.

To learn more and register, visit

3 years ago

Josh Jones reemphasizes statesmanship as he steps away from governor’s race

Josh Jones (Jones for Alabama/Facebook)
Josh Jones (Jones for Alabama/Facebook)



From the first day Birmingham business executive Josh Jones announced his candidacy for Governor, he had one overarching goal: reshaping a cultural consensus around the idea of statesmanship.

As Jones said when he announced his candidacy:

The people of Alabama are over career politicians. We’re tired of being embarrassed, of waiting for the next scandal, and we’re tired of people running as conservatives and governing as liberals. We need men of character and conviction who possess the ability to govern conservatively and unite legislators without being obligated to special interests.”

Discussing his role in the gubernatorial race, he said:

Naturally, everyone in a political race would like to win an election, but that’s not the only measure of a win, but my greatest burden entering this race is the dearth of trustworthy leadership in Alabama, the glaring absence of true statesmanship among career politicians. That’s why I entered the race with the earnest hope of redefining what it means to be a statesman, and I believe we’ve done that, because now it’s a word routinely used and explained by many of the candidates in this race. In my view, that’s a tremendous win.”

Elaborating on that idea, Jones explained:

As this campaign has progressed, the conversation has increasingly focused on the fact that, above all else, Alabama’s next governor must restore credibility to the office. That starts by having the courage to take a stand against the status quo and the establishment when they’ve lost their way. Today, most every Republican candidate is at least talking about the need to do just that, and I believe that a few of those candidates truly embrace that concept.”

With that said, Jones said that he believes his highest calling at this time is bowing out of the race. Expressing his appreciation to thousands of supporters, Jones said:

Jennifer and I are honored and humbled beyond words at the response to my candidacy from wonderful folks across this great state. From the wiregrass to the Tennessee Valley, and everywhere in between, good people have embraced our message, and responded to our call. You’ve pledged your support, wholeheartedly sharing our belief that Alabama can be great again. The very nature of those beliefs far supersedes any one person or candidate, and that’s why I know you will continue to stand with us in fighting for those ideals, even though I’m withdrawing from the governor’s race today.”

For now, Jones will continue in business and caring for his family, but he stressed his heartfelt appreciation for his staff and his supporters alike.

“It’s difficult to express my gratitude for everyone who’s rallied to this cause to restore a sense of statesmanship and integrity to Alabama politics,” Jones said. “I am so deeply grateful for everyone who has believed in this campaign, as well as every single person who has stood shoulder to shoulder with me on this campaign staff. This was about promoting a cause for the greater good and I want to extend my wholehearted gratitude to everyone who’s been a part of this effort—you’re greatly appreciated.”

3 years ago

Fraternal Order of Police endorses Reynolds for State House

Rex Reynolds (left) and Local Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 6, President Lieutenant Donny Shaw
Rex Reynolds (left) and Local Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 6, President Lieutenant Donny Shaw


The Local Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 6, has unanimously endorsed Rex Reynolds for the House of Representatives, District 21.   Reynolds, a long-time member of the Fraternal Organization sought their endorsement, and is honored to have their support.

Lodge President, Lieutenant Donny Shaw said, “Former Chief Reynolds has always been supportive of the FOP, and he cares about the Law Enforcement agencies and their workforce.  We recognize that Rex has served at the line level; first line supervisor, commander, chief, public safety and city administrator.”  He further commented, “Rex’s understanding of operations across the ranks, administrative and political positions is unmatched by any other candidate.  We need State Representatives in Montgomery that know the needs of our public safety agencies, and truly understands what our men and women of law enforcement encounters and knows the tools they need to be successful”.

Former Police Chief, Public Safety Director, and City Administrator stated, “There is no higher accommodation, than to have an endorsement of your peers”.  Reynolds also noted, “The citizens of Madison County are fortunate to have professionals serving our public safety agencies, and I am fortunate to be in a position to have their support”.

Rex Reynolds is the Republican nominee in the Special General election for Alabama House District 21 which is being held on March 27, 2018.


3 years ago

Alabama politician to give 10 percent of campaign donations to Children’s Hospital

State Senator Gerald Dial
State Senator Gerald Dial



State Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville), Republican candidate for Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, this week announced his intention to give 10 percent of all campaign contributions received to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. He challenged all candidates in Alabama to do the same, which would generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for the important healthcare facility.

“Every voter in Alabama is sick of the constant campaigns and incessant political advertising,” Dial said. “The least us candidates could do is give a small portion of what we raise to help out an outstanding institution like Children’s Hospital.”

In 2014, the last state legislative and constitutional office election cycle, candidates for statewide office and the state legislature raised $57,479,285. Instead of spending all that money on flyers, TV ads, and phone calls, Children’s Hospital would have received nearly $6,000,000 in additional funding to care for ill and injured children.

“I’m proud to support Children’s Hospital in their mission to provide the finest pediatric health services to all children,” added Senator Gerald Dial. “If that means less money for my campaign, I trust the voters to realize my campaign funds are better spent improving our state instead of solely promoting myself.”

More information about Gerald Dial and his campaign issues is available at this link.

3 years ago

Creek Indians’ $500 million theme park in Foley named 2018 ‘Attraction of the Year’ by the Alabama Tourism Department



The Alabama Tourism Department has named OWA its Attraction of the Year in the 2018 Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events.

OWA is a $500 million-plus complex that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians built in Foley within 10 miles of Alabama’s pristine white-sand beaches.  It includes the 14-acre “Park at OWA,” which houses more than 20 rides and four roller coasters, including Rollin’ Thunder, one of the longest in the country.  If stretched out, Rollin’ Thunder’s track of would be 2,234.3 feet, longer than seven football fields put together.

Visitors can also find bargains at new, upscale shops. Stay in luxurious accommodations, and eat at top-notch restaurants.  Among the dining options is Wahlburgers, an upscale burger restaurant that chef Paul Wahlberg founded in 2011 with his famous brothers, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg. It is part of the shopping and dining area, which includes other eateries and numerous stores. The 150- room Marriott TownePlace Suites hotel is the first of several lodging options to open.

Future plans include a waterpark, a condominium complex and a resort-level RV park. OWA is adjacent to the city of Foley’s $40 million sports-tourism complex, which features 16 state-of-the-art outdoor fields and a 90,000- square-foot indoor events center.

The state tourism department also released its list of top 10 events for 2018. The 10 events in chronological order are the Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee, performances of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 50th annual 911 Festival, Birmingham’s Sloss Fest, the Jubilee Festival of Arts, the Alabama Coastal Birdfest, the National Shrimp Festival, the Kentuck Festival of the Arts, the GATALOP 35 Renaissance Festival and the 75th anniversary of Dothan’s Annual National Peanut Festival.

The state tourism department selects the top 10 events based upon significant anniversaries and the uniqueness of the event. The events listing is featured in the 2018 Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events that is available at the eight state welcome centers, local tourism bureaus and online.  The 204-page magazine-size publication contains colorful photos and covers the state by geographic regions with an introduction section, a city-by-city listing of attractions and accommodations and profiles of the state’s major cities.  The calendar section lists more than 700 annual and special events from across the state.

There are also features on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the best places to eat, drink or watch the sunset, unique must-visit sites, outdoor adventures and a listing of free smart phone apps from different tourism organizations across the state.

Below are more details about the top 10 events for 2018:

The Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee
From March 1-5, this annual event celebrates one of the most important events in American’s Civil Rights Movement – the Selma to Montgomery march.

Play productions of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”
From April 13-May 19 actors from the author’s hometown of Monroeville perform her classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the town that helped inspire it.

The 911 Festival 
On June 1 and 2 Haleyville celebrates its 50th annual 911 Festival, memorializing the first 911 call ever made.

Sloss Fest
This Birmingham music festival, scheduled for July 14-15, was named by Southern Living as one of the best music festivals in the South.

The 30th annual Jubilee Festival of Arts
The festival, equal parts arts, crafts, food and put Southern charm, is on Sept. 29 and 30 in Daphne.

The Alabama Coastal Birdfest
From Oct. 3-6 in Spanish Fort, bird watchers fly in from all over the country to view more than 100 species of migrating birds that are doing the same.

The Annual National Shrimp Festival
This four-day food and music festival that takes place in Gulf Shores from Oct 11-14 attracts more than 250,000 visitors.

The Kentuck Festival of the Arts
Crowds flow into Northport on Oct. 20 and 21 for some of the best folk art in the country, along with some of the South’s best storytellers and live music.

The 35th Annual Renaissance Festival, GATALOP 35
The Oct. 26, 27 festival in Dauphin Island is one of the state’s biggest and best Renaissance fairs.

Dothan’s 75th Annual National Peanut Festival
The festival, whose first speaker was George Washington Carver, celebrates its 75th anniversary from Nov 2-11.  It attracts about 200,000 visitors with its amusement park rides, animal attractions and concerts. 

The 2018 Alabama Vacation Guide and Calendar of Events is available at the eight state welcome centers, local tourism bureaus and online.

(News Release/Alabama Tourism Department)

3 years ago

Alabama Music Hall of Fame will induct new members on Feb. 3


A star-studded lineup will perform at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame’s February ceremony inducting Mac McAnally and Walt Aldridge, two of country music’s best songwriters, Eddie Hinton, who was one of music’s best session players, and Odetta Holmes, whose music made her a civil rights icon.

Rolling Stones keyboardist and 2016 inductee Chuck Leavell will perform at the Feb. 3, 2018 event as well as McAnally, Aldridge, Jamey Johnson and Taylor Hicks. The stage band will be the Muscle Shoals All-Stars.

“Each one of these well-deserving inductees has brought international acclaim to our state,” said AMHOF Executive Director Dixie Connell.  “The banquet celebrates everything that is great about Alabama’s rich and diverse music heritage.  Several of Alabama’s music business celebrities stepped up to support the 2018 show and we appreciate that so much.”

McAnally, a member of the Nashville songwriter’s Hall of Fame, recently won a Country Music Association Musician of the Year award, giving him nine and tying him with Chet Atkins for the most received.  McAnally, who was born in Red Bay, Alabama, had the top 40 hit “It’s A Crazy World” in August 1977, and has since become one of country music’s greatest songwriters, producers and session musicians.  He’s also a longtime member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band.

Odetta Holmes, who would become famous as Odetta, was one of America’s great folk singers, cited as a major influence by such singers as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin.  The Birmingham-born singer was an icon of the Civil Rights Movement.  The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. dubbed her “The Queen of American Folk Music,” and Rosa Parks was one of her biggest fans.  She often performed at demonstrations, benefits and political rallies, including the March on Washington in 1963.  She was presented the National Medal of Arts in 1999, was a Kennedy Center honoree in 2004 and received the Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress in 2005. She continued performing until her death at the age of 77 in 2008.

Hinton, a longtime session guitarist at Muscle Shoals and elsewhere and a noted songwriter, played on hits by everyone from Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, The Staple Singers, Percy Sledge and Otis Redding to The Box Tops, Elvis Presley and Boz Scaggs.  Although he died in 1995 at the age of 51, his influence continues.  The Drive-By Truckers song “Sandwiches for the Road” is based on his life and a documentary about him, narrated by blues musician Robert Cray, has been produced.

Aldridge, a Florence native who worked 17 years at FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017, has written or co-written 56 songs that have made Billboard’s top 40 country charts.  He has received more than 20 gold and platinum RIAA certifications and seven No. 1 hit CMA certificates. His song “Holding Her and Loving You” received Song of the Year from the National Songwriters Association.

The inductees will be honored at the AMHOF induction banquet and awards show scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence.

The AMHOF banquet is held every two years.  This will be the third time that the banquet has been held in Florence. “First and foremost, the purpose of the banquet is to honor our state’s music achievers,” said AMHOF board member Judy Hood.  “But this is also our major fundraiser. The money raised supports the operations of the museum and also allows us to offer low-cost programs to the community throughout the year.”

Hood said that corporate support for the last two banquets has been strong and tables sold out quickly. “This world-class slate of celebrity performers sets the stage for another swift sellout.” The conference center ballroom will hold a maximum of 62 tables. The event will be filmed by Alabama Public Television and will be aired in the spring of 2018.  For information or to purchase a table, call AMHOF at 256-381-4417.

3 years ago

Alabama GOP Chairman: We are deeply disappointed in the Senate election results

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan (Mid Alabama Republican Club)
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan (Mid Alabama Republican Club)


Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan made the following statement regarding the U.S. Senate election results:

“While we are deeply disappointed in the extremely close U.S. Senate election results, with our candidate Judge Roy Moore, we respect the voting process given to us by our Founding Fathers. We are grateful to the army of Republican volunteers who sacrificed their time to help during this most important race. We are also thankful to President Trump and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for their support. Good conservative government and policies are always worth pursuing.”

“During this campaign, we heard Mr. Jones repeatedly say he would talk about ‘kitchen table issues’ and that he would ‘reach across the aisle’ to work with Republicans. While these issues weren’t discussed and no other Democratic Senator has worked with the Republicans, all eyes will be on his votes. Alabamians will watch the issues he will support or try to stop. We will hold him accountable for his votes.”

“Sixty percent of all partisan elected officials in our state are Republicans. We expect a strong slate of Republican candidates in 2018 as we continue to grow our base.”

“Alabamians are conservative and have no intentions of moving toward the policies of the Democrat Party. If Mr. Jones aligns himself with the liberal Democrats in Washington, Alabama voters will remember his choices in the 2020 U.S. Senate election.”

“Now that this race has ended, may this holiday season of peace, love and hope resonate with everyone, regardless of one’s political affiliation.”

(Alabama Republican Party / Press Release)

3 years ago

Moore Campaign: TV stations pull false ads attacking Roy Moore

(Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate/Facebook)
(Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate/Facebook)

After being outed for false advertising by Secretary of State John Merrill, the Montgomery Advertiser, and the Roy Moore for US Senate Campaign, Alabama television stations are pulling from rotation misleading ads paid for by the Highway 31 political action committee. As of Thursday morning, two stations have pulled the ad, and others are expected to follow suit.

This morning at a press conference in Montgomery, Moore Campaign spokesperson Ben DuPre called out Highway 31 for maliciously maligning Judge Moore and hiding their millions of dollars from public view and said that they have now pivoted to “voter intimidation.”

Yesterday, the Moore Campaign announced that cease and desist letters had been sent to Alabama TV stations which were airing the ad.

On Wednesday night, Secretary of State John Merrill announced that Google, in an unprecedented move, has pulled the false ads and Alabama newspapers statewide are being forced to headline the fact that the ads are misleading.

The Moore Campaign will relentlessly fight for the truth and see to it that the people’s senate seat is not stolen by outside elites with no concern for truth or integrity.

(Press Release / Roy Moore for Senate)

3 years ago

How to cast a write-in vote for Alabama’s Senate election



Due to a large number of requests for guidance on the exact procedures that someone would need to follow to cast a write-in vote in the December 12 Senate Special Election, Secretary of State John H. Merrill has directed his team to develop and distribute the following directions for voters that have questions about that process.

The write-in process is simple but voters do need to be aware of how to cast their vote effectively and efficiently. The below was distributed to all Probate Judges and other local election officials and will be available for interested voters at their polling site on Election Day.

Casting a Write-In Vote FAQ

The candidate I would like to vote for is not listed on the ballot.  How do I vote for him or her?
You may vote for a candidate not listed on the ballot by writing his or her name in the “write-in” box on your ballot.  Each contest on the ballot has a “write-in” box.  You must also color in the bubble in the “write-in” box for your write-in vote to count. 

If I vote a straight-party ticket but then cast a write-in vote in one of the contests, will that ruin my ballot?
No. Your straight-party selection will cast votes for the political party’s candidates in all contests except the contest where you cast the write-in vote. In the contest where you cast the write-in vote, the write-in vote will override the straight-party ticket for that candidate area.
Do I have to spell the candidate’s name correctly?
When you write in a name, the spelling must be close enough so that the name you write in is identifiable with the person you are voting for. When you write the name in, it must be done in a way that the election officials can determine exactly who you are voting for.
Do I need to write in the candidate’s full name?
Initials and last name rather than a full name may be used. However, only a last name would be insufficient. The bottom line is that a write-in vote must be marked in a way that the election officials can determine exactly who you are voting for.
Can I cast a write-in vote for my favorite cartoon character or superhero?
No. Write-in votes will be counted only for live, human beings who are eligible to serve in the office for which they have been voted. Votes cannot be counted for fictional characters.
Can I use a sticker or a stamp to put my write-in vote on my ballot?
No, the write-in vote must be cast in handwriting.
The candidate I would like to vote for lost in the primary election and is not listed on my ballot. Can I still vote for that candidate by writing them in?
Yes, Alabama’s “sore loser” law does not apply to voters writing in a candidate. Any write-in votes for that candidate will be counted.
Will I know election night how many votes my write-in candidate received?
Under a law passed in 2016 by the Alabama Legislature, write-in votes will be recorded and documented but not necessarily counted on election day. 
Write-in votes for a particular contest, such as U.S. Senate, are not counted unless the total number of write-in votes is greater than the difference in the number of votes received by the candidate who is in first place and the number of votes received by the candidate in second place.
For example, let’s say that Susan Franklin receives 300 votes and James Smith receives 200 votes and there are 250 write-in votes. 250 is greater than the difference between Franklin’s votes and Smith’s votes. ( 300 – 200 = 100 and 250 is greater than 100.) In this case, the write-in votes would be counted to see the names of the people who received the 250 write-in votes.  These write-in votes would be counted on the seventh day after the election, along with provisional ballots and absentee ballots submitted by military personnel and U.S. citizens residing overseas.
However, let’s say there were only 50 write-in votes, compared to Franklin’s 300 votes and Smith’s 200 votes. The difference between Franklin’s and Smith’s votes is still 100. However, 50 is less than 100. Therefore, the write-in votes would not be counted to see who received the write-in votes.
If only one candidate’s name is printed on the ballot, write-in votes would be counted only if the number of write-in votes is greater than the number of votes received by the candidate whose name is printed on the ballot. Write-in votes may also be counted in a particular contest upon request.  For information on the procedures for requesting that write-in votes be counted, please visit the Secretary of State’s website:
(Secretary of State / Press Release)
3 years ago

Chief Justice Lyn Stuart Announces Candidacy

Chief Justice Lyn Stuart has announced her run for election as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Chief Justice Stuart has been a judge for 29 years and has served on the Alabama Supreme Court since 2001. She was appointed Chief Justice by Governor Kay Ivey in April 2017, bringing a firm and fair approach in guiding Alabama’s unified court system.

“I am proud to announce my campaign for Chief Justice because we need to continue making Alabama a place where justice is served and the law is evenly applied to all parties. We need a judicial system where our justices follow the law, not make the law. And we need justices who strictly interpret the constitution. I’m proud of my record of doing just that and I look forward to speaking with the voters to get that message out there over the coming months.”

Justice Stuart’s prior experience extends beyond her years of service as a member of Alabama’s Supreme Court. She also was elected and served for 12 years as a district judge and circuit judge in Baldwin County and before that prosecuted cases as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney. “I have a deep knowledge and understanding of how our state’s legal system works from top to bottom,“ continued Stuart.

“Securing adequate financial resources for our courts is a primary responsibility of the Chief Justice. State government is experiencing tough financial times. Everyone in our court system is having to do more with less. It’s important to have someone with my background, experience and work ethic, someone who will work hard every day to keep our courts fair and running smoothly. That’s what I’ve been doing for 29 years and, if elected, that’s what I intend to keep doing.“

Chief Justice Stuart is proud to call Alabama home. Born in Atmore and a graduate of Escambia County High School, she continued her education by graduating from Auburn University and receiving a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law. In addition to her duties as a justice, she has been married to her husband George for 36 years, is the mother of two sons, Tucker and Shepard, a daughter Kelly, and grandmother to Sophie and Thomas. Justice Stuart has attended and served at Bay Minette United Methodist Church for 33 years.