The Wire

  • Assistant U.S. attorney to replace Hart in leading Special Prosecutions Division

    Excerpt:

    Multiple sources have told Yellowhammer News that Anna “Clark” Morris, the first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, will take over the Special Prosecutions Division of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.

    The announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday. Attorney General Steve Marshall accepted the resignation of Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart, who has led the division for years, on Monday morning.

    Morris served as the acting U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s middle district last year, in between President Donald Trump firing former USA George Beck in March of 2017 and now-USA Louis Franklin being confirmed that September.

  • EPA official resigns after indictment on Alabama ethics charges, replaced by Alabama native

    Excerpt:

    Even with Trey Glenn leaving his post as the EPA’s Region Four administrator, Alabama will still have strong ties to the leader of that office.

    According to The Hill, Mary Walker was named by EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler to fill the vacant role in an acting capacity after Glenn resigned on Monday following his indictment on ethics charges in Alabama.

    Walker is a native of the Yellowhammer State and had been serving as Glenn’s deputy.

  • Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine coming to Birmingham in 2019

    Excerpt:

    The Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine,” a magical prom night experience for people with special needs, is coming to Birmingham.

    Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church will serve as one of the nearly 500 churches around the world to host Night to Shine on February 8, 2019.

    Night to Shine is an event for people 14 and older with special needs to receive royal treatment. Guests will enter the event on a red carpet filled with a crowd and paparazzi. Once they make it into the building, guests will be able to choose from an array of activities to partake in including hair and makeup stations, shoe shining areas and limousine rides. They can also choose their corsages and boutonnieres.

2 weeks ago

House Speaker McCutcheon ‘thankful’ for Alabama’s ‘confidence’ in Republican agenda

(Speaker MacMcCutcheon/Facebook)

Much like Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) predicted, Republicans in Alabama saw great success in Tuesday’s midterm election.

The state saw 76 Republicans running for the House of Representatives win, to only 28 Democrats with one race still not yet called — although The New York Times has the Republican in that race holding a 54-46 lead with 78 percent of the votes counted.

In a statement, McCutcheon said he is “thankful” that the citizens of Alabama had the “confidence” and “strong support for the conservative, reform-minded agenda that Republicans have pursued since gaining control of the Legislature.”

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Statement as follows:

With their vote on Tuesday, the citizens of Alabama signaled their strong support for the conservative, reform-minded agenda that Republicans have pursued since gaining control of the Legislature, and we are thankful for their continuing confidence.

Much progress has been made over the course of the past eight years, but Alabama still has endemic problems that must be addressed.

Our infrastructure is in decay, and our roads and bridges must be given much-needed attention. Our public schools are in need of further improvement, and we must invest in security measures that ensure children who are sent to school in the morning return home safely in the afternoon. And our ethics laws must continue to ensure that elected officials who violate the public’s trust feel the firm hand of justice and the sting of substantial punishment. Our mission is clear and well-defined, and it’s now our job to accomplish it.

The men and women who offer themselves for public service make great sacrifices. Time away from jobs and family, frequent and long hours of travel to and from Montgomery, and the often unpleasant criticism that comes with life in the public spotlight are just a few examples.  I thank everyone who stepped forward and displayed the courage to place their names on the ballot, and I look forward to serving with those who won their hard-fought House races.

Serving as Speaker of the Alabama House has been the greatest professional honor of my life, and I hope to continue in that role as we move our state toward even greater heights.

3 weeks ago

Sessions takes aggressive stand against wildlife poaching and trafficking

(G. Skidmore/Flickr)

During remarks at a forum on combating wildlife poaching and trafficking last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to devote “every available resource” to bringing to justice the individuals responsible for the illegal wildlife trade around the world.

“The United States views the poaching and trafficking of protected wildlife as a threat to good governance, a threat to the rule of law, and a challenge to our stewardship responsibilities for this good earth,” Sessions said. “Ending this criminality, with its devastating consequences, is a worldwide conservation imperative.”

Last year, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of Justice to prioritize wildlife tracking as part of its overall efforts against transnational organized crime. Sessions said the DOJ is embracing that mission.

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“Poachers, wildlife smugglers, and black market merchants operate all over the world,” he said. “Their criminal networks cross borders, transport their illegal goods worldwide, and sell them to the highest bidder. The United States government, wherever possible, will take action with our partners worldwide to disrupt and dismantle these criminal networks.”

The Department of Justice estimates that the illegal wildlife trade generates as much as $23 billion in annual revenue. Just one kilogram of a rhinoceros horn can fetch up to $70,000 on the black market. The horn is particularly sought after in Asia where it is an ingredient used in traditional medicines.

The illegal trade has driven the population of African elephants — which numbered 1.3 million just a few decades ago — down to fewer than 400,000 today. The Asian tiger population has plummeted over 90 percent.

To combat this growing issue, the Trump administration announced $90 million in funding to counter-wildlife trafficking programs. Sessions also laid out a multi-part plan for the effort going forward.

“First, we need to close the markets to these products,” he said. “Second, we need to cut off the flow of financing to the traffickers and poachers and their criminal benefactors. … Third, we must do more to cut off the traffickers’ transportation routes—on air, land, and sea—and block their use of the darknet to facilitate illegal trafficking of all types. … Fourth, we need to take a closer look at extradition laws and agreements. It should be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for poachers and smugglers in one country to escape prosecution by fleeing to other nations. … Fifth, we need to consider enhancing criminal penalties for those who engage in this illegality… Sixth, we need to find new and better ways to tackle wildlife challenges in the nations the U.S. State Department has identified as ‘countries of concern’ and ‘focus countries.'”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a longtime conservationist, also recently announced plans to increase the number of criminal investigators at American embassies, and President Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement included a provision for increased customs inspections, which the countries believe will combat wildlife trafficking.

The government’s aggressive approach has already reaped some results. A California man was recently arrested trying to sell black rhino parts to a federal agent posing as a taxidermist.

Activists are hoping the United States’ leadership on this issue will result in other countries following suit.

“The US is an indispensable global leader in combating wildlife crime in terms of resources, influence, and on the ground support overseas,” Crawford Allan of the World Wildlife Fund said. “But the challenge of wildlife trafficking that conservation, enforcement, private sector and communities face is getting bigger every year. … The U.S. needs to encourage other nations to join them with significant contributions.”

1 month ago

Meet Anthony, story of Birmingham teen goes viral

(Facebook)

Shelia Spencer of Birmingham had an awful feeling on Wednesday night after realizing she was missing both her wallet and iPhone.  After retracing her steps that day, Spencer had determined the only possible place she could have left the items was Piggly Wiggly on Highway 78.

Sure enough, after a call to the store manager, she was amazed to find that not only were her items still there, over $270 in cash remained in the wallet.

That is when Shelia met Anthony, a high school student at Central Park Christian responsible for finding her wallet during his shift at the grocery story that evening.  “We hear very little about kids when they do something positive,” says Spencer in a post on Facebook that has been shared nearly 17,000 times.  “It’s always a lot of talk about the bad things that happen.”

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After “blessing” the teenager with a $100 for “showing honor and doing the right thing”, Spencer also called Anthony’s mother, Joyce, who “cried tears of joy” upon hearing what a great job she was doing with her son.

Since posting the story on Facebook, Spencer has received multiple requests from others who wish to extend a blessing to Anthony. He can be found at the Piggly Wiggly located at 1617 Forestdale Blvd in Birmingham.

2 months ago

Birmingham area post office named for fallen hero

(Facebook)

The United States Post Office (USPO) Meadowbrook Station has been designated as the “Lance Corporal Thomas E. Rivers Jr. Post Office Building” in a ceremony held on Tuesday.

The official dedication comes as the result of legislation introduced by Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL 6) to honor Rivers, a Hoover native who was killed in action while serving with the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2010. The legislation was signed into law by President Donald Trump on July 24.

“Lance Corporal Thomas Rivers was a courageous young man who laid down his life in service to our country,” Palmer remarked at the dedication ceremony. “He knew from a young age that God had called him to be a Marine and he was determined to live up to that calling. While his loss is still deeply felt in our community, his strong faith in God and his courage and selfless commitment to his fellow Marines should challenge and inspire us all.

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“I hope every person who looks at this building and sees the name Lance Corporal Thomas Rivers will be reminded of not only his sacrifice, but of the sacrifices of all those who have gone into harm’s way to defend our freedom.  I’m proud to be part of this dedication alongside his mother and father and with his family and friends to honor his service and sacrifice.”

Rivers grew up in Hoover, AL, the son of Dr. Tom and Charon Rivers. Both of his grandfathers were combat veterans and he showed interest in the Marines from an early age. He attended Briarwood High School and wrote a ninth-grade essay titled “Why I Want to be a Marine.” In it, he wrote that he believed God’s plan for him was to be a warrior and that this path would teach him to rely on God. According to his parents, Rivers was not the best athlete or top student, but his determination drove him to work hard to reach his goal of becoming a Marine.

At 17, Rivers joined an “early entry” Marine recruiting program that allowed him to participate in training regimens and classes before he officially joined. Upon his high school graduation in 2007, he formally enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and went on to complete boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina.

In March 2008, Rivers’ battalion was deployed to Iraq, from which he returned safely seven months later. In his early days as a Marine, his faith in God became stronger and he expressed confidence that God was watching over him. He had his favorite Bible verse, Psalm 91:1, tattooed across his back: “He that dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

After his first deployment, Rivers trained for another year and was then deployed to Afghanistan in March 2010. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, which supported combat operations in the Helmand Province. On the morning of Wednesday, April 28, 2010, he tragically lost his life by an improvised explosive device (IED). He was 22 years old.

Briarwood Christian School has established the Thomas Rivers Jr. Warriors Scholarship in Rivers’ honor, and Dr. and Mrs. Rivers have started the nonprofit organization “Support Our Soldiers,” which sends care packages to deployed troops. Their hope is that the program will help spread Rivers’ love for his country and for God.

Rivers is buried at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo and is the first soldier killed in action to be buried there.

2 months ago

Tickets now available for Yellowhammer Multimedia 4th annual Power of Service reception

(YHN)

Yellowhammer Multimedia announced today that tickets are now available for the 4th annual Power of Service reception. The event – which has sold out every year – will take place Thursday, October 25 at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa.

This event honors the Yellowhammer Power & Influence 50 who have leveraged their stature to make a positive impact on Alabama. The Power & Influence 50 is an annual list of the most powerful and influential players in Alabama politics and business, from elected officials and governmental affairs pros to CEOs and economic development heavyweights.

“This year’s list is a true reflection of Alabama’s evolving power structure,” said Yellowhammer Multimedia Editor and Owner Tim Howe. “With our audience engagement at an all-time high, we have received input from across the state that led to an exceptional number of nominees.”

The much-anticipated list of 2018 awardees will be revealed October 1. It will showcase both the state’s most prominent political and economic leaders, as well as several behind-the-scenes power players.

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In addition to the list of 50, two special honorees are selected for the prestigious Power of Service award for their generous contributions to improving our state. This year will honor Alabama House of Representatives Speaker Mac McCutcheon and renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Swaid Swaid of the Swaid Clinic.

“While the Power & Influence 50 list is a great reason to celebrate, our two Power of Service honorees exemplify a lifetime of service to the people of Alabama,” said Howe. “Dr. Swaid and Speaker McCutcheon have chosen to utilize their positions of leadership to serve others for the good of the state. We expect another sellout crowd this year to commemorate all of our awardees.”

In previous years, Power of Service Awardees include Protective Life Executive Chairman John D. Johns, Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Great Southern Wood Preserving founder Jimmy Rane, Alabama Power Company Chairman, President and CEO Mark Crosswhite, U.S. Representative Gary Palmer and Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner.

Opportunities to sponsor this event are available. For more information email events@yellowhammernews.com

3 months ago

Save the date: Oct. 25, 2018 Yellowhammer Power of Service reception

Yellowhammer Multimedia announced today that the 4th annual Power of Service reception will take place Thursday, October 25th at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa.

For the last seven years, Yellowhammer has released an annual list of the most powerful and influential people in Alabama business and politics. The 2018 list will be released October 1, and the Power of Service event will celebrate these individuals who leverage their power and influence to better the Yellowhammer state.

In previous years, the event has attracted a who’s who of Alabama political and business leaders, including the governor, lt. governor, speaker of the house, pro tem of the Senate, numerous members of Congress, dozens of state legislators and many of the state’s top executives, lobbyists, opinion leaders and political activists.

Ticket sales will begin today. Stay tuned to Yellowhammer News for event details and mark your calendar now to ensure you do not miss this exciting event.

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3 months ago

Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha names Dr. Elaine Lyon as new director for its Clinical Services Lab

(HudsonAlpha)

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has chosen Elaine Lyon, PhD, FACMG, as its new director of its Clinical Services Lab (CSL).

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Lyon join the CSL team,” Shawn Levy, PhD, executive director of the CSL and faculty investigator at HudsonAlpha, said in a press statement. “Her clinical genomics and research expertise will accelerate our mission to advance personalized patient care.”

To join the HudsonAlpha team, Lyon is leaving her post as medical director for molecular genetics, genomics and pharmacogenetics at the Associated Regional and University Pathologists (ARUP) Laboratories, located at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

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“I’ve been impressed with HudsonAlpha’s commitment to quality in human genomics ever since I learned of their work through the CSER (Clinical Sequencing Evidence-generating Research) program,” Lyon said, according to a press release. “I am delighted to join their team and work with the Clinical Services Laboratory to provide answers to patients, families and clinicians who have sought these services.”

During her tenure at Utah, Lyon helped establish four laboratory sections at ARUP: Molecular Genetics, Fragment Analysis, Genetics Sequencing and Genomics. She also held a faculty position as professor of pathology.

Lyon, who has more than twenty years of clinical genomics experience, received her PhD in medical genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and completed a fellowship in clinical molecular genetics at the University of Utah.

The CSL was established in 2014 to advance the application of genomic technologies in clinical research and diagnostics. The lab offers whole genome sequencing and analysis, and is developing a number of new genetic and genomic clinical tests.

Read more here.

3 months ago

Alabama native Jamarcus Russell using his story to teach kids while coaching at his alma mater

(WRKG/Facebook)

Mobile-native and former LSU quarterback Jamarcus Russell has returned to his high school to coach.

In a recent interview with WKRG’s Randy Patrick, Russell talked about going back to his alma mater of Williamson High School in Mobile to coach quarterbacks, helping his successors fill his shoes.

“I get a chance to be back on the same field,” the former NFL player told Patrick. “We cried, we bled, we sweat at the same time.”

It’s an opportunity to reminisce about his days as a high school football player and to invest in the players.

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“We sat in the same locker room and played on the same field and [I] just try to give them that spirit to let them know that it can happen,” Russell said.

Russell went on to discuss his favorite moment playing for Nick Saban at LSU when as a freshman, the two were in the pre-game tunnel and Saban told him he was going to start the second half against Oregon State.

Russell also spoke about his short-lived career as an NFL quarterback.

“If I had been meant to have a long and prosperous time in the NFL I would have, but God, he gave me some stuff that I can carry on that I can give to the kids, youth, grown men, whoever,” he said.

Watch the full interview here.

3 months ago

Birmingham public transit gets funds to make buses electric

(MAX Transit)

The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority has been granted $1.5 million by the U.S. Transportation Department for new, fuel-less buses.

The funds, dispersed as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 Low or No-Emission (Low-No) Bus Program Project, will be used “to purchase battery electric buses and charging stations,” according to a department project description.

“The main purpose of the Low-No Program is to support the transition of the nation’s transit fleet to the lowest polluting and most energy efficient transit vehicles,” the department described earlier this year.

The federal agency has dispersed $84,448,990 in Low-No funding to 41 states, and Birmingham is the only Alabama city that has been granted Low-No money.

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3 months ago

President Trump: Sessions never took control of the Justice Department

(Fox News, TIME/YouTube)

President Trump publicly voiced his regret for his decision to make Jeff Sessions the attorney general, in an interview that aired Thursday with “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt.

“The reason he got nothing is the Dems are very strong in the Justice Department,” Trump said of Imran Awan, a former aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who on Tuesday was sentenced to three months of supervised release plus time served for bank fraud.

“I put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions,” Trump continued. “Never took control of the Justice Department, and, uh, it’s sort of an incredible thing.”

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Trump went on to praise other cabinet appointments, contrasting their work with Sessions.

“We have this country going so well,” he said. “Mike Pompeo is doing incredibly. All of my people are doing incredibly, but the whole thing going on with Justice and the FBI, when you see Stzrok and his lover, Lisa Page, when you see Comey with all the lies that he told …”

3 months ago

Jefferson State Community College gets grant to improve biomedical training program

(Jefferson State Community College)

Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded Jefferson State Community College $220,817 to upgrade a program that trains students for jobs in the medical industry.

The grant, provided to the state by the Appalachian Regional Commission, will be used to purchase equipment, furniture and supplies to upgrade classroom and laboratory space for the college’s biomedical training program. The program trains students as biomedical equipment technicians in both manufacturing and healthcare.

“My administration has championed job growth in Alabama, and programs like this ensure that our workforce is trained and ready for those jobs,” Ivey said in a press release. “I am pleased that this ARC funding is helping to provide better opportunities for Alabama workers.”

Thirty-seven Alabama counties are members of the Appalachian Regional Commission and eligible for grant funds.

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3 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby comments on infrastructure priorities, new interstate proposal

(Martha Roby/Facebook)

A grassroots push to build a new interstate stretching from West Texas to East Georgia has gained significant media attention over the last few weeks, and now Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) is talking about it.

Roby recently discussed with the Dothan Eagle her vision for broad infrastructure investments, saying those investments could include the new interstate, known as I-14, or a resurgence of the I-10 Connector.

“I want nothing more than the people I represent in Alabama’s Second District to see their federal tax dollars at work for them,” Roby told the Eagle’s Jeremy Wise. “Where there are opportunities for infrastructure improvements, whether it would be a new proposed interstate or any other (idea), I will advocate and fight every time for the district. If there are opportunities there, I will seek those opportunities out.”

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Roby stopped short of explicitly endorsing the new interstate project, suggesting rather that she will wait to hear back what level of support it has among her constituents.

“It’s my job that to make sure the southeast corner of our state has the appropriate infrastructure in place,” Roby also told the Eagle. “Having reliable roads, bridges, ports, and railways are vital for our ability to grow our economy in Alabama. That certainly applies to the more rural parts of our district in order to recruit the interest of job creators.”

A group called the Youth Infrastructure Coalition is leading the campaign to see the new interstate built.

According to Tony Harris, government relations manager for ALDOT, the proposal isn’t seriously being considered.

“There has been no discussion about a proposed Interstate 14 involving state transportation officials in Alabama and the advocates for this idea,” Harris recently told AL.com. “In today’s funding climate, this proposal isn’t likely to get serious consideration.”

3 months ago

Rep. Robert Aderholt remembers Aretha Franklin, her time recording in Muscle Shoals

(Guardian News/YouTube)

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) is paying tribute to Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” who died on Thursday.

Aderholt posted a video on his Facebook page documenting Franklin’s time recording at the renowned FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, along with these words:

“The music world has lost a legend in Aretha Franklin. While I was just a young child in Haleyville, I had no idea that just a few miles up the road in Muscle Shoals, she was recording some of the world’s most famous songs. She recorded RESPECT in Muscle Shoals on February 14, 1967. And what a Valentine gift it was. Her voice was one of the many that gave richly to the Muscle Shoals Music, and it will never go silent.”

“We consider it an honor that many of her songs were recorded in the 4th District and here in Alabama,” Aderholt’s office said in a statement obtained by Yellowhammer News. “Besides being an honor, it’s just plain cool.”

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3 months ago

Gov. Ivey awards nearly $2 million worth of grants for transportation safety

(Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs announced on Monday that it will administer a series of grants to 35 different Alabama counties to be used for improving traffic safety in coming months.

One series of grants, totaling $791,838, will go toward increasing patrols and other highway safety measures in 17 north Alabama counties during the Labor Day weekend and other major traveling holidays during the next year.

That money will cover overtime salaries and special expenses incurred during law enforcement’s “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns, and during other busy travel periods.

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Counties to receive grant allocations, made available to the state by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Walker and Winston.

Another $1,189,899 has been awarded to 18 eastern and central Alabama counties for similar purposes, funding law enforcement participation in “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns, along with other localized enforcement initiatives based on “hot spots” where crashes often occur.

“These grants help put more officers on patrol during busy travel periods to keep people safe by removing dangerous drivers from Alabama roadways and enforcing traffic laws,” Ivey said in a news release. “I am pleased to support our law enforcement agencies as they protect and serve their communities.”

The second group of grants were also made available by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

3 months ago

Mobile quintuplets set to attend the University of South Alabama together

(University of South Alabama/YouTube)

Five Mobile teens who were born together are now all going to college together.

Fox 10 News’s Lee Peck reports that the Zimlich quintuplets – Hallie, Sophia, Isabella, Amelia Rose and the lone brother, Shipley – will kick off their college career next Monday, continuing the family tradition of being a South Alabama Jag.

“We basically do everything together,” Hallie told Peck. “So it’s really exciting to actually be going to college and doing it together. That’s really exciting.”

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The siblings have an older sister who is currently at USA. Their mother and father, Jeannette and Mark, both graduated from the school, as did their grandmother. Their grandfather, Dr. Eugene Aromi, was a long-time professor at South Alabama.

The university also did a profile on the Zimlich crew. Read it here.

3 months ago

Alabama ranks second worst state for having a baby

(Pixabay)

A newly-published ranking of states judges Alabama to be the 50th best – or 2nd worst – state in which to have a baby.

The ranking, developed by the personal finance website WalletHub, compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia using four categories: cost, health care, baby-friendliness and family-friendliness.

Its cost metric includes things like average cost of insurance premiums, cost of newborn screening and average annual cost of early childcare.

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The health care metric includes things like infant mortality rate, rate of pre-term births and number of pediatricians per capita, while the baby-friendliness metric looks at things like a state’s parental leave policy and child care centers per capita, among others.

Each state’s family-friendliness ranking is based upon another WalletHub study published earlier this year about the best states to raise a family.

According to the ranking, the best five states for having a baby are Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and North Dakota, respectively. The worst five are Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Though Alabama scores low in the major categories, having the highest infant mortality rate among states, it has among the lowest average annual infant care costs.

3 months ago

‘Supermarket of Veterans Benefits’ to be held at Houston County Farm Center August 24

(V. Halford/Facebook)

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) is hosting a “Supermarket of Veterans Benefits” on Friday, Aug. 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Houston County Farm Center Complex in Dothan.

At the free event, veterans and their dependents will be able to “shop” for benefits and services, receiving guidance from state and federal officials regarding their eligibility.

“There are many agencies that provide benefits and services to veterans, and this is a great opportunity for veterans to learn about many of them in one day,” Clyde Marsh, ADVA Commissioner, said in a statement. “Since we began this program, we have assisted thousands of veterans and their families receive their earned benefits.”

The department hosted a similar event last November in Florence.

For more information about the event, contact the Houston County Veterans Service Office at (334) 677-4749, or the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs at (334) 242-5084.

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3 months ago

NRA launches ad campaign in Alabama calling for Jones to support Brett Kavanaugh

(NRA/YouTube)

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) has launched an ambitious, seven-figure ad campaign in several markets across the country, including Alabama, to urge the confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Beginning on Tuesday, markets throughout the state will air an ad beckoning voters to demand that Sen. Doug Jones confirm Kavanaugh.

“Four liberal justices oppose your right to self-defense,” the ad states. “Four justices support your right to self-defense. President Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh to break the tie.”

“Tell Senator Jones, ‘Defend our right to self-defense. Confirm Judge Kavanaugh,'” the ad concludes.

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Sen. Richard Shelby met with Kavanaugh in July and spoke in favor of his confirmation to the court.

“Confirming Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most important things we will do during this Congress,” Shelby said in a statement following the meeting. “I look forward to supporting his nomination to serve on our nation’s highest court, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”

A recent poll conducted by North Star Opinion Research found that 54 percent of registered voters support Kavanaugh’s nomination, while 30 do not.

“The majority of Alabamians support Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation and will be watching to see if Senator Jones votes to confirm Kavanaugh, or if he follows Sen. Chuck Schumer and the gun control lobby,” Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA.

Similar ads will be aired in North Dakota, Indiana, and West Virginia.

Trump won each of those states in the 2016 presidential election, and each has an incumbent Democratic senator – Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, and Joe Manchin, respectively – who voted in favor of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the court.

The ad campaign will also air in Alaska.

Sen. Jones told reporters in late July that he is keeping an “open mind” on the subject of Kavanaugh’s nomination, though many of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate have come out firmly against the Kavanaugh’s placement on the court.

Jones also recently told Todd Stacy, publisher of Alabama Daily News, that he is seeking to meet with Kavanaugh following his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

4 months ago

City of Good Hope awarded grant to help bring in its first manufacturing plant

(City of Good Hope)

Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded the city of Good Hope in Cullman County a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant to go toward extending sewer service to AGCOR Steel’s new 128,000-square-foot facility.

The city will use grant funds to provide 3,600 feet of sewer force mains, 1,000 feet of gravity sewer mains and a new lift station for the facility.

“Working with communities to create new job opportunities is vital to the success of Alabama’s economy,” Gov. Ivey said in a statement. “I am pleased to award this grant which is a first step in helping Good Hope and AGCOR generate new jobs and new business within the community.”

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The Good Hope city council voted in February to offer AGCOR a tax incentive to be paid for by a half-cent sales tax increase. The company will relocate from Vinemont.

“This is the first manufacturing plant ever for the City of Good Hope,” Mayor Jerry Bartlett told the Cullman Times in February. “That’s a big deal.”

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the grant, which was made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

4 months ago

WATCH: Anti-gun protesters gather at the Alabama State House

(T. Isner/Twitter)

A group of Alabama protesters showed up at the Alabama State House Wednesday in Montgomery to voice their disdain for the National Rifle Association (NRA).

In the video sent to Yellowhammer News, protesters can be heard chanting, “The NRA has got to go.”

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Democratic congressional hopeful Tabitha Isner tweeted Wednesday that she was at the Alabama State House as students, joined by a mix of older people, pushing for common sense gun reform.

Isner also said protesters were not allowed inside the state house.

4 months ago

University of Alabama receives largest donation in school history

(UA)

The University of Alabama announced its biggest donation in school history Monday.

Marillyn A. Hewson, chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp., and her husband, James Hewson, pledged $15 million to the university to go towards the Culverhouse College of Business.

“I am deeply thankful for the strong business education I received at the University of Alabama,” Marillyn Hewson said. “That education helped prepare me for many of the challenges and opportunities I’ve encountered throughout my career – from the day I joined the company as an industrial engineer to my current role as CEO.”

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The Hewsons both graduated from the university, with Marillyn having received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in economics, while James received a bachelor’s in communication.

“This is a remarkable gift from a truly incredible, successful and compassionate couple,” University of Alabama President Stuart R. Bell said of the donation. “Their commitment to and ongoing support of our Culverhouse College of Business reflects a confidence in the important teaching, research and service we do every day.”

In 2017, the couple gave the school $5 million in support of the Marillyn Hewson Faculty Fellows Program in Data Analytics and Cyber Security, a high-tech Data Analytics and Cyber Security lab, and an endowed undergraduate scholarship and graduate assistantship.

Marillyn was honored in New York City Monday as the 2018 Chief Executive of the Year by Chief Executive magazine.

4 months ago

Kendra Scott and Yellowhammer team up to support the Auxiliary of Big Oak Ranch

Check out what happened when Yellowhammer Multimedia partnered with Kendra Scott to benefit the Auxiliary of Big Oak Ranch.

Located at the Summit in Birmingham, the jewelry design company opened its doors for the girls and house mothers of Big Oak to create something special for themselves. Additionally, Kendra Scott donated 20 percent of all purchases to the organization.

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The Auxiliary of Big Oak Ranch works to ensure the needs of the children served by the organization are continually met. From housing to prayer and everything in between, the Auxiliary functions as a fundraising and volunteer service group. Formed in 2006 by Phyllis DePiano and Joann Bashinsky (affectionately known as Mama B), they aim to promote and further the Ranch’s desire to meet the needs of abused, neglected and abandoned children by giving them a solid, Christian home and a chance to realize and fulfill God’s plan for their lives.

For more information on the Auxiliary, visit them at www.bigoakauxiliary.org.

4 months ago

Ivey, Maddox campaigns battle over what it means to ‘support the 2nd Amendment’

(Ivey/Flickr, Maddox/Campaign)

The two campaigns for governor have clear disagreements about what it means to support the Second Amendment, as recent statements from both indicate.

Democrat Walt Maddox’s communications director, Chip Hill, told AL.com last week that Maddox “fully supports the Second Amendment,” while citing recognition he has received from Moms Demand Action, an advocacy organization supporting “new and stronger gun laws and policies to protect our children.”

Ivey’s campaign views Maddox’s “Gun Sense Candidate” designation from Moms Demand Action a clear liability.

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“Maddox can continue to try to sell himself as a conservative Democrat, but even Alabama Democrats have historically supported gun rights and received endorsements from the NRA,” the Ivey campaign said in a statement Monday.

Moms Demand Action, which endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, define themselves as such:

Moms Demand Action supports the 2nd Amendment, but we believe common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills too many of our children and loved ones every day. Whether the gun violence happens in urban Chicago, suburban Virginia, or rural Texas, we must act now on new and stronger gun laws and policies to protect our children.

Still, in a statement to Yellowhammer News, Hill argued that both Maddox and Moms Demand Action are supportive of the Second Amendment.

“Moms Demand Action, like Walt, supports the second amendment,” Hill said. “Walt was proud to receive their gun-sense candidate designation.”

4 months ago

WATCH: U.S. Ambassador to Israel records Mike Huckabee playing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ in Jerusalem

While visiting Jerusalem, conservative talk show host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee didn’t forget to pack his Southern charm.  During an event with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Huckabee showed off his bass guitar skills by playing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ for the crowd.

According to Jacob Kornbluh, a reporter for Jewishinsider.com, Huckabee was recorded by the ambassador himself when they both were attending a BBQ in Jerusalem.  Also in attendance were Yair Netanyahu and former White House Communication Director Anthony Scaramucci.

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This is not the first time Huckabee has shown off his musical skills while visiting Israel.  On a similar trip in 2017 he was also spotted playing the bass on the streets of Jerusalem.