2 years ago

Backpack, supplies giveaway draws 2,500 Walker County residents

Many Walker County parents are starting off the school year with a little less pressure, thanks to a recent backpack giveaway at the Jasper Civic Center. Residents of Parrish and surrounding communities began lining up outside the civic center around 7:30 a.m. for the Aug. 3 event.

About 2,500 people attended the event, which is sponsored by several community service groups.

Jasper resident Sandie Farris, attending with her daughters, McKinley Ferguson, 16, and Ivie Farris, 5, said the giveaway was a huge help to her family.

“This is the first time I’ve come,” Farris said. “It’s been a really exciting day. I brought my girls here to get supplies, and it’s really been a blessing for all these people to come out and donate their time and everything for us, to get the kids our school supplies.”

Jasper resident Candace Hammond agreed the event came just in time to help families. She arrived early with her son, Nicholas, and her twin niece and nephew, Marian and Marquel Nash. Hammond’s 4-year-old son, Nicholas, will begin speech classes at Oakman Elementary School in September.

“This is a jumpstart, definitely, on at least a few things you need,” Hammond said. “They always give you the essentials and a little more. They’re very friendly. Any event that Capstone is involved with, they do a good job. They do it big for Walker County.”

Several Walker County-based groups were there to offer help. Members of the Gorgas Chapter of the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) partnered with employees at Capstone Rural Health Center in Parrish to provide free backpacks filled with school supplies. The book bags were donated by Gorgas APSO, and Capstone Rural Health Center supplied pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, loose-leaf paper and other supplies. Many charitable groups and businesses in Jasper also donated school supplies.

Gorgas APSO members James Brown, Dion Oliver and Andrew Lawhorn handed out 750 clear plastic backpacks, stuffed with most items that students need to start the school year. Oliver, 2018 Gorgas APSO president, said the event was for a good cause. The goal, Oliver said, was to assist underprivileged students in Parrish and surrounding areas, whose families have difficulty in supplying their children’s needs for the new school year. He said that Gorgas APSO members want to help the community wherever they can.

“We’ve been doing this for a while,” said Oliver, Gorgas assistant plant control operator. “We team up with Capstone in Parrish. It’s so joyful to see the looks on the kids’ faces when they get their new backpack.

“It takes some of the financial strain off the parents,” he said. “It’s just a great thing to do.”

Several little girls enjoyed getting their picture taken with Capstone employee Adrian Aaron, costumed as Elsa from “Frozen.” Many parents took time out to photograph their children with the Bumblebee character from “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Several youngsters stopped to talk with Mary Lou Kevorkian, a longtime volunteer of the Alabama Wildlife Center, who sported a barn owl on her right arm.

Jasper High School student McKinley Ferguson, 16, said that she enjoyed herself at the event.

Marcy Brown, chairman of the board of directors for Capstone Rural Health Center, was pleased with the turnout.

“We want to be the star for someone who needs it – this is our fifth-annual year of having the backpack giveaway,” said Brown, who has been on the board more than 10 years. “The first year we gave away 100 backpacks. This year, Gorgas APSO contributed 750 backpacks. Without us, many of the families here today would not be able to send their children to school with the needed supplies.

“It’s a reward within itself when you see a needy family and you make a smile on their face when you give a backpack,” she said.

Plant Gorgas Mechanic-Welder James Brown said that Gorgas APSO volunteers saw a tremendous response to the need for school supplies, as families lined up halfway around the block to enter the civic center.

“I believe this year’s event was the best so far,” Brown said. “We gave out all 750 backpacks and could have given close to 800. The partnership with the Capstone Clinic has been truly rewarding for the community and Gorgas APSO.”

Alabama Power Community Initiatives Program Manager Tan Grayson said that APSO volunteers are committed to strengthening their communities, especially when it comes to helping children.

“APSO members are very passionate about posterity and making sure children have the tools they need for school,” Grayson said. “One organization can’t touch every child, but with partners like Capstone, we can assist more children.”

Several other organizations took part in information sharing, including the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama and Positive Maturity Inc.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

25 mins ago

Montgomery launches ‘Feed the Meter for the Homeless’ project

Under the leadership of Mayor Steven L. Reed, new specialized parking meters were installed last week in downtown Montgomery to provide a quick, convenient way to support locals affected by homelessness.

Reed announced the meters were on the way during a recent city council meeting. Called the “Feed the Meter for the Homeless” project, the City’s new initiative is made possible through a partnership with the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless (MACH).

The special parking meters are green and offer residents a way to donate directly to support MACH and central Alabama agencies working with those experiencing homelessness in Alabama’s capital city. Donations will be accepted in the forms of coins or cash at each specialized meter and by card through the ParkMobile app (zone 36999) or online payment.


“The Feed the Meter for the Homeless initiative connects compassion with convenience by allowing Montgomery residents and visitors to support our neighbors affected by homelessness and its devastating ramifications,” Reed said in a statement. “Each donation is a hand-up to help those in need and an investment in building a better future for Montgomery and the River Region.”

For more information on Feed the Meter for the Homeless MGM, please click here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Cathy Randall now serving on board of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham

Dr. Cathy J. Randall, chairman of the board of Pettus Randall Holdings, LLC, is now serving as a board member for The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.

The Women’s Fund made the announcement in a recent release, detailing that Randall term’s officially began on January 1. A Birmingham native and Tuscaloosa resident, she is a longtime, prominent civic and corporate leader, as well as the legendary former director of the University Honors Programs at the University of Alabama.

Tracey Morant Adams, board chair for The Women’s Fund, said in a statement, “The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham strives to elevate and amplify women’s voices, and we are incredibly fortunate to welcome Dr. Randall to our board as she is a well-established voice in the state.”


“Cathy’s passion for community service and her experience in building a better Alabama will be a tremendous asset for the organization,” Adams added.

Randall’s service to the state includes being immediate past chairman of the Alabama Academy of Honor and former president of the boards of directors of the American Village, the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame and the David Mathews Center of Civic Life, as well as former director of Alabama Girls State.

Additionally, she currently serves on the board of Alabama Power Company and is a former board member of Mercedes Benz USI. Randall was the co-chair of Governor Kay Ivey’s inaugural committee and was named as a Woman of Impact by Yellowhammer Multimedia in 2018.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Sessions responds to ‘desperate and afraid’ Byrne and Tuberville — ‘Sad to see them both descend to such a sleazy low point’

With Alabama’s U.S. Senate Republican primary headed into the home stretch, the field’s three front-runners are beginning to mix it up among one another.

The first significant shot came from U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), who on Saturday went up on air with an ad attacking both his leading opponents: former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville. Tuberville has thrown a few barbs as well while on the stump, including one at Sessions that accused him of having “turned on” President Donald Trump.

In a statement given to Yellowhammer News, Sessions condemned the tone of both Byrne and Tuberville, noting their positions in recent polling and describing their tacks as “sleazy.”


“It is unfortunate that both Tommy Tuberville and Bradley Byrne have abandoned any pretense of running a positive campaign. But it is not surprising: both candidates are trailing in the polls, and when politicians like Tuberville and Byrne are losing, they become desperate and afraid,” Sessions stated. “Both Tuberville and Byrne have quit on themselves and their campaigns. Neither can connect with voters on the merits of their ideas. It is sad to see them both descend to such a sleazy low point.”

Sessions warned there would be a response if this activity persisted.

“If their baseless, desperate attacks continue, they will be forcefully answered,” he continued.

The former U.S. Senator maintained that Alabamians in this primary will be focused on substantive issues.

“The key issue for Alabamians is who will most effectively and forcefully fight for their conservative values and interests, such as ending illegal immigration, protecting our jobs from unfair foreign competition, defending religious freedom, and further advancing our strong Trump economy.”

Alabama Republican voters on March 3 will cast a ballot for their preference to represent them on the general election ballot in November.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

15 hours ago

Leaders, educators and students gather for Alabama’s 2nd Annual HBCU Summit

Alabama’s 2nd Annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Summit celebrated the state’s 14 HBCUs and the value they bring to higher education across our state and country. Saturday’s event, moderated by Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, was held at Miles College in Fairfield.


The event kicked off with a panel discussion titled “Women in the Lead: How Six Alabama HBCU Presidents Are Raising the Bar.” The session included comments from:

“Extraordinary panel of women in leadership positions,” Jones said afterwards. “I think they provide unique insights to this. Just an amazing group of women that come from varied backgrounds — they came from academics, but also from business, so it’s a unique perspective that is what is going on with HBCUs but also with higher education in general.”

The panelists touched on a number of topics, including ways to help more high school students and nontraditional students get enrolled, making the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) simpler to fill out, partnering with businesses to offer degrees and curriculum the businesses need and working together to elevate the communities they serve.

“That’s what we pride ourselves on is that the benefit of being an HBCU is that … you may not have these large classrooms like you have (elsewhere), but you have teachers that know your name, teachers that care,” Archie said. “We’re going to give you that pep talk when you need that pep talk and we’re going to help you achieve.”

It is that level of concern for students that stood out to Jones.

“These female leaders are so dynamic and so passionate about what they do,” Jones said. “They care so much about their students and their communities. They really represent the best of all HBCUs. HBCUs are the fabric of the communities and I think you saw that reflected here today.”

The summit also featured a career fair and an afternoon panel discussion titled “Student Voices: How Alabama HBCU Student-Leaders Are Lifting Up Their Campuses.” The panel, moderated by Jones, featured students from Miles College, Alabama A&M University, Shelton State Community College, Talladega College and Trenholm State Community College.

“Trying to educate and train the workforce of the 21st century is going to be a challenge,” Jones said. “We’re changing technologically, we’re changing demographically, we’re online — everything is moving in a different direction. Education has got to keep up with that, but also so do businesses. They’ve also got to start reaching out and develop those partnerships to not only train, but to mentor. I think you heard that today.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

16 hours ago

VIDEO: Trust in government was lost long ago, Jeff Sessions leads GOP field while Jones trails all, Birmingham’s battle over monuments and more on Alabama Politics This Week

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Is President Donald Trump causing mistrust in government or is he exploiting that lack of trust?

— With new polls out, does Jeff Sessions have the GOP race locked up and does Doug Jones even have a chance?

— Is Birmingham’s mayor boosting his profile while continuing the fight over a Confederate monument?


Jackson and Handback are joined by Secretary of State John Merrill to discuss the latest report by the Southern Poverty Law Center that claims Alabama is suppressing voters and Merrill’s willingness to take on more responsibility at the Secretary of State’s office.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at the waste of millions of dollars Alabama municipalities spend on “public notices” because of a series of outdated laws requiring publication of voter rolls and public notices in local newspapers.

Alabama Politics This Week – 2/16/20

VIDEO: Trust in government was lost long ago, Jeff Sessions leads GOP fields while Jones trails all, Birmingham's battle over monuments has no real purpose and more on Alabama Politics This Week

Posted by Yellowhammer News on Friday, February 14, 2020

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.