6 months ago

Birmingham Restaurant Week Winter Edition seeks to support local restaurants

To help combat the difficulties restaurants are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Birmingham Restaurant Week is holding its annual Winter Edition to highlight and support local restaurants. The event, which will be held January 14–31, will showcase more than 40 restaurants offering special menus for takeout or socially distanced in-person dining. Prefixed two- or three-course menus range from $5–50 and include breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The event is a spinoff of the original Birmingham Restaurant Week (BRW), held each summer.

2020 was a hard year for the hospitality industry. Restaurants had to pivot their business models and deal with dine-in restrictions or lockdowns that forced many to close. According to the National Restaurant Association, one in six restaurants, representing close to 100,000 units, have closed either permanently or long-term. In Alabama, the leisure and hospitality industry has accounted for 49% of all jobs lost since March. This puts the state’s $9 billion restaurant economy at a severe risk as more than 75% of Alabama’s 8,620 eating and drinking locations are in danger of closing permanently amidst the ongoing pandemic.

After the 2020 summer BRW — held August 14–31 — statistics showed a 54% average increase in sales for participants vs. during recent non-BRW weeks. Tortugas Pizza, a first-time BRW participant, saw a 125% increase in sales during BRW vs. a recent non-BRW week.

Only locally owned businesses are allowed to participate in BRW, as nearly 65% of the revenue from local independent restaurants recirculates in the local economy (compared to about 30% for chains). During summer BRW, pandemic restrictions allowed restaurants to incorporate new additions, such as family-style meal options, cocktail kits, and to-go alcohol. The standard 10-day event was increased to 18 days, therefore allowing more days for patrons to partake and more opportunity for incoming sales for participating businesses.

In addition to the economic benefits, BRW also has raised more than $75,000 for local nonprofits in its 11 years of existence. Organizers donated $2,500 to the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama (CFBCA) after BRW 2020 to help aid in its mission to end hunger tomorrow.

Before and after BRW, you can support local restaurants by ordering takeout, purchasing gift cards, and lobbying for the Restaurants Act, which if passed will generate $1.8 billion economic benefit for Alabama.

Julia Sayers Gokhale is a writer and editor who has been working in the lifestyle journalism industry since 2012. She was Editor in Chief of Birmingham Magazine for five years and is now leading Yellowhammer News’ lifestyle content. Find her on Instagram at @juliasayers or email her at julia@yellowhammernews.com.

3 hours ago

Joia M. Johnson appointed to Regions board of directors

Regions has added Joia M. Johnson to its board of directors, according to a release from the company.

Johnson will serve on the boards of Regions Financial Corp. and its subsidiary, Regions Bank, beginning on July 20.

She arrives at her new responsibilities having recently retired as chief administrative officer, general counsel and corporate secretary for Hanesbrands Inc., a leading apparel manufacturer and marketer.

Charles McCrary, chairman of the Regions Financial Corp. and Regions Bank Boards, believes Johnson’s experience will be a valuable addition to the board.

“Joia’s leadership experience, both at the corporate level and in various board roles, will add greater depth and insights to the Regions Board of Directors as we advance policies and strategies to benefit our customers, associates, communities, and shareholders,” McCrary explained.

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Johnson added that she sees that experience as an asset in assisting the company achieve its vision for growth.

“I believe the breadth of my corporate experience and civic engagement will complement the additional experience and skills reflected throughout Regions’ current directors,” she stated. “As the company focuses not just on continuous improvement but also on long-term, sustainable growth, I am thrilled to become a part of building on Regions’ history of success – while also defining a very bright future for the organization and the people and communities we serve.”

McCrary also noted the alignment between Johnson’s unique skill set and the company’s mission.

“The Regions mission is to make life better for the people we serve, and we accomplish that mission by creating shared value for all of our stakeholders,” he remarked. “With her passion for strong governance and strategic community engagement, Joia will help us build on our progress and reach new heights in the years to come.”

After receiving an undergraduate degree from Duke University, Johnson earned a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Johnson’s financial services experience includes on the board of Global Payments Inc., a Fortune 500 payments technology company and eight years as a board member for Crawford & Company, which specializes in insurance claims administration.

Upon her installment, Johnson will serve on Regions’ 13-member board which will consist of 12 independent outside directors.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

4 hours ago

State Rep. Oliver: Combatting Critical Race Theory in Alabama is ‘the way we stand up to woke-ism’

Republicans have made taking on so-called Critical Race Theory a priority in recent weeks claiming such philosophies are an effort to undermine cultural norms and indoctrinate in a way that benefits the Democratic Party.

Florida, Arkansas, Idaho and Oklahoma have banned the theory from their public school classrooms. Many would like to see Alabama follow suit, and there have been bills filed for the legislature’s 2022 regular session to do as much. One of those bills is being brought by State Rep. Ed Oliver (R-Dadeville), who takes it beyond the classroom and applies restrictions throughout state government.

Oliver discussed the bill during Tuesday’s broadcast of “The Jeff Poor Show” on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5.

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“[I]’ve got a bill that’s fairly unique, and we expect it to go through the state government committee,” he said. “My bill actually covers any state agency, its contractors and subcontractors, to include schools. We felt like it was important to address this issue with a holistic approach.”

“The first thing is deciding what you don’t want taught,” Oliver continued. “That’s the most important piece. And I would like to say, this bill, it absolutely describes what we don’t want taught — it doesn’t mean that you can’t teach inclusion or diversity. It means you can’t teach some things as fact and then we’re not going to teach our kids that one sex or race is better than another. And in a nutshell, that is the crux of it.”

The Tallapoosa County lawmaker said his effort could serve as a bulwark against a creeping effort to indoctrinate.

“[I]t’s the way we stand up to woke-ism,” Oliver declared. “If we’re ever going to draw a line in the sand, Critical Race Theory is it. I say that not because I’m the smartest guy in the world or this is something I’ve thought all my life, but I’ve got a child that goes to a major university in the state. And I am absolutely appalled by what I’ve witnessed there the last three years with my child. If you don’t think universities are indoctrinating your kids, everybody needs to wake up.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

5 hours ago

Manufacture Alabama backs Ainsworth for reelection

As Alabama maintains its status among the top states in the nation for manufacturing, the industry’s dedicated trade association has made its choice for lieutenant governor.

Manufacture Alabama has given its full support to Will Ainsworth in his bid for reelection to the office, according to a release from the group.

George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama, cited Ainsworth’s background in manufacturing and knowledge of its key issues in announcing the endorsement.

“Manufacture Alabama is endorsing Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth for reelection due to his commitment to maintaining a business-friendly environment in Alabama,” Clark said. “Lieutenant Governor Ainsworth grew up in the manufacturing industry and understands firsthand that our members are the backbone of the state and nation’s economy. He is a friend to our association and a tireless advocate for manufacturers across Alabama. In his leadership role, it is clear that he is dedicated to serving his home state with enthusiasm and integrity. We are proud to give him our full endorsement for the reelection of Lieutenant Governor.”

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Ainsworth, who has now picked up a string of endorsements from trade associations, believes the state’s successes in manufacturing are something that can continue.

“I am proud to have the endorsement of Manufacture Alabama,” he stated. “Our tremendous manufacturers are sources of good-paying 21st century jobs for hardworking Alabamians, and the goods and materials they produce are integral across a broad range of sectors. Alabama is open for business, and I’m firmly committed to making our state the workforce engine of the Southeast so we can continue to grow jobs through expansion and recruitment. Working together, I am confident we will build an even stronger Alabama for our children and our children’s children.”

The manufacturing industry employs more than 250,000 people in Alabama, a figure which makes up a double-digit percentage of the state’s workforce.

Ainsworth announced his reelection campaign earlier this month.

Since that time, he has received the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association, the Petroleum and Convenience Marketers Association and U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

RELATED: Lt. Gov. Ainsworth: Huntsville preferred location for Space Command ‘based on merit and based on policies’

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

5 hours ago

7 Things: ‘For the People Act’ goes down, Trump Jr. coming to Alabama, America won’t hit vaccination goal and more …

7. Critical Race Theory debate rages on

  • The American media and their Democrats are caught in an odd space on Critical Race Theory where they are attempting to defend it while also pretending that those that have a problem with it are creating a problem where there is none.
  • In Loudon County, Virginia, a school board meeting erupted into chaos when 200+ people showed up to speak against the issue and the school board voted to end the public comment section of the evening. Parents proceeded to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” refused to leave, police declared the event an unlawful assembly, and two people we arrested after a scuffle with police.

6. Coal miners on strike go to Wall Street

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  • Some of the coal miners that have been on strike in Alabama traveled up to Wall Street to continue their protest. This protest is planned to continue as contract negotiations have stalled, according to the United Mine Workers of America president Cecil Roberts.
  • The protests will take place outside of BlackRock Fund Advisors, State Street Global Advisors and Renaissance Technologies. When this strike started, it involved over 1,100 workers at Warrior Met Coal. It has continued since April 1.

5. Ivey is visiting East Brewton after Claudette

  • Tropical Storm Claudette left behind significant damage in East Brewton, and Governor Kay Ivey is visiting the area today to see the damage for herself. Some of her visits will include W.S. Neal High School, Virginia Street and a mobile home park.
  • Ivey is expected to hold a press briefing at the Escambia County Fire and Rescue during her visit. Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace and East Brewton Mayor Terry Clark will meet with the governor, as well. There were 14 people killed due to the storm and at least 20 people injured.

4. Marshall: End federal funding for abortions

  • In a letter to Congress, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has urged lawmakers to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions, mentioning that those who disagree with abortions being forced to still pay for them is “unconscionable.”
  • Advocating for the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer-funded abortions, Marshall said “it has saved the lives of millions of unborn children—saving 2.13 million lives in its first forty years alone, and saving over 60,000 lives per year today.” Marshall also said that the Biden administration’s “decision here is merely the most recent illustration of its having lost all sense of accountability to the taxpayer.”

3. Nearly 70% of adults vaccinated

  • President Joe Biden previously set a goal of having 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus by July 4, 2021, and now, recent data shows that 70% of people 30-years and older have received at least their first dose of the vaccine.
  • Overall, the goal of 70% of all adults partially vaccinated by July 4 will be missed, with projections showing that those 27-years and older won’t reach that percentage until after the holiday. The White House has said this is due to a reporting delay. Currently, 150 million people have been fully vaccinated.

2. Donald Trump, Jr. is coming to Huntsville

  • In July, Donald Trump, Jr. will make an appearance in Huntsville as he headlines the Tennessee Valley Hunting & Fishing Expo. He is expected to take part in two Q&A sessions. Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth will be moderating one session.
  • Former Trump administration official Cliff Sims will moderate the other Q&A session. Most of the discussion will be about Trump’s hunting experience, but he is expected to also discuss Second Amendment rights.

1. Democratic federal takeover of election bill fails

  • The media and their Democrats are licking their wounds after their “ambitious” voting rights legislation failed to overcome the 60-vote threshold to move the bill forward. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) exposed the Democrats’ ploy to repackage their bill as common-sense proposals to be as disingenuous as the name of the bill, the “For the People Act.” McConnell also ripped into his colleagues, saying, “These same rotten proposals have sometimes been called a massive overhaul for a broken democracy, sometimes just a modest package of tweaks for a democracy that’s working perfectly and sometimes a response to state actions, which this bill actually predates by many years but whatever label Democrats slap on the bill, the substance remains the same.”
  • Democrats knew this was doomed from the get-go, and they set this vote up to pressure U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) to blow up the filibuster so they can pass other radical leftist legislation.

6 hours ago

Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry ‘Bubba’ Underwood to seek seat in State House of Representatives

Earlier this week, State Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) announced his bid for the State Auditor post on the ballot in 2022. With the seat’s current occupant, State Auditor Jim Zeigler, term-limited, the position could be the most competitive on the statewide November 2022 ballot.

Sorrell, a freshman in the Alabama House of Representatives, will give up his House District 3, which spans Colbert, Lawrence and Lauderdale Counties, including Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and a small portion of downtown Florence.

On Tuesday, Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry “Bubba” Underwood announced he would seek the GOP nod for that seat.

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“My experience as Mayor has given me an opportunity to see what more needs to be done for Northwest Alabama,” Underwood said in a statement. “And the opportunity to do more while serving and representing the citizens of District 3 would be a great honor.”

Underwood, an accountant and owner of a CPA firm in downtown Tuscumbia, has been in practice since 2004.

“My experiences working in municipal government and being a small business owner will be a useful tool at the statehouse,” he added. “I’ll make sure folks in our district know they have a strong voice in Montgomery.”

The district could be one of the few swing districts remaining in Alabama. In 2018, Sorrell defeated Democrat Chad Young by five points, just under 1,000 votes out of nearly 18,000 votes cast. Prior to Sorrell, the seat was held by Marcel Black, a Democrat who had been in the office since 1990.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.