3 weeks ago

‘Born again’: UAB cancer patient baptized as final wish — ‘The greatest day’

Thomas Roberts was an atheist for most of his life. However, in his final days earlier this month, he was reborn, deciding he wanted to be baptized.

According to a story posted on the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) website on Monday, Thomas specifically wanted to be fully submerged in water, per his newfound faith.

However, Roberts, dying of lung cancer, was wheelchair-bound and unable to breathe without oxygen tubes.

In stepped the incredible team at UAB to help his final wish come true.

Corey Agricola, a chaplain at UAB Hospital, and the rest of the UAB palliative care team worked the problem until they found a solution.

“It was a major effort by a lot of moving pieces and different teams to pull this off,” Agricola explained.

Roberts was a patient on the Palliative Care and Comfort Unit at UAB at the time and had only days to live. Upon learning of his special request, Agricola spoke with Roberts’ physician, Ashley Nichols, M.D., to make sure he was able to be off oxygen long enough to go under water.

Once he had her approval and knew the pool at Spain Rehabilitation Center was available, the team sprung into action.

“Dr. Nichols made it clear he would only be able to be off oxygen for a few seconds, which meant we couldn’t roll him down the ramp in the pool wheelchair, so we had to use the chairlift to place him in the pool,” Agricola advised.

Surrounded by his wife, son, two sisters, niece and nephew (and his UAB care team), Roberts was lowered into the water, where Agricola and a physical therapist were waiting for him.

“I have served in the ministry over 20 years and seven of those at UAB. This is the greatest day of my career,” Agricola emphasized to Roberts and his family at the baptism.

“Thomas, you never thought you would preach a sermon in your life; but you preached today. You made an impact on people who you do not even know,” Agricola told the patient.

After a reading of Romans 6:4-11, Roberts’ oxygen tubes were temporarily removed while Agricola held him in his arms.

“We thank God for the good and perfect gift of this day. This is one of the greatest days of your life, Thomas, because we are celebrating your new life,” Agricola told Roberts moments before he was baptized.

This was not just a huge day for Roberts, but his family as well. Their faith shown through in this toughest of times, just as Roberts’ was reborn.

“It brings me complete comfort and peace because I know where he is going now,” commented Gina Gibson, Roberts’ sister. “I don’t have to worry about it. Now there will be great joy just knowing where he is going. He is at peace. He was born again. You could see that on his face after the baptism. He was born again.”

They gave “all the glory to God” while thanking UAB for helping facilitate the incredible event.

“UAB and this team — this place was so accommodating and amazing,” said Davin Gibson, Roberts’ nephew. “You moved everything around — all of the departments worked together to make it happen. I give all the glory to God, but you guys rocked it.”

While Roberts passed away days later on September 9, he left behind one of the greatest gifts he could have given his family.

“I don’t know what could be a better gift than the feeling of peace, and that is what we have now,” shared Brooke Carr, Roberts’ niece.

View more pictures here.

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

22 mins ago

Clyde Chambliss named 2019’s ‘Outstanding Public Official’ by American Society of Civil Engineers

State Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) was recently named the 2019 Outstanding Public Official by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

ASCE’s Committee on Advancing the Profession selected Chambliss to receive the prestigious national honor for “impeccable service and dedication to the State of Alabama, as well as to the civil engineering profession and land surveying professionals.”

“Instituted in 1963, the award is made to those members of ASCE who have contributed substantially to the status of the engineering profession by meritorious public service in elective or appointive positions in civil government,” Lawren Pratt, the ASCE member who nominated Chambliss for the award, advised in a statement.

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During his tenure in the Alabama Senate, Chambliss has led the effort to reform and modernize government regulations on the engineering profession. He was first elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018.

In 2018, Chambliss helped write and pass Senate Bill 316, which required Qualification Based Selection (QBS) to be included in the State Administrative Code and added two public members to the Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors.

Brad Williams, P.E., president of the Alabama section of ASCE, praised Chambliss’ leadership.

“Senate Bill 316 led to one of the strongest QBS laws in the nation; it would not have passed without Senator Chambliss’s leadership,” Williams outlined.

Chambliss and his wife, Tara, also a civil engineer, own and operate a civil engineering firm that provides engineering services to small towns, water systems and developers in central Alabama.

“Senator Chambliss’ knowledge of our profession as a practicing Professional Engineer was instrumental in how he was able to lead meetings, mediate between parties of differing interests, and educate legislative members on the importance of QBS,” Williams added.

In accepting the award, Chambliss said that he appreciated the collaboration between legislators and professionals in the engineering field that led to the passage of SB316.

“It is such an honor to be recognized by my peers and colleagues with this award. Passage of SB316 was truly a group effort, and I appreciate the work of my engineer and surveyor peers in the development of such a great piece of legislation. I also want to thank my legislative colleagues for their support in voting for the bill, and Governor Ivey for signing it into law,” Chambliss said.

Chambliss was recently named as a member of the 2019 Yellowhammer Power & Influence 40.

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

Byrne: How do you solve a problem like Syria?

Recent developments in Syria highlight the need for the United States to revisit its broader Middle Eastern policy.

Early last week, I joined a small meeting of House Republicans for an update on Syria from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper where he discussed a phone call from President Erdogan of Turkey to President Trump.

During that call, Erdogan notified President Trump that after years of waiting at the Syrian border, Turkish troops would finally cross over. He assured that Turkey was not coming after our troops but targeting certain Kurdish factions they consider terrorists. He gave President Trump 48 hours to relocate the two dozen or so American troops stationed on the border.

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President Trump was faced with a difficult decision. Ultimately, he decided to remove American servicemembers from harm’s way to prevent a full-blown conflict with Turkey.

Turkey’s incursion into Syria is wrong and very troubling. Erdogan should never treat our president and our country the way he did on the phone call. There will be serious consequences for his behavior.

I support seeking methods of leverage with Turkey that do not endanger our troops.

After President Trump proposed harsh economic sanctions, the administration negotiated a cease-fire with Turkey. The cease-fire has been shaky at best, but it probably prevented many more deaths in the region.

This is happening in the context of a greater strategic problem in the Middle East. For at least a decade, we’ve lacked a well-defined mission. What are our interests in the Middle East? What do we do to pursue and protect those interests?

Since coming to Congress and serving on the House Armed Services Committee, I have not seen a strategic, conventional interest for the U.S. in Syria, other than destroying the ISIS caliphate.

To be sure, Kurdish forces were the largest part of the successful campaign against the caliphate, and we need to stand by them as best we can under these challenging circumstances.

But Syria is a failed state. It is bewildering the number of groups in some form of combat. With so many factions, it is often difficult to know who the good guys are. Problems between the Turks and Kurds will persist for generations, but this dispute is one of many combustible problems in the Middle East today. Just weeks ago, Iran attacked our Saudi Arabian ally.

We need to work with our allies to determine our strategic goals and how to reach them. We should continue providing assistance to our allies, including the Kurds, but progress requires buy-in from all of our allies in the region.

Turkey, as a NATO member, does currently play a role in supporting our alliance goals. Turkey is the home of an important U.S. airbase and many other critical NATO assets including U.S. nuclear weapons.

However, Turkey’s actions cast serious doubts on whether they will honor their NATO commitments going forward, and frank discussions between Trump, Erdogan and other NATO leaders are needed.

We must be tough with Turkey. I still believe strong sanctions to weaken and punish Turkey are needed, and I signed on as an original cosponsor to Liz Cheney’s resolution to impose very tough sanctions.

After the Turkish incursion, I was disappointed that the House hastily put forward a resolution condemning President Trump’s actions without knowing the full facts. The very next day, I received a classified briefing shedding more light on his tough decision. I think everyone in Congress should have access to these classified briefings to gain a fuller understanding of what happened.

Instead of attacking the president, we need to have sincere bipartisan conversations and propose concrete solutions for Syria and the Middle East. On critical national security issues, we must put America first.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. He is a 2020 candidate for the U.S. Senate.

3 hours ago

‘Shame on you’: Jones slams Trump for comparing impeachment probe to ‘lynching’

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) is urging President Donald Trump to visit the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery to see “what lynching actually looks like” after the president invoked the term when complaining about the ongoing House impeachment probe into him.

On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, “So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!”

In sharing the tweet directly, Jones commented, “No sir!”

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“No, @realdonaldtrump: this is NOT a lynching, and shame on you for invoking such a horrific act that was used as a weapon to terrorize and murder African Americans,” the senator continued.

“If you want to know what lynching actually looks like, go to [EJI] in Montgomery, Alabama,” Jones concluded.

RELATED: Jones on Trump: ‘Appears to be evidence of abuse of power’

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

3 hours ago

Jessica Taylor appears on ‘Fox & Friends’ after viral AL-02 rollout

Jessica Taylor, a Republican businesswoman and lawyer from Prattville, is off to a hot start in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02).

Taylor announced her candidacy for Alabama’s Second Congressional District on Monday by releasing an almost two-minute introductory campaign video.

That seems to be all it took for her campaign to make an early splash.

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The video quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of views on social media and received praise from popular conservative Twitter accounts and pundits. The Daily Caller even published an article initially entitled, “Did This Alabama Businesswoman Just Release The Best Campaign Ad Of The Season?”

Whether or not the ad was the “best,” it certainly has drawn serious attention to the campaign within Republican primary circles just within 24 hours.

This was evidenced by Taylor on Tuesday morning landing a prime “Fox & Friends” interview on Fox News Channel.

During the appearance, Taylor discussed why she is running to take on “The Squad” and other socialist Democrats. She also highlighted her conservative campaign platform.

“[W]e need a new generation of conservatives,” Taylor said. “Folks who can go toe to toe with people like AOC and her ‘squad’ who believe that socialism is a legitimate ideology that our nation should embrace. I’m pro-life, pro-2nd amendment, pro-wall and pro-Trump — and I won’t apologize for it!”

When asked by co-host Brian Kilmeade whether it concerns her that the socialist ideology is growing in popularity in America, Taylor responded, “Absolutely! It concerns me greatly and that’s why I’m running. That’s what this campaign is about. We have got to get back to our fundamental values. Our freedom is at stake here.”

Watch:

Other announced GOP candidates in AL-02 include former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, former Business Council of Alabama chairman Jeff Coleman, former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville).

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

5 hours ago

7 Things: Trump continues to lash out at impeachment inquiry, Rogers denied impeachment information, Schiff survives censure and more …

7. San Francisco has blacklisted Alabama

  • The 22 states on San Francisco’s blacklist all have “restrictive abortion laws,” so now city employees aren’t allowed to do official business with companies based in any of the states or travel to those states for work.
  • States like Alabama and Georgia made the list. Mayor London Breed said that this is their response to “states that put women’s health at risk and that are actively working to limit reproductive freedoms.”

6. More candidates are emerging to replace Rep. Martha Roby

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  • Jessica Taylor, attorney and businesswoman, has announced that she will be campaigning for the Second District congressional seat that’s being vacated by U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery).
  • Taylor said that she’s running “because Alabama needs a new generation of conservative leadership to take on these radical liberals.”

5. Big Luther’s involvement in the opioid lawsuits

  • As opioid manufacturers face continued pressure to settle cases involving the opioid crisis, the first of which involves $260 million for two Ohio counties, NPR has reported on the attempts by manufacturers to limit the damage.
  • There doesn’t appear to be much evidence of wrongdoing in this story, but that doesn’t seem to matter much to those who cover Alabama politics who have taken to social media to imply otherwise when all Luther Strange is doing is warning about the precedent the cases might lead to on other matters.

4. Republican policies are detrimental to labor, according to Sen. Doug Jones

  • While speaking to labor union members, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) said that the Republican candidates in the U.S. Senate election in Alabama are mainly talking about how much they support President Donald Trump, but that they need a candidate who’s “got your back.”
  • Jones also said that Trump’s policies and policies he’s supported have been detrimental to labor (he means unions) but Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan pointed out in a statement that unemployment is at a record low, especially in Alabama where “unemployment dropped to a whopping historic 3%,” adding that earnings across the state have increased.

3. Republicans fail to censure U.S. Rep. Schiff

  • U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) escaped, with ease, an attempt by Republicans to censure him over his repeated false statements with an outcome that most expected as all Democrats voted to table the resolution and all Republicans voting to move it forward.
  • Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) appeared to sum up Alabama Republicans’ thoughts by noting in a press release three separate times Schiff has misled the American people in regards to President Donald Trump, including Russia collusion, the Ukraine “whistleblower” complaint and his contacts with said whistleblower.

2. Rep. Rogers highlights how he can’t get information on the impeachment inquiry

  • U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks) has requested that U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, allow him to access the transcript from when Ambassador Kurt Volker was interviewed, as well as pointing out that Democrats’ “closed door meetings should be open to Members of Congress and the American people.”
  • Rogers wrote, “House Democrats’ continued refusal to share information or even bring a vote to the House Floor on the impeachment inquiry shows their disregard for fairness.” He also declared that he will continue to support President Donald Trump and “fight against this partisan nonsense and waste of the American People’s time.”

1. President Trump just wants to run the country

  • President Donald Trump spoke out on Monday, calling out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) specifically, saying that the only reason they want impeachment is “because it’s the only way they’re gonna win,” adding, “The president of the United States should be allowed to run the country not have to focus on this kind of crap—while at the same time, doing a great job on Syria, and Turkey and all of the other things that we’re doing.”
  • Trump has faced constant criticism his entire term, but more recently tension has grown between him and Democrats as they push an impeachment inquiry, critique his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern Syria and fight him on his suggestion to hold the 2020 G7 summit at a Trump National Doral.