Sign up for Our Newsletter

* indicates required
3 years ago

Can’t-miss tribute to Alabama’s legendary Tuskegee Airmen planned for Veterans Day parade

The "Tuskegee Airmen" P-51C Mustang with its distinctive Red Tail (Wikimedia commons)
The “Tuskegee Airmen” P-51C Mustang with its distinctive Red Tail (Wikimedia commons)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron will perform a flyover of the Birmingham Veterans Day parade Wednesday in honor of Alabama’s legendary Tuskegee Airmen.

The Tuskegee Airmen, trained at Tuskegee University in Alabama, were the first African-American aviators in the U.S. military. Formed during WWII, the 99th Flying Squadron, which later earned the name “Red Tails” for their distinctively painted plane tails, became one of the most fearsome groups of fighters in the European theater.

In many ways the Tuskegee Airmen and their skill and bravery during WWII began the dismantling of the discrimination and segregation in which the rest of the country was still mired.

Their story was captured in the 2012 film “Red Tails,” executive produced by George Lucas and starring Cuba Gooding, Jr..

“The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II,” explains TuskegeeAirmen.org. “They proved conclusively that African Americans could fly and maintain sophisticated combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen’s achievements, together with the men and women who supported them, paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military.”

The flyover will be performed by a fully restored P-51C Mustang, the signature plane flown by the Tuskegee Airmen, and accompanied by a B-17 Flying Fortress named the Memphis Belle.

“Our P-51C Mustang is not only a fine tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, but a vehicle for us to share their inspirational legacy,” said CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader and P-51C Mustang pilot Bill Shepard. “Kids and adults can gain a greater understanding of the history of the Tuskegee Airmen, and through this may find the inspiration to reach a little higher.”

The flyover will occur during Birmingham’s Veterans Day Parade on Wednesday Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m..

The route has been adjusted slightly this year due to construction in downtown Birmingham.

taken from nationalveteransday.org
taken from nationalveteransday.org

The aircraft will also be available for up-close viewing at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport Monday November 9, and Tuesday November 10. 


58 mins ago

Marshall confirms: Clark Morris to replace Hart in leading Special Prosecutions Division

On Tuesday, Attorney General Steve Marshall officially confirmed Yellowhammer News’ reporting that Anna “Clark” Morris will lead the office’s Special Prosecutions Division.

Morris is a longtime federal prosecutor who currently serves as first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. She will officially take over the AG’s Special Prosecutions Division, which investigates public corruption and white-collar crime, on January 7.

“I am delighted that Clark Morris has agreed to lead my public corruption unit,” Marshall said in a press release. “She is universally respected throughout the law enforcement community and is the kind of hard-nosed prosecutor you want on your team. Her work ethic, professionalism, and integrity are visible to those with whom she interacts on both sides of her cases.”

Marshall continued, “Public corruption continues to be a scourge on our great state, and I am confident that the people of Alabama will be well served by Clark in this role.”

324

Marshall also highlighted that the move will boost the crucial working relationship between federal and state law enforcement and prosecutors in Alabama.

“Clark is not only highly experienced, but she also commands a strong working relationship with the U.S. Justice Department. Her addition to our office will make the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division more effective in partnering with federal law enforcement to target public corruption – a goal I have sought since I first took office in 2017,” Marshall explained.

U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin also noted that Morris’ appointment will enhance combined Federal/State efforts to combat crime in the Yellowhammer State.

“Mrs. Morris has been an incredible asset to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and her absence will be a huge loss. However, her new position at the Attorney General’s Office creates an opportunity for a partnership that we have not seen in years. Her leadership and judgment will serve the State of Alabama well, they are lucky to have her,” Franklin said.

Morris is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). She has served as an assistant United States attorney in both the Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama. In 2013, she was named first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District and has served two presidential administrations in that role. Her vast prosecutorial experience includes work in the White-Collar Crime Unit of the Middle District’s Criminal Division. Morris also served as acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District from March 2017 to November 2017.

A native of Alexander City, she is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law (JD).

The role leading the Special Prosecutions Division became vacant when controversial Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart resigned on Monday morning.

Marshall has named James Houts as the interim chief for the Special Prosecutions Division. Houts is the former chief of Criminal Appeals for the Attorney General’s Office.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Solar farm proposed in Wiregrass would be Alabama’s largest

An energy project proposed for southeast Alabama could become the state’s largest solar farm.

The Dothan Eagle reports that Houston County commissioners have approved a 10-year property tax abatement for about 1,000 acres of land selected for a huge solar array.

107

Matt Parker of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce says the move allows NextEra Energy to project its potential costs and could help land the $75 million project for the area.

Parker says solar panels would cover about 600 acres of land, with additional acreage for buffers and other facilities.

He says the solar project could begin producing power in about three years.

NextEra Energy is based in Juno Beach, Florida.

It has a large solar array in Lauderdale County that provides power to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Sign-up now for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.

3 hours ago

Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program ranked nation’s best once again

Alabama is ranked number one in the nation in something besides football, and under Governor Kay Ivey’s leadership, this type of success appears to be becoming a strong trend.

A recently released report named Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program as America’s best once again, lauding the state-funded program as the “only pre-kindergarten program in the country that comes close to having all the elements of a strong pre-k program.”

In its “Implementing 15 Essential Elements for High-Quality Pre-K: An Updated Scan of State Polices” report, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) found that Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program fully met 14 of the report’s 15 “essential elements” characterizing high-quality programs, and it partially met the 15th element, too.

Included among these benchmarks were measurements assessing a program’s leadership, early learning policies and program practices. Alabama’s performance in meeting the essential elements exceeded the national average by more than 233 percent.

606

Advocates from the Alabama School Readiness Alliance (ASRA) lauded NIEER’s latest study, pointing out that the Yellowhammer State’s adherence to high quality is one reason why ongoing research by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) shows that students who attend First Class Pre-K perform better than their peers on state reading and math assessments.

“The National Institute for Early Education Research is the foremost leader on pre-kindergarten quality and for this organization to continually find Alabama’s program among the nation’s best is a testament to state leaders,” Allison Muhlendorf, ASRA executive director, said in a press release.

She continued, “The Essential Elements report confirms that the long-term effectiveness of a pre-k program is dependent on its commitment to quality, and we are proud that Alabama continues to differentiate itself as the nation’s standard-bearer in this effort.”

Alabama also received strong marks from NIEER in May when the organization released its annual State of Preschool Yearbook. That report ranked Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program as the nation’s highest quality program for the 12th consecutive year.

The Office of School Readiness, housed within the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, administers First Class Pre-K.

“First Class Pre-K is a nationally-recognized program of excellence,” Jeana Ross, Secretary of Early Childhood Education, said in a statement after the release of the NIEER Yearbook earlier this year. “The program framework encompasses all aspects of the highest quality early learning experiences that ensure school readiness for children, and this emphasis on quality impacts student outcomes far beyond kindergarten.”

While the NIEER Yearbook examines state policies that support state-funded pre-k, the Essential Elements report reviews the environment needed for states to execute a high-quality pre-kindergarten program, as well as the degree to which states implement their policies.

There are currently 1,045 Alabama First Class Pre-K classrooms located in various public and private schools, child care centers, faith-based centers, Head Start programs and other community-based preschool settings. However, that is only enough classrooms to enroll 32 percent of four-year-olds across the state, and ASRA and state leaders want to continue increasing access to the tremendously successful program.

This spring, the Alabama Legislature approved Ivey’s request for the program’s largest-ever single-year budget increase – an extra $18.5 million for First Class Pre-K in the 2019 program budget, bringing its annual total to $96 million.

“Having a strong start to one’s educational journey is critical to having a strong finish when it comes time to enter the workforce,” Ivey said in a release at the time. “Alabama’s voluntary First Class Pre-K program is, without question, the best in the nation. I am proud that we can increase the reach of this important educational opportunity, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to further expand the availability of voluntary Pre-K.”

In 2012, ASRA’s business-led Pre-K Task Force launched a ten-year campaign to advocate for full funding for the First Class Pre-K program through incremental state funding increases. ASRA has estimated that the state would need to appropriate a total level of funding of $144 million to give every Alabama family the opportunity to enroll their four-year-old in a First Class Pre-K program voluntarily.

Ivey hosted a packed Early Childhood Education Leadership Forum last week, where the governor stressed that she wanted to see continued progress moving forward in the early stage of education, including Pre-K.

The Ivey administration has also overseen Alabama being ranked as the nation’s best for its engaged workforce, business climate and manufacturing, along with other top economic development rankings.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Sewell decries ‘voting irregularities’ in Alabama; Says first bill introduced in Dem-controlled Congress will address

SELMA — Although the focus on so-called “voting irregularities” in the midterm elections earlier this month was put on votes in neighboring Georgia and Florida, Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) spoke out on those happening here in Alabama at a town hall meeting she hosted on Monday.

Sewell spoke of voting irregularities in Huntsville earlier this month at a gathering at the Selma Interpretative Center in downtown Selma.

Despite a federal judge’s ruling earlier this month calling that claim into question, Sewell criticized how voters at Huntsville’s Oakman College and Alabama A&M were allegedly taken off the voter rolls.

342

“We all saw voting irregularities occur across this nation in this 2018 midterm elections,” she said. “We saw it in Florida. We saw it in Georgia. We saw it in Alabama. I want you to know there were historically black colleges in Huntsville where Oakwood and Alabama A&M students were taken off, purged from the voter rolls because the notice that they were given from our secretary of state went to a P.O. box at the school. Many of those students live off campus, so they didn’t respond, they didn’t receive this notification that they had to go and make sure that their names were spelled right. And they were purged from the rolls. We had to get provisional ballots and have election protection officials go to Huntsville on Election Day. That’s in Alabama.”

Sewell said it was “worse” in Georgia, where Gov.-elect Brian Kemp was “a referee and a player” as a candidate in that election, and she criticized where some voters purged from the rolls for mismatching of names in some circumstances.

The Birmingham Democrat insisted some of these irregularities may have been prevented had the U.S. Supreme Court not overturned certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision.

“What would happen is states like Georgia and Alabama would have to pre-clear any changes in voter laws – any changes,” Sewell said.

Sewell promoted her Voting Rights Advancement Act, which she said would restore some of the pre-clearance requirements.

“We have got to put the teeth back into, the enforceability back into the Voting Rights Act and that is what my bill does,” she said. “And I was told by Ms. Pelosi last week that H.R. 1, the first bill the Democrats will produce will be a bill to have democratic reform to our democracy, so we can truly be a democracy for the people – working on behalf of all the people. And my bill will be a part of H.R. 1.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

4 hours ago

Gang from Southern California attempts to take over Anniston

According to a report from ABC 33/40, Anniston is experiencing newfound gang problems, with a gang from Southern California recently descending on the Alabama town to “control this area.”

Growing concern has been building in the community, with residents noticing increased gang graffiti sprayed onto buildings in Anniston.

While Anniston police explain that a white marking that resembles the Star of David is a known gang symbol of the Gangster Disciples, a gang has been around Anniston since the early 1990’s, a new blue marking is being sprayed over the Disciples’ graffiti.

ABC 33/40 reported that this blue graffiti “is associated with another gang from Southern California and fairly new to Anniston.”

107

“If another gang comes in and crosses out that image, such as the pictures that you have, it’s a sign of disrespect, it’s a sign of saying, ‘No, you don’t control this area. We control this area,'” Captain Nick Bowles with the Anniston Police Department told the news station.

Local law enforcement also outlined that people living in areas where the gangs operate are already aware of their presence.

“It’s their next door neighbor, it’s their grandson, it’s their child that are doing these gangs,” Bowles explained.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn