The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

11 hours ago

Smiths Station celebrates two decades through new city clock

(Alabama NewsCenter/Contributed)

This June, Smiths Station will mark 20 years of incorporation, and the city is planning to celebrate the past, present and future in the most momentous way. City officials led by Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland unveiled a city clock that will honor history while looking to the future.

Nestled between Phenix City and Columbus, Georgia, Smiths Station is one of the three fastest-growing cities in Alabama, according to state officials. Incorporated in 2001, the Smiths Station community was founded in the early 1700s. It had an estimated population of 5,345 people in 2020.

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Copeland, the second mayor in city history, offered appreciation to the first administration in setting standards for Smiths Station’s successful 20-year history as a city.

“Thanks to the previous administration, former Mayor LaFaye Dellinger and the City Council that laid the groundwork, it was easy for us to build on that foundation, build the roof and with each passing administration, the building will get fancier and fancier,” he said.

Copeland went on to say, “the clock represents time set upon us and what we do in life.”

He said the city and community deserve the landmark and all that it signifies.

Melissa Gauntt, the daughter of Dellinger, expressed her gratitude to the foundation. She said of her mother’s work: “I know the time and commitment that she gave to the city in her 16 years as the mayor and even before becoming mayor in leading the efforts to incorporate the city. “It is truly befitting that this beautiful clock be representative of these deeds and is a striking addition to the front of City Hall.”

The clock is in downtown Smiths Station at 2336 Lee County Road 430. For more information about the city of Smiths Station, visit www.smithsstational.gov.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

13 hours ago

Hyundai lending cutting-edge hydrogen fuel cell SUV to Alabama State University

(David Campbell/Alabama State University)

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) will lend one of the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell sport utility vehicles, the Hyundai NEXO, to Alabama State University for an extended evaluation period.

Robert Burns, Hyundai’s vice president of Human Resources and Administration, made the announcement at a news conference April 6 joined by ASU President Quinton Ross in front of the ASU Lockhart Gym.

“This is truly a great time to be a Hornet as we celebrate the continuing partnership between Hyundai and Alabama State University,” Ross said. “Several weeks ago, Hyundai and ASU came together as the university hosted a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for the employees of Hyundai, and today we witness ASU partnering with Hyundai again as it loans us its high-technology vehicle, the NEXO, which will allow us to expose our STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students to this first-of-a-kind vehicle.”

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The Hyundai NEXO is the first hydrogen fuel cell SUV available for commercial sale in the world. It uses hydrogen to produce electricity for the vehicle’s electric power train and its only emission is water vapor. The Hyundai NEXO is available for sale only in California. Although the NEXO is not assembled at the Montgomery plant, HMMA has two Hyundai NEXOs that are part of a ride and drive program.

“The groundbreaking spirit behind the NEXO mirrors our own mission to be an innovative manufacturer of current and future mobility solutions,” Burns said. “The partnership between ASU and Hyundai began a few weeks ago with the COVID-19 vaccine clinic. The system ASU had in place was smooth, efficient and it worked well. Today, we extend that partnership with the evaluation of the Hyundai NEXO by the university. We are excited again to be working with Alabama State University.”

ASU hosted the first of two COVID-19 vaccination clinics for Hyundai employees March 26-27. ASU Health Center personnel will administer the vaccine’s second doses to them April 16-17.

“Our partnership between ASU and Hyundai has been smooth and wonderful,” said Dr. Joyce Loyd-Davis, senior director of ASU’s Health Services. “Today’s event and our April COVID-19 vaccine’s second-round injections to Hyundai’s employees is a great example of ASU and Hyundai’s relationship jelling and extending into the future.”

Montgomery County District Judge Tiffany McCord, an ASU trustee, thanked Hyundai for being a team partner with ASU. “This is yet another positive example of President Ross putting his vision of ‘CommUniversity’ into action, which is good for both Hyundai and ASU,” McCord said.

She was joined at the news conference podium by fellow trustee Delbert Madison. “Thanks to the Hyundai family, which is a major contributor to our community,” he said. “When Hyundai shows up, it shows out.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

14 hours ago

Auburn University’s Department of Animal Sciences partners with Winpak to extend shelf life of food

(Auburn University/Contributed)

Auburn University’s College of Agriculture and its Department of Animal Sciences are teaming up with global packaging manufacturer and distributor Winpak to focus on research to extend the shelf life of meat and food products.

The food product packaging research began in October 2020.

“We are grateful and excited for the unique learning opportunities that will come from utilizing a collaborative partnership,” said associate professor Jason Sawyer. “Through this partnership, Winpak and Auburn University will aid their shelf life research through the placement of a VarioVac Rollstock Packaging Machine provided by Winpak.”

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Collaborating with Winpak and working with industry leaders will not only enhance and contribute to diverse research experiences within the graduate program, but will provide undergraduate students with real-world meat and food packaging involvement, Sawyer said.

“We anticipate this project will work as the foundation to a significant relationship with Winpak, as Auburn University works in tandem with company experts to produce cutting-edge protein packaging and shelf-life solutions,” he said.

The Auburn University meat science research team goal is to provide more product value and reduce markdowns and waste at the retail counter.

Research evaluating alternative packaging of protein products can provide greater knowledge about creating safer products for consumers as a result of less microbial growth.

“Winpak is excited to partner with Auburn University on this unique opportunity,” said Tom Bonner, protein market director at Winpak and an Auburn alumnus. “Developing packaging concepts is an area where Winpak feels Auburn’s Lambert-Powell Meat Laboratory can add valuable knowledge and insight.”

Leaders in the protein industry are looking for innovative and sustainable solutions to the ever-changing demand for new packaging concepts, Bonner said.

“As Winpak continues to develop sustainable packages for the protein market, we hope this partnership will attract these industry leaders to the Lambert-Powell Meat Laboratory to conduct packaging trials and ideation sessions,” he said.

The packaging equipment at Auburn will allow for student interactions with industry leaders. The goal will be to expose students early in their pursuit of career options and facilitate better-informed students entering the workforce. The protein industry will need strong, innovative leaders to develop creative ideas to keep up with the demand for meat proteins.

“Supporting our customers and upcoming food manufacturing leaders is something we take very seriously at Winpak,” Bonner said. “We anticipate that our new collaborative relationship with Auburn University will be the spark to many unique and interesting ideas for the protein industry.”

This story originally appeared on Auburn University’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

15 hours ago

Nearly $100 million targeted for wildlife injured by 2010 oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region/Flickr)

The Deepwater Horizon Regionwide Trustee Implementation Group, which includes trustee representatives from four federal agencies and the five Gulf Coast states, is seeking public input on the first post-settlement draft restoration plan.

The regional approach exemplifies collaboration and coordination among the trustees by restoring living coastal and marine resources that migrate and live in wide geographic ranges, as well as linking projects across jurisdictions.

The plan proposes $99.6 million for 11 restoration projects across all five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, and specific locations in Mexico and on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Comments will be accepted through May 6. The trustees are hosting two public webinars with open houses for questions and answers on April 15.

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The draft restoration plan evaluates projects that would help restore living coastal and marine resources injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill through a portfolio of 11 projects:

  • Four projects ($18.6 million) to help restore sea turtles.
  • Three projects ($7.2 million) to help restore marine mammals.
  • One project ($35.8 million) to help restore and increase the resilience of oyster reefs.
  • Two projects ($31 million) to help restore birds.
  • One project ($7 million) to help restore both sea turtles and birds.

The public is encouraged to review and comment on the draft plan through May 6 by submitting comments online, by mail or during the virtual public meetings.

Information on how to submit your comments are at the latest Regionwide Restoration Area update.

During the April 15 virtual meetings, trustees will present the draft plan and take public comments. Register and learn more about the webinars and interactive open houses.

The draft plan and more information about projects, as well as fact sheets, are posted on the Gulf Spill Restoration website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

15 hours ago

Alabama’s Holocaust Day of Remembrance observance to be April 11

(Alabama NewCenter/Contributed)

American prisoner of war Roddie Edmonds stood in front of more than 1,200 fellow POWs, the commandant of a German Stalag holding a Luger to Edmonds’ head.

The day before, the commandant had demanded that all Jewish POWs among the 1,200-plus noncommissioned officers captured during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 present themselves outside their barracks the next morning. Edmonds, a master sergeant from Knoxville, Tennessee, was the group’s ranking officer. He ordered all the American POWs to stand in formation, like they did every morning.

The commandant was furious. “You can’t all be Jews!” he said. Edmonds replied, “We are all Jews here.”

That’s when the German drew his pistol and threatened to kill Edmonds. “You will order the Jews to step forward, or I will shoot you right now.”

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Edmonds told the commandant he would have to shoot all the prisoners and that after the war, which was nearing its end with Germany losing, he would be prosecuted for war crimes. The commandant about-faced and walked away. Among the POWs were 200 Jewish GIs. Edmonds’ remarkable bravery while staring down death saved their lives.

Edmonds’ son, Chris, senior pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Maryville, Tennessee, will be the featured speaker Sunday, April 11, at 2 p.m. at Alabama’s Holocaust Day of Remembrance. The annual observance of Yom HaShoah honors the memory of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, and Alabama’s survivors and their families. The event will be livestreamed. Click here to register.

Chris Edmonds recently received the Righteous Among the Nations award from Israel and Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, on behalf of his father, who died in 1985. This story’s account of Roddie Edmonds’ heroism came from the classroom version of the award-winning documentary “Footsteps of My Father,” made by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous in 2018.

Alabama’s Holocaust event is organized by the Alabama Holocaust Commission, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Birmingham Jewish Federation. The observance will include a rededication of the Anne Frank Tree in Kelly Ingram Park in downtown Birmingham.

In 2010, a group of Birmingham organizations planted a horse chestnut tree in the park to memorialize Frank, the young Jewish Holocaust victim who kept a diary of her experiences and could look out at a large horse chestnut tree in the garden as she and her family hid from the Nazis. The tree planted in Birmingham did not survive the Alabama climate. On April 11, the groups will rededicate an American beech that has replaced the horse chestnut tree.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will make a proclamation at the event and Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, will speak. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is part of the program, which includes music by violinist Niv Ashkenazi as part of the Violins of Hope, an artistic project of the restored instruments played by Jewish musicians in Holocaust camps. A candle-lighting ceremony will recognize Holocaust survivors and their families.

One of those survivors is Birmingham’s Dr. Robert May, who celebrated his 95th birthday in February. The retired OB-GYN counts himself extremely fortunate that he and his immediate family survived the Holocaust, although an aunt and uncle who helped them perished in Auschwitz.

“I have lived a long life. I’m 95 years old. It has been a fortuitous life. I have survived a disaster that happened to some of my family,” he said.

May was born in 1926 in Camberg, Germany, a small town about 50 miles from Frankfurt. He remembers playing soccer and marbles with other children in the park and living an “essentially normal” life – until Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933 when May was 7.

“I was totally isolated after Hitler came to power,” he said. “Everyone knew everyone else, and knew we were Jewish. I was an outcast. By age 9, it became impossible for a kid to have a normal life because of isolation more than any physical harm.”

May remembers the indoctrination of his classmates into the Hitler Youth and being jealous of the fancy uniforms they wore.

“One of the episodes I remember vividly, I was chased by a couple of Nazi-uniformed kids in my class. They called me a dirty Jew. I escaped by way of a little entrance into our house in the back,” he said. “I told my father about it and that I called them a dirty Nazi back. My father said, ‘Don’t do that. There’s no need to aggravate them. Just run home and get away from them but don’t call them names.’

“That was the basic attitude of the Jews at the time,” May said. “’This will pass, we’ve been through worse.’ The attitude was, people will come to their senses.”

But they didn’t.

As things got worse for May, his Aunt Emma moved with him to Frankfurt in 1936, leaving behind his parents in Camberg. They lived in an apartment owned by his wealthy Uncle Siegmund, who had escaped Germany and lived in Holland. May’s uncle paid for him to attend the Philanthropin, a Jewish school that gave him an “extraordinary” education, until Kristallnacht in November 1938.

During Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass,” German mobs of paramilitary forces and civilians attacked and damaged or destroyed thousands of businesses and synagogues, killing at least 91 Jews, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Many others died after being arrested. Some 30,000 Jewish males from 16 to 60 were sent to concentration camps.

A neighbor had warned May and his Aunt Emma to leave their apartment, which rioters ransacked. The school and synagogue he attended were torched. Soon after, May, who was 12, traveled alone to Brighton, England, under the Kindertransport program. The rescue effort by the British government fed, educated and housed thousands of refugee children, most of them Jewish. Uncle Siegmund paid for May to attend a Jewish boarding school.

May’s parents, with only two suitcases, escaped to London two days before the war started in summer 1939, awaiting a visa to travel to the United States. May, his parents and his two older brothers, who had left Germany years earlier, ended up in New Orleans in 1940, where relatives lived. Meanwhile, Germany conquered much of Europe, including Holland, where May’s Aunt Emma had joined Uncle Siegmund.

“In 1940, when Hitler invaded Belgium and Holland and defeated France, they were overrun by the Germans in Amsterdam, deported in 1942 or 1943 and were killed in Auschwitz,” May said.

Fast-forward through May’s life to now: medical school in New Orleans, two years in the Air Force, marriage, moving to Birmingham in 1953 to start a medical practice, three children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren over the course of almost a half-century as a doctor and finally, retirement. His life, he said, could have happened “only in America.”

“I’m married to a young lady that I’ve been married to 67 or 68 years. We’re still living in the same house we’ve lived in for 55 years. I have no complaints,” May said.

He paused.

“I do remember my aunt and uncle and what happened to them. Without them, I would not be here.”

Holocaust education

One of May’s children is Ann Mollengarden, education director of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center. Stories like her father’s help people understand the impact the Holocaust had at a personal level.

“The difficulty with this subject is the magnitude,” she said. “Because of the magnitude, it often becomes something that is unrelatable. So it needs to be drawn down to the individuals and to their experiences, which are really diverse.

“Instead of making it about 6 million (deaths), it’s putting a face to the events,” Mollengarden said.

With hate speech and the number of hate crimes growing and Holocaust deniers spewing their lies on the internet and social media, educating people about the Holocaust remains a critical mission of BHEC, with the goal of creating a “more just, humane and tolerant future.”

“This was a time when humanity really went awry, and it is a representative time for all groups of people as to what can go wrong when we don’t follow the norms of humanity,” Mollengarden said. “We should be studying about this and learning about this because it shows how we can go wrong, how democracy can fail, how human beings can fail, and what we are capable of doing.”

Zoe Weil, BHEC’s director of programs and outreach, notes that hate speech can lead to hate crimes and to something far worse, as events in Germany under the Third Reich proved.

“It didn’t start with the camps. It was an incremental, slow process,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons why a large population accepted it, or didn’t do as much as they should have because of those incremental laws of, oh, Jews can’t go to the park anymore. Jews can’t stay out past 7 anymore. No more Jewish businesses. Jews have to wear stars. Jews have to live in one area.”

Each of those steps, one after another, led to violence, to widespread killings and, ultimately, to state-sponsored, mass murder in concentration camps – not just 6 million Jews, but millions more people in other, targeted groups.

“That’s part of Holocaust education, learning the dangers of letting those ideas and thoughts and actions continue,” Weil said.

Not every Holocaust survivor endured the horrors of a concentration camp. Some fled, others went into hiding during the war.

“We define a survivor as anyone whose lives came under the Third Reich,” Mollengarden said.

BHEC continues working to document the stories of survivors who live or have lived in Alabama. With a founding board of directors that included Holocaust survivors, that’s one of the reasons for BHEC’s existence. “It was their hope that really spurred all of this because they want their stories to be told, and they wanted to assure that their stories would continue to be told,” Mollengarden said.

BHEC’s survivors’ archive includes more than 170 names, and Mollengarden invited the public to let BHEC know of survivors it has not documented or to provide additional information about the survivors listed. As the number of living survivors dwindles, the BHEC wants to do all it can to preserve and tell their stories – through the archive, through children of survivors telling their family’s stories, through others telling stories of survivors who have died.

“That is our goal, to continue to tell these stories because they won’t be around forever,” Mollengarden said. “These stories are so important.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

16 hours ago

State business leaders expecting economic growth

(W.Miller/YHN)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In the latest quarterly survey by researchers at The University of Alabama, business leaders in the state are feeling more encouraged about the economy than they have since the global pandemic began.

The UA Center for Business and Economic Research’s most recent Alabama Business Confidence Index shows that local business leaders have strong expectations for economic growth in the second quarter of 2021. The statewide business confidence index was 64.3, up more than eight points from the survey of the first quarter of 2021.

It’s one of the highest indexes ever and the most confident business leaders have been in the economy since the second quarter of 2019. It continues a steady recovery of confidence since the early days of the pandemic in the second quarter of 2020, when the ABCI decreased to 50.5 and business leaders were uncertain of what the coming quarter would hold for the economy.

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An index over 50 indicates a positive forecast compared to the previous quarter, and the higher the number, the more confident the forecast. The statewide and national forecasts, along with industry-specific components like sales, profits, hiring and capital expenditures comprise the six indexes that combine to make the ABCI total.

“This outlook suggests that business leaders in Alabama are ‘shaking off the pandemic,’” said Susannah Robichaux, a socioeconomic analyst for the center. “When there is a higher ABCI, it signals that business leaders are feeling optimistic about the coming quarter, which is absolutely informing their own decisions about their businesses.”

Business leaders expect to see an increase in sales, profits, hiring and expenditures in the second quarter, according to the survey.

Firms of all sizes reported especially strong confidence in growth compared to last quarter, though small firms with fewer than 20 employees had the most confidence.

In a telling sign from the survey, business leaders feel strongly they will increase hiring in the second quarter compared to the first. Only 6.5% of respondents expected to decrease hiring, and the healthcare and social assistance industry is the only one of nine industry categories that expects to possibly decrease in hiring, hinting at expectations of a possible contraction after a year of industry expansion.

Overall, business leaders are more confident in the state economy than the national outlook, but confidence in both increased from the first quarter of 2021.

The breakdown of all the industry forecasts by sector can be seen in the statewide ABCI report on CBER’s website.

In addition to the statewide ABCI report, CBER also collects ABCI data to write individual reports for Alabama’s five major metro areas. These metro reports offer insight into the forecasts for each specific region.

(Courtesy of the University of Alabama)

1 day ago

Alabama’s congressional leaders bash Biden’s proposed defense budget — ‘Talk is cheap, but defending our country is not’

(Joe Biden/Facebook)

President Joe Biden on Friday released his proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, and the leaders in Alabama’s congressional delegation are especially sounding alarm bells about Biden’s defense spending plans.

Fortunately, while the White House proposes a budget, it is up to Congress to annually fund the government, so there is still time for lawmakers to improve upon the Biden administration’s proposal. However, many legislative Democrats want a significantly smaller defense budget — potentially one that is cut by 10% year-over-year.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, will be perhaps the most powerful person in America this year when it comes to standing in the gap against gutting critical defense spending. Shelby is also the top Republican on Appropriations’ Defense subcommittee.

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Shelby, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Senate Select Committee on Intelligence vice chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senate Budget Committee ranking member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released a lengthy joint statement on Friday in reaction to the Biden budget proposal.

“President Biden recently said, ‘If we don’t get moving, [China] is going to eat our lunch.’ Today’s budget proposal signals to China that they should set the table,” the Republican Senate leaders stated. “While President Biden has prioritized spending trillions on liberal wish list priorities here at home, funding for America’s military is neglected.”

They decried, “China’s military investments match its desire to out-compete America and hold our military forces at risk. President Biden’s defense spending cut doesn’t even keep up with inflation. Meanwhile, the non-defense discretionary budget increases by almost 20 percent in this budget on top of the trillions of dollars in new non-national security programs the administration is intent on spending this year. If President Biden’s support for America’s military matched his zeal for spending at home, China would get nowhere close to overtaking us.”

“Talk is cheap, but defending our country is not,” Shelby and his colleagues concluded. “We can’t afford to fail in our constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense. To keep America strong, we must balance domestic and defense spending priorities. President Biden has said much about reaching across the aisle. Both parties should be able to agree that we must maintain America’s edge over China. We urge President Biden to work with us in a bipartisan manner to ensure that.”

Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) expressed similar concerns in a statement to Yellowhammer News. Aderholt is a senior member of the House Committee on Appropriations, a member of its Defense subcommittee and the dean of Alabama’s House delegation.

“China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are all maturing their military capabilities as fast as possible,” Aderholt commented. “Asking our Dept. of Defense to do with less money than last year, and also to engage in expensive green-energy programs, raises serious issues about whether our warfighters will have what they need when a conflict breaks out.”

While Shelby and Aderholt provide Alabama strength on the appropriations side of the equation, the state is well represented when it comes to defense authorization and policy, as well.

This includes Congressman Mike Rogers’ (AL-03) newfound service as the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).

The East Alabama congressman released a lengthy statement of his own on Friday bashing Biden’s proposed defense budget for FY22.

“The Biden administration has talked a big game towards China. Unfortunately, the release of their skinny budget today indicates it is just talk,” Rogers said.

“During his confirmation hearing, Secretary Austin acknowledged that the gap between the CCP and the United States military has ‘closed significantly’ and that ‘our goal will be to ensure that we expand that gap going forward.’ I’m not sure how that is possible when today’s budget fails to keep pace with inflation and cuts defense spending in terms of real dollars,” he lamented.

Rogers outlined, “The bipartisan, Congressionally mandated National Defense Strategy Commission recommended that ‘Congress increase the base defense budget at an average rate of three to five percent above inflation.’ That target has my full support. It also had Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks’s support when she was a commissioner and the recommendation was submitted to Congress. Unfortunately, the Biden administration is choosing to spend trillions on left wing priorities at the expense of our national defense.”

“This budget will impact our readiness, dampen our efforts to modernize our strategic weapons, limit our naval and projection forces, and prevent the latest innovations and enhancements from getting to our warfighters,” he concluded. “As I have said before, if we do not make the investments our military needs today, then we will not be able to defend our nation or our allies in the future. I hope to work with Congressional Democrats to undo the tremendous damage this budget will cause to our military.”

Another HASC member from Alabama, freshman Congressman Jerry Carl (AL-01), also made his displeasure clear with the Biden budget.

“President Biden has called for a drastic increase in domestic spending, but is putting our defense budget in danger,” stated the Coastal Alabama congressman. “The Biden Administration is all talk and no action when it comes to putting America first and strengthening our defenses. Now is the time to make critical investments in our military and ensure we have the best trained and best equipped fighting forces, rather than cutting defense spending and falling behind other global powers.”

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

1 day ago

Draper’s Apollo heritage augmenting Dynetics’ modern, sustainable HLS that could land the next humans on the moon

(Jim Bridenstine/Twitter, YHN)

NASA is expected in the coming weeks to select up to two prime contractors to continue competing to build the Human Landing System (HLS) that will eventually land the next man and the first woman on the moon through the Artemis program.

The agency last year selected three prime contractors to design a HLS: Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX.

Dynetics, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leidos, is headquartered in Huntsville, and Blue Origin’s work on the program is also being centered in the Rocket City. Of course, Marshall Space Flight Center manages the HLS program for NASA, so the program is about as Huntsville-centric as it gets.

One of the key points Blue Origin has made publicly is the legacy of its team, which the company calls the “National Team” and includes the likes of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper — three storied American defense and aerospace contractors that helped guide the famed Apollo program.

However, an underreported aspect of the competition is that Draper is also a major part of Dynetics’ HLS team.

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One of the major stated benefits of Dynetics’ HLS proposal is the sustainability of the system. The Dynetics HLS has been intentionally designed to contribute to the sustainability of the Artemis program in three main ways: reusability, extensibility and supporting the development of a lunar economy. The company believes these three building blocks are vital to the goal of a long-term, sustainable presence on the moon — as well as future human exploration to deeper space, including Mars.

However, Dynetics’ enhanced public focus on sustainability is not to say that its HLS team does not bring significant flight heritage to the table; Dynetics itself has quickly become a “‘go-to’ propulsion provider for partners in both government and industry,” and Draper’s inclusion on the team especially underscores the diverse experience and expertise of the entire Dynetics team — which is also buoyed by the likes of Sierra Nevada Corporation and Maxar.

Yellowhammer News recently spoke with Kelly Villarreal, Space Systems senior program manager and HLS lead for the Dynetics team at Draper; Pete Paceley, principal director of Civil and Commercial Space Systems at Draper and head of Draper’s Huntsville office; and Kristina Hendrix, director of communications at Dynetics.

The discussion included talks about how Draper’s expertise that first landed humans on the moon through the Apollo program is set to be used in an evolved form for Artemis.

“It’s a thrill to be a part of the Dynetics Human Lander team,” said Paceley, an alumnus of Auburn University. “Going back to the moon is a big deal for Draper.”

He explained that Draper, originally part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was named for the late Charles Stark “Doc” Draper who is known as the father of inertial navigation. He was the founder and director of MIT’s Instrumentation Laboratory, later renamed the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. That lab made the Apollo lunar landings possible through the Apollo Guidance Computer it designed for NASA as the agency’s first prime contractor for the program.

Draper — the company — was spun off a non-profit in the 1970s into the private sector.

“We like to say we’ve already landed on the moon six times — we have a rich heritage there,” advised Paceley in explaining that Draper provided the flight control computer, all of the software, and the guidance, navigation and control systems for Apollo. “And we’ve maintained that legacy… Draper brings a lot to the party.”

The company opened an office in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park in 2006, essentially right down the street from Dynetics’ base of operations.

“We’ve had a great relationship with Dynetics over the years on various programs,” Paceley noted, adding the companies have “very complementary capabilities.”

Just like it did for Apollo, Draper is bringing world-class navigation, guidance and flight control software and hardware to the Dynetics HLS team.

Villarreal reiterated Draper’s enthusiasm for being on the Dynetics HLS team and functioning as a “major contributor to the overall effort to return to the lunar surface.”

Draper’s Huntsville office, which employs about 20 people, largely works on NASA programs; another contribution Draper is making in the Rocket City is also on the Artemis program through the Marshall-managed Space Launch System (SLS). The company additionally supports the Missile Defense Agency at Redstone Arsenal and other Pentagon-driven national security work in the area.

While Draper has been there before, a major difference between Artemis and Apollo is that NASA wants to land on the lunar South Pole this time around rather than near the equator. This presents a unique and difficult challenge, which Draper is helping to solve.

“The angle of light from the Sun is very low,” Paceley outlined. “So you have a lot of shadows and dark spots. Being able to land safely is a big challenge for this program. We have to provide the capabilities to enable the astronauts landing safely, whether that’s particular sensors that we use to navigate with or with some synthetic vision to allow them to see the boulders, the craters, so they they can avoid those as the vehicle lands. The nice thing about where we are today is we did that 50 years ago on Apollo, but technology has come so much farther now in terms of computers and sensors and electronics — the solutions you can apply to that problem.”

Villarreal added, “One of the exciting things we’ve been able to provide to help visualize the tough landing situation is a lunar lander simulator that’s based at Dynetics.”

“What that does is loop in our guidance, navigation, control algorithm tied to hand controllers for users to specifically stand in the simulator and act as though they are landing the descent/ascent lander element while visually seeing a representation of the lunar surface projected up over a dome,” she said. “So it really brings home the challenges of that lighting situation.”

“Astronaut-pilots (during Apollo) like Neil Armstrong could look out the window, control the vehicle and decide where they wanted to land in a safe area,” Paceley remarked. “Now, there’s a lot more emphasis on autonomy. While the astronauts can take over and pilot the vehicle, we are putting in a lot more autonomy so that the vehicle can do much of the landing on its own — and even, if need be, could land on its own if there were not a pilot on board — and do so safely.”

Hendrix told Yellowhammer News that Draper has been great to partner with. Overall, including Draper, Dynetics in assembling its HLS team sought out “the best companies available” of all sizes.

“We’re just glad they’re a part of it,” she concluded.

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

2 days ago

Blowout in Bessemer: Alabama Amazon team members resoundingly vote against unionizing

(YHN)

In a major blow to President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and others on the national left, thousands of employees at Amazon’s state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Bessemer have overwhelmingly voted against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

The balloting began in February and wrapped up on March 31. The National Labor Relations Board then conducted a ballot-by-ballot public vote count on Thursday and Friday, which showed a blowout result against unionizing.

The “no” votes crossed the threshold needed to clinch the win at approximately 9:55 a.m. on Friday. At that point and for most of the count, the “no” votes were garnering more than 70% of ballots recorded.

RWDSU, which is based in New York, did not even wait until the vote count was halfway through on Thursday to begin questioning the integrity of the election — and thus seemingly disrespecting the vast majority of the Amazon employees’ choice not to join them. One complaint RWDSU has made revolves around a USPS-installed ballot dropbox outside of the Bessemer Amazon facility; that dropbox made it easier for employees to return their ballots, however, the union opposed its existence. RWDSU had already signaled on Thursday that they would attempt to have the election results overturned and the employees’ votes thrown out.

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Stuart Appelbaum, president of the RWDSU, on Thursday, claimed, “But make no mistake about it: This still represents an important moment for working people, and their voices will be heard.” This, of course, came as the RWDSU could be set to silence the voices of Amazon workers in Bessemer by challenging the clear-cut election results.

On Friday, after the result was certain, RWDSU confirmed it is formally filing the paperwork with the NLRB to “set aside” the election results, forcing a union on the employees even though they voted against it. Without evidence, the union claimed it was not “a free and fair election,” despite the mail-in process giving Amazon team members months instead of the normal days to participate.

Amazon throughout the unionization push process has stressed that the company’s wages and benefits are already industry-leading; the company’s “Do It Without Dues” campaign spoke to this and the potential high cost of employees having to turn over hard-earned money to union bosses.

On top of Amazon’s $15 minimum wage, the company offers industry-leading benefits to full-time employees, which include comprehensive health care from day one, 401(k) with 50% match, up to 20 weeks paid parental leave and Amazon’s innovative Career Choice program, which pre-pays 95% of tuition for courses in high-demand fields. Since the program’s launch four years ago, more than 25,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, just to name a few.

“Amazon is already about the best-paying job a non-skilled laborer can get in Alabama,” Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, told NBC News.

The quality of job offered by Amazon is especially important in Bessemer, which — per data from the Alabama Department of Labor — has consistently had the third-highest rate of unemployment among the state’s major cities.

One big winner emerging from the union vote results is U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), who publicly defended the Amazon employees against mounting public pressure from out-of-state Democratic politicians and left-wing activists.

“Alabama is a right-to-work state, which is why we have a growing economy that attracts great companies to our state. But importantly, right-to-work laws protect workers and give them the choice to form a union or not,” Tuberville previously said. “These employees in Alabama don’t need Hollywood elites or the federal government telling Alabama workers what to do.”

This rout of Sanders is akin to his humiliating defeat in last year’s Democratic presidential primary; it is also yet another public instance of the senator’s rhetoric not reaping results. Likewise, this loss for Biden is even worse than the thumping he took in the state’s 2020 general election.

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.

Amazon has released a statement regarding the union election in Bessemer.

The full statement reads as follows:

Thank you to employees at our BHM1 fulfillment center in Alabama for participating in the election. There’s been a lot of noise over the past few months, and we’re glad that your collective voices were finally heard. In the end, less than 16% of the employees at BHM1 voted to join the RWDSU union.

It’s easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true. Our employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers, and media outlets than they heard from us. And Amazon didn’t win—our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union. Our employees are the heart and soul of Amazon, and we’ve always worked hard to listen to them, take their feedback, make continuous improvements, and invest heavily to offer great pay and benefits in a safe and inclusive workplace. We’re not perfect, but we’re proud of our team and what we offer, and will keep working to get better every day.

We hope that with this election now over, there’s an opportunity to move from talk to action across the country. While our team is more than a million people around the world and we’ve created 500,000 new jobs since Covid began, we’re still a tiny fraction of the workforce. There are 40 million Americans who make less than the starting wage at Amazon, and many more who don’t get health care through their employers, and we think that should be fixed. We welcome the opportunity to sit down and share ideas with any policymaker who wants to pass laws ensuring that all workers in the U.S. are guaranteed at least $15 an hour, health care from day one, and other strong benefits. Our employees have seen tremendous benefit from what we offer and we think every American family deserves the same. We believe that we can work better together instead of against each other to pass those important laws, and we hope that’s what will happen in the months and years ahead.

In the meantime, for anyone who’s interested in meeting some members of our team and seeing what it’s like to work inside one of our buildings, we encourage you to sign up for a tour at www.amazonfctours.com. It’s an incredible operation, supported by a world-class team, and we’d love for you to see for yourself.

UPDATE 12:50 p.m.

Senator Tuberville released a statement, saying, “The folks at Amazon’s Bessemer facility made the decision they felt is best for them, their families, and their community. But the important thing is that they had the choice.”

“Alabama’s Right to Work law gives workers a choice in whether they want to unionize or not,” he continued. “It’s unfortunate to see President Biden and Democrats in Washington trying to override state laws and make forced unionization the national norm. As workers across the country and now in Bessemer have demonstrated, they value their Right to Work protections, and I’ll continue to be a strong voice for their rights in the Senate.”

UPDATE 1:00 p.m.

Katie Britt, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, released a statement.

“The workers at the Amazon facility in Bessemer have spoken,” she said. “Their vote is a testimony to the partnership between Alabama’s business community, and the working people of our state. It is the quality of our workforce that brings major international companies like Amazon to Alabama. Alabama is a Right to Work state and that status has helped attract companies that recognize that what is good for Alabama workers and their families, is also good for business.

UPDATE: 2:05 p.m.

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield released a statement on the vote.

Canfield’s statement as follows:

It’s not surprising Amazon employees in Alabama voted overwhelmingly against unionization, as the company provides world-class benefits and a safe, quality work environment. We’re proud that Amazon chose Alabama, and we are proud to be a Right-To-Work state. Alabama has an unwavering support for its workforce, just as it supports the growth of business and economic development so vital for our citizens and communities.

We respect the decision of each and every employee at Amazon’s Bessemer operation and look forward to working with Amazon to facilitate its future growth plans in Alabama. Alabama remains a very favorable destination for investment, offering high-performing companies from around the world a business-friendly, low-cost environment with a highly motived workforce, among other advantages.

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

2 days ago

Former Gov. Robert Bentley founds ‘Great State Alabama’ nonprofit to support rural, underserved areas

(Robert Bentley/Facebook, YHN)

The board of directors of Great State 2019, Inc. on Friday announced the formation of Great State Alabama (GSA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

According to a release, GSA was founded in part by former Governor Robert Bentley (R-AL), a board-certified dermatologist who continues to practice medicine in West Alabama. The organization’s website lists Bentley as its “board chairman and medical director.”

The stated purpose of the organization is “to support, advocate and drive improvement in the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalized men, women and children” in the Yellowhammer State. GSA reportedly undertakes this mission through four key program areas: rural health care; foster child scholarships; criminal justice reform; and pre-k support.

“I have always had a heart to serve the people of Alabama. Through this nonprofit organization, I can continue my service in new ways by reaching out to the individuals who need it most,” stated Bentley.

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“With this organization, we are laying a foundation which will allow us to serve thousands of Alabamians each year, continue to grow and increase our capacity for years to come,” he continued.

The new nonprofit stems from Bentley’s Great State 2019 entity, which was named after the strategic plan he announced in 2016 while governor. The mission of GSA is similar to the core tenets laid out in the Great State 2019 plan, which was “aimed at fundamentally changing Alabama, opening doors of opportunity, clearing the path to prosperity and solving decades old problems by the time Alabama celebrates its bicentennial milestone.” The strategic plan likewise had “a special focus on Alabama’s most rural and underserved areas.”

There is additional synergy between GSA and its genesis in the governor’s administration; GSA is led by executive director Daniel Sparkman, who served as press secretary to Bentley and then Governor Kay Ivey when she assumed the helm of the state.

GSA’s board of directors is composed of an additional seven individuals from a variety of professional fields, including Rebekah Caldwell Mason — the former senior advisor and communications director to Bentley when he was governor.

“It’s an honor to be able to serve the people of Alabama in this new way. All of us involved are excited about the work we have done so far, as well as the road ahead and what it will mean to so many people in our state,” Sparkman said in a statement. “We have hit the ground running and look forward to expanding our capacity in the months to come. It’s clear that when we all put our minds together for good, the possibilities are endless.”

The GSA release outlined that the first area of focus for the nonprofit is to bring health care to Alabamians who have limited access, especially those in rural parts of the state.

To assist in alleviating the disparity in regional access to health care, GSA is holding a series of Great State Rural Clinics, providing a range of completely free examinations, diagnoses and treatments. The first series of clinical offerings is skin cancer screenings, with plans to hold dermatology clinics and family medical clinics in the future. These clinics are reportedly held twice a month in rural communities across our state. In fact, the next planned clinic is a skin cancer screening to be held on Saturday, April 10, at Carrollton Baptist Church in Pickens County.

GSA noted that its current fundraising priority is to acquire a standalone mobile unit so that clinics can be held in more rural parts of Alabama.

To find out more information on the nonprofit, click here.

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

2 days ago

Republican Leigh Hulsey endorsed by Alabama Farmers Federation in HD 73

(Leigh Hulsey for State House District 73/Facebook, YHN)

The Alabama Farmers Federation on Friday announced its endorsement of Republican Leigh Hulsey in House District 73.

Hulsey is currently in a special primary runoff election against Kenneth Paschal.

The seat was vacated by former Rep. Matt Fridy’s (R-Montevallo) election to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. HD 73 represents portions of Shelby County, including Alabaster, Helena, Pelham and Montevallo.

“Leigh Hulsey is a business leader who understands the needs of the people of this district,” stated John DeLoach, Shelby County Farmers Federation president. “She is a conservative who will work hard representing the needs of our district in the Legislature.”

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Hulsey graduated from Pelham High School and received her bachelor of science from Auburn University in Human Development and Family Studies. She currently serves as president pro tempore of the Helena City Council. Hulsey has also been a small business owner and operator of CrossFit Alabaster for nine years.

“I am humbled and honored to have the endorsement of the Alabama Farmers Federation and look forward to serving them and all the people of House District 73 in the Alabama Legislature,” Hulsey commented.

Hulsey and her husband, Dennis, have three children and are members of Church of the Highlands.

The special primary runoff is slated for April 27.

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

2 days ago

Mobile-New Orleans Amtrak service could require 90% taxpayer per-passenger subsidy, warns Mobile City Councilman Joel Daves

(Pixabay)

One of the less-publicized casualties of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the termination of passenger rail service on the Gulf Coast east of New Orleans, which included stops in Mobile and Atmore before setting on to its final destination of Jacksonville, Fla.

Nearly 16 years later, Amtrak is pushing for the resumption of passenger rail to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. However, it’s not something that would happen without imposing a toll on the local infrastructure as well as a potential significant cost to the taxpayer.

During an appearance on FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Mobile City Councilman Joel Daves discussed the pitfalls of having Amtrak’s passenger rail service return to Mobile, which could threaten the flow of freight rail service in and out of the Port of Mobile.

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“When this came up, and this was a year ago, I spent a lot of time looking into it,” Daves said. “I talked to the people of the Southern Rail Commission, the Amtrak people when they came to visit, and I just came to the conclusion that there are some serious issues that have to be dealt with. And I want to start out at the beginning and say I’m not against passenger rail, but it has to come to Mobile under appropriate circumstances. The first thing that has to be done that has been in the news recently is we’ve got to figure out what the impact on the port is.”

“The Port of Mobile is the biggest driver of our economy, and there are tens of thousands of jobs in Mobile that are dependent upon that port. We wouldn’t have Austal. We wouldn’t have Thyssen-Krupp. We wouldn’t have Airbus without that port,” he continued. “And so we’ve got a very congested port, and we’ve got to figure out if passenger rail can be restored to Mobile without any significant impact to the port. And if it is going to have a significant impact — how that can be mitigated and how much it is going to cost to mitigate it.”

According to Daves, early reports of a $20 fare, which would make passenger rail competitive with bus fare between the two cities, would require a significant taxpayer subsidy, which he said could be in the realm of 90% of the overall operating cost per passenger.

“The other part of it was who is going to pay the cost of the ticket. When I started looking into it, Jeff — and these aren’t Joel Daves numbers — these are Amtrak, OK? Every time in someone gets on that train in Mobile and rides to New Orleans or the other way around, the operating cost, leaving aside all the capital — the operating cost is about $200 for that train ride,” he explained. “Now, what they were talking about doing is having about a $20 ticket. The rider would pay $20, and the taxpayer would pay $180 every time someone got on that train. I asked — when the Amtrak people were here — I asked, and they said, ‘Well, you know public rail is subsidized all over the country.’ That’s true. It is. But I asked them to name me one train in this country that they knew of that the subsidy — where there was anything close to a 90% subsidy. They couldn’t name that.”

“My two preconditions are: Let’s make sure there’s no impact to the port, and let’s make sure the people who are actually going to ride the train pay most of the expense of operating the train,” Daves added.

@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.

2 days ago

Alabama COVID cases down 94% in last three months; Hospitalizations down 90%

(Pixabay, YHN)

Alabama’s coronavirus numbers have shown incredible improvement from their dangerous highs in early January, and the state is hitting some important pandemic safety benchmarks for the first time.

The Yellowhammer State has averaged 196 new cases each day for the last week, down 94% from the average of 3,080 new cases per day on the week ending January 11.

Alabama’s hospitals had 317 coronavirus patients on Thursday, down roughly 90% from the capacity-threatening peak of 3,084 on January 11.

“Thank the good lord we’re in the home stretch,” Governor Kay Ivey said of the pandemic on Wednesday.

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Alabama’s average of new cases and number of hospitalizations are noted as they appear on BamaTracker, a website that collects and graphs the coronavirus data provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

New coronavirus cases in Alabama. Clicking image opens an interactive chart in a new tab. (BamaTracker)

A new coronavirus case is one confirmed in a laboratory setting with a PCR test. New cases ascertained via rapid tests and other methods of detection are listed as “probable” cases by the Alabama Department of Public Health. When including probable cases, Alabama’s average of new cases rises to 293 per day over the last week.

Alabama’s new case numbers have continued to fall in recent weeks even as a number of states in the Northeast and Sun Belt regions of the country have seen upticks in their case counts.

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Alabama. Clicking image opens an interactive chart in a new tab.(BamaTracker)

According to Alabama’s State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, around 10% of new COVID-19 cases end up needing care in the hospital.

RELATED: Ivey follows through on ending mask mandate, issues order keeping some precautions in place

Especially encouraging to experts, including Harris, is that the percentage of coronavirus tests performed in the last two weeks that have come back positive is now below 5%.

Experts believe that for a pandemic to be considered under control, the positivity rate needs to be between 1% and 5%.

This week is the first time Alabama has come in under the 5% test positivity threshold since the pandemic began in the spring of 2020.

Alabama’s death toll from the virus now stands at 10,675

The current week marks the first time period when all Alabamians have been eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccines.

RELATED: How to find your nearest COVID-19 vaccine provider in Alabama

Alabama is approaching two million doses administered of the vaccine products.

As of Thursday afternoon, 1,243,006 Alabamians have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose in Alabama, equivalent to roughly 25% of the state’s population.

While Alabama’s overall vaccination numbers still trail behind other states, Harris has relayed that this is because of a slow and messy rollout. Alabama’s top doctor informed reporters this week that over the last two months Alabama has been vaccinating citizens at a rate commensurate with its neighbors.

A total of 739,566 people in Alabama are now considered “fully vaccinated,” a status conferred two weeks after receiving one’s final dose of the vaccine.

You can contact Henry Thornton on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 days ago

Alabama congressional Republicans take shots at Biden’s unilateral gun control actions

(Joe Biden/Facebook)

Republican members of Alabama’s congressional delegation are denouncing President Joe Biden’s recent executive orders on gun control.

Biden on Thursday unveiled his slate of executive actions, which took the form of four instructions to the Department of Justice and the appointment of gun control activist David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Chipman was an ATF agent for 25 years before joining the Giffords gun control advocacy group as a senior advisor.

“Today President Biden made official what we’ve known for a while: Democrats are set on dismantling the Second Amendment,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks). “From appointing anti-gun enthusiasts to ATF to trying to strip elderly Americans of their gun rights, the undermining of our Constitution by Democrats seems to have no end.”

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“President Biden’s executive actions today do two things: appease the far left and infringe upon our Second Amendment right to bear arms,” remarked U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville).

He added, “Extreme gun control legislation isn’t the answer to stopping gun violence. Look at the cities in America with the most severe gun laws and you’ll see that those same cities have the highest violent crime rates in the country.”

“Today at the White House, Joe Biden demonstrated his embarrassingly poor grasp of the Second Amendment and causes of gun violence in America,” said U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville). “Gun owners are overwhelmingly law-abiding, safety conscious citizens who responsibly exercise their Second Amendment Rights. Yet, Biden seeks to bit-by-bit strip us of our rights.”

U.S. Rep Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) said in a statement to Yellowhammer News, “The 2nd Amendment is clear – the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The freshmen member of Congress derided recent gun control bills pushed by House Democrats and added, “[N]ow President Biden is further trampling the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans with his proposed gun-grabbing executive orders. I’ll continue fighting any attempts by Democrats to strip law-abiding Americans of their constitutional rights.”

A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) told Yellowhammer that the representative “is strongly opposed to these executive orders, which will do nothing to reduce crime and represent an end run around the people’s elected representatives who are unwilling to pass this President’s anti-second amendment agenda.”

UPDATE 5:55 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (AL-02) released a statement, saying, “While a humanitarian crisis of his own making rages on at the southern border, President Biden has made the deeply misguided decision to continue eroding our Constitution through executive orders that will infringe on law-abiding citizens’ rights with the stroke of a pen. This comes from the head of a party that fought Republican efforts to amend H.R. 8 to prevent illegal immigrants from acquiring firearms. The message Biden and the Democrats are sending is clear: the American people come last.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 days ago

Two Alabamians named to Bassmaster high school All-American team

(Bassmaster/Contributed, YHN)

Two up-and-coming anglers from Alabama have been selected as 2021 members of the prestigious Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team, it was announced this week.

The 12-member team is presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors and selected by a panel of judges consisting of representatives from the sportfishing industry, media and conservation groups.

“For seven years, the Bassmaster High School All-American program has identified and honored some of the most accomplished student athletes in the country,” stated Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “We’ve seen past members go on to decorated college fishing careers and even compete in the iconic Bassmaster Classic, and know that this group of 12 outstanding All-Americans is equally as talented. We appreciate Academy Sports + Outdoors for partnering with B.A.S.S. to recognize these athletes’ fishing skills and commitment to academics, conservation and community service.”

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Tournament résumés, conservation efforts, community service activities and recommendations from school officials and coaches reportedly go into the final selection process.

“Congratulations to our newest Bassmaster High School All-Americans,” said Hank Weldon, senior manager of the B.A.S.S. high school program. “Our program is exclusive to only the most well-rounded and driven high school anglers, and each of these 12 young anglers and their parents should be proud of this accomplishment. I am looking forward to honoring their achievements at the Neely Henry Elite in May.”

The 2021 All-American team has been invited to participate in an exclusive Bassmaster High School All-American Tournament, which will be held in conjunction with the 2021 Bassmaster Elite at Neely Henry Lake, scheduled to take place May 6-9 in Gadsden. Each All-American angler will be paired with an Elite Series pro for the one-day derby to be held on a nearby fishery.

The two Alabamians selected to this year’s high school team are Alexis Grandstaff and Hayden Marbut.

Grandstaff, a senior at Headland High School, amassed an impressive two wins in the 2020 tournament season as well as 10 top five finishes and 10 top 20 finishes. She is a two-time Bassmaster High School National Championship Qualifier (2019 and 2021) as well as the recipient of two Big Fish Awards at Lake Wedowee and Lake Eufaula.

“She has proven herself a fierce competitor in the field of high school bass fishing,” commented Shannon V. Smith, Headland’s bass team head coach. “She has continuously excelled in her academics and leadership roles. She has been a trusted friend and Bass Team member to many. All of these qualities and more are what make Alexis Grandstaff a top candidate for the Top 12 Bassmaster High School All-American.”

Marbut, a senior at Vestavia High School, joins the ranks of the 2021 Bassmaster High School All-American team after netting two first-place finishes in the past 12 months, including winning the 2020 Bassmaster High School National Championship against a 250-plus boat field. He has also racked up seven top-5 finishes and nine top-20 finishes.

“In my field, I have met many hardworking, determined, motivated, energetic and intelligent students,” remarked Curtis Gossett, Briarwood Christian School fishing coach. “However, I have never met one as humble, confident and deserving as Hayden Marbut. I can say, undoubtedly, that Hayden will not only succeed in his pursuit of his fishing goals, but in his pursuit of an education and in life as well.”

Marbut plans to fish on the collegiate level for Auburn University.

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

2 days ago

Alabama Workforce Council commends new rule requiring FAFSA completion to graduate from high school

(Alabama Workforce Council/Screenshot)

The Alabama Workforce Council expressed its strong approval on Thursday of a new state rule that requires high school seniors to complete their Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) before graduating.

The rule was approved by the Alabama State Board of Education (ALBOE) at its meeting on Thursday. The policy was supported by Governor Kay Ivey and is intended to push more students into getting college degrees and workforce credentials.

Six members of the ALBOE voted to approve the measure while three voted against it.

“This change will help more Alabamians get assistance they need for workforce training and prepare for a career pathway in a good-paying job,” said Tim McCartney, chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council, in a release.

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The Alabama Workforce Council is made up of prominent individuals from the Yellowhammer State’s private sector. The council says its goal “is to facilitate collaboration between government and industry to help Alabama develop a sustainable, top-notch workforce that is competitive on a global scale.”

Students completing their FAFSA are alerted to their eligibility for financial help with college, such as the possibility of receiving Pell Grants or qualifying for a federal work-study program.

Alabama high school seniors graduating in the spring of 2022 will be the first required to complete their FAFSA before graduating.

“Federal Pell Grants are a key part of Alabama’s workforce development as more than 36 percent of these grants are awarded for certificate and associate degree programs,” noted McCartney.

“Yet in Alabama, $47 million in Pell Grants go unclaimed by students each year because they didn’t apply,” McCartney continued. “Think of how much Alabama would benefit from an additional $47 million invested into job training and education.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 days ago

Alabama House gives final passage to bill establishing lifetime concealed carry permits

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday sent a bill to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk that would establish the Alabama Uniform Concealed Carry Permit Act.

The legislation would standardize the process statewide for the issuance of concealed carry permits. Right now, this process — including fees and forms involved — varies county-by-county.

SB 308 would notably create a lifetime concealed carry permit, which would cost a uniform $300 upon issuance.

The bill passed the House in a bipartisan 69-18 vote after a couple of hours of debate. House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville), for example, was a “yay” vote. Those voting in opposition were from both parties as well; some Republicans prefer a “constitutional carry” policy instead of requiring the issuance of concealed carry permits.

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Key highlights of the bill include:

Pistol permits would be standardized at one year, five years, or lifetime;

The cost of one or five year permits would be determined by local law. If there is no law on the subject, $25 per year or $300 for lifetime, or $150 for lifetime if the applicant over 60 years of age;

A database to be generated by ALEA listing all persons ineligible to possess a firearm by state and federal law;

And the courts would be required to forward any conviction or court order that would render one ineligible for firearm possession to ALEA for entry into the database.

The legislation was sponsored in the respective chambers by Sen. Randy Price (R-Opelika) and Rep. Proncey Robertson (R-Mount Hope). SB 308 passed the Senate last week after multiple years of negotiations involving stakeholders — mainly the law enforcement community and the NRA.

Under the bill, no fee would be charged when issuing a lifetime carry permit to a service member, a retired or honorably discharged military veteran, a law enforcement officer, or an honorably retired law enforcement officer.

Thursday was the 21st day of the legislature’s 2021 regular session.

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

2 days ago

$800K grant awarded to help ‘Alabama’s sparkling Gulf Coast’ tourism rebound from pandemic

(City of Orange Beach/Facebook)

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) on Thursday awarded $800,000 via a CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau to develop and implement a tourism recovery marketing campaign in response to the economic downturn that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This grant will also be matched with $200,000 in local investment, according to an EDA release.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, as well as the unincorporated area of Fort Morgan. The organization proudly showcases the gems that are Alabama’s Gulf beaches — a major source of tourism and revenue not just for the local area but for the state as a whole.

“This investment will fund a strategic, multi-faceted marketing campaign designed to attract visitors to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, resulting in continuous economic growth and job creation,” stated Dennis Alvord, acting assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

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The investment will reportedly fund a series of marketing strategies, including identification of the most productive consumer markets and areas of opportunity, research into the most lucrative advertising platforms and the development of appropriate messaging.

“Alabama’s sparkling Gulf Coast is one of the many reasons that our state is a premiere destination to spend time with family or friends,” said Governor Kay Ivey in a statement. “COVID-19 has brought on challenging times for tourism around the globe, and I am excited to see this grant supporting our Coast safely welcome back visitors. Alabama is a place where southern hospitality, good food and beautiful places are abound, and we invite everyone to come enjoy all that our Coast offers.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

“COVID was disastrous for the tourism industry and Alabama’s Gulf Coast was not spared,” concluded U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL). “As travel begins to pick back up, these funds will be used to help to draw visitors back to Alabama beaches and generate much needed revenue for local communities.”

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

2 days ago

Senate unanimously passes bill to ban vaccine passports being mandated in Alabama

(Pixabay, YHN)

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) to protect Alabamians from a mandate that would require individuals to present a COVID-19 vaccine passport to receive services and goods from a governmental or private entity.

The Senate bipartisanly voted 30-0 to pass SB 267 as substituted.

The bill would prohibit the issuance of vaccine passports by state and local governmental entities; prohibit governmental entities from requiring an individual to receive an immunization as a condition for government benefits or services; and prohibit businesses from refusing service to an individual based on that individual’s immunization status.

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The original version of the bill would have prevented local governments from compelling vaccinations, and the legislation would also have allowed religious and other exemptions to any state laws mandating vaccinations. However, those aspects were replaced in the substitute version, which only deals with vaccine passports and not vaccines themselves.

“Any demand by the government to require individuals to carry proof of COVID-19 vaccination strips them of the right to make basic choices for themselves and their families,” stated Orr. “The implementation of a mandatory vaccine passport is a direct infringement upon the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

“A vaccine passport system would give the government access to our private health information and would enable them to restrict our personal liberty and our ability to move around freely,” he added. “Say you decide not to take the COVID-19 vaccine and you want to go to the Iron Bowl this fall. With a vaccine passport system in place, you would be required to present your government-issued passport on your mobile device in order to enter the stadium. Without that passport, you would be denied entry to the game.”

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

“I applaud all who are involved in the creation and distribution of the various vaccines we now have to protect against COVID-19, and I am certainly glad that they are so readily available to Alabamians who may choose to receive one,” concluded Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Sheffield), a medical doctor. “However, individuals and families should be able to use their own discretion and make their own choices when it comes to being vaccinated; we cannot make those choices for anyone but ourselves.”

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

3 days ago

Raytheon announces $500M corporate responsibility initiative — ‘We’re improving the communities where we live and work, especially in Huntsville’

(Raytheon Missiles & Defense/Facebook)

Raytheon Technologies on Wednesday announced Connect Up, a 10-year, $500 million corporate responsibility initiative intended to drive generational positive impact related to critical societal challenges.

A release from the company advised that this focused philanthropy expands upon and elevates Raytheon’s legacy of community investment through lifelong learning, veteran and military family support, and localized community engagement.

Raytheon, one of America’s top defense contractors, has a large presence in Huntsville, including the company’s highly automated Missile Integration Facility on Redstone Arsenal. Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have also based their joint Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) program headquarters in the Rocket City.

“The measure of business success must include community growth,” stated Greg Hayes, CEO of Raytheon Technologies.

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“The Connect Up program leverages our global reach, the expertise and passion of more than 180,000 employees, a heritage of era-defining engineering and technology ingenuity, with a track record of solving some of society’s biggest challenges,” he continued. “Through focused investments, volunteer commitment and strategic partnerships, we will create lasting, multi-generational impact in education opportunity, armed services support and local community relief.”

Connect Up reportedly combines philanthropic capital, public/private partnership and employee volunteerism to support underserved communities by:

  • Advancing lifelong learning, with a focus on providing access to STEM education to underrepresented communities — particularly communities of color — by partnering with groups like National Academy Foundation, SMASH and Girls Who Code.
  • Honoring public service by helping military personnel and their families advance education goals and supporting post-service transition to the civilian workforce with key partners including Student Veterans of America, American Corporate Partners and The Mission Continues.
  • Driving local community impact with organizations such as Feeding America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America that address social welfare to create a more equitable future.

In addition to philanthropy, employee volunteerism is central to the mission of Connect Up, and Raytheon this week launched an enterprise-wide employee volunteer initiative to provide opportunities for employees to connect with and give back to their communities. The company will challenge its employees to unlock the power of connections through 1 million acts of service in 2021, starting with the launch of its first-ever Global Month of Service in April.

Raytheon head of global corporate social responsibility Randy Bumps said in a statement to Yellowhammer News, “Through strategic investments in organizations serving military families, educational attainment and an array of social welfare needs, we’re improving the communities where we live and work, especially in Huntsville. And, through skills-based volunteerism, our employees are making a lasting impact on the lives of our neighbors everywhere we do business.”

RELATED: Raytheon engineers in Huntsville are tackling some of the world’s toughest problems while keeping Americans safe, free

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

3 days ago

Medical marijuana bill advanced by first of two House committees

(Pixabay, YHN)

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House Judiciary Committee advanced Alabama’s closely watched medical marijuana bill on Wednesday after multiple hours of discussion and numerous amendments.

The bill, SB 46, passed the Alabama Senate in the third week of February. The legislation’s sponsor, Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), is bringing a medical marijuana bill for the third year in a row.

SB 46 now heads to the House Health Committee. While it is unusual for a bill to undergo two committee hearings in one chamber, Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) has maintained that the extra scrutiny is appropriate for an issue as sensitive as medical marijuana.

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On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee ultimately approved 10 amendments to SB 46. Reps. Ben Robbins (R-Sylacauga) and David Faulkner (R-Mountain Brook) each respectively sponsored a number of amendments.

Melson said after the committee adjourned that he largely appreciated their efforts, especially those designed to increase transparency.

The committee meeting included an emotional moment from Rep. Allen Farley (R-McCalla). The representative, who spent decades in law enforcement before his election, detailed that in the recent past he had to care for his elderly mother as she fell into ill health. He relayed that his mother eventually needed to be placed in a memory care unit before passing away.

Farley said he supported the bill because he believed medicinal cannabis might be able to improve the lives of Alabama’s senior citizens by lessening the pain that people like his mother are forced to endure.

“I really appreciated Representative Farley making those comments. The whole vision changes when you’ve got a family member that you’ve experienced problems with,” Melson told reporters.

All votes on the bill and its amendments in the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday were conducted via voice, making an exact appraisal of which members voted in favor impossible. Yellowhammer News was able to discern that at least two members of the committee voted against approving the bill.

“There are some individuals you saw today that are supportive that probably surprised you,” noted Melson about the committee, which is primarily composed of lawyers and former law enforcement officials.

Going forward, Melson told reporters that he feels his legislation has “got a good chance” to advance through the Health Committee, where he expects the bill will get a hearing next week.

With regards to the bill’s fate after that, he said, “[W]e’ll just see what happens.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

3 days ago

What Alabamians need to know about the latest activity on Goat Hill — April 8, 2021

(State of Alabama)

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Legislature met for the 20th day of its 2021 regular session.

Several important committee meetings were also held.

Here’s a rundown of the day’s proceedings:

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Alabama Senate

The upper chamber’s day began with the Senate Judiciary Committee giving a favorable report to Rep. Jeremy Gray’s (D-Opelika) HB 246, which would legalize yoga in public schools. The committee also advanced, among others, HB 404, which is sponsored by Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette).

A couple hours later, Health gave a favorable report to Rep. Ginny Shaver’s (R-Leesburg) HB 237, the born-alive abortion bill.

Banking and Insurance advanced a substitute version of Sen. Tom Butler’s (R-Madison) SB 227, which was torn apart in a public hearing last month. The preponderance of the cost-drivers in the original version of the bill have been taken out of the substitute, allowing the legislation to move.

The Senate gaveled in at 2:30 p.m. and took up a two-bill calendar of SB 320 and SB 319. Sponsored by Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville), this legislation would legalize and implement a lottery in Alabama; SB 320 is the enabling bill, while SB 319 would propose a constitutional amendment.

A committee substitute for SB 320 was adopted, as well as seven floor amendments; after all that, SB 320 passed in a 30-2 vote.

However, the constitutional amendment was always the trickier part. After adopting a committee substitute for SB 319, the Senate carried the bill over at McClendon’s request and then adjourned for the day. Multiple senators had expressed concerns during the afternoon’s debate, including about the legislation not addressing other forms of gaming.

McClendon told reporters after adjournment that he decided to live to fight another day on SB 319 because he was not confident enough in the current vote count. He said he expected amendments to be made to SB 319 when it hits the floor again, including the potential of casino gaming being added. While SB 319 could come back up as soon as Thursday, McClendon did not expect that to be the case.

View the Senate’s full daily activity here.

Alabama House

The lower chamber’s committee day also got off to a quick start.

Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections met at 9:30 a.m. and took up HB 500, which was Rep. Becky Nordgren’s (R-Gadsden) second attempt this session to pass a bill allowing the legislature to call itself into a special session. After some confusion on the initial vote count, it was declared that the bill failed to advance due to a tie vote; when another supporter of the bill got to the committee meeting afterwards, an attempt to reconsider was made but that vote also failed.

Later in the day, House Education Policy held respective public hearings on HBs 9, 440 and 559.

HB 9 would ban Chinese Confucius Institutes on Alabama public school campuses; HB 440 would eliminate the usage of curriculum standards commonly known as the Common Core State Standards; and HB 559 would better allow contributors to Alabama Accountability Act scholarship granting organizations to be able to claim corresponding state tax credits. No votes were taken on these three bills on Wednesday.

In a long Judiciary meeting, the committee ultimately gave a favorable report on a voice vote to SB 46, Sen. Tim Melson’s (R-Florence) medical marijuana bill. This came after Judiciary tacked 10 amendments onto the legislation. The bill now heads to the Health Committee.

Finally, Public Safety and Homeland Security favorably recommended Sen. Randy Price’s (R-Opelika) SB 308, which would create the Alabama Uniform Concealed Carry Permit Act.

The House gaveled in at 4:00 p.m. and met for more than six hours, taking up a 10-minute calendar of relatively non-controversial bills.

View the lower chamber’s full daily activity here.

Looking ahead

The legislature on Thursday will meet for the 21st day of the session.

The Senate gavels in at 10:30 a.m., while the House will convene at 10:00 a.m.

One committee meeting to watch before that will be Senate Tourism at 9:00 a.m., with HB 437 — the direct wine shipment bill by Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) — on the agenda. The committee was scheduled to take this up on Wednesday, however final negotiations were still ongoing between stakeholders.

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

3 days ago

Sarah Huckabee Sanders holding Birmingham fundraiser on April 14

(Sarah Huckabee Sanders/Facebook, YHN)

Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders will hold a fundraiser in Birmingham, Alabama, on Wednesday, April 14.

Sanders, a Republican, served as press secretary to then-President Donald J. Trump from July 2017 until July 2019. Trump has endorsed her campaign.

Also the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Sanders recently penned the best-selling book, “Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House.”

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Her Birmingham fundraiser next week will be hosted at The Club, with multiple donation levels from $500 person to $5,600 per person being available.

In her campaign announcement video, Sanders earnestly recounted her time serving the former president and explained that she has “been tested under fire, successfully managing one crisis after another” in what she described as “one of the most difficult, high-pressure jobs in all of government.”

“I took on the media, the radical left and their cancel culture, and I won,” she said.

An invitation for the event can be accessed here.

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

3 days ago

SAIC awarded $4.4 billion in Army contracts, with work to be done in Huntsville

(SAIC/Facebook)

The U.S. Army has awarded two contracts totaling about $4.4 billion to Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC).

The company on Wednesday announced one $3.6 billion contract to continue providing engineering services supporting hardware-in-the-loop (HWIL) and modeling and simulation development for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Aviation & Missile Center (DEVCOM AvMC), Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration (S3I) Directorate.

This award is an eight-year contract, with a possible six-month extension. SAIC said most of the work on the contract will occur in Huntsville, Alabama. The contract is under the General Services Administration’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) professional services contract, which is managed by the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal.

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“As a premier employer within Huntsville, we are privileged to continue our decades of support locally through our work with the Army. With this latest contract award, we have won four major S3I Directorate and DEVCOM AvMCs programs, ensuring that SAIC, along with our many teammates and small business partners, continues to grow and invigorate the local economy,” stated Gabe Camarillo, senior vice president of SAIC’s Army Business Unit. “We look forward to working with our teammates in extending our support to Army aviation modernization in the Huntsville area for years to come.”

On this contract, SAIC will reportedly lead a team of subcontractors and small businesses working as suppliers, primarily based in Huntsville.

“Our small business allies bring a wide array of unique core competencies and specialties areas, such as systems engineering and integration, software development, testing and life cycle support, avionics architecture, embedded diagnostics, gaming software, mission command software and aviation and missile systems domain expertise,” commented Rita Brooks, director of SAIC’s Small Business Program. “SAIC and our teammates – of all sizes – employ thousands of full-time professionals in Huntsville and we are proud of our growing footprint.”

Secondly, SAIC was awarded a separate contract worth approximately $800 million to continue providing engineering and professional support services to the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, DEVCOM AvMC and S3I Directorate.

This contract will see work geographically dispersed with government operations located at Redstone Arsenal; Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado; and the Pacific Warfare Center located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

“This new work expands upon SAIC’s rich history of providing engineering and professional services in this area of the Army for several decades,” said Bob Genter, SAIC president of Defense and Civilian Sector. “We are honored to continue our work with the Army as the new primary provider for the S3I Modeling & Simulation Systems Engineering contract and we look forward to developing and bringing new and emerging technologies to the Army.”

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