The Wire

  • Auburn University’s online programs ranked among the best in the nation

    Excerpt:

    According to U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best Online Program rankings released on Tuesday, Auburn University’s online graduate programs are among the best in the nation.

    The university’s online programs that received high marks include the Harbert College of Business’ MBA program at No. 9 and non-MBA, No. 13; Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, No. 12; and College of Education, No. 22

  • Marsh donates to border wall construction fund

    Excerpt:

    As a demonstration of his commitment to border security, Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston) has personally donated to an online campaign to fund the construction of a wall on America’s southern border.

    “It is obvious that we cannot rely on politicians in Washington to do their job,” Marsh said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “I have always believed that controlling our borders and our national security is of the utmost importance which is why I supported immigration reform in Alabama in 2011 and why today, I am putting my money where my mouth is and personally donating to build the wall.”

  • Brooks urges State of the Union be held in Senate chamber

    Excerpt:

    On Thursday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) and House colleagues sent a letter to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposing the president’s annual State of the Union Address be held in the Senate chamber in light of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s historic move to revoke Trump’s invitation to deliver the address.

    In the letter, Brooks and his House colleagues explained, “Holding the State of the Union in the Senate Chamber is the best way to reveal the veracity of Speaker Pelosi’s alleged once-in-history reason for [canceling] or postponing the State of the Union.”

37 mins ago

Stray dog finds love and comfort at Alabama Power plant

(Contributed/Alabama NewsCenter)

When a stray dog wandered onto the property at Alabama Power’s Plant Greene County a dozen years ago, workers there had no idea how she would end up touching them all.

They also had no idea the dog was pregnant.

The latter became apparent when she had five puppies a few days later. The former has been firmly established by those who have come to love the dog they call Pup-Pup.

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Initially, they cared for the dog expecting she would find her way back home. It was soon apparent that Pup-Pup was home.

“Little did she know she went from hell to heaven when she showed up here,” said Christopher “Critter” Glass, mechanic-welder at the plant, who gave Pup-Pup her name.

Stray dog Pup-Pup finds loving family at Alabama Power plant from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Pup-Pup’s five puppies were given to contractors and employees. Employees donated to have her fixed and she has been a fixture at the plant ever since.

“An all call will go out and everyone here pitches in for anything she needs, whether it’s food, medicine or a new bed,” said Elaine Fetzer, financial specialist at Plant Greene County.

Recently, Pup-Pup was diagnosed with kidney failure and is no longer able to stay at the plant overnight. Fetzer, who once wanted to be a veterinarian, has tapped into that calling in caring for Pup-Pup away from the plant. She takes Pup-Pup home at the end of the workday and dispenses her medicine twice a day.

“Pup-Pup’s never missed a day until all of this went down (kidney failure), so she’s taking a few vacation days, but she has earned it,” Fetzer said. “Now she is getting her weekends and holidays.”

Even before Pup-Pup’s current health problems, she has had challenges. A vet visit after she was hit by a car revealed she had been shot before her days at the plant. She has always been skittish around flashlights and flashes, possibly because she may have been shot at night when someone shined a light on her.

But at Plant Greene County, Pup-Pup gives and receives love.

The outpouring of love is tinged with sadness as her plant family fears Pup-Pup is facing her final days.

As Plant Greene County Mechanic Chris Cameron put it: “Pup-Pup’s been a great dog, never seen a dog as mighty as her.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

19 hours ago

Mo Brooks to continue key service for Tennessee Valley on House Armed Services Committee

(Jeff Poor / Yellowhammer News)

Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) announced he will again serve on the highly influential House Armed Services Committee in the 116th Congress, with increased seniority this time around.

Brooks has served on the important committee for the Huntsville area since taking office in 2011. He will also receive a second committee assignment to be revealed by the House Republican Steering Committee next week.

Among Republican members of the Armed Services committee, Brooks’ seniority has improved to 16th out of 26. His seniority among the full committee membership has officially yet to be determined, but it is expected to improve as well.

In a statement, Brooks emphasized the committee assignment’s importance to his district.

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“The military side of Redstone Arsenal employs roughly 30,000 Tennessee Valley residents,” Brooks said. “In light of the dramatic cut in Republicans on the Armed Services Committee (as we moved from majority to minority status), I am pleased my Republican colleagues chose me to continue serving on Armed Services, where my growing seniority empowers me to better protect America’s national security and promote Redstone Arsenal’s role in providing that security.”

Brooks concluded, “The Tennessee Valley is experiencing rapid economic growth in large part because of Redstone Arsenal’s reputation as a center of excellence. Quite frankly, we often do what no one else in the world can do. Recognizing this, I again successfully competed for a position on Armed Service, which annually produces the National Defense Authorization Act, the primary mechanism whereby Congress authorizes Department of Defense programs.”

Subcommittee assignments for the House Armed Service Committee will be announced in the coming weeks.

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

19 hours ago

Aderholt: ‘Abortion ends a human life, plain and simple’ – ‘Not a matter of religion vs. science’

(Screencap/APTV)

With the March for Life in full swing in Washington, D.C on Friday, Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-4) released a statement mourning “the loss of more than 60 million unborn children” since Roe v. Wade became law of the land.

Wednesday, January 22 is the 46th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on abortion.

“Today, thousands of Americans joined together to mark the 46th anniversary of a terrible moment in American history – the Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade,” Aderholt said. “Since that court ruling, we have mourned the loss of more than 60 million unborn children. We must continue to fight for these children who do not have a voice of their own.”

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The congressman added, “This is not a matter of religion vs. science. Science itself shows us that these are not just masses of tissue. I feel calling these unborn children a fetus instead of what they are, an unborn child, is simply a measure to ease guilty consciences. Science has proved that an unborn child’s heart begins beating just 18-21 days after fertilization, that an unborn child’s brainwaves can be detected just 6 weeks after fertilization, and that at 10-11 weeks after fertilization, every organ system is in place.”

“These facts add up to one conclusion, abortion ends a human life, plain and simple,” Aderholt concluded.

In the 116th Congress, Aderholt serves as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, and Related Agencies for the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

He is also a member of that committee’s Defense Subcommittee and its Agriculture Subcommittee, as well as the Helsinki Commission.

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

20 hours ago

Report: Doug Jones ‘holding the same position as Nancy Pelosi’ on border wall — ‘Dead man walking’ in 2020

(N. Pelosi, D. Jones/Flickr)

An article published by The New York Times on Friday explained that Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) is taking “the same position as Nancy Pelosi” regarding border security, despite interviews with Jones’ constituents affirming that this stance is unpopular amongst Alabamians.

The piece opens by reminding readers that Jones won in December 2017 while calling himself a “Doug Jones Democrat,” or someone who would not toe the party line.

Yet, his time in office has not necessarily seen this promise come to fruition on key votes, including Jones coming out against the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and key pro-life bills.

His voting record has even led constituents and Republican activists to accuse Jones of being more loyal to House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) than the wishes of the majority of Alabamians.

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Now, the New York Times pointed out, “Mr. Jones finds himself holding the same position as Nancy Pelosi, the liberal House speaker: Reopen the government, then negotiate on border security.”

“By taking on President Trump and the border wall, which are both popular in Alabama, and refusing to give ground on the shutdown, the senator may be the last ‘Doug Jones Democrat’ to win here anytime soon,” the article advised.

The publication then backed up this assertion with the comments of Alabama voters from diverse backgrounds, including a one-time Jones supporter.

“I voted for Jones, I did,” Ann Lynch, an 86-year-old retired schoolteacher in Huntsville, told The New York Times. “But he doesn’t support the wall. I don’t like that, of course. I think we need it. Trump knows we need it.”

Angie Gates, a restaurant owner outside of Huntsville, summarized, “If Doug Jones doesn’t support the wall, I don’t support him.”

This statement comes in spite of Gates’ family-owned business losing significant lunch business because a prison training program was shut down during the current funding standoff.

“For us, because we’re a small town, the shutdown is kind of difficult. But there’s also things in politics that may be worth doing,” she explained.

Jones siding with the Democratic Party on the hot-button issues of the day do not appear to be gaining him any extra voters in 2020.

“Senator Jones, bless his heart, he’ll be a one-term senator,” Sheila Pressnell, 61, said. “The only reason he got it was because he was up against a child predator.”

Pam McGriff, the owner of a custom interior car detailing shop in Holly Pond and a Republican, remarked, “If he would go up there and balk the Democrats, like Schumer and Pelosi, and say, ‘Hey, I think Trump is right,’ and all that kind of stuff, I wouldn’t mind splitting my ticket.”

However, her husband Wayne has seen enough out of Jones already.

“He should support what the people of Alabama want, which is the wall,” he said. “[Jones] shouldn’t be there, and next time he’ll be voted out.”

Jones is even facing pressure from the epitome of a statesman, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL).

On Friday, during a speech in Mobile, Shelby said, “I like Doug Jones. I work with him. But we need to have a Republican.”

In an interview with The New York Times, Shelby made his thoughts clear on the current impasse in partial government shutdown negotiations.

“The president is not going to blink, and he shouldn’t,” Shelby said, adding that he would tell furloughed federal workers to “get your Democrat friends to the table and negotiate with us.”

While it is perhaps unsurprising that Republicans are bucking Jones, what should concern him is the seeming lack of belief among Democrats in the state that he can win re-election, especially after the lopsided 2018 general election results in the Yellowhammer State.

During a presidential election cycle in 2020, assuming he is facing a candidate not named Roy Moore, Jones faces an uphill battle of historic proportions with the electorate and even the enthusiasm gap of his own supporters.

Former Congressman Parker Griffith (AL-5), who helped Jones in 2017 and continues to support him, admitted, “He’s a dead man walking.”

“[Jones] leaned into his base, and his base is not big enough to elect him,” Griffith concluded.

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

21 hours ago

Alabama breaks two Department of Labor records

(W. Miller/YHN)

Friday, Governor Kay Ivey announced that the state of Alabama had broken two of its Department of Labor records.

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, Alabama had the highest average weekly earnings ever from December 2017 to December 2018. Total private average weekly earnings were $857.77 in December 2018, up $46.41 from December 2017.

Ivey shared her excitement on social media and also announced that Alabama had reached the largest over-the-year percentage growth on record.

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“We reached the largest over-the-year percentage growth on record at 2.2%, representing an increase of 44,300 jobs, as well as the highest average weekly earnings ever,” Ivey wrote on Facebook.

Alabama State Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston) also reacted to the news of accelerated Alabama job growth with excitement.

“It is great to see that Alabama is outpacing the nation and breaking records for job growth. This has been one of the top priorities of the GOP Legislature over the past several years,” Marsh said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “From passing the largest tax cut in a decade to enacting responsible balanced budgeting that forced the state to live within its means, Alabama is proof that conservative pro-growth policies work. I look forward to continuing to make Alabama one of the best places in the world to do business.”

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

22 hours ago

Gary Palmer: ‘The right to life is sacred’

(G. Palmer Campaign)

With the annual March for Life taking place in the nation’s capital on Friday, Congressman Palmer (AL-6) welcomed many of his constituents arriving in Washington, D.C. to show Alabama’s support for pro-life efforts.

“I am heartened and greatly encouraged to know that many of my constituents came to Washington to peacefully stand up for the lives of unborn children,” Palmer said in a statement. “I stand with them in the belief that the right to life is sacred and that life must be protected from its earliest stages.”

The congressman also reaffirmed his opposition to the January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

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Palmer added, “The Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in favor of abortion must continue to be challenged if we are to adhere to our nation’s founding principles. The Declaration of Independence states that each person has the ‘unalienable rights’ of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ Life is the first and most basic right that makes all other rights possible. It is the prerequisite.”

“I’m grateful for those who have fought for the rights of the unborn since 1973, including so many from the Sixth District who have added their voices to the cause,” he concluded.

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

23 hours ago

‘The sanctity of human life is immeasurable’: Byrne reaffirms pro-life commitment in support for March for Life

(Rep. Byrne)

As the annual March for Life took place in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) reaffirmed his vocal support for pro-life policies and legislation in the 116th Congress, including calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, permanently ending taxpayer funding of abortions and overturning Roe v. Wade.

In a press release, Byrne emphasized his long-standing commitment to pro-life efforts. As a potential 2020 Republican challenger, this marks a stark contrast to Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL).

Byrne said, “The sanctity of human life is immeasurable.”

“Since I have been in Congress, I have consistently stood up for the unborn, and I continue to stand up for life,” Byrne continued. “I am proud hundreds of Alabamians, most of them young people, are in our nation’s capital today to stand up for life as part of the March for Life. Those who support pro-life causes support American values, allowing all the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

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“Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, nearly 61 million abortions have been carried out in the United States. That is absolutely unacceptable. I remain dedicated to doing everything I can to ensure we defund Planned Parenthood, permanently end taxpayer funding of abortion, overturn Roe, and ensure all lives are protected,” the congressman added.

Byrne has already taken several pro-life legislative actions in 2019, including:

  • Re-joined the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus;
  • Sponsored H.R. 369 –the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2019, which would place a one-year moratorium on federal funding to Planned Parenthood and increase funding to community healthcare centers that do not perform abortions but provide more comprehensive care;
  • Sponsored H.R. 490 –Heart Beat Protection Act, which bans abortion after a detectible heartbeat;
  • Sponsored H.R. 616 – the Life at Conception Act, which defines that human life begins at conception;
  • Sponsored the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which prohibits sex-selective abortions while protecting women upon whom sex-selective abortions have been performed;
  • Signed a letter to President Trump asking him to veto any funding bill that weakens pro-life protections and any bill that weakens federal policy on abortion.

RELATED: Roby: ‘I won’t stop fighting until our laws and policies protect life at every stage’

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

1 day ago

Doug Jones votes against banning federal funding of abortions, Shelby votes to ban

(Sen. Richard Shelby/Facebook)

On Thursday, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) joined his Democratic colleagues in blocking the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act,” and then potential Republican challengers to Jones’ reelection in 2020 slammed his pro-abortion vote.

The bill, which would permanently stop federal funding for abortions, was brought to the floor by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the day before the annual March for Life was set to take place in Washington, D.C. A vote to open debate on the bill failed 48-47, with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) breaking with their party to vote against the measure while Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted with Republicans.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is a cosponsor of the bill and voted “yes” on advancing to debate.

In a tweet, Shelby said he was “[p]roud to support” the bill.

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“Americans’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to fund abortions & this bill would permanently prohibit that. Let’s work together to pass legislation that protects & defends life,” Shelby added.

On the other hand, Jones voted with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), continuing his pro-abortion voting record in the Senate. With a tough reelection battle coming up, Jones was immediately faced with criticism over his latest move.

In a press release, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) said, “Today, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would permanently end taxpayer funding of abortion. I was especially disappointed that one of the votes against the pro-life bill came from Doug Jones, one of Alabama’s senators. Standing up for the unborn and opposing abortion is a core Alabama value, and today’s vote shows the urgent need for more pro-life Senators.”

“This vote was especially notable as thousands of people from across the country, including hundreds from Alabama, will march in the streets of Washington, D.C. tomorrow in support of life,” Byrne added. “As long as I am able to represent the people of Alabama, I will always fight for those who can’t fight for themselves and be a leader for pro-life policies.”

State Auditor Jim Zeigler released a statement saying that “the abortion vote shows again that Doug Jones does not represent the people of Alabama. Jones is for abortion up to the moment of birth. Alabama people are pro-life.”

The bill also would have banned Obamacare subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion and addressed subsidies to groups like Planned Parenthood indirectly supporting their abortion practices.

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

2 days ago

Gordon mayor convicted of voter fraud, removed from office

(Houston County Sheriff)

The mayor of Gordon, Alabama, has been convicted of voter fraud and removed from office.

News outlets report Elbert Melton was convicted Wednesday of unlawfully falsifying ballots when he was elected in 2016.

He defeated challenger Priscilla Wilson by a 16-vote margin.

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This conviction strips him of his office. The Gordon Town Council will appoint an interim mayor to serve until an election is held.

Melton was charged in September with absentee ballot fraud and second-degree theft of property.

Arrest warrants say he knowingly obtained or exerted unauthorized control over $1,700 that belonged to the town.

Prosecutor Mark Johnson says the judge has released Melton on bond. Melton is set to be sentenced next month on the fraud charge.

He still is facing the theft charge.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Newly installed Alabama chief justice names a director of courts

(R. Hobson)

Alabama’s chief justice on Wednesday announced that Rich Hobson will serve as his administrative director of courts, a position he held twice under former Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Hobson last year unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Martha Roby in the Republican congressional primary.

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He also managed Moore’s unsuccessful 2017 campaign for U.S. Senate, a race Moore lost after being accused of sexual misconduct — allegations he denied.

Chief Justice Tom Parker also worked for Moore before being elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2004 as an associate justice.

The director assists the chief justice, who oversees the state court system.

Parker was sworn in last week as the state’s new chief justice after winning the November election.

In a statement announcing the appointment, Parker praised Hobson both as an innovator and someone who will help keep “leftist influences” out of the state court system.

“There is no one in Alabama who knows and understands the court system better than Rich Hobson. He is an effective, efficient, and competent administrator who has hit the ground running,” Parker said.

“Like me, Rich is a strong constitutional conservative who shares my philosophy and will help me keep leftist influences out of our court system,” Parker said.

Hobson has three decades of experience in the court system.

He held a variety of jobs before becoming the director of the court system, including court referral officer and managing the judicial volunteer program and the family preservation court improvement project.

Moore twice named Hobson as his administrative director of courts.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

State Sen. Shay Shelnutt: ‘Maxine Waters needs to leave Alabama banks alone’

(M. Waters/Twitter, 60 Minutes/YouTube, S. Shelnutt/Facebook, Pixabay)

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have taken over the House Financial Services Committee, and one Alabama state senator is already pushing back on their agenda.

Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) is the incoming chairman of the Alabama Senate’s Banking and Insurance Committee, and he told Yellowhammer News that he fears the approach Waters and Ocasio-Cortez take could end up harming the Alabama banking community and the consumers who depend on it.

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“Maxine Waters and Ocasio-Cortez have no idea what it takes to build a business and take care of customers day in and day out,” said Shelnutt. “They are going to try to take sound bites that sound good to their liberal base and turn that into policy. The only thing that will end up doing is hurting our hometown banks and the families and small businesses that depend on them.”

Shelnutt sees the measures taken by President Donald Trump to loosen burdensome regulations as a good thing for Alabama’s economy.

“Our banks and small businesses finally got some relief from Trump when he got in there and cut a lot of the red tape Obama left behind,” he continued. “Now the Democrats in Congress are taking over, and they want to put the Obama restrictions back in place and maybe even worse.”

As a first-year chairman of his chamber’s banking committee, Shelnutt thinks his committee can play an important role in maintaining a sound environment for Alabama businesses.

“We have an outstanding group of senators on Banking and Insurance,” noted Shelnutt. “I feel confident we can do some things, from a policy-making standpoint, that will really help our state. We’re committed to helping consumers and small businesses, and we can do that by making sure we have healthy financial institutions.”

Shelnutt thinks there is a lot at stake and said he will continue to closely monitor what happens in Washington.

“There are banks in small communities all across Alabama that are depending on us,” he added. “I hope this is nothing more than posturing by Washington politicians. Bottom line: Maxine Waters needs to leave Alabama banks alone.”

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

2 days ago

Rogers: Missile Defense Review ‘vital’ to national defense

(M. Rogers/Facebook)

After President Donald Trump announced the release of the Missile Defense Review (MDR) from the Pentagon Thursday, Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-3) released a statement saying the MDR “lays out smart and strategic policies” vital to national defense.

“Missile defense is vital to securing our homeland, our forces abroad and our allies, and will continue to be for the for seeable future,” Rogers said. “This Missile Defense Review lays out smart and strategic policies that will guide our missile defenses and posture to counter our adversaries through an increased focus on advanced technology.”

“I am also pleased to see it builds on many of the policies we have supported in the Strategic Forces Subcommittee for the last several years and look forward to continue working with President Trump to implement these policies,” he concluded.

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Rogers served as chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee the past two Congresses. Now, in the 116th Congress, he serves as ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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

2 days ago

Marsh donates to border wall construction fund

(D. Marsh/Facebook, U.S. CBP/Flickr)

As a demonstration of his commitment to border security, Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston) has personally donated to an online campaign to fund the construction of a wall on America’s southern border.

“It is obvious that we cannot rely on politicians in Washington to do their job,” Marsh said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “I have always believed that controlling our borders and our national security is of the utmost importance which is why I supported immigration reform in Alabama in 2011 and why today, I am putting my money where my mouth is and personally donating to build the wall.”

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The state senate leader cited a distrust of the current system and its impact on Alabama as part of his decision to donate.

“As we have seen twice just this month in Alabama, our nation’s immigration system is broken,” said Marsh. “While Washington politicians bicker and accomplish nothing, our national security remains vulnerable.”

President Donald Trump’s effort to fund the border wall remains at the center of the standoff over the government shutdown, a controversy which continues to escalate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) renewed her call to cancel Trump’s State of the Union address and took the opportunity to reiterate her opposition to fortifying the country’s border.

“I’m not for a wall,” Pelosi said.

In a column recently published on Yellowhammer News, Marsh wrote pointedly of what he sees as one of the biggest obstacles to a secure border.

Excerpt as follows:

Over the past several weeks, squabbling over the border wall has filled the airwaves and newspaper pages. Washington politicians have bickered endlessly about how much our sovereignty and our security is worth, but outside of the Washington bubble the need for the wall, and an immigration system rooted in the rule of law, is clear.

Washington politicians are to blame for the massive failure. They have played politics with our national security, and the American people have suffered because of it.

The online effort to which Marsh contributed has raised millions of dollars to help fund the border wall, according to the Hill. The money raised through GoFundMe has been transferred to a non-profit corporation led by wall supporter Brian Kolfage.

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

2 days ago

Brooks urges State of the Union be held in Senate chamber

(MSNBC/YouTube)

On Thursday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) and House colleagues sent a letter to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposing the president’s annual State of the Union Address be held in the Senate chamber in light of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s historic move to revoke Trump’s invitation to deliver the address.

In the letter, Brooks and his House colleagues explained, “Holding the State of the Union in the Senate Chamber is the best way to reveal the veracity of Speaker Pelosi’s alleged once-in-history reason for [canceling] or postponing the State of the Union.”

In a press release, Brooks released the following statement:

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unprecedented and hyper-partisan move to revoke President Trump’s invitation to address the American people at the annual State of the Union address is nothing more than a childish, partisan, political stunt that undermines bipartisanship at a time America needs it the most.

It is the height of hutzpah for Speaker Pelosi to feign concern for the President’s personal security during the State of the Union Address while callously showing no concern for the thousands of Americans who die each year because of illegal aliens and America’s porous southern border. Speaker Pelosi’s conduct is nothing more than a radical, hyper-partisan and shameless attempt to appease the Democrat Party’s Socialist base and childishly embarrass the President of the United States.

Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to muffle President Trump and appease her radical, socialist, open borders base using the false claim of security concerns is shameful.

Yesterday, Speaker Pelosi’s “questionable security” claim was blown out of the water by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who stated yesterday ‘The Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union. We thank the Service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.’ What’s more, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats not only never contacted Homeland Security or the Secret Service about this “red herring” security issue, both security agencies confirm they have been preparing for months and are ‘ready’ to secure the event.

Perhaps even more absurd is Speaker Pelosi’s claim that President Trump should not address the Congress because of the shutdown even though the State of the Union invitation was issued by Speaker Pelosi to President Trump on January 3rd during the shutdown. Speaker Pelosi’s revocation justification rings hollow and crystallizes the crass political motivations behind this hyper-partisan stunt.

America faces both a crisis at our porous southern border and a federal government partial shutdown that is hurting millions of American citizens. Contrary to Speaker Pelosi’s claims, now is exactly when American people should hear from their President of the United States on these critical issues, and others, in the state of our nation.

What is Speaker Pelosi so scared about what President Trump might say? Is Speaker Pelosi fearful of the truth about the dead Americans who lose their lives every day because of Democrat policies that aid and abet illegal alien homicides and overdoses from drugs that leak into America like a sieve across our porous southern border? Does Speaker Pelosi fear that true facts and sound arguments for border security will expose the Democrats’ and national media’s hyper-political rhetoric, outright lies and deceit?

I most strongly encourage Vice-President Mike Pence, in his Constitutional capacity as the presiding officer of the Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to invite President Trump to report to the American people on the state of the union in the Senate Chamber.

While traditionally these addresses have been held in the House Chamber due to its larger size, inasmuch as House Democrats apparently do not want to hear from the President anyway, overcrowding of the Senate chamber should not be an issue. I urge President Trump, Vice-President Pence (as President of the Senate), and Leader McConnell to maintain January 29, 2019 as the date on which President Trump can address the American people from the Senate Chamber, thus putting President Trump with our first president, George Washington, who also gave his first State of the Union address in the Capitol’s Senate Chamber.

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

2 days ago

Ainsworth names Jess Skaggs deputy chief of staff

(W. Ainsworth, J. Skaggs/Facebook)

Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth on Thursday announced that Jess Skaggs, a former senior administrator with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, has been appointed to serve as his deputy chief of staff.

“As lieutenant governor, I plan for my office to be the most active and engaged in Alabama’s history, and Jess Skaggs has the experience, dedication, and energy necessary to help make that plan a reality,” Ainsworth said in a press release. “Jess has a deep desire to serve his fellow Alabamians and to make our state an even better place to live for all of its citizens. I’m happy to have him on my team as we work to provide Alabama with more jobs, better schools, and a higher standard of ethics among its elected officials.”

Prior to joining Ainsworth’s staff, Skaggs served as the deputy commissioner for external affairs in the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

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In that role, he spearheaded economic development opportunities for the department, worked with Alabama Legislature to promote the state’s agricultural economy and assisted the commissioner with public policy research and other matters.

Skaggs previously served as the delegation director for the Baldwin County Legislative Office and worked closely with the area’s two senators and five state representatives. He oversaw constituent services, drafted and researched legislation and coordinated community service grants for the delegation members.

He also worked as a legislative aide to former State Sen. Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), who chaired the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee. The bill that authorized historic improvements to Gulf State Park and the lodging options it now offers was among the measures Skaggs worked upon at Pittman’s behest.

A graduate of Montgomery’s Huntingdon College with a degree in political science and history, Skaggs has also worked on numerous political campaigns as a general consultant and fundraiser.

He and his wife, Charlanna, an attorney specializing in business law, have three daughters and one son.

Ainsworth named Judy Miller as his chief of staff in November.

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

2 days ago

Doug Jones parts with Pelosi on Trump-SOTU postponement: ‘I don’t like that idea’

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Thursday during a conference call with reporters, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) was asked to react to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) call to postpone President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address until the government was fully reopened.

Jones acknowledged his frustrations with the State of the Union for becoming a “sideshow.”

However, he said the event should go ahead despite the federal government shutdown, counter to Pelosi and other congressional Democrats.

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“I don’t like that idea,” Jones said. “I think there are certain things for the government – I think that right now, I have criticized the president for not respecting the institutions of government. Quite frankly, there are things that have to go on when you’re talking about threats. You know, the appearances are what they are. I am not in favor of that myself.”

“There will be a number of people that may disagree with that,” he continued. “But, we have to go ahead and go forward with those things that we can go forward with. Frankly, I get a little frustrated with the State of the Union, to begin with, because it has become such a sideshow to some extent. But it is still the State of the Union, and in my view, we need to go ahead and go forward with it.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

2 days ago

BioHorizons announces $2M expansion, 60 new jobs

(Biohorizons/Facebook, YouTube)

An Alabama-based company that creates dental implant products has announced a $2 million expansion that is expected to create 60 jobs.

AL.com reports BioHorizons, headquartered in Hoover, currently employs 190 people and says the new jobs will cover manufacturing, quality, distribution and research and product development openings, with the average salary projected at $50,000.

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The Hoover City Council has approved almost $60,000 in tax incentives for the expansion, which will reconfigure the building.

BioHorizons was founded in Birmingham in 1994 and has a second facility in Oceanside, California.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Former Alabama lawmaker pleads guilty in health fraud case

(Ed Henry/Facebook)

A former Alabama lawmaker best known for leading the 2017 impeachment push against then-Gov. Robert Bentley, pleaded guilty Wednesday in a health care fraud case.

Former state Rep. Ed Henry entered his plea on a charge of government property theft in a federal court in Montgomery.

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Prosecutors said medical doctors agreed to improperly waive co-pays for certain Medicare patients who enrolled in chronic-pain-management services provided by Henry’s company, MyPractice24.

Henry’s company provided monthly care-coordination calls with patients of about 20 minutes each, according to court documents.

Waiving the required co-pays meant Medicare paid for services patients possibly did not need or would have refused if they had to pay the $8 co-pay, prosecutors said.

“This is a type of health care fraud,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross said after the plea hearing.

Henry’s attorney, Max Pulliam, filed a notice last week that his client intended to plead guilty under an agreement reached with prosecutors.

The trial judge still must approve the plea and Pulliam said Wednesday that he could not comment.

Henry faces up to 10 years in prison under the criminal statute, but as part of the agreement prosecutors will ask for one of the lowest recommended sentences, and a lower fine than that allowed.

The Hartselle Republican was charged last year with paying kickbacks to doctors who referred patients to his company. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss those charges.

Henry initially denied all wrongdoing. He wrote on Facebook last year after the charges were announced that, “my goal was to help patients.”

The charge against Henry grew out of a pill-mill investigation in Montgomery.

Ross said federal investigators found evidence of the health care fraud after examining documents seized from a doctor’s office.

Henry served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018. He did not seek re-election in 2018.

He is perhaps best known in the Alabama Legislature for starting the impeachment push against Bentley.

Henry filed impeachment articles accusing Bentley of willful neglect of duty and corruption in office.

The impeachment effort was launched after Bentley’s former law enforcement secretary accused Bentley of having an affair with a staffer and of interfering with law enforcement business.

Bentley acknowledged making mistakes in his personal life but denied the other accusations.

He resigned in 2017 on the same day lawmakers opened impeachment hearings.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Hearing set for suspect in Alabama mall shooting

(CBS 42/YouTube)

A judge in Alabama has scheduled a hearing for a man charged in gunfire that sparked a fatal police shooting which set off weeks of protests near Birmingham.

A preliminary hearing is set for Thursday morning for Erron Brown, who is charged with attempted murder in a shooting that severely injured a man in a suburban shopping mall on Thanksgiving night.

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A police officer fatally shot Emantic “EJ” Bradford, Jr. moments later after seeing him with a gun.

The black man’s death sparked days of demonstrations in Hoover.

The hearing provides prosecutors a chance to lay out evidence against Brown, who was arrested in Atlanta.

The defense could try to poke holes in the case with witnesses of its own.

A judge will decide whether grand jurors hear the case.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

State Sen. Gerald Allen: ‘I certainly expect’ Alabama Memorial Preservation Act ruling to be overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court

On Wednesday, State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) told Huntsville radio’s WVNN that he “expected” a ruling issued earlier this week declaring the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act was unconstitutional to be overturned.

Allen, who originally sponsored the legislation in the Alabama Senate before it was passed and signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey, appeared on “The Jeff Poor Show” and said he anticipates Attorney General Steve Marshall and his staff to be “proactive” in seeking the new outcome.

The law was voided by Jefferson County Judge Michael Graffeo, who issued the ruling on his last day before his retirement from the bench.

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“[I] certainly expect the AG’s office and Attorney General Steve Marshall to be proactive, to file a motion and the Alabama Supreme Court to overturn this ruling of the Jefferson County judge,” Allen said to “The Jeff Poor Show.” “I do think that is going to happen and as far as the timeline, I can’t elaborate on that or talk about it because I don’t know. But I do think it is going to be very proactive.”

Allen defended the law, noting that the language never mentioned “Confederate” or “Confederacy.”

“Not one time in the piece of legislation that was written, it does not mention or refer to Confederacy or Confederates,” Allen added. “The bill is written to make sure that all of Alabama history is protected for future generations that will follow you and I, and others. It was a piece [of legislation] that was written to make sure that the complete story can be told of Alabama history on where this state has been. And certainly, history can tell you a lot about where we have been, as well as some time that wasn’t very pretty. But it is history. It is who we are and I think what is very important for all of us to keep mind is for you to able to tell your grandchildren and future generations exactly what has happened and what has taken place in this state without whitewashing or maybe removing certain things – so to be transparent, to the tell the whole story and not leave anything out.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

2 days ago

Adamsville Church of Christ takes jab at the Alabama Department of Transportation

(Baylee Rae McCormack/Facebook)

Not everyone is thrilled about the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) these days, especially in and around the city of Birmingham.

With a significant portion of I-20/59 to be closed for up to 14 months through the middle of downtown Birmingham, the Adamsville Church of Christ took a light-hearted jab at ALDOT.

As shown in a Facebook post by Baylee Rae McCormack, the Adamsville church states it is “thankful” ALDOT did not plan the way to heaven.

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🙌🏼

Posted by Baylee Rae McCormack on Wednesday, January 16, 2019

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

2 days ago

Alabama county commissioners group head: New gas tax revenue must go directly to roads — asphalt and concrete

(Twitter/ACCA)

In an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Wednesday, Association of County Commissions of Alabama executive director Sonny Brasfield reiterated his plea for the state legislature to consider raising the gas tax.

Brasfield acknowledged that transparency and accountability must be elements of any proposal.

He also argued the new revenues should be mandated solely for roads and not equipment or personnel.

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“What we heard in 2017 and we tried to be very responsive to that, and there were a number of people who during this election in the House and Senate, candidates who were not afraid to say they were in favor of infrastructure improvements, is that we said this money has got to be more transparent, and this new money has got to be more accountable,” Brasfield said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “From our association is what we’re promoting is that the county portion of this money, and I think you’ll see it handle in the state portion and city portion as well, needs to be accounted for separately from all other gas tax funds.”

“We need to ensure that money doesn’t go to salaries,” he continued. “It doesn’t go to equipment. The money goes directly on the roads in asphalt and concrete. And the response from the public has been much more positive when they know we’re not just trying to do the same old thing with this new money, that we recognize that if we’re going to ask for additional revenue, then we owe it to the voters, to the people that are going to be expecting the money out of their wallets, to ensure them the money is going to be put in a place where they can benefit from it. I think that is honestly changed the narrative on this issue.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

2 days ago

Alabama Power, local officials partner to make downtown Montgomery a ‘Smart City’

(Contributed)

Wednesday, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce along with Mayor Todd Strange, County Commission Chairman Elton Dean and Alabama Power Southern Division Vice President Leslie Sanders announced the creation of a Smart City Living Lab in downtown Montgomery.

In a press release, Alabama Power’s Sanders said, “We are proud to be a partner in this effort and leverage resources and technology that can help improve Montgomery for all residents. The benefit of reliable connectivity can be used to support a multitude of applications and ultimately deliver more for those who live in and visit Montgomery.”

The new project will feature fiber optic infrastructure, an expansion of the Open Data Portal, free public Wi-Fi in downtown areas, the conversion of street lights to LED, a public safety initiative and deployment of smart parking solutions for Alabama’s riverfront capital city, which is built on a dynamic history rooted in revolution as the center of both the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.

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“Beginning with a ‘smart’ corridor from the capital to the riverfront, we are building a smart city from the ground up – using fiber and connectivity to seamlessly integrate into the existing environment, while providing a platform for the deployment of any number of smart city solutions,” Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce chairman Willie Durham explained.

Montgomery leaders announced that the smart corridor will be formalized through the creation of the Montgomery Smart Community Alliance, a public-private partnership focused on advancing smart city initiatives in the City of Montgomery.

As part of its work, the alliance is currently coordinating a smart community strategic plan to identify community priorities and solutions that address them, with several initiatives already underway.

Ongoing initiatives include:

  • The City of Montgomery launched its Open Data Portal in January 2017 and has already deployed several internal city initiatives to streamline processes and more efficiently and transparently track resources.
  • The Montgomery Internet Exchange (MGMix) – launched through a collaboration among Montgomery County, The City of Montgomery, research universities, Maxwell Gunter Air Force Base and the new Cyber College of the Air Force – is one of only four internet exchanges in the Southeast.
  • The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce launched Phase I of the free public Wi-Fi network called “MGMWiFi” earlier this month, with plans to expand in the next few months.
  • Alabama Power is working to enhance energy infrastructure around the corridor and is also beginning the process of converting more than 22,000 street lights to LEDs to help improve public safety, increase uniformity, and create over $650,000 in savings over the next five years. Additional public safety and smart parking initiatives will follow.

Montgomery’s continued mission is to foster a business-friendly environment while understanding that a healthy mix of large and small businesses constitutes the lifeblood of the city and the River Region. The local chamber believes that a long history of trusted public-private partnership between the city, county, state and local business leadership creates an inviting business ecosystem.

“This is all about partnerships and leveraging resources to provide a sustainable, prosperous, equitable and inclusive future for all Montgomery residents. We are seeking to build a fabric of connectivity that can support a multitude of applications and services by utilizing the same communications platforms, thus creating efficiencies, saving costs, and ultimately delivering more for those living in and visiting Montgomery,” Strange advised.

Dean added, “Partnerships and shared goals have always been at the heart of Montgomery’s success, and today we again stand together and take a bold step towards a more prosperous future for our citizens.”

RELATED: Big changes coming to Montgomery in 2019

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

2 days ago

This year’s ‘Pastries with Palmer’ dates announced for Alabama’s 6th congressional district

(G. Palmer/Facebook)

On Wednesday, Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-6) announced the times for 2019 “Pastries with Palmer” meetings with constituents in his Washington, D.C. office.

“My staff and I are looking forward to welcoming many people from Alabama’s Sixth District to my office this year,” Palmer said in a press release. “We’ve been regularly hosting ‘Pastries with Palmer’ for a few years now and it always offers a unique opportunity to interact with constituents and hear from them about issues important to them.”

Palmer typically hosts “Pastries with Palmer” in his Capitol Hill office on the last Wednesday of every month’s legislative session. Meetings are a relaxed meet-and-greet time for constituents to enjoy fresh pastries and coffee with the congressman and his staff. The tradition started during Palmer’s first term in Congress and has become a favorite regular event among constituents of Alabama’s sixth congressional district.

The current dates and times for “Pastries with Palmer” as follows:

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January 30, 9:00 AM

February 27, 9:00 AM

March 27, 9:00 AM

April 11, 9:00 AM

May 22, 9:00 AM

June 26, 9:00 AM

July 25, 9:00 AM

September 25, 9:00 AM

October 30, 9:00 AM

November 20, 9:00 AM

December 11, 9:00 AM

Dates and time may vary, so it is recommended to call 202-225-4921 in advance for confirmation.

Palmer is serving as chair of the Republican Policy Committee in the newly convened 116th Congress, making him the House’s fifth highest ranking Republican.

He represents part or all of Jefferson, Shelby, Chilton, Coosa, Blount and Bibb Counties.

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