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.

6 hours ago

Alabama Democratic Party chair: Trump and ‘a lot of folks’ in Alabama are ‘racist’ — ‘I guess we all are to a little extent’

(Screenshot/APTV)

On Friday’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Alabama Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy Worley reacted to tweets from President Donald Trump attacking “The Squad,” made up of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Some deemed the attack “racist,” to which Worley concurred. Worley argued such rhetoric was part of Trump’s appeal in the South.

“Well, Don, you know he is very strong in the South,” Worley said. “Southerners like big talkers, little doers. That’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin. And Trump’s good at talking. I don’t think he’s been a particularly good president at all, but he’s good at talking.”

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“And he can go out and say outrageous things, and it captures the attention of a lot of southerners, and others in the country – not just in the South. But I think when he says things to these four women, all who have been elected by their constituents to Congress, and he tells them if they don’t like something, just go home – well, their home is here,” she continued. “Their home is right here in the country. Maybe their families immigrated here, but we’re all the products of immigrants – I mean, every single one of us unless you can trace your lines back to some very long ago Native Americans, we’re all immigrants. So, if you start telling everybody in America to go home, you’ll clean out the country because there won’t be many Native Americans. It will be an empty country. I think it was wrong for him to say that to women who were elected by their constituents. He probably wouldn’t have said that to four men.”

“And that’s just interesting that people will say things to females who are elected that they won’t say to males,” Worley added. “I do think it is deplorable of the President to criticize four women who were elected by their constituents. You may not agree with them. You may not like how they dress. You may not like what they say. But you should respect their office. As much as I don’t like the President of the United States, I respect that office.”

Worley went on to call Trump “a racist” but said that was not unlike “a lot of folks” in Alabama, and she caveated that by saying “we all” are racist to an extent.

“There’s no doubt – he benefits when he race-baits, you know?” Worley added. “And he’s racist. But there are a lot of folks right here in Alabama who are racist. I guess we all are to a little extent because we see things from our perspective – whatever race we are, we see it from our perspective. But in his case, I think he does it knowingly because he simply gathers more support in the South and in Rust Belt areas and other parts of the country. I think it’s economic in many cases because they say, ‘Oh, those immigrants are coming in and getting my job.’ They base it on their pocketbooks. But they really just don’t like someone who looks differently from them. And I think it is most unfortunate that the President of the United States would stoop to those kinds of tactics. But it works for him in the South. He’s obviously trying to shore up his base here.”

@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.

8 hours ago

Roy Moore on 2020 US Senate race: ‘A different race,’ ‘I don’t think it will be as notable, vicious’

(Screenshot/APTV)

One of the concerns of many regarding the 2020 U.S. Senate race is with the presence of former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore as a candidate, the competition will draw media scrutiny from all over the country.

On the eve of Moore’s announcement, national outlets sent reporters to be in Montgomery for his rollout.

However, in an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Saturday, Moore said to host Shannon Moore that he did not think 2020 would be a repeat of the “vicious” 2017 contest given all of the other election campaigns that will be underway at the same time.

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“I think it’s a different race,” Moore said on the “Politics and Moore” show. “I think it’s different because that was a special election. There weren’t other races going on across the country. There are hundreds of races going on across the country. Of course, you’ve got your presidents. You’ve got how many contenders for the Democratic [nomination]. There’s a lot going on that wasn’t going on then. I don’t think it will be as notable, as vicious. I mention Project Birmingham — things like that probably won’t occur because there are so many other races. Project Birmingham was a disinformation campaign, as you know, by some Democratic gurus and billionaire Reid Hoffman and George Soros, to stop my candidacy. And it was 80-something Republicans. So, I don’t think that will go on.”

@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.

9 hours ago

Alabama-based Apprenticeship Readiness Program graduates first students

(Meg McKinney/Contributed)

Hard work pays off. That was a lesson learned by participants of the Central Alabama Building Trades’ Apprenticeship Readiness Program (ARP) hosted by Jefferson State Community College. The first Alabama-based ARP program had a 92% graduation rate, surpassing national benchmarks and preparing the students for the workforce of the future.

Over an eight-week period, students received hands-on training and educational services, introducing them to union crafts and the construction industry before they select a specific career trade.

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North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) sponsors ARPs, which are designed to prepare residents, particularly those from underrepresented communities and transitioning veterans, for registered Building Trade apprenticeship programs. These programs develop plumbers, electricians, ironworkers and other skilled professionals who propel growth in the state.

In celebration of the students’ accomplishment, a graduation ceremony was held in June at Alabama Power corporate headquarters in Birmingham. Participants and their families were in attendance, along with leaders of the local business community and higher education and national union leadership.

NABTU Secretary-Treasurer Brent Booker praised the graduates for their drive and completion of the program.

“What you’ve put into this is what you’ll get out of it. Through the Apprenticeship Readiness Program, you’ve changed your life. You’ve changed the next generation of your family and you’ve changed the economic trajectory of where you’re going. Stay on that track,” Booker said, challenging the graduates.

“We are pleased to have our first graduating class of Birmingham and plan to offer future ARPs in Alabama,” said Brandon Bishop, NABTU Southern representative.

Potential students interested in the next class starting in July should contact Terry Davis, ARP coordinator, at trdavis@centurytel.net by July 15.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

10 hours ago

Auburn professor pens new book on Neil Armstrong, travels globe to discuss ‘First Man’

James Hansen, professor emeritus at Auburn University and author of “First Man,” is releasing a second book in October, “Dear Neil Armstrong: Letters to the First Man from All Mankind.

AUBURN — James Hansen vividly recalls how the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon brought Americans and the world together. Five decades later, the author of “First Man”—the only authorized biography of Neil Armstrong—is continuing to tell the story of that unifying moment in history by giving talks around the globe and through a new book that’s set to launch in October.

“I’m putting the finishing touches on a book that is going to be published with selected letters to Neil Armstrong,” said Hansen, professor emeritus at Auburn University, of the upcoming book titled “Dear Neil Armstrong: Letters to the First Man from All Mankind.”

Through letters written by people all over the world to Armstrong, Hansen said readers can learn more about the astronaut who was the first to step foot on the moon.

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“What’s interesting about this book is what we can learn from reading the types of letters that were written to Armstrong not just immediately after Apollo 11 but for the rest of his life,” Hansen said

Hansen said nostalgia for the moon landing is high, especially with this weekend’s 50-year anniversary of Armstrong taking his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” And this week, that excitement can even be seen in Langholm, Scotland—where Hansen was invited to attend celebratory events surrounding the big moment in history. The location has a unique connection to Armstrong as it’s his ancestral town.

“Neil went there in 1972 to great fanfare and enjoyed himself a lot, so I thought that would maybe be the most unique and interesting place to actually be on the day of the anniversary itself,” Hansen said.

After Hansen wraps up his stay in Scotland, he will then focus not only on his new book, but also in exploring a documentary on moon rocks, many of which have gone missing over the years.

“From six [moon] landings, something like 850 pounds of moon rocks were brought back and deposited in what was known as the Lunar Receiving Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston,” he said.

Many of the rocks are still there, while a number of them were parceled out to researchers and lunar scientists around the world.

NASA recently announced that it would be unsealing some of the samples that have been preserved since the Apollo missions. Hansen said in the early 1970s, when the rocks were being brought back, NASA chose to seal some of the rocks so that future generations, with access to better technology and instrumentation than was available then, could study the rocks.

Hansen said he believes the rocks will continue to be parceled out over time as better technology comes available or another mission to the moon brings back more rocks.

“Until that happens, these are pretty precious commodities,” he said. “You need to save some of them for future scientific generations.”

Each story surrounding Apollo 11 has always held a fascination for Hansen, who remembers the day history was made.

It was on a summer Sunday between James Hansen’s junior and senior years of high school when Armstrong took his first steps on the moon. Hansen was gathered in the living room of his family’s home watching it on one of only two televisions in the house.

“The landing took place itself in the mid-to-late afternoon, depending on your time zone,” he said. “I was watching a baseball game, and actually the baseball games were recognizing it and everyone stood up at one point and prayed for the Apollo astronauts and then when it was announced that they landed, it was on the scoreboard and they stopped the game and everyone applauded.”

As the landing neared, he and his family turned to CBS, where Walter Cronkite was covering the event. It was well before the days of VCRs and DVRs, so the only way Hansen could capture what was happening on the screen was to take a picture of it with his Polaroid camera.

“That was important memorabilia and a lot of people did that. The moon walk itself took place about three hours after they landed. That was in the early evening and lasted until late in the evening. I was old enough that I didn’t have to have special permission from my parents to stay up and watch it all but a lot of smaller children did and I’ve heard a lot of stories from people over the years about where they were and how their parents let them stay up or they woke them up in time to hear Neil Armstrong say, ‘One small step,’” he recalled.

And while nostalgia is high today about the moon landing and how it unified the world in a shared monumental accomplishment, the historian in Hansen also recalls how the lead up to the landing wasn’t always met with full public support.

“They look back at nostalgia to this era when the moon landings happened and just sort of assumed that the American public, which was footing the bill because this was a U.S. federal government project, that the public was overwhelming in support of the moon landing program,” he said.

Hansen said that while the American public supported space programs on the whole, they weren’t demanding that moon landings take place.

“It was really the politicians within the context of the Cold War and the race with the Soviets in space that drove the project, and then the American people just kind of went along with it and didn’t oppose it too actively,” he said. “But, when they were polled, they didn’t seem too supportive.”

Even today, Hansen said there still are those who ask him if the landing really happened.

“We just can’t get past that,” Hansen said. “For some reason, there are people who just question it. I think everybody likes a good conspiracy theory but the evidence for the moon landing having been real is so tremendously overweighing anything that’s questionable. It’s a little upsetting but as a historian I find it interesting that people continue to believe or disbelieve things that are clearly believable or unbelievable.”

He said many people think we only went to the moon one time.

“There were actually six missions, Apollo 11-17,” he said. “There would have been seven landings if Apollo 13 had not had its emergency.”

When a malfunction in an oxygen tank on the service module exploded, Apollo 13’s crew was fortunate to make it back to Earth, but the lunar landing did not happen on that mission.

“If you’re questioning, ‘Did the moon landings actually happen?’ it’s not just questioning one, it’s questioning six of them,” he said.

Hansen is on his own mission to tell the story of what did happen and through his books and talks he is doing all he can to keep that moment in history alive.

“I feel a responsibility to the story and to Armstrong and to historical accuracy,” he said.

(Courtesy Auburn University)

10 hours ago

Alabama tech president: Apollo 11 landing gave father his final wish

(NASA/Twitter)

HUNTSVILLE — The successful landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon 50 years ago to the day is famously known as a “giant leap for mankind.” However, to one Alabamian, it meant the world.

Speaking at the Apollo 11 50th anniversary dinner at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center on Tuesday, the anniversary of the launch which was powered by an Alabama-built Saturn V rocket, Teledyne Brown Engineering President Jan Hess shared the emotional story of how much the historic mission’s culmination meant to her and her family.

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Hess, a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact, now leads the very Huntsville firm that was the first high-tech company established in the city in the 1950’s to help Dr. Wernher von Braun build the Redstone Rocket, the first large American ballistic missile.

Noting the company’s early work with von Braun, Hess said, “They too believed the impossible was possible.”

She and her eight siblings grew up in the Rocket City, and Hess remembers the Space Race vividly, saying she “grew up hearing amazing things happening at [Redstone] Arsenal.”

“My dad’s excitement about man landing on the Moon was contagious,” she told the crowd on Tuesday. “So much so, that I wrote a series of books — five pages [each], very large print — about an astronaut named ‘Jerry,’ who first visited the Moon and then every planet. I was seven years old. But you see how a seed can be planted. And then another. And then another.”

One of the questions that all speakers were encouraged to answer was where they were when man landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969 at 2:17 p.m. CST.

Hess explained why she would never forget the answer to this question for two intertwined reasons.

“I believe my recall is close to perfect,” she emphasized.

“I was ten-years old, and I was watching the landing on TV with my father and my mother and some of my siblings,” Hess recounted. “It was perfectly quiet in the room, except for my mother’s voice, recounting to my father what was being shown and said on TV. Her voice was steady but conveyed the significance of what was occurring. You see, we were in my father’s hospital room. So, although we didn’t know it, he was within hours of the end of his battle with cancer. And he met one of his missions — and that was living to see man land on the Moon.”

“So, I want to salute and thank the men and women who worked tirelessly over 50 years ago, [who made that moment possible and inspired future generations and space exploration],” Hess concluded.

You can relive the golden anniversary of Apollo 11 in real-time here.

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

13 hours ago

Auto supplier Motus Integrated Technologies chooses Alabama for new plant

(Made in Alabama/Contributed)

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Governor Kay Ivey announced that Motus Integrated Technologies, a Tier 1 supplier of automotive interior products to the world’s automakers, has selected the City of Gadsden, in Etowah County, as the location for its new manufacturing facility.

Motus will invest over $15 million and create 90 new jobs at the facility, which will manufacture interior automotive parts and headliners.

Working closely with the State of Alabama and local leaders, Motus conducted an exhaustive search for its new plant location before deciding to build in Gadsden. The site is close to a heavy concentration of automotive manufacturing facilities within the region, and several current and potential customers.

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“Motus is a premier global automotive supplier and we are thrilled that they have selected the State of Alabama and Gadsden as the site for their new facility,” Governor Ivey said.

“We’re excited to partner with the company as they invest millions into a new manufacturing plant in Gadsden and create 90 new jobs. This is yet another example of how Alabama continues to lead the way in growing manufacturing here at home,” she added.

GROWTH TRENDS

The project announced today involves the creation of 90 new jobs, with an anticipated average wage of over $20 per hour, and a commitment by Motus to invest $15 million in construction of the Gadsden facility and related technology.

Motus will bring its “Safety First” culture to the plant, along with state-of-the art headliner forming, injection molding and assembly operations. Construction of the facility is slated to start in the coming weeks and is anticipated to be concluded in mid-2020.

“The primary mission of Alabama’s economic development team is to help high-caliber companies like Motus grow and create jobs in the state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Motus’ decision to locate a manufacturing plant in Gadsden is great news for the community and for the state’s expanding auto sector.”

Motus’ plans for the new Alabama facility build upon powerful growth trends in the state’s auto industry. It will also allow Motus to capitalize on the rapidly growing automotive industry across the broader Southeastern United States. In 2018 alone, auto manufacturing companies announced new Alabama projects involving nearly $3.3 billion in capital investment and almost 5,500 anticipated jobs.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP

Motus is a leading provider of headliners, automotive interior door and console armrests to the world’s leading Original Equipment Manufacturers (“OEMs”) and Tier 1’s. It holds a leading market position in this sector and has one of the industry’s broadest and most technologically advanced product portfolios.

The company operates a global manufacturing platform with over 2,000 employees operating its five current facilities. Motus is a trusted employer and valued community partner, and its customer relationships average more than two decades in length.

“It was clear from the beginning of our process to find a location for this new facility that Governor Ivey, Secretary Canfield, the State of Alabama and the leaders in Gadsden wanted Motus to call their community home, and we are excited to make that happen,” said Shannon White, chief executive officer of Motus.

“Motus prides itself on ensuring the safety of our team each day, the superior quality of our products, the partnership with our community and the outstanding service we provide to our customers. This new plant will allow for each of those principles to be achieved. We cannot wait to welcome new colleagues and get to work in Gadsden.”

‘IMPORTANT PROJECT’

Gadsden and area officials welcomed Motus’ plans for the facility.

“This is a great day for Gadsden, and we are proud to be able to recruit high-paying jobs and welcome an innovative company like Motus to our community and our state,” Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton said. “This is confirmation that our ongoing investment in infrastructure, education, and the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority, has enabled us to compete with other areas to land this important worldwide automotive supplier.

“We are thankful for the support and trust of Governor Ivey and Secretary Canfield, and for Motus in locating this important project in our city,” he added.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

14 hours ago

John Merrill: Media focus on ‘homosexual activity’-TV remarks ‘really disappointing’

(J. Merrill/Twitter)

Last week at a campaign stop in Fort Payne, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s remarks during a post-speech question-and-answer session caught the attention of the mainstream media for a reference to “homosexual activities” as a critique of modern television programming.

After the remarks were picked up by other media outlets, Merrill, a candidate for the GOP nomination in next year’s U.S. Senate election in Alabama, was criticized for his call to push back against it.

During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Friday, Merrill offered the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team as an example of how certain aspects of the culture were thrust upon the American public but noted that wasn’t really the focus of those he has come across throughout the state.

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“You know those people I am talking to all across the state of Alabama in all 67 counties – they believe just like I do,” Merrill said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “They want each and every Alabamian to be able to achieve at the highest level that they are capable of achieving without any special dispensation given to any particular group. They want everybody to be able to excel and achieve at the highest level that they can and for us to celebrate that as a state and as a nation. But not to have someone’s political thoughts, values pushed down our throat but to celebrate who we are and to allow us to become all we can become.”

He went on to call the media’s focus on those aspects of his previous remarks “really disappointing.”

“That’s really disappointing, but that’s where we are today,” he added. “And that’s typically the kind of thing that makes the news, and that’s the thing that people in the media, the mainstream liberal media like to focus on.”

@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.

1 day ago

Relive Apollo era’s technologies and people through UAH archives

(Michael Mercier, UAH)

Maybe you’re inspired by the coming July 20 anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. Or maybe you want to build your own rocket ship, yet avoid beginner’s mistakes.

Whatever the inspiration, you can literally relive the development of technologies that made the Apollo moon landing and first walk on the moon possible at the M. Louis Salmon Library at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

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Extensive collections of NASA materials produced during the development of the Saturn V rocket and materials from the Apollo era space programs reside in the archives on the ground floor of the library and are available to the general public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“This documentation was actually going on during the Apollo launch process,” says Reagan Grimsley, the library’s head of special collections and archives. “It’s the technical documentation that allows us to know about the Saturn program.”

The 40 linear feet of archived materials range from the early 1960s to the early 1970s and provide a ringside seat to the development processes NASA underwent to build, test and transport the necessary machinery to put man on the moon. Included are personal papers, oral histories and diaries from many scientists who were instrumental in the race to space.

“The space program was not just about technological development. It was about people, and we’ve tried to represent that aspect well in our collection,” Grimsley says.

The library moved the archives to their current location in 2001, and an enclosed reading room was built where anyone who wants to peruse the collections can do so simply by asking.

“You can go back and look at the updates and see the Saturn V project as it moves along,” say Grimsley while leafing through a vintage NASA document in archive storage.

Want a quicker view? Many of the space program archives are digital and available online.

Working under a Shooting for the Moon grant, staff are digitizing the oral histories in the collection so that they can be made available online, a process that has involved restoring the sound from hundreds of hours of magnetic tape recordings.

People involved in the space program, their relatives and space aficionados are constantly adding more materials to the expanding archives, Grimsley says, which is something that makes him happy.

“We have a pretty good pipeline,” he says.

Gathering materials is one part detective work, one part donor enthusiasm and one part sheer luck, but the process serves some very specific goals.

“First of all, we want to document Alabama’s role in the space race, but our collection is international in scope,” Grimsley says. “Our overall goal is that we want to be one of the pre-eminent institutions involved in space history research.”

Apollo materials also include documentation of the development of the Lunar Rover, including the papers of the Saverio “Sonny” Morea, designer and project lead for the rover, who also was the NASA manager for the F-1 and J-2 engines.

“We have probably the most complete documentation of the Lunar Rover anywhere,” Grimsley said.

Copies of a publication called “Space Journal” that was produced in Huntsville for about two years beginning in 1957, with the direct involvement of Dr. Wernher von Braun, are being digitized.

“We worked with the Von Braun Astronomical Society to digitize as many copies of the ‘Space Journal’ as we could get a hold of, and put them in our collection,” Grimsley says.

In collaboration with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), Salmon Library began to gather space agency materials when a 1967 NASA grant proposal written by Dr. Rudolph Hermann, the first director of the UAH Research Institute, was funded. Dr. Hermann’s papers are also in the archives.

Found in the NASA archives are major collections donated by:

  • Konrad Dannenberg, also brought to the U.S. from Germany, who was deputy manager of the Saturn program;
  • David Christiansen, who worked on liquid rocket propulsion systems for the Redstone, Jupiter and Saturn rockets and was project engineer for the Saturn H-1 rocket engine;
  • Ernst Stuhlinger, who was brought to the U.S. from Germany after WW II as part of Operation Paperclip and developed guidance systems;
  • Charles Lundquist, former director of the Space Sciences Laboratory at MSFC, who spent 40 years in high-level positions with the U.S. Army, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and NASA.
  • U.S. Rep. Bob Jones, who represented Alabama’s Fifth District from 1973-1977 and had in the collection that he donated many papers that pertained to the development of the Apollo program from a legislative point of view.

The Saturn V and Apollo materials are part of a wider space-oriented collection that includes original film shot by Skylab during its 1973-1974 mission. Also part of the wider collection is an extensive cache of science fiction books, many of which could have been formative in the young minds of future space race leaders.

“We want to document space history,” Grimsley says, adding that the library is always interested in hearing from people who are interested in donating material that furthers that goal.

“When you think of the legacies of UAH regarding the space program, one of the legacies is in this collection,” Grimsley says. “The other UAH legacy is in the people we trained who became part of the space program.”

(Courtesy the University of Alabama in Huntsville)

1 day ago

UAB, Cahaba Medical Care establishing new rural residency program

(YHN, Pixabay)

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is continuing to help Alabama address its dire shortage of primary care physicians, which especially exists in underserved rural and urban areas.

UAB on Thursday announced that it is partnering with Cahaba Medical Care, a family medicine group with clinics in Jefferson, Bibb, Perry, Chilton, Dallas and Autauga counties, to create another rural residency program with participation from Medical West Hospital, an affiliate of the UAB Health System, in Bessemer and J. Paul Jones Hospital in Camden.

The program will be called the Frontier Track and is funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Rural Residency Planning and Development program. The grant is part of a larger $20 million, multi-year initiative by HRSA to expand the physician workforce in rural areas by developing new, sustainable residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine and psychiatry.

“I am excited to work together to address the major needs of the state,” Dr. Irfan Asif, chair of the UAB Department of Family and Community Medicine, said in a statement.

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Asif also helped establish UAB’s partnership with Cahaba Medical Care.

“Alabama has one of the worst primary care shortages in the nation. By growing our residency program, we will help address this need and ultimately improve the lives of Alabamians,” he added.

Albert Turner Jr., Perry County Commissioner; Lisa Mariani, Regional Administrator, HRSA Office of Regional Operations; Laura Hyer, MD, Physician & Women’s Health Fellow, Cahaba Medical Care; Lacy Smith, MD, COO, Cahaba Medical Care; John B. Waits, MD, CEO, Cahaba Medical Care; Irfan Asif, MD, Professor & Chair, UAB Department of Family & Community Medicine; Elizabeth Kennedy, Administrator, J. Paul Jones Hospital; Jessica McGraw, Administrative Assistant, J. Paul Jones Hospital; Melinda Williams, District Director, U.S. Representative Terri A. Sewell (AL-07)

UAB and Cahaba Medical Care will begin recruiting residents for the Frontier Track in 2021. The residency is expected to begin in 2022.

“The health challenges in rural America are clear: Rural communities face a greater risk of poor health outcomes than their urban counterparts,” HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, Ph.D., advised.

“Programs like the Rural Residency Planning and Development grants take aim at one of the most persistent disparities: access to high-quality health care providers,” he concluded. “HRSA is committed to increasing the number of providers serving rural communities and improving health in rural America.”

Last year, UAB and Cahaba Medical Care partnered to create the Cahaba-UAB Family Medicine Residency, which trains 12 new medical school graduates per year during a three-year residency.

With the creation of the Frontier Track, two or three additional residents will be added to the program for a three-year residency, where they will spend their first year at Medical West and Cahaba Medical Care’s Bessemer clinic, followed by two years at Cahaba Medical Care’s Marion clinic and J. Paul Jones Hospital.

“We know from decades of research, as well as from our own experience in Bibb County, that physicians who spend their critical, formative training years, actually practicing and training in rural, underserved areas, are as much as five times more likely to practice in a rural area,” Dr. John Waits, residency director of the Cahaba-UAB Family Medicine Residency and CEO of Cahaba Medical Care, explained. “With initiatives like this, we hope to do our part in changing the rural physician workforce shortage for the good.”

The UAB School of Medicine also operates three other educational programs designed to recruit and train primary care physicians specifically for future rural Alabama practice.

The UAB School of Medicine Blue Cross Blue Shield Program Scholarship was formed last year and will train a total of 60 primary care physicians over five years. The recipients must return to practice in a county with a primary care shortage after they complete their residencies. The Rural Medical Scholars Program is a joint program of the School of Medicine and the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences, which serves as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus of the School of Medicine. The Rural Medicine Program is conducted by the Huntsville Regional Campus of the School of Medicine and the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn University.

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

1 day ago

U.S. Rep. Rogers: ‘The Squad’ is in charge of the Democrats

(Screenshot/C-SPAN)

By now, you’ve likely heard of “The Squad,” a foursome of freshman congressional Democrats that wield power and influence given their heightened presences in the media.

The group, consisting of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), have also been a problem for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

During an appearance on Birmingham radio’s Talk 99.5 on Thursday, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) acknowledged the group was indeed in charge of the Democratic Party and said that “The Squad” has some more moderate members within the House Democratic caucus concerned.

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“They are in charge and that’s a thing a lot of folks on the outside don’t recognize,” Rogers said. “The reason why they have so much power in the conference is because their party has moved far to the left. That where the energy is. That’s why you see Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren and [Pete] Buttigieg, whatever his name is – those folks,  that is where the energy is. So, the more mainstream Democrats are worried about their primaries. And AOC, and Tlaib and the other two in what they call ‘The Squad’ have made it clear: They’re going after some more mainstream members in their primaries. They intend to take them out. That’s paralyzed a lot of these people because in most of these districts, you’ve got to worry about the primaries, not the general elections.”

@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

‘Momentous’: Alabama shatters five economic records

(PIxabay, YHN)

Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington on Friday announced that Alabama achieved five economic bests in June, setting a new record low unemployment rate, high jobs count, high employment count, high labor force count and low unemployment count.

June’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.5%, breaking the previous record low of 3.7% from the month previous. June’s rate represents 2,160,931 employed people, another fresh record high, which was 10,456 more employed than last month’s count and 48,952 more than in June 2018.

“Another month, and yet another set of broken records,” Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement.

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“It’s so exciting to be able to announce these great numbers month after month,” she continued. “It’s always positive to announce a new record low unemployment rate, but we also saw more people working than ever before, fewer unemployed than ever before, more people in the workforce than ever before, and finally, more jobs than ever before. These gains are momentous, and we certainly hope they continue as the year progresses.”

The civilian labor force increased over the year by 39,099 to a record-high 2,240,309. The civilian labor force represents the number of people, aged 16 and over, who are either working or looking for work, excluding the military and those in institutions.

The number of people counted as unemployed dropped to a new record low of 79,378, which represents a drop of 9,853 people from June 2018.

“Let’s talk about jobs. Our economy is supporting more jobs than ever before,” Washington outlined. “There are over 37,000 more jobs in Alabama today than a year ago. Those jobs are coming with the second highest average weekly earnings in history. Workers are earning an extra $44.76 per week than they were a year ago, and $21.91 more than they were just last month. Two of our employment sectors saw their highest average weekly earnings: the trade, transportation, and utilities sector and the professional and business services sector. So not only are we gaining jobs, but Alabamians are bringing home more in their paychecks.”

Total private industry average weekly earnings measured $860.73 in June, up from $838.82 in May and $815.97 in June 2018.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 37,300, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+8,000), the construction sector (+7,800) and the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,800), among several others.

Wage and salary employment increased in June by 6,600. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+1,500); the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+1,100); and the construction sector (+1,000), among others.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector and the professional and business sector’s average weekly earnings measured $702.96 and $1,087.97, respectively, which represents both sectors’ record-high earnings.

For the second consecutive month, all 67 counties saw declines in their over-the-year unemployment rates, with drops ranging from half a percentage point to more than three percentage points. Wilcox County, which traditionally has the state’s highest unemployment rate, saw its rate drop by 3.4 percentage points to 7.3%, its third-lowest rate ever.

“To put this in perspective, take a look at Wilcox County. During the recession, the county’s unemployment rate peaked at 31% in February 2010,” Washington advised. “Nearly one in three people in that county’s labor force were out of work. Now, they are at a near record low unemployment rate.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates in June were Shelby County at 2.5%, Marshall County at 2.8% and Baldwin County at 2.9%.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 7.3%, Greene and Perry Counties at 6.8% and Clarke County at 6.5%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were Vestavia Hills at 2.2%, Homewood at 2.3% and Alabaster at 2.4%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Selma at 7.2%, Prichard at 6.6% and Anniston at 4.9%.

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

2 days ago

Scofield: ‘Broadband is our infrastructure challenge of the 21st century’ — Crucial ‘to save some of the best areas of this state’

(S.Ross/YHN)

GUNTERSVILLE — Yellowhammer News on Thursday held the second event in its 2019 “News Shapers” series. Entitled “Connecting Alabama’s Rural Communities,” the forum regarding broadband expansion drew a great crowd and elicited insightful conversation from the four expert panelists: State Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Arab), Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative’s Fred Johnson, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative’s Tom Stackhouse and Maureen Neighbors of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

Tim Howe, Yellowhammer Multimedia co-owner and Yellowhammer News editor-in-chief, moderated the forum, which came days after the second round of grants was awarded under the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund.

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This fund was created through legislation sponsored by Scofield and signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey during the Alabama Legislature’s 2018 regular session. The first round of grants was awarded earlier this year. The legislature then passed another bill by Scofield updating the law during the 2019 regular session.

To kick the conversation off on Thursday, Howe noted Scofield’s successful efforts the past two years in passing his broadband expansion legislation, also pointing to HB 400 sponsored by State Rep. Randall Shedd (R-Fairview) and State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro).

Howe asked Scofield about this year’s update of the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Act and the feedback he heard prior to the 2019 regular session that led to him crafting SB 90.

“We passed the broadband expansion bill last year, and we knew that there would be some changes that needed to occur this year — some fine-tuning and some tweaking,” Scofield explained. “And we know that in the future, there will also need to be some fine-tuning as we look to make the program work better… SB 90 reflected some of those changes, and we heard that (the need for changes) from our providers.”

Scofield explained that it is not profitable in many rural areas for companies to install the necessary broadband infrastructure, which is why the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund is so important. The fund provides state grants for service providers to supply high-speed internet services in unincorporated areas or communities with 25,000 people or less. Under the law, grant awards cannot exceed 20 percent of the total cost of a project, meaning providers must still have significant “skin in the game” financially.

“At the end of the day, our providers are the ones who are going to be installing the infrastructure for the consumers to enjoy,” Scofield outlined. “So, it’s very important to listen to the providers. This whole thing began by listening to the providers. ‘What is it going to take to get you to expand in rural Alabama?’ And folks, it’s cost. It’s a business decision. The market size is just not there, so the cash flow is just more difficult.”

He likened modern government support of broadband expansion to rural electricity and water expansion of old.

“You’re looking out at Lake Guntersville,” Scofield told the crowd at Guntersville Town Hall, “and it’s a product of government being involved in infrastructure. In the 1930s, the government got involved in rural power. Our co-ops took advantage of that and delivered power to rural customers. And in the 1960s-70s, they expanded to rural water. Well, broadband is our infrastructure challenge of the 21st century.”

“Without our providers, and without government providing some incentive to bring their costs down, it simply wouldn’t occur,” he emphasized. “So, the changes that we’ve seen (through SB 90) are to make the job easier on these guys (the providers).”

‘We still live in a capitalist economy’

Asked to speak to the recommended changes from the provider side, Johnson stressed, “Good public policy has to be based on fact.”

“It’s really easy to blame people for why there’s not broadband in certain parts of the state,” he continued. “But we still live in a capitalist economy — for the time being — and it’s a business case. If it’s (broadband) not there, there’s a really good reason for it. What this legislation does, especially in connection with the federal legislation… what it does is give companies that want to step up to the plate the leverage it may take to swing the pendulum to where a business case can be built and you can serve areas where otherwise there’s no public policy support to build.”

Johnson said he personally thinks “the world of Clay Scofield, Steve Livingston and (House Majority Leader) Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville),” who were all in attendance.

“The neatest thing about this (2019 broadband expansion efforts) was you had the leadership in the legislature — and Representative Shedd certainly needs to be included [in that recognition] — they took the time to understand the issue,” he added. “It’s not a Democratic, it’s not a Republican issue. It’s not a partisan issue. It’s an issue that affects all rural Alabamians of every race, color, creed, sex and anything else you want to talk about.”

Of the legislative leaders, Johnson reiterated, “They took the time to understand the issue and ask, ‘What do we need to do to swing the pendulum?’ Quite frankly, I think we’ve got one of the more cohesive public policies in the United States [now]… so I think they’ve done an excellent job.”

Stackhouse affirmed just how important SB 90 and HB 400 were from the perspective of an electric utility provider serving a rural nine-county area in central Alabama.

“80 years ago in November, our [co-op’s] first electric customer was connected… and the area flourished because of getting electricity to an area where a lot said, ‘You can’t make money at that, there’s no use doing that,'” Stackhouse advised. “It was huge.”

Now, in modern times, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative’s board has created a subsidiary to handle communications services, like broadband.

“Communication is now the electricity, and without [the legislation], it just doesn’t happen,” Stackhouse said.

He praised Scofield for his leadership, adding of SB 90 and HB 400, “It has really helped us step up.”

“And we’re not building our [broadband efforts just] on grants, we’ve got a business model we believe we can make work,” Stackhouse continued. “But grants help a lot, though, especially when it’s sparsely populated areas that need it just as much.”

Without broadband expansion, ‘they’re going to die’

Following up on just how much many rural areas in the state really do need broadband access, Howe then recalled an op-ed that Scofield wrote and Yellowhammer News published during the 2019 regular session when Scofield stated the survival of rural Alabama depends on broadband expansion.

Howe asked Scofield to outline the various aspects of modern life that are affected by access to high-speed internet services in his district and others like it across Alabama.

“In about every way you can think of,” Scofield said. “Not just agriculture, but economic development — you’re not going to recruit a company with 21st century jobs to an area without a 21st century infrastructure. You’re not going to train a 21st century workforce without 21st century infrastructure.”

“Telemedicine is the future for our healthcare, which I believe is one of the things that’s going to help bring healthcare costs down for a lot of Americans,” he continued.

Scofield stated that this is especially true, “In rural areas where we see increased levels of diabetes and obesity and a lot of ailments that seem to go up, because the healthcare isn’t easily accessible.”

“So, the thought that a person can connect to MD Anderson for a cancer screening in Greene County, and never leave Greene County, can save that person’s life,” he explained. “It’s a game-changer for a lot of people, and I think that a lot of folks just don’t realize that 830,000 or 840,000 Alabamians still don’t have [broadband] access.”

He then reaffirmed just how crucial these broadband expansion efforts are.

“It’s critical that we get this infrastructure out, that we get people hooked up in our rural areas because they’re going to die — they’re going to be left behind, they’re being left behind right now,” Scofield emphasized. “So, I think the quicker that we do that, the quicker we’re going to save some of the best areas of this state.”

‘This is a legacy’

Later in the forum, Scofield did also caution that broadband expansion to all Alabamians logistically cannot and will not happen instantaneously.

However, success will be achieved only when “we get to a point where, like power … if you want high-speed internet [wherever you live] in the state, you can connect to it,” Scofield believes.

“I think that’s where we’ve got to get,” he said. “And that’s not going to happen overnight… Everyone’s got to be patient. Lake Guntersville didn’t fill up in a day, they didn’t build the dam in a day and they didn’t give power to rural Autauga County in a day — or even here. It’s going to take a long time to build this infrastructure out, but I believe that we are on the right track.”

Scofield wrapped up the forum by lauding the integral support and teamwork of some of his fellow legislators who were in attendance, including Livingston, Ledbetter and State Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre), along with Shedd, who was unavailable to make the event.

“I’m really proud of what we came out with,” Scofield said of SB 90 as signed into law. “And I think that whether you’re an elected official or not, if you had something to do with this, I think that this is a legacy that we’re going to be able to leave this state. It’s going to benefit generations. And that’s why I do what I do, and I know that’s why they (the legislators in attendance) do what they do. I think it’s going to be something that’s going to move this state forward in ways that we can’t even envision today.”

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

2 days ago

On this day in Alabama history: Camp McClellan was established in east Alabama

(John Stanton/FortWiki)

July 18, 1917

Shortly after the United States entered World War I, the War Department established Camp McClellan as a rapid mobilization base and permanent National Guard facility. More than 27,000 men were training at the east Alabama base by the end of 1917. Camp McClellan was originally named in honor of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, and was renamed Fort McClellan in 1929. During World War II, nearly 500,000 military personnel trained there. After being put in custodial status following the war, it was reactivated during the Korean War and Cold War era. The focus shifted to chemical weapons training during and after the Vietnam War. The fort survived one round of military base closings during the 1990s, but it was finally shut down in 1999. The site has shifted to private use as well as for Alabama National Guard training.

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Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 days ago

Ainsworth in Huntsville: Alabama is ‘the aerospace capital of the world’

(W. Ainsworth/Twitter, YHN)

Wednesday, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) presented Dr. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. with the 2019 Thomas R. Hobson Distinguished Aerospace Service Award for a lifetime of exemplary achievement in the aerospace field.

The award presentation came during the Aerospace States Association’s annual dinner, which was held in Huntsville at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Ainsworth is currently chair of the association, which is a national nonpartisan group composed of lieutenant governors, gubernatorial-appointed delegates and associate members from aerospace organizations and academia.

In remarks shared with Yellowhammer News, Ainsworth honored Alabama’s space legacy, recognizing Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary this week.

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“Throughout each of the past six decades, Alabama and the Marshall Space Flight Center have created the engines that rocketed man into the heavens,” he said. “It’s here that Dr. Wernher Von Braun and his committed team of scientists and engineers birthed the Saturn V rocket that took men to the Moon and allowed them to place a U.S. flag on the lunar surface.”

“For those reasons, it’s altogether appropriate that we gather in this state and this city for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission,” he continued. “We are fortunate to have Buzz Aldrin, an original moonwalker and living American legend, join us during this conference.”

The conference is set to last through the rest of the week, with attendees working on publicly policy related to the aerospace industry and advocating for their home states.

“The work we do here this week will bring the stars and planets closer to the earth and ensure that future generations are privy to the same dreams and inspirations that the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Shuttle, and Space Station eras provid-ed to generations prior,” Ainsworth told the crowd.

Alabama is set to play a big role in ongoing and future space exploration, as Ainsworth emphasized in an interview with WHNT on Wednesday.

“I was just talking with some industry leaders who are here and they are talking about expanding the existing industry,” he the lieutenant governor said. “I think a lot of new industries are looking here. And the reason why is we are the aerospace capital of the world. I think when you look at our tax environment, with the workforce we are training, Alabama is open for business in aerospace, no doubt.”

Speaking with WZDX, Ainsworth referenced the Artemis program, with companies like United Launch Alliance (ULA) in Alabama set to make history in the very near future.

“Today I had an opportunity to tour ULA where they are building rockets that will literally send our next astronauts to the Moon, and when you look at just the president’s commitment to going back to the Moon, and when you look at potentially the future of going to Mars, it’s an exciting and energetic time in the aerospace industry right now,” Ainsworth advised.

RELATED: Aderholt celebrates Apollo 11, calls for SLS to stay on schedule

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

2 days ago

Doug Jones’ approval rating continues to fall

(D. Jones/Facebook, YHN)

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) continues to lose popularity as 2020 draws nearer.

Morning Consult on Thursday released its polling numbers for the second quarter of 2019, showing Jones’ net approval rating 20 points lower than the first quarter of 2018 when he entered the U.S. Senate.

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The polling was conducted from April 1 through June 30 and measured registered voters. The results showed 39% of respondents approved of Jones’ job performance, while 37% disapproved and 24% were undecided. The margin of error was 1%.

In contrast, Senator Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) net approval rating is 15 points higher than Jones’, with 46% approving and only 29% disapproving of Alabama’s venerable senior senator.

Jones’ net approval rating has dropped three points since the beginning of the year.

Another poll conducted in April went deeper than Morning Consult’s approval rating surveys, showing that Jones faces nearly insurmountable demographic barriers to reelection.

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

2 days ago

Alabama couple turns racist graffiti message into opportunity to respond to hate with love

(J. Miller, J. Anderson/Facebook, YHN)

Jeremy and Gina Miller, an interracial husband-and-wife real estate team in the Birmingham metro area, were shocked on Wednesday to discover a racial slur painted on one of their “For Sale” signs at a local property.

ABC 33/40 reported that “NO N***R” was painted on the Local Realty sign in large white letters.

However, the Millers are responding to this hateful incident purely with love, guided by their faith, according to The Trussville Tribune.

“I think that God has been preparing Gina and me for a long time, in ways that we never would have expected, to touch a lot of people,” Jeremy told the newspaper.

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The Millers, who live in Clay, will not be pressing charges on the individual responsible for the racist graffiti, whose identity is at this time unknown.

“We would love to know who did it because if we find them, we will show them mercy,” Jeremy advised. “I don’t think anything good comes from pressing charges. That’s not the message here.”

The couple hopes to use the incident to unite their community and lift others up.

“We just got a message on Facebook yesterday about how God spoke to him through my post and our response,” Jeremy told The Trussville Tribune. “It encouraged him to see us responding through love and not through retaliation.”

“When something like this occurs, you can love back instead. We want to unite people,” he added.

Jeremy also wants people to know the racist incident is not representative of their community.

“This is not indicative of the people in this area,” he emphasized. “It happens everywhere and they don’t always say it to your face.”

Perhaps the toughest part of the incident personally for the Millers has been trying to tell their children what happened.

“Having to explain to them what happened with the sign has been a little frustrating,” Gina noted.

The Millers are also using this incident as a learning opportunity.

“We tell [our children] all the time, hurt people, hurt people,” Jeremy explained. “I tell them that even adults do mean things sometimes. When you’re angry, you’re not nice to other people… We want to respond in love when maybe that person hasn’t received such things.”

Jeremy stressed a constant message of love.

“It (racism) is not dead and it probably won’t die for a very, very long time, but we as a culture and society have to keep perpetuating the message of loving one another,” he remarked. “If someone’s hurting and they lash out at you, you don’t have to respond negatively.”

The defaced sign has been replaced with a fresh one that includes both Jeremy and Gina’s headshots.

Read more here.

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

2 days ago

Ivey establishes study group on Alabama’s corrections system

(YHN, Pixabay)

Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed an executive order establishing the Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy, which will receive and analyze accurate data, as well as evidence of best practices, ultimately helping to further address the serious challenges facing Alabama’s corrections system.

The Ivey administration, after inheriting decades-old, systemic problems in the state’s prison system, including overcrowding and understaffing, has made reforming the prison system a top priority, with the governor stressing that it is ultimately a key matter of public safety.

“The people of Alabama are not unaware of the complexities that face our state’s prison system, which take a toll on their hard-earned dollars and negatively impact public safety. The challenges we face are multifaceted, and in turn, a multifaceted solution, driven by data is necessary,” Ivey said in a statement on Thursday.

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“In establishing the Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy, I am looking to see data driving us to even further reforms in the system,” she outlined. “Thanks to my Administration and the Legislature, we are well on our way to making meaningful progress, and I am confident this group will help us dive even further into the facts to ensure the state’s existing efforts lead us to an Alabama solution.”

Ivey also believes that success in achieving positive results requires continued collaboration between the executive and legislative branches. To that end, the study group will consist of the governor, who will serve as the chair; the attorney general; three members of the Alabama House of Representatives appointed by the speaker of the House; three members of the Senate appointed by the president pro tempore; the state commissioner of corrections; the state director of finance; and additional individuals as the governor deems necessary.

Members of the group may participate by proxy, and the governor has designated former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Champ Lyons to serve in her place as chairman.

“The primary emphasis of Governor Ivey’s new established study group is indeed to study. The Department of Corrections has important reforms underway, and we will be there to further analyze various areas of the justice system, ultimately helping our state to continue making informed, data-driven decisions,” Lyons advised.

“We will consider the problem of recidivism and steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of a released prisoner returning back to state custody. We will also look closely at data on the current sentencing laws. As Governor Ivey has made clear, addressing the challenges facing our state’s prisons is multifaceted, and she is certainly helping bring various heads together to move the needle on this critical issue,” he concluded.

Legislative members of the study group include: State Senators Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) and Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville), Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) and State Representatives Jim Hill (R-Moody), Connie Rowe (R-Jasper) and Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa).

The Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy will convene for the first time Monday, July 22, 2019.

The executive order decrees that the group will be dissolved effective the first day of the Alabama Legislature’s 2020 regular session.

This comes after the Department of Justice earlier this year concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the conditions in Alabama’s prisons for men violate the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution regarding“cruel and unusual punishment.” The DOJ also implied that if measures were not taken to improve the situation, the prison system could face action from the federal government, which could come in the form of a takeover.

Legislative leaders have recently forecasted a potential special session on corrections occurring in January or February of 2020 before the regular session.

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

3 days ago

Auburn veterans association, University of Alabama veterans association unite again to raise awareness for veteran suicide

(Pixabay)

The University of Alabama and Auburn University veterans associations are once again teaming up to raise awareness for the 22 veterans lost each day to suicide by marching from Tuscaloosa to Auburn, Alabama, for the 2019 Iron Bowl.

The 150-mile “Operation Iron Ruck,” which will begin at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa on November 26 and conclude at Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn on November 30, will take an estimated 70 hours to complete.

“The Iron Ruck is an opportunity to bring awareness to an unnecessary plague that runs rampant in our veteran community,” said Auburn University Veterans Association President Jonathan Housand. “We hope to show how easy it is to put aside our differences to unite as brothers and sisters for a bigger cause than ourselves.”

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“I want to thank the student veterans at the University of Alabama for demonstrating with the student veterans at Auburn University to bring this amazing event to life,” Housand added. “Together we are helping to prove that we are always here for each other and never out of the fight.”

The ruck march participants will carry a 22-pound ruck-sack to coincide with the Mission 22 suicide campaign. The packed ruck will consist of toiletries, undergarments and other items collected by the athletics and Student Veteran’s organizations and will be donated to Mission 22, 3 Hots and a Cot and the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City.

“The purpose of this March is to raise awareness of the tragedy of veteran suicide,” said Slade Salmon, president of the University of Alabama Campus Veterans Association. “We at the CVA extend our sincerest gratitude for the support from our local community around Tuscaloosa, Auburn University, and from the state of Alabama as well.”

Kody Pemberton, a University of Alabama student and member of the Veterans Association, says he is excited to participate once again in the ruck march.

“It’s great to see the new leadership of both organizations step up and spearhead the 2nd annual Ironbowl Ruck march,” Pemberton said. “Last year we had a great turn out and we were able to help many veterans, and I know this year Slade and Jonathan will go above and beyond to ensure we help even more.”

For more information on the march, an email can be sent to uacva1@gmail.com or mssalmon@crimson.ua.edu.

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

3 days ago

Outrage over John Merrill’s comments is dishonest

(J. Merrill/Twitter)

Almost every week, Alabama is subjected to a dishonest cycle of news coverage from something that is either misinterpreted or an outright lie.

This week is no different.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill attended a Republican meeting in Fort Payne over the weekend and during a question and answer period, he responded to a question about the culture war by making a reference to “homosexual activities.”

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Media outlets pounced on the quote to feed the outrage beast because nothing generates click like “Alabama politician” and “homosexual activities.”

The explanation of those comments is far less interesting than the media narrative surrounding it, the headlines it generated and the social media reaction it attracted.

The question Merrill was responding to was about changes in America’s pop culture. Merrill lamented the lack of television shows like “Gunsmoke” and “Andy Griffith,” which included him musing, “We’re too interested in homosexual activities.”

When Merrill appeared on WVNN radio’s “The Dale Jackson Show” Wednesday morning, he was asked what exactly he meant by that line.

He elaborated that he was talking about all of the media attention directed to the United States women’s national soccer team as the “most significant cultural event “ and how the focus on their activism and lifestyle opposed to their exceptional soccer accomplishments turned off many.

The 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate talked about how the media focused more on personality than the country they were playing for, saying, “The liberal mainstream media has promoted a narrative that has identified them as gay and as advocating for gay rights and homosexual issues related to their participation on the field as a secondary item.”

My takeaway:

Merrill is dead on here.

You were told either support the teams’ politics or you were not welcome.

Sports and entertainment used to be a respite from the real world, but that is now gone.

You will now have to view every aspect of your life through the social justice prism or risk the backlash.

Even the Apollo 11 anniversary.

 

A large number of Americans are generally tired of this, which is what John Merrill is accurately dialed into.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

3 days ago

Aderholt celebrates Apollo 11, calls for SLS to stay on schedule

(Rep. Aderholt/YouTube)

Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) on Wednesday delivered a speech on the U.S. House floor honoring North Alabama’s Apollo 11 contributions and urgently calling for the Space Launch System (SLS) to stay on schedule for the future of American space exploration.

Aderholt’s comments came the week of Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary. The launch occurred on July 16, 1969 and the landmark landing on the Moon’s surface happened four days later. Saturn V, which was developed at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, powered the mission.

After speaking of the legacy of Apollo 11, Aderholt turned his attention to how Alabama is set to make history once again.

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“I am excited about the president’s call to accelerate our plans and to land again on the Moon, by 2024,” he said. “This mission, named Artemis, will also be historic – a woman astronaut will be the next person to step on the Moon.”

“I am very proud of the role my home state played in the development of our most powerful rockets, the Saturn family. … Likewise, I am proud that Marshall Space Flight Center, including the Machoud Assembly Facility, is the designer and builder of the Space Launch System. This will be the most powerful rocket in the world, and it is approximately 90% finished. The taxpayer owns it and will benefit from it as a national asset. It is the successful, combined work of private companies and suppliers from virtually every state in the nation,” Aderholt outlined.

Extolling the capabilities of SLS, he then said the system can be “ready by 2024, but only if we move ahead this year with that goal.”

Aderholt urged his colleagues to join him in supporting SLS.

“Systems like the SLS and Orion inspire innovation, and maybe one day other rockets and capsules will surpass them, but to reach our goal of 2024, we need to stay focused and complete these nearly mature systems,” he emphasized.

The Alabama congressman said the nation’s space ambitions should not end with the next Moon landing.

“Let’s reach that peak, let’s make that landing,” Aderholt concluded. “And as we ponder the future of the Moon, let’s look up again, and set a date, a real mission date, for setting foot on Mars.”

Watch:

Aderholt’s full remarks as follows:

Fifty years ago this week, three brave Americans stepped foot on the Moon.

When we look at our children’s toys, it is amazing that they contain more data processing power than the systems which operated the Apollo vehicles.

These three American astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, could not know whether they would return. They were willing to serve their country and proud for America to be leading the world in space.

But even if our space program got a strong jump start because of the Cold War, this mission was also about the human spirit and the need to explore. The whole world was eager to hear news of the mission. No matter what might happen in the future, this would be the first time human beings stepped foot on a world other than our home. Neil Armstrong’s description of this mission as a “leap” was fitting then, and it is instructional now.

I am excited about the president’s call to accelerate our plans and to land again on the Moon, by 2024. This mission, named Artemis, will also be historic – a woman astronaut will be the next person to step on the Moon.

I am very proud of the role my home state played in the development of our most powerful rockets, the Saturn family. You can still see a real Saturn V rocket, suspended horizontally, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Likewise, I am proud that Marshall Space Flight Center, including the Machoud Assembly Facility, is the designer and builder of the Space Launch System. This will be the most powerful rocket in the world, and it is approximately 90% finished. The taxpayer owns it and will benefit from it as a national asset. It is the successful, combined work of private companies and suppliers from virtually every state in the nation.

The Saturn V rocket was able to execute Apollo missions in one launch because the rocket’s third stage propelled the lander and re-entry vehicle to the Moon’s orbit. Similarly, the SLS Exploration Upper Stage, or EUS, will enable a payload delivery to Moon orbit – including the Orion capsule – of 45 metric tons – three to four times greater than other launch vehicles currently in use or close to completion. We can have that EUS capability ready by 2024, but only if we move ahead this year with that goal.

Systems like the SLS and Orion inspire innovation, and maybe one day other rockets and capsules will surpass them, but to reach our goal of 2024, we need to stay focused and complete these nearly mature systems.

Some have said in recent years about going to the Moon, “Been there, done that.” With all due respect, I disagree. But of this new mission to the Moon, I might say, “Go there, but don’t stop there.” Sustainability offers many future benefits, but let’s not get distracted and overfill our backpack for this first, human return to the Moon. Let’s reach that peak, let’s make that landing. And as we ponder the future of the Moon, let’s look up again, and set a date, a real mission date, for setting foot on Mars.

I yield back, Mr. Chairman.

RELATED: Huntsville celebrates Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary, looks to create next ‘giant leap’ — ‘Alabama is clearly in the lead, and we’re going to stay there’

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

3 days ago

Tuberville on Dem socialist push: ‘Money and power is what it is about for the left — They could care less about these people’

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

In American politics, the term “socialism” no longer carries the taboo it once had evidenced by the success of self-proclaimed socialist political candidates on the Democratic side of the aisle.

Given these changing times, it is certain to cause Republicans to question socialism in campaigns by sounding the alarm and warning those who are listening about the perils of that ideology. Such is the case with former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2020.

During an interview with “Alabama’s Morning News” host JT Nysewander on Birmingham radio’s 105.5 WERC on Tuesday, Tuberville questioned the reasoning for the push toward socialism for Democrats.

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“Money and power is what it is about for the left,” Tuberville said. “They could care less about these people. They really could. They want to go to socialistic ways. It is really scary. When you and I grew up, if you brought up socialism or communism, it was a cuss word. Nowadays, they are pushing it. Biden said the first thing he is going to do if he is elected is raise taxes. The poor people are tired of sending all of their money up there and getting nothing back for it. It is a total scam.”

@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.

3 days ago

Mo Brooks: Apollo 11 legacy ‘lives on in the Tennessee Valley of Alabama’

(Rep. Brooks/YouTube)

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) on Wednesday took the floor of the U.S. House in celebration of Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary and his North Alabama district’s role in making that famous mission successful.

He reminisced on growing up near enough to Marshall Space Flight Center that he remembered “the Earth shake and the dishes in our kitchen cabinets rattle as the [Saturn] V engines were tested nearby.”

Brooks went on to emphasize that Alabama’s Marshall Space Flight Center “is the birthplace of America’s space program.”

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He honored the many individuals working behind-the-scenes in Huntsville who made this statement a reality, also delivering optimistic, inspirational remarks about the future of U.S. space exploration and scientific achievement.

“[M]ankind’s greatest achievements are yet to come [and] America will continue to accomplish the unimaginable in space for the benefit of all humanity,” Brooks emphasized.

Similar to comments made at Tuesday night’s Apollo 11 50th anniversary dinner at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Brooks also stressed that North Alabama would be playing a vital role in the next space frontier: The Artemis program which will take Americans back to the surface of the Moon and eventually to Mars.

He concluded, “As we reach for the stars, I have confidence that the Tennessee Valley, Marshall Space Flight Center, and Huntsville, where we say The Sky is NOT the Limit,’ will be instrumental in carrying American astronauts back to the Moon, to Mars, and beyond!”

Watch:

Brooks’ full remarks as follows:

Mr. Speaker, this week, America celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of mankind’s— and America’s— greatest achievements— walking on the surface of the Moon.

Although then only a child, I well-remember the Earth shake and the dishes in our kitchen cabinets rattle as the [Saturn] V engines were tested nearby.

Even now, 50 years after watching the Moon landing, I get chills remembering when Apollo astronauts landed and later planted the American flag on the Moon’s surface.

It was American ingenuity, boldness, technical prowess, and economic might that made this historic achievement possible.

I’m proud to say the legacy of the Apollo 11 Moon landing lives on in the Tennessee Valley of Alabama that I represent.

Some history is in order.

The Tennessee Valley’s Marshall Space Flight Center is the birthplace of America’s space program.

Americans generally, and Alabamians in particular, designed and engineered the Saturn V rocket that launched the historic Apollo 11 and took American astronauts to the Moon.

I will never forget the flames and the roar as our Saturn V rocket was launched and carried the Apollo 11 crew and vehicles to the Moon.

I remember with tremendous pride American Neil Armstrong’s words as he to set foot on the Moon, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

That giant leap, meant to benefit all mankind, is a prime example of American exceptionalism and helped cement America’s status as the best, most powerful, and most influential nation in world history.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted America’s flag on the Moon’s surface on July 20th, 1969, there was no doubt that America’s space program had passed the Russians and become the preeminent leader in space exploration, a position America maintains today.

This week, America not only reflects on the miraculous achievements of the Apollo 11 mission, but we also honor those who played a critical role in its ultimate success.

The Tennessee Valley is immensely proud of our pivotal role in landing a man on the Moon and, equally importantly, returning them alive to Earth.

Reflecting our pride in America’s achievement, there are two— that’s two— Saturn V rockets displayed at the United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

These Saturn V displays help inspire the next generation to reach for the stars and achieve what now may be thought impossible.

While it is important to remember the historical achievements of the Apollo missions, it is also important to honor those who sacrificed their lives in the effort to achieve American greatness.

In that vein, Huntsville has named schools after Apollo Command Pilot Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White, and Pilot Roger Chaffee, each of whom died during a capsule fire during an Apollo 1 ground test.

After the Moon landing and return of Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins to Earth on July 24, 1969, Huntsville’s streets were awash with revelers.

German Rocket Scientist Wernher Von Braun said on the Huntsville courthouse steps that day, “My friends, there was dancing here in the streets of Huntsville when our first satellites orbited the Earth. There was dancing again when the first Americans landed on the Moon. I’d like to ask you, “don’t hang up your dancing slippers.”

Von Braun’s words remind us that mankind’s greatest achievements are yet to come, that America will continue to accomplish the unimaginable in space for the benefit of all humanity.

As we reach for the stars, I have confidence that the Tennessee Valley, Marshall Space Flight Center, and Huntsville, where we say “The Sky is NOT the Limit,” will be instrumental in carrying American astronauts back to the Moon, to Mars, and beyond!

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

4 days ago

2020 U.S. Senate hopeful State Rep. Mooney: ‘We’ve lost the 10th Amendment’ — ‘The federal court system is out of control’

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

ATHENS — In this early going of the 2020 election cycle, the declared U.S. Senate candidates for the seat up next year are starting to make their ways around the state of Alabama and are defining their stances on ideology and policy.

On Tuesday, North Alabama Republican voters got one of their first glimpses of State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs), who announced he was seeking the seat currently occupied by U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) back in May.

Mooney, speaking at a meeting of the Limestone County Republican Party, warned Americans were losing their freedom and explained that the “liberal socialist left” under the banner of the Democratic Party had their designs on further intrusions.

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“I think it is very simple as you have watched what was has gone on in relation to the whole concept of what we’re seeing and changing of our nation,” Mooney said. “We used to talk about Republicans and Democrats and independents. Then we had a Constitutional Party. Then we had the Libertarian Party and all of that. But now we’re talking about the liberal socialist left. They’re destroying freedom. They’re attacking the foundations of everything we believe in. You know, they wear a banner and say they’re a Democrat. I am sure there are Democrats turning over in their grave at some of the things that are being said.”

“My view is very simple: Conservative is a great word,” he continued. “It’s a positive word. I’ve heard people say it’s a racial term. It’s not a racial term. It talks about a people who believe in foundational values, constitutional principles – that are determined to stand on those values and principles and see our nation governed on them. The rule of law is significant, and we need to follow it.”

The Shelby County Republican pointed to the federal court system as an enabler of the expansion of government, resulting in deterioration of freedoms. He also declared the 10th Amendment, which reserves powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution for the states and the people.

“We’ve lost the 10th Amendment, folks,” Mooney added. “The 10th Amendment existed to reserve everything to the states, including abortion decisions, because there is nothing in the Constitution about abortion. But all of those things were supposed to be reserved to the states. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see much that’s being reserved to the states. The federal court system is out of control even with the massive number of people we have appointed, and that is something I can say the United States Senate has done well. But, I’d be concerned that that is the only thing that is being done.”

@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.

4 days ago

Huntsville celebrates Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary, looks to create next ‘giant leap’ — ‘Alabama is clearly in the lead, and we’re going to stay there’

(Gov. Ivey/Twitter)

HUNTSVILLE — A sea of people packed out the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center on Tuesday evening to celebrate the Rocket City’s past, present and future leadership in the space industry.

Among the crowd at the Apollo 11 50th anniversary dinner were famed astronauts and local and state officials.

However, with a scaled-down Saturn V rocket replica standing immediately beside the stage and the famed full-size replica Saturn V looming over the building, it was the behind-the-scenes work of scientists, techs and engineers that drew special praise throughout the evening.

Many of these unsung individuals were in attendance, and the enormous crowd gave them a resounding standing ovation for their innovation and dedication during the Space Race in the 1960s that made it possible for Apollo 11 to experience a perfect launch on July 16, 1969, and then land on the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969.

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Fifty years to the day from that launch, which was powered by the Huntsville-built Saturn V, all three of Dr. Wernher von Braun’s children were in attendance on Tuesday. He, of course, led the team of innovators in Huntsville that made Apollo 11 possible.

Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the Space and Rocket Center and 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact, served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.

She called Tuesday “the best day” of her life, thanking all of the individuals who made the momentous anniversary possible.

Following her opening remarks was Hal Brewer, co-founder and president of Huntsville’s INTUITIVE Research and Technology, who explained that he grew up in the Rocket City during the 1960s.

“I will certainly never forget watching the television in 1969 as the United States became the first country to land on the Moon,” he said. “I’ll never forget the awe, the excitement and the many questions I had surrounding that day. Those many questions — the one that grew in my mind was, ‘How? How had we been able to accomplish the unthinkable?’ Behind those famous first steps there was a group of engineers, technicians and scientists that designed, developed and tested the Saturn V rocket that launched into space. … This 300-foot engineering marvel sent man traveling at [almost] 25,000 miles per hour to the Moon, 240,000 miles away, and safely back.”

In later comments, Barnhart recounted that people were dancing in the streets of Huntsville after Apollo 11 successfully completed its mission in 1969.

Speaking of the Space Launch System (SLS), which is under development at Marshall Space Flight Center and slated to be NASA’s most powerful rocket ever, Barnhart quipped that Huntsville will be dancing again when its innovation powers Americans back to the surface of the Moon as part of the Artemis program.

Jody Singer (an Alabamian, 2019 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact and the first female to ever lead Marshall Space Flight Center) took to the stage and reinforced this. In fact, on the side of the stage opposite from the replica Saturn V towered a model version of the SLS.

Singer advised that SLS will allow for “the next giant leap” in human space exploration.

“From launch to landing, it’s coming through Huntsville, Alabama,” she emphasized, after sharing that Apollo 11 inspired her to pursue a career in the space industry.

“So just like Apollo inspired a generation, we will inspire the next generation through the Artemis program,” Singer added.

Not only will Artemis put the first woman on the surface of the Moon and help establish a sustainable American lunar presence, but the Alabama-driven program will also open the door for the first human trip to Mars — and beyond.

“I am confident, that in 50 years from now, we’ll be talking all about Space Launch System, what has happened in Huntsville [with Artemis] and how we’re [still] going forward… with the same awe that we hold today for Apollo 11 and the pride that we’re celebrating tonight,” she concluded.

Dr. Margrit von Braun, daughter of the space legend, is herself an environmental engineer who has dedicated her life to scientific pursuits. She delivered an impassioned address to the crowd on Tuesday, talking about journeying from “dreams to reality.”

Referencing Barnhart’s earlier comments, von Braun concluded her speech by saying, “Get your dancing slippers ready.”

‘We are celebrating the American spirit’

Governor Kay Ivey delivered an energetic keynote speech at the dinner on Tuesday, also touting Alabama’s historic role in Apollo 11’s success while emphasizing that the best is yet to come.

Speaking of the tumultuous time in American history in which the Space Race unfolded, Ivey took the crowd “down memory lane,” reminiscing on how many people doubted that President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to send man to the Moon within a decade could be accomplished.

“Now ladies and gentlemen,” Ivey continued in trademark fashion. “We are here tonight to celebrate that accomplishment and the significant role that Alabama has played in making this dream a reality.”

“As we have often done, Alabamians responded [to the challenge] by doing what we do best,” she explained. “We put our heads together, and we began working for a cause that is bigger than ourselves. So, as we celebrate this 50th anniversary of the Moon launch, we are celebrating the American spirit — and we are also celebrating the importance of collaboration.”

Speaking of the team of innovators led by Dr. von Braun, Ivey praised the development of Saturn V in Huntsville.

“It’s a good reminder that Americans — Alabamians — can accomplish just about anything when we put our mind to it,” Ivey stressed.

She said this type of “ingenuity and greatness of the people of our state” is fittingly celebrated as Alabama commemorates its bicentennial.

The governor added, “And just as we recognize the richness of our past, we must always be looking forward to new opportunities and new challenges. President Trump has issued his own challenge for us to return to the Moon and then eventually on to Mars.”

“While the possibility of going to Mars might seem unachievable to some people, remember: at one point in time so did landing on the Moon,” Ivey continued. “It’s good to know that Alabama and Alabamians will once again be at the launchpad for this new space frontier.”

This reflected sentiments Ivey recently expressed to Yellowhammer News in an exclusive interview.

She expressed optimism that the resurgence in national prioritization of human space exploration under the Trump administration will mean bright days for Alabama, highlighting how private and public entities in the state are at the forefront of various space initiatives.

“You’ve got ULA (United Launch Alliance) that’s building their new Vulcan [Centaur] rocket, and Marshall Space Flight Center is leading NASA’s effort [with SLS],” she said. “So, I think Alabama is clearly in the lead — and we’re going to stay there.”

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