The Wire

  • Black Bear Sightings Continue to Increase in Alabama

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    Add Jackson, Limestone, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties to the growing list of black bear sightings in Alabama in 2018. In recent years, bears have also been recorded in Chambers, Elmore, Jefferson, Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa counties. These recent sightings are more evidence of the state’s expanding black bear population.

    Biologists from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources say the increase in sightings may be due to a combination of factors including changes in bear distribution, habitat fragmentation, seasonal movement and the summer mating season. However, most spring and summer bear sightings are of juvenile males being pushed out of their previous ranges by their mothers and other adult males.

    Historically, a small population of black bears have remained rooted in Mobile and Washington counties. Baldwin, Covington and Escambia counties on the Florida border host yet another population of bears. In northeast Alabama, bears migrating from northwest Georgia have established a small but viable population.

    “While seeing a black bear in Alabama is uncommon and exciting, it is no cause for alarm,” said Marianne Hudson, Conservation Outreach Specialist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “There has never been a black bear attack on a human in Alabama.”

    Black bears are typically secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction. Occasionally, a curious bear will explore a human-populated area in search of food.

    “If you are lucky enough to see a bear, simply leave it alone,” Hudson said.

  • Rep. Byrne Releases Statement on Russia

    From a Bradley Byrne news release:

    Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, this morning in Helsinki.

    Congressman Byrne said: “I applaud President Trump’s decision to start a dialogue with President Putin and I’m glad he is making it a priority. However, we must remember that Russia is not an ally – economically or militarily. They are an adversary. The United States should not tolerate actions by the Russians that intervene in our domestic affairs or pose a threat to our national security.”

  • Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Season Closes July 22

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division (MRD) announces the closure of Alabama state waters to the harvest of red snapper by private anglers and state-licensed commercial party boats at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 2018. The quota of 984,291 pounds issued under NOAA Fisheries’ Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) is expected to be met by the closure date.

    “Alabama anglers fished extremely hard on the good weather days during the season,” said Marine Resources Director Scott Bannon. “That level of effort, coupled with larger average-sized fish harvested this year as compared to last year, resulted in a daily harvest rate two times higher than 2017, which prompted an earlier than anticipated closure.

    “The purpose of the EFP was to demonstrate Alabama’s ability to establish a season and monitor landings within a fixed quota and I think we have shown we can do that,” said Bannon.

    Anglers are reminded of the following:

    — Possession of red snapper in Alabama waters while state waters are closed is prohibited regardless of where the fish were harvested.
    — Alabama anglers may fish in federal waters off the coast of Alabama (outside of 9 nm) and land in a state that is open to the landing of red snapper, but they must adhere to the open state’s rules and not transit in Alabama state waters with red snapper on board.
    — The season for federally-permitted charter for-hire vessels will close at 12:01 a.m. July 22.

4 hours ago

Backed by Alfa, Rick Pate rolls to victory in Alabama ag commissioner race

(Campaign/Facebook)

Lowndesboro Mayor Rick Pate on Tuesday survived late-campaign attack ads dredging up a three-decade-old divorce to claim the Republican nomination for Alabama commissioner of agriculture and industries.

Pate defeated state Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) with about 57 percent of the vote. With no Democrat on the ballot in November, Pate is all but assured of succeeding Republican incumbent John McMillan, who is term-limited.

“We thought we would win,” Pate told AL.com. “We had the right message. I am a farmer and a businessman. I thought that is what people would want.”

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Dial made it to the runoff after running light-hearted ads featuring a catchy jingle proclaiming, “It’s Dial time.” Trailing by a significant margin, however, Dial went negative this month.

Ads by Dial’s campaign referenced a 1986 divorce petition filed by Pate’s ex-wife, Carolyn, that accused Pate of domestic violence.

Pate hotly disputed the allegation.

“I denied that then and I deny that now,” he told the Decatur Daily earlier this month.

Pate told the paper that he and his ex-wife now exchange Christmas cards and that she wrote a note in May explaining that she and her ex-husband hurled hurtful words at one another at the end of what had been a good marriage.

Pate had the backing of powerful agriculture and business interests, including the Alabama Farmers Federation, or Alfa. The group’s political action committee donated nearly $100,000 in cash and in-kind donations. That was nearly a fifth of Pate’s total.

Pate also racked up endorsements from the Business Council of Alabama, the Alabama Forestry Association, the Associated General Contractors of Alabama and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, among others.

The Lowndesboro mayor, who owns a cattle ranch and runs a landscaping company, pledged to use the department to help farmers improve productivity.

Pate also promised to attack “over-regulation,” taxes and barriers to investment. He pointed out on his campaign website that some have estimated that food production will have to double by 2050 to meet worldwide demand.

It will take “visionary leaders who understand that we have to work smarter, not just harder, to achieve these goals,” according to the website.

Pate’s victory was broad. He won 59 counties — including Choctaw by a single vote — compared to just seven that went to Dial, who even lost his home base in Clay County.

The loss means Dial, come next year, will be out of elective office for the first time in 44 years.

@BrendanKKirby is a senior political reporter at LifeZette and author of “Wicked Mobile.”

 

5 hours ago

Ainsworth defeats Cavanaugh in Lt. Gov runoff election

(Campaigns)

After a long and hotly contested race, the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor in Alabama has been decided. Will Ainsworth defeated Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh in Tuesday night’s runoff election.

With 99 percent reporting, Ainsworth defeated Cavanaugh with a little more than ten thousand votes. Ainsworth received 51 percent of the vote, leaving Cavanaugh with 49 percent.

Ainsworth issued a tweet thanking those who supported and voted for him saying, “This is your victory as much as ours.”

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Ainsworth also used the hashtag #ANewDayForAlabama in his first tweet since becoming the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor of Alabama.

Ainsworth mentioned his opponent as he spoke after the election results were revealed and said that he looked forward to working with her in the future.

Cavanaugh conceded around 9:30 p.m., saying,”He ran a strong race — Will Ainsworth — and he now, I hope, will go on to be our next lieutenant governor here in the state of Alabama.”

Ainsworth will now square off with Democrat Will Boyd in November.

5 hours ago

Steve Marshall beats Troy King in heated attorney general runoff

(Steve Marshall, Troy King for Attorney General / Facebook)

Alabama Republicans have chosen their candidate for attorney general: incumbent Steve Marshall.

Marshall beat his Republican competitor former attorney general Troy King in Tuesday’s primary election runoff, winning 62 percent of the vote as of 9:30 p.m., with 92 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

A last-minute endorsement by close Trump ally Roger Stone proved unable to deliver King a victory in what became at times both a heartbreaking and heated campaign.

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Marshall and King both temporarily suspended their campaigns in late June, following the tragic death of Marshall’s wife, Bridgette.

In the race’s final weeks, King argued that Marshall’s acceptance of campaign contributions from the Republican Attorneys General Association was an infraction of Alabama’s campaign finance laws. He filed a lawsuit in Montgomery Circuit Court against Marshall last week, but a judge dismissed the case.

Marshall faces Democrat Joseph Siegelman in November’s general election.

14 hours ago

Once a Trump critic, Roby looks for redemption in Alabama runoff

(M. Roby/YouTube)

Rep. Martha Roby is seeking Republican redemption in an Alabama runoff election that hinges on her loyalty to President Donald Trump.

Roby is facing Democrat-turned-Trump Republican Bobby Bright on Tuesday, trying not to become the third congressional Republican to lose her job this primary season.

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From the outside, the race shouldn’t be close. Roby is a four-term incumbent in deep-red Alabama. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have endorsed her. And her Republican opponent supported Nancy Pelosi when he served as a Democrat in Congress.

But as is often the case in the Trump era, the conventional rules of politics do not apply.

Roby’s political survival depends on whether Alabama voters are sufficiently convinced that she’s made amends for turning her back on Trump in 2016 after he was caught bragging about sexually predatory behavior in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.

The remarks, she said at the time, made Trump “unacceptable” as a Republican candidate for president. She’s spent much of the last two years trying to convince her red-state constituents in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District that she is a reliable vote for the administration.

Roby failed to convince a majority of Republican primary voters back in June, earning just 39 percent of the vote in the first primary contest, which forced a runoff against the second-place vote getter.

Despite her past criticism, the Trump White House has emerged as Roby’s most powerful backer.

Trump himself endorsed Roby on Twitter, calling her a “reliable vote for our Make America Great Again Agenda” and bashing Bright as “a recent Nancy Pelosi voting Democrat.”

Vice President Mike Pence recorded automated calls for Roby distributed to district voters beginning on Saturday. He calls Roby a reliable vote for the Trump agenda and urged voters to send her back to Congress.

“We can always count on her vote,” Pence says in the call.

Armed with an endorsement from Trump, Roby has argued that she’s “a conservative Republican with a proven record.”

“I’ve worked with the administration to get conservative policies across the finish line. My opponent voted for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker,” Roby said during a campaign stop at a south Alabama lumber company. She also touted her support for a border wall and opposition to abortion.

Bright, who represented the district for two years as a Democrat, argues that he’s more conservative than Roby, whom he calls an establishment Republican who hasn’t “stayed connected” with the heavily agrarian and military district.

“I’m not an elitist. I’m not what they refer to as a blue blood. I’m a populist. I talk with the people and so does (Trump),” said Bright, the 13th of 14 children born into a sharecropping family.

Roby has enjoyed a 5-to-1 fundraising advantage over Bright. She’s used the arsenal to hammer Bright in television ads over his Democratic background — particularly his 2009 vote for Pelosi as House speaker.

A mailer distributed by Roby’s campaign promotes Trump’s endorsement and lists Pelosi’s name five times in attacking Bright.

While many Washington Republicans expect Roby to win on Tuesday, the anticipated low turnout in the midsummer affair offers an air of unpredictability. Less than 20 percent of eligible voters are expected to participate.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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17 hours ago

University of Alabama to use metal detectors at Bryant-Denny Stadium

(Wikicommons)

Alabama fans will be walking through metal detectors to get into Bryant-Denny Stadium this season.

University of Alabama system trustees approved Monday the use of 180 metal detectors. Deputy director of athletics and Chief Financial Officer Finus Gaston says they will cost $982,800 collectively.

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The extra security will also be used at Coleman Coliseum for men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as gymnastics.

The Southeastern Conference voted in June to use metal detectors at league sporting events by 2020.

Alabama ran a test of the process in the final home game last season.

Athletic director Greg Byrne says it will require more time to enter the stadium but that the university is using more detectors than recommended “to ensure the smoothest possible entry for our fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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18 hours ago

Man pleads guilty in Alabama to bribery for Army contracts

(Pixabay)

A man has pleaded guilty in Alabama to federal charges that he paid bribes to Army officials in exchange for military contracts during the Iraq war.

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The Justice Department said Monday that 62-year-old Finbar Charles admitted in his plea to personally receiving more than $228,000 in illicit gains as a result of the bribery scheme. Charles is a citizen of the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia. The plea was filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Alabama

Al.com reports prosecutors said Charles worked with partners to provide millions of dollars in bribes between 2005 and 2007. They said the bribes bought preferential treatment in defense contacts for providing bottled water and security fencing for soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait.

Charles is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 26.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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19 hours ago

Four Alabama jailers fired, charged with promoting prison contraband

(Marshall County Sheriff)

Authorities say four jailers have been charged in connection with a contraband investigation at a county jail in Alabama.

News outlets report 29-year-old George Gregory Bass, 32-year-old Robert Lindsey, 20-year-old Braxton Pierce Lamb, and 21-year-old Javon Cortez were charged with promoting prison contraband Monday.

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The arrests of the four Marshall County jailers comes after a physical altercation between inmates and jail staff during cell searches last week. Sheriff Scott Walls says investigators learned the four jailers had been providing cellphones and tobacco products to inmates.

The sheriff said in a news release that the four jailers were fired Friday. He says Lindsey worked at the jail for about a year, while the others worked there for about two months. It’s unclear if they have lawyers.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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20 hours ago

Alabama man’s 20-mile walk to work attracts praise, new car

(CBS 42/YouTube)

An Alabama college student whose car broke down just before his first day of work made the 20-mile (32-kilometer) journey on foot, a feat that earned him fame — and a new car.

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News outlets report that hours before his first day working for Bellhops movers, Walter Carr set out from Homewood at midnight, making it to Pelham by 4 a.m. Friday. There, he encountered Pelham police officers, who took him to breakfast and dropped him at his assignment.

Client Jenny Lamey says Carr declined her offer to rest, instead getting straight to work. Impressed by the Hurricane Katrina refugee’s work ethic, she started a GoFundMe that’s raised more than $6,600. When Bellhops CEO Luke Marklin learned about his new employee, he drove his own car from Tennessee on Monday to surprise Carr with it.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Here are the Alabama candidates who won the money race ahead of runoff

(Campaigns)

The names on the ballot in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff likely will draw a blank from many Alabama voters in an election that experts predict will feature extremely low turnout.

Under such circumstances, it is crucial for candidates to be able to spend enough money to catch the attention of distracted voters for offices they rarely think about, such as agriculture and industries commissioner and civil appeals judge.

That is why the candidates who raised the most money have the best chance of winning, according to Athens State University political scientist Jess Brown.

“The candidate with the most money typically wins whether it’s low turnout, average turnout, high turnout. … Clearly, money matters,” he said.

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Brown said looking at the money chase is useful in two ways. Candidates who raise the most money have the best chance to reach the most voters, Brown said. Beyond those practical considerations, he added, the ability to raise lots of money can be a sign that a candidate has the support of the party’s base — the people most likely to vote on Tuesday.

“Both factors are at work,” he said.

With that in mind, here is how the money race played out in the six statewide races, plus the runoff in the 2nd Congressional District. (Note, in some cases expenditures exceed contributions because the candidate had leftover funds from a previous campaign or loaned their campaigns money from personal funds).

Race: Alabama attorney general.
June 5 results: Steve Marshall (incumbent) finished first with 28.4 percent, followed by former Attorney General Troy King, who got 27.8 percent.
Total contributions: Marshall, $3,233,610. King, $2,225,663.
Total expenditures: Marshall, $3.090,851. King, $2,180,079.

Race: Alabama lieutenant governor.
June 5 results: Public Service Commission Chairwoman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh finished first with 43.3 percent, followed by state Rep. Will Ainsworth, who received 37.1 percent.
Total contributions: Cavanaugh, $2,113,261. Ainsworth, $1,279,725.
Total expenditures: Cavanaugh, $2,115,201. Ainsworth, $2,390,813.

Race: Alabama commissioner of agriculture and industries.
June 5 results: Rick Pate finished first with 40.4 percent, followed by Gerald Dial, who received 30 percent.
Total contributions: Pate, $338,640. Dial, $338,640.
Total expenditures: Pate, $500,406, Dial, $555,887.

Race: Alabama Supreme Court.
June 5 results: Brad Mendheim (incumbent) finished first with 43.4 percent, followed by Mobile County Circuit Judge Sarah Stewart, who garnered 29.3 percent.
Total contributions: Stewart, $1,103,017. Mendheim, $799,086.
Total expenditures: Stewart, $1,101,063. Mendheim, $792,098

Race: Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
June 5 results: Christy Edwards finished first with 40.8 percent, followed by Michelle Thomason, who won 32 percent.
Total contributions: Edwards, $333.957. Thomason, $132,881.
Total expenditures: Edwards, $320,610. Thomason, $208,768.

Race: Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
June 5 results: Chris McCool finished first with 42.6 percent, followed by Rich Anderson, who got 34.8 percent.
Total contributions: McCool, $256,239. Anderson, $32,165.
Total expenditure: McCool, $292,099. Anderson, 35,844.

Race: Alabama 2nd Congressional District.
June 5 results: Martha Roby (incumbent) finished first with 39 percent, followed by former Rep. Bobby Bright, who got 28.1 percent.
Total contributions: Roby, $2,179,188. Bright, $406,557.
Total expenditure: Roby, $1,493,965. Bright, $243,959.

Brown said some candidates can get away with less money. He noted that King, for instance, has residual name recognition from a previous stint in the office. Brown said that probably made the difference for King between getting into the runoff and getting knocked out in the June 5 primary.

For candidates without pre-existing name identification, Brown said, money is the only way to raise visibility.

“You need the money to buy a bigger megaphone,” he said.

Brown said the key to winning a low-turnout election is to line up support from single-issue voters who are the most reliable voters. But he added that is difficult in a primary where there is little to distinguish the views of one candidate from the other.

Money helps but is not always a guarantee, Brown said.

“You do get the unexpected when the turnout is low like I expect tomorrow’s will be,” he said.

@BrendanKKirby is a senior political reporter at LifeZette and author of “Wicked Mobile.”

 

1 day ago

Roy Moore backs Troy King in AG race

In a post that first appeared on the “In God We Trust Movement” Facebook page and later on a Facebook page affiliated with former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, Moore backed former Alabama Attorney General Troy King in his bid to reassume the state attorney general post.

Moore, who was defeated last December by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) in a special election last year to fill a void left behind by Jeff Sessions, touted King’s credentials in the post.

“I fully support Troy King for the office of Attorney General,” it read. “He has the leadership, experience, and dedication to do an outstanding job. He is a Lifelong Republican who will stand for conservative values.”

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“Troy King has a proven record fighting against corruption,” Moore also said on the flier. “I have seen first hand the miss-use [sic] of power by the political establishment, and I know how badly we need an Attorney General committed to cleaning up Montgomery. I believe Troy King is the man for the job.”

The Facebook post touted that 50,000 of those mailers were sent to Moore supporters.

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

1 day ago

Illegal alien beheads 13-year-old Huntsville girl

(Madison County Sheriff)

Law enforcement officials in Alabama say an illegal alien and an immigrant in America on a green card are responsible for murdering a 13-year-old girl with special needs and her grandmother, who had connections to Mexican drug cartels, says a report by AL.com.

The brutal beheading of 13-year-old Mariah Lopez took place after she witnessed her grandmother, Oralia Mendoza, get attacked with a knife in a cemetery, according to court testimony.

Mendoza, the 49-year-old grandmother, was alleged to have had connections with the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel, a popular and deadly drug-trafficking organization.

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Mendoza, along with Israel Palomino and Yoni Aguilar, had traveled to Georgia on June 2 to pick up methamphetamine, according to Investigator Stacy Rutherford. During the trip, one of the men became suspicious that Mendoza’s involvement was a setup.

Authorities say that Mendoza and Aguilar lived together and had dated one another in the past.

Palomino and Aguilar reportedly woke up Mendoza one night and told her that they were taking her and her granddaughter somewhere safe.

On June 4, Mendoza and Lopez were reportedly driven to Moon Cemetery located on Cave Springs Road. According to Aguilar, Mendoza and Palomino got out of the car and argued about the entire situation.

According to Aguilar, that is when the situation escalated and Palomino stabbed Mendoza. Due to Mendoza’s granddaughter being at the scene during the crime, Aguilar and Palomino took the 13-year-old girl to a separate location nearby and beheaded her.

Aguilar revealed to investigators that he was holding a knife when Palomino walked up to him and moved his arm back and forth in a sawing motion. Lopez was later beheaded.

Days later, both Aguilar and Palomino were placed in custody.

Two knives were recovered and cell phone signals from both of the men’s cellphones were pinged at the locations of each occurrence.

Palomino, 34, and Aguilar, 26, are both charged with two counts each of capital murder in the slayings of Mariah Lopez and her grandmother, Oralia Mendoza.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and also contributes weekly to The Daily Caller

2 days ago

University of Alabama System chooses new interim chancellor Finis E. St. John

(Finis E. St. John IV)

The University of Alabama System has chosen an interim chancellor to replace the retiring of current chancellor Jay Hayes at the end of the month.

Finis E. “Fess” St. John, IV, who currently serves on the UA system’s Board of Trustees, will succeed Hayes on August 1.

St. John will take an unpaid leave of absence from St. John & St. John law firm in Cullman and will serve as interim chancellor without compensation.

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“The fact that Fess St. John is willing to serve as our Interim Chancellor without compensation is a tremendous public service,” Board Trustee Joe Epsy said in a statement.

“We are extremely grateful that he is willing to step in and take on these complex administrative duties at a crucial time for our campuses and the UAB Health System,” Epsy continued, in part.

St. John graduated cum laude from Alabama in 1978, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Jasons. He went on to receive a law degree from the University of Virginia.

2 days ago

Georgia woman gets five years for filing fraudulent tax returns through Birmingham business

(Pixabay)

A Georgia woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for preparing and filing fraudulent tax returns through her Alabama-based business.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, in a news release, says U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced 38-year-old Patrice Anderson on Monday for 13 tax-related counts. A federal jury convicted Anderson in September for using her Birmingham-area business, Queen’s Fast Tax, to file returns between 2009 and 2012 that she knew contained false information.

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Evidence at trial showed that Anderson filed tax returns claiming refundable credits to which her clients were not entitled so that they could receive much larger refunds than they were eligible for. In return, Anderson would charge the clients abnormally high fees – up to $3,000 per fraudulent return – to file their taxes.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Kay Ivey hits back at Walt Maddox campaign for ‘limited energy’ comment, says he ‘doesn’t have enough energy’ to take a stand on Kavanaugh

(Maddox/YouTube, Ivey/Flickr)

Last week, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and his campaign for governor took a shot at Governor Kay Ivey’s age, saying the 73-year-old has “limited energy.”

The Ivey campaign responded Monday with a news release blasting Maddox for remaining silent on President Donald Trump’s Brett Kavanaugh nomination to SCOTUS, claiming the Tuscaloosa mayor “doesn’t have enough energy to take a stand” one way or the other on Kavanaugh.

The Ivey news release reads as follows:

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Walt Maddox has shown his true liberal colors by refusing to support President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. His repeated dodging and silence has shown that he is going to toe the liberals’ pro-choice party line.

Last week, when asked multiple times about President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Maddox refused to support Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who will protect life and defend the Second Amendment. Apparently Maddox doesn’t have enough “energy” to take a stand.

The reality is now clear as day — Maddox’s moderate talk doesn’t match his liberal walk. Alabamians won’t be fooled by a smooth talker who won’t stand up to the radical liberals who now run the Democrat party.

Governor Kay Ivey has made it clear: she supports President Trump’s pick, and encourages all United States Senators to vote for his confirmation. Ivey will always fight to protect Alabamians’ Constitutionally-protected rights, and she is the only candidate for Governor who has been endorsed by the NRA, Susan B. Anthony List, and the Alabama Citizens for Life.

2 days ago

Trump ally Roger Stone makes a last-minute endorsement ahead of Alabama primary runoff

(King Campaign/Facebook)

Former Trump advisor Roger Stone is traveling Alabama with Troy King on Monday, touting King’s credentials in an attempt to give him the edge over Attorney General Steve Marshall in Tuesday’s primary runoff election.

“As you can imagine, I get dozens of requests from good candidates, men and women across the country who are supporters of the president and real conservatives,” Stone said at an event Monday morning in Huntsville. “There’s just not enough days in the month, hours in the day to help everybody I’d like to help.”

“But this race is particularly important because the choice could not be more clear-cut,” Stone said.

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“I hope the people of Alabama will recognize that Steve Marshall is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a liberal Democrat, posing as a conservative to get through tomorrow’s runoff,” he said.

Stone will be traveling with King to Birmingham, Mobile and Ozark on Monday to reiterate his endorsement pledge.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

2 days ago

Steve Marshall returns to campaign in heated AG race with Troy King

(Marshall Campaign)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and former Attorney General Troy King are making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s Republican runoff.

Marshall returned to the campaign trail Saturday for the first time following the suicide of his wife last month.

Marshall thanked people for supporting him during his loss. He said he never considered dropping out of the race because his wife had urged him to run.

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“One of the last things that my wife had left for me was a note. She said that I know you are the man for the job and the man for Alabama,” Marshall said.

A group of GOP attorneys generals, including Pam Bondi of Florida, held rallies with Marshall on Saturday in both ends of the state. Bondi said “ethics and integrity mean everything” and others praised his record as a prosecutor.

“We believe in what he’s doing for Alabama and I believe in what he’s doing for President Trump,” Bondi said Marshall is seeking to win the office in his own right after being appointed last year by then-Gov. Robert Bentley. He previously served 16 years as the district attorney of Marshall County.

Both King and Marshall are stressing their records in the heated runoff.

King, who was attorney general from 2004 to 2011, is seeking a political comeback.

King was appointed as attorney general by then-Gov. Bob Riley. He was elected to a full term in 2006, but he lost the 2010 GOP primary to Luther Strange.

In an interview with the Associated Press, King said he was the true Republican in the race, noting that, as a 10-year-old, he went door-to-door campaigning for Ronald Reagan. Marshall, who was initially appointed by Gov. Don Siegelman, switched to the GOP in 2011.

“On Tuesday this election is about the Republican Party nominating a standard-bearer. Only one of us is a Republican,” King said when asked why runoff voters should choose him.

King will hold a series of Monday rallies with Trump ally Roger Stone.

Both campaigns paused their activities last month following the death of Bridgette Marshall. King said he pulled his commercials from the air for a week after the death out of respect for his opponent.

In returning to the campaign trail, King said he would focus on contrasting their records.

That does not mean the primary has not gotten heated at times.

King criticized Bentley’s appointment of Marshall when Bentley was the subject of an ethics investigation as a “crooked deal.”

King said Marshall got his dream job and “let a man who corrupted Alabama go free.”

Marshall responded that he was ethically required to recuse himself from the investigation, but he appointed an “experienced tough prosecutor” to lead the probe and “six weeks after that Robert Bentley was out of office.” Bentley resigned after pleading guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance violations.

Marshall’s campaign sent out a direct mail piece with unflattering headlines from King’s time as attorney general, including that King had briefly been the subject of a federal grand jury investigation. The probe ended without charges.

King responded that the probe was politically motivated and was leaked to the press to derail his 2010 campaign. He said it ended without charges because he did nothing wrong.

The runoff winner will face Democrat Joseph Siegelman in November.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Alabama among states running speed enforcement task

(Pixabay)

Alabama joins Georgia and three other states in a week-long speed enforcement operation beginning Monday.

“Operation Southern Shield” will run through Sunday, July 22.

Law enforcement in Georgia and Alabama will join Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina in pulling over drivers who are traveling above legal speed limits on interstates, major highways and local roads.

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Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, says the main focus will be to encourage motorists to slow down. He says they hope the effort will reduce crashes and provide a safer experience for motorists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says speeding killed more than 10,000 people in the United States in 2016 and was a factor in 27 percent of fatal crashes in the nation.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Alabama man arrested in July 4 boating crash that killed two

(Hale County Jail)

A man faces charges in a west Alabama Fourth of July boating crash that killed two people and injured five others.

Al.com reports 29-year-old Richard Latham Jr. was arrested Friday in Tuscaloosa and transported to the Hale County Jail in Greensboro. Latham’s hometown was not released. A woman who answered the phone at the jail would not release that information, referring all calls to the sheriff’s office.

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Latham faces two counts of reckless murder and is being held without bond. It was unknown if he has an attorney.

Authorities say Latham was drinking and driving a ski boat on the Black Warrior River when the crash happened about four miles south of the Moundville boat landing.

Killed were 46-year-old Richard Glover, of Akron, and 23-year-old Destiny Graben, of Northport.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Alabama mission groups back safely after being stranded in Haiti

(Russellville First Baptist Church/Facebook)

Two Alabama mission teams have returned back to the state after being stranded in Haiti for days amid a government spike in fuel prices.

News outlets report that the Faith Community Church team in Trussville and group members from First Baptist Church in Russellville arrived back in Alabama this week. The groups of nearly 50 students and chaperones had been in a secure compound since July 7.

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The State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs advised American citizens against traveling. The incident caused the closure of the airport in the capital city of Port-au-Prince and the stoppage of many flights to and from the U.S.

The cancellation of flights stranded church groups and volunteers from a number of U.S. states, including South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

Church officials say another group is expected to be on its way.

First Baptist senior pastor Patrick Martin is on the Haiti trip. In a Facebook post, he urged people to pray for the travelers.

“Praise God. Please continue praying. Pray for us to get out, but also please pray for those we are leaving behind,” Martin wrote. “Pray for Haiti. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people. They have a bad reputation thanks to a corrupt government that would rather pad their own pockets than care for their people. Pray that the gospel would be a shining light in the middle of poverty, and that the Kingdom of God will advance through the efforts of those in country, as well as those who come in like we did.

Martin added: “We will be back. I promise.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 days ago

Joel Rotenstreich is an Alabama Bright Light dedicated ‘to life’

(K. Shamsi-Basha/Alabama NewsCenter)

Humility is the overarching impression you get when you meet Joel Rotenstreich.

Every year, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center honors a person whose actions have helped not only the center, but life for the Jewish people of Birmingham as well as people from other faiths. This year, Rotenstreich is the honoree.

It would take columns to list the accomplishments and selfless actions of Rotenstreich. His work in education, social justice and interfaith only begin the list.

“My passions throughout the adult part of my life have been education and bringing people together. The third is social justice. Treating everyone equally, equal opportunity, doing the right thing,” Rotenstreich said.

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Rotenstreich headed fundraising for the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in 2016 and again in 2017. His face-to-face strategy worked wonders.

“Fundraising for the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center is essential. The place teaches courage, integrity, cooperation, endurance, self-respect, respect for others. We’re training teachers to teach the lessons of the Holocaust, and this is happening all over Alabama,” Rotenstreich said. “Close to 1,500 teachers across Alabama have been trained by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center.”

Rotenstreich sees connections among historical events that tie human consciousness together. Things like the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing during the civil rights struggle and other world-changing events. He notices these connections especially when he travels to Israel. Introducing others to Israel and its history and culture is another passion for Rotenstreich and his wife, Bunny. They have led 22 trips to that country.

“We’re connected; we are all in this world together,” he said. “The four little girls who were killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 — there is a connection, and we are trying to teach everyone about the history and lessons of the past.”

Rotenstreich has served on boards of numerous organizations and led the Anne Frank Tree project in which a horse chestnut tree like one she mentioned in her diary was planted in Kelly Ingram Park and dedicated to the “victims of intolerance and discrimination.” Rotenstreich was campaign chair and president of the Jewish Federation, served three five-year-terms on the Mountain Brook Board of Education and was its president from 2000 until 2002.

Kendall Chew, outreach coordinator at the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, may know more about what Rotenstreich has achieved than Rotenstreich himself.

“L’Chaim means ‘to life.’ The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center adapted that phrase as the title for their annual fundraiser. L’Chaim honors someone every year who has brought life to the community and the mission we serve,” Chew said. “This year we are fortunate to be honoring someone that speaks and walks our mission every day in his life, and that’s Joel Rotenstreich.”

L’Chaim will take place at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19.

“I am extremely grateful to be honored by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center,” Rotenstreich said. “Getting recognition for what I stand for means something I’m doing might be working.”

Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at karimshamsibasha@gmail.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 days ago

Auburn University making Alabama ‘go-to place’ for additive technologies

(Auburn University)

Additive technologies commonly referred to as 3-D printing are revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, giving engineers and designers new methods to create custom parts in aerospace and other industries.

Auburn University is moving toward its goal of being a leader in this game-changing technology. It’s making strategic investments to broaden its capabilities in additive manufacturing and building partnerships with organizations such as NASA and companies including GE Aviation.

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 Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Auburn’s concentration on additive manufacturing is positioning the university’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering as a national leader in this field.

“Additive manufacturing represents a significant breakthrough that will reshape how manufacturers produce all kinds of products, and it’s critical that Alabama’s workforce is prepared for this technology,” Secretary Canfield said.

“Auburn University is laying the foundation to ensure that we’re fully ready for future advances.”

That includes supporting the Alabama delegation at the Farnborough International Airshow near London next week.

Larry Fillmer, executive director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation, or ARTF, and Cary Chandler, director of business development for ARTF, will be available to meet with aerospace companies to discuss potential opportunities for collaboration with Auburn on projects to advance applied research in additive manufacturing and workforce development.

The overall objective is long-term economic growth for Alabama.

‘GO-TO PLACE’ FOR ADDITIVE

Auburn has hired additional faculty with expertise in additive manufacturing and now has more than 20 faculty members involved in the field. In addition, the university has spent over $8 million on teaching and research equipment, including 3-D printers and instrumentation such as a world-class fatigue testing laboratory and an X-ray computed tomography non-destructive testing center.

The moves have paid off.

Auburn has been involved in sponsored additive manufacturing research programs from NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, and private industry, among others.

An important step for Auburn was the 2016 creation of the Center for Industrialized Additive Manufacturing, with a $1.5 million NIST grant to help small manufacturers use additive manufacturing for reliable production of metal parts.

For Tony Overfelt, professor of materials engineering, who was the inaugural leader in the additive manufacturing focus at Auburn, the center representedan opportunity to propel Alabama to a leadership role in additive manufacturing and spur workforce development by immersing students in the new technology.

“As we launched our efforts in 2016, one of our long-term goals was to make the state of Alabama the go-to place for additive manufacturing,” he said.

And Auburn intends to lead the way.

“The creation of the Auburn University Center for Industrialized Additive Manufacturing helped position Auburn at the forefront of this growing field of research,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

“This reaffirms our college’s commitment to advancing research in manufacturing, which is vital to the state of Alabama and the nation.”

NASA ALLIANCE

Meanwhile, Auburn’s additive manufacturing link to NASA has grown particularly strong.

The university and the space agency signed a cooperative agreement focusing on additive manufacturing in late 2017 and together they formed the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence, or NCAME.

In January 2018, Auburn President Steven Leath visited Huntsville to see first-hand Auburn’s extensive involvement with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

While there, Auburn-trained engineers working in NASA’s additive manufacturing center showed Leath where they are constructing flight hardware for the Space Launch System, or SLS, using innovative 3-D printing technologies. The SLS is NASA’s Mars rocket, now under development.

“The rapidly expanding field of advanced manufacturing requires new skill sets, or, in other words, a new workforce of highly trained specialists,” Leath said. “Auburn is educating and training a growing number of engineers to meet that need—working hand-in-hand with our industry and government partners to ensure they have what they need to bring these technologies out of the lab and into the workforce.”

“Joining forces with NASA and creating NCAME elevates Auburn’s additive manufacturing program even higher. We believe that our joint efforts in AM research and workforce development will help take the U.S. back to the moon and ultimately to Mars,” said Nima Shamsaei, associate professor in mechanical engineering and director of NCAME.

In March 2018, ASTM International, a global standards organization, selected the Auburn-NASA partnership, along with EWI and the U.K.-based Manufacturing Technology Centre, or MTC, as the winners in a global competition for its first Center of Excellence focusing on additive manufacturing. EWI is a leading engineering and technology organization, and MTC develops innovative manufacturing processes and technologies.

The goal for these organizations and their partners is to create a global innovation hub that advances technical standards, related research and development, education, training and more.

“It’s clear that this new center has the potential to shape the future of industries like aerospace, auto, medical and more,” said Katherine Morgan, president of ASTM International.

Shamsaei, who is Auburn’s lead in the Center of Excellence, says, “As a primary mechanism for standards-related research, the ASTM Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence seeks to close knowledge gaps and encourage innovation.”

The ASTM Center of Excellence will be housed in the Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory, a $22 million project being completed on campus this summer with 60,000 square feet of labs and office space for work on additive manufacturing of metals, as well as advanced polymers and composites.

GE AVIATION

The university has also built a strong partnership with GE Aviation, a leader in additive manufacturing that operates a manufacturing plant in Auburn where jet engine fuel nozzles are produced using additive manufacturing techniques.

Last year, GE selected Auburn as one of just eight universities in the world to participate in their groundbreaking academic program focusing on 3-D printing research and education initiatives.

In addition, students in Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering have worked with the company’s engineers on a number of real-world design and testing problems.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

3 days ago

Alabama first responders go through ‘crucial’ active shooter training

Thursday, over 60 officers from Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, Anniston Police Department and Oxford Police Department endured inter-agency training at the Xtreme Concepts Inc. (XCI) Training Facility in Anniston, AL., to combat an active shooter situation.

Per a news release, the group went through three “challenging” scenarios dealing with an active shooter at XCI’s facility, formerly known as Fort McClellan, to “simulate a diverse field of situations.”

“I wanted to put something in there that they don’t see,” Anniston police Sgt. Donny Smith said, regarding a female shooter in an office romance gone bad scenario. “I want to get inside their heads.”

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Experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted in the Thursday training session designed to improve collaboration between various departments to combat potential active shooter situations.

Xtreme Concepts Inc.
Xtreme Concepts Inc.
Xtreme Concepts Inc.
Xtreme Concepts Inc.

A portion of the news release as follows:

The Xtreme Concepts explosives experts were able to create situations where improvised explosives are placed inside an active shooter situation. These improvised explosive devices have been found at places in out state such as Magnolia Elementary School in Trussville in 2016 or the most recent event at Santa Fe High School in Texas this year where similar explosive incendiary devices were found at the school.

“It is always a pleasure to host these first responders who put their lives on the line for our communities every day. Anything that we can do at our facility to make Alabama a safer place is a priority for us,” Landon Ash, CEO of Xtreme Concepts, said.

3 days ago

Back Forty Beer Company-Birmingham pouring it on with beer and food

(M. Tomberlin/Alabama NewsCenter)

The first satellite brewery of Alabama’s largest beer maker is now open in Sloss Docks next door to Birmingham’s historic Sloss Furnaces.

Back Forty Beer Company-Birmingham shares a name and elements with the mother brewery in Gadsden but it also has its own unique elements.

“We’re going to be focused on bringing core beers from Gadsden that people love but also complementing it with craft beer that you can get nowhere else other than this location and distributed locally in the Birmingham market,” said Doug Brown, owner and CEO of Back Forty-Birmingham. “These satellite breweries were developed on a concept of satisfying the consumer’s demand for unique craft beer that can be found nowhere else.”

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The 6,200-square-foot operation has indoor seating for 170 and outdoor porches, decks and a beer garden that encourages visitors to relax on swings or rocking chairs or get a bit more active with a pingpong table, cornhole and is even considering adding fly-fishing lessons.

In addition to a full brewery operation, Back Forty-Birmingham has a kitchen where executive chef Russ Bodner is elevating bar food.

The Back40 Poutine comes with gravy made from Back Forty’s award-winning Truck Stop Honey brown ale. The Naked Pig Boiled Peanuts come with garlic, arbol chili and thyme. There is also Confit Chicken Wings with a rotating hot sauce, grilled okra with harissa and pickled raisins, and Grilled “Street Corn” with chili aioli, toasted coconut, lime and cilantro.

Bodner puts his twist on pizzas, too, and then shows even more creativity with large plates (Steak-Frites with Naked Pig “beernaise” sauce, anyone?), sandwiches (Lamb Burger for something different) and house-made sausages.

Bodner has developed his own style after working at an award-winning Greek restaurant in New York, working with Lake Martin culinary royalty Rob McDaniel at Spring House and then serving as an executive chef at Lake Martin’s Kowaliga Restaurant before going to St. Louis for a few years.

When Back Forty-Birmingham came calling, Bodner was ready to come back to Alabama and join the exploding culinary scene in Birmingham.

“I thought this was a great opportunity to bring something Birmingham doesn’t have – a brewery with a restaurant in it,” Bodner said.

Doing his own pickling and making sausages are a few of the elements that Bonder hopes will make Back Forty-Birmingham stand out. He believes the food pairs well with beers but also stands up well on its own.

“I want to have fun and I want all of the staff to have fun and learn with what we’re doing,” he said.

The full menu will not be available until after a July 21 grand opening with a ribbon-cutting at 4:30 p.m. That event will feature live music from WildEyes and Truett.

For this weekend’s Sloss Music and Arts Festival, Back Forty-Birmingham will be open and offering a limited menu.

Hours: Monday and Wednesday 3-10 p.m., (closed Tuesday), Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight and Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

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(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 days ago

Deep Roots is an Alabama Maker unlocking the medicinal power of herbs

(M. Tomberlin/Alabama NewsCenter)

Deep Roots (Montevallo and Birmingham)

The Maker: Cameron Strouss

Cameron Strouss just wanted to feel healthy again.

Surgery and post-operative treatment to her ankles when she was a teenager left her in pain and with more physical problems than she had before. Undiagnosed food allergies caused more problems and Strouss struggled to find answers through the typical doctor-prescription-treatment route.

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Arthritis, pain, fatigue and anxiety were the norm, but Strouss couldn’t help but think there was a better way.

“Finally, one day I saw a plant and I thought, ‘Why don’t I know how to use this? Why wasn’t this passed down to me?’,” Strouss said.

Strouss started using herbs much like she would pharmaceuticals – taking a specific herb to treat a specific problem or symptom.

“I was not getting the results I wanted to with my own health and I realized that it’s more about the whole body so I started just learning more and doing more diet and supplementation with herbs, looking at nutrient issues and more well-rounded dietary supplementation and then also using herbs,” Strouss said.

Strouss earned a degree in biology at the University of Montevallo. She then went to work at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens to brush up on native plant knowledge.

An internship with Herb Pharm in Oregon, training with clinical herbalist Thomas Easley, and work with All is Well Health and Inspiration in Andalusia put her on the path to become a registered herbalist (RH) through the American Herbalist Guild and a functional herbalist (FH) through the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine.

After completing her herb training five years ago, Strouss decided to put her knowledge to work.

“It was time for Deep Roots to become a thing and for me to start helping other people with their health,” she said.

Deep Roots offers clinical consultations that include chronic and acute care herbalism. The company also presents educational programs on herbal and botanical medicines.

Strouss mixes her own medicines and sells them through the Deep Roots store in Montevallo, online and at events, such as the Market at Pepper Place.

Strouss also operates the Embody Practice Center in Birmingham.

While more people are discovering herbal medicine, Strouss reminds them that what she is doing isn’t new.

“I’m not fringe or cusp or a pioneer,” she said. “This has been a road that’s been forged long before me but I’m glad to be holding the torch and passing now on to other people through our educational programs.”

Deep Roots Apotheke & Clinic

The product: Herbal medicines, extracts, salves, teas and blends.

Take home: A bottle of Alabama Heat ($20).

Embody Practice Center, 3918 Montclair Road, Suite 100, Birmingham, Alabama 35213

Deep Roots storefront, 620 Main St., Montevallo, Alabama 35115

https://www.deeprootsapothekeandclinic.com/

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(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)