1 month ago

Doug Jones attacks longtime Alabama law enforcement officer as ‘fool’

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Friday lashed out at one of Alabama’s most respected, longtime law enforcement officials.

In a tweet, Jones shared a television ad that Republican U.S. Senatorial nominee Tommy Tuberville’s campaign is running.

That ad features Supernumerary Sheriff Mike Hale, who served as Jefferson County’s sheriff for five terms.

In the spot, Hale begins, “The lawless, violent mob wants to defund our police and erase our proud American history.”

“Liberal Doug Jones is standing with them, not us,” he continues. “Jones spoke at a liberal rally in Alabama that turned into a riot where a monument was destroyed and buildings were damaged. Doug Jones is undermining law enforcement and coddling dangerous criminals and putting Alabama families at risk.”

Hale, a Republican, was defeated in 2018 in the solidly blue Jefferson County; however, the close race (51.4% to Hale’s 48.54%) underscored Hale’s continued bipartisan credentials and popularity in Alabama’s most populated metropolitan area.

He entered into the world of law enforcement as a Homewood Police Department officer in 1973, embarking on a 45-year career protecting and serving Alabamians of all stripes.

Hale went on to receive national, non-partisan recognition for his tenure as sheriff on several occasions.

Among a litany of achievements, he successfully fought to strengthen Alabama law, making it a felony when convicted sex offenders violate the state registry laws. This change made the Yellowhammer State’s law the strongest in the country in relation to convicted sex offenders.

Next, Hale created an Identity Theft Unit and Computer Forensics Unit, both of which were the first of their kind in the region.

In 1999, he also created the sheriff’s office groundbreaking School Resource Division for county schools to fight domestic terrorism. This was pre-Columbine and that division has since been lauded as a national model for law enforcement agencies.

Under Hale’s leadership, the department was also effectively released from a consent decree that dated back to 1982, well before he became sheriff, regarding the hiring and promotion of African-Americans and females. In doing so, a federal judge emphasized that under Hale, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s hiring and promotional practices had been fair and that they did not discriminate against African-Americans or females. The judge complimented Hale on his commitment to diversity and compliance with federal law. These plaudits are reflected in the objective numbers: nearly 30% of the county’s deputy sheriffs were African-American, and nearly 20% of the deputy sheriffs were female, both as of 2018. Additionally, more than one-third of the officers were African-American.

“I’m proud I turned a white-male-dominated sheriff’s office into one that reflects the community we serve,” Hale told Alabama Media Group after his 2018 defeat. “I’m very pleased that I was inclusive. I believe in my heart that prejudice cannot survive and thrive in a department that needs to reflect its community.”

Another shining jewel of Hale’s leadership was the creation of the Metro Area Crime Center (MACC). The MACC has 13 different agencies staffing a work center that allows them to share information about suspects and crime trends on a daily basis. Additionally, the MACC is a law enforcement resource for any agency in the state that needs assistance with difficult investigations. MACC investigators use state-of-the-art technology and software to assist in solving the most complex of cases. The MACC also has a video center that is staffed 24/7/365 to prevent and reduce crime through the use of deployable mobile surveillance platforms (camera trailers). Overall, the MACC is bringing crime fighting into the modern age and revolutionizing how law enforcement agencies fight crime.

However, in his Friday tweet, Jones blasted Hale as a “fool.”

Alabama’s junior senator referred to the ad as “crap” while affirming that he had indeed featured at what he even referred to as a “liberal rally.”

Less than two hours after being posted, Jones’ tweet had boosted the reach of Tuberville’s ad by more than 10,000 views.

This is not the first time rioting has come into play in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race. The NRSC previously released a video ad tying Jones and his fellow Democrats to riots that occurred across the nation over the summer. Jones has not condemned Antifa during his time in the U.S. Senate.

Voters will decide between Jones and Tuberville in November 3’s general election.

Tuberville has the endorsement of the Alabama Fraternal Order of Police in the race.

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

4 hours ago

Ivey lights official state Christmas tree – ‘Merry Christmas to each of you’

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Friday took part in the traditional annual lighting of the official State of Alabama Christmas Tree located on the steps of the capitol.

“Let this be a year you do a little bit more, and give a little bit more,” said Governor Ivey to those assembled.

“Merry Christmas to each of you and to all families across Alabama,” she added.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed introduced Ivey at the ceremony and praised her “steady leadership” during a tumultuous year. Ivey later thanked him for his “dedicated leadership” of Alabama’s capital city.

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Around 200 citizens braved temperatures in the mid-40s to take in the lighting ceremony. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, masks were required for attendance at the ceremony.

“I’m incredibly grateful we’re able to safely keep this Christmas tradition alive,” Ivey said of the circumstances.

Alabama’s 2020 tree was donated by Robbins Taylor, Sr. of Lowndes County. The Eastern Red Cedar is 35 feet tall and required a crew from the Alabama Department of Transportation for its installation.

Major General David J. Francis, commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, reminded the crowd in attendance that the Christmas standard “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” was written from the perspective of a soldier forced to be away from home during World War II.

“This is a great reminder to remember all our service members, including the members of the greatest generation, the deployed members who will not be with their loved ones this holiday season, and the many who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” Francis added.

“Christmas is a direct reminder of the hope we find in Jesus Christ,” mentioned the governor, who makes her Christian faith a mainstay of her public persona.

“Through the birth of a baby boy over two thousand years ago, we can find salvation, peace, and purpose in our lives,” Ivey continued.

“For many of us, including myself, that hope and faith has been what has guided us through these difficult challenges of 2020,” she told the public.

“May God continue to bless our state,” the governor concluded.

Watch:

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

7 hours ago

Palmer: Pelosi, Democrats prioritize pot legalization over COVID-19 relief

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) raised eyebrows this week by calling the House of Representatives into session and pushing through votes on legislation that would legalize marijuana and ban private ownership of exotic animals — known as the “Tiger King” bill.

Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) released a scathing statement on Friday decrying Pelosi’s prioritization of these bills over much-needed COVID-19 relief for the American people.

“Speaker Pelosi and her clueless Democrat colleagues have proven over and over again that their top priorities do not include the hardworking Americans who need help to get through this pandemic,” Palmer said.

“This week, their prioritization of pot legalization while people are struggling is a stunning display of partisan politics and shows just how out of touch Democrats are with the American people,” he continued. “The timing of this bill not only reflects a disregard for the businesses that need further relief funding, but also for the rampant mental health and drug overdose issues exacerbated by the pandemic.”

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Entitled the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act), the marijuana legalization passed the House on Friday by a vote of 228-164. The only Alabama representative to support the measure was Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07), a Democrat.

“Federal surveys show that since the coronavirus arrived in the U.S., depression and anxiety have been on the rise, with a concerning 75% of young adults now struggling with at least one mental health or drug problem,” Palmer explained. “The Center for Disease Control has also predicted that the U.S. could see 75,500 drug overdose deaths in 2020 if recent trends hold. Pelosi’s pot bill is even more unconscionable with these concerning facts in mind, especially as it ignores common sense safety measures around marijuana use, and also funnels taxpayer dollars to the marijuana industry and convicted drug dealers. In short, the bill would grant easier access to a gateway drug for already vulnerable and struggling people.”

The Central Alabama congressman concluded, “Furthermore, at a time when we should be helping people with employment opportunities, this bill would move us in the wrong direction. Companies with drug-free work environments, many of them also hazardous work environments, should not and will not employ people who might come to work drug-impaired, endangering themselves and others. I hope we don’t waste more opportunities next week for needed relief.”

Palmer, as the chair of the Republican Policy Committee, is the fifth-highest ranking member of the House GOP.

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

7 hours ago

WWII vet finishes fight with COVID-19, turns 104 the next day

A World War II veteran in Alabama was released from the hospital this week after a battle with the coronavirus. He turned 104 years old on his first day back home.

Major Wooten, the veteran in question, has become something of a minor celebrity in recent years for his joyful approach to life at his advanced age.

Wooten turned heads in recent years during his trip to Normandy to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Similar lines cheered his return to the airport and his exit from the hospital earlier this week.

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An ardent Alabama fan, Wooten again made headlines earlier this year when Nick Saban gave him a call after a health scare in the spring.

RELATED: Nick Saban surprises 103-year-old WWII veteran with Facetime call

Wooten is from Cullman and was cared for at Madison Hospital during his fight with COVID-19.

His exit from the hospital has garnered attention across the nation, with the Associated Press publishing a widely circulated story and ABC’s World News Tonight featuring Wooten in a segment.

Watch employees of Madison Hospital sing Happy Birthday to Major Wooten:

 

Major Wooten turns 104!

Mr. Major Lee Wooten won his battle with COVID-19 in time to be home to celebrate his 104th birthday. Mr. Wooten, who is a veteran and warmly known as “Pop Pop,” is described by his granddaughter as “their family’s treasure.” Please join us in wishing Mr. Wooten a very, happy birthday!

Posted by Madison Hospital on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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

8 hours ago

Alabama receives over $50M from Dept. of Interior for energy produced in state

The State of Alabama is receiving $50.29 million from the federal government as a disbursement for energy that was produced in a federally owned area of the state.

Alabama’s funds come as part of a $1.81 billion payout to 34 states announced by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt on Friday.

The revenue sent to states Friday “was collected from oil, gas and mineral production on federal lands within the states’ borders and from offshore oil and gas tracts in federal waters adjacent to their shores,” according to a release from the department.

Virtually all of Alabama’s portion of the money was generated by offshore drilling, per the data available on an Interior Department web portal.

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Alabama’s payment was ninth highest in the nation. New Mexico took the top spot with $706.96 million followed by Wyoming, Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, Colorado, Utah and Mississippi.

American Indian Tribes received $1 billion as part of the process; 100% of the revenue from the energy generated on their lands.

“[T]hese disbursements also go right back to the states and Tribes where the energy was produced, providing critical funding for schools, public services, conservation improvements and infrastructure projects that create good-paying American jobs,” said Bernhardt on Friday.

The over $50 million announced as on its way to Alabama on Friday is the state’s total for fiscal year 2020 that ended September 30. It is the largest amount the state has received under the disbursement policy in the last decade.

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

10 hours ago

Aderholt tests positive for COVID-19, is asymptomatic

Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) on Friday announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19 but is displaying no symptoms.

Aderholt originally went into quarantine on November 15 after learning he had been in close contact with someone who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. Right after completing his 10-day quarantine period, Aderholt’s wife, Caroline, tested positive and he once again went into quarantine.

Under new CDC guidelines that allow for a seven-day quarantine if followed by a negative test result, Aderholt on Thursday received a COVID-19 test to ascertain if he could exit quarantine and resume voting on the House floor.

“I fully expected to receive a negative test, because I have felt, and continue to feel fine, and have no symptoms. Unfortunately, I received word Friday morning that my test came back positive. After speaking with the Attending Physician for Congress, I will continue to isolate,” he advised in a statement.

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Aderholt also said that his wife has recovered from the virus after experiencing mild symptoms.

During his original quarantine, Aderholt had isolated himself away from his wife and the rest of his family.

The dean of Alabama’s U.S. House delegation, Aderholt is a senior member of the Committee on Appropriations, including serving as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science and as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee and the Defense Subcommittee.

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