1 month ago

Football, Fans and Feathers educational program to continue with limited seating

AUBURN, Ala. – Despite there being no eagle flights at Auburn home football games this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one of Auburn’s most popular fall programs will return to offer a limited number of fans the opportunity to see a raptor show and flight demonstration.

The Southeastern Raptor Center’s Football, Fans and Feathers educational program once again will be held each Friday before home football games, and this year a new Saturday show will be offered. Each show will have its attendance limited to the first 50 guests.

“We are excited to again provide this unique and educational opportunity for a limited number of fans to experience an up-close view of the center’s birds of prey,” said Andrew Hopkins, assistant director of raptor training and education for the center.

The Football, Fans and Feathers event will be held on Fridays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. CT before home games—which this year will occur on Sept. 26, Oct. 10, Oct. 31, Nov. 21 and Dec. 5.

Tickets are $8 per person, with children under 3 admitted free, for the hour-long program, which takes place at the center’s Edgar B. Carter Educational Amphitheater located at 1350 Pratt-Carden Drive off Shug Jordan Parkway. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Tickets won’t go on sale until the Monday prior to each show and will stop being sold one hour prior to the start of the presentation.

Concessions will not be sold, but those attending are welcome to bring their own chair, food or drink. Gates will open one hour prior to the start of the presentation, and seating is first-come, first-served. Face masks and social distancing will be required for attendees.

During the show, hawks, falcons, eagles and other birds of prey are free-flown from towers and around the amphitheater, enabling visitors to see these raptors flying up close. The programs are delivered by Southeastern Raptor Center staff and volunteers.

At the conclusion of each presentation, several of the raptors are brought back out so attendees can have an up-close view and talk with the trainers. No two shows are alike, as different birds are chosen to soar overhead or visit guests up close on a trainer’s glove.

All birds used in the programs are permanent residents that are non-releasable due to prior injuries or human imprinting. The Southeastern Raptor Center is a division of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. For more information, visit www.auburn.edu/raptor.

(Courtesy of Auburn University)

50 mins ago

Following the money on Alabama New South Coalition’s $6-per-early-vote operation

Yellowhammer News earlier this week broke the story about a group supporting the respective campaigns of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden offering Black Belt pastors $6 “per person” they get to vote early ahead of November 3’s general election.

Now, newly filed federal campaign finance reports shed light on where the funding for this group, the Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC), is coming from.

Yellowhammer News examined FEC reports filed this week after the original story broke.

Senator Jones’ campaign reported transferring $1,100,000 to the federal account of the State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama — the Alabama Democratic Party — on October 2.

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The Party’s FEC filings reported that they received the same sum from Jones’ principal campaign committee that day. A separate FEC filing by the Party this week shows that they also received $87,300 from the Jones Victory Fund on September 29. The Jones Victory Fund is the official joint fundraising committee for Jones’ campaign.

Five days after the October 2 transfer, the Party reported sending $75,000 to “New South Alliance, LLC” for “GOTV” — which is short for “get out the vote.” The Alabama New South Alliance is the ANSC’s political arm and has endorsed Jones’ and Biden’s respective campaigns this cycle.

The same day, on October 7, the Party also sent $10,000 to the local Jefferson County chapter of the Alliance. This expense was simply listed as a “contribution” rather than being for GOTV. That local chapter’s Facebook page shows that it is distributing sample ballots simply advising people to vote the straight Democratic ticket.

Seven days later, ANSC on October 14 ran an advertisement in a local Choctaw County newspaper advertising its $6-per-ballot operation. At the bottom of the advertisement, ANSC disclosed that it had indeed paid for the ad, listing an address in Montgomery in the disclosure. That exact same address was listed in the Party’s FEC filing for the Alliance expenditure.

The Party’s most recent FEC filing also showed a bevy of other related spending for GOTV efforts, as well as “contributions” to civic organizations in the Black Belt and Birmingham. In total, this spending amounted to $1,104,531.36. Combined with the two ANSC expenditures, that total rises to $1,189,531.36 — almost a perfect match for the recent influx of Jones campaign money into the Party’s account.

This included sending $40,000 as a “contribution” to the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention, which is comprised of historically and predominantly Black churches across the state.

Another “GOTV’ expense by the Party that stuck out was $3,000 to “Gray Family Limited Partnership” in Tuskegee.

As reported by Yellowhammer News this week, under the leadership of Chairman Fred Gray, Jr., the Macon County Democratic Party has paid for and is distributing signs that proclaim, “Racism is on the ballot.” This text is displayed over a Confederate flag and Trump campaign flag.

“Vote the straight Democratic ticket on Nov 3 and make a difference,” the signs add.

These FEC filings come after Yellowhammer News reported how little Jones’ reelection campaign had spent directly with Black-owned businesses and other organizations through the second quarter of this year.

Jones’ campaign has still not responded to separate requests for comment on the three Yellowhammer News stories from earlier this week referenced in this article.

Background

Looking back at the ANSC’s financial ties to Democratic campaigns and political entities, it should be noted that the respective campaigns of Jones and Biden have directly given the group and its political arm at least $296,200 combined, starting with Jones’ 2017 special election victory.

Each campaign reported giving the Alliance $25,000 this spring for “printing & distributing sample ballots.”

In 2017, Jones paid the Alliance $49,000 for serving as a “consultant.” His campaign that cycle also paid the Alliance $192,000 for “canvassing.”

On the state level, the group has received funds from the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee and the Alabama AFL-CIO. Democratic gubernatorial Walt Maddox’s campaign paid the Alliance a total of $102,400 in the 2018 cycle. While $50,000 of that total was purportedly for “GOTV” (get out the vote), $35,000 was labeled for “consultants/polling” and $15,000 was designated as being for “advertising.”

A difference between the ANSC and Alliance between that 2017 Jones cycle and the current one comes down to transparency. During the 2017 and 2018 cycles, Alabama New South Alliance was registered as a federal “Super PAC,” technically known as an independent expenditure-only committee. It thus had to report federally related expenditures. The group terminated its FEC registration in summer 2019, so it is unclear exactly how all of its money — or how much — is being spent this time around.

The ANSC website says the organization has local chapters in 40 Alabama counties.

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

4 hours ago

Sec. of Interior Bernhardt adds handicap accessible path in Cheaha State Park to National Trails System

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has added the Bald Rock Boardwalk in Alabama’s Cheaha State Park to the National Trail System.

The Department of the Interior made the announcement Thursday in a press release. The Bald Rock Boardwalk, also known as the Doug Ghee accessible trail, is one of several dozen additions to the National Trails System made public this week.

“I encourage Americans to get outside, enjoy our incredible public lands and visit a nearby national recreation trail. Spanning more than 83,000 miles, larger than the interstate highway system, the National Trails System provides easy access to a wide variety of outdoor experiences,” Bernhardt said in a release.

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The Trump administration has now added 49 trails to the national system, totaling 1,645 miles of space for Americans to enjoy the outdoors.

The National Trails System was created by Congress in 1968. It aims to establish “trails in both urban and rural settings for people of all ages, interests, skills, and physical abilities,” according to its website.

“American Hiking Society welcomes the designation of 30 new National Recreation Trails that will create enhanced recreational opportunities for hikers and all types of trail users,” remarked American Hiking Society executive director Kate Van Waes in a statement.

“Each trail selected to receive this honor must support a diversity of users, reflect its region, and be among America’s best trails, all qualities that benefit the hiking community,” she added.

The Department of the Interior described the newly designated Alabama trail as:

Located in Cheaha State Park, the Doug Ghee Accessible Trail (Bald Rock Boardwalk) is a 0.3-mile boardwalk trail that allows users of all abilities to journey through the enchanted hardwood forested foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Interpretive signs along the accessible boardwalk unfold the history, culture, and natural history of Cheaha Mountain. This unique boardwalk invites and enables all guest to embrace the natural wonder and beauty of the Bald Rock Overlook located at the end of the boardwalk.

The official state website for Cheaha state park and its offerings for hikers can be accessed here.

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

Habit Stacking: How simple decisions can lead to big change

The power of consistency is real.

“Habit stacking” is a mantra we preach at Iron Tribe. Every time you do something good (like attend a workout or meal prep), you must do it again. And then another time. Until it’s engrained in your mind and routine. The more we practice our good habits, the easier they become!

This past year has certainly given us plenty of excuses to hit pause on our goals and slump back into old habits. If you need some motivation to get to the gym and kickstart your healthy habits, then check out this interview from one of Iron Tribe’s most dedicated gym couples, Jim and Betty Warren of Birmingham.

This fearless pair has made it a habit to show up at the gym and, more importantly, show up for themselves. They’ve hit the gym 19 weeks in a row and show no sign of slowing down.  Read their story and see how simple habits can stack up to powerful results.

To learn more about Iron Tribe, visit irontribefitness.com

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7 hours ago

7 Things: Final debate and Biden’s dealings, Jones gets support from the ‘Big Guy,’ Alabama ready for unrest after the election and more …

7. Facebook and Twitter called to testify

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to call Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify before the committee regarding accusations of censorship.
  • Of course, this is directly related to both platforms’ actions in attempting to hide the Hunter Biden story. As the story has unfolded, both Hunter and Joe Biden continue to look more involved in corruption, and Facebook and Twitter continue to freeze the story.

6. First FDA approved treatment

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  • The United States Food and Drug Administration has announced the first fully approved treatment for the coronavirus is remdesivir, which was produced by Gilead Science. This decision will allow the usage to expand.
  • Remdesivir was discovered and tested at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is for patients that have been hospitalized. President Donald Trump was treated with the drug during his hospital stay after testing positive for the coronavirus.

5 Democrats don’t actually want to do anything

  • As coronavirus stimulus package talks have failed, again, proving that there won’t be any relief delivered before the general election on November 3, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) voted against all stimulus.
  • U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that they “could have done better,” but ultimately, “the Democrats don’t want anything.” Shelby even indicated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is likely “looking down the road, maybe, until after the election.”

4. Jerry Carl to appear at a Trump rally

  • Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl will speak at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Pensacola today. Carl, a candidate for Alabama First Congressional District, has been endorsed by Trump.
  • Carl plans to talk about “economic development” during his allotted time. Carl said, “The last four years, the job market has gotten so good and, around the whole state, we got below 3% (unemployment) before Covid hit.” He’s also crediting Trump with this improvement.

3. Alabama is prepping for civil unrest

  • In anticipation of riots and civil unrest after the November 3 general election, people across Alabama have been stocking up on ammunition, and the concerns have just been reinforced by the general unrest the country has seen in recent months.
  • At The Gun Shop in Gadsden, employees said that ammunition for a 9mm is becoming harder to get, which drives the price up to three times what it normally is in some areas. The owner of Stone Arms Inc., Jeff Stone, has said that sales usually increase during an election year, but this year is “[n]ot even comparable” with previous election years.

2. Doug Jones must be trying to lose

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden was featured in a new campaign email sent out by U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), where Biden calls Jones an “old friend,” adding he needs “Doug’s help in the Senate.”
  • The email from Biden continues on to say, “I always say this election is a battle for the soul of our country. In a few places are those stakes as clear as in Alabama.” Biden also emphasizes Jones’ record in the Senate. It states, “Every time we needed him to stand up for us, Doug Jones was there.”

1. Final presidential debate

  • Last night, the final presidential debate was held in Nashville, Tennessee, and it was a much more substantive debate because the candidates allowed it to be. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spent the evening declaring he never wanted to ban fracking (he did), he would end the oil and gas industry, and that no one lost their health insurance under Obamacare (they did). President Donald Trump’s sale’s pitch consisted of praising the economy he built and wants to rebuild, hammering Biden as a do-nothing politician and forcing Hunter Biden’s laptop into the conversation.
  • Moderator Kristen Welker refused to bring up Hunter Biden’s laptop and even asked if it was real, even as President Trump pushed the story. The former vice president declared the whole thing as Russian misinformation in spite of the fact that Hunter Biden’s former business partner held a press conference prior to the debate accusing Joe Biden of being involved in selling access, released text messages affirming that and is prepared to head to Washington, D.C. for hearings.

9 hours ago

Doug Jones misses all five Senate roll call votes on Thursday, 50% total so far this week

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) continues to prioritize campaigning for reelection over his job representing the people of Alabama.

Jones was marked as “not voting” for all five roll call votes taken in the U.S. Senate on Thursday. He also missed all of Monday’s Senate floor votes; combined, he has now missed 50% of the week’s votes.

For the votes he did take, Jones supported Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) position all but one time (86%).

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RELATED: Jones votes to block consideration of $500B COVID-19 relief bill, GOP bill protecting pre-existing conditions coverage

Thursday’s missed votes for Jones included a bipartisan confirmation of a federal judge on a 67-30 vote.

The only other members of the upper chamber to miss as many votes as Jones this week have been U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, has missed all of the Senate’s votes this week.

This comes after Jones last week admitted he did not watch any of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s four-day confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Alabama’s junior senator said at the time, “I have not watched the hearing. I’m in the middle of a campaign. I have not watched the hearings, and I left D.C. when we were there.”

However, Jones last Thursday did have time during business hours to instead campaign for the Biden-Harris ticket virtually in Ohio. This week, Jones also fundraised for Biden’s campaign.

Barrett received a unanimous favorable recommendation from the Senate committee on Thursday and is expected to receive a vote by the full Senate on Monday. Jones has pledged to vote “no” on confirmation and has not even met with the nominee.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan has lamented that Jones “has embarrassed our state and shirked one of his most important duties as a senator – represent our state in this nomination process.”

“Our state has been sidelined by his absence. Funny how he said the American people need a ‘full, fair and complete trial’ when it came to President Trump’s impeachment proceedings. He promised Alabama he would be an independent voice,” she added. “On Judge Coney Barrett’s proceedings, he has failed on all of his own promises to Alabama. His slogan is ‘One Alabama’ – it should be changed to ‘Ignoring Alabama.’”

Jones is set to face Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville on November 3.

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