2 weeks ago

Ivey on new Mobile Bay Bridge: Until locals convince us they want this project, ‘no use’ in state spending energy, effort or money

Although the since-postponed I-10 Mobile Bayway Bridge project seems like a distant memory, local officials still control the project’s destiny, according to Gov. Kay Ivey.

Earlier this year, Ivey declared the project “dead” after the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization voted to remove it from their Transportation Improvement Plan. The project had come under fire for the tolling component proposed to finance the bridge’s construction.

During an appearance on Birmingham radio Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show,” Ivey revisited the subject and maintained it was still a “needed project.”

“The bottom line is it is a needed project,” she said. “It is needed not only to Alabama and south Alabama but to the state as a whole. The local [Metropolitan Planning Organizations] have to put it on their approved list. We can’t even ask for, much less even get and use federal dollars. So how are you going to pay for it?”

However, she told co-hosts Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg it was up to local officials to reverse course to get the state to move forward with any effort on a new I-10 Mobile Bay Bridge project.

“I turned the question over to the people and set up a meeting and called it for October 7 as I recall, so people of interest could sure come and tell me how are we going to pay for this thing,” Ivey continued. “The Baldwin County MPO just absolutely refused to put it on their shortlist. Mobile had to follow suit. So, until the locals come together and convince us they want this project, there’s no use for the state to spend energy, effort or money.”

“It’s definitely in their court,” she added.

@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.

51 mins ago

Bradley Byrne: Donald Trump ‘absolutely does not want’ Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Senator

Jeff Sessions’ entry into the U.S. Senate race last week has shown something Alabamians have not seen in decades: blunt criticisms, sometimes hostile, aimed at Sessions, who before serving in the Trump administration served Alabama for two decades in the U.S. Senate.

Prior to getting in the contest for U.S. Senate, Sessions was also a target of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly indicated his disappointment and frustration with Sessions’ service as U.S. Attorney General.

During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) discussed his former Alabama congressional delegation colleague and his decision to run against him in the March 3, 2020 GOP primary. According to Byrne, he has not seen any wavering of support.

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“We’re not noticing any difference. Obviously, in the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked to a large number of people. I, in particular, have talked to a large number of people. You know, I’ve got former Vice President Cheney and his daughter Liz, who is in the House, coming to a fundraiser for me in Birmingham this Thursday. So, I’ve been on the phone with quite a few people about that. We’re just not hearing any difference.”

Earlier this month, Byrne was in attendance with Trump at the Alabama-LSU game in Tuscaloosa. Byrne claimed Trump did not want Sessions to be the victor in next year’s contest.

“The president was pretty clear that he’s still pretty angry with Jeff,” Byrne said. “He absolutely does not want him to be U.S. Senator from Alabama. But you know, he recognizes Jeff has a right to run. Jeff is running. I just don’t think it is going to go anywhere. A lot of the American people are either angry with him, or they’re bewildered why he is running in the first place. And these ads that he is running aren’t helping him any. I can tell you that.”

Later in the interview, when asked about his personal reaction to Sessions’ eleventh-hour decision to run, Byrne acknowledged he was surprised. Byrne also said he and Sessions had been talking over the past year and that Sessions had even encouraged him to run.

The Baldwin County Republican added he saw this as a characteristic of Sessions.

“I just got to say this, Jeff vacillates like that,” Byrne added. “That’s kind of his M.O. He has a hard time making up his mind about things. And then he’ll make a decision like that — that kind of surprises you at the last minute. It doesn’t distress me, but a lot of my supporters are pretty darn angry with him, and a lot of my supporters used to be his supporters. So, I think that makes it more difficult for him.”

@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 hours ago

7 Things: Impeachment slog continues, officers involved in Madison shooting still off the street, Chick-fil-A caves to their enemies and more …

7. Iron Bowl details announced 

  • The SEC announced that the Iron Bowl will be played at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn this year on November 30 at 2:30 p.m.
  • The game is set to be broadcasted on CBS. The weekend before the Iron Bowl, Auburn and Alabama are matched up against Samford and Western Carolina, respectively, but Alabama will be playing its first game without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

6. Ohio wants to ban all abortions

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  • Lawmakers in Ohio have proposed a bill that would ban abortions and bring murder charges against doctors who perform abortions, except for in a situation where a doctor saves the life of the mother but has to terminate the pregnancy.
  • State Representative Candice Keller (R-Ohio) said, “The time has come to abolish abortion in its entirety and recognize that each individual has the inviolable and inalienable Right to Life.” Ohio already has a “heartbeat” abortion law, and this would just take it one step further.

5. President Trump’s doctor: There are no concerns with Trump’s health

  • Speculation ran rampant, as was expected after the president made an unexpected stop at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, but in a memo released by Dr. Sean Conley, physician to the president, he explained that the visit was part of a routine checkup but was kept off the record because of “scheduling uncertainties.”
  • This will placate absolutely no one, but Trump’s physician said his total cholesterol is 165, with HDL of 70, LDL of 84 and non-HDL of 95, all within recommended ranges for the 73-year-old President of the United States.

4. Buttigieg isn’t fighting racial inequality very well

  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 Democratic presidential campaign has somewhat focused on a plan to fight racial inequality, but on the portion of his campaign website designated to such efforts, his campaign used a stock photo of a Kenyan woman playing with her son.
  • The issue is with more than just one picture, though, as it’s been found that Buttigieg’s campaign has a habit of using stock photos of black individuals on their website that have no affiliation with the campaign. People have especially taken issue with this since some of the stock photos were used to promote “the Douglass plan.”

3. The mob will never be satiated

  • After years of support by a die-hard fanbase that liked the fact that a chicken restaurant was willing to stand by their principles of its owners, Chick-fil-A announced that they would no longer be donating money to “controversial” Christian charities such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army.
  • This decision was met with derision by their supporters and attacked by the people they were trying to appease. GLAAD released a statement declaring this move was not good enough, stating, “In addition to refraining from financially supporting anti-LGBTQ organizations, Chick-fil-A still lacks policies to ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents.”

2. An internal investigation has started in Madison shooting

  • The five police officers involved in the shooting of Dana Fletcher at the Planet Fitness in Madison are to remain on leave as the internal investigation takes place, but Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard has already said that the shooting was legally justified.
  • Despite Broussard’s observation, the Madison police review board still has to go through the case, which includes a commander, lieutenant, sergeant and officer. Chief David Jernigan said, “Our officers are constantly and consistently receiving training in all areas of 21st century policing, including de-escalation techniques, officer safety, non-lethal options, and response to resistance.”

1. Impeachment testimonies start and maybe these are the ones that really matter

  • Week one’s impeachment proceedings were relatively uneventful. America seems generally less than interested and unwilling to be persuaded one way or the other, but the American media has still sold every testimony like it was a bombshell and keeps telling us that the next one will bring it all together.
  • Tuesday’s events will broadcast on all the networks as critics of President Trump’s foreign policy are praised for their service and they proceed to tell us that they don’t like how he does his job. Some will even relay a phone call they overheard in a restaurant.

4 hours ago

Amazon selects book on ‘Mockingbird’ author Harper Lee as best nonfiction work of 2019

The book editors at Amazon.com identified “Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” as the best nonfiction book published in 2019.

The book is from first-time author Casey Cep. The first seven stops on Cep’s book tour were in various Alabama locations.

Goodreads.com describes “Furious Hours” as: “The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer, and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird.”

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The book details the story of Alabama Rev. Willie Maxwell, who was accused of five murders before he was shot by a vigilante during the funeral of his last victim. Harper Lee was interested in the case at the time and reported on it with the intent to eventually publish a book.

Lee never published her work on the case, which “Furious Hours” investigates thoroughly.

The Amazon selection continues a good run of publicity for the Knopf published book. Terrance Finley, CEO of Alabama-based bookseller Books-A-Million, made “Furious Hours” his President’s Pick earlier this year.

The book spent a month on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

Additionally, Furious Hours is a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, and was listed by Time as one of the must-read books of 2019.

You can buy a signed first edition from Alabama Booksmith here, or a regular edition here.

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

5 hours ago

Tide players Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith named semifinalists for Biletnikoff Award

On Monday, University of Alabama Crimson Tide wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith were named as semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award.

According to the award’s website, “The Biletnikoff Award is presented annually to the season’s outstanding college football receiver regardless of position.”

Jeudy and Smith make up two of the 12 receivers receiving a semifinalist nomination. Both Alabama and LSU had two receivers recognized. The four receivers from those two programs made up the entirety of the SEC’s nominees for the Biletnikoff Award.

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Jeudy won the award in 2018. He joined Amari Cooper as the only other Tide player to win the award in its 24-year history.

Jeudy has a chance to become the third player, after Michael Crabtree and Justin Blackmon, to win the award twice.

Fred Biletnikoff was a decorated receiver at Florida State in college and for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL.

The three finalists for the Biletnikoff award will be identified on November 25. The 2019 winner will be announced on December 12 at The Home Depot College Football Awards at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Ga.

Full list of nominees as follows:

Player School
Rashod Bateman Minnesota
Omar Bayless Arkansas State
Ja’Marr Chase LSU
Antonio Gandy-Golden Liberty
Isaiah Hodgins Oregon State
Justin Jefferson LSU
Jerry Jeudy Alabama
CeeDee Lamb Oklahoma
Michael Pittman, Jr. USC
James Proche SMU
DeVonta Smith Alabama
Sage Surratt Wake Forest

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

18 hours ago

TruSpin Nanomaterials, GLOW latest winners in Alabama Launchpad startup competition

Two Alabama companies have been awarded a total of $150,000 in the latest Alabama Launchpad startup competition round.

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) last week hosted its fourth Alabama Launchpad finale of the year in Troy. The public event was held at the Emporium in partnership with Troy University.

In this round, seven finalists competed for non-dilutive funding in one of two tracks – a concept stage for entrepreneurs launching businesses and a seed stage for entrepreneurs accelerating growth.

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In the concept stage, Bluewater Hemp, Community Owned Grocery Stores, TruSpin Nanomaterials and Yente competed for $50,000, with TruSpin taking home the money.

TruSpin, a company based out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), aims to make affordable nanomaterials with a new technology, as its fibers are usable across many different industries. The company’s founders are Anthony Brayer and Robert Agnew.

In the seed stage, Chonex, GLOW and Watts.AI competed for $100,000.

GLOW, a beauty-on-demand company with professionals offering makeup, hair and spraytan services, won this prize. The company’s clients can book on the GLOW app and get service in the comfort of their own home or wherever is convenient. The CEO and founder is Yazmin Cavale.

In a statement, EDPA president Steve Spencer said, “Alabama Launchpad was honored to conclude 2019 with a great finale on the campus of Troy University and the City of Troy. 2019 was the most competitive year yet for the number and quality of applicants as we’ve seen Alabama’s entrepreneurial spirit front and center. We are proud to be a statewide part of growing Alabama’s startup economy.”

Since its inception in 2006, Alabama Launchpad has invested over $5.3 million in 90 companies that have created more than 500 jobs and raised over $70 million in follow-on capital and revenue. Alabama Launchpad is the most active early-stage investor in Alabama, according to PitchBook, which tracks the public and private equity markets.

In this round, four judges heard from Alabama Launchpad companies during a lengthy application process, offering feedback and raising questions throughout the process. Before the public finale, all companies pitched to the judges in a closed-door event at Troy University, during which every company could answer questions posed by the panel.

Alabama Launchpad is a public-private partnership made possible through support from the business community, the state’s research universities, the Alabama Research Alliance, the Alabama Department of Commerce and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Now in its 29th year, the non-profit EDPA represents the private sector’s contribution to economic development in Alabama. EDPA is supported by more than 60 partners from across the state and works to attract, retain and grow jobs, while also encouraging innovation through its Alabama Launchpad program.

Read more about the EDPA and its important efforts here.

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