4 months ago

Ivey secures disaster relief for Elmore County tornado victims from federal Small Business Administration

More assistance from the Trump administration is now being made available to Alabamians affected by the severe weather and tornado that occurred in the River Region on January 19.

Governor Kay Ivey, along with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) Director Brian Hastings, announced Friday that businesses and residents affected can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA.

SBA Administrator Linda McMahon made the loans available in response to a letter from Ivey on February 14, which requested a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Elmore County and the adjacent counties of Autauga, Chilton, Coosa, Macon, Montgomery and Tallapoosa.

“With the approval of my request for federal assistance, the Small Business Administration is providing a much needed opportunity for recovery funding to the citizens of Wetumpka,” Ivey said in a statement. “Many individuals and businesses will benefit greatly from the federal disaster loans that SBA offers as they continue to recover following the devastating tornado that heavily damaged parts of the community.”

McMahon advised that this type of disaster relief is the SBA’s “highest priority.”

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Alabama with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” McMahon said. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

This is the latest example of a strong working relationship between the respective administrations of Ivey and President Donald Trump.

“The approval of the Governor’s request for a Small Business Administration disaster declaration demonstrates the diverse partnerships that exist to provide assistance and an opportunity to eligible individuals in the City of Wetumpka, Elmore County, and the contiguous counties to create a better tomorrow,” Hastings outlined. “Long-term recovery is an arduous process and SBA has always played a strong role in helping our citizens in their time of need. We appreciate having them as part of the Emergency Management team.”

The governor’s office provided the following information regarding SBA relief:

SBA’s Customer Service Representatives will be available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.

The Center is located in the following community and is open as indicated:

Elmore County

Elmore County Commission

100 E. Commerce St.

Wetumpka, AL 36092

Opening: Saturday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Closed: Sunday, Feb. 24

Closes: Saturday, March 2 at 2 p.m.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other
business assets.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, center director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.74 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 2 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing edisastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is April 22, 2019. The deadline to return economic injury applications is November 21, 2019.

The SBA announcement came near the end of Alabama’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. The state is holding a sales tax holiday Friday, Saturday and Sunday for residents to stock up on preparedness supplies.

Find out more here.

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

54 mins ago

Scientists warn Alabamians of yellow jacket super nests

Scientists are cautioning Alabamians to be on the lookout for yellow jacket super nests.

Researchers say milder winters combined with an abundant food supply allow some colonies to survive later in the year and grow to the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

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Charles Ray, an entomologist working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the state may see large numbers of the giant nests this year.

Two nests have already been confirmed, a month sooner than when the first nest was spotted in 2006.

During that year, the state had 90 of the nests, which can contain more than 15,000 of the stinging insects.

Experts say removal of the colonies is a task that should be reserved for licensed commercial pest control operators.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 hours ago

7 Things: Showdown on funding for migrants coming, it’s Mueller time, Merrill comes out swinging and more …

7. Mobile delaying Amtrak boondoggle resolution

  • The Mobile City Council on Tuesday delayed the resolution that requested Governor Kay Ivey to commit funding to bring Amtrak back to Mobile for two weeks, which is meant to allow the City Council more time to consider the proposal.
  • The city officials have unanswered questions about fares and ridership for a line that will never be profitable. Councilman Joel Daves said, “I think it’s too early to move ahead with respect to this resolution asking the governor to move forward. There are too many unanswered questions.”

6. Democrats prepare for the first debate of the 2020 cycle

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  • Presidential hopefuls, including people with no shot, will gather over the next two days in Miami, Florida, to slug it out and argue over who the most progressive candidate is to play to the far-left base while trying to avoid turning off swing and moderate voters that they will need to win in November 2020.
  • Obviously, the guy leading the 25 candidate field by double digits, former Vice President Joe Biden, will be a major target for everyone involved, but he has shown he might be invincible with recent polling showing that praising segregationists, refusing to apologize for it and switching positions he held for 40 years has not really hurt him.

5. The Alabama AG is trying to stop robocalls

  • Every single day Alabamians receive robocalls from scam artists and phone number spoofers attempting to swindle people, but Attorney General Steve Marshall recently forced an actual in-state violator of the Alabama Telemarketing Act to discontinue the robocalls and reform their business practices.
  • In a press release, Marshall advised Alabamians to report the robocalls they receive, saying, “You receive a robocall, do not speak or push any buttons that may let the caller know they have reached a live person and received a response. Instead, hang up and report the call”.

4. Iran is done

  • President Donald Trump said while he hopes Iran got the warning message he sent by placing sanctions, we aren’t going to allow them to have a path to develop nuclear weapons. He also threatened the nation with “obliteration,” and when asked about if he had an exit strategy, he said, “You’re not going to need an exit strategy.”
  • Trump went on to say that if Iran decided to attack the United States, they would be met with “overwhelming force.” A spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Abbas Mousavi, has already said that the sanctions have permanently closed the “channel of diplomacy” between U.S. and Iran.

3. John Merrill punches up

  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill announced his official candidacy for the 2020 U.S. Senate race on the south steps of the Alabama State Capitol in front of 150 people.
  • Merrill released a campaign announcement video that took pointed jabs at some of his Republican competition and linked U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

2. Mueller will testify after all 

  • Former FBI special counsel Robert Mueller has accepted an “unfriendly subpoena” and will testify before Congress on July 17, which could set up a ton of fireworks on Capitol Hill as Democrats continue to try to relitigate Mueller’s investigation and Republicans want to highlight alleged impropriety in the investigation and during the leadup.
  • The idea that this hearing is going to change any minds is unlikely. Mueller seems like he is not interested in participating in this, the media and their Democrats will continue to say there is collusion and obstruction and Republicans will continue to point to the ongoing investigation into the origin of the investigation. 

1. The House passed a bill to spend more money on migrant children

  • The bill that would provide $4.5 billion in funding to aid the crisis at the border was debated between House lawmakers on Tuesday, and Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY) said at a press conference, “We are urging our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to show some decency.”
  • The Senate has a competing bill that has border security as well. The House is apparently having none of that as Democrats make it clear that their purpose and goal on illegal immigration is open borders that allow illegal immigrants in to stay.

3 hours ago

Doug Jones on 2020: ‘No idea who I might face’ — GOP opponents ‘seem to be talking from the same Mitch McConnell-talking points’

In an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Tuesday, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) dismissed the relevance of who his potential Republican opponent might be in the 2020 U.S. Senate election on the heels of the announcement of two high-profile candidates entering the contest, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.

In addition to Moore and Merrill, Jones could also face U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville or State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) in a potential head-to-head general election match-up.

During the interview, Jones touted efforts to promote Huntsville as the Department of Defense’s preferred location for the new U.S. Space Command headquarters and to repeal the widow’s tax as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which he proclaimed to be his focus despite the claims of what he called “talking points” from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

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“I have no idea who I might face,” Jones replied. “It doesn’t really matter. We’re doing the work that we are for Alabama. What’s really interesting is that every one of those other candidates seem to be talking from the same Mitch McConnell-talking points saying I represent people more in California than in Alabama, which obviously they’re not looking at my record on health care, on the widow’s tax, on tariffs – all of the issues you and I have talked about, Jeff. So, we’re just going to continue doing what we’re doing.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

4 hours ago

Brooks: Dems ‘reward illegal aliens whose first step on American soil is to spit on our Constitution’

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) on Tuesday showed once again why he is known as one of the nation’s leading border security advocates, coming out against a Democratic proposal and saying, “In sum, Socialist Democrats’ solutions are a combination of open-borders and giving illegal aliens free ‘Welcome’ mats, free health care, free ‘Happy Meals,’ free clothing, free shelter, and free transportation into America … all at American taxpayer expense.”

Brooks’ remarks came in a statement announcing his opposition to H.R. 3401, which is the bill drafted by Democrats that is supposed to be emergency supplemental appropriations legislation to boost the security of the nation’s southern border and help deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by the recent massive influx of asylum seekers and illegal aliens into the country.

However, according to Brooks and other Republicans, H.R. 3401 as currently written is nothing more than a “seriously flawed” “open borders bill” that incentivizes illegal behavior that is costly to the American taxpayer while doing little to nothing to address security problems.

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“Unprecedented illegal alien tsunamis are swamping Customs and Border Patrol resources on America’s porous southern border,” Brooks said.

“Why is the problem so bad? Because socialist Democrats financially reward illegal aliens whose first step on American soil is to spit on our Constitution and violate American laws,” he continued.

Remainder of Brooks’ statement as follows:

The result of Socialist Democrats’ policies are a humanitarian and border security crisis. In the first half of Fiscal Year 2019, the number of illegal alien family units captured by Border Patrol roughly tripled over the previous year! Worse yet, the number of captured illegal aliens topped 100,000 in each of March and April. Further, the numbers of illegal alien caravans have skyrocketed from two in FY 2017, to 13 in FY 2018, to 104 large illegal alien caravans of 100 or more individuals— totaling 17,242 illegal alien captures— in just the first six months of FY 2019.

Nearly two months ago, the Trump Administration requested additional resources from Congress to handle the massive illegal alien influx. After letting the crisis worsen and repeatedly blocking sane attempts to substantively address the crisis, open-borders Socialist Democrats have offered a seriously flawed appropriations bill. Sadly, the bill is partisan, underfunds necessary border security measures, and inserts open-borders policy provisions that endanger and risk American lives. The socialist Democrat open-borders position is perfectly encapsulated by Nancy Pelosi’s recent comment, “…but in terms of interior enforcement, what is the purpose? What is the point?”

The open-borders bill lacks the necessary funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds. Without enough detention beds, ICE is left with no choice but to turn illegal aliens loose in America. By opposing detention beds, open-borders lawmakers declare that illegal aliens— including those who skip immigration court hearings or commit additional crimes— should be allowed to remain in our country indefinitely.

What’s worse, the open-borders bill doesn’t provide desperately needed funding for the equipment and courtroom space necessary to quickly adjudicate illegal alien hearings and the bill fails to provide any funding for Defense Department border security operations. What does the open-borders bill fund instead? $100 million for lawyers to help illegal aliens subvert America’s laws, $60 million for FEMA (the agency meant to help American citizens recover from natural disasters) for “food and shelter,” $19.95 million for “medical assets for high-risk support,” and $92 million for ‘consumables’(i.e. food).

By putting forth this seriously flawed bill, socialist Democrats further demonstrate their complete commitment to open-borders. Thankfully, President Trump has promised to veto the open-borders bill.

The Democratic partisanship in the House bill stands in stark contrast to the Senate’s current version of the supplemental appropriations legislation, which was chiefly negotiated by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and is considered a constructive compromise between Republicans and Democrats.

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

5 hours ago

Byrne: ‘We need to stand up for people of faith who are under attack in America today’

Republican Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) on Tuesday delivered an impassioned defense of religious freedom, calling out efforts by congressional Democrats to strip the God-given, constitutional right away from Americans.

Byrne’s remarks came during a House Committee on Education and Labor hearing regarding an attempt by Democrats to weaken the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA).

After quoting House floor proceedings from 1993 in which House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) glowingly praised the RFRA, Byrne slammed the newfound “intolerant minority” Democratic efforts to relegate religious freedom to a secondary right.

“This bill, in essence, would make everybody’s right to freely exercise their religion a secondary right,” Byrne emphasized. “Well, to millions—tens of millions—it is the primary source of their meaning in life, and the Democrats would take that away from them.”

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Byrne’s remarks as follows:

I wish that my colleagues would actually go back and read the Congressional Record from twenty-six years ago. Back then, Republicans and Democrats alike were united in a belief that the fundamental right of Free Exercise of Religion was worthy of the highest level of judicial protection.

Congress did not enact a guaranteed win for people of faith but restored a balancing test, the religious individual’s or organization’s exercise against the government’s compelling interest in restricting that activity.

The government is winning over 80% of these cases! Yet, the few wins people of faith have gotten in recent years have really upset this majority.”

This hearing is titled ‘The Misapplication of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,’ but it should be clear to all that RFRA is being applied exactly as it was intended. The difference is not the law. It is in my Democratic colleagues’ point of view since 26 years ago.

Frankly, this committee should question why we are even considering taking away the rights of citizens to freely practice their faith. This legislation does not live up to the ideals of our great nation’s Constitution, and we need to stand up for people of faith who are under attack in America today.

There is a fundamental conflict in values in this country, and there is a determined minority, an intolerant minority, that would tell the majority in this country who are people of faith ‘you cannot exercise your faith because we find it repugnant in some way.’ Well, that is not what the Constitution is about. That’s not the reason this country was founded. This country was founded so we could all freely exercise our religion—that is not a secondary right.

This bill in essence would make everybody’s right to freely exercise their religion a secondary right. Well, to millions–tens of millions—it is the primary source of their meaning in life, and the Democrats would take that away from them. For what? For a handful of cases that have gone the other way, when 80-plus percent have gone the government’s way?

That’s how fundamental the conflict in values in this country has become, and we in this Congress should stand up for the majority of Americans who have Judeo-Christian values and say you can continue to exercise your faith and we, the government, are not going to take that away from you.

Watch:

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