11 months ago

Judy Ryals is a Yellowhammer News 2019 Woman of Impact

Judy Ryals is paving the way for a brighter future in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Huntsville/Madison area has experienced tremendous growth and success, particularly in the travel and hospitality industry over the past few years. Serving as the president/CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Judy Ryals is one of the most influential leaders impacting the growth.

Ryals joined the Bureau in 1978 and is the longest serving director of a tourism bureau in the State of Alabama. But her impact in the industry goes well beyond the Huntsville region. Over the course of her career, there is little in Alabama’s tourism sector she has not touched.

Ryals has been appointed by six governors to serve on the Advisory Board of the Alabama Tourism Department due to her success in promoting the Huntsville/Madison areas. She currently serves as the chairman and was one of the first females to serve as a board member of the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus, which is now Destination Marketing Association International.

Ryals has served on a number of statewide boards, including the Alabama Council of Association Executives, Alabama Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus and Alabama Travel Council. She received the state’s top award and was inducted into the Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame, the first CVB representative to receive this award.

The Huntsville/Madison County CVB was chosen as the organization of the year by the Alabama tourism industry, as well as by Alabama Mountain Lakes Association, the north Alabama regional tourism marketing organization.

She is a graduate of the University of Alabama where she received a degree in public relations in 1976. Mrs. Ryals, an Alabama native, is married to Davis Ryals, Jr. and they have two sons.

She finds it especially satisfying to make a difference and improve the quality of life for the community in which she lives, works and plays. In a recent article, she points specifically to “the expansion at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the growth of Huntsville Museum of Art and the emergence of the old textile factory at Lowe Mill into a nationally recognized arts and entertainment area,” as improvements she sees paying dividends.

Regarding the growth and success of Huntsville/Madison, Ryals states, “Looking back, it becomes evident that much of our success as a city is due to our ability to rise to the challenge of change, to recognize the need for growth and to embrace it”.

When asked about Mrs. Ryals, the leaders in the Huntsville/Madison area praise her leadership and service.

Mayor Tommy Battle said, “Judy Ryals has been one of the City’s most active and dedicated leaders.  Through her role championing Huntsville as a prime tourist destination, Judy has elevated our brand throughout the Southeast and the world.”

Similarly, Chairman of the Madison County Commission Dale Strong states, “For more than 40 years, Judy Ryals has been a leader in executing a distinct vision to not only grow tourism in our region but to also position Huntsville and Madison County as the premier tourist destination in the State of Alabama.”

Yellowhammer News is proud to name Mrs. Judy Ryals a 2019 Woman of Impact.

The 2nd Annual Women of Impact Awards will celebrate the honorees on April 29, 2019, in Birmingham. Event details can be found here.

58 mins ago

Mo Brooks, colleagues introduce bill to protect travelers with firearms

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), along with 13 original cosponsors, introduced the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act on Friday.

According to a press release, the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act would “expand the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) ‘transport’ definition to include ‘staying in temporary lodging, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, or any other activity incidental to the transport.'”

In addition, the bill clarifies that the ability to transport a firearm also applies to  ammunition and  detachable magazines, which are essential to the function and purpose of a firearm.

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“‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’ means that Americans do not relinquish their Second Amendment Rights by simply traveling across state lines,” Brooks said. “All Americans have the constitutional right to self-defense whether they are at home or traveling.”

He added, “My bill, the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act, would bar freedom-hating, anti-Second Amendment states and localities from prosecuting firearm-transporting travelers who are passing through on the way to their destination who engage in travel-related activities.”

The press release also noted that FOPA currently prohibits state prosecution of “persons traveling from one place to another for any state firearms offense if the traveler is merely passing through on the way to their destination as long as the firearm is transported in a locked container other than the vehicle glove compartment or console.”

“Despite FOPA protections, a disturbing trend has emerged wherein anti-Second Amendment states and localities increasingly seek to criminalize the possession of a firearm or ammunition,” the release stated. ” These freedom-hating jurisdictions continue to seek ways to prosecute travelers merely for the possession of an otherwise lawful firearm. This bill seeks to safeguard otherwise law-abiding gun owners traveling the country from overcriminalization by anti-Second Amendment states and localities.”

“Malicious state laws  unconstitutionally  criminalize  what would otherwise be considered  law-abiding activity  for the explicit purposes of making gun ownership, possession, and transportation more difficult,” said Aidan Johnston, GOA’s director of Federal Affairs. “The Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act complements the Second Amendment in its mission to protect Americans from governmental infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.”

Johnston added, “I hope every member of Congress supports this simple legislation that protects gun owners while they travel.”

Original cosponsors of the bill include Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36), Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02), Congressman Steve King (IA-04), Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-AL), Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-03), Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10), Congressman Ralph Norman (SC-05) and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).

Follow Kyle on Twitter @RealKyleMorris and Facebook.

1 hour ago

Auburn University announces A-Day kickoff time, ticket sales

Auburn University announced Thursday that its popular A-Day game, presented by Golden Flake, will kick-off at 1:00 p.m. CST at Jordan-Hare Stadium on April 11.

Tickets for the annual spring football game are on sale now through the Auburn Ticket Office for $5 to the general public and free for AU students who have an Auburn Ignited Card.

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Tickets for the event can be purchased here or in-person at the Auburn Ticket Office located at Auburn Arena from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

A press release for the event said a pre-game “Auburn Legends” flag football game will be held in Jordan-Hare Stadium with participating players being announced at a later date. A post-game autograph session will also be held after A-Day. Fans will be limited to one item per person.

A-Day Weekend will also feature the softball and men’s tennis teams competing at home. The softball team will host Ole Miss at Jane B. Moore Field on Friday, April 10 at 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday, April 11 at 4:00 p.m. In addition to the other events occurring, the Auburn men’s tennis team will host Arkansas on Friday, April 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

2 hours ago

Alabama legislator files bill to ban transgender meds, surgeries for minors — ‘It is irresponsible to permanently mutilate them’

MONTGOMERY — State Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy) on Thursday filed the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, HB 303.

The legislation would make it illegal for doctors to prescribe puberty blocking medications or opposite gender hormones to minors. Allen’s HB 303 would also ban hysterectomy, mastectomy or castration surgeries from being performed on minors. Violations would constitute a Class C felony.

In a findings section of the legislation, the act states, “The long-term effects and safety of the administration of puberty-blocking medications and cross sex hormones to gender incongruent children have not been rigorously studied. Absent rigorous studies showing their long-term safety and positive benefits, their continued administration to children constitutes dangerous and uncontrolled human medical experimentation that may result in grave and irreversible consequences to their physical and mental health.”

The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee.

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“I was shocked when I found out doctors in Alabama were prescribing these types of drugs to children,” Allen said in a statement. “This is something you hear about happening in California or New York but it is happening right here in Alabama and it’s time we put a stop to that practice.”

Allen noted that he recognizes that there are children who are struggling with psychological disorders, such as gender dysphoria. A release added that “he believes that we should help those children with therapeutic treatment from qualified mental health professionals, not allow these children’s bodies to be permanently mutilated.”

“Gender dysphoria is a real disorder. It’s listed in the DSM-5, published by the American Psychiatric Association, which lists all recognized mental disorders,” Allen remarked. “These children are suffering from a psychological disorder, just as someone who is suffering with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia but we treat those patients and try to help them. We should treat these psychological disorders as well.”

Allen’s release further stated that many of the puberty blocking medications and opposite gender hormones being prescribed to Alabama children “have irreversible consequences including sterilization, liver disease and increased risk for cancer.” Allen advised that the FDA has never approved the use of puberty blocking medications for the treatment of gender dysphoria.

“These patients are children who have not reached physical or mental maturity. It is irresponsible to permanently mutilate them at their request or at the request of their parents. We don’t allow minors to enter into contracts, buy alcohol or get a credit card because they aren’t capable of making those decisions and we should not allow them to do this either,” he concluded.

The introduction of this legislation came the day after the House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to the “Gender is Real Legislative” (GIRL) Act.

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

3 hours ago

Alabama couple being sued for $37K over cost of emergency appendectomy

KC Roberts and her husband Daryl, a couple in Dothan, Alabama, are being sued by the hospital where KC was taken for an emergency appendectomy in 2016.

The facility taking the legal action is the for-profit Flowers Hospital in Dothan. The facility is suing for $37,000, which they say is the cost of the surgery plus the interest built up in the intervening years.

“I told my husband, ‘I wish you’d have let me die,'” KC confessed to CBS News.

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The Roberts maintain that they have been making the required minimum payment since receiving the first bill. The pair own and run a small t-shirt printing business together.

“[As] long as I can work, and they will accept payments, we’re going to pay because everything that we’ve ever had in life, we’ve paid for,” Daryl told CBS.

In September 2019 the couple found out they were being sued for the full amount.

According to research done by CBS, “the original $31,000 bill was likely much higher than what she would have paid if she’d had insurance and some $25,000 more than what Medicare would be charged by a hospital, on average, for an appendectomy: roughly $5,800.”

RELATED: Birmingham Episcopalian church buys and forgives millions of dollars in medical debt

When CBS asked the Roberts why they chose to go without insurance the couple said they had been forced to choose between paying for health insurance and paying for their son’s college education.

“So what do you do as a parent? You sacrifice,” said KC about the choice.

Flowers Hospital told CBS, “Litigation is always a last resort and is only pursued after we determine the patient has the financial ability to make some level of payment based on employment status and credit record.”

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

4 hours ago

Mobile’s Austal USA launches first ship of 2020

Austal USA on Thursday launched the future USNS Newport (EPF 12) into the Mobile River.

This is the first U.S. Navy ship that Austal has launched in 2020 from its Mobile assembly facilities.

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Newport is an expeditionary fast transport (EPF), one of 14 that the Navy has contracted Austal to build. The next step for this ship will be sea trials. Delivery is then expected before the end of the year.

EPFs are designed for fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment with aviation support.

Last week, Austal delivered the future USS Kansas City to the Navy. This was the 11th total Independence-variant littoral combat ship delivered by Austal, as well as the first LCS delivery 0f 2020.

“It’s a testament to the work our team does to provide highly capable and affordable ships on-time and on-budget,” stated Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. “What’s also incredible is that our team has the capacity to increase our rate of delivery while maintaining schedule and cost.”

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