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Marion Mayor uses tools to prep residents for AlabamaWorks Success Plus Initiative

By: Dexter Hinton, Mayor of Marion, Alabama

When I was elected in late 2016 as Mayor of Marion, I knew there were certain areas in which our town needed to improve. One was education and work preparedness for those who did not want to attend a four-year college. We had gaps that needed to be filled.

As an Industrial Maintenance and Robotics Instructor at the Career Center in Greene County, I know what resources are available to assist those seeking a job or a skills education. When people come to the center, our team has a plethora of tests, assessments, job listings, resume-building sessions and other items at our disposal to help folks get the right position or training that matches their needs or abilities.

As Mayor, I realized we needed to get educational tools to Marion residents, especially after Moller Tech announced that it would be locating in Bibb County, adjacent to Perry County, and bringing 222 jobs with it. But with a small town like Marion (population 3,432) not having a dedicated resource center, we didn’t quite know how to unite the two. Then one day, I attended a Central AlabamaWorks meeting and saw AIDT’s mobile unit, which is the Department of Commerce’s skills education center on wheels.

I spoke with Mikki Ruttan, director of Central AlabamaWorks, after the meeting and asked her about the possibility of getting the unit to our area. I learned it could be customized for the needs of its audience. After numerous discussions with other local leaders, we selected basic resume building and a Ready-to-Work course as the initial offerings. I knew the mobile unit would be key in obtaining career readiness for the citizens of Marion. I also felt that our citizens would welcome the chance to improve their skills and knowledge base.

After dozens of conversations, we got the mobile unit scheduled this past April. We posted and delivered flyers all over the city, announcing when and where the unit would be located, and we created a Facebook page. We had no idea what kind of response we would have for this type of educational opportunity. But, our citizens realized how such training could give them a leg up in the job market. As a result, they turned out in droves to learn more and better position themselves for entry into the job market, or to simply upgrade their skill set.

With Gov. Kay Ivey’s Success Plus initiative rollout a few months ago, I knew we had to get our citizens more training to help them, and our state, reach the goal of 500,000 people with post-high-school credentials by 2025. The mobile training unit seemed like the perfect way to deliver those opportunities to our residents.

After some discussion, we were able to get the unit at The Lincoln School. We focused the training on Ready-to-Work. The classes filled immediately, and a waiting list soon formed. Our people were eager to gain knowledge to improve their lives and that of their families. Once they completed the course, they received credentials as an Alabama Certified Worker; a Career Readiness certificate; a free three-credit-hour course at Wallace Community College Selma (if they had a high school diploma); three credits toward a high school diploma (if they didn’t have one); and a referral to the Selma Career Center for free certificates or degree information from WCC in welding, industrial maintenance, electrical technology or nursing.

The unit has been so popular with our citizens that two classrooms are now being refurbished at The Lincoln School specifically for AIDT courses. This means we will have a permanent place for our people to get not only Ready-to-Work training, but also training in other much-needed professions offered by Wallace, such as cosmetology, carpentry, welding, automotive technician and others.

The excitement continues to build for our city. In fact, AIDT has already completed one Ready-to-Work training with several graduates who have received employment.

With the extra effort by Central AlabamaWorks, AIDT, the Career Centers and the Alabama Community College System – combined with the excitement and work ethic of our citizens – I know Marionites can and will be a valued part of the Success Plus endeavor. I look forward to seeing what our citizens can achieve for themselves, their families and our community.

6 mins ago

7 Things: Illegal immigration argument in the WH, libs complain about pot enforcement costs, Maddox demands Ivey prove his smear, and more …

7. 2020 is definitely underway, with Sen. Kamala Harris proposing a straight-up giveaway to every person making less than $100,000 a year.

— Sen. Harris says she wants to provide Americans whose wages haven’t increased a “basic income” to “keep up with cost of living increases.”

— The proposal has absolutely no chance of becoming law, but this is more about her appealing to the Democrat base before she enters the primary for President.

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6. As Canada legalizes marijuana, a new report tells how much marijuana costs Alabama.

— The Southern Poverty Law Center is claiming the enforcement of pot laws cost the state $22 million dollars a year, clogs up forensic labs, and as a kicker, they also claim that drug laws are racist.

— Madison County District Attorney dismisses the claims of racism and says law enforcement is just doing their jobs, “I can tell you law enforcement officials on the street do not care what color you are, they do not care whether you’re a man or a woman, if you’re breaking the law, they’re going to address it.”

5. Nick Saban endorses an old friend in West Virginia; Alabama liberals want him to endorse Walt Maddox here.

— Sen. Joe Manchin’s campaign in a red state looked to Saban, a native son and life-long friend, for a boost to swing voters in the state President Donald Trump won big.

— Every election year people wonder if Nick Saban will wade into Alabama politic; he never does even though some people fake it.

4. A Speaker Nancy Pelosi would make you pay if you disagree with her; an Alabama Democrat won’t support her if she is elected.

— Former Speaker Pelosi knows there is a good chance she will get her hand on the gavel again, and if she does there may be some pain. Pelosi said, “If there’s some collateral damage for some others who do not share our view, well, so be it, but it shouldn’t be our original purpose.”

— In what is becoming a bit of a ploy for Democrats looking to distance themselves from the national Democratic Party, Mallory Hagan who is running for Congress in Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers 3rd District, has declared she isn’t voting for Pelosi. Hagan said, “Sixteen years is too long for Mike Rogers and too long for Nancy Pelosi.”

3. George Soros involvement in Alabama elections is not as complicated as some are pretending.

— After a report that George Soros-related PAC’s donated $200,000 to the PACs this week, and $600k+ overall, but the PACs donated to Ivey as well.

— The fact is PAC funding is a mess, the pass-through process is a joke, but the idea that Soros is giving Ivey money is comical deflection that no one with any scruples would try to make and Ivey’s response is perfect: “Bottom line is George Soros puts $200 million (sic?) in Alabama elections, for sure it’s not for conservatives like I am.”

2. Phase two of “The Governor is sick” rollout is underway, Maddox allies allege a cover-up, and he then demands it be explained.

— Phase one of this sad charade included revisiting a previous smear that Governor Kay Ivey is secretly-ill, but adding a twist of a grudge-holding former state employee who is also Maddox’s friend.

1. There was a shouting match at the White House over the plan to actually enforce our borders.

— White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton got into an argument over a proposed policy to step up border enforcement in the lead up to the election. Trump sided with Bolton and threatened to send the military to the border to stop a caravan of future illegal aliens.

— Trump’s threats of military action and cutting foreign aid payments have apparently pushed Mexico into attempting to stop the flow at their southern border; they are sending federal police and reaching out the UN for help.

Passion and purpose: How an Alabama based software company is helping the United Cajun Navy organize Hurricane Michael relief efforts

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle and parts of the Carolinas last week, Alabama native Hammond Cobb didn’t waste any time helping those tragically devastated by the storm.

Cobb called the United Cajun Navy, a well-known Louisiana volunteer group and immediately got to work mobilizing their team’s volunteer efforts with the help of his software company, Serquest.com

Cobb says Serquest is a “software system that is designed to put people into action faster.”

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Essentially a LinkedIn for nonprofits, Serquest gives organizations the ability to create an online ‘resume’ for their organization where they can list current volunteer opportunities and donation needs.

The United Cajun Navy has their urgent needs listed on Serquest.com. Groups of volunteers, individuals or corporations who want to assist Florida residents affected by Hurricane Michael can sign up or donate here.

Cobb says the United Cajun Navy a “democratic and lean volunteer network of people who save lives first, ask questions later and don’t ask for compensation for doing the right thing.”

He said government agencies can often be slow when it comes to helping people get what they need and by partnering with the Cajun Navy, he knew people would get the assistance they needed, and quickly.

“We help people now and do paper work later,” Cobb said.

In addition to hosting volunteer needs on his organization’s website, Cobb created inspirational video ads and public service announcements to encourage people to volunteer.

At the end of the day, Cobb said his mission for Serquest revolves around, “connecting people to people.” A nonprofit for nonprofits, he sees Serquest as a personal network centered approach to helping volunteer organizations.

2 hours ago

Sessions conducting ‘most aggressive campaign against leaks’ in DOJ history

After 39-year-old former FBI Special Agent Terry J. Albury was sentenced on Thursday to 48 months in the District of Minnesota in connection with his unauthorized disclosure and retention of classified national defense information, Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed the DOJ is in the process of “conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history.”

“We are conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history,” Sessions said in a release. “Crimes like the one committed by the defendant in this case will not be tolerated—they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and punished … Today’s sentence should be a warning to every would-be leaker in the federal government that if they disclose classified information, they will pay a high price.”

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According to court documents, Albury worked as a Special Agent in the FBI’s Minneapolis field office at the time of the disclosures, held a Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance and his daily duties provided him access to sensitive and classified FBI and other U.S. government information.

The court documents also say that, beginning in 2016 and continuing through August 2017, Albury knowingly and willfully disclosed national defense information, classified at the Secret level, to a reporter. Albury employed methods to avoid detection, including printing documents that he created by cutting and pasting portions of an original document into a new document so as to avoid leaving a record of having printed the original, classified document. Albury also accessed documents on a classified computer and took pictures of the computer screen in order to photograph certain classified documents. Those additional classified documents were recovered on an electronic storage device found during a search of his home.

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

2 hours ago

Byrne: Odds better than 50/50 GOP keeps House — ‘There is truly a Kavanaugh effect going on here’

FAIRHOPE – What a difference a month can make for Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

Heading into the summer, most political watchers anticipated that the GOP was set to lose at least the House of Representatives in the upcoming midterms. By mid-August, some Republicans thought losing the Senate was even a possibility.

However, the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court associate justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh appeared to have been a game-changer for Republicans, and according to Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), the public’s reaction to the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings could be enough for Republicans to hold on to both the House and the Senate.

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In an interview with Yellowhammer News shortly before taking the stage to introduce Gov. Kay Ivey at a rally at Fairhope’s Oak Hollow Farms, Byrne said Republican voter enthusiasm has swung in the opposite direction.

“I got to tell you this, I was a little concerned about a month ago about enthusiasm,” Byrne said. “I don’t have that problem anymore. People are very enthusiastic. Look at the crowd we got in here tonight. Phone calls to my office have ramped up dramatically. There is truly a Kavanaugh effect going on here.”

“Republicans are beginning to pick up in the polls all over the country,” he added. “We got some races we were not competitive in, but now we are. We got some races that are pretty clear we’re going to win now that Democrats are beginning to pull out. We’re going to pick up at least one seat, maybe two in Minnesota. This race is far from over, and all the reports of Republicans losing the House are premature.”

Byrne said as of right now he thought the odds of Republicans maintaining the House were “better than 50/50.”

The Fairhope Republican was non-committal on the upcoming race to determine who would be the leader for Republicans after the midterms and fill the void left by the outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

“I told everybody I don’t want to talk about the Speaker race until we figure out what we’ve got as a result of this election,” he said. “Let’s stay focused on the election. We’ve got two candidates right now, Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan, they both happen to be good friends of mine. So, we’ll see where we are after the election. I hope they’re running for Speaker and not Minority Leader. That’s the big thing we want to avoid is if they’re running for minority leader. My anticipation is after we get back from the election, we’ll have a pretty spirited election.”

Byrne, however, did put in a plug for fellow Alabamian Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover), who is making a bid to lead the House Republican Policy Committee.

“My good friend Gary Palmer is running for chair of the Republican Policy Committee, an elected part of the leadership,” Byrne added. “I want to make sure we stay focused on helping Gary get across the finish line because that’s important.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

2 hours ago

Governor Ivey criticizes ‘Lying Liberal Walt Maddox’

After Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox on Thursday held a press conference to spread unsubstantiated allegations about Governor Kay Ivey’s health and accuse her of a coverup 19 days before Election Day, the governor’s campaign responded by giving the Democrat a new moniker – “Lying Liberal Walt Maddox.”

“Apparently Walt Maddox isn’t just a liberal. He’s a lying liberal,” Ivey’s campaign said in a statement. “The people of Alabama will see this for what it is – a desperate false attack from a shameless politician who will say or do anything to get elected.”

Ivey has repeatedly denied the allegations about her health since last year, and her doctor even refuted them this week, providing a detailed letter to back up the conclusion that Ivey is in good health.

Besides the allegations regarding the governor’s health, the Maddox camp is alleging that then-Lieutenant Governor Ivey had a member of her protective detail demoted and transferred over her 2015 hospitalization in Colorado.

Ivey’s campaign said, “As it relates to the officer, that’s another Maddox whopper. News outlets reported last year that the officer actually received a promotion and raise in late 2015.”

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Polling has shown Maddox losing by 20 – 25 points, and now Planned Parenthood and other out-of-state liberal pro-abortion groups have funneled in approximately $1 million to Alabama in an effort to drive Democratic turnout up and defeat a pro-life constitutional amendment that Maddox also opposes. Additionally, billionaire funder of liberal causes George Soros this week put $200,000 into a group of Tuscaloosa PACs that is Maddox’s biggest contributor, accounting for approximately 30 percent of his total funds raised over the course of the campaign.

“Walt Maddox is pushing these last second lies because his half baked liberal ideas have him losing in a landslide. With less than three weeks to go, not even $200,000 from George Soros can save him,” Ivey’s campaign commented.

In a separate press release later on Thursday, the Ivey campaign pointed to another of Maddox’s “lies,” this time saying his own words even prove his deceit.

“It appears that Walt Maddox has gotten tangled up in his own twisted web of lies,” the statement began.

The campaign then detailed a three-day timeline that seemingly reveals a glaring contradiction.

“It all started on Tuesday when Spencer Collier told Al.com ‘he has not been contacted by the campaign of Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox,'” Ivey’s campaign outlined. “On Wednesday, Maddox followed up with a statement to the AP that he was ‘shocked to learn’ about these allegations.”

The governor’s campaign continued, “But today, Walt Maddox accidentally admitted that both he and Collier lied. When asked by Al.com during a press conference today whether he had contact with Collier, Walt Maddox provided a detailed account of a meeting he held with Spencer Collier several weeks back. Maddox admitted, ‘Spencer contacted me a few weeks ago and wanted to meet… He told me what he was going to do.'”

As reported by John Sharp, Maddox campaign spokesman Chip Hill confirmed Thursday afternoon that Collier and Maddox had not initially told the truth about having contact before the allegations were made on Tuesday.

Hill said Maddox and Collier have known each other for 25 years, when they both played football at UAB.

“They talk often,” Hill admitted. “Spencer contacted Walt and told him what he wanted to say.”

This revelation has led many observers to question why Collier waited until three weeks before the election to come forward, if the allegations are not politically motivated as he claimed.

“Another day. Another lie. Another broken promise from Walt Maddox,” Ivey’s campaign concluded.

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