2 months ago

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed advocates for expansion of national-best Alabama First Class Pre-K program

Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed on Thursday continued his stalwart support of Alabama’s world-class, voluntary First Class Pre-K program.

While visiting Providence Early Childhood Learning Academy East, Reed saw First Class Pre-K in action and called for increased investment in the program.

He was joined by Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (DECE) Secretary Jeana Ross, DECE Office of School Readiness Director Barbara Cooper and Alabama School Readiness Alliance (ASRA) Executive Director Allison Muhlendorf to promote the expansion of the pre-k programs to all Montgomery families.

First Class Pre-K has been ranked as the nation’s best for 13 consecutive years, and Governor Kay Ivey has called for the Alabama legislature in its ongoing 2020 session to pass a budget that includes a $25 million expansion for the pre-k program. This would add 160 new classrooms and enable enrollment for an additional 2,889 four-year-olds statewide. The ASRA is supporting this expansion effort.

“Our vision for A New Montgomery calls for creating opportunity for everyone in our community – a place where everyone has the freedom to live, learn and earn,” Reed said in a statement. “In doing so, we must invest in programs like this and expand the existing footprint so that all four-year-old children living in Montgomery County have access to Alabama’s First Class Pre-K.”

A recent study has shown that students who participate in Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program are more likely to be proficient in math and reading. Researchers also found that their work indicated “no evidence of fade out of the benefits of First Class Pre-K over time.”

According to Reed’s office, First Class Pre-K slots are currently available for 40% of four-year-old children in Montgomery. The first-term mayor is partnering with ASRA to expand access to and participation in the program and pre-k in general.

Parents whose child will be 4 years old on or before September 1 can find the link to preregister their child here.

Eligible child care providers — and those who want to become providers — whether it is Montgomery Public Schools, universities, faith-based institutions or other community-based programs, can apply for First Class Pre-K grants through March 13 in an effort to increase access to high-quality, voluntary pre-k classrooms for families in Montgomery and around the state. Organizations interested in becoming Alabama First Class Pre-K providers are also invited to attend an informational workshop with Reed on February 27, hosted by the ASRA. Sign-up access is available here.

Reed has constituently been an advocate for increased access to high-quality pre-k, as demonstrated in his inaugural address after being sworn in as mayor.

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

Get back on the road to recovery — $350 billion is now available to small businesses

Business Council of Alabama is the go-to resource to ensure your small business gets its share of the relief funds.

Join Business Council of Alabama president and CEO Katie Boyd Britt and a panel of experts Thursday night for the Small Business Exchange on Alabama Public Television.

They’ll take your phone calls and answer your questions.

“We have to make sure that Alabama’s small businesses get the loans and support they deserve in these tough economic times,” Britt emphasized. “The first step in getting Alabama back to work is to get this loan money flowing to our businesses.”

The Small Business Exchange will air Thursday on APT from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Call 1-833-BCA4BIZ (1-833-222-4249) from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Thursday and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday to talk to a small business expert.

Let our experts help you get back on the road to recovery. We’re all in this together.

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21 mins ago

7 Things: Guidelines on reopening the economy could come soon, everyone wants the coronavirus stimulus check, Biden the Dem nominee and more …

7. Apparently, the coronavirus only strikes at night

  • Mobile has put out a city-wide curfew from 10:oo p.m. until 5: a.m. that prohibits anyone who isn’t going to their essential job from being out. Fairhope’s city council voted on whether to adopt this same curfew but voted it down. 
  • Council President Jack Burrell said he had “real concerns” about issuing a curfew, and the council saw that a curfew could cause raise the chances of law enforcement being exposed to the coronavirus if they have to pull over more people for violating a curfew. Councilman Robert Brown argued that he’s against “further restrictions on personal freedoms.”

6. Hyundai plant extends its shutdown

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  • Hyundai has decided to keep their Montgomery production plant closed until at least May 4 after being suspended on March 18. 
  • The Montgomery plant has about 3,000 employees. There will be new safety measures when work does resume, but for now, the shutdown “is in the best interest of protecting the health and well-being of team members and communities, and to align vehicle production with current consumer demand.”

5. It wasn’t China, it was Europe or something

  • The American media is selling a narrative Thursday morning that the coronavirus didn’t come from China, but it came from Europe. The hook is that the travel ban to China was worthless while the travel ban to Europe came far too late.
  • This ignores a few obvious things. The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, the Chinese and the World Health Organization lied about the spread, and when the travel bans were implemented, these same outlets screeched like banshees about how wrong travels bans are.

4. Aderholt wants us to “Buy America”

  • In a letter sent to President Donald Trump, U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) advocates for more “Buy America policies,” adding how this pandemic has shown how important is it for the United States to not rely so heavily on other countries. 
  • Aderholt wrote that “we must prevent foreign control over the supply and price of health-related commodities in the United States.” He also noted the push to have more American-made medical supplies is being brought up by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

3. It’s Biden, it was Biden all along

  • U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has admitted that “Vice President Biden will be the nominee” after deciding to suspend his 2020 Democratic presidential Campaign. 
  • Even though his campaign is suspended, Sanders has said he will “stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates.” He insisted that his “movement” isn’t over and is still about “justice.”

2. Everyone wants the checks to come quicker

  • The coronavirus stimulus package that would pay many Americans $1,200 has already been approved and signed, so now everyone is waiting for their money. U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) wants the checks sent out quickly. 
  • Jones and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) are suggesting that the Treasury Department send out debit cards to people instead of paper checks since there were plans to likely not send checks until late April. Jones said, “A slight lag between Congressional action and the support arriving to workers is understandable, the Treasury Department must act expeditiously to get these funds to their intended recipients.”

1. CDC could start relaxing guidelines soon

  • The media and the elites got it very wrong and now Americans want a chance to get back to some form of normalcy. Now, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is considering relaxing restrictions. Trump wants to give leeway to the states with “red zones” and “green zones” within the country to show where the government believes it’s safe to reopen. 
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci has also said that if social distancing rules already in place successfully flattens the curve, then we need to “at least plan what a re-entry into normality would look like,” and we need to “be prepared to ease into that.”

51 mins ago

House Majority Ldr Ledbetter: ‘The people in our state are strong — They’re going to come back better than ever’

In recent days, some of the doom and gloom resulting from the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on Alabama has given way to optimism.

Among those with an optimistic disposition regarding the state’s handling of COVID-19 and the state’s economy is Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville).

During an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Wednesday, Ledbetter laid out why he sees the state turning a corner in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

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“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Ledbetter said of a perceived change in trends for the better. “The models indicate that. When you put everything in that they ask for — once you do that, it shows up dropping in numbers. At one time, some of the models were showing us at 5,000 deaths. I think now it has decreased down into the hundreds, and maybe even lower than that. That’s certainly been important for the people in our state. The things we look for — you know the question today was what will see when we start going back to normal?”

“That was one of the things — fewer cases and deaths, and more tests we’ll get out, the better off we’ll be,” he continued. “The curve that everybody’s talked about — hospital capacity, we’re actually in pretty good shape right now, the state of Alabama. We’ve got about 50% of our beds available. Somewhere around 36% of our ICU beds are available. We’ve got about 800 ventilators, which has increased pretty significantly. When we started out, we had 1,333 ventilators in this state, and I think we’re up to some 1,800 ventilators.”

Ledbetter credited many institutions around Alabama for getting the ventilator count up, from nursing school to the veterinarian school at Auburn University, and pointed to an effort to refurbish some ventilators that were in disrepair.

He also credited State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

“I’ve got to give credit to Dr. Harris,” he said. “I think he has done a tremendous job — him and Dr. [Don] Williamson, in my opinion very fortunate to have those two. Dr. Williamson over the hospital association, and of course, Dr. Scott Harris is over [the Alabama Department of Public Health]. Those two have worked in tandem, and I really truly believe they’re one of the main reasons we’re where we are at today and have been hit no harder than what we have been hit.”

The Dekalb County Republican lawmaker insisted the state would rally back to an even better position economically.

“If we can get this behind us, and get our economy growing — you know, our Alabama economy as growing better than it ever has in my lifetime,” he explained. “Unemployment was 2.7%. We had added some 24,000 jobs and $14 billion into the economy. You know, it almost hit a brick wall. We’ll see how it comes out, and listen — the people in our state are strong. They’re going to come back better than ever. I really believe that.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

1 hour ago

Yellowhammer connects your business to Alabama consumers

After nine years, our mission remains the same: reflect our state, its people and their values. As the state’s second-largest media outlet, Yellowhammer connects your business to the people of Alabama.

Online, on the radio, podcasts, events and more. What can Yellowhammer do for you?

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1 hour ago

By the numbers – Cases, life and looking forward in Alabama

It has now been 28 days since Gov. Kay Ivey issued an order declaring a state of emergency in Alabama due to the coronavirus outbreak.

For most, it feels much longer ago.

Here is the latest info, by the numbers.

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2,499. That’s the confirmed number of coronavirus cases as of 6:00 a.m. on Thursday. This is a 302 case increase in the last 24 hours but still far below previous projections. Alabama’s numbers remain manageable.

67 reported deaths in the same time period.

314. Those are the total hospitalizations in the state since March 13. Should Alabama’s current trajectory hold, bed space in the state will be a non-issue.

60,000. The total estimated deaths in the United States has been reduced to this number after having been previously projected to be between 100,000 and 250,000.

1,200. That’s the number of masks donated to hospitals and nursing homes by Masks for Marshall County. Volunteer efforts like this are popping up across Alabama as members of the community seek to help those most vulnerable.

Mobile County now has 249 reported cases.

15. That’s the number of employees at Grayson Air Conditioning in Mobile who received  lunch vouchers from company owner Richard Ridge so they could eat out and support local restaurants struggling to do business. Ridge challenged those deemed essential to support other businesses as best as they can.

363 healthcare workers have now developed confirmed cases which is why there have been efforts in communities across the state to offer support and gratitude.

3. The number of hours coronavirus can remain viable in the air.

24. The number of hours coronavirus can remain viable on cardboard such as packages delivered by Amazon.

72. The number of hours coronavirus can remain viable on a plastic surface similar to a bottle of water.

100. That’s the number of birthdays World War II veteran and Mobile resident Henry Waltman was supposed to celebrate at Battleship Park this week. Unfortunately, due to the outbreak, his birthday party had to be canceled. Instead, friends drove by his home and honked their horns.

56.54. This is the percentage of women among the confirmed cases in the Yellowhammer State.

1,000,000 is the amount of dollars the Poarch Band of Creek Indians donated to Atmore Community Hospital. Tribal chair and CEO Stephanie Bryan said, “We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure this great hospital that serves our community has what it needs.”

7. The number of days coronavirus can live on the outside of a surgical mask. A reminder for everyone of the care required even when using extra precautions.

40. That’s the number of years of experience Dr. Richard Myers has working in genetics. Myers is leading the effort at Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute to develop a treatment and a vaccine for coronavirus.

180. For some, this may be the most important number on the list. It’s the number of days until the college football season kicks off on September 5. It’s good to have something to look forward to.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia