1 week ago

Montgomery Zoo announces unexpected passing of Connye, a popular giraffe

The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum on Tuesday announced the sudden passing of Connye, a beloved member of their giraffe herd.

The giraffe was born at the Montgomery Zoo on March 23, 2015.

A statement outlined that zookeepers noticed Connye in an unusual position in the early morning hours of Monday via the zoo’s web camera monitoring system.

The animal care and veterinarian teams were immediately mobilized to provide medical assistance. However, they were not able to stabilize her condition and she passed away shortly thereafter. Connye had not displayed any signs of illness in the days and weeks prior, according to the zoo.

Veterinarians at the State of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ Thompson Bishop Sparks Diagnostic Laboratory will perform a necropsy (animal autopsy) in an attempt to determine the cause of death. Additional information will be made available to the public after the necropsy findings are received from the lab.

In an emotional Facebook post, a member of the Montgomery Zoo staff wrote that Connye “was near and dear to the hearts of our staff.”

Connye pictured with her mother shortly after birth in 2015 (Michelle Ogle Sims/Facebook)

The Montgomery Zoo is a department of the City of Montgomery.

Combined with the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum, the zoo is a 42-acre zoological facility, located minutes from downtown Montgomery, dedicated to animal conservation and education. Accredited by the Zoological Association of American, the zoo is home to approximately 400 animals from Africa, Asia, Australia, North America and South America. The Mann Wildlife Learning Museum spans 28,000 square feet and houses one of the Southeast’s largest collections of preserved North American wildlife and artifacts.

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

5 mins ago

Alabama-made ULA rocket powers another GPS satellite into orbit

Alabama rocket builder United Launch Alliance (ULA) conducted its 135th mission Thursday morning when it powered yet another Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite into its targeted orbit.

The GPS III Magellan, built by Lockheed Martin, will enable the U.S. Air Force to continue modernizing the nation’s worldwide navigation network with improved accuracy, better anti-jam resiliency and a new signal for civil users.

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GPS satellites are frequent payload into space. Today’s launch was the 73rd GPS payload powered by ULA.

Of the 81 Air Force satellites in orbit, 34 are GPS satellites.

This fact recently led former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to quip, “The blue dot on your phone is not provided by your cellphone company; it comes from the United States Air Force.”

She elaborated that the Air Force provides GPS coordinates for about 1 billion people every day and enables an $80 billion piece of our economy. With its satellites, the Air Force takes pictures, gathers intelligence, facilitates global communication, monitors weather and conducts the critical task of providing timing signals for the New York Stock Exchange and every ATM in America.

This was the final flight for ULA’s Delta IV Medium rocket. The powerful Delta IV Heavy, with its three common booster cores, will continue to fly U.S. government missions.

The Delta IV’s main engine, manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne, consumed nearly a ton of fuel per second as it pushed the rocket in flight.

ULA’s 1.6 million square-foot manufacturing facility in Decatur is the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

Watch the launch:

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer News

35 mins ago

16 female inmates baptized in Blount County, turn to Jesus Christ — ‘I was crying like a baby’

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office continues to offer voluntary baptisms to inmates as a way for them to help turn their lives around, this time with a group of female inmates baptized for the first time under their program.

Yellowhammer News in June reported on 24 male inmates being baptized at the Blount County Jail through a partnership with Redeemed Ministries, which is run by a former convict who found faith and turned away from a life of crime.

Sheriff Mark Moon at that time explained the thought process behind the program, “This is who I was before I met Jesus Christ, and now, I’m dead and I’m buried. My old self is gone, and I’m resurrected new. And I’m somebody totally different in Jesus.”

Now, Moon has confirmed to Yellowhammer News that 16 female inmates chose to be baptized at the county jail on Monday through this same program.

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This latest round of baptisms was first reported by WBRC.

No public funds are given to Redeemed Ministries for the program, which is completely voluntary for inmates to participate in.

Speaking to Yellowhammer News on Thursday, Moon said ultimately he wants this to help end the “revolving door” of the same people cyclically coming in and out of the county jail.

“If we can help them change their motives by changing their heart, getting their life right, getting their families back together — if we can get families back together then we can really make a difference in communities,” the sheriff outlined. “And with the epidemic that’s going on in our country with opioid abuse, drug abuse, I believe that if you change people’s hearts, you change their motivations, you change their desires, then you can start seeing them get their families back together — and they can become positive contributors to society instead of just continually being in and out of jail.”

“I truly want people to make a difference and to make good choices,” he stressed. “I don’t want people in my jail.”

Also a pastor, Moon explained that helping inmates and others in need certainly has biblical roots.

“Jesus even said, ‘Because you fed me when I was hungry, because you clothed me when I was naked, because you visited with me when I was in sick in the hospital or in prison, then you’re blessed.’ If we can reach out to the ones that… our world sees as unlovable and unreachable, if we can reach them and change them — man, what a difference we can make,” he said.

Moon advised that he was was not able to attend the baptisms of the male inmates in June, since he was preaching in a revival that day. However, he got to witness Monday’s baptisms and was overwhelmed with what he experienced.

“It was so powerful… It was so powerful, the Holy Spirit was just really thick and I was crying like a baby, I’m not going to lie,” Moon told Yellowhammer News. “It was fantastic. I’m so thankful for what God’s doing.”

He added that there will be some people skeptical that all of the inmates are getting baptized for the “right” reasons. However, Moon emphasized that just one inmate truly accepting Jesus Christ and turning their life around makes it well worth it.

“We’ve got to get them the Word, we’ve got to get them the Gospel,” Moon concluded. “If they make true conversions, true changes … it’s a success in the eye of the Lord, and that’s what we want to do. We want to please God with what we do, not man.”

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

1 hour ago

Byrne on ‘disgusting’ NYT scandal: ‘Anti-Semitism is growing and being adopted by the radical left’

It was reported on Thursday that a New York Times political editor has a history of anti-Semitic comments on social media, with Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) reacting by saying this could explain the newspaper’s defense of Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

Breitbart detailed that Tom Wright-Piersanti, a senior staff editor at the NYT who oversees the paper’s political coverage, “has made a series of antisemitic and racist tweets over the year.”

Examples of these social media posts in question are included in Breitbart’s report, including one in which the NYT editor wrote, “I was going to say ‘Crappy Jew Year,’ but one of my resolutions is to be less anti-Semitic. So…. HAPPY Jew Year. You Jews.”

Byrne, a Republican running in Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate race, first reacted to the revelation in a tweet of his own on Thursday.

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“More anti-Semitism, NYT?” Byrne lamented.

He outlined that this came a day after the NYT “falsely labeled” President Donald Trump as “an anti-Semite.”

“Today, it’s revealed that one of their editors has a long history of anti-Semitic tweets,” Byrne continued. “Maybe this explains why they’re always defending Omar & Tlaib?”

“DISGUSTING,” the congressman concluded.

In a further statement to Yellowhammer News, Byrne added, “This kind of biased reporting is disgusting and the American people deserve better.”

“It’s clear that anti-Semitism is growing and being adopted by the radical left,” he concluded. “As a nation and as a people, we should always stand up against anti-Semitism.”

This latest episode involving the NYT comes just days after the executive editor of the newspaper was caught stating that they intend to target Trump on racial issues leading up to the 2020 election.

Read Breitbart’s full report for more on the charges of anti-Semitism against the NYT.

Byrne on Thursday also published a Facebook post saying “The Squad,” comprised of Omar, Tlaib and Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), are “allies” with groups committing terrorist attacks on Israel, including Hamas.

RELATED: Jones: Israel shouldn’t have barred Omar, Tlaib; Trump’s Tuesday comments ‘imbecilic’

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

3 hours ago

Ainsworth: ‘Shouldn’t be the job’ of citizens, others to come up with Mobile Bay Bridge alternatives — We have a well-funded ALDOT, John Cooper

Wednesday during an appearance on Birmingham radio Talk 99.5, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth challenged the claim of the purpose of October’s meeting of the Alabama Toll Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Authority as a forum for those to offer alternatives to the proposed $2.1 billion I-10 Mobile Bay Bridge project and toll structure to finance the project.

According to Ainsworth, that responsibility should fall on the Alabama Department of Transportation and its director John Cooper.

The lieutenant governor also called attention to the binary offering from Cooper on the project.

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“I want to say this because this is an important point: It really shouldn’t be the job of citizens and other people to have to come up with a plan. We’ve got an organization that is well funded in this state called ALDOT and a gentleman named John Cooper that is running it that really should come to this meeting with a series of other alternatives. And you’re going to see us come out and push on that pretty hard. They’re the experts.”

“He has taken a position, just like he’s done in the past on some things that ‘hey, it’s this way or nothing,” Ainsworth continued. “And from talking to other experts across the country, that’s not the case. But really, they should be – ALDOT and John Cooper – should be saying ‘these are all the different options we can do,’ if we want to do it in phases over a 40-, 50-, 60-year period. ‘These are some things we can do.’ But you don’t hear that from them. It’s basically, my understanding – I was not able to attend one of the meetings down there – my understanding was it was basically this or nothing. That’s not leadership. That’s not solving problems.”

@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.

3 hours ago

7 Things: Alabama House speaker remains neutral on toll roads, Jones dodges a bullet, Tuberville drubbing his opponents and more …

7. No more student debt for disabled veterans 

  • On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will forgive permanently disabled veterans’ student debt. Disabled veterans will also be exempt from paying federal income tax on the student loans.
  • The current system does allow eligible veterans to enroll in a debt forgiveness program, called the Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, but veterans must have a VA service-connected disability rating of 100%, and due to the complicated nature of the process, only around 20% of eligible veterans are actually enrolled in the current system.

6. More jobs for Alabama

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  • On Wednesday, Governor Kay Ivey announced that Vuteq, a Japan-based auto manufacturing facility, will be opening a new facility that will serve the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. plant currently being constructed in Huntsville.
  • The first Vuteq location in Alabama will provide 200 jobs; construction on the facility is expected to begin in October and be completed by September 2020.

5. Birthright citizenship could be on the way out

  • Speaking outside the White House, President Donald Trump said that he’s “very seriously” looking at ending at the “ridiculous” birthright citizenship policy. He could use an executive order to end the policy.
  • Trump said that because people can just walk into the United States, have a child and that child becomes an American citizen, it encourages illegal immigration. The only issue with Trump’s statement is that the 14th Amendment designates citizenship to people born or naturalized in the United States.

4. Dems now say Trump is anti-Semitic

  • President Donald Trump said that Jewish Americans show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty” for supporting Democrats, and now Democrats in Congress have called Trump’s statement an “anti-Semitic attack,” which means the president, who wants to be supported by all Jews, is somehow anti-Semitic for attacking liberals who want to cut off financial aid to Israel that keeps them safe.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was quick to speak out in a tweet where he said, “To my fellow American Jews…when he uses a trope that’s been used against the Jewish people for centuries with dire consequences he is encouraging – wittingly or unwittingly – anti-Semites throughout the country and world. Enough.”

3. Tuberville is crushing it

  • Recent polling data released by Moore Information Group and the Tuberville for Senate campaign took responses from 400 likely Republican Alabama voters, which shows former football coach Tommy Tuberville taking a strong lead in the 2020 U.S. Senate primary.
  • Tuberville leads with 33%, U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) came out at 17%, former Chief Justice Roy Moore polled at 15%, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill was at 13% and State Representative Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) trailed behind at 1%.

2. Doug Jones can sleep easy — he’s not racist

  • State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) has confirmed that he’s not going to run against Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) in the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate primary.
  • Rogers initially said that he would only run if he could raise $500,000, and after months of consideration, he never raised the sufficient funds, but Rogers also weighed in on the controversy between Jones and the Democratic National Committee against the Alabama Democratic Party and the Alabama Democratic Conference, saying that he doesn’t think Jones is a racist. Rogers said he “wouldn’t dare call him a racist.”

1. House Speaker McCutcheon neutral on Mobile Bay Bridge and Skyway project tolls

  • As the battle over tolls in Alabama rages on, one member of the Alabama Toll Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Authority says he is attempting to keep an open-mind ahead of the Authority’s meeting on October 7.
  • Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) issued a statement acknowledging the need to alleviate congestion on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, but made it clear that he needed more information, stating, “The devil lies in the details of determining how we can most effectively address the issue.”