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3 years ago

On Veterans Day Alabama Lawmakers express gratitude for those who have served in the military

U.S. Marine Corps Flickr account
U.S. Marine Corps Flickr account

WASHINGTON — As thousands of Alabamians gather today to commemorate and celebrate the military men and women who have served the United States with honor. It’s more than a day off from work, or a parade bedecked with red, white, and blue banners. Veterans Day is a time for all Americans to reflect on the ways we can serve those who served us.

In that spirit, many Alabama lawmakers have released statements expressing their gratitude for the nation’s veterans.

Senator Richard Shelby (R)Today I proudly join my colleagues and Americans across the country in paying tribute to our nation’s veterans and their families.  Without the selfless sacrifices of the courageous men and women in uniform, the freedoms we enjoy as Americans would not be possible.

On Veterans Day and every day, we must remember that freedom comes at a great price, and that we owe our active duty and retired servicemen and women a debt of gratitude.  Our veterans’ unwavering commitment to defending security and prosperity should never be forgotten.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL1): “Today we celebrate Veterans Day, and we honor the men and women who have served in the United States military.

“These are the individuals who throughout our nation’s history have put country above themselves.

“As humans, it seems like we are programmed to avoid any situation that would put us in danger. That’s why there is something truly remarkable about the men and women in our military who choose to run toward danger. These American heroes aren’t afraid of a challenge; when faced with adversity, they simply push themselves harder and reach even higher.

“Despite their service and sacrifice, the Department of Veterans Affairs is leaving far too many veterans behind. The broken bureaucracy at the VA is failing our veterans, and reform is desperately needed.

(listen to the rest of Rep. Byrne’s remarks here.)

Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-AL2): Today we celebrate and honor the men and women who have courageously and selflessly served in the Armed Forces.

On this Veterans Day, I encourage you to take a moment to thank not only those who have worn the uniform, but their families as well. We can never thank our soldiers and their families enough for the great sacrifices they make daily on our behalf, but today is a special opportunity for our nation to pause and express our sincere gratitude.

I remain committed to fighting in Congress to ensure veterans receive the care that they need and deserve. In fact, my bill to overhaul the accountability process for VA medical centers is before the Veterans Affairs Committee next week, a hopeful step towards a final vote.

It’s truly an honor to represent so many who have served this country in uniform and to work on their behalf.

Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL6): “I want to wholeheartedly express my appreciation to each and every one of our veterans, both in Alabama and throughout America,” Palmer said. “Our national anthem calls the America the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.’ A popular rephrasing of that is that America is ‘Land of the free because of the brave.’ It remains free because brave citizens choose to join our armed forced and serve their country sacrificially.”

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL7): “Today we salute the selfless sacrifices of our nation’s 21 million veterans. These patriots have kept our nation safe while defending our nation at home and abroad. They have served our country with distinction, and we should honor them for their bravery and courage with actions — not simply words.

“Congress must continue to support and provide critical resources to the Veterans Administration (VA) to ensure that our veterans have access to quality health care, good-paying jobs, affordable housing, and opportunities to continue their education. We should not deny the very liberties they fought to protect, nor deny them any benefits they so fittingly deserve.

“I am committed to ensuring that we honor the promises that were made to these American heroes. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to them and their families by vowing to make sure they succeed. They deserve nothing less.”

This story may be updated.


2 hours ago

A second former Prattville police officer sentenced for theft

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Friday announced that former Prattville police officer John Wayne McDaniel Jr. has been sentenced for conspiracy to commit burglary, third-degree theft, second-degree theft of prescription medicine and criminal impersonation of a police officer.

McDaniel was sentenced in Autauga County Circuit Court to ten years for each count, with the sentences being split for him to serve three years in community corrections rather than prison. The sentences will run concurrently.

“It is always serious and a sad betrayal of the public’s trust when a law enforcement officer breaks the law he has sworn to uphold,” said Marshall.

He continued, “In this case, the court considered that McDaniel acknowledged his wrongdoing, cooperated in the investigation, and assisted with information for the prosecution of others in related crimes. His sentence takes this into account, yet imposes strong controls to invoke his prison sentence if he fails to abide by the strict standards of the community corrections program.”

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In the community corrections program, defendants may serve their time outside of prison or jail but are held to stringent conditions and supervision, and upon any failure to comply are subject to immediately being sent to jail or prison.

McDaniel’s cooperation was an integral factor in the successful prosecution of another former Prattville police officer, Leon Todd Townson, who was sentenced on Monday to serve ten years in prison for first-degree insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and and three years for third-degree burglary. Townson’s sentences run concurrently.

McDaniel and Townson were both originally charged with breaking into a home in 2015, and Townson was also charged in 2017 with defrauding an insurance agency by filing a claim worth $190,000 using false information.

Marshall commended Assistant Attorney General John Kachelman of the office’s Criminal Trials Division for his exemplary work in bringing these cases to a successful conclusion. The Attorney General also applauded Special Agents of his Investigations Division and thanked the Prattville Police Department for their crucial role in the investigation and prosecution of the two cases.

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

3 hours ago

77-year-old identical twin sisters ‘serving up smiles’ at Alabama McDonald’s

A pair of 77-year-old identical twin sisters working at a Shelby County McDonald’s restaurant has customers saying, “I’m lovin’ it.”

Maryann Byrne and Alice Moore, the twins, are so popular that a customer called WBRC urging them to do a story about the sisters, who work at the location on Valleydale Road and the corner of Caldwell Mill Road.

Byrne and Moore do every task – from taking customers’ orders, to preparing food and pouring piping-hot cups of coffee – with genuine smiles that are contagious to co-workers and customers alike.

“Those two ladies are a breath of fresh air for all the people who come in here,” customer Rod Peeks told WBRC. “They’re just amazing.”

The sisters say it all comes down to them loving to serve others and caring about the people they interact with.

“The customers are gorgeous, they really are,” said Byrne. “They’re like your family members.”

“We like to make people happy. We like to please people. God made them and we need to please them,” added Moore.

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The story gets even better. The sisters get to work with another family member, as Moore’s daughter is the general manager of the restaurant.

“They’re my superstars and I love them to pieces. Please come in and see them,” Barbara Gibbs said about her mom and aunt.

Byrne calls her sister “the twin queen,” because Moore has a set of twins and her daughter Maria, the manager, gave birth to twin boys.

Watch the entire story below:

WBRC FOX6 News – Birmingham, AL

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

3 hours ago

Jefferson State Community College gets grant to improve biomedical training program

Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded Jefferson State Community College $220,817 to upgrade a program that trains students for jobs in the medical industry.

The grant, provided to the state by the Appalachian Regional Commission, will be used to purchase equipment, furniture and supplies to upgrade classroom and laboratory space for the college’s biomedical training program. The program trains students as biomedical equipment technicians in both manufacturing and healthcare.

“My administration has championed job growth in Alabama, and programs like this ensure that our workforce is trained and ready for those jobs,” Ivey said in a press release. “I am pleased that this ARC funding is helping to provide better opportunities for Alabama workers.”

Thirty-seven Alabama counties are members of the Appalachian Regional Commission and eligible for grant funds.

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4 hours ago

Congratulations to all of Alabama’s Congressional delegation on their re-elections

[WRITER’S NOTE: Before I get started, let me just short-circuit 90 percent of the response to what I am about to say is going to get: No, fivethirtyeight.com was not totally wrong about the presidential election. They said Hillary Clinton was going to win the popular vote, and she did.

If you are an elected Congressman from Alabama, you are good to go in November, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The least likely winner is Congresswoman Martha Roby, who is still expected to brutalize her opponent.

This should surprise absolutely no one. Alabama is still a red state. The only blue district in the state is a gerrymandered mess that includes Birmingham and Montgomery, so Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) didn’t even draw an opponent.

The bigger story from fivethirtyeight.com is that their analysis shows two things:

1. Republicans are projected to lose, but it’s not impossible (this is better than the chance they gave Trump)

2. There are far more Solid D (188) seats than Solid R (146) seats, that means more seats for Republicans to defend, and that means less money for each one.

This could be a tough year for Republicans, but all is not lost yet.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show  from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

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5 hours ago

See where Alabama schools rank in Princeton Review’s list of best colleges

The Princeton Review has released their trademark list of the “Best 384 Colleges” for 2019 and three Alabama schools made the cut.

To compile their latest edition, which is the 27th annual, the Princeton Review interviewed 138,000 students and examined the relevant data on the nation’s colleges.

See which Alabama institutions are on the list, and why, below:

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(Note that the following sub-rankings are only done for top 20 schools in each category)

Auburn University

Best Athletic Facilities – #2
Future Rotarians and DAR – #14
Happiest Students – #19
Students Pack the Stadiums – #5
Their Students Love These Colleges – #18
Town-Gown Relations are Great – #7

Academics, on a scale of 1-99: 75

Read more about Auburn’s inclusion here.

The University of Alabama

Best Athletic Facilities – #1
Best College Dorms – #13
Best-Run Colleges – #11
Lots of Greek Life – #5
Most Active Student Governments – #8

Academics, on a scale of 1-99: 77

Read more about UA’s inclusion here.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

UAB’s post-graduate programs really push it over the top as a premier high-education institution.

The Princeton Review highlighted UAB by saying, “At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, professors and administrators ‘care about you.'” They also boast a relatively low student-to-faculty ratio.

Academics, on a scale of 1-99: 67

Read more about UAB’s inclusion here.

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