The Wire

  • Kay Ivey lauds Shaw Industries $250 million upgrade at Andalusia ceremony

    Excerpt:

    For the last few decades, manufacturing has been on the decline in Alabama. This trend is especially true when it comes to textiles in the southern portion of the state.

    Dalton, Ga.-based Shaw Industries officially bucked that trend with a formal announcement on Wednesday that the company was putting $250 million into its Andalusia carpet manufacturing facility. That investment includes technology upgrades with an anticipated completion date of 2020.

    On hand for the announcement was Gov. Kay Ivey, local Covington County and City of Andalusia leaders, along with executives from Shaw Industries.

  • Reed lists rural broadband, waterways at top of Alabama infrastructure priorities

    Excerpt:

    Often when the topic of infrastructure concerns is raised by Alabama politicos, the discussion will almost immediately go to road and bridge deficiencies around the state. This is especially true as the Alabama legislature is likely to consider raising the gasoline tax in the 2019 session to finance improvements to the state’s transportation system.

    However, State Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) is quick to note there are other pressing infrastructure concerns beyond Alabama’s highway system.

    In an address to the Association of County Commissions of Alabama conference at the Renaissance Hotel on Wednesday, Reed stressed his desire to enhance the state’s access to high-speed internet and improve Alabama’s system of navigatable waterways.

  • Report: Sessions views potential return to the Senate as ‘a demotion’

    Excerpt:

    Following an interview with the former attorney general and senator on Wednesday, Politico reported that Jeff Sessions does not miss the United States Senate and could be done with politics.

    After attending President George H.W. Bush’s funeral in Washington, D.C., Sessions reportedly told Politico that his next step before announcing a decision on whether to run against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) in 2020 would be returning to Alabama to do some thinking.

    “I’ve been clearing my brain. I think that’s a fair statement,” Sessions said. “I’ll go to Alabama, do some things and then that will clarify things a little more before I worry about making a statement.”

3 days ago

Meet the Alabama grad who is blazing new trails in the Army

(WSMR, Univ. of Alabama/Facebook)

Army Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, a graduate of the University of Alabama and native of the Yellowhammer State, has been achieving record firsts and making both her alma mater and state proud.

As detailed in a writeup by the university about her recent visit to campus, Bingham is currently assistant chief of staff for installation management at the Pentagon, where she directly supports both the secretary and chief of staff for the Army.

Her list of achievements is lengthy and still growing. Bingham is the first female officer ever to hold the position of quartermaster general. The UA alumna is also the first African-American woman to reach the rank of three-star general from an Army ROTC program and is currently one of three women to hold the rank of lieutenant general in the Army.

Back on campus to speak to the ROTC program from which she made her start, Bingham was hard at work inspiring the next generation of Army leaders reared in Tuscaloosa. 

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“UA cadets’ intellect, spirit and drive are always so heartwarming for me, and it lets me know our Army is in good hands. I’m always on a high when I come back,” Bingham said.

Bingham’s recent visit was particularly special for UA ROTC Battalion Commander Mary Ellen Sinnott, who, like Bingham, will work as a logistician in the Army. Sinnott explained that she admires Bingham’s ascension through the Army ranks and the many milestones she has achieved.

“She’s super supportive of all the cadets coming out, but especially the logisticians, because she’s worked her entire career in that field,” Sinnott outlined.

“As a woman in the military, she’s achieved so many firsts … it’s really cool to have an open dialogue and have her as a mentor,” she added.

Bingham, a native of Troy, received a four-year Army ROTC scholarship from UA and enrolled in 1977. She later joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and served in the UA Student Government Association.

The university writeup noted, “Visits to campus are nostalgic for Bingham, both in seeing how campus has grown and evolved, and in keeping up with UA’s Army ROTC program. She said cadets often seek advice about what to expect during their first assignments as second lieutenants. They’re equally as interested in the ‘shining’ moments in her career, but Bingham places more emphasis on the ‘team and mission,’ which have helped her achieve her individual career milestones.”

“I just see myself from the humble beginnings of being a cadet in ROTC in high school for three years, and then winning a four-year ROTC scholarship,” Bingham advised. “But what I really want people to take away from my life’s journey is to maintain a positive attitude, do the best job you can possibly do, and at the end of the day, know that you are really trying to make a positive difference for the men and women on your team.

“Working at the Pentagon is a humbling experience, but one I take very seriously, because, at the end of the day, we’re all supporting that man or woman on point all around the globe,” she added.

Bingham’s story and presence in the Army’s national leadership team is a shining light for others to follow.

“It’s an incredible source of pride for us,” Sinnott concluded. “[Bingham] is an incredible alumna, but also an incredibly involved alumna, and that makes it so much better.”

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

3 days ago

Katie Boyd Britt named BCA president

(YHN, BCA)

The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) on Friday officially announced its selection of Alabama native Katie Boyd Britt as the organization’s next president.

Britt, who currently serves as chief of staff to United States Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), will start the job on January 2.

In a press release, BCA leaders praised Britt’s leadership acumen, energy and experience on both Goat Hill and Capitol Hill.

“We are excited to welcome Katie as the BCA’s new president,” Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite, who chairs the BCA’s Executive Committee, said. “As the top staff member for Senator Shelby, she has worked daily with businesses and elected officials from around Alabama and the country. She also has a special ability to work with and unite people from all walks of life. She has all of the tools we were looking for to support the business growth across the state that will drive our economy in the years ahead.”

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Britt was born and raised in Enterprise and attended the University of Alabama, where she served as president of the Student Government Association. She also earned her law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.

Over the past decade, she has served in a number of senior positions for Shelby in Washington, D.C. Before becoming chief of staff, Britt was the youngest press secretary in the U.S. Senate. She previously led state governmental affairs for the Butler Snow law firm in Montgomery and also practiced corporate law. She has also served as a member of the BCA Board of Directors.

Britt, her husband, Wesley, and their two children, Bennett and Ridgeway, will reside in Montgomery.

“My heart is in Alabama,” Britt emphasized. “Our state has made significant progress in recent years, and I am honored to have been chosen to lead BCA during this time of growth. I look forward to building on that momentum through collective efforts with our BCA members, elected officials, and business allies across the state – identifying opportunities every day in which we can provide and advance real, tangible solutions.”

“BCA’s successes are Alabama’s successes, and our unique ability to take on big challenges and deliver strategic results will advance our economy and best serve the men and women who make up the backbone of our state,” Britt continued.

Britt, who will be the first female president at BCA, said her top initial priorities will be:

  • Working with the Executive Committee and Board of Directors to develop a new long-term strategic plan for the organization.
  • Building bridges with other organizations to identify shared priorities and objectives at the state and federal level.
  • Reaching out to all businesses in the state to better understand how BCA can bring value to their company.
  • Bringing a fresh, new approach to working with all elected officials and policy makers at the local, state, and federal level to support pro-business, pro-economic growth policies that support all sectors of Alabama’s economy: industrial, commercial, small business, tech and healthcare entrepreneurs.

BCA Executive Committee Member Carl Jamison said Britt brings to the table the qualities and experience needed to successfully move BCA forward.

“BCA has an important responsibility to its members and to our state moving forward,” Jamison outlined. “With Katie’s energy and experiences in Montgomery and Washington, she understands the constructive role BCA can play.”

In a separate release, Shelby added his praise for the hire, saying that Alabama will benefit from her leading BCA.

“Katie Britt is an exceptional choice to serve as CEO of the Business Council of Alabama,” Shelby advised. “She has been invaluable as my chief of staff over the last several years. Although I am disappointed to see her go, I know that my loss is BCA’s gain.

He continued, “Throughout Katie’s time in my office, she demonstrated a unique ability to solve any problem. Not only did she work as my top advisor on all matters, but she also developed bipartisan relationships with lawmakers, top committee and leadership staff, and stakeholders to successfully negotiate complex issues and legislation. Katie understands the intersection of business and politics. I have no doubt that her experience in Alabama and the Senate will establish her as an asset to BCA.

“I am grateful for Katie’s leadership and ability to prioritize what’s best for our state. It is with pride that I wish her, Wesley, Bennett, and Ridgeway all the best as they return to Alabama,” Shelby concluded.

Britt added that her experience in Shelby’s office has prepared her for this new chapter in life.

She remarked, “It has been my life privilege to serve and assist Alabama’s greatest statesman. I am very eager to apply the lessons I learned from him in this new position. I am certain the invaluable experiences of touring every county in Alabama with Senator Shelby, and meeting so many Alabamians, will serve me well as I work to create opportunities for all Alabama business.”

Britt explained that a strong BCA is vital for Alabama’s success as a state and for its residents.

“From the Tennessee Valley to the Wiregrass and then over to Mobile Bay, we have a remarkably diverse economy,” Britt said. “But to ensure Alabama’s future success, we must encourage policies and priorities that strengthen our businesses and provide opportunities for our citizens.”

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

3 days ago

Mo Brooks highlights November jobs report – 3.7% unemployment, bigger paychecks

(Jeff Poor / Yellowhammer News)

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) on Friday highlighted what he viewed, in context, as a “very good” Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  November jobs report.

In a press release, Brooks said, “The November Jobs Report is very good in the context of two troubling events: the threatened return of socialist, anti-growth policies of Democrats who have captured the House of Representatives and rising interest rates (caused by Federal Reserve hikes coupled with America’s dangerous deficits straining credit markets). These combined threats undermine the economic confidence of job creators which, in turn, risk causing adverse impacts on America’s economy.”

“Despite threatened socialist policies and rising interest rates, in November, America’s economy added 155,000 new jobs, average hourly income continued to grow at a 3.1% annualized rate, and unemployment remained steady at the 50-year low rate of 3.7%— all welcome news for American workers,” Brooks continued. “I am very pleased that Americans are personally benefitting from the tax cuts and deregulation policies that spurred 2018 to be America’s strongest growth rate in over a decade!”

Key takeaways from the jobs report are:

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  • America’s economy added 155,000 new, nonfarm payroll jobs in November.
  • America’s November unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, a year-to-year improvement of 0.4 percentage points over the 4.1 percent unemployment rate of November 2017.
  • Over the past year, the average weekly earnings for all non-farm American workers increased by 0.2 percent, or six cents (to $27.35/hour). That is an 81 cent improvement in hourly wages over the past year.
  • African-American unemployment fell by 0.3 percentage points, to 5.9 percent, which is the all-time record low unemployment rate for African-Americans.
  • Asian-American unemployment fell from 3.2 percent to 2.7 percent.
  • Caucasian-American unemployment rose from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent.
  • Hispanic-American unemployment rose from 4.4 percent to 4.5 percent.
  • The labor participation rate remained unchanged at 62.9 percent.
  • The long-term unemployed (those unemployed for 27 weeks or more), declined by 120,000 to 1.3 million.

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

3 days ago

Shelby announces $14.2 million highway infrastructure grant for Decatur

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will award the City of Decatur with a highway infrastructure improvement grant totaling $14,222,671 in federal funding.

The grant is being made available as part of the DOT Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program, which focuses on economic development and infrastructure improvements.

“This $14 million BUILD grant is great news for the city of Decatur and the surrounding region. The funding will allow for much-needed improvements and enhancements to the current infrastructure in Decatur,” Shelby said in a press release.

Alabama’s senior senator added, “As Alabama’s transportation needs evolve, it is important that we find ways to support rapid growth, especially in rural areas. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues and the DOT as we continue to prioritize the infrastructure needs of the state and the nation.”

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The grant will aid in the construction of an overpass bridge at the intersection of State Route 20 and Bibb Garrett Road. The project also includes ramps, a new access road, improved highway lighting and accommodations for safe pedestrian access.

According to the city, there has been a significant lack of resources to develop and maintain major rural highway infrastructure. This funding will help bridge the gap between Decatur and other main employment areas in the state, providing necessary funding for these much-needed transportation resources.

“The creation of a Highway 20 overpass and exchange is the catalyst of growth and change our city has been striving to achieve,” Mayor Tab Bowling outlined. “Through the keen oversight of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, the generosity of Sen. Richard Shelby’s office, and the ever-diligent work of the City of Decatur’s grant team and Director of Development Wally Terry, our collaborative efforts have culminated in a regional development that will benefit North Alabamians for generations to come.”

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

3 days ago

Steve Marshall joins multistate fight against robocalls

(Steve Marshall Campaign)

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced on Thursday that Alabama is participating in a bipartisan group of 39 attorneys general to stop or reduce annoying and harmful robocalls.

A press release from Marshall’s office explained that this coalition is focused on the technology that major telecom companies are pursuing to combat illegal robocalls.

“Robocalls are not simply annoying but have become a persistent harassment that is disrupting the lives of our citizens and can be a means for scammers to steal their hard-earned money and savings,” Marshall said.

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The attorney general continued, “We are committed to working together to find a constructive way to combat this growing problem. Robocalls, as well as spoofing which is often done to make it appear the calls are coming from someone known and reputable, will require technological solutions. We support the efforts of telecom companies to address this and urge them to reach and implement solutions as soon as possible.”

The multistate group has already had in-depth meetings with several major telecom companies.

Marshall and his colleagues are working to:

  • Develop a detailed understanding of what is technologically feasible to minimize unwanted robocalls and illegal telemarking,
  • Press the major telecom companies to expedite the best possible solutions for consumers and
  • Determine whether states should make further recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission.

In addition to Marshall in Alabama, those participating in the group include the attorneys general of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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

3 days ago

Sonny Brasfield: Building local support for gas tax hike to fund roads, bridges key takeaway from ACCA’s pre-2019 legislative session conference

(Twitter/ACCA)

MONTGOMERY — Around lunchtime on Thursday, the attendees of this year’s Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s annual legislative conference were departing the Renaissance Hotel on Tallapoosa Street and headed back to home counties.

Upon their departures, most of those county commissioners seemed to be walking away with an agreement that acquiring additional revenue for infrastructure by an increase in the state’s gas tax was imperative for next year’s legislative session.

In a sit-down interview with Yellowhammer News immediately after the close of the conference, ACCA executive chairman Sonny Brasfield explained how the takeaways from this conference on infrastructure and other issues would serve as a table-setter for the 2019 session of the state legislature.

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Brasfield echoed Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), who a day earlier at the two-day event called for attendees to grow local support for more road and bridge funding from a gas tax, which hasn’t been altered since 1992.

“We got three months, so there’s still some work to be done,” Brasfield said. “Our folks left with a charge from us to get back to work at the local level. In some ways, we were unsuccessful in 2017. But in other ways, we have moved the issue to the point that I think there’s pretty consistent agreement that it is time to do something on roads and bridges. What is that? How do we do it? We got three months to get that ready. I think our folks – what we need to be doing between now and then is building support at the local level. And that’s the charge I left them with this morning is go back and communicate with the opinion leaders in their communities about what we can do if we have additional revenue, and what happens if we don’t.”

Proponents have been reluctant to offer a specific percentage or dollar amount for a hike, the dollar amount required to get back on the so-called 15-year cycle, which is the lifespan of the asphalt typically used for Alabama’s road projects comes to about $390 million.

For now, Brasfield argues that number was less important than making a case for the need of the revenue and earning the public’s trust that it would be appropriately used.

“Rather than talking about what the number needs to be, where our people are is that we believe if we communicate to the public is what we’ll do with the money, however much it is – that’s how we build support,” he said.

Brasfield said his organization has been consistent with its position that language written for this new stream of additional revenue needed to be separated from the other gas tax revenue and used solely for roads and not salaries, equipment, or other types of construction like buildings for offices.

“It can’t be used for anything except asphalt and concrete,” Brasfield about the stipulations for the possible increase in the fuel tax.

“A great scenario for us is we get everybody on that position,” he added.

According to the ACCA executive director, one component required to win over public support might include a reporting mechanism that shows precisely what the money is being used for on a project-by-project basis.

“If we do those things, then the public is going to support us having money to fix the roads,” he said. “I don’t think the public will support us having money to just do what we’ve always done.”

The key he argued was building the public’s confidence by following through on the initial justification for the tax increase.

“When you talk to people, they will all say the same thing; If you fix my roads with the money, I’ll pay for it,” he added. “I don’t know that over the years there has been a great deal of confidence that the money would go only there.”

Headed into March’s legislative session, a potential hangup is how the revenue would be distributed to all 67 of Alabama’s counties. Although it is likely a matter of months before an actual proposal explaining those specifics is laid out for the public, Brasfield said his members were in favor the current distribution structure, which was a hybrid of an even-split and a split based on population.

“What our members said at this meeting is that we support additional revenue with these constraints with the money distributed using the traditional distribution formula,” he said.

Brasfield explained that initially with former Gov. “Big” Jim Folsom’s Farm-to-Market road program, gas tax revenue was split 67 ways and each of the counties getting an equal share. In the mid-1970s, the formula was changed with 55 percent of the revenue given to counties based on population, and the other 45 percent split equally.

Coming out of the conference, Brasfield said there seemed to be a consensus from ACCA members on their support for something to be done by the legislature on roads and bridge, noting that for a lot of county commissions, roads and bridges are a primary focus given they are a significant constituent concern.

For Brasfield, another area of concern for this upcoming legislative session includes the Alabama Simplified Sellers Use Tax, specifically how revenue is collected from the internet is collected in the wake of this year’s South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. U.S. Supreme Court decision.

In addition to that, there was solidifying Gov. Kay Ivey’s executive order through legislation regarding the handling of jail food money by county sheriff’s departments and plotting a course that would allow public employees to opt in the Retirement Systems of Alabama “Tier 1,” which is much more lucrative than the “Tier 2” plan created for employees hired on or after January 1, 2013.

Brasfield indicated he didn’t see his organization getting involved in the hot-button statewide issues like the lottery or Medicaid expansion. But he said given county commissions were legislative bodies, the state’s current ethics laws were a significant concern.

“I think at this point, we would like a little more clarity in the ethics law,” Brasfield said. “I have a real difficult time – people asking me questions, ‘Can you do this or that?’ If it is a complicated question, the answer is ‘maybe.’”

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

3 days ago

Father of E.J. Bradford: Police officer who killed my son is a ‘coward’

(CNN/YouTube)

Emantic Bradford, Sr., the father of the man who was mistakenly killed by police at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover last month, joined CNN’s “New Day” with the family’s attorney to share his thoughts surrounding the situation.

“My son was murdered, and the officer that shot him was a coward. And it hurts me, because my son was moving away from gunfire. He was running like everybody else,” said Bradford Thursday of his son, Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr. “I’m still disappointed. I’m disappointed because no parent wants to find out … the way we found out.”

Bradford explained in the interview that he spoke with law enforcement and they apologized, but he says that does not fix anything.

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“They apologized, but that still doesn’t erase the fact that we were not notified that night,” Bradford stated.

Watch:

Benjamin Crump, the family’s civil rights attorney, said a copy of the independent medical review has been provided to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Crump briefly detailed the findings of the report during the interview.

“It shows, based on forensic science, that Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr. was shot in the back of his head, beneath his ear, and the bullet exited left forehead right above his eye. The other bullet when into the base of his neck, lodged in his throat and his tonsils,” Crump said. “The other bullet when into his back, right above his buttocks, went through his small intestines and lodged into his abdomen.”

He added, “For whatever reason, the police shot him as he was running away like everybody else. … The police, when they see good guys with guns, who happen to be black, they label them as criminals.”

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

3 days ago

Hoover mayor: We weren’t caught off guard by protesters blocking I-459

(Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato/Facebook)

In an interview on WERC’s “Morning News with JT” on Thursday morning, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato explained that the city’s police department was prepared for the Tuesday evening protest that blocked traffic on I-459 and disrupted traffic on I-65.

While some citizens have expressed discontent with the city’s handling of the protests, Brocato said that how they managed Tuesday evening, and have been handling all of the protests to this point, is intentional and in everyone’s best interests, as overreactions by Hoover could further inflame tensions.

He also stressed that Hoover’s status as one of the best cities in Alabama has not changed.

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“Let me just say this to our citizens – we talk a lot in Hoover about the quality of life, what a wonderful, wonderful city it is. And it has not changed because of this terrible event,” Brocato said, speaking of the officer-involved shooting death of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr. on Thanksgiving night.

He added, “It is still a wonderful city with a great quality of life, and I just want to reinforce to our citizens that I know that you’re shaken over this – it’s very unusual, we’re not used to this, nobody is [here] – but we’re committed to your safety, we’re committed to your security and we’re going to do everything we can to make people that come to Hoover feel very safe, just like they have for the past 50 years.”

Brocato continued, praising the police department and its leadership for putting together and executing an “instant action plan” in the aftermath of the shooting.

“We’re dealing with a very unusual situation with these protesters and the way that they’re handling, but the chief and his staff, [City Manager Allan Rice] and his staff have put together a remarkable plan that we’ve not been surprised by anything. Even the blocking of the interstate did not catch us off guard,” Brocato outlined.

“We had task force and strike teams available with wreckers ready to remove all of those cars, and it really worked well,” he explained.

The protesters stopped blocking the interstate after being asked to leave once by police officers on the scene, so arrests and towing vehicles were not needed.

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

4 days ago

Hoover protest leader calls ‘black folk’ who do not agree with him ‘house negros’

(C. Chaverst/Facebook)

The leader of escalating protests in Hoover, Carlos Chaverst, Jr., took to social media to attack black people who disapprove of his actions, which could soon include protesting at Hoover High School.

Chaverst, as a professional activist, has led the charge for protesters in the wake of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr.’s officer-involved shooting death at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night. Chaverst has rallied protesters to not only target the mall, but businesses all around the city, saying the goal was to make the city “broke.”

Just this week, the protests escalated to blocking traffic on I-459 and I-65, and now, Chaverst has declared that protesters will take to Hoover High sometime Thursday.

In response to his actions, he has received pushback from white people (who Chaverst calls “WYPIPO,” which is a phonetic spelling of mispronouncing the two words) and black people alike, who do not want to see citizens, business owners and students who had nothing to do with the tragedy hurt by the protests.

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In a Facebook post, Chaverst lashed out at the black people who do not agree with his protest methods.

“When black folk are saying the EXACT same thing these racist WYPIPO are saying I tune it out because there’s no place, in my world, for house negros. That’s what you are. Let me and my folk work in the fields while your scary ass in the house with massa,” Chaverst wrote.

This came after he recently called a black radio host who did not agree with him a “coon.” This thought process by Chaverst seems to be consistent, as he has posted a doctored pictured of Kanye West as a white person, too.

Chaverst also posted on Facebook Thursday that he wants “WYPIPO” in and around Hoover to feel “afraid.” In the same post, he compared the four girls killed at 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 to the planned Hoover High protest.

The protest leader has threatened to use “ANY MEANS NECESSARY” in his efforts.

Hoover PD has vowed that protests on city schools’ property will not be allowed and that they will also “ensure the free flow of traffic” in the city.

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

4 days ago

For-profit college closes operations, surprising students

(WKRG/YouTube)

One of the nation’s largest for-profit college chains announced Wednesday that it was abruptly closing in dozens of locations nationwide, after its accrediting agency suspended approval.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Education Corp. of America said it was closing schools operating as Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute and Golf Academy of America in more than 70 locations in 21 states.

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The company said in October that it had more than 20,000 students, although more recent documents indicate the number may be closer to 15,000.

The company, backed by investors including private equity firm Willis Stein & Partners of Chicago, is the latest in a series of for-profit colleges to close after allegations that they were loading students up with debt while not providing them with marketable skills.

In some cases, students told local news outlets Wednesday that operations ceased immediately, while in other cases students said they were told to return for meetings later.

ECA spokeswoman Diane Worthington said that at most locations, Friday would be the last day of classes, and students would get academic credit for this term.

One ECA institution, New England College of Business, is not closing.

The company mostly offers professional certificates in subjects like cosmetology, culinary arts and medical and dental assisting.

In a letter to students, ECA CEO Stuart Reed said the company’s impending loss of accreditation, along with added requirements from the U.S. Department of Education, made the company unable to raise more money to operate the schools while it sought to reorganize.

“It is with extreme regret that this series of recent circumstances has forced us to discontinue the operation of our schools,” Reed wrote.

In October, the company sued the U.S. Education Department seeking to maintain its federal funding, which was in jeopardy over its dire financial situation.

A judge later dismissed the suit.

Court documents filed by the company said its lagging revenue left it unable to make payments on its debt or rental fees, and that it faced eviction at several campuses.

ECA estimated it owed $66 million at the time. Even before then, ECA was planning to shutter 26 campuses to cut costs.

Another federal judge in Georgia later granted a bankruptcy-like receivership meant to protect the company from creditors.

ECA largely blamed falling enrollment on an upswing in the economy, which left fewer adults heading to school for job skills, and on increased federal regulation of the for-profit college industry.

The sudden closure drew criticism from the U.S. Education Department, which said it had been working with the company to arrange a shut-down that gave students time to transfer.

“Instead of taking the next few months to close in an orderly fashion, ECA took the easy way out and left 19,000 students scrambling to find a way to finish the education program they started,” Liz Hill, an Education Department spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Like the recently shuttered Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute chains, Education Corporation of America was overseen by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, one of the watchdog groups the federal government appoints to ensure colleges offer a quality education.

The council, known as ACICS, wrote a Tuesday letter to Reed saying it was suspending accreditation immediately at all the institutions, citing “rapidly deteriorating financial conditions,” a failure to make required payments to the council and a wide variety of academic concerns.

ACICS was shut down by the Obama administration over allegations of lax oversight, but was later reinstated on Nov. 21 by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who found it was “substantially in compliance” with federal standards.

Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott, the top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, urged DeVos to rethink her decision on ACICS after the Wednesday closure.

“We have repeatedly warned about the risks low-quality, for-profit education companies and irresponsible accreditors pose to students and taxpayers across the country,” Scott said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is another painful reminder of those risks.”

In many cases, students and teachers were in class when they got the news Wednesday.

Melissa Zavala, who was studying to be a medical assistant at a San Antonio, Texas, campus of Brightwood, told KSAT-TV students were taken to an auditorium.

“The director was there and she was like, ‘I have bad news. The school is closing down,'” Zavala said. “Everyone was like, ‘What about our student loans? We’re almost done.'”

Zavala said campus officials could not provide additional information and told them to look online for other colleges they could attend.

“They took our money, they shut the school down and that’s it for us,” Zavala said.

Toby Merrill, who directs the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School, said students can ask the U.S. Department of Education to cancel loans if a school closes.

However, that opportunity does not apply if a student transfers credits or if a school hires a successor to offer students classes to complete their programs.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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4 days ago

Kay Ivey lauds Shaw Industries $250 million upgrade at Andalusia ceremony

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

ANDALUSIA — For the last few decades, manufacturing has been on the decline in Alabama. This trend is especially true when it comes to textiles in the southern portion of the state.

Dalton, Ga.-based Shaw Industries officially bucked that trend with a formal announcement on Wednesday that the company was putting $250 million into its Andalusia carpet manufacturing facility. That investment includes technology upgrades with an anticipated completion date of 2020.

On hand for the announcement was Gov. Kay Ivey, local Covington County and City of Andalusia leaders, along with executives from Shaw Industries.

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Ivey, who has mastered the art of economic development ribbon-cutting ceremonies since becoming Alabama’s governor in 2017, touted the elements that have made announcements as such as the Shaw Industries possible.

“When we talk about building on success and momentum, this is how it is done,” she said. “We share with our companies an unparalleled workforce, a favorable business climate, and we work with those companies that choose to be Made in Alabama, We show them if they choose to be Made in Alabama, they can expect excellence.”

“Today, we’re not only celebrating a major investment of some $250 million here in the state of Alabama — we’re celebrating a facility that has grown, been successful and will find even more success in the future. This $250 million investment on this facility took teamwork. In fact, everything the Ivey administration does is a team effort. I’m proud of that.”

Among those Ivey recognized were Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson, Covington County Commission president Greg White and the two members representing Andalusia in the state legislature, State. Sen. Jimmy Holley (R-Elba) and State Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia).

“To our friends at Shaw, we thank you for continuing to do business in the great state of Alabama,” Ivey added. “Thank you for investing in the development of our workforce. And thank you for participating in Made in Alabama. You’re a great team and do great work. And I am confident that I’ll be back here pretty soon, not too long — and we’ll have another celebration for another expansion.”

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson called it a “red-letter day,” and noted the local utilities that helped make Shaw’s expansion feasible.

“This is a red-letter day for Andalusia and Covington County, and by red-letter, I mean a good day,” Johnson said. “It has truly been a team effort that has gone over the course of a year. [Plant Manager Ron Fantroy] asked me if I could come out and speak with him one afternoon about a year ago. He said, ‘Mayor, we’re thinking about expanding, the leaders of our company, investing $250 million in our plant here. And I just wanted to know, would you be willing to help us with that.’ And I said, ‘Is that a trick question?'”

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson speaks at Shaw Industries announcement, 12/5/2018 (Jeff Poor/YHN)

Johnson also credited PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, Southeast Gas and the Covington County Economic Development Commission for help in pushing the investment “across the finish line.”

Covington County Commission president Greg White noted that the size of the investment signaled the company intends on having a presence in Andalusia for the long-term.

“I can’t overstate how proud we are to have smart, sustainable, surging, advanced manufacturing operations in our county like those that Shaw offers and is now committing to for the long term,” White said. “When you make a quarter-of-a-million dollar investment in the community, you’re here to stay, and we’re thrilled about that.”

In comments to the media following the announcement ceremony, Ivey emphasized the importance of the economic initiatives for the rural parts of the state.

“Rural Alabama is very special to me for a lot of natural reasons, but it’s most important because we get more of our people employed and they can better care for themselves and their families. So yes, industries like this and towns like Andalusia are very important.”

Shaw Industries Executive Vice President David Morgan explained to Yellowhammer News why Andalusia was chosen as the site of his company’s expansion and credited the people of the area for Shaw’s ultimate decision.

“The technology is changing in this part of our business in the production of fibers and the type fibers that our customers want in the carpets that we produce,” Morgan said. “We look at several sites, and we’ve been working with the technology for about five years, and we looked at this site as one of the potentials to put it. What drew us here was certainly the community, working with the state and the local agencies, the utility cooperation, and primarily the people.”

“The people of Andalusia and this facility — it is an excellent team,” he continued. “It is very capable of integrating this technology, and we came here to reset this facility rather than move it somewhere else. The people really drew us here. The technology drove us to make the change because our customers were wanting different products.”

Long-time plant manager Ron Fantroy said the investment was necessary given the continuous changes in the industry.

“The plant was started in 1982,” Fantroy said. “I actually started in 1983 — nine months after the initial start of the facility. Over that period of time, we have seen a lot of change — technology improvements, technology advancements, technology progression and what’s happening here is a continuation of that process. From that experience from being here for the past 35-plus years, I have seen where we have undergone major transitions every four-to-five, six years on average.”

Fantroy also touted strides the community had made in keeping its workforce on pace with changes in technology.

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

4 days ago

7 Things: President Bush’s funeral, Hoover PD gets Gov. Ivey’s support as they attempt to assert control, gas tax talk keeps coming and more …

(ABC News/YouTube)

7. Classless pundits of all stripes use the death of President George H. W. Bush to rip President Trump

—America’s media and political pundits from the right and the left are using the events surrounding former President George H.W Bush’s death as a jumping off point to pound away on Trump in an effort to score lazy political points.

— The Washington Post’s David Nakumara, The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro and other pundits took turns picking apart different things Trump and others did, including where they sat and how they reacted during the Apostle’s Creed.

6. Former U.S. Senator and Attorney General Jeff Sessions might be done with politics

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— In an interview with Politico where Jeff Sessions raised doubts about new efforts for criminal justice reform and defended acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, the former Alabama senator did not seem ready to make any decisions about his political future.

— When asked if he was “itching” to get back into politics, Sessions said, “No. I mean, no. I could go back and spend time in the woods. I’ve got 10 grandchildren, oldest is 11.”

5. A total and complete ban on cellphones and driving may be coming to Alabama

— Alabama State Senator Jim McClendon thinks the current law is too hard for police to enforce because the user could be making a phone call and that is currently illegal.

— McClendon said it is time to pass a bill that goes further, arguing, “The bill prohibits touching a cellphone. You can’t have a cell phone in your hand, you can’t have a cell phone in your lap, you can make phone calls with it if you have a Bluetooth device.”

4. Gas tax and other attempts to increase revenue for the state of Alabama are coming

— Alabama State House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter spoke to the Association of County Commissions of Alabama while imploring them to “[g]o back to your district, let the people know why we need to have infrastructure improved in Alabama.” He advised them to “tell people we’re doing this to keep our kids safe”.

— Alabama has not changed the gas tax calculation since 1992. Gas tax proponents argue cars like hybrids and electric cars get higher gas mileage because higher gas mileage means less gas and less gas tax.

3. Judge orders video of shooting must be handed over to the attorney for the Riverchase Galleria shooting suspect

— While the release of police body camera footage has been the topic of protest and consternation in Hoover, a judge says those videos and surveillance footage showing the shooting at the Riverchase Galleria must be turned over to Erron Brown’s attorney.

— Much has been made about the police involvement in this shooting, but little is known about the interaction that caused the initial shooting police were responding to, but Brown’s attorney says EJ Bradford and Brown knew each other before the altercation that left Bradford dead.

2. Governor Kay Ivey voices support for law enforcement and Hoover PD implies they will not allow a repeat of protesters on roadways

— Ivey told Yellowhammer News, “This is a homicide investigation,” and, “Law enforcement must be supported. The State Bureau of Investigation is in charge. And I trust them, and I wait for their report.”

— Protests over the police shooting, not the initial shooting, at the Riverchase Galleria has spilled on to Highway 31, I-459, and I-65 without arrest, but the Hoover PD says they will “ensure the free flow of traffic” and keep the protests off of school campuses.

1. The funeral for President George H. W. Bush feature touching tributes from his son and friends

— Former President George W. Bush broke down and sobbed at the end of his eulogy for his father closing with, “Through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have.”

— Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson reiterated a piece of advice President Bush gave him in trying times, saying, “[Bush] often said when the really tough choices come, it’s the country, not me. It’s not about Democrats or Republicans, it’s for our country that I fought for.”

4 days ago

State Senate Majority Ldr Reed lists rural broadband, waterways at top of Alabama infrastructure priorities

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

MONTGOMERY — Often when the topic of infrastructure concerns is raised by Alabama politicos, the discussion will almost immediately go to road and bridge deficiencies around the state.  This is especially true as the Alabama legislature is likely to consider raising the gasoline tax in the 2019 session to finance improvements to the state’s transportation system.

However, State Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) is quick to note there are other pressing infrastructure concerns beyond Alabama’s highway system.

In an address to the Association of County Commissions of Alabama conference at the Renaissance Hotel on Wednesday, Reed stressed his desire to enhance the state’s access to high-speed internet and improve Alabama’s system of navigatable waterways.

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The Walker County Republican explained that how in his backyard in nearby Winston County, the lack of broadband internet access almost forced out a company, which he suggested was proof that it was an area of concern worthy of the legislature’s attention.

“There’s been a focus on growing broadband access in rural Alabama, and I know that’s a big deal in my area,” Reed said. “I’ve seen a couple of my colleagues from Winston County. We had difficult circumstances related to broadband access where we were going to lose a significant employer if we didn’t come up with some kind of one-time solution to try and figure that out. Thankfully we were able to do it, but that problem presents itself over and over again and will continue to be a requirement that is something we got to look at at the state level.”

Reed acknowledged that the infrastructure issue was also seen as a priority by Gov. Kay Ivey, and he once again maintained the need for improvements in the area of broadband access.

“Number one, I think the governor’s number one focus — she told me that personally — and that is infrastructure,” Reed said. “The definition of infrastructure, in looking at, of course — roads, bridge, issues that you guys have to work with and deal with on a daily basis. But also, infrastructure that includes broadband access.”

He likened the broadband issue to the arrival of electricity to rural areas, which made a big difference in lifestyle of Americans residing in rural areas.

“If Alabamians and Alabama businesses do not have access to high-speed internet, then the opportunity for us to grow economically and industrially in rural areas of our state is going to be limited. And so, that is a big issue. That is a big topic the legislature has worked on and will continue to look for ways to impact that and deal with it.”

On the topic of navigatable waterways and ports, he argued they were relevant to the entire state beyond just the state’s coastal areas.

“Do you realize that 40 percent of everything that goes out of the Port of Mobile is coal? It’s going to places in Japan and Europe, and we have a lot of coal in Alabama. We have a lot of coal in my area.”

“Those kind of topics are important if you look for ways to strengthen infrastructure at the port, what does that mean economically for all of Alabama? It’s significant. Those type of issues will continue to be looked at and dealt with.”

The Jasper Republican said that the “devil was in the details” as it pertained to how the legislature would tackle infrastructure concerns during next year’s legislative session. He added that as a representative for a rural area, he would work to see that resources are dedicated to the road and bridge needs for rural Alabama, which was received with applause from the commissioners gathered in the audience.

“I think that is an important issue for all of us as we look to move forward and try to determine what’s best,” Reed said. “We’re looking for what’s best in Alabama. There will be a little back-and-forth with that.”

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

4 days ago

Report: Sessions views potential return to the Senate as ‘a demotion’

(NBC News/Twitter)

Following an interview with the former attorney general and senator on Wednesday, Politico reported that Jeff Sessions does not miss the United States Senate and could be done with politics.

After attending President George H.W. Bush’s funeral in Washington, D.C., Sessions reportedly told Politico that his next step before announcing a decision on whether to run against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) in 2020 would be returning to Alabama to do some thinking.

“I’ve been clearing my brain. I think that’s a fair statement,” Sessions said. “I’ll go to Alabama, do some things and then that will clarify things a little more before I worry about making a statement.”

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Then, when asked whether he misses the Senate, Sessions responded, “No. I mean, no. I could go back and spend time in the woods. I’ve got ten grandchildren, oldest is 11.”

Politico concluded that Sessions running in 2020 looks like a “long shot,” explaining that “Sessions has told former colleagues that running for the Senate could be seen as a demotion after serving in Trump’s Cabinet.”

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

4 days ago

Early polling conducted as candidates consider 2020 U.S. Senate run

(YHN,PolitiFact/YouTube)

Yellowhammer News has obtained primary polling data featuring four Republicans who are considering running for the United States Senate against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) in 2020.

The poll surveyed 913 respondents on their first preference out of the given choices, showing Lieutenant Governor-elect Will Ainsworth at 23 percent, Congressman Bradley Byrne at 22 percent, Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh at 11 percent, State Auditor Jim Zeigler at 10 percent and 34 percent undecided.

These topline results were tweeted out first by Young Alabama.

While polling in the earliest “exploration” phase of races can drive fundraising and help build momentum, remember that these early numbers are almost completely based off of name identification.

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Ainsworth just got off his first statewide campaign, which featured a heavy amount of television advertising, while Byrne ran statewide in 2010 and Zeigler has run statewide ten times throughout his career. Marsh has never run statewide.

Breaking the numbers down by media market reveals some geographic strengths, which are always important in a contested primary with a host of candidates.

The Mobile media market unsurprisingly went heavily for its congressman. Byrne garnered 70.6 percent of that region, followed by Ainsworth at 7.5 percent, Ziegler at 3.1 percent and Marsh at 1.9 percent. 16.9 percent of respondents were undecided.

In Huntsville, Ainsworth – who lives in North Alabama – was top dog by a significant margin. He received 36.5 percent, Marsh got 12.4 percent, Byrne 8.4 percent and Zeigler 7.3 percent. 35.4 percent were undecided.

The state’s largest media market (Birmingham) was tight between Ainsworth and Marsh, who ran a solid television buy in that region this general election cycle. Ainsworth polled at 20 percent, Marsh received 18.8 percent, Byrne 11.2 percent and Zeigler 9.8 percent. 40.2 percent were undecided.

The Montgomery media market (which contained the Wiregrass in this polling) was a complete toss up, with Zeigler performing his best here. Ainsworth chalked up 19.5 percent, Zeigler garnered 18 percent, Byrne 17 percent and Marsh 7 percent. 38.5 percent were undecided.

Byrne has been very proactive in traveling the state while he strongly considers running; he has been mostly alone in this category.

However, Ainsworth, who was just traveling across Alabama for the past eighteen months or so campaigning, is now beginning to make moves of his own behind the scenes. Recent meetings in Washington D.C. will only add to the speculation that he could throw his hat in the Senate ring.

Marsh has made clear that he is “looking” at the possibility and Zeigler has announced an exploratory campaign to “gauge support and ability to raise the funds to get our message out.”

Obviously, this will not be the final field of Republican candidates in 2020. One or more of these four may end up deciding against a run after exploring, pondering and praying, and there are other potential major candidates that could very well jump in.

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

4 days ago

Auburn University honors Lionel Richie, Judy Woodruff at 25th annual International Quality of Life Awards

(Auburn University/Flickr)

The College of Human Sciences at Auburn University honored singer, songwriter and actor Lionel Richie and journalist Judy Woodruff during the 25th annual International Quality of Life Awards (IQLA) Monday, December 3 at the United Nations in New York City “as exemplary contributors to the well-being of individuals, families and communities around the world.”

Launched in 1994, Auburn’s College of Human Sciences aims “to recognize people and partnerships representing all sectors of society that demonstrate a strong commitment to empowerment through public policy and educational initiatives to enhance quality of life.”

“This evening, we are privileged to honor Judy Woodruff and Lionel Richie,” Auburn Provost Bill Hardgrave said, per a news release. “Two individuals who have reached the highest pinnacles of success in their respective professions and have chosen their celebrity to champion causes that advance medical research, promote a free press and address issues of poverty and social injustice.”

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Presenting the “true music icon and international superstar” Richie with the 2018 IQLA Lifetime Achievement Award was his “American Idol” coworker, Ryan Seacrest.

“It is an honor to be recognized by Auburn University and my fellow Alabamans,” Richie said of the award. “I am so proud to receive this prestigious award and to be included in the incredible company of past IQLA Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.”

Vernon Jordan, civil rights leader and advisor to former President Bill Clinton, presented Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour,” with the 2018 IQLA Laureate for her “powerful legacy of truthful, ethical reporting and trailblazing for women in the journalism industry.”

“I am humbled to be standing here as the 25th anniversary IQLA Laureate,” Woodruff stated. “To be included among the distinguished list of prior IQLA Laureates such as John Lewis, Madeleine Albright and Norman Borlaug is an honor I will never forget.”

Auburn said of the two award recipients, “Both Richie and Woodruff are powerful role models that embody the College of Human Sciences’ mission. IQLA recipients have gained unrivaled professional success in their respective industries and have contributed greatly to the quality of life of those far beyond the bounds of Alabama. For 25 years, the school has been proud to call attention to these esteemed individuals through IQLA.”

4 days ago

Alabama Marine, Naval officer guard casket of George H.W. Bush at U.S. Capitol

(World News/YouTube)

Two men with Alabama roots were among an elite group to guard over former President George H.W. Bush’s casket as he laid in state at the U.S. Capitol.

Captain Brye French, from Deatsville, witnessed history firsthand during intervals as he stood guard over the late president’s casket from Monday until Wednesday.

French attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where he played football, and later became a Marine.

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During his time playing football at the Naval Academy, French was voted co-captain by his teammates, one of the highest honors a varsity athlete can receive there.

French, who attended high school at both Stanhope Elmore High School and Hoover High School, played football and Lacrosse prior to joining the Guard. Through his talent in Lacrosse, French led Hoover to the 2008 Alabama State Lacrosse Championship. He also received several awards for his athletic abilities while in high school, including the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Award and the Joe Sewell Student-Athlete Award.

Michael Sanders, who grew up in South Talladega County, also proudly stood guard over former president George H.W. Bush.

Sanders, who graduated from Childersburg High School, told CBS 42 he had been given the opportunity of a lifetime.

“Saturday morning I woke up and we got the alert that Bush had passed away and we were told to hurry up to where we needed to be and from then on it’s been hectic,” Sanders said, via CBS 42.

Childersburg High School honored Sanders by sharing a photo of him to the official school’s Twitter account.

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

4 days ago

Ivey’s Inaugural Committee announces ‘Keep Alabama Growing’ theme

(S. Ross/YHN)

Governor Kay Ivey’s Inaugural Committee, led by co-chairs Dr. Cathy Randall and Jimmy Rane, announced on Wednesday that the theme for the January 14, 2019 inauguration will be “Keep Alabama Growing.”

“In less than a year and a half, Governor Ivey led Alabama to record job growth, improved education and set Alabama on a path of prosperity,” Randall and Rane said in a joint statement.

The co-chairs continued, “The 2019 Inaugural theme, Keep Alabama Growing, underscores Governor Ivey’s promise to build upon these successes and grow more opportunities for Alabamians. We’re inspired by Governor Ivey’s bold vision for Alabama and look forward to celebrating this exciting new era.”

The Inaugural Committee also unveiled the “Kay Ivey Inaugural” website and officially opened the application process for any individuals or groups who wish to participate in the 2019 Inaugural Parade. January 4 is the deadline to submit parade applications.

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Details regarding the inaugural festivities will be released and posted at www.iveyinaugural.com in the coming weeks.

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

4 days ago

Using George H.W. Bush’s death to slam President Donald Trump shows a problem with your character, not his

(White House/Flickr)

President Donald Trump is a bit of a cad. If you want to slam him, just wait a few hours and he will say or Tweet something you can sink your teeth into. You can call him a fool, a dolt, a liar or a terrible person. And, often, you will be right.

But America is in a moment of grieving, which should call for a pause in the vitriol we have been experiencing for the last three years directed squarely at the occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Instead, America’s media and political pundits from the right and the left are using the events surrounding former President George H.W Bush’s death as a jumping off point to pound away on Trump in an effort to score lazy political points.

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Trump demeanor has been criticized:

His salute of George H.W. Bush was mocked:

His visit to the Bush family at the Blair House was examined:

His past criticisms of previous presidents and Hillary Clinton were brought up as he sat near them at the funeral:

His inability to mouth the Apostle’s Creed was noted:

Even the sole act of sitting in church was used (this lame criticism was directed at all living presidents, except George W. Bush, and Hillary Clinton):

But why? Simple. That same dopamine hit that Trump gets when he fires off a nasty tweet.

We are a society that seeks the sick burn, the mean tweet and the hot take. I get it, I am guilty, too. I’ve called Trump a “prick” on cable news.

But I was raised better than this. This is a funeral and a moment of mourning. We can get back to hating each other’s guts tomorrow.

This stuff isn’t clever. It’s sad.

If you hate Trump, be better than him. Don’t become that thing you hate and then pretend you are better than that because you aren’t.

If you want to emulate anyone, emulate Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush.

4 days ago

State House Majority Ldr Ledbetter urges county commissioners to make gas tax hike not about increase, but keeping ‘kids safe’

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

MONTGOMERY — It’s a near certainty that when the Alabama legislature convenes next year, an effort to raise the state’s gasoline tax will be front and center.

An adjustment to the tax, which was last done in 1992, is seen as a means to finance infrastructure needs across the state of Alabama, and the start of a new quadrennium is the most politically opportune time to do so.

In a speech to the attendees at a conference hosted by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama at the Renaissance Hotel on Wednesday, State House of Representatives Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter warned of the consequences of not addressing infrastructure concerns.

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“I truly believe if we do not fix our infrastructure – if we do not fix our roads and our bridges, the growth of our economy will come to a halt,” Ledbetter said. “When you’ve got the CEO of Mercedes-Benz stands up and says to me, ‘If you do not fix your infrastructure, we’re not going to expand. We can no longer get our product from Tuscaloosa to Mobile Bay.’”

“How many have been on I-10 lately?” he added. “That’s an adventure as well. Or [Interstate] 65 during holiday traffic, or [Interstates] 59 or 459, or in Huntsville? The road to our economy dictates that we do something about our infrastructure.”

On the gas tax, Ledbetter acknowledged he was “preaching to the choir” about the state’s infrastructure deficiencies given it was an audience comprised mainly of the state’s county commissioners. However, he encouraged those in attendance to take a proactive approach in promoting a proposal.

“The thing we’re asking you to do is preach to your choir,” Ledbetter said. “Go back to your district, let the people know why we need to have infrastructure improved in Alabama.”

Ledbetter said in his home county of DeKalb with a population of 70,000, school buses were required to travel an additional 30,000 miles to avoid “bad bridges.”

“The thing about it is, when we talk to our constituents about our infrastructure – it’s not about a tax increase,” he explained. “If you’re saying we’re going to have a tax increase on gasoline, you’re going about it the wrong way. You need to tell people we’re doing this to keep our kids safe, so they don’t have to travel an additional 30,000 miles a year on school buses. We’re doing it to keep our family safer, so they don’t hit a pothole on a county road and wind up in a ditch somewhere.”

Ledbetter added that more than half of all gasoline bought in the state was not purchased by Alabamians, meaning the bulk of the burden of the tax would not necessarily be carried by the people of Alabama.

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

4 days ago

Hoover PD vows to ‘ensure the free flow of traffic’ after interstate protest

(@RobinsonCarol/Twitter)

The Hoover Police Department released a statement on Wednesday pledging to “ensure the free flow of traffic,” adding that they would not allow “any protest activity” on public school grounds in the city.

This came after protesters blocked parts of I-459 and I-65 on Tuesday night. They previously disrupted traffic on busy Highway 31.

Protesting the police-involved fatal shooting of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford on Thanksgiving night, activists have also vowed to take to middle and high schools in Hoover.

Combined with the protesters’ disruption of private businesses that had nothing to do with the Riverchase Galleria shooting incident, the interstate protests have citizens in the area concerned, with calls for the city to make arrests.

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“The Hoover Police Department has the safety of our citizens and visitors, and their ability to peacefully conduct their lives, as our highest priority,” the city’s statement began.

It went on to say that the police department is “monitoring the protests” but they also “respect any citizen’s right of free expression.”

The statement then added the stipulations about protesting on school grounds and the “free flow of traffic.”

“Most cities experiencing protests have found that the best practice, in general, is to allow them to be conducted as long as they are nonviolent,’’ the statement outlined. “Hoover residents should go about their normal activities.”

“We also advise citizens to take every measure to avoid expressions of anger and frustration during protests, and to not make retaliatory or hostile comments on social media or other communications,” it continued

Police advise residents to report any suspicious activity by dialing 911 or 205-822-5300.

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

5 days ago

Wilder hoping for a rematch with Fury ‘ASAP’

(Showtime Sports/YouTube)

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder says he wants a rematch with Tyson Fury “ASAP.”

Wilder said in a conference call Tuesday that he’s “ready and willing to give Tyson Fury the opportunity ASAP.”

The two heavyweights fought to a split-decision draw Saturday night in Los Angeles in one of the bigger heavyweight bouts in America in years.

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“I’m ready whenever he’s ready,” Wilder said. “I’m ready whenever he’s ready to do it. I’m ready to give the fans what they want to see and end this talk once and for all.”

Afterward, the British challenger said the two would “100 percent” meet again in the ring.

Wilder said he doesn’t want to fight anybody else before a rematch.

“Everyone is talking about this fight. It’s only right for us to go back in and do it again,” Wilder said. “I don’t want any other fights to happen between him and I (meeting again).”

Wilder (40-0-1) knocked Fury (27-0-1) down twice late in the fight, including once in the final round.

He was outboxed much of the way at Staples Center but was still surprised when Fury rose from that 12th-round knockdown — and that the referee didn’t end the fight.

“I saw his eyes roll slowly in the back of his head,” Wilder said. “Many people felt that should have been waved off. Nine out of 10 refs would have waved that off.”

He indicated the rematch might happen as early as March or April.

Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza said May or June might be more likely, giving the fighters more time to recover.

In the first meeting, Wilder said he let the pressure of being in his first pay-per-view fight affect him.

“I wanted to end it on a great note,” he said. “I wanted to end it on a devastating knockout and I pressed that. I pressed that too much.”

Wilder had lobbied for a fight with Anthony Joshua, who holds the other three championship belts.

He said Joshua and his team are “getting what they deserve” by being sidelined from his two most high-profile potential opponents.

“We had to show the world what it looks like for the best to fight the best, and look at the outcome,” Wilder said. “No one has talked about Joshua in I don’t know how long and we plan on keeping it that way.”

Wilder said he broke his right arm and had surgery about 12 weeks before training camp and threw few right hands during training, which he feels might have affected his accuracy.

Co-trainer Jay Deas said limiting the right in camp was a precautionary measure.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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5 days ago

Ivey on unfolding Hoover shooting situation: ‘Law enforcement must be supported’

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

ANDALUSIA — Wednesday at an appearance formally announcing Dalton, Ga.-based Shaw Industries $250 million investment in its Covington County facility, Gov. Kay Ivey reacted to the ongoing situation in Hoover.

Hoover is at the center of turmoil after the Thanksgiving night shooting death of Emantic Bradford Jr. at the Riverchase Galleria allegedly by Hoover Police, which has resulted in widespread protests in various locations around the Birmingham suburb.

Ivey reiterated her faith in state authorities and urged for law enforcement to be supported.

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“This is a homicide investigation,” she said to Yellowhammer News. “Law enforcement must be supported. The State Bureau of Investigation is in charge. And I trust them, and I wait for their report.”

State authorities assumed control of the investigation under the banner of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency after it was ceded by the Hoover Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

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

5 days ago

Ohio-based manufacturer to move some operations to west Alabama

(MasterLift Inc./YouTube)

An Ohio-based lift truck manufacturer plans to move part of its operations to west Alabama next year as part of an expansion plan.

AL.com reports Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. announced Tuesday that its Bolzoni line’s North America attachment manufacturing will move from the company’s Homewood, Illinois, facility to its Sulligent, Alabama, facility.

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A company statement says the move to the larger Sulligent facility will start in January.

It says Bolzoni will control the facility’s product manufacturing, and the range of products manufactured at the facility will be expanded.

Employees at that facility will become Bolzoni workers.

It says production will be phased out at the Homewood facility, which employs 70 people.

The statement says the company intends to maintain a Bolzoni distribution center near Homewood.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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