The Wire

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


    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


    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’


    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.”

5 days ago

Andy Andrews: President George H.W. Bush memories

(National Archives)

Yes, he was 94. Still, I am sad about the passing of President George H.W. Bush. What a great and honorable life he lived. And what a smile — in success and failure, despite the death of a child, and living an increasingly public life even after his presidency — this mostly because of two other children in politics.

I was honored to have spent a bit of time with this president. Not that anyone has asked, but my memories of President Bush include eating the “souse” (look it up) he had ordered to be served in The Blue room of The White House. I swear I can still taste it!


I remember once leaving a backstage area with my wife, Polly.

We’d been at The White House that afternoon and the president was in as happy a state of mind as, I suppose, anyone ever gets. The (first) Gulf War had been ended in 100 days—a stunning victory for our country with an unprecedented low number of American casualties.

That evening after speaking, Polly and I waved to a crowd of happy people as we got into a limo for the short ride back to the hotel. The crowd had been effusive with all eyes on the president and standing ovations for his every word or move.

That day, it had been announced that President Bush had an 89 percent approval rating. It was the highest any president had ever scored (FDR had come closest with an 83 percent in 1938).

Headed to the hotel, Polly and I marveled at the evening’s magic and listened to groups of onlookers chant “Bush! Bush!” as we rode by. A thought occurred to me and I spoke it aloud to my wife. I said, “Who will the Democrats even run against him in November? Nobody will accept the nomination. They’ll already know they haven’t a chance to win!”

Polly and I both remember well the words I spoke in that moment. 19 months later, the president lost badly to a previously unknown governor from Arkansas. And I’ve never since had faith in a public opinion poll.

Every year, whoever the president might be, there is an event called The President’s Charity held at Ford’s Theater for the preservation of that historic landmark. Traditionally, the president personally chooses the speaker, artist, entertainer — or all three — for the evening’s celebration.

One particular year, I was the only “spoken word artist” the president had chosen. The line-up included The Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, Alabama, Garth Brooks…and me. My seven minutes was situated somewhere in the middle.

Honestly, I don’t remember who performed before me or after. I don’t even remember much of what I did that evening. I do, however, remember what happened as I began my remarks.

Actor John Ritter was the emcee for the event. I waited in the wings, listening as he introduced me. When the polite applause began, I walked on to the stage and realized that it was the first time I had even been in the theater. I saw immediately that there were two balconies. Glancing up and to the left, I spotted the draped box of eight seats where President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated.

Moving to the center of the stage, I looked down and into the audience. One couldn’t help but notice the President of the United States in the very middle of the front row. He and Barbara were holding hands. To their left sat the Vice-President, Dan Quayle and his wife, Marilyn. To the president’s right, Morgan Freeman was seated.

The applause died away and for a moment, I said nothing. With eyes widened, I simply stared into that area of focus, front row, center seats. “I just have to say that I am really nervous with you here,” I said. No one moved. There was a frozen smile on the president’s face, but a tiny bit of uncertainty began to show.

I wiped my palms on the trouser legs of my tuxedo and took a tentative step forward, continuing to peer into the middle of the first row. The audience was eerily still now, everyone focused on what appeared to be happening, certain they were witnessing a disaster and hoping that for God’s sake, someone would come rescue this terrified young man.

I spoke again. “To think that I am here on this stage tonight, speaking for someone like you. You… conceivably the most powerful person on the planet at this time. And to think that, this evening… you let the president come, too, Mrs. Bush, is just amazing.”

For a long moment, time seemed to stand still, but in reality, there couldn’t have been more than a full second before the audience erupted. President Bush led the applause, laughing and pointing to his wife, The First Lady. She turned a shrugged to the audience as if to express, “What can I say?”

I just stood there, smiling and watching. It might have been the longest laugh I ever got from an audience in my entire career. However, I knew then and still know today, that while the “joke” might have been credited to me, “the moment” was enabled by the president of the United States, his First Lady, the incredible connection they had as a couple, and their sense of humor.

Andy Andrews new weekly podcast, “The Professional Noticer” is being broadcast from Orange Beach, Alabama, and already has listeners in 63 countries.  Subscribe for free on your favorite media platform or at    

5 days ago

Landlord tells Harvard grad student from Alabama to move out over legally owned guns

(Fox News Insider/YouTube)

After Leyla Pirnie’s roommates saw her MAGA hat one day and then discovered she was a gun owner, their Massachusetts landlord is now attempting to strong-arm Pirnie into moving out, saying her legally owned firearms make the roommates feel “extremely uncomfortable.”

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Pirnie, a Harvard graduate student from the Yellowhammer State, is being “threatened out of [her] apartment.”

“[S]ince it’s clear that Leyla wants to keep her firearms, it would be best for all parties if she finds another place to live,” Dave Lewis, president of Avid Management, said in an email to Pirnie and her roommates.


The admonition that she move out came after her roommates searched her room while she was not at home and found her guns, which prompted one of the roommates to email Lewis requesting he verify that Pirnie was in compliance with applicable firearms laws.

That roommate complained, “[A]ll of us are uncomfortable with having firearms in the house, and that their presence causes anxiety and deprives us of the quiet enjoyment of the premise to which we are entitled.”

Pirnie said she feels her roommates not only violated her privacy, but now they and her landlord are trying to violate her constitutional rights.

“A few weeks ago, I came back to my apartment from a weekend trip and was confronted by one of my roommates who asked if I had guns in the house,” Pirnie explained to the Free Beacon. “After being told far too many lies to count, my roommates finally admitted that they searched my closet, under my bed and all of my drawers in pursuit of finding my guns.”

While she was given various explanations for why her roommates entered and searched her room, Pirnie said she felt her political beliefs and where she is from played a significant role in the roommates’ actions.

“When I asked them why they were in my room to begin with, they each came up with completely contradicting stories (none of which made any sense), but one comment struck me in particular: ‘We saw that you had a MAGA hat and come on, you’re from Alabama… so we just kind of assumed that you had something,'” Pirnie shared. “I asked why they didn’t just call me and ask me before intruding. One of the girls responded that fear took over her body and she felt compelled to search my room until she found proof… I cannot make this up.”

Pirnie said she had been living in the apartment since September without incident, and she kept her political beliefs to herself before the incident. But she did have a Make America Great Again hat in her room that seemingly set her roommates off.

After that search of her room and the initial email from the roommate, Lewis contacted Captain James Donovan of the Somerville Police Department to inspect Pirnie’s guns and ensure they were in compliance with the law. Pirnie consented to allowing the police to inspect her firearms, after which Pirnie said she was told she is indeed in compliance.

Lewis even confirmed the police department’s conclusion that Pirnie was not breaking any laws in his email telling Pirnie to move out. The landlord admitted that law enforcement said the guns “are being safely and legally stored under lock and key.”

Yet, in that email, Lewis added, “That being said, it is clear that the rest of the housemates are extremely uncomfortable with the idea of Firearms being kept in the household.”

He then cited “this difference in philosophy and lifestyle” and “different beliefs and lifestyle choices” as reasons Pirnie needed to move out, adding that she was causing “stress” for her roommates.

Pirnie has taken the position that her landlord’s concern over her roommates being uncomfortable with legally owned firearms is misplaced and that his request that she move out is inappropriate. She also turned their complaint right around on them.

“What I find uncomfortable is coming home to find out that six people I barely know went into my bedroom without permission and went through every single one of my drawers, without any regard to my privacy whatsoever,” Pirnie emphasized. “My landlord’s e-mail, though carefully crafted, showed tremendous prejudice against my right to legally have firearms.”

Pirnie said her motivations for owning firearms have been ignored even though she shared them with her roommates. While an undergraduate student, Pirnie said she was in a physically abusive relationship and that harrowing experience is part of what drives her to be legally and safely armed.

“Nobody has bothered to question, ‘Well, why do you want to have protection? Could it be because you’ve experienced something where you need to protect yourself as you see fit?'” advised said. “I have a real and legitimate reason as to why I want to protect myself.”

She added that the roommates were not concerned with Pirnie’s handling of the guns but rather that somebody might break in and turn the guns on them or the guns “might go off on their own.”

After the landlord’s email, Pirnie and her father rejected Lewis’s request that she move out in the middle of studying for finals.

Then, Lewis claimed his request “was based strictly on practical and not idealogical [sic] terms.”

He then warned that the other roommates could simply move out and Pirnie would have to pay their rent.

“If the other roommates were to move out, Leyla would need to find roommates to share the place or foot the entire $6000+ monthly rent herself,” Lewis wrote.

The bottom line is that Pirnie feels she is being punished for being a lawful gun owner.

“I’m still very much so being threatened out of my apartment,” the Alabamian said. “Either I leave and incur moving expenses or my roommates move and I incur their rent expenses … Doesn’t seem right.”

She concluded, “Not only is this a blatant violation of my privacy, but it’s also a violation of my rights.”

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

5 days ago

7 Things: Hoover protests getting out of hand, Alabama company will take Bush to his final resting place, ‘Tariff Man’ tweet hurts stock market and more …

(CBS 42/YouTube)

7. As many as 40 Democrats could run for president; Joe Biden thinks he is the most qualified

— With a little less than two years before the next presidential election, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) told MSNBC of 2020, “[T]here are a lot of U.S. senators, a lot of governors … a lot of people outside of politics.”

— While Senators like Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) prepare to make decisions, former Vice President Joe Biden declared himself the front-runner to a crowd in Montana. He told them, “I’ll be as straight with you as I can. I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president.”

6. Former Trump administration advisor Michael Flynn may escape jail time because he cooperated with the Mueller probe


— Special counsel Robert Mueller said Flynn provided “substantial assistance” to the special counsel’s probe and he recommended a lighter criminal sentence, including no jail time for one count of lying to federal prosecutors.

— The documents show that Flynn had 19 different meetings with prosecutors involving an “unknown criminal investigation” and the Russia meddling probe, including the “content and context of interactions between the transition team and Russian government officials.”

5. A California lawmaker wants to make his state a magnet for illegal immigrants

—  State Assembly member Joaquin Arambula will re-introduce a bill that would allow adults who live in the state illegally to receive medical care paid for by the government, a move that will surely bring illegals into his state.

— Democrats are going big on free health care. Liberal darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues to push “Medicare for All” with no idea how to pay for her proposed spending.

4. “Ballot harvesting” has the media fired up, but only in North Carolina and not California

— In one North Carolina congressional race, a political operative is accused of paying a woman to “harvest” ballots for the candidate, possibly discarding the ballots cast for the Democrat and filling out some ballots for the eventual winning Republican.

— But in California’s Orange County, where every seat went red-to-blue, the county registrar says “ballot harvesting” was happening with “250,000” votes by mail drop-off ballot delivered. He added, “[P]eople were carrying in stacks of 100 and 200 of them. We had had multiple people calling to ask if these people were allowed to do this.”

3. Tariff Man craters the stock market as China/U.S. talk gets muddied

— The markets plunged almost 800 points after the president declared himself to be “Tariff Man.” The White House acknowledged there was no deal to eliminate auto tariffs and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned it is possible that the global economy is facing a correction that could be made worse by trade disputes.

— J.P. Morgan officially noted that they do not believe there is any particular deal in the making between Trump and China, saying, “It doesn’t seem like anything was actually agreed to at the dinner and White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels to reconcile Trump’s tweets (which seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated) with reality.”

2. An Alabama-based company’s train will take former President George H.W. Bush home

— Progress Rail, headquartered in Albertville, will be providing the final rail transportation for President Bush in a specially designed train making Bush the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to be sent off this way.

— Progress Rail unveiled a special 16-foot-tall locomotive 13 years ago designed with the color scheme of Air Force One and numbered 4141 for the late president. He reportedly was stunned when he saw it, only saying “wow” and he couldn’t stop smiling.

1. Riverchase Galleria suspect says he is innocent; Protests target a Walmart for some reason

— Erron Martez Dequan Brown is charged with attempted murder, but his lawyer says he will plead not guilty, but has not elaborated. The lawyer may hold a press conference soon.

— On Tuesday protesters took to a Walmart in Hoover, then to a Buffalo Wild Wings and finally to I-65 where they abandoned their cars and started walking down the freeway.

5 days ago

Radio talker Matt Murphy on Hoover protests: At some point you have got to arrest people; Asks ‘where has Mayor Frank Brocato been?’


Tuesday during Birmingham’s Talk 99.5 “Matt & Aunie Show,” co-host Matt Murphy sounded off on the city of Hoover’s response to protests at local businesses in the wake Thanksgiving night’s shooting at the Riverchase Galleria.

Murphy questioned what impact these protests are having on local businesses and why the city hasn’t taken a more active role in maintaining the peace and protecting private property.

The morning drive host was especially critical of Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, who he suggested had been missing in action for some time as these events in his city have unfolded.


“You have some of these so-called advocates and activists saying ‘f— peace,’” he said. “They are pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing – and at some point the city of Hoover, you have got to arrest people. Are you going to continue to allow – and I’m not trying to come down on the city of Hoover here – I’m just wondering how long you allow this to go on before you stop it. Your businesses at the Galleria are suffering. They are shutting down businesses – local businesses, minority-owned businesses are suffering at the hands of these people. And at some point, if you’re not going to release the video – at some point, you have to shut this down because you are hurting your businesses in Hoover the way that you are responding to this.”

“I understand it is tough. And I understand it is frustrating, but I want to see some leadership out of Frank Brocato? Where has Mayor Frank Brocato been? As a matter of fact, where has he been since he made that statement last week? Has anybody seen him? … Do we not expect that he is going to get in front of this situation, and I don’t care if he doesn’t have anything to say. At least say something to the business owners. Say something to the Henley family, who owns the Mint Leafe in the Galleria, who is suffering because of this. You’re allowing a group of 25 or 30 people – you’re giving them what they want. They said they wanted to being down your city and you’re letting them do it.”

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

5 days ago

A perfect day to celebrate Alabama’s beer history


Today, beer lovers across the country are celebrating the 85th anniversary of the ratification of the 21st Amendment, which made alcohol legal again. It’s a historic day for our state and nation, marking the end of the 13-year alcohol drought known as Prohibition. Now, that’s something to toast.

It’s tough to imagine Alabama without our thriving beer scene. No matter the occasion, consumers here can find a variety of adult beverage brands, flavors, and profiles at the tip of their fingers. But we rarely take the time to reflect on the rich history of beer and how our nation came to enjoy a beer as America’s most preferred adult beverage.


That is why December 5 is an important reminder for all Americans to say cheers to the forward-thinking lawmakers and leaders who put in place the timelessly effective state-based alcohol structure that continues to bolster the beer industry in Alabama and across our great nation today.

It was not always so. Leading up to Prohibition, marketplace abuses of alcohol were rampant and communities came together nationwide to protest the unregulated sale and consumption of alcohol, ultimately leading to the passage of the 18th Amendment that banned alcohol altogether across the country. Prohibition, the “Noble Experiment,” was an effort to reduce the chaos and misfortune many Americans felt at the time.

But, from 1920-1933, things actually got worse. Illegally-produced liquor poisoned consumers, causing blindness, paralysis and even death. People began drinking more heavily and consuming liquor of higher alcohol contents when they could. Corruption became widespread and formerly law-abiding citizens began breaking the law. Ultimately, Prohibition as a one-size-fits-all solution was a total failure. And, as lawmakers repealed the 18th Amendment with the 21st, they implemented a new system they hoped would prevent the problems preceding Prohibition, while also promoting entrepreneurship, consumer choice, competition and public safety.

The lawmakers’ insistence on different state models would pay tremendous dividends for today’s modern distribution system. Our evolving alcohol market continues to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and sale of beverage alcohol – fostering competition in the market and promoting fair enterprise at each level of the supply chain.

Today, beer entrepreneurs, our craft brewers and our favorite old-time classics can all rely on the efficiency of this industry to reach new markets, and consumers can expect a vast selection of brands. It’s why we’ve seen the number of breweries skyrocket nationally from 49 breweries in the 1980’s to nearly 7,000 today. Alabama alone is home to more than 40 of these establishments. It’s true that the growth and confidence we’ve seen would not exist without the 21st Amendment.

The expansion of beer has also led to significant economic gains. Here in Alabama, beer distributors are responsible for more than 2,400 jobs, provide more than $173 million in wages and benefits to employees, and pay over $198 million in state and local taxes. This incredible economic contribution is all because of a critical, yet little-known member of the beer industry – America’s independent beer distributors.

Very few people understand the significance of beer distributors. Across Alabama, 39 independent beer distributors work closely with brewers, big and small, and retailers to keep the beer shelves stocked and bar taps filled with your favorite brews. These businesses have their finger on the pulse of local consumers’ interests and constantly introduce new beers to new markets.

They have invested in the necessary resources, like state-of-the-art warehouses to store beer and temperature-controlled trucks to transport it, both innovations that allow brewers to thrive. Beer distributors also level the playing field for smaller, craft brewers by giving them fair access to the market riding on the same trucks as the bigger players.

What’s more is how critical beer distributors are to every local economy across America. They are stewards of their communities, and here in Alabama, they also contribute millions to our neighborhoods through charities, local events, and economic development.

So, as we celebrate the anniversary of the 21st Amendment rolling back Prohibition, we toast the historical roots of beer and the significant contributions of our local beer distributors with the same toast President Roosevelt delivered on this day 85 years ago: “What America needs now is a drink.”

Michael Schilleci is the president of Supreme Beverage Company, Inc., a third-generation beer wholesaler in Birmingham, Ala, and is the National Beer Wholesalers Association chairman of the board. 

5 days ago

Peabody Energy completes acquisition of Alabama met coal mine from Drummond

(Wikimedia Commons)

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) announced on Monday that it has completed its purchase of the Shoal Creek seaborne metallurgical coal mine in Alabama from Birmingham-based Drummond Company, Inc. for $387 million.

Shoal Creek, which employs 450 people, is located on the Black Warrior River in Jefferson, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties and serves Asian and European steel mills. Its location on the river provides direct access to barge transportation to the McDuffie Coal Terminal at the Port of Mobile, where Panamax and Cape-sized vessels are loaded. The Alabama met coal industry is the port’s biggest revenue source.

A press release explained that the acquisition includes the well-capitalized mine, preparation plant and logistical assets and excludes legacy liabilities other than reclamation. The sale was announced in September, with the final closing amount reflecting customary purchase price adjustments.

Peabody President and CEO Glenn Kellow celebrated the addition as a boon for Peabody’s portfolio and applauded Drummond for its work in developing and operating the mine.


“This accretive Shoal Creek purchase represents a tremendous step in Peabody’s commitment to upgrade our seaborne metallurgical coal portfolio and target the highly attractive seaborne demand centers,” Kellow said.

He added, “We believe the Shoal Creek acquisition clearly meets our strict investment filters, with expected high returns and rapid payback, a very attractive valuation, and tangible synergies. We believe the transaction offers significant strategic and financial benefits for Peabody in our ongoing drive to create additional shareholder value. We applaud the Drummond team for developing and managing this high-quality operation.”

Shoal Creek coal typically prices at or near the high-vol A index, which historically has sold at a modest discount to the Australian hard coking coal index.

The mine produced 2.1 million tons of metallurgical coal in 2017 and sold 2.4 million tons, generating $387.0 million in revenues, $160.8 million in net income and $161.8 million in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Shoal Creek has realized 54 percent gross margins through the first nine months of 2018 on 2.0 million tons produced and 1.9 million tons sold, with realized revenues of $173 per ton, costs of $80 per ton1, net income of $162.1 million and adjusted EBITDA of $163.3 million.

All regulatory requirements were met as required by the conditions to closing, and a new collective bargaining agreement became effective at closing. The new labor agreement provides for a 401(k) program; the prior multiemployer pension plan is no longer effective and related obligations are not included in the acquisition. Prior retiree healthcare liabilities were also retained by Drummond.

“We are very pleased to welcome the productive Shoal Creek workforce to the Peabody team,” Kemal Williamson, Peabody President Americas, emphasized. “Peabody looks forward to safely and quickly integrating the mine into our portfolio and benefitting from the experienced workforce and well-capitalized nature of the operation.”

Shoal Creek has 58 million tons of proven and probable reserves with an initial 17 million tons with minimal anticipated capital requirements under the current mine plan, and additional reserves expected to be accessed with relatively low capital requirements. Shoal Creek uses longwall mining technology to mine both the Blue Creek and Mary Lee coal seams.

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

5 days ago

While the media hyperventilates about voter fraud in North Carolina, they may want to take a look at California (and Alabama)


Democrats like to note that in-person voting fraud is rare, and they are right. This argument is usually made to point out that voter identification laws are unnecessary, but they are wrong.

Ballot security is important and voter ID laws have been found constitutional when partnered with free voter identification cards for those who can possibly afford a piece of identification needed for almost every aspect of life.

But if we are truly interested in free and fair elections, we might want to start looking at some of the other ways that elections are manipulated.


We all know about what is happening in North Carolina where a shady operator may have been responsible for paying a woman to “harvest” ballots for the candidate. Some voters have acknowledged they handed over incomplete ballots to the woman who may have either filled out the ballots or discarded Democratic ballots.

The decision to seat the winner could come down to a new election or the U.S. House of Representatives where members serve as the “judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members.”

In North Carolina, this practice is illegal altogether, but this same practice is completely legal in California.

Oddly enough, California saw a massive uptick in actions just like this. Neal Kelley, the registrar for voters in southern California’s Orange County, told Fox News, “Anecdotally there was a lot of evidence that ballot harvesting was going on,”

He added there were “250,000” votes by mail drop-off ballots, saying, “People were carrying in stacks of 100 and 200 of them. We had had multiple people calling to ask if these people were allowed to do this.”

The media seems less interested in this story, even though late-arriving ballots changed many of the results from the night of the midterm elections from Republican to Democrat. There is not one report of the call going the other way. Not one.

In Alabama, there are multiple instances of ballot fraud using absentee ballots, yet the practice continues.

Is it rare? Sure.

Does it impact elections? Yes.

You want to have elections that Americans across the board will trust, then you need to create a more reasonable and responsible system.

As a nation, we should have nationwide in-person early voting with a legal ID and do away with balloting via mail.

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

6 days ago

Alabama prison official retires during investigation


A high-ranking Alabama prison official has retired in the midst of a misconduct investigation.

A Department of Corrections spokesman said Monday that Associate Commissioner Grant Culliver has retired after being on leave for several months.


The department announced in September that Culliver had been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Corrections spokesman Bob Horton said the findings have been sent to the Alabama Ethics Commission for review.

The department did not disclose the nature of the allegations and said it would have no additional comment.

Culliver was responsible for overseeing the daily operations of male correctional facilities.

He has served as warden at Holman Correctional Facility.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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6 days ago

NWS confirms two weekend tornadoes in Alabama


The National Weather Service says it has confirmed that two tornadoes touched down in Alabama last weekend.

The emergency management director for Dothan and Houston County, Chris Judah, says a weak twister hit Dothan early Sunday.


Judah tells the Dothan Eagle the tornado was either an EF-0 or EF-1.

The storm splintered trees and caused damage to several homes.

Elsewhere in the area, storms twisted awnings at Wicksburg High School and caused minor damage at Houston County High School.

Forecasters say another weak tornado classified as an EF-0 struck near Marion in Perry County on Sunday afternoon.

The storm damaged trees, buildings and vehicles.

No injuries were reported in either tornado.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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6 days ago

How an Alabama company is getting President George H.W. Bush to his final resting place

(ABC13 Houston/YouTube)

The incredible life story of a World War II hero, consumate family man and model public servant is set to add a final chapter befitting the legacy of former President George H.W. Bush, thanks in part to Alabama-based Progress Rail Services.

Bush’s casket will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol until 10:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday, followed by a funeral at the Washington National Cathedral an hour later. Bush will then return to Houston, where he will lie in repose and a private service will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.

Then, Progress Rail – which is headquartered in Albertville – comes in.


On Thursday, a train carrying the 41st president’s remains will leave a Union Pacific Railroad facility in Spring, Texas, a community north of Houston, and travel the 70 miles to College Station. Bush will be buried there, alongside his late wife and daughter, on the site of his presidential library at Texas A&M University.

The locomotive that will carry Bush on that final journey was custom built just for him, adorned with the paint scheme of Air Force One and bearing the number “4141” in his honor. And, to the Yellowhammer State’s pride, it was made by a subsidiary of Progress Rail, Electro-Motive Diesel.

In a Washington Post lede from this week, that special story comes to life once more.

When the curtain parted in College Station, Tex., revealing a two-toned blue locomotive standing nearly 16 feet tall and bearing the number 4141 in his honor, former president George H.W. Bush looked around excitedly, his face breaking into a smile.

One word left his lips: Wow.

Now, 13 years later, that same locomotive is ready and waiting. The trip will be historic for many reasons, giving Texans a chance to say their final goodbyes as the train chugs along the three-hour journey. While Presidents Ulysses Grant, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren Harding and Franklin Roosevelt similarly reached their final resting places by rail, no president since President Dwight Eisenhower has done so.

From one legend of the Second World War to another, Bush has always done things a little differently.

An Associated Press article at the time said the unveiling of the locomotive stirred memories in Bush of his childhood travels with his family.

“We just rode on the railroads all the time, and I’ve never forgotten it,” the AP quoted Bush as saying.

The former president was so enamored with the train at the time that the engineer even trained him how to operate it on site, allowing him to do so for about two miles.

Bush loved it so much that one of his final wishes was a last ride aboard the locomotive – his last ride, period.

And, as Progress Rail CEO Billy Ainsworth told Yellowhammer News, the company is proud to make this final wish come to fruition.

“On behalf of our parent company Caterpillar, Progress Rail and our subsidiary Electro-Motive Diesel, I am just extremely proud that Union Pacific selected one of our locomotives to honor President Bush and his service to our country,” Ainsworth said. “It’s a tremendous honor for all of our employees.”

Progress Rail, one of the largest suppliers of rail products and services in America, is one of the state’s best-kept secrets. With over 8,000 employees around the world, the company is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

While Ainsworth stressed that Progress Rail is proud to still be based in Alabama, this latest achievement goes to show that the company is certainly making Alabamians proud.

Like Bush, Ainsworth also shared that when he first saw “4141,” he “just couldn’t stop smiling.”

It is not a stretch to imagine that 41 will be smiling once more as he looks down on his final journey alongside his beloved Barbara and Robin on Thursday afternoon.

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

6 days ago

Lighting ceremony for state Christmas tree this Friday

(Governor Kay Ivey/YouTube)

The official state Christmas tree has arrived at the Alabama Capitol and will soon be aglow in lights.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office says the annual lighting ceremony will be held Friday at 5:30 p.m.


The public is invited.

The tree sits at the top of the Capitol steps facing Dexter Avenue.

This year’s Christmas tree is a 35-foot-tall (11-meter) Eastern Red Cedar grown in Bullock County.

It was donated by Ray Allen of Fitzpatrick.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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6 days ago

The (apparent) many lives of self-proclaimed Hoover civil rights champ Carlos Chaverst, Jr.

(C. Chaverst Jr./Facebook)

Before his post-Galleria shooting exploits, no one had ever heard of Carlos Chaverst, Jr. There was no reason to have heard of him.

It remains to be the case that no one should know who Chaverst is. However, the media covering this sad and tragic chapter of Hoover history have a knack for tracking this individual down and offering their audiences on-the-scene play-by-play reports of his misdeeds – theatrical presentations performed in the name of justice for Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr.

For a better understanding of the man known as Carlos Charverst, Jr., Yellowhammer News did a deep dive into his social media postings and with the goal of determining the inspiration of this central figure in the Bradford shooting aftermath.


Threats aimed at the public and the derogatory name-calling of Hoover Police Officers aren’t Chaverst’s foray into the political realm. He’s been quite active based on a biography provided by the left-leaning Huffington Post. He served as a committee assistant for outspoken Birmingham city councilwoman Sheila Tyson and is currently the youth director of the Alabama chapter of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

AL(dot)com has taken a keen interest in Chaverst’s activities. On Sunday, Alabama’s juggernaut of three-day-a-week major city newspapers deployed breaking news reporter Anna Beahm to AMC Patton Chapel movie theater in Hoover to witness Chaverst hurl insults at police and intimidate individuals with no involvement in the Thanksgiving night shooting whatsoever seeking to patronize the theater. She was also on the scene for Chaverst grandstanding overture at a Hoover City Council meeting on Monday, and for a disruption at the Sam’s Club in Hoover immediately after the council meeting.

Also sent to Hoover to chronicle Chaverst’s endeavors was education reporter Tricia Powell Crain, stationed at the Riverchase Galleria on Monday.

Given the media attention granted to Chaverst and his apparent role as a figurehead for this protest movement, he is worthy of a deep-dive analysis. Our analysis starts with his tweets given Chaverst declares as a place he can be himself, as opposed to Facebook.

At first glance, it appears Chaverst is a jack of many trades, but it’s not clear that he is a master of any. In his Twitter biography, he declares himself to be a “National Award Winning Journalist,” the president of a namesake company called “Chaverst Strategies,” and also a strategist, organizer, talk show host and activist. He also is a self-proclaimed entrepreneur.

Based on his Twitter, Chaverst enjoys an active nightlife, which as he has pointed out sometimes becomes the-morning-after-last-nightlife.

In 2016, Chaverst was a candidate for public office. He ran in the Democratic Party primary for the Constable of Alabama House District 60. A Twitter account he used in that effort shows some semblance of an organized campaign. However, he came up short in securing the Democratic Party’s nod by a little over 1,200 votes.

Despite his online shenanigans, there is at least one calming influence in his life, his mother, Sonja Curtis. Curtis has reached out to her son on social media and warned him to “stay classy” and is also aware of the activities he is publicizing on Twitter.

Chaverst has a dedicated Facebook account to this protest movement. However, Facebook has imposed some limitations given it was reported to be “hate speech” by some users.

For the time being, Chaverst remains a central figure of the backlash to last week’s tragedy given he is frequently cited by media outlets. However, it’s not entirely clear that Chaverst isn’t exploiting the shooting to promote himself.

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

6 days ago

Newt Gingrich talks trade, tweets, Trump at Alabama Farmers Federation meeting


MONTGOMERY — During his keynote address to close the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 97th Annual Meeting, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke candidly about President Donald Trump’s administration, touching on trade and the president’s tweeting habits.

Before Gingrich addressed the crowd of 1,200 assembled at the Renaissance in downtown Montgomery, Governor Kay Ivey delivered brief remarks to open the closing dinner.

“Please know that you have a friend in the governor’s chair,” Ivey told the group of farmers. “After all, we are only successful when we’re successful together.”


After the meal and recognition of the many elected officials and industry partners in attendance, Gingrich gave an approximately 45-minute address, taking about five questions at the end, too.

While there were many red meat talking points for conservatives and good insider perspectives on hot-button topics, trade has been the biggest issue affecting Alabama agriculture – the state’s largest industry – recently, with trade tensions with the likes of Mexico, Canada, China, the European Union and Turkey making life tougher and the future even more uncertain for farmers in the Yellowhammer State.

Mexican and Canadian issues have been boosted by Trump’s proposed replacement to NAFTA, which was officially signed at the recent G20 in Argentina. However, while that trade signing had been expected, it was the framework trade truce that Trump struck with China that has farmers in Alabama and across America optimistic.

One of the biggest concessions that the Trump administration is set to achieve is opening China up for American agricultural exports, to the tune of what is being called a “very substantial” amount that will help alter the current trade imbalance between the two superpowers.

“Out of all the noise about Mueller and Cohen and all this stuff, the President did actually go to the G20 meeting in Argentina; he did actually meet with the head of China; they did actually have a two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting; they have preliminarily arranged an agreement on trade, which does include China buying American agriculture again,” the former speaker outlined.

Gingrich also gave some background into Trump’s personality, telling the story of when he went to visit with the president recently.

“You know, ten percent less Trump would be 100 percent more effective,” Gingrich reportedly told Trump.

Gingrich explained that Trump tilted his head and asked, “Are you talking about my tweets?”

To good laughs from the crowd, Gingrich continued, “And I said, ‘Yes! I like about 80 percent of them.'”

However, true to form, Trump tried to move that number.

The president said, “No, it can’t be 80 percent. It’s gotta be 95.”

Gingrich responded, “I’m not negotiating with you about what percent of your tweets I like.”

He explained to the crowd, “But it was just automatic, he just wanted to make a deal. He couldn’t help himself.”

Later in the speech, Gingrich perhaps got his biggest line of applause when he mentioned that one of the highlights of Republicans’ 2020 agenda will be defeating Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook). He was especially well received when speaking about Trump’s success with deregulation and getting conservative judges confirmed, too.

Gingrich also motivated the crowd to stay informed and involved.

“I’m delighted at the number of people here,” Gingrich emphasized. “I wish I could reach into each of your hearts and convince you how important it is to protect this country … and how big of a difference you can make.”

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

6 days ago

Hoover City Council encourages prayer, unity in face of protesters


Despite escalating protests in the city, the members of the Hoover City Council are continuing to stay the course as a proper investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation unfolds, with the council encouraging unity and praying that “God’s light” overcome “darkness.”

The following statement was read aloud at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting on Monday evening and represents all of its members:


The Hoover City Council wants to publicly extend sympathy to the family of E.J. Bradford, Jr. and will continue to support them through prayer. We also pray for those injured or in any other way affected. The Council wants to formally express their regret for the misinformation provided to the public that later implicated E.J. Bradford, Jr. as the shooter in the November 22nd incident of violence. As leaders in our City, the council members re-affirm our commitment to public safety, fair and equitable treatment of all people, and respect for the law. We ask for patience and peace as the ongoing investigation of this incident is conducted by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and promise to do all in our power to encourage unity over division. In the words of Mother Teresa, “There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter.” We, as the Hoover City Council, believe that God’s light can and will overcome the darkness of this tragedy if we all seek it together.

This came during the same meeting that had to be abruptly adjourned because protesters would not follow the rules for public comment, attempting to use mob rule and shouting en masse during their allotted speaking times.

Earlier in the day, Hoover officials announced that they would adhere to ALEA’s firm request that they not release any evidence or information, including video footage, pertaining to the Riverchase Galleria shooting prior to the conclusion of the investigation. ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor has warned that a premature release of information, evidence or video footage could prejudice or undermine the investigation, hurting all parties involved.

However, the protesters are still demanding immediate release of the video footage, as well as the arrest for “capital murder” of the officer who shot and killed Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr.

Protest leaders are also threatening to release the name, address and photo of this officer if their list of demands, including at least one that Hoover does not even control, is not met by noon on Tuesday.

One of these leaders, Le’Darius Hilliard, told reporters before the city council meeting that they are “pretty sure” they have the correct officer.

Watch the abrupt ending of the council meeting:

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

6 days ago

7 Things: Autopsy ratchets up the tension in Birmingham, Mike Rogers opposes government contract awarded to an Alabama company, Alabama home values take a hit on the coast and more …


7. Alabama-based religious broadcaster wins its battle with the federal government over religious liberty

— The Birmingham-based Eternal Word Television Network has struck a deal with the Federal government, and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to stop trying to force EWTN to provide Obamacare mandated birth control and abortifacients as healthcare.

— This battle has raged for more than seven years. The Trump administration abandoned the case against EWTN, clearing the way for the settlement that allows the Catholic organization to practice their faith without running afoul of Obamacare’s contraception mandate.

6. Senator Doug Jones praises Robert Mueller’s investigation but sidesteps impeachment talk


— Jones called Mueller’s investigation “very professional” and “incredibly efficient,” while drawing on his experience as a prosecutor saying people should not “jump to conclusions.”

— Jones told reporters impeachment isn’t on his mind yet, saying, “I don’t think anybody needs to be thinking about that.” He added, “I think Robert Mueller needs to finish his work.

5. As migrants ruin Tijuana’s tourism industry, a Democratic congresswoman went and joined the caravan

— Restaurant owners are reporting a 30 percent slump in business as tourists and visitors cancel trips to the tourist hotspot for fear of getting trapped in Mexico should the crossing close again and because of the general uncertainty of the crowd that has gathered south of the American border.

— Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) joined the migrants and helped five asylum seekers gain access to the United States. She tweeted, “I was able to successfully assist 5 asylum seekers – 2 unaccompanied minors, a mother and her 9-year-old child, and a young man with a serious medical condition – into the United States.”

4. Alabama homes have lost billions in value on the coast; Experts cite sea level rise

— Researchers at the non-profit First Street Foundation and Columbia University found that coastal Alabama cities homes have lost a lot of value. Mobile Bay’s property values have gone down $46.7 million. Gulf Shores’ property values have dropped $26.1 million, Mobile’s $25.9 million and Dauphin Island’s $22.9 million.

— The study also found that in areas like Miami-Dade County, Fla., the New Jersey shore, coastal VirginiaNew YorkSouth Carolina, Delaware and others have declined $14.6 billion since 2005.

3. Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-3) comes out against the awarding of a major contract to an Alabama firm

— Alabama’s United Launch Alliance was awarded a nearly $1 billion contract to develop a launch vehicle for future national security space missions. Rogers wants the bid process changed, which could lead to another company working on the program.

— The move seems somewhat odd for a congressman to oppose an award to a company based in his own state, but Rogers has long believed the federal government should take a bigger lead in this arena. He explained, “It has led me to call, along with President Trump, for the creation of the Space Force. This letter was simply an oversight of this program in my subcommittee’s jurisdiction.”

2. Neither Hoover PD nor ALEA will release the tape of the Riverchase Galleria shooting until the investigation is complete

— Monday’s deadline, placed by Hoover officials, came and went without a released video showing the events of Thanksgiving that led to the death of Emantic “EJ” Bradford, Jr., but Hoover announced they remain “committed to cooperating with ALEA in order to maintain the integrity of their investigation.”

— ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor sent a letter to the city urging them to show patience, Hoover’s police chief released a statement on his request explaining their decision making, saying, “He has specifically asked that we do not release any potential evidence as it may not only jeopardize the integrity of the case, but also complicate or delay their efforts.”

1. A private autopsy has been completed by the Bradford family, who claims it shows Bradford was “murdered” — Escalations are promised

— The results of a private autopsy by the Bradford’s family and their representatives at a press conference showed Bradford was shot three times from behind, which led to claims that Bradford was “murdered.” They demanded charges should be filed against the officer who shot him. they made it clear there would be consequences if it did not happen soon, calling the situation a “powder keg”.

— Protest “leader” Carlos Chaverst Jr. took to social media in an attempt to provoke a reaction from those angry over the shooting, threatening to put police officers’ names online (some of which took place in a since removed video), say “F**k peace, we want justice for EJ. They murdered him” and threatening to release the name and address of the officer involved in the shooting today at noon.

6 days ago

Jimmy Parnell re-elected as Alabama Farmers Federation president


Chilton County farmer Jimmy Parnell was re-elected to a fourth term as president of the Alabama Farmers Federation at the organization’s 97th annual meeting in Montgomery on Monday.

Parnell was first elected in 2012. He is a fifth-generation beef cattle farmer and partner in a family logging business. The Stanton native thanked the voting delegates for the opportunity to serve the Federation’s 350,000 members and lead the affiliated Alfa Insurance.

“I’m convinced we serve some of the best people in Alabama,” Parnell, 54, said in a release. “Farmers built this country and have the values which make our communities, state and nation strong. It’s an honor to work alongside people who are dedicated to making things better for our members and policyholders.”

Elections were held during the Federation’s business session in which almost 500 farmer delegates from all 67 counties chose officers and directors for the state’s largest farm organization.


Parnell was chairman of the Federation’s State Young Farmers Committee in 1997, served on the Federation’s State Board of Directors from 1999-2008 and was Chilton County Farmers Federation president from 2006-2012. He was unopposed in his bid for re-election.

Parnell has been a fixture on Yellowhammer Multimedia’s annual Power and Influence List, including this year’s edition.

North Area Vice President Rex Vaughn of Huntsville in Madison County and Southeast Area Vice President George Jeffcoat of Gordon in Houston County also were re-elected for two-year terms. Both are row crop and beef cattle farmers.

Vaughn’s North Area covers Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston counties.

The Southeast Area, represented by Jeffcoat, includes Barbour, Bullock, Chambers, Coffee, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, Pike, Russell and Tallapoosa counties.

Additionally, four district directors were elected to three-year terms. Each director can serve three consecutive terms.

Brian Glenn, a row crop farmer from Lawrence County, was re-elected as District 1 director. The district includes Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Marion and Walker counties. This will be his third term.

Tim Whitley, a cattle farmer from Blount County, was elected to the District 4 seat previously held by Rickey Cornutt of Marshall County. The District 4 director seat rotates among Blount, Cullman, Marshall and Winston counties.

Meanwhile, Elmore County produce farmer and grist mill owner Joe Lambrecht was re-elected to the District 7 seat representing Chambers, Coosa, Elmore, Lee, Macon, Russell and Tallapoosa counties. This will be his second term.

Pike County poultry farmer and county Federation President Steve Stroud was re-elected to a second term in the District 10 board seat. That district includes Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw and Pike counties.

Elected to one-year ex-officio terms on the state board were State Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Jo Ann Laney of Russell County and State Young Farmers Committee Chairman Garrett Dixon of Lee County.

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

Byrne: ‘I am committed to trying to get a few more wins for Alabama and America before the next Congress starts’

(Rep. Bradley Byrne/Facebook)

Some of the greatest sporting events in history have come down to the wire. Those bottom of the ninth, fourth and inches, double-overtime plays are what stand out in our memories as the greatest successes or the worst defeats in sports history.

Similarly, we here in Washington are entering our own home stretch of the 115th Congress. It has been a long year filled with many victories for the people of Alabama, but there is still work to be done.

Next year, the game will change completely. With Democrats taking control of the House, things will be different.


Where bipartisan progress can be made, we must take advantage of it. Instead of being the “resistance,” we should be the loyal opposition. Loyal to the country but opposing policies and ideas that do not match up with our conservative values and beliefs.

I promise you two things that won’t change no matter who is in charge of the House: I will put Alabama’s priorities first, and I will support President Trump and his pro-America agenda.

For now, the next two weeks will be like the bottom of the ninth in Washington. We still need to pass a Farm Bill that works for our Alabama farmers and foresters, ensure the national flood insurance program continues, pass a funding bill for the remaining portions of the federal government, and protect our Southern border.

As I have said before, our farmers are our future. Without the tireless efforts of farmers all across the nation, life as we know it would not exist. I am hopeful we can pass a strong Farm Bill by the end of the year to provide greater protections for Alabama farmers and ensure benefits for rural America.

The flood insurance program is very important for those of us in coastal Alabama, and I want to see the program reformed and strengthened in a way that protects our coastal communities. We cannot let the program expire, so I will be pushing hard to get the program reauthorized.

Similarly, we must work to fund the remainder of the federal government. We currently have around three-quarters of the government funded for next year, including the critical funding needed to rebuild our military. This was the first time in a decade that we have been able to reach this point on time and in a bipartisan way.

Now, we must address funding for agencies like the Department of Justice, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Homeland Security. I want to see a funding bill that reflects the need to rein in wasteful spending while also supporting programs and projects important to Alabama.

It is imperative that any funding bill also help secure our southern border. It is clear that our immigration system is broken, and we must fix it. First, however, we must build President Donald Trump’s border wall and stem the flow of illegal immigration.

I have a solution to provide funding for the wall: the 50 Votes for the Wall Act. By using the budget reconciliation process, we can avoid Democrat obstruction in the Senate and secure the funds necessary to complete this task. I hope my colleagues will make the right decision for the country and bring my bill up for a vote.

These next two weeks will be the last play of a tough-fought game. As we near the goal line, I am committed to trying to get a few more wins for Alabama and America before the next Congress starts.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.

6 days ago

Ruling ends Alabama-based Eternal Word Television Network’s court fight over Health and Human Services mandate


After more than seven years, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) can now practice their faith without fear of violating Obamacare’s contraception mandate.

EWTN, which is headquartered just outside of Birmingham in Irondale, reached a settlement agreement after it was approved by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

The court decided to dismiss a 2016 court order that would have forced EWTN to comply with Obamacare’s mandated healthcare coverage of birth control and abortifacients that are prohibited by the Catholic Church.


The station, which was founded by Catholic nun Mother Angelica of the Annunciation and the Department of Health and Human Services, filed a brief in October seeking to dismiss the case after the Trump administration planned to reverse the Obama era attempt to force compliance.

“The Government has abandoned and rejected the defenses it used to argue against EWTN’s claims,” the motion said. “As a result of the Government’s 180-degree change of position, the parties have reached an agreement to resolve the remaining issues between them.”

Michael P. Warsaw, EWTN’s CEO, said the dismissal should have come earlier.

“It shouldn’t take years to prove the obvious: you can’t tell a religious media network to say one thing and do another,” Warsaw said in a statement, per Free Beacon. “We are grateful that—finally—EWTN no longer has to worry about being forced to choose between massive fines and following our faith.”

EWTN was represented in the case by Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit public interest law firm. Senior Counsel Lori Windham rejoiced in the closing of the case and said those at the station can now practice the faith they live by without penalty.

“EWTN lives by its Catholic faith all day every day, expressing its beliefs worldwide in TV, radio, and print,” Windham outlined in the statement. “We are glad that the government and the courts agree that it can continue doing that without being forced to violate its faith.”

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

6 days ago

Rogers objects to major agreement supporting Alabama’s aerospace industry

(Congressman Rogers/Facebook)

In October, the U.S. Air Force announced that it had awarded Alabama rocket-builder United Launch Alliance (ULA) nearly $1 billion to develop a launch vehicle for future national security space missions. But a recent objection to the agreement by one member of Alabama’s congressional delegation could be an obstacle to the large Alabama employer’s future participation.

In a letter to the secretary of the Air Force, Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-3) asked for alterations to the competitive bid process that resulted in Alabama’s ULA receiving the go-ahead to manufacture the Vulcan Centaur at its Decatur plant.

The competitive bid process had been put in place as a response to a congressional mandate to move away from foreign-made rocket engines. ULA’s award under that process was $967 million for development of the Vulcan Centaur which has been dubbed a “next-generation” rocket by the company.


The Air Force cites the current process, the one objected to by Rogers, as one that allows for shared investments to encourage innovation and advanced capabilities.

“Leveraging domestic commercial space launch systems is good for the Air Force, and a revitalized commercial launch industry is good for the taxpayer,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “Our launch program is a great example of how we are fielding tomorrow’s Air Force faster and smarter.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Rogers expressed skepticism about the agreement which resulted in the award to ULA.

“It’s no secret I’ve been skeptical of the [Launch Services Agreement] and the Air Force’s management of our space programs for years,” Rogers said. “It has led me to call, along with President Trump, for the creation of the Space Force. This letter was simply oversight of this program in my subcommittee’s jurisdiction.”

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has praised the award under the Launch Services Agreement, calling it “great news” for Alabama.

Governor Kay Ivey and numerous other elected officials have also applauded the development of the Vulcan Centaur and ULA’s participation in Alabama’s growing aerospace industry.

Alabamians have powered two historic launches this year.

In August, NASA sent its Parker Solar Probe hurtling toward the sun atop a ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket.

Then, just last week, the NASA InSight spacecraft landed on Mars following a five-month journey powered by an Atlas V rocket.

Both rockets were manufactured at ULA’s Decatur plant. The Decatur facility is 1.6 million square feet and the largest such facility in the Western Hemisphere.

Tim Howe is the editor and an owner of Yellowhammer News

6 days ago

Del Marsh hires new chief of staff

(Contributed/Butler Snow)

Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston) announced on Monday that he has hired Derek Trotter as his chief of staff effective immediately.

“I look forward to having Derek serve as my Chief of Staff,” Marsh said in a press release. “His previous experience in the Pro Tem’s office makes him uniquely qualified to ensure that the Alabama Senate continues to run smoothly and serve the people of Alabama as it has in the past.”

Trotter returns to the pro tem’s office after a stint in the Governor’s Legislative office and in the private sector. He most recently worked at the law firm Butler Snow.

“Having spent the majority of my career working with the Alabama Senate, both in the President Pro Tem’s Office and Governor’s Legislative Office, I am thrilled about the opportunity to serve as Senator Marsh’s Chief of Staff,” Trotter commented.


He added, “Every member of the Alabama Senate has a shared commitment to serving their constituents to the best of their ability and I look forward to working with them in an effort to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”

Trotter is a native of Trussville and a graduate of Auburn University. He and his wife Kala reside in Pike Road with their two children.

He replaces Marsh’s former chief of staff Philip Bryan, who left the pro tem’s office for the private sector this August.

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

7 days ago

Calling cops ‘terrorists’ and ‘klansmen’ isn’t going to help anyone

(Hoover Police/Facebook)

Whatever happened in Hoover when Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr. was killed on Thanksgiving night was obviously a tragedy.

Whether the police officer killed him in cold-blood or was entirely justified, it doesn’t change the fact that this event was entirely preventable, nor does it change the fact that it will happen again.

But our reaction to events like this is completely controllable. Unfortunately, our social media-obsessed culture incentivizes outlandish, offensive and ridiculous behavior. Compounding that problem is the fact that our mainstream media outlets act more like stenographers looking for an absurd quote and less like responsible members of our community looking to explain what has happened.


Because of these undeniable facts, individuals of low-character like activist Carlos Chaverst Jr. find themselves in the positions of leadership when they are not equipped for the role. And because he is not mature enough for this moment in time, people like Chaverst do nothing to move this conversation forward as they chase headlines and notoriety.

Last night, Chaverst and a group of protesters intended on entering a movie theater across the road from the Riverchase Galleria to continue to protest, even though he lied during a brief radio interview on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” Monday and said they were going to see a movie. Police officers were on hand and the theater let it be known that they wanted no part of the protest and would not be selling any more tickets that evening.

Because the media craves these confrontations, multiple stories about Chaverst and his fellow protesters made the rounds. In these stories, Chaverst makes multiple absurd statements with no merit.

In a comment directed toward the black cops on the scene, he said, “You are aiding and abetting in a terrorist act.”

After calling cops “terrorists” and “klansmen,” he made it clear that his group was willing to take this one-sided fight to the homes of officers.

Chaverst said Sunday, “We’re going to come [to] every single place we need to until the terrorist on this police department is identified.”

They will go to schools and officers’ houses, where their families are located?

This is a threat of legitimate actual terrorism and it shows that Carlos Chaverst is only interested in one thing: attention.

Now, it has been announced that the video of the shooting will not be released until ALEA is done with their investigation, while a private autopsy claims Bradford was shot in the back three times.

Chaverst has taken to social media to threaten to put police officers’ names online (some of which took place in a since removed video), say “F**k peace, we want justice for EJ. They murdered him” and threaten to release the name and address of the officer involved in the shooting.

These are not the actions of a man seeking justice.

There may very well be real issues here, but the idea that these cops entered that scene looking to gun down a young black man is absurd and anyone who spreads these falsehoods should be picked apart by journalists instead of amplified.


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

7 days ago

Protest leader claims to know which officer shot E.J. Bradford, threatens to release name, address


Carlos Chaverst, Jr., the leader of recent protesting in Hoover, claims he knows the name and address of the police officer who shot and killed Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr. and is threatening to publicly release the information.

Chaverst posted on Facebook early Monday afternoon that “[i]f the officer isn’t ARRESTED & CHARGED with capital murder” by noon on Tuesday, he will publicize the information, along with the officer’s photo.


This came after Chaverst, at 12:05 p.m, asserted he could get the officer’s name who shot Bradford “within an hour.”

Facebook earlier in the day removed at least one video Chaverst posted because he was engaging in “hate speech.”

You can read the latest about the aftermath of the Riverchase Galleria shooting here.

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

7 days ago

Ivey, Marshall dissatisfied with parole board plan

(S. Marshall, K. Ivey/Facebook)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall said they are dissatisfied with the parole board’s improvement plan and are asking the board to make additional changes and provide more information.

Ivey and Marshall intervened earlier this year after prosecutors and victim advocates expressed concerns over who was being released from prison and the number of people being paroled earlier than normal.


Ivey asked the board to submit a corrective plan and put a 75-day moratorium on early paroles— when an inmate wins release before serving a designated minimum amount of their sentence.

In a 10-page response to the board’s plan, Ivey and Marshall wrote that while the board’s plan has some “positive features” there are “too many unanswered questions” about how the board will make good on its promises.

“We recognize answering many of these questions will be difficult. But the people of this state deserve answers to them. How you respond — both in word and in deed — will undoubtedly determine the next steps we take as a state in this vital area,” they wrote in the Nov. 29 letter.

Ivey and Marshall directed the board to implement more objective criteria in the consideration process for all inmates so that “early parole consideration is available in only the most extraordinary cases and for only the most compelling reasons.”

They said the evidentiary burden should be put on the inmate to show he, or she, is worthy of release.

The push for changes came after prosecutors and victim advocates expressed alarm this year over who was being released from prison and the adequacy of parole supervision once an inmate is released.

A man charged in the July murders of a 7-year-old boy, his great grandmother and another woman in Guntersville had been released from prison in January after being granted parole.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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7 days ago

Gingrich to speak at Farmers Federation gathering

(G. Skidmore/Flickr)

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is giving the keynote address at an annual gathering of Alabama farmers.

The Alabama Farmers Federation is holding its 97th annual meeting Sunday and Monday in Montgomery.


Gingrich will address the group Monday night.

The Alabama Farmers Federation says that over 1,200 farmers and guests have registered for the meeting.

It is one of the state’s largest gatherings of farmers.

The organization on Sunday gave its service to agriculture award to Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan.

Federation President Jimmy Parnell said McMillan set a “new tone for the services that office would provide.”

He also praised McMillan’s opposition to property tax increases.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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