2 months ago

Polyplex USA plans $90 million expansion project at Alabama facility

DECATUR, Alabama – Polyplex USA announced plans this past week to invest over $90.6 million to expand production of specialized polyester film at its Decatur facility in a project that will create 100 jobs when complete.

Polyplex plans to add a second Biaxially Oriented Polyethylene Terephthalate (BOPET) film line at the Alabama facility, with an additional investment to create matching capacity for captive resin. BOPET is used in packaging, electrical and other industrial applications.

Amit Kalra, president of Polyplex USA, said the growth project will solidify the company’s leadership position in the U.S. market.

“We are eager to leverage our existing operations, our strong ties to our customers, to our communities and of course to the expertise of our operations team as evidenced by our successful expansions in other locations,” Kalra said.

“We have a well-established sales and distribution system and hope to continue to provide additional value to our customers with a cost effective, faster turnaround and increased reliability of supplies.”

Once the expansion project is complete, Polyplex’s Decatur facility will have the largest capacity BOPET film line in the world.

“Alabama is a welcoming home to companies from around the world, and it’s great to see that Polyplex is including Decatur in its growth plans,” Governor Kay Ivey said.

“Polyplex is making a significant investment in its Morgan County facility and solidifying its presence there with 100 new jobs. We look forward to seeing this company grow in Sweet Home Alabama,” she added.


Polyplex said construction at the facility is scheduled to begin during the first half of 2021, with production expected to begin by the end of next year.

“Polyplex’s reinvestment in its Decatur facility shows that the company has a high level of confidence in its Alabama workforce and in the future prospects of its Morgan County operation,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Kalra said the expansion will tap into the growing shift towards local supply in regional markets. It will also make Polyplex USA’s cost structure more efficient with a two-line configuration, metallizing and captive resin manufacturing.

“This investment will significantly reduce the overall unit cost and provide a more robust value proposition to the industry,” Kalra said.

State Sen. Arthur Orr, who also serves as chairman of the Morgan County Economic Development Association, said Polyplex’s decision to expand in Decatur will provide a major boost to the area’s economy.“This is a huge investment, and the addition of new jobs is certainly good news for the people of our community,” Orr said.

Local officials also welcomed Polyplex’s growth plans.

“This expansion solidifies Polyplex’s presence in Decatur, and we are grateful that their leaders recognize our community as a prime location for their continued growth,” Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling said.

“This large investment and additional job creation will benefit Morgan County for years to come. This announcement lets others know that our community is a favorable place to start and grow a business,” added Ray Long, chairman of the Morgan County Commission.

The project was supported by the State of Alabama, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the City of Decatur, the Morgan County Commission and other local officials.

Founded in India in 1984, Polyplex operates manufacturing and distribution facilities in India, South-East Asia, Europe and the Americas.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

1 min ago

7 Things: Palmer questions the CDC’s mission, Pelosi tries to unring the bell on court-packing, Alabama passes bill prohibiting men in women’s sports and more …

7. 8 dead in mass shooting

  • A mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility left eight people dead and five injured before the perpetrator finally turned the gun on himself, ending the rampage. It has not been confirmed that the shooter was an employee at the facility. Authorities have ruled out terrorism.
  • While most people have done far less socializing and traveling, the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group that tracks gun violence in the United States, has found that more than 19,000 people died in gun homicides last year, which was the highest number in more than two decades.

6. Alabama affirms its support of the Second Amendment


  • In the Alabama Legislature, the State Senate has passed the Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act, which is meant to prevent local and state governments from enforcing gun control laws and regulations. This only applies to regulations made effective after January 1, 2021, and the Senate approving this measure is after President Joe Biden announced executive action on gun control.
  • State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), who sponsors the bill, said this is going to protect people in Alabama “from any unnecessary overreach by the federal government and is meant to be a check on proposals that infringe on our right to self-defense coming from the Biden Administration or the Democrat-controlled Congress.”

5. Another fake news story completely discredited after an election 

  • In news that will shock absolutely no one, one of the more salacious stories of the 2020 election cycle turned out to be completely based on nothing. The reports of Russian bounties places on U.S. troops came from Afghan prisoners of war looking to “get out of a cage.” Friendlies in the media and now-President Joe Biden treated them as fact. He stated in 2020, “I don’t understand why this president is unwilling to take on Putin when he’s actually paying bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.”
  • Even with the low confidence the intelligence agencies now say they have in this story, it was a main thread in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, it was referenced in debates, and received wall-to-wall coverage even after it was denied by the Trump White House and the intelligence communities.

4. Bill protecting women’s sports passes

  • The legislation that prohibits biological males from competing in female sports in K-12 has been passed by the Alabama State Senate. It has been clarified that this doesn’t apply to sports that don’t have separate genders for competitions, as with football, where both genders would be able to compete still.
  • In the Senate, the bill passed 25-5 and now goes back to the State House of Representatives where it has already passed in a lower chamber vote of 74-19. Currently, many other states are considering similar legislation as there’s been a stronger push to allow transgender females to compete with biological females in sports.

3. Pelosi attempts to end the conversation on packing the U.S. Supreme Court

  • As legislation came up in the U.S. House of Representatives to expand the U.S. Supreme Court to 13 judges, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she doesn’t “know that that’s a good idea or a bad idea.” Pelosi did note that there are “no plans” to put the issue to a vote, but that “it’s an idea that should be considered.” She supports President Joe Biden’s method of having a committee study the issue.
  • After she said this, other prominent Democrats held a press conference on the matter. Incrompehensibly, U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) declared this isn’t about packing the court, stating, “We are not packing the Supreme Court, we are unpacking it.”

2. You’ll probably have to get a third shot within a year

  • It’s expected that people who received the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will “likely” have to get a third shot within a year of their initial vaccination, according to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. This third should would act as a booster to keep people protected from the virus.
  • Bourla is also anticipating people will need to get the vaccine every year, but Pfizer has been testing booster shots since February; Moderna is also testing booster shots for their coronavirus vaccine.

1. Palmer: This isn’t about science anymore

  • U.S. Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) is speaking out against how public health officials, such as White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, are releasing information and guidance to the public.
  • Palmer said this guidance to continue coronavirus precautions after being vaccinated isn’t following the science, adding, “If they followed the science, kids wouldn’t be required to wear a mask … schools would be open.” Palmer also noted that he has “zero confidence” in those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He went on to add that “we’re to the point where it is more about control than it is about science.”

1 hour ago

‘Transformational’ broadband bill gets House committee hearing, still awaits action — ‘We need this’

MONTGOMERY — More than six weeks after unanimously passing the Alabama Senate, SB 215 finally got a hearing in the House Urban and Rural Development Committee on Thursday morning.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and carried in the House by Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville), is viewed as a “transformational” piece of legislation aimed at expanding the availability of affordable, high-speed broadband internet service to every Alabamian.

While the bill would benefit from historic levels of funding if the current legislative effort to legalize a lottery and gaming in Alabama succeeds, it has been emphasized by elected officials that SB 215 has paramount standalone importance, as well.

As underlined by multiple proponents in Thursday’s public hearing, SB 215 would create the type of cohesive planning that the state’s broadband expansion efforts currently lack. With funding and incentives coming from different directions at the local, state and federal levels, it is important to finally get one clear game plan of how money will be spent and resources prioritized. The bill would also act as a vehicle to draw down federal funds and would create a new state-entity with bonding authority for broadband expansion.


Garrett reiterated that Alabama is 47th in the nation in broadband connectivity, even lagging well behind Mississippi, as well as other neighboring states.

He said SB 215 is an “effort to develop a comprehensive, aggressive and robust strategy and process to expand broadband across the state.”

“Doing so will enhance Alabama’s education, health care system and economy,” added Garrett. “The state actually has no connectivity strategy or plan right now. All we really have is the ADECA (grant) program — which works very successfully, it’s a very good program. We like the way it operates. But $20 million a year is not going to solve the problem, which is to get internet access throughout this entire state.”

He explained that the endeavor to expand broadband access to all Alabamians carries a price tag between four and six billion dollars.

“So chipping away $20 million or so a year on a grant program is not going to do it,” Garrett added.

“This is a very serious issue for the state,” he stressed.

Proponents of the bill participating in the hearing included Blake Hardwich, speaking on behalf of the Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition; Jeremy Walker, CEO of the Alabama Association of Realtors; and Sean Strickler, vice president of public affairs for the ‎Alabama Rural Electric Association. Other key industry leaders, such as NFIB Alabama State Director Rosemary Elebash, have also expressed their support for SB 215.

“We’re in full support of SB 215,” emphasized Hardwich. The Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition is comprised of a diverse membership across the business, education, health care and agriculture communities.

“We all believe that SB 215 will benefit the state of Alabama,” she added, speaking to the wide swath the coalition represents. “It is my belief, and our belief, if we continue down the current path that we’re on, Alabama will continue to fall further and further behind. We cannot afford to do that.”

Committee Chairman Randall Shedd (R-Cullman) noted that there is a draft of a substitute version of SB 215 that the committee members have; a final version of that sub is expected to be completed in time for a committee vote next week.

Some potential “tweaks” aside, multiple members of the committee expressed an urgency to bridge the digital divide.

Rep. Debbie Wood (R-Valley) said, “We cannot keep doing business in Alabama without proper internet services.”

She outlined an account of children in her district having to sit in cars parked near a bus with a hotspot during the pandemic to even do school work.

“That’s why we need this,” Wood underscored. “It’s vitally important.”

“We want a plan that’s best for the state, that utilizes all the tools in the toolbox,” Garrett reiterated. “We’re trying to do what’s best to provide internet access throughout the state.”

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

1 hour ago

Auburn’s Unique Thompson selected 19th overall in WNBA draft

Unique Thompson on Thursday evening became the ninth WNBA Draft pick in Auburn University history when she was selected by the Indiana Fever with the 19th overall selection.

Thompson, who attended high school at Mobile’s Faith Academy, was the seventh player taken in the second round.

“I’m excited, I’m happy,” Thompson commented. “The nerves aren’t there anymore. I’m just ready to go. I’m ready to get to work. (Representing Auburn in the WNBA) means so much to me. Auburn is where I started to build my legacy, this is where my hard work began, so it means everything to me.”


Thompson became the first Auburn Tiger drafted to the WNBA since DeWanna Bonner and Whitney Boddie were selected in 2009.

“I wasn’t even paying attention at first,” Thompson said of when her name was announced on the ESPN broadcast. “And then I heard everybody start screaming, and I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I kind of expected it (being selected by Indiana), I had a long conversation with them on Zoom the other day and I just got off the phone with Teaira (McCowan), Victoria (Vivians) and a few of my other new teammates. I’m looking forward to getting there and getting started.”

Thompson led the Tigers in 2020-21 with 17.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, averaging a double-double for the third straight season. Her 12.8 rebounds per game led the SEC, and her 5.4 offensive rebounds per game led the nation. She was one of two players nationwide to have two games this season with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. For her efforts this season, she was named to the All-SEC Second Team and a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American.

The Theodore native finished her career Auburn’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,156 and all-time leader in double-doubles with 58.

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

2 hours ago

Montgomery native, Alabama star Jasmine Walker taken No. 7 overall in WNBA draft

Jasmine Walker on Thursday evening was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks with the seventh overall pick in the 2021 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Draft.

Walker becomes the seventh Crimson Tide player to be drafted in the WNBA’s 25-year history and just the first since 2005. She is only the second-ever Bama player to go in the first round, joining Tausha Mills, who went No. 2 overall to Washington in 2000.


This comes after a season for the record books for Walker, who set the program’s single-game scoring mark with 41 points and working her way into every three-point top 10 list. She earned several accolades along the way, including WBCA Honorable Mention All-America honors and SEC All-First Team recognition; Walker also was a finalist for the Katrina McClain Award, which is presented annually to the best power forward in women’s NCAA basketball.

Walker averaged a near double-double in 2020-21 with 19.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game and was the only player in the SEC to rank in the top five in points and rebounds for the season.

She is a Montgomery native who played her high school ball at Jeff Davis. Walker was named the 2016 Alabama Miss Basketball and the 2016 Gatorade Player of the Year for Alabama.

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

2 hours ago

Aniah’s Law heading to statewide referendum in 2022

The Alabama Legislature on Thursday gave final passage to legislation that would create “Aniah’s Law.”

The legislation, sponsored by State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Mobile), would allow prosecutors and judges broader discretion in requesting and denying bail to those accused of committing violent crimes.

HB 131 is a constitutional amendment and will be up for a statewide referendum of the people in November 2022; HB 130, the enabling bill that would implement the provisions of HB 131, now heads to the governor’s desk.


The Constitution of Alabama currently requires that “all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great; and that excessive bail shall not in any case be required.”

Brown’s legislation would amend the state constitution to allow judges to deny bail to individuals facing violent crime charges who would place the public at grave risk if released.

The proposed amendment is named after the late Aniah Blanchard, the 19-year-old college student who prosecutors allege was slain by Ibraheed Yazeed after he was released on bond for several violent offenses including kidnapping and attempted murder.

Yazeed, who is currently being held on capital murder charges, had been awarded bail despite more than a dozen priors, which included drug and robbery arrests.

“Too many of those who are accused of violent crimes are bonding out of jail and committing even more serious offenses, and it is time for law-abiding Alabamians to start fighting back,” Brown stated. “Denying bail to those accused of violent offenses is a commonsense answer to a dangerous societal problem, and following three years of hard work that was necessary to pass this amendment through the Legislature, I am confident the citizens of Alabama will vote to ratify it.”

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson was a major proponent of Brown’s legislation as it worked its way through the legislative process.

“I’d like to commend Representative Chip Brown and Senator David Sessions for supporting us in the three-year effort to see this legislation passed,” Stimpson said on Thursday. “We thank the Blanchard family as well as the entire Alabama Legislature for recognizing the need for this legislation that directly impacts the safety of Alabama citizens. It is now in the hands of Alabamians to vote in favor of this constitutional amendment on the ballot next year. Once passed, this will help significantly in our efforts to close the revolving door and prevent violent offenders from being released to commit more violent acts like the senseless murder of Aniah Blanchard.”

The late Tuscaloosa police officer Dornell Cousette is another example of a prominent case that could have been prevented if Aniah’s Law was in effect. Cousette was killed in the line of duty in 2018 — allegedly murdered by a suspect who was free on bail for robbery and assault charges at the time.

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