Rep. Rogers: A round-up of the ways East Alabamians care for each other this season

(Flickr user Mandy Jansen)

 

Every year during the Christmas season, I like to take some time to highlight a few of the great things folks are doing for each other across East Alabama.

Below is a small sampling of what is going on in the Third District.

In Randolph County, the Pilot Club provides toys for less fortunate children in the area.

Across Chambers County, the Christian Service Center provides food, clothing and gifts for families in need.

In Macon County, the Tuskegee Fire Department participates in “Toys for Tots.” The City of Tuskegee and Town of Shorter employees adopt families through DHR for Christmas and the Macon County Ministers Council provides for families in need.

In Talladega County, folks in Sylacauga participated in the Second Annual Stuff the Bus Food and Toy Drive.  Last year, the efforts fed more than 4,200 in December and provided over 100 families with toys.  This year, the food and toy drive was triple last year’s totals.

In Talladega, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama gave toys and food items to needy families in the area.

In Calhoun County, the Knox Concert Series in Anniston continued its four-decade tradition and held two school day performances of The Nutcracker for free for the third grade students in the area.

In Montgomery County, at Pike Road Town Hall, hygiene and food items are being collected for the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System and the Food Pantry at Woodland United Methodist Church.  First Baptist Church (Ripley Street) ‘Meals on wheels’ programs serves hundreds throughout the city.

In Russell County, the Mayor’s Charity Ball in Phenix City provides annual scholarships to over 20 students in Russell County. Donations come from local business owners.

It is always amazing to me to see how much our brothers and sisters across East Alabama do for one another.  Let’s keep that spirit up throughout the year instead of just during the holidays.

As always, I want to hear from you on this or any issue.

Please sign up for my e-Newsletter by visiting www.mikerogers.house.gov. To stay up to date, you can also like me on Facebook at Congressman Mike D. Rogers, follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram at RepMikeRogersAL, on Tumblr at www.repmikerogersal.tumblr.com and you can also subscribe to my YouTube page at MikeRogersAL03.

19 mins ago

VIDEO: Alabama’s abortion bill gets plenty of attention, changes to a proposed lottery fund education, tariffs hurt Alabama farmers and more on Guerrilla Politics …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Is Alabama’s abortion ban good policy or good politics?

— Will the 25 percent allocated for education secure the passage of a lottery in Alabama?

— Will Alabama farmers blame President Donald Trump or the previous administration for the current impact tariffs are having on their livelihoods?

63

Jackson and Burke are joined by Democratic activist Pam Miles to discuss plans to protest Alabama’s abortion ban and how Democrats in Alabama move forward.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at those perpetrating the “25 white men” narrative when discussing Alabama’s abortion ban.

https://www.facebook.com/303363616352436/posts/2418925051462938/

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

3 hours ago

Roby: A pro-life update from the federal level

Throughout my time in Congress, I have been staunchly and unapologetically pro-life. I will continue to use this platform to fight for life at every stage because unborn babies cannot fight for themselves. Since much of the news in our state and throughout the country lately has focused on recent pro-life efforts, I would like to take this opportunity to share an update about my work on the federal level to defend the unborn.

In February of this year, the Trump Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule that would restrict Title X family planning grants from being steered to entities that are not physically and financially separate from abortion providers. A series of court injunctions have frozen these rule changes, and as a result, hundreds of abortion facilities, like Planned Parenthood, are still receiving federal tax dollars through Title X grants.

561

While the rule is going through the judicial process, the Democrat majority on the House Appropriations Committee has elected to tie the hands of the Department of Health and Human Services through legislation stating that the Department may only act in accordance with regulations established prior to January 18, 2017, just two days before Donald Trump became President. This is unacceptable – we simply cannot handcuff the current administration to regulations of the past.

During the recent full Appropriations Committee markup of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee Fiscal Year 2020 funding bill, I offered an amendment that would allow the courts, rather than the Democrat majority in the House, to decide the fate of the Trump administration’s proposed rule restricting Title X family planning grants from being awarded to facilities that provide abortions. Despite the inclusion of the Hyde Amendment, abortion providers have been able to get their hands on American tax dollars through these Title X funds. I am unapologetically pro-life, so I don’t want this to happen, and the majority of the people I represent don’t want this to happen.

The Trump administration’s proposed rule would draw a clear, bright line between family planning services and abortion providers. Unfortunately, my amendment did not pass, but to ensure that the rule has a fighting chance of becoming law, we must allow it to go through our judicial process – not block it legislatively as part of a political game.

In addition to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also taking measures to stand up for the unborn. Two foreign companies, Aid Access and Rablon, have been known to distribute chemical abortion drugs to customers in the United States by mail-order. This practice is already illegal, and the FDA has taken action against it, but it is still happening.

This abortion drug, called Mifeprex, is approved by the FDA, but it is only legally available to patients in the United States through health care providers. It is not available in retail pharmacies, and it is certainly not legally available on the Internet. However, these abortion-by-mail providers, primarily based in Europe, have widened their consumer base to include the U.S. They provide remote consultations, send prescriptions to be filled in India, then send the abortion drug to U.S. customers by mail.

By violating the FDA’s safety protocols, these companies are endangering the health of American women and their children. The FDA has been combating these practices, but I recently led a letter, signed by 117 of my colleagues, that was sent to Dr. Norman Sharpless, acting FDA commissioner, urging him to further crackdown. I was proud to join my fellow pro-life colleagues in sending the clear message that we will not tolerate these dangerous, illegal practices, and I applaud the steps the FDA has already taken to protect women and unborn children.

I share these updates to make the point that while we still face challenges, our pro-life momentum is strong, and I will keep pushing forward on the federal level. I want the people I represent in Alabama’s Second District to know that defending the unborn remains a top priority of mine, and I will continue to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

5 hours ago

University of Alabama, other Southern flagship universities see biggest bump in enrollment

Enrollment at several universities in the South jumped more than 50 percent in a decade, according to data from the College Board.

University of Arkansas saw its number of full-time students grow 63 percent from 2007 to 2016, the most of any flagship university. University of Alabama and University of Mississippi had the next largest increases at 55 percent and 51 percent, respectively.

In addition to the allure of football tailgate parties, students may have been enticed by lower tuition fees and living expenses. Among the 50 flagships, University of Arkansas ranked No. 38 in cost, while Alabama was No. 30 and Ole Miss came in at No. 44.

288

Admissions officers should take note. The high school class of 2012 ushered in a first wave of declines in the number of graduates nationwide, according to a report by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education in Boulder, Colorado. The trend will worsen after 2025, when the impact hits from a drop in births that began with the 2007 recession.

Some of the boost in enrollment at schools in warmer locales coincides with a rise in the region’s population growth, with exceptions. Florida’s population grew by 2.45 million since 2010 while its flagship university saw enrollment slide 4.4 percent from 2007 to 2016.

Studying in the Sunshine State comes with a hefty price tag for non-residents. Out-of-state students at the University of Florida pay more than four times what their in-state counterparts pay, the largest premium among the 50 flagship schools. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranks second. Out-of-state students there pay more than $35,000 in tuition while those in-state pay less than $9,000.

University of Michigan is the most expensive flagship university for out-of-state students, at close to $50,000 per year. Next are University of Virginia and University of California at Berkeley. All three are consistently among the top-ranked U.S. public colleges.

Meanwhile, the cost gap for in-state and out-of-state students decreased the most at University of Georgia over the last decade.

University of MontanaUniversity of Idaho and University of Alaska saw the biggest declines in enrollment despite their in-state tuition costs trailing their faster-growing counterparts. Enrollment also tumbled at University of South Dakota, which has the best deal for out-of-state students. Tuition and fees for the 2018-19 school year there were just $12,425.

(With assistance from Janet Lorin and Marie Patino. Contact the reporter at shagan9@bloomberg.net.)

This article first appeared on Bloomberg.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

7 hours ago

Birmingham Botanical Gardens water features get a makeover

Every spring, visitors stream into the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Children dart among the uprights at the Granite Garden fountain and dash to the Rose Gardens to see if the roses have started to bloom, or humor their parents and pose for photos.

Whether they’re coming for exercise or inspiration, guests of all ages and interests have a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of springtime, and among these – in no small part – are the artistry and lyrical babbling of the gardens’ beloved water features.

491

Over the past two years, more than half of the gardens’ 14 water features have undergone a transformation, thanks to membership support and the combined efforts of Jane Underwood, operations manager with the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and Virgil Mathews, district horticulture supervisor with the city of Birmingham. During your next visit, check out these newly refurbished water features – a testament to the dynamic relationship between garden and water landscape.

The Cochran Water Wall in the Hill Garden was the first to be rehabbed. Dedicated in 1988, it is the focal point of the garden.

“The water wall had stopped sheeting over the entire top edge. As a result, the basin was not filling up and recirculating,” Underwood says. “We had to figure out where water was going and how to repair it.”

Underwood and Mathews worked with Alabama Aquatics, which removed the tile on the back wall and sealed the wall before replacing the tile. Problem solved.

They then turned their attention to the 1967 Japanese Garden streambed because the water was not cascading over the waterfalls.

“It was flowing into cavities before it ever reached the waterfall,” Underwood says.

Parrot Structural Services pumped the cavities with hydraulic cement to fill the voids. They applied the same treatment to the Abroms Rhododendron Species Garden basin, the Curry Rhododendron Garden pond and the Fern Glade streambed.

The team was excited to discover a way to have the iconic North and South Urns repaired on-site. Dedicated in 1988, the urns are fixtures of the Formal Garden and help frame the space. Estes Paintingused epoxy to fill rust holes in the cast-iron vessels, sanded the urns and repainted them.

Alabama Aquarium & Pond Services (AAPS) then installed new pumps and placed them in such a way that they’re not visible from the paths,” Underwood says.

Other improvements were less extensive but no less important. In the Curry Rhododendron Garden pond, “horticulturist Tiffany Sutton had been filling the pond with a hose when the water level dropped,” Underwood says. A new pump with an auto-fill feature now fills it as needed.

The 2006 Loblolly Pine Cone fountain by sculptor Brad Morton in the Southern Living Garden also received a new pump. The Abroms Rhododendron Species Garden basin, which like most streambeds at the gardens was created with shotcrete applied directly to the soil without rebar to reinforce it, was rebuilt using reinforced concrete. Thanks to the combined efforts of Bright Future Electric and AAPS, the quaint pond in the McReynolds Garden greets visitors with the gentle welcome of a bubbly fountain.

“It’s amazing – the feel of the place – when the fountains are up and running,” Underwood says. “When you walk through the Japanese Garden or sit in the new swings in the Abroms Rhododendron Species Garden, water makes such a difference in the aesthetic of these spots. The gardens feel so alive.”

This story first appeared in the spring 2019 issue of The Garden Dirt magazine published by Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

9 hours ago

Abortion ban sponsor State Rep. Collins: Bill is attempting to establish personhood by using ‘the language Roe v. Wade uses’

After undergoing a controversial two weeks, the Alabama legislature passed the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which was a ban on almost all abortions. Then on Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law.

Those actions led to a national backlash, especially given the bill did not provide an exception for rape or incest. However, the bill’s sponsor Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) still insists given the law’s language provided the best opportunity to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Friday, Collins discussed the public reaction to the legislature’s actions and how it differs from the so-called “heartbeat” bills other states are passing into law.

453

Collins told WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show” she was not surprised by the reaction. However, she also noted that given that the Alabama House of Representatives had been working into the late hours, she had not seen much of the national media’s reactions.

“I guess I am not surprised,” she said. “People feel very passionately about this issue regardless of the side that they’re on. And so, I knew there would be lots of rhetoric, lots of hate and lots of love.  So, I’ve seen all sides. I’ve not seen as much of the national media parts of it and maybe some of the blowback because I have had a very busy week in the legislature. And we’ve been there to almost midnight every night. And I’ve been working on other bills that are really, really important. I’ve not watched a lot of the national media.”

The Morgan County Republican explained the distinction between the bill she had sponsored and “heartbeat” bills passed by other legislatures like Georgia, which was an effort to use the same terminology as the Roe v. Wade decision.

“The heartbeat bill and some of the other bills address when the child is just considered a life and that we can protect that child from that point on,” Collins said. “This bill addresses the language that Roe v. Wade uses, which is ‘in utero,’ which is it doesn’t get into contraception. It doesn’t even get into conception of a baby as a person at conception. It doesn’t get into the Morning-After Pill. It simply says ‘in utero,’ which is the term for pregnant.”

“So once a woman is pregnant, then the abortion is now illegal for a doctor to perform,” she continued. “And it actually spells out in the bill that the woman is not held liable, or civilly liable. So, it is as clear and as simple as can be. Roe v. Wade decision was that baby in the womb was not a person. This bill simply says we believe that baby in the womb is a person based on current Alabama and the majority of our voters voting to be a pro-life state last fall. We feel it’s the time. I think you see other states feeling like the courts willing to look at that issue and send that decision back to the states.”

She went on to explain this was not the law she wanted for the state and hoped that ultimately, the federal courts would return the issue to the individual states.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.