2 weeks ago

Sen. Larry Stutts: ‘I think schools ought to open up, period’

While many school systems around the state are opting for online schooling-only for the first nine weeks, the debate as to whether or not schools should open in Alabama remains unsettled given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During an interview with Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” State Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Cherokee) argued for the opening of schools.

According to Stutts, there would be consequences that go beyond the academics of schools remaining closed, which may result in societal damages in the long-term.

“I think schools ought to open up, period,” he said. “The mortality rate among young people is extremely low — way, way lower than the general population. The problem is there are implications to not having school besides the possibility of a viral illness. When you look at the percentage of children that get two meals a day at school, when you at children that may be in a less-than-ideal home situation, and you take school away from them, that’s a problem.”

“When you look at the gap between the haves and the have not in the education system — you know, the children that are from a wonderful family with educated parents and have high-speed internet at home and have parents that are disciplined to know they are going to do their schoolwork at home, all those children are going to do fine. But everybody is not in that situation,” Stutts continued. “So if we spend a year with no real school, for a large percentage of children, they’re not going to make any educational progress during that year. They’re not going to develop socialization skills they would have developed in school. And academically, they’re going to fall way, way behind. If we do this for a whole year — we’ve already done it for the last nine weeks of the last school year, and if we do it for the majority of this school year, all of this school year, when the fall of 2021 rolls around, the gap between the children that are prepared academically and those not is going to be much wider than it is right now. There are implications with what you’re going to do with the schools besides prevent the spread of the virus.”

“I’m in favor of opening schools up,” he added. “And I understand the risk of maybe a child taking it home to a grandparent. I understand all that risk, but if you’re in that category, then you need to take those precautions at home. But for everybody else, we need to open up the schools.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

12 mins ago

Doug Jones: Kamala Harris ‘exactly what we need’

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Wednesday sent out a fundraising email to his supporters celebrating that his “friend” U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has been selected as the 2020 Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Harris joins former Vice President Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket. Jones is a longtime ally of Biden and was one of the first major elected officials in the country to endorse his presidential bid this cycle. It was also announced on Tuesday shortly before Harris was named as the VP nominee that Jones will be a featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention next week.

Reacting to Harris’ selection on Wednesday, Jones wrote, “First of all, I’m proud of my friend and colleague. Her tenacity and dedication are exactly what we need to take on so many of the challenges we face, from helping save lives and livelihoods during this pandemic to finally ending systemic racism.”

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Harris has previously announced support for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, decriminalizing illegal immigration, gun confiscation and other policy proposals championed by the far-left. She even once compared ICE agents to the Ku Klux Klan.

“This election is going to come down to the contrast between unity and division, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris know how to bring people together. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to what we saw in 2017. Everything we’re seeing shows that not only do we have to make sure everyone hears about our message of unity, but we also have to energize traditionally underrepresented communities like Black and Latinx voters,” Alabama’s junior senator added in his email. “We sure did that in 2017 – I know the power and energy of Black women and the difference their hard work made in my race.”

“Now, we can do it again, and we’ll make history by electing our first Black and South Asian woman Vice President. I’m so proud that person will be my friend and colleague,” he concluded, with the email ending with a link to a fundraising page for Jones’ campaign.

This is not the first time Jones has used Harris to solicit support for his campaign. She sent out a fundraising email for Jones last year.

The junior senator from California earlier this year also traveled to Birmingham in support of Jones’ reelection bid.

Harris during that appearance said that she and Jones “are always cuttin’ up and sending each other notes” in the Senate.

She added, “We were cuttin’ up in the impeachment hearings. Some of those words would not be spoken in church.”

Harris and Jones each voted twice to remove President Donald Trump from office at the conclusion of those impeachment hearings.

Her running mate on the Democratic ticket to unseat Trump has actively supported Jones’ campaign, as well. Biden campaigned in Alabama for Jones during the 2017 election.

Paige Lindgren, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, on Wednesday noted, “Despite his claims of bipartisanship, Anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones has hitched his wagon to a potential Biden-Harris administration.”

“By doing this in a state that overwhelming supports the President, Jones has given up on representing the conservative values that Alabamians hold true,” she concluded.

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

28 mins ago

Boeing submits Next Generation Interceptor proposal that would create Alabama jobs, continue to protect American homeland

Boeing on Wednesday submitted its proposal to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency for the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) competition, with the stakes being high for Alabama.

The company is proposing a design that leverages Boeing’s more than 60-year track record and unparalleled expertise in strategic missile and weapon systems.

The NGI will be the interceptor successor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, currently the nation’s only defense program capable of protecting the entire United States homeland, including Alaska and Hawaii, against long-range ballistic missiles from threats such as North Korea and Iran. The GMD currently uses Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles launched by Ground-Based Interceptors to track long-range ballistic missile threats and use collision force to destroy the target.

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Boeing manages the GMD program out of Huntsville as the prime contractor for the Department of Defense. The company has led the industry team since the inception of the program in 1998 with engineers and experts who work in Alabama.

The Missile Defense Agency put out a request for proposal on the NGI in April, saying that two companies will be selected to compete to build the final interceptor. That contract award is expected later this year.

If selected, Boeing will utilize its proven capabilities and a best-of-industry team, based primarily out of Huntsville alongside its Missile and Weapon Systems division headquarters, to ensure a unique, state-of-the-art offering is delivered on time.

“Boeing’s NGI proposal delivers unmatched performance, affordability and reliability for the nation and the warfighter,” stated Norm Tew, Missile and Weapon Systems vice president and general manager, and Huntsville site senior executive for Boeing. “Building upon our prior investments and proven technologies, our innovative proposal offers a creative, compelling and game-changing technical approach to outpace, out-innovate, deter and defeat rapidly evolving advanced threats.”

Boeing already directly employs more than 3,000 people in the Yellowhammer State, with approximately 5,400 employees and retirees being residents of the state. However, the company’s economic impact is much larger than those impressive numbers alone.

As of 2018, Boeing generated an estimated $2.3 billion of economic activity in the state annually. The company spent $606 million with nearly 200 suppliers, supporting about 18,000 direct and indirect jobs as of the latest available data.

The company’s NGI proposal could be key to continued job growth in Alabama.

“This program will create 1,000 new Boeing, supplier and other local jobs across the regional economy,” concluded Tew. “Boeing looks forward to continuing its strong relationship with Alabama, which spans nearly 60 years.”

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

43 mins ago

Navy considering Mobile as location to dismantle retired nuclear aircraft carrier

The U.S. Navy has added the city of Mobile to the list of possible locations for where it will dismantle the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.

The Navy has commenced a “scoping period” during which the feasibility of using Mobile will be considered, and public comments are being welcomed. The period for the public to comment will last from August 12 until September 11.

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Navy will not be able to hold in-person meetings, so any citizen with comments or questions on the proposed dismantling will have to submit their thoughts online or through the postal service.

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As noted on the Navy’s website on the dismantling, “The removal of the nuclear fuel from the decommissioned ex-Enterprise (CVN 65) reactor plants has already taken place and is not part of the proposed action.”

If the Navy decides to undertake the method of dismantlement that facilities at the Port of Mobile are capable of providing, then Alabama’s port city would be competing with facilities in Brownsville, Texas, and Newport News, Virginia.

The Navy is also considering three other alternatives for dealing with the ex-Enterprise that, if chosen, would mean Mobile is out of the running.

According to the Navy, the Enterprise was first commissioned in 1961 and sailed over one million miles during its more than 50 years of service. The ship was decommissioned in 2017.

More information on the project can be accessed here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

57 mins ago

National Right to Life Committee endorses Republican Jerry Carl in AL-01

Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl, the Republican nominee in Alabama’s First Congressional District, announced on Wednesday that he has been endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).

Carol Tobias, president of the NRLC, stated that Carl is “a strong advocate for life” and supports “pro-life legislation, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would protect unborn children who can feel pain by prohibiting abortion at 20 weeks, a point by which the unborn child is capable of experiencing great pain when being killed by dismemberment or other late term abortion methods.”

“This endorsement reflects your commitment to strengthening a culture of life throughout the nation and in the U.S. Congress. We look forward to working with you to protect the most vulnerable members of the human family,” she wrote to Carl.

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Carl, after winning the GOP primary runoff last month, will face Democrat James Averhart in November’s general election.

“I am humbled to earn the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee,” Carl said in a statement. “The NRLC has been a consistent advocate for the unborn, and I look forward to working with them to continue advancing the pro-life cause as we push back against liberal activists who are pushing abortion on demand. In Congress, I will work tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable members of the human family, and I will never waiver from my stance of being 100% pro-life.”

This comes after Carl last week was endorsed by the Alabama Forestry Association.

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

2 hours ago

July small business owner survey shows lack of optimism, increased uncertainty amid modest financial gains

In a July study conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), America’s small business owners reported a 14% month over month drop in their expectations the economy will improve even as many firms reported faring slightly better amid loosened coronavirus restrictions.

Overall, there was a decrease of seven points in the NFIB Uncertainty Index and a decrease of 1.8 points in the NFIB Optimism Index.

The categories in which businesses saw minor gains were earnings, hiring and capital outlays. NFIB State of Alabama director Rosemary Elebash focused on the positive aspects in her comments on the study.

“Our members are seeing positive signs of businesses recovering and operating while still under the COVID-19 emergency orders,” Elebash said in a release on Wednesday.

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NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg in a statement accompanying the release of the study remarked, “Small business represents nearly half of the GDP and this month we saw a dip in optimism. There is still plenty of work to be done to get businesses back to pre-crisis numbers.”

The NFIB report also showed continued demand for skilled workers that has not been met; 27% of businesses surveyed reported having job openings for skilled workers that they could not fill.

A release from the group highlighted that a “net negative 28% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past 3 months.”

“Even with states reopening, sales are often lower due to business restrictions, social distancing requirements, and a still-reduced willingness of consumers to go out and mingle with the general population,” the report continued.

Elebash made further comments on the current state of the economy in Alabama, saying she hopes to see the unemployment rate continue to drop.

“July’s tax revenues grew by 4.27% after two months of declines. Alabama’s unemployment rate fell to 7.5% percent in June, a big improvement from April’s high of 13.8%, and we hope to see another drop in the jobless rate when July’s numbers are released,” she stated.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95