The Wire

  • Three takeaways from Alabama’s Runoff Election


    With Alabama’s primary election runoffs now in the books, here are three takeaways from the results.

    North Alabama has spoken.
    When this election cycle began, it became evident that north Alabama saw a window of opportunity to increase its influence.  The results from the Republican primary runoff have shown the electorate in that area of the state was eager to flex its muscle.

    Will Ainsworth pulled out an impressive come-from-behind victory in the Lt. Governor’s race. Steve Marshall enjoyed a resounding win in his bid to retain the Attorney General’s office.

  • On Roby’s win: One false media narrative dies, a new one is born


    Like Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts comic strip fame repeatedly pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as he lines up to kick it, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) once again has shown you can’t beat her in a Republican primary.

    Similar to when she defeated “Gather Your Armies” Rick Barber in the 2010 GOP primary and “Born Free American Woman” Becky Gerritson in the 2016 GOP primary, Roby defeated former Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright for a second time on Tuesday night, this time by a whopping 36 points.

    Heading into yesterday, many national media reporters were sent into Alabama’s second congressional district looking at the possibility that Roby might have to answer to a revolt for not sticking with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the infamous Billy Bush weekend during the 2016 presidential campaign.

  • Mo Brooks Wins FreedomWorks’ Prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award

    Excerpt from a Rep. Mo Brooks news release:

    Tuesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) was one of only 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives awarded the prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award by FreedomWorks, a leading conservative organization with more than six million members nationwide. Only members of Congress who score better than 90% on the FreedomWorks scorecard receive the FreedomFighter Award. Congressman Brooks’ FreedomWorks score was in the top 4% of all Congressmen in 2017.

    Brooks said, “FreedomWorks is a leading organization in the conservative movement. I thank them for their work keeping members of Congress accountable and scoring key House floor votes which helps the American people better understand the impact of those votes. I was proud to receive the prestigious FreedomWorks 2017 FreedomFighter Award for my voting record in 2017. If America is to maintain its place as the greatest country in world history, more members of Congress must fight for the foundational principles that made America great. I’m fighting in Congress for those principles, and I’m glad to have a partner as effective as FreedomWorks in the fight.”

2 months ago

Alabama boy drowns in rough surf along Florida’s Gulf Coast


A 5-year-old Alabama boy died after getting caught up in rough surf on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The News Herald reports Christian Doyle of Dothan, Alabama, was one of three swimmers pulled from the water off Panama City Beach on Saturday evening. Officials say single red surf warning signs were flying at the time, notifying beachgoers of the poor conditions.


Panama City Beach fire rescue crews and a bystander performed CPR on the boy, but he died a short time later at a hospital.

The conditions of the other two swimmers, who were also from Dothan, were not immediately available.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 months ago

Alabama police officer fired following drug, theft charges

(Dothan Police Dept.)

A police officer in Alabama accused of stealing drugs has been fired.

Dothan Police Sgt. Jonathan Whaley was arrested April 17 on charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and theft of property. Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish tells the Dothan Eagle that the officer was fired Friday.


Parrish says the officer was taken into custody last week when two supervisors noticed he was acting strange. He was tested for drugs, and his patrol car was searched. Police found Xanax, Tylenol and codeine they believe the officer stole while responding to a medical call.

Whaley is out on bail. His lawyer, Adam Parker, said the officer resigned before he was fired. Whaley has 10 days to appeal.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

4 months ago

Instead of belittling student protestors, let us embrace them with our conservative compassion and core beliefs


This week, the reports of students taking to the streets to demand Congress enact gun-control legislation dominated the news. While some people argue about the issues of gun control and others debate the size of the student movement itself, the very real fact is that many young people across Alabama and the nation are forming their political opinions – right now.

Many of the students are scared, and preying on their fear is a special sort of political predator. Those political opportunists have manipulated the young people to suit and push their own agenda.

For instance, this past Saturday, organizer Kenneth Sharpton Glasgow led an anti-gun rally through the streets of downtown Dothan. The following day, Glasgow was booked into the Houston County Jail on charges of capital murder for his involvement in the shooting death of a 23-year- old woman. One can reasonably conclude that Glasgow has disingenuous interest in gun control, and that his rally was motivated by some other political agenda.


I was not there. I do not know what agenda he may have promoted, but I have no doubt that students and parents alike were in attendance and were supportive of his efforts.

In response to last weekend’s student marches, I’ve seen and heard conservatives in the various media platforms utter an all-too-often uniform response: Let’s make fun of or belittle the students for demanding change.

Notice what I said: The students are demanding change, and as well they should. They have every right to be concerned about their own safety, and they should have every expectation that we, as leaders of the free world, will come up with a solution to protect them. Instead of embracing their concerns, though, too many Republicans and conservatives alike are ostracizing the students for their beliefs.

Galatians 6:10 reminds us that “as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone.”

These students held signs that said catchy, but in my opinion misinformed things, such as “Fight Crime, Defeat the NRA” and “Hey GOP, how did you NAZI [not see] this coming?” Others held signs that said, “I don’t feel safe at my school.”

To the latter, let me say, as a conservative Republican, I am sorry you do not feel safe at school. I hear your concerns and impassioned pleas. They do not fall on deaf ears. Trouble is, those students holding the signs expressing their fear and concern are also reading those signs belittling the NRA and the GOP.

And the loudest conservative response to all of them seems to be: “Suck it up, buttercup.”

What an opportunity we are missing.

No, they may not vote in the next election cycle, but they will one day. This is a great opportunity for conservatives across the nation to embrace the legitimate concerns of students and mentor them, such that they understand that gun control is no more the solution to school shootings as car control would be to DUI-related fatalities.

Instead of alienating them, let us engage them with conversations about adequate school resource officers and let us work to disarm their fears about the inanimate object that is – a gun. Instead of belittling these students, let us embrace them with our conservative compassion and our core beliefs – the belief that all life is valuable and worth protecting; the belief that a Constitutional right to bear arms is no more or less valuable than another’s right to free speech; the belief that all men are created equal and that age does not make us somehow more valuable; and that we truly do love our neighbors.

Younger generations are watching, and right now the conservative response is turning them away from our belief system. For their sake, I hope we change our response so we can educate them on the complexity of the issues and the benefits and necessity of the Second Amendment.

For the nation’s sake, I hope we can engage the youth of today, mentoring them for the benefit of tomorrow.

Walt Merrell is the district attorney for the 22 nd Judicial Circuit (Covington County) of Alabama.

4 months ago

Alabama man charged in connection with 91-year-old woman’s death

Police in Alabama say a man has been charged in connection with the death of a 91-year-old woman.

Dothan police said in a news release Sunday that 58-year-old Joe Nathan Duncan was charged with capital murder in the death of 91-year-old Mabel Fowler.


Police say they received a call of a possible death at a residence Saturday. Once officers arrived, it was apparent that it was a crime scene.

Throughout the course of the investigation, police located, interviewed and charged Duncan. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

(Image: Dothan Police Department)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

11 months ago

Alabama National Guard Unit Called Into Active Duty

Photo: Alabama National Guard website
Photo: Alabama National Guard website

As reported by WKRG News, an Alabama National Guard unit has been called into active duty.

Officials have confirmed that the 186th Engineer Company, based in Dothan, is preparing for deployment. While information involving the exact location of deployment has not been released, we do know that the unit will be serving under the U.S. Central Command.

The group is composed of 160 members trained in constructing airfields, berms, building foundations, and roads.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave soldiers of the 186th as they gear up to serve our country.

12 months ago

Dothan CEO Appointed Top Army Civilian Aide

Courtesy of BCA: Acting Secretary of Army Robert M. Speer, left, presents BCA Chairman Jeff Coleman with his flag of office as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Alabama (South) (U.S. Army photo)
Courtesy of BCA: Acting Secretary of Army Robert M. Speer, left, presents BCA Chairman Jeff Coleman with his flag of office as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Alabama (South) (U.S. Army photo)

Jeff Coleman, a Dothan resident and CEO of Coleman Worldwide Moving, has been named Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Alabama (South). Also a member of the Business Council of Alabama, Coleman received the award at the CASA investor ceremony on July 20.

According to the Business Council of Alabama, “CASAs promote good relations between the Army and the communities he or she serves and they advise the civilian Army secretary on regional issues. Each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories have an appointed CASA, who generally is a business or civic leader who possesses a keen interest in the welfare of the Army and his or her communities.”

As CEO of one of the 30 largest private companies in Alabama, Coleman is an active community leader. In addition to serving with the BCA, Coleman also holds leadership positions with the American Moving and Storage Association, the Alabama Trucking Association, the Dothan Industrial Development Board, and the Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center.

Coleman also has served with the Friends of Fort Rucker for more than 10 years. Friends of Fort Rucker is a group of business leaders who advocate on behalf of the major aviation base. Coleman told the Dothan Eagle that he hopes to maintain funding for Fort Rucker and and promote veterans’ causes in the area.

CASAs serve two year terms and may serve for up to 10 years before being recognized as an Emeritus. Coleman succeeds AAA Cooper Transportation Chairman Mack Dove, who received the Emeritus title on January 1.

Coleman is excited about his position, and sees it as a way for him to “serve [his] country and pay it forward to the men and women in uniform.”

1 year ago

Hoover Tactical Good Shot of the Month: Alabama Church Staffer Fires, Halts Attempted Robbery

DOTHAN, Ala. — An attempted robbery of members of a Dothan Church came to a screeching halt Sunday night when an armed church staffer fired upon the suspect as he tried to escape.

26-year-old Steffon Parreese Valentez Tolver allegedly stole $50 from a member of Crossroads Baptist Church before trying to rob a staffer. When Tolver made his attempt, the staffer shot him in the chest with his handgun. Tolver then fled out the back door of the church to the parking lot where he was later declared dead by the Houston County Coroner.

The Dothan Police Department is still investigating the case.

According to a report from the Dothan Eagle, Tolver had a previous criminal history in Alabama. In 2011, Tolver pled guilty to a first-degree robbery charge and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The church staffer killed Tolver with a handgun of unknown make and model. U.S. Federal Courts have only recently guaranteed the individual right to own a handgun. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the right to own a handgun is constitutionally protected, and it incorporated that right against the states in 2010.

The Hoover Tactical Shot of the Month highlights everyday Americans utilizing their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and the ones they love. You can learn more about Hoover Tactical Firearms here.

1 year ago

Alabama Lawmaker Wants to Make It Easier for Alabama Music Fans to Attend Concerts

Lord Huron performs at the inaugural Sloss Music & Arts Festival in 2015. (photo: Josh Weichman)
Lord Huron performs at the inaugural Sloss Music & Arts Festival in 2015. (photo: Josh Weichman)

DOTHAN, Ala. – Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan) is giving Alabama music fans a reason to get excited this legislative session.

Rep. Lee has introduced legislation to guarantee Alabama consumers a choice in how they can resell, transfer or give away the tickets they purchase for concerts and other live entertainment events.

Increasingly, Alabama concert promoters and venues are not permitting consumers the option to resell or transfer tickets they have purchased, and this forces consumers to risk hundreds of dollars when they buy tickets several months before an event.

Fans who purchase tickets months in advance of show often face restriction in transferring tickets or giving them to friends if they have a conflict and cannot attend the event. HB 265 aims to give Alabama consumers a choice when purchasing and transferring tickets, and not restricting how ticket holders use their tickets.

Venues often require the actual ticket purchaser to show an ID or the credit card used to purchase those tickets in order to get into an event. These rules make it difficult for consumers to transfer their tickets to friends, resell their tickets or even donate tickets to charity should they not be able to attend the event themselves.

HB 265, the Ticketholder Rights Act, would ensure that a ticketholder may purchase a transferable ticket if he or she chooses to do so without penalty. Additionally, ticket providers must give consumers the opportunity to purchase a ticket that can be given away, traded or resold.

In a recent poll conducted by Zogby Analytics, 84 percent of Alabamians believe that they should have the freedom and choice to use their tickets how they see fit (including resell, gifting and donations) and an event organizer should not be permitted to prevent them from sharing or reselling their tickets. According to the poll, 73 percent of Alabamians also believe that when they purchase a ticket, they own it and it is their property.

Last month, similar legislation was introduced in the Virginia General Assembly to protect Virginia consumers from restrictive ticketing practices conducted by big ticket companies. The Virginia bill is currently in the process of being transmitted to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe for his consideration.

The Ticketholder Rights Act will ensure that music fans across Alabama have the flexibility to enjoy live entertainment experiences without facing penalties and HB 265 seeks to allow consumers the choice in how they use their ticket.

2 years ago

3 Alabama malls take a stand: ‘we’re closed on Thanksgiving Day’


For the past several years, retailers have pushed up the start time for Black Friday shopping earlier and earlier. Now, it has gotten to the point where sales do not begin on Black Friday – they begin on Thanksgiving day.

But one company is breaking the cycle. CBL Associates & Properties, owner of the Huntsville Parkway Place Mall, Gadsden Mall, and Dothan’s Wiregrass Commons Mall, will be closed on Thanksgiving Day this year.

Stephen Lebovitz, President and CEO of CBL, said that the decision was motivated by both sound business logic and family values.

“We want to bring back the excitement of Black Friday shopping as the true start of the holiday shopping season and allow our employees, retailers, and shoppers to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with their families,” Lebovitz told “After evaluating feedback from our mall employees and retail partners as well as input from our shoppers, we determined that this was the best decision for our properties.”

Mall common areas in the three Alabama properties will be closed on Thanksgiving until 6 a.m. on Black Friday. The malls’ attached movie theaters, restaurants, and anchor stores will still have the option to open their doors on Thanksgiving day.

CBL’s announcement comes on the heels of a similar one from Minnesota’s Mall of America: the country’s largest shopping mall.

“We think Thanksgiving is a day for families and for people we care about,” Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior vice president of marketing, told The Associated Press. “We want to give this day back.”


2 years ago

Key Army aviation training center set to open in Alabama



DOTHAN, Ala. – CAE USA, a company specializing in aviation training, plans to begin offering flight training to U.S. Army aviators at a training facility opening in Dothan next year as part of the company’s $75 million investment in the state.

Tampa-based CAE USA also announced it has taken delivery of the first three Grob G120TP aircraft that will be used in the U.S. Army Fixed-Wing Flight Training program at the Alabama center. The company said it has begun preparing its initial cadre of instructor pilots for the program.

“Our new Dothan Training Center will provide the Army with a modern, flexible and cost-effective training solution specifically designed for the Army’s fixed-wing aviators,” said Ray Duquette, president and general manager of CAE USA.

“The state of Alabama, Department of Commerce and all the local government organizations in the Wiregrass area have been incredibly supportive and instrumental in the creation of what will be a truly world-class training facility,” he added.

Ray Duquette is president and general manager of CAE USA.
Ray Duquette is president and general manager of CAE USA.

Beginning next spring, the company’s new 79,000-square-foot center will provide comprehensive training for more than 450 U.S. Army fixed-wing aviators each year, as well as Air Force crews flying C-12 twin turboprop aircraft.

CAE’s new Dothan Training Center stands a little more than 20 miles from Fort Rucker and the U.S. Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence, the headquarters of Army Aviation and primary location for Army helicopter flight training for more than five decades.

“Alabama has more 100 years in aerospace history, and I am proud to see CAE make progress on the construction of the new Dothan Training Center located at the Dothan Regional Airport,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “This world-class training facility will train Army and Air Force pilots to keep our nation safe.”


Construction is under way at CAE’s Dothan Training Center, and the facility should be operational in early 2017. CAE said the center at Dothan Regional will offer military aviators integrated classroom instruction, simulator training, and live-flight training all in one location.

To support the program, the company is manufacturing a suite of next-generation training devices, including C-12 King Air full-flight simulators. CAE is also developing what it calls “motherships,” which are simulators with an innovative “roll on/roll off” cockpit design that enables cockpits of various aircraft types to be used in the simulators for training.

The company will design and manufacture two Grob G120TP integrated procedures trainers, as well as desktop trainers and courseware. The G120TP is a two-seat turboprop training aircraft built by Germany-based Grob.

“CAE is a global leader in aviation training, and the new, state-of-the-art training center in Dothan shows its confidence in Alabama,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “In addition, this project highlights the state’s critical role in preparing military pilots for the important work they do.”


Planning for this project dates back to 2015, when CAE was awarded the U.S. Army contract to provide comprehensive fixed-wing training services. CAE is constructing the Dothan facility as part of the original agreement, which was awarded by the Army as a base contract with six one-year options through March 2024.

The total value of the contract over eight years is expected to be approximately $200 million.

The Army Fixed-Wing Flight Training program prepares experienced Army rotary-wing aviators to fly the branch’s fleet of more than 350 fixed-wing aircraft. The Army and CAE are also implementing a new training program so that entry-level Army students can begin their career track to fixed-wing aircraft sooner.

The program serves as the formal training unit for Army C-12/RC-12 King Air recurrent training, as well as providing annual training to Air Force C-12 King Air pilots.

AIDT, the state’s job-training agency, and the Alabama Department of Transportation joined the Governor’s Office and Commerce on the project.

Mike Schmitz is mayor of Dothan.
Mike Schmitz is mayor of Dothan.

Local organizations involved in the project are the Dothan/Houston County Airport Authority, the Dale and Houston county commissions, the City of Dothan, the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp., and the Wiregrass Foundation.

CAE USA is also subcontracting work to a range of Alabama-based companies, including Engineered Systems Inc., Navigator Development Group Inc., System Dynamics International, Right Direct, and Aero-One.

“We are extremely excited to see a world-wide leader in aviation training locate in the Wiregrass region,” Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz said. “Through the team led by Governor Robert Bentley including our local, state, and federal officials and partners, this project was made possible to bring new technology, innovation, and high-paying jobs to the area.”

2 years ago

Study reveals the nine Alabama cities with the most speed traps

Driving in traffic
As part of a nationwide analysis, the researchers at generated a study that revealed the nine cities in Alabama with the most speed traps.

Coming in a clear first is Madison, Alabama with over 39 confirmed speed traps per 100,000 residents. The entire top nine is listed below.

1. Madison – 39.3
2. Decatur – 26.87
3. Auburn – 25.61
4. Montgomery – 22.85
5. Hoover – 22.59
6. Mobile – 15.39
7. Florence – 14.98
8. Huntsville – 14.50
9. Dothan 13.24

Although not on the list, Anniston’s intersection of Quintard Avenue and 22nd Street was deemed the top speed trap spot in the state. A street view of that intersection is pictured below.

The intersection of Quintard and 22nd (c/o Google Maps street view)
The intersection of Quintard and 22nd (c/o Google Maps street view)

CheapCarInsurance analyzed 15 years of driver-reported National Speed Trap Exchange data and determined viable speed traps by including only those speed traps that had more “yes” votes than “no” in order to ensure that they were not including any speed traps that were deemed “not a speed trap” by the NSTE community. For the “Most Driver-Confirmed Speed Traps Per State,” the site pulled the speed trap locations with the most “yes” votes from our data that we were able to effectively geotag that had at least 25 “yes” votes and fewer than five “no” votes.

For the complete view of the study and explanations, you can visit Cheap Car Insurance’s website here.

2 years ago

Alabamians ranked among the most charitable people in the country

This image doesn't have much to do with anything, but it sure does feel good
This image doesn't have much to do with anything, but it sure does feel good
This image doesn’t have much to do with anything, but it sure does feel good

It’s no surprise that Alabamians love to give. The state has long had a reputation for its Southern hospitality, but have you ever wondered which Alabama cities are the most generous? Well wonder no longer. recently studied how much each state in the country gives and donates to charity. Alabama is the third-most charitable state in the entire country. Alabamians give 4.87% of their adjusted gross incomes to charity, which translates to over $3 billion dollars of giving. Utah tops the list, giving an incredible 6.61% of their income to charity. Mississippi ranked second with a giving ratio of 5.04%.

The research also gave data for the cities and municipalities that are the most giving in each state, and made a list of the ten cities that have the biggest hearts in Alabama. The cities of Anniston and Oxford topped the list, giving 5.5% of its adjusted gross income, or $57 million, to charity.

Here is the full list of the most charitable metropolitan areas in Alabama:

10. Auburn-Opelika
9. Mobile
8. Birmingham-Hoover
7. Florence-Muscle Shoals
6. Gadsden
5. Dothan
4. Decatur
3. Tuscaloosa
2. Montgomery
1. Anniston-Oxford

The giving ratio for each metropolitan area and state was determined as the percentage of residents’ adjusted gross income given to charity determined by reports of charitable deductions on income tax forms. A person’s adjusted gross income is their total income minus business expenses, unreimbursed medical expenses, retirement contributions, and other deductions.

The top ten most charitable cities in Alabama are ranked in order from lowest to highest giving ratios. But as some cities on the list are much larger than others, they may have a smaller giving ratio but give more actual money than others. For example, Auburn-Opelika came in at number 10 because their giving ratio is 4.61%, but that translates to $87 million, which is $30 million more than Anniston-Oxford, which came in at number one. And Birmingham-Hoover, the largest area represented on the list, gave over $1 billion to charity, but that number is only a 4.78% giving ratio.

Regardless of how much your metropolitan area gives, or if your city was on the list at all, we now have hard evidence that Alabamians have big hearts and love to give.

2 years ago

Alabama city ranked one of the best places in America to start a business

Dothan, Alabama (Photo: WikiCommons)
Dothan, Alabama (Photo: WikiCommons)

Launching a business can be difficult, but one small city in Alabama is doing everything it can to make life easier on entrepreneurs. WalletHub, a company that describes itself as a “one-stop destination for all the tools and information consumers and small business owners need to make better financial decisions and save money,” ranked the best places to start a business, and Dothan, Alabama, made it into the Top 10.

Dothan is the eighth best city in the country to start a business, according to WalletHub. The site analyzed data from 1,268 small-sized cities to determine their rankings. WalletHub’s sample only included cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. According to the site, Holland, Michigan is the number one place to start a business.

The cities were analyzed in three areas: 1) Business Environment, 2) Access to Resources and 3) Business Costs. Under these categories, more specific characteristics were studied, such as average growth in the number of small businesses, the prevalence of investors, affordability of office space, and corporate taxes.

WalletHub’s Top 10 small cities to start a business are:

1. Holland, Michigan
2. North Chicago, Illinois
3. Brighton, New York
4. Jefferson City, Missouri
5. La Vergne, Tennessee
6. Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
7. Clearfield, Utah
8. Dothan, Alabama
9. Cheyenne, Wyoming
10. Deerfield Beach, Florida

Dothan was ranked so high primarily for the low cost of operating a business in the city. WalletHub also reported that Dothan had the cheapest office spaces in the country.

Of the 1,268 cities ranked on WalletHub’s list, thirteen came from Alabama, but none of the other twelve came anywhere near Dothan’s spot. The other Alabama cities included on the list are: Tuscaloosa (133); Florence (247); Auburn (263); Bessemer (280); Decatur (427); Hoover (436); Opelika (500); Alabaster (511); Phenix City (602); Vestavia Hills (645); Madison (718); and Enterprise (1147).

Head over to WalletHub to check out the full list.

2 years ago

Study: Alabama’s 2016 peanut crop may be so massive there won’t be enough room to store it

Peanut harvest in Dothan, Alabama (Photo: Steph Mantrom)
Peanut harvest in Dothan, Alabama (Photo: Steph Mantrom)
Peanut harvest in Dothan, Alabama (Photo: Steph Mantrom)

DOTHAN, Ala. — Peanut fans (not the Charlie Brown variety) better be hungry, because there’s about to be a lot more peanuts out there with nowhere to go.

According to a white paper released last month by the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness, Alabama and other peanut-producing states are expected to produce more peanuts in 2016 than ever before. Farmers are expected to produce 1.44 million tons of peanuts by August 1, and the country doesn’t have enough warehouse space to hold that volume.

The National Center for Peanut Competitiveness explained the rise of peanut production: “Given that cotton does not have a commodity program and only relied on crop insurance for its safety net, the recent and forecasted extremely low cotton prices coupled with the other commodities’ low prices has forced Southern farmers to look towards peanuts as the safety net for their farming operations. These factors led to an increased 2015 peanut production, which has created an expected excess supply of peanut for 2016.”

In Alabama alone last year, peanut farmers harvested 400 million pounds of peanuts (about 14% of the expected gross for 2016), which were valued at $118 million. Peanuts in Alabama are grown on 189,000 acres of farmland.

Alabama is in the center of peanut-production country. About half of all the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, Alabama, which is also home to the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. The radius around Dothan includes much of Georgia as well. If Alabama, Georgia, and the rest of the South produces the expected amount of peanuts this year, the region is looking at 627,000 more tons of peanuts than warehouses can hold.

Warehouse storage space is important to peanut farmers for monetary reasons as well. If farmers store their product in approved warehouses or on-farm facilities, they can apply for marketing assistance loans, which help farmers distribute and sell their peanuts when the market is more favorable.

Of course, the peanut is historically very special to Alabama. George Washington Carver discovered his many uses for the peanut while teaching at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. Carver’s discoveries brought him and Tuskegee into the national spotlight.

3 years ago

Alabamian horrified to discover massive ‘horned devil’ caterpillar outside home

source Wiki Commons

(Video Above: Two Alabamians discover a Hickory Horned Devil in their yard)

DOTHAN, AL– Two Alabamians were shocked last week to find a Hickory Horned Devil in their South Alabama yard. The caterpillar’s physical size alone is enough for predators to think twice about taking on the dragon-looking creature, but despite its spiky horns and enormous length, the Devil is harmless.

The Citheronia regalis, commonly known as the Hickory Horned Devil, lives in the Eastern U.S., from New York to Central Florida. The caterpillar hosts on hickory (where it receives its name), as well as walnuts, persimmon, sycamore, sweet gums and a number of other trees. After a bountiful summer of eating, the caterpillars go underground and remain there until spring when they reemerge as the Royal Walnut Moth. The moth is one of the largest in North America, with a wingspan up to 6 inches.

As seen in the video above, the Hickory Horned Devil occupies the length of a hand and moves quickly, thanks to its length.

This beast of a caterpillar isn’t the only thing crawling around Alabama, with the New Guinea flatworm hitting the Gulf Coast and Super Lice feeding off of unsuspecting back-to-school children, the Yellowhammer State seems to be an epicenter of some of mother nature’s most bizarre creations.

3 years ago

Alabama woman found guilty of 24 counts of absentee voter fraud

Voter fraud

DOTHAN, Ala. — A Houston County woman was found guilty Wednesday of 24 counts of voter fraud for promoting illegal absentee voting, according to the Dothan Eagle.

Olivia Reynolds, 66, was convicted after the jury deliberated for a mere hour.

Reynolds was arrested in May 2014 after an investigation into a 2013 county election she worked revealed evidence of voter fraud.

In the August election, Commissioner Amos Newsome, for whom Reynolds worked, beat challenger Lamesa Danzey by 14 votes. Newsome received 119 of the 124 absentee votes that were cast, but Danzey received more votes than Newsome at the polls, prompting the closer look.

Reynolds is the third suspect in the election fraud investigation to go to trial.

“This case is about the sanctity of the ballot,” said Assistant District Attorney Banks Smith. “They not only defrauded Lamesa Danzey, but all of us when they stole that election… When the integrity of the ballot is lost we all lose.”

During the trial witnesses testified they never wanted to vote for Newsome, yet their ballot was cast for the incumbent.

The Alabama code lays out the penalties for anyone convicted of absentee voter fraud.

Any person who willfully changes an absentee voter’s ballot to the extent that it does not reflect the voter’s true ballot, any person who willfully votes more than once by absentee ballot in the same election, any person who willfully votes for another voter or falsifies absentee ballot applications or verification documents so as to vote absentee, or any person who solicits, encourages, urges, or otherwise promotes illegal absentee voting, shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a Class C felony. Any person who willfully aids any person unlawfully to vote an absentee ballot, any person who knowingly and unlawfully votes an absentee ballot, and any voter who votes both an absentee and a regular ballot at any election shall be similarly punished

Ms. Reynolds will be sentenced on September 15th.

As concerns of voter fraud have risen across the country many states, including Alabama, have established voter ID laws and other safeguards.

Since June 3, 2014, to participate in an election, a citizen must be registered to vote and present a valid form of photo ID.

The relatively new law was rooted in a Republican campaign promise in 2010, the year the party took control of the State House for the first time since Reconstruction. It passed in 2011 and first went into use during last year’s primary elections.

According to the law, any of the following documents qualify as a valid voter ID:
• Driver’s license
• Alabama photo voter ID card;
• State issued ID (any state);
• Federal issued ID or US passport
• Employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board, or other entity of this state
• Student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)
• Military ID
• Tribal ID.

To receive a free Alabama photo voter ID card, a citizen must be a registered voter and must not have one of the valid forms of photo ID listed above.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has worked with the State Legislature over the past year to ensure any Alabama citizen who needs a free voter ID will have the opportunity to receive one.

3 years ago

Alabama police officers apprehend man trafficking LSD-laced candies

(Photo: Dothan Police)
(Photo: Dothan Police)
(Photo: Dothan Police)

DOTHAN, Ala. — A Dothan man faces a felony drug charge after police found Smarties candies suspected to be laced with a compound similar to LSD in his car on Friday, August 28th.

Dothan police were performing a routine traffic stop Friday evening when they found the drugs in the vehicle driven by Zachary McMurphy Cobb. The drugs were discovered in a bubble wrapped package containing multiple rolls of Smarties candies. Police believe these candies are laced with 25C-NBOMe, a synthetic chemical compound similar to LSD.

The findings at the traffic stop led to Dothan police obtaining a search warrant for Cobb’s residence on East Saunders Road. At his home, police found a handgun, marijuana and multiple unknown powders, suspected to be MDMA, also known as ecstasy or Molly.

Cobb was arrested and charged with felony unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Additional criminal charges are pending in the ongoing investigation.


3 years ago

Alabama’s top 10 most Redneck cities

[tps_header]Alabama’s Top 10 most redneck cities[/tps_header]

DOTHAN, Ala. — Website, which calls itself a “regional infotainment” site, developed a set of criteria to determine which of Alabama’s 439 cities and towns are the most Redneck.

“Is there anything really wrong with being called a redneck?” the website says. “It’s a part of our culture. Rednecks are hailed as being great in our song lyrics. They’re prominently featured in reality television. There are even video games about rednecks. So, you’d think people who are rednecks would be proud to be called a redneck.”

To compile the list, RoadSnacks weighed the number of dive bars per city, number of tobacco stores per city, number of guns and ammo stores per city, and number of Walmarts per capita.

Though they ranked the top 100, the top 10 received special recognition. Check them out in our slideshow. Click all the way through to discover the 10 LEAST Redneck cities, as well!

[tps_title]1. Dothan[/tps_title]

Crappie shack

Population: 44,662
Gun stores per capita: 1st
Fishing shops per capita: 1st
Mobile home parks per capita: 5th in the state
Walmarts per capita: 5th in Alabama


[tps_title]2. Haleyville[/tps_title]

Bank’s BBQ and Catfish, Haleyville, AL
Bank’s BBQ and Catfish, Haleyville, AL

Population: 2,816
High school graduation rate: 70%
Tobacco stores per capita: 31st highest
Walmarts per capita: 1st in Alabama


[tps_title]3. Albertville[/tps_title]


Population: 13,237
High school graduation rate: 70%
Tobacco stores per capita: 21st in Alabama
Mobile home parks per capita: 36th in the state

[tps_title]4. Cullman[/tps_title]

Lake Catoma, Cullman, AL
Lake Catoma, Cullman, AL

Population: 10,011
Gun stores per capita: 7th in Alabama
Fishing gear per capita: 3rd in the state
Tobacco stores per capita: 9th

[tps_title]5. Russellville[/tps_title]

The Speedy Pig, Russellville, AL
The Speedy Pig, Russellville, AL

Population: 6,535
Tobacco shops per capita: 31st in Alabama
Gun stores per capita in the region: 45th in the state


[tps_title]6. Florence[/tps_title]

Tobacco Express, Florence, AL
Tobacco Express, Florence, AL

Population: 25,760
Guns stores per capita: 4th in Alabama
Bars per capita and nearby: 10th most in the state
Tobacco shops per capita: 5th most

[tps_title]7. Clanton[/tps_title]

Boomerangs, Clanton, AL
Boomerangs, Clanton, AL

Population: 16,175
Fishing stores per capita and the area: 12th most in Alabama
High school graduation rate: 77%
Mobile home parks: 30th most

[tps_title]8. Moulton[/tps_title]

Moulton’s Walmart
Moulton’s Walmart

Population: 2,628
Fishing gear per capita: 22nd most in Alabama
Walmarts per capita: Tied, first in state
Bass Pro Shops coming: Soon

[tps_title]9. Boaz[/tps_title]

Boaz Tobacco Express
Boaz Tobacco Express

Population: 5,872
High school graduation rate: 77%
Gun stores per capita: 13th most in Alabama
Smoke shops per person: 21st in the state


[tps_title]10. Wetumpka[/tps_title]

Hog Rock BBQ, Wetumpka, AL
Hog Rock BBQ, Wetumpka, AL

Population: 5,116
High school graduation rate: 24%
Walmarts per capita: 5th most in Alabama
Fishing gear per person: 31st most


[tps_title]The 10 LEAST redneck cities:[/tps_title]

Drumroll please…

  1. Vestavia Hills
  2. Mountain Brook
  3. Huntsville
  4. Montgomery
  5. Birmingham




4 years ago

(Video) Alabama students set world record for largest hip-hop dance performance

A few weeks ago, we shared a list of world records that have Alabama connections. Thanks to students in Dothan, Ala., that list just got a little longer.

Last Wednesday, 2,000 Dothan City Schools students officially secured their spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest hip-hop dance performance. According to the Dothan Eagle, students practiced for eight weeks in anticipation of breaking the record previously set by a group of 1,000 people in Japan.

The event was organized in part by Patti Rutland Jazz’s outreach program, a program that seeks to provide art education for students at schools where funding may have been cut. Ben Vereen, Tony Award-winning dancer and actor, was present at the event.

Watch the video below:

(h/t Dothan Eagle)

5 years ago

The Most Business-Friendly Cities in Alabama: 11-20

Yellowhammer has teamed up with the Alabama Policy Institute to rank the business-friendliness of the state’s 50 largest cities. API’s researchers derived answers to the following questions: What cities have the best tax policy? Which have low costs of living and crime rates? What cities have experienced the most year-over-year population and job growth? What type of economic vitality do cities have, including the average incomes for local residents?

API’s Business-Friendly Formula is calculated as follows:

Economic Vitality (35% of overall score):
• Recent job growth (50% of Economic Vitality category)
• Residential population growth from 2010 to 2011(12.5%)
• Population growth from 2000 to 2010, divided by 10 (12.5%)
• Median per capita income (25%)

Business Tax Burden (30% of overall score):
• Business property taxes (70% of Business Tax Burden category)
• Local sales tax (30%)

Community Allure (20% of overall score):
• Cost of living index (35% of Community Allure category)
• Per capita violent crime rate (35%)
• Percent of adults age 25 or older with at least a high school diploma (15%)
• Average SAT 10 scores for 8th grade math and reading (15%)

Transportation Infrastructure (15% of overall score):
• Distance to primary commercial service airport (25% of Transportation Infrastructure category)
• Distance to commercial rail service (25%)
• Distance to port capable of handling container shipping (25%)
• Distance to Interstate Highway System (25%)

Last Wednesday we released 41-50, followed by 31-40 and 21-30. 11-20 are below. We’ll filling up with the top 10 tomorrow.

Most business-friendly cities in Alabama

5 years ago

Example of Potential Effect of Sequester on Alabama Jobs

The Alabama Department of Commerce has been gearing up for a major economic development announcement in Dothan on March 1. Governor Bentley was set to host a press conference at the Dothan Civic Center along with the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Dothan, and numerous other economic development groups.

Unfortunately, Yellowhammer has learned that the press conference is now off. The reason? Sequester. “The uncertain impact of the sequester is already scaring companies. This could really hurt our ability to create jobs,” one insider told Yellowhammer Thursday afternoon. The press conference is believed to have been to announce new jobs in the aviation sector, which would make sense considering the Dothan-Houston County Airport Authority’s participation in the announcement.

“I appreciate Mayor Schmitz and the Chamber leadership for their hard work in recruiting this new industry to Dothan,” said Rep. Martha Roby who represents the Second Congressional District where Dothan is located. “It is outrageous that President Obama’s sequestration scare tactics are causing this uncertainty and delaying much needed jobs from coming to the Wiregrass.”

This is the first of what could be many negative effects brought on by the sequester. More soon.