The Wire

  • Black Bear Sightings Continue to Increase in Alabama

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    Add Jackson, Limestone, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties to the growing list of black bear sightings in Alabama in 2018. In recent years, bears have also been recorded in Chambers, Elmore, Jefferson, Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa counties. These recent sightings are more evidence of the state’s expanding black bear population.

    Biologists from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources say the increase in sightings may be due to a combination of factors including changes in bear distribution, habitat fragmentation, seasonal movement and the summer mating season. However, most spring and summer bear sightings are of juvenile males being pushed out of their previous ranges by their mothers and other adult males.

    Historically, a small population of black bears have remained rooted in Mobile and Washington counties. Baldwin, Covington and Escambia counties on the Florida border host yet another population of bears. In northeast Alabama, bears migrating from northwest Georgia have established a small but viable population.

    “While seeing a black bear in Alabama is uncommon and exciting, it is no cause for alarm,” said Marianne Hudson, Conservation Outreach Specialist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “There has never been a black bear attack on a human in Alabama.”

    Black bears are typically secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction. Occasionally, a curious bear will explore a human-populated area in search of food.

    “If you are lucky enough to see a bear, simply leave it alone,” Hudson said.

  • Rep. Byrne Releases Statement on Russia

    From a Bradley Byrne news release:

    Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, this morning in Helsinki.

    Congressman Byrne said: “I applaud President Trump’s decision to start a dialogue with President Putin and I’m glad he is making it a priority. However, we must remember that Russia is not an ally – economically or militarily. They are an adversary. The United States should not tolerate actions by the Russians that intervene in our domestic affairs or pose a threat to our national security.”

  • Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Season Closes July 22

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division (MRD) announces the closure of Alabama state waters to the harvest of red snapper by private anglers and state-licensed commercial party boats at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 2018. The quota of 984,291 pounds issued under NOAA Fisheries’ Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) is expected to be met by the closure date.

    “Alabama anglers fished extremely hard on the good weather days during the season,” said Marine Resources Director Scott Bannon. “That level of effort, coupled with larger average-sized fish harvested this year as compared to last year, resulted in a daily harvest rate two times higher than 2017, which prompted an earlier than anticipated closure.

    “The purpose of the EFP was to demonstrate Alabama’s ability to establish a season and monitor landings within a fixed quota and I think we have shown we can do that,” said Bannon.

    Anglers are reminded of the following:

    — Possession of red snapper in Alabama waters while state waters are closed is prohibited regardless of where the fish were harvested.
    — Alabama anglers may fish in federal waters off the coast of Alabama (outside of 9 nm) and land in a state that is open to the landing of red snapper, but they must adhere to the open state’s rules and not transit in Alabama state waters with red snapper on board.
    — The season for federally-permitted charter for-hire vessels will close at 12:01 a.m. July 22.

3 years ago

Alabamians celebrate National Voter Registration Day

(Photo: Flickr)
(Photo: Flickr)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill joined members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Tuesday in declaring September 2015 “National Voter Registration Month” as well as September 22 National Voter Registration Day.

NASS members explained that they established September 22 as National Voter Registration Day as a “non-partisan means of encouraging voter participation and increasing awareness about state requirements and deadlines for voting.”

To “celebrate” National Voter Registration Day, Merrill implores Alabamians to register to vote, ensure their voter registration is up to date, and sign up for election reminders and updates. In addition, Merrill and other members of the NASS encourage participants in National Voter Registration Day to share their experiences online.

“To help promote National Voter Registration Day, Secretaries of State across the nation are challenging Americans to get registered to vote by leveraging the power of social media and viral video,” said Merrill.

National Voter Registration Day is using the hashtag #CelebrateNVRD on social media outlets to help spread the word and get more people to register to vote.

“Our goal is to encourage involvement within the electoral process,” Merrill concluded. “We want every person who is eligible to vote, as a citizen of Alabama, to have the privilege to do so.”

Another recent effort to encourage voter registration in Alabama includes Merrill recruiting the head football coaches of Alabama and Auburn to star in informational videos. The videos will appear on jumbotrons in Bryant-Denny and Jordan-Hare Stadiums throughout the season to spread the importance of voter registration.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL7)  also celebrated the day by encouraging younger voters to get registered for the first time.

“Our votes are our voice, and every eligible voter should make his or her voice heard,” said Sewell in a press release Tuesday. “It’s important that we encourage and engage younger voters. Historically, young adults ages 18-24 are less likely to vote as compared to older adults. Voting is one of our most fundamental rights. We cannot take it for granted.

“National Voter Registration Day encourages high school seniors to register to vote, and to become active and engaged citizens within their communities. As a daughter of Selma, I cannot forget the sacrifices that were made by the brave men and women who laid their lives on the line so that all Americans can enjoy their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote.

“We must honor that legacy by voting in each and every election – local, state, and federal. I am calling on our young people to register to vote. You are the future, and we need to hear your voices.”

To learn more about registering to vote or National Voter Registration Day, please visit www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org.


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3 years ago

September named ‘Voter Registration Month’ in Alabama

Voting Booths

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill joined members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) in declaring September 2015 “National Voter Registration Month” in a press release Tuesday, reminding citizens of the importance of exercising the right to vote.

NASS members explained that they established September as National Voter Registration Month as a “non-partisan means of encouraging voter participation and increasing awareness about state requirements and deadlines for voting.”

“The need for public information and education regarding voter registration and related deadlines is extremely critical as Alabama voters prepare to take part in the 2015 statewide election and the 2016 presidential election cycle,” said Secretary Merrill.

“Registering to vote empowers eligible citizens to exercise their right to vote on Election Day. I am thankful to all the Secretaries of State who are highlighting the importance of National Voter Registration Month and Day.”

NASS has also declared September 22, 2015, as National Voter Registration Day.

To “celebrate” National Voter Registration Month, Merrill implores Alabamians to register to vote, ensure their voter registration is up to date, and sign up for election reminders and updates.

“Our goal is to encourage involvement within the electoral process,” Merrill concluded. “We want every person who is eligible to vote, as a citizen of Alabama, to have the privilege to do so.”

Another recent effort to encourage voter registration in Alabama includes Merrill recruiting head football coaches of Alabama and Auburn to star in informational videos. These videos will appear on jumbotrons in Bryant-Denny and Jordan-Hare Stadiums during games this season in hopes of spreading the word and importance of voter registration.

Since June 3, 2014, to participate in an election, Alabamians must be registered to vote and present a valid form of photo ID at their polling place.

The relatively new law was rooted in a Republican campaign promise in 2010, the year that the party took control of the State House for the first time Reconstruction. It passed in 2011 and first went into use during 2014’s primary season.

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 photo I.D. from the state applicants must show they are a registered voter and bring one either a birth certificate, marriage record, Social Security Administration document, hospital or nursing home record, Medicare or Medicaid document, or an official school record or transcript.

To register to vote or find your polling place in Alabama, please visit: http://www.alabamavotes.gov/.


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4 years ago

Everything you need to know about voting in Alabama

(Photo: Flickr)
(Photo: Flickr)

On November 4, just a little over a month from now, Alabamians will file into polling places and cast their vote for the midterm elections. If you’re not registered to vote yet, you’ll want to do that before it’s too late. We’ve put together some important dates and information to think about as the elections approach.

Am I allowed to register to vote?

Well, that depends on how you answer these questions:

Are you a United States citizen? (correct answer: yes)
Do you live in Alabama? (correct answer: yes)
Will you be at least 18 years old on or before election day? (correct answer: yes)
Have you been disqualified from voting because of a felony? (correct answer: no)
Have you been declared mentally incompetent by a court? (correct answer: no)

Congratulations. You can vote.

How do I register, and when is the registration deadline?

October 20 is the last day you can register. Finding a place to register is easy. You can register at any state or county office that provides public assistance. You can even register while you’re renewing your driver’s license or getting a library card. There’s also a mail-in form you can download at alabamavotes.gov.

Where do I vote?

When you register, you’ll be assigned to a specific polling place. Luckily, alabamavotes.gov makes it simple to find out all of this important information. Click on “My polling place and registration status,” and you’ll quickly be able to find your voting location.

Do I need to bring anything with me when I vote?

Yes! I’m glad you asked. You need to bring photo identification to prove you are who you say you are.

Here’s a list of acceptable photo IDs:

  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Valid Non-driver ID
  • Valid Alabama Photo Voter ID
  • Valid State Issued ID (Alabama or any other state)
  • Valid Federal Issued ID
  • Valid US Passport
  • Valid Employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County Government, Municipality, Board, Authority, or other entity of this state
  • Valid student or employee ID from a college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)
  • Valid Military ID
  • Valid Tribal ID

When can I vote?

The general election is on November 4, 2014, and polling places will be open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Why should I vote?

Voting gives you an opportunity to voice your opinion. These issues aren’t theoretical; many of them affect you directly. If you’re not happy with how things are going, don’t just sit around complaining about it. Get out and vote!

Voting also honors the men and women who have given their lives so you could have this opportunity. Plenty of people around the world don’t have this privilege. Don’t take it for granted.


Follow Cort on Twitter @CortGatliff

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