11 months ago

Will Sellers: Alabama’s finest hour

In describing his constituents, George Wallace used to say that “the people of Alabama are just as cultured, refined and gracious as anyone else in America.” Whether it was true when he said it or not, it made Alabamians stand a little higher and feel better about their circumstances.

If actions speak louder than words, on Sunday the people Alabama in memorializing John Lewis demonstrated to the nation how truly refined, gracious and cultured we really are.

While other parts of the nation were literally on fire and factions seethed with hate, Alabamians provided a stark contrast in honoring Congressman Lewis.

Where 55 years ago State Troopers severely beat John Lewis, on Sunday fully integrated law enforcement officers saluted him and gave him the dignity and respect he earned and deserved. Where once the Governor of Alabama prevented civil rights marchers from entering the Capitol, on Sunday Alabama Governor Kay Ivey silently stood near Jefferson Davis’ star and with respect and solemnly saluted and welcomed the casket of the 80-year-old congressman.

In other parts of America, Democrats and Republicans engage in angry debates, neither giving nor receiving quarter. In Montgomery on Sunday, members of both parties came together, transcended partisanship and found common ground in recognizing someone who lived a faithful life in support of peace, justice and mutual understanding.

Indeed, in some cities in our country federal law enforcement officials, without invitation or consent from mayors or governors, were engaged in riot control. At the Capitol in Montgomery, federal officials were not only invited but attended and participated in a memorial service. Federal troops came, not with a show of force, but as an honor guard to drape the mortal remains with an American flag as a pall to lie in state. While federal marshals were present, they were there to pay their respects and mourn Congressman Lewis, not to protect federal property from destruction.

On Sunday, Alabama taught the world what racial harmony looks like; Alabama showed an integrated community embracing a hopeful future.

Any outsider saw clearly that Alabama is no longer tied to a past anchored in division, but is a mosaic of people from all walks of life coming together, laying aside their differences and agreeing that when a great man dies, the brightness of his sun setting reveals a glorious legacy for all to pause, reflect and regard in all its majesty.

Sunday was a testament to dreams anticipated and while not yet fulfilled, much closer to reality. The celebration of John Lewis in his native Alabama served to acknowledge the legacy of the civil rights movement that still motivates us to judge people not on their externals, but on the internals of kindness reflected in the content of each one’s character.

Progress for unity comes in fits and starts. Sunday in Alabama was a giant leap forward and a day that helps define our future.

Will Sellers is an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of Alabama.

27 mins ago

Ainsworth scores Tuberville endorsement

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has thrown his support to Will Ainsworth as the first-term lieutenant governor ramps up his reelection bid. Ainsworth announced Tuberville’s backing in a release from his campaign on Thursday.

The former college football coach offered that his endorsement of Ainsworth was an easy play call for him.

“I’ve spent most of my life recruiting,” Tuberville explained. “When you run across leadership it stands out, and I’ve seen firsthand that’s especially true in the political arena. Alabama is a gritty, hardworking,
conservative state that puts God and family first.”

He continued, “I’m proud to endorse Will Ainsworth for Lt. Governor as the leader that reflects the work ethic and values of the great state of Alabama!”

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After announcing in front of 3,000 people during the first week in June that he would seek reelection, Ainsworth has now picked up the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association in addition to that of Tuberville.

Ainsworth welcomed the support from Alabama’s newest U.S. Senator.

“I am proud to have Senator Tuberville’s endorsement as I seek a second term as lieutenant governor to continue building a 21st century Alabama in which our people can earn a good living at a high-paying job and raise their families in safe, strong communities,” he remarked. “I’m focused on taking our Christian conservative values to Montgomery every day, ensuring we preserve and better the Alabama we all know and love for future generations to enjoy.”

Ainsworth’s first term has been marked by his heavy involvement in the state’s economic issues.

He has overseen the Alabama Small Business Commission, a panel tasked with recommending policies and legislation benefiting small businesses operating across the state.

During last year’s COVID-19 crisis, Ainsworth formed an emergency task force within the commission to focus on the reopening of Alabama’s economy. Most of the task force’s plan was implemented by the state during the reopening process.

Ainsworth has also served as chairman of the Aerospace States Association, a national group whose mission is to support and promote the interests of the aerospace industry in Alabama and across the nation.

Ainsworth has outlined that his focus moving forward would be to preserve Alabama values while improving opportunities for future generations.

“The main reason I’m running is for my kids, your kids, your grandkids’ future,” he stated. “It is a huge time commitment, but I want to say this: I want our kids, your kids, everybody in here to always be proud to call Alabama home. I don’t want our kids to have to move to Atlanta or Nashville or Austin or another state. I want them to be able to live right here in Alabama and have the same opportunities as any kids in the world. We’re going to do that.”

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

15 hours ago

Dale Jackson: Governor Kay Ivey may have some challengers after all

The conventional wisdom is that Governor Kay Ivey is an unbeatable juggernaut.

The idea was if Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth was to challenge Ivey, he would have a shot yet still probably lose while no one else would even have a shot.

But recently, the rumor mill is out here running and churning out a couple of possibilities for candidates that are considering challenging Kay Ivey.

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Under intense questioning on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” former State Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) offered up clues on the identities of these names that are being suggested.

The clues?

Candidate 1:

  • A candidate in the 2022 U.S. Senate race
  • She won’t get 10 points against U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville)
  • Could get a Trump endorsement

Candidate 2:

  • A candidate who ran for the office before and had a stumble
  • “This is Alabama. We speak English.”

The clues lead us to two very distinct candidates.

Candidate 1 is the former ambassador to Slovenia under Trump, Lynda Blanchard.

Candidate 2 is a son of former Gov. Fob James and third-place 2010 GOP primary-finisher Tim James.

Could either of these individuals mount a challenge against Kay Ivey?

Maybe, but what is the argument that the state needs new leadership?

Gas tax?

Lockdown?

Mask mandate?

Soon to be new prisons?

Do these issues motivate people?

Altogether, it may move the needle, but Governor Ivey is a well-known and well-liked politician overseeing a recovering economy on the heels of a global pandemic.

Those in the political world will say she isn’t being seen enough, but that is an inside baseball complaint.

Neither of these individuals have a groundswell of support from people clamoring to enter the fray, but if Alabamians are given another choice for governor, maybe it will turn into a race that ends up surprisingly competitive.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

18 hours ago

Real estate firm Audubon makes $32.7 million investment in Alabama multifamily property

ATLANTA – Audubon, an Atlanta-based real estate firm specializing in the acquisition, development and management of multifamily properties, announced it has closed on the purchase of Parks at Wakefield & Wellington, its first acquisition in Alabama. The total cost of the transaction was $32.7 million, or $80,147 per unit. Audubon’s portfolio of owned-and-operated multifamily assets now includes 6,200 units in 22 properties across five states.

The newest property, located just outside Birmingham in Hoover, Alabama, has been renamed Cadence at Bluff Park. The 408-unit property was originally built in 1973 and covers just under 24 acres, creating an open and accessible garden-style community within the Bluff Park neighborhood. The location also offers a plethora of walkable restaurant and retail destinations, including an adjacent shopping center undergoing a $10 million renovation.

“The outskirts of Birmingham have proven to be a hot spot for those who want to be near a metro area, but prefer to live outside of the hustle and bustle of the city itself,” said Myles Cunningham, chief investment officer for Audubon. “We relished the opportunity to further grow our footprint into Alabama and continue bolstering our portfolio across the Southeast.”

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Specializing in full-scale overhauls, Audubon is planning significant upgrades throughout Cadence at Bluff Park. The changes will be evident for those passing through and around the community, with updated exteriors on all buildings, fresh landscaping, a conversion of the tennis courts into a grilling area and dog park, the installation of a new playground, the transformation of the pool to a splash park for kids, and improvements to the parking lot and streets within the complex.

The same level of attention will be paid to interior upgrades, with Class-A finishes planned for every unit. Additionally, the leasing office and fitness center will be renovated and a new amenity building will be constructed.

“We know these are ambitious plans, but it was important to us to show existing and future residents we are committed to making Cadence at Bluff Park one of the premier multifamily communities in Birmingham,” added Cunningham.

The $14.7 million capital improvement program will begin immediately and is expected to be completed within the next two years.

Audubon is an Atlanta-based firm specializing in the acquisition and management of multifamily properties throughout the Southeastern region of the United States. With a senior staff that has collectively acquired, managed and renovated more than 50,000 apartment units, Audubon has a wide range of experience and expertise in repositioning multifamily assets. For more information, please visit http://www.acmapts.com.

20 hours ago

Alabama Power Service Organization, Leadership Autauga County unveil new playground

Children and families served by the Autauga County Department of Human Resources (ACDHR) now have a safe, fun place to play and spend time together during their visits to the facility. It’s thanks to a partnership between the 2020-2021 class of Leadership Autauga County and the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO).

On June 9, the organizations revealed a new playground, along with an overflowing outdoor toy box, at a presentation ceremony at ACDHR. Leadership Autauga County, with help from the Southern Division APSO chapter, Prattville and Montgomery sub-areas, transformed a previously bare patio area and yard at the ACDHR into the playground.

“The support of the Autauga Leadership class and the Alabama Power Service Organization is very important and is very much appreciated as this allows our families to experience a sense of normalcy,” said Onya Johnson, Autauga County DHR director. “Also, their support in renovating the patio area and providing toys for all ages will allow the parents to play outdoors with their children in an area that is safe and has been specifically designed for them.”

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Danna Patterson, a member of this year’s Leadership Autauga County class, pitched the playground idea to the group when they were working together to select a community project that would best serve the county.

Leadership Autauga County is designed to develop people who are informed, committed and qualified to serve the community. It works to cultivate and train leaders who are concerned about the future of the county. Each class chooses a service project as the focal point of their efforts to put what they are learning to work in the community.

“What people don’t realize is that families rely on the patio space at the ACDHR when they come for their supervised visits with their children, particularly those who are in foster care,” said Patterson, personnel manager of the Montgomery County DHR. “These families rely on the DHR to help them maintain connectivity with their children. The space was not conducive for family-friendly visits. I’m so grateful to everyone who assisted us with making this project a reality.”

Alabama Power Service Organization helps build Autauga County playground from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The Leadership Autauga County class began by installing a new fence, which enlarged the area to give children more room to play. Students in Prattville Christian Academy’s art class then decorated the fence with paintings of animals and flowers.

With the help of other volunteers in the community, Leadership Autauga County pressure-washed the patio and sidewalk, added new sod, flowers and shrubs, refurbished the barbecue grill and installed two ceiling fans. They equipped the area with a swing set, seesaw, slide and other playground equipment.

Realizing that other outdoor toys were needed for the playground, Lisa Knight, Alabama Power Montgomery Business Office supervisor and another Leadership Autauga County class member, enlisted help from APSO members.

The Prattville APSO sub-area purchased a 230-gallon plastic deck storage box and filled it with a tricycle and bicycle, miniature tractors, balls and a variety of outside games. The Montgomery sub-area added to the pile of outdoor toys, with cornhole and ring toss games; T-ball, kids bowling and scoop ball sets; a basketball goal; a slide; and a paddle toss game. When APSO members delivered the toys to the ACDHR in April, they filled the back of a pickup truck, Knight said.

“Participating in this project has been a humbling experience for me,” said Knight. “Seeing how all the people in our Leadership Autauga County group came together to use their skills and talents has been touching. It means a lot to know that the kids and their families will be out there enjoying themselves because of our efforts.”

Jesse Beavers was proud to be a part of the project.

“I have never had any experience with the DHR until we got involved with this project,” said Beavers, practice administrator, Prattville Primary Medicine, Baptist Health. “Knowing that we have been able to brighten up that facility and make it more comfortable for the families to meet has truly been inspiring.”

Knight, Patterson, Beavers and Casey Ferrell headed the Leadership Autauga County project. Several Prattville-area companies and individuals contributed to the effort, including Lowe’s, Home 2 Suites, Fuller Landscaping, Durbin Auto Parts and electrician Randy Whitt, who installed the fans.

“It really was a team effort,” said Ferrell, youth minister at Prattville First United Methodist Church. “When I heard there was an opportunity to help impact the lives of students in the school system and perhaps in my youth group through this project at the DHR, I had to jump on it. I know that supervised visits can’t replace life at home, but supervised visits can provide a place where second chances can happen and relationships can be restored. It was a rare opportunity for our leadership class to give back to Prattville and invest in the lives of these families.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

23 hours ago

7 Things: Biden vs. Putin, AG Marshall latest to lobby for more prisons, Congress votes to make Juneteenth a holiday and more … 

7. Comedian claims he was banned from Alabama mall after a child cried

  • An incident that has gone viral occurred at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover when TeJuan Dennis was removed from the property. Now, Dennis is claiming that he was racially profiled in an encounter that was captured on Facebook Live.
  • Mall spokeswoman Lindsay Kahn has said that Dennis wasn’t removed from the mall for his race, but rather he was “being very loud and disruptive.”Kahn added, “I understand there were profanities being yelled so that disruptive behavior is actually a violation of our code of conduct.” Apparently, the loud altercation occurred between Dennis and another man, and Dennis has claimed that security only approached him and asked him, “What are you doing to this man?”

6. Governor Ivey endorsed by Manufacture Alabama

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  • Governor Kay Ivey has not drawn an opponent, although there is some talk of a challenger with President Donald Trump’s support emerging, but she is getting the support of business leaders in the state with an endorsement from Manufacture Alabama, which represents manufacturing in the state.
  • George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama, explained the endorsement, saying, “[Governor Ivey] has always been committed to make Alabama an even better place to live and conduct business and leads with a common-sense approach. Her tireless leadership has brought positive outcomes to our manufacturers and we couldn’t be prouder to give her our full endorsement.” Ivey gladly accepted the endorsement and touted the growth of manufacturing in the state. She stated, “It has been our mission over these last four years to cultivate a thriving business climate not just by Alabama standards, but to set the bar across all fifty states. We reached that goal – even amidst exceptionally uncertain and trying times.”

5. WHO is ‘compromised’

  • Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield has spoken out about speculation that the coronavirus may have originated as a lab leak in Wuhan, China. Redfield explained that the initial theory of a bat transferring the virus to a human is “not consistent with how other coronaviruses have come into the human species.”
  • Instead, Redfield said that one of the most likely scenarios is that the virus was produced in a lab. Redfield also took aim at the World Health Organization, claiming that they’re “too compromised” by China to investigate the issue with integrity.

4. Arrest warrant issued for the process server in Eric Swalwell/Mo Brooks case

  • When U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) was served notice of U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell’s (D-CA) lawsuit against him, Brooks’ wife Martha was actually served. Video surveillance shows the process server entering the Brooks residence by going into the garage.
  • Now, that server, Christian Seklecki, has been charged with first-degree criminal trespass. It’s alleged that Seklecki “accosted” Martha. Mo Brooks said of the incident, “Swalwell lied in his politically motivated, meritless lawsuit against President Donald Trump and me when he falsely claimed I incited the January 6th Capitol violence.”

3. Congress votes to make Juneteenth a holiday 

  • Juneteenth, until recently, was a little-known holiday that originally commemorated the announcement by Union Army General Gordon Granger that gave slaves freedom in Texas, but the federally recognized Juneteenth holiday will celebrate the day commemorating the official end of slavery in the United States. Congress has now passed a bill declaring it a national holiday. The U.S. Senate passed the bill unanimously and the U.S. House passed the bill 415-14.
  • Of the 14 representatives that voted against the holiday, two were from Alabama — U.S. Representatives Mike Rogers (R-Saks) and Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville). Brooks said he believed there should be a larger celebration of the emancipation of the slaves, not a date tied to one state, and he raised fiscal concerns as well.

2. Marshall: New prisons are still necessary

  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has addressed the idea of new prisons being built in the state and if it actually helps remedy the U.S. Department of Justice’s belief that prison conditions are unconstitutional. Alabama already owns the land the prisons could go on.
  • Marshall said that new prisons are “definitely important in the pending case we have against the Department of Justice,” and further explained that building these new facilities could satisfy conditions of the lawsuit and that just more space could limit inmate-on-inmate violence. He went on to say that the state will be “able to show the judge factually that the evidence is there that Alabama has met its responsibilities under the Constitution with regard to how it is we handle our correction system.”

1. Biden claims he laid down the law, but he seems to be more upset at the media

  • Not much was accomplished at the meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, except the return of the two nations’ ambassadors. Biden said that he made “no threats” but instead warned Putin of “consequences.” According to Biden, the meeting was “positive.” He said he warned Putin that he would not allow cyberattacks on 16 American sectors.
  • In talking about the meeting, Biden emphasized that he was focused on being for America rather than against Russia, but he did say that he was “just letting him know where I stood, what I thought we could accomplish together, and what, in fact, if there is a violation of American sovereignty, what we would do.” When pressed on holding Putin accountable, Biden lashed out at Alabama native and CNN White House reporter Kaitlan Collins. He complained about how negative the press was and how Collins, herself, was “in the wrong business.”