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Ivey announces 200 schools selected as official Alabama Bicentennial Schools

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama became a state on December 14, 1819. The state is preparing for our bicentennial next year. As part of that effort, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced on Friday that 200 schools have been selected as official Alabama Bicentennial Schools.

Governor Ivey was joined at the announcement by superintendents, principals, teachers, students, and administrators from the selected schools along with legislators and other dignitaries from across the state.

“It makes me so proud to see such a strong showing of schools participating in the program,” Gov. Ivey said. “It is an honor to recognize these outstanding schools and their projects as we head into Alabama’s bicentennial year. The Alabama Bicentennial celebration is about bringing communities together and getting all of our citizens involved. The schools being honored are a great representation of that goal.”

The Alabama Bicentennial Schools Initiative was launched by Gov. Ivey in 2017. The initiative encourages all public, private, and homeschool students and teachers to participate in the celebration of Alabama’s 200th anniversary of statehood in 2019. In early 2018, all K-12 schools in Alabama were invited to submit a proposal that engages in outreach and improvement projects to connect their classrooms with their local communities.

Nearly 400 schools sent in proposals. Of those 200 schools were selected to be official Alabama Bicentennial Schools and receive $2,000 grants to support the implementation of their projects.

Another 56 schools received honorable mentions and $500 grants. Schools were chosen through a review process involving committees of local educators, community leaders, and private citizens.

“One of the core objectives of the bicentennial is to get Alabamians thinking about what makes our state special, and what they want it to be,” said Steve Murray, co-chair of the Bicentennial Commission’s Education Committee.

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“The terrific projects developed by the Alabama Bicentennial Schools will create opportunities for students to learn about the importance of community, and to discover the ability they have to shape the future of their corner of the state.”

The schools represent all corners of the state. The selected schools have developed a wide variety of projects that will make meaningful contributions to their local communities. Ranging from oral history projects to community gardens to mentorship programs, these projects will foster new relationships between schools, students, and local citizens, extending well beyond Alabama’s bicentennial celebration.

The Alabama Bicentennial Schools Initiative is presented in partnership by Alabama 200, the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), and the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).

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Alabama became a state following the American victory in the Creek Indian War by General Andrew Jackson, who would later become President.

To see the full list of Official Alabama Bicentennial Schools by County

Autauga County
Billingsley High School
Pine Level Elementary
Prattville Christian Academy

Baldwin County
Foley High School
Renaissance School of the Eastern Shore

Barbour County
Eufaula Elementary School
Eufaula High School
Eufaula Primary School

Bibb County
Bibb County High School

Blount County
Appalachian School

Bullock County
Bullock County High School

Butler County
Fort Dale Academy

Calhoun County
Ohatchee High School
White Plains High School

Chambers County
John P. Powell Middle School

Cherokee County
Cedar Bluff School
Gaylesville High School

Chilton County
Jemison Intermediate School
Maplesville High School
Thorsby High School
Verbena High School

Choctaw County
Choctaw County High School
Southern Choctaw Elementary School

Clarke County
Clarke County High School
Jackson Intermediate School
Wilson Hall Middle School

Clay County
Lineville Elementary School

Cleburne County
Cleburne County Middle School

Coffee County
Elba Elementary School
Elba High School

Colbert County
G.W. Trenholm Primary School
McBride Elementary School

Conecuh County
Lyeffion Jr. High School

Coosa County
Central Elementary School

Covington County
Florala High School

Crenshaw County
Luverne High School

Cullman County
Good Hope High School
Thistle and Clover Academy
Vinemont Elementary School

Dale County
Harry N. Mixon Intermediate School

Dallas County
Salem Elementary School
Selma High School
Southside Primary School
Valley Grande Elementary School

DeKalb County
Collinsville High School
Crossville Elementary School
Williams Avenue Elementary School

Elmore County
Elmore County High School
Wetumpka Middle School

Escambia County
Rachel Patterson Elementary School

Etowah County
John S. Jones Elementary School
Southside High School

Fayette County
Fayette Elementary School

Franklin County
Red Bay High School
Russellville Elementary School

Geneva County
Samson Elementary School

Greene County
Eutaw Primary School
Greene County High School
Robert Brown Middle School

Hale County
Hale County College and Career Academy
Hale County Middle School
Moundville Elementary School

Henry County
Headland Middle School

Houston County
Montana Street Magnet School
Rehobeth School District
Webb Elementary School

Jackson County
Bridgeport Middle School
Woodville High School
Pisgah High School

Jefferson County
Bluff Park Elementary School
Cahaba Elementary School
Faith Community Christian School
George Washington Carver High School
Greenwood Elementary School
John Herbert Phillips Academy
Leeds Elementary School
Magnolia Elementary School
Mountain Brook High School
Henry J. Oliver Elementary School
Pinson Valley High School
Vestavia Hills Elementary School – Cahaba Heights
Vestavia Hills Elementary School – West

Lamar County
South Lamar School

Lauderdale County
Kilby Laboratory School
Lexington High School
St. Joseph Regional Catholic School

Lawrence County
Lawrence County High School

Lee County
Auburn High School
Auburn Jr. High School
Carver Primary School
Chanticleer Learning Center
Loachapoka High School
Ogletree Elementary School
Pick Elementary School
West Forest Intermediate School

Limestone County
Athens High School
East Limestone High School
Piney Chapel Elementary School
SPARK Academy at James L. Cowart Elementary School
Tanner Elementary School

Lowndes County
The Calhoun School
Jackson-Steele Elementary School

Macon County
Booker T. Washington High School
Tuskegee Institute Middle School
Tuskegee Public School

Madison County
Buckhorn High School
Challenger Middle School
Madison Cross Roads Elementary School
Monte Sano Elementary School
Moores Mill Intermediate School
New Century Technology High School
New Hope Elementary School
Riverton Elementary School
Roger B. Chaffee Elementary School
Ronald E. McNair Jr. High School
Walnut Grove Elementary School

Marengo County
Westside Elementary School

Marion County
Hamilton Elementary School
Phillips Elementary School
Winfield City Schools

Marshall County
Albertville Elementary School
Albertville High School
Boaz High School
Guntersville City Schools

Mobile County
Alabama School of Mathematics and Science
Anna F. Booth Elementary School
Calcedeaver Elementary School
Calloway-Smith Middle School
Bernice J. Causey Middle School
Clark-Shaw Magnet School
Dunbar Creative and Performing Arts Magnet School
Erin’s Gulf Coast Homeschool
Leinkauf Elementary School
McDavid-Jones Elementary School
Murphy High School
The Museum School at Mobile Museum of Art
Old Shell Road School of Creative and Performing Arts
Olive J. Dodge Elementary School
Peter F. Alba Middle School
Phillips Preparatory School
Saraland Middle School
St. Luke’s Episcopal School
St. Mary Catholic School
W.P. Davidson High School

Monroe County
Monroeville Elementary School

Montgomery County
Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet School
Bear Exploration Center
Sidney Lanier High School
The Montgomery Academy
Valiant Cross Academy

Morgan County
Decatur Middle School
Eva School
F.E. Burleson Elementary School
Lacey’s Spring School
Walter Jackson Elementary School

Perry County
Francis Marion School

Pickens County
Reform Elementary School

Pike County
Banks Middle School
Goshen Elementary School
Goshen High School
Pike County High School

Randolph County
Handley Middle School

Russell County
Central Freshman Academy
Ladonia Elementary School

Shelby County
Chelsea Middle School
Chelsea Park Elementary School
Coosa Valley Academy
Creek View Elementary School
Helena Middle School
Meadow View Elementary School
Shelby County High School
Thompson Intermediate School

St. Clair County
Springville Elementary School

Sumter County
University Charter School

Talladega County
Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind
B.B. Comer Memorial High School
Munford Elementary School
Pinecrest Elementary School
Stemley Road Elementary School

Tallapoosa County
Alexander City Schools

Tuscaloosa County
Faucett-Vestavia Elementary School
Huntington Place Elementary School
Lake View Elementary School
Myrtlewood Elementary School
Oakdale Elementary School
Paul W. Bryant High School
Skyland Elementary School
Tuscaloosa Academy
Vance Elementary School
Walker Elementary School
Westlawn Middle School

Walker County
Oakman Middle School

Washington County
Fruitdale High School
Washington County Career Technical Center

Wilcox County
F.S. Ervin Elementary School

Winston County
Haleyville City Schools
Winston County High School
Meek High School

Alabama Bicentennial Schools Honorable Mentions by County

Calhoun County
Coldwater Elementary School
Weaver High School

Choctaw County
Southern Choctaw High School

Clarke County
Thomasville Elementary School

Coffee County
New Brockton High School

Colbert County
Deshler High School

Coosa County
Central Middle School

Covington County
Andalusia Elementary School

Etowah County
West End High School

Franklin County
Tharptown Elementary School

Geneva County
Geneva High School

Hale County
Hale County High School

Houston County
Beverlye Magnet School
Carver Magnet School
Cloverdale Elementary School
Heard Magnet School
Hidden Lake Elementary School
Kelly Springs Elementary School

Jackson County
Hollywood School

Jefferson County
Hudson K-8 School
Chalkville Elementary School
Rudd Middle School

Lauderdale County
Riverhill School

Lee County
Auburn Early Education Center
Richland Elementary School
J.F. Drake Middle School

Lowndes County
Central Elementary School

Macon County
George Washington Carver Elementary School
Notasulga High School

Madison County
Bob Jones High School
Central School
Hampton Cove Elementary School
Madison County Elementary School
The Montessori School of Huntsville
Whitesburg Christian Academy

Marshall County
Arab Elementary School
Kate Duncan Smith DAR School

Montgomery County
Booker T. Washington Magnet High School

Morgan County
Austinville Elementary School
Banks-Caddell Elementary School
Barkley Bridge Elementary School
Benjamin Davis Elementary School

Pickens County
Gordo High School

Pike County
New Life Christian Academy
Pike County Elementary School

Randolph County
Handley High School
Randolph County High School
Wadley High School

Shelby County
Riverchase Elementary School

St. Clair County
Margaret Elementary School

Talladega County
Childersburg High School
Lincoln Elementary School
Sycamore Elementary School

Tuscaloosa County
Northport Elementary School

Washington County
McIntosh High School

Wilcox County
Camden School of Arts and Technology

Winston County
Meek Elementary School
Lynn Elementary School

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Economy

Alabama weekly unemployment claims dip below 10,000 for first time since March

It is the lowest number of initial claims filed in a week since the number first spiked in the third week of March, when it jumped from 1,824 to 10,982 — though still much higher than before the pandemic began.

Micah Danney

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(APR GRAPHIC)

There were 9,468 unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, down from 11,692 the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

It is the lowest number of initial claims filed in a week since the number first spiked in the third week of March, when it jumped from 1,824 to 10,982 — though still much higher than the normal before the pandemic began. The most weekly claims filed during the pandemic was 106,739 in the week ending April 4. In 2019, an average of 2,500 people per week filed unemployment claims.

65 percent of the claims — or 6,110 claims — from Aug. 2 to Aug. 8 were related to COVID-19, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. That compares to 76 percent the week before.

New claims dropped sharply in May and declined fairly steadily, then increased over the first half of July as cases resurged in Alabama but began declining again in the second half of July. Average daily COVID-19 cases peaked on July 19 before beginning a new decline.

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News

Mazda, Toyota invest additional $830 million in joint Huntsville plant

The additional investment into the plant, which is to produce new SUV’s for both car companies, is for new manufacturing technologies to the production line and additional training for the 4,000 or so expected workers.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday announced an additional $830 million investment in Mazda Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp.’s joint manufacturing venture, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, in Huntsville. 

The additional investment into the plant, which is to produce new SUV’s for both car companies, is for new manufacturing technologies to the production line and additional training for the 4,000 or so expected workers, according to a press release from Ivey’s office. 

“Toyota’s presence in Alabama continues to build excitement about future opportunities that lie ahead, both for our economy and for the residents of our great state,” Ivey said in a statement. “Mazda and Toyota’s increased commitment to the development of this manufacturing plant reiterates their belief in the future of manufacturing in America and the potential for the state of Alabama to be an economic leader in the wake of unprecedented economic change.

The additional $830 million brings the total investment in the project to $2.311 billion and will allow for production line modifications for both of the new models. Once complete, the facility is slated to be able to produce up to 150,000 of a future Mazda crossover model and up to 150,000 of the Toyota SUVs annually. 

The joint venture has already hired approximately 600 of the planned 4,000 new workers, and the companies expect to begin accepting applications again later this year.

“Mazda Toyota Manufacturing is proud to call Alabama home. Through strong support from our state and local partners, we have been able to further incorporate cutting-edge manufacturing technologies, provide world-class training for team members and develop the highest quality production processes,” said Mark Brazeal, vice president of administration at MTM, in a statement. “As we prepare for the start of production next year, we look forward to developing our future workforce and serving as a hometown company for many years to come.”

Construction on the Huntsville plant is ongoing, with 75 to 100 percent completion on roofing, siding, floor slabs, ductwork, fire protection and electrical, according to the press release. 

Public Service Announcement

“This newest investment by our partners at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing shows the company’s continued confidence in the ability of our community to provide a strong, skilled workforce to meet the demands for quality and reliability,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said in a statement. “We look forward to the day when the first vehicles roll off the line.”

“We are excited to learn of this additional investment being made by Mazda Toyota Manufacturing,” Limestone County Commission Chairman Colin Daly said in a statement. “We continue to be grateful to MTM for their belief in our community and look forward to our partnership with them for many years to co

Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the new investment will magnify the economic impact of a project that is poised to transform the North Alabama region.

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“With this enhanced investment, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA is adding new technology and capabilities to a manufacturing facility that was already designed to be one of the most efficient factories in the automotive industry,” Canfield said in a statement. “We’re confident that the groundbreaking collaboration between Mazda and Toyota will drive growth not only for the companies but also for North Alabama for generations.”

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National

Jones calls for fixes to USPS delays and reduced costs for election mail

“Like voting itself, the U.S. Postal Service is vital to our democracy,” wrote Sen. Doug Jones and 46 other senators to the U.S. postmaster general.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and 46 Senate colleagues in a letter to the U.S. postmaster general on Thursday expressed serious concerns over changes that will increase the cost of citizens to vote.

“Like voting itself, the U.S. Postal Service is vital to our democracy. Since you assumed the role of Postmaster General, there have been disturbing reports regarding changes at USPS that are causing significant delays in the delivery of mail. Under normal circumstances, delayed mail is a major problem – during a pandemic in the middle of a presidential election, it is catastrophic,” the senators wrote in the letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. 

President Donald Trump on Thursday repeated statements he’s made that the U.S. Postal Service won’t be able to process mail-in ballots in the November election without the needed federal funding, which he is withholding. 

“They want $3.5 billion for the mail-in votes. Universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion—billion—for the post office. Now they need that money in order to have post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo Thursday morning. “Those are just two items. But if you don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting. Because they’re not equipped to have it.”

DeJoy in recent days has ordered major reshuffling in the Postal Service’s management ranks, ordered a hiring freeze and made other cuts. Secretaries of state nationwide were also notified that instead of the 20-cent bulk rate for election mail, as has been used for decades, now it would cost 55 cents to send such mail via first-class postage. 

The Postal Service in previous elections treated all election mail, no matter how much was spent on postage, as first-class and as such expedited delivery. The recent announcement signals that election mail not sent first class will not receive the same expedited delivery times, worrying many that DeJoy, appointed by the Postal Service’s majority-Republican board in May, is attempting to exert political influence into mail delivery just before the presidential election. 

Trump has repeatedly said, without factual cause, that mail-in ballots are ripe for fraud. Mail-in voting has surged across the country in recent elections and even more so amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Several states — including California, Colorado and Washington — conduct all elections almost entirely by mail.

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Mail-in voting fraud is incredibly rare, according to The Brennan Center for Justice, which noted that in Oregon, a state that votes primarily by mail, only about a dozen cases of voter fraud were proven out of 100 million mail-in ballots since 2000. 

“As Postmaster General, you have a duty to our democracy to ensure the timely delivery of election mail. Millions of Americans’ right to vote depends on your ability to get the job done. We urge you not to increase costs for election officials, and to direct all Postal Service employees to continue to prioritize delivery of election mail,” the senators’ letter continues.

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Elections

Alabama State Fraternal Order of Police endorses Russell Bedsole

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama House District 49 Republican candidate Russell Bedsole.

The Alabama State Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Republican candidate Russell Bedsole in the special election in Alabama House of Representatives District 49. Bedsole is a Captain with the Shelby County sheriff’s Department and currently serves on the Alabaster City Council.

“There is no doubt that our country, state, and communities are facing extreme challenges,” said Everette Johnson, the president of the Alabama State FOP. “These challenges have caused stress, divisiveness, and concern for the future of our country. Now more than ever, we need strong, yet compassionate, leaders to guide us through these turbulent times. We need leaders who understand how important the safety of our communities should be and the willingness to work together for all. Russell Bedsole is that leader.”

Bedsole said it is an honor to be endorsed by the Alabama State Fraternal Order of Police.

“As a representative of District 49, I will work to protect law and order in our communities and stand up for our conservative Christian values in Montgomery,” he said.

Bedsole and competitor Mimi Penhale were the top two vote-getters in the Republican primary runoff. Chuck Martin, who came in third, has also endorsed Bedsole.

“I wanted to again thank those that voted for me, supported me by putting up signs and making phone calls,” Martin said in a statement on social media. “I also want to thank those who also made donations to fund my campaign. Since I came in third, Russell Bedsole and Mimi Penhale have both ask for my endorsement. I want to ask those that supported me to support Russell Bedsole. Both candidates are great people, but Debbie and I made the decision to support Russell.”

Bedsole has been elected twice by the citizens of Alabaster to represent the city’s fifth ward on the Alabaster City Council. Bedsole’s campaign said that during his time of service, Alabaster has benefited from positive economic growth, a first-class school system and a high quality of life. He has also received endorsements from the Shelby County Fraternal Order of Police, Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists and Conservation Alabama.

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A runoff election for the District 49 seat will be held on Sept. 1.

“I humbly ask for your vote on September 1 to grant me the opportunity to serve District 49,” Bedsole said.

The special election is being held to fill the seat left vacant when Rep. April Weaver, R-Briarfield, joined President Donald Trump’s administration as a regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services. House District 49 includes portions of Bibb, Chilton and Shelby Counties. The eventual Republican nominee will face Democratic nominee Cheryl Patton in the Special General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The winner will serve the remainder of April Weaver’s term, which ends in late 2022.

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