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Governor

Gov. Ivey awards $18.7 million to improve infrastructure in 58 Alabama communities

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Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded $18.7 million in grants for improvements in 58 Alabama communities. The funds from the Community Development Block Grant program will enable communities to provide water, improve roads and sewage systems, construct public community buildings and remove blight.

“Community Development Block Grants are vital to Alabama communities wanting to raise living standards and improve living conditions for their residents,” Ivey said. “I am pleased to award these grants, and I commend all those local leaders who, by seeking these grants, show they have their communities at heart.”

The competitive grants are awarded annually in several categories including county, large city, small city and community enhancement. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“As a former mayor, I know how valuable these grants are to communities and I also realize the time and effort that local leaders, planners and residents invest in obtaining funding,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA is pleased to have a role in this process that will benefit communities all across Alabama.”

Grants awarded and projects include:

North Alabama

  • Cullman (City) – $450,000 to provide sewer, water, drainage and street improvements in the Katherine Street area.
  • Guntersville – $450,000 to provide street and drainage improvements in the East Lake community.
  • Hackleburg – $85,000 to provide improvements along four streets, including widening and paving or sealing.
  • Hanceville – $250,000 to build a 2,500-square-foot senior center.
  • Leighton – $350,000 to provide water line improvements at several locations.
  • Scottsboro– $208,958 to demolish and clear 25 deteriorated and dilapidated structures throughout the city.
  • Town Creek – $350,000 to upgrade and repairs sections of the town’s sewer system.

North Central Alabama

  • Ashland– $350,000 to provide road and drainage improvements and water upgrades.
  • Blount County – $350,000 to improve three roads totaling eight miles north of Blountsville.
  • Childersburg– $450,000 to improve sewer services in the Coosa Court and Childersburg/Fayetteville Highway areas.
  • Clanton – $239,400 to demolish and clear 28 dilapidated and vacant houses.
  • Fayette County – $250,000 to improve water lines and provide road resurfacing in an area west of the town of Belk.
  • Heflin– $40,000 to help the city develop a plan that will assess needs and goals.
  • Marion County – $350,000 to provide public water service in the Bexar Church area.
  • Millport – $203,315 to upgrade one the town’s three water tanks serving 340 persons.
  • Oneonta – $450,000 to replace deteriorating sewer lines and collection system in an area involving sections of Hillcrest Circle and Underwood and Valley avenues.
  • Pell City – $450,000 to improve the efficiency of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
  • Reform– $350,000 to renovate and repair various sections of the town’s sewer lines.
  • Steele – $189,977 to raze and remove 15 dilapidated structures throughout the town.
  • Sylacauga – $250,000 to demolish 11 dilapidated structures throughout the city.
  • Tuscaloosa County – $235,990 to provide public water service benefitting 63 residents in the Evanstown Road and Sid Davis Road areas.
  • Weaver – $122,628 to raze and clear 11 dilapidated and unsafe structures throughout the city.

South Central Alabama

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  • Camp Hill – $350,000 for sewer improvements at the town’s wastewater plant.
  • Dallas County – $350,000 to supply public water service connections to residents in the Bogue Chitto community.
  • Hayneville – $349,601 to make improvements on sewer lines and wastewater treatment facility.
  • Forkland – $350,000 to upgrade water lines and improve two streets.
  • Greensboro– $350,000 to improve sewer lines.
  • Lanett – $250,000 to complete the final phase of a downtown revitalization project.
  • Marengo County – $350,000 to pave five roads.
  • Marion (City) – $450,000 to improve its wastewater treatment plant.
  • Millbrook – $250,000 to construct a new senior citizen center.
  • New Site – $177,460 to renovate its senior citizen center.
  • Perry County – $350,000 to provide public water services to 145 residents south of the city of Marion.
  • Randolph County – $350,000 to provide public water services to 78 residents along two county roads east of the city of Roanoke.
  • Tallapoosa County – $350,000 to provide public water services in a rural area near Dadeville.
  • Tallassee – $250,000 to demolish 27 vacant, abandoned and dilapidated structures throughout the city.
  • Valley – $450,000 to improve sewer services in the Langdale Mill Village area.

Southeast Alabama

  • Abbeville – $350,000 to provide full or partial rehabilitation of up to 27 houses in the Stegall Heights area.
  • Brundidge – $350,000 to improve water services and demolish 13 residential and commercial structures.
  • Clayhatchee– $127,288 to resurface a section of Providence Lane and improve drainage.
  • Dale County – $308,700 to provide public water to 42 households along Dale County Road 21 and Penny Point Road.
  • Geneva– $450,000 to improve drainage in a local neighborhood.
  • Gordon – $349,787 to provide water and sewer improvements at various locations within the city.
  • Goshen – $325,000 to upgrade the town’s water lines and improve water quality.
  • Kinston – $350,000 to rehabilitate up to 20 occupied houses and bring them up to compliance with the Southern Building Code.
  • Level Plains – $250,000 to provide street and drainage improvements along Faith Street and Phyllis Avenue.
  • Opp – $450,000 to provide sewer system line improvements along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive from Cannon Drive to Hardin Street.

Southwest Alabama

  • Brewton – $450,000 to renovate or replace dilapidated sewer lines along multiple streets.
  • Castleberry – $350,000 to replace aging and undersized water lines and improve streets in various sections of the town.
  • Chatom – $350,000 to rehabilitate sections of the town’s sewer lines and a lift station. 
  • Choctaw County – $350,000 to resurface multiple roads in the northeast part of the county.
  • Flomaton – $201,115 to resurface several roads within the city to reduce safety hazards.
  • Loxley – $350,000 to replace aged and damaged sewer lines along the east part of town.
  • Monroeville – $450,000 to replace sewer lines along multiple streets on the west part of the city.
  • Pennington – $350,000 to resurface 5.5 miles of road in various locations within the city.
  • Repton – $350,000 to improve drainage and improve streets at various locations within the city.
  • Robertsdale – $450,000 to replace sewer lines and improve drainage at various locations.
  • Silas – $350,000 to improve drainage and resurface streets at several locations within the city.  
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Governor

Governor awards grants for bulletproof vests

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Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded grants totaling $46,960 to help state law enforcement agencies and the University of Alabama Police Department equip officers with new bulletproof vests. 

“Making sure our state’s law enforcement officers have updated protective equipment is vital to increasing officer safety,” Gov. Ivey said. “I am pleased to assist these agencies in their efforts to provide up-to-date models of protective vests.”

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is using $27,783 to purchase new bulletproof vests for state troopers across Alabama.

Grant funds of $12,490 will enable the Alabama Department of Corrections to purchase bulletproof vests for officers in the department’s K-9 Unit.

The University of Alabama is using a $6,687 grant to purchase new bulletproof vests for university police.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Justice. “ADECA joins Gov. Ivey in support of our state’s police and corrections officers,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “These grants will assist these three groups in their efforts to make the jobs of our law enforcement officers safer.”

ADECA manages a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, infrastructure upgrades, recreation, energy conservation, water resources management and career development.

 

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Bill Britt

Opinion | Marsh hurls accusations at Gov. Ivey. Is he barking mad?

Bill Britt

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Appearing on the latest edition of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Sen. President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, blamed Gov. Kay Ivey for the loss of some 450,000 jobs in Alabama.

It’s an absurd accusation that any thinking Alabamian knows is a lie. But Marsh wants to hurt Ivey because she exposed him as little more than a petty, greedy-gut politico.

Still stinging from the public humiliation he suffered after Ivey revealed his “wish list” — which included taking $200 million in COVID-19 relief money to build a new State House — Marsh is leveling a cascade of recriminations against the popular governor.

However, what is astonishing is that he would spew brazen lies about Ivey during raging loss and uncertainty caused by a worldwide pandemic. This latest fiction about Ivey creating widespread economic calamity is the unseemly work of a hollow man without empathy, wisdom or decency.

This insane assertion that Ivey is somehow responsible for thousands suffering is as cravenly evil as it is politically stupid.

“The policies that have been put in place by the [Ivey] administration have 450,000 people out of work,” Marsh told show host Don Daily.

Only a fool, a nutjob or a politician would blame Ivey for losing some 450,000 jobs, but there was Marsh, on public television, showing he is perhaps all three.

In the middle of his barking-mad comments, Marsh somehow forgot to mention that he was a member of Ivey’s Executive Committee on the COVID-19 task force and helped make the very policies he now claims led to joblessness and financial ruin for many Alabamians.

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Marsh is merely making it up as he goes because his fragile ego, pompous character and rank inhumanity suddenly became fully displayed for every Alabamian to see when he doubled down on building a new State House.

And so, like a guy caught with his pants down, Marsh is pointing his finger at Ivey to distract from his naked indifference toward the struggles of his fellow Alabamians.

Marsh’s plan to spend the CARES Act funds on a State House and other pet projects ignored the sufferings of hundreds of thousands of the state’s most vulnerable citizens and businesses.

Ivey wanted the nearly $1.9 billion in CARES funds to go to help those individuals, businesses and institutions affected by COVID-19. Marsh wanted it as a Senate piggybank, so, he lashes out at her rather than reflect on how he and the State Senate could do better in the future.

Anyone who blames others for their failings is a weakling, not a leader.

Marsh came to power under a scheme hatched around 2008, by then-Gov. Bob Riley. The plan was to make Mike Hubbard the speaker of the House, Marsh as pro tem and Bradley Byrne as governor. Riley would act as the shadow puppet master pulling the strings of power from behind a thin curtain of secrecy, allowing him to make untold riches without public accountability.

Byrne losing the governor’s race to the hapless State Rep. Dr. Doctor Robert Bentley was the first glitch in the plan (yes, during the 2010 campaign for governor, Bentley changed his name to Doctor Robert Julian Bentley so the title Doctor would appear next to his name on the primary ballot).

The second problem for the venture was Hubbard’s avarice, which landed him on the wrong side of the ethics laws he, Riley, Byrne and Marsh championed. Of course, the ethics laws were never meant to apply to them. They were designed to trap Democrats.

Marsh has floundered since Hubbard’s grand departure and with Riley sinking further into the background, it is now apparent that Riley was the brains, Hubbard the muscle and Marsh the errand boy, picking up bags of cash to finance the operation.

Gofers rarely rise to power without the public noticing they’re not quite up for the job, and so it is with Marsh that his office has shown the limits of his abilities.

Marsh wanted to control the COVID-19 relief money to spend on pork projects as he’d done in the past, but Ivey didn’t allow it. To be outsmarted is one thing, but to be beaten by a woman is too much for a guy like Marsh.

Ivey burned Marsh like a girl scout roasting marshmallows over a campfire.

Senator Marshmallow, anyone?

Poor Marsh, with his political career in turmoil, picked the wrong target in Ivey.

Some look at Ivey and see a kind, grandmotherly figure. Ivey is as tough as a junkyard dog, and now Marsh knows what her bite feels like.

Ivey didn’t cause massive job losses. COVID-19 did that. But Marsh got his feelings hurt, bless his heart, so he wants to take Ivey down.

Just like his scheme to commandeer the COVID-19 funds from the people didn’t work, his attack on Ivey won’t either.

People see Marsh for what he is, and it’s neither strong nor competent; it’s weak and ineffectual.

Marsh stood behind Ivey when she announced the state’s health orders wearing an American flag style mask.

He voted for her executive amendment.

And now he lies.

In times of real crisis, true leaders emerge while others of lesser abilities whine. Marsh is complaining. Ivey is leading.

And so the public watches as The Masked Marshmallow takes on Iron-jawed Ivey. It’s not tricky to see how this cage match turns out.

Marshmallow, down in three.

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Governor

Alabama AG warns against nursing homes taking stimulus checks

Eddie Burkhalter

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Alabama’s top law enforcement officer on Friday warned against nursing homes intercepting federal stimulus payments to long-term care residents who are Medicaid recipients, but the state’s Nursing Home Association says it’s not aware that is happening, and it hasn’t been contacted by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office over the matter. 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in a press release Friday said that federal stimulus checks from the CARES Act cannot be seized by nursing homes to pay for care. 

“We are now beginning to receive a few reports of concern that some Alabama nursing homes may be attempting to take stimulus checks from residents who are Medicaid recipients. If this is happening, it needs to stop now,” Marshall said in a statement. “These stimulus checks are rightfully and legally the property of the residents and must be returned. Confiscation of these checks is unlawful and should be reported to my office.”

Mike Lewis, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office, in a message to APR on Friday said that all concerns reported to the office will be reviewed and investigated.

“There have been four such reports thus far,” Lewis said in the message.

Alabama Nursing Home Association President Brandon Farmer in a separate press release Friday said that since the federal government’s announcement of the stimulus payment, the association advised members that any stimulus payment deposited to the accounts of nursing home residents was not to be used to reimburse the facility “and is the sole property of the residents.”

“We urge Attorney General Steve Marshall to let us know if he has any reports of diversion of residents’ stimulus payments so that we may clarify any misunderstanding that may exist,” Farmer said. “At this time, we are unaware of any facility where such diversion is occurring.

Farmer said the association has encouraged Marshall to contact them any time he has a concern about nursing homes, or has information he wants to pass along to our members.

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“As we have done throughout this pandemic, we stand ready to work with local, state and federal leaders to support Alabama’s nursing home residents and employees,” Farmer said.

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Governor

Legislators briefed on coronavirus crisis

Brandon Moseley and Nicole Jones

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and her team on Thursday briefed state legislators on the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis that has gripped the state for the last ten weeks.

State Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris told legislators that the state has 13,058 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection. 528 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 COVID-19 related. More than 250 of those deaths have occurred in nursing homes.

Harris said, “So far, we have been able to fulfill all requests for medication in hospitals.”

Kelly Butler is the Alabama State Finance Director.

“The department is working diligently with each entity to provide aid/reimbursement throughout the state to responsibly use the CARES Act funding,” Butler said.

Butler said that new guidelines that the federal government issued regarding the funding are extremely detailed. Legislators will be given a special form to provide input as to what category or entity they see has the greatest need. Counties and cities will be issued guidelines to know what they can and cannot apply for regarding reimbursements.

Butler said that a website is being worked on to provide updates regarding applying for funds. For now, this information can be found on the governor’s website.

Department of Senior Services Commissioner Jean Brown also addressed legislators. Brown said that GA Foods has placed a successful bid with the Farmers to Families program. The Farmers to Families foods will be sending free foods to Alabama. The delivery of meals will begin after Memorial Day and end on June 30.

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Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told legislators that 100,000 masks and 2,500 gowns have been produced by ADOC textile factory workers. The staff and inmates have been provided at least 4 masks for their protection. Inmates have also received individual bottles of soap and hand sanitizer provided thanks to community support.

Dunn said that as of May 20, 138 inmates have been tested for the coronavirus, with nine testing positive. One of those inmates has died due to a pre-existing health condition. The other eight have recovered. Each person that has tested positive has been properly quarantined.

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington briefed the group as well.

Washington said that more than $1 billion has been paid out in unemployment claims and that the department has processed 88 percent of COVID-19 related claims. Washington said that ADOL has paid out more in total benefits in the last three months than in the previous six years combined.

Washington said that unpaid claims are being looked at daily. Over 500,000 claims were filed in the last two months, more than the last two years combined.

Washington said that guidelines relating to issues such as “employees refusing to return to work when applicable” or “employee quits job instead of returning to work” may be addressed on the DOL website.

Washington warned that fraud claims and online scammers acting as ADOL online are happening and that citizens should be aware of such and report any fraudulent activity to ADOL immediately.

State Superintendent Dr. Erick Mackey addressed the group on the plans for the Alabama State Department of Education.

Mackey said that immediate guidance for reopening schools in June will soon be distributed. This would be for students in 7th grade and above. Students 6th grade and below will be able to attend school beginning in July.

Mackey said that the CDC guidelines that were released on Tuesday have not been adopted by ALSDE. Mackey said that some of these guidelines are not reasonable or doable in our state.

CDC issues new guidelines for schools reopening

“There are many moving parts to creating new procedures, etc., so please understand we are taking into consideration that not one size fits all,” Mackey said. “Our local schools will be making the final decisions as to what procedures are put in place for reopening.”

“We hope to issue recommendations to our schools by 19 June regarding reopening for the 2020-2021 school year,” Mackey told legislators. “We will be asking parents and students to implement new safety procedures, but these will be practical and easy to do.”

“We will leave the start date entirely up to each local superintendent,” Mackey continued. “We have asked that they assure they have time to prepare and adjust to the new procedures prior to opening.”

Mackey said that as of now, all school systems will be starting at some point in August. Distance learning for at-risk children is being looked at and there will be some sort of options for those needing this. Special Needs students needing therapies, etc. are also being looked at heavily.

“There are many moving parts to reopening, so we are working diligently to keep every student and every situation in mind,” Mackey said.

Later that afternoon, Ivey held a press conference to unveil the amended Safer At Home Order, which goes into effect at 5 p.m. today. The new orders, which opens many more businesses, will be in effect through 3 July.

 

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