Greene County Hospital receives bingo funds from Palace, newest Bingo facility in county

Bingo

Shown above Bingo Clerk Minnie Byrd,  Mayor of Eutaw Raymond Steele, Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Boligee Councilwoman Earnestine Wade,  Mayor of Union James Gaines, Board of Education CFSO  Katrina Sewell, Greene County Hospital Board member Shirley Edwards, Mayor of Forkland Johnny McAlpine, County CFO Paul Bird and Bingo Clerk Emma Jackson

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Greene County Sheriff Department distributed $337,922.19 in monthly bingo allocations from the five licensed gaming operations in the county. The fifth and newest licensed gaming operation, the Palace, is located in Knoxville, AL. The Palace is the only bingo operation with a contribution to the Greene County Hospital.
The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Jonathan Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital. Assessments are for the month of March 2017.
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $86,354.83 to the following: Greene County Commission, $34,541.94; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $12,953.23; City of Eutaw, $6,476.61; Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,317.74; Greene County Board of Education, $19,429.83.
Green Charity (Center for Rural Family Development) gave a total of $60,000 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500.

Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $60,000 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500.
River’s Edge (TennTom Community Outreach) gave a total of $60,000 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500.
Palace (Tom Summerville Police Support) gave a total of $71,567.36 to the following: Greene County Commission, $3,576.44; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $28,601.88; City of Eutaw, $21,506.84; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,576.44; Greene County Board of Education, $3, 576.44 and the Greene County Hospital 3,576.44.

Black Belt Community Foundation to award $80,000 on Saturday, April 29th for Black Belt Arts Initiative

BBCF

Twenty-seven nonprofit organizations from across the Black Belt region of Alabama will come together on Saturday, April 29, 2017 in Selma, Alabama for the Black Belt Community Foundation’s (BBCF) 12th Black Belt Arts Initiative (BBAI) Grants Ceremony. The awards ceremony will begin at 11:00 AM at the Selma-Dallas County Library, Selma, Alabama. In total, $80,000 will be awarded to area museums, community theatres, festivals, and youth organizations offering concentrated arts programs.
Through these individual projects, it is anticipated that nearly 22,000 Black Belt residents will be inspired, affected, or touched in some way – whether by taking a local art class, by viewing a musical or theatrical performance, or by visiting a local folk arts festival.
BBCF was established in 2004 to support community efforts in the Black Belt that contribute to the strength, innovation, and success of all the region’s people and communities. A partnership formed in 2006 with BBCF, the Youth & Cultural Committee of the Black Belt Action Commission, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA), which established the Black Belt Arts Initiative. The goals of this project are to work in partnership with local community based organizations to forge collaborations with local schools to advance arts education, to document and promote the region’s artistic assets, to assist arts organizations in becoming more efficient and effective and to provide opportunities for citizens of the Black Belt region to be exposed to and participate in the arts.
Since 2006, $1,320,671 has been awarded through BBAI Arts Grants to support various arts activities across BBCF’s twelve-county service area. In total, BBCF has invested over $3.7 million from BBAI Arts, Community and other grants into regional nonprofits, based in and serving Alabama’s Black Belt.
For more information on the Black Belt Arts Initiative, please visit http://www.blackbeltfound.org, or contact Jo Taylor, BBCF Program Manager for the Arts, at jtaylor@blackbeltfound.org, or (334) 874-1126.
The Black Belt Arts Initiative has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment on the Arts.
The Black Belt Community Foundation’s mission is to forge a collective stream of giving that transforms a 12-county region and connecting those interested in having an impact in our area with the nonprofits that are making a difference today. Founded in 2005 with the idea that those living and working in the Black Belt best knew the area’s challenges and opportunities, the Black Belt Community Foundation actively puts needed resources into the region to make a lasting impact.

Black Warrior EMC members file for an injunction to stop vote on by-law changes to stop vote on by-law changes

BWEMC

Demopolis, AL – Member-owners of Black Warrior EMC, a rural electric cooperative serving western Alabama, asked the Greene County Circuit Court on Friday, April 21, 2017, to stop the Black Warrior Board of Directors from trying to amend the cooperative’s bylaws by mail-in ballots, a move these member-owners claim is unlawful.
In their motion to the court for a preliminary injunction to halt the balloting, the member-owners allege that, under Black Warrior’s current bylaws, changes to the bylaws can only be approved at a meeting of the members. They further allege that the proposed changes would “increase the Board’s power considerably at the expense of the members.” Black Warrior has not called for a members’ meeting prior to the May 1st deadline for mailing the ballots on the proposed bylaws.
The law firm of Chestnut, Sanders and Sanders of Selma, Alabama, filed for the injunction on behalf of a group of members who are also plaintiffs in a pending lawsuit challenging the failure of Black Warrior to hold annual elections for its board of trustees, as required by the current bylaws.
According to Aaron Hodge of the Boyd community in Sumter County, one of the plaintiffs, Black Warrior EMC has not had a member-elected board “in decades.” The plaintiffs allege that the current management and board have not taken steps to ensure that a quorum of the membership (at least 1,300 members) attend the annual meetings so that business – such as electing a new board — can be conducted in a fair, open and democratic manner. The current by-laws require a quorum of 5% of the total membership (26,000 members) to attend a meeting for it to be an official formally recognized meeting at which the organization’s business can be conducted.
“The people running Black Warrior act like they don’t want members to know what’s going on,” Mr. Hodge said. Ethel Giles, a community leader in the Forkland area, agreed, stating, “Black Warrior doesn’t communicate with its members, except for sending out the bills.” Ms. Giles said that she and several other member-owners have gone to the Black Warrior office at different times to request basic information about the electric cooperative and its board election process but their requests were always rejected.
Although it recently upgraded its website to provide more information, Black Warrior has not made key documents available to the members. “They don’t even make the service district maps public so that we know which district we’re in and who on the board is supposed to be representing our district,” said Mrs. Giles.
If the proposed bylaws were to pass, Black Warrior EMC’s board would be empowered to create at-large seats on the board, in addition to the seats based on geographic service districts. The current bylaws call for approximately equal numbers of members per service district, but this requirement has been eliminated in the proposed bylaws, as have the provisions for proxy voting. Only members who attend meetings in person would be counted for the quorum, unless, at some future date, the board adopts “alternative means” for determining quorum and for voting.
In March, Black Warrior sent the members of this rural electric cooperative a package containing the proposed new bylaws and a ballot, with a letter asking them vote, by May 1, 2017, to support the changes. Members can only vote “yes” or “no” on all the proposed changes, some of which are identified in a summary but many of which are not. The 25 pages of proposed bylaws do not provide a comparison with the current bylaws so that the member-owners can understand exactly what is being changed.

As a tax-exempt rural electric cooperative, Black Warrior EMC is supposed to be governed by the Seven Principles of Cooperative Governance, which include democratic control of the cooperative by the member-owners and payment of annual patronage dividends to the members, among other things. Black Warrior was recently sued in a class action lawsuit to recover patronage dividends going back to 1975. The settlement of that lawsuit is being appealed. Earlier this year, Black Warrior mailed patronage dividend checks to it members for the first time in many years. These checks were for the time periods after those included in the lawsuit.

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives, in Epes, has been supporting the campaign by Black Warrior member-owners for democratic governance at their electric cooperative. Adriauna Davis, the Federation’s staff organizer, said that although some of the changes might improve member participation – like extending the period for holding the annual meeting by a few months – most of the changes are detrimental to member democracy. “The Federation, after meeting with community residents, who are concerned about Black Warrior EMC’s operations decided on a strategy of advising Black Warrior member-owners, who contacted us, to vote “no” on the proposed amendments to the bylaws,” she said.
Members of the Black Warrior electric cooperative may contact Ms. Audriauna Davis at the Federation’s Rural Training and Research Center, near Epes.
For more information, by calling
1-205-652-9676 or emailing her at: adriaunasdavis@gmail.com.

Virunga Park warden in the Congo tapped for Grassroots Activist Prize

Rodrigue Katembo
Rodrigue Katembo

Apr. 24, 2017 (GIN) – As a child soldier at the age of 14, Rodrigue Katembo learned his survival skills in dangerous times. Belgium had granted independence to the Congo but it was little more than a piece of paper after years of colonial rule.

After a U.S.-led coup in 1961 that removed legally-elected Patrice Lumumba, the nation’s prime minister, years of repression would follow under the dictator Joseph Mobutu. Foreign companies quickly moved in to exploit the Congo’s rich natural resources.

Despite the destructive actions of poachers and oil drillers, the nature sanctuary known as Virunga National Park continued to be a refuge to invaluable biodiversity and rare animals such as the legendary and critically endangered mountain gorillas. Africa’s oldest national park and the crown jewel of Congo’s ecotourism, Virunga was named a World Heritage Site in 1979. And as fate would have it, a former soldier, Rodrigue Katembo, would become its protector.

Rescued from war, Katembo returned to school, studied biology and soon became warden of Virunga’s central sector—an area of interest to oil explorers. A British company Soco had already begun seismic testing in the area by the time Katembo arrived. Refusing their bribes, Katembo instead gathered video footage of their actions – a dangerous task – that was later compiled into the Academy Award-nominated Netflix doc ‘Virunga’.

Amid growing public outrage by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, conservation groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, citizen petition drives, UNESCO, among many others, Soco gave up its oil license in Block V. Declining populations of hippos and elephants have stabilized. Civilians are free to access water and fish at Lake Edwards. And Katembo continues to protect the park.

Katembo paid an enormous price for his activism, however. In 2013, he was arrested and tortured for 17 days. He returned to duty immediately after his release.

Now the 41 year old warden’s good deeds will be rewarded. This month he was named one of six winners of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award honoring grassroots environmental activists.

In addition to a monetary prize, Goldman Prize winners each receive a bronze sculpture called the Ouroboros. Common to many cultures around the world, the Ouroboros, which depicts a serpent biting its tail, is a symbol of nature’s power of renewal.

More information about the prize and this year’s winners can be found on the website http://www.goldmanprize.org

Black doctors earn less than White doctors

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
Black doctors

African-American physicians earn 15 percent less than White physicians—an average of $262,000 compared to $303,000—according to Medscape’s 2017 Physicians Compensation Report.
Approximately 19,200 physicians across 26 areas of medicine were asked questions about annual compensation, race, gender, geography and job satisfaction.
The report, detailed by CBS News, revealed that African-American doctors are less likely to say they feel fairly compensated, with only half agreeing that they’re earning what they should.
“Fifty-percent of African-American physicians don’t feel fairly compensated,” the report’s editor Leslie Kane, a senior director of Medscape Business of Medicine, told CBS.
Racial and gender discrimination may certainly be a factor, Kane said, but there are other factors as well. For example, if a doctor treats more Medicaid patients, their reimbursement is usually lower, since employer-insured patients tend to pay better.
How many hours a doctor works and whether they’re in private practice or a clinic can also explain some inequities in pay. “Tons of factors play into how much a physician makes,” she said.
The survey found that the gender pay gap is narrower among younger doctors. Male doctors ages 55 to 69 make 27 percent more than women, but the divide shrinks to 18 percent in physicians under the age of 34.
Being a doctor pays well, but there are still major discrepancies when it comes to paychecks within the medical profession. For the first time, the annual report looked at race as well as gender and other factors, revealing some significant disparities in pay.
Physicians’ annual salaries averaged $294,000, with specialists earning about $100,000 more than primary care doctors. Overall, average pay has risen by $88,000 over the seven years Medscape has been conducting this survey—an increase attributed to intense competition for doctors among hospitals and health care systems.
The three highest-paying specialties were orthopedics (average annual compensation: $489,000), plastic surgery ($440,000) and cardiology ($410,000). They earned well over twice as much as the average pediatrician ($202,000) and family physician ($209,000), the two lowest-paying categories.
A deeper dive into the data shows male doctors take home bigger paychecks in both primary care and specialty areas such as orthopedics and surgery. Male primary care physicians made 15 percent more than women in 2016, while male specialists earned 31 percent more than their female colleagues.
Part of the reason may be that women are more likely to choose lower-paying specialties, Kane said. “One of the things we look at is why there is this overall disparity. We look at what specialties women are going into and they go into less well-paying areas,” she said.
“Fifty-three percent of pediatricians are women, one of lowest paid specialties. Thirty-nine percent of family physicians are women, also a lower-paying area,” Kane said. When it comes to the more highly paid medical specialties, only 9 percent of women are orthopedists and only 20 percent of general surgeons are female, Kane added.
African-American doctors typically work in primary care rather than specialties, the survey noted. The annual compensation survey delved into race for the first time, said Kane, who has edited the report for seven years.
The report revealed higher salaries in rural states. Doctors in North Dakota are the highest paid in the U.S. followed by Alaska, South Dakota and Nebraska.
Washington D.C. counts as the lowest, while New York hovers toward the bottom of the list, which Kane and others chalk up to supply and demand; plenty of doctors cluster in big cities, while rural areas need to offer more money to attract staff.
Patients may be glad to know that regardless of pay, most doctors like what they do: eight out of 10 physicians said they’d still choose medicine if they had the chance to pick a career all over again.

New study: Black millennials more optimistic about their future than Whites, Hispanics

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from Tarket Market News
MR-VIsion-national-blacks-optimistic-attitudes-graphic

(TriceEdneyWire.com) A newly released study of Millennials reveals that Black consumers between the age of 18-35 are more optimistic about their futures than Hispanics, Asians and Whites of the same age. Young African-Americans were also far more likely (59 percent) to say “anyone can achieve their dreams if they try hard enough.”

The report is based on 2016 data from a collaborative research study conducted by Richards/Lerma (known for its expertise in Hispanic market advertising) and The University of Texas, Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. It was designed to gain a more thorough understanding of the complexities of today’s highly diverse multicultural Millennial group.

“One of the most staggering findings of all in the midst of our nation’s current racial upheaval is that Black Millennials are more optimistic than the other Millennial segments. Although they are less likely to say they are currently satisfied with life, they are the most optimistic about the future,” the report says.
The study, “Millennials Deconstructed,” consisted of a national online sample of Black, Hispanic, Asian, and White Millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 and Hispanics 35+ for comparison, and explored three separate topics: political beliefs and attitudes, the American dream, and media behavior. A series of qualitative one-on-one interviews were conducted following the quantitative study to gain additional insights into survey findings.

“Although our initial intent in this report was to strictly define and deconstruct the American Dream by racial/ethnic segment, a much more interesting story emerged after analyzing the results,” the report says. “When zooming into the differences between the segments, the data reached out and smacked us with untold cultural stories that challenge popular notions about each race and ethnicity. While the differences between the way the groups define and relate to the American Dream are interesting, what’s far more compelling is how their cultural and ethnic background shapes their responses in counterintuitive ways. In other words, it’s not only ‘the what’ we want to talk about, it’s the often neglected how and why.”

Trump’s avoidance of Black Press reveals tense relations

News Analysis By Paul Delaney

omarosa-cherissmayphoto2.jpg

 Omarosa Manigault, assistant to President Trump and communications director for the White House Office of Public Liaison. PHOTO: Cheriss May
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Center for American Progress
At the very beginning of the new administration, and probably in a moment of hubris, Omarosa Manigault, an aide to President Donald Trump, promised that the first newspaper interview with the new president would go to a member of the black press. Nobody took her seriously. In fact, such a meeting has yet to occur, prompting me to think that, given the disastrous encounters with other black groups—such as black college presidents—perhaps it is best that such a meeting never happens.
As someone who began his career working for a black-owned newspaper, I’m well aware that those of us who have toiled in the black media are used to being ignored or mistreated by public officials. I never expected President Trump to meet with the black press. Like the community that spawned them, black journalists have always felt the sting of second-class citizenship.
The recent to-do between White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and April Ryan—the White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, a consortium of black-oriented radio stations—is an example. Spicer chided her as he evaded her question about a white man killing a black man in New York. “Stop shaking your head again,” Spicer hectored Ryan. There is nothing new about such patronizing, bordering on racist, behavior.
From the beginning—slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, lynchings, and discrimination of all types—reporters and editors from the black press took on the racism and the racists of the world, shining a bright spotlight on such evils as most of their counterparts in the white media took pains to ignore. In some cases, especially in the South, white reporters and editors encouraged the racist views of the day. At a conference of journalists a few years ago, keynote speaker Hodding Carter III observed that in the South during the 1960s, “the average Southern newspaper was … bigoted.” He should know. His family owned the Delta Democrat-Times, a rare liberal newspaper in Greenville, Mississippi.
Although black media was the stepchild of American journalism, it focused attention on many newsworthy acts that downtown dailies ignored. Black reporters working for black publishers and broadcasters tackled some of the worst cases of violence—and at times led the charge. I remember the pride of fellow staffers at the Atlanta Daily World after a campaign by the paper saved a black man from Georgia’s electric chair. And who can forget the chilling coffin photos of the mutilated body of Chicago teenager Emmett Till—who was lynched in Mississippi—published in Jet magazine.
During the current newsroom downturn that has seen dwindling numbers of readers, listeners, and revenue, the black press has taken a heavier hit than its white counterparts. How bad is it? One black publisher agonized over whether to accept advertising from the Trump campaign. She ended up rejecting overtures—and ad money—from the campaign.
“I could not in good conscience take the money,” she explained during a private dinner that I attended last year with a group of black journalists.
President Trump and most African Americans are off to a terrible start, not surprising given the heavy black vote against him and the atrocious gaffes he and his appointees continue to make regarding nonwhite folks. Given his actions and appointees thus far, black people have reason for deep distrust.
The few occasions of personal contact between President Trump and African Americans have been awkward and/or disastrous, enough to assume he will keep such intercourse to a minimum. During a White House meeting last month, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said he informed Trump that “his language describing African-American communities has been ‘hurtful’ and ‘insulting.’” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) was one of first leaders to publicly call for Trump’s impeachment. What’s more, Waters was among a handful of members of Congress who refused to attend his inauguration and refused to join fellow black congressional leaders in attending the White House meeting.
Black media have kept up a constant drumbeat against the Trump administration; we can expect that to continue, and possibly intensify. One issue sure to bubble up repeatedly—meetings with President Trump. As a former colleague at The New York Times, E.R. Shipp, News
So with nuts, neophytes and revisionists running the Trump asylum, one might wonder why 70 or so presidents, chancellors and advocates for historically black colleges and universities—HBCUs—accepted a “getting-to-know-you” White House invitation.
I suspect the same sentiment will apply to members of the black media, if they’re ever invited to meet with the president.
Paul Delaney, a veteran print journalist, spent 23 years with The New York Times as an editor, reporter, and foreign correspondent. He began his career at two black-owned newspapers, the Baltimore Afro-American and the Atlanta Daily World, before moving on to a succession of other newspapers, including the Dayton Daily News in Ohio and the now-closed Washington Star. He was a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists and served as the chairman of the journalism department at the University of Alabama from 1992 to 1996. He is currently completing a memoir on his career.