Newswire : Diverse rural farmer and community groups praise bipartisan Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Bill

Two national organizations representing thousands of rural farmers and communities today commended the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 released by the Senate Agriculture Committee on Friday. The Rural Coalition and National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) applaud the Committee, Chairman Pat Roberts, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow for the bipartisan bill. While the bill stops short of fundamental changes to provide a fair price to all producers, it contains important provisions to address the dairy crisis; protects and expands equity for tribal, historically underserved, veteran, and beginning farmers and ranchers; and preserves the integrity of nutrition programs. The bill also makes two critical updates to farm credit programs to benefit family farmers.

At a moment when dairy farmers are receiving prices as low as 30 percent below the cost of production, the Senate farm bill takes an important first step towards improving those prices for by establishing a Class 1 Fluid Milk donation program. The program will provide $5 billion per year to reimburse dairy farmers who make donations to non-profit feeding programs.

Wisconsin dairy farmer and NFFC board president Jim Goodman noted, “The inclusion of a fluid milk donation program in the Senate farm bill will help two groups of people in need: dairy farmers who have been trying to survive on milk prices that are well below cost of production and people who cannot afford to put food on the table. Many people struggling with food insecurity are working, many are children – and some are farmers themselves. The dairy donation program will provide significant relief to all of these populations.”

Two credit provisions in the Senate bill will bring further relief to farmers facing today’s credit crisis. The provisions offer new favorable loan servicing options to help farm families preserve farmland and avoid foreclosure, as well as expanding eligibility for emergency loans following a catastrophe such as a drought or flood.

“NFFC and Rural Coalition have fought for equitable farm credit since our work on the 1987 Agricultural Credit Act, which slowed the 1980s farm crisis,” said Savonala Horne, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Black Farmers Land Loss Prevention Project, a board member of both organizations. “These critical but common sense changes to the law will keep more family farmers on the land through the challenges rural America is again facing today.”

The bill also strengthens equity for tribal farmers and food systems and invests in programs supporting the nation’s historically underserved, veteran and young farmers and ranchers. It is notable for measures to strengthen and fund programs to assist small farmers and grow local food and farm systems. Among these is the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (OASDVFR), which has struggled for funding since it was first authorized in 1990, and since military veteran farmers and ranchers were added in 2014. The Senate bill links OASDVFR with the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program and strengthens and provides permanent authority to both programs. Under the new bill, the programs would equally share permanent direct funding of $50 million.

“We have been working hard for decades to bring equity to the farm bill in terms of treatment for Black farmers and other farmers of color to build cooperatives and to uplift low-wealth communities. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 addresses continuing inequities and supports the quality hands-on assistance needed to make sure the 2018 farm bill reaches everyone,” said Rural Coalition Chairperson John Zippert, based in rural Alabama.

Rural Coalition and NFFC further commend Senators Roberts and Stabenow for a farm bill package that, unlike its counterpart in the House of Representatives, takes a strong bipartisan stance on ensuring food access for all communities, by retaining funding and authority for the crucial Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It also increases support for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives program and related initiative to strengthen local food systems.

For additional commentary and analysis on the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, visit www.nffc.net and https://www.ruralco.org/.

The Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural is an alliance of farmers, farmworkers, indigenous, migrant, and working people from the United States, Mexico, Canada, and beyond working together toward a new society that values unity, hope, people, and land.

NFFC unites and strengthens the voices and actions of its diverse grassroots member organizations in 30 states to demand viable livelihoods for family farmers, safe and healthy food for everyone, and economically and environmentally sound rural communities.

Newswire : Young medical worker executed by Boko Haram caliphate in Nigeria

Hauwa Liman, aide worker

Oct. 15, 2018 (GIN) – “We urge you: spare and release these women,” begged Patricia Danzi, director of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Africa. .. “Like all those abducted, they are not part of any fight.” “They are daughters and sisters, one is a mother — women with their futures ahead of them, children to raise, and families to return to.” Nonetheless, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a self-declared caliphate of Boko Haram, rejected their entreaties and executed 24 year old Hauwa Liman, an aide worker. The insurgents further vowed to make another captive, schoolgirl Leah Sharibu, a slave for life. In a video seen by some journalists, Hauwa was forced to kneel down, with her hands tied inside a white hijab, and was then shot at a close range. A midwife with ICRC, Saifura Ahmed, who had been abducted at the same time, was executed by Boko Haram in September. ISWAP said the two women were killed because they were Murtads (apostates) by the group because they were once Muslims that abandoned their Islam when they chose to work with the Red Cross. The 24-year-old nurse and student of Health Education at the University of Maiduguri was among the three aid workers abducted in an attack on a heavily-guarded military facility in the small town of Rann, Borno State on March 1, 2018. The insurgents also abducted Alice Loksha Ngaddah, a nurse and mother of two, and Saifura Husseini Ahmed, a midwife. Four soldiers and four policemen were also killed. “From today, Sharibu and Ngaddah are now our slaves,” it said. “Based on our doctrines, it is now lawful for us to do whatever we want to do with them.” Regrets from Nigerian Information Minister Lai Mohammed did not persuade some Nigerian citizens that the government had done all it could possibly do to free the women. Dr Dípò (@OgbeniDipo), writing on The Nigerian Guardian, commented: “If she was a child of the elite, perhaps there would be more urgency and this wouldn’t happen.” Dr Chima Matthew Amadi (@AMADICHIMA) wrote: Hauwa Leman executed by ISWAP according to reports. We had 10 days to save her life but we were busy. Busy with politics; busy with useless Executive Order; busy with nothing. Sorry Hauwa, Nigeria failed you, like we failed Anita yesterday and countless others.” Meanwhile, a new entry into the political race for the presidency is Obiageli Ezekwesili. In 2014, Ms Ezekwesili, a graduate of Harvard and a founding director of Transparency International, captured the world’s attention with #BringBackOurGirls, a campaign to rescue 276 schoolgirls who had been kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria. In announcing a presidential bid on Oct. 7, the former World Bank official now hopes to upend establishment politics in Africa’s most populous country.

Newswire: Harvard University honors Colin Kaepernick for his fight against social injustice

By NewsOne Staff

 

Colin Kaepernick

 

Former football player Colin Kaepernick has continually used his platform as an avenue to bring attention to social injustice. He’s been honored by several institutions and organizations for lending his voice and resources to overcome issues faced by the Black community. The latest institution to recognize Kaepernick’s efforts is Harvard University. The school awarded him with the W.E.B. Du Bois medal on Thursday, the Huffington Post reported. Colin Kaepernick received Harvard’s prestigious W.E.B. Du Bois medal last week for his tireless protests of police brutality and racial inequality. The medal is awarded to individuals who are fierce advocates for human rights and who have contributed to shaping Black culture, the news outlet writes. Kaepernick joins a list of legends who have received the award in the past, including the late Muhammad Ali and Maya Angelou. While accepting the award, Kaepernick recounted interacting with a high school football team during his travels around the country. “ One of the young brothers says, ‘We don’t get to eat at home, so we’re going to eat on this field.’ That moment has never left me. And I’ve carried that everywhere I went,” he said, according to the news outlet. “I feel like it’s not only my responsibility but all our responsibilities as people that are in positions of privilege, in positions of power, to continue to fight for them and uplift them, empower them. Because if we don’t, we become complicit in the problem.” Amongst the other individuals who were honored included Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Institute in Montgomery, Alabama, Florence Ladd, and Dave Chappelle. Kaepernick has won several awards for his brave decision to stay dedicated to what he believed in even though it impacted his career. Earlier this year, Amnesty International, a global human rights organization, awarded Kaepernick its 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award. “This is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force,” he said during his acceptance speech.

Newswire : Election Day Countdown: Civil Rights Leaders fight for maximum voter participation; Georgia is unjustly holding 53,000 voter registrations

By Hazel Trice Edney (TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has filed suit against Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp over the state’s “discriminatory and unlawful ‘exact match’ voter suppression scheme.” The suit alleges that Georgia’s “‘no match, no vote’ voter registration scheme violates the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,” according to a statement from the organization. The alleged scheme appears to intentionally deter Black voters who intend to vote for Kemp’s opponent, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacie Abrams, who would become the nation’s first Black woman governor. Meanwhile, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond has written a scathing letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions strongly objecting to what appears to be his “abdication of his complete abdication of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) voting rights oversight responsibilities” in the Georgia controversy. And NAACP President Derrick Johnson has announced that the historic civil rights organization is also monitoring the situation in Georgia, which he describes as “a stain on our system of democracy when less than a month before an election which could produce the first African-American female governor in our nation’s history, we are seeing this type of voter suppression scheme attempted by a state official whose candidacy for the governorship produces an irremediable conflict of interest.” The war for votes in the Nov. 6 election is on. And civil rights leaders across the country are fighting vigorously for each one. Despite the contention for political control of the U. S. House of Representatives, the historic gubernatorial election in Georgia is the ground zero of sorts as it tests fair elections after the 2013 Shelby v. Holder U. S. Supreme Court decision that outlawed the Section 5 “Pre-clearance Clause”, which once mandated Georgia and a list of other states to seek permission from the Justice Department before changing voting laws. “Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has been a driving force behind multiple voter suppression efforts throughout the years in Georgia,” says Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee. “If there is one person in Georgia who knows that the ‘Exact Match’ scheme has a discriminatory impact on minority voters, it’s Brian Kemp because we successfully sued him over a mirror policy in 2016.” In a nutshell, Kemp’s “exact match” policy has placed more than 53,000 voter registration applications on “pending” status a month before the midterm election. They are on hold because of simple typos or for not exactly matching the registrants’ official identification for any reason. Though Kemp contends the 53,000 can still vote, lawyers contend that just the implication that the vote may not count or that they may be question at the polls could cause Black voters to become skittish and stay at home. There exists a stark parallel between the voter suppression schemes levied by states around the country prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the insidious tactics used by Secretary Kemp to capitalize on the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County to gut the Act and its protections for African Americans and other people of color that came with it. No less than 70 percent of people impacted by ‘Exact Match’ are African-American. We will continue fighting voter suppression to ensure a level playing field for voters across Georgia this election cycle.” In his letter to Attorney General Sessions, CBC Chairman Richmond says Georgia is just a tip of the iceberg for voter suppression antics going on around the country. “The current state of election integrity across the nation is in a tenuous position thanks to your intentionally lax approach to enforcement of voting rights laws. Bad actors in governments in various states have been deliberately compromising fair elections with impunity,” Richmond wrote. The NAACP’s Johnson says the organization will continue to monitor Georgia closely after a major win against voter suppression in the state just two months ago. In August the NAACP Georgia State Conference successfully fought against the closing of 7 of 9 polls in the nearly all Black area of Randolph County. The Associated Press has reported that Kemp has “cancelled over 1.4 million voter registrations since 2012. Nearly 670,000 registrations were cancelled in 2017 alone.”

Newswire: The impact of climate change on communities of color

 

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent

The planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius – or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit – above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people, according the new climate change report issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. To avoid such catastrophic events, governments the world over must make rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, according to the report. The authors say the 2030 date is based on current levels of greenhouse gas emissions and that the planet is already two-thirds of the way there, with global temperatures having warmed about 1 degree Celsius. “We have a climate gap in this country. The main reason being that millions of low-income people, many of them minorities, tend to live in the geographical areas that are most impacted by climate change,” Etienne Deffarges, a policy expert and former global managing partner at Accenture and senior partner at Booz Allen Hamilton, told NNPA Newswire. “It’s no accident that the two most devastating hurricanes in the United States over the last 15 years, Maria and Katrina, took place in areas essentially populated by minorities,” Deffarges said, while also noting that more than 2,900 people in Puerto Rico died during Hurricane Maria and at least 1,800 perished because of Hurricane Katrina. The vulnerability of low-income populations to climate change isn’t a United States-specific problem. Some of the world’s poorest populations suffer even more acutely from extreme weather, Deffarges said. However, low-income and minority populations also suffer from polluted water, like in Flint, Michigan and those who live near chemical plants or refineries are forced to deal with foul air that causes lung and other problems, he said. Deffarges said Holland, for example, has spent billions on basic infrastructure, the primary solution for low-income and minority areas. Better roads and public transportation can help put people out of harm’s way and housing infrastructure has a longer-term impact while it’s also necessary to ensure diversity in neighborhoods populated by lower income families, he said. “If we spend the trillion dollars or more needed to rebuild our infrastructure, we will also achieve the additional feat of decreasing inequality in our country, improve living and working conditions for minorities, and reduce this climate gap,” Deffarges said. Climate change and pollution go hand in hand, and they hit communities of color first and worst, said Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for The Greenlining Institute, a public policy, research, and advocacy non-profit organization based in Oakland, California. “Because of the long, sorry history of redlining, low-income communities of color are most likely to be located alongside smoke-belching factories or refineries and busy highways, and also have the fewest resources to cope with heat waves, droughts, floods and other climate-related disasters,” Mirken said. “On the bright side, fighting climate change requires building a new, clean energy economy, one that offers tremendous opportunities for communities of color. “At the Greenlining Institute, we’ve successfully pushed California to ensure that as we fight climate change, underserved communities get the resources they need to benefit from our clean energy future. All states and the federal government should do likewise,” he said. One mitigating factor could be a shift away from the “global standard diet” and a move to restoring agrobiodiversity with the idea that, globally, we now rely heavily on wheat, rice, corn, soybeans, and palm oil, said Jennifer Kaplan of the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone Campus, in California. “We need to restore biodiversity in order to build in resilience to our food system so that we can find solutions when a crop succumbs to disease, pests, weeds, or climate change,” Kaplan said. “The larger the number of different species/varieties of food we have, the greater the probability that at least some of them can cope with changing conditions. And, of course, GMO foods, that are designed to drought resistant, heat tolerant, etc. will also be able to ease this burden.”

Groundbreaking held for Love’s Travel Center at Interstate 20/59 Exit 40 Eutaw

Officials participating in groundbreaking (L. to R.): Kenneth Boswell (ADECA), Rep. Ralph Howard. Senator Bobby Singleton, Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele, Governor Kay Ivey, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Jenny Love Meyer, Rep. A. J. McCampbell, Bill Gleason (Love’s), Eutaw Council members Joe Lee Powell, Sheila H. Smith, Bennie Abrams, LaJeffrey Carpenter, and Danny Cooper (GCIDA)

On Monday, October 15, 2018, a groundbreaking was held for a Love’s Travel Center and Country Store, near the location of the new business on the Southside of the Interstate 20/59 Exit 40 on Highway 14 coming into the City of Eutaw.The mid-morning groundbreaking was attended by Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Legislative delegation members, Senator Bobby Singleton, Rep. A. J. McCampbell and Rep. Ralph Howard, members of the Eutaw City Council, Greene County Commission and other state and local agencies involved as well as Jenny Love Meyer and William “Bill “ Gleason representing the Love’s corporation. The new $12.5 million travel stop will be built on a 13.9-acre site and is expected to bring an estimated 43 jobs to the area with a projected 1,000 trucks per day. The new Love’s will be one of the largest Love’s sites in Alabama and will include a Hardee’s, Godfather’s Pizza, and Chester’s Chicken. The Eutaw location will also consist of 96 parking spaces for professional drivers, with the possibility of future expansion for more parking spaces. Councilman Joe Lee Powell welcomed the over 250 people assembled for the groundbreaking ceremony by stating, “You are welcome in Eutaw the Gateway to the Alabama Black Belt.” Rev. John Hodges, Pastor of the Saint Mathew Baptist Church in Boligee gave the invocation. Congresswoman Terri Sewell thanked all the groups and agencies present for their contributions to make the project a success. “We thank Love’s for bringing jobs to the Alabama Black Belt where they are greatly needed. We can assure you that people are our greatest asset – their strength, their intellect and their heart, which will become part of this project.” State Senator Bobby Singleton said, “this is a great day for Eutaw and Greene County. This project is a gamechanger that will bring new jobs and open opportunities for other development and jobs.” State Representatives A. J. McCampbell and Ralph Howard, who represent Greene County, echoed these same sentiments. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said, “This is an exciting day for this county, when Greene County wins, Alabama wins.” She reviewed her success in bring 16,000 jobs to Alabama since she became Governor. “We are working to make groundbreakings like this an everyday occurrence in Alabama. We know that Love’s has 14 locations in Alabama, especially in rural locations like this one. We wish them success in providing drivers a quality and safe place to rest and refuel,” she said. Jenny Love Meyer speaking for the Love’s Company said, “This will be one of 470 locations around the nation that will bear our family name. We started in Oklahoma to build clean and friendly places for truckers and other travelers. We know this new location will live up to our company’s mission and vision.” William ‘Bill’ Gleason, Real Estate Property Manager for Love’s, who was instrumental in finding the location, said, “ Our travel centers have no wheels under them. Once we build, we are with you to stay!” Mayor Raymond Steele thanked everyone involved in the project, including ADECA, Delta Regional Authority, USDA Rural Development Greene County Industrial Development Authority and the West Alabama Regional Planning Agency who provided funds and direction to extended sewage and other utilities to the Exit 40 site. The Mayor also thanked the Eutaw City Council, the Greene County Commission, Jamie Banks family, who sold the land for the project and many others for making the project possible. “We hope that this is just the beginning for new jobs and growth in our community. With this project, we have a chance to move forward together and open other new opportunities for the people of our area,” said Mayor Steele, before a large group of the invited dignitaries put their golden shovels in the ground to turn over the dirt symbolizing the start of the project.

School board presented update on STEM Program in school system

 

 

Shown at Display of STEM Program, L to R: Nashambia Sewell, Science Teacher; School Board Members, Mr. William Morgan; Dr. Carol P. Zippert; Ms. Carrie Dancy; Ms. Kashaya Cockrell and Mr. Leo Branch. and Pictured: David Peterson, Joe N. Webb and Superintendent, Dr. James Carte displaying Citations.

At the regular meeting of the Greene County Board of Education, held Monday, October 15, 2018, Superintendent James Carter provided the board an update of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program as it operates in the school system. Ms. Nashambia Sewell, who joined the school system as a science teacher this year, led the presentation on STEM skills and careers. She noted that a goal of the program is to guide students to think of the skills needed in today’s workplace. “Most employers want workers who are able to reason and solve problems using some math, science, or technology,” she indicated.

In addition to intensive course work, the STEM program will engage students in related exposures through various field trips. STEM is designed to prepare students for various careers, providing them with skills not just in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, but also in communication, creative abilities, leadership and organizational skills. Superintendent Carter reported that the Transportation Department received favorable review from the State Department of Education for school bus safety inspection for 2017. Citations were presented to transportation staff Johnny Pelt, David Peterson, Nathaniel Webb and Transportation Coordinator, Joe N. Webb for attaining the goal of excellence. Dr. Carter also noted that the Greene County School Board received the AASB School Board Member Academy President’s Award 2018 for demonstrating a commitment to excellence in education through boardsmanship training. Board member Kashaya Cockrell reached Levels 2 & 3 in AASB training; Board Member Carol Zippert reached Level 4. In other business, the board acted on the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent: * Approved the resignation of Ms. Sadie Moore, Secretary – Eutaw Primary School, Effective September 12, 2018 * Approved employment of Rachael Nixon, Secretary, Eutaw Primary School for 2018-2019 school year. * Approved employment of Wanda Gaitor, Part-time Secretary, Greene County High School, and Part-time Secretary at Greene County Career Center. Approved the appointment of Mr. Fredrick Square, as School District Safety Coordinator, for the 2018-2019 school year. The board acted on the following administrative services recommended by the superintendent: * Approved request to accept counter offer from Town of Boligee for Paramount School Property, pending clarification that it is for 15 acres and other conditions of use and pending completion of survey. * Approved request to survey and appraise Eatman School property. * Approved request to survey and appraise Mt. Hebron property. * Approve contract between Greene County Board and Kim Herren, Special Education Services for Greene County Head Start. * Approve contract between Greene County Board and Mattie Strode, Special Education Services for Homebound Students. * Approved contact between Greene County Board and Woods Therapeutic Services, Inc., for Special Education Personal Care Aides. * Approved contract for Greene County High School Basketball Team, to participate in interscholastic Athletic Contest against non-member school basketball tournament in Ft. Walton Beach Florida, December 27 – 29, 2018. * Approved contract between Greene County High School and West Central Official Association during the 2018-2019 school year. Approved field trip request for Eutaw Primary School to attend Audubon Aquarium and Zoo in New Orleans, May, 2019. Approved Career & Technical Education Policies: 1. Plan for Achieving Excellence; 2. Live Work Guidelines; 3. Instructions for Handling Career Tech Data; 4. Enrollment Procedures; 5. Safety Procedures; 6. Adult Sex Offender. The board approved the following instructional items. * Statement of Commitment regarding School Safety. * Policies for the following programs: 1. Student Suicide Prevention (Jason Flatt ACT); 2. Student Conduct and Supervision; 3.Corporal Punishment. Approve the following Plan and Policies for Federal Program for 2019: 1. Foster Care Plan; 2. LEA Consolidated Plan; 3. McKinney-Vento District Homeless Policy; 4. Dispute Resolution for Homeless, Foster Care, English Learner, Migrant, and Immigrant students; 5. Enrollment Policy for Homeless, Foster Care, English Learner Migrant and Immigrant Students. The financial reports were presented by Ms. LaVonda Blair, CSFO and Mr. Marvin Taylor, Interim CSFO.

Greene County AVFD names Ronald Kent Smith Fire Fighter of the Year

 

 

 

 

AVFD President, Hodges Smith, presents Fire Fighter of the Year Award to Ronald Kent Smith. Mr. Luther ‘Nat’ Winn, with his wife Mrs. Annie Winn, holds Presidential Award presented to him. Shown with Winn are Union Mayor James Gaines; Forkland Mayor Charlie McAlpine; Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele and Alabama State Senator Bobby Singleton. Other Fire Fighter Honorees of 2018 included: Mr. Harper Smith, Knoxville Fire Department; Mr. John A. Hill, Springfield Fire Department; Mr. Allen Turner, Jr., Tishabee Fire Department; Mrs. Severe Strode, Lower Gainesville Road Fire Department; Mrs. Brenda Hardy, Clinton Fire Department and Ronald Kent Smith, Greene County Coroner.

 

Ronald Kent Smith, Greene County Coroner and volunteer fire fighter was honored as Fire Fighter of the Year at the 6th Annual Volunteer Fire Fighters Award Banquet held Friday, October 12, 2018 at the Eutaw Civic Center. Smith has been employed by the Greene County Emergency Medical Service for 17 years and has served as a volunteer fire fighter for 17 years. Other honorees for 2018 included: Evangelist Brenda Hardy who serves as president of the Clinton Volunteer Fire Department, which was organized in 2011; Mr. John A. Hill who has served as a member of the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department since 1994; Mr. Harper Smith who serves with the Knoxville Fire Department; Mrs. Severe Strode who has been a fire fighter with the Lower Gainesville Road Volunteer Fire Department since 1991; and Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr.who has been a member of the Tishabee Volunteer Fire Department since 1995. A special recognition, the Presidential Award, was given to Mr. Luther ‘Nat” Winn, II, for his continuing support of the Greene County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments. Alabama State Senator Bobby Singleton gave remarks and encouraged voters to go to the polls on November 6. Mr. Hodges Smith, President of the Association, brought greetings; Mrs. Geraldine Walton was Mistress of Order for the Awards Banquet; A representative from each fire department also brought greetings; Ms. Felecia Smith was soloist; Mr. Marvin Turner & Impluze Band rendered musical selections.

Ms. Willie E. Austin led the Memorial Tribute to deceased fire fighters. Dinner was served and entertainment was provided by D.J. Birdman of Eutaw.

Greene County Chapter of DST sponsors 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. held its 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 on the old courthouse square in Eutaw, AL. Mayor Raymond Steele was present to deliver greetings from the City of Eutaw, applauding the efforts on behalf of the Delta to bring awareness to the community. Nancy Cole gave greetings on behalf of the chapter president. Johnni Morning served as Mistress of Order. This event was open to the public. All participants received various materials on breast cancer awareness. A collection of pink balloons was released in celebration of breast cancer survivors and their families, as well as for individuals currently struggling with the illness. The annual walk is also held to encourage the community to adopt more healthy life styles, including healthy food choices, regular physical exercise and medical exams. Isaac Atkins is President of the Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Johnni Strode-Morning is Chairperson of the chapter’s Physical and Mental Health Committee.

Alabama Hospital Association highlights importance of expanding Medicaid

News Analysis by: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

The Alabama Hospital Association, a statewide trade organization representing 100 hospitals in the state is launching the ALhealthmatters campaign highlighting the importance of expanding Medicaid. The Association says If Alabama expands Medicaid, almost 300,000 uninsured Alabamians would receive health insurance coverage, an estimated 30,000 jobs would be created, and $28 billion in new economic activity would be generated.  Alabama would also save millions of dollars on current state services.  “On average, almost one out of every 10 hospital patients does not have health insurance, resulting in more than $530 million annually in uncompensated care,” said Danne Howard, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Alabama Hospital Association.  “Currently, 75 percent of Alabama’s hospitals are operating in the red, meaning the dollars they receive for caring for patients are not enough to cover the cost of that care.  Expanding Medicaid would be a significant investment in the state’s fragile health care infrastructure and would help maintain access to care for everyone.” “In Greene County because we are a poor county, one in three patients do not have any insurance, which means we provide an average of $100,000 in uncompensated care per month. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would help people in our county whose earn less than 138% of poverty (approximately $20,000 annual for a family of four) to secure affordable health insurance coverage,” said Dr. Marcia Pugh, Administrator of the Greene County Health System. Howard adds that hospitals and other health care providers are a critical piece of the state’s infrastructure.  “Alabama’s hospitals employ about 90,000 individuals and indirectly support another 96,000 jobs,” she said.  “Not only are they often one of the largest employers in their communities, but hospitals also have a huge economic impact on their local economy.  Statewide, the annual economic impact of Alabama hospitals is nearly $20 billion, not to mention the pivotal role access to quality health care plays in recruiting and keeping new businesses.” The Alabama Hospital Association statement indicates the importance of expanding Medicaid but does not endorse the state’s Democratic political candidates who support Medicaid expansion. Walt Maddox, Democratic candidate for Governor, in the November election, says, “ I will expand Medicaid for Alabama during the first hour of the first day that I am Governor. We will find the resources to pay our part of the costs to pay for this critical life-saving service from our people.” Incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey has not expanded Medicaid and does not intend to because of cost. State Senator Hank Sanders said, “ It is clear that on the one issue of expanding Medicaid, there is a clear distinction between the candidates for Governor on the ballot in November.

Democratic candidate Walt Maddox will expand Medicaid and help save lives in Alabama as well as expand our economy in every county, while Kay Ivey will continue to oppose this program for narrow political reasons.” Since 2010 when Medicaid expansion has been available under the Affordable Care Act, Alabama has lost $7 billion in Federal support under the program. For the first three years of the program, there was no cost to the states to participate. This has increased by 2.5% a year until it reached the maximum 10% this fiscal year. In addition in coming years beginning in 2020, the disproportionate share reimbursement rate payment to rural hospitals will decline because the program assumes coverage for low-income people in the state by Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Rural hospitals in states like Alabama, that have not expanded Medicaid, will begin to take a “double-whammy” for not expanding Medicaid – more patients without insurance coupled with lower reimbursement rates. Howard notes that a recent study showed that hospitals in expansion states were 84 percent less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states.  “Alabama has had 12 hospitals close since 2011, and more are on the verge of closing if something doesn’t change,” she added. “Plus, the economic impact in other states has been tremendous; Louisiana has added 19,000 jobs; nearly 50 percent of new enrollees in Ohio have been able to receive mental health and substance abuse treatment, and the state has seen a 17-percent drop in emergency department use; Kentucky has seen an increase in state revenues of $300 million.” The AHA study says, “Investing in the rural health care infrastructure is critical as Alabama works to improve rural prosperity.  Alabama’s rural hospitals are an anchor in their communities‒creating jobs, providing critical care, and supporting other industries.   ​“When a rural hospital closes, other mainstays in the community often follow … local pharmacies, physicians, banks, and grocery stores to name a few. When a rural hospital closes, it’s very difficult to attract new business. “ ​Throughout the next few months, hospitals will be talking with business, civic and government leaders to stress the importance of expanding Medicaid in Alabama and to share quantitative results of the positive impact it is having in other states.  For more information on the impact Medicaid expansion could have in Alabama, visitwww.alhealthmatters.com.

Greene County Commission recognizes Michael Williams for service

Shown L to R: Commissioners Allen Turner, Jr., Michael Williams and Tennyson Smith

 

At its regular monthly meeting held Tuesday, October 9, 2018, the Greene County Commission acknowledged the dedicated work of out-going Commissioner Michael Williams, representing District 5. Williams was presented a plaque recognizing his four-year term in office. In his brief remarks, Commissioner Williams thanked the community for entrusting him with the duty of representing District 5 and the whole of Greene County. “ I am a native of Greene County who had relocated for a few years, but I came back with a desire to serve our county.

I thank you for giving me that opportunity. I will continue to contribute to the growth of Greene County,” he stated. The commission considered two separate recommendations to fill the expired seat on the county’s Water Authority Board. Commissioner Allen Turner recommended J.B. Washington, but his motion died for lack of a second. That was followed by a motion by Commissioner Williams to appoint James Williams, which failed for lack of a second. The expired seat was held by Mr. Levi Morrow. In other business the commission approved the request from County Engineer, Willie Branch, to purchase three 2019 Mack Dump Trucks. The trucks are scheduled for delivery in September 2019. The commission also took action on the following. * Approved 2019 Severe Weather Resolution giving commission chairman authorization to sign all necessary documents. * Approved engineer’s request to award yearly bids. * Approved finance report, payment of claims and budget amendments as presented by CFO Paula Bird. In her report, CSFO Bird indicated the following bank totals as of September 18, 2018: Citizen Trust Bank – $2,356,329.29; Merchant & Farmers Bank – $4,591,959.38; Bank of New York – $358,093.75; CD Investments – $919,806.21. The commission did not go into executive session since only three commissioners were present.