COVID-19

As of October 14, 2020 at 12:00 Noon
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)
Alabama had 167,977 confirmed cases of coronavirus, (6,357 more than last week) with 2,706 deaths
(105 more than last week)
Greene County had 329 confirmed cases, (18 more cases than last week),
with 16 deaths
Sumter Co. had 459 cases with 21 deaths
Hale Co. had 714 cases with 29 deaths

Eutaw City Council certifies municipal elections; approves $70,000 + in CARES funds for EMS equipment

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, at 12 noon, the Eutaw City Council met to certify the municipal run-off election held Tuesday, October 6, 2020. Mrs. Mattie Atkins, Eutaw Municipal Election Official, presented the Resolutions and Certificates of Election attesting to the process that confirmed the final number of votes for each candidate, declaring the respective winners for mayor and council members. The current council members and mayor signed all Resolutions and Certificates.
Mrs. Atkins acknowledge the assistance of Mrs. Johnnie Knott and Eutaw staff who provided invaluable assistance. Mayor Raymond Steele also offered special appreciation to Mrs. Atkins and Mrs. Knott for their service.
The Eutaw City Officials will be sworn in prior to their first official meeting in November.
The council approved a budget of $2,000 for the inauguration ceremonies.
The Eutaw City Council met in its regular 2nd Tuesday monthly meeting, following the certification. Mayor Raymond Steele did not remain for the City Council meeting. Mayor Pro Tem LaJeffery Carpenter presided.
The council approved approximately $ 68,000 in CARES funds to purchase two Life Pak 15 Defibrillators with consideration of purchasing a multiple year service contract for the equipment at $2,000 per year. The federal CARES money must be spent by December 31, 2020. Eutaw EMS Director Nick Wilson reported that the Eutaw Ambulance Service now has six Federally Registered Para Medics – three full time and three part time.
Councilman Joe Powell asked the council to consider the bid for constructing a storm shelter in Branch Heights. The only bid submitted was for $95, 495 for a shelter with a 96 capacity. The item was tabled. The council commented that the bid process for the shelter could re-open.
The council approved a request from Katie and James Powell for a daycare center in Branch Heights, with the necessary documentation from the Fire Marshall.
The council announced that Eutaw Police Chief, Derick Coleman submitted his letter of retirement effective October 30, 2020. Two additional Eutaw police officers have resigned: Assistant Police Chief Rodriquez Jones effective October 15 and Officer Christopher Gregory effective October 6. Councilman Carpenter stated that Sheriff Jonathan Benison has agreed to assist until the Eutaw Police Force is rebuilt.
The council agreed that inventory lists of city equipment from all supervisors must to be submitted by 4:00 pm Tuesday, October 20.
The council agreed to secure quotes for improvements to the park behind city hall.
On the recommendation of the city attorney the council approved payment of the John Darden claim. The attorney reported that the John and Jane McGee claim has been turned over to the insurance company.

Terminated employees in Sheriff Department continue to report to work, drive county vehicles

The Greene County Commission held its regular monthly meeting, Tuesday, October 13, 2020, since Monday, October, 12 was a federal holiday. Early in the commission’s meeting, Commissioner Lester Brown again stated his concerns regarding the employees from the Sheriff’s Department, who were layed-off on September 30, 2020 and continue to report to work and drive county vehicles. Reportedly, through various written and verbal communications, the Commission had informed Sheriff Jonathan Benison that his additional employees, supported by bingo funds, would be layed-off unless the Sheriff provided the necessary payroll payments at the beginning of each quarter of 2020-2021, as well as reimburse the county the back pay due for the same employees.
“We are allowing the sheriff to put the county in danger, as well as giving those employees false hope that they are still employed,” Brown stated.
At the commission’s work session held October 7, several commissioners raised those same concerns regarding the terminated employees continuing to report to work in the Sheriff’s Department. At Commissioner Chairman Allen Turner’s request for guidance, Attorney Hank Sanders, advised that the commission should consider taking appropriate steps of informing the county’s insurance agency that letters have been sent to the terminated employees regarding their last day of employment; and that letters have been sent informing these former employees that they must not drive county vehicles.
The commission approved a contract adjustment for CFO, Macaroy Underwood. Underwood’s contract provided for a monthly compensation of $7,000 beginning with the fiscal year of 2020-2021.
In other business, the commission acted on the following:
Received the financial report presented by Mrs. Brenda Burke and approved the payment of claims.
Approved a resolution for spreading and/or grading material for Greene County Volunteer Fire Departments.
Approved the 2020-2021 bid tabulations for treated timber, metal pipe, plastic pipe, petroleum products and aggregates.
Approved roofing repair from Holland Roofing.
Approved contracts for Digital Information System; Delta Computer Systems, Inc.; Alabama Computer Systems, Inc.
Approved travel for employees.

Greenetrack Charities schedule scholarship awards to GCH graduates in postsecondary programs

Arlexia Davis
Shelton State
Community
College
Willie Davis
Shelton State
Community
College
Kyla Davis
Shelton State
Community
College
Elouise Edwards
Shelton State
Community
College
LaTaursa Jones Jr.
Alabama State
University
Sharlisa Taylor Shelton State Community
College
Quantayia Williams Alabama A& M University

Greenetrack, Inc, through its sponsoring charities, has committed a $1000 scholarship award to each Greene County High School 2020 graduate who is enrolled in a postsecondary educational program. The scholarship awards will be administered to a group of graduates monthly. This month’s recipients include Elouise Edwards, Arlexia Davis, Willie Davis, Kyla Davis, LaTaursa Jones, Jr., Sharlisa Taylor Quantiayia Williams JaQuez Hutton and Nigel Speights.
The non-profit charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack in Eutaw, AL, E-911 Communication Services, the Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and Woman to Woman, Inc., provided charitable contributions, for the month of September, to a variety of local organizations, all benefitting Greene County residents.
According to Luther Winn, Greenetrack CEO, Greenetrack charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack are following the rules set forth by Sheriff Jonathan Benison but they have decided to provide the funds directly rather than through the Sheriff’s office.
A total of $71,100 dollars was divided and given to the following charities:
Greene County Board of Education ($13,500); Greene County Hospital ($7,500); Greene County Commission ($24,000); City of Eutaw ($4,500); City of Union ($3,000); City of Boligee ($3,000); City of Forkland ($3,000); and High School Graduates College Scholarships ($9,000).
The following non-profit groups received $300: Greene County Nursing Home, SCORE, Greene County Golf Course, James C. Pool Memorial Library, Greene County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, PARA, Greene County Housing Authority Youth Involvement, Children’s Policy Council, Reach, Greene County DHR, Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and the Society of Folk Arts and Culture.

Stamps wins $1.95 million jury award for Cassandra Jordan, a Boligee resident in car accident

A Greene County civil jury awarded a Boligee woman $1,950,000.00 on Friday, October 2, 2020 after she was seriously injured in a 2017 automobile accident with a Hi-Yield Logging truck. Cassandra Jordan, who was represented by John T. Stamps III of The Black Belt Law Group and Taylor T. Perry of the law firm of Manley, Traeger, Perry, Stapp and Compton in Demopolis, sustained a herniated disc in her back when her automobile was struck by a log truck.
“I am very proud the jury saw through the unwarranted attacks on Cassandra and made a just award for Cassandra. I will always fight the good fight for the people of the Black Belt like Cassandra Jordan” Stamps said.
“The jury’s award is just because Cassandra will have to deal with pain and suffering for the rest of her life. I trust the judgment of the jury in this case” Perry said.
The Defendant, Hi-Yield Logging, L.L.C. was represented by the law firm of Griess, Shaw and Willingham of Eutaw and attorney Josh Arnold of Shelby County, Alabama. A Greene County civil jury awarded a Boligee woman $1,950,000.00 on Friday, October 2, 2020 after she was seriously injured in a 2017 automobile accident with a Hi-Yield Logging truck. Cassandra Jordan, who was represented by John T. Stamps III of The Black Belt Law Group and Taylor T. Perry of the law firm of Manley, Traeger, Perry, Stapp and Compton in Demopolis, sustained a herniated disc in her back when her automobile was struck by a log truck.
“I am very proud the jury saw through the unwarranted attacks on Cassandra and made a just award for Cassandra. I will always fight the good fight for the people of the Black Belt like Cassandra Jordan” Stamps said. “The jury’s award is just because Cassandra will have to deal with pain and suffering for the rest of her life. I trust the judgment of the jury in this case” Perry said.
The Defendant, Hi-Yield Logging, L.L.C. was represented by the law firm of Griess, Shaw and Willingham of Eutaw and attorney Josh Arnold of Shelby County, Alabama.
Stamps said, “ It is likely that Hi-Yield Logging will appeal this verdict. But we are equally confident that we will win the appeal.

Newswire : African teens on World stage demand action on climate change

Pictured at left is Ayakha Melithafa

Oct. 12, 2020 (GIN) – Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has at least two African partners stepping up on the global stage and telling world leaders to “wake up” and recognize the dangers to women and girls of climate change.
 
In a speech broadcast as part of the Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture, Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate tied climate change to poverty, hunger, disease, conflict and violence.
 
“See the danger we are in,” Nakate urged the leaders at the Tutu peace lecture.
 
The lecture is given every year to coincide with the South African Nobel Peace Prize winner’s birthday. Tutu turned 89 on Oct. 7. The pre-recorded speeches, not given in person this year because of the pandemic, called for “climate justice globally.”
 
Nakate’s speech focused on the African continent, which contributes the least to climate change but stands to suffer its effects the most.
 
“Climate change is a nightmare that affects every sector of our lives,” she said. “How can we eradicate poverty without looking at this crisis? How can we achieve zero hunger if climate change is leaving millions of people with nothing to eat? We are going to see disaster after disaster, challenge after challenge, suffering after suffering … if nothing is done about this.”
 
“Leave your comfort zones and see the danger we are in and do something about it. This is a matter of life and death,” she called out the world leaders.
 
There were also messages from South African climate activist Ayakha Melithafa and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who praised the younger generation’s work.
 
South African Melithafa is from a small farming town in the Eastern Cape which is also crippled by drought. She joined “Project 90 by 2030”, a social and environmental justice organization and now works as a recruitment official and spokesperson for the African Climate Alliance.
 
“We do need more people of color in the fight against climate change,” Melithafa told Daily Maverick, a South African news publication. “I want people to know that not only privileged people are aware of climate change. The privileged people might be protesting because the quality of the water is getting bad, but people of color have been drinking that water all along, and they feel lucky just to have water,” the young teen said.

Newswire: MLB great Bob Gibson, Cardinals pitcher, dies at 84

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia


Robert Gibson (born Pack Robert Gibson — in his father’s honor — November 9, 1935 – October 2, 2020) played his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Gibson was arguably the greatest African American hurler in baseball history and certainly the greatest pitcher ever to play with the Cardinals. He announced in July 2019 that he had pancreatic cancer and died on October 2 at 84.
Ironically, Gibson’s death came 52 years to the day he dominated the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series, striking out a record 17 batters. All but four of those batters went down on “swings and misses.”
Over 17 electrifying big-league seasons, Gibson won 251 games, compiled a career 2.91 earned run average and 3,117 strikeouts – not counting the World Series record 17 K’s against the Detroit Tigers in the 1968 Fall Classic.
“Bob Gibson quite literally changed the game of baseball. He was a fierce competitor and beloved by Cardinal Nation,” the Cardinals wrote in a message posted on the organization’s official Twitter feed. “We will miss him dearly.”
Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, Gibson earned a profusion of awards, including two Cy Youngs, two World Series Most Valuable Player trophies, nine Gold Gloves and a league Most Valuable Player award.
His best year came in 1968 when the hard-throwing right-hander turned in one of the greatest seasons ever produced from a starting pitcher. Gibson went 22-9, boasting a surreal 1.12 earned run average (ERA). He recorded 28 complete games and 13 shutouts.
Gibson’s performance served as the catalyst for Major League Baseball’s decision to shorten the pitcher’s mound by five inches in height, lowering it from 15 inches to 10 inches.
On August 14, 1971, Gibson recorded his only career no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates. During that game Gibson fanned 10 Bucs, leading the Cardinals to an 11-0 victory. “This was the greatest game I’ve pitched anywhere,” Gibson declared at the time. “I didn’t think I’d ever throw a no-hitter.”
Born November 9, 1935 in Omaha, Nebraska, Gibson overcame childhood illness to excel in youth sports, particularly basketball and baseball. At Creighton University, he starred on the hardwood and later signed with the Harlem Globetrotters.
After briefly He is regarded as one of the most intimidating pitchers to ever take the mound, known for pounding the inside part of the plate and, at times, staring down sluggers who believed he had intentionally brushed them back.
“Don’t dig in against Bob Gibson; he’ll knock you down,” Home Run King Hank Aaron reportedly warned Los Angeles Dodgers star Dusty Baker.
“He’d knock down his own grandmother if she dared to challenge him. Don’t stare at him, don’t smile at him, don’t talk to him. He doesn’t like it. If you happen to hit a home run, don’t run too slow, don’t run too fast. If you happen to want to celebrate, get in the tunnel first. And if he hits you, don’t charge the mound, because he’s a Gold Glove boxer.”
Before Gibson won his first Cy Young Award in 1968, Dodgers ace Don Newcombe stood as the only Black player to earn such honors.
Vida Blue of the Oakland A’s, Ferguson Jenkins of the Chicago Cubs, Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets, CC Sabathia of the Cleveland Indians, and David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays would later join Newcombe and Gibson as African Americans who’ve won the award.
Gibson stood with other athletes, liked playing under contract to both the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and the St. Louis Cardinals organization (the Cardinals offered him a contract in 1957), Gibson decided to continue playing only baseball professionally.
Gibson emerged as a raw, but immensely talented rookie who would not be denied stardom. He became a full-time starting pitcher in July 1961 and earned his first All-Star appearance in 1962. Gibson won two of three games he pitched in the 1964 World Series, then won 20 games in a season for the first time in 1965. Gibson also pitched three complete game victories in the 1967 World Series.
Gibson stood with athletes, like Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, and others who expressed strong support for the civil rights movement.
He credited the Cardinals for the team’s diversity and praised them for not forcing Black players to live in segregated housing during the baseball season.
After retiring as a player in 1975, Gibson later served as pitching coach for his former teammate Joe Torre. At one time a special instructor coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, Gibson was later selected for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. Gibson was the author of the memoir Pitch by Pitch, with Lonnie Wheeler.
Gibson’s death came weeks after the death of his former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame member Lou Brock, and one month after another baseball legend and former Gibson rival, Tom Seaver of the New York Mets.
“Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher I ever saw,” retired Cardinal catcher Tim McCarver once said. “He always pitches when the other team doesn’t score any runs.”
Gibson is survived by three children: Anette, Chris and Renee, and his widow, Wendy.

Newswire: Officer in George Floyd killing released on $1 million bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Minneapolis Police Officer, Derek Chauvin with knee on George Floyd’s neck


Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer facing murder charges in the killing of George Floyd, was released from custody after posting $1 million bond.
The Hennepin County Department of Corrections confirmed on Oct. 7 that Chauvin posted the bond and walked out of the maximum-security Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights shortly after 11 a.m.
Chauvin initially was housed at the Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul before authorities transferred him temporarily to Hennepin County Jail.
Prior to his release, Chauvin was incarcerated at the Oak Park Heights prison.
He faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the May 25 killing of Floyd, a hip-hop artist, truck driver, security guard, and mentor.
Video of the incident showed Chauvin pressing his knee on the neck of a handcuffed and subdued Floyd for more than 8 minutes.
Three other officers stood by and did nothing as Floyd struggled to breathe and call out for his mother.
Prosecutors charged the other officers, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Hennepin County terminated each of them.
“Mr. Floyd was treated with particular cruelty,” prosecutors wrote in court filings. “Despite Mr. Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe and was going to die, as well as the pleas of eyewitnesses to get off Mr. Floyd and help him, [Chauvin] and his codefendants continued to restrain Mr. Floyd.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz appointed State Attorney General Keith Ellison as lead prosecutor in an effort to quell growing racial tensions and to ensure justice in the case.
“Unfortunately, our constituents, especially constituents of color, have lost faith in the ability of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to fairly and impartially investigate and prosecute these cases,” Walz wrote in a letter explaining the appointment of Ellison, an African American.
Chauvin’s release from custody comes within weeks after a Grand Jury in Louisville, Kentucky, failed to indict police officers in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, an African American woman who was sleeping in her home when officers served a late-night warrant.
At the scene, police reigned a barrage of bullets into the apartment, hitting Taylor 8 times and killing her.
After Floyd’s death, demonstrations took place worldwide in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Major corporations, including Disney, Hulu, and Pepsi, called for racial justice and social change. When American professional sports leagues resumed play, athletes kneeled during the National Anthem. The NFL played “Lift Every Voice,” the Black National Anthem, at every stadium during its opening week.
NBA players, led by Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James walked off the court and halted play in protest. In subsequent negotiations with the players, team owners agreed to several demands, including establishing a social justice coalition to focus on increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform. The agreement also included NBA owners opening their arenas to serve as polling places around the country.
It was unclear who posted Chauvin’s bond.
Bail bond companies in Minnesota charge a non-refundable premium of up to 10 percent of the bond amount, meaning, at most, Chauvin needed $100,000.
A trial date for Chauvin and the other officers hasn’t been set.

Newswire: New poll shows Black women are fired up for change and ready to cast their vote

By Glynda C. Carr, News Analysis

Black woman voting


 (TriceEdneyWire.com) – With November 3rd less than a month a way, Black women voters hold a huge stake in this year’s election. With the first Black woman vying for the vice-presidency, a recent poll of 506 likely 2020 Black women voters conducted from September 30-October 4, 2020 by Higher Heights and Change Research, showed that 75 percent of Black women are now more motivated than ever to vote. But the remaining 25 percent of Black women polled are feeling hopeless that their ballot won’t bring the change they want to see.
In the poll, the top priorities and anxieties about the upcoming election for Black women included: the desire for a stronger response to the coronavirus and the need for racial justice. In addition, the Black women polled noted that when it came to the demographic who could bring about the change the United States needed with voter turnout, an overwhelming 64 percent, of course, chose Black women.
Over the last two presidential elections, Black women have continued to show up and show out. Whether it was voting for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, Black women have been at the forefront of trying to protect the United States from eating itself alive. But over the last 4 years, the Black community has dealt with everything from the coronavirus to the state sanctioned killings of Black people at the hands of law enforcement, as well as voter disenfranchisement.
For example, in Harris County, Texas, home to 2.4 million voters, Gov. Greg Abbott allowed the closing of ballot drop off sites, which has now resulted in several lawsuits. This is one of several examples of how voter suppression is in full force this election. But these tactics, along with long lines, changes to voting and the present pandemic won’t keep Black women from the polls. When asked in the survey, ‘what is one word or phrase that best describes your motivation for voting this year?’ participants responded with the need for change and racial justice.
As COVID continues to disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities, this election’s turnout is tantamount in putting someone in office who is capable of instituting laws that will protect the Black community’s health, as well as providing assistance to those who have been displaced from their homes or have faced unemployment. 48 percent of the respondents stated that the coronavirus was a top issue for them personally. But when it comes to what keeps them up at night, weeks before the election, racism was the most common response.
After a summer of protests and Black deaths at the hands of law enforcement, the poll results show that Black women voters are concerned about being safe in their Black skin, and if they would end up like Breonna Taylor. Others were also concerned about their Black children being safe once they leave their homes on a daily basis. Only 34 percent of respondents said they felt more hopeful of the progress that has been made in light of the recent protests, whereas 38% said they didn’t feel any different from before the protests, and 28 percent stated they felt less hopefully. Across the country, we saw millions of people hitting the streets in protest and allies standing in solidarity to the systemic racism that has engulfed this country for centuries. Black women know that the only way to rid the country of its vile history is by voting, and not only on a national level, but also on local levels. Black women know that we possess a political power like no other, and the poll results are reflective on that, particularly when 50 percent of the women polled said they felt motivated by the upcoming election.
Across the country, many people have already voted using mail-in ballots. But on November 3rd, others will head to their local polling location and cast their vote. And although the weight of the world seems as though it’s on the shoulders of Black women, this election is literally a vote or die situation. And once again, Black women will rise to the occasion to save their country.
Glynda C. Carr is the President and CEO of Higher Heights for America the only national organization providing Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies.

Newswire : Harris and Pence spar over economy and race in VP debate

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Vice President Mike Pence effectively evaded question after question and claimed that there’s no systemic racism in America during the first and only 2020 debate between him and Sen. Kamala Harris.
Separated by plexiglass and distanced by more than 12 feet, the two contestants battled over topics ranging from the coronavirus, health care, and climate change.
“Let’s talk about respecting the American people. You respect the American people when you tell them the truth,” Harris told Pence, who responded that he and President Donald Trump had always put the health of Americans first.
Stricken ill by the virus, Trump admitted to Journalist Bob Woodward that he hid the pandemic’s seriousness from the American people.
“The President said it was a hoax,” Harris remarked.
With regularity, Pence went over time and moderator Susan Page of USA Today, repeatedly admonished him, often to no avail.
While the Oct. 7 contest didn’t present as the disaster that was the first presidential debate late last month, it still lacked much substance because both candidates failed to answer some direct questions.
When the topic turned to race and the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, Harris reminded the audience of Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists.
At the same time, Pence attacked protestors as “rioters and looters.”
“Then he said, when pressed, ‘stand back, stand by,’ and this is a part of a pattern of Donald Trump’s,” Harris declared about the president’s awkward statement during his debate with Democrat Joe Biden.
“He called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He instituted as his first act a Muslim ban,” Harris said.
Pence responded by noting that Trump’s grandchildren are Jewish.
He said Breonna Taylor’s family has his sympathy and predicted the loved ones of George Floyd would receive justice.
“Our heart breaks for the loss of any innocent American life,” Pence said. “And the family of Breonna Taylor has our sympathies. But I trust our justice system.”
Despite a troubling September jobs report and Trump shutting off COVID-19 relief talks that could help ailing businesses, municipalities, and citizens, Pence claimed the Trump administration had added millions of jobs, and the economy is on the upswing.
“When President Trump and I took office, America had gone through the slowest economic recovery since the great depression. We’re going through a pandemic that lost 22 million jobs at the height, we’ve already added back 11.6 million jobs,” Pence claimed.
Attempting to become the first African American and woman vice president, Harris told viewers that she and Biden expect to win the election.
Asked about Trump’s repeated refusal to agree to a peaceful transfer of power, Harris indicated that she and Biden are prepared for such a scenario.
“Joe and I are particularly proud of the coalition that we have built around our campaign. We probably have one of the broadest coalitions of folks that you’ve ever seen in a presidential race,” Harris stated.
“It is within our power, and if we use our society, and we use our voice, we will win.” She then added, “And we will not let anyone subvert our democracy.”