What was once a diverse group of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the president became less so Monday when U.S. Senator Cory Booker suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, citing difficulty raising enough money. “It’s with a full heart that I share this news — I’ve made the decision to suspend my campaign for president,” Booker wrote supporters in an email. “It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I’ve always said I wouldn’t continue if there was no longer a path to victory.” “Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win — money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington. So, I’ve chosen to suspend my campaign now, take care of my wonderful staff, and give you time to consider the other strong choices in the field.” The 59-year-old Booker has represented New Jersey in the U.S. Senate since 2013. His departure follows those of U.S. Senator of Kamala Harris of California and Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Obama. Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick remains the only African American candidate in the 12-candidate field, and Andrew Yang is the only Asian. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is a native of Leloaloa, American Samoa.
The annual Kwanzaa cultural celebrations in Greene County were held at each of the local schools as well as in a public event for the community. The week before the December holiday season, students at Eutaw Primary, Robert Brown Middle and Greene County High were engaged in the annual Kwanzaa Cultural presentations co-sponsored by the Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Harambe Community Youth Organization. The community Kwanzaa was held Monday, December 30, 2019 at the Eutaw Activity Center. Although many of the young students were not familiar with the concept, history and principals of Kwanzaa, they were eager to participate, even learning some of the Swahili terms and names used in the presentation. Kwanzaa is a harvest celebration honoring the culture and heritage of African Americans, which brings the community together to lift the blessings of the ending year and to pledge and dedicate themselves toward working together to build a better community for everyone. The community Kwanzaa participants included members from the sponsoring organizations, students from the local schools and the 2020 Debutant Class. Mrs. Isaac Atkins, President of the Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. brought greetings and also introduced chapter members present. The community Kwanzaa celebration was honored with musical selections provided by the Greene County Community Choir. Rev. Joe N. Webb led the devotions and blessing of the Harvest Feast. The community shared the Talking Stick for expressions of the Kwanzaa Principles. The dishes for the feast were provided by the community attendees. The seven day Kwanzaa observance begins December 26 through January 1. Kwanzaa was founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga at the time of the Watts Riots in California in the 1960’s. Dr. Karenga was seeking a positive approach for rebuilding communities and celebrating African American history and culture. He took the name for the holiday from the Swahili word Kwanzaa meaning first fruits of the harvest. The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa also lift the values to strive for in our lives and communities: Umoja – Unity; Kujichagulia – Self Determination; Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility; Ujamaa – Cooperatives; Nia – Purpose; Kuumba – Creativity; and Imani – Faith.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia
Zozibini Tunzi said she grew up in a world where a woman who looks like her, was never considered beautiful. On Sunday, December 8, the South Africa beauty queen was crowned Miss Universe. “I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered beautiful,” Tunzi stated. “I think it is time that that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face, and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine,” she added. The 26-year-old from Tsolo, South Africa, speaks English and Isixhosa. Tunzi’s official biography notes that she’s a passionate activist and engaged in the fight against gender-based violence. Tunzi has devoted her social media campaign to changing the narrative around gender stereotypes, and she said she’s a proud advocate for natural beauty. Tunzi also works to encourage women to “love themselves the way they are,” she stated. “Tonight, a door was opened, and I could not be more grateful to have been the one to have walked through it,” Tunzi wrote on Twitter after being crowned Miss Universe 2019. “May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams, and may they see their faces reflected in mine. I am Miss Universe 2019,” she stated. Sofia Aragón of Mexico and Madison Anderson of Puerto Rico were the two runners-up in the pageant. With the crowning of Miss Jamaica Toni-Ann Singh as Miss World last week, all five winners of this year’s major pageants are women of color for the first time in the contests’ history. The 23-year-old Singh joins Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, Miss America Nia Franklin, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst and Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, as The Washington Post noted.
The Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 4:40 p.m. in downtown Eutaw. This year’s theme: It’s Christmas, was selected to inspire parade participants to be truly creative in decorating the floats. Former Greene County Probate Judge, Earlean Isaac, served as the 2019 Christmas Parade Chairperson. The Christmas Parade Grand Marshals were Jeff Klug, store manager of LOVE’S Truck Stop, Lovie Burrell Parks of the Greene County Extension Office and the Eutaw Garden Club. Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele is Honorary Grand Marshal. The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony followed the Christmas Parade. With performances by children from Eutaw Primary and the GCHS Choir. Business owners were encouraged to decorate their storefronts for this festive occasion. Approximately 61 participants with floats or decorated vehicles constituted this year’s parade. Local officials, businesses and organizations participating in the parade along with the horse riders closed out the parade. Ms. Beverly Gordon, President of the Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce, commended Judge Isaac, the Christmas Committee volunteers, and the Eutaw Garden Club for coming together to make this a great success. Toney Nixon and Pastor Joe Webb produced the music. Numerous businesses decorated their store fronts to Let Their Light Shine. Iris Sermon served as coordinator with the parade line up. The Chamber’s office was transformed into Santa’s Workshop by Banks and Company’s Holiday Window Designer, Leigh Davidson. Attorney Joshua Sword served as Santa at Santa’s Workshop. Lovie Parks with the Extension Service donated over 150 gifts to children. The Chamber and the Eutaw Garden Club will host the Christmas Coffee Shop at Ruby’ throughout the month of December on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. from 7:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The Coffee Shop, which opened on December 5th, is sponsored by Greenetrack, Inc. Baseball Country will close out the holiday festivities with Christmas Eve on the Square. Christmas Eve on the Square will take place on December 24 from 9 a.m. until 11.am. On December 23, 2019 Children may sign up and wear their pajamas to hear Santa read Twas the Night Before Christmas located at the Coffee Shop. Milk and cookies for a $1. It will be a fun time for all. For additional information, please contact Phillis Belcher at 205-372-9769. Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce President Beverly Gordan would like to thank everyone for coming together and making this years annual Christmas parade and tree Lighting ceremony a joyous occasion, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Properous New Year. Former Probate Judge Earlean Isaac would also like to thank the participants for they support.
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Driver License Division on Dec. 7 is adding to its Saturday operations lineup. Beginning this week, the Montgomery, Sheffield, Jacksonville, Tuscaloosa and Dothan locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday. The agency launched the Saturday pilot program in April with its Birmingham, Opelika and Mobile offices; and it expanded Nov. 2 to include its Huntsville office. On Saturdays, walk-in customers are assisted on a first-come, first-served basis for such services as first issuances and renewals of standard driver licenses and non-driver IDs, as well as STAR IDs; knowledge and road skills tests; and out-of-state transfers. For reinstatement, customers may call 334.242.4400 Monday through Friday.
On Thursday morning, November 21, 2019, Greene County public officials and community leaders joined Manager Jeff Klug to cut a symbolic green ribbon to officially open the Love’s Travel and Truck Stop at the Interstate 20/59 exit 40 in Eutaw, Alabama. More than 70 officials including County Commissioners, City Council members, State Senator Bobby Singleton, Mayor Raymond Steele, school system and hospital officials attended the ribbon cutting. The facility has been open for business since October 24, 2019. An official press release issued by Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, celebrated the opening of two new stores in its network, on the same day, one in Eutaw and another in Missoula, Montana. Love’s is the nation’s industry-leading travel stop network with more than 500 locations in 41 states. The official statement says, “The Eutaw store, located off Interstate 20, adds 101 jobs and 96 truck parking spaces to Greene County. We’re eager to provide quality services and products to customers in western Montana and western Alabama,” said Tom Love, founder and executive chairman of Love’s. “These locations are separated by thousands of miles, but both have the same great amenities that professional and four-wheel drivers enjoy.” The release, lists the amenities of the Eutaw site as: •More than 8,000 square feet. •Chester’s Chicken, Godfather’s Pizza and Hardee’s. •Ninety-six truck parking spaces. •Seventy-four car parking spaces. •Three RV parking spaces. •Eight diesel bays. •Seven showers. •Speedco location on-site. •Laundry facilities. •Bean to cup gourmet coffee. •Brand-name snacks. •Mobile to Go Zone with the latest electronics. •CAT scale. •Dog park. Mayor Steele indicated that the City of Eutaw raised a million dollars in grants and loans to bring sewage service to the Love’s site, improving lanes and lighting at the Interstate exit leading to the truck stop site. “We are looking forward to additional business development in this new corridor from the Interstate into the city,” said Steele. City and County officials are also looking forward to an economic boost from the new gas tax and sales tax revenues generated by the truck stop and travel center. Jeff Klug, local manager says that the Eutaw location is the largest full service truck stop between Meridian, Mississippi and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “ We anticipate serving 700 to 1,000 trucks a day, selling 7,000 to 10,000 gallons a day in fuel,” said Klug. Manager Jeff Klug presented a check for $2,000 to District Judge Lillie Osborne, President of the Greene County Children’s Policy Council, which serves low-income young people. Love’s made the donation in honor of the ribbon cutting and opening of the new store in Eutaw. In its official release, the company states that Love’s provides professional truck drivers and motorists with 24-hour access to clean and safe places to purchase gasoline, diesel fuel, fresh coffee, restaurant offerings and more. Love’s has more than 350 truck service centers, which include on-site and stand-alone Speedco and Love’s Truck Tire Care locations. Love’s and Speedco combined is the largest oil change, preventive maintenance and total truck care nationwide network. Love’s is committed to providing customers with “Clean Places, Friendly Faces” at every stop. To learn more, visit loves.com.Official ribbon cutting held at Love’s Truck Stop
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia
The ancestral home of modern humans is in Botswana, according to a new study by researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. Although some of the oldest skeletal remains suggest an eastern African origin, Southern Africa is home to contemporary populations that represent the earliest branch of human genetic phylogeny, researchers said. Vanessa M. Hayes, of the Genomics and Epigenetics Division of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and her colleagues said they used the mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down exclusively from mother to child, to map out the oldest known maternal line of humans alive today. “It has been clear for some time that anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. What has been long debated is the exact location of this emergence and subsequent dispersal of our earliest ancestors,” Hayes told reporters. “We’ve been able to pinpoint what we believe is our human homeland.” The study found that ancestors of modern humans thrived for about 70,000 years in and around Botswana until climate change forced a migration out of the area. Study authors noted that some previous evidence had suggested East Africa as the ancestral home of modern humans, but their new DNA evidence concludes that it’s South Africa. The new report was published in the journal Nature. Hayes noted that the Lo lineage and its sub-branches point back to an ancestral home that spreads from Namibia across Botswana and into Zimbabwe. Her team then focused on geological, archaeological, and fossil evidence to gain insight into the climate and broader ecosystem in the region. They discovered that a body of water called Lake Makgadikgadi – which is now salt pans – had at one time dominated the area. Researchers said it was previously home to Homo Sapiens and was populated by modern humans for at least 70,000 years. However, the water eventually became a massive wetland. “It would have been very lush, and it would have provided a suitable habitat for modern humans and wildlife to have lived,” Hayes stated. “We’ve known for a long time that modern humans originated in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago, but what we hadn’t known until the study was where exactly this homeland was,” she noted. According to the DNA analyses reported in the study, the L0 lineage split 130,000 years ago when some of the founder population moved north-east along a green vegetated route that opened up as rains drenched the arid land. The L0 lineage is the earliest known modern human populations. The second wave of migration headed southwest about 20,000 years later as rainfall also increased vegetation in that direction. Those who headed Northeast gave rise to farming populations, while those who went South became coastal foragers, the scientists believe. “Essentially, these ancestors were the first human explorers,” Hayes stated. “Every time a new migration occurs, that migration event is recorded in our DNA as a time-stamp. Over time our DNA naturally changes, it’s the clock of our history,” Hayes continued. “Everyone walking around today… it does actually come back to L0 being the oldest, and it all comes back to this one region.” Hayes and her colleagues used DNA to trace the first 100,000 years of modern humans. She said they worked with communities throughout Namibia and South Africa where they collected fossils and blood samples. “Mitochondrial DNA acts like a time capsule of our ancestral mothers, accumulating changes slowly over generations,” Hayes stated. “Comparing the complete DNA code, or mitogenome, from different individuals provides information on how closely they are related.” Taking into account the intensive study, “we propose a southern African origin of anatomically modern humans with sustained homeland occupation before the first migrations of people that appear to have been driven by regional climate changes,” Hayes said.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia
Katherine Johnson, one of the African American women whose stories received global attention in the best-selling book and blockbuster movie, “Hidden Figures,” has turned 101. The renowned mathematician was instrumental in Alan Shepherd’s 1961 journey to space. She also played a pivotal role in John Glenn becoming the first American to successfully orbit Earth one year after Shepherd’s flight. Johnson will also receive a Congressional Gold Medal thanks to a bipartisan bill passed by Congress earlier this month. All four of the heroines depicted in “Hidden Figures” will receive recognition. In addition to Johnson, Dr. Christine Darden, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson will also receive medals. Vaughn’s and Jackson’s medals will be presented posthumously. The book, “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race,” by Margot Lee Shetterly, helped tell the women’s story. “Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Dr. Christine Darden made monumental contributions to science and our nation,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said in a statement. Harris and five other members of Congress introduced legislation to secure Congressional Gold Medals for Johnson and her colleagues. “The groundbreaking accomplishments of these four women and all of the women who contributed to the success of NASA helped us win the space race but remained in the dark far too long,” Harris stated. “I am proud our bill to honor these remarkable women has passed Congress. These pioneers remain a beacon for Black women across the country, both young and old.” The honor isn’t the only one for Johnson. Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) agreed this month to rename its 7000 Columbia Gateway Drive building in Columbia, Maryland, the Katherine G. Johnson Building. A plaque will be placed at DreamPort’s 7000 Columbia Gateway Drive entrance commemorating the naming of the building in honor of Mrs. Johnson and her legendary accomplishments as a NASA mathematician and her essential role in the space program, according to a news release. At 101 years of age, Mrs. Johnson is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, multiple NASA Langley Research Center Special Achievement awards, and many others. In addition to the recognition by COPT, Johnson has other buildings, schools, and libraries named after her. In an earlier interview, Johnson told NNPA Newswire that she missed working“I’d go back now,” she said. After leaving her teaching job in 1953, Johnson began working for NASA and was able to calculate the trajectory for numerous space missions, including for the space flight of Alan Shephard, the first American in space and the path for the famed 1968 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. “I’d do them over if I had to. I’d do anything for anyone,” Johnson stated. At an early age, Johnson developed enviable math skills so much so that even NASA officials wrote a story about her titled, “The girl who loved to count. I counted everything. I counted the steps to the road, the steps up to the church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed anything that could be counted, I did,” Johnson said. “I entered college; I was 15. I was going to be a math teacher because that was it. You could be a math teacher or a nurse, but I was told I would make a good research mathematician and they had me take all of the courses in the catalog,” she stated. When Glenn went to the Moon, Johnson said her “Hidden Figures” crew acted as the computer for the mission. Calculating everything involved in the flight became like a geometry problem, Johnson recalled. “I felt most proud of the success of the Apollo mission. We had to determine so much. Where you were, where the Moon would be and how fast the astronauts were going,” Johnson stated. “We were really concerned, but the astronaut had to do it just as we laid it out. I was looking at the television and hoping that we’re right.”
By Lauren Poteat, NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent
On Sunday night, Dave Chappelle, the legendary, no holds barred comedian, was awarded the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Gifted with a spirit of perseverance, determination and extreme creative intelligence, the award recognizes Chappelle as one of the world’s greatest humorists. Bestowed only on a select few, including comedic geniuses Eddie Murphy, David Letterman and the late Richard Pryor (who received the inaugural award), Chappelle emphasized the importance of the genre, while also paying tribute to the late Pryor, during his award at the Kennedy Center. In honor of Chappelle’s brilliance and ability to convey more than one thought-provoking message within a single joke, the event brought out a slew of a-list celebrities, all eager to support the clever comedian and his work, including Morgan Freeman, Bradley Cooper, Marlon Wayans, Tiffany Haddish, Keenan Thompson, QTip, Sarah Silverman and Saturday Night Live (SNL) creator, Lorne Michaels, who recounted Dave’s 2016 anticipated hosting debut on SNL. “I knew when the moment came, [Dave would] be ready to perform, yet small doubts about his appearance still lingered until, [he sat down] beside me and everyone in the room and asked if he could read a quote by Toni Morrison,” Michaels reminisced, as he delivered the first official remarks of the night. “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal,” Michaels recited. “I knew then, we’d be ok. A Washington, D.C. native and former student of the Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts (located in the Northwest quadrant of the District of Columbia), Chappelle recounted his love for the arts and an even bigger appreciation for those cultivating those same skills within the youth. “To be on a list with Richard Pryor is unfathomable, like nobody would actually feel worthy enough,” Chappelle reflected during an interview prior to the award ceremony. “And not just Richard, you’ve got George Carlin, Lorne Michaels—that really shaped my imagination, my life… and I hope that one day, somebody will look at me the same way and literally stand on something that I’ve built on, that wouldn’t fall apart.” “There’s something divine about artistry, it’s like the god-like part of a person that can write a song or tell a good joke, it’s the best part of our nature,” Chappelle said. “Life without art would be miserable. If I could never laugh again at a great joke, hear no beautiful music, or only see bare walls, what kind of life would that be?” Dave went on. “You touch a higher part of yourself, you connect with people on a more profound level and society is better with good art, so it should be protected and cultivated, and the youth should be encouraged to express themselves in every way.” Chappelle earned his bearings as a stand-up comedian from many platforms, including Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam (1990’s), Eddie Murphy’s “The Nutty Professor” (1996), and Martin Lawrence’s “Blue Streak” (1999). However, it was Chappelle’s 2003 Comedy Central show, aptly titled, “Chappelle’s Show,” that cemented his place in history. Challenging race relations with controversial skits like “Ask a Black Dude,” Black White supremacist “Clayton Bigsby,” and his spoofs of celebrity icons Rick James, Prince and Wayne Brady — the segmented show earned three Emmy nominations and became the best-selling TV show in DVD history. In a special recorded interview presented during the awards ceremony, Eddie Murphy heralded Chappelle as one of the most intellectual comedians ever. As the ceremony was coming to a close, the former host of “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart, took to the stage to share his appreciation and admiration for Chappelle. “I met Dave in the early ‘90s, a 17-year-old kid cutting his teeth in the toughest comedy clubs in the country and he was shockingly formed. This young prodigy. This young Mozart,” Stewart said. “But he didn’t become a legend to me until 2005. I was at ‘The Daily Show’ and he was at ‘Chappelle’s Show.’ …Comedy Central offered him $50 million to just give us one more [season]. He walked away. It was at that moment I remember thinking, ‘Comedy Central has $50 million?’ …Dave left, but I knew that money was going to need a home. I want you to know that I raised that money like it was my own.” Like the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain, Chappelle is among the small group of people whose humor has been able to have an enduring impact on American society and culture.
Chappelle shared that maybe the only thing second to being able to make people laugh is having the right to do so. “There’s something so true about this genre when done correctly,” Chappelle said. “That I would fight anybody that isn’t a true practitioner of this artform’s way, because I know this is the truth and you are obstructing it. I’m not talking about the content. I’m talking about the artform.”
The show will air on Jan. 7, on PBS.
The Love’s Truck Stop and Travel Center at Exit 40 on Interstate 20/59 opens for business on Thursday morning, October 24, 2019 at 7:00 AM. The business provides full service for parking, fueling and servicing 18 wheeler trucks. The travel center will provide gas, food and a convenience store to persons driving along the Interstate or coming on county roads. The center will have three fast-food restaurants – Hardee’s, Chester’s Chicken and Godfathers Pizza. Love’s has hired more than 70 full and part time staff, many from Greene County, to operate the business.