Newswire: Environmental Justice advocates say Climate Change isn’t a ‘White Thing’

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent

The climate crisis is real. From the devastating of extreme weather events made worse by climate change to the public health implications of increased pollution like heightened asthma attacks, communities are feeling the impacts of this crisis first and worst.
Experts said real solutions to the climate crisis is needed now to protect the long-term well-being of communities, and for future generations. “With the Trump administration rolling back environmental and public health safeguards, I am deeply concerned that we are running out of time to do something about this crisis,” said Dana Swinney, a New York-based public relations expert who works with several green organizations across the country.
Information provided by Swinney’s firm noted additional climate crisis health impacts on African Americans, including:
· Number of African Americans that report having asthma: 2.6 million
· Black children are 4.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than white children
· Black children are ten times more likely to die from asthma than white children.
· The increased health burden of particulate air pollution on African Americans compared to the American population overall: 54 percent
· Sixty-eight percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant.
· 7 million African Americans live within a county that is home to a refinery.
“There is a familiar phrase that goes something like this: if you’re not at the table then you’re on the menu,” said Michelle Mabson, a staff scientist for the Healthy Communities Program at Earthjustice.

Mabson is also a volunteer chief advocacy officer for Black Millennials for Flint.
“Far too often it is our communities – Black and Brown communities – that are not prepared enough, resilient enough, or adaptive enough when climate disasters hit,” Mabson said.
“We look at the devastating impacts from Hurricane Katrina, and more recently Hurricane’s Maria, Harvey, and Dorian, and we see communities that look like ours, nearly destroyed,” she said.
“It is imperative for us to be at the table when decisions, like rebuilding and increasing adaptive community capacity, are discussed so we can get the resources we need to be prepared for the impacts from the next storm. Make no mistake, the next one is on its way, and we can no longer afford to react once it’s here – we’ve got to be prepared,” Mabson said.
African Americans must heavily engage in climate justice and environmental conversation taking place globally, said Heather McTeer Toney, the national field director at Mom Clean Airforce.

More than half of the African American population live in the south, where they’re four times more likely to be hit with catastrophic flood, hurricane or other extreme weather-related event, Toney said.
“As the impacts of climate change increase, more and more of our communities are devastated. Moreover, An NAACP study found that African American communities are subjected to air that is 40 percent more polluted than other communities,” Toney said.
“When combined with the health impacts such as asthma, cancer, and heart disease; addressing the climate crisis is vital to our continued existence and protection of our children’s future,” she said.
Toney added that it’s not too late to act. “Climate action is the social justice movement of our time. African-Americans should demand action from state, local and federal leaders on climate action now,” Toney said.
“We must support 100 percent clean energy and require equity in policy that promotes a clean energy economy. We prepare for extreme weather emergencies by working with our churches and community organization to develop action plans for severe weather events,” she said.
Further, “we must talk about ways to become more resilient and sustainable in our home, churches, and schools. We must vote often and always for candidates that talk about climate action now. Our voices are necessary for this movement, and together we can ensure climate safety for generations to come,” Toney said.
Kim Noble, the director of operations for Green The Church, said environmental justice touches on many issues, including climate, the economy, health, social, and racial injustices.
African Americans learned about racism and injustices at an early age, and some know what being marginalized feels like, Noble said. “We have folks in environmental justice communities that feel that way every day,” she said.
“When we’re having conversations about the environment, climate change, pollution, and climate policy, we have to include the people who are most impacted – our black and brown families,” Noble said.
“For far too long, our communities have been on the receiving end of the devastating impacts of climate change and pollution. For example, our communities tend to live near power plants and other types of polluting plants which emit toxic air into the environment. These are making our families sick,” she said.

Newswire: NAACP LDF is pushing for an independent investigation into deadly shooting of Joshua Brown

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

Joshua Brown, a key witness in the murder trial of Amber Guyger, was found shot to death

     The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is pushing for an independent investigation into the murder of Joshua Brown, a key witness in the recent trial of Amber Guyger, a former Dallas cop, who shot to death Botham Jean and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his murder.

In another development, Dallas police on Tuesday produced Avery L. Moore, assistant chief for investigation and tactical, to refute LDF’s assertions. Moore is Black and because of this, his comments may seem more believable to some Blacks and some whites. Police, however, have a history of planting evidence and using unreliable jailhouse informants to solve cases and win convictions. CNN first broke the story and other networks, including NPR quickly followed.

Moore claims Brown was murdered during a botched drug deal involving three other men. One of the men who was wounded has been hospitalized. The other two men are on the run, Moore said. Police raided Brown’s apartment, and they claimed they found large quantities of drugs and cash.

Moore’s announcement attempts to blunt wide-spread speculation that police assassinated Brown because the department’s initial reaction was to protect Guyger by using Dallas area media to smear Jean, an accountant. Moore alluded to the speculation without being specific during a news conference.

The media depicted Jean as a drug addict. Jean used medical marijuana to treat symptons of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.

It remains to be seen if the Dallas Police Department is believed because of the long history of bad blood between the police and the black community. The LDF is calling for a federal investigation, which reflects the sentiment of Dallas’s black residents.

An unknown assailant or assailants shot to death Brown in the parking lot of a Dallas apartment building. His body was found Friday. Brown died of multiple gunshot wounds.

“The circumstances surrounding the murder of Mr. Brown cries out for answers. Most importantly, it demands an independent investigation of how and why he was killed,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s president and Director-Counsel. “We urge state or federal authorities to follow the trail of misconduct left by this case and fully investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr. Brown’s death. “ Dallas police attempted to protect Guyger by shutting off her camera attached to her uniform.

Brown, who lived in the apartment across the hall from Jean and could hear him singing gospel every morning, contradicted Guyer’s testimony. Guyger mistakenly went into Jean’s fourth-floor apartment located in the South Side Flats building, believing it was hers.

Guyger’s apartment is directly below Jean’s. Jean was sitting on the couch watching television and eating vanilla ice cream. When Guyer entered the apartment, not noticing it was not hers, she testified Jean did not obey her commands.
The deadly shooting occurred September 6, 2018.

But Brown, who was listening through his apartment door’s peephole, testified that he never heard Guyger issue any commands, according to LDF. “His testimony was critical to Officer Guyger’s conviction, including establishing that officer Guyger did not shout verbal commands or warnings before shooting Botham Jean,” LDF said.

The murder of Botham Jean has raised troubling concerns from the beginning of the investigation, and now the deeply alarming and highly suspicious murder of Joshua Brown increases the urgency of an immediate, independent investigation of every aspect of these tragic killings, the LDF said in statement issued Sunday.

Like LDF, Lee Merritt, Brown’s family attorney, is also calling for an independent investigation of his client’s deadly shooting,

Newswire: Why is the Army still honoring Confederate Generals?

By James Risen, The Intercept

     In the South in the years before the Civil War, it would have been difficult to find a more zealous advocate for slavery than Henry Lewis Benning. He was a firebrand from Georgia and an early advocate of Southern secession. As his public stature rose, Benning became an increasingly ardent voice for the creation of a pro-slavery Southern republic. He helped draft Georgia’s ordinance of secession, which took the state out of the Union just before the Civil War.

     Benning was such a powerful force for secession that Georgia sent him as the state’s representative to persuade Virginia to secede as well. In a speech in Virginia in early 1861, Benning revealed in unflinching terms his belief that secession was the only way to save slavery in the South. Georgia had seceded, he said, because of “a deep conviction on the part of Georgia that a separation from the North was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her slavery. … If things are allowed to go on as they are, it is certain slavery is to be abolished. By the time the North shall have attained the power, the black race will be in a large majority, and then we will have black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything. Is it to be supposed that the white race will stand for that? It is not a supposable case. … War will break out everywhere like hidden fire from the earth.”   

Virginia seceded, and Benning went on to become a general in the Confederate Army.

Today, Benning would be a long-forgotten footnote to the history of Southern white supremacy — if not for the U.S. Army. That’s because the Army honors Benning above almost any other military officer in American history. Fort Benning, in Georgia, one of the most important military installations in the United States, is named for him.
Benning’s qualifications for having one of America’s most iconic Army bases named after him? He was a Confederate and he was from Georgia.

     Fort Benning is just one of 10 Army bases named for Confederates, a legacy of the Jim Crow era in the South, when many of today’s largest bases were built in rural Southern areas where the Army could accumulate large tracts of cheap land with the kind of terrain and climate needed for training.

     Eager to expand rapidly during the periods around World War I and World War II, the Army placated white Southern community leaders by naming newly constructed bases after Confederates, usually generals with some local connection. The Army didn’t seem to care who the bases were named after as long as they won local cooperation to build them fast.

     “In times of crisis, the Army was going to work with the local people who had power and influence, and they would go along with them on what to name the bases,” observed David Cecelski, a North Carolina historian who has written extensively about slavery and civil rights.

     But today, 100 years after some of those bases were built, they retain their Confederate names. And in an era of protests against Confederate statues and monuments in cities and towns across the South, the U.S. Army has faced almost no resistance to its steadfast determination to keep those names in place.

     There have been no significant protests targeting bases named for Confederates. Either protesters don’t realize who the bases are named for, or they are unwilling to confront such big, powerful targets. Yet the base names were products of the same reassertion of Southern white supremacy that prompted the erection of many Confederate statues and monuments.
      Fort Benning, for example, was built in 1918, at the height of Jim Crow, when lynching and other white violence against black people throughout the South was widespread. “All of those Confederate statues were really symbols of white supremacy, and they were put up in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, not right after the Civil War,” noted Catherine Lutz, an anthropologist at Brown University and author of a book about the relationship between Fort Bragg and Fayetteville, where the base is located. “They were symbols of resurgent white supremacy, and they were also warnings.”

     Questions about the base names have occasionally been raised with the Army. But officials have always sought to dismiss such concerns by arguing that the bases are named to honor American soldiers, and that changing the names would upend tradition.

     The issue briefly flared in the aftermath of the 2015 shooting of worshippers at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white supremacist. Protests followed in Charlottesville, Virginia, over whether that town’s statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee should be removed, prompting a backlash from white supremacists and neo-Nazis, who organized the “Unite the Right” rally there in August 2017. 

     The rally turned deadly when a white supremacist deliberately plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. That tragedy brought national focus to the question of what should be done about public monuments, statues, and other representations honoring the pro-slavery Confederacy at a time of increasing diversity in the United States.

     In the aftermath of Charlottesville, the Army faced specific questions about the fact that two streets at Fort Hamilton, an old base in Brooklyn, were named for Confederates. Rep. Yvette Clarke, a Democrat who represents large swaths of central and south Brooklyn, asked the Army to change the names of Stonewall Jackson Drive and General Lee Avenue at Fort Hamilton.

     “These monuments are deeply offensive to the hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents and members of the armed forces stationed at Fort Hamilton whose ancestors Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought to hold in slavery,” Clarke said in a statement at the time. The Army refused, and an Army official wrote that renaming the streets would be “controversial and divisive.”

     Since the skirmish over the street names at Fort Hamilton died down, the Confederate names of Army bases have received little public attention despite a surge in white supremacist violence this year, including the mass shooting in El Paso in August.

     Congressional Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, may take action on the issue this year, but it is not clear how forcefully they will push, especially at a time when impeachment is overshadowing everything else in the House. A spokesperson for Clarke said that she plans to introduce legislation soon that would mandate the renaming of military bases named for Confederates, similar to a measure she proposed in 2017.

     Meanwhile, Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington state Democrat who is now chair of the House Armed Services Committee, which oversees the Pentagon, appears to be quietly pushing for changes in the process by which bases are named. In 2017, after the “Unite the Right” rally, Smith joined Clarke and several other members of Congress in signing a letter to then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis calling for the renaming of bases named after Confederates. Now Smith and House Democrats are pushing for a provision in the legislation covering the Pentagon’s budget that would require new “military naming conventions,” congressional officials say, but it is unclear whether they would require the renaming of existing bases or would only apply to future installations. It’s also not clear whether the Pentagon will continue to resist any change.

     The Army’s current position that it is merely celebrating American soldiers and upholding tradition ignores the ugly truth: Many bases are named for Confederates who were ardent white supremacists in the South before, during, and after the Civil War.

     Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, is a good example. Built in 1918, the base is named for Braxton Bragg, a Confederate general. Not only was Bragg considered to have been one of the most incompetent generals in the Civil War, he was also a major slaveowner.

     Bragg was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, where his father used slaves in his contracting and construction business. Long before the Civil War, Bragg’s mother shot and killed a free black man who said something to her that she didn’t like. She was arrested but acquitted by a jury.

     In 1856, just five years before the start of the Civil War, Bragg bought a sugar plantation in Louisiana where he owned 105 slaves. After acquiring the plantation, Bragg wrote to his wife that the slaves were “a fair lot, the children very fine and of a pretty age and just getting to the field.”

     After the outbreak of the Civil War, an Irish journalist wrote that Bragg told him that “slaves were necessary for the actual cultivation of the soil in the South; Europeans and Yankees who settled there speedily became convinced of that; and if a Northern population were settled in Louisiana tomorrow, they would discover that they must till the land by the labor of the black race, and that the only mode of making the black race work was to hold them in a condition of involuntary servitude.”

     Then there’s Fort Gordon, in Georgia, built in 1941 and named for John Brown Gordon, a Confederate general who is widely believed to have been the head of the secretive Ku Klux Klan in Georgia following the Civil War. After he was elected to the U.S. Senate, Gordon helped forge an infamous political deal in which white Southern politicians agreed to break a prolonged deadlock over the outcome of the 1876 presidential election by not blocking the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, from assuming office. In return, the Republicans agreed that they would remove federal troops from Southern states, effectively ending Reconstruction.

     Fort Rucker, in Alabama, is named for Edmund Rucker, who served the Confederacy as an officer under Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest’s cavalry was responsible for the massacre of 300 Union soldiers, most of them black, at Fort Pillow in Tennessee in 1864, which today is considered one of the worst atrocities of the Civil War. After the war, Forrest became the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and also went into business with Rucker in a railroad-building project, according to a recent biography of Rucker.

     While the Army may not have cared much about the names of its bases when they were built, white Southern leaders certainly understood their political significance. Federal bases named for Confederates helped maintain the romantic illusion of “the Lost Cause” and the notion, popularized by the film “Birth of a Nation” and the novel “Gone with the Wind,” that the South had fought to preserve a pastoral way of life rather than to maintain the brutality of slavery.

     That reading of Southern history was clearly a factor in the naming of Fort Benning. When it was built in Columbus in 1918, the local Rotary Club asked the Army to name it after Benning, who was buried there. To celebrate the base’s opening, a parade was held, featuring Benning’s 65-year-old daughter. As she rode through town, in a car flying the American flag, an older woman in the crowd – a woman whose own granddaughter called her an “unreconstructed rebel” – shouted, “I’m ashamed of you, riding down Broad Street behind that old rag!”

Newswire: Montgomery, AL elects Steven Reed as capital city’s first Black mayor

By Mike Cason |

Steven Reed speaks to supporters at victory rally

Montgomery voters have elected the capital city’s first Black mayor in a two-to-one landslide.
Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed defeated television station owner David Woods in Tuesday’s runoff, far exceeding his margin in the first election six weeks ago.
With 46 of 48 precincts in, Reed had 32,511 votes, or 67%. Woods had 15,891 votes, or 33%.
Speaking to cheering supporters packed shoulder-to-shoulder at a victory party, Reed talked about uniting the city and helping it reach its potential.
“We have been focused from day one about the things that make us better, the things that unite us,” Reed said. “And this is what I see in this crowd, and this is what I see in the results of tonight is a unified Montgomery. And let the record show that.”
Reed didn’t talk about being Montgomery’s first Black mayor but did talk about the election as a chance for defining change.
“Today is about the vision,” Reed said. “The vision we have for people far beyond this room. Some of the people who could not be here. But it encompasses and it connects all of them. And that’s what we have been saying and that’s what we want to make sure we continue tomorrow, and the next day and the next day. Because that is what is going to define this city. And that’s what’s going to define this election.
‘It’s not going to be about the first. It’s not even going to be about the best. It’s going to be about the impact that we make on the lives of others.”
Reed had led a field of a dozen candidates in the Aug. 27 election, getting about 42% of the vote. Woods ran second with about 24%.
Reed will replace Todd Strange, who did not seek reelection. Strange has been mayor since 2009.
Changes in the mayor’s office don’t come often in the 200-year-old Alabama capital city. Before Strange, Bobby Bright held the position for a decade after defeating incumbent Emory Folmar, who was mayor from 1977 to 1999.
Reed is the son of Joe Reed, the longtime leader of the Alabama Democratic Conference, the state’s predominant Black political organization.

County Commission approves budget for 2019-2020, with contingency; adopts resolution supporting Streetscape Project

The Greene County Commission met in a called session on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 to consider action on the county’s budget for fiscal year 2019-2020, as well as action on the Streetscape Project, a collaborative with the City of Eutaw and the Greene County Industrial Development Authority.
The commission approved the proposed budget with a contingency. The basic General Fund portion of the budget totals expenses in the amount of $2,695,758.78 and revenue in the amount of $2,472,190.96. The General Fund budget will be balanced with resources from carry-overs from previous year/s. Approximately $223,567.82 will be taken from the fund balance, added to revenue to balance the budget.
Sheriff Jonathan Benison originally requested $2,062,875.20. The county’s expected resources in the general fund would only support $1,251,489.53 for the sheriff and jail, unless the sheriff provided the additional resources, which totaled $811,385.67.
The county’s CFO, Paula Bird, explained that the contingency budget approved does total an additional $811,385.67 in revenue and expenditure for the Sheriff’s Department and the jail, however, the contingency resources must be provided by the Sheriff’s bingo income and will be allocated toward his department’s budget expenditures.
The Commissioners approving the General Fund budget with the contingency budget included Tennyson Smith, Lester Brown and Allen Turner, Jr. Commissioners Corey Cockrell and Roshanda Summerville voted against the same.
CFO Bird stated that the contingency fund will be considered in the financial report as other sources and uses. She explained that the sheriff will be billed on a monthly basis for a portion of the contingency fund based on the percent of year completed.

The county’s General Fund Departmental Budget for expenditures, without the contingency component, is itemized as follows: Commission – $488,448.50; Court – $15,670; Youth Services – $1,800; Probate Judge – $254,845.36; Revenue Commissioner – $203,282.14; Election – $86,468.25; Board of Registrars – $65,964; Maintenance – $193,143.40; Sheriff – $686,324.83; Jail – $565,164.70; EMA/Homeland Security – $48,943.10; Coroner – $31,384.50; E911 – $30,000; Library – $20,320; Agency BOE – $4,000.
The county’s total expected revenue for the fiscal year is $7,583,539.39. The revenue sources include the General Fund – $2,472,190.96; Gasoline Fund – $2,699,817; Road & Bridge – $650,000; Highway & Traffic -$36,300; Capitol Improvement – $195,000; RRR Gas Tax – $882,830; Appraisal – $283,661.43; Solid Waste – $343,500; Sr. Citizen Fund – $15,960; Indigent Fund – $3,200; Motor Vehicle Training – $360; Motor Vehicle Tech – $720; The approved contingency fund is not included in this figure.
CFO Bird stated that the Commission allocates approximately 51% of the county’s general fund revenue to the Sheriff Department and the jail. “This is a practice, a tradition only, which occurs in most comparable counties in Alabama,” she noted. “In the past, the Commission has worked with me to come up with an operating budget that allows the county to have a surplus fund balance,” Bird said.

Streetscape Project

The County Commission approved a resolution supporting the Streetscape Project in conjunction with the City of Eutaw and the Greene County Industrial Development Authority, committing $70,000 to the project, which is in addition to the $10,000 previously paid by the county for engineering services on a related project. The Streetscape Project, provided with federal funds from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), administrated through the State of Alabama, will address the outer sidewalks around the Courthouse Square and street light in Eutaw. The estimated federal funds for the project are $640,000; estimated city funds, including the collaborative partners, are $160,000, with basic project cost at $800,000, which does not include engineering costs. The three collaborating agencies are paying the engineering costs as part of the local matching requirement. According to the contractual agreement with the state, this is also a cost reimbursement program and no federal funds will be provided to the city prior to accomplishment of the work for which it is requested.

GCHS Homecoming this week Greene County Tigers beat Sumter Jaguars, 27-18

By Joe L. Powell

Homecoming Schedule
Greene County High School
Coronation: 6:00 pm
Bonfire: 7:00 pm
Parade: 4:00 pm
Game: 7:00 pm

EUTAW- The Greene County High School Tigers played host to the Sumter Central High School Jaguars in Tiger’s stadium on Friday night, September 27, 2019. The first quarter for both teams was well fought on defense as well as offense, neither team was able to score.
The second quarter action began with the Jaguars with a 35 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Derrick Hutchins to Jimmie Brown. The two point conversion rush attempt failed.
The Tigers refused to quit fighting, with 1:56 left before halftime, Tiger’s Devin Pearson rushed for a 55 yard touchdown. The PAT by Fyshawn Burton failed.
The Jaguars tried once again to score with 0:01 left on the clock to play with the ball on the Tiger’s 3 yard line, but the Tiger’s defense was too strong (Tigers 6-Jaguars 6).
After returning from halftime the action started with 10:36 left on the clock, Tiger’s Keterrian Spencer fumbled the ball, recovered by Ahmir Moore for the Jaguars. The Tiger’s defense refused to allow them to take advantage. Willie Davis for the Tigers sacked the Jaguar’s quarterback to helped set up a 55 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Roydricker Bullock to Katerrian Spencer with 8:08 left to play in the third quarter. The PAT was good by Devin Pearson. (Tigers 13-Jaguars 6).
During this same quarter the Jaguars returned the favor by scoring with a 55 yard touchdown pass from Jimmie Brown to Derrick Hutchins. The two point rushed attempt failed (Tigers 13-Jaguars 12).

The fourth quarter action started with the Jaguars still holding on in hope of a win. With 11:56 left in the game, Samuel Guyton rushed for a two yard touchdown for the Jaguars.
The two point conversion attempt failed (Tigers 13-Jaguars 18). During this same quarter the Tiger’s offense refused to accept being behind. With 8:41 left to play, Tiger’s quarterback Roydricker Bullock connected with Katerrian Spencer for a 25 yard touchdown pass and the PAT attempt was good by Devin Pearson (Tigers 20-Jaguars 12).
As the excitement of the fans from both teams continued, all eyes were on the two Simmons brothers, principals of both schools. You could see the Tiger’s principal/coach pacing up and down the sideline coaching, cheering and serving up water for his team. The clock continued to click down, the brothers, I can imagine, were wondering who would be victorious. Well Tiger’s principal could see, with 6:30 left in this well fought game, that his team would get the win, after Jahqualan Edwards for the Tigers intercepted a Jaguar’s pass to help his fellow teammates set up a 31 yard touchdown pass with 4:40 left to play from Roydricker Bullock to Jaylin Smith. The PAT attempt was good by Devin Pearson (Tigers 27-Jaguars 18).
Leading the Tiger’s offense were: NorDarius Harris with 161 yards (rushed); Roydricker Bullock with 159 yards (passing), and 84 yards (rushing); Katerrian Spencer with 108 yards (receiving). Leading the Tiger’s defense were: Devin Pearson 9 tackles; Tyler Jackson 7 tackles,; Willie Davis 7 tackles and 1 quarterback sack; Zikial Simmons 6 tackles, De’Quan Henderson 6 tackles and Derrick Allen 5 tackles.
The Tigers will celebrate Homecoming 2019 on October 4, 2019 at 7:00 P.M., against the Hale County High School Wildcats.

Weekly quote: “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”~~~ Anatole France

ADPH recommends Alabamians consider stopping the use of electronic cigarettes and vape products

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) recommends that all consumers consider refraining from the use of electronic cigarette and vape products (i.e., vape pens, liquids, refill pods and cartridges) until national and state investigations into vaping-related deaths and illnesses are complete. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a cluster of severe pulmonary disease among people who use e-cigarettes or vape products, with more than 800 cases of lung injury reported from 46 states and one U.S. territory. Two-thirds of cases are 18 – 34 years old, and 12 deaths have been confirmed so far in 10 states. As of September 25, there were 16 Alabama residents under investigation. Of the 16 reports, 2 cases have been ruled out; 2 have been identified as probable cases of lung disease associated with vaping. Alabama is currently not included in the national case numbers.
Those who choose to continue the use of e-cigarettes and vape products should not buy these products off the street or from unregulated sources. Consumers should avoid modifying or adding any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer. Consumers with nicotine addiction who have used e-cigarettes as a method to quit smoking should not return to the use of conventional cigarettes.
Patients have experienced symptoms that include cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, with symptoms growing worse over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital. Other symptoms may include fever, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Most of the cases are among adolescents and young adults.
ADPH has requested that health care providers report any cases of suspected serious respiratory illness they treat among patients who use electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, “The use of any tobacco product is unsafe. While this current outbreak is being investigated, the safest option is to refrain from using any e-cigarette or vape product. Furthermore, there is no situation in which these devices should be used by pregnant women or youths.”
Alabama law now prohibits the sale or transfer of vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery devices to minors. Free help is available for Alabama residents who are ready to kick the tobacco habit. The Alabama Tobacco Quitline number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or residents may visit quitnowalabama.comfor help.
The Quitline provides individualized coaching to help any type of smoker or tobacco user, including e-cigarettes and vape, to quit. In addition, the Quitline offers up to eight weeks of free nicotine patches to those medically eligible and enrolled in the program. Quitline coaching services are available seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight.
For additional information on electronic cigarettes and their health effects, visit For more information on quitting tobacco, please visit ADPH Tobacco Prevention and Control at

Newswire : In the grip of a nationwide drought, Zimbabwe faces a national disaster

African women carry water

Sep. 28, 2019 (GIN) – In a new low water mark for Zimbabwe’s troubled economy, two million people in Zimbabwe’s capital have now been left without water after the government ran out of foreign currency to pay for imported water treatment chemicals.

Zimbabwe’s capital city shut its main water works on Monday, potentially leaving the city dry and raising the risk of water borne diseases.

The Harare water shortages follow months of drought in rural areas and fast-falling water levels in polluted dams around the country. Amid reports of soaring diarrhea cases in the capital, concern is growing over the possible spread of cholera and typhoid – dozens died in cholera outbreaks in Zimbabwe last year.

An El Nino-induced drought has reduced water levels in the country’s dams, including Kariba, which supplies the biggest hydroelectric plant and hit the capacity of cities and towns to supply water to residents.

Harare City Council deputy mayor Enock Mupamawonde told reporters that the local authority required at least 40 million Zimbabwe dollars ($2.7 million) a month for water chemicals but it was only collecting 15 million Zimbabwe dollars in monthly revenue.

It is devastating to say the least,” Mupamawonde told reporters, urging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to declare the water crisis a national disaster.

Wealthier residents are able to buy tankers of water for a price well beyond the means of most people.

According to the IMF, inflation in Zimbabwe is now the highest in the world.

Despite the nation’s hardships, questionable spending continues at the highest levels of power. President Mnangagwa reportedly took a bloated entourage of 90 people to last month’s U.N. General Assembly in New York, including Zanu PF youths who took part in an anti-sanctions demonstration there on Monday.

Mnangagwa’s wife, Auxilia, reportedly flew to the US separately with her own sizable delegation, which included her security team, officials from her Angels of Hope charity organisation and a crew of journalists from the state media.

Both teams are reported to be enjoying hefty allowances funded by Treasury, at a time the government has been asking the citizenry to endure the pain induced by its austerity measures, which have severely eroded incomes and impoverished the majority of the population.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean ex-leader Robert Mugabe was buried in his home village of Kutama on Saturday. His family chose a private funeral after a weeks-long dispute with the administration.

A priest asked God to take pity on the independence fighter as the family of the longtime Zimbabwean leader buried him Saturday at his rural home. They chose a private service after a weeks-long dispute with the administration that forced him from power.

Newswire : . HUD Says deregulation, not affordable housing, needed to solve homelessness

By Charlene Crowell, Special to The Informer

Homeless man on the streets

For more than a decade, economists, lawmakers and others have heralded the nation’s economy. Often citing how unemployment has declined as new jobs have been created, or Wall Street trading and major bank profits rising, some might be led to believe that all is well in America.
But as Sportin’ Life in the folk opera “Porgy and Bess” sang, “It ain’t necessarily so.”
On Sept. 16, California Gov. Gavin Newsom joined by state officials representing cities and counties wrote a letter that urged President Donald Trump to recognize homelessness as a “national crisis decades in the making that demands action at every level of government to alleviate California’s homeless.

Carson’s Sept. 18 reply said in part, “California cannot spend its way out of this problem using Federal funds…More vouchers are clearly not the solution the State needs. To address this crisis, California must reduce its regulatory burdens on housing.”

Advocates for homeless and low-income people strongly disagreed with Carson’s assessment. “We know that the number one cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing,” said Megan Hustings, managing director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.

“Consumers are already struggling with crushing debt from student loans and medical expenses, or facing triple-digit interest rates when they attempt to access small-dollar loans,” noted Marisabel Torres, director of California Policy with the Center for Responsible Lending, “When they also have to pay some of the highest housing costs in the nation, it is unfortunately unsurprising that there are such large numbers of homeless people in many of California’s large cities.

“California’s homeless may be the largest by state, but the problem is a national one that deserves to be recognized and acted upon,” Torres said.

In 1987 there was an expression of national will to respond to America’s homeless through enactment of the McKinney Homeless Act. That statute created the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness dedicating the ongoing support of 19 federal agencies to prevent and end homelessness. HUD is one of the participating agencies. The Council on Homelessness even has a written plan, “Home, Together,” that lays out federal remedies over the fiscal years of 2018-2022.

Charlene Crowell is the communications deputy director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at
This post originally appeared in The Washington Informer.

Newswire: Tommie Smith and John Carlos will be inducted into the U.S. Olympics Hall of Fame

by BlackmansStreet.Today

Smith and Carlos raise fists in protest on medals podium

When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their arms with black gloves on their fists during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics, the crowd booed loudly to show its disapproval.
Smith and Carlos finished first and third in the 200-meter dash. The two raised their arms during the Star Spangled Banner to protest racism in the U.S.
Smith won the Gold Medal, setting a world record of 19.83 seconds, and Carlos won the Bronze Medal. Peter Norman of Australia won the Silver Medal.

The crowd booed even louder as the two men walked off the winners’ podium wearing black socks and no shoes. U.S. Olympic officials ordered Smith and Carlos to leave the Olympic village.

Brent Musburger, Chicago sportswriter, called Smith and Carlos “black-skinned storm troopers” for their clenched fist power salute. His comments appeared in Chicago American, later renamed Chicago Today. The newspaper is now out of business.

Musburger, now radio play-by-play announcer for the Oakland Raiders, never explained what the two sprinters were protesting. The article’s headline read “Bizarre Protest by Smith, Carlos Tarnishes Medals.”

It’s safe to say, Chicago American’s newsroom was all-white and all male.
Time magazine said the protest by Smith and Carlos made the Olympic games ugly.
More than 50 years after the Smith and Carlos were ordered to leave the Olympic Village, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced it will induct Smith and Carlos and seven others into the Olympic Hall of Fame. The two men will be inducted during a ceremony November 1 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the committee is based.
Carlos, now 74, doesn’t think about Musburger who never has apologized for his comments.
Carlos told U.S.A. Today Sports, “Well you know, Brent Musburger doesn’t even exist in my mind. So I don’t even know. He didn’t mean anything to me 51 years ago. He doesn’t mean anything to me today. Because he’s been proven to be wrong.” Smith is now 75.
The pending hall of fame induction of Smith and Carlos follows an apology by the University of Wyoming to former black football players who were kicked off the team because they wanted to ask about wearing black armbands in a game against Brigham Young University.
After the Olympics, Smith and Carlos were ostracized by white sports writers. They both worked various jobs, including some coaching.
Before the 1968 Summer Olympics, my friends considered them heroes because of their abilities to sprint faster than most people on Earth. Smith was competing in a track meet at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where I grew up. At least five of us went to the meet. When we saw Smith stretching on the infield, we surrounded him. None of said anything, we just gazed at him. We believed we were in the presence of God.
Peter Norman did not fare as well after the games. The Australian government ostracized Norman and never forgave him for supporting Smith and Carlos.
Norman died in 2006. Smith and Carlos each gave eulogies and were pall bearers at his funeral.