Superintendent Carter updates board on school initiatives

In the recent meeting of the Greene County Board of Education, held Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, Superintendent James H. Carter, Sr. reported on the following initiatives in the school system.
*The Backpack Meal Program has been implemented at Eutaw Primary as a pilot this year. This program is a partnership between the Greene County School Board and the Tuscaloosa Food Bank
*Greene County High School will begin producing a Greene County High newspaper this fall.
* STEAM program this year will provide students an opportunity to show their skills in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Each program will have a Robotics Component. STEAM is not just about providing access to resources or programs; it is about providing quality teaching and learning experiences to students – how much is needed in a curriculum to ensure students are career and college ready.
*The school system has been approved for a grant in the amount of $15,000 for the At-Risk Program, Launching Excellence and Achievement Project.
*The system will develop a social media lounge for teachers and students to go on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat to express their support for public schools; develop a College and Career Ready Room for students to apply for colleges and universities; also to provide students the opportunities to apply for financial aid and scholarships.
*The system will implement an action plan to decrease the absentee rate for students and teachers. This plan will address the specific reason why absenteeism is more problematic in some schools versus others.
*The system will pursue T-Mobile to give hotspots to students who do not have internet access at home.
*Congratulations to Robert Brown Middle School on the very innovative concept of going out to visit the school community, instead of community visiting the school.

In other business the board approved the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Carter.
* Employment: Carl Oliver, Part-time Maintenance/ Part-time Custodian, Greene County High School; Employ Additional Resource Officer at Greene County High School; Additional Service contract(s) for the following employees at Robert Brown Middle School for the 2017 – 2018 academic year. (Separate Contract): Corey Cockrell, Head Girls Basketball Coach; Henry Miles, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach:
* Catastrophic Leave: Sadie Moore, Secretary, Eutaw Primary School.
Family Medical Leave: Verna Nickson, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation. * Leave without pay: Siegfried Williams, request leave of absence for every Tuesday in the month, beginning August 22 – December 12, 2017. Total of 17 days. * Travel: Rachel Nickson to travel to Atlanta, GA to attend Save the Children Cluster Meeting on November 14 -17, 2017.
The board approved the following administrative services recommended by the superintendent. First Reading: Student Discipline Implementation Guide; Email Acceptable Use Policy; Travel Policy; Capital Plan 2017-2018; Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll; Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. Katrina Sewell, CSFO.
School Board CSFO, Katrina Sewell, presented the following report for September. Total revenue for September was $734,680.56; From the accounts payable register, state funds expended totaled $57,652.40; federal funds expended totaled $92,143.89; local funds expended totaled $321,578.79. Accounts payable totaled $471,285.08. Payroll expenditures for the month totaled $861,819.08. The current fund balance of $3,274,984.27 does not include final expenditures for accounts payable in FY 2017.
Attorney Hank Sanders, in his report to the board, advised that a lawsuit has been recently filed by the Alabama Attorney General against six counties where electronic bingo operates. “If this lawsuit succeeds, the Greene County School System, along with other entities, will lose funds,” Sanders noted. Attorney Sanders also informed the board that a law suit filed by an employee has been settled, but the employee is seeking more.

Alabama AG Marshall files lawsuits to stop ‘electronic bingo’ in Greene and other counties

Sheriff Benison revised bingo rules to provide funds to hospital

Last week, the Greene County Democrat received from Sheriff Benison, a revised copy of Section 4 of the Electronic Bingo Rules for Greene County. The revised rules provide for the Greene County Health Services, which includes the Hospital, Nursing Home, Physicians Clinic and related health care facilities, to receive $25.00 per bingo machine to support healthcare for Greene County residents.

The new rules are effective as of October 1, 2017 and will provided needed revenues for the hospital with the November
distribution of bingo funds.

 

(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Wednesday the filing of multiple lawsuits against casinos in five counties that continue to operate “electronic bingo,” on what he calls illegal slot machines in defiance of state law.  The lawsuits call upon local circuit courts to prohibit the defendants from promoting, operating and transporting “electronic bingo” machines and slot machines in those counties.
The civil lawsuits were filed in Greene, Houston, Lowndes, Macon and Morgan counties against the operating casinos, machine manufacturers and vendors, and the governmental authorities responsible for licensing and overseeing electronic bingo operations in those counties. In Greene County, the lawsuit was filed against all five bingo operators, bingo machine providers and Sheriff Jonathan Benison.
“It is the responsibility of the Attorney General to ensure that Alabama’s laws are enforced, including those laws that prohibit illegal gambling,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall.

“Through multiple rulings in recent years, the Alabama Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that electronic bingo and the use of slot machines are illegal in all Alabama counties.  Therefore, we have taken action to hold accountable those who defy the laws of our state.  These lawsuits represent a comprehensive legal approach developed by the Attorney General, with the assistance of the Office’s career experts, to finally put a stop to illegal gambling.”
Responding to the lawsuit, Sheriff Benison stated, “First of all as Sheriff of Greene County I would like to clarify and say that we do not operate as casinos, and never tried to portray ourselves as such.  We are approved, legalized electronic bingo facilities.  This is legal because we the citizens of Greene County voted overwhelmingly in 2006 for Amendment 743 to provide for electronic bingo.”
Sheriff Benison continued, “We have been operating and providing jobs and funding for Greene County through this Amendment.  I don’t know about the other counties filed in the lawsuit but as for Greene County, even the shortest closure of our Electronic Bingo facilities will result in a devastating economic downfall for our county.  We don’t have big industries or factories that our county runs off of; electronic Bingo is our livelihood.
“Thousands will be affected because so many are direct recipients of funds made through electronic bingo, such as, Greene County Board of Education, Greene County Commission, Greene County Hospital, Greene County Nursing Home, Firefighters Association, E-911, City of Eutaw, City of Forkland, City of Union, City of Boligee, Greene County Sheriff’s Office and not to mention 16 sub charities that are incorporated to make sure everyone is provided with help.
“This is all of our youth, senior citizens, our law enforcement. These are the hundreds of employees that each one of the facilities employs.  What are they to do if they lose their job?  I am shocked about this news, but we are willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure that our vote for Amendment 743 was not done in vain.”
Luther Winn Jr., CEO of Greenetrack issued a statement saying in part,
“AG Marshall’s actions have real-life consequences. By his own hand, Marshall has now jeopardized the jobs of 115 mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, who work at Greenetrack. These are good-paying jobs with health insurance and retirement benefits. Don’t let Marshall fool you – this lawsuit signals his willingness to increase Alabama’s unemployment, food stamp and Medicaid rolls by 115 from one facility here in Greene County. Marshall’s lawsuit also jeopardizes Greene County E-911 and fire protection for the entire county, both of whom are completely dependent on bingo revenues.”
Winn goes on to say, “We question AG Marshall’s motives and timing. It is worth noting that AG Marshall has accepted campaign contributions from two individuals and two out-of-state law firms with gambling ties.”
Winn says that he has made numerous complaints to Federal officials, including U. S. Attorney Jeff Sessions about corruption which has been involved in the fight against electronic bingo and efforts to violate the voting rights of Greene County citizens who overwhelming supported a referendum for Alabama Constitutional Amendment 743, which authorizes electronic bingo in the county.
Since assuming office in February, Attorney General Marshall has continued to assist other agencies and district attorneys in the enforcement of anti-gambling laws in Alabama.  The multi-county lawsuits filed last week are the culmination of ongoing investigations into these casinos and gambling ventures around the state.   The civil complaints call for the closure of the casinos because the illegal gambling they offer presents legal nuisances in the state.
Many of these cases are based on an Alabama Supreme Court case in which the justices define bingo in great detail, as a game played on paper cards, with five rows across and five columns down, in which a player must actively participate in dabbing their numbers and recognizing and calling-out when they have a winning bingo. The courts have ruled that electronic bingo machines are in reality “slot machines” and are therefore illegal.
AG Marshall has brought his legal action in the local circuit courts of the counties where the electronic bingo games are played. It will take some time before these cases are heard and a more definitive decision can be made by the courts on the future of electronic bingo.

Tuesday, Oct. 17 at Greene County High School Community-wide kickoff to be held for AIDT Mobile Training Unit to prepare Greene County residents for employment

Greene County and West Alabama Works are hosting an AIDT Mobile Training Unit at Greene County High School/Greene County Career Center, located at 14223 U.S. Highway 11 South in Eutaw, Alabama.
The mobile unit will be available to community members for the next 3 months for the purposes of holding Ready-to-Work (RTW) job preparation classes, resume building, GED classes, computer classes, and C.N.A. certification.
A kick-off, open to the public, is to be held Tuesday, October 17, 2017 from 6-7:30 PM at the high school. The kick-off is designed to educate the community beyond high school and enable community members to qualify for available career opportunities.
The Region 3 Workforce Development Council, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, formed West Alabama Works to lead workforce development efforts throughout West Alabama. The regional workforce development system facilitates and implements a comprehensive, coordinated, seamless workforce development system for the region and supports workforce training activities
In the development of this mobile training unit, West Alabama Works is partnering with the University of West Alabama, Greene County Industrial Development Authority, Greene County Board of Education, Greene County Commission, Shelton State Community College, and AIDT to meet community needs. As Gary Nichols, Chairman of the West Alabama Works Steering Committee notes, “This will help individuals in the region prepare for new and existing job opportunities. We’re here to generate meaningful results.”
Tennyson Smith, Chair of the Greene County Commission said, “The Commission is pleased to support this workforce effort to provide greater employment opportunities to Greene County residents.”

Danny Cooper, Chair of the Greene County IDA, stated, “ We are very supportive of this West Alabama Works program which will assess the skills and qualifications of Greene County citizens. It will help them to better prepare for employment opportunities to be developed in our communities and for jobs that are currently available in our wider area.”
Area employers are looking to hire individuals who have successfully completed the Ready-to-Work curriculum, as it proves individuals have mastered essential soft skills for workplace success and have a skill level desirable to business and industry.
Donny Jones, Chief Operating Officer for the Chamber and Director of West Alabama Works commented, “Ready to Work programs are part of our efforts in connecting residents with high demand employment opportunities and training that will revitalize local communities. Not only will this assist people in becoming more employable, this project will enable us to fill workforce needs in rapidly advancing sectors.”
To pre-register, call 205-372-9974. Commitment to attend classes is required of participants.

 

Greene County Chapter of DST sponsors 7th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

 

Photo by: Cynthia CrawfordDSTcancerwalk2017.jpg
The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. held its 7th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness walk on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 on the old courthouse square in Eutaw, AL. This event was open to the public. All participants received various materials on breast cancer awareness. A collection of pink balloons was released in celebration of breast cancer survivors and their families, as well as for individuals currently struggling with the illness. The annual walk is also held to encourage the community to adopt more healthy life styles, including healthy food choices, regular physical exercise and medical exams. Ms. Miriam Leftwich serves as chairperson of the DST Chapter’s Physical and Mental Health Committee. Andrea Perry is Chapter President.

Newswire : Progressive Randall Woodfin wins Birmingham, Ala., mayoral race in a major upset

By Terrell Jermaine Starr, The Root

Randall Woodfin, Birmingham mayor-elect.jpgRandall Woodfin

Progressive Democratic candidate Randall Woodfin, 36, became the youngest mayor-elect of Birmingham, Ala., in modern history Monday night after defeating two-term incumbent Mayor William Bell with a near 20-point margin of victory. He follows in the footsteps of Jackson, Miss., Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, another Southern progressive supported by national liberal organizations who won city hall this year.
Woodfin’s win is a strategic victory for the progressive movement in that it challenges conservatives locally on their home turf, where state laws such as voter-ID and anti-LGBTQ legislation often have federal election implications.
Our Revolution, a national organization devoted to supporting progressive candidates at the local level, backed Woodfin’s race by sending over 11,000 “Get Out the Vote” text messages and making hundreds of calls. Former Ohio state senator and Our Revolution President Nina Turner campaigned for Woodfin in Alabama twice. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also endorsed his candidacy.
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Woodfin got a lot of campaign help from Morehouse College alumni, who held fundraisers around the country and came from out of town to knock on doors as volunteers. On the scene when the race was called for Woodfin last night was Morehouse’s interim president, Harold Martin Jr. When they were classmates at Morehouse, Martin said, Woodfin made it clear that he was going back to Birmingham to serve his city. His youth, Martin believes, will be to his advantage.
“He is a young mayor,” said Martin, who graduated from Morehouse just two years ahead of Woodfin. “But what we’re experiencing in our country and we’re seeing in the city of Birmingham is that young leaders have great ideas, the energy to see them through, and are innovative in their thinking, and Randall is a prime example of that.”
Considered a long-shot candidate when he jumped into the mayoral race a year ago, Woodfin shocked Birmingham’s political elites when he came in first over Bell in the city’s nonpartisan primary in August. Billing himself as a fresh alternative to Bell, Woodfin vowed to take on the city’s rising crime rates and create ways for young people to pursue a free education at local community colleges. His campaign succeeded in casting Bell’s administration as being too entrenched in the old politics of Birmingham to come up with new ideas on how to move the city forward. (Indeed, Bell has been in city government for as long as Woodfin has been alive.)
Woodfin said that his first agenda items will deal with job creation and tackling poverty. Just as important is the issue of safety. He gained the support of the local police union after promising to hire more cops, but Bell said that his safety plan will include players other than those from law enforcement.
“It’s empowering people where they live,” he said. “It’s taking a 21st-century look at how Neighborhood Watch looks. It’s introducing conflict resolution to our boys and girls entering middle school. It’s finding a way to get our young people to understand what empathy means in childhood before they’re adults. It also means tackling poverty head-on and asking young boys to put guns down and stand ready to replace it with a job in their hands.”
One of Woodfin’s goals is to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Right now it is $7.25. Birmingham’s City Council tried to raise it to $10.10, but the state rejected it.
Woodfin takes office Nov. 28, so he doesn’t have a lot of time to celebrate his win. He said that he will take a long nap today and respond to a few emails and texts. After that, he’s heading straight to City Hall to begin his plans for Birmingham. “I need to have a conversation with the City Council,” he said. “It’s time to get to work, brotha.”

 

Newswire : Jeff Sessions reverses DOJ policy protecting transgender employees from discrimination

By Zack Ford, ThinkProgress

Discrimination based on gender identity will no longer be considered discrimination based on sex.

The Department of Justice will no longer argue that workplace protections on the basis of sex protect transgender people from discrimination. That’s according to a new memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions obtained by BuzzFeed Thursday.

The new policy reverses a policy put in place in 2014 by then-Attorney General Eric Holder. The fundamental question is whether denying someone employment based on their gender identity (i.e. being transgender) constitutes discrimination on the basis of that person’s “sex,” as protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Holder held that trans people fall under that category, but Sessions has now reversed that and declared they no longer enjoy such protections.

“Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se,” Sessions writes, according to BuzzFeed. Under his view, the law only covers discrimination between “men and women.”

However, a 2008 case proves Sessions’ reasoning wrong: the judge in that case found that a trans woman had been discriminated against on the basis of sex because the Library of Congress denied her a job after learning she was transitioning. District Judge James Robertson explained that if an employer treated Christians and Jews fairly but discriminated against “converts” between the two religions, “that would be a clear case of discrimination ‘because of religion,’” so discrimination against a person for transitioning their sex should not be treated any differently.

Nevertheless, Sessions’ new policy now impacts what the DOJ will argue in future cases. This reflects the anti-LGBTQ positions the Trump administration has already taken in various other cases, including one in which a man claimed he was fired for being gay and another in which a Colorado baker refused service to a same-sex couple for religious reasons. It also adds to the litany of actions the Trump administration has taken specifically against transgender people, including rescinding protections for transgender students, banning transgender people from the military, and working to roll back health care protections for trans people.
Not recognizing a person’s gender identity as their lived sex is an inherent rejection of the legitimacy of that identity. Sessions nevertheless insists in the memo that he’s not anti-trans:
The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals. Nothing in this memorandum should be construed to condone mistreatment on the basis of gender identity, or to express a policy view on whether Congress should amend Title VII to provide different or additional protections.

The DOJ decision stands in stark contrast to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an independent commission that has held that transgender employees are protected under Title VII since 2012. In a 2015 case, for example, the EEOC ruled in favor of a trans woman who claimed the Army had discriminated against her as a civilian employee by not letting her use the women’s restroom. The DOJ and EEOC also recently had an interesting stand-off in court when they took opposing positions on a case of anti-gay discrimination.

The Sessions memo could greatly undermine transgender people’s ability to fight discrimination in the workplace. Under Sessions’ leadership, the DOJ has shown willingness to chime in on cases in favor of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, so even if the EEOC is advocating for a trans person, the DOJ would still argue against them. There are still 30 states that offer no employment explicit protections on the basis of gender identity, so if trans victims of discrimination in those states can’t make their case based on protections because of “sex” under federal law, they may have no recourse whatsoever.

The recent U.S. Trans Survey found that 27 percent of trans people who’d applied for a job in the past year had been fired, denied a promotion, or not been hired due to anti-trans discrimination. The number is actually likely higher, as studies have shown that trans people may not even realize they’re being discriminated against in employment. The survey also found that trans people are three times as likely to be unemployed than the rest of the U.S. population.

Newswire : Unemployment rate for Black men declined, but still twice as high as white men

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

 

blackmanjobless

 Black man who is jobless

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – September’s jobless rate for the Black men 20 years old and older dropped, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.
The unemployment rate for Black men in this age group was 6.7 percent compared to 7.8 percent in August, BLS said. Despite the dramatic improvement, Black men’s jobless rate was still much higher compared to White men (3.4 percent) and Hispanic men (4.0 percent). BLS did not report a jobless rate for the Asian men 20 and older.
However, the labor participation rate for the Black men in September was 68.7 percent, higher than any quarter of the last year. The combined unemployment rate for Black men and Black women 20 and older (6.0 percent) reached a 17-year low.
The bureau noted the overall unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage point to 4.2 percent in September, and the number of jobless persons declined by 331,000 to 6.8 million.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused a 33,000 drop in jobs because of power failures, flooding and other weather -related circumstances.“The storms caused large-scale evacuations and severe damage to many homes and businesses.,” said William J. Wiatrowski, BLS’s acting director. “In September, 1.5 million workers had a job but were not at work for the entire reference week due to bad weather.”