On Sunday afternoon, November 21, 2021, the Greene County Health System held a ceremony to name and dedicate the new imaging wing of the Greene County Hospital in honor of Dr. Sandral Hullett, retired medical director of the facility.
The imaging suite includes the new X-ray room, a new 16 slice CT scanner, an ultrasound room and related office and patient spaces. An older 4 slice CT scanner, was located in a trailer behind the hospital building. This has been replaced by a new and more modern machine, inside the facility.
A plaque on the wall recognizing Dr. Hullett for her service and assistance to rural health care in the Alabama Black Belt was unveiled by Dr. Hullett and members of her family. Dr. Hullett is currently a resident of the Greene County Nursing Home.
Dr. Marcia Pugh, GCHS Administrator thanked Dr. Hullett for her years of dedicated service to the people of Greene County. “We are especially happy that we were able to upgrade and bring the CT scanner inside. We will no longer have to bring our patients out the back door to a trailer in inclement weather. The X-ray and ultrasound equipment have been similarly upgraded. We have also improved our Emergency Room facilities and equipment.
“We encourage Greene County residents to visit our GCHS facilities and see the many improvements for themselves. We want the residents of Greene County to have quality and affordable health care, without having to travel to other out-of-town facilities, unless they need specialized care that we cannot provide. Because of the coronavirus, we had to limit participation in this ceremony, but we want people to know about and use our improved facilities, when you need them.” stated Dr. Pugh.
As part of the ceremony, the hospital also unveiled another plaque to honor John Zippert, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, to be placed in the Conference Room of the Greene County Physician’s Clinic, which was named for Zippert, several years ago.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Frequently compared to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the $1.9 trillion package – the Build Back Better Act – includes investments in child and elder care, universal pre-K and an extension of the child tax credit to provide economic security for tens of millions of working families and pathways to return to the job market. It also addresses the adverse effects of climate change.
“Honoring President Biden’s vision and addressing the needs of the American people, this legislation presents the most historic and transformative agenda in a century. Build Back Better will forge extraordinary progress for the American people: creating good-paying jobs, lowering costs and cutting taxes, while making the wealthiest and big corporations pay their fair share,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to her colleagues.
The Build Back Better Act provides a list of social benefits that would address issues of high importance to African-Americans. President Biden hopes it will be passed by the predominately Democratic Senate and reach his desk shortly after Thanksgiving. Among the benefits:
Lowers Health Care Costs:
Approximately 3.9 million Black people were uninsured in 2019. Despite the Affordable Care Act’s premium subsidies, coverage under the ACA was too expensive for many families, and more than 570,000 Black people fell into the Medicaid “coverage gap” and were locked out of coverage because their state refused to expand Medicaid. President Biden’s framework closes the Medicaid coverage gap while also lowering health care costs for those buying coverage through the ACA by extending the American Rescue Plan’s lower premiums, which could save 360,000 black people an average of $50 per person per month. With these changes, more than one in three uninsured Black people could gain coverage. It also makes an historic investment in maternal health. Black women die from complications related to pregnancy at three times the rate of White women. The legislation will also: • Empower Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs for seniors and halts Big Pharma’s outrageous price hikes above inflation for all Americans.Ensure Americans with diabetes don’t pay more than $35 per month for their insulin. • Create a new, out-of-pocket cap of $2,000 on what seniors pay for their drugs in Medicare Part D. • Lower premiums dramatically for those who buy insurance on their own through the Affordable Care Act. • Extend affordable coverage through the Affordable Care Act to millions of Americans in states that have refused to expand Medicaid. • Expand Medicare to make hearing care more affordable for seniors. Lowers Child Care & Family Care Costs:
The cost of child care has placed a serious financial burden on Black parents who are two times more likely than White parents to have to quit, turn down, or make a major change in their job due to child care disruptions. In addition, only 26.8 percent of Black 3- and 4-year old children are enrolled in publicly-funded preschool, while the average cost of preschool for those without access to publicly-funded programs is $8,600. Most families will save more than half of what they currently spend on child care, and the vast majority of families will pay no more than 7 percent of their income for child care. It will also reduce the cost of home-based care for the hundreds of thousands of older adults and people with disabilities who need it but lack access. Investment in home care will raise wages for home care workers, 28 percent of whom are Black. The Build Back Better Act also saves most families more than half their current spending on child care, ensuring the vast majority of families will have to pay no more than 7 percent of their income for child care. It also: • Expands the basic promise of free schooling in America for the first time in 100 years with universal pre-school for all 3- and 4-year-olds. • Establishes a universal and permanent paid family and medical leave program, providing four weeks of paid parental, family caregiving, and medical leave. • Gives more than 35 million families a major tax cut by extending the Biden Child Tax Credit. • Expands access to high-quality home care for older adults and people with disabilities. • Cuts the cost of postsecondary education, with such steps as increasing the maximum Pell Grant. • Reduces families’ housing costs and expands housing options. Housing and Nutrition
The coronavirus pandemic exposed and created many inequities related to housing and left millions of Americans in fear of facing eviction or foreclosure. Thirty percent of Black renters pay over half their income in rent. The Build Back Better Act will enable the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of more than one million affordable homes, boosting housing supply and reducing price pressures for renters and homeowners. It also will make investments to improve the safety, energy efficiency, and quality of existing public housing, where nearly half of residents are black, and expands the availability of housing choice vouchers to hundreds of thousands more families, including the nearly half of current voucher holders who are Black. In addition, it calls for the removal of lead-based paint from housing units, which disproportionately affects Black children, and provides grants for resident-led community development projects in neighborhoods that have faced systemic disinvestment.
Food insecurity is another problem that has disproportionately affected Black households at a higher rate than the national average, particularly during the pandemic. To help ensure that no one has to worry about whether they can provide nutritious food for themselves or their children, the Build Back Better framework will ensure that the nutritional needs of Black children are met by expanding access to free school meals during the school year and providing students with resources to purchase food over the summer.
On the night the Build Back Better vote was to take place, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy forced a delay until the following morning by delivering an 8 hour, 32-minute floor speech—the longest in House history—during which he assailed the legislation as “big government socialism.” And, as with most legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, not a single Republican supported the bill, which also lost the support a lone Democrat who voted against it. Now it’s the Senate’s turn. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hopes to pass the bill by Christmas, but he first has to convince all 50 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them to back the plan. It won’t be easy. The paid family leave provision may be cut to satisfy a demand from Sen. Joe Manchin, and Sen. Bernie Sanders will call for provisions in such areas as Medicare and climate to be strengthened. Any changes to the legislation will have to be voted on in the House, where Pelosi holds a razor-thin majority and can only afford three defections from her party.
In the meantime, Democrats have some selling to do. Many of the bill’s provisions won’t go into effect until after the 2022 mid-term election cycle where Democrats will go head to head for control of both houses. They will need to convince the American public of the many ways their lives will be made easier and more affordable by the Build Back Better Act.
Nelson Mandela and de Klerk sharing Nobel Peace Prize in 1993
Nov. 16, 2021 (GIN) – There will be no state funeral for South Africa’s last white president, Frederick Willem de Klerk, his foundation said in a published statement. Instead, Mr. de Klerk will have a private burial following cremation on Nov. 21 for family members that will be closed to the media. He was 85 years of age. De Klerk, who won praise worldwide for his role in scrapping apartheid and shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993, has a conflicted legacy among the country’s Black population for his failure to curb political violence in the run up to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994. There was little appetite among South Africans for a state funeral – which ultimately was not scheduled to take place. De Klerk passed away after a battle with cancer at his home in the Fresnaye area of Cape Town. After his death, his foundation published a video in which he apologized for “the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage” apartheid caused during decades of white minority rule. His previous refusal to apologize came as recently as last year when he said he did not believe apartheid was a crime against humanity. He also angered right wing Afrikaners who viewed him as a traitor to their causes of white supremacy and nationalism by ending apartheid. Lukhanyo Calata, son of the anti-apartheid activist Fort Calata, claimed the former president was directly involved in his father’s death and should have been held accountable. Instead, he took “the secrets about the murders of our fathers to the grave.” Fort Calata and fellow activists Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkonto and Sicelo Mhlauli were community leaders, guilty of such things as being part of a Marxist reading group, forming street committees, writing a letter to the municipality about dirty streets, fighting an unfair rental system and writing for a community newspaper. In December 1984, Goniwe called for a boycott known as the “Black Christmas” of white-owned shops, infuriating the white business community. The boycott was successful as the Lingelihle community did not buy food or liquor from white-owned stores. In 1985 they were abducted and murdered by South African security police under orders of the apartheid regime. The so-called Cradock Four who came from the town of Cradock, were members of the anti-apartheid United Democratic Front. A document leaked to the press years after their deaths resulted in the removal of several police officers. At the second inquest, a judge ruled that the “security forces” were responsible, but named no one individual. Calata, Goniwe, Mhlauli and Mkonto were buried in Cradock on July 20,1985, at a massive political funeral attended by thousands of people from all over the country. Speakers at the funeral included Beyers Naudé, Allan Boesak and Steve Tshwete. A message from the then president of the ANC Oliver Tambo was read. It was also the first time that a huge SA Communist Party flag was unfurled and openly displayed at the funeral. De Klerk oversaw the end of white minority rule as the country’s last apartheid president and shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Kyle Rittenhouse escaped punishment in the shooting deaths of two men during the unrest that followed the 2020 police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The jury deliberated for about four days, before issuing unanimous verdicts on all counts.
The jury considered five charges against the now 18-year-old: First-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon – or that Rittenhouse recklessly caused the death of Rosenbaum under circumstances that showed utter disregard for human life.
First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon – or that Rittenhouse recklessly endangered the safety of Richard McGinniss — a journalist with the conservative Daily Caller — under circumstances that show utter disregard for human life.
First-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon – or that Rittenhouse did cause the death of Huber, with intent to kill him.
First-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon – or that Rittenhouse did recklessly endanger the safety of an unknown male, referred to as “jump kick man” in court, under circumstances that show utter disregard for human life.
Attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a weapon – or that Rittenhouse attempted to cause the death of Grosskreutz, with intent to kill him.
Right-wing groups are trying to cast Rittenhouse as a hero for vigilantism and support for unbridled gun rights since he crossed state lines carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon and was acquitted for killing two people and injuring others.
Black leaders and others are pointing to this case as a “mis-carriage of justice” and indication that the justice system does not treat Black and white defendants the same way. Others are calling for Federal civil rights charges against Rittenhouse.
By Stacy M. Brown: NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Two of the men found guilty of the assassination of Malcolm X had their convictions thrown out on Thursday, the Manhattan district attorney, and lawyers for the two men said, according to the New York Times.
The stunning reversal recasts history and reopens the case of the slaying of Malcolm X, who died in a hail of gunfire at the old Audubon Theater in New York’s Harlem area.
The exoneration of the two men, Muhammad A. Aziz, and Khalil Islam, represents a “remarkable acknowledgment of grave errors made in a case of towering importance: the 1965 murder of one of America’s most influential Black leaders in the fight against racism,” the Times reported.
The newspaper noted that a 22-month investigation conducted jointly by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and lawyers for the two men found that prosecutors and two of the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department — had withheld key evidence that, had it been turned over, would likely have led to the men’s acquittal.
The two men, known at the time of the killing as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, spent decades in prison for the murder, which took place on Feb. 21, 1965, when three men opened fire inside a crowded ballroom at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan as Malcolm X was starting to speak.
Earlier this year, the civil rights leader’s daughters formally requested that authorities reopen the murder investigation because of new evidence.
“Any evidence that provides greater insight into the truth behind that terrible tragedy should be thoroughly investigated,” said Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X’s six daughters. Shabazz and her family cited a deathbed letter of confession from a man who was a policeman at the time of the 1965 killing, alleging New York police and the FBI conspired in the murder. Raymond Wood wrote his responsibility was to ensure Malcolm X’s security team were arrested days before he was shot dead in Manhattan, the daughters stated.
The men convicted were all members of the Nation of Islam and were each sentenced to life in prison. At the time of his death, Malcolm X had separated himself from the Nation of Islam. Assassins gunned him down at the age of 39.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Call her Madam President. Vice President Kamala Harris received presidential powers on Friday to occupy the commander-in-chief role while President Joe Biden underwent a colonoscopy.
Because the procedure requires anesthesia, the transfer of powers was deemed necessary. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki remarked that the president underwent the procedure at Walter Reed Medical Center as part of his yearly health checkup.
She said the transfer of power isn’t unusual nor unprecedented.“As was the case when President George W. Bush had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007, and following the process set out in the Constitution, President Biden will transfer power to the Vice President for the brief period of time when he is under anesthesia,” Psaki insisted. “The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time.”
The press secretary for former President Donald Trump, Stephanie Grisham, claimed that Trump refused anesthesia before a colonoscopy in 2019 because he chaffed at turning over power to Vice President Mike Pence.
The United States has never had a woman president, and Harris’ technically didn’t become president but obtained the powers of the presidency. It was only expected to last for not more than one hour.
President Biden selected Harris to serve as vice president after a lifetime of public service. Harris served as San Francisco’s district attorney, California’s attorney general, and in the U.S. Senate.
A graduate of Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of Law, Harris became the first woman and first person of color to serve as vice president.
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) was the keynote speaker for the Alabama New South Coalition’s virtual Fall Convention this past Saturday.
Chavis, a veteran civil rights fighter and current president of the national association of 200 Black newspapers, praised ANSC, “Alabama is a better state because of the Alabama New South Coalition and your organizing, advocacy and community building work over the past 35 years.”
“ANSC was organized in response to racial issues facing Black people and has continued with perseverance and courage to educate and uplift people in the state to fight injustice and build unity among people” said Chavis.
He said the forces of oppression and opposition: White Supremacy, Racism, Economic Exploitation and World Domination of people of color are still out there. “Every time we take a step forward, they react and try to push us backwards.”
Chavis said, “I hope you will continue to involve young people in the struggle. We have to be intentional about involving, embracing and encouraging young people to participate in our struggle. When I started working in the movement at 13, my parents did not scold me or stop me, they pushed me along.”
He spoke about his dissatisfaction with the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict of not guilty on all charges, in the murder of two and the injuring of several others demonstrators in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “The judge acted like one of the prosecutors in this case. Rittenhouse crossed state lines with an AR-57 rifle and the judge prevented the jury from deciding on this charge. Notions of white supremacy are still a part of our criminal justice system,” he said.
He closed saying, “We as a people need to retain our serious spirituality but not wait on God. God wants us to get involved, speak up and speak out for ourselves and we need to get involved in the struggle to change our lives for the better, as you in ANSC have tried to do.”
The ANSC Fall Convention also included a panel of state legislators speaking on issues of concern to the members in Alabama. State Senator Rodger Smitherman of Birmingham spoke about the lawsuit he has filed together with Senator Bobby Singleton and others on the newly adopted Congressional redistricting plan. They say the lines are drawn to “pack” Black voters in the 7th Congressional District when there are more equitable District lines that can be drawn to enable the election of two Black members of the U. S. House of Representatives and allow for the plan not to divide counties into more than one district. Smitherman said he hoped the court would rule soon before the May 24, 2022 scheduled primary elections.
Representative Barbara Drummond of Mobile reported on steps the State of Alabama had taken to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. She was critical of Governor Ivey’s use of $400 million of state coronavirus funds for prison construction instead of assisting health care for Black and poor people.
State Senator Malika Sanders Fortier spoke on efforts to find a sustainable stream of funding in the state, to support the state’s matching funds needed to expand Medicaid. “We cannot use Federal funds from the virus funding as the state’s match for Medicaid, we must identify new state monies from gam9ing or other sources, which can support Medicaid expansion for the working poor.”
State Representative Merika Coleman of Bessemer, Alabama spoke on the work of the special legislative committee to remove racist language from the Alabama State Constitution. The committee after an educational process, Agreed to change some major provisions to remove racist language. These changes will be the subject of additional Constitutional amendments to be approved by the voters in upcoming elections.
The members of ANSC approved re-election of state officers for a second two-year term, including Debra Foster, President, Everett Wess, First Vice President, Sharon Wheeler, Treasurer, Matilda Hamilton, Recording Secretary and Patricia Lewis, Corresponding Secretary. The Second Vice-President, who must be a youth, is Leslie Jones of Wilcox County replacing Ivan Peoples of Greene County.
The Greene County Board of Education met in its regular session, Monday, November 15, 2021 with four board members present. Mrs. Veronica Richardson was absent due to family emergency. Since November is the appointed time to reorganize, selecting board officers and meeting logistics, the board carried out it duties in this regard. With board counsel, Attorney Hank Sanders conducting the procedures, Mr. Leo Branch offered a motion to retain the same board officers and Ms. Carrie Dancy seconded. Dr. Carol Zippert and Ms. Kashaya Cockrell were retained as Board President and Vice President respectively with a unanimous decision. Seemingly, the board will continue to hold its monthly meetings on the third Monday of each month at 4:30 pm. Among the personnel items was Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones’ recommendation to appoint Ms. Andrea Perry as Principal of Greene County High School. The board gave unanimous approval. Ms. Perry has been serving as interim principal since Nov. 1, 2021. In a work session held earlier the day of the board meeting, the CSFO applicant finalists were invited to provide additional information to the board members, however, at the following board meeting, action on the CSFO position was tabled. No additional information has been made available. In a meeting earlier this year, the school board voted to sell the Birdine School property to the Town of Forkland, which had made a request to purchase. The board’s decision was contingent on the State of Alabama conveying the property to the Greene County Board of Education. With that process completed, the board agreed to sell a portion of the Birdine School property, 10.3 acres to the Town of Forkland by Warranty Deed for the sum of $2,000 per acre or a total sum of $20,600. In his report, Superintendent Jones stated that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) held a two-day review in the Greene County School System which resulted in five recommendations as follows: 1. Provide Professional Development to employees and students on the grievance process. 2. Convert one of the restrooms at the GCBOE to an unisex bathroom to accommodate a handicap accessible stall. 3. Raise the handicap signage to 6′ at the GCBOE. 4. Make a handicap accessible van parking at GCCC. If the recommendations (opportunities) are completed within 30 days, the district report will be free of citations. 5. Hard copy of Parent & Student Information Guide (provided onsite). It had been 28 years since OCR made a site visit to Greene County Schools. In his maintenance update, Superintendent Jones reported that the sewer pump needed replacing at Greene County High. The estimated cost is $11,000 – $15,000. New doors for the Central Office have not arrived yet. Other repairs at the Central Office are completed, except for the final walk through by contractor and state officials. Dr. Jones also gave an update on the Comer Capital Group that is working with the board on refinancing bonds relative to the Greene County High School. He stated that Comer Capital is soliciting underwriters which will be compiled and submitted to the board for final selection. Other personnel items approved by the board included the following: Employment – Wanda Gaitor, from 9 month employee to 10 month employee, secretary at Greene County High School; Anthony Atkins as custodian at Greene County Board. Family Medical Leave – Montoya Binion, from August 10 to Nov. 1, 2021; Gloria McGhee, from Nov. 29 to Jan. 17, 2022. Supplemental Contract – Cyonti Lewis as assistant girls basketball coach at Robert Brown Middle School. Rescind – Supplemental contract for Elroy Skinner as assistant girls basketball coach for 2021-2022. Other administrative items approved by the board included the following: * Payment of all bills, claims and payroll. * Memorandum of understanding between Greene County School board and West Alabama Mental Health Center. * Increase girls basketball coach supplement to $3,200.
At its most recent regular meeting on November 9, 2021, the Eutaw City Council approved the assignment of the Waste Management contract for garbage collection to Arrow Disposal Service as of December 1, 2021.
Mike Mitchell representing Waste Management appeared before the Council and said, “We are unable to pick-up the garbage on a regular schedule in the City of Eutaw, due to labor shortages, and we are requesting assignment of this contract, to give the people better service.”
The city’s current contract with Waste Management runs through 2023. Arrow Disposal Service is picking up trash in Hale County and will be able to fulfill the schedule in the City of Eutaw. Waste Management is allowing the new company to use its garbage bins. Mayor Johnson said the new company would follow the same routes and schedule as the old company for the same cost to the city.
Rick Harbin, a CPA from Tuscaloosa gave an interim report to the City Council on his work to audit Eutaw’s finances. He said the last city audit was in 2012 and the last statement was for 2014. Harbin has reviewed the records and prepared a statement as of September 30, 2017 to have a starting point for his audit work. Using the 2017 starting numbers, he is working on an audit or fiscal years 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and the current year 2020-21.
Harbin said he hoped to be able to give the city an “unqualified opinion” on its finances based on the records he has been reviewing. He mentioned that he had a found a large water loss in the city’s water department, which needs to be analyzed and corrected since this is the propriety function of the city where it is pumping and selling water to the residents.
The City Council approved a contract of $ 6,230 with the Eutaw Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with a reimbursable grant they are receiving from the Tombigbee RC&D for signage and beautification. The Chamber will repay the city from grant proceeds.
The City Council agreed to a proposal from the Alabama Children’s Policy Council to place a Little Free Outdoor Library at the City Park and Tennis Courts on Mesopotamia Avenue.
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:
• Approved a resolution concerning zoning for the Rollingwood Apartments, Morrow Realty Company.
• Approved expenditure of $7,000 for National Water Services for a flow test and maintenance of city water wells. This expense is already included in the budget.
• Approved Next Level Leaders use of the R. H. Young Community Center Gym on November 13 for $50.00.
• Approved use of police officers to use city vehicles for part-time patrol at West-Rock manufacturing facilities.
•Approved Supreme Electrical Service for additional work on city facilities.
• Agreed to pay bills.
In her Mayor’s report, Latasha Johnson, called up Javeon Carpenter, a 7th grader at Robert Brown Middle School, and presented him a certificate and award for helping to stop a fight between students at his school. Police Chief Tommy Johnson recommended him for this award.
The Mayor also gave certificates to three Water Department employees – Marcus Burton, Phillip Cherry and Paul Jones – who are studying to receive certification as water operators.