Eutaw City Council deals with financial matters; IRS lien lifted

Mayor Latasha Johnson presents Proclamation for National Diaper Need Awareness Week (September 27 to October 3, 2021) to Danielle Edison, of the Bottoms Up Diaper Bank, that distributes diapers to families that need them, at Woman-to-Woman in Eutaw. The Mayor is joined by Council members Valerie Watkins and LaJeffrey Carpenter.

At its regular Eutaw City Council meeting on September 14, 2021, the council dealt primarily with financial matters.

Mayor Latasha Johnson announced that the city had received a Certificate of Release of Federal Tax Lien from the Internal Revenue Service stating that tax debts for the years 2015, 2018 and 2019 for employee taxes had been paid and satisfied. “We have been negotiating with IRS and provided documentation of payments made, so we paid much less than was listed on the lien to satisfy these back payments. The lien release has been recorded in the Greene County Probate Office,” said Mayor Johnson.

The Council authorized Mayor Johnson to negotiate a loan of up to $500,000 with Merchants and Farmers Bank for purchase of a new knuckle-boom truck, to pick up limbs and other debris from the city roads and streets; a street sweeper, three police cars and other utility vehicles needed by the city. Mayor Johnson said, “We have cash resources in our Capital Improvements Fund and other funds to purchase this needed equipment, but we felt financing it over 4 to 5 years would give us more flexibility for other projects and allow us to budget our funds more clearly and accurately. We explored various options including leasing and Merchants and Farmers agreed to meet the rates of other financing agencies.”

The Council agreed to various resolutions to close a USDA bank account at Citizens Trust Bank, close an Airport Grant Account and give the funds to the Airport Authority and to create a new account for currency seized by the Police Department.

The Council authorized a sale of surplus items including cars, trucks, a van, tractor and other items through a bidding process. Items are listed on the City’s website along with bidding documents. The bids will be opened at the next regular City Council meeting on September 28, 2021.

A request for rental space at the R. H. Young Civic Center was approved for the Warrior Academy EMS Institute, which will be training people for certification in the medical emergency field.

The Council approved participation in the Rural Water Apprenticeship Program for up to three positions. These people will be trained to become water and waste water treatment licenses operators. The Alabama Rural Water Association will pay half of their wages while in training. The Water Department also submitted a list of needed equipment to the Council and reported that they were continuing to work on water leaks.

The Council approved a Proclamation for National Diaper Need Awareness Week (September 27 to October 3, 2021) and presented it to
Danielle Edison, Director of the Bottoms Up Diaper Bank, that is sponsored by Woman to Woman in Greene County. The program provides diapers and related supplies to families interested in keeping their babies clean and healthy. Persons interested in supporting the program may contact: bottomsupdiapers35@gmail.com, website at http://www.bottomsupdaipers35.org or call 205-539-2696.

In other business, the Eutaw City Council:

• Approved a contract with CCI Construction for $14,799 for a new roof on the Registrars Office building, which is owned and rented by the city.

• Approved payment of bills.

• Approved travel for Joe L. Powell, Assistant Clerk, to a conference on community and economic development in Tuscaloosa.

• Heard a report from City Engineer Torris Babb that FEMA drainage projects, the roof for the R.H. Young Community Center, lagoon clearing, GIS utility mapping and street paving project applications were all moving forward.

• Approved plans to hold National Night Out at 4:00 PM on October 21, 2021 at the R. H. Young Community Center to celebrate police community relations.

• Police Chief Johnson announced that he and the Police Department are holding a firearms training program, focused on training women, on Saturday, November 13, 2021 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, including classroom instruction coupled with experience at the shooting range.

Superintendent addresses parents concerns on returning students to in-class instruction

The Greene County Board of Education met in regular session Monday, September 20, 2021. One of the key issues addressed related to the re-opening of face-to-face classes for students. Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones stated that various official health reports indicate that COVID positive cases are down in Greene County at this time. He also said that the data indicates that achievement rates are lower among students who are in virtual programs. “My main concerns are for the safety of our students and, just as important, my concern for the achievement of our students. We cannot allow our students to continue to fall back,” he explained.
Several parents were in attendance and were allowed an opportunity to express their concerns which related to cleaning routines at school facilities, availability of cleaning supplies, the cooling system at Robert Brown Middle School, alternate instructional programs for students with pre conditions, and the consideration of implementing the Hybrid Instructional Plan where the number of students in a class is reduced. Dr. Jones addressed these assuring all that the maintenance department worked additional hours each day for repeated cleaning of facilities. He stated that the school system will remain in full attendance at this time, but students needing alternative instructional methods will be considered on an individual basis. He added that parents can make such requests through the school principal or directly to him.
As part of the personnel items presented to the board, Superintendent Jones recommended the suspension of Corey Cockrell as teacher and coach for five days without pay. The board held a closed conference with Cockrell and when returning to open session, no action was taken on the superintendent’s recommendation.
Regarding other personnel items recommended, the board approved the following:
Employment: Marqavius King as 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School. Resignation: Nyesha Watson as 1st Grade Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School; Jamar Jackson as Custodian at Robert Brown Middle School.
Supplemental Contracts: Elroy Skinner as Assistant Football Coach at RBMS; Cyonti Lewis as Assistant Football Coach at GCHS,  
The board approved the following administrative items presented by the superintendent.
* Payment of all bills, claims and payroll.
Bank reconciliations as submitted by LaVonda Blair, CSFO.
Confirmation of Interim CSFO Contract.
* Confirmation for Limited Financial Agreement.
* Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board and Stillman College Foundation.
* Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board and the University of Alabama Dual Enrollment.
* Memorandum of Understanding between Greene County Board of Education and UAB for voluntary COVID weekly testing for students, faculty and staff, pending attorney’s review and superintendent’s agreement.
* Contract between Greene County Board and Malysa Chandler for Educational Consulting Services.
* Partnership between Greene County Schools and Alabama Cooperative Extension Services for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program.

Newswire: Jacob Zuma, former South African Presidentloses bid to stay out of jail

Jacob Zuma

 

Sep. 20, 2021 (GIN) – Former South African President Jacob Zuma has lost his latest bid to remain out of jail after refusing to respond to a corruption inquiry.
 “The application for rescission is dismissed,” Justice Sisi Khampepe said as she read the majority decision, which included an order for Zuma to pay court costs.
 It was the latest legal setback for the 79-year-old anti-apartheid veteran from the ruling African National Congress, whose presidency from 2009 to 2018 was marred by widespread allegations of graft and malfeasance.
 He denies wrongdoing.
 Back in June, Justice Khampepe sentenced the former president to 15 months imprisonment in a ruling called one of the most prolific Constitutional Court judgments in the history of South Africa. Many saw the case as a test of South Africa’s post-apartheid ability to enforce rule of law, particularly against the powerful.
 Zuma stayed out of jail until July 7, asking the court to revoke its sentence for contempt, arguing it was excessive and would endanger his health and life. His appeal was denied and he finally turned himself over to police. Zuma’s supporters in the port city of Durban responded with fury, setting off some of the worst riots and looting in decades. More than 300 people were killed and thousands of businesses pillaged and razed. 
 President Cyril Ramaphosa called the violence a “failed insurrection”. Fueling it was frustration among the largely Black communities still living in squalid conditions long after the ANC swept to power in South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.
 Zuma faces a separate corruption trial linked to his sacking as deputy president in 2005, when he was accused of taking bribes from a French arms manufacturer. 
 Mr. Zuma once said the party was more important than the nation itself, contending that it would govern South Africa until Jesus returned. And during his nearly nine-year presidency that was marred by scandal, corruption and mismanagement, ANC officials repeatedly rallied behind him as their leader.
 In the end, though, his party turned against him, asking him to step down a full year and a half before the end of his second term and the country that had inspired the world with Nelson Mandela’s idea of peaceful reconciliation, and the continent with Thabo Mbeki’s vision of an “African renaissance,” would now be known for corrupt leadership and a wide range of thorny problems. w/pix of J. Zuma
 

 

Newswire: Secretary Fudge, HUD convened African American officials to discuss the housing investments in President Biden’s Build Back Better plan

HUD Secretary, Marcia Fudge

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge convened a virtual roundtable discussion with over 90 mayors, state legislators, county commissioners, and local municipal leaders on the housing investments and racial equity opportunities that would be created through President Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

The mayors and state and local elected leaders make up the executive teams and memberships of the National League of Cities- National Black Caucus for Local Elected Officials, National Organization of Black County Officials, African American Mayors Association, and National Black Conference of State Legislators.

Speakers included Georgia State Rep. and President of the National Black Conference of State Legislators Billy Mitchell, African American Mayors Association President and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Commissioner and National Organization of Black County Officials President Rodney Ellis, and Akron City Councilman and National League of Cities- National Black Caucus for Elected Officials President Russell C. Neal, Jr.

Secretary Fudge underscored the Biden-Harris Administration’s Build Back Better plan and its investments in housing construction and rehabilitation, economic development, and community revitalization.

She noted that even before the pandemic, nearly 11 million households spent more than half their incomes on rent – and that people of color represent a disproportionate number of these households.

Secretary Fudge reiterated President Biden’s commitment to addressing the affordable housing crisis through the Build Back Better plan, which calls for historic investments in our nation’s housing.

Further, the group discussed how the federal government will continue to work with local officials to protect renters through quickly delivering assistance to stop evictions during the pandemic.

The local officials raised their priorities to ensure communities of color receive investments to build more affordable housing and break down barriers that drive up costs.

Newswire: Warnock, McEachin introduce legislation establishing voucher program to help close Digital Divide

Young people using a computer laptop

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


In the increasingly digital world, internet services and the devices to access them have quickly become essential to participate in the 21st-century economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated this need and underscored the stark disparities that currently exist in our country.

Against that backdrop, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Congressman Donald McEachin (D-Va.) have introduced the Device Access for Every American Act to ensure more Americans can afford connected devices.

The bicameral legislation would authorize the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a program to administer up to $400 vouchers for low-income Americans to purchase laptops, tablets, and desktop computers.

“It is nearly impossible to get by without access to a laptop or tablet—especially after a year of adjusting to virtual learning, working, and more,” Sen. Warnock stated.

“For that, I am incredibly proud to introduce the Device Access for Every American Act, which ensures that every American – regardless of income or zip code – can participate and thrive in our increasingly digital economy.”
Sen. Warnock continued: “This legislation also ensures students stay on track, especially following a year of learning loss, with the necessary devices at their disposal.”

Sen. Warnock and Congressman McEachin said more than 11 percent of American households are without computers. They noted that millions of Americans migrated to virtual learning and teleworking since the outbreak of the pandemic. Still, many households struggled to connect because of a lack of or an insufficient number of connected devices.

Further, while computer access is nearly ubiquitous for high-income households, 40 percent of those making under $30,000 a year lack a desktop or laptop computer. Statistics show that 1 in 3 African American and Hispanic households lack access to a computer in their homes – twice the number of white families.

Most concerning, the lawmakers said 4.4 million households with students lack consistent access to a computer at home, with more than 9 million schoolchildren struggling to participate in class and complete schoolwork.

“Laptops, tablets, and other connected devices are indispensable in our increasingly digital world. Many students’ homework assignments now require laptops, more employers are exploring telework models, and more doctors’ offices are migrating toward telehealth services as the new standard of care,” Congressman McEachin explained.

The Device Access for Every American Act would:
• Allocate $2 billion in federal funding for the establishment and implementation of the voucher program
• Authorize the FCC to administer up to $400 vouchers for eligible individuals and families to purchase a connected device
• Permit up to two low-income individuals per household to receive a voucher so that families can receive multiple devices
• Direct the FCC to collaborate with connected device retailers, promote the program to eligible Americans, and provide individualized technical assistance to assist in enrollment

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated this need and underscored the stark disparities that currently exist in our country. Unfortunately, for too many low-income Americans, prohibitive costs pose unnecessary challenges and hardships for them and their families,” McEachin concluded.

Newswire: Video of US Border Patrol mistreating Haitian migrants continues to draw outrage

Border Patrol agent confronts Haitian migrants

By: Biba Adams, The Grio

The world was shocked to see recent images of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback with whips wrangling Haitian migrants. The imagery, all too reminiscent of American slavery, has infuriated many both stateside and in other nations. 
A recently released video shows a border officer yelling, “This is why your country’s s**t” at Haitians attempting to migrate to U.S. soil. 

The video, shared on Al Jazeera Monday, showed Haitians trying to get back into a migrant camp in Texas after sneaking into Mexico to buy food because there wasn’t enough for them in the camp. The unidentified border patrol agent accused the Haitians, saying, “You use your women? This is why your country’s s**t because you use your women for this.” 
The disturbing video shows horses coming close to trampling children and the agents harassing the migrants, who are soon to be returned to Haiti on flights out of Del Rio in the Lone Star State. 
Thousands of Haitians have been sheltering under the Del Rio International Bridge, which crosses the Rio Grande from Mexico to the U.S. President Joe Biden‘s administration is ramping up the deportation of Haitians to their home country. Associated Press is reporting up to eight flights a day will depart to send migrants back to the Caribbean nation.

Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley recently said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch, “That ICE [the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] would continue to carry out the mass deportations of our Haitian neighbors — with Haiti in the midst of its worst political, public health and economic crises yet — is cruel and callous.”

When asked by the Grio‘s White House Correspondent April Ryan about public criticisms that the administration appears to have different policy responses to Haitian migrants versus Afghans or Mexicans, Psaki said, “our immigration policy is not about one country or discriminating against one country over another. We want to put an end to that and what we saw over the last four years.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN’s Brianna Keilar he “was horrified by what I saw. I’m going to let the investigation run its course,” he said Tuesday morning on New Day. “But the pictures that I observed troubled me profoundly. That defies all of the values that we seek to instill in our people.”

Still, he wouldn’t characterize the situation as a “crisis”. “I, by no means, diminish the humane issue that it presents,” he said, “but I want to be clear that we do have a plan to address it, respecting the needs of the individuals. And we are executing on that plan.”
As the Biden administration attempts to differentiate between thousands of Afghans being settled here after the victory of the Taliban in that country and thousands of Haitians attempting to flee natural disasters and political turmoil in theirs, Psaki has repeatedly noted they are focused on deporting migrants, adding “Our message continues to be now is not the time to come to the U.S.”

Five bingo facilities distribute $614,266.48 for August; Greenetrack distributes additional $71,000

On Friday, September 10, Greene County Sheriff Department issued a listing of the distributions for August, 2021, totaling $614,266.48 from five licensed bingo gaming facilities. The August distribution reported by the sheriff does not include the additional $71,000 from Greenetrack, Inc. distributed to the same recipients, independent of the sheriff.
The bingo facilities distributing through the sheriff include Frontier, River’s Edge, Palace, Bama Bingo and Marvel City. The recipients of the August distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, and Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Sub charities include Children’s Policy Council, Guadalupan Multicultural Services, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources, the Greene County Library and newly added Eutaw Housing Authority.
Bama Bingo gave a total of $114,990 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities, each received $1,132.50.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $114,990 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,132.50.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,133.33.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $157,301.50 to the following: Greene County Commission, $41,358; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $45,765; City of Eutaw, $12,543; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $5,254.50; Greene County Board of Education, $14,238 and the Greene County Health System, $16,950; Sub Charities each, 1,536.80.
Marvel City gave a total of $114,990 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities, each received $1,132.50.

 

 

 

Dallas County Courthouse Annex named and dedicated to Attorneys J. L. Chestnut and Bruce Carver Boynton

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021 there was a ceremony held in Selma, Alabama, to dedicate and name the Dallas County Courthouse Annex for two civil rights attorneys who were born and worked much of their lives in Selma and the Alabama Black Belt.

The dedication was attended by more than 200 people from the area and others whose lives were touched by the two men. This program culminated a ten-year effort by Black community groups and leaders to name the judicial building for the two pioneering attorneys, who paved the way for many other Black lawyers, judges and clients to be successful in their life endeavors.

The Dallas County Commission, elected in November 2020, which had a Black majority for the first time in modern history, agreed to the naming of the Courthouse Annex for the two attorneys, at their first meeting. It took an additional nine months to complete the task and hold the unveiling ceremony. 

The five Commission members, including Chairperson, Jimmy Nunn, the Probate Judge, and Commissioners Connel Towns, Vivian Rogers, Curtis Williams and Jan Justice (the only white member) were all present and along with family members from the Chestnut and Boynton families, pulled a plastic covering off the naming lettering on the Courthouse wall, to unveil the shining new name of the facility.

Attorney J. L. Chestnut returned to Selma in 1958, from Howard University Law School, to practice law for half a century in his home town.
During the 1960’s Chestnut represented many civil rights and voting rights leaders who were involved with and arrested as part of the Civil Rights Movement.

4th. District Circuit Judge Collins Pettaway Jr. noted in his remarks that 

“Attorney Chestnut sued to have Blacks seated on juries, in this very building, where we now hold jury trials, which is now named for him.” At one point in the program there were fifteen Black judges in robes, from around Alabama, who stood up to honor the two attorneys for whom the building is now named. Chestnut headed the largest Black law-firm in the state of Alabama, Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders and Pettaway in the 1990’s and paved the way for many Black lawyers to practice in the state.

J. L. Chestnut was the lead attorney in the Pigford I and II class action cases by Black farmers against the U. S. Department of Agriculture for discrimination in agricultural lending. He won this largest discrimination settlement against the Federal government of over $2.5 Billion, for thousands of Black farmers. His work on the Pigford cases inspired Native Americans, Hispanics and Women farmers to sue and reach settlements with the Federal government.

Bruce Carver Boynton also attended Howard Law School. On his way home at Christmas 1958, he went to the white-only lunch counter, because it was cleaner, in the segregated Richmond, Virginia bus station to get a snack. He was arrested and convicted for trespassing. Attorney Thurgood Marshall appealed his case to the U. S.  Supreme Court and won a judgement in 1960 which opened the way to desegregate bus stations and other facilities linked to interstate travel. It took the Freedom Rides of the 1960’s to enforce the decision that Boynton had won from the Supreme Court.

After Boynton graduated from Howard Law School, he returned to Alabama, but the State Bar denied him a license for six years, while they supposedly investigated his case. He practiced in Chattanooga, Tennessee,

Washington, D. C. and Selma, Alabama.

Many speakers and dignitaries who had worked with both attorneys spoke on the program, including Selma Mayor James Perkins, retired Judge John H. England, who was master of ceremonies for the program, former Governor Don Siegleman, Melinda Williams, Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Terri Sewell and many others. Attorney Fay Rose Toure, a partner of Attorney J. L. Chestnut, led a litany to honor both, which involved the audience in praising their character and accomplishments.

The Freedom Riders Museum in Montgomery and the Alabama Historical Commission presented framed resolutions to the Boynton family for his working in integrating public accommodations. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund presented a framed resolution to the Chestnut family for his work on behalf of Black farmers.

Senator Malika Sanders-Fortier of Selma was the final speaker. She thanked everyone for coming to honor the two attorneys and then said, “Today we celebrate making the impossible possible! It was a miracle from God that enabled these lawyers to do what they did and make the changes they made. Little Black girls and boys today still need miracles. Their work and our work is not yet done. Despite every obstacle put in our path, we must keep working to make the impossible possible.”

County Commission grapples with contracts to assure payment for supplementary staff for Sheriff’s Department

In a meeting which featured approval of routine business matters, the Monday, September 13, 2021 regular County Commission meeting, spent considerable time discussing two agreements for payment of Sheriff’s Department staff.

These agreements for payment of School Resources Officers and supplemental staff for the Sheriff’s Department are for the coming fiscal year, beginning October 1, 2021, were negotiated by a committee including Commission Chair Rashonda Summerville, CFO, Macelroy Underwood and Atty. Mark Parnell, County Legal Counsel.

The agreement for School Resource Officers was negotiated with the Greene County Board of Education and requires direct payment to the County Commission for officers in the schools. The Board must deposit two months of salaries in advance with the Commission to pay these employees, who provide safety in the schools.

The agreement for supplementary staff for the Sheriff’s Department, which requires a three month’s advance payment to restore these employees to the Commission’s payroll, benefits plan and liability insurance coverage, generated significant discussion. The Sheriff employed a number of staff beyond his approved budget to handle law enforcement, jail and electronic bingo supervision.

The Sheriff was supposed to reimburse the County Commission for these additional expenditures during the current 2020-2021 fiscal year, out of funds he received from monthly bingo machine fees. The Sheriff did not pay all of these past staff expenses, dating back several fiscal years. In response the Commission ceased paying these additional staff and the Sheriff continued to pay them as contracted employees.

Mac Underwood said, “We wanted to bring all these staff back under the Commission’s payroll and insurance benefits for fairness and safety reasons. This is why we negotiated this payment arrangement. If the Sheriff does not put up the three months advance funds, then we will once again have to cut off these employees.”

District 1 Commissioner Lester Brown asked about the past monies the Sheriff owes the Commission for salaries paid to his staff but not reimbursed. “Did you give him a waiver on the past due monies? When will we receive these monies?” asked Brown.

Underwood said, “This agreement is for going forward starting October 1, with the new fiscal year. We will have a separate negotiation with the Sheriff on the past due funds owed. The Sheriff has paid some of these funds, there was a period in the Spring of 2020 when bingo was closed down, and we will have to calculate and agree on exactly what is owed back to the Commission and make a plan, with the agreement of the Sheriff for repayment.”

Commission Brown said, “I do not trust the Sheriff to pay this money back. I hope we get the three months advance payment before we put his staff back on the payroll.” Commissioner Brown and Tennyson Smith voted against approval of the budget supplement agreement. Commissioners Cockrell, Turner and Summerville voted in favor and the proposal was adopted.

The Commission approved a request for $26,652.50 for E-911 to purchase radio equipment for their new building from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation.

The Commission agreed to spend $23,000, with a matching contribution of $20,000 from ALDOT, for the HRRR project for guide rails on two bridges on County Roads 133 and 199. These funds will come from the Capital Improvement Fund, supported by bingo revenues. The Engineer was authorized to grade a quarter mile off County Road 11 for the State of Alabama. The Engineer was also authorized to provide technical assistance to the Board of Education and to advertise for two temporary positions.

In other business, the Greene County Commission:

• Approved advertising for a Real Property Clerk (Revenue), Appraisal Trainee (Apprisal), and a License Clerk (Probate Office).

• Ratified a contract with BCBS for 2021-2022 for health insurance for employees.

• Approved a proposal from the Alabama Department of Youth Services for Long Term Detention, at no cost to the county.

•Approved a contract with Digital Information Systems for $25,628 for IT services.

• Approved the schedule of county employees beginning October 4, 2021 and allowed employees to carry over unused vacation time from December 2021 to April 2022.

• Appointed Walter Beck to the Water Authority Board.

Macelroy Underwood, CFO reported that the county had paid $456,157 in claims for August and September, including an additional $76,012 in electronic claims paid. He reported $5,045,515 in deposit accounts in Citizens Trust Bank, $4,177,157 in Merchants and Farmers Bank, for a total of $9,222,673 in banks as of July 21,2021. He also reported $1,092,638 in bond sinking funds and $450,175 in the Bank of New York for payment of bonds.

Newswire : Howard University closed after ransomware attack

Howard University

By Breoona Randall, Howard University News Service

WASHINGTON – Howard University, one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious historically black universities and the alma mater of Vice President Kamala Harris, was shut down Tuesday due to a ransomware attack.
The FBI and District of Columbia city government have been working with the university about the attack, the university said. The university did not mention who conducted the attack or what they are asking for to release the university’s networks.
University officials said Howard’s Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) became aware Friday of a potential cyberattack. In response, ETS shutdown all the university’s networks to further investigate.
On Monday, the university said, the computer and technology interruption was a ransomware attack. Consequently, all in-person and online classes were cancelled Tuesday, Howard’s Office of University Communications said.
“ETS and its partners have been working diligently to fully address this incident and restore operations as quickly as possible,” the Office of University Communications said in an email Monday.
The university will reopen Wednesday, but only in-person. Howard University’s wi-fi, however, will still be unavailable.
Ingrid Sturgis, chair of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film in Howard’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications, said the ransomware attack “has been very disruptive.”
“Over the weekend, I had some faculty members emailing me about what they should do, because their students could not turn in their work, because they did not have access to blackboard and other tools they usually use for class,” Sturgis said.
She said she’s been through several malfunctions at the university, but this one is different.
“It’s kind of scary to me knowing how many student and faculty records there are, and these kinds of attacks are happening more and more frequently,” she said. “In a way, we are fortunate the university has beefed up its ability to detect these kinds of things.
Jennifer C. Thomas, an associate professor and journalism sequence coordinator in the Department. of Media, Journalism and Film, said working through the shutdown is example for one of the lessons she teachers her students on overcoming the problems face as they pursue a story.
“The thing I have said in the past when we have had issues on campus with the system being down is we are in the journalism sequence,” Thomas said. “As journalists, we know that a deadline doesn’t care if the internet is down. We have to be resourceful, so we can complete the current task at hand under that certain deadline.”