Greenetrack, Inc. Charities distribute $71,000 for October, and $1,000 scholarship award

The non-profit charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack in Eutaw, AL, E-911 Communication Services, the Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and Woman to Woman, Inc., provided charitable contributions, for the month of October, to a variety of local organizations, all benefitting Greene County residents.
A total of $71,100 dollars was divided and given to the following charities:
Greene County Board of Education ($13,500); Greene County Hospital ($7,500); Greene County Commission ($24,000); City of Eutaw ($4,500); City of Union ($3,000); City of Boligee ($3,000); City of Forkland ($3,000); and Greene County Ambulance Service ($8,000).
Woman To Woman, Inc. distributed the Greenetrack $1,000 scholarship to Tyleshia Porter, a 2020 graduate of Greene County High School.
The following non-profit groups received $300: Greene County Nursing Home, SCORE, Greene County Golf Course, James C. Poole Memorial Library, Greene County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, PARA, Greene County Housing Authority Youth Involvement, Children’s Policy Council, Reach, Greene County DHR, Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and the Society of Folk Arts and Culture.

Newswire: Democracy takes a beating in elections across the African continent

Democracy takes a beating in elections across the African continent


Nov. 1, 2020 (GIN) – Foul play may have been the winner in recent national elections in Tanzania, where the ruling party swept up an overwhelming majority of parliamentary seats and the leaders of both top opposition parties lost theirs.
 
Citing “seditious language”, the election commission suspended the campaign of opposition challenger Tundu Lissu. Heavily armed police blocked his entire convoy for hours as he headed to launch new offices earlier this month. In similar fashion, opposition candidate Seif Sharif Hamad was arrested on Oct. 29, soon after holding a press conference in Zanzibar.
 
Zitto Kabwe, a leader of Hamad’s ACT-Wazalendo party, complained on Twitter: “Police have arrested the whole ACT leadership and one of the leaders was beaten to near death. We are not sure if he is still alive and he is in custody.”
 
With almost all votes counted, President John Magufuli of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party is claiming victory with 12.5 million out of 15 million votes cast while candidate Lissu of the Chadema party chalked up only 1.9 million.
 
“We’re calling for fresh elections and the disbandment of the electoral commissions that participated in the fraudulent elections”, Lissu told the Financial Times. Tanzania Elections Watch, a regional whistleblower, called the election “the most significant backsliding in Tanzania’s democratic credentials.”
 
Tanzanian lawyer and Magufuli critic Fatma Karume tweeted that Thursday was the president’s birthday. “He is going to get the present he has always wanted: No opposition in #Tanzania,” she said.
 
In another heavily contested election, Guinea’s electoral commission declared incumbent President Alpha Conde the winner of last week’s presidential election with 59 percent of the vote. Restrictions on internet and phone usage had sparked violence that led to the deaths of nearly two dozen people.
 
In Guinea’s neighbor to the south, President Alassane Ouattara has claimed victory despite weeks of street clashes over the president’s bid for a third term. Ouattara won all 20 of the districts announced by the electoral commission with results from the other 88 districts expected shortly.
 
Christopher Fomunyoh, a Cameroonian scholar with the Washington-based National Democratic Institute, opined grimly: “Democratic trends have reversed and there are now fewer democracies in Africa than 20 years ago… Many countries in Africa are falling short in their efforts to consolidate constitutional rule as to presidential term limits, laws on elections, civic space and political party activity.”
 

Newswire : Police kill yet another Black man as people cast final votes Nov. 3

By Hazel Trice Edney

The 6100 block of Locust Street in west Philadelphia’s neighborhood where Walter Wallace was shot and killed by police Monday (photo by Kimberly Paynter, WHYY)


TriceEdneyWire.com) – As President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden campaign in key states in final days of the 2020 presidential race, yet another Black man was shot and killed by police Monday afternoon, Oct. 26.
The Philadelphia police shooting of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., a reportedly mentally ill man holding a knife as his mother tried to calm him down when the police arrived on the scene, is the latest of a string of police killings of Black people that had already risen as a major campaign issue. The family had reportedly called emergency for an ambulance for Wallace – not police.
In a video taken by a by-stander, Wallace appears to be agitatedly walking around and then toward two police officers who were screaming, “Put the knife down!” Wallace walked toward the police; then collapsed in a hail of bullets.
A woman can be heard wailing with shock and grief. A man can be heard saying, “They just killed him in front of me…Y’all ain’t have to give him that many shots.”
Protests broke out immediately as citizens ran toward the dying man and the police in shock and anger.
Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., in a CNN interview, pleaded for the violence to stop, saying “It will leave a bad scar on my son with all this looting and chaos…This is where we live, and it’s the only community resource we have, and if we take all the resource and burn it down, we don’t have anything.”
Local TV stations showed both looters and protesters in the streets daily. The Pennsylvania National Guard was called in by Gov. Tom Wolf as police continued to clash with protestors. Mayor Jim Kenney has promised a full investigation. “I have watched the video of this tragic incident,” Kenney said in a statement. “And it presents difficult questions that must be answered.”
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said there would be a release of more information in a few days. Outlaw said the officers who killed Wallace were not carrying stun guns. They have not explained why the police did not try to restrain the mentally ill man in another way.
Repeated police killings of Black people have already been a strong issue in the presidential campaign. The most recent controversial killings have been of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., Brianna Taylor in Louisville, Ken., and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.
“Our hearts are broken for the family of Walter Wallace Jr., and for all those suffering the emotional weight of learning about another Black life in America lost,” said a statement issued by Biden and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. “We cannot accept that in this country a mental health crisis ends in death. It makes the shock and grief and violence of yesterday’s shooting that much more painful, especially for a community that has already endured so much trauma. Walter Wallace’s life, like too many others’, was a Black life that mattered — to his mother, to his family, to his community, to all of us.”
Biden and Harris also walked the fine line of scolding violent and unlawful protestors.
“At the same time, no amount of anger at the very real injustices in our society excuses violence. Attacking police officers and vandalizing small businesses, which are already struggling during a pandemic, does not bend the moral arc of the universe closer to justice. It hurts our fellow citizens,” they said. “Looting is not a protest; it is a crime. It draws attention away from the real tragedy of a life cut short. As a nation, we are strong enough to both meet the challenges of real police reform, including implementing a national use of force standard, and to maintain peace and security in our communities. That must be our American mission. That is how we will deliver real justice. All Donald Trump does is fan the flames of division in our society. He is incapable of doing the real work to bring people together.”
A Trump Administration statement issued by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany leaned to the comfort of the police and blamed Democrats for the chaotic reactions.
“The riots in Philadelphia are the most recent consequence of the Liberal Democrats’ war against the police,” the White House statement said. “Law enforcement is an incredibly dangerous occupation, and thousands of officers have given their lives in the line of duty.  All lethal force incidents must be fully investigated.  The facts must be followed wherever they lead to ensure fair and just results.  In America, we resolve conflicts through the courts and the justice system.  We can never allow mob rule.  The Trump Administration stands proudly with law enforcement, and stands ready, upon request, to deploy any and all Federal resources to end these riots.”
Meanwhile, church organizations, civil rights groups and activists around the country have for months galvanized get out to vote efforts with a large focus on police reform because of the out of control police shootings, the Coronavirus pandemic, health care, economic justice and other issues of racial inequality.
The release also said that Bishop Barber is “among more than 1,000 clergy members, religious scholars and other faith-based advocates who signed a unique statement supporting a comprehensive path to a ‘fair and free election’ and urging leaders to accept the ‘legitimate election results’ regardless of the winner in November.”

Newswire: Kamala Harris: ‘Our very democracy was on the ballot’

By Sandy Fitzgerald, Associated Press

Vice-President elect, Kamala Harris


Kamala Harris, while introducing Joe Biden to make his victory speech as president elect of the United States, lauded American voters for delivering a “clear message” by choosing “hope and unity, decency, science, and yes, truth”  by choosing the former vice president as their choice for president of the United States 
“I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months,” the California Democrat told a wildly cheering crowd in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden’s home. “The grief, sorrow, and pain, the worries and the struggles, but we have also witnessed your courage, your resilience and the generosity of your spirit. For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives and for our planet and then you voted.”
Harris further told the audience that “our very democracy was on the ballot” in the election and the “very soul of America” was at stake, and the voters “ushered in a new day for America.”
Harris lauded Biden as a “man with a big heart who loves with abandon” including with his love for his wife, Jill, and for his family, Hunter and Ashley and his grandchildren.  “I first knew Joe as vice president,” she said. “I really got to know him as the father who loved Beau (Biden)”
She also lauded her husband and family, before moving on to speak about her own role in history as the first female vice president, not to mention the first Black and Asian-American to be elected. 
“This is for the women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all. Including the Black women who are often, too often overlooked, all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century, 100 years ago with the 19th amendment. Fifty-five years ago with the Voting Rights Act and now in 2020,” said Harris. 
“Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been, and I stand on their shoulders,” said Harris, praising Biden for his vision in breaking “one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country and seek a woman as his vice president.”
She also promised that she will not be the last woman in the office, as “every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities and to the children of our country, regardless of your gender. Our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before. But know that we will applaud you every step of the way.”
Harris further promised that she will be an “loyal, honest, and prepared” vice president, like Biden was to President Barack Obama. “The road ahead will not be easy, but America is ready. And so are Joe and I,” said Harris.
Harris, at 56, is set to be sworn in not only as the first female vice president but the first Black and Indian-American vice president. But the second spot at the White House is a pinnacle for Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney and the first Black woman to serve as California’s attorney general, notes a New York Times profile of Harris. 
And when Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016, she was the second-ever Black woman in the chamber’s history. Her argumentative style quickly gained notice in the Senate, particularly after she fiercely grilled witnesses during committee testimony, including during the confirmation hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
After their exchanges, President Donald Trump labeled the California Democrat as being “extraordinarily nasty” to Kavanaugh and called the way she treated him a “horrible thing.”
Harris is the daughter of a Jamaican father, Donald Harris, an economist and Stanford University professor and an Indian mother, scientist Shyamala Gopalan, who died in 2009 of colon cancer. 
Harris’ parents divorced when she was seven years old. She also has a sister, Maya, and is married to a Jewish husband, Douglas Emhoff, who will become the first second gentleman. Her stepchildren have nicknamed her “Momala.” 
Harris attended an historically black college, Howard University, before becoming a prosecutor working on domestic violence and child exploitation cases. 
Her legal background as California’s attorney general has caused her political issues, including when she was running for president early in the 2020 race. However, Harris gained attention when, during an early debate, she attacked Biden’s Senate record on race. 
But since then, Harris has stressed that she does support Biden and his positions, and has come under several other attacks from Trump, who has ridiculed the pronunciation of her name. After she debated Vice President Mike Pence, Trump slammed her as a “monster.”
Harris joined Biden’s ticket after the former vice-president promised to pick a female running mate. Even that came under criticism from Trump, who expressed surprise that Biden would pick a running mate who had attacked him during their presidential debate. 

Newswire : Black and other voters of color restored democracy in America in 2020 Presidential Election

Biden and Harris

By Sunita Sohrabji and Pilar Marrero
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from Ethnic Media Services
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – In a country that is polarized and hurt by Covid-19 and a divisive leadership, a massive turnout of voters resulted in a close election where Democrat Joe Biden was pushed across the finish line by large majorities of voters of color.
On Saturday, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were the projected winners of the 2020 elections, relegating Donald Trump to a one term, even as he refused to concede, and his lawyers tried legal maneuvers to argue electoral fraud.
The Democratic presidential ticket reached that goal mainly because communities of color rejected the Trump Administration by large margins, explained experts who discussed the numbers, the history, and the motivations of electoral choices by communities of color in the United States in a briefing with ethnic media.
Election eve surveys and exit polling confirmed that the majority of white voters voted for President Donald Trump, but that Asian Americans, Latinx, and Black voters turned out in record numbers to oust the incumbent, and to propel the first woman of color into the White House.
According to the American Election Eve Poll by Latino Decisions, 56% of whites voted for Trump. A CNN exit poll found a similar number, 57% of whites voting for the President.
But voters of color were a different story. According to the LD poll, 70% of Latinos, 89% of Blacks, 68% of Asians and 60% of American Indians voted for Biden.
“I want to thank people of color and communities of color for saving our democracy,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice at the Nov. 6 briefing organized by Ethnic Media Services. “Speaking as a white man, I come from a community that voted in the majority for Donald Trump. And if it were not for the African American, Latinx, and Asian American Pacific Islander Community, we would not be celebrating the victory that we’re celebrating today,” said Sharry.
It was a very close election, a cliffhanger that lasted from Tuesday November 3rd until Saturday morning, November 7th, when the official numbers made it clear that Biden-Harris had clinched the 270 electoral college votes needed.
That polarization and the states in which the Biden advantage played out made it clear that lopsided democratic votes by people of color had an outsize role in the results.
Stephen Nuño-Perez, a senior analyst at Latino Decisions, whose firm conducted an election eve poll of ethnic voters in key battleground states, said that “it’s extremely difficult to win an election when you have mobilized minorities and Latinos in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Albuquerque”. Latinx voters were critical in flipping Arizona blue, said Nuno Perez of Latino Decisions, pointing to counties such as Maricopa, Pima, and Yuma, which all have significant Latino populations.
Latinx voters also made their presence known in Florida, handing Biden victories in Miami-Dade, Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Broward County. In Miami, Cuban Americans threw their support behind Trump. Nuño warned about taking some outliers, like the Cuban vote in Miami-Dade and a couple of counties near the border in Texas where Trump did much better with Latinos, to project that into the larger narrative.
“Yes, Latinos are not a monolith, and yes, they are a monolith, they do respond to certain types of messaging and at the national level, seventy percent of Latinos voted for Biden. That’s a clear pattern”, he said.
Theodore Johnson, a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, said that a summer of protests for racial justice along with the disproportionate numbers from COVID-19 and record levels of unemployment in black communities, galvanized Black voter turnout in record numbers to remove Donald Trump from office.
“That explains why we’re seeing Atlanta change Georgia, Philadelphia change Pennsylvania, Milwaukee change Wisconsin, and Detroit change Michigan,” he said. “That’s the enthusiasm and power of the Black vote.”
Overall Black voters were pragmatic, Johnson noted, pointing to South Carolina where they opted for Joe Biden over Kamala Harris or Corey Booker. “They picked the candidate they thought had the best chance of winning over white voters.” Johnson attributed the small increase in Black males voting for Trump to those Black Republicans who had opted to vote for the first Black president in 2008 and 2012 and who were now returning to the Republican Party.
Asian Americans turned out in significant numbers for the 2020 election, said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice/ AAJC. Some 300,000 were first-time voters. Exit polls plus pre-election polls showed there was much more enthusiasm to vote, Yang noted. Between 65%-70% of AAPI voters supported Biden, with 30 percent voting for Trump, consistent with voting patterns in 2012 and 2016.
While one-third of Asian Americans live in the 10 battleground states, and it would be easy to attribute the margin of victory in Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania to the AAPI vote. But Yang said it was the common values that brought Black, Latinx, Native and Asian Americans together that provided the margin of victory for Biden in those states.
Yang recalled June 16, 2015, when Trump rode down an escalator at Trump Towers to announce his bid for the White House. “That was a defining moment for me and changed my career path. When he talked about illegal aliens being rapists and gangsters and criminals, he was talking about me because I was at one point an undocumented immigrant.”
Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today, discussed the impact of the Native American vote, indicating that a large number of Native Americans ran for elected office and that next year’s Congress will have a caucus with three Republicans and three Democrats. “This will give a bipartisan spin on Native issues,” he said.
Native Americans were also elected to state Legislatures including Arizona and Kansas.
Sharry, of America´s voice, said that the massive vote by minorities was also a rejection of Trump´s flagstone issue: xenophobia and racism.
“An American public was forced by Donald Trump and his extremism to choose, and they chose to come down on the side of refugees and immigrants. This is a statement of what a multiracial majority in America said through this election. They said ‘we want to be a welcoming country. We don’t like Trump’s separation of families.’”
 

Local Referendum No. 1 for Greene County Hospital passes 3,004 to 975; Joe Biden and Doug Jones win in Greene County; Jones looses to Tuberville statewide

4,797 people voted in Greene County in yesterday’s General Election, this was a turnout of 65.2% based on 7,350 people listed as registered voters in the county. The referendum was approved in every precinct in the county with the exception of Jena on the northern end of the county.
The voters passed Local Referendum No. 1 by an overwhelming vote of 3,004 (75.5%) to 975 (24.5%) in favor of a four (4) mil increase in the property tax for the Greene County Hospital and Health System. Dr. Marcia Pugh, GCHS CEO said, “We are grateful to the voters of Greene County for deciding to increase taxes to support the continued operation and improvement of our hospital.”
Ms. Lucy Spann, a member of the GCHS Board said, “We want to keep our hospital, nursing home, physician’s clinic and 24/7 emergency room operating. We don’t want to be like Pickens County and other rural counties that have had to close their hospitals. This tax increase will help us to upgrade our facilities, equipment and staff to keep operating.”
This property tax will go into effect with the October 1, 2021 billing from the Greene County Revenue Commissioner’s Office. Four mils are equal to $4.00 additional ad valorem tax, per $1,000 of appraised value, of your property. At current property tax valuations for Greene County, a mil is worth $160,000, which means the Greene County Hospital will receive more than $600,000 a year toward its operating budget.
Greene County supported Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice-President over Trump and Pence by a vote of 3,880 (81.3%) to
875 (18.3%), with 8 votes for Jo Jorgensen. Trump was successful statewide in Alabama by a vote of 1,430,589 (62.47%) to 834,533 (36.44%) for Biden, and 24,902 (1.09%) for independent candidate Jo Jorgensen. Trump and Pence will receive Alabama’s 9 electoral votes.
At press time, several critical states, including Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada were still counting their votes and the winner of the electoral college vote had not been determined.
In the vote for U. S. Senator, Greene County voted 3,958 (82.89%) for incumbent Doug Jones and 816 (17.09%) for former Auburn football coach, Tommy Tuberville. However, statewide, Tuberville won with 1,381,938 (60.44%) to 904,683 (39.56%) votes for Jones. Tuberville will take over the Alabama U. S. Senate seat the first week of January 2021.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell was re-elected to the U. S. House of Representatives for a fifth two-year term.
Statewide other Republican candidates were elected to President of the Alabama Public Service Commission, Supreme Court and Appellate judgeships and other positions.
Local candidates in Greene County who were successful in the March 3, 2020 Democratic primary, held before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, had their elections confirmed in yesterday’s vote. This included: Lillie Osborne for District Judge, Arnelia “Shay” Johnson for Revenue Commissioner, Veronica Richardson for District 3, Leo Branch for District 4 and Carrie Dancy for District 5 School Board. Lester Brown was elected Constable in District 1, John Steele Jr. in District 2, Spiver W. Gordon in District 3, James Carter in District 4 And Jesse Lawson in District 5.
All six statewide amendments were passed statewide with votes between 50.1 and 77% of the vote. In Greene County, State Amendments No. 1,2,3,5 and 6 were disapproved by the voters; only Amendment no. 4 was approved by a large margin.

New Eutaw Mayor, Latasha Johnson, and City Council members sworn in at ceremony on Courthouse Square; Council organizational meeting held later in day

On a bright and sunny Monday, November 2, 2020, the new Mayor of Eutaw, Latasha Johnson, and five City Council members were sworn-in to their new positions for a four-year term.
The Investiture Ceremony took place, starting at Noon, with masks and social distancing out doors on the Old Courthouse lawn. 300 family members, friends, guests and citizens formed the crowd to welcome in these new city office holders.
Former City Councilman Joe Lee Powell served as Master of Ceremonies. Councilman LaJeffrey Carpenter gave a welcome. Several Greene County pastors, including Rev. Calvin Finch, Rev. Anthony Johnson, Rev. Edward Culbert and Rev. Randy Miller read scriptural passages from the Old and New Testament. Several solos were sung by Donald Young, Rev. Joe Nathan Webb and Kendrick Howell. Mollie Rowe read a poem about the life and challenges of the new Mayor.
City Judge Josh Swords swore in the five new Eutaw City Council members as a group. Each Council member addressed the assembled group before the swearing in.
Ms. Valerie Watkins of District No. 1 said she planned to work in unity and love with the new Mayor and council members.
Tracey Hunter of District 3 said she wanted to work together with others in city government. She committed herself to work for transparency, unity and accountability with the other Council members.
Larrie Coleman, District 4 councilman thanked his family and voters for their support.
Jacqueline Stewart of District 5 said she was honored to serve and would have to begin to look at the problems of the city through the eyes of others and make decisions in accordance with the needs of others.
Mayor Latasha Johnson was sworn-in by District Judge Lillie Osborne and gave some remarks. She said that she hoped to work together with the other council members and work through difficulties facing the city. She said she was humbled, hopeful and proud to serve the City of Eutaw. She said that she was ready to work together with the council members in unity. She asked for the assistance and prayers of all in the city.
Rev. A. B. Griffin of New Peace Baptist Church and the Mayor’s pastor gave some remarks to offer a charge to the Mayor and City Council. He had three main themes: unity, maintain peace and be a servant leader offering support to others.
Sheriff Joe Nathan Benison also gave remarks at the ceremony after which a lunch was served.
City Council
Organizational Meeting
The City of Eutaw Council held its opening organizational meeting at 2:30 PM at the Carver School Gymnasium. The Council adopted Roberts Rules of Order as their procedural guide.
They approved the employment of Attorney Zane Willingham as City Attorney and City Prosecutor and agreed to pay him for both roles. They appointed Kathy Bir as City Clerk and Joe Lee Powell, as Assistance City Clerk.
The Council approved District 2 Councilman LaJeffrey Carpenter as Mayor Pro Tem, to serve in place of the Mayor when she is not available to participate in actions and activities.
The Council reaffirmed its meetings to be held at 6:00 PM on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. The Council approved a list of standing committees, their chairpersons and members.
Josh Swords was reappointed as City Judge and Bennie Abrams was appointed as Fire Chief.
Tommy Johnson, a former Eutaw City policeman and Sheriff’s Deputy was named to serve as Chief of Police as the current Chief Derrick Coleman along with several other police officers resigned effective October 30. Office Kendrick Howell was named Assistant Police Chief.
The Council tabled action on several positions until it could prepare and review its fiscal budget, to determine if these positions were necessary and affordable, including Director of Parks and Recreation, Building Inspector and General Superintendent of Roads, Streets and Water.
The Council agreed that Latasha Johnson, Mayor, LaJeffrey Carpenter, Mayor Pro Tem, Councilwoman Tracey Hunter and Kathy Bir, City Clerk be check signatories of the city bank accounts with Merchants and Farmers and Citizens Trust Bank.
The Council approved a motion to allow the Mayor to sign a three-year consulting agreement with Water Management Services to correct problems with billing and physical facilities of the city water system. Former Mayor Raymond Steele refused to execute this contract and when the Council approved the contract and had it signed by Carpenter, refused to allow the consultants to do their work in the City’s Water Department.
Mayor Latasha Johnson said she spoke with Kathie Horne of Water Management Associates and agreed to sign a new contract and get them started working to correct the problems of the City Water Department.
At an earlier meeting, the old City Council accepted the resignations of Ruthie Thomas, Water Clerk and Martina Henley, Court Clerk, effective November 3, 2020, as well as the police resignations.
At this meeting, the outgoing City Council also approved an on-premises liquor license for John’s, located at 100 Main Street in Eutaw, Alabama. They also approved various procedures for changing locks on city property and return of city property and vehicles by outgoing officials.
At the end of the organizational meeting, City Judge Josh Swords swore in Tommy Johnson as the city’s new Chief of Police.

Newswire: U. S. upsets election of African candidate for top world trade post


 

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala


Nov. 2, 2020 (GIN) – Backed by an overwhelming number of World Trade Organization delegates, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was on a fast track to become the head of the global trade group.
 
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was set to become the first woman and first African to lead the global trade watchdog.  A selection panel of WTO trade ministers found she had far more support than a South Korean rival and it was expected that the Asian candidate would be withdrawn because the African candidate would be most likely to attract consensus among the members.
 
But the historic appointment hit a stumbling block with last-minute opposition from the Trump administration and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who threw their support to Yoo Myung-hee, the current Minister for Trade of South Korea, calling her a “bona-fide trade expert”, and suggesting that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was unqualified for the job.
 
“The WTO is badly in need of major reform. It must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field,” the U.S. office said.
 
Molly Toomey, a spokeswoman for Okonjo-Iweala, rejected the comments, saying “WTO members wouldn’t have selected a Director General who is missing any skills or qualifications.”
 
A Nigerian-born economist and international development expert, Okonjo-Iweala sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and has held several key positions at the World Bank. She says the WTO should play a role in helping poorer countries access COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.
 
President Trump has shown animus to numerous world bodies and agreements, withdrawing from the World Health Organization, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the nonbinding Global Compact on Migration, the U.N. Human Rights Council, UNESCO, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, NAFTA, and the Iran nuclear deal, among others.
 
Trump has described the WTO as “horrible”, biased towards China and threatened to withdraw. Last month, the trade body found the U.S. had breached global trading rules by imposing multi-billion dollar tariffs in Trump’s trade war with China.
 
“We’ll have to do something about the WTO because they let China get away with murder,” Trump grumbled after the ruling.
 
The U.S. has paralyzed the WTO’s appellate body by blocking appointments to the seven-person panel for more than two years. A global court for trade, it has been unable to issue judgments on new cases since December 2019 because there aren’t enough active members.
 
Yoo presents herself as a “bridge” candidate, aiming to overcome the divide between the United States and China, however she is reported to be having problems solidifying support from some major Asian members – including China and Japan. The deadline for the appointment is Nov. 7. w/pix of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala   

Newswire: ‘Through the Roof’ prescription drug prices hit communities of color the hardest

Pharmacist Leonard L. Edloe

By Hazel Trice Edney

TriceEdneyWire.com) – Seventy-three-year-old Leonard L. Edloe, a pharmacist of 50 years and pastor of a predominately Black church in Middlesex County, Va., knows the personal and professional sides of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes well. He also knows the astronomical costs of prescription medications and the related financial struggles.
His father—also named Leonard L. Edloe—opened the first of their four family-owned pharmacies in 1948. But he was only 65 when he came home from work one day, sat down, had a sandwich and a beer and then died of a massive heart attack. It was a major emotional blow to lose his father and mentor that way. But then Edloe’s sister died at 60 and his brother at 54 – also both of heart attacks.
“I had to get out,” he said sternly, reflecting on his now determined self-care through exercise and healthy eating. “I’m 73 now.”
For decades, Edloe has been a prominent household family name in Richmond, Va. where his father’s first pharmacy was established. Since his family was upper middle class, he acknowledged they had no problem paying for prescription medication.  But given his father’s legacy and his own community service through his profession and dedication to help people in need, he is known for being on the cutting edge of the struggle to establish health equity. That includes exploring ways to make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible to all.
“The pricing has gone through the roof,” he said in an interview. “I mean, insulin – a month’s supply for some people – is $600.” That’s $7,200 a year. “Even the generic pricing has gone up,” he points out. “That has become worse because so many of the drugs are imported. Seventy-five percent of the drugs in the United States have an ingredient that’s made in China, India or Germany.”
Edloe explained that “Because there’s no control over pricing in the United States, they can basically charge what they want to; whereas in other countries, the government decides.”
As a former long-time member of Medicaid HMO Virginia Premier Health Plan’s board – Edloe pointed out that the drug used to treat Hepatitis C costs $1,000 a pill. But in Egypt, it is $1 a pill.
Edloe has expressed these concerns vehemently over the years in various leadership roles, including as chair of the Virginia Heart Association for the Mid-Atlantic Region; president of the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, and board member of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems Authority.
“My blood pressure medicine for myself has tripled in price. I was paying $15 for three months. Now it’s $45,” he said. “Fortunately, that’s with my insurance.”
For people who lack health insurance, medicine for hypertension can cost upwards of $300-$600 a year, which, can be difficult to manage financially along with paying for other medications and bills. “So, it’s real serious,” Edloe concluded.
Community health workers point to problems in poor communities
Community health workers and researchers around the country have long recognized the increasing costs of prescription drugs and the difficult choices some people must make to afford them.
An article in Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing, titled, “Millions of Adults Skip Medications Due to Their High Costs” highlights findings from a national survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics:
• Eight percent of adult Americans don’t take their medicines as prescribed because they can not afford them.
• Among adults under 65, sixpercent who had private insurance still skipped medicines to save money.
• 10 percent of people who rely on Medicaid skipped their medicines.
• Of those who are not insured, 14 percent skipped their medications because of cost.
• Among the nation’s poorest adults— those with incomes well below the federal poverty level — nearly 14 percent “did not take medications as prescribed to save money.” 
Those statistics get even worse when exploring prescription drug affordability in the Black community. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Institute of Health, “Elderly black Medicare beneficiaries are more than twice as likely as white beneficiaries to not have supplemental insurance and to not fill prescriptions because they cannot afford them.”
Likewise, an AARP survey of 1,218 African-American voters last year found more than three in five (62 percent) said “prices of prescription drugs are unreasonable” and nearly half (46 percent) said they did not fill a prescription provided by their doctor, mainly because of cost.
The inability to pay for prescription drugs – even for those under the age of 65 – has significantly impacted Blacks, Latinos and other people of color due to economic disparities.
“Though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reduced the number of uninsured Americans, over 28 million remain without insurance,” says PublicHealthPost.org. “More than half (55%) of uninsured Americans under the age of 65 are people of color. For those with no insurance, paying retail prices for medications is often financially impossible.”
This is no secret to those who have been working in the trenches on critical health care issues daily for years.
Ruth Perot, executive director/CEO of the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc. (SHIRE), serves the 92 percent Black and largely low-income families of Washington, D.C.’s 6th, 7th and 8th Wards. She has been working on grassroots health equity isuses in communities of color for more than 23 years.
“I am certainly aware of the extent to which folks have to, of course make that choice between the cost of a prescription and the other commitments that they have, whether it’s rent or whether it’s food on the table or something related to the education for their children,” Perot said. “The cost of prescription drugs has always been out of control. It’s been a major profit-motive driven industry. That’s been true for some time. And so, whatever we see at the national level from a policy perspective still hasn’t addressed the fundamental issue that the drug prescriptions cost too much…I don’t think the federal government has ever used its power as the principle buyer of drugs to get those prices down. So, it’s been a persistent problem for many, many, many years if not decades.”
Edloe, having owned pharmacies in predominately Black communities, vehemently agrees. In addition to his medical career, he also interfaces with the community as pastor of the New Hope Fellowship Church in Hartfield, Va. As he personally works to avoid his family’s history with heart disease, he passes along health lessons to his congregation, and is intimately familiar with their struggles to pay for prescription drugs. Currently working with two groups involving health disparities and pharmaceuticals, he says he believes the answer to achieve equity will ultimately be “some form of universal health care.”
But, there must also be a culture change, he said. “Because a lot of health care providers still are not trained and the materials are still not designed for diverse communities. So it’s all about getting equity – not equality – but equity in health care. Because there’s a big difference. If everybody stands beside the fence and the fence is six feet and you’re 6 feet 5 inches tall, you can see over it, but other people can’t. Equity means you might have to give them a stool to see.”
This article is part of a series on the impact of high prescription drug costs on consumers made possible through the 2020 West Health and Families USA Media Fellowship.
 

Newswire : Police pepper spay Black Lives Matter protestors in North Carolina

by Cedric ‘BIG CED’ Thornton, Black Enterprise News Service


Alamance Co. police pepper spay demonstrators


Over the weekend, in Graham, North Carolina, a Black Lives Matter rally was broken up by police officers who then attacked the crowd of protesters using pepper spray, according to CNN.
The “I Am Change” march was intended to be a “march to the polls” in honor of the Black people who fell victim to racialized violence like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Trayvon Martin, according to an advertisement for the event. However, the Graham Police Department says people were pepper-sprayed in two instances. The first time occurred after marchers refused to move out of the road following a moment of silence, and then again after an officer was allegedly “assaulted” and the event was deemed “unsafe and unlawful by the police department.”
At a press conference, the march organizer, the Rev. Gregory Drumwright, said, “I and our organization, marchers, demonstrators and potential voters left here sunken, sad, traumatized, obstructed and distracted from our intention to lead people all the way to the polls.”
The Graham Police Department arrested eight people for resisting delay and obstruction, failure to disperse, and assault on a law enforcement officer. Scott Huffman, who is running for Congress, released a video clip describing the incident on his Twitter account.
The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office said that arrests were made at the demonstration, citing “violations of the permit” Drumwright obtained to hold the rally.
 Mr. Drumwright chose not to abide by the agreed upon rules,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement Saturday. “As a result, after violations of the permit, along with disorderly conduct by participants leading to arrests, the protest was deemed an unlawful assembly and participants were asked to leave.”
The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the non-violent demonstrators, as part of a continuing voting rigjts battle with Alamance, North Carolina authorities.