Greene County AVFD names Ronald Kent Smith Fire Fighter of the Year

 

 

 

 

AVFD President, Hodges Smith, presents Fire Fighter of the Year Award to Ronald Kent Smith. Mr. Luther ‘Nat’ Winn, with his wife Mrs. Annie Winn, holds Presidential Award presented to him. Shown with Winn are Union Mayor James Gaines; Forkland Mayor Charlie McAlpine; Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele and Alabama State Senator Bobby Singleton. Other Fire Fighter Honorees of 2018 included: Mr. Harper Smith, Knoxville Fire Department; Mr. John A. Hill, Springfield Fire Department; Mr. Allen Turner, Jr., Tishabee Fire Department; Mrs. Severe Strode, Lower Gainesville Road Fire Department; Mrs. Brenda Hardy, Clinton Fire Department and Ronald Kent Smith, Greene County Coroner.

 

Ronald Kent Smith, Greene County Coroner and volunteer fire fighter was honored as Fire Fighter of the Year at the 6th Annual Volunteer Fire Fighters Award Banquet held Friday, October 12, 2018 at the Eutaw Civic Center. Smith has been employed by the Greene County Emergency Medical Service for 17 years and has served as a volunteer fire fighter for 17 years. Other honorees for 2018 included: Evangelist Brenda Hardy who serves as president of the Clinton Volunteer Fire Department, which was organized in 2011; Mr. John A. Hill who has served as a member of the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department since 1994; Mr. Harper Smith who serves with the Knoxville Fire Department; Mrs. Severe Strode who has been a fire fighter with the Lower Gainesville Road Volunteer Fire Department since 1991; and Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr.who has been a member of the Tishabee Volunteer Fire Department since 1995. A special recognition, the Presidential Award, was given to Mr. Luther ‘Nat” Winn, II, for his continuing support of the Greene County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments. Alabama State Senator Bobby Singleton gave remarks and encouraged voters to go to the polls on November 6. Mr. Hodges Smith, President of the Association, brought greetings; Mrs. Geraldine Walton was Mistress of Order for the Awards Banquet; A representative from each fire department also brought greetings; Ms. Felecia Smith was soloist; Mr. Marvin Turner & Impluze Band rendered musical selections.

Ms. Willie E. Austin led the Memorial Tribute to deceased fire fighters. Dinner was served and entertainment was provided by D.J. Birdman of Eutaw.

Greene County Commission recognizes Michael Williams for service

Shown L to R: Commissioners Allen Turner, Jr., Michael Williams and Tennyson Smith

 

At its regular monthly meeting held Tuesday, October 9, 2018, the Greene County Commission acknowledged the dedicated work of out-going Commissioner Michael Williams, representing District 5. Williams was presented a plaque recognizing his four-year term in office. In his brief remarks, Commissioner Williams thanked the community for entrusting him with the duty of representing District 5 and the whole of Greene County. “ I am a native of Greene County who had relocated for a few years, but I came back with a desire to serve our county.

I thank you for giving me that opportunity. I will continue to contribute to the growth of Greene County,” he stated. The commission considered two separate recommendations to fill the expired seat on the county’s Water Authority Board. Commissioner Allen Turner recommended J.B. Washington, but his motion died for lack of a second. That was followed by a motion by Commissioner Williams to appoint James Williams, which failed for lack of a second. The expired seat was held by Mr. Levi Morrow. In other business the commission approved the request from County Engineer, Willie Branch, to purchase three 2019 Mack Dump Trucks. The trucks are scheduled for delivery in September 2019. The commission also took action on the following. * Approved 2019 Severe Weather Resolution giving commission chairman authorization to sign all necessary documents. * Approved engineer’s request to award yearly bids. * Approved finance report, payment of claims and budget amendments as presented by CFO Paula Bird. In her report, CSFO Bird indicated the following bank totals as of September 18, 2018: Citizen Trust Bank – $2,356,329.29; Merchant & Farmers Bank – $4,591,959.38; Bank of New York – $358,093.75; CD Investments – $919,806.21. The commission did not go into executive session since only three commissioners were present.

Newswire : Annual NAACP Convention closes with a Call to Vote

By Lauren Poteat (NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent)

Thousands of people from across the country gathered in San Antonio, Texas for the 109th Annual NAACP Convention. The daring theme of this year’s convention (“Stop Hate, Vote”) was right on target, given that the 2018 midterm elections are just a few months away.

Panels and breakout sessions also focused on social justice and civil rights in the Trump Era, conversations that NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson deemed “highly necessary.” “As we begin to look at the critical landscape—with the increase in intolerance and hatred—we realize that the 2016 elections resulted in a new level of boldness for racists to display their racism,” Johnson said. “The only way to counter that is to vote…Vote on the midterm elections, so that we can hold elected officials accountable and make sure that they implement positive change.” The convention also included a diverse career fair, educational seminars, workshops on public policy, and a special hip-hop summit. Johnson also spoke about the importance of millennials and their community and political engagement. “Millennials should understand that their role in democracy is the same as everyone else’s,” Johnson said. “We are African Americans first and we owe it to our communities to use all of the tools necessary to better impact our society.” Championing this effort, NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell shared his own ideas during his annual convention address. “In this new era of xenophobia, neo-Nazism, White nationalism, and current efforts to take our nation back to a darker and more dangerous time, I have come to San Antonio, Texas to say to the NAACP and our allies, ‘the time has come to defeat hate.’” Russell continued: “We call on voters, especially millennials of color, to stand against the face of bigotry and divisiveness.” Acknowledging that nearly 63 million Americans voted for the current president and that Black voter turnout declined, Russell still expressed hope for the future. “Our hope is to vote out the hate and we need everyone to vote,” Russell said. The NAACP also honored Willie Brown, San Francisco’s first Black mayor, with the “Spingarn Medal,” the organization’s most prestigious award; the award was in recognition of his years of civil rights work and dedication to the betterment of the Black community. Former President Bill Clinton presented the award to Brown and paid tribute to the civil rights activist. Brown said that the Spingarn Medal represented his dedication to public service and the community. Dozens of millennials attended this year’s convention, much to the pleasure of former NAACP President and current National Newspaper Publishers Association President Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. “The NAACP is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago,” Dr. Chavis said. “The potential that the organization has with these millennials is even greater. The NAACP literally has the opportunity to embrace these young lives and thus be embraced, to create an even better, bolder organization for the lives of all people.”

Newswire : Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and the NNPA call for Congress to address disparities in Federal ad spending

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor

 

Longtime D.C. delegate Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton said that she would work with the NNPA and the NAHP to pressure Congress to demand greater federal adverting spending with minority-owned publishers. This photo was taken during a congressional panel discussion on judicial diversity on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Eleanor Holmes Norton

In a blistering response to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that revealed federal agencies spend very little advertising dollars with minority-owned businesses, D.C. Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said that she would work with minority publishers to press her colleagues in Congress “to demand greater spending on minority-owned outlets…to reach minority audiences that most traditional outlets do not.” Holmes Norton said that she requested the GAO report to learn more about the disparities in federal advertising contracts. “[The GAO report] showed, as we expected, that the federal government has a long way to go to ensure equal opportunities for minority-owned news outlets,” Holmes Norton said. “As the nation’s largest advertiser, the federal government has an obligation to provide advertising opportunities to news outlets and media companies owned or published by people of color.” The 41-page report issued, last week, revealed that over the past five fiscal years, federal government agencies spent $5 billion in advertising, but just $327 million of that went to minority-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses netted just $51 million—about $10 million per year over the five years covered in the new report. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association President (NNPA), thanked Holmes Norton for her support. The NNPA is a trade group that represents more than 200 Black-owned media companies and newspapers that reach 20 million readers, combined, in print and online, every week. More than two years ago, Holmes Norton joined members of the NNPA and the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) for a press conference on Capitol Hill, to demand the report, which was issued last week. Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Crusader newspapers in Chicago and Gary, Ind., called the results of the report shameful. Leavell added that she would call for legislation to address the disparities; she also said that she plans on requesting meetings with members of Congress to further explore the matter. In an interview, last week, Dr. Chavis called on Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus “to forcefully raise their voices of discontent and reaffirmation of the demands for equity, for justice, for fairness and end to this kind of systemic refusal to treat African American-owned and Latino-owned businesses along with others in a just, fair and equitable manner.” Dr. Chavis added that the report exposed the consequences of systemic racial discrimination in both Republican and Democratic administrations when it comes to federal advertising spending. Dr. Chavis continued: “It’s time for all of us to respond and to act. There should be legislation introduced in Congress immediately to rectify this gross systemic inequity This article was originally published at BlackPressUSA.com.

Statewide: Walt Maddox for Governor; Joe Siegelman for AG In Greene County: Sheriff and 4 incumbent commissioners re-elected; Runoff set for Probate Judge and District 5 Commissioner

 

Sheriff Jonathan Joe Benison (1)

Shown above L to R: Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Veronica Morton-Jones and Ronald Kent Smith

In yesterday’s Democratic primary elections, Sheriff Jonathan “Joe” Benison was re-elected to his third four-year term. Benison received 2013 votes (60%) to 681 for Jimmie Benison, 381 for Lorenzo French, and 282 for Beverly Spencer.
In Greene County, the Republican party did not nominate candidates for local offices, so the Democratic nomination is tantamount to election, although these candidates will be officially confirmed as elected after the November 6, General Election.
Veronica Morton-Jones was elected Circuit Clerk of Greene County by a vote of 1911 (60%) to 1290 for her opponent Debra D. Blackmon.
Ronald Kent Smith was re-elected Coroner over Finest Gandy, Jr. by a vote of 1998 to 1186.
In the race for Greene County Probate Judge, there will be a countywide Runoff Election on July 17, 2018, between the top two finishers, Jeremy Rancher with 1091 votes (32.76%) and Rolonda M. Wedgeworth with 813 votes (24.41%). Four other participants in the race: James Carter with 303, John Kennard with 306. Rashon Smith with 518 and Grace Belton Stanford with 299 votes were eliminated.

Four of the incumbent County Commissioners were re-elected. In District 1, Lester ‘Bop” Brown defeated Union Mayor James Gaines, Jr. by 415 to 229 votes. In District 2, Tennyson Smith did not draw any opponents and will be re-elected after the November General Election.
In District 3, Corey Cockrell was chosen over Elzora Fluker by a vote of 609 to 244. In District 4, Allen Turner, Jr. scored 491 votes to defeat John H. Vester with 178 votes.
In District 5, there will be a runoff on July 17 between Marvin Childs 203 votes and Rashonda Summerville with 135 votes. Three other challengers including incumbent Michael Williams with 101, Marvin K. Walton with 77 and Grace Atkins Lavender with 54 votes.
In the contest for State Democratic Executive Committee member for District 72 (Female), in Greene County Carrie B. McFadden had 433, Jerildine Melton 329 and Johnnie Mae Scott with 1052. Including results from Greene, Hale, Perry and Marengo counties, there will be a runoff between Carrie B. McFadden with 3378 and Johnnie Mae Scott 2676. Jerildine Melton finished with 2571, just five votes less than needed for second place.
In the contest for State Democratic Executive Committee for District 72 (Male), in Greene County, Arthur Crawford had 659, James F. May 219 and John Zippert 1222. For the full four county district, there will be a runoff between Arthur Crawford 4216 and James F. May, 2725. John Zippert finished third with 2286 votes.
In statewide races, Greene County set the trend for Walt Maddox and Joe Siegelman to win the Democratic nomination without a runoff. In Greene County, Maddox received 2779 (86.33%) of the votes. The other candidates: Sue Bell Cobb with 159, Christopher Countryman with 37, James C. Fields with 96, Doug ‘New Blue’ Smith 107 and Anthony White 41 votes, did not break 5% of the votes.
In the State Attorney General’s race, Joe Siegelman received 2076 votes (71.81%) to 815 votes (28.19) for Chris Christie in Greene County. For Secretary of State, Heather Milan 1359 defeated Lula Albert with 970 votes in Greene County and also won statewide.
In the Republican Primary in Greene County, there were only 249 votes cast or 6.83 of the total. In the Governor’s race, Kay Ivey led in Greene County with 184 votes (73.9%). She was followed by Tommy Battle with 30 votes, Scott Dawson with 26, Bill Hightower with 8 and Michael McAllister 1.
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Greene County DST Chapter awards $3,000 in scholarships

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Shown L to R: Shaleah McCain, Hale County High School; Jamia Jackson, Greene County High School; Tony White, Jr., Greene County High School; Eldria Jones, Green County High School and Alexis Jordon, Greene County High School. Not shown: MaKayle Lewis, Greensboro High School.

The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. held a reception recently honoring the six students awarded $500 scholarships upon their enrollment in postsecondary schools. The scholarship recipients from the sorority’s service are: Shaleah McCain, Hale County High School; Jamia Jackson, Tony White, Jr., Eldria Jones, and Alexis Jordan, all of Greene County High School. Not pictured is Makayla Lewis, of Greensboro High School. The reception, held Monday, May 14, 2018, included Mediation by Jacqueline Allen; Greetings by Chapter President Andrea Perry; Words of Encouragement by Evelyn James. The scholarship recipients and their parents enjoyed refreshments and fellowship with sorority chapter members present.

Sen. Doug Jones gives keynote address UWA holds Rural Technology Summit illuminates high-speed broadband gaps in Alabama Black Belt region

Special to the Democrat by John Zippert,
Co-Publisher

 

Senator Doug Jones and  Shown L to R: Greene County participants in Summit, Lovie Parks Burrell, Debbie Duncan, John Zippert, Phillis Belcher, Beverly Gordan and Johnny Coleman, Jr.

The University of West Alabama in Livingston held an all day ‘Summit on Rural Technology” on Friday, April 13, 2018. The session was attended by 200 political and community leaders from the Alabama Black Belt and surrounding communities.
The session highlighted the importance of high-speed internet connectivity and digital literacy for economic development, health care, education and quality of life for the future in all communities of Alabama. The session illuminated that not all communities, especially rural communities and the Alabama Black Belt area, were prepared and positioned to equitably access to the ‘broadband highways’ of the future.
In his keynote address, Senator Doug Jones of Alabama said “270,000 people in rural parts of Alabama do not have access to high speed internet and there was a need for equal access and opportunity for all zip codes in the state.

Jones said, “ The state’s economy depends on high-speed broadband and this is a bi-partisan issue which transcends the division between political parties.’ He also said that internet access was a key to ending the ‘homework gap’ between well-heeled urban/suburban school districts and rural areas. “Ending the internet access gap will also improve the availability of healthcare and telehealth capabilities in the rural communities of the state,” stated Jones.
Jones reported that $600 million was appropriated in the latest budget for USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) programs to improve broadband access in rural areas. Senator Jones said his staff would be working to help businesses and communities that wanted to take advantage of these programs.
Dr. Roberto Gallardo of the Purdue University Center for Regional Development gave the opening talk on Rural Development in the Digital Age. He said, “Big data will be the oil of the 21st century. The digital economy has a 6.5% share of the total economy or $1.2 trillion. Rural on-line transactions today are $1.4 trillion annually.”
As an example of the exponential growth of the internet economy, Gallardo said, “Airbnb generates an average of $6,700 in income for its members. In four years, it has grown to offer 600,000 rooms. It took Hilton Hotels 93 years to grow to offer 600.000 rooms!”
Gallardo called young people “digital natives” and said they have grown up with digital skills that the rest of us must catch-up and master as well or we will be left behind in the coming ‘digital economy’.
Gallardo said that the digital future was at least 25 megabits of information down and 3 megabits up. Communities without these capabilities would miss out on the benefits of the coming digital economy. “Digital exclusion may be our gravest problem in the future,” said Gallardo.
C. Wayne Hutchens of Alabama A. T. &T spoke on some of the technical innovations that his company was pursuing and testing to bring high speed internet to more people. He spoke about small cell technology to reduce the need for large-scale towers in congested areas. These small cells could be placed on lampposts, mostly in cities. He also said that AT&T’s Project AirGig was testing ‘inductive coupling’ which was a way of transmitting high-speed internet in conjunction with electrical power lines. “If these trials work then we will have a way to serve more rural communities,” said Hutchens.
The Rural Technology Summit also has a panel of Alabama State Legislators that spoke on state funds that will be available for broadband access in rural areas. There was also a panel featuring Mayor Sheldon Day of Thomasville and Mayor Gary Fuller of Opelika on ways they were providing broadband to businesses and residents in their municipalities. Fuller explained that Opelika had a municipally owned electric system which had borrowed $43 million in bonds to finance proving high speed internet anywhere in the city limits of Opelika. This system was serving as an incentive to attract businesses of all kinds to the east Alabama city.
At the end of a challenging day of information, Dr. Tina N. Jones of the University of West Alabama said the summit was the beginning of an effort by the university to reach-out and assist rural communities in west Alabama to benefit from the growing digital economy.

Elzora Fluker announces candidacy for Commission District 3

Fluker

 

I am announcing my candidacy for District 3 Commissioner. I have been a community servant all my adult life and it is with this sense of love for my community that I announce my candidacy for County Commissioner. It has always been my desire to help bring unity to Greene County as Commissioner. I realize that the county will not grow and attract industry until all Commissioners work together. I know that it is going to take all county government, municipality and state government to move this county forward.
I am running for County Commissioner because of my willingness to fight for the citizens of District 3. I’m running because citizens should hold the county government accountable to those that elect them.
I’m running because I care about the people that call Greene County home. I’m running because we need leadership that has fresh ideas.

I’m running because we need safe and clean neighborhoods with better education. I’m running to seek funding to help better the education of our children. I will work to obtain funds and support for more programs in the county for our children and seniors.
I will work to bring more job opportunities to Greene County. I also want to make it possible to have better health care opportunities. I will work with the Commissioners to restore the integrity of the county finances.
I will work to give the citizens a better understanding of the county government budget. Lastly, I’m running to endorse the future of this county. Currently, I’m an active member of the Greene County Children’s Policy Council, a volunteer with the S.P.O.T. after school tutorial program, as well as G.I.R.L., a mentoring program for our young females.
I am married to Willie Fluker, Jr. We have two children, Tashema Batch and Louis M. Toa Fluker. I am an active member of the Christian Valley Baptist Church of Tishabee.
I have the knowledge and know the role and responsibility to do the job of a county commissioner.
I am thanking you in advance for your support and your vote. On June 5, 2018, I am asking that you go to the polls and vote for Elzora Fluker as your County Commissioner, District 3.

Newswire : NAACP concerned with HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s efforts to change agency mission

By: Malik Russell, NAACP Director of Communications

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BALTIMORE (March 8, 2018)—The NAACP is deeply concerned by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson’s move to dilute the agency’s long-standing mission.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, which established HUD as a cabinet-level agency, declared a purpose: “[T]o provide for full and appropriate consideration, at the national level, of the needs and interests of the Nation’s communities and of the people who live and work in them.” This purpose is sustained through the agency’s mission to “build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.” Secretary Carson’s action not only threatens HUD’s founding purpose, but also reveals plans of regression.

“Dr. Carson’s attempt to diminish HUD’s mission comes on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission’s report which affirmed that discrimination and segregation had long permeated much of American Life and continues to threaten the future of every American; and at a time when the Trump administration seeks to cut billions of dollars in housing aid for low-income families,” said NAACP’s Sr. Director of Economic Programs, Marvin J. Owens, Jr.

Despite these attempts, the promise of discrimination-free practices lives on in the Fair Housing Act which has the central objective of prohibiting race discrimination in sales and rentals of housing. The hope of continued progress in America rests in the hands of communities across the country that continue to push their elected leaders to preserve programs designed to help disadvantaged communities and promote policies that make economic inclusion a reality.

The NAACP recognizes the importance of an inclusive economy and economic policies that address the challenging realities facing our country including poverty, lack of jobs and disproportionate high unemployment, lack of affordable housing, and foreclosures. The NAACP Economic Department’s work enhances the capacity of African Americans and other under-served groups through financial economic education; individual and community asset building initiatives; diversity and inclusion in business hiring, career advancement and procurement; and monitoring financial banking practices.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACP.org.

Gaines qualifies for County Commission District 1

James Gaines

I, James Gaines, Jr., am announcing my candidacy for Greene County Commissioner, District 1. I am a member of the First Baptist Church Union and I am currently serving as the Mayor of the Town of Union. I feel that I have made a difference in the town and want to broaden my horizons by making a positive impact on our county as well as working to unify our county. Through prayer and great consideration I have given much thought in seeking this office. Here in our county, we have led our communities in many ways and I believe that by working together in unity we can continue to move our county forward. Now is not the time for thinking small. Now is not the time for the same old established politics and ideas. Now is the time for us to come together to become unified and move this great county to higher heights.
My campaign is not based on individuals but instead on what is best for the county and I hope all of my constituents feel the same way. With your support, I believe we can become unified. My pledge is “Unity” Starts With Us. Thanking all of you in advance for your vote and support in the upcoming June 5th Election.