Local Foot Soldiers honored at Dr. King Commemorative Program

 

Shown L to R: Mrs. Elzora Fluker, Mrs. Leola Carter, Mrs. Elberta Miles and Elder Spiver Gordon; Shown L to R: Rev. John Kennard, Rev Carlos Thornton, Rev. James Carter, Joseph Siegelman, Lorenzo French, Ruby Cain, Elder Spiver Gordon and former Governor Don Siegelman; Elder Spiver Gordon gives Certificate of  Appreciation to Rev. Carlos Thornton 

Sunday, April 8, 2018 a commemoration program was held at Mt. Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church in Tishabee, AL where Rev. Carlos Thornton serves as church pastor. The program, sponsored by the Alabama Civil Rights Museum, honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the Foot Soldiers of Greene County who worked in the Civil Rights Movement.
The theme for the event, Recognizing, Observing and Remembering featured the observance of local Civil Rights leaders of Greene County from the Tishabee and Forkland communities. Elder Spiver Gordon, the President of the Alabama Civil Right Museum, presented local Foot Soldiers with certificates of recognition for their contributions in paving the way to ensure a better future.

The honorees included Rev. Marshall Anthony, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hines, Mr. Jonah Smothers, Mr. George Perry, Mr. Ed Carter, Rev. W.D. Lewis, Mrs. Eliza Carter, Mrs. Mary Eliza French, Mr. Vassie Knott, Elberta Miles Mr. and Mrs. Willie C. Carter and many more. Family members were present to accept on behalf of their deceased family member.
Gordon stated, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a predominant leader in the Civil Rights Movement to end racial segregation and discrimination in America during the 1950s and 1960s and a leading spokesperson for nonviolent methods of achieving social change. The local Foot Soldiers followed the philosophy of Dr. King.”
On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated on the balcony outside his Memphis, Tennessee, hotel room. In a posthumously published essay titled “A Testament of Hope,” King urged African Americans to continue their commitment to nonviolence, but also cautioned that “justice for Black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.”
During the 1963 March on Washington, King declared that all people should be judged not “by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Gordon noted that these principles guided the Foot Soldiers of Tishabee and Forkland who sacrificed and took risks to bring about change. During the 1963 March on Washington, King declared that all people should be judged not “by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” The King Center in Atlanta is a living memorial to King’s vision of a free and equal world dedicated to expanding opportunity, fighting racism and ending all forms of discrimination.
Local candidate in the 2018 June Primary and November General Elections were invited to come to meet and greet the community. For Probate Judge: Rev. John Kennard and Rev. James Carter were present; Circuit Clerk candidate Veronica Morton-Jones was present; Commission Candidate, District 4, John Vester was present and Commission Candidate, District 3, Elzora C. Fluker was present. In the Sheriff’s race Lorenzo French and Beverly Spencer were present.
Also in attendance was former Governor Don Siegelman, along with his son Joseph Siegelman, who is a candidate for Attorney General. Both greeted the congregation.
Keynote speaker Senator Hank Sanders delivered greetings via phone. He stated as one of his favorite quotes: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Bro. Lorenzo French recited one of Dr. King’s speeches. Songs were rendered by Rev. Kendrick Howell, Bro. Willie Mack and Donald Young.

Industrial development delegation visits Crossroads of America Industrial Park at Boligee to review feasibility for Waste to Energy Plant

IDA .jpg

Visiting delegation review feasibility of Crossroads of America Industrial Park for waste-to-energy project: (L to R) a member of the Greene Co. Water Authority staff, Ralph Banks III, Treasurer of GCIDA, Rev. James Carter, GCIDA, Vincent Atkins, Greene County Water Authority, Mayor Louis Harper of Boligee, Dr. Ellsworth James, consultant to project, Dr. John Wu, Chairman, JMC Renewable Energy Systems, Dao Xian Feng, JMC Senior Boiler Engineer, Danny Cooper, Chair of GCIDA, Jian Tu, JMC Project Manager, Ying Hua Deng, Senior Electrical Engineer and Christopher Wu, Board Secretary for JMC.

A delegation of representatives from JMC Renewable Energy Solutions visited the Crossroads of America Industrial Park at Boligee in late December 2017, to review the feasibility of the Greene County Industrial Development Authority’s site for a potential industry. The delegation also met with GCIDA Board members, Mayor Harper of Boligee, the Greene County Water Authority and others to discuss the potential of this renewal energy project.
JMC Renewable Energy Solutions, Inc. specializes in designing, developing and operating custom renewable energy and infrastructure solutions. JMC’s goal is to reduce the carbon footprint resulting from MSW and GHG through energy recovery and sustainable infrastructure development.

JMC is partnering with the Chinese Machinery and Equipment Corporation, an eight billion dollar publicly-traded infrastructural conglomerate, which designed, financed and constructed super projects in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The first project in the United States is a partnership with JMC Renewable Energy Solutions Inc., a Mississippi Corporation. CMEC will provide the engineering, design, and financing for the Mississippi project. JMC has put together competent local management teams in each region where renewable energy projects are planned. Current projects are planned for Bolivar County, Mississippi and Greene County, Alabama.
The proposed Greene county project is a state of the art Waste-to-Energy plant that converts all municipal solid waste – household garbage – into electricity, with no harmful emissions released in the air or toxins into the land and groundwater.
The Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plant currently under evaluation utilizes an advanced technology that converts trash to electricity and will sell the energy to the regional power grid. The plant will provide a constant supply of energy to the grid, 24-7.
The new WTE plant will reduce input to landfills and eliminate nearly 100% of toxic methane gas, the most harmful of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere. The residual 3% is an abrasive material that can be sold to landfills to absorb landfill emissions and odor, or used to make asphalt.
The WTE plant will also reduce the demand for local landfills that contaminate the land and groundwater, reduce the harmful greenhouse gases being released in the atmosphere, and convert the steam produced to generate low-cost, clean electricity.
The particular system under review is a proven technology currently used the SWA’s Renewable Energy Faciity 2 in West Palm Beach Florida. At capacity, REF 2 will process more than 1 million tons (907,200,000 kg) of post-recycled municipal solid waste annually and 3,000 tons a daily – more than 660 curbside trucks worth of trash every day!
Once fully operational, the communities in the Alabama Black Belt, that participate in the project will receive direct financial benefits by:
•reducing costly municipal expenses for garbage transport to the landfill and energy expenses for residential and business customer; and
•generating revenue sharing opportunities to communities sending their municipal solid waste to the WTE plant.
By reducing expenses and adding revenue to local municipal budgets, the communities have the potential to strengthen their financial positions. With the planned revenue, Black Belt communities can develop new long-term project plans and budgets, for desperately-needed infrastructure repairs, housing and commercial developments, all of which will provide employment opportunities for area residents.
If you would like more information about this project, please contact David Hannans at geg@gatewayenergy.co.

 

Advocates urge a “NO” vote Black Warrior EMC sends out package of revised by-laws for a membership vote by May 1

Special to the Democrat by John Zippert,
Co-Publisher

BWEMC

Members of the Black Warrior Electric Membership Corporation, as of February 24, 2017 have received a package of materials, including a revised set of By-laws, a summary of the changes and a mail ballot to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on all of the changes in one vote.
Members have contacted the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, which has been sponsoring “a co-op democracy project” focused on Black Warrior, to ask how they should vote on these by-law changes. Black Warrior members have also contacted the Greene County Democrat and other trusted community organizations to ask for advice on this by-law package.
If you receive your electric power from Black Warrior EMC you are a “member” of the cooperative. Black Warrior has 26,000 members in the rural parts of many of the western Alabama Black Belt counties including Greene, Sumter, Hale, Perry, Choctaw, Marengo, Tuscaloosa and others.
If you paid your deposit and have a Black Power Electric meter, you are a member of the “electric membership corporation” or cooperative and you have a vote on major issues facing the cooperative, like election of the board of directors, changing the by-laws and other important issues.
Rev. James Carter of Tishabee Community in Greene County said, “I was surprised to receive this 24 page set of new by-laws in the mail and a ballot to vote, without more explanations, without a meeting scheduled to explain these changes. I have an education but I feel you need to be a lawyer or other professional expert to fully understand this document and make an informed and intelligent vote on it.”

Carter, who is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit to make Black Warrior’s Board and Management more transparent, accountable and democratic, also said, “ I am happy to see these by-laws because they answer many questions the members have been raising with Black Warrior, for a number of years, but they also raise new questions about additional discretionary powers granted to the co-op’s Board of Directors, which may adversely affect the members.
“We need more time and a series of meetings in the Black Warrior EMC service area to explain these changes and allow for the members to understand what they are voting on. We are also asked to vote up or down on the whole package in one vote even if we disagree with some of the specific changes or would like to add other changes to make the cooperative more democratic and responsive to its members.”
Adriauna Davis, a Community Outreach Worker with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, who has been meeting with BWEMC members to discuss and strategize ways to make the power provider more democratic and responsible to its members, said, “We plan to go to court, under our existing lawsuit, and stop this by-law mail ballot until a membership meeting or district membership meetings are held to explain these new by-laws and the changes.”
“In the meantime, we are urging BWEMC members to vote “NO” on the ballot and write in that, “ I do not understand all of these by-law changes and want a meeting to understand and discuss these changes,” said Davis.
Davis points out that the current BWEMC By-laws require a membership meeting to amend the by-laws. The Board and Management, who developed and sent out the new ballot revisions, say their effort is legal under new provisions of the Electric Cooperative Statute of Alabama, which allow for a mail ballot.
Marcus Bernard, Director of the Federation’s Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama said, “We received about 100 phone calls last week from BWEMC members who were mailed the by-laws package. They say that they do not understand what to do. Many do not fully understand that they are members and are entitled to vote on the by-laws and other matters. We are recommending a “NO” vote until there are educational meetings to explain the changes to members.”
Bernard pointed out that the BWEMC was founded in 1938 and has not revised its by-laws in 66 years since 1950. The co-op has not had an official Annual Meeting of Members to elect the co-op’s board of directors during this same period. Since their have not been official membership meetings, with the required quorum of 5% (1,300 members) the board has been allowed to perpetuate itself without meaningful input from the members.
The Democrat will be following this story closely in coming weeks and will have more articles and opinion pieces on these important issues.