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Alabama editorial roundup

July 3, 2019

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

June 27

Dothan Eagle on the taxpayer cost of legal cases involving elected officials:

Looking back over the long sordid history of shenanigans from elected officials, Alabama taxpayers would surely be astonished by an accounting of what they’ve paid in legal fees and settlements for bad behavior of those they sent to Montgomery to represent their interests.

Here’s a preview: Former Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier and former Gov. Robert Bentley had a falling out, which resulted in Bentley’s firing Collier and Collier spilling the beans about Bentley’s alleged relationship with an adviser. Collier sued Bentley, former Bentley political adviser Rebekah Mason, former ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler, and others.

Gov. Kay Ivey confirmed to al.com recently that the state paid a settlement of $525,000 to Collier from the state’s General Liability Trust Fund.

In other words, taxpayers handed more than a half-million dollars to Collier because he believed he was wronged by Bentley through personal vendetta.

Now we’ve all been wronged by Bentley, who arguably should have been liable for the settlement personally.

Surely that’s a tip of the iceberg for such expenses. Each of these scandals has incurred thousands of dollars in legal fees, as well as possible settlements that may or may not ever see the light of day.

Many Alabamians bemoan the embarrassment brought on the state by the bad behavior of some elected officials.

That’s the least of it.

Online: https://www.dothaneagle.com/

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June 27

The Gadsden Times on an example of how to be prepared for storms:

Etowah County is again officially a StormReady County, thanks to the work of the Gadsden-Etowah County Emergency Management Agency.

That announcement was made last week by the National Weather Service, and Chris Darden, meteorologist in charge for the Birmingham NWS office, said it means the county is doing “everything possible to improve emergency first responder and citizen preparedness in the event of a natural disaster.”

There’s a list of criteria that have to be met before that certification is handed out, and it includes: having a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center, having more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public, creating a system that monitors weather conditions locally, promoting the importance of public readiness and developing a formal hazardous weather plan, including weather spotter training and emergency exercises.

We commend Director Deborah Gaither and the rest of the EMA staff for all the hard work it takes to implement these plans and systems.

The NWS estimates that some 98% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related, and severe weather causes about 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage.

We’re never truly out of the woods as far as weather is concerned — these hit-or-miss thunderstorms that like to pop up on summer afternoons can bring rain and wind as intense as any squall line — but this does seem to be a bit of a down period for severe weather.

Spring brings the threat of tornado outbreaks, and while June 1 marked the beginning of hurricane season, those generally don’t fire up until later in the summer and into fall.

And winter, of course, brings the threat of snow and ice storms.

There’s no better time than now to prepare for a disaster, and no matter what sort of weather you’re preparing for, some things are universal.

Perhaps the most important thing to have is a way to stay informed.

A weather radio is an indispensable tool for fast-developing situations, especially if you don’t live near a warning siren.

EMA also offers direct outreach through Alert Etowah (formerly called Nixle), a system that sends local alerts, notifications and warnings directly to a cellphone or other device. ...

It’s also important to stay aware of potential upcoming weather situations by following news outlets on social media and through traditional broadcast media.

Beyond staying informed, physical items for emergency preparedness include: 1 gallon of water per person per day, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, a battery-powered or hand crank radio, a flashlight, a first aid kit, extra batteries, a whistle to signal for help, a manual can opener for food, a cellphone charger with backup battery, and a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

Depending on your personal situation, you might also need prescription medication, infant formula or pet food.

And if you’re thinking ahead to winter, an emergency heating source like a fireplace, wood stove or space heater and heating fuel aren’t bad ideas.

Severe weather is almost never a surprise, so we should all aim to follow our EMA’s example and be storm ready.

Online: https://www.gadsdentimes.com/

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July 2

The Cullman Times on an art exhibit featuring the work of a world-renowned artist from Alabama:

Summer affords more leisure time to explore the community, visit museums, as well as all the fun-in-the-sun activities.

For a special treat, enjoying the work of a world-renowned artist from Alabama.

The work of Nall, who grew up in Troy, is on display at the Evelyn Burrow Museum as part of “Alabama Art: Inside Out,” at Wallace State Community College.

“Alabama Art: Inside Out” was initiated by the acclaimed artist to show the world the work of fellow Alabama artists. The exhibition contains 14 portraits by Nall of artists such as William Christenberry, Betty Sue Matthews, Clifton Pearson, Mose T and Kathryn Tucker Windham. Works by those artists appear alongside each of his portraits.

Nall has traveled the world during a career of creating art that spans 50 years.

His work includes detailed drawings, botanical paintings, mosaics and engravings. His work expresses not only the places he traveled, but his home state.

This is an opportunity to see not only the creations of one of the world’s great artists, but to celebrate a home-state resident who has brought favorable recognition to Alabama and its many other artists.

Wallace State and the Evelyn Burrow Museum worked with Troy University to make this exhibit available for summer. We encourage everyone to visit and enjoy the work of a celebrated artist.

Online: https://www.cullmantimes.com/

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