AFA Newsroom V9 No. 3, February 1, 2014
Weather was the Big Story Last Week
The big story last week was the weather. Governor Robert Bentley declared a "state of emergency" on Monday leading officials to close roads, schools and private companies to close their businesses as ice and snow moved in, snarling traffic and sending temperatures plummeting the rest of the week. Due to the weather the Alabama House was unable to get a quorum on Tuesday, Jan. 28, although the Senate met that day. The cold weather also led to Governor Bentley postponing three elections until February 4.
Those elections are a Democratic runoff in House District 53 in Jefferson County to fill the seat of Demetrius Newton, who passed away recently; a Republican runoff between Mike Holmes and Jimmy Collier in House District 31 (AFA is supporting Holmes), to fill the unexpired term of Barry Mask, who resigned to work for the Alabama Association of Realtors; and the House District 104 special election in Mobile County to find a replacement for Jim Barton, who resigned to take a lobbying job.
The AFA encourages its members to go to the polls Feb. 4 and vote for Mike Holmes in the Republican runoff for House District 31.
Read more about the weather...
U.S. Ranks Behind Rwanda, Belarus, Azerbaijan in Creating New Business, World Bank says
A new study by the World Bank and the International Finance Corp. found that the U.S. ranks well behind countries like Rwanda, Belarus and Azerbaijan in terms of how easy it is for an entrepreneur to start a new business. The U.S. did narrowly beat Uzbekistan, though.
State Unemployment of 6.1%; Governor Bentley May Get Paid Yet!
Governor Robert Bentley announced last week that Alabama's unemployment rate has fallen dramatically. To date, Governor Bentley has not received a paycheck for the job, having promised he would not be paid until Alabama reaches full employment at around 5.2%. But he is getting close, announcing recently:
“Alabama’s Unemployment rate is 6.1%, marking a five-year low. There are 59,400 more jobs today in Alabama than there were in January of 2011, with the greatest job growth coming from the manufacturing sector," the Governor noted.
Rayonier Plans to Split Its Operations into Two Companies
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 27, 2014-- Rayonier Inc. (NYSE:RYN) announced today it intends to separate its Performance Fibers business from its Forest Resources and Real Estate businesses. The separation will result in two independent, publicly-traded companies by means of a tax-free spin-off of the Performance Fibers business to Rayonier shareholders. The separation is expected to be completed in mid-2014.
U.S. Forest Service Announces National Forest Control Burn Schedule
Montgomery, Al) January 22, 2014 ---- U.S. Forest Service fire specialists are conducting prescribed burns on approximately 115,000 acres throughout Alabama’s four national forests – Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega, and Tuskegee during the next six months. Prescribed fire (controlled burn) is an annual management tool to improve plant and animal habitat and overall forest health to withstand natural disturbances such as drought, insects and diseases. The controlled burns also aim to reduce the build-up of hazardous fuels that could feed wildfires that threaten communities located near national forests.
Silence is the Road to Ruin!
By ALC Director Ray Clifton
I believe the greatest challenge to logging and the timber supply chain will continue to be trucking. Our challenge to move timber to the market is not only economic — it is political.
A recent development in the town of Lanett (Chambers Co.) illustrates this point.
Read Logger Notes...
IN MEMORIAM: Mr. John Richard Miller Jr.
It is with sadness that we inform you of the recent passing at the age of 93 of Mr. John Richard Miller, Jr. Mr. Miller was born on May 8, 1920 in Brewton, Alabama. He served as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War Two and returned to hold down many top positions at T.R. Miller Mill Company. He was Chairman of the board there from 1986-2009 and was serving as Chairman Emeritus at the time of his death on January 26, 2014.
To read the full obituary of this distinguised forestry family patriarch, click here.
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby says Passage of Farm Bill Good for Alabama
U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) on January 29 applauded House passage of a new five-year Farm Bill, highlighting the significant victories for Alabama-specific agricultural products and the inclusion of long-needed reforms to federal programs that rein in spending.
The Farm Bill passed the House of Representatives January 29 by a vote of 251 to 166. All seven members of the Alabama House delegation voted in favor of the bill.
Sessions Calls on House Colleagues not to "Surrender" on Immigration
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions is working behind the scenes to discourage House Republicans from coalescing behind the effort for new immigration laws, pleading with his party not to “surrender” to President Obama.
As GOP lawmakers huddle in Maryland this week for their annual retreat, Speaker of the House John Boehner is expected to unveil a list of broad immigration principles the Republican conference should support.
State Conservation Department Wants Deer Killed in February Reported
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is reminding deer hunters to report any deer harvested during the upcoming February extended season through the Game Check program. Checking a deer is a simple process and can be completed over the Internet at https://www.outdooralabama.com/gamecheck , through a smartphone using the Outdoor Alabama app, or by calling 1-800-888-7690 and using voice prompts.
The extended season includes all of Baldwin, Mobile, Washington and Escambia counties, most of Monroe and Conecuh counties and portions of Choctaw, Clarke, Wilcox, Butler and Covington counties.
EPA Working With Environmentalists to Kill Keystone Project and Coal
Newly disclosed emails suggest senior policy officials at the Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups are working closely to kill the Keystone XL pipeline, critics say.
"These damning emails make it clear that the Obama administration has been actively trying to stop this important project for years," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who has long advocated for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline's construction, said in a statement to Fox News.
U.S. State Department Issues Report on Keystone that Could Make it Harder for Obama to Say "NO" on the Project
The State Department concluded in its final environmental assessment issued Friday that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would not significantly alter global greenhouse gas emissions, but officials cautioned that they were still weighing whether or not the project would meet the test of the president’s broader climate strategy.
Semco Wants to Help You Understand Your Power Bill
In a piece entitled Electric Bill 101, Sustainable Energy Management Company (Semco) explains what you are paying for when you flip a switch or turn on a machine that runs on electricity. The company helps corporations reduce utility costs in their facilities across the southeastern United States and works with a variety of commercial buildings – from office spaces to warehouses.
Longleaf Pine Restoration Cost Share Applications Available to Landowners
The Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) is currently accepting applications through its Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) to continue longleaf pine restoration efforts in Alabama. The grant was awarded through a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and will be made available to qualifying landowners for longleaf pine restoration on private lands.
The 2014 Tax Brackets
Every year, the IRS adjusts more than forty tax provisions for inflation. This is done to prevent what is called “bracket creep.” This is the phenomenon by which people are pushed into higher income tax brackets or have reduced value from credits or deductions due to inflation instead of any increase in real income.
The IRS uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate the past year’s inflation and adjusts income thresholds, deduction amounts, and credit values accordingly.
Pre-order the New Forest History Book at a 30% Discount Over Retail!
Be one of the first to own Green Gold, the new forest history book written by Dr. Jim Fickle, and enjoy a 30% discount. Download the attached flyer/pre-order form and you can receive your copy hot off the press!
The book's publisher, the University of Alabama Press, says the book will be printed and ready for distribution early next year under the title: Green Gold: Alabama's Forests and Forest Industries.
If you are interested in buying advance copies of the book the publisher is offering a 30% discount for buying the book while it is still going through the process of being refined and printed. If you are interested in the comprehensive history of forestry in Alabama, go ahead and use the attached fillable PDF to place your order.
These books make excellent gifts for friends and family! So go ahead and sign up for an early copy NOW!