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AFA Newsroom Archive [V8N6] [3-15-13]
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AFA Newsroom V8 No. 6, March 15, 2013

FROM THE EVP: When it Comes to Education Reform, If Not Now, When?

Several decades ago, American automakers watched their market shares drop and their profits erode as “foreign” models began showing up in a greater number of garages across the country.  At the core of this decline was car buyers’ perception that imports offered higher quality.

Key to reversing this decline in sales was improving the quality of American models.  Key to surviving the decrease in profits was reducing costs by driving efficiencies into the manufacturing of a higher quality product.  Where plants failed to meet goals, Boards overcame union opposition, shut them down and shifted the production to other plants that could.

Read the Rest of Chris' Column

Status Reports on House & Senate Bills Introduced in 2013 Regular Session

By Tom Saunders
Attached are the Senate & House Status reports for legislative activity through Tuesday, March 12, 2013, the 12th legislative day.  

Of note: 
1.  AFA introduced a bill in the Senate to preclude the state from adopting a green building code that discriminates against certain forest certification systems. (See SB326, below)
2. The Senate and House concurred on the bill that consolidates public safety functions.  It is now on its way to the Governor.
3. The Senate and House concurred on the bill to create the Office of Secretary of Information Technology, the first bill of two that will lead to savings by consolidating the information technology functions of state government.
4. The Senate passed a general fund budget (is this a record?)

SB326 was introduced Tuesday in the Alabama Senate on behalf of the Alabama Forestry Association.  The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) and Marc Keahey (D-Grove Hill) will be in the Senate Ag & Forestry Committee this afternoon.  The purpose of the bill is to specify that any green building standard used for construction or major renovation of public buildings by state and local governments would be required to treat all forest certification standards equallySee attached Bill

A companion bill is ready for introduction in the House and is sponsored by Representative Mike Jones (R-Andalusia).

I will keep you updated on the bill’s progress.


STATESMAN'S CORNER: Representative Chad Fincher, R-Semmes 

Representative Chad Fincher grew up in the Tanner Williams Community and resides in Semmes, Alabama.

Representative Fincher is a Realtor and owns Fincher & Associates Realty Services. He is a licensed real estate agent in the state of Alabama and Mississippi. He graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. in Forestry Operations and is a Registered Forester for the State of Alabama.

Representative Fincher serves on the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee, he is past chairman for the Mobile County Young Republicans, and a member of the Mobile County GOP. He is actively involved in the Mobile Area Association of Realtors and serves on the Governmental Affairs Committee. He is a past president Tanner Williams Community Club and past vice-president of the Tanner Williams Civic and Historical Society. Representative Fincher is also a past board member for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Mobile.

The organizations he belongs to includes: Tanner Williams Civic and Historical Society, Friends of Semmes, Semmes Historical Society, Citronelle Historical Society, Mobile County Landowners Association, Mobile Area Association of Realtors, Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Treasure Forest Association and Alabama Forestry Association. Representative Fincher is married to Caresse Hughes Fincher. They have one daughter Anna Catherine, and attend West Mobile Baptist Church.

>  Ways and Means General Fund
> Agriculture and Forestry (Chair)
Mobile County Legislation

Contact: Office, (334) 242-7778. Email, 

AFA has Great Mid-Winter Meeting, Thanks Fran for 23-Year Contribution to the Association 

The members of the Alabama Forestry Association joined hands to say "thank you" to Fran Whitaker on her retirement after 23-years of service to the Association. Not only thanked by her peers, Fran also received thanks from the likes of Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey, a friend and longtime member of the AFA; State Senator Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, who presented Fran with congratulatory resolutions from the Alabama House and Senate; AFA Treasurer Bob Sharp, who presented Fran with a letter of congratulations from Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley; and EVP Chris Isaacson who presented Fran with an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capital and a special gift from the Association.

Although she smiled through a few tears, Fran had a great time and deserved the accolades she received from the special guests and from the members of the Association for her many years of outstanding service to the AFA.

More generally, the 2013 Mid-Winter Meeting was a hit with attendees who enjoyed the usual brace of activities from great forestry-related programs, to outstanding local shopping and a round of golf on a very chilly Links Course on Saturday.

As is always the case, Mid-Winter presented members with an excellent opportunity to network with other members and also catch up on all of the latest info about what our state and federal governments have instore for us. Attached is a list of the sponsors of Mid-Winter 2013. If you have the opportunity please thank these fine companies. They help make our meetings possible and successful.  

 Above left, AFA-EVP Chris Isaacson presented Fran with an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol. At right, Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey presented Fran with a certificate from the Lientenant Governor for her years of service to AFA and the state. Above left, Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor presented Fran with congratulatory resolutions from the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate. Above right, intrepid golfers Doug Bowling, Jimmy Lovinggood, Monte Simpson and Jimmy Nicholson braved a very chilly wind to play in the golf outing on Saturday.

"Fatigued Driving" a Key Factor in FMCSA's Assessment of Forestry Transportation

By Ray Cliifton
In the last issue of Logger Notes I outlined the challenges our industry faces in complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's CSA (FMCSA) program.

The measurement data is scored and weighted based on seven factors: Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo, and Crash indicators.

Read Logger Notes...    

AFF Supporting Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative in Rural Schools

The Alabama Forestry Foundation supports the Alabama Math Science & Technology Initiative (AMSTI) by funding the program in two schools in the Black Belt Region and offering core support for a third. 

Thomasville Elementary and J.U. Blacksher K-12 are both rural schools that through this program are being provided on site “coach” teachers. These coach teachers then provide training, materials and assistance to all of the teachers to integrate math and science into all learning areas.

The AMSTI program is a great way to increase the awareness and student performance in the areas of math, science and technology.  

PHOTOS: In above left photo, two kindergarteners from Thomasville Elementary School work on an AMSTI project. In photo at right, an AMSTI Coach works with students at Thomasville Middle School. (AFA Photos by Liz Chambers)

Weyerhaeuser Launches TAPPISAFE Safety Orientation at Columbus Mill

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Weyerhaeuser has rolled out the TAPPISAFE Safety Orientation Program at its Columbus, Mississippi manufacturing facility. TAPPISAFE, a servicee TAPPI offered in partnership with the Alliance Safety Council, provides a standardized safety orientation program for contractors and is the only safety orientation program specifically designed for the industry, by the industry. 

Read more...  

Log a Load Update: Don't forget the 2013 Gator Giveaway! 

Don't forget that the national Log a Load program is selling chances on a brand new John Deere Gator to help raised funds for Log a Load. For $10 you can purchase one ticket and $20 will buy you three chances to win this classic 4-wheeler. The good thing is, the money raised will stay in each state. So if you buy chances you will be contributing to the Alabama program. For more information about the Gator giveaway, contact State Log a Load Chair Janet Ison at (334) 757-8282 or at

For a press release on the Gator program, click here. For a copy of the Gator Giveaway guidelines, click here

Checks were recently cut for Children's Hospital of Birmingham, Children's and Women's Hospital of Mobile and the Children's Healthcare Foundation of Atlanta Foundation for their share of the than $204,610 raised by Log a Load this year. In the photo, left, Alabama Loggers Council Director Ray Clifton (right) and AFA Communication's Director Sam Duvall present check for Children's Hospital to hospital representative Emily Hornak, who happened to be visiting Montgomery the day the checks were struck.  

Announced Log a Load Events in Alabama in 2013 include:

> March 15-16. A Log a Load event will be held in conjunction with the 56th Annual Southern Forestry Conclave at Auburn Unversity, sponsored by STIHL
> April 13. An event will be held in the Warrior District (details to follow in next Newsroom)
> April 20. Piedmont District will hold its 1st Annual Log a Load Turkey Shoot at the Oaks in LaFayette.
See attached flyer

> May 3rd. Shannon White will hold his annual Piedmont Sporting Clays event at Selwood Farms. Contact Shannon White at (256) 207-0166 or via email at  For a flyer/registration document, click here.
> May 18th. Angie Sherrill will hold her Annual Wiregrass District Trail Ride near Abbeville.
> May 23rd. The Delta District will hold its annual golf event at Chatom. Click here for event flyer. For registration document, click here.

Poll Says Obama Losing Ground With Taxpayers/Voters Over the Economy  

A new poll reported by the Washington Post says that President Obama is losing ground over his handling of the US economy and that his favorability rating is lower than most recent presidents at a similar stage of a second term.

Tax Foundation Reports:
Sequester Cuts the Wrong Programs & Cutting Corporate Tax Would Pay For Itself

The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan organization that studies tax issues, says that the "Sequester" which Congress passed and President Obama signed cuts non-discretionary programs like defense but does not touch "entitlements" which is the area where costs are running wild. Click here for Release.
The Tax Foundation also has conducted a study that shows if corporate income tax rates were cut, the resulting economic activity would cover the loss of the taxes and provide a net revenue bonus to the US treasury and help boost the economy toward more robust growth and performance. 

Click here for the tax report.


PLM Training Sessions March 21 & 28 at CAT Center Sponsored by SFI, AU and AFC    

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Auburn University, and the Alabama Forestry Commission will host the first initial training for the Professional Logging Manager designation on March 21 and 28 at the Caterpillar Training Center near Auburn/Opelika. This class is required to receive the PLM designation for the first time but does not qualify for continuing education.

To register for the class, complete the
registration form and  return to AFA. For additional information Contact:

FRA and Other Organizations have Produced a New Logger Training Program and Video

Rockville, MD -- The North Carolina Forestry Association, the National Timber Harvesting and Transportation Safety Foundation (THATS), and a large number number of supporting organizations have produced Be Seen, Be Safe, Be Alive, a 12-minute video addressing safety exposures for ground workers on logging decks, with accident-prevention guidelines.

The instructional DVD, available from the Forest Resources Association, is suitable for group instruction or one-on-one orientation for logging workers. If you are interested in ordering the video and order form is attached for your use.

Alabama Policy Institute Talks About Medicaid Reform "That makes sense"  

While Governor Robert Bentley continues to stand firm against the expansion of Medicaid, the proponents of an expansion continue to insist that Alabama grow a program which has proven unmanageable and unaffordable for the state.

Gov. Bentley joined 19 other governors in rejecting the federal offer to pay 100% of the additional Medicaid costs for the first three years, declining to 90% until 2020, when the matching rates becomes anybody's guess.


West (and The Rest of) Alabama Benefits From Hunters

Many things aren't appreciated until they're gone. When people interested in conserving wildlife and their habitat noticed that the number of hunters was declining, it was reason for concern. They understood one important fact; hunters pay the bills for conservation.
Read more... 

Despite Recent Reporting on Gun Sales, Survey Says Gun Ownership is Down 

The share of American households with guns has declined over the past four decades, a national survey shows, with some of the most surprising drops in the South and the Western mountain states, where guns are deeply embedded in the culture.

The gun ownership rate has fallen across a broad cross section of households since the early 1970s, according to data from the General Social Survey, a public opinion survey conducted every two years that asks a sample of American adults if they have guns at home, among other questions.


Field Day Event and PLM Credit Reminder for April 18 Event

The Conecuh County Forestry Planning Committee will host a landowner field day at Saloom Properties, LLC on April 18 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The field day will include professional speakers on wildlife, longleaf and forest product markets, a free lunch and twenty nine vendors and exhibitors.
Salem and Dianne Saloom have been recognized as winners of the Helene Moseley Treasure Forest Award and were the National Tree Farm Family of the Year in 2010. Mark your calendars now for this opportunity to learn new ideas on wildlife and forest management and to network with like-minded landowners and resource professionals. Call 251-578-2762 or email to pre-register.

Review Flyer...

AF&PA Features Video and Documents of the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 Program

AF&PA has developed a toolkit of information and a sustainability video that can help members to better understand and communicate best practices that are being and should be used to ensure that achieve the goals of sustainability managing our precious forestry resources. The toolkit consists of different documents that communicate the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 program and progress in different ways:

> The pocket card is the most succinct and small-scale overview of the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 program. The one-pager provides the same information in a different format.

> The brochure is a six-page document containing a bullet point-overview and graphs of each goal progress.

> The topline messages highlight the most important messages on the program and the goals. These messages can easily be used for interviews and written communications.

> The toolkit contains six fact sheets – one for each goal. The fact sheets can be used to highlight one or more specific goals, instead of the overall program. Each fact sheets outlines the goal and the logic behind it; AF&PA and/or AF&PA member efforts; goal progress and a corresponding graph; and where to find more information on the goal in the sustainability report.

All the above toolkit materials are also available on


> STIHL Collegiate Timbersports Championship Series at Auburn University
Forest Products Machinery & Equipment Exposition
North American Wood Window and Door Symposium
Forest Products Society and Society of Wood Science and Technology's combined 67th FPS International Convention

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