GOP candidate Drew McKay beats Glenn Watson in Madison County tax collector primary

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — The last few days have been exhausting for Madison County tax collector candidate Drew McKay, but the sleepless nights and long hours were worth it.

McKay, 32, won the Republican primary Tuesday evening against challenger Glenn Watson, a former Huntsville City Councilman for 12 years. Complete but unofficial returns show McKay took 65 percent (13,472) of the vote, while Watson nabbed 35 percent (7,134).

McKay, who ran unsuccessfully for the Madison County Commission in 2012 and tax assessor in 2008, will face longtime Democratic incumbent Lynda Hall in the Nov. 4 general election.

“First and foremost, I want to thank my Lord and savior,” McKay said shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday. “Without him, none of this would’ve been possible.”

After a long day of last-minute campaigning, McKay and his supporters celebrated his win with a late-night meal from Steak-Out.

Watson watched the returns come in from his sub sandwich restaurant on Jordan Lane. He told AL.com he was “believe it or not – not the least bit disappointed” in the outcome of the race.

“I lost the race, but I gave it all I could, so what happens, happens,” he said. “The good Lord makes the decision.”

McKay is a property manager for McKay Properties and a day trader. He also started and owned a maintenance grounds business in Madison County.

McKay told AL.com he is an advocate for satellite office efficiency and courteous, timely service in the tax collector’s office.

Watson is the founder of Stanlieo’s Sub Villa, a 43-year-old sub shop with locations on Jordan Lane and Governors Drive. The 73-year-old small business owner works as a substitute teacher.

Watson also served as a police officer for eight years. The father of three with four grandchildren wanted to streamline the property tax payment system and be more available to taxpayers.

He was also passionate about combining the offices of tax collector and assessor. During a special election last fall, Madison County residents voted in favor of keeping the offices separate.

In an interview with both of the candidates last month, McKay opposed the idea of combining the offices.

“I feel that if the citizens of Madison County want that office to be combined, then they’ll voice their opinion further down the road,” he said. “But, that subject and that issue has already been hit and I feel it’s a moot point right now for the citizens of our county.”

Click here for short biographies of Watson and McKay.

Watson said the low voter turnout was a letdown.

“If we don’t stand up and vote, we’re going to end up with people that maybe shouldn’t be here,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s the case in Huntsville, but it could happen. If people don’t care, they have no right to complain.”

Send Lucy Berry an email at lberry@al.com.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/06/madison_county_tax_collector.html

Huntsville walks away from $8.2M deal to sell corner of John Hunt Park; coveted retail site back on the market

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Huntsville’s efforts to sell a corner of John Hunt Park for retail development have hit a major snag.

City Administrator John Hamilton said Huntsville recently parted ways with GBT Realty, its preferred developer for a 25-acre tract near the busy Airport Road-South Memorial Parkway intersection.

Nashville-based GBT had agreed to pay the city $8.2 million for the coveted site in July 2013 and announced plans for a 240,000-square-foot, mixed-use shopping center.

But after company officials sought changes to the contract terms and twice declined to sign the deal, Hamilton said, Mayor Tommy Battle decided to “end negotiations” with GBT and start talks with the developer that finished a close second in the original selection process. The city is now in early negotiations with Birmingham-based Merchants Retail Partners.

Sembler/Greenstone Properties of Atlanta was the other finalist following a months-long competitive bid process.

On Wednesday, Hamilton said Merchants Retail Partners seems “very, very interested” in buying the John Hunt Park land for a future shopping center.  While the terms of any agreement have yet to be determined, the purchase price would likely be less than the $8.2 million originally offered by GBT.

Said Hamilton: “We remain very optimistic about the opportunity to bring new development to Memorial Parkway, and to do it in a way that directly contributes to investment in our park system that is so critical to our community’s quality-of-life.”

Huntsville plans to use the land sale proceeds to improve John Hunt Park — site of the city’s first airport — and buy 140 acres along Triana Boulevard for a future outdoor sports complex.

Also, 25 percent of sales taxes generated by the future shopping center will be earmarked for John Hunt Park upgrades and maintenance.

Other than John Hunt Park, the Rocket City is awash in positive retail news. Battle is expected to announce today that hunting, fishing and outdoor gear retailer Cabela’s will start construction this fall on an outdoor superstore near Bridge Street Town Centre. Cabela’s would anchor a new retail development on Governors West called Parkside Town Centre.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/06/john_hunt_park_retail_area_in.html

Chief of Naval Operations: Sequestration will not affect Austal’s existing LCS and JHSV contracts


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Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle (L) and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert, discuss sequestration and how it will affect Austal’s Mobile shipyard, Feb. 22, 2013 in Mobile, Ala. (al.com/ Ellen Mitchell)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — Sequestration cuts will not affect Austal USA’s 10-ship, $1.6 billion joint high-speed vessel contract with the U.S. Navy, nor will it affect its contract to build five 127-meter littoral combat ships, according to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert.

During a tour of the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile today, Greenert said sequestration cuts will not affect projects that are already under contract, including Austal’s JHSV and LCS Navy deals.

“Sequestration will impact every single program; it requires a cut in every budget line,” Greenert said. “However, all those ships here that are under contract will not be affected, but we’ll have to move some money within the program line.”

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said Austal is optimistic that it’s providing a low cost
solution to the Navy, and does not expect any job cuts from
sequestration in regards to Austal’s existing Navy contracts.

“All
of our focus right now is delivering a great quality product to our
customer and that’s what we can control,” he said. “We’re confident,
based on the feedback that we’re getting from our customer, that we’re
stable on the contracts we have going forward.”

Standing alongside Perciavalle, Greenert addressed sequestration concerns, recent LCS criticisms and the future of the Navy’s partnership with Austal.

In a Bloomberg article released this week, critics inside the Navy referred to the LCS as the “Little Crappy Ship.” The article also discussed the debate over how vulnerable the LCS may be to attack, and cited numerous problems with the newly built vessels, including a six-inch crack in the hull of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s USS Freedom that had to be repaired, and “aggressive” corrosion in the propulsion area of Austal’s USS Independence.

Greenert said despite the LCS coming under fire recently for its design and cost, he’s looking forward to the Navy’s use of the ship.

“The Freedom and the Independence have proven their worth for the design of the ship,” he said. “Some folks felt that the ship should be used for missions or for capabilities which it frankly will not do. Some folks will put it in a situation and say ‘it’s not made for this, it won’t do well in this.’ I would acknowledge that.”

Greenert went on to say that the Navy has intentions to operate the ship in conjunction with other, larger ships, so he’s very optimistic that the ship will do well.

Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Maryland and Austal Ltd., based in Henderson, Australia, build two separate versions of the LCS. The dual sets of ships were meant to get them built faster, at a rate of four a year rather than two a year.

Lockheed makes a steel-bodied version in partnership with Marinette Marine Corp., at Marinette’s yard in Marinette, Wis., while Austal makes an aluminum version in partnership with Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. under a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract. The estimated price to build each LCS is $440 million.

The LCS is intended to perform missions such as destroying mines, hunting submarines, interdicting drugs and providing humanitarian relief.

“As a customer, I’m here to check out the wares that we buy,” Greenert said of his shipyard tour. “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve got a lot of capacity for future building.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/chief_of_naval_operations_sequ.html

Alabama State Port Authority: Shipping report for Feb 24


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The MSC LAURA docks at APM Terminals Mobile, June 4, 2012 in Mobile, Ala. (Photo courtesy of the Alabama State Port Authority)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — The Alabama State Port Authority provides its weekly port activity report, including ship departures and arrivals for the next week.

Departure and arrival dates, vessel name, berth, destination and cargo are provided below. Look for the report here on al.com each Sunday.

Arrivals:

Feb. 23: OSTENDE MAX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 23: INTERLINK ACUITY; ASD PIER SOUTH D 1; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 24: STAR EAGLE; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; PANAMA CITY; GENERAL CARGO

Feb 24: AM CONTRECOEUR; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; SWINOUJSCIE, PL; BULK CARGO

Feb 24: MSC JORDAN; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: MSC BARCELONA; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: LIJUN C; ASD SOUTH B 2; KINGSTON, JM; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: BBC ROMANIA; ASD PIER 5; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: LETO; ASD MCDUFFIE; IMMINGHAM, GB; BULK CARGO

Feb. 25: SPIEGELGRACHT; ASD RIVER END C; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: BANDA SEA; ASD RAIL FERRY RAMP; COATZACOALCOS, MX; RAIL

Feb. 26: OCEAN BEAUTY; ASD NORTH A 2; NEW ORLEANS; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: STELLA BECRUX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; CONSTANTZA, RO; BULK CARGO

Feb. 26: THOR; ASD PINTO ISLAND; UNKNOWN, US; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: SEA-LAND EAGLE; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Feb. 26: MALTE B; ASD PIER 5; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: STAR EPSILON; ASD NORTH A 2; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: MARITIME SUZANNE; ASD LIQUID BULK TERMINAL ; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 27: LATMAR; ASD NORTH A 2; BROWNSVILLE-CAMERON COUNTY; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: ALBION BAY; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: CMA CGM NEW JERSEY; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/alabama_state_port_authority_s.html

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Read the latest Mobile business news at al.com/business/mobile, or read all our business news at al.com/business.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/mobile_business_news.html

Books-A-Million sees dollars in ducks, will sell "Duck Dynasty" merchandise


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The Duck Commander display that will be installed in Books-A-Million stores. (Special)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Things are just ducky at Birmingham-based Books-A-Million Inc.

The bookstore chain today announced that its stores will sell more than 40 items from Duck Commander, the line of goods associated with the popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

Camo store displays will be stocked with DVDs, books, t-shirts, hats, key chains and other novelties. The displays also will include duck calls, the product that made the extended Robertson family wealthy and ultimately got them on television.

The show, which is AE’s highest-rated program, follows the antics of the unconventional Louisiana family and its business. The show’s popularity led to the extended Duck Commander product line. On the Duck Commander website duck calls range in price from $24.95 to $179.95.

Jeff Skipper, Books-A-Million vice president of marketing, said the push to sell Duck Commander merchandise is in response to explosive demand.

“We saw a tremendous amount of interest in all things “Duck” during the holiday selling season,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our team made the decision to create a custom, in-store display so that we could give our customers a one-stop-shop for all their favorite Duck Commander gear.”

The displays will be installed in all Books-A-Million stores before the television show begins its third season on Wednesday, the company said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/books-a-million_sees_dollars_i.html

Friday recap: The week’s Alabama business news in review

Alabama business news you may have missed this week:

J.D. Power and Associates releases its 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study.

Best Buy to extend its price matching guarantee to major online competitors.

Communications experts dissect Carnival Cruise Lines’ response to the Triumph debacle.

Vulcan Materials begins blasting on Gurley Mountain.

A Montgomery auto dealer is named vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The Department of Defense considers an alternative to sequestration that would reduce civilian employees’ pay and hours by 20 percent.

HealthSouth saw a 6.7 percent increase in full-year revenue in 2012, generating $2.16 billion in business over the 12-month period.

Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex eagerly awaits the addition of new tenant Airbus.

Work begins on the new Birmingham School of Law.

Investors with Audley Capital Advisors accuse Walter Energy’s leaders of having mismanaged the company.

International Shipholding is preparing a $25 million stock offering.

Lesley McClure, regional executive at the Atlanta Fed’s Birmingham Branch, sees strength in the state’s auto industry.

Alabama’s brewing industry has doubled in size each of the last three years, a new report shows.

AirWalk, a new extreme trampoline arena in metro Birmingham, draws thousands.

Office Depot is set to acquire OfficeMax, a move that may accelerate the closing or selling of stores. The retailers have a combined 32 stores in Alabama.

Alabama’s second annual sales tax holiday for severe weather gear kicks off Friday.

Walmart plans to hire 175 people for two of its Neighborhood Markets opening in Decatur and Florence.

How many engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Huntsville is celebrating National Engineers Week.

The Mobile Boat Show kicks off Friday as optimism is again running high in the marine manufacturing industry.

Alabama’s economy supports slightly fewer jobs than it did at the start of 2000. But non-manufacturing jobs have increased.

BAE Systems Ship Repair in Mobile will avoid layoffs.

First Watch, a Bradenton, Fla.-based restaurant chain, is headed for Birmingham.

Winn-Dixie is moving into a space in Inverness Corners vacated by Bruno’s market.

There was a leadership shuffle at Mobile’s White-Spunner Construction Inc.

Express Oil Change Service Center, a Birmingham-based company with operations in 12 states, acquires Tire Engineers.

Ignite Fitness, a Crossfit affiliate, is expanding in Vestavia Hills.

Cahaba Brewing and Hop City unite to make beer backing home brewing law.

Mercedes plant gets a new boss, but it’s a familiar face.

Knology buyer Wow! investing and rebranding in North Alabama.

Divided Birmingham Water Works Board approves $145 million bond deal.

Airbus plant, along with expanding training and infrastructure programs, cited as progress for Accelerate Alabama.

Regions CEO Hall to assume chairmanship in May.


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Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/friday_recap_the_weeks_alabama_1.html

Birmingham business news has moved to a new location on AL.com


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 To get the latest Birmingham-area business news, please visit al.com/business/birmingham. For more business news, visit al.com/business.

If you’re an RSS subscriber, you can find the new feed here.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/birmingham_business_news_has_m.html

TVA studying new EPA clean air rules, says already cutting emissions, will continue coal phase-out

TVA’s CEO Bill Johnson said today the utility is studying proposed new federal rule changes aimed at cutting carbon emissions, but cutting emissions is a trend TVA has been following since 2005.

Johnson said in a conference call this afternoon that TVA has cut its carbon dioxide emissions by about 30 percent since 2005 and expects a 40 percent reduction by 2020. TVA said by 2020, its carbon emissions will be about half of what they were at the 1995 peak.

Coal plants are considered the chief sources of carbon emissions and the proposed EPA plan looks for an overall carbon emissions cut of 30 percent by 2030, using 2005 as the starting point.

In a formal statement TVA said it supports “achieving environmental goals in a manner that allows for efficient operations, affordable electricity rates and reliable generation across the Tennessee Valley to meet the needs of our customers.”  

 While TVA has been cutting coal emissions and shutting down coal plants, coal remains the Tennessee Valley Authority’s largest fuel source, accounting for 43 percent of its power generation, according the utility’s last annual report. Nuclear generation is second at 36 percent of TVA’s generation.

Johnson said coal will remain important to TVA, but he expects nuclear power generation and hydro-dam generation to play a larger role, with coal generation being reduced to 20-25 percent of TVA’s overall energy generation by 2020.

He said TVA’s plans for the next couple of years are unlikely to be affected by the proposed rule changes, but it is too early to assess the impact on the longer term outlook.

Johnson said TVA is studying the regulations and expects to participate in the comment period that is open for the next couple of months. The final rules are scheduled to be put in place a year from now, but a political fight is looming and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has predicted the proposals would have a sharply negative impact on the U.S. economy.

TVA has previously been involved in litigation over efforts to regulate carbon emissions.  Johnson said he doubts the utility would join a lawsuit to block the new regulations under consideration.  A 2011 settlement over emissions included TVA announcing it was phasing out some coal units and spending more than $1 billion on scrubbing, pollution controls.

With nuclear power expected to play a larger role in future generation, Johnson was asked about TVA’s plans to resume work on the never-completed Bellefonte plant in Hollywood. Johnson said Bellefonte’s construction was scaled back in 2012 due to slowed energy demand among TVA customers.

Johnson said when the TVA board decided to move forward and resume work at Bellefonte – in 2011 — TVA was seeing about 3 percent annual increases in power demand. Given a loss of a major industrial customer, increased energy efficiency and the effects of the recession, current demand is less than 1 percent.

“Obviously this proposal makes nuclear more attractive, the issue on Bellefonte is the greater need for large baseload generation, when that demand will come,” Johnson said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/06/tva_studying_epa_clean_air_rul.html

GOP candidate Drew McKay beats Glenn Watson in Madison County tax collector primary

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — The last few days have been exhausting for Madison County tax collector candidate Drew McKay, but the sleepless nights and long hours were worth it.

McKay, 32, won the Republican primary Tuesday evening against challenger Glenn Watson, a former Huntsville City Councilman for 12 years. Complete but unofficial returns show McKay took 65 percent (13,472) of the vote, while Watson nabbed 35 percent (7,134).

McKay, who ran unsuccessfully for the Madison County Commission in 2012 and tax assessor in 2008, will face longtime Democratic incumbent Lynda Hall in the Nov. 4 general election.

“First and foremost, I want to thank my Lord and savior,” McKay said shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday. “Without him, none of this would’ve been possible.”

After a long day of last-minute campaigning, McKay and his supporters celebrated his win with a late-night meal from Steak-Out.

Watson watched the returns come in from his sub sandwich restaurant on Jordan Lane. He told AL.com he was “believe it or not – not the least bit disappointed” in the outcome of the race.

“I lost the race, but I gave it all I could, so what happens, happens,” he said. “The good Lord makes the decision.”

McKay is a property manager for McKay Properties and a day trader. He also started and owned a maintenance grounds business in Madison County.

McKay told AL.com he is an advocate for satellite office efficiency and courteous, timely service in the tax collector’s office.

Watson is the founder of Stanlieo’s Sub Villa, a 43-year-old sub shop with locations on Jordan Lane and Governors Drive. The 73-year-old small business owner works as a substitute teacher.

Watson also served as a police officer for eight years. The father of three with four grandchildren wanted to streamline the property tax payment system and be more available to taxpayers.

He was also passionate about combining the offices of tax collector and assessor. During a special election last fall, Madison County residents voted in favor of keeping the offices separate.

In an interview with both of the candidates last month, McKay opposed the idea of combining the offices.

“I feel that if the citizens of Madison County want that office to be combined, then they’ll voice their opinion further down the road,” he said. “But, that subject and that issue has already been hit and I feel it’s a moot point right now for the citizens of our county.”

Click here for short biographies of Watson and McKay.

Watson said the low voter turnout was a letdown.

“If we don’t stand up and vote, we’re going to end up with people that maybe shouldn’t be here,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s the case in Huntsville, but it could happen. If people don’t care, they have no right to complain.”

Send Lucy Berry an email at lberry@al.com.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/06/madison_county_tax_collector.html