Obama gun-ban boost: Last Resort on target to open shooting range by summer

MADISON, Alabama — Call it a lucky hunch or incredible instinct, but either way, there’s no denying Russell Durling and his two partners opened their gun shop at an opportune time.

IMG_3316.JPG Russell Durling said he knew gun sales would boom if President Obama was re-elected, and his new store is on target to open a larger facility with shooting range this summer. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

Spurred by a surge in gun sales this winter, their store, Last Resort Guns, is on target for moving to a larger location by summer that will have the biggest indoor shooting range in Madison County. The new 11,000-square-foot store will still be on County Line Road, only further south in a new building currently under construction near Palmer Road.

Last Resort opened last April at 11156 County Line Road with the intention of building a client base and training its staff before starting a shooting range, Durling said.

“It was a big bite of the cherry to think you could open a range and open the shop at the same time. That’s a recipe for failure,” he said.

But it’s hard to say Last Resort took a cautious business approach after listening to Durling describe how he and his partners started stockpiling guns and ammo for an inventory months before they opened – all based on their belief that demand would boom once President Obama was re-elected.

“I bought every penny of gun stock I could, starting in 2012,” he said. “And after President Obama was re-elected I was convinced, no, I was convicted, that he would find a cause to push gun control.

“One of the reasons we started this business when we did – whether it was experience, a gut feeling, I don’t know – but our belief was that though President Obama had not put gun control on his first-term agenda, when re-elected and nothing to lose in a second term, the gun control agenda would resurface,” Durling said.

IMG_3309.JPG Though dozers already are moving dirt, Last Resort Guns will have a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the new County Line Road location. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook School gave gun control proponents the opportunity to play on public fears and outrage, he said, and just as he and his partners envisioned, throngs of gun buyers have rushed to Last Resort.

As the Times reported earlier this month, Alabama saw the nation’s largest spike in applications for firearm background checks, a sudden rise of 145 percent, between the months of October and December.

Durling said holiday shopping created some of that, but Last Resort saw sales triple since the Sandy Hook shooting Dec. 14.

The number of customers has generally followed the number of television “talking heads” debating the gun control issue, he added.

But that didn’t happen Thursday, as Democratic lawmakers theatrically announced plans for an assault weapons ban, the first gun control legislation from Capitol Hill since the shooter in Newtown, Conn., killed 20 children and six adults. There were seven customers in the store at 5 p.m., but that’s common when commuters stop by returning home from work, employees said.

Surprisingly, this past few days have been the quietest since days after the shooting, said Andy Jones, store co-owner.

“We’ve basically had people in store every moment of the day we’re open,” he said of December and January traffic. “Only in the past two days has there been a moment when a customer wasn’t in the store.”

The new store — next to Wing Zilla Grill — will have nearly twice of much showroom space as the current location, as well as a classroom for gun safety classes and a waiting lounge next to the shooting range, which will feature 12 lanes (expandable to 17) for target practice for pistols and .223 rifles.

IMG_3312.JPG The new facility under construction down the road will have a showroom nearly twice the size of the current store. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The shooting range was always going to be part of the Last Resort, Jones said, and the reasoning was when the United Kingdom banned hand guns in 1998, the last place handguns were allowed were at shooting ranges.

Durling and Jones came to America from England, so they saw the U.K. gun ban and reaction firsthand. While that experience helped them decide to open a gun shop, they said the main reason for starting the venture stemmed from a need for new jobs. Both are defense contractors, and they said starting a new business was in anticipation of canceled military projects.

There was some homework involved, too, Durling said, not just hunches based on experience.

Last Resort conducted a survey with the National Sport Shooting Foundation, which used a commercial database to show the Huntsville-Madison area could support a shooting range, he said.

“Other than Larry’s (Pistol Pawn), you have to go 30 miles to find another indoor range,” Durling said.

Last Resort will have a groundbreaking ceremony with the Madison Chamber of Commerce at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but earth-moving equipment was already at work this week. The owners said they hope the new store is open by June.

Until then, they will try to stay ahead of demand for guns and ammo, which Durling described as selling faster than they can replace. The storeroom shelves were nearly bare of bullets and the showroom was out of .22-caliber shells and 9mm range shells.

“If this (demand) keeps up, this thing’s going to come to a head and we’re going to run out of stock,” he said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/01/obama_gun-ban_boost_has_last_r.html

Alabama appeals court overturns former Madison Academy custodian’s disability award

gavel2.JPG(stock image) 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Madison Academy won a victory in a state appeals court today in opposing full disability benefits to a former school custodian whose health problems were compounded by working around chemicals, leaving her unable to work.

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a Madison County Circuit Court ruling from February 2013 that awarded permanent disability benefits under Alabama’s workers compensation to Lisa Hanvey.

Tommy McMurtrie, Hanvey’s Huntsville-based attorney, said she is in a difficult situation.

“We are disappointed in the majority opinion which reversed the decision of Judge Smith, who heard the evidence,” he said. “This young lady became totally disabled after exposure to chemicals at work. According to experts she will never be able to work again. This once-independent lady is now totally dependent upon Social Security. We believe the workers’ compensation laws were enacted to protect injured workers like Ms. Hanvey.”   

Ed Starnes, an attorney who represented Madison Academy, did not offer an immediate comment on the case.

The trial court found that she suffered a work-related injury from exposure to chemicals used for cleaning floors and stripping gym floor wax. The exposure aggravated an existing condition of myasthenia gravis, or MG, the trial court found. Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune, neuromuscular disorder that affects muscle function. There is no known cure, but early treatment can help control it, the court said.

A vocational training expert testified at the trial and found that Hanvey was “functionally illiterate” and unable to be retrained in a job that allow her to work despite her illness, the appeals court noted.

The trial court awarded Hanvey, who is in her mid-40s, $35,000 in accrued benefits, just over $50,000 in attorney fees and ordered the defendants to pay her $438.46 per week — her previous wage — less the 15 percent that covered the attorney fees, which is taken from the projected lifetime of the payments. So, under the order, Hanvey was to be paid $372.69 per week, for as long as she remained “permanently and totally disabled.”

Madison Academy appealed that ruling and the appeals court, in a 4-1 decision, today reversed Circuit Judge Jim Smith’s ruling. Judge Terry Moore wrote for the majority and was joined by judges Terri Willingham Thomas, Scott Donaldson and Craig Sorrell Pittman, presiding Judge William Thompson wrote a dissenting opinion.

The court’s dissenting opinion noted that Hanvey had been a janitor at the school for nearly five years before a floor refurbishing project was undertaken in 2011. The chemical exposure caused breathing problems and she was hospitalized three times in the summer and early fall of 2011.

In the appeals court’s majority opinion, the judges found that Hanvey’s problems were related to her illness, not her work.

“The employer does not dispute that the employee is unable to work, but it correctly observes that her permanent incapacity stems solely from her lingering and incurable MG, as established by undisputed evidence,” the opinion found. “By reviewing the record and determining that no substantial evidence supports a finding that the employee is permanently and totally disabled from the aggravation of the MG, as opposed to the MG itself, this court is not reweighing the evidence, or substituting its opinion for that of the trial court, but applying the law to the undisputed facts.”

The majority opinion also found that the trial court was not awarding compensation because “a preexisting condition has increased or prolonged the disability of the employee from her work-related exertion and chemical exposure,” but instead was applying the law of “medical causation,” which provides compensation “only for disabling injuries caused by the employment.”

The dissent argued that Hanvey had been able to perform her duties until the exposure to the chemicals cut short her work life.

“In this case, Hanvey’s exposure to chemicals rendered her MG symptomatic and prevented her from performing work that she was able to do before the exposure; that is, it accelerated her disease to the point at which her physicians determined she could never perform manual labor again, even though the MG was under control with medication,” the dissent argued. “Evidence also indicates that Hanvey is functionally illiterate and is not a suitable candidate for training for a desk job.”

The dissent argued under Alabama’s workers compensation law, “MA(Madison Academy) is responsible for providing Hanvey with workers’ compensation benefits for her permanent and total disability.”

The case was remanded back to the trial court to enter a judgment consistent with the appeals court opinon.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/04/alabama_appeals_court_overturn.html

YP Summit award nominations: recognize the incredible young professionals in Huntsville

YP Summit

UPDATE: The deadline for nominations has been EXTENDED to May 26!

Know some young people on the rise in Huntsville? AL.com is seeking nominations for Alabama’s Young Professional Awards, to be presented at the July 10 Alabama YP Summit in Birmingham.

There are 10 different categories for nominations from the public. Nominees have to be full-time Alabama residents, finalists must be able to attend the YP Summit and you can’t nominate yourself.

Nominations will be accepted through May 26.

NOMINATE OUTSTANDING YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN YOUR MARKET USING THIS LINK.

Finalists will be announced June 1, and the public can vote to narrow the field of finalists through June 8. The award winners will be announced at the YP Summit Friday, July 10, at 4 p.m.

The categories are:

  • YP Project of the Year, which recognizes a person or group that led a specific project that has made an impact on their community.  
  • YP Comeback of the Year, which recognizes a YP individual or group who made the most of a business, project or not-for-profit failure by bouncing back and continuing to make a positive impact on their community.
  • YP Agent of Change, which recognizes a person or group whose efforts created a turning point on an issue, paving the way for much more substantial change.
  • YP Entrepreneur, which recognizes a person or group leading a small-to-mid sized business.
  • YP Leader, which recognizes a person who works or volunteers for a not-for-profit, faith organization or public sector organization, including governmental entities.
  • YP Hero, which recognizes a person or group, 55 years or older, who goes above and beyond in their investment of time, talent and treasure in young professionals.
  • YP Rebel, which recognizes a person or group who not only walks to the beat of their own drum, but tends to set new trends whether it is their style or their substance.  
  • YP Influencer, which recognizes a person who uses social/new media to have a positive impact on their community.
  • YP Social Justice Champion, which recognizes a person who works hard to ensure fairness, equity and inclusion in their community.
  • YP Unsung Hero, which recognizes a person or group who does things for the right reason, but have not ever been publicly celebrated for their effort to make their company, organization or community better. 

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2015/05/yp_summit_award_nominations_re.html

Obama gun-ban boost: Last Resort on target to open shooting range by summer

MADISON, Alabama — Call it a lucky hunch or incredible instinct, but either way, there’s no denying Russell Durling and his two partners opened their gun shop at an opportune time.

IMG_3316.JPG Russell Durling said he knew gun sales would boom if President Obama was re-elected, and his new store is on target to open a larger facility with shooting range this summer. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

Spurred by a surge in gun sales this winter, their store, Last Resort Guns, is on target for moving to a larger location by summer that will have the biggest indoor shooting range in Madison County. The new 11,000-square-foot store will still be on County Line Road, only further south in a new building currently under construction near Palmer Road.

Last Resort opened last April at 11156 County Line Road with the intention of building a client base and training its staff before starting a shooting range, Durling said.

“It was a big bite of the cherry to think you could open a range and open the shop at the same time. That’s a recipe for failure,” he said.

But it’s hard to say Last Resort took a cautious business approach after listening to Durling describe how he and his partners started stockpiling guns and ammo for an inventory months before they opened – all based on their belief that demand would boom once President Obama was re-elected.

“I bought every penny of gun stock I could, starting in 2012,” he said. “And after President Obama was re-elected I was convinced, no, I was convicted, that he would find a cause to push gun control.

“One of the reasons we started this business when we did – whether it was experience, a gut feeling, I don’t know – but our belief was that though President Obama had not put gun control on his first-term agenda, when re-elected and nothing to lose in a second term, the gun control agenda would resurface,” Durling said.

IMG_3309.JPG Though dozers already are moving dirt, Last Resort Guns will have a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the new County Line Road location. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook School gave gun control proponents the opportunity to play on public fears and outrage, he said, and just as he and his partners envisioned, throngs of gun buyers have rushed to Last Resort.

As the Times reported earlier this month, Alabama saw the nation’s largest spike in applications for firearm background checks, a sudden rise of 145 percent, between the months of October and December.

Durling said holiday shopping created some of that, but Last Resort saw sales triple since the Sandy Hook shooting Dec. 14.

The number of customers has generally followed the number of television “talking heads” debating the gun control issue, he added.

But that didn’t happen Thursday, as Democratic lawmakers theatrically announced plans for an assault weapons ban, the first gun control legislation from Capitol Hill since the shooter in Newtown, Conn., killed 20 children and six adults. There were seven customers in the store at 5 p.m., but that’s common when commuters stop by returning home from work, employees said.

Surprisingly, this past few days have been the quietest since days after the shooting, said Andy Jones, store co-owner.

“We’ve basically had people in store every moment of the day we’re open,” he said of December and January traffic. “Only in the past two days has there been a moment when a customer wasn’t in the store.”

The new store — next to Wing Zilla Grill — will have nearly twice of much showroom space as the current location, as well as a classroom for gun safety classes and a waiting lounge next to the shooting range, which will feature 12 lanes (expandable to 17) for target practice for pistols and .223 rifles.

IMG_3312.JPG The new facility under construction down the road will have a showroom nearly twice the size of the current store. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The shooting range was always going to be part of the Last Resort, Jones said, and the reasoning was when the United Kingdom banned hand guns in 1998, the last place handguns were allowed were at shooting ranges.

Durling and Jones came to America from England, so they saw the U.K. gun ban and reaction firsthand. While that experience helped them decide to open a gun shop, they said the main reason for starting the venture stemmed from a need for new jobs. Both are defense contractors, and they said starting a new business was in anticipation of canceled military projects.

There was some homework involved, too, Durling said, not just hunches based on experience.

Last Resort conducted a survey with the National Sport Shooting Foundation, which used a commercial database to show the Huntsville-Madison area could support a shooting range, he said.

“Other than Larry’s (Pistol Pawn), you have to go 30 miles to find another indoor range,” Durling said.

Last Resort will have a groundbreaking ceremony with the Madison Chamber of Commerce at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but earth-moving equipment was already at work this week. The owners said they hope the new store is open by June.

Until then, they will try to stay ahead of demand for guns and ammo, which Durling described as selling faster than they can replace. The storeroom shelves were nearly bare of bullets and the showroom was out of .22-caliber shells and 9mm range shells.

“If this (demand) keeps up, this thing’s going to come to a head and we’re going to run out of stock,” he said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/01/obama_gun-ban_boost_has_last_r.html

Alabama appeals court overturns former Madison Academy custodian’s disability award

gavel2.JPG(stock image) 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Madison Academy won a victory in a state appeals court today in opposing full disability benefits to a former school custodian whose health problems were compounded by working around chemicals, leaving her unable to work.

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a Madison County Circuit Court ruling from February 2013 that awarded permanent disability benefits under Alabama’s workers compensation to Lisa Hanvey.

Tommy McMurtrie, Hanvey’s Huntsville-based attorney, said she is in a difficult situation.

“We are disappointed in the majority opinion which reversed the decision of Judge Smith, who heard the evidence,” he said. “This young lady became totally disabled after exposure to chemicals at work. According to experts she will never be able to work again. This once-independent lady is now totally dependent upon Social Security. We believe the workers’ compensation laws were enacted to protect injured workers like Ms. Hanvey.”   

Ed Starnes, an attorney who represented Madison Academy, did not offer an immediate comment on the case.

The trial court found that she suffered a work-related injury from exposure to chemicals used for cleaning floors and stripping gym floor wax. The exposure aggravated an existing condition of myasthenia gravis, or MG, the trial court found. Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune, neuromuscular disorder that affects muscle function. There is no known cure, but early treatment can help control it, the court said.

A vocational training expert testified at the trial and found that Hanvey was “functionally illiterate” and unable to be retrained in a job that allow her to work despite her illness, the appeals court noted.

The trial court awarded Hanvey, who is in her mid-40s, $35,000 in accrued benefits, just over $50,000 in attorney fees and ordered the defendants to pay her $438.46 per week — her previous wage — less the 15 percent that covered the attorney fees, which is taken from the projected lifetime of the payments. So, under the order, Hanvey was to be paid $372.69 per week, for as long as she remained “permanently and totally disabled.”

Madison Academy appealed that ruling and the appeals court, in a 4-1 decision, today reversed Circuit Judge Jim Smith’s ruling. Judge Terry Moore wrote for the majority and was joined by judges Terri Willingham Thomas, Scott Donaldson and Craig Sorrell Pittman, presiding Judge William Thompson wrote a dissenting opinion.

The court’s dissenting opinion noted that Hanvey had been a janitor at the school for nearly five years before a floor refurbishing project was undertaken in 2011. The chemical exposure caused breathing problems and she was hospitalized three times in the summer and early fall of 2011.

In the appeals court’s majority opinion, the judges found that Hanvey’s problems were related to her illness, not her work.

“The employer does not dispute that the employee is unable to work, but it correctly observes that her permanent incapacity stems solely from her lingering and incurable MG, as established by undisputed evidence,” the opinion found. “By reviewing the record and determining that no substantial evidence supports a finding that the employee is permanently and totally disabled from the aggravation of the MG, as opposed to the MG itself, this court is not reweighing the evidence, or substituting its opinion for that of the trial court, but applying the law to the undisputed facts.”

The majority opinion also found that the trial court was not awarding compensation because “a preexisting condition has increased or prolonged the disability of the employee from her work-related exertion and chemical exposure,” but instead was applying the law of “medical causation,” which provides compensation “only for disabling injuries caused by the employment.”

The dissent argued that Hanvey had been able to perform her duties until the exposure to the chemicals cut short her work life.

“In this case, Hanvey’s exposure to chemicals rendered her MG symptomatic and prevented her from performing work that she was able to do before the exposure; that is, it accelerated her disease to the point at which her physicians determined she could never perform manual labor again, even though the MG was under control with medication,” the dissent argued. “Evidence also indicates that Hanvey is functionally illiterate and is not a suitable candidate for training for a desk job.”

The dissent argued under Alabama’s workers compensation law, “MA(Madison Academy) is responsible for providing Hanvey with workers’ compensation benefits for her permanent and total disability.”

The case was remanded back to the trial court to enter a judgment consistent with the appeals court opinon.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/04/alabama_appeals_court_overturn.html

YP Summit award nominations: recognize the incredible young professionals in Huntsville

YP Summit

UPDATE: The deadline for nominations has been EXTENDED to May 26!

Know some young people on the rise in Huntsville? AL.com is seeking nominations for Alabama’s Young Professional Awards, to be presented at the July 10 Alabama YP Summit in Birmingham.

There are 10 different categories for nominations from the public. Nominees have to be full-time Alabama residents, finalists must be able to attend the YP Summit and you can’t nominate yourself.

Nominations will be accepted through May 26.

NOMINATE OUTSTANDING YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN YOUR MARKET USING THIS LINK.

Finalists will be announced June 1, and the public can vote to narrow the field of finalists through June 8. The award winners will be announced at the YP Summit Friday, July 10, at 4 p.m.

The categories are:

  • YP Project of the Year, which recognizes a person or group that led a specific project that has made an impact on their community.  
  • YP Comeback of the Year, which recognizes a YP individual or group who made the most of a business, project or not-for-profit failure by bouncing back and continuing to make a positive impact on their community.
  • YP Agent of Change, which recognizes a person or group whose efforts created a turning point on an issue, paving the way for much more substantial change.
  • YP Entrepreneur, which recognizes a person or group leading a small-to-mid sized business.
  • YP Leader, which recognizes a person who works or volunteers for a not-for-profit, faith organization or public sector organization, including governmental entities.
  • YP Hero, which recognizes a person or group, 55 years or older, who goes above and beyond in their investment of time, talent and treasure in young professionals.
  • YP Rebel, which recognizes a person or group who not only walks to the beat of their own drum, but tends to set new trends whether it is their style or their substance.  
  • YP Influencer, which recognizes a person who uses social/new media to have a positive impact on their community.
  • YP Social Justice Champion, which recognizes a person who works hard to ensure fairness, equity and inclusion in their community.
  • YP Unsung Hero, which recognizes a person or group who does things for the right reason, but have not ever been publicly celebrated for their effort to make their company, organization or community better. 

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2015/05/yp_summit_award_nominations_re.html

Obama gun-ban boost: Last Resort on target to open shooting range by summer

MADISON, Alabama — Call it a lucky hunch or incredible instinct, but either way, there’s no denying Russell Durling and his two partners opened their gun shop at an opportune time.

IMG_3316.JPG Russell Durling said he knew gun sales would boom if President Obama was re-elected, and his new store is on target to open a larger facility with shooting range this summer. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

Spurred by a surge in gun sales this winter, their store, Last Resort Guns, is on target for moving to a larger location by summer that will have the biggest indoor shooting range in Madison County. The new 11,000-square-foot store will still be on County Line Road, only further south in a new building currently under construction near Palmer Road.

Last Resort opened last April at 11156 County Line Road with the intention of building a client base and training its staff before starting a shooting range, Durling said.

“It was a big bite of the cherry to think you could open a range and open the shop at the same time. That’s a recipe for failure,” he said.

But it’s hard to say Last Resort took a cautious business approach after listening to Durling describe how he and his partners started stockpiling guns and ammo for an inventory months before they opened – all based on their belief that demand would boom once President Obama was re-elected.

“I bought every penny of gun stock I could, starting in 2012,” he said. “And after President Obama was re-elected I was convinced, no, I was convicted, that he would find a cause to push gun control.

“One of the reasons we started this business when we did – whether it was experience, a gut feeling, I don’t know – but our belief was that though President Obama had not put gun control on his first-term agenda, when re-elected and nothing to lose in a second term, the gun control agenda would resurface,” Durling said.

IMG_3309.JPG Though dozers already are moving dirt, Last Resort Guns will have a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the new County Line Road location. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook School gave gun control proponents the opportunity to play on public fears and outrage, he said, and just as he and his partners envisioned, throngs of gun buyers have rushed to Last Resort.

As the Times reported earlier this month, Alabama saw the nation’s largest spike in applications for firearm background checks, a sudden rise of 145 percent, between the months of October and December.

Durling said holiday shopping created some of that, but Last Resort saw sales triple since the Sandy Hook shooting Dec. 14.

The number of customers has generally followed the number of television “talking heads” debating the gun control issue, he added.

But that didn’t happen Thursday, as Democratic lawmakers theatrically announced plans for an assault weapons ban, the first gun control legislation from Capitol Hill since the shooter in Newtown, Conn., killed 20 children and six adults. There were seven customers in the store at 5 p.m., but that’s common when commuters stop by returning home from work, employees said.

Surprisingly, this past few days have been the quietest since days after the shooting, said Andy Jones, store co-owner.

“We’ve basically had people in store every moment of the day we’re open,” he said of December and January traffic. “Only in the past two days has there been a moment when a customer wasn’t in the store.”

The new store — next to Wing Zilla Grill — will have nearly twice of much showroom space as the current location, as well as a classroom for gun safety classes and a waiting lounge next to the shooting range, which will feature 12 lanes (expandable to 17) for target practice for pistols and .223 rifles.

IMG_3312.JPG The new facility under construction down the road will have a showroom nearly twice the size of the current store. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The shooting range was always going to be part of the Last Resort, Jones said, and the reasoning was when the United Kingdom banned hand guns in 1998, the last place handguns were allowed were at shooting ranges.

Durling and Jones came to America from England, so they saw the U.K. gun ban and reaction firsthand. While that experience helped them decide to open a gun shop, they said the main reason for starting the venture stemmed from a need for new jobs. Both are defense contractors, and they said starting a new business was in anticipation of canceled military projects.

There was some homework involved, too, Durling said, not just hunches based on experience.

Last Resort conducted a survey with the National Sport Shooting Foundation, which used a commercial database to show the Huntsville-Madison area could support a shooting range, he said.

“Other than Larry’s (Pistol Pawn), you have to go 30 miles to find another indoor range,” Durling said.

Last Resort will have a groundbreaking ceremony with the Madison Chamber of Commerce at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but earth-moving equipment was already at work this week. The owners said they hope the new store is open by June.

Until then, they will try to stay ahead of demand for guns and ammo, which Durling described as selling faster than they can replace. The storeroom shelves were nearly bare of bullets and the showroom was out of .22-caliber shells and 9mm range shells.

“If this (demand) keeps up, this thing’s going to come to a head and we’re going to run out of stock,” he said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/01/obama_gun-ban_boost_has_last_r.html

Alabama appeals court overturns former Madison Academy custodian’s disability award

gavel2.JPG(stock image) 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Madison Academy won a victory in a state appeals court today in opposing full disability benefits to a former school custodian whose health problems were compounded by working around chemicals, leaving her unable to work.

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a Madison County Circuit Court ruling from February 2013 that awarded permanent disability benefits under Alabama’s workers compensation to Lisa Hanvey.

Tommy McMurtrie, Hanvey’s Huntsville-based attorney, said she is in a difficult situation.

“We are disappointed in the majority opinion which reversed the decision of Judge Smith, who heard the evidence,” he said. “This young lady became totally disabled after exposure to chemicals at work. According to experts she will never be able to work again. This once-independent lady is now totally dependent upon Social Security. We believe the workers’ compensation laws were enacted to protect injured workers like Ms. Hanvey.”   

Ed Starnes, an attorney who represented Madison Academy, did not offer an immediate comment on the case.

The trial court found that she suffered a work-related injury from exposure to chemicals used for cleaning floors and stripping gym floor wax. The exposure aggravated an existing condition of myasthenia gravis, or MG, the trial court found. Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune, neuromuscular disorder that affects muscle function. There is no known cure, but early treatment can help control it, the court said.

A vocational training expert testified at the trial and found that Hanvey was “functionally illiterate” and unable to be retrained in a job that allow her to work despite her illness, the appeals court noted.

The trial court awarded Hanvey, who is in her mid-40s, $35,000 in accrued benefits, just over $50,000 in attorney fees and ordered the defendants to pay her $438.46 per week — her previous wage — less the 15 percent that covered the attorney fees, which is taken from the projected lifetime of the payments. So, under the order, Hanvey was to be paid $372.69 per week, for as long as she remained “permanently and totally disabled.”

Madison Academy appealed that ruling and the appeals court, in a 4-1 decision, today reversed Circuit Judge Jim Smith’s ruling. Judge Terry Moore wrote for the majority and was joined by judges Terri Willingham Thomas, Scott Donaldson and Craig Sorrell Pittman, presiding Judge William Thompson wrote a dissenting opinion.

The court’s dissenting opinion noted that Hanvey had been a janitor at the school for nearly five years before a floor refurbishing project was undertaken in 2011. The chemical exposure caused breathing problems and she was hospitalized three times in the summer and early fall of 2011.

In the appeals court’s majority opinion, the judges found that Hanvey’s problems were related to her illness, not her work.

“The employer does not dispute that the employee is unable to work, but it correctly observes that her permanent incapacity stems solely from her lingering and incurable MG, as established by undisputed evidence,” the opinion found. “By reviewing the record and determining that no substantial evidence supports a finding that the employee is permanently and totally disabled from the aggravation of the MG, as opposed to the MG itself, this court is not reweighing the evidence, or substituting its opinion for that of the trial court, but applying the law to the undisputed facts.”

The majority opinion also found that the trial court was not awarding compensation because “a preexisting condition has increased or prolonged the disability of the employee from her work-related exertion and chemical exposure,” but instead was applying the law of “medical causation,” which provides compensation “only for disabling injuries caused by the employment.”

The dissent argued that Hanvey had been able to perform her duties until the exposure to the chemicals cut short her work life.

“In this case, Hanvey’s exposure to chemicals rendered her MG symptomatic and prevented her from performing work that she was able to do before the exposure; that is, it accelerated her disease to the point at which her physicians determined she could never perform manual labor again, even though the MG was under control with medication,” the dissent argued. “Evidence also indicates that Hanvey is functionally illiterate and is not a suitable candidate for training for a desk job.”

The dissent argued under Alabama’s workers compensation law, “MA(Madison Academy) is responsible for providing Hanvey with workers’ compensation benefits for her permanent and total disability.”

The case was remanded back to the trial court to enter a judgment consistent with the appeals court opinon.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/04/alabama_appeals_court_overturn.html

YP Summit award nominations: recognize the incredible young professionals in Huntsville

YP Summit

UPDATE: The deadline for nominations has been EXTENDED to May 26!

Know some young people on the rise in Huntsville? AL.com is seeking nominations for Alabama’s Young Professional Awards, to be presented at the July 10 Alabama YP Summit in Birmingham.

There are 10 different categories for nominations from the public. Nominees have to be full-time Alabama residents, finalists must be able to attend the YP Summit and you can’t nominate yourself.

Nominations will be accepted through May 26.

NOMINATE OUTSTANDING YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN YOUR MARKET USING THIS LINK.

Finalists will be announced June 1, and the public can vote to narrow the field of finalists through June 8. The award winners will be announced at the YP Summit Friday, July 10, at 4 p.m.

The categories are:

  • YP Project of the Year, which recognizes a person or group that led a specific project that has made an impact on their community.  
  • YP Comeback of the Year, which recognizes a YP individual or group who made the most of a business, project or not-for-profit failure by bouncing back and continuing to make a positive impact on their community.
  • YP Agent of Change, which recognizes a person or group whose efforts created a turning point on an issue, paving the way for much more substantial change.
  • YP Entrepreneur, which recognizes a person or group leading a small-to-mid sized business.
  • YP Leader, which recognizes a person who works or volunteers for a not-for-profit, faith organization or public sector organization, including governmental entities.
  • YP Hero, which recognizes a person or group, 55 years or older, who goes above and beyond in their investment of time, talent and treasure in young professionals.
  • YP Rebel, which recognizes a person or group who not only walks to the beat of their own drum, but tends to set new trends whether it is their style or their substance.  
  • YP Influencer, which recognizes a person who uses social/new media to have a positive impact on their community.
  • YP Social Justice Champion, which recognizes a person who works hard to ensure fairness, equity and inclusion in their community.
  • YP Unsung Hero, which recognizes a person or group who does things for the right reason, but have not ever been publicly celebrated for their effort to make their company, organization or community better. 

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2015/05/yp_summit_award_nominations_re.html

Obama gun-ban boost: Last Resort on target to open shooting range by summer

MADISON, Alabama — Call it a lucky hunch or incredible instinct, but either way, there’s no denying Russell Durling and his two partners opened their gun shop at an opportune time.

IMG_3316.JPG Russell Durling said he knew gun sales would boom if President Obama was re-elected, and his new store is on target to open a larger facility with shooting range this summer. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

Spurred by a surge in gun sales this winter, their store, Last Resort Guns, is on target for moving to a larger location by summer that will have the biggest indoor shooting range in Madison County. The new 11,000-square-foot store will still be on County Line Road, only further south in a new building currently under construction near Palmer Road.

Last Resort opened last April at 11156 County Line Road with the intention of building a client base and training its staff before starting a shooting range, Durling said.

“It was a big bite of the cherry to think you could open a range and open the shop at the same time. That’s a recipe for failure,” he said.

But it’s hard to say Last Resort took a cautious business approach after listening to Durling describe how he and his partners started stockpiling guns and ammo for an inventory months before they opened – all based on their belief that demand would boom once President Obama was re-elected.

“I bought every penny of gun stock I could, starting in 2012,” he said. “And after President Obama was re-elected I was convinced, no, I was convicted, that he would find a cause to push gun control.

“One of the reasons we started this business when we did – whether it was experience, a gut feeling, I don’t know – but our belief was that though President Obama had not put gun control on his first-term agenda, when re-elected and nothing to lose in a second term, the gun control agenda would resurface,” Durling said.

IMG_3309.JPG Though dozers already are moving dirt, Last Resort Guns will have a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the new County Line Road location. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook School gave gun control proponents the opportunity to play on public fears and outrage, he said, and just as he and his partners envisioned, throngs of gun buyers have rushed to Last Resort.

As the Times reported earlier this month, Alabama saw the nation’s largest spike in applications for firearm background checks, a sudden rise of 145 percent, between the months of October and December.

Durling said holiday shopping created some of that, but Last Resort saw sales triple since the Sandy Hook shooting Dec. 14.

The number of customers has generally followed the number of television “talking heads” debating the gun control issue, he added.

But that didn’t happen Thursday, as Democratic lawmakers theatrically announced plans for an assault weapons ban, the first gun control legislation from Capitol Hill since the shooter in Newtown, Conn., killed 20 children and six adults. There were seven customers in the store at 5 p.m., but that’s common when commuters stop by returning home from work, employees said.

Surprisingly, this past few days have been the quietest since days after the shooting, said Andy Jones, store co-owner.

“We’ve basically had people in store every moment of the day we’re open,” he said of December and January traffic. “Only in the past two days has there been a moment when a customer wasn’t in the store.”

The new store — next to Wing Zilla Grill — will have nearly twice of much showroom space as the current location, as well as a classroom for gun safety classes and a waiting lounge next to the shooting range, which will feature 12 lanes (expandable to 17) for target practice for pistols and .223 rifles.

IMG_3312.JPG The new facility under construction down the road will have a showroom nearly twice the size of the current store. (Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)  

The shooting range was always going to be part of the Last Resort, Jones said, and the reasoning was when the United Kingdom banned hand guns in 1998, the last place handguns were allowed were at shooting ranges.

Durling and Jones came to America from England, so they saw the U.K. gun ban and reaction firsthand. While that experience helped them decide to open a gun shop, they said the main reason for starting the venture stemmed from a need for new jobs. Both are defense contractors, and they said starting a new business was in anticipation of canceled military projects.

There was some homework involved, too, Durling said, not just hunches based on experience.

Last Resort conducted a survey with the National Sport Shooting Foundation, which used a commercial database to show the Huntsville-Madison area could support a shooting range, he said.

“Other than Larry’s (Pistol Pawn), you have to go 30 miles to find another indoor range,” Durling said.

Last Resort will have a groundbreaking ceremony with the Madison Chamber of Commerce at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but earth-moving equipment was already at work this week. The owners said they hope the new store is open by June.

Until then, they will try to stay ahead of demand for guns and ammo, which Durling described as selling faster than they can replace. The storeroom shelves were nearly bare of bullets and the showroom was out of .22-caliber shells and 9mm range shells.

“If this (demand) keeps up, this thing’s going to come to a head and we’re going to run out of stock,” he said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/01/obama_gun-ban_boost_has_last_r.html