Category: Government

COVID Vaccinations Begin for People 75+ Years Old

Jerry Drummonds’ only mistake in his Monday trip to the Jefferson County Department of Health was his fashion choice.

The long-sleeved blue checkered shirt he wore just didn’t match the COVID-19 vaccine he was getting.

“I had to take off my shirt because we couldn’t roll it up high enough to get to the meaty part of my shoulder,” the 83-year-old said. “And I don’t have that much meat.”

The Vestavia Hills resident was among hundreds of persons – mostly seniors – who came to a pair of health department venues to get vaccinated for the virus. The vaccine also was administered at Gardendale High School.

Monday was the first day of Stage 1b for vaccine distribution, which allows anyone 75 and older to get the shot. Stage 1a also still is in progress. It allows frontline workers, first responders and persons living in congregate settings, including homeless shelters and group homes, to be vaccinated.

The Jefferson County Department of Health is administering vaccines at its location on Southside and at other varying locations for people who are 75 and older, as well as those who fell into Stage 1a. Read on for information about how to get a vaccine.

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Frustration Grows With Alabama’s Slow Vaccine Rollout

Alabama Army National Guard Troops Help Provide Security for Biden Inauguration

Several hundred Alabama Army National Guard troops are helping provide security for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, and one of them is a second lieutenant from Oneonta whose parents also had military careers.

Lt. John Rogers, 24, a transportation officer with a unit in the Birmingham-based 20th Special Forces Group, headed to Washington by bus on Sunday with some of his fellow Guard soldiers. Following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, tension is running high in D.C.

Thousands of soldiers, including Alabama Guard troops from military police units, will be on hand to stop any re-occurrence of last week’s violence, in which five people died.
Read more.

Birmingham Council Hires Its Own Lobbyist and Lawyer, Saying the Mayor Doesn’t Share Information

The Birmingham City Council hired its own lobbyist and legal consultant Tuesday, a move granting the council greater independence from the mayor’s office.

The council approved two $45,000 contracts during its virtual meeting — one with lobbying firm Miller Development Group and one with law firm Campbell Partners, LLC. The council cited the opacity of Mayor Randall Woodfin’s legislative agenda and the need for a “council-focused” legal consultant outside of the city’s law department, which reports to the mayor. The Mayor’s Office retains its own lobbyist.

“This council needs help, and we need our own help, because the city’s help is not ours,” said District 3 Councilor Valerie Abbott. “They don’t report to us, they don’t answer to us, they don’t do what we want.” Read more.

JeffCo Commission Picks Up Where Feds Left Off, Will Pay for COVID Time Off

Today, Jefferson County picked up where the federal government left off, covering the cost of employees taking off because they’ve been exposed to or contracted the novel coronavirus. Following its committee meeting today, commissioners reconvened their Jan. 7 commission meeting to retroactively extend what had been provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Read more.

Woodfin Looks Toward a Better 2021 in State of the Community Speech.

This year will be better than last year, Mayor Randall Woodfin assured residents during his annual State of the Community speech Monday afternoon.

After a tumultuous 2020, which saw the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest over systemic racism, Woodfin promised greater opportunity in 2021 and reiterated his commitment to neighborhood revitalization.

“We have indeed been tested, and I believe as a city we are stronger and closer because of it,” he said. Read more.

Scales Announces Bid for Mayor

Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales today tossed her hat in the ring for mayor of Birmingham.

“I’m not into being in a fight with anyone because that doesn’t serve the City of Birmingham well,” Scales said near Kiwanis Trail at the base of Vulcan Park. “But I will tell you this: If you give me the opportunity to serve as your mayor, not just the first woman mayor, but to serve as your mayor, you will have a seat at the table. That is what I can guarantee.”

Scales is bidding to return to Birmingham City Hall, where she was a member of the City Council for nine years until she unseated George Bowman on the commission in 2018. Read more.