Alabama Company in Cuba, Stroke Research

Feb 15, 2016

Seventy six schools in Alabama are wondering what’s next after they were a list of failing schools. The state education department used different criteria for determining failing schools. The current list ranked schools as passing or failing based on last year’s ACT test reading and math scores. That led to ten more schools than last year being included on the list. Dr. Clarence Sutton is the principal of Tuscaloosa’s Central High School, which made the list this year. He takes issue with referring to the schools as “failing”.

“’Failing’ is a harsh word, especially when you’re dealing with children and teachers who are working hard. To have children coming from the level we have, the situations they have, to see them come to school and to finish and then to be labeled ‘failing’ is very harsh and disappointing. I wish people would change and look and examine the word ‘failing’.”

The Montgomery County and Mobile County school systems each had a dozen schools on this year’s failing list. 21 schools in the Birmingham area were considered failing.

A new study written by an Alabama researcher may change the way we think about having a stroke. The report says that African Americans are almost three times more likely to have a stroke at age forty-five than their white counterparts. The difference between races decreases after that, and disappears by the age of eighty-five. The study also looked at risks for a second stroke where race makes less difference. Dr. George Howard is the lead author of the study. He also teaches at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He says the traditional risk factors are still very prevalent.

“The three big risk factors are hypertension, diabetes, and cigarette smoking. Among  the three hypertension is the clear winner. It accounts for about thirty to thirty-five percent of all strokes are attributable to hypertension.  So it alone is almost a third of the risk.”

Dr. Howard says the study focused on Alabama and other southern states which make up what’s called the stroke belt. The study will be published tomorrow in the journal Neurology.

The Obama administration has approved the first U.S. factory in Cuba in more than half a century. That allows a two-man company from Alabama to build a plant assembling as many as 1,000 small tractors a year for sale to private farmers in Cuba.

The Treasury Department last week notified partners Horace Clemmons and Saul Berenthal that they can legally build tractors and other heavy equipment in a special economic zone started by the Cuban government to attract foreign investment.      

Cuban officials already have publicly endorsed the project. The partners said they expect to be building tractors in Cuba by the first quarter of 2017 at the latest