Alabama Unemployment steady, Harpersville Tomato Festive

Jul 17, 2015

Alabama's unemployment is remaining steady. But, it’s still above the national average.

State officials on Friday announced that the June jobless rate was 6.1 percent. That’s the same as it was in May. By comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate in June was 5.3 percent.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has promised not to accept his salary until the state's unemployment rate drops to 5.2 percent.

Shelby County in metro Birmingham has the state's lowest unemployment rate at 4.6 percent. Unemployment is worst in rural Wilcox County in Alabama’s Black Belt. The jobless rate there is 16 percent.

The Huntsville chapter of the NAACP is continuing its push to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Alabama State Troopers vehicles and uniforms. The symbol appears on the states coat of arms. Since last month’s shooting at a church in South Carolina, confederate symbols have been taken down across the nation.

Reverend Robert Shanklin is the president of the Huntsville NAACP. He says the only flag that should be displayed is our nation’s flag.

“Personally, I don’t think it needs to be replaced with anything. You got the United States flag on there that’s enough, that’s the official flag of the land and that’s plenty.”’

For some the flag represents southern heritage and pride. For others it is a symbol of racism and oppression.

Fans of farm to fork cooking will gather in Harpersville this weekend to celebrate the tomato. Stone Hollow Farmstead will host the Alabama Tomato Festival tomorrow.

The event will include cooking demonstrations by Angela Schmidt of Chef U, and Maureen Holt of Little Savannah restaurant. There will also be samplings of a variety of tomato dishes, including tomato lemonade.

Bree Garrett is the program manager & wellness educator for Stone Hollow Farm. She says they want to showcase and highlight local farmers and sustainable farming methods.
“Not only are people going to be able to eat good food and enjoy good drinks and listen to good music, but I think it’s going to bring about people that are like-minded and are really interested in the local food movement. It’s just going to be a lot of fun for everybody that comes.”
Garrett says a percentage of the proceeds will go to help start a fund for farmers.