Bentley orders all confederate flags down at Capitol, Dauphin Island Important Bird Area

Jun 24, 2015

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley put the Yellowhammer State in the national spotlight today. The Governor ordered the removal of the four confederate flags from the Capitol Grounds.

Bentley knows the Confederate flag is a part of the state’s history. But, he says it is offensive to people in Alabama and the symbol is often associated with hate…

“Unfortunately it’s like a swastika.  Some people have adopted that as part of their hate-filled groups and that’s a shame.  But that doesn’t mean that we don’t count all of this as historical and we need to look at it that way.”

Bentley's order and other calls for removal of flags and other Confederate symbols across the South comes in the wake of the shooting deaths of nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Dauphin Island has been designated as a globally significant Important Bird Area.  It’s a distinction officials hope will boost the organization's ability to obtain conservation grant money and enhance birding tourism on the island.

The designation was announced earlier this month by the Birmingham Audubon Society together with Birdlife International, a British group that organizes the global Important Bird Area list.

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier says the designation confirms the important environmental roles the island plays in the region and why it is critical the island is protected.

The town has already secured a $5 million grant, allowing it to pump up to 300,000 cubic yards of sand onto the badly eroded East End Beach, which is adjacent to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary.

Rail service along the gulf coast may soon be coming back. The U.S. Senate is set to discuss its version of a passenger rail reauthorization bill today.  The measure could help restore rail service between New Orleans and Jacksonville, Florida. That route was scrapped following hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Greg White is Vice Chairman of the Southern Rail Commission. He says the restoration will help increase tourism and retail development in the Gulf Coast area.
“Well we certainly have individuals who are dependent on public transportation, mass transportation; just to move from point A to B. We believe that if we can restore that service with a long term commitment to it that it can lead to economic development along the Gulf Coast.”
Construction could begin on the passenger rail line once legislation is passed.