Florence used to use snow shovels to move recyclables around on an old conveyor belt the city got from the post office. Not anymore.
Now it’s probably the best model out there for how to bring recycling to rural areas in Alabama where sending a truck down every dirt road is not a realistic option.
NAHEOLA, Alabama — Georgia-Pacific today announced plans to invest more than $120 million to add a new tissue machine and roll storage building at its mill in Choctaw County, the latest substantial investment in the facility.
The new projects continue Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific’s modernization of the Naheola mill, which includes ongoing construction of a new biomass boiler and woodyard. Georgia-Pacific said the modernization projects position the mill and its overall business to be competitive in the market.
On March 3, a tornado outbreak struck several southern states in the U.S., including Alabama, where a monster of a tornado reached estimated wind speeds of 170 mph. It left a path of destruction more than 20 miles long in Lee County, killing 23 people and injuring at least 100 others. In the days since, survivors have been picking through the pieces of their homes, recovering what they can, as they try to determine their next steps.
Too much pine and not enough saw mills spell years of depressed prices for plantations.
The racial element of America’s poverty crisis is seen nowhere more clearly than in the Deep South, where the open wounds of slavery continue to bleed. The UN special rapporteur chose as his next stop the “Black Belt,” the term that originally referred to the rich dark soil that exists in a band across Alabama but over time came to describe its majority African American population.
The link between soil type and demographics was not coincidental. Cotton was found to thrive in this fertile land, and that in turn spawned a trade in slaves to pick the crop. Their descendants still live in the Black Belt, still mired in poverty among the worst in the union.
Our rural hospital closure crisis is not just a health crisis, but an economic one as well. In many rural communities, the relationship between the existence of a hospital and economic development is critical to the overall success of the community. When the only hospital in a county closes or doesn’t exist, it becomes nearly impossible to attract and maintain industry, jobs, and people. Public health is compromised. For example, a Tuberculosis outbreak has plagued the citizens of Perry County since 2014. The infection rate there is 100 times the national average and higher than rates in India, Kenya, and Haiti. Further, as we’ve seen in recent international news reports, the rates of hookworm in Lowndes County are appalling and shameful at 33 percent due in part to the inadequate wastewater infrastructure there.
Children playing feet away from open pools of raw sewage; drinking water pumped beside cracked pipes of untreated waste; human faeces flushed back into kitchen sinks and bathtubs whenever the rains come; people testing positive for hookworm, an intestinal parasite that thrives on extreme poverty.
These are the findings of a new study into endemic tropical diseases, not in places usually associated with them in the developing world of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, but in a corner of the richest nation on earth: Alabama.
When a disease outbreak occurs, Chaisson explained, “the norm is panic, for people to demand testing from the health department, and you can’t do it fast enough.” But the Hill has never been much for demands. The town of Marion sits in the belly of the Black Belt — historically, a ribbon of seventeen counties in central Alabama and parts of northeastern Mississippi, where whites enslaved black people to farm cotton in the dark, fertile soil; the term has come to refer broadly to predominantly African-American areas in the rural South. Across the Black Belt, there is grave poverty; Alabama is the fourth-most-impoverished state in the nation, and Perry is its worst-off county — 47 percent of residents live below the poverty line. The burden is shouldered unequally, as the poverty rate in Perry County is three times higher for black people than for whites. Jim Crow is gone, yet segregation lingers, along with its associated injustices. While Black Belt districts typically go blue, the rest of their states are deep red; last year, after the state of Alabama enacted a law requiring photo identification to vote and then promptly closed D.M.V. offices in Black Belt counties, a federal investigation confirmed that this targeting amounted to discrimination.
Alabama has been trying on the nickname “New Detroit.” Its burgeoning auto parts industry employs 26,000 workers, who last year earned $1.3 billion in wages. Georgia and Mississippi have similar, though smaller, auto parts sectors. This factory growth, after the long, painful demise of the region’s textile industry, would seem to be just the kind of manufacturing renaissance President Donald Trump and his supporters are looking for.
Except that it also epitomizes the global economy’s race to the bottom. Parts suppliers in the American South compete for low-margin orders against suppliers in Mexico and Asia. They promise delivery schedules they can’t possibly meet and face ruinous penalties if they fall short. Employees work ungodly hours, six or seven days a week, for months on end. Pay is low, turnover is high, training is scant, and safety is an afterthought, usually after someone is badly hurt. Many of the same woes that typify work conditions at contract manufacturers across Asia now bedevil parts plants in the South.