Shipbuilder cited, Transgender Remembrance Day, National Adoption Month

Nov 20, 2014

Federal labor officials have issued 12 citations to a coastal Alabama shipbuilding company and are proposing that it pay a $41,500 fine. U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials say among the nine serious violations, the Austal USA ship building company has been cited for is failing to install railings on all staircases, allowing workers to be overexposed to copper fumes during welding and failing to ensure that employees follow safety procedures. There were other infractions. Labor officials say Austal has been cited three times in the past five years. Today is International Transgender Remembrance Day. Alabama Public Radio’s Pat Duggins reports on how our state will remember those killed in crimes against the transgender community… Alabama’s day of remembrance ceremony will be tonight at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Montgomery. Events like this one are being staged worldwide for all members of the transgender community killed during hate crimes. The group Human Rights Campaign says Alabama’s ceremony will remember seven transgender people who were murdered in our state since 1977. The most recent attack was against Ashley Nickson of Dothan, who was shot to death in 2005. Similar crimes were reported in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Huntsville, and in Dale County. Human Rights Campaign this week also released a report that says Alabama ranks poorly on legal protection and inclusion for gays and lesbians. The month of November is National Adoption Month and a Birmingham group is raising awareness for it. APR student reporter Josh Hoppenstein has more on what’s going on today… Heart Gallery Alabama is holding an event today to celebrate families that have adopted children. The gathering is meant to bring these people together with families who are thinking about adoption. Photographers will do photo sessions with children looking for homes to show their personalities to prospective parents. Alabama Michelle Bearman-Wolnek is the Executive Director Heart Gallery Alabama. She says helping these kids makes a big impact on them… “All they want to do is feel like every other child in their class, at school. They don’t want to be different, they don’t want to be known as a foster child, they just really want to be known as somebody’s child and to belong. I think we can all help that and accept these children as our responsibility. ” Bearman-Wolnek also said that this month is great for anybody whether they interested in adopting. For APR news, I’m Josh Hoppenstein in Tuscaloosa. A new report from a child advocacy group says the number of children living in poverty in Alabama has grown, but Alabama is making progress in reducing the number of teens having babies. The 2014 Alabama Kids County Date Book, issued by VOICES for Alabama's Children, reports that the number of children living in poverty increased by 5 percent between 2000 and 2012, with 26 percent of Alabama children living in poverty. It also found that births to teenagers 15 to 17 declined 40 percent during the same 10-year span. The report's rankings of counties for child wellbeing placed Shelby County first and Wilcox County last.