What Tree Is That?
The Arbor Day Foundation’s new book What Tree is That? has made it easier for Alabamians to identify tree species in their state. Whether a person is lounging in the backyard or hiking trails, the guide helps people make “a positive species identification in just a few easy steps.”
According to The Arbor Day Foundation, the book is “a fun, easy-to-use tree identification guide that features hand-drawn botanical illustrations highlighting the distinctive characteristics of many tree species.”
The guide uses a step-by-step process for identifying tree species and explains the shape of the leaves, differences in the leaf stems and twig structures, and characteristics of fruit, flowers and bark with full-color illustrations.
The Arbor Day Foundation created the book to help people throughout the Eastern and Central United States identify trees and grow an appreciation for them.
“Our What Tree Is That? pocket guide is an ideal resource for developing a greater appreciation for trees,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The Arbor Day Foundation strives to help people enjoy and appreciate trees, and we feel our pocket field guide will do just that.”
An online interactive version of the field guide is available at arborday.org. To purchase What Tree Is That? in full color, send a letter with your name, address and $5 for each guide to: What Tree Is That?, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410 or order the book online at arborday.org.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens Awarded the Platinum Hermes Creative Award for the 7th Year
Each year 350,000 people visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, but visitors are not the only ones admiring the work there, according to the garden’s marketing department. The Platinum Hermes Creative Award was presented to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for the seventh consecutive year.
The award results from an international competition with more than 4,000 annual entries for professionals involved in creating traditional and emerging media and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The award is one of four that was presented to the garden’s marketing department for 2014.
The marketing campaign Antiques at The Gardens won the Platinum Award and the department won Gold Awards for its Antiques at The Gardens Show Catalog, branding for the Dirt Dash 5-K Fun Run and Family Walk and the Board of Directors Orientation Manual. Winners of the Platinum awards are acknowledged for their excellence in creativity, quality and resourcefulness. Gold Award winners are recognized for exceeding industry norms. For more information, visit: bbgardens.org
Vendor, headed for probation, gets three years in federal prison instead
U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins sentenced computer software vendor James Winston Hayes, 71, to three years in prison on May 20. Hayes’ sentence was the result of his paying more than $600,000 in bribes to the previous chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system between 2002 and 2006, according to U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot. Hayes was ordered to pay $628,454 in restitution and forgo $5 million.
The judge originally sentenced Hayes to probation in 2011. But Hopkins resentenced Hayes after a November ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which agreed with government prosecutors that probation was too light of a penalty.
“Mr. Hayes received millions of taxpayer dollars by bribing the chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system to ensure the defendant’s company received contracts from colleges within the system,” Vance said. “Through fraudulent contracts and fake invoices, he even had taxpayers financing his bribe payments. Imprisonment is a necessary and just punishment for his crimes.”
Walker County-based ACCESS Group Software, Hayes’ former company, sold educational computer software to the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education giving him connections with more than 25 two-year colleges and technical schools in the state. In 2008, Hayes pleaded guilty to bribing Roy Johnson, then chancellor of the two-year college system, and to conspiring to commit money laundering. Hayes paid Johnson in bribes, and in response Hayes’ software company obtained $14 million in revenue and $5 million in profit from government contracts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
During the case, Johnson pleaded guilty to bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, obstruction of justice and tampering with a witness. He was sentenced to six years and six months in prison. The investigation yielded 17 convictions, including Hayes and Johnson.
“Mr. Hayes used financial bribes to influence contracts with the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education,” said Hyman-Pillot. “The overall conspiracy was fueled by greed and deceit.”
Birmingham Doctors Charged with illegally supplying controlled substances
Federal authorities arrested a Midfield doctor and charged a Birmingham doctor for illegally distributing controlled substances, according to the U.S Attorney’s office.
On May 20, Drug Enforcement Agency agents arrested Ernest Albert Claybon, 72, on charges that he supplied methadone without a lawful medical purpose. A federal grand jury prosecuted Claybon April 30 for five counts of distributing methadone “outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose” between November 2014 and January 2015.
The maximum penalty for each charge against Claybon is 20 years and a $1 million fine.
In a different case, The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Peter Alan Lodewick, 73, a doctor at Lodewick Diabetes Center on Montclair Road, with helping someone acquire the painkiller oxycodone through “misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, and subterfuge.” Lodewick has stated his intentions to plead guilty. The maximum penalty for Lodewick’s charges is four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A third physician, Muhammad Wasim Ali, 50, owns a pain clinic in Jasper, and was charged with illegally distributing narcotic painkillers for unlawful purposes last month.
“Alabama leads the nation in the number of per capita prescriptions for opioid painkillers, which are extremely addictive and often abused,” Vance said. “The proper use of these drugs for pain management is important, but their abuse is deadly.”
All three charges resulted from DEA’s 15-month “Operation Pilluted,” which took place in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, aimed at reducing illegal drug use and abuse.
“Prescription drug abuse is the fasting-growing drug problem in the country,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay A. Morris. “We trust our doctors to heal our bodies, not poison our communities. We will not tolerate or accept illegal prescribing, and we will bring justice to those who condone or participate in this type of practice.”
I’m An Alabama Artist Too!
Kids in second through eighth grades can find their inner artist through Space One Eleven’s summer art camp. The students will work with various media and learn about Alabama artists. Some professional artists will instruct the camp, which will begin June 8.
Participants can choose between morning or afternoons, and one- or two-week camps held Monday through Friday. The young artists’ work will be displayed during the yearly Summer Student/Teacher Exhibition.
Families may qualify for free or reduced prices, thanks to local foundations and private contributors. A limited number of spaces are available. To enroll online, visit: SpaceOneEleven.org. To register by phone or for more information call or email Tara Lee: (205) 328-0553 ext. 24 or TaraLee@SpaceOneEleven.org