The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved $5 million in funding to help keep Birmingham-Southern College operating.
The city will provide BSC a $2.5 million loan that will be forgiven provided BSC opens classes in the fall and a 20-year loan for the same amount to be repaid at a 1% interest rate. Read more.
Extreme temperatures; worsening wildfires, hurricanes and floods; infrastructure problems; agricultural impacts: The way you experience climate change will depend on where you live. Read more.
Cool Green Trees, a project of Cawaco RC&D, plants trees in under-resourced communities in the Birmingham area to help mitigate climate change and advance environmental justice initiatives. Read more.
With Super Tuesday looming, political pundits across the country have been scrutinizing Alabama and the state’s newly redrawn Congressional District 2 because it offers the possibility of a second Democratic representative being elected from the state. As dominoes fall, that could affect the split between Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House. A big spotlight will be turned on Alabama all election season because of that.
But that’s hardly the only race on Alabama’s ballot.
Two congressional districts that cover Jefferson County are on the ballot, and incumbents have challengers from their own parties in each.
State and local judges populate a lot of the ballot. And party nominees will be selected in Jefferson County races such as tax collector and Board of Education members. Read more.
For more information on candidates up and down the ballot, read:
The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved selling a former AmSouth Bank building in Ensley to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity so it can establish a community center there.
The Mu Psi Lambda chapter of the fraternity intends to refurbish the building and transform it into a multi-purpose outreach center to serve as a resource to the Ensley community by eliminating blight, providing youth and community training programs and other services. Read more.
UPDATED — It ain’t over.
Jefferson County’s efforts to escape an environmental consent decree took a bit of a hit Tuesday, with the U.S. District Court denying its motion to declare the county sewer system in compliance with the decree.
That ruling came hours after the Jefferson County Commission moved to Thursday’s agenda an agreement to pay $2.223 million in fines to the Environmental Protection Agency. Read more.
“Learning From Birmingham: A Journey Into History and Home” (University of Alabama Press, 2023) by Julie Buckner Armstrong
Birmingham is a place that requires explanation. The city’s racial past makes it a source of fascination and contempt. If you live in Birmingham, you know that outsiders often come at you with questions, and sometimes attitude. For African American residents, the attitude can come in the form of hillbilly jokes and a lack of respect. It was these type experiences that inspired Birmingham poet Dianne Mills to compose the wonderfully profane “Don’t Say S—t ‘bout Birmingham.”
White residents also experience a lack of respect from outsiders, a sense — sometimes said out loud — that we must be a bit backward or simply not smart enough to realize that we live in a terrible place and should probably leave. White residents can also experience suspicion regarding our racial attitudes. Call it the taint of Bull Connor. But for many of Birmingham’s white sons and daughters, there are no questions an outsider can ask that we have not already asked ourselves. Read more.
UPDATED — A Jefferson County allocation of ARPA funds could provide healthier grocery options for residents along the U.S. 78 corridor.
County commissioners on Thursday approved spending American Rescue Plan Act funds to address food insecurities. The pilot program supports a food pantry to create a low or no-cost grocery store.
Federal funds totaling $472,782.96 will enhance a program that’s in place and sponsored by Daniel Payne Legacy Village Foundation.
“It’s focused on areas where there’s no grocery store,” County Manager Cal Markert said. “If you’ve only got Dollar Generals and gas stations, there aren’t as many fresh fruits and vegetables. This will kind of try to supplement that and get packages of more healthy foods for families to have.” Read more.
Last year, 110 Birmingham residents received $375 a month for a 12-month period through the Embrace Mothers guaranteed income program funded by Mayors for a Guaranteed Income.
Forty-eight mayors have adopted these pilot programs, so what have we learned about guaranteed income?
Community members can find out at a program Tuesday that will include screening of the new film “It’s Basic.” Read more.
Leroy Stover, the first Black to serve as a patrolman on the Birmingham Police Department, died Thursday. He was 90.
“Today, our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of former Deputy Chief Leroy Stover,” the police department released via social media. “As the first Black officer to integrate the Birmingham force, his legacy and work at the Birmingham Police Department paved a way for others to follow in his footsteps. We offer our full condolences to the family and know that he would forever be in our hearts and mind.”
Johnnie Johnson, who later became the first Black chief, immediately followed Stover onto the force one day later, in March 1963. They were followed by Bob Boswell and Frank Horn. Read more.
Some Southern towns have been erased by environmental disasters — whether natural or man-made. One Alabama town offers lessons on the hidden cost of progress. Read more.
A Birmingham teacher was given an award nicknamed the “Oscar of Teaching” during a surprise assembly at John Herbert Phillips Academy on Wednesday.
Korri Cunningham, IB coordinator for the school, was surrounded by cheering students, colleagues and dignitaries when she was surprised with the Milken Educator Award.
She said the award was “beyond anything I could ever imagine.”
“In teaching, the rewards aren’t always seen,” she said. “So to receive something of this magnitude, I can’t even begin to describe it. And it feels so good to really feel appreciated for all the hard work I put into the classroom.” Read more.
Mayor Randall Woodfin said Tuesday that Birmingham schools have unusually large numbers of truant students and, if he has to, he’ll push for parents to be held legally accountable for allowing their children to stay home from school.
Ten weeks into the school year, well more than half of third graders are considered truants, which means they have seven or more unexcused absences, Woodfin said.
“It’s unacceptable,” the mayor said.
“Teachers cannot teach your child if they are not in class.” Read more.
The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday amended its zoning ordinance to increase the penalty for violations.
As a result of recent state legislation, the commission was able to make violating the county’s zoning ordinance a Class B misdemeanor. Such violations are now punishable by as much as 180 days in jail and a fine of as much as $3,000.
Previously, the penalty was a $100 fine and no more than 10 days in jail. Read more.