The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the first memorial in America dedicated to remembering victims of lynchings and other racial violence, opens Thursday in Montgomery. The Equal Justice Initiative, a Montgomery-based legal advocacy group that has developed the memorial and a museum, is expecting thousands of visitors this weekend to the memorial, the museum and a slate of events set around the opening. Events include a summit, during which national figures such as former Vice President Al Gore will speak, and a Friday night concert. Read more.
Birmingham City Council
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin gave members of the City Council a preview of his proposed FY 2019 operating budget during a committee meeting Wednesday.
While his brief presentation included few specifics — the full operating budget will be presented during the City Council’s meeting Tuesday — Woodfin did address the pressing issue of the city’s unfunded pension liability and encourage neighborhood associations to be more proactive in their individual revitalization efforts.
At $436 million, the new budget will be the city’s largest to date, edging out the previous year’s budget by $8 million. Woodfin is using a zero-based budgeting process, meaning that each budget item is considered anew, not based on its inclusion or lack thereof in the previous year’s budget. Read more.
April 24, 2018 – Jefferson County commissioners were told during their committee meeting Tuesday that the metro area should see a huge economic impact from the 2021 World Games.
D.J. Mackovets, CEO of World Games Birmingham, said the economic impact is expected to be a quarter of a billion dollars.
“That’s with a ‘B,’” Mackovets said, “with 100,000 visitors.” Read more.
Birmingham Tourism Industry Soared During 2017 (Birmingham Business Journal)
Jeff Sessions is Named Among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018 (Time )
Rep. Mo Brooks: ‘Mixed emotions’ at First Republican Congressional Baseball Practice (Washington Times)
Lawsuit, No Charges in Wreck Involving Former State Law Enforcement Chief Collier (Decatur Daily)
State Rep. Jack Williams, Lobbyist Marty Connors and California Health Care Provider Indicted on Public Corruption Charges
Updated – State Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills, and lobbyist Martin J. “Marty” Connors of Alabaster have been indicted on public-corruption charges, U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. of Montgomery announced Tuesday.
The two, along with G. Ford Gilbert of Carmichael, California, are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and honest services fraud. Gilbert also is charged with wire fraud, health care fraud and interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
The alleged scheme involved efforts to require Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama to cover medical services provided by a company owned by Gilbert, Franklin said.
Williams in a statement released Tuesday said he had done nothing wrong and expected to be found innocent. He said he would continue to run for a seat on the Jefferson County Commission. Efforts to reach Connors for comment were unsuccessful. Read more.
Issues That Matter
The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama has launched Alabama Priorities, an initiative to identify and address the most important issues to Alabama voters.
PARCA surveyed voters, asking them to rank issues affecting the state this year. The council intends to publish a series of policy briefs on each of the top 10 issues, according to a PARCA statement. See the top 10 issues selected here.
NewsMatch 2017 raised more than $4.8 million from individual donors and a coalition of foundations to support more than 100 local and investigative nonprofit news organizations, including Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism, which publishes BirminghamWatch.
According to a report from the Institute for Nonprofit News, this makes NewsMatch 2017 the largest-ever grassroots fundraising campaign to support local nonprofit and investigative news.
More than 80 individual donors supported AIIJ/BirminghamWatch during the October-December campaign, the highest number in the organization’s two-year history. These local contributors gave more than $20,000 that is being matched by national foundations to support the organization’s mission of public service journalism on the environment, education, the economy and government for Birmingham and Alabama. Read more.
The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama has found that Alabama high schools are sending more graduates out into the world and they are sending more students to college, but some of those students are taking a little bit of time out in the world before they head to campus.
In 2016, 63 percent of high school graduates enrolled in college in the year after they graduated from high school, according to PARCA. In 2014, that portion was 65 percent
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Electionland Wins Online Journalism Award
ProPublica and the Electionland coalition won an Online Journalism Award for planned news/events, announced at the Online News Association Conference and Awards Banquet on Saturday.
A collaboration with a coalition of organizations, Electionland tracked voter experiences in the November 2016 election in real time, across thousands of polling sites.
BirminghamWatch participated in the project, monitoring and reporting on local polling places. Read more.
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