Not long ago, more than 66 million pain pills flowed through Walker County, a rural area 15 miles northwest of Birmingham.
Today, the children of those who struggled with addiction still feel the effects, and people in the county are forging a new path to help rebuild families. Read more.
There are no clues on the outside of the RV, no labels or identifiers, but inside is a fully functioning clinic. Rebecca Henderson leads the way up the stairs, where a sofa sits lined with pillows and a blanket.
“This is where we do the counseling,” Henderson says. “And so, it’s pretty homey in here. And you know, I try to decorate it to be nice and comfortable.”
In the back of the mobile unit is a medical exam room, equipped to conduct sexual assault exams and other medical screenings.
The Crisis Center launched the mobile unit this summer. The Birmingham-based non-profit offers free services for victims of sexual violence – including rape response, counseling and advocacy – and reaches into Blount, Jefferson, Walker and St. Clair counties. Read more.
Part of Birmingham’s identity was forged by the civil rights movement. A proposed development would build on that history through an internationally-recognized leadership center. The Global Forum for Freedom and Justice would be a major addition to the Birmingham Civil Rights District. The $40 million proposal is the brainchild of Washington, D.C. philanthropist Wayne Reynolds, and it’s generating skepticism in some parts of the community. WBHM’s Andrew Yeager spoke with Birmingham Business Journal editor Ty West about the plans. Read more.
On Dec.14, 1819, Alabama became the nation’s 22nd state. The grand finale of Alabama’s Bicentennial commemoration is this weekend in Montgomery. There will be concerts and parades and appearances from the state’s more notable residents, including Birmingham native comedian Roy Wood Jr. The Daily Show Correspondent is excited about the state’s 200th birthday, but he says sometimes Alabama gets a bad rap on the national stage. He says his peers in show business respect the pride he has for his home state, but they can’t understand it.
“The look of doubt and sincere confusion on their face tells me everything of what they perceive Alabama to be,” Wood says. Read more.
Updated — Alabama has made significant progress in infant mortality rates, teen pregnancies and child safety, but poverty and a racial disparity in indicators of wellbeing remain a problem for children in the state, according to a report released today.
The report, called the Alabama Kids Count Data Book, explores 70 key indicators across four issue areas: health, safety, education and economic security. The Montgomery-based nonprofit group Voices for Alabama’s Children has produced the data book every year since 1994.
Angela Thomas, communications manager for Voices, said that while the state’s child population has decreased, it has also become more ethnically diverse. And that trend follows national demographics.
Despite the diversity, African American children track below their white peers in every indicator covered in the data book, she said.
“Alabamians of color are overrepresented in measures of disadvantage,” she said. Read more.
Blame for the opioid crisis in the U.S. often falls squarely on pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies or rogue prescribers — like the Virginia doctor who prescribed more than half a million opioid doses in two years.
But the whole story is more complicated, and it implicates a large portion of health care providers. Research shows that many doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants across the nation have oversupplied patients with opioids, spurring a national crisis that each year claims tens of thousands of lives.
“This isn’t just a story about rogue prescribers and pill mills,” says Caleb Alexander, co-Director of the Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “A much broader swath of the medical profession is responsible for the oversupply of opioids in clinical practice.” Read more.
Alabama native and blues musician Henry “Gip” Gipson is dead. Gipson died Tuesday at a nursing home in Bessemer. He was 99. Gipson was known worldwide for his Saturday night backyard parties. “Gip’s Place,” his Bessemer juke joint, has been the gathering spot for blues since the early ’50s. Read more.
Visit the Alabama Theatre in downtown Birmingham, face the stage and you might notice the red and gold console to the left. It’s a theater organ known as the Mighty Wurlitzer. It’s an instrument whose heyday has long passed. But this weekend, as part of the Sidewalk Film Festival, it’ll return to its original purpose: accompanying silent films. Read more.
When Sheila Tyson asked DC BLOX CEO Jeff Uphues what his company could do for the Titusville Neighborhood it was joining, he offered a fun day in the neighboring park.
Tyson, the Jefferson County commissioner in whose district the company sits, had other ideas. “We want you to invest in our children’s education,” she said.
As DC BLOX held the grand opening of its data center on Thursday, Uphues talked about a $10,000 investment in a computer lab just across Sixth Street at Memorial Park Recreation Center. He said the lab is set for use by the entire community.