Navigate Affordable Housing Partners, a housing and community development nonprofit organization, has donated $50,000 to Washington K-8 School as part of its work in the North Titusville neighborhood.
“Any development community effort is only successful it you have schools. Strong schools make for strong communities and strong communities have healthy families,” Lisa McCarroll, CEO of the group, said while presenting the donation during a Birmingham Board of Education board meeting June 11. Read more.
MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey has replaced the three members of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
The new members are Col. Alan Spencer of Tuscaloosa, Melissa Morrissette of Mobile and Walter Bell of Mobile. The appointments require confirmation by the Alabama state Senate, which won’t likely happen until the next regular session in February, but the new members begin serving immediately. Their terms expire in 2022. Read more.
How much do average news consumers care about how stories actually come to be?
The New York Times is banking on them caring enough to invest 30 minutes of television time a week to watch those stories come to life.
“The Weekly,” which debuted last week on FX, chronicles the work of Times reporters as they chase down stories. Read more.
A series of emails released by the University of Alabama System show the dispute that led to a parting of ways with mega-donor Hugh Culverhouse preceded the comments he made about abortion.
Many students in Alabama who identify as LGBTQ say they don’t feel safe at school. Most, according to one survey, have been assaulted or harassed. Recently, an openly gay Huntsville teen who was bullied took his own life.
Organizers of a proposed charter school for LGBTQ students in Birmingham say they want to establish a place where young people can feel secure. Read more.
Birmingham-area projects to prepare local workers for jobs likely to be in demand were among those that got support from Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham in its May round of grants, the foundation announced this week.
Whenever White House adviser Kellyanne Conway appears on a TV news or talk show, I switch the channel to more useful programming, such as the Home Shopping Network selling something in which I have no interest. Conway, who traffics in distortion and lies, is among the media circuit regulars who has spawned industry debate as to whether some people deserve an interview and appearance ban. A combative December appearance by Conway on Chris Cuomo’s CNN news talk show, for instance, produced a live, long and lively argument between Cuomo and CNN news anchor Don Lemon.
A more recent repeat of the same issue, but involving a more offensive individual, occurred two weeks ago when conservative commentator and author Ben Shapiro, who could less politely be described as a hateful troll, was aggressively questioned by an interviewer on a BBC politics show. Shapiro, who unlike Conway does not advise a national decision maker (but who is popular enough that he filled the lecture room at a February appearance at the University of Alabama), abruptly walked out of the interview on live TV. Nesrine Malik, a columnist for The Guardian, wrote: “No matter how much those with regressive, prejudiced or simply dishonest views are challenged, it is pointless if they are constantly provided a venue. It is the platform that legitimizes them, not how they perform when they are on that platform.”
Updated — Two IT companies have canceled or put on hold discussions about moving to Birmingham because of the abortion ban signed into law last week, according to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.
Woodfin told author Diane McWhorter about the changes for an opinion piece published Saturday on CNN.
McWhorter wrote that Woodfin “confirmed to me today that the abortion ban affected two IT companies considering moves to the city – one canceled outright, while the other ‘put the brakes on negotiations.’” Read more.
Jefferson County Commission
Residents of southern Jefferson County could have been forgiven if they doubted that the widening of Morgan Road would ever take place. After all, the project has been the subject of discussions for more than two decades.
But action at today’s Jefferson County Commission meeting brings the long-discussed project one step closer to reality. Commissioners authorized a construction funding agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for nearly $2.4 million to begin widening the road from Interstate 459 to the Shelby County line at South Shades Crest Road.
WASHINGTON — U.S. House of Representatives members voted last week to increase funding for vaccine research, a measure driven by the recent measles outbreak in the country. Alabama’s members in the House split their votes on the issue, but not along party lines. Three voted to increase spending while four voted against the majority to leave funding as it is.
Members of Congress also took on a number of controversial issues, including reporting deaths of migrant children, using fetal tissue samples in research and selling arms to Bahrain.
See how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending June 14.
The Birmingham-Hoover MSA grew by just 2,116 people in 2017-2018. The area ranked 251th out of 383 MSAs in terms of population growth rate, according to an analysis of census data conducted by the Public Research Council of Alabama.
The Huntsville MSA led the state in percentage of population growth, ranking it 64th in the country. It added 6,952 people to its ranks in the period.
Other large metros in the state fell below Birmingham-Hoover in terms of growth, with Mobile ranked 324th and Montgomery 327th. However, those two areas lost population in 2017-2018, as did some other metro areas in the U.S. Read more.
Woodfin Calls on Birmingham Council to Rezone Land in the Five Points West Area to Block a Planned Concrete Plant
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said Tuesday that he opposes the proposed relocation of a concrete plant from downtown to the city’s Five Points West community, and he called for the City Council to rezone the property in question to prevent future industrial use.
Last week, the council voted to oppose Sherman Industries’ announced plans to move its concrete batch facility from its current address of 1100 Second Ave. S. to 3240 Fayette Avenue, near the Birmingham CrossPlex Village. Read more.
Birmingham Council Passes Healthy Food Initiative to Offer Incentives to Bring in New Grocery Stores
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve allocating $500,000 to a new “Healthy Food Initiative,” which officials said would give incentivizes for new grocery stores to move into the city.
The creation of that fund is separate from the pending Healthy Food Ordinance, which is aimed at increasing healthy food options in the city’s food deserts through measures such as limiting the expansion of dollar stores and loosening restrictions on grocers and farmers’ markets.
The two changes would work together to attract new grocery stores to the area, said Josh Carpenter, the city’s director of innovation and economic opportunity. Read more.
Updated — Wayne Wooley’s question cut to the heart of the Sewer Town Hall gathering Monday night at Regions Field.
“What did I do? What did my church do to deserve all this?” the 72-year-old Crestwood South resident asked. “Tell me why you’re putting all this burden on us? I’m on a fixed income. That’s to me illegal.”
Two and a half hours proved not to be long enough for the event, sponsored by County Commissioner Lashunda Scales.
More than 400 people attended the meeting, asking questions and listening to answers from Jefferson County officials about rising sewer rates that have left many ratepayers, including those on fixed incomes, questioning how they will shoulder the costs.
Reviews were mixed as people left the ballpark. Some were happy to have had an opportunity to ask questions and to have their voices heard. Many were displeased with responses.
BirminghamWatch’s Hank Black was inducted into the Wall of Fame for the University of Alabama’s Office of Student Media during an event April 26.
Black, who covers the environment for BW, was honored for his role as editor in chief of the Crimson White during one of the most turbulent years in the university’s history. Black was editor in 1963, when Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first two black students to successfully enroll at UA, following Gov. George Wallace’s infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.” Read more.
BirminghamWatch’s Solomon Crenshaw Jr. recently won a first place award from Alabama Media Professionals for his story “Jefferson County’s ‘Blue Wave:’ How the First Black Sheriff and District Attorney Won Election,” which he co-wrote with Virginia MacDonald, another writer for BirminghamWatch. Read more.
The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama in a new survey said Alabamians favor supervising non-violent criminals in the community and giving them more rehabilitation opportunities rather than sending them to prison.
In the ”Public Opinion Survey: 2019 Edition,” released Wednesday, a slight majority of residents surveyed, 58 percent, oppose building new prisons. Almost that many, 54 percent, thought only violent criminals should be held in the state’s prisons.
As in previous PARCA surveys, Alabamians ranked education as the most important service the state provides, followed by health care, public safety and highways. Read more.
City of Birmingham
Applications are now open for A Citizen’s Experience, a new initiative from the city of Birmingham designed to promote civic engagement. The free, seven-week program is slated to begin in June and is open only to Birmingham residents who are 18 years old or older. Applications are being accepted this month. Read more.
A smaller portion of new high school graduates is having to take remedial classes when they first go to college, according to a PARCA report on data from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.
The rate of students needing remediation is dropping even though high schools have pushed to raise the graduation rate and are sending more students to college than they have in recent years. Read more.
Violence is the newest strategic focus for the Jefferson County Department of Health. During Tuesday’s annual State of Health in Jefferson County address, Dr. Mark Wilson said the department added the issue in response to increasing rates of homicide.
“It (violence) isn’t something that our health department has devoted resources to in the past,” Wilson said, “but it is clearly a public health problem.” Read more.
The Birmingham Police Department will soon have two new high-tech crime-fighting tools at its disposal. On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council approved nearly $75,000 for two law enforcement software systems, PredPol and Assisted Patrol Bait Systems, which are designed to increase patrol efficiency and crack down on repeat offenders, respectively. Read more.
The Alabama Public Charter School Commission approved plans for a new charter school in Birmingham on Monday. The Birmingham school board rejected the i3 Academy application in January, and school organizers appealed to the state.
The next step is for i3 Academy and the state to negotiate a contract for the school. It will outline expectations for academic performance, school operations and finances, school officials said.
Tommy Bice, former state education superintendent, is part of the team working to open i3 Academy as a K-5 charter school in Woodlawn in 2020. Read more.
Ali Massoud, a 2011 graduate of Hoover High School, says he was disappointed at a video depicting white students who attend Hoover schools using the N-word and anti-Semitic slurs. But he wasn’t surprised.
“I think a lot of students of color who have been through the Hoover High School system have seen small aggressions on display, and so the fact that this was caught on camera shows the rest of the world that those things are not just in our minds” Massoud says. “They are real and they are happening.”
Massoud and others want to know what school officials plan to do about it. Recently, Massoud started a petition demanding Hoover City Schools take meaningful action to address racism within the system. Read more.
The Klansmen who bombed Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963, killing four black girls, did not face justice for years. In 1977, then-Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley won a conviction against Robert Chambliss for his role in the attack. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that two others were tried and convicted. Senator Doug Jones led those later prosecutions and writes about it in his memoir “Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Cvil Rights.” Read more.
Four years ago the Black Warrior Riverkeeper roused public opinion to keep the Shepherd Bend coal mine from opening. Now the river protection advocacy organization is warning of another proposed mining operation – this one three miles upstream on the Mulberry Fork from Shepherd Bend.
What’s called the No.5 Mine is in the Walker County community of Dovertown, near the city of Cordova. Mays Mining Inc. would operate the mine at a former industrial site that was left with contaminated groundwater, according to Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke. Read more.
U.S. Steel Corporation will restart work on its electric arc furnace in Fairfield. The $215 million initiative will replace the former blast furnace at Fairfield Works. The project started almost four years ago, but was put on hold due to poor market demand for steel. Ty West, editor-in-chief of the Birmingham Business Journal, says this is good news. Read more.