NewsMatch Helps Donors Quadruple Their Gifts
BirminghamWatch, through the Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism, joins again with nonprofit newsrooms across the country in the NewsMatch campaign. Thanks to this collaborative fundraising campaign to support nonprofit news, the largest such campaign in the country, any donor can increase the value of their gift between now and Dec. 31.
“Gifts to BirminghamWatch can be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled,” said AIIJ Board President Emily Rushing in announcing the campaign. “National foundations are matching individual gifts up to $1,000 per person.”
BirminghamWatch also qualifies for additional matches, thanks to a challenge grant by a local supporter and a special match from a foundation focused on newsrooms that uphold democracy through coverage of elections, voting rights and local and statewide government. BirminghamWatch is one of a select group of newsrooms chosen for this additional match, according to INN officials.
“The continued operations of BirminghamWatch depend on investments by individuals and foundations who share our commitment to high-quality, non-partisan, nonprofit journalism,” Rushing added. “This has been true since we published our first reports in 2015.
“Looking to 2023, we are refocusing our efforts on key issues in Birmingham and Jefferson County. All gifts and matching funds will support journalism that serves as a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions, highlights significant issues and uncovers solutions as well as problems, as together we seek to build a better Birmingham and Alabama.”
Since 2016, the NewsMatch campaign has helped raise more than $223 million to jumpstart emerging newsrooms and support independent media outlets that produce fact-based, nonpartisan news and information. The campaign benefits qualified members of the Institute for Nonprofit News, a membership organization that serves more than 400 independent news organizations across the country.
Bluestone Coke Agrees to Pay Nearly $1 Million to Jefferson County Department of Health for Permit Violations (AL.com)
Hubbard Nears End of Sentence for Ethics Conviction (Associated Press)
STEM Teacher Recruitment Initiative Launching at 6 Alabama Universities (Alabama Daily News)
Volunteers and Charities Coming Together to Provide Beds for Kids Who Go Without (WBRC)
Coal Mine Strike
Hundreds of coal miners in Brookwood reached a milestone Thursday: They’ve spent 20 months on strike.
That’s well past the six-week average for strikes, according to Bloomberg Law. The miners believe it’s the longest strike in Alabama’s history. They have continued demanding their employer, Warrior Met Coal, restore the pay and benefits that were cut in 2016 as a cost-saving measure to keep the mines from shutting down.
Out of the 900 miners who started the strike a year and a half ago, 500 remain, according to United Mine Workers of America. Read more.
In recent weeks, outpatient providers across Alabama have reported high levels of influenza-like illness, with kids facing the highest risk of hospitalization. Read more.
Birmingham’s City Walk is a linear, urban park that opened about five months ago under the Interstate 20/59 bridges. City officials say it’s an attempt to reconnect downtown to the northern neighborhoods. Read more.
City of Birmingham
Birmingham has begun to deliver garbage carts to city residents in the first phase of its plans to change garbage pickup in the city.
The Department of Public Works will deliver about 20,000, free, 96-gallon garbage carts among the city’s four waste management districts over the next four weeks. Plans are to deliver about 100,000 uniform garbage carts through next year. Read more.
The case is Walker v. City of Birmingham, which ruled on the legal principles that allowed Bull Conner and Birmingham to jail Martin Luther King Jr. on Good Friday, 1963. Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy explains why the case continues to influence legal thinking during these tumultuous times. Read more.
Civil Rights Legacy
Since the pandemic began, the aviation industry is down 2 million workers and those who remain are overwhelmingly white. One new charter school in Bessemer hopes to address both issues by preparing diverse students for jobs in aviation. Read more.
The new clinic in Jefferson County will offer short-term crisis care to people who might otherwise wait hours at a hospital or wind up in jail. Read more.
Birmingham City Council
Birmingham has taken “the first step” on the road to legalizing medical marijuana. The City Council voted Tuesday to approve an ordinance authorizing medical cannabis dispensaries to operate within Birmingham city limits.
The Alabama Legislature authorized the production and distribution of medical marijuana in the state last year, though it maintains strict regulatory control over the licensing process. That process is ongoing — the state is not expected to issue licenses until July — but Tuesday’s vote opens the city up to potential licensees.
Jefferson County Commission
Discussion of garbage segued to garbage of a different sort during Tuesday’s committee meeting of the Jefferson County Commission.
The agenda included a resolution to address garbage pickup at county facilities, including the courthouse. The resolution calls for EcoSouth Services of Birmingham to handle county facility garbage collection and disposal for three years for $785,400.
County Manager Cal Markert said that cost is double what it had been. The aim, he said, is to keep coverage in place until proposals can be accepted from other vendors. Read more.
16th Street Baptist Bombing Anniversary
“Dear Denise” follows Lisa McNair’s life in a series of letters to the sister she never met. Lisa recounts her experience growing up in the first generation of African Americans after legal segregation. Read more.
The Birmingham Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $506,988,421 budget that includes pay increases for all employees and establishes a $15 minimum hourly pay rate. The 2023 budget also includes additional pre-kindergarten classes, six new school psychologists and adjustments in the teacher salary schedule to make pay more competitive with surrounding school districts, according to a news release from the board. Read more.
Jefferson County Commission
The Legacy of Race
Vestiges of segregation still thread through the systems and processes with which we engage throughout our lives, influencing Black Alabamians in large and small ways, including economic opportunities and lifetime wealth, relationship with law enforcement, health care and even projected lifespan. BirminghamWatch has an ongoing effort to analyze how these sometimes unrecognized vestiges of segregation are playing out in people’s lives today. Read stories in The Legacy of Race series.