The Wire

  • Boy with autism builds world’s largest Titanic LEGO replica

    Excerpt from Fox 17:

    A young boy with autism spent more than 700 hours to build the world’s largest Titanic replica out of LEGOs.

    Brynjar Karl Bigisson, now 15, of Reykjavik, Iceland, built the massive project when he was 10. It took 11 months to complete.

    The ship, built from 56,000 LEGO blocks, made its American debut on Monday and will be anchored at Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge.

    “The world calls him LEGO BOY and that’s just fine with Brynjar Karl Birgisson, after all he had spent a good part of his young life surrounded by thousands of LEGO bricks – the building blocks of his monumental tribute to the 2,208 men, women and children who sailed on Titanic,” attraction owner Mary Kellogg-Joslyn said.

  • Ala. First Class Pre-K Named Nation’s Highest Quality Pre-Kindergarten Program for 12th Consecutive Year

    Excerpt from a news release:

    Alabama’s high-quality, voluntary First Class Pre-K program was today named the highest quality state-funded pre-kindergarten program in America. This is the 12th year in a row the state’s voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds has received this distinction.

    The title was bestowed upon Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program by the National Institute for Early Education Research in its 2017 State of Preschool Yearbook. The State of Preschool Yearbook is an annual report measuring the quality of state-funded early childhood education programs across the country. In this year’s report, NIEER’s 15th edition, Alabama was one of only three states, along with Michigan and Rhode Island, to meet or exceed all ten of the benchmarks NIEER measures to determine program quality.

    In its report, NIEER also featured Alabama as one of six states to watch. NIEER profiled the state’s sustained commitment and incremental approach to giving more families an opportunity to voluntarily enroll their four-year-olds without lowering the pre-k program’s quality standards.

    Advocates from the Alabama School Readiness Alliance welcomed today’s announcement.

    “NIEER’s endorsement of the state’s voluntary First Class Pre-K program is another sign that the investments state leaders have made in early childhood education will have a strong return,” said Allison Muhlendorf, the executive director of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance. “However, being number one in the nation for quality should be only half of the state’s goal. State leaders should also strive to also be number one in access for four-year-olds.”

    Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program is managed by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.

  • Why a lack of GOP enthusiasm could benefit Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s campaign

    Excerpt from

    Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s absence from the Republican debate stage ahead of the June 5 primaries is occurring the same time national polls suggest a widening enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans ahead of November’s midterm elections.

    The Alabama GOP governor hopefuls, individually, are pointing to their own candidacies to suggest that the disenchantment, reflected in poll after poll, isn’t trickling into their race.

    But Ivey’s lack of interest in attending the debates isn’t helping to drum up Republican enthusiasm, according to the political pundits. The governor will, once again, be a debate no-show during the 7 p.m. Reckon by GOP gubernatorial debate tonight at the Lyric Fine Arts Theatre in Birmingham.

    In fact, most of political observers believe the governor’s race, overall, is lacking in much intrigue just months after the international spotlight shined on Alabama during the special U.S. Senate race which saw Democrat Doug Jones defeat Republican Roy Moore.

VIDEO: Planet Fundraiser CEO left his comfortable job to be with dying dad — led to him starting his first business

In this episode of Executive Lion’s Living Life On Purpose, Andrew Wells and Matt Wilson sit down with Kasey Birdsong, founder and CEO of Planet Fundraiser; a startup tech company that helps organizations and merchants streamline the endless fundraising process.

Birdsong is a serial entrepreneur, a husband, a father, and a follower of Christ. Planet Fundraiser is his third business although he is still relatively young. He shares his journey of leaving a job to be with his dad while he was dying, which ultimately led to him starting his first business. Birdsong opens up about his successes, his failures, and how he continues to pursue his passion with purpose.

WATCH the interview:


3 Takeaways:

1) No matter how many businesses you have started or been a part of, there will always be struggles when you are launching something new. Keep going anyway.

2) Times get extremely difficult sometimes when you are a business owner and you have to surround yourself with a strong network that will support you and allow you to be transparent. If you don’t, the effects can be deadly.

3) Sometimes you can see a solution to a problem and bring it to market that will help so many people and make money at the same time. This is a win-win in business. Whatever you are selling should be beneficial for all parties if you truly want to achieve success.

How an Alabama businessman turned his tragic loss into triumph

In this episode of Executive Lion’s Living Life On Purpose, Matt Wilson and Andrew Wells sit down with Mike Bailey to learn more about the devastating loss of his daughter Ashlynn, and how tragedy has turned into triumph for him and his family. You do not want to miss this episode!


Mike is the President of C.N. Bailey & Company, Inc., a commercial construction company that has been very successful throughout the Southeast and other parts of the country. The firm builds Taco Bells, Jack’s, Hardee’s, Taziki’s and Milo’s among other construction projects. He is also the Founder of the Ashlynn Bailey Foundation in memory of his late daughter to assist in Restoration of the reformed addict’s life. Mike is an amazing man of faith, a devout husband, father, and businessman.



— God can take our pain and turn it into our purpose and Mike is the epitome of that as he is now fueled by the tragedy that would have crippled many other people.

— Sometimes God can speak to us in the most unlikely situations to do things we never dreamed we would be doing and we can touch many lives because of it.

— When your faith is rooted in Him, no obstacle or circumstance is too difficult for you to walk through without peace.

VIDEO: Advocate against sex trafficking, porn interviewed on Living Life on Purpose

In this episode of Executive Lion’s Living Life On Purpose, Matt Wilson and Andrew Wells sit down with Melea Stephens, a Christian Counselor at Wellspring Christian Clinic in Vestavia Hills and an advocate against sex trafficking and pornography to discuss the effects these issues have on our society. This gripping episode tackles tough situations that are happening all around us and what we can do to help.


Stephens has been a successful counselor for many years in private practice and through her work with couples, she is working to shed light on root issues that lead to problems in life, marriage, and emotional and physical health. Stephens volunteers to fight against sex trafficking and is active in making people aware of the crimes and hurt that takes place as people view porn.


— Melea has used her faith and experience to go after root causes of the issues she helps people battle on a daily basis. She is trying to eradicate the evil practices that lead to some behaviors that cripple relationships and cause all sorts of issues.

— God can shine light on a situation and you can see it as though you have never seen it before, then he can put the cause on your heart and allow you to make a positive difference.

— Sometimes we have to have tough conversations about uncomfortable topics in order to solve problems. We can’t just sweep certain things under the rug and pretend as though they don’t exist.

Learn more about this critical issue and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation here.

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