The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

10 hours ago

Talladega Superspeedway to host blood drive Wednesday

(Alabama NewsCenter/Contributed)

A blood drive is Wednesday, April 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Talladega Superspeedway.

The blood drive will be inside the track’s International Motorsports Hall of Fame FOX Sports 1 dome located at the main entrance. Track officials said the goal is to help increase a healthy and reliable blood supply for the American Red Cross to provide area hospitals.

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“We are honored to assist our community during this unprecedented time, working with public health care officials and the American Red Cross for this very important blood drive,” said Talladega Superspeedway President Brian Crichton. “The FOX Sports 1 Dome is a 30,000-square-foot facility and offers plenty of space to practice social distancing so donors will feel safe while donating blood.”

Measures the Red Cross will take to make donors more comfortable upon their visit include:

  • Everyone will have their temperature taken before entering the blood drive, including staff and volunteers.
  • Additional spacing will be provided between beds and stations to go above social distancing guidelines.
  • No more than 15 people will be allowed in the venue at a time (including donors, staff and volunteers).
  • All recommended safety protocols will be used, including wearing gloves, routinely wiping down donor-touched areas, using sterile collection sets for every donation and preparing each arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.
  • Having hand sanitizer available.

The Red Cross is asking only for those that are healthy to donate. If you suspect you may be sick to any extent, the organization pleads to postpone your donation to a later time.

Appointments are required, as there will be no walkups. A blood donor card, a driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors 18 years of age and younger have to meet certain height and weight requirements, including weighing at least 110 pounds and being in generally good health.

For more information or to make an appointment to donate, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) sponsor code: TALLADEGA.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 days ago

Alabama History@Home is an online window into state’s past and more

(ADAH/Contributed)

Have you ever wondered what Alabamians’ recipes looked like during World War I or wanted to see what houses looked like in your community in the 20th century? Or maybe you’re looking for lesson plans to help your children learn while they’re staying at home.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) has partnered with art and history organizations throughout the state to introduce Alabama History@Home, an online resource for exploring Alabama’s history.

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Current History@Home Partners include AL200 Alabama BicentennialAlabama HeritageAlabama Historical Association, Alabama Museum of Natural History, Alabama Public Television (APT)Alabama State Council on the Arts, Auburn University College of Liberal Arts – The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & HumanitiesBirmingham Civil Rights InstituteEncyclopedia of AlabamaHistoric Blakeley State ParkHistory Museum of MobileMcWane Science CenterSloss Furnaces National Historic LandmarkNewSouth BooksThe Historians ManifestoUniversity of Alabama MuseumsUniversity of South Alabama Archaeology MuseumU.S. Space and Rocket Center and the Wiregrass Museum of Art.

“The state archives have been working steadily in recent years to increase the amount of historical resources available to the public online,” said ADAH Director Steve Murray in a news release. “When our staff, like all Alabamians, began adjusting to the necessity of doing work and school at home, we realized that we needed a single point of entry to make exploration of those resources as simple as possible for the public.”

With new, free content added regularly, ADAH and its content partners hope that the virtual opportunities, including tours and exhibits, video series, crafts and activities, digital photo collections and publications, can provide new and engaging learning opportunities for the public.

“Once we began building Alabama History@Home, the decision to include content hosted by other archives and museums was an obvious one,” Murray said. “The result is a terrific compilation of content originating from every corner of Alabama.”

According to ADAH, Alabama History@Home is an opportunity for cultural organizations to make a statement about the importance of working together in the face of challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are all in this together, and like Alabamians at their best throughout history, we will do all we can to help our neighborhoods, our communities and our state in overcoming this crisis,” Murray said.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History is the state’s government-records repository, a special-collections library and research facility and home to the Museum of Alabama, the state history museum. It is located in downtown Montgomery, directly across the street from the State Capitol. The ADAH is closed through April 18, 2020. Visit www.archives.alabama.gov for the latest information about agency closures and cancellations.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 days ago

UAB nurse reports from the front lines of the COVID-19 fight

(UAB/Contributed)

The work of doctors, nurses and staff on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 in Alabama has been applauded, and deservedly so.

The long hours, the stress of an unseen enemy and the wearing of uncomfortable and awkward equipment are bad enough. But having to watch patients suffer and even die is the worst of all.

While it’s impossible to imagine what it’s like, Terri Poe, chief nursing officer at UAB Hospital, gives us a glimpse into some of the highs and lows.

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4 days ago

Alabama farmers to host virtual field trips every Friday through May 22

(Pixabay)

How do peanuts grow? When do Alabama farmers grow different fruits and vegetables? What’s the difference between a cow, a bull and a calf?

Alabama farmers will answer all those questions and much more during Virtual Field Trips offered through Facebook Live on the Alabama Farmers Federation Facebook page every Friday at 10 a.m. through May 22.

“Parents and their children are making huge adjustments as their homes become classrooms, and we want to help by offering entertaining and educational field trips from some of our farmers,” said Jeff Helms, Alabama Farmers Federation Communications Department director. “While these videos will target third through fifth graders, people of all ages will learn more about how farmers grow food, fiber and timber.”

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Viewers are encouraged to ask questions through the comment section, and each video will include links to educational activities centered on the featured commodity.

Currently scheduled topics, subject to change, are:
●      April 3 – Peanuts and other row crops.
●      April 10 – Fruits and vegetables.
●      April 17– Beef cattle.
●      April 24 – Honeybees.
●      May 1 – Catfish.
●      May 8 – Greenhouse and nursery products.
●      May 15 – Forestry.
●      May 22 – Cotton and other row crops.

To receive Facebook notifications about the Virtual Field Trips, respond as “Interested” in the event or follow the Alabama Farmers Federation page.

This Virtual Field Trips project was developed in conjunction with Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama (GSSA). For additional virtual programs from GSSA, visit GirlScoutsSA.org.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 weeks ago

Alabama small businesses can now access SBA assistance for COVID-19 losses

(PIxabay, YHN)

Alabama small businesses and nonprofits that face economic loss due to COVID-19 now have some relief.

Gov. Kay Ivey said Saturday those in the state that are hurt by the coronavirus pandemic are eligible for assistance under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

The program will help qualified businesses and nonprofit organizations recover from economic losses tied to the abrupt downturn triggered by the COVID-19 disease.

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“Small businesses represent the backbone of Alabama’s economy, and many of them need immediate help in these trying times,” Ivey said. “My team has worked closely with the SBA in recent days to make this economic assistance possible. We’re all grateful to President Trump and the SBA for responding rapidly to the problems faced by small businesses in Alabama.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for an eligible small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

These low-interest loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

Businesses must qualify for EIDL assistance. For more information, go to the SBA’s COVID-19 disaster assistance web page.

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the department’s Office of Small Business Advocacy has heard from many small business owners around the state who are being squeezed by the sudden decline in economic activity brought on by the emergence of coronavirus.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities all across Alabama, employing local residents and sustaining economic vitality,” Canfield said. “It’s critical that small businesses around the state remain healthy, and the SBA’s disaster loan program could prove to be a lifeline for many of them.”

According to data from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, there are nearly 400,000 small businesses in Alabama, employing nearly half of all Alabama workers.

The Commerce Department worked with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the Alabama Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) to prepare Alabama’s application for the SBA’s EIDL program. The SBA granted Alabama’s application today.

Additionally, the ASBDC is an official outreach partner of the SBA and can serve as a resource regarding these loans. Small businesses can visit their website for information, including a webinar that has more information on the application process.

The Birmingham Business Alliance’s COVID-19 Resource Page has additional information for businesses regarding COVID-19.

“This was a team effort that will help many small business owners in Alabama make it through this crisis and move forward to thrive once again,” Ivey said.

(Courtesy Alabama News Center)

2 weeks ago

Birmingham-area food businesses adjust for coronavirus

(Alabama News Center)

Eateries and producers are making changes to serve customers and keep their doors open; you can help, too.

Social distancing has changed our food-centric state in ways we never imagined. Curbside service has become the new normal for many eateries. Others are relying heavily on delivery services. Still others are altering their business models in more significant ways.

While lives depend on safe interactions, livelihoods depend on businesses remaining in business. Here are some of the ways Alabama food- and drink-related establishments are addressing the coronavirus crisis.

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Fresh veggies with your poppyseed chicken casserole

The dining rooms at all four Ashley Mac’s Birmingham-area stores are closed, but Ashley McMakin, who owns the company with her husband, Andy, is still making homestyle casseroles and salads for pick-up and limited delivery.

Now, the Ashley Mac’s team is offering something else.

“We were just trying to think of some things we could do for the community,” McMakin says, “and one thing we can get — that a lot of people cannot get at the grocery store — is produce.” So, they are packing boxes full of fresh fruits and vegetables. For $30, you can get a box of produce ranging from romaine, onions, broccoli and tomatoes to strawberries, cantaloupe and pineapple.

McMakin says they will offer the produce boxes, which will vary according to what’s available and fresh, as long as there’s a demand and they can get enough produce in. Meanwhile, a lot of what happens here is (almost) business as usual.

“Thank goodness, our business model didn’t have to change,” McMakin says. “Having a prepackaged product has saved us.” Ashley Mac’s has long been known for its Gourmet-to-Go entrees, sides, salads and desserts — some of them frozen, some fresh.

All this is available for careful walk-in pick-up (for the moment). Or you can call ahead or order online, and they will bring your items to your car. Home delivery is a new option. For a minimum $100 order, they will deliver within the Birmingham metro area.

“Our customers have been amazing,” McMakin says. “We always have had very good customers, but everyone has been extra gracious and patient. They are grateful to have what they can. … And in this time — who knows how long it will go on — having some sense of normalcy for people is comforting for them. Having something at home, something as simple as their favorite chicken salad, is comforting for them.

“I believe they are grateful to us for adapting to the times and being willing to develop new systems on the fly. We literally said, ‘We’re going to do deliveries tomorrow.’ Then we started delivering.”

These changes have allowed McMakin and her husband to keep some of their employees working.

“We’ve always been an employee-centric company, and we care for our employees a lot more than the bottom line,” she says. “My husband and I are not taking a salary right now and trying to keep as many people on board for as long as we can.”

McMakin says she’s thankful for her customers who are making this possible. “I’m grateful for their kindness and the grace they’ve shown to us and for being patient with us as we are adapting to things along with them. We’re really grateful for every person who chooses to support local and who is going out of their way to come here. Please support us for as long as you can.”

Be sure to check Ashley Mac’s social media outlets for availability of items and produce boxes. Call 205-822-4142 for free pickup or 205-968-4126 for delivery with a $100 order.

Become a co-founder, and keep a business going

Panache, Domestique Coffee’s charming little coffee shop down an alley off 20th Street in Five Points South, is closed for now. So is Domestique Coffee Café inside Saturn in Avondale, but the Birmingham-based, small-batch coffee importer and roaster that specializes in single-origin coffee beans is banking on a brighter future.

Domestique is a multifaceted business that buys coffee from specialty growers all over the world, including Haiti, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Mexico and elsewhere, so it’s not just local employees who count on this company.

So, CEO Nathan Pocus, who co-founded Domestique with his brother, Michael, says the company is inviting its customers to become co-founders, too.

They are offering a Founder’s Card for $100. Sales of the cards will help the business now and allow buyers to enjoy benefits later, including a free batch brew for a month when Domestique reopens (a $90 value), 10% off all purchases for life, free digital products for life, early access notifications for all special events, monthly discount codes to use on the company’s online platform, a ticket to the fun Founder’s Day party and more. Go to www.domestique.com to learn more.

Domestique Coffee is in area Piggly Wiggly stores as well as in Whole Foods locations throughout Alabama. But the wholesale business to restaurants across the state and the company’s own two retail outlets account for more than half its revenue.

Proceeds from the cards will also help the company’s 12 retail employees who have been laid off. “We’ve been trying to provide for them in some ways,” Pocus says. “The plan is to provide a grocery stipend for them going forward.”

The money raised by the Founder’s Cards will also help employ these people again sooner rather than later. Many of them, Pocus points out, are photographers as well as baristas. Their skills can be used for the company’s digital platform.

Domestique began in 2014 with the brothers roasting coffee on a popcorn popper in a shed in Irondale, but the company has always been technologically savvy. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, they were ready to roll out a text-to-order app. The plan is to continue with that and make it available to their partners like Corey Hinkle, who provides breads and pastries for Domestique’s retail stores as well as other restaurants.

“As a business owner but also as a person who lives in the community, I’m torn,” Pocus says. “We want to keep everyone safe by isolating themselves and not spreading this virus. That really means total isolation for two weeks. That’s a tough ask on most people’s lives. But I think it’s necessary. Once that happens and we flatten the curve, we can get back to normal operations … and get people back to work.”

In the meantime, he says, “Order coffee online, and we’ll deliver it as long as we’re able to keep roasting.”

Then, when the world gets back to normal, you’ll want to visit Panache for a beautiful Golden Milk Latte made with ginger, black pepper and immune-boosting turmeric. It will be a welcome celebration of business as usual.

Sweet treats for sheltering in place

Big Spoon Creamery, the Birmingham-based small-batch, artisanal ice cream maker, has closed both its stores for now. But its handmade frozen treats (pint packs and sammie packs) are available for 24-hour delivery in the Birmingham area.

Ryan O’Hara, who owns Big Spoon with his wife, Geri-Martha, says everything is done online, and “it’s a great way for us to try to keep going and a great way to promote social distancing. People don’t have to leave their homes.”

He says the response has been great.

“It’s not like having our stores open, but it has been really positive. It’s a combination of a few things: (a) people just like our ice cream and want to have our ice cream, and (b) people in the community realize how difficult this is for businesses like ours, and they just want to support us.”

So every day, they deliver as much ice cream as they can. “We didn’t think there would be such a huge response,” O’Hara says. “We’ve only been doing it for three days now, but we’ve had to cut off deliveries for the day when we reach our capacity. … We’re going ‘round the clock. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We’re trying to do what we can to stay afloat.”

This home delivery allows Ryan and Geri-Martha to keep employing most of their full-time staff. Many of the part-time employees were college students who have since gone home. “We are prioritizing taking care of our people who rely on this job to support themselves,” he says.

“For Geri-Martha and I, we’ve always wanted to be a part of people’s lives — whatever that looks like. That really hasn’t changed. We’re all going through a hard time right now. Nobody’s missing this. Getting to still be a part of their lives, that’s great for us. The response has been really cool to see. We appreciate how many people support us.”

But he’s all too aware of the perils restaurant owners face.

“We want people to know that, like most in this industry, we’re in the fight of our lives right now,” he says. “We’re doing all we can. Most of it is out of our control. It’s a scary time. Most people understand that. That’s why there’s so much support for businesses like ours. The reality is, if this situation sustains, people are going to lose their businesses. We — and every other business like ours — are fighting for our lives right now.”

To place your order, visit https://www.bigspooncreamery.com/shop.

Restaurant and grocery

Little Savannah Restaurant & Bar is a fine-dining establishment, although Chef Clif Holt likes to say when you’re there, you’re simply “dining fine.” His customers are still dining in fine style, but they’re doing it at home with takeaway dinners for two and four. And Holt has figured out another way to help his historic Forest Park neighborhood where he has operated his restaurant for 16 years: He’s opening a neighborhood grocery.

Holt says he was at a grocery store last week and was shocked by the unbelievably bare shelves, “a line of nothingness.” So, he came up with a way to offset some of those shortages by partnering with Sysco, which sells to restaurants and has seen those sales plummet as restaurants close or cut back on orders. “They have a warehouse full of product, and a lot of it is fresh, short-shelf-life product,” Holt says. “Seeing as how there was a shortage in some of the stores, we decided to get together.”

The grocery will stock raw protein by the pound (ground beef, rib eyes, chicken and fresh Gulf shrimp and snapper); dairy and French baguettes; fresh produce (oranges, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas and apples); and even toilet paper, paper towels, bottled water and boxes of latex gloves.

All the necessities for right now. All at fair market prices.

“We’re not going to get rich off it,” he says of the grocery. “But it’s a service we can provide at a reasonable cost and keep our flow going.”

That flow involves his employees, whom he’s trying to keep at work, fish purveyors, truck drivers and even the folks who pick up the garbage. “People don’t think about that,” he says. “We have a shortage of thought sometimes about how these things are going to go. For me, the main thing I’m trying to figure out is how we can retain as much normalcy as possible.”

Normalcy currently means dinners for two or family dinners for four with the kinds of foods Holt’s customers have come to expect from Little Savannah. Things like hand-rolled pasta Bolognese or beef Bourguignon with herbed rice, Caesar salads and homemade focaccia.

He does more, as he can.

Holt was standing outside the restaurant when he saw a couple from the neighborhood out for a walk. “You hungry?” he asked. “Of course,” they answered. “Go on your walk,” he told them. “Your dinner will be ready when you get back.” And he got to work preparing a to-go meal of fresh Gulf flounder with snap peas, potatoes and tomatoes.

“The response, the feedback,” he says, “has been really positive. People are thankful we’re doing what we’re doing. In this neighborhood, you have a community. Forest Park has always found a way to bind and make things happen. I’m just really impressed with the community at large — and by that, I mean the larger Birmingham community — and how they have been supportive. People in Birmingham really rally around their restaurants. It’s just overwhelming. I’m just continually blessed and fortunate to have the community we have behind us.

“I’m driving home at night and my daughter’s next to me, and I’m wondering how can I make it so she doesn’t know all of what’s going on? How can I lessen the impact for others? If someone asks for something, I’ll try my best to do it. As long as I can keep this going, I will,” he says.

“The reality is, you have no control over this. No one does. So stop trying to control it. Get some takeout. Check on your elderly neighbors,” he says. “This is not the worst thing we’ve faced that put us in an awkward position or affected us financially, and we’re still here.

“We’ll be able to hug people here again pretty soon.”

You can check Facebook for the daily meal specials and follow Little Savannah on Instagram for more information. Orders must be placed by 4 p.m. for pick-up or delivery the next day. Curbside pick-up hours are 4-6 p.m., and there is a $5 delivery fee. Call or text 205-616-0995 or go to info@littlesavannah.com to place your order.

Neighbors serving neighbors

Kay Bruno Reed, owner of Everything IZ, which includes IZ Weddings & Events and IZ Café, is one of the state’s busiest caterers, easily handling parties for hundreds and even thousands. On a smaller, more local level, she has been part of the Rocky Ridge neighborhood of Vestavia Hills for more than 20 years. Now, with weddings and large events canceled, she’s working to feed her neighbors — one family at a time.

She says, “Our staff has been working nonstop to keep our freezer stocked for our customers. We have been offering curbside pick-up for years but are now offering free delivery.”

She’s also stocking basic staple items like milk, bread and eggs. Reed says the response has been amazing. “Customers are thanking us for being open and feeding them.”

All of the company’s full-time employees who want to be there continue to work there. Those who have chosen to self-quarantine, she says, are taking a portion of their paid time off.

Reed approaches her work amid the COVID-19 pandemic in a positive way.

“My hope, first of all, is that it is over soon and with very few deaths.” She also says she hopes “parents will take this time to teach their children basic domestic skills while they are studying at home.

“My prayer is that this will bring our nation together for the good of all.”

(Courtesy Alabama News Center)

3 weeks ago

Former Blazer Andy Kennedy named UAB men’s basketball coach

(Alabama News Center)

UAB on Friday named former Blazer star Andy Kennedy as its new men’s basketball coach.

“On behalf of my wife, Kimber, and our two daughters, I am blessed to be able to return to my alma mater, in a city that I love, to lead this storied basketball program,” Kennedy said in a letter posted on the UAB Athletics website. “I want to thank (UAB President) Dr. (Ray) Watts and Mark Ingram for believing in me and affording me this tremendous opportunity.”

Director of Athletics Ingram said the hiring of UAB’s seventh head basketball coach is pending approval of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. Kennedy has agreed to a six-year deal going through 2026.

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Andy Kennedy, left, has spent the past two years as a commentator for ESPN and the SEC Network. (SEC Network)
Kennedy is the winningest coach in University of Mississippi history and was twice named SEC Coach of the Year. The UAB alumnus won 245 games as the Rebels coach, leading them to the 2013 SEC Tournament championship and two berths in the NCAA tournament. Kennedy coached Cincinnati for one season, leading the Bearcats to a 21-13 record in 2005-06.

Kentucky Coach John Calipari tweeted soon after the announcement: “UAB hit a grand slam … Andy is a great friend, a good man and one of the best basketball coaches in the country, bar none.”

The past two years Kennedy was a commentator for ESPN and the SEC Network, but he is also the second-leading scorer in UAB history and a former assistant coach for the Blazers under Murry Bartow.

Kennedy was named first team All-Sun Belt Conference as a senior in 1990-91, as well as second team All-Sun Belt as a junior in 1989-90. In three seasons, he scored 1,787 points and holds the UAB record for career 3-point field goals made (318) and attempted (728), 3-point field goal percentage (.437), free throw percentage (.872) and highest single-season scoring average (21.8 in 1990-91).

Additionally, Kennedy holds UAB’s record for most points scored by a sophomore (603) and by a senior (676), most career 20-plus-point games (43), most career 30-plus-point games (7) and most points scored in a single game (41 vs. Saint Louis on Jan. 13, 1991).

“Andy is a proven winner both as a player and a coach, and we are elated to have him lead our men’s basketball program,” Ingram said. “He helped build UAB basketball’s proud tradition as one of the best to ever play here, and I am confident he will elevate the program to new heights as our coach. Andy will add to the growing momentum of our university and city as a whole.”

Kennedy replaces Robert Ehsan, who in four seasons coached the Blazers to an overall record of 76-57.

(Courtesy Alabama News Center)

3 weeks ago

Alabama Power warns customers of phone scam

(PIxabay, YHN)

Alabama Power is sharing information on a scam targeting customers over the phone claiming to be a representative from Alabama Power and requesting immediate payment on accounts.

In some instances, scammers have altered a customer’s caller ID to falsely read Alabama Power Company.

These scams happen periodically and are increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, Alabama Power works with each of our customers on the best service options for their accounts and the schemes that criminals use are not part of our business practices.

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“The No. 1 tip we tell customers is if anyone calls you directly and claims to be with Alabama Power, hang up and call our Customer Service line at 1-800-245-2244,” said Alisa Summerville, Alabama Power Customer Services Center director. “This small step can save a customer from making a false payment. We are happy to talk the situation through with them, so they are confident in their account status and our process.”

Alabama Power wants customers to remember the following to protect themselves from scams:

  • We will never come to your door and demand an immediate payment.
  • We will never call you and ask you over the phone for bank information or a credit card number.
  • Any Alabama Power employee who comes to your door for any reason will have company identification that he or she will gladly show you. If you have any questions about whether a person actually works for Alabama Power, call Alabama Power at 1-800-245-2244 and do not let him or her inside your home.
  • Scammers sometimes claim they represent a public agency or government office offering grants that can pay your Alabama Power or other utility bill. Never provide anyone making this claim your credit card information, your Alabama Power bill information or account number, or any personal banking information. If someone makes this claim, call Alabama Power or your local police department to report it.
  • If you ever have any question about the status of your Alabama Power account, do not hesitate to call us. You can reach Alabama Power Customer Service weekdays from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. at 1-800-245-2244.
  • The automated voice system at 1-800-245-2244 is available to check account balances 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 weeks ago

Project Horseshoe Farm in Greensboro awarded grant to expand services to Uniontown

(Alabama Power Foundation/Contributed)

Project Horseshoe Farm recently received a grant from the Alabama Power Foundation to expand its services to Uniontown. The grant will be used to provide community health, education and social support to more residents in Perry County.

“We are grateful to have been able to work with our community to make a positive impact here in Greensboro and believe that the Horseshoe Farm model can work well with other communities as well,” said Dr. John Dorsey, Horseshoe Farm’s founder and director. “This grant will allow us to begin to dedicate fellows’ time to work in Uniontown and provide support through our health partner and youth programs, as well as in support of Uniontown’s existing programs for seniors.”

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Project Horseshoe Farm in Greensboro helps its neighbors in need from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Fellows will partner with Robert C. Hatch School to provide in-class individualized support to students. Through the Health Partners program, fellows will work with health care providers, churches and community organizations to help elderly, disabled and mentally ill patients in Uniontown with transportation to and from doctors offices, provide health coaching and assist with follow-up care.

The grant will allow Project Horseshoe Farm to enhance its fitness area with new equipment in the downtown Greensboro community center, which will be used by both Hale and Perry county patients.

“We truly believe in the work that Project Horseshoe Farm is doing in the community and we are pleased to be a part of their expansion efforts into Perry County by providing an Alabama Power Foundation grant,” said Mark Crews, Alabama Power Western Division vice president. “We commend this organization for staying true to its mission of strengthening our communities through improving health and quality of life for the residents who need it the most.”

Sarah Hallmark, Horseshoe Farm’s assistant director, said the Alabama Power Foundation has been an avid supporter of Project Horseshoe Farm and its programs. “Without partners like the Alabama Power Foundation, we would not be able to address the needs of our patients. We greatly appreciate their support and continued partnership to help us support this area of our state.”

Since 2007, Project Horseshoe Farm has worked to change the trajectory of community health in Greensboro and the surrounding region. The organization has an integrated network of housing and transportation, as well as health, wellness and social programs for senior citizens, economically disadvantaged people, people with disabilities and other vulnerable adults. Its thriving community center provides programs four days a week. The organization also partners with Hale County Hospital to operate its psychiatric outpatient clinic two times a week in the community center.

Project Horseshoe Farm brings top recent college graduates from across the country to Greensboro each year to participate in its fellowship program, which is designed to prepare aspiring service leaders to strengthen communities and improve quality of life by enhancing community health programs.

To learn more about Project Horseshoe Farm and ways to support the organization, visit projecthsf.org or contact 205-710-6372.

Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 weeks ago

Endeavor expands support for growth-stage entrepreneurs in Birmingham

(ScaleUp Endeavor/Contributed, YHN)

Endeavor, a global entrepreneurship nonprofit, is expanding in Birmingham, announcing plans to select and support more growth-stage founders and a new program called ScaleUp Birmingham to accelerate the path to Endeavor for the city’s fastest-growing startups.

Endeavor’s efforts will be supported by Alabama PowerAlabama Small Business Capital and a new advisory board that includes founders who have successfully scaled businesses in Birmingham. The board includes Shegun Otulana of Therapy BrandsShipt founder Bill Smith of Landing; former Daxko CEO Dave Gray of Biso Collective; and venture investor Jared Weinstein, whose social impact entity, The Overton Project, was instrumental in bringing Endeavor to Birmingham.

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Maggie Belshé, formerly director of marketing and communications for high-growth health coaching company Pack Health and community liaison of Venture for America’s 2015 class, will lead day-to-day operations and represent Birmingham in regional discussions as the organization grows.

“As an organization of, by and for entrepreneurs, it’s important that each Endeavor office be guided by founders in the community and operated with the tenacity of a startup,” said Endeavor Atlanta Managing Director Aaron Hurst. “With the team we’ve been able to assemble, as well as the energy of community partners, Birmingham is leading the way and setting a precedent for what regional collaboration can look like.”

Endeavor’s presence in the Magic City took shape last fall as local entrepreneur Tony Summerville, founder and CEO of Fleetio, was selected into Endeavor’s global network and Atlanta-based Endeavor company LeaseQuery expanded its operations to Birmingham.

With the launch of ScaleUp Birmingham, Endeavor brings a six-month, nondilutive program anchored around founder-to-founder mentor connections with growth-stage entrepreneurs in other U.S. cities.

Endeavor has versions of ScaleUp in 10 of its more than 35 markets. All share the common goal of equipping founders who have achieved strong product-market fit and proven high-growth potential with the resources and confidence needed to take their companies to the next level.

Individualized strategic growth workshops will be used to create personalized roadmaps for each founder or founding team, to inform mentorship pairings and curate advisory sessions with subject matter experts over the course of the program. Founders will benefit from monthly workshops with their local cohort, designed and implemented in partnership with an executive coach to help navigate their evolving role as a leader.

ScaleUp will accept applications until April 10, with the program set to launch in May. Entrepreneurs can learn more and apply at www.endeavoratlanta.org/scale-up.

Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 weeks ago

Alabama Power poised to maintain reliable electric service

(Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Power is closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and is prepared to maintain reliable electric service.

“Safety First is a core value of Alabama Power. We are focused on the safety and well-being of our employees and customers, while ensuring there is no impact to reliable service,” said Mark Crosswhite, Alabama Power CEO. “Our company is actively implementing strategic plans across our system to maintain the service our customers trust us to deliver.”

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The company has taken proactive actions to both prevent the spread of illness and protect the safety and health of employees, including:

  • Providing guidance for practicing safe social distancing, frequent handwashing, limiting travel and avoiding large crowds.
  • Implementing telecommuting for those who can perform their duties remotely.
  • Canceling facility tours and external meetings.
  • Aggressively sanitizing work areas.
  • Canceling all non-essential business travel – both domestic and international.
  • Asking employees to self-identify if they have traveled or plan to travel internationally.
  • Using technology for meetings.

Alabama Power always offers resources for customers and will continue to do so during this time. Affected customers can contact Customer Service at www.alabamapower.com or 1-800-245-2244 to discuss support options.

Customers can manage energy accounts from home through the website, by phone or mail. Alabama Power also has instituted aggressive cleaning practices in business offices and appliance centers should customers need to visit in person.

Alabama Power customers and employees should follow the guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which includes helpful tips and reminders about:

The company encourages energy efficiency to help customers manage their energy use while spending more time at home. Simple adjustments to behaviors that can help manage energy include:

  • Replace air filters in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units.
  • Set the thermostat and then forget it. Changing the temperature often during the day is more likely to increase energy use.
  • Ensure air-conditioning vents are unobstructed and opened to full capacity.
  • Use natural lighting early in the day and late in the afternoon to reduce energy use.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 month ago

Leaders recognized during Minority Business Awards

(Minority Business Awards/Contributed)

Some of Birmingham’s most successful and influential minority and female business leaders were recently recognized during the annual Minority Business Awards event, produced by Birmingham-based SummitMedia.

The event, in its 14th year, was hosted by radio personality and entrepreneur Tom Joyner. The awards and networking event “celebrate the spirit, creativity and resourcefulness of Birmingham’s brightest minority and female leadership,” organizers said.

Jonathan Porter, senior vice president of Customer Operations for Alabama Power, was honored as Executive of the Year, while Demetria Scott, manager in the Department of Small Business Inclusion at UAB, received the Diversity Leader award.

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Other winners included talent acquisition expert Roosevelt Morgan as the Outstanding Young Professional; Kristal Bryant of K&J’s Elegant Pastries, who received the Small Business Owner award; Natasha Rembert, executive director of Dream Girls Academy, as the Faith/Non-Profit Leader of the year; and attorney Freddy Rubio as Justice/Attorney Professional of the year.

Dr. Faye Chambers of Chambers Family Dentistry was honored as Medical Professional of the year. Jeremy Norman of Norman & Associates Real Estate Solutions received the Entrepreneur award. Marcus King, owner of King Boyz Towing & Recovery, was named Automotive Professional of the year.

Formerly Fusion, the Minority Business Awards not only highlights recognized leaders, but is focused on motivating future minority and women business leaders, according to the event’s website.

In all, the event recognized 27 winners and finalists in nine categories. Here are the finalists who were honored during the event:

Learn more about the Minority Business Awards by clicking here. Alabama Power was among the event’s sponsors.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 month ago

2020 James Beard Award semifinalists include Alabama restaurants and bars

(Alabama NewsCenter/Contributed)

There’s a strong Alabama flavor to this year’s list of semifinalists for the prestigious James Beard 2020 Restaurant and Chef Awards, which celebrates leaders in the culinary industry.

Newcomers to the list, released Wednesday morning, are Birmingham’s Automatic Seafood & Oysters for Best New Restaurant and Chez Fonfon for Outstanding Hospitality.

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Automatic Seafood & Oysters is the latest bright spot on Birmingham’s restaurant scene from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Chef Adam Evans and his wife, Suzanne Humphries Evans, opened Automatic Seafood in a 1940s warehouse in April 2019 and it has become a vibrant addition to Birmingham’s restaurant scene. Frank and Pardis Stitt, of Highlands Bar & Grill acclaim, opened Chez Fonfon in 2000 next door to their Beard Award winner for Outstanding Restaurant in 2018. They describe Chez Fonfon as a “cozy, casual French bistro that we hope transfers you to Paris, Lyon or Nice.”

Other Alabama semifinalists are the Atomic Lounge in Birmingham for Best Bar Program, and Bill Briand of Fisher’s Upstairs in Orange BeachTimothy Hontzas of Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood, and Duane Nutter of Southern National in Mobile, all in the Best Chef: South category.

Briand is a semifinalist for the fifth year in a row, while Hontzas has earned the designation for the fourth year in a row. Nutter and business partner Reggie Washington were semifinalists for Outstanding Service for their Atlanta restaurant, One Flew South, in 2014 and 2015, and for Southern National as Outstanding New Restaurant in 2018. The Atomic, opened by husband and wife team Feizal Valli and Rachael Roberts in 2017, is a semifinalist for the third year running.

A Beard Award is considered the ultimate honor for culinary professionals, akin to an Academy Award for the film industry. Winning a Beard Award often results in national fame.

The 2020 James Beard Awards mark the 30th anniversary of “America’s most coveted and comprehensive honors for chefs, restaurants, journalists, authors and other leaders in the food and beverage industry,” the James Beard Foundation said in a news release. The nominees, or finalists, will be announced March 25. The James Beard Awards Gala to announce the winners will take place May 4 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 months ago

Alabama’s Hangout Music Festival announces initial 2020 lineup

(Hangout Festival/Contributed)

The Hangout Music Festival, the three-day music event at Gulf Shores, announced the lineup for its 11th annual event to take place May 15-19, 2020.

Here are the artists scheduled to attend:

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The 2020 Hangout will once again include access to beach clubs and Hammock Beach along with beach volleyball, yoga, disco skating at the full-sized Roller Rink. Camp Hangout, dance parties and other activities are among the offerings. Get a full list here.

Tickets go on sale Monday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. with a variety of ticket offerings ranging from general admission to a host of VIP options – all-inclusive VIP, Super VIP, Big Kahuna and Cabana packages. Visit here for details on ticket packages and prices.

Fans can purchase presale tickets via American Express or Tunespeak. The AMEX presale starts Friday, Dec. 6 at 8 a.m. and is open to all American Express card holders. The Tunespeak presale starts Friday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. and customers can sign up for access at hangoutmusicfest.com. Both presales end Monday, Dec. 9 at 9:30 a.m.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

7 months ago

On this day in Alabama history: NASA unveiled space shuttle Enterprise

(Wikicommons)

Sept. 17, 1976

It was named after the Starship Enterprise, from the famed TV show “Star Trek.” Indeed, much of the cast of the show and its creator, Gene Rodenberry, attended the unveiling on this day in 1976. It represented a completely new concept for the nation’s space program: a reusable space orbiter. But Enterprise would never make it to space. Rather, it was the “test shuttle,” built for atmospheric tests only after being launched from a modified Boeing 747 jet. Enterprise had no engines and no functional heat shield, making it incapable of spaceflight. And design changes after Enterprise’s unveiling made it impractical to retrofit for space travel. Constructed primarily in California, Enterprise also spent time at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, where it underwent rigorous ground-vibration testing. It was in Huntsville that, for the first time, all the space shuttle’s key components – the orbiter, external tank and two solid-rocket boosters – were tied together.

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7 months ago

North Alabama native brings touch of Huntsville history to Mazda Toyota plant

(MTMUS/Contributed)

When it came to naming the two assembly lines at the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. plant (MTMUS) under construction in Huntsville, the job fell to a lifelong North Alabama resident and University of Alabama in Huntsville grad who had been hired this year as the plant’s general manager, assembly.

Lance Fulks faces many challenges getting the $1.6 billion factory, the latest major addition to Alabama’s growing auto sector, through start-up mode and ready to start auto production in 2021. He was prepared for the job by 20 years of experience in manufacturing and a degree in industrial and systems engineering. Still, as busy as he was with other duties, he took the seemingly simple task of naming the assembly lines seriously.

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He just wasn’t sure MTMUS management would take the idea he came up with seriously, he said with a chuckle. But his solution helps define the company’s place in Huntsville’s future by honoring the most important part of the city’s history.

“When MTMUS’ management asked me to help come up with names for our two lines, I didn’t know how to start,” Fulks said. “I froze! This task was something I ordinarily wouldn’t do; however, it provided me with an opportunity to get creative, especially being from North Alabama.”

After contemplating the colors of the Alabama state flag and countless other ideas, Fulks thought about the Rocket City’s rich heritage as the birthplace of our nation’s space program.

“Growing up near Huntsville as a child, we took regular school field trips to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center to learn about the city’s significance in the space program. If you’re from the region, everyone has a connection or story about the space program, whether it’s a relative, neighbor or a friend, so the solution was an obvious one.”

Fulks added, “when I presented the idea of naming our two lines Apollo and Discovery, in a nod to Rocket City, our team loved it. As we ramp up hiring and begin preparations to assemble world-class vehicles in Huntsville in 2021, I believe naming these lines after two iconic space programs serves as added motivation for all MTMUS team members.”

Construction of MTMUS remains on schedule. Up to 4,000 jobs will be created and hiring is under way. In August 2017, Toyota and Mazda announced a collaboration to establish MTMUS, a joint venture that will assemble up to 300,000 vehicles annually. This summer, more than 2,500 workers are on-site during peak construction, the majority from Alabama.

Those interested may search and apply for jobs online at MazdaToyota.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

8 months ago

On this day in Alabama history: Constitutional Convention delegates finish work

(The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Aug. 2, 1819

The U.S. Congress selected Huntsville to host the first Constitutional Convention of Alabama. Delegates to the convention drafted the document in Walker Allen’s cabinet shop from July 5 through Aug. 2, 1819. The building became a historic landmark, having served as the inauguration site of the state’s first governor, William Wyatt Bibb, and the meeting place for the newly created Alabama Legislature.

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Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

9 months ago

On this day in Alabama history: Camp McClellan was established in east Alabama

(John Stanton/FortWiki)

July 18, 1917

Shortly after the United States entered World War I, the War Department established Camp McClellan as a rapid mobilization base and permanent National Guard facility. More than 27,000 men were training at the east Alabama base by the end of 1917. Camp McClellan was originally named in honor of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, and was renamed Fort McClellan in 1929. During World War II, nearly 500,000 military personnel trained there. After being put in custodial status following the war, it was reactivated during the Korean War and Cold War era. The focus shifted to chemical weapons training during and after the Vietnam War. The fort survived one round of military base closings during the 1990s, but it was finally shut down in 1999. The site has shifted to private use as well as for Alabama National Guard training.

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Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

9 months ago

What James Spann says Alabamians should know in advance of a hurricane

(Brittany Faush/Alabama NewsCenter)

While August and September are usually the most active months for tropical systems and hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, a forecasted tropical depression later this week is evidence a storm can pop up any time during hurricane season (June 1-Nov. 30).

Meteorologist James Spann said planning for landfall should never be last-minute for those living on the Alabama coast or places directly inland. Here are some of the things Spann said to consider now as you develop a plan.

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James Spann shares thoughts on planning for hurricane season in Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

It’s always a good idea to keep a storm kit, whether it’s for a potential hurricane or any type of storm system or tornado that could pop up in Alabama.

Meteorologists James Spann and Meaghan Thomas show you what to include in your storm safety kit from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy Alabama NewsCenter)

10 months ago

Alabama Power wins Electric Edison Institute awards for power restoration efforts following Hurricane Michael

(Wynter Byrd/Alabama NewsCenter)

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) awarded Alabama Power with the EEI “Emergency Assistance Award” and the  “Emergency Recovery Award” for its outstanding power restoration efforts after Hurricane Michael hit Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in October 2018.
The Emergency Assistance Award and Emergency Recovery Award are given to EEI member companies to recognize their efforts to assist other electric companies’ power restoration efforts, and for their own extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions caused by severe weather conditions or other natural events. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process.

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Alabama Power received the awards during the EEI 2019 annual conference.

Alabama Power’s extraordinary efforts were instrumental to restoring service for customers across Alabama, Georgia, and Florida quickly and safely,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “We are pleased to recognize the dedicated crews from Alabama Power for their work to restore service in hazardous conditions and to assist neighboring electric companies in their times of need.”

Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm to make landfall during the 2018 hurricane season, was a Category 5 hurricane with peak winds of 160 mph. The storm hit Mexico Beach, Fla., on October 10 before being downgraded to a tropical storm and traveling northeast through Georgia and several Mid-Atlantic states. Alabama Power sent more than 1,400 lineworkers and 700 trucks to help restore service to customers over the course of two and a half months.

Hurricane Michael also resulted in 89,438 service outages in Alabama Power’s territory. Due to their tireless work, Alabama Power’s crews restored power to 100 percent of customers within four days after the storm, dedicating more than 124-thousand hours to the recovery.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

11 months ago

Mother’s Day at Children’s of Alabama hospital brightened by special deliveries

(Children's of Alabama/Contributed)

While professional golfers on the PGA Tour Champions aimed for the greens at the Regions Tradition golf tournament, hundreds of volunteers packed green boxes to ensure mothers would feel like champions at Children’s of Alabama.

Birmingham’s Cheeriodicals coordinated a special delivery to the hospital on Mother’s Day in what was to be the last day of the golf tournament. A weather delay extended the tournament to Monday, which saw Steve Stricker claim his first major championship.

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Throughout the past week, volunteers from RegionsGreystone Golf and Country ClubAlabama Power Service Organization and Edgar’s Bakery joined with some golf pros and others to pack the bright green Cheeriodicals boxes. Boxes were packed with items for mothers of children staying at the hospital as well as for the children themselves.

“I could not be prouder of the volunteers from Alabama Power Company who commit year over year and time and again to give their talent to causes that really help elevate the state,” said Myla Calhoun, president of the Alabama Power Foundation.

Some surprise deliveries were made to mothers during the Regions Pro-Am tournament. But the bulk were made at Children’s of Alabama on Sunday morning. The mothers were appreciative and often tearful for the show of love and support.

“It is an amazing thing really,” said Morgan White, a mother of an 8-month-old daughter who is scheduled for heart surgery Wednesday. “It really helps. Being in the hospital is hard anyways, but being in the hospital on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, holidays is really, really nerve-wracking.”

“It’s going to be a great Mother’s Day,” White added. “I get to spend it with my daughter and now I have all of this stuff to help me cope.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

11 months ago

APC, Nature Conservancy receive environmental award

(Alabama NewsCenter/Contributed)

Alabama Power and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have received a Partners for Environmental Progress (PEP) Environmental Stewardship Award for their partnership last year on an oyster reef project in Mobile Bay.

Alabama Power and TNC teamed up to help preserve the reef at Helen Wood Park on Mobile Bay. TNC worked with the Alabama Power Foundation to fund restoring the reef using new, innovative oyster “castles” to replace the bagged oyster shells originally used to build the reef.

The bagged oyster shells did not hold up well to the Mobile Bay waves. Oyster castles are much like large concrete interlocking blocks. They are stronger than bagged shells and better withstand wave action from boats in the bay.

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The reef helps attract and foster oyster settlement and creates a habitat for fish and other marine life. It also helps protect against erosion and provides a stable shore.

Funding for the project was provided by the Alabama Power Foundation andAlabama Power Service Organization partnered with TNC for volunteers to rebuild the reef.

Accepting the award were Plant Barry Manager Mike Burroughs, TNC Coastal Conservation Specialist Jacob Blandford, External Affairs Manager Beth Thomas, Customer Service Manager and 2018 APSO President Erin Delaporte, TNC Marine Program Director Judy Haner and Mobile Division Vice President Nick Sellers.

PEP is a coalition of business and education leaders who share the vision of applying science-based environmental best practices to business and community issues. PEP’s 200 business members along the Gulf Coast value the area’s unique natural resources, as well as the thriving economy.

PEP members understand the future of the Gulf Coast depends on ensuring a balance between business development and job creation, industrial growth and a healthy environment.

Since 2005, the PEP board of directors has presented the Environmental Stewardship Award to recognize members whose work has made a significant, positive contribution to the Gulf Coast region in three crucial areas: economic growth, environmental health and social responsibility.

TNC works across all 50 states to conserve land and water. The organization works with private and public partners to ensure lands and waters are protected for future generations.

TNC members believe that people and nature can thrive together and the organization looks for real-world solutions to environmental issues, including food and water security and city growth.

(Courtesy of Alabama Newscenter)

1 year ago

New Ideal Lofts under construction in downtown Birmingham

(Creature/Contributed)

The New Ideal building next to Pizitz will soon be transformed into New Ideal Lofts, bringing revitalization to the corner of Second Avenue North and 18th Street.

Work has started on the former retail building, which has been shuttered for more than three decades. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for April 8 at 11 a.m. The project is estimated to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

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New Ideal Lofts will have 45 condominiums ranging in size from 390 square feet to 3,000 square feet. They will have modern finishes, private parking, a common outdoor terrace overlooking the Pizitz courtyard and other amenities.

The project will include 3,500-5,200 square feet of ground floor and mezzanine commercial space available for purchase.

The project plans to be one of the first major downtown Birmingham renovations to use the new Opportunity Zone tax breaks, developers said.

“In addition to bringing life back to a beautiful building that has been shut off from the public for over 30 years, this property represents one of many in Birmingham that will benefit from the newly created Opportunity Zone tax benefit program,” said Kathy Okrongley of Southpace Properties. “This program is spawning redevelopment across the nation and, here in Birmingham, we have this tremendous opportunity to save a piece of the city’s history while also offering investors a chance to participate in the project and benefit from significant capital gains tax savings. It’s a win-win for the city and for private investment.”

The design and development plans call for preserving the historical facade and interior elements such as expansive windows, original wooden floors, wood truss ceilings and terrazzo flooring.

John Lauriello and Blake Crowe of Southpace were the original listing brokers for the purchase transaction of the New Ideal building. Southpace brokers Kathy Okrongley and Michael Randman created New Ideal Lofts LLC to head up the development of the project. Creature is the general contractor and architect. H2 Real Estate is handling the residential sales on the project.

There are 26 condos available. More information can be found at the New Ideal Lofts page here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 year ago

Hoover Met Complex scores with nearly $15 million in economic impact in 2018

(Hoover Met Complex/Contributed)

The Hoover Met Complex knocked the ball out of the park in 2018, bringing in $14.86 million in total economic impact from out-of-town visitors and local events.

The sports tourism complex in Hoover, operated by Sports Facilities Management (SFM), hosted more than 1,700 teams, 22,000 athletes and coaches, and 48,000 spectators at traditional and nontraditional sports events. There have been numerous sporting events and tournaments at the 155,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Finley Center since it opened its doors June 16, 2017. Blue Chips BasketballWorldwide Spirit Association (WSA) Cheer, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Super Regional Volleyball Tournament and Future 150 Basketball were among those events.

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A large part of the economic success is due to nonsports-related meetings involving companies including Alabama PowerBirmingham Association of RealtorsBlue Cross Blue Shield and Spectrum. The facility has also welcomed multiple gun shows, Sysco Food Shows and Market Noel.

“We are pleased that the Hoover Met Complex contributed more than $14 million in economic impact through a variety of events in 2018,” said Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato. “With the completion of construction at the Hoover Met Complex and all facets open, we look forward to welcoming more visitors to the city of Hoover to enjoy and compete in many events throughout the new year.”

During 2018, phase two of the construction project was completed. It was marked by the opening of baseball/softball fields, as well as the addition of Hoover Climbing and Adventure, a new interactive Finley Center entertainment option for kids of all ages.

The final phase began on Feb. 1, 2019 and will include the construction of 16 tennis courts and five multi-purpose fields, which are National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulated for football, lacrosse and soccer. Finally, the new Explore Playground and splash pad will be added, and are expected to open in March.

“We are excited to announce the completion of the final phase of the Hoover Met Complex,” said John Sparks, SFM general manager of the complex. “There are already many positive indicators that 2019 could yield even more impressive results for both the complex and our community through economic impact and local programming. We look forward to providing more options for residents and increase tourism as we host additional tournaments throughout the new year.”

Many new and returning events are scheduled at the Hoover Met Complex for 2019. These include the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Baseball TournamentEast Coast ProPerfect Game Baseball Association and Adidas Gauntlet.

For more information about upcoming events, visit www.hoovermetcomplex.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)