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.

4 weeks 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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1 month 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)

3 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)

3 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)

3 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)

4 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)

5 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)

5 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)

6 months 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)

7 months 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)

9 months ago

Birmingham Iron football team finishes first week of training camp, holds joint practice

(Contributed/Alabama NewsCenter)

The Birmingham Iron has finished its first week of training camp in San Antonio, ending with a joint practice with the Salt Lake Stallions.

Birmingham’s Alliance of American Football team is using the camp to whittle its roster down from the 85 original players to the 52 that will take the field against the Memphis Express at 1 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Legion Field to kick off the inaugural season for the team and the new league.

The Iron released interviews with two players expected to make the final roster – running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Luis Perez.

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Update from Birmingham Iron training camp from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Richardson said the practice with the Stallions showed the progress the Iron is making as a team.

“It shows that we got something special,” the former University of Alabama and NFL running back said. “It shows that both sides still need a lot of work. But we did a lot of great things out there. We showed that team chemistry, too.”

Perez agreed that they are building something with this team.

“As a team, I think we’re doing a very good job,” he said. “We’re stacking those blocks, getting better every single day. Not making the same mistake twice is the end goal. Just getting better, installing all these plays and studying them. Right now we’re all in a learning phase, and I think we’re doing a good job.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

9 months ago

Mural art exhibit commemorates Alabama history as part of state’s bicentennial

(Dan Bynum/Alabama NewsCenter)

Artist historian Dean Mosher has created nine murals to celebrate Alabama’s bicentennial.

The Eastern Shore Art Center opened an exhibit of the murals Jan. 4, including the unveiling of two of them to the public. The exhibit can be viewed at the Fairhope center through Feb. 23.

The “Battle of Fort Mims” and “Tribute to the Merchant Marine” are the new additions that join Mosher’s previous murals that pay tribute to the founding of Fairhope, the University of Alabama, Alabama’s veterans and other historic moments.

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For more information, visit https://esartcenter.org/.

Other exhibits at the Eastern Shore Art center include:

–“Magic City Shines” group exhibit of Birmingham artists Eric Johnson, David Joseph Self (Deep Fried Sugar), Chiharu Roach and Dan Bynum.
–Pottery by Rezner Pottery showcasing handmade stoneware pottery out of clay dug just outside Fairhope.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

9 months ago

Alabama Legacy Moment: Wayne Perkins

(Alabama NewsCenter/Vimeo)

Alabama Public Television is producing a series of videos titled “Alabama Legacy Moments” that offer a quick history of the people, places and stories that have defined Alabama. Done in conjunction with the ongoing bicentennial celebration of the state that concludes in December 2019, the short pieces should inspire you to learn more about the rich history of Alabama. “Alabama Legacy Moments”  are sponsored by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and the Alabama Broadcasters Association.

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This “Legacy Moment” is Wayne Perkins.

Alabama Legacy Moment: Wayne Perkins from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

10 months ago

‘Tis still the season of giving in Alabama

(Alabama NewsCenter)

Christmas may be gone, but there’s still time to help neighbors in need during this season of giving.

Alabamians consistently rank among the most generous and charitable people in the nation, and the state is blessed with many nonprofits that work every day to help others.

If you are considering a contribution to help make someone’s life a little brighter before the holiday season winds down, the list below provides just a small sampling of the many good organizations throughout the state that focus on helping those who are less fortunate.

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Most of these organizations also provide opportunities to volunteer:

Anniston area

Developer – Provides food, clothing and utility assistance to those in need in Calhoun County. http://unityenabler.org/ or call 256-27-6144.

Interfaith Ministries of Calhoun County – Provides services to individuals and families in Calhoun County. Programs include prescription drug assistance, meals on wheels, an adult dental clinic and a Christmas Clearing House. http://www.interfaithcalhoun.org/ or call 256-237-8355.

Birmingham area

Brother Bryan Mission – Founded in 1940, it serves economically, emotionally and spiritually impoverished men in central Alabama through its residential programs. https://bbmission.com/donate/ or call 205-322-0092.

Children’s Aid Society of Alabama (CAS) – Based in Birmingham, CAS has provided services to families in need or at risk since 1912. CAS helps parents gain skills and resources they need to keep families together, and when children can’t remain with their birth families, CAS recruits and prepares adoptive homes. www.childrensaid.org or 205-251-7148.

Collat Jewish Family Services – Cares for people of every faith, with a primary focus on older adults. CJFS helps individuals continue living independently with an enriched quality of life. https://cjfsbham.org/ or call 205-879-3438.

Community Food Bank of Central Alabama – For more than 30 years, the Community Food Bank has worked to end hunger in north central Alabama. It now provides food to more than 240 agencies in 12 counties. http://www.feedingal.org/ or call 205-942-8911.

Community Kitchens of Birmingham – Annually prepares and serves more than 95,000 free plates of hot, quality food for homeless and/or underserved guests in Southside and in Woodlawn. https://thecommunitykitchens.org/ or call 205-251-3569.

Greater Birmingham Ministries (GBM) – Founded in 1969, GBM partners with multiple faith-based organizations to support human needs, including food, shelter and other services in the Birmingham area. https://gbm.org/ or call 205-326-6821.

Jimmie Hale Mission and Jessie’s Place – It began as a storefront chapel in Birmingham in 1944 and has grown to become a multifaceted ministry with programs including a homeless shelter for men, a shelter for women and children, after-school Bible clubs, recovery programs, learning centers and fund-raising thrift stores. https://jimmiehalemission.org or call 205-323-5878.

Literacy Council of Central Alabama – Serving Blount, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby and Walker counties, the Literacy Council develops, strengthens and supports basic literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs. More than 92,000 adults in central Alabama are functionally illiterate. https://literacy-council.org/ or call 205-326-1925.

Oak Mountain Mission Ministries – Based in Pelham, this organization provides food, clothing, furniture and financial assistance to those in need in Shelby County and the greater Birmingham area. http://www.oakmtnmissions.com/ or call 205-685-5757.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama – Helps keep families together and nearby the medical care their child needs, without the worry of a place to stay. Provides home-cooked meals to residents, giving the gift of not having to stress about cooking or finding money for groceries when a child is sick. https://www.rmhca.org/ or call 205-638-7255.

Salvation Army – Provides food, shelter, clothing and other assistance to those in need. The Salvation Army also can help disabled and elderly Alabamians with their utility bills through Project SHARE, in partnership with Alabama Power and rural electric cooperatives. http://salvationarmyalm.org/birmingham/ or call 205-328-2420.

Urban Ministry – This faith-based nonprofit works with residents of the West End community of Birmingham, providing a variety of programs and services. https://www.urban-ministry.org/ or call 888-349-8501.

Clanton area

Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center – Butterfly Bridge serves children and families in Autauga, Elmore and Chilton counties who are victims of abuse or neglect with a variety of programs and services. http://www.butterflybridgecac.org/ or call 205-755-4205.

Raleigh’s Place – This faith-based ministry supports foster children through several programs, including summer camp and a clothes closet. http://www.raleighsplace.org/ or call 205-755-9615.

Demopolis

Demopolis City Schools Foundation – Provides grants and support for Demopolis City Schools and students, enhancing technology, arts and music programs, among other initiatives. https://www.demopolis.org/ or call 334-289-2226.

Demopolis Food Pantry – Organized through the Black Belt Ministries’ Trinity Episcopal Church, the pantry supports the nutritional needs of 200 families every week. https://trinitydemopolis.dioala.org/ministries/foodpantry.html or call 334-289-3363.

Greensboro

Project Horseshoe Farm – Supports seniors by providing housing, meals, transportation and other services. Supports youths through after-school programs and summer camp. https://www.projecthsf.org/ or call 205-710-6372.

Lanett

Christian Service Center – The center supports those in need with food, clothing and personal and household items. http://christianservicecenter.homestead.com/index.html or call 334-576-3552.

Lee County

Auburn-Opelika area Big House Foundation – Founded in 2009 as the dream of two college students to affect the world of foster care in a positive way, Big House Foundation provides resources to foster children and families, including a clothes closet, care bags, birthday gifts and opportunities for fellowship. https://ourbighouse.org or call 334-363-2634.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County – The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County provides safe places for area youths to thrive as well as proven programs to help them be healthy, build character and career skills. http://loveleekids.org/ or call 334-502-1311.

East Alabama Food Bank – The Food Bank of East Alabama works to alleviate hunger; to provide an efficient, coordinated system for collecting and distributing food; to reduce food waste; and to increase public awareness regarding hunger and food security issues in east central Alabama. http://foodbankofeastalabama.com/about-us/mission/ or call 334-821-9006.

Storybook Farm – This nonprofit uses horseback riding to serve and support children ages 2 to young adulthood who face obstacles such as autism, cerebral palsy and cognitive delays. https://www.hopeonhorseback.org/about/ or call 334-444-5966.

United Way of Lee County – United Way of Lee County supports a variety of organizations and initiatives that strengthen families, children and seniors, from health care and special medical needs, to crisis support, to youth development and services. https://www.unitedwayofleecounty.com/ or call 334-745-5540.

Mobile area

Feeding the Gulf Coast Food Bank – Formerly the Bay Area Food Bank, it distributes more than 19 million meals annually to a 24-county service area along the central Gulf Coast. The food bank has three branches in Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and Mississippi, and distributes food through a host of partners and programs. https://feedingthegulfcoast.org/ or call 251-653-1617.

McKemie Place – Since 2007, McKemie Place has provided overnight shelter for single, homeless women in Mobile, Baldwin and Washington counties. McKemie Place helps women find comfort, friendship and spiritual support. http://mckemieplace.org/.

St. Mary’s Home – The oldest child welfare agency in Alabama and one of the oldest in the country, St Mary’s has been serving abused, abandoned and neglected children since 1838. https://stmaryshomemobile.org/history.php.

Veteran’s Recovery Resources – Provides mental health services for veterans and their families. The organization focuses on post-traumatic stress, substance abuse and suicide prevention. https://veteransrecoveryresources.org/about/.

Victory Health Partners – Supports affordable, quality healthcare for uninsured adults. Founded by Mobile physician Dr. Robert Lightfoot, a network of more than 150 doctors and dentists donate their services at little or no cost. The clinic serves patients in 25 Alabama counties, 11 Mississippi counties and eight counties in Northwest Florida. https://victoryhealth.org/about-victory/.

Montgomery area

Central Alabama Opportunities Industrialization Center – Central Alabama OIC provides a variety of programs, including affordable housing, early child development, workforce development for teens and summer camps. http://www.centralalabamaoic.com/ or call 334-265-1594.

Common Ground Montgomery – This organization focuses on helping revitalize the Washington Park community. Services range from youth development, leadership and after-school programs and camps, to mentoring, food and clothing. A spinoff nonprofit supports housing renovations and financial literacy. https://cgm.life/ or call 334-593-5803.

Equal Justice Initiative – Founded and led by MacArthur Genius Grant winner Bryan Stevenson, the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration, challenging racial and economic injustice and protecting basic human rights. EJI has worked to free inmates from death row and to end life-without-parole prison sentences for juveniles, some who are younger than 14. https://eji.org or call 334-269-1803.

Mary Ellen’s Hearth – Located at the Nellie Burge Community Center, the organization supports homeless women and their children through a variety of support services. http://www.maryellenshearth.org/index.html#mission or call 334-264-4108.

Montgomery Area Food Bank – In coordination with multiple partners, the food bank combats hunger and food insecurity in 35 of Alabama’s 67 counties. http://www.montgomeryareafoodbank.org/ or call 334-263-3784.

River Region United Way – Dedicated to strengthening lives, helping people and improving community conditions in Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Macon and Montgomery counties in the River Region through a variety of programs and partner organizations https://www.riverregionunitedway.org/ or call 334-264-7318.

Oneonta

Hope House – What began as the first homeless shelter in Blount County now offers an array of services to those in need, including utility and food assistance and substance abuse programs. https://myhopehouse.org/ or call 205-625-4673.

Phenix City area

United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley – Works with a range of partners on programs supporting families, youths and the elderly. https://unitedwayofthecv.org/ or call 706-327-3255.

Crisis Center for Russell County – Supports individuals and families who are victims of domestic violence with shelter and other programs. https://ccofrc.com/ or call 334-297-4401.

Prattville

Autauga Education Foundation (AEF) – Supports Autauga County Schools and students through a variety of programs, grants and scholarships. https://www.autaugaef.org/.

Habitat for Humanity of Autauga and Chilton Counties – Works to eliminate substandard housing and support families through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes, among other housing-related programs. http://www.habitatautaugachilton.org or call 334-365-4132.

Pass the Noble Idea (PASS) – Spearheaded by a community coalition, PASS supports teens, parents and families in crisis through a variety of programs and alternatives to the juvenile justice system. https://www.pass-inc.net/ or call 334-358-4900.

Selma

Edmundite Missions – Provides food, clothing and shelter to the poor and marginalized, and provides support and programs to lift people out of poverty. http://www.edmunditemissions.org or call 334-872-2359.

Michael Johnson Foundation – Dallas County native and NFL player Michael Johnson and his parents operate this nonprofit to help children in his hometown. The foundation focuses on mentoring and educating kids about capitalizing on their talents and abilities and increasing awareness of proper nutrition and exercise. http://michaeljohnsonfoundation.com/ or call 334-419-3544.

Selma Area Food Bank – Feeds more than 14,000 people a month and raises awareness about food insecurity across the Blackbelt. The food bank partners with more than 40 organizations in Dallas, Perry, Marengo and Wilcox counties. http://www.selmafoodbank.com or call 334-872-4111.

United Way of Selma and Dallas County – Supports organizations across Selma and the Black Belt providing disaster relief, physical and mental health and youth programs, food and family assistance and more. https://www.selmaunitedway.org or call 334-874-8383.

Sylacauga

S.A.F.E. – Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement provides a variety of support for people in Talladega County, from literacy and transportation to health, parenting and job-training related programs. http://www.safefamilyservicescenter.com/ or call 256-245-4343.

Valley

Circle of Care – Provides a variety of services, including transportation, case management, parenting resources, youth and job-training support. https://thecirclecares.com/ or call 334-768-4091.

Wetumpka

Elmore County Food Pantry – This nonprofit provides nutritional support to more than 500 needy Elmore County families every month. http://www.elmorecountyfoodpantry.net or call 334-567-3232.

Wiregrass area

Chistian Mission Centers – Based in Enterprise, programs include disaster relief and hunger assistance and delivering meals to the homebound in Coffee and Geneva counties. https://www.christmissions.org/ or call 334-393-2607.

Dale County Rescue – Aids those in need with food and shelter. https://www.facebook.com/DaleCountyRescueMission/ or call 334-774-6553.

Wiregrass United Way – Assists families with education, health and financial needs throughout the Wiregrass. https://www.wuw.org/ or call 334-792-9661.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

10 months ago

On this day in Alabama history: Alabama admitted to the Union

(Francis Shallus, Samuel Lewis Atlas, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division)

December 14, 1819

Alabama became the 22nd state on Dec. 14, 1819, the only state added to the United States that year. The young United States acquired the British claims to all lands east of the Mississippi River, including present-day Alabama, as part of the treaty that ended the American Revolution. Alabama was originally part of the Mississippi Territory, which up until then was claimed by the colony of Georgia. Under pressure from white Southerners to see two slave states emerge, Congress created the Alabama Territory out of the eastern half of the Mississippi Territory on March 3, 1817. William Wyatt Bibb was named governor. The population grew rapidly, which led to petitions for statehood, which was granted two years later.

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Read More at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

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

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

10 months ago

HudsonAlpha scientists link gene to developmental delay

(HudsonAlpha)

Researchers at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville have linked a gene to a set of developmental disabilities that include speech problems and muscular difficulties, clearing the way for better support services and possible treatments for the people affected.

The work, which involved contributions from researchers around the world, shows the promise of such collaboration to solve the genetic mysteries that can leave patients searching for answers, sometimes for decades.

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Scientists in the HudsonAlpha lab of faculty investigator Greg Cooper, Ph.D., led the effort, while international researchers contributed through a tool called GeneMatcher. Six groups independently submitted the gene in question for further examination. Contributions originated from Hawaii to Paris, Huntsville to Prague.

Cooper’s lab worked with the groups and found that variations on a gene called RALA are linked to a specific set of developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. The finding was first published in PLOS Genetics in November.

The patients identified with the RALA variation all showed speech problems. Ten of 11 also suffered from muscular issues, with eight unable to walk. Nine of the 11 had what are called dysmorphic facial features.

“Identifying the impact of RALA variants is important for scientists, clinicians and patients,” Cooper said. “It’s so rewarding when we can help patients and their families find the answers they’ve been searching for — often for a literal lifetime.”

Shawn Levy, Ph.D., who heads HudsonAlpha’s Genomic Services Laboratory that performed the sequencing on a number of the samples, said the work was satisfying. “It’s hard to describe the feeling of contributing to these types of findings. It changes people’s lives,” he said.

Developmental delays and intellectual disabilities affect between 1 and 2 percent of individuals worldwide. However, huge swaths of that population still don’t have answers as to the specific causes of their symptoms.

Once patients get a diagnosis, it becomes easier to find support. Doctors are able to compare notes on treatment, honing in on specific approaches to help patients with their symptoms. An explanation of symptoms can also increase the availability of some treatments for patients, who may need a specific diagnosis to get access.

“Ending the diagnostic odyssey is one of the areas where the type of genomic research we do here at HudsonAlpha truly shines,” Cooper said.

HudsonAlpha President Richard M. Myers, Ph.D., said, “These discoveries show the power of HudsonAlpha’s research, especially when paired with the resources of important collaborators like the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research (CSER) Consortium and the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative. All collaborators helped to provide data and insight, while Cooper’s lab synthesized it all into this new diagnostic information.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

11 months ago

Alabama youth leadership conference puts life skills in the hands of students

(Michael Tomberlin / Alabama NewsCenter)

The Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) hosted their annual Youth Leadership Conference Nov. 11-12.

Students in the 11th and 12th grades were hosted at the Alabama Power Corporate Headquarters to learn skills to help prepare them overcome obstacles and succeed in life.

This year’s theme was entitled “Lighting Our Future!”  Professionals shared tips with the students on a variety of topics including social media etiquette and financial planning.

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Students also learned about the effects of bullying and were given tips on how to respond if they fall victim.

Former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson, who’s slated to play with the Birmingham Iron in 2019 (part of the Alliance of American Football League), also made a special appearance to give words of encouragement to the more than 100 students.

This is annual program sponsored by APSO, a volunteer-led organization is comprised of Alabama Power employees and their spouses.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Power has restored all Tropical Storm Gordon outages in the state

(Alabama Power)

Alabama Power has restored electricity to all customers who lost power due to Tropical Storm Gordon.

The company said as of 11 a.m. Thursday, no customers who lost power due to the storm were still without power.

Throughout the course of the storm, nearly 75,000 customers were affected, though there were never more than 31,000 customers without power at any given time due to the weather system.

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As outages grew, additional support from the central part of the state was mobilized Wednesday, with crews traveling to the Mobile area to assist in restoration efforts. Ultimately, close to 1,100 linemen, evaluators, contractors and other crew members were involved in the restoration. Alabama Power established a staging area at the Mobile Greyhound Park in Theodore, serving food to workers and refueling and resupplying trucks as needed.

Alabama Power’s Customer Service Center also supported storm response efforts. The group handled more than 35,000 customer contacts over the numerous service channels the company offers customers.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

BASS, Alabama Power to award scholarships to Alabama students

(Alabama NewsCenter)

BASS and Alabama Power are partnering to award two $5,000 scholarships this year for students currently attending, or planning to attend, a technical school or community college in the state.

The applicant must reside in an Alabama Power service area and be a member of a BASS High School Club or the BASS Nation, a worldwide network of affiliated BASS clubs whose members are active in conservation initiatives and youth programs.

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“Alabama Power not only keeps the lights on in our home state of Alabama, but it also brightens the future of young people in the state through these innovative scholarships,” BASS CEO Bruce Akin said. “All of us at BASS are proud to take part in this effort to help young people achieve their dreams.”

The award can be used to cover tuition, textbooks or living expenses.

Applications can be found here. An official academic transcript, a letter of introduction and two letters of recommendation are required to apply. The deadline to apply is Monday, Oct. 8.

“We are proud to partner with BASS to teach our future leaders to be good stewards of the environment and reward them for their hard work,” said Zeke Smith, Alabama Power executive vice president of External Affairs. “These scholarships will help students continue developing the high-demand skills necessary for a career in the future workforce of Alabama.”

Recipients will be notified by Monday, Nov. 5 and will be featured on Bassmaster.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

MGMWERX officially launches operations in Montgomery

(Alabama NewsCenter)

Innovation and expertise that can benefit the U.S. Air Force and other armed services now have a new place to take flight in Montgomery.

MGMWERX, an innovation hub of DEFENSEWERX, hosted “Mission Launch 2018” in downtown Montgomery Aug. 28 as an introduction to regional leaders.

Established under an agreement with the Air Force Research Laboratory, MGMWERX augments ongoing Air University programs at Maxwell Air Force Base to enhance production of high-quality, innovative research and ideas that address issues of importance to the Air Force while also benefiting the private sector.

“MGMWERX will enable Air University as the intellectual epicenter of the Air Force, to work with industry, civilian academia and others,” said Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, Air University president. The collaboration is all about “taking thought pieces from our institution’s students and faculty and then incubate them through an innovation hub like MGMWERX to solve difficult Air Force and Department of Defense issues. This is a direct link to the Secretary of Defense’s National Defense Strategy developing a lethal force though evolving innovative operational concepts. That critical thinking happens right up the street at Maxwell Air Force Base and will blossom right here.”

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Bill Martin, MGMWERX director, said the team of five, which is expected to expand this year, will integrate concepts and technology “from the public sector with the broad spectrum of Air Force proposals brought forward by some of the brightest minds in the service.”

MGMWERX will be a conduit between the Air Force and the private sector in the River Region.

“The success of the WERX model as a super connector understanding our customer needs and linking the right expertise to create positive results is happening at a rapid rate,” said Laurie Moncrieff, DEFENSEWERX executive director. “The WERX organizations have fielded hundreds of ideas innovating and commercializing technologies that support the warfighter. MGMWERX will continue that charge by taking the ideas generated from Air University and accelerating viable technologies to solve real-world problems faced by those defending our nation.”

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson recently visited MGMWERX to see firsthand the examples of projects the team will undertake to enable the service to “move faster and smarter.”

MGMWERX will depend and rely on a robust private sector and industry to offer suggestions on issues than could benefit the private sector and the Air Force, Martin said.

The MGMWERX collaborative office space is in Montgomery’s innovation district. Martin acknowledged the team will be better able to leverage “outside the gate” thinking to accelerate experimentation with emerging technologies.

“Collaborating with Air University and the surrounding local area – to include the city of Montgomery, Montgomery County and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce – we’ll inspire new thinking, optimize talent and become a breeding ground for innovative thought,” Martin said.

“Montgomery has been the epicenter of world-changing history for decades, and now the city is making history again – but this time through technology and innovation,” said Anna Buckalew, executive vice president of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. “This unprecedented public-private collaboration with the Air Force will be a model for communities around the world, fueling innovation and collaboration that creates solutions for some of the most critical issues the Air Force and our nation faces today.”

As part of the DEFENSEWERX ecosystem, MGMWERX connects to a national network that shares and leverages derived solutions for the mutual benefit of the Air Force and the external community.

Joining the MGMWERX ecosystem affords individuals and organizations an opportunity to get involved in creating tangible solutions through innovation and collaboration, workforce development, tech transfer and rapid prototyping activities.

For more information on MGMWERX, connect at www.mgmwerx.org.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Power’s Hudson, Peoples taking leadership roles at Southern Company Gas

(Alabama NewsCenter)

Two long-standing Alabama Power executives have been named to new roles of increased responsibility within the Southern Company system.

John Hudson has been named executive vice president and chief external and public affairs officer at Southern Company Gas. In his new role, Hudson will be responsible for External Affairs, Corporate Communication, Marketing, Community Relations, Economic Development and Environmental Affairs. He also will serve as president of the Southern Company Gas Foundation and will be responsible for the company’s and its subsidiaries’ philanthropy and volunteerism efforts.

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In addition to leading Alabama Power’s Human Resources organization, Jeff Peoples has been named executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Southern Company Gas. In his expanded role, Peoples will be responsible for Human Resources, Labor Relations, Environmental Health and Safety, Technical Training and Corporate Services for all Southern Company Gas businesses. He also will serve as president of AGL Services Company, providing a single point of contact for the organizations that are directed by Southern Company Services – specifically the Technology Organization, Supply Chain, Fleet, Facilities and Compensation and Benefits. He will retain responsibilities for Human Resources, Labor and Safety at Alabama Power, as well as his recently announced system HR role in which he has responsibility for external labor.

Hudson and Peoples will begin their new roles Sept. 1.

“John has made great contributions to not only Alabama Power, but throughout the entire state, and I am certain he will have continued success at Southern Company Gas,” said Mark Crosswhite. “Jeff is recognized nationally as a leader in building and sustaining positive external labor relations and this expanded role will allow him to bring his expertise to additional business units within Southern Company. The leadership they will provide in these roles is a positive move forward for the entire system.”

Hudson currently serves as senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Alabama Power. He joined Alabama Power in 1996 and was elected vice president of Public Relations in 2010 and later took on additional responsibilities over Charitable Giving. He also served as president of the Alabama Power Foundation. Hudson previously served as senior vice president of Corporate Diversity and Public Affairs for Regions Financial Corporation.

A licensed attorney, Hudson practiced law at the Hudson Law Firm. Prior to practicing law, he served Alabama Power as an area manager in the Birmingham Division and as assistant to the president. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Alabama A&M University and is a cum laude graduate of Miles College School of Law. He completed the Executive Accounting and Finance program at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School.

Peoples currently serves as senior vice president of Employee Services and Labor Relations for Alabama Power and as vice president for Operation Services for Southern Company. He began his career with Southern Company in 1984 as a chemical technician at Alabama Power’s Plant Miller. Over the years Peoples has progressed through positions of increasing responsibility in Human Resources, Training and Workforce Development.

Peoples holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Biological Science from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. He serves on the board of directors of the Alabama Power Foundation, Southeast LAMPAC, the National Utility Industry Training Fund and the Center for Construction Research and Training.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

Birmingham’s McWane Science Center celebrates its 20th birthday

(Contributed)

McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham plans a two-day birthday bash this weekend, July 14-15, to celebrate its 20th birthday.

McWane opened its doors to the public on July 11, 1998, and more than 10,000 people showed up to the grand opening. The center had been years in the planning.

In 1985, Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington and the City of Birmingham began working with Red Mountain Museum and Discovery Place on a dream to build a science center. Six years later, Red Mountain Museum and the Discovery Place merged and became the Birmingham Science Museum. That same year, the city leased the former Loveman’s building to the science museum.

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In 1992, the Science Center became Discovery 200 Inc., and five years later was renamed McWane Center to honor the support from Birmingham’s McWane family.

In the 20 years since the center opened, it has expanded, added exhibits and classrooms and opened the Itty Bitty Magic City Birmingham Children’s Museum for kindergartners and younger, and welcomed millions of visitors.

Schedule for this weekend:

Saturday

Programs:

20 years of Science Trivia — 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Rushton Theater)
Science of Magic — 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (Demonstration Station)
LED Birthday Cards — 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Classroom 301)
Art & Science — 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (Classroom 302)
Introducing LEGO Robotics 2.0 — Noon and 4 p.m. (Classroom 303)
Ozobot McWane Scavenger Hunt — 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. (Workshop)
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream — 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.(Workshop)
Building the Next 20 Years — 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (IBMC)
Huff and Puff Little Lab — 10:30 a.m. (IBMC)
Boat Design Challenge — Noon and 2 p.m. (IBMC)

Activities (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.):

Face Painting — (Explore Lab, Level 2)
Music — Plaza
Tattoos — Plaza
Inflatables — Plaza
Birthday Cake — (Events Center, Level 3)
Rock Wall — Plaza
Exploding Birthday Balloons — 3 p.m. (Plaza)

Sunday

Programs (Times are the same as Saturday’s):
20 Years of Science Trivia — (Rushton Theater)
Science of Magic — (Demonstration Station)
LED Birthday Cards — (Classroom 301)
Art & Science — (Classroom 302)
Introducing LEGO Robotics 2.0 — (Classroom 303)
Ozobot McWane Scavenger Hunt — (Workshop)
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream — (Workshop)
Ancient Alabama — (NatureScope)
Building the Next 20 Years — (IBMC)
Huff and Puff Little Lab — (IBMC)
Boat Design Challenge — (IBMC)

Activities:

Activities: Noon to 4 p.m.
Face Painting — (Explore Lab, Level 2)
Music — Plaza
Tattoos — Plaza
Inflatables — Plaza
Birthday Cake — (Events Center, Level 3)
Rock Wall — Plaza
Exploding Birthday Balloons — 1:30 p.m. (Plaza)

Community Partner Programming and Activities:

Mountain High Outfitters Rock Wall on The Plaza.
–Character visits from Vulcan Park and Museum, Babe Ruff from Birmingham Barons, and McWane and PNC’s Vocabby.
–The Three Musketeers performed by Red Mountain Theatre Company.

Imagination Playground Build-a-Thon in Itty Bitty Magic City.
UAB – The University of Alabama at Birmingham Neuroscience Department Dissection.
–Virtual Reality and Kinetic stations from GameStop.
–Balloon Explosion presented by H2 Real Estate.

Standard general admission is $13 for adults and $9 for children (2-12). For more information about McWane Science Center, visit www.mcwane.org. Also, check out McWane’s “20 Years of Science” timeline at www.mcwane.org/timeline.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Power Foundation awards $150,000 grant to HudsonAlpha

(HudsonAlpha)

The Alabama Power Foundation has awarded a $150,000 grant to the HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology to help expand gene research education to students across Alabama.

HundsonAlpha plans to grow its new program, Characterizing Our DNA Exceptions (CODE), by engaging small groups of college students with authentic genomic research. The students will computationally analyze DNA variants – a practice known as bioinformatics – from real-world, anonymous clinical samples.

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Current sequencing technologies make it possible to obtain the entire genetic code of an individual in a matter of days. Often, the process detects DNA variants, or genetic changes, that are not well understood because they have not been studied. These changes are known as variants of uncertain significance, or a VUS.
“A VUS undergoes extensive analysis and testing to determine whether it has a role in the development of a trait or disease, a process that is very time-consuming,” said Michele Morris, Workforce Development lead at HudsonAlpha. “Because of this, VUS interpretation has historically been conducted in larger universities. Through CODE, we want to lower those access barriers.”

In doing so, HudsonAlpha is collaborating with five Alabama colleges and universities across a broader scope of academia. Schools range from nonprofit, to large community colleges, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and liberal arts:

Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
Alabama State University
Birmingham-Southern College
Lawson State Community College
Wallace State Community College

Each school will select a faculty member to serve as program adviser who will then select five to 10 students to participate in CODE. HudsonAlpha researchers and educators are hosting a two-day workshop for advisers May 14-15.

“It has always been the mission of the Alabama Power Foundation to support advances in our state. As technology continues to evolve and innovation is more vital than ever, it is important that we continue to expose Alabama’s students to cutting-edge initiatives to ensure their success,” said Myla Calhoun, president of the Alabama Power Foundation.

Since its creation in 1989 with funds donated by shareholders, the foundation has supported Alabama communities, educational institutions and nonprofits with nonratepayer dollars through more than 20,000 grant and scholarship awards. “Programs like this one can be real game changers for these students, and we are proud to provide support,” Calhoun said.

Pilot schools will participate in CODE for the 2018-2019 academic year. Students will present their work at a pilot group symposium in March 2019. Following the initial experience, pilot schools will be eligible to continue participation for a second year. This fall, HudsonAlpha will begin recruiting 25 more schools.

“Enormous amounts of genomic data are being generated on a daily basis, so CODE participants will have access to that data and work to characterize newly identified DNA variants,” said Neil Lamb, Ph.D., vice president for Educational Outreach at HudsonAlpha. “We hope this experience will inspire more Alabama students to pursue a career in the STEM fields such as genomics and bioinformatics.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 years ago

WATCH: Cam Newton’s leadership message resonates with Boy Scouts

(Carolina Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton, a former Auburn standout, spoke during the American Values Luncheon in Birmingham -- Bruce Nix/Alabama NewsCenter)

When Cam Newton speaks, people listen.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback had the full attention of the audience at the 11th annual American Values Luncheon.

Boy Scouts were among attendees that filled the meeting room at the North Exhibition Hall of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

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Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn joined Newton during a question and answer session. Famous for leading the Auburn Tigers to the 2010 National Championship under Malzahn’s leadership, Newton’s talk followed in the tradition of several other football greats, including Nick Saban, Shaquille O’Neal and Bo Jackson.

Dr. James Andrews, Dr. Jesse Lewis Sr. and Jimmy Rane were honored at the luncheon for their contributions to the community.

Newton shared his life experiences and lessons learned.

(Courtesy Alabama News Center)