The Wire

  • Auburn University’s online programs ranked among the best in the nation

    Excerpt:

    According to U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best Online Program rankings released on Tuesday, Auburn University’s online graduate programs are among the best in the nation.

    The university’s online programs that received high marks include the Harbert College of Business’ MBA program at No. 9 and non-MBA, No. 13; Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, No. 12; and College of Education, No. 22

  • Marsh donates to border wall construction fund

    Excerpt:

    As a demonstration of his commitment to border security, Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston) has personally donated to an online campaign to fund the construction of a wall on America’s southern border.

    “It is obvious that we cannot rely on politicians in Washington to do their job,” Marsh said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “I have always believed that controlling our borders and our national security is of the utmost importance which is why I supported immigration reform in Alabama in 2011 and why today, I am putting my money where my mouth is and personally donating to build the wall.”

  • Brooks urges State of the Union be held in Senate chamber

    Excerpt:

    On Thursday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) and House colleagues sent a letter to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposing the president’s annual State of the Union Address be held in the Senate chamber in light of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s historic move to revoke Trump’s invitation to deliver the address.

    In the letter, Brooks and his House colleagues explained, “Holding the State of the Union in the Senate Chamber is the best way to reveal the veracity of Speaker Pelosi’s alleged once-in-history reason for [canceling] or postponing the State of the Union.”

19 hours 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)

6 days 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)

1 week 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)

3 weeks 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)

1 month 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)

1 month 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)

2 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)

5 months ago

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)

5 months ago

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)

5 months ago

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)

5 months ago

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)

6 months ago

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)

8 months ago

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)

10 months 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)