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.

1 week ago

Birmingham students awarded scholarships to fuel their studies in technical fields

(Billy Brown/Contributed)

The Birmingham chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) recently awarded five students sholarships to further their studies.

The mission of the organization is to provide energy professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and students a pathway to learn more about the energy industry through education, mentoring, community service and business networking.

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Phillip Coffey, Marketing specialist for Alabama Power, helped organize the annual scholarship luncheon. He says the organization gives greater exposure and representation of the energy industry to students and professionals.

The chapter awarded $10,000 in scholarship funds – Iva B. Williams Endowment Scholarships – to five students:

  • Grant Sims.
  • Alexander Washington.
  • Adetola Koiki.
  • Micah Pruitt.
  • Amira Gilford.

The Birmingham chapter of AABE is made up of employees from Alabama Power, Southern PowerSouthern Nuclear Company and Southern Company Services.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 weeks ago

Hangout Fest organizers bask in Alabama being ‘center of the music universe’

(Brittany Faush/Alabama NewsCenter)

Hangout Music Festival ended over a week ago, but organizers are still basking in the success of what has become one of the most anticipated music festivals each year.

“For three days, Alabama became the center of the music universe,” said Sean O’Connell, Hangout director. “We’re so grateful to all the fans for supporting such a diverse and celebrated mix of artists. We have the best fans! Our goal from the beginning was to create the best music festival experience in the world. With the support from fans, musicians and the city of Gulf Shores, we’re delivering on that vision. Nothing beats our Alabama beaches. We can’t wait for next year!”

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The annual music festival featured several big-name artists as part of the 2019 lineup including Travis ScottThe Lumineers, Hippie Sabotage, Cardi BVampire WeekendKhalid and Kygo.

Here are some fast facts about the Hangout Fest:

  • More than 2,300 employees worked the Hangout Fest May 16-19.
  • Alabama performers included The Red Clay Strays, Elley Duhe and Chika.
  • The Lumineers headlined the festival the night of Sunday, May 19, seven years after being the first band to play in the early afternoon at Hangout Fest 2012.
  • Tickets were sold in all 50 states and 33 countries.
  • The average age of attendees was 26.
  • Guest appearances included singer, songwriter and businessman Jimmy Buffett, who appeared with Kygo to perform “Margaritaville,” and Michael Clifford of 5 Seconds of Summer who joined lovelytheband on stage.
  • Spotted in the crowd was K.J. Apa (actor in “Riverdale”) who was said to be shooting scenes for a movie at Hangout.
  • More than 300 palm trees were planted for Hangout Fest.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 month ago

Administrators of Project Share help clients by providing hope and funds

(Keisa Sharpe/Contributed)

Alabama sees its share of extreme weather – from cold winters which increasingly include snowfall; stormy springs with high winds and heavy rains; to extreme summers with sweltering temperatures.

These peaks in weather conditions can cause Alabamians to use more energy to heat and cool their homes, which can lead to higher utility bills.

For those needing help, there is some relief through neighbors helping neighbors.

Project SHARE, Service to Help Alabamians with Relief on Energy, helps residents needing assistance with their utility, heating and cooling bills.

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The program is administered by The Salvation Army of Greater Birmingham.

One Fairfield resident who’s been living in her home for more than 30 years has received assistance from the program to help pay her bills.

“The program has really been helpful for me because it allowed me to pay my bills and provide for my family. I’m grateful for that.”

Project SHARE provides help to Alabamians in 58 counties.

The organization works with partner agencies who function as “feet on the ground” to help interview the clients and assess their needs.

Once that information is given to the nonprofit agency and a family qualifies for assistance, payments are made directly to the energy supplier on the individual or family’s behalf.

According to John Stamps, the Director of Operations at The Salvation Army of Greater Birmingham who oversees Project Share, the program provides hope and security to clients.

Stamps said the program operates throughout the year, but peak requests come in the summer and winter months. The program is sustained by the generosity of Alabamians who contribute to help their neighbors.

There are three ways to give to Project SHARE.

  • Give directly to Project SHARE through the Salvation Army by calling 205-328-2420.
  • Mail donations to The Salvation Army, 2015 26th Avenue North, Birmingham, 35234. Designate “Project SHARE” on the check.
  • Check the “Project SHARE” box on your power bill and give via mail or online.

In addition to individual donations, here’s a look at the companies which support Project SHARE:

  • Alabama Power.
  • Black Warrior EMC.
  • Central Alabama Electric Cooperative.
  • Cullman Electric Cooperative.
  • South Alabama Electric Cooperative.
  • Andalusia Utilities.
  • Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative.
  • Baldwin EMC.
  • Wiregrass Electric.
  • Southern Pine Electric.

Project SHARE has been serving Alabamians since 1952.

(Courtesy of Alabama Newscenter)

2 months ago

Bo Jackson bikes across Alabama, raises millions for tornado victims

Alabama Newscenter

Clear, sunny skies greeted the more than 1,200 bikers who participated in the 8th annual Bo Bikes Bama.

Participants lined up for two races at the Auburn Arena on the campus of Auburn University, led by Alabama native, Auburn alum and former football NFL player Bo Jackson.

Jackson began the annual ride to help Alabamians devastated by the deadly storms of April 2011. The funds go to the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund, which helps provide crucial emergency management resources.

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Jackson was joined by Gov. Kay Ivey and Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings to kick off this year’s charity ride.

Aubie also greeted fans and engaged the audience in fun chants before the start of each ride.

Bo Bikes Bama aids in state’s tornado relief efforts from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Participants could take part in one of two rides – either a 60-mile ride, or a 30 mile ride.

After the rides, participants were served lunch at the Auburn Arena before heading home for the day. This was the sixth year Bo Bikes Bama was held in Auburn.

(Courtesy of Alabama Newscenter)

2 months ago

Electrathon Alabama participants zip toward another fantastic finish at Barber Motorsports Park

(Dennis Washington/Contributed)

Barber Motorsports Park was filled with the whir of electric vehicles as participants in Electrathon Alabama converged on the park under sunny skies Monday, April 15.

“Each year the competition and participation grow,” said Robin White, Electrathon coordinator and Alabama Power Project Manager.

“We saw 19 high schools and six professional and collegiate teams enter a grand total of 37 cars. We appreciate everyone who participated.”

Electrathon provides both educational and competitive opportunities for students.

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One team, Bob Jones High School out of Madison, has participated for the past four years and although they aren’t technically competing with other schools, Electrathon gives them an opportunity to test their vehicles. The students assembled their vehicle without the help of a teacher.

Bob Jones High School boasts national championship wins three years in a row in Greenpower USA competitions.

Adam Bastien is a senior at Bob Jones High and one of the drivers in the Electrathon competition. “We enjoy this competition because it is a well-put-on race with lots of teams,” said Bastien.
Ben Runyon works as the general mechanic for the team.

“Both the coolest and most annoying part of this competition is working with a team,” said Runyon.

More than 350 people turned out for the annual event. Students also enjoyed a plug-in electric car show featuring vehicles from BMW, Chevrolet and Ford.

Electrathon sponsors include Alabama PowerSKY (Skilled Knowledgeable Youth) and Zoom Motorsports and Barber Motorsports Park.

Here’s a look at the winner’s from Electrathon Alabama:

Open Class – Professional/College

1st Place:  #48 University of Southern Florida
2nd Place: #365 Tampa Bay University
3rd Place:  #321 Archer Racing

Electrathon High School

1st Place:   #22 Dothan Technology Center
2nd Place:  #115 Walker County Center of Technology
3rd Place:   #251 Spanish Fort High School

Green Power High School

1st Place:   #5 Bob Jones High School
2nd Place:  #1 Bob Jones High School
3rd Place:   #314 Grissom High School

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 months ago

Alabama Maker Leldon Maxcy shows us the art in wood

(Contributed/J. Allen)

To the average person, Leldon Maxcy‘s basement in Cullman is home to a ton of wood.

To the untrained eye, stacks of wood may not be exciting, at first. But to those with an artist’s eye, like Maxcy, the room holds a world of possibility.

With the whir of his scroll saw, the billow of smoke from the laser cutter and the humming of the saw, production begins and artistic originals take shape.

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Maxcy is an Alabama Maker who quit his full-time managerial job to pursue his passion of creating art with wood. His passion – or gamble, to some – has paid off royally.

He began creating artisanal items at only 13, when he purchased a scroll saw, and his passion – now his life’s work – was born.

Perhaps not the object of most teens’ fancies, Maxcy’s drive was undeniable. He began to create original “wood” works of art.

Now, Maxcy combines his original ideas with updated computer technology, allowing him to mass produce and create designs in short time frames.

Whether he crafts a wood figurine such as an angel or uses the laser cutter to produce custom-made wood notebooks engraved with the Birmingham cityscape, you begin to understand Maxcy’s basement is his office and his muse – a playground for the creator.

Maxcy’s work can be found in stores, or meet the Alabama Maker and see his artwork at festivals that he frequents. Either way, you will discover Maxcy’s passion for his craft.

Leldon Maxcy

The Product: Notebooks, angel ornaments, cutting boards, door signs, bottle openers, pictures and other custom-designed wood items.

Take Home: Custom-made, wood notebooks to hold composition notebooks.

Visit his website, or look for custom-made items on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

6 months ago

Alabama Power honored for diversity efforts at Equal Opportunity Dinner

(Jerome Smedley)

The Birmingham Urban League honored corporate citizens and community leaders Saturday, Dec. 8 at its Equal Opportunity Dinner.

According to its organizers, the annual gala recognizes efforts that help in advancing equal opportunity for all.

Alabama Power received the President’s Award for contributions to the community and its consistent support of the organization and diversity.

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Birmingham Division Vice President Jonathan Porter accepted the award on behalf of the company. “Alabama Power is proud of the continued partnership with organizations such as the Birmingham Urban League to help propel our community forward,” said Porter.

The dinner was also held to commemorate the Birmingham Urban League‘s 50 years of service to the community. U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell were the event co-chairs.

National Urban League president Marc Morial was the keynote speaker for the evening. Morial recognized Birmingham’s first African-American mayor, Richard Arrington, saying the nation should appreciate Birmingham.

Former Mayor William Bell was also honored for his leadership and his work in revitalizing the City of Birmingham. Mayor Bell shared a light moment with the audience, saying that even after completing his term serving the city, his wife still encourages him to “get out and go be great.”

Other organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, United Way of Central Alabama and Peacemakers was honored as well. More than 200 guests were treated to comedy and entertainment at the dinner.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

7 months ago

Gadsden students aided by Career Academy

(Jacki-Lyn Lowry)

There’s no better time to prepare for the future than the present.

Earlier this month, a group of nearly 20 students from Gadsden City High Schoolwere taken on a two-day industry tour in their community. The Career Academy event was hosted early November and allowed these students to see opportunities for career technical programs in the area.

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It was spearheaded by Alabama Power employees in partnership with East Alabama Works, Gadsden State Community College and the Boys and Girls Club of Etowah County. The students who participated were specifically chosen by the Boys and Girls Club.

Comprehensive career learning in Career Academy

In addition to learning these career opportunities firsthand, they also learned about skill sets needed to perform specific job tasks and wages earned in these positions.

Tony Smith, Business Office manager for Alabama Power‘s Gadsden and Attalla offices, worked with the planning committee. Smith said he could see the lightbulb come on for students as they met with professionals and had an opportunity to ask questions.

“As adults, we sometimes assume students know what jobs are out there or what opportunities await them,” said Smith. “But students really don’t know all that’s available or what’s specifically required of them. This event was just one way we were able to open their eyes to career paths that are available.”

Students take industry tours

Tours were hosted at several businesses including Koller Craft, Keystone Foods, Inteva Products, Gadsden Regional Medical Center and Gadsden State Community College.

Students also received nuggets of wisdom from Gadsden State President Dr. Martha Lavender and Alabama Power Eastern Division Vice President Tony Smoke. Smoke serves on the Talent and Leadership Development subcommittee of Alabama Power’s Council on Culture and Inclusion (CCI).

“The conference marked a great opportunity to hone in on one area of the CCI’s focus – fostering relationships that help develop a next generation of diverse, talented and job-ready employees,” said Smoke.

The CCI’s mission is to cultivate a culture that leverages the talents and experiences employees from diverse backgrounds and career paths bring to the company.

This was the first year Career Academy was hosted, but Smith said he doesn’t believe it will be the last.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 year ago

Alabama student’s drive and determination to graduate garner national attention

(Alabama NewsCenter)

Determination can yield great results. Just ask 19-year-old Corey Patrick.

The recent Tarrant High School graduate conquered many obstacles to earn his diploma, so much so that his story has garnered national attention.

For one, he would get up at 4 a.m. daily to ride the bus to school from the West End community in Birmingham to Tarrant High.

For his trip, there was no such thing as a straight shot. He had to make several transfers to get to school and, according to his mother, it wasn’t unusual for him to return home after 6 p.m. weeknights.

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But one photo changed it all. Members of the community have stepped up to help after seeing Patrick walking in his graduation uniform after getting off the bus. MAX transit driver DeJuanna Beasley said she posted the picture because she was inspired by him, and to date, nearly 40,000 people have liked her photo.

One person who “liked” the story and was moved to action is Birmingham resident Michael Nabors, a retired University of Alabama employee. Nabors said he was motivated by the young man’s grit and was determined to find him and mentor him. And he did.

Nabors has helped arrange local and national interviews for the recent grad, while being a source of encouragement and family support.

In addition to a number of local and national news outlets, Patrick’s story also caught the attention of nationally known comedian Rickey Smiley, a Birmingham native.

Smiley recently interviewed Patrick on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show. Smiley also gifted the young man a car at the studio of radio station 95.7 Jamz recently.

Patrick will be using that car to get to his new job this summer as he was recently hired by Golden Flake.

Jacksonville State University recently offered a full scholarship. Patrick has said he is interested in studying computer science.

We recently caught up with Nabors, Patrick and his family at church services at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Pratt City, where graduates were honored.

The soft-spoken Patrick expressed gratitude for all of the support.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)