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.

6 days ago

Alabama Power’s Bonnie George is an unsung hero feeding others with food and love

(Bonnie George/Contributed)

Bonnie George is a hero in her workplace, in her community and across borders.

George, a customer service representative (CSR) in Alabama Power’s Pell City Office, has worked for the company for 15 years.

“We help our customers, the people that live in the community,” George said. “I like talking to people. I like knowing that I’m helping them. You really have that personal relationship with your customers if you put that effort in to get to know who they are.”

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Bonnie George is an Alabama Power unsung hero with a heart of gold from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Pell City CSR Naji Ridley said, “Bonnie is a loving person. She is caring. The way she walks, the way she talks, the way she carries herself and addresses others just shows love.”

Helping others

Since October 2018, George, her husband, Gary, and their six children have delivered 100 meals to the homeless in Linn Park in downtown Birmingham every month.

“We sit and talk and pray with them,” she said. “We let our children talk with them. Our kids bring toys and books and play with them, and it gives them a time of normalcy that is lacking in so many of their days.”

George’s foreign missions journey started eight years ago when she began leading high school students in her church. Partnering with organizations such as King’s Castle, George and her husband organized foreign mission trips for their church youth group.

George said, “We started conversations with our pastors about how we are leading our students into foreign missions, with some of them never knowing what it meant to serve our neighbor.”

On their first mission trip, George and her husband took a group of 20 students to Nicaragua.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “It was my first time going into a country doing missions and I didn’t know the language, but as soon as we got there, my husband said, ‘I feel like we’ve come home.’”

In 2018, George’s church partnered with Mission of Hope to bring a group of students to Haiti.

“We went and played games, we did a lot of sports, for half a day,” she said. “Then they had a message. … At the end of the program, it was lunchtime, so we got to feed them, and that was incredible.”

The night before they were scheduled to leave Haiti, rioting broke out in Port-au-Prince, 30 minutes from where they were staying. George said, “We were safe, but we couldn’t get to the airport. We ended up having to stay three extra days.

“There are so few opportunities in our life for us to step out in our faith in a way that others truly see. … When we have the chance to put our faith into action, that’s when we’re truly living it,” she said.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 weeks ago

Inspiring Alabama teacher honored by National University System in surprise Zoom call

(Arlinda Davis/Contributed, YHN)

An Alabama teacher who inspires her students to succeed will receive $10,000 from the National University System as part of its Sanford Teacher Award program.

On June 17, teachers across the country joined a surprise Zoom meeting in which Michael Cunningham, the system chancellor, announced they had been chosen as state finalists for the award.

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Arlinda Davis, a first grade teacher at Avondale Elementary School in Birmingham, has devoted her life to uplifting students and encouraging them to live without fear of failure. Davis approaches her students with what she calls “radical empathy” and shows them they don’t have to let life’s circumstances dictate the outcome of their lives.

Davis was nominated by a former student whose life was transformed by her constant encouragement. The student said, “My culture, background, home life and interests were important to her. … I remember coming to school one day with the same clothes on, my hair had not been combed and I was in distress. She took one look at me and never allowed anyone including myself to know she was going to help me. She told me how beautiful I was and then told me she had a special bow only for a princess to wear. She fixed my hair and took care of me. She worked with my stepdad and counselor to help find my mom and get her off drugs. I worked hard every day I was in her class because I knew she cared for me.”

Davis is eligible to become the national winner of the Sanford Teacher Award later this year, which comes with a $50,000 prize.

The National University System was established in 2001 to meet the rising challenges and demands in education nationwide.

The National University System-Sanford Teacher Award was created to honor T. Denny Sanford, a philanthropist committed to supporting teaching programs focused on the development of students’ social and emotional skills.

Sanford spent his life giving away most of his wealth to the Sanford Programs at the National University System and other education-related initiatives.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 weeks ago

Mobile community medical program helps develop successful careers

(Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter)

For Suporior Campbell, success is not about recognition or awards but rather walking in the path God has chosen for her and her husband, Leo.

That path took a big turn five years ago when Campbell started Victory Professional Development Center, which offers short-term certificate programs for people interested in a medical career. Campbell realized her community needed more medical-training options and told her husband, a now-retired Alabama Power foreman, that she needed to step out on faith to start Victory.

“He never questioned my calling,” Campbell said. “He simply said, ‘How much do you need to get it started?’ We’ve worked together every step of the way.”

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When Campbell opened Victory in 2015, the only program she could offer to four students was an evening nursing assistant (CNA) class. Since then, Victory has grown to offer eight programs, day and evening, at six locations, with two more classes coming later this year.

“There are not a lot of agencies offering as many programs as we do,” Campbell said. “Just the name itself tells us that we are going to be victorious.”

Victory Professional Development Center connects people with their communities from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Victory partners with agencies throughout the community to ensure students have adequate places to train in easily accessible locations. Campbell relies on agencies, such as the Franklin Primary Health CenterBishop State Community College and the Mobile Infirmary, to keep Victory in a position to reach students. At Bishop State Community College, there is a dedicated location on campus where Victory teaches its Allied Health Program.

“Community partnership is primary to the success of our programs,” said Campbell.

Victory has two locations in Jackson and one in Mt. Vernon to accommodate students who live in those areas and cannot afford to drive to Mobile. Students train at small nursing homes in their communities, gaining experience while providing much-needed healthcare.

“For some students, because of life challenges, transportation issues or financial issues, they would not be able to afford a traditional college experience,” Campbell said. “These programs allow students to get the training that they need in a short period of time.”

Agencies such as the YMCA and DHR often pay tuition to Victory for students that meet criteria set by the agencies. Campbell said this provides students with the opportunity to get into the workforce after completing entry-level courses.

“We have had just some awesome success stories,” said Campbell. “For a lot of individuals, it’s just the empowerment of being able to secure a job that has great financial reward and to know they have avenues to go and continue to do bigger and better things.”

Victory offers programs for nursing assistant, phlebotomy, EKG technician, medical assistant, CPR, billing and coding and pharmacy technician. Campbell said surgical technician and truck driving programs will be added later this year.

“Many students that have already completed a program at Victory return to get another certification,” Campbell said. “They want to come back because we try to hire instructors that are knowledgeable in those areas, but that also have compassion for people.”

In January, Campbell launched Victory Home Care to provide for individuals that are homebound through services such as daily activity assistance, meal preparation and transportation support. Campbell wants Victory Home Care to hire graduates of Victory Professional Development Center to help them become productive citizens while encouraging further education.

“I’m proud of everything that Victory does, but I am most proud of the students that return and tell us that if it had not been for this program, they may have ended up on the streets,” Campbell said.

In 2019, Victory was voted Small Business of the Year and received the Grind Award and the Eagle Award from the Mobile Chamber of Commerce. For Campbell, Victory’s success is found on the faces of her students.

“When we are walking down the corridors at Mobile Infirmary or Providence Hospital and we see a former student that recognizes us and is able to say, ‘I went to Victory and look where I am now,’ we’re just really grateful for the path that God has put us on with Victory.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)