Michelob Ultra Terrace announced for new University of South Alabama stadium

The University of South Alabama and Budweiser-Busch Distributing Co., Inc. have reached an agreement on a commitment to the new Hancock Whitney Stadium that includes recognition of the terrace in the facility’s south end zone.

In recognition of a $1 million gift, the Michelob Ultra Terrace will feature several rows with walk-up drink rails that offer an intimate and immersive view of the game action near field level, bringing tailgating to the field. The Michelob Ultra Terrace is expected to emphasize social interaction among fans, with the middle sections being an ideal setting for group events.

When the Jags are not at home, the venue has the ability to transition to large-scale concert staging.

“Since our inception on April 1, 1965, the Budweiser-Busch Distributing family has always supported the greater Mobile community. We are very excited to be a part of the University of South Alabama and its commitment to Mobile, our citizens and students,” said Alexis Atkins, Budweiser-Busch Distributing Vice President and a 1977 USA graduate. “We strongly believe the new stadium will play an important role in continuing to grow the university and greater Mobile as well as increasing our student enrollment. Go Jags!”

The date of the announcement coincides with the 54th anniversary of the founding of Budweiser-Busch Distributing Co., Inc., which made the first corporate gift dedicated to the Jaguar football program when it donated $50,000 in unrestricted funds in March 2008.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with the local company that was the first to commit to supporting the Jaguar football program over a decade ago,” said University of South Alabama President Dr. Tony Waldrop. “We are looking forward to seeing the excitement and game-day atmosphere the Michelob Ultra Terrace will provide in 2020 and beyond after the new Hancock Whitney Stadium opens.”

The 25,000-seat Hancock Whitney Stadium will be on the west side of campus, adjacent to the Jaguar Training Center, football fieldhouse and football practice fields. Included in the plans are a state-of-the-art video board and sound system, an end-zone terrace and concert stage, 18-seat suites, a club level with 800 seats, and premier chair-back and bench-back seating options. The site will include hospitality areas for tailgating, events and recreational vehicle parking.

“We are forever grateful to Budweiser Busch Distributing and their leadership for their ongoing support and belief in the University of South Alabama, Jaguar Athletics and our emerging football program,” USA Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann stated. “Gifts such as this do not happen without the personal commitment from Budweiser Busch Distributing individuals such as Alexis Atkins, and Jim and Chris Fuchs and others.”

Fundraising for the stadium continues, and additional sponsorship and donor opportunities are available. To support Hancock Whitney Stadium, contact Erdmann at jerdmann@southalabama.edu or 251-460-7121, or Jacob Ludwikowski at jludwikowski@southalabama.edu or 251-461-1553, or visit GetOnCampus.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

47 mins ago

Dr. Daniel Sutter: Shower freedom goes down the drain

The 1992 Energy Policy Act authorized imposition of energy and water efficiency standards on household and commercial products. Consumers have not been thrilled with the new products. As Jeffrey Tucker puts it, “Anything in your home that involves water has been made pathetic, thanks to government controls.”

President Trump repealed regulations on showers, but the Biden administration proposes to reinstate them.

Dozens of products now use significantly less water and energy. For example, showers cannot use more than 2.5 gallons per minute and toilets are limited to 1.6 gallons per flush. While described as efficient, efficiency here is used in an engineering and not economic sense.

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For engineers, efficiency involves using the least water or energy to accomplish a task. Department of Energy (DOE) engineers define showering, flushing waste or cleaning dishes, determine the minimum amount of water or energy needed for this, and only allow products meeting this standard to be sold.

Economists define efficiency in terms of consumer preferences. Consumer sovereignty is the basis on which we judge the economy’s performance. With the economic freedom and competition, manufacturers must cater to consumers. We get the showers and toilets we like.

The Energy Policy Act shifted control over product design from consumers to the DOE. All products have numerous dimensions of performance. Consumers choose products based on their personal tastes. Quality is also balanced against the cost because higher quality costs more; we do not always buy the best product on the market. DOE standards prioritize one dimension – energy or water use – over others.

Not surprisingly then, many consumers view the “efficient” products as worse. President Trump picked up on this during his 2016 campaign: “You have sinks where the water doesn’t come out. … You have showers where I can’t wash my hair properly, it’s a disaster!”

The government of a free country serves the citizens. The restriction of consumer choice can only be justified if it makes consumers better off in some way. Saving water is a bogus rationale.

For starters, households account for only a small fraction of water use. Furthermore, water-saving products do not always use less water: people end up repeatedly flushing low-flush toilets. But most significantly, water does not disappear when it runs down the drain. Property-treated wastewater can be safely discharged into a river or lake and remains part of the natural cycle.

“Saving water” amounts to reducing the demand on water and sewer systems. Delivering clean water to households requires the use of resources, and the cost is higher when water must be shipped great distances like in western states. Government supplies most water to Americans: cities operate water and sewer systems with the Federal government building large scale water delivery projects and funding most wastewater treatment plants.

Cities, however, generally supply water to households at an artificially low price. And Uncle Sam does not charge users the full cost of water delivered from large projects. Consequently, increased water use strains municipal water and sewer systems.

Elected officials are terrible at building, maintaining, and upgrading infrastructure. Replacing water mains is not an exciting way to spend tax dollars. Efficient household appliances provide a back-door way to avoid investing in water and sewer infrastructure.

Alternatively, suppose cities charged for water based on the full cost and used the proceeds exclusively for maintaining and expanding capacity. Americans wanting a surround shower delivering walls of water would pay a sizable bill every month, but the payments would cover the cost of providing extra water. Americans could enjoy shower freedom.

Although President Trump often spoke about regulations on consumer products, the shower rule was only repealed last December. Deregulation in 2017 would have given Americans time to upgrade their bathrooms, rendering the reimposition less relevant.

Reimposition of the shower rule is not official yet. Like with all proposed regulations, the DOE must accept public comments on the rule. I try to avoid prognostication, but I suspect that public comments will have little impact on the final decision.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

1 hour ago

USA College of Nursing receives $1.9 million grant to boost nursing diversity

Increasing the diversity of the nursing workforce is a key focus of the University of South Alabama College of Nursing, which recently received a $1.9 million federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to support the advancement of diversity in the nursing field.

The grant will fund a new initiative known as the EMPOWER project, which will serve two purposes. First, it will advance USA’s goal of educating a more diverse nursing workforce. Second, it will reduce health disparities in underserved communities.

EMPOWER will concentrate on recruiting, retaining and graduating bachelor of science in nursing students of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. This is the first time USA’s College of Nursing has received the HRSA workforce diversity grant, which focuses on educating and supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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The College of Nursing EMPOWER Project Director, Dr. Shanda Scott, assistant professor and director of diversity, equity and inclusion, and Co-Project Director Dr. Christina Thompson, assistant professor of maternal child care, partnered to apply for the HRSA grant. Additional College of Nursing faculty members supporting this grant initiative are Dr. Nerkissa Dixon, assistant professor of adult health nursing, Dr. Loretta Jones, assistant professor of adult health nursing, and Dr. Dedra Reed, assistant professor of community mental health nursing.

“We are very excited to receive this significant funding to start the EMPOWER project,” Scott noted. “We plan to recruit, retain and graduate undergraduate nursing students from underrepresented backgrounds that will one day serve rural and underserved populations. We are striving to increase the number of minority students entering the nursing workforce. Understanding the needs of diverse student populations is critical for student retention through graduation.”

Research shows that to advance health equity, there’s a need to improve diversity in the nursing profession, Scott said.

“We understand that a more diverse healthcare workforce can reduce health disparities,” Scott explained. “Research has shown that by strengthening the skills and diversity of the nursing workforce, patients receive better healthcare.”

USA is one of 32 institutions of higher education nationally to be funded through this HRSA four-year award.

“I am proud of USA’s College of Nursing faculty who are leading this project to increase opportunities in nursing education for students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities,” said Dr. Heather Hall, dean of the College of Nursing. “The program will be developed to include recruitment, retention, and graduation goals that will provide a pathway for students of backgrounds underrepresented in nursing. It is vital for the nursing profession to include a more diverse nursing workforce to strengthen the understanding and awareness of the needs for individual patients.”

Under the EMPOWER project, 10 traditional BSN students will be in the first cohort. The grant funding will aid a total of 100 students over the four-year period. All grant recipients will receive a scholarship for tuition, books and fees, and a monthly stipend for personal expenses like food and gas.

“The scholarship will be paid annually, and students will receive additional funds each month from the stipend with a goal to alleviate some of their financial burden,” Scott said. “Our students must drive to attend their mandatory 8-12-hour clinical rotations located at various hospitals. Through the stipend, we are addressing these basic needs.”

It was determined by the EMPOWER project team that, in order to be successful, the initiative needs to include mentoring, peer tutoring, career, faculty and professional mentorship for each of the students in the cohort.

“As students navigate through the nursing program, they will participate in a clinical immersion experience at the USA Simulation Lab and through the community health partner, Franklin Primary Health,” Scott said. “We would like students to engage in learning experiences to enhance their knowledge regarding the care of culturally diverse and underserved patients. The students will also participate in academic success workshops to include test taking, resilience and mindfulness sessions”

The funding allows the South’s College of Nursing to receive holistic review training and a faculty mentorship plan to help with the recruiting and retention of minority faculty members.

“Increasing diversity of both students and faculty in the USA College of Nursing will prepare graduates to meet the important workforce needs,” Scott said. “The initiative’s goals align with the mission of the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.”

For more information about EMPOWER, send an email to shaston@southalabama.edu.

2 hours ago

Is the American alligator population in Tuscaloosa increasing?

In May, an alligator was struck by a train on Kauloosa Avenue in Tuscaloosa, and in June another gator was hit by a car on the same road.

In the past few years, there have been several reported gator sightings at Lake Tuscaloosa and at Van de Graaff Park.

Should alligators now be expected as a common part of the Tuscaloosa wildlife experience? And are their numbers growing?

Scott Jones, a University of Alabama New College LifeTrack instructor who specializes in herpetology, zoology and conservation biology, said Tuscaloosa has always been firmly within the natural territory range for the American alligator.

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He said Tuscaloosa is not generally considered well-known for alligators because their populations aren’t as dense in T-Town as they are in Florida and south Alabama.

“The American alligator’s range goes all the way up to North Carolina,” Jones said. “So seeing them here isn’t that unusual. In fact, seeing them here is a success story.”

In the 1970s, the American alligator was put on the endangered species list because they were hunted to near extinction. But in the past 50 years, their population in Alabama has grown to the point where hundreds of annual complaints about them are reported. In 2006, alligator hunting season in Alabama was reinstated by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Do increased sightings of alligators in Tuscaloosa mean their numbers are on the rise in the city?

Jones said not necessarily.

“They’re more active in the summer because it’s breeding season, so that’s one of the main reasons someone may spot one,” he said. “In addition, there’s been a lot of major rain events here. Heavy rain and flooding will wash them out of their typical habitats and into areas where they’re swimming on the street, like with the sightings on Kauloosa Avenue.

“I can’t say for sure that their population is experiencing a boom in growth here, but I can say that their population here is stable and slowly increasing, and that American alligator population in the South, in general, is growing.”

What should be done if a person encounters an alligator?

Jones said people need to be aware of their surroundings at all times when outdoors, particularly near bodies of water. Alligators like to sunbathe well away from populated areas, but if someone is out fishing early in the morning or late at night, their chances of seeing one will increase.

“They look a good bit like logs,” he said. “If you see a log all of a sudden emerge from the water, that might be a good sign that it’s actually an alligator. If you’re out at night and you see a pink eye shine on the water, it’s a good sign that it could be an alligator.”

Jones said they’re not generally a threat to people, especially on land. They primarily attack when on land if they’re harassed, so the best thing people can do if they see one is to leave it alone.

“They tend to be shy, so just give them space. Obviously, if you’re driving and one is in the way there’s nothing you can do if it crosses your path, but that’s rare. They’re generally content to stay in the water or around the water.”

However, alligators pose a threat to pets, Jones said.

“If you’re in an area where they’re known to be, don’t let your pet spend time by the water’s edge.”

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 hours ago

Orr: Birmingham-Southern $500 fee on unvaccinated could be a ‘constructive denial’ — ‘I’ve been in touch with those in law enforcement’

On Thursday, reports surfaced that Birmingham-Southern College students were told that if they were not vaccinated, they could be forced to pay a $500 fee “to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining.”

Some argued the $500 requirement was in defiance of a so-called vaccine passport ban passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this year, which prohibits the requirement of proof of vaccination as a condition of attendance at both private and public colleges, according to guidance issued by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall earlier this week.

State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), the architect of Alabama’s vaccine passport ban, called the Birmingham-Southern fee a “constructive barrier,” which if so could be in violation of the new law. He explained his position during an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Friday and added that he had notified “those in law enforcement.”

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“I think the $500 limit gets into a zone where you can say that is a constructive barrier against those who may be unvaccinated,” he explained. “By throwing up such a barrier, you would have to say they are constructively denying students admission because what if you don’t have $500? The bill doesn’t prohibit any type of restrictions based on if you make one group wear masks and the vaccinated no masks, things like that. The bill says you cannot refuse services or education services, in this case, and even private school — it does apply explicitly to private schools, as well, like Birmingham-Southern. So this is something that does apply to the school. And again, the argument can certainly be made that charging the $500 is a constructive denial.”

“I’ve been in touch with those in law enforcement,” Orr added. “They’re aware of it.  This is not the end of the story here. I think this will continue to play out.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

3 hours ago

Tuberville: Federal government will have to intervene in ‘name, image and likeness’ issue — ‘NCAA can’t seem to get the job done’

Earlier this summer, NCAA rules changes and state laws went into effect that changed college athletes’ ability to sell the rights to their names, images and likenesses.

However, different states have different rules, which could inevitably create problems for the NCAA’s ability to maintain some semblance of a level playing field for college athletics.

During an appearance on the nationally syndicated “Clay & Buck” radio show, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn), formerly a head football coach at the University of Mississippi, Auburn University, Texas Tech University and the University of Cincinnati, reluctantly acknowledged Congress would have to intervene to create balance on this issue.

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“I wish we would stay out of it, but it looks like the federal government and the Commerce Committee is going to have to do something to make sure we balance this thing up,” he said. “The NCAA can’t seem to get the job done, can’t seem to do their job and get everybody just to agree to one thing. But I’ve talked to the Commerce Committee. Of course, I’ve been in the business for 40 years and know a little bit about it. I’ve talked to the ranking member and the chairman — madam chair — of the committee, and we’ve worked a little bit on it together. But what we have to have, Clay, is we have to have equality in terms of everybody doing it the same way. If you don’t have a rule, and you don’t compete for championships, everybody has to go by the same rules, and this is a rule that scares me.”

“I think it’s more of an experiment than anything,” Tuberville continued. “I think they’re looking at this. And I was a coach for years, and I wanted to give as much money to every player, man and woman, in every sport we possibly could. But it’s almost impossible. I mean, there might be a half a dozen to a dozen teams that can really afford the things that’s coming down the pike. But there’s a lot of teams that can’t. We can’t ruin athletics in this country, especially high school and college. If we do that… That’s one of the true things we’re holding on to, where people learn discipline, they learn values, they learn how to work together. And we’ve got to be able to hold on to that. And when we get politics involved, things start to disintegrate a little bit.”

“But when you look at this going?” he added. “My goodness. This is just an opportunity to do things that we couldn’t do. We couldn’t even come close to doing some of these things that they’re allowed to do now.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.