Health and Science Reporter
Mary Scott Hodgin is WBHM’s Health and Science Reporter. Hodgin has been a freelance reporter for WBHM since 2015 covering topics ranging from downtown revitalization to sewer spill notification. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in social and biological adaptation – a self-designed degree that combines biology, anthropology, and documentary to study human behavior. Fluent in Spanish, she most recently produced videos and wrote for a national health care company.
It’s not unusual to drive along some inner city Birmingham streets and see well-maintained homes alongside burned structures and weed-infested lots. For years, residents have complained, and, if they were lucky, some lots and abandoned property were cleared. This year, with millions more in the budget and new laws with penalties for owners who don’t maintain their property, the city is hoping to stop blight in its tracks.
Birmingham has received national attention for its booming downtown revitalization and new development projects. But that’s not the whole story. Less than a mile from downtown gems like Railroad Park and Regions Field, inner city neighborhoods struggle with decaying, abandoned homes and buildings.
Limestone County, Alabama has a long and storied old time fiddling tradition. This past weekend, about 15,000 fiddlers and old time music fans gathered for the 49th annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Athens. RV’s from around the country loaded with fiddles, guitars, and banjos filled the campus of Athens State University. The convention and competition bring together musicians of all ages.
Birmingham is in a valley, resting at the foothills of the Appalachians. The city’s creeks collect water running down from the mountains and filter it through the floodplains. Last week, WBHM reported on developers today taking a new interest in the 1925 Olmsted Plan for parks and green space in Birmingham. The Olmsted Plan preserved the city’s major tributaries, specifically those of Village and Valley Creek.
With the success of Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham, the city’s seen increased support for more public green spaces. As the city develops new parks and trails for Birmingham residents, leaders are taking lessons from the city’s history, including seeking advice from a park plan published almost a century ago.
After more than a week of disagreement in Montgomery, Alabama Senators approved a cut-filled general fund budget on Monday. It includes millions of dollars in cuts to the state’s Medicaid budget. Medicaid provides health care for low income individuals and families. But often poor undocumented immigrants can’t receive care under Medicaid. Advocates for the undocumented say Medicaid cuts will make health care even more difficult to find for this marginalized group.