Alabama Economy: Downtown Housing

Real estate isn’t what it used to be. Home values are dropping. Mortgages are harder to get. And more people are foreclosing. The massive slowdown has hit all sectors of the economy and all places of American life. One area that had been on an upswing is downtown Birmingham, which once boasted a booming condo and loft business. Today, it’s getting harder to sell those units, as WBHM’s Steve Chiotakis reports as part of our series The Alabama Economy.

Minority Science Brain Drain

To advance in the science-related fields of higher education takes a love of research and a commitment to academic excellence. The work is complicated, yet rewarding. But a large demographic is missing from the classroom and lab. Many African-American women who’ve chosen those science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields – STEM programs — are not following all the way through to graduate school and beyond. And that’s produced an educational catch-22, as WBHM’s Steve Chiotakis reports.

Remembering Lou

Lou’s Pub and Package Store is reopening today after its owner and namesake, Louis Zaden died at his home late last week. The place has been dark the past five days, yet regular customers have been holding court every afternoon and evening on its patio since the news of Lou’s death broke. WBHM’s Steve Chiotakis was one of those regulars who celebrated the life – and the cantankerous personality – of the man so many grew to love.

Alabama Obesity Ranking

Alabama has once again been ranked as one of the most obese states in the country. The latest survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Mississippi was the most obese state, followed closely by Alabama.

Goalball: Blind Ambition

There are Olympians in town, training for the games in Beijing. They come from all over this country and Europe and Asia sporting athleticism, a pair of blacked-out goggles and a ball with a bell in it. It’s not a competition for the faint of heart, or for the sighted.

Air Quality: a history

Birmingham’s air quality has improved significantly over the last century. But you wouldn’t know it. The area still has problems with smog and other particulate matter, exceeding federal standards. WBHM’s Steve Chiotakis harkens back to a time when bad air meant big Birmingham business.

Drought Update – water supply

The latest drought monitor still labels Birmingham and points north and east as in a severe drought, but it is much improved over the exceptional drought that plagued the area months ago. That was when lake levels dropped to historic lows and water restrictions were put in place.

Legislative Review and Preview

The special session is over. Five days, a multi-billion dollar education budget and a handful of other offerings made it out of Montgomery. We have analysis.

Alabama Adventure sold

The theme park Alabama Adventure has been sold. Southland Entertainment, which bought the park five years ago for a fraction of what it cost to build, sold the acreage that includes the park, but not adjoining property that it hopes to develop.

Smoking ban legislation

A final push to ban cigarette smoking in many public areas and workplaces is set for Monday, the last day of the regular session of the Alabama Legislature. We hear from both sides of the debate: public health and restaurants who say it unfairly targets them.