BirminghamWatch

Birmingham councilors allege promises broken but city still renews Via contract

Under the contract, the city will pay the Via ridesharing service up to $2.64 million per year to provide transit services.

Some 3rd graders in local schools could be held back under new law 

This is the first school year that third graders who do not read at grade level by the end of the school year must be held back in that grade, rather than passed on to fourth grade. The Alabama Literacy Act was passed several years ago, but its implementation was delayed because of the pandemic.

Health department advises masks on as COVID climbs again

It’s time for Alabamians who do not want to catch COVID to put their masks back on. That was the advice from the Alabama Department of Public Health this week as cases continued to increase across the state.

Birmingham City Council passes Woodfin’s budget untouched

Police, public works and youth programs were the biggest winners in the $517 million budget, the largest ever for the city.

Birmingham Council OKs New Districts Despite Dissent

Councilors sparred Tuesday over the maps which were redrawn based on numbers from the 2020 census.

Educators, psychologists say attending school at home hampers students’ development

Roughly 70% of students at Birmingham City Schools ranked below their grade level in math, and 40% of students ranked below their grade level in reading.

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54% of support comes from members

The stadium bid for Woodlawn High School is approved. It could be built by the fall

The Birmingham Board of Education has approved a bid for Woodlawn High School's new football stadium. It could be built by fall 2022.

JeffCo Commission announces $1.1 billion deal with Smucker’s

Food maker J.M. Smucker, known for its peanut butter and jelly products, is bringing a manufacturing and distribution plant to McCalla.

Board rejects bid for Woodlawn High School stadium

The Birmingham Board of Education rejected the bid to build a stadium and fieldhouse on the campus of Woodlawn High School. This comes just months after the ceremonial groundbreaking.

Birmingham delays ICE agreement, wants to assure it won’t lead to police involvement in deportations

The Birmingham City Council has delayed approving an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would allow several city police officers to act as officers for the federal agency’s Homeland Security Investigations division.

JeffCo considers kicking in $500K to bring USFL to Birmingham

On Thursday, the Jefferson County Commission is set to consider approving $500K to help bring the United States Football League to Birmingham next year.

Birmingham takes part in Embrace Mothers guaranteed income pilot

Single-mother households represent about 60% of all Birmingham households with children, according to Mayor Randall Woodfin's office. The mothers involved in the program will receive $375 a month for a year.

The Birmingham Library delays plans to close four branches after city officials protest

The Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees has delayed a proposed vote to shut down four library branches after receiving criticism from city leaders, including Mayor Randall Woodfin.

No more Euphoria. The Birmingham City Council revokes license of infamous club

The Birmingham City Council has revoked the business license of Club Euphoria, an Ensley nightclub deemed a “nuisance” by the surrounding neighborhood.

Federal covid relief funds enabled churches and other religious organizations to pay employees

A review by BirminghamWatch of federal records listed about 321 applicants from Jefferson County who received millions of dollars under the Paycheck Protection Program. These applicants identified themselves as religious organizations.

A bad day for incumbents: 2 Birmingham councilors, 1 BOE member defeated in runoffs

Two incumbent city councilors and one incumbent school board member were unseated during Birmingham’s municipal runoff election Tuesday.

JeffCo commissioners begin redrawing district lines

Jefferson County Commissioners are deciding between three proposed maps for redistricting.

JeffCo Employees Getting 3% Raises In Budget Passed Thursday

The Jefferson County Commission unanimously passed a $882,750,611 budget last week. It includes a 3% across-the-board raise for county employees.

Birmingham Applies For Grants To Beef Up Surveillance, Readies To Open Real-Time Crime Center

The city of Birmingham will apply for a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to purchase and maintain license plate readers in an effort “to improve the [Birmingham Police Department’s] response to violent crime.”

You Know Delta, But Have You Met Mu And The Rest Of The Relatives?

Researchers say there always will be new variant strains of the COVID-19 virus, although all the strains won’t be as deadly as delta.

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54% of support comes from members

COVID Infusion Therapy Effective At Reducing Severity Of Disease — If You Get It Soon Enough

Monoclonal antibody therapy does not work unless it is given in the first 10 days of COVID symptoms, according to health experts.

Project To Turn Old Ensley High Project Into Apartment Complex Moves Forward

Plans to redevelop the former Ensley High School into a 244-unit apartment complex took another step forward Tuesday, despite pushback from one councilor.

COVID Drives Up Costs At Jefferson County Jails

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office asked for more money during the final weeks of the 2020 fiscal year. The apparent reason was a hefty cleaning bill at the two county jails. But commissioners learned that increased expenses for feeding prisoners brought on by pandemic protocols contributed to the large request.

Two Incumbents, Including President, Ousted From The Birmingham School Board Of Education

Incumbent and Board President Daagye Hendricks (D4) was defeated by Derrick Billups. Incumbent Terri Micha (D2) was defeated by Neonta Williams. And District 1 will go to a runoff between incumbent Douglas Lee Ragland and Sherman Collins Jr..

Birmingham Voters Head To The Polls Aug. 24. Here’s A Sample Ballot And What You Need To Know.

Headed to vote in the Birmingham city elections on Tuesday, Aug. 24? Check out this sample ballot and find your polling place.

Candidates For Birmingham Board Of Education

There are 22 people running for the Birmingham Board of Education. Elections are Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Birmingham Council Set To Fund Rapid Transit Project Next Week

The Birmingham City Council will vote on Tuesday whether to allocate $18 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan funding toward the construction of the city’s Bus Rapid Transit system. The project will create a 10-mile, higher-speed public transit corridor through 25 neighborhoods.

Who’s Running For Birmingham City Council?

Do you know who is running for Birmingham City Council? Check out this complete list.

2021 Birmingham Mayoral Candidate Profiles

The ballots are set for the Birmingham mayoral election on Aug. 24. But do you really know who the candidates are? Check out these profiles.

Health Official Warns About The Danger Of Being In Crowds As High School Football Fully Kicks Off

High school football games are set to fully kick off this week. Health experts say you should continue to wear a mask even if you're fully vaccinated because these events are likely to spread COVID-19.

K-12 Students To Be Tested For COVID In Schools

Cases of COVID-19 in youth are on the rise, according to the state department of public health. A new testing program in Alabama schools hopes to combat that.

Taliban Takeover Leaves Americans More Vulnerable, Says Father Of First American Killed In Afghan War

An Alabama man was the first American to die while fighting in Afghanistan. As President Biden withdraws U.S. troops from the area, the family is reflecting on his death nearly 20 years later.