BirminghamWatch

As Alabama Goes to the Polls, Worries Emerge That Some Are Denied Voting Rights

Since last year, Lorenzo French says he’s helped about 50 people in rural Greene County regain their ability to vote. Many of them were improperly removed from voter rolls because they had a felony conviction, though not the type that should have banned them from voting, French said. Others didn’t have photo identification, a requirement to vote in Alabama since 2014.

Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits Set off Alarm Bells in DA’s Office

So far, the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative in Jefferson County has generated more questions than answers. The biggest question: How did 3,876 sexual assault kits not get submitted to the Department of Forensic Sciences for testing?

The Year of Firsts: Freshman Candidates Find the Campaign Trail Grueling, Expensive and Rewarding

Just before the deadline closed, Cara McClure and Kari Powell submitted the paperwork to run for the Public Service Commission. They didn’t know one another beforehand, but they ended up on a phone call just after the midnight deadline talking about their similar platforms and how, despite having never run for political office, they would each need to hit the ground running.

Crime Reduction Plan for Birmingham Coming Next Month

Several months after taking the job, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick D. Smith is expected to deliver a comprehensive plan for crime reduction to the City Council next month.

“It’s Just Plum Sad:” Ivey Disputes Reports of Health Issues, Chastises Maddox Campaign

Gov. Kay Ivey is again disputing that her health is an issue in her re-election campaign and called out her Democratic challenger for trying to make it one.

Ivey’s Campaign Still Leads Maddox in Contributions With Three Weeks to Go in the Campaign

Gov. Kay Ivey continued to build her campaign warchest in early October, raising almost twice as much as Democratic challenger Walt Maddox, according to reports filed Monday with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office.

54% of support comes from members

Sports Tourism Is Big Business in Birmingham, but Not Big Enough, Study Says

Even with more athletic fields at the Hoover Met Complex, greater Birmingham needs additional sports facilities to compete with cities such as Westfield, Indiana and Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Birmingham Public Library Atmosphere ‘Toxic’ ‘Hostile,’ Employees Say. Leadership ‘Not for Faint of Heart,’ New Director Responds

Nearly 20 Birmingham Public Library employees addressed the library’s board of directors Tuesday night, expressing concern over what they described as a “hostile” work environment that has emerged under the library’s new leadership.

Jefferson County Commission Pursues Healthcare Authority Plan

Jefferson County is moving closer to establishing a healthcare authority to manage indigent healthcare in the county.

Birmingham Mayor Releases Strategic Plan Setting New Goals for His First Term

Exactly one year after his election, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has released a strategic plan providing an update on his administration’s progress and setting new goals for the remainder of his first term.

Despite Immigration Law, 40 Percent of New Hires Are Not Checked Through E-Verify

Many Alabama employees aren’t being screened to confirm their legal status to work in the United States, despite a 2011 state law requiring businesses to use the federal E-Verity system.

Can Cooperation Combat Crime? Birmingham-Area Agencies Teaming up on Problem

Despite the city’s rising homicide rate and a recent rash of highly publicized violent crimes, Birmingham-area law enforcement officials say they are optimistic about the city’s long-term crime-fighting prospects, due in part to an array of government agencies working together.

Amazon Breaks Ground Oct. 2, Laying Path for Western-Area Development

The official groundbreaking on the new Amazon development in Bessemer will be Oct. 2, Jefferson County commissioners said Thursday.

The List Is In: 13 Apply to Fill Roberson’s Seat on the Birmingham Council

Thirteen people have applied to fill the seat of former Birmingham City Councilor Jay Roberson, who announced his resignation last month.

A Deadly Week: September Homicides Could Foreshadow Record Year in Birmingham

Six homicides happened in Birmingham during the first week of September, putting the city firmly on track for its most violent year in more than two decades and pressuring city leaders to improve their strategies for responding to such incidents and to focus on preventing them.

Alabama Power Awaiting Federal Guidance After Court Strips Its License to Operate 7 Coosa River Dams

It’s now official. Monday, Alabama Power Co.’s license to operate its seven Coosa River dams was taken away under terms of a federal court order issued a month ago. The power company will now operate under its prior license.

Legal Services Alabama Serves Thousands In State. Program, a Partisan Battleground, on President Trump’s Budget-Cut List

Army veteran Ronald Whitson gives credit to Legal Services Alabama for keeping his family home in Birmingham. However, the program that Whitson praises has been controversial, the frequent target of partisan political battles since its start in the mid-1970s, with roots in the nation’s War on Poverty. Now the Alabama program’s federal parent, Legal Services Corporation, once again faces defunding, this time in President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal.

Tariffs Imposed By U.S., Trading Partners Hit Home In Alabama

President Donald Trump is battling with countries he says are unfairly hurting America’s foreign trade, but some of his moves may adversely affect industries in Alabama in the process.

Filling in the Blanks: Birmingham Council Fine-Tuning Process to Find Replacements for Three Councilors

With this week’s resignation of President Pro Tem Jay Roberson, the Birmingham City Council faces the unusual task of appointing three new members by the end of the year.

Air Quality Forecasts and Alerts

Ambient air quality in Jefferson County is forecast daily year-round for fine particulate matter and during the warm season for ozone.

The Rundown
UAB Department of Music
54% of support comes from members

What Are Potential Pollution Sources In Jefferson County?

Thirty-one industries, businesses and other operations in Jefferson County are considered possible large sources of pollution and issued operating permits that recognize that.

County’s Major Air Polluters Concentrated in Low-Income, Minority Neighborhoods

By Hank Black The Oliver Robinson bribery trial, in which guilty verdicts were issued for officials of Drummond Coal Co. and its law firm, Balch & Bingham, revealed a gritty episode about avoiding environmental cleanup in North Birmingham. But there’s a bigger dirty picture. The vast majority of Jefferson County’s 31 major sources of pollution […]

Groups Ask Ivey to Push for New State Environmental Leaders

Environmental groups have asked Gov. Kay Ivey to take steps to remove from office state environmental officials who were implicated during the recent bribery trial over a plan to block the expansion of a Superfund toxic waste site in Tarrant and Inglenook.

ALDOT Pitches Options for Little Cahaba River Bridge. Opponents Warn of Immediate and Permanent Harm to Drinking Water

Traffic authorities seeking to extend a road across the Little Cahaba River in southern Jefferson County promised Tuesday to make it a controlled access road and prevent adjacent development in the watershed that protects metropolitan Birmingham’s drinking water supply.

The Biggest Donors Eclipse The Rest In Gubernatorial Campaigns

By Glenn Stephens Hundreds of thousands of dollars from Alabama’s richest person and a group of Tuscaloosa-based political action committees are fueling the race for governor as the campaign enters its final three months. Incumbent Republican Gov. Kay Ivey and Democratic challenger Walt Maddox, mayor of Tuscaloosa, have gotten most of their campaign money from […]

Cahaba Beach Road Project: Too Dangerous For Our Drinking Water? River Advocates Say Yes.

By Hank Black The ongoing fight over extending Cahaba Beach Road from U.S. 280 across the Little Cahaba River will heat up with another public meeting scheduled for Tuesday. Highway engineers will present an update from a meeting a year ago concerning the project’s impact on the river. The Little Cahaba is a vital link […]

Peace Program is on President’s Budget-Cut List. Here’s Why Alabama Teacher Values Its Help

A Birmingham-area teacher is among four selected from across the country to participate in a national program aimed at “empowering their students to see peace as something practical and possible.”