Wade on Birmingham

Archive for July, 2006

patience is a haiku

Monday, July 31st, 2006

If you need me, I’ll
be waiting here for something
or someone for now.

• • •

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Heads and tales: Famine or feast

Monday, July 31st, 2006

corn

Cropped out: One of the most notable casualties of the Drought of 2006 may be corn. The state crop has been nearly wiped out, thanks to prolonged dry conditions and corn’s need for large amounts of water. The remaining crops now and in the future will be used primarily as feed for cattle and other animals. Other farmers have suffered as well, with low yields of cotton and hay (used for cattle). Out of 67 counties, the state has declared agricultural emergencies in 48 counties. Looks like a bumper crop of misery this season.
• Death of a crop: Drought ends corn as south Alabama farm staple [Associated Press]

Pound for pound: There’s less of the mayor to lambast love: Kincaid has lost 20 pounds in less than two months. As reported earlier, the mayor has put himself, his wife and the city on a diet. Birmingham, one of the fattest cities in America, kicked off the Get Healthy program Saturday with a walk-a-thon at Legion Field. More than 400 people joined leaders and churches for the event. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is also working with the city for a healthier, slimmer citizenry. Kudos to Kincaid for leading, and losing, by example.
• Fat city starts health initiative [Birmingham News]

Fortunes from fame: Dear Idol hopefuls: Welcome to Birmingham. We hope your stay will be comfortable, successful and extremely profitable. Among the 15,000 singers expected to visit us on Aug. 21, perhaps one of you will be the next Taylor Hicks, who went all the way to Las Vegas to audition. Naturally, you’ll want to stay in accommodations befitting a future pop star and dine in our finest restaurants. Why skimp on quality when you can sing better than anyone else? Be sure to read the official registration page, make sure to register ahead of time (we can’t stress this enough), study the rules and if you can’t sing, at least manage to annoy Simon somehow. Hugs and kisses, Wade on Birmingham
• American Idol auditions music to ears of host cities financially [Associated Press]

Also:

  • Auburn planning controversial “no pass, more play” option for athletes
  • Criminals expect city takeover to be completed by 2008
  • Roebuck twins resent repeated references to dual status

• • •

Send us your news tips.

container catalog

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Fridge smells like last three
meals retrieved from restaurants
with too big portions.

• • •

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attic basement overflow

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

Not yet ready to
part with loads of furniture,
stuff in storage bays.

• • •

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Top five scorching sites

Friday, July 28th, 2006

hottest sites

Baby, it’s hot outside. A sizzling summer is the perfect excuse to stay inside and away from the fickle fusion-powered reactor I call the sun.

While you’re cozy in your air-conditioned sanctuary, check out these five Birmingham Web sites that will change how you look at the city, its culture and its future.

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just mowed there

Friday, July 28th, 2006

Dog walker claims no
responsibility for
pooch’s deposits.

• • •

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Heads and tales: Around the bend

Friday, July 28th, 2006

patrick dempsey

Upscale racing: If Indycars are too dainty and stock cars too tacky, how about the ultimate driving machines? The Porsche 250 takes place this weekend at the Barber Motorsports Park with sleek sports cars racing for glory. And for the ladies … TV’s Dr. McDreamy will be at the track on Saturday. Yes, Patrick Dempsey from “Grey’s Anatomy” will be part of the driving festivities. Take that, Ricky Bobby.
• ‘Unbelievable show’ [Birmingham News]

Like when Elvis met Nixon: President Bush may be commander-in-chief, but will he volunteer for the Soul Patrol? The 10 most recent “American Idol” finalists, including Birmingham’s champion Taylor Hicks, will meet the prez this afternoon, the same day he’s meeting with British prime minister Tony Blair. Susan Whitson, Hicks’ ninth-grade English teacher from Hoover High and now Laura Bush’s press secretary, suggested the pop summit. The Soul Man already has one notable fan in the White House, Secretary of State and fellow Birminghamian Condoleeza Rice. Since Vice President Cheney came to Alabama on Monday to help out Gov. Riley, it’s only fair we send our most powerful man to help out Dubya. Also, how a Birmingham T-shirt company cranked out big orders for Bush and Rice.
• Political Stage Is Next for ‘Idol’ Stars [Los Angeles Times]

To-do list: 1. See a movie. We’ve added even more free movies in the Wade on Birmingham Summer 2006 Movie Guide, including this weekend’s African Film Festival at the Birmingham Museum of Art and Sundown Cinemas in Old Town Helena. 2. Meet the artists of Artwalk at tonight’s free Brewhaha. It’s 6 to 10 in the second-floor loft at Starbucks in Five Points South. What a deal: free coffee and pastries, two-for-one deal at Surin West and wristband good for free glass of wine at Chez Fonfon, free salsa lesson at Fred Astaire Dance Studio and a wine and cheese reception and urban living presentation at iii’s. 3. Get a head start on the school year. The Back to School Blast takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Metropolitan Church of God. Children K-12 can receive free backpacks with supplies, free eye/hearing/dental exams, care packages, haircuts and more. 4. Wish Dre’s Ramblings a happy first anniversary.

Also:

  • Drought forces five-year-old’s lemonade stand to serve powdery shots
  • New nightclub, old barflies
  • Soccer moms turning into sucky grandmas

• • •

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around the belt

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Don’t worry, unclaimed
luggage. Someone will take you
away from all this.

• • •

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Heads and tales: Block by block

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

small town

Small is the new big: Micropolitan … it sounds like Neapolitan with all the chocolate scooped out. But it’s the trendy label for tiny cities with 10,000 to 50,000 people, located near big cities. What makes them different from the species, suburbia? Did we mention they’re trendy? Cullman tied for fifth place in Site Selection magazine’s top micropolitans (watch out, Lexington-Thomasville, N.C.!). And while it has the usual amenities such as retail stores, a movie theater, restaurants and medical centers, it lacks one key ingredient, alcohol. So much for paradise.
• The allure of the (not-so) big city [Birmingham News]

Tradeoffs and teardowns: Can Birmingham renew itself without chasing away its loyal small business tenants? A Weekly columnist examines the plight of Scott’s Koneys, about to lose its 30-year home to new development. While the city can shell out $2.1 million to buy the block and lease it to the ominously named Corporate Realty for $10 a year, it seems virtually helpless in aiding small business owners such as Scott Green of Koney fame and Jim Reed Books. Without a master plan for economic development, it appears the city will continue to stumble along in its clumsy attempts to think big but choke on small details. Also, what’s next for Century Plaza?
• Renewed again [Birmingham Weekly]

Reborn: Destroyed by arson six months ago, Pleasant Sabine Baptist Church in Bibb County is halfway through construction and expected to be completed by September. Insurance coverage paid $100,000, Birmingham-Southern College contributed $53,000, and other churches contributed $45,000, leaving $177,000 left to go in construction costs. Volunteers from as far as Detroit and St. Louis have helped with the rebuilding. The church was one of 10 churches damaged or destroyed in an arson spree across Alabama. You can burn the building, but you can’t extinguish the spirit.
• Bibb church hit by arson rebuilds thanks to others [Birmingham News]

Also:

  • Cats unaware sitter lacks documentation
  • Transit study: Unpimped buses lagging in popularity
  • Suburbs band together for upscale jail with isometric restraints, stainless steel fixtures

• • •

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shakes and wiggles

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Bouncing baby boy
squirms and fusses in my arms
while gaping at world.

• • •

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Heads and tales: Get with the times

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

jo bonner

Washington on the line: Maybe you’ve tried a three-way. On the phone, you naughty minx. But have you tried a 5,000-way call? Rep. Jo Bonner did, putting a somewhat-new twist on the town hall meeting. From his Washington office, Bonner talked with Mobile citizens for an hour and answered questions when they “lined up” by pressing a button. The cost: $2,200, about 9 cents a caller. The representative is no stranger to using technology to interact with citizens: His Web page features links to archived radio and TV shows (shown here). Now if he’ll just put up a transcript and MP3 of his town hall session …
• Bonner speed-dials a town hall meeting [Birmingham News]

Cutting edge: A gamma knife can cut out tumors in the head using radiation beams, but a CyberKnife can remove tumors anywhere in the body. Birmingham surgeon Swaid Swaid wants one and has formed a company to partner with area hospitals. “For once, I want a good technology to come to Birmingham that’s not fought over by everyone,” said Swaid, who wants equal access to the device for all surgeons. The next steps: getting state approval, landing partners and making sure the treatment is covered by insurance.
• Device kills tumors, spares nearby tissue [Birmingham News]

Paperbacks or prisons: Jefferson County commission president Larry Langford wants to fight crime by promoting education, specifically reading. Working with the Literacy Council, the county would create a literacy center, complete with donated computers and volunteer retired teachers and businesspeople. Sounds solid, unless we unintentionally create a group of supercriminals who can read.
• Langford urges literacy effort to curtail crime [Birmingham News]

Also:

  • Trussville barbecue restaurant claims secret to success is sauce, meat
  • Comedy club patron can’t believe comedian went there, said that
  • Robbers conspire with store manager to end up in jail, on TV

• • •

Send us your news tips.

Ducks and donkeys

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

gambling

While Birmingham and surrounding cities are trying to stamp out the gambling monster we call Gamblor, two charity fund-raisers want you to roll the dice this week.

Well, not actually dice — that would be boring. Instead, bet on winning hands and racing ducks. Yes, racing ducks.
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number crunching

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Measuring someone’s
pain on scale of one to 10
rates a 4.5.

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Heads and tales: Makes us wonder

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

traffic

Traffic snarl: More than $17 million has been spent on electronic signs and cameras scattered on interstate highways around Birmingham, yet even with frequent traffic tie-ups, they remain unhelpfully blank. Why? Cops say they don’t report all incidents, and when they do, they often get the runaround from the state transportation department. The DOT says it has the people in place and will make the procedures clearer to police departments. And the sign on U.S. 280 doesn’t give info because no one’s in charge. What’s at stake? Besides public money invested, leaving the traffic problem unsolved means lost productivity, more pollution and more risk of secondary accidents. Even the nonsense is bumper to bumper.
• Why is this sign still blank? [Birmingham News]

To do nothing: Homicides, rapes and robberies are up this year in Birmingham, as in other cities. The police chief appears to be losing not only the war on crime, but the war on public perception, too. Chief Annetta Nunn prefers the low-key approach, but is that enough to frighten criminals and soothe citizens? She has Mayor Kincaid on her side, though several critics say he’s interfering more than needed. Nunn said, “Some people see things and don’t report them. As long as it doesn’t bother them, they don’t report it. People need to learn that criminals act on fear. We have to have assistance from the public.” Funny, we haven’t noticed a severe drop in public participation — just a severe lack of leadership and focus.
• In addition to crime, Nunn fights public perception [Birmingham News]

Home work: Can Birmingham find homes for its homeless population by 2016? The city has formed a committee to form a 10-year plan to help an estimated 3,000 citizens who spend their days and nights on the street. The federal initiative involves 240 communities tackling the same issues: housing, health care, crime and image. Birmingham faces a bigger challenge, since an estimated 30 percent of the homeless population are chronically homeless, three times the national rate. The least among us deserve more than a cold shoulder.
• Homeless panel begins work [Birmingham News]

Also:

  • Mall proclaims final markdowns with dying breath
  • Governance of state two-year college system converts to feudal monarchy
  • Fall fashion preview: crimson/white and orange/blue combos on horizon

• • •

Send us your news tips.

random facts of kindness

Monday, July 24th, 2006

We influence each
other in ways we cannot
begin to fathom.

• • •

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