Wade on Birmingham

Archive for June, 2008

Wade on May 2008

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Then and now

Meet the new owners: Birmingham-based construction/engineering firm BE&K will have a new owner. KBR, a Houston-based construction/engineering contractor, will buy the homegrown company for $550 million. In fact, KBR has now completed the deal.

BE&K has a reputation as a family-friendly workplace, but what do we know about KBR? So glad you asked …

And we all paid for it.

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you can stand under my umbrella

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Forecast becomes more
uncertain by the hour.
Will it rain or not?

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Wade on April 2008

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Then and now

Fed up: Since the campaign last fall, we knew this was a possibility, a dark cloud on the horizon. And so, it has happened.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint against Mayor Larry Langford, alleging he took cash to help friends profit from sewer system bond swap deals while he served on the Jefferson County Commission. As you may recall, mishandling of the sewer has put the county on the brink of record bankruptcy, not to mention convicting three former commissioners.

Not a peep from the SEC since April, but Langford has talked to the media, most notably this interview with WBHM (90.3 FM).

And if you need a preview of the defendant’s possible testimony in court, we have the video, after the jump …

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first and second

Monday, June 30th, 2008

First half of year flies
by with nothing to show but
dreams and memories.

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Wade on March 2008

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Then and now

Flushed away: Jefferson County is broke, and getting broker by the minute. The commission sent representatives to New York to meet with financial brokers to find a way to pay off the $3.2 billion in interest payments.

It all started with a broken-down sewer system, which led to court-ordered fixes, which led to bonds to raise funds, which led to unsupervised hiring of contractors, which led to corruption and payoffs, which led to bond swaps to get supposedly better deals.

On Thursday, the commission rejected a proposed plan from Merrill Lynch to create an independent oversight board. Naturally, the commission is paying Merrill Lynch $75,000 a month to make proposals for it to reject.

If the commission doesn’t come up with a plan by Aug. 1, it will default on $100 million in payments. Not to mention the possibility of filing for bankruptcy, the largest in U.S. history.

So much for solvency. So much more for leadership.

More on festivals, war and schools, after the jump …

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pump addiction

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

High-octane habit
kicks in once a week. Jonesing
for petroleum.

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Heads up: Meet Mrs. Velvet Teddy Bear

Friday, June 27th, 2008

What happens when you add 205 and 404? L-u-v.

Surata Zuri McCantsRuben StuddardRuben Studdard will head to the chapel, and he’s gonna get married. Saturday, Birmingham’s first American Idol champ marries Surata Zuri McCants, 30, at Canterbury United Methodist in Mountain Brook. McCants, a flight attendant from Atlanta, met the 29-year-old R&B singer at a CD signing at Wal-Mart in October 2006.

He’s expected to have 20(!) groomsmen for the ceremony.

According to Canterbury’s “Wedding Guide” (PDF), use of the chapel and sanctuary is free for church members, but $500 and $1,000 for others, cash only. Also, flash photography is prohibited, and video cameras are restricted to the balcony and the right rear door of the chancel.

As for music, only the church organist may play, so no Just a Few Cats. And no secular music, so while “Get U Loose” from his 2006 disc “The Return” is out, “Amazing Grace” from his 2004 gospel CD “I Need an Angel” is fine.

After the honeymoon (details unknown), Studdard plans to release a CD of covers in August, then begin rehearsals for the touring musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” which arrives in February at the BJCC Concert Hall.
People: Ruben Studdard to Have 20 Groomsmen at Wedding

Updated with video, after the jump …

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intimacy issues

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Best kind of hug? An
awkward, uncertain, arm out
half-grasp with cheek touch.

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Heads up: YP, why not?

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

yp expo

Time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. The successful YP Expo returns for a second time, starting at 5:30 tonight at the Birmingham Museum of Art [map | event details]. More than 30 nonprofit agencies are expected to participate, ready to recruit you to their cause.

The free event runs until 9. What are you waiting for? Your city needs you.
Birmingham News: YP Expo expected to bring hundreds to Museum of Art

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Wade on February 2008

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Then and now

Does not compute: Back in his Fairfield days, Mayor Langford set up a charity with pals John Katopodis and Richard Scrushy to get computers to kids. Except that tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars went to him, Katopodis and a gay porn star. All of this came out in court as HealthSouth and Katopodis sued each other.

Both sides settled in March without revealing the terms of the deal. Frankly, plenty was revealed already.

Meanwhile, Langford’s latest effort to give computers to kids rolls on, having ordered an additional 14,000 laptops this week without Birmingham school board approval. The technology upgrades could cost millions for a system already struggling to keep facilities open.

More on Larry Langford and John Katopodis.

Keep reading for more updates, plus a scandalous photo of yours truly, after the jump …

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gift that keeps on begging

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Simple donation
sparks mailed solicitations
to my frustration.

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Wade on January 2008

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Then and now

The road to skinny: Our extended coverage of “The Biggest Loser: Couples” began with former Alabama linemen Roger Shultz and Trent Patterson. Shultz, an Enterprise native, went on to take second place while losing his day job at Jacksonville State.

He does still have his radio show and has embarked on the post-reality show career of choice: appearances! This weekend, he’ll be at a celebrity charity weekend in Orange Beach. But he still has time for the kids, like stopping by a fourth-grade class at Helena Intermediate School in May.

Check out the slimmed-down Shultz, plus more news updates, after the jump …

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surly are the servers

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Society built
on service economy
runs on bitterness.

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parents just don’t understand

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The little one coos
and giggles, then abruptly
screams and wails like mad.

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Heads and tales: Hoover’s finest

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Rush PropstGo Packers: He made Hoover High into repeat state champions, and “Two-a-Days” made him into a reality star. But then football coach Rush Propst lost his job as rules violations and a second family came to light. Nowadays, he’s down in Georgia’s Colquitt County trying to rebuild its once successful program. Plus, he’s doing it for a paltry $95,000 (in a one-year contract) instead of the $100,600 he was making in Hoover.

His wife and two of his children remain in Hoover, while his oldest son will join him on the team. (As in his current family, not his out-of-wedlock family.)

How serious is his new school about football? It has spent or committed $2.9 million toward stadium renovations and a new field house. And for those fans who miss seeing him talk pigskin, check out the interview by a student at his new school.
• Propst on different turf but goal remains same [The Birmingham News]

Soul control: The other reality sensation to come from Hoover High, one Taylor Hicks, has signed with a new label. The American Idol/Broadway singer has landed at Vanguard Records and plans to release his next disc in August under his own brand, Modern Whomp Records.
•Hicks finds niche [New York Post]

On patrol: How’s new Birmingham police chief A.C. Roper doing so far? Seven months in, the former Hoover assistant chief will hold a second Community Crime Fighting Forum at 6 tonight at the South Precinct [map]. Roper will listen to citizens’ concerns and outline his plan to fight crime. Meanwhile, 2008 has seen 34 homicides, about even with last year’s 33 homicides through June 23. Visit our Crime Watch page for continuing coverage.
• Birmingham Police Chief Roper to hold second crime forum for neighborhoods [The Birmingham News]

Also:

  • Birmingham applies to host 2020 Olympics’ viewing party
  • SUV drivers flock to farmers’ market for organic produce
  • City leaders adopt four-day workweek, doubling time on job

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