May 21, 2017

Sunday Focus: Malfunction Junction in B'ham.

This is a warning sign, but it could be a wish-list in Birmingham.
That's what we used to call the interchange of I-65 and I-20/59 in Birmingham.

It seemed almost antiquated from the time it was finished, quickly overcome by more traffic than it could handle.

It was a regular fly-over spot during the years in the 1970's when I reported traffic above Birmingham for WERC Radio. So was the stretch of 59/20 through Downtown, past the then brand new Civic Center.

Now a reconstruction project is underway that will close the 59/20 highway bridges for 14 months, reports AL.COM.  

 This is what the interchange will look like when the work is finished according to the state Department of Transportation.

The answer to your question? Almost a half-Billion Dollars.. 

May 20, 2017

Protest Targets Alabama's Jeff Sessions.

     Protestor/artist Robin Bell projected an image of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wearing Klan robes on the U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington---according to a USA Today story.
The message? Sessions Must Go.


Saturday Data: Bipartisian Push Back on Sessions' Drug War.

    Alabama's Jeff Sessions called for harsher penalties for drug crimes last week, suggesting longer penalties. 

     That's a reversal of recent years when reformers promoted less prison time and more treatment. From a Rolling Stone article:  

"It's worth noting that there's a disconnect between Jeff Sessions and the President, and it's not clear who is actually in charge," Piper says. "The president put Jared Kushner in charge of his task force for looking at criminal justice reform – Jeff Sessions preemptively undermined the work Jared Kushner is doing. So does the administration oppose reform? Because it's already clear where Jeff Sessions stands."
With the exception of outliers like Sessions, criminal justice reform is one of the few issues on which there's bipartisan consensus.
"This is not a Republican or Democrat idea, this is a common sense idea," (Democratic Vermont Senator Patrick) Leahy said.

     Of course Rolling Stone has always been a pro-drug legalization publication, from it's name on down. I wonder what percentage of their regular readers voted in 2016?

May 18, 2017

Pike Road Report Card

     Tonight at 10:00 on Alabama, a news-extra report about the approaching third year of The Pike Road School.
     The first year was unorthodox with the use of project based learning...teachers became "lead learners" who could follow the whims of the learners, i.e., children. 1st grade became 1st community.
    Now the 1st Superintendent is leaving, retiring, and the results of meetings with parents are being implemented to make changes for year three as a new superintendent starts work.

Tonight at 10:00 on Alabama News Network.
CBS 8 and ABC Montgomery.

May 16, 2017

Thursday at Archives: Slavery Increased & Native Americans were banished.

Hard to see what many people have to celebrate in the signing of a treaty that opened up the Alabama Territory for settlement. The topic will be the subject of a Thursday event at the Department of Archives and History:

The signing of the Treaty of Fort Jackson at the end of the Creek War of 1813-1814 paved the way for thousands of emigrants to settle in what was once Creek Indian territory. This month, Dr. Tom Kanon will discuss this historic treaty and how it resulted in "Alabama Fever," an unprecedented migration to the early frontier, that brought with it a dramatic increase in slavery and the eventual removal of the region's Native Americans.

 Map of Alabama, John Melish, 1818

More information HERE.

May 15, 2017

The Health Impact of Living Segregated.

A new study that included Alabama residents finds leaving a segregated community and moving to one with a more mixed population is good for your blood pressure. Maybe.

"....the results support previous research suggesting that neighborhoods can have a big influence on health, said David Chae, director of the Center for Health Ecology and Equity Research at Auburn University in Alabama.
“We have known for a very long time that some neighborhoods are ‘unhealthy,’ characterized by deficiencies, for example, in quality health care, parks, recreational facilities and supermarkets,” Chae, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Blacks are more likely to live in areas with fewer opportunities to engage in healthy behaviors and greater barriers to optimal health.”

Reuters has the story HERE.