Friday, April 26, 2013

From the Anniston Star via the San Francisco Chronicle: Anniston aims to be Alabama's biking haven - SFGate

Nice Piece by Tim Lockette of Anniston Star on Anniston' goal of being a Model City for bicyclists.

The piece ran in The Star, went out over the AP Wire and was picked up in San Fran --

Anniston aims to be Alabama's biking haven - SFGate: ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) — Tom Sauret thinks Anniston has what it takes.

An avid cyclist and director of the Southeastern Off-Road Bicycle Association, Sauret is a big fan of Coldwater Mountain, the nature preserve where bikers can speed along more than a dozen miles of trail dedicated to cycles.

"In two years, I think, they'll be able to host a major race," Sauret said. "That site can accommodate a multi-faceted mountain biking event."

Read more:

Anniston is the trailhead for The Chief Ladiga Trail, a paved rail trail that runs about 100 miles through rural Alabama and Georgia to ending in suburban Atlanta.
It is also home to the Coldwater Mountain  Forever Wild Mountain Biking Trail System which is an amazing and expanding network of trails just outside the city.
Also, more cool plans to extend the Chief Ladiga trail into Anniston proper.

"Is Birmingham Next Moab?" asks All Over The Map (A national blog for mountain bikers)

Is Birmingham Next Moab? 
From All Over The Map (national blog for mountain bikers): "Three times in the last four years, I’ve traveled to Alabama in the spring. Over the course of those trips, I’ve been surprised by the quality of trails here, and how fast the singletrack continues to expand. It’s a riding destination that has few rivals—I’m sure that someday soon it will be as well known among mountain bikers as Whistler or Moab......" Read more at the All over the Map Blog

Hats off to B.U.M.P. for making leading this mountain biking trails movement locally. And there is a lot more to come with future developments in the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System and at Red Mountain Park and Tannehill, the list goes on.

Governing: A Powerful Measure of Urban Health: the Stroller Index

A Powerful Measure of Urban Health: the Stroller Index: From 2000 to 2010, the population of Hoboken, N.J., grew by nearly 30 percent, making it the fastest-growing city in the Northeast. The city had hit its population peak of more than 70,000 in 1910 and then had experienced a nearly unbroken record of decline until bottoming out at about 33,000 in 1990. Today Hoboken has slightly more than 50,000 folks. Median household income is $101,782, almost double that of the nation as a whole. In short, the town is doing very well these days, and I think I know why.
When Governing's Jonathan Walters and David Kidd were in Hoboken to research and shoot photos for an article in the April issue about the mayor's plans to better manage the next superstorm, they noticed baby strollers all over town. David coined the term "stroller index" and said Hoboken seemed to be way up there on that measure.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bessemer's Westhills Elementary expects success

Bessemer's Westhills Elementary is majority black and majority poor, but it is outperforming state averages at every grade level.
Get a glimpse of what is going on.

April PARCA Perspective on Taxes

Alabama taxes are the inverse of the federal tax system. They fall more heavily on the poor than the rich.

Read about it in this month's PARCA Perspective.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Whan that Aprill ... The annual eternal universal

From Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac, April 17:

According to legend, it was on this day in 1397 that Geoffrey Chaucer recited The Canterbury Tales (books by this author) to the court of Richard II. Although there is no evidence that this actually happened, it is easy to imagine the scene, in part because of a famous painting of Chaucer reciting his poetry to the court, painted in the early 15th century. The prologue of Canterbury Tales opens with the famous lines:
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kowthein sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seeke

Bike friendly grants available for a limited time

Take Note:

The Bikes Belong Coalition is offering Community Partnership Grants, which are designed to support partnerships between city or county governments, nonprofit organizations, and local businesses that aim to improve the environment for bicycling in the community.

The goal of the Bikes Belong Coalition, sponsored by the American bicycle industry, is to put more people on bicycles more often.  

Grants, ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, are primarily provided for the construction or expansion of bicycle facilities such as bike lanes, trails, and paths as well as advocacy projects that promote bicycling as a safe and accessible mode of transportation.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Coldwater Mountain Trail Needs Your Vote Today |

Coldwater Mountain Trail Needs Your Vote Today |  - Bell Bike Helmets is holding a national vote to fund three separate trails at the tune of $100,000. Alabama's own Coldwater Mountain, near Anniston, Alabama is in the running under the "Flow Trail" category. Today is the last day you can cast a vote.

Here is how you can make a difference.

* Visit the Bell Bike Helmet Facebook page.

Birmingham, Ala., embraces its complex history -

Photo by Walt Stricklin for the LA Times
Birmingham, Ala., embraces its complex history -
Travel Piece starts with the usual disclaimers but soon we have another convert:

"After a few short days, I found myself becoming a banner carrier for Birmingham: Anyone who cares about U.S. history should plan a trip here."

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

When the spirit moves you

I writing to let you know of a few events coming up next week
In this year, as we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the momentous event of 1963 in Birmingham, much has been written and much has been said.
But I’m not sure we’ve sung enough.

It’s the one sure way to cut through the complexities and come to the commonalities.
In my career as a reporter, I had the privilege of experiencing mass meetings at small rural churches in Randolph County. I heard Fred Shuttlesworth preach, and years later heard him eulogized in word and song.  I crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge several times during the annual reenactment of the Selma to Montgomery March.

I wished at the time that I could do more to share with my readers the visceral experience of being there. Moving with people who shared a common purpose. The mood of joy, not anger, in the face of difficulty. The infectiousness of the music and the beat. Wanting to sing even though as a neutral observer I wasn’t supposed to participate. In some instances, I couldn’t help but make an exception and join in.
So, I’d like to invite y’all to some events being held this month at my church, Independent Presbyterian Church at 3100 Highland Avenue in Birmingham. To warm up and situate ourselves, we are screening Soundtrack For a Revolution on Wednesday, April 10.

This is a really powerful documentary that moves through the history of Civil Rights Movement with a focus on the music that animated it. Traditional and contemporary artists perform. It’s a full on feature presentation so be prepared. Singing along encouraged.

Featured in that film is Birmingham’s own Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir. IPC has the honor of hosting the choir at the our Sunday, April 14th casual service at 5 p.m. 
On the morning of April 14, to get people in the mood and mindset, we are having a panel discussion with some of the participants in the marches of 1963. I’d especially encourage young people to come. One of the key things to remember about the crucial events of April and May of 1963 is the role that young people played in Project C: the confrontation in Birmingham that is now part of American History.

Details about the all the events are below. Guests are welcome. Y’all come.

April 10, 6:00 p.m.: “Soundtrack for a Revolution” (82 minutes) this 2009 award winning documentary film traces the story of the Civil Rights Movement through the stirring music that buoyed the spirits of the marchers. The New York Times said, “it’s the kind of film that will have audiences clapping and singing along.” The film features Birmingham’s Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir who will perform at April 14 evening service.
o    Optional southern supper by reservation 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the Great Hall.
o    6:00 p.m. Introduction and film in the IPC Sanctuary

April 14, 10 a.m.: Highland Forum Panel Discussion, the Great Hall
Between May 2 and May 7, 1963, in Birmingham, 3,000-4,000 children marched to protest segregation, facing arrest and jail, snarling police dogs and powerful fire hoses. Images from those marches shocked the nation and helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We’ll recall the mood in the city and hear firsthand accounts of how it felt to participate.
o    Larry Krannich, introductions; Tom Spencer moderator
o    Washington Booker and Paulette Roby – will provide firsthand accounts of what it was like to participate in the marches as teenagers.
o    Rowena McNab – IPC member will share personal recollections of watchign her parents support of the Civil Rights Movement.
o    Barnett Wright – Birmingham News reporter and author of 1963: How the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement Changed America and the World will help provide historical context and discussion of the ongoing journey toward justice.

·         April 14. 5 p.m.: Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir : performs songs of the movement during IPC Casual Worship at 3116 Highland Ave. Bobbie Epting, Associate Pastor

Tuxedo Junctions and other famous places -

Read this Wayne Flynt piece on the contributions of Alabamians to the jazz and the blues music Tuxedo Junctions and other famous places - ...