Category Archives: News

Cuts at The News formally announced, grassroots effort begins

Newer Birmingham News-logoThis morning individuals were at offices of Advance Publications titles here in Alabama and in New Orleans learned whether they would be retained, given the opportunity to re-apply for a new position or let go as part of a restructuring announced late last month.

Weld for Birmingham first shared last night via an update to a post shared on Sunday about when employees at The Birmingham News would learn about their future with the two new companies set to form in the fall. This morning local NPR affiliate WBHM started a Storify thread to capture reactions from the digital sphere – both locally and nationally.

David Griner, himself a former intern at the Birmingham Post-Herald, Birmingham’s former afternoon daily closed by what is now known as The E.W. Scripps Company in 2005 and current vice president/director of digital content at Birmingham-based communications firm Luckie & Co., announced earlier this afternoon that he’d created a Twitter account (@ALNewsJobs) and hashtag (#alnewsjobs) to help assist those affected by the cuts locate and secure new jobs.

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UPDATE: A Facebook group or brand page is also in the works has now launched for the grassroots effort.

While the official release – available via – did not provide specifics on how many would not be retained, information being shared via social media states that at least 60 positions were cut in the newsroom here in Birmingham. It was just as severe at the Times-Picayune, where approximately 200 positions are set to be eliminated once the changes are in place this fall.

NOTE: The story has been updated to reflect that Griner interned at the paper in the 1990s and was not employed there at the time it closed in 2005.

ONB announcement means Main Street Birmingham changes

Fleming and TaskerThe news became official this morning as Operation New Birmingham (ONB) announced they’d named a new president and CEO. David Fleming, the founding executive director of Main Street Birmingham (MSB), will take the reigns of the downtown revitalization organization effective November 1.

It can be viewed as a homecoming of sorts for Fleming, who left ONB as its vice president for planning and urban development in 2004 to launch MSB. He was one of four candidates considered for the position which has been vacant since the departure of Michael Calvert earlier this year.

MSB released its own statement later in the day naming Elizabeth Barbaree-Tasker as the organization’s interim executive director. The seven year-old neighborhood revitalization organization has been enjoying success recently, including an arts incubator in Woodlawn that hosted an open house this past weekend as part of the WOODLAWNx after-party for TEDxBirmingham.

Incidentally, I’ve got some thoughts on Fleming, his new job and what it means for The Magic City over on Dear Birmingham.

Photo: left, David Fleming; right, Elizabeth Barbaree Tasker.

RIP – Rev. Abraham Woods

Birmingham is mourning the loss of a local civil rights legend as ABC 33/40 is reporting that the Rev. Abraham Woods died a short while ago at Princeton Baptist Medical Center. He was 80 years old.

CVS plans approved in Five Points South

Residents and supporters of Five Points South put up a good fight, but ultimately the ZBA decided in a 4-2 vote Thursday to approve the variances for a CVS drug store to be built  at 1312-1324 & 1330 11th Ave South and 14th Street. This means three apartment buildings will have to be demolished. Neighborhood association president Gary Bostany says the association is now looking into their options to appeal the decision, but right now they just aren’t sure.

Business development threatens Five Points apartments

The Five Points South Neighborhood Association will voice their opposition Thursday at City Hall in a zoning dispute that could leave several Five Points residents displaced. According to the neighborhood association president, Gary Bostany, a developer requested two variances from the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) to build a CVS drug store located at 1312-1324 & 1330 11th Ave South and 14th Street (see the proposed site plan). The problem is this would involve demolishing three apartment buildings, one even considered to be historic. 

According to the new rules adopted by City Hall, the neighborhood associations are no longer obligated to advertise the variance requests in the monthly newsletter and vote on the them at the monthly neighborhood meeting. Bostany says the affected tenants weren’t even aware of the issue until he posted the information on the apartment buildings. “This is a tragedy for all the neighborhoods, remarks Bostany, because the neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of time to fully address the issue.” 

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Birmingham’s curfew crackdown starts today

Time's Up - Sérgio Jardim/Flickr

Birmingham’s revised city-wide curfew goes into effect today. The changes in punishment were recommended by Mayor Larry Langford, in order to address recent crimes involving teenagers. Under the new law, all minors 17 years old and younger must not be on city streets between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekdays or between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekends. First time offenders will be subject to a fine of $500. Repeat violators must appear in court and subject to higher fines, possible jail time or community service for themselves and their parents. Continue reading

UPDATE: Reports that Citigroup purchases Wachovia

The New York Times is reporting that Citigroup has agreed to purchase the banking operations of Charlotte, NC-based Wachovia (portions of which are formerly Birmingham based AmSouth Bank sorry, SouthTrust Bank) for $1 a share. We’ll see if we can’t get more information for you as it becomes available today.

So how are you dealing with the financial crisis? Let us know as you answer today’s Magic City Question!