UA In the News — Feb. 27-29

UA’s Lift program offers free computer, financial classes
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – Feb. 26
The University of Alabama’s Lift program has only been around since 2014, but it’s already credited with uplifting many in the Tuscaloosa community who wanted to improve their computer skills and get a job. The program is open to anyone in the Tuscaloosa area. In 2016, high school students, veterans and even some people with jobs are participating. More than 300 University of Alabama accounting students are teaching these people everything from basic computer skills to mastering Microsoft word and excel.
Fox 6 video report – Feb. 26

The South takes its place in 2016 campaign spotlight
Associated Press – Feb. 27
Eight years ago, Democrats were such a dominant force in Arkansas that Republicans didn’t bother putting up a candidate to challenge for a U.S. Senate seat. Today, the state that launched the careers of generations of centrist Democrats, including Bill Clinton, has joined the rest of the South in largely turning its back on the party. Democrats have control of just one governor’s mansion, one Senate seat and no legislative chambers from the Carolinas westward to Texas. That stretch includes five states voting in the Super Tuesday contests, a delegate-rich day that will put the South in the spotlight. . . . To Richard Fording, chairman of the political science department at the University of Alabama, there are similarities in the angst Nixon saw brewing in the Southern electorate a half-century ago and what Trump is tapping into now. “There is this silent majority phenomenon,” Fording said. “A lot of it has to do with race: the first black president, immigration, other threats to social and cultural values. There’s a lot of anger and it’s very satisfying for people to listen to Donald Trump.”

Experts say voter anger, money fuel Trump’s rise
Anniston Star – Feb. 27
If Alabama voters choose outsiders on Tuesday, political scientist Jess Brown says, it won’t really be a surprise. “There’s a rage in the middle of the political spectrum,” said Brown, a former Montgomery lobbyist who now teaches at Athens State University. “It’s been bubbling up for years in the polls.” This week, that rage could boil over – or the bubble could burst. Alabama and 10 other states will go to the polls Tuesday to select presidential nominees for both parties. It’s the biggest battle yet in the 2016 race for the White House. . . . It’s a pitch that’s reminiscent of George Wallace, said William Stewart, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Alabama. Stewart said Trump seemed to have strong ability to work a crowd, but he’s still not convinced that will lead large numbers of independents and inactive voters to step up for Trump. “I don’t think the average voter knows a lot about the Republican candidates, and they may not care so much that an election is going on,” Stewart said, citing past low turnout.

A brief history of Mountain Brook picking on Birmingham – Feb. 26
By Blake Scott Ball, an Alabama native and doctoral student in history at the University of Alabama. He researches American political culture and the history of the South. Making a decent wage in Alabama in 2016 is hard enough. With an unemployment rate higher than the national average to start the new year, many working class Alabamians are anxious about whether their hard work will pay enough to bring a brighter future. But that battle looks bleak when establishing a competitive wage means facing down 75 years of local history. This week Birmingham Mayor William Bell signed an ordinance to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 from the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Almost immediately, however, state Rep. David Faulkner of neighboring Mountain Brook filed a bill to thwart the increase. That bill was signed into law by Gov. Bentley yesterday. Faulkner argued that in order to maintain a healthy business climate Alabama needed to enforce a single statewide minimum wage. But for Birmingham, that really means holding the federal minimum since Alabama has not established one of its own.
Sinkholes swallow section of Ladiga Trail near Weaver
Anniston Star – Feb. 27
The hole in the Chief Ladiga Trail started small five or so weeks ago, Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department director Janis Burns said Friday. Heavy rain earlier this week changed that. “The guys found this Wednesday morning when they were checking the trail,” Burns said, standing a few feet from the 30-foot-wide sinkhole that has swallowed sections of the trail just north of Weaver. . . . A professor of environmental geochemistry at the University of Alabama, Donahoe said such drilling could cause other, deeper underground caves to collapse — the likely cause of the current problem. Limestone is the most common bedrock in which sinkholes develop, Donahoe said. Composed of soluble calcium, limestone will dissolve as rainwater percolates down through the soil’s subsurface. As the water flows, “it follows the path of least resistance,” Donahoe said, such as fissures in the rock. Those fissures, over time, become larger and larger. “They actually become pipes,” the professor said, and “over time, they can join to form an underground cavern.”

Kentuck to host photography exhibit
Tuscaloosa News – Feb. 28
The Kentuck Art Center will host an exhibit of new photographs by Chip Cooper, artist in residence at the University of Alabama’s Honors College. The opening reception and artist talk will be from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday at the Kentuck Art Center in downtown Northport. The display of photographs, titled “Familiarity,” will be open to the public Thursday through March 31. Since March of 2014, Cooper has been visiting artist in residence of Fototeca de Cuba. He was invited to the Vatican and the Holy See by the Cuban Embassy to exhibit his Campesinos collection for the 80th anniversary of the diplomatic relationships between the two countries.

Nursing student found path through Athens High School program
Athens News-Courier – Feb. 29
This week I sat down with Jerrica Watkins at her home in Athens. Jerrica is a nursing student at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and was recently on the cover of Capsule magazine. This magazine is published by the Capstone College of Nursing at the university. Jerrica was born at Huntsville Hospital and grew up in Athens. She was a cheerleader and has competed in — and won — several beauty contests. She was Miss Athens in the ninth grade. She was a cheerleader her freshman year at Tuscaloosa, but gave it up after entering the nursing program because her schedule would not allow her to do both. As part of her coursework, she goes to UAB Medical West twice a week and a mental health clinic once a week. On top of that, she still has nursing classes in Tuscaloosa. She is a busy lady. When I asked her how she got interested in nursing, she told me about the job shadowing program at Athens High School. It allows students to follow a professional to see if it’s something the student would be interested in doing.

UA students learn about the chemistry of cooking
Crimson White – Feb. 29
The Chemistry Graduate Student Organization and the Food Science Club teamed up to hold an event based on the chemistry behind cooking on Thursday night. Their event, “Cook with Chemistry,” was held in Presidential Village 1 in the seventh floor kitchen and drew a crowd of about 30 people. Members of both the Chemistry Graduate Student Organization and the Food Science Club prepared a meal and educated attendees on different aspects of chemistry occurring in each dish as they ate. The main course consisted of a “super” salad, bruschetta, steaks, chicken, hamburgers and mashed potatoes and was served buffet-style. For dessert, the group baked a variety of cookies and explained their baking process to the crowd at “Cook with Chemistry.”
UA alumna to compete in Paralympics
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – Feb. 28
Homewood cyclist Jennifer Schuble competes in the C4-C5 division of the paralympic cycling games. But the journey she took to get there is what makes her story so incredible…After having to drop out of West Point, Jennifer enrolled at The University of Alabama. She finished her undergrad, got her Master’s Degree and played on The University of Alabama soccer team.

Black Warrior Film Festival starts
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Feb. 26
Today kicked off the 4th Annual Black Warrior Film Festival. This event is organized by University of Alabama students to showcase their films, and also includes workshops and discussion panels.

UA Afro American Gospel Choir to hold concert
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Feb. 26, 2016
In honor of Black History month, a local choir is having a concert. The Universtiy of Alabama Afro American Gospel Choir will be having their annual benefit concert tomorrow. It will take place at 3 p.m. at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. The concert is free, but donations are always welcome.

Wheelchair basketball to be televised on WVUA
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Feb. 26
Don’t forget, you can catch The University of Alabama’s men’s and women’s adapted athletics basketball teams play tonight, here on WVUA 23.

Students represent county at UA Model UN conference
Shelby County Reporter – Feb. 26
Two high schools from the Shelby County school district – Chelsea High School and Montevallo High School – had delegates participate for the first time in the University of Alabama Model United Nations conference last weekend.