It’s gonna be ugly: Virtually any Democratic politician who plans to appear on a ballot somewhere during the off-year elections in November is definitely on the hot seat, due in part to a sluggish economy and voter disenchantment with President Obama and with incumbents in general. The Republicans seem sure to make huge gains in the U.S. House and Senate. The results of primary elections held in seven states and the District of Columbia on Tuesday, September 14, brought good tidings for the right-wing Tea Party faction that has energized the Republican base but also made the party establishment a bit nervous. Two Tea Party insurgents won primaries over establishment Republicans on Tuesday, including political commentator Christine O’Donnell, who easily defeated nine-time U.S. Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Delaware.
Look, it’s Jimmy! Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn will be in Birmingham in October to take part in the Carter Work Project hosted by Habitat for Humanity, a housing ministry that the Carters have long supported. According to a Habitat news release, hundreds of volunteers will converge on the Birmingham area during the week of October 4-8 to help improve the living conditions of 28 families. Ten homes will be built, and 18 additional homes will be rehabilitated or repaired, including some in Fairfield and Wylam Oaks. The Carters will be in Birmingham on October 8. The Carter Work Project will also visit Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis, Md., and Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
Pressure on the U of A: The University of Alabama Board of Trustees is under pressure from environmental and community activists to refuse to lease land the University owns near Cordova for use as a coal strip mine. The proposed Shepherd Bend Mine would be located near the Birmingham Water Works Board’s Mulberry Fork drinking water intake. Activists fear that toxic discharges from the mine would pollute the drinking water of about 200,000 people in the Birmingham area. A student group, the University of Alabama Environmental Council, will hold a demonstration during a trustees board meeting in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, September 16, from 3:30-6 p.m. The rally will be held in the University’s Moody Music School parking lot. Students at UAB held a similar protest on their campus on Tuesday, September 14.
We’re number one: Alabama Governor Bob Riley announced on Monday, September 13, that the state ranks first among all other states in improvement on advanced placement (AP) test scores this year. In a report by the College Board, which administers AP tests nationally, Alabama showed the greatest percentage increase in the number of students scoring a passing grade at 17.7 percent. Alabama also showed improvements in the number of students taking AP tests as well as minority student participation and performance. State officials attribute Alabama’s improved performance at least in part to the fact that every high school in the state is now able to offer students at least 14 AP courses through ACCESS Distance Learning. The ACCESS program uses online and interactive video conferencing to offer coursework to a greater number of students.