The air’s better… sort of: For the first time since the mid-1990s, the Birmingham area seems to be on course to meet federal air quality standards, according to an article by Birmingham News environmental reporter Thomas Spencer. That’s good news, especially since current standards are tougher than they were in the 1990s, Spencer tells us. But wait, there’s more. By the end of October, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue a new, tougher standard for ozone pollution, a standard that Birmingham may not meet. And next year the EPA will introduce tough new standards for particle pollution. One factor contributing to bad air is vehicular traffic, of course. Can you say mass transit? Oh wait, sorry. According to Dr. Bentley, we’re not a mass transit city. Just get your gas mask instead.
Shopping orgy: The opening of The Shops of Grand River, a fancy new outlet mall in Leeds, is scheduled to take place from October 28-31. This event has the potential to be a delicious, nearly epochal orgy of blind spending by people with pockets full of credit and debit cards and no fear of using them. After all, shopping is the great passion of our culture, and that passion surely is worthy of the erection of such temples as The Shops. According to the web site at www.shopsofgrandriver.com, this ultimate bargainhunter’s pleasure pit will feature at least 60 stores, including DKNY, Sketchers, Kenneth Cole and Banana Republic. The Shops—developed by Daniel Corporation and other partners—is the newest addition to an area that features Barber Motorsports Park and the Bass Pro Shops. The Grand River development will also include offices and residences over the next 15 to 20 years.
The last neighborhood theatre: Many of you have seen cool indie and foreign films at the Capri Theatre in Montgomery. The non-profit Capri Community Film Society has managed to keep the state capitol’s last surviving neighborhood movie house alive since 1983. But sadly, this may not continue. According to a flyer we received from the Society, the Capri and its surrounding buildings were put up for sale suddenly in January. The society needs money—lots of it—to buy the building and save it from the wrecking ball. Help the Capri hang around and celebrate its 70th birthday in 2011. To find out how to help, call (334) 262-4858 or visit www.capritheatre.org. You can make a donation by making your check payable to the Capri Theatre and mailing it to the theatre at 1045 East Fairview Ave., Montgomery, AL 36106.
Cast your votes for Avondale: The magnificent Depression-era stone amphitheater in Avondale Park is in the running for $250,000 in funds for its restoration in something called the Pepsi Refresh Project. Just go to the web site at www.refresheverything. com, search for “Avondale Park,” and vote, vote, vote (you can vote as many as three times a day). Backers of the restoration, including Main Street Birmingham, Inc., are trying to get as many votes as possible before the contest ends on October 31. A fully restored amphitheater would give Avondale a cool 1000-seat performance venue and provide a big push to efforts to fully revitalize the neighborhood. Among the goals of the project, according to the web page at the Pepsi site, is to “convert a symbol of blight and neglect into a community asset.”