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There are actual health benefits to spending time with friends. In fact, research shows that social ties are twice as important as exercise when it comes to life expectancy (according to Life Science). Do we need any other reason to keep in touch with our friends? It’s good for our health. 

I am privileged to have conversations with teenagers almost every day. We talk about everything from pop culture to relationships. Oftentimes, the relationship conversation goes far beyond their crushes, boyfriends, and girlfriends, and extends to family. Sometimes, things are great at home, and students are eager to talk.  Other times, they would much rather talk about anything but their families. Either way, in my attempt to get to know them better, family will eventually be mentioned, because I believe that there are very few aspects of life that influence us like family. 

Now that we’re finally swinging into spring, I thought it might be the perfect time for a couple of light, refreshing recipes everyone can enjoy. This chicken shawarma with cucumber yogurt is mouth wateringly delicious – and it’s got some wonderful spices for extra flavor. And for the pasta fans (really, who isn’t?), this cacio e pepe is simple, but it’s truly delightful. Cacio e pepe means “cheese and pepper” – so if you like both, you’ll love this. 

WACO, Texas –The No. 2 Auburn equestrian team put together a true team effort Saturday afternoon and captured the 2018 NCEA Championship crown, defeating No. 1 Georgia, 10-5, in the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas.

The national title was the program’s fifth overall and second in the last three years.

“It’s always wonderful to win a national championship, but it was also very nerve-wracking when you go in with a team that should win it like the one we had,” head coach Greg Williamssaid. “Georgia is a great team and they weren’t going to give it to us. This Auburn group deserves it and I’m so proud of everyone for their efforts this whole week.”

“I can’t put this feeling into words,” senior Alexa Rivard said. “I would not want to do this with any other team. We worked so hard all year and learned from mistakes made throughout the season. We just won a national championship!”

“Everyone came through today and did their job,” junior Caitlin Boyle added. “We were ready for some redemption and came through.”

The young Hunt Seat crew had an outstanding performance overall, giving up just one point between Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences for a 7-1 mark against the Bulldogs.

“They came here ready to ride,” Williams said. “The whole team did. This Hunt Seat team stepped it up a notch this week and really rode to their potential. It was fun to watch.”

“Georgia rode beautifully today and made it a great contest,” Boyle said. “It was a great feeling to put together clean rides and get that edge over them.”

Auburn quickly took a 4-0 lead after Equitation on the Flat. Junior Ashton Alexander opened with a 177-175 win over Madison Newman and was followed by a 179-171 victory for freshman Taylor St. Jacques. Junior Hayley Iannotti edged Addyson Cord, 175-173, before Boyle put up a huge score of 181 to complete the sweep.

Horsemanship pushed the Tigers to a 6-1 lead at the half as the group finished 2-1 overall. After the Bulldogs took the first point, redshirt junior Kelsey Jung bested Bailey Anderson with a 149.5-147 win. Freshman Deanna Green tied her match with 151 points before junior Lauren Diaz came away with a 148.5-147.5 win over Sammie Johnson.

Georgia cut into Auburn’s lead after Reining, going 3-1 over the Tigers. Rivard put together a great ride in an uncharacteristic situation as her saddle started to slide off halfway through her performance. She held on and finished with a 141.5, besting Jordan Carpenter’s 134.5.

“I kept working on staying in the moment,” Rivard said. “The horse I rode was awawesome and I knew I could push hard and get a good score. My saddle started to slip halfway and I was hanging on by a hair the rest of the ride. Thankfully, it all worked out.”

“About 90 percent of riders would be in the dirt in that situation,” Williams added. “She is one of the very few that could make it work. She did a phenomenal job rebounding and captured enough points to win.”

Needing just one point for the title, Auburn went into Equitation Over Fences with a 7-4 lead. Georgia cut it to two with a win in the first match, but Boyle kept her undefeated streak in the event intact ­as she topped Cord, 177-168. The individual win sealed the overall team victory.

Power literally went out for an hour in the whole arena after Boyle’s ride and stalled the remainder of competition. After the lights came back on, St. Jacques finished her perfect meet with a 171-168 win against Tritschler and Alexander closed out with a 160-153 victory over Darst.

Boyle was named the Most Outstanding Performer for the championship in Fences, while St. Jacques earned the honor in Flat. The Auburn Hunt Seat crew will not lose a single rider from this year’s championship run, while the lone senior on the Western side was Rivard.

“The 2018-19 season looks really bright for Auburn equestrian,” Williams said. 

WACO, Texas -- The No. 2 Auburn equestrian team had huge performances all day Friday at the 2018 National Collegiate Equestrian Association Championship as all four events advanced to the final round of the event championship in Waco.

"It was a big day," head coach Greg Williams said. "There was a lot riding and this was a day we've geared up for. We wanted to put ourselves into a position to win and focus on what is in our control. The team did a fantastic job at that and are going to compete in every championship tomorrow. It's really exciting."

The Tigers will have a full day Saturday in the Extraco Events Center, beginning with the national championship at 8:30 a.m. CT. It will be a rematch between the SEC's finest as No. 2 Auburn and No. 1 Georgia will go head-to-head in the full team competition.

"We have unfinished business to attend to tomorrow," Williams said. "Our goal is to win a national championship and that is first and foremost in our minds. All of our sights are on the morning competition. We want to win in everything we compete in, but we will not lose focus on that national championship."

Friday saw the Tigers compete in all four event quarterfinals and semifinals -- Equitation Over Fences, Reining, Equitation on the Flat, and Horsemanship. The newly expanded NCEA format includes four team-seeded brackets as squads compete for four event titles. Auburn was seeded second in both Equitation on the Flat and Horsemanship, while earning a No. 3 seed in Equitation Over Fences and Reining. 

The Hunt Seat corps kicked off the day in Equitation Over Fences. As the No. 3 seed in the event, the Tigers opened with a 3-1 win over No. 6 South Carolina before besting No. 2 Georgia, 3-1, in the semifinals. The Tigers will take on No. 5 Oklahoma State in the final at 2 p.m. CT.

Reining competed in the morning session as the No. 3 seed in the discipline, opening with a 3-1 win over No. 6 Baylor. The Tigers then battled to a 2-2 tie with No. 2 Oklahoma State, edging the Cowgirls with a raw score tiebreak, 550.5-415.5. AU will face SEC rival Texas A&M in the final match at 3:30 p.m. CT.

Hunt Seat continued its dominating performance Friday in Equitation on the Flat, only giving up one point between two matches. The No. 2 Tigers opened with a 3-0 victory over No. 10 South Carolina and followed with a 3-1 win against No. 3 Oklahoma State. Auburn and Georgia will meet in the event final Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CT.

After earning a first round bye, No. 2 Horsemanship saw huge rides throughout Friday afternoon. The team blanked No. 7 SMU, 4-0, before riding to a 2-2 tie with No. 6 Baylor. Auburn edged the Bears in raw score, 581.5-580, to round out competition for the day. The Tigers face off with the rival Bulldogs from Georgia at 2 p.m. CT for the event crown.

A complete list of all matches is below.

A complete list of all matches is below.


vs. South Carolina -- W, 3-1
Caitlin Boyle (AU) def. Lizzie van der Walde (SC), 164-158
Taylor St. Jacques (AU) def. Madison Sellman (SC), 172-161
Hayley Iannotti (AU) def. Madison Brayman (SC), 155-152
Chloe Schmidt (SC) def. Ashton Alexander (AU), 166-165

vs. Georgia -- W, 3-1
Taylor St. Jacques (AU) def. Ali Tritschler (UGA), 169-156
Caitlin Boyle (AU) def. Addyson Cord (UGA), 169-164
Ashton Alexander (AU) def. Emma Mandarino (UGA), 162-161
Maddy Darst (UGA) def. Hayley Iannotti (AU), 175-169

vs. Baylor -- W, 3-1
Charlotte Green (BU) def. Terri-June Granger (AU), 143-139.5
Betsy Brown (AU) def. Carly Salter (BU), 138-137.5
Alexa Rivard (AU) def. Abbi Demel (BU), 139.5-0
Blair McFarlin (AU) def. Georgia Smith (BU), 139.5-137

vs. Oklahoma State -- W, 2-2 (550.5-415.5)
Julia Purus (OSU) def. Alexa Rivard (AU), 137.5-133
Betsy Brown (AU) def. Danielle Cohen (OSU), 138.5-0
Terri-June Granger (AU) def. Hannah Mitchell (OSU), 140-138
Ebba Lange (OSU) def. Blair McFarlin (AU), 140-139

vs. South Carolina -- W, 3-0
Caitlin Boyle (AU) def. Madison Sellman (SC), 175-167
Ashton Alexander (AU) tied Louisa Brackett (SC), 160-160
Taylor St. Jacques (AU) def. Madison Brayman (SC), 171-168
Hayley Iannotti (AU) def. Chloe Schmidt (SC), 158-151

vs. Oklahoma State -- W, 3-1
Ashton Alexander (AU) def. Carly Barrick (OSU), 167-158
Taylor St. Jacques (AU) def. Hannah Janson (OSU), 164-157
Kendall Pedigo (OSU) def. Caitlin Boyle (AU), 170-166
Hayley Iannotti (AU) def. Abigail Brayman (OSU), 166-156

vs. SMU -- W, 4-0
Taylor Searles (AU) def. Kara Vickery (SMU), 149-145
Kara Kaufmann (AU) def. Haylee Schoonover (SMU), 150-147
Kelsey Jung (AU) def. Ashley Mauney (SMU), 147.5-145.5
Deanna Green (AU) def. Michaela Dinger (SMU), 147.5-141.5

vs. Baylor -- W, 2-2 (581.5-580)
Kelsey Jung (AU) def. Katie Davis (BU), 146-143
Deanna Green (AU) def. Abbi Demel (BU), 147-138.5
Kaylee Mellott (BU) def. Taylor Searles (AU), 150-148.5
Charlotte Green (BU) def. Kara Kaufmann (AU) 148.5-140

For the latest on Auburn Equestrian, follow @AuburnEQ on Twitter and visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/AuburnEQ.



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Friday, April 20, 2018


Alabama Football Set for 2018 Golden Flake A-Day Game on Saturday

The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff and will air live on ESPN


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama football will host its annual A-Day Game, sponsored by Golden Flake, on Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. CT inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.


The A-Day Game will serve as the 15th and final practice of the spring for the Crimson Tide. It will be the program’s 12th A-Day under the direction of six-time national championship winning head coach Nick Saban.


Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.



Alabama Women’s Golf Begins SEC Championships Play on Wednesday




TUSCALOOSA Ala. – The No. 1-ranked Alabama women’s golf team will begin postseason play this weekend at the 2018 Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championships,April 18-22, at Greystone Golf & Country Club’s Par 72, 6,253 Legacy Course in Birmingham, Ala.


The Crimson Tide will tee off at 9:40 a.m. CT on Wednesday and will be paired with Arkansas and South Carolina in the first round. Admission is free for this year’s tournament.


Tournament Format

This year’s SEC tournament will feature three rounds of stroke play April 18-20, with the individual champion being crowned following the third round on Friday. The top eight teams in the standings following stroke play will advance to match play with the quarterfinals and semifinals set for Saturday, April 21 and the championship match scheduled for Sunday, April 22.


Alabama at the SEC Championships

Alabama has captured three SEC team titles – 2010, 2013 and 2016. The Tide won its first conference championship with a four-stroke victory at the NorthRiver Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa in 2010 before capturing the 2013 and 2016 crowns at the tournament’s current site, Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham. Along with the 2010, 2013 and 2016 victories, Alabama has finished runner-up in the SEC Championship on five occasions, including 1991, 1994, 2009, 2011 and 2017.


National Rankings

Alabama enters the weekend at No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin team rankings released April 17 with a 69.88 rating. The Crimson Tide is also ranked No. 2 by Golfstat and leads the nation in scoring average at 71.00. Alabama boasts two of the nation’s top seven golfers and four of the top 32 heading into SEC play. Lauren Stephenson (third), Kristen Gillman (seventh), Lakareber Abe (30th) and Cheyenne Knight (32nd) are ranked in most recent Golfstat NCAA Player Rankings, released April 10. Stephenson and Gillman are ranked No. 2 and No. 11, respectively in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index released April 17, with Knight (25th), Abe (53rd) and Angelica Moresco (86th) also appearing in the ratings.


Alabama Sweeps SEC Weekly Awards Following Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic

Alabama juniors Cheyenne Knight and Lauren Stephenson were named Co-Southeastern Conference Women’s Golfers of the Week and freshman Angelica Moresco was named SEC Women’s Freshman Golfer of the Week the league office announced April 16.

Stephenson and Knight were co-medalists at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic over the weekend. Knight opened the tournament with a first-round 65, equaling her career-low round. Stephenson fired back-to-back 69s in the second and third rounds to tie Knight for first place. The two rounds of 69 give Stephenson 15 rounds in the 60s in 23 rounds played this season. The Lexington, S.C., native has now been below par in 19 of 23 rounds in 2017-18.


The medalist honor is the second of the season and UA career for Stephenson. Knight’s win is her first for 2017-18 and fourth of her career, which ranks No. 2 all-time at Alabama. This also marks the first time in UA women’s golf history that two Tide golfers have tied for individual medalist honors in a tournament.


Moresco was the low freshman at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic with a 2-over par 218 (70-75-73) to finish in a tie for 14th. The Caldogno, Italy, native’s opening round 70 equaled her career-low round.


Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaWGolf, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.


- UA-



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The Alabama Golden Flake A-Day Game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (CT) kickoff this Saturday, April 21, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. A-Day 2018 will include a full day of activities and experiences, including the opportunity for fans to take the field at the conclusion of the game. The A-Day game will serve as the 15th and final practice of the spring. Gates open at 10 a.m. and admission will once again be free to the public.


 It will be the program's 12th A-Day Game under the direction of six-time national championship coach Nick Saban. A myriad of activities punctuate the 2018 Golden Flake A-Day Game that will be televised on ESPN with Kirk Herbstreit, Joey Galloway, Adnan Virk, and Holly Rowe calling the game from field level. 

There are actual health benefits to spending time with friends. In fact, research shows that social ties are twice as important as exercise when it comes to life expectancy (according to Life Science). Do we need any other reason to keep in touch with our friends? It’s good for our health. 

The evening of Wednesday, April 5, 1905, really was a dark and stormy night. A torrential rain poured down with only lightning to illuminate the saturated scene. Taney Moore guided his wagon away from the bridge across the Black Warrior River and passed a wagon driven by A. J. Lindgren. Within moments, shots rang out, and thus began a mystery that spanned the Atlantic Ocean and the North American continent. It would be 44 years before its ultimate resolution.

The West Alabama Food and Wine Festival continues to build its culinary clout, with a renewed focus on local restauranteurs and brewers, and even a “Battle of Shrimp and Grits” that foodies won’t want to miss.

Birmingham Museum of Art



Artist John Lytle Wilson says all paintings and photos should include robots, so when they don't, he "corrects" them. Join John in our studios to create your own robot-filled paintings.
This class is open to members and registration is required. Share the Museum with a friend who isn't yet a BMA member by inviting them to class! Contact Rebecca Schaller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 
Join us for the last Art After 5 before we take a break for summer! The 1930’s will set the scene as we host a night of fun inspired by our latest exhibition,Magic City Realism: Richard Coe’s Birmingham. Experience what Birmingham might have been like 90 years ago with a speakeasy cocktail, swinging live music, and some gallery activities that will really blow your wig. We’ll even have the curator of Magic City Realism, Kate Crawford, on hand to offer pop-up gallery talks.
This Sunday, Docent Margaret Harrill will lead a discussion onStowage by Willie Cole in the Third Space exhibition.
Here’s an all-access pass to use any of our art supplies with a professional teaching artist on hand to help with tips and tricks. Open Studio makes available materials used for anything from painting and pottery to printmaking and woodworking. Our studio is your studio!
Studio by the Tracks and the BMA are teaming up for an exhibition celebrating Autism Awareness month. The opening reception will feature a documentary about the studio and its artists.
Join us on April 14 as we celebrate International Slow Art Day with mindfulness and art! The day will be filled with activities that invite you to slow down and experience art in a new way. 
Explore your creativity in a relaxed setting. Under the guidance of teaching artist Jamison Harper, spend time sketching in the sculpture garden or galleries. You provide the creativity. We’ll provide the supplies.



In this Spotlight on the Collection, Senior Curator Anne Forschler-Tarrasch, PhD discusses the powerful imagery featured on an 18th century medallion.




A work central to Third Space represents a culmination of all the ideas in the exhibition. It was commissioned from Rural Studio at Auburn University. Learn more about the work in this excerpt from the exhibition catalog, now available in the Museum Store.
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Those who wonder why anglers off Alabama catch more than 30 percent of the red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico despite having only 53 miles of coastline should have attended the Red Snapper Conference in Mobile last week.


The key to Alabama’s phenomenal red snapper fishing is the more than 1,000 square miles just off the coast that are designated artificial reef zones.


During the day-long conference, numerous scientists and fisheries biologists discussed reef fish management, habitat requirements, red snapper and triggerfish recruitment and growth. All those components are tied to Alabama’s reef zones.


Craig Newton, Alabama Marine Resources Division’s Artificial Reefs Program Coordinator, provided those in attendance a comprehensive look at the state’s artificial reefs program, from its unofficial start to today’s highly regulated deployment protocols.


Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship, formerly the Marine Resources Director, said Alabama has the largest artificial reef system in the country and has created noticeable improvements in the fishery.


“I went to work on a charter boat when I was 14 years old,” Blankenship said. “If we caught a red snapper that weighed 5 pounds, that was a big red snapper. If you caught one that weighed 10 pounds, you took a picture with it. If you caught one that weighed 20 pounds, your picture ended up in the paper and in the red snapper fishing hall of fame. That was a big fish.”


A massive reef-building program occurred after that, and anglers continue to enjoy the results of the widespread habitat enhancements.


“We build reefs with money from CIAP (Coastal Impact Assistance Program), Sport Fish Restoration and other sources,” Blankenship said. “Over the last few years, we’ve gotten money from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from the Deepwater Horizon criminal fines, and we’ve built several hundred reefs with that money. We’ve created seven new reef zones within our 9-mile state waters boundary. We’ve built more than 30 inshore reefs. So, reef-building has been, and continues to be, extremely important to our state. Because of that, we have such a great red snapper fishery.”


Blankenship pointed out the extensive research being done in the Alabama reef zones by the University of South Alabama (USA), Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Auburn University.


“Dr. (Bob) Shipp is here today,” Blankenship said of the professor emeritus at USA’s Marine Sciences Department. “He was doing red snapper science before reef-fish research was in vogue. We’re blessed to have such great academics in the state to do this work.


“We’ve spent a lot of money and emphasis on red snapper research. We want not only to show we have the largest artificial reef system in the country. We also want to show how those reefs produce such a great fishery here in our state. Like I said, I remember what it was like to go out and catch small fish, a few fish. Now you can’t wet a hook without catching red snapper, big red snapper. The average weight of snapper in the charter fleet now is about 10 pounds. Having a robust reef fishery is extremely important to the economy of the state.”


Newton said the artificial reef story off Alabama started in 1953 when 200 car bodies were cabled together and deployed in two segments by the Orange Beach and Dauphin Island fishing communities. In 1961, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designated the “Snapper Banks” as the first artificial reef zones off Alabama.


The first deployment by the Conservation Department occurred when five 415-foot Liberty ships, known as the Ghost Fleet in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, were hauled offshore and sunk in 1974.


The Marine Resources Division (MRD) strategy then changed to creating artificial reef zones instead of individual reef sites. The Corps permitted the first reef zone of 364 square miles in 1978. This is the first area where individuals could deploy MRD-approved reef material.


“What’s unique about this is these privately deployed reefs remain unpublished,” Newton said. 


The Hugh Swingle reef zone of 86 square miles followed before another expansion occurred in 1989 with another 245-square-mile reef zone. In a program called Reef-Ex, 100 M60 decommissioned battle tanks were thoroughly cleaned and deployed in the Gulf for reefs in 1993. The Corps granted another expansion in 1997 with a permit for 336 square miles for reef zones. MRD teamed with the Orange Beach Fishing Association on the Red Snapper World Championship from 2004 through 2007 to deploy about 1,000 artificial reefs.


Since then, the focus has moved to nearshore with a 1.6-square-mile zone permitted just inside the 3-mile state boundary.


The latest artificial reef zones were permitted last year. A total of 30 square miles inside the 9-mile boundary for reef fish management was approved after an arduous permitting process.


Newton said acquiring a permit for reef zones from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has grown increasingly more complex through the years.


“Historically, it was relatively easy to get a permit,” he said. “You outlined the size and goals of the reefs. Several months later you got a permit. Quite a few things have changed since then.”


Now a reef zone permit application must go to the Corps of Engineers and ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Management) for consideration. The application must include detailed construction techniques and methods as well as defined boundaries. A 30-day public comment period required by the Corps is followed by an additional 15-day comment period for ADEM.


Because these are federally authorized permits, they also fall under the National Historical Preservation Act, which is the costliest factor in the permitting process.


“We’re required to have a marine archeologist in all aspects of performing a Phase 1 archeological survey,” Newton said. “We have to use multiple remote sensing techniques. We have to use side-scan sonar, a magnetometer and a sub-bottom profiler to identify not only archeological resources exposed on the sea bed, but those below the sea bed as well.


“We also have to prove the project doesn’t harm threatened or endangered species or compromise the critical habitat. The entire permitting process now takes from 20 to 42 months.”


The material allowed for reef deployment has changed significantly over the years as well. White appliances, like washing machines and refrigerators, are no longer used because they do not provide long-term stable structures. Vehicles and anything fiberglass are also banned. Now, material made of concrete, steel and natural rock are allowed. Chicken transport devices are used as well as concrete pyramids and other structures constructed specifically to provide the best habitat for reef fish.


The Rigs to Reefs program takes advantage of the federal “Idle Iron” regulations, which require oil and gas structures to be removed within five years of the last date of production. The reef program takes obsolete petroleum platforms and uses the structures for reefs.


“We have a diverse assemblage of reef types in our reef zones,” Newton said. “We have 1,282 reefs deployed by the state that are published in our reef program. What makes our reef zones unique is we have the permitted authorization to authorize the public to build their own reefs and the locations remain unpublished.


“We estimate there are more than 10,000 reefs off the shore of Alabama. About 12 percent of those structures are public reefs.”


Newton said about 42 percent of the reef structures are in the zones that have depths from 60 to 120 feet. About 28 percent of the reefs are in depths of 120 to 180 feet. Only 4 percent are deeper than 180 feet.


“What’s really important, you look at relative contribution of these artificial structures in deeper water,” he said. “We have very little natural bottom, natural rock, offshore of Alabama. The natural reefs we do have occur in these deeper waters. This aligns with our goals of avoiding natural reefs when we are deploying artificial reefs.”


Newton said a downward trend in reef deployment by the public coincides with the reduction in the public’s access to the fishery with the shorter and shorter seasons.


“From the mid 90s to the mid 2000s, we permitted about 1,000 reefs per year,” he said. “Now we’re permitting a fraction of that.”


When Marine Resources developed a model to look at the future of the reef system off Alabama, it provided a stark reality.


“What we see is the existing reefs are not going to last forever,” Newton said. “The usable life is about 10 years for regular structures, about 30 for the concrete pyramids. The model shows a steady decline of available habitat into the future. That is why it is imperative that we continue to build reefs on an ongoing basis.”

However, significant progress has been made recently in ending the extremely short federal red snapper seasons. If NOAA Fisheries approves an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) for the 2018 season, Alabama will receive just under one million pounds of red snapper allocation for a potential 47-day snapper season, which could be the catalyst to reverse the downward trend in private reef deployment. Marine Resources will host meetings in late April and early May to answer questions from the public if the EFP is approved.



Artificial reefs off the coast of Alabama attract a variety of fish, including red snapper, triggerfish, spadefish and amberjack.

Photo by Craig Newton



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Pre-Shop Spring Plant Sale April 4 with our first 2018 Lunch & Learn
Bring your lunch to The Gardens on Wednesday, April 4 from 11:30-12:30 p.m. and get a preview of what our plant groups will have to offer at this year's Spring Plant Sale. You'll get an inside scoop on what to add to your shopping list, and you may even be able to make an early purchase! This Lunch & Learn event is completely FREE and no registration is required.
Spring Plant Sale returns to Brookwood Village April 13-15, with the Preview Party and Members-Only Sale kicking things off on the evening of April 12. Don't miss the biggest plant sale fundraiser of the year! Proceeds from Spring Plant Sale hosted by Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens benefit educational programming at The Gardens, including Discovery Field Trips, our conservation programs and Plant Adventures.
Thomas Rainer brings 'Planting in a Post Wild World' to the Garden Center tonight!
In partnership with Birmingham Audubon, the Alabama Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Mountain Brook Board of Landscape Design and Friends of Jemison Park, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens welcomes author and landscape architect Thomas Rainer to share his talk, 'Planting in a Post Wild World,' tonight. A reception will be held at 5 p.m., while the lecture begins at 5:30 p.m. 
This event is free, and no registration is required. Copies of Rainer's book will be available for purchase at Leaf & Petal at The Gardens, and Rainer will be available for signing.
Bamboo Grove closed until May
In order to preserve our bamboo, the Bamboo Grove beyond the Bamboo Boardwalk will close temporarily to allow shoots to emerge and gain strength. Bamboo only shoots once a year and any shoots that are damaged will not regrow. This will obviously cause a decline in the Bamboo Grove over time. The closure will only last about a month and a half, with reopening dependent on the growth of the shoots. The Boardwalk is still open and visitors are asked to enjoy the Bamboo Grove from there. Thanks for your cooperation in maintaining The Gardens!
Mickey Lollar leads 'African Gardens: The Cradle of Life' talk on Saturday
The Dutch East India Company settled at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa in 1652. One of the first institutions established was a garden to provide fresh vegetables and fruits to visiting ships. Very quickly however, ornamental plants were added by visitors, and thus began a network of conservation and contribution. Family Focus: Begonia, Gentian, Pinks, and Daisy.
Mickey Lollar presents 'African Gardens: The Cradle of Life' on Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m. It's just $12 for Members and $15 for Non-Members. Join us!
Discover 'Spring Flowering Native Plants' with John Manion on April 7
One of the most exciting events in the southeast each year is the flowering of our numerous native wildflowers, many of which are ephemeral and go dormant in summer. The Kaul Wildlower Garden is home to hundreds of trilliums, bluebells, rue anemones and numerous other species. Our class will begin in the classroom, where we will discuss the characteristics that make some of these plants so distinctive. Ample time will be spent touring The Gardens to experience the beauty of these plants. As with all Certificate in Native Plant Studies sessions, this elective can be taken in order to accrue hours toward completion of the program or with no further commitment.
It takes place from 1-5 p.m. Join us!
Seed Exchange at The Library at The Gardens
The Library at The Gardens has a Seed Exchange! We took our old card catalog and filled it with open pollinated vegetable, fruit, herb and flower seeds. 

The Seed Exchange is a free program that was set up to encourage and educate the public on the benefits and importance of seed saving and how important it is to our natural biodiversity. Through the time-honored tradition of seed saving we celebrate biodiversity, nurture locally adapted plant varieties and foster community resilience, self-reliance and a culture of sharing.

If you are unable to save your own seed, please consider donating a packet or two of fresh, commercially grown, open-pollinated (non-hybrid, non-GMO) seed to keep our library stocked. Returned seed will allow us to keep the library well stocked.

If you already have seed you would like to share with us, we will gladly accept any open pollinated seed (No GMO or hybrid seed, please).
This week's seed of the week is lime basil!

If you have additional questions please email Director of Library Services Hope Long at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 
Volunteer at The Gardens
Interested in volunteering at The Gardens? We have ways that you can pitch in indoors and out! 
We're looking for Spring Plant Sale volunteers and we also have regular weekend library positions open. Come pitch in!

To sign up to volunteer, follow the link:
Have questions? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Alice Moore at 205.414.3962 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. more information.

April 4-7
April 12-15
April 21
May 1-2
May 3-5
May 16

April 18


Big hats. Bow ties. Bourbon. These staples of Kentucky Derby Day are all a part of an upcoming event that seeks to bring together the festive atmosphere of the horse racing event and the chance to raise money for a worthy cause. 

Just in time for tax season, DCL interviewed local tax accountant, Ray Dyer Jr., CPA and Managing Member of Covenant Consulting Group, about tax changes that will impact 2018. Mr. Dyer explains three important changes he will address this year in his practice.


Changes in the Estate Tax Exemption

It might make sense to give to grandmother rather than the kids.

The Estate Tax exemption amount has effectively doubled from approximately $12.5 million per married couple to approximately $25 million per married couple. Over the years plans have been put in place to move assets from the “parents” to the “children” to minimize future estate tax on growth assets.

Now there may be an opportunity to transfer assets to parents – who may likely be the first to die – to get a tax free “stepped up basis”. The tax impact will be noticed when the beneficiaries dispose of the the appreciated assets - any gain is potentially reduced by the stepped up amount. Taking into account future growth, this strategy would likely be most effective for joint estates in the $8 million to $18 million estate range.


Expensing Changes

Like-Kind exchanges are limited to Qualifying Real Property. Personal property no longer qualifies for like-kind exchange treatment. 

Under pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law, depreciable tangible personal property could have been exchanged for like-kind property if the relinquished property and replacement property were of a like class if the properties were either within the same general asset class or within the same product class. In light of the increased and expanded expensing under the cost recovery system (ie, depreciation expense) and Section 179 expense for tangible personal property and certain building improvements, Congress believed that the like-kind exchange rules under Code Section 1031 should be limited to exchanges of qualifying real property. Thus, exchanges of machinery, equipment, vehicles, patents and other intellectual property, artwork, collectibles, and other intangible business assets do not qualify for nonrecognition of gain or loss as like-kind exchange.


Interest Expense Changes

New rules may change the best method for structuring business debt

Every business, regardless of its form, is generally subject to a disallowance of a deduction for net interest expense in excess of 30% of the business's adjusted taxable income. Any interest expense limited under this rule can be carried forward and used at a later date. This may cause certain businesses to evaluate how such business debts are structured.


Ray Dyer Jr., CPA, writes, speaks and teaches on various subjects in addition to his private practice. He is a native of Tuscaloosa and attended the University of Alabama where her received his BS in Accounting and Master of Tax Accounting degrees. His first 10 years of college were spent in Dallas, TX with international accounting firms and as a Controller/Treasurer a national real estate syndication firm.

His emphasis is working with businesses that are going through changes such as entity selection, partnership formation or dissolution, syndication or equity raising.


Covenant Consulting Group provides Accounting, Assurance, Auditing, Valuation, Business Advisory, and Litigation Support services to businesses and families. For more information, please go to www.covenantcpa.com


73rd U.S. Women's Open Championship l Shoal Creek l Shoal Creek, Alabama l May 28- June 3, 2018

W Siart  

Be a Part of Golf History

Join the USGA in Birmingham when the greatest players in the women's game compete for the national championship at the 73rd U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek, May 28 - June 3, 2018! Participate in the first ever U.S. Women’s Open in the state of Alabama as a volunteer. Share a week with us, get close to the action and celebrate the game we all love.


Thank you for your interest in volunteering for the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open Championship! Please visit the resource tabs at the top of the page for committee descriptions and more information about the volunteer program.

Incomplete applications may not be accepted, therefore it is very important to read the following information carefully prior to completing your volunteer application.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open Championship Office at 205-876-8586 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

All volunteers are required to purchase the apparel package for $85. Included in the package is a championship logoed golf shirt, jacket, hat and water bottle. In addition to the apparel package, volunteers will receive a commemorative USGA volunteer pin and a volunteer credential, which is valid all days of the championship.

Volunteers will also have access to volunteer hospitality, which provides complimentary food, snacks and beverages on the days they volunteer.

Volunteer opportunities are largely granted on a first-come, first-served basis, therefore applications submitted with payment will receive first priority in the assignment process. The Championship Office will notify you if you have been selected as a volunteer. Please note, volunteers may be subject to a criminal history background check and/or a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driving record check based on committee assignment.


(see below for committee descriptions)

If you have any questions, please reach out to the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open Championship Office at 205-876-8586 or send anemail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Spectator Services

Hospitality Services

Scoring Services

Competition Services




Trauma is an emotional response to an intense event that threatens or causes harm, either physical or emotional.  Trauma can occur as a result of a natural disaster (such as an earthquake or flood), violence, or abuse.

Crimson Tide fans once again have the opportunity to upgrade their experience at the Golden Flake A-Day Game, which is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT kick on April 21 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Gates open at 10 a.m. CT and admission continues to be free to the public.



A New Home

Biologist holding a red cockaded woodpeckerThis week biologists from the Forest Service (NFs Alabama), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ft. Benning Dept. of Defense successfully moved 3 pairs of red-cockaded woodpeckers (RCW) from Ft. Benning military base to the Talladega National Forest – Shoal Creek District.  The RCW is an endangered species that require large tracts of aged, open pine woodlands. Translocation is a team effort with federal, state and private organizations. The program involves not only sending and receiving breeding pairs of woodpeckers, but extensive restoration of the native forest habitats that support them.  The long-term objective is to re-establish the red-cockaded woodpecker species across its natural range.

Biologist climbing trees to relocate red-cockaded woodpeckers

Follow the work of National Forests in Alabama employees on twitter...

Birmingham Post-Herald (BPH) is Birmingham, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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