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The Birmingham Zoo invites the community to the second annual Zoo, Brews and Full Moon Bar-B-Que event at the Zoo on Saturday, June 18 from 5:30-9pm. This family-friendly event allows attendees to enjoy a delicious dinner from Alabama’s ‘Best Little Pork House’ Full Moon Bar-B-Que, Golden Flake chips, enjoy live music by Park Band, see Talladega Superspeedway’s pace car and street team, explore the Dino Discovery exhibit, participate in animal greetings and walkabouts, rides and much more, all included in the event ticket. 

Students from across Alabama are traveling to Auburn and Montgomery this week to participate in exciting competitions, career expos, and much more at the 2016 Alabama FFA State ConventionJune 7-10.

Regions Field is up for it's second consecutive title as the the Best AA baseball field in the U.S.

Whether it's the great food, the fun kid's activities like the playground and batting cages or the good vantage points from all the seats,  show your appreciation for Regions Field by voting for this Birmingham gem.

To vote, click here.  Go Barons!

 

It’s the first weekend of summer. School’s out. The weather is supposed to be spectacular.   There are a number of remembrance and patriotic events around town.   Attractions and restaurants have specials for veterans, such as the free admission at the Zoo.  For a full listing, check out www.birmingham365.com.

Here are a few select FREE events this weekend and one worth paying for.

 

 

Jazz in the Park

 Each summer, MCSJ presents JAZZ IN THE PARK, a series of free performances in various local parks. Local Alabama jazz musicians open for headlining acts, thereby providing a platform for them to showcase their talent and artistry. These concerts are made possible by the generous support of community sponsors. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz in the great outdoors!

 Kim Scott / Josh Vietti

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Performance hours: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm.

Huffman High School

950 Springville Rd

Birmingham, AL 35215

No admission charge for concert.

 

 

Southeastern Outings Canoe and Kayak Trip

Big Wills Creek near Gadsden, Alabama

 May 28, 2016: 10 am (Sat)

Big Wills Creek is fairly easy and without classified rapids.  Along the river you’ll see wildflowers and stop to investigate islands and beaches.

 Novice canoeists are welcome and may come on this trip, but each one must be partnered with an experienced canoeist in their canoe.  No charge for the event, but if you do not have your own canoe, you will need to rent one. Call Big Wills Outfitters at 256-438-7172 to reserve your boat BEFORE May 28.

For details and directions, click  here.

 

Memorial Day Celebration at American Village

 May 30, 2016

Gates Open at 10:00 AM

Activities Scheduled  10:30 AM - 3:00 PM

3727 Highway 119

Montevallo, AL 35115

Help remember, honor and thank America's veterans and active military. American Village has a full day of activities planned, including historical vignettes, musical salutes, reenactments, games, ceremonies, a Gold Star Salute to the Fallen, and a wreath laying at the Veterans Shrine.  Free admission.

 

 And one worth paying for….

 Check out bikes from a time when riding a motorcycle was the epitome of American freedom on the road.

 

Antique Motorcycle Club of America Lucas Oil Vintage Motorcycle Classic

May 27-29, 2016

8am – 4pm each day

Barber Motorsports

 

AMCA is hosting a new AMCA National Event at the legendary Barber Motorsports Park.

 * 850 acres of rolling parkland.

* Fan Zone for non-parts vending and AMCA Chapter displays and gathering.

* A flowing ribbon of asphalt that winds through 15 turns to make up a 2½-mile racetrack.

* Just outside of that, place a swap-meet field with room for hundreds of vendors.

* Daily Road Runs heading out on back-road rides through the rural countryside.

* Daily lap of honor around the track for Vintage motorcycles.

* Tech Seminars

* AMCA Judging

* Peer Judging

* Antique & Vintage Bike Shows

* Motorcycle Field Games

* Special Motorcycle Parking & Showcase area for all bikes 1981 and older.

* Children's games

* Motorhome and Camp Sites available

* Crowds of people gathered around classic machines, learning firsthand about the history of motorcycles.

* And in the middle of it all, drop in a world-class motorcycle museum displaying 700 bikes dating back to 1902.

 

Barber Motorsports Park

6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway

Leeds, AL 35094

 

Children 12 and under admitted free with a ticketed adult.

One-Day General Admission $15

Weekend General Admission $30

 

 

Here is a list of public boat launches closest to Birmingham.  Most are within an hour’s drive time.  We included Lake Martin because so many Birminghamians use Lake Martin regularly.  For a complete list of boat launches in Alabama, click here.

Most of these boat launches have one or two lanes. Almost none have public bathrooms, so make arrangements accordingly.

Don’t forget that you need a valid Alabama boater’s license. You can take an online course to get your license or go to the license office for a test.

If you just want to go fishing and aren’t launching a boat, don’t forget Lake Purdy down 280.  Note: The Lake Purdy phone line is broken and they can't run the credit card machine, so take cash this weekend.

 

BOAT RAMP

WATER BODY

Claiborne (Hwy. 84 Lndg.)

Alabama River

Sprott Landing

Cahaba River

B.B. Comer Bridge

Guntersville

Beech Creek

Guntersville

Brown's Creek (Warrenton)

Guntersville

Claysville

Guntersville

Crow Creek

Guntersville

Honeycomb Creek

Guntersville

Langston

Guntersville

Long Island

Guntersville

Mink Creek

Guntersville

Minky Creek

Guntersville

Mud Creek (G'ville)

Guntersville

North Sauty Creek

Guntersville

Scottsboro City Park

Guntersville

South Sauty Creek

Guntersville

Stevenson (Snodgrass Bridge)

Guntersville

Tom Jackson Park

Guntersville

Town Creek (G'ville)

Guntersville

Val Monte Rd. (Bucky Howe)

Guntersville

Waterfront

Guntersville

Beeswax Creek

Lay

Childersburg Access (Hollywood)

Lay

Flatlands (Pineview)

Lay

Glover's Ferry

Lay

Hidden Valley (Paint Creek)

Lay

Kelly Creek

Lay

The Narrows (Co. Rd. 400)

Lay

Kowaliga

Martin

Madwin Creek (Windy Point)

Martin

Pace's Point (Pleasure Point)

Martin

Smith Mountain Landing

Martin

Young's Landing (D.A.R.E. Park)

Martin

Higgins Ferry

Mitchell

Riverview Access

Oliver (Black Warrior)

Lion's Park (Lick Creek)

Smith

Smith Lake Dam

Smith

Smith Lake Park

Smith

Binion Creek

Tuscaloosa

Foster's Ferry

Warrior

Moundville Access

Warrior

It’s a summer holiday weekend and in Alabama and that means barbeque.  And by barbeque, we mean pulled pork.   We spice it up with ribs and maybe some chicken, but pulled pork is where it’s at.  

The great thing about pulled pork is that it is inexpensive, reheats beautifully, feeds a crowd and pretty much everyone loves it.  Oh, and it’s gluten free if you use a gluten free barbeque sauce (which many are) and paleo in its natural state.  So Brooke can eat it with her salad and stay on her diet.

When I was growing up at the lake with my family, my grandmother always made ice cream.

There are fancy cooked creams and  whipped things in many ice cream recipes, but my absolute favorite was a light and almost fizzy ice cream that my Nanny made with store brand strawberry soda and condensed milk.

This recipe uses that same technique (which is dead easy) and a made in Alabama favorite, Grapico.   The little girls will adore the lilac color and the flavor is light and fun. 

Today’s guest blogger is Charles Kinnaird.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

We are bombarded with news of political discord at the local, state, and national level. One can get disheartened watching news broadcasts these days, wondering if we can safely navigate the political shoals ahead. Recently I found a place where everything seemed to be working, in spite of what the news media may report.

 I received a summons to jury duty which led to an opportunity to walk the downtown city blocks of Birmingham at lunch time. During that short walk, I re-discovered the city and found a vibrant and hopeful America.

The University of Alabama can add yet another national championship to its collection, and the most recent one was captured by a very special group indeed.

Special Olympics College at UA, which is a Unified Sport student club, recently claimed the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Unified Basketball title, as it defeated Central Michigan 51-43 in Columbus, Ohio to take victory in the division's inaugural title tilt.

Maybe you have always wanted to be the boss, maybe you're looking for a second career after retirement.  Whatever the reason, if you're thinking about buying a business then there are a ton of things to consider and these 5 are some of the biggest.

Saturday at the 2016 Hangout Festival is packed with great offerings, including several noteworthy alt-rock groups with a decidedly grunge bent. These are some of the best bets, so be sure to jot down your favorites so you can catch them all.

One of the biggest events of the year in Birmingham golf, the Regions Classic, starts today.  Here's a quick listing of events, whether you go to Greystone to see it first hand (one day tickets are $20) or check the action out from the comfort of your couch.

Friday, May 20 Military Outreach Day - Pairings & Tee Times

* PLEASE NOTE THAT FRIDAY'S ROUND WILL BE A TWO TEE START

Saturday, May 21

Sunday, May 22

*Gates open 7:00 a.m. everyday

** All times central

For more information, click here.

Free jazz in the parks of Birmingham.  Laying out on blankets on the green, letting the music wash over you. There is probably nothing better.  Thanks to Magic City Smooth Jazz there are free jazz concerts in Birmingham and around the state. 

Magic City Smooth Jazz is a non-profit  dedicated to enhancing cultural activities through various styles of jazz in the State of Alabama.  Since its inception in 2008, Magic City Smooth Jazz has hosted over 75 FREE concerts to the public while presenting over 275 emerging and established artists while impacting the lives of over 20,000 adults and children.  

Next in Birmingham, Kim Scott at Huffman High School and  Soul Collaboration (pictured above) at Avondale Park on June 5th plus more concerts throughout the summer.

 

Birmingham is covered up with farmer's markets.   Pepper Place Market downtown on Saturdays is the grandaddy of them all, but there are markets in East Lake, two in Homewood, and at the Summit. There are also markets springing up at churches, like the Wednesday morning market at Vestavia Methodist and markets at workplaces like the Kirklin Clinic, UAB and Southern Nuclear, to name a few.

This week, look for:

  • Greens
  • Herbs
  • Cauliflower
  • Strawberries
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Onions (all kinds)
  • Radishes
  • Peas
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumbers
  • New Potatoes

Farmer's markets are also great for trying out new jams, breads and local honey.

Last year who would have predicted that Donald Trump might win the Republican Primary?

Last year who would have thought that Bernie Sanders would still be giving Hillary Clinton heartburn?

People have become so unhappy with the status quo that they are willing to vote for outsiders and non-traditional candidates.

It’s become totally impossible to predict elections and that may be true for Birmingham also.

 

I was energized to write this piece because of a comment made by a ComebackTown guest blogger last week.

He predicted that African-Americans will control Birmingham’s government for the rest of our lifetime.

I’m not so sure.

Birmingham voters might consider electing  a Mayor of either race if the candidate presented solid ideas that could transform Birmingham neighborhoods, schools, public transportation, and increase jobs and wages.

Birmingham is 73% African-American, but I believe blacks would be open to a candidate who might improve their lives.

Sadiq Khan was just elected Mayor of London England.  He’s the first Muslim mayor of any Western capital city–which is truly remarkable since Muslim’s represent only 12% of London’s population.

Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 and 2012 with a U.S black population of  also about 12%.  Obviously many non-African Americans voted for him.

And this year’s presidential primaries have been totally unpredictable.

No one would have thought Donald Trump, a previous Democrat, billionaire and reality TV star, would defeat 16 Tea Party, conservative, traditional, and Evangelical candidates to be the presumptive Presidential nominee of the Republican party.

How do you explain Bernie Sanders, a 74 year old Jewish social democrat who had not even been a Democrat, mobilizing young folks 1/2 or 1/3 his age to give Hillary Clinton many sleepless nights?

I want to emphasize that I’m not saying a white mayor would be better than a black mayor.

And I’m not maligning the current administration.  Birmingham has made more progress in the last few years than in the previous twenty.

No candidate should be excluded from consideration because of his/her race.  I’m sure most people, and certainly African-Americans, would agree.

The Mayoral and City Council elections are next year.

I don’t know if a strong non-black candidate will be brave enough to step forward to lead Birmingham.  Maybe not.

But I do know that Birmingham citizens deserve options.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

After 30 years of studying and coaching successful entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed that the most successful tend to have four habits in common, and these are things you can and should put into practice yourself.  The first three are succinctly outlined in Optimize for Growth:  How to Scale Up Your Business, Your Network, and You, written by my friend, Jonathan B. Smith.  You really should get this book; it’s a quick read, and it will explain how these practices work in concert with one another, and inspire you to make them part of your standard M.O.

Here are the four most important things you can do to become a top entrepreneur:

1. Get your business on an OPERATING SYSTEM.
No, I’m not talking about software; I’m talking about what Coach Nick Saban would call his “Process.” It’s a human system of disciplines and practices that gets and keeps everyone “on the same page.”  My favorite system is EOS, of course, but there are others, and to make your business the best it can possibly be, you must have one and you must use it.  Having a common vocabulary, a common method of problem-solving, a common set of processes and practices, and a shared mission – all of which permeate every level of your organization – is essential to creating a culture of achievement and sustainable success in your company.

2. Join and actively participate in a business-focused PEER NETWORK.
Most entrepreneurs feel a certain sense of loneliness as leaders bearing a heavy responsibility for their companies, employees, and families. As the saying goes, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”  But members of peer groups tend not to feel so alone.  Spending time with others in the same situation, listening to one another’s experiences and sharing your own, helps you gain perspective, learn key skills, and solve problems.  I can’t count how many times a member of such a group has told me a story of how he had a perplexing problem weighing on his mind continually, and his peer group helped him find a solution in a single discussion.

Formalized programs include EO (Entrepreneurs Organization), Vistage, YPO (Young President’s Organization, WPO (Women’s President’s Organization), and even faith-based CEO Peer Groups like Truth@Work and Convene.  All of these require members to sign non-disclosure agreements, so they create a safe place to be open and honest about the challenges you’re facing.   Here is a handy article that will guide you in choosing a peer group that’s right for you.

3. Get COACHING.
I’ve used many coaches to help me learn the skills I needed to make breakthroughs in my career; life coaches, executive coaches, spiritual coaches, employment search coaches, and those who specialize in coaching sales, operations, finance, etc. Yes, I am a coach myself, which goes to show that even coaches need coaching!

Here’s an article that will help you start looking for a coach, but here’s one more key that is paramount to making coaching work for you:  no coach can ever take you farther than he has traveled himself.  Always look for coaches who have already achieved what you aspire to.  Once you reach that level, seek an even more accomplished coach to take you even higher.

4. Get yourself focused for TODAY.
Effective strategy execution always comes down to a choice, not only of what you will DO today or this week/month/quarter, but just as importantly, what you will NOT do; what you’ll say “no” to so you can say “yes” to other things that really matter.  EOS tools like the Vision/Traction Organizer™, Delegate and Elevate™, and the Clarity Break™help me eliminate distractive or less productive activities and keep my efforts razor-focused on the actions that will get me where I want to go.   For daily organization, I like the discipline that Stephen Covey popularized, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix Grid.

Think of a famous entrepreneur you admire.  I’ll guarantee you that person uses the resources and disciplines I’ve covered here.  It may seem like a lot to start with, but running a business is a big job in itself, and doing it better than everybody else requires the use of potent strategies like this, which in the end, make a big job a whole lot easier.

A recent article in the Washington Post talked about the millennials tendency to eschew their parent’s furniture and belongings.  It is the time of the great de-cluttering that everyone knew would come as the Baby Boom generation ages. 

However, the Boomer's  children are even less interested in their second hand furniture than expected. This has created a large second hand furniture market all across the United States.   This may due to a simply differences in taste which are magnified by the sheer size of the two demographics. But there is a thought that the Millennial generation is simply….into simple.  Thus less stuff.  And it's driving the cost of furniture down in the second hand market.

Regardless of the reasons, Birmingham, like most cities, is a bargain hunter’s dream.  Especially if you like dark wood furniture. Or if you want good quality wood furniture to update with paint ala Joanna Gaines (from HGTV’s  Fixer Upper) or for those who love the shabby chic look.

Craigslist’s Birmingham section is the most ubiquitous site for second hand furniture.  But a number of local trading sites have become go to spots for bargain hunters.

Facebook sites like Mountain Brook Trading, Vestavia Trading, Gardendale Online Yardsale and Hoover Trading fill member’s Facebook feeds with pictures of antique chairs, armoires and dining room suites at a fraction of the original prices.   These groups have  big membership.  Mountain Brook Trading has over 31,000 members, Vestavia Trading has almost 47,000.   Even a Hoover Trading dedicated to kid's clothes only has almost 5,000 members.

Consignment stores are also filled with furniture, ranging from the antique to the almost new.  Stores like Encore Resales and Classic Home Décor Consignment (both in Pelham)  offer used furniture in a showroom setting and perks like delivery.

Some furniture can be had for...free.  There are "free to whoever will pick up"  sites like Freecycle that have active groups in Birmingham.

It’s just interesting how the Baby Boomer generation continues to sway the overall fortunes of so many industries in the US as a function of their size. The furniture industry is no different.

The International Baccalaureate Program in Jefferson County has been enormously successful and is one the top rated programs in the country.  Next year the program will expand to include middle school students.  The deadline for applications is tomorrow, May, 20, 2016.

The temporary site for the middle grades program will be at the current  Pleasant Grove Middle School campus.  The school plans to find a more centrally located spot in the next three years.

Jefferson County will provide limited transportation similar to the hub routes currently used by JCIB.  Jefferson County is seeking the interest level of students who wish to apply to the middle grades program.

The program is still in the final stages of approval.   The administrators hope to have final approval for the program within the next several weeks.   JCIB was recently ranked first in Alabama and 8th in the U.S. in the 2016 Washington Post study of America's Most Challenging High Schools.  The program has also been rated in the top 10 of Best High School’s in America by Newsweek many times over the last decade.

Students will be notified regarding acceptance status by June 17, 2016.

For more information, click here.

For those heading to Gulf Shores this weekend for the 2016 Hangout Music Festival, here are some noteworthy bands and artists to see on the first full day of the fest: Friday, May 20. It’s worth mentioning that several of these bands have direct ties to Alabama, too. 

Who to See at the First Day of Hangout 2016...

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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