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  • May 2022

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    Montgomery Nursing Home Commits to Enhancing Staff’s Quality of Life
    Nursing home workers are essential to protecting the health and safety of the most vulnerable Alabamians. One Montgomery nursing home wants to ensure its staff always has the support needed to improve life for themselves and their families. Capitol Hill Healthcare is implementing wage increases and education incentives for its employees. Based on experience, Capitol Hill Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) will earn $15 and up per hour. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage is $12.31 for Alabama nursing assistants. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) will be offered a base wage of $23 and up per hour. In Alabama, the mean hourly wage for LPNs is $19.56.
     
    Lucky Day for Some South Alabama Residents
    Alabama Ag Credit is returning $12.1 million in cash, over half of its 2021 profits, to the Alabama farmers and rural property owners who borrow money from the institution. This amount is equal to a full percent of the interest customers paid in 2021. Customers of the financial cooperative aren’t just borrowers—they are members, and when the co-op does well, so do they. Many of the cooperative’s board of directors are farmers themselves and have a deep understanding of the challenges members face each day. In carefully managing the institution’s safety and soundness, board members also determine how best to distribute the association’s net income each year, including approving the cash patronage amount. Since 2006, Alabama Ag Credit has returned profits to its members equaling more than $109 million.
     
    C Spire Expands its All-Fiber Broadband Network
    C Spire, through its recent acquisition of Troy Cablevision, Inc., will expand its fiber footprint and gigabit internet services to Montgomery businesses and residents. Last year, the company announced its plan to spend an estimated $500 million in Alabama over the next three years to speed the rollout of all-fiber broadband Internet areas access through markets in Alabama. Currently, C Spire’s all-fiber network spans the Southeast. Mayor Steven L. Reed has appointed Octavius Jackson, business consultant with O. Maynard Jackson & Associates, LLC, to serve as the liaison for this project.
     
    Pigtails & Crewcuts Opens
    Pigtails & Crewcuts is coming to Montgomery, and military veteran owners Ginny and Jerry Fausch are excited to open the franchise’s third location in Alabama, introducing families to a haircutting experience created just for kids. The couple first discovered Pigtails & Crewcuts while visiting family in Chattanooga. From the whimsical décor, themed vehicle chairs and the kids’ movies and toys to the friendly stylists, the process of getting a haircut is designed to be a fun, entertaining experience for the entire family.
     
    Central Alabama Community College Receives Anonymous $200,000 Donation
    Jeff Lynn, President of Central Alabama Community College, was recently notified that CACC would be the benefactor of a $200,000 donation. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, expressed their admiration for what CACC has done for the communities and citizens it serves. The donor asked that the funds be used to help students in need, especially those who may need emergency assistance in completing their programs. Also mentioned was the desire to see the funds assist single parents and older adults who are re-entering the workforce.
     
    Alabama Arts Organizations to Receive American Rescue Plan Funds

    The National Endowment for the Arts announced more than $57 million in grant funding from the American Rescue Plan to arts organizations. Seven Alabama organizations were selected to receive $850,000 in grants: Sloss Furnaces, Space One Eleven, Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Mobile Opera, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Writers’ Forum and Tuskegee University. This funding will be used to support jobs, manage facilities and address other costs so our local arts and cultural communities can recover from the pandemic.
     
    Encompass Health Forms Independent Health & Hospice Company

    Encompass Health recently formed Enhabit Home Health & Hospice. The move includes goals of improving the strategic and operational flexibility of each business and increasing the focus of each management team on strategy and operations. Leaders also said the move will allow each business to adopt a capital structure and investment policy best suited to its financial profile and business needs.
     
    Regions Launches Commercial Business Development Team
    Regions has formed a new Commercial Business Development Team that will focus on helping small businesses. “Regions Bank is known for taking a relationship-based approach to service, and in late 2021, we started a small pilot program aimed at building even deeper collaboration with small-business prospects in the markets we serve,” said Ginger Blake, Executive Vice President and head of Commercial Banking Solutions for Regions. “What we found is this segment has a strong appetite for receiving holistic advice and insights from our colleagues throughout the bank who can help them reassess their financial plans and develop new solutions to support their businesses and grow their companies.”
     
    Alfa Insurance Acquiring Legacy Insurance Services

    Alfa Insurance is acquiring three entities that will expand Alfa’s automobile coverage. The acquisition still needs to be approved by regulatory agencies. Alfa will be acquiring Legacy Insurance Services Inc. and Arizona Auto Insurance Companies and the book of business from Nevada General Insurance Co., all three from Western National.
     
    John Hall & Company Celebrates 35 Years
    John Hall & Company, the oldest continuously operated land-based real estate company in Alabama, is celebrating a milestone anniversary. Over the past 35 years, the company has helped clients buy and sell more than 350,000 acres of land. John E. Hall Jr., Owner and Founder, grew up on his family’s farm in Macon County. After graduating from Auburn University, he worked in residential and commercial real estate and development for 16 years. Drawing on these years of experience, an entrepreneurial spirit and a large network, Hall founded John Hall & Company in 1987.
     
    Montgomery Gets New Chief of Police
    On March 21, Mayor Steven L. Reed introduced Darryl Albert as Montgomery’s new Chief of Police. Commander Albert brings more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and most recently served as Commander of the Special Operations Division for the New Orleans Police Department.

    Albert’s hire was the result of the City’s exhaustive, nationwide search for the next police chief that included a seasoned field of nearly 100 high-caliber candidates. The city partnered with Strategic Government Resources, a leader in executive recruitment for governments, corporations and nonprofits, to secure highly sought and universally respected prospects from across the country. Mayor Reed also impaneled a committee of community leaders who evaluated each final candidate.

    In the end, Albert rose to the top. During his tenure in New Orleans, Albert held several key leadership positions, including Deputy Chief of Field Operations, the largest Bureau within New Orleans Police Department, Commander of NOPD Crime laboratory and commander of criminal investigations division for homicide. He twice served as Deputy Superintendent for two different administrations.

    Albert also led units that slashed New Orleans’ murder rate while significantly reducing instances of violent crime. He proved instrumental in leading city-wide preparation, deployment and recovery efforts amid Hurricane Katrina as well as other storm and emergency events.
     
    Mayor Reed Launches Montgomery Forward
    More than $50 million is being invested in Montgomery as part of a new City of Montgomery initiative called Montgomery Forward led by Mayor Steven L. Reed to renew neighborhoods, revive infrastructure and build state-of-the-art facilities throughout the community.

    Reed held a press conference at the newly renovated Willie Cook Community Center to announce the initiative, which will include new and revitalized community centers, a multipurpose facility, improvements to athletic venues, a new fire station in west Montgomery as well as quality of life amenities and infrastructure upgrades throughout the city. It also allocates half a million dollars to expand public safety technology, like Shot Spotter, while also putting forth solutions to bridge longstanding divides in access to broadband, affordable housing, social mobility and other critical services.

    One of the first specific projects announced is a new river-proximate park in North Montgomery. The Shady Street Trailhead and Park encompasses a three-block linear park along Shady Street in Montgomery, north of the Alabama River. This unique park land is in flood-prone and contiguous forest areas surrounding Montgomery, and the plan is to connect this park, once completed, to the Riverfront Trail and add a new greenway in Montgomery. The project is a partnership between the City of Montgomery and organizations like River Region Trails, Montgomery Rotary and the Montgomery Lions Club. Mayor Reed allocated $100,000 to this project. Generous sponsorships from Montgomery Rotary and the Montgomery Lions Club are also helping fund large portions of the Shady Street Trailhead and Park and the Riverfront Greenway.
     
    Montgomery Wins Share of $745,000 in Grants
    The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA) announced during the 90th Annual USCM Winter Meeting the winners of the 2022 Childhood Obesity Prevention and Environmental Health and Sustainability Awards, granting $745,000 to nine U.S. cities, including Montgomery. Since the beginning of their decade-long partnership, USCM and ABFHA have jointly awarded more than $5 million to more than 60 cities across the country to support programs to enhance health, wellness and environmental quality of life for children and families.
     
    Montgomery Selected to Participate in a National League of Cities Project
    Mayor Steven L. Reed and the City of Montgomery will participate in a new initiative led by the National League of Cities (NLC) to increase economic inclusion and resilience for communities of color. Montgomery joins 15 other cities in the Southeast United States to receive up to $30,000 in grant funding and opportunities to learn from national experts and other cities. Montgomery will participate in the 20-month “Deepening the Bench” cohort of city staff and community stakeholders and the 10-month “Building Leadership” cohort of elected officials and civic leaders.
     
    Mayor Reed Represents the River Region at White House Black History Month Celebration
    Mayor Steven L. Reed represented Alabama and the River Region at the White House Black History Month Celebration on February 28 at the invitation of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The reception featured national leaders and government officials to celebrate and reflect upon the immense contributions, achievements and innovations made by African-Americans.
     
    Pop-Up Promotes Female-Owned Businesses
    The first ever Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Shoppe at The Shoppes at EastChase featured Five female-owned businesses. Shoppers enjoyed a variety of retail in the Pop-Up Shoppe including: Aqualime Skincare, Bubba Co., Flare Candles, Kreative Moments and The Pastry Vault.
     
    The Progress Project by Hyundai Supports Black-Owned Businesses
    In recognition of Black History Month, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing America launched The Progress Project by Hyundai, an initiative to support Black-owned businesses in Montgomery. Hyundai will be making donations of $15,000 each to three local businesses: King’s Canvas, an art and social justice organization that provides opportunity and access to underexposed artists. The organization will use the funds to create an outdoor gathering space. Plant Bae is a female-owned vegan restaurant that is a staple in the downtown community. The restaurant will make aesthetic and interior modifications to the restaurant. Jozettie’s Cupcakes is a family-run bakery and local favorite with a long history of also giving back to the community. It will expand the capabilities at its second location.
     
    Faulkner University Announces New President
    Faulkner University announced Dennis Mitchell Henry, J.D., as the University’s newest president. Faulkner’s Board of Trustees Chair Dale Kirkland, Chancellor Billy Hilyer and President Mike Williams made the announcement on the Montgomery campus on March 9. Henry is Faulkner’s ninth president in its 80-year history. Out of 26 candidates, Henry was unanimously accepted as president-elect by the university’s Board of Trustees on March 8.
     
    Huntingdon College Introduces New Majors
    Four new majors will join those already on the books for fall 2022 entering students according to Huntingdon College Senior Vice President For Academic Affairs and Dean Of Faculty Dr. Tom Perrin. The new academic programs combine elements of the College’s former pre-professional study tracks with major coursework to ensure that students complete the prerequisite classes for graduate or professional school admission as part of their major curriculum. Doing so extends the number of classes necessary to complete the major, but also allows for those classes to be considered integral to the major so that the financial aid for which the student is eligible can be applied to all courses. New for fall 2022 are: Biochemistry/Pre-Health, Cell Biology/Pre-Health, Exercise Science/Pre-Athletic Training/Pre-Occupational Therapy and Exercise Science/Pre-Physical Therapy.
     
    New “Student” Joins the Huntingdon MAT Program
    A new student has joined the Huntingdon College Master of Athletic Training program. Gerald, as the other MAT students have named him, is a multitalented manikin designed to strengthen his classmates’ skills in airway management, breathing assessment, vascular access, palpation and auscultation, fluid resuscitation, ECG interpretation, and ultrasound assessment and diagnosis. Gerald’s complex technology will illustrate and assist MAT students in preparation for hundreds of emergency situations for which athletic trainers must be able to respond within a heartbeat of time.
     
    Troy University Montgomery to Offer Associate in Nursing Night Classes and New Scholarships
    Troy University is expanding its Associate’s in Nursing degree program on its Montgomery Campus to include nighttime classes in an effort to more effectively meet the demand for nurses in the River Region and provide greater opportunities for students. The first nighttime ASN classes will be offered this fall with a second cohort beginning in spring 2023. Dr. John Garner, Interim Dean of TROY’s College of Health and Human Services, said the change represents an expansion of the existing offerings on the university’s Montgomery campus.

    Students looking to transfer to Troy University from other colleges or universities may be eligible for thousands of dollars in scholarships thanks to a revamped transfer scholarship program. Previously, TROY offered a pair of scholarships to transfer students—$2,000 a year for two years to on-campus students and $1,500 a year for two years to online students, with both scholarships requiring a 3.0 grade point average. Now, TROY will offer a range of scholarships for both online and in-class transfer students at varying GPA levels, giving access to a broader range of students and rewarding high-achieving transfers with larger scholarships including $4,000 a year for two years for students with a 3.5 GPA or higher.
     
    Montgomery New Urbanist Community Announces Expansion
    Hampstead, a 416-acre master-planned residential and mixed-use development, announced its largest expansion in the community’s 14-year history. Following record sales in its previous development phase and its best sales year ever in 2021 —with new and existing home sales 31 percent higher than 2020, the previous record-setting year—Hampstead began Phase 6 construction earlier this spring. The community’s newest phase consists of more than 120 residential lots and home types, including private courtyard homes, townhomes, preserve view homes, cottages and park and lake view homes. The new homes will be available for purchase this summer. Additional elements in Phase 6 include upgrades to the Hampstead Farm and new health and wellness features for residents.
     
    Montgomery Named Hot Emerging Housing Market in WSJ
    Montgomery is one of the hottest emerging housing markets, according to a new index by the Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com. The city ranked 191 in the just-released Winter 2022 Emerging Housing Markets Index, 64 spots higher than the Fall 2021 index a quarter ago. The index identifies the top 300 metro areas for home buyers seeking an appreciating housing market and appealing lifestyle amenities.
     
    Montgomery Neighborhood to Receive Smart City Infrastructure
    An Australian technology solutions company is planning to deploy smart city technology to the capital city. PMY Group, in collaboration with Intel, is crafting a smart city environment for the Five Points area of Montgomery this year. The smart city project will showcase numerous technologies to help neighborhood businesses by improving residents’ access to information, services and training opportunities.
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