Montgomery Zoo Welcomes New Animals
The Montgomery Zoo welcomed two female Bison to the North America display on July 26. Catori and Sicari join Tank, the male of their species, recreating a natural environment for them. Bison are herd animals and males will live near a herd of females or belong to a herd of males.
Three new Greater Kudu also joined the zoo in its African Savanna exhibit on July 28. Greater Kudu Ernie, Angie and Rogue join Jolene. Being a herd species, Jolene is happier with companions, and the new kudu give the African Savanna exhibit a more naturalistic environment. Breeding is expected when Ernie reaches maturity, and the zoo hopes to enter the Greater Kudu into population management in the future.
On August 11, Odysseus, a 4-year-old Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth, made his debut. This species has important educational value due to its unique role and natural history in its native ecosystem. In addition, this species has important captive conservation value because husbandry and breeding is still difficult in zoos.
Finally, a second Giant Anteater has been added to the zoo’s Maned Wolf and Giant Anteater exhibit. Barques, a 14-year-old male, joins female Zoe, 14, and Maned Wolves, Paulo and Adrianna, at the exhibit on the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is an animal conservation program created exclusively by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to better manage animals in captivity, from recommending breeding to companionship, for zoos.
Montgomery Zoobilation A Success
Zoobilation is the zoo’s annual fundraiser and party, and this year’s attendees enjoyed an evening under the stars while tasting delectable delights, fine wines and spirits, dancing and mingling with friends, family, co-workers and fellow animal lovers. The 2022 event raised funds for the design and construction of a new Reptile Facility and Exhibit, which will feature animals including the Indian Gharial, Komodo Dragon, King Cobra, Galapagos Tortoise and much more.
City of Montgomery Hosts Event for Tech Students
The City of Montgomery hosted The North American Network Operators Group’s (NANOG) U Education Tour on September 19-20. The free, two-day education and connection event was held at the Montgomery Multiplex at Cramton Bowl. Events like NANOG U are critical to the success of any aspiring technologist. Since its inception in 1987, NANOG has been committed to the ongoing advancement of an open, secure and robust Internet.
PBS Film Features Montgomery & Mayor Steven L. Reed
Mayor Steven L. Reed was featured in PBS Roadtrip Nation’s “Being Free,” a documentary film released by PBS to a national audience. The documentary follows roadtrippers Cordero, Hugo and London, three formerly incarcerated individuals, as they travel throughout the country to see how people overcome societal stigma, personal shame and plenty of obstacles to realize their full potential and reclaim their lives. During their journey, the trio visited Montgomery and Selma.
SABIC Burkville Facility Celebrates 35 Years
As it celebrated its 35th anniversary, SABIC Innovative Plastic US announced a major philanthropic donation and support for The Black Belt Unincorporated Wastewater Program (BBUWP). SABIC unveiled its donation of $500,000 to the program, which will directly benefit members of the Lowndes County community by investing in critical infrastructure initiatives, encouraging sustainable wastewater practices and improving local health. SABIC’s partnership with BBUWP will facilitate the development of proper onsite wastewater disposal at local residences.
Alabama Dance Theatre Holds Community Day
Alabama Dance Theatre opened its studio doors to offer two exciting opportunities in September. Young people were invited to try dance classes for free at ADT’s September 3 Community Day with “A Chance to Dance” classes and also invited to audition for roles in the upcoming production of Dracula. In addition ADT welcomed Lance Washington, award-winning guest choreographer Anna Fredeen and Liza Simpler as guest teachers. They taught hip hop, contemporary/modern and improvisational movement.
Alabama Dance Theatre Performs Dracula
The Alabama Dance Theatre opened its 36th “Season in Bloom” with the classic story "Dracula," a ballet to die for. Performances were held October 28-30th. This masterpiece production was choreographed by Sara Elyse Sanford and performed at Troy University’s Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts. It thrilled audiences with special effects, lavish costumes and breathtaking scenery.
Mayor Reed Hosts “Fighting Back: A Week of Action Against Violent Crime”
Mayor Steven L. Reed and the City of Montgomery participated in Mayors Fight Back—A Week of Action Against Violent Crime. This nationwide effort coordinated by the Democratic Mayors Association encouraged mayors across the country to spotlight the ways their administrations are taking action against rising crime and gun violence. As part of this initiative, Mayor Reed hosted a kickoff press conference on August 15 for the weeklong campaign. Mayors across the country have been on the frontlines of the national gun violence epidemic, supporting community-based violence intervention programs, taking guns off the streets and keeping them out of the hands of criminals, and utilizing federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to bolster public safety measures such as hiring and retraining police officers and addressing case backlogs.
Mayor Reed and Montgomery Development Director Lead Reimagining Tour
Mayor Steven L. Reed and Montgomery Development Director Darryl Washington led a group of community developers, private sector investors and local advocates on a tour of key sites for economic development and revitalization in south and west Montgomery. The August 17 tour was called Reimagining West & South Montgomery Tour. This was the first such tour and has been a priority for Mayor Reed since first taking office. It also aligns with the Envision Montgomery 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
Mayor Reed Works to Cement City as Regional Innovation Hub
Mayor Steven L. Reed met with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the African American Mayors Association on September 29 to discuss billions of dollars in funding available for regional innovation hubs through the CHIPS and Science Act. Participating members of the Commerce Department included Don Graves, Deputy Secretary; Don Cravins, Undersecretary for Minority Business Development Agency; Alejandra Castillo, Assistant Secretary for the Economic Development Administration; Angela Ewell-Madison, Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs for the EDA; and Daria Daniel, Congressional Affairs Specialist for the EDA.
President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act on August 9, 2022. Montgomery has been designated a STEM cluster by the Brookings Institute based on a variety of factors, including Mayor Reed’s work to expand and diversify the region’s tech ecosystem. Several initiatives, like the Alabama Collective, the Montgomery TechLab, the Lab on Dexter and Montgomery Public Schools’ partnership with Apple and EdFarm, continue bolstering Montgomery’s high tech and IT industries.
Trustmark Offers New Equipment Finance Line of Business
Trustmark National Bank is offering a new line of business, Equipment Finance, in its Specialty Banking division based in Atlanta. The Equipment Finance team is led by Joe Hines, who joined Trustmark in June as Managing Director of Equipment Finance. With a 25-year career in the industry, Hines has extensive experience in Equipment Finance and management.
FlexCare Infusion Centers Celebrates Clinic Opening
FlexCare Infusion Centers’ newest state-of-the-art facility is now open at 440 St. Lukes Drive Suite B, in Montgomery. The press and public were invited to attend the Chamber Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on September 14. Guests enjoyed soft drinks and a light lunch while they toured the beautiful facility, featuring private infusion suites, reclining chairs, free wi-fi and more.
Wind Creek Hospitality Launches “CasinoVerse”
Wind Creek Hospitality (WCH) recently launched “CasinoVerse,” its latest generation of social gaming environments. The major advancement introduced in CasinoVerse is an immersive 3D world like the environments in widely available role-playing games (RPG) familiar to most gaming enthusiasts. This allows players to explore the Wind Creek globe and play at virtual representations of the various brick and mortar Wind Creek venues in North America and the Caribbean.
CACC Machining Students Excel at Auburn University Competition
Central Alabama Community College students Tanner Floyd and Tristan Carisch placed second out of 10 total teams at the inaugural Auburn University Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems (ICAMS) competition. Floyd and Carisch were the only community college students who participated in the competition. The other nine teams were Auburn engineering students. The students were tasked with designing and building a propeller for a submarine. CACC Machining faculty Pat Murphy and Josh Nelson assisted as part of the four-man team.
Faulkner University Unveils New Arena for Esports Program
Faulkner University’s new esports arena, the REGITAR USA High Res Arena, was unveiled to the public on the Montgomery campus on September 8 and is the result of the combined efforts of many contributors on and off campus. A grand opening ceremony was held outside the area located on the second floor of the Freeman-Harrison Student Multiplex. REGITAR USA, INC. is a leading manufacturer and distributor of charging system components; ignition system components and other automotive components in Montgomery.
Bryan Stevenson Speaks for Inaugural Huntingdon Moore Lectureship
Huntingdon College held the inaugural event of the Marsha and Tom Moore Endowed Distinguished Lectureship on Equity, Justice and Peace on September 26. Bryan Stevenson, Founder And Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of the book, “Just Mercy,” was the lecture series’ first speaker. Stevenson led the creation of the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery. He is a professor of law at New York University School of Law.
HBCU Practice Launched at Adams and Reese
Expanding upon its longstanding education practice and representation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Minority Serving Institutes (MSI), Adams and Reese has launched an HBCU/MSI practice, providing support specifically tailored to institutions educating minority populations. The HBCU team leverages the firm’s government relations practice to assist clients with governmental programs and funding, including COVID relief funds, to help bolster Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions, their infrastructure, capital needs and programming.
DAS North America in Montgomery is Brighter
The DAS North America facility in Montgomery is now lighter and brighter but greener too. In an effort to enhance its safety, quality and production output, the company made lighting improvements throughout, replacing 1,107 light fixtures to accommodate LED. Team members on the floor can see the difference and feel it too, as the LED lighting is more comfortable with less heat. The switch also saves energy, which means cost savings and less impact on the environment. The new lights reduce 930 metric tons of CO2, which is equivalent to planting 15,330 trees for the next 10 years or removing 205 cars from the road.
MMFA Partnering with “Sew Their Names” Project
A memorialization of enslaved persons from Alabama’s Black Belt through quilt making was held on October 6. In conjunction with an exhibition devoted to the works of Alabama quilt maker Yvonne Wells, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) was the first venue to display a special quilt commissioned by the Lowndes County Community Life Center (LCCLC) at Mount Willing, Alabama. The quilt, Worshipers at Mount Willing Church, is an element of the “Sew Their Names” project.
The Cary Center and the River Region United Way Provide Training for Area Nonprofits
The Auburn University College of Human Sciences’ Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies partnered with the River Region United Way to present a day of training for nonprofits in the Montgomery area. The program, titled “Grow Your Nonprofit: Resources to Maximize Impact” included sessions on nonprofit accounting basics, fundraising and grant writing, and building effective partnerships.
CACF Awards Grants
The Central Alabama Community Foundation (CACF) awarded $123,790 in grants to 15 River Region nonprofits that support education initiatives in Montgomery, Lowndes, Macon, Autauga and Elmore counties. The Education Grants being awarded are part of the Family Wellness and Education Grant Cycle that CACF manages. Funds from these grants will go directly toward assisting many within these communities.
The Montgomery Regional Airport Receives Grant
The Montgomery Regional Airport was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) to support its most recent service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The grant is part of a $16.9 million grant package to 25 small community airports. The Montgomery Regional Airport Authority will use the funds to develop a detailed marketing and media plan to advertise the current air service.
Mayor Reed and Community Leaders Break Ground on New Fire Station
The City of Montgomery broke ground on a new state-of-the-art fire station near the intersection of West Fairview Avenue and South Court Street. Initial plans for the new Fairview Fire Station include approximately 20,000 square feet of space. It will be home to a new engine truck, enhanced EMS response, two pumper trucks and two medic trucks, all capable of carrying advanced life support equipment, as well as other improvements. Additionally, the station will offer designated community meeting space for surrounding neighborhood associations. The development project is part of Mayor Steven L. Reed’s Montgomery Forward initiative, which funds a litany of long-needed capital improvement projects.
Alabama State University to Host Battle of the Bands
Alabama State University has been selected to host the 2023 Honda Battle of the Bands as the event returns with a live showcase event in The ASU Stadium. Fans vote to choose five marching bands (in addition to the Mighty Marching Hornets) that will perform live at the 2023 Invitational showcase on February 18, 2023.
Alabama Business Intelligence Center Launches
The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) announced the Alabama Business Intelligence Center (ABIC). The Center generates actionable data insights for the recruitment and retention of Alabama businesses. Its initial areas of focus include industries, companies and executives that align with Alabama’s value proposition.
Empower by GoDaddy & ASU’s SBDC Partnership a Positive for Local Entrepreneurs
GoDaddy’s global community and philanthropic program, Empower by GoDaddy, that provides support to local microbusinesses via programming, mentorship and networking opportunities to accelerate entrepreneurial journeys launched in the Montgomery River Region in partnership with Alabama Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Alabama State University. Throughout 2022, Alabama SBDC at Alabama State University hosted six-week learning cohorts with workshops focused on how to develop websites and grow a digital marketing presence. Empower Montgomery River Region program participants received free GoDaddy domains and website products as well as access to GoDaddy experts for additional support and training. This year, 344 microbusiness owners in the Montgomery River Region benefited from the program.
For those not admitted to the upcoming cohort, GoDaddy will offer self-guided courses to allow businesses to learn at their own pace using an online platform and virtual support. Empower by GoDaddy self-led participants and those attending half-day summits will receive discounted GoDaddy products to boost their online presence.
lululemon Open at Shoppes at EastChase
lululemon athletica, a popular lifestyle fitness brand, has opened a “Pop-Up” location near Aerie and Sephora at The Shoppes at EastChase. Shoppers can find men and women’s performance-meets fashion apparel and accessories for yoga, hiking, running, tennis and other activities or for everyday life. In addition, the retailer is hosting community-focused events for connection and collaboration. The grand opening celebration featured several complimentary in store yoga classes, giveaways provided by The Shoppes at EastChase and much more.
Two New Food Companies Make Delicious Debuts in Montgomery
CAVA Mediterranean and Crumbl Cookies have joined the roster of retailers at Zelda Place with their first Montgomery locations. CAVA Mediterranean will replace Zoe’s Kitchen at Zelda Place. The build-your-own Mediterranean bowl concept will open with a completely redesigned interior to reflect the vibe of the fast-casual chain, which acquired Zoe’s Kitchen in 2018. Crumbl Cookies, the nation’s fastest growing gourmet cookie company, is known for its weekly rotating menu, famous pink box and passionate social media following. Inside the Zelda Place Crumbl Cookies store, staff members will mix, bake, and prepare the cookies fresh in an open kitchen for all to see.
Graphic Design Program Latest Addition to TROY Online
Beginning Term 1 of the 2022-2023 school year, Troy University Art and Design students can begin studying for the graphic design Bachelor of Science degree completely online from the comfort of their own homes. The online offering is a mirror of the current in-person program but with a different calendar. Online students will have the opportunity to learn the same content as in-person students, such as design history, fundamentals, concepting, software, creative projects, animation, video and output. The graphic design program is completely asynchronous and gives students the freedom and flexibility to work remotely from any location at times of the day and night convenient to their lifestyle.
Troy University Partners with the National Hemp Growers Cooperative
Troy University’s Center for Materials and Manufacturing Sciences and the National Hemp Growers Cooperative have officially joined forces to further research the development of biodegradable plastics by using hemp fibers. Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., Chancellor of Troy University, and Nick Walters, Managing Partner of the NHGC, signed the Memorandum of Understanding. In addition to research and development, the goal of the partnership is to foster academic exchanges with other regional universities and to facilitate partnerships with regional industries.
USDA Grant Enables Boot Camps for Food Entrepreneurs at TROY
A $58,000-plus grant from the USDA helped Troy University’s Small Business Development Center and the Sorrell College of Business provide boot camps for food entrepreneurs and farm-to-retail entrepreneurs. The SBDC Rural Outreach Food Venture Program will reach up to 20 participants each in two 12-week workshops. The Early-stage Food Entrepreneur Workshop targets those people who have not formalized their venture or are ready to take their business to the next level. By the end of the course, participants will have a solid business plan for launching a business or new line of business; gain the knowledge and skills necessary to have a prototype completed; and have a business pitch perfected for potential distributors.
Hyundai Team Members Donate Hundreds of School Uniforms to MPS
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) and its team members donated more than 700 new school uniform items for Montgomery Public School System students. During the month of July, team members descended on local retail stores to purchase more than $6,000 worth of school uniform items. This was HMMA’s 17th back-to-school drive and first school uniform drive.
Fuel the Fight Raises More than $20K for Cancer Wellness Foundation
Bill Bradley Services alongside Cancer Wellness Foundation of Central Alabama completed an extensive fund-raising campaign called Fuel the Fight that launched in April. For four months, the Fuel the Fight drive raised funds to provide gas and transportation vouchers for patients traveling back and forth to treatment. What started as a small donation for each air conditioner purchased, quickly turned into a momentous fundraiser. Will Imbusch, grandson of Bill Bradley, spearheaded the campaign, which raised more than $20,000 and culminated with an event on July 22 to celebrate cancer survivors and provide an opportunity to gather boxes filled with chemo comfort care items for the Cancer Wellness Foundation to distribute.
Hill, Hill, Carter Celebrates the Life of William Inge Hill Jr.
Hill, Hill, Carter celebrated the life of longtime shareholder William Inge Hill Jr. Inge who was born on August 15, 1949 in Montgomery. He died on August 7, 2022 with his beloved wife Camilla by his side. Hill gave freely and often of his time, legal abilities and resources, to many charitable causes and individuals from all walks of life. Serving and engaging individuals, particularly those who were in misfortune or otherwise overlooked, brought Hill much satisfaction; although, he was never very comfortable with recognition of his generosity and kindness.
RRUW Launches Fundraising Campaign
Hundreds of River Region residents gathered at the RSA Activities Center on August 2 to help the River Region United Way kick off its annual fundraising campaign. The 2022 United Way Annual Campaign is a community fundraising drive to support community-based nonprofit agencies addressing the River Region’s health, education, financial stability and basic needs. To celebrate the launch of this year’s fundraising effort, the RRUW hosted a tailgate kickoff celebration for the organization’s donors, volunteers and supporters. Attendees had the opportunity to meet representatives of the United Way’s 42 affiliated community agencies and learned about their new projects and initiatives. The theme of the 2022 effort is “Be a Champion in Your Community,” and it is co-chaired by Delbert Madison, Senior Vice President, Cash Management Officer with ServisFirst Bank, and Ronda Cherry-Smoke, Business Manager with Alabama Power. Both are members of the River Region United Way’s Board of Directors.