Archive for the ‘Bright Star’ Category

>Bessemer News and the Great Backyard Bird Count

February 9, 2010

>Congratulations to The Bright Star, which received the prestigious “America’s Classics” award from the James Beard Foundation. The Bright Star in Bessemer is the first Alabama restaurant to earn what is considered the Oscar for eating establishments.


Politics

In other Bessemer News, Councilwoman Louise Alexander was found not guilty on all counts yesterday. She had been accused of solicitation and using her office for personal gain.

Rarely does an election pass where Alexander’s name is not on the ballot, and rumor has it that the mayor’s race this summer is the prize she will next seek. If so, that would mean her council seat is open.

If ever there was a time when a clean sweep was warranted, this is it. And a clean sweep can not involve putting a council person in the mayor’s office. I’m just sayin’.

Bingo

While Bessemer’s Bingo halls sit shuttered and darkened, in nearby Greene County the machines are humming as usual. Greenetrack pays you money, the slogan says. The sheriff is standing by to thwart any effort by the anti-gambling, anti-employment task force. It will be interesting to see the sheriff standing in the bettinghouse door to prevent governor’s men from entering. That’s a switch for Alabama.

Olympics

In the meantime, I’m gearing up for the Winter Olympics. Opening ceremonies are Friday, and we may be getting some snow that day to get us in the mood.

Great Backyard Bird Count

And this weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count, Friday through Monday.

Remember this guy who perched on my thumb? Not during the bird count, but it was in the backyard.

Last year in Bessemer only 8 checklists were submitted and 28 species were reported. That was way down from 2008 when 48 species were reported from 22 checklists.

Details on how to participate are on the web site, but basically you just have to agree to sit quietly and identify and count birds for at least 15 minutes a day on one or all of the days and report them online. It’s simple. Take part.

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Troy King… Sinking To New Lows

September 13, 2007

Link to July 10, 2008 Story

My recommendation to go to the Bright Star on Wednesday night was based on information from the Birmingham News. Oops. The event is tonight. We found out last night when we showed up and a sign on the door indicated the Birmingham News published the wrong date.

That did not stop us (and several other customers) from enjoying a great meal (broiled snapper, Greek Style) and dessert (chocolate almond pie), and getting our book (A Centennial Celebration of The Bright Star) signed by the owners. Jimmy and Nicky Koikos reflected with Bobby and me about growing up on Dartmouth Avenue just a few blocks from our house. Bright Star Menu

There are four things going on that you might want to do tonight. If you are gay or gay friendly, the Alabama Stonewall Democrats are meeting at 5:30 at Los Amigos, 3324 Clairmont Avenue (next door to the Piggly Wiggly) and Joe Turnham, Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party will be our guest speaker. This is a great opportunity to meet other active democrats and help the party grow and increase the potential for victory, as well as learn from the top what the state party is doing and what one leader sees as the future of the democratic party in Alabama.

If you are not interested in that then eat at the Bright Star.

Be sure to eat early, if you are a customer of Bessemer Water Service, so you can attend the special meeting at Broken Vessel Church about the water bond and potential rate increase (108 to 300 %). A press release was sent to all the TV stations and newspapers and we hope to have a big crowd. Read the press release at Bessemer Neighbors

If you don’t use Bessemer’s water, than go listen to Angela Davis at the Alys Stephens Center. You may not agree with some or most of what she stands for (or what you think she stands for) but you may be surprised, and she will certainly be interesting. Notice of Event

With all of those offerings, no one should be at home tonight.

Troy King really should never have been re-elected last year. You know I strongly supported John Tyson for attorney general. So did Robby Owens, the republican District Attorney in Shelby County.

Owens prosecuted Marcus Presley and LaSamuel Gamble for the 1996 murders of John Burleson and Janice Littleton, and both got the death penalty even though the killer (Presley) was only 16 years old at the time, and Gamble (who was 18) didn’t actually kill anyone.

Recently the U. S.Supreme Court ruled (Roper v. Simmons) that killers could not be executed for crimes they commit while they are juveniles, so Presley was moved off of death row. Soon after Owens gave the following testimony, “Both of those defendants deserve to be on death row. But out of plain fairness and simple equity in life, it’s not fair to leave the person on death row who didn’t kill anyone and take the person off death row who did.” Story

King, who like so many republicans, loves to see the state in the business of killing people, was outraged, and has now taken his former opponent’s supporter off the case. And he will argue to have Gamble’s death penalty reinstated.

Troy King is also went on a witch hunt in his zeal to find “something on Judge (Dan King, Bessemer Cutoff Circuit Judge) King – old campaign records, finance records, anything to get him off the bench,” according to sworn testimony from Anthony Castaldo, who says he was reapeatedly told to keep trying. Editorial

I strongly agree with this editorial in the Birmingham News…”Certainly, Troy King has not always inspired confidence as attorney general. In fact, he has sometimes inspired just the opposite.” Well said.

Too bad we have at least 3 more years of Troy King. Sorry Alabama, but we elected him. Let’s do better in the future.

>Troy King… Sinking To New Lows

September 13, 2007

>Link to July 10, 2008 Story

My recommendation to go to the Bright Star on Wednesday night was based on information from the Birmingham News. Oops. The event is tonight. We found out last night when we showed up and a sign on the door indicated the Birmingham News published the wrong date.

That did not stop us (and several other customers) from enjoying a great meal (broiled snapper, Greek Style) and dessert (chocolate almond pie), and getting our book (A Centennial Celebration of The Bright Star) signed by the owners. Jimmy and Nicky Koikos reflected with Bobby and me about growing up on Dartmouth Avenue just a few blocks from our house. Bright Star Menu

There are four things going on that you might want to do tonight. If you are gay or gay friendly, the Alabama Stonewall Democrats are meeting at 5:30 at Los Amigos, 3324 Clairmont Avenue (next door to the Piggly Wiggly) and Joe Turnham, Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party will be our guest speaker. This is a great opportunity to meet other active democrats and help the party grow and increase the potential for victory, as well as learn from the top what the state party is doing and what one leader sees as the future of the democratic party in Alabama.

If you are not interested in that then eat at the Bright Star.

Be sure to eat early, if you are a customer of Bessemer Water Service, so you can attend the special meeting at Broken Vessel Church about the water bond and potential rate increase (108 to 300 %). A press release was sent to all the TV stations and newspapers and we hope to have a big crowd. Read the press release at Bessemer Neighbors

If you don’t use Bessemer’s water, than go listen to Angela Davis at the Alys Stephens Center. You may not agree with some or most of what she stands for (or what you think she stands for) but you may be surprised, and she will certainly be interesting. Notice of Event

With all of those offerings, no one should be at home tonight.

Troy King really should never have been re-elected last year. You know I strongly supported John Tyson for attorney general. So did Robby Owens, the republican District Attorney in Shelby County.

Owens prosecuted Marcus Presley and LaSamuel Gamble for the 1996 murders of John Burleson and Janice Littleton, and both got the death penalty even though the killer (Presley) was only 16 years old at the time, and Gamble (who was 18) didn’t actually kill anyone.

Recently the U. S.Supreme Court ruled (Roper v. Simmons) that killers could not be executed for crimes they commit while they are juveniles, so Presley was moved off of death row. Soon after Owens gave the following testimony, “Both of those defendants deserve to be on death row. But out of plain fairness and simple equity in life, it’s not fair to leave the person on death row who didn’t kill anyone and take the person off death row who did.” Story

King, who like so many republicans, loves to see the state in the business of killing people, was outraged, and has now taken his former opponent’s supporter off the case. And he will argue to have Gamble’s death penalty reinstated.

Troy King is also went on a witch hunt in his zeal to find “something on Judge (Dan King, Bessemer Cutoff Circuit Judge) King – old campaign records, finance records, anything to get him off the bench,” according to sworn testimony from Anthony Castaldo, who says he was reapeatedly told to keep trying. Editorial

I strongly agree with this editorial in the Birmingham News…”Certainly, Troy King has not always inspired confidence as attorney general. In fact, he has sometimes inspired just the opposite.” Well said.

Too bad we have at least 3 more years of Troy King. Sorry Alabama, but we elected him. Let’s do better in the future.

Trail of Tears, Happenin’s and more…

September 7, 2007

Steve Jobs responded to pressure from “blogs, through emails and with phone calls” from angry customers after dropping the price of the iPhone yesterday. Enough so that he is giving a $100 store credit to previous purchasers. Ah, the power of blogs. But I am not claiming that my blurb had any influence, more likely tech bloggers like Kevin Tofeljkontherun iphone

Anyway, good save, Steve. Oh, wait. Steve, we did notice that you still get to keep the hundred bucks.

Things to do next week.

Monday: Bessemer Neighborhood Association meeting. Bessemer Neighbors

Wednesday: Eat at The Bright Star in Bessemer, and while there, purchase “A Centennial Celebration of The Bright Star Restuarant”, and get it signed by owners Jimmy and Nicky Koikos. The Bright Star

Thursday: Angela Davis discusses “Leadership and Democracy.” Alys Stephens Center. Free admission. “It is both humiliating and humbling to discover that a single generation after the events that constructed me as a public personality, I am remembered as a hairdo.”

And further down the road:

This is a little bit disturbing. The Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan has been issued a permit to hold a rally in Athens on September 15 to protest immigration policies. On that same day the annual Trail of Tears motorcycle ride (always the 3rd Saturday in September) will bring around 150,000 motorcycle riders through town. Trail of Tears Remembrance

I am all for free speech, and I wouldn’t think there would be a conflict here (nor do I think motorcyclists, particularly those on this ride, would be sympathetic to Klan causes) but why schedule a Klan rally on a day of remembrance that carries a degree of peacefulness and calm with it. (I understand that “calm” and “150,000 bikers” may not seem compatible, but you get the idea). And the bikers will probably outnumber the Klan members by about 30,000 to 1.

Klan rallies should be scheduled on days and in places where the public is not likely to cross paths with them. They wanted the court house, they got the city hall, but they should have gotten a different day.

And in my quote worth saving category: in response to the theft of copper from an Alabama Power substation, where a thief used a power saw to cut through several main power lines (interrupting power to 2,800 customers in Forestdale), Jefferson County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Randy Christian said, “It would just make my day if a char-grilled suspect showed up at one of our local emergency rooms.”

>Trail of Tears, Happenin’s and more…

September 7, 2007

>Steve Jobs responded to pressure from “blogs, through emails and with phone calls” from angry customers after dropping the price of the iPhone yesterday. Enough so that he is giving a $100 store credit to previous purchasers. Ah, the power of blogs. But I am not claiming that my blurb had any influence, more likely tech bloggers like Kevin Tofeljkontherun iphone

Anyway, good save, Steve. Oh, wait. Steve, we did notice that you still get to keep the hundred bucks.

Things to do next week.

Monday: Bessemer Neighborhood Association meeting. Bessemer Neighbors

Wednesday: Eat at The Bright Star in Bessemer, and while there, purchase “A Centennial Celebration of The Bright Star Restuarant”, and get it signed by owners Jimmy and Nicky Koikos. The Bright Star

Thursday: Angela Davis discusses “Leadership and Democracy.” Alys Stephens Center. Free admission. “It is both humiliating and humbling to discover that a single generation after the events that constructed me as a public personality, I am remembered as a hairdo.”

And further down the road:

This is a little bit disturbing. The Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan has been issued a permit to hold a rally in Athens on September 15 to protest immigration policies. On that same day the annual Trail of Tears motorcycle ride (always the 3rd Saturday in September) will bring around 150,000 motorcycle riders through town. Trail of Tears Remembrance

I am all for free speech, and I wouldn’t think there would be a conflict here (nor do I think motorcyclists, particularly those on this ride, would be sympathetic to Klan causes) but why schedule a Klan rally on a day of remembrance that carries a degree of peacefulness and calm with it. (I understand that “calm” and “150,000 bikers” may not seem compatible, but you get the idea). And the bikers will probably outnumber the Klan members by about 30,000 to 1.

Klan rallies should be scheduled on days and in places where the public is not likely to cross paths with them. They wanted the court house, they got the city hall, but they should have gotten a different day.

And in my quote worth saving category: in response to the theft of copper from an Alabama Power substation, where a thief used a power saw to cut through several main power lines (interrupting power to 2,800 customers in Forestdale), Jefferson County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Randy Christian said, “It would just make my day if a char-grilled suspect showed up at one of our local emergency rooms.”

>The Bright Star Turns 100 as Bessemer Grows

May 2, 2007

>Today The Bright Star is 100 years old, and the oldest restaurant in Alabama is celebrating today from 3-7 pm. They are even blocking off 19th street in front of the restaurant.

Cooking demonstrations at 4:00
Magic show at 5:00 for kids
John Ed Willoughby at 5:30 (giving away $100 gift cards to those who can prove they are over 100 years old.

Here’s the odd thing. They are serving Bob Sykes Barbeque.

There are gifts and appetizers and entertainment.

Jeff Key is returning to Hollywood today, after seeing his movie (or rather, the movie that documents his life) take the Best Documentary Award and the Audience Choice Award at the Shout Film Festival. And almost as exciting for Jeff, he enjoyed dinner last night at The Bright Star before leaving town. For those who did not get to see Semper Fi you can see it on Showtime beginning June 25. Continue the good work, Jeff.

Dirt is still being moved around Highway 150 and Lakeshore, but U. S. Steel is being tight lipped about what is coming in, according to the Birmingham News. They say just infrastructure work is being done now, but that the first phase of the development will be a retail center, possibly anchored by a grocery store, taking about 30 acres. Light industrial will occupy the other 100 acres. U. S. Steel owns 800 acres along Lakeshore in Bessemer.

Whatever businesses locate there, Bessemer has entered into a revenue sharing deal for the next 15 years where the city gets 30 % of any sales, property or occupational tax revenue and U. S. Steel gets the other 70% until they are paid back for their initial investment for installing the infrastructure. Those property taxes designated for schools are not included.

Bessemer also entered into a deal with U. S. Pipe (we must like companies with “U. S.” in their names) promising $1.25 million in incentives to lure the new plant to Bessemer. Here’s Mayor Ed May, “The only thing that could hold this up now is an act of God or contamination being found on the site. Notwithstanding those two things, it’s a done deal.” I am interested in hearing more about the environmental considerations for the new plant, and am glad to learn that the current plant will also receive a $7 million emissions control upgrade. This comes a good news, as bad news about Birmingham’s air quality is released, naming Birmingham among the worst in the nation for particle pollution. Birmingham ranks 4th worst for year round particle pollution and 6th worst for short term particle pollution. The American Lung Association says that particle pollution can shorten life spans by 1 to 3 years, and cause premature births, worsen asthma, trigger heart attacks and strokes.

Larry Langford seems disappointed that the plant will not be located in North Birmingham, part of the county that is included in his district. However he at least realizes one thing: “Bessemer didn’t leave the county. Bessemer is in the county.” One by one our county commissioners are coming to this realization. First, Bettye Fine Collins, now Larry Langford.

Two new things, you can see the cost of the war in Iraq growing over to the left, and can click below the numbers for information about how it costs our community. Also, a new link, to Blue Sparks in Alabama, an unofficial site promoting Ron Sparks for senator.

The Bright Star Turns 100 as Bessemer Grows

May 2, 2007

Today The Bright Star is 100 years old, and the oldest restaurant in Alabama is celebrating today from 3-7 pm. They are even blocking off 19th street in front of the restaurant.

Cooking demonstrations at 4:00
Magic show at 5:00 for kids
John Ed Willoughby at 5:30 (giving away $100 gift cards to those who can prove they are over 100 years old.

Here’s the odd thing. They are serving Bob Sykes Barbeque.

There are gifts and appetizers and entertainment.

Jeff Key is returning to Hollywood today, after seeing his movie (or rather, the movie that documents his life) take the Best Documentary Award and the Audience Choice Award at the Shout Film Festival. And almost as exciting for Jeff, he enjoyed dinner last night at The Bright Star before leaving town. For those who did not get to see Semper Fi you can see it on Showtime beginning June 25. Continue the good work, Jeff.

Dirt is still being moved around Highway 150 and Lakeshore, but U. S. Steel is being tight lipped about what is coming in, according to the Birmingham News. They say just infrastructure work is being done now, but that the first phase of the development will be a retail center, possibly anchored by a grocery store, taking about 30 acres. Light industrial will occupy the other 100 acres. U. S. Steel owns 800 acres along Lakeshore in Bessemer.

Whatever businesses locate there, Bessemer has entered into a revenue sharing deal for the next 15 years where the city gets 30 % of any sales, property or occupational tax revenue and U. S. Steel gets the other 70% until they are paid back for their initial investment for installing the infrastructure. Those property taxes designated for schools are not included.

Bessemer also entered into a deal with U. S. Pipe (we must like companies with “U. S.” in their names) promising $1.25 million in incentives to lure the new plant to Bessemer. Here’s Mayor Ed May, “The only thing that could hold this up now is an act of God or contamination being found on the site. Notwithstanding those two things, it’s a done deal.” I am interested in hearing more about the environmental considerations for the new plant, and am glad to learn that the current plant will also receive a $7 million emissions control upgrade. This comes a good news, as bad news about Birmingham’s air quality is released, naming Birmingham among the worst in the nation for particle pollution. Birmingham ranks 4th worst for year round particle pollution and 6th worst for short term particle pollution. The American Lung Association says that particle pollution can shorten life spans by 1 to 3 years, and cause premature births, worsen asthma, trigger heart attacks and strokes.

Larry Langford seems disappointed that the plant will not be located in North Birmingham, part of the county that is included in his district. However he at least realizes one thing: “Bessemer didn’t leave the county. Bessemer is in the county.” One by one our county commissioners are coming to this realization. First, Bettye Fine Collins, now Larry Langford.

Two new things, you can see the cost of the war in Iraq growing over to the left, and can click below the numbers for information about how it costs our community. Also, a new link, to Blue Sparks in Alabama, an unofficial site promoting Ron Sparks for senator.