Wilder’s title defense begins in Birmingham

Deontay Wilder will travel just up the road from his hometown for his title defense of his WBC heavyweight title.

Deontay Wilder with his 26-year old brother, Marselos Wilder, an amateur cruiserweight from Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Deontay Wilder with his 26-year old brother, Marselos Wilder, an amateur cruiserweight from Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Tuscaloosa native on May 14 announced officially that he will face Eric Molina of Texas on June 13 at Bartow Arena on the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus.  The 12-round bout will mark the first time a professional boxing championship of any weight division has occurred in Alabama. It will be the main event of Showtime Championship Boxing on Saturday, June 13, live on Showtime at 8 p.m. CDT.

“I’m super excited. I can’t wait,” the 6-foot-7 title holder said. “I tend to stare out as if a crowd were here. I look out into the arena now, visualizing when that time comes on June 13th when this place will be packed with everybody in their seat, cheering for Deontay Wilder. It’s going to be crazy.”  [

 

The event is expected to have an enormous economic impact. Bruno Event Team President and CEO Gene Hallman said the demand for tickets was already great during the pre-sale period and he expects demand to remain high as the official sales period is underway.

Thursday’s announcement included an unconventional stare down as Molina appeared on a large screen via Skype. The challenger said he is thankful Wilder picked him for his first title defense but the champion “picked the wrong heavyweight,” adding that this is his opportunity to earn the belt.

Molina brings a 23-2 record into the bout. He has won his past five fights with three of those coming by knockout. He had an eighth-round TKO of Raphael Zumbano Love on the undercard of the Jan. 17 fight in which Wilder beat Bermane Stiverne on Showtime to earn the WBC heavyweight crown.

“He’s never been down before but he’ll know how it feels to go down,” said the 6-foot-5 southpaw, who opted to miss the announcement in Birmingham as he continued to train. Molina, who is bidding to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight world champion, said he’ll give Wilder more than the champion can expect. Molina said he has been counted out before but “has come back somehow.”

Victory for Molina will be no small task. Wilder is undefeated at 33-0 and only once has he had to go the distance. That came in his win over Stiverne.

The champion is the first unbeaten American to own a heavyweight title since Michael Moorer in 1994.

“I’m all about my legacy, what I do while I’m here,” Wilder said. “I’m going to do the best I can do while I’m here to make a difference, not only in boxing but to affect the world. I have touched so many people, people I don’t even know. I hear so many stories from younger people, older people and it does my heart some good just to hear people say I’ve motivated them.”

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Bruno Event Team, start at $25. The best seats in the arena will go for $200. VIP packages are also available. To purchase tickets, fans can go to alabamatitlefight.com.

– Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

Pulling double duty at two cleanups

Melanie Rogers is not afraid to do more than her share of work when it comes to Renew Our Rivers.

All captions should be complete sentences.
All captions should be complete sentences.

Ms. Rogers was the Volunteer Coordinator for the Renew Our Rivers cleanup at Lake Seminole May 9 and again for the Chattahoochee River cleanup on May 16. She has been a faithful volunteer for Renew Our Rivers for the past nine years.

“These cleanups are my passion, and I look forward to them every year,” said Melanie Rogers.

About the cleanup

Although the participation level was down slightly at the Chattahoochee River cleanup, the attitudes of the volunteers definitely were not. There were fewer bags of trash pulled from the lake due to larger items found such as a skate board ramp, toilet commode, and a number of car tires.

“There were a few items we were not able to reach, but rest assured that we will be back for those items,” said Rogers.

This caption has to be in a complete sentence also.
This caption has to be in a complete sentence also.

With the help from a team of dedicated students, the Lake Seminole cleanup was a success. Crystal Milner, a science teacher from Seminole County Middle/High School gave her students extra credit for their participation in the cleanup. Many smaller items were pulled from the lake during this cleanup, which totaled nearly 500 lbs.

Mike Clelland speaks

This caption has to be in complete sentences also.“These two cleanups were a huge success due to Melanie Rogers and her enthusiastic team of students,” said Renew Our Rivers Coordinator Mike Clelland.  Mclelland works for Alabama Power.

For more information about Alabama Power, take a few minutes to watch this video: 

Transformation Montgomery

Transformation Montgomery

Think back on the neighborhood you grew up in. For many of us, there are memories of neighbors carpooling, sharing meals or simply talking at the mailbox. There are children riding bicycles and playing games in the yard. There are families who depend on one another, share life together and build a community together.

Unfortunately, many neighborhoods across Alabama, once thriving with community and activity, have been abandoned. Such is the case for Garden Square in downtown Montgomery. A once-flourishing community, Garden Square is now nearly deserted, with little to offer its residents.

Enter Transformation Montgomery, a faith-based community development organization that originated at Frazer United Methodist Church to change lives locally and internationally. Three years ago, church members began Transformation Montgomery to provide affordable housing to the city’s working poor while investing in the community of Garden Square.

Now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with its own board of directors and entities, Transformation Montgomery’s mission is “Transforming our city one family, one house, one neighborhood at a time through affordable home ownership, holistic life skills training and relational community renewal.”

In the first year, staff members met with city government and local agencies in addition to partnering with the North Precinct and neighborhood associations. They started acquiring houses in the neighborhood and now have 15 that were sold to the organization or donated by the city or homeowners.

“We want this neighborhood to be more conducive to living and raising a family,” said Rusty Taylor, one of the project managers. “This is about transforming lives in addition to transforming homes.”

After acquiring a house, Transformation Montgomery arranges for volunteers to help with repairs and restoration. Volunteers replace openings such as doors and windows, install new flooring and HVAC units, replace countertops and improve landscaping, which often takes months.

Transformation Photo 2

 

Once a home is fully restored, potential homeowners pre-own, then become owners and buy the house at no interest. They have partnered with Family Promise, an organization that helps homeless people by paying a portion of rent until they are self-supportive new homeowners.

Upon learning about Transformation Montgomery’s mission, Hailey Frederick, Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) Southern Division Chapter president, wanted to get involved.

“I was actually at our Kaboom Playground project and talked with the parking attendant. Through my conversation with her, I learned about Transformation Montgomery and knew this would be something our chapter could get behind,” said Frederick.

Partnering and restoring homes with Transformation Montgomery is now a signature project for the chapter of Alabama Power employees who have adopted a Garden Square house. Once a week, APSO volunteers will work at the site, removing debris, and assisting with repairs and landscaping.

“It’s really a blessing this house came to us at the same time as APSO. With Alabama Power stepping up, we agreed to let them take the house from start to finish,” said Thomas.

In the first week, APSO volunteers exceeded the expectations of the Transformation Montgomery staff.

On their first day, volunteers cleaned out trash, furniture and personal belongings from the previous owner. After all of the debris was removed, volunteers took to removing rotting tiles, carpet and linoleum as well as all countertops and cabinets.

“Rusty told us it would have taken them three months to do the work that we did in less than three hours,” said Frederick. “It really shows the power of a team.”

Frederick sees this signature project as an opportunity to get more volunteers invested in helping their city.

“APSO volunteers are passionate about serving, andwe are especially passionate about our community. We are not afraid to jump in and get our hands dirty,” said Frederick. As far as volunteer numbers, Frederick has a plan for that, too. “If I can get a new volunteer out here, it opens the door for them to continue to be involved. They are more likely to come and help out in the future after serving with us on a project like this,” said Frederick.

Once a home and its land has been fully restored by volunteers, potential homeowners pre-own, then become owners and buy the house at no interest. Photo courtesy of transformationmontgomery.com.

Transformation Montgomery has plans for Garden Square that go beyond each individual house repair.

The organization has acquired a building that will be a community center with a staff, after-school programs, adult education, job training and a meeting space for recovery groups.

“We want to create an environment where people can own a home and help get the neighborhood on its feet,”said Thomas, adding that through partnerships like the one with APSO, Transformation Montgomery will be able to continue to make progress.

“The more relationships we build, the more progress we make,” said Thomas. “We appreciate all of the work APSO is doing to support us.”

Frederick and the APSO team are excited to continue working with Transformation Montgomery after the first house restoration is completed.

“After this house, we will start on the next one,” said Frederick. “We’re going to help transform this community. It’s about giving someone a safe place, a roof over their heads. That’s what APSO is about: changing people’s lives.”

-Allison Westlake

Fun in the Sun

Practice on my own
Practice on my own

This gallery includes a video:

 

The Lay Lake cleanup on April 4 was led by an enthusiastic team of E.C. Gaston Steam Plant employees, and included Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, community softball teams, and Youth Bassmasters. A children’s art poster contest, hosted Gaston’s Employee Outreach Committee, brought out employees’ children and grandchildren from preschool to high school. Several students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham also attended.

After a delicious breakfast meeting at Richey’s Resort, the volunteers reported to the cleanup site prepared to roll up their sleeves and work. “We are very proud to report that every year we are getting less and less trash out of our rivers, but even a little bit is too much,” said Volunteer Coordinator Hagen Kaylor. In all, 2.24 tons of trash were collected. After the cleanup, the volunteers returned to Richey’s Resort for lunch.

 

One more practice session

Close out.2
Close out.2
perfect test
perfect test
final.final
final.final
Great test.1
Great test.1
last one.final
last one.final
next to the last one of the last one that I did
next to the last one of the last one that I did

image

close out 3
close out 3

This is one more practice session as we close the class:

Closing out the class
Closing out the class
Next to the final caption.
Next to the final caption.