Gotcha, Milton: Unless you’ve been napping under the proverbial rock, you’ve heard that the U.S. Department of Justice this week charged 11 people in Alabama for their roles in a scheme to bribe state legislators into supporting bills that would have aided operators of electronic bingo games. Among the accused is a guy with a really bad haircut, the (allegedly) corrupt gambling kingpin Milton McGregor (Hey, I don’t often get the chance to use the word “kingpin” in print, and I’m taking it). Also standing accused is developer Ronald Gilley, one of the owners of the Country Crossing gambling and entertainment complex in Houston County. McGregor and Gilley are charged with various counts of fraud, bribery and conspiracy. Also charged with various crimes are several Alabama legislators, staff members and lobbyists.
Historic honors: The Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation will give three awards related to preservation in Birmingham during its annual conference this week in Montgomery. Sloss Real Estate Group will be honored for its work in restoring the Pepper Place complex in Lakeview, formerly a Dr. Pepper bottling plant. The Friends of Rickwood Field will be given an award for their efforts to preserve Birmingham’s baseball park, the oldest in the country. The late architect Jim H. Waters will be honored with a posthumous preservation achievement award. Waters is remembered fondly for helping to save Sloss Furnaces and for renovating his own 1880s-era office building on 22nd Street North in the 1970s, an effort that was among the first of its kind in the city. The awards will be presented Friday, October 8, at 5:30 p.m., at Montgomery’s Union Station. Learn more at www.alabamatrust.info.
Bedbugs are biting: Bedbugs— once thought to be a pest from the past—are making an unwelcome comeback. New York City has been hit hard this year. There was a bedbug scare this week in the Manhattan offices of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., the parent company of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s financial weekly, according to a report at www.nbcnewyork.com. A Barron’s staffer reportedly told his superiors that he had found bedbugs at his apartment building. No evidence was found of bedbugs around the staffer’s desk, according to the site, but to make sure, the company brought in bedbug-sniffing dogs. The dogs didn’t find anything conclusive, but News Corp. cleaned and treated the area to prevent any future infestations by those nasty blood-suckers.
Keep the lights on: The Afterschool Alliance in Washington, D.C., announced last week that Bretta Freeman, a long-time volunteer with an afterschool program at Birmingham’s Northeast YMCA, has been picked to serve a one-year term as an Afterschool Ambassador. Freeman is one of only 18 local leaders selected from 16 states. Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit advocacy group for afterschool programs. According to a news release from the group, Freeman has worked or volunteered at the YMCA for 20 years. The Northeast branch serves 85 kids in its afterschool program. Each ambassador will help organize public events and try to build community support for these programs. The Alliance’s annual national rally, Lights on Afterschool, will be celebrated with events across the county on October 21. Learn more at www.afterschoolalliance.org.