99 Problems: Budget cuts are the name of the game right now, not just here but across the nation. In Alabama, several cities are starting to feel the heat for costly plans to send delegates on trips to conventions. Fairfield, $2 million in debt to its school system, plans to spend $14,000 to send three delegates to the National League of Cities Congressional Cities Conference. Birmingham Mayor William Bell also endorsed a plan to send 99 delegates to Anchorage, Alaska, for the Neighborhood USA Conference with a price tag totaling $232,000. It’s important to make our presence known outside of the state to create contacts and learn new ideas. Still, some of these trips could be a bit superfluous. Maybe 99 delegates will come out to be one big problem for our city budget.
Greenlight: Edwin Marty came back to Birmingham, the city where he grew up, 10 years ago to grow something himself. With years of experience in urban agriculture under his belt, he cofounded Jones Valley Urban Farm to grow fresh, local fruits and vegetables and to teach the importance of eating fresh, local food to the Birmingham community. Ten years later, JVUF has expanded to 3 urban acres, 25 suburban acres, and a dozen education and outreach programs. Having accomplished so much, Edwin Marty will be resigning as Director of Jones Valley Urban Farm within the next few months to expand his work in urban agriculture and education. Marty has been an invaluable asset to the agricultural community in Birmingham and will, undoubtedly, continue to grow some amazing things in the future.
Liberate the Oil! All of the conflict in the Middle East is starting to have a negative effect on life here in the West: Gas prices are rising! Protestors contesting oil ports in Libya are causing oil prices to rise. The rising oil prices are causing gas prices to shoot up even faster than anticipated. OPEC nations are trying to pick up some of the slack, and the Obama administration is considering tapping some of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves beneath Louisiana and Texas in order to lessen the pinch until Libya stabilizes. Still, many analysts are saying that prices are going to keep on climbing, no matter what is done to try to stop them. With retail gas prices approaching $3.50 per gallon and rising, I’d say that no matter what’s done at this point, we’re the losers.
SuperMoon, the Moon of Steel There’s going to be an extreme SuperMoon this month, folks! No, that’s not a term from a New Age religion or a new piece of slang. A SuperMoon is a new or full moon which is more than 90percent of its closest pass of the Earth (its perigee). An extreme SuperMoon is a SuperMoon which is at or approaches its 100 percent perigee. That means that last month, this month and next month, the moon will be closer to the Earth than it has been in 18 years. Some people believe that the SuperMoon has the potential to cause erratic weather patterns, earthquakes or even strange behavior in humans. The veracity of these claims is unknown (though there is something to be said for a closer moon creating different weather patterns). The extreme SuperMoon this month will take place on March 18. Mark your calendars and watch out for earthquakes.