RECOVERY IN THE FIRST DEGREE: Country band Alabama will perform a storm-benefit concert at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater Sept. 2, with proceeds going to the Tuscaloosa Storm Recovery Fund, according to a July 30 report by Mark Hughes Cobb at www.tuscaloosanews.com. Tickets are $26, $36 and $50.50 and will go on sale Friday, Aug. 5, at 10 a.m., at Ticketmaster or at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater Box Office.
SIX UNFORGETTABLE MINUTES: According to Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddux, reflecting on the April storms that ravaged his city, “It took 6 minutes to wreak havoc across our city and it will probably be 6 years before you drive through this city and see a true sense of normalcy.” However, Maddux told Chad Petri of WKRG-TV in Mobile that the city is making progress with clean-up. Check out Petri’s July 27 interview with Maddux at www.wkrg.com.
Petri also reported on July 27 that the reinforced “safe room” will now be a standard part of Habitat for Humanity homes built in Tuscaloosa. “Think of it like a bank vault,” Habitat construction manager Brandon Kasteler told Petri. “If the bank got destroyed, the safe would still be standing, and that’s the idea with these safe rooms.”
Recovery in Tuscaloosa got a little boost in June when 14 high school kids from Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio, came south to volunteer, according to a July 27 report by Tim Troglen at www.hudsonhubtimes.com. The group met Frannie James, an Alabama Board of Education volunteer, who told them about the resilience of students in Tuscaloosa. “Frannie shared with us how students all returned to school within a week of the tornado, despite the physical and emotional toll the storm had taken on the community,” Western Reserve teacher Natalie Davies told Troglen. “That is a great lesson about the resilience you often see in the wake of such disasters.” In Birmingham, the group worked for three days with Habitat for Humanity’s disaster recovery program.
GOOD NEWS FOR HACKLEBURG: A Wrangler plant in Hackleburg destroyed by the April storms will be rebuilt, providing an economic boost to the hard-hit town, according to an Aug. 1 report by Robin DeMonia of The Birmingham News (al.com). DeMonia, citing a statement from Wrangler parent com pany VF Corp, reports that the rebuilt plant will be bigger than before, with as many as 50 additional jobs.
THE GOOD HANDS PEOPLE: Insurance giant Allstate Corp. suffered a second-quarter loss of $620 million after the company’s worst quarter for disaster claims since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, according to an Aug. 1 report by The Wall Street Journal (online.wsj.com) . Allstate had $2.34 billion in disaster costs after tornadoes hit the South and Midwest in April.
On a lighter note, a big-shot Allstate exec got fired after reportedly calling his boss “a fucking asshole,” according to an Aug. 2 report by Mark Duell at www.dailymail. co.uk. Joseph Lacher, who was in charge of the Illinois firm’s home and vehicle insur ance units, made this intemperate remark while having cocktails with some of Allstate’s top sales agents at a Ritz-Carlton hotel bar in Orlando, Fla. The “asshole” in question was Lacher’s superior Thomas Wilson. Lacher’s comment came after he and Wilson had earlier announced plans to downsize the company’s sales force and change the way sales commissions are calculated. The other agents, presumably including the ones Lacher was partying with, were not thrilled. That’s when Lacher flushed his $3.2-million annual salary down the crapper. I wonder who ratted him out?
Jesse Chambers is a contributing writer for The Birmingham Weekly and B-Metro magazine. Send your comments to email@example.com