INTERVIEW: Trisha Powell Crain On Alabama's Low NAEP Ranks

Alabama recently got some unflattering news about its students' proficiency, especially in eighth-grade mathematics. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, is a standardized test sometimes called "the nation's report card." On the 2013 test, Alabama eighth-graders ranked fiftieth out of 52 jurisdictions in math (schools on military bases and in the District of Columbia were counted separately). But as with most education topics, things are not quite as simple as they seem. WBHM's Dan Carsen sat down with Alabama School Connection executive director Trisha Powell Crain to go behind those results. She says we shouldn't put too much emphasis on one test, or be too surprised at Alabama's low showing.

Birmingham Hopes to Land 2016 Democratic National Convention

Birmingham is trying to land its biggest prize in years: The 2016 Democratic National Convention. Members from the Democratic National Committee began a two-day tour of the city on Monday. They're meeting with local promoters and scouting locations to see if Birmingham could support a convention the size of the DNC. In addition to Birmingham, the party is also considering Columbus, Ohio; New York, Philadelphia, and Phoenix.

Cindy Crawford: Magic City Marketplace

An antitrust lawsuit is on the horizon for health insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. Blue Cross holds an especially dominant position in Birmingham's health insurance market. What impact could the lawsuit have? Experts disagree, but it could create an opening for other insurers.

WBHM Wins Eight Alabama AP Awards

WBHM 90.3 FM/WSGN 91.5 FM has won a total of eight 2014 Alabama Associated Press awards and received three honorable mentions. The awards were given for work broadcast between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013 and were presented at a luncheon July 19 in Birmingham. Listen to all the award-winning stories here.


Today was the first day of a two-day nationally coordinated protest against immigration reform and the recent "border surge" of undocumented minors. The effort was organized by the Facebook-based "Make Them Listen." Saturday's protest, also planned for Highway 280 near Walmart, looks to be bigger. WBHM's Dan Carsen caught up with local coordinator Deanna Frankowski during the first protest of two held during Friday's rush hours. She says illegal immigration poses health, economic, and security risks ... and she says much more than that.

Birmingham Gospel Singers Bring Old Spirituals to a New Generation

The Lee Family Singers have been singing gospel music in and around Birmingham for more than 40 years. Now six of their offspring have formed a new group, The Second Generation of the Lee Family Singers. Both groups are committed to introducing younger people to music that was created hundreds of years ago, music born out of suffering and hope -- the spirituals. For WBHM, Darlene Robinson Millender went to see the Lee Family Singers in action.

Interview: Nick Patterson, Author of

When we talk about the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, some big names spring to mind -- Martin Luther King Jr., the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. But thousands of everyday people also participated in the 1963 Birmingham campaign, often risking their safety -- and even their lives. Author Nick Patterson tells their stories in his new book 'Birmingham Foot Soldiers: Voices from the Civil Rights Movement.' Nick Patterson sat down with WBHM's Rachel Osier Lindley to talk about why he wanted to write about Birmingham's lesser-known foot soldiers.

Alabama Politics Are More Boring Than You Might Think

Are Alabama politics boring? Well, yes, at least according to a recent article on the Washington Post's political blog -- and that's despite the heated campaigning surrounding the 6th Congressional District Republican primary runoff election on Tuesday, where Gary Palmer bested Paul DeMarco. Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald explains Alabama's boring (and not-so-boring) political situation to WBHM's Rachel Osier Lindley, and talks about what's next after the primary runoff election.

Primary Runoff Election 2014 Results

Alabama voters made their selections in statewide, state legislative, congressional and local primary runoffs Tuesday. In a race closely watched in North Alabama, policy analyst Gary Palmer secured the Republican nomination in Alabama's 6th Congressional district. Palmer defeated State Representative Paul DeMarco. The six weeks between the June primary and Tuesday's runoff were marked by heated campaigning negative ads. Alabama's 6th Congressional district is solidly Republican, giving Palmer a high chance of winning the general election in November. The winner of that race replaces retiring longtime U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus of Vestavia Hills. Click the headline for more runoff results.

Kyle Whitmire: Alabama Runoff Elections

Alabamians voted in state legislative, congressional, and local primary runoffs Tuesday. We take a look at voter turnout rate, issues at the polls, and the winners and losers with Kyle Whitmire, political commentator for and the Birmingham News.

Female Inmates Can Face a Cycle of Abuse

While incarcerated women have characteristics that are similar to their male counterparts, a closer look reveals another story. Studies have shown that the majority of incarcerated women were victims of verbal, physical or sexual abuse before coming to prison. Les Lovoy reports how abuse in prison can re-traumatize women and the challenge for them to break the cycle of abuse, once they re-enter society.

Interview: Dr. Mark Wilson on Alabama's Painkiller Prescription Problem

The number of deaths caused by drug overdoses has steadily increased over the past 20 years. And it's not just illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin. The abuse of prescription painkillers is a huge, and growing, problem. Painkiller overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in America. The problem is more prevalent in the South, with Alabama leading the country for painkiller prescriptions. In 2012, there were 143 painkiller prescriptions for every 100 people in Alabama. WBHM's Rachel Osier Lindley spoke with Dr. Mark Wilson, Health Officer at the Jefferson County Department of Health, about why there are so many more painkiller prescriptions in the South and what Alabama is doing to address the problem.

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