Nelson Brooke has served as Black Warrior Riverkeeper since 2004. The nonprofit Black Warrior Riverkeeper organization provides leadership in protecting the Black Warrior River, one of the primary sources of drinking water to the City of Birmingham and several other surrounding municipalities and public water systems.
Nelson explains why water is so important and how the modern "disconnect" from water contributes to the lack of public awareness about the importance of protecting water.
We take a look at some of the challenges of protecting water in Alabama. We also discuss briefly some of the hidden costs that we incur personally and as a society as a result of failure to enforce existing water quality regulations and the failure to update water protection regulations. For instance, many pharmaceuticals and emerging chemical hazards aren't yet covered by the regulatory system or treatment protocols. We are exposed to these chemicals that persist in drinking water and this exposure contributes to the increased rates of cancer and other health problems. We collectively incur the medical costs of treatment of these health conditions and it might be less expensive to remove the chemicals from the water supply, or find ways to limit the discharge of these products into rivers, streams and reservoirs.
We also touch on the role that our natural environment plays in outdoor recreation and the economic opportunities this offers.
Find out more at http://birminghamshines.com
This week’s guest is Susan Shoemaker, a Birmingham mixed media artist. You can find her work around Birmingham and online. Just search for pencilpress.
Susan markets her work as pencilpress, which explains originated with her college art studies in printmaking and her love of drawing. And she also presses hard with her pencil. Hence, pencilpress.
Susan is known for her animal-focused art and she explains how she conceives and creates animal drawings, paintings and other pieces of art.
In our conversation, we touch on the creative process, art in schools and what it’s like to pursue art while working a full-time day job.
Susan explains how she gave up art for some years after college, while she worked full time, and then returned when she found that art was something that she could not let go.
Susan also talks about a few of the challenges that artists are facing—and they might surprise you. One is the challenge of dealing with bad weather during an outdoor art show. Another stems from the frequent requests that artists receive to donate their work for fundraising events. These are two things the artist community, overall, is facing and working to address, collectively.
We also talk about the challenges of pricing and value and perceptions of price, time, value and quality in the context of art AND food.
Susan's website is http://pencilpress.org (not .com)
Thanks to Chris and Ana Newsome for letting me commandeer a corner table at Ollie Irene at 4 p.m. one recent Friday afternoon to record the interview and thanks to the house staff for being so accommodating with the request to turn down the background music a bit while we were recording our conversation.
Birmingham mother, wife and green cleaning entrepreneur Rebecca Davis is the guest on episode 26 of Birmingham Shines.
Rebecca owns a cleaning business that uses only green cleaning products Rebecca makes at home. One of her clients suggested she begin selling the green cleaning products and that led Rebecca to the Co.Starters program offered through Create Birmingham.
In this episode, we talk about Rebecca's journey to green and clean, in cleaning and in eating.
Birmingham Shines will be returning to a weekly production schedule for the months of November and December, with the possibility of bonus episodes.
Rebecca's line of cleaning products are free of the typical synthetic chemicals we find in industrial cleaning products. Rebecca uses things like vinegar, baking soda, herbs and fermentation to create her products, which she sells at Pepper Place Saturday Market.
In today’s episode we mainly talk about Rebecca’s journey into the realm of green entrepreneurship and what triggered her decision to give up the traditional American diet to return to what I call whole real foods, but I’ll let her tell you that story.
During November and December 2015 only I’m offering a limited number of opportunities for nonprofits and local businesses to be a part of Birmingham Shines through sponsored content episodes.
I’ll be offering my services to host, interview and produce special episodes of Birmingham Shines to promote a seasonal event, year end fund raising campaign or holiday message.
The starting price is just $500 for the promoted episode (limits apply) and you, the business owner or nonprofit, will be able to use your audio file in other contexts beyond the Birmingham Shines podcast feed. If you’re interested in learning more about this , visit birminghamshines.com and click the link to 2015 sponsored content or simply email sheree at shereemartin dot com and say tell me more.
You can find links to her website and Facebook page in the episode post at BirminghamShines.com. And you can find Rebecca at Pepper Place Saturday Market each week for the rest of the 2015 season.
If you’re a small business owner or event planner with a special event or message to promote through on-demand audio, don’t forget to visit BirminghamShines.com to learn more about the limited time offer for promoted episodes.
Thank you so much for listening to Birmingham Shines. I hope you’ll share the show with your friends. See you soon!
You can find the links and full show notes at http://BirminghamShines.com
Industrial designer Scott Doty is the guest on episode 25 of Birmingham Shines.
We talk about the power of and importance of design in all facets of life and business.
We also get into tips and resources to help boost creativity and innovation, regardless of skill or experience.
Full show notes at http://birminghamshines.com
Please support Birmingham Shines and all of the Shinecast® resources and media content through Patreon. Visit http://birminghamshines.com/support to go directly to the Shinecast Patreon page.
This week’s guest on Birmingham Shines is writer T.K. Thorne, author of the award-winning novel Noah’s Wife.
Noah’s Wife received ForeWard Magazine’s Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction and T. K. has received a number of accolades and much critical acclaim for her fiction and non-fiction works, including Angels at the Gate, another novel in the genre of historical fiction, and Last Chance for Justice, a investigative non-fiction work about the Birmingham Church bombers.
I recently finished reading Noah’s Wife and I can say from first-hand experience that this is a compelling, page-turning work of historical fiction. I literally did not want to stop reading each night when it was time for me to turn off the light.
I hope you enjoy this conversation, we start with a look at her early years and then focus on her journey to becoming a published writer and how the characters in her stories come to life.
You'll probably only get an episode every other week during the month of October. That's something I'm contemplating. If you want to keep up to date to know for sure, please visit http://birminghamshines.com and sign up for the email newsletter. You can find the sign-up form just below the player on any episode page.
Lawrence Sheffield knew from a young age that he wanted to work with his hands, his heart and his mind and that college was not in his plans. His love of woodworking inspired a vision to start a training program to help young men learn both job and life skills through woodworking. That vision led to the creation of Magic City Woodworks, a 501c3 nonprofit in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lawrence is my guest on this week's episode of Birmingham Shines, along with Jacob Pierce who serves as the volunteer coordinator for Magic City Woodworks.
In this conversation, we talk about the importance of doing meaningful work and the life lessons that can be learned through woodworking and other trades.
One of the most important books I've read in the past 5-6 years is Shop Craft as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford.
When I discovered Magic City Woodworks through Instagram I knew I had to reach out to these guys and learn more about what they are doing. I'm so glad I did. I think you'll love this conversation.
You can find more at http://birminghamshines.com.
If you like this podcast, I hope you'll considering purchasing my ebook (a PDF), 7 Days of Real Food. The price is $5 through Friday, September 19, 8 p.m. CDT. You can purchase online through the link at http://shinecast.net. I'll be adding a purchase page to Birmingham Shines this weekend.
Teresa Thorne, executive director of the City Action Partnership, is the guest on episode 22 of Birmingham Shines. She describes the role of the CAP team, the services they provide, and shares an example of how the CAP officers go beyond the "call of duty."
Teresa is a former Birmingham police officer and she shares some of the reasons she thinks downtown Birmingham Shines.
I'll be publishing another part of our conversation in a future episode that focuses on Teresa's writing. She's a successful author who's published several acclaimed books under her pen name, T.K. Thorne.
Find out more at http://birminghamshines.com
Stacey Hood is my guest on episode 21 of Birmingham Shines. Stacey is in the midst of launching Old Swole Podcast, a crossfit focused show for the over 35 crowd.
Stacey and I talk about the importance of real food, physical activity (doesn't have to be crossfire, just move), sleep, body image and more.
My new show, Discover Grow Shinecast, also has a big wellness/fitness/health component.
Stacey's co-host on the Old Swole Podcast is Jay Symms.
More at http://birminghamshines.com
The word "Kuumba" means create.
Deidre Clark is bringing innovative programs to Ensley to inspire and train kids in the creative arts.
The latest program will provide training and mentoring in the field of graphic design and offer high school students the chance to gain valuable job skills and a portfolio to supplement college applications and/or pursue employment or freelance opportunities.
In this episode, we walk through the history of Kuumba Community Art and into this new direction.
Deidre also provides tips on how you can choose yourself to do that thing that you've been dreaming of doing. Find out more at http://birminghamshines.com
Journey Beyond with Mwendo Adventures.
Episode 19 of Birmingham Shines features a conversation with Joe Caruga and Jason McCracken.
Joe is a native of Kenya who moved to Birmingham to study. Jason is a Birmingham entrepreneur. They met at Dawson Memorial Church and that led to travels to East Africa and the formation of Mwendo Adventures.
Mwendo Adventures provides bespoke safaris, climbs and other adventures on the African continent (with other stops on the way).
In this conversation we talk about what makes African special---with an emphasis on Kenya and other destinations in East Africa--and what it's like to travel with Mwendo Adventures. We also talk about what is beautiful about Africa and the importance of connection, community and living in the moment. There's also a surprise after the tag at the end.
Thanks to Erin Street for introducing me to Joe.
More at http://birminghamshines.com
This week’s guest is Deon Gordon--if you’re civic minded and under 40 you probably know Deon. If you’re over 40 and civic minded you’ve probably heard of Deon, even if you don’t know him personally.
Deon is one Birmingham’s champions and just an all-around super nice guy.
In March 2015, Deon assumed the role of director of business development for REV Birmingham.
Deon was one of the first four individuals I reached out to when I began working on the show. We had everything scheduled for him to be guest #2, but then a series of scheduling snafus led to rescheduling and it wasn't until early August that we were finally able to connect for a conversation. We ended up meeting at 7 a.m. to get the interview onto our calendars!
Authenticity and local culture are two of the necessary ingredients for a successful 21st century city. Deon believes Birmingham has finally begun to tell its own story of authenticity, beginning with the culinary and food scene.
We talk about some of Deon's favorite Birmingham people, places and things--like Railroad Park, Gip's Place and Chez FonFon.
In this episode, I talk with Dr. Scot Duncan, associate professor at Birmingham Southern College and author of Southern Wonder: Alabama's Surprising Biodiversity.
The focus of the conversation is on the economics of protecting nature--from the value of ecosystem services to the economic growth we derive through outdoor recreation and tourism to the health benefits of time spent in nature (which reduce healthcare costs and stress that lowers productivity in the workplace).
I recorded this interview with Dr. Scot Duncan a couple of weeks before the release date and scheduled it for epsiode 17 because I had a conference and other constraints that would keep me from doing new interviews during the 10 days or so leading up to August 6, the date I'm publishing this episode of Birmingham Shines.
In a sad coincidence, the night before the episode was scheduled to publish for Birmingham Shines the Alabama State Senate voted, 23-1, in a special session to destroy the Alabama Forever Wild program by diverting funds from that program to fund the Alabama State Parks system.
The Forever Wild program was approved in 2012 by a 75% of Alabama voters who authorized a 20-year continuation of the program. Forever Wild Alabama is funded through 10% of the interest on oil and gas royalties paid to the State by oil and gas developers. The Forever Wild program and lands in the program are not intended to be a replacement or substitute for the Alabama State Parks.
I hope this conversation with Dr. Duncan will contribute to public awareness of the travesty that will occur if the House goes along with the State Senate and passes legislation to divert funding and end Forever Wild. I hope that this conversation will raise awareness that nature is a leading engine of our economic not an expense.
One of the fastest (and least expensive) ways we could boost our state's economy is to grow our tourism industry, with an emphasis on outdoor recreation and outdoor sports, like fishing, boating, water sports, hiking, climbing, bird watching, and more. We need well-funded state parks and we need lands in Forever Wild.
I hope you will share this episode widely and contact your Alabama legislators and the Governor and tell them to protect funding for Forever Wild, fund state parks and grow our economy by emphasizing the natural beauty of our state. Our lives depend on nature.
Visit http://birminghamshines.com for more.
This episode is also published as episode 22 of the Shine Springs Farm Shinecast®.
David Sher is a Birmingham businessman who started the Comeback Town blog in 2012 to spark a conversation about change in Birmingham.
David's goal is to have a conversation about hard questions that many have said should not be asked because the effort would be futile. Perhaps the tide is turning now, due to the Comeback Town Blog's growing readership and the increase in subscribers to the companion email newsletter.
In episode 16 of Birmingham Shines, David Sher explains how he came to be interested in social media (especially LinkedIn) at the stage of life when most successful businessmen are thinking of retiring to a golf course or lake house. After several years as a social media consultant to businesses and executives, David put his knowledge of online relationship building and content marketing to work with The Comeback Town blog.
I met David briefly at TEDxBirmingham in February 2014 and reached out to him through LinkedIn recently to be a guest on Birmingham Shines. I had just discovered his Comeback Town blog through a post he shared on LinkedIn.
I think it's very important to have meaningful conversations about important issues in our community and I love the work that David is doing to make this happen.
I hope you enjoy this conversation. Visit http://birminghamshines.com for more.
This week we have another writer on the show, my friend Carla Jean Whitley.
Carla Jean is one of the first people I approached about being on Birmingham Shines because I know how much she loves Birmingham. We decided to time her appearance on the show to coincide with the release of her new book, Birmingham Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Magic City, which will be available for purchase starting July 27, 2015. The official book launch event is set for July 27 from 4-6 p.m. at The Alabama Booksmith in Homewood.
Carla Jean has several other appearances around town for book signings and readings. You can visit carleajeanwhitley.com for details and I’ll also include the upcoming events that I know about in the show notes for episode 15, which you can find at BirminghamShines.com.
In addition to books and writing, Carla Jean and I talk about some of the places she loves to share with Birmingham visitors, and what it means to seek peace.
One thing we share in common is that To Kill a Mockingbird is our favorite book.
In the final segment of this week’s show we talk about what this book means to us.
By happenstance, we recorded the conversation the week before Go Set a Watchman was released and before either of us had read it. At this point, I still have read it and won't get to read Go Set a Watchman for another week or so, but I know that Carla Jean has been an active participant in discussions about both books in recent week, through her writings for The Birmingham News / AL.com and her #RedClayReaders podcast.
Some stories are meant to be told.
The Caldwell Family’s story of survival is one example. Albert and Sylvia Caldwell met at Park College in Missouri and embarked (on their wedding day) in 1909 on their journey to Siam to become missionaries. By February 1912, before the terms of the missionary appointment had been met, the couple and infant son were making their way back home to the United States. By happenstance—or fate—the Caldwells ended up on the Titanic in April 2012 and were one of the few families to survive the disaster.
One of the goals of Birmingham Shines is to shine the light on stories that aren’t necessarily being told, at least not on a widespread basis.
Dr. Julie Hedgepeth Williams, a media historian, scholar, educator and the guest for episode 14 of Birmingham Shines is one of those individuals who doesn’t always get the recognition she deserves. Julie also has a story that is meant to be told.
In this episode, Julie and I talk about researching and writing narrative-style historical nonfiction and we also delve into traditional publishing in 2014.
Julie’s most recent book is the award-winning A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells’ Story of Survival. This book recounts the story of the Caldwell family, from the time Al and Sylvia met at Park College through the years after they were among the passengers who survived and sailed to safety in NYC aboard the Carpathian.
We also talk about Julie’s first book, Wings of Opportunity, about the Wright brothers’ commercial aviation school in Montgomery, Alabama and her upcoming book that looks at three key figures in the emergence of Southern literature as a specific literary genre.
If you’re interested in historical nonfiction—this is the episode for you!
As always, you can find more detailed show notes at http://birminghamshines.com.
Check out the Shinecast Facebook page to stay up-to-date on all things Shinecast®.
Mark Kelly, publisher of Weld for Birmingham, is the guest for episode 13 of Birmingham Shines.
If you’re in Birmingham, you know Mark as a writer and voice for change in Birmingham and in Alabama.
In today’s show we talk a little bit about the founding of Weld for Birmingham, but our main focus is a conversation about bigger questions like the role of journalism, change that is sparked by grassroots efforts of “we the people,” the importance of hope, challenges in education, poverty and how poverty hampers economic growth and educational opportunity, and the importance of having a vision and then going after that vision.
Mark and I have a history dating back to the very early 70s when we were kids in elementary school.
Back in January (2015), I wrote a blog post about 10 people who influenced my life. These weren’t necessarily the MOST influential people in my life but the list was about 10 people who really made a difference in some way.
Mark Kelly was the one person from my peer group who made the list. And he made it because having Mark in my life during those formative years as a tween and a teen sort of forced me, at least in a subconscious way (I think) to step up my game in terms of ambition, intellectual development, and breadth of interests.
Mark and I weren’t rivals or directly competitive but we had conversations that went well beyond the typical teen stuff. I feel like I should give a shout out to Joey Johnson who was also often part of those conversations and debate.
Mark and I both loved the comedian Steve Martin, Saturday Night Live, The Far Side comics. And I credit Mark Kelly with introducing me to the music of Beatles.
I already knew of the Beatles before, of course, but in high school Mark made me a cassette of Beatles music that I hadn’t heard before--the Beatles catalog, beyond the hits that everyone knew.
That sampler clued me in on how and why the Beatles basically defined the future of popular music. I wore that tape out in college and eventually ended up with the entire Beatles catalog on CD.
I close the show with these questions:
For some it may simply be raising your kids in the best way you can. Parenting is the most important calling and responsibility of all.
For others, you may have a vision and a calling and be working to make that vision real.
Whatever it is you’re trying to do, I hope it’s intentional and I hope you’re willing to leave your all on the field so that when the game is over you gave it your best shot.
And regardless of your mission or vocation or avocation keep this in mind:
We’re here to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and spirit and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
It starts and ends with love.
Love is all you need.
That Beatles reference wasn't planned when I wrote the intro notes but I couldn't resist here.
I hope that today you’ll help someone else to Shine.
Episode 12 of Birmingham Shines features Jennifer Skjellum, president of Tech Birmingham, a nonprofit that provies education, professional development and networking opportunities for tech professionals, entrepreneurs and companies with IT departments.
Jennifer is the executive director of Central Alabama chapter of Angel Investor Management Group, a network for angel investors who focus on companies in the southeastern US.
Jennifer is also owner of Run-Time Computing, one of several computer businesses she's been a part of starting during her professional life.
We talk about the state of entrepreneurship in Alabama, the geographic and workforce challenges of starting a tech company in the deep South, the positive attributes of the Birmingham metro area for anyone who's considering a move to the area to start or work for a tech company.
The intro and closing comments are different, but the conversation/interview segment is the same as episode 3 of the Ignite Alabama podcast.
Show notes related to the Birmingham topics in this episode are available at http://birminghamshines.com.
John McCarter, director of business development for Soluble Therapeutics, Inc., describes the company's history and path to commercialization of technology developed at UAB.
Soluble Therapeutics, Inc. developed and has commercialized technology that enables the rapid formulation of biologic solutions for delivery of protein-based pharmaceuticals. In the past couple of years, Soluble Therapeutics has received several infusions of capital from venture funds and a major NIH grant.
In addition to explaining the company's technology, John explains how he uses LinkedIn and other internet-based communication platforms to grow the company's client base around the world.
We also cover the attributes of a 21st century economy and whether Birmingham (is moving in the right direction.
As always, you can find more about this week's show at http://birminghamshines.com
Birmingham Shines is a Shinecast® show.
What makes someone shine? Doing the thing that you love, makes you shine. So find what it is and do that.
Sage advice from Taylor Robinson, owner of Six Foot Five Productions & co-founder of Arc Stories, this week's guest on Birmingham Shines.
We talk about storytelling, creativity, the ultimate source of our creativity, fulfilling our unique purposes (and most of us have more than one, we both agree), and doing the thing that excites us.
I reached out to Arc Stories back in April, hoping to schedule someone to talk about the Arc Stories events and podcast for one of the early episodes of Birmingham Shines. Due to a death in the family, my original Arc Stories story coach guest had to delay and offered Taylor Robinson as his substitute.
I had never met Taylor prior to this conversation recorded June 4, 2015, but I knew a fair amount about his work as a filmmaker and videographer. What I found is someone with whom I seem to have great deal in common.
I love this conversation because Taylor and I seem to share a lot of the same values: A belief that kindness matters and that creativity comes from taking in lots of inspiration from myriad sources.
I hope you enjoy it.
As always, more detailed show notes will be available at http://birminghamshines.com.
André Natta moved to Birmingham in 2004 because he wanted to play a role in the rebirth of the Magic City. He is a journalist and urban conversationalist--someone who seeks to find and tell the stories that aren't being told.
André set out to fill a gap in local news coverage when he established the hyperlocal website, The Terminal: Birmingham's Hub and that site was immensely helpful to me when I set out to discover more about Birmingham when I moved here in 2009.
Our conversation covers a lot of territory. We talk about the impact of the digital revolution on traditional media, the role of the traditional media, and the new voices that are emerging to help write and share the new stories about Birmingham. Near the end of our conversation, André says, in reference to Birmingham's emerging new identity: "I believe this city was built to change the South." I hope you'll listen and find out what he means.
Complete show notes and more are available at http://birminghamshines.com
This is a bonus episode of Birmingham Shines, featuring David Weigel, a young educator and explorer who moved to Birmingham in 2014 to become the director of Christenberry Planetarium at Samford University.
David shares a bit about his love for space exploration what he likes about Birmingham (the outdoors and the city's amenities), and some of the topics that will be covered during the Alabama Summer Skies program at Christenberry Planetarium this summer.
The free planetarium shows are interactive and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. The first show is set for June 16, 2015 and that's why I wanted to release this episode as a bonus, while still adhering to my regular Thursday publication schedule.
In addition to astronomy 101, the shows include updates on current NASA missions like New Horizons and Dawn, and the European Space Agency Rosetta mission to the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
David talks about these missions in this episode of Birmingham Shines, as well as what you can see in the Alabama night sky this summer even if you can't make it to one of the shows at Christenberry Planetarium.
For details about the Alabama Summer Skies shows visit the Christenberry Planetarium Facebook page. You'll find a link to the page and the complete show notes at http://birminghamshines.com.
The regular episode of Birmingham Shines will be published, as scheduled, early Thursday morning.
Jessica & Scott moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 2011 from Manhattan for Jessica's work (medical research) and set out to discover Birmingham through the Magic City's food culture.
They started out sharing amazing food finds with friends on Facebook and that led them into the world of food blogging. Their blog, What to Eat in Birmingham, is extremely successful and popular and offers more than just information about where to eat.
Jessi & Scott offer a community-oriented story about restaurants that aren't always in the news. They feature interviews with chefs and go deep to tell the story-behind-the-story.
In this episode of Birmingham Shines, Jessi and Scott talk about their journey as food bloggers, how they fell in love with Birmingham through food, and how they built a place in the community that grew out of their love for Birmingham's ethnic food culture.
Find out more at http://birminghamshines.com
Birmingham Shines is a Shinecast® show by Sheree Martin.
I recorded this interview with Daniel Drinkard in early May while getting a preview of the new location of Seasick Records, a vinyl record store in Birmingham, Alabama.
We talk about our love for music, common interests in punk and indie bands, and the reasons why listening to music on vinyl makes music seem more special. We also talk about the DIY ethic of Henry Rollins and why it matters to spend your days doing work you enjoy.
Daniel opened Seasick Records in November 2013, with his co-founder Chayse Porter, to offer a vinyl record store in Alabama that focuses on punk and indie music that Daniel loves. It didn't take long to outgrow the original location in Avondale, so Seasick is moving down Crestwood Blvd. a little ways to a new location next to Crestwood Coffee. This episode is released this week to coincide with the grand opening of Seasick at the new location.
As always, the complete show notes can be found here: http://birminghamshines.com
Amy Bickers is a professional writer and has had successful careers in feature writing, as a newspaper journalist and editor for Southern Living.
In 2009, Amy saw her ex-husband commit suicide. She used writing to make sense of the tragedy and deal with the grief. Ultimately, she turned from journaling to writing her truth of the experience and that turned into a memoir, The Geography of You and Me.
After literary agents turned down the manuscript because "no one knew her," Amy put the book aside for a while. Later she turned to Kickstarter and had a successful campaign. The memoir is now in production and will be available for sale by September.
In this conversation, we talk about writing as catharsis, life as a journey, and taking the plunge into doing the thing that makes you shine.
Complete show notes are available at http://birminghamshines.com
Taylor Peake Wyatt, co-founder of MotionMobs, shares the story of starting the software development company in 2010. We also talk about the path from idea to funding, how to address the shortage of tech industry talent in Alabama and the benefits of growing a tech business in the Magic City.
Full show notes and a PDF transcript will be available at http://birminghamshines.com