Student reporter Monica Nakashima

The Blue Marlin Grand Championship is happening this week at the Wharf in Orange Beach.

It starts on July 14 with weigh-ins occurring on the 16 and 17 which are the main attractions. Roughly 60 boats will be competing for up to $2 million in prizes. The event is free to attend.

Jim Cox is the emcee and host of the Blue Marlin Grand Championship. He said the reason behind the event’s tagline is the wow factor involved while the fishing is going on.

Tax free weekend will take place from July 16 to 18 in Alabama. This means residents will be able to buy items such as school supplies, clothing, and electronics with no added sales tax.

Nancy Dennis is the Director of the Alabama Retail Association. She said a variety of items will be tax free as long as they qualify within a certain price range.

Helen Keller Hospital

The Helen Keller Hospital in Tuscumbia is hosting an event to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

A “Reels, Wheels and Meals” event will be hosted at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight. The hospital has been in the process of planning the festivities before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The theme for the celebration is “100 Years of Heroes.”

Hunter Nicholson is the marketing coordinator for Helen Keller. He said the event will start at six and have organized events.

The city of Mobile is teaming up with Alabama People Against a Littered State (ALPALS) to support the “Don’t Drop it on Alabama” Spring Cleanup this April and May.

The first organized community cleanup will be hosted by Dog River Clearwater Revival and will focus on the areas around Baumhauer-Randle Park on 1909 Duval Street in Mobile. The cleanup and collection of litter will take place on April 17, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Cleanup supplies such as litter grabbers, bags, gloves and safety vests will be provided by the City of Mobile.



A Northern Alabama county ranks last in the state for having fully vaccinated residents. 

New statistics show Winston County ranks last in terms of people who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in Alabama. The state as a whole has the country’s lowest inoculation rate.

Businesses are open in the county and few people wear masks even prior to the official mask mandate for the state that ends this evening. 

Kay Ivey mask
Associated Press

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is urging people to wear masks in public after the statewide mask mandate expires next month.

On the 22, Ivey said masks remain one of the most important tools for fighting COVID-19.

Her office also released sign designs for businesses to use to request patrons to wear masks.

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility was also expanded in Alabama on the 22.

The expansion adds more than 2 million people to the groups who can get a COVID-19 vaccination in the state.

Bessemer Train Depot
Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

A nonprofit group in Bessemer is hoping to create a new park built around a train depot.

The Bessemer Redevelopment Corps recently purchased the city’s train depot with the intent to make it a community and cultural hub.

The depot has been out of commission since it caught fire in 2017.

WIAT-TV reports backers of the idea are calling it the future Railroad Park of Bessemer.

They're also considering having a sustainable hydroponic garden to help offer food to residents in surrounding neighborhoods.

The nation may see a rise in gas prices soon due to the winter conditions in Texas.

The Lone Star state is the main producer of gas in the country. According to an article, 11 refineries in Texas and one in Kansas have at least partially closed due to the extreme cold weather. Alabamians could see a slight raise in gas prices within a few weeks.

Alabamians were reminded this past week how dangerous driving during snowy conditions can be. People who are not used to extreme cold weather can overlook some important steps to take before operating a vehicle.

Clay Ingram is a PR representative for AAA Alabama. He said it’s important to clean off all your car windows and lights before getting on the road.

Residents in North Alabama have an opportunity to connect with automotive companies this week.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting job hiring, the North Alabama Virtual Automotive Manufacturing Hiring Event hopes to connect residents with TBAKI, Mazda-Toyota, Zutech USA, and BASF. The event will take place on Feb. 11 from 4-5:30 p.m. and Feb. 13 from 12-1:30 p.m. The event is free and participants need a mobile phone or laptop to log in. The Huntsville-Madison Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event.


Locations for large scale COVID-19 vaccinations in Baldwin County are shifting south next week.

Individuals who are eligible to receive a dose include those who are 75 and older, or first responders. Shots will continue at the OWA center in Foley on Tuesday and Thursday.



Voting for the “Mask Up Alabama” video contest is coming to a close this Thursday at noon. 

The competition is asking Alabamians to vote on their favorite videos made by fellow residents sharing why they feel it’s important to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Hospital Association, and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama are sponsoring the contest. The three organizations selected 10 videos for the public to vote on out of almost 100 submissions. 


Hurricane Sally hit the Gulf Shores as a Category 2 storm with winds hitting 105 mph. The Alabama coast is receiving large downpours of rain and storm surges are covering the beaches.

The National Hurricane Center said this will result in dangerous, possibly historic flooding from the Florida Panhandle to Mississippi as well as inland on the coast within the upcoming days.


Alabama has ranked last in response to the 2020 US census. 

Numbers recorded from the U.S. Census show that Alabama has had the lowest percentage of households responding out of any other state in the country.