NOAA Opens Tuscaloosa Water Center, State Legislature passes Education Budget

May 26, 2015

The University of Alabama is teaming up with Washington to study the nation's water. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association just unveiled its newest national center on the Tuscaloosa campus.

The twenty four million dollar National Water Center is a collaboration between several federal agencies. It will become the U.S. center for water forecasting.

NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says they plan to hit the ground running at the new center with a research project starting this summer.

“Agency folks from the federal family, university researchers, young students coming together to start really driving on these details of ‘How do you stitch together the mosaic of models that you have today into the more integrated, cohesive model picture, that’s also much more detailed?’”

The Center will also be a research hub to address challenges like water security and to better respond to droughts and flooding.

The Alabama Legislature has given final approval to the education budget that expands the state's prekindergarten program.

The House of Representatives unanimously approved a conference committee agreement  on the spending plan. The budget now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley for his signature.

The budget steers an additional $10 million to the state's pre-kindergarten program. The increase is projected to enable another 1,800 4-year-olds to attend the public preschool program.

Education budget chairman Rep. Bill Poole says the budget makes classroom spending a priority.  The budget does not include raises for state teachers.

Music lovers in Japan will soon be hearing from two children’s choirs from West Alabama. APR’s Pat Duggins has more on the concerts tied to Tuscaloosa’s sister city program…

Fifty three members of the Alabama Choir School will perform two concerts during their visit to Japan. What you’re hearing now is a Japanese pop song called Hotaro Koi, which translates as Oh, Firefly.

The thirty four fifth to eighth graders in the Ambassador choir will sing alongside the nineteen member high school chamber choir.

Director Doff Procter says the Japanese love American music—but there are cultural differences…

“They’re not wearing shorts even though it’s Summer. They’re just a very conservative thinking, acting, speaking people. And so, they’re educated…our guys.”

Tuscaloosa has a sister city relationship with Narashino, Japan. Mobile, Dothan, and Montevallo have sister cities in Japan as well.