UA Students compete in NASA Competition, UAB football saga continues

May 18, 2015

Engineering students from Alabama are helping NASA design ways to dig for minerals on other planets. The agency’s Robotics Mining Competition begins this morning at the Kennedy Space Center.  Students from the University of Alabama and Shelton State Community College have built a robot digger for the competition.

Dr. Kenneth Ricks is an associate professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering.  He says this is robotics mining competition puts his team up against some of the best programs on the planet…

“This is an opportunity to really step up and show that our college of engineering at the University of Alabama and our programs are just as good or better than and matchup very well with any other programs.”

There are 50-to-60 teams competing in the competitions from across the country.  The team’s robot is allowed two competition runs of 10 minutes each to collect as much rock and soil as possible and deposit that material in a container for processing.

A minister who tried to perform a gay wedding in an Alabama courthouse has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct today.  The Montgomery Advertiser reports 44-year-old Anne Susan DiPrizio entered the plea in Autauga County.

A judge ordered her to pay a $250 fine and suspended her 30-day jail sentence.  Authorities arrested the Unitarian minister in February in Prattville while some counties were issuing same-sex wedding licenses in Alabama.

DiPrizio had offered to marry two women inside the Autauga County Probate Office even though the judge had banned all ceremonies in the office the day before.

The wedding didn't take place, but the women did get a marriage license.

Counties have since quit issuing the licenses as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether same-sex weddings are constitutional.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s new athletic director starts his new job today. However, it is not entire clear if, football, bowling and the school’s rifle team will be a part of Mark Ingram's program yet. 

Birmingham’s city council and the U-A-B student government association have pledged money to the program if those sports are reinstated. 

Jonathan Austin is the City Council President. He says there could be an issue besides money keeping the programs from coming back…

“I believe that there are forces at play right now that really do not want UAB to have a football program. I believe they are doing everything they can through Ray Watts to keep football from coming back to the university.”

Austin says having these sporting programs in place is a way to market the city. The city of Birmingham has pledged two point five million dollars to U-A-B over five years if the football, bowling and rifle teams are reinstated.