fbpx
Connect with us

#NNPA BlackPress

2019 Lexus UX 250h F Sport Quick Look

Published

on

2019 Lexus UX 250h F Sport Premium Package/Navigation Quick Look
2.0L 4 Cylinder Engine
181 HP Hybrid
CVT Transmission ( Electronic Continuously Variable)
Exterior Color: Nori Pearl Green
Interior Color: Black
41 MPG City, 38 MPG Highway, 39 MPG Combined
MSRP: $40,240.00

Our videos allow the autos to speak for themselves without any distractions from human voice-overs. Just natural sounds and great footage just for you. Unique to AutoNetwork.com.

Detailed video walkarounds and walkthroughs of most sought after new cars, trucks, SUV’s, crossovers, Vans, Minivans w/ detailed walkarounds of special models.
___
Sponsored by http://couponsoffersanddeals.com
___
#AutoNetwork
_
Subscribe to our channel now for more videos.
___
G+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/116524960847261924961
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=629939909
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/liveautos
LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/autonetwork

Roosevelt Gist

Roosevelt Gist, President


AutoNetwork.com


Roosevelt sold cars, leased autos and wrote numerous articles on buying, leasing and financing autos for several African American Newspapers. AutoNetwork.com began in 1986 as a car buying service for credit unions in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. AutoNetwork.com evolved over the years to the largest and most focused website for video of car company new product introductions, live weekly auto talk show and detailed video walk arounds of new cars.  Roosevelt conducted last interview of JFK, Jr. on camera before his untimely death. 

Roosevelt Gist, President

AutoNetwork.com

Roosevelt sold cars, leased autos and wrote numerous articles on buying, leasing and financing autos for several African American Newspapers. AutoNetwork.com began in 1986 as a car buying service for credit unions in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. AutoNetwork.com evolved over the years to the largest and most focused website for video of car company new product introductions, live weekly auto talk show and detailed video walk arounds of new cars.  Roosevelt conducted last interview of JFK, Jr. on camera before his untimely death. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#NNPA BlackPress

Youth Candle Business Expands to Macy’s

THE AFRO — When three of Celena Gill’s sons asked her to buy them a Nerf gun and more than $500 in video games, she told them to get a job or start a business.  She was only kidding. 

Published

on

Young entrepreneurs Ryan Gill, Collin Gill and Austin Gill with their candles. (Courtesy Photo)

By Lenore T. Adkins

When three of Celena Gill’s sons asked her to buy them a Nerf gun and more than $500 in video games, she told them to get a job or start a business.

She was only kidding.

But her sons, Collin, 14, Ryan, 11, and Austin, 8, they took her words to heart and launched Frères Branchiaux Candle Co. in October 2017 to make soy and vegetable wax candles, room sprays, diffusers, soaps and bath bombs out of the home they share with their parents in Prince George’s County.

Frères Branchiaux means “Gill Brothers” in French — Collin is already fluent in the language while his younger brothers are studying it.

“We wanted to do Gill Brothers Candle Company, but there’s Gill Brothers’ Trucking, Gill Brothers Air Support,” Ryan Gill explains.

In the 22 months since they started their company, the boys have sold more than 10,000 units — candles are their top-selling product and range between $18 and $36.

“It’s really all word of mouth,” Celena Gill told the AFRO. “Like, I rarely reach out to people.”

They’re already selling their products in more than 30 stores and they’re looking to expand.

Starting in November, their products will be sold on The Workshop at Macy’s alumni e-commerce site, confirms Katelyn Yannie, Macy’s manager of Northeast Relations.

And the brothers are raising $20,000 on gofundme.com to buy a truck that’ll serve as a mobile store for their business. This will make it easier for them to sell their wares at various events.

“It’s easier than a van and we … don’t have to pack the candle stuff in it,” Ryan Gill explained.

The truck would also double as a mobile training center where the boys could help coordinate job training for homeless trying to get back on their feet or as a hub for the brothers to pass on their entrepreneurial skills to various youth groups and schools.

As it is, they donate 10 percent of their profits to the homeless.

The boys settled on making candles not only because their mother loves burning in the house, but also because her research found candles are the most successful kiddie business, Celena Gill said.

They started out experimenting with candle making using formulas their mother brought back from a candle class that her friend and soror Danita Nikki Brooks, founder of Zen in a Jar, a home and body care line, ran. Then Celena Gill went to a pro candle maker workshop to learn more techniques that helped her boys learn little tweaks.

“Making candles is purely science,” Celena Gill said. “Everything matters, whether your candle cannot burn or (if) it’ll blow up. It’s a very deliberate product because you can burn someone’s house down.”

The boys made candles as a lesson in school — Celena Gill homeschools her younger sons and Collin Gill will soon begin his freshman year at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C.

After about two weeks, they were ready to start selling, Celena Gill said. The boys have made more than enough to buy all the things they wanted and then some.

They earned six figures for their work last year and are on pace to double that in 2019, their mother says.

At the time the boys launched their business, their mother was already selling inspirational T-shirts, mugs, lapel pins and pillows through her website, Celena Gill Design and she did pop-ups as well. Meanwhile, her husband, Patrick Gill sells personal care and beard products for men through his company, Black Oak Grooming.

“All of us do something,” she told the AFRO.

In those early days, the boys relied on their family members, as well as their parents’ friends, school and business contacts, fraternity brothers and sorority sisters.

Looking to the future, the boys plan to focus more on the retail end of their business and training other kids to become entrepreneurs.

“If they don’t want to do it, you can’t make them if the effort isn’t there,” Celena Gill said of kids thinking about opening their own business. “Some people love working nine to five and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Two years later, mother still grieves

WAVE NEWSPAPERS — LaTisha Nixon stood under a large oak tree in front of the apartment where her son died of a methamphetamine overdose she says was injected by Ed Buck, whom she referred to as a sexual predator.  At a remembrance on the second anniversary of Gemmel Moore’s death, before a gathering of family, friends and supporters, Nixon reflected on the journey to seek justice for her son.

Published

on

LaTisha Nixon (Photo by: wavenewspapers.com)
LaTisha Nixon (Photo by: wavenewspapers.com)

WEST HOLLYWOOD — LaTisha Nixon stood under a large oak tree in front of the apartment where her son died of a methamphetamine overdose she says was injected by Ed Buck, whom she referred to as a sexual predator.

At a remembrance on the second anniversary of Gemmel Moore’s death, before a gathering of family, friends and supporters, Nixon reflected on the journey to seek justice for her son.

“My child is gone,” she said. “I can’t protect him anymore, but I can’t let go. The best thing I can do now is get justice in the best way that I know how to get justice.”

Moore, 26, a gay black man who worked as an escort, was found unresponsive in the apartment of Buck, 64, a white man who is considered a prominent donor to Democratic Party candidates, in the early morning hours of July 27, 2017.

According to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s report, Moore’s nude body was found in the living room along with 24 syringes with brown residue, five glass pipes with white residue and burn marks, a plastic straw with possible white residue, clear plastic bags with white powdery residue and a clear plastic bag with a “piece of crystal-like substance.”

The coroner’s office ruled Moore death as an accidental overdose of methamphetamine.

Moore left behind a journal chronicling his complicated relationship with Buck. One journal entry implicated that Buck was responsible for introducing Moore to methamphetamine.

“I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that. Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth.”

In the aftermath of Moore’s death, other young black gay escorts came forward to tell of their drug experiences with Buck. The men alleged Buck enjoyed watching the effect the drug had on them and would offer payment in exchange for allowing him to inject them with meth.

Family and friends suspected that it was Buck that injected Moore with the fatal dose of meth.

Following an 11-month investigation by the sheriff’s department, County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office concluded that “admissible evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that [Buck] is responsible for the death of Gemmel Moore.”

Eighteen months later, on the morning of Jan. 7, 2019, a second black gay man was found dead in Ed Buck’s apartment.

At the time of his death, Timothy Dean, 55, worked as a fashion consultant in Century City. The circumstances surrounding his death were similar to Moore’s.

Coroner’s investigators report noted that Buck’s apartment was littered with clothing and sex toys. Investigators collected three sealed glass vials, three syringes and two glass pipes. One of the pipes contained methamphetamine. One of the vials was labeled “naloxone,” the medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The report also noted two pieces of thick, clear plastic tubing was found near Dean’s body.

The coroner determined that Dean also died of a methamphetamine overdose.  The sheriff’s homicide investigation into Dean’s death is ongoing.

Buck maintains he was not responsible for the deaths of Dean and Moore. His attorney, Seymour Amster, described Moore as a “good friend” of Buck’s and said that Dean and Buck had been friends for 25 years.

After the district attorney’s office declined to bring charges against Buck for the death of her son, Nixon filed a civil wrongful-death lawsuit filed last month against Buck, District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum.

In the lawsuit, Nixon stated that her son died after being injected with a lethal dose of crystal meth by Buck, who has a “well-documented history of isolating black men for predatory sexual encounters.”

The remembrance for Moore was organized by social activist Jasmyne Cannick and the political action group Color of Change. During the event, many called for Lacey’s office and the Sheriff’s Department to do their job and bring charges against Buck for the deaths of Moore and Dean.

Others expressed fears that as long as Buck is free, financially vulnerable gay black men are at risk.

“Justice needs to come his way for the sake of other potential victims,” said Maurice Kitchen, who knew Moore and has spoken at previous vigils and protests calling for Buck’s arrest. “We’re going to do our best to prevent a third victim or even a fourth.”

“We’re not only going to make sure Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean get justice, but we’re going to make sure that other people that didn’t die, but have to live with the trauma that stems from all the things he’s done to them, get the justice they deserve.”

Nixon has lost count of how many times she has flown in from her home in Texas to Los Angeles to bring attention to Moore’s death. She expressed her frustration that Buck has not been criminally charged in the death of her son or Dean.

“I’m angry. Something should have been done by now. We shouldn’t still be here. I can’t stop because I’m worried that there are other young men in danger.”

This article originally appeared in the Wave Newspapers

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

MTA Board Votes to Raise Fares and Cut Service

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — Because of an $8.7 million budget shortfall, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is raising fares and cutting 8 bus routes. Regular bus fare will increase from $1.70 to $2.  WeGo’s door to door paratransit service will increase from $3.40 to $3.70 per trip. The fare increases will go into effect August 2. Route changes will occur in late September.

Published

on

Rhonda Clark, a frequent user of WeGo’s on-demand service, reading the meeting agenda and studying the proposed changes MTA board approved last week.
Rhonda Clark, a frequent user of WeGo’s on-demand service, reading the meeting agenda and studying the proposed changes MTA board approved last week.

By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN — Because of an $8.7 million budget shortfall, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is raising fares and cutting 8 bus routes. Regular bus fare will increase from $1.70 to $2.  WeGo’s door to door paratransit service will increase from $3.40 to $3.70 per trip. The fare increases will go into effect August 2. Route changes will occur in late September.

Magnetic stripe change and fare cards will be in use until December 2020. WeGo will then switch to stored value fare cards which are like EBT debit cards. So-called smart media will automatically provide a two-hour transfer. Buses will still accept cash but no longer sell tickets in order to speed up boarding times.

The bottom line is that bus riders will pay more for less service. At a board meeting last week, the MTA directors decided to cut its two free downtown circular routes, and instead will ferry commuters from the Music City Star train station to a few downtown stops. The part of Route 29 which goes down Jefferson Street to TSU will be retained but cost a normal fare.

The increased fares will bring in an extra $300,000 and that will keep Sunday service on the 25 Midtown route. It will also allow expanded service on Routes 8 and 17 on 8th Avenue South. Other changes are listed at WeGo’s website: nashvillemta.org.

Music City Riders (MCR), a group of concerned Metro bus riders, are frustrated with the status quo and want more bus routes and want them to run more frequently and operate longer. They cite the need for more crosswalks and more sheltered bus stops. 

“I think it’s going to be a transit crisis. A lot of people have limited funds who are depending on the buses to get to work or hospitals,” said Kutonia Smith, MCR spokesperson.

About 100 Music City Riders rallied in front of the central bus terminal on Tuesday, June 18, and marched to City Hall in support of a substitute budget that would have raised teachers’ wages, continued certain bus routes, and extended hours of operation. The city council failed to pass that budget by one vote forcing the cutbacks to Metro’s bus service.

“We need a new mayor who’s for the Nashville workers,” Smith said. “We don’t feel like the ones who are here are for the people so they need to be replaced. They’re not for the Nashvillians who live here. They’re just for the tourists,” she said. 

“The riders union is consistently and regularly raising hell about these things, as they should. And they have been focused where they should be focused—on the council and the Mayor,” said Walter Searcy. Searcy is a MTA board member and chairs MTA’s operations and finance committee.

“The access ride community is really is bus dependent. They come out to these meetings. You can expect that they will be well-represented,” Searcy said. 

MTA’s paratransit service uses smaller buses for people with disabilities and the elderly who are picked up from their homes. About 100 people attended the MTA board meeting on Thursday, June 27 at Music City Center. About 25 bus riders took three minutes at the microphone to address the five-member MTA board.

Rhonda Clark is glad the on-demand service won’t be cancelled. “You can‘t go anywhere in this town for $2. You can’t go anywhere in this town for $4. You can sit in traffic and waste $2 in gas,” Clark said. Clark is okay with paying a bit more to get where she wants to go and back again when she wants to return. She has lived in Nashville for 23 years.

“Nashville is one three cities out of the 40 largest cities in the country that does not have a dedicated funding stream for mass transit,” Searcy said. That means MTA does a yearly dance adjusting fares and services, as well as its workforce, from its piece of Metro’s operating budget.

“Future growth requires predictable and reliable funding to sustain the services we provide to our communities. This year’s budget only further serves to highlight the need for a long-term, dedicated funding source for transit, one that relieves pressure on a Metro General Fund budget crucial to so many community priorities,” said Steve Bland, WeGo Public Transit CEO. 

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Gov. Desantis: ‘It’s The Internet’

FLORDIA COURIER — The El Paso and Dayton shootings could help fuel debate in Tallahassee about gun-control issues and ideas for preventing mass violence, starting with a Florida Senate review of factors such as White supremacist terrorism. 

Published

on

Fans carry a sign that reads, “Pray for El Paso & Dayton” during a march before a pro soccer match in Orlando on Tuesday.

By Wire and Staff Reports

TALLAHASSEE – The El Paso and Dayton shootings could help fuel debate in Tallahassee about gun-control issues and ideas for preventing mass violence, starting with a Florida Senate review of factors such as White supremacist terrorism.

The shootings come after years of debate in Florida about gun-control issues, including whether to ban assault weapons. The Republican-dominated Legislature has rejected proposals by Democrats to ban the semiautomatic weapons, though a political committee, Ban Assault Weapons NOW, is trying to get a proposed ban on the November 2020 ballot.

“This weekend, we saw yet two more mass shootings in our country take the lives of 31 fellow Americans, with both shooters armed with military-grade assault weapons,” Gail Schwartz, chairwoman of Ban Assault Weapons NOW, said in a prepared statement.

“These events highlight the harsh reality: These killings will continue to happen, here in Florida and across the country, until we take action and do what our elected leaders have failed to do. We must ban these weapons of war.”

Legislative review

Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, on Monday directed Senate Infrastructure and Security Chairman Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, to lead efforts to determine if any further action is needed after laws were enacted in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

In the aftermath, the Legislature approved a wide-ranging measure that required schools to have safety officers, bolstered mental-health services and upgraded protections through school “hardening” projects.

The law also raised the minimum age from 18 to 21 and required a three-day waiting period for purchasing rifles and other long guns. The increase in the minimum age to purchase long guns drew a still-pending legal challenge from the National Rifle Association.

In May, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation (SB 7030) that built on the 2018 bill. Among other things, it expanded the controversial school “guardian” program to allow armed classroom teachers, put $75 million into school mental-health services and strengthened reporting requirements for potentially threatening incidents that happen on school premises.

State ‘red flag’

Part of the 2018 law established what is known as the “red flag” law, which allows law enforcement agencies to seize firearms from people they believe may pose a threat to themselves or others.

“With committee meetings resuming just one month from now, our focus should be on steps the Senate can take to review and better understand the various factors involved in mass shootings, in addition to, and also including, school shootings,” Galvano wrote in a memo to senators.

“This includes White nationalism, which appears to be a factor not only with regard to these recent mass shootings, but also with other acts of violence we have seen across the country in recent years.”

‘Focus on solutions’

DeSantis pointed to “recesses of the Internet” where people can share “vile” views and a need to look at White nationalism – along with other causes – when asked Wednesday about tackling mass violence.

But he also said, after a Purple Heart dedication ceremony at Tallahassee National Cemetery, that it’s not productive to any gun-safety dialogue to focus on partisan politics, as Democrats continued to criticize President Donald Trump after two mass shootings over the weekend.

“I have no interest in being part of people’s political narratives. I understand the narratives. I’ve seen it for years and years,” said DeSantis, an ally of the president. “I’m trying to focus on solutions, and that’s why we’ve been forward-looking on our threat assessment strategy.”

‘Never blamed Bernie’

DeSantis said delving into every word said by a politician as a way to find fault for a mass shooting only makes it harder to have discussions about preventive measures.

While Democrats have focused on Trump’s rhetoric, DeSantis, a former congressman, brought up a 2017 incident in which an activist who had worked on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign shot four people, including Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, during a GOP congressional baseball team practice.

“Absent of someone saying, ‘Hey, go do this,’ to try to cherry pick someone saying one thing and saying this led to that, I don’t think that’s productive,” DeSantis said. “That’s why I never blamed Bernie for (the) shooting (at) our baseball (practice), because as much as I disagree with what he (Sanders) says, what that individual did was not justifiable, and there was nothing that was said that would justify you doing that.”

DeSantis said that while it may still be too early to determine the impact of the mental-health aspects of the 2018 law – about 1,600 orders have been issued – he supports a proactive approach by law enforcement.

Various threats

“You have the guy in El Paso, which obviously that was like an ethno-nationalist motivation. Obviously, the Pulse nightclub (mass shooting in Orlando in 2017) was militant Islam. And then you have some people who are just crazy, there’s not necessarily a clear motivation,” DeSantis said.

“I think you have to be familiar with all of those types of threats and have the warning signs identified and then do something about it.”

Another area he said needs to be addressed, even though the government is limited in what it can do, is the Internet.

“You have these recesses of the Internet where people who may not have a lot of common compatriots where they live, now they can all congregate in this community online and spread a lot of the vile stuff,” DeSantis said.

House may not follow

The Florida House isn’t expected to engage in a similar review before the January start of the 2020 session. House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, released a statement in which he said “Racism, including White nationalism, is a vile, disgusting, un-American ideology.”

“We cannot lose sight, however, that those who subscribe to those beliefs are few and their ideas so rejected that their words and actions unify all Americans -– left and right, Black, White or Brown – in abhorrence and condemnation,” Oliva said.

Oliva noted that as a Hispanic American, he’s seen more generosity and inclusiveness than discrimination and hatred.

“What we know is; evil exists, all of us play part in either expanding hatred or loving our neighbor, and despite what we see on the news, America is a great place, filled with kind people, always willing to help a neighbor in need,” Oliva said. “We must ask ourselves more than ‘what to do’ we must figure out, as leaders and as a society, ‘who we are.’ ”

‘Deranged’ and ‘evil’

Attorney General Ashley Moody on Monday pointed to a need to prioritize public safety. Moody said during a news conference in Jacksonville that everyone should be “horrified, shocked and saddened” by the recent attacks and more needs to be done to detect “those that are mentally deranged, that would seek to do us harm.”

Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley said on Twitter that “the ideology of White supremacy is evil.”

“It is the antithesis of what our country stands for and it offends God,” Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said. “It must be confronted aggressively so that it cannot metastasize further.”

‘Republicans won’t act’

Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, urged Floridians to back the 2020 ballot proposal to ban assault weapons. Backers of the proposed constitutional amendment still need to submit hundreds of thousands of petition signatures and get a key approval from the Florida Supreme Court before the issue could go to voters.

“Republicans in FL won’t act on our epidemic of gun violence,” Farmer tweeted.

The details

The proposed constitutional amendment seeks to ban “possession of assault weapons, defined as semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device.”

The measure, which would not prohibit handguns, includes an exemption for military and law-enforcement personnel “in their official duties.”

The proposal would allow people who already own assault weapons at the time the constitutional amendment goes into effect to keep them, if they register the guns with state law enforcement.

Moody is asking the Supreme Court to block the proposal from going on the ballot and reiterated Monday that she thinks the proposal’s wording is “misleading,” contending the proposal would ban possession of “about virtually every self-loading long gun.”


Ana Ceballos and Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared in the Florida Courier.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Rebuilding Titusville Community with $300M in Investments

BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Picture the Titusville you grew to know and love, a place with miles of land and even more potential. There’s a sense of nostalgia watching so many walk the sidewalks, possibly just as people did where you grew up. Greenery catches the eye, until it’s interrupted by the sight of a vacant lot or a vacant home. Though soulless apartment buildings occupy many spaces, a taste of what once was still lingers in the air. There’s a strong sense of history but not much to commemorate it.

Published

on

The Villas at Titusville located on Goldwire Street South West in North Titusville (Ameera Steward, The Birmingham Times)
The Villas at Titusville located on Goldwire Street South West in North Titusville (Ameera Steward, The Birmingham Times)

By Ameera Steward

Picture the Titusville you grew to know and love, a place with miles of land and even more potential. There’s a sense of nostalgia watching so many walk the sidewalks, possibly just as people did where you grew up. Greenery catches the eye, until it’s interrupted by the sight of a vacant lot or a vacant home. Though soulless apartment buildings occupy many spaces, a taste of what once was still lingers in the air. There’s a strong sense of history but not much to commemorate it.

Now envision this same space with newfound light and life. Apartment buildings filled with love and community. A house built by generations of a family occupying a once-empty landscape. Black-owned businesses emerging from the shadows of blight and years of poverty.

Welcome to new and improved Titusville community, which is now undergoing $300 million in redevelopment that includes Atlanta, Ga.-based data center provider DC BLOX Inc. opening its flagship hub data center at the former Trinity Steel site in the historic Birmingham community.

And there’s more.

  • King Manor and Montevallo Gardens along Third Avenue Southwest have merged to form the University Crossings apartment complex, which will provide safe housing for veterans and those with low incomes.
  • Loveman Village—now known as the Villas at Titusville and undergoing construction by the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD)—is currently in the midst of phase one of a renovation that includes 100 units planned for completion by the fall; phase two will include 64 new units and should be complete in the summer of 2020.
  • The former Center Street Middle School was purchased by Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, which is making significant upgrades to improve the facility for its students and the surrounding community.

More Diversity

Titusville, a neighborhood nestled between the University of Alabama (UAB) to the east and Elmwood Cemetery to the west, launched the careers of politicians, college presidents, prize-winning journalists, and international bankers. It was home to prominent local leaders, such as African American architect Wallace Rayfield, who designed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church downtown Birmingham, and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It was one of the first neighborhoods in Birmingham where African Americans were allowed to own residential and commercial property.

“A lot of good things are coming to Titusville, a lot of good jobs. … No matter where you go, there will be great housing, great job opportunities, great developments, great opportunities to develop businesses,” said Crystal Smitherman, 25, who was born and raised in Titusville and now represents the area as the District 6 Birmingham City Council member.

“I’m excited because I think new housing will bring millennials, young families. It will still keep the integrity of the community, but it’ll also bring more life and more diversity.

She added, “Certainly, DC BLOX will push employee traffic to the area. Employees will opt to exercise at Memorial Park or use the walking trail to enhance their fitness routines. For decades, that property has been dormant. Now lights cut into the darkness. You can even see the red rooftop [of DC BLOX] from the street—it’s Titusville’s first skyscraper.”

Approximately eight developments are expected to be completed within the next few years, beginning in North Titusville with DC BLOX. The University Crossings apartment complex has just two more units to complete; the Davenport and Harris Funeral Home, located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, is expanding; Center Court apartments on Fifth Avenue will be demolished; and lights at Memorial Park around its baseball field are being repaired.

Improved Sidewalks And Safety

Jefferson County District 2 Commissioner Sheila Tyson, who represents the area, said, with all the current changes being made the community will soon be unrecognizable.

“Neighborhood Housing Services [of Birmingham Inc. (NHSB)] has plans to redevelop some homes [in Titusville], as well as develop streetscape plans [to improve] sidewalks and lighting,” she said.

NHSB stabilizes urban neighborhoods in Birmingham and surrounding areas by promoting personal financial empowerment and home ownership.

Improving quality of life in the area and providing safe and affordable housing for residents were among Tyson’s main focuses when she served as a city councilor for the area, beginning in 2013.

“All I wanted was [University Crossings] remodeled and people living there, but I wanted security too,” she said. “I didn’t want another Montevallo Gardens, [an apartment complex on Third Avenue Southwest that is now part of University Crossings], where we were having so many problems. I wanted [residents] to have security.”

University Crossings will have 24-hour security, as well as police officers onsite not only walking the premises but also living among the residents.

The former King Manor and Montevallo Gardens were combined to create University Crossings, which is housing some tenants while construction is ongoing. Other amenities in the apartment complex include matching appliances, as well as a day care facility and workforce development center. It also has a storage unit that is shared with the Villas at Titusville apartments.

“To secure the [Villas at Titusville] property, [the HABD] closed off certain areas to prevent people from running between apartments,” Tyson said. “Porches were redesigned so they’re not too big; they’re big enough for you to be able to talk to your neighbor but not so big that people can gather and hang out all day long. [The Villas at Titusville also] will get an air-conditioned recreation center, in addition to day care and workforce development centers.”

The HABD will provide the remaining $500,000 for the Villas at Titusville Early Childhood Development Program, which is expected to be completed within 12 months, through its capital improvements fund budget; the agency also recently announced that it has secured a $500,000 grant to renovate the existing onsite day care center facility.

Other HABD plans include the construction of approximately six houses on the property behind the Titusville Library on Sixth Avenue, as well as the development of 56 lots on which new affordable homes will be built. For these efforts, the HABD has partnered with the Birmingham Land Bank Authority, which transforms vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties into areas that increase community and overall … property values.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Memorial Park

Units in Titusville’s Memorial Park have been remodeled to include new floors; the complex also has a new pool, air conditioning in the gym, and fresh dugouts on the baseball field.

Another plus: DC BLOX recently opened its flagship hub data center on Sixth Street South across from Memorial Park. The initial investment is for 20 jobs with the potential to grow up to $785 million in capital investment. In addition, Tyson asked DC BLOX for a 15-year agreement to install a computer lab in the Memorial Park recreation center, which resulted in company officials promising to not only update the computers but also buy chairs, tables, and a printer for the facility.

“On my side, during my time on the City Council, I promised to install the alarm system to secure the [facility],” Tyson said. “[We have] $18,000 for the security system and the Wi-Fi.”

Other improvements in the Memorial Park area include remodeling of the Golden Flake Snack Foods plant, located down the road at the end of Golden Flake Drive, as well as expansions of both the Smith and Gaston and Davenport and Harris funeral homes.

Aside from seeing homes built and businesses expanded, Titusville will also see transportation improvements, such as bus depots or shelters and parking lots. Metro Area Express (MAX) Transit, the bus system operated by the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA), has plans for Titusville as part of its $20 million grant that will be used to place Birmingham Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRT Project) hubs throughout the city, including across from Davenport and Harris Funeral Home on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Third Avenue Southwest.

According to birminghamtransitprogram.org, “The … [BRT Project] will be a modern, enhanced transit line through Birmingham’s Jones Valley along the U.S. [Highway] 11 corridor. … It will connect 25 neighborhoods to services and provide residents with greater access to opportunities.”

Rebirth

When work is completed in North Titusville, efforts will begin in South Titusville and Woodland Park, Tyson said.

“If there are any vacant lots in South Titusville that can get under land banking, we will get those lots through HABD and build over there.”

For Smitherman, the rebirth of Titusville is personal. She is responsible for ensuring that the housing development is on schedule.

“I’m kind of the liaison between District 6 nonprofits and businesspeople in the city,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get in touch with the city if you don’t know somebody there.”

For example, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners Inc.—a nonprofit group that focuses on ensuring safe, quality, affordable housing by focusing on the unique needs of specific neighborhoods—recently boarded up the apartments behind Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Titusville Library. Smitherman is partnering with Navigate to develop new housing, some of which will be rebuilt with support from the organization.

“That’ll help the city with demolition costs,” she said.

The Titusville Development Corp. (TDC), founded in 1984 to maintain, revitalize, and develop the community, is bringing approximately 50 new houses to North Titusville, as well, Smitherman said.

“Those are the main two nonprofits involved right now,” she said. “It’s very encouraging to see people taking pride in the community.”

Smitherman has been working with Titusville as an official since January 2019, when she was sworn in as a Birmingham City Council member as the representative for District 6, where she has lived her entire life.

“[This community] will always have a special place in my heart. We renovated my granny’s house, and just to see her … property looking a lot better means a lot. … I think [this] will bring a lot of attraction,” she said, adding that the Sixth Avenue corridor is “ripe for restaurants, gas stations, shoe shops. … The possibilities are limitless.”

Growing Toward the Future

In addition to rebuilding and renovating, Titusville is preparing for the future, part of which involves bringing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities to the community. Last month, Smitherman met with leaders involved with UAB’s Core Curriculum, particularly those in the areas of math and science, to discuss ways to help Washington K-8 School become a STEM-focused school, as well as improve reading and math skills among “every age group.”

“If you help every age group, you can chip away at the bad habits people have, such as not knowing how to build up credit or buy a house. I think it’s very important to educate people,” said Smitherman, adding that community-wide education efforts for residents of all ages—preschoolers to seniors—could start as early as next fall, and programs will be offered both during and after the school day.

What’s best for Titusville is best for the entire city, said elected officials.

“When you improve Titusville, you will improve West End, Smithfield,” said Tyson. “All the communities over here will be affected by this.”

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Here Are Some of the Rising Developments in Titusville

BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Ronald Bayles may not live in the Titusville community, but it is where he has attended church for the past 30 years and where he spends most of his time as executive director of the Titusville Development Corp. (TDC).

Published

on

Lisa McCarroll, CEO, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners, Inc. (Ameera Steward, The Birmingham Times)
Lisa McCarroll, CEO, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners, Inc. (Ameera Steward, The Birmingham Times)

By Ameera Steward

Ronald Bayles may not live in the Titusville community, but it is where he has attended church for the past 30 years and where he spends most of his time as executive director of the Titusville Development Corp. (TDC).

“It’s very personal for me [to be] in a place that was once cited as one of the most blighted neighborhoods in the state and see the changes,” Bayles said. “We’re at the place where change is literally happening.”

“We’re here to fix the blight and pass the knowledge so the blight does not happen the same way it has in other neighborhoods,” he said. “We want to make sure that what we do in this community is something that is both viewed and received by the residents as a … collective effort.”

The TDC has been in existence for 35 years, maintaining, revitalizing, and developing the area. One of the top priorities, Bayles said, is to replace, preserve, and rehabilitate the housing stock in North Titusville.

“We’re going to do that through … rehabbing homes that are currently existing and offering critical repairs for current homeowners … [through] a partnership with the city and other equity partners like [Navigate Affordable Housing Partners Inc.],” said Bayles. “We’re looking to offer funds to people who qualify to actually work on their particular homes.”

Bayles, who attends Living Church Ministries on Omega Street in Titusville, said he’s in the community at least six days out of the week and has worked with the TDC for the past 11 years. His team is looking at a “holistic revitalization.”

“It’s not just building with sticks and bricks,” he said. “It’s making sure we are actually dealing with people.”

For example, the TDC plans to be more specific with its Greek Street Initiative, which has been in the planning process for the last two years. Titusville’s Greek Streets are a series of streets named with letters of the Greek alphabet — Kappa, Iota, Theta, and Omega — by the community’s founder.

The Greek Streets Initiative is a 50-house development of workforce housing priced between $140,000 and $200,000 on each Greek street and is part of the Titusville Community Framework Plan, an effort supported by funding from the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (RPCGB) and the Birmingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Building Communities Program that involves mixed-income housing, said TDC Director of Housing Development Archibald Hill.

The Framework Plan was presented first as an existing condition report and then developed and adopted by the community to be conducted in three phases: community assessment, public involvement, and plan development and action; the final draft was presented to the Birmingham Planning Commission in 2015.

“This is not something the TDC is just jumping into and doing,” Hill said. “This is something we are assisting with.”

The TDC isn’t the only entity investing in the Titusville renaissance. Other nonprofits and businesses plan to participate, as well. Here are some of their proposed plans.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Navigate Affordable Housing Partners

Navigate Affordable Housing Partners Inc. is a Birmingham-based nonprofit that has taken an interest in Titusville for several reasons. The location, for starters, said Navigate CEO Lisa McCarroll.

“Sixth Avenue is a significant portion of the … [Birmingham Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRT Project)] they are starting to build. It’s also historic, … [it has] proximity to downtown Birmingham, and … it’s got defined boundaries,” she said. “Many of the other communities in Birmingham sprawl. … We wanted something we could get our hands around, … [something through which] whatever efforts we took could be seen by the community. … We wanted something that was meaningful.”

Navigate—a nonprofit group that focuses on ensuring safe, quality, affordable housing by focusing on the unique needs of specific neighborhood—plans to start small, working with the Center Court apartments on Fifth Avenue Southwest, behind the Titusville Library. The group said, “We’re going to involve the community here, [asking them], ‘What type of housing?’” said McCarroll.

“Some folks may say senior housing, but what does that … look like? They may say single-family, but that could be duplexes, that could be town houses. We’re trying to figure out what [all of that] means [to and for the residents],” she said.

Navigate Planning and Development Coordinator Matthew Churnock added that the first step is to demolish existing units and then leave the site as an open canvas for the community or leave one of the buildings on the property for a community mural project.

“We’re probably at least a month out from breaking ground on a new project, so we don’t want to leave it as a vacant site for the next year,” said Churnock. “The intent is to work with the community to reprogram that site into an amenity while we wait on redevelopment plans.”

He added that Navigate is planning an event to kick off the mural campaign on August 15, if it can get permits in time. The group is working with the community to figure out the highest quality and best use for properties, “whether it’s family or senior housing, town houses, or single-family,” he said.

Navigate also recently closed on the Marc Steel Company Building on Sixth Street next to DC BLOX, where the group would like to redevelop a few single-family homes.

“The other part of redeveloping homes and helping revitalize a community [involves good schools]. People move where there are good schools,” said McCarroll. “We’ve been partnering … with Washington [k-8] School [on improvements]; that has included everything from helping paint during the summer to participating in some of their programs to reading to the children.”

McCarroll said Navigate wants to do its part for Titusville, which she calls a “jewel.”

“When you place on top of that the folks that live in this community, the people who care about it and want to see it stabilize and do better [things will move forward],” she said. “With all the efforts that are happening, … as long as we’re all pulling together—and from my standpoint, we are—as long as we’re moving in the same direction, it’s a win-win not only for this community but for South Titusville and Birmingham in general.”

Davenport and Harris Funeral Home

All three Davenport and Harris Funeral Home buildings across from Elmwood Cemetery on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive are being renovated.

“This will help transform the Titusville community from what is considered a low-income community to a historic designation,” said Titusville resident and Davenport and Harris President Marion Sterling. “It’s going to also change the landscape of how we look as a community. The visual landscape will change.”

Sterling, 64, was born and raised in South Titusville, where he still lives. He recalls when Avenue F became Sixth Avenue.

“That is what I remember as being a spark of change,” he said. “There’s been a lot of change in the community. When I was growing up, the yards were pristine, the homes were very well kept, there was not much blight. … Now, I think the revitalization is not only with businesses but also within the community. I think there’s a different level of respect in movement now. … I think it’s returning to what it was like when I was a child.”

Looking at the funeral home from Elmwood Cemetery, Davenport and Harris will have three buildings. The first will support funeral and/or cremation services. The second will be utilized as a community life center for events, such as repasts, the gathering of family and friends after a funeral, and community meetings; it also will have a nonprofit to support seminars and events for youth and seniors. The third building will be used as a second chapel.

In addition to helping with the renewal in Titusville, Sterling said the changes will offer options for families.

“Today, most families are restricted to communicating with churches for locations, but some family members are not members of a church, so they often have to look for a repast location,” he said.

“Outside of churches, there are few community life centers where families can hold events. … There also are very few facilities in the city of Titusville or across Birmingham where groups can host seminars for our youth; they usually have to contract with large facilities like the Boutwell [Auditorium]. … Now, [our facility] will be available,” Sterling said.

“We’re hoping our renovation will spark other businesses to come into the area.”

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.

Continue Reading

Like BlackPressUSA on Facebook

Advertisement

Latest News