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1/27/98 - 2/9/98

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State of the City Interview with Mayor Mike Dow

by Edmund Tsang
The following interview was conducted in the mayor's office on January 15.

Q: In the last several years the City has made a number of significant improvement in its infrastructure. Last year a new baseball stadium was built and improvement was made to Ladd Stadium. A few years back we had the Government Plaza Complex. How's the city debt service?
A: Our debt service is modest as compared to our peers. If you look at Mobile's debt, it's around $720 per capita. If you go to Birmingham you'll find around $1,700, and I think Huntsville is in the $1,600 per capita range. The feeling that we are heavily in debt here in Mobile is not true. Mobile didn't really do anything for three or four decades; that's why we didn't have any debt because we weren't building anything or doing anything. You know yourself if you buy a car or a home, you are going into debt, but you don't look at that debt as something negative. You'd say, "I'm finally able to buy a house." The debt structure is part of your success. Mobile right now is doing exceptionally well from a number of standpoints, including economically. First of all, our revenues are growing very well so the pie is getting bigger and it's easier to pay the debt back. From the standpoint of economic development, job creation and investment, Times magazine lists us among one of the top 15 cities in the country. If you look at downtown redevelopment, we are developing quickly into a competitive mid-range city in the tourism industry. We have excellent infrastructure. [_Full_Story_]

Connecting the Classroom to the Community

University Professors Try A New Way To Help Students Learn

by Edmund Tsang

Quietly on university campuses around the nation, a small number of faculty members are bringing their classrooms into the community, guiding their students to apply the knowledge learned in their coursework to address needs in the community. The goal of these faculty members goes beyond creating a learning environment for the students by using real-life examples; they hope that the work the students perform will benefit the community and that the experience will re-connect the college students to their community. Some University of South Alabama professors are using this strategy to teach their students. [_Full_Story_]

Put the University to Use

by Stephen McClurg

"I hate this class. I'm never going to use anything in it, it's pointless!" Ah, the cries of the university student upon taking a class of "useless stuff." (More frequently it seems that "useless stuff" is translated by many students as information that does not lend itself to increased income.) Some instructors at the University of South Alabama are attempting to show students that much of what they learn in the classroom is applicable to the "real word" and can benefit the surrounding community as well. The teaching technique is called Service-Learning, which incorporates elements of community service with traditional classroom lecture and text components. [_Full_Story_]


After The Harbinger had gone to press in the last issue on an update of Mitchell Brothers, Inc. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., reporting that the bench trial of the legal dispute would continue on January 14 in the courtroom of Judge Braxton Kittrell, a letter arrived on January 12 from Carol Ann Smith of the firm of Starnes & Atchison of Birmingham, representing Aetna Insurance, stating that the "case has been continued from its Wednesday, January 14, 1998 trial." The letter by Ms. Smith concluded by saying "we will notify you immediately when a new date is set."

According to a staff member in Judge Kittrell's office, Judge Kittrell has not set a new trial date as of January 23.

The Harbinger, Mobile, AL