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Birmingham man pleads guilty in deadly Huntsville robbery

Birmingham man pleads guilty in deadly Huntsville robbery

A young man from Birmingham pleaded guilty in the Huntsville robbery that led to the death of his suspected accomplice, authorities said.

Lamontez Dearius James pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree robbery and prosecutors dropped a murder charge, court records show.

James, a 21-year-old from Birmingham, was sentenced to 10 years, according to the plea agreement. The sentence was split for James to serve two years in prison and four years on probation, records show. Because James will get credit for 680 days he spent in jail awaiting trial, he can finish his two-year sentence within a couple of months.

James was charged in the shooting death of 20-year-old Cameron Cullen. Madison County Assistant District Attorney Melvin Lockett said Cullen was fatally shot by a man whom Cullen and James were trying to rob. It happened March 26, 2017 during a marijuana deal outside Twickenham Apartments on Galaxy Way in northwest Huntsville.

James, Cullen and another man met in Cullen’s car, Lockett said. Cullen and the other man were armed and fired at each other when James tried to take off with the man’s money, authorities said. Cullen died days later at Huntsville Hospital, and the other man was injured. James was unharmed.

“Mr. James was the only one in the car who didn’t have a gun,” Lockett said. “Everyone in that car was young and dumb and stupid. I don’t think Mr. James intended anybody to get shot (or) die, let alone his friend.”

James was indicted last year on a charge of felony murder under Alabama’s accomplice liability law. The felony murder statute is regularly used to charge accomplices when a person dies while committing a felony act like robbery.

Lockett said because of the circumstances, he agreed to reduce James’ charge to robbery.

The plea agreement also requires James to pay a $4,000 fine and $1,000 victims compensation fee.

His defense attorneys didn’t return a call for comment.

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Man stops in Birmingham on his walk around the world for charities

Man stops in Birmingham on his walk around the world for charities

By Catherine Patterson | February 9, 2019 at 6:30 PM CST – Updated February 9 at 9:15 PM

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – One man is on a mission to walk across the world in an effort to raise money for multiple charities.

Tom Fremantle

He plans to get to Savannah, Georgia, by mid-March, then he’ll return to England when his visa expires and will come back to the U.S. for another three months to continue walking to New York.

“I get various, different reactions when people ask me why I’m doing it. Some people, obviously, think I’m completely crazy, which is fair enough. It is quite an out-there thing to do. But, a lot of people find it inspiring, I hope,” he said.

Fremantle plans to walk across the world for three charities.

Fremantle wants his walk around the world to raise awareness for three charities: the Alzheimer’s Society, The Puzzle Centre, and Medical Detection Dogs.

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What’s next for Birmingham’s Dominion Partners?

What’s next for Birmingham’s Dominion Partners?

Fleming Farms is slated to open in 2020 in Huntsville, the latest project from Dominion Partners. (

Dominion Partners isn’t done, even after the announced sale of its Somerby Senior Living Portfolio last week.

Terms of the deal, which involved eight facilities, including ones in Birmingham, Mobile and Auburn, were not disclosed. But Orlando’s Bridge Seniors Housing Fund Manager LLC, an affiliate of Salt Lake City-based Bridge Investment Group, acquired the facilities, the name. The company also gets first right of offer on any new developments Dominion has.

And there will be more, Dominion Principal and CEO Al Worthington said.

“We’re not going anywhere,” Worthington said. “Dominion Partners wants to continue to be a quality developer. We have to be more selective as we go forward. We have a very good model. We have a very good brand. We should be able to strategically develop on a reasonable basis.”

Dominion, which began after splitting from Daniel Corp. in 2006, has grown from 125 employees over 13 years to more than 1,400 associates operating 14 communities in six states. It grew using private equity and built the company to not only acquire and develop real estate for senior housing, but to operate the communities through the Somerby name.

A little more than a year ago, Worthington said, it became clear that some of Dominion’s investment partners in the Somerby communities were ready to sell. So Dominion began planning around this by leasing up three remaining properties and selling investors on the idea of offering the entire Somerby portfolio.

“We saw it more as a recapitalization,” he said. “We wanted to keep everyone employed and keep the operating company together. In the end, it created much more value than we thought there might be."

Enter Bridge Seniors Housing Fund Manager, which was anxious to acquire a slate of communities in the Southeast. Bridge Seniors is among the largest owners of senior housing units in the United States, with 90 communities as of the end of last year.

“We had a buyer who had raised a lot of capital, was very aggressive and wanted this portfolio,” he said. “It fits their model.”

But Dominion has more plans. Worthington said work is still on track at Fleming Farms, the company’s senior housing community in Huntsville. Currently under construction along Whitesboro Road, the project should be finished by 2020.

The company is also planning another community in Bradenton, Fla. on the Manatee River, as well as a mixed-use non-senior living apartment project in the same city. The senior living project, which would be all assisted living and enhanced care, would be on the river.

“It’s a really cool site with some beautiful views,” he said.

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Activist Banned From Mall; Langford Released: The Week In News

Activist Banned From Mall; Langford Released: The Week In News

BIRMINGHAM, AL – The week of December 23-29 was not just filled with Christmas carols and Santa Claus. Some significant news items made headlines this past week in the Birmingham metro area, and unfortunately a large number of those stories involved violence, as Birmingham saw its 2018 homicide total inch closer toward 110.

In another news item, a local activist found himself banned from the Riverchase Galleria due to protests over the death of EJ Bradford. As well, former Birmingham mayor Larry Langford was released from federal prison.

Here are the stories that made headlines this past week:

Activist Carlos Chaverst Jr. Banned From Galleria For One Year

Despite the Birmingham Justice League coming to some form of agreement with city officials in Hoover regarding protests surrounding the death of EJ Bradford, activist Carlos Chaverst Jr. has continued with protests and has now been banned from entering the Riverchase Galleria for a year.

A shooting in Fairfield Christmas Day claimed the life of a 27-year-old man in an apartment complex behind Miles College. Romero Deon McMorris was shot and killed Christmas morning at approximately 7:15.

After pleas from activist groups, local politicians and family, former Birmingham mayor Larry Langford has been released from federal prison. A federal judge Friday afternoon reduced Langford’s sentence for corruption to time served due to Langford’s failing health.

After more than 24 hours of continuous rainfall Thursday and Friday morning, parts of Alabama are left with some major flooding issues. While most areas of the state saw between two and four inches of rainfall, some counties received nearly six inches.

The Birmingham Police Department is searching for a suspect it has identified in a Christmas Eve shooting in a Birmingham Piggly Wiggly grocery store. The female suspect is a former employee of the store who police say shot and killed 28-year-old Jerika Manuel.

Photo of Piggly Wiggly shooting suspect via Birmingham PD

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Birmingham apartment complex sells for $56 million

Birmingham apartment complex sells for $56 million

New York-based private equity group White Eagle Property Group has purchased Wildwood Crossings Apartments, a 520-unit complex in Birmingham, for $56 million.

According to Berkadia Real Estate Advisors, the complex received 29 offers after it went on the market in late May. It was built in 1997-98 in Lakeshore and managed by Birmingham’s MDIC Management since its initial construction.

Senior Managing Director David Oakley and Senior Director David Wilson of Berkadia’s Birmingham office listed and brokered the transaction, with assistance from Associate Directors Caleb Frizzell and Abe Maddox.

White Eagle plans an “extensive renovation” of the apartment interiors, upgrades and new amenities.

Jeff Weiskopf, chairman and CEO of White Eagle Property Group, said Wildwood Crossings “will be a nice complement to our portfolio. We’re planning upgrades to the kitchens and bathrooms to create a next-level experience for our residents.”

Currently, White Eagle owns approximately 10,000 rental units, according to its website. The properties, located nationwide, are valued at more than $1.5 billion.

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Loft Apartment For Sale In Downtown Birmingham

Loft Apartment For Sale In Downtown Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Check out this amazing loft in revitalized downtown Birmingham. The home has two bedrooms and one bath and a nice open living area. This unit comes with two assigned, gated parking spots, and there is a rooftop deck with seating and a fantastic view.

Price: $234,900 Square Feet: 1218 Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 1 Baths Built: 1925 Features: Large windows that give you a great VIEW of the city. Awesome EXPOSED brick wall and HIGH ceilings will make you feel like you are living IN STYLE! Convenient to parks, shopping, nightlife and some of Birmingham’s best dining. If you want to be where the action is, this is the place for you! You will become the perfect gathering spot for your friends for Sidewalk Film Festival, the Art Walks and more. Put this one on your short list–because owning this beauty should be YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION!!

This listing originally appeared on realtor.com. For more information and photos, click here.

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Birmingham real estate instructors complete certified real estate instructor program

Birmingham real estate instructors complete certified real estate instructor program

Nine real estate instructors, members of the Birmingham Association of REALTORS, have earned the state recognized Certified Real Estate Instructor certification.

They are Karen Ameen, Chuck Robertson, Karon Tubbs, Jason Marquis, Jessyca McKnight, Steve McTyeire, Janet Hamm, Ginny Willis and Alicia White. Karol Murray was the instructor.

The local REALTORS(r) were among 35 Alabama Real Estate Educators Association members who recently earned the state recognized CREI certification in Montgomery.

AREEA, with the support of the Alabama Real Estate Commission education department, offers the CREI certification to real estate educators in Alabama.
Among leading advocates for real estate knowledge and information, AREEA believes that educators who have completed the CREI certification will positively impact the real estate market through creative and innovative methods of instruction that better prepare REALTORS for the dynamic real estate market.

According to a survey by the National Association of REALTORS, 88 percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001. A similar NAR survey indicated that 89 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent or broker when selling their home. Educators who have earned the CREI certification know how to train REALTORS to provide a higher level of expertise to maneuver the complexities of the real estate industry.

The CREI program includes three modules: Part I – Content Creation, Part II – Content Delivery, and Part III – Change and Connect. Upon successful completion of these courses, the CREI certification is awarded to attendees.
For more information, visit www.alabamareea.org.

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Classic Crestwood Bungalow For Sale In Birmingham

Classic Crestwood Bungalow For Sale In Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL – The historic Brewer house, a classic Crestwood Bungalow, sits on a corner lot in the highly sought after neighborhood. The welcoming front porch will be your new favorite place to relax and chat with neighbors.

Price: $310,000 Square Feet: 1448 Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 2 Baths Built: 1928 Features: Open living room with arched entryway, hardwood floors, built-ins and wood burning fire place. Formal dining room adjacent to a sunny breakfast nook, an added bonus! Updated kitchen (2015) features granite countertops, subway tiled backsplash, stainless appliances and plenty of counter/cabinet space. Main level has 3 bedrooms and full bath with the master suite (2015) located in the finished basement. Spacious master bath with double vanity, large shower and fantastic walk in closet. Open deck (replaced 2017) with hot tub overlooks the backyard. Single car garage for off street parking with great additional storage space. Home features RING security system and alarm. New roof 2018! Super convenient to UAB and downtown!

This listing originally appeared on realtor.com. For more information and photos, click here.

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Alabama Academy of Honor inducts five new members

Alabama Academy of Honor inducts five new members

Former U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon speaks at his induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor on Oct. 22, 2018 at the the State Capitol. (

The Alabama Academy of Honor inducted five new members today, recognizing them for achievement in civil rights, civic leadership and business.

The academy, created by the Legislature in 1965, includes 100 living members, plus the living governors of Alabama. The academy elects new members.

The five new members are civic leader Walter A. Bell; former U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon; Ann D. Florie, former executive director of Leadership Birmingham; D. Paul Jones, Jr., former chairman and CEO of Compass Bank; and W. Stancil (Stan) Starnes, CEO of ProAssurance Corporation.

The new members were recognized and spoke at an induction ceremony today at the State Capitol.

Here is some of the biographical information on the new inductees included in the program at today’s ceremony:

Bell was born in Buena Vista, Alabama, son of a third-generation farmer who moved the family to Mobile during World War II. Bell graduated from Central High School.

After high school he attended community college in California and served for six years in the California National Guard and was deployed during the Watts riot in Los Angeles and the People Park riot in Berkeley.

Bell moved to Indiana in 1973 and became community relations director for the Indianapolis Urban League. He wrote news articles and speeches, hosted two weekly radio shows and a monthly television show. In 1976, he produced a stage play, “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.”

Bell returned to Mobile in 1978 and founded the Mobile County Urban League, launching a 40-year career of involvement in civic, charitable, educational and economic programs.

Gov. Bob Riley appointed Bell to serve as Alabama Insurance Commissioner. From 2008 to 2015, Bell was chairman of the Swiss Re America Holding Corporation, a $17 billion subsidiary of the Swiss Reinsurance Company.

Bell graduated from Spring Hill College and served as a trustee there for 13 years. Bell’s son, W. Kamau Bell, is host of the Emmy-winning CNN show, “United Shades of America.”

Clemon was born in Fairfield in 1943, the son of sharecroppers who migrated from Mississippi.

As a student at Miles College, he participated in the Birmingham campaign for civil rights launched by Martin Luther King Jr., the campaign that led to confrontations with Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor. After obtaining a law degree from Columbia University, he represented black plaintiffs in major civil rights litigation against the Jefferson County school board, United States Steel Corporation, Pullman Standard Corporation and the city of Birmingham.

President Jimmy Carter appointed Clemon in 1980 to be Alabama’s first African-American judge. He retired from the bench in 2009 and resumed practicing law.

Florie, a native of Weldon, Ark., received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Newcomb College of Tulane University.

Florie was the founding executive director of Region 2020, which promoted cooperation and citizen involvement in a 12-county area in affordable housing, education, arts and culture, transportation and land use.

She served as executive director of Leadership Birmingham. Florie is an appointed member of the Jefferson County Personnel Board and serves on the executive committee of the Birmingham Business Alliance and the board of directors for the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama.

She was on the Mountain Brook Board of Education for 10 years.

Jones, born in 1942, received degrees in business and in law from the University of Alabama. He began practicing law with the predecessor to the Birmingham law firm Balch & Bingham in 1967.

In 1978, Jones joined Compass Bancshares (then Central Bancshares) as senior vice president and general counsel. He served as president of the Alabama Bankers Association. Jones was a director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta from 1993 to 2009.

Jones became chairman and CEO of Compass in 1991, a position he held until his retirement in 2008. Compass grew under his leadership to operate 622 offices in seven states and was ranked as the 26th largest bank in the nation based on deposits.

Starnes graduated from Shades Valley High School in 1965 at the age of 16. He obtained a business degree from the University of Alabama. In 1972, Starnes graduated first in his class with a law degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.

In 1975, Starnes and his father established the law firm now known as Starnes Davis Florie. Starnes defended physicians and others in health care cases, including national and international clients. He wrote the Alabama Medical Liability Act, passed by the Legislature in 1987, as well as amendments to the law.

In 2007, Starnes was named chairman and CEO of ProAssurance Corporation, an insurance company that operates in all 50 states and focuses on health care issues.

This story will be updated.

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Business Buzz: Woodstream Apartments, The Greens at Aboretum, Hope Mills Hardee’s and Spectrum

Business Buzz: Woodstream Apartments, The Greens at Aboretum, Hope Mills Hardee’s and Spectrum

Woodstream Apartments, a 202-unit property built in 1974, has been sold for $8.65 million by Providence Investments of Birmingham, Alabama, to Contour Development Group of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Woodstream is off Cliffdale Road, not far from its intersection with Skibo Road. It offers one- and two-bedroom units, and has community amenities like a clubhouse, fitness center, laundry, pool and tennis courts.

Berkadia, a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group, negotiated the transaction on behalf of Providence.

Now leasing

The Greens at Aboretum in Pinehurst has begun leasing one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury units.

The 72 units are billed as open floor plans with oversized windows that include a private balcony or patio.

Hardee’s

Hope Mills gets a new Hardee’s on Monday, with doors opening at 5 a.m. at the corner of Legion and Elk roads.

The address is 4260 Legion Road. The restaurant will be open seven days and have a drive-thru service.

Boddie-Noell Enterprises, based in Rocky Mount and a Hardee’s franchise operator for 56 years, has 10 other locations in Fayetteville, part of 138 in North Carolina and 348 across four states. The restaurant will seat 69 and will have free wi-fi service.

Kickoff nears

Spectrum News North Carolina, the official cable TV home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, will kickoff its 2018 Panthers programming and live preseason game coverage with the season’s first video simulcast of the weekly radio show “Panther Talk” on July 30 at 7:30 p.m. from Bank of America Stadium.

Spectrum News North Carolina’s live game preseason programming will feature all four preseason matchups: the Bills on Aug. 9, the Dolphins on Aug. 17, the Patriots on Aug. 24 and the Steelers on Aug. 30. The Sunday highlight show “Panthers Game Day” debuts Aug. 12 at 11:30 p.m., and will include a second half-hour of team coverage exclusively for Spectrum viewers at midnight.

During the regular season, Spectrum News North Carolina will have exclusive re-air video simulcasts of the Panthers’ weekly “Panther Talk” radio show.

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