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DC BLOX holds grand opening

Brandon Moseley

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via Governor's Office

Thursday, DC BLOX, a multi-tenant data center provider delivering the infrastructure and connectivity essential to power today’s digital business, announces the opening of its fourth center facility in Birmingham.

“We live in a digital age, and the world is not standing still. DC BLOX’s new data center is certainly a welcome addition to the Birmingham community,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. “It will connect the city with high-performance networks to ensure business continuity, and ultimately, it will drive the digital economy. In addition to elevating Birmingham’s technological capabilities, the new data center will bring several high-paying jobs for Alabamians. DC BLOX’s efforts are a much-appreciated investment into Alabama’s future success, and their increased presence in this great state will help propel us forward.”

According to the company, the first phase of the facility, now customer ready, delivers up to 5MW of power, 18,000 square feet of white space and 13,000 square feet of office space, and features conference rooms, demo space, hoteling cubes and workstations.

This location is DC BLOX’s flagship facility and is capable of expanding to over 200,000 square feet with over 60MW of critical IT load to serve as a technology and innovation hub for the surrounding area.

“We are thrilled to be joining the Birmingham community,” adds Jeff Uphues, Chief Executive Officer of DC BLOX. “The State of Alabama and the City of Birmingham care deeply about the prosperity of their citizens and are working to bring in companies like ours to invest in their communities and bring jobs to the region. They understand that a data center is core infrastructure that attracts other technology-dependent companies, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”

The company said in a statement, that as data centers move more toward the edge of the network to accommodate a growing number of applications demanding local processing and storage – low-latency, high-capacity connectivity is a key component of this evolving architecture. DC BLOX’s Birmingham data center offers access to the company’s full breadth of solutions including cloud storage, colocation and rich connectivity to support enterprise, government and education customers, as well as managed service providers, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies and content providers that do business in the Southeast. The facility is part of DC BLOX,s private, high-speed network fabric, which provides 100Gb+ bandwidth, low-latency connections to Internet Exchanges, access to numerous carriers across data centers and secure cloud connectivity.

Economic developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Data centers are one of the State of Alabama’s foundational business targets, meaning they intrinsically provide core competencies for a variety of industries. A Birmingham-based data center will help organizations in the area that serve the public and private sector become more efficient by allowing DC Blox to manage their data.”

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According to the company, DC BLOX offers the highest data center performance, reliability and connectivity available in the markets it serves. The company is dedicated to meeting the infrastructure needs of businesses and communities in emerging and underserved markets throughout the Southeastern U.S., where robust connectivity and Tier 3 data center availability is limited. This new local data center enables Birmingham-area businesses and government entities to offload the cost and complexity of managing their own data centers and provides the connectivity needed to address an increasingly distributed IT ecosystem.

“Congratulations to DC BLOX on the grand opening of their state-of-the-art data center in the historic Titusville neighborhood,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. “When we broke ground on this project a year ago, I promised the residents of the Titusville neighborhood and our whole city, that strong economic development would lead to neighborhood revitalization. We are keeping that promise. First, the money we made from the sale of this property was the first investment into our Neighborhood Revitalization Fund. Through that investment, streets are being paved, blight is getting removed, and homes are being repaired.”

To learn more about DC BLOX and its portfolio of strategic data center facilities visit their website.

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Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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New unemployment claims continued dropping last week

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

There were 8,679 new unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, slightly fewer than the 8,848 filed the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

Of the claims filed between Sept. 13 and Sept. 19, 4,465, or 51 percent, were related to COVID-19. That’s the same percentage as the previous week.

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Economy

Unemployment benefits could change for some Alabamians

ADOL will begin the review when the current quarter ends on Oct. 3. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Some Alabamians receiving unemployment benefits could see changes in those benefits after the Alabama Department of Labor conducts a required quarterly review and redetermines eligibility, the department said Friday. 

The Alabama Department of Labor said in a press release Friday that no action is required by those receiving regular unemployment, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. 

ADOL will begin the review when the current quarter ends on Oct. 3. 

“Some may remain eligible for PUA or PEUC, OR they may be required to change to regular unemployment compensation. Weekly benefit amounts may also change. This depends on eligibility requirements,” ADOL said in the release. “Those claimants whose benefit year ends prior to October 3, 2020, will have their claims reevaluated.” 

After the review, if the claimant is determined not to be eligible for regular unemployment compensation, those who qualify may still be able to be paid under PUA or PEUC, and that determination will be made automatically and payment will be issued, the department said in the release. 

Claimants must also continue to certify their weeks.

Many claimants are not receiving benefits because they fail to file their weekly certifications, i.e. requests for payment. ADOL cannot pay benefits for weeks that have not been properly certified. Certifications can be done online at labor.alabama.gov or by calling the appropriate number:

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  • Montgomery – (334) 954-4094
  • Birmingham – (205) 458-2282
  • Not in Local Area – (800) 752-7389

PUA recipients must file their weekly certifications either by telephone or on the PUA app, at pua.labor.alabama.gov.

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Economy

Alabama Gulf Coast beaches remain closed for now

Brandon Moseley

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Gov. Kay Ivey took a tour of the damage from Hurricane Sally on the gulf coast Friday September 18, 2020. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that beaches will remain closed for now due to ongoing repair and cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sally.

“Working closely with Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft and Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon, as well as Commissioner Billy Joe Underwood, the governor has agreed to keep Baldwin County’s beaches closed until Friday, October 2nd,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “This will allow those communities additional time to get their beaches ready for public enjoyment in a safe, responsible manner.”

Mobile County beaches might open earlier than that.

“Likewise, the governor has been in touch with Mayor Jeff Collier, and she is prepared to amend the beach closure order for Mobile County when he signals that Dauphin Island is ready to reopen their beaches,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “At the present time, all Alabama beaches remain closed until further notice.”

Hurricane Sally came ashore near Gulf Shores on Sept. 16 as a category two hurricane with 105 mile per hour winds. Numerous homes, businesses and farms have been destroyed and many more have seen serious damage.

“As of Wednesday night, approx. 37,000 cubic yards of Hurricane Sally debris (equivalent to roughly 1,700 truck loads worth) has been picked up in Orange Beach since Sunday (4 days),” the city of Orange Beach announced. “Kudos to our debris contractor CrowderGulf.”

“I spent Sunday afternoon meeting with senior staff and I believe we will need some time to get our buildings safe for children to return,” said Baldwin County Schools Superintendent Eddie Taylor in a letter to parents. “We live in a very large county. Power may be on in your area and your school may not have any damage, but we cannot open schools unless all schools can open. Our pacing guides, state testing, meal and accountability requirements are based on the system, not individual schools.”

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“We have schools without power and for which we do not expect power until later this week,” Taylor said. “In this new age, we need internet and communications which are currently down so we cannot run any system tests. We have physical damage at our schools including some with standing water, collapsed ceilings and blown out windows. We have debris on our properties and debris blocking our transportation teams from picking up students. All of this must be resolved before we can successfully re-open.”

“If everything goes as planned, I expect we will welcome back students on Wednesday, September 30,” Taylor said. “Prior to returning students to school, we will hold two teacher work days to get our classrooms and our lessons plans back on track.”

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Economy

SNAP replacement benefits coming to three counties hit by Hurricane Sally

Staff

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Gov. Kay Ivey took a tour of the damage from Hurricane Sally on the gulf coast Friday September 18, 2020. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Thousands of SNAP recipients in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia counties are set to receive automatic replacement benefits as a result of Hurricane Sally, the Alabama Department of Human Resources announced Thursday.

Recipients who received their benefits Sept. 1 through Sept. 16 will receive a replacement of 50 percent of their regular monthly benefit. Those who received supplemental pandemic maximum allotment payments will receive a replacement of 30 percent of those benefits.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service approved the replacement benefits today at the request of DHR. The benefits are intended to replace food purchased with SNAP that was lost to widespread power outages caused when Hurricane Sally made landfall on Sept. 16.

“Our priority is to remove the very real threat of hunger for the many Alabamians who are struggling from the devastation of Hurricane Sally,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “The first step toward that goal is to replace the food that so many Alabamians lost to the storm. We are actively working to obtain additional resources to provide much-needed relief for the region as it recovers.”

Hurricane Sally caused over 265,000 households to lose power for at least four hours in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia counties, where approximately 54,000 households will receive SNAP benefits totaling an estimated $8.5 million.

Those recipients should expect to see the replacement benefits automatically loaded onto their EBT cards next week.

The Food Assistance Division of DHR administers the SNAP program in Alabama.

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More information about the program can be found at dhr.alabama.gov/food-assistance.

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