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Another student headingback to her Atlanta home,Mary Katherine Sweeney, a junior majoring in chemistry,said she knows a lot of stu-dents from both schools will betraveling to Atlanta, providingplenty of fun tailgates for col-lege students.“I know a ton of people aregoing to watch the game inBuckhead, and a few of thepopular bars there are Stout,Peachtree Tavern and EastAndrews,” Sweeney said. “I’vealready talked to my friendswho go to UGA, and they are just as excited for the game. Itwill be a great matchup, espe-cially with the national cham-pionship on the line.”Maggie Dixon, president of the Alabama Alumni group inAtlanta, invited all studentsand fans to attend the tailgatesthey host before and duringthe game at Hudson Grille inmidtown and Twisted Taco inRoswell.“Hudson Grille is moreof a younger crowd and canhold up to 1,000 people, whileTwisted Taco caters moreto a family environment,”Dixon said. “People should getthere early if they want a seatbecause even though we’rean Alabama bar, some of theGeorgia people might comesince, unfortunately, they’reall over the place.”Dixon said she is notconcerned with Alabama fansacting too wild, despite thelarge crowds expected.“I’ve told all of the alumnithat Alabama is classy, andwe keep our comments to our-selves,” Dixon said. “At theend of the game, the scorewill speak volumes. I admit Ihave a distaste for Auburn, butnothing will be more gloriousthan beating Georgia.”
One of the largest projectscurrently underway down-town is the construction of aneight-story Embassy Suiteshotel on the northwest cornerof Greensboro Avenue andUniversity Boulevard.The Tuscaloosa City Councilapproved Kemmons WilsonInc. contracting company’splans for the hotel last year,and they are set to begin con-struction in spring 2013 withan expected completion date inJuly 2014.“There is a clear need foran upscale hotel in the city of Tuscaloosa,” McLean Wilson,vice president of KemmonsWilson Inc. said.The hotel will feature 154bedrooms, an indoor pool, 5,300square feet of meeting spaceand a fine-dining restaurant onthe street level.Councilwoman CynthiaAlmond said the process of planning this hotel has beenlong, but it will be worth it inthe end.“We will see downtown cometo life,” she said. “The hotelwill be well used.”Garrison said he is alsoexcited about the conversionof the old PNC bank build-ing on the northeast cornerof University Boulevard andGreensboro Avenue intoapartments.Heritage Land andDevelopment Co. LLC out of Memphis, Tenn., announcedthis month they will convertthe top eight floors of the build-ing into 100 one- and two-bed-room apartments.“This will bring more bod-ies to the downtown area,”Garrison said. “The privatesector economy will just con-tinue to improve.”Garrison said he believesmuch of the reason many of the private sector projects arebeginning is because of thepublic investments made overrecent years to improve thedowntown area. Some of thepublic investments includethe new Federal Building andimproving streetscapes.“Improving the area attract-ed these private investors,” hesaid. “Good public and privateinvestments are what make fora solid downtown area.”Garrison said he is alsoworking on plans to better con-nect the downtown area to TheUniversity of Alabama campus.“We want to make it a seam-less connection between theFederal Building and theStrip,” he said.Garrison said this willinvolve improving sidewalks,streets and utilities in thisarea. He compared this reno-vation to the connection madebetween campus and down-town along Bryant Drive. Healso said the city hopes to addpublic transportation optionsto carry students from campusto downtown.One of the major publicinvestments the city has madefor the downtown area has alsobeen the revitalization of theTuscaloosa Riverwalk areaalong the Black Warrior River.Wendy Riggs, director of Artsand Entertainment for the City,oversees the Rivermarket,Tuscaloosa Amphitheater andthe Transportation Museum.All three of these attrac-tions have been built overthe past two years, with theAmphitheater in its second sea-son and the Rivermarket andmuseum opening last April.The Tuscaloosa Amphitheaterwas one of the first attractionsbrought to the downtown andRiverwalk area in recent years,and it has spurred on much of future growth. The 7,470-capac-ity venue has brought manybig-name headlining acts toTuscaloosa including LukeBryan, Kelly Clarkson and TheAvett Brothers.“A lot has changed since theopening of the Amphitheater,”Riggs said. “It brought livemusic back to the downtownarea.”The River Walk also recentlylaunched its Holidays on theRiver project featuring an icerink open until Jan. 6, 2013,with appearances by Santa,holiday films and train rides.“We are really excited andhope students take advantageof these opportunities,” Riggssaid.Mayor Maddox said the cityis not close to finished withthe downtown and Riverwalkareas.“We have been talking aboutdowntown for years, and we’renot done yet,” he said.
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WASHINGTON — TheObama administration tempo-rarily banned the energy giantBP from new federal contracts,citing the company’s “lack of business integrity as demon-strated” by the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.The EnvironmentalProtection Agency’s decisionWednesday comes two weeksafter BP entered into a wide-ranging settlement agreementwith the Justice Departmentover criminal charges in con-nection with the DeepwaterHorizon disaster, which killed11 men, spewed nearly 200million gallons of oil into theocean and turned into thecountry’s worst offshore envi-ronmental catastrophe.The impact of the ban onBP’s financial health woulddepend on how long it lastsand whether it keeps the com-pany from bidding on lucrativefederal leases to tap oil andgas in places like the Gulf of Mexico, said Phil Weiss, seniorenergy analyst for ArgusResearch. Hours after theban was issued, the InteriorDepartment announced alease sale on more than 20million offshore acres in thewestern Gulf. BP did notparticipate.“If it happens once, it’sinconvenient for BP, but notthat big of a deal,” Weiss said.“If it happens twice, threetimes, then the impact startsto escalate. The best way to dodeepwater is to get the acreagebefore it has been explored,when it is cheapest. Deepwaterdrilling is very important toBP, and that would have a bigimpact.”The EPA said such suspen-sions are “a standard practicewhen a responsibility ques-tion is raised by action in acriminal case.” It said thesuspension would be liftedwhen “the company can pro-vide sufficient evidence to EPAdemonstrating that it meetsfederal business standards.”In separate statements,the EPA and BP underscoredthat the temporary suspen-sion would only affect futurecontracts, not existing leasesto develop oil and gas in theUnited States, where BP’sholdings are vast.The company issued a state-ment that suggested it is work-ing with the EPA to get the banlifted soon.“The EPA’s action is pur-suant to administrativeprocedures providing for dis-cretionary suspension untila company can demonstrate‘present responsibility’ to con-duct business with the U.S.government,” BP said. “BP hasbeen in regular dialogue withthe EPA and has already pro-vided both a present responsi-bility statement of more than100 pages and supplementalanswers to the EPA’s questionsbased on that submission.”A separate federal civil law-suit over possible violationsof the Clean Water Act, setto proceed in February, couldbring penalties in the billionsof dollars against BP.
BP shut out of US contracts; feds cite deadly blast, poor response