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March 18

James Spann
TV 33/40 Meterologist

March 25

Kemmons Wilson
Embassy Suites Update
Downtown Tuscaloosa

April 1

Peter Hlebowitsh
Dean UA
The State of Literacy in Alabama

April 8

Rotary Night

April 15

Mark Bartlett
Mark Bartlett Division Administrator/Federal Highway






The Nerve


CM Newton
Former Kentucky Basketball AD

January 14

Judy Bonner
President University of Alabama






Read Past Issues of the Tuscaloosa Rotary Nerve


James Spann, Meteorologist, March 18, 2014

james spannJames is the Chief Meteorologist for ABC 33/40. He can be seen weeknights at 4, 5, 6, and 10 o’clock. He joined ABC 33/40 one month after the station signed on the air in the fall of 1996. In all, James has been a television weather anchor for 35 years. Along the way he has worked for WSFA in Montgomery, KDFW in Dallas and two other stations in Birmingham.

James has received the two highest awards in the nation for a broadcast meteorologist.

One is “Broadcaster of the Year” by the National Weather Association, which he accepted in September 2012. According to the NWA, James was selected to receive the award “For his passionate dedication to serving the Central Alabama community with critical weather information for over thirty years, especially during the deadly April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak.”

James also was the winner of the AMS (American Meteorological Society) “Award for Broadcast Meteorology” in January 2013. The AMS stated he was the winner in part because of “his tireless efforts to advance the public’s awareness of and engagement in the science of meteorology, particularly severe weather forecasting and response”.

James was elected to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle in 2013. Essentially, it is the ultimate Emmy Award. It represents outstanding achievement spanning at least 25 years in the broadcast industry with a proven record of mentoring and community involvement. In 2001, James received another Emmy for live coverage of the deadly tornado which hit Tuscaloosa on December 16, 2000. His work during that storm also helped ABC 33/40 earn a prestigious national Edward R. Murrow award for spot news coverage.


Readers of Birmingham Magazine voted James as “Best TV Personality” in 2011, and “Best Tweeter” in 2012. He has been named “Best Weather Anchor” in Alabama by the Associated Press, and winner of the Alabama Broadcasters Association ABBY Award for “Best Weathercaster in Alabama” multiple times over his long career.

James was one of the first weather anchors in the nation to earn “Certified Broadcast Meteorologist” status from the American Meteorological Society. Among television meteorologists, the CBM designation is sought as a mark of distinction and recognition. To earn the CBM, broadcasters must hold a degree in meteorology or equivalent from an accredited college or university, pass a rigorous written examination, and have their on-air work reviewed to assess technical competence, informational value, explanatory value, and communication skills. He also has been awarded the seal of approval from the National Weather Association and holds a certificate in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University.

The University of West Alabama conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree to James in 2013.

James has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Trinity Medical Center since 2005, and is a member of the University of Alabama College of Communication Board of Visitors.

James and his wife Karen have been married for 32 years, and they have two boys: J.P., 28, and Ryan, who is 15 and in the tenth grade. Ryan is a member of the Spain Park High School Baseball Team. James leads Children’s Worship every Sunday at Double Oak Community Church in Mount Laurel.

In his spare time, James enjoys tennis and amateur radio. He earned his first ham radio license at the age of 14, and holds an extra class license.


Mary Tillotson, Retired CNN Broadcast Journalist, March 11, 2014

19335-153744-1Mary Tillotson is a retired broadcast journalist having grown up and now living in Tuscaloosa. Ms. Tillotson was best known for her CNN reporting when she was a White House correspondent and host of CNN & Co and one of the most recognized news anchors at CNN.  CNN & Co. earned back to back nominations for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show.

She attended the University of Alabama majoring in journalism. She worked for WSB in Atlanta and later joined WTTG-TV in Washington, D. C.  She was a congressional reporter for Independent Television News Association (1988-1991) and a news anchor for Mutual Radio Network.

 Ms. Tillotson joined CNN in 1981, and reported from the White House from 1985-1988 and 1991-1993. She covered the 1984 presidential campaign, including the Democratic National Convention, and the 1988 Republican and Democratic National Conventions, as well as the 1992 presidential campaign; she also covered two international summits between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. From 1993-1999 she was the permanent host for CNN & Co.


This program promises to be entertaining and informative.  Ms. Tillotson will share her wealth of experiences and perspectives. Never at a loss for words she will thrill us with stories from the past and reflections on the current events that dominate U.S. domestic and international news.


William Hawkins, Museum Coordinator for the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art, March 4, 2014

“George Washington and His Troops” by Frank Schoonover (1877-1972)Located at Westervelt Company headquarters, the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art displays approximately 1000 works to foster a sense of community while promoting and disseminating an understanding of fine and decorative arts.

The collection was amassed by Jack Warner over several decades as investments for Gulf States Paper, now the Westervelt Company.  Operated by a 501 (c) foundation, the museum was asked by the Westervelt Company to share its collection with the community to promote a better understanding of the arts and connecting to all areas of education.  Considered to be one of the greatest private collections of American Art, it is truly a treasure within and for the community.

William Hawkins, Museum Coordinator for the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art, will present a program on “American Masters: The Art of the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art.”

William is a native of Tuscaloosa and is married with one child. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Huntingdon College in Montgomery and has worked with the art collection for 4 years.


For more see http://tuscaloosamoa.org/



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