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The Flor-Ala

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The Flor-Ala

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James Spann visits Florence coffee shop

Courtesy+of+ABC+33%2F40
Courtesy of ABC 33/40

On Jan. 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the WBMA station meteorologist and podcast host James Spann got involved with his community in downtown Florence’s Turbo Coffee while signing his books, engaging in meaningful conversations, and taking pictures. Accompanying the Spann was Dr. Bill Naugher, Crest Publishers Chief Executive Officer, responsible for the author’s publications. 

Spann’s written-word collection counted with Weathering Life (2019), which celebrates the broadcaster’s life story from his “humble beginnings” to “rise as the number one professional meteorologist in Alabama” and provides weather-related insights on how the environment shapes culture, and his 2021 book All You Can Do Is Pray, which presents a historical record of the April 2011 tornado that marked the Southeast with its scientific explanations and sentimental testimonies. Also present was the children’s collection with SumbunnY, Benny and Chipper: Prepared… Not Scared, and Benny and Chipper: The Wonder of Thunder.

If arriving at exactly 10:30 a.m., one would face a 2-hour minimum line, having a chance to meet Spann only in the afternoon. The crowd gathered early with antecipation to meet the well-known “trust the polygon” meteorologist, who was kept busy from the start. 

Philip Lucas, who was excitedly waiting, shared the importance of having Spann in the Alabama community and his life, “My wife and I are from Tuscaloosa. That is where he [James Spann] started from. I feel a connection to him. (…) From there, he kept growing and growing and ascending to the top. He is precise. He is always out there for the community and the kids.” Lucas also claimed that Spann’s charity work in nursing homes and Christian involvement and leadership make him “the big guy.” 

The Tuscaloosa resident finished his testimony by saying, “When he takes his jacket off, you just know he is up to something great.” The sentence touched reality when James Spann could be encountered inside the Turbo Coffee as Lucas described; the broadcaster had his jacket off and was “up to something great:” getting to know more of his community. 

The line to meet Spann took an exceedingly long time to move since the awarded 2012 Broadcaster of the Year would engage in deep conversation with each person he met. “He has got a lot of heart. He loves what he does, and he is passionate about watching out for people and talking to them,” said Jimmy Atkins, a Decatur resident. 

James Spann presented smiles, insights, and light-hearted jokes to every person he met. “This is important because the only way for me to understand and serve these precious people is to talk to them. That is how I do my job,” said Spann joyfully.

After speaking to the Emmy Award winner James Spann, the crowd would turn to Turbo Coffee’s refreshments. The event brought the coffee shop many customers, leading to a rapid shortage of sticky buns. The establishment also succeeded in revenues for açaí bowls and pastries. To give a “special taste” to the occasion, Turbo Coffee released a weather-themed latte with a genuine balance of sweet and tart, containing condensed milk and vanilla extract.

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Manuela Ludolf, Staff Writer

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