A federal appeals court says a mostly white Alabama city won’t be allowed to break away from a mostly black county school system in order to form its own educational district.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that a lower court was wrong to let the Birmingham suburb of Gardendale split from the Jefferson County school system. The city is more than 80 percent white, while the court decision says the county system is heavily black.

State Senator Slade Blackwell has dropped out of the race for Alabama governor, shortly after having announced his surprise candidacy.

Alabama Republican Party spokesperson Katie Lansford says Blackwell withdrew from the race yesterday. He had initially planned to run for another term in his Mountain Brook senate district, but signed up to run for governor just before the qualifying deadline on Friday instead.

Hank Sanders
via Twitter

Alabama's longest-serving state senator says he has decided to step aside in favor of his daughter.

Senator Hank Sanders announced Saturday that he will not be seeking a 10th term in office. He says his daughter, Malika Sanders-Fortier, will run in his place for the Senate District 23 seat, which covers the Selma area.

Alabama political parties closed out qualifying for the 2018 elections on Friday, and there were several notable last-minute entries.

On the Democratic side, Joseph Siegelman filed paperwork to run for attorney general as a Democrat. Siegelman is the son of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Bob Vance announced a run for chief justice. Vance also ran for that post in 2012, but lost to Republican Roy Moore.

stevendepolo (Steven Depolo) [Flickr]

If you are concerned for your pet's safety, do not put its name on the collar or ID tag.  An animal may be more receptive and willing to go with a stranger that knows its name.  And remember - unattended means unsafe when it comes to your best friend.

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Frontier Airlines will begin offering direct flights out of Birmingham this spring – at a serious bargain.

At a news conference yesterday, the airline announced it will begin offering direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia on April 11. Introductory prices will start at $39 one-way, but tickets have to be purchased today.

A federal judge presiding in a lawsuit involving mental health treatment in Alabama prisons is giving officials until Friday to move mentally ill inmates who've been held too long in single-person cells. 

 

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued the order Thursday following a hearing where inmate attorneys argued that mentally ill prisoners are being held too long in solitary.

Five school systems in north Alabama with about 25,000 students total are canceling classes because of high incidences of the flu.

The city school systems in Albertville, Boaz and Guntersville have joined the Cullman County and Marshall County systems in shutting down until next week.

State statistics show Marshall County is the largest system affected by the illness with 5,468 students enrolled in kindergarten through the 12th grade. Marshall County does not plan to resume classes until Tuesday; the other four systems plan to return to class on Monday.

A former federal prosecutor is raising concerns that Alabama’s proposed crackdown on the synthetic opioid fentanyl could end up putting low-level users behind bars for years.

Former U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown told the Alabama House Health Committee yesterday that under the proposed law, a person with a trace amount of fentanyl mixed with other drugs could potentially be prosecuted as a major drug trafficker.

A federal judge has stayed the upcoming execution of an Alabama man in order to have an independent medical expert review claims that he is too sick to be executed.

Chief U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre made that ruling yesterday. A lawyer representing Doyle Lee Hamm argues lethal injection would be unconstitutionally cruel in Hamm’s case because battles with lymphoma and hepatitis C have severely compromised his veins. The lawyer also argues it would be inhumane to execute someone suffering from terminal cancer.

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