A new survey shows optimism is high among Alabama business leaders. The latest Alabama Business Confidence Index shows level of sixty one point six percent. That's well above the five-year average for the third straight quarter. The report is compiled from a survey on expectations for the coming quarter. Those numbers are compared to the current quarter. The index looks at industry sales, profits, hiring, capital expenditures, plus expectations for Alabama’s economy and the nation’s. The survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama.

If your Fourth of July plans include a visit to Orange Beach, it’ll cost less to get there. The company that operates the Beach Express Toll bridge is lowering its prices for the summer. Toll rates for visitors to Orange Beach are dropping by seventy five cents. The toll is going from three dollars and fifty cents to two dollars and seventy five cents until after Labor Day. Orange Beach residents will see their tolls drop by a twenty five cents, down from a dollar twenty five to just a dollar. The drop is meant to help ease congestion on Alabama highway fifty nine.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says his office will not share voter data with a Presidential commission on elections integrity. Both Republican and Democratic States are refusing to comply with the request for voter names, social security information, and voting history. The Commission grew out of questions from the Trump administration after the GOP candidate won the White House, while losing the popular vote to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. According to a Washington Post analysis, Alabama joins one third of U.S.

Natalie Maynor [Flickr]

We humans enjoy sharing things with our pets, but some things that are part of our celebrations can actually harm our furry friends.  Making an emergency trip to the veterinarian's office is no way to celebrate Independence Day! 

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Thousands of Alabamians may see a difference in their credit scores starting today. Not because their finances have changed--but, rather how their scores are added up. The three major credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will change which records they use. These companies will now only use public records with someone’s name, address, social security number, and date of birth. That means tax liens and civil judgments may be deleted since many of these legal actions lack all this information.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says he has questions he wants answered before turning over Alabama voter data to President Donald Trump's commission investigating alleged voter fraud.

 Merrill said Friday that there are a "number of questions we have to get answered."  He said security is one issue, but declined to name the other concerns.

The school board in Birmingham is working to prevent a charter school from opening in the city.

The board recently filed suit against the Alabama Public Charter School Commission in order to prevent STAR Academy from beginning operations. Board members say they denied a charter to start the school at the local level. They say that decision was improperly overruled by the state commission.

Alabama Now Considered Drought Free

Jun 29, 2017

Alabama and Mississippi are completely free from drought for the first time in more than a year.  

A federal assessment shows rains have eliminated a dry spell that began in April 2016, the last time Alabama was totally drought-free.

Days of heavy rains from Topical Storm Cindy helped, and now only slivers of northwest Alabama and northeastern Mississippi are considered abnormally dry. That's a step below being in a drought.

Gulf Coast visitors and Orange Beach residents are getting some welcome news from the Baldwin Beach Express toll bridge.

American Roads Incorporated, the company that operates the toll bridge and expressway, have announced a reduction in tolls from now until Labor Day. Rates will now be $2.75 for non-Baldwin County residents driving one way with a two-axle vehicle. The cost for each additional axle will be an extra dollar. Orange Beach residents will see even more substantial savings. Tolls for a one-way trip are dropping to $1 if paid electronically and $1.25 in cash.

Two more charter schools could be opening in the state next year, after the governing commission approved their applications.

Al.com reports the Alabama Public Charter School Commission fully approved one applicant and conditionally approved another.

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