News

Pet Holiday Travel

42 minutes ago
LifeSupercharger (John Liu) [Flickr]

For their safety as well as your own, pets should not be allowed to roam freely in a moving vehicle. One option is a restraint that connects to a seat belt and attaches to the pet's harness. Your furry friend can stand or lie down, but will not distract the driver. It will also be safer in the event of a collision. ************

Prison commissioner: No evidence inmate suffered

16 hours ago

Alabama's prison commissioner says there were no visible signs that an inmate suffered during an execution last night. Commissioner Jeff Dunn issued the statement Friday on the execution of inmate Ronald Bert Smith Jr. Dunn says Smith coughed early in the execution Thursday night, "but at no time ...was there observational evidence that he suffered." Witnesses reported that the 45-year-old prisoner heaved and coughed repeatedly for 13 minutes during the execution. His hand also appeared to...

Carbon monoxide leak at Redstone sends 7 to hospitals

17 hours ago

What's being described as a carbon monoxide leak at Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal resulted in seven people being sent to a hospital. The problem occurred this morning at Redstone Arsenal's Fox Army Health Center. An official says Redstone firefighters confirmed elevated levels of carbon monoxide at the building when they responded to an alarm. Post spokesman Chris Colster says four people were sent to the hospital at first, and three more were taken to a hospital after the health center...

"...and justice for all."

18 hours ago

“…I met some good people in there and some evil, evil people.” Randall Padgett spent three years on Alabama’s death row for a crime he didn’t commit. If you think he’s the only one with a complaint about the state’s justice system, critics say get in line… “I have talked to prisoners who are enduring horrible conditions…” Ebony Howard is with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Prisoners who are not getting the medication that they need. Prisoners who have died since I’ve known them, because...

Alabama death row inmate Ronald Bert Smith was executed last night for the 1994 killing of a Huntsville man. But the way he died may lend additional support to those attempting to outlaw the use of the sedative midazolam in a three-drug lethal injection cocktail. During the 34-minute execution last night at Holman Correctional Facility, Smith reportedly coughed and heaved for nearly 15 minutes. Smith’s attorneys had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to block the execution, arguing he was...

The Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding residents to pay attention to possible fire hazards in the home now that the holiday season is in full swing, Scott Pilgreen is the Alabama Fire Marshal. He says one hazard people don’t usually think about during the holiday season is burning candles. “We need to make sure that the candles that we have, whether it be for decoration or scent or both, that we keep them at a proper distance from anything that could be combustible. It could be...

State: Alabama graduation rate not accurate

Dec 8, 2016

Alabama's 89 percent graduation rate is not accurate, but it may be months before the correct numbers are revealed. A review of the state's graduation rates by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General shows the state misstated its rates by counting students who received Alabama Occupational Diplomas in its numbers. They also did not properly oversee local school systems' awarding of class credits, resulting in some diplomas that weren't honestly earned. A state...

Southern states still in drought's crosshairs

Dec 8, 2016

The recent rain across Alabama is providing some relief from the ongoing drought, but the dry conditions that have plagued the state are far from over. The worst of the drought is in central Alabama, including Jefferson County and communities in the eastern part of the state. John Christy is the Alabama state climatologist. He says the rain has helped but the drought far from over… “The soils are still below normal in terms of their moisture capacity and the creeks being low tells us there is...

Alabama’s teachers are getting some good news about their retirement savings. Al.com reports investments by the Alabama Teachers’ Retirement System, managed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama earned 10.4% during the most recent fiscal year ending September 30. That’s up from just 1.04% the year before. As Alabama state treasurer Young Boozer puts it, “What happened was we moved the decimal point one place to the right.” Officials say the main reason for the jump in earnings was domestic...

An Alabama man is just hours away from execution by lethal injection. Ronald Bert Smith was sentenced to die for killing a convenience store clerk in 1994. It would be the first execution in the state since 2013. But it’s how a judge arrived at the death penalty in this case that has civil rights groups crying foul… Ronald Smith’s jury recommended life in prison. The judge overturned that suggestion and imposed the death penalty. Alabama is the only state where a judge is empowered to do that...

Report: LGBT students face discrimination at US schools

Dec 7, 2016

A report from an international human rights organization concludes many public schools are still hostile environments for LGBT students in Alabama and other states. The lengthy report from Human Rights Watch was released today and offered suggestions of ways for states to make policy changes. It was based on hundreds of interviews primarily with current and former high school students, parents, administrators and teachers in Alabama, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Utah. The report...

The Secret Life of Santas

Dec 7, 2016
Steve Pennington
Allison Mollenkamp / APR

Some things happen like clockwork this time of year. Trimming the Christmas tree, long lines at the shopping mall—and for parents of small children, there’s the traditional photo with the kids on Santa’s lap. There are plenty of children waiting to talk to Kris Kringle, and that means an annual recruiting drive for Santas to keep up with demand. APR student reporter Allison Mollenkamp takes this look into the secret life of Santas… The Railroad Café in Bessemer, AL isn’t all that busy on...

UAB Campus
UAB

A gathering in Birmingham is looking for more answers on how the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, impacts women. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for AIDS Research is hosting the 2016 Joint Symposium on HIV Research in Women. The conference will bring together junior and senior HIV investigators. Presentations will be divided among three focus areas. The list includes vulnerable Populations, how HIV impacts women infected with the virus that causes AIDS, and what medical...

pipeline explosion
Alabama EMA

Officials with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration say a second worker who was injured in the Colonial Pipeline explosion in late October has died. OSHA says the worker died on Nov. 22 from injuries received during the explosion in Shelby County. The federal agency says the worker's employer, Heflin-based L.E. Bell Construction, did contact OSHA to inform the administration of the death. OSHA did not identify the worker. Colonial officials say eight people on the nine-member...

Alabama AG Strange seeks to replace Sessions in Senate

Dec 6, 2016

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says he will seek the U.S. Senate seat left open if incumbent Jeff Sessions is confirmed to be attorney general under president-elect Donald Trump. Gov. Robert Bentley would appoint Sessions' interim replacement until there's an election to fill the rest of the term. That election would be held next year or in 2018. Strange issued a statement Tuesday saying he will be a candidate for the position and already has filed the necessary paperwork with...

Alabama opposing execution stay for condemned inmate

Dec 6, 2016

The state of Alabama is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the execution of an inmate scheduled for lethal injection on Thursday. The attorney general's office asked the justices in court papers Tuesday to deny a stay requested by Ronald Bert Smith, convicted of killing Huntsville store clerk Casey Wilson in 1994. A judge imposed death after jurors recommended life without parole, which Smith contends conflicts with a Supreme Court decision released earlier this year from Florida. Both...

An attorney representing a white Alabama police officer charged with the fatal shooting of a black man is hoping for a new venue for the trial. The lawyer for Montgomery police officer Aaron Smith filed a motion last week seeking to move the upcoming trial. He argues the publicity of the case and protests over the shooting death of 58-year-old Montgomery man Greg Gunn would make a fair trial difficult to obtain in the state capital. Attorney Mickey McDermott said the “racial prejudice and...

The Alabama businessman who started a one-of-a-kind store selling the contents of unclaimed airline baggage has died. A spokeswoman for the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro says founder Doyle Owens died Saturday night. He was 85. Store spokeswoman Brenda Cantrell says relatives haven't released details on Owens' death, but services are planned for Saturday. Using a $300 loan and a borrowed pickup truck, Owens bought his first load of unclaimed baggage in 1970 and sold the contents atop...

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says the statewide burn ban which has been in effect since early November is being lifted. Alabama Forestry Commission officials say the state has received enough rainfall over the last few days to reduce the threat of dangerous wildfires. Bentley said the forestry commission now believes "the worst of the drought has ended." Interim State Forester Gary Cole said that if exceptionally dry conditions return, it may be necessary to issue new fire alerts or no-burn...

Testimony is set to begin today in a massive lawsuit alleging inmates in Alabama’s prisons aren’t receiving the minimum level of health care guaranteed by the Constitution. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson is set to begin hearing the non-jury, class-action lawsuit later today. It was originally filed by a group of inmates against the Alabama Department of Corrections back in 2014. Maria Morris is the lead attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of several groups representing...

Starting next year, visitors to Fort Conde in Mobile will have to pay to get in. The tourist attraction, operated by Activation Management, will continue to be free until sometime next year. Manager Scott Tindle tells WKRG-TV it's an exciting opportunity for the fort, which will begin to be changed quarterly to reflect its diverse heritage. He says admission charges will begin once some new changes to Fort Conde are implemented. Tindle says the new additions to the museum will include...

trail repair
SORBA Huntsville

After the Tennessee Valley region was hit hard by strong wind and heavy rain earlier this week, members of an area mountain biking organization took to area trails with tools instead of bikes. Dozens of members of the Southern Off Road Bicycling Organization (SORBA) headed to Monte Sano State Park, where several hiking and mountain biking trails were damaged by the storms. WHNT-TV reports the North Plateau trail at Monte Sano was completely impassable, and some other trails were hardly...

Pat Duggins

The Alabama Crimson Tide became the SEC College Football Champions, for the third year in a row, by defeating the Florida Gators 54 to 16 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Florida was the underdog going into the game, but the Gator struck first by scoring a touchdown on their very first drive. That didn’t sit well with game MVP Reuben Foster of Alabama. “We don’t like that," says Foster, "We don’t like giving points, we don’t like giving up first downs. We hate that. So, we had to overcome that...

Alabama Public Radio News Director Pat Duggins covered the Crimson Tide's victory in the 25th SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Prior to kickoff, Duggins shot this video from the sidelines during warm-ups for the Tide,.

Alabama's secretary of state says an error that forced nearly three million ballots to be reprinted cost the state over $450,000. Secretary of State John Merrill announced the final cost for the reprint yesterday. He says the exact cost was $459,690.80. Merrill says an employee made a transcription error in a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at protecting funding for Alabama's state park system. The original ballot left off language intended to prevent the Alabama Legislature from...

Gifts for Pet People

Dec 3, 2016
cogdogblog (Alan Levine) [Flickr]

Gifts for pet people are easy to find, and they don't have to be expensive. One year my sister-in-law cross-stitched a cat picture on a pillow; I still use the pillow and enjoy it all year long! ***********

An Alabama inmate is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay his upcoming execution to consider whether a judge should have been able to give him a death sentence when the jury recommended life imprisonment. Attorneys for Ronald Bert Smith filed the stay request today. Smith is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection next Thursday for the 1994 slaying of Huntsville convenience store clerk Casey Wilson. A jury recommended life imprisonment by a 7-5 vote, but a judge sentenced Smith to the...

Hunters are clear to use an Alabama wildlife management area shut down by a major gasoline pipeline leak in September. State officials say the William R. Ireland, Sr. Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area has been reopened between Brantleyville and Glen Carbon. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says cleanup and remediation efforts are complete, allowing big and small game hunters to return. But state officials say cleanup continues at a shooting range in the area....

SPLC

Alabama’s prison system has been in the news a lot this year, and not for good reasons. Violence, inmate riots, allegations of mismanagement and corruption and a failed prison building plan in the state legislature have all pointed out plenty of problems. The Alabama Public Radio news team has spent the past several months examining what happens as people go into the state’s prison system and what happens when they come out. Today, APR’s Alex AuBuchon looks at the quality of prison health...

An Alabama inmate set to be executed next week is asking the governor to intervene because a judge imposed his death sentence over a jury's recommendation of life imprisonment. Attorneys for Ronald Bert Smith wrote in a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley that the judge overrode the jury's will. The jury voted 7-5 in his case for life in prison. Smith is currently scheduled to be executed Dec. 8 for the 1994 slaying of Huntsville convenience store clerk Casey Wilson. Last week, the Alabama Supreme...

Pages