News

Members of the Mobile City Council are asking Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to approve funding to help restart passenger train service between the port city and New Orleans.

WALA-TV reports members sent Ivey a letter yesterday saying renewed Amtrak service would help increase tourism and economic development in Mobile.

Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi must commit almost $35 million total over three years by today to be eligible for the same amount in federal funds that would let Amtrak trains travel the northern Gulf Coast for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

Alabama's governor is distancing herself from President Donald Trump on the issue of trade, saying import tariffs like those supported by the Trump administration would hurt the state.

Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement yesterday saying import tariffs could cause retaliatory tariffs that would drive up the cost of items made in Alabama and sold abroad.

The administration already has imposed new tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, plus steel and aluminum from China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

Bill Canary
BCA

Alabama's largest electrical utility is quitting a business group that tries to influence policy and politics in Montgomery.

News outlets report Alabama Power Co. is leaving the Business Council of Alabama in a disagreement over its leadership and other issues.

Tax documents filed by the business group show most of its money comes from dues and assessments, so losing a large member like Alabama Power could affect its future operations.

Gulf State pier
Alabama State Parks

A new pilot program will allow shark fishing two days this month at Gulf State Park.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says the shark fishing events will take place at the park's saltwater fishing pier tomorrow and June 26. Registration is required and fishing is limited to 10 anglers.

Parks Director Greg Lein said the trial program is being implemented after feedback from people who fish at the pier. Lein says many anglers have expressed concern that they can't catch other species because of the abundance of sharks around the pier.

Low-income residents receiving federal assistance in Alabama might soon see their rent go up by more than $800 a year.

Al.com reports the possible rate increase could impact more than 180,000 people and about 83,000 households according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The center says the average US. Department of Housing and Urban Development rent would go up 20 percent.

Pet Sitters International [Facebook]

Take Your Dog To Work Day is always celebrated on the Friday after Father's Day.  It tops off  Take Your Pet To Work Week, all created and supported by Pet Sitters International to celebrate dogs as great companions and encourage adoptions of homeless pets.

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Patients seeking cancer treatment in Alabama have a new option for care.

Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham opened its new, state-of-the-art cancer center just two weeks ago. The new, twenty six thousand square foot facility is designed to help patients more easily access a wide range of cancer treatment options and resources in one location.

Dr. Jennifer De Los Santos is the director of the cancer center. She says the new facility will offer a team approach to cancer care – and that’s something she says is new for the Birmingham area.

Marshall Space Flight Center
NASA

The director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama is retiring.

Marshall officials say Todd May announced his retirement to employees yesterday. It is set to take effect July 27.

A statement from U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks of Huntsville says May is being replaced on an acting basis by Marshall's deputy director, Joan A. "Jody" Singer.

May was first named acting director of Marshall in 2015 and then took over the position on a permanent basis. Before that, the Fairhope native managed the Space Launch System, NASA's heavy-lift rocket that's still in development.

A onetime county official accused of taking three quarters of a million dollars in public funds in north Alabama is going to prison.

News outlets report that Judge Pride Tompkins sentenced former Franklin County administrator Crista Lynn Madden to 20 years in prison during a hearing Monday.

The 49-year-old Madden pleaded guilty in March to felony charges of using her office for personal financial gain.

Josh Coleman
via Facebook

The mayor of Alabama's largest city has hired its first LGBTQ liaison.

AL.com reports Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced yesterday at PrideFest that Josh Coleman will serve as both a city spokesman and a representative of LGBTQ interests. Coleman is currently the vice president of Central Alabama Pride, and will start his new city job on June 25.

Woodfin says Coleman's appointment upholds the legacy of "the city that taught the world the importance of inclusion."

Pet Left in Hot Car

Jun 9, 2018
Greg Walters [Flickr]

A happy dog sitting in a car, hoping to go for a ride - what is wrong with this picture?  Nothing really, if the human makes sure the pet can ride safely, and does not leave the animal alone in the car, even for a few minutes.  

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An Alabama lawmaker has been indicted on federal charges that he paid kickbacks to a doctor's office that referred Medicare patients to his health care business.

The indictment against Republican state Rep. Ed Henry of Hartselle was unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Montgomery. He is charged with six counts of paying illegal kickbacks and other federal crimes.

The votes are in after yesterday's primary election, but that wasn't enough to decide the Republican candidates in a number of key statewide races.

Several GOP races will be on a runoff ballot next month, including for Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, and one seat in U.S. Congress.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of yesterday's election came in the race for U.S. House District 2. Veteran U.S. Representative Martha Roby was forced into a runoff with Bobby Bright, a former Democrat who switched parties after losing the seat to Roby back in 2010.

Primary results are in, and incumbent governor Kay Ivey will face Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox in the November 2018 gubernatorial election.

Governor Ivey managed to avoid a runoff against a field of opponents including Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, evangelist Scott Dawson, and State Senator Bill Hightower.

She is seeking to win the governorship outright for the first time; she inherited the position after then-Governor Robert Bentley resigned in April 2017 amid a sex-tinged scandal.

Help Wanted: Alabama's Rural Health Care Crisis

Jun 5, 2018

June 6, 2018 marks fifty years since the death of Robert F. Kennedy. Reporters covering his campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination established the RFK Journalism Awards, which recognize coverage of the disadvantaged, or victims of social injustice. APR is honored to join the 2018 RFK laureates with our documentary "Help Wanted: Alabama's Rural Health Care Crisis." Pat D.

“I hurt so bad, and I just stayed in bed like, for years I stayed in bed. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t wait on myself.”

Birmingham will be the seventh city with a team featured in the newly-formed Alliance of American Football.

The spring professional football league, which will begin play the weekend after the Super Bowl in February, announced Birmingham’s addition yesterday. Other cities with teams in the Alliance are San Diego, Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis, Salt Lake City and Phoenix.

Authorities say an Alabama death row inmate was found dead in his cell from an apparent suicide Sunday morning.  

The Alabama Department of Corrections said 57-year-old Jeffrey Lynn Borden was found hanging by a bed sheet in his cell during a security check at 2:30 a.m. He was pronounced dead at 3 a.m., a prison spokesman said.

The four Republicans running for Alabama attorney general are slugging  

their way toward an anticipated runoff. Attorney General Steve Marshall faces challenges from former U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, former Attorney General Troy King, and lawyer Chess Bedsole. The contest has become heated as the four vie for the two runoff spots.

Cats and Boxes

Jun 2, 2018
docoverachiever (Sheila Sund) [Flickr]

What is it about boxes that cats love so much?  They are good places to hide, snooze, relax - and it doesn't have to be roomy.  Facebook is full of videos of cats scrunching and snuggling down into unbelievably small containers.   If you want to entertain your feline friend, just find a clean empty box.

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Alabama Republicans say they won't certify the votes of a statewide candidate who's come under scrutiny for what the party calls "egregious" comments.

The decision announced Thursday means Jim Bonner, who's running for the utility-regulating Public Service Commission, won't get the party's nomination even if he wins Tuesday's primary.

The two-time delegate to the Republican National Convention is trying to unseat incumbent Jeremy Oden. But he's made several comments on social media and radio that could be seen as offensive to women, blacks, Jews and Muslims.

Six women are suing a north Alabama rheumatologist, accusing him of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior while they were his patients.

News outlets report the lawsuit was filed in Morgan County Circuit Court Wednesday against Dr. Michael Dick of Decatur.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have been identified by pseudonyms, seeking to preserve privacy. Dick referred questions to his lawyer, who declined to comment.

cigar box guitars
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Summer is basically here, and that means it’s music festival season. In Alabama, Hangout Music Festival on the Gulf Coast took place earlier this month, and Sloss Fest in Birmingham is coming up in July. APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports on one festival this weekend that might not be on your radar. It shines a spotlight on an unusual and historic instrument.

Officials say Hyundai is planning to invest more than $350 million to build a new plant in Alabama in addition to updating the existing plant in Montgomery.

News outlets report the South Korean automotive manufacturer announced yesterday that it will invest $388 million to construct the 260,000-square-foot engine head manufacturing plant, as well as enhance its assembly plant in Montgomery.

UH72A Lakota
Dura-Ace / Wikimedia

Governor Kay Ivey moved to deploy members of the Alabama National Guard late last week – but it’s not in response to Alberto.

At the request of the Trump administration, Ivey approved the deployment of a helicopter and five troops to the southwest United States in order to help protect the southwestern border. Those soldiers will be supporting the Texas National Guard in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Ivey says “Alabama is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our nation” and “we are proud to assist in the Southwest border mission”.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi launched emergency preparations ahead of the arrival of subtropical Storm Alberto. The National Weather Service says the system is speeding up and is expected to hit the Florida panhandle Monday afternoon before heading north into east-central Alabama. Alberto is expected to retain tropical storm force through much of its trek up Alabama. Heavy downpours were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday.

NOAA Photo Library [Flickr]

A military or war dog can be a soldier's greatest asset and the enemy's worst nightmare.  They are loyal, intelligent,  and they have an average accuracy rate of 98% in sniffing out bombs, gas, drugs and enemy forces.   It's no wonder that most of them are adopted by former handlers when they retire!

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Government forecasters are set to release their prediction later today for how many hurricanes and tropical storms they expect to form over Atlantic and Caribbean waters in the next six months.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts Friday, June 1 and ends on November 30.

If Alabama were to expand its Medicaid program, more than 200,000 people in the state would gain health insurance.

That’s according to a new report from the Urban Institute, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They find that Alabama would see a drop from just over 17% to just over 12% of the population uninsured. The state would also see an additional $1.5 billion each year in spending from the federal government.

Alabamians wanting to register to vote in the June 5th primary have until the end of the day today to register.

The primary election will see voters deciding on who will represent their political party in the general election in November.

John Merrill is Alabama’s Secretary of State. He says there are several ways to get registered.

wikipedia.org

Yellowing court records from the arrests of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. 

and others at the dawn of the modern civil rights era are being preserved and digitized after being discovered in a courthouse box.

Archivists at Alabama State University are cataloguing and flattening dozens of documents found at the Montgomery County Courthouse. Circuit Clerk Tiffany McCord hopes electronic versions will be available for viewing as early as late June.

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