News

A judge is refusing to delay the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, at least for now.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker declined Hubbard's request for a postponement after a hearing Tuesday in Opelika.

But the judge noted that the case could still be delayed for other reasons, like an appeal of any of his pretrial decisions.

Hubbard is now set to go on trial on March 28. He had sought a postponement until the fall after his lead attorney left the case earlier this month.

Supporters and state officials are rallying at the state capitol today for National School Choice Week.

Alabama is celebrating the variety of educational opportunities for children throughout the state, allowing them to decide what type of school they want to attend.

Sonya DiCarlo is the Director of Communications for the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund. She says there are scholarship opportunities for families to pick the school of their choice.

The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from lawyers representing Shelby County who tried to recover $2 million in attorney fees from the U.S. government in a case that nullified a key part of the Voting Rights Act.

The justices let stand a lower court ruling today that said the county's civil rights lawsuit did not advance the law's anti-discriminatory purposes and didn't qualify for fee recovery.

Workers in the Tuscaloosa area could see their wages go up soon.

Mayor Walt Maddox and the city council plan to consider an ordinance that would hike the local minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The proposal prompted a march down University Boulevard to City Hall on Martin Luther King Day. The group called for economic justice and a higher minimum working wage.

Deidre Stalnaker is the Communications Director for the City of Tuscaloosa. She says she’s not entirely sure what impact the move will have on area businesses.

Fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide braved blustery sub-freezing temperatures to celebrate this month's College Football Championship victory over the Clemson Tigers. The players, led by team captains Jake Coker, Derrick Henry, Ryan Kelly, Reggie Ragland, and head coach Nick Saban paraded from Denny Chimes to Bryant-Denny stadium. That's where Saban officially received the Cotton Bowl trophy for the team's semi-final victory over Michigan State.

An Alabama senator says legislature is considering a raise for education employees with a performance-based model for teachers. Senator Del Marsh told the Dothan Eagle the amount of the raise has yet to be determined, but there is an emerging consensus that education employees should receive a raise. The last time Alabama teachers got a raise was in 2013, the same year their contributions to retirement increased. Senator Marsh's promise comes at a time when state lawmakers are expecting another tight budget year, with more spending cuts possible.

Testing Your Dog's DNA

Jan 23, 2016
Mindy Norton

Curiosity is not a bad thing when it comes to your pet's ancestry.  If you decide to test your dog's DNA, you can buy a testing kit from pet supply stores and chains, or online from websites like Amazon.  Discuss any concerns you may have with your veterinarian.

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Some parts of Alabama can expect to see one-to-two-inches of snow tonight and into early Saturday morning.

The National Weather service has issued a winter weather advisory for parts of Alabama until six-am on Saturday.

Candy Sumlin is the emergency management officer for Huntsville-Madison County, Alabama. She says the worst weather is expected to hit later in the day…

Christopher Brooks
Alabama Department of Corrections

The state of Alabama executed Christopher Brooks last night for the 1992 rape and murder of Deann Campbell.

The execution was the state’s first in more than two years and the first to be carried out in Alabama using the controversial new sedative midazolam. Some say midazolam carries a high risk of botched executions, and there is currently a pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s lethal injection procedure.

But Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn says last night’s execution went “exactly as planned”.

The number of active tuberculosis cases is getting worse in a small town in West Alabama.  One new active case has been confirmed  27 people have now tested positive for the respiratory illness.

The current case rate for TB in the small Perry County town alone is 100 times higher than the 2014 state average.  Almost 36-hundred people live in Marion and fewer than a third have gotten tested.

This is the latest list as 10 am this morning. For up-to-date information on your child's school, contact that school's front office. Pat Duggins•

Athens City Schools o Elementary schools, grades K-4 will dismiss at 11:30 am o Grades 5-12 will dismiss at 11:45 am. All activities for Friday and Saturday are canceled.

Athens Bible School -- Elementary school will dismiss at 11:30 a.m. Grades 5-12 will dismiss at 11:45 a.m. •

Bethel Baptist School in Hartselle will dismiss at 12 pm.

Colbert County Schoolswill dismiss at 11:30 a.m.

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders Campaign

The dust is settling from this week’s visit by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The Democratic contender became the eleventh presidential hopeful to visit Alabama when his campaign rolled into Birmingham on Martin Luther King Day.

“Well-attended” could easily be an understatement. The Sanders campaign says over 7,000 people turned out for the rally, with well over a thousand braving sub-freezing temperatures to watch outside after the auditorium reached capacity.

APR’s Alex AuBuchon attended the rally and takes this look back.

Alabama death row
EJI

The state of Alabama is scheduled to execute its first inmate in more than two years, and defense attorneys want to monitor the proceedings a little more closely.

Lawyers representing several Alabama death row inmates have asked a federal judge to let them view preparations for tonight’s execution of Christopher Brooks.

Last week, the attorneys filed a motion asking that one of them be allowed to view the insertion of the intravenous line before Brooks is put to death by lethal injection.

Execution witnesses do not normally see the preparations.

Forecasters say a winter storm moving into Alabama is bringing sleet and other precipitation to counties in the far northern part of the state.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory today for five northern Alabama counties: Lauderdale, Limestone, Madison, Jackson and DeKalb.

The weather service says up to one-tenth of an inch of ice could accumulate in the extreme northeast corner of the state.

A federal appeals court has declined to stop an upcoming execution in Alabama.

Yesterday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied an emergency stay sought by inmate Christopher Eugene Brooks. Brooks is scheduled to be put to death tomorrow for the 1992 rape and murder of Jo Deann Campbell.

Brooks’s attorney had asked the court to stay the execution until a federal judge reviews the state's new lethal injection drug combination. A hearing on the constitutionality of those drugs is scheduled for April.

Two Alabama cities are hoping for the return of a pair of hometown Marines who are among the dozen people missing after two helicopters crashed off the coast of Hawaii.

Yellow ribbons are going up for Marine Sgt. William Josh Turner in his hometown of Florala near the Florida line. He’s a 2009 graduate of Florala High School, where workers remember him as a good student and baseball player.

Counselor Joea (JO uh) McNeil says Turner always wanted to be a Marine.

Thousands of Alabamians flocked to Birmingham last night for a rally held by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. APR’s Alex AuBuchon attended the rally and files this report.

Forecasters say a wintry mix of weather is possible in northern Alabama.

The National Weather Service says a mix of freezing rain or sleet could fall Wednesday morning in parts of northern Alabama. 

Forecasters say a light glaze of ice is possible, especially in northwest Alabama but any ice will turn to rain by late morning or early afternoon on Wednesday.

A small town with a big problem: Tuberculosis in Marion

Jan 18, 2016
MacKenzie Bates/APR

West Central Alabama is dealing with an outbreak of Tuberculosis.  APR’s MacKenzie Bates went to the city of Marion to find out what officials are doing to contain the respiratory disease…

The community of Marion is tucked in to Perry County. It might seem like a quaint town--very rural, not a lot of traffic lights and a small population.  Less than 36-hundred people live here, to be exact.            If anything happens in Marion, no matter how big or small, the folks hear about it. That includes Tuberculosis

Martin Luther King, Jr.
AP

The nation honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today.

The federal holiday will be marked in Alabama with volunteer service projects and parades. The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery will hold a birthday celebration at 10 a.m. Dr. King led that church from 1954 to 1960.

Current Pastor Cromwell Handy believes work needs to be done to keep King’s memory alive for young people. He says one sign of the generation gap is when youngsters take tours of Dr. King’s old office at the church.

Remembering Dr. King...

Jan 18, 2016

Click below to hear selections from Alabama Public Radio's coverage of Dr. Martin Luther King, junior and the Alabama civil rights movement, including national and international award winning stories...

skysports.com

 

Tuscaloosa native and World Boxing Council Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder defended his title in Brooklyn, New York knocking out Artur Szpilka of Poland in the ninth round. 

While Wilder was the heavy favorite to win the bout, Szpilka was a crowd favorite with chants and singing early on.  

Wilder was leading on all three scorecards 78-74, 77-75 and 78-74 after eight rounds but it was a right hand from the champion that dropped Szpilka towards the end of the ninth round.

 

An Alabama police officer acquitted of using excessive force on an Indian man still faces state and federal charges, but legal experts say the outcome of the civil rights trial will likely influence the approach to those cases.

U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala granted a motion to acquit Madison police officer Eric Parker Wednesday after two previous trials ended in hung juries.

Parker was accused of violating 58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel's civil rights when he slammed him to the ground during a suspicious person investigation in February.

Walking the Dog

Jan 16, 2016
www.buzzfarmers.com [Flickr]

Taking your dog for regular walks is good for both you and your pet.   It can help both of you live longer and healthier, so you will have more time to spend together enjoying each other's company.

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Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says loans administered through the federal Small Business Administration are available to help victims of late December storms repair damage to their property.

Bentley says low-interest loan assistance has been approved for more than 20 counties -- including Jefferson, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa -- based on damage assessments after storms and floods.

Bentley says renters and homeowners can borrow up to $40,000 to replace property or up to $200,000 to replace or repair their home.

Alabama National Championship Team to be Honored

Jan 15, 2016

The Alabama football team will be honored for its College Football Playoff National Championship with a parade beginning at Denny Chimes and a program held on the north steps of Bryant-Denny Stadium at the Walk of Champions on Saturday, January 23.

 

The parade, which will feature head coach Nick Saban, the players and staff along with Director of Athletics Bill Battle and other dignitaries and special guests, will start at 10 a.m., on University Boulevard at Denny Chimes.

 

A public meeting was held in Perry County last night about an outbreak of tuberculosis. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the latest about the ongoing efforts to contain the respiratory disease.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health took questions about tuberculosis for about an hour at Francis-Marion High School. Officials say 26 people have been diagnosed with tuberculosis within the last year, 20 of which are from Marion. The illness has resulted in three deaths.

       

The Alabama Department of Public Health will be holding a town hall meeting tonight to discuss an outbreak of Tuberculosis.  Twenty-six people have been diagnosed in the Marion, Centreville and Tuscaloosa areas in the past two years.  Pam Barrett is the Director for the Division of TB control with the Alabama Department of Public Health. She says keeping track of those infected has been a problem.

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / AP

The Alabama Department of Public Health will be holding a town hall meeting tonight to discuss an outbreak of tuberculosis.

26 people have been diagnosed with TB in the Marion, Centreville and Tuscaloosa areas since last January.

Pam Barrett is the director for the Division of TB Control with the Alabama Department of Public Health. She says keeping track of those infected has been a problem.

Alabama's Medicaid program says it will need an additional $157 million to maintain services next year. It's a request that caused lawmakers to lash out at expense of the healthcare program and its recipients.

Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar says the agency will have to cut services if it doesn't get close to that amount. She says the state might also have to abandon an ongoing switch to managed care without enough additional funds.

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