News

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker will have his own day in court after all.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins recently ruled against dismissing Justice Parker’s contention that certain state restrictions on judges' speech violate their First Amendment rights.

Beetles Threatening Alabama Timber

Sep 5, 2017

Alabama’s eleven billion dollar timber industry could be at risk due to a very small bug.

Southern Pine Beetle populations have reached epidemic levels in Montgomery County. The beetles are also found in the Oakmulgee district of the Talladega National Forest and an area including Marengo, Clarke, and Choctaw counties.

UAB Campus
UAB

Researchers at UAB are seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration regarding a new potential treatment for cancer.

Scientists say they’ve developed a way to genetically modify a cancer fighting immune system cell so that it survives chemotherapy. Project Director Dr. Lawrence Lamb says the so called Gamma Delta T-cells recognize cancer cells because of signals of stress the infected cells give off in the patient.

Hurricane Harvey

Sep 2, 2017
The National Guard

Texas National Guard members worked alongside other responders to rescue local citizens in flooded areas.  Soldiers, firefighters, paramedics and neighbors ensured several thousand people and hundreds of dogs and cats were evacuated to safety.

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit filed by four Alabama death-row inmates challenging the state's use of a controversial sedative at the start of lethal injections.  

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that a federal judge prematurely dismissed the inmates' claims. The judges ordered the lower court to hold an evidentiary hearing on whether midazolam will effectively render inmates unconscious during executions.

Sexual Assault Nurse Program Planned For Tuscaloosa

Aug 31, 2017
Katie Willem

A national news story may help to spark change in Tuscaloosa. Work is underway to offer a new service following the suicide of former University of Alabama student Megan Rondini. APR Student reporter Katie Willem has more on the program called SANE…

“Have you ever seen a SANE facility before? Let’s do that. Yeah, let’s do that.”

That’s Meg McGlamery. She’s the Executive Director at the Crisis Center in Birmingham. This includes what’s called a SANE facility. SANE is short for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. One of the first things you notice is the art on the walls.   

Alabama Power Releases "What If" Scenarios for Coal Ash Dams

Aug 30, 2017
blackwarriorriver.org

 Alabama Power recently released predictions on what would happen if coal ash dams were fail at their power plants. Coal ash is the waste left over from burning coal. It is mixed with water to form a liquid  

slurry which is then pumped into holding pits. Environmentalists suggest that lined land-fills would prevent the waste from seeping into groundwater. The cost of such a change would differ from plant to plant but would likely be significant. Nelson Brooke is the Black Warrior Riverkeeper. He explained the worst case scenario.

The High Cost of "Sugar"

Aug 30, 2017

Paying for college is a on-going problem in the U.S. The website studentloanhero.com says the average graduate ends up with $37,000 worth of debt along with their diploma. That’s almost one and a half trillion dollars overall -- more than what U.S. households owe on their credit cards.

APR student reporter Miranda Fulmore reports there’s a growing trend on college campuses to address this money crunch, and it’s raising eyebrows.

The deadline is looming for Alabama’s correctional officials to tell a federal judge how they plan to overhaul mental health care in state prisons.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has scheduled a status conference for September 7 to get an update on the mediation between the state of Alabama and lawyers representing Alabama inmates.

Whooping Cough on the Rise in Alabama

Aug 28, 2017

Pertussis, or "whooping cough" is on the rise across the country, and the state of Alabama has seen over 150 cases so far this year.

The highly contagious disease is preventable with vaccines. However, children and infants who have not received vaccinations for the disease are at high risk of infection.

Dr. Karen Landers is a medical consultant for Alabama's immunization program. She says whooping cough has been around for many years and is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis.

Last year was a record year for Alabama’s automotive industry.

Alabama Department of Commerce officials say exports of Alabama-made automobiles jumped 13 percent last year, climbing to $7.9 billion dollars. Total sales of state-made cars are estimated at around $20 billion.

Alabama-built cars were reportedly shipped to 86 countries last year. Germany was the largest export market, with more than $2.4 billion in shipments to there alone. Next on the list were China, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and India.

Associated Press

As cities across the country are tearing down and relocating Confederate monuments, a county in southern Alabama on Sunday unveiled a new one.

Several hundred people attended a dedication ceremony for the "Unknown

 Alabama Confederate Soldiers" at Confederate Veterans Memorial Park in Crenshaw County, Alabama, 55 miles south of Montgomery.

The memorial park's owner and developer, David Coggins, says the groups in attendance weren't white nationalists or racists, but were acknowledging their heritage and honoring Confederate soldiers everywhere.

 

U.S. Sen. Luther Strange made his case to state Republican party leaders on Saturday, urging them to vote for him in a GOP runoff next month because of his "conservative accomplishments" and the endorsement of President Donald Trump.

Former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who faces Strange in the runoff, lashed out at Strange's financial backing from the GOP establishment and said the "Washington crowd" was trying to buy the Senate seat from Alabama.

American Humane Association

 

The 2017 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories: Service Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs.

  

  

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Confederate monuments have been the topic of many discussions lately, mostly about them being torn down or covered up.

But a new Confederate monument is set to be unveiled this weekend in Crenshaw County. The monument is dedicated to “unknown Alabama Confederate soldiers.” David Coggins, the owner of Confederate Memorial Park where the monument will be located, says it is intended to honor Confederate soldiers who died in battle and never received a proper burial.

The Alabama Board of Education could vote as soon as next month on whether to dismiss state Superintendent Michael Sentance.

Board member Jeff Newman tells the Associated Press several of the board’s members want to discuss Sentance’s contract at next month’s meeting. Newman says that could include a vote on whether to dismiss Sentance, the school reformer they hired just a year ago to lead Alabama’s public schools.

The board recently gave Sentance low marks on a performance evaluation. Sentance responded that he is proud of his work and hopes to continue in the role.

Stan Ingold / Alabama Public Radio

All year long at Alabama Public Radio, we’ve been looking at rural health. Many of the challenges residents of these communities face are a lack of doctors and hospitals, and the money to pay for care. For many African-Americans in Alabama, a lack of trust of outsiders and the government. This issue can be traced back to a study conducted by the U.S. government on black men living around Tuskegee. This year marks a twenty year milestone in a federal study of syphilis which still resonates across the country.

Alabama health officials have announced a new program to more readily identify and treat patients with highly infectious diseases.

Al.com reports Huntsville Hospital, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital and the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile will be the three assessment hospitals in a new Serious Infectious Disease Network. The Alabama Department of Public Health announced it’s establishing the network in response to several national disease outbreaks.

A business lobbyist and former environmental regulator from Alabama has been selected as the new regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overseeing eight Southeastern states.

Former Alabama Department of Environmental Management director Trey Glenn will be overseeing the work of the EPA in Alabama as well as Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

Residents in Mobile know who their next mayor will be, but there’s still some work to be done in Birmingham.

In Mobile, Sandy Stimpson was elected to his second term as mayor. He defeated former mayor Sam Jones with just over 57 percent of the vote.

But in Birmingham, incumbent mayor William Bell is heading to a runoff with challenger Randall Woodfin. Unofficial returns from last night showed Woodfin was leading a crowded field of mayoral candidates with approximately 40 percent of the vote. Bell had earned around 36 percent.

Huntsville may benefit from the White House directive to revamp the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal. The Air Force says it has awarded contracts to Boeing and Northrop Grumman for work that could lead to replacement of the nation's intercontinental ballistic missiles. Chicago-based Boeing has built long-range missiles for the Defense Department since Minuteman I in the 1960s. It’s missile-replacement effort will be done in Huntsville, Alabama as well as Utah, Ohio; and other locations. The contracts are part of a planned overhaul of the U.S.

Alabamians from the Tennessee Valley to the coast are getting ready to view Monday’s solar eclipse. The prime spot to see the sun completely blotted out by the Moon is north and east of Alabama along a line extending from Nashville, Tennessee to Columbia, South Carolina. But Alabama is expected to get about a ninety five percent eclipse over much of the state. Stores in northern Alabama are selling thousands of protective glasses to view the sun, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville has an eclipse-watching party.

American Humane Association

The 2017 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories: Service Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement/ Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is clashing with Secretary of State John Merrill over Alabama voters listed as “inactive.” The civil rights organization is asking the state to restore hundreds of thousands of people to active voter status ahead of a U.S. Senate runoff election in September and the General Election in December. The SPLC says there was widespread confusion in Election Day last Tuesday. The group believes large numbers of people were incorrectly moved to inactive voting status during an update of rolls.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says it has added Heather Heyer's name to its Wall of Tolerance at the Civil Rights Memorial Center.

 The SPLC said on its website Friday that it had added a tribute to Heyer to its center in Montgomery, Alabama.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey appears closer to announcing an upcoming run for governor after filing paperwork to create a campaign organization.

Earlier this week, Ivey filed paperwork with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill's office to reserve the name "Kay Ivey for Governor Inc." for a nonprofit organization. Ivey spokesman Daniel Sparkman says Ivey is seriously considering running in 2018 and is "taking the steps necessary to be successful."

All year long, the Alabama Public Radio news team has been investigating the state’s rural healthcare system. One issue is hospitals. Seven rural counties in Alabama don’t have one, and one more county may be added to that list by the end of the month. John Paul Jones hospital in Wilcox County says it will close after sixty years. Five other rural hospitals have closed since the year 2010. Eighty percent of those that are left are operating in the red, in part due to Medicare which pays less in rural Alabama than almost anywhere else in the nation.

A recent report shows Alabama is lagging behind much of the country when it comes to tobacco use.

The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network released its annual report called "How Do You Measure Up?" earlier this month. It finds that although the national adult smoking rate is just over 15 percent, more than one in five adults in Alabama are smokers. Meanwhile, nearly four thousand people in the state are diagnosed with tobacco-related cancer each year.

Sitting Alabama Senator Luther Strange will be facing off with former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in a runoff for the Republican nomination for Senate.

Moore forced Strange into a runoff in yesterday’s primary election, even though the former Alabama Attorney General was backed by an endorsement from President Donald Trump and millions of campaign dollars from establishment Republicans.

Alabama has a new poet laureate. Jennifer Horne was recently elected to the position by the Alabama Writers’ Conclave and is just awaiting Governor Kay Ivey’s signature. We sat on her back porch just outside of Tuscaloosa, and with the buzzing of cicadas, an occasional dog barking, and even a train…I asked her what a poet laureate does?”

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