There is a new development in the case of an Alabama boy who was taken from his mother thirteen years ago.  APR’s Taylor Swinney has the latest…

Bobby Hernandez is being held on $250,000 bond. Prosecutors claim he abducted his own son thirteen years ago from his home in Vestavia Hills. A preliminary trial that was scheduled for today in Cleveland, Ohio has been cancelled.

Hernandez faces tampering charges in Ohio.

A lawyer for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says he hopes to have the casino reopened by Christmas, despite a court order allowing the state to keep his seized gambling machines.

McGregor's attorney Joe Espy says VictoryLand will have to obtain new machines in order to reopen. However, Espy believes the casino will be able to do that.

The state has been in a long-running legal battle over the slot machine look-alikes.

The attorney general's office seized over 1600 electronic bingo machines and $260,000 in cash during a 2013 raid at VictoryLand.

A special election will be held next year to fill the east Alabama legislative seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Lesley Vance.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced the election schedule for the district yesterday that covers portions of Lee and Russell counties.

A primary election will be held Jan. 19 and the general election will be held April 12.

If a primary runoff is required, the general election will be pushed back until May.

An Alabama death row inmate wants the state Supreme Court to review his case. Bill Kuenzel argues jurors never heard critical evidence that could have proven his innocence. He claims prosecutors withheld details in the 1987 slaying of a Sylacauga convenience store clerk. A witness, who placed Kuenzel at the scene, initially told the grand jury she couldn't see who was at the store that night. A man who claimed to be Kuenzel’s accomplice owned a shotgun similar to the one that killed clerk Linda Offord. An appeals court ruled the inmate missed a deadline to raise the claim…

The Tuscaloosa Police Department identified the three officers involved in an incident that went viral on the internet. Officers James Kent, Phillip Champion, and Gregory Pimm are on paid leave while an internal investigation is made into Sunday morning’s arrest of three University of Alabama students. The officers are seen on video using a taser and a nightstick to subdue them. APR news director Pat Duggins took the sound of several videos shot during the incident, along with the reaction from Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson to create this audio postcard.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says the National Fish and Wildlife   Foundation has approved spending more than $21 million on projects to restore areas of Alabama's Gulf Coast.

Bentley says the money will be used to launch five projects focused on natural resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

Officials say the projects include fisheries and ecosystem monitoring, a project to bolster the state's artificial reef program and strategic land acquisition.

Three Tuscaloosa Police officers are on paid leave following a videotaped incident that went viral on the internet. According to APR’s Pat Duggins, even Police Chief Steven Anderson admits he was disturbed by it.

The graphic video shot from inside a Tuscaloosa apartment shows local police officers pushing their way inside, and pulling two University of Alabama students out. A Taser and a nightstick are used as the officers forcibly subdue and arrest the young man and woman. Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson says the images left him with some questions.


All year long on Alabama Public Radio, we’re been looking at water. In other words, we’ve been reporting on Alabama’s water supply and the health of our rivers. Critics of Alabama water policy often focus on a lack of state regulation. Environmentalists say this failure of oversight has impacted the state’s ecology in ways ranging from minor to catastrophic.

Three Tuscaloosa Police officers are on paid leave following a videotaped incident that went viral on the internet. APR’s Pat Duggins says Police Chief Steven Anderson admits even he was disturbed by it…

The graphic video shot from inside a Tuscaloosa apartment shows local police officers pushing their way inside, and pulling two University of Alabama students out.

The Tuscaloosa Police Department has launched an internal investigation after videos emerged of a team of officers using a Taser and baton during an arrest early Saturday morning.

The officers were responding to a loud music complaint at an apartment near the University of Alabama campus. Multiple videos of the incident show an officer speaking to the apartment’s occupants, who refused to exit the apartment and questioned whether the officer was within his rights to search the residence.

Organizers say the National Peanut Festival fairgrounds have been closed because of expected rain in Alabama.

Officials with the festivals the fairgrounds of the 71st annual festival will be closed Sunday. The festival plans to open Monday for all scheduled events if the weather permits.

The festival runs through Nov. 15, honoring peanut growers and to celebrate the harvest season.

Hundreds of vendors have setup for the festival.

Dunn to run for president of Public Service Commission

Nov 8, 2015

Former Alabama Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn is seeking to return to the state board that regulates utilities.

Dunn filed papers Friday with the Alabama Republican Party to challenge incumbent commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh in the 2016 primary.

Dunn says his name on the ballot will give ratepayers a choice, and he believes the commission needs to do a better job of protecting consumers.

Dunn was elected to the commission in 2010. He was unseated by a Republican challenger Chip Beeker in 2014.

Young seeks rematch against Byrne in congressional race

Nov 8, 2015

Political firebrand Dean Young is seeking a rematch against Rep. Bradley Byrne for the south Alabama congressional seat.

Young  filed papers with the Alabama Republican Party Friday to run against Byrne in next year's GOP primary.

Bryne defeated Young in 2013 for the then open seat. The race drew national attention as an illustration of the internal GOP divide.

Byrne is a former state senator and two-year college chancellor. Young is perhaps best known as a former adviser to Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

A city-wide planning map is aiming to make Mobile more walkable.

The plan called "Map for Mobile" will go before the city council Tuesday for consideration. The plan outlines methods and approaches the city will follow starting in 2016 to implement zoning, land use, code and ordinance changes and capital improvement priorities.

The map would be the first for South Alabama's largest city in years.

It was approved by the city's planning commission Thursday following a round of mostly positive comments from people involved in the nine-month creation process.

T3l Erick (Erick Pleitez) [Flickr]

If you have a great animal shelter in your community, let them know you appreciate the work they do.  If your shelter is not so great, maybe you can help to make it better, not just for the animals but for everyone.


The two Alabama Senate budget chairmen are swapping committees for the upcoming session.

Sen. Trip Pittman of Montrose will head the general fund budget committee. Sen Arthur Orr of Decatur will take over as Education Trust Fund budget chairman.

The Senate Committee on Assignments announced the change on Friday.

Orr says he believes it is healthy to have fresh eyes on the state budgets. Pittman says he is looking forward to a new challenge.

Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange says the state's litigation against casinos will go forward despite the governor's order that local law enforcement should take over gambling enforcement.

Strange said yesterday he had been assured by the governor's legal adviser that the executive order issued by the governor had no impact on the state's pending litigation.

Gov. Robert Bentley signed an executive order recently saying local district attorneys and sheriffs should be in charge of gambling enforcement.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is trying to clear the way for VictoryLand bingo casino and others to reopen.

Bentley signed an executive order today, saying local law enforcement should be the primary enforcer of gambling laws. He rescinded the first executive order he gave after taking office in 2011 that directed the responsibility to the attorney general's office

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / AP

A second trial for an Alabama police officer accused of using excessive force on an Indian man ended yesterday in a hung jury.

U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala declared a second mistrial yesterday in the case involving former Madison police officer Eric Parker. Parker’s defense attorney asked the judge to acquit his client.

A police officer in Birmingham, Alabama was stripped of a combat medal last night. APR’s Alex AuBuchon tells us why.

Birmingham police officer Daniel Aguirre received his department’s Combat Cross Medal in May after valorous action in a shooting last year. Officials honored him for shooting a robbery suspect who the officer claimed pointed a gun at him.

Jurors hearing the federal retrial of former Madison police officer Eric Parker will be back in court today for a fourth day of deliberations.

Jurors will return to court this morning after telling U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala they were once again unable to come to a unanimous decision in the civil rights case.

The judge is trying to avoid a second mistrial for Parker on charges of violating the rights of 58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel by using excessive force during a police stop in February. Parker's first trial ended in a hung jury.

Alabama and Whiskey: 100 years in the making

Nov 4, 2015

Alabama is predominantly known by three things.  Barbecue, football, and history.  But one father and son duo are looking to add something else to that list.  APR’s MacKenzie Bates took a trip to the John Emerald Distillery in Opelika where history is being made, one barrel at a time.

It’s a quiet afternoon in the back room at the John Emerald Distillery.  There are several large tanks filled with ingredients to make alcohol.   Jimmy Sharp is making a batch of rum with a local flavor to it.

Another Republican Presidential hopeful is coming to Alabama today.

Ohio Governor John Kasich* is meeting supporters during a campaign rally right now at Wintzell’s Oyster Bar in Mobile. The GOP contender earned the endorsement of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. Still, Kasich is behind in the polls compared to competitors like Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Bob Omainsky** owns Wintzell’s. He says the Kasich campaign approached him about using the oyster bar as the venue for today’s event…

Alabama has reopened most rural driver license offices for one day each month.

The offices began reopening this week on a limited basis following national backlash over a plan to close them permanently.

In September, The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced plans to close 31 offices where state workers had given driving tests one day per week.

The agency said the closures were necessary because of budget cuts. Critics said the closures created a hardship for rural residents and only saved the state $100,000 a year in travel costs.

Alabama red snapper fishermen say they’re feeling caught between state and federal regulators.

New numbers from Washington for the amount of snapper caught this year differs from the total from the state. The Federal Marine Recreational Information Program says Alabama anglers caught just over two million pounds of red snapper. Alabama regulators put that number at just over a million pounds. 

Classes are cancelled today in Headland, Alabama after storms dropped more than 5 inches over the area yesterday.

Henry County Superintendent Lesa Knowles said high winds and strong storms passed through the area early Sunday morning and peeled the roof off the Headland High School auditorium. The storms also caused leaks at Headland’s elementary school, and power outages throughout town due to felled trees. School was cancelled today, and the school board has called an emergency meeting for later today.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is set to reopen this week in time for the holiday season. Building repairs prompted the facility's unexpected closure. Officials said in a statement that the institute is scheduled to reopen to the public at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Institute President and CEO Andrea Taylor says contractors addressed water leaks and worked to seal gaps in the building's walls. Taylor says institute officials are pleased to reopen in time for the holiday season.

Listen for even more Student voices on APR...

Oct 31, 2015

The Alabama Public Radio news team is coaching a University of Alabama journalism class taught by news director Pat Duggins and Dr. George Daniels. The course teaches students how to write across platforms like radio, television, and the internet. The class generated story ideas which were critiqued by Duggins, as well as assistant news director Stan Ingold, and APR’s Morning Edition Host Alex AuBuchon. These stories have been graded. Monday, the news team will go over the finished stories, and the “best of the best” will be chosen to air statewide on Alabama Public Radio.

Florence restaurants that allow smoking may be putting their staffs in danger. That’s the point of a new air quality study. It says workers in smoke-free eateries are exposed to fewer harmful air particles than those working in smoking environments. The Florence Times Daily reports that the study says workers in smoking-allowed restaurants are exposed to a 66% higher rate than the opposite. It was released this week by the Partnership for a Tobacco-Free Shoals and Smoke-Free Shoals. The study was performed by Roswell Park Cancer Institute this year.

Facebook - HarleyFreightTrainTaylor

No animal should have to endure what Harley went through for ten years in a puppy mill.  Despite the harsh treatment he received, he is a happy, friendly and loving dog.   And now he has been recognized as a hero!