News

Several of Alabama’s government heads have announced their plan for fighting the opioid epidemic currently gripping the state.

The Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council issued its report and action plan last week to find solutions to the state’s opioid crisis.

Spanish Fort High School
Wikimedia

Complaints are continuing over the curriculum in an advanced placement government class at a high school in south Alabama.

This past summer, the reading list for Gene Ponder’s AP Government class at Spanish Fort High School made news for its inclusion of titles like “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder: Savage Solutions” by conservative radio host Michael Savage and “Guilty: Liberal Victims and their Assault on America” by commentator Ann Coulter.

 The University of Montevallo received the largest gift in the school's history going toward a new building for it business school.

A $3.6 million gift was donated to the University of Montevallo's Stephens College of Business, Al.com reports. The school made the announcement Thursday. 

The college is named after Michael E. Stephens, who died last year. The college of business was named in his honor in 1997.

Stephens bequeathed the money to the school of business for the facility.

Newly elected U.S. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama addressed Mississippi Democrats at their annual dinner in Brandon.  

The dinner had traditionally been called the Jefferson-Jackson-Hamer dinner, but Democrats are now calling it the Hamer-Winter dinner, named for civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer and former Democratic Gov. William Winter.

Naming the Cat

Jan 27, 2018
Mindy Norton

This is Gypsy.  If you look closely, you will see her "tipped" left ear.  The tip was surgically removed to indicate she has already been spayed, to alert anyone who might find her, to prevent unnecessary surgery in the future.  

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Vernon Madison
EJI

Alabama inmate Vernon Madison was scheduled to be put to death last night at 6 p.m., but he is still alive this morning.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of execution last night in order to consider arguments from the 67-year-old inmate’s attorneys. Madison had been sentenced to death for the 1985 killing of Mobile police officer Julius Schulte. In the three decades since, Madison’s lawyers say he’s suffered multiple strokes and now has vascular dementia. That has left him unable to remember the crime he committed or understand his looming execution.

A gay Alabama businessman and former police officer says GOP leaders refused to let him run for sheriff after a review including questions about his sexual orientation.

Jason White tells the News-Courier of Athens that members of the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee voted to deny his bid for sheriff earlier this week. He says that decision is almost certainly linked to the fact that he’s gay and is married to another man.

White is a former Athens police officer and did run for sheriff as a Republican in 2002. He was married to a woman at that time.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay in the case of convicted Alabama killer Vernon Madison. His legal team has argued that the inmate should be spared because he has developed dementia and can't remember killing a police officer three decades ago. Madison was sentenced to death for the 1985 killing of Mobile Police officer Julius Schulte. The lawman had responded to a report of a missing child placed by Madison's then-girlfriend. Prosecutors said Madison crept up and shot Schulte in the back of the head as he sat in his police car.

Smithsonian Institution

When people go to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., they seem to have a checklist of what they want to see. At the National Air and Space Museum, visitors frequently start at the Apollo 11 capsule that carried astronauts to the Moon.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

In the wake of the first Democratic U.S. Senate victory in Alabama in a quarter-century, state lawmakers are working to get rid of special elections for Senate.

House members voted 67 to 31 yesterday in favor of a bill that would change how Senate vacancies are filled in Alabama. Instead of a special election, the governor would appoint an interim senator who would serve until the next statewide general election – up to two years.

Alabama death row
EJI

The Supreme Court has paved the way for a death row inmate to be put to death on Thursday, despite his lawyers pleading he doesn’t currently remember his crime or even understand his looming execution.

Attorneys for Vernon Madison petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday asking them to review his case and whether executing him would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Justices rejected that request this morning without issuing a written explanation.

Gov. Kay Ivey says U.S. Congress' inability to fund the federal government will not have an impact on delivering state services.

Ivey joined Alabama's Congressional Republicans to criticize Senate Democrats for the government shutdown, which took effect after the Senate rejected a continuing resolution to keep the federal government operating last Friday.

Agencies shut down for the first time in more than four years after senators rejected a temporary spending patch. Bipartisan efforts to find an alternative fell short as a midnight deadline came and went.

Alabama's unemployment rate is holding steady at a record low level.

Gov. Kay Ivey's office says the state's jobless rate was 3.5 percent last month. That's the same as November, when the state matched its all-time low for unemployment.

Ivey's office says the December rate means nearly 2.1 million people were employed overall in the state. That's the most ever, surpassing the December number by about 45,000 residents.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is clashing with some state lawmakers over a proposal to significantly alter the position of lieutenant governor.

Republican Sen. Gerald Dial is proposing legislation that would strip the lieutenant governor of any legislative duties, so that they would no longer preside over the Alabama Senate. The sole function of the post would be to succeed the governor in the event of his or her death, removal or resignation.

Rather than the lieutenant governor, the Senate would elect a sitting senator as presiding officer.

Kerri Lee Smith [Flickr]

Shelter workers and rescue groups make a major difference for animals every day.  Folks who make contributions  or volunteer allow them to continue helping pets.  Pitch in today to change the life of pets - you may find your own life has changed for the better, too!

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Harley Barber
via Instagram

A University of Alabama student who repeatedly used a racial slur in videos on social media received immediate condemnation from her sorority and her school.

UA President Stuart Bell called the videos “highly offensive and deeply hurtful” and says the student, Harley Barber, is no longer enrolled at the university.

The videos, in which Barber repeatedly uses a racial slur for African-Americans, were first posted on a private Instagram account. However, recordings of the videos were widely shared on social media and eventually caught the attention of school administrators.

The Alabama Senate has approved a bill that would take the state out of the marriage business. 

The measure Senators approved yesterday would do away with marriage licenses issued by county officials as well as the state requirement for married couples to have a wedding ceremony. Couples would instead sign and submit a form.

The bill comes as a few probate judges in Alabama still refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone so that they don’t have to issue them to same-sex couples.

Alabama Celebrates MLK, Robert E. Lee Days

Jan 15, 2018

Alabama celebrates two very different holidays today. It’s both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Robert E. Lee Day.

Alabama continues to celebrate Robert E. Lee Day despite continuing controversy over Confederate monuments and holidays. Mississippi is the only other state that still celebrates Robert E. Lee Day as a full state holiday.

As the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior this weekend, southern states are banding together to promote civil rights tourism. Fourteen states stretching from Kansas to Delaware, including all of the Deep South, are joining to promote the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The monument highlights about one hundred and thirty sites linked to the modern civil rights movement. The list includes the hotel in Memphis where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated to the birthplace of the confederacy. The joint effort is being unveiled as part of the MLK holiday weekend.

APR

“We can’t react to every statement, every Tweet that the President feels necessary to put out,” says actor and activist Danny Glover following alleged racist statements by President Trump.

Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin confirmed that Mr. Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa as ****hole countries. The reported statement prompted outrage and demands for a Presidential apology from lawmakers and officials in the U.S., Africa and elsewhere.

ihynz7 (Irina Hynes) [Flickr]

Most cats love to play, and it doesn't require a lot of expensive toys.  A piece of string might do nicely.  For dogs, all you need is a leash to take your four-footed friend for a nice walk, or a ball to throw and chase.  What matters is doing something you both enjoy - together!

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The lawsuit over Alabama’s voter ID law may not be over just yet. Groups, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, are appealing a federal judge's dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the measure. U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler tossed out the lawsuit on Wednesday, saying the state had provided free voter IDs to people who did not have them.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s state law requiring people to show government issued photo ID at the polls.

The lawsuit was one of the latest battles between voting rights advocates who say these measures are aimed at suppressing voter turnout and conservative states that argue they’re needed to prevent voter fraud.

Stran-Hardin Arena
Alex AuBuchon / APR

The University of Alabama is set to open an athletic arena that is unparalleled in the United States.

Yesterday, university officials celebrated the completion of Stran-Hardin Arena, a brand-new $10 million facility for UA's Adapted Athletics program. The new arena features an NCAA-regulation venue for wheelchair basketball along with brand new strength training equipment adapted for athletes in wheelchairs, men's and women's locker rooms, conference and study rooms and much more.

President Trump is holding a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House right now. The two leaders are taking reporters' questions regarding NATO defense, global security and trade. Click the title to view live coverage...

Troy is about to see a big economic boost with more than 350 new jobs coming to the city after a leading firearms maker announced it will soon build a facility there.

Gov. Kay Ivey's office confirmed yesterday that Kimber Manufacturing, based in Yonkers, New York, will invest $38 million over the next five years. The facility should be up and running by early 2019. Ivey says Kimber's investment in Troy will create a significant number of high-paying design engineering and manufacturing jobs.

Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda have reportedly chosen Alabama as the site of a new $1.6 billion joint-venture auto manufacturing plant, a person briefed on the decision said Tuesday.  

 The plant will employ about 4,000 people and will be built in the Huntsville area in Limestone County, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because the location hasn't been officially announced. Officials in Alabama are expected to hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce the plant site.

Etowah Co. Jail food
Reuters

Two advocacy groups have sued Alabama sheriffs seeking records about whether the sheriffs are profiting from the food they serve in their jails.

The Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights and the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice filed the lawsuit yesterday against 49 sheriffs they said did not comply with a public records request.

The Alabama Crimson Tide hoisted its seventeenth national championship trophy last night. APR’s Pat Duggins reports it was a come from behind win over the Georgia Bulldogs that took the last few minutes, and a touchdown in overtime, to clinch…

Governor Kay Ivey will take center stage as she gives her first State of the State address since being catapulted to the governor's office nine months ago.    

Ivey will give the traditional Tuesday night speech from the Alabama Capitol on the opening day of the 2018 legislative session.

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