News

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is asking a state judicial panel to dismiss ethics charges against him. Moore says he never told probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples.

Moore is accused of violating judicial ethics with a 2016 administrative order.  It came six months after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage.

His lawyers say the order only noted correctly that a state court injunction to refuse same-sex marriage licenses had not been lifted.

Supreme Court
Equal Justice Initiative

The U.S. Supreme Court says lower courts in Alabama and two other states must re-examine three death penalty convictions for evidence of racial prejudice in jury selection.

The court ruled yesterday in the cases of Christopher Floyd of Alabama, Jabari Williams of Louisiana and Curtis Giovanni Flowers of Mississippi.

APR Documentary Wins International Award

Jun 20, 2016
APR

The New York Festivals International Radio Competition named Alabama Public Radio the winner of the “Bronze Radio Award.” The honor is for APR’s documentary “More Bridges to Cross,” focusing on the 50th anniversary of “bloody Sunday” in Selma. In 1965, a sheriff’s posse used tear gas and clubs to attack voting rights marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Fifty years later, 70,000 people gathered to remember this historic moment in the civil rights movement.

A large number of dead fish were found at the top of the Black Warrior River this weekend. A-P-R  Student Reporter, Katie Willem has more…

State officials are investigating after dozens of dead fish were found at Mulberry Fork south of Jasper, which is near the William Crawford Gorgas power plant operated by Alabama Power.

Lance LeFleur is the director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. He says ADEM is collaborating with other organizations to figure out what happened…

The Cuddle Party

Jun 20, 2016
Cuddleparty.com

We live in a time and society where touching someone is usually associated with one thing, and that’s sex. However there is a growing trend aimed at removing the stigma of physical contact. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold did some research and has this report on an activity known as the “Cuddle Party.”

A federal jury has found former Birmingham Health Care CEO Jonathan Dunning guilty on 98 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

According to AL.com, jurors began deliberating last Tuesday afternoon, and finally reached a verdict Friday. Dunning was acquitted on another 14 counts.

Customers at more than 120 Walmart locations across Alabama will be able to checkout using their smartphones.

Customers could start using Walmart Pay as early as Thursday. Company spokeswoman Molly Blakeman told Al.com the service also rolled out in three other southern states including Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.

 

Walmart Pay is already available in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. It will soon be available nationwide.

APR

For the fifth year in a row, the Alabama Associated Press named Alabama Public Radio the "Most Outstanding News Operation" in the state. This generous honor came during yesterday's AP awards luncheon in Birmingham, where "Morning Edition" host Alex AuBuchon won "Best Regularly Scheduled Newscast," and former APR student intern Josh Hollis took first place in the AP's inaugural college journalism awards.

Members of the Alabama Legislature will elect a new House speaker in February, possibly sooner if Governor Bentley calls a special session.  

Contenders for the job are beginning to emerge after former House Speaker Mike Hubbard was removed from office after being convicted on twelve ethics charges.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs [Facebook]
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs [Facebook]

Tim Hetzner, president of K-9 Comfort Dogs, says dogs are great counselors, because they are good listeners, they keep it confidential, and they offer affection to everyone unconditionally.   

***********************

Alabama’s latest unemployment numbers remain unchanged from this time last year. APR’s student reporter, Katie Willem, has more…

The newest jobless figures from the Alabama Department of Labor are for May. The State’s unemployment rate stands at 6.1 percent, which is unchanged compared to the month before, or May of 2015. 

The state is less than twenty-five thousand jobs away from having two million people at work around the state.  This is the highest number the state economy has supported in the last twenty years. 

The Mobile Police Department has released additional information on an officer-involved shooting that occurred earlier this week.

Mobile Police Chief James Barber recently held a press conference where he identified the officer involved and talked through the incident. He says 18-year-old Michael Moore was driving a stolen vehicle with two passengers when he was pulled over by officer Harold Hurst Monday evening for making an erratic turn.

The mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando is one topic likely to come up tonight in the city of Florence.

Shoals Pride Fest is underway and a panel discussion will address equality for the LGBT community in Alabama. Organizers say the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Central Florida has left many in the Shoals gay community hurting. Pride Fest President Benjamin Newbern says tonight’s panel discussion will also venture into political issues as well…

Kairos Center

New poverty statistics paint a sobering picture for the state of Alabama.

The nonprofit organization Alabama Possible recently released their 2016 State Poverty Data Sheet. It reveals more than 900 thousand Alabamians currently live in poverty. Though it’s an issue across the state, conditions are especially grim in Alabama’s Black Belt. In Perry County, for example, nearly half the county’s residents live below the poverty line.

A committee of lawmakers opened impeachment hearings against Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, beginning a probe on whether there are grounds to remove the two-term Republican from office.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Jones opened the hearings Wednesday by noting the seriousness of the committee's task.

Twenty-three representatives in April signed impeachment article accusing Bentley of corruption and neglect of duty. The articles were filed after Bentley admitted making sexually-charged remarks to a top aide.

Mobile police shooting
WKRG-TV

A south Alabama police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old man during a traffic stop earlier this week, according to authorities.

Mobile Police Chief James Barber says a city officer saw a vehicle cut off another car Monday evening. The officer stopped the vehicle, carrying driver Michael Moore and two passengers.

Barber says Moore had no driver's license and was asked to step out of the car. At that point, police say the officer noticed that Moore had a gun in his waistband and reached for it.

Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard's name has been removed from the Alabama Legislature's website and his legislative district is listed as vacant in the wake of his conviction on ethics charges.

A jury convicted Hubbard Friday evening on 12 felony ethics charges. The felony convictions caused Hubbard's automatic and immediate removal from office.

House Speaker Pro Tem Victor Gaston is fulfilling the speaker's duties.

The Radio-Television Digital News Association today named Alabama Public Radio the winner of its national “Kaleidoscope Award” for diversity coverage. APR news spotlighted the diversity of its statewide audience in 2015 with on-going coverage of issues including, the same sex marriage debate in Alabama, the 50th anniversary of the "bloody Sunday" attack on voting rights marchers in Selma, as well as Tuscaloosa's welcome home parade for WBC World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Deontay Wilder.

Tuscaloosa vigil
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Gay rights advocates in Tuscaloosa are remembering the dozens of victims of a gruesome mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday.

Druid City Pride, an LGBTQ organization in Tuscaloosa, held a candlelight vigil last night along with countless other groups across the state and throughout the country. Those taking part memorialized the 49 people killed and remembered the dozens more injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

LBGT groups in Alabama are holding vigils to remember the victims of the Orlando Nightclub shooting. The University of Alabama group called Spectrum will gather at Gorgas Library on the Tuscaloosa campus tonight at 7:30 p.m. for a candlelight remembrance. The group Druid City Pride is planning a similar event at city hall. There will also be a vigil at 6:30 at the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery. A lone gunman killed at least fifty people during the early Sunday morning rampage at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando…

Hubbard trial
Todd J. Van Ernst

Mike Hubbard’s political career appears to be over.

The former Alabama House Speaker faces sentencing next month after being convicted on 12 of the 23 felony ethics charges. APR’s MacKenzie Bates was at the Lee County Courthouse and files this report.

Hubbard’s defense attorney put his arm around him as the verdicts were read one by one convicting him of using his political office for personal gain.

Hubbard maintained his innocence throughout the indictments, saying the transactions that were made fell within the state ethics law.

What's next for Mike Hubbard?

Jun 12, 2016
MacKenzie Bates/APR

The former Alabama House Speaker was convicted on more than half of the 23 felony ethics charges against him on Friday in a Lee County courtroom.  He has no job, no title, and will be sentenced next month.  APR’s MacKenzie Bates was there during the tense hours between final arguments and the verdict…

Alabama Public Radio is airing NPR's rolling coverage following this morning's shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This programming will continue through All Things Considered, and then the news team will break in as needed. Be sure to tune in for the latest during ATC and tomorrow on Morning Edition on APR.

APR

Alabama Republican Mike Hubbard was once a man who moved political mountains. He’s credited with helping to stage the 2010 GOP takeover of the state legislature which gave the Republicans a supermajority. It also gave Hubbard the gavel as House Speaker. Now, his political career is in tatters as he faces up to 240 years in prison after being convicted of 12 felony ethics charges.

A business in Alabama is helping NASA move forward with its Orion deep space exploration project. Space Science Services is currently working on NASA projects including modification of the structure complex for the mobile launch platform for the Orion Project. That's the new space capsule designed to carry astronauts out of Earth orbit for the first time since 1972. The company is also testing on the vertical assembly building platform for that project. The company has been in business since 1961 and has had a site in Dothan for about 25 years.

A new Louisiana State University policy could keep the University of Alabama's "million dollar band" from taking the field during November's football game between the Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers. The new policy will bar opponents' marching bands from performing at halftime of football games at Tiger Stadium during the upcoming season. LSU team spokesman Michael Bonnette tells The Advocate newspaper it's a "safety issue." LSU says the field's sidelines aren't large enough to accommodate bands from both schools as the first half of a game is about to end.

Cat Adventure Day

Jun 11, 2016
carolyn.will (Carolyn Williams) [Flickr]

If your cat is unaccustomed to walking on a leash, start by letting it explore in a limited area while you are holding the other end of the leash to keep it from scampering under the brush or up a tree.  As it becomes comfortable with the situation, you can broaden your range.

***********************

APR

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's conviction on ethics charges automatically removes him from office and could mean years in prison for the powerful Republican. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each count, or 240 years total. Sentencing is set for July 8. Jurors on Friday found the one-time GOP star guilty of 12 counts of public corruption for using the influence of his political office to benefit his companies and clients. He was acquitted of 11 other counts.

Lee County Sheriff's Office

A jury has convicted Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard on 12 charges of violating the state ethics law.

The jury returned the verdict Friday evening after deliberating for seven hours. Sentencing is set for next month.

 

Hubbard faced 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using political positions as House speaker and chairman of the state GOP to make money and investments from lobbyists and company owners.

The ethics case of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard is now in the hands of the jury.  APR’s MacKenzie Bates reports from the TK Davis Justice Center in Opelika…  

   Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker handed the case to the jury just before two o’clock this afternoon.  They’re trying to determine if Mike Hubbard used his positions as House Speaker and former state party chair to make money and obtain business and investment for his companies.

Pages