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Jacksonville State
Mike Stone / AP

Jacksonville State's football team fell short of its first FCS title Saturday when the top-seeded Gamecocks were upset 37-10 by the North Dakota State Bison. NDSU won an unprecedented fifth consecutive national championship.

Hubbard Allowed to Seek Another Trial Delay

Jan 10, 2016

An Alabama judge has given House Speaker Mike Hubbard a week to ask for a delay in his impending ethics trial currently scheduled to overlap with the upcoming legislative session.

Lee County Judge Jacob Walker gave Hubbard's lawyers a Jan. 15 deadline to file a motion to continue after a departure in his legal team. Hubbard's lead lawyer, Mark White, was given permission to withdraw from the ethics case Friday. White cited an undisclosed conflict of interest as his reason for leaving the team.

The Alabama Crimson Tide plays for its sixteenth National football Championship against undefeated Clemson tonight in Arizona.  But one Central Alabama town has more to cheer for than just the team from Tuscaloosa.  APR’s MacKenzie Bates traveled to Pelham, a town that’s divided on the outcome of tonight’s game…

It’s a busy time of day on Pelham Parkway.  The town is buzzing for tonight’s game between Alabama and Clemson for the College Football title

Blue Bell Creameries is looking to set the record straight regarding new reports of listeria in production facilities.

Multiple media outlets recently reported that Blue Bell had once again found the bacteria in its plants, as the company works to overcome a listeria outbreak that killed three people and forced the company to recall its entire product line.

Concert for the Dogs

Jan 9, 2016
Laurie Anderson [Facebook]

New idea - a concert designed especially for the sensitive ears of our canine friends.  Dogs hear at much higher frequencies than we can. That's the secret of a dog whistle.  It is said the Beatles included a dog whistle in their recording of the song, "A Day in the Life".  If you play their Sgt. Pepper album, you won't notice it but you might see an unexpected reaction from your dog!


Alabama Governor Robert Bentley recently announced that he is suing the federal government over refugees settling in his state.

Governor Bentley argues the U.S. government hasn’t provided Alabama enough information about the refugees to be placed in the state. Bentley says he’s filing the lawsuit out of concern for the safety of Alabama’s residents.

Kristi Graunke is a senior supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center. She says the federal government takes their vetting process seriously.

Federal prosecutors say Alabama’s probate judges should continue issuing same sex marriage licenses, despite the actions of the state’s chief justice. APR’s Pat Duggins spoke to one group that thinks Roy Moore should be kicked out of office, again.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a complaint against Roy Moore with the state’s Judicial Ethics Panel. This comes after Moore suggested that probate judges defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same sex marriage.

Alabama has become the second state to sue the U.S. government over refugee resettlement. 

Governor Robert Bentley field the lawsuit today accusing the Obama administration of failing to consult with states on placement of those who have fled their home countries.

Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore is once again suggesting that gay marriage is illegal in Alabama, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Moore issued an administrative order yesterday advising probate judges not to issue licenses to same-sex couples. He says the state Supreme Court never lifted its directive from March advising judges to abide by the Alabama constitution.

Residents of Birmingham are still picking up the pieces following a Christmas night tornado that hit a suburb southwest of town. Jefferson County is working to fix storm sirens that didn’t go off as the storm closed in. The County Commission blames the failure on maintenance projects that have fallen behind as the county comes out of a multi-billion dollar bankruptcy. The National Weather Service confirms an EF-2 tornado with one hundred and thirty mile an hour winds hit that Birmingham suburb.  

Firearm owners in Alabama are reacting negatively to President Barack Obama’s plan to increase gun regulations. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has more.

The President unveiled his plan for a more sweeping definition of gun dealers yesterday that the administration hopes will expand the number of sales that require background checks. Obama insists his proposals are in line with the Second Amendment.

Eddie Fulmer is the president of Bama Carry, a gun rights group in Northport. He says the President’s executive order does not do anything to keep people safe…

President Barack Obama’s executive order regarding gun control is not sitting well with some Alabamians.  Obama is using his powers as president to have more background checks for gun dealers so weapons might not fall in to the hands of criminals.

Eddie Fulmer is the president of Bama Carry, a gun rights group in Northport.  He says Obama bypassing congress with the executive order should be considered government overreach… 

Wetumpka
Wikimedia

The city of Wetumpka has declared a state of emergency after heavy rains and flooding around Christmas caused widespread damage.

But officials say the declaration is just a formality to allow the city to work more easily on areas that need the most repairs.

Heavy rain caused the Coosa River in Wetumpka to rise to 45 feet, higher than it’s been in decades. Several roads remain closed; one is affected by a 15-foot-deep sinkhole.

Thousands of workers who lost their retirement benefits after Walter Energy declared bankruptcy will be getting them back. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more…

The Birmingham Business Journal reports the federal agency Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will be taking over benefit payments for more than 2700 current and future retirees of Walter Energy.

The Hoover-based mining company aims to sell the majority of its assets, and potential buyers have indicated they will not assume the existing pension plan.

Thousands of workers who had lost their retirement benefits in the wake of Walter Energy’s bankruptcy will soon be getting them back.

The Birmingham Business Journal reports that federal agency Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will be taking over paying benefits for more than 2700 current and future retirees of Hoover-based Walter Energy.

The agency is stepping in as Walter plans to sell the majority of its assets. The company has had a hard time finding buyers, and any potential buyers say they won’t take over the pension plan.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating an outbreak of listeria involving Blue Bell ice cream. The probe has implications here in Alabama. Blue Bell Ice Cream’s plant in Sylacauga was among those shut down due to the presence of listeria. The U.S. Justice Department wants to know when company officials knew the potentially dangerous bacterial outbreak was present and how Blue Bell responded. Records indicated that the company knew one plant was contaminated at least as early as 2013. The ice cream maker shut down all of its factories in April.

Charleston Animal Society [Facebook]

This beautiful chocolate American Stafforddshire Terrier mix survived having her muzzle wrapped with electrical tape, cutting off circulation.  After multiple surgeries to reconstruct her jaw and remove dead tissue from her mouth and tongue, she is now the picture of  health and happiness, a true portrait of victory over adversity.  

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Jefferson County, and specifically the city of Birmingham, saw a steep rise in the number of homicides in 2015. Jefferson County had a 62 percent increase in murder cases overall. The county had one hundred and forty three homicides—that’s up from eighty eight in 2014. Al.com reports there were ninety two homicides in Birmingham. That’s a fifty five percent increase compared to 2014. Birmingham had fifty nine homicides in 2014. The 2015 number represents the most homicides the city has experienced since 2008.

The Cotton Bowl may have been good for the Alabama Crimson Tide and its fans, but advertisers on ESPN might tell a different story. Television ratings for the College Football Playoff semifinals dropped approximately thirty six percent from last season. Bear in mind that 2014 game was played on New Year's Day instead of New Year's Eve for the Tide rout of Michigan State. Some fans reportedly grumbled over having to change to their New Year’s Eve plans to travel to Dallas for the game, or watch on TV. ESPN announced the overnight ratings Friday.

TUSCALOOSA

SATURDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 40S.

SATURDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS AROUND 30.

SUNDAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 50S.

SUNDAY NIGHT...CLEAR. LOWS IN THE UPPER 20S.

MONDAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 40S.

MOBILE

SATURDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 50S.

SATURDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS IN THE MID 30S. CHANCE OF SHOWERS 20 PERCENT.

Governor Robert Bentley has indicated he’d sign a gas tax increase, if state lawmakers sponsored it. Now, he may get the chance. Alabama lawmakers might soon debate a possible hike in the state's gasoline tax to pay for road and bridge construction. If it passes, it would be the first raise in the state gas tax since 1992. The Alabama Legislature's Joint Transportation Committee will hold five meetings around the state in January to discuss the idea. A bill introduced in the recent special session would have raised the tax by 5 cents per gallon.

The Alabama Crimson Tide will face the Clemson Tigers for the College Football Championship in Glendale, Arizona. The Tide defeated Michigan State in a thirty eight to zero shutdown. The last time Alabama kept an opponent scoreless in a bowl game was the 2012 BSC title game against LSU. Alabama’s victory was punctuated by scores by Derrick Henry. The Heisman Trophy winner shared the spotlight with Calvin Ridley who caught two passes for touchdowns, and Cyrus Jones who returned a punt for another score.

Alabama reserve defensive back Tony Brown will miss tonight’s Cotton Bowl game against Michigan State. The player was suspended after a violation of team rules. Coach Nick Saban issued a statement saying an internal decision was made to send Brown home. This isn't the first controversy involving Brown. Tuscaloosa Police arrested him in 2014 for resisting arrest during a loud party.

As if rising flood waters weren’t enough, Alabama public health officials are offering safety tips to people who use septic tanks and wells after recent floods. The Alabama Department of Public Health says residents on septic systems should try using less water following torrential storms in our state. Homeowners are also advised to consider having their tanks pumped to keep their systems working right. The state says slowly draining sinks and toilets and sewage becoming visible outside the home are signs that a septic system isn't functioning properly.

Officials with Triple-A of Alabama are expecting a lot of drivers on the road for New Year’s Eve tomorrow. 

Triple-A of Alabama spokesperson Clay Ingram says with so many people out and about, drivers should give themselves extra time to arrive to your destination safely…

Ride sharing services have officially started operating in Birmingham.

Tom Maguire, general manager of Uber in Alabama told al.com users were able to hail rides from their smartphones beginning yesterday afternoon.

Ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft let people use smartphone apps to book and pay for rides. Birmingham officials had been discussing whether to allow the companies to set up shop for more than a year.

An Alabama death row inmate is once again appealing to have his execution delayed. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has the latest.

Alabama inmate Christopher Brooks is asking the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to halt his execution. His death sentence is currently scheduled to be carried out on January 21.

Brooks’s attorney filed the notice of appeal yesterday. Earlier this month, a federal judge denied an emergency motion for a stay of execution.

An environmental group has asked a judge to hear oral arguments in its lawsuit challenging the state of Alabama's plans to use oil spill settlement funds to build a beachfront hotel.

The Gulf Restoration Network filed the request earlier this month in federal court. The group asked for expedited arguments, citing Alabama's continued work on the project. The state is building a new 350-room beach hotel and conference center at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.

The National Weather Service in Mobile will be sending out assessment teams tomorrow following a day of rough weather along the gulf coast. 

Forecasters say residents of Baldwin and Escambia counties were among those dealing with seventeen tornado warnings stretching from Mississippi to Florida.

Alabama had the most with ten.

Alabama is drying out and cleaning up from tornadoes that hit Christmas night. Flooding is also a concern as the state heads toward the New Year’s holiday.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-0 tornado hit Tuscaloosa County Friday afternoon with winds of seventy five miles per hour. Two hours later, a confirmed EF-2 twister touched down in suburban Birmingham. That storm is confirmed to have damaged more than 70 structures, from minor damage to total destruction.

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