Ragsby's Story

Oct 8, 2016
Eric Walker

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month, and Ragsby's story is a perfect illustration of the great dogs who just need the opportunity to show somebody what great pets and companions they can become, if only they are given the chance.  

If you're looking for a canine companion, visit your local shelter or rescue group.  You won't change the world by adopting a pet but you will change the world for your new furry friend - and you just might find your world is better, too.


Stuart takes helm of Alabama Supreme Court

Oct 7, 2016

The Alabama Supreme Court has its acting chief justice.

Lyn Stuart is being elevated to the position after former Chief Justice Roy Moore was permanently suspended from the court.  Moore is appealing the ruling.

Stuart is the senior member of the Supreme Court.  She has led the state’s highest court since May after Moore was initially suspended for ethics violations.  She has served on the Alabama Supreme Court since 2000.

Alabama is answering a call for help from its neighbor to the Southeast.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit the Florida coast very soon. In anticipation of the damage, Florida made a request for state assistance from Alabama.

Governor Robert Bentley says Alabama will send an Emergency Operations Augmentation team to help the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Department of Justice

The U.S. Department of Justice is opening an investigation into the conditions at Alabama’s state prisons.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley released a statement yesterday sharing the Justice Department’s letter, and saying he welcomes a federal investigation into the state’s prisons. Bentley says both he and the DoJ share a common goal of wanting to improve the safety of officers and inmates in Alabama’s prisons. He also says past meetings with DoJ officials resulted in major improvements at the state’s Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Druid City Garden Project
University of Alabama

It’s time once again for Tuscaloosa's annual Garden Party.

The food fest is this Sunday evening at the Tuscaloosa River Market. Ten area farmers will be pairing with chefs from ten local restaurants to create a menu of dishes that won’t be available anywhere else.

The event benefits the Druid City Garden Project, a nonprofit educational organization in Tuscaloosa. Lindsay Turner is the Executive Director of the project.

Alex AuBuchon: Lindsay, your group puts gardens in local elementary schools—what benefits do the students get from the gardens? 

Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard is appealing the ethics conviction that removed him from office.

Hubbard's lawyers filed the notice of appeal yesterday with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

The appeal comes after the trial judge denied Hubbard's request for a new trial.

A jury in June convicted Hubbard of using his public office to obtain work and investments in his companies. A judge sentenced Hubbard to four years in prison. He is free on bond while he appeals his conviction.

Report criticizes Collier for absenteeism, spending

Oct 6, 2016

An internal investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is criticizing its former chief's attendance and management.

Gov. Robert Bentley included the report in his filing with an impeachment committee last week. It was former agency head Spencer Collier's accusations that helped launched the impeachment probe against Bentley.

The Native American Festival at the Moundville Archeological Park is underway.

The event is in its 28th year and will run through Saturday. Previous years have attracted up to 15,000 visitors as well as dozens of Native American performers and vendors.

Dr. Alexander Benitez is the director at Moundville Archeological Park. He says this festival is the best way to experience and celebrate Native American culture.

The executive director of Alabama’s Commission on Higher Education plans to retire at the end of this year.

The commission announced yesterday that Gregory Fitch will end his 45-year career in education this year. He has led Alabama’s coordinating board for higher education since July 2006.

Fitch says he notified the commission of his retirement plans in June. Vice Chairman Randy McKinney of Gulf Shores has been tapped to lead the search committee to find a replacement director.

Fire Danger Warning Issued for North Alabama

Oct 5, 2016

Drought conditions in the state is putting 46 of Alabama’s 67 counties under a Fire Danger Warning.

Officials say 142 wildfires in the last seven days throughout the state that has burned 1,500 acres of land.

Coleen Vansant is the spokeswoman for the Alabama Forestry Commission. She explains what factors determine which counties are under a warning…

The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama has a new Executive Director as of this week.

Kathryn Strickland is taking over after previously serving at the head of North Alabama’s food bank. During her time in Huntsville, that community’s food bank collected eight million pounds of provisions for the needy each year.

Strickland explains that they have a lot of plans for the Central Alabama food bank such as promoting healthy food choices and working with area farmers.

State Representative Darrio Melton has a new title this morning -- Mayor of Selma.

Last night, Melton defeated former Mayor James Perkins, Jr. in a municipal runoff election. He will take office next month.

Melton has served in the Alabama House of Representatives since 2010.

He recently released a statement saying he was honored by the support he had received during his mayoral campaign. He says Selma, the site of a violent 1965 clash during African Americans' fight for voting rights, has been a symbol of hope and hard work for the past 50 years.

Alabama’s prison system has been in the news a lot this year, and not for good reasons. Inmate riots, allegations of mismanagement and corruption, and a failed prison building plan in the state legislature have pointed out plenty of problems. The Alabama Public Radio news team has spent the past several months examining what happens as people go into the state’s prison system and what happens when they come out.  I looked into the on-going complaints over how Alabama judges sentence people to death.  

Polls open until 7 p.m. for municipal runoff elections

Oct 4, 2016

Municipal runoff elections are underway throughout the state of Alabama.

Six weeks following the primary elections on August 23rd voters return to the polls to elect some local officials.

John Merrill is the Alabama Secretary of State. He says some of the larger municipalities are in an off year.

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is starting the appeal of the judicial ethics conviction that led to his ouster.

Moore's attorneys filed a notice with the Alabama Supreme Court yesterday.  The eight remaining justices on the state Supreme Court will consider his prosecution and conviction.

Moore is challenging the Alabama Court of the Judiciary’s ruling on charges of violating judicial ethics. The court ruled that Moore overstepped bounds with an order he issued last year about same-sex marriage.

Holman Correctional Facility
Sharon Steinmann / AP

At a state prison in south Alabama plagued by violence, some correctional officers are choosing not to show up for work.

Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton says six corrections officers called in sick for the third shift Sunday at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. Nine officers failed to show up for the same shift last week. Three of those correctional officers have since resigned.

A federal appeals court is upholding a ruling that says union supporters can leaflet fellow employees inside a lobby of the Mercedes-Benz factory in Alabama.

A decision released by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today comes in a United Auto Workers complaint filed against the German automaker before the National Labor Relations Board.

Bentley creates commission on gambling

Oct 3, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley is creating a study commission on gambling.

The governor made the announcement Monday, a little more than a week after saying electronic bingo casinos were operating in the state illegally.

Bentley said Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming will assess the current state and local laws on gambling and practices in other states. The council will make recommendations to the governor and legislative leaders ahead of the 2017 legislative session.

St. Clair Prison
Equal Justice Initiative

Five inmates were hospitalized last night after a fight broke out in a prison dormitory near Birmingham.

Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton says the disturbance began around 6 p.m. last night at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Alabama. Horton says several inmates were involved in a fight in a prison dorm. Five of those inmates had to be removed from the prison and taken to a hospital for treatment. The prison is currently on lockdown and the incident is under investigation. Horton says it isn’t yet known if any weapons were used in the fight.

Stan Ingold

For many prisoners at the Limestone Correctional Facility, the heavy bang of a steel gate is the first thing they hear when they enter the Alabama prison system. It’s also the last thing when they come out.

         “They give you a bus ticket and a check for ten dollars and they say “Have a nice life.”

That’s Brenda Lee Kennedy. She was incarcerated in the Montgomery Work Release Center for nearly five and half years before being released in November of last year.

Election ballots in Alabama will be reprinted after the most recent version left out wording of a constitutional amendment. The Montgomery Advertiser reports the Secretary of State's office will reprint close to three million ballots from Alabama's election ballots in November. The original ballot left off language that prevented the legislature from using any money for the upkeep of the park system for other purposes.

Brian Hillegas [Flickr]


The Alabama Supreme Court is upholding the state’s controversial death penalty sentencing structure. This policy was the subject of parts one and three of Alabama Public Radio’s on-going series on justice reform and prison reform. At issue, is a statute that allows Alabama judges to overrule a jury’s recommendation of life in prison in favor of the death penalty. Alabama is the State that does this after Florida’s policy was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, and Delaware declared its own statute to be unconstitutional.

Moore issues statement after court ruling

Sep 30, 2016

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued a statement after being permanently suspended as Alabama chief justice for ethics violations.

Moore is calling his punishment Friday by Alabama's Court of the Judiciary the result of a "politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups," who targeted him because of what he calls his "outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda."

Moore was removed from the bench Friday for defying the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage.

Alabama’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has been immediately suspended for the rest of his term without pay. Moore was found guilty of all six charges leveled against him.

Prosecutors said Moore issued an order to the state’s sixty-eight probate judges in January to defy the U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring same sex marriage legal nationwide. 

Moore was removed from office in 2003 in a dispute over a granite monument of the Ten Commandments. This judicial ethics court did not have the unanimous support necessary to permanently  remove Moore.

Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary is still weighing evidence on the fate of suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore. The panel has ten days to make a decision on a request to remove Moore from office. The Judicial Inquiry Commission wants Moore off the bench. The board says Moore urged the state’s county probate judges to defy federal court rulings on gay marriage. Moore calls the charge "ridiculous." He was removed from office in 2003 for disobeying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

Ninety years after its last use, Alabama’s first capitol building is now open for visitors. The Alabama Historical Commission and The University of Alabama are hosting an “Artifact Day” at Old Cahawba tomorrow. The event will allow the public to work alongside professional researchers to learn more about the site of Alabama’s first state house. Site Director Linda Derry says when the capitol building was uncovered, Alabamians deserved a chance to learn from it.

Alabama House committee: subpoenas in impeachment probe

Sep 29, 2016

Alabama's House Judiciary Committee is issuing subpoenas to Gov. Robert Bentley and others in an ongoing impeachment investigation.

The subpoenas being delivered today come after special counsel Jack Sharman said he wasn't securing voluntarily cooperation.

Alabama drivers advised to watch out for deer

Sep 29, 2016

Drivers in Alabama are getting a costly reminder to look out for deer.

Officials with State Farm, Alabama's largest auto insurer say there were almost 29,000 insurance claims connected to deer collisions from July 2015 to the end of June.

The company says one in 135 Alabama drivers are likely to hit a deer, a figure that's higher than the national odds of one in 164.

The national cost per claim average is $3,995.