News

Selma-- "This is something I'll tell my kids..."

Aug 4, 2016

This Sunday the city of Selma will remember the fiftieth anniversary of an event that became known as Bloody Sunday. Voting Rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 were attacked by state troopers and a sheriff’s posse. History like this may be fresh in the memories of our parents and grandparents. But a group of student journalists from the University of Alabama got to experience the story for themselves. Alabama Public Radio newsroom intern Sarah Sherill was among them, and she files this report…

The final living culprit behind the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was denied parole this morning.

The parole board briefly deliberated and denied 78-year-old Thomas Blanton early release.  Blanton was convicted and sentenced to four life sentences in 2001 for his role in the bombing that killed four girls and injured another. 

The Cuddle Party

Aug 3, 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.”

All this week on Alabama Public Radio, we’re looking back on the tornadoes that hit Alabama on April 27, 2011. In Tuscaloosa, twelve percent of the city was destroyed and fifty four people were killed. The home of the University of Alabama wasn’t the only community hit with a life altering storm that year. And, how Tuscaloosa went about the process of rebuilding was considered controversial. Five years later, here's  a report card in this "tale of two cities…"

“At that point, we understood this was going to be something like we’ve never seen in the history of our city.”

Advanced Band
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Say “the blues,” and Mississippi might come to mind. But Alabama has just as much heritage when it comes to this musical form, and for the past 20 years, the Tuscaloosa-based Alabama Blues Project has been working to preserve that heritage for future generations. Tomorrow, the nonprofit will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a concert in Tuscaloosa. APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports some of the musicians are only as big as their guitars.

"Sounds of Selma"

Aug 3, 2016
APR

Thousands of people crowded the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma yesterday to remember what became known as “bloody Sunday.” Voting marchers in 1965 were attacked by State Troopers and a Sheriff’s posse armed with clubs and tear gas. The weekend observance was attended by President Obama and the children of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. APR news director Pat Duggins and reporter Stan Ingold teamed up to bring us this audio postcard…

This weekend, the city of Selma will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the civil rights event known as “bloody Sunday.” In 1965, sheriff deputies and state troopers attacked African American protesters during a voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The violence is etched into world history, but it’s not the first time this city has seen bloodshed  nor was 1965 the city's first "march to freedom."

16th Street Baptist Church bombing
AP

Thomas Blanton was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences for the 1963 16th Street church bombing that killed four girls and injured another. He is eligible for parole today. APR student reporter Katie Willem has more.

At the age of 78, Blanton will have his first parole hearing after fifteen years in prison. While the attack happened in 1963, Blanton was not arrested until 2001. He was convicted for four counts of murder after the case was reopened.

Newly released documents show Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore urged fellow justices to action after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Court papers filed today show Moore asking the other justices to clarify the state's position in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.

The documents show Moore cites Kentucky court clerk and gay-marriage opponent Kim Davis in claiming that Christians who oppose same-sex weddings could be forced to give up their public jobs.

Holman Correctional Facility
Sharon Steinmann / AP

Alabama Department of Corrections officials say a state prison was placed on lockdown yesterday after inmates set a fire inside a dorm.

A statement from the department says officers at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala. responded to a fight between inmates yesterday afternoon around 3 p.m. Other inmates then reportedly "became aggressive" toward the guards responding to the fight. The statement says officers secured the door of the dorm, and some inmates inside started a fire.

Gov. Robert Bentley's support of a referendum on a state lottery comes six years after he criticized gambling as a detriment to society.

The governor has consistently supported the people's right to vote on gambling. However, in his 2010 campaign, Bentley opposed all gambling because it preyed upon those who could least afford to lose money.

16th Street Baptist Church bombing
NPR

A former Ku Klux Klan member convicted in a church bombing that killed four black girls is up for parole in Alabama.

The state parole board has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday for 78-year-old Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr. Blanton won't attend the hearing, but opponents of his release are expected to address the board.

Alabama doctors will be paid less for handling certain cases for the state’s Medicaid agency. As of August 1st, Alabama will no longer compensate doctors for what are known as “enhanced payments” for specific primary care visits and services. The higher than usual fees were paid for by the Federal Affordable Care Act in 2013 and 2014. Alabama chose to continue the higher payments in 2015, but elected to cancel them. The state’s Medicaid Agency is in the midst of what Governor Robert Bentley is calling a budget crisis.

TVA is closing and capping 10 coal ash ponds at power plants in Tennessee and Alabama, against the urging of environmentalists who want the ash dug up and removed. TVA issued its decision on Friday, affirming plans to keep the coal ash at six fossil plants where the ash was dumped over the past half century. TVA says the best, fastest and cheapest method of cleaning up the ponds is to close them and put a cap on the wastes to prevent leakage.

A judge dismissed Alabama's lawsuit against the federal government over refugee placement. U.S. Magistrate Judge John Ott rejected Alabama's claim that federal officials are not consulting with states on refugee placement. The dismissal comes a month after a judge threw out a similar Texas lawsuit, ruling that states had no authority over resettlements that are handled by the federal government. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley filed the lawsuit in January. The state asked the judge to block any refugee settlement unless the state was given security and medical information on each refugee.

    The 2016 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of eight categories: Service Dog, Emerging Hero Dog, Law Enforcement Dog, Arson Dog, Therapy Dog, Military Dog, Search and Rescue Dog, and Guide/Hearing Dog.

The Service Dog category includes animals that assist people with disabilities other than sight and hearing. Most have received special training.

The Emerging Hero category honors the partnership that often develops between human and dog. Some of these animals are trained in such areas as detection of diseases such as cancer,  others are just pets who, without any special training, instinctively assist their human companions, and some are overcomers who have triumphed over adversity in an extraordinary way.

 

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Governor Bentley has set a date for the special session of the legislature. They will discuss proposals for creating a state lottery.  APR Student Reporter, Katie Willem has more...

Authorities say extreme drought conditions are persisting in some Alabama counties. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold has more.

Severe and moderate drought conditions are still in place for larger parts of the state, along with summertime heat.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that the worst conditions are in the northeast corner of Alabama. Those are conditions classified as "extreme" drought. This part of the state includes sections of Madison, Jackson and DeKalb counties.

Governor Robert Bentley says the only option left for the state for government funding is a lottery.  A-P-R’s student reporter Meagan Mowery has more…

Governor Bentley once said state lotteries are outdated but now he is changing his tune.

On Wednesday Bentley announced plans for a special session to focus on bringing a state lottery to Alabama.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he is calling a special legislative session for a state lottery. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the details.

Bentley's office released a video yesterday saying he wants lawmakers to approve legislation that would let voters decide whether to green-light a constitutional amendment to allow a lottery.

Bentley says the time has come to find a permanent solution to fix some of the state’s financial issues.

Lawmakers are heading back to Montgomery for a special session on a state lottery.

Governor Robert Bentley made the announcement this morning in a video urging legislators to approve the measure and allow Alabamians to vote on the issue.

Bentley says he believes voters in the state will make the right decision if lawmakers approve the constitutional amendment for a state lottery…

The state of Alabama is resting its case in the impeachment trial of Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports yesterday’s testimony revolved around the relationship between Clark and one particular Sumter County inmate. A deputy reportedly testified the inmate had the passcode to the jail’s surveillance system and was frequently allowed to drive Clark’s truck without supervision.

Governor Robert Bentley is calling for a special session of the state legislature.  He wants to focus on Alabama's financial woes and says the focus of the session will be on passing legislation to allow Alabamians to vote on a state lottery. The Governor released the video below this morning...

The state auditor has re-filed a lawsuit against Gov. Robert Bentley's effort to build a hotel and conference center at Gulf State Park.

Auditor Jim Zeigler and state Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, both frequent critics of the governor, filed the lawsuit today in Montgomery court. The filing comes four days after a judge dismissed a similar suit filed by the former conservation director for lack of standing.

The lawsuit challenges the state's use of oil spill funds on the project.

State lawyers are hoping to set a date for the execution of a death row inmate who unsuccessfully challenged Alabama's lethal injection method as unconstitutional.

Last week, the Alabama Attorney General's office asked the Alabama Supreme Court to set an execution date for Thomas Arthur "as soon as possible." The request comes after a federal judge ruled for the state and against Arthur's claims that the state's lethal injection method was unconstitutional earlier this month.

The Alabama Supreme Court is holding an impeachment trial to determine whether a sheriff should be removed from office on grand jury charges of corruption and neglect of duty.

Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark Sr. is being tried in the same Supreme Court chambers where justices normally hear appellate cases. His charges are not criminal; the penalty would be removal from office.

Clark is accused of allowing an inmate held on drug trafficking charges to leave jail, return with contraband and avoid being searched.

Democratic National Convention
Wikimedia

Alabama lawmakers are currently being polled about support for lottery legislation as Governor Robert Bentley contemplates calling a special session on Medicaid funding.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says legislative leaders are gauging interest from state legislators. Marsh says the discussions come as Governor Bentley contemplates calling a special session that could include a lottery bill.

The Salvation Army has broken ground on a $25 million new headquarters campus in Birmingham.

Al.com reports the headquarters broke ground on the 4.1-acre campus Thursday. The new facilities will house administrative offices plus emergency relief services including overnight accommodations for homeless men, women and children.

Officials say construction on the campus should be complete by September 2017. Two new buildings will be under construction soon in addition to an extensive renovation of a 50,000-square-foot school building.

Alabama lawmakers are currently being polled about support for lottery legislation as Governor Robert Bentley contemplates calling a special session on Medicaid funding.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says legislative leaders are gauging interest from state legislators. Marsh says the discussions come as Bentley contemplates calling a special session that could include a lottery bill.

Alabama Supreme Court
Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia

A north Alabama attorney has been appointed to serve on the court currently considering judicial ethics charges that could result in the removal of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Attorney W.N. "Rocky" Watson of Fort Payne will replace Opelika attorney John V. Denson on the Alabama Court of the Judiciary during the Moore case. Denson recused himself from the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. He is the only current member of the Court of the Judiciary that was also on the body in 2003, when Chief Justice Moore was first removed from office.

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