News

Saraland Officer Shot in Head Now Out of Hospital

Jan 29, 2017

A police officer in south Alabama who was shot in the head while on duty has been moved out of the hospital and into a rehabilitation center.

The Saraland Police Department says officer Jackie Tucker's condition has improved greatly since she was shot in mid-December. Tucker had been hospitalized at the University of South Alabama Medical Center since the shooting, but is now being moved to an out-of-state rehabilitation center.

Cat Show

Jan 28, 2017
Trish Hamme [Flickr]

If you think all cats are alike, one visit to a cat show will suprise you.  These feline friends come in many different colors, shapes, sizes and personalities, but each one has the potential to be a great pet if it just has the chance.

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Some of the best athletes in college football are in Mobile this week, gearing up for the annual Reese’s Senior Bowl.

The game is a chance for standout athletes to practice and play before a host of NFL scouts, before NFL teams draft their next class of players in April. A few of this year’s top prospects, including University of Alabama defenders Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster, have opted to sit out this year’s Senior Bowl. But the roster still includes four Crimson Tide players, two players from Auburn, and one athlete from the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

weather.com

A new report shows that widespread rain is gradually relieving the Deep South's ongoing drought, leaving only a handful of counties in Alabama and Georgia with extreme drought conditions.

A national report on the drought released Thursday found that rain drenched a large part of an area that has been abnormally dry, from northern Louisiana to the Carolinas and Virginia.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that about a half-dozen counties in the northeastern Georgia mountains and patches of another half-dozen counties in central Alabama are still dealing with extreme drought.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as the next U.S. Attorney General earlier this week. But that vote has been delayed until next Tuesday.

Senator Sessions has faced intense criticism from the left for his conservative voting record, and civil rights advocates including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have pointed to allegations of racist behavior.

Supreme Court Won't Review AL Death Row Cases

Jan 26, 2017
Alabama death row
EJI

The U.S. Supreme Court says it won’t be taking up the cases of three Alabama death row inmates, including one who recently came very close to the death chamber.

Al.com reports the Supreme Court justices declined to review the cases of Jerry Bohannon, Aubrey Shaw and Tommy Arthur. Arthur was awarded a last-minute stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court back in November.

Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told lawmakers the "risk" in Alabama's crowding prisons is growing each day.

Dunn addressed the legislative judiciary committees Wednesday as the Bentley administration tries to build support for an $800 million prison construction bond issue.

APR

The Alabama Public Radio news team is welcoming journalist Ousmane Sagara. He's a veteran radio reporter from the west central African nation of Mali, and part of a three week visiting journalist program. Ousmane arrived in the United States on January 20th, in time to witness the inauguration of Donald Trump as President. Below is his account, of that day and the protest marches that followed, for the Renouveau News Service in Mali's capitol city of Bomako--Pat Duggins

A more than $60 million museum that failed shortly after it opened in Mobile is getting a second chance. 

The mayor's office says the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum will hold a grand reopening on the city's waterfront on February 18th. That's during Mardi Gras season, when thousands of visitors are in town for parades and balls.

The mayor's office says the museum will feature a new exhibit on ship wrecks, plus new hours, free parking and lower ticket prices.

Sessions
AP

Lawsuits have been filed claiming President Donald Trump’s foreign business dealings violate the Constitution. The impending litigation could test the relationship between President Trump and his pick for U.S. Attorney General – Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

UA ROTC
University of Alabama

Several future military officers at the University of Alabama will be headed to West Point after winning an ROTC competition over the weekend.

The UA cadets competed in what’s called the Brigade Ranger Challenge – a regional tournament for the winners of similar competitions in five Southeastern states and in Puerto Rico. Events included a fitness test, timed weapon assembly, land navigation, a 6.2 mile march and more – all while wearing about 40 pounds of gear. Alabama’s team won five of the seven events involved.

Fort Rucker helicopters
U.S. Air Force

A new contract to provide helicopter flight training at Fort Rucker in southeast Alabama has been awarded to the same company that will begin fixed-wing flight training for the Army at the Dothan Regional Airport in a few weeks.

The Dothan Eagle reports CAE USA announced the full contract to provide rotary-wing flight training will be more than $50 million for the transition period and first year.

CAE built a 75,000-square-foot facility at Dothan Regional Airport for its contract there, but at Fort Rucker, the infrastructure is already in place.

Rick Burley
Albert Cesare / Montgomery Advertiser

An old, defunct bowling alley in Montgomery will soon see new life as a call center.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports a $2 million renovation is already underway inside the Brunswick Woodmere Lanes bowling alley. The alley has been out of business for about five years, ever since Brunswick moved to Stratford Square in Montgomery.

The newspaper reports ASK owner Rick Burley plans to move his call center company there from its current, very cramped office building nearby. They plan to add about 300 employees once the new office is finished, nearly doubling their payroll.

Governor Robert Bentley hopes the incoming Trump administration will allow states to charge Medicaid premiums and set enrollment requirements. The Republican governor wrote House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy the day before Trump's inauguration, as Congress works on a repeal and possible replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Bentley says states need flexibility to set Medicaid enrollment requirements, reduce benefits and impose premiums on recipients. Bentley cautioned repealing the Affordable Care Act without a "clear replacement" could cause some insurers to withdraw from the market.

"Fly Me To The Moon..."

Jan 21, 2017

The University of Alabama in Huntsville is aiming for the moon. The School is making a quarter billion dollar proposal to NASA to launch a satellite to lunar orbit. The mission is called the Lunar Occultation Explorer astrophysics mission. It would put a satellite with gamma-ray sensors in orbit around the moon to study exploding stars known as supernovae. Earth's atmosphere screens out most gamma rays, making a vantage point around the airless moon better for scientific study.

Train Your Dog Month

Jan 21, 2017
andreaarden (Andrea Arden) [Flickr]

Training a dog is all about communication between you and your furry friend.  It gives your pet an understanding about what you expect.  Because a dog has a desire to please its pack leader (you), knowing the rules and boundaries makes for a happy dog and a happy owner!

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policymaker.alabama.gov

Federal judges have struck down 12 Alabama legislative districts, saying Republicans relied too heavily on race when drawing the lines. 

A three-judge panel ruled Friday in the long-running lawsuit over the legislative districts.

    The judges say 12 districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered, and they blocked the Alabama Legislature from using them in future elections. The panel upheld 24 more challenged districts.  

Women's March in Birmingham Tomorrow

Jan 20, 2017
Trump protestors
Spencer Platt / Getty

A new civil rights march will be taking place at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in downtown Birmingham this weekend.

Activists from across Alabama will join together at Kelly Ingram Park to march in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington this Saturday. There is also a group of Alabama women attending the national march in D.C. The marches are designed to be rallies for women across the country who want to “proactively preserve” their rights.

Over his eight years in office, President Obama commuted the sentences of nearly 1400 federal prisoners, the most in history, and issued over 200 pardons.

But one of those pardons did not come for former Democratic Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. The Department of Justice informed Siegelman’s attorneys yesterday that his application for clemency had been denied.

This week marks the beginning of a new political era – and the end of another.

Not just in Washington, either. A new administration also brings turnover at the state level. U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance joins us today, on her final day as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. She announced her intent to retire last week, and spoke with us about her eight years serving as the head law enforcement official for Alabama's northern district.

Federal authorities say they're investigating threats made to Jewish centers both in Alabama and across the country.

A brief statement released by the FBI yesterday says they and the Justice Department's civil rights division are investigating "possible civil rights violations in connection with threats." The statement from the agency's Washington headquarters doesn't characterize the threats.

But the Anti-Defamation League also issued a statement yesterday citing "a series of bomb threats to Jewish community centers in at least 18 states."

The lone Democrat and black person in Alabama's congressional delegation says she is skipping the inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump.  

Representative Terri Sewell of Selma tweeted Wednesday that she can't accept the disrespect shown to Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a civil rights veteran who grew up in Alabama.

Trump criticized Lewis after the congressman questioned the legitimacy of the election and said he isn't attending the inaugural. Dozens of other congressional Democrats have since said they won't go, either.

stream pollution
Tom Henderson / AP

The state of Alabama has joined a lawsuit seeking to block new rules from the Obama administration that crack down on coal mining near waterways.

Thirteen states, led by Texas, filed that lawsuit in federal court yesterday. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the new “Stream Protection Rule” imposes what he calls “mandatory, one-size-fits-all” regulations that violate states’ rights.

The U.S. Department of the Interior says the new regulations will protect over 6,000 miles of America’s streams by preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby waterways.

President-elect Donald Trump has met with one of the judges on his shortlist for potential Supreme Court nominees.   

Judge William Pryor met with Trump in New York Saturday, a person familiar with the meeting said Tuesday. The person, who asked for anonymity because the details of the meeting are not public, provided no further information.

Back Lot render
Core Hospitality Advisors

Developers constructing a new hotel in downtown Mobile area are also rolling out the red carpet for operators of food trucks.

Core Hospitality Advisors is building a Hilton Garden Inn across from Bienville Square in downtown Mobile. The developers say they wound up with some additional land upon beginning construction, and plan to add a food truck court to the property. The space will be called The Back Lot and will have parking and support for three food trucks at a time.

Adam Cowart of Core Hospitality Advisors explains the setup for the food trucks and the patrons.

Charles Todd Henderson
WBRC-TV

The incoming District Attorney for Jefferson County, Charles Todd Henderson, was scheduled to take office today. But he’s been automatically suspended due to a felony indictment.

According to the Alabama Political Reporter, Henderson was a surprise winner over incumbent District Attorney Brandon Falls. Late last week, Henderson was charged with a Class C felony for allegedly providing false information to a judge. Alabama state law dictates Henderson is suspended until the case is resolved.

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church held a ceremony yesterday afternoon commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Loretta Lynch was the keynote speaker at the ceremony, delivering her final speech as the United States Attorney General.

APR’s Alex AuBuchon was at Sixteenth Street Baptist yesterday and offers this glimpse into the ceremony, with excerpts from Lynch’s speech as well as U.S. Representative Terri Sewell and U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.

Alex AuBuchon / APR

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in her final speech as head of the Justice Department, said worries of difficult days ahead should be a call for action, not despair.

Lynch spoke at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church where four girls were killed in a KKK bombing in 1963. In the speech for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lynch echoed King's words after the bombing to not give into despair.

Lynch praised the work of President Obama's administration to achieve justice for all citizens.

 State wildlife officials are cautioning hunters that it remains illegal to bait deer despite the drought that damaged wildlife food plots.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources say they have written a large number of citations for baiting deer.    

State law forbids hunters from hunting over bait. Food must be 100 yards away from the hunter and out of the hunter's line of sight.

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Director Chuck Sykes said there is a false rumor that baiting has been allowed because of 2016's drought.

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