News

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.

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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.

Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise

A new report on sanitation and drinking water has singled out Lowndes County, Alabama for its widespread lack of sewage systems for its residents.

According to the report from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, around 80 percent of Lowndes County residents don’t have access to municipal waste treatment and have to install their own septic systems. Those systems can cost up to $30,000 thanks to the type of soil in the area, and the median household income in Lowndes County is just $26,000.

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's fate will soon be in the hands of a jury.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers have begun closing arguments this afternoon in Hubbard's ethics trial. They are expected to finish Friday morning.

The arguments will cap nearly three weeks of trial that included testimony from the current and past governor. Hubbard testified in his own defense, rebutting assertions that the contracts and investments his companies stemmed from his political sway.

There’s now an official meeting date for the legislative committee that’s looking into the possible impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley. APR’s Stan Ingold has the details.

The House Judiciary Committee scheduled a meeting for 10 a.m. next Wednesday in Montgomery. Committee members will discuss a procedure for handling the investigation, including the possible hiring of special counsel.

A federal judge is permanently barring Alabama from enforcing state laws to block gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade of Mobile issued the order today in litigation that followed the U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized same-sex weddings nationwide.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says water officials in north Alabama “unnecessarily” caused panic when they issued an advisory not to drink potentially contaminated tap water.

A state judge is refusing to dismiss ethics charges against Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Lee County Judge Jacob Walker says he will let the charges go to the jury, rejecting a defense request for a summary judgment of acquittal after prosecutors rested their case.

Defense lawyer Bill Baxley says he plans to call on former Gov. Bob Riley, who testified earlier as a prosecution witness.

A former NASA astronaut who helped pave the way for the International Space Station is charged with murder. State troopers arrested James Halsell Jr. of Huntsville after a traffic crash that killed two girls. Eleven year-old Niomi Deona James and thirteen year-old Jayla Latrick Parler of Brent weren’t wearing seat belts. The two were ejected from their car during the early Monday morning crash. Two adults were injured in the crash. Both were taken to DCH Medical Center for treatment. Troopers say a preliminary investigation indicates alcohol and speed may have been factors.

Alabama Public Radio staffers, including news director Pat Duggins, assistant news director Stan Ingold, Morning Edition host Alex AuBuchon, Digital Media Center Director Elizabeth Brock, Classical Music director David Duff, and Development director Jeff Deneen met with Gulf coast listeners over the weekend. APR held a "donor dinner" for major contributors and underwriters at Mobile's Carnival Museum. That event was followed by the 2nd "Putting The Pub in Public Radio" at Fairhope Brewing Company. Many thanks to all who came out! Click on the "Youtube" link at the bottom to see the video...

Things got testy when former Alabama Governor Bob Riley took the witness stand again in Speaker Mike Hubbard’s ethics trial. The prosecutors tried to keep Riley from going on too long with his answers. The former governor accused Matt Hart from asking questions out of context. The prosecutions wants Riley to help them build the case that Hubbard illegally used his position as Alabama House Speaker to help himself and his businesses. There are twenty three felony counts against him. Hubbard says he did nothing wrong.

Elkhart Truth

Remarks got heated today in the ethics case of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard

Former Alabama Governor Rob Riley and prosecutor Matt Hart exchanged barbs after Hart stopped Riley from elaborating at length on his answers.

Riley accused Hart of asking Questions without context when Hart asked if he had ever warned Hubbard about overstepping the state ethics law.

The former governor testifies that he and Hubbard often talked about Hubbard’s difficult financial situation.

The trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard is entering its third week. Former Governor Bob Riley is expected to return to the witness stand. Last Friday, he told jurors how Hubbard emailed him several times asking for a job. Riley says other conversation were just banter. Prosecutors called Riley to testify as they seek to prove Hubbard improperly asked lobbyists for work, investments and financial favors. The speaker is facing twenty three ethics charges. Conviction of any one of them could mean his ouster from his post in the state house.

Lessons from My Cats

Jun 4, 2016
Mindy Norton

Whether you're a dog person or a cat person, the truth is that cats now outnumber dogs as house pets in the US.   Part of the reason may be the valuable lessons you can learn from your feline friend!

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More than one million Alabamians are  hoping to put a dent in the current drought.  The northern half of Interstate 20/59 have not had rain in a few weeks, which is causing trouble for farmers and their crops.

Brian Fuchs is a climatologist with the national drought mitigation center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  He says the increasing temperatures can bring storms to the area but there’s a catch…

A utility in north Alabama is telling residents not to drink any tap water due to chemical contamination.

The West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority held a news conference in Decatur yesterday about potentially hazardous levels of two chemicals in tap water sourced from the Tennessee River.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued an advisory about the chemicals, and authority general manager Don Sims says the system's 10,000 customers shouldn't drink or cook with tap water since it contains them.

         

The prosecution continues to press their case against House Speaker Mike Hubbard. Governor Robert Bentley took the stand as Hubbard defends himself against twenty three felony ethics charges. Prosecutors are trying to prove Hubbard’s acted illegally when he met with Bentley on behalf of two clients. Former state lawmaker and political commentator Steve Flowers attended the proceedings. He says prosecutors spent time on Bentley’s perceptions of his meeting with Hubbard…   

Philip Anderson family
Pat Duggins / APR

The family of a dead Tuscaloosa County prison inmate is defending him before the press. APR’s Pat Duggins met with Philip Anderson’s relatives who are filing a federal civil rights suit.

“...it hurts…he was my best friend…”

Erika Fykes is Phillip Anderson’s youngest daughter. She says she got the phone call from her father’s cellmates saying that Anderson had been screaming in pain for a week. Only then, his family claims, did jail officials take him to a hospital. Anderson later died on the operating table from a perforated ulcer.

Governor Robert Bentley has testified under oath in the ethics trial of the Alabama house speaker. Bentley says he remembers meeting with Mike Hubbard to discuss what he described as economic development projects.   

Prosecutors are seeking to prove that Hubbard was being paid up to $12,000 a month to illegally lobby the governor on behalf of his business clients - a municipal gas company and a maker of plastic cups.

The City of Fairfield may soon have its water shut off due to unpaid bills, according to Birmingham Water Works.

Al.com reportedly obtained an e-mail from Birmingham Water Works officials saying the city of Fairfield has accumulated over $128,000 in unpaid water bills at 17 different city addresses. In a memo to board members, Water Works General Manager Mac Underwood said it’s unfortunate that Fairfield is in this situation, but they can’t provide water service to the city for free.

The president of an education curriculum company says that he paid Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard $7,500 a month to open doors with legislative leaders across the country — but not in Alabama.

Edgenuity President Michael Humphrey testified that he thought Hubbard could get him meetings with legislative leaders in other states, given his background as a legislator and someone familiar with college sports.

Hubbard Baxley
AP

After the holiday weekend, testimony is scheduled to resume later today in the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Prosecutors say they will call a number of influential lobbyists and company owners as witnesses today. They say Hubbard asked them to either make investments in his printing company or to help him find business clients.

The unofficial start of the summer travel season means more cars on the road today.

The American Automobile Association expected thirty eight million motorists to drive at least fifty miles from home over Memorial Day. Today means a lot of those return trips, making for crowded conditions on Alabama’s roads and highways.

Triple-A spokesman Clay Ingram says the end of a vacation can lead to a list of concerns as people get behind the wheel to come home…

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