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President Trump and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin aren’t the only big names to campaign in Alabama’s upcoming vote for the U.S. Senate. Former Vice President Joe Biden is coming to support Democrat Doug Jones. Mr. Biden will headline a campaign rally in Birmingham on October 3rd. The former Vice President says Jones is a proven leader in which we can place our trust. Jones will face either Strange or Moore in the December twelfth special election for U.S. Senate. The seat previously belonged to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Jones is a lawyer and former U.S.

When the scandal-plagued former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley appointed his then-attorney general Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate, Bentley apparently considered it a good thing that he would get to name a new attorney general.

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin will campaign for Roy Moore in Alabama on Thursday. This visit comes one day before President Trump holds a support rally for Moore’s GOP opponent Luther Strange in Huntsville. Palin’s rally will take place in Montgomery after Moore and Strange face off in their first, and only, debate before next Tuesday’s runoff. Former Trump strategist Sebastian Gorka will also appear. Strange and Moore, both Republicans, are vying for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' former U.S. Senate seat.

Trump Mobile rally
Jeff Haller / New York Times

President Donald Trump will be moving his visit to the Yellowhammer State up. Senator Luther Strange’s campaign team recently announced the President will attend a campaign rally in Huntsville at 7 p.m. on Friday.

President Trump’s visit comes just four days before the Republican runoff election between sitting U.S. Senator Luther Strange and Roy Moore, Alabama’s former chief justice. The two men are locked in a heated race for the Republican nomination for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former Senate seat.

Two men who worked for a company that runs the transit system at Auburn University are facing charges after a student was allegedly raped on one of the buses.

President Trump will be hitting the campaign trail in Alabama this coming weekend in hopes of boosting Luther Strange ahead of next week’s Senate primary runoff.

President Trump made the announcement via Twitter, saying he’d be in Huntsville Saturday night to support Luther Strange for Senate and that “’Big Luther’ is a great guy who gets things done!”

peanut plant
Jay Hare / Dothan Eagle

Local farmers in southeast Alabama have opened a peanut-buying station as another way to peddle the area’s cash crop.

The Dothan Eagle reports the new station, the Farmer’s First Peanut Company, opened late last week in Geneva County. The $2 million facility was built by a group of local farmers looking for a locally-controlled peanut buying station. The facility will sell the crop to Georgia-based Birdsong Peanuts.

Atlanta Humane Society [Facebook]

Homeless pets evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irma will be up for adoption at a special event this weekend at the Atlanta Humane Society's emergency shelter on Market Blvd in Roswell.  Atlanta Humane Society is partnering with Lifeline Animal Project to find new homes for these furry refugees.

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching an advertising push on behalf of Luther Strange in Alabama's heated U.S. Senate runoff. The effort includes TV ads supporting Strange as well as mail fliers featuring an endorsement from Alabama Senator Richard Shelby.

The Alabama Board of Education has named former Superintendent Ed Richardson as interim superintendent of education.   

 Board members by an 8-1 vote picked Richardson to temporarily take the helm of public schools following the resignation of Superintendent Michael Sentance.

Luther Strange and Roy Moore are exchanging jabs following a cancelled debate ahead of the GOP runoff for Jeff Sessions U.S. Senate seat. The two contenders have tentatively agreed to face off on stage later this month. The two traded accusations after Moore withdrew from a debate hosted by the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank. Moore claims he withdrew because API's president also serves as treasurer of the PAC backing Strange. The Strange campaign then accused Moore of ducking a debate.

Alabama School Superintendent Michael Sentance has resigned.  Sentence had been battling state board of education members for months. Sentance tells AL.com his resignation will allow him to avoid a vote to fire him later this week.  

Governor Kay Ivey has received Sentence’s resignation this morning. Ivey says that as the president of the state board of education she will ask the board to accept his resignation.

Tuition is rapidly increasing at many colleges and universities across the country, but Birmingham-Southern College will now be moving the other direction.

University officials say they will reduce tuition and mandatory fees by more than 50 percent starting in fall 2018.

"The marketplace spoke, and we listened," BSC President Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith says. "We want to make sure that the best and brightest students have access to the kind of personalized, challenging, hands-on educational experience that BSC provides."

The nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center is teaming up with four U.S. Senators to unveil a detailed economic initiative for Appalachia. The goal is to help reverse struggles with poverty and isolation in the region. Appalachia spans thirteen states including Alabama, and has more than twenty five million people The senators are Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Warner of Virginia and Republicans David Perdue of Georgia and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, says the White House is approving federal emergency aid for the state of Alabama ahead of the arrival of Irma. These dollars will supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency storm conditions in the area starting from last Friday. Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

The city of Greenville, south of Montgomery, is buying its local hospital from a Tennessee company. Tennessee based Quorum Health says it signed a definitive agreement to sell the seventy two bed L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital to a city health care authority. No price was disclosed. The sale is supposed to be finished before year's end. The company, spun off by Community Health Systems, has heavy debt and is losing money. The Alabama Public Radio news team has spent the year investigating rural health in the state.

The Alabama Department of Insurance is hitting Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama with an eight million dollar penalty. The insurer is being fined for charging rates higher or lower than those approved by the state. The unauthorized rates were imposed between 2005 and 2013 and resulted in thirty three million dollars in over charges and one hundred and seven million in undercharges. Al.com reports the charges occurred in about 1,400 plans issued to small group employers and some insurance plans for former employees.

The National Weather Service put counties on the eastern side of Alabama under a tropical storm warning ahead of Irma. Communities in east Alabama, including Huntsville and Guntersville, could see tropical storm force winds with gusts up to seventy miles per hour. Governor Kay Ivey activated the Alabama National Guard and Alabama’s Emergency Response Center ahead of the storm. Georgia spent the day under a Hurricane warning after State troopers turned Interstate 16 into a one-way escape route for a few hours Saturday as evacuees packed cars and fled the Georgia coast ahead Irma.

Trusted Companions

Sep 9, 2017
jeici1 [Flickr]

Even at times when you don't have access to TV, you can always listen to Alabama Public Radio.  On the road, running errands, to and from work, even during a storm when the power is out, you can stay connected to what's interesting, what's important, what you need to know.

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ballotpedia.org

A former state representative in Birmingham has pled guilty to multiple charges in connection with an EPA Superfund site in the area.

 

Federal prosecutors are charging former Representative Oliver Robinson with conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud and tax evasion. Prosecutors say Robinson took a contract with a private law firm in exchange with using his position in the state legislature to fight the expansion of an EPA Superfund site in Birmingham. The Superfund site is heavily contaminated with lead, arsenic, and other chemicals.

 

Strange Hoping for Boost as Runoff Election Nears

Sep 8, 2017

As the Alabama Senate race heads into its final stretch, incumbent Luther Strange may need a lot of help from Washington to have a chance. Three polls show the senator trailing former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore by double digits. Two more show Strange behind, but within the margin of error. 

Alabama Braces for Irma Evacuees

Sep 8, 2017
NOAA

 Hurricane Irma is causing one of the largest mass evacuations in United States history, and the state of Alabama is prepping to help Floridians seek shelter.  

 A heavy influx of traffic is expected along Interstates 65 and 10 through coastal Alabama and into the rest of the state.  Alabama transportation officials will meet to discuss possible gridlock concerns, especially on Interstate 10 in downtown Mobile, which is already notorious for traffic backups.

 

Governor Kay Ivey Announces Official Gubernatorial Run

Sep 7, 2017

Alabama’s Governor has announced she will run to keep her office next year. Governor Kay Ivey has announced that she will enter the gubernatorial race in 2018. Ivey served as lieutenant governor before Robert Bentley resigned in April. Ivey says she has “steadied the ship” after the scandal that forced then Governor Bentley out of office.   

All year long, the Alabama Public Radio news team has been investigating rural healthcare in the state. Studies often list Alabama as having the worst infant mortality rate in the nation. One factor is the lack of maternity units in rural hospitals in Alabama. This can lead to premature births or delayed care, which are often blamed for early infant death. APR’s Pat Duggins has more on a hospital business model that could help, but possible changes to the Affordable Care Act might make matters worse…

Two Alabama death row inmates are asking the state Supreme Court to halt their executions scheduled for next month.  

 Lawyers on Wednesday asked the Alabama Supreme Court to stop the executions since the 11th Circuit Court ordered hearings in a separate lawsuit challenging the humaneness of the state's lethal injection procedure.

 Governor Kay Ivey has raised $1 million for her still unannounced gubernatorial campaign.     A campaign finance report showed that Ivey's gubernatorial campaign committee has gathered the donations for the 2018 race.   

 Ivey, a Republican, has not yet announced that she plans to run for governor in 2018. However, she has begun raising money and created a campaign committee and related nonprofit. Both are signs that she intends to run.

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker will have his own day in court after all.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins recently ruled against dismissing Justice Parker’s contention that certain state restrictions on judges' speech violate their First Amendment rights.

Beetles Threatening Alabama Timber

Sep 5, 2017

Alabama’s eleven billion dollar timber industry could be at risk due to a very small bug.

Southern Pine Beetle populations have reached epidemic levels in Montgomery County. The beetles are also found in the Oakmulgee district of the Talladega National Forest and an area including Marengo, Clarke, and Choctaw counties.

UAB Campus
UAB

Researchers at UAB are seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration regarding a new potential treatment for cancer.

Scientists say they’ve developed a way to genetically modify a cancer fighting immune system cell so that it survives chemotherapy. Project Director Dr. Lawrence Lamb says the so called Gamma Delta T-cells recognize cancer cells because of signals of stress the infected cells give off in the patient.

Hurricane Harvey

Sep 2, 2017
The National Guard

Texas National Guard members worked alongside other responders to rescue local citizens in flooded areas.  Soldiers, firefighters, paramedics and neighbors ensured several thousand people and hundreds of dogs and cats were evacuated to safety.

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