The Alabama State Department of Education continues their community engagement tour across Alabama today with a stop in Huntsville.

The tour is focused on talking with community members about the Every Student Succeeds Act that was approved by Congress in December of last year.

The plan, known as ESSA, replaces No Child Left Behind. It provides Alabama schools with more flexibility when innovating and creating new plans for education.

Small earthquake reported near Aliceville

Sep 5, 2016

A small earthquake rattled the ground near the Alabama-Mississippi border.

A report from the U.S. Geological Survey says 2.6 magnitude earthquake occurred shortly after 3 a.m. Monday morning.

The quake was centered about 12 miles south of Aliceville. No damage was reported.

The quake occurred west of another area where a cluster of earthquakes has occurred since late 2014 in Greene County.

An east Alabama hospital is collecting items for Louisiana flood victims.

The East Alabama Medical Center is holding a flood relief drive for hospital employees affected by the floods in Louisiana last month.

Clothing donations won't be collected by the center. Instead, The center will be collecting cash, household items, toiletries, cleaning and school supplies, pet food, cases of water and other items.

An estimated 150,000 homes across south Louisiana were ravaged by the floodwaters.

The oldest public school building in Alabama may be getting a facelift soon, thanks to a grant received by the foundation that cares for the school.

September is National Preparedness Month, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging Alabamians to be prepared for disasters.

FEMA is partnering with the Ad Council to encourage people to take time to develop a plan in the event of a disaster. The agency says families should think about things like supplies to have on hand, locations of local shelters and where to go in the event of an emergency.

 Dabney Montgomery, who served with the all-black Tuskegee Airmen in World War II and marched with Martin Luther King Jr., has died. He was 93.

His wife, Amelia Montgomery, said he died of natural causes Saturday morning at a Manhattan hospice care facility. He had lived in Harlem until he entered the facility August 25th.

Montgomery was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.         

 Alabama's attempt to rebuild its beachfront state park using oil spill money is again embroiled in controversy. 

Businessman Tom Schlinkert says officials are shutting down his zip line adventure ride at Gulf State Park in Gulf  Shores and refusing him $40,000 in compensation as construction continues on a new coastal hotel. That project is being funded in part with BP money, even though a hurricane destroyed the old lodge years before the oil spill.

Labor Day Pet Safety

Sep 3, 2016
Mark F Levisay [Flickr]

Although Labor Day is often seen as the kickoff to Autumn, it's still very warm and humid across most of the country.  If your pet is part of your outdoor gathering, watch to make sure it has a shady spot to rest so it doesn't become overheated.


Judge refuses investigation of speaker's ethics trial

Sep 2, 2016

A judge is refusing a request by former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard to have a sheriff investigate whether there was juror misconduct at his ethics trial.

But Judge Jacob Walker says he is open to taking testimony from a juror who says another juror made biased remarks.

Hubbard wants a new trial after being convicted on 12 felony ethics charges and removed from office. His lawyers submitted an affidavit from a juror who says another made biased remarks.

Holman Correctional Facility
Sharon Steinmann / AP

State Department of Corrections officials say an Alabama correctional officer was stabbed by an inmate yesterday at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.

The agency says inmate Cleveland Cunningham was detained after the stabbing occurred just after noon yesterday in the facility's dining hall. The officer was airlifted to an off-site hospital and is currently in critical condition.

Prison officials say Cunningham assaulted the officer in retaliation for being denied extra food. The prison was placed on lockdown after the incident.

Dauphin Island will hold several events to celebrate the holiday weekend.

There will be family-friendly movies played on the beach tonight and throughout the weekend to give people a chance to get out and enjoy the last holiday of the summer.

Jeff Collier is the Mayor of Dauphin Island. He says there will be other events taking place as well throughout the weekend.

A Tuscaloosa County grand jury voted to indict a former NASA astronaut for murder. The panel charged James Halsell in an early morning traffic accident that killed two little girls on Highway eighty two back in June. APR Pat Duggins has more on the indictment and what’s next for the veteran Space Shuttle commander…

The Human Rights Campaign is showcasing opportunities for the LGBTQ community this week in Birmingham.

Tomorrow, the organization will host an Equity Fair. The event will include a job fair and resources for transgender individuals to learn about changing their names legally. The HRC has reached out specifically to businesses they consider fair-minded that will help find employment for those in attendance.

Tori Wolfe-Sisson is the Community Organizer for the Human Rights Campaign in Alabama. She says this event will create a more positive atmosphere than other job fairs.

A state legislative committee looking into the possibility of impeaching Gov. Robert Bentley has denied the governor’s requests to suspend their investigation.

House Judiciary Chairman Mike Jones says the impeachment probe is moving forward despite Bentley’s repeated pleas to the contrary.

The governor and his lawyers asked the committee to halt their investigation until lawmakers clarify their concerns. The request was accompanied by an Aug. 25 letter from the House Judiciary Committee's special counsel saying their concerns with the Governor had been well-publicized.

Physical and mental health is the subject of a town hall tomorrow at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center.

A representative from the Veterans Benefits Administration will be on hand to teach veterans how to file claims for illnesses or injuries while they were on active duty.

Damon Stevenson is the Public Affairs Officer for the Tuscaloosa VA. He says learning how to file claims can help veterans take care of their health.

Man accused of south Alabama massacre pleads not guilty

Aug 31, 2016

A Mississippi man accused of killing five people in a south Alabama home with blows from an ax and gunshots has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say 27-year-old Derrick Dearman of Leakesville, Mississippi, attacked the three men and two women as they slept on Aug. 20. He then allegedly kidnapped his estranged girlfriend, who had sought shelter in the house to get away from a violent relationship with him.

An Alabama prison inmate is dead following an attack at the Elmore Correctional Facility. The prison is on lockdown after an inmate was stabbed to death. The Department of Corrections says twenty four year-old Davieon Cotez Williams was stabbed multiple times during fight yesterday afternoon. Prison officials say another inmate is a suspect. Critics of Alabama’s prison system blame overcrowding for violence like this. APR’s MacKenzie Bates will look into these complaints tomorrow as part of APR on-going series on prison reform and justice reform.

Can a member of the Alabama Public Service Commission make money off a solar power deal? That’s the question going back to a state ethics panel. PSC Commissioner Chip Beeker wants to lease land to a solar energy company that in turn would sell electricity back to a power company regulated by the PSC. Beeker is the one asking the ethics board to take up the issue again. The Alabama Ethics Commission deadlocked on the matter this month. The ethics panel listed the opinion on today’s agenda. However, a lawyer representing Beeker says the panel may reconsider.

Bentley appeals refugee lawsuit dismissal

Aug 30, 2016

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is appealing the dismissal of the state's lawsuit against the federal government over refugee placement.

Officials with the governor's office filed the appeal today with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Bentley asked a federal judge in January to block refugees from coming to the state unless federal officials provided a full background check and medical information on each refugee.

Alabama officials testing 540 Hyundai workers for TB

Aug 30, 2016

The Alabama Department of Public Health is testing for Tuberculosis among 540 workers at Hope Hull Hyundai Motor Manufacturing facility today. One worker tested positive for the active form of the respiratory disease.

TB is an airborne illness that affects those who are in close contact with it. As a result, ADPH says they are only testing workers in the paint shop.

There will be no public vote on an Alabama lottery. APR’s Pat Duggins reports time is also running out for lawmakers to make up for a miscarriage of justice when they resume a special session next week.

State Senator Paul Bussman submitted a bill on the case of Anthony Ray Hinton. He spent thirty years in prison after being falsely convicted in a double murder in 1985.

Bussman wants to compensate Hinton through Alabama’s Wrongful Incarceration Act. The measure states that prison exonerees can get fifty thousand dollars for each year of wrongful imprisonment.

Alabama health officials are planning to test for tuberculosis at an automotive plant near Montgomery after one employee was confirmed to be infected.

Pam Barrett, the director of tuberculosis control with the Alabama Department of Public Health, says testing and evaluations will begin today at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama outside Montgomery. Barrett says only the employees who were in close contact with the infected worker will need to be tested.

Tennessee Valley Authority operations chief retiring

Aug 29, 2016

The Tennessee Valley Authority says its chief operating officer will retire at the end of the year.

Chip Pardee joined TVA in April 2013.

Pardee's contributions include improvements to the power generation fleet and the operations team. The utility says those improvements are helping it cut pollution from its plants and keep rates low while also providing reliable energy to customers.

Little impact expected in Alabama from Gulf system

Aug 29, 2016

Forecasters say a tropical weather system in the Gulf of Mexico probably won't have much of an effect on Alabama.

The National Weather Service says a tropical depression located southwest of Key West, Florida, will mean bigger waves and increase the risk of rip currents on Alabama's beaches.

But the system is expected to make a turn to the northeast eventually. That means it will likely head toward the western coast of Florida rather than Alabama and the rest of the northern Gulf Coast.

After a four-year hiatus, the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base is once again hosting a massive technological conference.

The three-day Air Force IT and Cyberpower Conference kicks off today. IT leaders, top military brass and representatives from leading technology companies will gather in downtown Montgomery to discuss the latest in cyber security and information technology.

A new study by The University of Alabama at Birmingham has a potential treatment for an illness that can leave victims paralyzed.

Guillain-Barre syndrome, also known as GBS, attacks the nerves and immune system leaving some victims unable to move. The new study has discovered an antibody that can block the molecule that helps transport cells that spread GBS.

Dr. Erobo Ubogu is a researcher at UAB. He says there has not been a new treatment for GBS in 25 years and it is costing the health care system billions of dollars each year.

Alabama voters won’t be casting ballots on a state lottery this November. But, there will be a proposed constitutional amendment to keep an estimated six hundred local laws from being declared null and void. A lawsuit is challenging House procedures which could make lawmakers' “yes” votes to allow voters to decide on a list of local ballot measures unconstitutional. If the legal challenge is successful, these local laws might be ruled invalid even if voters approved them. Senator Cam Ward says the measures possibly at risk include one in Florence allowing Sunday alcohol sales.

aekpani [Flickr]

Keeping your pet safe in a disaster situation may depend on a little advance planning - just in case something should happen.  Whether your best friend has fur, or feathers, or scales, it depends on you to keep it safe and get it out of harm's way in time.


Lottery bill dies in Alabama Senate

Aug 26, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed state lottery has failed in the Alabama Senate.

Senators voted 23-7 to reject changes the House of Representatives made to the bill today. Sen. Jim McClendon, the bill's sponsor, said the legislation is "dead" for the session.

Senate support for the bill crumbled after Democrats said they could no longer support it. Democrats objected to House language that prohibited electronic lottery terminals, arguing that guaranteed the Poarch Band of Creek Indians a monopoly on gambling machines.

Alabama coal communities receive money through grant

Aug 26, 2016

New funding is set to help Alabama coal communities. APR Student Reporter Allison Mollenkamp has more…

The Southern Research Institute and the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center are teaming up to fund an entrepreneurship program and a business development plan.

A total of one hundred twenty thousand dollars will be split between the programs. It will target the Appalachian region of Alabama with an aim at spurring small business in the area.