News

A group of environmental advocates in north Alabama have announced their intent to sue utilities boards in Muscle Shoals and Tuscumbia over violations of the Clean Water Act.

The Tennessee Riverkeeper issued a press release yesterday announcing their intent to sue the Muscle Shoals Utilities Board and the City of Tuscumbia’s Department of Utilities. The Riverkeeper says the two utilities boards are responsible for over 35 sewer overflow incidents since 2012, illegally pouring over 25,000 gallons of sewage into public waterways including the Tennessee River.

"What's Next?" For Birmingham's Women's Marchers

Feb 2, 2017

Opposition to President Trump’s executive order banning travel to the United States is clear. An estimated five hundred students at the University of Alabama staged a silent march at the Tuscaloosa campus with one day's planning. Protests at U.S. airports also sprang up spontaneously after Mr. Trump signed the order preventing people from a list of countries from entering the U.S. These demonstrations are in sharp contrast to the carefully planned marches that took place the day after the Inauguration.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a state law that blocked a plan to raise the minimum wage in Birmingham.    U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Alabama Chapter of the NAACP and Greater Birmingham Ministries on behalf of minimum wage workers.

The Birmingham City Council voted to raise the city's hourly minimum wage to $10.10. The Alabama Legislature, before the increase took effect, last year swiftly passed legislation requiring a uniform state minimum wage.

Embattled Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has been forced to empty his leftover campaign funds to pay legal bills as he fights an impeachment push and fallout from a scandal.

Bentley filed his campaign finance report yesterday. The report shows the governor's campaign paid more than $320,000 in legal bills last year.

Spencer Collier
ALEA

Former Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier now has a new job title: Police Chief of Selma.

Selma Mayor Darrio Melton announced the appointment yesterday. He released a statement saying Collier's "expertise in law enforcement will benefit our city and help move us forward."

Collier and Melton served together in the House of Representatives. Collier is also a former state homeland security director and a former Alabama state trooper.

Sessions protest
NAACP

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will face a Senate confirmation vote to become the country’s next Attorney General later today, and protestors in Alabama are once again making their voices heard in opposition.

More than 100 people reportedly took part in a second sit-in at Senator Sessions’ office in Mobile. The office was closed, but demonstrators reportedly packed the building outside his office and in a second-floor lobby.

Some lawmakers want high school seniors to pass the U.S. citizenship test before graduating.

Senator Arthur Orr and Representative Terri Collins said Monday that they are introducing the bill in the 2017 legislative session that begins next week. 

Orr said everyone should have a "working knowledge of our government."

The legislation would require students pass the test, with at least a 60 percent grade, in order to get a diploma. Students would be able to take the test multiple times.

Huntsville BoE Talking Superintendents Tonight

Jan 30, 2017

The Huntsville Board of Education is meeting tonight to narrow down their list of candidates for superintendent.

The board has five candidates remaining for the position. Those finalists have gone through extensive, individual interviews in the past week.

Keith Ward is the spokesman for Huntsville City Schools. He says each remaining candidate has a vast array of experience.

Auburn University

Auburn University is planning to build to a brand-new $28 million facility at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

According to Al.com, the Auburn University's board of trustees meeting agenda states the project for the 44,000-square foot facility will begin May and end in July 2018 if approved at a meeting this Friday.

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.

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