News

The construction of a new hangar and support facility could increase the workforce by as many as 200 employees.

Al.com reports that Yulista broke ground on a 60,000-square-foot aviation hangar and 20,000-square-foot support facility at the Huntsville Executive Airport on Friday. The expansion will bring the airport's aviation campus from 94,000 square feet to more than 165,000 square feet.  

The Yulista M5 Hangar is expected to be fully operational by 2017. The expansion took two years.

Superman [Flickr]

Keeping your pet safe in the summer heat means plenty of shade, a full water bowl, walking your pet with care, and never, never leaving it in a closed car, even for a few minutes!

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Four years and eight years probation.  That is the sentenced handed down to Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard after being convicted of twelve of twenty-three felony ethics charges last month.

The State says Hubbard improperly solicited lobbyists and company executives for consulting contracts and using his political office to benefit his clients.                      

Defense Lawyer Bill Baxley defended Hubbard’s Character after the sentenced was delivered….

Former Al House Speaker Mike Hubbard

Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has been sentenced to four years in prison with eight years of probation. Hubbard will have to two hundred-ten-thousand dollars in fines.

Since there is an appeal bond pending, Hubbard was not taken into custody.

We will have more on this story as it develops.

Alabama’s former House Speaker will find out how long he will spend in jail later today after being convicted on a dozen ethics charges last month. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the details.

Officials with the Attorney General’s office say they want Mike Hubbard to spend five years in prison and another 13 on supervised probation. His lawyers call that recommendation ridiculously extreme and absurd.

Hubbard was found guilty on 12 of 23 felony ethics charges back on June 10th.

The owner of two north Alabama pharmacies is facing a multi-million dollar fine. A-P-R Student reporter Taylor Swinney has more…

Federal authorities say Rodney Dalton Logan of Muscle Shoals owns the pharmacies and will pay a $2.5 million penalty after agreeing to plead guilty to obstructing an audit involving Medicare funds.

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and other federal officials on Thursday announced the plea agreement involving the 63-year-old Logan, who was also the lead pharmacist at both locations.

Stephanie Azar
Albert Cesare / Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama’s Medicaid program has announced its first real-world impact of the state budget cuts.

The program announced yesterday that it would no longer offer enhanced reimbursement payments for primary care doctors starting next month. The enhanced payments, commonly referred to as the “primary care bump”, brought Medicaid reimbursement up to the level offered by Medicare for certain health providers. It was designed to get more doctors to accept and treat Medicaid patients.

The state is looking to pay for outside legal counsel to represent Governor Robert Bentley and his Law Enforcement Chief. A-P-R student reporter Katie Willem has more…

The state will pay up to two hundred thousand dollars to represent Gov. Robert Bentley and his law enforcement chief in a wrongful termination lawsuit.        The legal action is being brought forward by the governor's fired secretary of law enforcement.

The federal government is looking to dismiss Alabama's lawsuit over refugee placement after a similar lawsuit failed in Texas.

A lawyer for the federal government filed a notice of the Texas decision with the court last month in the ongoing request to dismiss the Alabama case. Both Texas and Alabama sued the federal government in an attempt to prevent refugees from being resettled in the states.

Last month, a federal judge threw out the Texas lawsuit, ruling that the state had no authority over resettlements, which are handled entirely by the federal government.

Workers in the Tuscaloosa area spent their holiday weekend dealing with a massive sewage spill that could pose a serious threat to area waterways.

Officials with the city of Northport say four pump stations were forced to close Saturday in order to perform emergency repairs on the main sewer pipeline. Those stations overflowed, leaking an unknown amount of raw sewage into three area creeks and the Black Warrior River.

Fourth of July celebrations in Tuscaloosa and Northport were complicated yesterday as the area continues to address a massive sewage spill.

Northport officials say four pump stations were forced to close Saturday in order to perform emergency repairs on the main sewer pipeline. The pumps overflowed, leaking raw sewage into three area creeks and the Black Warrior River. The city’s initial estimate is 100,000 gallons spilled, but other estimates put the total closer to several million.

Alabama has agreed to make changes at state prisons to accommodate inmates with disabilities.

A federal judge gave a preliminary approval to a lawsuit settlement agreement between inmates and the state prison system last month. The state will have 32 months from final approval to make sure disabled inmates can access education programs and other facilities.

The claims are part of a broader lawsuit over prison medical care.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Black Warrior Riverkeeper are investigating after the city of Northport dumped tens of thousands of gallons of sewage into nearby waterways over the weekend.

The City of Northport issued a statement Saturday saying four pumping stations had to be shut down to make an emergency repair to the main sewage pipeline. That eventually caused overflows at all four stations, and city officials estimate around 100,000 gallons of wastewater drained into local creeks and the Black Warrior River.

A lawyer for former House Speaker Mike Hubbard says prosecutors are seeking a "ridiculously extreme" prison sentence after Hubbard's conviction on ethics charges.

Defense lawyer Bill Baxley says the 18-year sentence prosecutors want is absurd.  The attorney general's office, in a court filing this week, says they want Hubbard to spend five years in prison and another 13 on supervised probation.

Prosecutors are also asking for Hubbard to pay $1.6 million in fines and restitution.

Hubbard trial
Todd J. Van Ernst / Opelika-Auburn News

As Mike Hubbard’s sentencing date approaches, prosecutors are recommending the former Alabama House Speaker should spend five years in a state prison for breaking the state ethics law.

Attorney General Luther Strange’s office filed a brief yesterday afternoon asking a judge to give Hubbard an 18-year split sentence. Hubbard would spend five years behind bars and the remaining 13 years under supervised probation.

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab will benefit from a multi-million dollar settlement with a Norwegian shipping company.

DSD Shipping Company was found guilty of dumping thousands of gallons of harmful bilge into the Gulf of Mexico.

Helene Hassell is the Executive Director for the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. She says the money from the settlement will be put to good use…

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a half million dollars richer today thanks to the U.S. Department of Justice.

WKRG-TV reports the Sea Lab received the $500,000 check as the result of an investigation that found a Norweigan shipping company guilty of dumping oil and sludge into the Gulf of Mexico.

The settlement reached totaled $2.5 million. As part of the settlement, half a million dollars had to go to a community organization as restitution. The Department of Justice chose the Dauphin Island Sea Lab due to their commitment to stewardship of the Gulf of Mexico.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler wants to join an ongoing lawsuit in an attempt to put a stop to Governor Robert Bentley’s spending of the BP settlement money.

The state is receiving billions of dollars after reaching a settlement with BP after the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Zeigler says the governor is acting as a “one man legislature…”

The Tuscaloosa City Council has approved a deal that will allow the ride-sharing service Uber to begin operations in the city within a month.

The Tuscaloosa News reports the council voted 6-1 yesterday to change its vehicle-for-hire ordinance to allow Uber and similar companies to begin operations in the city.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox says he plans to sign the amended ordinance into law.

APR Selma coverage wins national awards

Jun 29, 2016
APR

The industry group Public Radio News Directors, Incorporated named Alabama Public Radio the winner of two first place “PRNDI” awards. These prestigious national honors are connected to APR’s international award-winning coverage of the 50th anniversary of the “bloody Sunday” attacks on voting rights marchers in Selma in 1965. State troopers and a sheriff’s posse used clubs and tear gas to beat back demonstrators on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The families of two girls who were killed in a DUI crash involving a former NASA astronaut in rural west Alabama have filed wrongful-death lawsuits in state and federal courts.

Authorities say 11-year-old Niomi James and 13-year-old Jayla Parler were killed in a crash that left two others injured on June 6 in rural west Alabama.

Former NASA astronaut 59-year-old James Halsell has been charged with reckless murder in the crash and now faces wrongful-death lawsuits in Tuscaloosa County and in federal court.

An Alabama judge will hear arguments today in a dispute between the state’s teachers and their health insurance provider.

The Alabama Education Association is suing the Public Education Employees’ Health Insurance Program, or PEEHIP. Coinciding with a raise that Alabama’s lawmakers allocated to teachers earlier this year, the health insurance program announced it was dramatically increasing its premiums. The AEA argues those rate hikes were decided upon in a secret meeting that violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.

A new LGBT organization in Tuscaloosa is looking to expand. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more.

Druid City Pride held a fundraiser this past weekend to help shape the future of the organization.

The group formed late last year to organize the city’s annual Pride festival. But thanks to community interest and recent events, they’ve taken on advocacy efforts as well. The first step is becoming an official nonprofit.

“It costs a little chunk of change to become a non-profit, which is funny.”

The Montgomery County District Attorney says his county’s court system is drowning in a massive backlog of pending drug cases.

District Attorney Daryl Bailey tells the Montgomery Advertiser that a backlog of more than 1600 cases means that anybody arrested for drug-related charges would currently be waiting more than two years for trial as evidence is processed.

Bailey says the state's budget crisis and staff cuts mean the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences is struggling to keep up with the number of cases it needs to analyze.

A Cat's Age

Jun 25, 2016
Helena Jacoba [Flickr]

Unlike dogs that tend to turn gray around the face as they age, a cat's appearance may not change so much.  What you may notice is less muscle tone, drier skin and coat, maybe a little arthritis.   But even elderly cats still enjoy some play time and attention.


Gov. Robert Bentley asks the FBI for assistance after finding that several state workers in the finance department had unauthorized access to Alabama's criminal justice database.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency released letters today showing that Bentley also dismissed the state's chief information officer and placed another finance official on administrative leave.

Muscle Shoals Middle School
TimesDaily

School workers in the Muscle Shoals region will be seeing a bit more money in their pockets soon.

Muscle Shoals City Schools Superintendent Brian Lindsey says the school board tacked on an additional 3 percent local raise to a 4 percent state-mandated raise approved by lawmakers earlier this year. School finance officer Sarita Tapscott says the raises will cost the school system around $850,000.

The U.S. Supreme Court says death-row prisoners must have "rational understanding" that they are about to be executed and why.  But a lawyer for an Alabama inmate say their client fails that test.

A lawyer for 65-year-old Vernon Madison told a panel of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges today that stroke-induced dementia has made Madison unable to understand why the state plans to execute him. Madison was convicted in the 1985 killing of Mobile police Officer Julius Schulte.

Victor Gaston
Albert Cesare / Montgomery Advertiser

Acting Alabama House Speaker Victor Gaston says he isn’t interested in making that title any more permanent.

The Mobile Republican representative announced yesterday that he will not be a candidate for speaker. Gaston says he was grateful to the colleagues and friends who encouraged him to seek the post. He says he will dedicate his remaining time as acting speaker to making sure all the various House functions run smoothly.

Alabama Department of Public Health officials say a new law allows people and businesses to keep epinephrine injectors on hand in case of an allergic reaction.

A new state law allows people and organizations including camps, child care centers, restaurants and others to keep single-dose epinephrine auto-injectors on hand.  It’s in case someone has an allergic reaction because of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is often caused by insect stings, foods and medication.

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