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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…

Fairfield's fiscal future

May 30, 2016

It's been more than four months since the Wal-Mart store in Fairfield closed its doors, leaving many people to find goods and services elsewhere. City Leaders are scrambling to not only plug holes in the city's budget but create more economic opportunities to people that have lost their jobs.  APR’s MacKenzie Bates traveled to Fairfield to find out what’s next…

It’s a quiet morning on Gary Avenue in downtown Fairfield.  The Magic City Grille is open for breakfast and Beauty Land Cosmetics is opening its doors for business. 

Memorial Day means lots of people out on Alabama waterways. The State’s Marine Patrol is urging boaters to be careful. Alcohol and a lack of lighting are common factors in accidents and fatalities. The state reports fifteen boating accidents with seven deaths on the state's lakes and rivers so far this year. 2015 had twenty five accidents with six fatalities. The Marine Patrol is predicting a two hundred percent increase in boat traffic during Memorial Day. Wearing your life jacket is the message being pushed by the Coast Guard Auxiliary

First week of Hubbard trial concludes

May 29, 2016

The first week of testimony in the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard concluded with a peek at the business dealings of the influential Republican.

Hubbard's former chief of staff testified Wednesday that Hubbard didn't tell him about two consulting contracts.

Prosecutors also presented evidence about Alabama Republican Party work that was subcontracted back to Hubbard's media companies when he was party chairman.

Alabama legalizing to-go beer from breweries

May 28, 2016

A new law will loosen Alabama's alcohol laws to let craft breweries sell to-go beer directly to consumers.

Alabama's 25 or so brewers have been selling beer in retail stores for several years. But they could only sell draft beer by the glass to customers who visited a brewery.

A law that was approved this year and takes effect Wednesday will let the breweries sell six packs, large bottles and other containers of beer directly to consumers.

Alabama was previously the only state that banned such sales.

Authorities urge extreme caution on state's waterways

May 28, 2016

Authorities are urging boaters to take extreme caution on the Alabama waterways during the busy Memorial Day weekend.

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's Marine Patrol Division assistant commander Mark Fuller says they are urging caution to boaters because alcohol and lack of lighting are common factors in accidents and fatalities.

Fuller says marine patrol officers usually work on a probable cause basis when it comes to boating under the influence.

Ted Kerwin [Flickr]

Every year the American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards includes a category for Military Dogs.  They truly are heroes.  Log on to the Hero Dog Awards website to read about this year's finalists and cast your vote for the one you think should be Military Hero Dog of the year.

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The Alabama Supreme Court is voiding its earlier decision not to recognize a lesbian couple's adoption that was carried out in another state.

The opinion announced today falls into line with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued in March.  It says the Alabama court erred in declaring the adoption held in Georgia invalid.

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A Florence attorney and an 83-year-old man are each facing multiple charges of human trafficking.

State Medicaid officials say they opposed Medicaid language temporarily inserted in the 2013 budget that could have benefited a client of House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar testified today that Medicaid officials were caught off guard by language added in the House.  It would have set requirements for any pharmacy benefit manager the state might hire.

The former state law enforcement chief who accused Governor Robert Bentley of having an affair with an adviser has been questioned by federal investigators about the governor's administration.

Kenny Mendelsohn, an attorney representing former state law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier, revealed yesterday that the questioning occurred. But he refused to elaborate on what questions investigators asked.

Hubbard trial continues, Alabama Voting App rolls out

May 25, 2016

The former chief of staff for the Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has testified in the ethics trial of his former boss.

Josh Blades testified today that he was upset and concerned about "legal implications" after learning that language added to a 2013 budget bill could have benefited one of Hubbard's clients.

Blades said he learned later that a group that would get the work was paying Hubbard through a consulting contract. The language was stripped in conference committee.

hubbard trial
Brynn Anderson / AP

Prosecutors and defense lawyers are presenting very different views of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard as he stands trial on felony ethics charges.

Prosecutors told jurors in opening statements yesterday that Hubbard made around $2.3 million illegally off his elected office and past chairmanship of Alabama’s Republican Party. But the defense argues Hubbard was scrupulously honest, even asking for an ethics opinion before accepting money as a consultant.

A workshop today in Tuscaloosa was expected to help Alabama communities that lost coal mining jobs.

The Appalachian Regional Authority spoke about how colleges and governments can apply for part of sixty five million dollars in federal aid. The money is meant to help put out of work coal miners back on the payroll.

Co-Chairman Earl Gohl** says some coal towns have used grant money to beef up their manufacturing sectors, while West Virginia took another path…

The jury in the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard will show up to hear evidence today. Hubbard faces twenty three counts of misusing his public office for personal gain. Prosecutors say Hubbard used both his office and past position as chairman of the Alabama GOP to solicit business for himself and his companies. Conviction on even one would result in his ouster as speaker of the state House.

This year marks the fifty fifth anniversary of civil rights event by a group known as the Freedom Riders. The Alabama Historical Commission gathered legislators, politicians and noted civil rights figures over the weekend to commemorate the occasion. In 1961, student activists aimed to end desegregation in transport by riding trains, planes and buses into the South. A bi-racial group of those activists was assaulted by a mob as they departed a bus in Montgomery in May 1961.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley files a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier.

Bentley's attorneys say in the motion filed today that claims Collier makes in his complaint are vague and should be dismissed or clarified.

Bentley fired Collier in March and said an internal review found possible misuse of state funds within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Myron Thompson
Alex AuBuchon / APR

A Mobile city councilman is in stable condition today after he was shot during a robbery in South Africa this weekend.

City Councilman C.J. Small owns and operates Small’s Mortuary and Cremation Services in Mobile. He was in Johannesburg attending the South African Funeral Director and Morticians Association Convention. At around noon Johannesburg time, the tour bus Small was riding was ambushed and several patrons were robbed. Small was shot in the face during the incident, and some other passengers were injured.

Al.com

The speaker of Alabama's House goes on trial later this week facing a barrage of ethics charges.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges stemming from accusations that he used his posts as speaker and state GOP party chairman to steer business to his companies.

Hubbard has maintained his innocence. 

Opening statements are expected Tuesday in what's become a season of scandal in Alabama.

An Alabama teenager set a Florida state record for catching the biggest flathead catfish. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says 13-year-old Charles Patchen of Gordon, Alabama, caught a nearly sixty four pound flathead. Patchen pulled in the enormous catfish from the Chattahoochee River in Jackson County. It took Patchen nearly two hours to land the big fish. The fish needed to be rolled into the boat because it was too large for the net. The previous certified state record flathead catfish weighed just over fifty five pounds and was caught on the Yellow River in 2011.

ASPCA

When  Henry Bergh founded the ASPCA on April 10, 1866, I wonder if he ever could have envisioned the effective force it has become for animal welfare not just in its home base of New York City but all across the country!

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Alabama's unemployment rate is down slightly to 6.1 percent.

Wage and salary employment increased by 16,500 jobs in April, with the largest number of jobs coming in the trade, transportation and utilities sector. The professional and business services sector added another 3,500 jobs.

The state's jobless rate remains well above the national rate of 5 percent, however.

Alabama unemployment is worst in Wilcox County at 12.8 percent. Shelby County has the state's lowest job rate at 4 percent.

Freedom Rides bus
National Civil Rights Museum

The Alabama Historical Commission is commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Freedom Rides today in Montgomery.

In 1961, a group of largely black students pledged to ride interstate buses through the Southeast to protest the lack of enforcement of bus desegregation laws.

The Alabama Department of Education has restored funding to a reading program that educators feared was in danger at many public schools.

Earlier this week, superintendents were scrambling for funding to replace a $7.5 million cut to the Alabama Reading Initiative, which allows for reading coaches in public schools. The cuts were performance-based, and many schools with above-average reading scores were in danger of cutting out their Reading Initiative programs entirely.

hubbard trial
Brynn Anderson / AP

A jury has been chosen, and Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s ethics trial will begin next week.

Hubbard is facing nearly two dozen felony ethics charges accusing him of using his position as Speaker and past position as chairman of Alabama’s Republican Party for personal gain for himself and his businesses. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Hubbard has pleaded not guilty and maintains he didn’t do anything illegal.

Lawyers have picked a jury for House Speaker Mike Hubbard's ethics trial scheduled to start next week. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold has more…

The panel of 12 jurors and four alternates is made up of five black men, four white men, four black women and three white women.

The Montgomery Advertiser and al.com reports that Lee County Judge Jacob Walker instructed the panel not to discuss the high-profile case.

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