News

Within the next five months, President-elect Donald Trump could appoint a majority of the board for the Tennessee Valley Authority. The TVA is the nation's largest government-owned utility.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports three Democratic members of the board, including Chairman Joe Ritch, are leaving after the Republican-controlled Senate failed to confirm President Barack Obama's reappointment of the three directors last year.

Rehobeth
Jay Hare / Dothan Eagle

Four people were killed in Alabama as severe storms moved through the region yesterday.

Kris Ware, a spokeswoman for the Dothan – Houston County Emergency Management Agency, says the deaths occurred in the Rehobeth area in southeast Alabama, a community of around 1500 people. A suspected tornado caused a tree and power lines to fall onto a mobile home, killing four people inside.

The Dothan Eagle reports another tornado apparently touched down in nearby Taylor, Alabama, downing trees and causing some property damage.

Albert Brewer
Alabama Department of Archives

Former Alabama Governor Albert Brewer has died at the age of 88.

Brewer was known for reshaping Alabama’s public education system during a fill-in term as governor after the death of Lurleen Wallace, then championing constitutional reform as an elder statesman of Alabama politics.

Current Alabama Governor Robert Bentley released a statement yesterday saying the state had lost a great leader.

Wayne Flynt, an expert in Southern history at Auburn University, calls Brewer “the only governor we had who ever came close to being a ‘New South’ governor.”

Lane Kiffin is being replaced as Alabama's offensive coach, one week before the national championship game against Clemson. Head coach Nick Saban says Kiffin will leave to focus on his new job as Florida Atlantic's head coach. Incoming offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will replace him for next Monday's title game against Clemson in Tampa. Saban says he and Kiffin spoke following the semifinal game against Washington.

Alabama parents can now see how their child’s school is doing by going on-line. The Alabama Department of Education in December released the report cards. The system gives scores in four areas, including learning gains, student achievement, local indicators and the graduation rate for high schools. Parents can see how their school, or school system, compares to the rest of the state. The report cards won't include the letter grades ordered by state lawmakers. That feature goes into effect this December. The report cards can be viewed at: https://ap.alsde.edu/accountability/atof

The New Year means no more “common law” marriages in Alabama. The state will not recognize new common-law marriages beginning January first. Common-law marriages already in effect will continue to be recognized. That kind of marriage refers to couples who live together as a married couple, but who haven't gotten a state marriage license. Lawmakers voted earlier this year to prohibit the recognition of new common-law marriages. An appellate judge last year urged lawmakers to make the change.

SELMA

TODAY...PATCHY DENSE FOG EARLY IN THE MORNING. SHOWERS OR SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE MORNING...THEN THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 70S. CHANCE OF RAIN NEAR 100 PERCENT.

TONIGHT...CLOUDY. THUNDERSTORMS IN THE EVENING...THEN CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS IN THE UPPER 50S. CHANCE OF RAIN 90 PERCENT.

TUESDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 70S.

TUSCALOOSA

From Donald Trump's pivotal campaign rally in Mobile, the death of writer Harper Lee, murder charges against former Astronaut Jim Halsell, the conviction of House Speaker Mike Hubbard, the suspension of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, Governor Robert Bentley's sex scandal, to the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into Alabama's prison system--the national award winning Alabama Public Radio news team was there to keep you updated. Click below to hear some of the biggest stories of 2016. Pat Duggins

Fans of Alabama and Clemson may have the option to save money on souvenir hats and shirts this championship season. The Crimson Tide and the Tigers won the Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl, respectively, setting the stage for a re-match of last year’s College Football Playoff championship game, where Alabama came out on top. The Tide kept its number one ranking by scoring ten points off turnovers in a 24-7 win over the Washington Huskies at the Georgia Dome. Bo Scarborough carried the Tide's offense by running for 180 yards and two touchdowns to earn game MVP honors.

The Alabama Crimson Tide is packing its bags for Tampa. The top-ranked Crimson Tide beat the Washington Huskies in what college football historians may compare to Alabama’s 1926 victory over Washington to win its first national championship. The Tide scored ten points off turnovers, including Ryan Anderson's interception return for a touchdown late in the first half, and Scarborough’s sixty eight yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory. Head Coach Nick Saban is working to eclipse the record of legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant who won six national titles.

The controversial chief of state for Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson is resigning. The Mayor’s office confirms that Colby Cooper is departing to pursue new opportunities. Cooper attracted national media attention after a tree in a Mobile park was chopped down to be the centerpiece of Donald Trump’s “victory lap” visit earlier this month. The loss of the fifty foot old growth cedar tree at Public Safety Memorial Park drew wide criticism. Cooper announced his intent to resign in a Tweet. Mayor Stimpson issued a press release announcing that he had accepted the decision by his chief of staff.

Happy New Year's Eve

Dec 31, 2016
Chrismatos [Flickr]

As you enter the New Year, remember who or what helped make the old year special.  Your furry companion is there to share the good times - and even the times that are not so good.  So if you make resolutions, make some that will benefit both of you and help to make the new year truly happy!

************************

Organizers in Dothan are preparing for the city’s first peanut drop that will bring in the New Year. A giant peanut will hang on a crane in front of the clock tower on Foster Street and drop on New Year's Eve when the clock hits midnight. WSFA-TV reports the big plastic peanut was delivered Thursday and transported downtown for a test run on Friday. The Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority, says a kids zone is being set up and there's going to be a balloon drop for them. Peanuts are a prominent part of Dothan’s local economy. The industry claims seventy percent of the U.S.

SELMA

SATURDAY...CLOUDY. SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE MID 50S. CHANCE OF RAIN 60 PERCENT.

SATURDAY NIGHT...WARMER. RAIN SHOWERS. NEAR STEADY TEMPERATURE IN THE LOWER 50S. CHANCE OF RAIN 80 PERCENT.

TUSCALOOSA

SATURDAY...CLOUDY. CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS AND SLIGHT CHANCE OF LIGHT SLEET IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 50S. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 70 PERCENT.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation say they have reached an agreement with Alabama after determining that black residents were disproportionately affected by the state's closure of rural driver's license offices.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the terms of the agreement yesterday. He says the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has agreed, among other things, to expand the hours that the rural offices are open.

Jeff Sessions
Ross D. Franklin / AP

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has finished another round of interviews for the U.S. Senate seat now held by attorney general-designee Jeff Sessions.

Bentley's office says he interviewed six more candidates, including state Attorney General Luther Strange, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby and U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer. The governor also interviewed businessman Tim James, state Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper and state Sen. Phil Williams of Rainbow City.

An organization created to advance Governor Robert Bentley's political agenda is asking to be dismissed from a lawsuit filed by the governor's former security officer.

A lawyer for the Alabama Council for Excellent Government filed the dismissal motion Wednesday, saying the bodyguard has no grounds to sue the organization.

Ray Lewis last month sued Bentley, Bentley's former political adviser Rebekah Mason and the organization which paid Mason. Lewis claims his career and reputation were damaged as Bentley and Mason tried to hide a relationship.

USS Gabrielle Giffords
Austal USA

Austal has delivered its latest Littoral Combat Ship, the USS Gabrielle Giffords, to the Navy.

The Australian-based shipbuilder and defense contractor announced the new warship was handed over to the Navy last week. It’s the fifth vessel of its kind built by Austal; seven more are currently under construction in Mobile.

The commander of the Littoral Combat Ship squadron, Captain Jordy Harrison, says the ship will join other LCS ships in San Diego next year to undergo testing and training for eventual deployment.

drought farmer
Kevin D. Liles / WSJ

Farmers in Alabama who have been affected by the extreme drought conditions gripping the Southeast are getting some good news from the federal government.

An unusual budget provision passed by Congress earlier this month means no one who qualifies for a government farm loan in the next four months will be denied.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran is a Kansas Republican who chairs an agricultural appropriations panel. He says the provision allows the Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency authority to meet the spike in loan demand by using future funding.

Be Safe While Disposing of Live Christmas Trees

Dec 27, 2016
firemarshal.alabama.gov

                While the presents have been unwrapped the Christmas holiday has wrapped up and it is time to remove the decorations. Those with live Christmas trees need to make sure they dispose of them properly.                           

                These winter months have been some of the driest months of the year and the current drought situation make it more likely for a fire to ignite.

Scott Pilgreen is the state of Alabama’s fire marshal. He says cities across the state will help you get rid of your tree.

Tom Surtees, who served both as Alabama's Revenue and Labor commissioner, has died.

The governor's office says Surtees died Friday after fighting cancer. He was 66.   

Surtees was appointed head of the Revenue Department in 2004 by then-Gov. Bob Riley. He later became commissioner of the Department of Industrial Relations, which became the Department of Labor in 2012.

Surtees retired from the state in 2014. Governor Robert Bentley is calling him a leader and a dedicated public servant.

Alabama’s Democratic and Republican parties are looking for candidates to run for a State House district northeast of Birmingham. Today’s the deadline for major party candidates to apply for the open seat in district fifty eight. State House member Oliver Robinson retired from that office earlier last month so his daughter could become the first African American woman to serve as Governor Robert Bentley’s liaison. Nancy Worley chairs the Alabama Democratic Party. She says understands Robinson’s decision to leave after eighteen years to help his daughter…

The Mobile area will be awash in orange during the Reese’s Senior Bowl next month, but not in Fairhope. The city on the Eastern Shore says it won't be hosting a Senior Bowl practice next month. City Council members earlier this month had questioned whether it was worth paying $35,000 to the Senior Bowl to host a practice ahead of the annual game. Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson told AL.com that it's now too late to arrange to host a practice ahead of this year's Game. However, she said city officials are looking at possibly resuming the practice for the next year.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is offering help for people who want to quit smoking in the New Year. The agency has a telephone service called the Alabama Tobacco Quitline that operates daily, and help is also available through the website quitnowalabama.com. The phone number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW. The Quitline offers coaching and an eight-week supply of nicotine replacement therapy patches, and all services are free for people who are eligible.

Some of Alabama's largest cities are getting federal help for projects that involve upgrading their train stations or developing new ones. Al.com reports that Birmingham, Mobile, Anniston and Tuscaloosa are each getting a share of $728,957 in grants for Alabama. Also receiving grants are Baton Rouge, Gonzales and St. John Parish in Louisiana, and Biloxi, Gulfport and Pascagoula in Mississippi. All told, the three states are getting $2.5 million in federal money for train station-related projects.

SELMA

MONDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 70S.

MONDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE UPPER 50S.

TUESDAY...CLOUDY WITH A 30 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 70S.

Tuscaloosa

MONDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 70S.

MONDAY NIGHT...CLOUDY WITH A 50 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE UPPER 50S.

TUESDAY...CLOUDY WITH A 40 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE MID 60S.

Mobile

Pat Duggins

SELMA

CHRISTMAS DAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 70S.

SUNDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE UPPER 50S.

MONDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 70S.

Tuscaloosa

CHRISTMAS DAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 70S.

SUNDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE UPPER 50S.

MONDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 70S.

Mobile

CHRISTMAS DAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. AREAS OF FOG IN THE MORNING. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 70S.

A group in the south Alabama city of Monroeville hopes to develop new attractions and draw more tourists to the hometown of the late "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee. One project is a museum in the 1909 bank building that housed the office of Lee's father A.C. Lee. He served as the model for attorney Atticus Finch in "Mockingbird" and Lee's 2015 book "Go Set a Watchman." Other attractions could be added later, including reproductions of places mentioned in the books.

frankieleon [Flickr]

Christmas is a time for caring and sharing - especially with our family and friends.  And it all began over two thousand years ago!

*******************

The Alabama Supreme Court has reversed a lower court and says the state can seize more than 800 electronic bingo machines from a west Alabama gambling hall. The unanimous decision released Friday involves the Greenetrack gambling facility, located in Greene County southwest of Birmingham. The justices say that eight hundred and twenty five machines confiscated from Greenetrack amount to illegal slot machines under state law. The justices rejected arguments that the machines are legal under laws that regulate bingo games.

Pages