News

The state auditor has re-filed a lawsuit against Gov. Robert Bentley's effort to build a hotel and conference center at Gulf State Park.

Auditor Jim Zeigler and state Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, both frequent critics of the governor, filed the lawsuit today in Montgomery court. The filing comes four days after a judge dismissed a similar suit filed by the former conservation director for lack of standing.

The lawsuit challenges the state's use of oil spill funds on the project.

State lawyers are hoping to set a date for the execution of a death row inmate who unsuccessfully challenged Alabama's lethal injection method as unconstitutional.

Last week, the Alabama Attorney General's office asked the Alabama Supreme Court to set an execution date for Thomas Arthur "as soon as possible." The request comes after a federal judge ruled for the state and against Arthur's claims that the state's lethal injection method was unconstitutional earlier this month.

The Alabama Supreme Court is holding an impeachment trial to determine whether a sheriff should be removed from office on grand jury charges of corruption and neglect of duty.

Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark Sr. is being tried in the same Supreme Court chambers where justices normally hear appellate cases. His charges are not criminal; the penalty would be removal from office.

Clark is accused of allowing an inmate held on drug trafficking charges to leave jail, return with contraband and avoid being searched.

Democratic National Convention
Wikimedia

Alabama lawmakers are currently being polled about support for lottery legislation as Governor Robert Bentley contemplates calling a special session on Medicaid funding.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says legislative leaders are gauging interest from state legislators. Marsh says the discussions come as Governor Bentley contemplates calling a special session that could include a lottery bill.

The Salvation Army has broken ground on a $25 million new headquarters campus in Birmingham.

Al.com reports the headquarters broke ground on the 4.1-acre campus Thursday. The new facilities will house administrative offices plus emergency relief services including overnight accommodations for homeless men, women and children.

Officials say construction on the campus should be complete by September 2017. Two new buildings will be under construction soon in addition to an extensive renovation of a 50,000-square-foot school building.

Alabama lawmakers are currently being polled about support for lottery legislation as Governor Robert Bentley contemplates calling a special session on Medicaid funding.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says legislative leaders are gauging interest from state legislators. Marsh says the discussions come as Bentley contemplates calling a special session that could include a lottery bill.

Alabama Supreme Court
Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia

A north Alabama attorney has been appointed to serve on the court currently considering judicial ethics charges that could result in the removal of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Attorney W.N. "Rocky" Watson of Fort Payne will replace Opelika attorney John V. Denson on the Alabama Court of the Judiciary during the Moore case. Denson recused himself from the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. He is the only current member of the Court of the Judiciary that was also on the body in 2003, when Chief Justice Moore was first removed from office.

Tail of a Cat

Jul 23, 2016
Mark Watmough [Flickr]

It has been suggested that the cat uses its tail for balance, and that may be partly true.  However, cats born without tails (like the Manx breed) and cats who lose their tails due to injury, still seem to maintain a good sense of balance.

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Alabama's unemployment rate remains unchanged from a month before.

The Alabama Department of Labor announced the jobless rate for June on Friday.

The number is the same as May at six percent.  It represents 130,439 unemployed people in Alabama. The state says June employment actually rose by almost 34,000 people, but the gain wasn't enough to lower the unemployment number.

A federal judge says a pending lawsuit over Alabama's voter identification law will go to trial in the fall of next year.

U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler has set the trial to begin Sept. 11, 2017, in Birmingham federal court. Greater Birmingham Ministries and the NAACP challenged the state’s existing voter ID law as an infringement on voting rights disproportionately affecting black and Latino voters.

Weather forecasters say conditions are going to be downright brutal for the next few days.  Central Alabama is expected to be under the influence of a subtropical ridge.  That could means temperatures approaching triple digits in some parts of the state starting today.

John DeBlock is with the National Weather Service in Birmingham. He says those temperatures don’t even include the heat index, which is how humidity makes it feel outside…

One member of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary has recused himself from the upcoming decision on the fate of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Opelika attorney John V. Denson is one of nine judges, attorneys and other citizens who serve on Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary. He says he is recusing himself from the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Denson is the only current member of the Court who also served on the body in 2003, when Chief Justice Moore was first removed from office.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he is still considering a special session on Medicaid funding but has not made a final decision.

The governor says Medicaid needed at least an additional $15 million in order to have adequate funding in the next fiscal year. Bentley adds he expects to announce a decision soon.

Lawmakers budgeted $700 million for the state Medicaid program. Bentley said $785 million was needed to maintain the program.

Supporters of the family of a 19-year-old man shot and killed by a Mobile police officer last month are calling for criminal charges against the officer and governmental changes.

The Republican National Convention is underway in Cleveland Ohio and members of the Alabama GOP are set to cast their ballots.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump will be formally introduced as the Republican choice for president and will be joined by several key speakers. Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions spoke last night.

Alabama GOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan says that the state is expected to be represented by fifty delegates and hopes to show that conservative policy is needed back in the White House…

Authorities say a Jefferson County man who had been a longtime suspect in his wife's disappearance recently confessed to her killing and led police to her remains.

Records show 43-year-old Joseph Poe III was arrested Friday on unrelated charges. On Saturday, Chief Deputy Randy Christian says Poe told Tarrant police he needed to talk to a detective concerning Paula Anne Worcester's disappearance.

A University of Alabama official confirms that a man who killed three law enforcement officers this past weekend was a student at the Tuscaloosa Campus.

UA Spokesman Chris Bryant says Baton Rouge gunman Gavin Eugene Long attended the University of Alabama for one semester in the spring of 2012.

The 29-year-old Long was a former Marine from Kansas City, Missouri.  He opened fire killing three police officers and wounded three others.  Long was killed at the scene.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Four Republican hopefuls are running for former House Speaker Mike Hubbard's legislative seat.

The Alabama Republican Party announced late last week that Jay Conner, Joe Lovvorn, Brett Smith and Sandy Toomer have all qualified to run for the Lee County House seat. No Democrats are running for the legislative district.

Hubbard was removed from office last month after a jury convicted him of 12 felony ethics charges. He was sentenced to serve four years in prison. Hubbard is appealing his conviction.

The primary election for the vacant seat will be held Sep. 13.

News Reports: Baton Rouge shooter a UA student

Jul 17, 2016

A suspect in the killing of three Baton Rouge police officers was reportedly a student at the University of Alabama. Lawmen shot Gavin Long to death following an ambush.  Multiple news reports are quoting the University of Alabama’s website that Long was on the Dean’s list at the Tuscaloosa campus. The suspect was reportedly enrolled at the Tuscaloosa campus for one semester in 2012. Three others police officers were wounded in the attack, one critically. The Associated Press reports two other "persons of interest" are being questioned.

Tuscaloosa WBC Boxing Champion Deontay Wilder retained his title with a technical knockout in the eighth round against Chris Arreola. The hometown boxer fought at least half of last night's bout with a broken right hand and a torn right bicep, and still won the match by TKO . Arreloa's corner stopped the fight after the challenger's left eye appeared swollen shut, and he had been knocked down in the fourth round. Wilder visibly winced in pain as trainer Jay Deas removed his right glove during a post-fight interview and applied an ice bag to the boxer's right bicep.

A judicial ethics panel wants Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore swiftly removed from office for urging the state's probate judges to defy the federal courts on gay marriage. The Judicial Inquiry Commission says that Moore's actions merit the highest possible sanction against a sitting judge, which is immediate removal from office. Moore told state probate judges in January that a state injunction against gay marriage was in "full force and effect" despite higher court rulings.

Muncie Animal Shelter [Facebook]

If you live in or near Muncie, Indiana, visit the animal shelter and ask for a Pokémon dog - but you might have to wait your turn.  

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High-profile lawyers have been named to both sides in the impeachment investigation against Governor Robert Bentley, and Alabama's taxpayers will foot the bill.

Bentley's office announced  that it is hiring Ross Garber, who represented the governors of South Carolina and Connecticut during impeachment proceedings.                     

Alabama's House Judiciary Committee named Birmingham attorney Jackson Sharman as its special counsel. That's a role he had with the U.S. House Banking Committee for the Whitewater investigation during the Clinton administration.

A U.S. Representative from Alabama says the Obama administration is dropping a plan to possibly house migrant children in Baldwin County and in Montgomery.

Rep. Bradley Byrne issued a statement yesterday saying he recently learned the Department of Health and Human Services won't pursue two rural, military airfields in Baldwin County as shelters for migrant children who are currently in the country without their parents.

An email released by Byrne’s office says the government also is dropping the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force complex in Montgomery from consideration.

Police in Mobile say they will strictly enforce the city's open-container alcohol ordinance in the downtown entertainment district.

That means consuming alcoholic beverages outside of entertainment venues in downtown Mobile is about to get harder for tourist and local residents.

Mobile police say the outside consumption of alcoholic beverages will still be permitted but will come with conditions.

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the enforcement of new state laws banning abortion clinics near schools and outlawing a commonly used second trimester abortion procedure.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued an order yesterday delaying enforcement of the laws that were set to take effect Aug. 1. Thompson scheduled an Oct. 4 hearing on a request from abortion providers to permanently block the laws.

NASA is building a new satellite to study air pollution and scientists are gathering in Huntsville to learn how to use it.

A workshop for new air quality monitoring technology is being held at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The air sniffing satellite is called TEMPO and its set for launch around 2020. A conference is a way for scientists on the TEMPO project to answer questions that general users may have about the data and workings of the satellite.

TEMPO data
NASA

NASA is inviting scientists to use data from a satellite set for launch around 2020.

The program is called Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution, or TEMPO. It’s designed to look for pollution in the upper atmosphere. NASA is teaming with the University of Alabama in Huntsville for a workshop on how scientists can get data from the TEMPO satellite for their research.

Professor Michael Newchurch came up with the idea of having the application workshop at the university. He says he only expected twenty to thirty people to attend.

State prosecutors are opposing former House Speaker Mike Hubbard's request to have the sheriff investigate if there was misconduct by the jury that convicted him on ethics charges.

The attorney general's office in a response filed yesterday saying Hubbard is seeking an "unfettered fishing expedition into the deliberations of the jury."

A Lee County jury convicted Hubbard of 12 felony ethics violations. A judge sentenced to Hubbard to four years in a state prison and another eight on probation.

Lawyers for Alabama abortion providers have asked a federal judge to block new state laws that ban abortion clinics near schools as well as a commonly-used second trimester abortion procedure.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson scheduled a telephone conference on the request for a temporary restraining order. Unless blocked by federal court, the new laws will go into effect August 1.

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