News

UAB Hospital
UAB

Alabama lawmakers plan to hold hearings on the state's Medicaid program tomorrow.

The House and Senate general fund budget committees have scheduled a joint meeting tomorrow to discuss funding options for the government health care program that covers approximately a million Alabamians.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says lawmakers plan to question Medicaid officials about the agency's finances and costs.

Next week marks five years since Alabama's super tornado outbreak of 2011. The National Weather Service recalls 154 tornado warnings across the state that day. The Alabama Public Radio news team will be checking back with many of the people our listeners heard from in the hours following the killer storms. APR's Pat Duggins put together this audio remembrance from that day.

All this week on Alabama Public Radio, we’re looking back on the tornadoes that hit Alabama on April 27, 2011. In Tuscaloosa, twelve percent of the city was destroyed and fifty four people were killed. The home of the University of Alabama wasn’t the only community hit with a life altering storm that year. And, how Tuscaloosa went about the process of rebuilding was considered controversial. Five years later, here's  a report card in this "tale of two cities…"

“At that point, we understood this was going to be something like we’ve never seen in the history of our city.”

APR Wins Top Regional Murrow

Apr 18, 2016

Alabama Public Radio has been honored with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). APR competed in the Southeast Regionals - small market radio - among stations from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. All regional winners will compete for a national award in October 2016.

APR

All week long on Alabama Public Radio, we’re looking back on the tornadoes that hit the state five years ago on April 27, 2011. Twelve percent of Tuscaloosa was destroyed, over fifty people were killed, and countless lives were changed forever. The very first victim of the tornado APR met face to face was Steve Miller. Now, five years later, I checked in to see how Miller is doing…

The owner of the Cleveland Browns NFL team is trying to avoid testifying in an Alabama court case. Jimmy Haslam and his brother, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, are accused of cheating customers at the Pilot Flying-J truck-stop chain the two co-own. Mobile based Wright Transportation is one of several companies suing the Haslam’s and their Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J. The brothers and their company are accused of trying to cheat customers out of promised discounts and rebates. The Tennessean newspaper reports Jimmy Haslam filed a motion after an Alabama judge ordered his deposition.

An estimated 76,000 Crimson Tide football fans crowded Bryant-Denny stadium at the University of Alabama for the annual “A-Day” game. The team split into “Crimson” and “White” squads and played each other in a game that left some sports commentators yawning. The Tide defense dominated, only allowing seven points for the White team, and three for the Crimson. For all the talk among fans and pundits about Cooper Bateman as the leading contender for quarterback, Freshman Jalen Hurts scored the only the touchdown of the day with a pass to Derek Kief late in the game. The A-Day crowd was ten thousand more than last year’s attendance, but twenty thousand short of 2011’s audience. That was the year the University of Alabama unveiled head coach Nick Saban’s statue at the stadium’s “walk of champions.” Click the second "Youtube" link at the bottom for a video with highlights of the game.

doug_wertman [Flickr]

While you cannot claim your pet as a dependent on your income tax return, there are some legal pet-related deductions you can take - if you do it right and keep good records!

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The Alabama Department of Mental Health has decertified the owner of nine group homes in northern Alabama. The Decatur Daily reports that state officials delivered the notice Thursday to K&D Group Home executive director Katie M. Smith that the state was immediately revoking her license. Smith was licensed to operate group homes in Decatur that serve patients with intellectual disabilities. Mental Health Commissioner James V.

Alabama Unemployment Number Released

Apr 15, 2016

Alabama’s unemployment hasn’t changed this month. APR student reporter Allison Mollenkamp has more… 

New labor statistics show that unemployment is still 6.2 percent.

This average represents a range from a low of four point six percent in Shelby County and a high of thirteen point nine percent in Wilcox County.

Alabama’s unemployment also remains higher than the national average of five percent.

This is despite job growth. Alabama added ten thousand, two hundred jobs last month. This is an improvement over the numbers from last month and last year.

Birds Bringing Tourists to Dauphin Island

Apr 13, 2016

The spring bird migration season is bringing flocks of tourists and nature lovers to the coastal area, according to officials on Alabama’s Dauphin Island. APR Student reporter Giancarlo Mazza has more...

Experts claim the migration season typically peaks around the third weekend of April.

The island welcomes around 400 species of birds and is one of the top four birding areas in the U.S.

The birds stopping on Dauphin Island this time of year are generally arriving from the Gulf of Mexico.

State AGs Seek Pardon for Former Governor

Apr 13, 2016

There may be new hope for former Alabama governor Don Siegelman. 100 former state attorneys general are pushing for the former governor's release.

The group is petitioning President Obama to pardon Siegelman on the grounds that his conviction was politically motivated.

Siegelman was convicted of bribery in 2006 and was sentenced to more than six years in prison. The former governor was convicted of selling a board appointment in exchange for contributions to a campaign to start a state lottery.

State Senate Looks at Education Budget

Apr 12, 2016

Alabama is looking to increase teacher’s salaries. APR’s Student Reporter Josh Hoppenstein has more on how this might happen…

The Alabama Senate Finance and Taxation Committee are debating whether or not a new budget will give most public school teachers more money.

The Senate will be voting on the budget this Wednesday. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said he would like the full Senate to vote on the issue.

If the proposed budget is passed then teachers as well as other employees’ salaries will increase by about four percent.

Operation Kid Safe International Safety Event

Apr 12, 2016

A program in south Alabama is working to help keep kids safe. Alabama Public Radio Student reporter Tori Martinez has more on the effort…                       

The Alabama Education Association has  a new executive director.

AEA spokeswoman Amy Marlowe says Brenda Pike will start her new position on May 16. Pike serves as the executive director of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Pike received her master's degree from the University of Tennessee, and a doctorate of education from the University of Memphis. She worked for 12 years as a classroom teacher before joining the staff of the Tennessee Education Association.

Runoffs in 2 state school board races Tuesday

Apr 10, 2016

Some Alabama voters head to the polls Tuesday for primary runoffs.

Two Republican incumbents face runoffs for seats of the state school board seats

Incumbent Matthew Brown faces Jackie Ziegler, the wife of state Auditor Jim Ziegler, in a runoff to represent south Alabama's District 1 on the Alabama state school board.

Brown was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley to fill a vacant post in July. Ziegler is a former school principal. The winner faces Democrat Ron Davis in November.

A South Korea-based automotive part manufacturer will bring a $19 million expanding its existing location in eastern Alabama.

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller says Mando America Corp. will expand their North American headquarters in the city. As a result, 32 jobs will be created.

Fuller says the expansion process should begin to take place over the next couple of weeks. The mayor made the announcement after the city council meeting Tuesday.

Bark In The Park III

Apr 9, 2016
Tuscaloosa Association of Realtors

A dog park is a great place to enjoy spending time with your best friend!  At the Will May Dog Park in Tuscaloosa, there is a fenced area for small dogs and another for large dogs, where they can run and exercise and play in a safe, contained area leash-free.  

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of five institutions that are researching the possibility of using genetically modified pig tissue for human kidney transplants.

UAB is receiving a $19.5 million grant from United Therapeutics Corp. to begin a xenotransplantation program. School officials announced the five-year grant on Friday.

UAB is a leading kidney transplant center, and the program aims to transplant genetically modified kidneys created from pig tissue within five years.

Alabama senators have approved establishing an innocence commission to review some of the state’s capital convictions.

Senators voted 20-6 in favor of the bill yesterday, sending it to the House of Representatives. The proposed legislation would create a panel to review new evidence in death row cases that hadn't previously been heard by a court.

Bill sponsor, Republican Senator Dick Brewbaker, says he supports the death penalty in Alabama, but he thinks the state should work harder to make sure people are guilty before executing them.

Alabama legislators say they need more information on an unprecedented process before they can move forward with articles of impeachment against embattled Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Articles of impeachment filed Tuesday are on hold as legislators work to set up a new committee to vet the process. The committee could have subpoena power to hear testimony on allegations against Bentley.

Corrections officials are reporting more violence in Alabama’s prisons.

Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton says two inmates were stabbed at Draper Correctional Facility in Elmore earlier this week. Three inmates started fighting in a prison dorm, and one used a makeshift knife to stab the others. The inmate accused of the stabbing was transported to another prison.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is not happy the state legislature voted to override his veto on the General Fund Budget.  Lawmakers yesterday voted to enact the $1.8 billion general fund budget which will go in to effect on Oct. 1.  Bentley spoke to the media today along with Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar.  Bentley had sought an additional $100 million for Medicaid. The Legislature only increased the funding for Medicaid by $15 million.

Ed Henry
Albert Cesare / Montgomery Advertiser / AP

An Alabama lawmaker is following through on his threat to file an impeachment resolution against Governor Robert Bentley. APR’s MacKenzie Bates reports this move is in the wake of a scandal involving one of the governor's top aides, who has since resigned.

Hartselle Republican Rep. Ed Henry introduced the resolution yesterday. The action comes after Bentley admitted that he made inappropriate remarks to the former aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. However, Bentley denied suggestions that the two had an affair.

The Alabama Legislature is back in Montgomery working on the General Fund Budget.  But lawmakers are also turning their attention to the scandal that has rocked Governor Robert Bentley’s Administration.

Republican Rep. Ed Henry plans to introduce impeachment articles today. The action comes as Bentley admitted that he made inappropriate remarks to his former aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. However, Bentley denied suggestions that the two had an affair.

Henry says there is no time to waste on impeaching the Governor…

After an unusual shooting death of a 36-year-old woman by Auburn police over the weekend, the woman’s parents are sharply criticizing law enforcement and pursuing legal action.

Michael and Terry Boarts say they called authorities to help get their daughter Melissa to a mental hospital, but the officers shot her instead.

Terry Boarts says she called police Sunday, saying her daughter was driving on a highway, had a knife and was threatening to kill herself. She says her daughter had been diagnosed as a bipolar manic depressive.

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says he will reopen his casino later this year despite losing a three-year legal battle over the legality of electronic bingo machines.

McGregor hopes to have the casino open by early summer.

McGregor criticized last week's Alabama Supreme Court ruling that electronic gambling machines that had been seized are illegal.  The court ruled that the state could keep 1,615 gambling machines seized from VictoryLand in a 2013 raid.

LCS USS Montgomery
Thigpen Photography

The U.S. Navy has awarded Austal USA the contract to build Littoral Combat Ship 26.

The additional warship is part of a contract modification increasing Austal USA’s block-buy contract with the Navy to 11 ships.

When LCS 26 is built, it will be the 13th LCS built by Austal USA at its shipyards in Mobile. The company currently has ten warships in different stages of production: seven Littoral Combat Ships and three Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels. Three LCS vessels have already been delivered to the Navy, and a fourth will be delivered later this year.

Governor Robert Bentley kept to his schedule over the weekend, despite growing turmoil in Montgomery over an alleged affair with his former senior aide. The Governor visited Eufaula to meet with the owners of a new factory that’s supposed to bring three hundred new jobs to the area. Ameritex is the only company in the U.S. that produces surgical gloves. Things could become less cordial on Tuesday, when state lawmakers return from Spring Break.

Alabama lawmakers have a lot on their plates when they return from spring break on Tuesday. The list of issues ranges from the state budget, to a proposed lottery, gas tax hike, a pay raise for teachers, and the possible impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley. The Governor says he’ll veto a general fund budget he's says has inadequate Medicaid funding. Legislators have said they intend to override his veto to enact the spending plan. Bentley threatens to call a special session, if they do that—assuming he’s still in office.

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