Montgomery, AL – State legislators will begin the 2005 regular session in a couple of weeks. And, they're already warning of sharp budget cuts for the next fiscal year. Alabama's General Fund budget is expected to spend about one-and-a-half billion dollars this year. But it needs at least another 255 million dollars, and lawmakers say that number could go as high as 300 million. They say the extra money is needed just to keep pace with funding needs of current programs. The 2006 fiscal year begins October First.
Decatur, AL – Decatur has a lot of convenience stores. In fact, the 2004 Convenience Store News Industry Report says the city is second in the nation for the number of convenience stores it has per person. According to the new report, the Decatur area has one convenience store for every 959 residents. The number one spot is Bristol, Virginia, which has one for every 891 people. The national average is one convenience store for every 24-hundred-44 people.
Bessemer, AL – A Bessemer woman celebrated a milestone over the weekend. Alice Norton has been the organist at the First United Methodist Church in Bessemer since 1932. Norton turned 100 years old Sunday. She says she's seen a lot in her 73 years at the church, including a $25,000 college scholarship established in her honor. Norton says she has no plans to retire.
Auburn, AL – 320 members of the Auburn University band will head to Washington DC next week to take part in the 55th Presidential Inaugural Parade. Auburn band director Rick Good says the January 20th event will be ``a once in a lifetime opportunity.'' The A-U band is the only one from Alabama invited.