Birmingham, AL – Landing a hot air balloon on a busy interstate doesn't happen every day, but it did happen Monday morning in Alabama. A hot air balloon landed on a stretch of Interstate 65 near Birmingham. The pilot and two passengers landed in the median near the Highway 119 exit ramp. The pilot says high winds pushed the balloon toward Oak Mountain State Park, and that forced him to make an emergency landing in the median. No one was injured. However, the spectacle did affect morning traffic as motorists slowed down to watch.
Montgomery, AL – State officials are trying to get a complete count of Alabama's homeless population. They'll be using local agencies and volunteers across the state to try to get an accurate number of homeless in both urban and rural areas. Officials say this week's cold weather means homeless people are more likely to be in shelters and available for questions. This is the first concerted effort to find the rural homeless population. Officials say those missing numbers have previously sent federal grant money to other states.
Montgomery, AL – A special election has been scheduled to fill the vacant seat for House District 46. Former state Representative Mark Gaines left the legislature this week after accepting an appointment as Jefferson County Probate Judge. The governor's office announced the qualifying deadline for Democrats and Republicans will be February first. Party primaries will be held on Tuesday, March 15th. The general election will be Tuesday, April 26th. The winner will fill the vacancy for the remainder of Gaines' original term.
Huntsville, AL – Hewlett-Packard will pay 141 million dollars to settle a patent dispute with a Huntsville-based software company. Intergraph specializes in graphics software and has accepted the settlement. It will end a legal dispute that began in 2002. That's when Intergraph sued Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Gateway over patents involving Intel chips. Intergraph settled with Dell, Gateway and Intel last year. Hewlett-Packard is planning to make the 141 million dollar payment by the end of the month.