Alex AuBuchon

News Host / Reporter

Alex AuBuchon is APR’s Morning Edition host and also writes news and feature stories. He got his start in nonprofit radio at the University of Tennessee’s venerable WUTK-FM.

AuBuchon started as a student DJ before quickly falling in with the news team. He spent a semester on the news staff and then a year as News Director, delivering live newscasts and teaching broadcast workshops to undergraduate journalism students.

AuBuchon then switched over to commercial radio, taking a job as Operations Manager and Assistant News Director for a group of four radio stations in his hometown of Paris, Tennessee. He scheduled traffic and automation breaks and did administrative work for four stations during the week, and delivered newscasts and maintained a popular news website on the weekends.

Alex crossed back over to public radio in January 2015, moving to Alabama to wake up early and give listeners the news they need to get ready for the day.

Mental health care in correctional facilities was the subject of a talk in Tuscaloosa yesterday.

Dr. Marisa Giggie, the chief psychiatrist for the Tuscaloosa County Jail, held the panel discussion alongside Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy and Circuit Court Judge Bradley Almond. They talked through the challenges in caring for a growing number of mentally ill inmates in correctional facilities, and new ideas to try and keep those with mental illnesses out of jail in the first place.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

State lawmakers gave their final approval yesterday to a bill protecting faith-based adoption agencies that refuse to place children with gay parents, or in certain other households, due to their religious beliefs.

The bill would prohibit the state from refusing to license or do business with faith-based adoption groups that refuse placements on religious grounds. Supporters argue the measure is needed to make sure the groups can reasonably operate. Critics, such as the state’s only openly gay lawmaker, Rep. Patricia Todd, say it’s blatant discrimination.

Alabama education officials are investigating a series of mistakes after publicly releasing incorrect information about state graduation rates.

Some local superintendents complained that graduation rates posted to the state's website late last week were too low. The Alabama Department of Education acknowledged the error in a statement released yesterday.

The United States Supreme Court will not reconsider the appeal of an Alabama death row inmate scheduled to be executed next month.

Yesterday, Supreme Court justices refused the rehearing request by Tommy Arthur, who has had seven execution dates postponed so far.

Another challenger has announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by former Attorney General Luther Strange.

Dr. Randy Brinson, a Montgomery gastroenterologist and chairman of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, announced Monday he is running to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions' former Senate seat.

Brinson is the founder of Redeem The Vote, a group aimed at getting young evangelical Christians involved in politics. In his announcement, Brinson said voters are frustrated with "corruption, self-dealing and venality of politicians."

A new report says travelers spent more than $13 billion in the state of Alabama last year.

The study was conducted for the state tourism agency by an economist at Auburn University in Montgomery. It says more than 25 million travelers spent a total of $13.4 billion in the state in 2016 on hotels, shopping, transportation and restaurants.

That represents an increase of 5.4 percent from 2015. Tourism Director Lee Sentell says travel spending has doubled in the state over the last 14 years.

Alabama Historical Association Meeting in Auburn

Apr 21, 2017

Alabama is getting the chance to celebrate its state history in Auburn this weekend.

The Alabama Historical Association is holding its 70th annual meeting at Auburn University this weekend. The meeting is open to anyone who shares an interest in Alabama’s history from its founding and through modern times. It will feature papers on Alabama history and tours of historic houses and sites around Auburn University. The meeting will also feature two keynote speakers, whose speeches will be themed around Alabama’s upcoming Bicentennial and the state’s history during World War One.

The state House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that would mandate insurance coverage for autism therapy.

Representatives voted 100-0 in favor of the bill yesterday. It now moves to the Alabama Senate. The bill mandates coverage of an autism treatment called applied behavioral analysis therapy. The Autism Society of Alabama says Alabama is one of only five states that does not require the coverage. Parents whose children have autism and have received the therapy have called it “life-changing”, but it’s also very expensive.

Alabama lawmakers are one step closer to allowing a Birmingham-area church to establish its own police force.

The House Public Safety Committee approved a measure that would allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church to set up its own police department. Church officials say they need their own police force to keep their school and their more than 4,000 person congregation safe.

Roy Moore
AP

The Alabama Supreme Court has upheld the suspension of Chief Justice Roy Moore due to his actions following a landmark legal decision allowing gay marriage in the state.

The specially-appointed court issued their ruling yesterday afternoon. Judges upheld the findings that Chief Justice Moore violated judicial ethics, and that his suspension for the remainder of his term on the court was justified.

Mobile River Named 4th-Most Endangered River

Apr 19, 2017
Mobile River
Wikimedia

Rough waters may be ahead for the Mobile Bay Basin.

The 2017 Most Endangered Rivers report named the Mobile River and Mobile Bay Basin as the fourth most endangered river in the country. The Mobile River System accounts for fourteen percent of all freshwater flowing in the United States. The Mobile Bay, its delta, and the rivers that sustain them are under threat, largely due to mismanagement of water resources along with waste and overuse of water.

The Alabama Senate voted to protect faith-based adoption organizations refusing to place children with gay parents or in certain other households because of their religious beliefs.

The Alabama Senate approved that bill on a 22-9 vote yesterday.

The legislation would prohibit the state from refusing to license or sign contracts with faith-based adoption groups that refuse certain adoption placements because of their religious beliefs.

The Alabama Senate is expected to vote on legislation that would allow people to carry a concealed handgun in Alabama without a getting a permit. In the state House, debate has been postponed on a bill that would close a loophole currently exempting faith-based day cares from state regulation.

Senators are scheduled to debate the concealed weapon proposal submitted by Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa this evening.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama lawmakers are expected to debate a proposal that would require all day care facilities to be regulated by the state, and would end a longstanding exemption for faith-based facilities.

The bill is currently scheduled at the end of tomorrow’s debate agenda in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Pebblin Warren, the bill's sponsor, says the faith-based loophole leaves children vulnerable to abuse and neglect. VOICES for Alabama's Children says Alabama is one of only seven states broadly exempting faith-based day care facilities from regulation.

Water Protection Groups Release Sewage Map

Apr 17, 2017
Sewage spill
Nelson Brooke / Black Warrior Riverkeeper

Several water protection organizations have released an interactive map of the sewage spills that occurred in Alabama last year.

According to the map, over 46 million gallons of sewage were released into community streams and waterways across the state. The map was created by nine different water protection groups across the state to accompany a petition they sent to the Alabama Environmental Management Commission.

red flags
John David Mercer / AP / Press-Register

Dangerous surf conditions are causing lots of problems on the Alabama coast during spring break season.

Red flags are flying to warn people about hazardous rip currents that can quickly and easily pull swimmers out to sea. But in Gulf Shores, Ala., lifeguards have still had to rescue at least five people since Saturday. Beach safety director Scott Smothers tells WALA-TV one man had to be resuscitated but is now doing OK.

Lifeguard Jordan Russell says he had to help a 6-year-old boy and the boy's sister after both got pulled away from the beach on Tuesday.

A vote on whether lawmakers will impeach Alabama Governor Robert Bentley could come sooner than you think.

The top lawyer in a legislative investigation of Gov. Bentley has indicated that lawmakers are speeding to a decision on whether to impeach him over a sex scandal involving a former aide.

Special counsel Jack Sharman issued a memo to the governor's lawyers describing a tentative schedule that would decide Bentley's fate quickly. Sharman provided that memo to The Associated Press yesterday.

A new judge has been named to a high-profile Montgomery murder trial.

Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith's murder trial will now be overseen by Circuit Judge Roman Shaul.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports Circuit Judge James Anderson recused himself from Smith’s trial last week because the judge’s son works for a law firm defending Smith in a federal civil lawsuit brought by the victim’s family.

The president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of West Alabama has been charged with possession of child pornography.

The Tuscaloosa News reports 52-year-old Anthony Dellon Bush was arrested yesterday.

Authorities say pornographic images were found on the Tuscaloosa man's phone and work computer, but they were not of children who were involved in the Boys' & Girls' Club. Police found the images during an investigation of an incident earlier this month in which Bush was arrested and charged with assault.

dry river bed
weather.com

Those in central Alabama hurt by last year’s drought are running out of time to apply for help from the federal government.

The Small Business Administration says April 25 is the deadline for residents of seven Alabama counties to apply for disaster loans related to the drought. Assistance is available for those in Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, St. Clair, Shelby and Talladega Counties, which saw some of the worst conditions during Alabama’s dry spell.

Tales from one of Alabama’s most beloved storytellers will be brought to life today on a New York City stage.

Birmingham playwright Don Everett Garrett has written an adaptation of a book by legendary Alabama author and storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham. Garrett’s “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey: The Musical” will be read at the American Theater of Actors, John Cullum Theater, in New York City, by players from the Actors Equity Union.

Police in Alabama's two largest beach towns say they've made more than 450 spring break-related arrests so far this year, and that's a big improvement from last year.

Police in both Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are implementing some new tough policies this year to keep young vacationers under control. They say the change has resulted in far fewer problems.

Orange Beach police tell WALA-TV they made 287 arrests so far this spring, which is significantly fewer than last year when more than 750 were arrested.

A lawyer for a white Montgomery police officer charged with murdering a black man is asking a judge to move the officer's trial out of the city.

Officer Aaron Cody Smith's lawyer will try to persuade a Montgomery County judge later today that Smith won't receive a fair trial in Montgomery because of the protests and intense media coverage related to the case.

Attorney Mickey McDermott says Smith has received death threats after last year’s fatal shooting of 58-year-old Greg Gunn. He filed a motion in December to change the location of the proceedings.

Hackers may have stolen the personal information of people who used a job search database in Alabama and nine other states.

The Alabama Department of Labor recently announced the breach of the America's JobLink, a multi-state web-based system linking jobseekers with employers. Alabamians who used the state's free, online jobs database joblink.alabama.gov may have had personal information exposed.

The site is developed and maintained by America's Job Link Alliance - Technical Support.

Alabama officials have confirmed bird flu in two poultry flocks, just one week after three commercial breeders had to kill their chickens across the state line in Tennessee.

Alabama’s state veterinarian recently announced that chickens are under quarantine after testing positive for the disease at a commercial breeding operation in Pickens County, near the Mississippi state line.

Dr. Tony Frazier's statement says the disease also was found in a backyard flock in Madison County, near the Tennessee line.

University trustees are set to vote on a new president of Auburn University today. Some say that selection process should be more transparent.

The trustees will hold a special meeting later today to name a new president.

The Opelika-Auburn News reports no candidates have been announced in the search to replace Auburn President Jay Gogue. That means there's been no chance for any prospective new administrators to meet with the university community.

Police across central Alabama say three mosques in the state have been burglarized in recent days, and one Islamic leader hopes the cases aren't part of a conspiracy of hatred.

Tuscaloosa police say two safes containing cash and a handwritten Quran were stolen from the Islamic Center of Tuscaloosa earlier this week. Police have released a photo of a car believed to be involved in the robbery that was captured on surveillance video.

Today is Pro-Life Day in Alabama.

At least, that’s according to Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon and other leaders in the state legislature.

State agriculture officials are banning poultry sales in Alabama over concerns about avian influenza.

The Cullman Times reports Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan issued an order Wednesday prohibiting bird sales, poultry exhibitions and the transportation of birds.

State veterinarian Tony Frazier says the order is the most effective way to prevent the possible spread of the illness.

The ban follows confirmation of avian flu in Tennessee, plus possible cases in the north Alabama counties of Jackson, Lauderdale and Madison counties.

Students in Alabama and across the country are speaking out against tobacco.

Today marks the 21st annual Kick Butts Day, organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Each year, students along with teachers, health advocates and other activists encourage children to avoid tobacco use, and urge lawmakers to work harder to keep tobacco products away from children.

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